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Friday, 23 October 2015

Week Six: Trick-or-Treat

I have Halloween brain today. My daughter is having a party tonight. It will involve a bunch of 10-year-old girls, a theatrical production, dinner, cupcakes, candy, and a dance party. It's been hard for me to focus on my thesis in the face of party preparations. As a result, this week's topic is Halloween inspired. I have two questions for you. Feel free to answer one, both, or neither, since I know that some of you might not celebrate Halloween and/or are in the midst of the spring season!

1) What is a fear you have that affects one of your TLQ goals? Does the fear impact you negatively? Positively?

2) Do you like scary stories? If so, do you have a good scary story on your nightstand for the end of October? Or do you have a favorite from the past? Please share!

Last week's check-in goals (if you don't see your name, just go back to your last check-in, and paste them them into this week's response):

1) nightly check-in (plan the next day, plan food, plan exercise)
2) stay consistent with exercise (4x) and cleaning the bunny hutch (2x)
3) write 3x
4) 1 hour total decluttering
5) make afternoons available for family office hours; do one special activity per kid this week

1) Exercise
2) Try not to overeat.
3) Collect and enter data I need.

Contingent Cassandra
1)Do follow-up cooking/freezing with ingredients and finished products currently in hand, but don't start any major new cooking projects. 
2)Continue with best efforts to keep to consistent sleep/wake schedule
3)walk -- at least twice, maybe more. 
4) keep up with most urgent household/financial tasks, but don't expect too much more. 

1) Submit lingering paper...
2) Data reduction from new project
3) Revive the Summer Reading Project - one paper a day!
4) Rearrange my schedule...
Reason for number 4: partner is moving many time zones away for a job (thanks economy!) so I will be single parenting, and in charge of everything, and probably traveling to labs for analysis with a first-grader. Difficult, doable, but ouch...

1) Write 1000 words for the chapter (try to push for real prose, not just notes)
2) read 7-8 chapters/articles
3) Finish party shopping by Wed (and delegate some party prep to Hubby) for daughter's Halloween soiree 
4) Exercise 5x
5) Call to schedule a way overdue mammogram appointment 

Earnest English
-exercise (even if this means only leg lifts and crunches while watching shows at night) as often as possible -- let's say 4x this week
-make sure to write or fill the writing well (i.e., read or watch related documentaries) for at least 15 minutes 4x this week
-maintain calm. nothing is worth killing yourself over. move like water.
-take magnesium supplement more often. strive for once a day.
-work in dribbles on revision of Article
-get lots of sleep
-continue figuring out and asserting my own needs
-keep up the great work!

Survive. Stupid cold.
Submit the application text for internal vetting and forget about it
Redo calculations again for Repeater (PDF found typos in the base data. SIGH), go over comments from co-author & reply.
Prepare and give talk for local workshop
Focus on the stuff I can do now rather than the stuff to come

1. New screen shutdown time of 11am, which should feed into setting a 7pm alarm in case the baby alarm clock fails, which should feed into 5 min yoga/physio exercises each morning.
2. Eating in the best place, and taking some food (healthy snacks at least) in to work each day.
3. Book Christmas leave for me and kids.
4. 15 minutes of writing each work day.
5. Start new pattern of meeting with co-author for conference paper on Thursday afternoons. Get at least 500 words of rough draft in to shared document.

1. sort out the scary project
2. work more on gemstone
3. anonymise the house project data set

1. Finish revisions from grant proposal.
2. Organize information for presentation.
3. Work 15 minutes on tiny project 3x.

1) Finish the first draft of the article. 
2) Do not forget three minute-exercise three times a day. 
3) Do not have long coffee break too often. I can take breaks, but short ones. 

a. grade all the essays
b. read MA thesis assignments and hold meetings w/ the students
c. set midterm exam 
d. walk daily, lunch in pleasant environment, no email/computer at night, go to bed on time

1. read a potential book for course next spring
2. Keep up exercise habit even while at conference
3. Make travel arrangements for next conference
4. Get regular sleep, and don't read email in bed 



  1. Ooo! Great questions!

    I'll answer number 2 (and maybe come back to number 1).
    THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier! It's a middle grade novel, inspired by Irving and Poe among others. It's just the right amount of creepy balanced with insight into the human condition. Wonderful and powerful!

