Saturday, 31 March 2007

Picture post

'Cos I never do picture posts - mostly due to the fact my camera no longer works and I can't afford a new one :o(

Anyway - cruising around the Blogging World I see so many celebrations for babies' first years and I can't believe it!! All you moms must be so proud! I can't believe a whole year has gone by since you were all posting your wonderful news about the birth of your children - and yet it also seems as if so much has happened for everybody in this past year that it's incredible that only a year has passed.

Many of the babies at work are celebrating their first birthday this month and it has got me to thinking about how much has happened within a year for me too. This time last year I was mega stressed (as was the norm for me) about my essay deadlines and then suddenly something dropped and I went "F**k it - I don't care anymore" and I truly meant it. I was very glad about that because the University lecturers went on a nationwide strike and we weren't even sure we'd have our exams and nothing was being marked and that year was worth 80% of our 4 year degree (yeah don't ask me how they worked that one out - I still don't know!!)

Anyhow - it has taken me a year (in which SO much has happened) to change my answer to the question "Was it worth it?" from a resounding "NO!" to a "maybe..." Perhaps in another year's time my answer will be a resounding "YES!"..?

I don't have pictures for the last few months - but I've been blogging about most of those anyway! So here is the past year of my life in pictures - 'cos pictures are FUN!

These were taken on my birthday last year - we went bowling and then played pool - it was fun and a lovely break from the essay writing!!

After my German oral exam I went for a wander around campus and decided to take photos of the areas around the lake (I have many more photos which I promise to share in a later post). This is where I used to walk on my way home from lectures each day - gosh I miss it - it was SO beautiful!

This is a picture of me and some friends taken just after we had collected our graduation garb and before the ceremony! It was one of the hottest days of the year and we were all dressed in heavy, black whatever you call those things, stood in increasingly long queues waiting for our official photos to be taken! Thankfully they handed out water bottles to us all!! It was a good day - my parents had somehow managed to book a holiday for the same week as my graduation so they had to travel down the country (luckily they were still IN the country) to see me. I also had to go out to the shops that morning to buy a white shirt because the one I had planned on wearing was far too hot and had some buttons missing and I had no sewing kit with me!! It was a good day - despite my reservations - and my parents got to meet some of my lecturers which they loved!

Then I had about 3 months to spare - and spent most of it running around the country meeting people, visiting friends and family - but the highlight had to be one weekend when I got to meet some of the members from the online forum I am an admin for. At that stage the forum was less than a year old and we had worked so hard to create a community - helping people to understand the technical stuff, getting through a really rough time full of many disputes etc. After that the weekend was just amazing!!

This is a picture taken in Glastonbury Abbey and is of (from left to right): me; my friend who is kinda like an adotped online mother to me and who has been brutally honest with me in the pastand challenged me to look at myself and grow into who I want to be; another friend from Switzerland who is so like me it is unbelievable; and the board owner who came all the way over from Arizona to meet us all!

This is a picture of another dear friend of mine (also taken in the Abbey) note a) how wet I am - I was not prepared for the rain though I should have known better - this is England lol and b) how short I am compared to most people! In fact, although I had told people I was short and shy in person everybody was shocked at how short and quiet I was! (btw I'm not that short - everybody else is just bigger than me hehe)

Slightly off topic (but who cares) that lovely man you see above sent me this lovely little gift through the post when he knew I was so stressed about uni - he called it Teddykins and wrote me a wonderful little card to go with it! He is a darling and I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends!

Here's Teddykins:

Back to Glastonbury! This was taken in Glastonbury Abbey - and whoever took it seems to have been so taken by the magnificence of it all they couldn't take a straight photo LOL

This photo was taken in the Chalice Well Gardens which are the most amazing gardens I have ever seen! It is rife with butterflies, blooming flowers, crystal clear waters from the well, dragonflies... gosh I could have stayed there forever!! (Note also the change in the weather from the Abbey and the Gardens! Typically British!!)

Just outside the Gardens!

And in Glastonbury town centre itself!

Later that summer I headed to the South of Britain to volunteer at the camp for disabled teenagers. I missed it the previous year so was glad to go again last year! I was a patrol leader for the first time (it was my 3rd camp) and it was a challenging year - well they are all challenging years but this was particularly challenging. Until last year I had worked with physically disabled campers. But due to ongoing ill-health (the reason I had missed the previous year's camp) I had requested a non-lifting role. Of course, I ended up lifting far more than most despite this because I am a strong and confident lifter. But because of requesting a non-lifting role I ended up with one of the more challenging campers who has Prada Willis Syndrome. It was so tough - and add to that I had a camper with brain damage who would have mood swings all the time and all the voluteers in my patrol were new to the camp so took a couple of days to settle in - AND I had a stress and cheese induced two-day long migraine (in which my vision blurred) right in the middle of it - well I was knackered by the end of it. And then I went home to find my sister had been diagnosed with clinical depression and with all of that I eneded up dreaming about it all for 2 weeks - even getting up in the night to do things and waking up in the morning and realising what I had done! But despite all that I am still looking forward to going back on camp again this year - I live to look after others - I love it!

