the grid

the grid

Sunday, 7 August 2022

2022 second session, week 11

Lammas-tide always feels like the hinge of the year to me, more so than New Years, which partly reflects how deeply the northern hemisphere academic system has shaped my working life, but also my lived experience in the UK, where the hot, humid, waiting-for-ripening summer days feel like a slowing down in the pace of the world around me, different in temperament to the depths of winter but not in kind.  Now August is underway, North American schools mostly go back this month, here in the UK the university system is gearing up for the unknowns and stresses of exam results* and clearing** which mark the start of the new academic cycle as they determine how many students*** we will actually have in the first year classes, even if those classes don't start until September or October.  

However, we still have a couple of weeks left in this session, and therefore a bit of time to pack up from our nice sit on a rock taking a pause in our academic journeys.   We already thought about souvenirs to bring along, and about some coping strategies for the inevitable last minute changes the year will bring.  This week, let's talk about some practical steps in the areas we do control - how can we set ourselves up for ongoing progress with the projects we worked on in this session, whether those were our own health and needs (e.g. collect some quick recipes in an easy to see place for meal planning, experiment with some new breakfast options for busy days, restock the pantry with term-time staples (e.g. grab and go lunches - a pack of oatcakes, cheese portion, piece of fruit (or portion of dried fruit), and handful of almonds is SO much better for me than a sandwich from the student shop... so I'm adding the components to my shopping list), plan out our schedules to put new habits in the prime position etc.), our social lives (pre-book a once a month get together, put a reminder picture as our desktop photo...) or our research ("parking" current projects by making lists of short, necessary steps which take 30-60 minutes each so that on busy days we can just grab and go in our research time, for example)?

*from the end of high school A level exams; students currently have conditional offers for university places, subject to those results, so UNIVERSITIES only have estimates of student numbers too

** the process whereby once the results are out, students who either didn't apply before or who didn't get the results they wanted can apply for one of the remaining places, or those with unexpectedly good results can try to "trade up".  It's becoming an increasingly short window, and it's PAINFUL for everyone involved.  

***and therefore how much trouble we are in about our finances... again...

Last week's goals:

Daisy

  • Something fun with kid
  • Finish all grant stuff
  • Do something else with old paper
  • Proofread new paper galleys
  • Set up new office computer
  • Do something with new local paper
  • Draft out one section of collaborative out-of-field paper

 Dame Eleanor Hull

  • - daily exercise, safe food, bed by midnight
  • - Two hours x 3 on research
  • - Set up VILE sites for both classes
  • - Life Stuff as possible, see friends, enjoy self
Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (carried over)

  • Enjoy the week off.
  • Send off the mid-internship evaluation to the requisite folks.
  • Swim in my younger daughter’s pool (such luxury!)
  • Read and write as the impulse hits.

heu mihi (carried over)

  • prepare for trip

JaneB

  • 1) do not work
  • 2) do some things on the lists
  • 3) replenishment: back to basics - reset. Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.
  • 3a) substantial house projects: even the simple stuff like throwing a load of stuff into boxes so its less sprawling all over surfaces, cobweb removal and some hoovering would count.
  • 4) pressure reduction: nothing. WEEK OFF.
  • 5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D, write another job board game or do other prep/play with watercolours a couple of times.

Karen (carried over)

  • - Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
  • - Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
  • - (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
  • - conference paper proposal in
  • - 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)

 



Sunday, 31 July 2022

2022 Second Session, Week 9

We're seeing some attrition around here . . . well, summer (and winter) can be like that. It's not all sun (snow) and fun. Mosquito bites, sunburn, incidents and accidents, distractions welcome or un-, all kinds of things can get in the way. We send good wishes to those of you who are dealing with overwhelm and Too Many Things.

Some people are better at rolling with punches than others. Some actually like an unpredictable environment; some of us do okay at the rolling but mind having to do it; some get really off-track when things don't go as planned. If you're good at it, what are some of your tips and tricks? If you're not, how do you help yourself get back on an even keel?

