Monday, 28 April 2008

Update-Sorry, It's Been A While

I've been nuts, nuts, nuts with work. It's calming down a bit, so I'm taking a second to blog. We had our reports due, our annual review meetings, and it seemed like other things kept dumping themselves in my lap. I was up until midnight every night last week working. (Taking time out for some espresso martini therapy with Nic on Wed) All was pretty much done by Thursday for me, but my regular job still continues. And somewhere in the middle of this I renewed the previously ended friendship.....again. Think I have that in check-well...aside from one drunken indiscretion.

My Weekend:

Friday-Went out for a drink (well no 2 drinks- one at mine, one at the Lamb) with Matt and then I went on to Beca's for her b-day dinner. I had far too much bubbly on top of previous consumed beverages and thus I came home and then had my drunken indiscretion via text. I'm not certain who took it down the naughty road, but I was a more than willing participant. Bad, bad me.

Saturday- I woke up in the morning with a hellish hangover and swore blind that I would never do the naughty texting again and deleted all the evidence. As it was a beautiful day, I took a lovely walk down the river path and met up with Mark, Julia and Linds and had lunch. I took another lovely walk back to my house and then took a lllloooonnnngggg bath. Then, I went to Hart's, a pub on the Thames, and met up with Mark, Linds, Julia, Chad, John and Ces, and Kim and Andrew. Kim and Andrew bought Lila and Ruby so I got my cute kid and baby fix. After a few pints I went home and was in bed by (gasp!) 9:30. What a lovely, lazy day!

Sunday- I spent the ENTIRE day in the studio saying things like, "Listen and then click on the correct answer." I got confirmation that I am going to get paid for this. I wish this was my full time job, although my ears hurt after having the headphones on for 3 hours at a time. I can not wait to see (and hear) the final CD Rom. After recording I went home. M-, who spent his Sunday at work, came over and I made some yummy Jambalaya. We watched Midsomer Murders-it's a new season now. M- had to leave before the murderer and motive were revealed, however. I watched the end and was in bed by (gasp!) 10pm.

And then I had a vivid and heartbreaking dream, but that is a different post entirely and coming soon to a computer near you.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The 'C' Word

I just used the plural 'C' word in a scrabble game for 30 points. Then it was my turn again and I had the opportunity to use the 'C' word again, but this time for only 18 points. I personally think that the 'C' word is over rated in offensiveness and should be desensitized. When I have more time I am going to research the entomology of the 'C' word and how it became to have such a negative connotation. But, it's late and now I have to sleep.

Monday, 21 April 2008

After Much Deliberation...

......I've decided that my perfect man is some type of combination of Colin Firth, Stephen Merchant, Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg and Robert Webb.

That's not too much to ask is it?

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Foxy... the name I've given the fox who is living in the back garden. S/he is a bit scruffy and has some hairless patches on its behind and its tail. Foxy is living under a shrubbery towards the back end of the garden and s/he likes to climb up on the wall right outside of my kitchen window and sleep among the abundance of ivy covering it. Foxy and I had a bit of a stare down today before s/he slept and I'd like to think we have a bit of a mutual understanding respect for each other. Granted fox here are analogous to raccoons back in the States, but I like the fox better. Yet another reason why I'm here to stay.

I have so much work to do that I shouldn't be sitting here writing away, but I am.

I'm going to a fancy dress party at the Lamb tonight. The theme is 'Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner'. I was originally going to go as Mary Poppins, but didn't have the right accessories. Then Mark suggested that maybe he would go as 'Jack the Ripper' and I thought perhaps I could don my corset and my lace-up boots go as one of the Ripper's victims covered in blood. However, when I woke up this morning the thought of covering myself with fake blood and spending hours on a costume was beyond unappealing. I decided to go as a pregnant chav instead. I'm not sure what it says about me, but I own everything I need to become one. Too bad my hair is sorter now so I can't do what's known as 'A Croydon Facelift'.

I'll be in a studio doing voice recordings all day tomorrow. I really like how that sounds. I think I'll say it again. I'll be in a studio doing voice recordings all day tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Did you know...

that the first laundrette was called a 'washeteria'? It opened in Fort Worth, Texas on April 18 1934. So I guess tomorrow is Washeteria Day.

I like that word. I think I'll use it instead of laundrette.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Back in Saddle Baby Pt 2

On Sunday I will be going into the studio to do narration, story-telling, and other odds and ends for the foreign language teaching program I mentioned earlier. The man running it was concerned that I might not want to do it as ' is quite a lot to do and will take all day.'

I especially like the story telling bit. If I could I would quit teaching and be one of those narrators for talking books. I'd also love to do voice-overs for radio advertisements, or be a DJ. I quite fancy hosting a talk show of some type.

Yup, there's no denying it. I was born to talk. Actually my dream job would be a combination of what I mentioned there with writing. And now look, I've got leads on writing positions and this voice job in the past 2 days.

