Tuesday, 31 December 2013

It's almost the end...

2013 is almost at an end...  And it's absolutely flown by.  I know people say every single year, "gosh! doesn't time fly?!"  But this year really seems like it has. :)  I imagine that it's partly because I remember so clearly what I did last NYE.  It was nothing exciting, I just watched the new Michael McIntyre DVD I'd been saving specially, and had a few vodkas. ;)  I remember one moment where I was eating a chocolate mousse, he said something particularly funny, and I spat it all over myself. :)

So...  What was particularly memorable in 2013?

  • My day of interviews with the BBC about bins.  A live-on-air radio interview, a TV interview, a phone interview, and a piece in print on the BBC News website.
  • My little driving holiday to Somerset during August.  It was a lot of driving for a 3 day holiday, but I enjoyed it a lot and would do it again.
  • I also had a little trip to Wales with the parents during the summer.  That to, was also pleasant.  It had been some years since we'd been away on holiday together.
  • My various adventures with Adele, including Bicester, Ragdale and crazy golf to name a few highlights.  There was, of course, a great amount of sitting around, drink coffee, and being mauled by her crazy dog (now plus a new one, which I find myself strangely warming to, solely because he likes a snuggle.)
  • Standing a-top the Long Mynd.  A staggeringly beautiful place that I hadn't known existed, oddly.
  • Two outstanding National Theatre performances, 'Macbeth' and 'Frankenstein'.  Both were amazing, and I've gone ahead and booked 'Coriolanus' and 'War Horse' for January & February.
  • My car accident.  Looking back now, I can chalk it up as one of life's trials.  Felt pretty crap for 3 weeks after.  Especially as it mucked up two social occasions, which I've still yet to re-book.
  • My new car.  :)  By lucky coincidence, she's exactly the colour I would have chosen if I'd bought her brand new.  I've named her Bonny and she's a cheerful sky-blue Ford Ka.  The new version of what I wrote off previously.  ;)
  • A rainy and windy weekend trip to Aberystwyth for a family wedding.
  • An overnight trip to Birmingham to see Josh Groban at Symphony Hall.
  • Another trip to Birmingham to see Tim Minchin as Judas in 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.  Great show, but completely horrifyingly long and awful drive home from central Birmingham, in the dark.  If I were to do it again, I think I'd try and find alternative travel arrangements.
  • After 2 months unemployment at the start of the year, I got a job over in Brackley.  It took a while to settle in, the class were remarkably untrained, and my relationship with my TA took a while to warm up.  But come July, they were one of my most favourite classes I've ever had, my TA and I got on well and I heartily loved the school.  When the time came for me to leave again in November, I was most disappointed.  I have nothing but good things to say about that school.  But the commute was a bitch.
  • I started another Year 1 post at a school in Northampton.  Very, very different to Brackley school.  I am reserving judgement for the time being.
  • After an 18-month long saga, I am officially discharged from the hospital after my eye surgery.  What with breaking my elbow in the September of 2011, then the eye saga that began around April 2012, there hasn't been that much time, since moving to Northampton in the summer of 2011, where I haven't been under hospital care.  And I visited a friend who was admitted during January/February.  It would be great if 2014 could be the year of either No Hospitals, or visiting the hospital for purely Happy Things.
  • The heavy snow of January was a pain.  It didn't melt for a LONG TIME outside my flat, and made conditions downright treacherous underfoot.  I remember feeling very, very pleased when it FINALLY melted.
  • We had a good-weather summer for the first time in a few years.  During the summer holidays I mostly lived in shorts, and spent a fair amount of time lying on the bed, eating ice-lollies and reading some really good books.
And, I think...  That's about it.  It's been a very fast year.  With only one or two particularly notable exceptions, it's been a good one.

Here's to good health and happiness for you all in 2014.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Purging Again!

With the new year nearly here, I've been on Operation Purge again.

I did it during the summer holidays, but find that when I'm in the middle of a busy time at work (which is most of the time), I stop being as organised and tidy as I'd like to be.
I'd planned to get on it again during November, when I was off work, but found that I just "didn't have the spoons" (Google "spoon theory" if you're not sure what that is) to do Operation Purge, plus Nanowrimo, PLUS deal with car-related fallout.

Today though, I was ON IT.

Started with the bedroom.  Went through all my clothes and filled 2 bin-bags with charity shop contributions.  Also rotated what was left so that I'd wear some things I haven't worn in ages.  In fact, I am now wearing one of my oldest jumpers.  It's probably at least 10 years old, but it still fits, is in decent condition and isn't grossly unfashionable.  I threw away quite a few bits just because they looked old.  Not "bad" as such, but just well-loved, a bit thin, and very bobbly in the case of a few wool pieces.

Then I targeted my jewellery collection.  Took all my necklaces out and evaluated them.  Some of them just aren't the sort of thing I like to wear any more.  Realised I prefer dainty pendant-type pieces, not huge "statement" items.  There were even a couple of really nice ones I'd forgotten that I owned.

