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Saturday, 9 June 2018

June-August Journey: Week 1

We're beginning a twelve-week session that will run to the end of August, summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere, but the middle of winter if you're on the other side of the globe. Elizabeth Anne Mitchell and I will be alternating weeks as your hosts.

Week One is traditionally the week of introducing ourselves and setting session goals. I'm picking up JaneB's packing metaphor with which we closed the short session last week. "Packing for summer" is a literal goal for me, since I've already packed up half my house to market it, and hope soon to pack up all my remaining stuff and move. Packing can also refer to packing for a trip, and many of us travel during the summer. Sometimes it's for work, whether in archives or in literal muddy (or dusty) fields; sometimes it's personal, which in turn may be fun vacation or stressful dealing-with-relatives. You may make recurring short trips, one long one, or any other variation.

So let's begin with planning the journey, metaphorically but perhaps also literally. When you introduce yourselves, answer as many of these questions as speak to you: Where are you going in the next twelve weeks? For what purpose? How will you get there? Is the trip to somewhere you've been before, or into the unknown? Is this an exploratory trip, getting to know a new place you hope to re-visit, or a wrapping-up last trip to check details? Under what name will you travel?

As well as your introduction, please post your session goals and goals for the coming week. 

I look forward to sharing the journey with you, old traveling companions and new ones. Feel free to reach out to friends you'd like to invite to join us!


  1. The basics: I am a middle-aged American academic, about to be promoted to Full Professor (if all goes well), at a large regional university (LRU) in the Midwest. I am married to Sir John Hull; three cats, no kids. The original Dame Eleanor Hull was a late-medieval translator, who attended Queen Joan, the wife of England's Henry IV, and I chose my blog name to honor a little-known woman writer.

    This summer, I will quite literally pack up everything I own and move, to an as-yet-undecided destination. That is, I'll remain in the area, but will likely move 10-20 miles from where I now live, to lessen my commute. I will also need to travel to visit family. All this seems stressful enough that I prefer to think about the metaphorical journey of the next twelve weeks, one that will bring me to the other side of several long processes (moving, becoming a full professor, finishing a long translation project) and let me return to some sidelined projects. I'm imagining the summer as an ocean voyage, with some trunks marked "Not Wanted On Voyage" consigned to the hold, some interesting shore excursions while we're in port, and a lot of cat-herding: I'm working my passage on this ship, doing everything from scrubbing decks to managing deckhands and entertaining fractious passengers!

    Goals for the session:
    Stay fit and healthy while moving, completing the translation work, and doing one last set of article revisions. Keep up with language study and read for my book project. Prep fall classes.

    Goals for this week:
    Regular stretching and exercise; return to doing knee push-ups (50?).
    Regular language and translation work.
    Stay flexible: be ready to show the house, or to make the most of time if people don't rush to view it.

    1. All the best for the move, DEH. You have my sincere moving sympathies. And if that were not enough, you have several long-standing processes at once.

      I very much like the ocean voyage image. There is much in my life I will gladly plaster with "Not Wanted On Voyage" this summer.

      May you have time to stand on the deck and enjoy the voyage.

    2. These are, indeed, significant transitions and changes, ones that have been in the works for a long time! I hope the sailing is smooth! You journey will be an exciting one to follow.

  2. I'd like to re-join, if I might!

    I'm a second year postdoc who moved to a new University in NYC after year 1 and who got NIH funding after year 1. All of that means I have been navigating a new university, a new city - and have funding for my postdoc for 2 more years, so it'll be a long postdoc (most of my peers do 2 year postdocs).

    After the move, I had a hard time creating and sticking to goals and fell apart a little. I'm having a really hard time getting myself to write and even though I am still getting publications, they aren't first authored. I am doing my NIH progress report right now and am disappointed in my lack of progress.

    So, this session I need to focus on publications. My top priorities are:
    1. PTSD
    2. Aim 1
    3. Asthma
    4. YRBS
    5. Diss
    6. Maybe one expectancy paper

    I also want to do fun things in NYC this summer - I've fallen into the habit this winter of not really doing much, which is unfortunate.

    Goals for this week:
    1. analyze data and create presentation for Montreal conference
    2. try to create some manageable goals for the F32 paper and get some work on that done
    3. progress report finalized
    4. Marriage analyses and results writeup done
    5. grant R&R

    I'm eager to hear about how things are going for all of you! I've missed this place!


