the grid

the grid

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Time for a new session - Middle of 2017

Hi everyone, I missed you!  I haven't managed to discuss this with my co-lead yet, apologies, but I'm pretty sure we agreed to restart this week, so, let's go for it! And iron out details later if needed... 

This iteration of the TLQ group will run from now until the last weekend in August (25-26 August), which looks like 14 weeks to me.  Everyone is welcome to join, new or old, and as normal for the mid-year session (Summer in the northern hemisphere, winter in the southern) it's absolutely fine to drop in and out depending on travel, vacation and other commitments.

This week, we need to set session goals as well as weekly goals.  Let's use the commenting format:
1) brief introduction/update (you never know, we might get some new members?)
2) set some mid-year session goals - these can be all about TLQ academic stuff, all about TLQ personal stuff, or a mixture
3) set a small number of goals for the week ahead

For a discussion topic, how do you go about setting goals for a long period like a summer break?  I've been setting goals for summer "vacations" since I was a little kid, when I used to fill pages and pages of notebook with things I'd do in the summer, and still don't really know how to do it so that I don't over-commit myself and cause unintended stress, but don't find myself feeling like I achieved nothing significant at the end of the period.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Interim check-in

If anybody's missing the group or the accountability between sessions, here's a place to check in or just chat. I hope you're all doing well!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Week 15: wrapping it up and tying a bow on it

Here are the session goals, followed by the weekly goals from last week. I thought we’d revised goals in week 7, but looking at that week’s comments, it seems like mostly people commented on what we were having trouble with, without actually setting clearly labelled new goals. So I’m taking the easy way out. But maybe you’ve done more than you thought you could! And if you want to comment based on your revised goals, please do.

How did you do? What have you learned? Remember to focus on the positive: if you’ve done less than you hoped, you’ve still done things, and are probably farther along than if you hadn’t set yourself some ambitious goals. Celebrate the things you’ve achieved! Even if you haven’t checked in for awhile, you’re welcome to tell us how you’re doing, and people who haven’t been in the group are welcome to congratulate us on achievements. :-)

Session Goals:

Contingent Cassandra
--improved self-care, especially continuing current trends toward moving more, cooking/eating more homemade food, getting sufficient sleep on a regular schedule, and doing more long-form reading (list is more or less in order of priority)

--continued progress on getting my financial (first priority) and physical house in order
--try to stay on top of teaching planning and tasks, the better to protect planned TLQ time from TRQ catch-up (and reduce the combined physical and psychological exhaustion that results from falling behind, and leads to lost/wasted time)

--get/stay in better touch with family and friends

--make continued reasonable progress on the grant-funded project (while keeping in mind that it isn’t currently actually funded, nor do I have any release time, etc., etc. to support it)

--prepare to apply for contract renewal and, if possible, promotion, next year

--continue thinking about next steps professionally, while focusing in practical terms on personal/household “infrastructure.” If I actually do something to advance professional goals, it would probably be writing about the grant-funded project and/or background reading for my own research

1 - Get papers written - there are 3 for which data collection is just about complete, and need concentrated, sit-down, focused writing time. They will be my main priority.
2 - Ignore all politics, labour disruptions, gossip, and time-sucking whiny colleagues and FOCUS on Goal number 1...
3 - Hang out and work with good colleagues :)

1 - Have lots of winter fun with kid - skiing every possible weekend, and other outside things.
2 - Get an exercise routine going so that it is an automatic part of every week.

Dame Eleanor Hull 
1. Life Stuff: get house on market.
2. Research: turn around two sets of revisions and get back to work on book-in-progress. Also prep for a conference in May (not a paper, another sort of thing).
3. Teaching: plan and deliver interesting classes, with useful and prompt feedback to students, without getting so detailed as to overwhelm any of us.
4. Health: maintain routines for safe food, appropriate exercise including stretching, yoga classes twice a week, and sitting 3-4x/week.
5. Leisure: plan and do at least one fun or social thing per week; plan and take a trip at spring break to visit my family.

