Below is a normal Thanksgiving Baking Tabel at the home of the Rooster. With daughter Kathryn supplying the venue, our normal seating chart of 25-53 names will not be reached this year.
Our new peeps arrived on October 20’th, 13 girls and a boy. At this point we have not a clue, which one is the boy, who will be named Gregory Peck? I had that contest back in September, if you recall. Hard to believe I’ve been this tardy since my last Blog Post.
These are a few of the chicks at four weeks of age in their new surroundings. We got a mixed batch of breeds this time so we must wait a bit yet to really know what we got. I’m guessing this will be our 6th flock over the past 17 years. Some years back we lost an entire flock due to the N1A1 Virus. Now we must worry about keeping this flock’s keepers healthy.
Who said, ” Wear your MASK?”
Over the years we have obtained our birds through a variety of sources. Several neighbors have provided a few from time to time, due to predatory birds and animals feasting. Eight birds at one time went to the larder of a local fox, on the same evening nonetheless. Busy little bugger he was, on that night. Our most recent loss was to a Bald Eagle several months ago. We are surrounded by 50 acres of farm land and allow are birds to free range once reaching adulthood. A good Rooster protects his flock quite well. Something circling overhead, crowing prevails and the girls are led under the closes tree. Knowing who provides the feed and snacks, we are like the Pied Piper of Hamelin and they follow us everywhere.
When we purchase from a commercial grower we will use Murray McMurry in Iowa and Meyer in Ohio. We have never been disappointed in either source. It’s a great Hobby and you can not beat a free range egg. This batch came from Meyer in Polk, OH. They were born early of the 19’th, put on a plane in Cleveland and arrived overnight in Baltimore. Somehow, by 1345 hrs, 1:45 PM for those who don’t know the children arrived at our local Post Office in Salisbury, Md. Who says the Post Office is slow? For those who wish to learn more, https://www.backyardchickens.com/ is a great site.
Be safe one and all.
God is the silence of the universe, and man is the cry that gives meaning to that silence.
If that be the case, what of the Rooster, asks this author?
I’m an avid follower of a.word.a.day with Anu Greg, I even throw them a $ or two from time to time. Appropriately, at least as this Rooster is concerned, a recent word this week was cock-horse.
(This site gives sharing permission) Thus, we’re all getting educated.
adverb: Mounted with a leg on each side.
noun: A hobby horse.
From cock (rooster) + horse, perhaps from the strutting of a rooster. Earliest documented use: 1566.
The best-known use of the term is in this nursery rhyme:
Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.
As in this nursery rhyme, the term is often used in contexts where a child is riding a hobby horse. The use of the term in today’s usage example though is not as innocent as it sounds. We’ll leave it at that.
“‘Do you want to ride a cock-horse today, Johnny?’ she asked.”
Jak. E. Rander; An Eye for an Eye; Xlibris; 2012.
I was surprised no-one wanted a Game Cock, no one out there from South Carolina?
After waiting another week, most likely due to hanging chad, the poor guy must be still dangling somewhere. Oh, and all the interference from China, Russia, and our friends in the Baltics, we have a WINNER.
We only had three choices after the first vote if you remember. The three to choose from were
Back to the Vote we had going.
- Gregory Peck (our winner)
- Kung Pow
- General Tso
I’m guessing a few of those voters did not see the original blog. https://elfidd.com/2020/09/02/this-rooster-needs-a-name/?
Kipper!!! Someone got a Herring issue!
Russell Crow – This Cock does not eat crow.
Rooster Cogburn after the Duke – (Doubt we could find an eye patch for that one.)
Gunny– Best I did was an E-6 Staff Sgt.
Duke– Duke of Earle? #1 song in 1962 https://youtu.be/h6Uht69h8Is
Someone threw in Colonel Sanders, the original passed on some years back, could not resurrect!
Now we say good by to the two losers on the ballot.
Tso, the general is a loser.
Pow, right in the kisser was gone in the first round with a TKO.