    1. Yay, I've been wondering how you were getting on, and now you are back! :-) WElcome!

    2. Yay, Waffles! So glad you are back!! I'm sorry the transition to NYC was difficult, but I'm going to be so glad to follow your journey again.

    3. Thank you for the welcome back! I'm looking forward to writing again and feeling productive again - and focusing on my own work! I'm also eager to hear what's up with you all!!

    4. I will add my welcome back. I'm sorry to hear the adjustment to life and work in NYC was dificult, but very happy that you are back in the group, to receive, and give, support.

    5. Welcome back! I'm sorry the transition to NYC has been hard. The summer in NY is full of fun free things, so do them (NY Phil in central park, Shakespeare in the Park, much else...)

  3. Hi Everyone,

    I'm actually preparing for a real journey, my first real backpacking trip, with two cousins, at Yosemite. So my first goal is about getting in shape for that trip. If I enjoy backpacking, then maybe I'll go on another trip!

    1. Hike a LOT. I need to be ready to do 8 miles x 3 days, in Yosemite (so up hills at altitude) by the end of July.

    2. Start outlining and working on an essay that's part of my sabbatical.

    3. Do some sabbatical planning. I have some travel funding...

    4. Shorter term: Do a short project for our Women's, Gender, and Sexualities Program.

    and 5. Practice the violin! I'm working on shifting, vibrato, and double stops especially, and on the second piece in the fourth Suzuki book.

    Thanks for doing this, Dame Eleanor and Elizabeth!

    1. The hike in Yosemite sounds intense, but I expect you'll get to places that few get to see, and that is exciting.

      I'll be interested to hear the sabbatical travel plans, to enjoy vicariously.

    2. It's hard to work on altitude where you are, but I guess being good at going uphill with a pack is a good start. Altitude doesn't affect some people at all, so maybe you'll be in that lucky group.

    3. Since Yosemite is in my metaphorical backyard, I'll just say you need to be kind to yourself on altitude. Even just in the valley it's a lot harder to breathe, and if I go up to 8000 feet on a day hike it can be *very* hard. You really huff and puff. So a day in the valley at the start will be really helpful!

    4. I'll echo the advice about altitude. If you can sleep at altitude a couple of nights before you hike, that will help! Maybe spend a couple of days in the Sierras before the big Yosemite hike? If possible . . .

      What an exciting trip! Yosemite is beautiful.

  4. I am a tenured faculty member at a California community college where I have been teaching for 20 years, and I finished my PhD a little over a year ago (I worked on it part time at a program in the UK while still teaching full time). I am married with two children (who are now BOTH teenagers, which I find hard to believe). Since finishing the PhD, I've been torn about whether to continue with my scholarship or to focus on fiction writing or to try to do both. Right now, I'm doing both, but just barely. I'll also be co-teaching a science fiction class in spring 2019 for the first time, so I'm doing a lot of prep and reading to be ready for that (which is quite fun).

    I'm doing both literal and metaphorical traveling this summer. This Thursday, I'll leave for a 5 1/2 week road trip with my family, and we'll be going across the country all the way to the Atlantic. We will travel through about 20 states and see SO MANY family members, many whom I don't see very often, and one who is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. I'll also be showing my husband and kids where I went to college (in the Midwest), and we'll be exploring some towns I've never been to. Our main East Coast destinations are VA, NC, and GA. We'll also be in Colorado for a while, visiting my husband's family and friends, whom we see more often. The biggest challenge for me will be how seldom I'll be alone and how often I'll have to do active socializing outside of my immediate family.* Also, later in the summer, I have an LA trip with my daughter, and then I'll be going to WorldCon in San Jose in the middle of August (which is just after school starts again). This is more traveling than I would like or than I am used to, but I want to try to enjoy it as much as I can, and I am, indeed, excited. I like road trips.

    My metaphorical journey is towards fiction writing. That is relatively new terrain for me. One might say I've stood on the edges of that area and peeked around, done a bit of recon, etc., but I've never made a proper journey into the thick of it. It might be particularly difficult to make progress while I'm doing so much literal traveling, too, but I also think the two journeys could complement and improve each other if done right.

