Monthly Archives: January 2012

Post-Meeting Downer

The whole school meeting that senior management set out the changes I wrote my two page email about passed pretty much as I expected: Feedback invited but no changes nor very much discussion as the vast majority of staff sat in silence when invited to comment. I fucking despair.

I spoke up against a few things with no supportive comments, so it was just me versus the Head or Deputy as seventy people sat and listened. The same guy that always stands up against things spoke and maybe three other people asked questions about individual issues (not questioning what the entire point of the exercise is). At the end of the meeting I spoke with the Head for ten minutes or so, bringing up the points I thought were important, and expressing my deep concerns at the proposals as they stood.

She’d seen my email so knew I was not very impressed with the plans, and although we had a good discussion (she listened patiently and answered fully), the point that I repeatedly made – more data does not equal more progress – seemed to be lost on her. I suggested that as a Science Specialist school we should research the effects of the proposals on small groups and compare them with a control before we took action- some evidence-based educational policy for a change. She asked me whether “I thought I knew better than everyone else”. Brilliant.

Ugh. Is there *ever* going to be a school that I can *fully* enjoy working at, and gain satisfaction…

I really should leave but to what? It’s probably just going to be the same shit everywhere. All that will happen is that i’ll get up to speed at the new place and then bump up against the same problems, the same frustrations as I currently encounter.

Education in this country is fucked.

:(
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Touch the fullness of her breast. Feel the love of her caress.

Lady Grinning Soul
David Bowie
from Aladdin Sane 1973













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Return to Pittsburgh

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Going to Pittsburgh for half term! Seeing Coppell in two weeks!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
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No Thanks

The email I wrote to one of the deputy heads this evening…

Well, she did ask for feedback :)
Hi XXXX – I have a very many concerns about the proposed changes to the reporting/grading structure; I’ll be brief here, but if you’d like any further information on anything I touch upon please follow up with me.

Before any changes are made I think it is important to assess the current position (what works, what doesn’t) and to think very carefully what benefit these proposed changes would have on all members of the school, for example pupils, parents, staff. I would ask that the following points are considered with great care before any changes are made:

Pupils
  • Will increasing the frequency of assigning grades affect pupils performance in formal assessment?
  • Will it have any impact on pupils’ motivation to learn?
  • Will the removal of written reports and the increase of other praise effect achievement?
  • Will increased formal assessment help pupils across the ability spectrum achieve?
  • How will these proposals impact pupils well-being?
  • Will teacher-pupil relationships be affected?
Parents
  • Will parents understand the data given?
  • Will easier access to increased data mean that parents support their daughters more thoroughly and are more engaged with their schooling?
  • Will parents feel more engaged with the school when written reports are removed?
  • How will parents evenings be affected by the proposals?
  • Will school-home links be affected?
Staff
  • Will the removal of written reports affect the workload on staff?
  • Will the increased data available mean that staff are able to estimate more accurately what their charges will achieve in formal assessment?
  • Will the ending of teacher-led target setting have any impact on achievement?
  • Will teacher-pupil relationships be affected?
  • How will parents evenings be affected by the proposals?
  • What impact will the proposals have on directed time?
I have been reading some work by the American educational researcher Alfie Kohn which looks into many of the areas covered in the proposals. He is particularly interested in the effect grading has on performance, and his (well-referenced) work finds the following:

1. Grades tend to reduce students’ interest in the learning itself.
2. Grades tend to reduce students’ preference for challenging tasks.
3. Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.

1. Grades tend to reduce students’ interest in the learning itself.
“One of the most well-researched findings in the field of motivational psychology is that the more people are rewarded for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward. Multiple studies have shown that pupils demonstrate less interest in learning as a result of being graded.”

2. Grades tend to reduce students’ preference for challenging tasks.
“Students of all ages whose main focus is on getting a good grade are likely to pick the easiest possible assignment if given a choice. The more pressure to get an A, the less inclination to take on a challenge. Pupils who cut corners may not actually be lazy but are adapting to an environment where good grades, not intellectual exploration, are what is emphasised.”

3. Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.
“Given that pupils may lose interest in what they’re learning as a result of grades, it makes sense that they’re also apt to think less deeply. One series of studies, for example, found that students given numerical grades were significantly less creative than those who received qualitative feedback but no grades. The more the task required creative thinking, in fact, the worse the performance of students who knew they were going to be graded. Providing students with comments in addition to a grade didn’t help: the highest achievement occurred only when comments were given instead of numerical scores.”

