May Bullet Journal

I was going to do this for my Quick Takes last week, but I blanked on it at the time.

Full disclosure: There are as many ways to do a bullet journal as there are people who use bullet journals. This is how I have set mine up for one specific month, and it is not the only correct way to do it.)

I wanted to show people how I put my bullet journal together. I have only been doing it this particular way since the beginning of the year, so I am learning a little at a time about what works and what doesn’t work for me. My inspirations in this style of design are Amanda Rach Lee and Mary Beth of maryberrystudio. (I am not great at drawing or calligraphy, so I tend toward Mary Beth’s scrapbooking approach, but without the washi tape and stickers.)

(Also, I am an Amazon affiliate, so any Amazon links to products are affiliate links.)

The month doesn’t always start off on a Sunday, so sometimes you just need to have daily pages done ahead of time so that you can buy yourself time until you can do monthly layout things. I knew ahead of time how many pages I needed for monthly layout stuff, so I went ahead and drew a few pages for May 1st and 2nd. (The one shown is for May 2nd, and it has my Saturday chores on it. My weekday pages have the same layout, but my students’ names are present in the time slots where I work with them. The layout is adapted from one in this book.)

One of my daily pages.

Here is what I start with for the calendar pages. It’s hard to see in this picture, but the pages have a dot grid and the dots are 5 mm apart.

My blank notebook.

I find an image I like on Unsplash.Com and print out a few full-page copies, depending on if I’m using something patterned or if it’s a regular picture where I need to print out accent pieces. This is the one I used for May. (It’s a picture of Iranian noble art taken by photographer Mohammad Ali Berenji. According to a fellow parishioner who spent a few years teaching in Iran before the Revolution and whose heart is still there, the architectural embellishments are called “muqarnas”.)

On the back of the images, I print some 5 mm graph paper from this site. (Homeschooling parents might want to look into this site as you can print out specialty graph paper for free. A fellow tutor loves the hexagonal paper for her organic chemistry notes.) I can’t cut a straight line to save my life, so this is really helpful to have as I can cut specific sizes based on the number of squares.

My graph paper.

Once I have everything printed, I cut a few square accent pieces (the dot you see on the paper in the picture above is from that process), to see what color sharpie looks the best on it. Silver was the winner.

Testing my Sharpies.

Once I have my accent pieces cut, I turn to the actual drawing portion. Using my bigger ruler, I draw the rectangles for what will be my calendar grid. I have learned the measurements I need in centimeters, so this is helpful. Once I have the outer borders drawn, I move to draw the horizontal lines for weeks. I then draw the vertical lines to divide everything into days (not shown).

The basics of my calendar grid.
Setting up my weeks.

Once my grid is drawn, I start placing the accent pieces with the month’s name and then a piece with an interesting quotation. While I am doing all the gluing down with the glue tape, I put the pieces on pages from old magazines or catalogs that I recycle. (It keeps my desk from getting covered in adhesive.)

Accent piece #1
Putting on the glue tape.

Once the accent pieces are in place, I cut strips to serve as the labels for the days of the week. The one on the righthand calendar page tends to be a bit longer than the ones I use for daily pages.

Putting the date strips on.

Boom! Calendar layout is done!

The finished calendar layout.

The next part is my page of habit trackers. I use silicone stamping pieces that I peel off a sheet of plastic and place on transparent stamping blocks. (I need to get some blocks that have 5 mm squares, but these work well for the moment.) My inkpad is a cheap one from Michael’s. I am only tracking two things this month, so I make a large accent piece for the rest of the page. A lot of people have multiple special pages for mood trackers, the month’s playlist, quote pages, etc., but I generally stick to just the page of habit trackers for right now.

Habit trackers.

After this, I just have my daily pages to finish. I cut strips from the leftover picture that I used to make the accent piece for the tracker page and use those for the date labels. The strips are two squares tall, and I can write the date on them before cutting them to the length I need and glue taping them onto the page.

Daily page labels.

My finished daily page is here:

A finished daily page.

