Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Parents Evening is Over.

I have just spent 7 hours of my life, in my own time, doing parents evening.

I have sat on the Blue Ball of Power whilst parents have talked to me, cried, told me about their love lives, their problems at home, and their hopes for their child.

They have sat on chairs too small for them whilst I have talked about National Averages, the importance of adverbial phrases in quality writing, and the potential for their child to get a level 5 in 3 years time.

We have commiserated together about the ability of 8 year old boys to go through 3 pairs of trousers in a term, tell fart jokes at inappropriate times, and how death affects a child in different but similar ways.

I have seen 17 of my 27 parents.  3 sets of divorced ones put aside their differences and came together.  One set of recently separated ones managed the same thing, for which I am very proud of them.

Of those 17, I heard some amazing things.

"No one has ever told us they like our son." (He's an absolute wind-up merchant, who answers back, does the silliest things like lick glue sticks and try to open batteries by putting a chair leg on them and so on.  But he's not a bad lad and is becoming much lovelier.)

"She wants to come to school now, for the first time!" (She's lovely, she just needed to chill out a bit and accept herself the way she is and then we can work on the academics)

"She's reading to herself and to her sister and to us at home." (She came to me in September and had to be bribed/threatened depending on parental mood to actually read her book.)

"How can we work together on this?" (I love it when parents want to know how to help.  I wish I had all the answers!)

"Well, if she doesn't want to do her work, then you can't make her." (Ummmmmm yes I can, this is a school and she is a wilful child who gets away with too much at home!)

"We struggle with her on Tuesday mornings and we don't know why." (You won't next week - course is over - I passed - I'm back every day!)

I had 16 lovely parents and 1 who is in for a terrible, terrible shock because I will be making her child do the work that she is asked to do, even if the little precious doesn't want to.  In the end, she will want to.  I will find a way.

I told 5 parents that their children talk too much, but I wasn't cross, because it was 90% about the work they were doing. 10% was just being children.  It's ok to be a child when you are 7/8/9 you know!  We looked at ways around it, discovered there weren't so many, and came up with options for the children.  I will be having Chat 1 with them today.  It is a short chat involving "Do your work before the timer runs out and you can talk about it afterwards.  If it isn't done, it's going home to be done.Oh, and your parents know and have pencils and rulers ready."

I told 3 parents that if their child didn't want to read the scheme reading book, then have him read something else and write that down in his reading book.  No adult would read a book that they didn't like for recreational reading, so why should a child at the level theirs was at.  Exactly.  Even the sports pages of the newspapers have words in and they count! (Once the child is back into reading again, then we'll do 3 days scheme book, 4 days choice.  Or skip to free reader if their level is good enough!)

Then I took off my professional hat, put on my mummy hat, and went to see the AC's teacher.  She told me he was at National Average for writing (not below any more!), a level above for maths, and 3 levels above for reading.  That he was a lovely child who works well in a group, in a pair, or on his own, that his attitude towards his work has improved, that whilst is grief still appears occasionally he and his classmates know how to deal with it, and that he has a very supportive and loving group of friends, to whom he is loving and supportive.  That he is popular and helpful and kind and basically an all around good kid.  That yes, he has a wicked sense of humour that mainly revolves around body parts and fart jokes, (perfectly normal in a boy child) but that he knows when to deploy it.  That he is a child with children and almost an adult with adults.  That he helps those children who find things hard and can do it without doing the work for them.  That he has lost his PE kit, his reading book, his swimming kit and his plimsolls inside half a term, but that all but the plimsolls have turned up again eventually.  That she likes him.

All of these things were phrases I had used to parents myself, not 30 minutes before.  It's interesting to sit on both sides of that fence, to say and to hear and to feel both sides of it.  I'm so proud of my son for all he has achieved, and I'm proud of my children for all that they are.

Did I mention I love my job?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

coming up for air.....

I've had a heck of a few days.

It's all going according to plan - I have gorgeous new carpet in the front room, and everything is good.

I have passed the course, and everything is good.  (Actually, everything is more than good, more than very good, but it's rude to boast lol!)

I have washing to sort and a kitchen and bathroom to clean and lessons to plan and mark.

I also have a couple of emails to write and other stuff.

Going to chill for a moment though, and just watch some Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and get on with things in a moment.

Oh, and (not that it matters, because I'm not that shallow!) I am wearing size 12 UK trousers.  Not 14's.  Oh no, not 14's.  12's.  Yes.

Although I don't care, because I'm not that shallow.  But they are 12's.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Busy times.....

I've missed a couple of days last week, although there are half posts in creation there is nothing finished.

I don't like missing days.  I like the feeling that this is something I have achieved, that some days, even if I feel I haven't achieved a lot else, I've managed to blog.  Maybe that's another reason for blogging - self satisfaction!

I've taken part in the carnival at twobecomeone, and there are a load of lovely posts in there that I have skimmed the top of but haven't had time to read and comment on yet.  I will do.  Some time.  Umm.  When is tricky, but sometime I will!  And sometime this week lol!

She also said some lovely things about my post, which made me........ made me feel like I had shared something special, and that it was worth it.  I'm not expecting to get a lot of comments on the post.  What do you say?  What is there to say?  I chose the heartache and acceptance post because I am ready for that part of our story to be out 'there'.  I don't want anyone else to go through what we are going through.  The only way to do that is to share that part of our story.

I'm going to do more about it as well.

But back to my busy times, (because then it's all about me people, and we know that I am the most important person in the world lol!)

This week has been hectic.

Monday - back to school
Tuesday - course.
Wednesday - PPA and Story cafe, flying.
Thursday - swimming and trying to catch up a week of work
Friday - Packing and going to L to see T-Boy.

We've also had the front room remodelled in this week and it's going to go on into next week.

Monday - parents evening
Tuesday - course, presentation, lesson observation, parents evening and new carpet being put down.
Wednesday - PPA.
Thursday - Lesson observation
Friday -  Looking good for sleeping a bit more!

Busy times people, busy times.  But still not too busy to snuggle my boy, love my man, cherish my memories, and smile on the world!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today marks the beginning of Lent.

