the grid

the grid

Saturday 26 August 2023

Intercession post

If you feel like checking in about what you're doing (or not doing), ranting about anything, or otherwise sharing with the group, here's your chance. 

Daisy and DEH will put up an introductory post next weekend, with the first weekly goal-setting post the weekend after that (post-Labo[u]r Day, for North Americans). We can tell you there will be a theme-story, and it involves travel. Participants can treat it either literally---play along with the story and deal with goals separately---or allegorically---match story elements to your goals.

Or you can ignore the theme if you just aren't feeling imaginative.

I hope that whets your appetite for the third and final session of 2023! Encourage your friends to join us. Former members will be gladly welcomed back!

Monday 14 August 2023

Session 2, week 14: the end!

Hello everyone!

This session has flown by, and it's now final check-in. For those in the US, next academic year is ramping up. For those of us in the UK, there is still time before teaching starts, but it is looming.

For a final prompt, let's reflect on the session, but be kind to ourselves. Life throws curveballs at us, goals are just that: goals. Something to aim for, but no shame if we don't get there, or if we decided on the way that actually other goals were preferable. We all have far too much to manage: we wouldn't be here if we didn't. So kindness above all, and let's make sure to reward ourselves for what we have accomplished. Thanks to JaneB for co-hosting and to everyone for checking in and sharing ideas and tips. See everyone in September!

Last week

Dame Eleanor

 continue Latin translation
- finish additions to Alms chapter
- finish planning grad reading schedule
- start planning undergrad classes
- do some Blackboard building
- visit at least one more gym; join one
- buy bookshelves
- do something with old friend who is due in town midweek
- read book for book group


1. Order scans
2. Read a book for review
3. Look through some primary sources to find examples for article.
4. Book accommodation for research trip.
5. Submit purchase requests to library
6. Make appointments (hairdresser, optician's)
7. More kitchen project
8. Nephew's birthday present.


1. Get home and re-settled
2. Draft syllabi, put welcome page up on course website etc.
3. Plan events for incoming grad students
4. For Famous Author, order needed books on Interlibrary Loan. (I love ILL. Just saying...)
5. Read what I've done so far, make sure style is consistent
6. Read article that is long overdue for journal.
7. See friends, do something nice


On vacation!


** Self-care: Do at least seven small things to improve my environment. Do at least an hour in total on sorting out my financial paperwork chaos. Move intentionally 5-10 minutes a day. Sort out Uncle's birthday mailing.
** Work. Check work email no more than once a workday outside of work day. Approve meeting minutes from last academic year. Check in about the move. Start last required training course. Send email to schedule meeting about conference next year.
**** Work - teaching - feed back to all MSc students on the text they've sent. Check timetable, and pencil in my diary (since my classes are different every week). Review August timetable and aim to assign one day per first semester module for prep work (five modules if I group the second and third year skills ones where I teach basically the same content with different case studies for different cohorts of students - all are team taught to some degree). Mark late resits.
**** work - research: go through draft supplementary information for Very Overdue Paper. Work on the draft for consultancy paper.
Make thing for Oddball Paper & send off.
** Fun. Play D&D AND do some D&D planning. Finish one fiction book, continue one non-fiction. Crochet some rows on the grounded blanket. Draw something. Add to summer wish list for non- work days. watch a movie.

Heu mihi

1. Finish content of proceedings essay (citation formatting to come later)
2. Start freezing tomato products (12 tartlets and at least one big batch of sauce)--we picked up about 100 pounds of tomatoes down in Pennsylvania
3. Finish formatting and print anniversary book pages
4. Move offices (Friday)

Session goals


Submit 2 papers based on conference talks from this week
Do analysis and write my part of joint local paper
Field work with 2 students
Garden project TBD
Vacation and regular fun with kid

Dame Eleanor

- Expand an article into a chapter
- Cut down a chapter section into a conference paper
- Make progress on another chapter OR preliminary work towards spring sabbatical project
- Work with library colleague on new project*
- Prep fall classes
- Do some sewing/alteration projects
- Get some house/garden tasks done
- Unpack the boxes in the garage
- House re-organization as necessary to accommodate box contents . . .
- Sleep enough, exercise appropriately (consider joining a gym), enjoy the warm weather.


