40th Birthday Journal Entry

I turn 40 tomorrow. Yesterday, I spent the whole day with my family, sharing a simple celebration. I felt that the way we celebrate my birthday was exactly how I wanted it because it’s so me. Simple and no-frills. Honestly, as long as I’m surrounded  by the people I love, I’d be happy with anything. I have much to write about turning 40, so I kept my art page to also a simple food doodle (foodle?) about all the unhealthy things we ate haha.

Children of Crisis

Today’s journal entry is about this book that I just recently started reading, Children of Crisis. This series of books is a social study of children in the United States written by child psychiatrist Robert Coles. The first few chapters focus on Ruby Bridges and talks about how children adapt to extreme changes in their environment. He wrote about Ruby’s drawings and his conversations with her and  her parents. Ruby Bridges, at the age of 6, was the first child to desegragate the all-white  William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana. Her parents did not expect such opposition towards a little girl going to school, and certainly did not expect that she would be alone in there due to the boycott.

I’ve only read a few chapters but it’s a very interesting and insightful read. I can’t wait to read more.

Each and every one of us is born with a clean heart. Our babies know nothing about hate or racism. But soon they begin to learn – and only from us. We keep racism alive. We pass it on to our children. We owe it to our children to help them keep their clean start. ~Ruby Bridges

A Quiet Saturday Afternoon

I had such a wonderful day today. It had been a long week, but before this week, I had been sick for most of August. It feels good to be able to sit up for hours and read or write. Today is beautifully calming for me. Nothing beats the smell of old books, vintage celluloid, coffee, and rain. I loved the sound of the soft patter of rain outside the window, and my husband in the living room, watching TV. The cat walks to my study and the living room, quietly keeping tabs on both of us while we’re not sitting together, just walking back and forth, napping here and there.

Sometimes we take such things for granted, but it’s a gift to enjoy this kind of peace and quiet, and even more so when you enjoy it at home with people you love.

A Sea of Umbrellas

Today’s journal entry is about the recent protests in Hong Kong. No matter what you think about what the protesters are fighting for, it’s hard not to feel impressed at the show of force of the people. Activism in general is often misunderstood as unwanted disruptions, but many of the things that we enjoy today are thanks to the people who rejected the status quo and fought for equality, freedom, better treatment.

“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”― Leonardo da Vinci

Enmity of Biblical Proportions

Today’s journal entry is about rape culture. I’ve been following the case of a woman who was a fellow in a national writing workshop claiming that she was raped by one of the panelists. I’m glad that writers and professors have spoken out about this, but it really showed me how issues like this can tear apart a community. If the accused is well-liked, successful, beloved by the people around him, it makes it that much harder to even imagine that maybe he made a terrible mistake. Of course everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but what’s more telling for me is the attitude towards the woman involved. Society has never been kind towards girls who don’t present as anything like the rape victims of noontime telenovelas. When women come out with their stories of sexual abuse, there’s always the attitude that implies they need to prove they didn’t want it in the first place. What were they wearing? What were they drinking? What time of the day is it? Who were they drinking with? Did she struggle enough? The way some people think, only chaste women get raped.

At church, how many sermons have I heard about Dinah making trouble for her family by walking by herself in a foreign land and getting herself raped? A lot. How many sermons have I heard teaching men NOT to rape? Zero. Literally, zero.

Looking at the attitude of some people towards the victim, I wonder why people can’t believe that more often than not, there’s not much to be gained by coming out with their accusations. This is emotionally exhausting for them, to be retraumatized and revictimized, and now in a very public way. With everything that women have to put up with when they come out with their terrible stories of sexual assault, the least you can do is truly listen.

Vietnamese Ca Phe Da

Today’s journal entry is about discovering Vietnamese ice coffee. It’s pretty easy to make, as long as you have the right coffee drip filter and beans. Everyday Coffee’s Vietnamese Lam Dong Espresso beans are the bomb. Ca Phe Da is quite different from the usual kind of cup that I enjoy, but I liked it a lot. It’s like cafe mocha, but stronger. Like coffee and dark chocolate. I didn’t like using the beans for latte, but for iced coffee, it’s perfect.

I’m glad I had some time to write this morning, I haven’t been able to sit and collect my thoughts for a while and I missed it a lot. Hopefully I can get back to my usual routine again.

