Miss T's quote board...

I am having a bad day. Despite the many blessings and gifts in my life, every so often (just like everyone) I hit a wall and get an attack of the lows. And when you're normally as happy and "up" as I am, this season can be hard to grapple with. I've been doing far too much deep thinking lately, and now have managed to get myself so tied up in knots I don't know where my heads at. So when life upped the pressure recently it was a case of when, not if, I'd get the blues. I have some pretty big old demons I have to deal with, and stubborn thing that I am I can't seem to accept help...so when I get down I have to ride it out. And after a rocky childhood and a tough teenage time, I have buckets full of self-loathing to implement when the poo hits the fan. Mmmmm, healthy!

Could be worse though. This time last year (to the day) I'd just survived a dangerous, potentially very horrible, oh-my-gosh-I-just-flew-through-the-air-and-landed-in-the-road-several-metres-away moped vs Beemer collision. Oof. And blessings rightly counted.

But life is a bit stressful, and I've recently had a slew of disappointments, and I'm starting to realise that what I want is exactly what I will not / cannot / do not have. For myriad reasons. And that's hard to get over. But get over it I shall. We all have to. But it is terrifying when you realise that you can't deal with things well enough to dream or hope anymore in certain arenas. There are just some things I don't think I can fix. I don't know how. Maybe I'll learn. Maybe someone will help me. But I can't find that light at the end of the tunnel just now.

Anyways, what's this about a quote board, I hear you ask. Well, in my classroom, I have an array of cheesey inspirational quotes on the wall. And this evening I'm going to share some with you, because as crap as I may be, I do love to help others. And maybe these words will help one of you someday...

"So long as we are loved by others I should say that we are almost indispensable; and no man is useless when he has a friend." Robert Louis Stevenson.

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." Leo Buscaglia.

"Kindness is tenderness. Kindness is love, but perhaps greater than love...Kindness is good will. Kindness says, "I want you to be happy"." Randolph Ray.

"One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people." Dick Gregory

"To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." David Viscott.

I'm wishing good things for you all.

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A recommendation

It's late on a Friday. By all means, stay for a glass of wine after babysitting. If there are two of you and a gaggle of proper grown ups, so much the better.

Have a few drinks. Eat some pate. Dance if you feel like it. Chat to Bertie, the man, the legend. Tell people how cool their kids are. Eat the most melted Brie in the world. Locate the beer. Lie about where you got your skirt from. Enjoy all the songs that people put on for you and the awesome that is Siobhan "Because you're YOUNG!!!!!"

All of that is good. All of that is fine.

However, when you get in at half-past three Saturday morning, DO NOT call people.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Siobhan and I did a *little* tipsydialling yesterday morning. I haven't done that in ages. Somewhat crazily, we both also forgot that we had done the calling....until Tim texted us to see how we were and let us know he couldn't pick up the voicemail we'd left him.

Oh dear.

Boys, I'm sorry. Especially the boy who I called who had to get up at four. I am a bad Claire.

In other news, sometimes this blog just writes itself, I swear.

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Because I don't write about it often enough.

Whisper it.

Don't tell anyone (especially not my bosses!).

Keep it strictly on the QT.

How do I say this?

I love my job.

Now, I'm not crazy. There are elements of my job that, like any other job, are poo and dull and stressful. Just ask me any time I'm writing reports at 3 am, or doing a 40 minute breaktime supervision in the cold wet winter months, or pretty much anytime I'm in a situation involving urine, vomit, or crying children. I also find a lot of the bureaucracy tiring, and I don't think I'll ever claim to like the paperwork.


The actual ins and outs, the day to day stuff? I really enjoy. Even though it's tiring and unglamourous and I'm sure to many seems silly or small beer, I really like what I do. I love feeling that I'm helping people every day, whether it's with something big (helping children choose who they want to be. The first time a child reads a book and really, truly enjoys it. The look on a mummy's (or daddy's) face when their little gem scores a rounder or a try, or sings a line, or wins star of the week or something; and the look on the child's face when they know they've made their parents' proud), or something far smaller (when you catch the children working on something you've pointed out to them (general with me this will involve being kind, or having good manners, or being a good friend), a child finally letting loose and having a giggle, when a child learns that trick with the hoop in the playground they've been trying for days). It's these moments, these things, these treasures that keep me in teaching.

