Saturday, June 21, 2008

Holy bin bags Robin! Let's get to the Batmobile and find a hazlenut hot chocolate...and fast!! Kapow!

A couple of times a year the people in charge of the stake primary children (a 'stake' is a group of 'wards' in the church...a ward is a congregation, usually one or possibly two wards to a town...well, in Britain anyway. More like 200 wards per town in Utah! LOL)... where was I? Oh yes...the people in charge of the primary children in a stake organise an activity day and today was the day when Merthyr Stake did theirs, and in Swansea, happily enough (read *I didn't have to travel far*). The remit was for the children to arrive in their favourite super-hero costume.

Now. As I am (a) not exactly flush with wealth at the moment and (b) completely useless at all things sewing, unless you count cross-stitch, and let's face it, no one does...I was a bit panicky about the whole superhero outfit thing. Especially as Celyn wanted to be Bat Girl and that was that. But then my mate Debbie said the immortal words "bin bags" to me. Holy bin juice Robin! That's a fantastic suggestion! So, I gathered all the relevant materials, got Celyn's 'good at such things' daddy in on the act (see...I'm an organiser...this is my forte!) and hey presto, one Bat Girl dress, belt, cape and mask. Cost? Next to nothing. Ha!

Parents milled around yapping and helping out a bit until lunchtime, when we were told, basically, to naff off (the children had a 'secret mission' to complete). So I suggested to the Wigglesworths and Michelle who I'd been chatting to that we all nip off to Starbucks up the road for a lovely hot chocolate. I am, of course, a genius.

Can I just say that I had a ball! We sat around on comfy chairs, drank hazlenut hot chocolate with whipped cream, consumed a cream-cheese frosted cinnamon roll (or two), talked about grown-up stuff and chilled out. Bliss. I have known Matt Wigglesworth for about 12 years and I love him to bits (we used to hang out all the time as students and of course I know his cousins and aunt and uncle from living in Reading). And I'm just getting to know his wife Sara but have to say, he picked a good'un! She's lovely! And am also just getting to know Michelle but like her immensely too.

We chatted so long we were 10 or 15 minutes late back picking up our kids. Ha ha ha ha ha ha...bad parents, bad parents.

Thank you for a lovely day guys xxx

Thursday, June 19, 2008

So, here's something that's been rumbling around in my thoughts...

Who recognises the photo I've attached? No, it wasn't taken on my last holiday to Lanzarote, you silly's from a film. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (and if you didn't know the answer to that, you actually ARE an alien...seriously, where have you been?) Classic Spielberg.

Well, it was on telly last weekend. I happened to catch it as it started and that was that...I thought, "Ooo, good film. Haven't watched this for aaaaaages" and planted myself in a rooted position on the sofa. Proper potato of the couch variety.

And it IS a good film, there's no denying it. The scenes at the end when the big mother spaceship arrives are fantastic (I don't think I have to put a 'spoilers' warning on this post...I mean, the film was made in 1977 for pity's sake). But something that happens in the last scene just tickled me.

Ok. Richard Dreyfuss...he's obsessed by the aliens. He's seen the little flying saucers. He keeps building mountains. He loses the plot. His wife and kids go to her sisters to escape his lunacy. He drives to Oregon. Or was it Washington? Anyway...he drives to find the mountain. Blah blah blah. So also does the woman whose son was taken by them in an earlier scene (can you imagine if that was your child????!!!!!). At the end the aliens arrive in STYLE, return a bunch of people they've taken over the last 30 something years, and then are offered other humans to take with them. Dreyfuss puts himself forward.

See, here he is. He's being taken by the aliens aboard the spaceship. They seem a friendly bunch. No hair or clothes,but hey ho...pretty much like half the people sunbathing on beaches in the Med.

And off he goes. Into the unknown. Cue credits and very well known theme music.

And I start MUTTERING! Blummin' typical MAN! "Ooo, I feel like abandoning earth and going off with aliens because, coo, that'd be an adventure wouldn't it? And I wanna, I wanna!" Nooooo thought at ALL about his wife, his four (yes, 1, 2, 3, 4) children, not to mention any other family we may not have seen in the film. He wanted to do it, so off he blummin' well went. Absolutely blummin' typical! Selfish to the core! I am telling you, there is not a woman on this earth that would have abandoned her children to get on some spaceship with aliens just for the adventure. It's true, isn't it?

And if there was, we'd all despise her.'s still a great film...and the music's fab *doo dee doo daa daaaaaaa*...but I think Close Encounters II needs to be made when he comes back and sorts out his family life! Ha!

And therein concludes my brain rumblings.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Man on a White Charger...Come Rescue Me!

