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  • It’s hotter than Hell and I’m pretty sure I saw one of the cats melt under the oak tree in the bottom pasture.
  • I spent about 15 minutes today trying to figure out if one of my cats (not the melted one) had been injured only to discover that the blood spatters around the car were from Serah (the evil cat) killing a squirrel.
  • I found a juvenile purple finch in Pip’s salt block this morning. It hopped up on my finger before flying off into a nearby tree. That’s as close to a Cinderella moment as I’m likely to ever get.
  • Pip has canker in his off front hoof.  It will require vet assistance to correct. I’m very upset about it.  He’s scheduled for a little later in the week and I’m hopeful that we can get it cleared up. He will be sidelined for a while tho.
  • M moved her garden from nearer the creek to up here near the house.  I think it was a smart move as it makes accessing the garden much easier. She has been a bit late planting this year but everything is coming up well.
  • Of course we are drowning in squash and zucchini.
  • I am waiting (not so patiently) for the okra. It’s the only thing that makes these hot days bearable.
  • We spent last Saturday down in Atlanta watching X’s friend Han in a yo-yo competition. I have a feeling X will be competing in the next one whenever that is.  He’s quite good with the yo-yo tricks.  His next “trick” will be putting all his tricks together with a bit of music.
  • Since we were in ATL that meant we were able to swing by the Duluth Hmart!!  YAY!!  So much wonderful! I needed to do some heavy restocking so my buggy was pretty much packed by the time we were done. I was getting dangerously low on pretty much all of our Asian staples so I knew it was going to be a near 2 buggy haul.
  • We had a delicious early birthday dinner at Chung Dam for J. It was divine. That place is well worth the expense for the dining experience and inspiration.
  • I’ve pretty much cooked some form of Korean food everyday since we went to ATL.
  • Dining has been excellent.
  • We started our school year at the first of this month.  We had our usual hiccups at the start but found a pretty good rhythm by the second week.
  • We are doing lots of fun and difficult projects this year (dissecting animals, writing research papers, learning French among other things) and the boys are embracing the new challenges with if not eagerness, then at least curiosity.
  • I’m personally enjoying this year as we are focusing on US history and state histories and studying biology… two of my favorite subjects and adding in a brilliant reading selection (we are doing a study on The Hobbit soon!!). This may be my favorite schooling year so far!
  • The boys have been binge-watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Amazon. It has been amusing as the boys are continually asking “why was that funny?” or “who is that?” because they don’t get the reference. It took a solid 10 minutes to explain why Danny Bonaduce sitting in a pear tree was funny. The show is loaded with similar bits so the questions are frequent and often amusing.
  • I’ve got a couple other blog posts in the works which should post in the next few days so maybe the next post won’t be weeks from now and in bullet form 🙂
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Planners and Journals

2017 Journals and Planners

I have always loved planners.  Way back in my hellish days at Erskine, I had a class with some forgettable professor who mentioned briefly that using a DayRunner was only for people who could be dedicated to using it properly. I was insulted that his tone indicated that no one in the lecture had that level of dedication and spurred to have the need to prove him wrong.

A couple of years prior to that I had briefly been an exchange student to Belgium and one of the things assigned to me at school was my first student planner. I loved it and used it even after I returned home for the rest of that school year.

During the time before I was married, when I trained and exercised horses and farm-sat locally, I relied on a DayRunner to keep me on track. I never needed all the features in a DayRunner, but I enjoyed having a planner to map out my day and keep up with my clients and expenses.

After parenthood I needed something smaller and moved into a Sanrio Hello Kitty planner.  It was just a little A6 size 3 ring binder but it kept me on track and it amused me with its bright colors and illustrations.

At some point I decided I needed to be a grown up and moved into a Filofax which I adored… until the elastic broke and it started to fall apart.  Then I moved into a Franklin Covey that also fell apart on me (curse you magnetic closures!). Somewhere along the way I used a couple different Moleskines for farm records and even used spiral notebooks at one point.

A few years ago I ran across Midori Travelers Notebooks and really felt like this was a thing I needed in my life.  It took another year or so to convince myself to purchase one and when I did I opted for a cheaper version just in case it didn’t work out.

