End of the week

Well, the library libday8 ‘Week in the life’ project finished yesterday, but I’ve decided to blog today so that I’ve finished my complete ‘week in my life’.

Woke up at 8am this morning to thick fog in addition to a layer of ice so I was in no rush to get to church to copy the pew sheets.  I spent a while icing my hip and ended up going down to church at 9.30am which is later than I would have liked.  I’d just finished the copying when I noticed the wrong date was on the sheet and on closer inspection I realised I’d printed out the wrong sheet at 11pm last night and I’d just photocopied it double sided 50 times.  Had to dash home to print out the correct one and then dash back to copy it.  I was already in a tizz about the amount of work I need to get done today and this was the last straw.

Paul took the children to church, but I didn’t go to the service.  Instead I caught up on some uni related e-mails and got on with my Web Site Design project which needs to be submitted on Friday.  I finished the home page design, colour choices etc this morning and this afternoon I’ve created the other 10 pages (only a framework, the content is for the next submission) and made sure all the links work.

In between the children had helped Paul to clean the kitchen and do the washing up, but some of the really greasy stuff had defeated them (and Paul can’t help with his bandaged finger) so finished that.  Then I finished reading a systems analysis text book.  Think I’ve got a broad outline of what I want to say in that essay now, just need to find some more sources.

Paul cooked a lovely roast chicken dinner and the children made cakes.  I’m so blessed really.

About 8pm I finished the coding for the Web Design work, so I’ve just got to write a schedule for completing the project before submitting on Friday (and checking all the links work when I upload it at uni).  Off to have a bath and an early night before Monday morning and a 4.30am wake up for youngest’s swimming club sets the week off again.


#libday8 National Libraries Day

After last night’s excitement Paul decided not to get up and take youngest to early morning swimming so we had a huge lie-in until 8am!  I was working in the town library today, but uncertainty over whether it would snow or not meant a dilemma over how to travel into town.  I opted for the car in the end as it’s easier to park at weekends.

It’s National Libraries Day today and although there were no specific events today in the central library there have been author visits and other things going on all week.  The library did seem quite busy today, especially given the horrible weather, although I didn’t hear anyone say they had come in because of publicity for the day.

Busy on counter all day dealing with lots of different queries, helping people find specific books, advising people about how to use the on-line facilities, helping people scan documents to the computers and joining and re-joining quite a few people.  No particular stand out queries today, but know that I helped a lot of people and that is always a perk of the job.

When I came home at 4pm I had to scrape the hail off the car as it had frozen into a solid sheet and there were icicles over the wheel arches.  At least we have escaped the snow that a lot of the country has, but the roads are still dangerous.

Spent a while trying to download an e-library book to my Blackberry this evening – a new service from Warrington library.  Everything went well and the book downloaded fine, but when I try to view it I just get the white screen of death.  I suspect my Blackberry is the problem.

After tea I realised I hadn’t put together the pew sheets which will have to be copied tomorrow morning before the service.  I was getting them together, but a website I need has crashed.  Looks like another early start tomorrow.

#libday8 5

-7 today when I left the house at 7.30am, but it’s been a beautiful sunny day and the countryside on my train journey to Manchester looked gorgeous in the rosy glow of the sunrise, even through the grimy carriage windows.

Today is my Web Site Design lecture.  I really enjoy this part of my course and spend a disproportionate amount of time on it.  I’ve been creating personal websites for over ten years, but this course has really helped me hone my CSS and HTML skills and given me the courage to attempt Code Academy (which reminds me I haven’t done this weeks lesson).  I have an interim assignement due next week when I have to submit the ‘wireframe’ of my site for a (fictional) conference centre.  I had planned to pretty much wrap it up in lab time after the lecture, but a pesky border on a linked image which refused to go away ended up taking most of my time.  Sorted it in the end, and helped a fellow student too.

My train back to Warrington was a nice warm express, so had an hour to get my lunch before work.  I had an e-mail today to say I haven’t been selected for interview for the Manchester Cathedral job, so treated myself to some new boots to cheer myself up.  In fact treated myself to two pairs as it was ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ in the tail end of the Deichmann sale, and having found one pair I loved, it would have been rude not to.

Back in the library office today to continue data entering.  Then home to collect the car which still isn’t sorted, despite us having spent £250 so far.  They now suspect the alternator, which will be several hundred pounds more.

