Saturday 26 June 2010

Weeknote 26/6

This week, I have been mostly...

not much, tbh. I have lost my knitting mojo, and I can't seem to find it. I am assuming that this is due to general busy-ness.
I have put 3 more rows on the blue shawl, at least.

going to:
bed, as early as possible.
the curry shop in my NEW CAR! Yes, it finally arrived. Whoop whoop!

badly. We did have a relatively healthy BBQ tonight, though. Grilled aubergine, mmmm!

obsessed with:
The stats. I can look at the stats for my marking team a lot more easily than last year, thanks to the new PC and the slightly simpler user interface.
Whether my new car is going to arrive.
Google Teacher thingie. I got a place! So excited! I am now all over the twitter tag like a rash. I am trying to rein it in before people start to think I'm a freak.
Planning what to do on my holiday to Malaysia with Caroline in August. We're going to go and bathe with elephants. The waterproof camera will come in handy again!

entertained by:
Mary Queen of Shops. I love Mary Portas.
Ian (my HoD) being taught to walk in high heels to make a point at TD day about helping each other to learn new skills.
The football, a bit. Typically I fell asleep in the car on the way home on Wednesday and England scored. I am not intending to watch tomorrow, they seem to do better when I don't pay attention.
The plants. We've been trying to de-pest the veggie ones with washing up liquid and water in a spray bottle. The sweet peas and honeysuckle are running wild all over the garage. My lilies are about to open. I love it!

fed up about:
My colleagues moaning endlessly about wanting to see a change in school - and then moaning when we had a TD Day focused on bringing about this change. I was feeling so positive and it made me so angry I had to go away and make coffee. It got better after the coffee.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for a decision about the trip and who can attend. Management have 3 days, and then it will be the case that I can have a car shipped from Korea in less time than it takes them to make a decision.

Frantic and exhausted until I finally finished backreading my team for their first sample on Wednesday.
Frustrated today when I realised some of them have raced ahead but aren't maintaining the standard.
Incredulous, following the meeting between me, the head and the other conference organiser on Wednesday. It would be unprofessional of me to relate the events. But it was a bizarre meeting.
Over the moon because (a) Google teacher thingie place, (b) new car and (c) I managed to find a conference speaker with only a week to go! And she is an awesome choice.
Guilty, for not getting any exercise and taking 2 days off marking. Now I have to do more backreading to get people back into line. Le sigh.

But mostly, I am feeling very fortunate. This time last year I was doped up on morphine in a hospital bed, feeling very sorry for myself. It is nice to not be in that situation this year. It's about the same heat as last year, too, and being at home is far more pleasant.

Saturday 19 June 2010


It has happened as usual, that I have stumbled upon a new blog (or, in this case, restumbled upon an old blog) and then I want to steal all its ideas and make them my own. The blog in this case is this one about tech and productivity and the thing in question (and really I mean thingS because I pinched the monthly goals idea from him too, a bit, though I don't think "Sort out The Shoes" is quite the monthly goal he had in mind) is a weeknote.

TBF, he did pinch this from somewhere else, and I do think it will fit quite nicely on my blog, if I can keep up with it, because - as I remarked recently on a forum thread, sorry, yet another forum thread about what is your blog and what's it about (just sticky it FFS) - my blog is really just about me and I think I'm the one who most enjoys reading it, and weeknotes would help me to remember things what I have done.

I am quite liking the idea of categories. This week I have been mostly....

The pretty blue shawl. But I haven't done a lot of knitting since I got my new phone (see below) so it is not growing at the rate it should.
I should put a pic in here, but if I don't publish this now I'm bound to forget.

going to:
London, for pre-standardisation
Zumba, for endless giggling and lots of flavour

Krispy Kremes (tsk)
mushrooms and poached egg on toast. This seemed appealing, and it is. I needed something to fill the asparagus void.

obsessed with:
My new phone (it gets clouds on the display when it's cloudy)
Twitter. I followed my first Twitter chat on Friday night, it was awesome. Totally putting it in my action log at work, even though nobody ever reads it except me.
The plants. The blackfly on the plants. The progress of the cucumber. The wellbeing of the trillion basil seedlings.
Finding a maxi dress. Naturally, I found one just as it sold out in my size, online and in every concession and shop within bussing distance. I bought my second choice. I did find a smaller version of my first choice and am trying to console myself with the fact it was (a) very thin fabric and (b) not a very nice navy. I've never felt the need for a maxi dress before: even my wedding dress was cocktail length; but I am being tempted this summer.

entertained by:
The birds. The baby sparrows are doing flying practice from our fence to the neighbour's. The blue tits come and sit on the washing line and raid the pegs for spiders. Two pigeons came and procreated on the fence. Alright...the last one wasn't so great but the rest was.
Bill Bailey at Ashton Court, for really proper belly laughs. I must admit to never having seen Bill Bailey's stand up before. I was amused. I 'ears it, I thinks about it, I larfs.
Big Brother. I don't care, I love it. I love the changes in format this year. I love Josie, she is so Brizzle. I love Corin. I love the Tree. It is entertaining.

fed up about:
My car still not arriving, in spite of the dealership ringing me last Sunday to suggest it might arrive midweek.
The Luddite attitude of some of my fellow exam marking team leaders. Get over it: the exam board are not going back to real meetings because you whinge. You whinging just pisses me off and makes me determined to be even more merry sunshine on speed than on a regular day.
The exam board and their "haven't you read my mind?" attitude to perfectly reasonable questions.
Not having a life for a fortnight while I am standardising. This may be the root of my exam board woes.

