Saturday, 30 December 2006

new portraits

Paul has been madly taking pictures this holiday. He took a whole set of portraits of the extended family on Boxing Day. Here are two of the offerings.

Ant has no problem providing a cross-eyed face but I can't seem to do it. I tried and tried but I could not achieve eye crossing.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

brilliant Christmas presents

stainless steel soap from Sonya
a fish cookbook from Mum and Dad
a fish cookbook from Stephanie
diamonique dangly earrings from Ant
diamonique bracelet from Ant
beaded necklace from Mum

family celebrations

It's been a lovely couple of days of family celebrations. On Christmas Eve we went to evening church (at which I worked the powerpoint presentation) and then came home to our special dinner of pan-fried haddock, potatoes, curried parsnips, and green beans. Then, according to our family's tradition, we opened our presents from the nuclear family. Paul's big box to Mum and Dad turned out to be a little slip of paper announcing new kitchen hardware. Micah sent Mum the Cambridge t-shirt she had wanted and Dad got a few CS Lewis related items.

On Christmas day we headed over to Grammie and Grandad's at the leisurely time of 10am. We were ready to go an hour before that but they reported that no cousins were even awake! How old we must be all getting. The present mound at Grammie's was as large as ever and we were fuelled by the boxes of chocolate that got opened near the beginning. We had chowder for lunch and spent the rest of the day lounging, reading new books, and playing cards.

Boxing Day is our big dinner day. We arrived at Aunt Christeen's and Uncle James' just after 1pm to sit down to a massive dinner of turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, turnip, potatoes, two types of stuffing, beans, carrots, parsnips, cranberry sauce, and gravy. The afternoon was spent by varying groups of relatives watching movies (Step Up was the one I saw), taking pictures with Paul, playing cards (45s is our family game), and chatting. A lovely day all in all.

We missed Micah and Anna this year--the first time we have not all been together. I hope that their partridge was nice!

Merry Christmas to everyone. May you be blessed by the coming of Jesus to live with us.

Thursday, 21 December 2006

things my Mum has fed me since I arrived yesterday

Tim's mocha
fresh fruit salad
mint green tea
sage bread
brown rice, chicken, and broccoli bake
homogenised milk
a clementine
hot apple cider
cranberry cereal with banana sliced on top

now in Halifax

Yay! The long wait is over and I have arrived for my holiday. I didn't bring any work with me except one book to read (the infamous Teaching and Learning Algebra). I have shoved most of my jet lag since yesterday I hope and I'm raring to go. Ring me anyone!

Wednesday, 20 December 2006

reasons I am looking forward to being at home with my parents

I miss them
Christmas decorating is already done
windows that aren't draughty
a car to transport me
Mum's Charlie Brown tree
funny family dinners
Paul will entertain us
tea on tap
seeing Ant again

Sunday, 17 December 2006

nativity play

It's always the cutest time of the year when the little ones put on their Christmas show. Today at church was no exception. Mary and Joseph were both mute during the whole drama. One angel didn't really want to go anywhere near them. The baby Jesus was a real baby, placed in the manger by his proud mother.

Why do we keep doing the nativity play? Is it just so we can ooh and aah at the kids' antics? Hopefully they are learning something about Jesus through it all. I learned something today. One wise man was played by an adult this time, due to a shortage of children. The Magi were very learned men, rich, and powerful. They travelled all the way to Bethlehem to kneel before Jesus in his manger. To see a grown person kneeling and presenting a gift to a baby was very powerful. I want to be humble enough to say, Jesus, I kneel before you. I worship his greatness and praise him for the love he showed by coming as a human to earth.

Saturday, 16 December 2006


Jayme has been discussing present wrapping on her blog (follow the link in the sidebar). Here's a picture of the bottles Ant wrapped when we were in Liverpool celebrating our pre-Christmas with his family. We bought these three bottles for his Nan, Grandad, and Dad, and he wanted to wrap them similarly but also all differently. We took the picture because we were just so impressed with how they turned out. I think that Ant was helped by the fact that he is a perfectionist in almost every area. He spent quite a long time on this.

staff Christmas party

Last night was our staff party at a hotel nearby. Everyone has been talking for days about what they are going to wear and it emerged recently than quite a few of the guys agreed to wear dinner jackets. Steve was one, but he couldn't tie his tie. Or so he said. Numerous women had to go over and help him, much to his delight/embarrassment.