This is a picture of my patrol (on one of the colder days!)

This is a picture taken at the end of our very last Patrol Leaders' meeting - each patrol had one able-bodied and one disabled camper as leaders - whose role it was to meet with the camp leader to discuss any concerns within the patrol and then pass on information to the patrol regards outings, activities etc that the camp leader told us about!

And this is one of my favourite people of all time - she looked after me on my very first camp! And I have written some of my best stories for her! Note how she is well dressed for the disco and I am still wearing my ever-trusty hoodie hehe

And this was my claim to fame in the summer. There is a yearly event in Cambridge called The Strawberry Fair. Anna and I went and had no idea this photo had been take - so I opened the local newspaper the following week to see myself looking out at me - weird!! I told Rhiannon I now knew what it felt like to be a celebrity and open the paper to find that the paparazzi had shot you - and she thought it hilarious!! (Silly 'Manda!)

And this, for the record, is Rhiannon. My mum looked after her when she was a baby 'til the age of 6 and she still sees us and is kinda like a sister-who-isn't ;o) This was us trying to look "COOL" in my sunglasses - or rather Rhiannon laughing at me and telling me I looked ridiculous in my old sunglasses and me trying to tell her she would look cool in them lol

That's it - I've run out of photos - even though that only takes us to about Septembert 2006...

I've been a busy bunny and it's good to look back! Since then I have moved to Cambridge, had two jobs, have lived in two houses and am moving back to Lincoln, have dealt with a "friend" who tried to screw me over (won't go into that - let's just say it made me realise how often I let people walk all over me), and set up an eBay shop and started running an online writer's course which is going so well - oh and I wrote some song lyrics for someone yesterday lol... busy busy busy...

I hope you enjoyed the piccies as much as I enjoy looking at all yours!

Friday, 30 March 2007

It'll be ok...

What a week! One of the girls in our room did her usual trick of not turning up to work or calling or anything - god knows how she still has a job - guess it's cos they can't afford to sack anyone when everyone keeps resigning! Anyway that meant that we were run off our feet most days - and the funniest thing was that yesterday I was convinced it was Wednesday and wondered why the week was going so slowly until someone pointed out it was actually Thursday and I had a wonderful moment when the weekend was suddenly a day closer!!

I had decided not to tell the parents of our babies I was leaving until after Easter - leaving a couple of weeks before I left. I didn't want it hanging over us all for ages - better to just carry on as normal and enjoy my last few weeks. But someone must have told one of the mums cos she suddenly asked me if it were true that I was leaving (in front of one of the other mums I might add) so it's kinda out there now. Those who won't find out via other mums (as many of them work together) will need to be told next week - it's only fair they all know.

Then, as I was leaving work I bumped into another one of the mums who had asked me previously if I'd be staying long-term (this was before I had decided to hand my notice in) and she asked me again if I'd be staying (must have been something in the air today!) and I said no and she said she didn't think I'd be able to. She is one of my favourite mums and her daughter is my very favourite baby I will miss so much (I will miss them all of course - but this one in particular) so it was very sad and brought it all home and I felt very emotional after that...

But it'll be ok. And I've been thinking about it and I am swaying towards one of two things - doing teacher training as a graduate and being paid 4 or 5 grand more than I am now or being very ambitious and trying out an idea which I thought of the other day which I think has potential... I'd rather do the latter I think but the former is a much safer and more responsible choice. I'll do some research into both and see what happens - I trust that I will end up wherever I am meant to end up whenever I am meant to end up there.

I cannot help but keep playing a song by Jewel in my head over and over...

Dont worry mother it'll be alright
And dont worry sister say your prayers and sleep tight
And it'll be fine, lover of mine
It'll be just fine

And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery and you shall lead
A life uncommon

Ive heard your anguish, Ive heard your hearts cry out
We are tired, we are weary but we arent worn out
Set down your chains 'til only faith remains
Set down your chains

And lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery and you shall lead
A life uncommon

There are plenty of people who pray for peace
But if praying were enough it would have come to be
Let your words enslave no one
And the heavens will hush themselves to hear
Our voices ring our clear with sounds of freedom
Sounds of freedom

Come on you unbelievers move out of the way
There is a new army coming and we are armed with faith
To live, we must give
To live

And lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill our lives with love and bravery and we shall lead...

And lend our voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength to that which we wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery and we shall lead
A life uncommon

Funny- first time I heard that song I just couldn't work out what she was singing and thought the line was "Fill your lives with love and gravy" and thought it hilarious! Oh the workings of my mind...

Monday, 26 March 2007

Dream of being unltd!

I feel like apologising for the rather negative feel to my posts of late. I spent the past 4-5 years rather depressed and when things come to shake me up I tend to fall back into old habits... but underneath it all I promiseyouthere is a determined girl witha belief that dreams really do come true!

(Apologies also for the lack of spaces between some of the words in this post - my keys on my keyboard are finally giving up - 4 years of having essays bashed out on them have takentheir toll! I will try and edit the entry soon!)

