2016 wrap-up

remember me? i seem to have fallen behind on blogging once again. i just don’t have the energy right now and my anxiety has me avoiding most of social media at the moment. i’ve had this blog post planned for quite some time though, and i just needed to get myself at the computer to write it. i love seeing other people’s wrap-ups, and i know this once is extremely late, but i’m gonna do it anyway.

so without further ado, i present to you, dear reader, my wrap-up of 2016.

favorite books

  • Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand (I cannot recommend this book enough! It’s told as a documentary of an old folk band and it is creepy and haunting and goth as fuck. It’s a quick read and you will not regret picking this one up, I promise.)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (I love messy girls and witches and creepy woods, so this was a book that really gripped my heart.)
  • Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Can you believe I hadn’t read this one until now?)
  • Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (I hadn’t read any Holt before this year, either and I was hooked on her books all summer long!)
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng (This book broke my heart into so many pieces.)
  • Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong (I just love me some Cainesville, let me tell you!)

favorite music

  • Laura Marling was my favorite find this year. Her album, I Speak Because I Can just rattled my folk heart to pieces. Oh, god, it’s so good and I just discovered it in 2016. Where have I been?
  • Saint Sisters. Okay, they’re right up there as a favorite find. They don’t have many songs out at this point, but the ones they do have out are so beautifully haunting. Folk with atmosphere and holy fuck you have to listen to them.
  • Hamilton soundtrack. Was there any doubt this would be on the list? I have cried to this soundtrack so many times and I am dying for a DVD of the play, or better yet, anyone wanna get me some tickets?
  • Lisa Hannigan’s album, Passenger. Anything by Lisa Hannigan is a favorite of mine. There is just no topping her voice. I love listening to each of her albums, but this was a favorite this year.
  • Music Video: Doing It To Death by The Kills. This video makes me think of Neil Gaiman or something. Probably because of the graveyard.

  • and here is my 2016 playlist. it’s basically anything and everything i obsessed over in 2016. play it on shuffle because it’s in order of when i was obsessing over it, which means there’s really no flow to it.

favorite t.v. shows

  • Stranger Things
  • Neverwhere
  • X-Files (finally got through all nine seasons in order!)
  • Agents of Shield

favorite movies

  • Crimson Peak
  • Ghostbusters 
  • Hitchcock’s Rebecca

 

top instagram pictures

you can follow me on instagram at Crimson_Kas . i share mostly stationery and planner photos, so if you’re into that sort of thing, check it out. here’s my instagram top nine for 2016:

my personal favorite photos, however, were from a trip we took to colorado:

Mountain views. #travel #coloradotrip #mountains #colorado

A post shared by Kas (@crimson_kas) on

and also, this one i took during a morning walk:

The Midwest is so goth. . . . . . #morningwalk #sunrise #field #mist #nofilter

A post shared by Kas (@crimson_kas) on

what else

i don’t really have any top blog posts to share with you because i didn’t really post much in 2016. it was just one of those years. you know what i mean.

if anyone is still reading this blog, stay strong and keep fighting! ❤

also, i’d love to hear your 2016 favorites. favorite album? favorite books? favorite t.v. shows? anything you think i really need to check out? leave your favorites and recommendation below! 🙂

the check in

reading

I just finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and it is such a beautiful book. I like the messy girl, murderous and beautiful woods, witches, strong friendships, resentful queens and the powerfully wondrous magic woven into this book. As someone who used to wander the woods dirty, with messy hair and bare feet, I just felt like this book contained a piece of my heart and I was sad to see it come to an end, even though the ending warmed even the darker, more cynical parts of my heart in so many ways. So to the messy girls out there who are full of magic, I recommend Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.



listening


Okay, so Saint Sister is one of my favorite musical finds this year and if I am able to find a way to listen to the recording of them with Lisa Hannigan, my holidays will have been made. I have a soft spot for Irish music because it sounds like home to me, and this duo is hauntingly beautiful in so many ways. I recommend checking out all their songs, but for now, I’m particularly taken with their newest song releases: Tin Man and Corpses.

 

 

watching


We just finished Season 9 of X-Files and while I love the show as a whole, I was pretty bored with this last season. It was pretty obvious the show had run its course and was overdue for an ending, but they were dragging it out for whatever reason. Right now, I’m really into Agents of Shield. This second part of the season has been deliciously dark, and that’s all I’ll say about that for now.

