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DIY Alternative Day-Planner for the Pinterest-Impaired


Since I haven’t been blogging for a bit (okay, since November of 2014, but who’s counting–other than my own brain as it makes its reliable journey into a nightly grotto of self-loathing insomnia–I want you, dear reader (if I even have one left,) to know that, in addition to being certifiably nutters (time-consuming,) raising three rising stars (in the celestial sense, though Molly seems destined for . . . some sort of celebrity, and Rainer is a . . . well, I’ll just say it: she’s a musical prodigy, and of course my middle child, Zeke, a tender genius who needs to be misted like an orchid every-hour-on-the-hour,) there has also been the bit about being employed as a social marketer, (company name being considered: “Bone Thugs-N-Disharmony,” with our sales krew known in local patois as AdMob!) so I spend time on that. And somehow the damp laundry sours in the washing machine, the playroom looks like a Barbie/Littlest Pet Shoppe human/bestiality-orgy atop a series of LEGO spaceships, the dishwasher doesn’t get run until the food on everything has calcified–“necessitating” the procrastinator’s dishwashing Golden Ring! The need for things to be soaked!–meaning a *blurp* of a healthy squirt of homemade [that will be another post] washing-up liquid (you’ll notice I’ve adopted a few British colloquialisms; part of the gentle parenting of my teen–in addition to answering ’round about 100 daily two- to three word texts sent rapid-fire in random clusterfucks and ranging from th’ high melodrama to th’ mind-numbingly banal, also involves my embracing and power-streaming of all episodes of her beloved Dr. Who program.)

So: soaking! We love it. ***Blurp*** goes the washing-up liquid, set heat of water faucet up high enough to remove the designs clear off of the coffee mugs, et voilà! (That was your first homemaking tip from me; more to follow. Get your “PIN IT!” button-pressing fingers ready! Another free tip: Let spilled, cooked-to-softness Top Ramen noodles dry completely before attempting to sweep or vacuum them into oblivion! You’re welcome. PIN IT!)

In order to keep track of all this, and of all the psychiatrist and therapist visits, accompanying “coping mechanisms,” medication refills, reminders to tend to things like showering and that ilk, I needed a scheduler. Don’t talk to me about phone apps. Don’t even mention Google Calendar. That shit does. not. work. Plus: ART! So, to wit, my DIY bonkers-as-bloody-hell alternative day planner, taking me from dodgy to sorted (you affluent and sane types can just buy one from Erin Condren, who makes what seem to be the premiere iterations of such things–complete with personalization and all sorts of charming bells and whistles. They really are lovely, and I might have just gone ahead and gotten one if I had $50 lying around.) But I didn’t. So I did this:

homemade cover
I used Mod Podge™ to adhere some pretty floral paper to a plain-Jane planner from the store

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Bwaaaahaaahaaaa, I hope you can read the text . . .


plnr8
plnr5
plnr12
plnr13plnr10plnr8
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She’s come undun


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Added a ziploc bag for stickers, coupons, reminders, etc. at the back ^ ^ ^

And the back. Get it? A typewriter? Because I'm a writer? Yeah.
And the back cover Get it? A typewriter? Because I’m a writer? Yeah.

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 Nutters business-card holder for nutters


plnr24

 Bonus business card holder when you want that psychopathic vibe at your boardroom meeting.

Featured post

Hasty Pudding


When, several years ago, we succumbed to unavoidable financial pressure and sold our only family vehicle to help cover the rent for awhile, it was my son, Zeke, the analytical type, the scientist, who wanted to run to the window to watch—solemn, stoic—as the new owners drove away. He was about five at the time.

“Are they going to bring back our Honda Pilot?”

No, Zeke. They’re not bringing it back.

Today, he asks me things like this: “The next time we make a turkey, can I watch it cook from beginning to end? I would like to do that. I’d like to watch it no matter how long it takes. That means you’re going to have to clean the oven window, and I don’t know how you’re going to do that, because it’s dirty in between two panels. So you should research. But I want to watch that. I like to watch the changes happen to things, slowly.”

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He notices now, on the relatively rare occasions when we’re in someone’s vehicle together, that he doesn’t have time to take in his surroundings. Things pass too fast for him to observe and integrate. “The only things I can see better when I’m in a car are other cars. Instead of them just speeding by, it’s like they’ve slowed down. I guess because I’m traveling with them. So I look at zooming cars when I’m in a car, because they’re the only thing I can really see. They become slow.”

