June Goals: It’s Never Too Late to Start Fresh

Hello, June! When did you get here? How many of you looked at your calendar today and thought:

Oh crap…June is already halfway over!

I certainly did. As you can see from my lack of posts lately, May got the best of me. Between moving my husband in, getting through the end of the semester and finals, and preparing to venture out-of-the-country for a major conference, I got lost. But as Lara says:

There’s nothing magical about January 1st!

So I decided to practice grace, not perfection, and chalk May up to a recovery period. So today, I’ll reflect a bit on the progress I made on my April goals, talk about some new things coming my way, and explain why my June goals aren’t perfect. But I did do something that I didn’t add to my June list and I’m super proud! Even if I don’t think they’re getting enough sun (and I may need to replace them soon).

June Project
June Project
Monthly Goals Met

Actually, the only monthly goals I met from April was to put some money into savings and mail out cards. I fell behind on my blog posts. Researching the JITP took a back seat in favor of new publication opportunities. My grant application is still in-progress. And home repairs will have to wait until Kyle has more time to help. [Or I can try to bribe some friends!]

Weekly Goals Met

Here, I was slightly more successful. I did attend writing group as I could. I took a couple of social-media free weekends. And I did get back into yoga (although not quite 3x a week). But I didn’t live up to my goal of calling people often. The French lessons also took a back seat (but are a major part of my June goals!).

Daily Goals Met

Although I didn’t do very well with the water goal, I managed to meet every other daily goal almost every. single. day. And it made me feel much better about not making progress elsewhere. Little-by-little. It adds up.

Positive Reflections: April and May
  • Kyle and I celebrated 6 years of marriage (and we got to celebrate it together for only like the 2nd or 3rd time)! We toured the monuments of D.C. one weekend. We had a wonderful dinner. And he got me my long awaited Coach bag!
Jefferson Memorial
Lincoln Monument
Waited 6 years for this!
  • Many cool field trips with my Public History students!
The PHist Squad!

  • Lily turned 11!

  • I got to go to Tobago for the first time for a conference. I made some great new friends there and won a travel award. And I might be getting a publication out of it!

  • I got to see Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness in Philly!
June

For the PowerSheets that I use, June is a 3-month refresh month. This gives me a chance to reflect upon my yearly goals to see the progress I’ve made. It also gives me a chance to set new goals or re-define my current goals.

I want the next three months to be filled with joy and exploration. This summer is going to be about learning, living purposefully, loving, and thriving.

My goals from the year are still relatively the same. I have made a few adjustments to accomodate the progress and changes over the last 3 months. Kyle and I joined a gym. I’ve made conscious food decisions for a healthier lifestyle. And all of my goals seem to be progressing, little-by-little. June is going to be a big month of planning and achieving!

I am most excited about planning a vacation for July! It will be my first, proper vacation!

Preparing for June

Preparing for June

June is all about mindfulness. The month may be halfway over, but it’s not too late for me to be more mindful. I’ve removed the Facebook app from my phone to limit my time on the application. I wasn’t nearly as mindful in setting my goals for June, but I have the opportunity to work on that for July & August!

June Goals: Letting Go

The “Let it Go” page of my PowerSheets is always one of my favorite things. I had a lot of issues with my Bipolar II depression this month. Reading through Cheyenne’s post reflecting on her 10 years of marriage really resonated with me. Not because my marriage is in trouble (thankfully), but because I worry about reaching that point. Her vulnerability and honesty is endearing. With my Bipolar II depression, I think I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself and, inadvertently, on Kyle. I always worry about everything. Most of it is not only out of my control, but nothing I should be worrying about. Recently, I’ve struggled a lot with imposter syndrome, feeling insecure about my appearance, and feeling like a failure.

June Goals: 2017

June Goals

These goals aren’t perfect. Not all of them move me closer to the larger goals I’ve set. Some of them are too vague. But it’s a starting point. And each day I can make new choices.

Monthly Goals
Weekly Goals
  • French Lessons
  • Exercise (3x a week)
  • Call someone I care about 
  • Write 500+ words
  • Social Media Free weekends
Daily Goals
  • Meditate
  • 64 oz Water
  • Walk through Neighborhood (this on is actually unfeasible given construction and such)
  • Research for 30 minutes
  • Eat healthy
Final Thoughts

You can. I can. We can.

Happy Summer, y’all!

April 2017 Goals: Hello, Spring!

And just like that, it’s April! Last month I made progress on some goals. On others…not so much. But as Lara Casey says: progress happens little-by-little. So I’m going to celebrate my little wins and ring in Spring with exuberance! The Spring edition of The Magnolia Journal has a quote that’s just too good not to share! (So much so that one of my favorite bloggers, Cheyenne Schultz, had the same idea to share it with you all as I did!)

