Monday, January 29, 2007

A fight I'm not sure I want to "win"

You guys, I am currently enjoying some prime drama. I'm talking mudslinging, namecalling, emotional blackmail...the whole shebang.

And where?

At work? With an ex?

Nope.

At church. Yep, my happy-clappy, everything's just rosy, here Claire lead-the-worship-look-after-the-toddlers-help-with-the-youth church.

Turns out free speech is actually not alive and kicking here at the moment - I'm currently having my "worship leader" status reviewed.

And why?

Because I own an anti-Bush bag.

Yep.

That's it.

Now, I'm British. I'm part American. I'm definitely pro-America, I just don't like G.W.Bush. Along with many other people.

But now my place in the organisation is being threatened because of the issue ONE lady in the congregation has with this.

C'est tres, tres bizarre. Yet annoying.

To be honest, being a liberal surrounded by fundamentalists I was sure they'd trip me up on something bigger and more controversial. But now, it's an accesories issue.

Man.

Will blog more later, but now it is definitely time for a pint :-).

So, how was your weekend?

Love ya beautiful people!
Cxx

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mi casa, take two





Now, where were we? Hopefully Blogger (insert swear word here, given it's current form!) will co-operate, and I can take you on the second leg of our tour. My house isn't very snazzy, and it is decidedly small (hey, less to clean!), but I like it! Above is my current 'to read' pile...as you can see it's a little out of hand - a result of lots of generous gifts, some recent(ish!) raids of friends bookshelves, and darned books like Anna Karenina which I just can't get into. Note to self: do some reading!


This, friends, is Jockey bear. Yes, I'm aware he's all kind of scrody, but I don't even care. he's 26 years old and has survived boarding school, a teenage Claire and the tumults of my early twenties. This bear deserves respect!
This is my writing desk, where I write all my letters and postcards. And yes, I have a magic 8 ball. And yes, I use it sometimes!

In Scott's post he had his 'messy' area, and this is me showing him how it's really done. This is my 'oh poo, I don't know where to put this just now' cupboard. Expect comedy screams when I leave this flat and have to clear it out!
This is a lovely collage which my baby sister made for me. She's definitely the arty one of the pair of us, and I love this - it's on my bedroom door and always makes me grin.
This is a comforter my Gramma made for me. And yes, it looks like it's made for a seven year old but I don't care, I love it. It's all quilted and soft and handstitched and cosy. And I hope one day I'll have someone to pass this onto - wouldn't it be neat to have something like this passed down. I know, I'm a sap!
I'm a bit of a magpie, and this is what happens when Claire attempts to find a bracelet to go with the green and black combo....tin open, jewellry everywhere!

And this is me going all Us Weekly on the tour. I usually listen to music on my computer, but sometimes I chuck a CD on (just to be retro!). These were the twelve CDs next to my player...a pretty fair snapshot of my listening habits I think.

A collage of cards and letters and things. I like having reminders of the people I love in and around my space.

So that's the tour two thirds done. I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend so far - I'm off to have beer and nachos and watch Never Been Kissed.

Love to all,

Cxx




Thursday, January 25, 2007

Some late night (well, late when you consider I rise at 6) thoughts

So the snow came….

…and by midafternoon was gone. Disappointing and soggy – never a winning combo. But for a while it looked really pretty. As much as the actuality of snow means delays, people being late and wet feet (shudder), I love how snow looks and smells and sounds. That eerie stillness you get when you open the curtains on a midwinter morning and everything has been dusted with soft, powdery, sparkling white. So peaceful and somehow quieter, even in a garden like ours which is serene most of the time.

Another funfilled day of school and stuff. It’s that point in the term where you’re in far enough that you realise you’re in far too deep, and half term’s still weeks away! But heavens be praised it’s exeat on Friday – I have a hot date with a stack of glossies, a manicure set and some DVDs Friday, then on Saturday I’m going to (whisper it) go and do some prep and planning in my classroom. This is mainly because next weekend I’m swanning off to London again, so it’s not like I’m being a total workaholic. Chances of that happening?

And now, to a few (random, as always) late night thoughts. Some of which have mutated into questions in the five minutes since I came up with this post:

1. Isn’t ‘I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass’ a genius album title? I also think ‘Pieces of the People We Love’ is pretty damn cool, as album titles go. I already have a suitably quirky and offbeat title for my (almost surely never to be even begun) solo album (let’s see, can’t play guitar or piano, not in a band, last wrote a fully fledged song four years ago – can we say pipe dream?), so I always appreciate a well turned title. Do you guys have any faves?

2. I really, really want to go on holiday this year, funds allowing. Where should I go? At the moment it’s a direct battle between Spain, Italy, Germany, the US and Canada. Or maybe Ireland. All thoughts welcome.