 

sceyes

i know i’m not the only one who was shipping scully and reyes 

 

thoughts


Winter Solstice is approaching here and I’m planning some time in the dark, and lighting candles for loved ones I miss. Sometimes I feel the need for ritual, but there’s a strong need to make it mine in a very personal way. Ritual for the sake of ritual is not my thing (though I can understand it), so I’m thinking a lot about release and self-compassion for the emotions I’ve bottled up within me and what that looks like symbolically. I’m looking forward to welcoming in the darkness for a day, and reminding myself what the light means to me. So it’s time to say goodbye to the harvest, contemplate the cold and the dark and find ways to create light.


your turn


What about you? What are you reading? Listening to? Watching? What has been on your mind? Feel free to check in below. 

hobonichi weeks

intro

I have a thing for stationery. It makes me feel inspired and creative whenever I see a nice blank notebook and a smooth pen with beautiful inks. I want to fill notebooks with words, plans, emotions, thoughts, and laughs. There’s just something about the physical act of writing something down that feels like a trance. It helps me to focus, to tune out the noise. It’s something I take great joy in, so I look forward to filling up notebooks and choosing the next one. Planners are no different. I love taking my time choosing that one planner that will help me get through a new year.

For the last two years, I have been using the Hobonichi Techo. The A6 size is perfect for me, it lays flat, and the paper is beautiful. I dedicated a post to it here because I like it so much, but now I’m ready for something a bit different. I’m nervous about leaving the Techo, because I love it so much, but I do enjoy a bit of change, so for 2017, I’ll be trying out the Hobonichi Weeks. It has the same great paper, but the size is different and the layout focus is on a weekly view rather than a daily one. I received mine in the mail a while back, so I’d like to do a walk-through of this planner. Prepare for lots of pictures! I’m getting detailed with this one!

difference between Hobonichi a6 Techo and Hobonichi Weeks

the Techo is a6 in size, while the Weeks is a long wallet size. Weeks also comes in a variety of durable, decorative covers, while the Techo is all cream in color and meant to go inside another cover.

First of all, my 2016 Hobonichi a6 is, well, in a6 size. It looks like a small novel and contains a page per day. For all the pages it contains, it still manages to be a thin notebook due to the Tomoe River paper. The cover is a cream color that is meant to go into a more durable cover of your choice (though I often used it naked because that’s the way I like it). There is also a Hobonichi Cousin available, which is basically the Hobonichi Techo A6, but it is bigger and contains a Weekly view in addition to the daily and monthly views.

because the Weeks doesn’t have a page-per-day layout, it is slimmer than the A6 Techo. you can see the Weeks cover is also thicker and seems more durable, not at all saying the A6 isn’t a durable planner, though.

The Hobonichi Weeks, on the other hand, resembles a long wallet. It contains a weekly layout rather than a daily one and it comes in a more variety of decorative covers. You can put it in a separate cover, but there’s not much need. Some people like to use a clear cover, but that depends on how rough you are with it. I was debating between a black Weeks and a linen one, but then I chose the Night Sky version and it is a shimmering, navy blue color that is very pretty in person.

while the Weeks is longer, the A6 is wider and much thicker. what size is best depends on the person and how they use their planners/journals/diaries.

Which one is better depends on how you use a planner.

walk-through

Let’s take a walk through the inside of this new planner.

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let’s open it up!

So when you first open it up, you are greeted with some nice endpaper. It’s an off-white color with the word “HOBO” written in it. The paper is a bit textured and feels quite nice.

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yearly view

As with most planners, the Hobonichi Weeks contains a yearly view at the beginning. The left page contains the current year (2017) and the right page contains the previous year (2016) and the next year (2018). These will be useful for planning vacation and setting long-term goals.

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yearly index.

After the yearly view, is the yearly index. All twelve months run vertical across the two pages, accompanied by the days of each month. The spaces are too small to really use as an index, but with the way the Weeks is set up, I doubt, I would need to use it that way, anyway. Instead, I will probably use it for tracking health problems and my period. Some days are highlighted in red (maybe they’re Japanese holidays?), which I just ignore. At the top is some space for notes or goal-setting for each month.

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monthly view.

After the index, we have the monthly view. The monthly view begins in December of 2016, so you can begin making the switch to this planner as early as December. Note that this monthly view has a Monday start. When I lived in Japan, this was pretty typical for planners, though the Japanese version of the A6 Techo had a Sunday start, so this will be an adjustment for me. If you have a job you work Monday-Friday, or if you are a student, you may find it useful to visually see the weekend grouped together at the end of the week. This really depends on the person, though.

There’s a place for weekly notes on the side (or just general notes depending on how you choose to use it). There’s also a place for goals/notes/ideas at the bottom. The right side contains four check boxes that you may find useful for monthly goals. They’re light enough, though, that you could easily ignore the checkboxes if you don’t want to use them.

The months go from December 2016, all the way through March of 2018, so there’s plenty of room for future planning if you are one who makes plans and appointments several months in advance. I also want to note that all the monthly calendars are groups together before the weekly section. It’s not a case of January’s monthly calendar is followed by January’s weekly views before moving on to February. Personally, I like when all the months are groups together. Your mileage may vary.

weekly view.

