Busy bee

Wow, it's a bit frenetic at the moment, but I have grabbed a quick cup of coffee to do a quick blog...I am determined to keep up with this :-). It's Saturday morning here, and I'm taking a quick break from my busy classroom tidying and lesson planning schedule before my 12.10 class arrive. It's the only year 6 class I take, and it's effectively a prep. session. And as it's the last lesson of the week, you can imagine how ready to work the children are! At least it's only 40 minutes.

This week has been nonstop, but in a good way. The health kick continues, and is furthered embellished by the fact that I am now teaching aerobics on a Wednesday afternoon, to a group of 8-11 year olds. It's good fun, and I think it will force me to be quite grown up and confident. The weight is heading in the right direction also, with 5 pounds lost this week....will no doubt slow. right. down. now! The swimming three times a week is really good and I'm feeling much more toned and energetic - my classes are suitably petrified.

Choir is also going well, but the pieces are hard. I was concentrating so hard on the Verdi that I got a headache on Wednesday. I am also making time for TV (ah, sweet brain-numbing TV!), and watched the season premiere of Desperate Housewives (....yawn, I have to say), and House (sooooo good. I would so be Hugh Laurie's desperate Housewife, any day of the week!).

This term is so short after the marathon that was Michaelmas! Next weekend is exeat, so I'm gonna do a tonne of work this weekend so next weekend I can head to London to hang with Hoti. I'm thinking wine, antics, chilling, shopping, and possibly bowling...can't wait! And half term is only a few weeks away - I am so looking forward to a few days of RnR at home and then...Paris! Yeah, baby! My hunger for shoes and bling will have reached Red Alert status by then.

So this weekend it's working, cooking, chores, swimming, The Sunday Times and Celebrity Ice Dancing. I also have to cook up something for Monday's film club (they are so bright and keen, super cute!) and Wednesday's aerobics (and grapevine, step, step, turn!). Oh, and I'll be cheering on Tunisia in their match against Zambia tomorrow, as I've drawn them in our staff sweepstakes...Go Eagles!

Hope you are all super duper uber fab,

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Aches and pains

It's been a while since I did myself an injury whilst exercising, but have pulled my shoulder something proper. Oweeewewwwow. Am having to take a 'rest day' today (so no aquafit, boo!), but am hoping to hit the pool tomorrow. Yes, I may be mad.
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Sunday night blues....

You know that feeling on a Sunday evening? You're slouched about the house, listening to the top 40 (why do I still do this?) and have that weird, impending doom sense at the back of your mind.

Because tomorrow it's Monday. Maybe you've got a test. Maybe your crush at work had a date over the weekend and you know you're going to hear ALL about it tomorrow morning. Maybe you've got to teach 7 year olds geology. Maybe you simply haven't got enough clothes ironed. (Go on, which one(s) do you think apply to me?)

Added to that, I have a huuuuge list (you know how I love my lists!) of things I should have done. But instead I am blogging and knocking back lowcal ginger ale (rock and roll, huh? Rather sadly, this can often have the same effect on me as hard licquor - I blame parents who wouldn't let us have carbonated drinks when we were little!). In other parts of the day since getting back from swimming and the market I have procrastinated by texting, emailing, making veggyscramble, watching The O.C., singing along to my Miss Saigon CDs, ironing, hoovering, doing the dishes, messing around with my hair, reading the Style and Culture sections of the Sunday Times, made myself a yoghurty confection involving lots and lots of blueberries and grapes, updated my other blog, painted my nails and done some FTOTZ-ing. Oooh, and booked Eurostar tickets for next month.

In conclusion, have done loads of stuff....but now have to do the important stuff.

Procrastination, thy name is Claire!

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Books: I really couldn't get into Anna... or The Weaker Vessel for some reason, so I put them to one side. I read (or should that be devoured?) Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker, which was kind of awesome! Very deep and requires quite a bit of thought, but excellent writing and a moving, thought-provoking story. Have starting a book in school also (we've introduced a system called ERIC - Everyone Reading In the Classroom, so I get to read at work sometimes) - A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. So far, really good, really evokes the time and place beautifully. At home I've moved from the sublime (Walker) to the faintly ridiculous - have just started Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. I really liked PS, I Love You, so I'm hoping that this will be another slice of good chicklit.

Movies: I have three DVDs from Amazon waiting for me - Godfather II, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Secretary. I know, I know, a random mix! Will watch whichever one grabs me this evening, after all my work and chores are done.

TV: Am looking forward to the return of House (Hugh Laurie, squee!) and Desperate Housewives - hurrah for the winter TV schedules. On the other side of the coin of quality, I will no doubt be riveted by Celebrity Ice Dancing later today....I am the queen of atrocious reality TV (Ladette to Lady, Strictly Dance Fever, Make Me A Supermodel, Strictly Come Dancing....)

