Halloween knitfest!

There are few things that make me more excitable about knitting than joining the body and sleeves of a lopapeysa. This means I’m now eight rounds away from tangling myself up in a multitude of colours and knitting that yoke. It’s all about the yoke.

I’m determined to complete the jumper before I go back to school after half term, but I’m anxious not to rush it. I want to enjoy the colourwork (weird huh?).

But here’s my baby as it stands….

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The next project is Christmas gift socks, then another lopapeysa for LSH for Christmas. It’s a ‘special’ design courtesy of http://www.knittingpatterns.is (yes, it’s an authentic Icelandic site). Nothing says I love you quite like a guitar playing Christmas dinosaur.

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On a less festive note, this afternoon/ evenings Halloween antics were made much more spooky by my very creepy kids.

Beanpole dressed as Slenderman (teenage friends and the Internet make for terrifying children)

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And TinyPants trying out the Harley Quinn look.

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Knitting is therapy. With these kids, I need it!

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Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

I’m not competitive (much), but I do like a challenge. And today I got challenged to join in with a project where you write a novel in a month. That’s 50’000 words. Crap. I’ve got myself into this now and I’ve got a sodding idea, so I’m going to have to follow it through. If anyone is insane enough to join me, the website fir this is http://nanowrimo.org

Write what you know say wise people, so a lot of this is from my own and blatantly stolen from my dearest friends experiences of having children (and consequently no money). Everyone seems to write about the first baby, so I’m going for the second. In diary form.

I’m calling it ‘Austerity Baby!’ (Look! Topical and everything!) and here’s the first draft of the first chapter.

Note: there will be illustrations. I think. Maybe.

Week 1 – Normality

I’m in the kitchen after work preparing a delight of cheese sandwiches cut into random shapes and mushed up banana. The Toddler announces her presence by running her plastic spoon up and down the baby gate like a prisoner trying to get their jailer to fill their coffee mug. The familiar monotonous word “muuuuuuuuuuummmm” is repeated over and over. And over. And over.

Deep breath, smile, turn around. “Come on then! Let’s get you dinner!”.

As I gaze at the terrifying toddler TV show in which Iggle Piggle gets mucky patches over Upsy Daisy, I start to chuckle. Then laugh. Then uncontrollably giggle. And it’s in this state that James discovers me when he crosses the threshold of our mildly decrepit flat. One hysterically giggling girlfriend with a slightly concerned looking 12 month old daughter in a high chair who is swishing a hexagon of cheese and bread into her hair. Poor man.

James and I met through a mutual friend and instantly hit it off. We shared a love of music and whiskey and beer… and wine. We were good at getting each other home safe, if only because we counterbalanced each other’s wobble. Within a matter of months we had moved into a shared flat above a takeaway (very useful) and started recklessly abusing our 20(ish) year old bodies with alcohol, junk food and an astonishing amount of sex. It was clear we were using up our ‘couple quota’ and probably borrowing from someone else’s. We were essentially credit shagging. It was clearly unfair to the general population (more specifically our flat mates) and so someone upstairs found a simple solution that would put at least one of us off for a while.

The Toddler was born just one year after our first night of indecency and frankly it was rather a shock to the system. We were rebellious no longer. Or rather we were still rebellious in our heads, but the actions were more based around sleepless nights and working out which end to stick the nappy on.* As it turn out, the business end is the least of your worries, but enough of babies, we have a Toddler to enjoy!

At 5 months, breast was begrudgingly swapped for bottles and I returned to work, leaving a contented little roll of fat with complete strangers for three days per week. But, this did mean that the rolls of fat could continue to grow rather than starve which frankly was a real prospect when rent and bills must be paid.

So here we were a year later, as working parents, living in a slightly decrepit, but now decorated in ‘tonal’ colours, flat above a takeaway. Cloth nappies now dried on a clothes horse in the hall, and our bedside was now littered with muslin squares and Calpol instead of beer cans and hastily discarded knickers. Any knickers now to be found out of the underwear drawer were large, and comfortable – so large in fact they could possibly house a small family if given the correct scaffolding. These came with promises of a ‘slimmer tummy’ or ‘magic tummy’. These knicker LIE ladies! Post Caesarian, short of pure steel reinforced encasment, there are no pants which will provide you with a pre-pregnancy tummy. However, hope remains, as do the massive knickers.

And in these massive knickers (and other work clothes), I remain racked with the giggles over the utter filth emitting from the kids TV show.

