Friday, March 30, 2007


School is over for this term, and the Easter break is here, and I am on holiday for 2 weeks! Today was. of course, the longest day ever, but I shot out the door after school and now I can relax for a while.
The temptation is to stay home, work and get things sorted for next term, but I did that last holiday, and now I need to take time for me. So we will go to Spring Harvest tomorrow and I will walk along the beach (possibly at a 45 degree angle in a howling gale, but who is a beach) and take time to unwind, and then next week we go to Switzerland for a few days. More time to walk, this time in the mountains. Food for the soul. All the rest can wait. It is only a job, after all.
I may not be able to post for a while, but I will be back, with photos too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Here I am, just back home, with a cup of coffee (made by wonderful son) logging on to catch up with emails and blogging friends, and I find out that Morning Glory has named me as one of her "Thinking blogger" friends! Wow. This apparently means that I write in a way that causes other people to think. Well, I am not so sure about that. However, I am really honoured that she thinks so! I now get to nominate 5 blogging friends, to pass the award forward, and so without any more ado, here are my choices. What you write matters to me. I am so thankful you are out there.

It is absolutely a given that Morning Glory from Seeds from my Garden is on my list. It doesn't matter how many times you get the award. She has been a real delight to get to know. We live on different continents, but I think we would be great friends even if we lived across the street from each other. I learn from her all the time. We have so much in common, and are of a similar age, and she was the very first blogging friend I found who came from my generation. If you haven't heard about her "Woman to Woman" days, go and check her blog out straight away. Oh yes...... she certainly makes me think!

Then next is Owlhaven . Mary is younger than me, but her blog is one that raises challenging and thought provoking issues, alongside the story of her life as a Mum to many. I have learnt more about adoption from her than anyone else, and she has a wonderful talent for communicating through her writing. I love the fact that generation gaps don't exist right here in the blogging world. Mary has to be on my list... hers was the very first blog I posted a comment on, and that was the start of a great adventure for me. It took some courage, let me tell you... it was her marathon comment night.

Heidi from Butterfly Mama is a young blogging friend, whose happiness just radiates from her blog. She is expecting a baby at the moment, and I just love reading about her adventures with her young son. It makes me think back to the times when my children were little, and to the things I felt and did as a young Mum way back then. She manages to trigger such happy memories for me.

Linda, at Middle Years is a new(ish) blogging friend, and oh my word, does she make you think! Her post about never being too old was wonderful. She shares her life experiences with us so eloquently, and there is a great gentleness about her writing too, which I love. Definitely on the "thinker" list.

And then there is Boomama ....... well, what can I say about a young woman who has the power to make me cry with laughter and splutter coffee all over the place, and at the same time, demonstrate a loving and giving heart which makes good things happen for people. She is unique and amidst all the fun, she is a catalyst. She challenges us all. She makes things happen, and makes me think. So yes, Boomama gets my thinking blogger award too.

Now don't forget to pass on the awards to five blogging friends too! Let me know who they are, so I can visit too.

I have to say that I have so many wonderful blogging friends out there, and each and every one of you makes me think. You all challenge me and in different ways, inspire me. You are all special. And when I have felt most alone, I know you are out there somewhere in the big wide world, and I can reach out and be a part of it all by just typing a few words. How incredible is that.

Today, I went straight from school to a 90th birthday party. It meant driving an hour and a half to Henley-in-Arden, where our friend lives. Isobel used to live next door to us in Cape Town when I was growing up, and we have all remained friends over the years. 46 years, I think. Good grief. Her daughter and I were at school together, and she is one of those special friends. It was absolutely great to spend some time with her and her family, to help to celebrate her 90 years, and she is amazing. Just amazing. Arriving at 5.20pm for a party which had been going all day will give you an idea of her stamina! And the chocolate eclairs and dainty sandwiches were great too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Julie Andrews makes me smile

I can see this coming..... I got this as an email this morning, and had to grin. I think you will enjoy it too.

To commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, actress/vocalist, Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP. One of the musical numbers she performed was "My Favorite Things" fromthe legendary movie "Sound Of Music".

Here are the lyrics she used:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Cadillacs and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.

When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache,
When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Julie Andrews received a standing ovation from the crowd that lasted for over four minutes and repeated encores.

I wonder what I would change the lyrics to. Maybe we could all do our own versions!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sunshine, smiles and memories

  1. The sun shone today
  2. I stopped to see a friend on the way home and played with the babes a bit
  3. I smiled at my son when he came home and we had a chat that was happy
  4. I visited another friend this evening
  5. My lesson plans are ready for this week
  6. School holidays start on Friday
  7. I bought a cheesecake (on offer!)
  8. I am seeing friends tomorrow to make plans for Spring Harvest

See...... I am working on it after all.

