Sunday, July 28, 2013

Last Week and on to Vacation...yay?

I am officially on vacation for the next six weeks. Due to my complete lack of plans, this does not excite me as it should. *sigh*

On the brighter side of things, there has been happenings.


I worked. No, seriously, I did. At my favourite school to boot doing Nursery. I basically got paid to babysit. It was awesome, made even more so because I totally didn't expect to have any work at all this week, what with it being the last before summer vacation and all. Plus, it was great being able to see all the kiddies one last time. *sniffle* I really do love the little rascals.

Kate Middleton finally had her baby. The new prince (and potential future king) is named George Alexander Louis. Isn't he a cutie?

Of course, given the average lifespan of a British Royal these days, it's going to be a good long while before he ever sits on the throne.


Christa and I made the trek over to local library and got our memberships sorted. Their selection wasn't the greatest, but there are several other locations so we have other options.

I spoke with both Moynul and Nicole today. Nicole's working out an MIA pay issue and Moynul was letting me know I'd be going back to my favourite come September at least three days a week. Colour me happy, LOL.


Remember those "other options" I mentioned concerning the library? Christa and I went ahead and checked one of those options out. It had a much better selection, better organization, and a better building to boot. If it weren't such a pain to get to (both Tube and bus were involved), it'd be promoted to Go-To Library, no contest.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I received some sad news recently; my mom's best friend, Linda, has died. Linda was a remarkable woman. I remember hearing stories about how she danced at my parents wedding and did the limbo like her spine was made of rubber. About how she became my mom's friend is high school when my mom was the new girl at school with the funny accent. About how she dragged my mom into water skiing (which lead to my mom being black and blue just in time for her first date with my dad) and taught her how to drive (a complete disaster, I'm told) and sail (they totally capsized). She was a legend, through and through.

At some point, Linda was misdiagnosed with MS and I can't remember a time when she wasn't in a wheelchair. After a decade of living under the assumption she had MS, Linda learned she actually had primary lateral sclerosis (PLS), a rare neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness in the voluntary muscles. She never let it slow her down though, raising her son, Sean, even as her marriage fell apart and her health continued to fail.

I used to play with her son as a tot and when I was twelve, it was Linda who came with my mom and I to find me a dress for my elementary school graduation. She was fun and she stubborn. She was daring and funny and brave; a true role model in every sense. She was the sort of person you wish you could be and, failing that, you could raise your daughter to be. The world's suffered an immeasurable loss with her passing.

SAID the Lion to the Lioness-'When you are amber dust,-
No more a raging fire like the heat of the Sun
(No liking but all lust)-
Remember still the flowering of the amber blood and bone,
The rippling of bright muscles like a sea,
Remember the rose-prickles of bright paws
Though the fire of that sun the heart and the moon-cold bone are one.'
- Edith Sitwell 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The New Digs

And now, ladies and gents, boys and girls, may I present my new digs! Because, really, we all know you've been dying for the picture tour, have you not?

So without further ado...ta da!

So, clearly, I've missed living in a yellow house because here I am, once again, living in a yellow house. One day this will no doubt be my claim to fame: the woman who lived in yellow houses her whole life. The front yard is basically stone, no green except the odd flower. That window on the right? That's my bay window. Christa's room is right above me. You walk through the gate, up the stone path to the front door, and walk through into...

This little entry way. There's a little area there with two doors on the left, stairs on the right, and the kitchen dead ahead. You see that door? That lets you close off the little area and behind it is the cupboard under the stairs where the vacuum is kept. No Harry Potter though. I checked.

Remember those stairs on the right I mentioned? There would be them. At the top are the three doors for the three other bedrooms (Florian's, the smallest, is straight ahead, Erik's is on the left, and Christa's is on the right)

So, you walk into the house and there are two doors, as I said, on the left. The first one opens into this - called a "water closer" - and it's basically a sink and a toilet.

And through door number two on the left is the shower. Just the shower. And nothing but the shower. It's light and fan switch is outside the room, in case you're wondering.

This is that infamous "little area" as seen from the kitchen. Because, um, you know perspective is everything and all that.

