A thoroughly idle day. The usual Sunday activities, including cooking and eating meals. With Sir John, a walk and some outdoor tidying. Another fun book down (didn’t enjoy this one so much; the hero was obnoxious), and a third started (much better). More red wine, another bath, this time without bubbles because I’m out of bath foam. And the Prologue of Paris-Nice.
We caught up on the DVR’d last stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné tonight, a long hard pull uphill in the rain and fog. About the winner of the eighth stage, Alessandro de Marchi, Bob Roll said, “It wasn’t so much a victory march as a cold and broken hallelujah.”
Two great tastes that taste great together: cycling and Leonard Cohen. Hallelujah!
I was going to have a different topic this week. But the redbud and hawthorn are out, the lilacs are just coming into bloom, and I have recently returned from a conference; therefore it must be mid-May.
What do you MEAN there are still five weeks of classes to go? Where did that grading come from? Who are all these people who expect me to discuss changes to the catalog? Who are all these other people who still expect me to instruct them?
Time to dig deep into the suitcase of courage, feel the world of hurt, and fight to survive . . . only I think that suitcase got lost by the airlines, or mixed in with the ones marked “Not Wanted On Voyage.” The conference reminded me that in addition to the MMP, I once had plans to publish other work on the text in question (two previous conference papers got set aside when my parents were so ill; now that I look at them again, I think they have a lot of potential). What most needs attention are teaching and taxes, but I know I’m supposed to write every day and set a good example to the group. And what I really want to do is work on the garden for hours and then park my bones in a hot bath with a glass of wine and a mystery. If I have to work, I’d rather just write, but I can’t settle to that because I’m tweaked out about the grading and getting caught up with the class spreadsheets, but it seems like there’s such a lot to do that I feel overwhelmed.
I know the answer, or at least, what the answer should be. Schedule time to work, do short increments if that’s what it takes, set a timer, give myself rewards. I keep dishing it out to my fellow writers. But at the moment, I can’t take it.
So, what are your ideas about how to re-motivate when the end is not in sight, when there are two more cat 1’s to climb before the finish, when bonk is setting in?
Amstr: 1) tidy up intro based on writing partner’s comments, 2) revise Chapter 1 revision outline, 3) draft at least half of Chapter 3 (two-thirds would be even better).
ComradePhysioProf: no goal posted.
Contingent Cassandra: have a 15-minute conference paper ready to present on Friday afternoon. Use the conference to get a better idea of the historical/historiographical context for my project, perhaps do a bit of networking.
DEH: reverse-outline current draft, to figure out where a paragraph that doesn’t fit should go instead. Start grooming the rest of the document.
EAM: Weigh the three articles; figure out whether to flit amongst them, or whether one has more traction right now than the others.
FeMOMhist: just keep going forward with “real writing” and cleaning up as I go. Hopefully 500 more words.
GEW: Read two chapters of philosophical primary text. Read three book reviews. Write two pages.
Ink: Write 1000 words before next Friday.
JaneB: a) Reorganise my desk area at the office; b) as part of that, make a proper list of all the writing things I currently have on the go and where they are at, and check the folders are all up to date in my dropbox; c) do the analysis on another paper’s worth of data.
JLiedl: Revise grant application after getting some feedback. Write 500 words on chapter for another collection.
kiwimedievalist: Reading about saints and communities, for interest.
Luo Lin: checked in, but no goal posted.
Matilda: Start to read materials, construct my arguments, write something at least 15 minutes.
Nancy Warren: continue to write the chapter from which the conference paper was taken. I’d like to get 5 pages.
profgrrrl: Finish off the manuscript I’ve been working on (it’s so close) and the book proposal.
Rented Life: Read 2 chapters from previously mentioned book. Write one page or edit one section.
Sapience: I need to do keep working on Chapter 5, but I may need to re-prioritize mid week after my meeting with my advisor about Chapter 4. So… make progress of some sort on something?
We’re watching yesterday’s Paris-Nice stage (yes, we’re running behind, what a blessing the DVR is), and Bob Roll just said, “Boonen, built like a truck, diamond star halo returned to the firmament of his noggin, having a great season.”
OK, the “diamond star halo” is from the T. Rex song (which has “built like a car,” though). But “the firmament of his noggin”?
As Sir John said, “I’d love to hear Paul Sherwen say ‘What the hell are you talking about, Bob?'”
