Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Personal notes

Those who know me know that I am in general, a very easy going person. Professionally, I am calm, collected and on a personal level pretty low key. However, one of the few things I am a stickler about is my agenda/planner/calendar/book. For the past four years I have been using what I would consider the perfect book by Quo Vadis, the Monthly 4. Slim, but with substantial sized pages, the book starts from July and goes to the next December (18 month) which is perfect for my profession where the high season is the summer. The best part is that you can see the entire month over a two page spread.

August is the time I always go to Midoco to pick up the next year's book. Only this time they "didn't order it", as I was smugly informed by the store manager. You are dead to me Midoco. I called the list of suppliers close to me and only the U of T bookstore carried it, but with the school logo emblazoned on the cover (no thanks, that part of my life is behind me!). Fred suggested that maybe I would find something better. So with that in mind I braved the tourist crowds at the Eaton Centre to scour through the shelves of Indigo and Grand & Toy.

Here is what I (just call me Goldilocks) have found in my unintentional field research: month-at-a-glance books exist as giant desktop-use-only versions or tiny pocket book sizes. Books with a day-to-a-page (thought that might be cool to have a dated to-do list kept in one place) rarely include month-calendars, and when they do, they are arranged in a crazy vertical scheme a la Moleskin journals (very beautiful books, just not organized for me). Books with a-week-at-a-glance only sometimes include a month overview page - and when they do the book is either ugly, printed on cheap paper that would bleed ink, the lines are too dark (how could you possibly write in pencil on that?), or only go July - July.

I finally found something at the Essence du Papier store on the main floor of Sears. It is organized with a month calendar followed by a week at a glance, nice colours, subtly coloured lines and best of all, the days are not partitioned in obnoxious half hour blocks that end at 6 p.m. It is not designed for students, artists, executives, teachers, professors or ministers, but for MOMS. (I am not a mother). I think I can live with the MomAgenda logo that is subtly emblazoned on the stylish chocolate brown stain-resistant satin cover and I suppose where it says 'kids' I can just replace it with 'clients', or 'prospects'. Oh, and it cost $50 after tax. A fair bit more than the $12 I used to shell out.

It is still in its shrink wrap and I haven't thrown out the receipt. If I stick with it I will be sure to review it here.


Speaking of reviews, I have been meaning to write something up on the newly published novel, "Falling Under" written by my talented friend and neighbour Danielle Younge-Ullman.

Danielle was kind enough to pass an advance copy to me with the condition to review it and talk it up. I was so excited, and then so captivated by the writing that I blazed through the book in one sitting (taking a break for meals of course). Then I was stumped with the task of writing a review. It got harder as the weeks have passed after the official release of the book (July 29) and I saw more and more reviews basically saying exactly what I would've liked to have said about the book (captivating), the writing (raw and edgy), the main character (wryly funny) and the author (brave, talented, etc). Hearing Danielle read from "Falling Under" at her book launch party last week was no help either - it just further confirmed my suspicions that my neighbour is not only a great story-teller, but also a gutsy actor (this fact was also written about several times by her fellow debutants at the Debutant Ball.

So I guess I will just have to fall back to my blogging crutch of using pictures instead of words and tell you about this nice photo of Danielle.

This was from a totally impromtu photo session we cobbled together when Danielle realized she needed an updated high resolution photo of herself in time for a deadline that evening. I had a tightly scheduled day and was on my way out for a quick errand. "Thirty minutes from now, I'll be back, you put on your makeup, we'll meet on the porch" (we live on opposite sides of a semi-detached). And voila. Danielle was a great model and we played with different expressions and angles. The dark background is actually the porch belonging to our neighbour on the other side.

Well, I guess I can cross something else off my to-do list. Maybe it is time to crack into that MomAgenda!

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At 9:23 PM, Blogger Danielle Younge-Ullman said...

Jing! How is it I didn't know you were blogging? I bet you told me and I was just in a book-launch haze. Love the blog and very much appreciate the mention!


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