February 18 2018

Why (Five Minute Friday)

Why? This was my nephew, Brian’s favorite word when he was about four years old. I would take him along on errands with me for fun back then. Whatever you told him he would ask, “Why?”. You would give him an answer, and he would again ask, “Why?. It got old really fast and usually ended with me saying something to the effect of because I said so, that’s why. I never knew if he was just that curious or had learned that this was a way to drive the adults in his life completely crazy.

God must feel like this sometimes. There are lots of times in our lives when we ask ourselves or God why something happened. Why did this person get cancer? Why did that person get killed by a drunk driver? Why did someone open fire in a school? Why did they feel that was the only solution? Sometimes the question is just, “Why me?” Only God knows!

Time’s up and after going so long last week, I am sticking to the five-minute rule this week. If you really want to read more, check out my Why Do I Write? post.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Why
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

February 15 2018

My Favorite Bullet Journal Accessories

Below I will show you some of the things that make bullet journaling easier and more enjoyable for me. I provide the links because others have asked me where I got these cases that protect my BuJo and pens so nicely. The color of these is called black but are truly more of a dark gray color with brown insides. They do come in more color choices, but I wanted these darker ones so they would look more professional and hopefully resist stains longer. I will also link the products shown in the pockets because these are the products I carry in the covers and pen case regularly. My current bullet journal never leaves home without this jacket to keep it neat and clean. Yes, my BuJo means that much to me.

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LIHIT LAB Bag-In-Bag (Laptop Sleeve), Black, 7.1 x 9.8 Inches (A7553-24)

This case is perfect for the A-5 size bullet journals.

The pockets on the outside allow for storage of tabs or stickers.

This is my purple A-5 Leuchttrum 1917 on the unzipped cover. It unzips to lay completely flat.

This is my open bullet journal in the case.

Now for a slightly larger version of the case shown above:

LIHIT LAB Bag-In-Bag (Laptop Sleeve), Black, 10 x 13.8 Inches (A7554-24)

As you can see above this size will hold a few standard letter-sized file folders. There are no inside pockets.

This size is big enough to carry two A-5 sized bullet journals as shown above.

The photo above shows the size as compared to a standard Composition Notebook for reference.

The outside has several pockets to hold all the things. I added paper to show you where the pockets are.

Look at all the pens these pockets will hold!

LIHIT LAB Pen Case, Black, 4.7 x 7.9″ (A7551-24)

I love my Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens (a must for adding color), Pilot Dr. Grip Center of Gravity Ballpoint Retractable Pen (my favorite everyday writing pen), and my Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pens (The go-to for doing layouts.)

As you can see above the left side has 3 small pockets perfect for holding stickers, a chunky eraser, corner bookmarks or page flags. On the right, I have room for my Staedtler Mars plastic eraser, a pencil, the Uniball Signo UM-153 white gel pen (great to cover those mistakes in tight spots), and the Tombow Mono Correction Tape. I can also fit several sheets of post-it pads and flags on top of a basic plastic 7-inch ruler. This is my basic on the go bullet journal supply kit. I use it at home and rarely ever grab for any of my other supplies. To see some of the other supplies I use, check out an older post here.

LIHIT LAB Pen Case, Black, 3 x 9.4″ (A7552-24)

This is a different pen case that I have considered getting for when I just want to throw a couple of markers in the colors I am using for that week in my bag. I have not tried this item but liked it because it matches everything else.

February 10 2018

Privilege (Five Minute Friday)

I consider it my greatest privilege to be able and be trusted to keep the family history.

I was taken with the idea of genealogy research when I was in the fourth grade and first learned about our family a bit when my older sister had to do a fifth-grade project about our ancestors. The next year, I had the same teacher and eagerly looked forward to learning even more than my sister had known about the family tree to use for the assignment. I remember my mother calling her sister, to ask about the specifics for her family and my dad’s mother to get details about his family. I remember there was some confusion getting all the details for my dad’s family because the chart was confusing to my grandmother. What we got was a few generations of names and dates, maybe as far back as my great-grandparents on both sides of the family. But that was enough, and I was hooked.