About our winner– When Gregory Peck was designated an enemy of the conservative Nixon establishment, it was as much a recognition of his role within the social symbolism of Hollywood films, as a reaction to his personal involvement with liberal causes. If James Stewart, in his work for Frank Capra, nostalgically embodies the populist image of the smalltown good citizen, Peck creates the figure of the decent and fairminded reformer or the fundamentally good man who rises to the moral demands of the occasion. Only rarely have other qualities of Peck’s persona been explored, particularly the resentment and anger which his intensity suggests. It is in these uncharacteristic roles that he has done some of his most interesting as well as some of his worst acting.
Congratulations Gregory Peck, back from the dead and, ready to live and love once more, your going to love these chicks! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Peck
His leading ladies are to arrive around 22 October. They shall be young’ns and Gregory shall protect them through the growth process.
There will be 12 leading ladies coming via the USPS. They shall be named after leading ladies of the movies. Some of these ladies are named here in: https://bestlifeonline.com/inspiring-leading-ladies-movies/?nab=1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fduckduckgo.com%2F
Come back in late October for the arrival of Peckers chicks.
Knowing the politics of these days, we can only hope live chickens can still be sent through the mail.
Is your local box still there? Check early, check often. Ooops, that was supposed to be vote early, vote often. We shall check back on 3 November for that one. “Wow” that’s a week prior to the Marine CorpsBirthday! I vote for Chesty Puller.
Semper Fi theRooster
My being delivered was mentioned previously and names were sought on various venues. Of all the names chosen by my care givers, the Rooster and wife have selected three (3) they could live with. They are;
- Gregory Peck
- General Tso
- Kung Pow
(3) I know, you’re saying Kung Pao was misspelled. Not in this instance however. Mess with me if this turns out to be the name chosen and, POW, right in the kisser!
(2) General Tso, Tso, you wanna mess with me? I will be the leader and the one in charge for the forthcoming flock, I will be charged with to protect. Generally speaking there will be no issues I shall not be able to handle. Generally, get it?
(1) Who in the name of old deceased actors is Gregory Peck? Well Gregory Peck was the the lanky, handsome movie star whose long career included such classics as “Roman Holiday,” “Spellbound” and his Academy Award winner, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He hung around until age 87. This Rooster likes the sound of longevity.
Gregory Peck is best remembered for his portrayals of honorable men. Whether it was the idealistic lawyer in “To Kill A Mockingbird” or the reporter exposing prejudice in “Gentleman’s Agreement,” Peck was the epitome of quiet courage and moral strength. Yep, that sounds kinda like me. Plus, if I run out of bullets, I can peck your eyes out if you bring mayhem to my flock.
Now just why are you being asked to name a new representative in the flock? Well, for the first time in 17 years, there is no flock. One of our resident Roosters got to go airborne with an American Eagle a few weeks ago. He was the white one in the Rooster’s banner. God rest his soul. We were down to 2 Hens & 1 Rooster and decided to start anew.
Daughter Sarah suggested a “Free to good home” post in the local FB Web Page. She did the post, Slam, Bam, Thank You Mam, countless contacts applied. Before the next day was out, a meet and greet was arranged and those three now reside across the river. In these parts, it’s kinda like the other side of the tracks. Still haven’t figured out if I’m on the Right or Left side, or is it the other side? Damn Politics!
We have settled on Meyer Hatchery as the Birthing mother for twelve (12) baby hens and one (1) Rooster. They are due on 19 October and shall arrive here on the 22’nd of October. We’ve used Meyer in the past and things have always gone well. We also checked with Murry McMurry Hatchery. Unfortunately no birds that we desired would be available until April. We’ve also used that hatchery in the past and they provided good quality birds as well as Meyer’s did.
It seems this Covid thing has increased the want for birds, chickens in particular. Be it eggs or meat, there is a great market at this time.
So, in the mean time, this rifle toting patriotic bird pictured here today shall be in charge. All we need is a name. Please give us your vote in the comments section and what ever you choose we shall be happy to name him according to our readers wishes.