“Welcome Spring. Make room for what matters. Breath Deeply. Tidy Up. Learn Something New. Choose Simplicity. Keep Growing.”

Spring Goals
Image courtesy of Serendipity Weddings & Events Blog
March Recap

March was such a roller coaster for me in terms of managing my Bipolar II disorder. Some days I was just with it and some days I didn’t even want to get out of bed. But I feel pretty good about reaching some of my goals and making progress on others.

Monthly Goals Met
  • Taxes filed (I can thank the hard work of my husband for that one–although I did nag him and offer helpful info!)
  • Blog posts submitted (even though one of them was quite late, I’ve made huge strides on my blogging in a short amount of time)

Although I didn’t “meet” some of my goals, I did make progress. In particular, I worked on being kinder to myself. I also added some money to our savings account and am getting into the habit of creating a daily schedule. I’m shifting my grant application to April!

Weekly Goals Met

This is where I struggled the most, quite honestly! I didn’t meet any of my weekly goals in March. Spring Break really wrecked some of my weekly goals, especially writing group and exercising. But I’m going to utilize The Balanced Life‘s motto: grace over guilt. I’ll simply shift many of these over to April and continue to cultivate growth in these areas.

Daily Goals Met
  • Took my vitamins daily (with rare exception)
  • Bed by 10pm (almost every day)
  • Active 6 of 11 hours (improvement here!)
  • Dish-free sink (easy peasy)

Two areas of improvement for my day-to-day: drinking enough water and limiting my spending! One day at a time.

March Goals

Positive Reflections: March Edition

Despite some setbacks and difficulties, I had a lot to be thankful for in March.

March Gratitude

  • My PHist Freshmen; they call me Momma G and take time to foster a meaningful relationship with me
  • Kyle; he truly is a rock when I need to feel stable
  • Spring Break; I got to spend time with Kyle in Alabama and meet my friend Melissa’s not-so-newborn!
  • Had an opportunity to cultivate one of my friendships in the face of personal tragedy
  • Supported one of our students when he presented at the 2017 B’More Proud Leadership Summit
B'More Proud Event
Anthony giving a talk on Religion and the LGBQTIA+ Community
Spring Break Bowling
Went bowling with Kyle over Spring Break
Spring Break games
Lots of games played over Spring Break (this is Organ Attack by the guys at The Awkward Yeti!)
What’s ahead for the month of April

April Calendar

As it’s April, our semester is quickly coming to an end. That means it’s going to be a very busy month (even if my calendar doesn’t quite reflect that). Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had to (quite sadly) cancel my trip to Boone to comment/chair at one of my favorite conferences: the Appalachian Spring Annual Conference in World History and Economics. But it did open up the opportunity for me to attend the 13th annual Privateer Festival in Fell’s Point!

April Privateer
Me in full pirate garb
April Privateer
Me and my new friend Chelsea!

This month I added my Outlook calendar to my organizing system. I think it will become my single-digital calendar platform for next year (once I sync it properly with my Google Calendar). I have a lot of grading in my future (projects, papers, blog posts, etc.) and many meetings to go. But one thing I’m REALLY looking forward to is heading to Philly on Friday for the Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness tour (with special guests Atlas Genius and Night Riots!) Another thing that’s really special is mine and Kyle’s 6 year anniversary. How has it already been 6 years!? I wish time would slow down. But now that it’s official I think it’s safe to share with you all: Kyle will be moving to the area very soon! No more traveling between Maryland and Alabama!!!!

April Prep
Prepping for April

For the month of April, I chose the word “Engage” as my word for the month. I know that it’s going to be so jam packed with deadlines and meetings and obligations that I wanted to remind myself to be present. I need to work hard to actively engage with my friends, my students, my family, and my colleagues. It’s a challenge I face daily. And I’m cultivating engagement one day at a time.

April Powersheets

April Goals: 2017

April Goals April Goals

I have lots of goals for the month of April. Some of them (especially my weekly goals) carried over from March. I want to continue to cultivate good habits daily, but some of them I don’t need reminders for anymore. And I decided to add one that wasn’t part of my personal health, but will help me with engagement.

