Monday, August 5, 2013

A Review: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi-Pen

I have used the Bic ballpoint multi-pen for a while starting years ago, and now more recently it is almost the only pen I use.  I do a little bit of color coding in my Filofax, but it's not set in stone.  I mostly just like to have the option of using a different color ink if I want.  The Bic multi-pen comes with black, blue, red, and green inks.

I have been intrigued by all of the talk in the Filofax world about the Pilot Coleto multi-pen.  It's a customizable pen that allows you to buy the pen body and then choose the colors you want to use with it.  The best part about this pen for me is it holds gel ink cartridges.  I'm a big fan of gel inks over ballpoint.

So I decided to bite the bullet and invest in one. 

Choosing the pen body was a little bit overwhelming, because there are many styles and colors.  I opted for a less expensive gray body that holds five inks (you can also chose pen bodies that hold 3-inks or 4-inks). 

I chose a multitude of colors for the ink cartridges:  brown, orange, blue, green, pink, orange, black, red.  I also chose a pencil cartridge and an eraser cartridge.

My package of pens arrived in the mail today (I ordered them Thursday, so that's a 2-business-day turnaround, which is very reasonable.).

It didn't take long for me to load the cartridges into the body (I did watch a couple of YouTube videos -- without them I would have been a little lost).  For this first test I chose black, blue, green, red, and orange cartridges.
Oh, one other quick note:  I got the .4 size cartridges.  They also come in .5 size.  I have read a lot of comments about the .4 size being too scratchy, but I wanted to take the chance because I'm looking for a really fine point for the very narrow lined pages in my Filofax.
My first impressions were lukewarm.  Initially I had trouble figuring out how to get the pen to work -- once I chose a color to use and pushed the little lever down, I expected it to easily lock into place like the Big pen.  It has taken me many tries, but I think I have it working now.  It seems that I still have to retract an ink cartridge before I use another one, which is also unlike the Bic.  I may just not have figured out how to use it properly, so I am reserving too much judgment on that.
The ink colors seem to be fine.  And the .4 size tip doesn't bother me at all; in fact I think I may love it.  It doesn't seem to be too scratchy.  I did read a few reviews that complained that the ink had to be primed before each use.  I haven't experienced that yet, but again, I've only been using it for a very short time.

Overall, I think the Coleto pen is ok -- nothing to jump up and down about, which is what I expected (probably unfairly, I'll add).  Again, I think I will reserve judgment until I've used the pen more heavily.

I'll keep you posted on how the Coleto pen works out for me.

What is your favorite pen to use?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Week in Review - Week #28

Happy Sunday!  We're enjoying a sunny day -- FINALLY.  We've had so much rain lately I was considering Googling plans for building an ark.  I'm glad the rain stopped.  I'm not very good with a nail gun.

This week has been another busy one filled with work and chores and errands and such.  Our oldest daughter had her on-the-road driver's training this week.  She put in six hours of driving with an instructor, and the rest of her training is up to us.  Not gonna lie -- that freaks me out more than just a little.

I also had more on-the-job training for my new position at work.  My feelings about the new position have not changed since last week, but I'm dealing with it.  I took the day off on Friday to take care of errands, including getting my car inspected.  That led to getting two new tires and making plans for a front-end alignment.  Lovely.

Saturday was also busy, but a fun kind of busy.  I used my time wisely during Kayla's gymnastics and worked on writing blog posts for the coming week.  After lunch, we headed to Henderson to visit with family, and then stayed to watch a play by the Henderson Rec Players, "The Sound of Music."  Our family had three generations in the play as nuns:  my Mom, my sister, my sister's Mother-in-Law, and my sister's two daughters.  The play was wonderful, as was spending time with family.

Oh!  My Aunt Judi has a new children's book published:  "Bubba the Beaver."  I'm so proud and excited for her!  You can find out more, and order your very own copy, here.  Please go give her a visit!

And here we are at Sunday.  It's been busy with chores and church and having Sarah's friend over for the afternoon.  I finally have some time for writing.  Thank goodness.

Here's what you may have missed this week on The Journal Keeper:

What have you been up to this week?