Here are the goals for last week:

Daisy

Get data analysis done and sent off
Write grant application preliminary notice
Update grant agency paperwork
Do not try to micromanage student’s field work from a distance
Pick a section from old paper and finish it
Patience, patience, patience in all house-human interactions
Medical stuff for partner
Get back on exercise wagon slowly and carefully

 Dame Eleanor Hull

- daily exercise, safe food, bed no later than 11
- Two hours x 5 on research
- One hour x 4 on teaching prep
- Life Stuff as possible

 Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (carried over)

Enjoy the week off.
Send off the mid-internship evaluation to the requisite folks.
Swim in my younger daughter’s pool (such luxury!)
Read and write as the impulse hits.

heu mihi

prepare for trip

JaneB

1) work no more than 30 hours

2) make some lists for smaller things that fit under the areas of personal replenishment, reducing next year's pressures and fun/creative stuff.

3) replenishment: back to basics - keep it up! Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.

4) pressure reduction: if I have room in the 25 hours, review my honours module and decide what can stay from this year's iteration and what I can easily and quickly refresh. Also have meeting to divvy up work for the shared project module.

5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D, write another job board game or do other prep/play with watercolours a couple of times.


Karen (held over)

- Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
- Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
- (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
- conference paper proposal in
- 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)

 

Sunday, 24 July 2022

2022 Second session, week 9

 Here in the UK the weather is getting hotter, the days are visibly a little shorter, and social media is full of posts about the first harvests coming in from peoples' gardens.  Graduation finally happened, and urgent messages about Welcome Week are flying around.  It feels like, even though there is summer left, the count down to busy season is starting (and we start back with students mid September, later than most north Americans, so it might be even more so for you).  In our "preparing for the journey" theme that might translate into beginning to think about repacking our bags and what supplies we need to add to it.  Let's start by thinking about how to keep summer feelings going, bringing along a souvenir and some lasting benefits from our pause.  Examples might be bottling and canning the harvest, taking a good set of photographs of your garden in full bloom to look back on, pre-ordering a new novel by a good writer to arrive in a busy week like a gift from your past self, making sure you have supplies or a structure for a hobby you want to keep practicing, or doing a house project to make it easier to relax or spend some non-work awake time enjoyably.  Any suggestions, or things to add to your plans for the next few weeks?  


LAST WEEK'S GOALS:


Daisy

Field work – be efficient, kind, and supportive, and just suck it up…

Extra points for at least trying to have a little fun with the week…

Try not to panic about all the things the house needs done to it...


Dame Eleanor Hull

- daily exercise, safe food, bed no later than midnight

- Two hours x 5 on research

- One hour x 4 on teaching prep

- Half hour x 4 on dead language

- Life Stuff as possible


Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (carried over)

Enjoy the week off.
Send off the mid-internship evaluation to the requisite folks.
Swim in my younger daughter’s pool (such luxury!)
Read and write as the impulse hits.

heu mihi

1. Deal with those journal articles.

2. Read through revised essays for collection (4 of them).


JaneB

1) work no more than 30 hours

2) make some lists for smaller things that fit under the areas of personal replenishment, reducing next year's pressures and fun/creative stuff.

3) replenishment: back to basics - keep it up! Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.

4) pressure reduction: if I have room in the 25 hours, review my honours module and decide what can stay from this year's iteration and what I can easily and quickly refresh. Also have meeting to divvy up work for the shared project module.

5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D, write another job board game or do other prep/play with watercolours a couple of times.


