Friday, October 24, 2014

So Many Notebooks, So Much to Write, So Little Time

For as long as I can remember, I've been taken with notebooks and writing implements. First it was my box of 64 Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener. Later it was Paper Mate's Write Bros. stick pens, and black and white marble covered composition books.

As an adult, my tastes have evolved in this realm and in recent years, I've amassed a collection of journals and notebooks from Baron Fig, Rhodia, Fabriano, Ciak, Moleskin, Miquelrius and Ecosystem.  Thanks to social media, I've also discovered a community of like-minded souls at sites that include Notebook Stories, Office Supply Geek, My Pen Needs Ink, and others. Several of these sites offer opportunities to win product give-aways and much to my delight, I've been fortunate to win a few in the last several months.

The first was a Media Enhanced (ME) Journal by Quo Vadis, which includes a QR code on each page that, when scanned using the downloadable ME app, associates a specific photo, audio file, or video file with the written information on the page. Although I have not yet found a way to use this technology in my own life at the moment, I can envisions friends who might use individual pages to store recipes, including a photo of each finished dish. (Currently, the app allows only one photo or other file to be associated with each page, ruling out the possibility of showing a series of pictures to demonstrate, for example, how to braid a challah or frost a layer cake.) Collectors might find the ME Journal useful as a log for collectibles, and recording such information as date and place of purchase, cost, and other data, as well as a photograph for each item. Similarly, it might be used to maintain a record of the contents of a safety deposit box, a wallet, or a cabinet full of insurance or medical documents.

More recently, I won a reporter style  A5 Rhodia Webnotepad, commonly known as a "Webbie." Thus far, I love the slightly-darker-than-creamsicle orange cover and the soft, smooth Clairefontaine brushed vellum 90g paper, which is lined on both sides and micro-perforated at the top. The inside back cover includes a pocket that's about half the height of the Webbie itself, and the outside back cover includes an elastic band that extends around the short side of the Webbie, and sits in a ridge on the front cover, to keep the notebook closed.  

Although I'm not yet connoisseur enough to speak knowledgable about the paper's "tooth" or other characteristics, I can report in layman's terms that it is a joy to use. I particularly appreciate the way ink in bolder, thicker points (the ones I prefer) takes to the paper. The medium point on a Paper Mate Flair is especially smooth, but hands-down, my favorite is the flow of ink from the Pilot Varsity fountain pen. (I've been using one for the last few months, and once I'm accustomed to it, I expect I will "graduate" to a more traditional model that uses interchangeable nibs and bottled ink.  For now, the Pilot Varsity suits me well.)

In the meantime, though, stay tuned because just today, I learned that I have been chosen as a participant in the Week #1 sampling group for The Paper Project.  The paper samples should arrive in the next few days, and I'm eager to compare and contrast them, as well as to see how they interact with various pens and pencils in my collection.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Rest in Peace, Leon Klinghoffer

When Leon Klinghoffer's name was read as part of the yahrzeit list at yesterday's minyan, I was reminded of this blog post that I wrote several years ago at this season.

Today, one day before the opening of the Metropolitan Opera's "The Death of Klinghoffer," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released this statement by Lisa and Ilsa Klinghoffer, the daughters of Leon Klinghoffer, which will be featured in the playbill. 

May Lisa and Ilsa continue their sacred work to "educat[e] the world about terrorism, and put a personal face on the victims and their families." Most of all, may Leon and his beloved Marilyn rest in peace.

Friday, October 17, 2014

On the Soapbox...Again!

As we reach the middle of "Pinktober," I'm grateful for the opportunity, once again, to stand atop my BRCA-awareness soapbox, this time to discuss the recent press about whether or not all Ashkenazi Jews should be tested for BRCA 1/2 mutations.

Check out my latest post over at

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ashamnu, Al Cheit, and Barnes and Noble

Just as surely as my father and I chanted Kol Nidre, Ashamnu, and Al Cheit on Yom Kippur, so, too, did we spend time in Barnes and Noble on Saturday afternoon.  It is, as they say, "how we roll."

