Friday, April 29, 2005

Happy Friday

I will not email you on Monday.

I will not update my blog on Monday.

I will not be in school on Monday.

I will think of you on Monday.

But you will not hear from me.

I love May Day Bank Holiday!!!

Have a great weekend everyone. I think of you while I'm sitting on my hiney watching DVDs all day Sunday. : )



Thursday, April 28, 2005

With Apologies to Dr. Suess

One Kid, Two Kids, Loud Kids, Rude Kids

One kid
Two kids
Loud kids
Rude kids

Tall kids
Short kids
Dumb kids
Smart kids

This kid wants a little chat
That kid is a little brat
This kid is quite alright
That kid is a little fright

This kid has a clever mind
That kid is a big "behind"
This kid always makes me smile
That kid--it would take a while

This kid thinks his way is best
That kid is a little pest
This kid always gives it a try
That kid would make a saint cry

MEC 28 April 2005

Written under duress...year 8s. Bang. Smash. My poor little instruments. Flexible Learning Day. God help me. Please.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


I don't have anything really inspiring to write about (I didn't have salad for lunch today) so here's some of the little tidbits that fill up my days.


I'm sure, by now, that a few of you have recieved my email about having internet up and running in my classroom. Yes, folks, 'tis true. I am connected to the World Wide Weird. I may never leave my classroom again. Except that I don't have a fridge in here. And that might be a little odd anyway.


I challenged her!

Who? A student of mine who is musically advanced.

One of the tricks to teaching is challenging your smart kids while keeping the not-as-smart kids (and the downright dumb ones) from flinging themselves from the nearest window in despair at not being able to complete the work.

Very tricky balance to achieve.

What normally ends up happening is that the kids like Rachel (a nice kid, by the way) end up finishing 30 minutes before everyone else and then helping others finish (often this "help" involves the less-able students copying).

Today, however, my lesson on chords challenged Rachel enough that she had to ask for help. For once I managed not to bore her...and yet it was still a lesson the other kids could complete. Hooray!

Music of the Week (Month)

Right. If you don't have Maroon 5's Songs for Jane...make the investment. Ditto for the soundtrack to Beyond the Sea. I'm addicted to these CDs. I took 10 CDs to France. I listened to two of them. I wound down in bed each night to Kevin Spacey singing "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea." "She Will Be Loved" (Maroon 5) is constantly stuck in my head.

Good stuff.

Willy Wonka Bah Humbug

I love the whole story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as much as anyone. And I will love seeing Johnny Depp in his Willy Wonka role coming soon to a theatre near you.

What I do not like is the though of spending all day tomorrow with year 8s, doing stupid activities revolving around the theme of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Yes. One group at a time, I get to help bratty year 8 groups make up songs about the Oompah Loompahs and "factory sounds" using classroom instruments. To borrow a line from Heather, I'd rather eat nails.

Kevin, Here I Come (Again)

Kevin Spacey's new play starts next week. Friday night will find me happily sitting in the audience. I can hardly wait. He was so amazing in National Anthems. He's a fantastic actor. This is gonna be good.

Year 9 Testing

Praise God and His Angels, the year 9s have TESTING!!

In other words, it interferes with several music classes next week. I'm not fighting this one. Mini-break for Miss Cooper!

The only thing is, I'll still have my 3 most difficult year 9 classes of the week: Tuesday 5, Friday 4 and Friday 5.

I think I can manage it.

Stop the Presses (This is funny)

In my draft box of my email, I have a quick message to send to Heather about the weather (she asked).

Here it is:

You were asking...

It has been gorgeous today! We're only a few miles in from the North Sea so weather can fluctuate madly but the last couple of days have been gorgeous. Sunny, not too cold (though I wouldn't call it warm, either) and perfect for sitting in the sun. Unfortunately, I'm doused in flourescent lighting.

Days like this in Elverta I did outdoor activities with the kidlets. If I did that here, they'd all run away. Better to keep them locked in.

I wrote that at lunch time (an hour ago).

It's raining now.


I'm wearing a pretty skirt today that I haven't worn in a looong time. I can actually remember wearing it to my sister-in-law Susanne's bridal shower. Four years ago.

Anyway, it's black with purple flowers all over and I've had quite a few compliments on it today.