Teh lethargy. Teh malaise. I haven't felt much like doing anything, truth be told. I don't feel like I'm looking forward to anything, which is I think what the problem is. My Principal Examiner asked me what I was spending my exam money on this year, reeling off a list of what I've saved for in previous years - holiday, wedding, new winter coat etc - and all I could come up with this year was a new garage roof. It's hardly the stuff of inspiring post-it notes on the monitor now, is it?

So, my aim for this week is to get my buzz back. It is the last full week before The Big Conference, and hopefully this year I will be there and not in hospital having my gall bladder removed, so I need to get everything finalised. Running a poorly-organised conference at Bath Uni would be one thing but no way am I going to Oxford underprepared.

Friday 18 June 2010

Fave Friday

Five Favourite Things To Do On The Web

1. Twitter
I have not used this seriously, but since the Desire turned up with its special Peep app, I have become a little bit addicted. Tonight I attended a gifted and talented chat about science, it was extremely useful. And it is also helping me to stalk my fellow applicants for Google Teacher Academy. (My application video is here, btw)

2. Ravelry
The way the forum tells you when someone's replied to a message. The hours of time that can be whiled away looking at other people's projects. The ease with which I can find a pattern for 600m of dishcloth cotton. Casey, I salute you.

3. iGoogle
I am beyond gutted SWGfL has blocked https:// bits of Google. Whose der-brain idea was that, then? I shall be complaining and insisting school unblock it. How will I get my news headlines now? Not to mention my to-do list.

4. Google Maps
Fascinating stuff. I love looking at my family's homes and other places from above....yes, that is a bit odd, but oh well. I can spend hours doing it. I like street view too. I thought I got snapped by the street view camera in my car a few months ago, but evidently it wasn't recording at the time.

5. Blog, of course. DUR!

I've finished my meetings for the exam board now, ready to start marking. For the second year in a row my online stand. meeting went very smoothly. I am counting blessings: not many of the others did. I lead a charmed life, I think.

My new phone is making me oblivious. Yesterday I was waiting outside Notting Hill tube for Sib to turn up and take me for a gin, and I was emailing and listening to music, stood out of the way on the kerb; I became aware of someone squeezing round me but didn't pay much attention. Hey, it was London: it's quite normal capital behaviour.
Then I realised the free paper guys were lined up on the other side of the pavement watching, and I turned around to see 2 policemen searching a white van and its drivers. I was actually in their way.


Monday 14 June 2010

Tuesday Ten - Man Up special

I have teh malaise. After finishing May on an enthusiastic high, I spent last week listlessly flitting around from project to project, my to do list mysteriously empty. I have concluded this is more to do with being bitten by teh malaise than having nothing to do. I also think I am feeling oppressed by certain things. I need to give myself a good talking to. Herein....

1. I have 12 people on my marking team this year - last year it was 7. Man up, and cancel everything next week.
2. My team is so big, because it is the only team for the paper. And I am in charge of it. I am partially stunned by the responsibility being afforded me. MAN UP. These things aren't assigned for no reason....this is your 7th year of examining.
3. Car still is not here. Man up. Get used to wearing flats.
4. I have to put in my application to Google Teaching Academy and I am dithering, trying to make it as perfect as possible. Man up, get over it, and put it in. (Update: I was so irritated by my incessant dithering, I stopped writing this blog post and went away and did it quick before I could dither anymore. Fingers crossed!)
5. I have to work with someone next year who I don't want to work with. I only found out last week and there is no appeal. Man up. This is called professionalism and you're always carping on about it to the kids.
6. We still don't have a speaker for the conference. It's two weeks away. MAN. UP. Ring that person you thought of in the first place - surely the worst they can do is say no?
7. My Y9 class are driving me mental. Man up: only 7 lessons left with them, and 2 of those are cover. And anyway, if you planned a little better they might (I stress the might) behave a little better.
8. I haven't done any knitting for nearly 2 whole weeks. Man up. How can you be whiney about something you have not made an effort to do?!
9. I keep losing at Facebook Scrabble and my stats have dropped below 70% win. Man up! People were getting bored with playing you because you won too much. AND IT'S ONLY A GAME.
10. My courgette plant has blackfly, boo hoo. I don't know how to man up about this (or how to get rid of it), but I will get back to you when I work it out. I suppose I could remind myself that I have a second courgette 5 tomatoes, a cucumber, 4 runner beans, an aubergine, a squash, garlic, potatoes and about 7 billion basil plants. We have been busy this year.