Karen (held over)

- Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
- Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
- (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
- conference paper proposal in
- 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)





Sunday, 17 July 2022

2022 second session, week 8

Here we are again! Sending you all good vibes for peace and rest and enjoyment in the coming week, as well as the right amount of productivity balanced with leisure. Speaking of that, what is the right amount for you, personally? I have so many questions about that that I'm going to go to a bulleted list:

  • How do you like work and leisure distributed?
  • Do you like to check things off your work list one after the other and then have a big chunk of free time? 
  • Or do you like to mooch around for awhile, do a work thing, do a house thing, work a bit, futz a bit? 
  • Do you prefer to keep standard work hours and have evenings and weekends free? 
  • Or are you better with a shifted schedule like noon-nine or early-early morning to just past noon? 
  • Whatever your preferred schedule, are there times of year when you get to keep it? 
  • Or do life circumstances dictate your schedule? 
  • How could you inject a little of what you like about your best schedule into your ordinary life?

I hope these will help you think about our theme of "preparing to write." 

Best wishes to Humming42, Susan, GEW, and other past participants who are not with us this summer; we hope to see you sometime!

Now here are last week's goals; let us know how you did and what your plans for the coming week are:

Daisy

Get office keys, ID, parking pass, access cards
Organize office
Do three fun new area things with kid
Unpack books at home
Additional data analysis for project former me did such a good job on

Dame Eleanor Hull

- daily exercise and gradually push bedtime earlier
- Two hours x 5 on research
- One hour x 4 on teaching prep
- Half hour x 4 on dead language
- Life Stuff as possible

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Enjoy the week off.
Send off the mid-internship evaluation to the requisite folks.
Swim in my younger daughter’s pool (such luxury!)
Read and write as the impulse hits.

heu mihi

1. Clean one car so that it can be left at my mom's.
2. Deal with two journal articles.
3. Defrost freezer.
4. Electronics & hazardous household waste recycling.
5. Work out airport ride
6. Try to find out what to do about the erroneous expiration date on my son's visa.
7. Something to do with work/research??? Probably not.
8. Paint the countertops (a multi-stage process).

JaneB

1) work no more than 25 hours
2) make some lists for smaller things that fit under the areas of personal replenishment, reducing next year's pressures and fun/creative stuff.
3) replenishment: back to basics - keep it up! Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.
4) pressure reduction: if I have room in the 25 hours, review my honours module and decide what can stay from this year's iteration and what I can easily and quickly refresh.
5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D, write another job board game or do other prep/play with watercolours a couple of times.

Karen (held over)

- Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
- Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
- (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
- conference paper proposal in
- 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)

Sunday, 10 July 2022

2022 second session, week 7

 Welcome, I hope you all had a good week!  We have a "heat wave" by UK standards (it hit the mid-80s Fahrenheit on Friday and will be back there tomorrow!  This is HOT by local standards...) right now which makes me feel better about being largely idle/in recovery mode.

Last week, we talked about people to take along with us into the coming academic year, with another Julia Cameron prompt/quote.  That started me thinking about how the voices that encourage and support us along the way might be people we see in person a lot (one of my teaching partners is just the best, kindest, smartest, most efficient and effective academic and person - I would like to grow up to be him one day), people we know in person but mostly correspond with through technology (e.g. for me, for example, a former grad student and post-doc who is a permanent research partner, and field-friends I've been meeting at conferences for a couple of decades now), and people we only know through the internet (you wonderful people!).  There's a fourth category of voices we didn't cover though, those we know only through the written word.  There are a lot of text-voices who come along with me, poets, scientists whose papers inspire (or provide anti-inspiration), beloved escapes into other worlds - but I thought this week we could share a couple of suggestions for voices specifically about the process of work, whether that's writing, teaching or research.  So, this week's prompt - what are the one or two written voices on work processes you plan to take along with you into the coming year, or would recommend to others?


GOALS FROM LAST WEEK

Daisy

  • Pack
  • Move
  • Unpack

Dame Eleanor Hull

- Try again on daily exercise and bed by 11
- Two hours x 5 on research
- One hour x 4 on teaching prep
- Half hour x 4 on dead language
- Bills, closet, phone, other Life Stuff as possible

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

carried-over goals

  • Finish up the loose ends of the training, moving into the revision phase of training.
  • Get through a meeting-rich week.
  • Finish the “listen to me sing my own praises” report.
  • Read a few chapters on women translators.

heu mihi

1. Think through (in note form) the links between writers.
2. Get both cars inspected.
3. Clean garage.
4. Run or walk every day (except Saturday, which is a travel day).
5. Sit every day through Friday.
6. Go to campus and take care of Campus Things: return books, scan needed books, maybe clean out a file drawer or two.
7. Read new primary text.