I was stiting on a table with some languages teachers. Here I am with Diane.

On my other side was Deb. She was a new teacher in September as well. Somehow we've hardly talked at school but we had a great time last night. We enjoyed our food (for the most part). I had a spicy parsnip soup as a starter, salmon with a creamy cheese sauce as a main and lemon sorbet to finish. Earlier in the day I thought perhaps it was a little rash ordering salmon at a dinner like this since the worst thing is to get uncooked fish. But it was delicious.

Mike, my maths colleague, was there as well. He's my day-to-day partner in crime. We cook up worksheets together occasionally. We always meet in the photocopy room. We are passing through each other's classrooms from early morning til late night. (This sociability is helped by the fact that there is no corridor on our floor, instead the rooms all open onto each other.)

And finally, here is a not too brilliant picture of Mandy and I. Mandy is an NQT in media studies that I met on my first day at the school. We chat every day or two to moan a bit and swap ideas.

After dinner we danced the night away to such classics as "Come on, Irene," "Billy Jean," and the like. I left relatively early while my bus was still running and my feet only hurt a lot.

Saturday to-do list

choose songs for Sunday evening
bake some cookies
write Christmas cards
dry clean my hardworking black blazer
work on a present for a colleague--a nice journal in which I am writing quotations
buy a present for my cousin
wait in the flat for a delivery
plan a few Christmas themed lessons for Monday and Tuesday
buy a present for my secret santa recipient at work
clean the flat--a major job since it's been neglected too long

Friday, 15 December 2006

potential New Year's resolutions

make a new friend at work
try to enjoy my daily commute
do my marking more regularly
drink more water
learn about finance, including my pension, and make informed decisions about saving
go to the dentist and optician on time for a change
read those books finally (Teaching and Learning Algebra to be the first, perhaps)
work out on Thursday at the fitness suite at school

Monday, 11 December 2006

my favourite numbers (in no particular order)

2: a prime number, but also even. How beautiful!

pi: every maths fanatic's favourite? It's irrationality is a wonderful mystery.

49: my favourite square number. Recently my students laughed at me when I asked them to write a limerick about their favourite square number. What's so funny about that?

phi: the golden ratio. This lovely ratio of [1+rt(5)]/2 describes the most beautiful architecture and most pleasing forms. Astoundingly it crops up in the Fibonacci numbers as well as the ratio between consecutive terms as the sequence progresses.

e: an irrational number that has on its list of claiims to fame the equation e^(pi*i) = -1, an equation that my high school maths teacher said was proof God existed.

For bragging rights, match the numbers mentioned above with thier decimal equivalents:

Saturday, 9 December 2006

Christmas baking?

So far I have only heard of Sonya doing any Christmas baking. Perhaps my generation no longer bakes much. I make muffins every week or so for Ant and he requested something to take to work on Monday to celebrate a colleague's birthday. So I was happy to find a recipe on Real Simple for cookie dough that makes six types of cookies. I think that shall be my weekend project. (And of course the obligatory weekend marking.)

Saturday news

I had a great time last night with my maths colleagues. We went out to a pub sort of near the school and ate and drank and talked all night. (We don't want to be too near the school--who wants to see student on your night out?) Ant came along as well after work (a 1.5 hour journey to get there!) and met some people. It was excellent to chat. A bit of moaning about marking, students who aren't inquisitive, management, workload, etc, are all standard teachers' topics. But we talked about other parts of life too and celebrated two colleagues who are leaving. It feels like I might make it to the holidays intact-- seven teaching days to go. It has been a long and tiring term.

Monday, 4 December 2006

Ant's first day of work!

Ant had the first day of his new job today. We went out on the weekend and bought him a few new shirts and ties. Then he did a fashion show for me and I took pictures. He was nervous today but at the end of the day he said he liked getting a desk, finding the coffee, and checking out the great city views from his bank of desks.

