A Pretty Spring Day.

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This picture is by my optimistic daughter. With rain for the next 48 hours, it’s anything but pretty around Charm City this weekend. She did this entirely with Yoobi colored pencils and highlighter pencils. (We go to Target a lot.)

First Day of School Pencils, Take Two.

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So. Charlotte started school today. Pre-K. She has been my constant companion for over four years. I did not have an easy night’s sleep or morning. But this is not the kind of blog where we wax emotional. However, there is still, of course, plenty to talk about on a pencil blog about the first day of school.

We bought the stuff on her school supply list. I assumed that six #2 pencils meant 1/2 dozen of fat learner’s pencils with big erasers for little students in Pre-K. So I dug through the bins at Staples to make sure that she got the best six in the store. While not on the list, I made sure to include a Pink Pearl and German-bladed pencil sharpener. Charlotte came home with 5 pencils in her backpack. I asked why. She said they are not supposed to have fat pencils.

Well. Hey hey hey. This means she can basically take whatever she wants to school for pencils! Holiday pencils. Disney Fairy pencils. Heck, Blackwings if she wants. So I took her to The Archive before our favorite restaurant opened for dinner and let her pick any six pencils she wanted.

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This is what she came up with.

She picked the EnviroStik first, then an old (2005) Forest Choice, though I made her take a new one, to be sure the eraser works. Next, she requested that I open a 2014 Target-exclusive pack of Ticonderogas for “the blue one.” She picked a regular (new, matte, Chinese) Ticonderoga, then a black one (Chinese, smooth). Finally, she went for the bright silver of the Musgrave Test Scoring 100. These were pointed on a Deli sharpener (not too long) and are contained in an empty Ticonderoga box, for school tomorrow.

I scoped out the sharpener situation in the room, but I couldn’t get any pictures because a Little Guy was sobbing in the chair nearest: crank sharpener mounted where Small Children can reach it and an industrial electric sharpener behind the teacher’s desk. I did notice a pencil cup near it, and what the teacher wrote on was written in pencil. If I see her with a red/blue pencil, I’m gushing about this website and the even better podcast of which I am thankful to be a part.

Click to view the school supply they forgot to put on The List. Also, this stub was the first pencil Charlotte ever touched, when it was new in 2010.
Click to view the school supply they forgot to put on The List. Also, this stub was the first pencil Charlotte ever touched, when it was new in 2010.

Capped Pocket Pencil.

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I have a Magic Box of Awesome. (I should really do a post about it and stop my Lazy Blogging, but think of David Rees, and use your imagination.) Looking through this box is a staple request from Charlotte. Recently, she opened it and asked to have this very tiny pencil. I told her it can be her Pocket Pencil, and she liked this idea. Then I told her, in a very Parental Fashion, that she needed to use a point protector. A miniature argument ensued. This argument could only happen in my house, and perhaps some select other Outposts. I only won, I think, because one of the runs of General’s protectors had sparkles in it for some reason.

“Oh, no, I spilled shavings!”

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Thus shouted my daughter this morning, while she over-did-it with the sharpener I brought her from my way home via the art shop a few days ago, a gummy-bear KUM unit. Kids make messes. Yesterday, it was a broken glass at our localĀ Sardigna joint from the three-year-old and a small bucket of vomit all over the front of me while in line at the post office to mail off some pencil goodies. Today, there were pencil shavings all over the living room floor at HQ, along with the aroma of coffee and cedar in the air on a fall-like day.
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Life is good at HQ. Very good.

And, just because I like this passage, from Thoreau’s Journal, 13-Aug-1854:

First marked dog day; sultry and with misty clouds. For ten days or so we have had comparatively cool, fall-like weather. I remember only with a pang the past spring and summer thus far. I have not been an early riser. Society seems to have invaded and overrun me. I have drank tea and coffee and made myself cheap and vulgar. My days have been all noontides, without sacred mornings and evenings. I desire to rise early henceforth, to associate with those whose influence is elevating, to have such dreams and waking thoughts that my diet may not be indifferent to me.

