My husband’s desk is always neat and clean, with maybe one or two stacks of things “to do.” You can see him in the picture, and a desk that is pretty clean. All that is on his desk is a monthly calendar, the book on Egypt’s Nefertiti he is currently reading, a book by C.S.Lewis that he keeps trying to read but is really not very interested in, but he feels he should read it because his son recommended it to him. Also, there is the TV remote, ONE pencil, another calendar, 2013, smaller, that our granddaughter gave him for the holidays, with photos of family on each month’s page, a pen set, an address book that is open to the page with the phone number of a friend he is trying to reach. My husband is 86; this friend he is trying to reach has been his friend since elementary school! Imagine! There is also a small stack of bills that he is planning to pay January 2. Oh, also a telephone and electric pencil sharpener. That’s it!
My desk, on the other hand, seems to be always out of control. I can spend a couple of hours each day organizing bits and pieces and filing them away, but still there seems to be a large pile I did not get to, still sitting there. I guess I “take on” more things to do than I can efficiently handle.
For example right now, on my desk, here are some of the items:
My camera. My camera is not in the picture I took, of course, because I was using it. But recently a friend at English Club, Junko, asked me to participate in a group song about New Years. Hmmm. I am really a pretty bad singer. But I agreed to try, and recorded myself over and over until it was at least acceptable. It turns out that I used the audioboo.fm website for my recording, and I don’t know how to change that to an .mp3 file, which is what they need. Darn. I didn’t realize. Well, she thinks Rajesh might be able to figure out a way to make it work (he did!). Since then I purchased a “Pro” copy of Quickbooks so I could use that program for this task when they ask me again. They will love my voice sooo much, they are sure to ask me again! And she also asked that I might provide a picture to go with the stanza that I recorded. I didn’t have anything I thought appropriate for the topic, so I wrote a phrase on a whiteboard in several colors of dry-erase-ink and photographed that. I don’t know if they will use that in the video they are making from the stanzas we sang (they did). I might see the end result today, and then I’ll find out. But really, except for this blog, I am finished with the camera and really should put it away. They HAVE finished the video, here is the link: http://my.englishclub.com/profile/Junko?xg_source=activity
A stapler and scotch tape dispenser. I use these often, especially the stapler.
A coffee cup with cooling coffee in it.
Headphones with mike, not in use at the moment.
More pens, pencils, and highlighters than I can actually use. Why don’t I just put most of them away? Why do I need TWO ink pens close by, or THREE pencils, one with a broken tip? Ha ha. Guess I’ll stop writing this blog for a minute to take care of that little piece of clutter. Done.
A gift card from a relative for Barnes & Noble bookstore. OK, OK, guess I could put that in my purse right now, too. Oh, probably I will use it online, so I’d better keep it on my desk so it is ready when I need it.
My computer. My computer is my “life,” nearly everything I do revolves around my computer and the internet. Currently I have an iMac all-in-one, there is no tower sitting under the desk somewhere, all the parts are inside the monitor. On the screen in this photo is English Club Sweety’s picture of her desk, which inspired me to write this blog. (This blog which is already waaaay to long, and I seem to be just getting started….).
A wireless mouse, and peeking up from behind the large stack of papers is the transmitter for the mouse. You probably can’t really see the transmitter in the picture.
Out of sight, to the left, a digital photo frame. This was a gift from a daughter, complete with photos of family loaded on it.
