Friday 1 January 2010

2009 in Review

In spite of blogging about poor old January being a nothing month and saying I would not treat it as such, January was a bit of a nothing month. I did buy a new digital camera, but I was exhausted after spending my Christmas holiday writing audiobooks. I had my first painful gallstone episode.

It was a month of extremes. I went from this -

to this -

We had the worst (or best) snow I can remember which led to a surprise 3 days off school, though I had to dig the ice off the street to get the car out and then the suspension went....whilst at the front of a queue of traffic. I watched some films, notably Kidulthood/Adulthood, and knitted wrist warmers and a summery hemp top.

Then I took the summery hemp top to Hurghada for a week with Mother Hand. It was windy, but sunny. I snorkelled and got sunburn, and we visited a Bedouin Village and went on camels.

I also had another couple of gallstone attacks, went to the GP and got referred for an ultrasound. And I bought a new mattress. It's fab.

We had the murder mystery weekend for KS3 gifted and talented. We were pirates

and did some orienteering at Corsham Court, which was fun. It was a beautifully sunny weekend, and as such that is how I remember March being - beautiful and sunny.

My BFF Jen had a baby, Abi. Sib found a luscious houseshare in Shepherd's Bush.

Easter holidays meant SKIING! In spite of a few teething troubles with the coach, it was a phenomenal week and I felt like I barely saw the kids (although I didn't sleep especially well). The food in the hotel was excellent, and it was bright sun all week (got a sunburnt scalp)

except for the last two days when it snowed and snowed.

Awesome. Discovered Scattergories.

Funny stories of the week came from one year 12, who skiied down the mountain on the sunny Thursday and kicked his skis in front of our deck chairs, spraying snow everywhere - except, they weren't oUR deckchairs and the people sitting in them were students from another college....and one of the girls was only wearing a vest top. Bwahahaha. Then the same year 12 and his friend, who left school right before the trip to join the army, were up very late one night and I heard them go into their room (opposite mine) with the year 13 girls. I gave it 10 minutes and then went and banged on the door. Cue shushing. Banged again. More shushing, and then one of the boys opens the door in his boxer shorts, in the dark, pretending to be all sleepy. Like, der....I'm not an idiot, or deaf.

Came home with a cold the sixth formers had been suffering with all week (undoubtedly my punishment for spoiling their fun), and so hunkered down at home for the second week of the holidays, trying to mark coursework. Worst bit of teaching.

Had another small gallstone attack at work but managed to stave it off with a brisk walk. I concluded I was allergic to lightly cooked leeks...and had an ultrasound.

Got Ultrasound results. Gallstones, but my stupid GP told me I wasn't ill enough to be referred onto the hospital. She told me to lay off the fat, even though I told her that not following a low fat diet (ie, while on holiday) did not trigger it.

Went to visit my BFF and her baby. She was in a blind panic about the baby having had jabs and being off her milk, but the second day was calm and it was great to catch up.

BUSY BUSY BUSY. I spent a day in London preparing the mark GCSEs, then rushed back to Bristol for the online standardisation of my team (first year as team leader) and then straight down to Brighton for my friend Beccy's wedding.

The wedding was beautiful. They are a really good match. She's working in Australia for 4 years so it was nice to see her again. I got sunburn, but not on my face because I had MAC foundation on.

I really should be more handy with the suncream....I am certain to end up with skin cancer.

Then my tutor group lovelies, who had belonged to me for 5 years, left school, and I was sad, and went to their ball,

(No ball pics yet, because they're at work and I don't want to wait that long to publish this entry! I wore the same outfit as for the wedding anyway, just with a huge, fresh lily in my hair)

but I wasn't feeling great. I thought it was stress because the year 9 gifted and talented conference I was organising was coming up (14 schools on a 3 days residential...) but then I stopped being able to eat and went back to the doctor who finally agreed to refer me for a gallstone discussion.