Monthly Goals
  • Blog Posts: I want to keep up with these! I think they’re really helping me to focus and to work on my writing overall.
  • Grant Application(s): My friend Amanda just won two amazing grants (and she totally deserved them!). To see her struggle with the process (despite being absolutely brilliant!) made me feel even more motivated to knock this out this month. I was rejected from a fellowship I applied for, which initially had me re-thinking this goal. But the only way to win a grant is to apply. And keep applying!
  • Add $$$ to savings: A continuation for each month! One of my goals for 2017 was to learn to manage our finances better. Another goal for 2017 was to go on at least 1 vacation with Kyle. By paying attention to saving money, it will force me to think more critically about my spending.
  • Research JITP (Journal for Interactive Technology and Pedagogy) to possibly publish in: This will push me out of my straight academic work and help me to think critically about my place in Public History. I think this will make me a better educator, better researcher, and will knock out one of my 2017 goals!
  • Mail Cards: This is part of my engagement goal. I used to be amazing at sending out cards and notes, whether for birthdays, congratulations, or just because (ask my husband!). So I want to get back into that. Part of that is staying organized!

These last 3 goals I chose because with Kyle up here, they seem more attainable!

  • Organize Office (Home): I need to be able to work from home in a more organized way. Working in the living room/dining area is just not cutting it! I have an office at home, so I need to utilize it. But right now, it’s sort of a catch-all!
  • Paint Bedroom (Master): Our master bedroom is a DIY-gone wrong. Whoever owned the home before had some…interesting decorative choices. Right now it’s an odd shade of green with a “texturizing” overlay attempt, which makes it look like some really dated wallpaper. Time for a lovely shade of light blue!
  • Replace Foyer Flooring: Right now it’s an old, dark brown parquet style laminate that looks dated and too dark. I want to brighten the foyer up with something light, but still easily cleanable! Keeping my options open right now!
Weekly Goals

Many of these will look very familiar!

  • Attend Writing Group(s): I’ve been slack about attending the Stevenson Writing Group on Fridays due to conflicts with student meetings and deadlines. But no excuses! I also managed to go to this month’s Baltimore History Writer’s group, which reminded me of how important it is to read the work of other’s and get back into a history research mindset!
  • French Lessons (1 hour): I keep saying “I’ll get to it.” And I haven’t. So this will be the month. It will happen! And if I can do it at least one hour a week, then this summer hopefully I can up it to two!
  • Yoga/Exercise (3x a week): I still want to cultivate this and make it a habit.
  • Call someone just to catch up: I am an awful friend when it comes to keeping in contact via the phone. Social media makes it too easy, I think, to reduce our engagement in other ways. So this month, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to check in with friends. There are so many exciting things happening in their lives and if I’m not careful, I won’t be part of them any more!
  • Social Media Free Weekend: This is going to be tricky. Social media is the one way I can connect with all the loved ones I have who are so far away from me. But if I can do this at least once this month, I’ll feel really accomplished. Clearly the first weekend was a bust (because of the Privateer Festival). But moving forward, I’ll simply save my weekend adventures to share on Mondays! The goal: 7pm Friday nights until 7am on Monday mornings.
Daily Goals
  • Water (64+ oz. a day): Coming down with food poisoning yesterday helped kickstart me on this goal for the month. Now if I can just keep up with it!
  • Use Waterpik: I bought a Waterpik Aquarius Flosser late last month at the stern suggestion of my new dentist. He said that since my teeth are so tightly compacted in my tiny mouth (yeah, my mom will get a kick out of that!), regular flossing just isn’t cutting it. I can already tell a huge difference in just a couple weeks, so I need to keep it up. Less bleeding from my gums, minimal tooth/gum sensitivity compared to before, and a really great check up when I got my recent fillings (the result of bad flossing).
  • Vitamins: I’ve done fairly well with this and could probably remove it, but for now, I’ll continue to grow in this area!
  • Active 6 of 11: I’ve done better with this than I imagined. But I still need to be more active on days that I’m not teaching all day!
  • Compliment Someone: This is new! As a way of engaging not only with people I already talk to and care about, I want to use this opportunity to compliment strangers. One small way to brighten someone’s day with a sincere compliment!
Final Thoughts

We must let go of the life we have planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. –Joseph Campbell

I find myself saying “as soon as” way too often. “As soon as” summer is here, I’ll be more productive. “As soon as” I have free time from teaching, I’ll exercise more. So this month, I will engage with the present. I will work to be here, in the now, and stop saying “as soon as” quite so often. My life is happening now. And I need to stop

SATC
As soon as, as soon as.
If I heard this phrase one more time…

My life is happening now. And I need to stop expecting it to look like something other than what it is, unless I actively change it.