I'd love it if you subscribe to this blog.  You can either subscribe to the RSS feed or via email (over on the right).  You can also join the conversation in the comments below.  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Using Time Wisely

Today is Gymnastics Saturday.  (Don't be silly -- I'M not taking it, the daughter is!)  

Kayla's class is an hour and a half long, and I've struggled with what to do with that time.  Do I read?  Spend time with social media?  Write?

I'm in an observation room with the other parents (side note--more Daddies and Mommies today) and there's lots of chatter and noise so it's a bit hard to concentrate.  I worry about being anti-social if I bury myself in a project and not talk to the others.  But today there are two Daddies and a Mommy who are busy with their laptops.  So I am going to follow their lead today and work on writing some blog posts.

This one is being written on my iPhone.  The rest I will draft in a notebook (I brought my laptop, but the battery is almost dead.  Doh!).

I hope you are having a great Saturday!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The One With the Tattoo

Isn't it funny how we go for so long thinking one thing, and then suddenly we change our minds?

That happened to me regarding tattoos.

I was never into the tattoo scene and never in a million years thought I would get one.  It's not that I was offended by them, or thought badly about those who had them.  I just always thought it was silly to mark your body permanently.  Forever.

I know you can have them removed.  I knew a girl once who was having one removed from her ankle.  And it looked painful!  All red and oozy and bandages had to be changed... Not something I fancied ever putting myself through, considering I am a big baby when it comes to pain.

I guess I looked at the permanent aspect of tattoos from the point of view of someone who constantly changes her mind about things, and can rarely do anything consistently (7-day whitening strips are still a struggle for me).  I couldn't imaging marking my body forever with something.  It's inevitable that I would change my mind, and then regret the tattoo.

Anyway, I don't remember exactly when my thoughts shifted from anti-tattoo to thinking-about-a-tattoo, and I don't remember why they changed.  I do think it was shortly after my 40th birthday.  I was going through a life shift.  My dad had recently passed away unexpectedly, my marriage was ending, I was dealing with the thought of aging... I was looking for change, I guess -- something to shock my system and to remind me that my life was not yet over.

Fast forward five years, to my 45th birthday.  At that point I KNEW that I wanted a tattoo.  I had been casually thinking about what design I wanted, and once in a while would look at pictures on the internet.

And then it came to me.

I had been struggling with my writing, and was really frustrated about it.  I knew I was letting a lot of head games get in the way:  my internal editor (brutal SOB that he is), my insecurities about what I was writing, my feelings of failure at taking so long with my novel (10 years now, SMH), my inability to even journal, which had been my happy place for years.  I knew that the head games were holding me back, and I had to JUST WRITE.

And I decided that was it.  Just Write.  I needed to see that reminder every day.  Why not as a tattoo?!

I found a place on the internet.  (I'm sorry, I've looked for it, but can't remember where it was.)  I entered the text I wanted, played around with the fonts a little bit, and quickly had exactly what I wanted.

I finally got around to making the "go" decision three months after my 45th birthday.  I told my husband I was ready, and we decided on a Saturday to do the deed.

We chose a reputable tattoo parlor in our area (my brother had been several times and highly recommended them).  I emailed them a photo of what I wanted, they printed it and made a template.  And before I knew it, I was sitting in a chair, the tattoo needle was marking the inside of my right wrist with black ink, and right before my eyes I had the most beautiful and meaningful tattoo I could have imagined.

The process took 30 minutes or less, the tattoo portion was probably less than 10 minutes, and the pain was minimal.  People compare it to a bee sting, but I've never been stung by a bee so I can't confirm that.

I've had the tattoo for almost a year now, and I still love it.  I see it every time I write.  I'm so proud of it I could burst.

As far as it helping my writing, well, that's still a work in progress.  But I definitely know that it is influencing my writing, as well as other aspects of my life, and because of it, things are getting better and better.

August will be one year since my first tattoo, and I have plans to get another one.  Snowflakes on my left ankle.  I'll be sure to share it when it happens!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Filofax - Week #27

I got nothin'.