I've always said that I feel I'm lucky enough to have three vocations, and I'm glad that I get to do one of them as my profession. I also love that I get to spend my days with people who are really, truly funny...I laugh so much in my average day. Even when life is hard and stressful and tiring and sad, they can always make me raise a smile. I love what my pupils brings to my life, and I'm grateful for what I can add to theirs.

Today was just another Thursday, another busy Year 3 day, another day of rushing and working and getting stuff done. But in amongst it were shiny, lovely moments that stick with you long after the end of the day. Long after the end of a week. Long after the end of the year... These are the moments that you recall, I'm sure, or maybe they just get woven in to one great warm blanket of warm fuzzy memories - laughing in the playground about the "baby" Daniel, who's actually a rugby ball. Researching together in English and learning more about pigs than you ever thought possible. F, that kid who can struggle with organising himself, playing a situation just right and you just feeling so proud of him. Sitting down to lunch and just enjoying the chat with these great wee folk.

I'm still considering a career break in a year or two. I have other ambitions and other dreams that I feel I have to give time and credence to. But these things, this time, these wee folk, the silliness and the adrenalin and the helping, that'll be what keeps me going till then.


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Ramblings of a twentysomething, on a Tuesday evening in June

Welcome to Claire's brain, 17.47, Tuesday evening. Weather: cool and damp. Mood: fair to good. Commence brainwave / stream of conciousness feed.


I'm hungry. I'm tired.

Shall I email around about Soph and Penny's birthdays? Someone should - shall I do that tomorrow? Then I can get champers and cakes on Thursday.

"I'd rather be working for a paycheck than trying to win the lottery..."

I like my new trainers. Hee, I broke my other ones through working out so much. That's kind of awesome. Expensive, but awesome. And I get to go to the gym in a moment. Great.

I think he's really lovely. I do. He makes me smile, and he makes me angry, and he's a bit great, in a different way. Of course, I'll never do anything about it....but at least I can admit it. If only to myself, without naming names.

I wonder if Jane's having fun in Spain?

Yay for two babysitting nights in a row! Dull weekend just became a moneyspinning weekend! Hee, I'm such a teen.

"I've found a way to make you, I've found a way, A way to make you smile..."

Where *is* my markbook? Goshdarn end-of-term-itis.

Who gets spots in their mid-to-late-twenties? Really? I'm all about the night cream in case of wrinkles, but spots? Gah. Thank God none of the new kids noticed them today though...phew.

I hope she's OK. I wish I could just fix it and help her and feed her and give her a hug. She's doing so well.

Where on earth can I find a crystal ball?

"It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside, I'm not one of those who can easily hide..."

What shall I have for tea?

"There is no reason to feel bad..."

To Pirates or not to Pirates? That is the question. Well, one of them.

I can't believe it's only a week and a half till summer. Yay! :-)

Do I have enough eggs to bake cakes? Do I need to make frosting? Or buy frosting?

I think I'm going to like my new bunch of kids. They seem fun and bright and juuuust quirky enough to keep things interesting!

I wish I could work out what I want. Fat chance!


So there you have it folks. Ten minutes in my mind. Wow, I've got some stuff on!

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You can't always get what you want...

...but you get what you need, right?

For some reason that lyric's been stuck in my head for the past few days, and I don't really know why. But there it is, and there it will no doubt stay until it decides to shift. I've been thinking some big thoughts recently, there have been some stresses and sleepless nights, but I think I'm starting to get a handle on stuff. Thanks for all the comments and emails about my last post - the thought of taking a leap into the unknown both fills me with dread and excitement...we'll see, I guess.

I've been thinking a lot about wants and needs recently. When I was younger, and things were tougher, they were easier to identify, if not easier to acquire. And I've worked hard, and I've tried, and sometimes I have to pinch myself because so many great things and so many wonderful people and so many fab experiences have come my way. Life isn't perfect by any means (whose is?), but sometimes I wish I could go back to my twenty-year-old self and say "It's OK, sweetie. That wasn't your fault. And it's going to be OK." Or flip back to my sixteen year old self and say "Stop that. Really. It's all going to work out in the end." Or just go back to my poor little nine year old self and give her a big old hug. And a heap of love. Because heaven knows, that child needed it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing sometimes.

It's also wishful thinking though, let's face it. I can't go back, and without those experiences, those dark times, the bad days, who knows if I'd have the blessings I have today? The past forms you, to all intents and purposes, and the way you react to things decides what path you'll take. And I quite like the life I've built for myself. I like my little flat, and my friends, and my job, and the way I can use my talents and skills (silly and frivolous as they may be) to help people.

