Friday, 1 June 2012

and breathe

... well it's been a while hasn't it?

This year has been crazy - I've been working such stupid hours that I'm exhausted. Finally, 2 hours ago, as I handed over all my BTEC folders I realised that I can now breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Getting coursework from Year 11s has been nigh on impossible this year. Yesterday, at 4:30pm the last piece of outstanding coursework was handed to me. The student said 'ooooh look miss, I managed to get that all done in one day' - what do you want? A freakin' medal? Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Anyway - enough stressing. I hope that I can manage my time more now to actually keep this up to date but at the moment I'm sitting at my desk, waiting for the bell to go in 23 minutes signalling the end of the day (25 minutes early ... oooooh), so I can't really fill you in on all the wonderful things that have been going on in between the stresses of work. But here are my best 'second-hand' acquisitions of the past few months:

Monday, 12 December 2011

without red ...

... I feel naked.  Red is my favourite colour to the point that students at school comment if I'm NOT wearing something red. I never thought of it becoming a 'thing' for me.  I just seemed to develop, over the past year and a half, a large selection of red clothes, shoes and accessories.

However it now seems that there is something in my life lacking in something essential that's red; blood cells.  I found out last week that I'm anaemic (stop reading now if you don't want to know any more about my health situation!).  For about 5 months I've been having a period every other week, and rather heavy ones.  Because I've been so busy; first with my dad, then the move, then the threat of Ofsted, I kind of just got on with it all.  Thinking that it would stop or I'd go to the doctors when I had time.  But I never did.  All the time I was finding myself sleeping for most of the weekend.  Falling asleep as soon as I got in from work.  Feeling low, 'peaky' and having NO energy.  Again, I put this down to everything that's been going on.

I'm naturally very pale; but I realised something was up when people were commenting on how pale I was!  Apparently I was so pale I was looking almost green.  My eyes were sunken and I couldn't feel any sort of energy for anything.

Thankfully last week I decided enough was enough.  I hightailed it to the doctor who commented on how pale I looked (!) and prescribed me high doses of iron tablets.  She's also put me in for an ultrasound and blood tests to find out why I'm having so many periods.

I am starting to feel a bit better.  Within two days I had people saying that I was looking much brighter and perkier (none of them knew about my 'problems') and apparently I don't look like Casper the Friendly Ghost any more.  I'm still really tired and spent most of the weekend asleep or slobbing on the sofa, however, I'm allowing myself to do this.  I'm not pushing myself.  Now that I know I'm anaemic and it's going to take some time to build myself up again, I'm not going to punish myself for constantly being tired.  I'm just going to give into it and hope that I eventually get some red blood cells in my system and get back to the Polly of old.  And before anyone says it ... I'm not going to have a good large steak!  I'm just going to have to nibble on spinach leaves and broccoli!

Friday, 9 December 2011

the day you realise that work is not the be all and end all ...

... I've been so tied up with work recently that I've hardly had a social life.  Friends and family have come second to work, work, work. Yesterday I had a wake-up call.

A very close friend messaged me on FB to tell me that a mutual friend, who was in hospital for an operation, had a complication and we nearly lost her on Monday.  I hadn't even gone to see her after her operation.  I felt terrible.  Yesterday I hi-tailed it, after work, to the Royal National Orthopedic Hospital with a bag of goodies.  She was on the HDU, seeing her so drained really really brought it home to me that work is not the be all and end all of my life.  She's always had troubles with her knee and has had numerous operations.  She's been pulled, prodded and poked for all of her life.  Then they discovered cancer in the bone in her knee - she was actually really happy about it because it meant that they had finally discovered what was wrong and that it could be taken out and the new bionic knee put in.  It should have been a routine operation.  However the cancer had spread to her artery in her leg and was strangling it.  The artery was clipped off and then it basically exploded, nearly killing her. 

On a more personal note, I went to the doctors on Monday.  This is the 5th month that I've had a period every other week, but again, I've been a tad on the busy side and just kept thinking that my body would sort itself out eventually.  However it has now resulted in me being highly anemic.  I thought I was just tired all the time because of work, but now my lack of energy and enthusiasm for anything is at least explained by the lack of iron in my system!  I've got to go for blood tests and an ultra sound to see what's wrong with my body - the doctor even hinted at an early menopause.  I'm only 38!  I can't be going through  my menopause now!

You know how earlier - I was saying that some things are more important than work?  Well, I'm not having my blood test until a week on Monday.  Because I don't want to miss school! I'm an idiot aren't I?

 Well, 4 more days left of work.  We have a half day on Monday and the school closes to the kids on Friday - we have 1 1/2 days of Inset to prepare for the new Ofsted procedures. I don't think I've looked forward to a holiday more than this one. 

