the grid

the grid

Sunday 24 December 2023

Intersession post


Sending good wishes and happy thoughts to everyone for the holidays! May 2024 be an excellent year.

Also, sending thought and hugs for anyone who is struggling. Holidays can be stressful and sad and a messy combination of wonderful and terrible and everything in-between. Be kind to yourself, keep some space and peace for you, and find joy in all the little things wherever you can.

Just putting this out there in case anyone wants to drop in and chat over the break. The picture is something I made... Some may recognize the component parts, explanation in the comments if you want to guess first :) 

Thank you everyone for making this a lovely community, it has lasted a long time and we all value that immensely!

Sunday 17 December 2023

TLQ: The Movie! (Session 3 2023) Week 15: PARTY!

 Good morning everyone!

Well, here we are, the last week of our filming schedule… And for a change, everything is going exactly as planned. All that is left to do is have our final wrap party! Suffice it to say it will be epic. We have to use the rest of our budget (use it or lose it!) so we’ve booked the fancy local caterer to so an epic spread in the ballroom. I told them to go hard on the bite-sized snacks so we can try as many different things as possible. We will be watching the first cut of our film, it has turned out beautiful. Some of my favourite sequences are the interview sections, especially the ones that include the moody night-time shots with the fancy castle outfits. If there is anything you really want at this party just let me know!

Session goals are listed below, check in on those and tell us how you did, and please throw in any and every extra win into your report! We are celebrating everything, even if things were not on the original goal list. As we know serendipity doesn’t always read the list… If you are in the mood for an end of year/solstice kind of reflection, tell us about what you want to take with you into the New Year. A big bottle of wine and a hunk of cheese is of course a perfectly valid answer!

Thank you for playing along all session, and thank you to our marvelous director Dame Eleanor Hull who was a wonderfully inspiring presence and made the filming extra fun. Everyone will be taking home a small plush raccoon toy and a sparkly inflatable unicorn to remember the adventure!

Last week’s goals:

heu mihi

1) 8000 meetings and one-on-ones with students; finish grading for all but independent study and possible incompletes
2) Italian final! --Which is itself a one-on-one conversation! I do need to study a bit to make sure that I'm up on all my verb tenses and vocabulary sets....
3) Start hard-copy read-through of ch. 2
4) Work on conceptual framing for ch. 6, which I think I'm starting to get a handle on. Finish reading a relevant book.
5) Miscellaneous website updates ahead of Friday website meeting
6) Work with colleague to finalize departmental equity review
7) Christmas shopping, haircut
8) Seriously, get back into the running regimen


1. 3 more essays for big collaboration
2. Be good in meeting tomorrow
3. Finish last bureaucratic tasks for the semester
4. Prepare for and enjoy my Christmas party on Thursday. Baking, food, friends. The Christmas list is on repeat on Spotify...
5. Reschedule massage and haircut that were postponed when I had COVID. (My hair desperately needs a cut!)


Recovery and rest!


1. Finish marking
2. Finish reading thesis and write report (viva next Monday)
3. Another morning on grant application
4. Resubmit article again
5. End of term admin
6. Claim expenses
7. Daughter's passport
8. House stuff
9. Christmas stuff.
10. Try for something fun (lunch in cafe, some time reading).

Dame Eleanor Hull

- grade ALL THE THINGS and post final grades
- renew library books (TRQ!)
- swim 3x, weights 3x, cardio 3x, yoga 5-6x
- research 2 hr x 5
- write 2 course proposals
- sew the thing, e-mail nephew, write checks & mail them, make appt for eye exam


Enjoy trip
Eat lots of good things on trip
Do lots and lots of work while on trip
Shop for kid and others while on trip

Session Goals 

Contingent Cassandra


--Keep up with teaching, especially feedback (I’ve got 4 sections on two different calendars this semester, both repeats; keeping up with feedback is always the challenge). There will definitely be weeks when this is all or pretty much all I can do.

--Complete contract renewal packet (I’m on 5-year contracts; this is the renewal year. My materials are due in under a week, and I’m nearly done, so this will be an early but crucial “win”).

--Complete study leave application (we just got study leaves for non-tenure-track faculty last year, and there’s limited funding, so competition is stiff)

--Identify/apply as appropriate for other possible sources of funding for current research project (the role of slaveholding in the history of the church to which I belong) (I need to figure out whether actually applying is a good use of time/energy at this stage in the project; also need to figure out what would happen if I got partial funding, since my institution is very resistant to the idea of course reductions for NTT faculty, though some of my colleagues do have them).


--Replace refrigerator (including associated cabinet-moving and hole-patching)

--Get all the plumbing working at once (next up: replace kitchen faucet. Also on the docket: hire plumber to fix/replace shower taps.)