I have a lot of manning up to do. Indeed, combined, I am going to have to proper WOman up this week. It should help with the procrastinatiness.
(Man up is our favourite advice on the ski trip, but we save WOman up for really tough things, like skiing one's first black or attempting a scary jump).

On the plus side, I LOVE my new phone. It is an HTC Desire. I waited months and months past upgrade time for the iPhone 4 and then changed my mind the day before it was announced. I have absolutely no regrets. I have already managed to set it up to push email notifications from my five different accounts, without even having to try. It is very easy to use. I have found a use for those 10 minutes in the morning when I usually hit snooze. Now, I hit snooze, and read emails from overnight. So this morning when the deputy head emailed me at 6.30am (this is a regular occurrence) I had emailed her back before 7.30. HA!

Friday 4 June 2010

Goals for June

LOTS of goals this month, and varied too.
  • Finish one delinquent knitting project - likely to be the red cardigan I started a year ago.
  • Finish the new lace shawl I started this week.
  • Properly plan and practice the opening speech and presentation skills workshop I have to give at the conference I've been planning for the end of the month.
  • Update the G&T list at work.
  • Arrange the Malaysia trip meeting and plan something for it.
  • Spend less money. Having all the car money in my account has made me more frivolous than usual and I've been buying a lot more than usual. I intend to not spend more than my salary this month....well, apart from when I have to hand over the cash for the new car.
  • Sort through The Shoes and get them into a proper sort of order.
  • Arrange to have the shelves and rails put up in the kitchen - which will then be FINALLY DONE - not even two years after we begun! We were speedy with this one (rolly eyes)
  • Organise the spare room, and paint the corner that needs painting, so I can get shelving up.
  • NOT get sun burn. This ties in with my news year's resolutions, but I think this is going to be the prime month for it.
  • Get up to 30 hours total time on the Wii Fit - I need to do another 5ish. It's always easier when Big Brother is on and I'm marking, because I like to do free step while watching it, since it's usually the only exercise I can manage.
  • Lose 10lbs. I can totally do this. I want to wear the nice Coast dress I bought in a charity shop for the year 11 ball on June 29th, and it's a little tight for the moment.
I am feeling all inspired today, though since marking begins 2 weeks today, I may be a little hopeful. There's quite a lot to do there. However, my exam classes will be gone so I gain 10 hours a fortnight of time (just over a quarter of my timetabled hours) and I have reported final levels for a lot of my other classes, so I can do fun non-writing History with them which will cut down on marking. I love the summer term.

I was thinking this year has gone superquick, since it is summer already, but when I went back to last year's blog posts to see if I'd written anything about the delinquent red cardigan (I did write a little something) I realised Rav day was exactly a year ago this weekend and I couldn't believe it has only been a year since then, and Beccy's wedding. I have squeezed a lot into the school year this year.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

FOs, weekend, overdue and LONG overdue

Weekend: Hey, Sugared Almonds!

Pattern: Hey Teach from Knitty (really, it was written in the stars I would knit this, since it was designed for a high school History teacher)
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Worsted in Love Potion (Feb '10 ltd edn colour from Jimmy Beans), about 1m less than 3 skeins. It reminds me of tyhe sugared almonds my gran used to buy me at the Venetian Fete when I visited her in the summer holidays.
Needle: 5mm
Mods: I made the sleeves a little longer and did them in the round on 5.5mm DPNs, ostensibly to make them wider for my chubby arms but actually because I could only find 3 5mm DPNs (bah). I also did i-cord bind off on the neckline, and instead of the button band. You know I love an i-cord bind off, and it looks even better in variegated yarn.

The edges are not as wobbly as in the picture, I promise. I was just hasty in photographing it.

Instead of buttons I am using this buckle -

Poor picture, I know, but I took it up to the bead shop on Clifton Triangle today to get the missing rhinestones replaced and the very helpful woman is doing it for me and had kept it, so I had to crop one out of the big picture. I bought it at the Bristol Vintage Fashion Fair a couple of months back, and it is a really good match. I just need to work out how to attach it. I could sew it on, but I don't think it is washable and it would be difficult to remove when I did want to wash the garment. I am thinking velcro, but not sure how I would attach it without it showing. Hmm, hmm.....

Overdue: Eyelet cowl

Pattern: Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2009
Yarn: Colinette Art, 1 skein
Needle: 5.5mm
Mods: I knitted up a needle size and cast on 15 less stitches, to try and squeeze it out of one skein. I like the result a lot, though it's not as opulently cowlish as the one in the magazine. I also got this ribbon for it, instead of knitting an i-cord.
Really simple pattern and should have been superquick but, as usual, I was distracted by other things (this was meant to be worn whilst skiing).

Also, if I pull the ribbon tight and turn up the bottom, it make a good hat.

LONG overdue: Central Park Hoody button bands
Yes, a full 26 months after I officially FO'd the garment, I have finally picked up and knit the button bands. It was a fraught task, especially picking up with a 1.5mm needle and then doing P2togs on those stitches with a 5mm needle. But it is DONE. Now I just have to sew on 10 when I do that (roughly 2012, if past experience is anything to go by).