Monday, 28 June 2010

How to create your own luck : the "you never know" approach to networking, taking chances, and opening yourself to opportunity by Susan RoAn

This is a great book. Easy to read and good reminders. It has a bunch of common sense things that we should all probably be reminded of more often than not.

From Publishers Weekly:
etworking guru RoAne (How to Work a Room) shares common-sense suggestions about how to network in this run-of-the-mill advice book. Using cute catch phrases (those who are open to opportunity are called "You Never Know It Alls"), she makes the point that folks create their own luck by having eight "unusual suspect" traits. (Of course, they also work hard, are persistent and have a positive attitude—the usual suspects indicating success.) These counterintuitive traits include making small talk; dropping names; eavesdropping and listening; straying from their chosen paths; and saying yes when they want to say no. Each chapter shares numerous stories of people turning serendipity (such as chance encounters) into success by utilizing at least one of these traits. "When we are open and pay attention to signs, signals, situations, and people, we are building our own internal serendipity generators," RoAne writes. However, aside from the inspiring examples, there's not enough specific "how-to" to help readers apply RoAne's advice to their own situations. While she puts a nice spin on basic networking principles, this somewhat repetitive book doesn't add much to the Chinese tenet "luck is when preparation meets opportunity." (For another take on this subject, see Networking Magic by Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin)

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

I have a new mission in life - that is to incur NO debt! (Well, okay...that's not the whole story....it's to pay off the debt we have and NOT accumulate anymore)


It's not easy. Things seems to happen all the time that seem to justify pulling out the credit card. Today was a great example. Our washing machine died this week. It was a slow death, and we knew it was coming. We would love to buy a beautiful new, perhaps front loading machine. But alas, I don't have an extra grand to do it right now. So I decided to get on kijiji and find a used one. I found one that was free! The couple giving it away bought a house that they're renovating. All the appliances are being replaced. She said that they were probably all 30 years old. So we took the washer and dryer. It's definitely a relic! It works like a charm though. I don't know why they don't build things now like they used to. Appliances used to last for generations. Not anymore. I'm thrilled with this old beauty. And when we're finished with it we'll probably be able to donate it to a museum! You can tell this came from a totally different era just by the dials on it. One of the buttons is for saving the suds, and one is for draining the suds. ...You can save suds?? Totally different thinking!





My other great deal was in our spare bedroom. One of the student's we had stay with us previously was a bit of a stinker. He broke the blind over the window so we needed new window treatments, and he also melted wax all over the cloth that covered the bedside table. I found a curtain rod on freecycle that worked perfectly, and then last night someone posted these curtains! They were way to big for the window so I cut them down and hemmed them. There was enough left over that I could make a new cover for the bedside table that matches!! YAHOO!





Looks like I really should iron them. I'll do that later!



I have enough fabric left that I could make some throw pillows and maybe a quilt with this fabric as the accent. Looks like I should find something for the walls too. It's pretty boring in that room.

All things in time I guess!

Total Savings:

Curtain Rod about $40 at Sears

IKEA Curtains about $60 (found the exact ones on their website!)

Top Loading Washing Machine, about $500

Throw Pillows: $15??

New duvet cover: $50 (that'd probably be a steal of a deal too)

Ladies and gentlemen, that is $665!! All for free. No smokin' credit card either. PHEW!

I think it's a miracle that we could even do this for no cost. We are so blessed!

Back to School

I've had this post sitting for a while. I didn't want to spill the beans too soon.




I've been doing some subbing. The more I do it the more I realize how much I love and miss teaching. Last Monday I had a fantastic day of subbing. That night I got home and got on the computer and as I sit there working I was saying a little prayer about what I should do with my career. I really feel like teaching is right thing for me to do. The only thing is I really want to try to get a job at one campus in particular because it is across the street from my Peirce's school. It would be so convenient! There have been a lot of postings at the other campuses and I haven't applied for any because I figure I should hold out and try to see if I can't get something where it would be best for my family. That being said, when I'm at this one school I honestly feel the spirit there. It's kind of weird really.





Well, Monday night, I got a call from the principal of the school where I always feel so good when I'm there. It's not that I don't feel good at the other ones - but at this one I often can really feel my heart burning like I'm feeling the spirit. The principal asked if I knew who she was. I did. And then she asked if I'd be interested in covering a maternity leave in the fall for 2.5 months. I couldn't believe it. I'm sitting here saying, "Heavenly Father, should I really keep doing this job from home?" and the phone rings. I've never had a principal ASK me if I'd like a position. LOL Either she's desperate, or all the praise she was laying on me might have a smidgen of truth (apparently I come highly recommended by the vice principal at the school where I think I REALLY want to teach! LOL). Or else it's a terrible position that no one wants and they're scraping the barrel and calling me!




Either way.....gee I had butterflies! I told her I'm interested and I'd be happy to come in to talk to her. We set up an appointment for the next day.




