Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Day 182 of 365: Yes, Young Grasshopper!

The 'tutored' becomes the teacher! She insisted that if she was going to be working out some work that she challenge me as well...so I humoured her. (M.B. is for Mrs. Bennett...that's me! Just so it wasn't confused with any other Mrs. Bennett's running tutoring sessions in the same room with the same obnoxiously yellow table.) I even got a 'well done' and she suggested I show the picture to my husband because 'he would be so proud.'

Please note, I also received full credit for presentation and effort!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Day 181 of 365: To Market, To Market

Last minute shopping list. We're on basic rations this week so as not to fill the fridge with potentially wasted items that will be UNrefrigerated for the move. Mother Hubbard's Cupboards are definitely quite bare in this place.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Day 180 of 365: Three for Three!

This is amazing! Three sun-shiney days in a ROW!! I love it! And I've been so incredibly fascinated with clouds lately. Today they were a bit flat and ran in lines across the sky. I made Matt take a detour into Brierley Hill to get this photo. I've driven past several times in the last week and observed what a brilliant photo-op this was with the open view of the mountainous horizon...but alas, the picture really does it no justice. Plus, I think there was a fleck of something on the camera lens that I didn't realise was there until we were on our way back.

If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the farthest set of hills, which I believe to be Clent Hills. Then, from Clent, you can actually see as far as the Welsh border into the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains!

I love that Spring has finally "sprung" here in the UK!!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Day 179 of 365: Inspected by Number 34

Myst has seemingly appointed himself the role of 'Quality Control' as we collect boxes to prepare for our upcoming move next weekend. This brightly-coloured number was graciously donated by Paul who runs the shop over the road. He even emptied the remaining packets of crisps from inside just to give it to Matt when he popped in to check this afternoon if Paul had any spare.

We're hoping to get the keys to the new flat next Friday and all being well, we'll be out of here by that Monday. The only down-side at this point is that our Sky TV won't be installed until the following Tuesday. Boo! Plus, we have to wait an additional 3 weeks from that until our BT line is installed and activated, which means *gasp* NO INTERNET *echo, echo* until the end of April!!!

I have tried to warn my dear husband that I will most certainly shrivel up and die at this atrocity. I don't recall Time Warner ever taking THIS long.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Day 178 of 365: Cheeky Monkey

Rather than make any effort to determine what the question was even asking, young Bartholomew* made the decision to use humour to answer a question on his practice SATs assessment. *Note: Name has been changed to protect the dignity of pupil in question. He was embarrassed enough as it was when I pointed out that he spelt my surname incorrectly.

To be fair, it did make me laugh. Although, nothing could be as clever as the time I couldn't remember the first name of a president on a Social Studies test in Elementary school, so I wrote in 'Mr. Adams' and was fully prepared with the explanation for my teacher that my mother insisted that I refer to other adults as Mr. or Mrs. out of respect.

Lucky for me, I received full credit anyway and it didn't even come into question.

Beat THAT, Bartholomew! Been there, done that...t-shirt...you know how I wagon-wheel.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Day 177 of 365: The Chris Moyles Show

Radio 1...my official morning commute soundtrack. My sides were splitting with laughter today! The only thing I have to be careful of is the phantom volume control. Sporadically throughout my drive the volume will shoot up from 6 to 12 and nearly make me go deaf. I'm a bit more used to it now, as I am the car and driving on the left (in the right-hand side of the car).

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Day 176 of 365: Ej-u-ca-shun

Would it surprise you if I told you he also spelled school 's-k-o-o-l'? Please read the text in the photo in its entirety for full comedic effect. Something tells me this is a target area of concern. I think they call this a 'teachable moment'. HA!

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Day 175 of 365: "I Like How You Say Tuesday"

Welcome to my paperwork hell. My newly-adjusted afternoon schedule of one-to-one tutoring has brought with it a mound of tree casualties. I have to do a general profile for every student listing the targets to work on for each session, plus, a detailed lesson plan for each one-hour session for each of the 8 students I'm assigned to. (I'm sorry, trees.) I'm not complaining so much as I really need the extra work and money that comes with it. Plus, I really do like being able to give the students some individual attention to help them with the concepts that are causing them to struggle.

