Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday (6WS) –

Socializing, Christmasfying and readying for break!

This is a social weekend for me – last night my daughter’s preschool had a parent’s night out, so we went to dinner with friends last night.  Today, we have a birthday party for a girl who goes to preschool with my daughter and then my hubby is hanging out with his friend this afternoon.  Tomorrow will be church and Christmas tree cutting!

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Tuesday To-Do’s

disappointmentWell, I was on a roll for making it through EvDaDaDec (Every Damn Day in December) with my posting and then yesterday happened.  I didn’t have a draft yesterday.  I didn’t even log in to WordPress yesterday.  I had so many things on my mind and plate that I totally forgot about Management Monday (which I was actually planning a post for…in my head).  Oh well, on we go – it is only one day and if I can make it through the remainder of December with a post daily, I will still be proud of myself!

So, today is Tuesday To-Do’s and as usual, I have quite a few of them, so I will simply highlight some of the more important ones on here.

I am still in grading hell…lots to grade and finals are next week so I would really like to have them all entered by the end of this week so all I have to do is add in the final grade and I’m ready to post my grades!  It is probably a pipe dream, but I will keep dreaming all the same.

I have some laundry piled up and since I did such a bang-up job getting the house cleaned up this weekend, I would like to get it done and put away to maintain some semblance of cleanliness and order.

I have a #$*%-ton of paperwork to do this week.  I need to do my TA evaluations, I have a couple of tournament reconciliations I need to finish and turn in, I need to do check requests and reservations for the January tournaments, and I have some follow-up I need to do with students from the Leadership Institute this week or next…sigh.

So, yeah – those are just the highlights.  There are Christmas things I should do, planning for next semester (but that can wait until Winter Break), financial planning to be done, etc.  But, I am feeling a little less stressed out and anxiety-ridden today, so maybe things are looking up.  Or maybe I just haven’t drank as much coffee…

 

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

5-minute-friday-1

Today’s 5 Minute Friday topic is “reflect”…

I am definitely in a reflective state of mind as of late.  As each semester comes to an end for me, I always start to reflect back on what worked and what didn’t work so I can start preparing for the next set of classes I will have.  I try to fix the things that didn’t work and expand on the things that did work.  Sometimes I feel like I get stuck in the reflecting though and I begin to lose sight of what the purpose of the reflection really should be, which is action.  I get bogged down in frustration about why something I thought would work didn’t or where I fell behind in grading and how that may have impacted the remainder of the class or why something worked that did work and how I can make that work in other areas…all thought, no action.

Reflection is really important.  Without looking back, we will not move forward in an efficient and meaningful way.  But, if we just get stuck looking back, we can’t move forward without running into things in our backward-looking blindness.

I am feeling okay about this past semester’s teaching.  Not great, but okay.  Definitely better than I have in some semesters in recent years.  I would like to continue to make more improvements though.  I know exactly what kind of teacher I WANT to be, but sometimes I just can’t get the actual implementation down.

It is the same in the rest of my life as well.  This past year has been pretty much a bust if I were to look back at my New Year’s Resolutions from last year (if I even called them that).  I have not accomplished many of the important things I wanted to change or create or act on.  Instead, I’ve gone along, doing many of the same things that I have been doing.  Sure, I accomplished some things.  I did some things that I enjoyed.  But, I didn’t really create anything new in myself or my surroundings.  As I reflect, I realize that part of that was because I have been living a life of anxiety.  That is what needs to change before anything else can…

Time’s up…kind of an abrupt stoppage.  But, that was actually really eye-opening.  I don’t think I’d realized so clearly the connection to anxiety that so many things in my life have. Something to think about…

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Joining in on Every Damned Day in December!

I was perusing some blogs today and saw that LindaGHill was taking a challenge from Dylan at Treatment of Visions to blog, as he says, Every Damned Day in December (or EvDaDaDec for short).  I love this idea since my blogging was pretty darned sparse in November and I could use a bit of a challenge (and hopefully some accountability) this month.  My plan was to blog through Christmas anyways with Elf on the Shelf and Advent updates, so this will be a little more of an impetus to do just that and continue through the 31st!