    Session Goals:
    1) Writing: Complete the bulk of the work for my online SF writing class, and, in addition to some short pieces, write 10,000 words of a novel.
    3) Health: Keep moving my body while on the trip and throughout the summer, and make sure we often look for light and healthy food options and avoid the "three large meals a day" mentality that can happen while traveling or while visiting people.
    4) Reading: Read at least two books of academic criticism (one c18 and one SF) and approximately 20 SF short stories (in addition to novel reading)
    5) Money: Don't overspend (I know this is vague. I need to figure out how to frame this one.)
    6) House: Clean "my section" of the garage, clean linen closet, clean out freezer, frame stuff and hang it, clean shelves and cabinet where my work stuff has piled up, clean out bathroom cabinets
    7) Teaching: Prep for fall before I go to LA, clean out office.

    Much of this week is just packing to go on the trip, seeing people before we leave, instructing the house sitters, etc., but I want to target some TLQ stuff, too.

    This week:
    1) Clean linen closet
    2) Clean out freezer
    3) Do SF class homework, decide what kind of piece to submit next time (revision or something new)
    4) Be reasonable about which and how many books to take on the trip.
    5) Do push ups, walk the dog a few times.

    *These situations usually prompt me to get back into knitting. It's a self-protective action that also does good things for my brain.

    1. Ah, number four this week is SO HARD. One of the good things about road-tripping is more room for books...

    2. As JaneB says, number 4 is hard.

      I will be interested how your fiction writing journey progresses (and cheering you on, of course).

      Being around extended family can be difficult--I always have knitting in hand around certain family members.

    3. As someone who carries three books for a weekend, I can only imagine #4...

      And that much visiting time would make me crazy. Good luck!

  5. I'm a newly tenured (or will be, assuming the BOT vote goes well next week) associate prof. of medieval literature at a public R1 in New England. I'm in a bit of a research lull, having completed a second book last year (but I'm waiting for a VERY late reader's report, so it's not *done* done), and looking forward to a relatively calm summer. I hope. I have a husband (The Minister) and a soon-to-be-six-year-old son (Bonaventure). Also an ancient cat, whom I will call The Dowager.

    Where am I going? Literally, Canada, on two separate (short-ish) trips--Qu├ębec City for fun and Toronto for a conference (= mostly fun). And the beach for a week. All very good. Metaphorically, I'm not sure that I'm exactly going any place. The idea of holding steady or holding still is quite appealing. I have a short conference paper to write, a paper or two to generate ideas for, and an article that I'd like to finish, but the latter is not urgent and I'm simply not fussing about it at the moment.

    So I think that my research "travels" will involve exploring some new terrain in a non-committal sort of way--i.e. reading. My other TLQ project--if that's the word to use--will be to continue my newly formed sitting (meditation) practice, a project that is also about exploring stillness.

    Session goals, then:
    1) Mini conference paper (Impatience)
    2) Amy abstract
    3) Wonder essay
    4) Read 16 books--I have a list, but I can swap things in and out, and not all are research-related
    5) Sit regularly; remember to start again
    6) Run 5 miles once this summer
    7) Make a photo album (I'm like 4 behind)

    This week:
    1) Read 2 books
    2) Very rough draft of Impatience
    3) Clean the damn house
    4) Take some time to do whatever I want at least for a while every day
    5) Sit x 6

    1. You can spend your time reading in a deck chair instead of engaging in more vigorous activities on board or off!

    2. It's like you are sailing around a calm bay while you look at maps. That sounds appealing.

  6. Hi all. I'm returning after a disappearance/break as well - and what I'm currently summarising as a brutal semester. I'm a tenured lecturer in a regional campus of a regional university going through the fallout of massive institutional change in structure and leadership, which I would charitably characterise as misguided and unaware of its impact on people. I work four days a week, I attempt not to work evenings, and I have a partner, two children (7 and 4) and a small menagerie of animals. I'm in the southern hemisphere, so we're going into winter now.

    In terms of travel, I'd either have to go with a metaphorical ship sailing into the ghostly mists of the unknown with ominous music for work environment. Or more cheerfully, count this session as part of the pre-travel organising that will set me up for two interstate trips later in the year.