This a weekly layout page. The black things are my feeble attempts to make students’ names unreadable in MS Paint because I’m trying to avoid committing a FERPA violation.

My weekly layout.

Here’s the picture of almost everything I used:

My tools.

Journal: Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5 Dotted Hardcover Notebook. There are less expensive ones that are just as good, such as this one. I like the dot grid, but some people really like having a square grid or just plain pages. You do you. The sticker on the front is from MoveOn.Org (in case anyone in my readership didn’t know that my politics are progressive). Again, you do you.

Pens: silver Sharpie, gold Sharpie, blue metallic Sharpie, and the Pilot Frixion black erasable gel pen that is my BFF. (The blue, red, and purple pens are also Pilot Frixion erasable gel pens. I just get them three at a time at my college’s bookstore because I don’t go through them as quickly as my black ones.)

Rulers: two cheap plastic ones from Office Depot

Stamps: black ink pad, silicone calendar stamp, and stamping blocks.

Miscellaneous: glue tape.

And finally, a picture of my supervisor:

My minion of sleepiness.

If you have questions, please leave them in the comments and I may do a Quick Takes post with them.

7 Quick Takes: Bright Week Edition

7 Quick Takes

Now that Holy Week is over, I’m weighing in on the current foolishness of the occupant of the White House. If you are someone of a sensitive nature who can’t deal with criticism of him, skip the first take of this post. My blog = my politics rule here and I’m not debating this. (Y’all can believe WHATEVER you want on your own websites.)

Oh yeah… insert spiel about Amazon associate links being present because I am an Amazon associate.

— 1 —

Reopening the economy. I’m heartened by the governors who have rebelled against the temper tantrum thrown by the current occupant of the White House and who have said that *THEY* will decide when their states’ economies open. (For those of you who erroneously think the White House occupant gets to dictate this, I recommend this book to explain it to you in words you can understand. It is a *CLEAR* 10th Amendment issue.)

I also have to laugh at the fact that the White House occupant thinks he can say something one day and pretend he said something else the next day. That might work in a place like North Korea or Turkmenistan where the state controls the media, but it does *NOT* work here. People record and take screenshots of things. Nothing is forgotten on the Internet.

I’m pretty sure my governor and my state’s attorney general were laughing to the point of crying when he said that only he has the power to open the economy (WRONG!) and the next day that he would call each governor individually and give them permission to open their state’s economy (again, WRONG!). I can imagine my state’s attorney general drafting his arguments for court in his head during that first news conference. (Bob Ferguson, my state’s attorney general, has very joyfully filed suits against some of the stupider decisions of this current presidential administration… and won almost every time.)

— 2 —

Reasons why we are locked down. My county has seen an increase of 9 cases per day in the last three days. Our governor isn’t stupid, so I don’t think the restrictions are being lifted any time soon.

Trump logic.

— 3 —

Tulips. If we weren’t in an episode of “The Walking Dead” right now, the Skagit County Tulip Festival would be happening and the roads west of town would be clogged with “tulip tourists”. Because we don’t believe in sacrificing our county’s citizens for the $1 million it would bring in, all the in-person events are either cancelled or postponed. The two big tulip growers, however, are finding ways to be innovative in the midst of it. Roozengaarde is doing virtual tours, and Tulip Town has a program where a $15 donation gets a bouquet of tulips donated to a hospital or nursing home. You can also buy bulbs from both of them or merch from the main festival website.

— 4 —

Nature being cool. I mean, nature is awesome.

— 5 —

OMG! Josh Groban is singing songs in his shower on his Facebook page! Here he is doing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with his friend Lucia Micarelli.

— 6 —

Because Yo-Yo Ma! If I am sharing videos of musicians doing off-the-cuff music on their Facebook walls, I can’t forget Yo-Yo Ma. He has done some selections from Bach’s Cello Suites, which I am admittedly not fond of, so I’m sharing his version of Dona Nobis Pacem:

— 7 —

My church is more awesome than yours! I’ll leave you with The Episcopal Church Virtual Choir and Orchestra singing “The Strife is O’er”.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Mnemonic Device Edition

7 Quick Takes

My governor has just extended the stay at home order for another month, so kiddo just got another week or two off of school. Thankfully, every teacher in Washington has worked up their curriculum to take place on Google Classroom and/or a few other classroom management systems like ClassDojo.