I've been thinking about which direction I want to head when I move back home - which direction will my heart take me next? I have to say that I am extremely jealous of all the bloggers I readabout - following their dreams of living the life they want - particularly the crafters 'cos boydoI love to make things!! And you all know how much I love the babies that those of you who have them talk about!

Talking of babies - however challenging the past few months of my life have been I truly did create a reality out of my dreams and became a well-respected and well-loved childcarer and know that I have made a difference where I work. I am sad to leave but I do feel now that itis time to move on - I have made peace with that -but where to move to?

I keep coming back to my languages. Whilst at university I began to wonder if I would ever be good enough in my language study to use them professionally - how could I teach if I weren't perfectly fluent? How could I translate when I didn't know this or that...? And WHY couldInot perfect my languages after years and years of devoted study?? I am intelligent and I am linguistically gifted - yet fluency still evades me.

So although I yearned to work with languages I lacked the confidence within my abilities. Thinking about what to do when I return home I am interested in looking into tutoring, adult education and language groups for children who currently are not taught languages under the national curriculum. When I dropped French aged 16 to devote my time to German I promised myself I would carry on my French independently - sadly this never happened and I regret giving up my study! It is hard to make time for productive learningand development when other work takes up so much of your time. So I am beginning to think that by biting the bullet and teaching basic German and Russian - basics which I know incredibly well) I will be able to focus more upon practising - for the be a good teacher you must also be a good student!!

Having learnt languages in school, at university, as an employee in Germany and a international studentin Russia I have experienced different approaches and also often thought "if only there were a book/cd/song/poem which would help me memorise/understand this!" By combining my natural talents - those being languages and writing - perhaps I can find a role in the world that is both worthwhile to me and to others. This is a dream I am beginning to grow - a dream of being unltd - a dream of stepping out of the corporate world and following my heart.

Maybethis will work, maybe it won't. Maybe I'll have the courage to go for it, maybe I won't. Time alone will tell but in itself a dream can be so powerful!

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Fear, Confidence and Self-Esteem

As I'm sure you're aware by now - I lack self-esteem in a BIG way. So much so that although I have a good degree from one of the top universities in the UK I still question how much ability I have in my degree subject and fear doing what might be something I would enjoyand probably be very good at for fear of being "found out" - the Imposter Syndrome!

Low self-esteem has found me unable to be who I am but always striving to be who I believe others want me to be (which is usually not what they want me to be at all!). It has seen me struggle for 3 months to cope with living with my landlady in Russia because I had so little self-worth I couldn't see that she was acting way out of line - in fact even though those around me were irate that she had the nerve to shout at me for 15 minutes whilst I cried just because I didn't know words she thought were "simple" and was always so emotional I wouldn't do anything about it because I believed she was right. Low self-esteem even made my university life a living hell at times asI felt like a complete fraud - unable to achieve the normal levels of language and somehow not working hard enough (and I worked SO hard!) Low self-esteem has even made me believe I was unloveable!

And right now I am finding these Self-Esteem and Imposter issues coming to the fore once more as I think about what I will do when I move home. I would love to teach languages to adult learners and children - those that the curriculum misses... yet I do not feel I am strong enoughin them - even though I have the qualifications... and what if I mess it up? Today I sent my CV to an adult education provider in my hometown who were asking for tutors and expressed my wish toteach German and/or Russian. I would also love to, one day,incorporate writing and literature into my work. It is hard for me to even dream sometimes because my fears get in the way...

So for today I am trying to believe in myself and that I can do this. As my dad says "I cannot understand how someone as clever and talented as you can have such a lack of self-esteem!"Today I am working on it!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

My mum and I

My mum - bless her heart - is one of those mums who devoted/s the whole of her being to her family and I am very, very blessed to have 2 wonderful parents - a father who is so wise and knows that I just have to experience everything for myself and make my own mistakes, however much it might kill him to sit back and watch - and a mother whose response to everything is to fall into "mothering mode" and who cares so much about everybody. But in recent years I have become far more attached to my dad than my mum for my philosphy in life has changed from wanting to be protected to absolutely needing to go out and make my own life. And these changes (along with the normal changes that occur in a parent/child relationship as the child enters adulthood) have caused a strain on our relationship.

I don't say that lightly - I have made a 180 degree turn over the past few years. I went from being unable to do anything, even go to the corner shop alone, to being an independent woman who travels the world to meet and live with random people she has never met and who is determined to learn as much about herself as she possibly can. Yeah I still find these things so goddamn scary I dunno how I do them - but I do! And this change has rocked quite a few boats... and being someone who still craves (and I mean CRAVES) acceptance and respect from others - well this has been, shall we say, hard!

I've spent 4 or 5 years in poor health and rather depressed at times. Somedays the hardest thing would be to get out of bed in a morning and it was only my inability to give in which kept me going - my inability to say "I can't do this" as this meant, to me, "I have failed!" Failure is something that I couldn't face. I feared it - as I did making mistakes. I wanted to be perfect, no I NEEDED to be perfect. Of course I wasn't - and recently I have been learning to make mistakes and that, actually, it's ok. And who wants to be perfect anyway - far too much pressure to upkeep such a standard!