Earnest English
-Grounding: Winter is difficult, so I need to really focus on taking care of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Sleep is a particular challenge both because of a limited day to get things done in (so I want to stay up and do or be more) and insomnia. Meditation and yoga would be wise. Baths and active self-care (such as singing) are incredibly important. I need weekly goals on this. I also have decided that I no longer want to give anxiety free rent in my head. So I'm going to work on more mental discipline aka distraction in my head.

-Spirited's therapy and education. We've started quite brightly this year, so I just need to keep on top of this.

-Gardening: Start early seeds on time at Groundhog Day and keep on top of gardening and associated projects.

-Plan and plod work: I need to keep up on my teaching and other work. This quarter I actually have a slightly reduced load and that plus winter usually means that I spend very little time on campus, which means I have to get work done at home. This is often difficult and filled with strife, both internal and external. I need to just establish a routine and keep on top of things at home and not feel guilty about it. I also need to research and come up with a snow day plan for taking my classes online.

-Writing Project: I've gotten behind on the writing (not the research, which I'm doing spectacularly on). I do need to step up my game here, so I'd like to get to 12X by the end of our session. I'm tempted to make a goal of 15x so there's 1x a week, just because that's a much more concrete goal.

-Big Report: I promised a colleague I'd write a big report, and I need to work on it a bit each week and incorporate that into my weekly plan so it will get done without panic.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Session mantra: Plan, breathe, create
Write at least five sentences every day.
Leaven the excitement of new projects with the gratification of finishing old ones.
Monitor food intake and movement.

Good Enough Woman 
1. Drink more water (to avoid kidney stones).
2. Exercise 4x per week (walking and yoga, etc.)
3. Eat more veggies and develop some more healthy (healthful?) recipes for the family.
4. Totally finish dissertation (corrections, hard binding, etc.)--this extent of this goal will depend on what kinds of corrections my examiners require.
5. Complete conference paper (for Feb)
6. Submit one article for publication.
7. Take weekend time to work when necessary, but also carve out quality time for kids: hiking, board games, helping with projects.

Heu mihi

-MS revisions such that I'll be on track to have a complete, revised manuscript by September 1. For the next fifteen weeks, then, this means revising two chapters and the intro, and drafting the last unwritten section of ch. 4.
-Write 2/4 conference papers for Summer 2017. (Ideally, I'll write 4/4, but I'm trying to be realistic.)
-Return to and maintain my running schedule


1 Read book and review (book not yet in hand)
2 Finish two revisions and resubmit
3 Follow up on work under review as appropriate
4 Submit Circus abstract at end of January
5 Submit Glass essay
6 Write 5x/week
7 Read 5x/week


1) self-care
2) domestic progress (my house currently shares many of the features of a packrat midden - I haven't YET peed on the piles of random stuff, but...) and in an ideal world would be orderly and clean enough to invite my parents to stay by midsummer.
3) know what the situation is with regard to the trip, and be prepared for it.
4) Have a grant application text out for 'internal review' within the University
5) have made measureable progress on one of the papers _I_ want to write for _my_ research agenda, such as it is (as opposed to those which are more obligations to others/projects) - in my increasingly daft nickname system this means progressing Picky, Twiddly or perhaps ProblemChild-1-2


Use the early part of this session to get ahead and stay on top of teaching to keep space for other TLQ stuff.
Work with co-author to get Earth paper ready for submission.
Work with research mentor to clarify longer-term research goals and steps.
More research-related reading generally.
Set in place some foundational self-care habits in the the areas of energy (sleep, movement, food) and connection (with people, with the environment).


- Submit paper based on acronym report
- Write and send for feedback paper 2 (international) and paper 3 (testing)
- finish literature review for loop project and potentially review style article draft if co-authors interested
- Draft funding application on house project and decide between a grant or fellowship application (I can't do both).
- survive the last 5 rounds of chemo (every three weeks)
- walk every day, aiming for average of at least 3 km a day balanced between good weeks and bad weeks.
- work on crafty projects


Write regularly.
Revise an article that was rejected in order to submit it to a different journal.
Submit abstract for fall conference.

Get more sleep.
Get back to my running schedule. (Like heu mihi! except where I live, summer is least comfortable time to run, so I'm missing out on the good running weather right now.)


