Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tales of terror!

Nah, not really.

Well, the writer’s block has lifted somewhat…I took a train journey down to Aberdeen on Sunday and managed to throw together 4 poems. All pretty dire, but it was nice to feel like I had something to write again…

It is truly moving to winter weather here. I awoke to gale force winds, and even now the house is being buffeted by a fair old breeze. The sky is a murky grey with occasional splits of silver, where the sun is trying valiantly to break through. Good luck with that, Mr Sun! Up here we have one of the highest incidences of SAD (Seasonally Affected Disorder) for the country – no wonder, over the winter the sun can become a distant memory :-).

The visit down to Aberdeen was fun as usual. I spent four years of my life in that city, so there are memories around every corner, and as I’m sure you know it’s a double edged sword. The good ones outweigh the bad though, so that’s OK! I spent a lovely couple of hours shopping, which is about as long as I can take without getting bored / antsy / annoyed by the crowds, schlepped to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato (yum), and then met Princess S for dinner and coffee. Awesomeness – she and I have been friends for over 5 years now, so she’s the kind of friend you can really cut to the chase with… I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

The train journeys to and from were interesting, to say the least. On the way down I had a good comfy seat, on the window side so I could look out over the glens and hills, book at the ready (Sense and Sensibilty…again), mp3 player good to go, bottle of fizzy pop, and two hours to kill. I was fine till one stop through, when a true oddball decided to sit opposite me…

Oddball? I should elaborate. He sang along to his mp3 player loudly and off-key (and it was all really dull MOR stuff as well, boo!). He kept on kicking me under the table because he was shuffling and fidgeting (I have a bruise now). But my two favourite parts had to be…firstly, when he took his cap off to itch through his greasy hair and a chunk of dandruff fell out. Ewwwwww! I actually flinched – I thought it was a killer louse or something. Even better was when some guy got on at Insch and must have, I don’t know, looked at El Weirdo, and El Weirdo looks at him and shouts “What? WHAT?”. People on the trains of the north-east are a little bizarre.

Train journey back was better (for once, I didn’t choose the carriage full of people drinking special brew and cursing animatedly. High FIVE!), except the lights in my carriage kept on being turned off and on by some random ‘surveyors’ – it was fine, as it meant we had the quietest carriage, but dear Lord, was worried I’d fall asleep, miss my station and end up stranded in Inverness overnight. An awful fate, to be sure.

So, today is Hallowe’en! Do you celebrate? Have you done anything yet? Did you dress up? This year, I am not doing anything…the whole driving-test-at-9.30-the-morning-after is preventing me from doing anything too zany. This time last year I was over in Chapel Hill and had an awesome time – an American Hallowe’en truly rules! Midimus, Minimus and I are going to stay in and distribute candy to any of the wee folk who come round (I hope so – I love the ickle costumes!), mock each other and not watch horror films (I’m a total wuss and cannot handle them!).

So that’s my ramble for the day…now I’d better go revise engine parts. The brakes are on the dashboard, right?

Have a fantabulous day!

Cxx

PS Aw! My weather pixie has a pumpkin for Hallowe'en! Cuteness :-).

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

Friday, October 20, 2006

Yessssss! It's Friday! Prrrrrrrrrrraaaaise Jesus!

So, it’s now 10 p.m. Thursday, and it’s a much calmer and more relaxed countrymouse writing here! Thanks to you all for the sweet comments after the earlier outburst – I’m afraid the end-of-half-term had me a little over-extended, and like the proverbial elastic band, something snapped! But now, it’s late, I am snuggled in my pink PJs, I’ve had a glass of merlot, and I’ve just watched ‘Ladette to Lady’ (my life, I love that show! It panders to so many of my cheesey TV needs, and also ties in neatly with my childhood addiction to Debrett’s). My life is back to the usual cosy goodness…

As those of you who check in here regularly know, I am a lazy moomin, and frequently turn to other arenas for inspiration in my blogging (haha, that sounds awfully pretentious! But you know what I mean…) – memes, surveys, the singalongs. Today I got a survey of firsts from my friend Jeff and as it’s late, I’m listening to a rainstorm, and I feel like writing (tomorrow’s whole school assembly has me on edge), let’s get it on:

1.Who was your first love?

When I meet him, I’ll be sure to let you know!

I mean, I’ve had crushes. I’ve thought I cared about someone, thought I’ve loved them even, but I’ve never really, truly been in love. I think it’s quite ironic, in a sad and twisted way – most people would describe me as warm and loving…but I have yet to put these skills to the test in the most awesome way.

I wait to be amazed!

2. Who was your first kiss and when?

Michael Alexander, when I was nine, I think!

3. Who was your first prom date?

If the prom = Christmas dances where I was from, I never had an official date. Although in 6th Year I did have my friend Angus agree to go with me, even though he wasn’t going to attend, because this guy James wanted to go with me and I wasn’t interested, and knew of no other way to put him off. Night of the dance, Angus gatecrashed, and was actually, therefore, now I think about it, my first prom date.

