the grid

the grid

Sunday 20 June 2021

Summer Session, Week 5: What time is it?

The question heu mihi posted about napping in Week 4 got me thinking about time. I fondly recall a conversation with my friend David when we were in graduate school--he was a TA and full time student, and I had a full time job and took one class a semester for six years. When I asked him if he listened to Morning Edition on NPR, David said, “Nah, I usually don’t stay up that late.”

For this week’s prompt, I’m interested to know if you think of yourself as an early bird or a night owl, or neither. Do you have a particular time of day when you most like to write or read or teach? Has that changed over time? Does it change with seasons? 

Feel welcome to skip the prompt and reflect on your goal past and future. I’ll be back to comment as the week moves forward.

Last week's goals:


1) Cover as much ground as possible for student project field work

2) Help students with field data and sample collections

For extra “would be nice” goals, or options for terrible weather days:

3) Send out letters for association stuff

4) Start revisions for cool paper

Dame Eleanor Hull

Make the Albatross fly away.

Finish moving back into my study (move books, file papers, organize a bit).

At least two hours on class plans.

Scholarly reading x4, Latin x4, Greek x3, Domestic x2.

Walk daily, stretch x5.

Write letters.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Put the goals in their appropriate places in my calendar.

Read two articles on Prudence, making notes, and tracking citations.

Draft a call for papers for the special issue.

Scan a box of pictures.

Good Enough Woman (carried over)

1. Clean out the medicine cabinet.

2. Clean out dresser drawers.

3. 2 20-minute creative writing brainstorming sessions.

4. Float like mist through daughter's movie night with her squad. (We are boarding the dog for the evening, which will help tremendously. We boarded him for the first time on Wed for my son's graduation, which meant my folks could come for dinner without us worrying about him knocking one of them over).

5. Eat some of the greens my friend brought from her garden.

heu mihi

1. Sit x 5, Latin x 5

2. 5 hours on My Project, including working through reader's comments on essay-in-progress

3. Read less short, less difficult book for next year's grad seminar

4. Prep two more fall lectures

5. Journal issue second proofs

6. Copyedit an essay for next journal issue


1 Magic wand for overdue poetry review: I don’t know how else to get this done, other than some magical sprinkles that will get me to sit down and think it out

2 Road review: Working on it, but not getting around to finishing the book

3 Submit revision for online course: again, magic sprinkle but also a specific deadline (Friday) will help. 

4 Cross ten items off the list of things to do. Will help to have a goal, even if self-generated

Susan (carried over)

1. 2x 2 hours on Famous Author

2. Start reading for prize (assuming 20 books, get through at least 5)

3. Read article for review (it's an R & R I read for the first round, so should not be terrible I hope)

4. 2 more sections of program review

5. Have fun with my brother & his family when they come for the weekend

6. Exercise, sleep and read

7. Do fun things with friends


  1. Hello, all! I've missed the first 4 weeks, and will miss the next 3, so I'm not really signing up for this session, but did think that I would drop in to say hi. If you remember, last session I was desperately trying to be ready to be ready to depart on a long service leave rad trip, and we did manage to get away despite various panics and last minute stress-outs. I've been travelling in a campervan with the family through regional/rural/remote locations, and barely checking in on work email (and leaving a firm 'I am not checking email' out of office message). It's amazing how good having physical and mental distance from work has been. Picking up on this week's theme, I've had to go to sleep relatively early for me - once the children are in bed, we can't go in or out of the van without making a rackety, so bed time has been 8-9pm, usually, with a little bit of reading time, and now that I'm in the tropics, we have to sleep with curtains open for airflow so I've been waking with the sunrise. This is a reversal of my night owl tendencies at home, doing work after the kids are asleep and the housework is done, but I'm finding it good for me - I think the challenge will be to keep this up when back home!

    Hoping that you are all well, and finding time and space for your TLQs in your summer.

    1. karen, thanks for checking in from the field! It's good to hear about your adventures and trying to imagine vanlife for real. So interesting to see how your clock has shifted due to circumstances. I hope you stay cool there in the tropics.

    2. Great to hear from you! I'm glad you got away and that things are going well.

    3. So good to hear from you! It sounds like a wonderful trip. Enjoy!

  2. The topic picks up on things I've been thinking about lately. When I was a teenager, of course I wanted to stay up till all hours (and in the summer I did, going to bed at 2 or 3 and sleeping till 10 or noon), while my parents went to bed at 9:00 because they had work in the morning. Although I now think of myself as a morning person, I almost never get to bed so early as my parents did. I'm lucky if I'm asleep by 10, and that's rare. Part of the problem is that I'm married to a vampire, so I don't get "going to bed" cues from my household---rather the reverse! And lately, what with one thing and another (heavy thunderstorms last night, for instance, including warning sirens), I've been up till at least midnight if not later. (Did my vampire turn me?) I'm not sure how I'm going to manage to re-set, either, but I do feel like everything goes better when I go to bed early enough to get up by 7 and have some morning to work with.