The one that really sticks out though, is the Pastoral Support Manager for years 8 and 9. Karen is this gorgeous lady with a beautiful figure and a grand sense of style. So compliments from someone like her always make me walk taller. Well, that could also be my cute heeled shoes.

Outsmarting Marc

Marc. What can I say about Marc except that he's, well, a little shit?

Marc is a year 9 I have the, um, fortune to teach once a week. He's a little jerk. To everyone. And it's nearly impossible to catch him at things.

I hate that.

Anyway, he's taken to walking by my desk when my back is turned (and he's a quick little booger), turning on the stereo, turning up the volume and letting it blast out.

I finally got a clue. First off, I never take my eyes off him.

Secondly, I empty the CD tray before he comes in. And if he figures out how to switch it to stereo, I'll unplug it every Wednesday morning.

I am smarter than a 13-year-old!!!


Bet ya'll didn't know (except Mom and Dad, who just saw me) that my hair is now long enough to wear in a ponytail once again. Makes a nice change from having it hanging in my face all the time.

Favorite France Pictures

Me in front of the Louvre:

One of my favorite sculptures in the Louvre:

Monet's famous water lily pond:

Eiffel Tower by night:

Me on a bridge:

Mom and Dad on same bridge:

End of Day!!

I've been writing this in bits throughout 5th period while my year 10s were composing.

It is now 3:30 and I am going to get out of here as soon as I possibly can and get to the co-op, then HOME! Kathy and I have grand plans to watch Bridget Jones' Diary. A true classic.



Tuesday, April 26, 2005


And I'm not being a smartass.

In my attempt to improve my weight, mood and overall health, I am improving my diet. The Jaffa cakes I had last night were a reward, darn it!

Seriously though. I never thought I'd thoroughly enjoy a salad at lunch time. Normally after a morning of kids, kids, kids, it's more like, "hand me the chocolate and I won't tear your head off." But here I am at lunch time, eating leafy greens, green bell pepper, red onion, cucumber, and feta cheese doused in basalmic vinigar and olive oil (with a hint of mustard). Yum!

I think one of my biggest problems this last term was comfort eating. We all do it, don't we? Bad day? Have some chocolate. PMS? Have some chocolate. And fries. Bratty students? Have some chocolate. And fries. And ice cream.

But this healthy eating thing has it's benefits.

Besides, I don't feel guilty when I have a few Jaffa cakes for dessert after a long day of healthy eating. Jaffa cakes, for you poor souls who haven't had them, are little shortcake biscuits with a small dot of orange marmalade and a chocolate covering over that.

In other good news, I went to the co-op yesterday and I did not buy any Minstrels! I was sorely tempted. I even picked up a bag and put them back. Minstrels are like M&Ms but better.

Right. I hope you all have eaten, otherwise, I'm making you hungry! : )



Monday, April 25, 2005

I'm back!!

Right. Craziness. I haven't been online in a week and a half or so. So I have a gazillion things to write about, and I had 53 new messages in my email. Good grief!!

I'm weeding out the ole inbox, and now I'll tell ya all about Paris (pics to come soon).

Tuesday 12 April: Getting There

I met Mom and Dad at Heathrow and we made our way to Waterloo to catch the Eurostar to Paris. It was lovely to see them again and, though they were tired (Seattle to London = 8 hours), we were all excited to get to Paris.

By the time we got to our hotel (a bit dodgy, and a teensy weensy little room), we were all ready for a rest. Mom and I scrounged up some food using hand gestures and limited French ("oui," "merci," and "parle vous anglais??") and then we spent the rest of the evening relaxing and catching up.

Wednesday 13 April: Bonjour, Paris!

We took a hop-on/hop-off bus tour of the City of Lights and thoroughly enjoyed seeing the famous sites. We hopped off at the Eiffel Tower and promptly found:

a. Baby ducks!
b. The toilets

Next we made the journey to the second level (about 400 feet up) and then to the third level (a whopping 900 feet up in the clouds--a nail-biting elevator journey). The views are fantastic but I could have done without that elevator ride. Talk about white knuckles! From my journal:

For someone who dislikes heights, I always find myself scaling them--the dome of St. Peter's in Rome, the London Eye, Empire State Building...

We spent the rest of the day riding the bus and taking loads of pictures. Had authentic French Onion soup for dinner (marvelous!) and went to bed exhausted.