Ta-dah!

4. Who was your first room mate?

My first dorm when I was eleven comprised 8 of us. Ugh.

My first roommates would have been the crazy girls of Flat 69 – Amber, Morag, Vicky, Vix, Beate and I. Freshman year rocked so hard, and I drank far too many lurid coloured drinks, and got hung up on many unsuitable guys. Oh, and studied a bit…

5. What was your first job?

Age 15 – skivvy at a greengrocers. As thrilling as it sounds.

6. What was your first car?

The awesome Mavis, my bumblebee. The coolest moped evah!

7.When did you go to your first funeral?

I’ve only been to one. I was seventeen, and it broke my heart. I don’t think I’ll ever understand fully why that had to happen.

8. How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?

5. We moved back when I was 13 though, so it’s always felt like home.

9. Who was your first grade teacher?

Mrs Muir. I only had two great teachers out of the dozen or so I had throughout primary ed., and she was one of them. A great, encouraging and pushy when necessary teacher. I hope to be that good one day.

10. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane?
Aged 7, flying to Germany to live.

11. Where did you go for your first date and who was it with?

Date? What is this date you speak of?

Haha, dates are just starting to take off here in the U.K.! I’ve been out for dinner, movies, coffee, whatever, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had an official date – it tends to be an ‘as friends’ thing, or going with a guy I’m already seeing – does that count?

12. When you snuck out of your house for the first time, who was it with?

Fact: I have never snuck out. I’m way too honest – I’d just tell the parentals I was going :-).

13.Who was your first best friend and are you still friends with them?

Emma D. And nope. Nothing sinister, just the crazy moving schedule of a military brat getting in the way!

14. Who was the first person to send you flowers?

My parents.

I love flowers far, far too much – they can always make me smile, and can earn forgiveness for a multitude of sins!

15. Where did you live the first time you moved out of your parents house?

Flat 69, Hillhead. Genius times!

16. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My Marmee, Naomi, or Hannah.

17. Who's wedding were you in the first time you were a bridesmaid or a groomsmen?

Apart from family, I’ve yet to be a bridesmaid. Hint, hint! Only joshing, I think it’s kind of my buddies to save the pastels for a later date. Plus, I’ve already claimed lots of godmother duties for the years to come– I have my eyes firmly on the prize!

18. What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Wonder what on earth my alarm tone is about – the joys of my mobile being my alarm clock – random bleepity blops first thing in the morning.

Et voila, j’ai fini! It’s half-ten and I’m going to bed….next time I write it’ll be half-term. Huzzah!

Have a brilliant Friday, and an awesome weekend!

Cxx

Thursday, October 19, 2006

That sound?

Was probably the poo hitting the fan.

Y'all, I am so tired. I am almost-fainting-at-worship-band tired. Coming-to-school-and-feeling-all-wibbly-and-tearful tired. Falling-asleep-at-a-little-after-nine-fully-clothed-tired. I hate when I get rundown. And of course, it happens on a Thursday, the day where I consider the time to visit the ladies room an exquisite pleasure and privelege.

Yesterday was parent-tutor conferences, and for the most part they went really well. My class are lovely, and settling in well to the crazy schedule here.

Have a great day, y'all. Please leave me a comment to make me smile - I'm having a bit of an Eeyore day here.

Cxx

Monday, October 16, 2006

Singalong 'Saturday' 14/10/06

Well, actually, it’s a singalong Sunday today. I had every good intention of writing this last night, but after an afternoon of writing targets (“Jess must try not to write backwards”, “Esme must learn to take more care with her work, and spend less time worrying about the work of others”, “Ariadne must try not to eat the crayons”… you get the picture?), it was about all I could do to chuck a pizza in the oven, pour a glass of red and splodge in front of some bad TV. Man, I miss having proper Saturday nights!

Approaching is the week of doom, but on Friday half-term starts. For two weeks! Yay! I have lunches and sleepovers and shopping and driving lessons and board games with the family and the evil driving test take two! It is going to be quite the fortnight J!

Bottle Up and Explode! – Elliott Smith

Haha, psychic media player. I love Smith’s songs, and the album this is taken from (XO) just never gets old for me.

Anyway, I think something’s up…I’m feeling a little low this week. I think it’s OK, but all the signifiers are there – the compulsion to snack as if it’s going out of fashion, finding it harder and harder to get up in the mornings….ah but hang on, isn’t that just a mini hibernation?

Ex-Factor – Lauryn Hill

Damn, I miss Lauryn, “Rapper slash actress, more powerful than two Cleopatras”. And it seems like every time I read about her something else dodgy is going on. I really hope she gets well and gets another album together, because the girl can sang.