My interest never wavered, but there wasn’t a lot I could do as a young kid. Once I was in high school and had some pocket money of my own, I began researching in earnest. There was a shop in town called Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe that put on all-day conferences with well-known guest speakers and they were not terribly expensive so I told mom I wanted to go. She said I could if I would pay my way. I assured her I would. I explained that I would also need a ride to and from the hotel where the conference was being held. I asked if she would be willing to go with me and drive if I was to pay both our admission costs from my own money. She agreed and seemed interested, but not as obsessed with it as I was. We had fun going to many of these events throughout my high school years. We spent time going over what we had learned and comparing our notes. When I was in college and finally had a car so I could drive myself, I spent many a Saturday downtown at the Indiana State Library. I would pack a lunch and bring lots of change for copies. I spent so much time combing through the microfilms of census records with my head almost inside the little cave-like machines squinting to read the strange handwriting and using a pencil to fill in the forms for the census with the entries for the ancestors I found. I just couldn’t get enough. I wasn’t interested in social studies or history of any kind, that was dull and boring, but when it came to MY family, MY ancestors, I was doing research because I wanted to not because I had to. This was more intense than homework and more difficult too, but I didn’t care. I loved it! I felt like I had won the lottery when I discovered some new tidbit or another ancestor’s name. I read books that I bought at the conferences or the local bookstore. The library didn’t have much available back then. I had to limit the time I spent on genealogy so my grades in the college courses wouldn’t suffer. I longed for school breaks so I could focus on genealogy.

When I got married in 1986, my husband seemed so lucky because his grandmother lived right here in town. I was much closer to his grandmother than my own. We went swimming with her in her apartment complex pool and she would patiently answer my questions. I got the privilege of wrapping all her Christmas gifts for a few years. I just loved having a grandparent so close. I only remember meeting one of my grandparents, my maternal grandmother, and she lived so far away I only saw her once or twice a year for an hour or two. I was in heaven! My husband and I had been having Sunday dinners with his parents, his brother and his grandmother for years by the time we were married. Our first house was less than a mile away from her apartment so we often picked her up and took her back home from the Sunday dinners. I learned that her father was an amateur photographer. She had albums full of his photos. When we looked at them, I turned them over to read the writing on the back but where others would have written the dates, location or the names of those in the photo, her father had written film speeds and f-stops. I quizzed the family on many occasions to get names and dates and specifics on births, deaths, and marriages. I can’t imagine what they thought of this nosy new family member, but I didn’t let that bother me. I had loads of new ancestors to research. I wanted to know them all and find them all. His family was from states I had never had reason to research before, exotic places like New York and Pennsylvania. I wanted to know how they came to live in Indiana if their families were from “back east”. So I asked. I think they liked that I was interested in them and their families. They let me scan photos and bring them back the next week and then take another batch. After all, I was family now and would willingly share the scanned images with anyone who wanted them.

Gradually, as time passed, more census records were released. I remember when the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 census records were made available to the public. These were released 72 years after they were taken, so researched had to wait ten years in between these big releases! Oh, how exciting it was to be able to find people on the census that I actually knew and had met! I loved searching through the microfilmed newspapers for obituaries when the people stopped appearing on the census records. City directories were fun too. When I noticed that my grandparents’ families lived just a few blocks from each other I began to speculate on how they met and what their courtship might have been like. Many people thought me strange for wanting to spend all my extra time and money looking for and making copies of these old records. Social security death records were indexed and you could send for a copy of the social security application once you found it in the index for only $7 each. This was a bit pricey back in the day, but I cut corners and saved my spending money to use for making copies at the library and to send off for my record copies. This was before the Internet and then during the early days of it. Not much was indexed and even less was online. Few had emails or web pages so we wrote letters and sent checks when we wanted information and we waited, and waited and watched the mailbox day after day for the record copies to arrive or for some possible distant cousin to answer our letter. It was so different then, back in the old days before DNA testing and Internet databases.

I went to cemeteries and walked the rows searching for specific names. We knew tricks for getting the best photos of the headstones. Yes, I have an album full of headstone photos. When I learned how to write HTML and create web pages, I created virtual cemeteries with photos and transcriptions of the headstones along with the info on where the cemetery was located and any other information or maps to go with it. I wanted to share my research with distant cousins I had never met. It was like leaving breadcrumb trails for them to find and those crumbs led them back to me. I shared photos of ancestors, school class photos from my mothers’ grade school years. She had written all the names on the back when she was an adult. I knew not everyone would have copies and if I added the names, the search engines could find them.

