Friday, May 28, 2010

Show Us Your Life...Things That You Love / Things That Make You Smile

Hahaha, guess who got the weeks mixed up yesterday!

So, Kelly's actual blog carnival for this week is things that you love, the things that make you smile (RAoKs are *next* week. Oh well, at least I'm all set!). So without further ado, here are my top ten favourite, most smile provoking things:

1. Matthew. Just the sight of him makes me feel all smiley and happy. I came home tonight and he was here (he's been away all week) and I swear, it made me feel good right down to my toes to see my honey.

2. My friends. Supportive, hilarious, loving, kind, wise, inspiring, clever...I run out of adjectives to describe the guys and gals I can call my friends. And when they randomly text me about Sir Mix-A-Lot, they make me smile even more (Mlle Wilson!!).

3. My family...they are quirky as. But they sure make me smile.

4. Kittehs! I never fail to break out a smile when I see a cat or a kitten. Too cute for words.

5. Babies and kids! I'm such a teacher...nothing makes me grin quite like having some wee folk to hang out with :-).

6. Early morning cups of coffee when I've nowhere to rush off to. The stillness of the start of day.

7. Half-term holidays (mine started 3 hours ago...). Time to unwind and recharge ahead of the next wave.

8. Letters waiting, freshly arrived (oh, how I adore mail). I also love writing letters and choosing stationery. Oh man, stationery could be a whole other post!

9. The smell after it rains. Clear night skies. Fluffy marshmallow clouds. Full bright moons.

10. A good book, anytime.

How about you?

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PS There are so many other things that make me happy, of course - teaching, singing, a good cry, time spent in prayer and reflection, dancing, RAoKing, good coffee, crispy duck, hugs, baking bread, dancing, when something wonderful happens for my friends, walking out on a sunny day, going to the park, trips to the movies with sweeties and fizz, my blue silk skirt, catnaps, pink champagne, the beach, pub quizzes, silly conversations that go on and on, long showers or deep baths (not to often, though - it's all about the environment!), entertaining, helping a child understand something, swimming, traveling, visiting, writing...I often count my blessings, because to me my life is like a chain of little happinesses, one after another. I am a blessed young lady!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Show Us Your Life...Random Acts of Kindness

Kelly's theme for 'Show Us Your Life' this week is right up my street...it's on Random Acts of Kindness (a.k.a. RAoKs). You know, those little moments where you choose to do something unexpected and nice for someone else.

I am such a fan of RAoKs. I'm in a group called 'Join Me', where we try to do RAoKs every Friday (inspired by a hilarious book by Danny Wallace). Inspired by that, this year I'm doing a project called RAoK365, where I try to do a random act of kindness every day for a year. This has been a real challenge...at first I was oh-so-fastidious about doing one every day and recording it, but now I've found it's blossomed into something more private and less regimented. I love doing a little thing to make the world a better place, and I hope the people I RAoK enjoy them.

So, here are a few of my favourites....some are truly 'random'. Others are just nice things I like to do :-).

Write a letter. To the manager of the shop where an assistant was really helpful. To the owner of the garden on your street with the beautiful borders, thanking them for their hard work. To a friend. To a sick child. Share with someone.

Pick up litter on your street.

Help a charity - donate money. Donate your time. Give generously. Volunteer. Whether it's rattling a tin for two hours or sponsoring a child for ten years, give what you can willingly and with a loving heart and trust me, as well as helping others you will gain something of far more value than whatever you've given. An unexpected and wonderful by-product I've discovered en route.

Send a Christmas card to every house on a street.

Give someone a bunch of flowers. Or a box of sweeties. Leave a good book (with a note) to be found. Hide a book voucher inside a book at the store.

Go out and see what you can do to help people close to you. And those further away.

Give a compliment...if you like their shoes or skirt, tell them! Let someone have a seat on the train, or the last cookie, or a turn at the junction.

Smile at people! A tiny but powerful thing!

Surprise people - buy an unexpected gift, make dinner, send a thank you just for being them.

Help someone - carry their bags from their car. Carry their baby's buggy up the stairs on the tube. Help that poor lady who has dropped her bag on the pavement!

