Monday, February 28, 2005

Shiny Hair

Yesterday someone complimented me on how nice my hair looked. Did I get it cut? Colored?

No to both, actually. I didn't do anything different to it. I washed it and blew it dry as normal, but for some reason, even I noticed yesterday that my hair looked good.

Same thing today! I washed it with the same ole Loreal and blew it dry with the same ole hair dryer and round brush. It is so silky and shiny and soft. I can't figure it out!

Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

But, on the other side of the coin, I'm feeling bloated enough that if you poked a hole in my tummy, the water I've been retaining would flood the whole of Burnham.

So I got thinking this morning as I walked to school...would I rather be a bloated pig with gorgeous hair for the rest of my life or a non-bloated gal with so-so hair?

I think I'd have to pick the non-bloated feeling. Shame though, 'cause my hair really does look fantastic today.

Of course, I'm an optimist, so I'll go for having both.

And with that, I must get my day started. There are children to teach and PE teachers to "chat" with.



Songs That are Currently Stuck in my Head (and the Reasons Why):

Wild World by Cat Stevens

Oooh, baby, baby it's a wild world...

Except that I substituted "white" for "wild" yesterday when I woke up to a good 2-3 inches of snow outside my bedroom window. Beautiful! Unfortunately, it was starting to really melt away by then (it was Sunday and I had a bit of a lie-in with a good book I was reading).

I did get a few pictures of Kathy's garden all covered in white, though. Very pretty.

Just Another Manic Monday by the Bangles

Just another manic Monday (Oh, Oh)
I wish it was Sunday (Oh, Oh)
That's my fun day (Oh, Oh-oh)
My I-don't-have-to-run day...(Oh, oh-oh)
Just another Manic Monday!

Yeah. Another one of those. Welcome back to school Megan. You've pissed off one of your co-teachers. So I don't have to type it all out, this is what I emailed Kathy:

Then she tells me that a teacher came to her on Friday before break asking, "Does Megan know who I am???" Of course, at this point, I'm thinking to myself, "Yes, he's an overgrown Baboon Man with too much ego and not enough class, who sleeps with anything female and talks too loud."

Apparently, the day before he came to her venting about me not being in my place, he was extremely offended when I made him look the fool in front of his students.

I had to search my memory to even remember, then I got it. His year 10s were leaving an assembly in the canteen, and my year 7s were trying to line up for a music lesson. The year 10s were pushing and bullying the year 7s. My year 7s weren't all acting appropriately and I was calling ALL of the students on it. When Caz walked by I told him what was going on, and that the year 10s were pushing littler kids around.

Apparently, this is knocking him as a teacher.

And what I wrote to Heather:

Anyway, other than that I'm in decent enough spirits. I sat through our Monday morning briefing thinking, "Fine! I'll just move to Seattle, then!!" But I'm not going to let one over-egoed jerk get me down.

I refuse to be insulted by him!!

I'll Stand By You by Girls Aloud

...Just because that's what I had in the CD player this morning as I got ready.

Strong by Robbie Williams

You think that I'm strong
You're wrong, you're wrong...

Okay, normally I pride myself on being a strong gal but today I'm a bit cranky and irritable and teary. It's all hormone-related and as soon as this has passed, no doubt I'll be my strong, cheery, shiny happy self (which makes me think of REM's Shiny Happy People). But until then I'm going to allow myself a few minutes of sulking on top of the two Panadol (cramps) and two Dayquil (cold) I have taken today.

Now--I feel better having vented and I only have to get though lunch, 5th period, and a 6th Form staff meeting (which are always a bit more fun than other meetings because everyone on the 6th Form team is really cool) and then I can go home! After the co-op, that is. I need Feta cheese (of all things).



Thursday, February 24, 2005

Pictures, part two

Some pics from England...