Sunday, 3 December 2006

Christmas plans to date

7 December: Ant's work party (after being an employee for three days!)
8 December: pub night with the maths department
15 December: Ant leaves for Canada
15 December: school staff dinner party
17 December: improv night at Sunday Night Live at East Hill Church
19 December: last day of classes
20 December: off to Canada
21-23 December: meet with Sara, Sonya, Raye, and loads of others, I hope!
24 December: Christmas Eve and presents with the nuclear family
25 December: Christmas day at Grammie and Grandad's
26 December: Boxing day feast with the whole clan
27 December: shop in the sales? (Ant needs a new suit)
30 December: fly back to UK (both of us)
31 December: New Year's Eve TBA: London? Cambridge? Edinburgh?

Thursday, 30 November 2006

happy birthday, Dad!

It's my Dad's birthday today. Yay! It's nice to have a chance to celebrate him. (In his job he usually focuses on everyone else.) He's been such a great father-type figure over the years. I love talking to him and sharing ideas with him. He and Mum are so supportive and now great friends also.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Christmas cake

Last week I spent an afternoon after school in the cooking classroom with some other teachers making my first Christmas cake. Today I was feeding it a couple of tablespoons of brandy, as I am meant to do a few times a week, apparently. Here it is in all its glory! Actually, I realise it is quite ugly looking. Ah well. They say it will taste good.

PS. I realise my posts have been miniscule lately. Sigh. I will try to make time in the next few days. My days seem so squished full of stuff to do!

Saturday, 25 November 2006

British Airways debate

As I blogged earlier, British Airways was involved in a publicity scandal about an employee who refused to remove her cross from her necklace while working at the check-in counter. She lost her appeal against the airline, but now they have announced that they will be reviewing their religious clothing policy in light of public debate.

weekend away

Ant and I are in Liverpool visiting his family for the weekend. Both sisters are having birthdays this weekend, and we are also celebrating his Nan's seventieth birthday which happens in a couple of weeks. We've brought up our Christmas and birthday gifts (actually we ordered some of them from Amazon to arrive here today). We'll go out to dinner to celebrate Etta's birthday tonight. I'll return home on Sunday and he might stay until Monday.

Monday, 20 November 2006

casino royale

On Saturday Ant and I went out to see the new Bond film with Rob, Emma, and Mark. We went out first to eat at a little Italian place in Chelsea. Our pizzas all came on the same platter. The food was delicious and Rob picked out a lovely bottle of wine (actually we drank two bottles between us). It was brilliant to be out with friends.

The movie had all the requisite Bond components: lots of action, gadgets, fast cars, beautiful people. In addition, there were some great poker scenes and some gruesome torturing (not a plus!). Ant and I both enjoyed it; it was the kind of mindless fun that Bond is great for, with slightly more plot than usual.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

lovely Ant

I have been extremely busy this week at work with some extra burdens. Fortunately Ant has stepped up to the task of running things at home. He has done oodles of washing up, laundry, and cleaning. He cooked two delicious meals yesterday and today: chicken tikka masala with rice and sausages with mustard and green onion mashed potatoes. How sweet! And today we had slices of a little cheesecake he picked out for me with fresh strawberries on top. Mmm! At least one area of my life is running smoothly.

Sunday, 12 November 2006

capital punishment

Yesterday we spent the evening with Chris and Tamra. We watched Pierrepoint, a movie about a man who was one of Britain's hangmen. What a difficult job he had to exact justice on condemned criminals. The movie was really thought-provoking. He carried out his duties with great dignity, caring for the bodies after the hanging especially tenderly. He said that the executed had paid their price and so they were now innocent and so their bodies deserved proper treatment. He did his job effectively by detaching himself from the people he met. Mr Pierrepoint had difficulties in his marriage since his wife banned him from talking about his work at home. When an execution of someone he knew started to cause him to become emotionally battered he had no one to turn to.

Mr Pierrepoint was involved in executing Nazis after the Neuremburg trials and for this he was hailed as a hero by the people in his town. On the other hand, he was hated at another time because an innocent man was executed. He found that as the years went on it was more and more difficult to do his job as public opinion turned and his emotions became more caught up in the people he executed.

