the grid

the grid

Sunday 25 November 2018

September-December: Week 12

It's difficult to believe we're nearing the end of November, and I don't know about all of you, but once December hits, two things happen: first, I feel an urgency to get a lot of TLQ finished before the end of the year, and, second, all kinds of bugges and invasive mint appear to eat up or crowd my TLQ sprouts and stems, such as they are. These two occurrences work together to make me feel both insanely busy and completely unproductive. In fact, the middle of December is typically my most stressful time of year.

This leads me back to a topic from week four: fencing, bugge spray, etc. As we head into the final stretch of this session, what kinds of December pests or threats to your TLQ plots do you expect to arrive, and what kind of bugge spray or fencing might work best to save, preserve, and increase your final harvests of the year? Or perhaps there something you plan just to abandon to the weeds and wild beasties?

I hope everyone has a great week!

Bardiac (held over)
1. Work on the paper. Write two pages (what's left of the week is short)
2. Practice!

1. Health: the usual.
2. Research: finish the introduction to the translation.
3. Teaching: catch up on grading.
4. Life Stuff: catch up there too.
5. Admin: order books, choose next year's classes.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Combine two earlier versions of the Introduction. 
Read and annotate five articles.

GEW (held over)
Survive drama field trip

heu mihi
1. Exercise x4
2. Sit x5
3. Nano--12k?
4. Get ready for re-entry: prep for next Monday; read for next Wednesday; Gen Ed review; finish grading.

1 Write winter-theme blog posts 
2 Work on Road abstract
3 Work on Archives abstract
4 Work on Nostalgia
5 Two hours on Tiny Project

1) keep NaNo-ing
2) self care - water, sugar minimising, NO WHITE BREAD or pastries, movement, sitting
3) an hour of TLQ writing or writing related work on top of care-and-feeding of ProblemChild2

oceangirl101 (held over)
1. Try to write 3000 words on puff piece Encyclopedia entry as way to get back into writing
2. Write grant annual report
3. Read and comment on grad student dissertation chapter
4. Liase with Mom's hospice team
5. Liase with Mom's lawyer re: estate planning
6. Get travel plans set for nephew that Mom wants to see
7. Figure out if I want to rent house in spring or find new house sitter etc. 

Plant Girl
1. Run at least once before TG and once after (if possible)
2. FL work x2 or 3
3. Read something for fun
4. Do something artsy again
5. Collate responses to book and organize notes in preparation for working on it again after TG

1. Focus on F32 aim 1 paper
2. Abstract for APA
3. Make plan for K letters
4. IRB close out/renew
5. LOR for 2 of my mentees


  1. (Sorry for the long comment. Making up for recent omissions, I guess.)

    December is always kind of crazy. The grading avalanche hits, I have to attend to Christmas gifts for those near and far, and I have to prepare to travel out of state for a couple of weeks. This year will be extra crazy because of my daughter's drama performance and the fact that family will visit for that performance. The good thing about this year is that my classes end earlier than usual, so grades will be due before Christmas, so I won't have to take stacks of papers with me for the holidays. And I'll have some time post-grading time to get ready for the trip. In fact, this will be the first winter break in 10 years that I haven't been either writing the PhD, prepping for the viva, or grading stacks of papers.

    So, as for December, the weekend of the drama performance, I will just give over my entire self for three days. I will bake for the bake sale, volunteer at the shows, put curlers in my daughter's hair, help her manage her emotions, and just not worry about the rest of life. I will try not to even worry too much about my MIL--who has cancer--who will be visiting. I will be gracious, and we will give her our bedroom to make her comfortable, but I will let go of being the perfect hostess. I will be kind and make sure she has what she needs, but we will order food or my husband can figure out food, etc. while I serve as drama mama. My sister-in-law and nephew will also stay with us then (they might have to sleep in the camper van), and I will not even worry about how my SIL might judge me or my house or even my daughter's performance. I am going to float like the lightest mist anyone has ever seen. This won't all happen until two weeks from now, but I'm just thinking about how to make sure I don't give up all of my time between now and then preparing for and stressing about all of it. Typically, I let stuff like this invade every other garden plot for at least 10 days before and three days after the actual event.