One of my students, whom I just met today, seemed to be infatuated with my American accent. As soon as I introduced myself she told me she liked my voice. Then when I was confirming our next session, she said, "I like how you say Tuesday." It just made me smile. She reminds me of myself at that age -- quite the chatterbox.

I know...me? A talker? Shocking, right?!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Day 174 of 365: Hello, Lover!

Look what Matt discovered tonight at Morrison's! We look in the drink aisle every shopping trip but never see it. He has been begging me for months to agree to buying a case of this stuff off E-bay since his addiction started with his first taste of Monster in the States. It has been nearly 8 months since I have even had any as well. *takes ceremonial sip (from Matt's opened can, of course)* Mmm, mmm! 500ml of pure energy drink deliciousness. Monster definitely surpasses that of any other energy drink of its kind and for that, I think everyone needs to venture to Morrison's to see for themselves!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Day 173 of 365: Mothering Sunday

Today is Mother's Day in England. I haven't figured out why there is a different date celebrated in the US, but I know that Father's Day is the same in both countries...so I'm left baffled. Here's a photo of one of the bouquets we picked up for Matt's mom. I had a quick lesson today in "defensive flower selection" at Morrison's. As soon as we would step back to examine one bouquet, a flock of procrastinating, posy-picking vultures descended upon Matt and me.

Lucky for us, I know how to box out.

Happy Mother's Day, Josie! xx

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Day 172 of 365: What's New Pussycat?

I'm in love! This is Sky, Lyndsey's new 9-week-old Blue Persian, who was originally thought to be a 'he' but has since been confirmed by the vet, to an accuracy of 90%, that it is in fact a 'she.' And let me just say...she...is...gorgeous. I was warned from the beginning that my bag and pockets would be checked for signs of smuggling upon my departure.

I really had to talk myself out of trying.

Seriously. Too. Cute.

BTW...more photos on my facebook.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Day 171 of 365: Mental Maths

Hmm, it might help if there were some shapes to choose from in the first place.

Week one is complete and I spent my Friday afternoon marking mental maths tests. My Year 6 group is entertaining, to say the least, but nothing I haven't been able to handle. I start next week with one-on-one tutoring on Monday and Tuesday until 4:30pm and I'm hoping that may increase into several extra days.

Meggo needs a new pair of shoes to pay the bills.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Day 170 of 365: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

I heard scratching in the wall by the fire today followed by a flapping sound and then a sudden THUD. Naturally it sparked my attention as well as that of the sleeping cat behind the sofa, so he came to investigate.

I suspect a bird.

Myst suspects dinner.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Day 169 of 365: This Is How I Roll

Please Note: This is where I will be spending a majority of my weekdays through the end of May. The school recently got a 'refurb' on their library and although I don't know how it looked before...I am quite impressed. It's so vibrant and colourful! The children leave their classrooms after registration in the morning and come to me and another teacher in this room for Guided Reading, Literacy, and Math.

At the moment we are working on writing autobiographies. I brought in some regular biographies from the Kingswinford Library on people like Anne Frank, Will Smith, and Walt Disney so they could get familiar with the style of writing. I tried to get a variety of ones they would be familiar with already and other important public figures in history. I think the Mother Teresa and Gandhi remained unopened as everyone wanted to read the Will Smith and Wayne Rooney books -- wait...correction...everyone wanted to look at the pictures and run around the room "scoring goals" and pretending they were the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. And let me say, try explaining to an 10-year-old that Will Smith really DOESN'T ACTUALLY have brain damage just because he played the part of Mohamed Ali in a film.

*shakes head*


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Day 168 of 365: Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Nothing like a couple of pints to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

Matt and I took a gander down to The Swan at the end of our road to have a pint and bite to eat. They have a "two for one" deal going on all day/every day, so we thought we would take advantage of the sticky BBQ chicken. Tasty!

