Leuchtturm Notebooks and Etsy Mini Haul

Getting my writing notebooks ready for 2021. This year, I felt a bit all over the place so I’m hoping these notebooks will help me get my writing groove back.

Earlier in the year, I purchased an A5 Chic Sparrow Traveler’s Notebook to house the A5 notebooks. Initially, I bought some cheap notebooks from Amazon but they were on the smaller side and didn’t fill up the TN the way I’d like them to. The Leuchtturms are a little more expensive but they do the job. I also like that they have an index and numbered pages. I’ve been using one for a year and a half now and really like everything about it.

Decided to order some fun things off Etsy.com. I mainly wanted a new date stamp since the one I currently have is coming to a close. The last year on it is 2021. This new one goes all the way up to 2031.

I ordered from WaWa Stationary. They have some really pretty washi tapes that I’ve been eying. I also wanted some vintage looking labels for my junk journaling hobby. And then the girl stickers was just too adorable. They were so sweet and included a few freebies.

Here’s a close-up of the stamp. I love how it came with a stand.

July’s Playlist

This playlist is unique in that it’s mostly freestyle from the 80’s. My top three most listened to were:

“Fantasy Girl” by Johnny O

“Together Forever” by Lisette Melendez

“Show Me” by The Cover Girls

The lead singer of The Cover Girls reminds me so much of the lead singer of the Sneaker Pimps. They both are tiny with cute voices and personality. Especially in this song:

I was seriously on a freestyle kick last month. Other songs that made it on July’s playlist were:

“Promise Me” by The Cover Girls

“If Wishes Came True” by Sweet Sensation

“In My Fantasy” by Gina T.

“Shelter” by Dash Berlin

“Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac (The Glee version sung by Santana)

“Poppiholla (5am Mix)” by Chicane

“Beyond Time” by Blank & Jones

A Moment Like This

Class of 2020 will forever be one of the craziest graduation year of the century. This morning was my daughter’s graduation ceremony and I’m still going through the feels. I literally have unshed tears lingering in my eyes all day. From the moment they sang The Star-Spangled Banner until now, my eyes have been wet.

I am happy that the school went ahead with a ceremony. It was very limited to only two guests and everyone was expected to sit six feet apart in the stands. Graduates were seated six feet apart as well on the field.

Less than half the students walked at the ceremony, but it was still a pretty big group. When I graduated high school in the mid-90’s, my class was around 300 students. There were just a little more than 300 at today’s ceremony.

In April, the school decided to cancel the graduation ceremony due to COVID, which totally makes sense. In late May, we threw a small graduation party for daughter at our house just to be able to celebrate her achievement. We separated the guests (mostly family) about an hour apart for safety reasons. It worked out pretty well. We thought we were done and were ready to move on.

The school deciding whether to have a ceremony or not was a whole lot of confusion. At first, they decided it wasn’t going to happen. Then, they said possibly. Then, they said they would. When the decision was made to have one, we couldn’t decide if we wanted to go to it. Initially, we decided we wouldn’t be going because it was too dangerous. Then, when daughter went with her friend to pick up her friend’s walk packet, she decided then that she also wanted to go and picked up her packet as well. So, then we decided we’d go. The last minute decision put stress on husband because he had to ask for time off from work and because it was last minute, sometimes he’s not able to get time off. Daughter really wanted her dad to attend because he helped her a ton through all the ups and downs and homework throughout her four years. She said she’d be really sad if he couldn’t go. Luckily, he was.

The ceremony was organized exceptionally well. I was impressed. However, there was a somber-melancholy feel about the whole event with a light dusting of excitement and hopeful joy. It was a really strange mix of emotions.

Aside from all that, I couldn’t help but to be reminded that my 18-year-old was done with high school and will be starting university this fall. High school was a roller coaster for her and her dad and I. Yet somehow she turned out okay, and for me, that’s good enough. I’m not sure what the next few years will bring, but I hope it won’t be as crazy.

Courgettes and Hmong Pepper Sauce

Two weekends ago, Mom picked courgettes (aka zucchinis) and gave me quite a bunch. The baby ones were juicy and delicious grilled. The larger ones I boiled and bagged and froze for occasions when I want to have them with a meal. Mom did this when I was young and she still does it now. It’s convenient and keeps from wasting all these beautiful and mild flavored squashes.

