How to Keep a Journal

Several of ya’ll have asked me how I do this [blog/diary/notes/journal].  I use a couple of phone apps now and/or still get on computer and yes, I’m not above handwriting [although the brain clot kinda stopped me in my tracks there].  A few have commented that you want to “do this better next year” or “New Year’s Resolution” etc  I’m gonna ramble some advice in no particular order AND… I may come back and add to this:

Think of it like writing a letter or even jotting down a post-it note.  It’s that simple.  I often tell people whom have elderly parents w/ Alzheimer’s to put a calendar-type spiral notebook in the middle of the table AND LEAVE IT THERE.  That’s how you start your “journal”  This is NOT a diary like “dear diary I need a date to my sisters wedding” If you’ve got secrets, get a diary and keep it under you pillow so everyone know where to find it ;-P

Why a spiral? because it closes up nicely but can still be WIDE open and “lengthy” enough for this assignment… and hopefully not get torn & lost.

Why the full calendar type [Im talking where it’s like a week view when open with one day length and a notes section somewhere, maybe across the entire bottom]  If you are feeling adventurous, go for the loose leaf binder one day per page folder, but you’re gone lose half of it 😉

Why leave it there? on the table? To help EVERYONE.  the person w/ memory loss NEEDS it to stay here.  it’s part of your meals now.  accept that.  EVERYONE can assist but it needs to be in his/her voice/handwriting so he can look back and see this… I’ve had enough feedback on this advice that I think it needs to be in this persons handwriting if at all ossicle.  ESPECIALLY if it’s early onset.

if there is no memory loss then EVERYONE gets to write, just initial it.  It’ll be fun I promise but it has to STAY on the table.  Just do it, it’s not clutter 😉 [NOTE: a neat twist on this: have every family member keep there own journal and write about their day, then share at dinner]

Start like this:

  • Today I went to the park and did … … … or [NAME] came to visit and we played bridge. or Suzy had a densit appointment.  or  The dog ate my homework.

It doesn’t have to be fancy just get in the habit of writing EVERYTHING down.  Try to put SOMETHING on every date.  [NOTE:  Its not all gonna be exciting or happy, I write daily notes, they don’t all make the blog]

THEN, once you have the hang of it, get fancier, add more descriptions

  • Today at the park a group of college kids were racing kites in the wind but we just enjoyed the sun and walked 2 miles along the tree line near the lake,

That right there is probably enough to evoke a MEMORY in someone who might pick this up 6 months later and go “OH YEAH, we did that.”
Now that your notebook has some good wear on it and it looks like you have the hang of writing down some of those ADJECTIVES I keep telling ya’ll to use ;-P   

[I looked and I’ve done two posts on the subject of adjectives. one was to EXPLAIN adjectives and the other is an inside joke using adjectives and referring the other HA! ]

It’s now your turn to try maybe going a step or two farther w/ your new habit.  ADD MORE adjectives, tell the story, but THEN, give us a picture too.  Here’s what I do, I try to take a picture that tells a story.  That’s half the battle.  If the photo TELLS the story for you they you just literally TELL THE TRUTH… BUT… YOU ADD ADJECTIVES ;-P

 [Imagine our younger kids say 5-13]

  • While we were walking near the lake Ashley decided to make friends w/ a duck family and squatted and scooched VERY slowly toward them while the mama was teaching the babies to dive.  William was nearby splashing at the water’s edge and didn’t see any of this going on.  Mama duck decided Ashley was WAY TOO CLOSE but instead of going after Ashley, she sounded the alarm which sent the ENTIRE flock soaring over all the kids.  The entire flock, except one little duckling that went after 5 year old William, spilling him into the lake.  Heather and Courtney ran over to pull him out but I just took a picture instead.  I’m not laughing 🙂 Good thing I ALWAYS keep changes of clothes in the truck.
  • [ YOU INSERT FUNNY PHOTO HERE ]  By the way, this story is kinda true, I just made it up from a couple of trips we took one weekend (see the end for comments on WHAT REALLY HAPPENED)

But you are thinking that you have that photo on your phone or camera.  If you know how to print that off do it now.

  • Otherwise, “there’s an app for that”  I suggest you download something simple on your phone like Walgreens /CVS/[local drugstore ]   I know there are literally 100’s but hear me out.  IF you need assistance doing this, your best odds of getting human help is gonna be at your local drugstore.  Get the APP.  If you need help w/ downloading that, get a kid/grandkid 😉
  • Got a camera, take the SD card to the drug store.
  • if you are arguing w/ me then you already know what to do, go do it, this is a suggestion for beginners.
  • at the drugstore photo area a HUMAN will help you and show you what to do.  go at an off time if possible, not “rush hour.”

Put the photo(s) w/ your date book.  

  • WRITE the date on the back of the photo along w/ a note so if it gets separated, it can stand alone and be identified.

Now you have a journal.  Some of your days may be blank.  Some of your days mate be boring. Some of your days WILL BE SAD.  some of your days are gonna have coffee stains spilled on them (or spaghetti or cherrios).  Some of your days may take up more than one day and need another sheet of paper stapled to it.  Some of your days might have photos.  

That’s your journal.  At the end of the year, you get a pendaflex (one of those stretchy binder things), you put your journal, you date it.

START A NEW JOURNAL.  you’re gonna have ideas on how to do it differently.  DO THAT. 😉  Get fancier, make it a book if you like, a keepsake, you got this.   OR…, just keep it a simple spiral calendar, no photos needed.

NOTE: if you’d rather go for electronic JOURNAL there are 100’s.  I just use the one that is the guy who took over the Palm app I used for years, so I’ve had this App for YEARS.  It’s simple & it works.  I’ve had questions before and he’s answered  It’s called [ Moment Diary ] 

For my blog, I use WordPress and the WordPress App.  Microsoft Word syncs w/ the WordPress engine too so I [had] options.  I don’t get on the computer too often.  This draft post has literally taken me several hours over several days, when it used to probably taken me 30 min.., sigh.  Anyway. if you are feeling adventurous. [I host my own but they are good]!

Good luck!

[NOTE:  While I was making up a storyline from stuff that really happened to us, I couldn’t REALLY remember exactly what all had happened that weekend, it was several funny stories all rolled into one… so I went on a HUNT and I kinda struck “gold”  I’m gonna create a whole other post for that one, I’ll put the link here when I am finished  AND Here ya go:]

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One Response to How to Keep a Journal

  1. Pingback: July 4th Weekend 2007 | Scotts On The Rocks Blog

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