the grid

the grid

Sunday 6 March 2022

Week 9: One peaceful thing

 Hello everyone

It feels strange to be going about our normal business when everything seems broken… Not that it is a new thing, but the cumulative brokenness does seem to be weighing more heavily. I’m trying every day to do one thing that brings a little bit of peace to the world. Donating money, writing to someone who needs encouragement, doing something nice for no reason… It helps a bit but it still feels like there is just too much to tackle…

This week we are starting to work on the inside of our cabins and planning spaces for ourselves. What is the ONE thing you want to make a non-negotiable space for inside your cabin, perhaps for something you do not have right now? A particular art work? An activity? A beloved piece of furniture?

In real life… What is the one thing you can do this week that will bring you or anyone else a bit of peace?

Last week’s goals


FINISH paper edits

Edit more thesis chapters

Do more grant accounting and PD accounting

Buy stuff with new grant money

Conference meetings and abstract wrangling

Dame Eleanor Hull

Keep core work hours.
Health: cardio daily, stretch x6, track bedtime.
Research: 30 min x6 (2 projects), dead languages x3 each.
Teaching: write more assignments, keep building VILE sites, grade 2 short assignments.
Life stuff: collect tax stuff, do something fun.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Scan at least three relevant articles for the most interesting potential article.
Organize my files of “articles to read.”
Integrate my ADD planning pages into my “normal person” planner.

heu mihi

1) Finish visa applications and schedule appointment
2) Process new journal article
3) Submit tiny grant application
4) Spend a solid 2-3 hours reading for new vignette!

Humming42 (held over)

1 write Boredom chapter
2 write Food chapter
3 write Roma conference presentation
4 organize all the Tiny Project drafts
5 submit DQ proposal


1) call GP about anxiety etc.
2) do teaching prep for week 6
3) make time to read or do D&D prep 4 days
4) Do some literature searching for Why
5) make posts/advertising about the May Training Course
6) finish marking the drafts
7) move intentionally 10 minutes a day


1. Make master plan of all due dates for teaching and honours supervisions
2. VILE boards done each day, and week 3 and 4 fully ready to go.
3. Feedback done for postgrad article, finish chapter two in the ongoing saga
4. 500 words on KL
5. Weather permitting, paint window frame

Susan (held over)

4 days on Famous Author
start reading ms for friend
Yard stuff (contact another contractor)
Keep up with exercise, healthy eating
Do something fun
Talk with friend



  1. Today I baked bread. Does that count?

    I'm remembering one year when I gave up anxiety for lent--I think it was 2017 or 2018--it actually worked really well. I may do that again.

    Last week:
    1) Finish visa applications and schedule appointment
    Yes, appointment scheduled

    2) Process new journal article
    Finally, yes, today!

    3) Submit tiny grant application
    Yes, although I never got a confirmation, which troubles me....

    4) Spend a solid 2-3 hours reading for new vignette!
    Maybe? I read an article, and it may have taken 2-3 hours.

    That was a really manageable amount of work. I spent a great deal of Thursday dealing with an urgent email vote with the committee that I chair--literally staring at my inbox notification icon, WAITING--so it's good that I didn't assign myself too much.

    This week is the week before break, and I feel an imminent lull in my work. So the list is this:

    1) Read at least 2 articles
    2) Draft issue intro for journal (with co-editor)
    3) Revisit full project plan and prepare for break
    4) 1 Gen Ed review
    5) Read essay for grad class that's happening after break

    Monday is my super-long day (4 straight hours of teaching), and after that things let up a lot, so I'm feeling like 24.75 hours from now, I'll be on the slow coast into vacation week...!

    1. Enjoy the slow coast towards the break week! It is nice when the run-up to that is not a frantic scramble!
      Baking break totally counts - it is symbolic in addition to making people happy so that is a win!
      Glad the visa stuff is making progress, and yay for doing everything you wanted!

    2. I too am looking forward to spring break, even if I spend a good bit of it grading and planning for the post-break weeks. Not having meetings will be fantastic. I'm coasting in by playing hooky on a meeting today, and skipping another on Friday (instead of that one, we'll be seeing our new accountant, but live, so for me better than Zoom).