When it rains it pours. I hope it's monsoon season in this new phase of my life.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Who Says Horoscopes Don't Speak The Truth?

My friend, May, forwarded me a call for journalists from on-line fashion mag. It's not a paid position, but it could lead somewhere. Who knows? I was on it and wrote the contact this morning submitting 3 of my favourite blogs.

Then I wrote Richard because one of the links I submitted was my piece he posted on Rock'n'Roll 2.0. I wanted him to be aware of what I'd done in case someone contacted him about me. He wrote me back and sent me a link to an arts job site where they often have calls for writers.

Later the woman from the on-line mag wrote me back later in the day and showed interest in my writing. Tomorrow she is going to show me how I can register to start submitting articles and told me they would like about 1 a week.

Then I happened to look at my horoscope which said:

Are you an intellectual or a poet, dear Taurus, a novelist or a playwright? The celestial energy is leaving you alone with your anxieties and questions. You are sure of only one thing: words are friends you have decided to spend the rest of your life with. This is a kind of dream and a challenge that corresponds well to your Taurus identity. Get to work. You will find your vocation, as well as your passion, in your writing...

And, now I'm off to the Festival of Sins, and I'm writing a review of that as well.


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Who Let The Snake Out?

Every now and again I have my students do something I call 'Grammar Practice'. It's just like Daily Oral Language in the US. Essentially I make up a sentence with grammar errors, put it on my electronic whiteboard and then the students write the corrected version into their exercise books. I usually have them do 2 sentences at a time. Then we correct it together in class, and I magically pull the corrected version out from behind the incorrect one. (The magic of interactive whiteboards.) There is a twist, however. I have the sentences make up a story, which keeps them interested.

So here's the one we have going so far. For your sanity, I will put up the corrected sentences. (Note: This is American grammar. I do an English grammar one as well or point out the differences when they arise. We are, after all, an international school.)

Before Stuart threw the snowball, he checked to make certain that his mother, father and older sister were nowhere in sight.

Upon feeling the cold snowball hit the back of her head, Shelia ran to her room and began to plot her revenge.

The next day seemed to be a calm one, but this would be a day that Stuart would never forget.

Stuart, screamed, jumped and fainted when he opened his locker.

Excited to finally be free, three mice scampered out of Stuart's locker.

Stuart, who was unconscious on the floor, was not aware of the three cute, little mice scampering around him.

When Shelia saw Karl faint, she thought it was the funniest thing she had ever seen.

However, Mrs. Thomas saw the entire thing, and she noticed that Shelia's locker had an empty cage inside it.

"Woah, what's meant to be in that bright, shiny cage?" Mrs. Thomas asked Shelia.

"Oh no, where's Fredrick, my pet snake?" replied a very shocked Shelia.

"Eeeek, there's a snake!" came a shriek from the classroom.

When Mrs. Thomas saw the snake's long body slither around the corner and into the hallway, she jumped, screamed, and fainted.

Hearing the mice squeaking behind the lockers, the snake turned its attention to that area.

Mr. Smith, the principal, came around the corner and asked,"What's happened here?"

My students are loving this. Most of them thought that Shelia put the mice in Stuart's locker and were surprised at the addition of the snake. I keep pointing out that we don't know if Stuart threw the snowball at Shelia or if Shelia plotted revenge against Stuart. And, I don't know. I'm trying to think of some crazy twist to end this, but I'm stumped a bit.

Just thought I'd share. Back to work.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

April Showers

I have 'Sometimes it Snows in April' stuck in my head and for good reason. This is what I woke up to this morning. Here is the view when you look out my front window on to the street.

And, this is the view of my back garden.

It RARELY snows here in the Winter. But this, my friends, is meant to be Spring. The snowflakes are just getting bigger and it is now starting to stick to the pavement. There does not seem to be any sing of it stopping soon. I'm going to meet Ken, who is here for a 9 hour layover from Heathrow on his way from Seattle to Ethiopia. My plan was to take him into the city and show him the major sites, but I somehow doubt he'll prepared for this. Thus, I will make certain to bring a spare jumper (sweater) and hat for him.

About 8 years ago when I was visiting my grandmother in Tucson for Spring Break it snowed on Easter Sunday. It didn't last, but it was surreal to see Saguaros with their arms reaching in up to the sky, covered in snow for the short time it stuck. I wish I had some pictures of that. To wake up to this in London and in April is just about as surreal.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

My Birthday Wish List (May 10)

Yeah, so this is cheeky, but here's a list of ideas for birthday gifts ONLY if you feel compelled to buy me one. You certainly don't have to get me anything as your presence at my birthday party is really the only present I require.

