25 October 2019

Off the Shelf; Or What's New in My Corner of the World 5

Off the shelf with Beth Fish Reads1. Maine 25; the BRFs 1

October 2019 did not go as planned. I was dreaming of regular workdays, weekends off, and a 2-week working vacation in Maine. What did I get? Way more work that I had planned for (not that I'm really complaining), 5 blissful days working out of pretty second-floor office on an island off the coast of Maine, and a few nights of cooking out of new cookbooks in a rental house kitchen.

The night before I was going to take a day off to visit my friends at AudioFile Magazine in Portland and then go shopping in Freeport, the bomb cyclone came roaring up the eastern coast. It hit us at about 2am and an hour later, with the house shaking and the wind howling, we lost all power, and along with it our heat and water.

I'm sure glad it was really dark out, as we hunkered down to wait out the storm, because in the morning we discovered almost a dozen downed trees, which brought down the power lines and barely missed the house. Yikes! It was scary night.

For reasons too complicated to get into here, we were stuck in Maine for another 4 days before we could load the car and drive back home. It's going to be a dreary slog catching up with work.

Needless to say, I didn't get much reading done and this was the slowest audiobook week I've had in decades. At least we were safe, if a bit cold and stressed.

2. New Books on the Doorstep

Off the shelf with Beth Fish ReadsI'm still sorting out the mail and packages, but I got some good book mail while I was out of town. Here's what I've unboxed so far. There are a few food books from Abrams, a couple of children's books, and a variety of fiction. You'll be hearing about all the Abrams cookbooks in the weeks to come. Women on Food, a collection of essays, looks really good.

I'm not quite sure why I got two picture books, but one is about all the different kinds of foods being prepared in a city apartment building.

I'm so excited to get a new Peter May, I haven't had a chance to even open the cover, so I don't know where it takes place or what it's about. I also got some speculative fiction from Tor, a fantasy and science fiction imprint I trust.

The new Therese Anne Fowler takes place in current times (I think) and is about a marriage, a community, and racial tensions. This is likely to zoom to the top of the pile. The Nanny is a British thriller full of mystery and family secrets. Finally, I always love the National Geographic encyclopedia books for kids; this one is about North America's indigenous populations.

3. Current Life-Changing Discovery

Off the shelf with Beth Fish ReadsI've written about bullet journaling several times on this blog and in social media. I love the idea, but several partially used notebooks later, I've come to realize I'm a total BuJo failure. I just never seem to get more than a handful of weeks into the year (once I made it three months!) before I never open the journal again. Even the idea of collections is a failure because if you don't open the book, then you aren't using the information.

I've never had an issue keeping a family wall calendar in the kitchen for appointments, travel, and social events. I've never had an issue keeping a time book for my business. My stumbling block was recording daily tasks and to-dos, habit tracking, and collections -- the heart of the bullet journal.

Then one day over the summer I was wandering around YouTube and came across a bunch of planner videos and I spotted one with a set up that looked perfect for me. It turned out to be the new edition of the Life Planner from Erin Condrin. Although I am totally not into decoration or stickers -- I really, really want a functional planner -- this planner called to me.

I love that I don't have to hand write out all the monthly and weekly setups (one of the down sides of the BuJo), that it has places for my monthly collections, and that each day is divided up exactly how I need it to be. In case you're familiar with the EC Life Planner, I got the neutral vertical.

Off the shelf with Beth Fish ReadsHere's how I use it. At the beginning of each month is a note page that I use to track incoming books (digital, print, audio) that are publishing that month. On the dotted grid page, I've resurrected my favorite part of my BuJo, my monthly discoveries page, where I record anything new to me that I want to investigate: things to buy, websites to explore, new television shows and music, and so on.

I use the smaller dotted box for habit tracking, and other boxes to track my invoicing and income. Then comes the monthly view, on which I re-create the family calendar, so I don't have to keep running downstairs to see what's going on.

The weekly view, though, is what caught my eye: For each day, I have a section for editing projects, a section for writing projects, a section for personal items, and a small section to track miscellaneous things. I use the side bar for my meal planning. It's perfect (if a little pricey). The most important thing is that I'm using it, and I'm more productive.

If you want to check it out for yourself go to the Erin Condren website. If you use my referral code (or anyone else's), you get $10 off your first purchase. I think I get something too, but I don't know what.

What's new in your part of the world?


bermudaonion 10/25/19, 8:23 AM  

I'm sorry to see your Maine trip didn't go as planned and I'm glad y'all are safe.

You got some great looking books - even the picture book about food sounds good.

I keep a planner to keep track of appointments and birthdays but rarely write notes in it.

Amanda 10/25/19, 8:23 AM  

So glad the house wasn't hit and you were all safe! What an...um, exciting?...vacation? Just wow.

Mystica 10/25/19, 9:11 AM  

Thank you for such a lovely post. I like it when it gets so many topics covered!

sherry fundin 10/25/19, 10:30 AM  

sorry about your trip. that planner sounds perfect. i have stuff all over the place and would love to get things all in one place
sherry @ fundinmental

SuziQoregon 10/25/19, 11:04 AM  

Sorry your Maine trip didn't work out the way you'd planned.

The best planner/task tracking system is the one that you'll actually use so yay for finding what works for you. I tried bullet journaling but it didn't stick for me either. I switched to a digital planner/journal and it's been what works for me. I'm finishing up my second year using it and plan to purchase the 2020 edition.

rhapsodyinbooks 10/25/19, 12:28 PM  

I wish I could be motivated enough to use a planner. I'm too lazy however, to my regret (although not enough regret to lead me to try to overcome it....)

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/25/19, 5:05 PM  

What a shame that your Maine trip was a misadventure, glad you're home safe and sound. The picture book about apartment cooking sounds interesting to me.

Les in Oregon 10/25/19, 8:50 PM  

A working vacation in Maine sounds heavenly, but not with a storm like the one you experienced. Yikes!

I've been keeping a Bullet Journal since the beginning of the year and while it's been useful, I'm not sure I really need it to keep my monthly schedule since our lives are pretty quiet now that we're retired. I've been using it a lot for travel journaling, though, and will probably continue for the remainder of the year before I decide whether to keep at it or not. I do find it helpful for tracking my reading stats and if I need to glance back and see when we did something, it's been helpful in that sense, too. I'll have to look into Erin Condrin's planner. I really dislike handwriting out all the monthly and weekly setups for my BuJo!

Claudia 10/25/19, 11:11 PM  

I too was excited to see a "new" Peter May, though if it's The Noble Path you were thinking of, not so new. I went to look it up on my library site and it turns out the copyright was 1993. All about a soldier of fortune who goes to rescue the family of a Cambodian refugee from the Khmer Rouge. A bit on the grisly side. Oh well.

Jackie McGuinness 10/26/19, 7:59 AM  

Quite an experience, but it sucks having to catch up on work.

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