Saturday, December 30, 2006

Reflections and Ambitions.

Happy New Year’s Eve Eve, everyone! 2006 is about to zip out of the door, and 2007 is about to waltz in from stage left (or stage right, you can decide, you’re directing the scene). Isn’t it crazy to think it’s almost 2007? I can still remember getting ready for the millennium, when the 1990s crashed into the 21st century, and now we’re in the thick of it. Some good times, some great friends, some bad times, some amazing opportunities, some challenges. And if you’d sat me down those 7 years ago and told me I’d be where I am, I’m not sure I would have believed you. But I sure am glad I’m here.

Most of the time, anyway!

So this is my ‘end of 2006’ post. The end of a year. The year I became a fully qualified teacher. The year I got rejected from the ‘X-factor’ (and ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?’) (and ‘Castaway’) . The year I renewed my love affair with Paris – the awesome city, not the awful person! The year I returned to full music geekery. The year I learnt how to horseride. The year I took (and failed, twice!) my driving test. The year I took up blogging with a passion. The year I shrank quite a bit. The year I did an awful lot of forgiving, a healthy whack of failing, a tonne of changing my mind and plenty of baking.

I set myself four targets for 2006, and I’ve done fair-to-good on them (certainly far better than I tend to do with such things!)…I wanted to qualify (Done! Whee! NQT no more!). I wanted to climb Snowdon (awesome fun – Ben Nevis, my sights are upon you!). I wanted to learn how to drive (this is the one I fudged up on….I mean, I learnt. I just can’t pass the test!). And I wanted to lose weight (roughly 30 pounds…pretty good, huh?). So all in all, I think the year’s gone pretty well.

But now we need to look to the future, wouldn’t you agree? So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are my ‘ambitions’ for 2007. Feel free to mock, laugh, and plagiarise at will!

1. I would like to pass my driving test. I find driving really, really hard, but much like Cher from Clueless, I am determined to master this skill!
2. I would like to lose more weight. The hardest part this year was not the actually weight losing (I love veg and water more than any sane person should, enjoy exercising, and have bags of nervous energy), but dealing with why I had gotten fat in the first place. Hiding behind yourself is a very cunning ploy, don’t you think? I was very secure in my role as the “fat and ugly” girl, and dragging myself out of this role will continue to be the hard part!
3. I would like to learn a musical instrument. The obvious option would be vocal training or going back to flute, but I’m feeling more and more drawn to bass or drums or piano or guitar at the moment.
4. I would like to become a better teacher. I love my job and I think I’m doing fairly pretty well at it, but I am aware that the better I get, the more the kids are going to benefit. I’d also like to start getting a grasp on what I want to do in the next few years – move up a rank or two? Try London? Try Scotland? Try going abroad? Stay private? Go primary?
5. I would like to get into running – I enjoyed it in high school, so come March/April, when it’s not so Baltic out there, I want to get my trainers on! I’m going to do the “Couch-to-5k plan” – it seems around my level ;-).
6. I would like to go to more gigs, and read more, and see more shows, and go to the cinema more, and take some dance classes.
7. I would like to do more kissing in 2007 (c’mon, the fates might be listening!).
8. I would like to see more of my friends in 2007 – the farflung thing makes it hard for many of us, but I intend to go vis’tin’ as much as I can, and am already looking forward to visits from Jess, Amber, Rachel and Jane, all in the first three months of the year. I anticipate much red wine and good chat! If anyone is ever in the south of England, I have a very comfy spare room for you and an award-winning garden for you to explore!
9. I want to stop buying chickflick DVDs. I like them, yes, but they are dominating my collection unfairly – I actually have pretty damn good taste in films, but you wouldn’t know it to look at my shelves. This year I want my dramas, thrillers, comedies and musicals to start fighting back because I love them too!
10. I want to get my finances in order. Dull, but necessary. I’ve been working on them for a year, and according to my budget, if I’m fairly good (no unexpected jaunts to America, Claire!) I should be looking OK financially by May, good by October and just gorgeous by the dawn of 2008. What a grown up ambition!
11. I want to make and swap even more mixes than I did this year! Viva music!
12. I want to keep up with the blogging – I have met so many cool people through my proper blog (and made a fair few people giggle on myspace!), and it has really helped my ‘real’ writing move up a level too.

So, there you have it, twelve (count ‘em!) ambitions. Will I succeed in any of them? Only one way to find out…..and it involves checking back next year.

But for 2006, this is me signing off. I am full of cold, but hoping against hope that I can make it out for my first Scottish Hogmanay in a while tomorrow! Thank you so much for reading and all the comments and emails this year. All that remains is for me to wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. Have an absolutely awesome one!

Love, as always,
Cxx

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My day as a born-again teenager.

So, the cold meds have thrown up quite an odd wee side effect. One I wasn’t envisaging. With all due respect to my teen friends (y’all know you’re fabulous, so don’t even play), today I have been, for lack of a better descriptor, adjective or string of words, exceptionally teenage in my habits.

Now, of course, to simply describe behaviour as teenage would just be silly. Like any slice of the populace, the lovely teens as a wide and varied in their colours as can be. But you know that stereotypical teen, so beloved of screenwriters? Well, that’s been me for the duration of today. I don’t usually get the time to devote to vegging out, but today I just seem to have regressed ten years.

(apologies in advance for typos, errors, omissions and just plain randomness. The crazily sexy cough-fits, expeditions for tissues and other assorted ‘La Boheme’ ripping off behaviours keep sweeping me off task. Plus, as part of my homage to teenagedom, I am of course blogging sprawled out on bed, pulling faces at my sister and wearing ‘emo’ gloves. Long story.)

So yes, a teenage day. I spent most of the morning myspacing, emailing, IM-ing with Cat, reading (I’m reading a really cool book called ‘Watching The English’ – I do love a good bit of cultural anthropology), picking things up and putting them down. Trust me, I’m not even joking :-).

Then I built up the gargantuan stocks of energy to…have a bath. And get dressed. I’m so glad this cold is on the wane, I am so shocking at being subpar. Plus I can’t sing properly, which is awful. I just feel bereft when I can’t sing, and now the sore throats gone I think “ooooh, hang on I can sing again”, then try and hit a glory note and remember the whole chesty-and-hard-to-breathe part. Oh dear.

This afternoon I watched a shameful, shameful, shhhhammmmmeful amount of tv. Including not one, not two, but three old eps of ‘Newlyweds’. I feel really dirty now, but watching Jessica Simpson panic about sausages, hair, and snowboarding (trust me, you had to be there) really worked for my soul this afternoon. As did lots of orange juice. Mmmmm. OJ.

And now it’s blogging and youtube. And in traditional Claire fashion I feel so! much! better! now, cos it’s evening and my brain is back in the vaguely ‘on’ position. But not far enough to write a deep and meaningful post, huh? ;-)

Have a great evening, all!

Cxx

PS Ooooh, I also made a mix CD and ate crackers. Seriously, pray I wake up tomorrow feeling normal!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rediscovery

Part of the joy of being on break has to be the time it affords me to listen to CDs I haven't heard in a while. And today I rediscovered 'Bleed American' by Jimmy Eat World.

It's a pretty good album, but one of the songs is just beautiful, and when I saw it made into a 'Doctor Who' tribute vid on youtube (you guys know how I love my youtube!), I thought I'd share. And for those of you who like all the gen, here are the lyrics also:

there's no one in town i know
you gave us someplace to go
i never said thank you for that
thought i might get one more chance


what would you think of me now?
so lucky
so strong
so proud
never said thank you for that
now i'll never have a chance

may angels lead you in
hear you me my friends
on sleepless roads the sleepless go
may angels lead you in

what would you think of me now?
so lucky
so strong
so proud
never said thank you for that
now i'll never have a chance

may angels lead you in
hear you me my friends
on sleepless roads the sleepless go
may angels lead you in


if you were with me tonight
i'd sing to you just one more time
a song for a heart so big
God wouldn't let it live


may angels lead you in
hear you me my friends
on sleepless roads the sleepless go
may angels lead you in

may angels lead you in
hear you me my friends
on sleepless roads the sleepless go
may angels lead you in

Love you guys,
Cxx

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Dear Santa....an open letter

FAO: Santa Claus

CC: My friends and family, all my buddies on myspace, bebo, the otz, CW and last.fm, and the kind and wonderful readers of my blog.

Dear Santa,

First and foremost, good luck for tonight! I know you always get it all done with room to spare, but good wishes are always welcome where I come from.

Well, I just thought I’d send you a quick message with my Christmas wish for this year. And I have to say, it’s the same one I always send at this time each year. I wish for all of my wonderful friends and lovely family to get exactly what it is that they wish for. My friends are all so amazing, so giving, so talented, and so darn funny…so for me, part of the joy of Christmas is sending my sincerest wishes for a fulfilling and joy-laden Christmas and a year ahead full of all the good things they deserve.

Give them health and happiness. Give them wealth enough to feel secure and unworried. Give them times of peace and rest, and the courage and wherewithal to follow their dreams. Help them to make the most of their lives, and help them to achieve all that you and I know they can! Please, Santa, give them what they want – whether it is a place at uni, a new car, a baby, peace in their marriage, a return to health, a person to love, a record deal, a new start, an answer to a question…. You will know better than I do!

Please also make sure that they all know how much I love them, and how much I value their friendship, love, banter and time, this Christmas and always. I appreciate that being friends with someone as cheesey as me can take a lot of work! Make sure they know that I am always thinking of them, praying for them, and wishing them well.

Once again, best of luck with the big drop-off!

Merry Christmas,
Love,

Claire

PS Yes, I know I’m a geek ;-). Love you guys, have a wonderful, blessed and joyous Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Semi - Festive” Singalong, Saturday 23rd December.

Compliments of the season, you guys. This is semi-festive only because I’m not going to limit myself to Christmas songs only….even a Christmas nut such as I am may be heading for saturation point as far as some festive ‘classics’ are concerned.

Ah, spank it, I’m gonna do wall to wall Christmas tunes. I swear, I am half elf!

Once more into the breach, dear friends!

1. We Wish You The Merriest – Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.

My gosh y’all, this is soooooo 1950s. Imagine Frankie and Bing both leaning on a fireplace, clutching a punch glass of eggnog, with a veritable chorus of cheesey girl dancers behind / in front of them, twirling incessantly and you have pretty much got it. I feel the need for a drink just to listen to it!

2. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses.

