Monday, December 27, 2004

Shrink-wrapping a Piano

And other moving day adventures.

This morning my dad and I put shrink-wrap around my electric piano. I had to laugh, imagining telling my kids what I did for Christmas break.

Moving is always difficult--and leaving our home of the last 6 years is exciting, crazy, hectic, sad and exhausting. I think what makes it sad for me is knowing that with this move, a little bit more of me leaves the nest. I'm actually looking forward to getting back to England and having "normal" again.

Until then, I face a 12-hour drive and hopefully a day of sight-seeing in Seattle. Then hours and hours of travelling.

It will be good to be home. : )

All for now--and could be for a while...



Friday, December 24, 2004

A Merry Christmas to All...

It's the most wonderful time of the year, I truly believe it. I love everything about Christmas (except, perhaps, the crowded shops and traffic). Bring on the chocolate Santas and the nativity scenes! Bring on the Snoopy ornaments and gaudy lawn decorations! Bring on the carols--sacred and not-so-sacred (I really, really, really need to hear Rusty Chevrolet--to the tune of "Jingle Bells"-- before I go back to England).

Religious or secular, I love it all. Even when the sun is shining and I am running around in a light sweater and no coat (no kidding!).

Wherever you are, whatever your role in my day-to-day life, know that tonight and tomorrow, my favorite holiday of the year, I am thinking of you and wishing you and yours a joyous holiday.




Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Target, Old Navy and Mervyn's--Oh My!!

Shooper's paradise.

I didn't realized I had missed Target so much. Now, yes, I've had some random moments in England thinking, "my life would be easy right now if only I could run into Target..." Who doesn't love a store where you can buy toothpaste, a birthday card, pajamas and new bedding all in one stop?

I went there with Mom yesterday, fully expecting to spend a lot of money. I didn't let myself down. $165 later I had purchased some Nora Roberts books (can't find 'em in England), three tubes of deodorant (I'm very picky about deodorant and England does not have Degree), some clothing, many toiletries, and other odds and ends. I was like a kid in a candy shop. Fun!

Today I found a new pair of jeans at Old Navy, and got a new pair of Nikes to run around in.

In other news, apparently (according to those who know me best), I have lost weight and I speak like an English person. : P

It is great to be home but I kinda miss Burnham. Not enough that it overshadows my excitement to see my friends and family. And my Millie (still lots of cuddling going on there).

Speaking of Millie, she's hanging about looking sleepy. And I'm jet-lagged. Time to go to Bedfordshire.

Good night!



Monday, December 20, 2004

A Night of Cuddles and Purrs

Millie hasn't forgotten her Mama. : )

I had a great night's sleep, happily cuddled up to a warm furball. There was a lot of purring and ear-scratching. And one happy Megan. When I woke up she was on top of the covers, glued to my hip. I scratched her ears for a bit and then looked at her and slowly blinked my eyes (this is giving a kiss in cat body language). She jumped up and crashed on my chest, sticking her face in mine and purring like mad.

So sweet.

I just can't leave her alone--but she doesn't seem to mind. : )

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Safely landed!!

Yes, folks, I am now safely ensconced in my parents' house. It was a long day of travelling, but I am home, fed (Mexican food--yummmm) and reunited with my girl. She was aprehensive at first but then started purring and cuddling. I cried.

So all I need now is a long, hot shower and BED!!

Had a lovely time in London...will update more about it soon. Until then...



Friday, December 17, 2004

This and That

Assorted tidbits as I prepare for my departure...

The second karaoke was a success, and I drew a lot of cheers again, for which I was flattered. I got a lot of compliments throughout the day from staff and students.

After school we had a lunch for the staff. The senior staff (the head, deputy heads, assistant heads, etc) were the serving staff! It was great. I got some pictures of my fellow staff, including one of the Head and I. As Kathy took the picture, David put an arm around my shoulders and said, "Now you can show the Americans that some English people are not afraid to be touchy-feely!" He is a funny guy, and a good leader.