40 days and 40 nights.  It's the amount of time the Ark floated, and the amount of time that Jonah gave Nivevah, how long Moses stayed on Mount Sinai, and how long Jesus spent in the desert.

The last two years I don't think I've given anything up.  I don't think so.  I'll check.

I looked.  Either I did. but didn't write about it, or I didn't do it at all.

This time though, I'm going to be trying harder, thinking more.  So there's a variety of things that are out of the window. (yes, I reconsidered the Daniel fast, but I'll have to do it some time when I'm not working - I just don't think I can handle detox and work lol!)

So, tea, cheese, chocolate, and anything else that I don't *need* is out of the question.  Every time I don't eat it  or drink it, I need to remember why.

I was going to put it on FB, but I didn't want to.  Or rather I did, and then I binned the thing off, because it's not about the big noise of giving it up, it's about the giving it up.  I'm putting it on here so I remembered what I was doing.

Yes, this week there is so much going on that my blog is going back to diary mode for a second.  Some weeks my memory is like that.  This week it is.
(blah, blah, delayed grief, blah, blah, natural reaction, blah blah, wait and it will improve, blah, blah, blah)

This post makes no sense. It's all in bits, it has no consistency and no fluidity.

Just like me today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Listography.... 5 things that make you happy

The listography this week from Katetakes5 is 5 things that make you happy.

In no particular order.......

1) hearing my son laugh.
2) watching J and the AC play silly games together.
3) the smell of baking when the cakes are just about to come out.
4) the warmness of a duvet, a man, 2 cats and a boy, all snugged up together watching tv on the sofa.
5) the sight of a pair of Tornado GR5's soaring through the air.

A lot of the things I love and which make me happy, are there because of what they represent, as well as what they actually are.

The first two represent recovery from grief and shock.
The second two represent family and safety and joy and love.
The last represents all that is true and good and supportive at a time when my world fell apart.  The RAF didn't forget us, didn't devalue us, didn't leave us high and dry.  They loved us, cherished us, supported us, and cared for us.

I'm going to link this up with Kates and then do some work. :-(  It's all work lol!  I need to find 3 things I use for differentiated maths!


Sunday, February 19, 2012


In an effort to break the miasma of the last few days, I'm going to do a meme.  (After all, isn't that what happens with real grief?  We let it all out for a bit then plaster over the cracks and smile and be told how we're doing "ever so well!")

First Kiss: was a a lad at a school disco.  First proper kiss was my first real boyfriend, who I am never allowed to forget by my family.  In fact, I never get to forget any of my boyfriends because my family remember them all and tell everyone about them.  In particular, Hairy Alistairy.
First Guy I Slept With: would be that same First Kiss fellow.  But several months later.  TBH, I wished I hadn't bothered, because until I met Steve, sex was pretty much a non-starter.  But Steve was very giving.  And then there was Rich, who rocked my world.  We rocked each others worlds, because we'd both been without decent sex for so long, that it was a complete eye opener.  And now there is J, and I'm not talking about him on here in this context because it is rude.  But I am very, very, VERY happy and that's all I'm going to say about that!
First Time I Fainted: Never have! 
First Time I Left Home: October 1994 when I went to Uni at 19.  I came home for one summer, hated living at home again, (although I love my parents and my family) and left for good.
First Video I Ever Rented: I don't think I ever have.  So I shall replace this with The First single I bought : which was Thorn in my side, by The Eurythmics.  Actually, that is nothing to be ashamed of, unlike my brother, whose first single was "Every loser wins" by Nick Berry from EastEnders.
First Word I Spoke: Mum-mum-mum-mum-mum-mum.  Does that count?

Now I am supposed to tag people, so I shall tag Chef Penny at Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland just because I like her!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Powerful writing and a vow.

This week I have done some of the most personal and most powerful writing I have done on here in a long time.

It started off ok, with Kates Listography about mugs and with my boy laughing properly for the first time in a long time.

Tuesday was a blog post about a list of things I had done, and then a blog post that I went to sleep in the middle of writing and didn't get time to finish - probably because of the massive list of things I had achieved.

Wednesday was the response to the blogorhythms post by HimUpNorth in which I explored the purpose of my bloggingness.

Thursday and Friday though, were hard work.

Thursday was about going to the bank on Wednesday and sorting out life insurance.

Friday was about the conversation I had with my son on Thursday, a conversation that nobody should ever have to have, because everyone should know where their loved one has been scattered.

It's been weighing on my mind since then.

We will never know where Rich was scattered by his brother.  Legally, his brother took the ashes, legally, he scattered them.  I have never said any of it was illegal.  But I looked into my child's eyes, and I know it was immoral.  I have tried to understand, I read through that blogpost earlier and I  realised how reasonable I sound, and how easy it would be to blame the brother for being a nasty person.  But he wasn't, he was grieving.  He was grieving for the loss of a brother he hadn't seen in 5 years, for the relationship they could have had, for the father they had both lost.  But in his grief, he forgot about a 6 year old who had lost the man he worshipped.  Grief does that.  It makes people selfish and act in different ways than they usually would.  It's why his Afghanistan medal has gone to the BG and not to the child who earned it with him.  It's why the flag from his coffin is where that is, and not with the child who needs it in the States.  Flags matter in the States.  His medal matters to my boy.  But I had no legal right to any of it, because the paperwork couldn't be found, and when it was, well, I chose to leave things as they were.  I chose not to hurt any more people.

But now I look at my child, still grieving, and I think, "Why?  What can I do?"  I can't do anything about my situation, we will have to make it through the best we can, and we will.  I have never heard from the brother or his family again, aside from a cousin of FB every now and again in a FB kind of way.  None of them came to the inquest for the man they loved so much that they did what they did.  I went.  The boy wanted to go, but I told him it was a school day, and he couldn't.

I am proud of that child though.