Paul picked me up from the library and took me to the garage.  He was a bit late though as he has cut his finger slicing carrots with a mandolin.  It is quite a bad cut and when it hadn’t stopped bleeding two hours later I took him to A&E where he was patched up and given a tetanus shot.

This meant I took daughter and friend to their swimming club instead of doing the shopping so we have no bread or milk.  I decided the best course of action was to have my first alcohol of the year.

Don’t forget tomorrow is National Libraries Day and you should all get down to your local library, particularly if your local library is Warrington central as an especially wonderful library assistant will be there (of course all the other assistants are equally lovely too), and we’re all ready to help.  Why not come along and see just how many services we offer?  Family history (free access to Find my Past on all the computers), local history, use the computers, send a fax, read a newspaper or find a book – we don’t just have fiction for adults, children and teenagers, large print and audiobooks but books about business, careers, art, crafts, building, house and home design, science, maths, astronomy, environment, politics, computers, gardening, sport, languages (including language courses on CD and tape), sociology, teaching, economics, history, travel, car manuals, sheet music, film and TV and lots more.  Hope to see you there!

Slowing down (just means I’m always late) libday8 day 4

Back at the station at 7.15am this morning, but only to drop Paul off as I’m not on a train today.  It was -5 degrees at that time so I was quite glad that I wasn’t on my bike today.  The car had to go back to the garage so I drove there and walked on into town to work.  I had to keep reminding myself to slow my walking down, but it’s hard when it’s so flipping cold!  So of course I was a couple of minutes late for work. 

Work today was data entering from a survey the library has been running.  It’s very repetitive work and quite dull, but at least it gives me an insight into how easily people can misunderstand questionnaires, and how the lack of a ‘not applicable’ box can lead to people interpreting  the ‘neither good nor bad’ box as ‘doesn’t affect me’.  Hopefully this will help me if I have to design any questionnaires for my dissertation research.  I certainly recommend data entering from a big survey as pre-research for anyone designing questionnaires!  It is also good to see how positive people are about libraries and how much they value the services they offer. 

A lot of media attention is building towards National Libraries Day on Saturday with a big piece on Channel 4 news tonight and Chris Evans promoting the day on his Radio 2 show. 

I was hoping to pick the car up on my way home, but the garage can’t work out what is causing the funny noise so it’s not ready yet.  I had to catch the bus home, but as I’m walking slowly I was late getting to the bus stop, which meant I was late collecting the children to take to dancing and swimming and therefore I was late picking Paul up from the station.  While youngest swam I went in the gym and did 30mins on the cross trainer (cross training is OK too as it’s low impact), but I can’t get any enthusiasm for it at all.  I’ve iced and stretched my hip lots today and I’ve made a huge effort to go slow.  Hopefully it will bring some improvement.

Lost a bit of umph all round really.  Trying to get up some enthusiasm for doing some uni work, but lying on the couch reading War Horse sounds so much more appealing.


Hiding a woman’s light

This morning on Twitter Louise Mensch posted a question she was asked in a GQ interview “do women have a hard time describing themselves as successful or doing well? Is the instinct always self-deprecate? Does society demand it?”  The question wasn’t included in the published article, so I’m not sure what answer Louise Mensch gave, but it set me thinking.

A few years back I failed in a big way, and ended up off work with depression and eventually quitting teaching. I talked about this reasonably openly and received a lot of support and understanding.

Now, I’ve sorted myself out and I’m doing a course in Information Management so I can launch a new career. I’m doing really well on my course, not just a bit well, but Distinction level so far, but this is the first place I’ve shared that information. I’ve not even told other people on my course how well I’m doing. A few know about individual essays, but I don’t think anyone outside my immediate family (until now) knows I’ve been consistently excellent.

So why is that? Is it that I’ve been brought up not to shout about my achievements? Is it fear of failure that people will expect more of me and if I don’t maintain standards then I’ll look foolish? Is it that I don’t want to stand out as trying too hard or being the teacher’s pet? Why was it easier to talk about the failure? Was it easier for other people, and me, to accept that the busy mum of three is a failure rather than a success?

I do know that when I write my CV I have to get my husband in to play-up my achievements. He will suggest words and phrases to describe things I’ve done that I will argue with saying “it wasn’t that good, or important”. And I certainly know that he deals with criticism of his ideas and way of doing things much better than I do.  He has much more confidence that what he is doing is right and will ultimately be successful and he is not afraid to argue that point to others.  I am full of self doubt.

