the grid

the grid

Sunday 27 November 2022

2022 Session Three, week 11

We never did collect goals at midterm, because that was A Week all around, and now we're getting close to the end it doesn't seem worth it. I vote to let it go and we'll just see how hard we feel like laughing at the session goals in a few weeks. The plan is that we'll set goals three more times (this week plus 2), and then around 17 December have a how-we-did/end-of-session party where we reflect on the whole session (including on those things that intruded despite not being on the radar back when we started, like roof repairs).

This week's shape is a torus! Otherwise known as a doughnut, in geometric terms it's a curvy shape with a single hole in it. (I am not going to get technical about this: if you're mathematically inclined, you know the details, and if you aren't, I assume that you don't want to know and this hand-wavy definition will suffice.) So a mug or a teacup counts, as the handle is the hole. So do tires, some rings, some bracelets . . . what version will you choose? Let us know in the comments, if you feel like it! Goals are posted below, so also let us know how you did and what you're planning for the week ahead.

EAM, we're holding you and any other TLQers who need it in the light. Though the year itself is still getting darker in the northern hemisphere, that just means that candles and seasonal decorations and SAD lamps are going on and radiating out to everyone! And if you're in the southern hemisphere, then your light is growing and heading for the solstice: enjoy!


URGENT revisions for old paper
URGENT write something for out-of-my-field discussion paper
Finish website and award stuff for association
New conference stuff
Clean house after construction chaos IF that is finished this week
Paint bedrooms if construction is done

Dame Eleanor Hull

- finish the damned essay (now urgent)
- Notes on MET book and C&C read weeks ago
- work on at least one spring class
- do an interesting long walk
- do some tidying, unpacking, or other house task
- do yoga at least 4 times, weights x2, walk x5

heu mihi

-Maybe look at the microfilm I inadvertently ordered from the library?
-Look at vita in reading room
-Reserve reading room spots and MSS
-Journal: Process new MS for review; identify and request reviewers; work through proofs that are due on Monday (but we're still waiting for the authors to look at them); sort out the two even-newer submissions
-Run x 3
-Yoga x 1


Deal with workmen
Sort out some Xmas stuff
keep an eye on Fluffball


1. Teaching prep.
2. Emails (try to be efficient)
3. Write urgent student reference.
4. Maybe do research
5. Exercise - run twice, pilates once, walk other days.
6. House stuff
7. Day off on Friday, probably Christmas shopping with kids.


  1. I think I'll wait to comment on the shape, and see what other people come up with, first.

    How I did:
    - finish the damned essay (now urgent). YES!*
    - Notes on MET book and C&C read weeks ago. NO. Ha--why do I keep posting this goal?
    - work on at least one spring class. NO.
    - do an interesting long walk. YES.**
    - do some tidying, unpacking, or other house task. NO.***
    - do yoga at least 4 times, weights x2, walk x5. YES.

    * OK, I still have to work on the endnotes, but it is done enough to have been sent to a friend for pre-submission review, so YAY!
    ** The most interesting walk was fairly short, but I've had some long walks and a farther-afield walk, so in spirit, I've met this one.
    *** In place of House Stuff, I booked a trip to go visit family in December. It doesn't do anything for my immediate environment, but it is a thing that takes some emotional energy.

    New goals:
    - work on essay endnotes
    - Continue to pretend I will take notes on MET book and C&C read weeks ago
    - work for at least an hour on at least one spring class
    - grade as many undergrad final papers as come in on time
    - dead language prep
    - do some tidying, unpacking, or other house task
    - do yoga at least 4 times, weights x2, walk x5
    - pick up new glasses, I hope!

    1. Yay for the finished essay! That is excellent news and I'm sure very satisfying, endnotes will come along.
      Good luck with the grading and house tasks, those are the harder things to get motivated for!

    2. Yes, well done on the essay! And on booking the trip - that's often more stressful than the actual travel!

    3. I love those goals that just sit around for weeks! We get so used to seeing them that we don't feel any obligation to complete them anymore.

      I'm impressed by your consistency with yoga practice. That's one thing that I've aspired to for years and years with no luck, unless I have consistent studio classes--which I don't right now.

    4. Well, "yoga" might be overly kind: it's 10-30 minutes of stretching and strengthening that varies depending on what I feel like, and which may or may not involve focused breathing.

  2. Tori are interesting - I prefer bagels over doughnuts (and the blocky doughnuts like yumyums and custard-filled over the rings). The tori I handle most are reels of sticky tape of various kinds and the spiky flexible plastic rings that are my favourite legitimate fiddle objects - shredding beer mats or other kinds of layered cardboard is still the actual most satisfying choice. And tori make me think of cool mind-stretching pleasures like quantum mechanics and black holes and time-travel paradoxes and bags of holding and pocket universes...