Proud of the way his six year old self worried about BG before anything else when he heard the news.
Proud of the way he stood straight next to me and waited for the coffin, proud of the way he walked behind it and refused to cry, because armourers don't.
Proud of the way he has carried on, every day.
Proud of the way he went to the services of Remembrance, the Reading in, all the things that none of Rich's family had time to go to.
Proud of the way that he put his heart on the line again by loving J in the way that he does, fully aware of how much it would hurt if anything happened to J and he lost him.
Proud of the way he fights his fears of my death, J's death, how he tries so hard when we have to go somewhere, and how relieved he is when we are home safe.
Proud of the way he talks his feelings out instead of keeping them in.
Proud of the way he tries to understand what the brother did, tries to forgive him for taking the last thing we had - a place to go for Rich.
Proud of him as a Scotty's Little Soldier, a charity that helps the children of the fallen.
Proud of his spirit, his fight, his love.

I know he'll make it through, but he and I have talked, and we want to stop this happening to anyone else.  Not the death, because death is like that.  It happens.  But this situation.  We'll find a way.  Because no other child should have to suffer like my boy does.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heartbreak and acceptance

I don't know what to title this post.

How do you title a post that even writing it just makes me want to cry?

Yesterday my boy got up out of bed, and came downstairs. He does that everyday.

And then he said "Mummy, I want to talk to you."

"Ok sweetheart."

"Will I die before you?" This isn't unusual.  This comes up every couple of months.

"I don't know baby, it's unlikely." In this house, we never say never, about anything, because we never know what is around the corner.

"Mummy, when I die, I want to be burned, like Richard, and I want my ashes put with his."

My heart fell.  How do I tell him, again, that we can't do that?  How do I explain again?  I tried to deflect it away.

"Well, we can take them to Thetford where we put his bike kit ashes, and we will scatter them there."

"No, I mean, with his real ashes, his body ashes." No baby, no, don't say that.

"Well, that is difficult darling, because we don't really know where Richard's ashes are." My heart is tearing now, because I can see the hope in his eyes, see him wanting to be reunited.

"Why did I-t-B take Richard away from us?" I don't know baby, I don't know.

"Because he was Richard's brother and he loved him and he was grieving for him and wanted to have him close to him."  I hate being reasonable.  I hate it, I hate it.  

"But he didn't love Richard like we did." No-one loved him like we did baby, no-one could.

"Well, he loved him like a brother, and we loved him like a boy loves a stepdaddy and like a Mummy loves a Daddy." He was your world my darling boy, he was the centre of your universe, he loved you and taught you and protected you and cherished you.

"But I want to be scattered with him." I know.  I know.

"Well, I don't know if we can do that, but we'll do the best we can." I don't know what that best is, but I'll do something.  Anything.  I'll do whatever I have to do for you my boy.

"I love you Mummy." I know you do darling boy.

"I love you too." With all my heart, with all that I am.

And then he raised his voice and called "Love you Richard." He loves you too.  He'll never stop loving you.  You'll never stop loving him.

"He can hear me, can't he?"

"I believe he can.  And see you." I believe it.  I don't know how, but he told us he would never leave us alone.

"And see BG." Always he thinks of her too.  She was the first person he thought of when I told him about the accident.

"Good."  Pause.  "We can scatter me at Thetford if we can't find where Richard is.  He'll find me."My heart is breaking for my brave brave boy.  For his faith, for his confidence, for the love, for the hope he still has.

"Yes baby, yes he will." He will.  He will.  There is a God and He will put you two back together again.

Then he asked about breakfast.  That's how matter of fact all of this is for him. He knows what happened after the Celebrations, because I had to tell him, because he had to know we weren't going to collect the ashes and scatter them with Richard's family.  He understood that there was nothing we could do - Rich and I weren't married, I had no legal right over the ashes of the man I loved and lived with and worked with and raised a boy with.  He heard me beg for the chance to be there.

But he sees through it all.  He's not bitter about it, he's not angry, he just wants something he can't have.  He's not planning on dying any time soon, he told me later, but he wants to have things organised.  He gets to the centre of it all - "He'll find me." - a fact, a confident fact, believing in Richard the way a little boy should believe in his Daddy, even when he is a Stepdaddy.

So I've called it "Heartbreak and acceptance."  because that's what this is for both of us.  When he had gone to his fathers I cried from anger and frustration and sadness and the re-feeling of the shock of one mans inhumanity towards a little boy.  Then I was proud of my boy, and loving of God for my boy, and for his humanity and understanding and his faith and his love.


There are no other options.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It'll never happen to me.....

We say that.  Everyone says it, and everyone lives their life by it.

Yesterday though, in case it happened to me, I arranged my life insurance, critical care cover and beneficiaries thereof.  It works out that if I die, or get one of the several diseases or conditions that are covered (and it's fabulous cover, so it will cover it!) then J and the AC, or J and I, get the money to pay off the mortgage and the loan.  Also, if I die, then J and the AC get the money from my death in service grant.

It wasn't difficult - although I wept a bit in the bank.  But the bank man was very understanding, and it wasn't embarrassing.  The question was "Have you every seen the doctor for mental health or depression related issues?"  I said yes.  The computer asked why.  I said grief. The computer asked when was the last time I had an 'attack' that affected me.  I looked at Bank Man, and he apologised, and we agreed that it never goes away, that it will always be a part of my soul, that I can't say it will never affect me again, or say when the last 'attack' was.

Last time I thought about him? yesterday morning.
Last time I cried for no reason?  about a month ago.
Last time I cried because I heard a song? about a week ago.
Last time I missed Rich so much that I could hardly breathe, so that I couldn't think, so that I just wanted to tumble to the floor and lay there until something else happened, when I was so full of grief and fear and unshed tears? Last day of term last year.  It has hit me badly both times, and I think it always will.

So we agreed to tell the computer that it was about a year ago, and the computer was happy with that.

So there we are.  I signed the papers, and I have insurance.