In the spirit of this, I thought I would share some of my favorite mnemonic devices. (Why yes, I *AM* a geek!)

— 1 —

Order of sharps in the key signature. I learned this when I was 10 years old though my piano teacher doesn’t remember teaching me that the “B” stood for “bugs”.


— 2 —

Order of flats in the key signature. BEAD is its own word in this one.



— 3 —

The Great Lakes. I think this is the first one I remember learning. It’s also the example I shared of a mnemonic device in one of my tutor trainings.


— 4 —

Care for a sprain. This one is fairly well-known.


— 5 —

Order of operations in mathematics. A friend of mine is a math teacher, and her department dressed up as this mnemonic device one year!



Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally

— 6 —

Colors of the rainbow. Anyone else have a friend named Roy G. Biv?




— 7 —

Order of planets. Pluto is a planet. Fight me, Neil Degrasse Tyson!



My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Gratitude in the Midst of COVID-19 (II)

I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was dead exhausted. I slept a chunk of today as well. I’m trying to be gentle to my body, so I took my last chance to take naps for a while.

Here are some more things for which I am thankful.

  • For the opportunity to be part of live streaming worship for my congregation on Sunday. Yes, we were sideways for part of it and upside down for others, but we still got it together!
  • For Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (and Royal Wedding homilist!), who is posting a meditation every Monday on his official Facebook page while we are in the midst of COVID-19. The first one is here.
  • For my black beastling who snuggled and napped with me today. Mama loves you, baby.
  • That, in the midst of restaurants and bars being closed for everything except take-out or delivery, I can still mobile-order my latté from $tarbux every morning before 9:30 and have it brought to my car.
  • For getting to start physical therapy tomorrow so that we can get me walking normally again.
  • That Daniel got one more day of school today before he is off for six or more weeks. He is going to miss his teachers, aides, and specialists and they will miss him. (They love their kids like their own.)
  • For Pure Leaf Raspberry Tea fresh out of the freezer. (I like drinks chilled, and this chills it relatively quickly.
  • For YouTube and the amazing things one can find on it.
  • For discovering that I can set an image as a virtual background on Zoom. I have a meeting inside the Great Hall of Hogwarts tomorrow!

Gratitude in the Midst of COVID-19 (I)

I vented my spleen out yesterday and it helped a bit, so I thought I would look for some things for which I could be grateful today.

  • The existence of Zoom which allows me to work with students remotely and meet with people while there is a prohibition on meetings and such here.
  • My house panther who is keeping me entertained.
  • My alcohol gel obsession which means that I still have a little bit left.
  • Amazon Prime which is helping me keep a little ahead of people’s hoarding habits
  • A roof over my head.
  • A Lenten diet that actually lends itself pretty well to eating shelf-stable food.
  • A boss who works with me to make it possible to deal with Daniel’s issues and work.
  • A job I love.
  • A church here who is committed to making sure its members can worship and me being able to be part of that.
  • The new case on the Skagit County Public Health site is someone who was released from the hospital to isolation at home. It’s someone who is getting *BETTER*. (My theory is that these are workers at affected nursing homes.)
  • A stack of books on my e-reader to work through if I’m bored in the next few weeks.
  • A beautiful view of Little Mountain and evergreen trees from my bedroom window.
  • An amazing publicity and web person to work with on the church website who gives me perspective.
  • Last, but not least, knowing WordPress well enough to set things to send comments from trolls into my Trash so that I only see them on the rare occasions I look in there. That way, it’s like they don’t exist unless I give enough of a rat’s butt to look for them, and I can go on with my life without having to care about their commentary.

Shut up, Elena.

