No-Buy Follow-Up

No, I’m not backing out of the challenge I set for myself, but a couple of questions came up after I published last week’s post so here’s a bit of follow-up to address those.

Question #1: Does this mean you won’t be going to any pen shows?

It does not. That’s the ONE out I’ve given myself which I didn’t note in my original post. I may consider going to a pen show this year, and if I do, I’ll allow myself a pen (or two). But it needs to be unique in some way—not just another iteration of something that I already own. And you know what? It’s also possible that I’ll go to a pen show and NOT buy a pen. So much about a pen show is the people. Old friends. New friends. Steeping in that stew of passionate pen people. There’s really nothing like it. Purchases aren’t required to have a great time, though, of course the temptation is hard to resist when you’re surrounded by so many pretty things. The key is discernment. What do I really want? Maybe something. Maybe nothing.

Highlights from the 2018 Atlanta Pen Show:

Myself and my pen pal, Beth. A little reunion for both of us!

Question #2: What about stationery gifts?

I did think that maybe I gave the wrong impression—that gifts of stationery aren’t welcome because I have so much. So when my cousin asked this question, I knew I wanted to address it here.

Rest assured, I’m thrilled with stationery gifts and never squirrel these away for later use. They’re always enjoyed and put into action as quickly as I can unwrap them because doing so reminds me of the people who gave them to me. Again, it’s about having someone “get you,” which is such a special feeling. So it’s not just a gift of pencils. It’s a gift of pencils + years of friendship. It’s not just a gift of ink. It’s a gift of ink from someone who knows you well enough to pick out just the right color. These gifts mean so much more to me than the pencils and ink that I buy for myself. They are used, and used with love.

Some recent Christmas and birthday gifts! All currently in use:

In summary, people are > pens.

That said, I’m resisting (but just barely) the newly-released TWSBI ECO-T in Saffron. GREAT color! Very reasonably priced! But a vow is a vow.

<Takes deep breaths>

SO excited for…

the Atlanta Pen Show!!

My flight is booked, and I’m looking forward to sharing a room with a pen pal and friend I have yet to meet in person.

The pen community is full of wonderful people and I can’t wait to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I don’t really need any more pens, but I can always use another friend. So that’s what this trip is really about—pen people, hugs, laughter, and sharing.

April can’t get here soon enough.


The perfect travel journal, no?

A few CRITICAL tips for the DC Pen Show. Trust me.

I’m heading to the DC Pen Show tomorrow and am so jazzed up I can’t concentrate on work or life and am having nightly pen show dreams. Weird ones, but still.

As I prep for the show (Oh, I have to pack clothes?? Just pens won’t do??), I wanted to pass along a lesson and a tip. You may recall my Akkerman ink debacle from last year’s show. If not, take a few minutes and refresh yourself HERE. This year I’ve made a few changes to my “procedures” and thought it might be worthwhile to pass them along. Nothing earth-shattering, but maybe they’ll save you some sorrow.

Akkerman #18 and #24

I have a packing list in Evernote, complete with checkboxes, that I use for trips. I move the “master” packing list into the Evernote folder for that particular trip, then customize it by adding and subtracting items as applicable to the location and event. (e.g., There will be NO pantyhose or dress shoes taken on this trip.)

This list works great to make sure I don’t leave home without everything vital to my well-being and happiness. That part usually goes off without a hitch. (Jinx!)

To make sure that the same is true for my RETURN trip (this is where things can derail for me), I’ve instituted a “dual checkbox” policy on my packing list. One checkbox for home to venue, and the SECOND ONE for venue to home. Now I can take a quick inventory BEFORE I LEAVE THE HOTEL (yes, I’m yelling) to make sure nothing is missing.

And because of last year’s Akkerman thing (shudder), I’m also making myself log pen show PURCHASES on my list so that I can VERIFY that they’ve been packed and haven’t been left in a safe, or in the back of the closet, or in a dresser drawer. Or right next to a very obvious chair, which is where I think I left my ink.

To recap:
1) Use a packing list to make sure you don’t leave home without your essential and favorite stuff;
2) Add a second set of checkboxes to your list so that you can take inventory when you pack up to return home;
3) Add pen show purchases to the list and account for those when you’re packing to head for home;
4) Sweep the room/drawers/closet/safe at least twice…maybe more…before you drive away.

Oooooo…one more thing…put contact info (a business card or a label) inside your valuable belongings (pen cases, camera cases, etc.). That way if an honest person finds your precious cargo, they can contact you to arrange for its return.

Thus endeth my pen show service announcement.

Oh, yeah…one final thing. If you’re at the show, please say “hi”! I look like this…

Sandy & Mary
I’m the blonde one. I may very well be making this expression as I agonize over pen purchase decisions.

Not helpful? Okay, this one should work better…

Mary and the Queen Mary
The Queen Mary and Mary