3. The dating world is confusing me. No, not my place in it (I’m pretty sure I’m exactly where I should be, boo :-(). But rather how things add up. I know loads of great single girls at the moment and there is (terrifyingly literally) no-one for them to date (yep, Sal, G, Hils, Rach, Peachy et al., I am talking about you). So they’re all joining match.com, or just feeling utterly bored and bereft. That ain’t right, surely? I’m sure if I was a single guy, it’d be the same thing, opposite genders, but I’m a little worried for my girls.

4. I cannot get into ‘Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange’. It’s just not happening. This is irking me.

5. I am gradually replacing my old tapes with CDs when I can get them for a freaking steal, so I’m listening to lots of Weezer and the Cardigans and Hole right now. Man, those groups were / are fabulous. I am rediscovering so many tracks that I used to adore. It’s great fun.

6. Making minivideos of things is my new hobby! We recorded stuff in class today then watched it on my big screen – Year 3 are loving being ‘famous’!

And that’s all she wrote this evening….I’m almost averaging a post per day, it must be cold out. Bee, are you impressed?

Bonne nuit, you lovely folk,
Cxx


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Song for the week, part the second

There were so many ways the song for the week could have gone this week...but here's the song that pipped them all at the post...

Radiohead + horns + misanthropy + cartoons = kind of where my head's at!

Mark Ronson ft. Alex Greenwald - Just

Enjoy!

Cxx

Mi casa

This idea is stolen, wholesale and without apology, from the gorgeous and talented Scott (if you haven't checked out his blog yet- Life is Grand, Love is Real and Beauty is Everywhere - I'd urge you to do so...it's fabulous). He posted some pics of his pad, with a little chat accompanying each pic, and as I'm all about the digital camera these days, it seemed like a perfect theme to plagiarise. Thanks, buddy!

I should first point out that my flat is little, a bit messy, and quirktacular. Hey, it sounds a bit like me :-)...


This is my dressing table, where I take a look in the mirror each morning and go "Huh? How do I make this look presentable?" Hee. Around it are pics of some of my gorgeous girls and boys, and the girly tat we all seem to accrue...hairbrushes and candles and lotion, oh my. Girly tat is kind of a theme on this tour!


This is my wall of fun, where I stick up cards, quotes and random pictures from magazines that my friends send me. We are quite the writer bees, so there's always some new tat to stick up - it's a little bare because I switched it all around and purged a little last month...but there's always more stuff arriving. Seriously, if any of you ever want to swap postcards / cards / mix CDs / random tat, drop me a line. It's so my thing :-).


Growing up, always sharing my room with my sister or a dorm with so many other girls, all I wanted was a wardrobe / closet that made sense and was mine. And now I have one! And it's great, and also hilariously half-full, due to the laundry factor. It's so great having somewhere to attempt to organise!

Gah. Blogger has gone all funny....so I'm going to try and post this unscathed. To be continued, my friends.

Cxx


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

To raise a smile....

If you're one of the three people on the internet who hasn't seen this yet, enjoy! And if you've already seen it, enjoy again!

So much love for Jake G right now.

Have a great day!

Cxx

Monday, January 22, 2007

Alarms! Pheasants! Police!

Before I get into this weeks singalong, I feel I should qualify why I’m say here at 4.30 Sunday blogging. Now I should actually be tucked up in the cinema with Rach and Fi, watching ‘Miss Potter’, no doubt getting a bit weepy and thoroughly enjoying the McGregor experience. But no. The countryside had other ideas.

Cue a brace of deceased pheasants on the door (prompting quite the girly squeal from me, I must admit. I mean you swing the front door open, you do not expect two ruddy great pheasants to swing from the door handle, almost hit you, and give you a big old fright. Gah. I have moved them now – FYI pheasants are heavy, especially when you’re trying to move them using a broomstick due to the whole not-liking-to-handle-dead-animals thing - but I’m not appreciating the whole dead animals on your doorstep vibe). And then the alarm went off and there were codes and phone calls and neighbours and drama and policemen wanting ID (see, this is where the upper classes have it sorted – if I got mugged in Brum it would no doubt take me hours to find a policeman….the house alarm here goes off and BOOM the boys in blue are on the scene. Worrying, no?) which is crazy cos I’ a lodger, so of course my surname is different and then there were missing dogs and Rach going to the movies without me cos I was worried and now I’m home alone and I still don’t actually know why the alarm went off in the first place. Such drama on the Sabbath.

While I catch you up on the rest of everything, let’s singalong, shall we?

Dancing Queen – ABBA.

Man, my kiddies loooove this track, and ‘Does Your Mother Know’. It’s not all cheese though, they also like ‘Us’, and the parts of the Blue album I’ve let them hear. I’m grooming musical nerds, right here!

So, how has your weekend been? Mine’s been busy and lazy in sizeable chunks, but fun on the whole. Friday was the Philharmonic concert I’d been looking forward to for months and it was just amazing. As predicted, the ‘Enigma Variations’ made my eyes fill up, and the ‘Cello Concerto’ was astounding, just sublime. As I was growing up, that was a real key piece of music for me, and it was so gratifying to see it live. I love live music.

It Must Be Love – Madness.

