Wreck This Journal: Newsprint


One of my favorite things to take home as a souvenir is a local newspaper from the places I visit. This goes for Northern Wisconsin as much as it does for Beijing, China.  Headlines, opinion pages, and even obituaries give a vivid representation of the culture and atmosphere of any given place.  So, when Wreck This Journal gave instructions to glue down a random page from a newspaper, I was ecstatic!

I got so excited I actually ended up using four pages in the journal to paste down various parts of The Daily Telegraph from London.  I clipped the title, interesting tidbits, and a few other little things to bring back some great memories of the U.K.  Who would have thought my Wreck This Journal would also serve as a scrapbook?!

First up, I clipped out the iconic title The Daily Telegraph.  I even added the price block of 90p, of which I always keep that much handy in a bowl on my nightstand.  It’s a nice reminder of how much I always kept in my pocket, so I could buy a newspaper each day to read in the park.  I tried to draw the Union Jack as the backdrop, but it turned out a tad odd!

The Daily Telegraph tries to hide a lame drawing of the Union Jack!

Next up, I attached some clippings that are so English they really capture the essence of London. Quirky headlines, the BBC schedule, and a spot of trivia are in every newspaper.  This particular issue of The Daily Telegraph is one of the older ones I have, dating back to 2009, (hence PM Brown). In the bottom corner of this page, I tried to document where and when I got this edition, but as you’ll see my memory got a little fuzzy, (I had to whip out my journals to find the date)!

Memorabilia fills this page along with a snappy shade of purple.

A newspaper just isn’t complete without mention of the weather.  The weather is a moody thing in the U.K. and I love how people talk about it as if its a member of the family instead of a natural phenomenon. The rain isn’t just something that waters the garden, but rather a temperamental cousin that makes you carry his umbrella.

During my last trip to London, I became quite reliant on the weather section in a free daily newspaper, The Metro.  I  actually started to learn the Celsius standard from experience rather the relying on a converter.  I knew 18°C and partial clouds meant I needed a hoodie and an umbrella.  As is happens, the same goes for 27°C and sunny, (sometimes the “cousin” makes surprise visit).

Hmmmm . . . looks to be a hot day in London.

Finally, I clipped the enigmatic crossword puzzle.  No day is complete without at least trying to crack the clues and complete the puzzle.  Strangely, I have better luck on U.K. puzzles than I do with American counterparts.  I haven’t completed the puzzle I clipped, but I will someday.

Just in case I get stuck on the Tube with nothing to do!

I’m already anxious to go back! Meanwhile, I’ll be living vicariously through my television during the Olympics later this summer!

– – –

Sadly, newsprint is starting to go out of style, but I have hope that it will never completely die out. How else will we:

  • do paper mache
  • make origami hats
  • have cheap placemats
  • protect the table from a painting project
  • save clippings for a scrapbook
  • potty train puppies
  • pack fragile items (shredded padding or wrap)
  • lift ink with silly putty

What else should go on the list?

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c.b.w. 2012

Project Spirit Journal: Today


When yesterday and tomorrow weigh heavy on our minds, it becomes even more critical to remember the value of today.

Seize the day!

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What is your favorite thing about today?

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c.b.w. 2012

Photography Challenge: Unknowns


My camera and I went on several adventures for the Photography Challenge this week.  I keep the list of prompts in my pocket, but I don’t shoot my pictures in any particular order.  I like to let creativity roam freely until the finished product emerges.  As a result, my pictures started to link together on their own into a theme of “unknowns.”

Prompt: Explore a new route and document it.

I played with this prompt in a number of ways, hoping to avoid the obvious.  I decided even the most familiar of places, experiences, and objects can have an element of “newness” that goes unnoticed.

At the grocery store, I wandered from my usual path of apples and cucumbers to the exotic fruit section.  What are these things?

Photo by: c.b.w.

My bookshelves are full of books I see every day.  Some I’ve read more than once, while others are waiting for me to turn the pages.  An unread book is the ultimate “new route,” so I grabbed a book I’ve never read and went exploring.

Photo by: c.b.w.

Travel is the ultimate act of exploring, so I dug through my map collection until I came across a map for a place I’ve never been.  Amsterdam will likely be my next destination, however, until then it remains an unknown.

Photo by: c.b.w.

Prompt: Find a piece of artwork.

While exploring the garage, I found the welding marks and discoloration on a restoration project to be quite intriguing. It looks like something that could be at the Tate Modern with a plaque that says “Artist Unknown.”

Photo by: c.b.w.

Prompt: Document something you don’t understand.

I may have found art in the garage, but it remains a place of utter confusion for me.  Engines, tools, and mechanical things will forever be an enigma in my mind.

Photo by: c.b.w.

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To see all the details of the photography challenge, go here.

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c.b.w. 2012

The Expanding Pear


I submitted this story to the Your Story competition in Writer’s Digest, but it didn’t make the final cut.  Instead of sulking, I’ve decided to celebrate my first submission of the year by sharing it with my readers. Meanwhile, I’m already working on two more pieces to submit in other competitions.

This piece was entered into contest #42, which gave the prompt of starting a story with the phrase “I’ve got to get out of these clothes . . . fast.”

– – –

“I’ve got to get out of these clothes . . . fast,” I mutter.

My muffin top looks like the baker spooned too much dough into the paper cup.  A year ago this size would have fit just fine, but now it threatens to give me a blood clot. As if that isn’t depressing enough, I’m in this predicament because my favorite jeans split right up the rear seam when I bent over to pick up the cat last night.

The fluorescent lights of the dressing room drains my skin of all color and makes me think I should have worn at least a little make-up.  The jeans I’ve stuffed myself into bunch up under my hips and the back pockets refuse to lay flat or straight. Nothing ever fits right.  Half the time I don’t know why I even try.  Clothes are made for women too afraid to eat or fans of masochism.

I can hardly look at myself in the mirror, yet I stare and wonder why my curves are so ugly.  I bubble out like a pear with my bulging gut, back fat, and wide thighs.  Great.  I look like a fruit I don’t like to eat.  That’s right, skinny on top and global on the bottom.  And I just keep getting more juicy and plump! Of course, my sister looks like a runway model with her beanpole frame and bright blue eyes.  Where was the magic gene fairy when I was born?

The too tight jeans dig into my thighs and as I try to shimmy out of them. The waistband just won’t stretch another inch. Honestly, why does all the fat settle just above the knee?  Giving up on the pants, I try to wiggle out of the shirt, but the shoulder seams clamp down the moment I move my arms.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

Oh, no!  Was that the sleeve?

Now stuck with jeans wrapped around my legs and my arms cinched in a shirt that will not come off, my confidence deflates as though it’s just sprung a leak. Too bad my balloon butt can’t do the same thing. Tears burn my eyes and I slowly sink into the bench.

Why can’t I be beautiful?

A sick feeling of disappointment churns in my stomach.  It doesn’t matter what I do. I’ll never be a Size 2 or the blonde who flaunts it because she has the right to feel pretty.  So, why not give me extra fries with that large chocolate shake, please.

A little tap sounds on the dressing room door.

“Ma’am, are you okay?”

I wipe my tears and suck in a deep breath. No.

“Yes, I’m fine.”

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c.b.w. 2012