Tired but happy.

All things considered, I’m doin’ okay.

I’ve spent the last three days in front of a Year 2 classroom. The kids were absolutely delightful – as all classes at St Paul’s Lutheran are, come to think of it – but coming hard on the heels of a fantastic ‘do-nothing’ holiday which followed several weeks of zero relief teaching days – three consecutive days was a bit of a shock for my sometimes-working- sometimes-not voice. (Yup. Haven’t seen a doctor yet. Probably should. I know.) It was also a bit of a shock to my kids too, I think. But they coped really well.

Mum, on the other hand, lost sleep. But that was because I’d had too much of a good holiday and hadn’t looked properly at my calendar.

You see, she and I set up the website goodoldtalk.com – a social network for Seniors. And last year, I attended the Senior’s Expo and Forum organised by Peter Slipper MP, on behalf of the GOT site. So we were invited back this year, and me in my un-organised post-holiday haze didn’t realise that I’d double booked teaching over the Forum day. Whoops! So I taught Year 2, and Mum was the GOT ambassador. With two other absolutely fantastic GOT members who also agreed to (wo)man the GOT stand. Apparently they had an absolute ball – I knew they would, but they were a little hesitant about it, having always left the ‘speaking engagements’ to me. But not only did they have a fantastic time of it, they scored another FOUR speaking engagements, and a radio producer of a local community radio station was so excited by the concept, that he’s signed up to the site, blogged already, and intends to promote us on the radio waves. Woohoo!!!

Pretty cool. And I believe that makes up for missing out on the cocktail party with the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop at Peter and Inge Slipper’s do last night. Seeing as I was dead-on-my-feet anyway!

Absolute bliss

I’m heading towards the end of what has been an absolutely incredible holiday in Hervey Bay, housesitting while the owner is at a conference in New Zealand. Poor hubby is still at work, so it’s me and teh kids staying in our pj’s until lunchtime, watching DVD’s and playing playstation, spending time on the beach and at the playgrounds, and (once the kids are in bed of an evening) I’ve been having oodles and oodles of ME TIME!!!!! It’s been just so incredible – a quiet house, a DVD library that rivals that of a DVD store, and hundreds of books that I’ve never read.

The first two and a half days saw me devour (ha!) the ‘Twilight’ series. I must say, I’m very impressed with Stephenie Meyer’s writing style! It’s no wonder that Twilight has the legion of fans it has. Kudos to her!

And then it was time to finish Miss 6’s blanket that I’ve been crocheting for the past 5 years. (Yup, it’s a bit embarrassing, hey. But a disclaimer – I’m not overly slow; I’ve just been busy…!) But that’s done now, and she’s very impressed with it. So was Miss 3, who immediately started nagging me to make her scarf. (I had promised her a purple scarf to match Miss 6’s pink one.) So that meant a trip to Pialba, which was worth it for the $2.97 sale on the wool I wanted. The colour range was also more than adequate, so I splurged and bought all the wool I needed to make Miss 3’s blanket as well. My plan is to start it after the scarf – maybe tomorrow? – and hopefully finish it before she gets married. (Ha! If the past is anything to go by, that may not be too unrealistic a prediction! And then Master 2 will get his scarf, and blanket, by the time he’s about 30. Hmmm… perhaps I should pick up the pace?!)

I’ve also been organising the creation of two retractable banners for St Paul’s, with the aim of their being made and delivered to the school by Wednesday of next week, our Open Day. But I’m cutting it a bit fine with that one, as the profs are still being negotiated, and there’s usually a five day turnaround on production… wish me luck that it gets finalised today!

I’ve also been busy preparing for, and pitching, Mr Shane Altmann, the principal of St James Lutheran College. It was pretty crazy, putting down on paper all the work I’ve accomplished for St Paul’s since starting there mid-February. And when I ran through it, I even impressed myself! Shane also seemed rather impressed when I pitched him my proposal yesterday; who knows but I may soon be the marketing consultant for their school as well…?!! That’d be pretty cool. Just as St Paul’s is majorly brilliant with their positive, supportive school culture, genuine care for each and every child, and very strong focus on academics, St James blows everyone out of the water with their iPod Touch program, now with one-to-one devices across the whole of Middle School. Considering that they’re only P-9 in 2011, there’s so much potential for their future! The possibility of marketing their college is an extremely exciting one. And add to that the experience of working geographically distant from the college, and making that work, I must admit a sense of real enthusiasm at the idea. Guess I’ll find out in the next week or so?!

