Chew on This!

20 Aug

Well, this is the page I opened up to yesterday…Kind of gives a new meaning to the idea of “having a taste for books,” doesn’t it? I’ve always loved the smell of books, but now I KNOW they don’t taste as good as they smell! The hardest parts about chewing on the page was keeping my gag reflex in check and manuevering the chomping in such a way that I wouldn’t get a paper cut in the corners of my mouth. Now THAT would hurt…

I have to say that doing these creative (or destructive) exercises is already freeing me in other areas of my life. Yesterday my elementary-aged son and daughter came home from school with their cookie dough fund-raising packets. My 6-year old son was eager to tell me all about it and was absolutely convinced he was going to be the one to win the grand prize–a limosine ride. My 10-year old daughter, on the other hand, looked quite dismal.

She asked, “Mom, do I HAVE to sell cookie dough?”

I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Nope. Let me see that packet.”

She handed it to me and I promptly tossed it on the ground. “We can even stomp on it if you want to,” I offered.

She looked at me in amazement. “Really?”

“Really! Go for it!”

We took turns stomping on the packet, then found other ways to deface it like tearing it up, smearing it in the mud and pouring water on it.

This book is going to get me into a lot of trouble… 😉


Ideas Are Brewing…

19 Aug

I think I’m getting some ideas of what I really want to do for my little year long “project.”

I had a really good talk with my sister Tracey on Monday about how I desperately want to focus on my creativity (or dearth thereof) and how I’m dying to do something rebellious for once. She told me that she had bought a copy of Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith some months ago but didn’t have the guts to do anything with it.

I remembered checking that book out of the library myself this past year and laughing at the suggestions inside when I read them. But since it was a library book, I couldn’t possibly follow through with what seemed like the equivalent of literary sabotage and sacrilege.

Tracey said if I bought a copy of the book that she would do the creatively destructive activities with me. And so I took her up on the challenge and bought the book for $12 yesterday at Tattered Cover, my local neighborhood bookstore. It was the only copy on the shelf so it must have been serendipity for me to come along and buy it ;-)!

Next I went to my library and checked out another of Keri Smith’s books, How To Be An Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum. While I was taking the book off of the shelf, I couldn’t help but notice the other titles nearby and slipped three more titles into my book bag:

  • The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch by Julia Cameron
  • Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: A Woman’s Guide to Unblocking Creativity by Susan O’Doherty
  • Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day by Sark

Hmmm….What fun!

When I got home, I pulled my copy of  The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron off my bookshelf and spread my wealth of books out on the dining room table. I also went to Keri Smith’s website and printed “The Artist’s Survival Kit” onto brightly colored cardstock.

I couldn’t wait to try the first exercise in Wreck This Journal and so I randomly opened it to a page that commanded me to tear it into strips. I decided I needed to decorate the strips first before tearing them so I drew fun designs and wrote encouraging messages to myself such as:

  • Go ahead and do something naughty for once!
  • Raise some eyebrows OK??
  • Just do it!
  • “I think, therefore I am” — Rene Descartes

Then I started ripping…MWAH, HAH, HAH! What freedom! What exhilaration in mischief! What delight in being disobedient!

I’m going to do a page every day!!! Yahoo!

Will You Wreck This Journal With Me?

18 Aug

Okay, Beeb. I did it. I went out today and bought a copy of Wreck This Journal. The bet is on, Sis!!!! 1…2…3…Open randomly to any page and do what it says and I’ll do the same. Ready…set…GO!!!!!

Now you must take a picture of the page and send it to me to prove that you did . I’ll post my results here!

Anybody else want to join the fun? Check out and to see what we’re talking about :-)!

Back in the Blogging Saddle Again?

