the grid

the grid

Sunday 5 April 2020

Week 13: nearly there

This session was scheduled to run 14 weeks, which makes week 13 the next-to-last, though when I look back at the first one, I said "on 17 or 18 April, one of your hosts (Dame Eleanor Hull and Humming42) will put up a post inviting you to report on how you did with session goals," which suggests that I imagined a summative post at the end of week 14, in which we would not post new goals but just reflect on the session.

To continue our theme from last week, about time and space, how are you shaping your days? Are you held to an external schedule by work meetings or the rhythms of people you work with, or are you finding a rhythm that works well for your own body clock, now that we're all working from home pretty much all the time?

Let us know how you're doing! I'd very much like to hear from people who seem to have been Overcome By Events, even if your goals have been swept away by the maelstrom of events both public and private.

1) Finish one chapter of exam questions for course every day
2) Bonus reward (TBD) if I do more than one chapter a day…
3) Dust off (at this point more like excavate) neglected paper and work on figures
4) Check in with list of on-the-edge students
5) Run at least 4 times
6) Practice chosen pieces at least 4 times
7) Find a better chair for “office” and do regular stretches to recover from the various cricks caused by hard kitchen chairs…

Dame Eleanor Hull
Daily stretching, walking, 8 hours sleep (as health allows).
Class plans for next week (definitely) and beyond (as I can); more grading; maintain virtual office hours.
3-4 days: some language study and some reading/note-taking.
At least one service thing (of 3).
2-3 items from my Life Stuff list.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell
Clean off office desk and chair.
Finish passport application.
Do some grunt work (glossary, citations, and the like) for half an hour a day to get back into research.
Get up and stretch every 45 minutes.
Walk aroung the block 4 times a day.
Meditate 3 times per day.

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. Tackle yard clean-up (a cheat, since we did this yesterday!)
2. Read 30 pages of a research-related book.
3. Exercise, homeschool, go outside, stay sane.

1 continue to write content for online course I’m taking
2 continue to create content for classes that were moved online
3 submit article abstracts
4 look at DQ and decide whether to revise
5 review two journal articles
6 submit one book review

JaneB (held over)
1) Do one ACTUAL WORK THING, one CHORE THING and one FUN THING every day.
2) aim for 5 fruit and veg a day, plenty of water, no bread, and small amounts of sugar.
2a) start to work out what a realistic schedule might look like (we got the news of closure Monday, we still don't know how it will work, we had to write plans over the weekend which then need to be approved (but haven't been yet so I'm reluctant to make too much of a start on prep)). And I have to do as much as I can NOT to let my sleep schedule drift...
3) spend an hour with my NaNo writing, because I enjoy it
4) keep building that list of research obligations…
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

- collate sustainability paperwork for two organisational units
- produce 2 lectures worth of distance learning for polymer chemistry course
- carry out student meetings by phone
- walk 10000 steps each day (we're doing this fitness tracker challenge thing at work)
Anything beyond this is a bonus.

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

1. Read MA thesis draft
2. Read book/write review
3. Do 1 year of at least 2 journals (this is less onerous than it sounds)
4. Read for fun
5. Keep walking
6. Keep up with virtual social life
7. 5 minutes clearing
8. 5 minutes gardening
9. Be kind to myself and others

1. Unmask intersectionality paper
2. T32 bits (dues Wednesday)
3. Tobacco paper (due tomorrow)
4. Texas study measure
5. COVID and MH - keep chipping away at online survey
6. Asthma paper
7. YRBS paper


  1. I need to work on shaping my days. At the moment, Bonaventure's schedule is what keeps us in order: he has a class meeting at 9:30, we do a French lesson at 11, and otherwise, from about 9-3:30, he has blocks for Academic, Free Time, Exercise, Helping, etc. He's very good about his schedule, but it requires a fair bit of oversight on our part (figuring out what his Academic work will be, conducting his French lessons, playing soccer with him for Exercise, etc.).

    So I've been structuring my days around his schedule and my own exercise schedule, exercise being the one thing that I've really kept up for myself these weeks. I'm also getting my teaching work done here and there. But having everyone home makes me feel like it's the weekend all the time, and it *isn't*, and I would really like to get some brain work done, too. So that's what I'm determined to add back in this week. Really, for real, I will read for my research.