As they say from our nations capitol, “Vote Early & Vote often.”
theRooster says Semper Fi
I present to you, the newest member of the family.
I’m the newest member of the Rooster‘a family. I was born on 8/11/2020. The doctor who delivered me had the initials UPS. I do not know what the initials stand for. The old Rooster wants everyone to submit a name via his Blog, FB, Twitter or Instagram site. The Rooster and the Mrs (an old hen), will then pick 3 names they like and put the name up for a vote. If you’ve taken the time to read this and decide to vote, here’s some personal info. I was hatched in China, I’m made of 100% synthetic fiber, I’m 19 inches tall and my hatchery named me Ranger as I went out the door. I’ve been called fine looking, the leader of the pack, boss of the hens and, I have colorful plumage. I shall strut about the barn-yard crowing. I’ve been called cocky and my claws and beak are very sharp. As we teach all who vote, when it’s time, vote early and vote often. Thanks guys and girls. No Green Card as yet, I’m hoping soon though.
Granddaughter Abigail was married on Saturday past. What was to be a 200 count guest list was cut to 80. We had a split Rehearsal dinner, daughter Kathryn and husband Jeff (Where in the world is Jeff Berthiaume,) hosted half, the Supreme Hen and theRooster hosted half. Rain had been called for that evening and fifty just would not fit in the Rooster’s hutch. The gathering departed at 8:45 PM after a great meal of Burgers and dogs with many sides. The sky opened up with heavy rain @ 9:15 PM, “Phew,” that was close.
The newly weds were to take a cruise out of Florida, thanks to Covid-19 that was not to be. They did get a few days at the beach in Ocean City, MD.
It turns out that my neighbor from the opposite side of the street out here in the country needed some help with his pool yesterday. I’ve had some experience with filters and such, so I was pressed into service.
Just as I was returning from an exercise walk, my phone rings, it’s my neighbor Jim. He explains the dilemma he’s presently having with his pool filter. I’m actually at the mouth of his driveway when I get the call. I tell him I’ll be right over. I walk to my house to check in, the wife is in the midst of fixing a wonderful country breakfast. I let her know the issue Jim is having with his pool, that I’m going to give him a hand and I’ll return in a jiffy, NOT. I get that look, if you’ve been married fifty-five years you know the look.
I walk back across the street and find my neighbor poolside, standing next to the filter outside the pool. He fills me in on what was going on, he can’t seed the guts of the filter properly and is pumping Diatomaceous Earth back in the pool. Jim looks at me and says, ”Linda is going to Kill me,” together for over thirty some years, I’m guessing he knows “that” look also.
I survey the situation, eventually figuring out the flow scheme and how the guts need to fit into a plethora of tubes, few, if any are properly seeded. Jim proceeds to tell me he’s not very mechanical, but if you need your appendix removed he could do that quite successfully. I request a rubber mallet and gently tap all into place. Combined we start to put the lid into place, I proceed to drop one of the wing nuts needed into the bottom of the filter. Once again the entire guts are remove and I go fishing blindly through the murky Diatomaceous earthen waters and retrieve the wing nut.
Slam, Bam, thank you Ma’am, the second try is the Coup de Gras. We check all the connections, hit the start switch and dang if we don’t have clear running water going back into the pool. Jim breaths a sigh of relief, the wrath of Linda shall not come upon him. Jim says thanks, I say “that’s what neighbors do.”
Back home the Mrs, God Bless her, says “two or three pieces of bacon” with my perfectly Butter Scrambled eggs and raspberry spread toast? “Three” I say, and proceed to tell her the pool filter event. All is calm in Dodge.
Fast forward 6 hours and Jim says on Face Book.
OK, so the day started out uneventfully. I was having a problem with my pool filter, no matter what I did the pressure would rise after a couple of hours post back washing. I called my pool service and was told that they don’t do service calls on Saturday. So I called my good friend, next door neighbor, former Marine, retired State Trooper, and all around recognized pool guru.