    Number 1: I have a lot of fear associated with (non-academic) writing (I guess it's probably academic stuff too). It's fear that stems from perfectionism and fear of what people will think of me, either because of quality or content. I'm a rather private person, and the thought of writing poetry or memoir is terrifying to me, but in my recent writing, the most powerful stuff is a sort of poetry. I can turn that into a positive in that I know the places I'm afraid to go can be the most fruitful.

    Last week:
    1) nightly check-in (plan the next day, plan food, plan exercise)--yes for the most part, and it's paying off! In how I feel and on the scale.
    2) stay consistent with exercise (4x) and cleaning the bunny hutch (2x)--yes! The bunnies are terribly happy with me right now.
    3) write 3x--nope (see fear above), though I did go to a great writing conference last weekend.
    4) 1 hour total decluttering--nope.
    5) make afternoons available for family office hours; do one special activity per kid this week--moreso than usual. I am starting to notice how bored my son gets. November is going to be "find E a hobby" month.

    The first week of my online class has been good. I'm a little afraid to start grading on Monday. Right now, everyone's so happy and overwhelmed, but not panicked about grades. The couple samples I've looked at so far are on the sad side. I'm not looking forward to bursting the happy bubble for my students.

    My goals so far are all about habits, and so far they're paying off, so I think I'll keep going with them.

    This coming week:
    1) nightly check-in (plan the next day, plan food, plan exercise)
    2) stay consistent with exercise (4x) and cleaning the bunny hutch (2x)
    3) write 3x
    4) 1 hour total decluttering
    5) make afternoons available for family office hours; do one special activity per kid this week

    1. I am just contemplating your comment that the places that you are afraid to go are sometimes the most fruitful. I think I agree- but maybe it depends on why we are afraid in the first place? E.g. if it is an irrational fear that holds us back, but that if we overcome it, will make us stronger/ give us new insights? aw

    2. I'm sure I would benefit greatly from planning food write now, but I also think doing so might freak me out. But I think I'll put nightly check-ins for work and exercise on my goal list.

      And I, too, loved The Night Gardener (thanks to you for recommending it to me earlier this month!).

    3. I'm so glad you loved TNG! (I forgot to ask you about it on Saturday.)

  2. aw
    Hi all,
    Fears. Sometimes I feel as though I have many. Among the most recurring is the fear of not being good enough, and that my colleagues will realise I am a faker and not worthy of all the fellowships and money that have come my way over the last couple of years. I try to stabilise this by setting my own goals, and getting on and methodically doing my work, without fanfare, but at times get derailed a bit.
    Another issue for me is public attention- this ties a bit into the fear of being a bit of a fraud, or not good enough, and having to publicly present myself, but also because I am by nature a private person and I do not enjoy being in the public eye. However, because funding is so scarce at the moment in my field, and all our institutions are desperately trying to show why we really deserve funding, I (and others) have been pushed by upper management to be public faces for our Great and Brilliant science that has received funding (while towing the party line of course!). It can all be rather stressful, and I would just like to find an ivory tower to quietly get on with my work.
    Scary stories- I can't do them at all. they either seem way too real, and I get truly afraid, or seem a bit bizarre. I would rather be able to laugh.

    My week was kind of middling ok. Re last week's goals:
    1) Exercise - YES, not totally consistently, but at least 3x, so ok
    2) Try not to overeat - YES. Ate out a couple of nights, and the portions were biggish, but at least healthyish (and I totally enjoyed them!), and I managed to avoid chocolate and rubbish all week, so happy about that.
    3) Collect and enter data I need. The data collection was WAAAY slower than I realised (many more specimens than I imagined to deal with), but I worked as efficiently as I could. Slightly gutted in that I under-estimated the task, so I am nowhere near finished, and I will have to do a couple more weeks of work on this, but on the other hand I really enjoyed working on the project this week. It was like a 'timeout' from other tasks, so it felt like a bit of a luxury. I will hopefully start the data entry today. .
    Next I have some intense work coming up to try and finish a whole lot of not quite but nearly there projects before Xmas, while also maintaining a balanced life including family obligations and prizegivings and Xmas cheer and organising holidays. So, next week's goals:
    1. Exercise 4x
    2. Finish data entry
    3. Finish CR draft without input from collaborator
    allan wilson

    1. Also, re managing limits and being good enough- my main strategy over the last week or two has been to use time limits, either of my own making, or externally programmed, as a 'STOP' button. If I make a list of tasks I need to get through each day, that also helps to some extent, as it reminds me I need to move on to the next thing. aw

    2. Underestimating the time tasks will take seems to be my regular M.O. One would think I'd have learned by now. I am either a regular self-deceiver or an eternal optimist, or both.

