the grid

the grid

Sunday 29 January 2023

2023 Session 1 Week 4: Looking Forward

Hello all,

I apologize for getting this post up a little late; my dad was visiting this weekend, which was great, and meant that I didn't touch my computer for two days. This was not at all a bad thing, but I'm a little behind here!

So this week I'm going to continue with the Relentless Positivity, but if that's just annoying, I'll give you an alternative prompt. Of course, all prompts are optional, anyway.

When my son recently had to go to the doctor, he insisted on knowing how many shots he was going to get so that he could prepare himself--which also meant dreading the shots well in advance. (Also, although I told him repeatedly that he would get two shots, he insisted that he didn't know this and refused to get a second shot, meaning that we had to schedule a follow-up appointment--I was not present at this refusal, I'll just note--but this isn't really germane to my point here, so I'll let it go.) In a related conversation about the dentist, I tried to persuade him that actively dreading these appointments makes them much worse, but I didn't get anywhere with that.

And the fact is that I dread things as much as the next person. But it doesn't have to be that way, does it?

For this week, tell us something that you're NOT looking forward to in the coming week--and then try to find something about it that you can actually look forward to (and yes, being done with said thing counts!). I don't expect that we'll all start blithely looking forward to everything that's coming up, but maybe this exercise can help to at least mitigate the dread. Right?

Or, if that's just irritatingly positive, you can simply vent here about the annoying/scary/boring/tedious thing that you have to do, and we will lovingly support you through it!

--And on to the check in. Here are last week's goals:


Submit giant paper when it comes back from co-authors
Read and comment on students’ thesis chapters
Do organizing and scheduling for upcoming conference
Set up new thesis student with office and material
Read some of the new 8 library books that appeared off my hold list this week…
Do ALL my physio exercises all the time…

Dame Eleanor Hull:

- finish revisions to F article
- make more progress with grad readings and both VILE sites
- read at least 500 lines of Irrelevant Romance
- scan stuff for grads
- write a letter of recommendation
- write up my annual review documents
- put up the grow lights
- pay a bill, do some other Life Task

heu mihi:

1. 10 hours on ch. 3
2. Finish book and draft review
3. Language x 5 (15 minutes a day is fine for now)
4. Admin: Complete university credit card application, work out some travel plans for two trips in May
5. Routines: Sit x 5, yoga x 1 or 2, run x 3
6. Fun: Cook at least 3 things, play some games, schedule lunch with former grad student


1) self-care: this week is going to be stressful. Be kind to myself.
1a) environment: do the small chores this week, and aim to hoover/sweep every floor surface once (there's still dust and stuff from the windows, since they aren't quite finished until tomorrow...)
2) R - do something concrete towards the teaching-related R project, respond to the email that asked for money information, respond to the email about the conference session in March.
3) T - mark the third year essays that arrived this week (lots of same, sigh). Get first week materials onto all the ViLEs.
4) read a bit; post the letters; play D&D.


I have 15 hours of lectures and seminars, plus three meetings with dissertation students, and two office hours (which hopefully no one will show up to). So there is going to be minimal time for anything else...
Survive teaching!
Read drafts of dissertation chapters before meeting students
Revise one of the lectures.
Organise food for son's birthday celebration
Bake birthday cake
Self-care - try to get out for walks even if only 10-15 minutes, theatre trip with friend.

Karen (held over):

-have week 2 & 3 of VILE content done minus a/v
-KL draft to 4000 words
-one yoga class, final beach swim for this trip


1. Comments on 3 more draft chapters of Big Collaboration
2. Get going on revisions to the last chapter. I think I can do them in a few days of focused work, but I need to spend those days.
3. Financial stuff for overseas
4. Do something fun
5. Keep working out

Sunday 22 January 2023

2023 Session 1 Week 3: Routine happiness

I am writing this looking out my kitchen window at a very sparkly world. We got the first decent snow of the year, and everything is fluffy and white and lovely. Winter has its charms! I loved everyone’s good things from last week, and I have to say that reading all the comments and discussion was a lovely good thing for me during the week too, it was just so nice to see everyone!

This was my third week of doing yoga every day, in an attempt to do a 100-day streak and I have been noticing some things about it that made me want to ask everybody about something! So, pardon the navel-gazing start to this.... It has not been hard to fit in because for the first few weeks I set the bar pretty low – all I need is a 20 -minute session. So that’s fine. But, in the process I’ve been doing different classes with different people, and I’ve discovered something about myself that surprised me. Apparently I hate variety when it comes to yoga classes! I want them to go in a specific order and it really bothers me when they don’t. In my brain we have to start with warm-up, then sun salutations, then balance, then floor etc. and the day someone started with pidgeon pose I was downright cranky!