And you all know how much I love to sing, right? Any place, any time. In class, doing chores, walking to school, cooking, in the store, even when I’m asleep sometimes! Power ballads, folk, jazz, standards, pop, worship, hymns, classical, choral, showtunes, theme songs, nursery rhymes. I genuinely love it, and it can always raise my mood…I love ‘learning’ new songs, listening to them, getting the lyrics straight, figuring out how to reach the notes, where to breathe. It’s the most fun, ever.

Hello Conscience – The Zutons.

Scouse power pop. Yes!

I’ve been thinking about conscience and guilt and worry a lot this past week (report writing will do that to you…). For the longest time I’ve been at the ready to reprimand myself for the smallest thing, and it’s only been these past few years that I’ve really learnt how to accept that I’m allowed to make mistakes, that I’m allowed to foul up.

How To Be Dead – Snow Patrol.

A track with glockenspeil on the intro…always appreciated.

And I still find it hard to acknowledge the good alongside the bad, but I’m getting there with baby steps. It’s really quite odd after spending hours, days, months, years picking at yourself and beating yourself up to actually look at the good also. And I’m pretty crafty also. Many of the people I work with and hang out with the most would describe me as ‘bubbly, open, and confident’. And they’d be right. I am. It’s just that underneath I am positively bursting with self-loathing at times….but a little less each few months or so.

Complainte de la Butte – Rufus Wainwright.

Fun fact! I wrote my dissertation as an undergrad on Moulin Rouge, the OST from which this is taken.

I’m glad I like myself a little more now. Don’t get me wrong, I know I am far from perfect…but who isn’t? And slowly but surely I am learning to appreciate the quirky, odd, honest uniqueness I can bring to things…most of the time.

Buddy Kissed Me – from Side Show.

Have you heard / seen this show? It is amazing, a really dark musical, with lots of actual twists and turns, and some amazing songs. If you like musicals, I recommend!

Pray – Take That.

I don’t own much cheesey pop, but I do love Take That’s Greatest Hits. I never really liked them as a teen (I was more into indie music and *small voice* Hanson – yes, feel free to laugh!), but they were such a part of my growing up. I saw them in concert earlier this year and they were awesome.

Where was I? The music has taken over…yes! Ah, uniqueness. Well, one of the conclusions I have come to in the last 25 years of living is that we are all unique, all amazing, all capable of something amazing. It might be writing a great novel. It might be finding a cure for a disease. It might be raising a family of children who know how wonderful they are and how beautiful the world is. It might be always remembering peoples birthdays. It might be listening and guiding others through tough times…we don’t get to decide, but I am sure we all have a great purpose waiting for us.

Jane – Barenaked Ladies.

Lovely song!

And that’s the kicker when it comes to purpose – we don’t get to choose. I often wish I could…in fact, if I did, I wouldn’t be blogging right now, because I’d be looking after a brood of kids! But that’s not how it works…for me, Someone else is in control. I think it’s God…for you it might be J****h, Allah (his name be praised), the universe or the amazing smurf. It’s a choice we all have to make.

Awesome God – Michael W. Smith.

Ah-ha! Someone is listening!

But for me, I believe that Someone is in control of my life and what happens to me. I’m a fairly liberal Christian on many issues, having been brought up by fairly hippy non-practicing parents, but on some things I am completely by the book. For me, God is absolutely and totally in control of my life….but this is not a passive thing. It doesn’t mean I get to sit on my butt eating bon-bons and waiting for a prince to rock up. Alas, no. Rather, I am compelled to do all I can to be the best I can be, to love everyone I meet (ah, yes, forgiveness in action, that’s a whole other post just waiting to be written!), take things to him in prayer and always remember how lucky I am.

Half Light – Athlete.

Another up note to end on. I seem to have a knack.

And I am lucky. I am only too aware of how lucky I am. Materially I am infinitely blessed - I have a beautiful little flat, a cute yellow moped, toys and food and clothes aplenty. When I was younger I dreamed of the day when I’d have a closet stuffed with clothes and drawers full of undies, toiletries, makeup and spangles – and I have that now.

As for the more important things, I am so very, very blessed. I have friends who think of me, who remember my birthday, who write and call and email and text and make time for dinner no matter how busy they are. I have a family I adore. I have dozens of children who think I’m amazing. My glass is more than half-full, and I think I need to always remember that.

So that was the singalong – random as always, don’t you think?

I trust you are all well, thanks as always for the comments etc. – you guys rock.

