Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The world is a strange and unsuspecting place!

Yesterday I was called by an enquirer who, by short, must be deaf, have a weird fantasy about being yelled at in labor or is utterly utterly understanding and forgiving. I am going to opt for the latter right now, it eases my concience somewhat! After trying for the fourth time that day to return her call from two days prior and only succeeding in getting as far as the darned "bleep" before being hunted down and smoked out by "les", I had finally found a quiet space, daddy was home, so there would be no chance of any interuptions........WHO AM I KIDDING!??? I was hiding in the loo and was leaving a message when all of a sudden all hell breaks loose between I and W. They managed to get past daddy, who by all accounts is not remotely connected to the world and get into my haven screaming like banshees about who was doing what, how, when etc etc.

I am mid message, so press the "end" button, deciding it would be easier to sort this out, then call her back. I have had them all week while himself has been overseas on business, I finally think I have a moment where he can watch them and answer these problems while I call back this enquirer.........so i snap! I yell! There is fire, spit, eternal damnation and screeching about how they are going to lose me a client, how I can never find any space to take calls, how my job is never seen as important and my office always seems to become the playroom (or the blinkin' lav!..........I breathe, MrBeehive finally intervenes, calm is somewhat restored........until I look down at the phone which is happily sitting there clocking up the minutes still connected!!

I think the next few hours are beyond scripting. I rang back with a brief apology for goodness knows what she heard of that.....

However.........(see the above!) maybe someone felt sorry finally that I don't have an office any better equipped than the John, in fact that IS it's focal point.

So I spent an agonising weekend, envisaging her knowing multitudes of others, telling them of my incredible outburst, horrendous parenting skills and god knows what else.......after this, I thought nothing else would match......until the outlaws decided to start raking up the leaves as well.

They say that once you get older, you stop trying to please people as much, you say it like it is, you wear purple (actually, I wear it now, so my outlook is probably lower than average!), watching and hearing my neighbour lighting fires in the middle of her lawn on a daily basis, screaming in German at 5am in the morning in the middle of the drive, mowing the lawn at 9pm at night when it is pitch black continually reassures me of this assumption. My FIL managed to surpass all possible understanding of human geneality on Sunday. I am not going to enter into it, suffice to say that his assumptions and lack of tact were outstanding. I am still awaiting an apology before he enters my home in two weeks time......perhaps I will have the telephone demon on standby!!!!

Right, now I need to go back to my previous two posts to start undoing the damage created by this weekend!

Or maybe just a strong Hazelnut mocha will work this morning!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Paradox of Modern Life

The Paradox of Life Today

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.
We've added years to life not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.
These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.
A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.
Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it.
A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. "
author unknown

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Taking a step back

Okay, my eyes are in my PJ's this morning as the clocks have gone back, but try telling THAT to smalls! Their body clocks woke them up at the usual time with all cries for "bix" and "breakfakst!!" (no, not a typo!)

So darling dh has loaded me with caffeine and taken the little beaks to feed so I can try to download my thoughts.

Over the last ten days at school, we have had visitors from Tibet. Two Tenzins have been here creating a beautiful Sand Mandala , singing Tibetan songs and teaching Tibetan culture and thinkings. The encasement of their visit has been about Life being impermeable, life being too fast paced and materialistic and about how we are actually all impermeable. We are in control of how we choose to live life, BUT we must make that choice to actually LIVE it rather than just getting sucked along in it all (well that is the simplistic version!) We are probably all guilty of the latter and it is trying to take time to sit back and enjoy life that is the harder thing to do.

We have school conferences coming up in a couple of weeks time so prior to this I have observed all of my children over this week and last and it has drawn me to the conclusion that my children are very, very different characters and beings, from each other and from me. It has enlightened me to their behaviour within a classroom environment and helped me assess whether the child I see at home is similar or different to the one I view from behind the one-way mirror. It has also allowed me time to reflect on my own feelings of "letting go".

One of the hardest balances as a parent is to know exactly when to take a back seat and just BE the observer allowing for your child to make mistakes or sort out their battles without any intervention from us.

I am accutely aware that for some of my very close friends in the UK, this is the SAT year for our children and my heart is going out to the agonies that they are now starting to face with regards to the changes in their children's schooling this year.

It is hard in the harsh competitiveness of today's society to keep sight of the fact that at six, our children have hardly had time to play and enjoy the world when we are throwing them into school and for many tests and exams already! Pressure is mounting where the authorities and the "powers that be" are expecting children to react and perform in a manner that is probably way above their childish years.