Overtip your waiter.

Drop a sweetie into a colleagues pigeonhole, treat your students (or your colleagues, or your Bible study friends) to a homebaked cake, give your honey his favourite meal.

For me, RAoKing is just doing something nice for someone. I'm a huge fan, and can't wait to find more ideas on this blog carnival!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stuck

I've been sat here for an hour, just daydreaming and clicking and thinking.

There are so many things I could or should be doing, and yet I'm sat in a sunbeam, watching the minutes fall by, listening to the tick-tock-tick of my trusty old cheap clock which sits on my desk, its hollow sound like the shadow of a heartbeat.

An hour of procrastination...

I could be cleaning the kitchen. Asiz spilt cornflakes all over one of the sideboards the other day and hasn't cleaned them up properly. They sit here and there, and get on the floor and dissolve crunchily under your toes while you reach for sauces or cheerios. I will clean them up eventually, disgruntled as ever that I have to tidy up someone elses mess (unless its Matthew, friends, or family, funnily enough. Maybe I have to love you to tidy up after you?).

I could be working on my reports. I can barely fathom that this year is drawing to a close. I remember last June, being oh-so-nervous as I stood up in front of the parents to make my speech...that same event for this year is in a month.

I could call a friend and catch up, but, then, I've never been the best at the phone. There are a tiny handful of people who I can call and my horror of the medium doesn't kick in. More likely once the thought witching hour has passed I'll write some letters - I owe letters to so many folk at the moment, and I want to send a baby card to a blogger whose had a beautiful baby girl this week.

I could/should be ironing. That, however, is a permanent fixture in my life. Wherever I am, there is likely to be some ironing needing doing. Unlike other chores, like cooking, or cleaning the bathroom, or the dishes, where you get that lovely feeling of accomplishment, of being done, the ironing is cyclical, not linear. It never seems to end....

I could laze on the bed and read some more of my book (Digging to America), but I want to save that treat for bedtime.

I could start the listing and planning and sorting ahead of our move....but in the glorious sunshine and solo, it's not feeling like a plan.

I could mark last weeks books, and this I know will get done (nothing like a class of expectant 8-to-9-year-old boys to motivate you!). After supper, or perhaps before, I'll pop on Classic fm, or maybe throw on a great DVD (His Girl Friday, maybe, or When Harry Met Sally) and whizz through this, and shore up my lesson plans for the week also.

So instead, I wrote this blog post. And now I'm going to mark. Then fish and chips for supper, followed by letters, a quick tidy round, and a book. As for that ironing? Manana, maybe?

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Show Us Your Life...Hometown (part 1)






I really feel like I have two hometowns. One is where my parents still live and where I spent the vast majority of my childhood. Forres is a large village / small town in the north-east of Scotland, nestled between the mountains and the blue-grey waters of the Moray Firth. It's kind of idyllic. I haven't been home for six months now, and I have to say looking for pictures made me feel quite homesick! Roll on August and a visit home! As well as Forres proper, there are myriad other villages around - Findhorn, Dallas, Kinloss, Dyke, Mundole, all of which have their charms. I never cease to feel lucky to call such a beautiful place home!


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A wonderful weekend, a manic Monday, and a Tuesday sat in queues...

I am sat here in front of the Simpsons, waiting for my painkillers to kick in - no school for me today after a night spent up yesterday with stabby ouchy tummy pains. I now have antibiotics and am feeling so much better, but it was a pretty unpleasant way to feel! Plus I've been dashing back and forth to the loo all day - it's quite the workout!

Yesterday was a typical Monday, 7.30 - 8 in school, and pretty much all go...this term is just crazy. Tomorrow will be more of the same, as of course my being off creates more work for when I return. Such a pain. But I'm so grateful that my colleagues are willing and able to cover for me...I owe them all a favour!

As for the weekend...Laura's hen weekend was awesome....once some photos surface I shall pop up a post! :)

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

What is love?

90s tastic!

I have no idea why this song is stuck in my head today. Yesterday it was the theme song from Rainbow....