7 Quick Takes: Things I Will *NOT* Give Up For Lent Edition

7 Quick Takes

Lent starts for those of us in the West next Wednesday at midnight. Here are some things that I will *NOT* give up for Lent this year.

— 1 —

Coffee. My Lenten discipline should be penitential for *ME*, not everyone around me. It’s also a safety risk for those who have to interact with me.

— 2 —

YouTube. I need entertainment, OK?

— 3 —

Yarn. Let’s not deprive me of one of my stress releases, y’all.

— 4 —

My iPod. Again, let’s not make me get rid of one of my stress releases. Singing along to it in traffic keeps me from inflicting my road rage on others.

— 5 —

Sleep. I do this enough already!

— 6 —

Swearing. I’d be broke within the first day of having a swear jar for Lent. (I’m pretty sure my students would have a pool going as to which hour this was going to go down.)

— 7 —

Pens. I have a little bit of a pen addiction…

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Intentions for 2020 Edition

7 Quick Takes

Since Quick Takes are happening just a few days after the start of 2020, I figured that I would share my intentions for this year. Several of these intentions are getting a bit of a boost from one of my local readers (who I don’t know if I’m allowed to name) who sent me a fairly substantial Amazon.Com gift card. (The thank-you note for that is in the mail!)

Also, there will be Amazon affiliate links because I am an Amazon affiliate.

— 1 —

Word of the Year and Saint of the Year. At Rita’s suggestion, I got a saint assigned to me and a word assigned to me for 2020.

Saint: St. Isaac Jogues, patron of the Americas and Canada
Word: build

Last year, my word was “faith” and my saint was Joseph of Cupertino. I can understand “faith” because I was graduating from my degree program and looking into a lot of uncertainty, but I’m not sure how St. Joseph of Cupertino played into things except for maybe getting me through my Document Production class?

Both generators, by the way, were created by Jennifer Fulwiler.

— 2 —

To dare to be creative with my bullet journal. I used to love to draw and do art until 6th grade when I got a B in my art class in school. I’m a complete perfectionist, so taking up bullet journaling has been an exercise in letting go of that. I made the decision to take some risks with my January layouts after watching Mary Beth’s video and finding out where she got her images.

I ended up spending my New Year’s Eve in my jammies, and I worked on getting my January calendar spread done. It’s not amazing and I know that the “let it snow” quote box is crooked, but it’s heads and tails above what I’ve done before. I also have this, this, this, and this on order!

Left side.
Right side.

— 3 —

To lower the volume on my parenting. Daniel is having a hard time expressing anger without hitting and screaming, so I am trying to model good behavior for him. When he was asking for a new tablet, he would scream “I WANT” and that was not making me happy. I decided to try whispering to see if he would copy me… and he did! In the last three weeks, I have managed to train him to whisper his tablet requests to me, and I am trying to lower the volume on how I talk to him in general in hopes that it might stop some of the screaming.

— 4 —

Pray in an intentional way daily. I was commenting to our parish webmaster that the only prayer I remember to say on a daily basis is grace before meals, so I decided to add that to my intentions for the year. I now have this on my phone, and I’ll try to remember to take my iPod out of the car on Sundays so I can download the week’s Pray as you Go podcasts on it.

— 5 —

To find opportunities to move more. I’m really bad at finding opportunities to get up and move, so I appreciate that my Fitbit buzzes every so often to remind me. Still, I’ll be parking across campus from where I have to be so I intentionally get a walk in every day that way (which isn’t hard given that there is a serious shortage of parking on the west side of campus), and I will be taking walks on days when I don’t have work.

— 6 —

To clean up my diet. I have been wanting to try the Mediterranean Diet for a while now, so I just got this cookbook and this cookbook. I’m a perfectionist, but I know that it takes a few weeks to set a habit, so I am trying not to kick myself too much .

— 7 —

Read more. I tend to either stare at my laptop or phone while I eat, so I’m trying to read while I eat instead. I have both the Kindle and Nook apps on my phone, and the Kindle app is on my Nook. I restarted Good Omens and I am trying to get one book read per month.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.