I spent about thirty years consistently immersed in my hobby, then I had to return to the world of working full-time again in addition to parenting and running the house and just that quick, time to do research vanished. Now after about ten years away from it, I realize I really miss it and want to immerse myself in it all over again. I am a different person now with new and different hobbies. The way genealogists do research is vastly different than it was ten years ago. Many of my beloved relatives are no longer here to pester with questions and I know what a great opportunity I lost when they died. I find myself realizing I took the privilege of knowing them for granted and never considered that it might one day be too late to ask the questions I hadn’t yet thought up. Now more than ever, I understand that I am one of the older generation. Now, I am the one the younger ones will need to come to in order to get their questions answered and I want to be ready if and when they do. Oh, I really hope they do. I hope to infect them with just a bit of my enthusiasm for family history.

Having family is a treasure. It is a privilege to know them and to remember them and to honor them by making sure they are not forgotten.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Privilege
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

Ok, obviously I got a little carried away and went well past the 5 minutes…it just couldn’t be helped.

February 8 2018

January Reads

Here are the books I read or listened to in January 2018. Check back for more lists of books about once a month.

These are the codes for how I read each book:
(A) = Audio Book
(E) = Ebook
(P) = Paper Book
1 to 5 *s rating system

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1) Stronger by Jeff Bauman (A) ****

2) Reach by Andy Molinsky, Ph.D. (A) ***

3) The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau (A) ***

4) Written in Stone [Books by the Bay Mystery #4] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

5) Poisoned Prose [Books by the Bay Mystery #5] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

6) Lethal Letters [Books by the Bay Mystery #6] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

7) Writing All Wrongs [Books by the Bay Mystery #7] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

8) Killer Characters [Books by the Bay Mystery #8] by Ellery Adams (A) ****

9) The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau (A) ****

10) Confidence: Overcoming Low Self-Esteem, Insecurity, and Self-Doubt by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (A) ***

11) The Case for Hope by Lee Strobel (A) *****

12) God Speaks Your Love Language: How to Feel and Reflect God’s Love by Gary Chapman (A) *****

13) The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It by W. Chris Winter (A) ****

14) If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (A) ***

15) The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau (A) ****

16) Love in Every Stitch: Stories of Knitting and Healing by Lee Gant (A) ****

17) Selected Shorts: For Better and For Worse (Selected Shorts) by Symphony Space, Shahrnush Parsipur, Luis Alberto Urrea (Goodreads Author), Ethan Canin, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. Le Guin, Karen E. Bender, Kamran Talattof (Narrator), Jocelyn Sharlet (Narrator), Robert Sean Leonard (Narrator), Harold Gould (Narrator), Keir Dullea (Narrator), Joanna Gleason (Narrator), Joanne Woodward (Narrator) (A) ***

18) The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level by Gay Hendricks (A) *****

All of these books were checked out from my local library and downloaded as audiobooks to my phone. I can listen to them in my car while driving to and from work or on errands. I listened to them while getting dressed in the morning, eating my breakfast, and packing my lunch. If I am home alone, I am usually listening to a book while doing other things such as folding laundry and crocheting hats for charity. I was shocked by how much more reading I could get done by listening to the books instead of reading them either electronically or in the actual paper form.

As you might imagine, buying all of these books would be quite expensive, especially as quickly as I go through books. This is only one of the many reasons I LOVE my local library. I did read from paper books or eBooks, but those were the ones I carried along to read in restaurants while we waited to be seated or for our food to arrive. They are not on the list because I have yet to finish them. I find that I really enjoy listening to books. Maybe it helps me remember the times when I sat on or near my mother while she read from storybooks to me as a child? Who knows?

Why the library you ask? Well, other than the obvious money saving aspect of it, there is the fact that I have no intention of reading books more than once with a few exceptions, so I don’t feel the need to own them. If I own a book, I must find a place for it in our house and must on occasion dust it and all the others along with it. Life is too short to read the same books twice, so it is certainly too short to spend time dusting books or finding room for them. That is time I could better spend reading more books!

What is your preferred format? Do you read certain books in one format or another? What determines which format you choose?

I like to see what the front cover looks like, so you can see all of them below.

I actually read the first 3 books in this series in December 2017. This is a great series that I found when looking for writing books and I actually read the Writing All Wrongs book first and loved it so much I started the series and read it (listened to it) all the way through. I had apparently read the first book in the series years ago and never got around to getting the rest from the library.