      Although I have gotten over the imposter syndrome with my teaching and service, I am definitely feeling it with my research/writing/PhD. Actually, I guess it's not really an imposter syndrome for me since none thinks much of me. Mostly just fears that I am not and won't be good enough.

      Good luck getting on with the the data this week, fanfare or no.

  3. Hmm. . .I've sometimes found fear something of a motivator, but it helps if there's a concrete thing you're afraid of, *and* a way of avoiding that thing by doing something. With the degree of uncertainty in higher ed in general these days, and my career in particular, it's hard enough to find a stable fear/solution pair to concentrate on, so I mostly just try to push fears away, and trust that I'll find a solution when and if a feared situation arises (one advantage of being on the other end of fifty, I've found, is that this solution somehow seems more reasonable, and planning for every eventuality less so. Maybe it's because there seem to be more available eventualities.)

    Scary stories: hmm. I'm not sure either exactly count as scary, but I've recently discovered Sophie Hannah's mysteries, and enjoy them at the right moment (but not at the wrong one, because they tend to evoke a certain kind of end-of-one's rope psychological distress all too well). Tana French's _Broken Harbor_ is also quite good (and also in the murder-mystery-meets-psychological-thriller line). And I like Phil Rickman's work, especially his Merrily Watkins stories (once again, murder mysteries, with a protagonist who is a female Episcopal priest turned Diocesan Exorcist, but it's a lot less Stephen King than sympathetic portrait of harried single mother and professional woman with occasional supernatural interruptions and a terrific portrait of life in a small but changing town on the English/Welsh border. One downside to these: they're complex, fairly long, and hard to put down. Allow time before starting).

    Last week's goals:
    1)Do follow-up cooking/freezing with ingredients and finished products currently in hand, but don't start any major new cooking projects.
    2)Continue with best efforts to keep to consistent sleep/wake schedule
    3)walk -- at least twice, maybe more.
    4) keep up with most urgent household/financial tasks, but don't expect too much more.

    1) Mostly. There's one more pot of soup I should make soon, but the only currently-unfrozen perishable ingredients for that are celery and carrots, which aren't that perishable.
    2)mostly, with the exception of a pretty spectacular staying-up-too-late-doing-nothing-useful failure on Thursday night.
    3)no walks
    4)A reasonable amount, chiefly a great deal of laundry, of both the ordinary weekly kind and the once or twice a year (or ever few years -- the sofa slipcover) kind. I managed to reach laundry basket zero (briefly; life has a way of producing more laundry, even when you're one person) and, more to the point, managed to use up all the value on the laundry card that won't work in the upcoming renovated/under new management laundry room. And I have a lot of clean clothes (and other household things).

    Analysis: not too bad, for a very busy grading (and other teaching/work-related things) week in the middle of the semester. I still need to catch up with (more) grading, since the next two weeks will be dominated by preparation for and attendance at a conference. I'm also juggling an online class on teaching online and an adult Sunday School class that starts next week. And I'll be exiled from my apartment all day tomorrow by an event that closes local streets (which means I either have to leave very early and come home quite late, or miss church and any other activities that require a car to reach); hence the early(ish) check-in.

    Goals for next week:
    1) Conference prep (this is sort of TRQ-ish, but if I include looking up possible publication venues for an article based on the presentation, it fits my TLQ goals for the session).
    2) keep to a regular sleep schedule
    3) walk (let's try at least 2x again)
    4) deal with most urgent household/financial matters
    5) make & freeze one more pot soup if time

    1. Nice work using up the laundry card balance! And kudos for good progress during a busy week.

      And I am going right now to look up the Merrily Watkins series . . . Thank you for the nice list of recommendations!