Along the River Crouch and the seawall (the quay):

Historic White Harte Hotel, overlooking the Crouch:

The High Street and Clock Tower:

Sunrise in Burnham:

New and improved Classroom pics:

The view from my back windows--St. Mary's Church:

The Lidbury Pets:

Gus going into his tent:

Goodie having his tea:

Lovely Lucifer at rest (and no doubt snoring):

Three dogs in a row (Marley, Titus, Tommy)

A trio at tea (Lucifer, Polly, Flissy):

Rosie after the Bath:

Hopefully I'll get those York pics up soon!

Cheers, Meg


These go back to December. I finally got them uploaded to my PictureTrail account.

So, without further ado...

First, some pics from the move to Washington:

Hello from Oregon!

Seattle Skyline:

The market on Pike Street:

The Puget Sound:

Mom and Dad on the ferry to Seattle...

...and me:

And another post is coming...


Well, I'm safely back from York. It was really beautiful and a nice trip. I'm glad, however, that I came back a day early and spent last night in my own bed.

Let's see, what did I do?

I arrived on Monday afternoon and checked into the hostel. After that I walked to York Minster to have a look around. It is a gorgeous Gothic cathedral with huge amounts of stained glass.

When I left it was snowing outside. I walked until I started getting very wet and very cold, so I ducked into a warm pub for some bangers and mash and a pint of cider. While there I eyed the cute guy behind the bar and wrote postcards.

After this I went back to the hostel because it was getting a bit dark. I read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the TV room while others watched terrible movies on the video player (28 Days Later and Rollerball don't make for great conversations...).

Tuesday morning I woke at 5:30. Yeah.

I gave up trying to sleep in and got up to shower. This was truly when I realized that I am not cut out for hostel living anymore--dorm rooms and communal bathrooms just aren't my thing. It was clean enough but the trickle of luke-warm water hardly constituted a proper shower!

I finally set off at about 8:30 and walked around taking pictures until the first businesses opened at 9:00. Marks and Spencer (department store) was the first place to open so I ducked in there to get warm for a few minutes. Then I walked to the York Castle area to wait for the Castle Museum to open. I played with the snow and made a little snowman and a snow cat. There wasn't anyone around to witness my wierdness, so I had fun!

At 9:30 the museum opened and I spent 2 hours looking around at the period rooms, costume gallery, old prison, military gallery, etc. It was a fascinating look at life in the last 300 years. Everyone told me to go to Yorks Viking Centre and not one recommended this Castle Museum. It was so fantastic! I could easily go back and spend another two hours.

After this I had a spot of lunch before catching a York Boat tour. The sun was out for the duration of the 1-hour boat tour, and it was a nice way to relax and see the city with a live guide telling anecdotes abut the various buildings.

In the early afternoon I wandered the streets of York. A lot of them are pedestrian-only and very narrow and old. Very charming.

I went to Jorvic, the Viking experience. Ten or so years ago, archeologists found the remains of the Viking settlement of Jorvic (Yor-vick) and excavated over 40,000 artifacts and found the remains of old wooden structures. Today it is a museum and Disney-esque attraction. You pay £7.20 to take a 15-minute ride in a little buggy-type thing suspended from the ceiling. You drift by the woodcutter's cottage where a wax guy saws wood. You smell sawdust. That sort of thing. All very interesting, but that's really all there is to it. I was much more impressed by the huge amounts of artifacts and knowledge that went into the York Castle Museum. I was in and out of the Viking Centre in a half-hour. It was interesting, but a bit less than one would expect for the money.

After this I meandered down to Fairfax House, a lovingly restored Georgian townhouse with exquisite ceilings and moldings and furniture. The ladies' drawing room is done in an almost sinfully red wallpaper--gorgeous! The docents at the house were lovely--full of all kinds of knowledge and so eager to share it with the people coming through.

I kept wandering around and it started to snow again. I was getting cold so I decided something warm was in order. I looked up and saw Betty's Confectioner and Tea Rooms. Perfect!