    How I did:
    Make the Albatross fly away. YES (sent it to reader, not yet to journal).
    Finish moving back into my study (move books, file papers, organize a bit). Still IN PROGRESS.
    At least two hours on class plans. NO. (Ulp)
    Scholarly reading x4, Latin x4, Greek x3, Domestic x2. SOME?
    Walk daily, stretch x5. YES (I think).
    OTHER: completed a bit of medieval Latin translation (left-handed project) & sent it to a friend; peer-reviewed an essay.

    Normally I make lists for the week and days in a little Moleskine notebook, but last week I never got around to any of that, not even a weekly list and habit tracker page. We were away Sunday-Monday, and the whole week felt "off" because of that.
    Write letters. ONE.

    1. Sorry about messing up my format a little, above, but oh well, it reflects my state of mind.

      New goals!
      Latin, Greek, Domestic, T-reading, Other Reading, all x4.
      Work on daily plans for fall class.
      File papers, move books, paint bathroom.
      Find new doctor.

      (That last will probably be around for awhile, TBH, but I should at least move it to my goals so I'll get tired of seeing it and take action.)

    2. Congratulations on getting the Albatross out the door! That's a bit step, I hope it flies well :)

    3. I married a Vampire too! He only sleeps about half as many hours as I do, so he's been getting up earlier this summer and consequently so am I. I prefer it too.

      You again inspire me to be thinking about the Fall, which seems far closer than it actually is. Long term planning can be a challenge, and that's definitely part of what we're here for.

  3. Definitely an early bird by preference, I love exercising in the morning, or having early coffee outside, or getting started on writing projects before the rest of the world is up. I can easily adjust from early bird to night owl if circumstances dictate, it doesn’t bother me much. I like early classes, but the 1-4 time slot makes me crazy, even though the 3-6 one doesn’t bother me…

    I had a fun week in the field. Only internet was at gas station, no phone service, and with official permission to be out came the freedom of an “out of office” message! Ok, so the horrendous bugs are standard issue for June, and it snowed one day (also standard for June here) and I had to sleep on an old couch because students legally have to get the separate rooms, but whatever, it was still fun! And a bad day outdoors is still an excellent day! So the goals went pretty well and even if anything awful happens to the weather now the student will have a project.

    Last week’s goals
    1) Cover as much ground as possible for student project field work GOOD
    2) Help students with field data and sample collections GOOD
    For extra “would be nice” goals, or options for terrible weather days evenings (we went out anyway, too short a time span for taking weather days):
    3) Send out letters for association stuff PARTLY
    4) Start revisions for cool paper STARTED

    Taking it easy on new goals this week, mostly field stuff, if that gets done I will be happy!

    This week’s goals
    1) Finish up student project field work
    2) Send student home with very clear directions and goals for the next month
    3) Send out letters for association stuff – three different sets now!
    4) Chat with co-authors about revisions for cool paper
    5) Prepare for and do weird government interview thingy (my uni president told me to apply, not sure if it is a good thing or whether I’m the designated sacrificial goat…)

    Have a great official first week of summer!

    1. Hurrah for fieldwork! It's delightful to hear about internet only at the gas station and no phone service and how being in the field is made so much richer by being able to be back there again. Even if it snowed!

      I hope the cool paper truly is cool and not just a metaphoric tag.

      And I should note that I almost always teach 1-4.

  4. Topic: Humming, your story reminds me of when I first became friends with my now-husband. He would call me when he was headed to bed at 6am, since he knew I would be up. I am definitely an early bird in the summer, and slightly less of one in the winter, although even then I get up earlier than I used to do. I write best when no one else is awake, with the dogs asleep at my feet (I miss my dogs!)--the neighborhood is dark and quiet, and my ADD calms down.

    I’ve told this group before about my weird circadian rhythms. When I was on sabbatical, I had a 6-hour on, 6-hour off cycle that did not align with the 9-5 world at all. I would get up at 4am and write until 10; sleep until 4pm; write until 10; sleep until 4. Working from home, I’ve been able to maintain some of that-- I write from 4am to 8am, but sleeping during the day and writing in the evening eludes me.

    On July 6th, all our 12-month academic faculty have to return to campus, so things will change at that time. I am very interested in how things will go--after months of praising all of us for being so productive during the past year and a half, how will administration put the genie back in the bottle?