    1) call GP about anxiety etc. Haha no. Because... well, because.
    2) do teaching prep for week 6 just about
    3) make time to read or do D&D prep 4 days three days - rereading Murderbot is kind of irresistible which makes it positively medicinal right now
    4) Do some literature searching for Why no
    5) make posts/advertising about the May Training Course made a start. Yesterday. But a start!
    6) finish marking the drafts YES
    7) move intentionally 10 minutes a day YES - sometimes the 10 minutes just before midnight, but heck, it counts

    1) call GP about anxiety etc. because this is not going to defeat me
    2) do teaching prep for week 7
    3) make time to read or do D&D prep 4 days
    4) Send an email to the "Why" author group
    5) do a little more advertising about the May Training Course
    6) Respond to reviewers comments on Group paper
    7) move intentionally 10 minutes a day

    My non-negotiable is to have three separate spaces, one for reading, one for writing, one for craft/art. So that I can leave at least three (likely many more) projects 'open' but still in their designated areas. These don't need to be large spaces - a comfy chair with a blanket, a small table with a cupboard nearby, that sort of things.

    What can I do to bring peace? Well, I donated to a project which gives bags of necessities to refugee children which includes books in their own language and stuffed animals along with hats, gloves, toothbrushing kits etc., because escaping into a book is such a gift. And it may not bring PEACE, but my colleagues & I have really pushed getting feedback done on draft projects so that we were able to give students their feedback almost two weeks early - they always get really stressed waiting for the feedback, so we tried extra hard this year. And now I need to meet with all my students and talk them through their upset and stress (because honestly? Most of them were feeble) which I hope helps them.

    Plus running short D&D games for stressed teens should count a bit, right? (today the two who turned up rescued a beloved family pet weasel which had gotten lost in a fey enclave, so between the animated trees, drunken satyrs, and trickster faeries playing pranks, it was very far from the politics exam they were both supposed to be revising for! And we laughed a lot.

    1. Anything that helps stressed teens counts! And your donations count, I love that there are books included, that is a special touch. And helping stressed students count... Every little bit does something good. I want us all to remember that even little bits of good are better than none...
      You got lots of things done too! Glad you are giving yourself a bit of kindness and escape time too, Murderbot should be handed out as a prescription I think!

    2. I love the book idea. And seconding Daisy, little bits of good are much better than none.

    3. Another lover of the book idea. And also that D&D provides laughter for you and the stressed teens.

  3. I’m sorry for being a part-timer again, typically only showing up every other week. I definitely have some time management issues of late, trying to do too many things. One thing I should do, for my condo and my actual home office, is to get a desk. I’m consoled by the author Gary Shteyngart, who says he writes in bed, as do I. I am a bit embarrassed, so grateful that a respected author does the same.

    A brief touch on session goals, which also links to most recent held-over weekly goals:
    1/2 Boredom chapter and Food chapter are long term projects, both due in the summer. I should spend more time on them.
    3 Roma conference presentation (aka March conference) is this coming weekend, so this is coming along. I wish I had another six months to work on it, so maybe the conference presentation will evolve into an essay.
    4 I organized the tiny project drafts into the tiny project competition submission. I’m not overly encouraged about winning the competition, but am looking forward to the judges’ critique.
    5 DQ proposal is a bit painful, realizing it’s been a year since I met virtually with the editor who will likely be at the conference. I should be the better person and go meet him, since he is a lovely person, but I can only hope to make a positive impression as an academic slacker

    Last two weeks:
    1 work on tiny project competition submission (or decide whether to do so): yes
    2 grade all the things due this week: some
    3 work on March conference presentation: some
    4 latest book review: yes
    5 monitor fiction reading to avoid dangerous levels of distraction: yes but…I signed up for a book group to read Brothers Karamazov. Even though the daily assigned reading is relatively short, it’s slow reading

    This week:
    1 Attend March conference, present paper, talk to editor
    2 It’s spring break, so catch up on grading and writing new assignments
    3 submit upcoming and late book review
    4 write and submit extended abstract, time permitting. It's a thing about Ukraine, so it might fit in with doing a good thing

    1. Small Ukraine goodness: a bakery in the city where my son lives donated their profits to Ukraine one day last week. I sent him $ to buy a couple of cakes. He waited in line for 2 hours but they sold out. And raised $70,000!