I am off to London this afternoon, to spend two nights. Sunday morning bright and early will find me hopping on the Piccadily line at the Earl's Court tube station and riding to Heathrow Airport. At 11:00 (GMT) I will take off from Heathrow (barring any delays) and hope to touch down at San Francisco at 2:05 (PST). It will be amazing to see Mom and Dad waiting on the other side of customs.

So, off I go! I will try to update from home a few times.



Thursday, December 16, 2004

Oh. My. Goodness.

I think I just knocked 'em dead.

I got a great response at the first karaoke (years 7 and 9 in the audience). My co-teachers are all telling me it was brilliant. The kids cheered when they heard my name announced, cheered throughout the song, and cheered like mad at the end.

I sang "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and I even managed (on pure adreniline, 'cause my voice is so shot right now) to hit the high note at the end--and hold it!!

I was literally shaking in my shoes the whole freakin' time, but it was also sooo much fun!!

I have one more performance to do, for years 8 and 10. I might just collapse when it's over. : P


Meg...the Superstar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Woohoo!! Pictures!!

First, I must start with two random pics of my room.

While we're in my room, I'll add these two of a frequent visitor to my room as of late, Flissy. Flissy is a Flirt. With a capitol F.

Some more from London with Summer...

And finally, from the Sixth Form Staff Christmas Party:

From the left: Louisa (year 12), Marie (year 13), Ruth (Head of Sixth Form)

From the left: Paul (year 13), Carol (Pastoral Support Manager to Ruth), myself, and Stuart (year 12)




Bored, bored, bored

I am bored.

Yep. Bored.

It's supposed to be this hectic, crazy week, but here I am, 4th period on Tuesday. Bored.

I have nothing to do.

Well, that's not entirely true. I could be digging into that gigantic mess in my filing cabinet (thanks again, Mr. Fraser, former music teacher of St. Peter's High School, for being not only a pack rat, but a disorganized one). But that takes way more commitment than I am feeling right now.

Besides, I can do the sorting and cleaning while my kidlets are pretending to watch the Nutcracker (but are really just flirting and socializing).

But on my free period, I have nothing to do. My desk is clean, I've been to the loo, I've had my lunch, I've checked my email (nothing...come on, people!!) and I've even chatted to a few people.

I suppose I could take a look at the compositions my year 10s turned in this morning...

All this griping about being bored has nothing to do with the rest of my week--it's only during my free periods since yesterday afternoon that I've been bored, because I've accomplished everything I'd set out to do (including typing up a comprehensive packing list and outline-formatted to-do list for the rest of the week).

My evenings are busy, however. Last night was the Carol Service. It was very nice. I sang with the staff choir, and did a reading (and thankfully managed to keep myself from being a motor mouth and stumbling over words!). It's the first time I've been in St. Mary's church, and it was gorgeous. It's a medieval church, and when I did my reading, I got to stand in the pulpit. Later Kathy asked me, "So, how did it feel to stand in a medieval pulpit?" Yikes! I actually did that!

Tonight I'll be at school for the Awards Evening. We're honouring our current Sixth Form students for their achievements last year.

In other news, one of my fellow new teachers pulled a runner. We all knew she was leaving at end of term, but oops! She kinda decided not to show up today. Talk about rude. I ended up covering one of her classes today. Apparently she had zero classroom management skills. It shows.

Right, I'd better drag my bored bottom out of this chair. All too soon it will be time for me to teach my 5th period class, then pick up some pictures (soon to be posted!) and then home for dinner, and then back for Awards Evening, and then tomorrow will not be boring, because I teach all 5 periods. And an after school class. And I have a staff party.

And have I mentioned that I'm coming home soon?

; )



Sunday, December 12, 2004

Megan does the Snoopy Dance

One week from today!!

California here I come...
Right back where I started from...

See you all soon, my dear friends and family.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

I've still got it!!