Thursday 14 April: The Louvre

First off, I must say that the Mona Lisa did not disappoint me. I always read that people whine that she's smaller than expected, and darker. Not so for me! I loved her just as she is (to borrow a line from Mark Darcy).

I also loved the Venus di Milo, Cupid and Psyche, the Michaelangelo sculptures and the other 4 da Vinci's on display. Pictures coming soon to a computer screen near you.

The Louvre is fantastic--and huge. We spent a good 4-5 hours looking around, stopping for lunch at one of many cafes and shopping in the massive book shop.

We had dinner at a chain restaurant called Hippopotamus and the highlight there (besides the delicious soup and salad I had) was the adorable French waiter looking right at me and saying, "You come back tomorrow?" Just as I was about to tell him, "For you, darling, anything..." I remembered we already had dinner plans for Friday. Damn.

Friday 15 April: Raptures!

Let me start by saying that I LOVE and ADORE the works of Edgar Degas. Have since London Semester six years ago when I discovered him at the National Gallery. His ballets and bathers especially inspire me and move me.

Today we spent a few hours at the Musee d'Orsay, which picks up in art history where the Louvre leaves off. In other words, hello, Impressionists!

I've always enjoyed Monet and Degas, and some Van Gogh. I have a new appreciation for Renoir now, as well. I spent way too much on prints and postcards of all of my favorites (the Renoir painting of a girl and her cat, Degas' Blue Dancers...).

This evening we went on a mini-tour. The van picked us up at our hotel and took us to a lovely restaurant on the Champs Elyses (pronounced shamzayleeeezay). There was a mother and daughter pair on the tour with us, also American, and we had a lovely time chatting with them.

The highlight of the evening, however, was not dinner. It was the night cruise on the Seine. We started off at 9:00 under a twinkling Eiffel Tower. The cruise took an hour and we saw much of the City of Lights actually lit up. Gorgeous! Unfortunately, my digital camera doesn't take the best nighttime photos, and only 3 were worth keeping.

On a side note: The Paris Hotel Fire.

By now you all know that this was not our hotel (thank God, as we had similar poor escape routes). The ironic part is that we had a fire drill that very morning. While I was showering. A lady on the 3rd floor was smoking in her room (naughty) and set off the smoke alarm. Fortunately, I did not end up on the streets of Paris with pajamas and a towel around my soaking hair. But now that we were ALL awake (Mom and Dad had still been in bed), we turned on the TV to BBC World and there were reports all over about the hotel fire that was actually in the same general area as ours.

As you probably know, 24 people (last I heard) had lost their lives--half of them children. A tragedy, no doubt.

Saturday 16 April: Giverny and Versailles

This was a great day. We took another van tour that picked us up at our hotel and set off first for Giverny. For those who don't know, Giverny was home for 43 years to Claude Monet. And home to his famous water lily pond and Japanese bridge.

Gorgeous! The house and gardens are lovely. Of course there is now a photo of Meg on Bridge.

We had lunch at a beautiful old mill house, and then set off for Versailles.

From my journal:

Versailles was home to Louis XIV, XV and XVI, as well as the wife of the last Louis, the infamous "let them eat cake" Marie Antoinette. It is huge, opulent and a good illustration of why Louis XVI and his wife lost their heads. Marie Antoinette had an uninhabited village built for her own enjoyment!

Louis XIV was by far the worst--nicknamed the Sun King because he thought the world revolved around him. You can't take 3 steps in the chateaux without finding another sculpture, painting or other art work depicting his manliness and celebrating his life. Egomaniac!

Versailles was a bit too opulent and egomaniacal for me, though I'm glad I saw it. Must say, though, I much preferred lovely, modest Giverny and the genius who lived in it!

Sunday 17 April: To Bayeux

Sunday was mostly spent travelling. It takes a bit over 2 hours to get from Paris to Bayeux, and we wanted a bit of a rest once there.

The hotel was much nicer than the one in Paris, and roomier! I had my own semi-private little corner and we weren't in each other's pockets the whole time.

In the afternoon Mom and I explored a bit and window shopped. Being Sunday, everything was closed. I found that Bayeux is very friendly to English speakers--they are still very grateful for the liberation during the Normandy Invasion.

