Anything taught by Ron Rozelle. I didn’t grow up in the Brazosport area, so I didn’t have the good luck to sit at the feet of Brazoswood High’s most excellent creative writing teacher. Fortunately, since retiring, Ron has chosen to share his writerly wisdom by teaching three day workshops for those seeking to unleash their inner Hemingway, Bradbury, or whomever. If you work, I can’t think of a better use of a vacation day or two. If you’re retired, all the better. I attended his Wordsmithing 101 class at the beginning of January and it was worth every penny of the registration fee. Great teaching well-seasoned with entertaining stories and encouragement.
If you’re in the Brazosport area or out near Brenham, I urge you to avail yourself of Ron’s expertise. You won’t be sorry.
Two upcoming events on my agenda that I’m very much looking forward to are a repeat of my Wordsmithing 101 workshop in Clute, in the Brazosport area south of Houston, in March and a memoir workshop in Brenham, Texas in June. Both communities have excellent hotels, good places to eat, and interesting things to […]
I’m in the middle of a re-boot of sorts. Moving stuff around in my office, hoping to make things a little more user friendly. One of the things I’ve done is move my computer to a standing desk. I find that when I’m working on the computer, I sit way too long without getting up and moving around. My hope is that I’ll move back and forth between the computer and my desk — doing some work standing and other work sitting, and reduce the amount of sedentary time each day.
It’s a quirky setup, but so far it seems to be working. I’m moving around more and I’m becoming a little more conscientious of my posture. Which is terrible. But won’t be for long. The other bonus is I now have a five foot table that is for the most part clear. The goal is to keep it that way. If I have business to take care of, I have room to spread out my papers and prepare quotes. Then the papers get filed and the table is clear if I want to work on a photo project (organizing, scanning, scrapbooking). But I have to put things away when I’m finished for the day. The trick will be disciplining myself to do that. I’m not always good at putting things away. But I’m working on it.
he was in a funk because his wife ran out on him: A (STATE OF) DEPRESSION, a bad mood, a low, the dumps, the doldrums, a blue funk.
I really do strive for honesty here. If I ever write fiction, you’ll know it. There’s no fiction to the fact that I’ve really been struggling with the doldrums lately, a real blue funk if you will. The reasons for this low can be counted on several fingers:
I miss my mom. I miss her and I regret a lot of things about the last few years she was here. I regret not being as patient as I should have been. I regret wasting time thinking more of myself than her. I regret getting angry when she would offer advice without my asking. I catch myself doing the same thing with my daughter, and I see the same frustration on her face that I felt when I was in her shoes. The fact is, we moms are at loose ends when our kids grow up. It’s difficult to shut off the “mom switch” when our kids grow up, and it’s hard to accept that we aren’t needed as much as we were when they were younger.
I miss the younger me. I miss the legal secretary that juggled the work and phone calls of three sharp lawyers and a very sharp legal assistant, prepared PTO (Patent and Trademark Office) filing packets, managed to squeeze in lunch, and still made all the deadlines on her docket calendar. I struggle to get the laundry done, the pantry stocked, dinner cooked, and my small business running. I struggle to find time for the things that don’t seem important, but are important to ME. Things like organizing my family photos (both mine and those from my mom). Things like spending more time writing, both for the magazine and the novel I started a ridiculous number of years ago. This funk, though. It just sucks the energy out of me and it’s hard to work on those things when so many things are screaming for my attention. (See Reason #1 above — I never understood why my mom struggled with getting things done. Now I do.)
I struggle with worrying about the future. I am not a numbers person by any stretch of the imagination, but in more recent years my mind plays a little math “game” that I really don’t want to play. When I hear of someone passing away (dying, if we’re blunt), I immediately calculate how much older they were than I am now. Someone’s Aunt Mabel passed away at 74? She was only 21 years older than me. That’s not that many years, especially when I think of how quickly the last 21 years have flown by. Do I have 21 years left? Is that enough time to do what I want/need to do? I am a Christian and I have put my faith in Jesus. I know others who say the same and say they can’t wait to go on to be with the Lord. I get it. I really do. But I still struggle with wanting to see my daughter marry and have children, with wanting to go on many more road trips with my husband. And then guilt sets in because it sounds as though I am putting my family here ahead of the Lord. Is it any wonder that I’m struggling with a funk, the doldrums, a depression?
A couple of weeks ago I got off to a roaring start, blogging almost every day for a week. And then we lost our golden retriever. And then I had a lot going on and then the funk I’d been running from caught up with me and I’ve had a hard time thinking of something interesting or entertaining to write. I knew if I didn’t write something, the days were going to stretch into weeks and then this blog would be neglected for months again.
I am working on getting ahead of the funk. Of choosing joy. Because the Lord’s joy is my strength. I just have to keep reminding myself of that and keep putting my trust in Him.