We had the perfect things to celebrate:

  • Matt started his new job today and it went really well.
  • I was informed that my job will be long-term (1/2 days) until the end of May~

Hopefully things are starting to look up!! (It's a good feeling!)

Monday, 16 March 2009

Day 167 of 365: Shoes!!

I saw this on the way back from school today. The pole is in the way a bit, but you can fill in the blank, I'm sure.

Interesting. Perhaps their shoes are made of hemp?

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Day 166 of 365: Dear Brown Shoes,

You have been replaced.

Sort of.


Saturday, 14 March 2009

Day 165 of 365: Snackage

My husband can be a bad influence sometimes, but I must admit...I do like the frogs.

I did a practice run tonight for next week in my mother-in-law's car. I feel more and more comfortable each time I drive and I'm feeling much more confident at traffic islands. All being well I will be driving myself to work Monday and Tuesday.

I've been set up with a couple of trial days at a larger school near Kingsheath. It's only for half-day posts, but working with a group of Year 6 pupils to prepare them for their upcoming exams. If it works well by Tuesday, this will be a long-term spot until the end of May.

*crossing my fingers*

Friday, 13 March 2009

Day 164 of 365: Red-Nose Day!

I don't typically do a whole lot of photo-editing on pictures that I put on my 365, but today was a 'blah' day for photo-taking so I took this last minute shot of myself wearing a red nose I got a few years back from Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. (They came through Columbus, Ohio and it was my first circus ever!!) Anyway, I thought this would be appropriate for Red Nose Day 2009!

Despite looking forward to purchasing my red nose all week long, it just didn't happen so I had to drag out my plastic, pen-marked nose and make due.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Day 163 of 365: Come on Ride the Train

Behold! My plethora of train tickets from the past couple of weeks.

Here are my "trash to treasure" ideas thus far:
  • drink coasters
  • playing cards
  • bookmarks
I'm open to more suggestions...

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Day 162 of 365: It's About That Time

...to get some new shoes.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Day 161 of 365: SGB to SBJ

I try to keep my camera in check for the most part -- more so recently with my regular encounters with public transportation. However, today was an exception and I could not control myself any longer. As I got on my connection at Smethwick Galton Bridge I nearly had retna-burn from the bright orange haze of hair-sprayed hair sitting to my left. Of course, I casually sat facing the opposite direction to help keep myself from staring. Once we arrived at Stourbridge Junction I snuck my Kodak out of my pocket and snapped this photo to prove I wasn't making it up.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Day 160 of 365: Tis The Season!

My W-2 finally made its way from where I used to live in North Carolina to my dad in Ohio, who then promptly scanned it and sent it my way tonight. I quickly logged onto H&R Block to file my FREE 2008 Federal Tax Return!! I still have to pay for the state return, but it's minimal compared to the refund I will be getting -- and hopefully I will have it by the end of the month.

I was back today in the same Year 1 class as last week. The regular classroom teacher made a cameo just after their morning break and the children were all so excited to see her. She will be returning tomorrow permanently, which left me walking to the train this afternoon with work prospects still up in the air for the remainder of the week. Of course, that was until my phone rang halfway home with the agency asking if I would return Tuesday and Wednesday for Reception and Year 2.

Yay for healthy tax refunds and consistent employment!!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Day 159 of 365: Damper On My Plans

I was up fairly early this morning and thought it looked like a wonderful day for a nice walk. That was about the time that the sky decided to open and the rain came.

I took a photo similar to this back when I started my 365, but that was back in the Autumn months. Here's to hoping Spring isn't too far away.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Day 158 of 365: The Hunt

Matt and I have been house/flat-hunting recently to get out of this fridge. We keep finding decent places that we can afford, only the dreaded "dog with an X" icon shows up, meaning NO PETS. Ugh! In fact, this particular company, Midland Heart, promotes themselves as "passionate about communities." Matt's comical response to that is "apparently not, cause communities HAVE PETS!"

