Working Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Okay, people, it’s the start of a new (school) year, so we need to get working on that school supply thing. You’re not in school any more? I don’t see your point. THERE ARE SCHOOL SUPPLIES OUT THERE ON SALE. Get to work.

Other than the need to acquire new pens, paper, binder, paper clips, binder clips, folders, pencils, organizers, paint, chalk, brushes, canvas, rulers, protractors, calculators, backpacks, tablets . . .

Where was I? Oh, right, what else did you do this week?

62 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, September 1, 2021

  1. While cleaning out the jelly cabinet last night I found reams of paper, both lined and graph. Boxes of pens. A nifty pencil bag that is big enough to hold your sandwich along with all the pens you could ever need. Two boxes of pencils.

    I struck the school supply mother load.

    Anyone need anything?

      1. Nope. No Jelly. School supplies, two sets of hot rollers, blood pressure cuff, expired cold medicine mostly. Oh and a blanket that was a wedding present that I’m going to get out and use now. (Not celebrating the defunct wedding but the person who gifted it.)

        Travel sizes of all the bits I don’t use – as in the shampoo and body washes have all been used up, but the conditioner is sitting waiting to be used. A fancy name-brand bag full of old extension cords. (who’s logo has a big gold C? I’ve forgotten.)

        Twenty years worth of junk and a couple of lovely surprises.

    1. I’ve googled, and I’m nine the wiser! What defines a jelly cabinet?!

      (In my world, jelly is a wobbly gelatine based dessert, jellies are clear plastic shoes that were fashionable in the 80s)

      Is a pencil bag the same as a pencil case?

      1. In American, a jelly is like jam, except just made out of juice and pectin, no solid fruit, and it’s spread on toast and the like, just like jam. Sort of like jello, except softer, spreadable, not as rubbery. A jelly cabinet (sometimes a jelly cupboard) is a small, freestanding cabinet for holding preserves generally. Sort of like a pie safe is used for holding pies (or does that raise more questions?)

        1. US usage:

          Jelly is fruit juice, sugar, and pectin.
          Jam is fruit juice plus solid bits, sugar, and pectin.
          Gelatin, or Jell-o, the brand name, is gelatin, fruit flavoring, sweetener (sugar or artificial sweetener), possibly with other stuff added, such as fruit pieces, often chilled in a fancy mold.
          Questionable gelatin dishes may include vegetables and/or mayonnaise.
          And then there’s glow-in-the-dark gelatin . . . .

          1. Knox is still a popular brand of gelatin in the US; I mention it because of Ruth Knox, an impressive woman entrepreneur. In 1890 she and her husband Charles put all their money into the gelatin business. Charles’ success was as a showman type salesman. After his death in 1908, Ruth took over and changed the marketing tactics to interest women in cooking with gelatin. Ruth wrote a cookbook and enlisted nutritionists in studying the health aspects of gelatin. She was part of the movement to teach women that they were the backbone of their families. Ruth Knox was also known for her fair treatment of employees. Her company was incredibly successful, and she was both the first woman member and the first woman director of the American Grocery Manufacturers’ Association.

            I think of Ruth when I pop a spoonful of Ambrosia Salad into my mouth: marshmallows, peaches, sugar, and gelatin. Yum. Then I remember that gelatineis made from tannery waste.

        2. Huh. Makes perfect sense to find the stationary there then (she says, side-eying the sideboard full of craft supplies and board games).

  2. I just got a fabric pencil bag that can stand on it’s own and is made of corduroy and canvas.

    Plus a new laptop backpack is on its way. It can also stand on its own.

    I love bags that I can open fully at the top and that have some structure. I like to pack things standing vertically in the bag, so I can see at a glance where everything is and just reach in to get what I need. It’s a small thing that provides a lot of satisfaction to me. I hate rummaging through bags.

    1. Have you seen these:

      They’re for food, not pencils, but they open at the top and stand up. I got some that do NOT stand up, and while they’re fine, I think I’d be better off with these because of the standing up, which I didn’t realize at the time was something I craved.

  3. Well, yesterday I FINISHED THE GHOSTWRITING PROJECT THAT WOULD NEVER END. I have never dragged myself so hard to a finish line. Luckily the client has been very forgiving. Pro-tip: Don’t take on additional freelance work during a cross country move while starting a new office job.