Linda and I decided to put the leaf net over the pool since the Crepe Myrtles were dropping tons of blossoms into the pool. We couldn’t find any clothesline rope so we decided to use coated wire clothes line rope temporarily to hold the net in place until Monday. All good, right? My wire cutters wouldn’t cut the braided wire very well so Linda suggested using s hatchet to cut the line.
Good idea! But as I was cutting the third length of wire rope I chopped off the tip of my left thumb. Blood flew everywhere and I headed to the house, irrigated the wound for ten minutes, Applied an antibiotic cream, wrapped it with a paper towel, then a second, then a third, and a fourth and still the blood was spewing from the wound. So much for taking daily aspirin. I elevated it above my head to no avail until Linda came into the house, took charge and put a proper bandage on the wound.
Not the best of days, tomorrow I am going to sit in the recliner all day and try not to further damage my body or my psyche. That is all. Hope you had a better day !
I, sometime after Jim’s post, look at the Face Book message Jim posted of the incident, and reply to Jim the following.
You should have called the Marine across the street. Rumor has it he always has a couple hundred feet of Para-Cord on hand, an extremely sharp knife that he knows how to use as well, is always clipped to his pocket. Another rumor I’ve been told is that the knife is so sharp than an Air Force PJ Medic once borrowed the same knife to perform an emergency appendectomy during a remote clandestine military mission.
Obviously this loping off the end of a thumb was not representative of good use of available resources. Lesson learned, when all else fails, call in the Marines. Semper Fi
Just another day in the country!
Last week Umair Hague wrote an article in Medium entitled “How Bad is America’s Coronavirus Surge? Really, Really Bad.” (This is my rain)
Earlier today I was checking on our weather forecast here on Delmarva and stumbled upon, like many of us do, the following. https://www.accuweather.com/en/leisure-recreation/our-top-20-weather-related-songs/655903 If you like weather, especially weather songs, check it out.
Once I got to hear “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” and I got to thinking, yep, I’ve seen it and I’m now living it. That rain is COVID-19. You see, for those that don’t know, I’m in my late 70’s, and in my golden years. Every day up in the vertical is a Sunny Day! This dang Pandemic thing is just rain on my sunny days.
Just one week prior to my birthday we went into the Lockdown mode. That day was March 19. Part of my every week prior to the Lockdown, I got to spend Mondays and Thursdays for the past four months with a special buddy, his name is Harrison. This man was ten plus years my senior, married to a Bridge, card player, who needed some Her Time. My buddy also liked traveling the Eastern Shore of MD, DE, and VA and needed to get out some himself. Those two letter identifiers, that’s Maryland, Delaware and Virginia for you out of the country readers. That area is also referred to as the DELMARVA PENINSULA. Every day with Harrison was a sunny day.
Pretty much our day got started around nine and ended around four. We would go out for lunch and often would start talking about food shortly after deciding where we would go on that given day. My partner loved history, especially the history of and places available on Delmarva. On occasion we had pre-planned the day. Most often we would decide where to eat while going to get rid of several day’s household trash or going to the local Recycle Bin with the household magazines and newspapers.
We did a lot of pre-planning over our food. Just the planning was a sunny time and it always brought excitement into the future., especially Harrison.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” is a song written by John Fogerty and released as a single in 1971 from the album Pendulum (1970) by roots rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song charted highest in Canada, reaching number 1 on the RPM 100 national singles chart in March 1971. In the U.S., in the same year it peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (where it was listed as “Have You Ever Seen the Rain / Hey Tonight”, together with the B-side). On Cash Box pop chart, it peaked at number 3. In the UK, it reached number 36. It was the group’s eighth gold-selling single.