I have had planner fail, big time.  I completely shut down, and wasn't using my Filofax at all.  And my life was suffering because of it.

For the past several weeks, I have been using Google Calendar for my appointments and reminders, but my task management went out the window.  I wasn't writing them down, I wasn't keeping them electronically, and for the most part, they weren't getting done.

I've been in Overwhelm for the past few weeks.  I started a new position at The Bank; something completely different and unknown to me.  I looked forward to the learning experience, but quite frankly, it turned out to be nothing like I was expecting.  That experience has kept my brain on overload and I've been fighting back the fear and the disappointment every single day.  But that's a story for another day.

I did try to get back in the swing of things with my trusty Personal Chameleon.  (Yes, I've set my A5 Malden aside for now.  More about that later.)

And today I'm regrouping by working on my planning for the coming week.

I'm hoping that returning to my planner will help me feel more in control of the things going on around me.  In fact, I know it will.  That's what has helped me to stay focused so many times in the past.

Sometimes I guess we just have to falter a bit to be reminded of what works.

Here's to a great week ahead!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my gastric bypass surgery.  Woohoo!

The decision to have surgery was a scary one for me (you can read more about why I did it here), but with the support and encouragement from my family, I went through with it, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Before the surgery I was almost 250 lbs., now I am 61 pounds lighter.  I still have 30 pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight, but already I am happy with where I am.

I'm looking forward to the next year ahead, and am ready to take on the next batch of challenges, and celebrate the next batch of accomplishments!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Growing My YouTube Channel. This Blog is Next!

When I started uploading videos to my YouTube channel a few months ago, I really had only one motivation:  to share my opinions about using my Filofax, and maybe a review here and there on a beauty product or two.  I had been watching so many videos on those subjects, and I just wanted to share my knowledge and join in on the fun!

Little did I know that in those few short months I would become part of a community filled with awesome people who were actually interested in what I had to say!  Who knew!  Before I knew it, the number of people subscribing to my channel grew and grew, and I passed 100!

I am still getting the hang of filming and editing (and getting used to seeing myself on camera!), but I'm having a lot of fun.  I only have a handful of videos posted right now, but I have a ton of ideas for videos to come.

To celebrate reaching a milestone of 100 subscribers, I'm hosting a giveaway on my channel.  I've embedded the video below, but I encourage you to head on over there to check out the rest of my videos.  And you should subscribe, too!

My plan is to hold a similar giveaway here on my blog, once I reach 100 subscribers.  Let's make that happen!  :)

Do you have a YouTube channel, or any favorite YouTubers?  Please share in the comments!

Monday, February 25, 2013

How To: Weekly Planning in My Filofax


Hi there!

Not long ago I posted a YouTube video on my weekly planning process in my Filofax.  Since then, several folks have asked for the list of my weekly planning steps.

So, here's the list of things I do for my weekly planning each Sunday:

  • Add important events of the week to the monthly index page.
  • Clean out my planner and move old items to the archive.
  • Review goals, update the status and schedule the next steps.
  • Journaling:  Where am I in my goals?  What new ideas have come up?  What decisions need to be made?
  • Write out tasks for the coming week.
  • Review the past week to be sure no tasks have been left unaddressed.
  • Review monthly list of things to do and schedule one or more for the coming week.
  • Review planner setup things to do and schedule for the coming week.
  • Review master task list and schedule one or more for the coming week.
  • Add appointments in my Filofax to my Google Calendar so my husband can see them.  Put a check mark next to the appointment in the Filofax to show that it was added to Google Calendar.
There you have it.  It seems like a lot, but it really doesn't take too long.  I probably spend about an hour on my weekly planning each Sunday.  I think that's a small price to pay to make sure that I'm organized for the coming week.

Do you have a ritual for your weekly planning?

Observe Physical Sensations. Day Two of My Meditation Journey


This post is part of a series chronicling my meditation journey. You can find a list of the whole series here.

My meditation tonight began a little bit differently than last time.  I sat on the bed with my back against the wall instead of on the floor, and I didn't burn a candle.  The room was still dimly lit, and I still listened to my Meditation music.