  4. I won't be much help on this topic - I've always been freaked out by horror and scary stories, my fears are the standard imposter/inadequacy one that don't help with work at all, and Halloween usually provokes a giant rant from me about the corporatised imposition of events with no cultural base here, which are inappropriate seasonally, and usually include a side helping of gender stereotyping and objectification - anyway...

    Last Week:
    Shitty, basically. The now 5 year old's birthday party went off with only one major injury and one meltdown, but was followed up by my husband becoming sick with what turned out to be chicken pox. I've spent the week essentially solo parenting as he's knocked down by the disease and not wanting to increase the risk of the kids getting it (they have been vaccinated, but that isn't a guarantee of immunity). Plus the looking pile of marking which is, unsurprisingly, still looming ever higher; the exhibition I am a week behind on prep for that opens this Friday; the half forgotten writing commitment that needs also to be done this week; the curriculum redesign that is trying to take over my life; oh, and postgrads with ethics clearance issues and other admin joys. Stop the world - I want to get off.

    1. New screen shutdown time of 11am, which should feed into setting a 7pm alarm in case the baby alarm clock fails, which should feed into 5 min yoga/physio exercises each morning.
    2. Eating in the best place, and taking some food (healthy snacks at least) in to work each day.
    3. Book Christmas leave for me and kids.
    Me, and one kid
    4. 15 minutes of writing each work day.
    5. Start new pattern of meeting with co-author for conference paper on Thursday afternoons. Get at least 500 words of rough draft in to shared document.

    Next week.
    1. Move like water (thanks, Earnest English), Breathe.
    2. Do what needs doing when it needs doing, to a good enough standard, no second-guessing.
    3, Find small moments for quiet and embrace them (instead of procrastination activities that just leave me feeling more panicked than before).

    1. Oh my goodness, karen. That does sound like a terribly shitty week. My best wishes for moving like water this week. I was listening to a podcast this week, and someone said that when she gets busy, she says to herself, "When you don't know what to do, just do the thing in front of you." I liked that a lot, and it seems to fit with the "move like water" idea.

      No "second-guessing." I like that, too. I look forward to hearing about some of the small moments you find this week.

    2. Oh, and yes to the frustration with gender stereotyping and objectification (e.g, sexy costumes). Ugh.

    3. That sounds a terrible week. And the corporate Halloween costumes are miserable. Good luck on a slightly better week coming up. And a healthier husband.

  5. Ah well the week ahead's looking pretty scary! I think it's the worst week of the semester so we'll say no more and not expect much beyond survival. I don't like fear as a motivator, I appreciate that there are ways it can be turned into something positive by some people but genuine fear (rather than personally inspired fear of failure or of looking stupid) isn't a good way to motivate anyone.

    Last week
    1. sort out the scary project - yep, done a bit on this, as much as I could given the busy week.
    2. work more on gemstone - no, not done any more
    3. anonymise the house project data set - started but pulling staples out of questionnaires and sorting them in to question by question piles is a little tedious.

    This week
    1. do more printing for scary project and hopefully collect another data set.
    2. finish anonymising the house project data set.
    3. three hand-crafted items for Hallow'een.

    1. I totally agree about fear as an external motivator. Not good. At my college, we went through an accreditation crisis, and I felt like we were being chased by a bear. It was scary in a bad way.

      Best wishes for scary project productivity and Halloween crafts.

  6. I am afraid that I won't successfully finish my PhD, and then all the support that my family has given me will be wasted. This fear is fueled by the other fear that I'm not good enough or diligent enough to finish. The first fear is a motivator. I can't accept not finishing, so I keep going.

    I do like some types of scary books. I no longer like the kind of Stephan King books I liked as a younger person, but I do like properly creepy books, often those with a historical framework. I just finished "The Night Gardener," which Amstr recommended. It's a middle grade book that is properly creepy. I also just finished Katherine Howe's teen fiction book "The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen," which got better as it went along but wasn't as good as her teen book "Conversion" that came out last year. I've just started "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell," which somehow I had not heard of until last week. Next on my list is Iain Pears's "Incident of the Fingerpost." These last two are each SO LONG that it will probably take me until after Christmas to finish them (since I mostly read for pleasure only in the few minutes just before I got to sleep at night).

