the grid

the grid

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Week 8: That which is beyond my control.

Thus far this weekend, I’ve grappled with a small-scale headache and decided that after lunch, I would take a nap in the hope of clearing it up completely. I slept for an hour and a half. While I feel better, I also feel guilty that I napped and didn’t get all of my grading and class prep done that I intended to finish today. I realized that I see this headache, which is beyond my control, as a personal failure. Further, I need to compensate for that failure by working harder, staying up later, and feeling guilty about not taking care of teaching things in a timely manner. 

What if I could just accept that I had a headache, like I might accept that I got stuck in traffic, or had a power outage? What, if anything, you would like to just accept and make peace with, even though it’s beyond your control? If you have an ongoing story here, what might your character accept and let go?  
Let us know how your week went, and what your plans are for the week ahead.  

1)Continue working on talk, it is coming along nicely 
2)More small paragraphs for book project 
3)Run off pizza dinners from lab week – 3 should help! 
4)Set up teaching topics for rest of term with snow day back-ups 
5)Set lab exams 

Dame Eleanor Hull 
Daily stretching, exercise, 8 hours sleep. 
Daily writing (or writing-adjacent activities) toward conference paper. 
Grade/respond to one set of papers. 
Prep for committee meeting; re-design forms. 
Do some house-market-prep. 

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell 
Next week’s goals: 
Read articles for class. 
Finish peer review--now TRQ. 
Prepare for colleague’s term review. 
Spend 15 minutes a day clearing space in the office. 
Ask for a key to the locking file; if not, use one of the patrons’ lockers. 
Put together the coat tree for the office. 
Go through how the archival system works before desk duty. 
Email co-editor to find good time to discuss scope on the phone. 
Contact research library in big city for time to do Illuminated research. 
Meditate at least one a day. 
Walk at least three tours of the stacks. 

Good Enough Woman (held over) 
1. Get next week's Brit Lit reading done by Sunday. 
2. Do most of the prep for next week to clear the way for heavier grading. 
3. Find short stories for independent study student. Create first few assignments for her. 
4. Research/write for 1 hour. 
1. Send at least three cards/letters to people. 
2. Have lunch with my mom. 
3. Float like mist through all four of my son's 4-H activities this week. Support him. 
1. Walk 4x 
2. Meditate 4x 
3. Skip late-night treat 3x. Fast at least 13 hours 2x. 
4. Reschedule appointment that got cancelled. 

heu mihi 
1. Revise & complete conference paper 
2. Work on proposal revisions and send them to co-editor 
3. Look at Wonder revisions and consider what might be done 
4. Language x 3 
5. Acquire a bunch of stuff for trip (e.g. flip-flops for Son, Neosporin, tissue packs, Gold Bond for bug bites, rupees) 
6. Revise & complete application essays 

1 host conference. That should be enough, it seems, but there are other obligations 
2 submit film essay revision 
3 write and submit book review 
4 write and submit conference abstract 

1) take one day COMPLETELY OFF next weekend 
2) take the time next weekend to clean the kitchen and do meal prep properly, so I have good food to get me through the following week. Continue to aim for 5 fruit and veg a day, plenty of water, no bread, and sugar only in high cocoa dark chocolate type stuff apart from one small thing per day (which needs eating up - good excuse eh?). 
3) spend an hour with my NaNo writing, because I enjoy it 
4) answer three emails to research collaborators this week, and otherwise not worry about research things, just put them onto a list for future reference (ugh)... 

Karen (held over) 
-clear 2 boxes (the ones next to the bookshelf) 
-start all course F draft documents 
-run x 2, yoga x 3. Wondering if I can fit in a weights session somewhere in my schedule because I realise I need to work on upper body strength, but can't see where. 
-order wind sock, book in 4 field recording days. 
-write up notes from this mornings library trip 

KJHaxton (held over) 
- prepare assessment guidelines for article assessment 
- mark group projects, send materials off for moderation 
- aim for 30 minutes per day on professional development application 
- collate sustainability paperwork 
- aim for 2 x 2 hours of data analysis for engagement project 
- work on draft of sustainability paper ( 2 hours minimum) 

