Schedules can be changed right?

messed up scheduleI have been getting stressed about not sticking to my schedule–but have realized that life isn’t that predictable, and it really isn’t a huge deal if schedules get changed from time to time. Certainly not something to get stressed over. Go with the flow! Even if my planner looks like a bomb dropped in it. I’ve taken to writing my daily plans in one color–and then the things I actually do in another color … and then I lost one of my colored pens, and had to use yet another color. At least I obviously lead a colorful life!

Yesterday, I had 5 relatively small editing jobs, a review to write, and an article to write–all short-notice jobs from clients, which of course kind of messed up my neatly planned blog post schedule, including my daily blog update. But work is work, and I’m grateful for it. Tutoring, too.

Today was more “scheduled” — sort of. I had to drive hubby to an hour and a half appointment, and while waiting for him sat there in the waiting room with my laptop balanced on my knee, and managed to get some of my scheduled writing done. A last-minute cancellation from a tutoring student was balanced by another short-notice edit, and I even managed to get two different blog posts done (this being the third) today. And then tutoring students most of the afternoon.



Windows 10

Lots of company and a fun birthday gathering for my hubby this weekend … so not a lot of “business.”

I did, however, take a deep breath, and a prayer, and (after making sure everything was backed up), loaded Windows 10 onto my laptop (I had Windows 7 previously). Everything seemed to go fine, and other than taking a while to find where certain things are located, I’m pretty pleased with the new OS. ¬†Except that my camera won’t load pictures onto the computer now! Very frustrating! I guess I’ll have to get one of my techie family members to see what the problem is.

While I was at it, I also updated my Kobo reader/tablet which I haven’t used for a long time. I discovered there are lots of cool new things there, too ūüôā ¬†It will be handy for social media, and also for checking how my websites/blogs look on a smaller size screen. ¬†(But I don’t have a cell phone! Can you believe it? Guess I’ll have to check out my sites on someone else’s phone, since I have chosen not to have a mobile phone at this point — and yes, I did have one before).

I did get my usual Monday “admin” items done–though they took me longer than usual, as I had to spend some time figuring out the new Windows. I also had 3 students today. And oh! I got a new t-shirt! Our daughter mail-ordered her dad a shirt for his birthday–and the one that arrived was a lady’s medium in a rather feminine print rather than the men’s X-large with a First Nations print! The company is sending the right shirt, and said we can have both shirts for the price of the one. My daughter says, “Two gifts in one–score! Awesome!” ¬†I agree ūüôā


This is where I hang out!

Pen and Paper Mama Services Office

Pen and Paper Mama Services Office

This is where I hang out … Tutoring my students, editing, writing, studying and learning: my little corner of the world. ¬†Oh yes… and sketching, exercising, making music … and a perfect spot for having the grand-kidlings sleep over when I switch out the table & chairs for the air mattress!

What did I do yesterday? Journaling and Common Prayer; re-read my notes on platform-building and blogging, and plan for the future; learn more about effectively using the social media sites I’m on (Facebook, ¬†Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn); write and snail mail letters to my grand-kids; tutor 2 students; help a friend prepare her proposal for her Master’s Degree thesis; participate in a weekly Verbal to Visual seminar … and the usual everyday things like exercises, laundry, meals, mid-day naanii nap, grocery shopping. ¬†Two things I didn’t get to: my daily update (which I’m doing now!) and my Friday Freebie post on my penandpapermama site (which I’ll be doing right after this).

What does your corner of the world look like? What do you do there?

To-Do List ready to go

to do listOver the past year or two I have taken a number of online webinars, podcasts, and blog challenges, such as those offered by Charlene Kingston at her Social Media DIY Workshops, the recent 2015 October Platform Challenge offered by Robert Lee Brewer at Writers’ Digest, Darren’s Rowse’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog podcast in July 2015. I have also been taking writing, editing, and publishing workshops from our local Shatford Center¬†Okanagan School of the Arts, as well as reading many interesting books, participating in our local writers’ group, and more. Over that time, I have collected copious notes, which I recently sorted and organized in a fat binder! But while it is well-organized, it is a bit overwhelming. So what I have been doing over the past few days is reading through all my notes, and picking out things that I really want to do to improve my business, my websites and blogs, my tutoring, and my social media use. First I highlighted the notes in the binder, then I hand-wrote the key ideas from the highlights (handwriting really gets it into my brain!), and then I finally typed out my new detailed “to-do”¬†notes and organized them in a slim duo-tang folder. Whew! Now I feel like I can really “get to it.” Five hours of work today to finish it up, but well worth it!

I also took Charlene Kingston’s most recent workshop today, on using images on your websites, blogs, social media, etc. This is a topic that I have always backed away from–but today’s workshop convinced me that I really can learn to do this! Along with the inspiration I’ve gotten from Jacki Kellum’s blog design posts (see my post from yesterday), I’m ready to leap into developing some good basic design skills, too.