I like helping people.

So I've been thinking about what I want (or rather what I would like), and what I need. And it turns out my needs are few. Apart from the basic awesome human rights (food / water / clothing / shelter / freedom) , my other needs are fairly simple. I want to (need to...) be able to help people, and love people, and make people happy. And hopefully, with time, I'll be able to let them help me and love me and make me happy. I'm learning how to do this, slowly but surely. I'd say I'm at about one-and-a-half out of three right now. Not too bad, starting from zero.

Haha, blogging has to be the cheapest therapy available, no?

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend!

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Choices, choices....

I'm at one of those crossroads at the moment, I feel. And this time it's a livelihood type one. Nothing major will be changing for a while (I'm locked in at work for the next term / academic year), but I'm starting to think about what to do when summer 2009 rolls around.

Do I stay in teaching? Or bite the bullet and pursue something else?

I guess part of the problem is that I love my job. I do. The actual time with the kids and the fun and the helping them learn and the real, honest-to-goodness being there, making a difference, I love. And I love learning something new every day. And the holidays are kickass too :)

But I'm feeling more and more like singing, acting and writing might deserve some of my time also. Just a year to try and see if I can break in. And maybe it's almost time. Maybe I'll make it. Maybe I'll fall flat on my butt. But I feel like I should try, at least. I've put off trying for myriad reasons - wanting to make my parents proud, lack of money, fear of unemployment, just plain fear. Maybe I need to do this to just know I took my shot. Do I have that much faith in myself?

I guess we'll see.

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7 Songs...

It has been another thrilling week of stuff and things here, riding the swings and roundabouts of life. Lots of nice stuff, lots of dull stuff, lots of normal stuff, lots of odd stuff. Some of those seismic shifts are settling down, others are still in flux. Life is about making sure you ride them out, I guess. I’ve been doing lots of thinking…strange for me, no? :-) And there are some things I’m getting closer to figuring out. And other things on which I still have no clue….

Rather than navel gazing, I’ll write more when I know more. Right now, half the stuff I’m thinking / feeling / doing I’m so unsure of / so bored of / so confused by I wouldn’t waste time writing about it here. And there would be so many plotholes it would read most confusingly.

Instead, I’m going to do the short and sweet meme that Pinks tagged me for. It’s simple – choose 7 songs you’re currently into (they can be new or old) and say why… Here are mine:

1. Pictures of Success – Rilo Kiley. Still my favourite RK song. It’s so deep and melancholy and just clever and awesome. I could listen to this on repeat for hours.

2. Loose Lips – Kimya Dawson. I am still loving the Juno soundtrack, and am getting more and more into Kimya and the Moldy Peaches also. ‘Tire Swing’ is soppier, sure, but I love the lyrics to this one too.

3. The Pretender – Foo Fighters. I liked this song before last weekend’s gig….after watching the Foos tear it up last weekend I just can’t stop listening to it. Amazing.

4. Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off – Panic! At The Disco. I freaking love this song – it’s such a great track. And there’s something about the way the singer inflects the F word that makes me come over all unnecessary, I swear.

5. I’d Rather Dance With You – Kings of Convenience. I love quirky Swedish indie pop.

6. Homecoming – Kanye West / Chris Martin. This was all over the radio when I was last home…and at the moment I’m feeling a bit homesick (roll on July!). So this track is on a fair bit.

7. Always Be – Jimmy Eat World. And a slice of powerpop to finish….

Happy weekend everybody!

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A Rocking Good Weekend!

Wembley! Yay! Here I am being extremely cheesey, just after Mlle Wilson and I got to the gig on Saturday evening.
I love this picture of Naomi and I. She's one of my best friends and I love going to gigs with her because she loves to dance and sing just as much as I do. Plue, she fine. Heh.
Here I am, having constructed a Britney Spears style microphone from a straw. This is what teaching has given me, the skill to make inane things to fill up wait times....

Supergrass playing support. They were pretty darn good, but we were all there for the Foos....

Notice I'm not actually eating this candy. This "gig bracelet" was a gift from my friend Jamie a few months back, and trust me, you do not want to eat that candy....it's waaaaaaay old!

ROCK ON Mlle Wilson! WoooooooooYeah!

This pic is of the main stage on the encore, where the Foos were joined by Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. Oh. My. Goodness. Amazing. And it made Dave Grohl cry. Awesome. Gosh, I want to hug him.


