It’s time for my annual first Auburn Gymnastics Meet Pretzel Pic.

    A soft pretzel with an arena in the background

    Today was surreal and beautiful. I got to take my wife and kids to explore my great grandparents' property in North Georgia (now my grandmother’s). As a child, I spent many hours here, and seeing my own kids playing there brought a tear to my eye.

    Three children with bamboo “hiking sticks” walking through farm land.

    2023 Stationary Review: The Planners

    As we get to the end of the year, many in the stationary community will share their reflections on what they’ve used and what changes they’re going to make for next year. I have had a really good year stationary wise, so I thought I would share my usage and plans as well.

    So with that intro, I’d like to discuss 2023: The Year of Plotter.

    Technically the year of Plotter began with this same exercise last year. I had been using a Rhodia Goalbook as a bullet journal for multiple years, but saw the Plotter hype online, and found a way to convince myself that I needed one instead of the goalbook. I honestly don’t remember what the justification I used was, but deep down they looked nice, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I took possession of my A5 Plotter in early October.

    Plotter A5 with several accessories on a desk

    Adorably, I thought I would make it to the new year before beginning to use the Plotter. I made it to the end of October.

    For the first 6 or so months of its life, the Plotter was just a really fancy Bullet Journal. I used the Monthly Schedule Refill as my Monthly log in the front of the notebook, 5mm dot grid pages for my daily logs, and the occasional Project Manager to keep up with certain items from work and sermon notes from church. It worked well and delighted me every time I opened it.

    However, in May, I began what ended up being a 5 month long transition to a new position at my company. AKA, I was doing 2 jobs at once. AKA, my system couldn’t keep up.

    The beauty and the problem with Plotter is their binders can only hold 80 or so pages. Between all the notes I was taking for both jobs, my tasks, and everything else, I was running out of space. So…I bought another Plotter. Shocking, I know. This time I bought a Bible size.

    Bible sized plotter and accessories next to A5 on desk

    My intention was to use the A5 for all personal planning and notes, and the Bible for everything work related.

    The intention was good, but buying a whole organization system right at the start of a new job is not always the best idea. I didn’t fully know what my day to day work would be like or what kinds of things I would need to keep track of. I came to discover I don’t like having tasks between separate notebooks. One gets neglected.

    I’ve spent most of the last few months trying different layouts, paper types, arrangements, and more between the two plotters, and I finally have a system that is mostly working now for going into the new year. I have decided to let the Plotters be good at what they are, and nothing else. That means there will be other notebooks/journals (and boy will there be 😂) in the mix as well, but I will discuss those another time. I put a few of these items on my Christmas list, so we’ll have to see if Santa comes through.

    The A5 plotter will no longer be for any task management. It will only be for storing personal notes, mostly sermon notes and other studies I’m completing. The Bible sized will be my planner for all tasks and work notes. The goal will be to organize these notes into project managers.

    In the Bible size, I plan to use Plotter’s monthly refills to keep track of the sprints my dev team will be completing as well as holidays and team PTO. This will allow me to understand how much work can be accomplished each sprint, and can always be quickly referenced as I plan ahead. I currently already have the monthly refills for the first quarter of 2024 in the binder.

    When the new year actually beghins, I plan to use Plotter’s weekly refills for planning my days and actual to do lists. I’m concerned this may not give me enough space for all the tasks I will have in a week, but I at least want to try them. If I need to, I can always add a Plotter To Do List page in the middle of the weekly laylout.

    Separated by the pen holder/lifter, I have a project manager at the back of the binder with notes on all the features our team is currently building into the software or will build in the next quarter. Each feature currently just has a single 5mm dot grid page dedicated for notes. I write down things we need to consider, questions we have, and general info I will need to reference as I begin to build out development tickets for the team to work on.

    While there are still some unknowns, this setup feels like it aligns with my needs, allows me to use the notebooks I enjoy, and will help me get everything done I need to. I hope to do a check in further into the year to share how things are going.

    🖋️I’ve always dealt with feathering on Plotter paper, but I just realized today it’s only with Iroshizuku inks. I may have to start phasing those out from being my most used inks now that I know. 😭

    Two writing samples. The first featuring feathering with Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo, the second without featuring Rohrer & Klingner Verdigris

    According to my kids, Alexander Hamilton was present at the birth of Jesus. Batman also made an appearance, but we didn’t get a picture of that.

