One Red Notebook

Where do you keep your life?

Not the living, breathing, soul part (I’m not feeling that philosophical today) but the organizational part.

I know more and more people who keep it all on their phone. Personally I find this horrifying for a many reasons like…

  1. What if it spontaneously malfunctions?
  2. What if I break it?
  3. What if I lose it?
  4. What if I drop it on a gravel path and the screen shatters? (True story)
  5. What if I run it over with an F250? (True story)
  6. What if I jump in a lake to save my kid with it in my pocket? (True story)
  7. What if I forget it?

 

Instead I currently keep my life in a red notebook.

It has…

  1. Notes about what to talk about at an author program.
  2. To-do lists for marketing a picture book.
  3. To-do lists for writing a picture book.
  4. To-do lists for managing a capoeira group.
  5. Things to prepare for Thanksgiving.
  6. Three months of who’s spending which weekend with Granny.
  7. Notes from a meeting with publisher and illustrator.
  8. Notes from talking with stores about carrying my book.
  9. Notes from talking with schools about doing capoeira demos.
  10. E-mail addresses.
  11. Blog post ideas.
  12. To-do lists for the poultry
  13. To-do lists for the week.
  14. Things to remember. (That’s a good catch-all page)
  15. Lists of butterfly houses and exhibits in the Midwest.
  16. Lists of favorite winter/snow books.
  17. And notes on how to plan and serve Thanksgiving dinner to 45.

And no, while bullet journaling sounds great in theory, that’s not a thing I do.

I am not unaware that while this is a system, it is possible it’s not the best system. It also occurs to me that a red notebook is just as prone to flood, fire and forgetting as a phone. But, for all I write on the computer and share documents over google drive and set things up in shared calendars, there is a perceived permanence to writing things down in my own messy, illegible, misspelled handwriting that I’m reluctant to give up. It’s as though in my mind a to-do list isn’t a to-do list if it’s not written at two different angles with big bold scribbles when something is crossed off.

I keep my life in a red notebook. Where do you keep yours?

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Tasting Memories

My cousin taught Ivy and I how to make deer hunter candy this weekend.

Only handed out to deer hunters during the gun season, the recipe is simple: equal parts of four ingredients, covered in chocolate, cut into slices and wrapped in wax paper.

We made the traditional treat together laughing and snitching bits as we did so and then, of course, we had to sample the final product. We wouldn’t want to give all those cold hunters a sub-par product.

I ate a few pieces but I still remember Grandma telling me I wasn’t to take any candy, it was only for the hunters. She didn’t reprimand often and her corrections stuck.  I still had a twinge of guilt when popping a piece into my mouth and it came with memories of Grandma’s scolding so vivid I could taste them on my tongue.

Some people scoff at tradition but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who tasted memories when we handed out that peanut butter treat.

Evidence of Early Writing Aspirations

I don’t remember wanting to be a writer as a kid. No keeping dairies, at least not for more than a day or two, or writing stories or anything else that required spelling.

But today my cousin and I spent hours going through old photo albums and letters from my grandparents house and there was a little story I wrote to them.

” Once upon a time, there was a cowpoy. He had a hevon. But he was very sad. One day the cowpoy came home with a surprise!! It was another hevonen!! And they lived happily ever after. Love Jessie”

I feel that in defense of my spelling it’s important to note that Grandma taught me Finnish words out of a Richard Scary book.  Hevonen is the Finnish word for horse and, while google translate doesn’t think cowpoy is Finnish for cowboy, I clearly did.  The only word I actually spelled wrong was hevonen and that’s far better than I’ve done so far on this post tonight.  As far as my formatting, that was clearly done by typewriter and I’m not sure I ever figured out how that worked.

In conclusion:

Maybe I have always liked telling stories. I’ve forgotten a lot in the last 38 years, (Like what year my brother was married  and, apparently, how to spell married). I could have forgotten that too. It’s completely possible.  And thank all that is good and true in this world for word processors and spell check.

The Satisfied “HA!”

You know the satisfied “Ha!” right?

Not a “Ha!” that’s funny but a “HA! You inanimate object, you thought you could best me, but I won anyway!”

Today I looked at my chicken coop and my duck house parked just where I wanted them for the winter and said, “HA!”

Have you ever backed up a hay wagon using a lawn tractor that’s articulated in the middle through an orchard into a small clearing at the edge of a woods?

No?

Well, backing it up I think works something like this…

…but I’m not super sure. Trying to keep track of all those moving parts while avoiding all the trees turned my brain into a puddle.

But, I still know how to say:

“HA!”

