Week 5

w5, 1

w5, 2

w5, 3

w5, 4

w5, 5 (1)

w5, 6

w5, 7

I suppose I should take my walks earlier if I don’t want most of them to look like they’re wearing a gray blanket of doom. Something to think about.

I thought about it. I’ll walk when it’s convenient.

The first picture may explain why I’m raising what I’m raising a baby bird (to be later released). We had unusual winds for this time of year fpr 2-3 days. I assume Snickers fell out of his nest or his nest blew apart. The research I’ve done on pigeons and doves-because birds and day planners are all I think about this week–suggest that they build flimsy nests, leaving them susceptible to winds. That’s just wikipedia. I won’t link to the dozens of bird sites I’ve read since Saturday. Speaking of reading, those of you who are on Pinterest and follow the book club board might remember me pinning this book about pigeons years ago as a potential book club pick. I love books on animals, and this one is so appropriate now that I might see if my library has it. (Hahahahaha. I’ll have to buy it.)

And, hey! Week 5 of daily walking now under my belt. Go me.

The Ultimate Post on Day Planners (and Hyperbole)

I have a couple of reasons for this post. First, can you see images? Please let me know if the problem has been resolved for you. Thank you for putting up with the inconvenience, too.

Arc

Second, day planners! Specifically, paper ones. I can’t handle the new calendar in iOS 7. Appointments disappear or get moved to other days, I’m not getting my alerts, and the wheel date selector makes scheduling difficult for people with man-hands. I already dislike relying on electronic devices and am 1 of 5 people who still uses a paper address book. Also, and here another instance where computer-loving folks will toss their hands up in shock and think I’m really, really dumb: I keep all my passwords in a paper logbook.

Emily-Ley-Simplified-Planner-2015-02_grande

That’s right! All my passwords in a paper logbook, not in a cloud or in an “impossible to access by hackers” security site online. When people found out about this on Instagram (I shared a picture of my logbook) there was an outcry of warnings and recommendations for online password keepers. I appreciate the concern and welcome the constructive feedback. Here are my thoughts on that: I’m a middle class, unknown woman from suburbia. I doubt I’m the mark of an Ocean’s Eleven team of hackers intent on stuffing their coffers with millions. And, God forbid, should a couple of random burglars enter my house when I’m not at home, they won’t ransack the place looking for the internet password logbook I may or may not have. “Put down the TV and jewelry box, Bob. Time is of the essence, so let’s first figure out if she bought one of those cute password logbooks I saw at Target.”

When it comes to online security, I don’t believe there is a safe way to protect myself, with the exception of avoiding all online activity and paying for everything in cash. Even then, security is a myth. Identity exposure is the reality of living in a world increasingly dependent upon digital communication, especially if corporations like Target can get hacked twice in less than 6 months. I’m at risk whether I store my passwords in a book or online because it’s the act of necessitating a password that puts me at risk. Online or paper, we’re all screwed in the end because if someone wants our information, they’ll get it. Maybe I’m just a pessimist.

Screen shot 2014-08-09 at 9.43.22 AM

Back to day planners. Anything computer/electronic/online is not an option for me. I know many of you use Google Docs/Calendar or have had great luck with ABC online planner, and that’s great! It’s not you, it’s me. Paper all the way.

The problem I have is that finding the perfect planner is like having fun at a timeshare presentation. It’s possible, it’s just not likely.

Erin Condren

I’ve spent an obscene amount of time researching planners. It’s embarrassing. So embarrassing that the Mister turned to me last night and said, “The amount of time you have spent researching day planners is embarrassing.”

Plum Paper

I’ve narrowed down the options and will now crowd-source you for opinions or planners I may have missed.

DAY PLANNER Collage

The ARC Planner by Staples

LESS THAN $30

The Arc Planner by Staples is a letter-sized planner with a neoprene cover. The calendars and paper accessories come separately, allowing for customization. There are plenty of free printables and customizing tips on Pinterest. Arc refills are around $5.00. My concerns: the low price of the planner disappears once you factor in the price of the refills. The 6-ring layout makes it difficult to customize your own refills without a special punch, which makes using the Arc-made refills an easier option. That’s intentional, I’m sure.

The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley

$58, PLUS SHIPPING

The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley is clean and simple. The available patterns are limited, but I like them, aside from the pink key-pattern. The size is 9×10. The daily schedules are from 7am-7pm in half-hour increments, which is a must for me since I need the planner to keep track of my library schedule, doctor appointments, swim team, music, choir, and the Mister’s travel schedule. An appointment calendar isn’t necessary for many people, but it is for me. Each page has a to-do list, a spot for notes, and a spot for dinner plans. There is plenty of white space and the layout isn’t cluttered. This planner would be perfect for me except for the calendar year organization. I absolutely need a planner with an academic calendar.


