Stoppage time....

It's going to be one of those weekends.

A chilled one.

Not lazy by any means (my to do list is full of work and chores and paperwork and planning and letters and calls), but not as busy as the usual, either. Time to recharge, time to make some headway in the spring cleaning, to get my reports straight, and to catch up on reading books, reading blogs, and replying to emails.

We all need these weekends, right?

This week has been B.U.S.Y. at work, full of observations and meetings and papers and children, children, children, so I'm kind of looking forward to kicking back a little - chucking on some slobby clothes, drinking a lot of tea, that kind of stuff. This week also contained a weekday jaunt down to London town to have dinner and time with the boy - enjoyable, but a heck of a commute. Eh, he's worth it!

It's a beautiful fresh winter's day here. Clear skies, crisp coldness, and the loveliness of a day and a half to just get things done. I hope you're looking forward to your weekend too!

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Sitting on my hands.

If I were to sit on my hands, I'd be rendered unable to talk at all, or so the family legend goes. I gesture when I talk, drawing pictures in the air, waving my hands, pointing and finger waggling and emphasising. I'm a fidgeter too - I frequently fiddle with a bracelet or a paperclip or a pen while I speak or teach or talk, nervous energy channelled out. I think the reason I enjoy blogging so much is because of the comforting clickety clack of the keys as I work things out.

Tonight, people, I feel like a ball of ideas, of frustrations, of desires, of wants, of needs. I am working as hard as I can in my job - till seven tonight, for example - but trying to do so many other things as well. I want to be busy, I want to be fulfilled. I want to give the awesome people in my life the love and kindness and time they deserve. I have so many things to do - books to read, cakes to bake, letters to write, calls to make, scrapbooks to sort, cupboards to clear out, forms to complete, laundry to sort, songs to sing...

Which is why I took a couple of minutes earlier tonight to just sit on my hands, and stop. Just for five minutes. I have to remind myself to do this. My life tends to be very on, very rushing, very go-go-go, and it's tempting to go with the momentum and ride it out. But I can and do stop. Because I have to. Because I need to. I am blessed with lots of energy and joy and liveliness, but I know only too well how run-down and lonely the life of constant motion can leave you. So I choose to pause and breathe and rest from time to time. I choose to look after myself.

And then I'm off again, once again that wild little curly haired girl with all that excess energy, the one whose mum enrolled her in every class going to keep her brain occupied and to tire her out.

I hope I never lose this.

I love that every day I do something, make something, write something, learn something, sing something. A new dance move becomes part of the poetry of my limbs....a new refrain is what I sing in the shower....a new fact begs to be sent to friends on email....a new photo reminds me just how beautiful life is.

I love that today I chose to remember this.

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Lately my brain is whirring and whirling, with seemingly millions of things to deal with and mull over and work on. For the most part this is a good thing, but sometimes (like on a Sunday night when you are full of miss and you know the next few weeks are going to be tough and your tummy is aching again and you've got back-to-school-it-is) it's a little overwhelming.

I'll get there.

There's a line in my favourite Barenaked Ladies song ("What A Good Boy": Clicky) that keeps going around and around my head. It was almost the title to this post. "Afraid of change, afraid of staying the same." I guess it sums up a lot of my anxieties and worries at the current time. There's so much in my life that I love and cherish....but there's so much I need to / want to / have to change. And I'm scared, I guess. What if I mess up? What if I'm not good enough? What if I can't change? These are the dark thoughts that keep me awake at night sometimes. It's never simple, right? What a perfect catch-22.

I'll be fine, but I feel a little like I'm living in a snowglobe that's just been shaken vigorously. I am so very lucky and blessed - I guess I'm scared to leap for fear of messing things up. But I have to jump. It's time. Does that make any kind of sense?

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These are a few of my favourite things….

It seemed to be time for one of these posts… I always like to stop and remember the myriad lovely things that there are, and when better than when we are deep in the depths of January?

So, here are ten things that are making me smile today….

Mail. I *love* mail. Postcards, cards, packages, whatever… I just love coming home to a piece of mail. I guess this may be because I live on my own – it can get lonely, but a piece of mail waiting when you get home always lifts the spirits! It's also a definite holdover from my boarding school days...