    My overall goals for this session are:
    1. Write acquittal grant application
    2. Write catalogue essay
    3. Get research backlog onto uni recordkeeping systems
    4. Complete draft of glover paper
    5. Love the idea of book reading challenge so will steal that from heu mihi
    6. pick up Couch-to-5k again and do three sessions per week.

    This week:
    1. Grading! Clear big online class, and helping out class.
    2. Decide which actual grant I am going to go for for acquittal grant, and set up document with criteria
    3. Running on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (lunch times)
    4. Schedule record-keeping indoctrination workshop
    5. Read creed/stray and choose book for next week.

    1. I have to admit I like the ghost ship and ominous music, at least as an image! Perhaps it will help to think of work in those terms, and translate events into appropriate imagery, as JaneB sometimes does. I expect the running will help stabilize things.

  7. Welcome back to Waffles, Karen, and Bardiac! It's good to have you aboard again. We'll try to keep you off the reefs and provide some fun and relaxing shore excursions.

  8. Hi All,

    I am a tenured Associate Professor at a SLAC that is trying to become a research university. My teaching/grading was over by May 15th. I have already been on a trip- I took my two nephews, who are about to graduate college, on a lovely, if tiring 12 day trip to London, Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor, and then Ireland (Dublin). I will also take a one week break in July to visit my Mom. I usually am off doing field research in the summer, so this is the first time in ten years that I have decided to stay home and write. I have been working on my second book for over a year now. I excel at writing articles but dislike the time it takes to write books, hence I am eager to get this book off my plate! My overall goals for the summer are to 1) finish the majority of writing for my book (complete two of the four remaining chapters and take notes for the rest) 2) exercise a lot, including going to the gym 3 x a week and walking/swimming a few hours a week 3) cultivate local friendships and a veggie garden and 4) do some home care and some personal care, including lots of stretching. My goals for the week are

    a. write 5,000 words for Ch 6
    b. restake tomatoes in the garden and weed all over
    c. have handyman repair garage door
    d. walk for 2 hrs total and lift weights 3 x
    e. find a new massage therapist who is good working with injuries (I have chronic back pain from an old severe injury)

    1. Hello and welcome, Anonymous! What shall we call you? We need a name under which to list your weekly goals.

    2. I was not sure how to give myself a name - you can call me oceangirl101

    3. Welcome, oceangirl101! We're glad to have you in the group.

    4. Welcome! And I really like your session goals--they sound very balanced.

  9. I'm JaneB, I'm a mid-career academic at a UK University (almost literally mid-career, in terms of years worked as an academic and years until I can draw my state pension - I crossed that watershed somewhere in the last 12 months and didn't notice it amidst all the other stuff). Like Karen, my university is turning itself inside out with much drama and many slogans about Journeys and Going Beyond and apparently no understanding of what academics actually do all day. It's tiring. And it's getting all over my summer :-(

    I also ramble a lot.

    Where am I going? Literally, not too far, I hope. A few day trips to a nearby field site, a visit to the parentals, day trips to Sister and Niece, and in early September after this session ends a week or so somewhere in the UK, probably wrapped up with a visit to FavouriteIslands for a meeting. I have a couple of small workshop/conference things - one in the next city over, one I'm hosting - and that's quite enough really.

    It's a busy summer anyway - I have two PhD students writing up for autumn submission, three visiting researchers, an MSc research project, and a huge grant to write, and a paper backlog that is bugging me (and getting in the way of writing some stuff I want to write and some lab work I promised to do by September) - and I need (and want) to do more things For Me. At least there doesn't seem to be any building work going on in our building this summer!

    So research-wise and personal-wise, this is a summer of quite a bit of circling around familiar places. And I'm OK with that!

    Session goals:
    I'm going to set them at the start of week 4. Because this week is the last big exams and administration and Urgent Everything week, then I have two weeks which I hope will mostly be leave to focus on MY things (sleep, house organisation, reading a lot of junk fiction, handicrafts, some fiction writing, and the like) with a couple of days of necessary meetings. Time enough then to settle my feathers and brainstorm and freewrite my way to some doubtless wildly over-ambitious goals!

    goals this week:
    1) finish all exams related paperwork that is in my control
    2) do paperwork and send emails related to third summer visitor
    3) have longish Skype meeting with FormerPDF (former post doc who now has a faculty job elsewhere) about Problem Child Redux (we have to redo most of last summer's work, we are grumpy but at least we should avoid some mistakes. No doubt we will make new ones).
    4) prepare for a Twitter Conference ("talk" is 6 tweets with pictures delivered over 15 minutes. I am NOT a concise writer, this talk is going to be a real challenge to write!).