In this exercise I was to focus on the physical sensations of my body.  What was I feeling in my body, and where?  Was I experiencing pain or numbness?  What did my mind do to try to distract me?

I think that sitting on the bed was more comfortable than sitting on the floor, because I had very little discomfort this time.  I had a hard time finding any physical sensations to focus on.  Instead, I tried to focus on my breathing, and watched my thoughts as I did last time.

I still found that my thoughts were quick and random, like an old home movie that was sped up slightly and had no sound.  Again, I didn't try to push any of the thoughts aside, and I didn't try to turn any of them off.  I just sat and watched them, like they were cars whizzing by at a busy intersection and I was standing on the corner waiting to cross.

I was able to sit for 20 minutes without any problem, and didn't find myself getting sleepy at all.  Overall I was quite pleased with this session, and am looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Favorite Things - Google Reader

This post is part of a series of posts about my favorite things.  Click here to see the entire list.

I have used Google Reader for years.  It's the method I use to keep up with my favorite blogs.  Posts on those blogs are automatically delivered to my Google Reader, and I can read those posts from one place at my leisure. 

I currently subscribe to 25 blogs.  The list used to be much longer, but I weeded it down to just those blogs that I was very interested in and wanted to read on a regular basis.  I'm constantly adding to the list as I come across other blogs that interest me.

A while back I decided to subscribe to my favorite blogs by email, and have those blog posts delivered automatically to my email inbox rather than Google Reader.  But that became overwhelming and my inbox was soon overcome by those posts.  So I went back to receiving the blog posts in my Google Reader again and stopped the email subscriptions.  (My apologies to those favorite blogs of mine for bouncing around how my subscription is delivered.  I know that messes with your stats!)

Google Reader also has these cool statistics on what I read and how often I read it.  That's pretty cool to look at.  For example, since I started using Google Reader in 2009, I've read 13,799 blog posts.  That's crazy! 

I know there are other RSS readers out there, but so far Google Reader has worked for me the best.  It is browser-based, so I can use it on any computer with internet access.  I don't have to have a program installed on my computer.  I can also access Google Reader on my iPhone, which allows me to catch up on reading if I have a few minutes to kill away from home.

Google Reader has been on my favorites list for quite a while now, and I'm guessing it will remain there for some time to come.

If you'd like to read more about Google Reader, you can read about it here on Wikipedia.  And of course, Google can tell you all about it here

Do you have a favorite RSS reader?  Please share in the comments!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sit. Observe. Day One of My Meditation Journey


This post is part of a series chronicling my meditation journey.  You can find a list of the whole series here.

I've been planning to start this journey for a week now, but could never find the time to get started.  That's always the way it is for me -- I can't seem to find the time.  Well, today I decided to MAKE the time.

It's important to me to create a ritual for my meditation practice.  Something that tells my body and my mind that it's time to get quiet.

I began by sitting on a pillow on the floor of my bedroom, legs crossed, and back against my cedar chest to help with my posture.  The room was dimly lit, and I placed a small unscented candle on a small plate on the floor in front of me.  I started my "Meditation" music on my iPhone, set a timer for 20 minutes, and closed my eyes.

I was afraid to try to sit for a whole 20 minutes.  That's a really long time in my world.  But that's what the book suggested, and I really want to try to follow along as closely as I can.

At first I was very distracted.  My mind was racing, and I could hear John and Kayla talking in the living room and car doors slamming outside the bedroom window.  But I stuck with it.  I just "watched" the distractions, which is what this first lesson is about.  I didn't try to quiet my mind, and I did not have any expectations.

It wasn't long before my legs started to ache and my right foot went numb.  It became a little bit painful at first, but I just took note of it.  I kept telling myself that I could continue to sit for one more minute.  And then another minute.  And then another.  Soon after, the discomfort didn't subside, but diminished enough to allow me to remain seated in that position.

I did check the clock once during the session, and had nine minutes remaining.  At that point, I knew I could finish the 20 minutes.

Overall, the time went by quickly.  At the end, I felt relaxed, but mostly proud of myself for completing this first day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meditation -- Starting Over

sharon korkes

I have been struggling to quiet my mind, calm health issues, become more focused, and just generally get back to being myself.  I've toyed with meditation off and on for several years -- Holosync, guided meditation, Yoga Nidra -- but I could never seem to get them to work.