We really want to be out of here by the end of the month, but we're not getting rid of the cat to do it. Plus, I still have my two angels from the States due to come over as soon as finances allow.

Anyway, the search must go on -- as frustrating as it is.

*contemplates passing off Myst as an overly-furry child*

Friday, 6 March 2009

Day 157 of 365: Organised Chaos

The classroom I was in this week had a picture timetable so the children knew what was coming next. I didn't use it much because every time it would get fixed in the proper order, one of the sneaky ones would come along and move all the tiles around and take off the blue-tac to play with. I was always kept up to date where the blue-tac was: so-and-so's pocket, you-know-who's nose, the new girl's hair, etc. It proved to be too much however, so the timetable was "off-limits." (Yeah, like THAT's gonna stop them.)

While the children were at lunch, I set up the timetable in one last attempt to keep the questions to a minimum about when we were having our surprise.

Q. How long do you think it lasted?

A. (I'm so NOT kidding) LESS than 30 seconds upon their arrival.

Hmm, I wonder why I am so glad they all have parents to return to for the weekend. I will take time now to enjoy my own weekend...child-free.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Day 156 of 365: Little Red (evil) Pen

Some schools use green, and I must say, I prefer green over red. Red always comes across (to me) as "angry" and "negative." Green, on the other hand, or a less BOLD colour makes pointing out mistakes less harsh.

I've brought home a TON of marking over the past couple of days. I've mentioned before that I am assigned to this school only for the week and the last thing I want to do is leave a pile of marking for the teacher (who has already been out another week before this). I think having been a regular classroom teacher myself, I empathize with the hard work that goes into getting things finished, like marking. I just consider it "looking out for my fellow (wo)men."

Tomorrow may or may not be my last day at this assignment. Hopefully they will know if the school will require me again next week. I'm crossing my fingers that they do as another week of solid work will really help. Yay consistency!!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Day 155 of 365: My Happy Place

Ah, Dearest Gravelly Hill,

I have looked forward to you each day this week and especially your absence of other commuters. You're the one place, for at least 10 minutes following dismissal at school where I don't hear the chitter-chatter of tiny voices squealing, "Miiiissssssssssss!" In fact, the only voice I do hear prior to boarding the train is your automated one announcing the next train and platform. It's quite a relaxing silence, and I thank you.


Today's silence was also accompanied by a bright, shining sun and puffy clouds in a deep blue sky. Natural cure for the "noise poisoning" in my head.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Day 154 of 365: Get Well Soon!

A friend's little boy just had an operation, so we thought we could cheer him up with a homemade Ben 10 card. I scoured the net for different Ben 10 images and finally came across one that was simple enough to sketch. This is just the rough copy before all the colour was put in.

Between this and the giant Aero chocolate bar, one is bound to bring a smile to his face.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Day 153 of 365: Jackpot!!

Would you believe this lovely little treasure was discovered hidden within the Year 1 class where I supplied today? Well, if you take a closer look at the envelope, you will see that this money wasn't intended to be hidden (and the pupil who cleverly hid it has yet to be found). It is the dinner money for the week for three different children and a young "sticky fingers" decided it wasn't going to make it to the office with the register this morning -- they seemed to have other plans.

Another very honest child alerted me to it's hiding spot where the envelope had been torn open and each bill was scattered underneath a plastic tray.

I promptly returned it to the office and suspect tomorrow myself and the TA will need to do a bit of undercover work to find the culprit.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Day 152 of 365: Mind The Gap

As I will need to take the train to work this week, we decided to do a short trip to Worcester (pronounced 'Woo-sta') today. We caught the train at Stourbridge Junction and less than than 45 minutes later, we were walking through Worcester and being dwarfed by the giant, historical Cathedral.

It was a bit gray and overcast initially, but once we started to walk down by the River Severn the sky cleared and the sun lit everything up. It was gorgeous! We'd love to live in a place like this.