Monday, 26 May 2008

I Live Above Oscar the Grouch

For the last 4 months whenever I look down from my window on the patio below this is what I see...

My upstairs neighbours, Dawn and James, have this lovely vista as well. The woman who lives below me on my kitchen side of my flat as redone hers and this is where she has chosen to put her waste, right where we can all see it. Now that the weather is nicer, the shared back garden will be in use by us. We will get to see this mess as we entertain, sun ourselves or bbq. Plus, some of this crap is blocking the way to get to the back garden a bit.

Mark, who manages our building tried to get a hold of our messy neighbour, but she had a different phone and email from when she first bought the place. Finally, he put a note through her mail slot informing her that she had 2 weeks to get rid of this monstrosity or he would have it removed and bill her. Later that evening I heard her door slam and I thought, 'Yup she got the note.'

Apparently, she rang Mark that night quite inebriated and was very rude to him. So not only is she a pig, she's also a grouch. Thus, from here on out I'm calling her Oscar.

I'm really hoping to come back from our Isle of Wight trip to find this crap gone and until then I have no guilt feelings about running my brand new birthday washing machine late at night as I am now. My washing machine is located directly above her bedroom.

Another Creepy Dream

When will it end...

In this dream I was held to the side with my hands tied behind me while a pair of infant twins were being tortured. One twin baby was made to watch over a partition while his brother was killed in a gruesome way. The screaming from both babies was blood curdling and still rings in my ears while I write this. Then, when it was all done they released the alive baby and who then transformed into a 4 or 5 year-old and came to me. My wrists were somehow released. I reached down to comfort him and whispered, 'I'm not like them. You can trust me. I'll protect you. We'll get out this somehow.' Then, I woke up.

Oh for f@*k's sake. I'm sick of these dreams.

I'm off to work to make certain all my i's are dotted and t's crossed before we leave for the Isle of Wight tomorrow. Certainly it's not the stress of planning this week long trip that's causing these dreams. This is my fourth time going on the trip and my 3rd time as the organiser.

I'm almost afraid to sleep tonight.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Mt. Rainer Erupts.....In My Dream

On Saturday I woke up with my heart pounding and breath short. Oh my God, I was having a panic attack. I went into the bathroom and calmed myself down. Damn work-at least that was what was forefront on my mind as I calmed down. I'm certain there are other issues outside of work which contributed to my anxiety. This last week hasn't been the easiest in many ways. I tried to clear my mind and relax and eventually I fell back asleep.

Then, I dreamt that Mt. Rainer erupted. In my dream I was at work and had a funny, horrible feeling that something was terribly wrong in Seattle. Not wrong in the way things went wrong with my friends this past summer and fall, but wrong with the entire city. Dangerously wrong.

I got the next transatlantic, transcontinental train to Seattle and was there in no time (You gotta love dream transport). When I arrived it was dark, there were no lights anywhere, and the area was deserted. Looking down at distance I saw that everything was covered in what looked like snow, but it was May and quite mild. I touched the snow and discovered it was ash. The sky was dark with clouds, but they weren't regular storm clouds. I looked towards Mt. Rainer, which was closer than it should have been. Half of it had slid down the side and it was obviously the source the ominous clouds in the sky as smoke was billowing from the top.

I went to McP's house. However, his house wasn't a house but a large penthouse apartment that overlooked the city and McP didn't look at all like McP. He looked like the actor who plays The Todd from Scrubs. Also, he seemed remarkably unfazed by the fact that the city was completely lifeless. He gave me a hug and gave me my mail, but instead of filling me in on details about the eruption, he started having a go at me about my choice to spend the rest of my life in England. It was annoying, but I didn't argue back and simply waited patiently until he had finished his rant. I asked after the whereabouts of our mutual friends. He wasn't certain and that's when he began to get concerned. Then Shaun showed up. He knew where some people were, but others were unaccounted for. I said that I had a dream this was going to happen, and we needed to find people as quickly as possible. We made a plan and were about to set off to search when Shaun suddenly stopped and said, "But isn't all of this going to mess up the plans for your wedding? Don't you need to get back?"

My wedding?? I had completely forgotten about that. I was meant to get married but I didn't even have a prospective groom. Now what would I do? And what about the Isle of Wight trip I also had to arrange? I woke up.

I pondered whether I should write my Seattle friends and warn them about Mt. Rainer. I decided against that. It was just a dream after all, and some of those very same people read this blog. There's not much you can do to be prepared for something like that anyway.

