Stepping Stones Blog

Sunday Salon: May 18, 2014

My school bag for the past six years.  It served me well...

My school bag for the past six years. It served me well…

Teaching:  This week was a roller-coaster of emotions.  I gave the last final of my career on Tuesday … posted the grades … and delivered the commencement speech at Friday’s graduation.  And now… I am officially retired.

While it has not really sunk in (after all, teachers typically have the summer months off) I am sure the gravity and the delight of this stage in life will take effect over the next few weeks.  And I may blog about this sometime, but for now, I just need to process.

Writing:  The major focus this week was the graduation speech.  While I developed the topic about six weeks ago, I did not actually start writing until Wednesday morning.  Because I had mulled it over consciously and subconsciously for quite some time, I was able to write a first draft in only about five hours.  Many tweaks occurred over the next two days before I finally presented on Friday night.

A few supportive colleagues asked me for a copy of the speech, so to accommodate their wishes I posted here.

I am currently gearing up for full-time writing activity.  I registered for one class at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.  Originally I selected about four classes of interest, but in the end, I decided that beginning slowly is probably better.  I will be traveling to Iowa City (one of the top literary cities of the country) the weekend of July 26-27 to take Writing about Nowhere, a class that I think will help me pursue a travel writing interest.   I am beyond excited!

In addition, I registered for the Sketchbook Project:  Memoir edition.  I was introduced to this website about a year ago and have been fascinated with the concept ever since (in fact, one of my bucket list items is to visit the collection at the Brooklyn Art Library). I think this will be a good first writing project for me.  It is limited in scope – a subject area in which I feel comfortable –  fairly loose submission requirements – and has a definitive deadline.

I am anxious to receive my sketchbook in the mail and begin brainstorming possible angles.


My Scholastic book sale stash ... I'm excited for summer reading!

My Scholastic book sale stash … I’m excited for summer reading!

Reading:  To assuage my emotional jitters, I treated myself and visited the Scholastic Warehouse book sale on Thursday afternoon.  I am fortunate to live close enough to the local warehouse, and one of the many projects I have planned for the future is to read more Middle Grade novels in an attempt to help me with my NaNoWriMo 2013 piece (for some reason, I felt led to write a MG historical fiction story without having read that genre; it is time to educate myself on the style and the audience).

After a two-hour leisurely tour of the facility, I left with four picture books for my granddaughter and 33 paperback novels for myself and spent only $116.  I was thrilled!

I hope to read one MG book a week … so I now have well over six months worth of educational material.  I also hope to write a brief book review for each… so perhaps the blog post activity will increase as well.

Blogging:  I did manage to maintain a consistent blog schedule this week, although I did “cheat” and recycled an old post from a different blog.

  • Travel Tuesday – where due to time constraints, I reposted my “Best of…” the Caribbean Cruise taken in February
  • Writing Wednesday – where I posted the 3rd part of Angela Hunt’s writing seminar, which focused on Evoking Emotions, Creating Tension, and Avoiding Weasel Words.
  • Photo Friday – where I learned about travel photography by taking a photo walk with my son in our  hometown.

Artist Date:  While I consider the Scholastic Book Fair an artist date … I also treated myself to another shopping excursion.  I am not a fashionista, that is for sure, and quite frankly, I prefer a uniform of jeans and t-shirts to a variety of clothing options.  But I do enjoy accessorizing with colorful watches and earrings… so I visited Charming Charlie and soaked in the colorful displays.

I am often overwhelmed at the vast selection, but I do enjoy studying the merchandising examples and envisioning an update to my wardrobe.  In the end, I purchased two summer scarves and two matching watches, and I left with a relaxed mind that is ready to create and play.

I am looking forward to the first week of summer … to read, write, and relax.  I wish you all the same.




  1. CaroG

    Good luck on this new stage of your life.

  2. Congrats on your retirement – that is so exciting! The Scholastic Warehouse book sale sounds fabulous, how lucky for you!

  3. Liz Coleman

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so excited for you! Loved your graduation speech! And cannot wait to hear all about Writing about Nowhere – sounds amazing!

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