This surprised me because in most other areas of my life I cannot stand doing the same thing over and over. Having the same lunch (or dinners) more than 2 days in a row sends me straight to the vending machine for chips… I don’t like doing the same running route all the time. I buy my beer in mix-n-match variety packs. I don’t like doing the same work tasks all the time. Same with books and entertainment – I cannot stand the recommendation algorithms which send “these books/music/movies are similar to ones you liked” so I usually try to turn them off, or at least fight with them by clicking on all kinds of random things to expand the recommendations…

But yet, there are some things when predictability and repetition is comforting. I like my weekly schedule that is repetitive, I love the annual cycles of the academic world, I have some books that I read basically once a year and know them so well I can probably copy them out word by word… When my kid was little our routines were pretty set, but also soothing and efficient but I cannot imagine going back to that. So not an all or nothing proposition.

So, if you feel so inclined, tell us about areas in your life and work where predictability is a friend, and where it is an unwelcome interloper! And keeping with our theme of good things, do you have any routines, big or little, that make you happy? I really want to hear about those!

Goals for everyone below, have at it!


PAPER EDITS!!!!! DUE!!!!! MUST DO!!!!!
Read students’ thesis chapters
Edit three student abstracts for upcoming conference
Order last big piece of new lab gear

Dame Eleanor Hull

- finish writing syllabuses for two classes
- finish setting up VILE sites for two classes
- write at least a couple of assignments for each class
- finish reviewing last set of applications from grad students
- check proofs for book review
- prep for dead language group
- set up poll for writing group meeting time
- work on revisions to the essay I wrote last fall
- find a time to meet with dissertators
- install grow lights for indoor plants

heu mihi

1. Take notes on B books (there are two of them)
2. 10 hours on ch. 3 (research and writing)
3. Read book for review; take notes; if really ambitious, draft review
4. Process journal article
5. Run x 3, yoga x 2, sit x 5
6. Fun things: Read for fun; play new card games with kid; see Brother and SIL and their kids on Saturday
7. Start foreign language improvement program (of my own very loose design)...actually, first I should design said program....


1) self-care: acknowledge that the windows thing is going to be stressful and disruptive, and be kind to myself. Which might this week involve some takeaways and will definitely involve spreading work out over five days rather than the official four, to make space for other stuff.
1a) environment: book another appointment with the Declutterer for February, do the window prep things early in the week and undo them a little after it's (hopefully) done...
2) R - do something concrete towards the teaching-related R project, three research emails I need to properly answer (with associated Other Tasks, sigh)
3) T - mark the first year essays that arrived this week. Finalise who is teaching what for the first year module I'm leading. finish putting in the the ViLe structure, and aim to put up first week materials too
4) read a bit; write some rather overdue thank you letters; play D&D.


Try to keep some time free for writing on Thursday & Friday.
Teaching prep for busy week the week after, but see previous point
Meet with PhD students
Book at least some of trip planned for Easter.
Self-care - haircut, pilates, walking, read, journal.


-have week 2 & 3 of VILE content done minus a/v
-KL draft to 4000 words
-one yoga class, final beach swim for this trip


1. Get through at least one chapter of revisions.
2. Try to clear out some email
3. Enjoy my time in beautiful library land, hang with friends
4. Try to keep active.

Sunday 15 January 2023

2023 Session 1, Week 2: Tell us something nice.

Hello everyone! One of my TLQ goals should have been to post these prompts on time every other week. It's only 12:30 pm EST on Sunday, so I don't think that I'm actually late yet! Those of you who have seen me host before know that imaginative prompts aren't my forte, so I'm going to go for simplicity on that front and not beat myself up about it.

I loved reading about everyone's insignificant-to-others pleasures last week, and it made me appreciate more of my own daily joys. Like the way that the sun fills up our bedroom on winter afternoons--but gradually moves into the dining room as we angle more towards summer. That's a long way off, so I'm leaning back a bit in my chair right now to see the sun shining against our southwest bedroom window.

For this week, if you want, tell us something nice/good/pleasurable/encouraging that happened, or that you did, or that you noticed in the past week. Just a happy moment, since it's so easy here to focus on the stressful stuff! (Like I said, I'm working on not feeling inadequate about the simplicity of my prompts!)

And then there's the check-in. Here are last week's goals. Good luck and enjoy, everyone!