Ironically, my friend Laura sent out an email about what to do if there's a earthquake. She used to live in Seattle, but is now in New Zealand. A very odd coincidence.

I think the best part of this dream is that I forgot about 'having to get married'. I am definitely visiting the dream analysis site.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Who Gave Me the Box of Green and Black Chocolates?

The cards got separated from my gifts and I have no idea who those were from. I remember receiving them and talking to the person who gave them to me about maybe putting them out for all the eat, but she said no. I'm fairly certain it was a she. I was well on my way to inebriated at my b-day party at that point and some things are just plain fuzzy. That box of chocolates is gone. I still have the belgium chocolates in my fridge, but they are not longed for this world.

Oh and, how long does one have to write thank you notes? Because, frankly, I suck at writing them...or at least this week I do-last week too for that matter. Please tell me I have a month. I'll confess that I've written only one. That's right, one. I've not even sent it yet. I blame my job. I come home at night and perhaps blog to relieve the stress I'm feeling, but when I pull out the cards and the pen I become exhausted. I just want to sit and stare.

That's what I want to do now.....sit and stare.

Speaking of my job. I had a sit down with the person I mentioned yesterday and a mutual colleague. Our meeting was far better than I expected, and I have now been stripped of my evil offensive super powers as communication barriers were destroyed by the power of the mediating colleague. Thank God for her.

I saw our school musical, 'The Three Musketeers'. Many of my past and present students were in it. It was funny, cute and quite appropriate for the middle school age.

And now I just have no energy. I'm going to go to bed. Those thank you's will have to be sent from the Isle of Wight.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

The Offender

That is my new superhero name, not because I smell but because I apparently offend someone frequently with the things I say or do.

If you know me at this point you are probably thinking, 'Huh!!???' Or at least that is what I hope you are thinking. I really hope you are not thinking, 'Yup, that's H. She says nasty things to hurt people all the time.'

So, I'm not going to go into it. It's a work issue and I've been reassured that no, it's no me and that this person has consistently taken things the wrong way etc. and not only with me. Still, I can't help but feel awful about this. I've never had an issue like this in my entire professional life- and that's a pretty long time.

This day was fantastic (NOT)! I had no lunch and no prep due to the things I had to plan. And then after school this person chose to confront me with the molehills blown into mountains in their mind.

Then I fell off my bike on the way home scraped my arm and bruised my knee. So much for the power of 'The Offender'.

As usual my friends were there when I really needed them. Mark and Chad came and moved my broken washing machine to the curb for pick up. Ces and Gillian joined us and all four of them went to the pub and drank with me, and Mark continued on to eat bad fry-up food with me. Apparently, I don't offend them- or I don't offend them too much.

And so now I'm off to bed and am dreading work tomorrow with my big offensive superpowers.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Tuesday Temptation

I'm a weak weak woman when it comes to....

Chocolate and Champagne.

(Ok I'm weak when it comes to sex as well-to a degree, but that's not what this blog is about.)

In my fridge is a box of belgium chocolates, given to me by Patricia, and small single bottle of champagne, given to me by Julia. I have raspberries and Absolute Raspberry Vodka, so I'm seriously considering making a raspberry champagne cocktail and polishing off the belgium chocolates whilst soaking in a hot bath.

Did I mention that I'm a weak woman when it comes to long hot soaks as well?

What is my justification for this seeming lavish excess you may ask? Oh I have a few good reasons.

1. I am in the midst of a helluva stressful week preparing of the Isle of Wight trip, organising Grade 4 orientation, organising Portfolio Sharing/Student Led Conference Day and End of the Year Awards in addition to my regular job, which is stressful enough.

2. I am not too fond of Tuesday evenings. I know, I know it's been years. But it's been weird years of off and on and off and blah blah blah. Somehow, Tuesday evenings still make me a bit ....uh...melancholy. I think taking a bath with a champagne cocktail and a box of fine chocolates will relieve all that.

3. This is perhaps the best reason of all. If I finish off this bottle of champagne and box of chocolates they won't be there to tempt me anymore.

Ok so...I think I will have the champagne cocktail and the bath, but I have to tidy my flat and write some thank you's first. I will allow myself 1 more belgium chocolate (I've already had 2) but that is all. This way I'll feel even more right with this decision.

I need to watch the season finale of CSI first, which I will do whilst I tidy and write thank you's.

Oh and this is apparently my 100th blog on Blogspot, so that is yet another reason for a champagne cocktail.

Now aren't you glad you bothered to read this? Don't you feel enlightened?

Monday, 19 May 2008

Oh and...

