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Tabula rasa, gratis [Dec. 13th, 2006|02:49 pm]
[Current Mood |excitedexcited]

I spotted them laying beside a secretary's desk, a haphazard pile. Neglected.

At first their numbers diminished, the natural attrition for which they were meant. Then it stopped.

Three days passed, and still they remained. Finally, I felt that enough time had passed.

I made the request sound as casual as possible. "Are those up for grabs?"

She shrugged. "Sure, take one."

I'm impressed with the fact that I avoided squeaks of delight as I scooped it up.

A 2007 daybook, promotional material from some vendor, fat with useless facts and figures, a set of month-per-page calendars at the front and week-per-two-page-spread calendars following. Spiral bound in navy faux leather, vendor information splayed across the cover. Not quite 8.5x11" but bigger than 5x7" - a heavy, awkward size.


I cannot explain why I love daybooks. I'm terrible at using them for very long - which is why I must be gleeful at this found object with its shabby appearance; I will not allow myself to give into the impulse to purchase one, but the longing continues throughout calendar season.

It's certainly not that I intend to use it to keep track of appointments - dear lord in heaven, no. I rely on a computer calendar for that; I would never have it with me when I needed it, it would not provide the handy email reminders or popups that my computer foists upon me. I've given up on daybooks as a form of organizer.

No, what they are good to me for is diaries. Not diaries like LJ, but diaries of my most mundane accomplishments. I like to write down that I have worked out that day, and that I spent time quilting, and what the weather was or if I did any work in the garden. I like them because they remind me that time passes, and that I can either have something to say about its passage or I can let it all slide by.

The problem, however, is that I do get busy and forget to write things down. Or - worse - I let too much time slide by without getting anything done and the book becomes a source of guilt. At which point it is silently abandoned.

And yet at the end of every year, when the new books emerge, I get excited. All those empty pages, representing a year of days in which I can do things - a year that is fresh and new and not used up and worn out.

When I had an actual DayTimer daybook, I would buy new pages for it, throwing out the old pages with extreme guilt at how barren they were. That guilt intimidated me, made it even harder to wade into the new pages. Each year abandonment came sooner, until at last I stopped buying pages at all. The DayTimer book brought a few bucks at a garage sale, and for the last 5 years or so I have resisted mightily against the temptation of picking up even cheap daybook type calendars.

But 2007's is free! It was just lying there, unloved and unnoticed. Maybe this year I will succeed in noting the mundane accomplishments of my life.

And if not, at least I'm not out any money.

[User Picture]From: l_l_u_w_d
2006-12-13 08:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, my. I know exactly what you mean, because I am the exact same way. I want one, need one, so bad, whenever they come out, and I have to restrain myself from buying one, the one with all the neat features, because I know that, even with the best of intentions, I will never, ever stick with it long enough to justify having the damn thing. Although, finding a new one, for free? I'd be all about that, too! Feed my craving, without having to be more the guilty feeling for it. Great timing and catch, that!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:07 pm (UTC)
I'm still delighted!
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[User Picture]From: heathrow
2006-12-13 08:06 pm (UTC)
I love organizers like that as well. I used to buy a new one every year from Franklin Covey when I was working in an office.

Now I have to wait until the post Christmas sales, and I buy one under $10. I always end up neglecting it by May, but the potential for organization and recording my world is there.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:08 pm (UTC)
It's always nice to know that I'm not alone in these impulses.
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[User Picture]From: blergeatkitty
2006-12-13 08:10 pm (UTC)
I got a free DayMinder weekly planner at work this year. It's one of those ones that you can use to plan your day in 15-minute intervals, like they use where I get my hair cut. I have giddy visions of micromanaging my time, drawing little boxes where it says "database updates" or "movies with Kip" or "new episode of Lost". I'm sure I'll have ditched the thing by February, but for now it makes me happy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:27 pm (UTC)
Yes! That's it exactly! Mine only has half-hour increments, which is probably better for my sanity.
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[User Picture]From: aboutlooking
2006-12-13 08:11 pm (UTC)
I do too.

This one was created by Nerissa Neilds:

Are you familiar with her music?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:29 pm (UTC)
No, I'm not.

And, once again, it's something I would pay for and then feel guilty about not using. Free is good! ;-)
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[User Picture]From: crystalrowan
2006-12-13 08:45 pm (UTC)
Heh - I worship and adore my DayTimer and I couldn't function at work without it. I don't use it for meetings/appointments either (outlook handles that for me and they change too frequently anyway).

Everyone thinks I'm so thorough because I never forget to follow-up on anything and they think that comes naturally.

However, if you were to take away my DayTimer it would be revealed that without extreme organizational skills, I would TOTALLY suck at any job requiring brain matter. I do the whole "write EVERYTHING down in my to-do list and keep transferring to the next day until it's done" thing.