Aw. I love this song, it’s one of those heartwarmers that appeals directly to the hopeless romantic in me and completely bypasses the cynic :-). Always a good thing.

Yesterday it was the joy of Saturday school, and then I stayed on till four-ish doing classroom stuff (filing, display, grading, paperwork, the delights of…), which is pretty regular for a ‘home’ weekend. Then it was off to ride away on the bumblebee, but I was most amused by the fact that two of our Y7 boarders, Charlie and George, decided to follow me down to my bike to check out my wheels. There’s something intrinsically sweet about twelve year old boys and their fascination with bikes of all shapes and sizes. After about five minutes of questions and letting them toot the horn and rev the engine I finally managed to escape!

Oh No Not My Baby – Aretha Franklin.

Last night was bad TV, pizza, phone calls and letters. I don’t spend too many weekend nights in, but when I do I like to do it properly! I started off with the genius of ‘Pimp My Ride’, which I adore, despite the fact that I am, as yet, unable to drive. I only like the US one though (“X to the Zee!”) – primarily because the UK one if fronted by the prat that is Tim Westwood (a man who I could never take seriously. Even less so if what Amy Winehouse said about him on ‘…Buzzcocks’ is for real).

Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall

When, when, when is KT releasing another album? I know she could probably retire on what she’s made so far (particularly as this song seems to be getting bigger and bigger, being used in huge TV shows like ‘Ugly Betty’ and films like ‘The Devil Wears Prada’), but I would like more Scottish poppy folkiness. Please?

She’s Still Bewitching Me – Mary Lou Lord.

Next on my marathon of fabucrappy TV was ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp’, which never fails to make me laugh – I especially love the way he rips shows like ‘Trial and Retribution’ – probably because my family are addicted to the and I can’t take them at all. As for the end – did you guys see it? Colin and Justin wearing burgundy pants and a child size rodent, all singing along to ‘Bob The Builder’. Genius – I’m loving that surreal stuff like this is around at a watchable hour, but still find myself hoping that ITV will take a leap of faith and go truly primetime with this.

I’ll Make Love To You – Boyz II Men.

I’m actually blushing. This song is the wrongness – but always makes me laugh as it was often what the ‘Deejays’ (or, to be honest, the housestaff) would put on at the end of school formals. Who plays this song for last dance to a bunch of horny teenagers at a boarding school? Were they crazy?

Anyway, after Harry Hill I avoided ‘Celebrity Ice Dancing’ (even though I did watch it once last season and someone thwacked her head off of the ice. From a great height. As she’s fine and didn’t sustain any injury I am free to say – it was kind of awesome). I read some of the ‘Independent’, called a few people, made pizza, yadayada singletonarama. Then ‘Scrubs’, and over to TMF for a countdown of the nation’s favourite albums.

Drive – Melissa Ferrick.

Yet more filth from my media player. It must be a full moon coming up.

The nation’s favourite albums countdown wasn’t actually as horrifying as I thought it might be – while the usual suspects rode high, there were some notable absences which made me delighted (no Westlife in the top 50, woo!). I was also reminded of some genius I haven’t heard in a while and some facts that had eluded me – ‘Tubular Bells’, which I haven’t listened to all the way through in a fair few years; the fact that while I own not one of his albums I actually love a fair few of Robbie Williams lyrics (top contenders would probably be ‘Strong’, ‘Feel’ and ‘No Regrets’. Seriously amazing lyric lines.); the sheer bubblegum that is ‘Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi’ – there was an impromptu boogie; and the whole Travis thing.

Whatever happened to Travis? Where did they go? They were enormous when I was at uni (they and Stereophonics in particular) and now they’ve just gone…somewhere. I know their drummer had a nasty accident a few years back and then they came back and then…

Any band who can come up with a song as unashamedly beautiful, optimistic and hopeful as ‘Flowers In The Window’ need to be on my radar.

Galvanise – Chemical Brothers.

I heard a great mash-up of this and ‘Eye of the Tiger’ the other night – I may have to youtube it tomorrow!

So that was my Saturday night. At one point I did get into that whole ‘Oh my, just like high school’ mindset, and then I thought, and actually, I was never in on a weekend as a teen. In Forres, it just didn’t happen. Who stays in when you have the Mosset to go to?

This morning I went to church…just. I did that thing where you get up in plenty of time, then read / drank tea / watched tv…and then it was 10.40 and I had to book it to make it. But I’m really glad I did. The people at my church here are a little like a second family, and it was great to feel back at home. I’m already booked up for worship band, youth band directing and kids’ church, so I think they’re glad to have me back again! They are a great bunch of people – crazy, but fabulous! I also had a great chat with my friend B – she’s 16 and into rock and eyeliner and completely mental and I just love her to pieces. I’m pretty much the token twentysomething at church, so I hang out with people of all ages. B is a true kindred spirit though and we always have a blast – we’re planning an excursion to London in the next couple months – Camden and Hillsong are our two (rather diverse) targets!

Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis.

And now it’s Sunday evening again, almost time for baths and ironing and checking my marking’s all done and yet! more! phone calls! I am going to watch ‘American Idol’ though, and will no doubt do my patented Claire thing of watching, then every ad break booking it to the bathroom (better acoustics!) to sing some bits and bobs. After the whole month off, I’m starting to get back into it thank heavens – I can do most of the old favourites (I Will Always Love You, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, I Can Dream Can’t I) again, and am hoping to start learning some new tracks soon. Speaking of which, I’m expecting my X-factor application any day now – second time lucky? All I know is this time I’m singing something much more me :-).

Come See About Me – The Supremes.

Oh, to have been alive in the Motown era. I cannot wait to see ‘Dreamgirls’!

So that was my weekend – chilled, restful, dramatic and random. I hope you all had a dazzling time, and send love, as always,

Cxx

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Song for the Week

A new thing, this, inspired by the delightful Is. Each week we're going to choose a song which just kind of sort of sums up the week for us - the thoughst, the feelings, the bullshit, the hopes, the fears, the random.

Poetry and lyrical geek that I am, my songs are always going to be swayed by lyrical content. Which is why my first song comes from a band I "don't really mind" - singing along to Mr Penguin (the shower radio), this song hit a nerve.

Enjoy!

Cxx

Monday, January 15, 2007

Singalong Sunday, 14 January 2007

Good evening, love monkeys! How are you all? Did you have a good weekend? I hope so. Well here I am, it’s just after 11, and I’m tucked up in my bed (sooooo comfy and toasty right now, people!) with my laptop, ready for the first singalong of 2007 and then a good night’s kip. Huzzah!

Why Don’t You Write Me? – Simon and Garfunkel

Hee. I love Simon and Garfunkel. I think it’s the harmonies, and also the fact that they feature in ‘The Graduate’, ‘Waynes World’ (or maybe ‘Waynes World 2’? Yeah, I think it would be 2), and ‘The Simpsons’, all of which I like.

Well, this has been a fun weekend. It didn’t get off to the most auspicious of starts – after a last minute meeting Friday (and a damn good rehearsal, I must say), I wound up spending most of my Friday night…

Lover, You Should Have Come Over – Jamie Cullum

OK, it’s not the far superior Buckley version. But this version has some merit, plus some personal nostalgia, so let’s just go with it, mmmkay?

So anyway, Friday night? I spent my whole evening reading up on the basic tenets and pillars of Islam, then compiling a huge introductory worksheet for our Y5s. Why the rush? I had to teach it Saturday morning! I love chaos.

Saturday morning school was Saturday morning school. It’s really bizarre, because “my” class, my wee folk, my children aren’t I on a Saturday, my whole attitude shifts. On Monday thru Friday I’m in by 8, 8.05 at the latest (and far too often, earlier than that), I’m on, I’m getting set up, I’m good to go. Saturday? I rocked up at 8.30 exactly. Can you tell I’m a little anti this whole thing?

Goodbye Earl – Dixie Chicks.

A song about a homicide (albeit a justifiable one). Man, I love country.

So yes, Saturday morning school. The RS lessons were find, good conversation as usual, and before I knew it, it was ten to one. An hour or so doing teacher nonsense and I was out of there. Tescos – home- bath- pack in a heck of a rush – jump on moped, and then I was on a train, bound for the big bad that is London. Why? A FameCon, baby!

El Tango de Roxanne – Ewan McGregor et al., Moulin Rouge OST

So, I get to Marylebone OK, and I get myself on the tube and I’m thinking “yeah, I’m fine, I can totally do the urban thing”, and I’m strutting a little (as people tend to do in cities, have you noticed? It’s not so doable in the country – perhaps due to potholes / cow pats / bucolic rollyness of hills?), I’m listening to my MP3 player, I’m good.

Right up until I got off a stop too soon to change trains. Looking for a line that doesn’t actually go to the station you’re in can make you look a little bit like a mental case. I do feel I know my way around Oxford Circus much better now though. Once I’d twigged what I’d done, back on the train I leapt, and in no time at all I was safely in Covent Garden. All I had to do now was find the pub!

Mary – Tori Amos.

I would love to be like Tori Amos. She’s just so cool and deep. However, I fear my devotion to ‘American Idol’ and ‘The X-factor’ would disqualify me from any such hipness. Quelle dommage!

After the usual Claire geography crap, found the venue, and there already were baggy, McClusky, and the Masticator & the Masticatrix…and soon we were joined by Neck, Canyon, earmuffs and cowfields. Darn, the ready made nicknames make this group so quick and easy to chat about!

Hound Dog – Elvis Presley.

Oh man. I’m loving the random juxtaposition.

So a fun night was had – pints and pints of Kronenbourg, some guy displaying builders’ bum, surly smoking girl, a copy of ‘Ys’ (thanks, Neck!), talking about the boards off the boards, taking photos of us all pretending to be Nicole Richie encountering a crisp, pictures of us all kissing / giving the rock salute / doing the finger guns, and a veritable feast of chat about celebs, books, movies, music, and anything and everything else.