That’s the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like. –Enid (Sex and the City)

Review: Click! The Ongoing Feminist Revolution for HASTAC

Recently I reviewed Click! The Ongoing Feminist Revolution for the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC). It was my first opportunity to do a digital humanities exhibition review. Normally I’m tasked with doing traditional book reviews. I encourage anyone interested to check out HASTAC and offer to review a digital exhibition!

What is HASTAC?

According to their website, HASTAC is an “interdisciplinary community of humanists, artists, social scientists, scientists, and technologists that are changing the way we teach and learn.” They have over 13,000 members from over 400 different affiliations. Founded in 2002, HASTAC shares “news, tools, research, insights, pedagogy, methods, and projects–including Digital Humanities and other born-digital scholarship–and collaborate on various HASTAC initiatives.” HASTAC is a free and open access community. And they have a number of exciting current initiatives under way!

My Review

I’m unsure if I have the right to share the full review on my page. So I’m linking you directly to the review on HASTAC’s website. It can be found here. In the meantime, here’s the introduction in the hopes that it will lure you to the full review!

“Click! The Ongoing Feminist Revolution derives its clever name from two unique understandings of the word “click:” one being a 1970s term referring to the moment when a woman awakened to the powerful ideas of contemporary feminism, and the other referencing the click of a computer mouse connecting individuals to powerful ideas on the Internet. The objective of the site is to explore the power and complexity of gender consciousness in American life throughout history from the 1940s to present. In this capacity, the digital exhibition succeeds brilliantly and appears to be current with modern scholarship on the many subjects covered—no easy task.”

Click Review
Click! Front Page

A Model Blog Post: Research Tips for Beginners

Blog Confessions
Blog Post as Model

This post originally appeared on our class blog for Hist 209: Research and Writing in History. I pondered for a long time how best to model a blog post to my Hist 209 01 students. I decided that demonstrating what some of my research was like in my early PhD years could be useful. It would also offer them just one example of how public AND academic historians can utilize blogging. There are no shortage of amazing public/history related blogs out there. Great examples include the National Council on Public History (NCPH) blog, “History@Work,” the Junto Blog of early American history, and Pamela Toler’s blog “History in the Margins.”

Why Blogging?

As digital skills are increasingly necessary in many of today’s fields, our public history students need to understand the fundamentals of digital public history. This includes blogging. Posts need to be readable. They need to be engaging. And they need to contain a multitude of elements, like subheadings, multimedia, links, and folksonomic elements (i.e. tagging). According to Thomas Cauvin in Public History: A Textbook of Practice, “digital tools are transforming the work of historians…” (pg. 174) Not only are being digitized, but scholars can reach wider audiences through digital publication. And public history venues can exhibit vastly more than physical displays can hold.

Blogging, in particular, can be a great way to crowdsource and engage the public with various projects. For example, MarineLives.org has crowdsourced the transcription and translation of many archival documents like UK High Court of Admiralty records and Probate records. This makes such documents easily accessible to the public. This is not only for those who cannot visit the archives physically, but also for those who have difficulty deciphering the handwriting. And the Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archival Project enables the community to contribute and shape the narrative of protest and unrest in Baltimore. What follows, then, is an example for my students about how they can blog effectively to engage their audience.

My First Archival Experiences

Looking back through my old research photos brought up a lot of fond memories. 2013 was a big research year for me. I spent 8 weeks at the beginning of the year in England at the National Archives. Next was just one week at the Nationaal Archief in Den Haag in March. And in November, I spent one week touring Bermuda, visiting the National Museum of Bermuda and the Bermuda Archives. In January 2014 I would unwittingly wrap up my last major research trip of the PhD: a one week stint in the Jamaica Archives and Records Department.

I learned a lot of valuable information during each of these trips. Some of it was related to my work, some of it was learning about how to be a better research. There is no better method to becoming a better researcher than to physically enter an archive and get your hands on the records. During my first major research trip, in England, one valuable lesson I learned was to double-check the archive’s operating hours before making the mile-long walk in frigid January temperatures. I woke up bright and early that Monday morning, excited to dive head-first into my research. Turns out that the National Archives in Kew are closed on Mondays.

I also learned that you should make sure your camera is fully-charged. And that you remembered to buy/bring a memory card. There are few feelings worse than showing up ready to get through some volumes only to realize you have a dead camera on your hands. Needless to say, I’m glad I had 8 weeks in England because I made a ton of mistakes in the first 2 weeks. And I still have a lot to learn when it comes to being a good researcher.

