Monday, 25 March 2013

Don't forget to enjoy now.

Again work has been busy, I know I say I am used to it,but every so often I sit and look at all I have done and all I need to do and after a small mental brain freeze I find I am happy. What has been most to the for this last week is deadlines, not mine, well some of them, but not the most pressing ones. School has a natural cycle, some run for the whole 6 years, some for each school year and some by term, and some by week. The one most pressing around me is the English (and other subjects) portfolios, which have to be sent today, for some and by the end of the week for others. To make things more fun its a short week! only 4 days to weekend due to bank holidays! (oh yeah I get 4 days off in a row, just how much sleep will I get?). Pupils who spent the last year prevaricating and procrastinating with the best have to produce 4/5 pieces of work at a certain level, by Wednesday! Ones whose idea of hard work is being harassed by their teacher to write a paragraph in an hour, suddenly find they can type faster! as the other options are fail the year, fail the course. I shouldn't feel any satisfaction at this dilemma, no I shouldn't but I would be lying if I said I didn't :-).

The weekend has been full of snow and wind, places have been cut off, power out and the isle of Arran has had no power all weekend and still out! we dd get some snow and my cats had some fun, but my 'little' ones finally old enough that snow men didn't even get suggested. As you can see from my picture, the path is covered in paw prints but none of us wanted to go out in it. Thankfully none lasted a day, so we watched the central belt get our weather and complain, which made it different!

Asked to sort out some work needs to be word and is PDF, decided to cut and paste, and while cutting and pasting have found errors! must be correct by noon and it nearly 11 now, and I have 3 more documents to check. Crisis averted, I made a coffee and in the time it took to walk to the staff room, wash out my cup and make a new cup I decided that I don't have time to check it, the lady who wrote it wanted it that way so all I shall do is transfer it to word and then got an online PDF to word generator to work so done in minutes! Sometimes my world works.

The course arranged for the 3rd of April is on track, small bump with a speaker I had to organise drop out. He had good reason but I did the headless chicken impression until someone pointed out I could ask for help. One of the other speakers also covers this bit and he will fill in if needed, but it allows a but of slack if we run over :-) so not a worry.

 I am making things for my annual craft fayre in the winter but have now been asked to do things for a spring fair! so spent the last few days thinking what s quick and simple and crafty! had made a string bag with wool (nice pale green) but took too long to rustle up some for next weekend, so will think more! may make books and note pads, and maybe pretty boxes, will have to work over the long weekend, I do plan to get out my sewing machine and make clothes anyway! I do love to craft, very very satisfying having in hand a thing 'you' made. but once my quick makes are over I shall go back to my string bags in real string, I may yet buy white string but have coloured string to make at the moment (sadly the string hurts my hands so not lots before I give up and do a softer material). 

Sadly I didn't notice and get out of shot in last years craft fayre, happily you will only spot me if you know me :-) but it was fun.

I am trying Hootsuite, I am not sure what it will do more for me than keeping track myself but it seems to be good. I keep having to look for info and sometimes can't find older info but as I treat twitter and FB as ephemera, I am not sure what I will get from this. Watch this space.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Never too many Hats

My weekend was a wonderful mix of Knitting, crochet and chat, I have an on going project waiting for me to get my self organised and done! The knit and stitch magazine has sent balls too small to make the square that they tell you to do. I know this as a knitter of many years but I would hate a new person to feel they had got it wrong because they didn't get done what was recommended but the issues are with the wool and the supplier! But the group did supply my Title again :-) one lady said she had lots of hats another suggested they could go to the sale as she had too many, the reply from the rest was you can never have too many hats! As I have more than I can wear over an average winter I must uphold this. But when it comes to my life, I must disagree, you can have too many hats/jobs to do.

I am also crocheting a big afghan blanket one small crochet square at a time, I am keeping the finished squares in a bag and a rough tally of numbers vs colours! found 8 or 10 balls of DK left from older things so am making it with this! I am making the grey, mustard and pink one underneath! 2 1/2 inch squares into a king size bed blanket makes for lots of squares! mine is full of primary colours and bright tonal colours.

I am also making string bags! slow but very satisfying  I am part of a group which will be holding a stall on the 7th of April and I need to make things for it now! in my vast spare time (face palm) so my non-work time is make make make!

