the grid

the grid

Sunday 26 May 2019

Summer-North, Winter-South Session: Week 1

Hello! I wanted the title to this first post to be inclusive of both halves of the globe; I hope that it isn't simply confusing.

Welcome to the new session of TLQ! Unless I'm mistaken--please correct me if I am--we'll go for 14 weeks, which will take us right up to the start of September.

For this first week, please introduce yourself (newcomers welcome!), create some goals for the session, and add in your goals for the week. Our purpose here is to create a place for support and accountability as we progress towards the professional and/or personal goals that often get sidelined in the day-to-day busyness of our lives.

If you'd like an additional prompt, I invite you to think about what initially drew you to your career/discipline. If this is something that still sustains you or gives you pleasure, are there ways in which you can keep it in--or bring it back into--your life for the next few months?

Saturday 18 May 2019

Spring Intersession - week 8 - final check in

Hi all!  Posting this early as I'm doing Outreach tomorrow (which involves getting up early on a Sunday, driving over an hour to a rather remote visitor centre, lugging tables and chairs and stuff around for a while, setting stuff up in an inadequate space, talking to strangers for a few hours, then packing up and coming back.  Lovely.  But the colleagues I'm doing it with are great so there will be some fun, and it is Worthwhile.  Or at least I am told it is!).

If anyone wants a discussion topic for the week, let's think about lessons learned from this particular end-of-year/Spring (for those of us who teach at least).  For me, once again, it's that it's always more work and stress than I expect!

Some lucky, lucky people finished cleanly for the summer in the last couple of weeks.  Others have semesters which are dragging on, or unexpected monsters popped up to mess up their plans.  As is normal for a period of transition like semester-end, participation here has fluctuated - we've had as few as 5 comments some weeks - but I at least am really grateful that it's still been here, a reminder of the Long Game when all the immediate stuff is yelling for attention and biting my ankles!  Thank you all for taking part, whether it was for one week or eight, and remember to come back next week when the summer session will be kicking off (thanks to our new host, heu mihi!  Did anyone else ever offer to help out?  I can't remember?). 

Reminder: we're always open to new joiners or returners, and to people who can only attend for part of a session signing up - so do share the new session widely!

Last week's goals:

Dame Eleanor Hull
I am taking this week entirely off from work! What I aim to do:
*tidy, weed, plant in the garden; perhaps see about removing a shrub if it doesn't perk up.
*watch all of the Tour of California.
*read fun books.
*enjoy three social engagements.
*book one routine vet appointment.
*prep for open house and then restore normal conditions.
*stretch and exercise daily.
*cook slightly more ambitiously than usual.
*make work plan for the rest of the summer.
And sleep. I am going to try to fix a sleep schedule that works for me and my household, probably on the early side but not so very early as during the semester, and make up the sleep debt I've been running.

Good Enough Woman
1) Get grading back to the forefront. I have subs for my exams, but I still need to grade them.
2) Walk 3x (if surgery recovery permits)
3) Enjoy the present moment. Meditate 3x.
4) Do the chemo prep, of course.

heu mihi
1. Make realistic(ish) summer work plan
2. Read proofs of Weep
3. Homework for teaching workshop (due 5/22)
4. Submit Kzoo proposal for 2020
5. Start review book
6. Submit reimbursements of various kinds
7. Inbox 0! Or, at least, Inbox < 10!

busy fighting battles on other fronts – hope it’s going well!

1) self-care - continue to drink a great deal of water. Be kind to self. Eat less bread...
2) consolidate lists and start making a summer list
3) keep up with paperwork on the Two Big Modules and don't let other people's dilatoriness take up any of my emotional bandwidth
4) ten rows of square
5) finish marking current essay pile (I have about 60, I can do 3-4 an hour, so that's 15-20 hours... sigh...)
6) put things into my summer calendar and finish the doodle I'm doing around the edge..

1. Make real progress on Violence, so that next week I can really finish it.
2. Do 3 hours of work clearing the disaster area that is my desk.
3. Begin planning one of my fall courses to get book orders in
4. Walk two times
5. Get regular sleep
6. Do something fun.