Some have speculated that the song’s lyrics are referencing the Vietnam War, with the “rain” being a metaphor for bombs falling from the sky. In his review for Allmusic website, Mark Deming suggests that the song is about the idealism of the 1960s and about how it faded in the wake of events such as the Altamont Free Concert and the Kent State shootings, and that Fogerty is saying that the same issues of the 1960s still existed in the 1970s but that people were no longer fighting for them. However, Fogerty himself has said in interviews and prior to playing the song in concert that it is about rising tension within CCR and the imminent departure of his brother Tom from the band. In an interview, Fogerty stated that the song was written about the fact that they were on the top of the charts, and had surpassed all of their wildest expectations of fame and fortune. They were rich and famous, but somehow all of the members of the band at the time were depressed and unhappy; thus the line “Have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?”. The band split up in October the following year after the release of the album Mardi Gras.
In a literal sense the song describes a sunshower such in the lyric “It’ll rain a sunny day” and the chorus “have you ever seen the rain Comin’ down on a sunny day?”. These events are particularly common in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, but less common in other parts of the country, due to localized atmospheric wind shear effects. In Southern regional dialect, there is even a term for it: “the devil beating his wife”.
Just so we can see some light at the end of the tunnel we have
It never Rains in Southern California
This song’s lyrics and vocals are enthusiastic and hopeful. It reminds us that there is a brighter day coming after the rains. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Never_Rains_in_Southern_California
So my friends out there in the world’s CVovid land, how are you coping? I ask, are you free for the present, soon to be locked down again? Was your 4’th of July parade rained upon? Is your SUNSHINE gone? Will I ever dine with my friend again?
Semper Fi theRooster
Last night we were invited to dinner at our daughter Sarah and son-in-law’ Greg’s home. Grandson Tommy was home from NC for the weekend. Kathryn, Abby, Rachael and pets Cooper & Riley were in attendance. Jeff was on his way to Michigan and Antwaine was working. Low humidity, and a gorgeous sky with no wind made the evening delightful.
Our concentrated discussion centered on Juneteenth. Not one of us prior to the recent events beginning in Minnesota we are all so aware of, had ever heard of Juneteenth.
Oh, the menu you ask. Skirt Steak, fresh caught Tuna and Scallops, Corn on the Cob, (Best ultra sweet, tooth sucking corn I’ve ever tasted,) Asparagus, fresh salad, and it all ended with home made Peach Cobbler by Grannie. Sorry we couldn’t have had you all there. Thanks Sarah and Greg!
Usher Raymond IV is a musician, actor and entrepreneur. He recently submitted this essay to the Washington Post.
At the 2015 Essence Music Festival in New Orleans, I wore a T-shirt that caught a lot of people’s attention. The design was simple. The words “July Fourth” were crossed out and under them, one word was written: “Juneteenth.” I wore the shirt because, for many years, I celebrated the Fourth of July without a true understanding that the date of independence for our people, black people, is actually June 19, 1865: the day that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached some of the last people in America still held in bondage.
I have no issue with celebrating America’s independence on July 4. For me, wearing the shirt was an opportunity to inform others who may not necessarily know the history of black people in America, and who are not aware that Juneteenth is our authentic day of self-determination. It is ours to honor the legacy of our ancestors, ours to celebrate and ours to remember where we once were as a people. And it should be a national holiday, observed by all Americans.AD
Growing up in Chattanooga, Tenn., I was taught in school one version of U.S. history that frequently excluded the history of my family and my community. The black history I learned came from the “Eyes On the Prize” documentary that aired during Black History Month. That was where I learned about Emmett Till, Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. When I moved to Atlanta at age 13, I went deeper and discovered more about the movement, the horrors of slavery and the resilience of our people. I came to understand Juneteenth’s history a decade ago during a period of reflection and in pursuit of any ancestral history that would tell me who I am.
The liberation Juneteenth commemorates is cause for celebration, but it also reminds us how equality can be delayed. On June 19, 1865, on the shores of Galveston, Tex., Union Gen. Gordon Granger arrived by boat to announce to enslaved African Americans that the Civil War had ended and they were now free. While President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was issued two and a half years prior, and the Civil War had ended in April of that year, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865, that almost all of our ancestors were free. We should honor their lives and celebrate that day of freedom forever.
