Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Wonderful But Intellectually Intense Weekend

I visited the NSF (National Science Foundation) LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) site, the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest. I was invited to be part of a group of scientists and humanists and social scientists on campus who want to design what we're calling an Environmental Humanities program at Oregon State. It's an attempt to bring humanities together with environmental scientists.

The weekend was an attempt to envision programs that are new and innovative, so it was fun to try to think outside the box.

I also met a lot of new people and increased my circle of colleagues at OSU. We had a lot of good, interesting conversations about potential new projects. There was a lot of energy and optimism about being part of something that is meaningful that could potentially change the way we approach environmental problems.

And, that feels good. I admit, too, that there was a time when I was worried about impending pay cuts - Plan A is becoming contentious and that's stressful - and one person, bless her heart, came up with an idea to help me get some extra summer salary since I don't have any lined up yet.

I got a chance to tell boob jokes - I was pretty open about my metastatic breast cancer status because when I use alternative medicines, like acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I'm tapping into an alternative way of looking at health and disease than the western medical model. To some extent, with this Environmental Humanities initiative, we're doing something similar to how I approach my cancer treatments - crossing epistemological boundaries and tapping into what each can offer.

It feels good. I'm tired, though. I was really happy to pick up Eddie - I'd missed him - and I'm really happy to be home again.

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