For a sabbatical blog, this one has been pretty thin in the “what I’ve been up to” category.  So here, for the record, is what I’ve been doing vis-a-vis sabbatical goals.

Drawing etc. I report on fairly often.  I was tempted by a ceramics class–actually, less a class than access to materials, studio space and kiln time, which were what I wanted–but the difficulty of getting the work home, and the delight I’ve taken in just working on 2D stuff, convinced me to skip it.  Right now I’m working on collages, which Munchkin likes so much that I can easily do them while she’s home as well as while she’s in school (I give her paper and cut-out people and she makes her own c’lage, as she calls it, beside me).  Two weeks ago I went to the local weekly, no-instruction, life-drawing session because drawing from a model was my favorite part of drawing class and I really miss it.  I’ve gone twice now and hope to go every Tuesday that remains, which is only three more (not including the last week, when Joy will have returned to SF and evening excursions without the munchkin will be tough).  I’ve already looked up similar sessions in SF and bookmarked the schedule so I can continue there.

A habit of art: A goal for my sabbatical, besides “make art,” was to get in a habit of making art that I’ll continue when I’m back in the busy life of full-time work for me, full-time work for Joy, full-time school for Munchkin, commuting . . . I got excellent advice from my dear colleague Chris, who is recently retired and still working hard at projects imposed by no one but himself,  so he knows what he’s talking about.  He recommended that starting during the sabbatical, I have a set time every week that is inviolable art time, and when sabbatical ends and all the other art time falls away, I will just continue, Mondays 9-11 a.m., without fail.  Because of my Spanish class (see below) I haven’t started a weekly habit ’til this week, but I’ll try to keep it up for this last month.

No more morning internet: I realized that art time opens up if I break another habit.  I tend to wake up and turn on the computer.  Usually I have some excuse, like checking for a reply to an e-mail or tracking what I ate for breakfast (either of which, of course, could easily wait), and end up frittering away time on Facebook and Wikipedia and other idle pursuits.   So I have two computer-related resolutions:  (1)   on Mondays, which are my day off and my sacred time home alone, have only a very specific, limited online time, if that (maybe 1/2 hour during lunch), and (2) not to turn on the computer at all on work days until I go into work.  Morning tends to be an energetic and productive time for me, since I wake up before anyone else in the family, and I could do art then, or, if the Muse is still asleep, at least scrub the toilet instead of meandering in the internet wasteland.   I’m trying to establish the  new habit before leaving San Miguel, and doing about 50/50 on it.  Um, today I’ve been on the computer all morning without even touching my almost-done collage.  As soon as I finish this blog post, though, it’ s art time.  😉

Spanish: I came here with the intention not to study much Spanish.  I thought intensive classes were the only way to go and if I did those, I wouldn’t have any art time.  But I do want to learn Spanish–I started classes at community college two years ago because I want us both be able to speak to the munchkin in two languages, while she’s young and can learn two easily–and the opportunities of being in Mexico proved irresistible, especially after we found an excellent Spanish school that offers one-month classes, 3 hours a day.  That sounded reasonably compatible with my art goals.  I took Level 3 in April (3 hours plus an hour’s conversation) and was so thrilled by how much I learned that I decided to do Level 4 too, 3 hours only, in June ( May was our time for travel–a week in Mexico City, a few days in Michoacan).  I could have done Level 5 in my remaining month, but even at only three hours a day, it does definitely eat up the only totally free art time I have.  Enough.  I did very well and got a good foundation in place, and I have ways to continue when I’m home.  One thing I should do is blog in Spanish sometimes, so stay tuned / be warned!

Technically, my sabbatical ended June 10.  The rest of my time is my annual vacation and study leave, which look pretty much the same as sabbatical.  I have some study leave goals that I kept separate from sabbatical, so I’m pursuing them now:  reading Theodore Parker in preparation for a sermon in August, the 200th anniversary of his birth; perusing some small group ministry topics in preparation for our new groups to be launched this fall (if congregational plans didn’t change in my absence); reading a couple of books on leadership and preaching, if the books will arrive.  I’m even guest-preaching at a new interdenominational church (ten minute sermon–gotta love these Christians, whose communion service and many readings leave little time for ministerial musings), and, sad to report, giving support to a new friend by participating in the memorial service for a member of the UU Fellowship, Carol Veal, rest her soul.