the grid

the grid

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Grass is Greener (Week 1)

In California, we had a "March Miracle" (or "Miracle March"?) and got enough rain to make up for a dry winter. I loved (almost) every minute of the rain, and I'm sad that we probably won't see much more of it for a while.  For me, it doesn't get much better that reading a book, drinking tea, and listening to the rain, especially since those moments are rare.

But now, the sun is out, the days are longer, and the hills are startlingly green, and though I miss the rain, I feel a new spring in my step and some increase in my TLQ mojo. I'm going to try to use that mojo to tackle some TLQ goals that I've neglected for most of the last two sessions. It feels like a fresh start even though my academic year is coming to an end.

What about you? Is this short-ish session (April 14 to June 8) going to be a time for a new beginning? Or will it be an opportunity to tie up loose ends for projects or goals on which you've already made good progress? Or maybe you just want to keep up a steady pace?

For this week, indicate what kind of session this is for you (if you wish to) and state your session goals as well as your goals for the week.

The difference the winter rain makes (without it, the hills stay brown all year):

Right now it looks likes this:

Sunday, 8 April 2018

The plan

I'm taking it on myself to sum up plans made in the comments to the last post; please correct me if I've got any of this wrong.

There will be a short TLQ session to run 14 April-8 June, eight weeks, hosted by JaneB and GoodEnoughWoman (Susan also offered to co-host).

There will then be a longer summer session hosted by Elizabeth Anne Mitchell and Dame Eleanor Hull. If we start immediately after the short session, and go to 31 August, that will be twelve weeks. Some of the North Americans will already be back to teaching at that point, but if we cut it off before the start of the fall term, it will scarcely be longer than the short session.

In any case, I find it can be useful to run sessions without too much regard to the academic calendar. For example, if one has established good habits during a break, maintaining them after the break may be easier (at least for the first few weeks) when they are still session goals.

If anyone needs to get log-on credentials, contact JaneB. I think her e-mail is somewhere in the comments to some TLQ post, sometime, but I couldn't tell you where!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Week 13: Wrapping it up

Almost forgot to do this--Easter overtook my weekend in a serious way. I'll tell you about it later.

But this is our last week, so it's time to look back on both your week's goals and your session goals (both are listed below--I apologize if I left anyone out!). How did it go? Any observations or conclusions about this session? And also: Who would like to host next?

Last week's goals:

1. Prep stuff for a grad research assistant to do. I've never really been successful using grad research assistants, but I'm going to try again. (Usually, they barely do what I ask, so it's sort of useless.) I'm going to give this one a pretty specific task to start, and hope she can do it.

1) Read and comment on student’s complete thesis (yay for student, lots of work went into that!)
2) Get back to Local Project Paper and see how much still needs to be done, and then do something about it! Anything would be better than the great pile of nothing that happened the last few weeks…

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Self: stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x, safe eating.
Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; scholarly reading at least 3x.
Teaching: write/post last two writing assignments for the semester (!).
House/Life: get tax stuff sorted and to accountant; keep plugging away at the sorting and tidying.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Start taxes (if I get the form I'm waiting for).
2) Finish Brit Lit essays by Thursday (to free up break a little bit and make students happy)
3) 2 brainstorming/writing for novel (at least one hour of actually drafting)
4) Make both family and productivity plans for spring break.
5) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x.
6) Savor quality time/moments with kids.

Heu Mihi:
1. Two hours of reading grad work
2. Write 5 hours (on Wonder; includes research time)
3. Meditate some amount
4. Begin grading incoming papers right away or close to it
5. Full slate of exercise (run x 3, yoga x 2)

1 Finish and submit next book review
2 Complete article peer review 
3 Try again to establish some incremental deadlines
4 Do something with Jewel article

1. Do some desk clearing
2. Finish overdue book review
3. Keep working on the short essay Witch
4. Do at least one hour of work on new book, Author
5. Get back to pleasure reading
6. Continue my walking, making 10,000 steps every day.