Truth be told, I didn’t have anything good to report this morning, and then put off writing anything at all until this evening. Saturday evening our twelve year old golden retriever died. We’d gone to Galveston for the day, first to attend the Greek Festival and then we hung around for ArtWalk. Dinner with the fam and when we got home late that evening, my husband found her in the backyard. He said she looked like she’d been lying in the sun (it felt good to her old joints) where she’d just fallen asleep.
Early Sunday morning, before church, he dug a grave for her next to our daughter’s Chorkie, Evelyn, who passed away in 2016. They are both under the sycamore tree, side by side, which seems appropriate. When Evelyn was still alive, she would climb on top of Hurley and use her for a cushion. Hurley was the sweetest dog ever, and mothered Evelyn, even though they were not biologically related. So I like the idea of their final resting places being so near each other.
I think at some point we are going to put a little birdbath out there as a marker. Or maybe some wind chimes in the tree. But there’s no hurry.
Be joyful, y’all. Even in loss there is joy for the memories.
I was very proud of myself when I managed to post three days in a row. Then I got a little distracted by other responsibilities and missed a day. So here we are — I don’t have a whole lot to say, but in the interest of building better, stronger habits, I am determined to just keep trying.
Ran a few errands today and came home to continue working on my decluttering project. I am feeling very happy about progress so far. Of the eight items I posted on VarageSale, I’ve sold six. Six items that no longer take up room in my house or require any attention from me. Hooray!
I may have mentioned it earlier, but if not — I also have an Etsy store specifically geared toward things that are vintage, collectible, probably worth a little more than what I can get for them on a virtual garage sale site. You can check out my listings here: MoMo’s Attic Treasures I’ll be listing mid-century china, vintage cookbooks, collectibles and the like. It is a bit time consuming, since I have to take photos, upload them, describe the items, etc. But I think I may enjoy it as I become more proficient at the process.
Some of the “goodies” that I hope will find new homes:
I am challenging myself to write interesting descriptions of each item listed. Little stories, if you will. For example, that chartreuse creamer has a tiny chip in the glaze on the handle. So I came up with a story to explain how the chip got there:
After a delightful afternoon playing bridge, Barbara offered to stay and help Lottie clean up. She carefully took the coffee service tray adorned with brightly colored Fiestaware to the kitchen.
Setting the tray on the counter, she asked “Wasn’t Midge’s dress adorable?” She turned to face Lottie, and accidentally brushed the little chartreuse creamer across the counter, slightly chipping the ring handle.
“Oh, Lottie! I’m so sorry!” Barbara just felt sick, but her friend smiled comfortingly.
“No harm done, dear. No harm done.”
This vintage creamer dates back to the mid-fifties and while in very good condition, does have a small chip on the handle, showing it was in service and not just for display. Priced accordingly.
While I’m no J. Peterman, I’d say it’s moderately entertaining, and not even half bad.
Odd title, I’m sure, but I managed to sell four items that were cluttering up my house — a deep cast iron pot and four crystal items (candlesticks, a vase and a bowl). It felt incredibly good to hand those items over to their new owners, get a little cash in hand and know that I’ll never have to dust or wash those things again. In the next few days I’ll be uploading more items that serve no purpose and provide no joy here at Casa Jinkins. Hopefully they will quickly find new homes with people for whom they serve a purpose or provide some sort of enjoyment.
This evening I am organizing photo negatives that are thrown in a box willy nilly. After that task is completed (and I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel), I’ll finish organizing the photos that I brought home from my mother’s. I’ve decided to use simply pocket page albums to organize the old photos because it will be faster and it will also be easier to slip them out and back in if I need to scan a photo for someone. I’ll save the “creative” scrapbooking for my own photos — and I’m even contemplating simplifying that. Back in the day I would do these elaborate pages (and they were simple compared to what you see online now), but they take a long time. So I hope to do pages that are more focused on the photos and the journaling, because that’s what really matters.
For now though, I’m off to fix a quick dinner for my guy and myself. I just had to hop on here and touch base — posts three days in a row is a pretty big deal for me!
The list of hats I wear is pretty lengthy and I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never had one fall off my head. Right now, in addition to running the blind business and working on stories for the magazine, I’m trying to continue making progress in several areas — organizing my work and personal space, getting our ducks in a row for home projects that we will finally be able to do when our mortgage is paid off this spring. Making sure my guy and our girl aren’t ignored, neglected, or forgotten in the hurry scurry of all the rest of it. Working on keeping my priorities in the correct order. One thing I am striving to become more diligent at is looking at my calendar and making lists. The other is to remember to have fun and not make this journey all about checkmarks (unless they are the fun kind one marks off bucket lists).
I’d love to hear if any of you have tips on how you keep putting one foot in front of the other!