    Today is my actual first day of grad school — eek! So the back to school feeling is a little more literal than usual. I think I’m going to celebrate with extra book purchases when I go to the bookstore today to pick up the books from my reading list. Like Helen Hoang and Sonali Dev’s newest books.

    I also have my first meeting with my first year writing advisor today, so that’s exciting and a little scary. Now if only this muggy summer rain would let up and give us some well deserved fall crispness. It’s September, damn it!

  4. I went to Spirit Halloween yesterday and bought a black mesh table cloth and mantel thing with ravens on it. And a table runner with sun and moon. That was fun.

  5. Oh, I also bought a Hobbit cookbook and am desperately trying to stock my etsy shops for the holiday season. The goal is 500 listings each for both the handmade and vintage shops. So far I am at 340 and 360 respectively. I probably won’t make it, but it is good to have goals.

  6. What is it about pens and paper and notebooks and folders that gets me excited? I know other writers share this feeling, but do other people?

    On another note…Today is the release day for my small-town contemporary romance, Wilde Temptation. (The one you all helped me tweak the blurb) Jenny – would it be okay to post the blurb and a buy link?

    1. Yes. Not a writer, per se, but I love pens. I could roam the pen aisle at Staples happily content for a hour!

  7. I just discovered Blackwing 602 pencils. Swoon. In addition to wonderful not-too-soft, not-too-hard lead, they have replaceable erasers. All that, and this slogan embossed near the ferrule: “Half the pressure, twice the speed.”

  8. I did an experiment with mosaic crochet and made a little purse / bag / zippered container of whatever you like (including pens! or pencils)

    You start off with the tricky bit – sewing a starter row onto the zipper itself. Afterwards, it just practically makes itself.

    1. That’s neat. The ones I’ve seen you just crocheted a flat piece and when it was finished sewed it onto the zipper and sewed up the sides.

  9. Well, I’ll just talk about stationery too, and admit I’m a Fountain Pen Geek, uh, Aficionado.

    I can’t tell you (because I don’t know) how many pens I have bought, inherited, rescued, held onto since high school, or just happened upon (I swear they’re breeding). Plus, of course, cartridges, reservoirs, pumps. And yes, ink. My ink of choice at the moment is a bottle of teal ink from Diamine, in Liverpool.

    Best modern fountain pen for price and practicality? Lamy Safari.

    1. Susan, me too 🙂 I love, love, love fountain pens!!
      And I love stationary and school supplies!!

      These days though I try to concentrate on getting sustainable supplies…

      Fountain pens are the beginner pen after the pencil at elementary schools here – dear son had a Lamy beginner pen (wooden grip, nice nib) which the daughter inherited in grade 5 when his hands got too big – it had the most perfectly written-in nib. Sadly it was stolen soon after she fell in love with it. The son now uses a Lamy (can’t remember if All-Star or Safari) with a nib fine enough that his writing is still intelligible even though to his handwriting is quite narrow and delicate.

      Sadly dd nowadays prefers ball pens but the long composition exercises are yet to come at school so I hope she’ll rediscover how easy fountain pens can be on your hand. In grammar school I specifically went shopping at a good shop for a pen as soft as possible because in my esp. language classes I tended to write looong pieces and the hand hurt! I fondly remember the Rotring Art Pen nib M I got there – no more cramped muscles in the hand. In those last two years of grammar school I almost exhausted the poor pen… my poor, poor language and history teachers took.

      Very early on in my time abroad at Durham uni I’d found a non descriptive black WH Smith fountain pen with a gloriously soft nib even though the body is slightly too narrow to comfortably write 30+ pages non-stop. But it’s fine enough a nib that my writing on narrow ruled paper (brought back from UK as this is not commonly found here) is still legible. After 25+ years this pen still works as fine as ever…. and only when I looked closely and tried to find info about the brand or else I saw that it was made in my own country…

      For ink I prefer the standard royal blue ink that’s still mandatory in a lot of schools. With fountain pens being such a common writing tool at school, kids somehow never learn the proper way to care for the pens and nibs, they are just in constant use. But when you don’t use it regularly, and like ink in other colours than blue esp. black, the ink can clot and ruin the nib. I learnt it the wrong way only after ruining my second Rotring Art Pen…

      Nowadays, I’m totally in love with my Brevieller’s calligraphy pen (a treasure find on it comes with three different nibs in the front body (or however this bit is called) and the 1,1 mm nib is great for all kinds of writing, at least with my handwriting which is not overly delicate. The ink is flowing onto the page, it’s just lovely.