--Plan/implement other work as time/energy allows (this could include ordering/assembling/painting some additional cabinets, shelves, and doors; getting estimates for counter replacement; replacing stove; replacing flooring; additional hole-patching).


--Keep moving: continue stretching program, restart lifting weights, restart walking, take a last swim or two if there are weekend pool hours.

--Keep in regular touch with friends and family, especially young-adult nieblings

heu mihi

1) Finish chapter 4
2) Revise/tie up loose ends for chapters 1-3
3) Plan chapter 5 and/or 6
4) Apply for a grant (deadline 9/20)
5) Write a book review for a book that I have already read (due in November sometime)
6) Write and submit 2 conference abstracts
7) Keep things moving with this festschrift that I am now co-editing (we're in the very early stages, so that basically means coming up with an idea for the chapter that I would want to write and keeping track of who has agreed to contribute).
8) I'm also trying to keep my exercise up, answer emails promptly, and sit daily (weekdays).


1. Self-care. The boring practical stuff that needs to happen because if it goes right it makes everything else easier. Just to feel that I'm consistently touching on each of the important areas regularly would be great.
2. Teaching. The bread and butter of my actual job. Survival will do here, defined as being ahead in prep and not having caused too much havoc via migraines, sick leave* etc. (or if I do end up on sick leave, that I keep my nose OUT of teaching!)
3. Research. Keep things ticking along - immediate goals are to submit three papers this session to journals (all are already well underway), help to organise a workshop in January, and apply for money for a grad student.
4. Admin. I have a fair amount spread across 4 named roles, and I want to keep it and shed teaching rather than the other way around (although the "help" I get offered from my department is definitely the other way around), partly because I can do it in a much more sustainable way in terms of my personal energy budget.
5. Fun. Necessary for self-care but also just necessary. I like to make things, mess around with art stuff, read, and play D&D. Getting back into doing all of those things fairly often was this summer's win, and I want to try & maintain that.


1. Write grant application.
2. Make some progress on writing a journal article.
3. Do revisions to another journal article.
4. Try to be on top of teaching rather than overwhelmed by it.
5. Work on some house projects.
6. Try to get regular exercise, more sleep, eat healthily.
7. Do something fun each week.


1. Survival - right now the term seems overwhelming, so if I'm in one piece on December 16, it will be a success. (I'm teaching 2 classes, have a lot of travel, and the admin load is heavy right now.)

2. Famous Author: Finish my revisions (hopefully by the mid-semester check in. The goal is to send it back to my editor and get it to a press at the start of the new year.

3. Big Collaboration: Read all drafts, work with co-editor on drafting introduction.

4. Do something fun on a regular basis - with friends, or watch movies or something.

5. Continue regular exercise / healthy eating / adequate sleep

Dame Eleanor Hull

- join a gym, work out regularly, also regular yoga at home
- finish two partially-written chapters
- write an abstract (at least) for a conference paper
- keep up with teaching prep and grade in a timely manner
- organize conference travel
- make progress on house/unpacking projects
- cheer on my fellow TLQers!


Write major grant application
Make progress on one local paper, one student paper, and one giant collaborative paper, and by progress I mean submit at least two out of three
Exercise consistently
Have regular fun with kid

Monday 11 December 2023

TLQ The Movie! (2023 session 3), week 14: Party Planning

This week, we set goals for the last time! Next week we'll check in and party, but take a break from goals over the holidays (so think about when you want to start up again, and who would like to host). Get ready to finish off what we started back in September! (And anybody who's out there following along, please join us in the new year!)

SO this week we can make plans for our end-of-session party. The castle (the nice one) had an unexpected cancellation and offered us another weekend there, so that's the venue sorted. I think we should have the library fitted out as the Introverts' Room, with widely spaced big cushy chairs, low lights (except for reading lights near the chairs), and no talking, while we'll have food and drink in the Great Hall, with a string quartet in the musician's gallery, and a roaring fire in the huge fireplace. You're welcome to bring out your previous Castle Costumes; we'll get Wardrobe to freshen them up if they need it, and do talk to them if you want some blingy jewelry for the party. 

We should have a whip-round for a special gift for our Production Assistant. I was told she was rather ditzy, but she's been absolutely brilliant at coping with castle owners, Padraig, raccoons, dogs, storms, me, and all the other million and one things that spring up when you're herding cats, um, filming academics on a remote island. She deserves a big round of applause and something special (NO, not a baby raccoon! I think she was looking at the beach glass jewelry and fluffy wool throws made by local artisans, if you want hints) from all of us, though of course the studio will also be giving her a bonus (you know, that's what the money's for). 

What's your favorite sort of party? When you check in, tell us your stories about the best party you've attended---or the worst! 