Zeke has always talked like this. He used to refer to people smoking cigarettes as “humans operating small smokestacks.” I think of him as a real-life equivalent of Charles Wallace from A Wrinkle in Time, better friends with his fifteen-year-old sister Rainer than with his peers. 

On our bike rides to school, we travel down one long boulevard we’ve come to call “weather street,” where back in late August we noted its late-summer status quo and watched, with little sister Molly, as the densely green trees and the short shadows they cast turned into the golden lens of early autumn. Our morning ride became more softly-lit and forgiving, with even small hedges and rosebushes casting long silhouettes like puddles beneath our wheels as we pedaled. Later, we took pleasure in the crunch of dry leaves underneath our tires, and avoided the carefully-made sleeping mounds at the curbs, representing hours of raking and optimism that no blustery day would carry the work away before green waste pick up.

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We saw the change as autumn gave way to the parchment scratch of winter’s branches against a colorless sky. “It always comes after a really big windstorm,” Zeke said, when we rode to school one Monday amidst streets littered with the smaller branches and limbs from a weekend of near-relentless gusts. I told him that’s when autumn’s last leaves lose their grip, to which he replied, “that’s sad, but it’s okay, I guess.”

“Sometimes you have to let go in order for the next thing to come in, right?”

“Yeah, but what if it’s not better? Like, the leaves are leaving the branches just to be crumbly dead leaves. And a gray branch with nothing on it is what’s left behind.”

“Well, sure, but that’s the order of things. And that’s why they bend with the wind, see? They’ve got time to adjust before they let go of the branch. It’s not so sudden as all that. We’ve seen the change. They haven’t even been green for weeks and weeks now.”

That’s not to say Zeke’s okay with anything and everything nature has to dish out. He’s less impressed when things happen with alarming quickness. A couple times this year, we’ve been “blessed” with a most shocking and sudden fungal display in our yard, known colloquially as “dog vomit fungus.” The fact that it appears seemingly overnight—in addition to its profoundly repulsive appearance and consistency—is deeply disturbing to The Boy Who Likes Things Slow.

Part I of the Dog Vomit Fungus that Appeared in the Nighttime:

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Part II of The Dog Vomit Fungus that Appeared in the Nighttime:

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You can hear me extolling the horrifying “virtues” of the oddly instantaneous appearance of what looks, from a distance, like wet quinoa rejected and tossed out of a pot in in the middle of the yard, but as you approach seems more like tapioca pudding, and only becomes repugnant when the incongruity hits you. Wet tapioca? Soft, fresh, cooked quinoa? In the middle of the yard, in great quantity, at seven a.m.? We approached, in an uneasy darting fashion, and because this was our second-go-‘round with this, and because and I had been told what it was by my friend Nicole, who’s an admitted fungus enthusiast, we took a few extra minutes out of our morning to chronicle its appearance. I told Zeke to fetch a stick; Molly appeared with one instead. [And yes, it dawned on me later that despite my insipid comment in the video, the grass didn’t grow through it, it grew around the grass.]

But something about the suddenness of its appearance was unnerving to our Ezekiel. I tried to rally the native scientist within, but he kept making noises about saddling up and riding as far away from that hasty pudding as fast as we could.

“Just drop the stick and leave,” he implored.

“Why, Zeke?” I was shocked he didn’t want me to poke and prod more.

“Because . . . because it might be . . . unsanitary?”

Laughter all around. “I think that’s pretty much a guarantee.”

Nervously, from Zeke: “Let’s just go.” Black screen.

That’s where the video ends. I obeyed his request, because it came from the very root of who he is. He’s a boy who likes to take things in in his own time, and I am thankful for that, because whether it came before getting rid of the car or was a result of our having gotten rid of the car, it now makes him uniquely well-suited to our lifestyle of biking and walking everywhere. We are able to see small changes—both natural and man-made—as they occur. He enjoys watching new houses go up, and will comment on the roofing paper being rolled out, the stucco getting sprayed on. He likes watching people’s garden beds get seeded, grow into plants, bear fruit.

And so we take our notes, make our observations. And nothing need be rushed. Because in the end, I’m looking for any clinging crimson leaf left on the gray branch, and the last thing I want to do is leave a pile of dog vomit fungus for the child to integrate when he’s in no way ready to handle that.

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. . . and thank you for making it possible for me to write for you!

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