31 years ago tomorrow, I got married. It was an unbelievably hot day, and I remember that my makeup melted twice before the ceremony, which was in the morning. The reception was in my parents' garden, and it was a stunning day. There is a photo in my woman to woman post for Tuesday 13th March. A lifetime ago. My dress was made of French lace, by the same designer who made my mother's wedding dress, and I remember how wonderful it felt to have a train. The official photos are all very stilted in a way, but my sister's friend took informal photos as a wedding gift, and there is a wonderful photo of me running along the side of the pool,with my dress billowing out behind me. I must find it to show you. It is somewhere in the black hole of the study, I think. Auntie Myra made the wedding cake, and Mum and her friends did the flowers on the tables, and with all the sunshades up, the garden was spectacular. My uncle had spent weeks getting it all perfect for the day.I was 21 and Geoff had just turned 33. It was the perfect, casual, informal reception, and in the end, Dad suggested we leave as they were running out of food and drink..... this was after morning tea, a wonderful buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and evening drinks. No-one wanted to leave. Sometimes it seems as though it was just yesterday. And sometimes a million years ago.

When Andrew and Ann got married in 2003, their wedding was just as wonderful, and the reception was also in a garden, but this one was in Switzerland. I will post about this soon. It was a magical time.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I am here, you know. I have written posts most days and then I don't post them after all. I think I am soon going to have as many drafts sitting there as I have published posts. Sigh. Why? Well that depends on the day and the mood.

I have never been as exhausted as I have been in the past 6 weeks, and as I have said before, I am still trying to find the balance in my life now that I am working full time. I am not complaining, just wondering if this is really what I am supposed to be doing, that's all. Pondering. Cogitating. Mulling things over. Ad infinitum. And because I am so tired, I fall asleep in the middle of all the mental musing, ( and that has to be because I bore myself,) and then I never get to the stage where I see things clearly enough to make decisions, so we start all over again the next time I decide to weigh options. From the beginning. See????? Boring stuff.

The excitement of the day was when I boiled some eggs, and forgot about them, and they exploded. Do you have any idea how far exploding eggs can go? My kitchen reeks of the bits I have not discovered. Not the greatest. Oh, I vacuumed the house and I did the washing......... oops just forgot to put son's school uniform in the drier. I will be back in a sec. Done. And went to church. And worked. You need to hear all this. I am superwoman after all. I even combined all the leftovers into an interesting casserole this afternoon, and put it on to cook slowly, and then forgot to eat supper. See????? Something is not working properly here, and that would be me.

One of the things I am trying to work out is why I am finding it harder by the day to smile or laugh. Those of you who know me, know that this is not me at all. The work is hard, but that is what I expected. The kids are difficult, and I expected that too (but then I underestimated JUST how difficult they would be). I prepare as much as I can, but at the end of the day, I feel like I have been run over by a steam roller. I am an optimist and an idealist by nature, and the reality I work in tests that to the limit.

But, as the head of department from another school said to me this week.... it is just a job. Don't let it ruin your health.

It has just occurred to me that I wrote the post a while back about those plus and minus signs, and I need to listen to my own advice. I need to top up the plus signs. Falling asleep all over the place is not going to do it, especially when the clocks went forward this morning, and we lost an hour of sleep today. I need to get out there and get a life of some description. At least then, when my daughter phones and asks (as she did this evening) what I have been doing, I will actually have something to say. And something of an interesting nature to blog about too. Watch this space, and feel free to remind me of this.

I need a transfusion of rocket fuel.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


If you want find out how to adjust your attitude and therefore your day, read this. (March 22nd post). I got my emailed "Catch of the Day" when I switched on the computer this morning, and how timely it was, after the miserable time I had yesterday. What a reminder. You will not be surprised to hear that today was a good day, and it had nothing to do with chocolate either.

The phone has not stopped ringing all evening, and that could have a great deal to do with yesterday's post I suppose. In fact, that has just this minute ocurred to me. I am rather slow I admit. It is late. My entire family has called. So have a couple of friends, and one popped in for tea as well. Hmmm. The power of the blog at work. Still, it was lovely to talk to everyone, whatever the reason.

There have been a number of people talking about what friendship really means, and I have every intention of posting about this soon. There is one thing that springs to mind at the moment though, and that is something I read a while back about friendship being for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

This makes sense to me. I have had friends who came into my life and then drifted out after a while, and usually, our friendship grew out of a need. Theirs, or mine, and they were the friends for a reason. Both gained while it lasted, and then the reason faded away, and so did the friendship. Sometimes, the ending was a sad surprise, but in retrospect, the reason becomes clearer.

Then there are the friends for a season. Those are the ones whose lives follow similar paths to yours for a time. Perhaps friends made with similar interests, like sports, or school gate friends, but when the commonality vanishes, so do the friendships. Great while they last, but circumstantial friends in a way. Here for a season.

And then there are the friends for a lifetime. The ones who add so much to our lives. The ones who are there through all the highs and lows. The ones perhaps with common history. The ones who see beneath the veneer. The ones you run to when the hurting is too bad. The ones you call with joyful news. The ones who are so close, they are like family. My best friend lives in New Zealand. My closest English friend, moved to Scotland. Distance is not an issue, and never has been. The "A" list of friends shrinks as you grow older. It becomes the group of people you choose to spend time with, who challenge and encourage you, and whose faith in you is unshakeable. These are the people who you do not need to pretend with. They know who you are. Lifetime friends. I like the sound of that.