    Last week's goals:
    1) Write 1000 words for the chapter (try to push for real prose, not just notes)-->NO. Just more notes.
    2) read 7-8 chapters/articles-->Maybe more like 5-6.
    3) Finish party shopping by Wed (and delegate some party prep to Hubby) for daughter's Halloween soiree.-->Finished by Thursday, but had to sacrifice the whole day to party preparations. Party was successful! (not TOO much 10-yr-old girl drama)
    4) Exercise 5x--NO. Came down with a cold.
    5) Call to schedule a way overdue mammogram appointment.-->NO. Feeling confused by all of the conflicting recommendations these days.

    Analysis: Between my cold (which isn't too bad, but made my head fuzzy) and party preparations, it was a weak week, work wise (homonym! alliteration!). I'm hoping for a bit more productivity this week. But Tuesday is my birthday, and I think I might take the day off.

    This week's goals:
    1) Nightly check-in to plan exercise and work.
    2) Complete half of revisions for Chapter 1 based on friendly-reader feedback.
    3) Exercise 4x (2x swimming)
    4) Spend 1 hour per day reading primary sources
    5) Spend at least 3 hours writing proper text for Chapter 2
    6) Take Tuesday off to swim, have a nice lunch with husband (if he's free), visit the bookstore, and maybe catch a matinee (or maybe just read) before dinner with family. #heaven
    7) Call to arrange a room/studio for writing retreat (I'm rethinking the camping plan)

    1. Happy birthday tomorrow!

      You are so close to that turning point where everything fits together on your dissertation. It's an uphill slog right now, but soon you'll be coasting toward that degree! You know the next steps--so take them!

      And if I can do it, you can do it. You're the better scholar and writer by far. :)

    2. Oh, Amstr! You made me cry on my birthday.

  7. Ugh. I'm not sure what has happened the last couple of weeks. It seems like a blur with nothing accomplished, and yet I worked.

    Accomplished from two weeks ago:
    1) Clean house--barely and it is dirty again so this afternoon is dedicated to that
    2) Write two tests--yes and administered
    3) Write two chapter packets--yes and one with major typos
    4) Write three lectures--one lecture
    5) fix calendar for rest of term--did not even attempt
    6) Edit Behemoth every day--did not even attempt
    7) Read book for review--did not even attempt
    8) Start to outline review --did not even attempt

    Reflection on last two weeks:
    I had a lot of plans for fall break and I wound up doing a lot of sleeping. That is the only thing that I really remember about the week. I did work my second job of tutoring in the evenings.

    This week:
    1) clean house today--it is a definite must do
    2) cook for week--another must do because I work late every night
    3) Write 5 days of lecture on Ancient Greece
    4) Write 5 days of lecture on Absolute/Constitutional Monarchy
    5) Spend 1 hour on behemoth--aiming for 3 days

    I usually get up at 5:30am and head to school to make copies and such because I start teaching at 7:45am. I then stay up until 10pm or later working. I am going to try to get up at 4:30am like I used to and then spend an hour on my own work before focusing on school. I am hoping that this will get me resettled into a rhythm that I have not had for awhile. I think this thought brings me to the discussion this week--do I have a fear. Yeah, it's that I will not get my life back under control. About 5yrs ago, I somehow lost control of it. I have no idea how, but it became unfocused and chaotic. I'm desperately trying to get my organization and discipline back to at least some semblance of what it used to be.

    1. With those early mornings, it sounds as if the fall break sleep was much needed.

  8. topic:
    I don't do Hallowe'en (beyond agreeing that it's a good night for sensible folk to stay in and go to bed early! But I think that about at least 90% of nights), and I don't do scary stories (if they are good they are too stressful), although I do do mystery novels... In the north of Britain Mischief Night has been around a looooong time, and seems to hang on enough to see off American versions of Hallowe'en, beyond a proliferation of rather sickly-sweet green and orange confectionary and bad puns. Much to the indignation of my niece and her little friends who are just longing for a party, but have yet to find a Mummy gullible enough to agree to deliver it this year!

