Thursday, May 31, 2007
It is SO exciting. I have taken to CAPS in a big way to illustrate the EXCITEMENT! I will have digital eyes once again! Tomorrow, my friends. I don't care if it is an image of the state of the kitchen floor, but you will have a photo. (That is if I manage to work out how to a) take a photo, b) get photo off camera. )
I am off to drool over the little thing!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I have discovered the difference age ( and the wisdom or experience that age brings) makes to the workplace. I see things from a diametrically opposite side to the young ones at the school where I work. Their identity is caught up in what work they do. How high up the ladder they are. They fight for their position, and defend it with everything they have in the arsenal. Whatever it takes. They ARE their work. They are defined by their position. Me??? Oh no. I am SO much more than the work I do. And this is something that comes with the wisdom of age, I think. My work is a part of me. It is not me. I don't want it to BE me. You know what I am saying? I am not saying that I am better, just different, with a different perspective on life.
I don't need to rise up the ladder. Can't be bothered with ladders, unless it is to chop trees. I have no desire to advance anywhere at the moment. If I decide on further training, it will be because it interests me, or because I want to learn something new. It will not be to acquire status. My status is just fine, thank you. Everything I hold dear is here at home. In this place, with my family and friends. I work to earn enough money to pay the bills. I do not need a fortune. I am happy as I am. My ambition is to be a better person, better mother, better friend, sister, daughter. My dream is to make a difference. I seem to be out of step with modern life. I am a dinasaur.
The young empire builders have not learned this yet. They have not been confronted with the tragedies or fragility of life. Yet. More money. Bigger houses. More power. I don't want a glittering career. If I could, I would stay home like I did for 30 years, and do what I do best. Don't get me wrong..... I have to work, and do so willingly. It is the attitude to money that saddens me. The hard truth today is that money is central, not people. The budget is important, not the kids. I would not be at all surprised if (or when) the day dawns when schools are expected to make a profit in financial terms. Don't they realise why people are more important? I am sitting here thinking that I would not swap my life for theirs for anything. I value who I am.
I want to be back in my world, where people care about each other. Where people do good things, and are kind. Where there are no ulterior motives. Where there is no back-stabbing or rumour-mongering. Where people give freely of their time and money and talents. Where help is as natural as breathing. Where people do not lie or twist innocent words. Where you are valued for who you are, not what you own or what position you hold. Naive? Maybe. Probably. But good? Oh yes. I like my world. I am not so sure about this other place I have wandered into.
People tell me that this "other" world I find myself in is the normal one. This is the way things are. It enrages me. It saddens me. It makes me wonder how we let things get to this stage. Is it just age that makes me see it is wrong? Is it my belief in God who clearly tells us that Love is the most important thing in life? Or has it always been this way?
Where is the genuine laughter and happiness? And why does my son say to me almost every day...."Smile, Mum" ???? I have a lot of thinking to do.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I had a great birthday, and our breakfast with the babes was followed by lunch with my friends. Pete and Glynis had asked my closest friends to lunch, and it was such good fun! And lovely to have time to chat to everyone and catch up. So I was thoroughly spoilt. And talking about being spoilt, my children have got together and have bought me a new camera! I haven't got it yet, but it should arrive this week. I was SO excited, as the old one is deader than dead. It is no more. It is an ex-camera. And I miss having it at hand all the time, so I was so thrilled to hear I will soon be snapping again. Rest assured, you will all be seeing the results.
I had a stream of lovely calls from friends and family too, so it was a good day. Very good.
Today I was up early and decided to get the calls to the Coroner and hospitals out of the way, and the only news I have is that the file has finally gone to the Coroner for review, and if he is satisfied that enough information is there, he will set a date. Probably not before September. But I will be so glad when I get a date sorted. This is the sort of thing it is easier to do during breaks from school. It took all morning, and my head was exploding afterwards. I need to sort lawyers for the inquest too. It is almost a year since Geoff died. Just days really.