So there you have it. Just something to think about for now. I have a lot more I want to say on the subject, but this is just the start. Reason, season or lifetime. Maybe a little simplistic, but true none the less. I will be back.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Off" day with a vengeance

I may have to start another anonymous blog which no-one can track back to me. I can't talk much about school here. So all I will say is that I am mentally and physically exhausted, and that I came within 2 minutes of resigning today. This is a thankless and exhausting job, and the kids are...... well, I am not going there. Is it the right place for me to be right now? I don't know any more. Maybe after a good night's sleep I will see things more clearly. Right now is not a good time. Sometimes there is nothing left to give.

Who day I might even write all about it. But then, no-one would ever believe the things I could tell you.

So I have little exciting news for any of you. I work. I come home. I cook. I work more. I go to bed. And I get up in the morning and do the same thing all over again. Sigh. This is a real whine, isn't it. But, hey, I am allowed off days. This is one, I freely admit. Put up with it.

It has been absolutely freezing here, with winds from the Arctic and sleet, hail and snow showers. It is the wind which is the worst though. Switzerland has had so much snow, and it is not finished falling yet. So what happened to spring then? Winter woolies are the order of the day once again.

Right then, enough of the moping and moaning. I am going to do what any sane and sensible woman would do and go and make some coffee and find some chocolate, and my slippers. And turn up the heating, and grab the remote control and probably fall asleep in front of the TV in a middle-aged fashion. And make a list of all the positive things I can think of. Like being able to pay the bills. And buy the coffee and chocolate. And turn up the heating. And buy a TV license. And pay for broadband. See.... it is working.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Last word on hair

We have had flurries of snow and it is FREEZING. But nothing is settling. Some spring this is!

My kids at school were universally approving of the new image...."Hey, Miss, your hair is WAY cool!" I will point out that by the time my Year 10s arrived, I had perfected the art of starting the lesson by saying..."Right, let's get the hair out of the way first then."

And that is positively my last word on the subject.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mothers Day

I have reclaimed my youngest son. I have a large cup of coffee, which appeared without any request. Now Mothers Day can really begin! I am retiring to the rocking chair for another snooze.

And that Arctic wind is blowing and all of a sudden the predicted snow looks a real possibility.

Cheerleaders and change

Gee, girls, I have CHEERING SECTION!

As my kids at school would say...."How cool is that!". I have visions of cheerleaders and pompoms. Bear in mind I have never ever seen one, so my mind has you all lined up as I know you now, in your blog photos, as cheerleaders. Thank you very much for all your kind and complimentary comments. It is so nice you all have rose tinted specs, of course, but they did make me smile. At 1.30am when I got back from London. After falling asleep on the train. And that was after I fell asleep during the show, which was fantastic, by the way. It was just me proving that I am not a party girl any longer. Or that I should go into training to recover my stay-awake-when-you-go-out-in-the-evening options. And the theatre was very hot. So I snoozed now and then.

During the course of a conversation last night, I realised just why the haircut was taking on an importance way out of proportion to reality. It is quite simple, really. Every single aspect of my life has changed over the past 8 months. The only thing that remained the same every day was the face I saw in the mirror. Now that has changed too. This is not a woe is me thing. It is another observation. And I use that word - "observation" advisedly (more about that later).

What I do from the moment I wake up has changed. Where I work. Who I work with. Who I see. Who I phone. How often I phone. How I dress. What I do when I get home. What I do over the weekends. My responsibilities. My dreams. My focus. My church. My leisure time. My hobbies. My fears. My life. It is all different now. And, as I said, so too is the face I see in the mirror in the mornings.

My friends last night thought it looked great. That I looked smart and professional and "up to date". Younger. Maybe that is true, but inside I am so much older, if you know what I mean. I am not sure if I am inside what the outside is saying.

I listen to conversations my friends are having now, and I am detached. Observing, rather than taking part. I have not been to the things they talk about or been a part of them, because my life has changed. And I have always been in the middle of things till now. This is not about an identity crisis, it is about trying to find that balance. I am very lucky, and very blessed, and not miserable and depressed but the "me" who everyone knew is gone. And I am not all that comfortable in the new me shell yet. It will come, when I find that balance.

In a way, I just don't feel that I belong anywhere yet. I am still like a marble on the board, rolling around, until I fall into a slot somewhere and stay still. The amount of work I am having to do at school is mind-boggling, and there has been no support at all, so it is consuming most of my waking moments. I can't give anything less than my best. I am a teacher, and yet I am not. I am not a support worker and yet I am. Nothing is clear. And it won't become clear unless I push the boundaries until I find out.

I am doing everything in reverse, I suppose. Everyone I know is slowing down now, and I am going at warp speed. Somethings you don't get to choose.

SO..................... the hair cut thing is more than a hair cut. Maybe it just is the final symbol I needed to confirm that my life is changing all the time, and that you can never go back. It is gone, and this is who I am now. Gulp. The biggest test will come tomorrow when I walk into my class.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New hair 2

Never say I do not post about mind-stretching, fascinating subjects.


