Friday, 29 August 2008

The Picture That Won't Be Used

Every year one of our fabulous art teachers, Marjorie, puts together this lovely bulletin board just outside the office with pictures of the middle school faculty and what they teach. This is for parents to see who their children's teachers are on Open House eve. The one Marjorie took of me my first year has been used every year, but this year it had to be changed? Why? Well, about 6 inches came off my hair in December. That's why. (As an aside one of my students at the time asked, "Miss, did you cut your hair? To which I responded, "No, I washed it with really hot water and it shrunk." It took him a minute to get it.)

Anyway, last Friday the new staff and I all sat outside to have our picture taken. Marjorie took mine first and then looked at the digital image and shook her head. "Oh we can't use this one."

Gee, I wonder why?

I think this one is being used instead.

Feel free to pass the post along to your single male friends in their mid-thirties to mid forties, who happen to live in the great London area. ;-)

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Flying Spaghetti Monster

Thank you very much to Steve for reminding me of the Church of the FSM.

Of course for you to really understand my reason for loving it as much as I do, please read the Open Letter to the Kansas School Board.

And, I'm jetted right back to when I was working at an unnamed school district just outside the Seattle area. A group of VERY right wing parents were trying to ban Harry Potter from the district because it was "Pagan". As if 1. that is a bad thing and 2. the books espouse actual pagan beliefs. The Multicultural Education Director in our district wanted me to defend Harry Potter in front of the school board against this group proving 1. Harry Potter is not a Pagan book and 2. there is nothing wrong with Paganism-after all I (a fairly well respected teacher in that district) was one.

My principal put the kibosh on that, however. As he put it, "These people have more power than you realise. I don't want to lose one of my best teachers." In the end I gave our Multicultural Education Director enough evidence to make the Right Wingers look idiotic and the school board didn't ban our dear friend, Harry. I left the US shortly thereafter.

Thus, I admire the followers of the FSM. And applaud them for speaking out in their own individual way for Freedom of Religion or Freedom to not have any religion. May my home country see that Freedom of Religion (or lack thereof) stays that way. It's been dangerously close to abandoning that freedom before.

As a bit of a post scrip to this story, I told my friend Michael about my experience as it was unfolding and he was inspired to draw this portrait of me as an angry goddess. I'd like for you to notice 2 things. 1. The 'H' in my head-piece and 2. the fact that I'm holding a copy of Harry Potter.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

And here...

I thought I would have all this time tonight to blog and post pics on Facebook. So I decided to upload pics to Facebook covering my entire summer first. Big mistake! There were many problems and it took me about 2 hours to get them all up.

So, my long blog is now a quick few paragraphs and some pics. My Bank Holiday weekend was quite self-indulgent and fun. Back to normality now.

I went to Notting Hill Carnival. Here are pictures I was able to get from the parade.

Apparently, there was a stand-off between the police and carnival goers. I saw nothing. It was crowded and quite loud....and fun.

And now I'm off to bed after sitting most of the night in front of the computer accomplishing very little.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Ethical Dilemmas of the Monetary Sort

I am not really certain what to do about these two things.

1. Before I went on my holiday I rang my cable company to cancel my television but keep my internet. I was talked into a package that was cheaper than just keeping broadband and phone and in fact combined the three: cable, broadband and phone. It did mean that I would have less channels, but that was what I wanted in the end really-to watch less television. While I was gone they phoned me and left a message saying they couldn't complete the change as there wasn't a phone line in my area. I came home wondering if my cable and broadband would still be working. They are. However, I haven't received a bill for the last 2 months. I looked on-line at my bank details today and their direct debit has been cancelled. I didn't cancel it. They did, but I still have the service. Should I tell them?

2. This next one is a doozy. One of my US Credit Cards (I have 2 US ones and no UK ones-avoiding that at all costs, and trying to pay off the US ones) was near its limit at the end of my holiday. I was a bit worried that it would go over the limit once the interest and periodic rate went through, so I made an extra payment online. I checked today to see what the status is. My balance is $0.00 and I have the full amount of my credit available to me. It's as if someone paid off my balance, but when you look through the transactions it's not there anywhere. Apparently it has been $0.00 for the last 4 days. Should I tell them?

