Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Tuesday Ten

Ten Places I Want To Visit

1. Machu Picchu.
2. The Maldives (although I suspect that, now I am older and enjoy an active holiday, I would enjoy it less. Lots of snorkelling would probably help, though.)
3. Santorini.
4. Rome, Tuscany...lots of bits of Italy.
5. Alaska, and Hawaii. The outlying bits of America.
6. Brazil, ideally for carnival.
7. Iceland. I can't wait until February!
8. Budapest. And Bucharest.
9. Ayers Rock, Australia.
10. The Lake District. It doesn't all have to involve a flight ;)

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Weeknote 25/9

Knitting:
A little of the sparkly hat. I also got some Debbie Bliss tweed to make this waistcoat-type garment, but I am having trouble getting gauge. I am down to a 3mm needle and still at least a st/inch out. I may have to find another pattern for it, or make one up myself. I like the cabled look and it's everywhere this winter; I have some Swarovski crystal buttons to go on it and they have languished in the button box too long, so I am going to cast on for that this week. Hopefully.

Going to:
Brunch, with Parpy Jo. For the first time in months! It was very nice to get back onto the sofas with her for a natter and a mocha.

Bed, early. I caught a bit of a cold this week and it spoiled the first part of the week; I didn't do much at all. By Thursday I was feeling better but behind on my work so I couldn't even make it to knitting group. Sad.

Jamie's Italian, in Bath. My second visit, and this time I had a beef and beet salad (last time it was prosciutto and pear; he likes alliteration, obviously). We went to celebrate Mr Z's birthday, and on the advice of Jonts we went at 6.10ish. He said we'd eat by 7 if we went by 6, but we only waited 15 minutes for a table. Not bad for a Friday night.

Every shop in Bristol, in search of the elusive navy prom dress I want for Parpy Jo's wedding in two weeks. I was thwarted. I found a passable navy dress which I can jazz up, but the perfect red shoes were not available in my size. I should have known, when I had to drive halfway home and park on the street and get the bus back in due to overcrowded car parks, that it was not going to be a lucky shopping day.
I did manage to get an amazing goodie bag from Lush, at least, newly reopened after their refit. And that's just as well, since they have discontinued my favourite ever product, Babyface.

Eating:
Chocolate cake. It was Lou's birthday this week and, as a founder member of UNSC, cake was necessary. Mr Z Googled "best chocolate cake recipe ever" for me and what he came up with...well, it can certainly lay a claim to the title.

4oz butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1 cup strong coffee, cooled (I made espresso for my cake)
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar; beat in the eggs. Sift all the dry ingredients together and add in stages, alternating with the milk. Beat in the coffee and vanilla. Divide between two 8 inch tins which you have greased/lined. Bake at 180 degrees C for 20-25 minutes (one of my cakes took 20 mins; one took nearly 30. I was not good at evenly dividing.) Turn out, cool, ice.

Icing:
4oz butter, melted
2 cups icing sugar
2 tblsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. milk

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa into the butter and mix. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until smooth. Spread about a third of the icing in between the two cakes and use the rest on the top/sides.

Two things about this cake.
Firstly, there's not even a hint of coffee in the finished item. I tried really hard to taste it, but couldn't. It just makes it moist and awesome.
Secondly, the icing looks totally ruined to start with. I beat the icing sugar into the melted butter and when I stopped, liquid butter just oozed out of an unpromising, mealy substance. I started coming up with a back up plan, then added the milk and vanilla, whereupon it transformed into a smooth and delicious icing. Amazing.

Learning:
  • About ePals, this amazing site that connects schools all over the world. I attended a webinar about it on Wednesday night and it sounds like it has real potential. I am hoping to do something with it this term.
  • That small town politics and gossip can have a real negative impact if one allows it to. Better not say more, though. Le sigh.
  • All about a new PGCE course. I am back as mentor again, and remembering all this entails; but it's a different university as the Bath Spa course closed down. The new course leader at the new uni is someone I know a bit. I am interested to see how he does in the role; I considered applying for it myself, briefly, but I think I would miss working with actual children too much. And it would have meant taking a pay cut.

