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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!

So my last farm post has been a few months ago.  Farm life has been tough as we are in the throes of “the bad year” and while I know having a farm means being close friends with Death it doesn’t mean I enjoy the visits.

We lost Bingley to a pasture accident and Rosalea and Maddy to old age and possibly a broken heart with Maddy… I knew she would not stay long after Belle as those two were closely paired. One of our oldest cats, Sheegwa, recently passed as well after an altercation with a couple of stray dogs that turned up in our woods. 

And then because that wasn’t enough, we hit the teenage years with the children.  SJ spoiled us with her easy waltz into the teen years.  The boys haven’t been so kind.  They are excellent kids mind you, but I was ill prepared for teen-age boy emotions and dramatics.  I feel sorry for them really. They managed to get a hyper aware mother, hyper aware grandmother and eccentrically attentive father.  They can’t catch a break.  SJ communicates tacitly more often than not, and years spent observing body language in the horses and other farm animals mean that I notice even the slightest “tell” in body language. And the boys’ “tells” are pretty easy.  And when they try to “pull the wool” as many teen-aged boys do… they run into J.

It’s been tiring.  I think I completely shut down all social interaction from January until recently because I just couldn’t deal.  I was using so much energy to just hold it all together that I didn’t have anything left.  Friends were going through their own personal hells and I didn’t feel like I could be there for them and save myself at the same time.  We finally worked out a code for “I’m overwhelmed and don’t know what to say but I’m with you” by sending “…” just so we knew that some one was listening even though we didn’t have it in us to talk.
I have an alarming number of “…” messages.  It would appear that we weren’t the only ones having a tough year.

It’s my hope to work with the blog more this year.  I’ve found inspiration in helping one of my high school best friends start a blog to chronicle her life changing move away from corporate work. She and her daughter are embracing a more nomadic lifestyle in hopes of improving her daughter’s health.  As soon as her blog is up and running I will link to it as I’m sure their adventures will be incredible!

And then there are my friends with established blogs that just blow me away with their creativity.  I’m overwhelmed by all that they do and they inspire me to write more and find my old story-telling voice again. Be prepared for farm stories, life stories, hauls, hobbies, reviews and the ever popular rambles.  I hope everyone will weather this brief period of uncertainty with me as I find my blogging mojo once again.  I’ve missed writing so much and realizing how rusty I am is frustrating but I’m determined and that’s half the challenge sometimes 🙂

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.

For the past few years I’ve made a bit of a deal about who first footed us.  First footing being a Scottish tradition that I had been introduced to by a Scottish boyfriend many many MANY years ago.  I liked the idea of it and have made a pointed effort to be aware of who first footed us every new year.

This year was the first in many years that J had actually been home so part of my brain was already thinking about how he would finally get to properly walk across the threshold and usher in a year of good fortune.  Then midnight struck and we scampered outside with sparklers and… I don’t remember who walked back in first.  It may have been Beckett who forgot his shoes or it may have been Sophie who was spinning like a top, high on the festivities and (illegal for her) chocolates.  I don’t know.

And then today, the first day of the New Year when traditionally you are supposed to do the thing you want to do all year and eat collards and peas.  For many years now I’ve made a point to ride on January 1st.  But not this time.  This time I played with the colts, laughed at Pip, and then came back in to hang out with my family.  Tonight we are having carry-out Mexican, no home cooked meal here.

It’s been an odd day, full of departures from my normal routine but you know I’m ok with it.  Sometimes I think we need to stop doing the things we’ve always done if we’re always getting the same results, especially when those results aren’t always great.  I spent over half of 2014 not riding even though my horses were sound and my body fit enough to ride.  I made decisions based on how I always HAD done things instead of how things needed to be NOW.  I’m not that exuberant 18 year old girl willing to jump on any horse.  I’m not that confident 20 something proudly waving my trainer-credentials at anyone needing help with a horse.  I’m a wary, yet determined 40 year old that wants to take up the reins for myself instead of helping everyone else.

So… I am.

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