Wreck This Journal: Good Thoughts

Standard

While most pages in Wreck This Journal are about seeing the world with a positive eye, one page in particular is set aside for recording good thoughts.  This was easily one of my favorite pages as I have a “thing” for collecting quotations in journals, sticky notes, or anywhere else I can scribble a line of wisdom.

Grandma approached this page with her usual brand of quirkiness and independence. Not only did she record good thoughts, but she scribbled in anything that made her happy.

100_4279

Grandma’s page of good thoughts.

Her handwriting is a little tough to read, so I’ll translate:

Grandma always loved a beautiful car. She pasted in a Mercedes Benz because it was one of her favorite brands, although she loved a good Jaguar, too. I remember how she’d walk right up to one in a parking lot and look in the windows. She never owned either a Mercedes or a Jag, but she never stopped dreaming.

Quote: Kindness is like jelly – you always get some on yourself.

Quote: God is good.

Quote: It’s not the amount of years in your life. It’s the amount of life in your years.

Quote: I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful. – Bob Wiley. I have to laugh at this because it comes from an all time favorite movie in our family, “What About Bob?” Get us all in a room and we could probably quote that movie from start to finish. Even towards the end when Grandma had forgotten so much, she still knew  “What About Bob?”

Candy bars.

$ – This makes me laugh, too. Grandma loved money, but not like you’d think. Sure, she like the idea of nice things, but she also loved finding a penny on the ground. The woman found pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters wherever she went.

As for my page, I pulled some of my favorite quotes out of my main quotation journal. Then, I added some color, because color always makes me happy.

100_4280

My page of good thoughts.

I should probably add one more thing to my page of good thoughts – memories of Grandma.

- – -

c.b.w. 2014

Wreck This Journal: Eat Your Fruit!

Standard

While some pages in Wreck This Journal invite serious destruction or thought provoking creativity, others are just funny. One page in particular gives directions to collect fruit stickers. I don’t know why, but I found this pretty amusing as fruit stickers are usually a nuisance instead of an item worth collecting. Leave it to Keri Smith to make fruit stickers fun!

As somebody who eats fruit for lunch every day, I filled up my page pretty quickly. The organic apples I eat actually have two stickers – the typical round one with a bar code, number code, and name of apple and a long yellow sticker labeling it as organic.  Apples are my favorite, (Gala and Fujis in particular) so naturally most of my stickers comes from apples! However, I do have a couple of oranges mixed in there, too. I suppose one of my great faults is not eating enough fruit, but it’s not because my grandma didn’t tell me to.

100_4228

Apples, apples, and more apples!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2014

Grandma’s page is filled with a wide variety of fruit stickers. She’s got everything from bananas, strawberries, apples, and oranges.  Grandma always had a piece of fruit with  her meals – breakfast in particular. At night she’d snack on bananas. She always offered me some, but I could never get her to understand that I don’t really like bananas!

When I was a kid, she would slice up an apple and put it out as a snack while my sister and I were playing. To this day, I’ll only slice up an apple when I want a treat (usually I just bite into a whole apple). It still feels special to eat an apple in slices because that’s the way she made it.

100_4230

Apples, oranges, and berries, oh my!
Photo by: c.b.w. 2014

Grandma broke the rules a little bit and collected stickers for vegetables, too. Her green pepper sticker really gets my memory going. She had a great recipe for stuffed green peppers and they were delicious! I’ve made them a couple of times, but they’ve never turned out quite as good as hers. When she made meatloaf, she always put a couple “rings” of green pepper on the top. Grandpa always scooped them off as soon as the meatloaf hit the table. Like her stuffed peppers, Grandma’s meatloaf was magnificent. I miss it like you wouldn’t believe!

I always promised Grandma I’d eat more fruit, but then I see chocolate. Sorry, Grandma, I’ll keep trying!

- – -

c.b.w. 2014

Wreck This Journal: Time

Standard

One of my favorite pages in Wreck This Journal gives directions to document the passing of time. There are so many different ways to play with this prompt and so many interesting directions in which it could wander!

When my Grandma and I completed this page, we took the obvious route in some respects, but in others we offered our own unique perspective on the passage of time.

Grandma pulled out her scrap box and cut up an old calendar to express days, months, and a year. Then, she drew an alarm clock, which is something that cracks me up. She had an alarm clock that she really loved because it lit up when it went off in the morning. The only problem was she never heard it ring (she was a heavy sleeper) and therefore she hardly ever got to see it light up.

However, my favorite part of Grandma’s page are the trees she drew along the side. A baby tree growing into a taller sapling is such a beautiful way to document time. It reminds me of something she and my Grandpa did for my sister and I when we were kids. One summer, we planted baby pine trees and then stood beside them to take a picture. Every year, when we’d come to visit for the summer we’d stand by the same trees and take our picture to see how much all of us grew. The trees always grew faster than we did! I don’t know if those trees are still growing (the house has new owners), but I like to think they are still reaching for the sky.

100_4224

Grandma’s take on time passing.

As for me, I geeked out as a history teacher and stole an idea from my Grandma, (it’s only fair – she stole my pyramids). I drew a clock and pasted in clippings of time from an old TV guide. Then, I doodled symbols from various eras of World History. My favorite is the boat, because never in a million years did I think I could draw something like that! One of these days, I’d like to continue this page to include the eras I wrote in the bottom corner of the page.

My job as a history teacher has me thinking about the concept of time on a daily basis – Is it always moving forward or is that simply how we perceive it? Are we that different from people who lived centuries before us?  What was it really like to live in a time other than my own? Time it seems is a riddle that will keep me guessing until my time runs out.