First Finished Field Notes.

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Not mine! Gracious, I have at least 60-70 full from the last 2 1/2 years in a Beer Box* upstairs that I need to find, so that I can archive my last three notebooks since mid-July. Santa brought my daughter a set of the Summer Camp Field Notes books and pencils for Christmas 2011. She scored one when she started Serious Potty Training a while back. We carry it with us when we go to the coffeeshop, BMA, etc. She finished it last week.
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Full! It’s stocked with drawings and is covered with stickers. She started to eraser pictures so that she could draw more when we were out two weeks ago, prompting the introduction of the next book for her drawing adventures. At 3, she can draw recognizable pictures. Seriously. I don’t have a picture of it yet, but a recent drawing session went something like this:

Charlotte: Daddy, what do you want me to draw for you?
Daddy: A lion. And trees.
Charlotte: (two minutes later) Daddy! Here you go.
Whereupon she presented me with a two-page spread featuring a lion. And trees. And here I was thinking we didn’t get to the zoo often enough.

She’s always had a fondness for drawing and writing tools. It’s almost like our house has pencils, pens, paper and accessories everywhere. Eh…
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She stole my wife’s Balsam Fir Field Notes when she was about 9 months old and spilled coffee on it somehow, and she claimed a green Mongol HB pencil from me around the same time.
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At the risk of offending some of my Fellow Field Notes Fans, I joked that, with one full notebook, Charlotte probably has finished more than a lot of people who own an entire Archival Box of limited editions. For myself, I enjoy the photos folks put online of their notebooks that are beaten up badly and full of Good Stuff.

I have enough “rare” Field Notes editions that I could fund at least a decade of subscriptions by selling them — if I hadn’t filled them up. Like pencils, I think of them and treat them as tools. I use them. I use the hell out of them. I have had a few people ask to trade for my Fab.Com edition. I had to break it to these good folks that I filled them within 3 weeks of getting them.
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Certainly, Charlotte has other notebooks. She has a serious fondness for Composition Books, sometimes asks for her pink Moleskine, not to mention her Fairies books. I gave her a new pink pocket notebook last night, and she stole an old Golden Bear from my cup, claimed it as her own, and drew 3-4 pictures before I had to drag her off to bed.

*[Box in which 12 bottles of Excellent Beer arrived, before their cheerful departure.]

Charlotte, TMI, Pencils, Field Notes, Cafe.

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(Please excuse the phone photo.)
I hope she never catches wind of this post. But, growing up in the home in which we live, my daughter (who turns three in April) has a serious affection for all things stationery. And this has been very useful, over the past few months, for potty training bribes. Here she is, with a Field Notes (before she “earned” the matching yellow pencil) and the Blackwing stub I had in my pocket as we enjoyed the sun on the back deck of one of our favorite local coffeeshops.

New for 2013.

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This might explain some of the gaps in posting. Pencil Revolution HQ is expecting a new little Pencil Pusher in June 2013, Codename: Junebug. Comrade Charlotte triumphantly holds an ultrasound image from this past November.

We have more pencil-centric posts in the pipeline, honest. This is too exciting not to share!

Rad and Hungry Colombian Pack Contents.


My daughter (eight months old now!) loves pencils. She reaches for them constantly. This can be, of course, a bit of a terror, when the pencils are sharp. She even seemed to know what was in this box.


The contents spread out.


Charlotte scooted around seven feet to chase the box of goodies.


Packaged lovingly.


The pencils are painted brightly.


The pencils are unsharpened. However, unlike any Dixon or Mirado I’ve bought in the last, say, five years, the paint is not overlapping the wood at the end and making it look like it got dropped into something unsavory.


Don’t know what kind of wood this is, but it’s not cedar. Smells nice, though, and sharpens fine.


Okay. I sharpened the blue HB pencil first. It’s really, really smooth! I even asked someone else to verify this because, frankly, I wasn’t expecting such a buttery experience. I’ll get the others sharpened and tested in the near future. The yellow and red ones are very attractive, with the painted bands on the ferrules. I can’t wait to give them a run!