Yes!!! One of my fave Christmas songs, so fun to sing and dance along to.

So, what are you guys up to for Christmas? As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I am up in the wild wild of Scotland, avec la famille. And so far, it’s been fun. As it’s the season, most of my friends (such as have been retained from high school) are up too, so it’s all quite relaxed and just busy enough to give me hobbies and activities apart from snacking, drinking, squabbling with my siblings and checking my myspace far too often. Not that there’s anything wrong with those hobbies, but it’s good to have other stuff on the schedule.

Wednesday was the first day back, and I barely left the house – just hung out with the sibs and reconvened the ‘laptop club’. Three young adults (can I still give myself that tag ;-)?), three laptops, a dining room table, bad TV on in the background. So lazy, so fabulous. But after a while, you do kind of want to leave the house!

3. Jingle Bells – Sammy Davis Jr.

Are you hip to what he’s jingling, pally?

Thursday I met the ever gorgeous Babev and Mr D for lunch (she reads my blog, so hello, sweetie) and then accompanied them to go and see her nephew. So cute, you guys. One of those nice meetings that slid from lunch to a donder to a visit to cocktails. I love being on break sometimes.

4. Happy Xmas (War I Over) – The Polyphonic Spree

Usually, I tend to detest reworks of classics, but this is fairly good. All together now: “War is over, if you want it….”. If only.

Thursday night was a venture to the pub. The lovely Maz passed her driving test last month (congratumalations, hon!), so I was allowed to travel in her car, the bubbleatron. Friday was yet more pub visitation. Is it any wonder Scotland is a nation of alcoholics and borderline alcoholics? All in good fun though, so it’s banter wall-to-wall.

5. Maybe At Christmas – Drugstore.

Low-fi, baby. Low-fi.

Today’s venture was to meet the gorgeous and talented Jenga for lunch in town. Jenga and I were mates at high school and recently renewed our friendship via that most noughties of methods….myspace. She’s uber-cool. We were two of the girls at school who didn’t quite fit in, weren’t quite sure we belonged, and were generally a little angsty about it – nothing much has changed but we’re just both OK with it now! I love the chats we have though – any conversation which can swing from emigration to high school crushes to musical aspirations to kissing gay men to psychohosebeasts in the space of a few minutes is worth keeping in your world, I feel. She’s mad talented also, and I realllly want to go see her band play sometime next year.

6. Christmas In New Orleans – Louis Armstrong.

It is genre-leap-tastic ce soir, non?

Tonight, I am finally going to see another friend’s band play. If you’re interested they are called Dan Against The World (and naturally, they have a myspace!) and from what I’ve heard they are pretty cool – powerpop in an Ash – Fratellis style. Review to follow, no doubt!

I haven’t been to an honest to goodness, bring-your-own-beer, crowds of local youth, small hall gig in a while.

Should be fun!

7. Winter – Tori Amos
8. The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
9. Santa Baby – Kylie Minogue

Sorry – phone call! Woo! Tomorrow, of course, is Christmas Eve, or as we like to say around here, the start of hibernation. Church in the morning, lunch and movies all afternoon, then I cook dinner and we all chill pre-midnight mass. Then one more sleep till Christmas!!!!!

10. Santa Baby – The Pussycat Dolls.

This is actually better than you’d think. Brass, brass, everywhere!

So I must sign off now, and go regress to my teens. All that remains is to wish you all (if Christmas is your thing) a merry, blessed and truly amazing Christmas – I hope it brings all you could wish for!

Me, I’m hoping for candy, hair I can understand, and George Clooney / Dave Grohl / a cute, kind, music nut boy.

Happy, happy Christmas!

Cxx

PS Two days!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

All About Meme

A quiztacular blog for you all....well, it is almost Christmas!

Lifted without apology (but I did ask!) from the great and powerful Sars (do check out her site Tomato Nation, it’s all kinds of awesome. I’ve been reading since 2000, and the lady can spin one heck of a yarn!)

Quiz #1: My Favorite Things

Boy singer: This is a close run thing…in my little world it’s a tie between Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright. Both are amazing in their own right, but I can’t really figure out who I like more….

Girl singer: Aimee Mann. No, Tori Amos. Hang on, Aimee Mann. No, definitely Tori Amos. Yes, Tori. Absolutely Tori. I think!

Band: So very, very tough. I’d say it’s a kind of Dixie Chicks, ABBA, Ash, Nickel Creek, Muse deathmatch, depending on the day!

Song that brings back memories of high school: For R.A.A.S. – ‘Heaven (Is A Place On Earth)’ by Belinda Carlyle. It just reminds me of bouncing around the dorm with Jo and Linda and Alex, singing and bopping along, so young, so happy, so unaware of the sucker punches lying just around the corner…. For Forres, it’d have to be ‘500 Miles’ or, rather cringe-inducingly, ‘(Slam Dunk) Da Funk’. Man, I miss 5ive.

Song/band that reminds you of your first sexual experience: You cannot actually be asking that, right? Oh well, OK, I’ll go ‘My Favourite Game’ by The Cardigans. Great song, great band, and…I have nothing else to say about that!

Author: Only one? Haha, hardly likely! I’m going through an Alice Munro, Jane Austen, Cecelia Ahern and Bronte phase at the moment. But the favourites change all too often!

Last book read: Pride and Prejudice. Yes, again! I got into Austen late (I was 22!), but now I am a confirmed fan!

Kind of cuisine: Oh, I am far too much of a foodie to commit. I am a big fan of both Italian and Mexican – penne and chillies and fajitas and parmigano, oh my.

Place on earth: It’s a three way tie between Primrose Bay, Paris, and Main Street, Chapel Hill.

Thing to do on a vacation: Mooch around with my friends. Dance. Read. Talk for hours and hours and hours with the wine flowing and the candles flickering and the topics changing. Swim. Plan. See sights. Eat fabulous food.

Leisure activity: So many choices – reading, baking, watching movies, kissing, collaging, writing letters…. To relax is to truly be.

Work activity: I love most of the teaching I do, but the tops has to be teaching maths (please don’t judge me :-)), teaching dance, or just kicking back with my awesome kids – often the most fun is when I just get to spend time getting to know them and find out all about their little lives.

Best live concert ever witnessed: The cool answer: Oasis, Murrayfield, August 2000. The uncool answer: Take That, MEN Arena, June 2006. The real answer: A bit of both :-).

Stupidest thing done while drunk: Oh man. I could probably write an entire post detailing all the silly things I did after a few drinks. The joys of being a lightweight and studying in Aberdeen. Let’s just say I fell over a few times, told a…few guys I liked them, kissed some frogs, sang some karaoke, did some dares. That’s university, right? I am so, like, mature now, I never have more than a glass.

Hey, I just realised that’s often true. Hmmmm.

Soup: Heinz Cream of Tomato. With grilled cheese to dunk.

Artist: I am so thick when it comes to artists….could I have a pass please? I tend to prefer photos anyway, but can’t profess to know too much about that either. It’s something I want to learn more about…I am always in awe of my friends who know their art.

Sport to watch on TV: Rugby. And ice skating!

Breakfast: Mmmmm. Breakfast. Most important meal of the day! Bagels and porridge and bacon sarnies and muesli and fruit salad and coffee and eggs and pain au chocolat from the village store…but not all at once, don’t worry!

Favorite getting-ready music: Anything poppy and fun with a good bassline – I tend to listen to a mix of Outkast, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Take That, Abba, Muse and pure local radio station level cheese …woo, getting ready music!

Most nostalgic situation: Being seventeen, mainly the summer of 1998. I’m not sure I’d want to be there again, but it was a cool time and one that makes me smile.

Heroine: So many. My mum, for starters. Maya Angelou, Tori Amos, Rosa Parks, Margaret Thatcher (not the biggest fan of her politics, but she is certainly an impressive lady), Shirley Manson, Emma Thompson, Fiona Apple, Emily Dickinson, Mary Magdalene, Emily Pankhurst, Helen Keller, Maria Von Trapp, Ruthie Henshall, Teresa of Avila….all for vastly different reasons.

Popular misconception about yourself: That’s a tough one! I guess it would be the common thought that I’m confident – it’s pretty much a sophisticated façade, but I am more confident now than I ever was before, so it's a work in progress!

Quiz #2: About Me

Living arrangement: I live in an annex flat, attached to a pretty darn huuuuuge house. I have all the little things that make life go smoothly, a few precious things, and tonnes of CDs and girly tat!


Favorite TV show: I really like TV, which is uncool to admit I know, but there’s something awesome about having something you look forward to being on. Perennial favourites are Never Mind The Buzzcocks, House, Scrubs and The Simpsons. Sarcasm is obviously a big part of my viewing culture!

What's on your mousepad? Nowt. I <3>Garden State versus William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet. Needle dropping rules my tiny musical planet.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? Turn off my mobile, fumble for the light, shuggle my head, and stride to the kitchen to put the kettle on.

Do you get motion sickness? Only on coaches, generally.

Roller coasters - scary or exciting? More scary than exciting. I hated them while I was growing up, but I’ve got a little braver now. Still not the biggest fan of the rickety looking ones or those that go upside down!

Pen or pencil? Pen, for permanency. I do love the feel of writing in pencil though, it’s so relaxing.

How many rings before you answer? I pick up the house phone ASAP. My mobile is usually on silent, so I often miss the call entirely. Sorry, you guys! But I always call back! Hee.

Favorite food: Pizza. Or broccoli cheese. Or turkey salad. Or carrot sticks and hummus.

Do you get along with your parents? Thank heavens…YES!

Chocolate or vanilla? Either / neither.

Favorite ice-cream flavor: Phish Food, Mint Choc Chip or Apple Pie.

Croutons or bacon bits? I’m not really huge on either, but I can enjoy them from time to time…

Do you like to drive? I hope to one day!

Do you sleep with stuffed animals? Just the one – Jockey Bear! I have grown up enough now to not take him everywhere though!

Storms - cool or scary? Scarily cool.

What type was your first car? A little yellow moped, qui s’appelle the Bumblebee.

If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be? My mum’s dad. He sounds like he was a really amazing human being.

Favorite alcoholic drink: Red wine, ale, or G&T.

What is your zodiac sign? Sagittarius. And I’m a textbook Sage.

Who's your favorite poet? Emily Dickinson. I think it’s the shared birthday that does it!

Do you eat the stems of broccoli? Yep. I lurve broccoli so much, I don’t like any to go to waste!

