Twenty-Two

I became a mom twenty-two years ago today. I could wax poetic about what an amazing and beautiful young woman my daughter has become. I could share with you the mixed fear and pride I felt when she traveled (with great excitement) to a Central American country to serve in missions. I could tell you how smart she is and that the creative gene is stronfullsizeoutput_8522g in her. We could chuckle over how she curls up on the sofa in comfy clothes and teaches herself new embroidery stitches while watching episodes of Doctor Who, like she’s a really cool granny. I could rattle off her literary accomplishments — completing NANOWRIMO four times, having her poem published in the college literary magazine, rocking it like Noah Webster in the writing department.

 

But then I’d just be bragging.

 

 

fullsizeoutput_8543

 

 

 

My girl is twenty-two today and I love her very much.

 

Happy birthday, Jami-girl!

Image Magazine

The first issue of 2018 is now available and yours truly has THREE contributions within its pages! My first story in the spring of 2016 was about the Alvin Historical Museum, and readers enjoyed it so much that I was asked to continue with a series on the museums throughout Brazoria County. A few months later I pitched the idea of a series of short articles on the historical markers throughout the county. Thus were born two regular series: Museum Go-Round and Park at the Mark.

Park at the Mark: The Confederate Cemetery (page 28)

Out of the Storm: The Marguerite Rogers House Museum (page 30)

I also have a Writer’s Reflections  piece in this issue, thinking back on the half marathon I walked in 2017.

The Friendship Race (page 36)

I hope you enjoy my articles, as well as those of the delightfully talented writers I am honored to work with!

Keep choosing joy!

Laura

P.S. — In addition to writing our articles, we also do all our own photography, unless otherwise noted.

 

What She Said

via The State of My Family’s Union: One Mother’s Take on the Trump Presidency | A Future Free

Good Intentions and Well Laid Plans

So today has not gone quite as I’d hoped. I planned to really tackle some of the finishing paintwork (doors, trim that could use another coat), but I’ve been busy attending to other matters. Balancing checkbooks, returning phone calls, scheduling appointments, and working up a blind quote for a repeat customer.

I did a little googly detective work, too. There is a lovely home in Alvin, over one hundred years old, that I have loved since I was a little girl. Before I was old enough to do so myself, I would ask my mom to drive by so I could gaze upon the fanciest house I’d seen in my young life. Older, running errands for my mom, trips to the grocery store somehow always required sidetracking down South Beauregard Street. Even now, when I return to Alvin for whatever reason, I manage to find an excuse to drive past that elegant Victorian. Thanks to the internet (and my hardheaded persistence), I located the name of the owner and carefully penned a letter of inquiry on nice stationery, asking if I might write an article on the home and its history for Image Magazine. I enclosed my Image business card and I’m hoping my handwritten letter will open the door (literally) to a visit.

The key to a successful interview will not be asking the right questions or taking nice photos.

The key will be not passing out from unbearable excitement.

A Tuesday Reunion

Yesterday I spent some time filling out my planner for the week. One of my goals is to be more diligent about scheduling my time. That encompasses responsibilities and fun! So when I sat down yesterday and entered appointments and to-do’s in my Agenda 52 Planner, tomorrow’s entry was especially exciting.

Years ago when I worked at the law firm, I had the pleasure of working for a legal assistant named Sallie. We were a good match and I enjoyed working for her until life took us in different directions. We lost touch for many years, and then one day I decided to see if I could reconnect with her through Facebook, and was happily successful!

Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this) we are meeting for lunch and I think we both are as excited as little kids. It will be so nice to catch up with each other after such a long time. She is a wordsmith, in addition to many other things (a lawyer, a realtor, a homeless animal advocate), and I look forward to hearing all about life since we worked together back in the day.

I’m not sure lunch is going to be long enough.

Try, Try Again

A few years ago (longer than I care to admit), I began writing a novel. When I think about the earliest pages of that novel, I blush with embarrassment at how terrible it was. And yet I was so proud of it. At the time I thought it was really, really good. You know those novelists who think they have no need of an editor? That their work is ready for print the second they type the words? Yeah. Silly, silly novelists.