I'll try to be a bit perkier on my next post!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Winter Solstice/ Christmas/ Xmas/ Saturnalia/ Holidays ...

it's that time of year again isn't it?  The time when I have to explain to people why I'm a bit of a grinch etc.

I'm an atheist so I don't like to call Christmas 'Christmas'. Afterall the origins of this period have nothing to do with 'Christ'.  However I am not 'anti- Christianity' or any other religion for that matter, I have great respect for peoples' beliefs (although I reserve the right to pick holes in them whenever I can find them!) but what I hate is the amount of people who are professing to be Christian yet using this holiday to max out credit cards and buy lots of tosh, behave like greedy pigs and act definitely non-Christian.

I love this time of year because I get a couple of weeks off work, there's an abundance of mulled wine around and I see my family.  On the other hand I find it immensely stressful - yesterday we took the boy into town to see Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park.  It was RAMMED and so very very expensive.  I really don't understand how people with a couple of kids afford this time of year.  All the mobile phone shops had queues outside them and we popped into Harrods (the boy had never been in there) and it was so full that we had to leave.

When I was a child my parents had very little money.  Christmas must have been a very difficult time for them, I wish I'd understood because I usually asked for so much (with page numbers from the catalogues!).  The two Christmases I remember the most were both 'handmade' though. 

When I was four I desperately wanted a Tiny Tears doll so my parents got me one.  However the next year I wanted to put her in a cot etc.  So, along with my grandfather, they made me a cot out of recycled wood they had around the house.  My mum made the mattress and bedding out of stuff we had around the house too.  It was the best cot ever and I loved it.

A few years later I'd grown out of Tiny Tears and I'd moved onto Sindy.  I loved my Sindy doll:   
and I wanted a house for her.  My parents had looked at the Sindy houses on offer and thought they were terrible.  Cheap and nasty.  So what did they do?  They made me one.  The most amazing dolls house ever.  It was stunning.  I really must hunt out the photographs and share them one day because it truly was stunning.  Along with that, my mum created a 'Princess Diana' wedding dress for my Sindy too - WOW!  I loved that house, that dress and that Christmas.  Because my parents had really created something amazing, something that nobody else had.  And it was all handmade.

This year I've already got my present from Mr BL.  We found it yesterday - a G-Plan dressing table.  We had to snap it up when we saw it - £50!!!!! WHAT?  BARGAIN.  I've been after a G-Plan dressing table for ages but they're anything upwards of £150. 
It's quite similar to this:

Although it has a cupboard to the right, not drawers. 
It's being delivered next Saturday - SO excited.  I've never had a dressing table in my life - and now I've got a G-Plan one! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee.  I've asked for nothing from my family.  They are currently skint and there's nothing I really want so I've told my mum to just go in the loft and hunt out all my old Ladybird books - I'll have them!

I don't want anyone to feel pressured.  It's a horrid feeling and I don't want anyone to feel that.  I'd rather make a fuss of people on their birthdays!

What do you think?  Am I being a grinch?

Friday, 2 December 2011

4am watching Bill O'Reilly

Yes, I watch Bill O'Reilly AND Hannity.

It's true ... I watch Fox News because it is just so amazingly appalling.  I know I'm British but I have an unhealthy interest in US politics, well probably not unhealthy, it's a healthy recognition that the USA unfortunately impacts my life on this tiny island way too much.

Thankfully this week is almost over - yesterday was strange.  My boss was off with a crooked back and when he's been off before I've heard nothing from senior management.  It's just been accepted that I'll step up.  However yesterday I got an email from our line manager copied to the headteacher that I'll be 'deputising'.  And yesterday at least three other members of staff asked if I'll be 'stepping up' when he leaves.  ACK.  I've NEVER wanted to be the head of a department - ever.  I really enjoy teaching, I don't enjoy all the paper work and other shite that goes with the job.  However, there is part of me that thinks I should give this a go.  This is what has woken me up at 4am.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

My growing collection of vintage photographs

Well firstly, thank you for still paying attention to our little blog (I say 'our' - Mr BL stays away and just reads what I've been babbling about!), I'm going to pop around in a bit, drop in for a cup of tea and say 'hi' :)  Mine's milk with one sugar thanks.

Today I'm on strike and I was hoping to stand side by side with my fellow teachers in the march - unfortunately our washing machine is broken and I have to wait in for someone to fix it.  SUCKS!  The joy of teaching and Mr BL's crazy hours, we never have time for repairs to be done.