If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? Graveyard shift DJ – just getting to play good music and chat, how awesome would that be?

If you could dye your hair, what color would it be? Purpley-red.

Have you ever been in love? Not yet!

What is on the walls in your room? Collages of cards and tickets, a mirror, some cute bits of tat, another mirror, pictures of my gorgeous friends.

Is the glass half full or half empty? Half-full, if not more than half-full.

Favorite Snapple? I only drink Snapple when in the US…and that’s only been a month of my life so far. Ask me again if I ever emigrate!

Favorite movie? Right now it’s either ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, ‘Magnolia’, or ‘Grease’. Ask me again tomorrow and that will change!

Are you a lefty, a righty, or ambidextrous? Righty. I am not at all ambidextrous either…sometimes I struggle with a fork!

Do you type with your fingers on the right keys? Not at all. But I’m doing a touch typing course next term!

If you could be any gardening tool, what would it be? That is one crazy question. I’m going to go with…a watering can.

What's under your bed? I have a couchbed! So other than my ‘groovy and fabulous’ slippers, nothing!

What's your favorite number? Anything that is not a multiple of seven plus one. Long and boring story, trust me!

What is your dream automobile? A VW Beetle.

What a marathon - hope you liked!

Love to you all, as always,
Cxx

PS 4 days!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

En Ecosse

Back to life. Back to reality. Back, in fact, to the here and now-ooh-yeah.

So, term is done, loose ends are tied up and the holidays have begun. Woo! Usual craziness and fun at the end of term, highlights included a section supper (lots of red wine plus a room of thirteen year olds plus me and other staff plus party games equals fun, y’all), carols aplenty, and English department meal that was positively laden with good chat, and the traditional parties, crafts and gifts that signify the end of a term in Year 3. I also made myself a kickass hat-cum-crown with the emblem “Princess Claire”. It was awesome!

So term ended and I pretty much collapsed (teachers are so hardcore, right?). And emerged, ready for the festive season. Well, as ready as one can ever be!

Got to the airport today, purchased my copy of Hello and Time (turns out we are all Time magazines’ Person of the Year….man, that punctuation just there was shocking…can I blame travel-lag this one time?). Was just mooching along to the security check when who do I bump into but Mr Grey? Yep, one of my friends I haven’t seen anywhere near enough this year, and he winds up on my flight to Inverness. What were the chances? Really good chat and nice to catch up, a fine start to the holiday.

Tomorrow, hanging with the sibs, present shopping and more bloggy fun. Hurrah for holidays!

Love to you all,

Cxx

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The CRT awards 2006

A fun myspace meme:

1) Drinking Buddy of The Year? I'm not the biggest drinker, but when I do, good times tend to abound with my sister in red wine drinkage....Miss Fi!
2) Lifetime service award? This award has to go to the siblings - how they cope with having an ever so slightly nutty and occasionally bossy big sister never fails to amaze me!
3) High Point of the year? Probably Snowdon with my Year 7s, then watching them all grow up so much over this past half year. They are insanely cool. Other high points would be Paris in the Feb halfterm, getting back into writing and singing (even if it's just babysteps for now) and dropping two dress sizes (forgive the shallowness of that last one!).
4) Low point of the year? Failing my driving test. Twice.
5) Holiday? Paris, February. Awesome. The brief sojourn to Lincoln in the summer was pretty groovy also!
6) Anthem for 2006? Can I have three, please? It's a tie between 'Smile' by Lily Allen, 'Pull Shapes' by The Pipettes, and 'Supermassive Black Hole' by Muse.
7) Regret of the year? January.
8) Best Night out? Any night where I got to hang out with any or all of the gorgeous members of the "dirty dozen" - friends as cool as that make any night awesome. Love you guys! Honourable mention to the big night out with Jess and co in August, amazing to see you guys after so long, and the banter was wicked. 9) Worst Night out? Can't recall any just now - I tend to stay in if I'm not in the mood and listen to music! Haha, I'm such a geek!
10) Drink of 2006? Water! As my Snowdon crew can tell you, a dehydrated Miss T gets ill quickly (sunshine + extreme heat + not enough water + walking for seven miles with a 50l rucksack in aforementioned heat + low blood pressure + odd blood sugar to start with = me, on knees, retching, blacking out, blinding headache and shakes. Sexy! And that was day one - aren't y'all impressed I made it to day 5....and all I needed was extra water!). So yes, H2O wins!
11) Best gig of the year? *small voice* Take That, June, Manchester. Their first ever stadium and they ripped it up. Amazing, and yes, I screamed like a teenybopper!
12) Game of the year?? Tennis, played badly. Rummikub, played frequently.
13) Most embarrassing moment? I prefer to look at my years as embarassing moments woven into one long chain, personally!
14) Movie of the year? I don't think I have one! Loved the hype for Snakes On A Plane though - mainly because of the awesome banter on the OTZ!
15) Book of the year? For me, 'Captivating'. It truly made me think, and most Christian prose fails to do that!
16) Food of the year? I'm going to have to extend this to foods - cheese, broccoli, turkey salad mega pittas (weight loss tastic, almost looking forward to getting back to the healthkick in January), Zizzi's crabmeat salad, Tesco value tortillas, Lindor, broccolli and the WHS dinner genius that is boiled ham, baked tatties and cauliflower cheese. Mmmmmmm (can you tell I haven't had lunch and it's 3?).
17) Girl of the year? All my fabulous girls - those I love, those I teach, those that make me laugh, those who pray for me, those who call me...
18) Colour of the year? The award for colour of the year 2006 goes to…Blue. Well done. (I'm with Ewen on this one!).

With love to you all,

Cxx

PS 9 days!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Singalong Sunday, 10th December.

1. Somebody to Love – Boogie Pimps.

You guys, I am 26 years old! Yep, today is my birthday, and it has been a nice one – very chilled today, dinner and fun with some friends last night, lots of fun gifts and big plans for the year to come. And now it’s 9.30, I’m writing a blog, chilling before the last week of term. And then Christmas. Heck to the yes, people.

So it’s been a wee while. I’m glad so many of you appreciated the sheer cheesey goodness of the pics in the last post – I was so thrilled to have some classics which were a) taken by my always fabulous seven year olds, and b) actually examples of my looking human!

2. Purified – Michael W. Smith

Mmmm, CCM tune ahoy. Some CCM bites the big one, but I do like Mikey W!

So yes, it has been a chilled weekend, after a busy couple of weeks – reports and exams and school plays and kissing boys and lunch with the Gilesgate girls (what up, my sistas?) and stress and karaoke, oh my. It has certainly been a time of upheaval, but now we are staring down the barrel of the final week of term – lessons kind of get thrown to the wall, but we will all have an awesome time.

Claire’s Christmas frenzy is in full tilt now. All the international cards are out, last two international packages (of the ten or so that go!) go tomorrow, kids cards are done, UK cards a quarter done (am working on those and the UK packages after this!), colleagues gifts done, those and church cards to do.

Christmas is fun!

3. Alternative Girlfriend – Barenaked Ladies.

When are BNL next in the UK? I really need to find out.

So yes, Christmas continues apace, it is the most wonderful time of the year, after all. I am due for a busy week (out 5 or 6 nights of the next week, with a more chilled outlook when I return to the frozen north!). But that’s OK. It does mean that I don’t have to do much cooking or washing of dishes, so that’s fabulous! Hahaha, I’m such a lazy moo.

Am looking forward to the return to the homestead for Christmas – as well as hanging with the fam I’ve got sorties to Aberdeen, Elgin, Stonehaven and St Andrew’s planned, so I should be just busy enough. Apart from that it’ll be napping, reading, board games, walks and snacking – a typical Christmas with the fam.

4. People Get Ready – Aretha Franklin

Speaking of getting ready, what are you guys doing for New Year’s? Or, as we say in the homeland, Hogmanay?

New Year’s is famously not my favourite festival…in Scotland it is very much the be all and end all…so it tends to wind up a bit of a dud!

5. Break On Through (To The Other Side) – The Doors

Oh, tenuous link…this is on the OST to ‘Forrest Gump’ – the movie I am going to resume watching after this….I watched ‘Apollo 13’ earlier so it’s a bit of a Hanks fest here :-).

Anyway, this year my friend the Bav is having a New Year’s party, so that should be fun. She and her hubby Peter are sweethearts, and Hogmanay is always more fun when your with a good crowd. In my teens and early twenties I would really go all out….by contrast I saw 2006 in by watching ‘The Lizzie Maguire Movie’ and doing karaoke!!!

6. I’m Waiting For The Day – The Beach Boys

Waiting is a funny thing. At church today we were talking about waiting. It’s not something I’m particularly good at. Well, that needs qualifying. Waiting for a bus I can do. Waiting for a fun event I kind of love – that whole ‘feeling like you’re tied up in knots’ thing evidently does it for me! Waiting for other things…not so much.

7. Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night – The Fratellis

Have you heard these guys yet? If not, do so immediately [/Mugatu]. I’m loving the whole album right now.

So, this kissing of boys I alluded to…I’m not sure where that’s going to go, but it was random and enjoyable, and there may be a rematch on the cards (we were both keen but both so inept we forgot to swap numbers). Say it with me – durrrrr, Claire! I’ll keep you guys posted though – I am growing faint with the idea of actually having some gossip [/clutches pearls]. Heehee.

Ow. My tummy hurts (and to think, with blogging of this calibre I want more gossip to contribute!).

8. Someone Watching Over Me – The Zutons

What do you guys want for Christmas? I’ve decided I want a digital camera (egads, this blog is going to go crazy), some towels (sorry, that was a typo earlier, I’m actually ninety-six!), some spangles and glitz, George Clooney and Colin Hanks. I’ll be sure to let you know what Santa comes up with!!!

I am excited with the gifts I am giving this year. I have spent ages choosing and wrapping, so I hope people like. And it’s just killing me not being able to write about it here, because some of the recipients may look at my blog.

Must. Not. Divulge.

9. I’m Daisy, I’m Violet – from ‘Side Show’

This track is about twenty seconds long, fact fans!

10. Frosty the Snowman – Man or Astroman?

What a festive note to go out on! I will close and conclude my birthday with cake, wine, and writing of Christmas cards.

Have a great week everyone!

Cxx

PS 15 days to go!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

This is how the children see me...





A couple of cold November days. A couple of crazy classes. A digital camera. A kooky teacher...