    And that is QUITE enough! Onward, all, to SUMMER

    1. OK, Elizabeth and I will make a note to find your session goals in week four. I think your plan to have a couple of weeks just for you at the beginning of your summer is excellent. I know people who will schedule vacation later so they have to get some things done before it comes around, but I'm on Team "Life Is Short, Eat Dessert First" when it comes to summer scheduling.

    2. That two-week time for yourself and your house sounds brilliant. You know what else is brilliant? This:

      "And it's getting all over my summer."

  10. Hello all! I’m humming42, a mid-career associate professor (who is thinking about going up for full) at a mid-size regional university in a small town in the US South. I am traveling not as far as I anticipated this summer...when I looked at my project list and started organizing session goals, I realized finally that I cannot actually Write All the Things this summer. I am not planning to travel physically at all but to travel far and deep intellectually, and I am excited about that. The packing is relatively easy, beginning with additional bookshelves and a new desk so I can pack up some things and organize others into project itineraries. This has been my plan here for a few years, so I am hopeful I can get it done soon. I have a good inventory of books, articles, and notes to get started on these projects. When I get them all done, I will be satisfied with the summer, so I am trying to set reasonable goals.

    Session goals:
    1 Submit Jewel article
    2 Submit film review
    3 Submit four current book reviews
    4 Draft Sweet for September submission
    5 End the session with at least a solid outline for Tiny Project
    6 Prepare to meet with Overlooked co-author in September
    7 Draft abstract for Travel project

    This week:
    1 Finish and submit Jewel
    2 Find pdfs for Overlooked lit review
    3 Write review of book I read during spring break
    4 Finish other review book
    5 Shop for bookshelves

    1. I love the idea of project libraries, and that you have literal and metaphorical packing combined. One of the purposes of this group is to support each other in making realistic, achievable plans rather than trying to Write All The Things and then feeling bad because it's not possible, so yay for a clear focus!

    2. Shopping for bookshelves! Yay!

  11. Introduction: I am a latish-career librarian (about five years from retirement) at an R1 in upstate New York. I am keeping my advanced degrees and first almost-career as a medievalist alive in my scholarship. I live with a philosopher husband, and two college student sons, the political philosopher and the historian. Our Standard Poodle, the princess, runs the house.

    Since I am still on my sabbatical, I am traveling a fair amount in the next twelve weeks. This week, I’m driving to the Finger Lakes region where my husband has a conference. Neither of us have been there before, so we are planning some junkets to wineries and museums.

    Later in June, I'm flying to New Orleans for the annual library conference. Many years ago, the annual conference was planned to be held there nine months after Katrina, and we were the first conference group that did not cancel. Ever since, librarians and New Orleans have had a bond. I have a long history with New Orleans, and look forward to going back.

    The first week of August, I will be taking the train to New York City for research. I have received grant money to stay an entire week. I go to the city at least every other month, but I rarely stay overnight, so this will be lovely. I will be checking some details of my focal text, but there is another text I want to spend a little face time with, and this trip will allow that time.

    I was struck by Dame Eleanor's last question. Under what name will you travel? I will be traveling under my legal name, because I have not yet changed my name to Elizabeth Mitchell. In addition to being my middle and maiden names, Elizabeth Mitchell is my author name, and the name by which I increasingly think of myself. I sometimes think I’m developing a personality disorder.

    Session mantra: “The best revenge is to be unlike him who caused the injury.” Marcus Aurelius
    Session goals:
    Follow the sabbatical schedule without being mental.
    Intersperse fun things.
    Foster mindfulness.
    Move--walk, swim, do Tai Chi.
    Create--write, knit, draw.

    Goals for this week:
    Register for writer's retreat.
    Finish grant.
    Write an average of 6 hours times 7.
    Unearth dining room table.
    Finish shawl.

    I am so pleased to see some former TLQ scholars returning to the group, and am delighted to be a co-cruise director. Have a lovely summer and a lovely week, everyone!