100_4221

My take on time passing.

The quote I wrote on my page has never meant more to me. I had 35 years with my Grandma and yet it only feels like  five minutes. I’m grateful for the moments we had, what I wouldn’t give for more. Every day with her was precious,  but there those moments where I wish I had more awareness of how fleeting time can be. If anything, reflecting on these pages reminds me to treasure the time I have with those I love. No matter how many years pass by and how much time we have, it will never be enough.

- – -

c.b.w. 2014

Wreck This Journal: A New Chapter

Standard

Back in August of 2011, I began a series of posts where I shared my pages from Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal, (see Wreck This Journal: Letting Go). I did everything from utterly destroying parts of the journal to adding artistic flare to otherwise blank and boring pages. It was fun to share my journey of creative self-discovery, but there’s a lot more to the story that I haven’t shared.

I didn’t buy just one Wreck This Journal, I bought two. One for me and one for my Grandma. I mentioned this briefly in early 2012, (see Wreck This Journal: Memories), but I never wrote of it, again. At the time, I was just beginning to grapple with the notion that I was losing her. For obvious reasons, I chose to keep much of that struggle private.

Wreck This Journal was something we did together at a time when we first realized small pieces of her were starting to slip away. In the midst of so much difficulty and sadness, the pages of Wreck This Journal allowed us to laugh and have fun together. For that reason, the experience of completing the journal with her is among my most cherished memories.

100_4210

Grandma’s journal is on the left, mine is on the right.

In the year since my Grandma passed away, I am amazed at how much joy there is in the memories I have of her and the time we spent together.  I am even more grateful for a tangible reminder of her thoughts and personality in the pages of her Wreck This Journal. Rather than keep those memories on a shelf, I want to give them a place to thrive.

With that in mind, it was easy an easy decision to revive the Wreck This Journal series. Only this time around, I’ll be sharing pages that both my grandma and I completed. The last time I compared the two journals was when we were working on them in her craft room. In doing this, I’m hoping to find new connections and uncover forgotten memories.  And, of course, smile and laugh along the way. She wouldn’t want it any other way.

It seems only fitting to start with a page reserved for making handprints or fingerprints. The directions seemed simple enough, but they leave door wide open for individual perspective.

Grandma thought outside the box a little bit and made an outline imprint of her hand. What I love about her mark is that she painted her nails and drew her rings.  Grandma always had beautiful nails, even right up to the end. French manicures were her favorite, but she loved a good pink, too. Aside from perfect nails, Grandma loved her rings. She liked the way the sun make her diamond sparkle and she cherished the memories of her Irish claddagh ring.

100_4205

Nice rings!

I was a little more literal. To make my mark, I pulled out a box of markers and inked my thumb in various colors. I ended up creating a picture of thumbprint flowers with a full background. Things were quite messy on my side of the table! Initially, I thought I made it because I can’t draw, but now I realize it truly does represent a piece of me. Every spring, my garden comes to life with seedlings and flowers. Plants and gardening bring me a lot of joy and I guess my thumb muse knew that!

100_4208

My thumbprint garden

Despite such different interpretations of the directions, Grandma and I realized it all comes down to one thing: leaving your mark.

- – -

c.b.w. 2014

Wreck This Journal: Traveling Light

Standard

I’ve never truly understood why women carry huge purses or mass quantities of baggage wherever they go.  There seems to be an obsession with the idea that we should always have everything we (might) need with us at all times.  I know multiple people that carry a purse, a work bag, a gym bag, and a food bag (lunch and snacks) every single day to and from home.  What do they need the gym bag for when they’re hauling around all this stuff?

I am seriously befuddled by this concept of packing purses with everything from make-up to flashlights.  Have you ever lifted a large purse pack to the brim with all that crap? It’s so heavy, I’m surprised more women aren’t walking around lopsided with one shoulder lower than the other.

Perhaps, I’m confused because I don’t go out as often as other people nor do I have grave concerns about being able to reapply my lipstick later in the day.  Incidentally, I don’t worry about being trapped in a dark tunnel, either. Am I weird because I’ve never felt the need to carry loads of stuff with me all the time? Probably.

I have three modes of “packing” for when I leave the house, all of which are pretty minimalist compared to what I observe on a daily basis.

Mode #1: Work

  • 1 tote bag that carries Lesson plan calendar, keys, wristlet (that holds iPod and cell phone), water, apple

Mode #2: Writing shift at the bookstore

  • 1 tote bag or messenger bag that carries laptop, reading book or journal, (depending on writing goals for that day), wristlet, pencil pouch, keys

Mode #3: Anywhere else

  • 1 wristlet or small purse  that carries wallet (unless carrying wristlet), cell phone, iPod, keys

Now, I’m sure most men would consider these modes with the same confusion as I regard women with large purses.  Everything a man needs or want fits nicely into his pants pockets, but I must argue that the pockets in women’s clothing are about four times smaller than those in men’s clothing.

Blame Wreck This Journal for my little rant on this subject. One of the pages gave instructions to trace the contents of my bag or pockets.  I did this page a while ago, but everything I “need” to have with me on an outing has essentially stayed the same.

Keeping it simple.

For the record, I have a waaaay better cell phone these days, (no more flip-phone for this girl)!

If anything, carrying less makes me a little more careful and creative when I venture outside of the house. Whatever situation befalls me, I’m confident I’ve got the right equipment with me.  And should I feel the need to run from danger, I won’t be weighed down by thirty pounds of clutter in my bag.

- – -

c.b.w. 2012