    One more day of roof work to come (turned out the chimney needs repointing and the cowl is loose) and Fluffball is getting a little bolder - when the workers aren't on the roof, he is willing to watch them from behind the curtain, and although he did the "I'm too scared to go upstairs, feed me downstairs" thing on Friday he ate both downstairs AND upstairs breakfasts within a couple of hours of them being put out, despite the invisible cat-eating roof-dwellers. I'm just really stressed in the quiet, twitchy, powerful hungers for foods that aren't good for me way, but tomorrow I should at least know the full cost so I can try to work out how to square the circle of pay deductions (Union going into Action Short Of A Strike - working to contract, essentially - and my University are "only" deducting 20% or so from the pay of anyone who takes part in the action (others are threatening up to 100% deductions...)) and soaring cost of living with rather expensive roof and the added cost of the window/door work I committed to before all this went down. We'll manage, I just want to know the numbers AND to not have workmen around the place.

    This week's goals are
    * get an abstract in for a conference I don't want to go to, but OUGHT to want to go to a lot, so I might actually want to by the time it comes around
    * get a few Christmas packages to friends wrapped and posted, and work out what to buy the last few difficult people that they will actually like and use
    * get all of next week's teaching prepared
    * mark a lot of things
    * work only 30 hours... (not compatible with the previous point at all). No, work 22.5 hours as there's another strike day included. It sounds so little... but between a foggy brain and emotional labour, it really isn't.
    * focus on restoring baseline habits, like movement every 45 minutes and eating the foods that suit my body FIRST, once the roof work is finished

    1. OK, the fiddle objects make me suspicious: are you our Basement Cat?

    2. Sympathies on the continued roof repairs. I don't blame you and Fluffball for being twitchy. Like you, I am wondering how to cram everything into four days and respect ASOS (which I always vote against for precisely this reason, that it's just impossible). At least my uni is not yet deducting pay for it - can't believe there hasn't been a legal challenge to that yet.

    3. I know you've heard this and thought this a lot, but can I just say how much it sucks that your uni is docking money for ASOS, aka working to contract!! That is downright insulting and awful on so many levels... Sending good thoughts!!!
      I hope the roof stuff finishes soon so Fluffball can relax!

    4. The roof is done, I'm working on being calm about the cost, Fluffball is recovering (but reckons he still needs Second Breakfast in two different places to calm his nerves), and my nerves are having a small "aargh"! moment. How unusual... sigh...

      I'm glad of the strike day today, I've spent it mostly in bed feeling unwell but hopefully will revive enough to teach in person tomorrow and grade (likely all weekend, ASOS or not, because... there are consequences for other assignments at this time of year, and... ugh!

    5. So pleased for you the roof is finished and hope you do feel better tomorrow.

  3. I had never heard of a torus! I suppose I think rings, bracelets, beautiful objects and also symbols of eternity. It made me think of the way ideas and concepts often flow seamlessly into each other when reading and thinking, and how that can make writing about them much more challenging, but also much more fun.
    (On a more negative note, the hole does make think of emptiness and what is missing - that's probably inevitable for me right now. But maybe loss can co-exist with happier concepts like eternity and resilience.)

    Last week was tough - I didn't get a grant I applied for at the start of term. It was funding from my university, from money that is supposed to be allocated to helping kickstart projects and prepare bigger external applications. It would have made a big difference to how much I can afford to get done this year (paying for archive trips and research assistance) and would have helped me get off the ground again after being stuck for so long. I thought I had a good case for support, but clearly not. So by the end of the three-day week, I was just exhausted and fed-up.

    1. Teaching prep. - YES (just)
    2. Emails (try to be efficient) -NO
    3. Write urgent student reference. - YES
    4. Maybe do research - NO
    5. Exercise - run twice, pilates once, walk other days. -YES (running, pilates), NO (walks - but in my defence, weather has been awful!)
    6. House stuff - YES (tidied, batch cooked, now have healthier lunches)
    7. Day off on Friday, probably Christmas shopping with kids. - YES (surprisingly less crowded than expected and we had a chilled lunch out)

    This week is only four days as JaneB says and I now have marking to do:
    1. Apply for much smaller grant to salvage some of my plans - URGENT (deadline today)
    2. Marking
    3. Teaching prep for next term
    4. Research/writing - this ought to be TLQ, but will probably be squeezed by 2 and 3 becoming urgent. Sigh.
    5. Xmas stuff - parcels in post like JaneB, buy & wrap presents
    6. House stuff - declutter
    7. Exercise - pilates x 1, run x 2, walk as many days as possible.

    1. Sorry to hear about the grant, that is very frustrating for you. I hope the smaller grant comes through.
      Glad the shopping with kids was fun! And extra points for getting running and pilates done among all the other things!

    2. Thank you! It's just frustrating when a lot of my feedback has been along the lines of 'you need to be applying for grants'. But I'll survive. Like Dame Eleanor, I exercise because I really need to now - too many days without it and my mood and stress levels are dire.