    1. I'm glad you liked the name question! I thought we might have people who wanted to pick out a new, project-specific name for the summer, for example.

      Finger Lakes ideas: the Watkins Glen gorge; the Johnson Art Museum on the Cornell campus; I don't remember the wineries well enough to have recommendations, but I hope you find some you like. Sir John will be in that region at the beginning of July.

    2. Thank you for the suggestions, DEH. My husband found a wine center near the conference that carries wine from 40 regional wineries, so we should find something!

    3. I like the idea of having a session mantra!

      And I hope you a lovely time at the lakes!

  12. I’m What Now?, a middle-aged white American former-academic-turned-high-school-teacher and sporadic blogger ( I haven’t done TLQ before, but I’m inviting myself in! I’ve been on sabbatical this spring (a true luxury for a HS teacher, and I very much appreciate my good fortune!) and want to spend this summer wrapping up the season of sabbatical – mostly finishing projects begun – and clearing the path for a return to the season of teaching. I am lucky in that I really do love my job, but I also know that the transition from sabbatical back to “work” needs some tender loving care so that it isn’t a shock to my system, especially since I’ll have a higher-than-usual teaching load next year.
    My specific session goals are
    * to finish and send off an article I’ve been working on off-and-on for a while now;
    * to get myself back into physical shape for teaching after a winter and spring spent sitting and reading;
    * to prepare to teach two brand-new courses
    * to declutter and streamline our home, which is more cluttered than ever since I’ve been here full-time for a few months!
    * to get myself back into the habit of studying Hebrew and Jewish stuff more broadly, which has gotten pushed to the back burner in recent weeks.

    No actual travel this summer, which I’m quite pleased about, since I’ve done three week-long trips to visit family this winter and spring, plus spending two weeks in Israel. I’m quite excited to sit in my own back yard and not pack! I’ve been using the seasonal metaphor (as in my first paragraph above), which doesn’t work as well for motivation to get work done but does help me be gentler with myself (something I’ve struggled with on this sabbatical).

    My goals for this week:
    * Finish the draft of this article so that I can put it away for a few days, clear my head, and then go back and look at it with fresh eyes.
    * Plus, less stressfully, I have meetings with two separate groups of colleagues to do some planning for next year’s courses. One will be straightforward and pretty easy; the other, which I’m more excited about, involves some serious rethinking of a course, which has been a fun intellectual project (although has distracted me from the article).
    * Call my mother. (Sometimes this is pleasant, and sometimes it's a chore)
    * And do 30 minutes’ work each day in the yard or the house, making our physical surroundings more pleasant.

    Wishing us all a lovely summer/winter/forthcoming season!

    1. Welcome! Maybe exploring your house could be your "travel" in this season; or think of it as your "ship" that you're outfitting for the teaching voyage ahead. Or maybe I'm wearing out this metaphor. It's good to have you with us.

    2. If you're going to be spending time in your backyard, you might want to peek at the gardening metaphor we used (and happily beat to death) in the last couple of posts of the previous session).

      But I also think "outfitting the ship" is provocative!

    3. Hello What Now! (I have to drop the question mark in your name for clarity of punctuation.) Welcome!

    4. Welcome! Getting all shipshape for the teaching year to come seems like a useful goal (it's one of mine as unless something unexpected happens I'll have what is just about the heaviest teaching load of my over-loaded career next year, so I'm trying to work out how to "mealprep some teaching" without ending up wasting time on things I'll have to redo (we teamteach everything at my Uni. It can be tough when a prepper gets paired with a "oh it'll be fine" type).

  13. I'm Susan, a senior professor (both in age and rank) in the humanities at a relatively new research university on the west coast of the US. One challenge of a new institution is that stability isn't our strong suit, so I know institutional chaos. I'm just finishing 2 years as chair of our faculty senate, so transitioning out of an administrative leadership role. I live with two cats who don't like eachother, and my elderly mother lives in an assisted living facility a mile or so from my home, and is an ongoing worry, and occasionally needs significant help.

