the grid

the grid

Sunday 27 September 2020

Last Quarter 2020, Week 3: Redirection, Renovation

On our way to do some apple-picking this afternoon, we inadvertently ran into a Trump rally. 

That was no fun. My determination to ignore-ignore-ignore went out the window when someone waved a giant Trump flag really close to the front of our car. (I didn't do anything dangerous, just spewed a little venom.)

Anyway, on our way home, we chose a totally different route, despite our GPS's determination to steer us right back into the particular town center where the rally was being held. (In fairness to our GPS, it was the most obvious route.) With perseverance, we were able to redirect ourselves to a more meandering route--one that also happened to be incredibly beautiful, it being early fall in rural New England and all that. So Redirection strikes me as a good theme for the day.

What's kind of funny is that I had already settled on Redirection as a theme for my post last night, when I was lying in bed realizing that I had to come up with a prompt. Actually, in order to provide some kind of linkage to DEH's clever architectural theme, it was going to be Redirection, Renovation--both of which involve taking what you have and either turning it into, or towards, what you want. I had been thinking about Redirecting in terms of taking my anxiety about the upcoming election and channeling it into some more letter-writing to encourage voter turn-out (I just signed up for another batch of letters), but today's adventure has me thinking about how sometimes Redirecting can really be just leaving behind what's aggravating us and going somewhere else--an idea curiously in-line with the Let It Go/Drop It motif that came up in many of our aspirational mottoes in Week 1 Redux.

(How, by the way, did I not see that I was giving us a second Week 1? In my mind the first Week 1 was really Week 0, but of course it wasn't, so.)

Or, if you're more metaphorically inclined, you can think about what part of your allegorical building you would like to Renovate, and how.

I hope that you all had a tolerably decent week, and that many more such (or, ideally, better) are to come.

Last week:


1) Start new early morning work time schedule
2) Make 3 figures for Albatross
3) Write long overdue society thing for committee
4) Make talk for upcoming conference
5) Record more lecture material
6) Stick to “action plan” for the whole week

Dame Eleanor Hull:

*Health: daily cardio and stretching, weights x 3, try to eat carefully and sleep enough.
*Teaching: Catch up with grading and planning.
*Research: make plan for addressing revisions; some time on both dead and live languages; maybe some other reading.
*Service: prep for next week's meeting.
*Fun stuff: read more mid-century women's fiction, see friends in person/distanced, coloring.
*House/life: pruning; sign & mail tax return; put together more bookcases.
*Track time, at least roughly.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:

FINISH the lit review.
Write up my notes from the first research interview.
Meet with the other two profs and write up their interviews.
Read one article in the digital humanities bibliography.
Walk 2x7; meditate 1x7; write 2 hours x 5; put something positive in the planner 1x7.

heu mihi:

1) Teaching: Next batch of lectures (record them) and PowerPoints; grade 1 set of papers
2) Personal virtue*: Run x 5, yoga any amount x 2, language x 3, sit x 2
3) Service tasks: Two five-year course reviews, majors meeting
4) Graduate students: Write letter(s) of recommendation, read one exam document
5) Research: Finish NunG vol. 3
6) Fun: Order some new papers for bookbinding?
7) Parenting: 3 days of French lessons, do something fun with kid at some point this week


1 write a tiny project piece
2 work on creative piece
3 write weekly blog post
4 read 10 essays for award judging
5 work on internal grant application
6 try to be patient and not over-zoomed by excessive meetings this week


1) set goals for TLQ
2) work on restoring BuJo habit
3) set up new noticeboard for Preptober
4) be kind. be kind. be kind. (but don't be a doormat, that's not kind either to JaneB or to the other person when the doormat reaches the limit and snaps at their ankles or just stalks off and they get all surprised).
5) try to stop obsessing about buying more supplies that I don't have storage space for - Br3xit notwithstanding.
6) referee an article
7) prepare as much of week 3 as possible (we're supposed to be working 3 weeks or more ahead... and subject to spot checks... ::eye roll::)


1. Finish admin stuff for committee
2. Create one more module in each course
3. 2 x 1 hour on Famous Author
4. Read ms, write review (due Sept 30, so getting dire)
5. Keep getting exercise
6. Get regular sleep
7. Do something nice
8. Be kind to everyone, including myself

Sunday 20 September 2020

Last quarter 2020: week 2

Your guide this week is DEH. So far, we’ve had two “Week One” entries for this session, and I’m inclined to let that stand as a testament to how we’re feeling lately, starting and re-starting and never quite knowing where we are. But let’s not allow this to become the Fibonacci series session. We’ll call this Week Two, and then just add one per week.