    2. The cakes count! A big collective result from lots of little individual actions is so encouraging.
      1000 times yes to the desk!! When the pandemic hit I moved a small desk to my work area, and it changed my life... I always worked on tables or whatever surface was available and hated working at home, the desk was the first step towards setting up a system that didn't physically hurt me to use... Get a really nice fantasy desk!!

    3. I'm not sure why one has to write in any particular place, unless it's for ergonomic purposes. I believe Barbara Cartland wrote in (or dictated from) bed or a chaise longue---and why not?

    4. I find that grading and administrivia goes more quickly in the desk setting, especially when it requires the spreading out of paper. For writing, bed is preferred. A chaise lounge would definitely be welcome too!

  4. Easy one first! For my cabin I would love a wood-burning fireplace or a little wood stove. It is something I’ve always wanted in a home… It should be in a corner where I can have comfy seating close by. Seating would come with a blanket/throw or two of course. Just somewhere to be quiet… That’s what I need now!

    This week I really want to make sure I am extra kind to my students who are struggling. I think I’ve been good, but I feel like a little extra encouragement is needed. For world-scale things I will donate to a couple of organizations, and take part in a volunteer fund-raising concert. Otherwise, mostly practice patience…

    Last week’s goals
    FINISH paper edits NOPE
    Edit more thesis chapters YES
    Do more grant accounting and PD accounting YES
    Buy stuff with new grant money TRIED, FAILED
    Conference meetings and abstract wrangling YES

    Well I got very little done from my list except the abstract wrangling… And even less of the stuff that wasn’t on the list. Not unexpected… That will continue this week, this is the most intense time for that so the end is in sight. Students are having a rough time so I will be spending extra time with them and trying to help with the stress of getting closer to thesis defenses and submission.

    This week’s goals
    Paper edits maybe???
    Be extra kind to students when editing/rewriting things
    Conference meetings and abstract wrangling, make program
    Something fun with kid

    1. Some weeks it's success to just keep on keeping on with the urgent stuff.

  5. Not in the cabin, but on the deck outside: a hot tub. (Similar to the magically free of poison oak hillside, it doesn't need maintenance! IRL I just couldn't deal with the upkeep.) When I'm staying in the cabin, every night I'll go out and soak for a bit, till I'm relaxed and sleepy and can stumble in and go straight to sleep (in very high-thread-count sheets). Some nights I'll get to see the stars; some nights will be foggy and mysterious.

    How I did:
    Keep core work hours. More in the breach than the observance, I fear, except on campus days.
    Health: cardio daily, stretch x6, track bedtime. YES, YES, NO (wasn't looking at my notebook much last week).
    Research: 30 min x6 (2 projects), dead languages x3 each. YES (but one project got the lion's share), x3 total but at least both languages got a shot.
    Teaching: write more assignments, keep building VILE sites, grade 2 short assignments. YES, YES, ONE.
    Life stuff: collect tax stuff, do something fun. NO, YES (read two YA novels by Rachel Neumeier).
    OTHER: dug the compost pile on our one really warm day, and weeded about half the vegetable patch while I was at it.

    New goals:
    Keep core work hours.
    Health: cardio daily, stretch x6, track bedtime.
    Research: 30 min x6 (2 projects), dead languages x3 each.
    Teaching: write more assignments, keep building VILE sites, grade 1 short assignment and two sets of papers.
    Life stuff: collect tax stuff (now urgent), do something fun.

    1. That's a great idea for a magical cabin thing that just doesn't work in real life! It will totally be self-organizing and self-cleaning too, just to make sure it stays fun and does not become work... Lots of stuff done, yay! Especially for the research project bits! Nice to read about spring-like garden activities, we're still a long way off...