When I tell people about these recent pitfalls of fortune for me, the general response has been to not say anything. The justification for this is that both companies make more than enough money (especially the credit card) so I should just relax and enjoy this windfall.

What do you think?

Oh and, let me take a moment to apologise for not posting in a while. It's been a bit crazy since V Fest what with school starting up and me finishing up my course. Our welcome Pizza party is tomorrow, and I get to meet all my new little ones. They will be walking in like deer-in-headlights since they are the youngest in the middle school. The first full day of school is Thursday.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Plays Well With Others But Has Trouble Sharing

I just had a quick email exchange with someone (she knows who she is) and a little light bulb went bing.

And it all made sense.

I'm quite selfish.

Now, I know I'm nice and giving when it comes to my friends. And, I've been accused of being too giving to (and sometimes by) my ex's. But oh no, that's all a fa├žade. It's a ruse to make you think..."Awww H is so lovely. She's so sweet and nice and giving and funny. I wish she would meet someone as great as she is."

Well, don't you worry. I do meet men as great as I am. They are all selfish too.

Fact is I don't really want to share. I don't really want to give up my time, my space, my travel, my right to leave dirty dishes in the sink and bras on the floor. I want to keep my precious time to myself. I'm greedy.

Let's take a look at my 3 most pressing concerns currently. 1. Will I have enough money to go to Malta to celebrate Mark and Marissa's Wedding, Scotland for Dawn and James's wedding, the US for Christmas and New Year, and New Zealand to visit Laura and Bryce and meet little Mica? 2. I need to lose weight and get fit again, and 3. Is my jet lag finally gone and will I be asleep in an hour?

I'm not worried about my partner or my kids. I'm not being affected by anyone else's problems on a deep intimate and daily level (touch wood that my family remains in good health-that is the only area where at this point I would be affected quite deeply). I read about other peoples problems and feel for them, but at the end of the day the only person I really worry about is me.

I like playing with my friends' kids or babysitting and giving the kids back. I like going to other people's weddings and being touched by the amount of love and sharing between them and celebrating their love with the rest of our mutual friends and acquaintances. Thank goodness someone can share like that.

I went to a psychic once who said to me, 'It's hard to learn how to stand with someone else when you have been standing alone for so long.' With a few exceptions where I had a taste of a serious relationship here and there, I have been standing alone for a very long time. You know it's funny. I can't smoke whole cigarettes any more. I will on rare occasions light them for people and take a few puffs before handing them back. Maybe that's how I am with relationships too. I just want a drag, not the whole cigar.

When I was 35 my biggest fear was that I would get to be 40 and not be married and not have kids and not (gasp) even have a boyfriend. And guess what? I'm 40. I'm not married. I don't have kids. I don't even (gasp) have a boyfriend. But, I'm having a pretty damn good time.

So, when Mr Poopy Pants, as I now call him, asked me, "Why aren't you married?" I should have simply said.

"I'm a selfish bitch."

If I were 3 my preschool anecdotal record would read, "Plays well with other but has difficulty sharing."

So if you'll excuse me now I need to pack for the weekend as I'm off to V-Fest.

Blog Tag

Mrs. B from Confessions of Pagan Soccer Mom tagged me. So, I will now be spreading the love.

Here are the directions:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Here are my 6 unspectacular quirks.

1. I do this little thing when I'm excited or happy about something. I say, "Yay!" or something similar clap my hands three times and then shake my fists a little in the air as if I have little flags in them. Steve noticed this when he was visiting for my birthday.

2. I'm terrified of dark enclosed places like closets or basements. I have been ever since my Aunt Julie locked me in the basement when I was like 3 after letting me watch 'Night Gallery'. She was sixteen and babysitting me at the time.

3. I hate Brussels sprouts. Detest them. I think they are dirt tasting minions of Satan. You can not cover them in enough sauce to make me like them ever. Yuch! When I was 9 my father refused to let me leave the table until I had eaten my Brussels sprouts. I sat there for 2 1/2 hours and then my mother sent me to my room Brussles sprouts untouched on my plate.

