(source - lesaviezvous.com)
Close friends already know I’ve got a bit of a thing about Star Wars, the darth Vador birthday cake for my 40th was a bit of a give away I suppose. ( Although last year's was Optimus Prime, another hero for another post I guess.)
I’ve always enjoyed a good saga and SW has it all, love, hate, jealousy, intergalactic battles, the whole array of human emotions are there at your grasp.
Star Wars is just another example of the big story. You know the one, everyday child grows up, not knowing who his real parents are ( see Eragon,Lyra, Jesus, etc) unaware of the prophecy about them, (Harry Potter,Lyra, Jesus), until a turn of events forces them to admit their destiny and take on a role they don’t necessarily want in order to save the world, (Eragon, Harry, Luke, Katniss, Lyra, Jesus, etc). Helped by older, wiser character – who will probably die before the final battle (Brom, Dumbledore Obi Wan, etc) they learn just enough before their mentor is killed by wand/magic/light saber, to win the battle, eventually, after a lot of hard work and secondary characters along the way.
In fact if I had to write my English lit thesis now, this would be the subject I think.
My favourite character is Chewbacca, I love the way someone can communicate so much which just a few noises, like quite a few people I know in fact. Chewy is a wooki and if you want to know more about them, or anything in starwars then you should head to wookipedia, which will not only give you information you didn’t even know you needed, but will show you the lengths some people will go to in the name of the force.
I have used Star Wars many times in class, my explanation of modal verbs as Star Wars characters has helped many pupils, not all mind, I know some of them think I’m a total weirdo when I describe the verb Be as the Yoda of verbs,” the strongest verb in the galaxy, the only lexical verb that doesn’t need an auxiliary, let’s give a big hand to the one and only…” I remember one poor new kid who tentatively put up his hand to say “ We did irregular verbs in our old school, but I’ve never done jedi verbs before Miss”.
Although Dr Who fans are known as Whovians, and Star Trek followers are of course Trekkies, Star Wars disciples don’t seem to have their own collective noun, if you Google it you’ll probably come up with nerd or saddo, which is a bit mean I think. There’s a fine line between saddo and healthy enjoyment I feel, and whenever I worry about where I am on that line I look at this.
Despite my love of the force, I don't regret studying useful subjects at university, such as English literature and philosophy as opposed to Jedi Studies, anotther time maybe.
I’ve only been running for a couple of years but have truly caught the bug. I love the freedom of doing something that you can start and stop where and when you like (unless you’re in a race of course). I also appreciate a sport that you don’t need a pile of equipment for, and the dog enjoys coming along to – multitasking, what could be better. It’s also one activity, as an adult at least where you can justify coming home dirty, wet and covered in sweat. I love the energy it gives me and how I’m less stressed since I started.
I have run a few 10k races, and some half marathons – including Geneva last year, where –I’m proud to say, I raised over 1,500 euros for les petits princes, a charity that makes dreams come true for terminally ill children.
This year, May 6th to be precise I’m running the Geneva marathon, eek – that’s a very long way, this time I’ll be raising money for courir ensemble, a local charity that raises money to finance craft, culture and sporting activities for children with cancer.
I’ve learnt two things since I started running, the first is that you can spot a runner, because they call it running, not jogging.
The second is that it’s really boring for the non-converted, so I’ll stop going on about it now.
(source- www.abc-recette.fr )
Not many words start with Q, not words that describe my life anyway. This is not the sort of thing that usually keeps me awake at night, not until I took on the A-Z challenge. I’d just like to take a minute here to cheer on fellow challengers, Bibseymama , and all the others etc, we are over half way, on a roll, just got all the difficult letters left, can’t wait to see what you all come up with today.
So, Quarks – as I’m sure you know (I didn’t) are teeny weeny things that are found in hadons, which are tiny, tiny bits of neutrons and protons, which you may remember from science lessons at school are little round blue and green things ( they were on our blackboard) that make the lumpy little egg thing at the centre of an atom, and everything is made of atoms.