When Rich died, he didn't have life insurance.  Why would he?  It wouldn't cover him for Theatre of War, and we never envisaged there being any other problems.  He was going to get some when his divorce came through - the divorce that we had paid for twice.  Had the She-Ex had sent the paperwork through for the divorce, we'd have got life insurance and she would have benefited from that as well.  Her choices meant she didn't.  Life is like that.  In a way it was worth all our struggles so that she saw the results of her choices.  I wasn't even thinking about money - his death wasn't a financial opportunity for me, it was a massive tragedy.  She would have got the dependants allowance that she currently gets - but the AC would have got it as well.  But life is like that too.  There was the bike insurance, but as we paid for the bike, and we paid the insurance, I had no qualms in claiming that.  I could have got more if I had allowed them to sell the bike, but I wanted that widowmaker to be destroyed.  There was no reason for the crash you see.  No other vehicle involved in the initial incident.  Nothing on the road.  Even the police said it was one of the most well-maintained bikes they had seen.  I know what the eye witnesses said, and that was exactly how I thought it had happened in the beginning.  It was just his time to go.  Life is like that.

I totalled up what I was worth last night - almost £350,000.  But only dead.

Money, contrary to what a lot of people think, and several in particular, money isn't everything.  I know that it won't make the pain any less, or the anger, or the frustration.  It won't make seeing a loved one on a mortuary slab any easier, or feeling the thinness of their fingers and the coolness of their head.  It won't stop the numbness striking in the middle of the day, disabling thought and action for hours on end.  But it's going to mean that J and the AC don't have to worry and fight to have somewhere to live, don't have to think about bills and other such stuff.

They can just get on with missing me.  As indeed they should, for I am awesome. ;-)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blogorhythms? Really HimUpNorth?

That was what I first thought when I read "Listen to your Blogorhythms" by HimUpNorth, an invigorating blogger who I have found through my current indulgence in Twitter.

I thought "How daft!"  "How hippyified!"  and carried on through to "How umm.... sensible. Actually, the man has a point."

Then I read the comments.

February 15, 2012 7:21 am
When your blogorhythms are low post a photo. When they’re high write loads of posts in draft for when the dry patch hits. Don’t be tempted to post more than once a day – it’s annoying. #Blogorhythmsappendix1

Now, Midlife Singlemum has a point as well.

For example.  I wrote a post about my use of Syndol and the weirdness it caused in my day, on Monday, partly as a response to an email from Rich's ex wife.  It had an apology in it. Then I did Kates Listography on the same day.  How do I know that Rich's ex wife saw the apology?  I don't.  I sent her a long and chatty email with a picture of the AC in response to her terse one, to show there were no hard feelings.  She hasn't replied to that, and that could be because she hasn't seen the apology.

Yesterday I wrote a post detailing what I had done.  I am somewhat of what HimUpNorth refers to as a 'memoir blogger' at times.  I then wrote some of a post, went to sleep at the computer, wrote some drivel on the end and painted the stairway.

Whilst I was doing that, I was thinking about why I blogged, and how that had changed over the years.

When I first started blogging in 2000, on OpenDiary, it was a way of the AC's father and I keeping in touch.  Later, it detailed the pregnancy, the birth of my son in 2003, and his early years.  Then I moved to Xanga for a bit, in an attempt to keep my thoughts to myself.  I was on MySpace for a bit, until people from the RAF base I was on found it and were unkind.  This blog started in 2007, and was about my life, about how we were changing the house, how we were living, so that one day Rich's daughter would have a day to day record of how her father lived and thought.  Then he died, and it became a place to let go of my feelings, a place I didn't have to be "brave" and be "doing so well" and a private place to grieve.  It enabled me to record what I was doing at a time when I was forgetting moment to moment where I was going and what I was doing.  It has documented my return to the real world from the Dark Times.  Now, it is a cheerful record of what is happening in my life.  It's about painting walls and going to work and the occasional rant. It's about having a cold, and changing the way I work and the fact I need to lose weight.  There's no niche, unless you count the really small one of being able to write about my life.

But back to the original point.


I have had times when I could post 3 times a day and even being in the shower makes me think of things I'd like to blog about.  Then, as happened around the end of last year, I didn't blog at all.  I had nothing to write.  It tied in with a period of numbness in my life, one of the things that Rich's death has left me.  They just happen, they last about 3-5 weeks, (although they are getting shorter) and inside them I become very mechanical.  I go through the motions of my life and I work and read and play and bake and cook and do stuff, but it is as though I am doing it from the outside looking in.  No, I haven't been to my doctor.  I think he would tell me that this is all part of the normal grieving cycle, and I am just doing it a bit later than most, because of the delayed grief I suffered.  Apparently. (You can call it what you like Mister, but I'll still not see him again this side of the pearly gates!)

According to Him Up North, this is normal behaviour.  The blogging bit of it anyway.  I should just chill through it, let go of the pressure and relax - I mean, who is this blog for anyway?  Who reads it on a regular basis?  According to Midlife SingleMum, I should be writing lots in the good periods, saving them in draft, and then reworking them in the dry spells and posting them up.

Good plan.  Through blogging I have identified the problem I thought only I had, found a name for it, and a solution.  Who says Social Media has no point!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fourth post in 2 days!

We've been swimming.

Aren't I a good mummy! Yay me!

Actually, I really enjoyed it.  The refurbishment on our local pool has made it much nicer and whilst the big pool is still Very Very Very Cold, the little pool is great.  Best of all, the AC swam a width. 7.5m on his back and on his front.  He's done really, really well.  He's also putting his head all the way under the water.

He also has size 2 feet now, which meant new wellies and new trainers.  £43 total.  Boys are expensive!  They just keep growing!


and then I went to sleep
At 4 in the afternoon
on the sofa
in the middle of doing something.
Now I feel better, but I have to get on with the painting, so laters taters!

Manic Monday?

Yesterday I.......

*wrote a blog post about why I should not be taking Syndol.  I have avoided it all day yesterday but had to have a nurofen this morning as the end of the coldy fluey thing has turned into earache.
*started an email to Rich's ex-wife.
*tried to get the lid off the paint
*tried again with the paint lid.
*joined in with Katetakes5's listography, by doing a second post for the day
*tried again with the paint lid, and succeeded!
*restarted the email to Rich's ex-wife.
*painted the hallway downstairs, with the help of the AC.
*washed up the paint things.
*discovered I'd missed a massive bit which I shall do today when I do the stairs.
*ate lunch, prepared by the Adorable Child.
*pulled out loads of fabric for school projects.
*started a quilt as you go project just to see if I can do this with the children.
*reworked some of the email to Rich's ex-wife.
*took the boy to the park
*cooked tea (shepherds pie)
*welcomed my man home
*read and commented on mugs from Kates listography.
*snuggled with my man.
*tacked my not very square squares.
*went to bed.