Obsessed with:
Looking at all things Kindle. Unfortunately I don't think it's worth buying one for myself, since I just don't have enough time to read regularly. But maybe I will change my mind. I have also been obsessively looking up Android pads. There don't seem to be many good ones out there yet, though.

Entertained by:
@VizTopTips, my fave follow of the week. I especially liked this one:
SUPERMARKETS. Delight and appal grammatical pedants simultaneously by opening a "5 item's or fewer" till.

The return of Dancing With The Stars. David Hasselhoff and Bristol Palin. It has a lot of potential. And Strictly's back properly next week too! Huzzah.

This is England '86. It's extremely entertaining!

Feeling:
A bit coldy, but better this end of the week. Same as last week though: I feel swept along. I don't know what has happened to September. I am pleased to say re-marks are (hopefully) done now though, at least; so my evenings are my own again.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Weekword/Fave Friday Mashup

Allie in Londonland picked this week's word: comfort.

Five Favourite Comfy Clothings

1. My red fleecey trousers. I bought these in Bugle Boy when I was living in Vegas, in 2000, and they really should have gone for ragging now, but there is no way I can get rid of them. They have a small shiny patch on them from where I caught them with the end of a cigarette once, when I used to wear them outside; and the folded over waist band has come unstitched to reveal the cord most of the way around; but they are the warmest, snuggliest things EVER. In the winter they go on almost as soon as I get in, usually under whatever dress/skirt I have been wearing.
Unfortunately, all fleecey loungewear these days seems to be in pastels, or neutrals. I am not a pastels/neautrals person. I will keep looking.

2. Duvet Duck Slippers. I never wore slippers, until I got a pair of these. Like mini foot duvets. Genius.

3. M&S Faux Uggs. I know they are bad for my feet, but they have not collapsed the way real Uggs seem to. However, my mission this winter is to find a more supportive pair of boots that are just as comfortable.

4. Big Purple Treasure Island jacket. Another thing which has lasted since Vegas: Frankie (Father Hand's woman) gave me this when I was living there. It is a quarter zip pullover affair and I sometimes wear it skiing; but it is my go-to jacket if I am going to work and it is tipping it down and blowing a gale.

5. Ancient Cotton Traders jumper. This was once Mother Hand's but it is HOOGE. It has definitely grown over time. It's a heavy cotton knit, navy with a US flag on the front. Carol Smilie used to wear one of Changing Rooms. The side seams have split from the underarms on both sides and I haven't been bothered to stitch them up; but this goes on over the red fleecey trousers on days when I need to feel cozy quickly.

That last once was a toss up between the jumper and an even older C&A man's cardigan that used to be Father Hand's. I appropriated it when he hopped the pond, reasoning that he had no need of it as a desert dweller. However, the cardigan makes me sneeze when I put it on again after a while, so the jumper wins. Funny, though, that I thought of parental cast offs first. I have the snuggliest, warmest woollen cardigan I knitted myself but I didn't even think of that until now. That's got to be something pyschological.

Allie picked a good word this week; today it has finally got chilly. The rest of the week has felt very muggy to me and I have spent the days sweating in my classroom, but today, finally, there was no need to throw open all the windows and I had my first Take-off-your-coat/But-it's-cold-in-here tete a tete with a pupil. I actually regretted not wearing a coat to work myself. Bring on the winter! And the clock change: never are the dark mornings more unwelcome than in these last months of BST.

If you want to participate in Weekword, browse on over to Domestic Scribbles who is ahead of the curve and has already picked the word for next week!

And a big thank you for the comments in the last few weeks. I am not very good at commenting back, but it is on my to do list.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tuesday Ten

Ten Simple Pleasures

1. Enjoying a moment in the morning with the mitten, who sleeps on the front doormat overnight at the moment and rewards me with a purr when I come downstairs and pet her.

