Friday, 31 October 2008
Thursday, 30 October 2008
I am a Physics Graduate, something I often keep quite quiet about. I remember at 13 insisting that I wouldn't do Physics O Level, but then it seemed, for all sorts of reasons, the most sensible choice. Similarly with A Level, which I loved and this led to my choice of degree. At the end of University, teaching seemed the most obvious choice, so I did my Teaching Certificate and took my first teaching job. This was not dissimilar to the Christians of Roman times being thrown before the lions! However, I survived my first year, coped with my second and was fed up of the school by the third. Then I saw a part-time teaching post in a Sixth Form College (16-18) advertised int he teaching press. Everyone I knew was very surprised at the idea of me working part-time, I didn't have children after all, but I did have a life and I had decided to enjoy it. While I wasn't teaching I ran and I did the London Marathon in April 1997. I also did a short course Triathlon and trained as a fitness instructor and this led to taking on another part time job at a local gym.
This was fun for a while, but after a year I was begining to get itchy feet again. I had regained my sanity and wanted a more challenging job. I wrote to the National Physical Laboratory and asked if they would like to employ me, and they did. So my next label was Research Scientist and I discovered the world of Microwave Antennae. Six months into this job I fell pregnant.
My boss was not keen on the idea of me returning part time and I was glad to leave and be a full time mother.
After my second child was born, I began training as a Breastfeeding Counsellor and qualified three years ago. I have been leading antenatal breastfeeding classes, counselling mums on the telephone and occasionally leading a drop-in clinic at the local hospital. In the last few years I have taken breadmaking courses and storytelling courses and dabbled in these.
For most of my life I would have flatly denied being creative. "Oh no," I would have said, "I am a science person." But this year, largely inspired by "The Artists Way", I have begun to change that view of myself, which has led to me beginning this blog back in June and to, even in recent days, discovering my poetry writing self. I am now considering taking and Open University course in Fiction Writing next spring.
Who knows where I'll be off to next!
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
the fragrance teases me.
The ghost of another's satisfaction
and I am jealous.
I glance over the bright packs of infusions
on the shelf,
none suggest such a rich and pungent experience.
I see the cake:
Soft, dark, thickly-sliced,
Plump currants glisten like jewels.
Placed on a cobalt edged plate.
Four pieces: one for each guest:
Assurance that one is for me.
Delight in discovery,
the smell: not a memory but an invitation.
Can earth show more grace than fresh-baked cake
brought at four o'clock?
Warm and moist, sweet and spicy.
A gift I will let my lips and my heart receive.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
A welcoming posy:The hug I took with me:The 300-year-old mulberry tree which still bears its fruit in season: The Autumn light: I spent many hours spent wandering in the garden: and at the heart of it all:
Monday, 27 October 2008
And so it was leaving the convent on Saturday morning, shedding the silence and the slowness to be thrust into the rough and tumble of family life. As I sorted through my things in preparation for coming home, I felt so deeply that I just wanted to stay on and on in this place of peace.
The last week has been incredible. I would liken it to a tropical island holiday with my husband: just the two of us and no distractions, no children, no housekeeping, none of life's daily irritations. A opportunity for romance to flourish amidst lesuirely strolls and intimate conversations. But normal service must be resumed, and truly a good marriage is one that functions well in the midst of life, not separate from it.
And so with God. This week I have met with God and experienced the abundance of his blessings and gifts. Now I face the challenge of bringing this deeper relationship with him into day-to-day life.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Thursday, 23 October 2008
Wednesday, 22 October 2008
(This is a scheduled post. I am on retreat until 25th October.)
Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Monday, 20 October 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Do keep dropping by though, I've left some pretty posts for every day next week.
Friday, 17 October 2008
Thursday, 16 October 2008
- consistent involvment of parents ... although not necessarily constantly ... involved in providing education.
- recognition of the child's needs, attitudes and aspiration
- opportunities for the child to be stimulated by their learning experiences
- Access to resourses/materials ... such as paper and pens ... and the opportunity for appropriate interaction with other children and other adults.
This is great - I do all this! (Although I'm not sure how anyone could not.) I don't even have to think about it, it's just what we do. There is also a list of what parents are not required to do. most of which I don't (like marking by children's work or giving formal lessons).
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Here are my pictures of London.
The Hungerford foot-bridge. We walk across the Thames from Waterloo Station, over this bridge with it's fantastic views of St Paul's Cathedral on the skyline, as we enter London.
Monday, 13 October 2008
A fountain in Trafalgar square:
Saturday, 11 October 2008
'Can I have it when I am old enough?' she asked.
I replied that, by all means, she was welcome to borrow it when she is bigger, but that it is my necklace.
'Can I have it when you die?'