So after the monthly view we come to the whole entire reason this planner is called “Hobonichi Weeks”: The weekly view. Instead of the days of the week being divided up between the two pages, we have all seven days on the left and a gridded note page on the right. This helps to solve the problem I see in soooooo many planners. Many planners will divide each page into thirds, giving it enough room to hold six days. How to fit in a seventh day? Squish Saturday and Sunday into one day’s spot. As someone whose schedule does not run Monday-Friday, I often need just as much space on the weekend as I do the weekdays, so I find those types of setups to be annoying.

Here, both Saturday and Sunday each have its own space that is equal to the weekdays’. Now each space looks pretty tiny there, but if you look closely there are “secret lines” on the note page on the right. These lines are slightly darker than the other lines of the grid and allow you to extend each day’s space to the right. Or, you can completely ignore the secret lines and use the right side as a page for weekly notes or lists. It’s pretty brilliant if you ask me, and if you search for #HobonichiWeeks on Instagram, you can see people get creative with how they use these pages and the many ways they use those secret lines as a guide, or completely ignore them. I’m pretty excited to start using it.

So, again, we have a Monday start on the weekly view, so it lines up with the monthly view. Each day has two small dots you can use to divide your day up, or divide your notes, or to just completely ignore. We also can see the moon phases for each day, which I love. The top of each week also contains the week number for reference.

The bottom right corner contains a small monthly view you can use as a reference when you’re planning. The right side also contains a monthly tab printed onto the page. It’s not like having a physical, bookmark tab (though you could certain add them on), but it makes it easier to find the week you’re looking for when flipping through the pages. Each month is printed a little lower on the page from the previous month and they carry over to the side, so when the book is closed, you can look at the side and see where each month’s weekly views are contained in the planner. The weekly view runs through the last week of December 2017 (which contains the first few days of 2018 because they are part of that same week).

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you can see where each month’s set of weeks begins and ends from the side of the planner.

There are also quotes at the bottom. Hobonichi loves its quotes. I tend to find them a poor use of space because I generally find the basic quotes found in planners uninspiring. Also, the quotes in the Hobonichi Weeks are in Japanese, so if you can’t read Japanese, then they definitely won’t be much fun for you. I can’t read much Japanese anymore, but once in a while, I find it fun when something in my brain clicks and I’m able to read something. However, in general, I prefer planners that don’t have pre-printed quotes. I’d rather write-in my own quotes from something I’m currently reading to make it relevant to me and to personalize it. In my A6 Techo,  I sometimes paste something over the pre-printed quotes, which I will probably continue to do with the Weeks.

I want to note, though, that where it really counts (Months, days, etc.) the Weeks contains Japanese and English, so this planner is still very usable to English speakers. You may even find yourself picking up a few kanji throughout the year, and if you are studying Japanese, a Japanese planner could be a fun way to help immerse yourself in the language.

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notebook table of contents

The Hobonichi Weeks doesn’t end there. After the weekly view, there are note pages you could use for general notes that don’t apply to a specific week, for journaling, for tracking, for lists, for planning, for brainstorming, or whatever your heart desires. Many planners contains a few note pages at the end, but the Weeks contains 72 pages of it. That’s like carrying a notebook with you in addition to a planner. Hobonichi is able to include this without bulking up the planner by using Tomoe River paper, which is very, very thin, but also strong enough to hold inks better than some thicker papers I have used. I love using my fountain pens with this paper–it writes like a dream!

So above is where the notebook section begins. On the left are some note-taking ideas so you can write quickly and fit more onto a page. On the right, there is a table of contents. So if you make a list you have to refer to often in the notebook section, you can write down here what page that list is on so you can quickly find it. It’s like a list-maker’s dream come true!

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notebook pages

The notebook pages contain no quotes, so you have the entire page to scribble, write, and sketch. If you look closely, you’ll see each page has one of those secret lines to help you divide the pages up in different ways, depending on what you’re doing with it. Again, they’re easily ignored. These pages also contain the 3.55 mm grid that I love and can’t seem to find elsewhere! Fellow people with small handwriting, behold the beauty of tiny grids! Sigh in relief that this planner avoids use of wide rule!

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numbered pages

On the bottom outside corner of each page in the notebook section, there is a page number. All of the notebook pages are numbered, so you can make note in the table of contents area where your lists and notes are. Looks pretty useful.

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information

After the notebook section, there is a section with random information and references. These are all in Japanese, so again, you may not find this useful if you don’t know Japanese. Some of the information found here include a guide to interacting with cats and dogs, first aide tips, and conversion charts. Conversion charts are convenient when traveling, but again, they are in Japanese. If I could read it better, I’d probably find these pages fun for when I’m waiting somewhere and need a distraction, but my Japanese is terrible (if you don’t use it, you lose it!).

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contacts page

After the information and reference pages is a contacts page. It’s in Japanese, but is pretty straight-forward. There’s enough space for 6 contacts. I like to fill these out so when I forget my phone, I have my most important emergency contacts there.

