Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Trash Day

I'm sitting here on yet another cold February day listening to the squeak of the brakes of the recycling truck. Later, the trash man will come with his loud music piercing the crisp the trash man I mean the driver of the trash truck with the automatic arms that empties the non recyclables. I've been saving this picture for a couple weeks and the inspiration and thoughts finally came together today..
   Recently, the Mr. helped me focus on some household tasks that needed taking care of...particularly the Goodwill donation pile and the dump run.
   One Saturday this month, we loaded the truck with stuff that just needed to go...disintegrating patio furniture, some chairs that just spent too much time in the pool house in Indiana and kept growing mold, extra items that are either worn out or broken, but can’t just keep around anymore. We try to find homes for things we wish to discard, but sometimes things just have to go. We're all familiar with the drill.
   As we made the short trip to the county dump, where we can dump all we want for free, I recalled going along to the dump in Ohio with Grandpa Buster as a very young child. Any field trip with Grandpa was special so when asked, I went. And it didn't matter where. ( I particularly liked the trips to the 'pretzel guy' then 'Angie's Diner', but that's for another day...)
    It’s a image that stuck with me...I remember the smell hitting you when you approached the dump and it was a sea of trash as far as I could see. Not just ‘large item’ discards like this, but trash, actual kitchen type waste. The sound of backhoes and bobcats bobbed along the pile moving things around, for what reason, I didn't know.  Grandpa, and others, just backed their trucks up to the pile. Then they just tossed the stuff out of the truck drove away. Every time I take the trash bins and recycling out to the curb I think of this experience and figuratively throw my hands up in surrender, because what do you do?
   Like everything else, we’ve been softened by clever marketing to the reality of what we are experience as a child is a sharp contrast to what I saw this day. We drove up the winding, somewhat manicured hillside to a pattern of construction size dumpsters that almost looked like a neighborhood street, none were overflowing, labeled with categories and/or numbers. The attendant politely directed us to number 10 after assessing the items in the truck. We pulled up, waited our turn, politely said good morning to our fellow dumpers, as if we were having morning coffee greetings at the mailbox. We took out turn, emptied our items, and drove away.
   Just as our taking the bins to the curb separates us from the reality of the mountain of waste we create, the rather pristine conditions of our county dump takes the sting out of tossing aside items we had to have at one point but no longer want. I kept looking for the sea of trash I remembered as a child but it was not visible. There was no foul smell, I thank February for that, and as we got ready to leave I grabbed my camera to preserve the images of this new way of going to the dump. The impact of this experience likely doesn't stick with many people because it ISN'T impactful. It's just life now and we are conditioned to put it all out of our mind once a week when the bin is rolled to the curb and every so often when we toss things into rather clean bins at the dump.
   I will point out that making the dump more appealing to the general population probably serves the adjunct purpose of encouraging people to keep their properties more tidy. If it's a negative experience, people don't want to go, so, particularly large items, would clutter yards and sheds. (Some people still must not realize the dump is so nice!!!)
  I'm glad, through tagging along on a routine errand with my Grandpa, I have that image in my memory and I can share it with my daughter sometime. She was writing an essay recently when applying to a summer science program. One of the questions she was asked was to name something you want to know more about. She came up with, what happens to all that trash we create? Perhaps we need to take her to the dump and satisfy a little curiosity about the step just beyond the curb, pairing Science with History a bit.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

GATHER Story Kit from Ali Edwards

I subscribed to Ali Edwards Story Kit 'Gatherings' this month. It's a series she does monthly with lots of great thought provoking prompts and digital elements to add to your collection and help tell your stories in your scrapbooks. There are also physical product options if you are a more traditional (non digital) or hybrid (combination of digital and traditional) scrapbooker.

Each month I'm doing an 8.5x11 spread to touch on the theme, then plan to add each month's theme to my overall approach to our annual album. This allows me to use more of the fun elements in the kit as they pertain to what happens in our lives as the year goes on.

The approach to my Project Life format album this year is more monthly in nature than weekly. I'm also taking themes of my word of the year, (Balance) and the Story Kit themes and carrying them through as jumping off points to storytelling.

Shown here is my page 2 of the spread. Part of the exercise today was seeing what in my life is gathered...people, things, etc. As I looked around I confirmed what I always knew about myself: I categorize and gather like items together. Frequently. Obsessively at times.

This memory keeping, scrapbooking, writing, storytelling thing is a big part of my routine. It's pretty important to me and I think my family enjoys the end result. It also takes a lot of gathering of...stuff...thankfully I've got a bigger hard drive than I do physical space to collect the fun things that give me inspiration.

Check out the links for ways to put together the stories and photos.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself. -Desiderius Erasmus

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year!

Welcome to 2015.

Have a few things to share with you!

December album was a success! I took off on the idea to put all our Christmas cards in a ring album and built some story telling of the month around it. Got it completed yesterday! I'm thrilled with how it turned out and most importantly it helped rekindle my enjoyment of taking pictures and gave me my functional Photoshop refresher I needed to hit the ground running with our annual album in the style of Project Life.

Towards the middle of the month Ali Edwards launched monthly Story Kits in Digital format. This is a monthly themed class with guidance on the theme and several elements to help you put together pages or an album, whatever you wish, to get more variety and focus in our story telling. I love writing, her approach, and the prompts to help flesh out the thoughts I have based on the themes. These kits are also available in physical products, and they are beautiful as well! Digital just seems easier for me.

I plan to not just document the everyday as I've become accustomed, but also keep the monthly themes going throughout the rest of the year now that they are somewhat top of mind. Each month I'll do an introduction page or two+ with words and photos, then revisit the theme as the year goes on. For example, 'Firsts' was the theme for December 15-January 14. Going forward, as a relevant 'first' comes to mind or occurs, I'll use the digital elements, photos, words tell the story and relate it back to the original theme. I'm hoping this, and keeping my word of the year, 'balance', more present through words and photos will break up the monotony I was finding in recent years with this album.

Here's a little glimpse into the first couple pages of the annual album. I'm not much for sharing too many of our personal family moments and photos on a public blog but if a neutral page comes up or I can block out personal info as the year goes on, I'll certainly do so. I think it's helpful for people new to this whole thing to see how it comes together.
I've chosen some kits from both Becky Higgins and templates and elements from Cathy Zielske which are more earthtone in color. I'm also employing the lots of whitespace philosophy. It saves time and looks more clean. I tend to be all colorful in the beginning of the year and more plain as it goes on. I'm not too worried about matchy match this year....just whatever strikes me at the time.
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