Well, I have finished marking. 300 papers later and it seems odd every evening NOT to be sitting down to a pile of children's writing. Some great spelling errors in my last batch too...the 'rowman' catholic church, or 'in gou ball' (enjoyable!) or "parrenjrs" (power rangers!) or "it's like doing cat willes" (cartwheels!!!) ...see what I mean about having that seer stone?'s never completely free from things to do (hardly!) but I thought I would blog now that I have some time.

I was very disappointed with the company who gave me the marking though. They had said I would "definitely" get another batch to mark (read *I will earn more money* which I certainly could use right now...oh I so so could). And on Monday when I'd sent my final papers in a day early, I rang to ask when the next lot would arrive and they said that I hadn't been allocated any after all. Big sloppy steaming poo on a big fat stick.

I also applied for another 5 jobs last week (Friday was, as they say, 'mental' trying to get 2 job applications in that hadn't even been started that morning...mental I tell thee). Earlier in the week I'd had to nip over to a school about 15 minutes' drive from my house to pick up 2 application forms for infant and junior teaching positions going begging (for a newly qualified 'cheap' teacher who's male and plays the piano, no doubt...). It took me another whole 15 minutes just to find the school (AA Routefinder sucks) and then their car park consisisted of a narrow piece of land adjacent to their fence, with lots of gravel and then their school field. When I parked down there, I realised that actually it was closer to the school office to park on the road round the other side. So I started up the car and began to back out of my space. The back wheels of the car reversed onto the field a bit, but hey ho, no biggie.

Or so I thought.

What I did not realise was that the first foot or so of the field, where it met the car park, was actually a little ridge...a ridge of exactly the height of the undercarriage of my car. Think see-saw. Think balancing. Think wheels spinning round and the car not moving, neither forwards nor backwards.

I began to wonder what I might do, deary deary me, what a predicament, goodness gracious.

Just as I was about to call Green Flag, a gorgeous man on a white steed came galloping around the corner. Oh...alright then...a man who worked for the council and had a white pickup truck came back to his van for a piece of equipment. "!" I said. He rolled his eyes and said, "I'll come back with my mates...hang on" (probably thinking, "silly mare" as he walked off). The peripatetic French teacher then turned up (just finished her classes for the day in that school and was getting into her car) and admitted that she'd done the self-same thing the week before so that made me feel better...and I got to yap to her in French which was super chouette (she was actually French...we weren't both being pretentious I have to point out...).

And then 3 tanned, muscly, good looking men all turned up to shove me off the ridge, so who's a silly mare NOW then!? Heh! "Helloooo chaps!" is what I was thinking, let me tell you. "Oh dear, I seem to have dropped my hanky as well boys" did also cross my mind. Well, when I walked into the school office I was just giggling all the way. Being rescued had sent me into a girly-girly state of giddy delight! I did mention my dilemma to the school secretaries because I just knew not one person from the school was watching me keeping calm under pressure. Surely that alone was worth an interview? Eh? Eh?

Anyway...those five job applications last week consisted of numbers 33 to 37 in my list of jobs applied for. My friend Mary has bet me a fiver that I will have a job by the middle of September. My response to that was "A FIVER!!!!? A FIVER!!!? That is such a SKANK bet! Come on Mary...make it worth my time!" But no...a fiver is all that's on the table. Ah well...I can spend it on some new ink to print out more applications. Oh wait...A FIVER ISN'T REMOTELY ENOUGH!!! *rolls eyes*

Thursday, June 05, 2008

More amusement from children...

I am currently marking children's English tests...which is why I haven't blogged very much for ages, as every spare second I'm reading their papers. It's not always very easy. Unlike maths or science where the answers are mostly just right or wrong (but not always, before anyone starts moaning at me) you have to look at their writing and draw out all kinds of information to level their work. You need a very sound knowledge of grammar just for starters, and also a seer stone wouldn't come amiss sometimes--my mind boggles on occasion just trying to decipher their writing or dodgy spelling, bless 'em. But sometimes the sentences they write make me chuckle or raise my eyebrows in amusement or sometimes just make me guffaw out loud. You can also tell when the teacher's been giving them a lecture about, for example, using better adjectives...when they actually include the lecture as part of their "fun, exciting, interesting and nice" writing! Ha!

Anyway, my favourite things said so far...writing about a game of 'Ponies' as a playground game: "...and you tell them to candter - means run slow, tort - means jog, and gaoopla - means sprint" Gaoopla???! LOL!!! And I thought a tort was a pie...just shows you. Or there was a kid who said that most ponies are girls. Uh huh. If you say so. They must all fight something terrible over lone pony-boy.