My mum, I believe, is very similar to me in many ways. She is a perfectionist in the home. In fact my dad is a perfectionist at work too - no wonder I picked up these tendencies!! My mum needs to be wanted, needed and needs to be the "perfect mother and wife". It saddens me that my mum is still tied to the home - although I understand the yearning to do that - it's almost like she cannot do anything outside it and that makes me sad. And because of this and because I so desperately want her to understand me and where I am coming from I have, to my shame, tried to change her. I have belittled her, I have caused her pain, I have argued and criticised and I feel so sad that I have tried to project my life onto hers.

This is a very emotional topic for me. These past few months in particular I have needed from my parents support and understanding which I felt was out of their reach, that I didn't deserve. Having decided to go home and through talking to my dad he has made me realise that I was looking at it all wrong - the support and understanding is (and always has been) there - I just had to accept it the way it was given as I want them to accept me as I am. And it is I who have failed to accept, not them.

Just last night I was on the phone to my mum and she said something and I got so hurt and defensive - but you know what? She was right. She was only talking about me in reference to the way I have behaved before.

This going home is going to be so hard and yet so amazing. I feel I am now in a place where I can truly look at my life and my relationship with both of my parents as a couple and as individuals and to begin to heal some of my deeper issues. I am scared and yet I am excited. This long-weekend at home is going to give me time to begin to prepare for when I do go home long-term and I cannot wait. It's going to be emotional - but, boy, is it going to be good.

Thanks for letting me share this with you.

Sunday, 18 March 2007


I feel as if I am in limbo - now that I have decided to go home I just want to be there already but I have to give 4 weeks notice at work. I am only working 2 days this coming week though (due to annual leave) so it will only really be 3 and a bit weeks. But as I am visiting home this coming week it is going to be hard coming back.

I've also been on edge since Friday because I had finalised things with the family and my landlord but still have to give my notice in at work and tell my work colleagues and all the parents, which isn't going to be easy. I just want to get that over with as quickly as possible.

I was thinking I might print off copies of my "Scamp" stories for the parents in my room to keep for when their children get a bit older and want to read such stories - might be a nice (and cheap) leaving present.

Talking about writing - I'm thinking I might try out a writing course/group on the board I admin for to try out a few ideas - I have felt for a couple of years now I should be doing my own thing. When I go back home this week I'm gonna discuss with my dad the possibility of not getting a job straight away and devoting some time to really researching possibilities of using my language/writing skills to earn some money. I believe I can make it work - it is just fear of what others may think of it and it not being a "proper job" which bothers me - and the fact it won't bring money in straight away... I shall have to think about it

The 24 hour prayer that I mentioned a while back is happening right as I type this. I have already done 2 half-hour shifts and have another 2 to do before it is over. We haven't quite managed 24 hours but we have covered 10 hours with people in shifts and a few others have said they will pray with us when they get the chance through the day - so I am really thankful for everybody who has shown an interest in this as it makes all the research into time zones, the preparations, emails with prayer requests etc I have done seem worthwhile. I am just so grateful to know so many wonderful people.

That's about it news-wise for now. I am in the process of packing my stuff away into boxes and bags ready to take home - I know I have 4 weeks left but that will fl by once I am back at work and there is no point me tidying up and then packing later I may as well just start the packing process now.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Going home

I'm in a better mood today - more centred - so am able to write about what's happening rather than just randomly posting a poem - which of course is nice once in a while, don't you think?

I was falling, falling, falling and expecting to hit rock bottom at any moment - and it was getting closer and closer but just before impact I figured out how to use my parachute ;o)

I'm going home.

This is something I tried in the summer and failed at. This is because, as my dad said to me today, I had a bad attitude in the summer. I thought I could do it all. I thought I could have it all. And I thought I didn't need anyone's help. God help me, I was bordering on self-assured bitch.

I needed to come here and experience life at its hardest (well no, not at its hardest but it sure as hell felt that way sometimes) and realise that being supported is nothing to be ashamed of and something I actually crave and need right now.

Yesterday I found myself faced with 3 options:

1) apply for as many jobs as possible purely for the pay and risk ending up in a job that destroys my soul

2) stay where I am and sell absolutely everything of value that I own and cut back on my food spending and risk affecting my digestion which is finally starting to sort itself out

3) go home and take the financial pressure of myself. Find a part-time job so I can pay the parents something towards rent and pay off my overdraught and start to save some money and aim to within a year be in a better position to try living out again.

I have been toying with ideas of using my natural skills to my advantage too - like crafting and languages - but there was never the opportunity (timewise or financially) to really research these either. So going home has the added benefit of this. Plus as my Great Aunty died yesterday it really hit home once again just how little time I may have left with some of my older relatives and how it would be nice to spend some quality time with them.

