We all have them: "off years." Those years when things get away from us, and we just can't seem to focus on the path we've chosen. Though not entirely bad, 2012 has been one of those years for me. Since early Summer, things around me have been so crazy that I have had little time to devote to JLP, and oh, how I have missed it! During the periods when I was not in the thick of something, I was recovering from something. Everything just came at me so fast this year that I have not been able to stay focused.
This post is not a whine, and it's not a bid for sympathy. It's an opportunity for me to catch you all up a bit on what's been happening this year for me.
-There is my job search: I am employed full time already; however, I have been actively looking for another job for a long time. Results have not been forthcoming, but to be fair, there have also been periods when I have not been actively looking, for one reason or another. I'm glad I have a job and am able to pay my bills, but I know that I could be doing better.
-My parents: If anyone has been having a tough year, it's my parents! They had plumbing problems in the house earlier in the year. There was flooding, and this resulted in extensive renovations, including mold and mildew rehab. In the process, they were robbed. (Insurance covered most of the cost of the renovations, if not all of it, from what I understand, so there's that.) They were robbed, they believe, by the rehab contractors, but they had no proof.
Later in the year, we had a scare with my step dad. This was a real scare. I ended up having to take a week off work to go and stay with them and help Mom out while he was in the hospital. We were honestly not sure he was going to make it. Diagnosis: Congestive Heart Failure. His lifestyle is very different now!
Later in the year, they were robbed again! From what the police say, it was a different crew. The MO was totally different. As of now, all parties have been caught, and my parents have recovered some of what was stolen. My parents now have a home security system installed, I am happy to say. We were all blindsided by this, you see, because my parents live in a very rural area. What has changed recently, other than the cost of living going up everywhere, particularly in urban areas, is that the suburbs are spreading outward to more rural areas, so you can't behave the way you used to out in the country. No more leaving your doors unlocked. No more leaving your car unlocked. You just never know any more. I'm very grateful no one was hurt. For a while, I was scared that the perps would come back, but luckily, they did not. (Equally luckily, they did not run into me.)
Most recently, my mom had a knee replacement, and then there were complications in the beginning of her recovery. She was back in the hospital this week (the surgery was last week, and she first went home on Sunday,) but she is back home now and seems to be doing fine. We don't know if it was a drug reaction, a drug interaction, or just a matter of her having been released too soon, but I'm happy that she's doing OK now.
The closest of us kids live about 40-45 minutes away from them, and I'm beginning to think that maybe we all need to start to think about how to manage their care. They are both very sharp still, but as time goes on, there are just things they are not going to be able to handle the way they used to. I go over and see them about twice a month. More recently, it's been every weekend, and I'll continue that as long as is needed.
-My other projects: Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I was working as a journalist for a while (volunteer). For two years, I was a reporter for a religious news bureau. There is a national organization, and then there are the bureaus in different parts of the world. My official title was Editorial Coordinator. It was my job to copy edit and proof things, to be the bureau chief's right hand, and to liaise with the editorial staff at National. For 23 months, it went swimmingly. Though I did not get to as many events in person as my colleagues (there were five of us,) I did manage to attend some wonderful events and cover them (to positive feedback,) and I had the opportunity to conduct some really great interviews. People looked forward to our posts. We clicked and worked like a well-oiled machine. My work with this organization--when it was going well--did not interfere with my operations for JLP. In fact, I considered it one of my JLP projects (my work for the organization, not he organization itself.)
Sadly, in August, the bureau chief made a unilateral decision and ran a story without the rest of our input. He worked directly with national and did not communicate with us. I was not happy, and some others were not, either. There were a lot of phone calls and a few Skype meetings. In the end, I left the bureau. The good news is that national was very impressed with my work in the past, and they asked me to keep an open mind about working with other bureaus. I said I would do that, but I am taking a break until about mid-November.
My recovery from that situation, to be honest, has eaten up a lot of my time since. My illness is triggered by stress. In the immediate aftermath of this parting of ways and the drama involved, I was very, very tired. For a couple of weeks, I simply did nothing creative. I took a break.
I'm happy to say, at least, that most of my friendships formed when I worked with the bureau are intact. In fact, some of us grew closer through it all. Some are no longer speaking to me, and I'm OK with that. I still care about those people, and maybe in time we will be friends again.
-My bathroom renovation: A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend decided to renovate our upstairs bathroom on his own. I've been talking for a couple of years about how I have wanted to have it completely redone, but did not have the money. He came up with a compromise. He is redoing everything except the tub and surround! He has already ripped out the flooring to the sub floor and re-tiled, and it looks really great! He also redid some of the drywall work. We replaced the vent cover and the toilet. In November, we are probably going to replace the sink--a job he also thinks he can do himself, and we may paint then, too. I'm over the moon! It really looks fantastic, even though the tub and surround are still in (they are white, so they don't really clash, and they are not in terrible shape.)
Unfortunately, this has meant that I can't get into the attic. There are building materials in the way. That means that, after my show on 9/29, I could not put anything away. Everything from that show is still piled up in the studio. My desk/work table is buried under mountains of stuff--partially finished projects, mail that needs to be filed, supplies that need to be sorted, etc. I can't get to my workspace, so I can't work right now! That has been driving me crazy, but I'm making the best of it. I got an order last weekend for some note cards, so once the prints come in, I'm just going to have to move the mess around so I can get the order done. I also have a show next weekend. Fun fun!
I'm not complaining, though. He has saved me thousands of dollars, and we are both learning a lot. (He wants to redo my kitchen himself!) He also says he's been having a lot of fun with it. I'm even getting a "new" coffee table out of the deal! The glass in our coffee table (inlay) was broken in one corner. Today, he tiled the surface of the table! :) He's going to get molding to go around the tile work, and then he's going to sand the original surface (the edges around the tile work) and stain the wood all one color. Right now, the tiles are down, but he has not grouted yet. It's going to look very cool. I will share pictures of this and the bathroom reno on my other blog.
So this has been my 2012. I'm not really upset. I'm still making a few sales here and there. I've had a couple of near misses, too. One was a potential photo shoot that did not happen, and the other was negotiations for a part time writing and editing job where the client just went incommunicado all of a sudden. Both are very frustrating, but tire kicking is part of the process, especially in a down economy. I was annoyed, but now I'm just moving on.
This just was not my year to kick ass and take names, but that's OK, because I'll be that much more ready to do it next year!
I am not putting this year to bed yet. Don't get me wrong. I'm just facing some challenges that I have not faced in the past. I'm still doing it, though, any way I can!
There has been a lot of good this year: New connections formed; older connections solidified; bonding with colleagues; two shows, each of which brought in more money than I've made at a show before in each category (one show for vintage, one for crafts/art); my first sale on Etsy for my current shop. (It took two years!); new bathroom; closer relationships with my parents and with my boyfriend; and finally: I still have a job, even if it's not the job. I'm thankful for that!
I think my boyfriend will probably wrap up in a week or so, and at that point, I can probably get my studio back. Meanwhile, I will do what I need to do. Right now, what I need to do is sleep (I hate insomnia,) so I will wrap this post up here.
Thank you for reading and for your support and interest in JenniferLynn Productions, LLC!
Photo: "Conclusion" (c) 2011 Jennifer L. Moore. Do not duplicate.