So - I have been able to cross a couple of things off the list. The tennis is on in Paris, so that is good to watch. On TV. You do not want to hear about embroidery machines and overlockers and taking mother shopping. I have been given brussels and purple sprouting brocoli for the allotment, and will go and plant them as soon as there is a break in the rain. I am a fair weather gardener! Tomato plants are also here, but will be planted in my garden I think. You cannot see my kitchen at the moment. All my plants for the baskets, tubs and allotment are all over the place. Pending. It will get done!
I love holidays and a little more time to relax, and do the things I need to do. And, hopefully, a couple I really want to do too.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
It is raining. Torrentially. The shed roof was done at just the right time! I have just been to have breakfast with the babes. The twins and I share a birthday, and they are 4 today. I remember the day they were born so well...... I looked after Bekah for the day, and now I say we are triplets. 4+4+53=61/3=20.333 etc. So we are all 20 today. She says, grinning. At least I will always know where a party is being held on my birthday! Breakfast was a party too. Coco-pops and croissants. And lots of laughter and noise. And Mr Potatoehead and mermaids and Barbie dolls and helicopters. And coffee. Who could ask for a better start to the day?
Saturday, May 26, 2007
My shed is re-roofed. There were moments when I was not sure I would be able to get back down again. After hammering in the nails, sitting with my legs bent as though I was riding a horse, they sort of froze and locked in position, and I had visions of being perched up there forever. David managed to yank my foot back to reach the ladder, and I am just thankful that my camera has expired or you might have seen me lying draped over a shed roof clutching a hammer. Give me strength.
I am not sure my roofing skills would stand up to a hurricane type of wind, but as it is summer soon, I am assuming there will be none of that. I did have one mishap when I threw the roll of roofing felt onto the roof and half the window fell out. That was not in the plans. Never fear.... I have cunningly stuck a melamine tray in the hole until I can find out how to reglaze. I am on a rollercoaster of learning experiences it seems. I do not think I was born to do this, though. I should be sitting sipping Pimms or something. Sigh.
And I am not finished yet! I got out the hedgetrimmers Margaret lent me, plugged them in and started on the hedge. Then I got the ladder and had David hold the bottom as I got higher and higher into the trees wielding them above my head. I looked like a tree myself. I was covered with branches and leaves in a most attractive fashion. Mother, bless her, got a chair and a pair of secateurs and started cutting up the debris for the garden bin. Then the loppers and I attacked the apple tree. And anything else that caught my eye. My garden is scalped. The wheely bin is full and I have piles all over the place.
So, after a trip to the DIY shop to get more nails, (as one can never have too many I feel) and industrial strength mouse killer too, (on the premise that if I am going to empty the shed and sort things, I would like to be certain any rodents are ex-rodents first) I downed tools. I have not seen any mice, but there was one last year which I think I dispatched. But my shed could just be their holiday home for the summer, so I am leaving out a welcome pack. I am nice like that.
So, now I am going to batten down the hatches, and sprawl in front of the TV and drink coffee and relax. And do nothing. I may go and look at my new shed roof when the rain starts. And grin.
Friday, May 25, 2007
This has been a week of highs and lows. Horrible lows. We will cover the lows first and then end on a high or I could ruin your weekend. I wrote a post last night, and then did not publish it because it made me more miserable just to read it.
The school I work for is restructuring at the moment. That means no-one feels secure, and everyone is watching their backs. It means that the stress levels are higher than ever, and demands are impossible. I have been trying to clarify my position ever since I leapt into teaching, (at their request.... well, they begged) and have run into brick walls all the time. Different agendas, in-house politics, and empire buiding. You name it - it is happening there. My job? Well, I have some decisions to make. They wanted my decisions today. After giving me the option yesterday. Not possible. I need facts and figures, and time to think.
Sigh. I am going to have to start another secret blog which I can password protect for my friends away from here so I can say what I want to say. Frustration and weariness. Those mountains I talked about plodding up merrily? Hah. Don't believe a word I say. Everest is a dwarf. And I am sliding backwards down the slope with increasing pace, wearing roller skates. Staying still would be a mega achievement right now. And the exhaustion makes things worse than ever. I am in a slump. IN. A. SLUMP. I just want things to work. I want things to be calm and fine for a while. I don't want to have to make important decisions. I just want to work hard, do my job and have something of a life.