How exciting is that. Well, I sort of curled the ends in a bit so I no longer look as though I have had a fright of epic proportions. Then, I took the new hair out for a test run. I am happy to say the babes recognised me. Their father looked and looked and I said..... I have had more cut off than I anticipated. He said "It will take some getting used to." WRONG answer. But then he is a man after all. As his wife, a sensible and kind friend (with taste) was not in, I went in search of another assessment. Louise opened the door and said...... "I like it." Her husband (after I yelled up the stairs that I needed his opinion on something) appeared and whispered to her "Is it the hair I must notice". 10 out of 10 for observation. He said it was very nice. Groan. Very nice. Hmmm. The jury is still out on this one. I did try to take a photo, but I look deformed when I take my OWN photo. My arms are not long enough and then the neck scrunches up and forget that too.

Oh well, nothing I can do about it. It can grow.

Right. It is warmer today and the sun is shining, and the snow is only expected tomorrow. The house is quiet and I should really be doing the grand clean, but I am not in the mood. I am off to London this evening, to see the Scottish Dance Theatre perform, with some friends. Liz's sister, Janet, is the director and they are absolutely amazing. I have seen them dance a few times before, so this is a real treat!

Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday here in England, and for the very first time in 30 years, I will wake to a house with not one of my children home for Mothers Day. David will be back by lunch time, I hasten to add, and no, I am not going into a decline at the thought at all, just making an observation! It will seem strange. The youth club organiser even sent a note apologising to all mothers for removing their children on Mothers Day. I will just expect my son to bring coffee on demand for the afternoon and evening. I am kind like that.

Oh all right then..... here we are. Just ignore scrunched neck and multiple chins. That hair was BELOW my shoulder blades this time yesterday. I am still in shock. And that is not a perfectly arranged hairdo. It is the windswept look after going to get food from the shops in the village.

And you can still see the lump on and above my left eyebrow from the Incident with Door Frames. That is why the eyebrow is such an interesting shape. I am setting a new fashion trend. I have STYLE!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hair gone

I had my hair cut.

You don't want to know about school and work and lesson plans and meetings and coursework and Red Nose day which means that every child assumes no rules apply and short tempers and exams looming for which I had to provide exam papers and revision plans and ........... forget it. It is Friday night and David is off at a Christian youth weekend, and I have the place to myself.

Did I mention that I had my hair cut? CUT. As in I could have stuffed a pillow with the stuff on the floor. What did you have in mind, she asked. Something different, I said, just not too short. I need to look more awake and not so tired. But I still want to be able to put it up.


I have now got it up in the world's shortest ponytail. Because I always hate what I look like when I leave the hairdresser, and will have to do it myself tomorrow and hopefully it will look more like me, and not like some stranger in the mirror, I will NOT let you see it yet.

It feels weird. I am used to it feeling heavy, and now it is not, and I am a little insecure without it there. A new image? Too late to say I don't want to change, isn't it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I have been hopping about, reading all the blogs listed on the Woman to Woman Mr Linky thingy, and what interesting women I have met! Some I know already, and some are going to become new friends. Young, and not so young. Age and the associated thoughts are still echoing in my head, and there are so many things I could say. No doubt they will spout out now and then like a geyser over the coming weeks.

One thing Linda talked about was contentment, and that struck such a chord in me. A timely reminder. Contentment. And what that simple word actually means. Maybe it is something that comes when we realise that we do not have to compete in a "race" any more. Who on earth are we racing? Why? Maybe it is not associated with age, but rather a state of being or mind. Contentment. Serenity. Grace. Do we always have to have more? Why? Do we see it as failure, if we don't have the biggest and best? Why is contentment a word we hear or use so seldom?

Contentment is not settling for something less. It is just being happy with what we have right now. Happy with the people we are with, and the lives we are living. We don't need to strive for the unattainable all the time. We certainly don't need more things. We can always do with more people, but they are not possessions. So how do you measure success? I think the ultimate success is contentment. With it comes balance. The wisdom to realise that what is right there now is just perfect. What price has to be paid for things like promotion at work if it means less time with your family? Do we need bigger and better cars / homes/ holidays, if it means working longer and harder and missing out on "smelling the roses" or enjoying time with our families?

All those great plans for slowing down one day, when the next level is achieved etc etc are useless, you know. Things happen. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. So maybe we could all do with a family audit. What do we have that is priceless right now? What matters most in the world to me? We only have today. That is the only certainty. Contentment starts when we list all the things we are thankful for. Try it, and I can guarantee you will sit there and say WOW..... just look how blessed I am.

It is one minute after midnight. It would have been Geoff's birthday today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

In this skin - Woman to Woman

Aging. Well, I can honestly say that I have never worried about turning 20, 30, 40, 50 or for that matter, 60 or 70 etc etc. I have got as far as the 50s so far, and while I have seen some people really go into a decline at the thought of getting older, the numbers have never mattered to me. Why? I have no idea. I have just got on with my life. Aging brings the wisdom (I hope!) of experience. I have added the label "aging" at the bottom, for other posts I have written about growing older, so hop on over and read the Health Warning!