At the end of his life he finally made his opinions about capital punishment known. In his autobiography he wrote: "I have come to the conclusion that executions solve nothing, and are only an antiquated relic of a primitive desire for revenge which takes the easy way and hands over the responsibility for revenge to other people.... The trouble with the death penalty has always been that nobody wanted it for everybody, but everybody differed about who should get off."

Friday, 10 November 2006

staying healthy

I had a lot of sick days last year and I decided that wouldn't happen any more. One thing that has been keeping me healthy lately has been greater job satisfaction. I have also been keeping a closer eye on what I eat. And to ensure it goes well I have started taking multivitamins and omega 3, 6, 9 tablets for about three weeks. Oh, yes, cycling probably helps too! I can really say that I have been feeling a lot better. Today I was reading all about fish oil as I've heard before about how children's concentration is upped dramatically by taking it regularly. I think that my concentration has really increased. Or maybe it's a placebo effect. I've got a 60 day supply of vitamins so I'm hoping that I won't have more than one sick day this half term. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

hot and cold

Today I am shivering. But Sunday was a glorious day, and after church we went to Matt and Bree's for a barbeque. You can see that it was lovely and sunny and we all stood out on the roof while Matt cooked up some hamburgers, sausages, corn on the cob, and portabella mushrooms. Alexis and Sandra were there, and Justin, who was visiting for part of the weekend, and Matt's friend Ben.

Today has been such a cold day. Just on Monday I was saying to myself how nice it is that the school is in several buildings since I get some sun and air when I go to the staff room or to the photocopier. But today I wasn't too keen about the fresh air lark. it was frigid. Welcome to November, eh.

Monday, 30 October 2006

website of the day

What is your website of the day? Tell me what you are reading at the moment. I am looking at the Real Simple website. Who can resist (err, Paul, maybe?) a website that advertises meals that almost cook themselves, at home beauty products, and the best upright vacuum cleaners? Heehee.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

shape magazine recipes

I love Shape magazine. You may have already realised this from the links bar. It's their 25th anniversary and they've published a list of their twenty-five best recipes. I may try the yogurt mint marinated chicken this weekend since I have a pot of plain yogurt in the fridge at the moment. And also the roasted herb salmon sounds within my ability range as well.

round-up of my week

I had a lovely week off. It was so relaxed I didn't even blog. Shocking! I went to work on Monday. On Tuesday it was my birthday and Ant and I went to the Formula One exhibition at the Design Museum--my choice! It was really neat to read about the history of the cars and how their design has evolved. Designing an F1 car now is a huge business with a big team of engineers.

This is Michael Schumacher's 2004 Ferarri car.

To get to the Design Museum we walked along by Tower Bridge and through some quaint back streets.

I stayed Tuesday night with Naomi and Rhona, which was fantastic. We made a delicious dinner (well, the girls made it and I watched) and chatted most of the night about weddings and the like.

On Wednesday Justin and I took ourselves off to Oxford.

Unfortunately it was wet and cold there, but we did see some lovely buildings. Justin had not been before, so it was well worth it.

We visited Christ Church College, which was stunning. The quad is huge and the buildings are gorgeous. The cathedral was open and a service was just starting as we went in. So we were two of four congregants for a short communion service from the Book of Common Prayer. It was lovely to sit and hear the words in a beautiful building.

In Oxford we made sure to stop and see the Einstein blackboard at the Museum of the History of Science.

I believe this says something about the rate of expansion of the universe (D) and the density of the universe (rho). It's from a lecture he gave at Oxford.

After my day of wet and cold walking I was exhausted. On Thursday I lay about the house and relaxed. I surfed the web and watched TV and general loafed around while Ant was away. I cooked myself a prawn pasta sauce since Ant wasn't around to pretend gag at me.

I met up with Owen, a colleague from last year for coffee and then lunch. We chatted about maths and our situations. I got lots of good ideas from him, as usual.