    Last week:
    1. Tackle yard clean-up (a cheat, since we did this yesterday!) - Done
    2. Read 30 pages of a research-related book. - Not done, at all
    3. Exercise, homeschool, go outside, stay sane. - Done

    This week:
    1. Read 30 pages of research-related book
    2. Exercise, homeschool, go outside
    3. Do one Domestic Challenge (so far, we've done the preliminary yard work and cleaned the windows)
    4. One bout of weeding

    1. I'm interested in how you describe this process of moving into and moving through a new routine. Now that you're settled into it, you can see how it can be tweaked for improvement/expansion.

      And good for sustaining your exercise schedule!

    2. I have that inability to figure out what day it is as well. I'm playing with the idea of scheduling certain tasks for certain days to see if that gives me some more cognitive stability.
      And I echo Linda in praising your sticking to your exercise schedule.

  2. Wow, week 13, I did not see that coming, what with time being suspended in black hole of all days being the same… Everyone here still healthy, little more wobbly than last week. Kid is struggling a bit despite her easygoing nature, I have been trying to make things a bit more exciting with activities and virtual visits with friends, probably succeeding about half the time… Structure and schedule only works some of the time and I really don’t want to force anything. School stuff should be arriving in the post soon so that will help. We also need some regular outside walks but the weather is so crap that's not fun yet. Soon though!

    Class is almost done, exams are all programmed and ready to go, the pay-off for weeks of entering questions into system is that it will mark them all for me – I’m just doing evil multiple choice/matching/identify/true-false ones, most of my insanely large class of international students do not own computers, or are sharing with multiple people, and literally are doing everything on their phones, so doing essay type things on the LMS would just be awful. And there are too many of them for take-home or project exams. And they don’t have tech or library access… I would normally hate this sort of assessment, but for this particular group it is better than all the other ways… We all just want it done and over…

    Last week’s goals:
    1) Finish one chapter of exam questions for course every day DONE
    3) Dust off (at this point more like excavate) neglected paper and work on figures LITTLE BIT
    4) Check in with list of on-the-edge students DONE, THEY ARE OK
    5) Run at least 4 times YES, GOT 5!
    6) Practice chosen pieces at least 4 times GOT TO TWICE
    7) Find a better chair for “office” and do regular stretches to recover from the various cricks caused by hard kitchen chairs… NOW OWN POSSIBLY THE UGLIEST OFFICE CHAIR IN UNIVERSE, IT WOULD NOT LOOK OUT OF PLACE ON A ROMULAN BATTLE CRUISER… BUT IT WORKS!

    This week’s goals:
    1) Finish reviewing co-authored paper and send off to journal
    2) Open bottle of wine with co-author for virtual celebration of paper, it has been incubating for ages… far too long!
    3) Keep neglected paper on front burner and work on figures
    4) Review student’s thesis draft, yay!
    5) Run at least 4 times
    6) Practice chosen pieces at least 4 times
    7) Try to vary kid activities more, one can only do the kitchen chemistry thing so many times...
    8) Get outside a few times

    1. OK, I cannot bear to look at a computer screen any longer today, so I'm putting off posting goals, but I had to say thank you for the LOL about your Romulan battle cruiser-office chair.

    2. Although you said Romulan battle cruiser, the first image that popped up in my head was Lursa and B'Etor on their ship...and then imagining them teaching. Thank you for a funny and enthusiastic post. You give me hope that I can bring some determination to the projects that need to be excavated from their deep sleep.

    3. I also LOL'd about the office chair--loud enough to wake the dog sleeping on my feet. Why is it that some of the most comfortable chairs are the ugliest ones?
      I need to pull my articles out of the freezer, too.

  3. Shaping days: that's actually been a disaster, and I'm trying this week to get better. There seems to be no reason to get out of bed, so I sit looking at twitter and playing solitaire for far too long. My goal this week is to get out of bed by 7:30 every morning. After that, the key is not to get too caught up in emails (half of which are people checking in because that's what we're doing) so that I don't do work. I'm going to try 3 hours on Famous Author, and 2 hours of reading. Then walking, talking to people on the phone or zoom happy hours, etc.