So, option 3 seemed like the most sensible and for once I was ready to take the sensible road. I spoke to my dad and he told me he would much rather have me at home than worry constantly about me not being able to meet my financial demands. He's gonna talk to my mum about it at the weekend, I'm gonna hand my notice in at work on Monday and I am gonna talk to my landlord about ending my contract with the house when he returns from holiday this weekend. It is really happening - I am leaving work and moving home.

I feel very sad but also ok. I know I need to do this in order to build a life for myself. But, oh, how I am gonna miss my babies - sure there are more babies out there but I can't help it - I broke the rules and got attached!!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007


I am having a really hard time at the moment and hit a really low patch today and I don't want to bring you all down with my moan-fests again so I thought I would leave you with a poem. This is one of my favourite poems - it was within my heart for months before it ever came out and when it did I just looked at it in astonishment for it was perfect (as in it expressed everything I wanted it to).

It came to me once when I was out on a bike ride and saw an evening sunset and felt a stirring, a memory of "The good old days with so-and-so" yet they weren't my own memories. So often when I read novels - good novels - I cannot help but feel I have been there and that I know the characters. This is partly what this poem is about. The rest I shall leave for you to take what you will from it for that is what I love most about poetry - the fact that it is personal and every single person takes something completel unique from it.



I have these memories
they aren't my own
They tell of times gone by,
years before I ever arrived.

I have feelings of being alive
in another town, another land,
and I can recount the times
when we walked to school
through the long grass
and under the sweltering heat
of an indian summer.

These memories are as clear to me
as if they happened only yesterday,
Yet I have never even lived them once
as I am.

But the evening sky and the babbling brook
all speak to me of summers spent
with you.

And the winter scene outside my window
touches my heart as I remember
how we sat by the fire
those long nights of winters past
and dreamt of reaching the stars
one day.

That day is now, but I do not know you
you are not familiar
and yet, something inside me stirs
as I see you, and remember...

These memories of mine
they may not be my own
but I share them with you.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

I wanna be a yarn girl baby...

...sung to the tune of "I wanna be a cowboy baby" (I dunno who sang it I just remember it from my friend's mp3 player in Russia lol)

Around this time last year I decided I wanted to learn to knit (again) and so I bought some wool and began teaching myself the basics. I got fairly good at knitting squares but that was quite boring and it seemed to take me quite a long time to get anything done. So then I tried learning crochet - but didn't have much luck (mostly due to using 100% wool I think). Anyways after various attempts I discovered how easy crochet is - well the stitches are easy - getting a steady tension and the correct gauge is gonna take me a little while.

So as mother's day is coming up I thought I'd try the washcloth pattern - so I toodled off down to Robert Sayle today (the only John Lewis in the country as far as I am aware which has its own name - typical!) and bought myself a range of beautiful 100% cotton yarns from Patons.

I started on the washcloth pattern with my brand new crochet hook (part of a set I ordered of good old eBay) and was doing so well - I discovered that, as with knitting, by using a larger sized hook for my first row I avoided having a very tight first row and then much looser second and third rows...

I got through the pattern guide for rows 1-6 and then suddenly row 7 stumped me *pouts*. I have sat here and tried to figure it out, tried to work out where I am going wrong and why I keep having to undo and redo my stitches but I just can't understand it *sigh*. So I am awaiting a reply from my crocheting friend to give me some guidance... *drums fingers*

I decided I would also try something in a round and found a cool pattern for a table cantrepiece in the shape of a daisy :o) So far, so good - I managed to crochet the round for the centre of the daisy with two different types of yarn and two different hook sizes - but each time I ended up with a few more stitches on my final round than the pattern called for - I am not quite sure where I keep going wrong *shrugs shoulders* But I'm sure I'll figure out a way to adjust the rest of the pattern to suit it.

So I'm gonna go do my chores - like put my uniform in the wash for tomorrow and do whatever it is which is on the cleaning rota and try and tidy my room because I have been far too lazy and haven't even started yet and I must cook some dinner - but then this evening I am gonna come back to the crochet and see what I can figure out.

Oh and also (I almost forgot) I found a candle making kit and two beautiful glass bowls in Oxfam so on my days off I'm gonna have a go at candle making and I'm gonna put the glass bowls aside and bring my glass paints back after I visit my family next week and have some fun decorating them. I do love to make pretty things *sighs blissfully*

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Bit of randomness

This is gonna be one of those posts where I just ramble - so bear with me!

My cough is still driving me insane - but it does seem to be beginning to clear thankfully. All the mums at work were all really sweet yesterday about it - very motherly and concerned. I thought I had picked up the stomach bug as well yesterday because I felt so sick and it was a different sick feeling to how I'd felt all week due to the coughing. It continued to last night and I half expected to spend the night puking - but luckily I woke up this morning feeling fine! *sigh of relief*

One of the babies are nursery adores me and I adore her (not that I don't adore all of them - it's just I seem to have a special bond with this one - I know, I know I shouldn't - but I do!) Anyway I was talking to her mum yesterday and she asked me if I was gonna be there for the long-term as so many of our staff keep leaving and I told her I would like to but I can't afford to and so have had to start looking for new jobs. It kind of made it more real saying it to a parent - and also even sadder. She also told me she has a huge amount of respect for us - which is nice because not all of the parents do and the nursery sure doesn't! She said sometimes she'll come in and think it must be wonderful to spend the day with the babies (which it is!!) but then she'll come in and find them all ill and screaming and us running around between them all and decides actually she'd rather not - lol bless her!