Session goals

Dame Eleanor Hull (never did formalise her goals list but this version is a fun read!)
I’m working a routine mission, and have nearly finished stocking a series of caches that will be really useful to the army when they get here, and incidentally managing to map a strategic piece of mountain that we haven’t had good plans for, when I hear a dull roar very far away. Uh-oh. When I come to the edge of the forest, towards a farm that has historically been not-unfriendly, the barn is burning. So much for sleeping there tonight. I hope that the farmers fired it themselves, after taking the animals higher up the mountain, but I’m not going to wait around to find out. I will have to go the long way around to get back behind my lines, and hope that the enemy hasn’t mined the mountain passes.
I now have companions, or subordinates, or something: three talking cats. I think the higher-ups were thinking of them as assistants, but since they are cats, they are more hindrance than help. It’s true that they are excellent at sensing the presence of the enemy, but this is not necessarily useful, as their response is usually to climb a tree rather than helping with the task at hand. It’s also true that they fight fiercely when cornered, but again, as a scout and quartermaster I’m supposed to stay away from action, and the cats are more likely to damage me than the enemy. As usual, the generals have no fucking clue what life on the ground is like.
I’ve also been training some of the locals in some resistance techniques. They may yet make the war go my way, if they don’t revert to their old loyalties and make things much worse. So, like the cats, there’s some question as to whether they’re allies or not. But it seemed a risk worth taking.

At any rate, the sound of distant guns signals that the war has started. The steady nerves, good distance vision, and knowledge of the terrain that make me a good scout also make me a good sniper. I’ve stocked some of my private caches with weapons, ammunition, and explosives. Over the next few weeks, I may have to blow up a bridge here, take out an enemy sentry there, and continue to do a little mapping when I have a quiet minute to take notes. I really hope I can stay out of pitched battles, and get the talking cats back to a place where they’ll be happier. Like a general’s bed. I’d love to see one of the top brass get a set of talking cats their dawn nom-noms. 

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Organizing Goals:
Finish the term with a clear organization to the scholarly apparatus for Prudence.
Slash and burn through one lateral file drawer by end of term.
Writing Goals:
Edit three pages a day of the dissertation.
Health Goals:
Continue to move.
Continue to eat better than I did a year ago.
Creativity goals:
Write at least fifteen minutes a day on a creative project--novella, novel, something.
Knit for at least a half-hour daily.
heu mihi
1. Daily things x5: Language, exercise, write, sit.
2. Full draft of Amy
3. Reread Malory (400 pages to go!)
4. Knit a lot 

1 Write and submit four book reviews
2 Finish Perform paper
3 Write abstract for Generations
I also am waiting for word on two abstracts, one for a journal article and the other for a book chapter.

1) Self-care: water, fruit & veg, sitting, doing something in the evening, sleep, movement2) Research: make project list, green data thing, get problem child 1 sent off (please!), problem child 2 full draft, write seminar and public talk
3) Craft: finish current square, start another, add some more china blue to the never-ending project
4) domestic chaos reduction: maintain current status throughout marking season! (that will be quite enough of an achievement...).

1. finish the semester (my final exam is May 11, commencement is May 19, so good timing for me) Right now I'm just so tired!
2. Revise paper from last year for presentation in NYC next week.
3. Finish Violence, which editors want on May 3. This may be optimistic, but I'll try.
4. Keep plugging away on collaboration.
5. Get back to walking
6. Say no to anything new between now and the summer
7. Plan some kind of summer vacation

Sunday 12 May 2019

Spring intersession - week 7

Our last week!  I wish it was MY last week - our long drawn out process means that my last big assignment comes in 15th May, then students with extensions (not granted by me - new centralised processes) can submit work until 31st May, then exam boards and programme boards are in the middle of June, then we have to set resits for those who failed (they get a second shot in August) and create "additional support materials" for them.  THEN it's SORT OF summer... with resit marking arriving early August.  And people wonder why it's so hard to achieve summer research goals...

So where Dame Eleanor has one big Last Battle, I have a boring, drawn-out mopping up mission with a lot of little skirmishes, and having to continually have one eye out (and space in the diary) to deal with eruptions of mini leathery avians...

