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Saturday, 28 March 2015

What's New?

Last week Amstr had us check in with our session goals, and I was struck that most of us have done pretty well so far.  Most of us have also dropped one thing at least from our list – we were a bit too ambitious.   But as I was thinking about my life, I realized that I’ve also taken on things that I didn’t expect.   So: what’s new?  What’s happened that you didn’t expect?  We all have complicated lives, with family, work, and friends.   In my experience, life is never exactly as you expected.   Sometimes a project emerges unexpectedly, or a professional opportunity, or a health issue, or a family crisis.  Some of these are great – a new conference, or a new job possibility, or a new grant; some are not so great – illness, job loss, etc.  Along with thinking about how you’ve done so far, I thought it would be good to remark on what unexpected things had come into TLQ.

Goals from last week:
Allan Wilson:
1) check all the data in goal 1 again, and remerge all the data from the sources available.
2) prepare for, and make the Friday meeting, and work it to get as far as I can
3) walk up hills at last 3x

1) exercise 4x; eat more fruit
2) 3x20min. decluttering in dining room
3) 4x30-60min writing

Contingent Cassandra: (1)
Goals for this week (which is nearly over, so I'm writing down some things I've already done): (1) continue self-care, especially exercise & try to take a day off; (2) do a bit of the most urgent apartment cleaning/organizing; (3) begin work on financial stuff; (4) reconnect with garden.

Daisy: 1) Read 5 or 6 papers in new project area to design a new set of experiments.
2) One full day of work on paper B.
3) Keep running....

Earnest English: ?

Elizabeth Ann Mitchell:
1) Make doctor’s and dentist’s appointments.
2) Compare the cloud and hard drive dissertation files to find duplicates and confirm versions.
3) File into paper files for a half hour at least twice.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Email supervisor about timeline.
2) Read a secondary source book chapter or article.

Humming42: (From week 9)
1 Make progress on proposal #1
2 Draft proposal #2
3 Look for content for conference paper

JaneB: 1)
1) rekindle 5 minuteses from Wednesday 2) do two work sessions of 30 minutes or so on Repeater 3) do some freewriting about funding application ideas/plans/whatever (1x15 minute minimum).

1) finish up the marking and stray bits of paperwork from early semester tasks
2) plan the two articles that I will write
3) plan publication/presentation around small aspect of current teaching so that I can put an evaluation plan in place to get a good paper
4) make figures for the paper

Matilda: (from week 9)
1) Week 6-1 of Belcher's book.
2) Continue to read the important book. It is worth doing so.
3) Write the first section of the article.
4) Do 3 minutes exercise twice in the morning, twice in the afternoon.
5) Be tolerant of snacks, but try to have healthier ones.

1. Get a good draft of the paper
2. Finish grant stuff
3. Submit conference proposal
4. Return to exercise


  1. Topic: what's new is actually old: I'm finding myself with an increasing desire to make forward progress on my writing and research, which I had set aside to concentrate on personal/household/financial infrastructure. The complicating factor is that I really do need to get more of the infrastructure (particularly the household/financial infrastructure) in better shape in order to open up the possibility of really concentrating on the writing and research (either in bits and pieces of time, which would be facilitated by a better-arranged work/living space and confidence that I've got financial matters more or less under control, or in the larger chunks of time I might gain from a fellowship, which would probably require relocation for a year, and hence having financial matters in order and my apartment -- which is easily rentable if in decent shape -- in decent shape). So, looking ahead to the summer, I will try to find a way to work in a bit of research and writing: probably using some of the DH skills/tools I've developed to work a bit on the Book Project (which will have a parallel DH component/companion site), and perhaps also trying to finish an unrelated article-in-progress (mostly to get it off my plate). At the same time, I realize that I really do need to make continued, faster progress on the infrastructure stuff, because that will free me to do other things that I really want to do.

    Goals for last week: (1) continue self-care, especially exercise & try to take a day off; (2) do a bit of the most urgent apartment cleaning/organizing; (3) begin work on financial stuff; (4) reconnect with garden.

    Accomplished: (1) not too bad, though not quite as full a day off or as much exercise as would have been ideal; (2) yes; (3) not yet; maybe tomorrow; (4) not really (I checked things out and picked some overwintered greens, but didn't get in the work session I'd hoped to yesterday, though I did get other worthwhile things that cropped up instead done).

    Goals for the coming week: (1) continued self-care, especially exercise (try out some early-morning walking, weight-lifting and/or the shoulder rehab exercises I just looked up); (2) make substantial progress on taxes (TRQ-ish, but also TLQ-ish for the reasons mentioned above); (3) at least one and preferably two garden work sessions; (4) a bit more apartment cleaning/chaos-reducing if possible.

    1. Good luck for your infrastructure stuff, and cleaning the apartment. Having a stable structure and environment is important.