"Get" being the operative word, here.

You see, I've recently learned that all along I've been trying to make my meditation practice into what I wanted it to be.  There's nothing wrong with that, except that meditation doesn't work that way.  As my husband would say, "You are not the boss of meditation."  For once he's right.  :)

So I've decided to get back to the basics.  No more of the tinkling sounds traveling from one side of my brain to the other, no more people "guiding" me into what I "should" be thinking about.  Maybe I can get back to them later, but right now I need to focus on one thing:

Being Still.

That goes for my body as well as my mind.

I've started reading a book to help guide me through this.  (Don't worry, he doesn't fall into the "person guiding me into what I should be thinking...")  Meditation for Beginners 22-Day Course is a simple read and is just bringing me back to the basics.  I think it may be just what I need.

I'm going to chronicle my new journey here.  I'll be posting my thoughts as I complete each day of the course.  You can find a complete list of those posts here or over there on the sidebar.  I hope you will follow along.  I'm excited about it.

Do you have a meditation practice?  Do you have any tips for me?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Week in my Filofax #6

Hi!  I've fallen a little behind in my weekly review posts, but I'm ready to get back on the bandwagon.  So let's get started.

Sunday, Feb. 3:  Not a very productive day, as it was Superbowl Sunday and we met friends late in the afternoon to watch the game at the Tilted Kilt.  We didn't really have a favorite in the game (ours is a Steelers household), but part of the fun of the Superbowl is getting together with friends and watching the commercials, right?  By the way, the "farmer" commercial was by far my favorite.

Monday, Feb. 4:  Fairly productive day, even though I took a half-day off from work to go to a much awaited doctor appointment.  Nothing of any relevance to report.

Tuesday, Feb. 5:  Spent the day at home sick, partially related to the doc appointment on the previous day.  Not cool.

Wednesday, Feb 6:  Pretty productive day.  We also found out that a good friend of several years passed away suddenly.  Most of the evening was spent in shock and reaching out to mutual friends. 

Thursday, Feb. 7:  Another productive day, including several high school related activities in the evening for Sarah.  She's already planning her schedule for next year!  Time really does fly by too quickly.

Friday, Feb. 8:  Average day with nothing  major to report.  I was really exhausted in the evening, and fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  I woke up at 9:30 and went right to bed.

Saturday, Feb. 9:  Pretty busy day.  I was up early to have my annual mammogram, and then did a bit of shopping at Staples and Walgreens.  After that, I went home to pick up the rest of the family and we did some more shopping for guinea pig supplies and a stop at Bath and Body Works, and lunch at Panera.  (A half bacon turkey bravo sandwich and broccoli cheese soup is my staple there!)  I finished off the night by going to a girls get-together with a friend.  That was much fun!

I've been thinking of my friends in the Northeast who are buried in snow.  I love the white stuff and pray daily that we get some, but I don't think even I want THAT much!  :)

I hope you all had a great week.  Did you do anything fun and exciting?

What's on My iPhone

Hi!  I'm having a bit of an "overwhelmed" day, so I thought I'd make today's blog post something simple and fun.

Here's what's on my iPhone 4:

  • 1479 songs
  • 3 videos
  • 208 photos
  • 51 applications

My iPhone has a 13.7GB capacity, and I'm down to 312MG available.  :(  I'm debating on whether or not to move my music to an iPod.  I really like having everything in one place on my phone, but the space thing is becoming an issue.