      Back to school supply shopping is quite nice, too, especially now that I don’t have to get a huge list of things and with the kids doing their shopping mostly themselves. But we’ve agreed on making an extra effort to keep to sustainable options – no more plastic covers for books and booklets (books are mainly loans by the school) but paper. Or sewed ones… I tried my hand at textile covers and though it took me too long, but they hold up so well, I’ll have to do some more.

      School stuff reminds me: I remember hearing about certain pencils in Buffy, years ago: Is it really true that exams and tests have to be written with a specific type of pencil in the US? Or with a pencil at all?

      1. Machine-graded tests have to be done with a No. 2 pencil. The bubble that you fill in next to the correct answer must be completely blocked with the right light-obscuring substance or the machine will not see it. Or this was true when I last took one of those tests back in 1985.

        Nowadays, when I vote on a paper ballot, the precinct supplies pencils, but you can also use black or dark blue pens.

      2. If a test is multiple choice where the test taker marks a preprinted sheet and the test will be mechanically read, then the test will require that whatever writing instrument is used must be one the reader can recognize. Traditionally — when I was taking those tests back in the Dark Ages — that was a #2 or darker pencil, because a harder lead wouldn’t mark darkly enough to be reliably read by the scanner.
        a b c d
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        1. Very interesting – thanks Ann and Mary Ann!

          Are many test done as multiple choice ones?

          Here in Bavaria I’ve never ever come across a multiple choice exam at school (though I only know about elementary and grammar schools).
          Instead, a big emphasis is put on explaining and demonstrating that you’ve understood the topic. The ministry even made natural science (physics and maths) into subjects where you first had to understand the text in order to then apply your knowledge and simply do the calculation. Not always easy even for mother tongues with a good grasp of language. Makes it more difficult for those kids with a brain wired more to numbers than to text…

          So pencils are a no-no for test-taking and exams, so ensure that what the pupil has written is the text that gets graded and nothing can get altered after the pupil get’s it back 😉

          I’ve also never come across mechanical help for grading. But it makes sense to use one for pre-printed multiple choice tests.

          At uni, my husband tells me this kind of test taking is not unheard of in some study programs (like pharmaceutical studies, some parts of medicine).

          Dear son thinks it’s easier to do a mc test well, but I’m not so sure. It depends on how the question is phrased. With the chance to describe sth, it’s possible to show you understood the subject. When you get confused by the phrasing, it’s easier to fill in the wrong spot or so it seems to me.

          In the Humanities (I studied langauges and History) that kind of exam surely doesn’t seem suitable.
          Well, for the community college/continued education courses, the placement test was a multiple choice one and the machine did all the evaluation…

  10. There’s a message on the answering machine that the boss needs me to work second shift again today because reasons. I am a cranky old man who will quietly retire next year because of days like this. I am grateful to be employed, but not to the point of covering for other prisons when they haven’t hired to fill their manpower requirements. So, I’m working for Working Wednesday.

    On a positive note, I’m happy with the diet. Today, on Not An Official Weigh-In Day, the scales said “257.2” in a firm clock-font.

  11. It’s the third term here. Were doing assessments. What a waste of time. Setting, typing, copying 80 copies, collating, stapling, administering, marking, assigning marks. Meh.

    The anti-anxiety meds are obviously working. Because I’m getting it all done without feeling like I’m doomed to a life of neverending paperwork drudgery.

    1. Hooray for you! Any time you can triumph over never ending paperwork is a definite win in my book.

  12. I finished Camelot on Sunday, followed by taking down the set. Then half the cast had to do Mary Poppins rehearsals that night after all of this. Good lord.

    I still don’t have covid despite the definite exposure on the first week of the show and a possible exposure the second weekend (someone in the orchestra). Huzzah.

    However, I went in there yesterday to pick up a DVD of the show and got randomly asked to do the light board for Mary Poppins. Why I said yes to this, I have no idea 😛 They were all “It’s not that hard! We don’t yell!” So I guess that is my next play, more or less.

    As for work, I have to go back to the office tomorrow :/ They’re only making us go in once a week for the first 3 weeks of September (starting today) and then twice a week after that.