    I think what I'll need to do is give up some leisure-reading time in order to make other TLQ stuff happen. I still have some session goals that need attention, and I'm going to need some anti-leisure/anti-laziness spray to keep myself going and balanced. I think I'm also going to ask for the kids' help next weekend. My husband will be visiting his mom (and then bringing her back with him), and while he's gone, I'd really like to do some house things to surprise him when he gets back (e.g., clean my stuff from the garage, clean the linen closet). I think putting in that time will pay off when I need other TLQ time.

    Also, I didn't comment last week, and I like DEH's topic, so I just want to say that although I simultaneously feel like I work too much and not enough, other people (my colleagues, especially) are impressed by what I have accomplished. I've done a lot of service to the college over the past 10 years, I've finished a PhD, I've published an article, and I've raised two kids--all while working at my tenured position. They say, "I don't know how you do it." And when I look in the rear-view mirror, I don't know how I did it either. Also, I often get complimented for how my mind works (but I'm guessing that's common among this TLQ group).

    Next week:
    1) Clean my stuff and kids' stuff from garage as much as possible.
    2) Clean linen closet. (Buy some new towels as a reward?)
    3) Chip away at research papers (at least 4-5 per day, with extras on Wednesday) while doing other daily TRQ grading and prep. Try to finish research papers by 12/3.
    4) Walk at least twice.*

    *I ended up walking with a can a couple of weeks ago. Not sure if it was bursitis or arthritis or what, and I'm much better now, but I really need to be moving more and sitting less.

  2. Replies
    1. Great plan for the drama weekend. I have a hard time letting go of MY things, MY time, etc., even when it can't possibly fit in with some big event and I really *need* to let them go. I suspect that planning it, and accepting it, in advance is really key.

    2. I agree with heu mihi, sometimes you just have to go with the big picture goals of making the most of family (or whatever), and planning to get back to your stuff after the big event is over.

    3. Here's to floating like the lightest mist!

  3. December threats: I pretty much always get sick at the end of the semester. Since I had such a nasty cold in November, however, I'm hoping to skip it this year--so that I can get gum grafts instead!!!! Yes, that's how *I* plan to start my winter break. Jealous?

    One of the things that I like most about this accountability group is that it reminds me to do my daily practices. Sitting doesn't happen as much as I'd like, but I've gotten pretty good at plugging away with writing tasks and language practice, mostly because I know that I have to report them here. Not that any of you would judge me harshly for falling behind, I know, but the mere act of reporting becomes a motivator. This is especially helpful during the frantic end-of-semester times, when it's so easy to drop the non-urgent work in favor of the urgent.

    Last week:
    1. Exercise x4 - x3, but one of the runs was extra long
    2. Sit x5 -Nope. Not even once.
    3. Nano--12k? -I think so. Anyway, I'm on target.
    4. Get ready for re-entry: prep for next Monday; read for next Wednesday; Gen Ed review; finish grading. -HA HA HA HA. I've mostly prepped for today, read most of one class's stuff for Wednesday, no Gen Ed review; grading IS done, though.

    This week is very busy with meetings and the like. Here's the goal:
    1. Language x5, write x5, sit x5, exercise x4.
    2. Gen Ed & HFA reviews (this all needs to happen, so it will).
    3. Catch up on emails, for Pete's sake. Both accounts.
    4. Finish NaNo.
    5. Plan revisions to Silence.

    1. That element of public acknowledgement is so helpful. And the group provides some alternative voices to the "bugges." I hope you can indeed skip the end-of-term cold! Sorry about the gum grafts.

    2. I am not at all jealous about the gum grafts. That does not sound fun. I hate dental stuff, and I've had to visit the dentist a lot over the years (weak teeth, etc.). I don't know much about gum grafting, but I hope the procedure goes well and that recovery isn't very difficult. And that you get to skip your December sickness.

      Good job on the runs. I thought it might be too cold and dark for that now. I hope they felt good.