Humming42

carried-over goals:

1 stay current on writing classes
2 submit an overdue book review
3 sort out bookmarks for Tiny Project
4 continue working on media literacy class
5 a new one: drink more water

JaneB

1) work no more than 25 hours
2) make some lists for smaller things that fit under the areas of personal replenishment, reducing next year's pressures and fun/creative stuff. This could be a brain dump of things to do on my leave days, maybe reframing it that way will make my brain more amenable?
3) replenishment: back to basics - keep it up! Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.
4) pressure reduction: if I have room in the 25 hours, review my honours module and decide what can stay from this year's iteration and what I can easily and quickly refresh. Add no more meetings (I just added one today, but it is for a little writing session with a colleague on something we've both been putting off, so it's not really a MEETING meeting - all people stuff is wearing me out right now, but I thought adding this would help progress something from my summer list so was worth the cost)
5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D, finish current job board game AND write another one or do some other prep/play with watercolours a couple of times.

Karen

carried-over goals:

- Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
- Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
- (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
- conference paper proposal in
- 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)



Sunday, 3 July 2022

2022 second session, week 6

Welcome back! I hope you had a productive and restorative week. We're already at our session mid-point, so this week you'll find your session goals as well as your goals for the past week. In keeping with last week's prompt about leaving things behind, maybe there's a session goal you want to dump. Or maybe you can report that you've already achieved one! I hope I haven't left anyone out. We're a small group this time around. Thank you for being here!

Once again, I'm going to combine our "preparing for the future" session theme with a bit of advice from Julia Cameron, who asks the question "Who will you take to the war?" If you don't like the war analogy, try journey, or camping or shopping trip! The point is that there are people who are good for us/our writing, and people who hinder us. Even if they're lovely at social gatherings, or they're family, or whatever, they wind up sapping the writing energy. So think about the people in your life: are there supportive, calming, helpful people you'd like to see more of? Are there people whose presence you need to limit? If you have to interact with them anyway, how could you plan to counteract their negative effect on you?

And at the risk of triggering Good-Girl-Itis, are there people whom you want to nurture? That is, are you or could you be someone else's Person You'll Take? You don't have to be. But maybe considering the question could be helpful. I try to be that person for my grad students.

Daisy

Session goals:
Pack up my entire life and office (ten years of rocks is a LOT!) and move…
Get child settled in new place…
Adopt cats
Finish one almost complete paper, preferably before the moving stuff really hits the fan and I start field work again because then everything else is off the table.
Do a decent job on new project paper with colleague I really want to help.
Finish conference finances and wrap-up reports for giant and totally awesome conference that just finished.
Write conference how-to guide with all new hybrid meeting stuff.
Field work and all attached writing things with student.

Last week’s goals:

Do big batch of data processing for report
Anything on old paper will be a win
Deliver goodbye cards and gifts to office people
Migrate emails and documents
Write report for committee where chair bailed

Dame Eleanor Hull

Session goals:

- keep regular office hours for research/writing and teaching prep
- keep moving forward, rotate projects, don't get stuck
- do one significant Life Stuff task per week
- plan weekly Fun Activities

Last week’s goals:

- some exercise daily (I'm having foot problems, so yoga etc rather than walking), bed by 11
- read book, write book review
- reading and notes for my own book
- revise assignments for fall undergrad class
- finish cleaning closet, plant seedlings, 2 social events, read Bk 2 of Shadow Campaigns & return to library, pay bills, get new phone, tend mental health assiduously

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Session goals:
Communicate
Cogitate
Coordinate
Create

carried-over goals

Finish up the loose ends of the training, moving into the revision phase of training.
Get through a meeting-rich week.
Finish the “listen to me sing my own praises” report.
Read a few chapters on women translators.

