the grid

the grid

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Week 2: our stories begin...



Happy week 2! I hope you are finding a rhythm to your days as we settle into the new year. As DEH noted last week, the storytelling idea from last year is adaptable to everyone’s individual needs. Let’s say the weeks ahead are some kind of narrative: a television series, a film, a novel. Metaphorically, what genre do you see evolving during this session? Detective story? Romcom? Prime time drama? Sci fi space exploration? You might consider what you’re anticipating circumstantially and/or what you are wishing for as this short-run story. You don’t have to stick to your story for the whole session--as other questions come up, you might change genres completely. So if you have an otherworldy fantasy novel this week, you might your dream locale in Peru or Tokyo another week.   

Format as usual: comment on topic if you wish, consider how things went last week, set goals for next week. As ever, wishes for you to run with the stars. 

Dame Eleanor Hull
Put together annual review documents.
Finish and send in-progress article.
Plan a “personal syllabus” for the semester, showing both grading and writing.
Finish setting up Blackboard for the semester.
Open all stacked-up mail and deal with contents.
Find my calendar or order a new one (or both, since lost things tend to appear after you've replaced them).

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Call about the prescription service muckup.
Email the dean and the department chair for an update.
Go to doctor’s appointment.
Draft a plausible schedule--what to do when, and set milestones.
Email the research library about working on Illuminated.
Clear off one shelf of detritus.

Good Enough Woman
Work:
1. Complete prep for first week of class (finish syllabi, get readings/handouts for first few weeks to repro office, set up classes in Canvas)
2. Revise/create three handouts/assignments
3. Write/Research 2 hours
People:
4. Meet 1 or 2 friends for coffee/walk/meal
5. Send 3-5 letters/cards
6. Schedule son’s dental appointment
7. Research Math SAT availability
Wellness:
8. Walk 4-5x
9. Meditate 3x
10. Get lab work done

heu mihi
1. Prep 4 more days of new class (so that the first 3 weeks are roughly covered)
2. Get all teaching materials in order for the first day(s)
3. Finish & take notes on research-related book
4. Read/write x5, language x5, sit x5, exercise x5
5. Go through email and make sure that I'm not forgetting anything important

humming42
1 submit book review
2 write conference prospectus
3 complete syllabi
4 complete 2019 faculty report
5 complete work for online writing course

JaneB
1) re-establish the pattern of habits I had last semester (stop work at 6, bed before midnight, no sugar or bread, packing food for the day, a movement break every 45 minutes when sitting, at least one non-work non-screen thing every evening)
2) Complete the teaching and admin parts of my 'personal syllabus' (borrowing the term from DEH)
3) pick up the threads of FlatPaper1
4) arrange a Skype with co-secretary to plan out the year
5) write an old-fashioned letter to a friend!

KJHaxton
Complete external examining report
Wade through inbox and deal with the necessary stuff
Watch and give detailed feedback on student presentations
Give feedback on reflective diary entries
Mark exam scripts if available
Mark annotated bibliographies
Arrange staff coffee morning event

Friday, 10 January 2020

January-April 2020: week 1

And we're off! New year, new TLQ session, new achievements for all (we hope).

This session of TLQ will run until 18-19 April, fourteen weeks in total. This week will be introductions and goal-setting, both session goals and first-week goals; on 17 or 18 April, one of your hosts (Dame Eleanor Hull and Humming42) will put up a post inviting you to report on how you did with session goals. We'll try to remember to have a mid-session goal-review post around the end of February.