I won't go through each one of the apps on my phone.  That would take too long, and would likely bore you to tears.  But here are the apps that I use most often on a daily basis:

  • Messages - for text messages.  I love texting.  I don't like talking on the phone, so texting is the next best thing.
  • Contacts - I keep all of my contact info and passwords here.  It syncs with my Google contacts, so if my phone ever dies, I have a good backup.
  • Calendar - I don't really use this much, as I'm more of a Filofax girl.  But I do use the calendar to remind me of important things, and I also put my appointments here so my husband can see what I have scheduled (I share my calendar with him).
  • Facebook - No explanation necessary.
  • Twitter - Again, no explanation necessary.  I do find that I'm spending more time on Twitter these days than Facebook.  Facebook has just become annoying.
  • Instagram - I use this app to share photos with Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr, and obviously my Instagram following as well.
  • Pandora - I use this to listen to my favorite tunes while doing chores or getting dinner ready.  Right now my favorite "channel" is Mumford and Sons.
  • WRAL-FM - This is an app for a local radio station.  I frequenly listen to their morning show while I'm getting ready for work.  Bill and Lynda and Vanna help to brighten my morning.  :)
  • - This is an app for my favorite local news channel.  I visit this at least once a day, most times more.
  • FoxNews - My other go-to news app.
  • Good - This is the app I use to access my work email, calendar and tasks.
  • Phone - Obviously.
  • Mail - Another obvious one.
  • Safari - My web browser of choice right now on my phone.
  • Music - Obviously. 
Again, I have many other apps that I use on a pretty frequent basis, like Kindle, YouTube, my bank, Google Maps, FourSquare, and  But the ones above I visit every single day, and in most cases, many times a day.

So there you have it.  A quick walk through of my iPhone and my most-used apps.  What are some of your favorite apps?  Please share in the comments.  I'm always looking for new ones!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

You Want Happy? Here's 45 Things...

I keep many lists in my Filofax, but one list in particular holds a special place, front and center.  It's a list of 45 Things To Make You Happy Right Now.

I discovered it on the Lifehack blog.  Have you guys been there?  You really should.  It has crazy good information about, well, how to hack your life.  I visit there almost every day.

Anyway, I was drawn to this particular list, so I printed it out and slid it into the promenent top-loading clear pocket at the front of my Filofax, so I am reminded about it every day.

A few of the things on the list I have done, like taking a power nap (ok, I've probably done that one a dozen times or more -- I heart naps), buying someone lunch, and drawing a picture.  I hope to get through them all before the end of the year, but I'm not making that a goal and I won't beat myself up if that doesn't happen.  That would take the "happy" out of it for me!

So here's the list.  You can also find it here in its glory at the Lifehack blog.  Really, you should go there right after you read this list.  You won't be disappointed.

  1. Take a power nap (20 minutes).
  2. Leave a generous tip at a restaurant.
  3. Become a vegetarian/vegan.
  4. Get rid of 3 things you never use.
  5. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for.
  6. Don’t use Facebook for the rest of the day.
  7. Stop watching/reading the news for a week.
  8. Buy a new album on iTunes.
  9. Write a journal entry.
  10. Meditate.
  11. Go to the local coffee shop and talk to the barista.
  12. Sign up for a fitness class.
  13. Set a fitness goal.
  14. Watch a romantic comedy.
  15. Grab a book at the library.
  16. Join a book club.
  17. Take a deep breath.
  18. Clean your bathroom. Just do it. There are surprising benefits to a clean space.
  19. Sit on a park bench.
  20. Talk to the stranger next to you.
  21. Send someone a card “just because”.
  22. Go for a walk.
  23. Buy a plane ticket…to anywhere.
  24. Call a friend.
  25. Email a friend.
  26. Set a goal and get super-motivated.
  27. Stop being busy. Start being productive. Ask yourself: “Is my work producing direct results?”
  28. Cancel everything on your schedule that you’re not excited to do.
  29. Hell, just cancel everything on your schedule.
  30. Hide your credit card.
  31. Start your life list.
  32. Clean-up your desktop. Use Alfred to find things on your computer. It’ll change your life!
  33. Watch a TED talk.
  34. Go for a bike ride.
  35. Turn off the computer for the rest of the day.
  36. Smile.
  37. Buy someone lunch.
  38. Make a list of every kick ass thing you’ve already done in your life.
  39. Draw a picture
  40. Make a decision to stop doing what’s making you unhappy.
  41. Make a list of things you want to do before your next birthday.
  42. Drink some water.
  43. Take a picture of something beautiful.
  44. Read Zen Habits.
  45. Stop reading this. Get off your butt and do something. NOW.
Is there something that makes you happy that is not on this list?  Please share it in the comments below! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Review of My Week #3

Hi there!