Have a great week,

Cxx

PS Bee, I will try and write a ‘love letter’ to myself soon, OK?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Adventures in Snowdonia, part II

And here we are again, in the mountains of Wales. So gorgeous, and really reminded me of the Highlands at home. And yes...we climbed that one!
There's a special rock in Snowdonia which looks like a giant seesaw / flying carpet - this is me, in customary geek pose, atop said geological phenomenon.
Oh yes, I did. Breaking out the jazz hands while appearing to float in midair (mad skills, right?). Haha, am a loser!
Windy? Oh yes! Very high up in the mountains? Yep! Vastly too big clothing? You betcha, baby!
Ain't it pretty? Lookit, lookit!
Teaching my uber posh charges how to shop on a budget - and I'm giving a thumbs up. Why, I'm not exactly sure...


Above, Tesco bitchface. I love that the child in obviously trying to convince me to buy something, and I'm all....I don't think so...

The final photo is the cheesiest / worst / most awful photo I think I have of myself. In fact the Y7 girls we took to Snowdonia and I decided that if and when I decide to get married I have to show this pic to the future Mr Countrymouse. And if he stays despite it...he's a keeper.

Hope y'all liked the pics, have a great Friday!

Cxx

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The search for inspiration?

So I tend to get loads of those surveys and memes and questionaire thingies via email and myspace. Who doesn’t, right? And ordinarily, I just leave them be, or stockpile them till I’m up chez mes parents for a stretch – they’re good for the soul on the long Scottish evenings.

Every so often though, I use one as a jump-off point for a post…and as I’m currently going through a bit of a brainfreeze, I’m hoping this means an at least slightly interesting post for all…we’ve got to keep it “fresh and sexy”, as Diddy would say.

This survey came to me via my buddy Ni – if you are on myspace, check out the band that he, Jenna and Heidi have – Honeybug. They are awesomely poppy! And they leave comments. Woo!

Right, are you sitting comfortably? Do you have coffee / green tea / beer / a cocktail to hand? Have you been to the bathroom? Can you tell I work with 7-year-olds?

I’m sat in bed at ten pm, all cleansed and toned and moisturised, smelling of cocoa butter and soap, nursing a hot chocolate and wearing the geekiest pyjamas on the face of the earth. Let’s get our survey on…

1.What is in the back seat of your car right now?

Do mopeds have a back seat? In the back cubby-thing of my moped, I have oil and my waterproofs. Tis the season to rock up to school looking like a navy Crayola crayon from time to time…

2.What was the last thing you threw up?

Carrots. Haha, I jest, but they do seem omnipresent in this genre, right? But in all seriousness, I don’t tend to document these things! Last time I was tummy ill was earlier this year…nothing knocks me out quite like stomach flu!

3.Menthol or regular cigarettes?

Gah, neither! I’ve never even tried properly, wuss that I am. When I’ve indulged in other pleasures I’ve had a couple of drags, back in the day, but it was never really about the smoking! Bleurgh!

4.What is your favorite episode of Friends?

Is ‘Friends’ just on a loop now? It seems like every time I turn on the TV there’s an ep on… I guess my favourites are the ones I haven’t seen seven thousand times…and the Christmas episodes, cos I’m a sucker for tinsel. (76 days to go!!!!!!!!!!)

5.Does anyone have any blackmail on you?

Not really. The past can always bite you in the butt, but I’ve not done anything too heinous. However, I have taken part in lots of AmDram, so no doubt there are some embarrassing tape records of me singing / acting / tapdancing. Yeah, they’ll come back and haunt me one day, right?

6.If you could marry any celebrity today who would it be?

Colin Hanks. Talented, cute, intelligent and funny.

Swoon. Thud.

7.Have you been to a strip club?

Nope. As much as Stuart wanted us all to go on an expedition to Newcastle…not really my scene!

8.Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?

My pink pashmina…and that’s about it!

9.Are you wearing socks right now?Nope, am in bed!

10.What was the last thing you had to drink?

Am currently supping hot chocolate (mmmmm, the taste of cold nights when you are all cosy and tucked up inside), with dinner it was a “thimble” of red wine.

11.What are you wearing right now?

The geekiest pyjamas ever – gray long johns covered in penguins sporting little hats and scarves. They are amazingly bad. Thanks, Nana and Granpa!

12.Last food you ate?

Pitta, salad, turkey spiciness, followed by some chocolate pudding. Yum.

13.Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?

No. Ha-HA! Roll on half-term though, Marmee and I are going bargain shopping – roll on one pound necklaces, two pound pants and ten pound pyjamas…we love it far, far too much!

14.When is the last time you ran?

I ran across the quad earlier today…does that count?

15.What's the last sporting event you watched?

Under 9 Cs rugby, last Wednesday.

16.Last movie you saw?

’The Devil Wears Prada’, which I really enjoyed. A good, solid, funny chickflick…and Streep is amazing! Now I want to go see 'The Queen', 'The Departed', and 'Children of Men'...

17.Who Is the last person you sent a message to on myspace?

Tried to send one to Kenny but was brutally rebuffed (evvvviillll myspace), before that it was Kate.

18.Ever go to camp?

Scout camp, yes. Band camp, no.

19.Were you an honor roll student in school?

