What I’m Doing on my Summer Vacation

I’ve been taking some time away from the blog. Because it’s summer.  Here are some things I’ve been doing instead.

1. Anything but pens. I haven’t picked up a fountain pen for more than a scribble in weeks. I’m just not feeling it. No inspiration to write. No real interest in pens, either. I’m recharging. I might start a different writing project.

2. Pen Show. Actually, I have been doing pen things, just that they all relate to the Chicago Pen Show. That’s of course the 2018 show, which sadly isn’t until next May. We’ve got some fun things in the works, though. Everyone should come.

3. Gardening. I’ve been gardening a lot. But not genteel or picturesque gardening. Rambo gardening. While redoing one of the borders, I scratched up both arms muscling a Zebra Grass on a day that was so hot I couldn’t wear long sleeves. Teaching me that there is no day in the garden so hot that I shouldn’t wear long sleeves. But that wasn’t the best part of the Zebra Grass Battle. The best part was when I realized one large clump of Zebra Grass was actually too firmly rooted for me to divide it with a spade. Even standing on the top of the blade didn’t provide enough oomph. It was so hot, too. I considered just lying down on the lawn and expiring from weakness, right there. The dogs would have found my remains. And everyone would have felt badly. “Why didn’t we think to bring her an iced tea? Or help out? We’re monsters!” That would have been good.

4. Bunnies. Nothing makes you realize, “I’ve lost the innocent bloom of youth,” like coming to see Mr. McGregor in a completely different way, not as the villain of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, but as the everyman hero. Because no matter how cute bunnies seem when you’re little, when you grow up and begin to till your own small square of earth, you realize rabbits are voracious eaters and rapid breeders, and the enemy of all plant life. If not all life on earth. So every summer, I battle to humanely protect the plants they target. And every summer, I lose. Plus, our younger dog, Gus, is an avid hunter, and not humane, so every year I’m also battling to keep him away from the baby bunnies. This year has been especially grisly on the Gus front. But there’s a little baby bunny out there now, who’s somehow survived. He’s an adorable little sprite who just hopped out and obliviously began munching on our back lawn the other day. Right in front of our french doors. While on the inside, my dogs howl at the tiny, blithe provocateur and hurl themselves murderously against the glass. I know, one way or another, this is going to end badly.

5. Movies. We’ve been watching a lot of movies. There is no hockey in the summer. This is the only bad thing about summer.

6. Books. I’ve been reading actual books. All the way through. Yeah. Next step, world domination.

7. Cursing Photobucket. Without warning, or even after-the-fact notice, @$&*%$# Photobucket cut off all photo-links, unless you want to pay some blackmailishly high annual fee. As a result, many photos on this blog were disappeared, and I have to try to figure out which ones, then try to find them on my computer, then put them back. Great use of anyone’s spare time. Photobucket can be rhymed with some pretty bad words, let me tell you.

Icco Nico Washi Tapes: Calendar and To-Do

Icco Nico washi tape

Icco Nico Washi Tape. These just arrived from Japan: washi tapes for calendar and to-do lists made by icco nico, a small online stationery and accessory company in Nara-shi, Japan.

Icco nico is run by Mari Sakamoto. I found out about her and icco nico when I stumbled across a tweet a few months ago of washi tape she’d designed to make any notebook into a calendar. I use a bullet journal, and Field Notes memo books, so I loved this idea.

Icco nico’s initial calendar tapes were in Japanese only, so I waited for an English version. And here it is, from the icconico etsy shop. Happy Saturday to me.

I bought the vertical calendar set in English, which are the two washi tapes on the left and middle, and the roll of to-do tape on the right.

Icco Nico washi tape calendar and to-do

The to-do tape comes in two colorways, pencil and crayon. Pencil seems to have only one size: 3mm. Crayon has three sizes (3, 3.7 and 5mm), which weren’t all in stock when I ordered. Choosing between the smallest and largest sizes, I went for the largest: crayon in 5mm. This is the 5mm to-do tape in a Field Notes memo book.

Icco Nico washi tape to-do

The larger size to-do list lets you write longer items and add information like phone numbers or addresses, which I find helpful. It also would work well if you’re writing your list with a broad point. But the 3mm or 3.7mm would have let me cram more “to-do’s” per page.

On the other hand, I don’t really want long to-do lists. I kind of feel oppressed by to-do lists already. (Because my to-do lists only contain unpleasant things that I actually don’t want to do. Duh. That’s why I wrote them down instead of just doing them.)

Hey! Instead of listing things like “dentist appointment,” what if I sprinkle in some items that say, “you are awesome”? Or, “stop working, call a friend for coffee.” Then I’d love to-do lists. Genius. Until then, however, I’ll let these pretty crayon colors carry me through.

