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the grid

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Summer session, week 6: Holding summer

I spun out into rebellion last week and wound up taking a day off--even though I had gotten up early for a 3-mile run and done a 90-minute yoga class, I nonetheless tossed and sandwich, a water bottle, and a book into my backpack and struck out for a 5-mile hike through the forest. The weather was perfect--mid-70s, low humidity, delightfully cool breezes off the waterfalls and reservoirs. Here's the view from where I ate lunch:



I didn't open the book, nor did I get much work done upon my return, but I quite joyfully sat down the next day to edit a journal article and do a one-hour virtual writing date with a friend. Although I probably did less than I might have last week, that day off was definitely the right thing.

I've been thinking a lot about how I struggle, in the summer, between the desire to Do All The Things and the desire to Rest, Relax, and Enjoy. It's not really possible to do both, and I tend to err on the side of the former, but then I feel like summer is getting away from me and I become angry and resistant.

So my "prompt" is really just a thinly disguised request for advice and suggestions. How do you find ways to hold some of that summer feeling (whenever that appears calendrically for you)? Do you take regular days off? Ensure that you spend some time outdoors every day? Nap more often? Make time for pleasure reading? I confess that a part of me is tempted to take an entire summer off.... I actually thought about doing that this year, but then I got interested in my research, so here we are.

Last week's goals:

Daisy:

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…)

Dame Eleanor Hull:

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

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell:

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.

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. 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)

humming42:

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

Susan:

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

13 comments:

  1. Well, hooray for lovely woodsy days off and feeling reinvigorated by them! I think you need to set goals/make lists that include items like "hike in woods," "spend an afternoon reading and napping," and so on. I've just been thinking about how I want to spend the next 3 weeks while the Tour de France is on, and whether I need to list any fun things other than "watch cycling." Ideally, for the next 3 weeks I will go to bed early (ha!), get up early to exercise while it's cool, work in the morning until my husband gets up, then retreat to the basement to watch the Tour, rinse and repeat. So I think one goal here has to be "eat carefully," in the interest of managing sleep! No experimenting. It's three weeks . . . you'd think I could manage this lifestyle until 18 July, right?

    How I did:
    Latin, Greek, Domestic, T-reading, Other Reading, all x4.
    Latin x3, Greek x4 (yay!), Domestic NO but see below, T x2 (better than none), Other see below.
    Work on daily plans for fall class. NO not at all.
    File papers, move books, paint bathroom. NO, MOST, YES!!!
    Find new doctor. NO, not yet.
    OTHER: revised and submitted the Albatross! WOOOOOOT!!!! My friendly reader got back to me with very helpful comments, so my writing time went to fixing topic sentences, moving some bits around (again . . .), and grooming footnotes. Similarly, my Other Reading was in the nature of re-skimming things I'd already read, as I thought about the Albatross. So, while I didn't exactly do what I intended, I did read & write & get a huge millstone off my neck. PLUS I painted the bathroom (3 coats, omg), which is now a pleasant pale peach rather than the Grey Poupon shade it was before. Every time I go in the bathroom I am delighted with it. And since I am an inveterate bathtub reader I spend more time than many folks do in the bathroom, so this really enhances my life! One more room to go, then I'll happily sign off from painting.

    I've been thinking about summer goals, as well. I've now achieved three significant goals (Albatross, painting study and bathroom), but I think I meant to do all of those in May, though I made them session goals here at TLQ. So I guess I'm not behind w/r/t you all, just in my own head, and therefore I should celebrate the achievements rather than bemoan the slowness that no one but me is noticing.

    Further thoughts: when my friendly reader made suggestions about how to fix my topic sentences, I realized that usually when people say "strengthen your thesis," I get more detailed about what I'm arguing, rather than about why it's important. Light dawns about what various readers have probably meant, all my life! I hope I can carry this insight forward into other projects, and offer it in case it helps anyone else: if what people want is more "why," no amount of "who, what, when, where" is going to help.