Session Goals
I'm keeping my goals modest, because on of my resolutions after finishing all the work on my book on December 23 was to try to slow down.
1. Write Way Outside Essay -- a semi-scholarly piece on a subject far from my expertise. I'm filling in for someone who dropped out of a collection, so the timeline is short.
2. Finish notes on forum contribution
3. Write paper for May conference
4. Start playing with material for my next (short) book, which I'll call Funhouse project. I'm teaching a graduate course related to this, so . . .

Health and home:
1. I gained weight in December, because of the cold that would not die, and then Christmas. I need to be regular about exercise. I normally go to an exercise session three mornings a week, and I'm trying to add to that. I'm not fixated on the scale, but I know I feel better when I'm exercising and eating well.
2. Declutter one room of my house, making it more functional.
3. Keep on top of incoming mail so that I don't drown in it.

Life in the world:
1. Spend time regularly with friends
2. Be an engaged citizen (rally on Jan 21, call congresscritter and senators, etc.) But try not to be overwhelmed.
3. Make sure I'm enjoying life


1. NIH grant application (I am taking a grant writing class, and we have to write a whole application by the end of the semester; for those who know NIH apps, this will be a K level application - I'm currently awaiting the results of my F).
2. Get relationship paper finished and accepted.
3. Write election paper (I am more excited about this than anything right now - we have been able to survey almost 1000 people and counting - within a specific minority group - on their feelings about the election)
4. Get a bad draft of policy paper (not excited about this one)
5. Bad draft of dissertation paper (not excited about his, but diss advisor says doing it shows "follow through").
6. Start getting rid of stuff in my house to prep for move this summer
7. Spend some time each day on things that are not work related and that make me happy (like cooking, singing to loud music, etc) - I tend to either work or avoid working - I want to do some more purposeful things in my non-working time.

Week 14 goals

Contingent Cassandra  (from week 12)

--work on taxes (get as close to finished as possible, since the next few weeks will be busy)
--finish listing to-dos for one section
--move: walk, lift weights, and garden, at least 1x and preferably 2x each.
--participate a bit more in pedagogy project related class (maybe just some blog comments)
--write letter re: promotion to dept chair
--make progress on annual report



1) Run outside 3 times
2) Continue on paper figures

Dame Eleanor Hull

1. House. Just keep going.
2. Research: prep for presentation on campus; work on Zoo thing.
3. Teaching: catch up with grading; post reading questions.
4. Health: continue regular gym workouts 3x/week, stretch every day, eat safely, go to bed early, add walking on non-gym days, now that I have good walking shoes.
5. Fun/social thing: track restorative activities to make sure I do them regularly. Consider whether Wednesday gathering is worth staying up late for.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Plan for the next day every afternoon, list tasks in priority order and post prominently on computer monitor
Two more days of interviews (sigh)
Plan birthday concelebration with Son Number Two
Finish blind review
More Latin (Is that like “More Cowbell?”)

Heu mihi

1. Finish rough draft of Berks (incorporate MN and CS, both of which I need to re-read/re-skim; reread the paper for continuity etc.; probably revise the intro)
2. Read the first 5 pages of ch. 5 in preparation for submitting it to my writing group.


1 Read 5x
2 Write 5x
3 finish abstract
4 get caught up on grading and service


1) relax actively - do some crochet, read some fiction, work on my NaNo writing
2) send easter goodies to family and notes to some friends
3) start work on Picky Paper OR rewrite GrantINeverShouldHaveStarted
4) keep all the rest of the job, emails and that, to one hour a day, however much fuss it makes!
5) domestic disorder reduction


-Make list of all the big picture thinking documents I've been promising to work on over the Easter break and rank the tasks
-Marking - make steady progress.       
-Offline time - planning to go camping for two nights over Easter


1. gentle progress through the TRQ to-do list that needs to be done before going on holiday.
2. start new knitting project (small hats but knit with multiple strands of wool to test various colour combinations before doing something bigger).
3. tidy up house.


1. Really finish Way Outside
2. Walk twice
3. Make hotel reservations for short trip to UK in May.
4. Get good sleep, and avoid twitter and fb right before bed.


1. Mixed methods paper and pretty much nothing else.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Next session: date preferences and any volunteers to host?