If such things existed here, yep, I probably would have been! (((geekery, bookishness and love of CV filling)))

20.Do you like sushi?

I’ve only ever had vege sushi, and that was good. The real stuff is on my ‘things I must try’ list.

21.Do you have a tan?

No. I got slightly golden and more freckly in the summer, but I’m nae a fan of the uber-tan.

22.How old do you want to be when you have kids?

Ideally? I’d love to start ‘dropping sprogs’ (to borrow the charming vernacular of the Year 7 and 8s at school) sometime between 27 and 33. I’d quite like a big brood, so I guess getting started would be a good thing in the next few years!

23.Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?

The heck? Of course. My friends and I, when we were underagers in Forres, went through quite the straw obsession when out and about. Whether it was Moscow mule, long vodka, jellybean or even cider and black, it had to be through a straw!

24.What is your age?

25…for a couple more months :-).

25.Are you someone's best friend?

I’d say I’m lots of peoples good friend – there are a hardcore of about ten who I adore and would trust in any situation and do all the things you’d expect of a good friend (remember birthdays, give a flying fig about ubercrushes and work worries, get me home safely after a few too many red wines, make plans with me for Hogmanay, believe I should be on the X-factor…etc.). And I like to think I’m a good friend to them also.

26.What are your siblings' middle names?

Ruth and Jonathan.

27.Where is your dad right now?

Fast asleep. Or arsing about on Linux.

28.what was the last thing you said?

"Have a nice evening! And sleep well boys!” to Stace and the two wee boarders earlier.

29.What color is your watch?

Spangly, spangly silver.

30.What do you think of when you think of Australia?

Animals that can kill you. GillieCat! Neighbours. Steve Irwin (R.I.P., mate). Kylie.

31.Ever ridden on a roller coaster?

Heck yes!

32.Favorite gemstone?

Diamonds are a girls best friend. Haha, I love garnets, rubies, emeralds, rose quartz, sapphires, amethysts….I’m a bit of a magpie!

33.Do you go in at a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?

Either/or. I rarely indulge, but when I do it’s either when shopping or on a road trip – for shopping it would be a stop and drop, for road trips drive thru.

34.Do you have a roommate?

Nope! For the first time in my life I live alone (and kind of cheat, cos my pad is attached to a big house with occupants!) and it’s a neat experience. Most of the time! Except when spiders attack!

35.What is your favorite number?

4. 7. 21….there are quite a few. And I’m hoping 26 is going to be awesome.

36. If there was a question 36, what would you want it to be?

See above, I just put that in.

36.5 What would your answer to that question be?

See the answer to question 36! :¬P

37.What happened to you in 1993?

I survived Year 7, despite my aunt being in charge of my wardrobe…polyester skirts? Good Lord.

38.1996?

I made senior prefect, and started what would be my last academic year at R.A.A.S.. Little did I know it at the time!

39.1997?

I left my boarding school and joined the ranks of Forres Academy…two years of fun and japery ensued!

40.1999?

I graduated high school! Woo! Aberdeen University, here I come!

41.2001?

Mid-degree confusion, the summer of hell, strange times.

42.2002?

A much more even keel.

43.Does your first memory involve your dad?

Nope. It does, however, involve a hospital visit!

44.biggest annoyance in your life right now?

Not enough time / being too far from many of the people I love.

45.Do you like watching a bonfire?

Yes. So relaxing.

46.Are you allergic to anything?

Amoxcyllin, dust, and bullshit.

48.Favorite shoes that you wear all the time?

For work, my black pumps with 2 inch heels. For leisure, as it’s fall, probably my walking boots – girly shoes don’t really cut it during the damp and soggy English autumn!

49.What is one thing you've learned about life recently?

It’s precious, amazing, fragile and mysterious. And you’ll never fathom it out completely!

50.Are you jealous of anyone?

Nope. Wouldn’t mind trading places with Colin Hanks’ girlfriend for the day, though.

51.Is anyone jealous of you?

I doubt it!

And there we have it…another quality ramble from the keyboard of Claire. Be good, people!

Cxx

PS Are you impressed - I've already posted twice this week! Eek!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Singalong Saturday, 7/10/06

How is it Saturday already? I feel like my feet have barely touched the ground this week, hence the lack of blog…. Emails have gone unanswered, phone calls not returned, and a general sense of chaos of mind has prevailed. Yay!?

But now, it’s 10.15. I have a free. Let’s get the singalong on, shall we?

……..

And then I abandoned the blog post, in favour of schmoozing with visiting parents. The joys of open morning.

So now it’s a quarter to ten in the evening and I’ve had a chilled evening in front of the box (I know, how depressing, I should be in a chic bar somewhere, but we have none in the middle of nowhere!); drinking red wine, dipping stuff in hummus, watching ‘The X-factor’ and crying. Watching ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ and thinking damn….I need to do some dancing.

