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:


  1. Golden. If the hills are not green, they are golden.

    1. Yeah, that's what Reagan said. And sometimes it's true, but in recent drought years, they were Nevada brown.

    2. Yes, sorry, it's brown. Alas. But now very green.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Greetings all! This is a transitional session for me in many ways. First of all transitioning back (I really hope!) to something like normal after a very disrupted few months. Secondly, it covers three nominal teaching weeks then four exam weeks then a meetings week, but the state-changes are less clearly marked than those labels suggest - I have final grading already arriving, most modules have their last taught sessions next week or the week after so students can concentrate on assignments, I'm starting a new administrative role as soon as handover gets arranged and so that will be ramping up, and then there are all the screaming urgent research things I've been putting off and off and off... oh, and various meetings and their demands run at least 3 weeks into nominal "summer" (there are BAD things about 12 month jobs folks).

    My session goals are:

    High level: to refind my rhythm after a cacaphonic few months, and get TLQ things back into my schedule on a regular, calm basis
    Specific things I'd like to do:
    1) submit GrantINeverSHouldHAveStarted
    2) have a clear plan for the summer, including HOLIDAY TIME (and family visiting time - they are NOT the same thing!)
    3) have a realistic work plan in place for this summer's work on BusyProject and FavouriteIslandsProject
    4) Have plans in place and Society paperwork done for SocietyThing's first meeting (which I am hosting...)
    5) have a clear idea of what my priorities are for the summer
    Personally (in support of research!):
    6) be sleeping better and at more consistent times
    7) book in some sessions with the decluttering service - get over myself, I can't do it alone and if it wasn't an embarrassing tip, I wouldn't need their help, right?
    8) do something hand-crafty every week, even if it's just half an hour in a meeting.

    Next week:
    1) talk to the rest of the group about GrantINeverShouldHaveStarted, create plan
    2) do SOMETHING non work other than eat, mess with phone and stress about work when I get home in the evening (my cat wouldn't tolerate such behaviour - she liked attention, scritchies, games, sometimes a cuddle, and demanded them so I had to shift my attention from work! - I miss her...)
    3) send emails about SocietyTHing
    4) read latest version of a paper whose nickname I have forgotten

    This is the last heavily timetabled teaching week and I have lots of teaching related admin to juggle, so that seems reasonable.

    1. Glad to see you, JaneB!

      Family time and holiday time are definitely not the same thing...and it's good to remember that up front when making summer plans.

      I am holding on to the magic that I only have 12 more in-class teaching days this semester. Yes, exams and grading beyond that, but it gets better.

    2. It seems like you are really in need of some rest and a regular routine. A lot of your session goals relate to planning, and I get the sense that things have been feeling out of your control and that you are wanting to steer the rudder of your own boat (rather than being blow around by external storms). I hope you'll be able to find ways to do this in the upcoming weeks.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I’m Linda, AKA humming42, very happy for the short session. I’m an associate professor teaching in the humanities at a mid-sized state school in a small US town.

    I feel like my session goals aren’t terribly ambitious and in turn think that perhaps I typically set unreachable session goals. And really, won’t it be nice to finish and submit the article that I haven’t done for almost a year? That film review is almost a year old as well.

    Session goals:
    1 correct manuscript page proofs and write index
    2 submit Jewel article
    3 read Monsters book
    4 write Monsters abstract
    5 write and submit Decoding
    6 finish and submit film review

    This week:
    1 answer questions on copy edit for chapter
    2 do some lit review for Decoding
    3 read DMB article
    4 contact authors re reading group
    5 finish current book and write review

    1. I think a significant benefit of this group is that is leads us to track the goals we meet, the goals we work on but don't meet, and the goals we neglect entirely. When it comes to the latter, especially, we can then evaluate what the heck is going on. Do we not really care about that goal? Are things getting in the way? Was it unrealistic?

      Setting aspirational goals can be good because it pushes us to achieve something we really want to achieve. But they don't work if we're just setting ourselves up for "failure." The balance can be difficult to find (for me anyway).

      This is all to say "Yay for realistic goals!"