“In another experiment, students told they would be graded on how well they learned a social studies lesson had more trouble understanding the main point of the text than did students who were told that no grades would be involved. Even on a measure of rote recall, the graded group remembered fewer facts a week later. A brand-new study discovered that students who tended to think about current events in terms of what they’d need to know for a grade were less knowledgeable than their peers, even after taking other variables into account.”

In Summary
So many of these points are framed around “increased achievement”, but as we are all very aware there is much more to education than what can be measured through grades or a tick-box approach.

The proposals seem to fly in the face of Assessment for Learning, which we are (rightly) encouraged to use.
As Peter Wilby writes:
“Dylan Williams, co-author of Inside The Black Box (1998) is quoted as saying: ‘Above all, teachers should stop awarding grades each time children hand in work. Instead, they should make constructive comments and ensure children read and act on them. ‘We’re addicted to grades’” Wiliam says. ‘I’ve nothing against grades at the end of the school year. But telling students, after every piece of work, that they’re at levels 5, 6 or whatever is bizarre, perverse. The national curriculum levels were meant to be descriptions of the totality of achievement over an entire key stage, not judgments on individual pieces of work.’ Assessment, he explains, should be part of a conversation with pupils that helps teachers to decide where lessons should go next. It should be ‘assessment for learning’ (AFL), not ‘assessment of learning’.”

For many of reasons included above (and others) I am very concerned as to the direction being suggested in these proposals. I feel that there is a lack of clarity as to whom the proposed changes are hoping to benefit, and that there is not enough certainty as to what the changes are setting out to achieve. The proposals as they stand are flawed and will almost certainly lead to increased workload for staff, continued reduction of pupil independence and observably increased stress levels in pupils and staff.

I care deeply for the children in my care, their current happiness and future progress. I do not think the removal of written reports, nor increased assessment, nor the ending of pupil planners will be of benefit to the pupils, parents or staff of the XXXXXX School.

References
Alfie Kohn (alfiekohn.org)
PUNISHED BY REWARDS: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes (Houghton Mifflin, 1993/1999)
From Degrading to De-Grading (High School Magazine, 1999)
The Case Against Grades (Educational Leadership, 2011)

Teaching guru is optimistic about education: Dylan Wiliam is known as a teaching guru with some ‘gimmicky’ methods. So how does he rate this government’s chances of improving educational standards, asks Peter Wilby (The Guardian, 2011)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/jan/18/teaching-methods-government-reforms
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Beauty



Beauty by Olafur Eliasson 1993

*Glorious* art.
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Weepfest

Oh Jesus. Just started watching the new series of One Born Every Minute. Tears with apple butter on toast and a cup of tea. Aaaand I was supposed to be doing work :)

I cry at the opening credits and every time a baby is born: Multiple lame-o. I find it all rather intense, what with all the women struggling to bring new life into the world. Empathy- I has it in bucketloads. One thing I don’t understand is why they have chosen to blur out the women’s genitals during the births. They didn’t do that in previous series, but maybe it’s just a personal thing from the women involved? Will have to see if this changes.

Oh look, it’s not just me that’s noticed.

Looking back at when I last wrote about my enjoyment of the programme, it’s interesting to read my lament as to the dearth of suitable men in my life. I didn’t think I had much of a chance of finding anyone “sober, mostly-sane and financially stable enough to commit in an appropriate manner” until I was past forty…
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Snowflakes that stay on Anthony Benedetto’s nose and eyelashes

My Favourite Things
Tony Bennett
from Snowfall 1968











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And I… Like… You… Too…

I Like
Heathen Dan
1983

I fucking LOVE this track. For some reason, I find its gross-out nature kind of sweet, and I think of Coppell when I listen to it.

I have no idea why “I like chewing on little slugs…” reminds me of him. But there you go.



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Valentines?

Something new this year: For the first time ever, i’m not going to be single on Valentine’s Day, nor will I be in a relationship with someone who’d much rather fuck someone else than spend any time with me. What to do???

