Oh, yeah, life goes on…

Whew! Life has been rocketing by at 100 miles per hour, but summer is here now, and hopefully things will get back to a more livable pace. There are all kinds of exciting things to tell you about, but first, let’s bridge back to where we were last: in one of our MANY winter snow days. They had to add a ton of days to the school year here in Portland to make up for all the days the kids missed.

As is typical for teens (and kids in general, I suppose), the end of the snow season resulted in our home being filled with a large collection of Stuff That Belongs to Others. I took to Instagram at one point to offer up a fine selection of goods to the young people who had most recently shown complete disregard for the whereabouts of their belongings been playing in the snow at our house:

In a fit of New Year’s Madness, David and I decided we were going to get rid of 10,000 things in 2017. Quinland scoffed, swearing that we didn’t even have 10,000 things total (we most definitely do), let alone 10,000 we didn’t want! But we figured it was an easy 27 things a day, and we got right to work

Some stuff was easy to jettison, but – as always – some was tougher.I could not bear to lose ALL the Eat and Learn placemats, for instance, so I kept my favorites and took photos of the ones that were going to be moving on to better homes.

I’ll keep you posted on how we are doing on the Road to 10,000. (Hint: I bet you can guess.)

Quinland spent lots and lots and lots and lots of time this winter doing college applications and writing more essays than he had ever written in his 18 years combined, by his estimation. This pretty much sums up his college- and scholarship-essay fatigue:

Stay tuned for more info on how the whole thing panned out!

At long last, the snow melted away, and Bonesy could go over to play with his dog cousins. That’s Tony on the left and Mittzi on the right. Bonesy and “Tonesy” are alike in their incredible energy and playfulness, while Mittzi resembles Bones in that neither of them can hold their licker.

(The leash you glimpse is attached to Bonesy, who still likes to mark on things when left to his own devices and once peed on one of Tante Ina’s oriental rugs.)

Here’s Bonesy resting in a sunbeam, just because he is the cutest ever.

That’s a hodgepodge of minutia, I know, but now that I’m getting my blogging legs back under me, I’ll try to be better about posting regularly. So don’t touch that dial! I still need to catch you up on so many cool things!

Treading water

2855533741_c011cc2b6a_b

Raise your hand if you know what a riptide is! You may know it as a rip current (the official term) or an undertow, but we called them riptides when I was young. These are strong, sneaky currents that pull people away from the shore. If you try to swim against it, no matter how strong a swimmer you may be, it will tire you out and you will drown. Kids who grow up in beach towns, like I did, are taught that you don’t struggle; you just let the rip tide carry you along as you float or tread water. Ultimately, it will release you and you can swim back to shore (or, often, walk out; riptides usually circle back to shallow water) and make the long hike back down the beach to your towel and your friends.

Anyway, the moral of the story is this: I have spent much of the last few months caught in the riptide of life. To conserve energy, I have either been floating or treading water most of the time, but as August draws to a close, I’m starting to feel the old riptide loosening its grip on me. I need to be careful about how I get back into the swing of things, since my two speeds seem to be “off” and “reckless endangerment,” but hopefully you will start to hear a bit more from me in the coming weeks!

Hope all of you had a restful summer!

“Undertow” by versageek CC BY

Bujo or bust!

imagebujo = bullet journal

I have no idea how I stumbled onto the concept of the bullet journal. Something, somewhere, caught my eye. (If it was you, I am forever grateful.) I Googled it. I watched Ryder Carroll’s video. I was fascinated. I, the girl who can never seem to use any planning system consistently – even one of my own design – began to see the possibilities.

A bullet journal is simply a notebook that is used as an all-in-one planning system. You use it as both your calendar and your to-do list, but you also use it to keep track of every little thing you might have jotted on post-it notes, scratch paper or napkins in the past. The beauty of the system? Its complete flexibility.

Tired of the layout? Change it tomorrow or next week or next month. Skip a day or two or twelve? Just continue on – no wasted pages! Wish you had a  [insert awesome planner/tracker feature here]? Simply add one in. A bullet journal can be as simple or as fancy as you want, because YOU are the one designing it.

I raced out in the 100-degree heat of Palm Desert to track down a notebook. I found a gorgeous soft-covered Moleskine in “Underwater Blue” with dot-grid pages and a set of pigma colored pens, and I was good to go. But first, I set one guideline for myself: “No rules, no ruler.” I am as perfectionistic as they come, and I knew that if I started to get hung up on straight lines, I’d be in big trouble.

Of course, by the third page, I needed another guideline: “Embrace imperfection.” Mistakes are a guarantee in life, especially when you combine permanent ink with a bound notebook. I’m just acknowledging them, tweaking if I can, and moving on.

Bullet Journal, Day One
Bullet Journal, Day One.  (I decided right away that I hated writing with the colored pens. I wrote over the brown, but scribbled out the green; this looked even worse, so I turned it into a doodle. Hence guideline #2!)

This sounds a lot easier than it is in practice. The lack of straight lines does bug me, but I’m powering through. If I decide I want a graph-paper ruled one next time, I’ll get one, but this one is it for now. When you make a mistake that takes up two full pages (by designing an index you don’t like, for example), it’s hard to swallow, but – again – I can change it next time.

If you decide to start a bullet journal of your own, I must give one bit of advice: beware of Pinterest (or even Google images)! There are some incredible ideas out there, some gorgeous layouts, some seriously talented artists — and all this beautiful input can lead you into danger. You’ll either a) start feeling totally discouraged by the talent you see, or b) you’ll become enthralled by it, and spend all the time you should be using your own bullet journal to drool over other people’s. I did both, and it really slowed me down. I’m still navigating the fine line between working on my bullet journal and working from my bullet journal. I want to enjoy it, I want it to be beautiful, I want it to be a creative outlet, but – most of all – I want it to be a tool to help me have an enjoyable, beautiful, creative life.