So now, just a smidge under twelve hours late, here’s this week’s singalong:

1) Let The Whole World – Hillsong London

Oh…a praise and worship song.

Kind of apt, given the week that I’ve had! I counted this morning, and I have been to church four times this week. Yep, it’s been a godly one! Hee. Our church has links with a Christian group known as the Barnabas Walk, and the two main preachers, Semmie and Bob, have been over with us. They’ve been leading praise and prayer, leading seminars, and joining worship. It’s always a time of revival, I find, but also a time that can confuse people who think that our faith is mumbo jumbo – I’m fairly new to the whole shebang, so I won’t try and explain too much!

But last night we had a great prayer meeting, a time for people to make peace with demons, to ask for forgiveness, to seek help and guidance, to offer praise. Semmie felt moved to pray for a husband for me – I’m not sure how to process that just yet…but no doubt it will make a great blog later this year…

2) Beauty and the Mess - Nickel Creek

Quick Poll – should this be the title of my autobiography?

Other than church based fun, it has been a hectic old week. I’m such an oddball I can deal with stress pretty well, but I have a habit of absorbing a lot of the worry of those around me – on that part it has been a fairly hard week. Is it possible to have a busy life, that is also lonely? I think that may be what I have.

But I do have so many people around me – colleagues, friends, family. Texts and emails enough to occupy me. Lovely blog readers who check out my musings. Is that enough?

3) Black Horse and the Cherry Tree – K.T. Tunstall

Great, great tune! This girl’s music is so intrinsically Scottish…always makes me think of home. The long nights. The cold, cold, really cold air. Dark woods and hidden corners, a sense of peace with an undercurrent of foreboding, culture and nature too closely knit. A strange, quirky place, where air force jets taxi in for landing above Japanese hippies shopping for tofu…. Yeah, the homesickness prevails, can you tell?

(bee, I’m glad you like KT also, I was thrilled that she got name checked on your blog!)

4) One – Aimee Mann

One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do,
Two, can be as bad as one, it’s the loneliest number since the number one…

I love this woman.

The first time I heard Aimee Mann was when I first watched ‘Magnolia’. Have you seen that movie? If not, do try to, it is amazing! The whole film is interwoven with Aimee Mann’s music, and after buying the soundtrack I bought pretty much her whole back catalogue…

‘Magnolia’ is a movie that makes me laugh and cry and suffer and heal in almost equal measure. Don’t you just love when films do that?

5) Borderline – Madonna

Woo! 80s cheese! Yeah!

Early era Madonna is so laden with memories for me, and I’d imagine for everyone aged between 20 and 30 right now. It reminds me of making up dance routines, hoarding bangles, coveting a perm (can you even imagine? I would have had a white girl ‘fro!), reading Smash Hits and first crushes…

Sigh.

Oh, speaking of crushes, I think the uber-crush is well and truly gone. Say it with me – Hallelujah! Yes, he’s still cute, but I think I’m out of the woods…there was always something a little indecorous about crushing on a faculty member when you were a faculty member also….

Forgive me typos and flights of fancy…it’s late…

6) I Figured You Out – Mary Lou Lord

Why don’t more people listen to Mary Lou Lord? Good tunes, good playing, great voice, awesome lyrics, cute look. What’s not to love?

I was singing earlier. I love to sing – something which those who have ever lived with or near me know only too well….standards, hymns, gospel, jazz, worship, classical, choral, folk… I just love to sing. My dream job would be to be a backing singer for a big name like Madonna or Robbie Williams – just sing, learn, enjoy, then go home and chill with my mates…

7) The Last Polka – Ben Folds Five

It was earlier this year that I learnt Ben Folds is based in Chapel Hill, NC. I was thrilled to discover this as Chapel Hill is one of my favourite places on the earth…It’s where I go to visit my gorgeous friend Peachy and I just love it there…

The hills, the campus, the quirky bars and shops (Time After Time! The Spotted Dog! That awesome Central American place I can never remember the name of!). This time last year I was prepping to go there for half term and just had the most amazing visit. Peachy and I spent loads of time together, chatting, watching movies, visiting DC, doing pub quizzes with her friends from the lab, hanging with her ‘rents…I can’t wait till I next get to visit my girl. Also, the UNC guys? Are cute, y’all! Yay eyecandy!

8) The Long Day Is Over – Norah Jones

Oh, how Radio 2! Norah Jones…

I love her voice, uncool as that may make me. I love the end of the day also, that feeling as you draw back the covers and lie down in bed, tucking the pillows and blankets around you to make a little nest. Saying your prayers, checking the alarm, switching off the light. And then lying there, in the soft, serene darkness. The magical part of the day where daydreams and dreams intermingle, and the reality of your life embraces the fantasy in your mind.