That was Thursday morning. On Friday afternoon, after driving home from work bawling in pain, pausing only to vom up the 2 segments of satsuma I'd tried to eat, I was admitted to hospital and put on morphine. On the last day on June, the first day of the conference I'd spent all year organising, I had a 3 and a half hour laparoscopic surgery to remove my pulsating gallbladder and the stone which had become lodged in my bile duct and made me turn yellow. Fun.

First 2 days spent in hospital - this was the hottest week of the year. I was utterly miserable and barely slept, thanks to the heat, noise and ward lighting. When I came out I couldn't move much and stayed at home for a week and a half. Went back to work for a couple of days, and then went down with swine flu. Thoroughly bored by that point.

End of term came round very quickly, yey! We finished on a Friday and on the following Tuesday Mr Z and I flew to Vegas for our summer holidays. On the last day of July, we were driving to California at the start of our road trip.

We saw this huge and very cool windfarm just as we crossed the bottom of the Sierras into California.

We spent the first 10 days camping around central California and visiting national parks.

Here we are on our way back to camp from Yosemite Valley. It was my 31st birthday - we were on the most godforsaken campsite east of Yosemite (ie, high in the Sierras) and it was too windy to have a fire for longer than was needed to cook dinner, so I drank some wine

and went to bed - and watched the tent being blown around all night, praying it would hold up. The next morning it snowed, and the wind snapped a tent pole while we were out for the day, so that was kind of a low point.

Then we moved on (after regrouping in a cheesy Carson City hotel casino) and hung out around Reno and Tahoe which I LOVED. Best campsite, too - we saw a bear. I did some more of this -

and finally got to visit Jimmy Beans Wool in Reno, who impressed me by being so very friendly. In fact, Reno in general was awesome. We spent a final few days at the Sugarloaf Motel in Virginia City which was really fun, before returning the Vegas for a few final holiday days. Father Hand and Frankie took us out to dinner at Texas de Brazil, which was an unparallelled dining experience.

After getting back, I went into work to see my tutor group get their exam results, and Caroline came back with me and we tried to go to the Banksy exhibition - my third attempt. The queue was many hours long. I never got to see it.

Back to work. Much shopping was done; I am always in the mood to shop when it's the new term. We kicked off with the challenge days - blah. The second one was better than the first. I started studying for Geology GCSE on Fridays after school with a bunch of year 9s and rediscovered my inner geek (not that it had really ever been missing), especially with homework.

More work. Really busy, as usual. Half term came around and I went to see Sib in his new Shepherd's Bush pad. I shopped at London haberdashers' and caught up with old friends, including Stu and Kerrie, and Zoe and Leila from school, and Trish who I used to work with on the chatlines. Cake was consumed. A polka dot doormat was purchased. The mitten has enjoyed sitting on it -

She likes to take her favourite catnip tea bag out to the mat, where she can get purchase on it whilst chewing any dregs of catnip flavour out of it.

One of my knitting projects was featured on the project pages of The Knitter, who featured the Get Knitted Knatterers as their group of the month. I got to write the blurb about the group, too. I was extremely excited! Mr Z took a picture for me, which became my new profile pic on Ravelry.

The first two weeks were manically busy, as I prepared for Malaysia. We had an inset day at the start which I spent at another federation school, doing a good session on learning to learn and a pointless one on Merlin. I then spent two weeks trying to set up my cover - Ian says I set a new standard and was very impressed, thankfully.

Then, Malaysia.

Then back, and for a week I was destroyed. I was fine in the day but fit for naught by 7pm. This served to ensure the final weeks of term passed extremely quickly.

And here we are. It has been a sociable month, full of knitting groups and ski trip buddies dinners and school Christmas party and catching up with the girlies. I had another weekend away at Braeside with key stage 4 AG&T. I have knitted three hats and started to feel bad about the number of WIPs I have on the go. I got Christmas cards from girls I took to Malaysia, which was sweet. A plan was hatched for an Iceland field trip in 2011 which I will get to go on, because I study Geology (knew that would pay off). It snowed again, but after we'd broken up from school so no time off was forthcoming, boo hiss.

And we saw in the new year with Ben and Kirsty, doing a 60s themed murder mystery. Much gin was consumed.

2009 was a great year, all things told. Here's to 2010!

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