Smile (live) – Lily Allen.

So the night wore on, and as eleven waltzed past and midnight started to approach, we disbanded (considering we met at 5ish, not bad going), and baggy, earmuffs and I headed to try and navigate our way back to Stockwell.

Call Me – Aretha Franklin

Hmmm. Communication seems to be a theme with my singalong songs ce soir.

Highlight of the tube journey was definitely our encountering a poster for ‘Bobby’. Naturally, we posed for pics, which I’ll post soonest – baggy……is distressed Sharon Stone. earmuffs…..is vaguely smiley Helen Hunt. I……..am Demi Moore, looking slightly off, with the awesomely awful hair. I think we scared quite a few of our fellow travellers with that. I then scared the girls when we got to Stockwell by making them pose for a picture in front of the YMCA. Sorry guys, but it is a YMCA. Some things you just don’t question.

Mysteries of the Unexplained – Tanya Donnelly.

Back chez baggy, tea and pyjamas, plus randomly finding a ring she’d lost ages ago, and then it was time for bed after a couple of texts. I decided to read before I went to sleep (yeah, after several drinks, at almost two am), and did that thing where you’re trying to read but you’re almost nodding off.

I’ll blame the book – to those of you who recommended ‘Under The Banner of Heaven’, kudos. I’m two-thirds of the way through and really into it. It’s so well written, even when the narrative leaps temporally, it still keeps you in its thrall.

Monday, Monday – The Mamas and the Papas.

And today has been a lazy Sunday – fry up and ‘High School Musical’ and chat and watching awful TV (‘Robot Wars Extreme’ and wrestling. Yeah, really bad TV!) with baggy and earmuffs, then the journey home, then an evening of bath and chores and work.

And now another week’s about to kick off – I hope it’s a great one!

Love,
Cxx

Friday, January 12, 2007

A suitably random ramble...

Hee. Jenna, Chris, Ni, Jeff and Sara et al. (my fellow survey-a-holics), are you impressed? So dedicated to the cause am I that I cut and paste this survey into Word (cos I don’t have ‘net at home – how retro, right?) to do this evening (Thu) and post on Friday.

Wow. I have truly outgeeked myself.

You know what, I don’t even care. Life’s a little frantic at the mo and I’m dealing with all kinds of junk and stuff and things in almost every area of my life (work, career, love life, spiritual gubbins, health, life stuff) – I am more than happy to sit here at a quarter to eleven after a heck of a day and spin some yarns whilst watching bad, bad music TV….I’ll even let you know what I’m watching as we go on, shall I?

I heart freeview – perfect for when it’s blowing a gale out, and there’s no banter to be had (historically, Thursday is my, “oh, I have a flat and some free time!!!” evening).

[Video 1: Christina Aguilera – Hurt]

1. ONE OF YOUR SCARS, HOW DID YOU GET IT?
I have a small scar on my forehead from chicken pox….however, I was very naughty and once told some reaaaaalllly gullible girls that I got it by being hit by an arrow. We were twelve – how thick were they? :-).

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
Mirrors, collages, a post thingy, an embroidered Chinese horoscope symbol (I’m a monkey, FYI), a squishy yellow bug and a carved angel.

3. DO YOU SNORE, GRIND YOUR TEETH, OR TALK IN YOUR SLEEP?
I only snore when I have a cold (so my poor sister had a miserable winter break!), but I talk in my sleep far too often. I also sing in my sleep from time to time – this is quite the lifeskill for terrifying people!

4. WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
Quite literally everything, bar hardcore happy house dance crap, sweary boring monotonous gangsta rap, and Westlife.

5. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?
A little after seven in the evening.

6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?
Everything and nothing. On the one hand, I’m happy, healthy, safe and warm. On the other hand I have waaaaay too much on my mind at the moment. Viva the start of term!

(Video 2: Nelly Furtado – All Good Things Come To An End)

7. WHAT DO YOU MISS?
Decent children’s TV – I want my Trapdoor and He-Man and Transformers and Care Bears and Rainbow and Going Live back!

8. WHAT IS YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSIONS?
Surely that should read “What ARE…”? (*teacher brain*). I have lots of lovely things, but I think people are the things we should really prize. So my memories, and the people that have given them to me are far more important than any possession.

Although Jockey Bear (coolest stuffed animal evah!) is pretty darn funky also.

(Video 3: RHCP – Snow)

9. HOW TALL ARE YOU?
5’5”. So that’s right on the border of short and average!

10. DO YOU GET CLAUSTROPHOBIC?
Only if I’m locked in somewhere like a cupboard and I can’t escape. Long and ridiculous story, trust me!