This morning so far I have
*sent the email to Rich's ex-wife.
*read more mug blogs.

I have a lot to do today, but I intend to write a more interesting blog later (well, more interesting in my opinion!) as well as paint the stairs, make a cake, embellish those squares as demo bits for school, and snuggle the boychild some more.

Laters taters!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Listography - Mugs

I know.  Second post of the day.  Get me!

I thought that I would join in with a Listography post from Kate takes 5.  I've seen several of them, and just never thought about actually participating.  But then this week is about something I know something about.  

It's mugs.  Mugs for putting tea in.  I loves me some tea.
This is my big mug for Vast Cups of Tea, for when School Is Hard Work.

This is my usual every morning mug.  It was a freebie from BETT2010 I think. I don't remember really.  It's in the Dark Times, so, yeah.  But it is heavy and thick china and lovely.

Another freebie.  Education City from BETT2009, which was the last one I went to with Rich.  It is smooth and, in a weird way, it feels soft.  Obviously it can't feel soft, but it does.

This is one of my Dr Who mugs........

...... and this is the other.

They were both Easter presents from my boy, and they are 2 of my favourite cups for every day use.  

In fact, I'm going to use the bottom one now for a lovely cup of tea and a sit down with the boy.

Nip along to Kate's listography, for more mugs to look at.

So it's true.....

I should not be allowed near technology when under the influence of prescription drugs.  Particularly the ones with "May cause addiction" on them.  

They work on the headache by overlaying it with a load of mush until the headache can no longer be felt.  I suppose we're meaning in the same way as the Princess couldn't feel the Pea.  Except she still could.  Look, you know what I'm trying to get at?


Mistakes made yesterday :-

Confusing Fleming and Faraday and trying to insist that it is Faraday who had the left and right hand rule. (Left for motors, right for generators)

Then trying to insist that Faraday cage was not Faraday but Fleming. (I am truly ashamed of that.)

Then referring to what was dropped on Hiroshima as a nuclear bomb. (no, it's an atom bomb.  I know that.  Again with the shame curtains)

Then criticising T-Boys table manners, at table.  Admittedly, he was reaching for more cake with a large lump still being chewed over in his mouth, and we had just spent 15 minutes waiting for him to finish his meal, which was totally different to that which everyone else had, and he *still* messed about with eating it, but I probably shouldn't have asked if his mother had ever considered teaching him some manners as he was looking like a right Council House Brat.  Oh yes, and J's mum and dad were there.  

In between these events, I also wrote a post yesterday (on my phone which has eaten all of the layout!) which has apparently got Rich's ex-wife's all uptight.  I referred to a standing joke that he and I had.  It's my blog, my memory, my way of looking at things, my peculiar sense of humour, my defiant optimism that laughs in the face of danger and misery.

According to the email I had yesterday though, it was me taking potshots at her.

"I had intended on giving you my current address. 

However I went by and read your blog, and I see you still enjoy taking potshots at me over two and a half years after Richard died.

Grow up."

Well, I have.  So if it makes her feel better, I can offer a public apology on here.  She used to laugh at us, she said, but laughing at a memory of laughing at her with Rich is A Bad Thing.  I don't want to upset anyone - I've got past that.  I have a lovely life again now, and J and I were talking last night about how there is every chance that that was arranged by Rich and God.  I don't need to dwell on the negative parts of the past, just on the bits that made me laugh, and that memory was one of them.

Speaking of laughing, yesterday the AC laughed properly for the first time I can remember since the accident.  Long belly laughs, not just a bit of a giggle, which has been more and more since J has been in our lives, but proper big long laughs.

There he is, in his Scotty's Little Soldiers top, of which he is a very proud member, and laughing at Mr Bean.  To see him regaining his love of the world again piece by piece, is a remarkable thing.  To hear him laugh like that, is priceless.

I am a very lucky woman. (who is also on half term this week, so may be talking more drivel than usual, but will be staying away from prescription meds like that one!)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Voodoo lol!

It is a long time since I've had a cold of this magnitude lol! This is now getting to the ridiculous stage. Ong he one hand, I look like a drunken Rudolph (I have the sunken bleary eyes to go with the red nose!) but on the other hand life could be worse. By that I mean that even though I look like an inebriated reindeer, I have a man who tells me I look gorgeous, children who are playing nicely, and cassarole for lunch, cooked by J's dad. I also completed the overview for next half term yesterday as well. We're doing a lot of fabric work! Hurrah! Oh. Looks like that is the end of my coherent thought for a while. Back in a bit. *sneeze* (and the voodoo title? Lol. Private joke between Rich and I, to do with a certain American who reckoned she was something special in the Wiccan world at that time!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

No excuses!

I am fluey.

Actually, now I am coldy.  Last night I was definitely fluey.  I had the whole thing, temperature, sweats, aches, dizziness, the works.

I was so poorly, we ordered in tea.  (Indian, for anyone interested!)  We rarely do that, because it's better and healthier and more enjoyable for me to cook, but sometimes, like when the head chef can't stand up, sometimes you have to order in.

Today though, I'm fine.  I have a cold.  I'm not ill like last night.  I shall man up and carry on lol!

I did have some trouble sleeping though, and took some time to read some twitter and retweet some things that made me laugh.  Probably I could get accused of being fattist.  Presumably that would be from overweight people in denial of their own responsibility for their fatness.

Before anyone gets up on their high (and hopefully reinforced) horse, I am fully aware, as are any regular readers, that I am considered overweight.  I'm 11st 2lb at 5ft3.  I could blame my knee, as the nurse has done, but really, I must blame me.  After all, I put food into my mouth.  I put sugar in my tea.  I make the choices to either get fatter, or to control what goes in me.

That's just logical.

However, the trending hashtag was "uglypeopleexcuses"  and some of the responses to them really made me laugh.  Out loud.  At 3 am.