Enough of the misery.
Glynis and I went to IL DIVO on Wednesday night. It was superb. And the supporting act was a young pianist from America called William Joseph. He was wonderful too. I am getting old, you know.... the initial burts of music at a zillion decibels nearly fried my brain. But after a couple of songs, I was acclimatised. As I keep sighing when I hear them sing.... "Their mothers must be SO proud of them", to my kids' amusement.
The NEC Arena was packed, and I bonded with my neighbour. I mean bonded. She was not petite. And overflowed onto my seat, and our sides, in the heat, sort of welded together. I had given up on the glamorous bit, you understand. I actually rolled my trouser legs up to the knees to avoid passing out from heat. At my advanced age anything is allowed. But the music was beautiful, and the half hour walk back to the car park was fine as it was not raining, and the hour drive was also ok, despite the roadworks which appeared while the concert was on. This was the last Christmas present I had to open. Glynis and Pete gave me my ticket for Christmas, and I can safely say it was worth waiting for.
So now I have to start on that list of "to do" things. Like planting my bedding plants, re-roofing the shed, cutting the hedge. Quiet, relaxing things. I may even post a picture of me perched on the shed roof with a hammer between my teeth. Or maybe not. Or up the ladder wielding hedgetrimmers in a manic fashion. You just never know..........
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
David and I rolled about with laughter at Andrew's disbelief at the size of the earthworms, and bugs. As Ann said..... he is not at one with nature. But we all got digging, and as usual, David and I managed to maroon ourselves on an island in the middle of the digging area. Everything is growing beautifully, and there should be more rain, so it is looking good. I planted all the beans as well. David is amazing, and incredibly strong. He is used to the physical work now, and his brother is not. Nor has he any intention of getting used to it. Unless he visits me, that is. I require my sons to dig. That is why I had them. Of course.
Friday, May 18, 2007
So it will be busy, and I will probably not have much time to post or visit but I will catch up when they have all gone. Half term starts next Friday, and we have a week off. I can't wait.
We must get down to the allotment tomorrow and dig that next patch, and it is the FA cup final from the New Wembley, so I gather the males will be watching. Not me. I just want to sleeeeeeeeeeeep.............
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
As requested, here are some of the things I have managed to cross off my list:
Weekend in Paris
Flight in a hot air balloon (the landing was a trifle bumpy!)
Been to Wimbeldon to watch the tennis
To Windsor to see a polo match (and the Queen)
Watched my son get married to a wonderful girl
Seen my son and daughter graduate from University
Been on a gondola in Venice
Seen the tulip fields in Holland
Heard the Vienna Boys Choir in Vienna
Read all the Thomas Hardy books (not that wonderful)
Seen Cirque du Soleil
Dug up an allotment
Flown to Scotland for the day to surprise a friend
Watched a wedding in the church from the Sound of Music
Fallen in love
Taught myself to play the guitar
Sung in the Messiah (and a lot of other things)
Built a dollshouse (a small one.... the large one is waiting for oh, maybe retirement)
Learnt how to use carpentry tools
Learnt how to make myself understood in German
Started a book club
Had my hair highlighted
Walked in a bluebell wood
Been to every cathedral in the UK
Driven across Europe
Been to Covent Garden to see a ballet
Been to an opera at the Paris opera house
Planted a garden
Knitted (and worn) something
Built a study myself
Re-roofed a shed
Been on a rollercoaster (you can do a complete circuit without breathing)
Had my portrait painted. (that was not my idea)
Zoomed down an Alp on trotti bike (scooter thingy)
Redecorated my house (repeatedly)
Been to lobby MPs at Parliament
Met Wilbur Smith
Played in the Church music group
Organised a bazaar
Been to most of Western Europe
Had a manicure
As I said, some are insignificant. There are more, but at least you can see some of them. I will be sure to let you know when the defrosting of the freezer is crossed out.
Today, my son turned 30. I am the mother of a 30 year old. Me. Good grief. He is a wonderful man, and I love him to bits, and am so proud of him. (But he will always be my little baby boy.) Happy Birthday, Andrew!