And yesterday Ant and I went out to see April's band, The Fly By Nights. They were brilliant and the other two bands that played were good as well, most notably a Blondie tribute band called The Parallel Lines. The gig was in a studio in Hackney (North London). We were typical London partiers: a drink at the smoky club around the corner first, practically stuck together in the tiny studio, a tube ride home, and a kebab picked up on the way at a little shop by the bus stop.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

answers to some questions

I've been a bit confused about the violence in Budapest lately. it's been only partly covered by our news media, so I never seem to get the full picture sorted out. Here's a BBC FAQ about the whole thing that helped a bit.

Saturday, 21 October 2006

news to me

Apparently one internet user in ten has a blog now. Are you one? Or do you enjoy your surfing time by reading others' writings? Why not leave me a comment to say you have been? I see from the map on the sidebar that I have quite a few more visitors than make their voices known. So even a little peep would be a pleasure to hear. :)

Click on the comments link (at the end of this post on the right) and let me know you're here. You don't have to be a Blogger member. When you get to the comments page, click on "Other" if you'd like to leave me your name, or "Anonymous" if you'd prefer not to. Let me ask some questions to get you started. (Thanks to Sonya for the idea.) Please choose one or more to answer.

1. What's a good film (or TV show) you've seen recently?

2. What's your favourite fruit and why? If you could describe yourself as a fruit which one would it be? :)

3. What are you reading at the moment?

4. Do you think that a messy desk/room means a tidy mind? Or would you prefer to leave me an anti-clutter tip?

Thursday, 19 October 2006

"it's not immediately clear"

NewScientist reports that a working cloaking device has been produced in the US. It cloaks an object from microwaves, and so far only in 2D. It's the size of a movie reel and it cloaks a copper ring from one specific frequency of microwaves. Scientists say that building a cloaking device for visible light frequencies is currenly beyond nanotechnology possiblilties.

"It's not yet clear that you're going to get the invisibility that everyone thinks about with Harry Potter's cloak or the Star Trek cloaking device," says David Smith of Duke University.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

religious clothing debate

Recently in the news we have been hearing about a British Airways employee who has been asked to hide her cross necklace under her uniform. She is threatening to sue the company. They allow hijab and turbans, and they are discriminating against Christians in their request. Have a look at the debate on the BBC website. Many people have commented, including Muslims showing support for her. One has pointed out that many Christians think it is Muslims who are against their religious expression, but the commenter believes it is the atheists that are driving the anti-religious feeling. The employee has stated that she feels a particularly anti-Christian sentiment at work, not simply anti-religious.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

modern conveniences

I wanted to dry my hair today. I think because it is a bit colder now and having wet hair gives me the chills. But our flat is converted from an old house and there are not plugs everywhere you want them, particularly near the mirror. But that wouldn't stop me, oh no! Being a modern woman, I turned on my web cam and dried my hair at my desk!

Friday, 13 October 2006


Jayme and Donald were married last weekend in Miramichi, NB. What a beautiful wedding it was, at least it looks it in the pictures. I wish them so much happiness as they start out together in Canada.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006


Ant and I managed to pull off a little Thanksgiving dinner last night. Ant was the impetus for it, buying us a little roasting chicken with sage stuffing. We made roast potatoes, roast parsnips, boiled potatoes, honey glazed carrots, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and gravy. With the help of a store-bought pastry I made a pumpkin pie. We were so pleased about having pulled it all off! This was the first Thanksgiving that I have managed to celebrate away from home. It was well worth the trouble. And I took leftovers and pie to school today. Everyone in the staffroom who tried some pie liked it.

Sunday, 8 October 2006

baking muffins

My dad is a famous muffin maker. He has so many muffin cookbooks that he has an index book to help him find the muffin recipe he wants. I, however, have only one muffin recipe. I use it for everything. I like it because (a) it has hardly any sugar, (b) it has hardly any oil, (c) it contains lots of oats--and I make it even healthier by putting in oats and bran, (d) it only requires one mixing bowl, speeding up both the preparation and the washing up. Here it is. It's from the More with Less cookbook.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Mix together in large bowl:
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c sugar
1 T baking powder

Stir in:
1 c oats
1 c chocolate chips (or 1/2 c raisins or anything else that you fancy)

3 T oil
1 egg, beaten
1 c milk

Stir only until combined. Fill muffin cups and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Saturday, 7 October 2006

working on the weekend

Last weekend I didn't do any school work. My Monday was horrendous. I have vowed never to let it happen again. Sadly, that now means my Saturday morning is boring and work-ish. Blech. What did I expect? I hope it's worth it.

