Letters From a Friend: Jamie Dyck

Photos provided by Jamie Dyck  

We’re exploring the ways in which we incorporate analogue into our lives – through lovely conversations with dear friends (hopefully over coffee one day soon). We love listening to and learning about what makes people tick – their favourite way to start their day and their favourite ways to unwind, their most-recommended book, the details they choose to unveil about themselves when asked for an introduction – and of course the people behind the stories too.

Our first iteration features Jamie Dyck, a resource teacher who lives in a small town on the Manitoba prairies. She is a lover of the outdoors, reading, handwriting, and gardening – and riding her new motorcycle.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a teacher and farmer. I love to garden, ride my gravel bicycle, walk my dogs, read books, and watch bad TV. I also recently got a motorcycle and am learning how to ride. In non-COVID times, I usually have a lot on the go. I am a part of two book clubs and sing in a choir. I love to cook and bake and try different ways of preserving the vegetables and fruits that come out of my yard and garden. My husband and I love to camp in the summer, and once I get my motorcycle license, we are planning to do some moto-camping in out-of-the-way places. 

What is the book you most often recommend to someone else? Why? 

It used to be All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr but now it’s The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. It’s the story of a woman who is given the opportunity to go back and make different choices at any point in her life. Not just at one point, but multiple points in her life from big decisions like getting married or going to grad school, to much smaller seemingly mundane decisions. It’s thought-provoking, well written, and unexpected. It’s a fairy tale for grown ups. I can’t wait to read it in my book club and see what they think of it.

If you weren't a resource teacher, what other career could you see yourself dabbling in? 

Good question. I don’t know what it might be specifically, but I think it would involve being outside. I love the outdoors and am always looking for more ways to spend time outside, no matter the season.

What's your favourite way to start your day? 

Drinking coffee outside on my patio, warmed by the morning sun, listening to the birds – which pretty much only happens on the weekend or some mornings during the holidays.

What does your typical day look like? 

I get up early and do yoga to start my day. It’s important to me to move my body and get some deep breathing in before I start what is usually a pretty busy work day. After yoga, I drink coffee and start to get ready for my day. I like to take it easy in the morning and don’t want to rush around too much. I leave for work around 7:45. At work, I’m often running all day, answering questions, leading meetings, consulting with teachers, working with kids. The day usually goes by pretty fast. I leave work around 4:30 or so. Sometimes I run errands like picking up mail, getting groceries, or visiting the library on my way home. Once at home, I usually go for a short run or take a walk along the creek that runs through our property. It’s a great time to decompress from the day and shift gears into whatever the evening holds. And lately, those evenings are pretty quiet. After making supper and cleaning up, I sometimes work in my office, video chat with friends, read, or watch TV. Now that the weather is starting to get nicer, I will start digging around in the garden. The days never seem quite long enough by the time the sun goes down and it’s time for bed.

How do you stay organized? 

Am I organized? I sometimes wonder. I try to write down as much as I can as often as I can. Or set timers, alarms, and reminders to alert me to things I know I will forget. I love to have different containers, boxes, and baskets to keep track of papers, bills, receipts, and other odds and ends that need to be dealt with. I am always looking for better ways to keep things organized. I also recently turned a rarely-used room in my house into a new office space. It’s got beautiful light so my plants love it. Currently, it’s a very minimal space with just desk space and a comfy chair. It’s been the best place to take all of the video chats I have had with my friends over the last year. And it’s a space that I want to work in. My previous office was dark and cramped; this one feels light and airy.

You're making a to-do list – is it on paper or on a device?

I use both. Throughout my work day, I write lists on post-its and usually have several different kinds of lists going at once. If I’m making a grocery list, or more of a long-term planning list, I use the Keep app on my phone, especially if it’s a list that I want to share with another person.

Do you practice your penmanship?

I do! I love to write in cursive and my students are always very impressed – mostly because they can’t read cursive and they think it looks fancy and complicated! I also have brush pens and a lettering set that I use to keep my hands busy while watching TV or when I am looking for something a little more creative than just scrolling through Instagram. 

Do you have a favourite pen? Why is it your favourite? 

Currently, I have two favourite pens. One is a Lamy rollerball pen that my husband gave me last year. I love the colour and the way it feels very substantial while I write. The other are these great gel pens from Staples. The brand is called Poppin and I love the way they write and feel in my hand. They aren’t fancy or expensive at all and I have no idea how long they will last, but I really like writing with them.

Do you have multiple notebooks going at once? What else is in the rotation?

I usually have several notebooks on the go at one time. Currently, I have my Traveler’s notebook with my daily/weekly agenda and notebooks for books to read and questions I need to ask people. I have my daily notebook, which mostly hosts lists, meal plans, ideas, etc. I have a summer notebook which is mostly full of camping trips that we did last summer and is poised to continue it’s duty to record our camping trips this summer. Lastly, I have my professional reading notebook where I record summaries and quotes from any of the reading I do for work.

How do you fit your Traveler's notebook into your life? 

My Traveler’s notebook goes with me almost everywhere. I have two notebooks in it – one is for work-related notes, the other is for personal notes such as: books I want to read or meals I want to make. More importantly, my Traveler’s notebook has my weekly agenda. I love the layout that has the week on one side of the page and note space on the other side of the page. 

Which inserts are your favourite? Which do you get the most use out of?

I just purchased the notecard inserts that I think will be great to have on-hand for when I need a little note to give someone at the last minute. They are so cute! I am also partial to either grid-lined notebooks or blank notebooks, so anything that has either of those options is exactly what I am looking for. 

What inspires you to fill your Traveler's notebook? What do you usually write/draw in it?

I always like to have notebooks with me to make lists. One doesn’t usually have their best ideas at convenient times and so there needs to be a place to gather all of the ideas for when you need them.

What other analogue tools do you incorporate into your everyday living? 

I find so much of what I do is a hybrid of digital and analogue. I read actual books, and I also like e-books for travelling or camping. I make lists on paper all of the time, and still use my phone for lists, too. 

Are you a coffee or tea person? Which fills your Kinto most often? 

It is absolutely coffee. In fact, I had mint tea in my Kinto just the other day and it tasted like coffee, so I think I will have to put my tea in something else from here on in.

Some of Jamie’s favourites: 

Traveler's Notebook - Regular

Penco Storage Containers

Kinto Day Off Tumbler - 500ml

Classiky Wood Tape Dispenser

Baltic Club Honeyfig & Ginger Candle

JSTORY Weekly Planner Pad - Blue