    How I did from last week:
    1. Read MA thesis draft: YES, comments sent
    2. Read book/write review: NO
    3. Do 1 year of at least 2 journals (this is less onerous than it sounds) NO
    4. Read for fun SOME
    5. Keep walking 5 days
    6. Keep up with virtual social life YES
    7. 5 minutes clearing Most days
    8. 5 minutes gardening 5 days
    9. Be kind to myself and others - I think so!

    Well, I ended up going to a zoom job talk, and then there's a potential spousal hire in English and they wanted me to talk to her, and a bunch of other work-y things. On Friday morning I decided to join in the weekly faculty write-in (now held on facebook), and started looking at Famous Author. So that was good. Over the weekend I got inspired and started going through my cookbooks, so there is now a box of cookbooks for the Friends of the Library sale, whenever that happens! I keep making inroads on STUFF. And Sunday I had a reunion with my college roommates, so I keep thinking that the good side of all this is the connections that we are nurturing.

    Goals for the week ahead:
    1. Get up by 7:30 every day. (I'm always awake, it's getting out of bed that's the issue)
    2. Finish polishing Intro on Famous Author, fill in examples. Keep moving forward.
    3. One chapter a day of book for review
    4. One year of each of two journals
    5. Clear off two more desk piles (I'm beginning to see the surface, and want to clear it all off, but I think two piles is do-able.)
    6. 5 minutes in the garden
    7. Finish going through cookbooks
    8 Keep walking
    9. Read for fun
    10. Be kind to myself and others

    1. I have a dog who wakes me up in the morning, so I have to haul myself out of bed to keep her company.
      Great job on decluttering! I am slowly attacking the attic room where my office area is, so I hope to get more than just the desk area decluttered.
      I agree that the connections that we are making these days are so important, and I hope that they continue long after the world returns to normal.

  4. I’m working on being more attentive to the time tracking calendar I’m keeping, which also means being realistic about how I allocate my time. I tend to think I can do far more work than I actually can or, sometimes, want to do. This seems like a good opportunity to figure out how to negotiate all of that with myself, with hope that I can find a better way of being since I’m home for the long run.

    Last week:
    1 continue to write content for online course I’m taking: yes but didn’t finish
    2 continue to create content for classes that were moved online: yes
    3 submit article abstracts: yes
    4 look at DQ and decide whether to revise: no
    5 review two journal articles: no
    6 submit one book review: yes

    This week:
    1 write every day
    2 continue to create content for classes that were moved online
    3 work on conference abstract
    4 review two journal articles
    5 and adopting Susan’s goal of being kind to myself and others

    1. Figuring out how much times things take, especially in a different environment. I thought I'd be far more distracted by stuff to do around the house, but all of that stuff makes a good break from the computer screen.
      I will follow your progress on allocating your time with great interest.

  5. “Or what the seniors are getting apprentices into,” she added, crossly. “So it’s possible you’ve split off, but I don’t know how to tell.”

    Charlotte was clearly feeling an ambivalence familiar to me from teaching graduate students. She was caught between apprenticeship and full identification with the Library, unsure whether she could operate with autonomy as a Librarian or if she was still being tested and judged. When she arrived, not even two weeks ago, she had assumed I was testing and judging, but already she was shifting to a more independent attitude, and assessing her tutors from a more professional point of view.

    But I shouldn’t have drifted off into professorial musings; she had continued her main train of thought. “The Fae really worry me. If there aren’t any dragons here to counter their effects, they could go very quickly from being minor pockets of influence to being a serious infestation. The nature of chaos is that it’s chaotic. Anything could happen. And your Fae aren’t sweetness-and-light archetypes like the Princess or the Youngest Son. What you have are Tinpot Dictators, along with some Warlords and some Public-School Lost Boys, and nothing good is going to come of that. The Dictators attract Goons, and the overgrown schoolboys attract Bullies, and it could all go downhill very fast. Somehow we need to get some unique books from this world into the Library, as soon as we can work out what books are unique to this world.”