"I'm not fat, I'm big boned" (bones don't jiggle)
"I'm only single because I'm playing hard to get" (No, you're single because you're hard to want)

and so on.

There was the initial comment in the "" and then someones response in the ( ).  Now, I have worked with some seriously malformed children.  They are, in no uncertain terms, by societies standards, not pretty.  They were however, gorgeous people.

But it's the excuses part of it that I want to think about.

We make excuses for all sorts of things.  "I can't do x because y"  and y is never real when it's an excuse.

You're fat - because you eat too much and sit about on your lazy fat backside all day.
You're single - because you are twisted inside and nobody wants you until you want you.
Your home is a pit - because you are lazy and have no self respect.
You can't keep a job - because you are lazy, have poor personal hygiene, because you have no self respect.
Your child is rude to you  - because you don't teach them properly, you want to be the friend and not the parent, because you live vicariously through your child because you have no self respect.

And so on.

All of these things come down to self respect, to loving ones self, to grokking oneself (You should read Stranger In a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein to truly get this, but then you should read it anyway.  It's thought altering.)

Until we have self respect, we cannot appreciate the fact that others have self respect, and so we trample on the thoughts and dreams of others through our own selfishness.  We remake history to suit ourselves because we are ashamed of our past and so we cover it up - we don't respect ourselves enough to accept the truth of who and what we are.

Until we accept who and what we are, we can't change who and what we are.  Self respect isn't about going "I'm perfect. I accept my perfection!" (unless you are HM Queen, who clearly is perfect!) it's about accepting your faults and dealing with them.

Until you know who you are, you can't deal with your faults in the way that is the right way for you, because all you can see is the right way for other people.

For example. (and this is true people!)

PROBLEM - I am disorganised with my lesson planning.

EXCUSE - I am disorganised because I don't have time to do everything, because I don't like the way the school do things when they plan a week ahead, because I have a difficult class, because..............  STOP!  Those are excuses.  There is no need for excuses.  They perpetuate the same behaviour over and over again.

KNOWING MYSELF - I know that since Rich died, I find it hard to think ahead.  I am very aware that there may not be a tomorrow.  I am somewhat paranoid about this.  I am happy in that if I die I am confident in what happens next, but trust me, if I die, I won't be hanging about school in an attempt to teach literacy. I also know that I enjoy spending time with my son and J, and that I am aware that I lost time with Rich because I was working or he was working.

(theory) - I have to be able to think about what I am going to do.
(Practical) I got myself a day book, so I can plan a day in advance.
(result) I can show any of the management that I am aware of where my children's work is heading to.

(theory) I have to let others know what we are doing.
(Practical) I have created and been using, lesson observation sheets for my TA's to use.
(result) More observations have been done, we are all better aware of what the children can do, this informs my planning, and the TA's feel comfortable knowing what they have to do.

AS a bonus, my class are not having the time to be difficult because they are being well paced through a range of lessons because I am more well planned.

Obviously there is room for improvement. Always.  But if I didn't know and accept myself, if I didn't ditch the excuses, I'd still be disorganised in the classroom and stuck in the problem and caught up in all the excuses.

Now I need to apply this to my weight - because there are no excuses for me to be over weight as I am.  It might only be a few pounds, but I have to know myself to get rid of them.

This post came a long way from being about a cold, but there we go.  I refuse to plan my posts as well as my lessons lol!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

UP and at 'em!

I've never been a lay-a-bed person.  Some people can sleep forever in the mornings, or not even sleep - just lie there being awake, but not doing anything.  I'm very much once I'm up, I'm up.

Before 5:30am today I had

*got dressed
*unloaded the dishwasher
*reloaded the dishwasher
*loaded the tumbledrier
*loaded the washing machine
*made a cup of tea
*planned the numeracy for today
*planned the literacy for today and tomorrow.
*tidied around the front room (as much as one can when one is decorating)

That's the only way I can keep on top of things lol!

Last night I was out with J and the AC at flying, and the AC is really getting good with the NightVapour now.  J is training him up to be able to fly the Discovery in the summer in the open air, and is really pleased with his progress.  I can't fly.  I just can't. It is just not something I can spatially do very well.  I mean, I can hover the helicopter and make it go where I want and things like that, but then that's it.  AC and J are doing all kinds of tricks, and I'm not.  That's cool lol!  I can't be good at everything (even if I am Mary F-ing Poppins  - yes it still makes me laugh!)

Then the AC was on my laptop whilst he was waiting for batteries to charge and his turn to fly - he doesn't tend to fly with the older men at the moment, because he is respectful of it being their space, and because he knows that the NV needs a lot of room.  He's a good boy.  So he was on my laptop and he was working on Powerpoint.  They have been doing Powerpoint at school and really enjoying it, and he wanted to make something.  I was doing written work, so I let him get along with it.

His presentation was 3 slides long.

The first had a picture of the three of us, and the words "To the best mummy and stepdad ever."
The second had a picture of he and I together, and the words

"My mum is the best because ........
She helped me get through when Richard died.
She snuggles with me
She is really proud of me when I get 10/10 in my spelings. (that last was apparently deliberate."  Yeah, my boy rocks irony lol!)

The third had a picture of J and he on it, and the words

"The reason why J is the best stepdad ever

He is really fun
He flick’s me in the head some time’s
He is really funny
He teaches me how to fly. "

I could have cried.  J was really touched.  He'd chosen to do this just to show how he felt. This is a household that is comfortable with it's feelings, that shows how it feels, that is proud of love and what it brings.  Rich's death realigned our perspective - after all, you have to love that much to lose that much, and to see the boychild prepared to stick it all on the line again is warming me in a way I cannot explain.

Even just looking at it again now makes me well up in a way that only the mother of a bereaved child can understand.  It is such a risk that I took with his heart as well as mine, and it's paying off.

Rich always told me two things.  Itwillallbefine, and that he would never leave us alone.  He kept those promises, like he kept all his promises to me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Falkland Islands

........ are British.

They want to be British (we keep asking them, and that's what they say!)
They don't want to be Argentinan.  And who would?
They were invaded in 1982, and defended admirably by the British.  There fore the Argies started it, and we finished it.
That is 30 years ago this year.  No wonder the Argies are poking their little heads above the parapet again.  If they do invade, we'll defend again, and win again.