4. I set alarms on my mobile to remind of things. Everyday I am reminded when it's near time to leave for work and near time to leave for home. I don't really need those reminders, but they're comforting somehow. I also have them set to take out my rubbish or recycling or water my plants, etc. (I do need those ones at times)

5. I tend to be distracted by my reflection. It's not a vanity thing but more like I need to make sure that's really me or that I'm really here. I annoy myself with this so I can only imagine how others feel.

6. I fall down or knock things over everyday. Yes, everyday. Today I knocked papers off my desk while talking to a colleague. Yesterday I dumped a plate of strawberries to the floor (there were only 3 strawberries really, but the loss of 3 strawberries is a sad, sad thing).

Ok, so now I will tag Raechelle, Todd, China Blue, Brandon, Ratchick, and (although I'm feeling kinda shy about doing this cus I just read his blog, laugh out loud but don't think I've ever made a comment) Johnny Virgil from 15 Minute Lunch

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Home or I have Loads of Work to Do But This Is More Fun

First to satisfy Todd and Raechelle. Here is a pic of my rental.

So, I drove this lovely car to northern New Hampshire on Friday for Anna and Mike's wedding. Look how well we all wash up.

Look how lovely the place was where Mike and Anna got married.
And one more lovely picture of the beautiful bride in a beautiful setting.
Those last two pics were stitches from my digital camera. They are best viewed by clicking on them to see them full sized.

The reception was fun and fabulous and perhaps a little crazy at parts. Those pictures will not be posted here, and maybe I might come into some money for not posting them. Muah hahahaaaa...

On Saturday I went to Salem. This was my third visit. The first time was about 8 years ago. I felt kind of a 'homecoming' feeling during my first visit to Salem-a feeling I couldn't explain. Now, on the sceptic side of this I will admit that I was obsessed with the Salem Witch Trials when I was younger (about 11). So maybe I just knew things about Salem on a subconscious level that were residual from what I had read. On this trip I made certain to visit Laurie Cabot's The Cat, The Crow and The Crown. It's my favourite store in Salem. I've got loads of respect for Laurie Cabot, mainly because of this. I got a few things I needed before the store closed, had dinner and then went off to Haunted Footsteps.

I HIGHLY recommend this tour. Not only do you learn very interesting facts about Salem, but you also hear some very creepy stories as well. I had yet another experience as we approached the site of the old Salem jail. Now, I didn't know what the building was and didn't realise that the area we were approaching was a cemetery with quite the unique history behind it. All I knew is that I suddenly felt cold and didn't want to go anywhere near this area. Now, on the sceptic side of this sudden odd feeling I got before discovering the gruesome facts of the area (facts, by the way, that you will have to uncover on your own), one could say that I again was experiencing a subconscious memory of details I already knew having read about them and/or having been to Salem before. Still that doesn't explain the sudden drop in temperature I felt or the gut trepidation of not wanting to go near that place. It wasn't pleasant or thrilling in anyway-just really really awful.

And that wraps it up for me for now. I'm quite pleased to announce that it is now 11:35pm and I am sleepy! Yay!!! Last night it took me until 2:30AM to fall asleep. Maybe I will fall asleep earlier tonight. :-)

Home or It's 1AM and I Can't Sleep

Oh how I hate the jet lag coming back here! Going to the US is soooooo much easier. It's 1am and there are no signs that I will be asleep any time soon. My first day back is tomorrow, so I'm going to blog and then try to sleep. If I can't sleep then I'm going to do some work.

Got to Charlotte with plenty of time to board my flight to La Guardia. When we boarded all this steam came boarding out of the vents inside. It looked quite creepy, but no one else seemed bothered by it. It was really hot outside, so I figured (hoped) that this was normal. However, there was a delay...I don't remember why, but there was. We landed giving me 25 minutes before my next flight departed to Boston. It took me 12 minutes to get off the plan and I legged it to the gate where my next flight was boarding. I made it on time and out of breath and then waited...and waited...and waited. We were delayed due to weather at Logan airport. Then as we were the second in line to take off, our pilot informed us that Logan wasn't accepting any more flights and had shut down. The pilot said he wasn't certain why since the weather had cleared up. But we sat and sat and sat on the tarmac. After about an hour we took off.

I ended up getting a PT Cruiser instead of the economy car I had reserved because they were out of economy cars. I got it at the economy car price, however. Woo hoo. Then, went straight to Amy and Jeff's. Jeff, however, was visiting his parents in MI so I didn't get to see him.