My 50th was a birthday to remember.... 80 of my friends celebrated with me, and we had a "Wear the glitter, girls" evening. Nothing quiet and understated, you understand. My friends gave me a scroll saw. How perfect is that. I had wanted one for ever! We dressed up, and the men were in DJs, and the evening was just perfect. Music, food and all. I may be posting about aging for the next 2 weeks. So much to say! That is what happens .... you get verbal diorrhea as you get older.

When I was a student, my friend and I decided that we would take good care of our skin, because we didn't want to turn 40 and regret not using the moisturisers etc, and so I have always worn makeup, but not a lot. As long as I look ok when I go out, I am fine. I will never be really glamorous or gorgeous, but I am definitely ok. Ok is good enough for me. I have no idea whether it has made a difference, but at least we tried! I was just 21 when I got married, back then in the dark ages.

You know, if I want to do something, I never stop to think that "at my age" I should do x, y or z. If I want to wear jeans I do. If I want long hair, I grow it. If I want to go in a hot air balloon, I will go. I don't see age as a restriction, rather as a license to try anything.

At 52, I feel as though I am in my 30s, I suppose. I never think about the actual figures at all. I enjoy young people. No.... I just enjoy all people, whether young or old. I love kids. I like talking to people. I like meeting people. I am not sure if I have ever let "what people might think" govern my actions. If it is right and good then I do it. I will dance with the babes in the street. I will crawl into a playhouse (providing there is no camera to capture my posterior for posterity), and I will go to gym and look like the bride of Frankenstein, without worry. I remember when we joined the gym a few years back, my friends and I informed the 16 (it seemed) year old trainer that we wanted to look like Geri Halliwell in 2 weeks. He looked at us and told us he could see we would be trouble. We also suggested that anyone wearing lycra should only be allowed in at restricted times so we would not get too depressed. Youth does not intimidate me, nor do I long to recapture it.
I am lucky. I am fit and healthy, and strong, and I love being active. My bone density is very good. And I was very very lucky to breeze through the menopause with no signs at all. Not one. It can happen. Hair? Highlights are essential, but I do like the idea that grey hairs are "stress highlights". I can go with that. Aging means you will definitely be an expert on stress. It is part of life.

I think the secret to aging with grace is to have a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at yourself, a willingness to keep learning and a zest for life and all the living left to do. I have a "to do" list of things I want to do before I die. It grows by the year. Places to see, things to learn and do, stuff to make, experiences to have. I have dreams and ambitions and hopes. There is always something to be thankful for. If you take the time to learn from the young too, (like I have to every day at work and here at home with technology) you can be a part of today's world. That is why some of us are here today posting. The younger ones showed us how to do it, and look what we gained!

Don't get me wrong, things do get a little creaky now and then. Things sag and bag, and that is not exactly wonderful, although I have never thought plastic surgery a necessity. I have considered the possibility of pulling the skin on the top of my head up and tying it in a bow, to "lift" everything, but alas it is anatomically impossible.
There is the fact that you have to deal with death and empty nests, and I absolutely refuse to sit here and be a victim. I have said many times that I raised my kids to fly, and so they have. Make no mistake, I love them all to distraction, but I am not a clingy Mum, nor do I want to live through my kids. They are all part of me, and I am part of them too, but they have lives to lead and adventures to have, and memories to make of their own. So do I. My oldest son will be 30 soon. My daughter is 26 and my baby is 18 soon. How did that happen? Where did the years go? I can tell you where..... I have the photos and memories right here. It has been a crazy ride.

I am a colonial in spirit, I suppose. I am not hidebound by convention, and I see life as a wonderful gift. Who knows how long any of us have? I want to be like my Mum, who went off in leathers on the back of a trike for a ride on her 80th birthday. My Gran was skip of her bowls club at 89. Age is a state of mind. Some of my friends are my children's age. Some are a decade or so older than me. It doesn't matter at all. I certainly don't see age as a barrier to anything.
We are each unique. Our DNA, our fingerprints and possibly footprints and other prints are ours alone. Unique. Special. We, as women, are too. Shaped by the lives we have led, and experiences we have been through. As the years pass, discernment grows, and the things that really matter sharpen in our minds. They do not rely on being a reflection of the images we see in magazines, or impossible models of perfection. It becomes clear that it is the flaws that make us human and real, and that that is exactly what the essence of life is all about. this skin..... yes.
It fits just fine. It is comfortable. It is not perfect, but it will do. It has come a long way with the rest of me. It has seen places and things. It has felt the extremes of weather. It has felt the touch of babies and the people who matter to me. It has flaws. It bears the scars of 52 years of life. It has felt tears of laughter and of sadness. It has been stretched by my children, and it has an interesting story to tell. It fits.
I am comfortable in it. I belong in it. I am thankful.
Morning Glory and Lei are hosting Woman to Woman today. Go and read some of the other posts on "In this skin".

Monday, March 12, 2007

So what am I doing wrong?