In other news, the wallpaper looks good, my Day book is up and running, the Tesco version of Special K is nasty, stodgy chocolate cake is fabulous, and life is good.

That is all.  (For now folks.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

It's early.

I'm sitting up, with my boy snuggled next to me, with the smell of baking bread wafting through the house, and in the sure and certain knowledge that the world could be a much worse place.  There are days that start like this.  There have been times, months, that I thought that the world would never feel like this, that I would never find hope and joy again, but I did.  Never give in to doubt and uncertainty Dear Reader, or they will be all you know.

Yes.  That was deliberately patronising.


Today we must shift lots of stuff so that the front room is clear because my parents have offered to decorate the front rooom for us if we provide the stuff.  That sounds so much better than "We tried hanging wallpaper and got it all wrong and they are coming over to save our backsides from having a nasty looking house."  The latter is closer to the truth that the former.......  but it does show that my parents love us in a very practical and helpful way. They are so lovely, and all my dad has asked is that we move the snakes who live in the room out into another room.  NO problem!  I can do almost anything for someone who is going to decorate our house.

Today is also Week 4 of Being Improved.  I am seeing some benefit from the course as it impacts my classroom teaching.  I have also been told I am "inspiring" and that I have really made a difference to their childs life.  I'm glad about that.  It's why I do the job.  That and the pay and the holidays.

Today is also 60 years to the day that the young Princess Elizabeth woke up a Queen for the first time.  I can't imagine what that was like.  To lose ones father, and inherit so much responsibility, so much honour, must be a deep thing.  She has served us so well, through the 60 years of her reign, never stinting, never not giving of her best, never letting the side down and always, always maintaining that Englishness of which we can be so proud.  As an Englishwoman, living in what was once described to me as "drippy old England" I am glad that we have her.

Yesterday was the day I got to guest blog over at Bod-for-tea's place.  It was an interesting experience to see my words on someone elses page.  Makes me want to write again! (and that would take up less space than sewing!)

Laters my lovelies - I must shift furniture!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Wheel of life

Kate at The Five F's Blog has been doing a Life Circle focus on her blog since September.  I only discovered this this morning, having stumbled on her blog by roaming from place to place to place as I was up with my poorly stomach.

Although it started in September, she has kindly said that I can join in and catch up.  I have been thinking a lot about myself because of the course I have been doing with work about why I teach what I teach.  I thought I'd extend it out into my personal life because I think that now is a good time to be looking inside me and I'm fairly sure I can do it without crying.

The first section was The Wheel of Life.

As Kate points out, how would my wheel turn? Well, it would wobble like anything.

Romance - 9 - my man is lovely.  Amazing.  Hardworking.  Loving.  Lots of positive words.

Finance - 8 - we aren't too badly off.  We work hard, we both have jobs, we have enough money to pay what we need to pay and keep a bit back to spend on things we want.  It gets a lower mark because I am still in my overdraft every month, although that is getting better!

Environment - 7 - we're decorating and moving things around and I don't like it, but I know it'll be great when it's done.  Because I have work to do as well though, it's not getting done as fast as it should do.  Or if I'm doing that then I'm not working.

Friends and Family - After Rich died I really learnt who my friends and family were.  Well, my family were my family, and they were obviously going to be fabulous, because I have a fabulous family.  They have been fabulous forever, and always will be.  Friends, well, they altered.  Some that were more mates became friends.  Some that were friends have drifted away, because they didn't know what to say.  I've also met new people since being with J, and that means that I have friends that are our friends, who don't know the Darkness of the Dark Times after the accident.  In some ways, that is refreshing.

Personal Development - 5- now we're getting to the nitty gritty......  I'm on a course at the moment, and it's making me look at how I teach, and why I teach what I teach.  In my own life though, my not a teacher life, I'm finding a gap.  My not-so-much-a-mother gap (now that the AC is 8) was going to be filled with quilting and knitting and so forth, but instead is filled with work.  My reading-on-the-ipad-is-quicker gap is filled with work.  My evenings are filled with work.  My early mornings are filled with work.  Could it be I work too much?

Health - 6 - I'm up and down.  My knee is increasingly painful, which could mean another operation.  I feel sick after almost everything I eat now.  The lump on my head is getting larger.  Some things are improving with the change in diet and the caffiene headache only took 5 days, but I'm not right.  I could always go to the doctor!  I live in England, we have an NHS to be proud of.  I just...... I don't know.  it might even be just finding the time.

Career - 8 - I love my job.  I know.  Look at the PD section.  But I do.  I love being with the children, I love teaching, I love the SEN aspect, I love the results, but the amount of work is getting me right down in the dumps, particularly because most of it is pointless.  Utterly pointless.  More pointless than that.  However, I've ordered a daybook which will make life a bit easier for me personally and for the TA's, but will mean a tiny bit more work - but more work which makes sense, as opposed to more work which doesn't.

Fun and Recreation - 5 - It's not a great score.  Some of that is winter related - we don't go up to the flying field in the winter, I don't spend my weekends sat in the sunshine (working) chatting to people about everything then eating picnics and chilling out.  I want to do more stuff for me.  But I'm working.

I seem to be blaming that for everything :-(  I keep being told to work smarter - but how?

pootling and pondering

I'm up very early for a Saturday, and not feeling fabulous.  I will do later, I'm sure as this is just a temporary thing.

I don't know if one can suddenly develop an intolerance, but I think I might have done, and it's to one of my favourite foods - cheese.

Last night I had a pizza in a pizza wrapped in pizza covered in pizza.  I know Calzone is easier to write, but this place puts more pizza on top!  Today I have bellyache and am not going too far from the loo initially.  I know.  TMI right? lol!

Two weeks ago I did the same.  In between times, cheese on a jacket potato or whatever has given me gripping pains in my intestines and then unsociable outbursts. (not from my mouth.  Again, I know, TMI!)

So in an effort to change the subject, and distract myself, I have been pootling around blogs and going to a persons blogroll and finding the third person on their list, and going there, and then repeating the event.  Finding blogrolls has become pretty hard though!