So I set out this year to share "A Week in My Filofax," where I share a photo of my week on two pages from my Filofax.

Well, last week I ran into a challenge.

I switched to 2-page-per-day pages.  (You can watch a YouTube video here of my planner setup.  Yes, I'm on YouTube!  You can see all my videos here.  Totally out of my comfort zone, but I'm going to give it a go and see what happens.)

So I don't think it would be very interesting to share seven photographs of each day.  Because, quite frankly, my pages have become less art and more utilitarian, as can be seen in the photo of Wednesday, January 16, below.

(My apologies for the poor photo quality.  I'm working really hard to improve my photography skills!)

I'm not doing much artwork in my planner now, which is a little bit sad, and may change.  But I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to use my planner to the fullest to help me achieve the goals I've set for the year.  That doesn't leave much room (or time) for stickers or drawings.  Don't worry, I'll work hard to fit that in too going forward.

I do have a bit of doodling to share with you, which occurred on Thursday, January 17.

(My apologies again for the poor photo quality.)

We actually had a dusting of snow!  I was beside myself.  We only got a dusting, and although I'm still praying for the 20-inch snow like we got in January 2000, I'm happy with what we do get.

So, I do want to continue with a recap of my week.  Here we go.

  • Monday:  Big temporary project started at work.  Should last for the next three weeks or so.  Not that hard for me to manage, but I was instrumental in setting it up, so I'm proud of that.  I also worked out at the YMCA, doing a weight routine for my lower body.  I'm especially proud of that because I hate exercise.  (No offense to exercise.)  But since my gastric bypass surgery, I've reached a plateau in my weight loss, and at this point exercise is the only thing that will help me to reach my goal.
  • Tuesday:  Nothing of significance to report.  My exercise yesterday (I am assuming) helped to stir up a health-related flare up that made me quite miserable, so I didn't get to do my upper body workout.  Not cool.
  • Wednesday:  Very busy day at work (related to the big temporary project that started on Monday).  Also, a WINTER STORM WATCH was issued for Central NC for tomorrow night.  You know I had a hard time containing my excitement.  Also looking into Yin Yoga.  A blogger friend of mine is doing it, and I think it fits right it with my "personal well being" goal that I have.
  • Thursday:  WE HAD SNOW!  It was only a dusting, but that didn't matter to me, or to our two daughters.  They were outside with their winter coats at 9:00PM as the snow fell (and didn't stick) because they "wanted to experience the snow."  They are definitely girls after my own heart.  Aside from that, I spent the day home from work because of the health-related flare up that occurred on Tuesday.  Not cool.
  • Friday:  Nothing really of significance.  Just a regular old day.
  • Saturday:  We were going to take a friend out for dinner for his birthday, but he was under the weather so we rescheduled.  John and I still went out.  It was lovely, and I really enjoyed spending time with him (outside of our home where electronics are a huge distraction!).  We spent a lot of money, but were really not happy with the food.  The restaurant was lovely, and we'd go there again for cocktails and appetizers, but not again for a meal.  
  • Sunday:  This was an uber productive day for me.  John went with his friend to watch football, and the girls were at their mother's, so I had the whole house to myself.  I got a lot done and am proud of that.  (Although a part of me was disappointed that I didn't get *everything* done.  I think I schedule too many things for myself sometimes.)
So that's basically it for my week.  I hope you guys had a good week, and have a good week to come.  I'll see you again in a couple of days.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gastric Bypass -- Why I Did It


So this is not something I'm used to talking about publicly.  But if it helps others, I'm all for it.

I had gastric bypass surgery in 2012.

Ok, I said it.

I don't know why I'm so afraid to tell people.  I mean, they can definitely tell that I'm losing weight at a rapid pace.

I decided to have gastric bypass surgery because I was over 100 lbs. over my goal weight, and diet and exercise didn't seem to be cutting it.  I was starting to have health issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol; and overall was having trouble functioning.