I cherish the words of Nina Simone. I respect the legacy of Harry Belafonte and the unapologetic blackness of James Brown. I admire the entrepreneurship of Madam C.J. Walker. I have learned from my elders. Their wisdom has taught me to use my voice to support my people, so many of whom are hurting right now. Making sure that our history is told is critical to supporting and sustaining our growth as a people. The least we deserve is to have this essential moment included in the broader American story.
Checking the Calendars
So, today I looked at our active working calendar and there on the date block of June 19, 2020 was the word “JUNETEENTH.” I save calendars, along with my Journals, I can go back to the year 2014. No where on any of these previous years was 19 June designated “JUNETEENTH.”
So I wonder, what History I, we, us, were taught back in the 50 & 60’s?
To wrap up this Juneteenth discussion, have you ever learned about this day in history? What else were we never taught, or were those who came before us not willing to share with us?
You be the judge, click on the books below.
So, am I in one, I ask. I finally got plants and seeds into my Pot Garden, that was a month ago. Many thanks to my son-in-law Greg for the pots and potting soil. Gotta give credits where credits are do. I may need soil again next year.
I’ve not written a post for over a month. We’ve been in quarantine since 19 March. I’ve only gained 5 pounds. We have not contracted any virus. Well, there’s something to be thankful for. “O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” (William Shakespeare)
Stephen King had a great saying – “Don’t let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.” Seventy Seven years on this earth, thank you, thank you, thank you, I say!
We have a grandson in NY City, young, single, works for Viacom and has been by himself in a 600 square foot, 4’th story walk up eating Deli food since this all started. I’m guessing he spends his spare time cleaning. Never have I seen a single, twenty something guy, as neat as this. David, you’re amazing!
Granddaughter Samantha, Capt. USAF, stationed in Germany, living in the Netherlands says: COVID-19 has changed a lot, but it was sure nice to have half occupancy in the amusement park near our house. Valkenier is a very family oriented park and all kids are now old enough to ride. Mia counts as an adult and is able to partner up with Ana until she grows a few more centimeters.
Daughter Kathryn and son in-law Jeff are in the process of moving back to this side of the river. If all goes well with the VA and Bank they will be one mile away from us. Settlement is supposed to take place on 7/8/20.
Jeff has been working from home during this Pandemic thing. Kathryn has remained quite busy coordinating Population Health issues for PRMC. Jeff was out with Abby and Antwaine fishing recently and displays a nice Cat fish below.
Son Matt and daughter in-law Beth were to go to England to celebrate their 25’th wedding Anniversary. No, they didn’t make it, but they did celebrate.
Daughter Sarah and husband Greg took a few days off and ventured to the family Ski Lodge at Elk Mountain, Pennsylvania. Below is their wake-up and sunset views the past two days.
As for the Rooster and wife, we’re still crowing and cackling. We’re a bit more confined, aren’t we all. We did get out to dine at a local Brew Pub,Evolution Craft Brewing’s, Public house. It was outside dining at the time, but most enjoyable. The Mrs had the Johnny Burger and the Rooster had the Fish Tacos. All was consumed and washed down with a glass of Chardonnay for the Mrs and a Lot 3 for the Rooster. The good Lord graced us with blue skys and a gentle Eatern Shore Breeze. It doesn.t get much better than that. https://www.evolutioncraftbrewing.com/
So, yesterday morning I go to Dunkin in Princess Anne, MD, order, go to P/U window, show my App to debit my account and hear the following from the young lady at the P/U window. “Sir, the man in front of you has paid for your order.” Whoever you were, thank you very much. I called the one person I know with a like vehicle, he was in PA, not him he says. We did have a catch up conversation however, that was nice.
OK people, watch for my next trip to Dunkin, it’s “Pay It Forward” time.
