no colder weather

It’s October 25 and we have 22ºC (71ºF for those of you in the U.S.), but with the, so called, humidex, it feels like 27ºC. The rain is coming down in sheets … real downpours. We actually had a couple of forest fires, so this might be a good thing. Nothing like out west, but still.

The apartment across the hall from us is vacant being renovated … new paint, flooring and even a new stove. In a building like this they have quite the turnover — the young students move often and the senior citizens might move into a home or … elsewhere. The guys that do the painting always leave the door ajar when they finish in the afternoon — this has happened many times before — so I grabbed my camera and went in to take come pictures, as the late afternoon light was good.

They have a spectacular view there, on the other side of the building — they can see straight out to sea. Anyway; ours might be more … entertaining 🙂 Always something going on here — firetrucks and ambulances.

DSC_2215This is Fort Howe — the outlook spot of Saint John [click for better viewing]. Our building is taller, so I was actually looking down on it. Was aiming for the gull who was sitting on top of the monument, but he took off 🙂 There are almost always a few cars lined up there … they go up there to just sit and gaze for a while, in peace and quiet, I guess … just as we do. To the left in the picture you can see a small portion of the mighty Saint John River, on its way out to sea, under the Harbour Bridge. I love this little city, in case you’d missed that LOL.

DSC_2220My fascination with fountain pens and handwriting is still alive and kicking. In many ways I think it’s very much thanks to the online community it’s still so much fun. It even involves a little bit of photography! The shots some people take of nibs and pens are just … wow! In my Instagram feed I see so many marvellous shots. I used to have two Instagram accounts — one for ‘ordinary stuff’ and one for the pen community. That didn’t work in the long run. My old account got hopelessly neglected, so I merged them to @her.nibs. Now I’m probably boring my old Instagram friends to death, as I’m taking part in a daily handwriting challenge, but I’m trying hard to throw in other things too. It’s a very small niche of an interest, but still there are 20,000+ members in one of the Facebook groups. One could get hundreds of comments on a post about blue ink, for example 🙂 … quite amazing.






Day One

When I got my first iPhone, back in 2012 … one of the first things I did was to download the app DayOne. I’ve mentioned it many times before here in the blog.

Then I wrote in it every day, faithfully. Sometimes long entries, full of thoughts and reflections, more often quick notes about trivial things … what we’d watched on TV or what we’d done the day before.  It’s a diary/notes app, and they add more and more, nifty features all the time. Hashtags, for example, for easy search. Sharing — so that when you check in somewhere, with the Swarm app, it automatically posts to DayOne.

All this could be pretty handy when you go back in time … when you want to find out «when was it we went to Calais last time??» or … «When was the last time I had a haircut?» Easy … I’d search the word “Calais” or «haircut» in DayOne.

All this is fine and dandy. As I’m typing up this post, I feel how I need to get back to DayOne.

fullsizerender-22I had four years worth of writing there when this «analogue fountain pen phase» begun. I started writing, so called, Morning Pages. Three, full pages every morning. Eventually that petered out to two pages, but still. Plus lots of other handwriting. When you’ve emptied out your mind that way in the morning, there’s hardly anything left for DayOne. I quit it.

morning_coffeeI sorely regret that now. It’s such a great thing to have, and I will resume it. Okay, there will be almost eight months missing, but I’ll take that. It won’t take away from my morning handwriting — that’s a pleasure I won’t deny myself.

Last year, around this time, I signed up for WordPress Premium. I’ve hardly used it lately — the premium features that is — so I won’t renew. They sent me an email, way ahead of time, reminding me it would be time to renew in 73 days. Fine … I’ll just pass on that one. What irks me to no end, is this: After I received that email … as soon as I go in to Facebook, in my stream I keep seeing reminders from WordPress to renew my subscription. I’m not using the same email for the two accounts, WordPress and Facebook.

I can think of a number of explanations for this ‘phenomenon’, but nevertheless I find it creepy and there are days I just want to step away from social media entirely.

the things we “need” and a question

Autumn really arrived on the day it’s supposed to here. We were even under a frost advisory overnight, and it was 2ºC (35,6ºF) when I got up this morning. All of a sudden, the air is fresh and clean … easier to breathe. It’s a wonderful time.

As I was writing in my little notebook this morning, I felt inclined to make a smiley face after something I wrote. This, again, led me to question how I used to write before the Web came along. There weren’t any smilies back then, and I used to be an avid letter writer. The spell-check has made me lax when it comes to looking up words. I pride myself of being pretty good at spelling, but I have problems when it comes to knowing whether it’s one word or two. For example, meatballs or meat balls … weeknight or week night?! Now, these two, I do know but there are so many others. In my native tongue, they’re always put together, and this causes me to hesitate in English.

That’s just one effect of the Web. After the upgrade to iOS 10 on my iPhone, I felt as if it had become a little … slow, or tired. This could all be in my head, but still I wanted to clean it up … see if there weren’t any apps I could get rid of. I looked through the list, carefully … one by one, asking myself if I could delete it. “No way!”, was the answer … “I can’t be without that one!” Suddenly it struck me, three plus years ago, I didn’t have an iPhone at all and lived a perfectly good life. It’s the same thing as life before the camera. Before all that started, back in 2009, I didn’t have to worry about photos and storage.

If anyone here has a Mac computer: Don’t we get notified when it’s time to upgrade to the new macOS? I notice that the new Sierra is out, but I don’t have any notification about software update. I never upgrade before they tell me to, and now I’m feeling a little … uncertain!? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the little red 1 on the system icon before. Or, at least when I hit the button “Software update” it would show.


Update on Morning Pages [206/365]

For more than a month, I’ve been doing this “exercise” of writing three pages in longhand every morning.