This photo was taken when he was about 3. A LONG time ago! The one above was taken at his wedding 4 years ago.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
- Go to Alaska
- See the aurora borealis
- See New England in the Fall
- Paraglide off an Alp
- Run the Great North Run (a half marathon)
- Have a helicopter flying lesson
- Finish reading War and Peace (I started when I was 18. You do the maths)
- Explore New Zealand
- Learn to ski
- Grow all my own vegetables
- Sew all the quilts in my head
- Finish my scrapbooks
- Make my youngest son a celebration quilt
- Be debt free
- Be a Granny
- Live in Switzerland
- Build my own eco friendly home - I have had the plans for years
- Spend more time with my friends all over the world
- Learn how to make jam
- Learn to carve wood
- Learn how to paint properly
- Speak better German
- Read the mountain of books I have waiting to be read
- Get better at Excel
- Clean out my filing cabinet
- De-clutter my life
- See my youngest child graduate from university one day
- See my children all happy and settled with people to love them
- Entertain more often
- Survive an inquest (soon I hope)
- Campaign for causes I value dearly
- Spend more time alone
- Learn to be silent
- Go to Prague
- Ride a horse
- Watch a cricket match at Lords
- Go to a rugby international at the Millenium stadium
- Ride another roller coaster
- Spend a week in London exploring the museums and galleries
- Go to the ballet and theatre more often
- Learn to take better photos
- Write a book
- Have a fireplace in my home
- Laugh more each day
- Go to the Lion King
- And Les Miserables (again)
- Defrost my freezer (if you knew me, you would know why this is on the list)
- Fix everything that needs fixing
- Have perfect nails (I would settle for perfect nails for a week)
- Drive a tractor
That is 50. You would be bored out of your mind if I listed the entire List, so this will have to do. An eclectic mix. It is not a list about acquisition at all, but about experiencing things and learning, and then just "getting round to" as well. So many places I want to see, and learn about. But you know what? If I don't get to do any of them, (the defrosting the freezer bit is rather pressing however) that will be fine. The important part is having the dreams, and wanting to learn. The worrying part is when I stop and think of all the things I USED to know and have forgotten. Oh well.... I am just making room for new things!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Here are the rules: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to choose 7 people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged and to read your blog!
- I have an absolute compulsion to know the news. I need to know what is going on all over the world.
- I LOVE quizzes. General knowledge type of quizzes. And I need to find out all the answers too.
- I have a very long list of things I want to do before I die. It gets longer each year, but I do manage to cross bits off now and then. It ranges from pie-in-the-sky to banal. ( I have crossed off the hotair balloon ride...that was great!) Dreams are good.
- I make mixed media wallhangings of family trees. I am a textile artist at heart. Not a teacher. Now I have no time to be creative.
- If I had grown up in a different time or place, I might have been a carpenter. I love working with wood.
- I am a night owl. I love being up late, especially when everyone else is asleep. That is when I get computer time.
- I adore books. I always have a pile waiting to be read. I have way too many, and I cannot sit still in a house where I can't see any. It feels weird.
So that is my list. Now I tag Heidi , Laura , Isabelle , Momteacherfriend , Susan , Linda , and
Dawn . Of course, as you know, my memory is not what it once was, and you may very well have already done this one! So feel free to skip it if you have. It is becoming increasingly harder to find people who have not done all the great memes doing the rounds. And thanks very much for the thinking blogger award from Sandy ..... I have been meaning to say how honoured I am that you chose me, Sandy. Thanks! Not that there have been any great thought-provoking posts in recent days.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Little Madeleine McCann was snatched from her parent's holiday apartment in Portugal 10 days ago. Please pray for her safe return. She had a 4th birthday on Saturday. It is unbearably sad to think some evil people would do something like this. The more prayers, the better. And our blogging world is very good at the prayer part. Very good. So let's make it work for her too. The link is to the latest BBC story and the photo is from the BBC website as well. If I had the vaguest idea how to make a button, I would make one. Is there anyone out there who could? Then we could all have it on our blogs. Especially as this is Mother's Day around the world.