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personal information

The last page is for personal information. It’s in Japanese, but again is straight-forward. This is useful so if you lose your planner, there’s a way for someone to contact you or mail it to you. The top box is for your name. The next is your mailing address. Then you can fill out your phone number, fax, and I believe mobile phone (or use them how you like). There’s also spaces for three mail addresses, which I’m guessing is for email addresses, but again my Japanese is terrible. Feel free to correct me in the comments. I would include a way for someone to contact you should you lose your planner, but also be safe with the information you provide here.

other features

Some other things I would like to note about this planner…

bookmarks!

This planner contains two bookmarks built into it. Mine are in two different colors. One is a silvery gray color and the other is a chocolate brown color. My A6 Techo didn’t include bookmarks. I had to make my own or use it with a separate cover that had the bookmarks, so this is pretty exciting for me.


new pen!

This planner includes a new pen to use with it. It’s a Uni Jetstream pen with the multi-color function. The colors included are black, blue, and red. This year, the pen is a nice, soft blue color. Jetstream is one of my favorite types of pens (outside of fountain pens)–anyone who has borrowed one of my Jetstreams has asked me where I got it from. They write so smooth and the ink looks great on paper. It’s a great match with the Tomoe River paper. These pens are refillable, so if you run out of ink, you can order refills and still use the same pen instead of tossing the whole thing away.


pocket

The planner also comes with a pocket and a Japanese railway map. You get to attach the pocket wherever you want it in the planner. You can see here that I haven’t attached mine, yet, but I will probably attach it inside the back cover. The pocket holds the railway map perfectly, but I won’t have much use for the map, so I’ll be holding other things in my pocket.

what will i miss?

  • The grid. The note pages have that wonderful 3.55 mm grid that I love, but the weekly side of the weekly view doesn’t have that grid. Not sure why they decided to leave it out here, but I just love using the grids, so I think I’ll miss it. However, the right side of the weekly view that is meant for weekly notes does contain the grid and since the paper is so thin, I can see the grid on the weekly side through the page, so maybe I’ll still be able to use it.
  • The lay-flat binding. My Hobonichi A6 techo has that wonderful lay-flat binding that sold me on the planner. No matter what page you are on, it lays open without having to manipulate it or hold it down. I love having my planner open on my desk during the day, so this feature was pretty awesome to me. I’m hoping with the Weeks, if I bend it back enough, it’ll stay open on the right page so I can still have it open on my desk. We’ll see how that works out.
  • The colored month tabs. In the Hobonichi A6 Techo, the monthly tabs on the side were a different color for each month, so it was quicker and easier to reference when flipping through the pages. The monthly tabs on the Hobonichi Weeks are all the same color. They’re still useful, but not quite as much so as with the A6.

    a6 techo monthly tabs

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    Weeks monthly tabs.

  • The watermark that differentiates other years from the current year. I mentioned earlier that the monthly view begins in December of 2016 and runs through March of 2018. In my A6 Techo, the months that weren’t part of current year contained a light printing of the year on the page so you don’t get confused and think you were looking at the current year when making appointments. I found this useful, but the Weeks doesn’t contain this feature.

    A6 Techo, clearly marking that this calendar is for March of 2017, not the current year, March 2016.

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hobonichi weeks March 2018 calendar could easily be mistaken for March of 2017 if you’re marking down appointments in a hurry.

  • The Monday starts. The Monday start was useful for me when I was working Monday-Friday, but that’s not what my schedule is like anymore. It’s a lot more varied, so I’m not sure that I will get much benefit from a Monday start and it could prove confusing as I try scheduling goals and deadlines week-by-week, but I’m hoping it’s something that just takes a little adjustment and then it’s all good.

Although I may miss some of these features when I move to the Hobonichi Weeks, I don’t think they’ll make the experience an unpleasant one. They were extra features that I just found nice, but not essential (with the exception of the lay-flat binding–if I can’t get the notebook to lay open, it may make me hate it).

changes i’m looking forward to

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  • The week-at-a-glance. I loved the daily view of the A6 Techo, but there were times I was longing for a weekly view and the A6 Techo just does not contain one at all. I’m looking forward to having my week laid out in front of me where I can easily see ahead to the next few days.
  • The weekly notes. With my A6 Techo, I make a space for daily notes. This is quite useful for me, but I’m really looking forward to experimenting with having notes for each week instead of each day. It may make it easier to find what I’m looking for later and for days when I don’t need to take too many notes, I don’t have to worry about too much waste of space.
  • The size. I love the size of the A6 Techo. It feels really good in the hands and it feels really good to write in. It also fits in my bag. However, I find I don’t like placing it in my bag too much because everything in my bag gets beat up because I have a five-year-old and we like to play pretty hard.  The thicker size takes up a lot of room in my tiny bag and if I’m using it with a more durable cover, it doesn’t fit well in my bag at all. The Weeks, however, is slimmer, making it something I can easily slide into my bag and take with me. As a result, I’m looking forward to my planner being something I not only have open on my desk, but I take with my everyday, not just occasionally.
  • The notebook section. Not only will I make this an everyday carry item, but it doubles as a notebook, which means I don’t have to carry a planner plus a separate notebook in my bag. They will be together.

the cost

This will be my last year with the Hobonichi planners, so I’m excited to try something different from them. The reason it will be my last year is because of the price. The planner itself is reasonably priced, but by the time I ship it from Japan, it becomes quite expensive. When I started using the Hobonichi planners, a friend and I ordered ours together so shipping wasn’t quite so bad. But now it’s just me and I found that while I very much enjoy these planners, I just can’t afford to ship them from Japan anymore.