With the prospect of a chocolate-filled end to the current session of the TLQ group next week, I guess we should look ahead to planning for the next session.

Do any group members have preferences about when to start and how long to run? Previous sessions have been between 12 and 16 weeks depending on seasonal and institutional markers.

And does anyone want to volunteer to host? Co-hosting seems to be a model we are quite comfortable with the moment as a way of sharing the load and different perspectives.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Week 14: Nearly There

Well my head is spinning and the best words to describe me are 'addled' or 'doddery'. I must admit I've lost track as to whether this is the final week or whether next week is but diary management is not my strong point at the moment. So let's go for a final week then wrap up next weekend amidst the chocolate egg fest (other treats are available). 
I enjoyed reading through the discussions last week of the highs and lows, and I must admit that I pretty much ditched my to-do list mid-week in favour of more rest. Time off is a good thing and many of us have had spring break already, with Easter vacations of various start and end dates also looming large. And it occurs to me that at the end of a long spell of busy, there is as much need of active replenishment as there is of passive. It's one thing to say to rest, a fairly passive process, but the process of suddenly stopping after running around doing all the things can be difficult. I often joke that term-time is like filling a Pandora's box with all the crap we don't have time or energy to deal with, and the first week of vacation time is unpacking the box. I suddenly find myself getting cross about things that happened ages ago that I barely recalled. So this week, what are your suggestions to get into a more restful mindset for a period of time (an hour, a day, a week...) and how do your attempts at 'rest' differ from more active means of relaxation? And what's the best balance for you?

Contingent Cassandra  (from 12)
--work on taxes (get as close to finished as possible, since the next few weeks will be busy)
--finish listing to-dos for one section
--move: walk, lift weights, and garden, at least 1x and preferably 2x each.
--participate a bit more in pedagogy project related class (maybe just some blog comments)
--write letter re: promotion to dept chair
--make progress on annual report

1) Finish results and discussion for paper above, add figures for results section
2) Plan next week's analytical time carefully
3) Pick one other paper and figure out next steps
4) Run outside at least twice

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. House: make two rooms presentable. 
2. Research: 15 minutes x 3 days, plus one session of two hours, on each of two projects.
3. Teaching: 3 sets of assignments, plus two small sets of revisions.
4. Health: continue regular gym workouts 3x/week, stretch every day, eat safely, go to bed early, add walking on non-gym days, now that I have good walking shoes.
5. Fun/social: track restorative activities to make sure I do them regularly. Consider whether Wednesday gathering is worth staying up late for.

Earnest English
-Grounding: get adequate sleep! Eat well. Active self-repair on stressful days: baths, music. Meditate or stretching twice this week. 
-Spirited: therapy and hanging out
-Gardening: start tomato and other seeds, look for or order peas, figure out salad bowls
-NaPoWriMo: go for it!
-Plan and Plod: get back to Dreambook by end of week
-Scholarship: read and take notes on one piece of scholarship/one chapter of a book

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Survive two more days of interviews.
Meet with staff about evaluations.
Begin blind review of article.
Write up research notes.
Continue Latin transcription and translation.
Do version control on the iterations of the book and correct filenames across cloud storage and hard drives.

Good Enough Woman
1) Exercise 3x. And throw in something different: Either take out the SUP, do laps at my college pool (which I've never done!), or go to a yoga class.
2) Pay bills.
3) Do most of grading (could leave half a stack for early next week if necessary). 
4) Finish the article and submit it unless this means no days off. If I can't finish by Tuesday or Wednesday (and I'm not sure I can) I want to put off the submission.
5) See doctor on Wed and have lunch with friend.
6) Preserve Thursday and Friday for exercise and relaxation (pleasure reading, mostly . . . also maybe sushi for lunch one day).

heu mihi
1. Read some primary sources
2. Draft Berks (5 pp.)
3. Preliminary prep for guest class (4/11)

Humming42 (from 12)
1. Read 5x
2. Write 5x
3. make notes while reading
4. use morning writing to brainstorm projects


1) prepare one statistics class, one workshop
2) prepare information packs for four field destinations 
3) make sure all lists are made and orders submitted for supplies etc. for the field day
4) grade first year assignment
5) comment on drafts of second year assignment
6) pull together readings for Picky paper
7) use internal review comments to rewrite GrantINEverShouldHaveStarted, finish internal paperwork. Maybe start progress towards submission???
8) resist sugar, avoid bread
9) get sleep pattern back to something sensible (have had a very jet-lag-inducing weekend...)

