photoEight years ago today, instead of informing everyone I’d “retired” from public school teaching, I simply said, “I am no longer in the institution.”

And as I had taught on the Long Beach Peninsula for 29 of my 30 years, I was somewhat of an “institution” here myself, which made my retirement at least marginally “newsworthy,” so Kevin Heimbigner interviewed me for the Chinook Observer.

In the article, which of course I still have, I specified a few of my “retirement goals.” My plans and dreams for “life outside the classroom” were a bucket list of sorts, and I eagerly delineated them for Kevin.

June 9, 2006, I told Kevin I was planning to buy a motorcycle, play more golf, travel to New England, Hawaii, and Italy, write a “sassy, irreverent, fun novel or two with a female hero from the Peninsula,” and dust off my rather rowdy red dancing shoes.

Check! Check! And double check! I am happy to report that I’ve accomplished all those goals, including completing two cozy mystery novels in a series that will undoubtedly continue on for many more books.

But there’s one thing—one very significant thing—that’s still out there for me to check off my list, and it happens to be the very thing I told Kevin was my number one priority.

Back in 2006, I had written a nonfiction book about my significant weight loss journey, and my most urgent goal at that time was to get it published. The book was (then) called “Losing It All,” and throughout the next year and a half, I pitched it to several dozen agents and publishers to no avail.

“You’re not a celebrity,” the ones who bothered to reply told me. “If you were a celebrity, we’d snap it right up.”

“Publish my book, and I’ll be a celebrity,” I tossed back. But not one of them wanted to roll the dice that what I claimed was true.

After knocking on closed doors until my knuckles were bloody, I was further disheartened when Valerie Bertinelli wrote “Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time.” Damn! Damn! And double damn! A freakin’ celebrity had stolen my steam, along with my “working title,” which I now felt I could no longer use.

I gave up. And in doing so, over the next few years I somehow managed to regain 110 of the 230 pounds I’d initially lost.

But I’m nothing if not one stubborn old cuss. In 2013, I regrouped, lost not just the 110#, but went even farther down the scale, till my combined efforts placed me at 252 pounds LESS THAN my 1999 weight.

I’ve been “at maintenance” now for five months, and I’ve added another difficult but necessary chapter to the original manuscript. In 2006, it simply wasn’t “time” for my book to be published. It needed that final chapter, about recovery from relapse. And I needed the past eight years to acquire the necessary skills to be able to jump in there and publish the book myself. And so I shall.

I am currently in the final edit and polish and layout stage of “Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight Loss Journey.” It will be sent to the printer next month, and I’ll begin marketing it in early September.Village-Books-Publishing-Bellingham_0

My retirement bucket list will soon be one important item shorter—but in the past eight years I’ve added a few more things to it, so rest assured, there’s still plenty left for me to do!