“Guide” implies some sort of tour: what am I showing you? We’ve had journeys before at TLQ, maybe more than one. Let’s try a museum, church, or other significant structure this time. What kind of building are you exploring in this final session of 2020? What pieces of art or architecture do you want to spend time with? Will they challenge your thinking, or comfort you with their timelessness? Are they more about broad brushstrokes of color, or tiny delicate details, or ingenious use of form and space?

For this week, I’m going to guide you around a Chinese scroll painting, depicting steep and rocky mountains covered in pine trees, a lake at their feet reflecting clouds and snowy peaks. A small pavilion perches on a cliff above the lake in the lower left corner; in it, a scholar sips tea prepared by a kneeling servant, scrolls and brushes put aside as the scholar gazes at the gnarled pines and the tiny stream splashing over rocks, past the pavilion into the lake. What do you notice in the painting? Can it inspire you to time outside, a peaceful cup of tea, a new notebook, a silk robe to wear while working, a recording of a mountain stream for your white noise?

Respond to the prompt if it pleases you, let it go if it doesn’t speak. Let us know how you did last week, and what your plans are for the coming week. You, yourself, are enough. It will be okay, and even if it isn’t, that’s okay too: just sit with what is, and let it be itself, however gnarly. (Along these lines, formatting glitches are due to programs thinking they'll "help" me when I don't want help.)


Session goals:

1) Finish and get rid of the Albatross Paper
2) Learn and do some computer-based analysis with fancy tool for new paper and local grant
3) Get DEI program approved and instituted in my professional society
4) Deliver excellent graduate course for new project students.

Last week:

1) Open Albatross and figure out what to do with it first, then do that thing

2) Record more lecture material

3) Stick to “action plan” for the whole week

Dame Eleanor Hull

Session goals:

Look after my health first.
Do a decent job teaching, and be kind to students.
Revise essay; try to make progress on book, and do at least a bit of language work every week.
Get boxes out of storage unit.

Last week:

*Health: daily cardio and stretching, weights x 3, try to eat carefully and sleep enough.
*Teaching: Assign points to last week's discussions x2 classes, grade second assignment x1 classes.
*Research: make plan for addressing revisions; some time on both dead and live languages; maybe some other reading.
*Service: prep for next week's meeting.
*Fun stuff: watch the Tour de France with Sir John, read more mid-century women's fiction.
*House/life: pruning; sign & mail tax return; put together more bookcases.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Session goals:

Incorporate research from hoped-for archival trip into the critical edition.
Finish one article, preferably Illuminated, although Flowers is a close second.
Finish the annotated bibliography on critical editions and digital humanities.

Achieve 10,000 steps a day.
Achieve 60% better meals.
Improve positivity about life.

Last week:

Write something positive in my planner 1x7.
Really finish the last article for the lit review.
Email the other three professors who work in my sub-specialty.
Start organizing the digital humanities references.
Walk 2x7; eat real meals 2x7; meditate 1x7; write 2 hours x 5.

Heu mihi

Session goals:

1. Research: draft an article by summer 2021; prepare a grant proposal by mid-summer 2021
1a. (Re)read NunG books 3-5
1b. Research relevant theology on death in the 13th c.
1c. Situate readings of nuns within theological context
2. Draft my part of intro to collection
3. Language: Make some progress. Aim for 3x week, any length of time.
4. Life: Exercise, yoga twice a week (any length of time), sit some amount every week
5. Watch Pride and Prejudice by myself in the newly fixed-up basement.
6. Try to do at least one of each week's Big Tasks on Monday or Tuesday, to keep them all from piling up on the weekend.
7. Relax into what happens. Change or abandon goals as needed.

Last week:

1) Back into exercise - yoga x2, running x5
2) Language x3, any amount; sit at least once, for at least 5 minutes
3) Read 5 chapters of NunG per day (total of 35)
4) Write 1 letter of recommendation
5) Next batch of powerpoints and lectures
6) 3 Gen Ed reviews


Session goals:

1 write a tiny project piece every week
2 spend time with a creative piece every week
3 write weekly blog posts
4 finish writing that online class
5 keep up with teaching things

Last week:

1 spend time organizing tiny writing so far
2 write a tiny project piece
3 work on creative piece
4 write weekly blog post--probably about Dots
5 finish and submit current book review
6 read five essays for award judging
7 make edits to almost-finished online course


Session goals: still to come

Last week:

1) comment on a manuscript for a student
2) get through the many meetings of the week with a Positive Attitude
3) self care stuff - get my bullet journal habit back into shape and tick off most of my "habits" every day (water, fruit & veg, the usual stuff).
4) Community Project stuff. An hour's worth.