For those who are curious, the planner itself was a little over $17. Not bad for the quality and all you get with it. Plus that marvelous Tomoe River Paper! However, at around $18, the shipping and handling costs are more than the planner itself! It’s very fast shipping in a very nice box and everything you order is crisp and neat, so I’m not trying to say the cost isn’t worth it…but $35 for a planner is getting quite expensive for my budget. I know many U.S. planners of lesser quality can cost about the same or more, but I just don’t see it work in my budget next year.

 

conclusion

The Hobonichi Weeks is a very well-thought-out planner and my first impression of it is that I will find it a dream to use. I love the little details, and though there are some things I would do differently, I do think I’m going to enjoy using this planner. It has so many ways for me to reevaluate how I plan and so many different ways to look at my goals and track what is important to me. Overall, I like change, so I’m looking forward to using a different planner. Because of the shipping costs, this will more than likely be my last year using the Hobonichi planners for a while, so I plan to make my last year with the Hobonichi a very memorable one.

So if you’ll excuse me, my new planner actually allows me to start using it next week, so I have some setting up to do. Also, there’s some new Gilmore Girls out and I need a break from some heavy drama that’s been going on in real-life. I really could use some fictional drama to immerse myself in.

your turn

Are you into planners? Do you enjoy choosing a new planner for the year? What kinds of things do you look for in a new planner? Leave me your planning thoughts below.

what to expect during a call to your representatives

I know I promised some stationery posts before we dug into some of the heavy stuff, but what the hell. This is a bit more relevant, so I’m going with it.

There’s been a ton of shit going down and it’s left a lot of people in fear. Many feel helpless about what they can do to help their friends, loved ones, and the people around them. Many people have written some great call-to-action articles and posts and one thing that keeps popping up over and over again: Call your representatives!

This sounds scary, and it’s easy to brush it off because we want immediate change, but change is often slow. Activism requires patience, getting out of your comfort zone, and doing the tedious things that don’t always give us that immediate sense of “I did something!” It’s often unseen and there’s no rewards to be handed out. But it can make so much difference! So let’s get on those phones!

 

what happens during a call? 

Whenever I make a phone call, I feel the need to be prepared. I have to talk myself into it dialing the number. I have to go over what I’m going to say. I have to prepare what I won’t back down on. I have to prepare myself for various ways the conversation could lead.

But with a call to my representative? How do I prepare for that? I had no idea how those calls go. Will I have to defend my position to get my voice heard? Will the person on the phone become hostile if they disagree? Will I have to argue, and am I prepared for an argument?

I knew with my logic brain that if calling my representative meant a debate then that would look pretty bad on my representative, but my logic brain isn’t in charge when my anxiety rises, and I couldn’t find any concrete information about what a call to my representative would be like. There is so much information about how to prepare for it, but not much on what goes in and out of it. So I thought I’d leave my own experiences here.

Here’s how it has gone each time I have called:

  1. Staff answers the phone.
  2. I introduce myself, state I’m a constituent and I say the city and state I am from to get their attention.
  3. I state my issue and concerns. (For me, this is reading a prepared script because, well, anxiety.)
  4. Staff verifies my name and spelling, my address, and asks for an email address.
  5. Staff politely informs me that my call has been logged and will be passed on to my representative.
  6. I thank them and hang up.

Each call takes about 2-3 minutes. No arguments. No debates. Nobody getting upset and making you defend your right to be heard. As someone pointed out to me, the staff there is like the customer service for your representative. They’re there to serve you and help get you what you need. Be courteous, get your voice heard, and then verify some information and you are done.

I know this seems common sense to some people, but I know those of us with anxiety need that walk through before the phone calls, so this is it. I’ve asked others about their experiences with calling and it’s been pretty much the same. So if it helps, take a look at this and remind yourself you just need to prepare your message. You don’t have to go into a debate.

 

why call?

I think it’s no secret here that I have high anxiety (among a long list of other things). Making phone calls is NOT my idea of a good time. I’m a fierce letter writer. Writing letters means I get to sit and think about my words. I get to speak without being interrupted and I get to prepare for a response without it being immediate and knocking me off guard.