I'm just going to borrow language from last year about this time; by happy coincidence, it's Humming42 who wrote these words, or drew upon older posts for them:

The text below owes a debt to those who have been good enough to host here previously...
The format will be the same as ever. Here’s a quick recap: we will set goals for the whole session and then for each week. It's really easy to get carried away setting goals so I encourage you all to be optimistically realistic without creating a new source of pressure to perform! Goals can be in any aspect of life although the key focus is often writing tasks that are personally (and professionally) important but that never quite tip over into important AND urgent. Each week there will be a discussion topic, generally prompted by checkins the previous week. Feel free to suggest topics to throw open to the group. We'll recap the session goals for updating and refining about halfway through. Feel free to comment on everyone's goals as much or as little as you like.
So for this week:
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your main focus at the moment? And where are you based? You are welcome to be vague and mysterious in the interest of maintaining anonymity while still introducing yourself to the group.
2. Goals for the session. Common themes include research, home stuff, family, self-care, crafts, exercise, writing, and gardening. Be as detailed or brief as is helpful to you. Many of us give specific projects nicknames that help us keep track of things. If you anticipate any challenges for the weeks ahead, you can note them too.
3. Goals for the coming week. What do you want to get done in the next week? Specific small tasks and “microdeadlines” are typically more achievable than 'tackle big task'. And don't forget, a lot of this is about the satisfaction of ticking things off the to-do list. So you can be as detailed as you want to in breaking goals down.
Newbies are welcome to join. And finally, don't worry if you miss a few checkins. Life happens.
 
I'm also hoping that we'll recycle the story-telling idea from last year: though at first I was a bit resistant, I wound up finding it really useful and enjoyable. So maybe consider, now, what your story and genre might be, and we could pick that up as a theme for next week. I think introductions and initial goals are probably enough for right now.

So please join us! Happy New Year and best wishes for a good first quarter-plus of it!

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Happy New Year...

Happy New Year everyone! 

First, feel free to use this post to share the good and the bad of your holidays, and to talk about the process of setting goals for the new year, semester, month or whatever period is relevant to your calendar.

Second, any volunteers to look after this space for the next session, and suggestions on how long that session should be and when it should start?


Monday, 16 December 2019

End of Session

I couldn't find a record, but I think this is our last check-in.  We need some volunteers for the session that will start in January, so I will put up a separate post on that.

A few weeks ago we gave ourselves gifts; last week we let go of things.  This week I want to allow us to reflect on the community here.  What has moved you this session? Is there something someone has done you wish to celebrate? What gifts would you like to give? What do you have that you wish you could share?

Session Goals
Bardiac
Semester goals:
1. Keep up with grading and class prep. (I'm teaching two classes I haven't taught in a LONG time, so they're pretty new, with new texts and such, and one class I'm pretty sure of.)
2. Keep up with prep and committee work
3. Do a good job chairing the committee I'm chairing, and working on two other big committee projects.
4. Write a big report.
5. Write a the statue paper that's part of the bigger paper.
6. Exercise three days a week. (Does mowing count?)

Dame Eleanor Hull
*Live with uncertainty and work the process w/r/t the house.
*Finish and submit a very old R&R.
*Polish a chapter and write an introduction to my book-in-progress so I can submit it to the press of my choice.
*Keep up with grading and other administrivia so they get their due attention but not more.
*Keep up with exercise, stretching, FODMAP-safe cooking, and other necessary physical maintenance.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Steal outright JaneB’s idea of setting an alarm for 45 minutes, so that I get up, move about, and take a break.
Instead of haunting the vending machines, make lunches the night before.
Declutter the work office, at least as far as to see the surface of the desk and to have all the books standing, not laying, on the bookshelf.
Outline the Aurelius project.
Edit the Illuminated project.

Heu Mihi
Research:
1. Proofs and indexing for my book. Due mid-Oct., and I need to start tomorrow. If I do 12 pages per weekday, I'll be fine.
2. Abstracts: Two due Oct. 1
3. Conference paper: For mid-Nov.
4. Edited collection proposal: ASAP
Self: Maintain good routines.
5. Sit a reasonable amount. I've had good luck these last two weeks meditating at 8:00, after Bonaventure (age 7) gets on the bus.
6. Language work: Finish this textbook already.
7. Daily writing/research/reading.
8. Don't prep on the weekends. (I hate, hate, hate prepping on Sunday afternoons. It makes me monstrously grumpy.)