...I can now be open about this. I'm not going to be Team Leader (otherwise known in schools over here as 'Head of Year') next year. I chose to hand my Team Leader position over to someone else, as I was offered the position of Head of the English Department. I was going to attempt to be both positions in addition to my regular teaching job, but that would mean I would have basically no personal life next school year. Fortunately, my principal knew of a colleague whom we both believe would do a brilliant job at Team Leader, so I agreed to let the 2nd year of my 2nd term as team leader go to her. (These positions last for 2 years and this past year has been my 3rd as Team Leader, the 1st year of my 2nd term)

I've been busy as hell at work. It's the week before the Isle of Wight trip, 4th grade orientation is this Friday, and I had a curriculum work/retreat day (my first duty as next year's Head of English) today.

This weekend was a pretty good one. Matt took me out for a lovely fancy dinner at The French Table on Friday for my belated-birthday present. I had a rather low-key girl's night out with Linds, Kellie, and Julia on Saturday (dampened a bit by my side pain, unfortunately, but a cute guy blew me a kiss as we were leaving the pub-figures that it would happen as we left). I rode my bike into work to get things done I couldn't do at home on Sunday, and then I had a lovely evening watching cheesy telly (Britain's Got Talent) and drinking a bottle of sparkling wine with Beka.

Ahhh yes, my first full week and weekend in my forties has been quite full. I still have thank-you's to write from the weekend before.

Pain in the...

Ok confession time (kinda). I've told a few people about this, but until now I've more or less kept it to myself.

I've had this nagging pain in my right side, where my appendix once was, for the last 3 years. It comes and it goes, but lately it's fairly been constant for about the last month. My fear was that I had cystic fibrosis. I know 4 women now who have had to have operations, some pretty serious, due to cystic fibrosis. My last friend who had this had symptoms pretty similar to my side ache. So I went to the doctor and was sent for some tests last Monday. I had an ultrasound and several blood tests. The ultrasound showed nothing abnormal. I was relieved, but at the same time I was annoyed that there was no reason they could see why I would have this pain. I've not heard anything back about the blood tests, yet.

So, I've decided that I would keep a daily journal of what I eat and my exercise habits. The most motivating way for me to track this was by blogging. However, I don't want this blog to turn into a food and exercise journal or some constant winge about my side. I want this to remain the random thoughts-n-things that pop into my head. If you, however, are curious to the progress of this pain-in-my-side you may check out my other blog appropriately entitled What a Pain! Enjoy!

Thursday, 15 May 2008

What I Wish I Had Said

My birthday was beyond amazing. Many of my close friends showed up to the party, which was absolutely fantastic. We had a brilliant time.

Mark called on me to make a speech, but I faltered and froze up. Then I was presented with a present and was told to open it before the card. It was a box of laundry detergent. I was thrilled to bits because I knew what was coming next. Sure enough, there was a certificate with the names of several of my friends who had all chipped in to buy me the washing machine I so desperately needed. (It was not supplied with the flat and the cheap, used one I bought broke.) This was on top of the many other gifts I was receiving. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed.

Then and there I should have said this:

I am so blessed with the luck I have had when it comes to the people I have met since I moved here. It is can be so difficult at times, living so far away from my country of origin and away from my family and friends who have known me almost a lifetime. However, here in England I have met some of the most kind, warm-hearted, generous and patient people. You are my family here and you have always been there for me when I'm at my lowest and my highest. You have been my rock these past four years. I must be the luckiest woman alive to have you in my life. Thank you ever so much for being my friends.

And then, there are my friends back in the US who (like Steve who was actually there that night) remain my constant long distant companions. I am also incredibly lucky to continue to have them in my life.

I have DAMN good taste in friends. Thank you, yet again!

Saturday, 10 May 2008


my life begins today. This should be interesting. :-)

Friday, 9 May 2008


I'm really drunk.
Steve's really kinnd.
I'm going to bed.
But, not with Steve.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

I'm Feeling Loved

I came into work this morning to find the opening of my mail tray covered with four paper plates that said, 'FORTY' in huge block colourful letters and then underneath the FORTY it said 'Years of Magnificence' in smaller letters. I laughed and said thank you. I then went upstairs to my classroom and in the corridor on the wall next to my door was an arrow made entirely out of staff photos of me (it came from the school photos and they were ones that I despise) pointing to my door. My door was covered with those same paper plates and more of those same pictures. One of the characters on the study skills poster on my bulletin board had his face covered with mine. Then, I received a call from one of my colleagues who said that I needed to come to the staff room and cut my cake.