  13. Rain, rain, rain. Getting hit with the remnants of Ida. That means no yardwork for today and tomorrow. And that I’ll finally be forced to sort through all the paper that has accumulated the past few months. Lots of shredding to do.

    Pixie went to the vet yesterday for a shot because she’s Lyme positive. One more Lyme shot, a distemper vaccine, a dental and I’ll be able to adopt her. She’s bored today because the squirrels won’t come out and play with her.

    Time for another cup of coffee.

  14. Two weeks to Freshers week, … I am planning to do the absolute minimum until then.
    It’s difficult to plan anything anyway as many things are still very much up in the air as to how we are going to deliver teaching at my University.

  15. I was feeling very productive because I managed to submit the online paperwork for my public aid without going out to the suburbs to use my sister’s fax machine. I was already on public transportation on my way out to the suburbs when a social worker I had called yesterday called me back and said she would help me fax the stuff in from her office. I got off the train and walked to her office, only to discover that I couldn’t remember where I had carefully placed the paper on which I had written the fax number. I couldn’t get to sleep last night because I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get my paperwork in before they close down the computer system for scheduled maintenance which would mean no medicaid in October. Fortunately, I discovered where I had put the number “for safekeeping” before I left her office and she was able to fax the stuff in and give me proof that the fax went through. Unfortunately, I heard the social worker tell one of the other residents that the State was running about 2 weeks behind in processing public aid and that was before they went offline until the 7th .
    I also emailed my SIL in France last night telling her that I was unable to read the article she sent me regarding travel restrictions in France and could she resend it. This time she sent me a link to the agency that issues the internal travel passes. I started the application, but it requires a copy of both your ticket and your passport. That means I need a scanner which means I should have gone out to my sister’s house in the first place. And that means that I have to decide now about extending my trip. I have a feeling that the trip to Scotland and meeting my brother’s friend is out.

      1. I was thinking that.
        You can get some great scanning apps which will pdf your document automatically and you can email yourself the pdf.
        I use turboscan. It changed my life. I haven’t used a scanner since!

        1. if you live in the US you can take documents to any UPS store and they will scan them for you and even email them for a small fee..

          1. Does the for free cover the cost of getting to your sister’s? My husband always wants me consider transportation costs as part of the total cost. OTOH you won’t see your sister at the library, office supply store or Kinko’s.

  16. My neighborhood was collecting school supplies for kids last week so i had fun getting pencils, glue (2 kinds), paper, notebooks and more! my only problem was i couldn’t find book bags – guess they were sold out.

    I also got a needy letter from my school district asking me to come back to do kindergarten testing – in person.

    And I gave my granddaughter a 12 pack of very pretty pencils for her birthday and she texted me to ask if they were No. 2 (or else!! or she couldn’t use at school!!). No thank you. hmmm. then i got a written TY yesterday.

    School testing for kids. It’s back.

  17. I’m still really tired. Have been trying to paint the breezeblock garden shed alongside work, but it’s challenging. Especially given the damp grey weather. Am getting on with all the editing. Really hoping the day job will slow down a bit in another couple of weeks, when I’ve finished all the initial editing.

    I do wish I could retire. The job’s interesting, and I like the people, but I don’t like being so tired, and not having time for my own projects.

  18. I finally got all the flooring (except for our bedroom) pulled up. On Monday night (hopped up on caffeine and sugar) I finished the second spare room and got a bunch of it hauled out to the garage then I was up early Tuesday morning putting stuff from the first spare room into the second and started working on the trim. I was working on that when Paul came home. He loaded the flooring into the truck while I pulled up the rest and then we had a break because the dump doesn’t open until 11 on Tuesdays. We took the first load down and one of Paul’s co-workers was there with his teenage sons and they helped us unload (yay!). We went for lunch and then took a second load to the dump, no helpers this time, and then I went to work.

    Today we had dentist appointments and then went for lunch at a new restaurant. The service was a bit slow but the food was really good.

    Tomorrow is just the day job which will be nice for a change.

    The weekend will be busy with getting some projects done like finishing painting the bench now that I have more room to work and don’t have to worry about any paint drips and getting the bedrooms back in order because we are having company in 2 weeks.

  19. Feeling a bit…upside-down on the work front. Tearing out the floors Saturday together with MIL was great, but now I’m just waiting for the new floors to be laid.