Humming42/Linda
1 Complete and submit five book reviews
2 Complete two article reviews
3 Submit grant proposal
4 Submit residency proposal
5 FInish and present Perform
6 Write and submit DQ paper
7 Write and submit December paper
8 KR abstract

JaneB
1) self-care. key features here are sleeping enough (or at least spending enough time in bed, if I can't sleep), moving enough my stupid joints/back don't get too noisy, saying "no" or "not now" more often, working on slowly getting my house and finances into order, and taking some quality time to think about what I might do if I do lose my job and identifying some practical steps (I think, and my most pessimistic and university-politically-savvy colleague thinks, that academics in our area are probably safe from involuntary severance until Summer 2021, and that our subject area is likely to survive if the university does - but who the hell knows in this world of Brexit and Boris-the-career-liar-who-can't-stop-lying being our prime minister and the general cultural turn against experts and what feels like a big looming recession?) (this means a) working on preparing some job materials which manage to sell my strengths (I am very experienced at preparing new teaching, especially in the unpopular areas of "skills in the discipline") and explain my weaknesses (lack of grants) as contextual (new teaching every year, lots of papers despite lack of people) not personal and looking for jobs (unlikely, but...) and b) probably doing one of those short courses in editing or proofreading or indexing, as my specialist writing skills seem like the most potentially non-academic lucrative skills I have (given my creakiness and age, and that even at senior levels industry positions in my research field are both very badly paid and involve quite a lot of outdoors work, hiking and mud and travel)
2) Research: finish and submit at least one substantial grant application, complete benchwork on FavouriteIslands samples, get the paper ProblemChild1 submitted somewhere and FlatProject1 fully drafted and ready to go, and do the equivalent of another paper's worth of data analysis and writing (lots of options, mostly depending on others).
3) teaching: I am leading a complete redesign of the two key first year modules (which will save quite a lot of money as we change out the field trip venue), I have to look after all exchange students going out or coming in, I'm supposed to be setting up a new programme with industrial placements... this trimester I also have a solo honours module which I taught for the first time last year (but it's moved trimester, which changes the timing of everything, there's a big timetabling problem which messes up my teaching plan, and chunks of it were taught by Incoming last year so need to be rewritten so I can teach them - his materials are scrappy & students were not happy so starting over will be easier) and also will be covering some gaps in modules related to my primary research skills (we hired someone who said they could do it all, but I said they couldn't, and I was right, and now I'm the only person left who can cover some parts of what we need - and we can't change ANYTHING of the advertised content this year, so we have to manage), and looking after the final year project module for the big cohort of needy students and the tutorial/study skills support programmes for the other years. Whine whine! (But I am only on an 80% contract so I do feel kind of whiny!). And next semester will be worse. So, goals for this semester are: resist the urge to get fancy with the redesign of the first year and third year. Get the new degree programme to the stage of either progress to full paperwork or denied. Rewrite all the stats teaching for the second semester module so that it is as close to ready to go as possible. Be responsive to students, and focus on a pedagogy of kindness approach (because I will need kindness, my colleagues will, and often the best way to get is to give out. Plus students tend to be forgiving of slip-ups if they feel genuinely cared for, and kindness is a good way of summarising all the things that make them feel like that).

Oceangirl101/Jenny
1) Transform two conference papers into two chapters for edited volumes (due end September), finish Ch 7 of book
2) Writing three times a week, lab work one time a week
3) Do Master Naturalist class (one night every other week and one Saturday a month)
4) Decorate house with things from my parents
5) Exercise x 3 a week

Susan
Academic
1. I will send off what I think are final revisions of Violence (the essay that would not die) this week.
2. I have a short blog post to write that will close a series on a major book in my field.
3. I'm speaking at a session celebrating 50 years of a journal in my field, so I have to read all 50 contributions to the special issue of the journal, and think about what I want to say. I'll call this journal
4. Start revising an essay I wrote a few years ago that needs rethinking. I'll call this "Race"
5. Keep working on Big, the edited volume I'll be involved in.
6. I'm likely to get another essay back from editors, so there will be time for a small amount of work on memorial.
7. Keep up with teaching. Neither of my classes is difficult, but both are semi-new to me, and involve a fair bit of thinking.
Life:

1.Take one day off each week
2. Keep walking - 10,000 steps a day is a goal
3. Start reading instaed of iPad at bedtime.
4. Try for 7 hours of sleep

Goals from last week:
Dame Eleanor
*sleep, stretch, exercise, dentist, haircut.
*write one exam, grade All The Things, post grades.
*make research plan, work on something, dead languages.
*pay bills, reserve car, pack, deal with family.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (from 2 weeks ago)
Begin carefully organizing the new cubicle with writing space in mind.
Write my three statements for tenure and award meetings.
Edit Prudence 30 minutes a day.
Plan the timing of my research trip.