Okay, so I hate Valentine’s as an order to behave in a particular way i.e. to satisfy the gods of consumption I don’t believe in. “Thou shalt go forth and CONSUME!” No thanks. At the same time, I like the idea of doing something small to show someone that you’re thinking about them, that you care, but I like to think that that sort of perspective should be displayed three-hundred-and-sixty-five days of the year, not just limited to one.

If I were to do something in the spirit of Valentines, instead of going out and sitting in a restaurant filled with other gooey couples (vom!), i’d much rather eat at home… Rib eye and oven chips with grain mustard, Béarnaise and perhaps a small salad (and ketchup for the chips of course). Alternatively i’d be just as happy with takeaway from McDonalds. All class, me.

Small things I could do if I had the opportunity? Bake a particular cake they like. Give them a massage (body, head or foot). Let them have a peaceful extra few hours kip. Wash their hair and body before drying them off. Do their nails (men can appreciate a manicure too). Cook breakfast. Sort their laundry. I don’t really know what i’d do, but spending time rather than a lot of money appeals greatly.

I’ve never received a Valentine’s card from anyone, nor have had anything nice – be it time or money – spent on me for VD. Actually, if i’m honest, in the decade prior to Coppell i’ve not had much care lavished upon me outside of VD either. Sigh.

Thanks to Coppell, i’ve accomplished an awful lot of “firsts” in the fourteen days we’ve spent in each other’s company. Open communication. Long soaks in a bath together. The most fun and enjoyment i’ve ever had inside the bedroom. Acceptance of hummus. Amongst other things.

Roll on half term…
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Meathead and Monky

Bob’s new boots:

“Bob was getting some abrasions on his pads from all the snow and salty sidewalks so I got him some boots to try out.”

Ooo. The possibility of Meathead coming to live with me for a month and a half has raised its not-so-ugly head; it might work out that to save some money I can bring her back with me from Coppell’s in a few weeks (Coppell would join her when he moves to the UK at the end of March).

This is an enticing prospect as I like her *a lot*, but at the same time I have some concerns.

Although it could be said that I look after and corral animals on a daily basis at work, i’ve never looked after anything bigger than a rabbit (neighbours were on holiday). Its always been hamsters or fish on the personal ownership front, so a larger beast is a bit weird. What would happen if I let her off the lead in a park and she never came back or got squashed? JESUS. On the lead it is at all times I think.

Meathead is very small and very lazy when not destroying things, so even though I live in a 4m x 4m shoebox, she should be okay doing not very much during the day when i’d be at work. There are parks not too far away and a vets ten minutes down the road, and I know that going out for walks would be some good exercise for both me and Meathead.

I’m not planning on going away anywhere for more than a day, so I wouldn’t need to worry about having to leave her anywhere, though my brother is coming to stay for a couple of days and i’m not sure him and Meathead and me in one small space is a very good idea.

There are ways round my concerns so I shouldn’t think about them too much; anyway, I don’t even know if she’ll be coming over with me so I need to wait and see. I am still a bit excited though. I am such a dork.
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Roaming Rip Off

Also, upon checking my phone bill I was rather horrified to see that talking in America on an American network to someone who is also in America on an American network costs two motherfucking pounds a minute. WHY???

I’m not calling the moon, just someone a few hundred miles away. I don’t understand.
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Back Fail

Ugh. Was reaching over to pull the cord on my blinds to let some light in this morning and the combination of twisting and pulling seems to have been a little too much for my back: lots of pain sort of mid-way up my back, half way between my belly button and my boobs. It only hurts when I breathe as they say.

Tensing my stomach muscles to support my back seems to provide a little help and it’s not like I can’t make myself a cup of tea or move about. However, making a cup of tea, moving about or even sitting is really sore. WHYYY?
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Sixth Form Open Eve

Jeebus i’m washed out; 8.30am to 8.30pm at school today and i’m in serious need of a shower before I slide under the duvet for some quality time with Patrick. *Tired.*

One nice thing- a Sixth Former I used to teach who is now at the highly esteemed London College of Fashion came in to say hello, and it was lovely to hear how well she’s getting on – interning at Vogue, helping out at Marios Schwab during London Fashion Week, twelve hour days in the studio. It’s so pleasing to hear how the kids are doing, even if the answer’s “not very much”. Care that does not show up on a tick box :)
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Blackout

blacked out I’ve decided to add the weight of nopoke (weight = like five readers) to the anti-SOPA blackout day tomorrow. Yes, it’s an American affliction, but where America “leads”, the rest of us follow.