    My main reason for hopping in here was to remind you all that you are wonderful people, and that every little victory and small piece of work counts. (Yes, getting out of bed counts, as does taking a shower, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, facing the day head on, or even just opening your curtains to the world outside.) You’re a fighter, and you are important and you matter.

    Hope your September got off to a great start.

  20. Been back to work for just about a week after the holidays and the Mount Everest of workload is making me tired. Had a lot to prepare for today’s big meeting which went well. Now the minutes and a newsletter and and and.

    At least the weather decided to bring back a bit of summer. It poured and poured for the last days. The Therme not far away was flooded as were quite a number of houses in a city north of mine.
    I so long for the sun to stay some more. At least for the rest of the school holidays. It’s nicer to enjoy the outdoors instead of being holed up inside.
    Plus I love to cycle to work.

  21. Excellent new to me word: spuddle. It means to be very busy while acheiving little.

    Have also wasted a good 10 minutes on a very fun discussion – those of you who FB and like KJ Charles, there’s a very fun discussion over on the KJ Charles chat group about arsehole mcs.

    I’ve been working, homeschooling, baking, and none of it properly.

  22. (1) (Dis)Continuing Ed cancelled the class today, so I am without class until at least spring, though some might say I have no class regardless. (And of 30 sessions I’ve signed on for in the past three years, they’ve cancelled 14. I am not optimistic about Spring.)
    (2) For those of us who hit the thrift shop circuit, the search for colored pencils, sketchbooks, cheap plastic two-pocket three-prong binders and matching little zipper pouches has no season. In fact, this is the BAD time of the year, because supplies keep getting scarfed up by parents who haven’t figured out yet that the schools don’t care about most of the items on the list. Fortunately, most of those supplies will be back in the stores before Christmas.
    (3) And you know you’re wrapped several turns too tight when you start worrying about matching the color of the zipper pouch with the color of the cheap plastic binder.

    I think life was easier before I retired. I’d be dead by now, of course, but still…

    1. I also found that half the time I’d sign up for a Continuing Education class and there wouldn’t have been enough students for the class to continue. I suppose it’s having weird special interests.

  23. Haven’t really accomplished much in the past week – another 4000 words on the WIP novel, which has taken me nearly to 54000, and I have the shape of the next few scenes in my mind; and I threw some possible cover photos at my designer; so that’s not nothing, I guess.

    Also found photos for a novel that’s been complete for a while but the cover image was a capital P Problem. Partly because I had my head stuck on featuring one of the two MCs, when apparently I should have been thinking about the other one. Because I was browsing my favorite photographer’s uploads and caught on an image and thought ‘huh, could that be … Victor?’ Found another image with the same model, sent them off to my designer, now waiting to see what she can do.

    Day job has been in a low-demand cycle which means I’ve been able to make serious progress with some of the pesky housekeeping that always gets pushed to the side when there are Deadlines. If this continues another two weeks, I might get *all* that crap done.

  24. Today was haircut day, and I dragged my brother with me, so neither of us will scare small children for a couple of months. The scheduled appointment is for 12:30 and naturally Mr. Gregg had gone to lunch twenty minutes away, having forgotten to look at his appointment book.

    AND, while we were driving over, my cell rang and it was someone at the bank about one of my ladies’ organizations (new slate of officers with a new treasurer; paperwork required). He wanted a copy of my driver’s license. Happily, I had taken a picture of it with the smartphone — Real ID license finally arrived! — but naturally the file is too big to attach to an iPhone email message (but can attach to a text message, go figure). I actually managed this, but couldn’t complete his phone interview because we were waiting outside the salon on a Very Busy Street and the traffic noise did me in. However, I reached him once we were home and told him about the approximate fiscal habits of the organization and the national society’s web page URL. Best part was that I was able to do all of this online or by phone; didn’t have to go in.

    So I think we’re good. Other good news, Covid has made the national society put everything online. I’ve kept spreadsheets for thirty years, but may be able to give them up in favor of checking online as needed.

  25. I’m juggling both jobs this fortnight, so all my work has been work-work. Our lockdown has been extended by two more weeks, so not getting paid from the second job for a while won’t be as much of an issue as it could’ve been. (Apparently it takes FIVE WEEKS for new employees to make it into the payroll system! Public service is for the birds.)

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