      Good luck this week with sitting, meetings, and the NaNo finish!

  4. 1. Health: the usual. YAY: thanks to the Thanksgiving break, I did very well with exercise and stretching, and ate safely, and got enough sleep. Gold star. What a difference it makes to have more time to work with.
    2. Research: finish the introduction to the translation. ONGOING. Progress made.
    3. Teaching: catch up on grading. HALF: I finished one set of assignments, and have one set of shorter papers to go.
    4. Life Stuff: catch up there too. GOOD: made deposit, booked trip to see my dad, did various “winterizing” things around the house/garden.
    5. Admin: order books, choose next year's classes. NO to books, YES to classes.

    Today we have a snow day so my break continues! I’ve done some online administrivia for my current classes, and hope to spend the rest of the day writing and grading.

    New goals:
    1. Health: the usual.
    2. Research: finish the introduction to the translation.
    3. Teaching: one set of short assignments; comment on grads’ drafts.
    4. Life Stuff: bills etc for December, get siding fixed, book a trip with Sir John.
    5. Admin: order books, program review contribution.

    1. So glad to hear that food and health went well. It seems that Thanksgiving could be a tricky time for avoiding the stuff that causes problems, but you make a great point about how having sufficient time can really help us manage all kinds of problems. In fact, it seems like the extra time helped you with a number of goals. And now a snow day! Fabulous! I just hope it doesn't create a backlog when you get back . . .

      With the snow, I guess it's a good thing you did some winterizing! I hope you were ready for it and that it looks beautiful out the window as you write and grade.

    2. I just bring my own food to gatherings, now. Much simpler than trying to negotiate the pitfalls of other people's cooking or catering.

      I'm afraid I really never appreciate the beauties of snow. That's my husband's department! We'll get a thaw in a couple of days and I'm looking forward to that.

    3. Ah, the pleasures of TIME. Makes such a lot of difference to so many things...

  5. I would like to request a small gathering of focus fairies who will follow me around like tiny trolls and shout at me when I drift away from what I intend to do and end up with wasted days. I’ve started to imagine them already, and had a productive but tiring Monday. Perhaps also making up for the not-very-productive week, which my husband declared to be A Holiday, With No Work, so I did bits and pieces.

    Last week
    1 Write winter-theme blog posts: No
    2 Work on Road abstract: Yes
    3 Work on Archives abstract: Yes, ready to submit
    4 Work on Nostalgia: Yes
    5 Two hours on Tiny Project: No

    This week
    1 Submit Archives abstract
    2 Submit Road abstract
    3 Two hours on winter blog posts
    4 Finish reading current review book

    1. Focus fairies! Oh, yes, I want some too. Actually, now that I have finished two lots of grading in the last week, and started to make headway on the introduction-revisions, I am finding it much easier to focus. It really is the case that Too Many Things lead to thrashing, and when I have only a few items on my list, I do much better. I know this, but it's hard to manage my workload so that I never have more than a few things! Worth trying, though.

    2. Oh they sound great! Focus Fairies and Bugge Spray in my new wool socks this Christmas please!

  6. My mom died on November 9th, I was with her holding her hand so I have some solace in that. Since them I have been consumed with grief. I now am organizing her estate and getting her house up for sale. Its been a horrible few weeks, made worse by family infighting. Death brings the worse out in families sometimes and its hard to understand as I really could use some support but instead just feel so utterly alone. Probably TMI but just wanted to post to explain my absence. I am negotiating to go back to work 50% time in the Spring and hope to participate in TLQ more fully then.

    1. I am sorry to hear that your family is making a sad time worse. I hope you have RL friends who are more supportive, and that you'll be able to get some support from us here. It's very hard dealing with the practical details of settling the estate and cleaning up just when you're first grieving, although for some people it's helpful to have something to do. Many of us here have been through something similar. However it feels, you are not alone! Very best wishes for your own health and strength of mind in a difficult time.