17 Aug


Well, I’ve been missing in action from the blogging world for the past eight months and I thought it was about time to make a reappearance even though I am probably only writing this for an audience of one–myself. Any readers I may have accumulated last year are doubtless long gone by now, tired of waiting for this reluctant writer to post something…anything…

Why this sudden interest again in my blog? Julie and Julia. It’s one of those movies that was meant for me to see at this time in my life. It’s a lovely story about a woman named Julie, who in the quest to find something fulfilling to do with her life decides to take on every recipe in Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking for a year and blog about it. There were countless things in the movie that resonated with me, but suffice it to say, Julie’s need to have a worthy goal and to express herself are two things that I also desperately need in my life right now.

I’m not sure what goal I want to tackle yet. Like Julie in the movie, I’m really good at starting things and not very good at finishing them. I am certainly not at all interested in deboning a duck, cooking a lobster or making boeuf bourguignon, though. I love eating, but hate cooking and all the attendent time-consuming and labor-intensive  things that go along with it. So taking on Julia Child’s cookbook is definitely out for me. Perhaps I can tackle the recipes in the past 10+ years of my cooking magazine subscriptions to Taste of Home, Quick Cooking and Simple & Delicious and try putting something interesting on the table instead of the same old boring fare…


I need to do something I feel passionate about, not put what little spare time I have into something that I basically detest. Hmmm…what will it be? There are so very many possibilities :-)!

The Hardman Family Blog

23 Jan

My husband took the initiative this week to start up a Hardman family blog. At least somebody is blogging around here… 🙂

Check out the fam at

Ellis Island–Fear and Freedom

5 Nov

Fear gripped me stepping off the boat…

Fear and freedom at that moment were the same.


Several weeks ago, I was culling through some old National Geographic magazines looking for pictures that might spur a story idea for my fiction writing class. I found one in the September 2007 issue when I came across some compelling photos of the ruins of Ellis Island taken over a five year period by Stephen Wilkes.

My favorite photo is one of two sinks in a hospital room. Above one of the sinks, a mirror reflects the image of the Statue of Liberty. The article explains: “As he stood up from studying dead leaves on the floor of this hospital room, Wilkes remembers that his head reached a point about five feet, two inches off the floor–and he saw the Statue of LIberty reflected in the mirror over the sink. ‘I suddenly imagined a petite eastern European woman rising out of her bed every morning,’ the photographer says. ‘That reflection would have been the closest she would ever come to freedom.'” Sounds like the beginning of an interesting story to me…

I wanted to know more about Wilkes’ photographs and learned that they have been published in a gorgeous coffee-table-sized book entitled Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom (published by W.W. Norton) and can also be viewed on his website

Although I am not aware of any of my direct line immigrant ancestors passing through Ellis Island, I found The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation website fascinating, too. Anyone can register for free and search original ship manifest documents and passenger lists.

The Sandwich Generation

3 Nov



As a perfectionist, I’ve been making myself crazy with my blog. I have literally been paralyzed about what to write about lately as you can see by my lack of posts over the past six months. So instead of abandoning my blog altogether, I have decided to take a somewhat different approach and post here the things that I find interesting, fascinating, or thought-provoking in some way. I have always been an eclectic learner and glean information from many different sources. I take pleasure in ruminating over topics in nearly every discipline so I will be very random from now on (at least until my next great idea comes along…)

This past week, I was flipping through the November 2008 issue of the National Geographic, a particularly rich source of inspiring material. On page 14 in the Photo Journal feature, there was a picture of an elderly man’s face partly in shadow that caught my attention. The article that accompanied the photo described the work of photographer Ed Kashi (age 48) and his writer-filmmaker wife Julie Winokur (age 42). Together, they produced a documentary about their personal experience of taking care of Julie’s elderly father. Click here to watch “The Sandwich Generation” Part I and Part II.

The films are movingly beautiful yet forthright about the particular challenges my generation faces with the demands of raising our children while simultaneously trying to care for our aging parents. This is a film that addresses head on the agonizing decisions that must be made as we attempt to make the best care choices for the ones we love.