9) Bye Bye Blackbird – Joe Cocker

In ‘Sleepless In Seattle’, this is the song which reminds Sam of his dead wife. And that’s what brought it to my notice. Sam is like a movie character built from pieces of my desire (apart from the widower part, I’m not evil!). He’s intelligent, needy (but not in a clingy way), strong yet fragile, kind, loyal, damaged yet noble. No wonder chicks dig that film!

I watched ‘Overboard’ this afternoon. Have you seen that film? If not, please do. It is awesome and awful in more or less equal measure, but I always enjoy it. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in an 80s classic. Also, I’d love a brood to mother, s it has that whole living vicariously angle for me. Plus, that movie makes me cry. “You said moms don’t leave!”

10) I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys

I wish I was on a dancefloor – I haven’t danced in ages!

Well this has been a random post. My brain is full of ideas and worries and talking points, but they didn’t seem to want to iron out today. Don’t you just hate when that happens? Hope you’ve enjoyed the musical tour nonetheless, and more soon. Have a great week, everyone!

Cxx

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Adventures in Snowdonia, part I

As some of you may remember, earlier this year I went to the mountains of Wales with some of our Year 7 kids...and it was quite the experience! My mate Wozza has finally started to sort out the pics, so here for your perusal is part I of...some? Hee. Feel free to comment on how rough I look in most of these shots :-). Singalong to come later!


As usual, these pics will be in a completely odd order - my excuse is it's the weekend and I don't have to be organised ;-). This is our gang atop Snowdon (1,085m!), looking good.
And this is us on our way up Snowdon - please note the fog, the eleventy million layers of clothing (mmmm, chunky!), the mob of children, the yellow safety warden vest and the socks (yes, socks) on my hands - my gloves were soaked! Not seen - gale force winds!
We also had some gorgeous days on our expeditions - these boys and I enjoyed chilling out by the lake after a strenuous day on the hill.
Here's the gang cheesing it on top of one of the Glyders. Yes, I'm aware I looked like refried ass for much of this trip, but darnit I had fun :-). These cheesey pic was taken on the top of....

This mountain. Ooh, random continuity!
And here we are, right at the start....just before the fear kicked in!

Have a great weekend, people!

Cxx

Friday, October 06, 2006

oompa loompa

Children, or Oompas Loompas? It has just been one of those days round here!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Singalong Saturday 30/9/06

First and foremost, an apology. I know I’m not updating as often as many of you guys, but there are two major reasons for this…1, no net access chez moi; 2, the evils of working a pretty hardcore 6 day week most weeks. I am averaging 2 or 3 posts a week though, so don’t worry, I’m on the radar. Thanks as always for the comments – many a fudged up day of marking, worry and kid-based stress has been sweetened by some witty bon mots from you lovely folk.

On with the singalong!

1) Supermassive Black Hole – Muse.

Oh my, how I love this song. And this band. Muse are just incredible, and the first 30 seconds of this song are probably the best thirty seconds of music I’ve heard this year. A wall of sound, dark, bassy, riff tastic. The whole of the album is awesome, but this track takes it one step beyond.

Muse remind me of my misspent youth as well – a twenty year old country mouse could often be found in a mosh pit at the notorious Mudd club in Aberdeen, mixing with Goths and grungers, drinking watered down beer, breaking out some awful dance moves, being chatted up by inappropriate guys with eyeliner and attitude, debating the Foos vs. Nirvana, always hungry for the next new track, the next hot mix. This was the place where a friend had an arm broken in a particularly rabid mosh pit. The place where the opening chords of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, or ‘Sweet Child of Mine’, or ‘Enter Sandman’ provoked a huge swelling of the dancefloor, pints abandoned, conversations left hanging in mid-air. A world away from now, but I owe a lot of my musical knowledge and passion to those smoky, overcrowded, random Monday nights.

The Mudd club has closed down since, and reopened a couple of times, but I’m still a fan of the original recipe!

2) Dinner At Eight – Rufus Wainwright

Ah, Dr McSlur-y, I presume? I kid, I kid, one of my favourite voices ever, the auteur of both my favourite version of ‘Hallelujah’ and the musical pop genius of ‘14th Street’.

His voice is so velvety, but so full of pain and sorrow. I’ve been thinking of pain and sorrow and loss and depression and sadness a lot lately. As happy as I am, I have a pretty hardcore seam of melancholy running throughout my character. My insistence on trying to see the best of people, to get the best from people is coupled by a terrifyingly low self-esteem and self-worth. I guess we could call it depression…but what’s in a name, anyway?

As a teen, and in my early twenties, my depression/sadness/blues (delete as applicable and as preferred) was quite all-consuming. I comfort ate amounts that make me shudder now, burying pain and hurt the best way I could, the easiest way I know how. I read somewhere that the difference between comfort eaters and other addicts is that comfort eaters must wear the effects of their addiction where everyone can see. Your mileage may vary, but I think that person is pretty darn clever.

