Wednesday, 31 May 2006


Sonya asked for a new post today so that she could comment on it! Heehee. Why does no one else comment? It could be like a nice little conversation. I know my parents read this blog, so why do they never comment? You don't have to be a member of anything, just click on the comments link at the bottom and type in the box. You can be anonymous or other--which is probably what you will choose so that I know who you are. Try it out!

In particular, I need some ideas about a Christian news website to read. Any suggestions?

Here comes the comment link. Look, it's right there, below this and on the right. :)

home alone

Ant is in Brussels for an assessment day and job interview. I am alone for a couple of nights.

Pros: not having to put all my stuff in the kitchen before I go to bed and sneak around in the morning getting ready, eating vegetarian with April (Matt is also in Belgium on an unrelated trip), more flexibility with my evening (although what have I done differently, really?).

Cons: No one to warm the bed up before I get in, no one to set up the audio-visual entertainment at supper time, no one to laugh at me tripping or dropping things, talking in person instead of on the phone, no one to chat to about my day when I get home.

Conclusion: two are better than one.

Monday, 29 May 2006

The book everyone is reading on the train.


A public holiday has seen me relaxing on the couch, not doing the marking I brought home nor cleaning the bathroom. Ha! I have been just finished reading Kate Mosse's Labyrinth. A number one bestseller, I found it hard to get into. The last hundred pages (of 694) were riveting, but the time it took me to get there was quite daunting.

One difficulty for me was that I was not sympathetic to the religious theme underlying the novel. Perhaps you could call it an anti-religious theme, actually. The three sacred books that are the focus of deception, intrigue, and secrets, are writings entrusted to guardians of different faith backgrounds. The books contain the key to the holy grail, which is actually more of a concept than a chalice: that the Truth transcends religions, that "the real Grail lies in the love handed down from generation to generation, the words spoken by father to son, mother to daughter. The truth lies all about us. In the stones, in the rocks, in the changing pattern of the mountain seasons." This seems to me a sad dilution of the truth a God who loves and woos us. And a God who creates a beautiful world, including rocks, seasons, and mountains that praise him. Our love handed down is a reflection of his gracious love that seeks to be known. May I know that love and make it known!

Sunday, 28 May 2006

information request

I'm looking for a Christian news website that I can read regularly. Any ideas? Maybe to have one UK site would be good, but I'd also like to try a North American one. I don't really have any ideas so far.... Please leave me a comment. Thanks!

Saturday, 27 May 2006

9mm Pistol: £177.25. TeleShop: Guns and weaponry for the life we live today.

AK-47: £474.99. TeleShop: Guns and weaponry for the life we live today.

Welcome to TeleShop, where trading in arms is as easy as saying, 'load, aim, and fire'.
Weather you're a small time crook, a military dictator, a guerilla fighter or a drug baron, Teleshop has the weapon for you. Of course there are laws to stop this sort of thing. But frankly they're so riddled with loopholes that any arms broker worth their salt can find a way through them.

Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher: £999.99

Guns are designed to kill and maim. So you'd think there'd be some pretty stringent laws to control the buying and selling of arms around the world. But you'd be wrong.
The fact is the arms trade is out of control.... 2006 will see two crucial UN meetings where the future of the arms trade will be debated. Amnesty [International] will be at both meetings doing everything we can to make the world's leaders address this desperately important issue. We know we can make a difference.

Join Amnesty International's campaign against arms sales.

controversy in qualifying

Monaco: the grand prix with the most thrills and spills. The race track winds through the tiny city streets, flanked by imposing metal barriers. There's little chance of overtaking and quite a few accidents occur when one car fails to turn in time and crashes on the side, blocking the track for everyone else. There's a tunnel involved as well, with terrible visibility coming out. Anyone could be crashed in the first turn outside the tunnel and you wouldn't know until you were on top of them.

With only a few minutes to go until the end of qualifying, Michael Schumacher had set the fastest lap time so far. Alonso was on a hot lap, trying to beat the time. Schumi was in one of the last corners of his in lap and (allegedly) experienced some difficulty turning. He slowed the car down and managed to keep from crashing, but ended up stalling the car next to the barrier. Alonso was forced to avoid his car as he finished his hot lap, thus Alonso was slowed every so slightly on what could have been the fastest lap yet. Flavio Briatore, Alonso's team manager was livid and said that Michael did it on purpose to ensure his pole position for the race tomorrow. As qualifying finished, other teams were also going to talk to the race stewards and there's talk of having Michael's race time deleted. But how could they prove that Michael ruined the other drivers' laps on purpose? Stay tuned, or visit Formula One for updates.