    A small nativity scene with a Hamilton Funko Pop

    The Muppet Christmas Carol will forever be my favorite Christmas movie, but no one in my house likes it. So since I can’t watch it with anyone, I got these Funko Pop on Black Friday sale to keep the season Jolly and Joyous (falala) at my desk.

    Two Muppet Christmas Carol Funko Pop in boxes, Scrooge and Charles Dickens+Rizzo

    This marriage is officially a teenager today. Grateful that it keeps getting better.

    Got to spend the weekend in Atlanta having a date night with my sweet wife and helping our friends Knox and Jamie celebrate 10 years of The Popcast as volunteers for their live show. No kids, good friends, great weekend.

    My wife and I dressed up for a date nightMy wife and I in our volunteer shirts for The Popcast LiveThe Popcast Staff on stage at the end of their live show

    Last photo of my Series 7 and first with the Ultra 2. Even in a quick, crappy photo you can see how much brighter the Ultra 2 is outside. I love the Apple Watch, and am really excited to have the screen and battery life of the Ultra.

    Apple Watch Series 7 on a WristApple Watch Ultra 2 on Wrist

    🖋️ New Pen Day!

    I am starting a new role at my company and celebrated with a “work pen”. This is the Pilot Custom 823 in Smoke with a Fine Nib. I have a few Pilot M and an EF, but this is my first plain F, and it writes perfectly.

    Fountain Pen and Ink Bottle in Box

    For as long as I can remember, my Dolly Parton obsessed wife has wanted to make the pilgrimage to Dollywood. Yesterday, we finally made it happen with our oldest 2 kids.

    So much fun, and such a well thought out it park.

    Family in front of wooden structure with Dollywood sign

    When the mailman dropped off the ink, he also brought me some stickers. Thanks @jean! and Micro Camp Stickers

    🖋️ I have so many pens with orange ink in them (I have a problem), I decided to not go matchy matchy with the heat.

    I have had Iroshizuku Tsutsuji for a couple years, but wanted a more hot pink. 431 is my first Ink Studio ink, and in my limited writing, it writes great and pairs well with this ECO.

    TWSBI ECO Heat with Sailor Ink Studio 431

    🖋️New Pen Day

    The ECO Heat has arrived. I got it with a Fine job because strangely, I have no Fine ECOs. Will ink it up Wednesday when a new ink I want to try is delivered.

    The color seems a bit different than the promos, but I still really like it.

    TWSBI ECO Heat Pen

    🖋️My current mantra: “I don’t need another ECO or another orange pen.”

    I don’t know if it will hold true though.

    Ad for aTWSBI ECO pen in a new orange color called Heat

    My 7-year-old daughter has always been an animal whisperer. She proved it yet again yesterday at the park when she convinced a butterfly to land on her hand.

    A child’s extended hand with a butterfly sitting on top.

    🖋️ My Plotter is multiplying. 😬

    I’ve consistently used my A5 since last fall, but with some new work responsibilities, I needed some more space. Just received the Bible sized, and am working on setting it up!

    Hopefully I can do a full writeup of how I use these soon.

    Plotter notebook supplies, a new, unopened plotter notebook, and my current A5 sized Plotter.Plotter supplies, a new, opened, Bible sized Plotter, and my current A5 sized Plotter.

    🎵 Between both COVID and moving away from Nashville in 2020, I often have live music withdrawal.

    Seeing Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit tonight was good for my soul. Great venue, amazing weather, incredible music.

    Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit on Stage

    🎮 I guess I’m a gamer now?

    I’ve never been outside of Nintendo, but wanted a way to experience some of the big titles of the last few years. I think this will be perfect for me. Starting with Spiderman Remastered.

    Valve Steam Deck in BoxValve Steam Deck Booting Up on Desk

    17 years ago, I met a pretty girl working at the summer camp I had attended since I was 9. Today, we dropped off our oldest 2 kids for their first stay at that same camp. This full circle moment is making me more thankful than ever for the life God has given us.

    My wife and I 27 years agoMy wife and I today

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