Can you guess that I don’t teach science?
Quirks I know more about. They’re the peculiarities strange habits that we all have, but try giving more detail. Personally I don’t have any, all my habits are perfectly normal and reasonable, and I’m sure all yours are – for you. Even the lady that hangs out at our school gate, picking up litter and berating frightened kids probably thinks her behaviour is perfectly normal, and although my pupils think I’m a nutter for asking what the weather is like every day ( WHEN YOU CAN SEE IT FROM THE WINDOW MISS) there is a logic in this question, if you’re going to talk the English you have to know about weather after all.
You have probably guessed that the first two words have nothing to do with describing myself, which was my objective of this challenge in fact. The real word is “quatre quart”. This is the easiest cake in the world to make, as can be proven by the fact I can make it. It’s hidden at the end of this post in the hope that none of my close friends will read it, because they will laugh at me.
I am famous for my “can’t cook, won’t cook” mentality, I often remind the teenage girls I teach never to cook, do it once and you’re trapped for life, clean if you have to – at least you don’t have to do that everyday and no-one will complain if you do the same thing every day, but never, NEVER admit that you can cook. My husband keeps us from scurvy in the evenings and (French) school dinners are pretty good and well-balanced.
So, here it is:
200g of butter
200g of flour
200g of sugar
Packet of vanilla sugar if you have any
Packet of “levure” or raising agent if you live in a country that doesn’t do self-raising flour (i.e. France)
Anything else from the fridge you fancy – nutella, diced fruit, etc.
Mix it all together and bung in preheated oven at about 200° for about half an hour. Do not forget in oven, eat.
(source - art.com)
I love Paris in the Springtime, sang Ella Fitzgerald, and who can blame her, so do I. I love it at other times of year too but my recent visit this Spring was just magical, for several reasons.
Firstly I spent a whole day on my own. What would you do if given such a luxurious gift as six hours of free time, no work, no housework, no children? Now, what would you do with that time in Paris?
I spent my day in the Louvre, it was just lovely. I wandered about, ignoring all the little signs about who painted what and when, and avoiding busy rooms filled with famous things, ie The Mona Lisa, why would anyone queue to see that? I’ve seen it a million times before. I stopped for a snack at a completely inappropriate time of day, which I could because I didn’t have anything small attached to my arm whinging “can I have a cake mummy?” or wailing the infamous “I’mmmm huuuungrrrry”.
Whenever I fancied it I sat down and read my book, I even got out my laptop in a beautifully quiet courtyard and wrote a couple of posts.
Towards the end of this blissful afternoon I toddled along to Gare du Nord to meet my childhood friend off the Eurostar, we had planned this weekend months, no make that years ago, to celebrate our fortieth birthdays in style, and we were finally here, escaping life for forty-eight hours.
We spent that evening catching up and the next day headed out to my favourite place in the world (this week), the musée d’Orsay, where we spent the day drifting from gorgeous painting to gorgeous painting, with a quick glimpse at some very scary Finnish pictures to put the rest into perspective. I said a quick hello to my favourite of favourites, which you can see above. What is yours?
It was even enjoyable when small children started making noise in confined spaces, because they weren’t ours and we didn’t have to deal with them. We went out for a fantastic meal of fish and shellfish that evening, and were lucky enough to be put up in style in a lovely flat that we didn’t have to clean or tidy, or even shop for, the owner having kindly filled up before leaving us the keys.
We didn’t have to look after anyone, find or fetch anything that wasn’t our own, pick up, clean up, clear up, or even wake up for anyone else. It was so headspinningly blissful that it was quite a relief to get home and back to real life.
So, firstly a very big thank you to V, for being my official best friend for almost three quarters of my life, a big thank you to G, the host with the most, but especially, an enormous thank you to Paris.
Secondly, what would you do with 48 hours freedom?
Finally, what is your most favourite, could almost eat it, would like to sit and look at it until I dribble (I did!) painting in the whole wide world?