I use an online planner (at the diet website I use) for all of my personal reminders and appointments and that's working out pretty well.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:55 pm (UTC)
See, I create calendar reminders on Outlook for those so that they nag me daily and then I move them forward.
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[User Picture]From: crystalrowan
2006-12-13 09:29 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I did that for awhile but I like being able to update my to-do list in meetings. Of course, Outlook's Task feature is REALLY neat for long-term projects because you can attach related emails and files, set reminders, due dates, status, etc. That's my other crack. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:56 pm (UTC)
I have one, but I never remember to use it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 08:56 pm (UTC)
And, yeah, I'm the same way about blank journals as well - I've disciplined myself to stop buying them because they stay blank.
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[User Picture]From: gieves
2006-12-13 09:22 pm (UTC)
I'm in the same boat! I like to put notable daily events and accomplishments, assignments, notes to myself and appointments in day planners until my motivation peters out. The months of blank pages mean that I don't buy them either. Fortunately, darlox was mailed a compact day planner by one of his various volunteer organizations and was making motions towards throwing it out as useless. I squealed with delight and pounced, making it my own. Of course, the thing is compact enough that I've already misplaced it...

(A Confession: I've kept some of my planners dating back to college for the way they neatly diarized my life.)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-13 10:03 pm (UTC)
I wish I had held onto some of the ones I had back when!

And good for you on the rescue!
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[User Picture]From: yndy
2006-12-13 09:34 pm (UTC)
I analyzed my own weird preoccupation with them a few years back as well... it's not like I really *use* them consistently - but there's something enticing about them that really can be summed up in the phrase "organize possibilities"...

Not unlike your post the other day - I have issues with self-imposed structure - too much leeway and I get nothing done.
But a datebook represents structure out of chaos.

5 cents says you do the same thing I do and use INK in them instead of pencil... :)

Yay for you on the cool schwag score!! :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-14 01:07 am (UTC)
Yup. Of course ink! I came home and immediately danced around the livingroom with it!
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[User Picture]From: daemonnoire
2006-12-13 09:37 pm (UTC)
I have this teeny little planner that I keep in my purse. I rarely write anything but doctor's appointments in it, so I don't need much room, and it winds up being a place to jot down notes more often than not, but because it's so small and cheap, I don't feel bad about not filling it up. My coworkers think I'm odd for getting the much smaller daily calendar for my desk, but again, small = less guilt about forgetting to write things in it. It's a good compromise and it makes me happy to have something so small and tidy.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-14 01:09 am (UTC)
Alas, small would not make any difference - I've tried. As I said, the desire is illogical, since I don't use them, so the reward of "free" is high.
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[User Picture]From: jenni_the_odd
2006-12-13 10:52 pm (UTC)
I use planners to organize the life I cannot seem to lead.

Look in my planner, and you'll see the life I'd be living if I didn't collapse, exhausted, after spending seven hours at school. If traffic didn't put me an hour behind schedule because someone decided to learn to drive with their eyes shut on the freeway. If I didn't run out of time to cook healthy meals instead of grabbing a sandwich somewhere. If I didn't answer the phone and spend an hour talking to a friend. If I didn't wake up to "Surprise, we're having a party, now help me clean the house and cook" from my mother. If I didn't come home to my brother and four other people playing music too loud for me to handle in the same room as the exercise equipment.

It's a neat, well-organized life. Full of carefully planned study sessions, a healthy diet, exercise, and a full night's sleep.
It is nothing, however, like my actual life.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-14 01:10 am (UTC)
You have made me giggle. For, lo, I to have such a life. Somewhere.
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[User Picture]From: zianuray
2006-12-14 08:58 am (UTC)
I'm trying the one from 7th House this year -- the page-a-day -- I keep notes of what sold where and for how much, when I need to reserve a table by, what hours I worked at the factory (lotta ten-hour days here lately), whose birthday is coming up, did I mail this package....

And I keep the used-up ones from previous years in binders on a shelf. If I'm ever accused of sometrhing, I can probably go back to one of those books and say "I was in Muskogee that weekend!" or "No, we had to cancel the trip to KC, wasn't there!"

I wonder if they'd be allowed as evidence/backup testimony....Hmmm.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-14 10:41 am (UTC)
An attorney could get it in, yes. The weight of it (whether it was considered believable) would be a question for the trier of fact (the jury, in a jury trial).
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[User Picture]From: dweezel
2006-12-17 03:40 pm (UTC)
I use Outlook for my appointments at work as well. I also have a full size desk calendar that I write everything on, a calendar by my front door at home and a Day Planner. And I need all of them.

And if you need a wall calendar with some adorable animals or nice scenic pictures, I have 23. I little gift from all the animal and environmental groups that would like me to send them money. I'm using them for Christmas gifts. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-17 05:47 pm (UTC)
I love scenic calendars!
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[User Picture]From: forestmaster
2006-12-28 07:14 pm (UTC)
Ok... I was browsing my friends page and Ferret linked to some of your wit and wisdom again and I'm adding you to my friends list... I also like a lot of your icons :)

I don't know you guys, but I do read HotS and even click to vote on the webcomic thing from time to time :)

Also from the midwest, I keep a calendar/diary of sorts similar to what you're describing here, also watch little to no TV, etc...

So... just wanted to say hi in case you noticed that I added you and wondered who the heck I was... [/return to lurk mode]
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-12-28 08:01 pm (UTC)
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