I went down and there were 3 cakes, doughnuts, scones, and cookies. There was also a bottle of lovely red wine and a card signed by all the staff. I cut my cake, said thank you, and after chatting a bit went back upstairs with a piece from each cake on a plate. It was almost time to start the school day. The moment I walked into the corridor, I was confronted with the entire grade 5 student body. They were on each side of the hallway creating a path for me that lead to my classroom door. As I walked through them, they all began to applaud and cheer. I almost cried.

The woman who runs a native Norwegian class in my room at lunch hour gave me a bottle of white wine and the parents from my home room sent me a lovely bouquet of flowers. I've also received 2 individual presents from colleagues, which I will open on Saturday-my real birthday. One of them is Aveda products. I can tell by the lovely smell.

I'm quite overwhelmed by all of this and certainly wasn't expecting it.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Another Reason Why I Love the Onion

Many of my friends from the US are now receiving their economic stimulus cheques. I don't get one, apparently, because I'm an expat and any money they would send me I'd spend over here, not there. Plus, I didn't pay into the US government so why should they give me money.

I loved this article in the Onion today about stimulus cheques. Made me laugh. Thought I'd share.

Aww Bless

Again days past without me doing this blogging thing. Busy, bank holiday weekend, you know the drill.

I did nothing on this bank holiday weekend-meaning that I didn't travel anywhere. I cleaned my house, scoured what needed scouring in preparation for Steve's arrival on Tuesday. I did go to an impromptu bbq at Chad and Gillian's and took some damn fun pics, which I will post on Facebook when I get a sec. (I still have pics from the Lamb 'Maybe its's Cus I'm a Londoner' party and some of the gang at Hart's on a nice sunny eve.) Then May took me out for a pre-birthday dinner at Balans on Monday. She's not going to make it to the big bash on Saturday.

Oh and speaking of sunny....Ta Dah! It's amazingly gorgeous and in the 20's (70's more or less). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this weather holds through the weekend.

Steve found his way to mine from the airport with very little difficulty and is wandering around Surbiton today. We've loads of charity shops here with some really nice stuff, so I'm sure he'll have purchased something new when I get back. (Oh yeah, I found the dress for my party at one. It's perfect.)

Today was a crap day at work, but I was given a handmade birthday card by three girls. One of them wrote the poem and the other two did the decorations. My birthday isn't until Saturday, but they all know I'm taking Friday and Monday off so they couldn't wait. The poem goes like this:

"A Happy Birthday to you
I bet you didn't have a clue
That you would get this birthday surprise
You might not believe your eyes
Even though you're getting old
But behold,
You're the best teacher ever
So that means you're really clever
So happy birthday again
So by now this must be a big pain
Now I'm gonna shut up
So you can get your coffee cup!"

We're studying poetry too, so kudos to these girls for coming up with this. This is a keeper.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Weird Dream

So, the other night I had a rather strange dream.

First in my dream locations were not the same. Wimbledon was actually in Kingston and the tennis courts were in a mall.

A few friends and I were in a little shop by the 'tennis courts' and I was looking at a used, cheesy romantic novel that had been made into a film (Serendipity I think it was) and scoffing at how things like that don't happen in real life. I then went outside with my friends and literally bumped into a young man. He wasn't my typical type. He was shorter than me with olive skin, long dark hair and big hazel eyes. (I'm no longer a fan of long hair) He was quite cute. There were sparks galore and we chatted away. He ended up being involved with some musical project and needed a female DJ (the talking kind, not the spinning tunes kind). He was very interested in the things I had done, the voice work and my writing, and suggested that we get together and collaborate on a few projects he wanted to get started. I was thrilled! He wrote his number on a flyer for something he was involved with, and I put it in my handbag. Then he asked if I would like to watch some tennis? Sure why not, and so we did (as it was a dream there were no need for tickets). Afterwards, we went to a shop across from the first one I had been in. We spent some more time talking and then said our goodbyes with the knowledge that I would call him since I had his number (I didn't give him mine) and we would get together.

I returned to the original store where I had seen this book. Seeing how the day had gone, I decided that I would eat my words regarding the soppy unrealistic nature of the book and buy it. I took the book to the counter to pay for it and discovered my purse was gone!

This meant I had no phone, no money, no keys, and no flyer with the guy's name and number on it. Shit! I retraced my steps, went to every place we had been and inquired about my handbag. Nothing! I was horrified and that's when I woke up.

Not very fond of this dream. It was far too much like my real life for my taste.