Well. I tried to put this on my side bar and it took everything south. The whole side bar descended to the depths of this blog, so I am yelling HELP!!!! what have I done wrong? I want it to be in my sidebar!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I have just spent the past few hours doing lesson plans only to discover that I did the wrong classes. So have had to do a whole lot more. The plus here is that I now have all the lessons for the week sorted. The minus is that it has taken HOURS. And there is still the washing to sort and the ironing and the house still looks like a tip.............................

I need coffee. And chocolate. And a cool cloth for the head.

Spring is here

The sun is shining and the daffodils are all in bloom, and the temperature was 16 degrees C, so I think we can say Spring has arrived! In Switzerland, however, they had a foot of snow yesterday...and that is more than they have had all season. No spring there yet. We don't move to British Summer Time (BST) until the 25th March. This year they have got it right. It is usually on Mothering Sunday (next Sunday) and it has always been a pain missing one hour of sleep on the day mothers are supposed to lie in, have breakfast in bed and be spoilt rotten. Mind you, with David, my only child in residence, away for the weekend, I will be making my own coffee.

It has been a quiet weekend. I could have been at a cabaret last night but decided the head would not cope, so I was in bed early. I still have a headache, and can still see my eyebrow, which is not something I care to see on a daily basis. It seems to be at a rather strange angle over the bump, and I think I last saw something like it in Star Trek. I could be starting a new "style" of my own here. Frowning or laughing is not a good idea either. It hurts!

I did go to a silver wedding celebration this afternoon though, and that was great. Church is always good, and it is just 3 weeks until the Easter holidays! I am really looking forward to the break this year.

Now I have lesson plans to write for this week, so I must stop putting off the evil moment, and get to work. I will be back later.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Door frames are hazardous to your health

I do not recommend walking into door frames. At speed. And if I sound a little discombobulated, it is because I probably have concussion. There I was sailing through a Friday timetable with unusual ease for a change, when I attempted to talk to someone and walk through a door at the same time. I thought women were supposed to be able to multitask. I turned my head in the direction I was walking as I hit the door frame in a specatular fashion. With my head. I am going to look just stunning by tomorrow. Black and blue. Thank heavens for those instant icepack things. I must say, my difficult year 9s were gems, but then that could be because everything was a little blurry at the time, and maybe I missed the bad bits. It is something of a challenge to teach while clutching an ice pack to your head at the same time. And with the mother and father of all headaches.

Personally, I think this is all Morning glory's fault. She told us to think about aging, and I am clearly doing my best to provide a living example of an aging, short sighted, doddery old woman who doesn't look where she is going. Warning! This is what happens when you find out that you are not as young as you think you are. It is just as well I don't have any exotic plans for the weekend requiring me to look glamorous.

One of my friends helpfully suggested that I hang a sign round my neck saying that I am a teacher. Then everyone will assume that I have been banging my head against a brick wall.

It is the weekend. I am now going to go and be weak and feeble. And I will be avoiding all mirrors while I mope.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Something new!

Morning Glory and Lei are starting a new twice monthly writing forum called Woman to Woman, and the first one is next Tuesday. Go and read all about it, and join in!

I have PLENTY to say on the subject of aging. I do believe I have touched on this subject before. I am an authority on it. And just today I was telling a friend that I had spoken to my sister and warned her that I look a lot older and greyer than I did last summer, and said friend said..... well that is to be expected. WHAT?????? It must be worse than I thought. She should have said...what nonsense. I am doomed. I feel 110 and obviously look it too. I will shut up now or I will have nothing to pontificate about in a wise and experienced fashion on Tuesday. Or should that read wizened...... wrinkly.......

I am watching a programme on TV at the moment which aims to make you look 10 years younger. They ask what kind of style you have. Huh? Style? Yes. Well. Hmmm. I don't know when last I considered a style. For me. STYLE? How do I shop? I don't. What do I look for? Clothes, you imbecile....things to cover me. (Note to self. Go and find a style.) This 10 years younger thing seems to involve plastic surgery. This is too hard. I am switching channels.

I can't believe that there are only 3 weeks till the end of term, and Easter holidays. Weeks fly by, filled with the minutiae of ordinary life. Getting the cars MOTed, food shopping, David, work, preparation, meetings, laundry, cooking, house group, friends, church, and all the rest. This is my life flying by. I need to remember that sometimes.


Today the first daffodil bloomed in my garden. Spring is on the way!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thankful for a great deal, really!

For those who may not know, now and then I post 5 reasons to be thankful. Last year, when things were rather difficult, I began what is now a habit. When I wake up, the first thing I do is think of 5 reasons why I am thankful. It is amazing how it colours your day, no matter how challenging your circumstances may be. They can be profound, or very simple, but every day I have at least 5, and sometimes I post them, and sometimes I don't. So, when you see a list, that is what they are. Just so you know!