11. DO YOU GET SCARED IN THE DARK?
A little. It’s not so much the dark – it’s more what could be out there in the dark.

12. WHO IS THE LAST PERSON WHO MADE YOU CRY?
It wasn’t a person, it was a variety of factors.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PERFUME FOR A BOY?
I tend to like most aftershaves, although the smell of Lynx tends to make me giggle nowadays (our Year 7 and 8 boys are going through a ‘spray liberally to impress the laydees’ phase!).

(Video 4: All Saints – Rock Steady)

14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Any and all. More or less!

15. what kind of body?
The one that suits them.

16. COFFEE OR ENERGY DRINK?
Sweet, nourishing coffee. I cannot believe I’m toying with the idea of dropping caffeine for Lent this year. That would be intense.

17. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA TOPPING?
Veggie!

18. IF YOU CAN EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Veggie pizza. Flipping late night surveys!

20. HAVE YOU EVER EATEN A GOLDFISH?
To paraphrase Chris – only the cracker variety!

21. WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT SOMEONE EVER GAVE YOU?
Life, baby. Cheers Mum!

22. DO YOU LIKE ANYBODY?
I like everybody…

23. ARE YOU DOUBLE JOINTED?
Not in any way, shape, or form.

(Video 5: Beyonce – Irreplaceable. This song is suuuuuch a guilty pleasure of mine!)

24. FAVORITE CLOTHING BRAND?
Am I meant to have one? If it suits me and I like it, I’ll wear it.

26. DO YOU HAVE A PET RIGHT NOW?
Not of my very own, boohoo. I still want a guinea pig…just have to pass my driving test first!

27. what kind is it?
n/a

31. BLONDES OR BRUNETTES?
Both, and redheads!32.

WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL MOST OFTEN?
Voicemail. I work odd/crazy/bizarre hours so the calls rack up!

33. WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
Deliberate unkindness.

34. HAVE YOU BEEN OUT OF THE USA?
Yeps.

37. FIRST JOB?
Ramages Greengrocers!

38. EVER DONE A PRANK CALL?
Only on the uni phones at Aberdeen, as revenge on our prank caller!

41.What were you doing before you filled this out?

Dancing around while doing my dumbbell reps.

No, I’m not joking – and my dumbbells are very ‘Claire’. Not particularly heavy or impressive, and PASTEL!!!

40. HAVE YOU EVER HAD SURGERY?
Minor. Yep. Touch wood.

42. WHAT DO YOU GET COMPLIMENTED ABOUT MOST?
Lately - voice/accent, eyes, hair (I have no idea what that’s about!).

43. HAVE YOU EVER HAD BRACES?
Nope. Cheers, God!

44. WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY?
It’s 11 months away…I have no idea.

David Tennant?

45. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU WANT?
Ooooh, is it like pick and mix? I’d like a few, but surely it depends on if/when Mr Right sweeps me off my feet and makes settling down seem like the most fabulous option?

46. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
No. All through pregnancy I was apparently ‘Ben James’, for no reason whatsoever. When I arrived a girl (see, my mum wasn’t psychic!) I “looked like a Claire”.

47. DO YOU WISH ON STARS?
Often.

(Video….6?: Akon – Smack That. Video hos agogo!)

49. WHAT KIND OF SHAMPOO DO YOU USE?
Brilliant Brunette, or HandS 2-in-1 after a workout or a swim. Darn, how do I even know that? I must be getting old!

50. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
It’s OK, but I wish it were prettier.

52. ANY BAD HABITS?
Soooo many.

53.WHAT IS THE MOST EMBARRASING CD ON YOUR SHELF?
Ahahaha, how long have we got? I think we all have a phase when we purchase crappy music – I think I’m past it now though, hurrah!

54. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Maybe. Who knows? I’d hope so.

56. DO LOOKS MATTER?
Only as much as you want them to. But then, I have totally quirky taste when it comes to looks, so I screw up the data anyhow.

57. HOW DO YOU RELEASE ANGER?
Throwing pillows, screaming into pillows, stamping my feet and slamming books (all in private ;-) – I spent my teens as a bit of a doormat who couldn’t express anger, so now I actively embrace it!

How cheesey, right?

(Video 7: The Ordinary Boys – I Love You. I don’t hate this song. Is that wrong?)

58. WHERE IS YOUR SECOND HOME?
That would probably be at home with the ‘rents and sibs.

60. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A CHILD?
Jockey Bear. And my television cardboard box, for my John Craven impressions.

65. WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A GUY/GIRL?
Who has a list? I think it’s nicer to meet someone and think “Wow. You are just what I was looking for!”

I know, I know, how ridiculously romantic and idealistic of me.

66. WHAT ARE YOUR NICKNAMES?
I can never remember.

(Video 8: Lemar – Someone Should Tell You. Oh man, this is getting embarrassing. I really like Lemar. I may have to cave and buy the album….I love his whole urban soul thing. I must be getting old.)

67. WHATS YOUR FAVORITE BAND/SINGER?
You know I can’t answer that in less than 1,000 words, OK?

68. WHATS YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW?
Lately I’m liking The Daily Show & Ugly Betty, perennial favourites are Doctor Who, Buzzcocks, House, HIGNFY, My Name Is Earl and various and myriad awful talent shows.