I did spend some great quality time with Amy and Nick, who is now almost 6. On Thursday we went to the Quaboag area for hike. The weather was great when we started, but it looked ominous when we left. We went to a place called The Country Store for sandwiches afterwards. While we were there one of the customers who had come in asked if they had heard that there was a tornado warning for that area. The woman, who ended up being the owner or manager, said she had not. Then, a policeman came in and told the owner to close and head to the basement as a tornado had been reported touching down in New Salem. We got our sandwiches and left after being told it was probably ok as Amy lived in the opposite direction. It turned out to be a smaller funnel cloud, but until we found that out we had visions of the movie Twister in our heads. The weather became more and more severe in the evening. We were privy to quite the spectacular thunderstorm.

Ok, it's now 2:11 and I'm starting to feel sleepy. I'll admit that I was multitasking a bit and chatting while writing this so didn't get as far as I wanted. I'll write more tomorrow, but for now I'm gonna try to sleep.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Almost Home or Why Twitter is Cool

I'm here in a hotel room alone after going on a historic haunting walk through Salem. It was fantastic actually-more of a history lesson than a ghost walk. However, I'm wide awake and slightly creeped out. Thus, the blogging.

Of course now that I've started typing this I'm overcome with exhaustion, so I'm afraid I'll leave you hanging and tell you about my trip when I get home. You can, however, get a bit of a preview of my trip from looking at my Twitter updates to the right of this post under "What's H doing right now?" (as an aside if you are reading this through Facebook you will have to go to the original posting on "H in London" on Blogger-you should go there anyway, bookmark it and read it regularly ;) ) I've been updating Twitter via text while I've been here and I now have a page element which allows anyone who comes to my blog to see my updates. If you want to follow me on Twitter (and have the option to send a receive updates via text or on line) you can click the link underneath the page element and join Twitter then add me.

Yes, I'm a great big cyber-social dork. I'll admit it.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

On the Road Again

I'm going to be off line for a bit as I'm off in about 10 minutes to Charlotte where I will hop a plane to Boston. Then, I will rent (as they say over here) a car and drive to Jeff, Amy, and Nick's. Unfortunately, Jeff is in Michigan, so I'll be hanging with Amy and (not so little any more) Nick. From there I will drive to northern New Hampshire where Anna and Mike are getting married (yay!!) The day after I will drive back to MA and stay just outside of Salem for a night. Oh don't worry, I will be going into Salem. I love that place. Then, I will head down to Boston Airport on Sunday night and fly back to London. Thus, the next time you will read me will be from London. I will have stories to share I'm sure.

So, ciao for now! xxx

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Tattoo Time

I'm doing this for the benefit of Mrs. B, who posted a blog about her breathtaking tattoo. Mine is nothing in comparison, but she was curious to see other people's tattoos so here we go...

My tattoo is an ankle tattoo and it always and forever will remind me of 2 very blessed and sacred elements in my life.

1. My Seattle friends. They all chipped in money as a birthday/good-bye present. I moved to Mexico a few months later, and as you all know I now live in London. Every time I look at it I think of them.

2. My spirituality. As a Celtic knot circling my ankle it binds me to the earth and therefore the universe. As the energy that runs through the earth, the universe and each of us ties us all together, it's my belief that we are duty bound to care for ourselves and the world and people around us. My tattoo is a reminder of this. I could go on and on for hours about my spiritual beliefs and how I came to be at the place I am, but I won't.

It's not the best pic of my tattoo, as I had to use my phone. My other camera ran out of juice and I've not gotten around to recharging batteries on it.

Oh, and here is a picture from the last party I had at my Seattle apartment where I'm showing off my tattoo. My friend, Michael, photo-shopped it and made it hilarious. Erin's face makes the pic and the comment Michael added. She's not against tattoos by the way. Her face was just in that expression.
So there you go. I have many friends with tattoos that are much more impressive than mine. I am thinking about getting another Celtic knot tattoo on my lower back, but I have a goal (a personal one) that I need to reach first.