  6. Hello again, everyone. I’m Elizabeth, and I’m very happy to have this interstitial session to get from the craziness of April into the sabbatical with the calm waters of accountability buoying me aloft. This session will be preparatory for the most part. I am happy to announce that I sent off the R&R two days ago for the last article I had to finish to tie up the pre-tenure writing. Now I can concentrate on my renewed interest in early printed translations, and this session will contain research into likely projects.

    Also, many thanks to Good Enough Woman and JaneB for hosting this session.

    Session goals:
    Session mantra: Research, write, enjoy.
    Finalize plans for the sabbatical.
    Refine the schedule with as much omniscience as is given to mortals.
    Splice exercise into desk work.
    Outline the research questions and lacunae for the most efficient use of library access.
    Have fun scoping out the next couple of projects.

    Next week’s goals:
    Give my collegues in interlibrary loan job security for the next week. Order at least thirty articles.
    Scan at least twenty previously photocopied articles.
    Call for recommendation for orthopedic surgeon.
    Proofread the edition 1 hour x 5.
    Transcribe handwritten notes 1 hour x 5.

    I’m glad we are having this session. Excelsior, everyone!

    1. I like that you have a session mantra. I need to think about that. I hope this session helps you through the piles of things that need to be finished and dealt with before sabbatical.

  7. I'm feeling motivated for a fresh start on a couple of fronts. I found out about a CFP for an open-access, peer-reviewed digital journal that has May 1st deadline for next fall's issue, and I have an article that might be relevant. It could be a long shot since my revisions have to be quick, but it's the kind journal I'd like to get into. Since I don't need publications for advancement, I really like the thought of open access. Anyway, I'm motivated to try to meet that May 1st deadline.

    I've also been regularly chipping away at fiction (a novel), and I'd like to keep that up.

    It's a busy session. I'll have all of the grading that goes with the end of term, both of my kids will have birthdays, and at the end of the academic year, I always feel pressure to get a bunch stuff done around the house (stuff I've put off all during the school year). Still, I'm going to target a few things in order to really prioritize them.

    Session Goals:
    1) Celebrate the kids without letting their birthdays overwhelm EVERYTHING.
    2) Submit "Spy" article by May 1st.
    3) Write 5,000 words of the novel.
    4) Write one short story.
    5) Exercise twice a week.
    6) Prep for summer trip.

    I had thought about trying to submit a second article, but I'm not sure that's realistic.

    This week, weirdly, grading is light. It will be the last time I can say that before the end of the semester (mid-May). I need to make it count.
    This week:
    1) Implement restructuring of Spy article. Write new transitional paragraphs and topic sentences. Get a solid new draft.
    2) Write 500 words of fiction.
    3) Contact folks about son's birthday dinner.
    4) Exercise twice.
    5) Read poems for poetry contest.

  8. The last few weeks have had a number of departmental/service "crises" (they aren't really crises, of course--hence the quotation marks--but they often feel that way at the moment), and a number of the chickens that I took on earlier in the year are coming home to roost at the exact same time. Classes end two weeks from tomorrow; between now and then, I have so much service-related stuff, and thesis-defense-related stuff, and teaching-new-materials stuff, that I'm having a hard time remembering that it's almost summer. And the fact that I woke up to SNOW ON THE GROUND this morning certainly compounds that fact.

    So I'm having a hard time even thinking about session goals, but here's a shot at them:

    1) Complete Silence essay.
    2) Re-enter Wonder essay; maybe finish draft?
    3) Plan Impatience mini-essay--to-do list at a minimum.
    4) Plan the summer.
    5) Put self-care back at the center: Resume all regular exercise and have a serious talk with myself about where I see meditation fitting into my life.

    But before I do any of those things, I need to get through the next two weeks--which will therefore be characterized by TRQ material until I feel a bit more stable.

    This week, therefore:
    1) Submit receipts for last week's conference.
    2) Complete Gen Ed reviews.
    3) Read student's thesis? (Defense is next Monday and I don't have half of it yet.)
    4) Last-minute giant assessment task
    5) Exercise as possible, but let myself slack off if need to.