Children, and their little games and smiles and silliness and sheer brilliance.

Working hard – I am genuinely throwing everything I’ve got at my job at the moment. Exhausting? Yes. Rewarding? Undoubtedly.

Sweet nourishing sleep. I’m not getting enough, but when I get a lie-in, man do I ever enjoy it.

Flowers – I must remember to get some yellow roses when I can afford it, I’ve got a real jonesing for a bunch. They are my favourite flowers, and I love how cheerful they make a place.

My new enormous cosy fluffy dressing gown that my brother got me for my birthday. It’s huge and unflattering and warm and ACE.

Delicious healthy food – one of my current favourite suppers is a big old pile of spinach with a tin of tomatoes over it (and a teeny sprinkly of cheese, because I’m not a saint). Actually, I’m smiling at feeling healthier – as wonderful as December and the holiday season was, it’s lovely to get back to working out and eating right (most of the time!) and not drinking too much.

Plans for fun weekends in Birmingham and London and Newcastle and an as yet undisclosed location (because I’m whisking the boy away for a weekend, and he knows when, but not where, yet!).

Cold, rather than too cold, weather. It’s ‘nice’ wintry here today – crisp and clear and chilly. My little flat is not equipped for uber-cold like we had last week.

As ever, my wonderful, awesome, crazy, lovely friends.

Have a lovely weekend, all!

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What are you?

Recently I’ve been thinking a bit about labels. The labels people put on us, the labels we choose to embrace, the labels we can’t escape, the labels we cling to in order to define ourselves when the night draws in and the times are tough. Funny little creatures that we humans are, we love to compartmentalise, to sort, to try and make sense.

So, what labels help to define you? I say help because they are only part of the picture really, aren’t they? As useful or un-useful as they may be, the labels can’t cover all the shades of grey...but they can certainly help set the lines we colour between.


Well, I’m a daughter. I am my parents and I’m not my parents...sometimes I think I’m their greatest joy, at others I’m certain I’m a cross they have had to bear. But they’re my parents. I love them, they love me, the rest we make up.

I’m a sister – and a big sister to boot. My siblings are truly amazing and I love the time we shared together as children and getting to know them all over again as adults. I am so pleased for every great thing that happens to them.

I’m a friend, and I am truly blessed to have such a great group of friends. I say that often, and it’s true. Every day in myriad ways my friends make my life fantastic, and I am so lucky to know such a talented, amazing, and truly gorgeous bunch of girls and guys. Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a week stay or a year of living together; a letter, a phone call or an email, the time I spend with them and communicating with them enriches my life more than I ever think they’ll know!

I’m a teacher. There, I said it. I am deep down in my core, a teacher. I love the way that a child can grow and learn and thrive when someone believes in them, and I’m so lucky that I get to be that person to my little gang. Yes, there are other things I want to do. There are other things I want to achieve. But by heaven I love teaching and working with children, and my long, exhausting, rewarding, paint spattered days.

I’m a singer. I’ll probably never play a big venue, true. I may never hold a CD in my hands featuring me, also true. But I *love* to sing. In a choir, in a band, karaoke, in the shower, or just chucking some Liza and stuff on youtube and singing the blues away. I can’t even begin to explain how I feel when I’s like going to another place. How I hope you all have a thing like that.

I’m a survivor. Of what, I don’t need to go into (it’s probably somewhere south of what you’d assume but north of what you might expect), but it’s part of who I am, plaited into me, running through me. Every time I’m congratulated for being happy or strong, I know that surviving is a big part of it. No matter what storms may come, I’ve weathered enough to have faith that I can get through the others. Here’s hoping, right?

I’m a daydreamer. I can while away far too many hours just thinking and planning and dreaming. I love to lie around and make my castles in the air... I can take a flight of fancy like you wouldn’t believe! And yet I rarely remember my actual dreams.

I’m a girlfriend. This is one of my newest labels, and I’m sure I’m messing up left, right and centre, but I’m so glad I’m getting to try it on with a guy who’s so wonderful (stop blushing if you’re reading, please!). I hope I can get good at this label – I hope I make him happy. I want to make him happy.