I am a big fan of Google Reader and so am a sad fan of it as they are ending the service! I realise it didn't drive traffic, maybe if it had they wouldn't have dropped it :-( but I have been checking other options out with help form Blogs I follow (yeah yeah) and this has shown to be the best for this, Phil Bradley who is so good at web 2 aspects and is so helpful if you need to ask for help. I have changed my reader to Bloglovin which is very similar to Google reader, not the most flexible and really aimed at the apps market, but will allow me to move that way and not have to change again in the future!

This morning I received my Carnegie Award shadowing pack, and in the same post the majority of the books! I now have to get them in the system and out to the kids! one text is also from the Scottish Childrens Book Awards and another was already in the system as we like Marcus Sedgwick. Looks like being a fab read this year, I am looking forward to reading them when they are in.

No matter how I look at my course in Inverness the numbers are finite, already managed to re-organise room for extra 2 or 3 bodies, worried now we haven't thought of speakers sitting! ack, just trying to get as many as I can to it :-( some names I know should have asked to go on my list haven't, and only 3 spaces left! I will have to man up and start organising one in 18 months time-ish September/October 2014, shall talk to Michael when hes up :-). Also most make sure it isn't in holiday time then ;-) so many mutterings, thought they be happy!

Must get back to work, and worry about the snow that is due to fall over the next couple of days! very frustrating, up to 25 cm predicted for us, with 15 cm today! can see me being a tortoise and pulling in my head and hunkering down while the snow falls but tomorrow I have to drive out west to Farr, all day time driving but cold and its far to Farr...

Monday, 11 March 2013

Adding Value

My week has been spent focusing on adding value to my work. The idea of doing my job and nothing more has never been how I see this but recently even that has been challenged. I have found with the organisational changes I have lost the time to do the 'extras' for the school that made my life fun, I haven't had the time to add to my other duties as I am still learning them and don't want to make a mess of it. 

My first question was what is added value, to me and my job. Do I make myself be seen to do more for everything  and would burn out be likely  Am I valued for what I do now, and would I be better making sure what I do is seen as valued? Another question is how do I get to be valued for my job, I was watching Undercover Boss USA when Tim White, the chancellor of UC Riverside went undercover and spent part of his time with a student who was working in the library. Great I thought , chance to see how it works, what it does etc. Tim White admitted that cuts had hit the library hard as he had tried to modernise classrooms and not the library, I couldn't wait to see the issues, the real life problems. He followed a lass working a few hours a week to live while studying (didn't we all) She handed him a walkie talkie to keep in contact and gave him a limited time to shelve books, he didn't do it well or even finish in his allotted time. He couldn't work the walkie talkie well, he didn't find where the books went and he talked about how inefficient it was and could a computer system not do it better! My youngest son was hiding behind the sofa by now as I was shouting and ranting at the screen! He didn't meet a 'librarian' he didn't look at how the cuts had affected the library, he didn't even acknowledged that the job she was doing was skilled that he couldn't do it! 
The final result for me from this was while he stepped in a fairy god father to several students and wrote off their debts, and set up grants to increase 'women scientists' he did little beyond an unaccompanied walk round the uni. and with cameras there even that was moot! 
Maybe I need to make sure the management leadership sees what I do. with the Cilip day and other things I am planning, this is becoming easier. I had to speak at a local libraries day, I stood in front of 40+ people, including not only the head of service and the boss above that, but all my own peers, and staff I line manage and talk about adding value. I had a few lines of one or two word cues and other than that I just spoke. I was mindful that some had been quiet and spoke only to one side of the hall, some mumbled and others rushed. I hope I didn't rush, I know I spoke out and to the whole room. I held eye contact and turned to make sure all could hear and were listening. I hope that I came across well, to all I needed to. I just have to see what comes.

World Book Day slipped up to me and mugged me last week, I had so much on my plate I didn't realise until it was on me that Thursday was world book day, I had the books for kids, I had the tokens but no time or plan! I did get all the 1st years and then 3rd years done by end of week but must do 4th and 2nd today with 5/6th finally tomorrow! I had great ideas of a story competition and even have prizes but didn't get it out! will now be an Easter one and out at end of week! watch this space for any success. May be my value problem is lack of time, to get all I want done I need another 3 or 4 hours a day!

Hmm interesting discussion on the merits of discworld in general  or just trying one of the strands  e.g. the witches or the guards  I must confess to having read them all as they came out that I can't really see the series from a step away, they are so part of my growing up and becoming my own person! I wished to be a witch, but would have been pinched by Nany Ogg for being daft or bonked over the head by Granny Weatherwax for being wet. I would have hated The city of smells, and doubt I could cope with the 'primitive' nature or life there. But if I could and it would work then It wouldn't be a dream, that poor Vetinari needs someone to look after him!