Yesterday I had a reblog, but I will count it as a blog entry – I wrote a paragraph!  🙂

Today is my hubby’s birthday.  I have to work this morning and then again this afternoon/evening, but I arranged with my TAs to take off a bit early from our event tonight and go to dinner and maybe a movie with him.  We haven’t seen a movie in I don’t know how long.  Dinner will be at his favorite local place – Sierra Nevada Brewery – which is also a favorite of mine, so that is a win-win!

My other major mission for the day is to figure out how to get through this week and this month financially.  It isn’t going to be easy, but I will somehow make it work.  Hopefully.

As far as Elf on the Shelf, not much today.  He is hanging out with our Nutcracker cookie jar.  His hat was missing when I dug him out of the box last week and so I told my daughter it was too warm for him to wear the hat but it would be cooling off this week and he would probably have to start wearing it again.  That means I have to go dig through the box and find it today though!  Hopefully it is in there.

The advent calendar did not get made last night.  I don’t know if I will have time to do it today either, so it may have to wait until the 3rd to begin.  Our church is doing an advent event on Thursday night, so I may just start it that day (good excuse for the delay, no?).  I am hoping we can make it to that.

I have so much to do.  I am trying to do a better job of keeping track of everything I have to do, but it is really overwhelming to think about/see it all in writing.  But, I’m going to try to work through it one thing at a time.  That is all I can do.

So, for today, the focus is birthday celebrating and getting through work.  Tomorrow starts the financial magic that will hopefully make this month work.

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Lost in Time…

Not space.  Time.  I can not believe how fast time travels around me while I seem to stand still.  I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted on here.  I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is less than 30 days away and even worse, 2014 is only a little over a month away.  Where does it go?  What am I doing while everyone else is accomplishing things?  I mean, I have accomplished some things during this time.  My house is relatively clean, my garage is REALLY clean (for my garage, which is probably averagely or below averagely clean for other people), I have about half of my pile of grading done, I’ve finished one syllabus for Spring 2014 already (that, folks, is crazy talk for me), and I have most of the prep for our huge event that happens the Saturday after tomorrow all done.  So, not bad overall, but I still feel like time just gets away from me.

I do have a few things to discuss today though – first, I am excited to get December started this year.  When I left for Thanksgiving with the in-laws I put the Elf on the Shelf out on our table with the book, ready for our arrival on December 1.  This is the first year we’ve been at a church, so we’ll be doing the Advent activities there on the 5th and I will be trying to set up an advent calendar for my daughter (I did that last year with chocolates, but she hates chocolates and I ended up eating all of them, so this year it will be something not candy related).  I have made a momentous decision to stop doing part of the competitive activities I have been doing since starting and that means that I will have more time off in January and will not be traveling as often in the Spring semester.  I am both sad and disappointed and somewhat relieved.

I am also excited to start 2014 as of now.  We’ll see how long that holds out.

I have had a good Thanksgiving, although little annoyances always get to me.  But, so far, they have not spiraled out of control.  And we’re going to my mom’s tomorrow and then home on Sunday, so there isn’t long for the annoyances to build up now.  I am thinking that I should have a theme for this blog in 2014.  I was thinking about Leadership.  I was also thinking about Diversity as a possibility.  Those are two areas I am interested in and it would not just be that, but I would dedicate a couple of days a week to it at least.  So, we’ll see.

For now, I am happy to get this post up.  I will be doing the Five Minute Friday post later today and maybe posting some pics from our trip to the local Pioneer Village tonight.  Currently, my daughter is playing with Mega Blox, painter’s tape and some little cranes.  She is hyper, but she’s been pretty well-behaved considering she has been stuck in the house for the last 36 hours with no other children.  I’m hoping she makes it through today, enjoys tonight and we can do something fun tomorrow and then we’ll be on the road.  I just worry about her annoying others as the only kid in the group.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