The site will be down from 8am – 8pm GMT, and will direct readers to further info about what’s on the cards. You five readers should pop by anyways, as the video on the blackout page is pretty good at explaining the wrongness that is SOPA and PIPA.

Solidarity, baby.

BBC: Wikipedia joins web blackout in Sopa protest



two hundred sixteen
by athene.noctua [cc]
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“How To Get Married: Get married after nine days”

I was struck by this comment on Susannah Breslin’s How To Get Married – “I got married. Then I got breast cancer. This is my story.”

I don’t plan on getting hitched (or PACSed) any time in the next nine days, but I like what the commenter says about forging relationships and finding balance, the waxing and waning that often occurs in partnerships. I don’t agree with every point made but found it interesting to ponder.

paragraphs inserted for readability, typos original :)
“Don’t worry about being a wife. Just be a good friend, the rest will come. Become his ‘best friend’ by being his ‘closest friend’. That takes trust, and time. Do it by telling him everything that’s on your mind. Everything including the secrets you don’t even tell yourself. If he listens and shares with you, all will be good. If he doesn’t listen, it’s good you find out about it early, you’ll have more time to look for another closest friend.

There is no such thing as a ‘good wife’ or a ‘bad wife’, or the opposite ‘husband’. It’s all about being the closest of friends and sharing. You’re tough – which is different than hard. Hard people resist then break whereas tough people give and take while remaining whole. If you’re toughness is challenged, turn to your best friend, let him help by taking up some of the emotional slack through empathy and support – it’s what friends do.

You’re in an enviable position compared to many others. You’re position sucks when compared to others. It doesn’t matter one bit because the only thing that’s important is how you find your own balance in the midst of this life we live. Imbalance is great, it makes you appreciate the balance when you find it and it’s also the way we figure out just how messed up we are – as compared to ourselves and no one else. Don’t judge your insides by someone else’s outsides.”
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Sinus Weather

The final solution Brain pain this evening from, seemingly, the cold air outside today; when I breathe through my nose the innards of my head hurt. Headache and general grumpyness have ensued. I hope a long hot shower will help sort things out.

It’s been nearly three years since my last sinus op, and i’ve been doing pretty well, all things considered (I am “a very allergic young lady” as my consultant fondly referred to me).

I know that Winter is the season where my nose is more at risk of getting fucked up and so I try to be careful, taking my medication every day and making sure my nose doesn’t get too dry (dryness leads to nosebleeds and infection). It’s not been a problem for aaages and I don’t think anything’s going to flare up any time soon which is good.

Made muffins (remembered to buy flour!) and had two with a cup of tea and Sherlock on the iPlayer; not quite a balanced meal but whatever. Medicinal purposes and all that.

Had a bit of a weep towards the end of Sherlock courtesy of poor Dr. Watson swooning in shock at the sight of his best friend on the pavement; horribly brilliant acting from Martin Freeman.

Post-shower I think i’m going to stuff my ear plugs in (thanks inconsiderate wankers I share a building with) and crawl under the duvet with Patrick and read. We are going to be snug bugs together yay!

[image]
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Semi-conscious confessions

Interesting fact: During the last decade (i.e. both of my toxic relationships with The Monster and MW#1), I never told any significant other that I loved them. Not once.

I used to lie awake in the dark next to them (they always slept very well!) and ponder whether I could at least whisper to their sleeping forms how I felt. Sometimes I thought I might burst the feelings were so strong, but I never did say, never even a whisper.

I was afraid.

I longed to be loved as I loved them. I couldn’t bring myself to tell them how I felt because I thought they wouldn’t feel the same; my feelings were inappropriate, and best not disclosed. I never told them I loved them, they never told me that they loved me. I did love them, very much, but those relationships were terrible, terrible things. I’ve learnt from the experience, and I am determined not to repeat the mistakes I made.

Things are going brilliantly with Coppell, who, so far, is everything The Monster and MW#1 were not. He satisfies me intellectually, sexually and emotionally to depths that I didn’t think were possible and I am still astonished at the happenstance of his existence. He helps me be more confident in expressing my feelings, so things that I would get massively angsty about in the past are no big deal. At all. Which is new, and still difficult for me at times (I can’t cope with your amenability and warmth goddamnedit!), but I try my best to let him know how I feel, even if I can’t always find the right words.