'I guess so.'
At this point my son piped up, 'You may have to wait a long time. Mummy is really looking quite well.'
At the age of 37, I am quite relieved to know that I don't look as if I'm at death's door!
Friday, 10 October 2008
I was told I had alopecia and that it would probably grow back in time. Lots of people have this experience apparently. Any kind of treatment was ruled out because of my pregnancy and my hair continued to fall out slowly. I wept many tears fearing that the worst would happen and I would end up totally bald. I remember when I was 30 weeks pregnant, telling a friend and lifting up my long brown hair to show her the large bare patches. My one week before the birth, I had lost all my hair.
That was over 5 years ago and I still hate the way I look. People tell me that I look beautiful; one dear friend told me that, because I have such an animated face, it doesn't seem important; lots of people I've met in recent years say they can't imagine me with hair; I am even told it suits me! Twice it has been thought of as a deliberate choice, a fashion statement. Initially I coped with it by being very out-going, blasting through my own self-conciousness by opening conversations and putting myself out there. Somehow this has become part of me, a learned behaviour I guess, and I am far more extrovert than before. However, I still avoid having my photo taken and had to steel myself to take the children swimming when I would have to bob about in the learner pool in a swimming hat feeling ugly and obvious. I would never let myself be seen without a head covering, any more than I would go out topless.
I have tried hard to not let it become a taboo subject and I will talk openly with the children about how I feel. But it is still painful when my daughter tells someone that 'All mummy's hair fell out', or little ones look at me in curiousity. I know that others suffer far worse disfigurements and sometimes I feel shallow for caring as much as I do, but I have learned to accept my feelings for what they are.
On one occasion I went to a health spa with my mum and I took the opportunity to have a few swimming technique lessons. I also braved the pool without my swim hat, just to see how it felt. One morning I was powering up and down the water, putting into practice what the coach had been teaching me. My mother overheard two ladies in conversation, clearly perplexed as to why I had no hair. My strength of swimming ruled out chemotherapy. I was rather flattered to hear that they concluded that I was an athlete and had shaved it off to improve my swimming times!
Thursday, 9 October 2008
- I completed the Great North Run.
- I have figured out how to use my new mobile phone (well, maybe not all the features but I can work it enough) and upload the pictures I took. (It has been a long and tortuous route involving a faulty CD, customer services, downloading software and uploading photos via the laptop to the blog and then posting on the desktop, but here they are!)
- I have reached 100 posts on my blog!
All of these come together in my pictoral record of Sunday:
And here we are at the end, still smiling:Sally, with the dark hair in front, kindly hosted us for the weekend, came with us to the start and met us at the finish with her two lovely children. I think she was probably more exhausted than we were by the end entertaining two little ones and pushing a buggy for two hours. Her red-headed daughter took a shine to me and, as we walked places, would dash in front of me, arms aloft, to be picked up. I could not resist her adorability. My arms were as sore as my legs but my heart was warm.
The highlight for me was the Red Arrows. They are the coolest! I was enraptured and like a child in my excitement. Sally's little girl was rather over-awed by the noise and kept her hands over her ears the whole time. I had great fun every time two planes passed each other, 'Are they going to crash into each other, are they, are they? No-oo-oo!'
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Cakes are a great example. Occasionally, I am asked to bake something for a coffee morning at church. 'Of course,' I say, 'no problem,' and I scribble in my diary 'Make Cake.' It's not that hard to make a cake, other people manage to fit it in. But I fail to take into account that I will need to put aside an hour, at least, from start to finish to assemble ingredients, make and bake the cake, fill it with jam and then wash up. This will take longer if I have 'help' but I will feel that I am doing something with the children. If I do it quickly by myself, I feel that I am neglecting them and so feel obliged to do something 'educational' and fun afterwards. Then I have to deliver the cake, and, later, remember to collect my tin.
In both these illustrations, my thoughts are heavily influenced by 'other people'. Of course, I don't know anything about these other people. Their commitments may be less than mine, their energy levels greater, or perhaps they are marinating in a cocktail of stress and resentment.
Sometimes it is some trouble and it is not just a little thing. This is not to say that I should not do it, or am not willing to do it, but I have to learn to weigh the commitment involved in an undertaking more carefully, more realistically. To honestly weigh up if I have the time, the energy, the space in my Home Ed schedule and my life in general to fit it in, without stress or resentment or neglect of my own or my children's needs.
Instead of 'Sure, no trouble' I will train myself to say, 'Let me look at my diary and I'll get back to you,' and then to calculate the time needed and figure out if I've got it to give. Then I can say 'I'm sorry, I can't fit that in, but do try me again another time,' or I can say, 'Yes, I can find the time to do that,' with a smile.