Blog Fail
Fail
Research is a Process

Below is a list of just a few tips and tricks you might utilize as you venture into the world of research: [This list is my own, with tips adapted from William Cronon and Richard Marius]

  • ask good questions
  • identify your audience
  • imagine your ideal sources
  • determine what sources you can realistically access
  • keep an open mind (don’t limit your searches to narrow keywords or phrases)
  • question your sources
  • take notes (and make them thorough so you can refer back without forgetting why you made that note)
  • avoid confirmation bias
  • mine bibliographies to check out their sources
  • don’t rely solely on digitally available sources (there might be transcription/translation errors, for example)
  • ask for help
  • develop new questions based on your sources
  • seek scholarly secondary sources (i.e. monographs via reputable publishers and peer-reviewed journal articles; general websites, encyclopedias, etc. are not usually considered “scholarly”)
Examples from the Archives

What follows are some examples from my time in the archives researching piracy, smuggling, and illicit trade in the early modern Caribbean-Atlantic. Some of the documents I found were relevant to my research. But many were not. And some of them were downright amusing. Whether the sources were relevant to my work or not, each document contributed to my overall experience. You’ll see that I don’t have the volumes listed below. That’s because these were taken with my cell phone. I photographed all of my true archival work with a Nikon point-and-shoot camera and noted in a research journal. Again, many rookie mistakes.

Relevant Sources
Blog Booty
All about the booty

Initially I thought that this document would be immensely helpful. It listed a number of prizes brought into the local admiralty. While it was useful, several pages were missing, which made it difficult to properly contextualize.

Blog River
River Pirates!

Although relatively difficult to read, this is some of the better handwriting I encountered. According to this deposition in 1719, “…and after all the said Pirates were all gon[sic] out of the said River, he the Informant understood that the Inhabitants on Shoar had received several parcels of goods from the said Pirates…”

Blog Fever
Yellow Fever in Bermuda

Sometimes prize vessels just weren’t worth it… In 1796 a treasury record states that “…the Yellow Fever was brought to Bermudas in a Prize vessel by which upwards of two hundred of the Inhabitants had fallen victims…”

Blog Prize
List of Prizes (Bermuda)

These were the best records to come across. I got an idea of what went unrecorded in illicit activities by seeing what was recovered.

Blog Letter
Letter of Marque

Some repercussions of the American Revolution. #SorryFrance

Blog Confessions
Confessions!

I found this 1614 admiralty deposition while in the Netherlands. My Dutch reading skills were not up to par for that trip, BUT, I did find some useful items.

 

Amusing Gems
Blog Sandwich
You shall call him ‘Lord Sandwich’
Blog Day
In which William Berkeley has a bad day

Being governor of Virginia in the mid-17th century must have been quite a chore. Here, a deposition says that Berkeley was “abused and Called Pittiful, ffollow Puppy, and Sonn of a Whore...” Nothing worse than being called a follow puppy I suppose.

Blog Scandal
Oh the scandal!

This came from my time in the Bermuda Archives. 3000 pounds sterling for “scandall and defamation.” Ouch.

Blog Watson
It’s elementary, my dear Watson!
Blog Unsavoury
Ye ‘unsavoury bitchces!’

Some men finding themselves unemployed and in distress; but they “helped themselves by unsavoury bitches…”

Blog Will
Proof that Will Turner did exist
Blog Republican
Oh those Republicans…

In 1796, a resident of Bermuda reportedly “…had lately spoken very disrespectfully of me in the Billiard Room…he has said that the Governor was a ‘damned Republican Rascal’...” A warrant was issued and he was punished.

Blog Parker
Spider Man has been around a lot longer than I thought…
Random Encounters
Blog Map
X did not mark the spot

A 1775 map detail of the Mississippi River by Nathaniel Lindegreen.

Blog Code
Aliens

An 18th century coded document I found in the State Papers volumes. I didn’t have time to find the cypher to decode the letter.

Blog Mess
Are there even words here?
Blog Glitter
18th century glitter pens!
Blog Fire
One mustn’t carry fire sticks

Apparently in 1660s Jamaica, Governor Edward D’Oyley banned people from carrying a “stick of fire” or a “pipe of tobacco lighted” through a field of canes in Jamaica.

Blog Volume
A single volume…
Summation

Here are some key takeaways about blogging:

  • make it readable
  • limit passive voice
  • use transition words
  • check your Flesch Reading Ease score
  • keep sentences and paragraphs short
  • use subheadings
  • include images and other multimedia
  • link to other sites throughout your post
  • categorize your post
  • use tags to drive traffic
  • share your blog on social media

Check out our class blog for Hist 209: Research and Writing in History. My students will be posting their own blog posts by the end of the month!

And here’s what happens when you spend too much time researching a single subject:

Blog Work
You become your work!
Blog Pirate
Farewell fellow rogues!