Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sunday Hodge-Podge

Next week is teacher appreciation week, and after grumbling to myself about how the best way to appreciate teachers is to pay them fairly, I signed up to buy a gift card to a movie theater for the gift the class parents are assembling for one of my kid's teachers. 

No problem, I thought. I'll get a gift card at the grocery store. Then the grocery store only had $25 and $50 gift cards, and I thought that was too much. Then I came home and said that to Mr. Snarky, who pointed out that $25 was two movie tickets.

So I went online and bought a $25 e-gift card. 

Really, I'd rather we just raised my taxes a bit and paid teachers well enough that we didn't need to do appreciation weeks. I clearly can't handle teacher appreciation week.


When I decided to plant some edible plants in big pots on my patio, I specifically chose herbs and salad greens, because those are easy. I specifically avoided tomatoes, because growing tomatoes intimidates me.

The tomato gods had other ideas. I have five volunteer tomato plants growing in one of my pots. I assume that they grew from seeds in the compost dirt I used for planting. 

Five is too many for one pot, so I bought a new pot with the plan of moving a couple over to it.

The new pot sat on my patio for several weeks. 

Finally, this evening, I went out to move the tomato plants, rip up the arugala that had bolted and plant more, and plant some more lettuce and watercress.

I managed to move one of the tomato plants. The others were too interwoven with the other plants in that pot, and I couldn't see how to move them. So I staked them and left them where they are. There are about five tomatoes growing on them. We'll see what happens.

Really, I just wanted salad greens. 


Thank you to all the people who have emailed to volunteer to be a beta reader. I'll email with details on Wednesday, if not before.

Anytime I ask for help on this blog, I get what I need. You guys are amazing. Thank you.


Last week, I saw a good deal on an advertising opportunity for one of the books I've published, so I placed an ad. The response was... underwhelming. Oh well.

Also last week, I had two sales of the recording of Take Control of Your Time. I had not advertised it, or even mentioned it on Twitter recently.

So now I'm wondering if I should try advertising that seminar. I am sort of reticent to do so, because of all the classes and seminars I offer, it is the one I feel least confident about. What gives me the right to say I can teach you how to make better use of your time? For the other classes and seminars, I have relevant professional experience. For this one, I have... well, I'm generally considered to be able to get a lot done while also enjoying a good amount of down time.

And yet, it is the seminar I've given live to two groups, and it is the recording that is selling. I get good feedback on it, too.

I know that there is good content in that seminar, and that my approach is a bit different from the usual "gurus" who are out there marketing online time managment courses. For instance, I use a lot of things I learned from project management in my personal time management, and I include that in the course.

I suspect I need to get over myself and just market it. Really, I do. In general, if I don't want to end up looking for a full time job when my current large contract ends, I need to get over myself and learn how to market my services. I know this. I keep trying to give myself a kick in the pants/pep talk and just do it.

Maybe I need to have a beer or two and just go place some Facebook ads and see what happens.


I am trying to stick to a more regular schedule with Tungsten Hippo blog posts. I missed last week, but I posted this week about short ebooks as samples for larger series. Check it out.

Also, did I mention that you now get a free classic short story formatted as an ebook when you sign up for the Tungsten Hippo mailing list? You do, and my plan is to change the short story twice a year, always sending the new one to the people already on the mailing list, too.


Do you remember the snail that got caught in the filter intake in our aquarium? It looked like it was going to make it. It spent about a week expelling grey stuff, and then it started scooting around the aquarium again. But it didn't seem to be eating, and then it stopped moving again. Then one night, I saw the other snail poking at it. It looked like the other snail was eating it.

So we declared it dead. I agonized over this. I scooped the snail out and put it in a little plastic bag, and took it over to the light to try to see signs of life.

Mr. Snarky watched this for awhile, then took the bag away from me, said "if you say the snail is dead, it is dead" and disposed of the snail.

We're going to get another snail. We were supposed to go to get it today, but we spent a lot of time at the park instead. Petunia has learned how to ride her bike without training wheels and she wanted to show me (and practice some more).


So, that's what's up here. What's up with you?


  1. THIS year for teacher appreciation they asked us to send in a flower (Monday) and a note from our kid (Tuesday). How refreshingly nice! (I approve.)

  2. I have a huge complaint about teacher appreciation week coming up *especially* the single cut flower which is a terrible idea in a place where more half the kids live in apartments.

  3. You should market the course. Clearly people are finding it helpful, so whatever your level of confidence, you can focus on the fact that people have an issue and you are offering useful solutions.

    Also, I speak from personal experience here that one needs absolutely no qualifications whatsoever in order to claim to be a time management expert :)

  4. This year for teacher appreciation they asked us to bring in a flower and some fruit, among other things. My problem is that they asked us today, and the gifts are supposed to start tomorrow. Seriously?

  5. So is this single cut flower thing a pinterest thing or is there some kind of newsletter that whoever organizes these things get?

  6. Our daycare only gave us about a week of notice and I was annoyed by the short notice but it looks like it could be a lot work. Since it's the first year and we could make the time, it was fun for both PiC and I to bring coffee and spend an hour or two "volunteering" in the classroom. I'll be much less amused in upcoming years, I expect.

  7. I don't know where the single cut flower thing came from, but we have that on our list, too. We could also have made a flower.

    I think the history of how teacher appreciation week came to be such a big deal would be fascinating. I don't think it even existed when I was a kid. It seems like there are a lot of things like this around schools that have really ratcheted up.

  8. Anonymous11:44 AM

    The teachers in our school politely suggested they would rather be appreciated with notes from the children, something I wholeheartedly support, even with the extra work it gives the parents with almost all the children in the school under 6 yo. The parent organization thought this was a wonderful idea and this year we have been asked to do that IN ADDITION to flowers, a breakfast treat, and a donation to charity so that we now have a full week of extra work. Sigh.

    1. Our schedule was flowers on Tuesday, fruit on Thursday, and a note on Friday. Plus the PTA is bringing in food on the other days. I love our teachers, but it seems we've ramped this up to something a bit extreme.

  9. Incidentally, the room mother organizing the event brought flowers for all the children who didn't bring flowers to pretend they brought flowers. So, good? (Though DC1 says they were mostly poor quality flowers whose heads popped off prior to being re-collected into a vase.)

    And it's testing week. And they're learning about puberty. And Friday is their big school event. (And I have a paper due tomorrow and DH is out of town all week.)

  10. EarthSciProf6:32 PM

    Definitely advertise!

    I was one of the purchasers =). Had been meaning to do it for months and sitting down to watch it was my way to relax while feeling 'productive' over the weekend. I am going to recommend it to my brother.

    1. Awesome! If you're willing to give me a testimonial quote for my promotional purposes, send me an email (it can be as simple as "This was really useful" or something like that).

  11. re: mother's day tea (in twitter)-- was pleasantly surprised this year that DC2's current daycare has it at 4:30-5:30. It's more work for the teachers to have it so late, but this is the first one I actually attended, since neither 10:30 nor 1:30 have worked well with my work schedule. I mentioned that to the director and she said moms actually show up at the 4:30 version so they decided to keep it at that time.


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