Hobonichi Plain Notebook

I’ve been using a regular-sized Traveler’s Notebook exclusively as my journal for the past few years. I like the size and portability, and I like having different inserts all in one place. I do miss having a bigger notebook, though. So I tried Hobonichi’s Plain Notebook (A5) and it did not disappoint.

The notebook itself is pretty plain-looking. It has a mustard yellow-colored cardboard cover. Minimalist in design, it only has some Japanese characters at the front and the word Hobonichi at the back.

It’s not too thick, only 10mm with 288 pages using Tomoe River paper. I was so glad to find out that you can easily slip it into a Hobonichi cover, it fits really nicely. I only have one hobo cover, a plain black one from the 2016 collection. That was when I decided that the hobo cousin really wasn’t for me. Actually, I realized that I don’t enjoy writing in planners at all. So I put the cover in storage until I bought this plain notebook last month.

You might feel the outlines of the pockets and their contents when you write on the left side of the notebook for the first few pages. Several pages in, it doesn’t bother me anymore.

I love how the notebook lies flat. The binding (stitched and glued to the cover) feels really sturdy and well-made. I was a bit worried at first because they had no blank pages. I don’t like grids or dots on paper because my writing is really small and I like to crowd my lines together to save space. Regular-sized grids are awkwardly-sized for my handwriting. It’s a good thing that this notebook has 3.7mm grids, though. It’s the perfect size for me. The lines of the grid are light-colored so they don’t look too obtrusive on the page. The notebook is divided into 4 sections of 72 pages each, and each section has a different colored grid (red, blue, green, and purple).

Here’s a close up of the grids. I like that they’re not too obvious on the page. At Y1296, I think the price is well worth it. You can purchase it from the Hobonichi website. I purchased mine from a local seller, Joan’s Journals. I’m not sure that I would want this to replace my regular TN inserts as my default go-to journal, I think I’m just going to keep both. One can’t have too many journals anyway, amirite?

The Far Pavilions

Last weekend’s journal entry is about The Far Pavilions. The book kind is a sweeping saga. It reminded me of Gone with the Wind. It felt like going on a long vacation, or watching a telenovela. It’s very engaging, and touches on how difficult it is to find true tolerance among people. I enjoyed this book. Will probably review this soon, when I find the time.

Book Diving – Classic Finds

Last weekend, my husband and I visited Booksale at SM Southmall and was pleasantly surprised that they were on sale. I usually skip the classics because I have a copy (or multiple copies) of most of them but I found the Jules Verne collection and the Charles Dickens Christmas Books in this really beautiful hard cover. They reminded me of how books used to look in my childhood. The fabric in the hard covers was intact for both books, so that’s a plus. But my favorite find of the day is the Old Curiosity Shop, which my husband plucked out of this discard box in the corner. It’s a shame that the fabric of the hard cover is a bit worn, but you can still see the gold leaf letters, and some pages were beautifully illustrated.

I really love old books. I like the paper they use, the stitched binding, even the typeface. I like that they can lay down flat on a table too. This reminds me of the first hard bound book my mom gave me, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The fabric on that book is now pretty much worn out, but the binding is still intact, it still lays down flat. It uses the same typeface as this book.

I think I’ll reread some of my favorite classics for the next few weeks. It’s the literary equivalent of eating comfort food. <3

Sneak Peek: Inks by Vinta, Collection 2

I received a few sample vials of Vinta’s second collection of inks last week. These are mostly pastels so they’re pretty interesting because I don’t really have similar inks in my collection. I haven’t really used them a lot because I just got them, but I did some swabs and writing samples using a glass pen. A few of them, I’ve tried with fountain pens. More on those when I write reviews about them later.

A general observation, many of these ink colors are very subtle. To coax out the uniqueness of their colors, it’s best to use wet-writing mediums, broads, stubs, or flexies. From my observation, those that can be used with fine and mediums are: Lucia, Maskara, Carnival, Armada, Piloncitos, Sirena and Kanlaon. Those that work better with wider and wetter nibs are Hanan, Perya, Julio, and Julia.

My favorites are Lucia, Maskara, and Julio. Sirena and Armada are close contenders. Two colors aren’t really pastel so they kinda broke the pattern; Piloncitos and Kanlaon. The shimmer on these two are just absolutely crazy. I’ll write individual reviews as time permits.

These should be available for preorder in a couple of weeks, according to Jillian of Inks by Vinta.