2. Lemon squash made with fizzy water. It adds a little something, I think.

3. New knitting magazine. It's calling me!

4. Fresh flowers on my desk. After managing a brunch with Parpy Jo for the first time in months on Sunday, I treated myself to some pink roses.

5. Kids being nice. One of my year 10s showed me how to throw a rugby ball with a spin on it today. Of course, then he stayed outside throwing it for so long I had to keep him at lunchtime...but still.

6. Compliments from colleagues you haven't worked with yet. The principal examiner for my paper is changing, and sent round an email asking who would be interested in the January series. In response to my reply, I received this comment: "You come highly recommended and you must have amazing powers of organisation and dedication." What a nice thing to hear!

7. Not having to blow dry my hair. I thought the Brazilian Blowdry was wearing off, but apparently not. The longer it lasts, the more tempted I am to fork out for it again.

8. Leaves turning. I can see the colours starting to change.

9. Getting an X on a double letter score going in two directions and winning a Scrabble game. Even better if it's on a triple letter score.

10. Being in bed by 10.30. Which is my cue....!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Weeknote, 18/9

Knitting:
I cannot legitimately claim to have knitted anything this week - not one stitch. Fail.

Going to:
Work, for many hours, of many days. This week has passed in a blink thanks to an extraordinarily busy start of the week and a number of extra bits and pieces requiring my attention at the end. My new PGCE student started, and this is my first time with this uni so that took some familiarisation.

Tom and Rhi's new flat in Bath, for a UNSC dinner and celebration of Cara's birthday. We drank many bottles of wine and ate some good risotto and played some cards. Then almost everybody left and I stayed up with Tom chatting and finishing wine and playing Wii until nearly 5am. I cannot remember the last time I did that, but I have concluded: I am too old to do it again for a while.

Eating:
Not quite ready for eating yet, but I made some of Sally Sow & Sew's apple chutney. I hope she won't mind, but I am putting the recipe in here for easy finding next year.

8oz onions, chopped
2lb apples, cored and chopped
4oz sultanas, raisins or chopped dates
½oz coriander seeds, pulsed in the blender
½oz paprika
½oz mixed spice
½oz salt
12oz granulated sugar
¾ pints malt vinegar

Put all the ingredients into a preserving pan. Slowly bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for 1½-2 hours, stirring from time to time to stop the chutney sticking to the pan. When it is very thick and you can draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan so that it leaves a channel behind it that does not immediately fill with liquid, the chutney is ready.
Turn into sterilised jars, seal and cool. Store in a cool, dark cupboard for two to three months before eating.

The kitchen smelled amazing for the duration of the cooking and Mr Z even made me a chutney funnel out of a normal funnel, for easy jar-filling. Now the waiting begins.
Aliboo has even more apples to be used up so I am now on the lookout for new chutney recipes - and I found an unattended crab apple tree in the grounds of a local college so I may copy Sally one further and try my hand at crab apple jelly this week.

Learning:
A new category to replace "Fed up with".
This week, I have learned...
  • how to use a Posterous blog with my tutor group
  • to tie an angler's knot: I am making a nautical headpiece to wear to Parpy Jo's wedding on the SS Great Britain next month
  • that Tweetdeck may be the best application for following a Twitter chat, even though I find it irritating because I cannot learn how to make it update certain columns more regularly than once a minute
  • that there are apps available to do stop motion animation
  • that it is really important to eat a banana before personal training rather than having yet another cup of too-strong coffee.
Obsessed with:
How many more re-marks are going to turn up in my pile before the end of the remarking period.

Entertained by:
The aforementioned stop motion animation. We bought this cushion in Ikea; we've named him Bigot the cat, because I think it would be funny to have a cat named Bigot: imagine calling him in the back garden. Perhaps I have a weird sense of humour. Here he is, playing with Dru.

video

Bigot has a look.

video

Bigot drags Mr Z around while the mitten watches from the background, looking bemused.

The industrious spiders, building webs absolutely everywhere. I came down one morning to see a web illuminated in a shaft of morning sunlight. It was attached to the ceiling, the floor, and the dining table. The spider was busy creating the centre of it and I just didn't have the heart to destroy it. I have a feeling Mr Z may have inadvertantly done this, as it was gone by the time I got home.