69. WHAT WAS YOUR ACT/SAT SCORE?
n/a

70. WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?
Ben and Jerry’s generally rock my world….but not for the next few months.

(Video 9: Girls Aloud – I Think We’re Alone Now. What have they done to this song?)

72. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WORKED OUT?
Well, the dumbbells thang was like an hour ago. And I went for a swim before school.

74. WHATS THE FASTEST YOU HAVE GONE IN A CAR?
100mph… Speedfreak father + autobahn!

77. LAST THING YOU DRANK?
H2O.

78. LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Henry.

79. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE IN THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Who cares?

81. FAVORITE THING TO HATE?
Dubya, Dubya, Dubya, Blair.

82. FAVORITE MONTH OF THE YEAR?
Any one that isn’t February :-).

83. FAVORITE ZODIAC SIGN?
Who has an answer for this? Seriously???

85. WHAT IS YOUR HAIR COLOR?
Brown, brown, brown.

86. EYE COLOR?
Blue-grey.

89. FAVORITE FAST FOOD RESTURANT?
Chipper. You can take the girl out of Forres....

And so to bed, to bed. And as I type that we reach Video 10, which is P Diddy ft. Christina A (oooh, the circle of pop, she was our first act too!), Tell Me, a song which will forever make me laugh.

Why?

Because in Diddy’s rap I was convinced he shouts “I’m OBESE”. But no, apparently, he’s “a beast”. Whatev. It’s the same as the new Fall Out Boy song – even though I now know the proper lyrics, I still think they sing “This ain’t a scene, it’s a g*dda*n ARSE FACE”. Actually, I think my lyrics are better.

Have a great Friday, you fabulous and beautiful folk.

Cxx

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Normal programming resumed (more or less).

First things first, how inappropriate is it that the pop/RnB pap that is ‘Smack That’ (yeah, the one featuring Eminem and many a jiggling video ho) reminds me of my mother? Yep, watching crappy music tv with the sibs over break, and what song gets my mum’s head bopping? So not right.

So now it’s Tuesday evening, and I’ve got that weird ‘almost the start of term’ feeling. I’ve prepared like a mofo, I’ve survived two days of inset (including having to be psychometrically analysed and survive an hour and a half grilling to set up the next stage of my ‘Professional Development’ – getting back to work will qualify as a break!), my classroom is preternaturally tidy, and I think I’m good to go. Time will tell, right?

The back to school blues hit hard over the last few days….I think it’s a combo of residual illness, actual homesickness, January blues, and the reality of facing what is going to be a toughie of a year straight down the barrel! But after a major attack of the Eeyores, I finally cheered the heck up today. Hallelujah!

And then tonight I got back to not one but three treats in the mail….a copy of ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’, a book I’ve been looking forward to getting into for a while (hey, an anti-fundamentalist/fanaticist tome with a political angle was always going to float my boat!)…the ‘Live Lounge’ album (Jo Whiley’s one of the only BBC DJs I can stand, and I looove the Live Lounge)…and my set top box! I managed to set it up without a problem (who’da thunk it?) and am now faced with a surfeit of channel choice – doing marking is way more fun when you can do it chilling in front of ‘The Daily Show’ (Jon Stewart is so on my list of imaginary boyfriends) and ‘The OC’ (which appears to be jumping the shark royally, and heading for almost ‘Sunset Beach’ levels of shiteness. Genius!). Hey, it’s January, what else am I going to do but chill in front of the telly? Plus I’m trying to not spend a tonne of money (damn you, Amazon, Fopp and Play!!), so staying in is the new going out….

Right?

Am looking forward to the weekend though, as I am abandoning the charming countryside for an expedition to the big bad city. Yes, the Con is on, hurrah! Baggy darling is letting me crash at hers, so I am heading into the West End for many drinks and some good times with the OTZers. I am looking forward to seeing Neck, Canyon, Baggy, McClusky and Masticator again; and I am super excited to meet earmuffs, britishney, Bluebell, cowfields, the Masticatrix and Joey at long last. We’ve all known each other for ages – we’ve just never met in the flesh, haha! Should be a fun, fun evening, with far too much debating of (at a guess…) - Torchwood (I think it’s ARSE!), Doctor Who (I heart DT), Joanna Newsom (I’m sort of getting into her), Regina Spektor (I’ve heard one song so far. And I loves it. I’m looking forward to getting more into her, she’s kind of awesome), The Pipettes (overrated or overlooked? Hmmmmm), pop! music (hey, I like Take That, Girls Aloud, Jamelia and Take That. Go figure. I hate Westlife though, so I’m not totally evil.), Dreamgirls (No Oscar for Miss B’Day, then?) and, lest we ever forget, Snakes On A (mother’u’king) Plane. Then on Sunday Baggy and I are going to consume our own weight in hangover-curing/abating food before I head north once more. Tales to follow, no doubt!