  6. A non-negotiable furniture placement for me is a chaise longue by the fire, with a daylight floor lamp (for SAD) and a convenient plug for the laptop. I especially like the chaises that have a corner created by a side/back that extends for a couple of feet, so that I can shift positions and still have pillows for my back.
    As for achieving a bit of peace, I have ramped up the reminders on my mindfulness app so that I am reminded to be grateful at least three times a day. I haven’t perfected giving peace to others, but I have been able to soothe a few panicky students who are overwhelmed by the midpoint of the semester.

    Last week’s goals:
    Scan at least three articles for the most interesting potential article. Yes, and recycled the paper copies.

    Organize my files of “articles to read.” A start. Not surprising, but irritating, is that I had articles in two different systems, and so had to troll through each bibliographical system to see which were the ones that were only in that system, and to bring them all together.

    Integrate my ADD planning pages into my “normal person” planner. Mostly; I didn’t get to the “goal-setting” ones, so I have that on the next list.

    Next week’s goals:
    Finish putting the ADD pages (mostly the goals section) into my planner.
    Search ten articles I have in paper to replace with electronic copies.
    Take notes on a couple of the articles for the potential article.

    This week is the last one before break, to which I am truly looking forward. Float like mist, everyone!

    1. Yay for things done, and the coming break! Good that you can help stressed out students at this point in the term especially.
      That reading/working/lounging spot sounds extremely cozy! Make tea and enjoy!

  7. Well, it says a lot that I missed last week, right?
    I think the two things I would have in my cabin (which, like Dame Eleanor's, will be self-cleaning and have disappearing cat hair) are an arm chair of my father's that came from his mother: it has a very high back, so I can lean my head back and have it supported: naps while reading! (On my mental to do list is reupholstering it, but. . .) In front of it I have a footstool, also inherited, for which my grandmother did a needlepoint cover. It's a great reading spot, and reminds me of the past.

    Peaceful things: for Lent I gave up bringing my iPad to bed. It means I read - a magazine or book, it depends. But it means I'm not checking twitter or email at 10 PM and doomscrolling. The time difference means that I get the morning news in Europe at bed time, and that's not good. I'm hoping this continues post-easter.

    As to Ukraine, I ask my students what they want to know, and try to listen. And think of the Ukrainian restaurant I knew as a kid. And don't think I've done anything remotely useful.

    How I did over two weeks:
    4 days on Famous Author YES
    start reading ms for friend STARTED
    Yard stuff (contact another contractor) NO
    Keep up with exercise, healthy eating YES
    Do something fun YES
    Talk with friend YES

    So mostly good. I also did my taxes because I had missed the email with the information from my accountant; so that took time, but is under control. I'm moving, and I think I've finished the section of the chapter that had me very sluggish.

    Looking at my session goals
    1. Finish first draft of famous author, begin revisions ON TRACK
    2. Start drafting essay for June conference related to Persistence STARTS IN APRIL
    3. Keep up with teaching, don't get overwhelmed. SO FAR, SO GOOD
    4. Do stuff for professional organization YES
    5. Do garden stuff so I can plant new tree DONE
    6. Spend time with my mother YES
    7. Spend time with friends YES
    8. Read for fun SOME

    I think I'm doing reasonably well. . . I won't change anything, except maybe try not to get too wrapped up in the admin role I take on in July: I appreciate being brought in, but as I said to the person in the role now, it's his gig, and I trust him.

    What has happened this week is that life has returned to normal with a vengeance. I have friends coming over this evening, and church tomorrow along with a meeting; and meetings both Thursday and Friday. This would have been a bad week pre-pandemic. I don't know how it happened. BUt it's Lent, so I have a weekday service.

    Goals for next week:
    1. Finish this chapter (doable) before trip to Library
    2. Keep reading ms.
    3. Do fun thing
    4. Go to all the meetings
    5. Keep up with exercise & good eating
    6. Set up Mom's new computer (hangs over me . . .anxiety.)

    1. Some weeks are just like that! Your session goals are going pretty well, glad they are working for you.
      Listening and providing space for conversations with/between students is a very underrated thing, and often means much more to them than we think at the time... I'm sure they appreciate that approach...
      Hope busy week was fun too!