Music: Have been listening to a lot of MSN radio in my classroom - mainly the pop and classical stations... a bit Mozart and Mariah heavy at times, but generally pretty good.

Projects: Still more thank you notes! Swimming (it's been over two years)! More laundry than I've ever seen! Arranging a trip to London! Arranging a trip to Paris! Doing some maths to see if I can afford a holiday at Christmas! Notebashing the alto part for Pucinni's Messa de Gloria! Worrying so much! Attempting to mug up on geology and physical geography for my classes next week (argh, 7 year old questions!)!

Have a great one.

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Chaos theory...

Oh my. Term has started, and with it, an attack of weariness! So good to see the kids again (mostly!) but just frantic. Have also joined a choir (2 hours of rehearsal last night), been completely underwhelmed by the season 1 finale of 'Lost' (sorry......what?) and tonight I have my first ever horse riding lesson... Oh man. I am so sure.

Keep beautiful, people!

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Books: Have finished Memoirs of a Geisha (really good book - if you haven't read it yet I'd recommend it highly!), and also A Guide To Elegance (quick, fluffy, fun, but with the dangerous side effect of making me covet more clothes!). Now am working through The Weaker Vessel and (dun-dun-dun) Anna Karenina. With the sheer length of these tomes and term starting back Tuesday, I'm anticipating spending a while on these!

Movies: Earlier this week I watched The Terminal, which I wasn't taken with instantly, but got into it. Hanks is marvellous, again, and Catherine Zeta Jones is truly one of the most beautiful women in cinema. Yesterday I (finally) watched Dodgeball. Hilarious! This afternoon I had a comfort-movie moment with The Truth About Cats and Dogs.

TV: Yay! I have a TV again....after the explosion earlier this week. Am looking forward to My Name Is Earl and the season finale of Lost (which will either be showstopping or lacklustre...which way's it gonna go?); but tomorrow is the night for Claire TV (am kind of fussy, so I get excited when there are several things I want to watch. So tomorrow it'll be University Challenge (so I can feel thick and underachieving, or smug and brainer than I actually am), Life On Mars (I've like John Simm since The Lakes, so I hope he's as good in this), The Thick of It, and the second half of ER. Yay!

Music: Lots of Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol and Tanya Donelly at the moments, plus a resurrection of three mixes the gorgeous Chrissy made for me a while back - Aw S"£$ Hold My Drink (both volumes) and Kiss Kiss. Have also heard the new Will Young song on the radio a lot lately, and excuse me being all teenage girl about this, but if you know me, how apt are these lyrics?
"Sometimes you walk by the good ones
'Cos you're trying to hard, too hard to see them
And sometimes you don't find the right lines
'Cos you're trying too hard, too hard to hear them "
Is official, am a cliche. But am improving sloooowwwllly!

Projects: Yet more thank you notes! Learning how to cook Aubergine Parmigana! Finally making the muffins I forgot to make yesterday! Playing with my new hairstraighteners! Researching babysitting agencies! Woo!
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Beyond tired, and all that good stuff

Wowee, I am exhausted. I went to a hunt ball last night and had an awesome time (drinking! dancing! snogging! bantering! yay!), but am paying for it now. The Claire trend of not getting a hangover continues (thank you, Him Upstairs), but I'm just exhausted and wiped out today. This may have something to do with the fact that I got to sleep at 3 or 4, and woke up at 8ish, when the adorable Millie and Olly (aged 2 and 4, and suuuuper cute!) came bounding into "my" room (or to use its official name, the living room), ready to play.

Um, yay!

The ball was really good fun, and despite the fact I only knew one other person there to begin with (Nellie!) I soon got chatting away and met some really cool people. High point was probably doing ceilidh dancing and going a bit nuts - there were two Scots in or party and like a gazillion middle Englanders....so we had to represent, right?

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My den of books and work

First of a series of pics (when I remember to take them) - this is the dinner / study of my flat. Lots of books, tidy for once, candles and lamps a gogo....

C'est bijou, oui?

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For Naomi, specifically, and all y'all generally - here's me, experimenting with hairstyles for Saturday's ball. What do you think of a neater version of this (without the PJs!)?

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Best laid plans

So there I was, all ready to go in and be really keen and fabulous and sort my classroom out 5 days before term starts...and I can't leave the house!

One of the connecting doors has frozen / jammed / got stuck in some way and my landlords are out... there was a note on it saying they will fix it a.s.a.p., but they are away today. Hmmmm. So no going into school today - I have got plenty of stuff that I can get on with here also, but now I'll have to do my classroom on Saturday, bummer.

