Thursday, February 28, 2008

And the winner is ...


It is actually tomorrow here, and we kept mum up way past her traditional cocoa time to make the draw. She tried to cheat and pick Millie, but we kept a very close eye on her!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

From the country that gave you Dustin the Turkey ...

Due warning

Because I am now required to do paid employment on Friday 29th February, the draw for the St Patrick's day giveaway will be held on Thursday 28th February - tomorrow!

There are two reasons for this:

1) I really need to get the parcel posted (if it has to be posted) before the weekend if possible, and doing that on Friday is now ruled out
2) I don't trust me mammy to do the job unsupervised, you've all swelled up her head so much with nice talk.

So just to recap ... tomorrow, tomorrow, TOMORROW!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Me Mammy!

With a dead bird on her head

(in case you thought it was Dustin the Turkey revisited!)
((she sings better than the turkey))
(((she once sang with Sir Cliff Richard)))

She's not got the IT skills to reciprocate!!

It's working again now!

Every year the countries across Europe compete in a songwriting and singing competition called the Eurovision Song Contest. Of course, our anally retentive neighbouring European countries take it all very seriously.

This is Irelands entry this year, chosen by telephone poll just last night. How many times did YOU vote Cosmo??

The 'song' is written and 'performed' by Dustin the turkey.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The maths

With the draw being made on Friday morning, I've been having a look at the maths involved. There's
  • a 1 in 4 chance the parcel can be hand delivered to the winner
  • a 1 in 3 chance it's going to end up in Houston Baptist
  • a 1 in 6 chance it will go to someone Irish
  • a 1 in 6 chance it's going to Nancy (Dana tipped me off)
  • a 1 in 12 chance it will end up in Canada

You can still enter here. I'm think I'm going to let my mum make the draw, there's not much excitement in her life since she gave up the extreme sports!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Miserable Part 2

I'm sat here with a tissue stuffed up each nostril again. It's not even a fortnight since I shifted the last dose of the cold and here I am again, feeling pretty miserable and extremely sorry for myself :-(

Even the thought of the English being hammered by the French in the Six Nations tomorrow doesn't really cheer me up!

The investing types should investigate shares in Kleenex.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I forgot the worst 'p' of all ...

... but was reminded in glorious technicolour just before breaktime - puke.

Yes, I had a puker. But by the time it happened I was already so far gone I was able to cope admirably.

To put the days events in context, I should explain that for the last number of years of my teaching career, I headed up courses training young people over 16 to become nursery assistants and classroom assistants to the 7 and unders. Read the books?? I'd flippin' lectured on them! And I'd seen Kindergarten Kop and Daddy DayCare too many time to mention - I was so qualified for this job!

Yeah, right.

School started at 9am, and believe it or not, it took me until breaktime to mark the register. In fact, it took me to breaktime to work out exactly how many there were in the class, such was their speed.

Hokey toot, what next but someone snuck £2 dinner money onto the teachers desk during the course of the morning. 'Who put the dinner money on the teacher's desk?' Blank looks. 'If you put the dinner money on the teacher's desk, could you put your hand up?' Immediately 12 hands shot up, and then 2 seconds later the remaining four went up when they realised the rest of the class had their hands up.

I never did work out whose dinner money that was. Eventually, I cut my loses and took the money to the school office, apologising for not knowing who had paid it. 'Ah' said the very patient lady in the office ' did no-one own up to owning it?' 'That's just it' I replied 'they ALL owned up to owning it!'. The good news is, everyone got fed anyway.

Having spent the morning marking the register and sorting out dinner money, hooray! - it was nearly breaktime. All I had to do to get the class ready for break was to feed, water, toilet and dress them for outdoor play. So I started a good half hour in advance of the break bell, and I managed to pull up the last coat zipper just as the bell rang for the end of break.

We got into routine after that and when it came time for dinner, my class were still last to get there, but they were only just last! With the added bonus of only and hour to go after lunch!!

Until the P4 teacher arrived down to tell me that when my class went home at 2pm, I was to take her class for PE... For and hour... Outside.

Money well earned today people!

Monday, February 18, 2008

What have I done

As you probably know, I work as a substitute teacher. In other words, if the regular teacher is off work because they are at a training day, ill or just fancy a sickie (Pluto), then I come in and teach the classes.