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Management Monday #1

Warehouse management teamwork

Well, I am once again switching up my blog schedule.  I used to have Munch n Move Mondays, but let’s face it…on Mondays I often don’t munch or move much (other than coffee and standing for long hours for my classes).  So, I never had anything to say.  Really, I should probably name it marathon Monday and just list the things I have to do each Monday, because it seems never-ending.  But, enough of that…the blog schedule:  I decided that I am having some MAJOR issues managing people and things.  It isn’t the first time.  I think I’ve kind of been thrown into this managing thing without much in the way of training or advice.  I have TA coaches under me to manage, but in addition to that small group, I also have to manage all the extraneous stuff – paperwork; travel planning; students; relationships between the TAs and the students; relationships between the TAs and other TAs; relationships between students and other students; my grading; the myriad of extra activities in which I’ve chosen to be involved.  And that is just at work.  At home, I have my husband’s travel and work away from home schedule; the bills; all household paperwork; cleaning the house; paperwork; medicines for my daughter (and now my dog); feeding my daughter (and myself and the dog); relationships with my family members; relationship with my husband; relationships with friends; scheduling fun things to do for myself and my family; scheduling holiday travel; planning for visits to family; purging stuff from the house; repairs.  It has become all too much for me.  I am exhausted.  I feel like a failure in LITERALLY every area of my life right now.  I have a headache the size of a watermelon and I feel like I haven’t really truly enjoyed a full 24 hour period in ages.

So, I’ve decided to focus on Management on Mondays.  It may be management in the traditional sense of the word – managing people at a work place.  But, it also may be time management or stress management.  It may be work/life balance management.  Email management.  Hell, I may even talk about weight management just to harken back to the Munch n Move Mondays!  But, probably not.

For the first post, after the day I’ve had, I feel like I need to focus on people management.  My life sees people come and sees people go constantly.  I have TAs that coach for me for two years.  I have some people who stick around to help out, but most move on after two years.  So, I really need to put some more effort into training my peeps fast so they can get working with students quickly and without much supervision (because I can barely stay on paperwork as it is, let alone if I am micromanaging coaches all the time).  But, I’ve found that each person requires a different level of training and a different focus when it comes to training.  But, now I’m thinking that maybe that isn’t true and maybe I just need to micromanage a bit from the start to allow them more freedom in the end.  Because right now, my team is in a major meltdown.  We’ve gone from something like 26 team members the first week of school to MAYBE 13 team members now.  Some of that is typical attrition.  But, some of it is just that no one seems to be having a good time or bonding or even really enjoying the experience this year – students and TAs alike.  So, I’m thinking I may have to take this post-mid-term chance to shake things up a bit.  But, what to do?

From the little reading I’ve done, I would say that our team members lack a feeling of engagement.  So, I think I’m going to do some research this week on how to foster that and then figure out how to make sure the TAs are included in building that engagement.  I will fill in here next week with the ideas and what I’m implementing.

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To-Do Tuesday #2 – Catch up!

catching-up

That turtle is clocking speeds much higher than I seem to be in getting things done.  I feel like for every one step forward, I’m going about 20 more backwards.  Some things are going well this semester.  I like my classes.  I feel better about my teaching.  But, I am behind in grading (a lot) and I’m struggling to keep up with the myriads of paperwork I have to do for my administrator position with the Speech and Debate team.  And, my house, well let’s just not talk about that.  What a disaster.  Finances…also not great.  If I can ever get everything caught up in my life – my work, my home, my finances, my personal wants/needs – wow, that would be crazy!  I don’t know even know what that would be like.  I hope to reach that some day, but I’m not holding my breath.

So, this week, my to-dos are many.  For work, it will mostly focus on getting caught up in grading and paperwork for travel.  I need to make some reservations for travel – hotels and rental cars – as well.  And October and November are multiple weekends of travel in a row, so there is a lot of that to do.  At home, I have so many things to do.  But, I would like to focus on getting laundry caught up, since we now have a working dryer again.  And, just decluttering a bunch of areas where stuff has piled up during this first six weeks of school.  Stuff in the entry way, on the dining room table, on the living room tables, etc.

I do have a blog thing going on this month.  I’ve decided to participate in The Nester’s #31 Days project!  My button didn’t come up so well on the linky (sad face), but here it is:

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It is my first attempt at making a button and I kind of like it.  My theme for the #31days is, as the button says, “Coming up for Air.”  My focus will be giving ourselves a break, digging ourselves out of the holes we may have fallen into, and really taking some deep, cleansing breaths.

So, there you have it!  My Tuesday To-Dos…