Thursday, 31 January 2008

daily devotions

I really love Bible reading. (I'm so pleased about reading through the Bible last year. It was hard but worth it.) My perennial struggle, on the other hand, is maintaining a routine of prayer. I have been stuck in the mire of prayerlessness for such a long time. I finally had an idea that seems so obvious I wish I had thought of it long ago. I have a routine Bible reading time every morning and I decided to make that my prayer time instead. I feel as though I will be motivated to make time later in the day for my reading because I enjoy it, and I'll have the benefit of a ready-made routine that I can use for my prayer. I am using the book Face to Face (Kenneth Boa) at the moment, to help keep me on piste.

I received my new Bible from Canada and so I am using my Dad's new New Testament reading plan, which has the books grouped by writers and backgrounds. It starts with Mark, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude. (I can provide copies by email to anyone who is interested in seeing it all.)

Sunday, 27 January 2008

love food!, part two

No sooner had I switched off my computer and crawled into bed than I wanted to turn it back on. I was reading tonight from The Prayer that Changes Everything by Stormie Ormartian, a gift from my mother ages ago that I have rediscovered. I was praying about God's gifts in creation and thanking him for all that he has made: the beautiful earth and the people around who bear his image. I went to read Psalm 104 as directed and one thing jumped right out at me that I am thankful for in creation: food!
He makes the grass grow...
and plants for people to cultivate--
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts. (Psalm 104:14-15)

I just want to say how thankful I am to God for fruits and vegetables! I really love eating them and I love that he made so many varieties. I am grateful that something so healthy is also tasty and can be made into so many things. I think it's brilliant that God was creative with vegetables and I think this shows his love for us.

Ant has just told me I am insane for sitting in bed blogging about my love of veg. But why should I hide my excitement and love of leafy greens? Sigh. Goodnight, Heavenly Gardener.

love food!

Ant and I had a little picnic this afternoon: wine and cheese and crackers, and peanut butter.

I love eating and cooking and photographing and writing about food. Ant made the salads above for us a few weeks ago. Aren't they beautiful? And the curry below was for dinner a few weeks before that.

That's all for now. Bedtime is my other love! And so off to bed I go.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

teachers' strike?

The National Union of Teachers has confirmed that they are going to ballot their members for a one-day strike on 24 April. The below inflation pay rises announced a week and a half ago are not enough.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


I really want to write about teachers' pay, but I am overtired from teachers' workload! So here are some links instead.

The BBC reports on a 2.45% increase for 2008, announced today.
The National Union of Teachers reply by saying they will give a "robust response".

One issue about how the announcement is being taken is that the government is using CPI (Consumer Price Index) as their measure of inflation (see Ed Balls comment in the BBC article), whereas the NUT is using RPI (Retail Price Index) as its measure. CPI doesn't include housing costs, so surely RPI is a better indicator? This government page says that RPI is the measure that should be used for wage bargaining, but this is not what they are doing. CPI is currently at 2.1%, whereas RPI is at 4%. So this announcement means another below inflation pay rise for teachers.

The NUT will probably still ballot its members for industrial action, and if successful, hold a one-day strike.

Saturday, 12 January 2008


On Ant's prompting, I decided to visit BETT today, a technology in education exhibition being held at Kensington Olympia this week. I convinced Sarah to register as well and we cycled there in the morning. Olympia is a huge venue, truly vast, and it was filled with stands handing out flyers, giving demonstrations, and talking with visitors. We both really enjoyed seeing some new things, but we disliked being sold to so much. We attended a seminar about maths and graphing software, which I enjoyed and Sarah found a bit confusing; we found and displayed a correlation between handspan and shoe size. I got loads of free goodies (Sarah admits that freebies were one motivation for going): two Guardian sections, 29 brochures, one stress ball, two pens, one foam cube to put together, a cloth bag, two CDs with demo software and resources, three journals, and a book about the career paths of secondary maths teachers.