    My journey for the summer is to catch up with myself. Between my administrative work and various other projects (I finished a book last year, and since then I've written 3 articles) I feel as if I've been going in a zillion directions, and I need to catch my breath, clean the house, and get ready for the fall, where I'm again teaching a new course. So I'm trying to have modest goals, and to be intentional about the catching up. Fortunately (though regretably) I'm not doing much actual travel this summer -- I'm heading to a conference at 4 AM tomorrow and then in early August I've got a week's cruise from Alaska.
    (I never finished up the previous session, but I did get rid of Witch!)

    Session goals:
    1. Finish revisions of essay "Violence" -- which is in pretty good shape, but has been sitting for a few years, so a little bib work is undoubtedly necessary.

    2. Read: catch up on journals and I've got three pending book reviews

    3. Get ready for the fall semester (overdue book orders, syllabus for new course, etc.)

    4 Keep walking. I've been aiming (pretty successfully) for 10,000 steps a day.

    5. Continue clearing out stuff.
    a. Get the den to be less of a dump. (mostly paper that I need to confront)
    b. Get rid of more clothes that I don't wear

    6. Do at least one fun thing with a friend each week.

    First week goals (limited, as I'm traveling)
    1. Read two journals, list in bibliography
    2. Enjoy conference
    3. Keep exercise going while at conference.

    1. Great to see you again, and catching up to oneself is an excellent travel goal. Congratulations on getting Witch ready to fly away, and I hope you'll have a great time at the conference.

  14. Susan, you and I can be fellow travelers in confronting paper and clothing and all the other things that turn a home into a dump!

  15. Hi All! I'm completely new to this group, so I hope I'm doing this right!

    I'm a more or less recent grad in eighteenth-century British lit starting a VAP this fall at a SLAC in the American Midwest. I live with my soon-to-be husband, and have neither pets nor children although we do own an inordinate number of books (occupational hazard, I suppose). I have been fellowship-hopping for the last two years, so while I may go on some literal journey this summer the one I am most concerned with is the journey to finding peace at home. I have an awfully hard time understanding how to take a break from work, while simultaneously being unable to balance all the different work I have to do in an unstructured time like the summer. So, this time for me is about attempting to strike a balance and understanding what needs to be done now and what can be left alone for later.

    Session Goals:

    1. Research and draft Chapter 5 of my book project
    2. Finalize and submit book proposal to first choice press
    3. Draft tentative article on plant pornography (yes, you can ask me about that, and no, it's not my book topic)
    4. Reach a healthy balance between work and taking care of myself, in terms of reading for fun, cooking at home, exercising, etc.
    5. Plan for three new courses in the fall.

    First week goals

    1. Exercise 4x
    2. Write for at least 5 minutes per day
    3. Go to the library to pick up books

    1. Welcome, Plant Girl! The journey to balance is one of those recurrent trips, or maybe it's like walking a labyrinth as a meditation; it's an ongoing process.

      Rather than feeling that you have to Do All The Things before you can have a break, I suggest picking an amount of time that seems reasonable on a daily basis; schedule it, keep office hours, and then when it's over, you're through for the day. I realize this is difficult early in one's career: my first year on the TT, my idea of relaxation was reading Chaucer criticism in the bathtub, rather than working at my desk. But it's worth trying, anyway; and as far as teaching prep does, separate the must-do from the would-be-nice items, and leave the second category until you've taught a course at least once.

      And yes, the books are certainly an occupational hazard for those of us in literature.

    2. goes--as far as teaching prep goes---not does.

    3. I remember a while back we talked about "thrashing," as it relates to computers (was that from you DEH?), and how sometimes when we have too much going, we just start to cycle and spin. That metaphor might be apropos to your situation. I know it's a good one for me. Sometimes, I try to open and run too many things at one, and then I just spin.

      Here's the Wikipedia link:

      But I'm sure there is a "thrashing"-like travel metaphor, too. I'll have to think about that.


    4. Thanks for the welcome, and for the advice! I already feel better being a part of this community :)

    5. I am CONSTANTLY fighting this battle - on really good days (e.g. I feel great health-wise, confident mentally, and am often at a conference or interacting with a great research colleague) I get all enthused about all the things I COULD do, and then on bad days I can't even face making the list, and for most of the time there is just too much. Learning to say "ENOUGH" is one of the hardest lessons of academia - some people suss it out early on, others of us it takes a little or a lot longer.

      Having a space like this, and some outside advice and "really are you SURE?" type comments, have been really helpful to me - I hope they are to you too!