I’m a writer. When I was younger I dreamt of writing a great book, or an epic poem, or newspaper columns which challenged the world. Now, however, my writing is far more down to earth – I write notes, and blog posts, and letters, and stories for my class. And I still love it.

I’m a liberal. I’m a liberal in that I love liberty, I believe in human rights, and I believe in the amazing potential and wonder of the human spirit. I want to believe in good more than evil, and I believe that taking part in the process counts.

I’m a Joinee. I love being part of a community of such cool and inspirational people, and I love our Random Acts of Kindness (I love that every Friday I wake up ready to launch another RAoK). I love our Join Meets and being surrounded by people I love and admire, and I love our forum too.

I’m a Christian. I believe in God. I might not shout it from the rooftops (but I do defend utterly the right to do so), and it certainly doesn’t always mesh well with my liberal bent, but again, it’s part of me. A part I cherish, and I'm happy to share with people.

I’m a blogger. Which may be why I just wrote this whole thing...

So come on, friends. What are you?



PS I’m also someone who always cries at sappy movies, for what it’s worth. And a big league hugger. :-)

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Trotting along.

And now we're into the year proper, aren't we? I can't believe that Christmas and New Year's was only a few weeks back - the festivities feel like an age ago. But here we are, January 11th - here it's a cold clear day with a northeast wind whipping through the garden. Me, I'm just grateful for something of a letup in the recent cold snap... on Friday I was outside on playground duties in -2 temperatures! Even with a snuggly coat and a scarf and gloves, that's way too cold!

Being back at school is the usual mad rush, and as always, I am loving being back with my little gang. I really do work with my favourite age group, I must say. Seven to nine year olds are the best fun - relentless, that's for sure, but fun and silly and enthusiastic and challenging. I think we've hit the ground running this term, which is kind of lucky. Our Lent term is a zippy thing, only 10 weeks, so we have to get into it quickly or else suffer the consequences! Hence why my dining table is currently cunningly disguised as a paper explosion (what with the schemes of work and markbooks and playscripts and target sheets and reading articles....not to mention the the thank you note checklists, copies of halfread magazines (as much as I love The Economist's Year in 2009 review, it's not a one hour wonder!), recipes, receipts and other bits of junk!).

Life outside of school is busy too, but I'm lucky enough to have a couple of downtime weekends kicking off this month. Glamorous it is not, but I do so love a day or two to do all those jobs that slide otherwise (ironing, accounts, phone calls, etc.), plus sleep lots, get to the gym, and watch lots and lots of The West Wing. Other than that, it's all about singing, working out, reading, writing as many letters as I can, and planning stuff. I'm also looking forward to a few fun weekends in late Jan / early Feb. Weekend with the boy in two weeks time (which leads me to add, yes, there is a boy. We've been going out three or four months, I think - maths is not my strongest suit! - and he's lovely and makes me smile pretty much every day. More on him if and when I feel like embarassing him a little more ;)), girly sleepover the weekend after that, a stay with Hannahbanana and the kitties and rats the week after that, and then? The laziest Valentines day plans ever. Win.

So that's me, so far. How are your Januarys going?

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2009 so far...

...has been very good for the main part and a technicoloured mix of different things and feelings and emotions....

Kareoke and cuddles, walks around the city and long conversations over cocktails, fish and chips and casinos and lots and lots of tea, the most awesome shower I've ever met, making plans and changing ideas, sleeping more than is strictly necessary then diving straight back into early starts, meetings and events in the diary and sweetness and Fakemas.... I can't believe New Year's Eve was this time a week ago, really!

Until Monday I was away, on a trip to the north with the boy. It was absolutely beautiful :-). We spent time together just chilling at our lovely hotel, and spent time exploring the beautiful north-east of England (yep, a little more driving! ;)). Once again, I must confess that I am a lucky lucky girl, in more than many ways. I count my blessings and touch wood once more.

Tuesday and today have been planning, prep and meetings days at school. And tomorrow? Well, tomorrow, the kids return to school....

Good night all!

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