Order new lab gear and get master list of items needed
Plan out three grant applications for lab stuff and analytical trips
Get the first month of lectures and labs organized and checked over
Paper edits to co-authors for two different papers
Something fun

Dame Eleanor Hull

- write syllabuses for two classes
- finish setting up VILE sites for two classes
- write at least a couple of assignments for each class
- finish the fiendish jigsaw we're working on
- have fun with old friends
- review applications from grad students
- take at least one weekend day to recover from trip and catch up with Sir John and cats (who are not amused at being down to one servant AGAIN)

heu mihi

1. Compile bibliography and ideally draft encyclopedia entry
2. Finish reading boring book about B
3. Submit final MS of WH, finally
4. Touch ch. 3 daily (M-F), even if primary writing work is on the encyclopedia entry
5. Post old booster seats on Freecycle (putting this on here because I keep stalling on it!)


1) self-care - making a list of small habits, noticing the places where things go wrong, data gathering
1a) environment - the Declutterer is coming one day this week to help me move stuff around ready for the window and door people next week (my house is a terrace/row house, so the tables and general chaos tends to cosy up to the windows...).
2) R- nothing this week
3) T- grading an assignment submitted just before Christmas, setting up one of the ViLEs
4) finish reading current frivolous read; play D&D


Get VLE for this term's module set up.
Teaching prep (see above on keeping it simple)
Read and comment on applications for big early career grant scheme.
Write supporting statements for applicants for a different grant.
Clear decks to make some writing time next week
Organise son's birthday celebration
Book hair cuts
Find cheaper car insurance.


- have weeks 1 &2 of VILE content done except for a/v recordings
- get KL rough draft to 4000 words
- go to one yoga class


Get comments to authors on Big Collaboration
Re-read Famous Author, sketch out what needs happening in last two chapters. Start editing/revising
Do something fun
Prune roses
Walk/ride/yoga daily (this depends on weather. Right now the various atmospheric rivers are making walking difficult, since the path along the creek where I like to walk is flooded in places, and that's likely to be true through this week.)

Sunday 8 January 2023

Winter 2023 Week 1 - Happy New Year!

Happy New year to everyone!

We have a brand new TLQ session starting this week! Welcome to everyone, it is nice to be back. I’m Daisy, and HeuMihi has offered to co-host so we will alternate check-in posts. We will try to get posts up on Saturday night or early Sunday to make weekend check-ins work for all our time zones.

Shameless borrowing of text below from those who have been good enough to host here previously...

The format will be the same as ever. We will start setting goals for the session this week. Goals can be in any aspect of life although the key focus is often writing tasks that are personally and professionally important but that never quite tip over into important AND urgent. Urgent things sometimes find their way in here too, that is completely ok too, and process goals are also most welcome.  Each week there will be a discussion topic or prompt to write about if you feel so inclined, no pressure or expectations.  We’ll remind everyone of their big session goals about midway through the session (first weekend of March), I for one always find those quite a surprise when they pop up… We’ll go for 16 weeks, with our last day on the weekend of April 30th which of course feels very far away!

Anyone new or old is welcome to join. I would love for people to consider inviting a friend or acquaintance or colleague to join in, we would be thrilled to welcome new guests and expand our circle. And finally, don't worry if you miss a few check-ins. Life happens. This is a supportive, generous space with no intimidation factor so enjoy it! If you are not up to regular check-ins we would still love to hear from you occasionally.

So for this week:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. What's your main focus at the moment? You are welcome to be vague and mysterious in the interest of maintaining anonymity while still introducing yourself to the group.

2.  Post your goals for this session (or if you want to do them next week put in a note so I remember to go and find them later!).

3. Post goals for this coming week, ideally they will kick-start the process of working towards the session goals. Or they might just clear the deck for a nice clean start.

4. Or just come say hello and tell us how you’ve been over the break and then come back next week for session goals and discussion. 

5. For a theme this session I’ve been thinking that many of us are coming off a pretty challenging semester, so I want to do something along the lines of “favourites” or “things that make us happy” or “small wins and pleasures”. So, for the start of the session I want to hear about something that falls into the category “small and insignificant to literally everyone else but makes you very happy”… For me one thing that comes to mind is the quite unreasonable satisfaction I get when a cake pops out of the pan without any crumbs lost… Or the joy of opening a brand-new stack of post-it notes in many colours! Or my favourite teacup… See, really tiny things that make us smile…

Our dates are listed below because I usually forget the schedule a quarter of the way in, this will keep it handy for reference.

Jan 7/8 (official start)

March 4/5 (week 8, mid-term post) 

April 22/23 (final week for goal setting) 

April 29/30 (session reflection on goals)

Welcome back everyone! Have a lovely week!