I Don’t Like Moleskines, but…

August 10, 2012

120724NursingHomeLeft: Pages torn from my Moleskine date book. Sketches I made of residents in a nursing home at a concert. Staedtler Pigment Liner and gouache.

I haven't ever been happy with the new generation of Moleskines. (I used old Moleskines for writing notebooks longer ago than I care to remember.) I'm somewhat happy with their large 8 1/2 x 11 inch or so watercolor sketchbook. I used one for my 2011 Fake Journal. The paper is OK. I don't like the landscape format, and I haven't used one since (for a real or fake journal).

The sketchbooks Moleskine makes all have a smell coming off the paper that even after airing out bothers me—so they aren't an option for me either. Sometimes I carry their soft-covered small notebooks with gridded and perforated pages for the odd note.

But to make a really, really long story short, because of printer problems I haven't been printing my calendar but instead have been relying on a Moleskine date book. (This has been a disaster because they start their week with MONDAY in the first column of the full month calendar and so I look down and think that Monday is really Sunday and so on. I usually catch myself before I miss an appointment or meeting, but you get the idea. It's hard to retrain a brain that is used to calendars starting on Sunday!)

Because of my frustration with this date book I only use the full month pages in the front of the book and the rest of the book I simply use for note paper, ripping out pages as needed. 

The other day when I visited Phyllis in the nursing home there was a guitar concert her roommate wanted to attend. Since it wasn't time for physical therapy yet, off we went. I listened to the guitarist (he never did get the promised mandolin out) and looked around the room. I didn't have my journal, but I had this date book, so I took it out and started sketching, and painting, while I listened. Phyllis is accustomed to me doing this. She just kept tapping her fingers and listening to the music. Nina was just amused, and keep singing along with the performer. No one else noticed.

I tore the pages out when I got home and stuck them in my regular journal.

If you read the text on the page you'll see that the whole experience made me thing about my own aging process. I'm not a huge music fan. I like a lot of music that most people I grew up with think of as retro (like songs by Jimmy McHugh; but they were fun to play on the piano). But what's going to happen when all the baby boomers are in nursing homes? What music will the travelling musician play? What will people sing along to? I think there will be a lot of Elton John, candle in the wind stuff. Maybe some Billy Joel, though we all will have to watch our hips and not jump around much. I've always been partial to Paul Simon and you can actually sing his songs. I just hope I can still see well enough to sit there and sketch. 

    • carolbonomo
    • August 10, 2012

    At least we won’t have to listen to Celene Dion – that’s for the group after us. good post once I recovered from my shock of somebody TEARING OUT THE PAGES OF THEIR SACRED MOLESKINES.

    • Miss T
    • August 10, 2012

    I’m not ever moving into a nursing home if they’re going to torture me with Billy Joel!

  1. Reply

    I’m Lots older than you and I’ll tell an old age secret. You will get to the age when there’s not that much time left so you don’t worry about what will happen in the future. If worst comes to worst and you end up in a nursing home your world and concerns will shrink and you’ll be thrilled at stuff you raise your eyebrows at now. Next time you visit Phyillis don’t sketch. Watch and listen. And be glad Heavy Metal bands are not our legacy.

    • Carole
    • August 10, 2012

    Roz, they are not a patch on the old ones, before the takeover. I keep an A6 in my bag for notes, tickets, ephemera but can’t write with a good pen as the paper is so thin. When they brought out the “watercolour” ones I bought the tiny one to try. It’s okay but not a patch on Saunders Waterford 140gsm. I try out paints in it now.

  2. Reply

    I’m with you… I have no idea why anyone would pay the outrageous prices for a moleskine with it’s horrid paper, when so many cheaper and better sketchbooks are available.
    I don’t know if they have changed hands or changed paper supplier but my favorite journal for the last 5 years (Hand*book) the paper quality seems to be going down hill and so I’ve been searching for an alternative.

    • C. Langdon
    • August 10, 2012

    I know this is a blog about art journaling, sketching etc. but I have to comment on the nursing home scene. I am a baby boomer with parents aging into and sadly, but inevitably, out of nursing home life. It is and was the music that brought them joy specifically the music of their youth. Perhaps it will be the Beatles or the Beach Boys or Bob Dylan but I hope someone in my old folks home can play that music and remind me of my youth as I can no longer make new exciting memories of my own. I also hope I have a grandchild who delights in recording in sketches how much I enjoy hearing the music of my youth.

  3. Reply

    C. Langdon, I totally agree with you that it’s the music of one’s youth that will comfort us when we are aged and in a nursing home situation. My problem is I don’t really have any music from my youth, at least not any I want to sing along with when I’m that age. I just don’t seem to like my age group’s “appropriate” music. But encourage those grandkids to sketch away whenever you can.

  4. Reply

    Capt. Elaine. I’m sorry to hear the the Hand•book journals have been going down hill—is the paper changing? I haven’t used one for a couple years and the one “extra” I have on my shelf is from there. I’ll have to check into this. Thanks for the heads up.


  5. Reply

    Carol, thankfully I will not have to listen to any Celene Dion. I would run (or glide with my walker, or roll out my chair) from the room if that happened. Sorry for the shock—nothing sacred here.

  6. Reply

    Oh Miss T. Yes it all would be torture. I’ll just have to stay in my room, or visit the aviary, which they all seem to have. You can sketch birds with me.

  7. Reply

    Molly, I don’t know how old you are and whether you are lots older than I am or not, but I don’t really worry about much of this type of thing at all.

    Watching and listening is exactly what I was doing when I was sketching.

    I don’t know, but I think I fall into the age group that can expect heavy metal as age appropriate! I’m in deep doo doo.

    Since I never listened to any of it I still have my hearing.

  8. Reply

    Carole, yeah, why is it the paper is so thin you can’t really write on it with anything? What’s the point of that? I don’t get them.

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