The herbs and garlic were from Mom’s garden in her backyard. She gave me way too much spearmint that I decided to see if I could grow some in water. They seem to be sprouting roots so sounds positive. I’m not good at growing things unless it’s a plant in dirt, but even then, the plant needs to have strong roots otherwise they don’t live very long. The cilantro was the perfect amount to make four batches of Hmong pepper sauce.

As mentioned a few months back, my daughter’s boyfriend (who is African/British/Canadian) loves my Hmong pepper sauce. He eats it with everything so now when I make it, I make sure to pack some for him.

Gardening

I purchased a garden plot earlier in the year in a community garden near my parent’s home to grow some of my favorite vegetables. Now, I’m no gardener so Mom is taking care of it for me. She loves gardening and asked me to buy a plot so she could tend to it. She’s been with this community for awhile now. I’ve been to her garden a couple of times and really liked the place, but since I’ve purchased the plot, I’ve only gone to visit once.

I should go more often.

I asked Mom to plant cucumbers, some melons, Thai peppers, and corn.

Daughter and husband looking real happy. We were on our way to my sister’s housewarming so they didn’t have a choice but to come to the garden.

My cute parents. They are so passionate about gardening. There is no way they can eat all the stuff they grow so at the end of the season, when everything’s ripe, they will donate and sell to the community and relatives.

Mom picked a lot of zucchini’s for me. I’ve already frozen some (the Hmong way) and will be grilling some today to have with grilled salmon.

Community goats. I believe they are used for milk. The man who’s in charge of the garden and the goats said there were three goats but someone stole one of them.

Mom likes to feed the goats the zucchini leaves. I helped throw the leaves over the fence and those leaves have these pokey hairs that prick painfully. I don’t know how my parents can touch those things!

June Favorite Songs

Before I share my list, just thought I’d mention that I’m doing Camp Nano this month. Goal is 30K words for a romance novella. It’s something different from the sci-fi and fantasy stuff.

As you know, I love music. I track monthly favorites in my bujo. I do it pretty sloppily but it’s nice being able to flip back and see what I’ve been listening to. I used to track it on this blog but stopped and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed doing that so I’ll continue it.

Here’s my top favorites/most listened to songs from June:

“Aeternum” by John Lunn for The Last Kingdom series on Netflix. The soundtrack for the series is simply amazing. It’s one of the best out there. I’d say it’s just as good as The Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. “Aeternum” is so haunting. The drums and bass from 3:10 on is one of my favorites. In the show, they play that beat without the singing and it gives me goosebumps.

“Enso” by The Alliance. This is a trance song and has a pretty fast beat but at 2:00, it slows down to nothing and then picks up with an epic tune from 2:23 to 2:50.

“Last Hope” by Antoine Heid. I’ve shared this song before but I’ve started listening to it again. Mainly because I’m editing my sci-fi novella, but also because there’s a part of the song that has this really good drum piece that I missed before. It’s from 1:45 to 2:45. It’s sort of like a rolling drum but I’m not sure. It’s just fabulous!

“Zocalo” by Armin van Buuren. This is an old tune but I could never get enough of it. The breakdown from 3:35 to 5:15 kind of takes all my worries away.

“I Should Have Known” by Jovani feat. Jazzu. Love Jazzu’s voice, but also love the rolling drums. I’m a sucker for rolling drums.

Netflix: The Last Kingdom

I started watching The Last Kingdom earlier this month with husband. A friend recommended it a couple weeks earlier but I had forgotten and then husband pulled it up on Netflix and we got into it. I’m so glad. This is one great series.

I didn’t know this until I started doing some research after watching a few episodes, but The Last Kingdom is a novel series called the Saxon Series/Saxon Chronicles written by Bernard Cornwell. It’s about the history of England during King Alfred’s rule during the 9th/10th century. The story follows a Saxon man named Uhtred Bebbanburg as he helps Alfred through many of the wars over Wessex. Uhtred was raised (adopted) by Danes so he follows the Danes’ way of life. However, he also has Christian people he respects and helps. It makes for an interesting story. I enjoy learning this part of British history and love the “fiction” stuff within it. I may read the series one day (my tbr list is way too long) but for now, the tv series will do. It’s extremely well produced.

One cool thing about this series is, every time they show a scene of a town, they include the old spelling and then warp the words into the current spelling. For instance, “Wintenceaster” becomes “Winchester.” I don’t know why, but I love that!

I had also been in a funk with editing the sci-fi novella and this show helped me get back on track. Actually, it helped me write scenes in the trilogy (I had debated as to whether I should do a trilogy or not), and thus, got me excited on finishing the editing of the novella.