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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Week 12: Savor

As we come around toward the last bend in this particular road, I hope everyone is getting through the bumpy parts.

I read Paul Monette’s book Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir this weekend. It was a truly beautiful book, as Monette writes the story of his last two years with his beloved partner. What moved me so was how grateful they were for each other and for so many things we always take for granted, from walking the dog to having friends over for dinner to feeling a cool morning breeze on your skin.

And I thought well, it would benefit me to be more mindful of what I savor. To stop for a minute and enjoy it. So your challenge for the week: anything you might look forward to savoring this week?

Goals from last week follow. Those who (like me) have missed a week or two, please join in with new goals as you wish.

Draft the paper. Period. (Everything else is to some extent or another more urgent for someone.)

Dame Eleanor Hull:
Self: resume calendar use; stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x.
Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; scholarly reading at least 3x.
Teaching: catch up with writing assignments; plan ahead.
House/Life: get tax stuff sorted and to accountant; keep plugging away the sorting and tidying.

Good Enough Woman:
1) Pay bills.
2) Some minor sewing for daughter's costume.
3) Write/brainstorm on novel for one hour.
4) Start taxes.
5) Finish comp essays by Thursday.
6) Exercise twice.

heu mihi
1. Write 4 hours (on Wonder); contact writing group about Silence
2. Get organized for professional society task
3. Read grad student's essay/spend 2-3 hours on grad student writing
4. Meditate some amount


  1. Is this our last week?

    I always savor my morning tea. I can't drink caffeine throughout the day or I won't sleep, but that morning stimulant is lovely. I also think, often, that having a long, anxiety-provoking list of things to do is a good sign: I am young and active enough to be doing them, rather than in some sort of care home with nothing to do but wait for meals, watch TV or maybe tackle a kindergarten-ish craft project (good thing I like coloring!).

    How I did:
    Self: resume calendar use; stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x. YES to calendar, not great on the other exercise: walk/cardio x 3 (4?), wts x2, stretching skipped entirely a couple of days (but yoga for an hour on one of the days I skipped cardio, so . . .) I've had further trouble with sleeping, food, and energy, probably all at least loosely linked to the spring break flare-up.
    Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; scholarly reading at least 3x. TWO chunks, yay, and YES to reading.
    Teaching: catch up with writing assignments; plan ahead. YES to catching up, NO to advance planning (onward with winging it!).
    House/Life: get tax stuff sorted and to accountant; keep plugging away at the sorting and tidying. NO . . . I have opened envelopes and am trying to find my check register, saw the prompt was up so came here to procrastinate! But getting started makes it all a little less daunting.

    This week's goals (all very familiar):
    Self: stretch twice daily, cardio or a walk 6x, weights 3x, safe eating.
    Research: finish and upload a chunk of translation; scholarly reading at least 3x.
    Teaching: write/post last two writing assignments for the semester (!).
    House/Life: get tax stuff sorted and to accountant; keep plugging away at the sorting and tidying.

    On reviewing my session goals, I'm doing surprisingly well. I keep feeling terribly behind, but actually it's okay. I'm reasonably healthy despite recent minor difficulties (which make me realize how much worse things used to be on a regular basis); I'm on track to catch up with the rest of the translation team soon; classes are going well; we've done more stuff to the house and made progress on the clutter front, such that even if we're slower than I'd like to be, I think we will certainly manage to list it before the end of the spring season (maybe I shouldn't say that . . . fingers crossed!).

    I hope everyone here and following along at home has a good week!

    1. Well, even if you're winging it, there's not too much longer to go!

      And see below re. coloring....

    2. Forward progress on so many fronts...a sign of good balance in your life too. I appreciate the opportunity to join you in that moment of gratitude that I have many things on my list and the spark & intellect to accomplish them.

      Your post also bears out the goodness of the process we do here--setting those goals for 12-or-so weeks and then discovering that you really are doing the things you hoped to do.

    3. Glad to hear your health has improved! That's great. And you make a great point about being well enough to have a busy to-do list. Until last May, my mom had a very busy to-do list. Now she struggles to walk and had to install a chair lift to get upstairs to do her artwork. Everything takes her more time, and she has no choice but to go slowly. Maybe sometimes I should savor the fact that I can still rush around when I need to. Thank you.

  2. I thought we'd go one more week...since I have not been very good with the calendar this session at all.

    1. Maybe you are just living in the present moment?

  3. My son has two pretty cute/fun favorite activities that I would like to savor. One is coloring in coloring books with colored pencils; he always wants me (or his dad) to join in. It's quite soothing. And he has nice books: unicorns, dragons, wizards, and Celtic Designs. It's a sweet, peaceful activity.