I ordered a Yorkshire Cream Tea: two scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves and a pot of house blend tea for one. Sinful! Delicious! It's all served on dainty china and a three-tiered stand for the scones. I drank three cups of tea, ate every crumb of the scones, and managed to keep from licking the remaining clotted cream out of the bowl.

After this I wandered around a few shops. It was getting late in the day and I realized funds were a bit scarce and I couldn't stand the thought of two more nights in the hostel. So I made the decision to check out in the morning and come back to Burnham.

And that's just what I did. You don't need the details on that, so I won't bore you.

It has been snowing in Essex. A little bit of it sticks, especially in the nighttime. During the day there's a lot of flakes but very little sticking. It's very pretty and romantic (until you have to haul a 30-pound backpack through it). It's snowing even now as I am holed up in the school library catching up. I will eventually get to the whole lesson planning thing...

Oh--Happy Anniversary to me. I've been in England six months today. Just a few things I've learned:

1. I love London but wouldn't live there again.

2. I mustn't use the word "pants" because people think I'm talking about my underwear.

3. Snow is prettier than rain but just as wet and much colder.

4. I miss home when I'm here and miss here when I'm home.

5. It really did take a lot of courage for me to do this.

And that's all for now. Give me a few minutes and I'm going to (finally) post some pics.



Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hello from York

Crappy ' won't access or won Daytona???? Will update this blog and email asap. York is lovely...having good time...miss own bed and seen entire city so going home Wed instead of Thur. Ok, this keyboard is crap. No more typing!!!

Love you all...look for York postcards about cute boy at pub. :-)



Monday, February 14, 2005

A Cosmopolitan on Ice, Please...

I have a feeling it's just going to be one of those weeks. It always is, right before a school break.


Next week is half-term break. A whole week off! I am going to York for three nights and I look forward to seeing it. Of course, that means getting through this week in one piece.

Turns out they've just told us last Wednesday we have to complete year 7, 8, and 9 reports this week. They gave us a week for years 7 and 8, and a week and two days for year 9. I teach 17 classes in these three year groups. Approximately 25 kids in each group.

Yeah. Guess who's going to be spending a lot of time in the computer lab?

I don't mind doing it but it's going to take a lot of my personal time because I can't use all of my free periods doing this. Of course, tonight we have all kinds of faculty meetings, so can't do it then.

Luckily I've got a teeny little stash of vodka and cranberry juice at home for emergencies!

Of course, I should have technically started these last Wednesday but I have no free periods on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. And after school on Wednesday, I was teaching my year 11s. On Thursday after school, we had parent evening for the Sixth Form. And I was NOT spending my Friday evening doing reports!! So here I am on Monday. At least the year 7 and 8 ones (the ones due Wednesday) are quick and easy to fill out, and on the year 9 reports I can do a lot of copy/paste. Still, it's one more thing to do when I barely have time to breathe.

And it's one more thing they threw on us last-minute.

Raining on my Parade

I have a story that I'm now laughing at. At the time, I was a bit, well, exasperated.

Went to London on Saturday. I adore London (as we all know). I had an appointment at Boots (the Chemist) for contact lenses. I got all of that done, did a bit of shopping, then found myself at the entrance to Kensington Gardens. "Great!" I thought. "I haven't been here in six years!" So I went inside and walked 10-15 minutes to the Round Pond. It was a glorious sunny afternoon (though cold) and I could see the shoots of daffodils coming up.

By the time I reached the Round Pond, it was clouding over and I felt a few sprinkles on my face. "No problem," I thought. "I have my umbrella."

And, in typical English fashion, it started to pour.

And the wind came up.

I got out my flimsy, wimpy, useless, going-in-the-bin umbrella and made a mad dash for the edge of the park and (hopefully) a warm, dry pub.

By the time I reached the edge of the park (10-15 minutes later), I was soaked from the knees down and feeling a bit soggy in spirits, as well.

And then the rain stopped. And the sun came back out.

This is such and English thing!

"Bad Luck"

Another story I can't help but laugh about...after the fact.

