31 Days of Bullet Journal Joy

Another bonus entry for my bullet journal peeps! An instagram photo challenge for October.

For October! 31 Days of Bullet Journal Joy. #bulletjournal

A photo posted by Zoot (@bulletjournaljoy) on

1) monthly outlook What does your monthly page look like?

2) page you consult most Which page do you flip back to the most often?

3) fave writing implement Pen? Pencil? Fountain pen?

4) do you doodle? If so, let me see!

5) show me your index What does your index page look like?

6) how do you plan ahead? If you have an upcoming event without a monthly page yet…what do you do with it?

7) healthy habits Do you use your bullet journal to log food? Exercise? Meal plans?

8) when do you plan? Do you plan your next day at night before bed? Or in the morning over coffee?

9) bookworm Do you have a Books To Read list? Or Books I’ve Read? Or Book release dates of note?

10) gift giving Do you keep lists for gift ideas?

11) big project page Show me a big project you’re working on.

12) OOPS. What do you do when you mess something up? White out? Washi tape?

13) your professional life Do you bullet journal for work?

14) your personal life Do you bullet journal personal events?

15) show me your stash I want to see where you keep your supplies!

16) do you tab? What do you use tabs for? What kind do you like?

17) favorite journal Moleskine? Leuchtturm1917?

18) dots, grid, lines or blank?! What type of paper do you like?

19) stickers: yay or nay? Do you decorate your pages?

20) the mundane Grocery lists? Chore lists?

21) travel plans Do you plan trips with your bullet journal?

22) shelf of glory! Show me where the bullet journals go when they’re full!

23) want to washi? How do you use washi tape?

24) colors Do you use one color of ink per page? Do you like color at all?

25) keepsake pages Do you save things on your pages from events – like programs or movie tickets?

26) dear diary Do you write in your bullet journal about your day?

27) protecting the goods Do you have a cover of some sort?

28) to do Just your basic To Do list

29) wish lists Show me your wish list

30) hand lettering Do you hand letter anything?

31) how full is full? Show me a FULL bullet journal.

Running and Gender

I realized something this weekend spectating the Ironman…than this endurance community has really removed a lot of the natural boundaries of gender in my life. Because this community is also my social network, I have just as many male friends as I do female friends…and everyone else in my group could probably say the same. I don’t hang out with my friends and their husbands, I hang out with my friends and their spouses.

This popped into my head as I was eavesdropping on a conversation occurring next to me on Walnut Street bridge on Sunday. A woman and a family member were discussing this hobby of the woman’s husband and she said, “My friends just don’t get how he can leave our family for an entire Saturday to train but I don’t get mad about it. It does frustrate me sometimes, but he’s so good to us when he’s not training I feel like he deserves this Jack Time.”

(I guess his name was Jack. Or maybe his bike’s name was Jack?)

I thought about this for awhile because none of my friends would bring this up since they’re all in the same situation, ditching their families for an entire day for a race, or a training session. We all share stories with each other on how best to train for endurance events and still keep a hold on your role in your family. Men and women. I’ve gone on trail runs and bike rides (although not many of the later) where we discuss this very thing as husbands AND as wives. As Fathers AND as Mothers.

I also have a very equal view of capability. Yes…most race winners are men…but the women aren’t far behind them. And in terms of the people from Huntsville I was spectating on Sunday? The one who finished first was female. She blew my husband’s BEST Ironman time out of the water by almost an hour, and she’s several years older. When I’m thinking about the athletes locally who hold standards to which I could never achieve in terms of endurance or speed…it’s women AND men on the list. My female friends have done 100-milers and Ironman events as often as my male friends. And often they do better than my male friends.

It’s just interesting how I’ve built this network of friends using my running and tri community where my kids go to races and see plenty of women beat their SUPER fast Dad. They see men and women socializing together. They see badasses in both genders digging deep to finish amidst obscene amounts of pain.

There’s still the difference in that most of my female friends are trying to also balance more of the domestic responsibility alongside of training, just like with the rest of the world, but it’s just nice to look around my peer group on any given day and see almost as many men as women and all of us sharing something significant in common. It’s also great to have so many couple friends we see before a race and we honestly don’t know which one is racing the event. It’s conceivable that they both be doing it. It’s happened to us on the receiving end at races before, where our friends ask if we’re doing a race and we respond, “Nope…just here to spectate.”