    The other is not peaceful at all: "Fight Fight" is a game where I lie on the bed and try to catch him with my legs, and he becomes a "slippery fish" who always eludes my grasp. (He also always strips down to his underwear, making him even slipperier and even cuter.) It's a silly game with lots of giggling and cuddles.

    I want to savor these. He won't be five for much longer.

    Last week:
    1. Write 4 hours (on Wonder); contact writing group about Silence - DONE
    2. Get organized for professional society task - DONE
    3. Read grad student's essay/spend 2-3 hours on grad student writing - Spent 1 hour, but it was enough for one student's essay. Grad work is really flowing in right now.
    4. Meditate some amount - NOT DONE. I needed to watch a couple of movies (one good, one bad) for one of my classes, where students are doing a Critically Informed Movie Review. (It's an Arthur class, so the assignment is a kind of fun way of testing their knowledge.) I blame this for my reduced meditation, even though I know perfectly well that I could make time for it if I just did.

    This week:
    1. Two hours of reading grad work
    2. Write 5 hours (on Wonder; includes research time)
    3. Meditate some amount
    4. Begin grading incoming papers right away or close to it
    5. Full slate of exercise (run x 3, yoga x 2)

    One more week after this makes sense, I think. Anyone want to host the next round?

    1. There is so much joy in your descriptions of coloring and "Fight Fight." It seems like a delightful break from the madness of the world to sit down and take coloring seriously, yet also still playfully. Some of my favorite moments with kids is when they are very determined and serious about something that we take for granted.

      I have one of those "who me?" reactions to your reflection of not meditating: "I know perfectly well that I could make time for it if I just did." I think I need that printed and framed in my office.

    2. I haven't gotten into the adult coloring books, but a friend of mine just had a lung transplant, and another mutual friend suggesting we all do some artwork that he can put up in the apartment he is living in during recovery. So I got an adult coloring book for book lovers, and I'm going to color a few pages over break while my kids draw. We'll see how it goes.

      P.S. I like you're Arthurian movie assignment!

  4. Well I quite effectively fell off the face of the Earth for a few weeks… The first week was because of bad news that caused a good 4 days of sulking and pouting. The second week was the catching up caused by said sulking. Lesson learned is that sulking and pouting has its place, but should be confined to a maximum of two days so as not to make life miserable after sulking stops. The third week was a wonderfully inspiring visit by a collaborator where we got lots of great research things done. This btw would be my answer to how to find inspiration when it flags – spend time with good collaborators! Never fails! The fourth week was catching up on all the normal stuff that didn’t get done because I was hanging out doing research things with visitor… Totally worth it of course (and savoured as suggested by this week’s prompt!), but the catching up part was brutal because it came during the busiest marking time of the semester when all sorts of things hit the fan. So, back to regular scheduling finally! Another paper got accepted during this period so that was nice. Lots of field work planning and grant reporting also happened, mostly by accident I think!
    Things I want to savour this week include the rare moments where kid’s violin practice is actually fun and not like pulling teeth (new fun pieces help) and baby hugs from several recent additions to our circle of friends!
    This week’s goals:
    1) Read and comment on student’s complete thesis (yay for student, lots of work went into that!)
    2) Get back to Local Project Paper and see how much still needs to be done, and then do something about it! Anything would be better than the great pile of nothing that happened the last few weeks…


    1. Glad to hear you have found your pace again, and glad there was a lot of goodness that came on the tail end of the sulking.

      I've recently had a spate of rejections: a job for which I didn't get even a phone interview, an abstract for an article I didn't think would be accepted, a grant I applied for that I thought I might be able to win. Prolonged sulking is hard to avoid, but I too have realized the consequences. And there are positive things on the horizon.

      And congratulations on having another paper accepted!

    2. Congrats on the paper acceptance and on the field/grant work that happened by accident! Huzzah!

  5. If I would slow down and live more mindfully, I would be better able to savor things. I am most interested in learning how to savor what I eat. I don’t know why but I tend to rush through meals, even knowing it is both healthier and more fulfilling to eat slower.

    I didn’t post goals last week, so on to this week:
    1 Finish and submit next book review
    2 Complete article peer review
    3 Try again to establish some incremental deadlines
    4 Do something with Jewel article

    1. When I was young, I ate very slowly. Ever since having kids, I eat VERY FAST. I'm not a big foodie, so I don't care a whole lot about food, but I eat more than I should because I eat it VERY FAST. I should work on that, too.