Behind my headphones, toward the back of my desk, you can see a green circular piece of cardboard. This is part of my world clock that helps me schedule appointments worldwide for speaking to people on Skype. Recently we had a time change, in October each year we set our clocks backward 1 hour as part of “Daylight Savings” time. Well, when we did that, it didn’t occur to me that the REST of the world didn’t also do that! And I found myself missing appointments that I had made, always 1 hour off. I finally figured out why, and made a handheld clock in two pieces, for myself. The stationary piece is an 11 x 8 ½ piece of paper taped to a firm piece of cardboard. It has a 24-hour clock in the center. Around the edges of it I have listed each country I communicate with in their own time zone, relative to London time (UTC/GMT). The movable piece (the darker green cardboard that shows up in the picture) I place over the stationary clock, and rotate it until the current time in California is showing on the movable disc, and I point that at California on the stationary cardboard. Then I can locate the country I want to talk with on the stationary cardboard, and see what time the movable disc shows. Of course, when our clocks change again in the spring, I’ll have to make a different one again! Yes, yes, I know there are websites with world clocks, and I do use those also, but sometimes having this one nearby is actually easier for me.
Underneath the world clock is a book, Arabic Reading & Writng. I bought it at Amazon.com to go along with a free, self-paced course I am taking at Wiz-IQ online, Arabic 101. I initially became interested in learning Arabic because so many of my Skype contacts, and English Club contacts, are Arabic speakers. Sometimes they would post comments to each other in that language and I became curious. It also has become a bit of a challenge, because the alphabet is so different from the one I already know! The going is slow for me, but I am enjoying it and making steady progress in learning the new alphabet. And a few phrases, too.
Next to that, across the back of my desk, is a stack of about 10 recipes I recently collected from magazines and internet that I want to try and have not yet filed. I am an undisciplined collector of things that I am interested in. I already have collected more recipes than I will ever have time to cook, but, hey, these looked sooo good! I had to keep them. I do the same thing with books. I am ALWAYS reading something, and also listening to another on audio, but still I have accumulated more books than I will live to finish. It must be a genetic fault or something.
Next to the recipes are 3 advertisements for comfortable earphones. I am often listening to someone or something with earphones, and most that I have tried actually hurt my ears, which I guess are on the small size. So I am a “sucker” for products that say they are comfortable. Most really do not turn out to be any more comfortable than the ones I already have, so I have not bought another pair yet. But I am tempted. They SAY they are sooo comfortable!
Now at the front of my desk, near the computer, is a very large stack of paper, a variety of things that I need to deal with eventually. I don’t want to file them yet because I might forget about them and they won’t get done! So here they sit, on my desktop, piling up higher and higher. Some examples of the contents: An email note to me from one of the other members of the nonprofit board where I am a volunteer. In addition to being an English tutor for them, and a board member, I am responsible for our 2 times a year newsletter, and chairperson for design changes on our website (http://www.piell.org). This email note has some suggestions for a few changes we might consider on our website. It is an old email, and I am pretty sure we have already implemented these changes, but I need to do some checking on the website to see. And I haven’t gotten around to doing that checking yet. So I keep the email handy so I won’t forget to check. Next are some notes I took when meeting with another nonprofit member who is in charge of handling SCRIP, one of our fundraising efforts. In 2013 I will be assuming the SCRIP function from her, and am in process of learning how to do it. Next in the stack are 6 months of 2012 calendar pages. From those pages I need to figure out how many hours I spent preparing lessons and actually tutoring my 3 local students, as well as the travel time involved. Also the amount of administrative time I spent for the nonprofit. We are supposed to turn in our hours every month so the people doing fundraising can quote these volunteer hours to our prospective donors, it helps in convincing them to give us funding. But obviously I’m a bit late in this task. I will finish it before the end of the year, though. Next down in the stack is a document I printed from the internet that has links to other pages about how other teachers are using Skype for teaching. I am always collecting links that will improve my online skills. Next down the stack is a notice from National Geographic magazine on how I should be able to activate their site on my digital e-reader. I have tried to make it work several times and have not been successful. I guess I need to call them to have them help me get it to work. But I keep putting it off…
Off to the left front of my desk is a binder I keep on the lessons I have worked with my 3 local students, and the hours that I have spent with them (as mentioned in the above paragraph). I WILL bring this material up to date within the next 2 days!
So, as you can see if you managed to read this far, I am a bit hopeless. I guess I will start a list of how I can correct these personal failings in 2013! I’ll add the list to the stack…