    Oh dear. “We?”

    “You’ve been very helpful, even if you aren’t a Librarian.” She eyed me, doubtfully. I wondered if I ought to show her my back, conspicuously non-branded, to prove that I was really not the Dame Eleanor Hull she wanted me to be. “So, look, if you were me, what would you do?

    1. Tinpot Dictators, and Public-School Lost Boys--I love this! I also love your contemplating showing Charlotte your unbranded back. And (I blush to admit) I relish reading about the role of Librarians in this world.

  6. I'm working on scheduling. Last week I was still winging things a bit, still unusually tired, and trying to do just the minimum. But back when it was still spring break, I made myself a schedule of how I hoped to work for the two weeks we were originally going to be online, and now I'm trying to put it into practice. That went well yesterday, but today has fallen apart: the morning went on making face masks out of old sheets, the early afternoon to discussing the grocery list with my husband, and the rest of it to setting up a new pocket notebook with Future Log, Daily Log, lists of things to do this month in various categories (etc), and answering some e-mail. Getting everything listed helps a lot. There is a lot to do, but at least it's captured rather than zipping around my head.

    My plan is to get up around 7 and give myself 2-3 hours to do yoga, go for a walk, feed cats, and otherwise get ready for the day. Then work from about 9:30 to 12:30, break for lunch, put in another stint in the afternoon, and in the late afternoon, take a second walk to signal the end of the work day. Evenings are for leisure activities: Zoom calls with friends, TV with my husband, reading, puzzles. I get more done on days when I have scheduled office hours and work calls, so I think I'm going to have to do more scheduling on the other days, so they don't disappear the way today did. I get rebellious when I'm over-scheduled, so I don't want to assign myself something for every half hour. However, I'm thinking of a fixed slot for something like language study, 30 minutes, starting at 10:00 a.m., would be an anchor that would encourage me to work on something else after it, and maybe before if I'm ready to go before that.

    HOW I DID:

    Daily stretching, walking, 8 hours sleep (as health allows). MOSTLY: more walking towards the end of the week. One spectacularly bad night.
    Class plans for next week (definitely) and beyond (as I can); more grading; maintain virtual office hours. YES.
    3-4 days: some language study and some reading/note-taking. NO: 2 days.
    At least one service thing (of 3). YES.
    2-3 items from my Life Stuff list. YES? That is, some Life Stuff got done, but not the items from the list!

    Daily stretching, walking, 8 hours sleep.
    Class plans for next week (definitely) and beyond (as I can); more grading; maintain virtual office hours.
    3-4 days: some language study and some reading/note-taking.
    Prep for 2 meetings.
    At least 2 items from my Life Stuff list.

    1. First, don't beat yourself up about getting organized, or making masks, or the grocery list. All that stuff is essential foundation work.
      I am very interested in how the language break mid-morning will work for you--I find those breaks really helpful, by jolting me from one gear to the next, like a makeshift clutch.

  7. I am still here, but floundering in Bad Technology and student need and managing my own health (anxiety is not a great companion in the current world order, especially when you live alone, although living alone is definitely better than living with someone annoying!). My executive function and focus are shot. The demands and rules and guidance is ever changing. Students are in all kinds of need and difficulty, and I'm doing what I can when my computer allows it. Research is a phantasmagorical indulgence I can't contemplate.

    Needless to say, chocolate and sugar consumption is HIGH! But I'm still here...

    1. I understand the challenges for those with young children, but I too have found that living alone in this is challenging! Chocolate for the win!

    2. No matter how introverted one is, living alone during this lockdown has to be extremely difficult. I am trying to find ways to stay connected with my sister, who also lives alone. I've unearthed my stationery, and ordered stamps. Any other ideas would be welcome--including a package of chocolate?

  8. “Which became part of the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana.”
    “Through political juggling and extortion. I’m delighted someone was able to magic it away.”