February 3 2018

Agree (Five Minute Friday)

I have been pressured for a long time (several years) to agree to bring another pet into our home. More specifically, a cat. Hubby and adult daughter have been unrelenting lately. I keep saying, “No!”, and they beg and plead like a couple of kids wanting their first puppy.

I feel like I am being ganged up on. I tell adult daughter I already gave in on the hamster when she was in high school and even the pet rabbit, Bruce, also when she was in high school. I finally on the bunny when they called me from the state fair and asked again because I was told the life expectancy of the rabbit was just three to five years. We have had Bruce the Bunny for about six and a half years now and he doesn’t seem to be aging. I knew I was hoodwinked when just a week or two after they brought Bruce home from the Indiana State Fair because adult daughter’s friend’s bunny died. When I asked daughter how old the bunny was, she said fourteen years old. What? “I thought you said bunnies only lived three to five years!” Apparently, the lady who sold hubby and adult daughter the bunny for only $10 at the fair told them three to five years and they took her at her word. I, in turn, believed hubby and adult daughter when they told me they would both take care of the bunny, it would only live three to five years and it would be no trouble at all. He was to live in a cage and only be out of the said cage to exercise two hours a day. Umm…yeah. Bruce the Bunny has taken down any number of electrical appliances (aquarium filter system, lamps, televisions, the entire house network, the cable and internet service for the house) and currently has free reign over hubby’s entire office. Oh, did I mention he also bites unsuspecting sleeping people in their beds on occasion? I must say as long as he isn’t getting into trouble he is a very quiet pet. He never barks or meows.

I have come to appreciate the peace and quiet in our home with pets that are contained and don’t talk all the time like cats always do. I also appreciate not having cat hair everywhere, having the house smell like cat pee all the time, waking up to surprise hairballs on my bed, or stepping in cat puke in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom. I like the freedom of not having to get anyone to come in and pet-sit for us when we want to go away for the weekend. I like NOT having cats on the table and counters, knocking over cups and vases, chewing on houseplants, and having to do cat checks to make sure they aren’t locked up where they shouldn’t be while we are away from home all day. (The other two don’t appreciate this because I am usually the last one out of the house and thus the one the cat check falls on.) I am also the one around the house more often and thus would be the one pestered for attention. We had cats for many, many years. It has been several years since we have had any as permanent residents of our home. We have had temporary cat guests (Moxie and Pope) for a week or two at a time and I have given in on that because I knew they would go back to their owners in a short while and I hoped it might lessen the nagging for us to get a cat. I would also like to say that adult daughter is rarely ever at home unless she is sleeping and hubby works long hours and has more volunteer commitments and meetings than anyone should so he is rarely home either.

When our family commits to a pet, we commit “until death do us part”, like it or not. We have never returned a pet, given one away, or even turned one loose on society. Darling daughter is constantly trying to get us to do just that with Gilligan the snapping turtle. I reminded her that is not how we do things in our family and that we made a commitment to take care of him for life, just like all the fish in our tanks, Sophie the hamster, Bruce the bunny and all the cats (Sammy, Morgan, Pumpkin, Smokey, and Goldie).

The latest tactic to try to force cats on me again is the recent death of my mother-in-law. Apparently, since we haven’t had cats for a few years, the whole darned family assumes we will take at least one maybe even two of the cats my mother-in-law had. I’m sorry if my mother-in-law was under the mistaken assumption that hubby would take a certain cat if anything ever happened to her, she didn’t ask my opinion, but she DID know how I felt about it. My stance is that ours is currently the only cat-free house and thus all the other families and houses are already used to having cats and another one or two wouldn’t make that much difference. There are only four or five cats to find homes for so it shouldn’t be a problem as there are at least five other houses here in the city where her cats could find good homes with various other family members.

I feel I have agreed to my share of pets and wish the rest of the family, immediate and otherwise, would respect my feelings and drop the subject for good. I feel like we are at the stage in our lives where we have the chance to travel more often and I don’t want the commitment and responsibility of more pets to tie us down. As long as we are mobile enough to travel, and have Bruce and Gilligan and the fish to deal with, I don’t want to get any more pets. I will not agree to allow any more pets into my home for the foreseeable future. Stop looking for loopholes, please. Subject closed.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Agree
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.