the grid

the grid

Sunday 28 March 2021

2021 Session 1, Week 12: Cautiously optimistic planning

 Greetings crew and guests!

I’d like to thank First Mate T'Melnor for the excellent talk on habits and planning and emergencies! I’ve been thinking about that a lot, particularly about the idea that recurring emergencies of the same kind may indicate that the problem is a planning issue rather than just simple emergencies. And then the thoughts about planning lead me to thinking about planning for the not-too-distant future, and with that a little bit of optimism crept in about anticipating pleasant things… I’ve been avoiding that very deliberately because this entire year really discouraged any sort of anticipation! Now that there are small signs of spring peeking out occasionally in our on-board greenhouses (she says as the snowstorm howls around the ship!) I’m allowing for a little bit of cautiously optimistic anticipation for the last few weeks of our voyage, and for our arrival on Primavera, and whatever comes after that. 

So, shall we make that a discussion for our gathering in the lounge later? Is there something you want to start cautiously looking forward to coming up in the next few weeks or after our current voyage ends? Can this anticipation include some small but fun rewards for performing under pressure? Or maybe even big rewards?

Please join us in the observation lounge this evening, we have a case of Aldebaran liquors we need to finish off, they were accidentally left out of cold storage and have therefore aged to peak perfection ahead of schedule. And once they reach that point they have to be consumed otherwise they constitute an explosive fire hazard. Since we’re all about planning ahead this week we definitely want to plan to avoid that…

GOALS from last week:

 Captain Daisy

1) Finish computer modelling thing for local project
2) Talk about papers with visiting co-authors and drink beer
3) Mark everything for undergrad class
5) Report for local project
6) Keep doing classes on fancy app
7) Do something fun with kid

 Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Prepare and run the regional meeting.
Renew passport.
Break open another notebook for Translatio notes 1 x 5.
Attack the two scary file boxes underneath my desk.
Walk in the lovely spring weather 1x5.
Make one more doctor's appointment.

 First Mate T’Melnor
Finish undergrad papers; grade grad assignments; grade discussion boards.
Dead languages 4x each.
Order fall books.
Daily stretching & cardio, weights x3.
Dentist appointment (yep, another).
Collect tax documents.
More tidying of study.
Read or something scholarly that isn't class prep.

 heu mihi

1) Write 3 hours (WH intro)
2) Finish NunG vol. 5; take notes
3) Spend 3 hours reading Parzival (I'm reading this with a few students in a 1-credit independent study, and I've never read it before, so I wasn't sure how to break up the [very long] text. I suggested we all read for 3 hours this week and see how far we get. Should be interesting?)
4) Finish up grading batch
5) Submit book order for fall
6) Misc: Receipts; recommendation; library trip
7) Run, yoga, language, sit


1 Make steady progress on grading
2 Clean office equivalent to one large trash bag of trash
3 Consider how to establish routine to finish all the projects due 1 April (avoid emergencies)
4 Joining other Profesoras in ordering Fall books


1. Complete materials for potential position
2. Record lecture for students for next week
3. Famous Author: 3x 2 hours (read book, write)
4. Email: work forward from December 1 and cut it down
5. Journals 3
6. Garden: fertilize perennials, keep pulling weeds
7. House: finish going through clothes, bring to donation place
8. Keep up with exercise, healthy eating
9. Have fun with family and friends
10. Be kind


  1. Anticipation… It feels odd after purposely avoiding it for so long… In the short term I’m pretty sure I’m now safe in anticipating the end of classes! I can’t wait!!! They were in every objective way excellent classes and I’ve been getting wonderful feedback from students, but I’m officially over it and it all needs to end! I have a master’s student defending their thesis next week too, I’m really happy about that. And in bigger things, at the end of the month a few colleagues and I are taking our 4 grad students on a short field trip to an area of the province I’ve wanted to see for ages. It has been approved because of single digit case counts and because everything fits with our excellent virus rules (our province is brilliant at following rules and my field of study is the original social distancing science). So those are three things that I’m really looking forward to!

    That was a really busy week. All sorts of “other” category stuff popped up and took forever to deal with so while I got lots of really necessary things done almost none of them were on my goals list. Included spending a huge amount of time on grad student projects, a large number of critical association meetings (soooooo much people-managing!), chairing a hiring committee, a great day with co-authors and lots of work but nothing else got done… But the accounting got done, took an entire day but I’m done!