Do it All Planner by Orange Circle Studio

$14.99

This planner is by Orange Circle Studio, but it represents that category of day planners you can find in stationery stores or big box stores. These planners are small, sturdy, and simple. The price is reasonable. Rarely are the days organized in 30 minute increments, but in the case of the Do it All Planner, there is enough room for multiple appointments in one day. Still, I need the time increments to avoid double booking myself. There is no real way to customize the planner or refill pages, which means you’re buying something new every year. Because the price is low, that’s okay.


The Life Planner by Erin Condren

$50-$75, PLUS SHIPPING

If you are a blogger or read blogs, you might have heard of this planner. Erin Condren is the chevrons of day planners. They life planners are colorful, full of pattern, come with 300 bells and whistles, and can be customized to within an inch of your life. There are pockets and stickers and rulers and coil clips and gift labels, and contact pages, and blank pages, and lined pages, and stationery pages, and a little monkey that follows you around each day playing a music box to alert you of your appointments.

The number of reviews and youtube customization videos devoted to this planner is overwhelming. In fact, everything about this planner is overwhelming. It’s too much for me. Too much color, too much pattern, too girly, too much everything. Even the commercials are too much.

Is it a planner? Is it a scrapbook? I don’t have time to make Easter Egg shapes out of washi tape, that much I can tell you. I don’t do brunch with girlfriends. The daily schedule is morning, day, evening–no 30 minute increments. I spent an hour looking at patterns and couldn’t find one I truly liked. I’m pretty sure this planner isn’t for me.


2014-2015 Plum Paper Designs Planner

$31, PLUS SHIPPING

The Plum Paper Designs Planner is another popular planner among bloggers. It’s not an Erin Condren, but it’s slowly but surely capturing market share. There are a lot of “Why I ditched my Erin Condren for Plum Paper” videos out there. The Plum Paper planner is cheaper, so that’s good. The planner is 7.5×9 with a plastic cover and spiral binding. The pages are semi-customizable, which means I can organize my days in increments. Best of all, I decide the month I want to start my calendar. No waste, no juggling another calendar until January. This is a huge selling feature for me! There are some bells and whistles, but not so many that I’m overwhelmed or feeling like I’m wasting time and paper.

I don’t like most of the patterns, so that’s too bad. I also don’t like the frosted plastic cover that protects the patterned cover underneath. That makes me think the patterned cover isn’t durable. I’m not confident in the spiral binding.

Out of all of the planners I’ve looked at, the Plum Paper is the one I will most likely buy. We’ll see. I still have a couple more weeks to make a last-minute decision.

OK, so. Anyone else out there using a paper planner, or am I a lone ship at sea?

Discussion! Out of My Mind

Discussion! Out of My MindOut of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Published by Simon and Schuster on 2012-05-01
Genres: Family, General, Social Issues, Special Needs, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars
“If there is one book teens and parents (and everyone else) should read this year, Out of My Mind should be it” (Denver Post).Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow. In this breakthrough story—reminiscent of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly—from multiple Coretta Scott King Award-winner Sharon Draper, readers will come to know a brilliant mind and a brave spirit who will change forever how they look at anyone with a disability.

How’s this for a small world: my husband’s friend from two jobs ago had Sharon M. Draper as his high school English teacher. I know this because he and I are friends on Instagram and he commented on a picture I posted of me reading the book. They are friends on Facebook! He said Sharon Draper is amazing both as a person and as a teacher. I believe it.

Oh, this book. I’m definitely buying a copy for the library.

There isn’t much I can say following that video by Sharon Draper, but I’ll try.

As I already mentioned, I picked this book because it was recommended to me by a then-4th grader. She loved it and called it her favorite book. She also said she cried and cried reading it! Can you blame her? Even I, stiff-upper-lipper that I am, felt emotional at times when Melody’s mother battled the ignorant doctor or when teachers didn’t give Melody the credit she deserved.

I also felt like I was suffocating reading about Melody’s life through her eyes. To be so intelligent, so aware, and to not be able to move or speak or control your body? I kept imagining myself in that position and I could barely keep in check the feeling of frustration and panic coming over me.

Now, the big question. Did I like it more than Wonder, another great, great book everyone should read? No, though I did like parts of it better. Both are great books about an invisible kid who just wants to be seen. That’s the thing about August and Melody. Their medical conditions make them painfully visible to the world, and yet it’s those same conditions make them fade into the background. Few people want to deal with the obstacles they face, like a missing wheelchair ramp at a restaurant. As I read the book I wondered if I was one of those people who ignored or discredited. I’ll bet you I was.

I liked the ending for Out of My Mind better than I did for Wonder. I felt that Wonder had an After School Special ending, whereas Out of My Mind was more realistic. I’m having a really tough time writing this post without spoilers! Ack! We’ll talk more in the comments–remember, the comments are a spoiler zone. Don’t read if you don’t want to know!