In other work-related news my police check finally came through yesterday so I am now officially able to be left alone with the children rather than having to make sure there is always someone else in the room with me (which made nappy changes difficult). They now know that I have no criminal convictions against me - whoo hoo!

I also told my UC that I thought we should try and learn a few basic words and phrases in the languages of our foreign children. I suggested this would be a good thing for all of us and I have an active interest in it as a linguist. In fact I learnt yesterday how to say "Have a good weekend" in Spanish as one of the mums in my room is teaching me bits and bobs in her language. I also told my UC that if there were any way to take on more responsibility in order to get paid more I would. She suggested that perhaps they should create an "Equal Opportunities Officer" position. I wonder if she'll look into it? I'm not halting my job search for it but I am gonna try my hardest to push them into finding alternatives for me as well. We shall see - short of a massive pay rise they can't afford me - period. I keep returning to my ideas when I returned from Germany of running my own language classes for mothers and toddlers and school-aged children as in the UK languages aren't taught until the age of 11. I had asked the careers centre at uni about this and whether I would need qualifications and apparently not, if I was teaching outside of the education system. I would love to do this but the money is the problem - the setting it up and making sure I get enough people to take part. I could only teach German really - but I thought I could ask at the local churches if I could hold sessions there and perhaps contact a couple of schools to see about doing lunchtime clubs for the children. If I could get enough interest I wouldn't need to charge too much per child to cover my costs.

Ummm what else? Oh yes I have 3 days holiday this coming week and 3 days holiday the week after so I have 2 2-day weeks ahead of me *sighs blissfully* and am gonna enjoy resting. relaxing and going home one week to see my family :o)

And this weekend I'm gonna be attempting to once again sort my room out - seems like a constant battle, doesn't it :o( and crochet a gift for my mum for mother's day which is next weekend here in the UK. I got some new crochet hooks off ebay the other day so all I need now is some more yarn and I can get cracking - I've only recently learnt to crochet so I am very excited to start making some proper projects rather than simply trying the new stitches I've learnt!!

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

It's not my fault...

I've had an interesting day today.

It began with me ironing my trousers on a folded up towel on my bedroom floor because they were far too creased to wear having been in the dryer and I didn't want to wake my housemates by trying to get the ironing board out of the cupboard.

It continued with my almost falling alseep on the bus and almost missing my stop.

And then when I got to work it got even weirder...

One of our babies has been off a lot lately - just last week he had Hand, Foot and Mouth. His mum told us just to be careful because even though he is better the virus can remain in his stools for up to 4 weeks (which I knew cos being the conscientious worker that I am I went and looked it up when I heard he had it). And so today when she came she asked me what colour his poo had been yesterday 'cos this morning it was green and it was green last week when he was ill and she had heard we had diarrhoea going round the nursery. Right now we have chicken pox - which we had a few weeks ago too - Hand , Foot and Mouth, Sickness and Diarrhoea and throat and chest infections in the nursery - in fact I'm coughing so much I'm retching and am very surprised I haven't puked yet. I hate puking - have a phobia of it - in fact I wouldn't eat as a result of it in my early teens and was underweight and had to go to the hospital about it - this is how bad my puking phobia is/was. Since starting at the nursery I have puked and retched so much and dealt with so much vomit that it doesn't bother me as much anymore - talk about facing your fears!

Anyway, I digress! I told this mother that we could call her to let her know how his nappies were when we changed him during the day and her response? "Well seen as though he got it from here, I don't really want to have to take more time off work!" And she said it as if it was my fault her son had caught another bug - um hello, do I look like I have power over these things? Me, the girl who is currently coughing so much her voice is cracking - like I wouldn't stop people getting ill if I could!! Jeez!

A lot of our babies were ill today - one who has been off a couple of days with a throat infection and who is very independent was incredibly clingy today and she cried so hard when I left the room I could hear her from outside the nursery!!! And when I went to give her to someone else she screamed! Poor darling - I felt so guilty when I left at the end of the day!

