Back to school, back to reality

Everyone has been telling me that coming back from sabbatical is rough. Some have called it brutal. One colleague told me it is like slamming into a brick wall. Fun!

I hope that it isn’t going to be that bad for me. Then again, it may be worse for me since I really squeezed every ounce of goodness out of my sabbatical year. I traveled, I reflected, I wrote, I reflected, I drew, I reflected, I collaborated, I reflected, and then I reflected some more.

I returned to campus, officially, last week. There were meetings and more meetings. I taught a workshop for teachers. I sat in an workshop for administrators, I spent days in faculty orientation, I spent days looking for my office keys. Ok, that last one was really weeks, but it didn’t fit the flow, so forgive my abuse of the poetic license.

I was asked how it felt to be back, and often. I was told how much people missed me and were glad to have me back, more often than I ever could have imagined.

How does it feel?

It feels a little weird.
I feel a little disconnected.
I feel less stressed.
I feel like I am not quite back yet.

I keep wondering when it will hit. When will I slam into the brick wall?

Two nights ago, just after midnight, I found my office keys, cleverly stashed in my jewelry box for safe keeping. Of course, I have become accustomed to just wearing a few of my favorite pieces lately, so I hadn’t looked in the big box since I moved a month ago.

my campus keys

Why, you ask, am I telling you about my keys in the jewelry box? Well, it turns out that returning to my office was the smack in the face to bring me back to reality. It wasn’t all the meetings and contact with colleagues that did it. It was opening up my office door and being greeted by shelves of scholarly books, stacks of file folders, and way too many Writer’s Reference Guides.

my office door

my office

Welcome back to reality!

Creating Cover Art

Early stage of painting at the albergue studio

While staying at Albergue San Miguel in Hospital de Orbigo (León), which had an active art studio in the common area, I did a painting that epitomizes the struggle to find one’s way.

Out front at the Albergue San Miguel Art at Albergue San Miguel - my painting in progress

I’m thinking this painting, Finding Your Way, Along the Way, would make a good piece of cover art, especially since the original canvas graces the walls of the Spanish hostel still.

Riki paints at Hospital Albergue Along the WayArt at Albergue San Miguel - footprintsArt at Albergue San Miguel -sore feet and crossesArt at Albergue San Miguel pilgrims symbolsArt at Albergue San Miguel - wall of artArt at Albergue San Miguel - pilgrims shadows along the trail

Home sweet home

It’s been a year of utter wanderlust for me, moving through my days and weeks with a loose plan, revising as needed, changing on a whim, constantly in motion. I opted to live my sabbatical year to the fullest, for sure! I put most of my worldly possessions in a storage pod and spent the year writing, drawing, and traveling both at home and abroad. It was an amazing year!

Now I am back in the Pacific Northwest and school is right around the corner. This means it is time to get settled and make a home again. After 23 years of moving around the Seattle area, covering the Eastside, the North End, the South End, and downtown, I have finally made the jump completely south. I picked Tacoma as the place I want to call home for this next chapter of my life.

I am setting down roots in a big way. Upon my return to life as usual, rather than rent a place again, I opted to buy a house and get comfortable for a while. I found the perfect little place in the North End neighborhood, affectionately referred to by colleagues as the faculty ghetto. My new home is a 1940s Craftsman bungalow with 2 bedrooms and an unfinished basement (that I have big plans for).

Come on over and visit, I have plenty of room. Stay for a while even!

Lil Girls New House

[Lil’ Girl’s Home Sweet Home]
Digital drawing on SurfacePro3 with MangaStudio
Lil’ Girl Art 2015 – 
All artwork protected by copyright


Here are photos from the real estate listing.

living room dining room kitchen bedroom backyard outdoor fireplace