Friday, 6 October 2006

book club

I have joined a book club. I found it through the Canada Network after I went to the Canada Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square. I joined the mailing list and found out when the next meeting was. Then I went out and bought the book they were reading for the October meeting: Two Lives by Vikram Seth. I managed to read 400 of the 500 pages before the meeting this Wednesday.

We met at a little wine bar and restaurant called the Cork and Bottle in Leiscester Square. I knew the street it was on, but couldn't see it anywhere. I even asked a kebab vendor on the street about it but he didn't recognise the name. After a few more minutes of seaching, I located its tiny shop front--right next door to the kebab shop! I don't know how the vendor didn't know it and I'm surprised I missed it too when I asked him.

The group was quite small, and I'm told it usually averages around 8 people. We ordered a bottle of wine and I got a plateful of salads (yum; mozzarella, tomato, and basil; Greek with huge feta pieces; and chickpea and roast vegetables). The discussion ranged over numerous topics, using the book as a jumping off point several times.

The memoir focuses on Vikram's Uncle Shanti and Aunt Henny. They met in Berlin in the early thirties after Shanti moved there to study. He boarded at Henny's mother's house. Henny emigrated to England before the war, and Shanti, now qualified as a dentist, joined the British army. They met again when Shanti settled down in London and started a practice, even though he had lost an arm in the war. They didn't marry until they were forty.

We talked about whether their marriage was based on companionship more than passionate love. We sympathised with Shanti who lived a heart-broken nine years after Henny died. We were intrigued by the way both of them cut ties with their home country. To a group of Canadian women in London that seemed especially poignant.

Our next book is Booker prize-winning The Sea by John Banville. So I'll be out this weekend picking up my copy.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

new for October

1. Chilly weather in the morning. I am not cycling in shorts anymore.
2. Ant's bike has been stolen (again). So he is less mobile.
3. The marking pile is tightening its grip on me. Its cobra-like qualities never cease to amaze me.
4. I am glad now that I bought cycle lights in the summer. Although it's not dark yet, but dusky on my way home.
5. I realised (in advance this year!) that Thanksgiving is coming up next week. What to do, what to do?

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Canada gathering

Yesterday Justin hosted a small Canadian social party. The food was imported by him or obtained from the Canada Shop in Covent Garden. I had a delicious glass of Canada Dry and this lovely Oreo cookie milkshake. The European Oreo box declares that it is the "World's Number One Biscuit!"

Not a great picture, but you get the idea. I also had a mug of Tim's English toffee cappuccino, carrot cake, and a mountain of carrot sticks with dip, all not in that order.

Saturday, 30 September 2006

new season, new shows

Heehee. I have grown to like British TV, and September means a new raft of shows to enjoy. I am actually quite excited by this. :) The best show on TV at the moment is a BBC drama about MI5 called Spooks. Ant and I both also enjoy watching You Are What You Eat, which I have blogged about before. CSI is always a favourite of mine; I watched an episode tonight. Ant loves watching house selling shows, or property development shows, or house makeover shows. He jokes that he will know everything about buying a house by the time we come to do it. We watch some personal makeover shows as well, and I have just learned that Ladette to Lady is returning this year: a show where they take a group of rough, unlady-like young women and send them to a traditional finishing school where they have to learn to talk properly, cross their ankles, arrange flowers, learn to sew and cook, and behave like a proper English lady. As you may already know, I am only 56% lady, so I have lots to learn from this show!


My dad thinks I have been working too hard. He's probably right. Ant thinks so too, and on his urging I've set up a daily alarm to remind me to go to bed at a reasonable time. It's come to that! I am working really hard, but on things that directly impact my teaching, so I don't begrudge the time I'm spending. Part of the problem is that I'm just not a fast thinker when it comes to having creative teaching ideas. I need time to ruminate. But instead the days fly by and I feel as though I am frequently on the back foot. Ah, well. I will continue to work on my work-life balance.