Session goals:

1. Big one, for sabbatical, think about an adventure (or two)
2. Read a book of poetry (for fun)
3. Finish writing a review letter
4. Prep for writing a second review letter
5. Practice violin: work on bowing, especially!
6. Exercise at least a bit every day (shoveling counts...)

1: Finish and submit local project paper LP
2: Write up and submit two first-author articles on Fabulous Northern Project FNP
3: Write my parts of two co-authored pieces on Other FNP
4: Do preliminary work for New Northern Project NNP so that field season goes brilliantly

Dame Eleanor Hull:
1. Research: get through my share of translation revision, so that by early April the whole translation team is at the same point w/r/t the final draft. Do one more set of article revisions. Consult with colleagues regarding application for full professorship. Keep up with language study in two dead and two modern languages.
2. Teaching: Plan fun and manageable courses; keep up with grading and prep (one new course this spring); have a colleague observe a class.
3. Self-care: take care of some medical and dental appointments; regular exercise and stretching; food prep as necessary for healthy, safe eating. Do fun things regularly.
4. House and Life Stuff: gather tax documents and hand them over to accountant; replace some more windows, finish the decluttering, have the house photographed and list it; visit my dad and deal with parental/family stuff as necessary; make a list of stuff that I will do later in the year (2nd through 4th quarters). 

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell:
Session mantra: Contemplate, breathe, center
Plan what libraries to visit in what countries, and when.
Coordinate the outline for Prudence with the schedule.
Work up to 5 miles of walking every day.
Knit 2 shawls, and 2 pairs of socks.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Develop chapter four of PhD thesis into an article. I'm calling this project "Jenny."
2) Read three SF/F novels and five SF/F short stories (to continue prep for Spring 2019 science fiction class).
3) Develop four new family-dinner recipes that are plant- and fiber-heavy.
4) Walk 45min, 3x per week. Occasional swimming and yoga.
5) Clean out my stuff in the garage left over from summer re-organizing.
6) Tidy work office.
7) Finish outfitting home office/studio/witch hut.

heu mihi:
-Write conference paper (for March)
-Revise old conference paper into the beginning of an article
-Move forward on a creative writing project--either the novel I wrote in 2006/07, or my NaNo mess.
-Make things! Slippers, beer (my brand-new hobby), knitting projects to use up old yarn, paper, books--whatever I want. I like the idea of a craft-a-month that KJ Haxton mentions above; I'm going to adopt it.
-Meditate. Keep trying.

1 meet deadlines in all aspects of life
2 submit Jewel article
3 submit Buildings article
4 make significant progress on Tiny Project
5 write tiny pitch for Tiny Project
6 set and meet incremental deadlines for 2018 projects

1. Make progress on all the lovely chocolates we got as gifts this holiday. This is definitely a marathon not a sprint :) Currently they are piled up in order of expiration date!
2. Walk regularly and try to find some other kind of tolerable exercise.
3. Organise 2 outreach events with external funding, plan 2 outreach events for May
4. Get into new role at work.
5. Submit opinion article and one research article.
6. complete a craft project each month

1. Way outside project: it's almost done -- I'll finish the substantive stuff today (I think) and then I have to do permissions.
2. Big lecture. I'm giving a keynote at a conference in March, and need to write it. I'll give the same talk in the UK a few weeks before, so I basically have February to do this
3. Polemic: I want to write a polemic on a topic that folks are interested in, drawing on my scholarship. I imagine this as short (30-40,000 words). My goal for the spring is to get a solid outline and draft the first chapter. I may do more, but that's doable.
4. Home: I want to deal with some of the clutter I'm living with. My desk is the first goal, but there's the guest room and the second study which might become a den if I dealt with stuff. 
5. Health: I want to keep moving, eat well, and sleep c. 7 hours a night. 
6. Recreation: read for pleasure; see friends. Do something each week.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Week 12: Savor

As we come around toward the last bend in this particular road, I hope everyone is getting through the bumpy parts.