Jean-Paul Sartre may have said hell is other people, but he was wrong, it’s their kids. We’ve all been there, having a nice time with our own friends, enjoying a coffee and a chat, when suddenly their offspring appear, demanding things like the toilet, or food and drink, or maybe the remote control, your iphone, etc.
Some will squeal for snacks, even worse are the ones who request organic juice, fresh fruit, or sugar free biscuits. None of which you have in the house, making you look like an appalling parent despite your weak hearted attempts at “we’ve just run out and I shop for fresh locally sourced produce every day.” Your own children may of course require some parental attention, but that’s only normal, they are only small and still learning to wait their turn, they are equally members of this family after all.
What’s bad enough over coffee multiplies over lunch, they don’t eat the same things as your budding Jamies, “didn’t we tell you Clarence is allergic to industrially produced soup, it is home-made isn’t it?” Or they eat so quickly, not chewing anything that your own retch at the very sight. Then there are those that won’t try anything new, “I’ve never had a green bean before, I don’t think mummy lets me eat those”. When you ask them to clear the table they whisper to your children “your mum’s a witch, she treats you like a slave”, or worse, they ask where the real napkins are, and why there’s no soup spoon.
While lunch is difficult, staying over, or going on holiday is for the seriously disillusioned. Other people’s children never go to bed at the right time, later than yours normally do, which makes you look mean, or too early –so you have to keep yours quiet in front of a 12 cert DVD while theirs cry about the unfairness of it all.
The same problems are repeated in the morning, theirs will either wake up too early and wake yours, who need their sleep or they’re bound to get a bit grumpy later, or they stay asleep ruining the morning fun for yours, the early bird gets better GCSE results after all.
It makes us so grateful that our little angels aren’t other people’s children.
(source - thehungergameswallpaper.jpg)
I recently stumbled upon the Hunger Games when I saw a trailer for the film, I hadn’t come across the books before, but I bought the first and devoured it within days. The other two followed quickly, although, as so often, I didn’t think they were as good as the first. As with any new world setting, this is often the case, potions classes and wands and pointy hats lost their charm after the first Harry Potter book, especially when sequels have to spend a chapter carefully finding an interesting way to describe what is necessary for the poor newcomer to understand about what has happened so far. Eragon deals with this by having a prologue explain it all, whereas JK Rowling has some unfortunate new kid question the offside rule in Quidditch.
Anyway, as you’ve probably heard, the Hunger Games is set in a futuristic dystopian society, bringing together post nuclear/ dictatorship lifestyles in a way that echoes Brave New World, the handmaid’s tale and other similar stories. The different districts of this country Panem (there are Latin references throughout the book,-as with Star Wars incidentally, for example the capital is the Capitol , and the characters have names such as Cinna,) are all responsible for various production, coal for one, cereal for another, just as was the case with the USSR.
There are also many references too reality TV, the whole competition is filmed, the candidates are called candidates, not sacrificial victims and receive makeovers, and the obligatory nature of the broadcasts reminds us of 1984.
If all these elements have been done before, then you may ask what the appeal is, well, there’s the never been done together way, but also remember that these books are aimed at the teen market, who are unlikely to be familiar with Winston Smith or Offred, and who were born after the fall of the Soviet empire in 1991.
I found the books real page-turners, and eagerly awaited an opportunity to see the film, which was not disappointing as can often be the case. The main reason I waited to see it was my reluctance to take my children, and this is one of the debates concerning the Hunger Games that interests me. Without ruining the end I can tell you (and you probably already know) that the story is based on the harvesting. When two youngsters aged 12 to 18 are taken from each district, of which there are 12 in all, to fight to the death in an artificial landscape called the arena.
The idea of children killing each other is pretty gory I admit; and so I haven’t taken my children to see the film. I do think however, that the really scary part is seeing the parents standing there, helpless, watching the ceremony as the children are chosen from amongst their peers to be taken to semi-certain death, and that reminded me of a scene in the French film La Rafle, where Jewish children were separated from their parents during the war.