Friday, 26 May 2006

roast chicken for beginners

When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try!

6-7 lb. chicken
1 cup melted butter
1 cup stuffing
1 cup uncooked popcorn
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Brush chicken well with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for popping sounds. When the chicken's backside blows the oven door open and the chicken flies across the room... it's done!

Thursday, 25 May 2006

places to take my parents when they visit

1. Kew Gardens, of course. The all-important London visit as far as my mum is concerned.
2. Richmond Park. The largest open space in London. My colleague says it's nice to walk or hire bikes there.
3. A West End show, says Jayme. She is starting to convince me that I don't go to enough shows. What a great English teacher she is!
4. To visit Ant's family in Liverpool. His Nan and Granddad have been looking forward to meeting Mum and Dad for some time now.
5. Any ideas? We are still composing this list.

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

The Esca deli: fresh and tasty!

new favourite deli

I took a friend to a deli/cafe in Clapham today. We met so that I could tutor him a bit for an up coming test. The deli is called Esca and serves huge portions of delicious fresh food. It's connected to the famous Italian restaurant next door. I have also managed to drag Ant there recently. He thought there were a few too many vegetarian dishes and not enough meat. I think it's perfect!

Ah, the joys of eating well. I love it. Tonight I had grilled chicken with roast vegetables, a rocket and tomato salad and an Innocent smoothie.

Sunday, 21 May 2006

This week at church.

fruit of the Spirit

Two young brothers were punished by being sent to their room. Every time their parents did this, they would open the window and climb down the big tree to get out to play. After a time, they heard their parents talking about the tree. "It hasn't borne fruit in years." "Let's cut it down." They ran out to the shops and bought three kilos of apples, then tied them on to the branches. The next day the boys' parents saw it and were amazed. "But it's a pear tree!" they said.

The fruit of the Spirit are not meant to be grown by us, but by the Spirit in us. We are the wrong type of tree, like a pear tree that suddenly produces apples. The Spirit in us produces the fruit because God is the tree that produces the divine character.

The fruit come as a cluster; nine grapes hanging in the same bunch. It's no use to say, "I am a patient person, but I'm greedy by nature and I can't get self-control." Take them all or leave them all.

Love, joy, peace: these define our inner life
Patience, kindness, goodness (NIV)/generosity (NRSV): these define our relationships
Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: these define our integrity

And next week at church: The gifts of the Spirit
Last week at church: Who is the Spirit?

things to do online

1. Shop for groceries
2. Read other people's blogs
3. Find workouts
4. Try to learn about tax
5. Use Google Talk
6. Transfer money
7. Use Journey Planner to navigate the tube, bus, train, and tram system

Monday, 15 May 2006

music on my ipod

1. The Cat Empire: Australian and fantastically happy ska
2. Audio Adrenaline: pumps up my walk to work
3. Jamie Cullum: relaxing jazz for the bus
4. Third Day: helps me worship
5. Fiona Apple: gravelly and satisfying

Sunday, 14 May 2006

top five reasons to cuddle on the couch

1. The Grand Prix qualifying and race on Saturday and Sunday
2. We both have a weekend off together for the first time in ages
3. Two laptops with wireless internet
4. Any silly film is a good excuse, like The In-Laws
5. A nice meal or a quick pizza

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

fresh air

I try not to write about work much on the blog. One concern is that one day a student or parent could find this site and I don't want there to be anything "juicy" to read here. But I also avoid it so that I can turn off from work and have a separate life which this blog can celebrate. But really I know that work fills the vast proportion of my time. I spend about 12 hours per weekday on things connected with work: either in my room planning, cleaning, doing paperwork, travelling to work, or doing prep at home. Oh, and teaching and talking to students.

Yesterday I got to visit another school. It was a breath of fresh air to be elsewhere. I still had a lot of prep, travelling, and teaching. But it was nice to be away from the usual. Teachers at that school said that they still had a big workload, but that the school's organisation made it easy to teach there. Sounds wonderful.

So I insert this small post about my work to say that I have been more happy lately. It's still hard work at my school, but things are improving slowly and I have a more optimistic outlook. My days (rated on a scale of -2 to +2) are just as often neutral as negative now. And keeping track has helped me enjoy the positive days more fully.

Saturday, 6 May 2006

new recipe

I'm trying out a new recipe today. I got it from Sonya's preferred site: epicurious. One problem with the recipe is that I can't pronouce one of the words in the title! The other problem is that skinning chicken pieces is definitely not one of my favourite things to do. Blech. But it smells great and looks good.