My sister phoned my mother today for Mother's Day (it is in Switzerland too, just not here) and she asked why I had not put it on my blog. I look at the readership on the map and there are people in Europe, both Western and Eastern, who do read it, and so I especially ask them to keep looking, wherever they may be.
We all have so much to be thankful for.
- Our children
- Our parents, especially our mothers
- Our families
- Our friends
And also for the ability to enjoy the ordinary everyday things in our lives. The simple things.Like these - my weekend review looks something like this:
- Go to town to pay bills
- Take Mum to Traidcraft coffee morning
- Take Mum shopping
- Work on allotment between rain showers
- Dig up half the weeds in the world
- Plant more potatoes and beans
- Lose ability to straighten up
- Lose all strength in hands due to weed removal
- Go to Eurovision party No 1
- Shriek with disbelieving laughter at results
- And songs
- But the UK did not come bottom
- 3rd from the bottom
- Church in the rain
- Marked books
- Out to coffee with friend
- Lesson planning
- Coursework planning
- Threw self on floor in despair when saw impossible new teaching scheme handed out by new dept head.
- Contemplated resignation
- Found chocolate
- Ate it
- Sundry meals cooked, washing done, beds changed etc etc
There you have it. I lead a truely exciting life. It is still raining, and the heating is still on. And I have to go to work in the morning. Sigh.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
I am now an authority on what an excess of sugar does to children at break time. Bouncing off the wall is putting it mildly. You know, I had read for years about additives and caffeine and sugar being triggers for unbelievable behaviour, but I had never ever realised just what an impact it has on some kids. Now I know. I can spot sugar overload at 40 paces. And 40 paces away is where you need to stay.
The weekend will be here tomorrow, and I have had all sorts of great intentions of posting thought-provoking stuff, and intelligent talk. Intentions are good. I am exceptionally good at having good intentions and then postponing them. All I can visualise when I close my eyes is a series of little boxes with numbers which are supposed to be significant, and which I don't understand. So I am posting drivel. Tough.
Saturday is the pinnacle of television viewing here. It is the Eurovision song contest. It is so unbelievably funny, even though it is not meant to be, and we always have Eurovision parties, (I have been invited to 2 so far!) where we choose our favourite, and cheer whenever the songs go up a semitone. And they all do. The voting is so predictable, and political, and our UK commentator, Terry Wogan has a wonderful time muttering under his breath and falling about laughing, and ....... oh well. I think you get the picture. This is not taken seriously in the UK. It is in the rest of Europe. And they hate the British at the Eurovision, and we have managed "nul point" before on a few occasions. I will let you know what happens. Such excitement!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Our life, as the children were growing up, was way out of the norm, as Geoff was at sea for 9 months of the year, and so the "family" was essentially the children and me. I swear I thought David would never learn to walk, as he was always in a car seat, pushchair, tied to my back or being carried, as we went to swimming training, judo, cricket, tennis, rugby, hockey etc. But all the children were at each other's sporting events, and school functions. I was incredibly lucky to have wonderful friends, who included us in their family events, and we all went on holiday together in groups too. My parents, and sister were also very involved in our lives, and we had many Sunday lunches together and happy times round the pools and Christmas trees. Our home was always overflowing with people.
I think you adjust to whatever happens in your life, and this was normal for us. Geoff home was unusual. We tried to do different things with the children, like family picnics when he was home, and we spent a considerable amount of time at sea with him too, sharing his life. My kids were really lucky to be able to travel so much with him. We have seen a great many oceans in our time!
Now, looking back, it seems that there was usually one of us away. Andrew went back to school in SA for 3 years, and so there were just 3 of us for a time. But, I have never thought of us as NOT having family time together. Just different kinds of time. And since 1990, my sister and I have lived in different countries. Until 1997, my parents lived in a third country. Good grief. This sounds bizarre. I am not proving to be much use in the keeping family together department.
It gets worse. My son and his wife live and work in London. My daughter lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. I am in England. My sister in Switzerland. Mum lives with me. The last time we were all together was for Geoff's funeral. But we like each other. We love each other to bits, and we talk, text, and chat via computer. This summer, my children and I will all be together in NZ to visit Diana.