Heu Mihi
1. Read 30 minutes x3.
2. LANGUAGE x3, damn it.
3. Everything for classes except the final grading.
4. Design syllabus for new spring class.
5. Knit a bunch of the first sock for a Christmas gift.

Humming42/Linda
1 Step up and ask for extensions
2 Grade, grade, grade.
3 Write a bit every day

JaneB (implicit in her report last week)
Working computers
Some sanity among PTB

OceanGirl101/Jenny
1) submit grant
2) page proof edits
3) 2 article reviews
4) comments to two collaborators
5) exercise x 2
6) make some social plans for the next 2 weeks

Susan

Teach last class tomorrow
28 rough drafts back by Friday
Set up grades so final grades easy
Make committees
Use weekend to clear desk


Sunday, 8 December 2019

Northern Fall / Southern Spring Week 13

DEH here; pick your tune to which to sing "Let it go, let it go, let it go!" Judging by the number of replies lately, this session has been rough on many people, in various ways. We've had "triage" as a theme for a couple of weeks already, and I think we can still use the reminder to focus on what really needs to happen. What can you let go of, this week? If it's checking in, okay, but we'd love to hear from you and get some ideas!

How are you doing?

DEH

*Sleep, stretching, exercise.
*Grade final set of papers, grade two small assignments, write two exams.
*Two hours research, plus dead languages.
*Assorted Life Stuff including ordering presents.

EAM
Begin carefully organizing the new cubicle with writing space in mind.
Write my three statements for tenure and award meetings.
Edit Prudence 30 minutes a day.
Plan the timing of my research trip.

heu mihi
1. A billion teaching tasks, both big and little. Finish recommendation letter. Sit through undergrad conference thing that is taking up my whole free day. Attend tiresome but short event that I organized. Watch video of TA's guest lecture and write up comments.
2. Finish reviewing final proofs
3. Read/take notes 3 x 30 minutes
4. Draft syllabus for new spring class
5. Language x 3

Humming42 (held over)
1 Submit DQ, for real.
2 Write next book review
3 Submit old Perform abstract for new publication
4 Grade like a madwoman
               
JaneB (held over)
1) maintain habits (8 items)
2) research - flat project, do SOMETHING. MAYBE
3a) External examining - read a large, large pile of final projects and prepare for a trip to Crowded Capital on the 20th... this has to all be done by the 15th because of family stuff...
3b) prep everything for next week.
3c) Sit down and look seriously at what is to come, and possibly throw self on the mercy of timetabling to ask for a change of some sort, or the mercy of my colleagues, or just... I dunno, cut something. I just. Can't.
4) NaNo. Discuss family stuff with sister, try to finalise the plan for parents wedding anniversary weekend.

oceangirl101
1) finish grading semester based homework etc.
2) finish 9 reports for FP government publications
3) write letters of rec for two grad students and a colleague
4) write a small internal grant
5) gym x 2

Susan
1. Make committees and other stuff for org that is TRQ
2. Do expenses from last trip
3. Read 2 journals
4. Comments for students in Course A
5. Grade next set of papers in Course B (due Thursday)
6. Go through charity requests on desk and clear it
7. Get back into exercise
8. Catch up on sleep

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Northern Fall/Southern Spring Week 12

Well, JaneB posted last week about why she hadn't posted the week before, but it appears that I was not the only one who flaked on posting last week. Between medical issues for my mother, preparing to host my brother, SIL, and the not quite 6 year old twins, I completely flaked.   I have spent the day slowly recovering from their presence -- which is great, but exhausting; and my mother tells me how my brother annoys her.  It's all tiring and even though I love them all, all together is hard. 