The kitchen and dining area (right side). In that cupboard on the far right are all the pots and pans and plates and bowls and cups and glasses and so on. The table, as you see, fits three. And, oh, look at that - a red checkered table cloth. Isn't that quaint? 

The kitchen and dining area (left side). The drawers of cutlery are first, followed by two mini-fridges. We each of us have our very own mini-fridge - these two belong to the guys, Florian and Erik. The stove is a bit old but functions well enough and the small cupboard on its right holds some small appliances like a sandwich toaster and a slow cooker. Then there's the washing machine and sink (unseen). We each of us also have are own cupboard - mine is the first one to the right of the water heater, Christa's is above the drying wrack, and the small cupboard above and to the right of the stove holds communal stuff.

That white appliance that's mostly cut from the picture is a dryer. And that white appliance sitting on the counter is a microwave. Two things my old place did not have that I have missed terribly. It's nice to have them back. The two fridges pictured are mine and Christa's and, unlike those of the boys', ours have freezer compartments, thank the gods. Mine is on the left.

Pan out a bit and, oh, what's this? It's a television! I now have access to a television! I can watch Dr Who and Sherlock LIVE people! *sniffle* It was a happy realization.

The couch area - not a fan of the colour scheme but, hey, at least it's soft and comfy. And, really, when you're sitting there I don't think your attention is meant to be on the couch anyways.

The backyard. It's a bit on the dusty/dried out side but, hey, at least I'm not expect to tend to it. I have enough trouble trying to keep potted plants alive. 

And now the part you've all been waiting for...MY ROOM!

The much talked about bay window. The drawers where I keep my clothes and, as you can see, the roosting place of Big Mickey, Simba and my CCG teddy.

The bed, where Ollie sits. I have my Prom picture of Daddy and me, my cell, some Tylenol, a book, an alarm clock, my Newfie Moose, a note block, and a lamp on the 3-drawer night stand. There's also a chair tucked into the opposite corner. Just because.

The some of the room, like the closet. And also my Alchemy Gothic fairy calendar.

Desk, the Ikea chair, a lamp, and the closet. You can see the feet of the Mickey collection on the shelves, along with some books, drawing stuff, writing stuff and movie stuff. Clearly calling this the Hobby Area.

AHA! And I bet you thought I was done showing the window area! But, clearly, I'm not because here it is again...only now with a radiator...just because.

My door with Westen the Owl hanging as guard. Also a mirror, lamp and corner of the Hobby Area.

The Hobby Area! With my books and Mickey Mouse plushie collection and DVDs and...stuff!

 Open the closet and you get...a sink! And shoes! And toiletries! OMG!

And, also, I may have photobombed. No idea how that could've happened...

And, you know, you get clothes too when you open the closet. Because, um, yeah, it's a CLOSET. On an unrelated side note, I need more hangers.

And there you have it, boys and girls, the new digs!

Moving Day!

Finally, at long last, I am free of passive aggressive Post-It notes and condescending Facebook PMs. I will no longer be growled at or have my attempts at conversation met with curt, vague answers. I will no longer need to hear iPod music being blasted or be haunted by the Friends theme or have random people turn up to spend the night on the couch without so much as a heads up. Ah, freedom. Somebody, quick, call the Munchkins and cue the song!

Okay, so technically, it should be "witches" since we're talking about two people here but you get the idea.

I am officially moved out! I have to fork over £300 towards the last rent and I have no doubt that they will stiff me on the return of my deposit but sweet lords it's good to be free!

On Friday night, I dragged poor Christa over to get the keys and hear the official moving in spiel from the landlady. We made two trips that night carting my stuff over. Christa then slept over at the old place so that Saturday we could get going ASAP. Big shock - as soon as I left with the first load that morning I got a text reminding me to leave the keys or else I'd need to make a trip back to return them. Like, no, really? I never would have realized that without the timely reminder. *eye-roll*

We only had to do two trips (and I did in fact leave the keys behind). I then made a trip with Christa to her place. Ironically, we got all the way there and she realized she'd forgotten her keys for her old place at our new place. Thankfully, her roommate was around to remedy the problem. Christa had still been in the process of packing so we only made the one trip and then ordered pizza from Dominoes.