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Thanksgiving 2015

Long story short, I love TNs. My brother is also a fan and we spent a recent Thanksgiving making various versions of notebooks and inserts. I was in love with the Tomoe River paper that Midori uses in their inserts so instead of buying the Midori inserts I bought a ream of TRP and made my own.  Aren’t I clever? I use many of these inserts in a year as I use my standard TN for art journalling and mind-dump journalling.  I use my larger B5 TN for all my farm and horse records.

However they still did not fulfill my planner needs.

Enter the Hobonichi Techo.
I got my first Hobonichi last year and because I was nervous about ordering something too expensive that I would not like, I opted for one of the cheaper iterations… the A6 English Planner with one of the simpler pink covers.

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2016 Hobonichi and TN journal (and a hatchet!? must have been a bad night!)

It was love.

I know most people who use the Hobonichi are quite talented artists and do these beautiful watercolors and stamped themes.

I am not that person.

I used my little A6 to simply record the things that were going on and to keep me on schedule… with the occasional sticker or washi tape thrown in for kawaii effect.

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2017 Hobonichi Cousin Sunflower

So for my birthday, J surprised me with the bigger A5 Cousin with the ohhh so lovely Sunflower leather cover.

I can’t even.

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Daily Spread Hobonichi Cousin

I have been in the Cousin since the first of the year and with it I have found complete planner peace.  I still use it primarily as a planner, but also as a way to record the highlights of the day and an expense tracker.  I have succumbed to the sticker frenzy and while my dailies will never be artist quality, they make me happy to flip back through and that’s winning right?

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2017 Hobonichi Weeks Meow Meow (gaaahhhh it’s so cute)

He also gave me a Hobonichi Weeks in the Meow Meow cover. It’s a week on one page with notes on the facing page. I use it to record farm expenses and important animal information.

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Weeks Interior

I think there is a lot to be said for liking the esthetic of a planner/journal and the feel of the paper and the look of the covers really feels all of my needs.  My family knows that my planner has nearly holy book level status as I use it to keep up with all the little minutiae that used to clutter up my brain instead.  It is, in effect, my external memory storage device of choice!

Some days living on a farm can be really depressing.

Some days it feels like all I post on here is how yet another of my senior horses has died or some other tragedy.

Some days writing feels more like admitting defeat than anything else.

Some days it’s a struggle to just get out of bed because everything will be the same, over and over and over again.

Some days that thing that makes you tick, that thing that makes people like you… just isn’t there.

Some days you manage to lock your keys in the car when it’s not suppose to be possible.

Some days you help other people with their blogs and realize yours has gone stagnant.

Some days you bump into other local bloggers and you become overwhelmed by all that they are doing and how WOW their blogs are.

Some days you wonder why you even bother anymore.

And then…

Some days the kids show you how all the effort really has paid off as they sit politely in a local cafe overrun with unruly children left to go nearly feral while their parents seem oblivious.

Some days you catch a glimpse of Pip being a complete idiot cavorting around his paddock, sliding in the mud then completely busting his tail as he loses his traction, falls, then pops up like no one could have possibly seen it all.

Some days the daffodil man is at the flea market and it’s hard not to suddenly become passionate about daffodils when hearing him talk about them all.

Some days you get three subscription boxes in one day and it feels a little bit like Christmas.

Some days you turn out a meal for the family that really is quite spectacular.

Some days you realize your husband is awesome as you watch him climb a tree and saw off a dead limb just before going to work because he can.

Some days you realize that even though you’re failing more often than not, you haven’t stopped trying.

Some days you watch movies with 4 dogs and 2 cats and at least one kid all piled up in the chair with you because everybody needed a snuggle.

Some days you realize that you really miss writing whether or not anyone is reading anymore.

Some days you write.

So…. My laptop died.

Of course it died just as I was getting inspired to write again.

That figures.

So I’ve hijacked M’s chromebook to update that I am in the research portion of my new laptop acquisition.  It’s slow going.

In other news, I’ve gotten into the travelers notebook thing.  Not the crazy art level ones, but just the “oh my gah those are so neat I must have one even if I have nothing to actually write in it” ones.  I bought a ZLYC instead of a Midori because the ZLYC came with a standard and passport size plus a pen holder for the same price as just the standard Midori.  Initially I was disappointed as the leather was wonky and the notebooks didn’t fit properly.  Thankfully I had been binge watching YouTube videos setting them up so it made correcting the problems much easier.