Feeling:
Like I am caught up in an avalanche. For all last year went quick, I can well see that this year is going to follow it.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Weekword

This week's weekword was provided by Emma and was "curiosities".

I am definitely a collector. Most people would use the word "hoarder" but I see myself as more of a connoisseur of the interesting and unusual. My most recent acquisition is a wooden puzzle toy from Prague which is a little bit like a Rubik's cube. I keep it on my desk and play with it idly when I am thinking.

My other favourite curiosity is an old porcelain skull which was made by a girl in my GCSE art class, Stephanie. She was making a skull for her final exam and the ceramics teacher dropped it when he took it out of the kiln and glued it back together for her, but she decided to make a second skull and gave me the old one. I keep this one at school and sometimes try to fool kids into believing it is real. Sometimes I even get away with it.

But the as soon as I saw the word this week it made me think about one thing.

(This is a photo of a not-very-good photo so it's not great, but you get the idea).

When I was 14 I went on a school trip to Venice, and we went on an excursion to the Murano glassworks, where I took this picture. I was fascinated by these glass bottles and spent some time staring at them, and looking at the picture when we got back. I just couldn't figure out what on earth they were! And this confusion lasted for years.

I now surmise they are oil and vinegar bottles, which had had the central bulbs filled with coloured sand to make a pretty display for visitors. I'm almost a bit sorry that they have such a dull purpose because I had thought up all sorts of stories.

If you want to participate in weekword then roll on over to Allie's blog on Monday, where the new word will be posted.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tuesday Ten

Ten Pictures from the Summer

I had grand plans for a Tale of Two Cities post about Kuala Lumpur and Prague, but it is languishing unpublished in my drafts and I fear it may never see the light of day; so I thought I would at least share some pictures, before the summer fades into distant memory.

I was very lucky to have a lot to do this year and, although I was afraid it would mean I felt unrested by the time term started again, actually it had to opposite effect: the holiday felt stretched out and seemed to go on forever. I visited, in order, London, Sheffield, Malaysia, Glastonbury, Prague and Portsmouth, and still had time to see friends in Bristol often.



Flowers at the V&A. I went there for the Grace Kelly exhibition the day before the Google thing and passed a couple of hours in the courtyard and around the sculpture gallery while I waited for my time to go in. I know people think we didn't have a very nice summer but we did have some gorgeous weather on occasion!



Thistle Resort infinity pool, Port Dickson, Malaysia.
When it's overcast in the pictures I forget how darn hot it was! This was the adult pool at the hotel, right on the beach, and lovely, until the bunch of young adults turned up and started having wrestling fights and taking pictures of each other. I have concluded, in my two visits there, that Malaysians are obsessed with taking photographs.



Feeding an elephant at the elephant orphanage, Pahang
This one was proactive in sucking peanuts up with his trunk and putting them in his mouth. Others insisted peanuts be placed in their upturned trunks. Very cute.

And then I got to ride one.....



At one point the guide seemed the think the elephant was about to roll over and I had to hold on tight. It was tense. But luckily she remained upright for the entire journey.



Larking around at the Petronas Towers. I think quite interesting results can be achieved by setting the camera on a timer and putting it on the ground, although you have to be prepared for (a) a LOT of bad pictures, (b) funny looks from passersby and (c) the possibility that someone will snatch your camera off the ground mid-picture, though that might just be my paranoia.



Glastonbury Tor, a trip with Mother Hand. She wanted to go. I remembered, when we got there, that I hate it, because I can never figure out where to park. When we found the bus to the bottom, the car park was full; when we got to the tor, we found the bus driver was going on a lunch break and wouldn't be returning for two hours; and when we got to the top, we realised how close it was to walk back. Le sigh.
It is a stunning view though, and a good climb.

I was thinking my hair looks suspiciously tidy in this picture and then realised it was a mere five days after I treated myself to a Brazilian Blowdry in Malaysia. The effects are starting to wear off now but MAN was it easy to handle for that first month.



