I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I live on the semester system, so I tend to think in 14 week blocks. In the interest of writing an easy blog post this morning, I thought I’d share some of my plans.
1. Teaching: I’m teaching a feminist philosophy course, so expect a number of related posts. This semester, I added some articles on the transgender experience, and on the Third Wave (over the years, I have tried using some of the popular third wave anthologies, like Third Wave Agenda, and Colonize This!, but, while they may work well for an interdisciplinary WST course, I found them lacking for a philosophy course. Unfortunately, because students love them.). I’m also teaching Ethics, which is not an applied course but a theory course, rooted in the history of philosophy. In a nod to my own personal history, I added Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, something that made a huge impression on me as an undergraduate, but which I’ve never taught, and a section on twentieth century Anglo-analytic ethical theory (Moore, Pritchard, Ross, Ayer), a nod to my graduate training. I predict great love for the former and great hate for the latter. We’ll see.
2. Speaking: I decided not to go to any out of state conferences this semester. I have a bad habit of preparing papers for conferences and then not turning them into journal articles. I am not allowing myself to go to another conference until I write up and submit at least two papers from conferences I’ve attended in the past two years. Of course, I’m committed to a number of talks in Maine, including for our state’s Breastfeeding Coalition annual meeting, our state’s Family Physicians annual meeting, regular talks for the hospital (I have one on a tough Jehovah’s Witness case next week), and, in a new endeavor, a talk on blogging for our local library, with Kristen of Fantasy Cafe. On campus, there’s a new humanities initiative, and my colleague Kirsten and I are doing a seminar on end of life. Her perspective is phenomenology, especially Merleau-Ponty, and mine tends to be very clinically based Anglo-Amercian ethics. Faculty are supposed to sign up, and we have a day of talking and sharing. There is more I could say about the humanities initiative on our campus, but this is one of those times I’d better keep my own counsel.
3. Ethics consulting: Our formal consult service has been up and running for about five years now (although informally, it is older than that). We’ve decided to set up a database on our hospital’s intranet with “scrubbed” cases, organized by keywords, which staff can search. I’m shaking a little just typing that, because I know how much work it is going to be, but I’m very excited that the IT Gods are giving us server space, and that staff are actually asking for this, which suggests that some people think we are doing something right. I’m still not going to blog about ethics consulting, for obvious reasons.
4. Blogging: I’m not doing any challenges and I don’t set reading goals. I’m not sure why, because I like to have, for example, fitness goals, but reading challenges, like book clubs, take the fun out of reading for me. Last semester, I found that making the blog work to meet my non-blog goals was very good for me and the blog. So, for example, to prepare for class, I would write a blog post. Or I’d write about what I was reading, even if it wasn’t something I felt people would be interested in. It’s a little scary not having a “niche” in the blogging world, but I’m fine with it, and certainly not the only person who blogs this way. I found that staying away from kerfuffles was, on balance, the right choice last semester, so I plan to keep mostly away from drama, although many of them are irresistibly fascinating and also pretty important.
5. Readers’ conferences: I’ve had a hard time deciding whether and which readers’ conference to attend this year. I signed up for a small readers retreat in Manchester, Vermont in April. But for big conferences, it’s looking like Book Blogger Con/BEA in New York is my choice this year. I would love to attend Romantic Times, before all the OTT stuff that once made it the stuff of romance fandom legend is gone, but the timing is (nearly) impossible. We’ll see.
6. Parenting: After 12 years of practice, I continue to be a devious, unsympathetic and reluctant parent. Just kidding. Sort of. I made my sons, ages 10 and 12, sign up for ski lessons. Kids are grouped by ability, not age. They had loads of same age friends in the lodge, but when everybody skied out to meet their groups, my sons went one way, and their peers went another. They ended up in a group composed almost entirely of five year old girls. I have been giggling over it ever since. Here’s a pic (my boys in the foreground, instructors on the right):
This is the last weekend of winter break. We plan to spend it in our usual relaxed, not to say indolent, manner, with friends for dinner, warm fires, lots of reading, and a couple of walks in the woods with our dogs. Whatever you are up to this weekend, I hope you enjoy it.