The thought of him being in my life is exciting and ridiculous and beautiful all at the same time. He sort of makes me feel all fizzy inside, I guess would be the best way to describe it? Fizzing inside and going eeeeeeeeeee.

I’m still afraid however. I doubt myself, the relationship, the future, just as I fizz and eeeeee and bounce up and down.

Sigh.
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Great questions of our time #964:

Can you love someone you’ve spent only fourteen days in the company of?
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Music Break – “I used to love the rainbow”

Darkness
Leonard Cohen
from Old Ideas (2012)


Cohen. Awesomesauce.








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Overexertion on the coffee front

I’ve thought this for a while but I think that me and coffee do not always get on the bestest. Around three mugs of strong (real) coffee during the day appears to be a bit much for me to cope with; I get exhausted quickly and need a lie down :)

Why should this be the case? Perhaps it’s the sugar or poor hydration? Some days i’m fine, some days i’m most decidedly not. Perhaps to do with underlying tiredness? Fuck knows. All I know is that today I was jittery after coffee with Flambé and after dinner with McCy this evening i’m knackered.

Home to Patrick and some hard core hot water bottle loving. At ten fucking thirty on a Saturday night. I am o-l-d.

MeFi – Why does caffeine give me a paradoxical effect?
MeFi – Caffeine knocking my ass into bed
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Super Nails today


*So* pleased with my handiwork on these!

China Glaze Metallic Muse and Mavala Flashy Violet plus Konad m60 equals fabulous. Look, I even did the classic holding-the-bottle pose :D

They’re not as perfect as most of the manicures you see on Teh Internets but they make me happy. I’m easily pleased… in some ways at least… :)

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Repeat after me: Sex “addiction” DOES NOT EXIST

When will people – and that includes the media – finally realise that sex addition does not exist. Period. Compulsivity, perhaps, poor choices made repeatedly? YES.
“It’s the way a diagnosis of sex addiction is used to somehow absolve men and women (though mostly men) of all responsibility for their actions that is, in my opinion, the most malign feature of the sex addiction industry. Many of the true believers reject all the science and research that confronts their theories and work desperately to find ways to justify foolish, self-destructive choices and sexual behaviours. They blame these choices on neurochemicals, porn, a history of sexual abuse and myriad other factors, all of which can help us to understand how and why people make the choices they do, but none of which, ultimately, takes away control or personal responsibility.”
Telegraph – Why there’s no such thing as sex addiction

I’ve written about this issue before; I think of sex “addiction” as actually being poor choices made repeatedly by people who are sometimes, but not always, impaired by mental health issues. The topic pisses me off because it combines something i’m passionate about – ending the shame and hangups associated with sex – with the idea of personal responsibility, which is another concept i’m pretty hot on…

Marty Klein summarises brilliantly:
“I don’t treat sex addiction. The concept is superficial. It isn’t clearly defined or clinically validated, and it’s completely pathology-oriented. It presents no healthy model of non-monogamy, pornography use, or stuff like S/M. Some programs eliminate masturbation, which is inhumane, naïve, and crazy.

Oh, I observe people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and a few other exotic states. That accounts for some of what laypeople call ‘sex addiction.’

What I mostly see instead of ‘sex addicts’ is people who are neurotic or narcissistic. They can’t quite believe that the normal rules of life (‘tell the truth,’ ‘all behaviour has consequences’) apply to them. They make promises they intend to keep—but then they want relief from frustration, or loneliness, or anxiety so much, they are unwilling to keep their promises, even promises to themselves. And some ‘sex addicts’ just can’t come to terms with having one, relatively brief, life. They want several lives, so they can have everything.”
Sexual Intelligence – An Epidemic of Sex Addiction?
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“That’s bone…”

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Hypothetical Boundary Crossing



Interesting conversation with Coppell yesterday. I found myself thrust into being a spokeswoman for monogamy, which is something I never thought i’d be tasked with. At the very least I would have appreciated a well designed business card.