    New goals:
    Latin, Greek, Domestic, T-reading, Other Reading, all x4.
    Work on daily plans for fall class.
    File papers, move the rest of the books.
    Find new doctor.
    Exercise early, eat carefully, go to bed by 10.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HOORAY FOR THE ALBATROSS! Getting it off your neck, that is. (Are necks where albatrosses tend to hang? I can't remember right now.) Anyway, congratulations! And hooray for having painted! Bathrooms are small but very difficult to paint, in my experience--so much fussy detail to avoid, etc. But it's worth it.

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    2. Congratulations on getting your albatross sent off to a good home!!! That is a huge win, please celebrate in style!!! That gives me hope that some day I will kick mine out of its very comfortable nest...

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    3. I thought of you when I saw that incredibly awful wreck caused by the fan with her cardboard sign. I do miss the Tour...we haven't watched it in years and this summer we're tuned in to motogp. Some day I'll write that piece about how narratives give sport meaning.

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  2. Topic: Perhaps because I stayed inside most of last summer, I am spending as much time outside as I can manage this year. In stark contrast to my usual introverted self, I drink my morning tea on the front porch, and wave at the neighbors; I walk around the block after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I park as far as I can from stores to get in some more walking My replacement knee is giving me some trouble, but I go as far as I can.

    Since moving to upstate NY, I’ve become more aware of colonial and revolutionary history, and summer also means drives to local historical sites; this summer, I’ve started to track down historical markers, which range from the hidden gem of a house where soldiers were billeted during the Seven Years’ War to the mundane of a farm which developed a particular melon.

    Finally, I make sure I spend at least an hour every day reading for pleasure; preferably on the front porch. I don’t know that any of these suggestions will spark ideas for you, heu mihi. It sounds like you have glorious surroundings in which to explore, given your picture.

    Last week's goals:
    Send call for papers to co-editor with a request to meet. No. This is now TRQ!
    Follow two tracked citations to two articles on Prudence, making notes, and tracking citations further. Yes.
    File the box (!!) of important documents found in the garage. Yes.

    Off-list:
    Organized 20 shelves in the stacks for better use of the space.
    Began proofreading the collection guide I’m writing.
    Began working on the t&p review coming up in the fall.
    Made two doctors’ appointments.
    Got a temporary crown put in.

    It was a tough week—one of those where I would fall asleep about an hour before I had to get up. The dentist had a last minute cancellation, so I had less than an hour to prepare mentally for the crown (my first ever),which wasn’t my favorite experience of the week.

    Next week’s goals:
    Request meeting with co-editor.
    Follow two tracked citations to two articles on Prudence, making notes, and tracking citations further.
    Pull together everything needed for the return to campus. Digitize everything that I can; duplicate supplies and task lists.
    Organize home desk 1 hour x 4.
    Organize desk in campus office on Friday.

    The temperatures are crazy on the coasts, so please take care if you are in one of the heat advisory areas. My sister said it’s supposed to get to 108 in Seattle today, which made me shut up about the 94 forecast here.
    Float like mist, everyone!

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    Replies
    1. I love these suggestions! I do find walks so restorative. Reading for pleasure for an hour a day also sounds like instant summer to me.

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  3. Things that help me feel like summer:
    I think the biggest thing is to accept that not everything will get done, and to make something special of the short time we have for summer. On hot days I make a point of being outside, sometimes with outdoor beer either on my deck or restaurant patio. Other things are lots of beach trips on good days (helps to be 15 minutes away!), lots of bbq for food, and camping trips (many short and one long one) with kid are a must. Little things like visits to friends with pools or walks or swims definitely make it special for me. I usually give myself a specific date for worrying about Fall classes and resolve to not do anything about them until that day, it helps a lot otherwise it just sucks all the fun out of the summer. Of course it helps that some years I get to just leave for 2 months but for years when that is not possible building in reduced expectations is good. I usually pick three areas to plan for – one thing from projects/papers, one batch of field work, and one 2 week fun trip with the kid. That breaks things up nicely and I don’t feel too bad about the things I don’t do. But really, the one thing would be water and beach time, as long as I have lots of that it feels like summer!