Session goals:

1. Complete book and submit to press!!!! This will entail final writing/ edits on Ch 8, a bit of data crunching for Ch 7, a final read througth and polish of the entire thing, plus copy edits and figures and the bib. I think its doable.
2. Maintain a realistic notion of what is doable this semester in terms of teaching. Be gentle with myself.
3. Exercise 5x a week
4. Eat healthy
5. Advise several students on new projects, get bits and pieces of data/writing needed to collaborators for CNH paper, Canoe paper, and Adze paper
6. Paperwork for aunt to go into state system (I am her POA)
7. Buy porch furniture to make outdoor space comfy
8. Do smell retraining therapy each day in the hopes of getting smell and taste back

Last week:

1. Work on Ch 1 and Ch 8 at least 3 days
2. Erosion data to colleagues
3. DGS stuff
4. Exercise x 3 at a minimum
5. Try to make healthy food choices
6. One night of non-TV watching
7. start reading student diss


Session goals:

1. Survive the teaching, and maybe figure out how to own it?
2. Finish chapter 2 of Famous Author, by working at least 15 minutes every week day.
3. Keep making progress on getting rid of stuff/ fixing house.
4. Keep walking or getting exercise.
5. Read for pleasure -- a litte?
6. Do something enjoyable weekly with friends. 

Last week:

1. Finish invites for undergrad class
2. Finish schedule for grad class, and record power point.
3. Read Ms. for review
4. 2 x 1 hour for Famous Author
5. Keep editing proposal document
6. Read 1 journal
7. Keep getting exercise
8. Keep going to bed relatively early
9. Do something nice at the weekend (maybe going to the foothills to pick up wine).

Sunday 13 September 2020

Last Quarter of 2020 - Week 1

Hello all!

I finally had a good night's sleep last night, so I'm feeling far more capable of handling life than I have for the last several days--certainly than I did at the time of my check-in last week. I hope that you're all having a good weekend, whatever that means for you. It's great to see so many familiar names; I've missed this space and this community, which, I think, goes a long way towards keeping me from falling to pieces sometimes.

So for this week, the usual start-of-term drill: Set your session goals (some of you already did this) and your week's goals. If you set goals for last week (I didn't), I've pasted them below so you can let us know how you did.

I would also like to invite you to set An Intention, as they say these days: a larger meta-goal, quite possibly not linked to Being Productive, that will help you to get through the inevitable tough times. I'm currently deciding between the following: Rolling With It, Remembering That This Is Not Permanent, and Sustaining Larger Professional Goals and Keeping the Day-to-Day In Its Place. Or something.

Last week's goals, for those who set them:


1) Get schedules ready for all classes, and record intro videos and created first-week activities.
2) Have an uncomfortable conversation with my lab instructor. He is fabulous and wonderful and great with students, but also the most disorganized person on the planet. We normally work really well together, but he wants to do some really ambitious things for the online classes and is willing to do most of the heavy lifting for that, but I’m terrified that it will end up being a last-minute rush every week and even if I have my parts all prepared he will spend so much time making things interactive and whatnot that nothing will be done on time. He also works very different hours than I do and has no boundaries with time or students and I need those desperately.
3) Limit the crying to every morning in the shower to get it over with so I can be functional for the rest of the day.
4) Set up my schedule and my boundaries and priorities and write down everything so I will not be pushed into doing things in times and ways that will make me lose my mind.
5) Get more yarn for the rage-knitting project I started last night – apparently I only knit when things are awful. This one will join the “professional drama blanket”, the “grant rejection scarf” and the “grief afghan”…

Dame Eleanor Hull:

*Health: daily cardio and stretching, weights x 3, try to eat carefully and sleep enough.
*Teaching: Assign points to last week's discussions x2 classes, grade first assignments x2 classes.
*Research: make plan for addressing revisions; some time on both dead and live languages; maybe some other reading.
*Service: prep for next week's meeting.
*Fun stuff: watch the Tour de France with Sir John, read more mid-century women's fiction.
*House/life: weeding; sign & mail tax return; put together more bookcases.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:

Drop the course that is one credit yet takes 15 hours of homework every week so far.
Email the archive to move my research days, again.
Finish the lit review for the article.
Poke around the books on digital humanities, making an outline for that lit review.
Email my advisor, yet again.
Walk 2x7; eat real meals 2x7; meditate 1x7; write 2 hours x 5.
Write something positive in my planner 1x7.


1 write a tiny project piece
2 work on creative piece--a prompt awaits
3 write weekly blog post--probably about Dots
4 finish and submit current book review


1. Read/refine Ch 8
2. Deal with DGS isssues
3. Get some data together for erosion collaborative paper
4. Paperwork for aunt going into state system Part 2
5. Exercise 3x this week
6. Weed raised bed
7. Fun x 2


1. Start reading ms. for promotion review (720 pp!)
2. 3 x 1 hour on Famous Author, goal 15 minutes a day
3. Watch webinar for next week's class
4. Send invites to potential zoom guests for both classes
5. read two journals
6. Keep walking
7. Go to sleep earlier
8 Plan something nice for weekend

I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things!