-reconnect with postgrad students
-get ahead by one week on online unit during business hours not evenings. Use evenings for sleeping.
-work through email consciously for designated periods each day and turn off outside those times.
-get to yoga x 1
-attend Friday writing group

1. collaborative paper - finish my edits and make a decision on the ethics bit
2. poster for conference - finish
3. marking marking marking - finish

1. Finish way outside
2. Walk twice
3. Read at bedtime.

1. Make significant headway on mixed methods paper (it’s due 4.15, so this has to be the bulk of my effort this week)
2. Write a brief proposal for grant app

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Week 13: the highs, the lows, the middling

We didn't do so much talking among ourselves this past week as we sometimes do, so I hope that means you were all getting $h!t done. Along similar lines to last week's "past glories" theme, I have a suggestion for thinking about the range of good/bad days. You don't have to post details if you don't want to, but think about a day when you really were on a roll and got a lot done (maybe you have a diary or a spreadsheet to check on?). What were the circumstances? That is, what made your high productivity possible? Think also about a day when you felt like you got nothing done. Was it really nothing, or were you doing things other than the ones on your to-do list, like keeping a sick child calm and happy, or tending to household problems? Could you re-frame your "nothing" as "differently productive"? Finally, remember that "mediocrity" really is the Golden Mean: a lot of "mediocre" days of chipping away at tasks does result in things getting done. Some bad days are okay if you balance them with better ones.

So, how was last week?

Contingent Cassandra
--work on taxes (get as close to finished as possible, since the next few weeks will be busy)
--finish listing to-dos for one section
--move: walk, lift weights, and garden, at least 1x and preferably 2x each.
--participate a bit more in pedagogy project related class (maybe just some blog comments)
--write letter re: promotion to dept chair
--make progress on annual report

1: Contract report, now a giant TRQ problem
2: Read some key papers and plan for analytical time coming up
3: Draft of results and discussion for one paper (related to contract, so can do this as a set)

Dame Eleanor Hull
1. House: get all tax stuff to accountant, and make one room presentable.
2. Research: 5 x 15 minutes on the MMP R&R, and at least one session of two hours on it.
3. Teaching: 5 x 15 minutes grading, and hope that I'll at least not get more behind than I am now. Talk to colleague about student H.
4. Health: continue regular gym workouts 3x/week, stretch every day, eat safely, go to bed early.
5. Fun/social: track restorative activities to find out if I do them regularly.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
-Survive the four days of interviews.
-Incorporate research notes from last year’s trip.
-Reserve time for transcription and scholarly thought.
-Doctor’s appointment Wednesday.
-Pack for the weekend in New York City.

Good Enough Woman
1) Exercise 3x.
2) Get a head start on spring break grading (maybe grade half a stack, or even a whole stack??)
3) Spend 3 hours on article on Friday.
4) Read one thing.
5) Arrange to pick up lab results (and pick them up).
6) Brainstorm some things to do with kids for my upcoming spring break, during which hubby will be out of town. Kids will be in school, but I want to plan a couple of fun outings.

heu mihi
1. Finish scanning and uploading things to Moodle for the rest of the semester
2. Reread Sanok sections
3. Create a developed outline/preliminary draft of Berks paper
4. Update Kzoo in response to ch. 4
5. Go to intro-level classes to tout upper-level offerings

1. Read 5x
2. Write 5x
3. make notes while reading
4. use morning writing to brainstorm projects

Hanging in?

-reconnect with postgrad students
-get ahead by one week on online unit during business hours not evenings. Use evenings for sleeping.
-work through email consciously for designated periods each day and turn off outside those times.
-get to yoga x 1
-attend Friday writing group

1. collaborative paper - make edits and send to coauthors
2. poster for conference - plan and work out data
3. marking marking marking
4. adminfrustrashing - finish off the last bits

1. Hammer out first draft of Way Outside.
2. Walk three times
3. Take one day completely off -- maybe go up to the mountains and hike for a day, or go to the beach and walk.
4. Don't get too far behind on work.
5. Finish at least one book.