Ah well, at least it's almost the weekend. :D

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Whee-kend

And once again, the weekend has whizzed by with nary a by your leave. A blur of conversations, thinking, work, reading, laughter, cuddles...and now we're back to Sunday evening and I'm getting ready to pack my bags ready for Monday morning.

Another busy week beckons, and then off to Edinburgh for the hen weekend of the beautiful Laura - all sorts of fun which I was just about to mention, but then remembered she might see this blog, so chose to stay mum! Should be fun though, and I am looking forward to heading north of the border for a spell.

As I write this I am listening to music on my Windows Media Player, instead of my iTunes, and I'm finding all this music I haven't listened to in ages...Patrick Watson, Charlotte Hatherley, Kate Rusby...and also a tonne of Christmas music which keeps on popping up randomly. Always odd to hear this far from the season. But I'm never one to complain at a rendition of 'Santa Claus, Go Straight To The Ghetto'. Soon enough it will be time to plan this year's celebrations. I do love Christmas.

But right now, it's May, and my head is flooded with indie rock through my headphones, and alive with thoughts, with hopes, with fears. It's been a fairly laidback weekend, and the chance to think and daydream has been replenishing, to say the least. Like a long and languid yawn-stretch after a long night's sleep, it has recharged me and helped me set a few things straight in my mind. I am infinitely blessed to inhabit a present which I love, but sometimes the opportunity to reflect on the past and contemplate the future is simply delicious.

More on that anon. For now, veggie pizza, juice and a book crave my attention. Have a beautiful week, lovely folk.

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PS My latest raok365 post is here.


Friday, May 07, 2010

Brave new world?

As I write, we have just two more seats out of 650 to be announced.

No party has a clear majority. The Conservatives have the most seats....but not enough to have a majority. Labour have done badly....but not as badly as many were predicting, so Gordon is still around and unlikely to budge until he has no other option but to do so. And as for the Liberal Democrats? Well I just feel heart sorry for them. Their 23% of the vote got them 57 out of 650 seats. Sometimes it terrifies me how skewed FPTP can make things. And yes, I know PR can have its issues also, but it must be hard for them to deal with the fact that their nearly one-quarter of the vote has awarded them fewer than one-tenth of the seats in Parliament.

So what do we do now? Wait, mainly. Wait to see whether a coalition can be formed. Wait to see if Cameron/Clegg can form an alliance (strange bedfellows, it would seem, but both want change, and both want power), or whether Labour/Lib Dems/ a dozens 'others' can cobble together a coalition. Will it work? Will it stick? Will we find ourselves back in the polls before too long?

Who knows.

It's been an election like no other I've ever experienced, and along with the bad (Along with the hung parliament, there were people unable to vote, my least favourite MP evah retained his seat, the Lib Dems fought a good fight...and "didn't win"(as one of my diplomatic pupils put it today)) there were some lovely moments. BNP leader Nick Griffin getting properly trounced in his attempt to reach Westminster. Caroline Lucas becoming the first Green MP. People actually seeming to care, to feel involved, to want a change to things...

I just hope that the verve and energy and desire shown by so many in this campaign can come to some good. We need a good, strong government. One unafraid to make the tough decisions, but one which can still see the need for fairness and honesty. I genuinely don't know what we'll get....but I'm looking forward to the next few days of negotiations and discussions as the country tries to react to the results. As the proverb has it "May you live in interesting times...".

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Decision time...

So tomorrow, we in the United Kingdom go to the polls to decide who gets to govern our great nation for the next four or five years. We've been bombarded with information, the papers full of rumour, counter rumour, news and views. We've had three debates between the three main party leaders on television for the first time ever. And tomorrow we have a tricky decision to make.



Do we go with Gordon Brown and Labour? The most left-wing of the three parties (which really doesn't say much at the moment. At points in the run up to this election it has felt like the end of a game of musical chairs, with one chair remaining, the middle ground. When the music stops, they all dash for it), they've been in power for 13 years. In this election they've had some good moments (GB's rousing speech to Citizens UK) and some big problems (not least those caused directly or indirectly by the minions of a certain newspaper owner who's come down firmly on the side of the Conservative party). At times, though, it has felt a little like the Gordon Brown show....where was everyone else?