But is it a female issue? Maybe it is just different character traits and perhaps it is just as hard for men to celebrate success. Louise Mensch’s uber example of someone who celebrates their success, Piers Morgan, certainly attracts a good number of haters too.

For myself, I think it stretches back to childhood and being bullied for being clever (as well as wearing glasses and not being very confident socially). As a teacher it is clear to see that children can be incredibly negative about successful children, and it is really hard work to promote a positive, success driven culture in a school. So perhaps it’s a British thing inculcated into us at home.

I asked my children for their views. My 13 year old son said he didn’t feel he had to hide his success at school. He felt success was celebrated and he had learnt to value himself and ignore people who put him down. My daughter said she wouldn’t shout about her success for fear of being called a swat. She’s still at primary so I asked if my son thought things would improve at high school, as they had for him. He suspected they wouldn’t and both agreed it was harder for girls to be seen to be successful, although they couldn’t put their finger on why.

So what does this mean for my future? I’m filled with plans and ambition to be a leader and change things in the information world, but I’m also filled with dread of failure and of having to fight my position and shout about my success and strengths. I’m tempted to fall back into easy, safe roles where I can keep my head down and keep my light hidden, apologising for any good ideas and saying they must be down to someone else; something I find I do frighteningly often. What sort of example does that set to my daughter?

It seems feminism still has a long way to go. Jon Snow tonight tweeted about the novelty of women such as Merkel and Legarde being powerful in Europe. Until people are judged on their words and actions and not on their gender then I suspect it will always be difficult for women to be anything other than apologetic about their successes, without being seen as strange or unusual.

Battle of the blogs

Well, WordPress has won the battle of the blogs, mainly due to there being a WordPress app for Blackberry so I can blog on the go and therefore there is much more chance of me actually doing some blogging!  On top of that we now have to use Blogger for an assignment at uni, so I’m moving all the personal stuff here.

There is so much going on in my life at the moment, studying is going well, but the pressure really stacks up this term, running, which is going well too, but the long runs really start to pick up now, working, quite a bit, but I’m also starting work experience at the RNCM which will cut down on the time I can spend working for cash!  I’m also trying to follow the Code Academy programme and of course the children are as busy and active as ever.  Hopefully I’ll be blogging it all here from now on!

Breaking resolutions.

Week one of my pre-marathon training and I’ve already missed a session.
Week two of my blog and I’ve already missed three entries.
Week three of my course and I’m already behind with my reading.

What does this say?  That I’ve been slacking off, or that I’ve taken on too much?  I suspect the latter, but if I keep telling myself it’s the former, I still feel I have some contol over working harder and getting it all done!

So what’s happened since my last blog?  Friday was Web Design day at Uni and we were set our coursework.  It seems like such a huge task, even when they break it down.  I think it’s comments like ‘Just learn Dreamweaver in your spare time…’ that freak me out – I don’t have any spare time!!  I’d wimped out of biking to the station because of wind and rain, and thankfully Paul was around to take me and pick me up. 

Over lunch we were discussing Paul using his Twitter feed to inspire students to wider reading.  We both got pretty fired up to research if it works, so I e-mailed my tutor and saw her on Monday to discuss setting up some data collection on how (or if) the twitter feed inspires the students and makes them think and read any more widely around the subject following twitter updates.  So that’s another job to do!

The weekend was pretty intense too football, youth orchestra and dance on Saturday and on Sunday Paul ran the Liverpool Marathon.  It was his first marathon and for the first time ever before a race he was nervous.  He went with friends and I drove the children over later so we could cheer him on.  We saw him first at about 14 miles and he was feeling really good and doing a really good time, which meant we were quite worried when he hadn’t got to the finish when we expected.  He did make it though, in a very good time of 4:22.  He was in so much pain though at the end.  Quite worried now as the next marathon in this family will be me at the VLM!

Monday came round too soon and I was back in work running Rhymetime.  Three new families this week which is really good news as our numbers were getting quite low.  A pretty tense day in work as the new re-structure document was published today. 

Into uni and saw Manchester at it’s best in the pouring rain, especially as we all got thrown out of the library when the fire alarm went off!  The fire alarm upset all my plans and I didn’t get half the stuff done I wanted to.  The Management lecture was changed to one about Marketing which was interesting, but mostly common sense.  Not sure how libraries can market themselves effectivly with no budget.  We discussed how libraries currently market themselves, but it was often only to people who already visit libraries.  How to reach non-users will take some creative thinking.  I’ll add it to my list.

Still no running done.