I went to the co-op yesterday, my traditional Sunday trip. I had a bit of a heavy load and was feeling it in my hands as I walked up Southminster Road towards home. We had a strong wind coming in from the North, and I was heading, you guessed it, due North.

I figured that I'd make it home in one piece--it's only a 15-minute walk from co-op to home. I didn't figure that one of my bags would break. While I was crossing the semi-busy Southminster Road. Or that my onions (three of 'em) would go rolling into the muddy gutter.

So there I am, two bags of groceries and some flowers I'd bought for Kathy on the sidewalk and me in the road, picking up milk, bell peppers and onions.

I noticed an older English gentleman approaching and I smiled to myself, thinking, "The English are always so helpful in these situations..."

And this polite individual walks up to me, smiles and says, "Bad luck!" and keeps on walking.

I took great pleasure in giving him the finger behind his back.

The good news is, I made it home in once piece (even if one of my shopping bags did not) and later on my muddy little onions got cleaned up, chopped up and put into some delicious "Chilli a la Mommy."

And that, my friends, is all for now.



Monday, February 07, 2005

What a day!!

This is copied/pasted from an email to Heather. I can't be bothered to type it all again!

Oh my goodness!

I promised more email so here it is. But it has been one of those hectic-as-all-get-out days.

It started off when I could not get stuff to print this morning. I got to school extra early to print out some worksheets for first period. And saved them to disk (I don't have a printer yet) and ran off to the library. Couldn't get on the library computers. The network was having a spasm. So I ran my floppy to Carol's office (head of the office staff). The office staff's computers were fine--but Carol's computer would not read my floppy. Damn! By now it was time for staff briefing, so I went to that. Immediately after, time for registration. All year 12s were in my room this morning, so when Stuart (fellow year 12 mentor) came in I begged him for a huge favor. He had a floppy in his coat pocket (he always has a floppy, a white board marker, his memory stick, a pen, and once even scissors in his jacket pocket. He's such a dork--a nice dork, but a dork). So I save the docs to his disk and he says he'll print them out during first period, as he has a free. Great!

As Registration is going on (it's 20 minutes long), two girls come to the door of my room and ask for Stuart. He goes out in the hall to talk with them. Meanwhile, I get a cover slip. Year 11. Damn! Have to cover a 3rd period English lesson with the worst year group in school.

Stuart comes back in. Louisa and I ask if everything is okay.

"Oh, yeah. My daughter was in an accident on the bus this morning."

(His 18-year-old).

"Oh my God, Stuart!!!"

"She's okay. Apparently she walked to work from there."

He's remarkably cool for someone whose daughter was in a freakin' bus accident!!

I told him not to worry about my documents--I'll get them another time. He has bigger things to worry about. He says, "She's okay, it's fine--I'll get them for you."

But he got cover for 1st period so I had to improvise my way through my first period class. At the beginning of second period I went to his room to get the disk and print the docs out on his computer. He co-teaches a class that period so he ran off to make copies in the staff room while his co-teacher got started and I printed my worksheets out.

I ran into him in the staff room a few minutes later.

"How's your daughter?"

"I don't know. I haven't heard from her. She's okay, though."

He tried to call but couldn't get hold of her.

Then Caroline, our brilliant but harrassed special needs person, dashes through, sees Stuart, grabs his arm and says, "I need a male in there!!" Uh-oh.

Turns out Charlie, a particularly charming year 9, is having a temper tantrum. He slammed one of the TAs with a door.

Lovely child. Yeah. This is the one who a few weeks ago, when Mandy, the aide, said, "Good morning, Charlie!" replied, "F*** off!"


Break time came along and I had duty in the canteen, with lovely, funny Trevor and stinky, annoying Liam. I'm standing there drinking my tea when some food comse sailing by. It wasn't aimed at me but I was certainly in the crossfire.

A few minutes later Liam walks over to me and tells me the name of the kid who did it (I had not seen).

Double-damn. He's going to be in that stupid cover lesson I have next.

