Posts Tagged ‘studying

Suat Eman /

Last night I sorted out the laundry whilst watching a little TV, and left a couple of the piles on the sofa to deal with in the morning.

This morning I was trying to get some work done – prior to dealing with said laundry – and I was mildly distracted on several occasions by the sound of long, pitiful yowling.

Oldest child comes wandering in, wondering what to do about having put both pairs of school shorts in the wash and having nothing left for today, when the third bout of yowling occurs from somewhere upstairs.

‘Socks,’ I mutter, engrossed in my work.

‘Socks?’ queries oldest child?

‘Yeah, socks.  That nutty cat has stolen the socks again.  Do you want to have a look?’

Oldest one giggles and runs off, shorts temporarily forgotten.  Reports back to confirm it was indeed socks.

We have two cats.  Silk, the boy cat who doesn’t realise he’s been neutered.  And Velvet, the girl cat for whom the word ‘neurotic’ was invented.  All cats have their idiosyncrasies, and Velvet has so many she is an entertainment show in her own right.  The Sock Thief persona is one we have enjoyed since she was a kitten.

Every time I wash socks – particularly small baby socks, but any will do – she hunts them down (off the line on occasions), finds a special place for them, and yowls loudly and at length about her triumphant capture.

Today is the first time, however, that she has actively hunted down three pairs of socks in a row.

As if they were a trophy kill, she displays them in prominent positions.. as if to say, ‘You’re my top human. You let me tunnel under the duvet at night. This is my gift to you.’ She has kindly left one pair on the landing, one pair on the bed and one on the stairs.

I have to admit, I do prefer the socks to the live/freshly killed alternative.  And there is something immensely reassuring about a neurotic cat who brings you trophy socks stolen from the laundry pile.


Time out

Posted on: 30/04/2011

I have technically been on time out from my studies for the last eight months. Mainly because smallest one’s needs (mostly identified by noisy, attention-grabbing gestures of the cute but extremely distracting variety) were not going to comply happily with the needs of an all-day tutorial group.

As it happens, I’ve got a fair bit of work done anyway.  Knowing that I didn’t want to hang around forever, I did my best to get completely up-to-date, if such a thing can be said for a no-deadlines distance learning course.  Unfortunately I’ve got a lot more to do before I return to tutorials once more in a fortnight’s time.  Yes, it’s a self-imposed deadline, but my tutor may delay my teaching plans (and quite rightly so) if I don’t get it done.

Giovanni Sades /

So I’m just trying to get my head around how to get any work done around the needs of  baby and the rest of the family. Here are my thought processes…

Idea one: work like mad every nap-time.  Very tempting.   Not enough, though.

Idea two: work in the evenings after the kids go to bed.  What, and lose any time to blog?  I barely know what a TV looks like any more.  Not only that, but my brain is fried by eight o’clock at night.  Yes, it probably explains a lot about the kind of blog I have here, I know.  Even more reason, then, not to try and study at this point, not even to get you all off the hook.

Idea three: work at the weekends so that loved one can take care of the kids.  That would be fine, but for two major issues. This weekend he’s away. Next weekend we’re busy.  Oh, and a third issue: being a man, for two full days of childcare while I lock myself in the library, he would of course require an extremely large medal.  (And another one if he worked out how to use the washing machine, of course..)

Idea four: get up early.  I did this for a stint in the past when middle child was this age and I had a presentation to prepare.  It worked a treat.  Not sustainable long term, though, and really, really bad for getting to school on time – I get carried away with the work and am still typing in my pyjamas at half past eight.

Two of those ideas are manageable, though.  If I work during nap time , and I get up early for the next two weeks, I reckon I might actually get it all done.

There’s just one thing. Housework, laundry and cooking, and to an extent childcare will be as good as abandoned for the next fortnight while I am in the throes of essay-writing and presentation-preparing.  (I may be female, but I just can’t multitask when it comes to studying.)