    But question 1... ouch. I spend far too much time being low-level afraid of things, having both depression and generalised anxiety disorder, and this can attach itself inappropriately to all manner of things in my TLQ list, and does. Things are very uncertain in the world and in HE and within NorthernUni at the moment, and I worry a lot about my job security, about my inability to get grants, about what people think of my work. This really gets in the way of grant writing TLQ - I feel much more judged and scared about grant writing than I do about papers somehow. Possibly because the rhetoric around incoming increase is so aggressive - possibly because of the critical responses I keep getting to grant ideas, I'm not macho and aggressive enough, and the changes I am advised to make feel like lying to me, which would just put the fear off to "when I am found out" - is it imposter syndrome if it is actually reasonable, as in, the claim is not achievable, so one WILL not achieve it, so one WILL be 'found out'? Other people don't seem to care about that sort of thing, but... seems like bad science to me. Gah. Sorry. Not a good reply

    goals last week:
    1) Survive. Stupid cold. nope, not in the sense I meant the goal. Lost my voice Monday, slogged through Tuesday, spent the rest of the week alternating between coughing, napping, playing candy crush and trying to keep up with my email and prep a horribly complicated new topic for the new honours course.
    2) Submit the application text for internal vetting and forget about it Did submit it, cannot forget it, it was too... honest. Not enough selling. I may not be allowed to submit it - I definitely need to do more work on it this coming week.
    3) Redo calculations again for Repeater (PDF found typos in the base data. SIGH), go over comments from co-author & reply. Yeah, done that, and had another go at rewriting the text. I hate this paper so much right now... technically it's PDFs paper though and it is now back on her desk again. Even if this journal rejects it on second review, I know where it will find a home.It's not nearly as brain-space-filling as those Crunchier papers!
    3) Prepare and give talk for local workshop talk prepared, workshop cancelled due to lack of voice and excess of coughing - sometimes one coughs too much to be able to drive safely, you know?
    4) Focus on the stuff I can do now rather than the stuff to come faugh! platitudes, platitudes...


    1. analysis: I only have a cold, I think - no fever, no other signs of a more serious infection, none of the subtle layers in the symptoms that say 'laryngitis' to me. Haven't bothered the doctor, just stayed in and slept (when I could) and kept up the fluid intake. Feeling like I've been run over by a bus, but some of that is just stopping after a hellish few weeks of stressful everythings, and Being Me, so it probably is just a bad cold. And a lost voice... I can sort-of whisper for a bit now - I managed to exchange pleasantries with the grocery deliverer yesterday, and to chat to my mum on the phone for half an hour this evening - but the latter was my limit and made me cough a LOT once I got off the line, so I think assuming I'll be up to running classes tomorrow is a tad optimistic. I can see how to reschedule stuff for the coming week, just about, thankfully - but if I don't have my voice back the following week, things will be more difficult. Anyway, tomorrow will begin with another long, attempting-to-sound-professional-not-like-a-skiver email to my assorted colleagues and responsibilities, and I'll take it from there.

      goals: small, kind goals needed this week!
      1) so I will put first sleeping well, general self-care and aiming to make transitions into appreciative pauses - whether that's a walk around the ground floor of work, making a cup of tea and enjoying the first few mouthfuls on the back step, or just taking a minute to notice that the task I just finished was well done and to enjoy its being done, I can definitely do with more of them.
      2) get ready for NaNoWriMo! I may be insane, but I'm going to try it. I'd like to spend 0.5-1 hour a day faffing around with some bits like redrawing the sketch map of the town my characters spend a lot of time in, making a list of the names of all the side characters from the last two years worth so I don't reinvent them again (I have three M---- females who got horribly mixed up last year), and making a very few notes about plot things I might include. Generally gently wander around the edges of the pool before leaping in next Sunday!
      3) Have one solid attempt at the grant again, see if I can find a different hook for the project, and rework the budget (again)
      4) Finish some refereeing
      5) spend one hour on some TLQ writing which is not Repeater or the grant - there are several options, just pick the one I fancy.

    2. Hope the cold does not get worse, and the idea of spending some time on some different writing that you fancy (the fiction AND the scholarship) sounds like it might be refreshing.