Oceangirl101 (held over) 
1) write/work on book, but mostly Ch 7 3x a week, for 2 hrs each- will involve some number crunching, creation of figures, writing and some revision of Ch 3 
2) exercise x 3 
3) meet with undergrad students/grad that I am advising on lab projects/independent studies etc. 
4) finish syllabi, start BB sites for two courses 

Susan (held over) 
1. Do required reading, and revise Race/Patriarchy 
2. Follow up on last bits for Big Book (we've got 28 of 30 contributors!!!) 
3. If time, figure out next steps on Famous Author 
4. Take a day off 
5. Keep sleep going, and start reading at bed time instead of playing games. 
6. Exercise 
7. Keep up with healthy eating 

1. Maturing out hypothesis refs 
2. NJ job talk 
3. Prep for NJ interview 
4. Move YRBS paper along 
5. Results for relat identity paper 
6. Work on Latinx survey 
7. Respond to email about longitudinal paper 
8. Keep working on qual analyses 


  1. This was a lousy week, the catch-up after being away is always a nasty shock and this was no exception. One can stay on top of a lot of things with travel but some will still come and wait for you! I had to focus on some of the urgent/important-to-other-people stuff and except for 2 small things that got done. Teaching is mostly sorted for the rest of term, bar snow days and other disasters.

    Things I’ve been trying hard to let go of this term fall in the category of “other-peoples’-jobs” that they took on, swore they would do, and never do (one particular character in mind here – the “male-scientist-who-thinks-reading-emails/instructions-and-service-is-for-the-little-people”). I’ve been setting them up for success by doing the groundwork, giving them detailed instructions, and then I let it go... So far they’ve failed at everything, and except for the things that can cause serious legal issues I’ve not rescued him for any part of it, so far that has resulted in the cancellation of a field trip and some non-lethal budget shortfalls for an event. As the expression says “not my circus, not my monkeys”.

    March is always a mess with mid-term exams and my fancy talk is in 3 weeks so I want the week leading up to that to have some wiggle room. This week I have to concentrate on some pre-emptive writing of a few reports so that the next couple of weeks do not suck more than they need to – these will take some time to put together so I need to start now, and also finish up some accounting before finalizing them.

    Last week’s goals:
    1) Continue working on talk, it is coming along nicely CONTINUING SLOWLY
    2) More small paragraphs for book project FAIL
    3) Run off pizza dinners from lab week – 3 should help! FAIL
    4) Set up teaching topics for rest of term with snow day back-ups DONE
    5) Set lab exams DONE

    This week’s goals:
    1) Submit thesis evaluation forms for a defense committee
    2) Submit nominations for society prize
    3) Have potentially awkward and intimidating society conversation
    4) Work on future talk – aim for complete draft at end of week
    5) Set midterm exam (early so next week does not suck)
    6) Draft 3 project reports (early so next week does not suck)
    7) Buy new pants for fancy future talk – this might be the hardest goal on the list!

    1. Good work on the "not my circus, not my monkeys" stuff! People (men) need to learn to step up. Having teaching sorted for the rest of the term is a really useful thing that should free up some time & mental energy.

  2. I'm struggling right now with pre-travel anxiety (we leave on Sunday for two weeks on the other side of the planet), and it's all getting funneled into fears about illness. At the moment I'm hypervigilantly and hypochondriacally monitoring my every possible symptom--of course the coronavirus thing is worrisome, but I'm currently afraid that I'll have a cold on the flight and that the people around me will think that it's covid 19 and that...I dunno...I'll get stuck in airport quarantine? What exactly am I afraid of? As my husband said this morning, "You're not going to get the coronavirus this week. And if you get a cold, we'll deal with it." I mean, yeah.

    And so the thing I can't control is getting a freaking cold. Just relax, high-strung person that I am, please.

    Last week:
    1. Revise & complete conference paper--yes, it's not brilliant, but who cares
    2. Work on proposal revisions and send them to co-editor--yes, waiting on co-editor
    3. Look at Wonder revisions and consider what might be done--got a lot done here, surprisingly
    4. Language x 3--Yes!!
    5. Acquire a bunch of stuff for trip (e.g. flip-flops for Son, Neosporin, tissue packs, Gold Bond for bug bites, rupees)--Yes!
    6. Revise & complete application essays--not quite; they're due tomorrow; that's on the docket for this morning

    This week:
    1. Re-read and SUBMIT Wonder (if possible)
    2. Read grad student's chapter
    3. Chill the f*** out
    4. ALL TRAVEL PREP, because by next week's check-in, I'll be in mid-air! (Assuming that all U.S. travel isn't grounded, or something. Yet another source of worry!)