Bayeux was not damaged much during the Invasion, as a church employee had the foresight to call England ahead of time and let them know that there were no major German outfits hanging out. So Bayeux was spared the bombs and shellacking that nearby towns and villages took. About the only casualty was the German lookout in the little tiny house at the top of Bayeux Cathedral.

That night we found a small creperie and had GORGEOUS crepes for dinner. And dessert crepes.

I must just insert here that French food is lovely.

Monday 18 April: Enjoying Bayeux

We were unable to book a D-Day Sights tour for today so we ended up exploring Bayeux and going to the small museum that houses the famous Bayeux Tapestry. The Tapestry is 900 years old and tells the story of William (the Bastard), Duke of Normandy and how he defeated Harold for the throne of England and became William the Conqueror. It is in amazing condition and it is absolutely massive. It's only about a foot or two in height but it is extremely long.

The museum is very well-done, and explains very well the story depicted on the tapestry.

We poked around in some of the little shops (I found two Snoopy mugs!!!) in the afternoon and had another lovely authentic French dinner.

We also spent some time relaxing in the afternoon (the shops all close in the afternoon for an extended lunch, so we sat on our butts in the hotel eating baguettes and quiche and watching TV).

The one English-speaking channel was an international version of CNN. All it talked about was what we came to call Popegate 2005. I am aware that the selection of a Pope was historical and even politically important. But how many times do we need to watch the same 10-minute clip of a bunch of cardinals singing and praying before locking themselves in to the Sistine Chapel??


Tuesday 19 April: The Highlight of the Trip (for me, anyway)

This was our last full day in France and it was the part I had been most looking forward to--more than Degas, Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, etc.

The D-Day Beaches.

We took a fantastic van tour through Normandy. The guide picked us up and then a Canadian couple. We set off for Juno Beach, the Canadian center of D-Day. There we saw the Canadian Cemetery (very moving) and the 2-year-old Canadian D-Day Centre, a wonderful interactive museum dedicated to the Canadian role in the liberation of France.

Next we hit Gold Beach (British) and Arromanches. Arromanches is a touristy little town that is famous for the artificial ports the Allied troops built to unload supplies onto the beaches after D-Day.

We lunched in Bayeux and picked up another couple before setting off to the places I have wanted to see for a long time.

The first stop after lunch was to the American Cemetery, which sits on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach.

There are thousands of white crosses in perfectly straight, beautifully maintained rows. There is no distinction of rank: officers are buried among the privates. There are American flags flying and it is so peaceful and lovely. Truly an appropriate place for the men of World War II to rest with their comrades.

At one end of the cemetery, the Spirit of Youth looks out over the crosses and Stars of David.

Both the Canadian and American Cemeteries are immaculate. No litter, no weeds, no graffiti. They belong to their respective countries, but the French are hired to take care of them--and they do so with great pride.

When the clock struck at 1:00, the bells played "America the Beautiful," and even though it was starting to rain, I stopped to listen.

After this incredibly moving sight, we shuttled off to Point du Hoc. Here a group of 225 Army Rangers scaled a large cliff to attack a German battery. Ninety (yes, 90) of them survived, but they got the job done.

Next we drove along Omaha Beach, the longest of the 5 code-named beaches. Today it is peaceful and calm--I can hardly imagine that one of the largest military invasions in the history of the world took place there.

Finally we arrived at Utah Beach to look around and see the church at St. Mere Eglise, a small town. When the paratroopers jumped over this part of France, one of them, a John Steele, got caught on the church, and dangled there for a while. Now there is a mannequin hanging from the spire. Inside there is a beautiful stained glass window commemorating the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions of the US Army.

The 101st, Company E, are the subject of the HBO series Band of Brothers that I love so well. So it was cool for me to see some of the places they might have seen.

By this time it was the end of our day and the guide drove us back to Bayeux. We ate dinner at a small restaurant and upon entering found two long tables filled with men. These men had funny haircuts and American accents. Of course, the Cooper family knew right off the bat that they were military, and Dad enjoyed talking to them for a few minutes.

Wednesday 20 April: Back to England

All I need to say is 6 hours on 4 different trains. Three different taxis in three different cities. And many of what Dad calls "bag drags."