Parpy Jo and me in Bed, a trendy bar in Prague, just round the corner from our holiday apartment. That cocktail I am drinking was a negroni: it was potent. A good gin-based drink, a comfortable loungey sofa, a requirement to go barefoot and fashion TV: it was heaven.



Messing about on the river. When we spied the pedaloes and row boats we decided to go for it, but I don't much care for pedaloes and so Jo consented to me rowing her around for an hour. I very much enjoyed this; I like a good row, especially when it's the right weather for it, which it most certainly was.



Kutna Hora ossuary. I like this one, because I appear to be wearing some sort of extremely creepy headress fashioned from human bones. The ossuary itself is a fascinating, if macabre, sight; well worth a visit if you're in the area. It felt sort of wrong to be smiling but I do seem to be grinning in most of my pictures there.



From the garden. I like to play with the macro settings and took quite a lot of pictures of our flourishing tomato plants to get some practice. The tomatoes did better this year than ever before, and are still fruiting now.

Next summer: Australia. Mother Hand has been planning it for years so it should be quite the adventure.

Happy birthday Father Hand! 60 today!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Weeknote, 11/9

This week I have been mostly:

Knitting:

the sparkly hat.



It really is very sparkly. I have reached the slouchy crown and am starting to regret adding the cables a little. They look really good and I am very pleased with it, but man, they are fiddly.



I need to man up and get it finished, really. I saw some pictures last week of someone's trip to Iceland this summer and it finally dawned on me that going there in February it's going to be really very cold and therefore I can legitimately knit more thrummed mittens and snuggly hats and scarves. This is A Good Thing.

Going to:
Work. Yes, back to work. It has been quite a good week, but next week is the tough one of the timetable cycle so we'll see.

My personal trainer. She is very good! After an initial consultation last week we had an hour session on Thursday after work. This involved kettle bells and medicine balls and boxing, as well as a lot of sweating and undignified panting in her quiet little garden gym. At the end, she stretched me which was novel and even better than stretching myself. Two days later, the ache has basically worn off but there are certainly bits of me that hurt that have never hurt before, so it must have been good. She's really going to help me get ski ready - assuming I manage to avoid throwing the kettle bell through the mirrors in one of the upward flings and being fired as a client.

Eating:
Not raw runner beans, after I made this mistake last week. The day before my brand new TG started school, we had homegrown runner beans in a risotto, except that Mr Z prepared them in an unusual way by popping them all out of their pods, and I forgot to put them in until the end, so they were not really cooked. Then at 3am I had to get up to be sick. Turns out, they contain a poisonous protein called lectin and if you heat the beans to 80 degrees this increases the amount of lectin by five times, unless you continue heating until they're cooked.
So, first day with new TG was not as joyful as it might have been, and I have learned something new.

I have also been eating damson jam. Mary at knitting group brought masses of damsons to Get Knitted on Saturday and Rosee and I fought over them but both ended up with enough for a good batch of jam. Indeed, I had so much I ran out of jars. Here's the recipe I used.



This is what's left after giving a jar to Aliboo (who may be in for another jar, since there is only so much jam I can eat) and eating what was leftover after all the jars had been filled.
I don't know what testing for pectin involves but it has set rather too hard so I would say, there was enough pectin in it. Maybe next time I will boil less.

It was good to get the old preserving pan out again; it usually only sees the light of day for mango chutney. Today I'm going to make spiced apple chutney using this recipe from Sally, using the apples from Aliboo's dear departed apple tree, which fell over last week. I have also been reminded of a rather delicious runner bean chutney I used to make, which might have to be whipped up in the next week or two.

I've also been eating blackberries from the school field. There are so many of them!

Obsessed with:
Making Google Maps. I have been working on one for work as part of my Google thing, and then I started working on one for myself last night, of places I had lived, and now I am thinking about what others I can do.