And judging by the increase in emails from QUT, I’m guessing that Uni either returned for Sem II on Monday, or will be next Monday. Seeing as I’m now enrolled in INN440 Consumer Behaviour, roll on my first ever Marketing course!

So stoked!

It’s a-happening! I’ve been given the green light! In just a few short months, I’ll know a whole heap more about consumer behaviour thanks to Professor Brett Martin and AMN400.

Woohoo!!!

A-Z Meme

This seems an easy one to start with. And hopefully it’ll be quick because Miss 6 will be home from school soon, and Miss 3 and Master 2 are due to wake up from naptime any second… Thanks, @katreena, @flexnib et al for the idea!

A. Age: 37. And slowly getting used to it.
B. Bed size: King. Gift from in-laws.
C. Chore that you hate: Housecleaning. Were I to win lotto, employing a full-time housecleaner would be at the absolute TOP of the list.
D. Dogs: 12 month old German Shepherd and 10 year old Labrador. Don’t visit without prior notice.
E. Essential start to your day: Hugs from kids. Miss 3 especially.
F. Favourite colour: Orange.
G. Gold or Silver: Gold. No question.
H. Height: Average to tall? I’m not sure exact measurements, and I’m too comfortable to get my driver’s license and check…
I. Instruments you play: Violin. Voice. I can also pick out a tune on most instruments. Played Bass Guitar for a few years.
J. Job title: Mummy. (The best word in the English language). Plus I “look after” the marketing for St Paul’s Lutheran in Caboolture, but I haven’t given myself a title for that. Yet. Suggestions welcome!
K. Kids: Three. Plus hubby when he’s sick…
L. Live: Paradise. Better known as the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
M. Mother’s name: Rehanah.
N. Nicknames: C – but only my best friend and her husband call me that. It’s weird, cos they pronounce it as ‘see’ but my name has the initial sound ‘K’
O. Overnight hospital stays: 3 x childbirths.
P. Pet peeve: “Austraya”
Q. Quote from a movie: Not a favourite, but always cracks me up: “You have bewitched me, body and soul. I love, love, love you.” Mr Darcy to Elizabeth in the latest mangled ending of Austen’s P&P.
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: Two. I’m a middle child.
T. Time you wake up: 6 am would be nice. Generally at least one child will wake me around 4.30am.
U. Underwear: Yes.
V. Vegetable you hate: Capsicum
W. What makes you run late: Me. But I try to get away with blaming others…
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Umm… teeth?
Y. Yummy food that you make: Coconut Ice

Z. Zoo animal: The otters at Australia Zoo. But not when they’re asleep.

Loose reins

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I have described myself as a control freak. Even casual readers of my blog may have picked that up about me. I like to make sure that everything is done exactly the ‘right’ way – ie. my way. I micromanage – although I am conscious of this, and try not to! It hits me anew each time I realise that sometimes it’s best just to let people do what you have already asked them to do. (Especially as that’s why you asked them to do it in the first place!)

This also extends to my own direction in life. I like planning where I am heading, and working to make that happen. And I get usually  frustrated when stuff happens that impedes my plans. I guess I feel secure when most of the variables have been eliminated. But that doesn’t mean that plans can’t change mid-way. Hence the ‘loose reins’.

For someone who tends to keep a tight rein on every aspect of life, you might think it strange when I state that, conversely, I’m happy to change direction. Often. In July 2010 I commenced studying again after a break of 15 years. I’m enjoying the MIT(LIS) but by the end of this week, I’ll be facing a dilemma. I’ll have completed six of the eleven 12cp units, but three of the remaining five units are all Semester One offerings. So I’m up to choosing electives, and that means decisions.

Last week I was inspired by Tony Wilson, QUT’s director of Marketing and Communications. As in, REALLY inspired. He was guest lecturing the INN331 unit (that I scored a Disctinction for – Yay! Still SOOOOO stoked about that!) and I listened to the entire lecture with a smile on my face. Broken by the occasional “Oh wow”. He was speaking “my language”. (Well, the language that I’ve been learning ad hoc and by osmosis since starting my marketing job mid-February.) And his lecture got me thinking… why not complete some electives in Marketing?