I guess that’s just an unexpected perk of this social life I’ve built around my running and tri communities…that it’s allowed me to look at situations and be unable to make assumptions based on gender. You look at a couple outside the race world and you might assume the male is the bread winner and the woman is the caregiver. But when you are eating dinner out the night before an Ironman, you’ll see just as many men there to support their wives as you see women supporting their husbands. I saw several men-with-small-kids on the side of the road Sunday cheering for their wives. I saw boyfriends cheering for girlfriends. I saw women flying down the road past a dozen men to dig deep and finish ahead of them all. I saw women weaving around men on bikes and amateur women athletes jumping out of the water ahead of male pros.

Notice this pic from the brilliant Gregg Gelmis of We Run Huntsville…almost as many pink swim caps as green! (They do those because winners are divided by gender so it’s easy to tell in the water if someone might be in your competitive groups. And they all wear bright colored swim caps for safety reasons.)

It’s just an observation, but one I’m glad my kids are making as well, even if it’s in their subconscious. Wesley won’t grow up assuming he’s faster than all girls and Nikki won’t grow up assuming all boys will finish ahead of her, and I like this as a bonus of this life we’re living.

Why We Missed That Event For A Race

We had to miss TWO big family events this summer for races. Our second was this weekend for Donnie’s Ironman. As I thought of our family all gathered one state away for a wedding, I hoped they all understood the importance of this race of ours. It’s hard to tell sometimes with non-racers, if they get it. In our town there’s a 5K – quite literally – every weekend. And our town is small! I know from experience when people ask us questions about races that a lot of people don’t really separate a 5K from an Ironman, not if they have no experience with either. It’s all something about running or racing or swimming or something and I worry – do they think all races are the same?

We wouldn’t miss a wedding for a 5K, that much I assure you.

But I thought I’d write something about what goes into these type of endurance events, so that maybe others could understand why runners and triathletes miss important events for what might seem to be insignificant obligations.

  • Race registration is early and expensive. Donnie registered for his Ironman exactly 1 year ago and it cost about $700 with registration fees and USAT membership. So, one year ago we made our initial $700 commitment to this event and at that time, there was nothing else on the schedule. More often than not, our races are on the schedule before the event we’re missing, that’s how early registrations open up. And let me tell you, just signing up for a race is a brave thing to do, so that step right there – many months before training even begins – is a huge one.
  • Training costs money. Our other event that we missed this summer was a couples wedding shower for Donnie’s sister. I was very upset about missing it but I had my first Olympic Distance Triathlon that weekend and I had paid the $100 registration fee months earlier as well as paid $350 to join a 16-week coaching program. I had been training for almost 3 months before I learned there would be a conflict. That’s a huge investment of time, and another investment of money. Donnie hired a coach for both of his Ironmans and let’s just say – it was a little bit more than my training class. All of those dollars are worth it, but another part of the investment into these races that we choose over other events. If you don’t pay for coaching plans you pay for gear. Even just running events can cost hundreds of dollars in shoes and gear, but triathlons? Can cost thousands. Donnie had a lot of bike repairs this year. And Donnie’s set up is relatively inexpensive compared to most.
  • Training costs time. Hundreds of hours have been logged to train for some of these events. I was looking at 10 hours per week at least for my Olympic. Donnie did that JUST ON THE WEEKEND training for his Ironman. And for every hour of training we’re missing an hour of something else the rest of the world enjoys. Maybe it’s sleep. Maybe it’s family time. Maybe it’s another event that wasn’t that important but MAN, it would have been nice to attend. We make so many sacrifices for these races that to not do them means all of that was done in vain. And that would be a tough burden to carry.
  • The perfect event is only once a year. While 5Ks are every weekend, these endurance events we choose to do are only once a year. There may be a few similar events nearby but we chose the one we chose because it was perfect. There was another Olympic Distance triathlon 6 weeks after the one I chose, but it was a different kind of swim I didn’t feel confident about. And the one I chose went through my college town. I chose that one for a reason so another race of the same distance wouldn’t really work. There are other Ironmans but none within such an easy driving distance to a city we adore. We choose all of our races based on a series of conditions so – even if you know there’s one of a similar distance close on the calendar to the one we chose – there are bound to be other factors. I chose the 100K I chose because it’s on a greenway type course, and there are none other like that within driving distance of where I live. I chose my 12-hour run for the same reason, it’s local and there’s nothing else like it within a drive from our home. So, for all practical purposes? The races we choose are only once a year, so it’s not easily to switch up training halfway through for a different event. We’d have to stop and start over a year later.
  • A lot can happen in a year. “But this event you’re missing is only once in your LIFETIME.” And yes, it will. Luckily, for really important events (like Donnie’s sister’s wedding), we’re part of the decision process so we know PLENTY far enough in advance to avoid catastrophic scheduling issues. Because something of that level we’d obviously skip the race. But for cousin’s weddings and bridal showers, we’re not part of the process so we only find out a short time out and when we’ve already invested time and money and sacrificed hours of sleep and family time. And we could write off the investment and those sacrifices and just try again next year. But we have learned in our 6 years as a family doing these events, that a lot can happen in a year. Children are born, jobs are changes, families are relocated, injuries occur…many things could pop up to keep us from being able to do it next year. Our kid could join a club soccer team. Or maybe a different event will pop up on the calendar that day for next year, in advance. We many not have the time or the money next year, so throwing out all of the time and money spent this year is not a decision we could make lightly.

