LAMY in NYC: A Visit In Which Some Secrets Are Revealed

About a month ago, I spent a day in New York City. The weather was gorgeous—a sunny 74 degree day. As others from my bus trip scurried away for Broadway tickets, bargain shopping, and fancy restaurants, I took off on my own to see the stationery sights.

One of the stops on my walking tour was the four month old flagship LAMY store in SOHO (452 West Broadway)—which has the distinction of being the first LAMY store in the US.


The store is narrow and tall—sleek and modern—and full of some of my favorite workhorse pens.


I had a fun chat with the shopkeeper. That’s him the first photo—casually sketching an impressive superhero with a Safari or AL-Star. When I try out pens, I usually write my name or the name of the pen. Boring! Gotta work on that. I should be able to muster up enough creativity to sketch a stick dog or cat.


After I let him know how much I enjoy most of my LAMYs, I voiced a couple of minor complaints about the uninspired all-black 2018 Special Edition Safari and the poor performance of the LAMY Balloon refill. (Love the look of that pen but dear god, it needs a better refill.) Not sure why I did that—heatstroke? dehydration?—because obviously he doesn’t have a direct line to LAMY executives. (Or DOES he?)


Quickly moving on from my little rant, I mentioned how much I LOVE my LAMY Aions. I have the black one with a medium nib and it’s crazy smooth—one of my favorites. I also have the Olivesilver (I see no olive in the pen’s color, but this time I kept my mouth shut) with a fine nib and it’s an excellent writer as well. But that medium…SO good.

In the course of our conversation, he revealed that the Aion will be coming out in two new colors. WHAT?! Yup—blue and red. You heard it here first, folks! (Oliveblue? Olivered?)

AND, get this, the LAMY 2000 will ALSO be coming out in a new color in 2019, but the actual color was not revealed to me despite some good-natured begging. He wouldn’t budge. Top secret. Loose lips sink ships.

I have so many LAMY pens that it seemed stupid to pick up more, but I needed a souvenir (or two). Eventually I settled on the economical LAMY Logo ballpoint pen in Laser Orange and a LAMY Joy, 1.1 mm, with the black body and silver cap—two pens that are new to me and don’t require deep pockets.


After I left the LAMY store, I had lunch at a wonderful little restaurant on Grand Street—Le Botantiste, where I enjoyed an artfully composed/deliciously healthy salad, and played with my new Logo.


Next stop (and next post)—CW Pencils. What a great day.


EXACTLY what I needed: Baron Fig’s Wander Dream Journal

“Dreams, if they’re any good, are always a little bit crazy. ” ― Ray Charles


I dream epic dreams, full of technicolor details and heart-pounding scenarios, almost every night. I’d love to dream that I’m simply lying on a beach reading a favorite book—all peace and tranquility—but that’s not how my brain works. I’m sometimes wandering around an unfamiliar city or navigating narrow corridors and twisted stairways in a strange and cramped building. Or my basement is filling up with hundreds of unfamiliar cats (this is a recurring one). I must be burning calories with all of this nightly exertion. No wonder I need coffee as soon as I step out of bed.

I’ve thought about of recording my dreams but never followed through—until Baron Fig released their Wander Dream Journal. This perfectly designed, star decorated, clothbound notebook is exactly what I needed to turn that vague urge into concrete action.

Each two page spread contains simple “checklist” style prompts, in the margins, that make it quick and easy to record basic dream parameters, like Emotion…


Sleep Quality…








and Type…


The prompts are a great idea and I often check them off first thing in the morning, even if I don’t have enough time to record the dream’s details until later.

To capture the plot, specific details, and meaning of each dream, the pages are divided into three sections—Recall, Visualize, and Interpret. So you can see exactly how I use my Wander journal, I’m sharing the dream I had two nights ago—one in which I had a dream inside my actual dream. First time that’s ever happen, I think. This unusual double dream absolutely called out to be documented.

In the lined Recall section, I described what happened in my dream within a dream. How I was driving but couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of my car. How I was sure that I’d crash before I got to my destination. How panicky I felt. (Where is that beach that I so crave?!?!)


The blank Visualize section is where you’re prompted to record what the dream looked like. This is the tricky part for me, as my drawing skills are not very well developed. It’s usually the last part I complete because this art piece doesn’t come naturally to me. But—surprise, surprise—it’s the part I’m having the most fun with.