  6. I have been savoring Friday mornings when I'm the only one in the house. I sit and read while I drink tea, and the cat sits in my lap. The problem is that I sit too long and don't go exercise or write or start grading papers. But it's the only time I know I have the house to myself during the week, and I can't savor it as well when I'm working.

    I should also been doing a bit more savoring of bedtime snuggles and chats with my daughter. I've been skimping on those recently.

    Right down, I'm savoring the slide into spring break. Prep and grading over the next 40 hours will be crazy and intense, but by Thursday afternoon I can coast a bit.

    Last week's goals:
    1) Pay bills. DONE
    2) Some minor sewing for daughter's costume. DONE
    3) Write/brainstorm on novel for one hour. DONE
    4) Start taxes. NOT DONE
    5) Finish comp essays by Thursday. DONE by Sunday.
    6) Exercise twice. DONE.

    I'm so pleased that I put "exercise twice"! I didn't think I'd met my exercise goal, but I had! And I survived the middle school performance of "Beauty and the Beast." I am an official "Drama Mama" now. I have the T-shirt to prove it. The kids all did an amazing job.

    This week's goals:
    1) Start taxes (if I get the form I'm waiting for).
    2) Finish Brit Lit essays by Thursday (to free up break a little bit and make students happy)
    3) 2 brainstorming/writing for novel (at least one hour of actually drafting)
    4) Make both family and productivity plans for spring break.
    5) Walk 2x, Yoga 1x.
    6) Savor quality time/moments with kids.

    1. That's supposed to say "2 hours of brainstorming/writing for novel."

  7. Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry for all of the typos. I commented quickly, and I guess I didn’t proofread.

    1. I think that this is a safe space for not proofreading. If that sentence makes any sense.

    2. Agreed on safe space! I am trying to get in the habit of re-reading my emails instead of just spellchecking, as I have sent some emails to students with errors that make me cringe a little. But the reader usually knows what the writer intended. Certainly the case here.

      I hope spring break has given you time for savoring any number of good things.

      You've given me pause to wonder why, on the rare occasion that I get the house to myself, my first instinct is always to tidy up.

    3. I should tidy more when I'm home alone, but it's just such a good time for quiet work that I tend to put off the tidying until when I'm home with the family or, sometimes, I rush to tidy right before everyone gets home (if I'm home first).

  8. Late to the game, alas. I did a lot this past week, but not the one thing!

    Draft the paper. Period. (Everything else is to some extent or another more urgent for someone.) FAIL!

    This week:
    1. Prep stuff for a grad research assistant to do. I've never really been successful using grad research assistants, but I'm going to try again. (Usually, they barely do what I ask, so it's sort of useless.) I'm going to give this one a pretty specific task to start, and hope she can do it.

    1. Regarding the paper, I hope you still have time to do that.

      Congrats on the other good stuff (that you wrote about on your blog), and I hope the house painting is going well!

  9. What a great question (back after a week of more jet lag...)
    I want to savor time for conversation with colleagues about our research, so we don't get completely caught up in administrivia...

    Anyway, goals from two weeks ago
    1. Start working on images to go with keynote DONE, as it the keynote
    2. Do at least one read/edit of keynote, now that I know how it ends. DONE (See above)
    3. Keep reading Some
    4. Try to catch up on sleep (from being VERY jet-lagged) YES, but note that there were two times of very jet-lagged. Even a 10 day trip is hard.

    Well, the keynote has been and gone, and I think it went well -- that the people who said nice things to me after were not just being nice. Also, the conference was at a beautiful campus, right on the coast, so I got to enjoy walks on the beach. It was raining when I arrived, but cleared up, so that was good. But what was really important -- and why I go to conferences -- was spending time talking to colleagues about ideas we're working with, thinking about new things. After the conference I spent a few days at My Favorite Library (aka Paradise), where I had lunch with a colleague from my institution on a fellowship there. We talked about his research, and it was really interesting and fun. I realized that we too often get bogged down in business, and lose sight of shared intellectual interests.

    Goals for (the rest) of this week / spring break
    1. Do some desk clearing
    2. Finish overdue book review
    3. Keep working on the short essay Witch
    4. Do at least one hour of work on new book, Author
    5. Get back to pleasure reading
    6. Continue my walking, making 10,000 steps every day.

    1. I'm glad you feel good about the keynote and had blissful library time. I hope that this week, you get caught up on sleep and back into a good rhythm.