Neglect?  I dare use the word? No, but the terms ‘fobbing off’ and ‘putting off’ may be pretty accurate by the time I’m done.

As I type I have numerous tabs open on my browser. Seriously. Counting them now I have nineteen tabs currently open.

my tabs

count 'em - nineteen.

Sometimes, particularly when I’m studying, this can happen.  I define a search parameter on Google Scholar, and reams of potentially useful articles are listed on my screen.  I feel compelled to open them before I accidentally navigate away from the search, and then, until I have the time and wherewithal to actually read said articles, they stay on my browser.

So far these articles have been sitting there for about twelve hours.  I can’t bear to shut down my computer without reading them, so I’ll put the laptop into hibernation and have them staring at me in the morning.

And now I’m trying to remember what I did before they put tabs into browsers, because I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have coped well.

Oh yes, they made you open everything in a new window and jammed up your computer’s woefully inadequate memory.

I’m not particularly looking forward to ploughing through seventeen articles in the morning, but I am glad that I have a computer that can handle them.

I’ve had a relatively productive day today.  I’ve made corrections on one of the two pieces of work I need to finish while I’m out here.  When I get home it should only require the odd tweak here and there till it’s fit to hand in.

The word ‘relatively’, though, because yesterday I finally managed to persuade the computer to connect to the wireless router.

prozac1 /

As such, I have fallen prey to the vultures of the internet.  Facebook circled round, saw me at a mental block with my work and swooped  in.  Miniclip was a partner in crime; for the best part of two hours it had me playing a particularly unimpressive game.  Even Twitter gathered round to peck at the remnants.

Somehow, when I have work to do, I always spend more time faffing about on the net than I do on the work. This is why I try to go to the library to study when I get the chance.  No connection there.  But there was a sleeping baby to consider on this occasion, so I was connected, and as ever, I became a victim of the vultures.

One day they’ll make a magic potion I can take before I sit down to work, which keeps me out of sight of those hunchbacked birds.

But, knowing me, I probably wouldn’t take it even if they did.  I seem to be a willing victim.

I’ve just come off a phone call to my tutor.  We have agreed that the essay giving me so much grief would be best left on the back burner for a while.

I like it when my tutor agrees with me.  This essay has been doing my head in.  I can’t find enough relevant information to answer the questions I want to answer.  So I’m a bit fed up with clunking my head against a brick wall.  So it’s going on the back burner, and just as well.

graur codrin /

Somehow nothing gets burned on the back one.

This back burner of mine is incredibly versatile.  In spite of being only one imaginary thing, it can happily store all my half-finished projects and plans until I feel ready to deal with them once more.  Currently I have three potential houses, one weight loss plan, about one thousand un-sorted photos, two un-organised bookshelves and an eye laser treatment on there – enough to keep me going for a while, though I bet I’ll add more before I remove anything.

And now I have an essay sitting there too.

What do you have on your back burner?

Salvatore Vuono /

So.  Here I am, trying to make essay notes.

Smallest one is sitting happily on her mat (yes, at 9 months she has conquered sitting up), with her toys around her, enjoying a bit of all-too-rare baby TV.  One thing I’ll say for cBeebies, they have the perfect mix of educational and fun.  She loves it.

I’m sitting on the sofa.  Not making essay notes.

I’m being sucked into baby TV.

Even though most of the programmes are mind-numbingly boring to an adult.  I can’t help it.  Boring TV or even more boring essay reading?  It’s the TV every time.

I could leave the room, but I know that if I do that, I’ll ignore smallest one completely.  And though she’s not yet crawling, she is still more than capable of getting herself into trouble.  Last time I tried to do that she rolled right under the dining table and banged her head on the crossbar.  And I didn’t realise for several minutes as I was ‘in the zone’ and not listening out for her.

What I should have done was take the opportunity to study when she was in childcare.  But I was in the mood to blog … and ended up blogging all morning.

Oh, procrastination, you outwit me every time.