I'm quite impressed at my children's mad photography skillz!

I thought these unique pictures might make you smile...


Hope they raise a smile! Enjoy your week!
Cxx
PS 26 days to go!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Singalong Sunday, November 26th.

Mmmmm. I am just blissfully relaxed. It is amazing what a regular weekend, rather than the snatched one-to-one-and-a-half days we usually get around here, can do for the soul. I feel refreshed, back on form, chilled and ready for the very busy month ahead – my favourite month of the whole year (I can actually find something great about every month, but December is just awesome. Having a festival in it which plays so gorgeously to my strengths and favourite things – giving presents, church, music, sending cards and letters, meeting up with favourite people and spangles – is just the coolest bonus ever).

I have just enjoyed the pongiest lunch ever – really good stilton and white grape on oatcakes with a huge cup of coffee. I’m pretty confident I smell pretty awful right now (but fear not, gentle reader, the Colgate and floss beckons after this post!). I was just thinking a lot about all the antisocial things I get to do at the current time, due to my single and living alone status. These habits include, but are not limited to:

* Eating stinky foods – in the past day I have had garlic, wine, chillies, stilton and coffee. Note to self, make sure any future partners like similarly toxic foodstuffs! I once dated a guy who liked Marmite (my bete noire)… that was interesting. I also do that girly thing of when I’m alone forgoing meals altogether in favour of grazing!
* Reading books in the bathroom. I know, I know, it’s hardly very Debrett’s, but I always have some reading material in there. My ladies group at church would no doubt be horrified.
* My singing sessions. Now, as much as I love my Fratellis and Tilly and the Wall and Muse, sometimes a girl just needs to crank up the Whitney Houston and have a sing into a hairbrush (or an inflatable microphone, ahem ;-)). Now, I convince myself that it’s not quite as bad as I can hit all the notes Whit does, but deep down I am all too aware of the innate geekiness.
* Putting my Christmas tree up on November 25th. I restrain myself till then, but as soon as 25/11 rocks up I am so there. As I type I can see my gorgeous tree, all red and gold and spangly, hung with chocolates and candy canes. Underneath are about three dozen gifts, all ready to be dispatched to lovely people very soon.
* My workout / housecleaning ensembles. At work I tend to look pretty well put together (well, my colleagues and kids tell me that, at least), cute skirts, pretty tops, wide legged trousers, groovy accessories, minimal makeup, tamed hair. My casual clothes are all OK too….but on my ‘me’ days, or when I work out in the mornings? Ahahahaha. Old joggers, teeshirts from shows that have long since past, enormous sweatshirts, outsize PJ bottoms. Glamour, thy name is Claire. Today, for example, I am wearing my ex-fat-jeans (these didn’t do up while I studied at Durham, but are now a little loose and have a comedy habit of falling down completely, thus rendering them useless for wear anywhere other than home), a bright red ‘Anything Goes’ teeshirt (that show was five years ago? Wow. Seems like weeks ago I was breaking out the sequins and wig. At other times it feels like a different life entirely), and a huuuuuge Old Navy hoody. I am the sexy, y’all.
* Some of my TV choices would surely strike fear into the hearts of many men….’Make Me a Supermodel’? ‘Smallville?’ ‘Songs of Praise’? Man, I really love ‘Songs of Praise’. Whenever I remember to watch it it’s always brilliant.

Hmmm. Perhaps I’ve said too much.

On with the tracks.

1. Green Christmas – Barenaked Ladies.

Yeah, I’ve added my Christmas tracks to the playlist. What of it? I get as irate as the next person at the TV ads starting for Christmas in, oh, September, but once we enter the one month to go phase, it’s on. You’re talking to a girl who owns (and loves) the Muppet Christmas Carol Soundtrack Album…I’m a lost cause….

2. Call Me When You Get This – Corinne Bailey Rae.

Man. I haven’t listened to this girl in a while. But I’m still loving the voice.

This song makes me smile. Earlier this year I had a stupid! unrequited! crush! ™ on a friend of mine. Anyway, in a sad and cheesey Claire way I made him a mix CD (shut up, I was being fifteen at the time). This song was on the mix. I spent the summer working on getting over the crush (because, after all, I’m not fifteen) and ding-dong, the witch has gone, but this song really reminds me of that time. Now I spend time with him and I just think maaaan. That would have been a disaster! As friends this guy and I have a great rapport, but as a couple? Hilariously bad – I would have given and given and given, and he wouldn’t have been able to give anything back. I’m afraid the whole scenario was a clear case of NAMS (nearest available man syndrome). There are no guys here (as I’ve pointed out before) so a handsome, fragile, bookish, frankly unsuitable guy was going to sway me for better or ill.

I’m loving the hindsight.

3. Firecracker – Ryan Adams.

I love this song, from one of my favourite albums of all time. Break out that harmonica.

We’ve been bracing ourselves for gales all this weekend. Yesterday was stormy, in that odd, end of November way – hail, then thunder, then shine then rain. The elements couldn’t make up their mind! Today is a clear and crisp winter day, damp and breezy with an Yves Klein blue sky. Hee. The sky is always Yves Klein blue in chicklit, do you notice?

4. As Ugly As I Seem – The White Stripes.

I hope not.

We were having a big chat about ugliness earlier this week. It’s a subject close to my inner core – I think I’ve mentioned before how I really struggled with this growing up. Yep, right up until a few years ago I was thoroughly convinced that I was ugly. Not funny looking, not fat, not ‘an acquired taste’, no. I genuinely thought I was ugly. I fished for compliments that I would then destroy or dissect. I saw beauty, prettiness, grace…everywhere but here. It was a dark and horrid way to look at myself.

5. Tomorrow Tomorrow – Elliott Smith.

And now? I think I’m safely in the OK band. I’m not going to launch a thousand ships, but nor am I going to break mirrors or scare babies. I’ve learnt to see the good things about myself, as well as those of others. Ok, I’m never going to be a size 4 blonde with a face that stops traffic, but I have grown accustomed to my looks, grown more comfortable with them, more aware of the good bits as well as the flaws.

For example, I have a wide smile, a smile which children find infectious…it draws people in and makes them want to smile too. I have friendly, kind eyes. I have clear skin and rosey cheeks which make me look all kinds of healthy and bucolic. I have a figure that is certainly never going to win any prizes, but it has its advantages – it’s curvy and proportioned and strong – muscles earnt from dancing and lifting children and climbing mountains…the best kind. Children and friends describe me as pretty or beautiful now and while I know they’re biased, I take the compliment for what it is now, an extension of their esteem and love.

So I say thank you.

6. I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

Is it Deathcab, or Death Cab? I’m never sure.

I love this song. It’s amazing how powerful one man and a guitar can be. I love the lyrics as well, so visceral and emotive (haha, how many ten point words am I racking up today?).

7. Love Is A Sweet Thing – Faith Hill.

Haha, the country rears it’s head! Did you guys see that video on YouTube of Faith’s reaction to Carrie Underwood beating her to a CMA? Absolutely classic.

I really have no opinion on Faith Hill. She can sing, and her music doesn’t offend me, but she’s a bit too glossy and packaged and watered down and marketed for me to take seriously. I bought the album this is from for one song alone – a simply gorgeous ballad called ‘If I’m Not In Love With You’, which is currently on my ‘to learn’ pile (yes, I have a ‘to learn’ pile. Got to get ready for the next reality TV audition J). It’s an amazing song, very pared down, lots of jammy notes…I love it.

8. The Man With The Child In His Eyes – Kate Bush.

From a singer that leaves me cold to one I adore. Aptness abounds.

This time in three weeks I’ll be on break. The time before that stretches out, full of business and action – visits and plays and reports and concerts and parties and birthdays. Then three weeks of chilling. Mmmm. I’m having a Christmas drinks thing here which should prove comedic – 20-odd people in my wee flat?

9. Put It Off Until Tomorrow – Dolly Parton & Loretta Lynn.

The harmonies in this kind of remind me of the MacDonald brothers on the X-Factor….I can’t believe they are still in this season! Maybe that’s what I need to do for next time I try out for something – grab a comedy partner to do some harmonies….

And the final song is:

10.What Good Is Love For You? – Dusty Springfield.

Hehe. Breaking out the Dusty to close.

And now I have to go brush my teeth.

Have a great week, all!

Cxx

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's Exeat Friday! Yay!

Hurrah, hurrah! It's exeat Friday! Instead of the usual Friday afternoon of duties and readers and drama and rehearsals and all that jazz, I've just finished work :-)! Yay!
I'm off to the shops to buy some good things, then it's bath and nap time, before a weekend of relaxing, good movies, and Christmas prep.!
Have an awesome weekend all - the mood is positively festive here :-).

Cxx

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thankfulness

So, it’s thanksgiving for our friends in the States. Happy Turkey Day, y’all! Here in England it doesn’t mean much (although the kitchen are doing a special thanksgiving menu – high five!), but I have to say it’s a festival I can get behind – I think all too often in our Western world we get caught up in feeling deprived, hard-done-by and less-than, and it’s nice to have a chance to give thanks and share.

My tutor group and I had a game of “What are we thankful for…” in tutor time earlier and it was really sweet – they really are a great bunch of kids and I love that they get how lucky they are. Life’s so simple (but hard) when you’re seven – I was grateful that they were so thankful for the right things – family, friends, health, faith…and food, naturally! I told them I was thankful for them, they really are such an amazing asset in my little world :-).

What else am I thankful for? My family – crackers though they may be, they are my people and I love them to bits. I’m thankful for my friends, and for the web of emails, letters, cards, phone calls, texts, visits and blog comments that keep us all in touch. I’m thankful for my health – humans are all too fragile. I’m thankful for my job – yes, it’s tough sometimes, but this is a vocation for me, and I love getting to help little ones figure out what they want to be, and who they are. I’m thankful for a thousand little pleasures – good books, hot chocolate, cold crisp mornings, snugly handmade comforters, the simple joy of planning and preparing for Christmas, the rare chance of a break on a Thursday morning (my class are busily writing timed stories and I’m not allowed to help (imagine those last three words in block letters and you get an idea of school policy!)), and an upcoming exeat. I’m thankful for little victories, for escaping the past, for looking forward to the future.

Be happy and thankful, and I hope you all have an amazing day!

Cxx

Monday, November 20, 2006

Singalong Sunday, 19th November

Perhaps this blog entry should have a subtitle.

I’ll go with ‘layers’.

