Things I Learned Last Week

spice drawer

1. It can be dangerous to alphabetize your spice drawer. Because that puts the cinnamon next to the chili powder. This all you need for an early morning “haven’t had my coffee yet” mistake.  Trust me.

2. I went to a pen club meeting last Sunday, and everyone there had beautiful handwriting. I want to find a meeting of doctors.

3. Does this ever happen to you? You start saying something and realize almost instantly … whoops. Wrong words, wrong audience. No way to finish this with grace.

Well, the other day I was thinking of the group TV on the Radio and I started singing, kind of to myself, but with my husband and kids around, the song Red Dress. And then I get to a part of the chorus that goes, “Come bear witness to the whore of Babylon.”

Let me just say: if you want everyone to stop what they are doing, and look up at you as if you have lost your mind, this is perfect.

All Those Years Ago

Today is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Sonnet 18 seems especially apt:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


Image in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Three Questions That Could Solve Any Problem


Isn’t that an excellent headline? Actually, I found it on the BBC website. Intrigued, I of course clicked on the article it referred to. Who wouldn’t want to solve any problem with just three questions?

Unfortunately, the article itself was a bit of a letdown for me.  Not that I really read it. It seemed to be aimed at businesses, not people. Every other sentence I skimmed contained words like “company” or “work” or “colleague.” Yawn.

Seriously, I’m sure it’s an excellent article. But any business article would be pretty much of a letdown after such a grabber of a headline.

But of course it got me thinking.  What if only three questions would give you the solution to every pressing issue?  What if you could flow chart your way to a better life?

And, you know, I think you can.  You just need better questions.

It turns out that when I thought of the problems I seem to habitually encounter, it was pretty easy to come up with many sets of three questions.  In hopes these may have general applicability, I will share them now.

Three Questions That Could Solve Any Problem:

Is my credit limit high enough?

Will my spouse find out?

Will he/she actually divorce me for this?


How quickly can I get out of here?

Are there any witnesses?

In the event there are unseen witnesses, could I explain it away?


Is it a disagreeable task?

Can I do it tomorrow instead?

Can I never do it?


Do I want to eat this food?

Do I fit in my pants?

Could I buy new pants?




Image by Gnome-help-faq.svg: Rocket000, Palosirkka derivative work: GNOME icon artists [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, LGPL ( or GPL (, via Wikimedia Commons

A Few Thoughts, No Pens


Yesterday was a sad day.  I was working on an ink review post, but it didn’t seem as important.  So here are words I like from other people.  Two wonderful writers and a wonderful musician.

“I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it.” – Vita Sackville-West, letter to Virginia Woolf

“Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathize with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.” – Maya Angelou

 “We gon’ be alright.” – Kendrick Lamar

Things I Learned This Week

apple pie

1. Pie for breakfast. “It’s a thing,” my older daughter told me. And it turns out that it is! How could I have missed this?  Allrecipes calls pie for breakfast “the most important pie of the day.”  Outstanding!

2. March Madness. Our alma maters crashed and burned in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament.  I’m way past “my bracket is busted” and basically at, “just rip it up.”  It’s okay; I can still watch.  The commercials are much better than on normal t.v.  And when my mind wanders, there’s always pie.  For example, how many pie pieces could one eat in a day?

3. March weather. It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever I had the opportunity to take photographs for the blog this week, the clouds would immediately come out and the light would become dull.  Once I gave up, the sun would shine.  So I am out of ideas here.  Other than those involving pie.

No.  I totally have some ink reviews coming up.  There’s one that’s sort of cherry pie in color, and one that’s like asparagus, which you could put in quiche. And another that would be the color of blue jello pie, if there is such a thing. And omg there is such a thing!

4. Easy spring pie.  Jello pie, any color you choose.  It’s really a thing. Is this a great country, or what?!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

green bagels for St. Patrick's Day

And this is roughly reason number 1,979 why I love Chicago: green bagels for St. Patrick’s Day.  I love the melting pot.

Though, yeah, the green color looks slightly strange in a bagel.  Only kids would actually eat those, probably.  Or Shrek.  Or the guy in charge of Lamy Safari color choices.

Pen Clutter


I was trying to find my yellow Line Friends Lamy Safari the other day — for the blog, of course.  Instead I found a clown car of pen-related clutter — boxes and boxes of it — all on a tiny shelf.  Which is not my only shelf of pen and ink things.

But I’ve learned my lesson, and I’ve turned over a new leaf.  And that is called: ignorance is bliss. From now on, I’m not going to pay any attention to what’s on my shelves.  Unless something happens to fall on me.  At which time, I’ll shove that item back on the shelf and walk briskly into the other room.  That’s called: just good common sense.

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