In other news, I was reading two BBC articles tonight: teaching maths in England may be getting a bit easier soon, and a church in Glasgow has paid the price for having an open door.

Thursday, 21 September 2006

news flash

I have discovered this week that I like teaching. Shocking, I know! On Tuesday I came home in a really good mood. I enjoyed my day: a bit of teaching, a bit of lesson planning, a few laughs, a bit of exercise... the whole day seemed about right. I didn't come home depressed or annoyed that I had a job. What a turning point. I didn't really realise until this week how I could regain my sense of enjoying my job. Until now I was feeling mostly relief at the beginning of the new year, but now I find that I actually like being a teacher! I can hear my parents laughing now.... I suppose they knew all along that I would like it.

On the other hand, I am tired all the time. In fact, I am exhausted by my regime. I am sleeping very soundly at nights! I leave school at 6:00 each evening. Fortunately, I would say, they lock the building and close the gates then, so I have to get out by six. They start ringing warning bells in the school at 5:45 to remind me to get out before it's too late! Cycling is proving tiring as well (again, shocking, I know), but in a funny way it also energises me. Some evenings when I'm sitting at my desk I think I won't be able to make it home, but once I get going I seem to arrive in due course.

This afternoon I went up to the fitness suite for 45 minutes. Some of the other young teachers were there as well. I didn't do too much, not wanting to go crazy and then have to cycle home. I did some arm and abs exercises and left it at that. No legs, not ever again. My legs are in enough pain. They are getting stronger!

Sunday, 17 September 2006


Here's a picture from before school started of the big sign I made for my room. I laminated it and put it up above the board. I really want to give a positive feeling to the room and I think this sign makes a difference. It's so cheerful looking as well.

new cycling gear

On Friday it was raining when I left for work. By the time I was halfway there it was tipping down in sheets. I was soaked through and quite miserable when I arrived. Fortunately for me, I ordered a cycling jacket earlier this week which arrived on Saturday. It's waterproof and windproof and, perhaps obviously from the picture, good for visibility. It's fantastic.

Monday, 11 September 2006

why do you blog?

Find out the answer! I took a little quiz about the type of blogger I am. Ha! I think I knew already that I blog to share with my friends and stay in touch with people.

You Are a Social Blogger!

Your blog is more of a semi-private affair for your friends.
It's how you keep in touch... sharing stories, jokes, and pics.


You Are 56% Lady

You're part lady, part modern woman.
Etiquette is important to you, but you brush aside rules that are outdated or silly.

Saturday, 9 September 2006

i have riden past Truro

By riding back and forth to work last week I covered 70 miles, or 112 kilometers. Wow! I didn't realise I had done that much already. It really hurts in my legs especially on the way there. I have a rather large hill on the way there. On Thursday afternoon, part of one of the main roads was closed and I had to walk part of the way. I am now investigating a shortcut to allow me to avoid a high street that is jam packed in the evenings. The road is so full that I can't get down alongside the cars, and the pavement is so full with pedestrians that I couldn't possibly cut along there either. So hopefully I can find a slightly different way to go to sort it out.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

one couple, two laptops

From my Dad. Heehee!

Monday, 4 September 2006

first day of school

I am tired, so I won't write much. (Thinking up a comment to Sonya's baby naming blog entry took up all my time!) But today was a good day of meetings and getting to know a few people. Ant cycled down with me and I cycled home on my own. The day has left me happy and also exhausted. I am going to be so fit if I can keep this up! With all my books in my pannier bags I had to work much harder to get to school. And I'm happy because things are planned at this school! :) Tomorrow I have another day of meetings and preparation. I've made a friend in the maths department who helped me with a few things and didn't mind if I asked questions all the time. And I laminated my big "Welcome to Success" poster and put it above the board. My computer is now on my desk, but not yet working because the IT department was out of extension cords!