I posted another “reflection,” Early School Lessons, ¬†on my Haida Gwaii Building Bridges blog, drawn from an assignment I did for the course I took this spring from UBC/EdX called “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education.” I am pleased to see already that I have likes and even shares on Facebook for this post.

And a happy birthday to my husband today!


Getting inspiration for my blah site

blahEvery time I come¬†to this website, I feel BLAH!!! because it has such a blah picture at the top and such a blah design! But never fear–I am getting all kinds of great ideas from Jacki Kellum’s sites! If you have the website blahs and need inspiration, check out her hub website, Jacki Kellum Juxtapositions, where she posts all kinds of great design ideas. I’m really looking forward to trying out her instructions. She also has a number of other sites, including a poetry blog, a 12 month WordPress Pro “Steps to Set up a WordPress blog”¬†blog, and other great items. Thanks, Jacki!

Speaking of poetry, I wrote another rhyming ditty for my spelling book, this one on the topic of “Blends.” I’ve had a couple of folks check it out and it had them laughing–which is the point: I want to make spelling fun.

Wednesday is my busiest tutoring day, so a lot of my time today was doing that (followed by the usual e-reports and prep for the next lesson for each student). I just got asked to tutor “core French,” which I haven’t done for quite a while, so I’ll be busy for the next few days digging through my boxes of materials and getting prepared.




Pretty much back on schedule

letter_email_writingRainy, windy, chilly day! A perfect chance to stay inside and get things caught up ūüôā ¬†Well, I mostly stayed inside. The wind and rain drove the tarp off my garden and patio supplies, so I had to go out and rearrange it and tie it down tightly for the winter. I also was invited over to a neighbour’s house to check out all the stuff he’s been sorting and clearing. He’ll be taking most of it to Sally Ann, but offered me the chance to check through it first. I did get¬†a few treasures–and he even made me a cup of hot chocolate after I arrived wet and windblown after walking over there ūüôā

I decided after a wild weekend on Facebook, with people disagreeing with me quite “strongly” about my viewpoints on the attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, etc., and on the refugee situation, and so on (and especially my viewpoints about Christian reactions)–that I was going to lay low for a while, and keep my thoughts to myself. Then I woke up this morning, and wrote 9 pages in my journal–and posted a good chunk of it on My Church Journey blog.

I also answered quite a lot of email letters today–I really do love writing letters. ¬†When I was young, snail mail was the only kind of mail, and I was brought up in a letter-writing family. My friends and I used to have competitions to see who could write the longest “headache letters”–we’d try for at least 15 pages in length, and tape an aspirin at the top for the reader to take in self-defense before reading. ¬†I wrote to lots of Canadian and American friends, and even some in other places like Japan. Pen-pals! Do pen-pals even exist anymore? ¬†Well, I still write quite long email letters, and I’ve taken up writing weekly family letters (email) to my 5 children’s families, and I try to also send snail mail packages to all my grand-kids (yep, 9 of them) at least every week or two.

I did several “schedule catch-up” items today, including replying to letters sent to the BCHLA (BC Home Learners Association) website, my weekly book-keeping, and my weekly computer filing and backup. ¬†I also typed up some handwritten future blog posts I’ve composed in my journal over the past couple weeks. ¬†It seems I’m in a more creative mode when I hand write. Well, I am, after all, “Pen and Paper Mama!”

I enjoyed a wonderful long Skype session from my daughter and her kids and hubby in Alberta. We’re going to be trying out the new Facebook video chat next time. ¬†Lots of fun!

Just one tutoring student today. ¬†And now my daily wrap-up. ¬†Oh! And I managed to fit in my 1/2 hour daily “nannii nap” today, after missing it 4 or 5 days in a row. I really do function much better if I get that mid-day rest. ¬†(“Nannii” is the Haida word for “grandmother.”)


Best laid plans

Robert BurnsIt’s been a scrambled-up-schedule kind of weekend and day–to quote poet Robert Burns, “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men /¬†Gang aft agley…” ¬†Well okay, my scrambled days weren’t nearly as desperate as those of the poor wee mouse, but my head’s spinning some.

Saturday morning was spent catching up from Friday’s Verbal to Visual videos and seminar which I missed when I had an unexpected editing job. Saturday afternoon I went to a workshop called “Designing Your Book with MS Word.” The workshop leader had asked us all to bring our laptops, so we could learn hands-on, which would have been a great idea if we’d all had the same version of Word. As it was, our group included Word 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016. It certainly was a clear indication of how much Word has changed over the past few years. ¬†I suppose I should consider upgrading to 2016 one of these times (I have 2010 which I’ve stuck to because it is the “standard” for editing). Has anyone out there tried 2016? Maybe I’ll wait until it’s considered the new standard, and the inevitable glitches of new software have been worked out, eh?

Sunday I woke with a plugged-up ear, and feeling very dizzy as a consequence. Lovely. I had plans to go out and about, but ended up laying low all morning, which was fine as it was pouring rain. I spent some time reorganizing my binder of notes about freelance writing, building one’s platform, writing e-books, improving my blogs and websites, and similar topics. I also went through the notes, and made a to-do list of things I really want to get to.¬†In the afternoon, family dropped by, and I helped my grandson with some spelling issues he is having.