 I'm obsessed with impeachment stuff, and on twitter watching many colleagues in the UK on their picket lines.  It's not only getting towards "the holidays", but also the end of term in the US, with attendant grading.  Lots of institutions with Xmas dos.  This makes JaneB's questions from last week particularly relevant. Since only Dame Eleanor and Humming42 posted last week, I'm going to repeat them:
In this season of crazy demands, what advice do you find useful on how to be kind to ourselves?  How do we frame the necessary triage as realistic, professional and smart?  What gifts do we want to give ourselves this year?
Which little pieces of the seasonal ritual do we genuinely enjoy, benefit from and intend to prioritise in the coming weeks?
(Go back and read what Dame Eleanor and Humming42 wrote, too -- both very thoughtful and provoking, at least for me!)

Dame Eleanor Hull
*submit abstract; 4 hours on R&R.
*grade 1 complete set of papers, start 2nd set.
*daily exercise and stretching.
*work on dead languages.
*sort/file/toss papers; tidy my study.
*enjoy 2 social engagements.


Elizabeth Ann Mitchell (from last week)
Start to tie up loose ends, and decide which ones can stay untied in the old job.
Look at five of the suggestions for the special issue.
Finish packing the cubicle.
Look at the second interlibrary loan book.
Plan what I need in the new office space.
Edit Prudence 30 minutes a day.
Find out the brass tacks of the new building--refrigerator? Lounge?
Begin the attack on the yarn stash.

Heu Mihi (from last week) 
1. Survive the following: Tonight's speaker, whom I'm hosting; Husband's 50th birthday party tomorrow; guest author in class on Wednesday; giant birthday party for Husband on Friday. Take care of everything that needs taking care of. Don't freak out about the house being small and full of people and getting messy. DON'T.
2. Language x 3
3. Read 2 chapters/essays on research topic

Humming42 
1 Submit DQ, for real, for real
2 Write next book review
3 Try to finish 1 December article
4 Submit KR abstract

JaneB (from 2 weeks ago) 
1) maintain habits (8 items)
2) research - flat project, do SOMETHING. MAYBE
3a) External examining - read a large, large pile of final projects and prepare for a trip to Crowded Capital on the 20th... this has to all be done by the 15th because of family stuff...
3b) prep everything for next week.
3c) Sit down and look seriously at what is to come, and possibly throw self on the mercy of timetabling to ask for a change of some sort, or the mercy of my colleagues, or just... I dunno, cut something. I just. Can't.
4) NaNo. Discuss family stuff with sister, try to finalise the plan for parents wedding anniversary weekend.


OceanGirl101 (from 2 weeks ago)
1. grade midterm, input all grades etc.
2. prep classes
3. two article reviews
4. read student diss chapter
5. bills
6. exercise x 2


Susan (from last week) 
1. Make committees
2. Get all the assignment prompts and related material for both Course A and Course B
3. Finish grading papers for B
4. Do stuff for committee I chair
5. Start reading student dissertation
6. Read 3 journals
7. Walk
8. Sleep
9. Keep knitting in meetings. I started a scarf at the conference, and have decided it's good for me!

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Northern Autumn/Southern Spring Week 11

Hi everyone!  I didn't check in last week for family reasons - my sister and I organised a weekend away for the whole family to celebrate our parents' 60th wedding anniversary.  The important bits - that our parents enjoyed themselves, that everyone had food they could eat, that there were no rows, that the "grand-dog" didn't eat people food, break anything or spontaneously combust from the excitement of a new place and lots of petting hands - all went off fine, which is what really matters!  The rest of last week was a mess - I had a migraine, a late report, a talk to write, an important research related meeting to attend away from campus one day, my car broke down (on the way BACK from the meeting, at least) and needed to be towed and repaired, my work computer broke down (and is not fixed.  Which slowed me down SO MUCH), and Christmas Is Coming regardless of whether I've done anything for it or not.  And don't even mention grading - which thanks to our fancy VLE and my town's not great internet I can't easily do from home any more, and can't do at the office right now thanks to the dead computer, and also the brain computer Does Not Want To.