When I figure out an image that I want to use to represent some aspect of my dream, I google doodling websites to get some basic guidance, then take an amateurish stab at it. What a great way to practice a skill that I’ve always wanted to get better at—sketching and drawing. Tamping down my perfectionism always takes some doing and this feels like another step in the right direction.


The dot-lined Interpret section is where you can take a stab at interpreting your dream. I’m going through a pretty stressful rough patch with my elderly parents (health issues, anxiety issues, complicated life decisions to be navigated, all while working full time) and so my “driving blind” dream didn’t take a genius to unravel. But—oddly enough—as I wrote out my thoughts, I found a positive message in what seemed to be a very negative dream. I felt relief, and just a little bit of the mental peace that’s been in very short supply lately. Had I not written out my interpretation of this dream, I doubt I would’ve discovered this optimistic nugget.


Baron Fig’s Wander Dream Journal is obviously a niche product. If you rarely remember your dreams, it’s probably not for you. And if you’re happy recording your dreams in a regular notebook, that’s fine, too. But for those of us who dream ferociously, and who like contemplating what those dreams mean, this is the perfect product. With its simple guided checklists and trio of prompts, this is a journal that provides the perfect balance of structure and space to explore those nighttime stories and mental mysteries.

I started writing morning pages over two years ago and that habit is now rooted so deeply that I’ll never give it up as long as I can hold a pen. I can see dream journaling becoming just as important. I’m thrilled to be recording—and drawing—my dreams after  casually kicking around the idea for years.

Baron Fig’s Wander Dream Journal is exactly what I needed to make that daunting leap from inaction to action. From “I should” to “I am.” From dream confusion to dream insight. How could I not love this notebook?


And who knows, maybe someday I’ll be drawing that beach.

“Dreams are stories made by and for the dreamer, and each dreamer has his own folds to open and knots to untie.”
Siri Hustvedt

Sweet dreams, my friends.

The Baron Fig Wander Dream Journal was purchased with my own funds, as were all of the products pictured in this review. 






A Week Away


I spent last week at a conference in Spokane, WA. I learned, laughed, and networked. We rarely got out of the hotel until evening, but that was fine as the sights were still spectacular. I love walking in new places with old friends.


Since the conference was scientific in nature, my Baron Fig Experiment made the trip with me, and got considerable use. The green ink pops so I used it to write down those things that I want to come back to—issues, questions, things to think about.


My roommate and I were often the first ones at breakfast so I’d sprawl a bit—coffee, water, Nock Co. case wide open, Hobonichi ready for updating. I took a pared down selection of pens, but enough to keep things interesting. The pens that got the most use were my Lamy Aion (black, fine) and my clipless Karas Kustoms INK (tumbled aluminum with a wonderful titanium medium nib), both filled with Colorverse Cat. I took notes in a Nock Co. A5 DotDash notebook which was the perfect choice in both size and performance. I almost filled it with my conference notes and will use the remaining space to flesh out thoughts and ideas that popped up during the week’s sessions and conversations.

But ya gotta have some fun, too.


Atticus Coffee & Gifts (222 N Howard St, Spokane, WA) was definitely my happy place. I could’ve spent all of my free time there happily browsing through their selection of books, mugs, t-shirts, unique cards, stickers, pencils (Blackwings!), pens, and journals, or settled at a cozy table with some cold brew coffee or huckleberry tea. What a cool and comfortable place.


A “must buy” sticker. (I also bought the t-shirt. HAD TO.)

Saturday morning, I made one last visit a few hours before my flight back east, and walked away with a nice little bag of souvenirs (t-shirt, novelty pen, tea, travel mug, stickers), as well as a much needed caffeine boost.

Flights went well, the weekend went fast, and Monday arrived as it always does. A friend on Facebook said, “The Monday after a week away is the Mondayest Monday ever.” She’s so right—re-entry is hard.

Well, I thought, if I have to work, I’m using my new pen. Which is exactly what I did.


And you know what? It kind of helped.


Are YOU having a Monday? Do you need a rubber feather pen? Atticus Coffee & Gifts doesn’t appear to have an online presence, but I see the pen is available HERE. There’s also a grass pen that I should’ve bought, too. You know, for those pesky Tuesdays.






The Best Night

Sixteen year old Sawyer Fredericks auditioned on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2015 with the song I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow.” I’ve been a fan ever since, especially because Sawyer is a local boy. Well, local(ish), having grown up in Fultonville, NY, about an hour from here.