I read Paul Monette’s book Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir this weekend. It was a truly beautiful book, as Monette writes the story of his last two years with his beloved partner. What moved me so was how grateful they were for each other and for so many things we always take for granted, from walking the dog to having friends over for dinner to feeling a cool morning breeze on your skin.

And I thought well, it would benefit me to be more mindful of what I savor. To stop for a minute and enjoy it. So your challenge for the week: anything you might look forward to savoring this week?

Goals from last week follow. Those who (like me) have missed a week or two, please join in with new goals as you wish.

Draft the paper. Period. (Everything else is to some extent or another more urgent for someone.)

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Self: resume calendar use; stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x.
Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; scholarly reading at least 3x.
Teaching: catch up with writing assignments; plan ahead.
House/Life: get tax stuff sorted and to accountant; keep plugging away the sorting and tidying.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Pay bills.
2) Some minor sewing for daughter's costume.
3) Write/brainstorm on novel for one hour.
4) Start taxes.
5) Finish comp essays by Thursday.
6) Exercise twice.

heu mihi
1. Write 4 hours (on Wonder); contact writing group about Silence
2. Get organized for professional society task
3. Read grad student's essay/spend 2-3 hours on grad student writing
4. Meditate some amount

Monday, 19 March 2018

Week 11: Un/inspired

The title of this post really just refers to the fact that I can't think of an interesting prompt (or a prompt of any kind), but it might also describe how I'm feeling about the endlessly cold weather, the return to classes (and meetings) this week, etc....

So as to stop my whining, however, I'll turn it around (and add the slash to the title) and ask you how you keep yourself going when the inspiration itself just seems to flag?

1. Make some plans for spring break (including a guest dog and a friend coming to do a reading when classes begin again).
2. Start writing the section of my project that I worked so hard on at the British Library.

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Self: stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x, do some fun reading.
Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation.
Teaching: give points to some in-class writing, do post-break planning including writing or finishing two assignments.
House/Life stuff: tax prep; final de-cluttering of house; call plumber and electrician (or delegate calls).

Good Enough Woman:
1) Grade a medium stack Wed-Sun (7-10 essays each day).
2) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x.
3) Write/brainstorm for novel 90 minutes.
4) Spend hour on article.
5) Pay bills.
6) Help son get oriented for PSAT.
7) Help daughter with costume.
8) Get mammo and ultrasounds done. (I'm cheating b/c I already did this today!! But I want credit.)

heu mihi:
1. Write 10 hours. (My major spring break task.)
2. Read a lot, mostly fun-teaching things.
3. Meditate more than last week.
4. Query a press for novel.
5. Start next batch of beer.
6. Misc. school stuff: grade 2 stragglers, rec letter, clean up email, evaluate proposal.

1 grade like a madwoman
2 prep for conference organizing next week
3 write to Snow editor
4 work on Jewel article
5 check in with book editor
6 work on Happy Music abstract

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Week 10: Spreading the joy

I confess that I’m an RSS junky: I probably spend far too much time looking at and reading posts from blogs and various websites on Feedly. A recently follow is, where throughout the day I am treated to a marvelous array of museum artworks. I also appreciate the pinned message from the pseudonymous hosts: “If you are unsatisfied with your Centuries Past experience IN ANY WAY please see the guard at the front desk for A COMPLETE REFUND of your admission fee.
Your hosts into collective [un]consciousness of centuries pasts.”

So I thought I would paste here one of the images from centuries past that really made my heart sing. You are invited to offer up a favorite painting, photograph, object, etc. to spread the joy.

Happy change of seasons and change of time for those of us in the US that are not in Arizona or Hawaii. I am grateful that our spring break is the first week of Daylight Savings Time to have the opportunity to properly adjust my natural rhythms to the manipulation of time.

Wishing you the sweet and the savory in whatever proportions serve you best.

