Saturday, March 31, 2007

My earliest foray in irony

At school currrently, we have been doing loads of different events that's been eating into instruction time -- kids preparing for the Spring Fayre, "Red Nose Day" (a national fundraiser they do over here), and Easter celebrations. As a teacher, I tend to look down upon these things, which the colleagues that I'm close with always tease me about. She's the miser. Didn't you ever do stuff like this at school? they asked. So then I told this story:

Back when I was in high school, my school was very much into "spirit". Essentially, in every situation, we had bonding activities. We went to camp together, had competition pitting the classes against each other, initiations of the first-year students by the fourth-years -- all sorts of stuff. Actually, it was brilliant, and most kids thought so.

On major holidays, like Christmas and Thanksgiving, we would have a special lunch and each of the four classes in the high school would perform a skit of some sort. The worst thing about those plays was that the accoustics in our gym were rubbish and no-one spoke loudly enough. And I went to school with loads of little Japanese girls and they never spoke loudly enough.

For two years, I was the writer of the plays. I tended to write creatively a lot in those days, plus I was really loud and bolshie and made them do it. I had an great idea of how to combat the accoustic problem: we would pre-record our voices onto tape and while we were acting, our voices would be dubbed. Plus, it would be funny that we were out of time with our voices. It would be like one of those dubbed kung-fu films. Well, for various reasons, but mostly because it was too subtle, no-one got it and we lost. It didn't stop me from doing it the next year and us losing again.

You know, that was you being really ironic, one of my pals said, referring to the dubbing. She continued to say that it was funny and it was just proof that I was meant to come and live here in Britain. Just maybe she's right.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Out on the piss

So the term is over and I'm out with my colleagues celebrating making it through. We have a 2-week holiday ahead of us and we are tipsily happy and loving the world. Ah, life is good.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Today's weather forcast, according to the BBC (I'm not kidding): dull. And that was it. Dull. Warm? Cloudy? Showers? Naw, just dull. No other desciptors.

When did we decide to start employing personality characterisations as the sole forecast the weather? What's next? Today's weather will be irritating with crankiness rolling in from the west tonight?

Monday, March 26, 2007

We havin' church in here

I've been placed on a moratorium from my fave place in Edinburgh, the saleroom. This is because I am obsessed with the place. Me and Nils (formally known as Nile), VBP's boyfriend, have been banned by our other halves, tired of us dragging home shit every Saturday. Nils's weakness is pictures; mine, quirky furniture. For us, the saleroom is a sacred place, a place that we stop in every week, quietly hushed as we look at the treasures.

Anyway, have a look at my last three purchases. Actually, the last one was a prezzie from Boy. It did cost a bit... but then he didn't even get me a birthday present! Somehow, an expensive piece of furniture doesn't compare to the books I got him for his birthday. Actually, the cost might have been the real reason for the moratorium.

That's a prayer chair. When the back bit is lowered, you can kneel on it, resting your arms on the back of the chair. The mirror will go above the mantel in the living room, once I've altered the frame somehow, through painting or decoupage. (I'm decoupage happy!)

Prices (Cos I know you nosey)
Prayer chair: £6 ($11/1400 yen)
Mirror: £18 ($35/4200 yen)
Pew: £200 ($390/46,500 yen)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sorting myself out

Sorry, again, for the lengthy break. I've been trying to sort my life out, in so many ways. Boy and I are trying to find each other again. It's weird having a modern relationship. We don't like to put demands on each other. We appreciate each person's individuality and their rights. But at the same time where does that leave a person when the other isn't there for them in the way they want?

Have I gone on to you about wanting to do my Master's? Well, I do, probably much to my parents' pleasure. When my eldest brother earned his -- just as he was walking at graduation -- just as he was reaching for the diploma -- the 'rents, particularly Father, turned to me and said, "So when are you getting your Master's?" The answer, dear sire, is very soon, all being well. The thing is, in ten years time, I don't want to be a teacher. As lovely and as noble a profession it is, my heart lies elsewhere: staff development, aka teacher education. Although I'm secure and confident in my practice and I'm already engaging in teacher development, I need credentials to really feel like I can act like the hot shit I really am. (And just in case you weren't sure, that wasn't irony)

I've got a new mobile, finally. It's an updated version of my last one. But this one as a 3.2 megapixel camera and it's 3G. And the provider gives a lot more than what I had. Really, though, it's nearly the same as my last phone. I've got the same ringtone -- "Ching Ching" -- and the same message alert. You might have remembered me cackling over its superb find. It's from the episode of "Chappelle's Show" with Wayne Brady. My message alert is taken straight from the show, with the latter funny-man saying, "Is Wayne Brady gonna have to choke a bitch?" It's wrong, but that little bit of Americana gets me through the dreary and dreich Scottish days.