    Last week’s goals
    1) Finish up student project field work DONE
    2) Send student home with very clear directions and goals for the next month DONE
    3) Send out letters for association stuff – three different sets now! NOPE
    4) Chat with co-authors about revisions for cool paper DONE
    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…) DONE

    A good week in the field! Lots of great stuff for the student to work on, it will be an excellent project I think. The odd interview was fun (had to come home for that to have internet) and if nothing else I made them laugh a few times (I didn’t realize I said “nasty-ass industrial waste sites” until it was too late and I saw them all giggling)…

    This week’s goals
    1) Finish up last bits of current field work, plan next batch
    2) Make a real plan for July, including papers, field stuff, student stuff, and fun stuff
    3) Send out letters for association stuff – three different sets now!
    4) Celebrate end of school year with kid
    5) Mark the start of my sabbatical with something fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very wise to wait to think about fall teaching. This year I started prepping a new book in June, and I think that that was largely responsible for my rebellion. I'm going to make VERY rough notes for the last two lectures on this book and then refuse to allow myself to think about teaching again until August.

      So glad that you had a good field week! Good luck with the weird interview thing.... Now my curiosity is piqued.

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    2. Also: HOORAY SABBATICAL

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  4. Yesterday, despite the blazing heat, I went for a short walk up to the closest waterfall (about 1/2 mile away) and waded in the cool stream at its head. That was quite delightful and summery! My son is on summer break now, which is actually helping--he wants to go to the pool all the time, and the smell of chlorine + the exhausted feeling of being in cold water and hot sun is one essence of summer.

    Last week:
    1. Full complement of exercise, including one run over 3 miles.
    Four runs instead of five, but I also had a 5-mile hike. Did the rest, including two yoga classes.
    2. Sit x5, Latin x5
    x3, x3. See "rebellion," above.
    3. Read one essay for collection - YES
    4. Read and comment on writing buddy's essay - YES
    5. 5 hours on my work - NO; I think 4? or close?
    6. Write 2 lectures for fall - NO, but I finished the reading
    7. Embark on next yard project (rerouting a downspout) - DONE; work complete, followed by a beer on the deck and much (internal) appreciation of my incredibly filthy, sweaty body

    This week: We leave for my in-laws on Friday afternoon, and I'm deluding myself into thinking that trip prep will be simple and quick. We'll see. Is it ever?
    1. Run x4 (once over 3 miles), yoga x2
    2. Quick draft of last 2 lectures
    3. Get through 2 journal articles and process them
    4. 200 pages of work-related reading
    5. "Finish" revising Death
    6. Sit some amount, Latin some amount
    7. Brew beer

    I can't in fairness put this on my to-do list, since I did it Monday morning, but also:
    -Be interviewed for a podcast! My first! (It's quite obscure so I don't think anyone will actually listen to it, but it was more fun and less stressful than I'd thought.)

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    Replies
    1. That sounds like a beautiful walk! Glad the podcast was fun!
      Lots of things got done despite rebellion, I think it is best to embrace and accommodate rebellion and use it for good rather than struggling against it and ending up cranky!

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  5. I too am trying to fend off the end of summer. I totally appreciate the do all the things / do absolutely nothing quandary. I’m not only now teaching summer classes but we’re starting this semester two weeks earlier than last year. New administrators have made significant changes to the academic calendar, but the early start means we get to keep our weeklong Thanksgiving holiday so it’s a worthwhile trade off.

    I’ve often mentioned my fiction addiction and that once I dig into a good novel, I will push everything else off to the side so I can enjoy my reading. So summer is definitely my reading time. I really hope I can show up next week with more “yes” than “no.”

    Last week:
    1 Overdue poetry review: no
    2 Road review: no
    3 Submit revision for online course: no
    4 Present at virtual conference: yes
    5 Work on two other book reviews: no
    6 Write and post summer syllabi: yes

    This week:
    1 Overdue poetry review
    2 Road review
    3 Submit revision for online course
    4 Work on two other book reviews

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    Replies
    1. I hope you have lots of excellent fiction line up for the summer! I sometimes save up books I know I will love for times when reading can be leisurely so I can enjoy them without feeling that I have to rush to get to other stuff I have to do...
      Good luck with the classes!

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