    Last week’s goals:
    1) Finish computer modelling thing for local project NOPE, NOT EVEN STARTED
    2) Talk about papers with visiting co-authors and drink beer YES!!
    3) Mark everything for undergrad class NOPE
    5) Report for local project NOPE, GOT EXTENSION BECAUSE FUNDER MESSED UP (love it when it is not my fault!)
    6) Keep doing classes on fancy app YES
    7) Do something fun with kid YES

    This week is all about the local project! It has to be!

    This week’s goals:
    1) Do the computer modelling thing for local project
    2) Write the report for local project
    3) Finish and return marks for undergrad class
    4) Check in with all students in program I run about summer and advising
    5) Have difficult association conversation with important person
    6) Do at least two coffee walks with friends
    7) Last day of skiing for the season

    1. Field trip, yay! And hearty congratulations on getting the accounting done. I hope last week's successful people-wrangling provides a good base for this week's work with students & talk with important person.

  2. Strange to say, we have only 3 or 4 weeks left to this voyage! Time has been doing very strange things (we may have gone through some tachyon fields, and wormholes can make time appear to drag), but the Captain is right: we can start planning for the end of the voyage and what we'll do when we get to Primavera! I will drink to that in Aldebaran brandy, thank you!

    How I did:
    Finish undergrad papers; grade grad assignments; grade discussion boards. YESSSSSSS!!!!! I am caught up on grading, except for the current week's boards, for a WHOLE WEEK!! Unless my lazy independent study-student turns something in tomorrow, which would be a consummation devoutly to be wished, actually.
    Dead languages 4x each. ONE YES, 1/4 on the other.
    Order fall books. YES.
    Daily stretching & cardio, weights x3. 6/7 stretching, 7/7 cardio, 2x weights.
    Dentist appointment (another). YES (not so bad as expected).
    Collect tax documents. NO.
    More tidying of study. NO.
    Read or something scholarly that isn't class prep. YES.

    I have been thinking a lot in the last few days about research and planning. I am eligible to apply for sabbatical again (OMG I have no idea where the last five years went, probably to trying to move!). I do not feel ready: I have not finished the book I was writing on my last sabbatical (OMG the embarrassment, what WAS I doing for the past 5 years?). So I think I am going to delay applying for a year while I make a big push on that book. I want to have a contract, at least, when I apply at this time next year, for leave in the academic year 23-24. One good thing to come out of the pandemic is that I have far more detailed notes for several of the classes I teach than I often do, so for the next year, teaching prep should be minimal. Another good thing is that I have an extra week of summer this year (in exchange for spring break), and probably won't travel much. Put all these things together and it's a good time to go all-in on research. I'm starting now!

    New goals:
    Complete the "what I have" outline of book-in-progress.
    Dead languages 4x each.
    Grade discussion boards.
    Daily stretching & cardio, weights x3.
    Collect tax documents.
    Tidy study.
    Research new washer & dryer.
    Read something scholarly.

    1. And this will be a summer where you are not trying to move or actually moving!

    2. Mirabile dictu et Deo gratias!

    3. That's wonderful that research is coming to the forefront with exciting plans and a book!
      And congrats on all the marking! That's a big one for the week!

  3. In the near-ish term, I am anticipating my child's return to school on April 12, which will give the days a little more space. He's actually pretty good about letting us get work done, now, but it'll be so nice for him to be with his friends, and for the house to be a little cleaner (no school supplies all over the living room!), and for me to feel more focused/less guilty for working while he's on a break.

    Outdoor gatherings with friends should start getting easier soon.

    We're going to get some work done on our outdoor space! We're having a "greenhouse" torn down before it kills one of the neighborhood children; we're planning a deck expansion; and we want to put in a terraced path-thing along the side of the house.

    And there are only 5 weeks until the end of classes. I can do this.

    Last week (a week of much grumbling):
    1) Write 3 hours (WH intro) - YES
    2) Finish NunG vol. 5; take notes - Finished; cannot bring myself to take notes
    3) Spend 3 hours reading Parzival - Yes; one of my students and I read at exactly the same rate!
    4) Finish up grading batch - Yes (all but the one really late one)
    5) Submit book order for fall - No; it's actually not due until 4/5, so why do it early?
    6) Misc: Receipts; recommendation; library trip - Yes
    7) Run, yoga, language, sit - x4, x1, x3, x4

    This week:
    1) Write 3 hours
    2) NOTES ON NunG
    3) Read a bunch of Parzival and Equiano
    4) Order books for Fall 2021
    5) Read journal article
    6) Run, yoga, sit, language

    1. Your outdoor plans sound wonderful! You had a good week last week despite the grumbling; 3 hours of writing is good progress, as are the Habits.