We are suddenly viewing them with new eyes - if s/he doesn't do well in math or language or literature s/he will be labelled for life, s/he will not succeed, s/he will FAIL! But then surely that is just my point: if we give the child this label of "Failure", how can we expect them to perform otherwise. This works on the same premise as telling someone to "not think about the pink elephant!" What are you now thinking of? Kids aren't stupid, they know the red/blue/yellow table is the table for the performing at the "right" level/not performing at the "right" level table. They are sensitive to differences in themselves and their peers both physically and within their mental capacities at school. It is the story of the child called "It"
Conversation in the street becomes centred around how well x is doing at school, where he/she is in the class (by the window??), what their score was in whichever test for the next 10 years at least!
I appreciate, being an ex-teacher, that we, as teachers, need to have an understanding of where children are needing more help or are excelling and gearing work appropriately, it is important for teachers to liase with parents, but the problem I fear is that these baby exams are actually taking over their crucial developmental years, teaching children what the tests NEED them to know, rather than applied learning techniques and skills.
All of a sudden there is no more regard for how well children integrate with one another, how their social skills are developing, whether or not they know that if you take water and pour it on the ground and then jump up and down you can draw out the worms, playing marbles (they're even BANNED in some UK schools!) finding pleasure in rolling in leaves, because under all this, is the 1 hour of homework each night after a 6 or 7 hour school day.

But the pressure is not just on the child, but also on the parents too. No one wants their child to be a failure, no one wants to feel that they could have helped more or done things differently, no one wants their child to grow up resentful that their parents didn't step in to help out. The point is though, to find a balance, to allow our children to find their strengths AND weaknesses, to maybe assist to the point that we are not letting them fall behind and struggle, but accept that perhaps they are better in some fields than others. Allowing a child to realise that they are not always the best at everything and neither do they have to be, is actually setting a child up for less failure later on in my opinion, equally we are showing our support and pride in what they do achieve and saying "it's okay as long as you do your best" - I am open to hear your thoughts!

I think that what I am saying to you is this: take time to observe, take time to inhale. Before you know it your children will be grown, they will most likely be successful in their chosen fields, your duty as a parent is to allow them time to grow and nurture that growth and occasionally, that might be watching rather than intervening.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cocktail mania

It has been a manic couple of weeks. We have gone from having 7 people in the house to only 4! However, I don't know where the time goes. My days seem to be continually full despite me thinking at the start of the week I will get time to write etc etc blah blah!
This week started badly
Firstly I went to a class at the YMCA on Sunday morning called NIA, and acronym for something about neuromuscular something or other. I liked the write up: a cross between jazz, yoga and pilates - right up my alley missus! However, what they forgot to add is that I would be the youngest there, dancing to bloody Barbara freakin' Streisand. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I actually enjoyed it which is the worrying thing and I can fit this into my schedule..... I think time out on this until next week, I'll let you know if I return. Pilates itself is proving a real PITA at the moment as it starts at 11 and ends at 12 and I have pick up at 12 so am finding it a real bind. I am going to attempt Bikram Yoga on Thursday as an alternative.

Monday morning .......I got my first rejection pah! It's not as if I ever thought this first set of attempts would end in a publishing contract, but still, you always have that small glimmer of hope in the back of your mind that someone might like your book as much as you do! I am going on a workshop in NYC in November, maybe the pointers I get there will help. I have no idea really why I want to publish a book so much, other than I really want to achieve something concrete.

I then spent most of Monday sewing puppets for Beowulf or at least trying to help the children sew their own.....which ended up in the former!

I have had an influx of clients as well over the last few weeks with classes and have been teaching twice a week and this weekend I have a half day class and then a comfort measure workshop.

I have also been observing in the classroom this week as we have conferences in November. I always love this part. You stand behind a one way window so they can't see you and you can then watch them and how they are in the classroom. It was I's turn this morning. It was so much fun to be a fly on the wall. She was doing a matching activity at one point, abstract pictures with the concrete object. She picked up a ruler and put it against the picture of the pencil. Then I watched her put her hands over her mouth, giggle, and put it against the ruler. It was like her own personal little joke, she knew it was not the right match and it completely cracked me up, along with her little classmate streaking butt naked through the classroom. Problem is, you have to remember not too laugh out loud as they can hear you!! Apparently she later went on to iron necklaces. I explained that as she never sees me iron (my darling DH does it!!) she has no idea how to iron things!