heu mihi

Session goals:

Work:
1. Revise intro for WH and resubmit manuscript.
2. Messy zero draft of chapter 1.
3. Substantive notes regarding what might find its way into the other chapters.
4. Letter of recommendation; tenure letter.
Life:
5. ... all the things. Touch up paint here and there, paint counters, clean garage, clean workroom, dispose of all recyclable/donate-able stuff, thoroughly clean Bonaventure's room, wash windows and screens, make steps and path in the garden, stack firewood, clean EVERYTHING, and pack stuff away to make it hospitable to the renters.
6. Car inspections, wash cars, possibly get "Real" driver's license (finally), move secondary car to mom's house.

Last week’s goals:

1. Tenure letter: Finish articles; read part (NOT ALL) of book; draft letter.
2. House stuff: Finish going through my son's stuff (with his help; he's doing a great job of purging); donation trip to thrift shop; wash windows; weed hill; weed and mulch lilacs
3. Trip prep: Find out when friends might visit; contact departmental business manager about setting up a meeting
4. Research!!: Return to my chapter; notes on super long book; read short book
5. Fun: Read novel; make a new diary

Humming42

Session goals

Teaching
1 edit summer online class
2 outline fall online class
3 complete spring online class

Research
1 submit abstract for lit-lit
2 finish food chapter
3 outline boredom
4 lit review for dark
5 draft cfp for mind
6 write proposal for DQ
7 write presentation for Life

carried-over goals:

1 stay current on writing classes
2 submit an overdue book review
3 sort out bookmarks for Tiny Project
4 continue working on media literacy class
5 a new one: drink more water

JaneB

Session goals:

1)    Personal replenishment household rescue, reviewing my finances, thinking through some things, getting some counselling, moving more and eating better and working on my sleep schedule

2) Reducing the pressures next year - I need to do as much teaching preparation as I can, in a more systematic way, especially for the heavy points in the trimester - whatever I can do to not have to work quite such long hours. If it happens, I will also be applying to be Teaching Tsar, which would come with a lot of work but also teaching reallocation. This one will also involve working on my campus space and on feeling safe and confident on campus, which is both about never having liked or enjoyed my current office which was never properly unpacked when I moved into it multiple years ago and the whole lack of COVID precautions and greater awareness of how unhealthy our indoor spaces on campus are (and worse anxiety about windowless teaching rooms).

3) Minimising my research expectations I'm part of two research grant applications which will hopefully get submitted this summer, and have one paper where I'm lead and need to do a last round of edits/comment incorporating before it is submitted. I'd also 'like' to write a PhD student project application for later summer but that's not essential.

4) Write for pleasure, read for pleasure, do something crafty, and play D&D.

Last week’s goals:

1) work no more than 20 hours
2) make some lists for smaller things that fit under the areas of personal replenishment, reducing next year's pressures and fun/creative stuff.
3) replenishment: back to basics - keep it up! Eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking enough water, a small exercise habit (10 minutes a day of deliberate exercise), a small chore habit (5 minutes of picking up or one of the recurring chores like a load of laundry each day), journal daily.
4) pressure reduction: if I have room in the 20 hours, review my honours module and decide what can stay from this year's iteration and what I can easily and quickly refresh. Add no more meetings
5) fun/creative: write a letter to a friend/read for half an hour at least 3 days/do at least two crochet stripes on the "desert colours" blanket project/play D&D AND write another job board game/play with watercolours a couple of times.

Karen

Session goals:

- Complete first draft of KL article
- Grant application done
- Start semester 2 with VILE eight weeks ahead
- Keep attending to self-care

carried-over goals:

- Finish syllabi, get materials/tech requests in, make progress on first module VILE content
- Write on my own research each day (read for my own research each day)
- (if permitted by gatekeepers), get draft grant complete
- conference paper proposal in
- 2 x yoga (livestream classes from home)