And then there have been some funnies written about doing a treasure hunt too, like the kid who said the treasure should be a whoopie cushion (parp! Hands up who thinks this child is a boy?) or someone who said that for their treausre hunt they would invite the Queen and let the Head Teacher go free (Ach, you're sure now? Very kind) and make sure Security are with the Head all the time (can you just see the two big burly, skinhead, sunglass-wearing guards following the Head round the school?). In fact, this child said he would "make sure" the queen would come and (this was my favourite bit) "make a posh people area." Can I be in the posh people area?! I'll throw my teddy out of the pram if I'm not in there! Bet the Queeeeeeen gets to go in there (I heard she was being made to come you know) *sulk*

Of course, not all children are so generous. One kid said that whoever found the treasure then had to give the treasure back to the person who the stuff belonged to. What a crap treasure hunt! Of course, if the Queeeeen was there and I was in that posh area, I might still be swayed to attend....

Another child made sure that people understood that during this treasure hunt "...if a child runs away they will not do it." Absolutely. No running away! Of course, we could always pen them in the posh area.... And one child was very concerned about those security guards not doing their job properly as they said that we should bring a knife in case a big giant bug might attack and we shouldn't be silly either because we might wake up the werewolves. However, they also said that if you believe in magic it will come true. Perhaps they could magic the bugs and werewolves away then, instead of resorting to violence?

And then there are some fabulous spelling mistakes--"plarm trees" and drinking "coonut" milk. Nummy. Coonuts! My favourite. I wonder if the Queen likes coonuts?

But my absolute, 100%, Number 1 favourite made-me-pee-my-pants answer was a kid who was asked: How can you make a treasure hunt more interesting for the treasure-hunters?

And their reply?

"Sell it on e-bay"

I laughed SO hard for a whole minute!! I wanted to give the child a mark just for making me howl!

I still have a few more tests to go before I'm done marking, so this post may very well have a Round 2. Meanwhile, I'm off for a gaoopla down to the kitchen for some coonut milk.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Have you ever felt Mother Guilt?

Oh I had the most wonderful thing happen to me today. I was just loading these photos and whilst waiting for them to do their thing, I thought about it all over again and my heart just filled with love for that child of mine. So...this is what happened.

I had spent all this morning in my office filling out a job application that needed to be in today. It takes forever to hand-write those blessed forms, and then another age to type a good application letter, each one being tailored to suit the requirements of the job in question. I was nearly there...neatly filled out pages on the desk next to me (along with a pile of English tests I'm marking) ...just jiggling with the last paragraph of the letter on the computer. When suddenly I become aware of my 5 year old, Celyn at my elbow. At the same moment as I turned to see her, I also became aware of a cup of juice spilling...spilling...spilling. All over the marking. All over the application forms. All over the floor. So...what's my very very first reaction?

Hands up all you mummy's out there. Come on, hands up. What's my first reaction? Yes, You at the back...what's the answer?

Thaaaaaaaat's riiiiiight.

I yelled.


At which point there are two or three heartwrenching sobs and she puts down the paper plate she'd been carrying (and unfortunately balancing a cup wonder it had spilled) and runs bawling from the room.

It is at this point I realise that the plate had on it a sandwich. A cheese sandwich. She had, without any help whatsoever and no prompt whatsoever except her good natured and loving heart...Made. Me. Lunch.

Okay. All you mummy's out there. How would YOU feel in that situation? Just to recap...your sweet little 5 year old has independently made you lunch and you've reacted by yelling at her. Yes, on the far left...what do you think?

Thaaaaaat's riiiiiight.

I felt CRAP.

For the first time EVER in her life, she had had the ability (perhaps not the first time ever of having the inclination, but the ability) to get the step stool, reach all the right ingredients and do something lovely for her mummy without being asked or helped in any way. And I had been talking to her last week or the week before about how I feel a bit sad sometimes because I'm the responsible adult in the house...running around after her and my mum all the time...and no one does stuff for me. And she had obviously remembered that.

Oh I was so mortified. I had YELLED at her!!!! Bad bad bad bad BAD mother!

I quickly rescued the marking (good grief, that WAS a panic...that's official work!!! However, it was slightly damp on the bottom edge...nothing too bad) and my application (only the back page had to be biggie) and ran after her downstairs. Poor lamb, she was crying fit to break. Oh I hugged her and hugged her and told her how very much that lovely act of kindness had meant to me, and I apologised and said I was in the wrong, and told her how wonderful she was. And when she stopped crying she said,

"I couldn't cut slices of the cheese, so I had to use lumps." On checking in the kitchen, she'd even used one of her Ikea plastic knives, cos she knows she shouldn't play with metal ones.

I love her soooooo much. It was the most delicious cheese sandwich I ever ate...even if it was lumpy. And I had to get my own juice.