    2. That's a lot of done stuff, all little steps count! The outdoor space sounds great, it will be wonderful to use in the summer!

  4. Anticipation (mixed with dread) seems to be a big thing for me at the moment, even as the shift past the equinox does mark the descent into dark and cold on this side of the planet/ship. And while our semester has a little monger to run, I go on leave early and there's so much to do (while simultaneously fantasizing about being on an isolate warm beach out of reception range).

    Two of my major goals for this session are now ticked off - a HDR student submission for examination, and the Honours change paperwork gone to committee. I'm still recovering from sleep debt to get these done, but it feels good to have these milestones completed.

    This week:
    - finish and publish feedback on AT1
    - catch up 2 x weeks of online material, and set up AT2 online
    - move offices/flee building works
    - make test box

    1. Yay, you're back! Congratulations on getting two major goals polished off!

      I think we should have a TLQ virtual writing retreat to an isolate beach---warm for those who want that, and chilly for JaneB and any other cold-lovers. ATM I'd take ANY beach, actually!

    2. I can hear the waves already. Maybe we can find one of those places where the afternoons are warm and sunny but the weather cools at night.

    3. Definitely signing up for the beach retreat! I can be packed in 15 minutes, tops!
      Based on an earlier comment of Karen's (kombi in case wondering!) I think I have a pretty good guess as to what country her beach is in, and if I'm right I'm extra jealous because I grew up there... I'm going to happily assume I'm right and enjoy the fantasy!

  5. Sign me up for one of those Aldebaran liquors, Captain Daisy! Anticipation is building, and I am cautiously hopeful about the summer. I am looking forward to being able to stroll through the stacks, which will help with my research, since we built up a nice collection of 16th and 17th-century Latin texts before we took the sharp turn into STEM. Not everything is online, and it will be nice not to be jotting down notes: “Look up x in y text; check x in bibliography of y.” Also, I didn’t realize how much I get done in a reading room full of researchers until I wasn’t there this past year. The quiet concentration is catching, in an odd way, and rarely do researchers need so much help that it interrupts the flow. With the exception of undergraduates, by the time researchers get to the reading room, they know what they need, and are largely self-sufficient. I am also looking forward to more exploration of habits, routines, and rituals. I realize that even in a more structured work life, these will continue to play an important role.
    On a personal note, the Philosopher and I hope to travel to see our daughters and their families, who live several states away. We were supposed to see them at Christmas, but of course… pandemic

    Last week's goals:
    Prepare and run the regional meeting. Yes
    Break open another notebook for Translatio notes 1 x 5. Yes. I even cleaned, refilled, and used a favorite fountain pen.
    Renew passport. All but photograph, which I am surrendering to having done tomorrow.
    Attack the two scary file boxes underneath my desk. Only one, but I still felt virtuous. Most of it was shredded; a bit of it was scanned and the rest of it was filed.
    Walk in the lovely spring weather 1x5. Only 3 of the 5, because it stormed one day, and another day was a wind advisory, fierce enough that the next door neighbors lost a gutter.
    Make one more doctor's appointment.Yes.

    Following Dame Eleanor’s advice, I will include things that got done that were not on the list. In addition to going through the one scary box under the desk, I cleaned off my desk, organized the few things that have to stay on it, and filed or recycled the rest. I also went through my files of articles and scanned the ones I knew I’d referred to in current writing. I went through my craft closet, brutally culling yarn and quilting projects. I pulled together everything for the next two knitting projects and the next quilting project into an “on deck” box, then organized and boxed everything else. I sent two boxes of yarn to my niece, who is always happy to get them, and have three boxes of patterns and supplies to sell online.

    Next week's goals:
    Mail off passport application.
    Attack the remaining scary box under the desk.
    Walk.1 x 5
    Make remaining doctor’s appointment.

    I hope all my fellow travelers are nurturing the small seedlings of optimism. Float like mist, everyone.

    1. Well I would say that you fully met your "walk in the lovely spring weather" goal, because, on the days when you stayed in, it was NOT lovely! That's an impressive amount of cleaning and organizing, too!

    2. Oh, you did a lot! I wish I could get on with clearing out stuff in my study. It's driving me crazy, but not quite crazy enough to DO anything.

