I’ve hit the wall on Competency N

With nine competencies written and seven passed, I have absolutely hit a wall. I am attempting Competency N, which is about evaluation of library programs and services. I am finding that the material I need to write about was not really addressed in depth in the courses that I enrolled in at SJSU, so I am doing a lot of research just to get an understanding of some of the competencies. Thankfully, I can make most of my assignments work for evidence to support the competencies, but I’m not sure how long this will last as I get near the end. I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts and just cannot seem to do it, so I write on this blog to keep my fingers going. If I write about something else, I stay motivated to return to my required writing. This project has got to be the most difficult thing I have ever done. My confidence levels are all over the place. One minute I am telling myself I can do this. The next minute, I am thinking I am going to fail. I am a fighter though, and I think the best way to get rid of the negative thoughts is just to get this done and keep working at it. It’s like rock climing and I keep slipping and looking for something to hang on to.

My technique so far through this eportfolio project is to decide what competency I want to work on. I have all of my assignments organized into folders, so I take a look at these as potential artifacts/evidence. Next, I start a Word document and write out the details of the competency. I put a few key terms on the paper and some thoughts and points I want to make. I research the topic a little if I need more understanding. I write as much as I can and then I walk away to digest some of the thoughts. Baking and cleaning my house help me to think. I am a multitasker and need to be doing something else that is not too complicated when I am in thinking mode.

This weekend I baked oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies and banana flax seed muffins to help me think. I’ve made the muffins before, but this was the first time I made this recipe for oatmeal cookies. They are fantastic. Plus, they are gluten/dairy/egg/soy free. There is no lack of flavor though. The recipes are from the Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook that I refer to so often on this blog. Here are a few pictures of the treats.

Cherry oatmeal cookies

Cherry oatmeal cookies

My reason for maintaining this blog is to have a place to write about some of my favorite gluten free eating and baking adventures. Today I write to procrastinate a little, too, but also to get in the writing mode, too. I am writing my Eportfolio for San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science this semester and when I complete this, and pass all the competencies, I will have earned my MLIS. Yay! I am excited and anxious at the same time. Some of the comps seem to be a bit over my head since I have focused my education on one thing, the organization of information, so I don’t necessarily have much evidence to produce on the topic of intellectual freedom. However, these competency essays seem to be very massageable, so I am forging ahead. As of this weekend, I have submitted five and passed four. I have the outline for competency H in place and plan to get this submitted in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, as I need to think about how technology tools are affecting library services, I decided it was the perfict time to bake some cookies and do some thinking. I have not eaten oats for nearly ten years, but Trader Joe’s has recently started selling gluten free oats. I picked up a bag and made a batch of oatmeal cookies from Cybele Pascal’s cookbook. I varied the recipe by adding a few chopped dried cherries to the dough. I used both a nonstick Caphalon cookie sheet and a basic aluminum cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick coating to bake the cookies. Needless to say, I was very surprised to see the difference in the cookies as they came out of the oven. I will make a note in my cookbook to use the aluminum pans only next time. My aluminum cookie sheets seem to distribute the heat evenly and the cookies came out perfect. The cookies that baked on the Caphalon nonstick pan turned out okay, but very inconsistent, and some burned around the edges, while others (on the same cookie sheet) were not cooked through. These cookies taste great and the lucky recipients of this batch will be my work buddies as we have our monthly Monday morning meeting.