    This week's challenges are compounded by the fact that my son is on spring break, my mother is visiting (which will help with the spring break, actually), and we have a highly contentious department meeting tomorrow. Fun times!

    1. Snow two weeks before "summer" break must be a bit disorienting. I hope warm weather settles on upon your region soon! (But not too warm, of course.)

      Good luck getting through these last couple of weeks of classes, and I hope the week of extra family time has been enjoyable.

  9. So, for me this is a clearing the decks session, as I try to get rid of tasks that are overdue or looming. The semester is winding down, so I'll have fewer meetings, and I'm looking forward to having more time to focus. So my list is long, but mostly small.
    1. I have one overdue book review and 2 that are due.
    2. Short Witch essay, due May 1 (which is looming, and I'll miss that deadline, but not by much)
    3. Finish Violent words piece. (for collection of essays, due later in the summer, but it needs a week of work max to polish it up, update references)
    4. Do all the admin stuff for next years merit review. (Long self-statement, making sure all my activities are logged in the right place)
    5. Start reading for short book Polemic, that I want to write half of this summer.
    6 Keep up with walking. I've become an addict with my fitbit, and have kept to the 10,000 steps a day. I'm feeling better, and my resting heart rate is dropping.
    7. Sleep: get to bed earlier, read, etc.
    8. Friends: do nice things for myself, for others

    As I say, this looks like a lot, but I think it's doable. That said, this week will be limited because I've got stuff on both Saturday and Sunday.

    1. Finish long overdue book review
    2. Do some reading for Witch
    3. Enter admin stuff into website
    4. Keep walking. Every day
    5. Get on a good sleep schedule

    1. Impressive progress on the walking! That's really great. Your session goals are quite writing heavy, which I hope will feel like a reprieve after an academic-year of heavy service and endless meetings. Walking and writing sound like great ways to enter the summer.

  10. Hi!
    The short session is sounding like a great transition to major field work for me, so I'm in! I'm Daisy, recently tenured at a tiny undergraduate university, in physical science. I've participated in TLQ group before and loved the community.
    Thanks for hosting this great short session!
    This short session will have lots of writing in it because my final exams are done by the end of this week. There will also be lots of field work preparation, so my big goal is to have a couple of papers done before I leave for the long stretches later in the summer. Worth a try definitely!

    Session goals:
    1) Finish lingering zombie paper that festered all through the winter semester
    2) Finish new co-authored fun paper
    3) Finish major service task for national organization

    This week's goals:
    1) Finish all marking (piles of term papers, and matching piles of exams that will show up on Thursday)
    2) Send festering paper to coauthors after two more days of good work on it
    3)Finish end of term accounting

    1. I love that your zombie paper is "festering." Heh heh. :)

      So glad you could join us before you head into the field! Good luck with getting through the marking so that you can focus on the writing.

  11. The first three days of this week were long and busy. The MMP still will not quit me; Monday morning started with notification that the images I had supplied were not suitable, so I have spent many hours combing through my files, reading instructions online for adjusting size and resolution, and tinkering with images. One is sorted; one awaits further work; one supplied by an institution is just a matter of time and PayPal. I’m glad my next big project does not involve images, but I certainly have learned a lot about reproduction of digital images, which could come in handy next time I get wrapped up in a manuscript.

    I’ve also graded one full set of papers and written the last paper assignment of the term.

    Session goals:
    Complete all teaching/service work for the spring semester while taking care of my health; complete and turn in application for promotion to full professor; get the house on the market.

    This week’s goals:
    Self-care as usual, plus try to get to 20 knee-pushups.
    Research: 1000 lines translation; finish sorting out the image problems; start statements on teaching and research; submit something to my RL writing group.
    Teaching: grade two sets of papers, write last paper assignment, start writing final exam.
    House/Life: call the plumber, file some papers, visit storage to look for box I should not have packed.

    1. Dealing with those images sounds like quite the speed bump, but you seem to have a good outlook on the process. I hope it doesn't take too long to get the rest sorted.

      Your goals are big and tangible, and we'll all be rooting for you on all fronts.