However, it has been pointed out to me that letter-writing isn’t nearly as effective as calling. Letters are easily sorted and responded to with form letters. Phone calls cannot be cast aside so easily. They demand a response. Emails and tweets to representatives are pretty much useless and just pass algorithms rather than actual people. Phone calls are answered by, listened to, and logged by actual people.

If an issue receives a flooding of phone calls, it is then taken to Washington where your Congressperson feels the need to respond accordingly. How many is considered “flooding?” In a conversation I had with someone about how these calls are treated, I was told 20 calls is considered a lot. Twenty. Twenty calls. That’s really not that many. It’s a manageable number, and best of all, it means that your phone call really can make a difference! So call and urge your friends and family to make those calls!

I want to note here that I’m not judging those who just cannot make a phone call for whatever reasons. I know what it’s like to be stunned and shaking and physically cannot get my mouth to move (hello, dissociation! hello, emotional flooding!). I’m writing this for those who just need that little extra push to step outside their comfort zones because they feel the need to do something, but that anxiety of not knowing is holding them back.

 

how to prepare for a phone call

I like to sit down, write a script, review it, say it out loud a few times just for practice, then take a deep breath and dial the number. A script helps me because my anxiety likes to take over once someone answers the phone. Many people use scripts, so don’t feel out of place for obviously reading from one. You’re not competing in a speech competition, you’re getting your voice heard.

What should your script include?

  1. Begin by introducing yourself. Give your name and the city and state you are residing in.
  2. Clearly state you are a constituent. Note here: Calling a representative who doesn’t actually represent you doesn’t do much good.
  3. Give your message. Be polite, but also make it concise. Get straight to the point of your concern and what action you would like to see from your representative. Be clear and voice your issue with no apologies.
  4. I tend to end with a “Thank you” or something because it signifies that I am done rather than leaving an awkward pause at the end.

What information will you need before writing the script?

  1. Name of the representative you are calling (obviously, you also need their number to call them). If you’re not sure who your representatives are, you can find out here.
  2. Information about your issue.
  3. You’ll want to condense your information down to the very crux of the issue so your script is concise.
  4. Think about what you want from your representative. This may take research.

 

sample script

This is a script I’ve been using lately. I got it from a FaceBook group and just tweaked it a bit (I asked for a name to credit, but the person doesn’t want to be named). You can change it or you can write your own on this issue or one of the many issues that are a priority right now. Feel free to share scripts in the comments below that you don’t mind other people using. I would be more than happy to share other scripts people may find helpful. There are others floating around online, so if you don’t feel confident in writing your own, look for one that best represents your issue and tweak it if you need to.

Hi. My name is [FIRST AND LAST NAME], and I’m a constituent calling from [CITY AND STATE YOU RESIDE IN]. I’m calling to ask Representative/Senator [NAME OF SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] refuse to work with the Trump transition team until Stephen Bannon is removed from his staff. Bannon is a white supremist and an anti-Semite. I would very much like to see Representative/Senator [NAME OF SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE] step up and protect American values now when so many are hurting and in fear. Thank you.

 

See how the sample script is short, to the point, and clearly states what the person calling would like to see their representative do? You don’t need an essay (in fact, short scripts are better). You don’t need a 5 minutes speech. Just a short, to-the-point voicing of your opinion.

 

your turn

I hope this helps those who may be having anxiety about making phone calls to their representatives. Remember to do what you can and as much as you can. Also remember to take care of yourself. I’m no expert on this so if you have experience with calling your representatives, please feel free to talk about your experiences below. Also, if you’d like to share scripts you’ve written to help people figure out how to navigate these phone calls, I’m sure it’d be helpful to those who have trouble putting their concerns into words. If you’re calling for the first time, how did it go?

Now I have more calls to make. ❤

 

 

 

the update

It’s coming up a year in January since I just completely dropped from the blogging world. The end of 2015 was bad and 2016 hasn’t offered much in relief. There’s been good things, but it’s been quite the emotional roller coaster and there doesn’t seem to be much of a stop to it. I struggle with mental illness, and with lots of help, I’ve been noticing patterns and I’ve been learning more coping mechanisms, but it hasn’t really gotten easier. I can analyze it to death, but at the end of the day, it’s still there and I just wonder sometimes where the lines are and does it get better?

I’ve started posts so many times and I’ve opened my feed a few times to at least catch up on blog reading but for some reason I just couldn’t get myself to follow through. When I thought of blogging, I got anxiety. I don’t even know why. The community has been wonderful, but my brain sometimes has these weird reactions to things I once enjoyed.

I think I’ve mentioned before I have many thoughts I don’t share because I feel scared to. Blogging and Twitter were my anonymous way of sharing pieces of myself without feeling so terrified about it. It helps, it’s just that it’s still so difficult.
I didn’t intend to be such a downer with this update, and I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just experimenting with sharing, honesty, and a bit of self-compassion. I’m going to give this another try. Because I miss it. I have so many post ideas on books, songs, TV shows, publishing, opinions…but perhaps I’ll start small with some stationery posts because this goddamn year is about to come to an end, which means new planners, which is something I get excited about (as anyone following my Instagram account will know) so it’ll be something fun to share.