  9. I have lots of fears that drive TLQ activities. I've been having chest pains and the quack is not exactly sure what is causing them. So that's been a big impetus for my keeping calm and moving like water (calmly, not as quickly as I can) rather than trying to rush and push things forward and wear myself out. A good aspect of my fear is that it makes me want to get my writing done before I die because besides just generally regretting leaving my life, my writing and not giving enough time to it is the one thing I'd regret if I died soon. Absurdist Child's birthday (both the actual day and the party) monopolized days I usually get some writing done, but I found myself highly motivated to really brainstorm a sabbatical application to get Big Project done the morning of his birthday party when normally I'd be fretting with social anxiety. (I didn't drop the ball on any prep I was supposed to do while brainstorming.) So fear can be very motivating.

    Last Week's Goals

    -exercise (even if this means only leg lifts and crunches while watching shows at night) as often as possible -- let's say 4x this week: totally did not do this in large part because I didn't spend much time watching shows at night because I was always working and a couple times when I did watch a movie, I also unpacked boxes from the office, rocking in a totally different way -- okay, I did that only once, but Absurdist Lover was impressed.

    -make sure to write or fill the writing well (i.e., read or watch related documentaries) for at least 15 minutes 4x this week: I did some writing well stuff but mostly in a big burst on Friday night

    -maintain calm. nothing is worth killing yourself over. move like water.: true, but there it is very difficult to not get totally pissed off when some irritating piss-ant is totally ridiculous; luckily I showed him

    -take magnesium supplement more often. strive for once a day.: I did this.

    -work in dribbles on revision of Article: uh no, but I have the deadline on my calendar now

    -get lots of sleep: I slept in today until 11am. It was wonderful. The other days I didn't get terrible sleep, but it's tough.

    -continue figuring out and asserting my own needs: I'm getting a bit more unrepentant about not making dinner, for instance. Luckily a recent Trader Joe's run is making frozen food a delight.

    -keep up the great work!: Yes, I did.


    I am so so SO glad that Absurdist Child's birthday is over. Now of course we will slide ever so nicely into the holidays. I'm still finding it hard to get all my work done because I hate telling my family to leave me alone. I just hate it. I've got to work on that. I'm getting better about just telling AC that I must work, but AC's asking me when I'm going to work and everything is just awful. But I have to work! Anyway. This is just the way it is and I need to make peace with it and not hate it, but just appreciate that it's hard for a kid his age to get it.

    This Week's Goals

    The big thing I have to do this week is not get totally backed up with big grading. I'm getting 20 portfolios on Tuesday, so I need to be really big and adult about this and get four done on each day I don't teach. If I get five done on each day I don't teach, then I can have one day off from grading over the weekend. I really need to do this. I have such a problem getting papers back. This is not TLQ, but it's absolutely my goal this week.

    What else?
    -continue taking magnesium
    -make sure to eat decent food in addition to the leftover cupcakes!!!
    -get decent sleep
    -don't take on anything else until you catch up on service: figure out who to delegate things to!
    -nothing is worth killing yourself over. move like water.

    1. The week sounds quite productive really--a party, unpacked boxes, extra sleep, doing some writing, and keeping up the great work!

      And kudos on showing the piss-ant what is what.

      My daughter has always complained about my work--ever since she could speak. Fortunately, things have gotten a BIT better as she has gotten older and can realize that my busy-ness has seasons. When she was little, she could only live in the present moment, and the shift from summer to fall (and from having Mommy a fair amount to not having Mommy) was a major shock to her system. She still struggles, but it's gotten easier.

      When she was four years old, she told me that when she grew up she was going to be a better parent than me because she was going to stay home and actually take care of her children. That's nearly verbatim. She was four! Last night, she said, "I am going to need your help when I'm older because I want to have a good job, and you might have to help me with my kids." I am grateful for this change.

      It gets easier. Or, at least, it's gotten easier for me, and I'm grateful. I hope it will for you, too.

  10. Fear? I'm such a cliche'--failure. Sometimes it motivates me to ensure that I don't fail, but when it comes to writing, it works in the negative. I'm so afraid of failing that I figure if I'm going to fail anyway, then why even try. I'm trying to rework that mindset into something more like Rhonda Rousey's way of thinking--why don't you do everything possible to make sure you don't fail. For me that means I guess showing up every day and doing the writing I need to do and the reading I need to do. And I know that when I do that, I'm much less stressed.