So OOPS. Maybe I should have missed this one out. The only thing I can really say is that you DON'T have to be with each other often to be a family, with strength and love and fun and laughter. It works for us. It is just as well I raised my kids to be strong independent people and to fly. They have certainly done that!
They still all come home.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Heather has posted today and the news is not what anyone wanted to read. BUT miracles happen and I am a firm believer in them. This story is not over yet.
I have worked all afternoon. For school. This was not in the plans either. Plans do not suit me. I should just expect the unexpected. I had visitors today, and while I was showing them around the garden, I realised just how much work I need to do in it, and I have not started the pots or baskets yet. Or washed the furniture, or power washed the patio. The weeds have gone crazy. Then our tour happened to go through my sewing room. Cringe. Followed by a mountaineering expedition over the newly washed but unfolded and sorted washing in a heap. I was mortified. These visitors were not expected, but very welcome. What was that I once said?? (Or twice or three times) ....... People are more important than things. Yes. Right. They are indeed. But dealing with this runaway monster cannot be avoided any longer. I am going to have to sort this house. Probably between 3 and 4 in the morning.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Yesterday was a day of meandering about.... to friends for tea, shopping, freinds here for tea, lying on the bed reading. (The friends were not joining in with that one!) Church this morning, and I will not be looking at work till tomorrow.
My birthday is looming on the horizon, and this afternoon, Pete and Glynis told me they are having a buffet lunch to celebrate. How lovely is that! Glynis and I are off to see Il Divo the week before, which will be wonderful. I have no problem with my age. It still amazes me when I see the numbers, but I see every year as an opportunity to have more advebtures and discover more about myself. The fact that I have a son who will be 30 next week is more disturbing. How on earth did that happen? He was a gorgeous baby just a short while ago. Now he is a gorgeous married man.
The blogging world fell silent for a while this past week, as we all waited and prayed for Heather to have her brain op. I, for one, just did not feel that anything I might have said had any importance. Her short post yesterday was just stunning. " I am still standing". How amazing is that.
Things are changing at work, and I am not sure if I am comfortable with some of the things that are happening. I was just beginning to feel more confident about what I am doing, and now all that is out the window and I have to start again in another direction. Maybe. Maybe I need to move on. I don't know. Lots to consider. I keep reminding myself that "it is just a job" and not my entire life. I need to remember not to let it take over everything. People are more important. And I need a life too. My son needs a mother. My mother needs a daughter. My friends need a friend. My sister needs a sister. I need to be me. Sigh. I am rambling again. It must be an excess of carbohydrates. And sugar.
Tomorrow is a holiday! I get to go and water the allotment. I get to stay in bed late. I can read. I can play. (I feel like Boomama's Alex, and feel I should be speaking in CAPS with exclamation marks all over the place!) I am going to have FUN!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
So how does a complete stranger come to be so important to me? This , my friends, is the power and blessing of the blogging world. I read the comments on her blog, and I know I am one of countlss numbers of people who have marked today by holding Heather and her family up. Together we can storm the gates of heaven, for the best of reasons.
All the minutiae pale into insignificance, and at times today, I noticed that things that would normally irritate me intensely did not matter. I didn't snarl at the kids I teach (in the face of considerable provocation)... I was calm. I worked, planned coursework, voted, went to a birthday tea, did the weekly shop, and I was, and am, grateful that I could do them all.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
The weather has been great, and I have done all my work experience visits. Our Year 10s are out getting some working experience at the moment. They have 2 weeks off, and the ones I have visited are happy and enjoying it, but tell me some are not! That I can believe. Every child is visited and assessed by a member of staff in the second week, so it has been a case of revolving doors at school as we all fly off when we have a free lesson. (I teach age range 11-16 at the moment.)
This weekend is a long weekend for May Day, so I am really looking forward to more time to relax. Why is our life conducted at warp speed??? I have been reading one of John Ortberg's books, and he talks a great deal about hurry and busy-ness, and how detrimental they are. I understand completely. One of his suggestions is to (get this!) choose the LONGEST queue at the supermarket. And practice patience. Hmmmm. I get his point though! I need to find more time for solitude and peace. Alone-ness, as opposed to loneliness is something I really need.