But it sucks. We really do hate it when it happens. It always dampers our race a bit to know the rest of our family is gathered elsewhere celebrating something we’d love to celebrate. Our immediate family has been on this journey enough with us long enough to understand, so we are confident they don’t pass judgement, but you never know about people a little further out from the loop. Are we the ones who “always miss stuff for races” at this point? Do people imagine us missing large gatherings for 5Ks? Do they understand the investment of time and money and the sacrifices we make in our lives to do these races?

I don’t know. I hope so. But if they don’t, maybe some day down the road they’ll make a decision to train for a marathon, or a triathlon, and maybe then they’ll remember how we missed that thing that time. And maybe then they’ll think, “Oh. Okay. Now I get it.”


How Do You Teach Responsibility?

I lost a LOT of stuff in my youth. I forgot my purse in classrooms so often in high school that they jokingly made me my own shelf in the Lost-n-Found cabinet. I lost a windbreaker I loved one time, never found it, and never told my Dad, and I STILL DREAM ABOUT THAT WINDBREAKER. I lost several things I did had to save up money to replace simply because I was terrified to tell my Dad because I LOST SO MUCH STUFF. This made him CRAZY and very angry many many times. I also locked my keys in my car about 50 times and locked myself out of my house half of a dozen times.

But…when he wasn’t angry about it, he had a very reasonable explanation for this: I had too many things on my mind at any given moment in time.

I guess I got out of this habit in my mid-20s. I still sometimes forget things but relatively speaking? I’m better. MUCH better.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t help me at ALL with Wesley who has chosen this year to be the year he demonstrates the same habits I had. Not a day has gone by this week where he’s not forgotten something at school. EVERY DAY something was left behind. EVERY DAY. And what he does bring home is chaotic and disorganized. He just crams papers in his bag if they even make it home. I had to return the same form to school THREE SEPARATE TIMES and even got a frustrated note from his teacher about how I hadn’t turned it in and he couldn’t tell me what had happened to ANY of the previous forms after I put them in the folder in his bag.

My question for the crowd is: How do you teach responsibility? Do you punish the child for forgetting things? Do you find some magic method to help him remember? How hard do you work at trying to conform the child to YOUR method of remembering v/s helping them find their own? What are some ways to help kids remember things? I NEED HELP PEOPLE. I’ve tried everything in every way and I can’t tell if anything is even remotely close to working.

Or do I just reassure myself that he’ll figure it out in about 20 years and make sure to never buy cars we can lock with the keys inside?

Trying Something New…

Hey guys – if you’re not one of my Bullet Journal crazies – just skip this entry…it’s just a bonus! HOWEVER, if you are, I’m trying something new. I always have done printable monthly pages for Moleskines and Leuchtturm1917’s (2015, 2016) but I do them horizontally as that’s how I use them. I thought I’d play around with a sheet that you could stick vertically. (Because someone once referred to that as the “right” way, even though in my world horizontally is the “right” way.) Simultaneously, I was playing around with printable bullet journal sized coloring sheets. So today! I’m posting bothing ideas on one page to see if anyone wants to print it and try it out. Or see if anyone thinks this might be useful. Click the picture for the PDF download.