I’ve felt like crap all week, like something’s been bothering me and I don’t know what. I’ve been weepy, agitated, down on myself, headachey, tired, blue, feeling sick, under the weather. But yesterday my mood started to lift somewhat, and I had a good lusty sing yesterday (and today, woo!), which always lifts the cobwebs.

And now I sit here, feeling rejuvenated, ready to write a proper entry. Yes! I’m feeling more like me than I have in a while, but I’ve been facing down a few demons in the past couple of weeks, so forgive me the conspicuous absence. I had to get out of my own head, sort some stuff out, then get back in my head and get back onto stuff….

Mmmm, tangent tastic this evening.

I just found an old mix CD someone made for me a couple of years back, and it’s put me in such a decent mood – singing (and drumming) along to ‘Laid’ by James and singing and pouting along with ‘They Don’t Know’ is a surefire mood lifter around here!

1. I Do, I Do, I Do – ABBA

Oh man, what a great cheesey moment to begin with…this song is just awesomely connected with ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ in my mind. I kind of empathise with Muriel (Mariel!) Heslop – not so much now, but definitely when I was younger I felt very disconnected to the normality of life.

Now I still feel a little disconnected, but I know it’s OK. The places I’ve been, experiences I’ve had, choices I’ve made, the places I’ve been…I was never going to end up Mrs Normal of Normaltown, 2 kids, 2 cars, 1 holiday to Majorca a year. Sometimes I feel bereft, never having the chance of taking the normal route, but at most times I feel fairly lucky and privileged to be able to walk this lesser trod road.

2. Forrest Gump – Suite – Alan Silvestri

From a song in a film to part of the score of another film. I love the music of ‘Forrest Gump’, and the score is just beautiful (but then, I am a sucker for both strings and piano, so they more or less had me at hello). I actually like ‘Forrest Gump’ – a fact some of my fellow film students could not fathom when we were undergrads. But I do – it’s sweet and clever and it sweeps you up. It has a kickass OST (as I mentioned), great performances, and it never ever fails to make me cry (and y’all know how I enjoy a good cry!). With the birds and the tears and the “He’s so smart, Jenny.” Egads, I’m welling up just describing it.

This weekend has been cathartic and hectic, a break and a change, which I both wanted and needed. Sometimes I get so swept up in the mania of the termtime I lose myself a little – I push myself too hard and forget that I have wants and needs and desires and hopes and dreams and fears which need my attention. It’s always good to gain some me time!

3. Trading Air – Athlete.

I really don’t have much of an opinion on Athlete. I don’t dislike them, by any stretch, they’re just a bit there and wallpapery. Not really something to get particularly worked up about, in my opinion.

Yesterday evening I did something I haven’t done in a long, long while.

No, not that! Minds out of the gutter, please!

Hee.

No, I wrote a song. Nothing much, just a few lines and a melody, and not a groundbreaking one at that, but I wrote a song! Perhaps I should explain why this causes such delight…

4. She Wants To Move – N*E*R*D*

My treatise on Pharrell will have to wait, as I’m mid story.

…I used to write songs a lot when I was younger. My lyrics were always vastly better than my tunes, but I could churn out songs like a pro. Then at about twenty, just when life sort of slid from a little grey to deep, dark, fetid black, I stopped. I couldn’t write songs anymore. It’s like that part of me just shut down. I could still break out the poems, but the songs? Were no more.

Then yesterday, I was just running a bath, thinking some thoughts, all that jazz, and a melody pops in my head, then some words, and in five minutes I have a two verse, two chorus, bridge and finale song. It’s nice to have the skill back, I must admit, even if my first effort was a little cheesy!

5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright – Simon and Garfunkel.

Mmmm, harmonies. I’m going to go watch NMTB now, but shall return to the singalong after the fun and games…

6. Pray – Take That

And I’m back! To cheese, cheese, cheese. Never Mind The Buzzcocks was hilarious, and Amy Winehouse is certainly fond of a drink or nine (awesome voice though – talent, tragedy and excess all seem to walk hand in hand, ce n’est pas?).

So, onywyes (to use the Doric vernacular), I wrote a song, and I got to thinking (always a dangerous pastime, but I do so love to live on the edge). I’m going to try and write enough songs to pick the best to make an album, rope in anyone who can sing / play / engineer for brain-picking, and try and get it recorded. Sure, it’ll just be for me and my mates, but it would still be pretty cool. So far I’ve got one lyric and melody, a lyric, a title and a dream….I’ll keep you all posted :-).

[I’d like to get it done by my thirtieth…this gives me four years and three weeks…]

7. Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

Full body T for tune. I just love this song, and it never fails to make me want to boogy. It also has the filthiest bass line I have heard in a good long time, and that is always a good thing. A little filthy bass line goes a long way in my world.

So, the country life continues apace. And tomorrow it’s 5 weeks till Christmas! I have written 20 of my international cards so far and am trying frantically to work out what gifts I have and haven’t got, which ones need mailing when, what I’m doing for my Christmas drinks (theme? Snacks? Soundtrack?)…it’s the most wonderful time of the year…

8. Get This Party Started – Pink

The new M&S advert has Shirley Bassey performing this. It is utterly bizarre, and kind of awesome.

Over the next week I’ll also be getting the names of my two secret sisters – I do one through the OTZ, and this year I’m doing one through FCN also. I love secret sistering, it’s lovely to plan such a nice surprise for someone. My regular gifts are coming along well also, but there seem to be so many of them to sort out! I guess I shouldn’t complain, I only have to worry about my friends and family – it must be even harder work if you’re in a couple!

9. Dirrty Girl (Mashup) – Jet and Christina Aguilera

Man, the player is breaking out the tunes now. If only I wasn’t in my PJs at 10.20 on a Monday, in a bijou annex flat in the middle of nowhere. I wanna go dancing! [/toddler tantrum].

And now, it’s bedtime…or rather, faff about for ten minutes, shove hair into some weird coily thing, cleanse-tone-moiturise (oh, hang on, I don’t need to, I did it after my shower. High five to self!), brush teeth, fold out bed, read chapter of book for tomorrow’s book/women’s group and then sleeeeeeeeeeeep.

10. Disenchanted Lullaby – Foo Fighters.

A lullaby! How apt! Goodnight all!

Have a great week,

Cxx

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Funky funky funk-funk

Ah. It's just been one of those weeks. Roll on Sunday afternoon, when I intend to stop (if not colloborate and listen), chill, clean my house and watch some awful TV. Tired is my theme, baby!

Hope you are all well...more soon!

Cxx

Monday, November 13, 2006

Singalong Sunday, 12th November

It’s Sunday night. I am beat. Let’s get our singalong on…

Action Satisfaction – Jurassic 5

This track is exactly what the doctor ordered – it’s been both a fun weekend and a looooooooong hardworking weekend, in almost equal measure, and it’s so good to be here, in my PJs, cup of tea to hand, just chillaxing. So good.

For most of the weekend I was graced with the awesome presence of she who we call Banana. While we’re on that, I do think it’s quite cute that my buddy Bee’s wee sister s’appelle Banane in blog-land, and one of my best buds is Banana on this blog. C’est bizaree, non? Or maybe y’all just think this s#%^ is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S….

Bellissima – DJ Quicksilver

Yes, I just typed that! This song is one of the ones I chucked onto my laptop for the aerobics / dance classes I was teaching the older girls a couple of terms back. Really good fun and a great way to fit a workout into the day. I miss having time to work out – when I was a lazy-ass student (not that all students are, but I really could be sometimes. Well, when I wasn’t studying, working, or on stage, but you get the picture.) I never took advantage of the opportunities available.

Gah.

Hence the junk in the trunk.

Dance Commander – Electric Six

And it’s another appearance for the ‘Six…

I love this genre of music sometimes – crazed lead vocals, thrashy guitars, heavy drums, thumping bass. What’s not to love? Then again, I type as a woman who appreciates Meatloaf. Now, let me qualify that – the latter day ballads I can leave – the man can still sing, but did we need another version of ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’? However, the classics… ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’, ‘Paradise (By The Dashboard Light)’? You guys, I am so there.

War – Edwin Star

What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, sing it again y’all.

I do love this song, but I acquired it totally by accident….my baby brother (fast approaching twenty, but I think I’m in denial) was loading some music on for me, and decided to leave me some random gifts…this I can forgive, but the Mark Morrison and Vengaboys had to go.

Funny sense of humour that boy.

The rain has just started pelting down here. Because my flat has a flat roof, you really get that drumming effect – couple it with some wind for good effect and it’s pretty atmospheric. The countryside around here does create some major sights actually, I was walking home through the Park last week at about 8 at night and in the grove there was a silvery mist just hanging, for a few feet, between the canopy and the ground. A film crew would have killed for the visuals.

Make It Mine – Styrofoam.

I’m not sure where I stand on Styrofoam. Hee, that sentence sounds funny! But no, this is the only song of theirs I’ve heard, and I do like it…I’m just reserving judgement till I get hold of an LP.

An LP? How old school am I this evening?

So, shall I tell you a little about my wee flat? I love it here. It’s not a place I would have ever imagine I’d be living, and it’s certainly quirky enough. It’s the kind of bijou granny flat that a writer or an English eccentric would adore…there’s a little of both of those to me, so maybe that’s why it appeals!

I Need You – Rebecca St. James

I like the song. But her voice bugs me a little…I think it’s the urgent! Breathiness! Hh!

So, anyway (I just got distracted by some texts on my cell….my brain hurts today, which often equals mind-wanderings. Is that normal?).

Sex On The Beach – Vengaboys

What was I telling you? Blimming brothers and their contributions of musical gifts. Grrrr.

This song is so very, very wrong. That said, it’s actually a lot more charming than, say, the Pussycat Dolls, who are less Sex On The Beach, more like Orgy Anywhere.

Anyhoo, back to the flat (or, as Timbaland would no doubt intone, “Take it to the flat”). You can only reach my pad via a drive, which confuses many people. Then once you’ve navigated the orchard and the electric gate, you get to our garden. I say our because my lovely flat is an annex.

And what am I annexed to?

A pink house.

Strangers In The Night – Frank Sinatra

I flove this song. Gorgeous.

Our house is salmony pink…a colour which looks heaps better in reality than it sounds when you read it. Then you come in, through the house, no doubt saying hello to Janet, Bob and Emma-dog and Freddie-dog (my awesome neighbour-landlords), and then you reach a cream door. Behind is a little corridor and then you reach my sanctuary.

