23 June 2006

10 Things

Things I've done since my last decade birthday and things I want to do by my next decade birthday. For the sake of reference, I'm now 53-1/2 years old, completed a successful 20-year career as a Navy parachute rigger/line officer in 1994, and now I'm a lecturer in English at a small state university in Florida. That may not sound too exciting, but it's been a pretty wild ride at times.

Anyway, here, listed in no particular order, are the things I've done since turning 50, and the things I intend to do before turning ... 60 ... yikes!

To do between now and 60:
1. Finish PhD dissertation on James Joyce and Irish folklore
2. Finish reading Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. This is not as easy as it sounds—in this, his last novel, Joyce virtually created his own language made up of words from many languages and often put together into what are called “portmanteau words.” A portmanteau word is one which is a conflation of two or more words—of any languages—that increases the meaning of the resulting word, often exponentially; thus, the word is packed with meanings and hence the name “portmanteau word”—a word like a packed suitcase. In any sentence of Finnegans Wake, the reader might find any number of portmanteau words, along with a rich texture of symbolism and allusion involving a vast range of topics: history, geography, politics, folklore, natural science, and others. In addition, the action is circular, such that the first line begins in mid-sentence and the last line of the book ends in mid-sentence and the two—beginning line and ending line—make up a complete sentence together. Whew! Don’t worry—I’m reading it with a reading group. This is one of those books that should be labeled: “Warning. Don’t try to read this book alone!” So MAYBE I’ll be done by the time I’m 60.
3. Pay for two nieces’ and one nephew’s first years of college
4. Do cycling tours in western Ireland and Alaska, along with some additional travel
5. Organize my office!
6. Continue to update and improve the courses I teach
7. Learn to read Japanese, so I can read the book in which my Japanese colleague in Joyce studies, Masaya Shimokusu, cited my work on James Joyce and Irish folklore
8. Become a better digital photographer and scrapper
9. Bike a section of the Underground Railroad Bike Route (now in development by Adventure Cycling Association: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/undergroundrailroad.cfm
10. Get the Chief to go on a bike tour with me—this will probably be the toughest and will almost certainly require that he have knee surgery first, but hey, no one said all our goals should be easy.

Wow--got a lot to do--I'd better get started.

Done since I turned 50 (a mere three-and-a-half years ago—seems like it was yesterday):
1. Paid for two eldest nephews’ first years of college
2. Wrote three articles to become chapters in dissertation
3. Publications: one online travel review; three articles (on James Joyce: who else?) in print journals; a short article in a book: “Keep Paddling.” The Strong Women's Journal. Ed. Miriam Nelson. New York: Perigee, 2003. 33. (Look it up next time you’re at the library or bookstore!)
4. Presented a paper at James Joyce International Symposium for the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, Dublin, Ireland
5. Presented papers at seven other academic conferences
6. Became Director of Women’s Studies at my university
7. Learned digital scrapping and became a better editor of my digital photos and journaler of my experiences and family stories
8. Survived the trauma of Hurricanes Ivan, Dennis, and to a lesser extent, Katrina
9. Caregiver to my dad in early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease
10. Completed a 4-day bike tour in Maryland, averaging 40 miles/day in dry weather with gale-force winds—no kidding—there were small craft warnings posted for boaters.

Jeez louise, just reading that makes me tired! I feel like I'm due for a break--good thing it's summer!


Blogger Sandra said...

It is an honor to know such an accomplished educator!! Well done, friend!

11:36 AM  
Blogger loonyhiker said...

Awesome lists! I would love to study Joyce under you! I bet you make your classes so interesting!! I think reading your blog should be a required assignment!

1:53 PM  
Blogger glynis said...

Woweee, Judyy...you're making ME tired :) I hate to admit, I've never read James Joyce, but am now convinced that I should.

3:37 PM  
Blogger CompooperTeacher said...

I'm curious about a portmanteau word. Could you give an example of an English portmanteau word?

I just heard of another type of word recently. It's along the lines of a homonym or a synonym, but it's called (I think) a contranym. A contranym is a word that can be the opposite of itself. For example, left (remaining) and left (having gone). Have you ever heard of this?

5:03 PM  
Blogger Laura Lou said...

Absolutely awe-inspiring. I think you were writing articles when I was just learning to tie my shoes.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

I think I need to revise my dinner guest list and put you on it. I loved reading your lists and now I am going to have to get Finnegan's Wake and read it.

6:11 PM  
Blogger heather said...

My goodness - congratulations on your amazing achievements and the amazing amount of work you've gotten through!! I'm still working on tying my shoelaces.

8:51 PM  

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