Children don’t relate to this part, they see themselves as the contestants, and being reality TV natives, they have no trouble using this kind of vocabulary, my daughter, aged 12, is currently reading the first book, she’s finding it an unputdownable as I did, and she’s certainly not being frightened by it.
I just still haven’t decided whether to let her see the film yet, what do you think?
(source - thedayafteryesterday.co.uk)
In case you are not familiar with this Scottish word, the urban dictionanary defines it as someone who is reckless, absent minded, unwise, or silly.
I like this word because it’s not rude, but accurately describes someone who has just done something dumb, daft, whatever. It really is a word that describes the behavior and not the person.
I am also familiar with this word because I get called it quite often.
I was called a numpty when I set fire to the kettle by putting it on a lit gas ring to heat the water, rather than the more appropriate method of plugging it in.
I was called it on any occasions when attempting travel. Travel is a very complicated activity, underestimated by many people. I was called it when I found my passport was out of date a week before travelling, when I left all our passports on the table at mum and dad’s so we missed our flight home ( actually I was called something else to at the time but we won’t go into that now). I was called it when I missed a flight, 8 months pregnant, because of excessive shopping – and when, in a strop I finally binned the unwieldy bouquet I had been carrying around all day (to thank me for a reading at a friend’s wedding) I turned round and bumped into… the happy couple at the airport to catch their honeymoon flight.
As a child I’m sure my parents thought it, even if they didn’t say it, when I tied my hair to the washing line, or when I stapled my tongue.
Most recently I was called it when I drove half way to work with a cat in the back of the car, although it wasn’t the exact word I used when the cat jumped on me at the traffic lights.
Being a numpty is not as bad as it seems, once you come out of the cupboard and admit it, people are pretty accepting, and no longer surprised when you forget a child at Ikea, or go on holiday without a bottle opener.
So, I would like to invite you all to join our big, happy, numpty family by ‘fessing your numptiest moment.
(source - thegiftexperience.co.uk)
Obviously if you are one you know that being a mum changes you totally and permanently; socially – you stop hanging out in bars and start hanging out at school gates, physically you’re hanging out too, and not in such a groovy way, but thanks to the cuddles from little arms you don’t even care (that much). Mentally things aren’t much better, not only do I still know the names of more teletubbies than members of the cabinet, but I can’t even bring myself to care about whether this is wrong.
We all know about what being a mum does to us, for good, for bad, forever, I’d like to talk today about something much scarier, not just becoming a mum, but…
…becoming MY mum.
I had realised a while ago that I was secretly (at least I hoped) becoming my mother. It had started with the birth of my first child, I found myself saying things like “ eat your greens or your hair will fall out/you won’t be able to see in the dark etc., although I could never as a child work out he interest of being able to see I the dark when we were sent to bed before Top of the pops most of the year, it probably took my brother and I a few years to realize it actually got dark while we were asleep, it was usually light when we went to bed, and light again when we got up.
Recently I’ve become my mum in a different more “if I don’t get eight hours sleep and drink enough water I’ll pay the price” kind of way. This has been quite disturbing as I’d always been proud of myself for surviving on kebabs, no exercise, and the motto “salad & water are boring for boring people”, along the lines that, even as a converted non-smoker I would always choose the smokers’ corner as I had more in common with the people there.
No longer, I’ll happily join the non-smokers now, and I actually feel better when I eat a balanced meal, the shame of it. I won’t go as far too say I’ve given up alcohol or anything appalling like that, I wouldn’t have become my mum if I had anyway, more her polar opposite, like that frightful neighbour we had when I was a child, you know the one, thick ankles, always fed her children proper food and had them in bed by about 4pm.
Every time a “sit up straight, “there’s no points for being so mean to your little brother”, ”this room looks like a bomb has hit it” slips out of my mouth I wince, but I can’t help it.
On the bright side, it could be worse, I could be turning into dad -“stop playing with the remote control-it’s not a piano”, and of course the famous time he told us off for not putting the mash and the sausage on our forks in the right order.
What “mummisms” do you hear yourself say?