BUT regardless of those complexities, here at TLQ we have one more intersessional week, then launch into summer planning!  In preparation, let's think about how you are going to mark the change in academic seasons - A weekend off, a fancy new tea, a glass of raspberry lemonade by a lake, the ceremonial purchase of summer reading?

Goals from last week:

Dame Eleanor Hull
Grade two sets of papers and an exam.
Compute final grades.
Finish K'zoo paper and other presentation.
E-mail administrator re conference etc., requesting not to get "gentle reminder" e-mail of when grades are due.
Pack for trip, eat safely and keep up with exercise and stretching while away.

Good Enough Woman
1) Get my act together for my son's b-day, which is Thursday!! I have no presents in hand yet. :( He is difficult to buy for. I will make him a shepherd's pie though.
2) Pick up the grading pace. Try to get 25 research papers done by Saturday.
3) Don't work on Mother's Day (unless it's just to prep Lady Susan).
4) Meditation app 5x
5) Walk 3x
6) Make dentist appointment (and maybe OB/GYN appt if I can get one soonish)

heu mihi
1. Grade
2. Clean the house, make yoghurt and granola, do the things that need doing at home before I leave town
3. Create a REALISTIC(ish) summer work plan
4. Read diss chapter
5. Start reading book for review

Humming42 (carried over)
1 Finish and submit R&R
2 Another batch of grading
3 One paperwork batch for summer

JaneB (carried over due to getting confused by a Bank Holiday)
1) self-care - continue to drink a great deal of water. Be kind to self. Make Drs appt
2) go through the last two weeks of emails, catch up, carry over chore lists etc.
3) get on top of paperwork for the Two Big Modules (TLQ this week - TRQ next week - and don't require too much thought so may be very suitable!)
4) ten rows of square
5) mark one late big project. next big pile comes in on Thursday this week, so mostly I get to actively NOT mark and appreciate the absence of it!
6) if I feel like it, start looking at the shape of the summer and do some planning/booking of things.

1. Grade the papers that came in today
2. Spend one day on Violence revisions
3. Grade the final projects I get on Saturday
4. Walk twice
5. Do something fun

Sunday 5 May 2019

Spring Intersession - week 6

Now that it's May, it looks like spring really is here. Apple blossoms have bloomed despite the snow of a couple of weeks ago, though less profusely than in warmer years. My semester is winding down, so although this week will see the Last Battle, with lots of exploding things and crazy panicked running in all directions, I know that in no more than nine days it will all be over. Either that, or I will be filing lots of change-of-grade forms and fielding many e-mails from panicky students.

I, DEH, am jumping in this week because next week I'll be away at a conference; JaneB, I hope this doesn't upset your plans.

How are things with all of you? Calming down, revving up, running behind, shifting around? Pick your preposition and find a verb!

Goals from last week:

Dame Eleanor Hull
Blow up three bridges and set explosives for a fourth.
Quickly plot an alternate route while also ensuring the main path is clear.
Kill some leathery-winged avians (take out a nest?)
Placate the talking cats, who are Displeased.

Good Enough Woman
1) Walk three times.
2) Try meditation app.
3) Brainstorm strategies for appreciating the present moment (more than worrying about the future)
4) Help son choose and cook a recipe for extra credit for his Spanish class.
5) Make steady progress on grading (hoping to have the big batches done before Mother's Day).

heu mihi
1) Daily things, rendered near-daily: Write x4, language x4, exercise x4, sit x5.
2) Revise Kalamazoo paper.
3) Read diss chapter.
4) Get on top of end-of-term service things (per to-do list).
5) Buy some plants & plant them.
6) Knit like a fiend.

1 Finish and submit R&R
2 Another batch of grading
3 One paperwork batch for summer

1) self-care - continue to drink a great deal of water. Be kind to self. Make Drs appt
2) go through the last two weeks of emails, catch up, carry over chore lists etc.
3) get on top of paperwork for the Two Big Modules (TLQ this week - TRQ next week - and don't require too much thought so may be very suitable!)
4) ten rows of square
5) mark one late big project. next big pile comes in on Thursday this week, so mostly I get to actively NOT mark and appreciate the absence of it!
6) if I feel like it, start looking at the shape of the summer and do some planning/booking of things.