Or do we vote for David Cameron and the Conservatives? Cameron's clever, yes. And he's slick, heavens yes. But at times I find that's what's preventing me from committing to voting Conservative. It's almost too slick. Too glossy. Too good to be true? As much as I want to believe and feel inspired, there's a disconnect for me, and I have to say having researched my local candidate too (I do try to be informed), I'm not sure they'll deliver the things I personally feel are important. I'm not anti-Conservative by any means...if anything in this election I was eminently wooable...it's just I'm not sure I can sign on to five years of what they are proposing. YMMV, of course. :-) I feel I should also add that in my neck of the woods they are running a distant third - we stand on Labour ground, with a healthy dollop of Lib Dem support. The Tories were always going to find it hard here.



Do we then choose the third option, Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats? Before I get into that, I think it is worth recognising that before the television debates, it was a two horse race...but Clegg's performance in front of the cameras changed that. Do I think the Lib Dems can win overall? Possibly not. Could they secure their biggest victory yet? Quite possibly. This would be interesting, and having three parties in the decision making process would be a real change. Whether that's a change for the better or the worse, of course, is the sticking point. A hung parliament or even a 'happy' coalition will mean that decisions could take longer, and certainly it could mean a fair few problems for the economy in the immediate future and perhaps beyond. Hung parliaments are quite scary, but at the moment the polls seem to think this is the most likely outcome.

Having gone through the manifestos of all three parties on the key issues for me (Education, Health, Economy, Immigration, Family, Environment) it was often the case that I agreed with them on some things, but not on everything. There's no one party that I feel I can believe in, so tomorrow I'll be voting for the party I agree with the *most*...and I'm still not sure which of the big three that is! The minority parties, I won't support here - I really hope the Green party achieve their first MP down in Brighton, but here they simply won't win (from what my research shows me). UKIP I dislike. BNP I despise.

One things for sure, however. Whether Labour, the Conservatives or the Lib Dems win, I really hope that the next inhabitant of Number 10 (whether that's Gordon, David, or Nick) is ready to roll up his sleeves and apply some elbow grease. The one resounding fact thrown up by this whole election whirlaround is the fact that we have some very big issues to fix.

The economy needs sorting. Education and health need more independence and more direction from those who actually know what they are doing (teachers, doctors, heads, nurses), not another raft of policy changes. We need to make up our minds on defence - what's our role on the international stage? If we want to play with the big boys we need to commit more funds, plain and simple. We cannot in good conscience send in our troops under-resourced. And if we want to step back, we need to face the fact that we are a small sized, mid population nation. We are not China or the USA. We need to talk on immigration - people *are* angry about this, and yet this has been talking around, not about. And what on earth are we going to do for energy in the next few decades if we don't commit to nuclear and/or green energy during the next term?

So, Mr Brown / Mr Cameron / Mr Clegg.... good luck. The next few years are going to be hard work. And tomorrow, fellow Briton's, vote with your heart, vote with your mind, and let's all just be glad that the circus will be over!

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PS Yep, I still haven't decided. Writing this post has really made me do some thinking though - might look through those manifestos one last time....


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Away

Hello!

Well, that was a bit of a break, wasn't it?

Turns out the start of term was especially busy, and I didn't get much time online..a quick check of facebook or twitter on my phone was often all I could muster.

The summer term has started well, and the boys all seem to be settling back into the routines quite happily. I do like this term, but it's a wee bit manic. The social life has been fun too...which has meant the gym life has suffered somwehat. Oh dear.

As the 5K approaches, I am having to accept that I'll probably walk all or most of it. I was up to running a kilometre or so, but my knees and right foot (the one I fractured in four places when I was twelve - it's been a little off ever since) have been rebelling. I'm hitting the gym once more on Tuesday after a week without running after a very ouchey knee, but at the current time it looks like walking is the thing.

I did take plenty of pics for the 'Week In A Life' post...I shall pop up the best of those soon. How are you guys? Happy May!

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