Icco Nico washi tape calendar and to-do

That’s a quick shot of the two sets in the Field Notes memo book, each page of which is only 5 ½ by 3 ½ inches.The pen is a Lamy Safari, for additional size reference. I’m actually going to use the two calendar tapes in my bullet journal, which is larger. One full month of the vertical calendar runs just over 7 inches, so it fits nicely on a single page of an A5 notebook or journal.

The calendar tapes have Saturday in blue and Sunday in red, a great touch. The tapes adhere well, with just the right amount of adhesive to let you stick and unstick a few times till you find the best spot.

Icco Nico washi tape calendar and to-do

I like both sets. Icco nico also makes some other organizational washi tapes, and I’m really glad I found it.

 

This Cracked Me Up

Sometimes you’re reading a book, and a sentence strikes you.

I was reading a mystery the other day by Josephine Tey called A Shilling for Candles. At one point, the head detective travels by boat to interview a witness. During the crossing, he’s reading hostile news stories and thinking about the complexities of the case. At journey’s end, preparing to disembark, he watches a sailor working.

Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer quote

Ha!

The ink is Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer. Maybe I could make the wax seals on their ink bottles for a day or two, as a little break.

Papier Plume Ivy 108 and Lake Michigan Summer: Ink Giveaway Winners

Congratulations! Gerry G was selected as the winner of Papier Plume Ivy 108 and claudia barcellos was selected as the winner of Papier Plume Lake Michigan Summer. Please contact me through the link on the blog with your name and address by April 25 to claim the prize. (Or let me know if you’re coming to the Chicago Pen Show, and can pick it up there. I will add some extra swag.)

Thanks to everyone who participated. The remaining bottles will be for sale at the Chicago Pen Show, May 4-7. Most importantly, Go Cubs.

Here’s the Ivy 108 list.

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And here is the Lake Michigan Summer list.

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KWZ Rotten Green: Ink Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, mjelson, because you were selected as the winner of KWZ Rotten Green. Yay! Please contact me through the link on the blog with your name and address by April 22 to claim the prize.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you get to try Rotten Green at the pen show or otherwise.

Here’s the list below. If a name appears twice it’s because that person entered both on the blog and on Instagram.

 

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A Very Serious, Not At All Tongue-in-Cheek, Fountain Pen Dictionary

Penjoyment. The state of good cheer that arises when pen and ink make writing fun.

Pendless. Your wishlist.

Penabler. All your pen friends. Or you drop them.

Penergized. That hopeful, exhuberant feeling that arises when you walk into a pen store or pen show or start browsing online — or even when you think, “Today’s the day I’ll clean out some pens.”

Penthusiast. How you describe yourself to your spouse, just before you start having merchants ship to your office.

Penthrallment. The knowledge that you must have a certain pen or ink, and it will be the last one you ever buy.

Penuui. Boredom with writing instruments, either the last one you bought, or all of them.

Penvy.

1. The unexpressed, uncomfortable feeling that, while you really couldn’t be happier that your friend got this sought-after fountain pen or ink, now that she has it, you feel left out, and your pens and inks seem second-rate in comparison.

2. If the possessor isn’t your friend, the feeling needn’t be kept secret, and can be expressed with a witty dig at the object or the possessor, or both.

Penpal.

1. A person with whom you send letters back and forth.

2. A person you have owed a letter to for three months. See, Penemy.

Penemy. A person who used to be your penpal, until your replies became so slow.

Penitent. A person who replied too slowly to her penpals.

Penvelope. A real word, for an attractive but expensive leather pen case that you consider buying when you have bought too many pens to contain any other way. If you have at least two Penvelopes, see, Pensanity.

Pensanity. Peak pen purchasing madness.

Penlightenment. The state of feeling satisfied with the pens you already have, which must last longer than three months or until you save up for the next one.

Pend. The end of this blog post.

 

 

Happy International Women’s Day

Yeah, no real post today, I’m on strike. It’s International Women’s Day.

Ha. I wish. What mother could ever go on strike? Although I’ll note that Classic Fountain Pens is closed today “in respect for the work women do here and around the world.” Nice! Shout-out to them.

Whatever International Women’s Day is, I’m for it, even without a strike. On the website, it says the idea is “to help forge a better working world
 — a more inclusive, gender equal world.” That’s nice.

I think “gender equal” isn’t necessarily a concept that really applies to fountain pens and ink, but I think the fountain pen world is a pretty inclusive place. So three cheers for fountain pens and inks, and the people who work in, and enjoy, fountain pens and inks.