    3. On grants, do you get credit for applying, or only if you actually receive one? At LRU, it varies by department. You have to try, but unless you're in certain fields, actually getting a grant isn't crucial.

    4. Grants are so effing annoying - you put a lot of work and hope into applying for them and rarely get them (and at least at Northern Uni if you DO get them you have to fight admin systems tooth and claw to get anything to actually happen and be allowed to spend the money - update on grant I got July 2021 - still have not got all the info I need to actually SPEND most of the money... Ends next May. GAH). At least with papers, you can almost always find them a home even if it isn't the home you initially hoped for...

    5. My institution has started to give some credit in promotion and career progression reviews for applying, even if unsuccessful. But they much prefer external grant applications, which is fine, except that a credible grant application needs you to have worked out costs (how much archive time, how many trips etc), none of which can be done if you don't know what is even in the archive (some of the ones I want to work in don't have a printed catalogue, let alone an online one). Hence this application, which would have allowed me to figure out some of these things. But yes, the time and effort required is frustrating, when as JaneB says, you could channel it into an article that will get published somewhere. I don't absolutely need grants so long as I publish, but to do the research I want to do, time abroad and research assistance is really going to make a difference. And I'm in a discipline where books still count a lot more than articles, on the whole.

  4. My favourite torus is definitely my coffee mug! Never thought about it as a torus before but now that it has been pointed out I cannot unsee it! Big fan of bagels too. Not a fan of rings for jewellery, they get caught in things and I have to take them off for most work I do so I rarely wear any. Also, riding inner tubes, either in water, or on ice as toboggans...

    Last week’s goals:
    URGENT revisions for old paper STARTED
    URGENT write something for out-of-my-field discussion paper STARTED
    Finish website and award stuff for association MOSTLY NOT DONE
    New conference stuff DONE
    Clean house after construction chaos IF that is finished this week DONE
    Paint bedrooms if construction is done NOPE, NOT ENOUGH PAINT

    The paper I submitted last week cleared editorial and is now completely accepted, next stop will be galleys, so that was nice and very fast. I got a whole lot of cleaning done, but could not paint since there was not enough paint and I categorically refuse to go to home-improvement stores on weekends because it is all chaos. So maybe later this week? And they’re not quite done with construction yet, so there will be more cleaning anyway… Instead of painting I took advantage of an unseasonably warm days and divided and planted a huge wheelbarrow of hostas to spots where they will hopefully thrive and take over parts of the lawn that I don’t want to mow…
    This coming week has a ton of teaching stuff to finish and a visitor and some kid things so I will not get to house stuff at all which is probably fine. Teaching will have priority for sure, it is getting to the end of the term and things are piling up!

    This week’s goals:
    Marking and logistics for class
    Set up final exam and practice exam
    FINISH revisions for old paper
    Finish enough of the out-of-my-field discussion paper to send to co-authors
    Finish website and award stuff for association

    Sending good thoughts and light to EAM!

    1. Coffee mugs are definitely up there for me too! House stuff always takes longer than you think. But planting is a great use of time and will brighten your days when things start flowering. I had to google hostas, but they look very pretty!

    2. I am overrun with hostas and would love to give some away! I think there must once have been more trees here, or they were in different places, because now most of the hostas are in places where they get sunburnt. I should harden my heart and put a lot of them in the compost.

  5. Well, I'm way behind. It's Friday! So I'll just be quick, and then go back and read your comments.

    Last week:
    -Maybe look at the microfilm I inadvertently ordered from the library? - Nah
    -Look at vita in reading room - Yes
    -Reserve reading room spots and MSS - Yes
    -Journal: Process new MS for review; identify and request reviewers; work through proofs that are due on Monday (but we're still waiting for the authors to look at them); sort out the two even-newer submissions - Proofs are done; I've processed two new MSS but only have one reviewer for each, sigh
    -Run x 3 - Yes
    -Yoga x 1 - No

    This week--I've been in Brussels looking at manuscripts. Today I'm going to go visit a ruined abbey. And then tomorrow I go back home. So I'm not going to set goals; my goal was to get through nine manuscripts, which I did! And I've probably even found something worthy of a sentence or two, so that's good, right?

    1. Woot, nine manuscripts! Three times three: sounds significant both magically and religiously. :-)

  6. So, on the shape: since I brought up cat toys/fiddle objects (b/c Basement Cat is like a Vogon w/r/t cardboard and plastic, "You got to chew (strikeout)bypasses(/strikeout) cardboard/plastic," the plastic rings from milk bottles come to mind. Sometimes they're no good because the outer edges slope a bit, but if the edges are perfectly flat, they make excellent chase objects, wobbling tantalizingly as they run away.

    Um, when I'm not channeling my inner cat, my various teacups are favorites: a tiny one that lives in my study, and another from the set I inherited from one grandmother.