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?