Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Salon: September 29

From the Sunday Salon's original website:  Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book.  

Doesn't that sound heavenly --- that in our hectic lives we carve out a chunk of time to devote to reading and all things literary?  While I plan to use this space for that purpose, I am also going to use this entry as a way to summarize the past seven days and preview the upcoming week.

Today's Weather:  After a heatwave this week with temps in the upper 80s, I woke up to the perfect autumn morning:  chilly (around 48 degrees) that promises to give way to a sunny, comfortable afternoon.  I should take advantage and go for a long walk.... we shall see.

What's on the menu:  We had a scrumptious dinner last night at McCormick and Schmick's to celebrate my youngest's birthday, so I am currently too full to have anything else but a cup of Pumpkin Pie coffee from The Farmers Market.

The meal last night was truly memorable; I think we sat at the table over two hours savoring the appetizers (oysters on the half-shell and a remarkable crostini with gruyere, shrimp, and a spicy compote of dried cranberries), main seafood entrees (I had parmesan crusted flounder with butternut squash risotto), and of course dessert (the signature dish is a dark chocolate sack filled with a silky white chocolate mousse and topped with fresh berries).  Truthfully, I shouldn't eat anything today...

The Princess
Highlights of the week:  Aside from last night's celebration... the other highlight was taking my granddaughter on a date.  I picked her up around 8:45 on Friday morning, and we went to Cracker Barrel for a breakfast of pancakes and scrambled eggs.  We spent time shopping in the country store where she enjoyed both  rocking in the pink chair and looking at all the Christmas Tree decorations; I am certain we spent 20 minutes vacillating between these two activities.  We then went to Hobby Lobby to look at more Christmas Trees and possible future craft ideas.

The real purpose of the trip however, was to visit the library ... her very first time.  He mama taught her she had to be quiet at the library, so the entire walk to the door she reminded me to "Shhh..."  She had no problem selecting a book and we immediately sat down to read.  I think it was a bit overwhelming this first time, but I am sure she will quickly adapt, as she loves to read as much as I do. We did select two books and two movies to bring home before meeting her mom at the mall for a hot dog lunch and a visit to the American Girl store.  All in all, it was a terrific outing and I look forward to many, many more.

Teaching Overview:  Brit Lit completed Beowulf this week and I am so pleased with the way they conducted class discussions.  Students not only came prepared, but they seemed to truly enjoy the book and the conversation.

English  Comp is finishing up scholarship essays, so I introduced the Narrative writing assignment.  Typically, this is a favorite because it is one of the few times that students have an opportunity to experiment with creative writing.  I decided to adapt Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method for writing novels, and created a six step process to help these students stay on task and not procrastinate.  I am anxious to hear their story ideas when we return to class on Tuesday.

It was my week to teach ACT Prep and I received such a nice compliment.  After reviewing a variety of grammar rules (always a boring unit...) a student commented that for the first time she understood the WHY behind the correct answers.  This truly made my week!

Currently Reading:  Ok... I did make progress in Harry Potter this week, honest.  I think I read about three chapters (Goodreads says I am 63% complete) and I have great hopes of actually finishing the book today.  But somehow time just got away from me and I spent far more time prepping for classes. Fortunately, my reading buddy is further behind than I am, so I don't feel too guilty.

I am not fretting it though... we will make our way through the series and enjoy it in our own time.  I am sure that I could easily skim through the books, but I do not want to.  I want to savor every word.  I firmly believe that we learn good writing by reading good writers - and JK Rowling is one of the best.

Writing Progress:  I am quite disappointed with myself on this one.  Yes, I was distracted by lesson plans but truthfully, I did have free time that could have been devoted to this project, I just chose to ignore it.  It isn't that I am no longer interested... I think it is self-doubt creeping in, telling me I do not have proper credentials; I do not write well enough to engage others; I do not have anything original to say... you know the drill.

I plan to give myself a pep talk and lecture today - and I will not allow another week to pass without making some headway.

Craftiness:  I was a bit crafty this week as I had to make my daughter's birthday card and I decided to make several other cards at the same time.  I plan to post about this tomorrow and count it as one pin completed for the Pin It and Do It challenge.

Artist's Date:  Again, I did not fare well here either - although I did play the photography game a few times and have added several images to my inspiration folder.  A good friend just purchased a new camera and is most eager to use it every chance she can.  Once she returns from vacation I am certain we will schedule several photo walks to capture the colorful fall activities.

Princess plays piano
Photography: While I did not intentionally plan a photo outing, I did take advantage of the Princess's visit last Sunday.  She LOVES to play dress up and we have a special "blue dress" that we keep at the house.  I tried to follow her as she wrote notes, played iPhone games, and serenaded us on the piano.  I am learning to get low to the ground and shoot from her perspective... not quite so easy for my stiff joints, but definitely worth the effort.

What's on the Horizon:  This will be a fairly busy week for me:

  • I plan to have a nice dinner with a few teacher friends on Tuesday; 
  • I want to see the Sketchbook Project mobile library on the UMKC campus on Thursday afternoon (have any of you attended one of these events?  
  • I would to hear what I should expect...); and on Saturday there is the Kansas City Zoo 4 mile run to help raise funds for the new penguin exhibit that opens at the end of October.  I have not decided if I will participate (it will be a slow walk at best)... but I will definitely go cheer my youngest as she runs the course.  
  • We also plan to make our annual visit to the pumpkin patch Saturday afternoon, so many photos will be forthcoming.

It is indeed that time of year when the temperatures cool down and the fall activities ramp up.  This is, indeed, my favorite season!


  1. I can't believe your granddaughter is old enough to be talking! It seems like only yesterday you announced that you were a grandma. She is adorable!

  2. You have a lot going on. What a lovely day with your granddaughter -- so cool that you got to take her to her first visit at the library.

    I have to do a writing warm-up to address my fear fairly regularly where I ask myself what I'm really afraid of and how I might address that and what about my fear is imagined or overblown and how I might address that. Then, I can write.

    Joy's Book Blog

  3. Yes, you definitely have a lot going on, Molly! I know exactly what you mean about those feelings of doubt stopping you from working on your writing. I've been learning to just hang in there, and get the story down for the story's sake without letting my writer's ego have any say. I've been telling myself, this is a story that needs to be told, or you wouldn't have gotten the idea for it, so just tell it. It's all right if it comes out imperfectly. That's what editing's for. So far, it's been working!

  4. Two hours for a meal - that is how I remember (and cherish) it. I really don't like to go to restaurants here where they already bring the bill right after the food has been set on the table - so rude! I am avoiding those places.
    How lovely that you took your granddaughter to the library - always a good place to go. She looks so cute in your photos.
    I am not a big Harry Potter fan. I read the first few books when they came out (I was still living in Germany at that time), but after the fourth one I lost interest. I didn't like the movies very much either. I just finished "Tell the wolves I'm home" - a good read, a bit sad, and quite emotional for me as well (I lost a good friend to AIDS more than ten years ago).
    Sometimes you just need to take a break from writing or anything you do creatively. This is just the way it is, at least that is my experience. Sometimes these breaks take longer than we really want, but the muse will come back - she always does. The point is not to desperate about it or force it. You will see, you will be back to writing without having any doubt but enjoying the process. NEVER compare yourself to others (I know because I do that all the time and it is completely fruitless).

  5. I'm drooling over your dinner menu and will also add pumpkin spice coffee to my grocery list list this week. It sounds like a very memorable day with your granddaughter. I'm looking forward to Pin It and Do It, too!