This is National Nurses Week. Stay Safe, be kind, and tell a nurse how much you appreciate them. I married one, raised one, had a mother in-law who was one, and a sister & step sister who carried the lamp to light the way.
I’ve written in my Journal every day since 09/14/2014. In 1973 I started with CT State Police and kept a field notebook my entire career. A wise man, States Attorney Arnold Markle once said, Document, Document, Document., if it’s not written down, it never happened. That piece of advise validated my testimony on a witness stand many times over.
Going back to that flimsy 2 Subjects college ruled notebook I learned I ate Blueberry Yogurt for breakfast, it was 58f at 0600 and we had a high that day of 71 degrees.
With all that is going on in this day and age, there is much to write about. Be safe, Stay 6 feet apart, not 6 feet under.
In addition to WordPress I write in Medium from time to time and read fellow writers work almost daily.
I share with you Debby Germino’s article on Medium
How Note Taking Will Make You Better at Life
A 3 Step Guide to Note-Taking for Disorganized People
I wish I had started the habit of note-taking far earlier in my life. It was always something I admired in others but could never pull off myself. I always knew it would make me a better writer but I never realized how much it could serve in every area of my life. It has the potential to improve anything you decide to take notes on.
My mother is a note taker. She notes down recipes, vacation details, home repairs, life events, accomplishments…she even notes the size and cost of her Thanksgiving turkey each year. She can tell you details of vacations she took when she was in college, down to the hotel she stayed at, the bar she went to and the drinks she and her friends ordered.
She tried to get me to start a travel journal when I was a kid and I went on my first plane trip to Orlando, Florida. She gave me a notebook and told me to write a dated entry each day detailing what activities we did. I remember really wanting to be diligent at it and take notes as my mom did. But it wasn’t until the plane ride home where I opened that journal up for the first time. As I began to journal each day from memory, my mind got ahead of myself and the task quickly became cumbersome and overwhelming. I noted a few days and quickly abandoned the process in favor of napping.
The key, as my mother had told me, was doing it every day for just a few minutes, rather than saving a whole bunch of days to write all at once.
“Note taking is like cleaning”, she said. “The more often you do it, the easier it is do.”
But just what makes this cumbersome task such a worthy endeavor? How does it improve your life?
Here are the key benefits that I have derived from note taking.
- Help You Learn Better: Your mind retains more information when you write it down because your brain has to evaluate and prioritize the information which engages different parts of the brain aiding in recall later on.
- Improves the Quality of Whatever You Note: Because you are paying more attention, your brain is filtering the information, linking and connecting ideas faster. This effectively increases the quality of work.
- Relieves Stress: When your mind is racing with a million things to do it can be calming to write them down and know that you have acknowledged each one and they will be there when you get to them later.
- Provides a relevant and useful account of whatever you note: Notes are more reliable than memory.
- Creates a greater awareness and insight: When you begin to note a particular subject or activity, you naturally pay more attention to it because you know will be writing it down. This leads to more insight and a stronger ability to make connections and correlations.
Though I was unaware of these benefits when I was 8 years old, I still admired my mother’s ability to reference meaningful dates, useful household repairs, and various practical life details that would otherwise be lost or forgotten. She was trained as a secretary and one of the last generations to have been taught shorthand. Finding her shorthand notes looked like a strange hybrid of doodling and hieroglyphics. It always baffled me how those strange squiggly shapes could actually make sentences. It was like a secret language and I wanted to be in the know. I asked her to teach it to me but I never had the patience to learn it.
She’d take her shorthand notes from a phone call and then transfer them to a notebook or file them away in an appropriate folder where she could reference them later. Though I envied her organization and useful information she had at her fingertips, I could never seem to implement it into my own life.
Don’t Be Intimidated
Over the years, I read about many methods of note taking, hoping to find the magic strategy that would enable me to embrace this process once and for all. Tim Ferriss details his intricate process of note taking and indexing for quick reference on his blog. Author Ryan Holiday has a system of his own that he borrowed from writer Robert Greene. Both of their systems are extremely detailed and quickly induce anxiety when I begin to think about implementing them.