Sawyer went on to win “The Voice,” released a post-Voice album, but ultimately decided to go independent—a decision that makes complete sense. He’s a unique talent that doesn’t fit the corporate record company mold, and has his sights set on making his music his way. He’s an old soul in a young man’s body—quiet and kind—with a voice that gives me chills.

One of my favorite songs is “Four Pockets,” which he wrote at age 14(!!!).

Last Sunday night, Fred and I attended our first Sawyer Fredericks concert at The Glove Theatre in Gloversville, NY. We purchased $30 VIP passes which included a pre-concert reception, priority table seating, and a post-concert meet and greet. Immediately before the concert, Sawyer premiered his latest video, “Gasoline,” which was filmed in the same venue.

After the concert, about 40 of us lined up to meet Sawyer. His mom was on hand to take photos with our phones, and he graciously signed his fans’ tickets, programs, and VIP passes. I had the presence of mind to bring my Hobonichi and decided to ask him if he’d sign the June 3rd page.

As you know, my Hobonichi has become my “everything” book—the place where I document the details of my life—so it seemed like the perfect place for Sawyer’s autograph. AND I think I have a better chance of hanging onto a Hobonichi through the years than I do a single concert ticket.

So sure, he signed our tickets and VIP passes, AND my Hobonichi.


As he picked up his Sharpie, he quietly said, “I hope this doesn’t bleed through,” which I thought was adorable—his concern for my notebook. We had to move along so I didn’t launch into an explanation of Tomoe River paper, but just laughed and told him that I really didn’t care. I SO did not care.


Sure there’s some show-through, but no big deal. I was just thrilled to meet him, capture this memento of a special night, and to say thank you for his music and kindness.


It really was the best night.



#mykeisprobablyright: Daily Tracking in My Hobonichi


The best guys

One of the thrills of the Atlanta Pen Show was FINALLY meeting Myke Hurley. I’ve been a fan since his 70decibels days, and love seeing his hard work pay off with the success of I religiously listen to The Pen Addict, Analogue, and Cortex podcasts, bumping each new episode to the top of my bloated queue. I think he’s great.

Knowing that I’d be meeting him, I pictured myself waxing eloquent when it came time to tell him how much I admire his work. Instead, I sputtered out some jumbled praise, never really getting traction with my words. But Myke was gracious and kind as I garbled my compliments.

One point I did manage to successfully express was how I’ve taken to copying his latest foray into journaling. On Cortex, he’s talked about answering a series of daily questions in a journal, using different pens every day. I gave that approach a shot, but, so far, I’m having trouble making it stick. My evenings tend to be a crapshoot, with available time magically evaporating. But I haven’t given up on this. Morning journaling is now an ingrained habit, and I think I can make this evening journaling work as well. I’m going to keep trying.

The other day, on another episode of Cortex, Myke talked about using the monthly pages in his Hobonichi to track a handful of goals on a daily basis. This idea REALLY appeals to me, especially because my monthly pages are just sitting there waiting to be filled with something.

I love the idea of a quick way to track daily habits and goals. But which ones? Obviously Myke’s goals are not mine, so I had a little thinking to do.

After doing some brainstorming during my daily walks, I came up with a list of five goals (I guess you’d call them that) to track.

  • Eat well
  • Exercise & movement
  • Connect with/support others
  • Write/create/blog
  • Fun/laughter

These may change on a monthly basis, though I know that good nutrition and exercise will remain as constants. I set a scale of 0-3 for the daily score in each category, with the highest possible daily score being 15 (math whiz here).


I also added a mood tracker—a simple hand drawn emoji—to document my overall mood for the day.


And today I decided to also track the weather with a very quick sketch. I might as well use some of the colored pencils I have laying around. A tiny sketch is better than no sketch.


I have no idea what all of this will tell me, but I’m curious to find out. Will my mood affect how successful I am with my goals, or vice versa? Does the weather affect my mood and my daily success? Will I be able to extract anything of value from this data? Will I ever score the elusive 15? That’s all yet to be determined.

If nothing else, I’m finally using those empty monthly pages. I’ve documented what I want to focus my attention on, which means that I have a better shot at success. I may discover something about myself, but even if I don’t, this is a quick and easy way to look back at my day and think about how I used my time and energy. How do I feel? What did I accomplish? What needs improvement? How can I make tomorrow better?

So Myke, keep doing what you love and trying new things (that I can copy). I’ll always be a fan of your work ethic, humor, honesty, and podcasts. And with this daily tracking, I’m thinking…