Our annual browsing in the Menlo Park bookstore began with Helen Rappaport's The Romanov Sisters.  Earlier in the week, my father had suggested he might want to read it, but after perusing it, he changed his mind, finding it to be too focused on the sisters' clothing, social events, and other "womanly" pursuits.  Once I chimed in with "Like a Russian version of Little Women?" we moved on to another table near the store's entrance.

There he found In the Kingdom of Ice, a book he has been eyeing for some time, but is awaiting the paperback edition.  Long a lover of books about exploration, many years ago, he turned me on to Endurance, the page-turner about Ernest Shakleton's Antarctic expedition, and more recently suggested two of Alan Moorehead's exploration volumes:  The White Nile and The Blue Nile.

Skipping the "Bargain Books," calendars, journals, and, of course, the cafe, we headed upstairs, where, much to my father's delight, we found this display table:

A Teddy Roosevelt groupie, my father currently is reading -- and thoroughly enjoying -- The Bully Pulpit, which was on prominent display there, and elsewhere throughout the store.  Among the other books on the table, several of which he's read were The Path Between the Seas, Franklin and Winston, Theodore Rex, and Traitor to His Class.

As for my reading pursuits, although I'm about halfway through The Emperor of All Maladies, lack of time and energy makes my progress slow, despite the fact that it's exceedingly well written and informative.  I do hope to finish it this fall, however, so that I can move on to another of the many books in my to-read pile.  With any luck, I'll work my way through at least of few of them in 5775!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Microwave Mishegas

This past Monday morning, the microwave in my apartment died.  No matter how hard or how gently I pushed the numbers on the keypad, nothing happened.  No beeps.  No buzzes. No breakfast. 

Already stressed a-plenty, I posted this status update on Facebook:
Dear Microwave,
Today you had to decide that the keypad wouldn't work? After I'd already added the water to my dry oatmeal and was ready to pop it in to nuke? Thanks to you, I've now got a few more things on my to-do list for today...including figuring out what I'm going to eat for breakfast tomorrow.
Thanks a lot, microwave.
~ Jane.
Once in the office, I called my landlord and although she offered to come into the city to replace the appliance, ultimately we agreed that I would purchase a new microwave, send her the receipt, and deduct the amount from next month's rent.  With that hurdle jumped, my Facebook status got this update:
I spoke to my landlord and have the OK to purchase a new microwave. Looking for 700 watts, white, all the usual features, online purchase (preferably from Amazon) so it will arrive tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.
Suggestions? Recommendations? 
Like anyone has time to peruse the internets for me....
Overwhelmed by the endless options and choices,  I immediately emailed two friends, "Coupon King" and "Zappos Queen," this message:
You're so good at this...and I'm so bad at it.
Microwave parameters:
  • White
  • No more than $100
  • Turntable
  • Easy to use
  • All the usual features...mostly I use it for heating and defrosting
  • Free shipping
  • Delivery asap -- tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest
What can you find??
Thank you!
Within seconds, "Zappos Queen" responded,  "I’m on it."

A few minutes later, this link to a microwave available on appeared in my inbox.

After quickly perusing the parameters for both the .7 cubic foot and 1.1 cubic foot models, I posed these question to "Zappos Queen":  
Have you ever heard of this brand?
Is there any reason not to get the smaller one?  It has to fit on the top of the refrigerator -- and I have to be able to get it up there.
The Queen responded in two separate emails.  First this:
No reason not to get smaller one.
Then this:
Was the best selling white microwave on amazon with 4 stars.
Don’t overthink just order and move on with your day.
To which I could only respond with this truly heartfelt message:
This is one of the 10,000 reasons I love you! 
By the time The Queen responded with a hearty LOL, I had already ordered the microwave and moved on with my day.

After all, I always do exactly what she tells me to do! ;-)