    I love scary stories. My life and my research revolve around monsters and horror. Seriously. That's what my article I'm stressing over is on and what my book proposal is on and what my grad class focuses on. My life is like the Nightmare Before Christmas actually. It's like I live always in Halloweentown but also always want to simultaneously be in Christmastown, too.

    For the first time this whole quarter I got all of the food for the week prepped. That will make life easier this week as I'm under the gun I feel like. I've made a to do list for the other things that need to get done before we go out of town this weekend. All of the things I decided to change the week before sort of backfired on me, so now my goal is to just do what I can to survive the rest of the quarter.

    The most important thing that I need to do this week is get that damn article drafted. It's a mess. And not nearly long enough, but I've got to put it together. Like EE, I've got to work on sleep. My sleep doesn't feel good right now but I think that's stress, lack of activity (and I'm normally pretty active, so my body is rebelling), and stress. So yeah, there we go. I would like to work on being in something other than survival mode because I don't like that feeling, so perhaps that's a goal, too. I think actually having the food already done for the week which means good meals which will help with a lot of stuff physically and mentally will benefit me this week.

    Also, I need to knock out the lit analyses on Thursday when they come in so they are out of the way, and get totally caught up on grading for the grad class. And I really want to enjoy Halloween this year. Last year the kid had the flu, tonsillitis, strep, and a double ear infection all at once on Halloween, so we didn't do a thing but sleep. Hopefully, knock wood, this year will be better for her.

    1. "Last year the kid had the flu, tonsillitis, strep, and a double ear infection all at once on Halloween." If that's not scary, I don't know what is! I hope this year's celebration is more traditionally spooky. And perhaps you can recommend some of your favorite scary stories?

      Congrats on the food prep! I hope it leaves some room for drafting and sleeping.

  11. Scary stories: Don't like them much, can read them in limited quantities, but not watch or listen to anything really scary...
    Fear: I'm permanently paralyzed by the thought that I'm really a terrible writer and once I submit enough stuff someone will figure it out and fire me... All negative, there's no positive up-side to that one, no motivational value, just the urge to crawl under the bed and stay there!

    Last week's goals:
    1) Submit lingering paper... YES
    2) Data reduction from new project NO
    3) Revive the Summer Reading Project - one paper a day! DONE TWICE - anthropology papers thanks to cool visiting speakers, bit of a cheat, but close enough...
    4) Rearrange my schedule... IN PROGRESS
    Not a bad week overall, but I'm a bit wrecked.

    This week's goals:
    1) Keep it together mentally and make new schedule work
    2) Shorten reviewed paper
    3) Project planning for next phase of new work
    4) Continue reading project revival

  12. Oh, gosh. Fear related to TLQ? That I overestimate myself, I don't do anything well, even the things I think I do well, and the usual I'm a fraud thing. I sometimes careen back and forth between thinking I'm really pretty good at many things, and then to the abyss of I'm a failure. My sane brain knows I'm probably mostly in the middle, but I find the balance hard.

    As for scary stories/movies, etc, NO. There's actually a family movie rating, which is the Susan score. No violence, no blood, no horror.

    Goals last week:
    1. read a potential book for course next spring - mostly, enough to know that I have to think through a bunch of pedagogical goals before I make my decisions.
    2. Keep up exercise habit even while at conference - not really, though I had some good walks incidentally.
    3. Make travel arrangements for next conference - Done
    4. Get regular sleep, and don't read email in bed - mostly, though I got off the wagon at the conference.

    Analysis: it's hard to keep up habits at conferences, and this was one where I (a) saw lots of good women friends who helped me feel sane, but who also drink well; and (b) saw family. And travel home was harder than expected, with flight delays etc.

    Goals for this week:
    1. Return ILL books that are due, after adding stuff to footnotes about them.
    2. Get through next steps of course planning so I can do book orders. And do this before it becomes TRQ!
    3. Start thinking about my contribution at the next conference, which is really off in another direction from what I've been working on.
    4. Return to exercise
    5. Go back to not using iPad in bed

    1. I don't think men have these same fears. Well, I'm sure some men do but not in the same percentages as women. My male colleagues react very different to a bad batch of student papers than I do. Me: "I didn't teach them well enough." Them: "They didn't work hard enough."

      Incidental walking can really add up! So I'd count that.

      Kick that iPad out of bed! Bring in a book or magazine if need be.

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