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

my bike

Here is a shot of my bike. Yesterday we took two more routes to and from school and the journey is now at 40 minutes. I expect this will be my normal time.

Monday, 28 August 2006

learning to cycle

Since buying a bike in Canada and shipping it here on the airplane, I have been relearning how to cycle. I want to cycle to work when I begin next week. It's about an 8 mile journey and Ant is helping me get ready for it. On Friday we went to Imperial College to work. Cycling there was a scary proposition for me, since we had to spend quite a bit of time on a very scary road in Kensington. We walked across a few of the biggest junctions instead of crossing traffic. We made it there in about an hour. On the way back I was much more confident, and we cut down our time dramatically to about 40 minutes. On that trip, Ant rode behind me, which allowed me to feel more protected in traffic.

Yesterday we mapped out a route to my school and set off in the early afternoon. The cycle maps provided by the city of London colour code routes that are cycle-friendly. On our way there, we took quite a bit of paths through parks and along a river. Unfortunately, this was not as pleasant as it sounded beforehand. The paths were gravelled, and would be unlit at night. The parks sections were filled with people walking their dogs or pushing prams. One park was so large that we got lost inside it and, of course, there were no signposts on the paths. The last section of the journey was excellent, since there was a wide cycle path alongside a long road, separate from both traffic and pedestrians. The whole journey took over an hour. When we arrived at the school, we stopped for a coffee at a restaurant down the street.

While at the restaurant we reviewed the map and planned a very different route home. We used the same good cycle path for the first third of the journey, but then followed medium sized roads instead of going into the parks. These roads were much better and we made great time. It took about 50 minutes to get home again. Before that trip I didn't realise that our street is actually a hill from the Sainsburys end to here--quite tiring on a bike since the gradient is small but the hill is long.

I am feeling pretty positive about cycling at the moment. Although I have a lot of pain in my backside from the hard seat and the bumps! We are going to travel to the school a few more times this week to finalise a good route for me.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

fire door; keep shut

While out with Roople tonight, we stopped at a cafe on Leicester Square. Down the stairs there was this door. It's propped open with a fire extinguisher!

Saturday, 26 August 2006


I demand fresh eggs. These are definitely fresh; in fact, the hen came right over to the carton and laid the last egg in it.

Friday, 25 August 2006


Halifax is always changing. Each time I go there it seems familiar, yet a bit different. Ant says this is like when you use your digital camera to take a panoramic picture. The camera gives you a portion of the previous photo on the side to help you line up the next section. Returning home is like finding the overlap a bit fuzzy and not being able to quite get what you're seeing to line up with the previously taken image.

I went to a few new restaurants in Halifax this summer. One was Luxx, found in the old home of the Birmingham Bar and Grill. The food at Luxx was excellent, and Bonita and I were really pleased with the helpful service and cool plates. We enjoyed the sun on the balcony and catching up during our too short meeting. I went with my mum and dad to their new Chinese restaurant, Jeans. The portions were huge and provided us with more than one meal of leftovers. (While on our way into Jeans, we found a cell phone. My dad patiently paged through myriad contacts trying to discover to whom it belonged. Its owner phoned and came to retrieve it during the meal.) I dragged Gregg to the salad bar at Pete's Frootique, which was a stellar experience. The staff member who helped us was funny and helpful and the food was great. While in their seating area I had no trouble finding a wireless network to join and we laughed the time away. Finally, I went with Richard to Saege, a fantastic new restaurant on Spring Garden Road. Our food was delicious, the service was attentive, and the conversation was inspiring.

Other changes in Halifax: more potholes (or perhpas I am more surprised by them), lots of smokers, friends with new jobs or places or circumstances (like Sara, Gregg, Carolyn, Glenn). The tree in Grammie and Grandad's front yeard seemed so much taller than I last remember it. My parents' garden and house are always changing--and the Halifax airport as well. It's been under construction of some sort since I was knee high to a grasshopper. They have renovated every area and now are doing it again!

Sunday, 20 August 2006

what a cute baby

I have just returned from visiting Sonya and Kevin and their lovely little girl. She is a darling and slept the whole time I was there. She is getting lots of attention from family members and friends who have been visiting today.