1. Work on mixed methods paper
2. Possibly do suicide abstract if we decide to move forward with it
3. Prepare presentation for next week’s conference
4. K99 - revise mentor’s LOR

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Week 12: reflecting on past glories

“It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn.” - Thomas Fuller

There comes a point in every semester, or every process of finite length and variable enjoyment,  when it looks like the end will simply never arrive, that we'll be stuck in this moment, and that we'll never accomplish our goals. I find that it's often in the weeks between the half-way point and the end being so near you can almost reach out and grab it. The hour before the dawn.  Around these parts, I think it was last week. I could almost feel the tiredness in emails from colleagues, and it was more obvious in emails from students. I suspect everyone has their own version of this as schedules dictate.

I find it helps to remember that we get there in the end. Somehow projects move forward, papers get written, the seemingly unsurmountable pile of grading turns into submitted grade, and houses are reclaimed as homes once more. I also find it helps to remember that we do have successes. So, inspired by a comment in week 10, I invite you this week to share your successes that were, in part, due to this group. And was there something specific that you did to push the project through the final barriers to completion?

Contingent Cassandra (from week 11)0. Rest and renewal; sleep.
1. movement: try to work some in, despite weather
2. cooking (clean out/reorganize fridge; make/freeze some oatmeal, soups, etc.)
3. work on finances (esp. taxes)
4. list prep/grading to-dos through end of semester
5. do conference proposal and plan other grant-project work (which probably needs a new name, because it's not at all clear there will be any more money involved -- pedagogy project? curriculum project?)
6. figure out what to do about pedagogy/curriculum project-related class

Daisy1: Work on ONE paper each day, at least three for the week.2: Runs3: Contract report4: One figure for each paper

Dame Eleanor Hull1. House: gather tax documents and sort/file/toss/shred/pack (as appropriate) papers in the guest room.2. Research: 4 x 2 hours on the MMP R&R.3. Teaching: stay caught up.4. Health: continue regular gym workouts 3x/week, stretch every day, eat safely, go to bed early,5. Fun/social: active restoration daily. 

Earnest EnglishHopefully still hanging in there ;)

Elizabeth Anne MitchellDeal with electrician.Meeting with boss--survival is key.PT and home exercises.Continue to preserve time for transcription and scholarly thought.Incorporate research notes from last year’s trip.Plan next steps for top three to four projects to determine viability.Spend one hour per day unfruitful time clearing email or filing paper files.

Good Enough Woman1) exercise 3x2) do taxes3) get x-ray4) spend 2-3 hours editing article on Friday5) read two things (one for research, one for new course development*)6) stay on top of grading so that it doesn't become TRQ7) take daughter and her friend on their much anticipated outing

Heu mihi1. Integrate affect stuff into intro2. Read Berks abstract and make a to-do list/bibliography/outline?3. Work on ch. 4: do the easy parts, then reread once to flag problems and work spots4. Get on top of admin stuff (clear to-do list)

Humming421 Read 5x2 Write 5x3 submit book review4 follow up on conference-related things

JaneB (from week 11)1) 1 hour on Ferret
2) 1 hour on typing up notes from the workshop thing
3) drink more fluids and focus on eating fruit and vegetable rich meals (I've been away, it messes with diet, ALWAYS, and I do find it hard to reset...).

KJHaxton1. Just do the bloody marking already 2. Adminfrustration (last push to get it out the way)3. 2 x sessions working on some kind of research, preferably the nearly submittable paper but if I get distracted by data analysis I'm good with that.

Susan1. Spend Friday in office doing organizing, administrivia, and maybe even finally hang the pictures I haven't hung all year.2. Do something nice on Saturday3. Finish grading (ideally before Saturday?)4. Read for way outside5 . Get back to one of the three half finished novels on my nightstand.

Waffles1. Go to art museum free day2. See a movie in the theater3. K99 next iteration (we have something due for class every week, so…)4. Finish and submit aging paper (due friday)5. Do some analyses of qual data with dedoose (for conference call this week)6. clean the darned house!