Today I've been to the grocery store and finished my unpacking while Christa made two trips with her stuff. Unfortunately, it takes about 3 hours per trip so it's slow going. One of my belts (the one I use most, of course) has gone MIA but everything else is accounted for. I have oodles of storage to work with so it's a huge change from the old place.

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship, LOL.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jamie and Lori Visit!

So, my aunt works for one of those companies that every now and then rewards their top sales people with cruises. My aunt is a total all-star so, no big surprise, she won the cruise this year - a Mediterranean tour, if I recall, for her and a guest. Obviously, my uncle was her guest and decided to make it a twofer: prior to embarking on the Mediterranean company cruise, they opted to first go on a cruise of their own choosing going around Northern Europe (Russia, Finland, Sweden, etc). Want to take a wild guess where they spent the three days between the two cruises?

My Uncle Jamie and Aunt Lori...obviously not in London, LOL.

They came to visit me and I was totally, completely psyched out!

SUNDAY. They arrived, coming in on a British Airways flight to Heathrow. I met them outside their hotel (which, FYI, could have used a bigger sign or...something to help it stand out from its surroundings - I actually missed it twice) just off of Bond Street. We walked from there up to Trafalgar Square and back again, chatting and catching up, while I pointed out some of the more spectacular sights and some of my favourite haunts and then we grabbed supper at Bella Italia. I can't begin to tell you how awesome it was to see them, to have that little taste of home brought to me. I felt the urge to pinch myself a couple times just to be sure they were really, truly there. Turns out, yup, they really were - how cool is that?

MONDAY. I had to work so the plan was to meet up with Jamie and Lori afterwards outside of Ripley's Believe It or Not. I just had to text them when I finished work to be confirm the plan. So, naturally, on my way to work Mr. Hip locked, I fell, the phone went flying and, presto! I ended up with my cellphone's screen shattered. And for those of you playing at home, that would be my smartphone with a touch screen which, obviously, no longer functioned with its screen turned into one giant spider web. Needless to say I had to rush from work to the nearest cellphone seller (in this case Carphone Warehouse) and buy a new one. This time with an insurance plan to cover it should it be dropped again. Grr.

Went on to Piccadilly Circus. Lori texted to let me know they'd relocated to a coffee shop across from the Ripley's gift shop. You know what's almost impossible to find if you don't already know where it is? Ripley's  had to ask the Ripley's guide hanging out in their lobby for directions. We went to a pub off of Leicester Square for supper - Bear & Staff - and caught up on their day.

TUESDAY. This time around we met up along the Thames, right by the National Theatre which proved a nice bit of luck with where my bus dropped me. Jamie and Lori had done oodles of walking that day so it was good that the restaurant - Nando's - was just a bit further up the Thames. Afterward we took the Tube back closer to their hotel and walked the rest of the way. I got presents, which is always nice (snowglobe, doll-like knicknack, Finland socks, two pairs of shorts and a jean skirt). They flew out the next morning so parting that night was beyond bittersweet. I was so totally homesick afterwards but I wouldn't have traded those three days for anything! My only regret is that I had to work and couldn't have had the whole day with them.

Christmas (and my trip home) cannot come too soon!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

iDay and House Hunting

So, iDay was a dud. Or, to put it another way, I went, I saw, I did not conquer. Sniffle.

I arrived at the Institute of Education (it's over by Russel Square) at 8.40 Monday morning after spending 20 minutes playing lost and found in the surrounding area. Because I'm that kind of awesome. I interviewed with four of the five schools I was scheduled for, the fifth having filled its positions earlier in the day. The interviews themselves went well but, alas, I did not seem to be what they were looking for. Got to love coming in second. A lot. At least I still have my GPS so, you know, silver lining and all that.

How did the interviews work exactly? Well, essentially I sat in a room with other teachers waiting for consultants to come find me and direct me to the little cubbies where the school reps were interviewing. The interviews were pretty basic - strengths, weaknesses, opinions, processes, etc. - and went pretty well in and of themselves. We were served lunch (salad bar and buns with a choice of lasagna or some kind of vegetarian stew, steamed veggies and potatoes), which was pretty awesome, and I'll be paid for the day so, all-in-all, not to bad a day just disappointing results.