Happiness expert and author Gretchen Rubin, writes about her note-taking process on her blog which is less overwhelming but still cumbersome. I take comfort in Gretchen’s admission that,
“while it might seem like a passive, easy task, [but] it’s actually very challenging.”
It takes a lot of mental energy and concentration to do the type of note -taking that these authors are referring to. When it’s part of your job and integral to the work you do every day it certainly makes sense to have elaborate systems in place. But as someone who struggles with organization and orderliness, trying to implement complex note-taking systems is never going to happen, no matter how great I think it would be.
The good news is you can still enjoy the benefits of note taking without having an elaborate system in place. If you are a slightly scattered and cluttered person like me then this process is perfect for you. In fact, there are just three steps to follow.
- Start simple.
2. See what you notice.
3. Let it evolve.
First, take one corner of your life that you want to notate. Maybe you want to track your energy levels to see how your workouts affect you or you want to take notes on the books you read so you can remember them better. Just pick one topic for now. This is a commitment so if you try doing too many areas at once, you’ll end up dropping it all together because you can’t keep up.
I started with daily food journaling. I began this process when I found out I had mercury poisoning and it became necessary for me to track my food intake along with my symptoms. Because this was an unusual diagnosis I felt that I needed to be hyper-vigilant of my symptoms and progress to empower myself with the information I needed to heal. I started simple. I logged what I ate and how I felt after eating.
Once you choose your subject, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to be a digital or analog notetaker or a combination of both. I began using pen and paper to write my food journals. I found a simple form that allowed me enough space to write my food and the notes I wanted to take along with it. I was able to keep it with me so I could write my food at each meal. I didn’t want to have to search an app for foods or need to have my computer close by whenever I ate so this worked well for me to start. The idea is to make it as convenient as possible so when you think of something you want to note, you have easy access to do it.
See What You Notice
As you begin taking notes, you’ll find that there are things you want to note each time or things you continue to write over and over. You’ll notice that you’re more aware of whatever it is you are logging. Thoughts will come up more often that you want to note down. This is one of the benefits. You’ll also start making correlations between things that you hadn’t noticed before. This is also a benefit.
It may take some time to notice these things. Be patient. You just want to establish the habit so it’s more important that you keep up with the notes than trying to analyze them. I food journaled for many months before I began linking specific foods with my symptoms.
Most of the things I noticed initially, had to do with the actual process of note-taking. I noticed ways I could make the process easier and more effective as I began to make it a habit. This is where the evolution begins.
Let it Evolve
The longer I kept up with the habit, the more I noticed the benefits. My food journaling form evolved quite a bit over the 2 years that I continued it. I went from handwriting my journal to making my own template in Evernote. Yes, I know. I said this was for unorganized, messy people who get overwhelmed with systems and formats. This is the evolution that will be born out of what you notice. You will want to make things easier and more efficient as you figure out what information is most important for you to note. For me, I found that designing a template allowed me to add checkboxes and data points for the specific categories I wanted to keep track of.
But this was after making it a habit.
The evolution is when you find yourself taking notes in other areas of your life. You’ll notice the benefits and want to expand your process. I have found Evernote to be a great application for my note taking expansion. It allows me to create notebooks for any subject I want to have notes for. This has been an easy way to keep things organized. I still struggle with not remembering to tag each note which makes it difficult to find things later on. But I am happy that I am learning better and remembering more just from writing my ideas down. My skills aren’t up to par with my mom or Tim Ferriss but at least the habit has taken hold and I’m enjoying the process.
If you want to be a better writer, researcher, learner, student, teacher, or just better at life, make note taking a habit. Don’t be intimidated by the process. Keep it simple, see what you notice, and let it evolve.
Debby Germino is a freelance tv/film editor who enjoys writing about mindfulness, health, and strategies for happier living. She writes a bi-weekly newsletter and is open to comments and suggestions on any of these topics.The Startup