Come As You Are – Nirvana

From Frank to Cobain…I love the random function.

I’m in my flat right now, sitting on my comfy blue sofa which pulls out to a bed, looking around at the old and familiar furniture, the lemon walls, the photos on the dresser, the knickknacks spread everywhere – gifts and presents and toys and bills to pay….it’s a busy wee space, but I love it. This room is my home and hearth – this is where I sing and sleep and dance and plan and read. It’s home. I love having somewhere to call home.

Mysteries of the Unexplained – Tanya Donnelly

If you were here, I would make a T with my arms and cry ‘tune’. I love this song.

Well, this has been a post, hasn’t it….part perfunctory, part random, part dull, part (I hope!) entertaining…I’m just glad it got written – I am determined not to disappear for a month or more again – I enjoy this too much!

Have an amazing week,

Cxx

Monday, November 06, 2006

Singalong Saturday, November 4th.

Well…almost. In actuality it’s early evening on Sunday, but you’ll have to forgive me…I spent most of yesterday zooming down from the dark and dank dreich-ness of Scotland to the wee hamlet I call home….no time to blog!

But as I’m back to uploading on a Monday morning, it’s a bit of a here-nor-there thing, right?

1. # 1 Crush – Garbage.

Oh yeah…I wanted to be Shirley Manson when I was younger, she’s such an icon. She’s like a classic 90s rock chick, complete with deep voice, screw the world attitude, moody videos and hard-to-pin-down lyrics. Love it!

This song is also on the OST for William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, a film I was thinking about yesterday. I haven’t seen it in ages, but there are scenes from it that are just seared into my consciousness. The church filled with candles, the shots from the helicopter, the cute little asides and allusions. I also wish Baz Luhrmann would hurry up and make another movie already!

2. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush

So, I finally got round to purchasing a Kate Bush album…and I really like it. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is fast becoming one of my favourite female vocals ever…I love the way Bush has such control of her vocal line, no matter how frenzied the notes are getting. Wow, a Bush maintaining control with grace. There’s a sentence you don’t get to type too often.

Back to school tomorrow…I’m not dreading it, but it’s going to take a wee while to interrupt the flow of reading, blogging, chilling, cooking, lazing comfortably….it’ll be a rather abrupt shock to the system to be back to rising at 6, in work before 8, on-on-ON! All day, snatching some social or study time, then dropping to bed…

3. Sports & Wine – Ben Folds Five

This track is taken from the BFF album I don’t listen to as much…I just love ‘Whatever and Ever, Amen’ and his solo stuff…but this one kinds of gets lost in the collection. It’s OK I guess…nice enough, but it’s not grabbing me as much as the other stuff….

Aren’t winter evenings odd? I’m looking out of the window and it’s dark and dusky…and it’s not yet 5. Egads. Saying goodbye to my class in the dark is always interesting….*peering into the gloom* “Is that your mummy?”

4. Sexy Boy – Air

Ah, French dancepop. Tres bien.

I wish I was better at French, or any language for that matter. My own natural ineptitude was no doubt compounded by the awful French tutelage I got at my first senior school. The French master, Mons. H, was simply incroyable et formidable…je ne connais pas! He was the antithesis of what I now consider to be an excellent teacher…ill-prepared, rude, unfair, repetitive, dull, violent, lazy….he taught us (a class of able teens) the same lesson (on the perfect tense using ‘etre’) at least twenty times…and never taught the future! Or holiday terms! Or formal telephone skills! I walked from his class, along with several of my peers, three months before our GCSEs and opted to self-instruct.

Net result? All of the breakaway group got As or Bs. All those who stayed with him failed.

Hmmmm.

5. End of the Road – Boyz II Men

Oh, is there a more fetid slice of early-to-midnineties RnB cheddar than this. It’s lucky these men can sing, cos otherwise it would just be a sin. As it is, it’s grat, but still retains some of it’s inherent yet unintentional comedy… I think it’s the cheesey spoken vocal two-thirds of the way through…

This reminds me of early high school discos, and by about that spoken vocal you we realise how incredibly loooong this song is. And sway, sway, turn.

6. Lesson 6 (Reprise) – Jurassic 5

I think psychic media player realised I was tiring and needed to chill a little, so it’s sent me this little groovy soupcon of a track. Yay J5!

7. Lithium – Nirvana

Did you read that Kurt Cobain was the richest (well, highest netting) dead celebrity last year? Who decided to keep that chart? C’est bizarre, don’t you agree?

The first music video I remember seeing and thinking ‘wow!’ was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ – we were living in Germany and we had MTV and this video came on with the creepy janitor, and the lacklustre mosh pit cheerleaders and the murkiness and Nirvana playing up a storm, Kris and Kurt and Dave, long before we knew just how flawed Kurt was, how hurt and messed up, or how talented and savvy Dave would turn out to be.

I was reading NME on the plane back yesterday and one of their retro things was on ‘Smells Like…’. It was released in 1991. 1991! I was ten, but the video made that heavy an impression.

8. In My Life – Bette Midler

Oh man, Bette. One of my guilty pleasures. What can I say, she can belt a number out, as can I, and from time to time I like to break out ‘The Rose’ or ‘From A Distance’ or, heaven help me, ‘ The Wind Beneath My Wings’.

Don’t judge me. Don’t you judge me! [/TM Joy’s mom]

9. Spanish Harlem – Aretha Franklin

Arrrrreeeetha!

You see, Aretha is a different kettle of fish entirely. I can sing Bette Midler, Dusty Springfield, Aimee Mann, Celine Dion, Tori Amos, Faith Hill…but I would just not mess with Aretha. She is the Queen of Soul, and I love to listen to her, enjoy dancing to her…just can’t sing to her!

10. Viveme – Laura Pausini.

Mmmmm. Her voice is sublime. Like melted chocolate. And I’m off to have some chocolate. The circle, it is unbroken :-).

Have a simply marvellous week – where did that half term go?

Cxx

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One shunt forward, and two shunts back

Cher: So, how did I do?
DMV Tester: How'd you do? Well, let's just see shall we? You can't park, you can't change lanes, you can't make right hand turns, you damaged private property and you almost killed someone. Off hand, I'd say you failed.

So today was the driving test.

And I failed again.

And sobbed my heart out like a little kid...

Boo.

I had literally worked my butt off, paid attention, worked on my manoevers, practised, practised, practised...and I did even worse this time around.

Oh my.

Cher: You can't be the absolute and final word on drivers' licenses?
Driving Instructor: Girlie, as far as you're concerned, I am the messiah of the DMV.

I think I've found the problem though. I freak out in driving tests. My legs go to jelly, my brain goes to mush, I panic like you wouldn't believe.

I've never worked so hard at something in my life and still failed so utterly at the end.

Cher: I felt impudent and out of control. Which I really, really hate. I had to find sanctuary in a place where I could gather my thoughts and regain my strength...

I am so mad at my stupidity right now.

Hope your days are going much, much better!

Cxx

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Singalong Saturday, 28th October

It’s Saturday! Yay!

As per half-term, it’s been an afternoon of shopping (well, as much shopping as you can do in a Scottish town in the back of beyond), chatting with mum, making plans, and forums….I’m starting to forget what the real world is like, but I have a feeling it’ll be back to bite me in the bum sooner rather than later!

It’s time to singalong! Every time I type that I get ‘sinalong’ the first time I go for it….but that would be something else altogether, no?

1. Nothing – Nikki Costa

The singalong starts with the tailend of this track. Just beautiful. If I ever got my dream of being a club singer, I’d break out tracks like this every time… Jazzy, laidback, beautiful vocal line.

2. Lullaby – Jack Johnson and Matt Costa

Hmmm, is Matt Costa any relation to Nikki Costa, I wonder?I don’t really have an opinion on Jack Johnson, but generally his music is a bit overplayed and middle of the road for me. However I bought his ‘Songs from Curious George’ OST on the recommendation of a friend, and it’s really good music to listen to with the kids. They just adore it, and it’s not so cutesy that I want to harm someone. Yay compromise!

3. Call My Name – Charlotte Church.

I like this girl far too much.I love how honest and ballsy and secure she appears to be. It may be a persona, but I’m glad there’s a role model out there who is outspoken, ambitious, funny and curvy. I’d much rather my girls idolise her than skinny no-marks who were just fortunate enough to be rich (see Hilton, Paris, et al.).

4. I Used To Love Him – Lauryn Hill and Mary J Blige

Oh man.

Oh man.

You know that guy in high school? The one you just…worshipped? This song was part of the therapy I prescribed myself to get over the whole thing.

But he was divine…

I kind of miss having a crush some days. Not the heart pangs, terror of them liking someone else, desperately hoping they’d call / email / sit next to me in class / anthropology lecture / staff meeting, but the good parts….the glances in a crowded room. The little touches that sent a jolt of electricity through you. The times when he did call, or said he missed you when you didn’t make it to a get-together, or when he saved you a seat on the bus.

My gosh, y’all.

5. SOS – ABBA

Hahaha, I love my media player.

SOS…let me see. I haven’t had a boyfriend in….seven years (go ahead and laugh. I always do :-)). I haven’t dated anyone in….almost three? And I’ve kissed one guy this year. Perhaps SOS is right?

It’s funny, looking at the numbers like that. This is where you, dear reader, probably wind up asking yourself…what on earth is wrong with this woman?

6. You Learn – Alanis Morrisette

Damn straight you do!

Well, gentle reader, I don’t think there is anything ‘wrong’ with me. Yes, I’m a little kooky, a little curvy, a little left-of-centre, but I’m not hiding any huge heinous horrors from you all. Pretty much, I’m kind and sweet and funny and nice. I’m perky and honest and hardworking and fairly pretty (in a curvy English rose style…like Kate Winslet’s slighty uglier much larger cousin, if you will – you've all seen the pics). I’m self-deprecating and geeky and verbose and odd. I’m OK.

Therefore, I think we can break this single thing down to three things: geography, 'fussiness' and fate.

7. Kiss Me – Sixpence None The Richer

If only, y’all.

First off: geography. In the seven years I have been single I have lived in 9 different places in three different countries. I’ve have several jobs. I’ve gained two degrees. I’ve had countless adventures and kissed a fair few frogs. I’ve had terrific highs and amazing lows. I’ve been busy.And now I live, quite simply, in the middle of nowhere. There are no cute boys where I am. Boo!