Friday night, Christa stayed the night. We ordered Chinese and watched Kindergarten Cop. On Saturday, we went house hunting. We had three appointments set up, all in the Wembley area since the prices are a mite cheaper up there.

#1 - Wembley Central
We had to go back three times because the landlady was a bit of a flake. Finally got inside to see it was caught in the middle of construction and, oh yeah, the two rooms she was advertising? They were in different houses. FAIL.

#2 - Wembley Park
It was on top of the world's steepest hill so right there I was not a fan. The house itself was something of a slum with tape on the windows, dirt and grim on every surface, stains on the beds I'd rather not think about and...well, I'd prefer just to forget the entire viewing. *shudder* I wouldn't have been the least bit surprised to learn there were rats nesting in the walls. I exaggerate nothing. FAIL.

#3 - Alperton (pictured above)
You know what they say about third time being the charm? Turns out it's true. The location was great - within walking distance to both the Piccadilly and Central lines, close to a Sainsbury's superstore and around the corner to several good bus routes. The house was clean, spacious, and nicely decorated. The landlady was friendly and understanding. And perhaps the best point of all? It had two bedrooms available and one was downstairs. WIN!

We signed a 6 month lease that can be cancelled anytime thereafter, made £400 deposits each, and need only to pay first month's rent before moving in next weekend and we're set.

My new room (just because I can):

Yup, that's a sink, boys and girls. And that window? It's a bay window. I've always wanted to have one of those! Also, the bed clothes are included and I think the drapes are just kind of random. As you can see below, there are a bunch of seating options AND a desk and OMFG I HAVE SHELVES! I'm totally counting this as an improvement in accommodation. Oh! Oh! OH! And you know what else? It's £50 cheaper a month than my current place with all the bills included save for the electric/gas bill which comes quarterly. 

Talk about your good news, bad news weeks!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Old Friends

Had a pretty great week, let me just say that right off the bat.

On Monday I was sent to one of not-so-favourite schools. Remember my second day when I went to that school out in the far off at the end of the tube line? Where the bus took forever to pop up and when I finally reached the school it was a disorganized mess with a rude secretary? Guess where I got to go again! *sigh* I was in a different class - year one this time - and the munchkins were fantastic but the organization was still a disaster and the commute was still a pain in the butt.

The rest of my week, however, was spent at that pretty awesome Catholic school I've mentioned before. All four days were with the same year four class - although Wednesday afternoon I did PPA coverage in Year One and Year Two. Thursday I had Monday's iDay confirmed and got a random call from Moynul checking to be sure I was still alive, LOL. Friday was awesome. The kiddies watched Hop in the afternoon so that was nice and easy. I got the list of schools I'll be interviewing for on Monday and they all seem pretty cool; I've even supplied at one of them before.

Friday night I went out with Nicole. As in Nicole-I-went-to-CEGEP-with Nicole. She's doing a stint as a docent at one of the WWII museums in France. I can't remember where exactly, but it's one the beaches for sure. Anyways, she'd taken advantage of her recent vacation time to hop the Channel and visit Jolly Old England. Friday night we met up and it was like the years since we last saw each other never happened. Very cool.

We went to Shepherd's Bush and saw Now You See Me - which had a truly surprising twist that made the whole thing awesome squared. We then grabbed lunch at Spaghetti House over in Westfield Mall and end the night by walking back to Turnham Green. On Saturday we met up again and did the whole tourist thing. We checked out the British Museum, then wandered around the Piccadilly, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square area checking out all the sights. We were planning on seeing a show, but everything was pretty much sold out - including The Globe and The Lion King. We ended up seeing Despicable Me 2 at The Empire in Leceister Square. It was very cool.

Today I went over to Christa's to use her printer and put my portfolio together. I've been working on some lesson plans for awhile now so it was nice to finally get them out on paper. I'm beyond excited and nervous for tomorrow. Cross your fingers and wish me luck, peeps!