For now, I’d like to share some things I’ve been enjoying lately. I’m obsessed with Agents of Shield. I’ve been watching X-Files from the beginning and I’m finally on season nine! I began reading some Victoria Holt for some gothic romance and her books are lovely. For vacation in June, we rented a cabin in the woods and it was glorious because nature makes me feel renewed. Oh! So many music discoveries! I’m currently obsessing over Saint Sisters, which just confirms that I need to take a trip to Ireland for some live music.
I’ll be working to catch up on my favorite bloggers, but in the meantime, what’s up? What media have you enjoyed this year? Share your obsessions with me.

 


falling for medea, or why i love sarah mccarry’s about a girl

In college I read Euripides’ play, Medea. It’s the story of a girl. She falls for a man, Jason, who marries her. She follows him, in love, leaving a trail of blood behind her. Medea has kids with Jason, then she is shoved aside as Jason decides to marry another girl for a crown, leaving Medea and their two children exiled. Medea is betrayed. She decides to get revenge for her and her children, and Medea is fierce. She’s found her courage and she’s found her determination. She wants Jason to pay. She wants him to feel an ounce of the betrayal she feels–and for all the claims that she’s just an emotional woman, Medea puts aside her love and erupts with vengeance, killing Jason’s new bride and her father. Then, deciding it is better she kill them than someone who doesn’t love them, Medea slays her own children, which becomes the ultimate revenge against Jason, their father.

 

She’s a “monster” Jason says.
The class discussion of Euripides’ play erupted when I claimed that I loved Medea, not just the play–I loved her. I like that she carries fire in her hands and isn’t afraid to destroy those around her. Of course, I’m not one who is okay with people killing other people, and I certainly would never celebrate someone who kills their own children as revenge against their spouse in real life. But as a work of fiction and for what she stood for to me in those lines, bold and unforgiving, I loved the character of Medea.

 

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painting: “Jason and Medea – John William Waterhouse” by John William Waterhouse – http://www.jwwaterhouse.com. Licensed under Public Domain 

The only encounters I really had to feminism at this point, were pastors telling me it was dirty and sinful and gross and that was pretty much what I believed at that point, but even then, I remember commenting during that class discussion, of all the plays I’ve read up to that point, I’ve never seen a female character like this. I know I’m not supposed to like Medea. I know I’m supposed to be repulsed. But there was something in her I couldn’t quite explain or make anyone understand.

 

And I wanted to be her so bad and I became her any chance I got–any acting scene I could do as Medea, I would. I always hoped I’d come across a casting call for a production of Medea so I could have a chance to be her for a full production. I wanted (and still do!) a chance to own that character. For once in my life, I wanted to be the woman who didn’t give a shit about everyone else before myself–to constantly have to be thinking of every dude’s sad story and how it justified the pain and betrayal I carried deep inside. I wanted the pain on the outside and I wanted everyone to feel its fire.
I was alone in this, apparently. Even my closest friends turned to me in disgust upon my announcement that I was in love with Medea. “She kills her own children. How can you like a woman who is a mother who kills her children?”

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painting: Medea (about to murder her children)  by Eugène Delacroix. Licensed under Public Domain

Now, again, I don’t like people who kill children. Not. At. All. It’s difficult to explain how you can love a character who does something you hate. I still don’t know how to explain it. Luckily, there are people out there with words that are better than my own, so when I came across Seven Ways of Thinking About Medea by Sarah McCarry (via The Book Smugglers), I knew I found someone who understood Medea in the way that I loved her.

 

My third book is, like the first two, and like all the books I love best, about love and sex and death and growing up. It is also about Medea: Medea, as she might be now, kind of punk and wicked witchy, kissing girls, still slitting throats. Medea, a girl who doesn’t apologize, not even once she’s learned her lessons the hard way, not even once she’s had to learn them again. Looking death in the face, looking for vengeance, cutting her own bloody path. What girl’s gotten to do that since? We’ll cry for Hamlet (from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth), despite his swath of collateral damage, but Medea’s everybody’s worst nightmare: a girl without fear or remorse, a girl with power, a girl whose fury is big enough to swallow the world. Medea (sailing serpent wings) her own kind of warrior, her own kind of witch (she can quench the hot blast of unwearying fire / halt rivers dead when they’re roaring down in spate / control the stars and the Moon’s own sacred orbits). Medea, who knows exactly what she is: My very spells have torn the throats of serpents. — Sarah McCarry, Seven Ways of Thinking About Medea

 

Later, I would tweet something, which was probably about Dirty Wings and I don’t even remember what it was, but Sarah McCarry was tagged in it and she responded to me that I would love the final installment of her young adult series because it was full of astronomy. That final book of the Metamorphoses series, About A Girl, would turn out to be my favorite of the trilogy.