Thursday 21 April: The Burnham Highlights Tour

Fortunately, the sun was out. Burnham looks her best in the sun. I showed Mom and Dad all the highlights: the school (most specifically, the music room), home and the Lidbury menagerie, the River Crouch, lunch at the Cabin Dairy Tea Rooms, the High Street, the Co-op, and the Chemist/Photographics/Post Office.

That evening we went to dinner at the Polash (Indian food) with Kathy and Derek and all four of them, my parents and my surrogate English parents, were really pleased to finally meet. We had a lovely dinner and then went back to Kathy and Derek's for coffee.

Lucifer the cat did not let me down but warmed up to my parents very quickly. The rest of the cats were either wary or downright unfriendly. The dogs raised hell for a few minutes and then became fast friends.

The tortoises did not care one way or the other.

Friday 22 April: The Send-Off

I must say, I'm really proud of myself. I did not cry until 5 minutes before the train pulled up!

I met Mom and Dad at their hotel for breakfast, then helped them get their bags to the station. We waited and chatted for about 20 minutes. Just before the train came, the waterworks started. I didn't care that the platform was crowded. I didn't see any students, and even if I had, let them see my cry. I'm only human!

I hugged them and saw them onto the train. Mom stuck her tongue out at me, which made me laugh. I watched until the train disappeared behind a bend in the tracks and then I left. As I left, the lady that runs the little snack shop saw me and said, "Are you alright, hon?" I explained that my parents had been visiting and just left, etc. She smiled and said, "Oh...I completely understand."

So I walked to the school, couldn't get on the network, cursed a little, and then set off for the co-op for a massive shop. That afternoon I sat on a lounge chair in Kathy's garden, reading and doing crosswords, occasionally sniffling. Now I know how Mom and Dad feel when they see me off on my grand adventures!

I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing and eating healthy foods (big salads and homemade French Onion soup!).

Now it is back to the Grind. The Summer Term has officially begun and I have some decisions to make...we'll see how it all turns out.

And that's that.

Cheers (and pics up soon!),


Monday, April 11, 2005

Can You Say, "Addicted?"

That is, to the internet and to Colin Firth/Mark Darcy.

Colin Firth and Mark Darcy

Right. I read both of the Bridget Jones' Diary books this weekend. Hysterical! I'd forgotten how funny the writing is. Bridget is truly the perfect Everywoman heroine for our time.

And I just adore the character of Mark Darcy. Where can I find one?!?

If you haven't read these books, get thee to a bookshop pronto!! After all, Bridget knows what really matters in life:

Internet Addiction

Here I am, at school on Monday. I've wasted approximately 4 hours now on the internet. Well, not wasted. A teensy little bit of the time online has been devoted to business. But I've also done a lot of emailing and fun stuff. Catching up on NASCAR (Junior's slowly but surely moving up in the points!) and the like.

Now, I might just go to my classroom for a bit.


I'm off tomorrow!! Can't wait to see lovely Paris and, of course, Mom and Dad.

I'll try to check email from the hotel, and maybe even take a bit of time in the evenings to update the blog. Key word being try.



Friday, April 08, 2005

More pics

More from the London Eye:

Looking through the Eye:

While waiting in line:

Going up!

From the North Bank:


Right, at King's Cross, there is the famous Platform 9 and 3/4. I missed an important thing the first time I took pictures of it. There's a sawed-off luggage trolley!! Take a look:

And the Old Vic, set up for National Anthems:

This is EVERYWHERE these days:

Burnham pics:

St. Mary's church and a beautiful sunrise (the following 2 pics are the same sunrise)

The White Harte Hotel, overlooking the River Crouch:


Kathy's Garden:

The front of the house:

Some gorgeous orchids Kathy had:

St. Mary's Church on a misty morning:

And that's all for now. I'll find those Bath pics (they're on my classroom computer) and get them posted.



Thursday, April 07, 2005

More pictures!

I finally invested in a memory stick, and have all of my pictures saved on it. Except for Bath. I don't know why those didn't transfer.

First, York:

My snow cat

Cat on a roof (this is the architect's signature)

A pretty pub (1) and it's reflection (2)

A side street in York (they all look like this)

York Minster

Waiting for a museum to open, Meg gets bored:

What is left of York Castle:

Some London Eye pics:


Going up:

The view to the west:

The view to the south:

The view to the North (you can just make out Buckingham Palace, left of center)

The view to the East (wave hello to Burnham-on-Crouch!!)

