I'm wrapping up my Maryland trip now-- I did a visit to my old stomping grounds, Dunloggin Middle School. It's so interesting to walk through the same halls I walked as an awkward 6th grader (yes, I was a very awkward 6th grader-- at that point, my mom still ordered my clothes from the Sears catalog-- she'd get me an array of the same style of shirt in various pastel colors, with mix-n-matched coolots (spelling?) in the same array of pastels. I did get a little less dorky in seventh grade, and even less in 8th (at least, I thought I did-- who knows, really).
Here I am with reading teacher Dylana (oops-- I'm probably supposed to refer to her as Ms. ____, but I'm blanking on her last name.) Very cool lady-- it's so fun to talk with teachers between presentations. I wish I could post pics of kids, but different schools have different rules about it, so I didn't take pics this time.
Here I am with other great Dunloggin teachers... they're obviously all way too young to have taught me. The last of my teachers retired last year, I think... *sniff sniff*...
I'm doing some author events at Mount Saint Mary's College in Maryland now... and this lovely librarian, Becky (I think that's her name-- my apologies if I got it wrong!)-- she gave me a beautiful image of the Virgin Mary for the little altar in my writing trailer. Isn't that incredibly thoughtful and sweet?! Thank you, Becky, for coming and for the delightful gift! I LOVE it!
Here I am signing books after the event ... with such great teachers and students! Earlier, we had a yummy dinner of crabcakes, which I can never get enough of on my trips to Maryland.) And my wonderful Aunt Liz came for the dinner and event. (She always gave me books as gifts when I was young-- she was very supportive of my writing aspirations early on!)
About a half hour before my ride came for the presentation, I was in the hotel room, planning to somehow make my hair look less poofy, put on a bit of makeup, go over my slides, and relax a bit, when the toilet overflowed (no fault of my own, I swear! In fact, it overflowed on a test flush-- the water level was weirdly low, and I had an inkling something wasn't right, so I did a test flush... and water started gushing out FAST-- within seconds the bathroom floor was completely underwater! I ran for help (okay, in retrospect I realize I should've raced to the valve and turned it off, but I was wearing socks and that seemed icky.) Luckily, my stuff survived and the carpet didn't get wet, but it was a bit of a frenzy getting my stuff out of that bathroom and room and into a different one before my ride came... needless to say, there was no relaxation, presentation-going-over, etc...
It's interesting-- the craziness reminded me a presentation I did at the library a few years ago on the Day of the Dead celebration. Right before I was supposed to start the presentation, I had to give the Heimlich Maneuver to a woman choking on a piece of pan de muertos. The bread piece came out, she resumed breathing, and then, just a minute later, I started my presentation. Plenty of adrenalin was racing through me, but it was the good kind, the life-saving kind. My heart was pounding in a good way-- I felt elated that this woman (who I didn't know) was alive! And I didn't feel at all nervous about the presentation because a life-or-death experience puts any remnants of speech anxiety into perspective, you know?
Okay, I think I'm rambling now... it's late and I'm going to sign off and maybe stream a sit com before bed. Thanks for reading!