    3. I love the quiet concentration of libraries. I work differently there.

    4. Not to be annoying or anything, but I kind of wish I *had* stuff to clear out and organize. It soothes me. But the only things left are those belonging to my husband and son, and I probably shouldn't mess with their stuff...much as it irritates me....

    5. That's a lot of stuff, congratulations! Hope this week's scary box turns out reasonably tame!

  6. Ready to think about the future! I have two significant summer projects: Tiny Project and book proposal. I think about both of them quite a bit and hope I can clear space for them. I proudly said no (to myself) to two projects I was considering, trying to reason with my Shiny Object Syndrome as ever. But then a conference I planned to submit to in 2020 was canceled and has now been rescheduled for Fall 2021 in The Town Where Many Friends Live. That will be hard to pass up, and the paper I’m considering will be a lot of work but will also let me dig deep into some texts that are dear to me. I would need to start work on that late summer if the abstract is accepted.

    Also super proud to have cleaned my office a bit, finally recognizing what a monumental mess it is. Thank you Dame Eleanor for your offer of kinship there, which really motivated me to be accountable. There is more work yet to do.

    Last week:
    1 Make steady progress on grading: somewhat
    2 Clean office equivalent to one large trash bag of trash: yes
    3 Consider how to establish routine to finish all the projects due 1 April (avoid emergencies): somewhat
    4 Joining other Profesoras in ordering Fall books: can’t yet

    This week:
    1 Submit Boredom conference paper
    2 Select and submit creative piece for MV
    3 Submit review of smol book
    4 Make significant progress on Because (due soon)
    5 Make significant progress on Young Ones (due soon)

    1. A quick note to say that I really like your project names! Especially Boredom. I think I have a Boredom project, too (for reasons likely unrelated to why you named it that).

    2. A conference in a place with good friends is always worth doing I think! that is a lovely thing to look forward to!
      Yay for office clearing!

  7. Anticipation: maybe travel, maybe libraries? Seeing the friends I won't have seen for over a year? Also, feeling free enough to move forward. We're in the season here where the days are warm, my house is still cool, but it is not as unimaginably hot as it eventually gets.

    Goals from last week:
    1. Complete materials for potential position YES, "interview" tomorrow
    2. Record lecture for students for next week SHORT ONE DONE
    3. Famous Author: 3x 2 hours (read book, write) 4x!
    4. Email: work forward from December 1 and cut it down Done December & January. Now just February and March
    5. Journals 3 DONE 2
    6. Garden: fertilize perennials, keep pulling weeds PULLED WEEDS, DID NOT FERTILIZE
    7. House: finish going through clothes, bring to donation place - BROUGHT TO DONATION PLACE/ STILL MORE TO DO
    8. Keep up with exercise, healthy eating YES
    9. Have fun with family and friends YES
    10. Be kind I THINK?

    It was vacation last week, and I caught up with stuff, and took time to do various things that needed to be done, including driving an hour to Bigger City for annual medical test: that ended up being a nice half day out, with an outdoor lunch, and strolling through shops. My brother & his family came for this past weekend, and we went up to our local national park for a day. I was exhausted by 2 7 year olds (where DO they get the energy?) but it was great to see them. We even had a delayed birthday cake for the kids & my mom (their birthdays are one day apart in early January, but no celebration because pandemic). Otherwise, I discarded stuff that I didn't need, and feel like I'm still in a "Yes I can get rid of it" mood. I transferred that energy to Church, where another person and I cleaned the church office and made it look decent. We had our first in person service in over a year on Sunday! Along with all that, I made progress on the chapter, not as much as I hoped, but still! I also mentally resolved how I would handle things if I get the potential position I've applied for, which would involve being someplace else for 2 years.

    Goals for this week, when the meetings and online conferences have resurfaced with a vengeance:
    1. 2x 2 hours on famous author
    2. 3 journals
    3. Record next week's lecture
    4. Do the sweaters and blouses in the great closet cleanout
    5. Finally fertilize, plant seedlings
    6. Have a good Easter.
    7. Do things with friends online and in person
    8. Keep up with exercise and healthy eating
    9. Don't get stressed

    1. That sounds like a really good week! Well done!

    2. I'm glad to see your comment about libraries. There is an interesting synergy in a reading room--the concentration fostered there is indeed special.

    3. libraries are the BEST places to work! That is on my list of "when things are better" plans, take my computer, sit at the nice big windows and enjoy the buzz of thinking that happens in there!