    Last week's goals:
    Put the goals in their appropriate places in my calendar. Yes. Next goal--to do them!
    Read two articles on Prudence, making notes, and tracking citations. Only one.
    Draft a call for papers for the special issue. Yes.
    Scan a box of pictures. About half a box. I should have realized that going through all the pictures of my parents during the anniversary of my father’s passing and Father’s Day was not going to work. However, my sister and I texted our favorite pictures to one another, which helped.

    Next week’s goals:
    Send call for papers to co-editor with a request to meet.
    Follow two tracked citations to two articles on Prudence, making notes, and tracking citations further.
    File the box (!!) of important documents found in the garage.

    Not very extensive goals, because I have a lot of meetings and lots of extra-curriculars that have to be addressed.
    Float like mist, everyone.

  5. I'm definitely an early bird. For years I think I worked a pretty "work-day" schedule: I worked mostly at home, and after my husband retired, we had a regular meal schedule together. Once I got my current job, and then he died, I've changed a bit. I've discovered that I work well in the morning, then have a dead time after lunch (nap etc) but I'll often get going at 4:30 or 5 and work till 7 or 7:30...

    How I did last week (from last week's goals, which somehow were not posted
    1. Read 9 more books (probably means reading on the weekend) Yes
    2. 2 x 2 hrs on Famous Author ONE
    3. Maybe? do R&R review NO
    4. Finish making new computer look the way I want it to and have all needed software PRETTY MUCH
    5. Begin packing and organizing for trip YES
    6. Get rid of 3 big items to goodwill or facebook marketplace: 2 gone, still trying to sell # 3
    7. Do something fun with friends: Yes? Zoom drinks over the weekend because it was HOT
    8. Eat, sleep, exercise YES

    I've done pretty well, and am fairly well situated for leaving on my trip on Saturday. I have one more book that has arrived to read for the book prize (2 on my list haven't arrived, so will try to read when I'm in UK). I've booked the various COVID tests, I've started packing, and doing most of the domestic stuff. On Thursday, I pick up my sister at the airport, so really no work then, and travel on Saturday...

    Goals for the week ahead (modest, because of travel)
    1. Read last book for prize
    2. 1 x 2 hours on Famous Author
    3. 2 hours planning research
    4. Finish packing
    5. Write checks in advance
    6. Church stuff
    7. Write instructions for my sister etc.
    8. Have fun with friends, sister
    9. Eat, sleep, exercise

  6. One of the thoughts behind this week’s topic is the virtual conference panel I have later this week at 7:00 am. At least I’m not the first speaker! Even when I had a day job, I typically got up at 6, so this will be an unusual experience for me.

    I decided to start keeping track of what I’ve done instead of what I plan to do as a means of holding myself more responsible. Meeting deadlines remains a challenge and I really do need to figure out where I am falling short. I’m hopeful I can find ways to fix this during the remainder of summer. Summer classes begin next week, and there’s only two weeks between the last day of summer session and the first day of fall classes. I’m trying to not feel like summer is’s just that there are more things on the list now.

    Last week:
    1 Overdue poetry review: nope
    2 Road review: nope
    3 Submit revision for online course: nope
    4 Cross ten items off the list of things to do: some

    Last week:
    1 Overdue poetry review
    2 Road review
    3 Submit revision for online course
    4 Present at virtual conference
    5 Work on two other book reviews
    6 Write and post summer syllabi

  7. I've definitely changed! I was neither night owl nor early bird in my younger decades, but preferred late morning as my best working/thinking time; getting up before 8 used to be a real challenge. Having a kid definitely changed that, and now I really like to be up early--but even this is seasonal. My bedroom lets in a lot of light, so in the summer it's easy to be up by 6 (or even by 5...often I wake up thinking that it's really late and find that it's 5:08 am!). But in the winter, when the sun rises at 7:30 or so, that's more or less when I get up, too.

    Last week: My cold came and went and I got rebellious, but I still finished most things
    1. Sit x 5, Latin x 5 - x2, x3. Not so good here.
    2. 5 hours on My Project, including working through reader's comments on essay-in-progress - Yes
    3. Read less short, less difficult book for next year's grad seminar - Yes
    4. Prep two more fall lectures - Yes; actually 3, I think
    5. Journal issue second proofs - Yes
    6. Copyedit an essay for next journal issue - No

    This week: is my son's last week of school, so it's kind of a push to get Real Work done. But I'm also still a little rebellious, and I need to get back on track with exercise.
    1. Full complement of exercise, including one run over 3 miles.
    2. Sit x5, Latin x5
    3. Read one essay for collection
    4. Read and comment on writing buddy's essay
    5. 5 hours on my work
    6. Write 2 lectures for fall
    7. Embark on next yard project (rerouting a downspout)

    I'm feeling like I just have So Much Work To Do. But do I really? It's summer. How can I let this feeling go?