And then our new manager was really funny with me too. I went to ask my UC if she would call one of our mothers because her son was really upset and he NEVER cries! All I said to my UC was could she call his mum and say he is unsettled, he hasn't got a temperature so there is no need to pick him up but so letting her know. I mean she had already come in to randomly visit him earlier in the day anyway and she used to come breastfeed him all the time. She is a lovely person and takes time to chat to us about our lives as well as her son and our work. She cares and I know she would have preferred to be informed then rather than turning up 4 hours later to be told he'd been crying for the past 4 hours when perhaps she could have adjusted her day a bit to come visit and see if she could figure out what was wrong (I mean she does work on the same site as us - like 5 mins away - it's not like it is impossible). But the manager was reall funny with me and asking what I meant by he was unsettled and why did I need to call the mother and as a working mother herself she knows how hard it is to be put in the position of having to choose whether to leave work early or not. But surely NOT telling the mother when you are 98% sure she'd want to know is not right? And jeez - I am good at my job - I know that when a child who normally plays happily and never cries is crying on and off, really sobbing, all through the day that something is wrong and I know the mother well enough to know she'd want to know about this. This is why my UC has spoken to the new manager to tell her she doesn't want to lose me and they better come up with a way to make it worth my while to stay. I am good at what I do...

And finally, on my interesting day, I have developed some dry, spotty sections on the roof of my mouth and the inside of my lips and my voice is getting worse and keeps cracking completely, enough that one of my colleagues told me she kept wanting to cough out of sympathy lol. So I'm wondering what that is and hoping it goes away cos it's weird and I can feel it every time I swallow!

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

24 hour prayer

I'm currently trying to organise a 24 hour prayer session online with friends from around the world. We did this in my first year at uni - the Hall Fell(owship) in my Halls of Residence got permission to use one of the rooms for the weekend and took all the furniture apart from the desk and a chair out of the room, kitted it out with fairy lights, candles, cushions, a prayer board, pens, paper and bibles and had hour long slots which people could go in and pray for. I remember ending up on the 3am shift and the fire alarm going off in the middle of it. As the fire alarm went off most nights I stayed put lol (I got told of once by the firemen for doing that, but seriously I think there would have been enough commotion if there really was a fire that I'd have known!!)

Anyway I decided this would be something I would like to do again and posted about it on the online forum I post at and there is a fair amount of interest. We are aiming for 24 hours non-stop prayer around the world on Sunday 18th March. And as it was my idea and my enthusiasm for organising things like these I am the one left to organise details, plan the slots etc. I just spent the last half hour trying to work out time zones and when British Summertime and Daylight Savings begin/end and which countries use these etc. It doesn't help that some websites differ on what information they give out. I eventually opted for the GMT website as I assumed this would be the most likely to be correct.

So to make the most of the time zones (as we have participants from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Britain and the US) we are beginning at 6am GMT on Sunday 18th March and going through until 6am GMT Monday 19th. I am soooo excited!

I was wondering if anybody would like to join us? We have opted for half hour slots as we know some people find the idea of praying or meditating for an hour rather daunting. However there is no limit on how many slots you do nor how spaced out over the 24 hours they are.

I've suggested that people also contact me with issues or people they want to be prayed for/about and I will ompile a list and pass it around for people to look at. I then suggested (due to my experiene at uni) that each participant be aware of who is praying when so that they can offer a prayer for the person prior to them at the beginning of their session and one for the person following them at the end - so that each participant receives loving thoughts and prayers too.

So if it's something you'd consider joining in with or you have an issue or person you'd like to be prayed for, please leave a comment or email me (address in profile). Alternatively simply think of us during those 24 hours :o)

Monday, 5 March 2007

Book meme

I found this little meme on my random wanderings through the blog world and thought I'd have a go.

Here are the instructions:

1. grab the nearest book.
2. open it to page 161.
3. find the fifth sentence.
4. post the text of this sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. do what’s actually next to you.

So the nearest book to me (other than my diary - no not the kind with juicy sercrets in - my boring "what shift am I on this week" diary!) was Teach yourself Christianity (which only just beat The Bible by being on top of it and therefore slightly closer to me). What does it say about me that these two books were laying on the floor by my bed under a paper with the job adverts in and surrounded by balls of wool and other odds and sods??

(Here I got all confused and proceeded to post about the 5th sentence on page 160 - d'oh)

Here is the actual 5th sentence on page 161:

Edmund Campion and Margaret Clitherow were canonized by the Roman Catholic Church in 1960.

Now haven't you always wanted to know that???

I wonder whether I should post the preceeding bits of the book to inform you as to who these two people were?! I think I will 'cos if it were me reading this entry I'd be annoyed and have to go googling up the names (which you can still do lol)

Edmund Campion (1540-81) was a Roman Catholic priest who worked hard in Protestant Briatin to sustain the faith of his fellow Catholics. He was betrayed, tortured and condemned to death. When sentence was declared he sang the Te Deum ('We praise thee, O God...'). Edmund was visited in his cell by the man who betrayed him. His own life was in danger and he needed Father Edmund's help. Campion wrote a letter of intoduction to a nobleman in Germany. His betrayer escaped; Edmund Campion was dragged through the streets to Tyburn where was was hanged and quartered.

Margaret Clitherow (1556 - 86), a butcher's wife, was described by her contemporaries as good-looking, witty, merry and caring. She was a devout Roman Catholic who lived in the ancient city of York. Accused of harbouring priests, she was brought to trial. Margaret refused to defend herself in court because in this way she could save her children from being forced to testify against her. She was crushed to death under immense weights. Her hand - a hol relic - is held in the Bar Convent just outside the city walls of York.