Last weekend R and T went to watch car racing over at Lime Rock. They had a great day out. It was meant to be a camping event the night previously, but unfortunately it started raining on Thursday afternoon and didn't stop until Friday morning and there was a wind warning issued. The blasted weather is determined to put a halt to this camping milarky at the moment! I sent R along with a set of ear plugs, knowing what a wimp I am with noises and presuming to have psychologically passed this idiosyncrasy on to him. Fortunately he is built of sterner stuff TG!

On Monday afternoon I took W and I dress shopping with me. We have a cocktail party (!!) on Friday night. It is the first event in the school calendar and they generally reduce everyone to mulch with both whaaay too much alcohol on offer and then a slide show of the children at work in these first weeks of school. I decided that this year, as I know the dress code! I was going to splash out. W. was amazing. He is going to be the best husband or partner when he gets older.
"I like that mummy, that's definately you" or "That's you in that mummy but I don't like it!" - okay, so he took the job of "tell me if you think it's me" a little too literally!! I. was too engrossed in her raisins to comment. But job well done I hope!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'll show you mine, if you show me yours!

I am sitting here, chuckling to myself. What a mad and crazy day! The boys are currently in our jacuzzi tub pretending that they are "accidently" pressing the on button!
The day started calmly enough, I lunched - yay, that word IS in my vocabulary occasionally! with some friends today minus our sprogs. The intention was to find time to talk without having to race around after our 23 month olds! We met at a Venezuelan beach cafe! Yet another great little find. After totally whetting my appetite with a freshly juiced carrot and pineapple, I then went on to have black bean pancakes, with eggs, corn, goat cheese and avocado. Another fab gem to add to my list of good little back street cafes!!

On returning home the kids were out on their bikes, I obviously was totally overwhelmed by this "me time" and took Izzy to buy some Halloween decorations. Much to R's complete surprise and totally out of character for me - I have harped on for years about this being a weird celebration for kids and how I took umbridge at celebrating spooks and zombies.......I returned with a polystyrene zombie and huge cobweb that is now adorning our front entrance under the oak tree! Seriously.....I think I am having a lapse in old age!! I. decided to call him Superman and took great delight in sitting next to him on the way home in the car yelling intermittently "me love Superman!" So now "Superman" is haunting the neighbours, hopefully eerily lit up by our solar powered lights too and I have my frontal lobotomy booked!

I's birthday is another dawning for me. As you may know, the Americans go big time for birthday parties, hiring entertainers, musicians, real life fairies, singing ponies, pop bands, half of Tenessee and the cast of Pirates of the Carribean. We, being mere mortals, and me having already done my "off the cuff" thing with "Superman" out front, are not really into this for a 2year old! But, the alternative is a house full of small demanding I's all throwing food and intermittent tantrums......hmmm the choice. TBH I think she would be happy with an obliging guitar man(.....Dan my man, where are you???) playing some songs for her to dance too. Problem is, because it is "the in thing" to provide the world each birthday, prices are ridiculous and way more than my pride, sense or pocket will pay. Not only that, the food they provide is pants - not nutritious and I won't be able to eat half of it anyway due to the lactose..........So, I think I will invite a bunch of her pals, put on some of Dan and laurie and get my dancing kit on!

Finally to round off the day, when we are getting ready for bath and W manages to evoke conversation about why his penis gets stiff as he was kindly demonstrating.........Thus this leads into T decided tonight was the night to tell me all about when his penis gets stiff and and the pair of them playing a "my willy gets harder than yours" card! Okay - I think I have finally had enough for the night! This has to be daddy's jurisdiction surely???

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Mr Dan Zanes and Friends !!!
Just take me right back to the track - Jack!

So, we have been dancing and singing and eating hog roast today!! What a great event. We went upstate to Sleepy Hollow - yup same place from the story! to a Harvest Fest at which our pal Dan was a'playin'.
I think the boys enjoyed it, it was a gorgeous day, but bitterly cold, so they weren't saying much. I. on the other hand, had a great vantage point from my shoulders which were used as a rhythmic trampoline!! He even signed our CD - yay! Not that the kids will care a squat about that. However, T was very concerned about the fate of the poor pigs......until he tasted them. "It is really sad that the pigs have to die mummy, but they do taste nice don't they?" - I don't think this one will be a vegetarian if he can get over the concept of animals being slain for food quite so easily at 6!!
We have just gotten back from climbing too. T. was there with the scouts. It was his first attempt at anything like it and I have to say, although he didn't make it to the top, he has seriously lost his sense of fear fortunately and was definately game! He did however, find it really hard to take that he didn't make it to the top when most of the group did. I tried to explain that he has other strengths. He will never be that athletic I don't suppose, but he is keen and that is what makes good team spirit. Hopefully he will one day appreciate this, or maybe one day he will prove me totally wrong? who knows, but for now, explaining to a 6 year old that all people are different and have skills in different areas is not an easy lesson to teach.

