:no stitches west for me:

Stitches West 2018 is about to happen. The vendors are starting to set up in the marketplace. Thousands of knitters are about to descend on San Jose…

…and I will not be a part of it.

I want to go.

So, so badly.

It does not help that it falls on my birthday week each year.

You have no idea how badly I want to go.

But, alas, I will not be going this year.

This year is a year of prioritizing a few things above knitting. Yes, I know, it didn’t sound right to me when I wrote it down either. I am trying to comfort myself with the fact that I have plenty of yarn and fleece in my stash to tide me over. I don’t really need more.

It’s not working very well.

I could go and just look and touch and squish and sniff the yarn, but I am afraid it would make it worse. I do so love all the pretty yarn.

So I will stay away, and hope that next year I’ll really get to enjoy it all.

:forty-three years ’round the sun:

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At times I find it hard to believe I am in my forties, married, and have two children (one of which is my size).

Today I turn forty-three.

I love my birthday, though I don’t actually celebrate it in the traditional sense. For me it is more of a personal new year. It is a day when I love to think back on the past year and my life in general. When I would love to sit in a cafe bookstore, surrounded by the things I love: books, a journal, a good pen, and coffee.

A day to reflect, and then an evening with my family is all I would need to make my birthday special.

I do not shy away from it, or hide it’s existence, or wish I was younger. I don’t see the point. I know others do, and they have their own reasons for doing so. To me, a birthday is a celebration of the unique person who is me. On that day, at that hour, a singular being was born into this world. A person who will bring their own creativity and wonder and beauty to existence.

And that is reason enough to celebrate.

Today, I will actually not get the chance to spend my birthday as I wish.

Instead, I will be driving all over town as a homeschool mom. Tonight I will get home late and in the dark to make dinner. But after that, when the kitchen is clean, I will break open a hard cider, cuddle on the couch with my husband, and toast to one more year ’round the sun.

:happy caliversary, graces:

Yes, I know it’s Valentine’s Day today. Congratulations to any and all who follow it and have reason to enjoy it.

But, for us, it is the three year anniversary of our arrival in California.

This is momentous.

You see, Doug and I have a bit of wanderlust in us. I’ve written about our many moves before.

Probably the longest we have ever been in any one state is when we were in Georgia, and even those ten years were broken up by a nine month stint in Colorado.

Three years in Cali, makes this the second longest stay in any one state in our marriage. We have always been excited about the new place we will be calling home. Every one of them has had their appeal.

California has graced us with glorious weather, good friends and some heart racing experiences (wildfires and floods!). We have gotten to camp, see whales, keep chickens, homeschool, ride horses, have our first taste of country life. Well, at least I have. Doug’s a small town boy, born and bred.

So, while today most people are celebrating Valentine’s Day, we are celebrating our Caliversary.

Happy three years, Graces.

:gone country:

I grew up in cities and suburbs. My mother’s idea of camping involves a top-of-the-line fifth wheel with all the conveniences of home a hotel room without room service. I was raised to play inside, keep my dress clean, and blow out the curl of my hair.

My mother has no idea where she went wrong with me.

I live in a tiny cabin in the mountains. My kids only wear shoes to go outside if they have to go into the chicken coop. Yes, we keep chickens. The driveway down from the main roads is steep enough to give FedEx fits. We can see the Milky Way from the deck of our house because we have no light pollution.

I love the warmth of the sun on my skin.

I love the feel of dirt beneath my feet.

The idea of sitting outside beneath a tree, just for the chance to feel the solidness of the trunk behind my back and the wind in my curls is relaxing.

Actually being able to do it is lovely.

The days we do go down to the city are stressful, and I look forward to the weekend when we can all just settle at home.

Doug and I have been on a search for a home of our own. A place where we can steward the land and the wildlife. Having lived in the country for the last two years, I can safely say I have absolutely no desire to live in the city or a suburb ever again.

Of course, I have no crystal ball to tell me what the future will bring, but here’s hoping.

:introducing my other planner:

So one change I have made to my journaling and planner set-up this year is the addition of a Happy Planner. Basically, I was walking through Michaels and they ambushed me.

One of the things I do not enjoy doing in my BuJo is drawing out the monthly and weekly calendars. I know they are not part of the “standard” set-up for most bujos, but I find them necessary for knowing how my time is going to be spent. I usually just put them off until half the week is over and I’m forced to make one.

So, I decided to keep both a calendar and a bujo this year so I can have a pre-made planner, and I can do the rapid logging which makes the bujo so necessary for me. Obviously, my Happy Planner does not have the space to do the rapid logging I love. But it does give me the layout I like. Plus…STICKERS! I loved stickers as a kid, so this is fun for me.

I have seen some of the layouts on Instagram (back in December) and YouTube, but the lack of writing room just did not make it functional for me. So, last week I finally found what suites me. I actually do very little with the layout at the beginning of the week. Instead, I do my planning and stickers for that day. The only thing I set up beforehand are appointments or deadlines.

I most likely will not be posting much on this system, since there is such a glut of Happy Planner posts out there which are super creative and beautifully laid out. But, I’m happy I finally hit a good spot with this.

I may only use it for this year. I am not one to waste money, so if I decide to switch, it will be for next year.

Does anyone else have a multi-planner system?

:NaNoWriMo manuscript update:

So…

My update is there is nothing to update.

I, unfortunately, still have a sprained wrist. Typing is getting easier, but it still has not healed enough to allow me to write 2,000 words a day. I think about writing it out long-hand, but every time I go to do so my mind races far too fast to capture it all on the page.

I loved the flow I experienced during NaNo. I got lost in the world I was creating. To me, it was real.

Tangible.

Right now, the best I can do is sketch out bits of locations or characters.

I want that flow to happen when I go back to my story.

:Lamy Al-Star:

So, here she is in all her glory. I’m pretty sure long-time fountain pen aficionados are laughing at me gushing over a starter pen. I don’t care. I love her. After leaving Maido I went to one of my local Starbucks, and did my morning pages using the Lamy. (That’s where I took all these photos. I’m sure everyone there was looking at me like I was daft.)


I found the weight of the pen to be a real factor in how I hold it. It actually makes it easier to hold it in the “proper” grip with the barrel resting in front of the knuckle of my index finger. I believe this is called the calligrapher’s grip. It is the grip described in the Spencerian theory book.

That extra fine nib also lends itself to my natural writing style. I write very small, and most gel pens are too thick to make the writing legible. You can also see why I’m attempting to learn better form for cursive. My n, m, u, i, and even r all look the same. If I wrote the word minimum, all you would see is a bunch of Us strung together.

I have not yet used it in my penmanship practice, as I am just enjoying it and getting to know it. Unfortunately, the cartridge in the pen was blue ink. The salesperson in Maido thought it was black. So, I am trying to use it up as quickly as I can, because I am definitely a black ink kinda girl. I’m sure there is a way to take it out and switch to the  converter and black ink I bought, but I need to do some more research before I do that, and I just have not had the time. The last thing I want is to be covered in blue ink.