Host Problems

I’ve received several emails lately about the problems people are having seeing the pictures on my site or pinning them to pinterest. I’ve been working with my host since Monday trying to figure out what’s going on. If you are having a problem with the pictures, please let me know the details in the comments! Thank you so much–I know this is a huge bother. If you’ve responded to this request on Facebook, I’ve already forwarded on the details to my host. THANK YOU!!!!!!

What I Wouldn’t Do for a Snickers

I try to always learn from my mistakes. Really. This is why this time, I didn’t call the Mister. (So impersonal!) This time I walked into the house and simply stated, “We have a problem.”

To which he responded, “What the hell is that?!”

Snickers, just met

With a long-suffering sigh I said, “A baby bird. Obviously. He needs my help so I had to bring him home. My hands were tied!” My hands are often tied, just in case you’re new here.

“I know what it is,” he said. “I meant what is it doing in your hand and inside our house?”

It’s like he missed the whole part about the baby bird needing me and my hands being tied. Like all good stories, I began at the beginning.

I was on my way to the pharmacy, approaching a 3-way Stop-Sign intersection. I made my stop and thought I saw something on the ground. I looked behind me and saw a car in the distance, so I took the opportunity to reverse a bit to see what it was. It was a bird.

Seconds later, when the car behind me pulled up–young guy, tattooed sleeves–I walked up to him and explained the situation. “I’m going to move it off the road,” I said. “I shouldn’t take a minute.” Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed another car stop.

He mumbled something in typical young guy fashion as I ran over to shoo it, only to see it was a very young bird–mostly fuzz and a few feathers. You can’t shoo something that can’t walk! As I got closer, a boy Mikey’s age ran over to pick up the bird–or at least tried to if his motions to pick up the bird while simultaneously recoiling in horror were any indication. I debated letting him do it, maybe even helping him out, thinking it would be a great opportunity for the boy to get in touch with nature. Or whatever.

Then the boy’s mother, who was parked in the middle of the road with her son’s car door wide open, leaned back and at the top of her voice screamed, “¡Agárralo!” (Translation: Grab it!)

I objected to her tone. The tone that suggested we were in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and before us lay the last crossbow known to man. I thought if she wanted the bird so much, she should have pulled her car to the side of the road and pick it up herself, since her son was clearly terrified of being pecked to death.

Then she screamed “¡Agárralo!” again, but in that distinctive way Hispanic mothers have, mine included, where they elongate the accented syllable with a ferocious roar until all they have left is a gasp of air with which to spit out the rest of the word. So, instead of ‘¡Agárralo!’ it was more like ‘¡Agáaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…rralo!’.

I leaned over and plucked the bird from the ground without sparing the woman another glance. I couldn’t! By this point, my side of the Stop-Sign intersection was 4 cars deep. The tattooed boy knew what I was doing, so he was patient. The car behind him had two women with enormous 1980s bangs. They were not as understanding as I climbed into a plant border with trees and laid the baby bird down among the leaves. Curious, I thought, that those women should be so rushed for time when their hair was running 30 years behind.

Snickers, face

I got in my car, put it in drive, and then immediately pulled over to the side of the road and went to look for the bird. I saw images of him being torn apart by cats! I took him home to call animal control so they could pick him up and rehabilitate/release.

“So you see,” I said to the Mister as I finished my story. “We aren’t keeping the bird. We’re just holding it until animal control gets here in a couple of hours.”

Animal Control arrived two hours later. I handed over the bird, which at this point I had in Buttercup’s special carrier with some seed. I watched the agent walked away with my little rescued friend in the palm of his hand. “Out of curiosity,” I asked. “What will you do with the bird?”

“Honestly? We’ll put it down. We don’t have the man-power or the resources to care for another wild animal.”

I thought about the Mister inside and how he didn’t want another pet. I thought about how I told him I wasn’t bringing home another stray. “Can I keep it and take care of it?”

At least I thought about it.

“Well, sure,” the agent said. “I mean, I figured you would be a good person to give a try seeing that you have a special carrier. For your bird. You, uh, seem like a bird person.”

Snickers, side

Ten seconds later I was back inside the house with the bird in my hand. “We have another problem,” I called out.

“What is it this time, Doctor Dolittle?”

“Would you believe my hands were tied, again?”

“No.”

Snickers, bottle

And that’s how I came to bottle feed a baby bird on a Saturday night. Mikey named him/her Snickers, which I think is perfect. I took Snickers to a bird farm and they said he/she will need to be bottle fed for at least another 3-4 weeks. After that, we can wean him and get him ready for release. We aren’t sure if he is a pigeon or a mourning dove, and we won’t have a definitive answer for weeks. They’re in the same family, Columbidae, so they look very similar when young.

Only I touch the bird, much to Mikey and Nico’s disappointment. I think it’s safer, even though we had the bird checked and it’s healthy. Also, I don’t want Snickers too accustomed to humans since we’ll be releasing him in a month. Even then, if everything I have read is true, Snickers will return to visit us often.

As for the Mister, as I type this he is checking on Snickers, the bird he didn’t want.

Snickers Fuzzy Head

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.