Entertained by:
The end of Big Brother. I know not many people watched it towards the end but I always found it quite entertaining and it has been fun the past few weeks, to watch old housemates come and go.
@NewEarthquake - tweets every time there is an earthquake in the world over 4.5, and has a dynamic avatar which shows whereabouts in the world it happened. This is a very cool thing! I have been enjoying it. I had no idea there were so many earthquakes happening all the time.

Fed up with:
Nothing, really. I might take this out of the weeknote headings. I think I must have been feeling whiney when I put it in.

Feeling:
By turns, tired and excited. I'm not managing to get to bed at a reasonable hour and when I do, my mind is churning with school ideas and mental to do lists. It's good to feel the bustle of the new term and to be lifted by it.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Fave Friday + Weekword

I'm shaking up Fave Friday a bit. During my clear out I came across a couple of bits that are no good and don't really deserve house room, but that I am hanging on to for sentimental reasons. So for a few weeks I am going to be taking pictures of them, and blogging them, as my fave items. Then I will have a record of them long after they've been recycled.

But this week - something different again! My Lushie friend Sally mentioned this idea on the forum, that somebody suggests a word each week on a Monday and, if you want to join in, you comment; and then on Friday, you write about the word. The original poster tags someone new to pick the next week's word. I am all about this, except that (naturally) I forgot to comment.

(I find I do this regularly. Like, I read your email/post/text and responded in my mind - did you not get that telepathically?)

Anyway. Sally's word was key, and this ties in a bit with my new idea for Fave Friday.



These are my old keys. They live in a secret place somewhere downstairs and they are only used for opening the back door. As I've got older, I've preferred a minimalist key ring consisting solely of my front door and car keys, but most of these keys are sentimental, and thus are given house room.

That brown fuzzy thing is a fluffy bunny key ring. Mr Z gave me this a long time ago, in honour of my website name.

The bottle opener was added to my key ring some time when I was a silver service waitress. I believe it came home with me from a function room. It was useful for all those nights when Jen and I used to get the tube/bus to evening events and have a Bacardi Breezer on the journey, back when you could still drink on the tube.

The gold key on the left was the key to Father Hand's apartment on Pennsylvania Street NE, Albuquerque, NM. I lived there for 3 months the summer I turned 19, after a messy break up. That was the first time I had stayed with Father Hand for a long period of time since he left. It was one of my favourite summers ever. I slept on the couch and he didn't have a TV, but there was a communal grill right outside the door where he used to make steaks for dinner and then he'd read the news off his computer, and bits from the Straight Dope (I will always remember Schroedinger's Cat in rhyme) and the Onion. His friend Lisa, who was a bit more than that though I naively believed him when he said she was not, would hang out with me all the time and taught me some good frugal habits I still have. Sib came to stay at some point too, though for the life of me I cannot remember where he slept.
(I have just spent nearly an hour rifling through my filing cabinet drawer of diaries and old letters looking for a picture from when the intersection nearby flooded in heavy rain, and Sib pushed a car out of the water. Didn't find it.)
I also remember, about him coming to stay, that we went for an evening walk along the nearby arroyo and we were sat on the edge, Sib, Father Z, Lisa and me, and I lay on back to look at the stars, and then Sib told me a big cockroach had run into my hair and I screamed and Lisa made me stand with my head tipped over and flicked it around repeatedly.

I have a lot of memories attached to that key! Loads more than I realised, or have time to blog.

The fob that says 3-22 on it is from my Halls of Residence, Commonwealth Hall in Bloomsbury. The year after I left they made the 3rd floor boys only so I get some weird looks from later residents, if I ever come across any and tell them that was my room. It was at the end of a corridor. Arran lived across and Karin lived next door. At the end was Luscious Lucy who annoyed us, so one night we spread loads of crisps in front of her door and she came and shouted at us at breakfast.
I was a geek, even then.
I kept this fob. The halls charged me out of my deposit for it, so I don't feel guilty.

I think the big silver one is from Mother Hand's inside front door. I got that when I lived with her after coming back from the States.