You just wait till I next live in a city – it’s going to be carnage!

8. Nuclear War (On The Dancefloor) – Electric Six

This album always makes me smile.

Next up: 'fussiness'.

Dang, this track is short!

9. Dead From The Waist Down – Catatonia.

Oh ha-HA, media player!

Anyways, fussiness.

Am I overly fussy? I don’t think so. Do I have standards? Yep, yep, yep.I’m not one of the Bridget Jones esque singletons who has a Mr Darcy style ideal in mind. I have no preference on eye colour, hair colour, profession, anything really….sure I know what I’ve liked in the past, but it’s all in the mix, don’t you think?But this has me thinking, maybe subconsciously, I am looking for things, but what could they be? Give me a sec. OK, I’m back, here’s my five point plan - it took me a few minutes to develop:

*Nice eyes
*Nice smile
*Knows quite a bit about films and music
*Can make me laugh
*Understands that I’m a little weird, but that’s OK

It’s not that tall an order, surely?

I do, however, have one small admission – at least half of the years I’ve been on my own are my fault. Why? Because those were the times I got hung up on inappropriate men and anyone else I just zoned out.

Say it with me....

D’oh!

10. Falling Stars – Sunset Strippers

See, I’m finishing on an up note again!

Thirdly, fate. As we’ve gone through before, when it happens it’ll happen, yavol? Hence why I choose not to worry – instead I’m gonna go have Chinese food with the fam. Mmmmmm, Chinese food!

Have a great weekend, delightful people!

Cxx

PS I also had Ben & Jerry's. Are you jealous? :-).

Friday, October 27, 2006

The joy of brainache....

Oh man, it’s been one of those days. You know one of those days where you think “OK, it’s time to write. Yep, let’s get our post on. Hurrah, let’s just wap out a few hundred words and then woohoo, it’s blogtastic!” And then?

Nothing.

Nowt.

Nada.

I cannot write stuff with a goat, I cannot write stuff in a boat, I cannot write stuff round a moat.

I cannot write stuff in a bed, I cannot write stuff sewn in thread, I cannot write….my brain is dead.

In other words, it’s been a day of procrastination and vacillation. Of fidgeting and fiddling and snacking and drinking coffee and basically behaving like a seven year old with ants in her pants.

I blame the early morning driving lesson – 2 hours, starting a little after seven, of reverse parking and parallel parking and gear changes. My poor brain thought it was getting a lie-in as sis was out of town overnight but no, we were up before the daylight arrived….welcome to the north!

Met up with The Bav and little O yesterday, good chat as always, but I am amazed at how big he’s growing. I always find it pretty fascinating though, looking at him and think wooooooaaaah, my friend made you. Amazing.

It’s interesting that is was today I seemed to get writer’s block – just last night I was thinking I should send some submissions hither and thither. It has been years since I wrote something more taxing than a blog or a letter, but I’d love to get back into it. I love writing pop culture stuff, lifestyle stuff, reviews and comment….I just think it’s amazing how words can reach people. I also love writing fiction and poetry, and I think over this long and damp British winter I might try and get back into a groove. I also want to start working on lyrics again – I used to have books and books of the darn things, but it’s a skill I’ve neglected recently! Any musicians out there, if you’ve got a tune that needs some lyrics, hook a girl up….I’m dying to get back into it.

So, to summate: I want to write more. But can’t seem to today.

Ain’t life grand?

Have a lovely and languid one!

Cxx

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Relaxed? Practically horizontal...

Good morning all! I am once again blogging in my pyjamas, ad embracing fully the sheer joy that is half-term. It’s half past ten, and usually I’ve been up for four-and-a-half hours on a Thursday, gone for a swim, done some chores, worked for two hours solid…but today I’ve, um, had some toast, played with the cat, read some forums and done some laundry. Any more relaxed and I’d just plain be asleep.

Had my first driving lesson since August’s test fail last night and it actually went pretty well. I was amazed at how much I had retained over the past two-and-a-half months….but with the next test looming Wednesday, I guess remembering most of it is a good thing!

Another day, another meme, another ramble. Grab some coffee or a coke, and let’s go….

1. Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?

Ooooh, tough call. George Clooney? Colin Hanks? Dave Grohl? Mmmm. Or maybe I could tie myself to Tony Blair and have a day of trying to get him to sort the country out!

2. Who do you blame for your mood today?

I have no-one to blame but myself. Luckily, I’m in a pretty awesome mood.

3. Have you ever seen a dead body?

No, thank heavens. What an awful experience to have to go through.

4. What should we do w/ stupid people?

Educate them, and try and help them any way we can. If that doesn’t work and they are particularly obnoxious, I find a little sarcasm and mocking goes a looooooooooong way.

5. How long do you think you will live?

As long as God desires me to live.

6. What was the first thing you did this morning?

My sister gets up at 5 a.m. to catch the train through to Aberdeen for uni, so the very first thing I did this morning was stir, wish her a good morning, then turn over and fall back asleep till half-seven.

7. The color of carpet in your bedroom?

Here, blue, at home, cream….a nightmare to clean, and a magnet for potential red wine stains!

9. Last person you went out to dinner with?

Hoti, on Monday. We went to an awesome Greek restaurant in Primrose Hill for meze, wine and ouzo. Yum! I love Greek food!

10. Are you spoiled?

I am spoiled enough to have an awesome group of friends, if that’s what you mean. I’m spoiled in having a loving family. I’m spoiled by having a life full of blessings, inspiration and opportunities.

11. Do you drink lots of water?

Oh yes. Two litres a day is my absolute minimum. Glug!

12. What toothpaste do you use?

Colgate Total with whitening. Zing!

13. How do you vent your anger?

Loud music, throwing of pillows, stomping…best to just get it out than dwell on things. I think anger is a necessary and valuable emotion, but you can’t let it overrun your life…

14. The last compliment you received?

Was a lovely one, thank you.

15. Do you look more like your mother or father?

I’m like a paler, lighter haired version of mum, with aspects of dad thrown in for good measure.

16. When was the last time you threw up?

I actually don’t recall. Yay healthiness!

17. Is your best friend a virgin?

What a random question! I’d say it’s none of your business, frankly :-).

18. What theme does your room have?

I’m kind of going for a messy-cosy-homey vibe…I think it’s working!

20. Are you a momma's child or a daddy's child?

I’m pretty darned independent, but I have a fair whack of momma’s child-ness to me also.

21. Would you ever join the military?

Growing up a scaly brat, I’d never say never, but I don’t think I’d be very good at it, so I’ll say probably not.

22. The last website you visited?

The ftotz.

23. Who was the last person you took a picture with?

My class, last month. Cheesey smiles agogo!

Where's 24?

25. Last person you went to the movies with?

Rach and Fi. We went to see The Devil Wears Prada which was fab! Meryl rules! Plus we went for TGI Fridays and I got to have JD’s chicken..mmmm.

26. The last person you stared at?

The cashier at Tesco’s who asked me for ID….because I don’t look 17, people! I was incredulous. Hee.

27. Number of layers on your bed?

4! Yes, it’s North East Scotland!

28. Is anything alive in your room?

Sam the Cat is purring atop my feet right now…hmmm, pins and needles.

29. Today, would you rather go back a week or go forward a week?
I’m good where I am thanks!

30's gone as well!

31. What is your current goal to achieve?

Happiness, as always. To be happy and to give the gift of happiness to others is my raison d’etre.

32. How is your hair?

Wonky!

34. Do you have plans for spring break?

Ask me in March!

Et voila, the post is done. And now, I suppose, I’d better get changed and face the day….

Have a great one!

Cxx

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens...

One of the nice things about reading other peoples blogs as well as keeping up with my own is the ideas and themes that I come across, and that I then shamelessly pilfer and use in my own writing. Luckily, in the internet democracy, this is a two way street, and people also borrow from here….let the circle be unbroken!

This post is inspired by a theme I’ve seen on many blogs recently, and particularly bee’s page, where she did exactly the same thing. Here, in no particular order or precedence, are 100 of my favourite things (now does the title line make sense?). Places, things, music, food, ideas…let’s go!

