Sunday morning at my kitchen table

Usually, my weekend errands involve two trips: Target and Trader Joe’s. I bring my toddler and my Amazon Alexa list (thanks to the brilliance of teaching everyone in the house to say “Alexa, add _____ to my shopping list.”)

However, earlier this week I had made an out-of-routine stop at Target, as a result of its location directly across from the post office and needing to mail some Christmas packages. If I had glanced at my shopping list, I would have realized I had only one Target item remaining, and saved myself a trip for later in the week, such as the day after Christmas when I scour for deals on things like holiday decor.

But by that point, I was already in Target, with my Starbucks and my toddler in the shopping cart so there was no point in leading. As I headed to the register with my one item, I paused to look at an aisle display. It had small notebooks, the type that would fit in my tote, with suede covers and lined pages. On sale for $8.99.

I carry a notebook in my purse, with a spiral binding. Anytime I am out somewhere and I want to take notes, that is the notebook I use. Even in church, the Unitarian minister will sometimes say something profound or share a quote, and I will write it down. I consider note taking to be a form of active listening, with my mind always in tune to what is being said, poised to capture something that sparks my attention.

On top of this type of note-taking, I also have a goal of being more observant in 2020 and beyond. I am reading a book right now called The Art of Noticing and it has filled me with ideas about being more aware of my surroundings, whether it be people, something odd, or something completely ordinary.

Along with my desire to jot down everyday observations, I find myself thinking about how to catalog my findings. For me, the medium has always been a part of the process. Hence pausing to look at the suede notebooks in Target, because it was inconceivable that I use my note-taking notebook for the same purpose.

Added to that, I have trouble adapting to something different once I find a medium I like. My note-taking notebook is from a company that has been around for a long time, and I would likely be able to find identical notebooks (with the only variation being different brightly colored covers) without changing the tactile sensation of the size, paper, and spiral.

And so, I left Target with three of the suede notebooks. My thoughts were that with a goal of filling one per year, I would be set at least for the near future.

I came home and my husband’s reaction was “MORE NOTEBOOKS?” But he doesn’t get it.

This morning, I was going through my normal Sunday routine of reading and journaling, and added to that organizing my notebooks for the new year. I fill a Moleskine Daily Planner every year, with a bullet list of the day’s activities. Very little description, but I find that it is a habit of recalling, writing, and having a sense of how I spend my days. My 2020 Daily Planner has already arrived, along with the paper planner I use for certain activities (same brand as last year, big surprise).

As I wrapped up the morning, I felt that I needed to write out our plans for when my parents come to visit right after Christmas, so I could go over it with my husband. I use a large horizontal pad of paper, lined, where I can rip off a used page. I love that it is horizontal, because I draw a line down the middle and write out my To-Dos on one side and my husband’s To-Dos on the other. We can each cross off our own lists, and still see big picture.

Except I couldn’t find that pad of paper.

I had just used it earlier this week when a friend visited from out of town, as we prepared for her arrival. I looked everywhere. Our house is not that big and I went through every room. Every drawer, where I might have shoved it in a hurry. Even the most improbable places like the bathroom and my husband’s office. No sign of the notepad.

My husband thinks there are only two explanations: either I was throwing some things away and accidentally tossed out my notepad. Or my friend saw it in my office and decided to keep it for herself. The latter was a funny joke, since she knows how important my notebooks are to me and she has a similar affinity for the pens that she uses. My only other offering was that maybe our Elf on the Shelf took it.

This particular notepad was a clearance purchase. I finally had to resign myself to the fact that since it was no longer made by the manufacturer, this only made the inevitable day arrive sooner, when I would have to move to a new type of notepad. Surprisingly, a horizontal, lined notepad is not very common. I finally settled on one from Knock Knock, that hopefully would continue to be made for years to come.

So new notepad for family To-Dos is en route. It doesn’t solve the problem for today, since I couldn’t even bring myself to use a legal pad or a regular notebook as a substitute.

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