So, how was your weekend?

Above are the pics from the highlight of mine, the tremendous Foo Fighters gig at Wembley. Just amazing. The Foos have long been one of my favourite bands, and a few of their songs in particular are very special to me, so it was great to actually be there. Plue, Dave Grohl is one of my top three crushes, and the man did not disappoint - how can one person be that talented a guitarist / vocalist / drummer / writer / producer / frontman AND still seem like such a top bloke? I loves him, I do. And I think I have to call my first son David now. Possibly David Taylor Foo, actually.

The whole gig was immense. Highlights for me were "The Pretender" (WHAT an opener! 86,000 people just baying that killer hook!), "Learn To Fly" (this song moves me in ways it would take a whole other post to explain), "Everlong" (sigh....), "Monkey Wrench" (ah, this brought back such memories! Mudd club nights, moshing away. I was so angry back then...), "All My Life" (the bass and the drums were immense. Just immense), and then the encore - two numbers with the Led Zep guys ("Rock and Roll" and "Ramble On") and then a blistering version of "Best of You". Genius.

This whole weekend was amazing, actually. Got loads of work done Friday night/Saturday morning, amazing gig Saturday night, and then a day of fun with Mr H on Sunday, wandering around Camden market looking for bargains (I got a book on cosmology and a book on chickflicks :)) before heading to Primrose Hill for a picnic. Just lovely.

Weekends like that feed my soul, I swear. Even today, with it's rushes and stresses and worries, hasn't managed to kill my buzz.

Hope you are all having a super start to your week!



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Little moments of bliss....

Life's fairly bumpy on some big things at the mo - it's one of those time where some plates seem to be shifting and all you can do is knuckle down, hold fast, and wait for the calm to return. I think it's on it's way. And I know, as always, that a few stresses and strains are par for the course, and that blessings are there for the counting. Here are just a few that are totally making me smile at the moment:

The Elbow song 'One Day Like This' (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQIdXKz4sE8 Thank me later :-)). How can you resist the lyrics "Holy cow, I love your eyes...."?

Arranging scavenger hunts for my class - they love it!

My lovely, lovely friends. How blessed am I? I am consistently spoilt with texts and calls and emails and letters and love and comments, and I have people in my life to love and care about and share things with. I love my friends.

I am going to see the Foo Fighters tomorrow. At Wembley. Oh heck YES! When they play this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BieVgyrfglQ) I just don't know what I'll do. Love them so, so much, and I only got tickets on Thursday! The gig sold out ages ago, but they released a few thousand tickets this week. And I got two, for Mlle Wilson and I. So, so thrilled!

Tomorrow, there's no Saturday school. So instead I can lie in, write a few reports, come in and straighten up my classroom...then go to London.

Hugs and kisses and cuddles. Mmmmmmm.

Mix CDs. Especially awesome ones!

Looking at photos of recent fun (and less recent fun) and just remembering how wonderful the people around me are.

Good books, and the chance to curl up and read them.

Planning stuff for the Summer of Fabulosity. Oh, it's so on.

And now, it's 8 o'clock Friday, I've worked my socks off all day, and now there's a bottle of wine and some take out with my name on it. Brilliant.

Have an amazing weekend, gorgeous folk!

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Because sometimes....

....I can't think what to write.

Here's a meme. Stolen from Elena (thanks, lovely!). Let's do this!

[1] Was your last kiss drunk or sober?
Sober! Oh yeah, I sound like a *proper* grown up now. When actually it was a delightfully silly situation. Yay for kissing!

[2] Do you put ketchup on top of your french fries or on the side?
Oh, I'm an either/or kind of girl. I like to mix it up ;)

[3] Do you talk to your most recent ex?
From time to time, sure. It's all good.

[4] Who did you last talk to on the phone for over 15 minutes?
The lovely Siobhan, last night. She's got lots of stuff going on, so we had to dissect some stuff.

[5] Where will you be in an hour?
At home in bed, reading a little more of 'Girls and Boys Together' (my current book on the book list), about to watch another ep of 'The Big Bang Theory'. I know, I know, I'm such a scenester...

[6] What are you drinking right now?
Nowt, nothing, nada.

[7] Do you lead people on a lot?
I don't think so, no. But I doubt it's the kind of thing that you know you're doing or not.

