I found my way into a Papyrus paper goods store the other day. What a relief after the roil of stores with junior sizes and VERY LOUD music (for the two beautiful seventh graders I was shopping with) and vendor carts. Remember when you used to be able to walk from store to store without being solicited, when you used to be able to hear yourself think? I even remember when Eastland Mall (Harper Woods, Michigan) wasn't enclosed, and you could have brushes with fresh air and weather rather than with salespeople as you moved from Hudson's to Crowley's. Mall shopping was much less tiring. (Much as I might prefer Main Street shopping, Main Street stores rarely carry the kinds of clothes we were looking for.)

I bought a paper day-planner with a cover and interior I like to look at. I figure I spend enough time staring at one screen or another and pouring typeface onto illuminated "pages." I do understand the benefits of syncing devices, etc., but I think these might outweigh the hazards: sore thumb knuckles and tired eyes, not to mention gobbling up energy from the grid for something as simple as checking the date. Like so much about my life, this is an experiment, but so far, I like picking up a No. 2 pencil and writing things onto the smooth, heavyweight white pages. (The girls, by the way, promptly sat down on the floor next to a small display of hip-looking books and began reading. When I was ready to leave, they weren't.)