Jewelry bench 2014
MY JEWELRY BENCH: “How can I focus when my jewelry bench is a mess?”

So, am I the only one here who is struggling with “focus” issues?

This is the age of multi-tasking, the days of getting emails on your phone, your iPad as well as your computer.

The original thinking was all this new technology would make it easier and faster to get our work done, when all it really does it makes it easier and faster to pile on extra work. I remember when we got our first fax machine — and it truly saved so much time in running around town, delivering documents. Now it’s practically a dinosaur.

I joke that I have a short attention span — but most days I’m not laughing. It’s really that there are so many things I like to do, and I’m not ready — or willing — to give any of them up.
There’s my writing, whether on my novel manuscript, this blog, and other projects in my computer, including a historical fiction story about my Grandma Blanche Fagen, for which I have most of the diaries she kept from age 13 to her death at age 97.

There’s my music, where I sing classic jazz around the Valley, and rehearse, work on new tunes, set lists, promotion and so on.

There’s also my art, whether it’s fiber wall art or jewelry. I have so many ideas for art quilts, polymer or metal clay wearable art and other artsy-craftsy projects, it’s hard to decide which to do first.

There’s volunteering as president for Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths Chapter, as publicist for the Valley Unitarian Universalists, as video producer for, and I’m probably leaving something out.

There’s being a mom to my 22-year-old son, who has gone thru his share of challenges since his father, my husband of more than 25 years, died last year. I try to give him plenty of space, but when he asks “Do you want to have breakfast?” or “Do you want to go to a movie?” I drop most everything I’m doing to say “Sure.”

Seems like there’s always upkeep on our house we’ve lived in for about 15 years. Nothing major, but all of a sudden the garbage disposal needed replacing, I had to replace the two air conditioners, and I finally found a landscaper who lasted more than one or two jobs.

Memories — often accompanied by tears — still flood my brain of my dear Geoffrey, who left us way too soon March 3, 2013 at the age of 61. They say the day will come when I will remember him with gladness, and there’s a lot of that, but there’s still a lot of sadness, and a few pity parties.

I guess “focus” can mean many different things. To “focus” on the task at hand is not a problem for me. Once I start a project, I can easily focus and get in the “zone,” whether it’s at the computer, at the sewing machine, on my jewelry bench or whatever. Trying to decide whether I need to focus on fewer overall projects is a tougher one.


MY QUILTING STUDIO: “I finally cleared a path to my fiber studio, but haven’t had a chance to work on anything for awhile.”

As I noted in the last blog, if I can get a block of time scheduled on my calendar, I have a fighting chance of it actually getting done. But of course, there have been many times when the time to write or do art comes and goes in lieu of something else more pressing.

Since selling the community newspaper my late husband and I ran for more than 13 years, I do have a little more time to relax, sit outside and watch my kitties play in their jungle. That is a good thing, and sometimes it’s ok not to focus on anything but being.

So how do you focus? Are you a one-task-at-a-time person, as my husband was? Or are you a got-multiple-projects-going-all-the-time person?

Let me know your struggles — and successes — with focus.