  1. Inspirational authors

  2. Housegroup

  3. Cheesecake

  4. Being ignored by inspectors

  5. Lesson plans written

Easter is coming soon, and David and I are going to Switzerland for a few days, and will bring Mum home with us. I get to go and be in the mountains. How lucky can anyone be.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Our community

I should be writing lesson plans. I am clearly not.
I should be at book club. Ditto.
Lesson plans are why I am not at bookclub. We have a sort of mini inspection tomorrow. I was beginning to hyperventilate about being inspected, and then I thought.... just tell them you are doing your best, if they ask. So I will. That is the plan at the moment. But I will do the lesson plans in a minute. I promise.

Did I mention I killed the printer at work? Spectacularly. I was sending reports to it from another room, and after 10 mins or so, there was a horrendous noise, and ye olde printer upped and expired. Sounding like a demented woodpecker with a microphone to amplify its demise. I unjammed it, and then bits sort of fell off. Lots of bits. Bits I know nothing about and have no desire to know about. Important looking bits. It is a laser printer, and all the teachers in our department use it all the time. There is now a vacant space where it used to live, and I am the recipient of many accusing glares. Especially with inspectors arriving, and the need to print dozens of pages for them. Hmmm. Me too.

Let me tell you a little bit about the community I live in.

I live in a village in middle England, of about 6 000 people, between 2 towns. It has 4 churches, 2 supermarkets, a chemist/emporium, a butcher, a baker, an electrical shop, a home and garden shop, a florist, a patchwork shop, a gallery, a post office, 3 takeaways...chinese, fish and chip and indian. Lots of hairdressers. A beautician. Some other small shops too. A junior school and a library. Doctors and dentists, playgroups and accountants. There are youth clubs, ballet classes, community based clubs, cricket and football clubs and so much more. We even have our own magazine!

I have spoken many times about my friends here. They are great. I have always been very blessed to have wonderful friends, wherever I have lived, and here is no different. Maybe I am just lucky!

Two of my friends were with me when Geoff died.
Another came out at midnight to be with my son.
We have a shared lunch once a month, and all take food and share together.
We all help decorate each other's homes.
When painting or gardening needs to be done, the word goes out, and people turn up to help.
We look after each other's children.
We organise meals when people are ill or have new babies, and we all take turns to help out.
We look after pets when our friends go away.
We take care of the mail, and watering each other's gardens.
We take each other to hospital for appointments, and stay for unpleasant tests if we need to.
We are there to man the kettle and arrange food for things like funerals.
We all volunteer in one way or another, for local groups.
We give each other lifts to places like airports and stations. Anywhere, really.
We arrange parties for each other, and do all the decorations.
We all combine to buy presents for special events like weddings and birthdays.
We take older relatives out for tea.
We have a lot of fun together, and we all know that help is just a call away when we need it.
We have parties, and quiet dinners, and chatty teas.
We have house groups and book clubs.
Everyone helped to make my son's wedding absolutely wonderful, but that is another post in the making.

But most of all, we really know each other, and try to be aware and "care-full" of each other.

This is a good place to be.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

4am is the perfect time to wake up.

I have been up since 4 this morning. Do not ask why. I have no idea, but I was so wide awake that I came downstairs and here I am, one cup of coffee and 2 hours later. Make that 2 cups. And a biscuit.

I did remember to watch the lunar eclipse last night, and the moon did indeed go red, I can report. It was such a clear night, and consquently, very cold , but at least we didn't have cloud.

David and I spent the evening with friends who live in a village in the north of the county. They had to have their boiler replaced a couple of weeks ago, and when it was taken out, a mountain of soot fell down the chimney and covered, and I mean COVERED the entire house. Every single thing in the house. Every room. Every cupboard. Everything. And even though the industrial cleaning company has been through the house once, it is still in the air, and will continue to settle for ages. Next come the painters. Horrendous mess. Not an ideal scenario to walk in on after a long day at work.

So - what have I been up to this weekend? I have played with the babes. Caught up with some friends. Had tea to celebrate a birthday. Flopped. Talked on the phone. Wandered around the blog world. Good stuff.

Now it is 6.30 am, and I do believe I will crawl back into bed and snooze. Or read a book. After 4 hours sleep, I am going to be a pleasure to be around by this evening.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Same parents - different kids!

It never ceases to amaze me when I see the differences in my own children. They have the same family, grew up in the same home, and yet are such totally different characters. And this is something to celebrate, not rue, I hasten to add. Over the years, one of the early indications of those differences that I discovered was the way they played with Lego.

Now Lego is one of the universal toys which will still be around for my great grandchildren I suspect. Such a simple concept, and so much fun for everyone. Except for the unwary mother who stands on a piece barefoot in the middle of the night. And wakes the house with her shrieks of pain as she hops.... enough of that.

Andrew and I travelled at sea for a year with Geoff when he was 2, and one of my standby toys was Lego. He would spend hours constructing complicated edifices, telling me to "overnap the blocks Mummy, be careful, or it will all fall down". He meant overlap. I remember the strict instruction from my 2 year old well. Once built, he would take it apart straight away and build another one. Bigger, more complicated every time, but structurally sound every time. All his pleasure came from the construction.

