Saturday, May 21, 2016

Telegrams from Land of Overworked Overwhelm

Have gotten to impossible part of quarter.  STOP.  All research goals on hiatus for duration. STOP.  So much grading.  Please make it STOP.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Anyone Want to Discuss The Slow Professor?

So TLQ is back, so I'm doing that work over there.  But probably many of you have seen this report on NPR about the new book, The Slow Professor.  It not only critiques the corporate university's emphasis on speed and efficiency, but uses Slow Food principles to advocate another way.  With my love of slow food principles, I just had to get the book.  I savored the first chapter and am reading the second.  But I can already see how wonderful it would be to discuss the book with others.  Anyone want to discuss this in a sort of book group way?  I could host here or we could develop a new blogspace so everyone interested could have blogging privileges.  I've also asked if people on TLQ are interested as well.  Leave a comment here or email me at if you're interested.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Weekly and Secondary Field Check-In

So Top Left Quadrant is starting up again next week.  Thank goodness.  (I hate the quarter system.)  It'll go from next week until August.  I'll have to create session goals, as usual, which will be weird because the first five or so weeks will be during teaching and craziness, then starting in July, I'll have some time off.  Woohooo!  I can't wait!  I really want to get some serious work done on Secondary Field Project!  So let me think of that for a few minutes.

Secondary Field Project

So what's become clear since I made my ambitious goals is that some of them are easier to meet than others. Writing 3x a week is going okay.  Some very busy weeks it does not get done, but mostly I can squish it between this and that, either in the morning or on the weekends.  What I haven't been able to do is to make sure that the freewriting is actually leading to the monthly goal of 2Y.  This actually has always been a problem.  Freewriting is great.  I can do that all day long.  (I wish I could do that all day long.)  But then when it comes to pulling that writing out of my notebook and seeing which pieces really have potential to be further thought about and developed -- I'm not getting that done.  I actually think I have to wait until Summer for that, which helps me think about those Summer goals.  In Summer, I want to continue the writing, but also go back and review what freewriting has potential.  So each work day, I will need to start off by writing and then go back into my older writing and see what has potential and can be revised.  I'd like to have a big chunk of Y by the end of the Summer.  One TLQ-er mentioned figuring out what's worth doing this Summer by imagining sitting down with tea on the first day of Fall and feeling satisfied with one's Summer work.  Now, what would cause that satisfied feeling?  I think what I want is that by the end of Summer, I have the writing -- the Y writing and the writing with promise that can be worked on -- printed out and all together in a folder.  I've been working on this project for so long and in so many places -- my journal, on my computer in various separate folders, in special notebooks of notes -- that printing it out and seeing it would really help my morale.  So by the end of Summer, print out what I have. (Anne Lamott says you have to do this -- print everything out so you can see your progress.  I remember it really helped while I was working on my diss as well.)

It's funny but a friend of mine in Secondary Field tells me that she does her new writing during Summer and then uses the year to revise that.  I can understand the wisdom of this, since Summer time allows one to be much more exploratory while during the schoolyear one is more critical, a perfect attitude for revision.  But somehow I'm backwards from that.  I can write in a somewhat exploratory way, but going back into my work and engaging in revision is beyond me.  Maybe I need the writing as an outlet during the year.  Maybe I just need more time for revision.

In the "need more time" column, I worked on my sabbatical application again last night.  I must get that done before the end of the quarter.  Really.

Last Week's Goals

1.  Research:  Try to get back to 3x.  Try to engage with or address one big source I've ILLd that must be returned very soon.  Touch Sabbatical application at least once?

I think I did manage 3x this week, though that's complicated by the fact that I ran out of pages in my journal and must get a new one.  I addressed the big source that I ILL'd and returned it.  I worked on my sabbatical application last night and discovered that I'd overthought it, that I was trying to argue things I didn't have to argue.  Still it feels like such a long shot.

2. Health:  Supplements, good food, be kind to self.  Sleep is good, and so is morale.

Well, I managed the supplements, good food, and being kind to self, mostly, but sleep is where I really failed because of the sleep versus morale problem where I stay up too late because I've had to work so much and if I don't get some me time I really will just freak out with grumpiness.  

3. Family:  Therapy exercises!  Keep evenings for family time.

Yes, I'm keeping on top of the therapy exercises as best I can.  I'm doing my best at keeping evenings for family time.  Spirited needs a new spring jacket and some other things and so I think I need to take him clothes shopping as well.

4. Gardening:  Try to get the tomato seeds planted.  Water.

It's been raining so I haven't had to do this.  I haven't gotten the tomato seeds planted yet.  Must get it done this week!

5.  Work:  So I need to commit to a good grading clip, keep up with seminar students, post something on our LMS, get that report revised and send it out for comments, and generally work with a good clip and commitment.  I think I have to allow myself extra coffee as a reward/enticement.

I got the big report revised, sent it out for comments, revised it, and then distributed it to all stakeholders last week!  I'm done with that nightmare!  (Of course, the very minute that I got that done and was having the two-seconds of celebration, my department chair reminded me of other work on that front. Sigh.  That's in progress too.)  I got a stack of detailed grading done by Friday.  Now I have a much bigger stack of much-easier grading I must get through.  On Monday, I have another stack of detailed grading coming in, so it would be great if I could get the big stack done asap.  Oy!

Interestingly, while I'm focused on Secondary Field, I got two pieces of good news this week (actually in the same day) about Primary Field work.  A collection I submitted a piece for now has a contract with a publisher (huzzah!) and I was invited to do something related to that work.  I love being invited to things, of course, and find it hard to say no because I suck at establishing and following my own priorities.  No, that's not quite it.  I have so many different interests that it's hard for me to say no to one because I have a commitment to another.  Really, doing this thing doesn't mean stealing time from Secondary Field Project though after I said yes, I thought to myself:  what are you doing?   The truth is I need to keep one foot in each field, and this helps me to do that.  

Upcoming Week Goals

1.  Research:  3x.  Work on sabbatical app.  Get new journal, stat!

2.  Health:  supplements, food, sleep, baths.  Do not drive myself nuts.

3. Family:  therapy exercises and evening family time.  Take Spirited shopping.

4. Gardening:  tomato seeds in flat.  Do it.  Get it done.  Water regularly.

5. Work:  Okay.  While I'd love to get the Easy Stacks done today and tomorrow, I'm also not going to have a crummy day with my family today and avoid doing all the other things I want to do (plant seeds, get new journal, maybe go get Spirited clothes?) in order to be a working machine because I also have work that is more urgent even than Easy Stacks!  So I need to get to some reading and responding first, then see if I can get something done on Easy Stacks.  Easy Stacks can be turned back later in the week, if necessary.  Later in the week, I'll get a bunch more from those classes, so I do need to get on the stick, but I'm not driving myself nuts.  (See Health.)

Happy May Day everyone!