The class is a Grade 4 class with 23 kids - a bit of a dream - only it is 17 boys and 6 girls! She was frank and said that my classroom management skills would have to be really good.




*deep breath*




In other words, it's a challenge. But I figure it never hurts to talk!




So I went for the interview. Before I went I prayed that I'd feel calm and be able to answer any dumb questions they ask. I hate all those typical interview questions. And sure enough - they had them! Only thing was when I arrived she gave me a sheet and said, "Here's what we normally ask. Do you want to take a minute to think about some of these questions?" It was so helpful! There were still some on there that I didn't really have a good answer for (like tell me about your most rewarding educational or teaching experience, or tell me about a difficult circumtsance you handled) and funny enough, she skipped those questions! (Maybe she thinks they're dumb questions too. I don't know)




When I walked into her office she had a Greg Olson picture on her wall of the Savior with a little boy. Turns out she once lived in Idaho (made me wonder if she really is a member, but just not active or something)




Anyway, the interview went really well. We talked for about an hour and it was very casual and comfortable.




At the end of it all she said, "Well, do you feel like you could accept the position today?" I was surprised because all through she'd referred to, in general, the people they were considering for the position. I told her I really probably should talk it over with my husband, and think about it for a couple hours - but assured her I was quite interested.




When I left I could feel the spirit so strongly I felt like crying. I guess I better do it! I figure it'll be a great experience, and good training. It's only 2.5 months - and I figure I can do anything for 2.5 months. And if I go back to subbing I'll be an even better sub, I'm sure.




She said she'd call me the next day...


Then! The next day I have my regular Conference call with my job. We find out on that call that the main project I've been working on has been cut in half. Well, not really cut in half, the client wants it done over two months instead of one month - it's still continuing, but in July we'll do half the work and in August we'll do the other half. Which means my income is cut in half. Which would have really been a shock and a worry. They said today they just found out about it on Monday.


They didn't know. I didn't know - but God knew. It was Monday that the principal called me to see if I'd be interested in a short term teaching contract. Coincidence? I'll choose to believe it wasn't. I'm still in shock though. ....but so grateful!!



Here goes!! Looks like I'm teaching! My other job will just limp along and I should be able to lug it along until the short term teaching contract is finished.


Isn't it amazing how God micromanages our lives!


....so grateful.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Age Group Trials

Here's Jill with some of her crazy swim club friends. They sure have a good time together and have become good friends! This is Kristen, Bryce, Stephanie, Mykayla, Jill and Sophia. Great group of girls!

Another busy swimming weekend! This one was in Lethbridge and it was the B Provincials. It was a lot of fun! All the kids swam really well and accomplished some great things. Jill had 7 races. She got in the finals for one of her races on Saturday. On Sunday she was the first alternative in two races and second alternate in another. Unfortunately everyone showed up for the finals so she didn't get to swim.
It was a character building weekend. Jill had a goal to get an A time. She had the best chance in the 100 Fly. Unfortunately, when she dove in her goggles came off. She decided to fix them half way into her first 50, which got her disqualified. So disappointing! Her time was one second off an A time, even with all that. If she hadn't been DQd she would have been #3 or #4 in that race...and had a good chance for a medal! Instead, she learned a lesson. You can't break your stroke in the fly....you have to wait until the wall to do anything like fix your goggles. I bet she'll never make that mistake again!
Peirce had a great weekend too. He got to spend one day with cousins, hang out at Grandma's, and run around the meet with his friends. He did it all in one weekend!

This is some weird sculpture at the entrance to the Phys Ed building at the University of Lethbridge. I was especially thrilled to seem my children crawling all over this dirty and rusty piece of metal with sharp corners that was resting on cement *sigh*
These two boys from the club often were in the finals together this weekend. Every time they each got a medal in the same race they did their little Huka dance. Quite entertaining!

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Friday, 18 June 2010

Grade Six Grad!

I can't believe it's come to this! Somehow Jill started kindergarten the other day and suddenly she's finished Grade six!!





Today was the Grade Six farewell assembly: a big day in the life of an 11 year old! It was a thrill to go to the assembly and see how much our darlings have grown up.



Jill and Emma and their teacher: Mme Jennifer Banks




Mme France Bedard was her teacher from September - December. We were so sorry to see her go!







Jill and Rae led the march of kids as they entered the gym




Jill wanted to make cupcakes for everyone. Auntie Gaylene helped her make the little congrats grad signs and I stayed up until all hours getting the cupcakes made (why do I do those things at the last minute anyway?!)





All the grade six kids. A great bunch!





Apparently the cupcake icing was a hit. BOYS!!!





Jill got to give one of the speeches about their favorite memories at Highwood:



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Monday, 14 June 2010

Kids These Days!