Hmmmmmm not quite sure what to make of this meme - these kinds of passages are the things that terrified me as a child - same as when I thought about the crucifiction as a child - made me feel sick thinking what it must have been like.

I thought I would look (out of interest) to see what the 5th sentence on page 161 of my Bible was.

He washed the inner parts of the legs with water and burned the whole ram on the altar as a burnt offering made to the LORD b fire, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Leviticus 8:21

I am beginning to wonder why the theme of sacrifice seems to be throughout all of this. Campion made a sacrifice of sorts by helping out his betrayer. Clitherow sacrificed her chance at a better outcome from her trial to save her children. And then there is a sacrifice made as an offering.

I do not believe in coincidences - or rather I do but I believe them to be occurences which happen to catch our attention and make us sit up and think. So what is this all about? What am I sacrificing in my life and what am I doing it for? I think I need to go think...

Lifelong dream

I've been thinking (and praying) and I know in my heart that the only thing I know for sure that I want in life is to be a Homemaker - loving wife and mother. This is something I have dreamed of since I was yea-high and the only thing I have ever been truly certain of in my entire life (to date).

I've been talking to a few people about it recently and although I am ambitious and I do get bored easily and need to be stimulated - I feel my main purpose in life is to do this. It brings me pleasure to think about it. It hurts that I am still so far away from it. Call me old-fashioned but that is what I feel is right for me and there is no shaking it.

I've been wandering around the blogworld this weekend reading blogs written by people who are where I want to be someday and I cannot wait to get there. And yet there is a fear within me that I will never be that which I so desire. I am a perfectionist, you see. I expect far too much from myself. I beat myself up over the fact that I am untidy and never cook - mostly because I want to be that homemaker who cooks hearty meals for her family and keeps a cosy home. It doesn't have to be perfect - it never will be - and I realise this is not a priority when family is concerned - but I guess I feel a sense of shame as for my mum the home is her life and I never lived up to her expectations in that respect.

My mum and I have a funny relationship. We used to be so close and yet now we seem to clash far more than we see eye-to-eye. Interestingly my mum and Grandma have had a strained relationship the past few years and yet I feel so close to my Grandma I find myself defending her when my mum complains. I feel a great affinity forher - we are like kindred spirits - very much alike and I love her dearly. And she was a fantastic wife, mother and homemaker too - so I'm starting to learn that I need to stop comparing myself to my mum.

But this issue came up for me this weekend because my housemate/landlord's parents came over again to work on the house and his mum cleaned the house and spent a lot of time complaining about the state of it. My mum does that too when she comes to stay and it annoys me when she does it but it is embarassing when someone else's mum does it! Anyway he has devised a cleaning rota and although this is a good thing I felt almost like I was being berated for being lazy and not pulling my weight.

And at the same time I realise that right now I am struggling more than ever to make time for cleaning and bein tidy because I spend almost 12 hours a day most days out of the house working and am ill almost constantly - I never go out and have a life so why would I prioritise cleaning??

I am rambling - I know - sorry! But it just brought home to me my lifelong dream of being this homemaker and wondering if I'll ever make it...

I hope so!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

New Look

I've been unhappy with the way my blog looked for a long time - pretty much since I started it and so today I've been trawling through the few photos I have on my laptop trying to find something to add a bit of art to my blog. I love this picture as it reminds me of a happy summer's evening in my friend's garden. It was a peaceful evening and I happened to look outside and see this scene. The photo really doesn't do it justice - but I just felt so serene and moved looking at it.

I feel it is also rather symbolic of what I have recently being going through - looking at life from a different angle. Instead of looking at the sun and the bird table I happened to look at the shadows they created together and saw beauty. I think that sometimes in life we need to turn around and look behind us to really see what we are missing. Sometimes we are so eager to get to the source of something that we miss the point altogether.

This has been so true for me lately. At the beginning of this year I turned my life around by choosing to see that I was responsible for the way I was feeling. For example - I regretted going to university and not being courageous enough to stand up to others and say "this isn't for me" so much that I missed the incredible lessons it taught me and the fact that others weren't to blame for keeping me there but essentially it was my choice to stay. In another example - I had been making changes in my life and acting differently to before and was angry that others were reacting badly to it - rather than seeing that they were simply confused by what was happening in my life.

I guess the biggest thing this picture means for me is that there is always another view - one I am not always aware of - but one which is incredibly beautiful and makes me go "Ahhhhh!" when I see it. It symbolises, for me, that there is a greater plan in life than I am aware of. Call it God, my Higher Self or whatever you choose to - I believe that there is a greater plan and I simply have to turn around and see. I may be fumbling along, wondering where I am going and what is coming next - but essentially all is provided for. There is an answer - I just haven't found it yet - or I do not see enough of it to make sense of it. It will come and when it does it will be so perfect and so natural that I will sigh and take a little leap of joy.

The photo may be simple - the text may not be perfect - but for me it symbolises where I am now and the ability to dream.

Have a lovely weekend!