Next job is to target the random piles of paperwork round the edge of my settee.  It needs a purge. :)

I am also going to throw out the empty DVD cases.  The DVDs themselves are stored in boxes under the TV.  I LOVE the new system, and NOT having an entire wall dominated by DVD cases pleases me no end.
I said I'd keep the cases until Christmas, in case I changed my mind.  But I haven't.  So now it's time for them to be thrown away!  Huzzah!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Weekend Update

1:  I've now completed two weeks at New School.  Had a baptism by fire on Thursday/Friday as the teacher who I'm working with called in sick, so the 29 kids were all mine.  Also didn't have any teaching assistant support from most of the time, so it was a bit hectic, but ultimately went fine.  On Friday afternoon, the Head caught me to say that I'd done really well with my unexpected two days. :)  So that's good news.

2:  Just completed some maths planning for the first week back after Christmas.  It's actually been quite a while since I've done planning completely on my own.  Last time I taught Year 1, Steve and I did all the planning together, so to be on my own with it is new.  But it's fine.  A bit of a slow process while I get back into the swing of it, but nothing too difficult.  I'm glad I have that bank of mental ideas though.  I imagine it would be hard to do as an NQT.  My opposite number in Year 1 is an NQT, and responsible for the literacy planning.  That'll be something I'll have to keep an eye on. ;)

3:  Not really done much else this week, apart from school.  This coming week is the last week before Christmas, so there's lots of Christmasy activities planned.  Parties, performances etc.  Enough to keep us busy, certainly!  My aim for the evenings during this coming week is to get ahead on my planning for the new term.  I think I'll have enough to keep up on with marking etc, without having to worry about planning as well.  Although, saying that, "worry" is too strong a word.  Perhaps just "think about" will do. 

4:  The girl I maths tutor on a Thursday night is coming along nicely.  She did much better than last time on her school end-of-term maths test, which makes me look good.  She's asked to have a session on equivalent fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions this coming week!  OMG.  Had to find out what they were!  Easy though, I can teach that, no problem, now I know what it is.  Quite easy actually. :)

5:  Went to swap Xmas pressies with Adele yesterday.  They've decided to permanently adopt the dog they were fostering, Ziggy.  He's a sweetie and spent most of the time I was there trying to be on my lap.  What a baby.

6:  Went to Tescos today and bought the 'Friends' boxset.  It's been around for years in various guises, but I've resisted buying it.  Yesterday though, I saw it for £45, which, for about 100 hours of TV, is good value.  I used to have them all in individual season boxsets, but I seem to have lost a good number of the discs...  I can only guess that I put them somewhere during my various house moves, and don't know where they are any more. 
For years, I've wanted to watch 'Friends' from start to end, in the right order, so now I can do that easily. :D
I also bought myself 2 jumpers.  I seem to have lots of thin jumpers, which aren't much thicker than a long-sleeve t-shirt, and lots of hoodies and cardis.  But have very few normal thickness/normal arm length jumpers.  I bought a stripy one back in the summer and have worn it loads, which shows there is a gap in my wardrobe for that sort of thing.  So got two more.  Yay!

7:  Heading over to Shropshire this coming Saturday for Christmas.  It starts on a high Saturday night with the annual Ticklerton Tea with the extended family.  It's been good fun in the past and is becoming something of a tradition.  Should be good, and crowded!

8:  All is okay with my new car.  I'm getting to know it and am resolved to keeping it clean and tidy, at least internally.  It's definitely bigger than the old car, which is good.  The trip to Shropshire on Saturday will be the first long drive I've done in it.

I think that's it for now.
I shall try and update with my annual Christmas message before the day.

Toodles for now.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

First Week Review

Things That I've Done Lately:

1:  My Christmas shopping is almost all done.  With the exception of a plant mum wants, which I'll get a bit nearer the time - probably next weekend.

2:  Adele (my pet pharmacist) gave me a flu jab the other week.  Earlier this year, I did catch a fluey-type thing that lasted a good 10 days.  Also, teachers are (according to my union) included in the groups of the population who are advised to get it due to the large web of people we come into contact with.  Many of whom have less than savoury personal hygiene standards.

3:  Survived my first week at my new school.  I can't get over how fancy the building is.  The staffroom has under-floor heating for crying out loud!  And it is too hot all around school.  This is an extreme novelty to me.  Schools are, in my experience, usually freezing.  And in the classrooms there are skylights, which have electronic blinds, and you can dim the lights when using the interactive whiteboard.  And the lights throughout the building are all motion controlled.  And there are no key-pad entry points, it's all controlled by little swipey gadgets.  And yet, there aren't enough guided reading books.  So... can't have it all.

4:  I am due to get a new teaching assistant in January.  I spoke to the Head about it on Wednesday.  She said they've had 39 applications.  Wowzas.  For a 2-day a week job, who knew it would be that popular?!  I already have an excellent teaching assistant for the other 3 days, who seems lovely, so hopefully I'll get someone equally good for the other 2 days.

5:  It is a busy 2 weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday.  We did a play rehearsal on Friday morning...  And it was shocking how dismal it was.  The Year 2 team are the ones in charge, and they have left it too long.  The kids don't know their lines, or when they should speak, or anything really.  The first performance is only 6 school days away.  Hmmm.

6:  When I have a life-change, I find that I sleep like a baby, and have incredibly long and detailed dreams.  I've had some very long ones this past week that have seemed to go on for hours and hours!  I didn't actually dream about work at all though.  I dreamt about holidays, family, cars.  All sorts.  Clearly my brain has needed a lot of processing time this past week.

I think that's all to report for this week.

Another busy week ahead!