Wreck This Journal: Smile

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The last few Wreck This Journal posts highlighted some critical epiphanies, so I thought it was time to be a little more lighthearted.  There are several blank pages in the journal, which I’ve decided are there for me to experiment with my own ideas.  On one of those blank pages I created a little shrine for a few things in life that make me happy.  Aside from family, friends, and a slew of other little joys, these are some of my favorite things that keep me smiling:

The curve of the book makes it hard to read so I’ll fill in a few blanks!

Books . . . make me think.  I’ve had a book in my hand every since I was little girl.  To this day, a lot of my free time is spent reading everything from literature, mainstream, YA, and historical non-fiction.  It’s a passion!  Every evening, I look forward to time with a good book.

Chocolate . . . is a food group (I swear it is).  This will probably be my undoing, but I can’t resist that sweet, smooth, and delectable treat.  It’s almost like I have a relationship with this stuff, (especially Reese’s Peanut Butter cups!).

Movies . . . remind me to dream.  I go to the movies almost every weekend ($5 on Sunday mornings!) and I have a massive DVD collection in my home.  And never mind, what I keep on my iPod!  I love just about every genre as long as its well-made, original, fun, or thought provoking.  Movies take me to another place and let my imagination go crazy.

TV . . . is both good and bad.  I only watch a handful of shows, but once or twice a week I’m glued to the TV.  After a long day of work or a hard day of writing, my brain needs a break!  Currently, I’m watching Big Bang Theory, Person of Interest, The Office (sometimes), Once Upon a Time, and Psych.

Crosswords . . . keep me searching for the right words.  Every day after work, I sit down with a bowl of cereal and complete a crossword puzzle.  It’s relaxing and it keeps my mind sharp.  As a writer, I’m fascinated by words and I think its incredibly important to always keep my inner dictionary fresh and updated.

Music . . . is my emotional soundtrack.  My iPod is never more than a couple feet away from me.  It’s filled with playlists for every mood, writing project, or event in my life.  Some of my playlists include: At the Movies, Bluesy Rock, BritFolk, Cheese Factory (essentially this is guilty pleasure music that is cheesy beyond belief), Christmas, Classical, Rainy Day, Running Music, If I Could Dance, Easy Listening, Feel Good Mix, and Feelin’ Fierce.  There’s many more, but this is already sounding a bit crazy!

Barnes & Noble Cafe . . . makes me smile and gives me a place to relax.  Yes, I actually cut apart my coffee cup and pasted it to the page! I spend anywhere from 3 to 4 evenings a week at my local Barnes & Noble.  I love the people, the coffee, and the atmosphere.  This is where I write, relax, and socialize.  It’s like a second home to me and I always look forward to walking through the doors.

What are your favorite things?

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts, please see my sidebar and tag cloud.

c.b. 2011

15 Years Brings 15 Changes

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I was listening to my iPod the other day and it shuffled to a song I hadn’t heard in a while.  When “Real World” by Matchbox 20 started playing, it made me smile and reminisce about a time in my life that now feels so far away.  I was 18-years-old and had just begun to taste the real world as an adult.

I pulled out the actual CD and marveled at the relic.  Matchobx 20’s debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You was one of my favorite albums and served as my soundtrack during my first year of college.  It’s hard to believe that was fifteen years ago, but here I sit as a 33-year-old woman with an old CD in her hands.  I even checked the copyright date to make sure my math was right. Yup, 1996.

I couldn’t help but load the CD in my car for old time’s sake.  This is the band that turned me into one of those people that sing in the car.  I suppose I can credit Matchbox 20 for giving me the license to say “I don’t care if anyone’s watching.”  I still sing in the car and I still don’t care who sees me doing it. To my surprise, I remember all the words to every song.  Driving down the freeway, I belted out “Long Day” and “Push” as if I was some rock star behind the wheel.  Fifteen years later, its still good music.

My little jaunt down memory lane got me thinking about how much in my life has changed since I was eighteen.  I don’t long to be that young again, nor am I saddened by the passing of time. Rather, I’m in awe of how life brings so many changes in such a short period of time.  Between then and now, I’ve gone from being an adult just starting out to an individual who has found her groove in life.

15 Years Brings 15 Changes:

1. Age
Then: 18 and very naïve.
Now: 33 and hopefully a little wiser

2. Living Situation
Then: Living at home and sharing a room with my sister
Now: Homeowner with a writing room all to myself

3. Mode of Transportation
Then: 1991 Chevy Cavalier.  It was my first car and it broke down all the time!  About a year later, I totaled it by rear-ending an SUV.  The SUV was fine, but my car crinkled like a tin can.
Now: 2006 Mini Cooper.  It’s the cutest thing ever.

4. Occupation
Then: Full-time student and part-time salesgirl at The Body Shop.  I sold lotion and gave make-overs.
Now: Full-time teacher and aspiring writer.  These days I barely wear make-up and I’m allergic to almost all scented lotions.

5. Relationship Status
Then: Single and getting over a break-up.  I was three years away from meeting my husband.
Now: Married to wonderful guy and I can’t imagine life without him.

6. Style
Then: Jeans and Birkenstock wannabes
Now: Jeans and Converse sneakers.  I haven’t changed much in this department!

7. Travel
Then: U.S. and Mexico
Now: I have memories of so many beautiful places: French Polynesia, Great Britain (4 times), Ireland, France, Italy, Czech Republic, and China. To think I’ve only just begun!

8. Technology
Then: I had a CD Walkman and a large PC desktop computer.  The monitor alone took up half my desk!  I was hardwired into thinking Macs were not cool and Windows 95 was the best thing out there.
Now: I can’t live without my iPod and I carry a thin, lightweight laptop everywhere.  I’m a full Mac convert and can’t imagine what I ever saw in a PC.

9. Appointment TV
Then: Reruns of Star Trek: TNG, Wings, Newsradio, and Golden Girls.  Reality TV was not part of the vernacular and talk shows were all the rage.
Now: Fringe, Big Bang Theory, The Office, Project Runway, and reruns Star Trek: TNG if I can find it.

10. Communication
Then: I relied on a pager and snail mail, with a bit of e-mail.
Now: I’m fully connected with a smartphone, e-mail, and social networks.

11. Current Events
Then: 9/11 was just the 11th day in September
Now: 9/11 was the day that changed everything

12. Reading Pattern
Then: Mostly textbooks for all my classes. College gives you very little time to read for fun.
Now: Literary and mainstream fiction, along with a smattering of young adult.

13. Writing
Then: Research papers and random bits of poetry
Now: Fiction, (including novels and short stories), blog posts, and poetry

14. Hangout Spot
Then: Barnes & Noble on the East side of town.
Now: Barnes & Noble on the North side of town.  I can’t help myself. I love B&N and the coffee they serve.

15. Direction In Life
Then: Still questioning my identity and course . . .
Now: I know who I am and where I want go!

I can’t imagine what the next fifteen years will bring, but I’m excited all the same.  Life continues to be an adventure I can’t wait to experience.

Where were you 15 years ago?

c.b. 2011