Anyway, while the initial beginning draft of my novel needed a lot of work, my characters must be pretty interesting, because I have had people who knew me back then (over six years ago) ask me about Kate and Sam. Not “Oh, how’s your novel coming?” but, “Have you written any more of Kate and Sam’s story?”

And then there’s Mr. Petrosian, the Armenian grocer that my husband adores. Somewhere along the way, he misunderstood something and thought I was going to get rid of Mr. Petrosian. Any time the subject of my novel comes up, my guy starts campaigning for Mr. Petrosian’s continued existence. I have to reassure him emphatically that Mr. Petrosian will not be going anywhere.

In October 2015, I tackled revising what I’d written, because I wanted to resolve some glaring issues with point of view before moving forward. I’d finished cleaning out my mom’s house after she died, and I needed a distraction before my sister and I began the renovation work needed to sell the house. I rented a friend’s beach house for four days and revised like crazy, wrapping up the weekend with 20,000 good words. And then I didn’t touch it again because life got in the way. I would tell myself that it took Margaret Mitchell ten years to write Gone With the Wind, so I still had a couple of years left to complete my masterpiece.

This past summer, my laptop died. Didn’t just crash. Completely died. I had them remove the hard drive because it was fine, and there was hope that I could have the data moved to my new computer. I got busy, we went on vacation, then there was Hurricane Harvey and the summer flooding.

I can’t find the hard drive.

I have no idea what happened to it. I thought for sure I would find it in the middle of our room shuffle/painting project. I don’t have a clue where it is.

I jus spent about ninety minutes seeing if I could find the 20,000 good words off the external hard drive I used as a backup.

A few odds and ends, but nothing of substance.

I have a binder full of marked up chapters from when I participated in the critique group. Unfortunately, the marked up chapters are the crap that I revised that four day weekend in October.

I was able to find a few of the revised segments I copied and pasted in a chat window to share with my friend. I located a snippet in an email.

I guess all there is to do is to try, try again. Kate, Sam, and Mr. Petrosian are still there, still wanting their story told. Who am I to tell them “no”?


I had some flash drives lying in a dish and thought “I just wonder….”

AND THE MISSING 26,066 WORDS WERE FOUND. And the angels sang…

Hallelujah!!!

And so it continues…

Yesterday I made great strides in the continuing move towards decluttering. I managed to fill three boxes with only two kinds of things: empty picture frames (half a box) and books (two and a half boxes). You can ascertain from the name of my blog that both of these items really got me in the “feels,” as the kids like to say.

My inner shutterbug had a hard time pulling the photos from the frames. I kept reminding myself, however, that the photos can be put in albums and that I really don’t need a photo of my infant daughter on display when she is now twenty-two years old. I kept framed engagement and wedding photos of my husband and me. We were still young (late 20s’) and we looked so happy — because we were. And still are. And that makes me smile. (Okay — so my husband’s mullet makes me laugh, too.) I don’t need dozens of framed photos cluttering up surfaces and making dusting even more difficult than necessary. So I’m being very thoughtful about what I keep and what I display.

I’m a scribbler, so books are precious to me. Even the so-so ones. I feel sorry for them (and their authors), so I want to give them all homes. Our home is a pier and beam home, though, with a crawlspace beneath the flooring. If I kept all the books I am tempted to keep, we would be in danger of caving in on ourselves. I went through my shelves in my new study and pulled quite a few volumes — mostly crafty works on scrapbooking, cross stitching, sewing, etc. I made myself evaluate what the odds were that I would use them in creating anything. I got rid of about half of those types of books, which left empty space on my shelves. It actually felt nice. Encouraging. And those books are no longer glaring at me from the shelves, inciting guilt for projects left undone or never started.

I wish my mom had been able to experience the kind of freedom I’m experiencing from “cleaning house.” It’s interesting how I can almost feel peace blooming from this process, and it motivates me to keep going.