Also, I'll have to go out on the moped this evening (forecast: rain), in the cold and dark, to buy the stamps and other necessaries I need for finishing off my thank you notes. Unless the landlords get back before 5, in which case I can nip to the village shop.

Wow, I've got a wee case of the Eeyores today! I blame the day of meetings that looms tomorrow (and can I find my schedule for it anywhere? Because of course, I'm going to be able to find something was given right at the end of last term. It's in my room...somewhere; but of course, I can't get into my classroom today). Back to school, here I come....

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And so to bed...

.....now I'm tired. Yay, blogger.

Inset on Friday, kids back next Tuesday. And already I feel exhausted.

How many weeks till half-term?

On plus side, have just bought new TV (went for a smallish one in the end, despite the attraction of the pretty, pretty widescreens), and am hopefully going to Paris next month. Yes!

And may have a ball on Saturday - if I can find an outfit for it then that's a "Yes!" too.

Sweet dreams all, and may the angels bless your rest.

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Sons of St. Chad....

Aw man, this picture takes me back! Here are Jean, Hoti, Mus and I at the St Chad's Day feast (I know, my college is uber-traditional about some things...) 2005.

Don't we scrub up well?

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Siblingus Midimus

Swiv does "confused" on the train to my aunt's a couple of weeks ago.


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Further photo fun

It's almost 1 a.m., I'm tired, and I can't sleep....so I thought I'd post up some more pictures from the last year or so....

Indulge me, please :-)

This is my ride, Mavis the moped (if you ask my Mum), the yellow peril (if you ask anyone who has seen my driving) or the bumblebee (as I like to call her).

Please, withold your laughter!

I love it.

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What a difference a day makes....

It's been a day of getting back into the swing of things.

Piles of random tat adorn the various pieces of furniture in my flat - the dining table is a mess of CD cases, worksheets, lipbalm tins, postcards, candles, the armchair overflows with scarves and jumpers, thrown there higgledypiggeldy as I drop them en route to something more fun or pressing.

On the dresser, next to the candle that smells of berries (0ne of the nicest smells in the world) and between the clock that P bought me and the snowglobe Jean gave me for confirmation is a pile of postcards and letters I wrote this morning, sat in my bright yellow room while the day outside was grey, damp, gloomy - England at its worst. Tomorrow these missives will wing their way to some of the people I love....but tonight they sit in the yellow-pink candlelight, potential.

On my nightstand, behind the picture of Emma and I dressed as fairies and the candles Amber gave me for my 25th, just next to the Galileo thermometer Hannah gave me for Christmas is a pile of books - at the top is A Guide To Elegance - I've skipped onto this after finishing ....Geisha as I had my afternoon tea.

The TV in the corner blew up earlier. No grand exit, just some sparks and a crackle. It sits, vacant, impotent, above the DVD player the OMW gave me (that machine's still going strong) and with a pile of DVDs atop it.

And I sit on the floor, laptop in front of me, phone on one side, glass of tonic on the other. My wardrobe is in front of me, doors open. When I glance up I can see sparkly things, a red shawl, my Hallowe'en dress (Supergeek rules!), some creme brulee body cream and a postcard saying 'Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn'. My PJs are my favourite pair, pinked checked and voluminous; my hair is coiled in pincurls on my head.

That's about the shape of things here.

How are you guys this evening?

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Reading: Am currently devouring Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, which is just staggering. It’s one of those books I’ve been wanting to read for quite some time, and now I’m really getting into it. One of the blurb quotes say it’s a novel-lover’s novel, inasmuch as it recreates a world – so far, I’m inclined to agree. Also on the nightstand are The Weaker Vessel: Women’s Lot in 17th Century England, The Hours, and my nemesis, Anna Karenina.

Watching: After a cheese fest at Hannah’s (I think the nadir was when we decided watching The Lizzie Maguire Movie was a good idea…I blame the red wine), I have three new, shiny, pretty DVDs from Amazon rentals to watch in the next week or so – The Terminal, Dodgeball, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Projects: To finish writing my thank you notes for birthday and Christmas (or should that be start?). To find a good muffin recipe to use in my new and spangly star shaped muffin pans (thanks, Naomi!). To work out how long it takes me to walk into work, as it looks like that’s going to be my best option when the snow comes (I know, how 19th century).

I can’t believe I go back to work soon. Gah….underprepared!

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New Year’s Tradition…

Every New Year, I complete this crappy quiz in my journal…and ad this is my journal, here goes…. It’s actually pretty good fun to look back on and laugh at a year or two later….

Or now, if you prefer!