Goals from last week:

Contingent Cassandra

--Keep grading all the things
--Keep moving
--At least make progress on clearing off the top of the dining table and the windowsill (and related moving-things-around tasks)


One more big concert
End of term marking, set exams, do review sheets
Trip preparation
One more day of lab work
Something fun with friends

Dame Eleanor Hull

- swim twice, weights twice, cardio thrice, yoga 5-6 times
- grade everything turned in
- research 1 hour x 5: some translation, write an abstract, return to A&F chapter
- look at some MS images (being consultant to another scholar)
- write two new-course proposals
- sew a different thing
- go to post office
- Life Stuff: pay bills, e-mail nephew, make appt for eye exam

heu mihi

 1) Get ch. 2 ready for printing and hard-copy revision (even if I can't track down the Latin for that one book...).
2) Keep plugging away at ch. 6
3) Get in a few runs, go to yoga class


1. More marking.
2. Review a set of postdoc applications
3. Meetings
4. Resubmit article now journal has finally replied
5. Do at least half a day on grant application (elf still on strike)
6. Start reading the other PhD I am examining before Christmas
7. End of term admin
8. House jobs
9. Christmas stuff
10. Daughter's passport.


1. 3 essays from big collaboration
2. All the meetings
3. Be kind to myself

Sunday 3 December 2023

TLQ: The Movie! (Session 3 2023) Week 13: Small things, the reprise

 Good evening everyone!

Apologies for the late post… It has been quite the day in production land! First, for anyone who was worried, the raccoons are safe. The entire clan has been relocated, babies and all, and are now living their best lives in the nearby wildlife reserve where they have access to a well-stocked fishing stream and all the invertebrates they can eat. It was just in time too, the family is expecting a happy event sometime soon, and everyone at the wildlife rescue agreed that the carefully constructed den in the fuse-box that houses all the trip switches for the castle was not a great place to raise well-adjusted baby raccoons.

In slightly related news, did you know that the Italian for raccoon is “orsetto lavatore” which translates as “little washing bear”? I think that is delightful! And in a weird coincidence, turns out in my mother tongue it translates exactly the same, I never noticed that…

Ok, back to business!

Thank you to everyone for hanging out in the lodge during the storm, the soup was glorious, the kitten was happy, the regular set cats had all their people in the same place (herding humans is haaaaard!), and we had a great time with the board games, puzzles, yarn, and books.

We had a lovely response to our Secret Santa plans, so this week there is a new jar to fill. We’ve relocated the jar to the counter where the coffee and seasonal baking lives so we are hoping for a good turn-out. This week we would love to have you leave gifts of words... Tell us about your favourite expression, phrase (bonus for languages not your own), or saying and tell us a bit about the significance… We all love words so this might get competitive!

Ok, that’s it from me. I have to go to a meeting with the lawyers representing the grumpy grant-writing elf union representative…

Last week’s goals below as always! Have a lovely week!


1. Start marking assignments (will have about 70 in total by the end of term)
2. Teaching prep for this week.
3. Schedule meetings for dissertation students.
4. Grade posters for conference URGENT
5. Post two Christmas parcels.
6. Renew daughter's passport.
7. At least one house job.
8. Take a couple of hours Friday to go to annual Christmas fair (lots of craft and food stalls).

Contingent Cassandra (held over)

--Finish grading the lit midterms
--Finish grading the comp proposals
--Keep up with writing/posting post-conference summaries (including preliminary grades for truly complete drafts; not sure how many of those I'll see)
--Grade at least 2 sets of lit process work
--It would be nice if I got the books boxed, dining table cleared, and the fall/Thanksgiving tablecloth put on.
--Make progress on one church project that is now time-sensitive: write preliminary publicity copy; correspond with potential speakers
--Try for even a modest amount of movement each day: a short walk, some stretching, and/or some weight-lifting.

 Dame Eleanor Hull

- swim twice, weights twice, cardio thrice, yoga 5-6 times
- grade two late-with-permission papers
- research 1 hour x 5, mainly Latin, conference paper project; ten minutes a day on KW chapter
- look at some MS images (being consultant to another scholar)
- write two new-course proposals
- finish book for book group
- sew a thing

 heu mihi

1) Prioritize exercise! Classes will mostly take care of themselves. (I did read ahead.)
2) Research and writing: Add article to ch. 2; clear up some more ch. 2 loose ends; read for ch. 6


(Recovery Mode)


1. Catch up with admin stuff and lots of meetings
2. Read 2 more essays from big collaboration
3. Don't work too hard
4. Do something fun


Several concerts with logistical challenges
More lab stuff, so much lab stuff…
End of term class stuff, mark, set exams, do review sheets etc.