Naturally I prioritised working on my NaNoWriMo effort, naturally, and have now hit 50k words... bad, messy, zero draft words for the most part, but actual words in a Scrivener document, and I think I've finally solved the "this timeline doesn't quite work" problem at the heart of the novel sequence I mostly work on, so maybe it will FINALLY come together into a first draft (with a lot of moving around of words).

At this point of the year, both academic and calendar, things are reaching a crunch point.  It's time for triage, and some brutal actions - throwing things we said we'd do by the end of semester or by the end of the year overboard, sending those postponment emails, admitting that our to do lists are just too full.  It's also a time when we get a barrage of positive messages - for North Americans, thanksgiving really emphasises that, but for all of us whether we celebrate or not the run up to Christmas is a time of light in the darkness, kindness to stranger and friend, and doing nice things for people we like, love or rely on - so for this week's topic, how about some advice on how to be kind to ourselves too?  How do we frame the necessary triage as realistic, professional and smart?  What gifts do we want to give ourselves this year? (I'd like to give JaneB some guilt-free permission slips for missing deadlines, some extra naps, and a teflon shield for her email to deflect the toxic academic-blaming messages of the central administration.  And some grading-elf-lures).  Which little pieces of the seasonal ritual do we genuinely enjoy, benefit from and intend to prioritise in the coming weeks? (For me, that's having a ring of advent candles, and taking a few minutes to sit in the dark then light them for a few minutes each evening.  It's meditative, it's symbolic... and it may not be very practical with an idiot floofy cat who loves to waft his tail over whatever I'm focusing on that isn't him, but I intend to try).

Goals from last week:
Dame Eleanor Hull
*draft abstract, send to writing group; two more hours on R&R;
*write one quiz, grade it plus a one-sentence assignment;
*daily exercise and stretching (x6);
*keep up with dead languages;
*pay bills; book flight to see my dad.

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
Start to tie up loose ends, and decide which ones can stay untied in the old job.
Look at five of the suggestions for the special issue.
Finish packing the cubicle.
Look at the second interlibrary loan book.
Plan what I need in the new office space.
Edit Prudence 30 minutes a day.
Find out the brass tacks of the new building--refrigerator? Lounge?
Begin the attack on the yarn stash.

Heu Mihi
1. Survive the following: Tonight's speaker, whom I'm hosting; Husband's 50th birthday party tomorrow; guest author in class on Wednesday; giant birthday party for Husband on Friday. Take care of everything that needs taking care of. Don't freak out about the house being small and full of people and getting messy. DON'T.
2. Language x 3
3. Read 2 chapters/essays on research topic

Humming42 
1 Submit DQ, for real.
2 Write next book review
3 Submit old Perform abstract for new publication
4 Grade like a madwoman


JaneB (from previous week) 
1) maintain habits (8 items)
2) research - flat project, do SOMETHING. MAYBE
3a) External examining - read a large, large pile of final projects and prepare for a trip to Crowded Capital on the 20th... this has to all be done by the 15th because of family stuff...
3b) prep everything for next week.
3c) Sit down and look seriously at what is to come, and possibly throw self on the mercy of timetabling to ask for a change of some sort, or the mercy of my colleagues, or just... I dunno, cut something. I just. Can't.
4) NaNo. Discuss family stuff with sister, try to finalise the plan for parents wedding anniversary weekend.


OceanGirl101 (from previous week)
1. grade midterm, input all grades etc.
2. prep classes
3. two article reviews
4. read student diss chapter
5. bills
6. exercise x 2


Susan
1. Make committees
2. Get all the assignment prompts and related material for both Course A and Course B
3. Finish grading papers for B
4. Do stuff for committee I chair
5. Start reading student dissertation
6. Read 3 journals
7. Walk
8. Sleep
9. Keep knitting in meetings. I started a scarf at the conference, and have decided it's good for me!