I am thoroughly confused by the monthly calendar that came with the ZLYC.  I had to basically rework it and create tip-outs to set it up with my prefered 7 day week.  I attempted to do some of the artsy scrapbooking things that I’ve seen other people create and to be honest it’s just not my bag.  I have a couple of months that I think look awesome but others look like a craft store threw up on it.  Go me.

So I ordered the Midori weekly planner notebook and I absolutely love it! It is perfect for my planning style and while I do have a few strategic stickers it is nowhere near the train wreck that is the monthly spread.  I would include pics here if I weren’t hijacking M’s chromebook… hopefully I can edit them in later on.

Getting into the traveler’s notebooks obviously lead to a resurgence of my pen/office supplies/paper supplies addiction.  Luckily gel pens and such are a cheap addiction generally speaking.  I was able to swing by Binders in Charlotte and nab up a several fun pens… I may do a haul post as some of them are pretty awesome (looking at you Slicci 025).

In other other news…. We are riding in the Western Carolina Hunter Pace series this season.  Unfortunately we missed the first pace but we managed the second one at ScotsGrove.  It was our first time at their farm and we had a… somewhat adventurous ride.  Evidently the rules of passing need to be reviewed.  We were unsafely passed multiple times.  But we didn’t let that get us down!  Happily we maintained a consistent pace and finished in 3rd place!  Go Pip!!

We are hoping to hit the HP at Biltmore this weekend if our coggins make it back to us before Sunday.  My coggins run out 2 days before the event so I’m hoping that the 2 weeks we allowed for them to come back will be sufficient.  I’d really hate to miss the Biltmore pace.  J and I brought home a yellow ribbon (3rd) several years ago.  And of course L and I had our worst ride ever at Biltmore, finishing dead last but considering all the things that went wrong on that ride, finishing was as good as getting a ribbon  (1 hour of backtracking for my lost phone, L and Paris falling off the mountain after getting pelted with a golf ball, bad footing, Pip’s first outing, Noorah’s antics and elimination at the start, and my emotional blow up/break down/psychotic break at the trailer… it was awful).

***UPDATE*** The coggins are IN!!!  Right after I called to put our names on the gate list I got a call from the vet saying that the coggins were in!!  WooHoo!! Assuming we are all well on Sunday then we are good to go!

I am still working out the logistics of doing a YouTube channel.  I have been periodically posting videos but not full on vlogs.  My lack of operable computer is one of the hampering factors but I’m sure I’ll have it sorted out soon enough.  There’s a learning curve and I’m slowly figuring it out.  We are pretty much filming every time we go to a pace (Biltmore will be J’s turn to wear the goPro EEEK!!!) so hopefully I’ll have a way to post a highlight vid soon, because trust me you don’t want to sit through 2 hours of us riding.  Sure there are some hilarious parts (“I don’t even know you Pip”) but there are long spans of silence that even we the riders find somewhat dull and boring to relive.

So anyway, I’m hoping everybody is enjoying the cooler Fall weather and look for more updates soon!

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So today Sisyphus made a break for freedom… He’s brash and independent like that.  He’s the sort that will look you in the eye and then make a spectacular leap to the floor then scamper (yes SCAMPER) across the floor in an attempt to climb the Christmas tree.

He is a TREE frog after all.

Currently he’s giving me the eye from corner as he slowly slides back down to the bottom of the tank.  His tank mates are all frog piled up asleep but no not Sisyphus… he’s got to be doing.

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See he woke up Natty Grumpo… Natty Grumpo is the least amused frog in the whole tank.  That’s him on the left.  Notice how Sisyphus is mischievously peaking over the leaf and Natty is just looking disgruntled.

I’m still working on names for the remaining two frogs.  They were actively exploring this morning, climbing out on the vines and taking brief dips in the pool.  Nobody is burying up in the moss so that’s good… the heat regulator is doing an awesome job maintaining an even temp and the humidity is maintaining nicely.  There were poops this morning so it appears that everybody is getting over their trip here just fine.

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And after all that exploring this morning it’s time for a froggie nap… loving that Sisyphus felt the need to moon me in this shot… He’s going to be devil that one….

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