• Aveda Products
I'm kinda a freak about Aveda and should probably own shares of their stock. Anything from Aveda is fabulous. I'm a big fan of Smooth Infusion shampoo and conditioner. Gift vouchers are always appreciated. Bentalls in Kingston has an Aveda Spa now (hint hint)

• Gift Voucher to any music or book shop in London.
(iTunes is ok, but I don't use an iPod any more. Instead I use my phone for a music player-it has loads of memory and does quite well. I can't play any of the tunes that I buy from iTunes on my phone, unfortunately. Plus, I like to actually own the CD's.)

• Gift Voucher to John Lewis/Waitrose (There are some kitchen items I really want.)

• Gift Voucher to Clarks Shoes (I should buy stock in that company too.)

• Gift Voucher to any clothing store in London (fashion stores or sporty stores-I'm running and biking again these days.)

• Earrings or Necklaces (Not too heavy please-my left ear is a prime example of what happens if you wear heavy dangling earrings.)

• Nice wine or champagne is always appreciated

• A New Washing Machine (yeah right-I don't expect that. I do need one though.)

What NOT to get me:

• Scarves (I have enough)
• Smelly candles (candles from Aveda are very welcome, however)

So that's about it. I feel a bit slimy posting a birthday wish list, but hell you only turn 40 once.

Ideas for 40 Fancy Dress Theme

A list to give you ideas of the various things that have to do with 40. Costumes could be fashioned around this list or your own ideas, of course.

• The 40’s
o The 1940’s
o The 1840’s
o The 2040’s
o 40AD

• Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves
• Ruby (40th anniversary)
• 40 weeks
• UB40 (band and form)
• Crush 40
• Apollo Four Forty
• 40 Year Old Virgin
• 40 First Dates
• 40 days and 40 nights (the movie or any of the religious significances using that period of time)

• Top 40
• 40 Karats
• WD 40
• The Class 40 Preservation Society
• 40 Ounce
• 1040 tax form (more significant to those of us from the US)
• ‘Forty Licks’ (Stones Album)
• 40 Hour Work Week
• 40 Winks

Friday, 4 April 2008

Evil Witch!!

I have not spent the entirety of my 2 week Spring Recess partying and lying in until 10 or 11 each day, only most of it. I have actually been working a bit as well. As I mentioned in a previous post, I cleaned out my back office and I have also been marking my students' projects. They were assigned to write either a myth, fairytale or legend. While I am entertained by some of these stories, it is a time consuming task, taking me about 10-15 minutes per paper. When you have 90+ students, that's a good deal of time.

Today while I was reading the millionth fairytale, I couldn't help but laugh at this student's description of the story's nemesis:

"Matilda was the meanest witch of all; she would just do anything to bring down your day."

Now that's an evil witch! I believe that this Matilda is responsible for bad weather, the trains or buses running late or being cancelled, losing one's keys, bitchy bosses, coffee-maker mishaps, traffic jams, road rage and just rude behaviour of people in general-anything that just brings down your day.

The next time I have a bad day I'm blaming Matilda. Those gooey brownies-that was Matilda.

Thursday, 3 April 2008


I'm frustrated.

I have this recipe for brownies. I'm quite renowned for them, so I thought I would try something new. Being a fan of cream cheese brownies I thought that if I just looked at a recipe or two and did some experimenting, I'd have a delectably delicious dessert. (I love alliteration) I found a recipe that looked like it would work in theory with a few alterations, so I gave it a go.

I made my first batch of cream cheese brownies for the chilli cook-off at Mark's house. The middle ones were really gooey, but everyone still said they loved them as they licked the goo off their fingers. I would accuse them of just being polite, but every last brownie was eaten and Gillian said she thought it was my best batch yet. Recently I tried again and got the same result. The middle ones were really gooey-too gooey in my opinion, but again people said they were quite good. And, once the squish ones were frozen they were really quite nummy. I would like to make a batch, however, that comes out of the oven and is perfect after cooling. The goo may taste good, but I want a cream cheese brownie you can hold in your hand at a picnic.

This morning the Reads texted to say they were having a bbq. I asked Kim if I could bring anything and she suggested dessert. Thus, I went for a third try.

I changed the recipe a bit more and left my brownies in the oven about 7 more minutes longer than usual. While that seemed to help, they were still gooey in the middle. I took the gooey ones and put them in the freezer. The rest are going to the Reads' bbq.

I'm obsessed. I will figure this out.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

I'm Pregnant!

April Fools!

Not very original I know.

I did think about posting, "I'm Moving Back To Seattle", but that would just be mean since I'm not. (I'd like to think people want me to come back.)

I also thought people would believe "I'm Getting Married" as much as "I've Won The Lottery"-meaning that those who know me would instantly know it wasn't true. They both are about as probable. So, I chose "I'm Pregnant" instead.

On that note, I'd rather win the lottery than get married. Then I could always buy a husband with the winnings, and make him sign a prenuptial agreement of course. I'd also keep him out of my will, so he wouldn't try to kill me. (I've been watching too many 'Poirot' and 'Midsomer Murders' lately)

Happy April Fool's Day!