Today I subbed in a Grade 1 class. Normally those little guys really drain me - but today was quite a gem of a class and I really enjoyed the day.

We were reading one of their "basil-type" readers. It was a story about a child whose little sister thinks she's a princess. After their dad read The Princess and the Pea to them she decided to give her sister the same test. As we were reading I asked who had read The Princess and the Pea. Blank stares. Finally one kid said, "I think I saw the movie!" After a bit of talking a bunch of others realized they'd seen the movie too.

But no one had read the story from a book.

Oh the pain!! I had to go find it and read it to them. It's just not right that some kids are missing out on these stories!

If I were to teach full-time again we would do a heck of a lot more reading to kids, I think!

Friday, 11 June 2010

This past week the kid's school has had an Artist in Residence program called Trickster. They are an amazing group. They don't arrive with a script in place. They brainstorm with the teachers and the children and they put it together that week. It's amazing! Friday was the performance. And just like the other year's we've done this with them, it was amazing! This is Peirce's teacher. She said, "They don't pay me enough to do this!" LOL Truth is I know she loves it :0)

This is Peirce's class. They don't look like they're having a good time at all, do they?! They are all villagers. Peirce is in one of the purple shirts. You can barely see him behind the red shirt on the far left. He is just above the right shoulder of that person.


I love how Trickster makes costumes out of the simplest of props and costumes.




Here's Jill class doing their very cool shadow presentation:

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And here are all the little elves in Peirce's class:


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Here is the other 5/6 class. They did a black light presentation. So cool!

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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Couch

Anyone want a couch and loveseat??




Look at the new one I got on freecycle!! It's a beauty. Both ends recline too. I'm in love.



Home Service




Today for dinner Jill and Peirce wanted to pretend we were in a restaurant. They made menus, took our orders, and asked us all through the meal how we were enjoying everything. It was pretty cute.









Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sunday Picnic

We finally had a Sunday without any rain (or snow!) so we decided to go have a picnic at our favorite park: Pearce Estates Park. A few friend's came from the ward, and we had a great visit. It was a great day! Much better than our regular Sunday routine anyway! (i.e. nap nap nap!)

The kids played soccer, chase and feed gophers (and Jill even had one crawl up her leg!), played on the playground, ate and fed ducks.
Peirce loves to feed the ducks!


Friday, 4 June 2010

Now That's How I Like to Shop!

Truth be told, I hate shopping. I hate wandering through the malls. I rarely do it - even at Christmas time.

Problem: Jill wanted a new dress for her Gr 6 farewell assembly. She wanted to go shopping and I was dreading it.

We found a great solution though! The weather is perfect for bike riding so I suggested to her she go to the mall on her bike and peruse the selection, and if she finds something perfect we'll go check it out tonight.

Sure enough she did. So true to the promise we headed over to the mall after dinner. Went straight to the store, found the dress, she tried it on, we bought it. Then we went home.

It was perfect!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Laziness

Today I subbed in a Grade 4 class and got to teach writing - one of my favorite subjects! The plan was to talk about similes. The teacher had a plan but I decided to add a bit of my own flair to it. I figured if I could share something I'm excited about they might get more out of the lesson. I have been reading Inkheart again and so I picked it up and looked for similes in there. They weren't hard to find. Cornelia Funke really uses a lot of literacy devices to make her writing great.



....which brings me to my topic for this post: laziness.



While I was teaching the lesson we worked on all sorts of similes:



- as big as a...

- as quiet as a....

- as silly as a....

- as lazy as....



They came up with a lot of great ones...but a few surprised me. When we were doing 'as lazy as...' some of the kids said, "as lazy as my dad" or "as lazy as me" came up a few times.



I was disturbed. My first thought was that I sure hope my kids would never think to say "as lazy as my mom" or "as lazy as my dad" or even "as lazy as me". Never.

Some people think it's a bit of a joke. I don't get the humor. There's so much to do in life. There is no room for laziness.

I thought Julie Beck's talk last conference had an interesting perspective on this. She said: A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important. A good woman must constantly resist alluring and deceptive messages from many sources telling her that she is entitled to more time away from her responsibilities and that she deserves a life of greater ease and independence. But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.

I'm sure not perfect at this - but I do want to be "a good woman" as Julie Beck describes one.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

As long as I`m living, my baby you`ll be

This Saturday I get to go listen to Robert Munsch read some stories. I'm really excited abut it. I've been perusing his website and reading his books. I was surprised to learn that his book I'll Love You Forever was written after they had two stillborn children - one died one year and one the very next year. The book started out as a song:

I`ll love you for ever
I`ll like you for always
As long as I`m living
My baby you`ll be.

He also said: I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn`t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn`t sing.

I love that.
I love that he was able to have that way to express his feelings for his lost babies.
And I love that the whole world loves that book too. He has apparently sold 18 million copies of it!

The whole world relates, I think.