The view straight down from the top:

That's it for this post. Will get some more up.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is an author I discovered last summer at Border's books. Shortly after accepting the job at St. Peter's, I was looking at travel books and I found his Notes from a Small Island. On the cover is a picture of a Queen's Guard with a tea bag splattered across his face.
The book is described as:

"Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie's Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey."

It is Bill Bryson's "love letter" (a critic's comment, not mine) to Britain. Bryson is an American, Midwest born and bred, who came to England the first time as a college student backpacking Europe. He fell in love with this little country, and at the time of writing this book, had spent twenty-something years living and working in England. He even married an English gal. Now, facing a move back to the United States, he decided to tour Britain in 7 weeks, seeing as much as he could by way of trains and walking. This book chronicles his adventures.

Seeing as how I was about to leave for the Small Island myself, I chucked this book onto the growing stack (I never seem to buy just one book) and took it home.

It took a while for me to get into it, even though Bryson has some hilarious things to say about Britain--sentiments I can agree with. I just had other things to read at the time, and Bill just had to wait patiently.

When it came time to go, Notes from a Small Island was the only book that actually ended up getting packed. I didn't look at it much on the plane, but started reading it more when I got to England. Suddenly, reading about a place, while I sat there in the middle of it, was more interesting.

It took me some time to plow my way through, but eventually I reached the end. And I knew I would never get rid of this book because it says, more eloquently than I can, exactly how I feel about this country.

What a wondrous place this was--crazy as all get-out, of course, but adorable to the tiniest degree. What other country, after all, could possibly have come up with place names like Tooting Bec and Farleigh Wallop, or a game like cricket? Who else would have a constitutional form of government but no written constitution, call private schools public schools, think it not the least bit odd to make their judges wear little mops on their heads, seat the chief officer of the House of Lords on something called a Woolsack, or take pride in a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named Hardy? ("Please, Hardy, full on the lips, with just a bit of tongue.") Who else could possibly have given us William Shakespeare, pork pies, Christopher Wren, Windsor Great Park, Salisbury Cathedral, double-decker buses, and the chocolte digestive biscuit? Wherever else would I find a view like this? Nowhere, of course.

All of this came to me in the spaceof a lingering moment. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I like it here. I like it more than I can tell you. And then I turned from the gate and got into the car and knew without doubt that I would be back.

(Excerpt from
Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson)

I don't know what decision I'll make regarding my future at St. Peter's. But I do know, without doubt, that I will always, always love this country. And even if I move back to the States in August, I know I will come back to this place.

Hell, I've done it once already.

Once Upon a Time

A-time, a-once upon a time, a-once upon a time...

No, folks, I'm not going mad (well, maybe I am, but this once upon a time stuff isn't the clue).

Today I get to work with my year 11s all day. This is great because:

1. The stuff they are learning is high-level music theory and therefore interesting to teach.

2. There's only 5 of 'em.

3. They're great kids. The best St. Peter's has to offer.

Anyway, we're covering information from Area of Study 2, which is basically Twentieth Century Music. We just covered experimental music, and one of the listening samples was a John Cage piece that uses spoken words and vocal inflections. It starts off with the above-quoted bit.

Normally I discourage the students from laughing at the stuff we're listening to, but this was so funny...

I've never fully appreciated Twentieth Century music. It is so...wierd. I have a hard enough time swallowing the accompanying art of the period.

We also learned about another John Cage piece called 3' 44". I remember learning about this complicated piece when I took Twentieth Century Music with Dr. Burnham at Chico State.

It is ever so complicated because it can be played by any number of musicians, on any combination of instruments.

It is 3 minutes, 44 seconds of complete silence.

Now, this is stretching things for me...because the most basic definition of music is organized sound. Silence, of course, is the opposite of sound. Therefore, 3 minutes and 44 seconds of silence cannot possibly be music! Right?

Well, I would want my money back anyway.

That said, I must sign off. It's breaktime and I need to use the ladies before the bell rings and I'm off to the music room again.



