I am sipping my tea, and looking out the window at the various shades of winter and enjoying the neat stack of beautifully warmed leather beside me. In the photo above, I have my TSL pen and wallet case, housing my fountain pens, my Traveler’s Notebook, my Midori A5 leather cover, and on the bottom my TSL leather A5 cover, all of which have been with me for some time.


In my Midori A5 cover, I have a Midori MD notebook, which I love because the paper is slightly thicker and with some texture, allowing me to use pencil or other media, to tape in things like photographs or torn pieces of paper, use glue without the paper wrinkling, and of course it is fountain pen friendly. I use it as a general journal, lots of feelings, pondering, angst, half-finished entries and thoughts. It is a bit hairy in there.


In my TSL A5 cover I have a Leuchtturm hardcover medium (A5) notebook, which I use as a reading journal. I have fallen behind in it—I generally hope to write a page on each of the books I read—and every once in a while I try and do some catching up.


My Traveler’s Notebook is a catchall of everything else: to do lists, projects for the shop, blog post drafts and ideas, pieces of life that don’t seem to fit anywhere else.


I am loosely dreaming of the arrival of our next TSL shipment, where I have earmarked for myself a B6 cover because I have loved the A5 so much, seeing it slowly caramelize as the pages fill. I’m not too sure how I’m going to use the B6 yet, perhaps because I am at home all the time, perhaps because it may be the tipping point, one notebook too many, and I may have to jettison something that I already love. I will probably put a Stalogy B6 in it.




Sometimes I plan and do a more organized blog post on the notebooks and planners and how I’m keeping organized. This is a more impromptu version, appropriately if coincidentally at the beginning of the year, just a bit of rambling and thoughts, contemplation of my favourite tools and how I use them, a blissful respite from real life, even as I continue to slog the horse of how these tools should be helping us get through real life. The news of two weeks of school closures here in Ontario has come like a sludge, crawling over all of our homes. I would writhe and moan on the floor, if someone had actually vacuumed the floor in the last month.


I don’t actually think the kids mind staying at home—the glamour of grazing snacks all day, harassing the cats, sharpening pencils into weapons—even if they have to sit through virtual school. But of course, it is the haranguing and the exponential spread of clutter and the constant feeding and the negotiations on wearing pants that wears down the adults. I suppose mamas are meant to be at least a little worn down, so here we are back again. It is two weeks for now and I am keeping our fingers crossed for the end of it all, virtual schooling, the pandemic, stress in general, while trying our best to embrace the fact that I have my kids home and safe with us.


While eagerly awaiting the hot news of imminent and prolonged homeschooling, we went to the library. Where else to go in times like these? Libraries make a city, and we are so fortunate to leave near enough to one that we can go whenever we want, stacks of books under arms in both directions. It has been fun to see both kids develop their own library routines, which shelves they like to go to, which tables they like to sit at. We’ve reached the stage where Caleb is already familiar with a lot of the books that belong to this branch, so he likes it when we happen to be in the area of a different branch and stop in so he can see and browse new books, new series, but personally I like having a familiar home branch, the same faces behind the desk, at the computers, occasionally running into customers or neighbours at the holds shelves.


In any case, we are all coping in the ways we can, and these two weeks will pass, and there will be new library books on the tables and floors and in bed and it will be spring, and we will just continue to breathe in and out in the meantime.


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January 08, 2022 — Liz Chan


Joanne M.

Joanne M. said:

Your leather journals look so rich and shiny. Do you use something to condition them? Or is it just from use?

Hedy Czuchnicka

Hedy Czuchnicka said:

Blogs from Wonder Pens are a treasure trove of memorable sentences that showcaseTruth. Your line from a while back – “death by a thousand decisions” – was spot-on, scarily reflecting my life. In this blog – “I would writhe and moan on the floor, if someone had actually vacuumed the floor in the last month” – is another diamond. I hope you plan on writing a novel one day soon (because you need to do something with all that copious spare time). 📕

Megan Rasila

Megan Rasila said:

As one of those adults about to also endure virtual schooling (for myself), I’m of the opinion that pants are optional. I mean, if they can’t see that you aren’t wearing pants, it doesn’t matter! But then, I generally view actual clothing as optional (but do wear it at the college and in general when in public), and do not care if the neighbours see me walking the foster dog in my plaid fleece pyjama pants, boots, and parka.

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