Even though I never go back in time and read, it has meant [and means] a lot of good stuff on a personal level. I never thought I’d hear myself say this; but it has changed things for me. Normally, I wouldn’t really believe that putting pen to paper would make a difference to putting fingers to keyboard, even though a lot of research has been done on this. It does, for me.

This might get a little personal, but I’ve always been prone to dwelling on old [bad] stuff. All of a sudden I could come to think about something that happened ten, twelve years ago, get upset over it again, and the feeling wouldn’t leave me. It would sit in my gut like a big, ugly knot for days. This has actually happened during this month. I wrote about it in the Morning Pages … in three pages I spilled out every detail of it, and examined it. It’s gone! It was such a sense of relief … it was freeing, to realise I will not dwell on that thing again.

I don’t feel in any way committed to doing this. This is something I want to do now, I look forward to it as soon as I get up. While I have the very first sips of coffee, I squiggle my pen and think for a bit … then I’m at it. In one of my earlier posts, I think I said in a comment “it’s like yoga in writing”, and it still feels that way — even though I don’t know what yoga feels like, I can only imagine.

FullSizeRender 19I’ve almost filled up my first Clairefontaine notebook (called Unplugged 🙂), but I have another one in store. This whole handwriting/fountain pen/notebook thing, really came together in a nice way for me.

Today is our second wedding anniversary … even though we’ve been together for twelve years. As I’ve said so many times before; time does indeed fly! We’ll probably go out and have dinner somewhere … in some nice, air-conditioned place 😉.

Lamy [193/365]

FullSizeRender 17

This morning I had absolutely nothing to write about. Now, however, my new pen just arrived with Purolator. I mentioned it in my previous blog about Canada Post. This is a pen I was curious about, because so many people seem to be excited about Lamy pens. It’s all plastic, it’s yellow (obviously), and I’m going to use it while waiting for my Cross pen. Had to return that one — it was something wrong with it.

So far, I’ve only written what you can see in the above picture, but I’m actually surprised how much I liked it! For some reason, I expected it to be scratchy. Of course, the Clairefontaine paper is so smooth, so it’s like a dream to write on it.

One more thing I wasn’t sure about — the grip. When I looked at the pictures of the Lamy pens, I didn’t really think I’d like the triangular grip, but I do! It feels really good.

That was my first impression of Lamy Safari, fine-nibbed. Thankfully, I didn’t select medium nib, because this feels more like medium than fine.

ink blots [158/365]

No, I’m not going to write about the Rorschach Test 🙂. I highly doubt the accuracy of such tests anyway.

handwritingSome time has passed now, since I got the fountain pen. The ink cartridge that was in it, has lasted until now. I’ve used it quite a bit, so that was good. I’d ordered a, so called, converter, which makes it possible to use bottled ink. At the same time I ordered a bottle of ink that’s said to be fast-drying.

Well, now was the time to finally test this equipment. To fill the converter with ink was easy enough. The ink has a nice, blue colour that I like. To place  the converter in the pen presented itself to be a huge problem. It was impossible — it didn’t fit. My pen is a slim model, and there was no way I could get it in there.

Went to Staples to see what they had, but that only made me wish I was back in Quebec City. I really miss the pen store they have there. Staples didn’t even have cartridges for the slim Cross pen model. Now I wait … for a delivery from Amazon.

unrelated fluff

During this process I got ink on my fingers. It was easily removed with Javex or whatever chorine brand it is we have here. This brought back a memory from the 80s. I had a pair of black jeans I really loved. They were rather expensive, but had gotten all faded, so they looked more grey than anything else. Someone suggested that I’d dye them, something I’d never done before. Didn’t think it could be all that complicated so I bought black dye and followed the instructions. This took place in a big pot on the stove.

I can’t remember now what exactly possessed me to put my hands in there. Perhaps I was trying to get the jeans out of the pot. Anyway, I did! That was a shocker … my hands looked as if I was suffering from a bad case of cyanosis and I couldn’t wash it off. No chlorine at home!!! The grocery store was nearby, so I went immediately to get some. I’ll never forget the eyes of the girl in the check-out, when I paid for it!

I never wore those jeans again, it didn’t turn out well.


follow-up [111/365]

My new fountain pen and I are doing great. I’m practicing every day, and hopefully, there will be more of these “follow-ups” as I go along.

As long as I stick to the yellow notepad paper I mentioned in previous post on this subject, or if I find a similar, good absorbing paper, I’ll be just fine … in spite of being a southpaw. I’ve given up on holding my hand in a different angle — that was just too painful, and produced an entirely different script. I’d rather make sure the paper and ink is alright instead.

As I was browsing around, here in WordPress this morning, I found that handwriting was the Daily Prompt on the 2nd of April, so lots was posted about this. Thanks to that, I also found this helpful link, about improving one’s handwriting. I’m going to check out those various videos and tips in there, and I’ll post it here now, in case someone is interested: IMPROVE HANDWRITING.

Another thing I learned, while reading various blogs, was that cursive script is no longer  taught in school. Isn’t that kind of sad?! Will the kids be able to read old notes and stuff they’ll find as they grow up?! I had no idea about this.

I’m still ‘affected’ by the handwriting I was taught when I was seven, even though of course I’ve added a lot of personality to my letters. I remember how they pointed out the importance of not to make lowercase n look like u, and that my mother did that anyway 🙂 All her lowercase n:s and m:s looked like u.

Although I’m sixty, I think it’s possible to improve my handwriting — I’ve come to believe that now. It’s something I’ve always wanted, I should have started it before the Internet came around, while I still was writing letters … oodles of them, and long ones too.