Now that I've got that out of my system, I'll explain what I'm crowing about.

I went out last night in dodgy Chelmsford. One of my fellow young femal teachers, Aideen, is leaving St. Peter's, and last night was her farewell dinner. So a bunch of us young, single female teachers got dolled up and went for Indian food. I got a ride with Louisa, the media teacher. She's a nice gal--it was good to spend some time with her outside of school (where talk inevitably turns to this kid, that kid, this educational issue, that meeting).

Anyhow, dinner was lovely, and Louisa and I had agreed weeks ago that after, we weren't really up for the whole club thing. We thought perhaps everyone would agree to hit one nice, respectable pub before Louisa and I called it a night and everyone else went on to the too-loud, thick-with-smoke, tarted-up bars and clubs of Chelmsford.

Well, one of Aideen's friends (who does not work at St. Peter's) is one of those kind of leader-types and everyone just defers to what she wants to do. And what she wanted was to go to Toad.


I've been there once before and it plays horrible music, packs itself to the gils with scantily-clad gals and drooling guys, and the air is always thick with smoke and booze.

Quite frankly, I felt like a sardine with lung cancer.

Louisa and I didn't really want to go in but we had not had much opportunity to chat to Aideen at dinner, so in we went. I had a rum and Coke, Louisa (the designated driver) had a Coke, and we stood around being bumped and rubbed and jostled by the horny crowd for about 30 or 40 minutes before calling it a night.

But the best part of this story is that the whole time we were there, a semi-cute guy kept walking by me and smiling. I'd kind of smile back, toss my hair, and think, "Okay, come say hello..."

But nothing. He just stood there!

Now, perhaps he's shy, but I still think if you're gonna repeatedly walk by a girl in a club and give her a moony smile, you at least need to back it up if you want something to happen...especially if you see this girl smiling back.

Of course, he has no way of knowing that I'm absolutely not the kind of gal who wills sashay on over and start throwing myself at him.

So Louisa and I left, giggling about being flirted with and grateful to get out of the noisy club. And I had that quiet but happy glow of a gal who has just realized she's still got it. I think I'll have to try that slightly unbuttoned cardigan look more often. : )

In other news...One week from tomorrow!!! Yes, folks, Meg is comin' in. Watch out, California!

But first I have a wild-and-crazy (and fun) week to get through. Tomorrow I plan to relax. Monday night I have the school carol service (I'm singing in the choir and doing a reading). Tuesday night is the Sixth Form awards night. Wednesday night--staff Christmas party. Thursday is the last day of the term, and the school is having a karaoke to raise money for charity. I'm singing "All I Want For Christmas is You" and some of my year 12 girls are doing a dance behind me. They're so excited--it's really cute. Thursday night might find me at a club called Rambler's, babysitting my Sixth Form kids and making sure they don't drink if they are not of age. Friday will find me on a train to London, Saturday will find me enjoying the lights along Regent Street, and Sunday will find me on Virgin Atlantic flight 19, bound for San Francisco.



Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Just because I love it, and it's been a while since I've read it...

One of my favorite poems, by a woman I think we all should admire.

by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I'm not cute or built to suit a model's fashion size
But when I start to tell them
They think I'm telling lies.
I say
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips
The stride of my steps
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please
And to a man
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees
Then they swarm around me
A hive of honey bees.
I say
It's the fire in my eyes
And the flash of my teeth
The swing of my waist
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say
It's in the arch of my back
The sun of my smile
The ride of my breasts
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Picture Time!

First, I'll start you off with Lucifer, the messy eater. He splashes more milk on the floor than he gets in his mouth. I love this little guy...

Now, the fashion show. Not all pics turned out, but there is one decent shot of me and my paparazzi.

The California Girl herself with her annoying paparazzi (actually a very nice co-teacher named Stuart):

And some pics from my time with Summer. Here we are at the Burnham-on-Crouch train station.