 

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Medea. Astronomy. Mythology. Music. Magical realism. Girls kissing girls. Girls who are monsters. Girls going on quests. Girls falling in love with Medea.

 

How could this book possibly exist? I preordered it. It was the first book I had ever preordered. I had to have it and I was partly ashamed that I asked for it to be autographed because I’m not usually one who feels the need to have an autograph, but before I even read this book I knew my heart was in there somewhere. The heart that got buried during that time I was that goth chic who was part hippie, aspiring astronomer, lover of words, lover of theater, lover of girls. The girl who felt too damn much. But so much of it was buried because I had to get through and because I never trusted myself. But I wanted the quest. I wanted to break out of that “good girl” persona so desperately that it practically leaked out of my pores, but there would be time for that later, just get through this here, get through this right now and then leave it all fucking behind.
Tally is who I wish I would have been had I trusted myself.

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Tally. She is destined to be an astronomer, to study the mysteries of how the universe began when she goes on a quest to find out if a legendary musician is her father. During the quest, Tally finds the world around her is so much more magical than she realized–but this isn’t necessarily a “scientist learns science is just numbers, unemotional and wrong,” type of story. It’s the story about a girl who learns to approach the questions of the universe from multiple stand points. Most of all, it’s the story about a girl who finds herself in a world of magic looking for answers, but having the strength to return back to the world she knew–not unchanged, of course–but still allowed to love science while simultaneously falling in love with mythical monsters.

 

 

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climbing vines background by webtreats

Tally runs away from home in search of answers, but also to run away from the emotional confusion she is feeling about, among many things, a boy she loves. And while running from one love, Tally runs right into another. Tally meets Medea and falls hard and begins to forget everything else. But one love doesn’t cancel out the other– sometimes you love two people at the same time. And this is, indeed, at its core, a love story.

 

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I love Tally. And I love her family just as much. Each character feels so real, honest, alive, yet magical in their love. And it’s that love–that stability, those phone calls home–that anchor Tally when she is in danger of losing herself to loss and to darkness. Yes, this is a love story, but as the first book in the Metamorphoses series points out, “…not the kind of love you think. You’ll see…” (p. 2, Sarah McCarry, All Our Pretty Songs).

 

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book jacket design by Elsie Lyons. photo of girls on book by Sandy Honig.

 

This final book in the series (About a Girl), like the other two books (All Our Pretty Songs, Dirty Wings) is a standalone, and is beautiful all on its own. In relation to the other two books, though, we see that time isn’t linear. The second book takes place before the first book. The third book takes place after the first book. (But read them in order! Your heart will thank you!) Stories repeat themselves, each book loosely based on mythology from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Stories repeat themselves, and yet each girl in each of the books owns her story all on her own. The stories are timeless, and time itself feels like it is fluid, bouncing around from one generation to a previous generation, to a later generation, all of them connected to ancient mythology, all of them flowing–time moving, not forward, but all around and everywhere.

 

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climbing vines background by webtreats

 

In About A Girl, myths become reality. The Stars guide you home. But in the end, we do have power in our destiny. We meet monsters. Make love to monsters. Fall in love. Fall under spells. Walk the dark paths into and beyond the ocean, venture into the past and find our way back into the present–and what makes all the difference between becoming lost in it all and drowning, and from finding the strength to walk on water, and to swim when you can’t walk on water, and to flail your way through when you can’t swim–is that love and stability that you know awaits somewhere in this world full of scientific wonder and magic.

 

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This book is for those of us who are lovers to monsters. Those of us who want to be part monster. Those of us gazing up. Those of us who carry equations in our heads, yet see magic all around us. Those of us who look up into the night sky and see the wonders of the universe and know that the stars will guide us home.

 

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If you haven’t figured it out, yet, yes, I (a million times yes!) recommend you read Sarah McCarry’s About A Girl.

 

related links

buy about a girl by sarah mccarry, here

follow sarah mccarry’s blog, here

monthly wrap-up

december wrap-up

*throws happy new years at the internet*

 

December was such an emotional roller coaster. 2015 itself was such an emotional roller coaster. I don’t have any spotlight posts to share–not for lack of awesome blogs, but because I just didn’t keep up with blog reading or saving the favorites of what I did read. I do have some articles to share, though.

 

Here’s for a 2016 full of healing, self-care, and reflecting on what’s important. Cheers!

 

ic’s recap

 

the 2015 playlist

stream and enjoy!

 

cool links

 

science links

 

i thought the future would be cooler

and as we enter into 2016, let’s just all admit to ourselves, we thought the future was gonna be cooler. enjoy this music video from YACHT.

 

 

“Infinitely scroll through a SWAT team on the sidewalk, serving death by remote control and unrestricted sidearms.” — YACHT

 

 

SEE YOU IN 2016!!!