Having just said that, I'm not sure how visible mine is.  I need to rework my blog anyway, so I'm off to the Britmums site because they've been tweeting about it on twitter.  I am loving twitter btw.  I'll link that into the blog remake as well!

And yes, I know this is a nothing post.  That's how I feel today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Who am I again?

The other day I volunteered to guest post at the lovely Bodfortea's place whilst she is away doing Something More Interesting.

I wrote the blog post.  I sent the blog post.  She emailed me back saying she liked it (phew!) and did I want to put an introduction or a photo.  Or both.

It just made me think - who am I now?

For the last 2 and a half years, I have been a widow.
For the last 8 years I have been the AC's mother.
I have been J's other half for 21 months.
For 14 years I have been a teacher.
I have been quilting and knitting for 10 years.
I have been writing since I was a smalley.
I have been cooking and baking and loving for ever!

I don't want to be just any one of those things.  I am all of them.

So what do I write in an introduction?

Sarah lives and teaches in Norfolk with her son, (the AC) her other half, (J) 7 snakes and 2 cats.  Her life has been complicated, ranging from fabulously contented to utterly miserable at times, but the death of her fiancé, Rich, in July 2009, gave her a bucket of perspective, and she looks at life a little differently now, because itwillallbefine (the other options are stupid!)

How does that grab you?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The death of the individual teacher

That is a somewhat melodramatic post title, but it fits. Merge and more I am seeing the evidence that the individual teacher is to be squashed, to be compressed into the boxes that the government want them to be in. I can only teach what they want me to teach, test what they want me to test, support who they want me to support, and display my children's work on cream backing paper. Cream. That's practically magnolia. Ick. Which is why 2 of my boards are currently covered in black plastic bags. We're doing space - how can I in all honesty, mount space work on cream backing paper. I've been told off about the state of my room. Apparently the cleaner has complained. Fine. Today I shall go in and get rid of all the junk modelling stuff that the children have been using, and if they ask why I *will* tell them. I am that cross about it. At the end of the day it is *my* room. MINE! I teach in it. I live in it. Apparently the cleaner complained about there being food on the desk. It's a bag of apples because one of my children brings a piece of bread and a tinned sausage for her lunch. I supplement it with fruit. That's my choice. Do I have to stop that because the cleaner doesn't like it? Don't care - I shall not be stopping it! Apparently she complained about there being a bag of clothes in there. Those are on their way to another child who has school uniform, 2 pairs of trousers, and that is it. Yes, I am sending some of the AC's old stuff their way. Why shouldn't I? I would never see a child go without if I could help. I still worry about the BG because single motherhood is so tight for cash. (assuming her mother is still single - there's no reason for her to be!) I could not knowingly leave a child in need. But shall I? Because the cleaner doesn't like it? Shall I display their work badly because the art coordinator likes cream? Shall I not understand my own planning because the system that the school uses just doesn't work for me? Shall I leave a child with an inadequate lunch because the cleaner doesn't like apples on my desk? Anyone who knows me will testify to the fact that I am very untidy generally. It just happens. One minute it's all good, and then it's all gone wild! It comes to the fact that I am not a show home kind of person. I am living in the now, living in the what *has* to be done, living in the rather spending time with the child than hoovering. The house and classroom are *never* unsanitary - no dirty pots in my cupboard rather than wash them - but they are very lived in, Is that individual? I think so, but I may not be around much longer to celebrate it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Expenses and cuts

This morning I got up, went downstairs, and showered using my reduced aisle shower gel (cinnamon and fig!) and washed my hair using special offer shampoo.

I made a cup of tea using the special offer teabags and the double discount sugar and the full price milk.  (Still working on that one!)

I made the AC breakfast using special offer cereal and sandwiches for J using homemade bread (special offer flour and free yeast) and 2 for 1 ham.

I emptied the clothes from the washing machine (washed using special offer double discount washing powder) and put them on the radiator to dry.

I put more clothes in the washing machine (with the special offer double discount washing powder) and put it on.

I am about to prepare tea - a cassarole of half price vegetables and reduced aisle beef - no Ox Cheek this week which is a shame, as that was delicious last week.  It will be served with cut price cheese and homemade bread.

Tonight we are going to flying (free) and on Friday we'll go to Steves for chinese (his turn to pay - our turn was last week lol!)

I don't have to live like this.

This is a lifestyle choice because I resent paying full price to the supermarkets and because with a little thought I can save a fair piece of money that we can use on other things.  Currently, we're saving up for a National Trust membership for the family.  We'll get that this week, and most of it will have been paid for by saving.

We have money in the savings.  I could have used that.  I'm not going to, because one day we'll need something in a hurry and that money won't be there.

Rich and I *had* to live like this.  We *had* to pay off the debts accrued during his marriage to the BG's mother.  We *had* to send money across the Pond to support BG (utterly unresented, btw!).  We were saving for a trip over there because her mother had refused her to come here.  As a consequence, BG never saw her father again.  I don't want that for any reason - we will always have enough money to cover something like that that needs to be done. 

When Rich died, the AC and I had to live worse than this.  It wasn't a game then.  We *had* to.  We had support from the RAF which was lovely and very, very necessary, but that couldn't go on forever, and I have my pride.  I'm not one to run to my parents for anything except electrical help (my dad is an electrician - he knows what he's doing lol!) and whilst they did help, I have now paid back every penny of overt help.  (Well.  Of overt help that I remember.  There are still big gaps in my memory, and they are welcome to stay there.)  But AC had uniform, and presents at Christmas, and Friday treat time, and the mortgage was paid and we just cut back and cut back and cut back until it was all sortedish.

Now there are 2 wages in the house again.  A part time one from J - and why not after 23 years serving - and a full time one from me.  I'm used to living in a less profligate way, and in a way, it's a game.  I know it's not for others - there are thousands in the position that I was in with the AC after Rich's accident - I know it's not a game, and I help when I can. 

So I when I have made tea I will put on my sale trainers, pull on my half price coat, and head out the door with my worth-every-penny child, and go to school to earn the money.

Laters peoples.