Parents' Evenings were the week before last and I'm still recovering. We were only allocated 8 minutes for each meeting. I can't think of one person that I have that little to say to. A ridiculously minute amount of time, so teachers were naturally running late. This had huge knock-on effects and I left my first day -- the late day, meetings 6-8 PM -- at 9.15. I was dying the next day.

Sorry to always do these recapping blogs when I get behind. The ideal thing to do would be to blog a little bit each day. I just can't! I'm prolix, people! I'm verbose and talkative. I'm a yammerer and bletherer. I haver and go on. I can try this crazy "little bit everyday" thing, but I won't be successful. Truth is, I miss you. And I miss talking to you very much.

My current...
Book I'm reading: A million little pieces -- just to see what all the hype was about. Plus, I got it for 50p in a car boot sale. It's shit. Even if I had read it thinking it was a memoir, I would have thought it was shit. Cos it is.
Nemesis: Fiona
Project: Using decoupage to recover the tops of a nest of three tables that look pretty shabby. I'm using images from National Geographic magazines as my cut-outs. I scored a major coup by picking up nearly 200 NGs today!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


So my friend Turtle is going off for a life-affirming trip to South America for the next two months. Life-affirming or whatever. Anyway, we arranged to meet for coffee before she left. When I look back on it, I think she was trying to blow me off in a lovely middle-England way that Turtle possesses. She sent me this email earlier this evening:
Turtle to me
    ... i really dont think i'll be able to meet you tonight i've got so much stuff to sort for my friends leaving do tomorrow, do you mind?

    i'll ring you for a chat though x
So I replied:
Autumn to Turtle
    Right. I love how you've got to sort things with your friends. What the hell am I? LOL

But as I write, I realise what she's written -- not that Turtle has to sort things out with her friends before she leaves, but that she has to sort out a leaving-do for a friend. So my reply looks all crazy resentful and jealous -- not really my intended response. I think she'll be rescheduling that coffee outing with me very soon, don't you?

Second story of cultural differences

Two weeks ago was Boy's birthday. I'm a big birthday person, love them. I believe in celebrating them. But for some convoluted reason that has to remain unsaid, Boy does not celebrate them with others. Only me. This puts a lot of pressure on one. It has to be perfect, everything I do. Boy had friend Roofer to help him with my birthday party; I had no-one.

But there was no party anyway. We went to David Bann, a very up-market vegetarian restaurant. I booked that months ago. I also had decided just after Christmas what to get him for his birthday: some Laurel and Hardy DVDs.

I should have known that things were going to go wrong, a week before his birthday. Let's see, what happened? I lost my purse (wallet), so I was without any sort of means to easily access money. And exactly a week before Boy's birthday is Valentine's Day. It's never easy to celebrate both of them as you would do the same activities for each: a nice dinner, present, closeness with the one you love. We usually let one go, as we can't really do both. Usually, it's Valentine's Day. Last year, I even went to volleyball training. This year, I decided to at least make a nice meal and maybe Boy would get me some flowers and that would be all good.

Valentine's Day morning, Boy threw the bedroom door open and handed me a present. "What's this?" I said. "Your Valentine's Day present," he answered. I smiled wanly. I would have probably been more pleased if 1) I had made the equal effort to get a present for him, and 2) my present wasn't 2 Laurel and Hardy DVDs.

The following week was spent making a new list of presents in my mind, then mentally ripping that list up and stamping on it in frustration. Everything was shit and I just kept putting off, trying to ignore that I had been gazumped. The day before his birthday and volleyball training night, I caught the bus into town and frantically looked in the shops for 35 minutes to try to find something. Nothing. I figured I could shop the next day -- his birthday -- as long as I had something for his birthday dinner.

The morning of his birthday, Boy woke up to a very chirpy 'Happy Birthday' from me and a kiss. But something was very amiss and by the time I left, we were having a full-blown row. At the time, I couldn't even begin to tell you why. I was right cross, and remained that way when I got home from shopping. In my morning huff, I had left the flat without my keys. I sat on the stairs, trying to be patient, cos I knew Boy was going to be home shortly -- after all, we had 7 PM reservations. At 6.45, he arrived and the frostiness between us had not melted. And I didn't have any time to prepare his birthday present in order to take it with us to dinner. Plus, I had figured out why he was so angry which made me think, "Fuck it if I'm going to bring a present for this prima donna!" In an angry silence, we changed and went to the restaurant, sans present.

But, as we do, we made up over dinner. And I was right about what had angered him: I hadn't given him his birthday present yet. "But you get that at your birthday dinner!" I protested. "Well, in my family, we gave it first thing in the morning," he said. I apologised but told him that I hadn't been able to get a prezzie, since I didn't have a debit card, I had no money. I told that little fib so that I could get his present ready at home after dinner and was able to surprise him. What surprised me, though, was that after nearly 4 years of marriage that we only figured out this birthday thing now!

(Convoluted story, but we got there!)