1. I am co-editor for a massive collaborative project. We've still got some first drafts to receive from the 31 commissioned; we have to write an introduction; and the whole thing needs to be submitted next March. So the goal for this session is to finish first drafts & draft introduction.

2. Famous author: I have finished the draft of a very short book on a very famous author, and have comments on it. If the world smiles on me, I want to look at the comments and do revisions. In a perfect world I'd send it to publishers later this summer.

3. Book prize. I am on the committee for a major book prize, and that requires reading about 20 books in the first round and then another 15 or so in the second round. First round readings need to be done by the end of June...

Goals: Admin
Be ready for the start of the fall semester.

Goals: life
1. Be present with my mother as much as possible
2. Do nice things for myself

Heu mihi

1. Chapter 2 (draft by end of May/early June)
2. Chapter 4 (if not draft, plan and get ready for fall writing). Accept that actually drafting chapter 4, whose contents I haven't exactly figured out yet, may be an unreasonable expectation and result in the production of total garbage.
3. Plan fall course, which is entirely new
4. Proceedings essay--this should be easy, since I'm not planning to make many changes to the conference paper that it's growing out of
5. Promotion review--should also be relatively easy, since I've already read (and reviewed) the book of the person I'm evaluating
6. Make pages for silly handmade book project--more about this below
7. Intentionally take two weeks entirely off???? --We'll see.


1) self-care: the usual. Building & maintaining good habits, improving my environment, my ongoing wrestling with the healthcare system for diagnoses.
1a) getting back on top of my personal finances (I am embarrassed to admit that I know I pay into a savings thingie every month but I can't remember who with, never mind any of the details about the type of thingie. Which is of course why I have direct debits set up in the first place because I am scatty, but... cringe).
2) Researcher; things which need to happen
2a) poor abandoned multi-author paper
2b) paper with senior grad student
2c) wish-we-never-started-project (ends this summer)
2d) paper using consultancy work (led by the people we did the work for which is nice)
2e) submit a grant application (for my KPIs - fortunately I'm a partner on several, so one might get submitted this summer)
and I also want to take some time to read and think about who I am as a researcher and who I want to be for the next decade or so.
3) Teaching:
3a) summer teaching duties
i) supervising two PhD students
ii) preparing for an MSc by Research student who will start in the Autumn (in an area related to what I do, but I need to do some reading around!)
iii) supervising an unknown (small) number of taught MSc student projects on unknown topics (usually these are assigned in March - this year it will be "sometime soon" and there are a LOT of students and a three line whip about everyone taking some on. Sigh! Makes taking proper breaks extra difficult).
3b) preparing for next year.
i) establish what I will actually be teaching
ii) putting together a "skills resource" for higher level students which makes it easier for them to find handouts etc. from their first year courses when they learnt specific skills or topics
iii) getting on top of what my 'new' administrative role ACTUALLY needs from me - I've been almost 100% reactive this year.
4) fun. I know fun is self-care, but it's also just FUN. So every week I want to do at least one thing I can point at and say that was FUN, working up to something every day on any day I have off. Some things that count as fun:
4a) book and TAKE leave
4b) crochet - finish "Lithrops blanket", make an anigurumi, start a new simple blanket project
4c) read things (whilst social media etc. are very good escapism/mild disassociation, reading can do the same thing but in a quieter mode).
4d) do things with words (fiction, poetry, journalling, blogging - non-work things with words always used to be my happy place, so maybe spending time there will bring that back...
4e) dungeons and dragons (playing with Nibling and their friends, and I'd like to try out some different ways of playing with different people & maybe get involved in another long-running game but that depends a lot on how well I am doing mentally/socially - I might not have the energy - in which case I can replace that with reading about D&D and preparing extra materials which will make it quicker to play in term time (basically potter around in my elaborate fantasy city and world settings)).


1. Grant application. The main aim is to get to archives, do background reading and be in a position to apply for funding that would enable the big project I want to do. So honing research questions, and thinking about project design.
2. Writing. Not sure what form this will take, but want to keep some form going alongside the other stuff, because I will feel happy if I do. So adding bits to articles, crafting the grant application (though that's a harder form of writing).