He was interested in – hypothetically speaking – whether my experience of having a great time with him (and Meathead) at Christmas would be affected if I found out he was seeing other people concurrently. I found the whole conversation *difficult*, especially when combined with my feelings towards him. I couldn’t fully understand why he was bringing the idea up, and the hypothetical quickly became intertwined with the emotions I feel in a new relationship that is conducted across an ocean.

I’m going completely on trust, as is he. I definitely feel insecure in how things are, particularly as Coppell applies his version of logic on to a “problem” as he sees it, but so far has not proved to be fully adept at understanding and appreciating just how this complex brain of mine works. The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma etcetera etcetera.

That we had a great time together is a fact. He found it hard to grasp how the fact of the great time in each other’s company could be altered by the change of context surrounding the fact. The feelings created from our time together (e.g. enjoyment) would therefore be changed.

Am I not-so-secretly going out with a cute, superficially in touch with their emotions, arrogant prick?

I don’t think so. He lacks perspective at times and needs further exposure to me to understand the nuances. But no, not a prick. More time is required together… I feel that, because of the distances and time apart, the relationship “proper” has barely got started.

I told him that if I found out he was seeing (fucking, in love with) other people I would consider this a betrayal of what we’d agreed upon, and that it would be a total fucking disaster. Polyamoury has a logic to it that monogamy does not, but my understanding of the reasoning behind having multiple partners is a looong way from feeling secure and confident enough to even consider inviting anyone else into a relationship.

His interest in polyamoury, partly stems I think, from what I would describe as the somewhat claustrophobic, limiting experience of his previous long-term relationship.

I’m not her. This relationship isn’t the same as the last. For either of us.

I’ve asked previously if my lack of comfort with regards polyamoury is something that would mean he’d rather not continue the relationship; i’ve said that i’m not comfortable with putting the idea into practice at the moment, and that I may never be. I’ve asked whether if I never felt comfortable being polyamourous it would be a problem for him. He’s said that it’s not a problem, that he doesn’t want to put any pressure on me, and that it would be fine if I never felt like sharing our relationship with anyone else.

I am totally open to discussing ideas, but when he’d already said that I should feel under no pressure about polyamoury, to bring it up smacks of agent provocateur-ism: for its own sake. When i’d clearly set out my current thoughts and feelings on the matter, did he think he could persuade me into accepting his idea? Good luck with that :D I don’t always prescribe to his world view; we are not one person.

When I say that I am not comfortable at the moment, am I just trying to make myself appealing to Coppell, or am I being truthful?

As an Art teacher, I know that context is everything. The whole and the component parts. Neither art nor people exist in a vacuum; we are all a product of our experiences. He often uses the phrase “life’s too short” when considering an issue or problem. I agree with the sentiment, but it’s like by saying this, it’s avoiding proper reflection, moving on too quickly without necessarily paying attention to the details.

It’s like when Flambé says “Onwards and upwards…” after an emotional blow: it negates the validity of his feelings, his hurt, and that pisses me off no end. My feelings aren’t necessarily rational, but they’re there, and need to be acknowledged, not managed.

Anyway, open communication with Coppell will continue. It’s not a huge issue, just something i’ve been pondering over the last couple of days… and months :D

Despite all of my pondering, I still *can’t wait* to see him…

Eeeeee :)
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Music Break: “Kiss me, baby, let me hold you tight”

Bim Bam Baby
Frank Sinatra
1952


What a fabulously joyous piece of Sinatra.

Perfect “twisting around my room in my pants” music.

Thanks Jones & X.Ray.
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Anglo-French-Chinese Afternoon

Highly enjoyable afternoon in the company of Le Grande Homme Brum and La Rousse; much fun telling them the Coppell story (they knew nothing) accompanied by yummy dim sum at the Southbank Ping Pong and wine and charcuterie at Terroirs near Charing Cross.

I love dumplings and charcuterie so win all round; it was really nice to spend time slowly drinking a glass of wine and nibbling on high quality meat :) Would definitely go back to both places (must take my Mum), though Terroirs is a bit on the pricey side. Good to have another option when in The Big Smoke.
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Mixed Plate

A rather mixed day of of lows and highs at work today. Lows: One of the Sixth Formers was very upset this morning when she came into my class; I asked her if she’d like to talk to me about whatever it was that was causing her tears.