    2. i'm so sorry to hear that - but glad you were able to take the leave when you needed it and be there. Families are just HARD. Much empathy from this group - you can always be sure of a listening ear here. One of the great things about the sort of friendships this type of group can create, in my experience, there is enough distance from "everyday life" that you can unload private or awkward things that you badly need to say to a listening ear, get empathy and feel heard, often get good advice, but feel safe that it won't "come back on you" in some way.

      Hoping the holiday season brings good memories and doesn't make the process of sorting out the details worse.

    3. I will echo everything Dame Eleanor and JaneB have said, especially that you are not alone. Take care of yourself, and give yourself time and permission to grieve. {{{Hugs}}}

    4. I'm so sorry that your mom died. I know that you knew it would be coming, but that doesn't make it any easier. But I'm sure it was such a gift to her to have you with her during these last few months. And I'm so sorry your family members are making it worse. I hope they get their heads on straight and their hearts in the right place, and I hope joyful memories can lighten your heavy heart.

    5. Oh no, I'm so sorry. Lots of love and support to you.

  7. I had a hard week, including an eye infection which meant I had to limit contact lens wearing, which kept me off the internet. Just got really, really stressed about stuff and the anxiety is fierce at the moment. SIGH! THis has been such a stressful year... it just hasn't let up, yet very few "big things" have happened (well, if you don't count the steady decline of my country's credibility and ability to organise its way out of a paperbag, the insecurity of our university sector, and the impending disaster that will be Brexit under whatever conditions).

    I did "win" NaNo though - 52,000 words or thereabouts. I haven't quite finished drafting my story, but the different approach to plotting I tried this year worked well for me, and I think what I put together is probably worth editing up. We'll see...

    1. Congratulations on NaNo! I hope to read one of these novels someday.

      I'd like to feel optimistic about 2019, but I fear things might get worse before they get better. But I hope it can still be a better year for you.

  8. Topic: My biggest bugs are two nasty creatures -- meetings and administrative tasks. The first bore one to distraction and the second bite with tiny, sharp teeth, making one itch and burn. Yesterday was the last day of my sabbatical, and while I am immensely grateful that I was granted an extra month, I am returning to a week with two t&p cases and one promotion case. On top of those three meetings, I already have five more meetings planned to “catch up” with my committees, one of which I have to chair, since my co-chair is on family leave until the end of January at the earliest. Talk about rapid re-entry!

    I have also heard from several of my staff about personality conflicts with the colleague who oversaw my department while I was on sabbatical, so I will have lots of mediation sessions in my near future.

    However, to end on a positive note, I won NaNo as a rebel, by writing most of a novella and finishing with the new dissertation words written during November, to come in with over 51,000 words. Also, although I did lose more to illness than the month I gained, I managed to get almost all the work done that is truly difficult to do when working 9-5 M-F -- the literature review, the introduction, the commentary. The bibliography, glossary, and textual notes I can hack away at as I can. So, I am pleased with my progress.

    Last week’s goals:
    Combine two earlier versions of the Introduction. Yes
    Read and annotate five articles. Only four.

    Analysis: I had to do some committee work, which interfered with getting an article read, but was assertive in refusing to come to campus for two committee meetings, which would have submarined two entire days.

    I also had a social week, which I think was incredibly helpful. We had a newish colleague and her partner over for dinner on Sunday, and met another friend for drinks on Wednesday, which is a lot of socializing for two introverts! I found it somewhat exhausting, but it also kept my mind off the return to work.

    Next week’s goals:
    I’m not setting any goals, since I am so very, very late.

    I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. Float like mist, everyone!

    1. Congratulations on ALL of that writing! That's fabulous! And I'm so glad that you made such good progress despite some of the health-related interruptions during your sabbatical.

      Your re-entry does sound like it might be a little fiery, but it also sounds like your department will be glad to have you back. It will be good to remember how difficult and tiring it can be to get back into busy multitasking and decision making. After sabbaticals, I have found that I feel sluggish--like a computer that doesn't have enough RAM or gigabytes, and it usually takes me 4-6 weeks to get back up to pace. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the fact that your mind still wants to dig deep rather than skipping frantically across the surface.

    2. Thank you for the advice, GEW. I will endeavor to be patient with myself!