    1. I went to see the musical Six this weekend. I always cry when I go see musicals - but usually it's because I know them very well and I'm overwhelmed at being there. I had listened to none of the music in advance of seeing this one and yet I was crying and sniffling during much of it. The guy next to me took off maybe 20 minutes in - I worry he thinks my sniffling was due to the coronavirus. But it did leave me with an arm rest -so sorry not sorry! :)

      I get the fears of traveling. There are steps you can take to protect yourself a bit. And if you are quarantined - kind of seems like every academic's fantasy (2 weeks no people!).

    2. It all depends on where you're quarantined. At home, no problem. In a hotel room with an active grade-school kid, problem. So I hope it all works out well. I have travel coming up toward the end of April that will hit two different non-US countries & I'm hoping everything will have simmered down by then.

  3. I interviewed for a faculty position last week. I think it went well and I was definitely left with the impression that they were super interested in me (which was not the impression I got during my job talk, actually). The director wanted to talk with me again this week and I've not heard anything yet. I don't know that I want to go there - I just want an offer both for my own esteem and also to give me negotiating power here. My NIH K status in era commons has changed to pending, which seems to be an indicator it will likely be funded and that I should know for certain soon. So, that's good!

    Despite having pretty modest goals last week because of my interview, I wasn't very productive. I don't know what I even did last week. I looked at my plan for the week and I had the dates for the week as "June 24-March 1" so yeah, clearly I was not really present with my week.

    a. Maturing out hypothesis refs - YEAH, NOPE.
    b. NJ job talk - DONE
    c. Prep for NJ interview - DONE
    d. Move YRBS paper along - It has been moved, but not far
    e. Results for relat identity paper - NOT DONE
    f. Work on Latinx survey - NOT DONE
    g. Respond to email about longitudinal paper - NOT DONE
    h. Keep working on qual analyses - SOME DONE

    1. Thank you emails
    2. Tobacco paper
    3. PSOGD review
    4. Intersectionality R&R
    5. Latinx survey
    6. Email MST team about other person doing similar work
    a. Check MST review tool
    7. Talk to K about relat paper
    a. Look at lasagna plots
    8. Maturing out hypothesis refs
    9. Move YRBS paper along
    10. Results for relat identity paper
    11. SEM in STATA

    1. Just got an email from the place I interviewed last week - they plan to make me an offer. I am glad - but terrified.

    2. Congratulations--that is the right kind of terrified! Well, seriously, scared enough to think long and hard is good, but terrified is not necessary!

    3. Wonderful news! I'm hopeful that it's a place you want to be/live/work.

    4. Congratulations! Your last week's lack-of-presence is probably because I had your mojo. You can have it back now, but thanks for the loan!

    5. That's great! Congratulations!

  4. I wish I'd got to this on Sunday, because reporting on the week mid-day Tuesday seems so lame. But Mondays are 10-hour-min on campus, and Google makes it awkward for me to sign in from my work computer, so here I am.

    How I did:

    Daily stretching, exercise, 8 hours sleep. MOSTLY: some not-so-good nights but also a couple of nine-hour ones.
    Daily writing (or writing-adjacent activities) toward conference paper. 5/7!
    Grade/respond to one set of papers. YES!
    Prep for committee meeting; re-design forms. YES, NO.
    Do some house-market-prep. YES!
    I also spent an afternoon making long-postponed phone calls and got a few things sorted out. I'm letting another one go, and I need to fill in some forms at old doc's office to send records to new office, but since I'm generally healthy (knock wood), this doesn't qualify as urgent. I did some mending, sent a birthday card to a friend, registered for a conference & booked a hotel room for it, did some class prep, had the fireplace cleaned, and re-stained the front porch. I felt like Waffles.

