Friday, March 28, 2014

Things I Learned in March 2014

Inspired by Emily Freeman’s series and a tradition in my besties’ annual letters, I’m sharing a few of the things I learned this month.


1. Moleskine, you served me well, but the truth is, I never could get you to lay perfectly flat. I loved the compact size, the attached bookmark, and especially the monthly planner with lots of blank pages. And yet…

I love this new notebook more.

I lost my 2013 Moleskine last summer and replaced it with a very cheap spiral notebook. There were things I didn’t like about it, but I was punishing myself for having lost the moleskine. By the end of the year though, there were things I liked so much better, I was never going back. Being able to lay it perfectly flat, to fold it open to just one page. Ahh. The little things.

My new notebook was more expensive ($15), has a soft cover that I love the feel of, though I do miss being able to wrap a band around the book to keep it closed. Ever looking to the next year (and in case I fill this book before the year end’s), I have my eye on this notebook next.

2. Bullet Journaling (a lesson from 2013 that’s my favorite thing in 2014)

I never did get around to writing my “biggest lessons” of 2013 post. Some were part of this monthly series, such as the amazing discovery of salad jars, (thank you, Peppermint Granberg).


Yes, still obsessed, though I’ve moved toward just filling them with veggies and adding the lettuce just before serving. See “Things I Learned in June” post, item #10.

My biggest discovery in 2013, beside salad jars, was the bullet journal (I have my friend Lara to thank for that!). It’s basically the same thing you’ve been doing all your life: writing a to-do list, but streamlined and simplified in a way that makes birds sing and the clouds part.

Then came this post from Raisin’ Cajans, whom I must have found via Lori’s PBH. Nothing earth-shattering new, except it was to me. The take-way for me included printing out and making the planner you want (eg: I never want a planner with an address/phone section because no way am I going to write that out every year---but, hello, I can print that out & glue it to a page! As someone who never has her cell phone with her but does have her planner, this alone has been huge). Also: washi tape to make labels!

All of which is to say, I love my new planner and bullet lists. The end.

3. You can’t make everyone happy, so you shouldn’t try.

I wrote a post to celebrate our 20th anniversary, about my experience planning a wedding while in grad school in a different state and trying to please both of our families while staying true to ourselves. Maybe in 20 years I’ll write a blog post about trying to please both families and stay true to myself while writing that anniversary blog post.

4. Compromise is another word to add to the long list of words that I have to think twice before saying.

My favorite stranger/friend, Elizabeth Dillow, calls these “reader words” and I find it completely understandable that Aidan might say “sub-pon-a” and I would have no idea that he’s talking about the legal term, subpoena. But I somehow can’t let go of my original pronunciation of reader words (words I first learned via text, before I had heard them spoken) even if I have heard them spoken correctly thousands of times. My friend Angie, a speech pathologist, once theorized it is because I am such a visual learner. Regardless, it is sometimes embarrassing (eg: when I referred to a novel’s “pre-face” while talking to my advisor in grad school---I’ll never forget his look of horror!).

Brian finds this “vocab dissonance” of mine hilarious and was a very good sport when, at first, I didn’t believe him that compromise isn’t pronounced com-prom-is (as in promise with com added, makes perfect sense to me). He gently insisted upon com-pra-mize. I knew the word he was saying, but I also knew the word I was saying, so I was hoping one might be the verb and the other the noun. I turned to google and learned he was right. Obviously.

But even now, my head fights it.

5. How to say Thank you very much in Japanese.

You probably know how to say it too, because I only learned now (despite my sons’ obsession with the song all of 2008) that "Dōmo arigatō, Mr. Roboto" means “Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto.” in Japanese.

6. Fiery Furnace is probably the best part of Arches National Park.


Best is relative. But we’ve lived here nine years and I only explored Fiery Furnace for first time yesterday. Thankfully I was with Sean’s class, led by several Park Rangers, because whenever I was about to freak out (hello, young children and big drops), I could tell myself that it HAD to be safe, because if one of us died, surely someone would lose his or her job, right? They had the entire class singing, “One hand on the wall, if you don’t wanna fall” and no one died, and the place is mind-blowing amazing, so it was a good day.


  1. Brave mama! Better you than me.
    "One hand on the wall" would not have been enough to quell my run away visions.
    Will have to go back now and look closely at the bullet journal link...
    anything to capture the mind's rampant ramblings. :-)

  2. Oh goodness, trying to make everyone happy is an exhausting duty to attempt...I have learned it the hard way!

  3. So, I read your list, then popped over to check out the bullet journal idea. I think I'm going to try this. It might actually work the way my brain likes to work. I need structure with built-in creativity - something that is not so rigid and that can be adapted to my needs, so this seems to fit that criteria. Now, just to find the perfect notebook for this adventure. And that whole vocabulary thing - I totally get it! Somehow, I missed out on becoming grounded in phonics - we moved in first grade and I think I must have just missed some of the important stuff at both schools plus the whole reading it before hearing it - I used to read a lot when I was a child - needless to say it makes life interesting! I enjoyed your list. Found you via the link-up at Emily's.


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