While on the subject of work - it seems that Ofsted will not be coming to our school this side of Christmas now.  They haven't called this week and the next two weeks our Year 11s are on an intensive time-table, which means we'll be teaching a different time-table with lots of different cover/ supply lessons.  Ofsted call for these details before they make their arrangements so it will not be in their interest to come.  Well, what happens now?  Now we have to have training over the next two weeks because Ofsted change the way they do inspections in January.  We've been expecting the 20 minute walk-ins but this will be changing - so we have to rethink everything again.  It's all been so ridiculous, stressful and exhausting.  I feel in good-ish shape though.  I'm virtually marked up to date, I've got 'outstanding' in my last two observations and I know what I'm doing.  On the other hand I still feel stressed because I always want to 'do my best' of course.  Ah well - enough whinging!

It's now a couple of hours later (from writing the mind-splurge above) and I'm on the sofa watching a documentary about the mind and money - I'm so glad we have PBS here now - I love NOVA.

So onto my ever-growing collection of vintage photographs:

The wall of the smallest room
For the men to look at (e.g. it's above the toilet!)
Anyhoo - onto what I was going to blather on about.  Our collection of old photographs and what we're doing with them.  I think I mentioned before that the toilet is slowly getting covered in some of these and I thought I'd show you a couple of photos (Hipstamatic I'm afraid) of how it's coming along:

The walls of the smallest room
One of my favourites is the contact sheet to the left - a man had obviously gone for a photo shoot and this is a selection of shots for him to choose from. 
The wall of one of our bathrooms
You can see him better on here!  The little girl next to him is really sweet too!
The smallest room's wall
Really sad to see wedding photographs being dumped - I usually pick them up - they give such a sense of the era as people tend to dress their best at a wedding so you get a real feel of the fashions at the time.

The smallest room's wall
The wedding photo in the middle has now been moved to the landing.  I hate to say it but it features the ugliest family I've ever seen.  I know that's really cruel but seriously - they are.  The groom looks so upset!
The landing and loo
This is the landing leading to the smallest room in the house.

Our upstairs landing landing wall from the other direction
Look at these beautiful women - you couldn't not pick up their photographs and want to preserve them.  The young girl on the left was photographed at the Lafayette Photography Studio in Bond Street.  You can read about the studio on the V&A website. I have a couple of photographs from the same shoot.  You can see it below above the baby.
Our upstairs landing wall
Look at that beard! It's a pity you can't see the small photograph under the large portrait of the woman - the guy in it has the BEST moustache.

So there you go - a little sneak preview of what we're doing with our collection of vintage/ old photographs.  I know some people will balk that I've put my old photos on the wall like this but I just know that they are in a better place than a landfill site.  People can see them and enjoy them :)  I will try and do some better photos with my 'proper camera' when I have the walls finished.

What do you think?

I used the opportunity of an unpaid day off from work to go to my favourite haunt - Deptford Market.  MOST disappointing today - there was NO paper ephemera :(  I was in a massive sulk.  However I did pick up this:
The gang's all here
Snoopy and I

I think he might be circa 1970s maybe even as early as the 60s?  Everything is there - the t-shirt and trousers and there is NOTHING wrong with any of the stitching - a complete SNIP at £2 methinks!  I used to love Snoopy when I was younger so it was a real no-brainer for me.  Also got a few books and records but nothing exciting.  I hope it's better on Saturday!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Well I'm a bit crap aren't I?

but I have an excuse ... I do really.
We've got the 'Ofsted threat' hanging over us, it's been going on since the end of September so the rounds of observations and 'learning walks' has been non-stop.  Constant data checks, paper work checks, blah blah blah.  I've been leaving for work at 5:45am and getting home around 6:30pm every day - so as you can imagine. I've been a tad exhausted.  So exhausted in fact that I came down with something rather nasty.  I tried to go back to work yesterday however my doctor had signed me off for a week so they sent me home again - grrrrr.  I feel fine so now I'm in bed listening to comedy on Radio 4 (iPlayer catchup) and thinking about getting up.

It looks like a beautiful day outside ...

So what's been going on? Not much apart from work to be honest.  We've dealt with a postage thief as we weren't getting any of our mail which was frustrating beyond belief.

I've started filling one of the bathrooms with my strange collection of photographs that I've found on Deptford Market.

Not very interesting is it?  I'll sort myself out and try to post more - I need to go back to having a life.  I don't think Ofsted are turning up this half term and I need to start sorting out my secondhand/ hand made Winter Solstice ;)

Today I am ...
LISTENING: To Feast of Hammers (advanced copy) by Birdeatsbaby - they're playing tonight in London but I can't see them because I'm not well enough.  However after the gig they're staying with us for the weekend as they're filming their video at Mr BL's workplace :)