Last week’s goals:

1 Prepare Thursday presentation
2 Set deadlines / create research plan
3 Grade as much as possible before spring break

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Self: stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x, find something fun to read over spring break.
Research: finish and upload a chunk; possibly toy with something else.
Teaching: grade a set of papers, finish an assignment, do some post-break planning.
House/Life stuff: clear necessary areas for more repairs that are happening this week; tax prep; final de-cluttering of house.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Don't stress about being away from the kids while husband and I are at a weekend faculty retreat. They are big kids and will be fine.
2) Write 90 minutes, one way or another.
3) Walk 2x. Yoga 1x.
4) Tidy campus office, 30 minutes.
5) Read three SF stories.

heu mihi:
1. Exercise as much as I reasonably can given state of health; don't feel guilty if I can't make my prepaid yoga quotient for the month.
2. Prep query materials for novel
3. Write 30 mins x 5: 1) polish and send off conference paper; 2) plan Wonder
4. Meditate some amount
5. Grade the rest of the things; other misc. pre-break teaching prep (get together a prompt and two readings)
6. Read something to do with Time & Space

humming 42:
1 Prepare Thursday presentation
2 Set deadlines / create research plan
3 Grade as much as possible before spring break

1) spend 20 minutes a day on housework
2) read a novel
3) stop constantly checking my work email on strike days as I'm not answering it so there is no point checking…

1. Start working on images to go with keynote
2. Do at least one read/edit of keynote, now that I know how it ends.
3. Keep reading
4. Try to catch up on sleep (from being VERY jet-lagged)

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Week 9: How's It Going?

Egads! Week 9? We're well over halfway through this iteration (which ends, I think, on April 1--is that right, humming42?). Anyway, it seems like a good time just to ask how things are going this time around.

If you want to go back and check on your session goals, here's the link to that post: Week 0. Goals are in the comments. I'm not going to post them all here because we'll be doing that anyway for the final check-in, and perhaps you don't want to go back to your goals--maybe you've changed your goals (in which case, feel free to talk about it!), or would prefer to just reflect on how you're feeling about this session so far. Have you learned anything about your own work habits? Are you sick of your projects? Dreaming about something new? Muse, vent, rant, reflect away!

Last week's goals:

1) Prep next 3 weeks of teaching
2) Spend time planning and doing accounting for grants

Dame Eleanor Hull:
1. Self: the usual stretching, exercise, safe eating; get a massage.
2. Teaching: grade one set of papers; finish a writing assignment; prep something interesting for lower-div class.
3. Research: languages; upload a translation chunk; finish last MMP revisions and send that off.
4. Life Stuff: collect tax docs and list deductions; paint back stairs; do one other house thing.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:
1. Two hours x 5 on the sabbatical.
2. Walk 2.0 miles a day.
3. Three hours x 4 on the grant.
4. One hour x 4 on the novel.
5. Some craft project for one hour per day.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Make mammogram and ultrasound appointments.
2) Make oil change appointment (thanks for the reminder DEH!).
3) Pay taxes?
4) Read 2 SF stories.
5) Write 15 minutes, 5x. (Any kind of writing)
6) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x.
7) Do minor tailoring for daughter's dress for the dance (by Thursday at the latest!)

heu mihi:
1. Finish revising novel
2. 30 minutes of writing x 5. Tasks, in order of priority: (1) finish conference paper, (2) revise Silence, (3) plan for Wonder
3. Misc: Read grad document and prepare for meeting; apply for teaching thing; CC proposals; follow up on admin tasks
4. Meditate some amount
5. Grade all the things
6. Yoga x 2 and running x 3

1 LRP abstract on Thursday
2 Presentation on Friday
3 Daily recherche
4 Set actual deadlines for March (so I don’t spend spring break just reading novels)

1. Finish a good draft of keynote
2. Read dissertation draft chapter
3. Walk twice? 
4. Work on 7 hours of sleep