    “Magic, Ms. Mitchell?” Perritaz scoffed, but his fellow Swiss Guard looked uneasy.
    “You’ve probably seen the security tapes--you know it’s magic.”
    “The Apostolic See does not believe in magic.” Abruptly, he changed the subject. "We will leave you now, but we will be in touch, Ms. Mitchell."
    “I don't doubt that, Hauptmann Perritaz."
    He reached for my keys, but I grabbed them from the table. He looked somewhat longingly at them, and I realized they had definitely seen the security footage and knew what the key would open.
    I walked them to the entrance of the department. “The elevator is on the left halfway down the corridor."

    The minute I turned back into the department, I saw each and every one of my colleagues standing in a half-circle staring at me.
    Erica said, “The Swiss Guard? Really? They looked like FBI.”
    Ryan said, “Nah, did you see their shoes? Definitely Italian. But, why were they here?”
    “Oh, they were interested in a manuscript, a Marcus Aurelius.”

  9. Topic: I have it easier than those of you who are primarily teaching. I have a very structured set of days when I am campus. Working from home, I have much the same daily structure, except that my desk hours are spread out throughout the day. Also, my class is synchronic (despite the university saying all classes should be asynchronic). I can’t complain too much, because even the interaction with my classmates via internet is welcome.

    Actually, I find the routine somewhat helpful, although I do not open the laptop when the minute hand sweeps up to 9am, nor close it at the last bell of 5pm. I tend to write in the morning, because that is the best time for me, and shift any work stuff into the evening if necessary.

    The major beauty of working from home for me is that I have so many fewer meetings; I also like being able to schedule brain-dead tasks for late in the afternoon, and to interperse things that are offline, so my wrists can recover from typing for hours on end.

    I didn’t realize how much of my work is offline--silly of me, really, since I am transcribing title pages, collating signatures and writing down all the other eccentricities that books pick up through the centuries. I write them down because most people frown on putting your stapler on 16th-century books to keep the pages open, and I am not well-versed in one-handed typing. I had taken pictures through the years when I had limited time to do the 16th and 17th century titles. I took more pictures the last afternoon I was in the office, although I was a bit rushed and didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked. Also, I was a bit overwhelmed and excited to find TWO shelves of 16th century titles that I thought had been cataloged, only to find they also await my attention, including the 1558 Aeneid. Insert heartfelt sigh here.
    Finally, I have the ADD hyperfocus trait, so I have to break up the day to keep from falling into rabbit holes.

    Last week’s goals:
    Clean off office desk and chair. Yes.
    Finish passport application. All but picture.
    Do some grunt work (glossary, citations, and the like) for half an hour a day to get back into research. For the darn team paper, yes.
    Get up and stretch every 45 minutes. Yes.
    Walk aroung the block 4 times a day. Yes.
    Meditate 3 times per day. Yes.

    My office desk and chair are clear, but the webcam will remain off for the moment.

    I just couldn’t get interested in having the Philosopher take a picture of me for the passport application, but I will let him do that in the next few days.

    And yes, I did a fair amount of citation collection and reading, but sadly, for the team paper, not my own research. I want to spend some time this next week working on my interests, because, trust me, the article for the course is not up my alley. Cybersecurity law? No, thank you!

    I have been doing well with exercise, and less well with eating. I keep a lot of tea and flavored water on hand, but I suspect I am still eating more than I do at the office. Spring is teasing me with crocus and forsythia, so I hope to be able to walk around outside more often in the near future.

    Next week’s goals:
    Submit to having picture taken for passport application.
    Do more grunt work (glossary, citations, and the like) on Illuminated or the dissertation, NOT the team paper. x 5.
    Get up and stretch every 45 minutes.
    Walk aroung the block 4 times a day.
    Meditate 3 times per day.

    I hope all of you and yours are well. I’m looking forward to reading all your comments and catching up with you. Float like mist, everyone.

    1. You need book snakes so that you don't have to type one handed! (I actually wish I had book snakes at home for when I'm reading and taking notes...)
      Missing my 16th c books. Reading on EEBO doesn't cut it. (Next week I'll get to the 16th C grammars.)

    2. Oh, there's a project while I'm home--make book snakes. They are helpful for more than 16th century books, as you say. EEBO does not cut it at all. I've been trying to do some of my early printed translations with it, and ummm, no! Enjoy the grammars.