Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Dot Journal Books


Recently I was trying to figure out a notebook that I was going to use for my note-taking as well as my brain dump. It was going to be something that wasn’t going to be neat as I would be putting down notes quickly, and it needed to be portable so that I could take it with me on the go. I thought this was going to be a simple grab a notebook and just go, but it didn’t turn out to be that easy.

Here is the process that I ended up going through to figure out which notebook I wanted to use:

Gridded journal book

Process: I figured given that I liked using dot journal books, there wasn’t going to be a huge different between dot and grid. Well for me there is a big difference. I spent a few days trying to use my gridded journal book, but every time I opened it, I had a challenge making notes.

Outcome: After trying the book for a few days, I sat back and looked at the pages and tried to figure out why I couldn’t write in them, and I concluded that the lines that formed the grid were too dark, and it seemed to impact my writing. The blocks were just too much for how I write, and I couldn’t seem to ignore the number of lines that were on the page, so it just overwhelmed me to the point where I couldn’t get the quick notes down. This book will now be used for silly things instead of my notes and brain dump.

Lined journal book

Process: I grew up using lined paper, so I should be able to sit and write in one of those and get the ideas down. I spend some time trying to write in this book and once again I had a challenge making the notes even though, I had a lot of ideas.

Outcome: I tried this book for a while and once again had to figure out just why I couldn’t seem to write in them. The conclusion was the lines on the pages were just too dark, and again it impacted my writing. I am not certain why this happened, but later through this experiment I came to a bit of a conclusion about the lined books.

Dot journal book

Process: After some time of trying all the other books, I decided to pick up one of my dot journal books and see what would happen. I opened the book and grabbed my pen that I was using for all these experiments, and guess what happened. I was able to sit and start writing without any issue.

Outcome: The dot journal book was the book that I could sit and use and get notes made without an issue. After getting the brain dump and notes down that I wanted to do, I decided to look at all the books together and try and figure out why I hadn’t been able to use the other books.


Through all the books and experiments, I was using the standard pen that I like to use, so I knew it wasn’t the pen that was the issue. The pen that I was trying to use was my .38 black pen, so that wasn’t the issue. What I found out was that the thickness of the lines and the number of lines on the page was what impacted me the most. Given that I use a very fine pen and enjoy using it, the heavy or thicker lines make it harder for me to focus on my writing.

I wanted to show you what I went through to discover the notebook that works best for me. The dot journal book isn’t for everyone, nor is the gridded journal or even lined journal books. Everyone is different, and we must find what we enjoy using and accept that other people around you may like one of the other books that you don’t like. Give a journal book a try and if it isn’t working for you, be willing to try something else.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Apartment Etiquette


We have lived in our apartment for several years now and there have been a few things that I want to write about because those are things that tenants in buildings need to think about. Some of these may sound like common sense, but these are things that I have noticed and wanted to write about.

  1. Laundry room – if you have a laundry room in our building, and it is shared by all the tenants, please be considerate of using the washer and dryer. Yes, please try and get down to the machine when the time is up, as other people will probably be wanting to do their laundry as well. Note what time you put your items in the washer or dryer and how long that cycle is, and don’t try and do your grocery shopping during this time. The laundry room in our building is the busiest on the weekend as everyone that works is trying to get their laundry done as well as all the other things. Please empty your dryer and washer when the cycle is finished so that someone else can use that same machine.
  2. Recycling – in our building we have bins out the back in our parking area where you are to put your recycling. Make sure you understand what goes into the recycle bin and don’t just put all your garbage it in as well. Boxes, especially if they aren’t filled with other recycling items, need to be collapsed so that they don’t take up all the room in the bins. If you have a lot of boxes or cardboard, try tying them together because then they don’t take up so much room.
  3. Large item disposal – If your building has an area where you are to place the larger items that you want to dispose of, make sure you don’t just place it right at the front if there is room a bit further in. Know what you can place in this area and if this area is only open during specific hours. If there are specific hours, respect those hours and don’t just leave your items outside this area if it is locked.
  4. Halls/Elevators, etc – All the common areas are used by everyone, so please if you drop something pick it up and dispose of it in the appropriate place. If there isn’t a garbage right, there, maybe take it to your unit and dispose of it. Halls are not to be considered play areas for children because the noise will impact all the other units on that floor. Bouncing balls in the hallways, on the elevator, or even in your own unit will bother other people.
  5. Unit doors – when you are entering or leaving your unit, try and control how the door closes. We have a control on our doors so that they don’t close quickly, but it seems like some people just let their door bang shut instead of closely it nicely.
  6. Music – everyone enjoys listening to music but remember to keep the volume down so that it is impacting those around you. We have had situations where someone three floors above us put their music on and all you can hear is the pounding bass. This doesn’t make for an enjoyable time when that pounding is impacting your enjoyment of your own music. Also, don’t put your stereo right on the floor because that does impact the people below you.
  7. Furniture movement or hanging items – be considerate of when you are doing these things. It is easy to think of doing something late in the evening, but maybe that should be done the next day and not then. The scraping of furniture along the floor is loud, and your schedule can be different from all those tenants around you. If you decide to hang a picture on a wall, try and do that either during the day or by 8 pm because this sound does carry a long distance.

These are just some of the things that I wanted to try and write about. I could probably think of more things that we have encountered, but I will leave those for another blog. So, if you live in an apartment or even a condominium, please remember that you do share walls, floors, and ceilings with other people.


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Red Flags

As someone that works in both accounting and IT there are times when the red flags start to appear. Yes, this is probably a good thing because it means that I will step back and look at things from a few different ways.

Recently I was approached by a company to quote, if I was interested, on an RFP to review their bookkeeping procedures. As we don’t normally deal with RFP’s and don’t chase them, so this coming out of the blue made me wonder what was going on. The overall thing started to make me wonder and of course given it was a PDF, and we are in security, it was something that I really didn’t want to open. I received the original email on a Friday afternoon, and then on the following Wednesday I received a phone call from the company asking if we could talk.

Now during the phone call, I found out that it wasn’t an RFP, it was just a quote for doing some work with them. It wasn’t just the reviewing of their bookkeeper procedures; it was also being a support person for their bookkeeper. Oh, the RFP had a deadline of the Wednesday same day as I received the call, so that wasn’t going to happen given they called around 11 am. Ok, some of this sounded reasonable until I was able to sit back after the call and go over everything. Yes, I reviewed the document, and then some of the red flags really started to jump out at me.  Now let’s see if I can explain the red flags:

  1. They wanted someone with a designation (which I have) and when I asked how they found me, they told me one way and if you search for me that way, I cannot be found.
  2. The work had to be done onsite at first, which is reasonable, but it needed to be done next week.
  3. I had to improve the document which currently is being revised but cannot have access to the accounting system. This makes it rather difficult to update the processes and procedures if you cannot at least see what they are doing. There are ways to give someone access to an accounting system, but where they cannot modify or do anything.
  4. The timeline from the first preliminary review to having the recommendations implements and the staff training and fully up to speed was 3 weeks. Given the scope of work was not defined and that was what I was to do first, giving a 3-week timeline to something that is unknown is unrealistic in a number of cases, such as this one.

Of course, this could be a wonderful job opportunity, but when I sit back and start going over all the little things that make me feel uncomfortable, it makes me stop and think. Is this something that I want to follow up on, or is it something that is best I just let go?