Wherefore Art Thou, Pens?

While shopping last week, I decided to buy myself a notebook.

I like notebooks, and in my professional life they were an integral part of how I organized my time. I would take time at the end of each work day to consider my tasks and would write out a "To-Do" list.  The next morning, after reviewing my email, messages, and meeting commitments, I would prioritize my list and set to work crossing items off.  Throughout the day I would make notes on the pages after my daily list, and then start the process all over again at the end of the day.  If a page of notes was of particular importance, I would use a page marker so that I could easily locate the information in the future.  Colour coding was VERY important to me, both in terms of labels and ink colours. In addition, whenever possible, I liked to use a dry erase calendar to have a visual map of the month ahead.  Nothing new or ground-breaking in my method, but it worked well for me.  And so, I have decided to apply this system to organizing my days in our new life, in conjunction with a new dry erase calendar on my fridge.  My husband has been away for 3 weeks, and I got bored.  Nonetheless, I think he will be very impressed with how much more organized our home and activities will be.

Now that I've left no doubt as to what a huge nerd I am, I'll return to the notebook.  I found a very pretty one with a large pink abstract flower on the cover.  It has a sleeve / folder, perforated sheets, and most importantly, a coil.  I was all set. I waited until Monday to start my new system.  With the first, fresh sheet of paper in front of me, I reached for my pen and wrote my first list.

A bit about this pen.  Several years ago, when we were still in university, we discovered a range of disposable fountain pens.  We adored these pens and used them for many years, until the office supply shop we purchased them at closed.  We didn't see them for several years.  A few months ago, on a lark, I mentioned the pens at our local office supply shop, and they were able to locate them.  We ordered six and split them between us.  I am down to my last pen.  I was confident that this pen was new, and so I made my list, imagining that all my lists would be written with the same ink.

As the day went by, I crossed items off the list with a red pen.  At the end of the day I decided that I didn't like the look of the "cross-outs" and that going forward I would "check" items off my list.  I promise I didn't rip out the list and rewrite it!  I picked up my fountain pen to start writing the next day's list, and quickly realized that the pen was bone dry.

Bother!  I quickly searched for another; I didn't remember using up the other 2 pens, so surely they must be around somewhere?  I rooted through drawers, purses, and desks, and came up with nothing.  Sigh.  But no matter, I had another favorite pen.  This is a pen I never have difficulty locating in stores, it's a good old fashioned Papermate stick pen, blue ink, medium tip.  A pen I watched my Aunt Irene use for many years, it's nostalgic and reliable.  I knew I had one in my craft room.  Off I went to retrieve it.  I wrote up Tuesday's list and went off to bed.

The next day I got up and got ready to tackle the list.  Of course, as the day progressed, there were more items to add, and it was as I was adding a note to check my husband's uniforms that my faithful old Papermate  scratched to a halt.  No.  It couldn't be.  I knew from my previous rummages that all the pens in the house were now housed in the pen cup that was in front of me. This flummoxed me.  We both buy pens by the case, as if they were going out of style.  However, at this time there were only three pens left in our house.  One was a Very Nice Pen that my husband gave me when he was buying pens for himself (he likes a nice pen, as a writer he is very particular, and when he finds a good one he buys a few and gives me one, so I'll have a nice pen too.).  But the ink in this Very Nice Pen was black, and that wouldn't do.  I moved on to the next two.  They were both from hotels; one side effect of driving across the country is that you end up with a lot of free pens from hotels.  I was immediately cheered when I read the familiar word "Papermate" on each cap. Excellent!    I uncapped one and started writing, and....black ink.  Blast!  The writing on the pen was blue!  It's just plain mis-leading to put black ink in a pen with a blue logo!!!  I tried the last pen, and of course, it had black ink.

Sighing, I put the hotel pens back in the cup and picked up the Very Nice Pen.  I turned to another list I'd started of "Items to Buy" and made a note, in black ink, "Pens."

Grumble, grumble, grumble.  The system had never failed me before. But it had one more little trick up it's sleeve.  Remember my enthusiasm over the coil?  The reason for that is that I like to have my notebook folded over so that just the day's list is showing.  Because I am Being Green, I am writing on both sides of the paper, and on the opposite side of today's list was the shopping list I had started with my fountain pen.  Towards the end of the day, as I was preparing to write tomorrow's list, I picked my book up from the counter where it lives during the day and carried it over to the table.  I opened it up to consult the shopping list and gasped; where once there was a neat list of dried goods and sundries was now a black and yellow blob of ink.  Fountain pen ink, to be exact.  In my enthusiasm I had forgotten that fountain ink is not water proof and was perhaps not the best choice of ink for a book that was going to live in a kitchen.  I took a closer look to see if I could still read the list and realized that, while it would still need to be re-written, it was not completely obliterated. In fact, there was one word that wasn't smeared or faded at all.  It stood out from the page, as clear and true as when it had been written in clear, black, water proof ink:



  1. Staedler stick, medium point, blue; my all time favourite. Nothing flows like it. Not to be confused with the horrible Staedler stick FINE, which stalls like crazy. You will be delighten to know, my good friend, the Staedler stick medium blue, is also available at Pyramid. I encourage you to give it a try.

  2. I laughed out loud when I read "I promise I didn't rip out the list and rewrite it"...because that's so me! Psychologists say we are supposed to feel satisfied and proud of our accomplishments when we see items crossed out/checked off...but it looks so messy!

    As for the pens...well, I've never given them as much thought as you certainly have, although I am not at all a fan of blue. Black's more my thing, and I'm a teacher, so I use a lot of red. However, I've heard that for kids' self-esteem we should be moving away from a colour with such negative connotations for students...it's always something!

    Hope you can come over and visit me at This Mom Loves!


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