Forthcoming, February 2010

As I whined about a few days, I am in the midst of grading.  I have 18 papers left, and, dear reader, my eyes literally hurt. My fingers are numb. My brain has rebelled. The essays are mostly fine, so at least I don’t have constant ogida.  The stress is mostly all of the other stuff I need to do (finish writing several projects; lecture/class prep; search committee business; working on my college’s blog–I’m an editor–etc etc etc).

I did manage to do other things this weekend (a department gathering at a local pub; running both mornings; chores; lunch with the hubby at yet another local pub).

So, this is a placeholder posting, identifying more for myself than for anyone else what postings are potentially forthcoming next month:

  • Mary McCarthy’s 1963 best selling novel, The Group, has been reprinted by Virago Press: I’ve been reading the latest re-views and recently reread the novel, and I have oodles of reflection: who would have thunk it?
  • I finally started using the little Nike/Ipod thingy that tracks my distance and speed when running.  It’s no GPS device, so it’s undoubtedly not entirely accurate, but I’ve got to say that I’m even more motivated to run each morning than even when I was only mildly obsessed pre-Nike/Ipod thingy (note: I actually do not wear Nike running shoes–so this posting will also be a review of the many pouches available to the anti-establishment running shoe wearers). 
  • Amazon has made Kindle software available to PC users: I’ve downloaded a slew of “free” e-books (Alcott, Austen, etc) to test out on my Netbook.
  • The trials, tribulations, and joys of teaching Chopin’s The Awakening in a general ed. survey class where male students outnumber women students (a novel that is on a dream high school reading list that Dr. Crazy has started, but not on very many actual high school reading lists, like Quills, mostly because it’s a beautiful novel about SEX).
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Running in Philadelphia

Christmas shopping,  done.  Drinks or coffees or walking dates every day with friends I’ve neglected during the term, ongoing.  Syllabi for winter quarter, done.  Tree up and decorated, done.  Cookie bake off,  planned. 

So it must be time to think about the 2009 MLA Convention: Which sessions will I plan to go to? Am I ready for my session? Which friends back east will I get together with in Philly?  Which cocktail parties shall I attend? Can I fit 3 fat novels, my netbook, winter boots, dressing pumps, running shoes, and actual clothes in my carry-on luggage?

And, most importantly, where can I RUN in Philadelphia? 

Since I’ve become obsessed with started long distance running, whenever I travel now I seek out the prettiest running trails (though I’m quite partial to my own local river trail).  And clearly I’m not the only one since most cities now have websites devoted to runners, including Run for Fun – PhiladelphiaUSA.travel.

If all that snow melts by the time I get there, I hope to run in Fairmont Park or this 8 mile run that will take me at some point to the famous Art Museum steps (remember Rocky?). 

In June 1870, a young Kate Chopin was on her extended honeymoon with Oscar, and they stopped for a few days in Philadelphia.   Biographer Emily Toth notes that the city itself didn’t thrill her at first, but Chopin conceded in her journal that “Fairmont is pretty though, a very pretty park, and I hardly think we will see any lovelier view in Europe than we had from the rising ground of the park, of the Schyulkill River, bright and sparkling–with its picturesque little boat houses–the city–like Campbell’s mountain looking more enchanting in the distance, and the full round moon staying the departure of twilight.”

Well I probably won’t be in a romantic mood at MLA09, and it will be just a bit colder in December than in Chopin’s June (despite global warming) but the next full moon does peak next week.