Got it done and checked it off the list. Those guys are parked till spring! 

Silly Sign

I was enjoying a lovely little walk at a new to me park. I followed the trail along the river. I admired the posts all decked out in “sweaters” by local clubs. And then I saw it, the most ridiculous of signs.

Signs like these bring out the contrary argumentative side in me because, really?!?

Now I’m assuming that they are intending to say that you may not bring domestic animals into the park and not just informing the populace that there are no domestic animals living in the park at the moment. Maybe it was just a little FYI. In that case- apologies park that shall not be named, carry on, sorry about all this! If however you are indeed excluding domestic animals I go back to: really?!?

You made this lovely park and walk down along the river and no “domestic” animals are allowed. Want to know who goes for walks outside more than anyone I know? People with dogs. People with dogs are mostly good people, and if there is the occasional person without a “doggie bag”, we call what results from that fertilizer. I just can’t understand why you would choose to excluded what would be your largest group of park users.

Because what other domestic animals are you worried about? I mean, I admit I know more than one person who has driven their sheep around in the backseat but that doesn’t mean they let them out at random parks to frolic about before they go home. And downtown, even in a small town, it seems like the amount of horse traffic would be negligible enough not to worry about. So what’s with the sign because no domestic implies that wild animals are acceptable, right?

So, what if I have pet tigers? They are certainly not domestic. If I’m a visiting tiger show person (those people are insane but real and if insane people have tigers they probably take them on tiger walks) it must be okay to bring my tiger down to the waterfront because it’s not even a little bit domesticated.

Speaking of cats. House cats barely count as domesticated either. In fact I’m pretty sure the only reason we call them domestic is because cats want us to take care of them and they tricked us into it.  I’m pretty sure that if I could get one of my cats on a leash without dying of blood loss or decapitation I could argue my way through a cats-aren’t-domestic conversation. It’d be easy because I’d look like I had been attacked by the cute little wild animals they are by the time I got to a park.

Of course if we are just talking wild animals I could coop my dogs up for a day or two and let them loose. I doubt I could argue my way through that conversation though and my dogs would only stay in that little park for 0.34 seconds before they’d be off looking for birds.

Birds though… I think there are some possibilities there. Perhaps a guinea fowl, they are domestic, but weird enough that you’d have to know them to know they are. Or a turkey, there are plenty of domestic turkeys, but raise up a nice little bronze turkey or four I bet you they would be happy to follow you through a nice park and they look close enough to wild turkeys that you could gobble in the face of that silly sign.

I’ve always wanted to take up falconry. That wouldn’t be covered. Nope, no domestic animals here and don’t worry, Mavis here just got rid of some of your rabbit problem for you too. That’d be great, but perhaps a bit more of a time investment than I can commit to at the moment.

But it is on the water… and where there is water there are geese… and I do have a ready supply of cracked corn…

Hmmmm…..

Silly signs like that do bring out the contrary in me.

Author Questions

My first children’s book was published this spring.

(Shameless plug: Here it is on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/What-If-Butterflies-Loved-Snow/dp/194568190X/  – it’d make a great Christmas gift! )

A few months later I’ve, mostly, stopped looking for someone else in the room when people ask “the author” a question and I’m starting to see a pattern emerge in those questions asked.

Yes, I did really write the book. (PSA announcement: Don’t ask people that. Just don’t.)

Nope, I didn’t draw a single picture. (Occasionally I think drawing a butterfly in the book when I sign it is a good idea. And it is a good idea, in theory….)

Yes, I’d be happy to tell you the long crazy story of how it was published. How much time do you have? (Shameless plug #2: Sign up for our newsletter at whatifbutterflieslovedsnow.com to learn the story.)

And yes, unless you are a full blood relation, I will indeed avoid telling you exactly how much I earn per book. (PSA announcement #2: Do unto others as Ann Landers would do unto you.)

But for those of you who can’t contain your curiosity at just how much cash I may be raking in I have two facts for you:

  1. I’m very happy with the amount of books we’ve been selling. (You guys, people read my book to little kids! Ones I don’t know! That’s astounding!)
  2. It was 27°F when drove the kids to school with my drivers side window down because it’s broken and no longer goes up. (It’s second in line of cars to be fixed as that’s not a safety issue, just cold, inconvenient and noisy.)(Shameless plug #3: Authors like windows that roll up all the way when it snows. Reviews sell books- leave your book review here: https://www.amazon.com/What-If-Butterflies-Loved-Snow/dp/194568190X/#customerReviews )

 

Have any more author-y questions you’d like answered? Ask away!