An email to Helen Partridge later, and 9 minutes after that I had my approval. So as soon as I’ve finished these screencasts and article for INN690, the Minor Project I’m completing with @katiedavis as a very kind and understanding supervisor, I’m off to enquire about enrolling in AMN442 Marketing Management. Wish me luck!

Ha!

The pummelling of Master Two’s feet against his wall awoke me this morning. He must have been listening carefully though, to hear if I would react, because (cheeky sod!) he stopped as soon as he heard me sigh and sit up in bed. It being 5.09am I lay back down again and my mind turned immediately to what I could be doing, were I to get up.

The Caboolture Show preparations hadn’t been finished yet, and the display will be set up today. Well, displays actually, because (as per usual) I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and requested an extra display space this year. Five weeks ago, I started running a Play Group attached to the school which contracts my marketing services. And silly me thought the Show a fantastic opportunity to let people know of its existence. When all is said and done, it IS a fantastic opportunity. But it wasn’t until yesterday midday that I realised quite how large the space was that needed to be covered. It is large. As in, LARGE. The ladies from the school, who have set up the display for the last few years, mentioned in passing that a display set-up takes all day. ALL DAY??!!! Wow! (And I hadn’t organised childcare!) And have we – the Play Group – got enough to fill that space? I knew that the school display would. Over 350 kids means that there’s definitely enough to cover the ‘school’ area. But the Play Group? We’ve only been running five weeks. Do we have enough? That is the question whose answer is making my stomach turn and keeping my anxiety levels at their peak. “So stop just lying there and get up and keep on going with the preprarations!” I thought.

Then my mind turned to the morning. Which car to take, what stops I would need to make on the way (newsagents for thumb tacks… but maybe I could use pins instead, as we’d be hanging shirts (unofficial Play Group uniform)… and then I remembered the Morning Tea.

As “Class Carer” for the school, I organise informal get-togethers for the families of my allocated grade. Year One, in this case. And the June get-together is a Morning Tea. And it’s today. So add in a stop, at the bakery, on the way to school… and then minus time that would be needed at the Show Grounds, setting up both displays.

And then I remembered that I also needed to take further time away from Show ‘set-up’ while on the Show Grounds, because I needed to find out where to submit Miss 6’s entry into the photo competition. She loves nicking my camera, or more recently, my iPod, and “snapping” (ha! Like they do that any more) away. And she’s quite good, too! So we talked about entering one of her photos, and (of course) she wants to, and (of course) I need to organise it. And (of course for the third time) it’s due today. Not that the photo has been printed off yet, or mounted, or named, or any of that other jazz that needs to happen before I eventually find the right place to submit it and finally hand it over.

“Submitting” an item led my brain to then think about the 5000 word report due Thursday – as in, in two days! – and try to allocate time this week when I could finish it in time. Which led to a mental run through of the rest of the week (Wednesday Play Group morning; Wednesday evening Violin teaching – oh! Hang on, no. My student’s away this week camping. Yay – more time! But will it be enough to get the assignment complete!??) and so by this stage, my anxiety levels were making me jumpy. So I left sleeping hubby all cozy and warm and quietly got up. Then I remembered. It’s June 7 today.

Happy birthday, Ceridwyn.

Ha! I don’t think it’s ever taken me that long to remember my own birthday before! So I wonder what else today will bring!

See you tomorrow, everyone! (And feel free to send me happy thoughts throughout the day – they might just keep me sane with it all!)

Miss 6's photo entry. Just cos it's so cute!

Sheltering in the lee

It is not quite 4pm. Monday. I am at home, sitting on my bed, and the house is quiet. This is extremely unusual, and I love it.

Miss 6 needed to be brought home early today (still sick, poor love, and milking it for all she can get!) so Hubby and I vied for the opportunity. I won (his job is far more important than mine!) so brought her home while he gets to continue working and then pick up the younger two from childcare.

So here I sit, surrounded by papers. Papers from work, reminding me of urgent things to do and far more urgent things to do, drafts from Uni assignments due this week, due the following week, and feedback from assignments submitted two weeks ago… and silence.

