Week Six — Rocks and Flowers

My week was somewhat disjointed, in that I went to a conference in Burlington, Vermont, on Thursday and Friday. It is nice to travel shortish distances to these things, so that one can enjoy the landscape on the way. It was Commencement weekend at the University of Vermont, where the conference was held, so we stayed in Stowe, Vermont, a 45-minute drive away. Burlington is a very nice small town, with lots of local shops and restaurants right downtown.  It is on the shores of Lake Champlain, and one can see the Adirondacks across the water in upstate New York.  

Stowe, a small village that I’m sure balloons in population during ski season, is on the flanks of Mount Mansfield, the tallest mountain in Vermont, topping out at 4,393 feet. It was nice to be there during spring, with verdant fields and rhododendrons bursting with blooms. We were lucky that the forecast rain did not show up until this morning as we were leaving, so we did a fair amount of exploring yesterday.

Rhododendron in Stowe, VT
Boulder very near road on Mount Mansfield, VT

Time away from a routine is also very clarifying for me. I have been thinking about the rounds when I have had health and wellness goals, and I think the holistic approach is good for me. I will give my revised goals at the end of the post, but first, how did I do on my goals this past week?

One blog post per week. Last Tuesday, I posted a music video, and today a Mother’s Day tribute, both on Elizabeth Anne Mitchell.

Five sentences of fiction every day. Yes, but just barely.

Half an hour of editing the non-fiction book every day. No, so it is definitely  time for a change.

New Goals:


Two blog posts per week–Sunday check-in and one other.

Five sentences of fiction per day.

Editing one page per day.



Walk ten minutes per day.

Hydrate and keep track of it.

Balance exercises every morning.



Plan every day the evening before, and schedule time for all the above.


Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and Happy Day to all of us children.



Presentations, muses, and fear

The last two weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, but things seem to be settling down again.  I gave my paper on Mother’s Day. I was very nervous beforehand, in my usual imposter mode of neurosis, but it went well.  The audience was very supportive, and several people came up afterwards to talk about and/or correct or add to my hypothesis.  It was the last session of the conference, so there wasn’t a lot of time to hammer out things with people, which was a bit  of a disappointment.

Also, it was Mother’s Day.  I had visited our daughters on Saturday, which was a bonus of going to a conference in the Midwest.  My sons honored the day in their usual, different, ways.  Although my mother didn’t recognize me last May, I felt her absence this year, only a month after her passing.  We had rituals for Mother’s Day when I was growing up, wearing red roses for our mother, who wore a white rose to symbolize that her mother had passed away.  The thought of having to pin on a white rose this year felled me.  It is so strange the little things are the ones that hurt.

The drive back became longer and longer as we became more and more tired.  We finally straggled back into town about 3am, so the beginning of my week was lost in the fog of sleep deprivation. I also found out that the article my co-author and I submitted last fall, then edited and re-submitted in February was rejected.  Sometimes academia grinds slowly and not well.

I need to write another article this summer, since I have to go up for tenure in January.  Although I do find academia the most suitable place for me, I sometimes wish I could avoid the fiery hoops with which it is replete.  The good news is the conference invigorated me in the way that networking with fellow geeks of whatever stripe often does.

The other good news is the invigoration extends to my fiction/narrative non-fiction as well.  There are many interesting characters, subplots, and plots hidden by language or time just waiting for someone to unearth and investigate them again.

I’m adding one goal to my ROW80 set: I want to spend one hour a week pulling together my dormant/moribund blogs and figure out my voice.  I stumbled on WordPress’ Blogging 101 and 201 too late to fully participate, but I am mining it for all I’m worth.

ROW80 is a blog hop.  Please go check out and encourage the participants here.