This week blog (after missing last weeks completely) is one for the author who wrote Apocalypse Cow! which is very funny and very good read. My first years are enjoying it and a few olders are keeping an eye out for its return! Michael Logan is offering immortality in a place for your name in his next book! I like the idea of combat Yoga, and other silliness!

Time is short has just been brought to my attention again, our 2nd years have a single class a week aimed at the local charities and volunteering, in small groups they choose a local charity, find out as much as they can and then show support, and the best group wins money for their charity over and above any raised! Great idea, some kid shave taken this and are doing great things! some, well they are teens! but time was brought up to a group who are still making their choice properly as they have one class a week and we have 5 weeks of term to the possible new timetable, which marks the end of this for the 2nd years! at one class a week of 55 minutes they have used this weeks so have less than 4 hours to finish! Just 5 week to new timetable!  Who stole this year already? I know I have had lots to do and lots to sort but come on, 5 school weeks to the start of the SQA diet! 

And to finish today we have snow! what a surprise  Not. the cold cruel world at 6 am this morning was minus 7 and I could not get warm, was just glad I had followed my instincts and got dressed! much brighter mornings and loads of people stood round in streets as I drove home. Had a bit of worry about the Train running after this happened yesterday afternoon... 
Which left us sat at the train station this morning as the next train was announced as cancelled but that was the one that hadn't got up the night before! (picture form MFR Facebook page with note thanks to Alexandra Hope) sadly that bit of road is it! and has traffic lights and work on it anyway, and the Railway is right next to the road, what you can't see is the sea is right next to that on the left, and yes that is beach beyond the crane!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Always time for one more row.

I have been very busy and life is hectic, looking back over my posts of the past this has become a theme. I must accept my life runs a bit faster than it did and enjoy the ride. So many interesting things in my life, my children growing fast, my mad cats, work changing and challenging me, and latest big change is husbands' job now takes him away from home on the early train Monday until late train Friday! So the single parent is born (again) I now have to keep track of whose were and why! teenagers are such fun and can be so nice to have around, but they are very bad at taking ownership of things, I have been divvying up jobs as I will not be running round doing everything! Sadly until oldest passes his driving test that is one chore I can't pass off (yet).

I was at Cups Tearoom on Saturday, they have a come and sew/knit group that is gradually taking off, which I am proud to be part of, one lady was knitting a lace fronted jumper (very ambitious and very pretty) and was wondering if she had time for one more row! The consensus was Yes, there is always time for one more  row. Another lady had some new 'wool' which was a flat roll of fabric with a line of holes to knit through, called Desire, Abstrato by woolcraft.
very pretty.

I realised that this idea of 'time for one more row' was true for many things. Life may be more work, more hassle, and faster than I had but I still have time to do the things I want to do. I get knitting done, I read my books and kindle, I get to bake and cook when I want to. The message for me is that I need to want to do more things that add value to my work as well as my life.

The supermarkets are always about adding value, loose carrots 90p a kilo at my local tesco's today, bagged/pre packed 600 gm 78p (1.56p a kilo), chopped into batons 600 gm £1 (1.67p per kilo) the only difference is that one lot are loose, one is bagged and one lot have been processed to save me hassle, that is adding value, and they charge nearly twice the price to add value. I produce lots of bits of work, in word, in power point etc. but I don't polish them and share them, I mean to say, who would value my work! I think its time I valued my work.

This week I am at an event where I am not doing one presentation but two! one will be about Digital Darwinism and social media skills which are close to my heart. The other will be about Chartering and how it adds value to our own lives and works. This has also made me more aware that what I do has a value and adds value to others. No one stands alone and the idea that I have to do something by myself is outdated, I wanted to set up this course and once I started asking and doing it came together very quickly, for those who want to know more there is a 'chartership portfolio development course' at the Centre for Health Sciences at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, due to happen on the 3rd of April from 9.45 until 13.45. Information on how to book a place is available through CDG group Cilip and on the JISC lists that are relevant.

It has taken so long to find the time today but I do have time for one more row, I am my own worst critic, I am the main bar to getting things done and finished, so while I won't get it all reorganised now I am trying to make my world more positive. Appreciate the good and my own skills have value, others are there to help and I am there to help others.