Diana also loved Lego. But she played with it very differently. She would build higgeldy piggeldy things which would be completely random, and then she would spend hours playing with her toys like ponies, carebears etc in them. These constructions were the "homes" her toys lived in. She would keep them for ages, and slap more additions on when she needed more rooms. Over"napping" was not an essential at all. It drove her brother crazy. Her pleasure came from the end result being a setting for her imagination.

Then David. Well, he used to build rambling cities and towns and they would snake through the house at times. (Hence the dancing shrieking mother bit.) He had some impressive buildings, but the focus was on the world he was creating.

Lego used in 3 different ways. So how does that show in their personalities now?

Fastforward a couple of years. Andrew was the child who seldom read fiction. He devoured facts. Guiness book of records. Books on space, on the Titanic, every subject under the sun. Fact. All logic and little imagination. He was the one who was "gifted" . He has an amazing brain, and the potential to do anything. Andrew is my perfectionist. Precision. Exact. It has to be real and proven. When he was in kindergarten, his teacher told me once that he had sat through an entire lesson when he was supposed to write an essay on "A day at the beach" and refused to write a word. She kept him in at break to find out why. He just didn't see the point. He couldn't use any imagination. So she suggested, as this was going to be a regular requirement quite obviously, that he try to take the subject and think about how he could turn it into something factual. He had the key then, and the essay started with "One day I went to the beach, and saw a starfish." He then wrote all about the lifecycle of the starfish, and ended up with " and then I went home". Sorted. He is my cautious one. The prospect of failure really bothered him. He needed guarantees in a way. Maths and Science come easily to Andrew. He is financially very astute, and doesn't take risks if he can avoid them. He has a science degree.

Diana was good at just about everything she tried. She loved talking, and her imagination spiralled all over the place. She has always been able to think outside the box. Her essays would ramble on in the most complicated way, and she could write endlessly. She didn't like reading for pleasure much though. She wanted to be doing and making, and drawing and playing etc. Climbing trees and laughing with friends. She was daring and adventurous. She loved games and creative things. Give her a box of bits and pieces, and she will create something magical. She could move in and out of her little worlds she made, worked hard at school, and loved trying new things. She set off round the world after school for her GAP year alone, and worked at 3 jobs to fund it. She is my adventurer. She has a geography degree.

David is my deep thinker. He is the one who sees worlds I can't see. He is the one who observes, and stores knowledge in his mind, and then combines all the bits to create things that amaze me. He adores fantasy. He wrote his first book (in a trilogy) when he was 14. He creates fantasy worlds with vision. He is the child who used to start a drawing on a piece of A4 paper, then stick another page on the edge and another and another, as his imagination kept expanding, and we would end up with drawings that were the length of my living room. They had to be rolled up and kept. I still have some of them. He is my laidback one. So laidback he is almost horizontal. Nothing phases him. He doesn't let much show on the outside. He is studying the sciences and maths for A levels, and yet there is this other side of him, where he has a totally untamed and unrestricted imagination. He reads endlessly, but mainly fiction. He will surprise me, I think. Watching to see where his life heads will be fascinating.

Three great kids. Same parents. Same toy. Three uses. So very different. I love each of them to bits. Together they make up my family. All of them are clever. All of them are able. Each of them has a different character, personality, strengths and weaknesses. Each of them has a loving heart. I wouldn't swap them for the world.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I like weekends

Another week has flown by, and it is absolutely pouring with rain at the moment. The noise of it pelting down onto the sky lights is deafening. But..... the weekend is here, and with it, a chance to unwind, and for that I am immensely grateful.

There is a lot going on in the blogging world at the moment, and there are so many people to visit and places to see, and that is something I want to catch up on this weekend, but I also want to catch up on my real life friends too.

I am finding the adjustment to working full time really difficult, and am struggling to find a balance. Here comes the old need vs want thing again. In a way, though, this is much harder than it seems on the surface. I need to work, but I want to remain closely involved with my friends and family. I need to put in hours of work at home to prepare, but I want to spend time talking and listening to the people I love. I need to study so much, but I want to be out in the community doing the things I have always done. I need to block in time for me, but I want to fall asleep whenever I am not rushing about. Sigh. It is just as well that I have always believed that "having it all" was an impossible dream. Something, or rather, someone, always loses out. I am like a juggler, trying to keep all the balls in the air at the same time, and someone keeps throwing in another one so the arms spin faster and faster. Now that is an amusing vision. I can just see it.

And all of a sudden, I can think of so many things I want to write about. Easter and our traditions. The difference in children in the same family. Our community. My son's wedding. But you know what? I am going to go and make more coffee ( I should change the name of this blog to the coffeepot or something) and then I am going to curl up in the rocking chair with a blanket, and some chocolate, and watch tv and let my mind slow down. Tomorrow is another day, and I might just have more energy. The juggling balls can rest for a while.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I am thankful for....

  1. The sun. It is shining and the sky is blue today
  2. A good night's sleep
  3. A good book to read
  4. Happy children
  5. Hot coffee. ( I know, this one keeps coming up. What can I say.)

Remember to smile at people you pass in the street today.