    2. I love that you were surprised by reconnecting with research/writing. Though I usually find that more interesting than the infrastructure!

  2. I have way too many new things: an online course I've been taking on counseling; a reup of my non-academic writing online course; editing a paranormal romance novel; an online business class. I do feel like I've been able to figure out more about how I want to spend my time and how I might move forward into a (in my?) career. I've also been figuring out more about how much time I have to spend.

    Goals for last week:
    1) exercise 4x; eat more fruit--yes to exercise. I did *buy* more fruit, and ate a bit more than usual.
    2) 3x20min. decluttering in dining room--1x and it make a big difference.
    3) 4x30-60min writing--probably not quite this much, but I did make some good progress on non-academic writing

    This editing project is taking a lot of time, but it should be done by Wednesday. Then I've got another big project due the following Wednesday, with Easter and a 3 day camping trip in between. I'm not likely to get much done this week on TLQ stuff, but I do want to keep up some habits.

    Goals for this week:
    1) exercise 4x
    2) decluttering 3x20 min.
    3) write 3x30 min.

    1. Interesting courses and works!

    2. That's great that you've gained clarity on the road ahead! Good luck with this week.

    3. Your projects sound totally fabulous and interesting! You seem to be using your sabbath year as you intended to!

  3. Hello. I have felt tired and felt like doing nothing this week. I had three parties and one dining out with a friend in a week. All were fine and I enjoyed, but it was too much for those who are rather shy, like me.

    What I did not expect is that I gradually started to take care of my health. My close friend was found to have a tumor which could be cancer, and it turned out to be ok, but I knew very well that she had worked very hard, and we are the same generation, so these things makes me to value my health much better. I need rest and good sleep, I need to take care of myself mentaly and physically. When I started this TLQ session, I just wanted to complete my project. Now, I really feel I must consider more carefully how to balance between my family & myself and my work & my own project.

    Last goals:
    1) Week 6-2 of Belcher's book. - I read the part, but I work differently. Ok, I just like the philosophy of the book. I admire the approach of the book, but just I always drop out from the way.
    2) Continue to read the important book. - I continue to do it. It is more insightful than I remembered.
    3) Prepare for the classes. - Only a half done.
    4) Do short exercises between pomodoro chunks. - Sometimes. I do just jumping or walk around in my office, but I got slight pain in my legs. This makes me feel I am getting old.
    5) If I want to have snacks, ok, but have healthier ones. - I had only good snacks or no snacks for 3 days. Ok.

    Next goals:
    1) Week 6-3 of Belcher's book. Construct a better structure.
    2) Continue to read the important book.
    3) Prepare for the classes.
    4) Do short exercises between pomodoro chunks.
    5) If I want to have some, have healthier snacks. Remember that I always have spots when I have chocolate.

    Have a happy week, everyone!

    1. I hope you find ways to keep the balance. And like you, I find it hard when I have a social week. On the chocolate, I'll allow myself one good chocolate a day. But I won't eat the cheap stuff.

    2. Thank you for your comment, Susan! 'One good chocolate a day' is a nice idea. Much better than 'buying cheaper ones, then eating too much, then having spots and regrets'...

  4. Reflecting on what’s new is good right now, as I am trying to reset my priorities based on two new things. A collaborative research project that I am delighted about came as a result of the long trip abroad. Although it’s in my area of research interest, my colleague will take the lead on data gathering, so I will have to learn how to let go. I was also approached by a mid-range reputable publisher that I’ve been talking with to put together an edited collection in an entirely different area of research. Both are really exciting, but I have that dear old book manuscript project that remains at the top of my list of priorities, even though I have not made sufficient progress. Maybe summer. I have some serious TRQ until the end of the semester, so I’ll be looking for balance with the urgent and the important, as usual.

    Goals from Week 9:
    1 Make progress on proposal #1: a bit...getting closer
    2 Draft proposal #2: I don’t think I worked on this one.
    3 Look for content for conference paper: Done, but now conference paper is moving toward TRQ.

    Goals for this week:
    1 Make sufficient progress on both conference papers to send something to respondents.
    2 Deal gracefully with service overload this week.
    3 Spend time with creativity project check-in.

    Happy to be back!

    1. Welcome back! And I'm so glad to hear that you've had a couple of really nice new things on your radar!

  5. What’s new? Interesting question. A colleague of mine approached me a few weeks ago, chiding me for not including my ABD on my CV for the tenure dossier. She pointed out that it means something to the librarians who will vote on me, but even more to the university P&T committee, where the Ph.D. is the common currency. I had taken it off when I found out my department now requires me to retake my quals to recertify for the Ph.D., then reconstitute a committee, submit a proposal, and so on, with a drop-dead limit of three years.