The last little one is the front room door key for my third year residence. That was the year I started blogging, so my altercations with the landlady are documented. The front room was a treasure trove of crap leftover from the old lady she'd bought the house from, and we were not supposed to have a key, which is why I kept this one even when we moved out. I might still have a couple of picture hooks too, and a tin of old buttons, but since we didn't agree an inventory while I was living there I think she got away quite lightly.

This has been quite the trip down memory lane! I have been reminiscing for the next part of 90 minutes now. I like a good reminisce of a Friday night. Now I'm going to go and make a Google Map of all the places in the world I have lived, and let the reminiscing continue.

Thanks for the idea, Sally! Can't wait to see what next week's word is.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Goals for September

  • Finish knitting something - I intend this to be the sparkly hat
  • Have a initial consultation with personal trainer lady
  • Clear yarn mountain from between the arm chairs
  • Cut back all dead plants ready for winter (this is one for the end of the month, really)
  • Consolidate the four boxes of stuff on the office shelves into three (or less) boxes
  • Pack up and post this secret swap gift I have been putting together for, oooh, a month. I am the worst secret swap partner ever
  • Post Father Hand Viz and a birthday card
  • Something worky...hum, hum....OK. Clear out and consolidate worksheets/paper pertaining to at least four units of work, from my overstuffed and long-suffering filing cabinet. This might not make much sense, but I get it
  • Complete my Google map of the Oregon trail, with online quizzes to accompany it for homeworks
  • Be in bed by 11pm on a school night, 80% of the time

And I think that will do!

August Goals Round Up

Unprecedented successes this month! I achieved all my goals, woo hoo!

Clear out under the stairs
Done. Every time I do this I throw out a little bit more junk, so it is getting to be a quicker and easier job.

Declutter my wardrobe/drawers and take the clothes that need it to be altered/mended to a tailor.
I quite enjoyed doing this again, even though it made me sneeze, lots. Mr Z allowed me to get rid of quite a lot of shirts that don't fit him and I gave up and put all the clothes that don't fit ME, which I can't bear to part with, in a vaccuum bag down the side of the wardrobe, so the wardrobe is now usable. I also got rid of 2 bin bags of clothes/bedding, and put another (albeit scant) binbag full in the recycling.
I am glad I did it. I would have sworn, for example, that I had 2 or 3 wearable pairs of tights in my drawer. A thorough inventory reveals there are actually 26 pairs in there. I am shamed.
The tailor has fixed my two ruined dresses, too. I had a little middle class guilt about paying somebody to do this for me but, hey, if she has the skills, why not?

Go through my make up drawers and throw some old stuff out.
Done! And I labelled all the lids of my Fluidlines with tippex, too, so I don't spend hours trying to find the one I want.

Knit something. Anything!
I am doing well with the sparkly hat. After having to frog it twice, I finally figured out the right number of stitches and I've now completed about two thirds of it. I'm into the slower cabelling of the crown now, and since it's going to be long and slouchy, it may take a while to finish. But at least I am back into it now.

Inventory/photograph my buttons and buckles stash on Ravelry.
Done. This was lots of fun! Taught me a lot about the macro functions of my camera. The pictures are on my Flickr if you would like to have a nosy.

Clean the cutlery drawer, which is looking a bit grubby, and clean out the old cutlery drawers so I can throw one away.
Done. And I did the fridge door too. Get me, being domesticated.

Have winter coats cleaned (or wash them myself if I can) and sew the button back onto the blue one.
And in the process I discovered that both my winter coats can go in the machine.

Set up my work blog on my new domain.
Make a clear plan for next year with long-term goals so I know what to work towards and track my efforts properly.
Done and done! I have posted my work goals on my work blog, too.

Draw up an exercise program and get started on it in the final week of the month so I am set up to continue when school starts again.
I have been getting back on the exercise track this month. I have been spinning, and to circuits, and of course to Zumba. However, with a ski course requiring me to ski hard for 6 hours a day looming, I decided it needed a little more than that, especially since I find my motivation to exercise usually slips some time towards the end of October; so I am in talks with a local personal trainer. More on that as it pans out, I'm sure.