This is my first solo podcast from the course I'm taking. I figured out how to upload it to blogger, so here it is. You can hear it by clicking that little arrow next to the title of this blog. You can also go to my original posting here at the Podbean site. Oh it's on iTunes as "Writing Wizards"

It isn't very exciting and I stumble over my words at times. It's a grammar exercise I do with my students called "The Magic Conversation". The story is written without the correct punctuation and then the students listen to the story and edit it. Just for fun, I'll include the story below and you can edit it know if you're bored.

I plan on doing more of these both in an educational and non educational way. (I have 2 accounts on Podbean now)

The Magic Conversation

Once Upon a time there was a Fifth Grade class who was confused about writing dialogue. They asked their fairy godteacher, Ms. Martin, to help them. Don’t worry. It’s very easy, she assured them. No it’s not! exclaimed Martin, the student. Yes it is, the stunningly beautiful teacher continued. All you need to do is remember that every time you change speakers, you indent as if you are beginning a new paragraph. But then I will have 40 paragraphs, said Stefan. Won’t that look weird? asked Nicole. No it won’t, and it is ok if you think you are going to have a million paragraphs, the fairy godteacher continued in her soothing voice, which was as sweet as the chocolate her students gave her everyday. If you look in your independent reading book you will find that when there is a dialogue between characters the new speaker always begins on the next line. Oh, I get it, said Jacob. This is easy! Sarah cried out with glee. Don’t forget to use commas, question marks, and exclamation points in the correct way, the lovely teacher added. Please just read the examples in this conversation we just had. Or, you can look in Write Source on pg. 116 for help. Thank you, the entire class chimed at the same time. They all returned to busily and joyfully writing their stories and continued to learn happily ever after.

The End

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Missing Anniversaries Can Be a Good Thing

Ahhh the joys of technology. I'm writing this while sitting in the back seat of my parents' car on our way to Myrtle Beach. I've reverted to being a teenager just as I was on our road trips of old. I'm plugged in and tuned out. Only this time I'm not tuned out to my walkman and variety of tapes. I'm tuned out to my laptop and iTunes. I'm adding songs to my Nano from my laptop. Ok, I'll be honest. This is my work's lap top and work's Nano. I have them because of my course. Might as well use them for my own enjoyment on my holiday, since I have to work as well.

And here it is August 1. It hit me today that I skipped right past the end of July without my usual despondent depression that usually hits. The end of July has not been a happy time for the last 13 years, but this year for some reason I hardly gave it a thought. I'm feeling a little guilty about that.

But not too guilty. Thirteen years ago when my life went to hell, I cursed the summer and the bright sun that was beating down on Seattle at the time. And now a few days ago the anniversary of Scott's death passed and the day after, what would have been his birthday passed, and I didn't realise it. This is the first time in 13 years that the dates didn't ring in my ears like a really hurtful high pitch noise. I would like to think Scott's pleased about that.

Last night I wrote an email to a friend, who went through her personal hell this year. And when I awoke today I realised the dates had passed of the beginning of my personal hell 13 years ago without me noting their significance-thus this blog. Ahh but my battery is dying and of course I have no internet connection so I'll continue this later.

It's much later now. I'm typing away in our hotel room. My brother and I are watching Bill Cosby on The Tonight Show and almost peeing ourselves from laughing. We've had lovely day. All four of us were in the ocean, in the pool, eating and drinking too much, and enjoying ourselves overall.

I just read what I typed previously and do I have something deep to add? No, not really. We all go through our own personal hells. Sometimes some of us, quite unfairly, go through more than our fair share of hells. Some of us bring hell upon ourselves, but more often than not hell is created by a circumstance that we can't control. There is no rhyme or reason to it. There is no magic formula that says that one person will get so much and someone else will get more or less. Don't get me wrong. Ideally I'm a believer in karma. In fact, I subscribe to the belief that everything you do will eventually come back to you three-fold. But, that doesn't mean I'm correct. It certainly doesn't seem like the universe distributes our hells evenly or fairly. Hell is what it is.

So, I'd like to think that where ever Scott is he is pleased that for the first time since he passed over that the days of his death and birth went by without my notice. Maybe the ritual I did last year helped, who knows. (The blog about said ritual is here) I still think about him. I still miss him, and as I said I do feel a bit guilty that these days went by without my notice. However, I think it says a lot for my state of mind and being that it took me two days to acknowledge that this happened. Yay me!