[8] Are you friends with your best friend's boyfriend or girlfriend?
I like all the partners of my friends (thank heavens) to varying degrees. Some of them have actually become good friends in their own right, other are just acquaintances, but they are all pretty cool :-).

[9] Are looks important?
Totally depends on the person.

[10] Are you mad at someone right now?
No. Tired is kind of the unifying universal mood right now.

[11] Which is better: sunrise or sunset?
Either/or....and I love sharing either with someone cool or a bunch of friends. I must schedule seeing a proper Findhorn sunset or sunrise for next time I'm home.

[12] Is there anyone you would die for?

[13] are you afraid of spiders?
Not really. Which is lucky as they tend to colonise my flat each time I go away for a few weeks!

Oh, missing questions.

[17] Ever talked to someone that was high?
In the past, frequently. Ah, university.

[18] Last comment you left someone?
Something about a beanie cat. Oh yeah.

[19] Do you have a facebook?
Yes. I vary from oh-that's-nice to genuine facebook addict in my usage. It's just so darn convenient! Not the biggest applications fan though.

[20] Do you own a skirt?
Lots. I love my skirts.

[21] Are you currently frustrated with a boy or girl?
Not really. It's a little random at the mo, but frustrating? Not so much.

[22] Are you excited for summer?
Yes, for Christy and I have decided that we are both having SUMMERS OF FABULOSITY!! Heh.

[23] If it was free and it would work perfectly, would you get plastic surgery?
Quite possibly not....because I'm a wuss.

[24] Have you ever slapped someone across their face?
Once, "by accident".

[25] What did you do last night?
Worked, read, sang, made some phone calls, did some chores, wrote a card....the usual.

Ooooh, more missingness!

[29] Who is the last person you kissed?
It was a boy. It (the kissing) was very nice. And that's all you're getting, folks.

[30] Would you go out in public without getting dressed up or put together?
Sure, if I was just nipping to the gym or the store.

[31] Have you kissed or hugged someone today?
It's a school day, so it's kisses - nil. Hugs - eleventy million.

[32] Are you a dumb blonde?
Nope. Am I a dumb brunette though...now that's the question...

[33] Do people underestimate your intelligence?
Can you estimate intelligence? I think some people do underestimate....but then others no doubt overestimate, so I probably end up exactly where I should be.

[34] Will you be married in the next two years?
As I'm currently single, I'm going to say probably not. Unless George Clooney rocks up, in which case it is SO on.

[35] Would you rather have love or money?
Could I have both, please?

[36] Have you ever sat on a roof top?

[37] Do you know how to play poker?
I do. But I'll be darned if I can remember!

[38] Any plans for the weekend?
I just discovered I lose 7 hours of work this weekend - awesome! So I might do something fun....

[39] What time do you get up in the morning?
6.30 am. It's taking some getting used to after the later starts of half-term break.

[40] Do you eat ranch with your pizza?

[41] Last person you IMed?
Haven't IMed in a while....probably Tigger or Ross.

[42]Whats your favorite season?
Seasons are like children - I can't pick a favourite!

[43] What are the color of your bedroom walls?
Sunshine yellow.

[44] Last person to text you?
Anna, I think.

[45] How was last weekend?

[46] Who are you with right now?
No-one - just finished boarding duty though so the quiet's appreciated!

[47] Have you ever wanted someone you thought that you couldn't have?
Oh heck yes.

[48] What are you doing tonight?
Going home :-).

How's your week going, lovely folk? Hope June has started beautifully for you all!

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Wow, when did that happen?

It's been another funfilled weekend, with Jean and Mlle Wilson coming down for the weekend for a caloriefest, lots of catching up, and the Sex and the City movie. Great fun and so lovely to see them. But now it's five on Sunday and I have to go get ready for school tomorrow (wow, half-term went quick this time!), so I will leave you with some fun pics from my adventures in Loverpool last weekend - just a great time :-). All these pics are nicked (with permission, of course!) from the lovely and talented K, leader of the awesome Team One (thank you!). Enjoy!

Lou, Phil and I deep in conversation on the steps of Liverpool Cathedral. I love this shot cos non of us seem to be aware of the camera at all.

One of our challenges was to dance in a fountain. The fountain was off...but we still danced :-).

Lou and Steve starting a conga line in Liverpool city centre.

In front of the 'interesting' statue of Queen Victoria, Team 1 sans K who was behind the lens.

Me goofing off at the 'Sincerely Calvin' gig.

Aboard the Duckbus!

Too. Much. Fun.

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