Warning: This was derived from several of those internet quizzes mushed together. Cohesive? Not so much. I try not to do these thingys too often, so this kills many birds with one stone.

Name: Claire Rachael T

Nicknames: ‘Thorners’, ‘Miss Fornlee’, at one time ‘Bouncer’ and now ‘Miss Fabulous’.

Age: 25 years, 23 days and counting.

Living arrangement: I live in a little bedsit flat type thing attached to a bigger house. It’s just the right size for one person, and definitely the best option available when I moved to the middle of nowhere.

Favourite TV shows: I tend to like American imports and a few Brit things – I like Lost and love House. I adored the early seasons of The West Wing, ER, and Teachers. I love Have I Got News for You, have major time for Scrubs and am very excited about the return of Green Wing soon.

What’s on your mousepad? What mousepad? Touchpad darling, all the way.

Favourite smells: Fresh brewed coffee and croissants, baby powder, fields or meadows after it has rained, the sea, certain perfumes (L’Eau D’Issey, Romance, Eternity etc.).

Worst feeling in the world: I could be all deep and say something like ‘loneliness’ or ‘realisation’. But no, for me, the worst feeling in the world can be summed up in three little words…."I’m…gonna…..hurl". I hate to be sick.

Best feeling in the world: Waking up at 6 a.m., and realising it’s a Sunday, so you can go right on back to sleep.

Favourite soundtrack: Um, tough call – how about a tie between Magnolia and Garden State, with Cruel Intentions getting an honourable mention?

What is the first thing you think of in the morning?: Coffee.

Do you get motion sickness? : Only in coaches, and then only when I think about it.

Roller coasters – scary or exciting? Excitingly scary.

Pen or pencil? Pencil for fluidity, pen for permanence.

How many rings before you answer? Since when did I pick up the phone?

Favourite food: Cheese, tuna steak, salsa, sweet chilli sauce, tomatoes, broccoli, anything yummy I don’t have to cook or wash up after (I love to cook, but like being cooked for even more…lol).

Do you get along with your parents? Yep.

Favourite ice cream flavour? Mint Choc Chip or Chunky Monkey.

Do you like to drive? Ask me in twelve months (fingers crossed).

If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be? St. Paul. Now that would be a deep conversation.

What is your zodiac sign? Sagittarius.

If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be? Radio presenter.

Have you ever been in love? Not yet.

What’s on the walls of your room? Pictures, postcards, post-its, a shawl pinned up, a fan and a mirror. Oh, and two huge photo collages of my friends, a dream bug and a little plague saying ‘You’re an Angel’.

Righty, lefty, or a bit of both? Almost entirely righty – my left hand skills suck.

Do you type with your fingers on the right keys? Nope.

If you could be any gardening tool, what would it be? A watering can. I don’t even know why. Is there a Freudian in the house?

What’s under your bed? Nothing – I have a couch bed!

Favourite boy singer? Rufus Wainwright / Nat ‘King’ Cole

Favourite girl singer? Aimee Mann, Bette Midler, Judy Garland.

Favourite bands? Barenaked Ladies, Kaiser Chiefs, Foo Fighters, Nickel Creek, RHCP.

Song that brings back memories of high school: F.A. – it would have to be ‘Oh Yeah’ by Ash and ‘U Can’t Touch This’ by MC Hammer! Cheesey as heck!

Favourite cuisine: Italian, closely followed by Mexican and Chinese.

Favourite places on earth? Primrose Bay, Durham Cathedral, Paris, North Carolina.

Leisure activities? Reading, writing letters, singing, watching DVDs, dancing, taking walks.

Work activities: Teaching, planning what I’m going to teach, assessing what I’ve taught, attempting to be a grown up.

Stupidest thing done while drunk: Oh wow. I’m proud to say neither of these happened in the last twelve months (although embarrassing moment number 3, if I’d chosen to include it, did). 1. Falling flat on my face outside RGU because I didn’t notice the gigantic foot and a half tall big thing in my way. Ow. 2. Bursting into tears in the foyer of my college – although to be fair I was being provoked by someone equally intoxicated!

Popular misconception about yourself? That I am confident. It’s all an elaborate façade, believe me….

A bientot,
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Happy New Year!

I'm at Hannah's during our uber-lazy new year's weekend, so this'll be brief. We've had loads of fun drinking wine, watching movies and eating antisocial food (garlic bread, aubergine parmigana, garlic mushrooms, tomato and onion crisps and loooots of chocolate).

Just wanted to wish everyone who reads this (all...six? ten? I don't know? of you) a very happy new year full of happiness, joy and good things. I'm hoping 2006 will prove to be a wonderful year!

More when I return home tomorrow.

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