1. Days when my hair chooses to make sense. I love that every so often I get up, brush my hair, swish it a bit and it just looks right.
2. Coffee. Strong, dark, rich café crème, sickly sweet macchiato, mugs and mugs of instant propelling me through the day.
3. Hugs. Oh man, I love hugs. I am a touchy feely earth mother type, and I have always got room in my day for some hug action. Awesome.
4. ABBA. I’m a bit of a music nerd, and heaven knows I know my Razorlight from my Fratellis from my Panic! At The Disco, but aren’t ABBA terrific? I just love the whole Swedish, glittery, feathered hair, 70s glory of it.
5. Thai sweet chilli sauce. Great with almost everything savoury. Ever.
6. Hot buttered toast and huge oversized mug of tea, especially on a day when its cold and grey outside.
7. Mix CDs. I love making them, I love planning them, I love decorating them, I love getting them. I’ve got some great ones in the pipeline for Christmas.
8. Clueless. I watched this on Monday as I packed up, and this movie just never gets old for me. “I felt impotent and out of control, which I really, really hate….”
9. The Mamas and The Papas. Oh yes, I said it. Harmonies like woah. I want to be in a folk-rock band - anyone need a singer?
10. My Name Is Earl. This show just always gives me the giggles, often with the throwaway touches you’re not looking out for. Joy is kind of amazing.
11. Cheese. Cue a Homer Simpson esque “Mmmmoargh”.
12. Mail! I love letters and postcards and cards and I am lucky enough to have friends who share this passion. I love getting in at 7 or 8 and there, on my little mail shelf, is a letter or a package, just waiting for ME! I love it.
13. Making lists. Darn, I adore making lists. Have you noticed?
14. Long hot baths, with candles and bubbles and loads of girly frippery.
15. Taking walks on cold autumn days, wearing a big cosy coat, a nice bright scarf and my trusty walking boots. Splashing in puddles, thinking thoughts, eating fresh apples plucked from the tree, getting good and muddy and rosy cheeked.
16. Taking photos. One of the few visual art things I can do with any degree of confidence or skill…
17. A really good chinwag, with tangents and rambling and revelations.
18. Goofing around in shops. I went to the outlet centre with Sally and her niece Meg the other day and we enjoyed ourselves so much, trying on shoes, singing, trying on awful ensembles, and having such a good time.
19. Red wine. Not too much of it, but a glass or two is fabulous.
20. Cocoa butter – makes my skin feel all silky and soft, and smells divine.
21. Napping. Even if I don’t have time for a proper kip, there is something awesome about snuggling down in bed during daylight hours. Mmmm.
22. Bad dancing. As much as I love to dance, I do enjoy dancing badly sometimes – it’s great for getting yourself out of a fugfunk.
23. Bring It On. I can quote this movie. I love it soooo much. Oooh, and Mean Girls!
24. Studying. I know I’ll kick myself for saying so, but it’s true. I love the whole shebang – finding a passion to pursue, pulling late ones at the library, writing essays, debating things… I’m sure if and when I head back to uni my sentiments may change.
25. The ‘cello. Such an amazing and evocative instrument.
26. Broccoli. It’s little trees! And yummy! And I always spell it incorrectly. Lord bless spellcheck.
27. Having someone stroke or tickle my back. Seriously, this just gets me. Why? I have no idea…
28. Paris. So chic, so apparently snobby, so amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my crush on that city!
29. Colour. I am a sucker for it – bright blues, deep purples, vivid reds, verdant greens – a splash of colour just makes my day.
30. ‘My’ cat Sam. Being back in the familial homestead means I get to hang with this cool creature, a laidback grey tabby feline who just plain rocks.
31. Cooking, especially for the people I love.
32. Grey rainy days where I get to stay inside, safe and warm and dry and drinking tea.
33. Pyjamas. I think all of the esteem I have for Hugh Hefner is built on the foundation that he’s a man bright enough to choose to live his life in pyjamas. I could so do that!
34. Swimming. I love the water, and try to swim at the very least once a week. I’ve fallen off the wagon a little recently, but I must get into it again. It’s so relaxing and a great time to think.
35. A good cry. Man, I love a good cry. I’m a happy wee soul, but sometimes it’s just good to let yourself go…
36. Comments on my blog or myspace. OK, so it’s the internet equivalent of the cool kid complimenting your hairclip, or a cute boy winking at you in drama class, or a fellow music geek giving you a high five, but I love it!
37. Christmas. As if you didn’t see that one coming. Less than ten weeks to go – wheeeeee!
38. Airports. I love when you’ve checked in your bags and you’re through security and you just have that hour or so to kill. Who are you going to be? What are you going to do? What will this journey bring?
39. Apple crumble and custard. Mmmm, and potato and vegetable soup. Autumnal comfort foods rule!
40. Seven year olds. If and when I ever leave teaching, if only for a time, it will be the kids themselves I’ll miss.
41. Alliteration. An amazing alliterative ambience can lift any piece of writing for me – even when, as in the former case, it’s more like assonance than through alliteration!
42. Bags. I feel about bags how many women feel about shoes.
43. Cute teeshirts. When I was younger I kind of had a uniform – cute tee, jeans and sneakers for day. Slightly sparkly cute tee, jeans and sneakers for night. I’m so getting back into this now, when I’m not at work! I <3 threadless.com.
44. Mild crushes on rock- and film-boys. I blame NME and Total Film.
45. Email. I flove it so. Without it, I’d be unable to communicate with about half of my friends. Viva le web!
46. Discovering new bands and artists. Current new faves on the block? Tragically Hip, Hot Chip, and Dan Against The World.If not 'new', all new to me!
47. Moray Firth Radio – the only station in the world whse late night programmes I enjoy, just awesomely insular and random.
48. Afternoon tea, a trend I am reviving with gusto. What better way to mark 4 p.m. than by having a cuppa and some chocolate cake?
49. Nail varnish for toenails. Heaven knows I don’t like feet too much, but I love to have pretty toenails going on (current colour: pale rose pink).
50. Flowers. I got some last week unexpectedly and it pretty much made my day.

And I’m going to leave it there for now…so in reality, it’s 50 things I love, not 100. But that’s plenty, don’t you think? I could think of more, but you have things to go do, right? And I have to go do dishes, catch up on the websites I haven’t checked out recently, and no doubt watch some bad TV. Man, I love half-term!

Be as amazing as you know you can be!

Cxx

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Oop North

Et voila, I am back in Scotland.

It's cold, it's dark, it's wet.

It's home :-).

I have had an awesome long weekend, a weekend of long chats, long walks, late nights and red wine. Catching up with people and shooting the breeze, going over history and looking to the future. Good, good times.

More soon, but now I'd better go hang with the fam!

Stay gorgeous, lovely people,

Cxx

Monday, October 23, 2006

Singalong Saturday 21/10/06

And here we are, 8.20 on a Saturday morning…and I’m not in school! What bliss! I am so ready for this break – it’s been a really good half-term and my classes are adorable…but it’s time for a petit peu de laziness now.

Yesterday our assembly rocked – getting 40-odd children to perform in front of their peers, the whole school, all the teachers and parents is no mean feat, so I’m glad in went off without a hitch. We then repaired to my classroom to watch The Sound of Music and eat cookies. Academic, huh? After school I zipped to the store for procuring of merlot and a glossy mag – and got I.D.ed. Do I look seventeen? Hee. Then last night our gappers went on a pub crawl, and I went along to the tail end of it…good fun. I had a few diet cokes, had a bit of a boogie, and the good chat was flowing.

And now it’s half-term! Let’s singalong, shall we?

Camden Town Rain – Mary Lou Lord.

My recording of this is really retro and fab – all lowkey and unassuming. Which I love, because I can focus on Mary Lou’s voice and the lyrics.

Mary Lou. Isn’t that a cool name? I have always been fascinated with names, and in fact went through a big phase when I would read babies names books, back when I was in my mid-teens. This freaked out my parents and the local librarian quite a lot (and with the teen pregnancy stats Britain has, can you blame them?).

Lubbock or Leave It – Dixie Chicks

Love them or loathe them, heavens, these girls have talents! I’m loving the album (Taking The Long Way), but I’m a country geek J.

All that teen reading has paid off though – at dinner parties my recollection that Melissa means bumblebee and Peter means rock can really come in handy. In case you’re wondering, Claire means clear, bright, and famous – something my mother had no clue of when she named me, of course.

I hope to put my name geekery to good use when I get round to having kids – I’ve always dreamt of having a large brood (between three and nine, God willing) and can’t wait to give them names to grow into…hee.

These Are The Days – Jamie Cullum

The jazz hobbit! Perfect for dinners and drinks, but not really the music which speaks to my very core, it’s true. But laidback and chilled, and it certainly has its place!

Another good thing about it being half-term will be catching up with chores – as I am typing I’m glancing around my flat – and whole pieces of furniture are obscured by paperwork. I’m such a scruffy moo when I let things slide, but I’m having guests soon, so it’s time to get my clean on. Loud music, funky sweatpants and sexy rubber gloves, let’s go!

Hip Hop Junkies – Nice N Smooth.

I can’t not dance to this song. Both this and ‘Get By’ by Talib Kweli make me need to dance as if my health depends on it.

I love to dance – I have no formal training, but I just love the freedom that movement gives and the expression of dance. Moshing to rock, linedancing to country, hustling to disco, grinding to RnB, ceilidh dancing, salsa dancing, stage dancing…it’s all good. I can’t wait till I can drive, cos then I am all about the dance classes – watch out, country dancefloors.

Islands In The Stream – Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers

Oh no she di’n’t! Tell me she didn’t go old school! (to quote Joy from My Name Is Earl). There are so many cheesey duets out there – a misunderstood genre if ever there was one.

So later I am meeting with my friend Miss W, who I haven’t seen in over two years (we worked at the same school a while ago), and then the lovely Hils is coming to stay tonight (we studied to be teachers together at Durham) – it should be quite the day!

You’re Not Alone – Olive.

Another dance song, not a genre that dominates my collection at all, but again, one that has its place!

This reminds me of dancing in clubs for the first time, all dressed up, all nervous, all not sure what’s cool and what’s not. Now clubs often bore me (endless hardcore tunes and people dancing into me…gah!) but I remember when it was all new and exciting and fresh. I used to know many of the DJs in Aberdeen when I studied there, and was quite the request monkey. Now, I’ve outgrown it a little, but I love to get bak out there from time to time!

14th Street – Rufus Wainwright.

There is only one way to listen to this song – LOUD!! I tend to do a weird shimmy dance also, and sing the back up vocals lustily. Aren’t you sorry you are not here? Haha, you’re safe anyway, I’m sitting in bed writing this…bless laptops!

So last night was a fun night in the middle of nowhere. I like my colleagues so much, and have some genuine friends on the staff, but the living in the middle of nowhere is grating a little it must be said. I’m used to acting, singing, dancing, and all of these are harder to do in the back of beyond. Probably not this year, but at the end of the next year, I think it will be time to move…and I’m thinking of a city next.

Enchantment – Corinne Bailey Rae.

This voice is simply amazing…

So yes, a city appears to be the next move. Current frontrunners are Aberdeen, London, and Bristol, with Oxford and Edinburgh rounding it out. Similarly, I’m looking into maybe go overseas at some point – the strongest contenders are D.C., Vancouver, Boston, Toronto and New Zealand (not sure where yet), but that’s a lot more complex and a longer shot. But I would love to work and live overseas, so who knows?

Of course if and when I do transplant to the city, my blog will no doubt tell of my pining for the country, the space, the tranquillity, and moan about the crowds / prices / transit systems. The human condition, right?

Green and Gray – Nickel Creek.

I just had the most luxurious stretch. You know one of those that starts somewhere in your lower back and stretches all along your spine and up your arms and ends with a yawn thing? Yep, one of those. Mmmm.

Hence the lack of writing – I was having a stretch, haha.

Smile – Lily Allen.

The song of the summer, that’s for sure. I really like Lily Allen, for sheer honesty if nothing else. Take for example, the lyrics to her song ‘Everything’s Just Wonderful’:

Do you think, that everything,
That everyone, is going mental?
It’s seems to me, we’re spiralling,
Out of control, and it’s inevitable,
And do you think, this time is mine,
This time of yours, is temperamental,
It seems to me, we’re all like fools,
Falling on our knees, someone help us please…

She goes on to complain about mortgages, fashion mags, and the world in general…and she does it so well.

Well, it’s been a laidback singalong, but that’s how I feel today – laidback….I hope you all have a great weekend/week, I’m off to have a long and lazy bubblebath with my lovely fig oil stuff. Mmmmmmmmm.

Stay fabulous!

Cxx

Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm Claire...

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.

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