    New goals:

    Daily stretching, exercise, 8 hours sleep.
    Daily writing (or writing-adjacent activities) toward conference paper.
    Class plans for the rest of the term.
    Re-design forms.
    Do some house-market-prep & gardening.
    3 social things!

  5. Sometimes the obvious solution really is the simplest way out.

    Charlotte was looking a bit pink around the eyes and nose again, and I tried to think of a question that would distract her. “Can you use the Language in the LRU library to make a unique book show itself to you? Or, even better, can you use it with a computer so we can make WorldCat show you a unique book?”

    Charlotte frowned. “That’s—hmm. I don’t think books have that kind of self-awareness, and yet it’s an interesting theoretical problem. If any library resonates with the Library, then what is it about a large collection of books that enables it to make that connection, and what is the relationship of the whole to the parts?” She paused. “Can I take some time to think this through? And in the meantime, could you show me this WorldCat?”

    “Of course,” I said. “All the time you want, and if you come over here, I’ll show you the library databases. Does your collection of i.d. include an LRU student card?”

    “Yes,” Charlotte said. “That was the easiest place to start.”

    After I showed her the databases, I sent her off to the library to try to work out where in the universe she was. I’d started re-reading the Invisible Library series over the weekend, but hadn’t got very far yet, since it was a busy couple of days. I had some questions about chaos and order, both in my world and the one Charlotte was looking for, but hoped she would make headway on her own.

    For a few days, I got to prepare and teach my classes, grade papers, go to committee meetings, grade more papers, and try to shoehorn in some writing about my obscure Latin narrative, without any visits from Charlotte.

  6. I am still in "it's all pointless and horrible and also I am SO BEHIND WITH WORK" mode. I hope this is the last real pig of a week - at least the balance switches next week from prep all the things to grade all the things?

    My character is still thrashing around in the woods attempting to accept that mosquitos are mosquitos and annoying people are also forces of nature sometimes, but she can feel she's getting somewhere. She's not sure if it's going to be worse, but, it's going to be a change.

    I'm now having knee problems, which is SO ANNOYING. Although it makes a change from back problems.

    I didn't touch any research writing at ALL in February and it's a long, long time since I last had a month that bad. But that is the New Normal.

    I am actually envying people on strike (major strike at most UK universities but not mine, and I am envious of the community and of the chance to STOP, even if it does come at a price, and I kind of resent my local union-mates for not bestirring themselves to vote so that we could be out (we didn't make turnout, but did make the threshold of 'yes/yes' to take action. Fecking Tory anti-union laws. If the government had to make turnout in general elections mutter mutter)) and envy for those quarantined for CoVid - two weeks of NO PEOPLE and STAY HOME sounds like bliss, sounds like something I've been training for all my life...

    A former group member is Chinese and works at a major Chinese University, and their university is shut down - as a control measure. So they have all been home for over a month, writing papers, catching up on reading journal articles, and just having a nice time. They even have good company as they managed to get "stranded" whilst visiting their favourite bit of family for the New Year holiday along with their partner, and their parents are sufficiently well-off that they have a permanent guest room big enough to also have a desk, so there isn't long-term camping-on-sofas-writing-in-the-kitchen going on. I'd be fed up of family by now, but they're more of an extravert and a family person than I am, plus my parents are hard work with all this Brexit stuff (and their increasing willingness to say pretty sweeping, general things about minority groups which are not entirely unreasonable for their generation, but generalised mean-ness or wrongness is a red-rag to me at the best of times. And if I was quarantined in their house being subjected to their tea-drinking schedule and routine bickering, I would probably be contemplating camping in the garden, bad knee and zero-degrees-and-damp weather notwithstanding. So maybe I just wrote myself out of a drop or two of that bit of envy!).

    I would like to be quarantined, and I think the world would appreciate the respite from me stressing at it!

    1. I'm so sorry about all of this - but can you please tell me more about your parents' tea drinking schedule? This is fascinating to me. I love tea.

  7. I really hope I didn't make anybody else feel bad when I said I felt lame posting on Tuesday! I suppose I should ease up on myself. You're welcome to post later in the week if that's what works for you. It's just me: if I can get sorted on Sunday, it's all good, and later I wind up scrambling all week. As I have this week. With no good reason, just sort of scattered.

    Heu mihi, I hope you have a wonderful trip with no hassles!