To Do: 2017

Here are my goals for 2017:

Personal: 

  • Learn to make at least three new cocktails. I know three, currently: the gin & tonic, a bittersweet grapefruit greyhound, and a hot toddy. All of these are yummy, but I’d like to expand my boundaries. Anybody want to come over for drinks?
  • This feeds into my second goal: I want to have more dinner parties. On the one hand, I love making food for people. On the other, I’m highly introverted and reluctant to invite people over. I want to push myself and host a few genuine dinner parties this year. Let’s set the goal at three.
  • I want to take care of my health. Specifically, I want to start flossing regularly and cut my addiction to Brach’s mints. I’ve had trouble with my teeth lately, and I think this will help.
  • I want to start selling, or giving away, some of my handiwork. Over the past few years I’ve gotten into handcrafts: knitting, bread baking, making granola; my hope is to find a way to sell these, or a way to give them away more frequently. I’ve already given away some knitting, including a blanket to Project Linus, but I’d like to formalize this a bit more. And of course, if the opportunity presents itself, I’d like to make money on my hobbies! We’ll see how this goes.
  • And I want to learn to pick up dropped stitches. 

Two less quantifiable goals:

One, I want to improve my bread-making skills. At this point, I’ve learned the basics. Now, I want to try some new and more adventurous things: a sourdough starter, rye flour or wheat flour, bagels or English muffins, homemade pizza. And of course, I want to gain confidence in general; I want to make fewer panicky posts on my Bread Baking group!

Two, I want to do more re-reading. Over the past few years, I’ve really gotten into the Goodreads challenge, amping up the number of books I read in any given year (from 25 to 30, to 45 this past year). Trying to make my reading goal has caused me to re-read very few books, and so I want to return to some of the most formative books in my life: the Lord of the Rings particularly, but also perhaps Laurus, the Divine Comedy; or even just really good books like A Fire Upon the Deep.

A few other wishes in this category: I’d like to travel somewhere new, I’d like to hike another mountain (My aunt & uncle & I picked out Uncompaghre), I’d like to go solo camping.

Professional: 

In this category there are three books I want to read:

  • A Well Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer. This one comes recommended to me by my mother. (She has good taste.) This one is a cornerstone of the classical school movement, and despite a few niggling annoyances I find in the movement, it’s largely solid. I’m interested to see what the book has to say about education.
  • The Marketplace of Ideasby Louis Menand. I can’t recall where I encountered this book, but as universities are going through a fairly massive shift in terms of the service they provide and who they provide it to, this book (I am hoping) will help me understand the context in which I work.
  • Along the same lines, I want to read Education is Not an AppNot only do I teach online, I teach, using technology, to students who are immersed in technology every day. This book promises to analyze and evaluate the progress of education in an increasingly technological world. I hope it will be illuminating.

I want to teach a film in Introduction to Literature. Technically, this has been a goal of mine for the previous three years, but I’ve never made it happen. This year, I think it will; I think I’ll be able to teach Arrival. But if that doesn’t work, I’d really like to teach another film. Film is the primary medium in which my students encounter Story, and so I think it’s important that they be able to interpret it.

I found taking online courses valuable for my professional development, so I would like to take at least one more online course this year.

Spiritual:

I want to memorize a book of the Bible, ideally 1 John. I found 1 John very encouraging and spiritually challenging last year; my hope is that in memorizing it, the words of Christ will abide more closely with me.

I also want to start following the church calendar. Reading Jamie Smith’s You Are What You Love articulated a lot of what I’ve been feeling about the importance of liturgies, of ritual and routine, in enriching life. I have friends on Facebook who follow the church calendar, observing not only Christmas but also Advent; not only Easter but also Lent. Such rituals seem to imbue the season with more beauty and meaning. My hope is that in following the church calendar, I will participate more wholly in the Christian story, and become more attuned to the presence of grace in my life.

My hope is to get following the church calendar underway by Lent, so I can participate in that, and then continue for the rest of the year. If I don’t manage to follow the full calendar, I at least want to establish some personal liturgies for my home, to enrich it spiritually.

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