I hope everyone is having a good week thus far – I’m off to get some rest before seven year olds attack. To make this even more fun, tomorrow each of the seven year olds will be toting a binbag filled with (about) 30 to 40 (yes, you read that correctly!) pieces of games kit to check off, check for nametapes and put away in the correct lockers. Have I mentioned I love the start of term?

I josh, naturally. I can’t wait to see my wee gang.

Night all,
Cxx

Friday, January 05, 2007

Packing Up

How, how, how is it the end of winter break already? Where did all the time go? What happened to all the stuff I had planned? How can I be due in to school at 8.30 Monday?

I don’t understand.

Well, I do, I’ve been sick and stuck indoors for the best part of a week. Hence the whole time loss factor. But I still feel a little cheated – whole swathes of things just haven’t been done. People haven’t been seen. Calls haven’t been returned. And tomorrow afternoon I fly back to England.

Yep, back to black-lab-owning-Conservative-voting-Laura-Ashley-patterned Middle England. And while I’m looking forward to it a little, I’m kind of dreading it, which is odd. Usually by this point in the holiday I am so ready to get back to it, to see my kids, to see my friends, to get started on my eleventy million projects and things…what’s different this time?

Plus, now I have to pack. Lord, how I hate to pack. My room kind of looks as though it’s been assaulted right now – teeshirts and CDs and gifts and paper (always paper) and bras and spangly sparkly things are adorning more or less everything, including myself and the cat. It’s got to the ‘critical mass’ point (hence the break to blog!) – it’s either going to get better or it’s going to get much, much worse.

I’ll keep you posted.

I am also still not fully over this buggy thing, which is distressing. I haven’t been able to sing properly for almost three weeks (although some would argue 26 years….), which is driving me insane. I neeeed to get my sing on, and fast, or I think I may get quite down in the dumps about this. Cold, you need to leave!!

Feeling like this is not good for my soul. So I’m going to think of some things to look forward to – right now. Positive thinking is my crack, yo.

1. I’m going to go back to my wee flat – hurrah for proper deep baths, listening to music as loud as I wish, and backlogged mail (I have at least three gifts waiting, plus an amazon package. Woo!).

2. I’m going to see my kiddies! Yay! They may be crazy, but they’re mine!

3. Jean the overlord is going to come visit me this month. I can’t wait – she’s never been to where I am now, so I am anticipating much good chat and fun. Yay Jean!

4. TL and I can really get to work on ‘The Demon Headmaster’ – I am getting quite excited about the whole thing – it’s going to be crazy hard work but I think we could have quite a good show on our hands.

5. American Idol starts soon! And I should have a freeview box to watch it on.

6. We may be having a FameCon next weekend – and if I can convince Hoti he a) wants to let me crash at his; and b) he wants to come, I may just go. Drinking, gossip and bitchery, huzzah!

7. We are going to have takeout for supper (hey, I’ve got the blues, cut me some slack on the cheering-self-up front).

8. Mlle Wilson and I are due for a massive phone call. Call me, biatcha! I won’t pretend I have gossip, but I do have chat and banter ;-).

9. I’m going to see the RPO in a fortnight, and they are playing both the Enigma Variations and the Elgar ‘Cello Concerto. Classical high five!

10. A million little things…upcoming coffee with Fi and drinks with Sal….the copy of ‘Under The Banner of Heaven’ I ordered from amazon yesterday…a new year….seeing Emma dog and taking her for a walk….getting back to ‘my’ church…

I should be feeling happy now. I kind of am…I'm feeling happier, at least.....but I just feel a little wistful this evening and I’m not sure why.

Let’s blame the packing, shall we?

Have a great evening / day, all,

Cxx

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So far, 2007 has been all about the pyjamas

Not one member of my family has got changed all day. Is that wrong? If it is, I'm not sure I want to be right!

Anyway, I have an excuse, as I am still being plagued by the evil cold from hell (ECFH), and the slightest provocation kicks off yet another coughing fit. At its best its all a bit fragile, a la Nicole Kidman in 'Moulin Rouge', at others it's more like my lung is simply trying to exit my body. Nice.

But it's going to be gone by tomorrow.

Right?

I've been telling myself that since Thursday. So much for your self fulfilling prophecies.
So, as the PJs would suggest, it's been very lowkey here today. My parents and siblings have all been trying to get me to eat something, which has resulted in much standing in front of the fridge going "Hmmmmmph. Y'know, I'm not really hungry." And we've watched lots of TV (because really, who does anything on new years day?) - The Sarah Jane Adventures (awesome, really good in that slightly tongue-in-cheek, slightly B movie Russell T Davies style), The Vicar of Dibley (slightly contrived, but sweet nonetheless) and Sugababes Greatest Hits (don't you judge me!).

I hope your 2007 has been all kinds of relaxed, fun and wonderful. But I really hope I can leave the house (and breathe normally, plllleeeeease) tomorrow.

Love you guys,
Cxx

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