I taught for 17 years full-time in a school for 11-18 year olds, although laterally I was involved mostly with post-16 courses. Since I started subbing, I have been employed exclusively by special schools for children with moderate learning difficulties aged 11-16.

Tomorrow I have agreed to do a days work in a primary school. Teaching P1s (over here thats 4 year olds)

Now, I don't own a four year old, so in order to prepare myself for the event I did a bit of research amongst friends and neighbours that do. I needed to find out important facts like can they read (not much), can they write (just scribbles), can they do complicated algebra (you're having a laugh ... ) and most importantly, can they go to the toilet and all that stuff by themselves.

Then I texted a friend who used to be a primary school teacher. She's due to start chemotherapy tomorrow and I wanted to wish her well, as well as give her a laugh at my impending predicament. She sent me one back saying she wasn't too sure which of the two of us were going to have the worse day, but she reckoned it would probably be me. Thanks pal ;-)

Please Lord, don't let anyone poop or pee their pants in my class tomorrow.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Today is the day!

My kids have been in traning for this event for weeks. They know every word of every song, (from both 1&2), every dance move, every line of script, every throw of a basketball.

The t-shirts are ironed, even the make-up has been selected. They couldn't be more ready.

Which is good, because at 5 o'clock today it should all come together, when we go to see the long-awaited 'High School Musical - the Ice Tour'.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The great St Patrick's Day giveaway!

OK, it's a big risk, (nobody might post!) but I'm going to do it anyway:

I've been inspired by the generosity of Nancy Mon, and have decided to offer a giveaway of my own! Next month we celebrate the day of our patron saint, and in honour of all things Patrick, I have a parcel of some Irish goodies to give away to someone.

My children are off for half term today, so we made collecting items for this parcel our project for the day. We've had great fun; everyone got to choose things to put in (be warned!) and we hope whoever gets the parcel has great fun with it too.

Just to give you an idea of the contents, there's a photo journal of Irish travel experiences, a CD of traditional Irish Airs, a short DVD showing scenes from Northern Ireland, some Irish linen, a sample of the best Irish whiskey and a variety of party items and nic-nacs (and no, that's not the Irish word for undergarments!) to get your St Patricks Day celebrations off to a good start.

Depending on the behaviour, I might actually include one of my kids in the parcel as well.

So, if you're interested all you have to do is post your name (and of course a comment!) in the comments section for this post and we - it's a family affair now - will make the draw on 29th February. That gives us plenty of time to ensure the parcel gets to where it has to go in time for the big day ... and yes, I will 'ship' to anywhere in the world!

Do maith ocus líth dúib!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I hope you dance

10 years ago this month, Marie Keating, Ronan's mum, died as a result of Breast Cancer. In 2004 he released this single to support Breast Cancer Care in her memory.

I love this song and I see a lot of symbolism in the lyrics: do I partake in life and it's opportunities, or do I sit on the sidelines, envying those that do?

Am I afraid of the mountains in the distance - those 'great' things that are expected of me, things that I feel unequipped to handle. Do I risk failure? Do I risk making mistakes for the opportunity to do something amazing?

And if I am successful, am I humble enough to stand beside the ocean and still feel small...

Every day we have the choice of sitting out or dancing - and most of the time we might choose to sit out - usually to our regret.

I hope that today, you danced.

Monday, February 11, 2008

To obey or not to obey?

When we got married (nearly 12 years ago) we made a decision not to have the word 'obey' in our wedding vows. Lets face it, we were just being realistic ... we both knew each other well enough to realise that even if we did promise it, with the best will in the world, it was never going to happen!

What did any of the rest of you do?

When he was sick with a tummy bug last week, I was reminded by my husband that actually, if I'd wanted to be really honest about the whole thing, I should have left out the 'in sickness' bit as well.

He casts this up every so often. It stems from the first night of our honeymoon in St Lucia, when I woke in the early hours to find him missing and the bathroom light on. Turned out he had a very bad dose of something very bad, and, once I had established that, I went back to bed and left him to it.