Me doing my best Bridget face in front of the theater where the premiere was:

Me at the restaurant in Camden Town:

Summer and I in front of Camden Lock:

Summer in Trafalger Square:

Me with a horse guard:

Me in front of Buckingham Palace:

Good times!!

I'll post again soon.



Monday, December 06, 2004


Thanks to Heather for helping me figure out how to link things on my blog...I have linked her new blog, my friend Shae's blog, and a few sites I find interesting and exciting. You can view my pics online at (the ones I don't post here) but you'll need a password to view most of them. Email me for it.

All is well here. I've just ordered a video of the Nutcracker Ballet (danced by the Bolshoi of Russia) to show the kidlets next week. Who in the world wants to actually teach during the last week before Christmas break?

Not I!

This is a short but sweet update. Just wanted to point out the links I added. Enjoy!



Sunday, December 05, 2004

Two weeks!

Yes, folks...two weeks from today, I will be on a plane, jetting across the Atlantic, heading home for the holidays.

Funny word, "home."

I'm actually starting to feel like this is home--this side of the Atlantic. Maybe it has something to do with looking around myself on Friday and realizing I've become a part of this school, this community. Maybe it was having Summer in England and realizing that I am proud to show a friend around Burnham and London and be able to say, "This is where I live."

Whatever it is, I've had a good week and I feel like I can move mountains. And I get the distinct impression that when I leave after the holidays, there will be sadness to leave my parents, but relief to get back to my space in the world.

But still, no decisions about the 2005-2006 school year until at least March! I owe myself that much.

So today is a quiet Sunday--the calm before the storm. The next two weeks will be incredibly hectic and busy. In a good way. I have at least three Christmas parties to go to: one for all staff, one for Sixth Form staff, one for the Sixth Form staff and kids. I'm going to a goodbye dinner this week for one of my co-teachers who is leaving, and I'm participating in the school carol service. I have 9 days of teaching to do, but next week will be useless. I'll probably show a video or just sing a few songs (we're allowed to do Christmas songs in school here) and easy worksheets. Thursday the 16th is the last day of school. Friday afternoon, I'll catch a train to London, then spend a couple of nights seeing the lights of lovely London at Christmastime before catching my trans-Atlantic flight (the 8th time I've done it in my lifetime!) to San Francisco.

The adventure continues...

Friday, December 03, 2004

Don't you wish they all could be...

California Girls?

Oh yes, you know you do!

Fashion Show:

Oh my goodness--what a fun thing to be a part of!! It was truly fantastic and a huge laugh.

I'll set the scene...

I was standing back stage in a red skirt, black sweater, and sexy black heels. With a red scarf tied around my neck. In my hands were a fake fur coat, sunglasses and a compack mirror. paparazzi had not arrived yet. Ack!

Finally, Stuart, the co-teacher I'd convinced to be my paparazzi, showed up, looking a bit harried. He says, "Two minutes!" and runs off to who-knows-where. A few minutes later I go looking in the hall behind the stage and he walks in--he'd gone to the trouble of bringing a completely different suit to school! Plaid suit. Not a horrible plaid suit, but very "reporter," indeed.

He also had this completely wonderful hat and a card that said, "press" on it. And a camera around his neck. I started giggling and saying, "You look great!!!" He really looked the part.

We were 7th of about 13-14 acts to go out. Stuart went out on stage first and turned to face me as the curtain opened and "California Girls" by the Beach Boys started up (so appropriate, eh?). I came sauntering onto the stage to massive cheering from the kids in the audience. Stuart ran and hopped around the stage pretending to take pictures of me while I waved him away and turned my back on him. I strutted down the catwalk in my best "model walk" and gave my biggest movie star grin to the kids. I waved and blew kisses and did a little curtsy. It was a blast. I slung the fur coat over my shoulder and let my hips sway and just had a blast. It was such good fun. The kids went nuts!