The cover lesson went without incident, fortunately.

So things started settling down. Then at the beginning of 5th period, I saw Stuart dashing towards the staff room with his coat and briefcase.

"Hey, how come YOU get to go home?"

"I have to go to casualty to get my daughter."

"Oh no! Is she okay?"

"Whip lash. She called in tears, not knowing what to do, where to go."

I told him that even though she's 18, she still needs Dad sometimes. He smiled and rolled his eyes and said, "Oh, great!" I said, "Hey, I was 24 when I had my car accident, and Dad had to drive 25 miles to pick me up at work!" He laughed, and was on his way.

What a day!

All in a day's work. Is it Friday yet?



Friday, February 04, 2005

Happy Slapping, a New Computer, and the Most Unproductive Week Ever...

Okay, my first complaint:

I just got online and I have 0 new messages. Come on, people!! Mom and Dad are moving into the house, but come on, surely ya'll are stopping for coffee now and again?

Alrighty, no more whining.

What a week...the most unproductive week I've ever had. I'm serious! I haven't gotten a lot done. I spent much of my free periods on Monday and Tuesday replying to emails (because I love emailing my beloved friends and family) and I get very little back! Even as I slaved and laboured over the computer well into Wednesday and Thursday evenings...

*ahem* I did say I'd stop whining.

Well, here I am. It is finally Friday. And I made it through Friday Five without a scrape. Yay! It started off pretty badly, so Mandy (teacher's aide) went to the office to find a Senior Member of Staff to help. David Cossey (deputy head), who normally helps me, had another emergency to deal with. No one else around.

A few minutes later, who walks into my room but David Stephenson, the Head Teacher, the Big Kahuna, himself. He's never been in my room when there were kids in it. I was pretty surprised--but not half so surprised as the kidlets were when I barked, "Don't you know you're supposed to stand when the Head Teacher comes into the room?"

What a great moment. I'm going to dine out on it for months.

One of the big issues was the seating plan. The kids don't like it and figure that means they can sit wherever the hell they please. David got that right out of their heads. Oh, it was so fantastic. Even little bratty J was up and creeping back to his proper spot. Two minutes before he'd been telling me that he was not going to move.

Oh, and G, the masturbating wunderkind, was not in today. Hallelujah.

Okay, after my previous update, I had an inquiry from one faithful reader...

What the hell is Happy Slapping?

Happy Slapping = Hitting, pushing, shoving etc. as a "joke" with your mates.

We recently had an assembly about it--it is considered assault and therefore is not to be tolerated. I had a couple of boys doing it before class on Wednesday. As soon as they realized I interpreted their actions as Happy Slapping (and therefore assault), they sobered up right quick.

I'll be up to my elbows in referral forms this weekend for Happy Slapping, truancy, and other problems. Lucky me.

But--I'm in good spirits this weekend. No crying (like a week ago).

I have a computer!!! At last, my computers have arrived. Mine has been set up on my desk and connected to the projector. The 6 others for my GCSE kids to use will be put in as soon as I clear out some mess in the back of my room. I am so excited.

And that is it. I am tired, hungry, and ready to be out of the skirt and tights I wore today. So off to home I go.

And I'd better have a gazillion new messages on Monday--and a weekend's worth of comics and horoscopes don't count!!!

Not that I'm whining... : P



Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Ahh, Penicillin.

And free doctors.

Well, not exactly free. They took £97 out of this months paycheck alone for National Insurance, so I figured I was entitled to see a doctor without paying.

Turns out the Bug From Hell is a sinus infection. Doctor Sankar spent all of 2 minutes talking to me, looking at my throat, feeling my glands and writing a prescription for penicillin. In, out, and on my way to the co-op to get the meds.

I'm starting to feel better. The cough is pretty much gone (yay!!), though my nose is still pretty drippy. It can only get better from here!!

Well, it's a short update, but I have referrals to fill out for Happy Slapping.

And that, my friends, is a story for another day...