Apparently I was supposed to hold his hand and mop his fevered brow!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

So, I was tagged:

Dana did it. And now I have to do some stuff according to these rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I found one difficult as my desktop is beside three bookcases, all crammed full. With books of at least 123 pages. However .... in preparation for our trip to the States at Easter, I am currently reading 'Notes from a Big Country' by Bill Bryson:

(for context) Some time ago, as a way of dealing with the increased threat of terrorism, America's airlines began requiring passengers to present photographic identification when checking in for a flight. The first I heard of it was when I showed up to catch a plane at an airport 120 miles from my home. 'I need to see some picture ID,' said the clerk, who had the charm and boundless motivation you would expect to find in someone whose primary employment perk is a nylon tie. (end of context)

'Really? I don't think I have any,' I said and began patting my pockets, as if that would make a difference, and then pulling cards from my wallet. I had all kinds of identification - library cards, credit cards, Social Security cards, health insurance cards, airline ticket - all with my name on them, but nothing with a picture. Eventually, at the back of the wallet I found an old Iowa driver's licence that I had forgotten I even had.

'This is expired,' he sniffed.

'Then I won't ask to drive the plane,' I replied.

And now to tag five other people. I have a distinct disadvantage here, because I'm unsure I know five people with blogs, never mind five with blogs who read. But I tag:

Nancy because she does some pretty interesting writing so I'm sure she does some pretty interesting reading
Cosmo because he is just so clever
Jessie who I stole from Cosmo's links because I often sneak a peek at her blog, she reads and I had run out of people to tag!
Alice who needs to blog more
Pluto even though Dana already tagged him because he needs to read more

(oh, PS. I cheated. On the page numbers. Some of the right numbers are there, just not in the order instructed!)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Spring has sprung!

I went to bed last night and winter was howling round the eaves of the house, I woke up this morning and it was spring!

Birds are singing, crocuses have pushed their heads above the ground, buds are bursting and children are playing out in the street.

In fact, so mild is it today that I went to watch the mini-rugby this morning in just a jumper!

(and Pluto, before you say it, of course I was wearing more than just my jumper - what I mean is not wearing my usual gortex coat!)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why men don't listen and women can't read maps

My husband bought himself this book this week. I can't believe such a blatently blasphemous title - I am a qualified mountaineer; show me a map and I can instantly point out any local feature of interest such as a shopping centre or a coffee shop.

I had a wee flick through it this morning to see what other kind of lies and rubbish it spouts, and was interested to find a short section entitled 'How to motivate a man to action'. This, I thought, might be useful and so for the edification of readers I will recount:

Apparently, when a woman ask a man to do something they say 'can you take the rubbish out?'. The man, apparently, interprets the question literally and hears 'do you know how to take the rubbish out?' thus believing the woman to be questioning his ability (what's so wrong so far??)

To motivate a man, apparently you should ask 'will you take the rubbish out?'

I don't know about all this mumbo-jumbo: 'take the fecking rubbish out' always works in our house ;-)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pancake Tuesday

I was on a promise to make pancakes for breakfast this morning. Not crepes, 'proper' thick pancakes (also known as drop scones)

So, when this morning hadn't quite dawned, I was eagerly reminded by a small pair of cold hands in the small of the back that today was the day and I had promised ...

Recipe for fool-proof, early morning friendly pancake mix:
  • 225g/8oz plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 25g/1oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml/1/2 pint milk

Alternatively, Tescos have so many of the things they're selling them.


My seven year old had me take her to the shops today so she could buy a Valentine card. For her boyfriend.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Don't tell Pluto I told you this one ...

Pluto recounted this story to me the other day about how he and his missus were lying in bed listening to the next door neighbour's dog barking. It had been barking for hours and hours. Suddenly he jumped up out of bed saying "I've had enough of this". He went downstairs.

When Pluto finally went back up to bed his wife said "The dog is still barking. What have you been doing?"

"Ah," he said "I've put the dog in our back garden . Let's see how THEY like it !"

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sexism in Sport

My daughter is the only girl in her tag-rugby team. This does not concern her, and from day one of her attendance at mini rugby, it has not concerned her team mates either, even when she breaks into Irish dancing steps during lulls in play!

Last week my kids had away matches against a rugby club in another city in our Province. When they arrived and started their warm up, the opposing team all took great delight in whooping and laughing at the girl on the visiting team.


She of course heard them. I was a bit annoyed that their coaches didn't say anything to stop them from making their comments, but hey, a bunch of no-brainer men in charge - what did I honestly expect? I was also concerned that she would be upset and refuse to play. But only for about a minute!

Being her mother's daughter, she went out there and kicked them where it hurt (although unlike her mother she did it metaphorically, not literally) She managed to tackle and de-tag one of their team in the first few minutes of the match, thus shutting up her critics with a well applied dollup of skill.

Go Dolly!