Miss 6 is sleeping (?! yeah right! try ‘playing quietly’ in her bedroom,) and I can hear the clock ticking. Very strange sound to hear in daylight hours; normally it is the accompaniment I associate with working into the late hours of the night.

I like it. A pleasant sound. Strange to hear it with a backdrop of birdcalls instead of crickets. But this… this silence… it reminds me to breathe. To relax, if just for a moment, even when surrounded by all the trappings of my responsibilities, and just breathe. Just exist in the moment. It will be over soon enough… hubby will be home with the younger two, and then when they’re all abed, it’ll be time to dive straight back into the Caboolture Show prep (display being created tomorrow) and INN332 Final Report (5000 words due Thursday).

Okay. Just breathe. In… out… in… out…

Starting to resurface

It’s Sunday evening and I feel as though I’ve  been submerged in illness for a LONG time. Sometimes it’s difficult being a full-time mum to three under 7, a full-time worker, and a part-time student when your husband works such long hours too. Looking back, it’s only been a few days, but it feels like so much longer. I think I’ll lift the self-imposed quarantine tomorrow. Yay. Just in time for school, work, childcare, and what generally is the busiest day of my week.

I need a break. Or maybe just the last few days re-wound, so I can maybe meet all those dead lines I missed?!

It looks as though, unfortunately, my #blogjune posts will be shorter than I’d like due to my need to ‘catch up’. Bumma. Sorry, dear readers!

Til tomorrow…

Day 2 and I’ve slept!

Well last night was vomit-free. Apparently Master 2 fell out of bed, and Hubby put him back in, but I guess I slept through the whole thing. Unusual, because I’m normally the lightest sleeper in the house, but that extra-long day must have taken it out of me. I actually fell asleep in front of the computer, so eventually gave it up soon after 11pm. Seven hours later and I’m feeling human again.

So today marks assignment day. I have a 45% Proposal and an ePortfolio view release due tomorrow, but tomorrow I’m at work, and I also have a newspaper deadline at midday tomorrow (which article I haven’t started yet!) so I’m going to attempt submitting my Uni pieces today. Somehow.

Hence my post this morning. Day 2 of #blogeverydayofJune and let’s meet again on Day 3. Wonder if I’ll have those assignments in by then? Wish me luck!

Strengths and weaknesses

I’m not so great at the ‘looking in the mirror’ bit. The self-analysis; self-evaluation. I must admit, I’d prefer to remain in the dark and highly self-unaware of my faults; my weaknesses.

Which is why I always dread the self-evaluation that comes with each assignment I complete in this Masters I’m currently attempting. Admittedly, I’m getting better (I think!) and I can recognise, and even acknowledge, some aspects of my personality that I didn’t really know existed – well, on a conscious level, at least.

Like I think I’d be a hopeless manager. (And yes, I need to qualify that statement, for all of you who remember that I used to be IN management positions, as a Head of English and then as a Head of Middle School!)

In Week 1 of this semester, I completed some reading for ‘Management Issues for Information Professionals’ with Katherine Howard that profoundly changed the way I think. There were just a couple of short articles about the difference between management and leadership. One in particular I found thought-provoking enough to re-analyse my own skills in the ensuing reflection. And I realised… I’m hopeless at managing! The day-to-day, ‘Let’s continue to do this, and do it as well as we possibly can’ pales in comparison for me when compared to ‘leadership’, which is the leading of others in a different direction to the one currently travelled. The planning, the organisation, the ‘management of the change’ is I guess the element of management that I absolutely am passionate about. So yes, I am starting to accept that I’m a leader, not a manager.

Maybe that’s why I’m SOOOO in love with my job. I’m breaking new ground. No-one’s been where I’ve been, no-one’s tried doing what I’m doing. And I absolutely LOVE that. Last week I got permission to tweet and update facebook for St Paul’s as part of my job. How cool!!! (We’re @StPaulsLPS, if you’re interested! And our fb page is here – feel free to follow us!) I also set my own goals, and challenge myself to meet objectives that even the Principal and Business Manager believe are pie-in-the-sky. Maybe I’m overly enthusiastic, but I’m looking forward to seeing the results. I’m after full enrolment by the end of 2011. That’s see if it can be done!!!