    In fact, my colleague encouraged me to finish the Ph.D., which would make my promotion to full much easier. I am truly on the horns of a dilemma. I have finished 3/4ths of the dissertation, but to be blunt, I rebel at the thought of jumping through these hoops when I have no intention of trying to break into teaching.

    In response to this encouragement, my husband has said I should finish the work, and at worst, shop it around as a book. So yes, this is new, not unwelcome, but a wrinkle I did not expect when this semester began.

    Last week’s goals:
    1) Make doctor’s and dentist’s appointments. Nope. All hell broke loose at work, so I ran around playing firefighter all week.

    2) Compare the cloud and hard drive dissertation files to find duplicates and confirm versions. Yes. Unfortunately, I made a ton of copies, but that is better than not having any copies.

    3) File into paper files for a half hour at least twice. Nope--busy fighting fires.

    Next week’s goals:

    1) Make doctor’s and dentist’s appointments.

    2) File into paper files for a half hour at least twice.

    3) Organize the next three months of calendars and to do lists. Print planner pages and take notes where necessary.

    1. I can imagine why you don't want to re-take quals: that's just such a hoop. But you might request a waiver that does something equivalent to quals -- a historiographica essay? - without doing the whole rigamarole. (Remember, all rules can be waived.)

      I hope the fires are out now!

    2. That's a big and frustrating wrinkle. The PhD is so much more than a dissertation--it's emotions, pressure, time, interest, etc. My husband had to encourage me monthly to finish, and I'm glad I did, even though I don't plan to do anything that requires it. But it's a big decision. Those hoops are not nothing, but it's likely they'll be easier the second time around. (After starting my diss I realized, "Oh, NOW I understand how to apply to grad school," and "oh, NOW I understand what my exam topics should have been," and "oh, NOW I see why that prof was pressuring me to audit that class that I could have made an exam topic that would have prepped me for all the theoretical parts of my diss." If you do go ahead, I'm sure some parts will be easier, and now that you're 3/4 of the way done, you can fine-tune others to suit your needs. (And Susan's point is a good one, too.)

      Wishing you peaceful decision making!

  6. So, the big new thing for me is the opportunity to apply for a job that I've decided I would like to have. Getting the materials organized for this, and particularly writing a letter, have taken a LOT of time. (And I think I could do this job well, and it would be very interesting, but I also love my current job. So some ambivalence.) This will all happen in about the next 6 weeks, which is a bit overwhelming!

    Goals for last week:
    1. Get a good draft of the paper - Well, it's a draft
    2. Finish grant stuff - almost, will finish this afternoon
    3. Submit conference proposal - DONE
    4. Return to exercise - not much

    I regained strength from my whatever it was slowly this week, but I also had two days when I was taking my mother to dr appointments; these took up the whole morning. Between working on my letter and a preliminary interview, the job stuff took a fair bit of time. However, today I got back into the garden, and did major work on the garage. Lots of trash, and stuff for the spring clean up! That wasn't on my list, but it's important.

    Goals for next week:
    1. Submit application letter and cv
    2. Send draft proposal to grant agency
    3. Get back to abandoned book review.
    4. Send of paper for conference (that's really TRQ now, but I'll list it anyway.)
    5. Walk or garden at least three days
    6. Do more work on garage organization

    Note: my mother is having a knee replacement tomorrow, and the surgery is in a city about an hour's drive away. I'll be up and down the highway like a yoyo, so I'm pretty modest in my list - many things are close to being done. Just fingers crossed that everything goes well - we're better prepared since this is the second one!

    1. Good luck for your mother's surgery, hope all goes well. And with the job application!

    2. I hope your mother's surgery went well! Good luck for everything!

  7. Lots of great new things this term I dd not plan for at all, and a few not so great ones.
    Great ones include: An undergraduate programme proposal I'm doing with a colleague is actually being supported and may actually happen = more work but for a good cause.
    An offer of a brand new research project, with all samples and field visits and funding provided, with people I love, so that is a no brainer. This just happened in the last week, the samples arrived on my doorstep with the offer and they are even better than I imagined. Only problem, it is in an area I know nothing about, using techniques I know on paper but have never applied myself, so lots of new learning opportunities.
    There is also another new project where I'm the technical person, and most of the writing will be done by the sample owners. and I will be an co-author, and they pay me for the work, which is fantastic. That unfortunately involves being away a week at a time which wreaks havoc on all organization at home.

    Not so great: One partner employment disaster which is taking a huge emotional toll on everyone. I basically cry whenever I think about it so I don't think about it much, I just don't have the emotional energy.
    Schools and snow days suck more than I even imagined they could.

    Last week's goals:
    1) Read 5 or 6 papers in new project area to design a new set of experiments.
    HALF DONE Read 2 and then promptly forgot about the rest all weekend...
    2) One full day of work on paper B. FAIL - was scheduled for Friday but I was so sick by then it was useless..
    3) Keep running.... DONE until the bug from hell hit...