We seen two sets of visitors go off to other parts of the US this week, one set to Boston and Cape Cod where they are hoping to go whale watching and the others to Chicago where I overheard there has been some two inches of snow.....yes, that's right, snow!! This was after i had said that it would probably be cold and windy maybe - and it was about 60 here whilst they were staying - talk about a shock to the system!

A huge thanks to those of you that have given money to the Bwindi fund btw. We have currently raised over and above the target and if R's company double it then that will be fantastic. P and V have said they would use the rest of the money to train another midwife as well as the three trainees for the HIV prevention programme and they will then have money to buy the much needed Nevirapine. Once these people are trained, then Bwindi can become an HIV testing centre, so hopefully reducing mother to child transmission from 30 - 10%. This is such a great thing as Uganda is ravished with HIV. If these innocent children can be given a chance, hopefully education put in place and maybe a reduction in the number of infected people, not to mention infant mortality. Apparently 30 - 40% of children die before their 5th birthday in Uganda - isn't that a frightening thought? The great thing about these funds that you have kindly donated is that you know exactly where they are going and by training these people, after P & V leave Bwindi, the effects of this training will still be ongoing.
Thank you

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Our efforts

This is our winking Jack

And an attempt at something slightly more ferocious!!!
We are now up to our armpits with pumpkin flesh. I have roasted the seeds, turned half the flesh into soup for the next six years and the rest will become pumpkin pie eventually!! Apparantly the Native Americans used to dry the skin and weave it into mats, but I have offered the old Jack o'Lanterns to my sister to use as a portable potty for the car, which she refused, so I think I will just have to let them go at this point. But this is truly a veg of little waste!

Confessions and Jack O' Lanterns

Confession 1:

I am 34 and yesterday i went on my first ever Hay Ride!! We have visitors and decided to treat them to the delights of activities in New England in the fall and a few free bruises to boot. So we piled onto a tractor full of hay and went to "pick" -that is the use of the word pick in the sense of just select, not actually pick off the plant! their pumpkins from a field full of them. Rules of selection were: Pick whichever one you want, as long as you can carry it!! Huh! Some adults are such a pushover. We now have three pumpkins that are at least twice the size of a head and weigh probably 4 times as much!! Today's task is to carve them. There is going to be a LOT of pumpkin pie, so forthcoming visitors, be warned!

Last night we went into the city to the India Arie concert. It was a great concert by her, however, her support act left a LOT to be desired. I cannot abide artists that are confused and don't emit a strong sense of who they are and what they believe. This poor bloke didn't know if he was Ricky Martin, New Order, Gloria Gaynor or a Thanksgiving Turkey! We were treated to half an hour (so that's half an hour too long!) of falsetto, groin thrusting, "woo!" and knee skidding whilst R and I couldn't contain ourselves laughing. Sadly he appeared to have a pretty strong fan base within the audience - and I even later spotted two young girls carrying around prized signed photos. Perhaps it is a sign of old age??!! India herself was fabulous. Such a performer! The sound wasn't great, probably just where we were, but these old theatres were never designed for modern day acoustics so she was occasionally lost by the reverberation of the band.

Confession 2:

My second first was a ride in a yellow NYC cab. I know, I know, tis sad, but I have never hailed or ridden a yellow cab. Okay, so that's it, there is nothing more to say, it was no more or less an experience that taking a cab anywhere else in the world, but I just thought I would confess to having done that!

Today I need to go and prepare my carving arm! We have three pumpkins and to, obviously complete our guests' experience, we are going to make these lanterns. That link tells you all about our bizarre choice to name these pumpkin carvings for children after a stingy thieving folklorist. Hence I won't type anymore for today (RSI and all that!!) It is amazing though these days how much things have changed from my childhood (all together = aaaahhhh!) but gone are the days of pleasure in simple faces dug lovingly out of sugar beet (Dad! I'm soooo sorry, pumpkins are a doddle in the face of solid beet!!) these days children are only content with the best