3) Annie Waits – Ben Folds.

You all know how much I love this guy…so I’ll continue with the ramble.

As well as the eating, there were the lows. My lows have a wonderful spiral effect to them, like a circle of dominoes hitting each other down, down, down. One tiny thing goes wrong (bad date, fudged up test, argument..) and kaboom, kaboom, kaboom, before I knew it I’d be slumped in a darkened room, hiding under a duvet, sobbing and dying to escape the horror I perceived my life to be.

The girl has issues, y’all.

Then, at about twenty-two, I realised I had to fix this, or get it fixed. So I set myself the challenge – either I had to give myself ways to master these lows, or I was going to get it sorted by the professionals. Stubborn cow that I am, I figured I could do it…

4) Be My Yoko Ono – Barenaked Ladies

I love this song! Go Media player!

…and do you know what? I sorted myself out. I don’t know if I’m actually depressed (and if you are reading this and you are, please do know that I wish to offend no-one with my use of the term). I read self-help books, I scrutinised my behaviour, I got my ass back to church (I’d never lost my faith, just ignored it a little), starting helping more people, and, most importantly, I started taking care of myself.

5) Call Me When You Get This – Corinne Bailey Rae

Buy her album, please. It will improve your day, if not your life!

Yep, I started taking care of myself. I’ve always been a nurturer, but I had such a low opinion of myself, I never extended this caring nature to myself. I was fat, ugly, stupid, a mess, unreliable, untalented…..

I grew up. I changed my view. I took stock.

Now I know I’m not perfect (far from it!), but I can appreciate the things I bring to the table….

I’m quite funny. I have an infectious smile. Kids tend to really, really like me. I dance like a maniac. I am widely read, love music and know far too much about film and TV. I’m a good hostess. I have a voice which many people love. I am an extremely good hugger (I can give references, y’all). I make a kickass Bolognese sauce. I love to write letters and send gifts.

OK, enough with the love-in, right?

6) At My Most Beautiful – REM

One of the most romantic songs I know. Makes me feel all gooey inside!

But the love-in is important. So, for me, is recognising the signs, knowing when a storm is brewing. I’d had the feeling all this week, slightly on edge, homesick, sleeping far more than usual…..I knew a low was coming.

And yesterday afternoon, it arrived. One teeny bit of bad news and I was beginning to go. The stress and the pressure of the last few weeks, the loneliness I had been feeling, all conspired to send me on a low. My demons started preying on me, hitting my Achilles heels, trying to send me, quite literally, off on one.

7) Today I Sing The Blues – Aretha Franklin.

Haha, yet another case of media player reading my mind! Hee.

But do you know what? I prevailed. I didn’t eat too much. I’d didn’t drink too much. I didn’t make a fool of myself. I didn’t go on a crying jag. I didn’t take to my bed.

No, I was constructive. I read the NME, took a walk, had a bath, made a salad, watched some TV, sang really loudly, hit some pillows. I made a list of twenty things to be thankful for, and I steadfastly ignored what the demon on my shoulder was telling me (you are worthless…no-one even likes you…you are always going to be alone…why do you bother?). Riding my lows is an extreme sport, but when I beat them it feels awesome.

8) Stand – REM

Yay! Feelgood pop!

So that was my Friday…how was yours?

Haha, sorry if that was an overshare, but this is where I deconstruct my life…

So we are a month into term, and I get a long weekend. Two days, woot! Yesterday was getting over the blues (I know, I know, boo-fricking-hoo!), today is…nothing so far. I woke up at eight, read the pure cheese fest that is ‘Hello’ magazine (hey, don’t judge me, posh totty is my weakness!), watched the ‘Friends’ finale (again) on T4, did some ironing (I always iron in high heels for some reason. Odd, non?), had a bath and now I’m blogging. It looks like a day of chores and chilling and marking and phoning and letters and stuff. Tomorrow is church, then possibly something – what I don’t yet know!

9) True Love – Elton John

This song always reminds me of Christmas. I think it’s the bells. I am already fairly excited about Christmas…how sad am I? I’ve already started thinking about gifts, and this weekend I think I’ll order the stuff I need to make my Christmas cards. I adore the season.

On one of the forums I frequent there’s a thread where singles are moaning (for want of a better word) about being single for the holiday. Now, I can sympathise with this a little but it doesn’t actually hit me that hard. For me, Christmas is magical no matter what – and I have been single for every. single. Christmas of my adult life. I’m just happy to be safe, content and with the people I love for the most part… however, I am finding that with each year that goes past I do kind of wish I had a partner, someone to share the holiday with. But not so much it ruins the whole holiday!

10) Stronger – Britney Spears

What a delightfully cheesetacular note to end on….I hope you are all well – more soon, I promise. Have a great week (I would say weekend, but this will probably get uploaded on Monday!),

Cxx

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