I have vague recollections of Stuart being in front of me every time I turned around. He really got into it. Not bad for someone who 2 days ago didn't know if he wanted to be a part of the show (until yours truly said, "Hey...I could use some paparazzi...").

The other acts were just as great. Carol (the Pastoral Support Manager for Sixth Form) went out with an itty-bitty paddling pool, a duckie shower cap, a glass of "wine" and her bathrobe. Ruth (head of Sixth Form) was the "Leader of the Pack," wearing her son-in-laws leathers and helmet and riding a tricycle. Trevor (maths teacher) was James Bond and later a dancing football referee. Caz (South African PE teacher) was Jon Bon Jovi and brought the house down. The teacher assistants joined the Army, Chris (a teacher of many things) went out in his kayaking gear, and there were a host of other great acts. The California Girl thing went down very well, though.

Hopefully the pictures Kathy took will turn out...if they do, I'll post them here.

I'm so glad I participated--the kids loved it and I think they'll see that I'm willing to have a laugh at myself (if the whole taping paper to my bum didn't do that already) and that I can relax and be a fun teacher.

Happy Friday!!



Thursday, December 02, 2004

Drama, thy name is year 7 (and stories of taping things to my bum)

Oy vey!

Thursday is year 7 day for me. I teach all year 7, all day. It is the only day of the week I have any contact in the classroom with year 7.

It is now Thursday afternoon, and I'm exhausted!!

They are such babies. They have major issues. "Miss!! Miss!! I need a pencil!!!"

"Miss!! Miss!! He's saying that I beat him up!!!"

And my all-time favorite:

"Okay, class, please complete the worksheet. Don't forget to put your name on it!"

*Five minutes passes*

"Miss!! Miss!! Do we have to put our name on it???"

I love my kids but they do generate more drama than should be legal. The big thing this week is Ouija know those boards where you attempt to talk to ghosts and spirits and ask stupid questions like, "Am I going to die?" and then get completely freaked out when it says, "Yes." ?? Yeah, those ones.

Turns out little Ryan in 5th period is hurt (understandably so) by the fact that the kids on the playground were trying to call up the spirit of his deceased father.

I understand that would be hurtful, but it still doesn't give him lisence to stand in my room yelling "shut up!!" to everyone over and over again.


The second part of the title to this post is far funnier. It's all about Miss C completely embarassing herself.

I had an article from the Folsom Telegraph taped to my white board. My parents had a little blurb about my moving to England put in the paper. Anyway, I needed the space on the board, so I took it down and set it on the table.

Then I sat on the table to write on the white board.

When I got up, I couldn't understand why all my year 9s were laughing at me.


"Miss, you have a paper stuck to your back..."

I groped my back a bit. Nothing.

"Umm, I mean, to your...bottom."


Sure enough, my Folsom Telegraph article was taped to my bum. I just started laughing (seriously laughing 'till I had tears in my eyes) and the kids were shocked to see me laughing at myself. One of them said, "We're not laughing at you, Miss, we're laughing with you." I laughed even harder and said, "That's nice...I'm laughing at me."

Ahh, fun times at St. Peter's High School.

Tomorrow promises to be just as fun. The staff are putting on a fashion show, and I have offered my services. The students will be charged 50p (proceeds to go to charity) to attend at lunchtime. We are all dressing up to represent something we are/do outside of school. One lady is a brand-new Grandma, so she's got an apron, knitting, and slippers. Ruth, the lady in charge, is not a biker babe, but she's dressing as one and modelling to "Leader of the Pack."

So what's Meg doing?

Well, the only thing I could think of was to go as what I really am: a California Girl. And since the kids are always asking if I've met any celebrities...I'm going to be a California Celebrity and strut down the catwalk to the Beach Boys' "California Girls." I come complete with paparrazzi--a co-teacher has kindly said he'll run around pretending to take pictures of me while I wave him away.

It should be a good laugh.

Ahh, blessed silence. I am posting from the staff lounge. School is done for the day. All I need to do is go home and relax and eat leftover tostada salad.