My brother had gastric bypass surgery, and lost over 100 lbs. without incident   My husband had gastric bypass surgery, and lost over 60 lbs. without incident.  They both had amazing results and little to no problems.  I was encouraged by this.  After looking into it further, I decided to take the plunge.

I did not take the decision lightly.  I am scared to death of health procedures, and had never spent a day in the hospital in my life.  But I knew if I didn't do something quickly, I would live a much shorter life than I intended.

So I bit the bullet.  I signed up for my first "orientation" class to see if this was really right for me.

The rest is history.  I will share more about my experience with the procedure, and how things have turned out.  (Spoiler:  I have lost 53 lbs. so far and feel better than I have in years.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

After-Holiday Blues

Does this happen to anyone else?  Do you get the after-holiday-blues?

This is the time of year when the blues usually set in for me.  Thanksgiving is over, Christmas is over, and New Years is over.  Our family Second Christmas, when my entire family gets together to celebrate Christmas, is usually held at or around the Epiphany.  And that's what truly marks the end of the holiday season for me.  Now that's over, too.

I love the holiday season SO MUCH.  It just holds so many good memories for me.  Aside from the pumpkin pie and twinkly lights and colorful packages under the tree, it's a time for family, and being grateful for them, and everything I have.  It's a time for baking, and decorating, and planning that only comes once a year.

And when it's all over, I get sad.

This is usually when I start to wish for snow.  I need something to look forward to, something to hold on to.  But that usually ends up being a disappointment.  Central North Carolina is not especially known for its snowy winters.  But I'm trying to change that by PRAYING REALLY HARD.  :)

The thing is, seasons are supposed to be...seasonal.  The holiday season wouldn't be so special and memorable if it happened all year long.  So while I'm sad to see it go, I know that another one is just around the corner.  (Somehow the older I get, the faster time flies!)  And I'm looking forward to the end of September -- when the Halloween decorations start to appear in the stores.  Then I'll know that Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't too far behind.  And the cycle will begin again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Filofax Week #1

Hi all!  I'm following along with Paper Lovestory and all of the other awesome Filofax bloggers and YouTubers who are sharing their Filofax weeks.  I've been playing along for a few weeks now on Twitter, but I think it would be fun to blog about it too.  This will give me a good start to getting this blog up and running again, which is one of my goals for 2013.

So, let me introduce you to Week #1 in my Filofax!

(Pardon the shadows.  My photography skills are a bit lacking.)

  1. The first thing you'll notice is the two different types of calendar paper.  I ended the year with the Filofax week on two pages, which came with my Raspberry Chameleon Personal when I purchased her earlier this year.  I'm starting the new year using the Day-Timer Flavia week on two pages.  I don't know if I'm going to stick with that, though.  I'll post more about that later.
  2. The week started with me being sick for New Year's Eve.  We had dinner reservations with a friend that evening, so I managed to go to that and we had a wonderful dinner and a really nice time people-watching.
  3. New Year's Day was a holiday from work and was spent at home relaxing.  
  4. Our family joined the YMCA, and we visited on Wednesday so the girls could have their orientation for middle-school-aged kids.  While they were doing that, I managed to get in 45 minutes on the stationary bike.  Woot.
  5. Thursday I went to the Y for my orientation.  I wanted to get to know all of the machines, as well as which ones are best for me and my goals.  That hour-long orientation turned into two hours because the trainer was so thorough in explaining.  It was great.
  6. Friday night John and I went out for some karaoke fun, and were surprised by our friends who recently moved out of state.  They were in town and we didn't know it.  They saw on John's Facebook page that we were going out, and decided to join us.  It was great to see them and we had a lot of fun!
  7. Saturday I got to use a portion of my anniversary gift from John -- a visit to a wonderful spa for a Swedish massage.  It was my first massage ever, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  And what made the experience even better was I took my good friend with me to treat her to a massage for her birthday.  
  8. Sunday was our annual family Second Christmas, hosted by my sister and her family.  It's always so good to see family from out of town.  Our Crazy Santa gift exchange is always a hoot.
So that's about it.  This week we get back to business.  The holidays are over and life returns to normal.  (Sad face.)