Journal Jar-ing On The Blog

It is a cloudy, rainy day.  The kind of day that just says to me, “Write, Elaine.  Write!”  I have no idea why, though.  Usually these kind of days say, “Sleep, Elaine.  Sleep.  And take vitamin D.  And sit in front of your happy light.  Oh, never mind about the sleep.  You can’t do that with five kids.  But take the vitamins and hang in there, and hopefully tomorrow there will be sun.  Except?  Who are we kidding?  If you want sun you need to move to Florida, or California, or Utah.  You are doomed to a life of dark and dreary.  Sucks to be you!”

So it is somewhat of a surprise that today the weather seems to be telling me to write instead.  Anyway, problem is, I don’t know what to write about.

So?  Here is what I’m going to do.

Upstairs in a trunk at the foot of my bed (which I will soon be replacing) (the bed, not the trunk) is a jar full of journal prompts.   This is from an activity I did with a bunch of 12-13-year-old girls at church several years ago.  I actually did not come up with the prompts, somebody else did, so I don’t even remember what any of them were.  (Gah!  Four paragraphs in and I’m already boring myself to death).  Before I can make this whole experiment any more torturous by explaining it further, I am going to go upstairs, open the jar, grab a slip of paper with a prompt on it (without looking), come back down to my computer, tell you what it says, and go from there.

Good grief.  This is either going to be the best post ever or you’ll all be drooling on your keyboards in about five seconds.






Write about your spookiest Halloween and your favorite costumes from the past.

Prepare to fall asleep and drool.

No, wait!  I have a good Halloween story!  It just isn’t about my costume, and I don’t know if I can tell it right, so it won’t be the best post ever, but still . . .

From the beginning of my first-grade year to the end of my sixth-grade year, my family lived in a suburban neighborhood of small, three-bedroom houses on postage stamp lawns.  There were sidewalks on which to roller skate and ride our bikes and, best of all, lots of kids nearby.  This meant there were always friends with whom to go trick-or-treating.

I don’t remember any of my costumes being anything inventive or spectacular.  I was a ballerina one year, a baton twirler another.  I can’t remember the rest of them.  What I do remember, however, is the year the girl across the street had her big, brilliant, secret costume idea.  She was quite excited about it and would not tell us what she was going to be.  We just had to wait until the Big Night.

I can’t remember where we all met up.  Our house?  Her house?  The house of the girl next door?  I don’t really know.  I just remember we all met up in our various costumes with our various candy receptacles, excited to finally see Laurie’s costume and get our fall sugar fix.

She was there, at our meeting place, in a long, narrow cardboard box that went from her shoulders to below her knees.  She had painted the whole thing blue and wore a wig made entirely out of cotton balls.  I don’t remember what the base was for the cotton balls, notebook paper maybe?  I just remember the white fluff covering her head and being impressed by all the effort that she obviously had gone to in order to dress up as a . . .


“Wow!  A Q-tip!” was pretty much what we all said.  “I never would have guessed!”

As we gushed and giggled over her inventiveness, her face began to fall.  I was perplexed, because I had never before been in the presence of a sad, human-sized swab.

When we all finished fawning over her creativity for transforming herself into a huge ear wax scrubber, she told us she was supposed to be George Washington.  The blue box was her suit, and the cotton ball wig was, well, you know, a wig, and, oh! my! gosh!  Wasn’t it obvious???


I felt kind of bad for her because we had all misunderstood and, even though we reassured her that, “Oh, yeah, George Washington!  Of course!  What could we have been thinking with all that Q-tip nonsense?” it was too little, too late.

So we set off, feeling kind of guilty for insulting her costume making prowess (well, at least I felt guilty, even though I couldn’t inwardly deny that she looked way more like a cotton swab than the father of our nation), and reassuring her that she did, indeed, look like George Washington.  I figured, I hoped, that the sting of our misunderstanding would soon be erased by the excitement of the annual bagging of sugar loot.

Alas, it was not to be.

At house after house we all heard the same thing, “Oh, look!  A baton twirler, and Super Man, and a princess, and a Q-Tip!”

To make matters worse, her wig kept trying to fall off of her head and was frequently askance, making her look like a used and discarded Q-tip.

And, ohmygosh!  I probably could’ve done a much better job of telling that story if I didn’t have four of my five children trying to talk to me the entire time I’ve been trying to write this.  Oh, and the phone call from my husband.  I mean, it was a good news call and all – we’re cleared to close on our new house on time (which I knew we would be anyway) and the seller is going to be able to turn over the keys to us three weeks earlier than anticipated (which I didn’t expect at all because, people!  The amount of stuff he’s had to clear out of there!  And most of it is his dead wife’s stuff, which has to be hard to clear out, and where is he putting it?!?  But why am I worried about that?).

Anyway, all the talking.  Makes it hard to blog.  Someday maybe I’ll write about all the talking.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I really think at least one of my children, if not more, talks waaaay more than the average person (at home, anyway).  And McH?  Talks waaaay more than the average man.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just that there are six of them and one of me.  So sometimes?  Okay, lots of times?  I just want duct tape everybody’s mouth shut and throw them all in a closet so that I can have half an hour of quiet in my house without having to hide out in the bathroom for the next best thing (which would be a half hour of noise muffled only slightly by the locked door).

God bless Quinn and his speech delay, is what I’m saying.

By the way, he’s making great progress in that area despite the complete lack of speech therapist involvement.  Still behind, but progressing nonetheless.  It must be all those bubbles we blow.

Well, anyway, if we get possession of the house on May 4, that means I can take pictures of the house without other people’s stuff in it much earlier than I anticipated, which means I will have pictures of it that I won’t be averse to posting on my blog before we actually are moving into it, which means I should have time to post some of the pictures before, you know, July or whenever we’re finally settled.  I’m a little giddy with anticipation.

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt is hiding from the noisy, mating toads in the pond.

5 thoughts on “Journal Jar-ing On The Blog

  1. Nancy

    I remember Laurie and the Q-tip. Hilarious.

    When do you need us to come help? Will you be moving the bees before Moving Day?


  2. I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Poor Q-Tip girl…giggle, giggle, snort! 🙂
    Sorry for the radio silence, but I’m still reading, honest. I just can’t find the time to leave a particularly witty comment…or to post anything on my own blog. Maybe I should have you send me a few ideas from your jar! 😉


  3. Christina

    Poor Q-Tip George Washington. That is really funny.
    Awesomely good news about the new house! I can’t imagine having time before the move to do stuff – what a concept!
    Totally hear you on the talking – I blame myself, because at times I can be quite the chatterbox. But I swear it’s exponential with all the kids and when the house is empty it feels SO quiet and even though it’s weird, I love it.
    PS Go Quinn! 🙂


  4. God bless Quinn and his speech delay…. LOL 😀

    Poor Qtip girl, but all I could think was “she wanted to dress up as George Washington? Seriously?” Not very patriotic of me huh….. but then again my nickname as a teenager was Qtip (my hair was a big fuzzy mess)


  5. Can I just say that I am envious of your ability to take an idea from a jar and create such an entertaining post from it. I would kill to have your talent (okay, maybe not kill, but I could probably be persuaded to do a drive by marshmallow hit!).

    And, this post gave me an idea on how to get my young women to journal while at camp. Thanks!


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