P.S. I invite your views on whether you think 3'44" is music or not.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Wisdom a la Elton John and Astrology

They said stay at home boy, you gotta tend the farm
Living in the city boy, is going to break your heart
But how can you stay, when your heart says no
How can you stop when your feet say go

Elton John, Honky Cat

I was listening to my Elton John Greatest Hits CD this morning while getting ready for work and these words stuck out in particular.

And today's horoscope from

Your self-confidence may be a bit low and you may be doubting your abilities right now, Megan. Don't let yourself get depressed or disheartened. Your skills are top-notch. Try to look at your situation objectively and see if you can't pinpoint why you are not progressing in your career as rapidly as you'd hoped. You may be worried about money, but know that all will work out in the end.

And this, my friends, is just kind of crazy, that they'd email me this horoscope right now.

I mean, really. I'm humming the theme to the Twilight Zone right now.

I still have lots of thinking to do. I'm just glad that Spring Break is a'comin'. I teach three classes today, and tomorrow, I'll be off timetable to work with my year 11s (another story for another time). They're nice kids, so that won't be difficult. Thursday is all year 7. They're babies, but manageable. Friday is a half-day. Yay!! I have two really difficult classes followed by my lovely year 10s. Then we send them home and we'll have a faculty lunch. And probably wine.

And that will be the end of the Spring Term. Two down, one to go. Summer Term will start on 25 April. I have until the week of 30 May (half term break) to decide whether I stay (when this week my heart says "no") or whether I stop when my feet say "go".

Of course, I'm perfectly aware that while I'm mentally boarding the plane for Seattle this week, in the next term, I could have a complete change of heart and decide I simply must stay at St. Peter's. We'll see.

But I am watching a lot of people jump ship. People who have been here a long time and who have put up with a lot of stuff are scrambling like crazy to get out. Someone told me yesterday that of 8 teachers in the Design and Technology department, only 3 are coming back at this point. And one of them is coming back on reduced time because he's working on his degree.

My head of faculty, Sian, is supremely burnt out by the students, and her future is in question because with all the restructuring going on, she is not going to be a faculty head anymore.

But I can't let their decisions and feelings influence mine. I try not to, anyway. The key word being try.

At least the sun is out today. Yesterday was gross.



Sunday, April 03, 2005


Last train to London, just headin' out,
Last train to London, just leavin' town.
But I really want tonight to last forever
I really wanna be with you.
Let the music play on down the line tonight.

Last Train To London Lyrics
Artist(Band):Electric Light Orchestra

I adore London!!

Saturday, I woke up bright and early and took the 8:21 train into London. Upon arriving, I took the tube to Holborn station and walked to the British Museum. It was a lovely sunny morning and I didn't even need my coat.

I spent an hour or two at the museum but it was such a lovely day I wanted to get back out into it. Mostly I went to the museum to see the mummies, as they were closed to the public 6 years ago--the entire time I was in London.

From the museum I walked to Tottenham Court Road, where it intersects with Oxford Street, and spent some time and a little money at Waterstone's, the book shop. Think Barnes and Noble, Brit-style.

Stocked up on reads and then hopped on the Tube again. This time I alighted at Westmister, so I could walk across Westminster Bridge. I had lunch near the base of the London Eye and then got in line. It took an hour!

But it was worth it. The views on a sunny day are magnificent! London is truly beautiful...if you haven't been there, I recommend it.

By the time I got off the Eye, it was time to head to the Old Vic. Fortunately, it's only a 5-minute walk. I had plenty of time to spare and didn't miss one moment of gorgeous Mr. Spacey.

The play was just as wonderful the second time around as it was the first. I just can't get enough of seeing Kevin Spacey LIVE. He's so energetic and passionate and the audience picks up on every mood he displays. You can hear a pin drop. He's fantastic. He doesn't even have to say anything--his body language alone is enough. A well-timed turn of the head can have everyone in the audience cracking up.



After the play I made my way back to the station and shot straight into one of my favorite British stores...


I went in wanting a new bag to use in Paris (next week!!!) and found a perfect one--and the most perfect hat! I can't wait to sashay around Paris in this adorable sun hat. It's black with white pin stripes and a little bow on one side. It's floppy and adorable and will look fantastic with my "California Girl" shades.

And one week from tomorrow, I'll be wearing it! Seeing Mom and Daddy. Arriving in Paris.

I can't wait.

Uh-oh--staff briefing is starting.

All for now!