1. Ongoing PhD students: give them the time they are entitled to, which is not always the same as what they want/need. I have three currently
(a) Dream student - works hard, great project, has just gone part-time so deadline has been extended, absolute joy.
(b) Bright but needy student - works hard, ok project, tends to ask for more meetings that current amount of written work and stage really need, and my co-supervisor tends to say yes, grrr.
(c) Pain in the neck student - should be finishing in the next few months, is very slow with writing the actual thesis instead of trying for journal articles that are mostly mud-slinging at big names. Does have good project, but never listens to my feedback. Suspect he will become a problem and need to avoid having my time sucked away.
2. New module for next year - am going to try to postpone this to the next session so it doesn't distract. Future me may curse present me, but I think this is one ball I may as well place gently on the ground.

I have some large projects (new kitchen, bathrooms) and lots of medium projects i.e. things that aren't huge in terms of money or time but still require me to find someone to do a job/buy some equipment/give up a weekend. There are far too many for one session so:
1. Medium/largeish garden projects, since it's summer (or find new gardener - old one only mowed the lawn and I can get kid to do that for much less money)
2. Sort finances
3. One or two medium other projects e.g. framing pictures for my study.
4. Start one big project (emphasis on 'start' and 'one').

Life/self care
1. Holiday already booked in a couple of weeks! Next year Kid 1 has important exams, so travel will need to be reduced.
2. Read good books
3. Try to establish better sleep habits.
4. Start HRT and see if it works
5. Try to reduce the high cholesterol I have recently been told I have 😢 - so exercise, diet.

6. Find dentist.
7. Overall, try for more balance, being more present with the kids and less stressed. Emphasis on try.

Sunday 6 August 2023

Session 2, Week 13

 Hello everyone!  Another grey, damp week in this part of the North of England, and it really doesn't feel like August.  This is definitely one of those years when I really wish we could add Augtember to the calendar, an extra month of actual summer (without meetings, work emails etc.) - a couple of weeks to deep-dive on work and a couple of weeks for serious relaxation... sadly I'm not in charge, and the days keep marching towards the new year regardless of weather or wishes.  Next week is scheduled to be our final check in for this session!

I myself do have another few weeks before I'm really back into students-first mode, but I'm already looking to shifting my energy (such as it is) towards teaching preparation, so I thought that this week we could talk about strategies for "parking on a downhill slope"- using the last part of summer to set ourselves up for easy (easier) progress to continue in the teaching parts of the year.  Do you plan out the coming semester or year?  How do you transition from writing every day or so to writing in tiny bits of time, or once every week or two?

And it would also be useful to think about the next session - which would typically start in early-mid September and run until shortly before Christmas.  Anyone want to host/co-host?  Got a theme idea?  



  • Keep it all together for the remaining week of field work
  • Book campsites and activities for next week’s trip with kid

Dame Eleanor Hull

  • finish reading/noting ILL book
  • finish additions to Alms chapter
  • keep working on Latin translation
  • finish schedule for fall grad class
  • also put some links on class website
  • at least two tasks from Huge Summer List

heu mihi

  • Write 2000 words (I so badly want to be done with this chapter draft)
  • Format 1/2 of anniversary book pages
  • Invite at least some panelists!
  • Read two essays for class, finish reading AL (and LK, if possible)
  • Weed back hill
  • Various appointments, meetings, etc.
  • Finish creating/writing community presentation on zero waste


  • Self-care: Plan what to do with decluttering time. Do at least seven small things to improve my environment. Do at least an hour in total on sorting out my financial paperwork chaos. Move intentionally 5-10 minutes a day (small goals...)
  • Work. Check work email no more than once a workday outside of work day. Check in about the move, start last required training course.
  • on the teaching side - meet remaining MSc project students and PhD students, chase up possible intern, tick off at least one thing from the teaching list, mark resits
  • research: check what I need to do to prepare for next week's meetings, tick off one small list item.
  • Fun. Play D&D AND do some D&D planning. Finish one fiction book, continue one non-fiction. Crochet some rows on the grounded blanket. Draw something. Add to summer wish list for non- work days. Maybe start watching a series.


  • Plan and book research trip for September
  • Order scans of documents
  • Finish reading a book from last week.
  • Catch up on email
  • Do urgent life admin (insurance, doctor's appointment)
  • Do less urgent admin (other appointments).
  • Do some steps towards kitchen project.


  • Try to finish first round revisions on Famous Author. I think I can...
  • Keep up with stuff at work.
  • Don't let email get out of control.
  • Do nice things (several planned, this is certain)