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What are you doing during winter break?

During finals week, a number of people asked me what I was planning to do during winter break. I think my answer was lots of stuff. Here’s a more extensive answer [1].

This year, Grinnell’s winter break is five weeks long. That should be an opportunity for some relaxation and some necessary work. Of course, given my personality, I’ve over-planned a bit.

I spent the first week and a half of winter break (more or less) with family. Middle Son, Youngest Son, and I went out to watch Michelle graduate and spent some time in Knoxville. Then Michelle and I enjoyed a few days in Nashville [2]. I think we saw four bands [3]. After that, we had four days with Eldest son back in town. We got to play some games and talk a bit. Michelle’s brother and his wife also visited, which was great. But I had to bow out from family for the second week of break so that I could get grading done [4,5].

This week, which I think is week three of break, I’m trying to get my syllabi and schedule in order for the spring. I know that the syllabus in at least one course is due on January 8 so that our disability services office can get it put in a more usable form. I’m shooting for the same deadline for my other two syllabi. And I hope to meet with someone from the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment to talk a bit more about measurable course outcomes. I also had to back up my computer to send it in for service, but that’s a story for another day. Oh, I also have some recommendation letters to write.

Week four will probably be consumed primarily by attempts at organization. My home office, my work office, my work lab, my computer, and my electronic mailbox all need to be organized [6]. It will, of course, be a bit difficult to organize my computer, given that it’s gone in for service. However, I can organize the computer to which I copied all of the files.

Finally, week five will be devoted to all the other things that probably need to get done during winter break. The larger projects include updating the SIGCAS Web site [7]; a host of updates to the CSC 151 Web site, particularly the re-development of the online documentation; building a Rails-backed Web site, just for the practice; converting the musings to a more sensible organization using a Web development system, probably Jekyll; and, given the amount of work I continue to have to manage, finally learning the Getting Things Done strategy.

Now, that’s not to say that all of that will happen in exactly the weeks that I planned. I’ll likely start some tasks earlier and some tasks later. I have some daily tasks, such as exercising, musing, keeping up with the SIGCSE mailing list [8], dealing with whatever comes up with SIGCSE Student Volunteers planning [9], and other things that I am currently forgetting.

Oh, yeah, somewhere in there I’ll find some time to read a few books, play a few games, and spend time with family.

[1] I suppose I should have written this musing on January 1, rather than January 2. But my muse encouraged me to write about academic honesty first.

[2] I’m pretty sure we would have enjoyed them more if I hadn’t gotten extremely sick during the drive from Knoxville to Nashville. But it only lasted about a day.

[3] Let’s see … random cover band on a show boat, bar band doing covers in some restaurant on Broadway, Jesse Lee at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Amy Grant and Vince Gill at the Ryman. Plus the opening act for Grant and Gill. I enjoy seeing musicians enjoy what they are doing, which seemed to be the case in most of the concerts.

[4] Grading was conveniently due at noon on December 28. I finished at 10 p.m. on December 28, except for some incompletes that I have to deal with.

[5] I was going to say I don’t know when grades will be released. But they were released yesterday, so I do know.

[6] I also promised Michelle that I’d spend a day cleaning out our bedroom closet. That should happen soon.

[7] That update was supposed to happen during late summer. But I didn’t get the info until early/mid fall and by that time I was consumed by my too-busy semester.

[8] I’m one of two moderators for that list. Sometimes it’s quiet. Sometimes it’s complicated.

[9] I’m new to the role of member of the SV Coordinator team, but I’m also stuck in the manage the database and Web site role, so lots of things come up. I’m also a busybody [10], so I find other issues to raise.

[10] Not quite the same as curmudgeon.

Version 1.0.1 of 2018-01-03.