Sabbatical Wrap-Up

Playing on my blog this weekend, I saw this list of things that I said I would do during my sabbatical.  Funny, I forgot that I had written that list.  But, as it turns out, I must have it embedded into my brain because much of it happened. 

What I wrote then:  Plant an English Ivy patch around a big ole oak tree we have on the right side of our house.  Our house has four enormous oak trees around it- one on each side- but this particular oak tree is a little island patch of soil that can’t grow much because the oak tree’s roots are massive and it’s fairly shaded.  I’m thinking ivy might work there so that it is not just a sad island of acorns, oak leaves, and ragweed.  I bought BF a little herd of recycled art yard animals and I think they’ll reside in this ivy patch to give it some whimsy. 

Reality:  Yep!  My brother came up one weekend and he helped me plant it on a hot, hot, and more hot (and humid) Saturday night.  Then we had pizza on the back porch.  It’s growing like gangbusters and the little recycled art yard animals (a pig, goat, and chicken) look right at home in the patch.  I also picked up an old iron bench for the patch– a great place to sit and take off my running shoes in the morning when I get back from my runs.   

What I wrote then:  Clean out and organize my office.  My files are busting at the seams.  I am a paper hoarder– no surprise, I guess, for a writer since what I am really hoarding are the words on the paper.  But I don’t want my office to be all file cabinets so I’ve got to prune and recycle.

Reality:  Yep!   

What I wrote then:  Clean out our attic.  BF and I are light on clutter.  Neither of us are really that into things and we aren’t all that sentimental about stuff (as opposed to relationships or people where we are sentimental).  Still, when we moved to the little cottage a couple years ago there were things we couldn’t bare to get rid of yet and they are up in the attic.  For example, I just couldn’t get rid of any of my lesson plans from teaching high school history— something I know I am not going to do again (and if I do, would I really need my overhead projection sheets?).  This summer, I am going up there and battling the boxes.  Here’s hoping that my lesson plans on the Stamp Act see their way to a recycling bin.  Now, my notes from high school (and by notes I mean the ones that you passed to one another in the hallway between classes) may have to live on for a few more years. 

Reality:  Mostly true.  We are actually having a yard sale this coming weekend for a bunch of the stuff we found up there that we just don’t need.  The attic cleaning ended with a hysterical moment (both in humor and in the emotion it elicited) when I opened a box this past Saturday and said, that’s so weird, there’s insulation in here . I start throwing handfuls of insulation out of the box when BF realizes that no, that wasn’t insulation.  It was stuffing from the teddy bear that was in the box which could only mean that a mouse had been there.  I jumped and ran and BF wasn’t much happier about it, either.  We had to get that big box out of the attic and into the yard where we gingerly emptied out the box, terrified of what we might find. Oh, the joys of owning an old, old house.  While we might have every possible way for a critter to get into the house itself sealed off, we haven’t mastered keeping them out of the attic.  Aye. 

Left to do: the teaching files.  It was taking way too long so BF agreed to bring down one box per Sunday football game so that should be completed by the time the Souper Bowl comes around.   

What I wrote then:  Book work.  Oh, I have all sorts of book work brewing (in my head).  I have a book proposal that I am beside myself to write and I’d like to find a home for it.  I also have a good portion of it already organized on notecards and then in chapter order, but I’d like to finish organizing those notes and get started writing.  I have another book idea filling up my mind and it needs to find its way into a book proposal so that’s another big To Do.  Finally, I started a novel with NaNoWriMo last year, and I’d like to play with it some more.  Even if it never sees the light of day, it will be satisfying to me and my creativity to write. 

Reality:  one book proposal out.  The notecard box done.  Another one started.  And another book proposal almost complete. 

What I wrote then:  Read a whole lot.  One of my birthday list goals is to read 34 books by my birthday in November.  I am on # 10.  I want this summer to be a power reading summer– both because I miss reading for pleasure and because it fills my creative well. 

Reality:  I’ve read 14 books this summer! 

What I wrote then:  Watch a whole lot of television that I’ve missed.  We didn’t have HBO at the height of the Sex and the City craze so I am planning on knocking out that box set as well as West Wing, The Office, Scrubs, and Seinfeld.

Reality:  I watched some Sex and the City, West Wing, and all of Weeds.  Holy cow, Weeds is a hysterical show. How lucky those writers are! 

What I wrote then:  I am teaching a class on body image in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte this fall so my plan is to get my syllabus planned and all the readings read by the end of June.  It’s an exciting venture for me– it’ll be nice to be back in the classroom once a week for a seminar without being a full-time employee.  But I do wonder it will be like to be up and  at ‘em early to get to the office for 8 am office hours.  Up’s not a problem.  At ‘em is a whole different thing.  I imagine I’ll have lots to share here as I dive into the latest books and articles on body image. 

Reality:  Syllabus done and all but two chapters of the semester readings read.  Now, just have to pick out my first day of school outfit! 

What I wrote then:  Circle de Luz will really take off this summer.  We’ll be officially creating a partnership with a middle school to select our first group of scholars this fall. We’ll be enrolling women in the circle to support the girls, and we’ll be applying for grants.  I am most excited to see how many women join this effort.  For every ten women in the circle, we create at least one scholarship of at least $5000. 

Reality:  The school is chosen, the girls will soon be selected and we’re just $200 away from offering 7 scholarships!

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