I was looking over photos from last year's trip to Aruba and it hit me: Scrapbooking is ruining our vacations.
My kids have been hinting at this for years, fed up with having to pose or pause at every historical building, art gallery, theater, theme park, waterfall, swimming pool, subway station, cemetery, sidewalk cafe and college campus we visit.
I understand this behavior isn't exclusive to scrapbookers. But I once photographed a dorm room at American University thinking I would need it for a scrapbook of colleges we toured that summer. My kids were so annoyed that they started walking goofy and making faces every time I pulled out the camera. My daughter ended up going to Cornell, where it rained during our visit and I barely got any decent pictures.
Lisa Hansen, of West Jordan, started scrapbooking in the '80s, "when the only patterned paper was gift wrap and all the photos had bubble captions." So her 12-year-old daughter, Sadie, knows the drill. On a recent trip to Disneyland, Lisa noticed that Sadie - without any prompting - picked a seat on the outer edge of a ride and waved dutifully at the desired moment.
Still, Disneyland posed a dilemma for Lisa.
"I obsessed with, should I take my baby (not my child but my Digital SLR) or try my new camera phone. Last month I took my SLR to Lagoon and was a total freak about it getting stolen. So I tried my camera phone the first day at Disney and hated it. Then the next day I drug along my big camera and was happier. I stopped short of taking a tripod to the fireworks show."
In Aruba, I couldn't walk 10 feet without photographing something - iguanas, flamingos, rocks, feet. (Toes in sand. Feet dangling from a hammock. These are the detail shots that distinguish scrapbookers from the average overeager photographer.)
The problem is that getting the perfect photo for the perfect page has made relaxing on trips, let alone romance, impossible.
In Aruba, Phil and I got out of the car to watch the sun set over the ocean. While I obsessed over getting the rocks, water, sun and birds in the same frame, Phil said . . . to be honest, I don't even remember what we talked about or if we talked. I think we held hands, but since I didn't take a picture of it, I can't be sure.
Which makes me worry: Are my experiences a reflection of scrapbooking instead of the other way around? Has my memory card usurped my memory?
Two years ago, my camera was stolen a few days into our European vacation. On it were my first impressions of London and Spain - about 250 pictures. Without them, I have a hard time recalling the places we visited.
Lately, Lisa has been wondering what it would be like to go on an outing without a camera or preconceived page idea. Could she trust herself to just remember it? Is it possible to just live in the moment without having to remember it?
I'm not sure I want to find out. Just the same, I'm going to leave my camera behind on my next excursion. Take a vacation from scrapbooking. In the meantime, I'm going to get me a tripod.
LINDA FANTIN can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send comments about this column to email@example.com.
Workshop: Mexico cruise page
1 sheet 12x12-inch patterned background paper, LeavingPrints
1 piece of yellow cardstock, approximately 8x8, and 1 sheet of cream cardstock
Sunburst punch, Sizzix
4-inch piece of blue raffia
2 yellow loop brads, Oriental Trading Co.
1 square paper clip
Alphabet rub-ons, JoAnn's Scrap Essentials
3 acid-free bottle caps, LeavingPrints
For the title tab, trace the top of a manila file folder on cream-colored cardstock and stain with walnut ink or brown chalk.
Use a circle cutter or large glass to make the "at sea" circle. To cover the bottle caps, use a 1-inch circle punch.
Cash in on your creativity: Win $50 for scrapbook, er, school supplies. Simply decorate the cover of a Mead Composition Journal and send it to: Back to School Contest, The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address for winner notification. All submissions must be the original work of entrants. All entrants must be 18 years old or younger and live in the United States. Submissions must be received by Aug. 24, and will not be returned without a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Products we like
Heidi Swapp Clock Overlays, $2.99
Making Memories Embellishment Center, $74.99
Art Blanche 3D Letters by EK Success, $4.99
Fiskars Paper Tear Edgers, $7.99
Bugzi Brads in a Bag , 42 for $4.99
Buy the book
MINI ALBUMS II: This book is full of inspiration for themed minibooks (Christmas, travel, journals and calendars) as well as more challenging albums shaped like cars, paisley and a doorknob hanger.
Scrapbook Trends, $17.99
KaiserCraft's ribbon dispensers are available plain for $9.99, but this dressed-up version, on display at Heartland Paper Company in Taylorsville, had embellishments such as buttons which added extra flair.
One for the money
Garage sales and thrift stores are great places to find vintage fabric, bags of buttons, beads, fibers and ribbon.