“I’ve had a miscarriage”

was the *very* unexpected reply. I was dumbfounded with this answer and so all I could tell her in response was that I was very sorry to hear that she’d had to go through that, inquire as to whether she was okay and whether the people who needed to know knew. I sent her to the toilets to have a sob and collect herself and told her that she should give working a try for ten minutes or so and see how she feels. After she came back she managed to work solidly through the lesson; I guess she appreciated the repetition in Photoshop.

I passed on the info to her form tutor (my boss) and expressed my astonishment; I didn’t know she was pregnant, didn’t know whether she wanted it etcetera etcetera. My boss spoke to her later and it turned out that she’d not known she was pregnant, but instead had a horrendous bleed at home that scared the shit out of her. She told her Mum and together they worked out that she was over a month late and so she was probably miscarrying. What a shock to the Sixth Former and her Mum. Fucking hell. Anyway, her Mum was understanding (hurrah!) and she’s spending the weekend eating junk food, hugging hot water bottles and generally loving herself.

In the afternoon I had a chat with another Sixth Former who is getting a lump removed from her breast in a couple of weeks; I talked about my experience, what was involved, the procedure when being anaesthetised, what the scar was like. She was obviously scared about it all and so I was deliberately positive yet honest when describing everything, including what will happen if her results turn out to be less than positive. She said she was feeling better about things after our talk hurrah, and this in turn helps me feel good. I like to help when I can :)

In more happy news (definitely a high) I was HUGELY excited to see my birthday present from Coppell had fiiiinally made its way across the Atlantic and into reception at work; i’d become convinced it was lost somewhere during the Christmas rush (I felt rather sad at this prospect) and thus I was SO pleased to see that it had arrived in one piece.

Inside the carefully wrapped, brightly papered parcel was a treasure trove of WTF and fabulousness. He’d attached little hand-written notes to each package that hinted at the contents within and I found myself inwardly squee-ing at each message. One of the things he sent me was a giant Texan flag (I was very pleased with this) and as it’s brightly-coloured I decided to hang it up in my classroom; it goes well with the giant albino giraffe sculpture and the bird made from wire :D

Anyway, the box of goodies and the notes cheered me up no end- i’ve only worked four days this week but i’ve felt so tired and washed out. Sets me up well for the weekend- Meeting up with Le Grande Homme Brum and La Rousse for lunch in Lahndahn tahn on Saturday; it will be lovely to see them both as it’s been aaages (ships in the night and all that).

Going to go for dim sum which I am well looking forward to (I love dumplings!) at the Southbank and then perhaps take in a film or wander over to Tate Modern. A nice day is in the offing. Then it’s back home to slob out for the rest of the weekend- No family members asking me if i’m okay, no-one pestering me… Just books, the internet, breakfast at lunchtime and relaxation with Coppell via video.

Hoo-fucking-ray.
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“Reluctantly crouched at the starting line”

The Distance
Cake
from Fashion Nugget
1996

Heard this whilst driving around with Coppell somewhere in Pittsburgh; I hadn’t heard it an the longest time, and it was *so* great to hear it again. And sing along badly whilst lap drumming. Good times!

Ah, 1996… I have it on CD single :)

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Withdrawal

It’s only been ten days since I last saw Coppell but I am missing him (and the dog) already. Lame-o.

When i’m at work i’m pretty busy so I tend to think of him off-and-on through the day during quieter moments, but it’s when I get home that I find myself missing him the most. I’ve spent only fourteen days in his company, but he is so very comfortable to be around, and I miss that “comfortableness”. The boring stuff such as waking up next to him, squishing together on the sofa, his amusement at my getting cross and excitable at things on TV. Walking the dog (codename: Meathead). My excessively brightly-coloured clothing contaminating his vanilla in the dryer.

It’s over a month until there’s the possibility of being in the same room as each other, and it’s odd to say but I think the month ahead is going to be just as trying as the two months+ that passed between when we first met and seeing each other in Pittsburgh. It’s like now I know what i’m going to be missing out on.

What I thought and felt about him in four days is amplified after fourteen; I thought he was awesome, now he is awesomer :)

I am dork.
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Break Fast Fail Two

Porridge oats with oat and wheat bran plus a couple of teaspoons of hot chocolate powder and milk? Still tired, still hungry. Must keep trying…
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