    This week:
    1) Draft B complete
    2) Read papers and make plan for new project
    3) Start conference poster and think about presentation
    4) Run when I feel better

    1. Sorry to hear that you've had the bug from hell. I'm not sure that's what I had, but it was miserable, and given that I have a bunch of April 1 deadlines, it made things really rough.

      And good to hear about the positive projects, but not so much the partner employment disaster.... The unexpected does, alas, come in both good and bad varieties. Good luck on all fronts!

  8. Allan Wilson.
    Last week's goals:

    1) check all the data in goal 1 again, and remerge all the data from the sources available. NOT AT ALL

    2) prepare for, and make the Friday meeting, and work it to get as far as I can. MEETING Didn't HAPPEN, BUT I DID SEND ALL THE RELEVANT MATERIALS THROUGH, SO HOPEFULLY IT WILL HAPPEN THIS WEEK

    3) walk up hills at last 3x KIND OF. I HAVE A SORE BUTT TO SHOW FOR IT!

    Re: what's new? Well, on one level, just about everything. I seem to have lots of things pop up that require attention unexpectedly, pieces of work that have taken much longer than expected (like drawing the graph from hell that sucked up hours and hours although I was expecting a 10 minute job), shifting priorities, and even taking a holiday has necessitated lots of extra planning! So my plan has been derailed quite a few times- I am trying to hold on to exercise as my 'constant' in the maelstrom. During this group, I have been struggling to get on top of lots of things- which is also why it is so great checking in and taking 5 minutes to reflect, and also see that everyone here is struggling with illness, priorities, demands, family matters, general organisational neglect etc etc. Sometimes I think it is amazing we all keep going in the face of these demands. It shows a real commitment and/or love for what we do I think.

    Anyway, goals for the fortnight, as I am on holiday next week:
    1) exercise twice (in addition to what I do on holiday)
    2) finish draft article for non-academic source (2 weeks overdue)
    3) meeting that was scheduled in the last week on FS, or progress on its analysis problem.
    4) complete new draft ms WHK that incorporates co-author additions, and send back out to co-authors
    Good luck to you all for the week ahead- I will be away on holiday from Saturday onwards, so won't be able to check in until the following week.

    1. The exercise constant seems like a great thread to hold onto when everything else keeps changing.

      Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    2. I find that reminding myself of what came up helps me deal with what gets left undone.

  9. Thank you for this topic. It makes me feel a little bit better to think about what I HAVE done since I haven't done well with my planned goals for the session. Although I can't list too much that I've done, I haven't neglected the dissertation altogether, which is much better than I usually do! In fact, I've learned a lot (much of it at the conference I attended two weeks ago) that will help me with the theoretical framework for the dissertation. In addition, I re-read "Authoring a PhD," which gave me a lot of insight about structure.

    I haven't done much writing (except for when I was writing the conference paper), so I worry that my progress is illusory (sp?) and minimal, but I'm hoping the thinking work will propel me forward once I'm able to start writing more. I've read some additional primary and secondary sources.

    In my personal life, I've gotten very little done. What's new is that I have hit perimenopause, and I'm experience new types of fatigue and other symptoms. Mostly, sometimes I just feel as if I just "can't even," which is unlike me (I think). Feeling that way makes it hard to get excited about preparing new recipes, dealing with the farm box, or decluttering. My walking schedule has been preempted by grading and family duties, but I hope to get back to it. I love walking.

    Last week's goals:
    I didn't do them.

    This week:
    1) email supervisor with timeline
    2) walk at least twice
    3) set up son's new minecraft stuff (I set up an account, and I today I bought a new game program, and now I have to figure how to save existing worlds, uninstall the old program, and install the new).

    1. The mental part of the dissertation is a HUGE part of it! I think your conferencing and reading will serve you well.

      Good luck with Minecraft. That's one of those tasks I slough off on my spouse. :)

  10. What's new? I'm off on holiday for a week and a half starting tomorrow. Seemed more logical to check in today before I go, and then to check in on return with goals for when I'm back. I like the prompt though, so much new stuff at work and yet it is essentially just variations on the same old things!

    1) finish up the marking and stray bits of paperwork from early semester tasks
    2) plan the two articles that I will write
    3) plan publication/presentation around small aspect of current teaching so that I can put an evaluation plan in place to get a good paper
    4) make figures for the paper

    I've done as much of 1 as I can for the time being. I'm still working on 2 - 4. I find that as end of semester fatigue sets in, getting through the TRQ stuff is enough for a day! I'm hoping that once back from holiday I can start back into some good habits to get these projects going. But for now, just very tired...

  11. Well, I didn't expect to be on sick leave!