Then I got into a long, rather convoluted discussion with a whole variety of people on my personal Facebook page, about the whole issue of ¬†the situation in the Middle East, and the events of the past week in Beirut, Baghdad, Paris, et al, and the refugee situation… ¬†Well, as one of my friends put it, after I posted this morning that I have gathered enough viewpoints to ponder for some time to come, and that I will therefore no longer be part of the conversation, she noted, “This issue sure has brought out the true colours of people.” ¬†I must say I was surprised by comments from some people. But overall, while there was a wide variety of perspectives presented, most of the conversation was in a reasonably respectful tone. ¬†Still, after getting drawn into another half hour of discussion at 5:20 a.m. and messing up today’s schedule from the get-go, I had to put my foot down and withdraw.

Monday is always a busy-schedule day, and this one was no exception. Another short-notice editing job has caused me to put some of my regular Monday chores off till tomorrow. I hope there aren’t too many surprises in store again! ¬†(Actually there are already two, but one of them is a short and easy one, and the other isn’t until the late afternoon, which is okay). ¬†I had several students today, that editing job–and, oh yes, a strata council meeting which is also not part of my regular schedule.

Scheduled bedtime is a half hour ago, so I’d better stop rambling!

Tutoring a student writing a Master’s paper

tutoring and learningWhile most of my tutoring is for children and teens, I am also privileged to work with post-secondary students. Today I spent several hours providing guidance in organization and writing for a woman working on a term paper for her Master’s Degree in Mental Health. I really enjoy this kind of consultation process, as I am sure I learn as much as the “student.” I enjoy working with people of all ages, whether it is tutoring, editing, writing, or consulting–no matter what, I am always learning, and that is one of my favourite aspects of life!

I also spent quite some time studying more aspects of how to build my online platform through websites, blogging, and social media–and also offline through many other aspects of building one’s brand. ¬†Time now to put all my learning into action…


prep to update websites and social media

car repairToday started out with an appointment to get the car ready for winter weather–and apparently just in time as the first big winter storms (wind and rain anyway) are hitting the province right now. ¬†Perfect excuse to stay inside and work on updating and improving my websites and social media.

I put up a new post, “Bridge,” on my Haida Gwaii Building Bridges website (#4 in the “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education” series). ¬†I also spent some consultation time with a writing and editing client. ¬†And had family from Saskatchewan drop¬†by to visit for a couple hours ūüôā

But most of the day, I focused on researching notes I’ve taken on improving my sites and social media. ¬†Certainly this site really needs improvement–I kind of threw it together when the site I had some of the material on previously was with a server that was closing down. I originally had done all the coding, etc., myself–and was happy to be able to use WordPress instead. ¬†So hopefully in the near future, this site (and some of the others) will feature new looks, as well as having better SEO and better connections with social media as well. ¬†I’m also going to be setting up a proper email list and starting a e-newsletter (probably using MailChimp).


Remembrance-DayBecause today is Remembrance Day, I did not have any tutoring students. Besides the Remembrance service, I posted a poem I wrote some time ago, “Remembrance Images” on the new “notes” format on Facebook. ¬†It is a big improvement over the old “notes” format–much more of a “web page” look. Now to figure out how to make the picture fit properly.

Another new adventure on Facebook today was using the “Video Voice Calls” feature–pretty much like Skype; sure is faster to “chat” this way than writing messages–though I still am not psyched about how I look on video. ¬†I’ve always been camera-shy.

I worked some more on my “spelling book” which features humorous rhymes about different spelling rules and topics, and which I will be illustrating with my “Verbal to Visual” sketching skills. ¬†Today’s topic was “Sight Words.”

Speaking of Verbal to Visual, today I caught up watching some Verbal to Visual videos on the topic of “The Long Term Arc of a Visual Practitioner” (building a visual thinking practice into your life), which you can access through the Verbal to Visual Facebook page. And I also watched a new set of videos from Doug, on the topic of “Learning in Public” in which he encourages the viewers to take the step forward of getting out there and publishing what you’re doing–which is of course the purpose for me of doing this daily blog.

A while back I was reading and note taking from author William Zinsser’s best-seller, On Writing Well, but got distracted for a bit. Today, I got back to it, and will be reading more after I’m finished here. It is definitely one of the all-time best books on writing nonfiction (and also very useful for fiction writers). After I finish this book, I’m looking forward to reading his books Writing About Your Life: A Journey Into the Past and Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir.¬†And then Writing to Learn!

My other adventure of the day: on my way to the gas station, about a couple blocks short, I ran out of gas! That’s what happens when your car is 25 years old and the fuel gauge no longer works. Well, what did I expect? I haven’t put gas in since October 3rd! ¬†While it’s true we don’t use our car all that often, and that it gets pretty decent mileage for its age, letting it go for that long wasn’t very bright. ¬†Thanks to my daughter for coming to the rescue ūüôā