Since the big guys are taking the day off, I bring you this pre-recorded commentary on the highlights of last night’s stage in the on-going Tour de Chat:
Basement Cat hit a fast pace right out of the starting zone, going straight up the Col de l’Escalier, followed by two laps around the bedrooms, including the Cat Four climbs of the Col du Lit Matrimoniale and Col du Futon. A daring descent of the Col de l’Escalier almost ended in disaster when he took the last corner a little too fast and came frighteningly close to the wall at the foot of the stairs, but he recovered and turned the corner into the last short descent before making up time in a rapid dash across the living room, completely ignoring the feed zone. He kept his cadence high in his ascent of the Hors Catégorie Col de l’Arbre du Chat and detoured onto the Boite de Carton before negotiating the highly technical descent of the Col de l’Arbre du Chat. He kept up the pace through the second climb of the Col de l’Escalier, descending rapidly and gracefully, and collapsed at the finish line in front of the rocking chair.
Unfortunately, the time-keepers were laughing too hard to record what was undoubtedly a personal best for the individual time trial on this course.
The Shakespearean Heroine abandoned after the first climb of the Col de l’Escalier.
The Grammarian says he’ll attempt the time trial when he gets good and ready, although he prefers multiple laps of the Col de l’Arbre du Chat: “The Col de l’Escalier just isn’t my style. I need a steeper course to make an impact.”
Basement Cat said, “I was feeling really strong, really good, my legs were strong and I was on good form, so I just went for it.”
I didn’t go anywhere, not even to one of the day-excursions Sir John and I have discussed.
Unusually painful root canal (I’ve had several; they aren’t usually this bad).
Newspapers full of distressing but compelling news (no doubt contributing to insomnia).
Not having to teach while insomniac.
Having time to watch the DVR’d Paris-Nice race.
I went to the gym every day, and got my swimming up to 5/6 of a mile in one session; I only skipped doing yoga twice.
I also got a massage.
There were four sunny days.
I had lunch with a friend.
I read three pieces of brain candy (Freda Warrington is doing good Faerie stuff).
And that list of things to do during spring break? I have just barely scraped a C (70.2% of the items are crossed off).
Funny how I managed to put off the thing that looks like grading. I guess I know what I’m doing tomorrow morning.
So, like Heu Mihi, I’ve made summer plans. Only I’m trying to ramp up gradually. The most important element is keeping office hours: 9-1, every day. The afternoons are then free for the gym, tending to household chores and projects (of which there are any number), fun reading, gardening, or (if I’m on a roll) more work. This week, for instance, I’ve had a couple of afternoon dates with my writing buddy: one was extra, and one was partially extra because I got a slow start yesterday. I’ve been keeping track of what I get done, in how much time, so that instead of making ambitious plans at the outset, I can make realistic plans a week or two into this regimen.
The first four days went really well. But I woke in the middle of the night with a painfully stiff neck and was awake for a long time; after icing the sore spots and taking lots of ibuprofen, I finally got back to sleep, and woke right about 9:00, when the phone rang, followed immediately by a chorus of cat calls (because cat breakfast is my job).
(I was glad to wake up, actually. I was dreaming that I was conducting a review session for a math class, when I had no idea what was supposed to be on the exam and had forgotten to make up a review sheet. I had to ask the students to tell me what they wanted help with. It was a very low-level class, so my problem was purely lack of preparation, not lack of knowledge. I had a vague notion that I should explain quadratic equations, but all their questions involved very basic things like figuring out rates of speed. And my dancer friend was in the class and gave me a really hard time when I used a whiteboard marker on a chalkboard.)
So I’m still really groggy and slow, and not getting anything done though I am dutifully sitting at my desk. I think I may have to go to something really low-level, like coordinating the various folders on my laptop and those on my flash drive (I try to be good about backing up, but sometimes I need to go through and copy from one to the other). Or I could, figuratively, call in sick and take the day off.
I am also distracted by news from the cycling world. Four years ago, though I certainly had doubts, I was prepared to believe that mix-ups at the testing lab (accidental or deliberate) could have led to Floyd Landis’s test results. Now the man has proven he’s a liar. And that just makes me mad.
Actually, I think drugs and doping should be allowed, as long as everybody declares exactly what they’re doing. Then it could be part of the commentary: Team X is relying on EPO, Team Y prefers blood doping, Team Z has some very interesting results from gene therapies.
Just, you know, don’t lie about it.