We stopped for lunch at one of the in-house cafes (overpriced, though nice, sandwiches). A few stands were handing out food as well, for example, chocolates, a fortune cookie (with the company's website URL inside!), and a frog-shaped biscuit. But the best freebie of all was at the BBC stand. One of the things they were demonstrating is a part of their website called 21cc, and they were showing a piece of software in which students build an athlete and feed them, then study their agility and calorie expenditure. So they were handing out healthy treats: BBC branded oranges! Hahaha! How fantastic is that.* I was so taken with them, I ended up taking two.

We stayed until closing time are learned some neat things. Our school has a set of handheld voting pads that don't get used much and so we visited the company's stand to see how they can be used and I plan to try them out in the next month. I got some resources for the maths graphing software we have at the school already and I really hope to use it more as well in lessons. I have already been using it a bit for coordinate plotting and line drawing.

There was a stand there from the teachers' union we are part of and we chatted with the staffers a bit. It seems more and more likely that the union is going to ballot its members for a strike soon after the government makes its announcement about our next three years of pay. It's suspected that they are going to fix our pay rises at 2%, which is below inflation. Gordon Brown has been saying that all public service workers will have to sacrifice to help curb inflation. We have had no news of our pay negotiations this week, though. We are waiting with baited breath to see what will happen next.

*To make my parents' evenings go smoothly I usually have a bowl of small chocolates or sweets on my table for the parents and children who come. It's a popular stategy, but sometimes I cringe about the unhealthy aspect. One evening I brought little boxes of dried fruit pieces (similar in size to the raisins we used to get in our lunch boxes as kids). Now I have a new idea: maths branded oranges! Perfect!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

small personal triumph

I have now managed to cycle to work three days with my clip shoes and pedals! On Sunday Ant put the pedals on for me and I tried them out a bit on our road, going back and forth, clipping and unclipping my shoes to get a feel for it. Then Ant and I cycled to the park nearby and met Sarah so I could ride around a little there. It was terrifying and I found that unclipping was very stressful. I began to panic as I slowed down, worried that I might not be able to unclip and then fall over with my feet still attached. I had one close call, which was really fine in retrospect, but I was so nervous that I freaked out a bit before successfully unclipping. These last three days I have been cycling to work a bit more cautiously and I can now unclip more quickly as I approach a set of lights or a junction. I am hoping that I make it to the end of the week without incident; that shall be a major triumph.

Friday, 4 January 2008

cycle update

-new top speed: 44.8 km/h, downhill on the way home tonight
-only recent close call: a tree branch in the face
-tire pressure last night: 40 psi
-tire pressure after top-up last night: 70 psi
-newest accessory: overshoes (or shoe covers or booties in Canada), ugly but highly useful
-weekday ride distance: 20.2 km
-weekday ride time: 60 minutes
-current count on trip counter: 4415 km

Thursday, 3 January 2008


Why is it that the right hand rubber glove always breaks first? I usually keep the lefts since they are still good, but it seems a bit pointless now that I have this huge collection built up. I have all these lefts with no partners.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

happy new year!

Ant and I made it back to London this morning at stupid o'clock. I managed to get a bit of sleep on the plane with the help of my eye mask--well, I managed to close my eyes and doze off a bit. Ant had a worse time and didn't get much sleep. (Thankfully we didn't get woken up for the turn of the new year.) We had the normally long wait in the baggage hall, eventually exiting with our two (hugely heavy) bags and Ant's new snowboard. Since arriving at home we collapsed for a four hour nap and then an Eastenders marathon, with Ant catching up on all the happenings in the Square. We managed to make a nice meal using the few items left in the pantry (sweet potato risotto) and Ant ironed his shirt for work tomorrow. Now we're off to bed--exhausted. We're hoping that we wake up at the right time. Ant's not too thrilled at having to go to work and I'll have to restock the fridge and prep for lessons on Thursday.

Did everyone else have a good new year's celebration? Any stories to tell? Many blessings for the year ahead.