“Er… Are you ok?”, asks James. After much gasping for air I reply that I am and insist that he closes his eyes and JUST LISTEN to the current conversation between characters.

Silence.

He starts to snigger. “You are filth!” He exclaims in mock embarrassment. “I can’t possibly marry you now!”. It was at this point that we realised it was high time for us to have some down time, and plans were made for the Toddler to be sat upon by my parents and us to hold a party.

An actual party. With grown ups! And alcohol! Yes indeed, now I am no longer a walking vending machine with tits the size of my head, I can contemplate drinking again. Admittedly, only when the situation arose where I did not need to be responsible for another human for at least 24 hours, but this opportunity had arisen, and I was not going to waste it with ‘moderation’!

And this is how this story came to be. Everything that follows can be traced back to Iggle Piggle and his mucky patches. It’s clearly his fault. Not mine. (Are you buying this yet, or should I keep going?).

* Dear reader! Just saying the end which is producing solids is no good! Both ends of a baby do this! And when breastfed, both ends produce remarkably similar projectile solids!

Too Much Structured Time?

According to a recent report, kids are spending too much time attached to technology or in structured activities.

I submit this in response.

This mornings activity is a few hours of soft play whilst I sit happily knitting. BeanPole has her own ideas about what she wants to do this morning, and not even 40+ screaming kids is going to interfere with her enjoyment of dragons!

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The Whining After The Storm

Some quotes from my Facebook Feed this morning: “Well that was boring!”, “What Storm? #Anticlimax”.

Now I know that yesterday I was promoting the don’t panic party, but if you weren’t hit too badly, isn’t that a cause for celebration? I must say, after sleeping like a meerkat all night, popping up every 30 mins to check our large trees which were dancing in the wind, I am thankful that we got away basically unscathed.

Others weren’t so lucky.

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So, perhaps before you berate the weather reporters, remember the storm was pretty much spot on what the scientists were reporting (not the tabloids), trees did come down, people are without power, people have been hurt. This was not a competition. Be thankful that your family and wallets got away unscathed.

Perhaps the fact that so many people were being sensible and putting things away meant that less damage was done.

Forewarned is forearmed.

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore Toto….

So, we’re predicted a storm tonight. The Uk’s weather is fairly bland and mild all year round so when something unusual happens, we do like a good panic. (I will of course eat my words should I be blogging in a few days in post apocalyptic Britain).

Despite my gut feeling that panic is not required, we do live right on the South Coast (like less than 10 minutes drive from the sea. Accounting for traffic), so probably ought to take heed of the official warnings like out stuff away, expect power outages, buy some candles & torches, charge your phones etc. I’m not intending to try any last minute kite surfing despite the offering of 80mph winds here, but you just know someone is going to get themselves a Darwin Award later.

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I’m guessing the point at which they give the storm a name it’s worth paying some attention. But the St Jude Storm? Really? The patron saint of depression and lost causes! Why is there even a patron saint of depression??! The UK is already known for it’s miserable weather, so why make it official??

So what have I done to prepare for impending doom? Well…

  • There’s a storm lantern upstairs in case the kids wake up.
  • The garden stuff and bikes are all inside the sheds
  • There’s a torch in each bedroom.
  • We’ve eaten a nice warm dinner.
  • Kids were in bed on time so they get some sleep.
  • Kids have been reassured and given instructions to come into us if scared (I may regret that)
  • Candles are in easy access as are long matches to light them.
  • Electrics will be unplugged just in case of a surge
  • Panic has been dismissed.
  • Knitting has continued.
  • I may even give Breaking Bad another go this evening….

Ooh has knitting ever continued! Last night I reached the much desired 40cm of looooooong boring block colour for my jumper and got to start the sleeve. Ok, this is more block colour, but it requires DPNs which keep me on my toes and it’s growing nicely. I may even finish sleeve one whilst we watch the ‘subtropical storm’ (it’s not a hurricane as it didn’t start in the Atlantic. It’s not a cyclone as it didn’t start in the Pacific. Frankly I feel a bit cheated by the name. They could at least give it a proper name like …. Swirlydeathwind, or Stormnado. We could even go quite British with it and call it The Stoic Storm of Denial. That has a ring, no?)

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So in true stoic fashion….Further preparations for Armageddon this evening are a nice hot bath & washing my hair 🙂

All PGCE Courses should include saying the word ‘penis’ in public.

And it’s official. I’ve made it through my first term back in the state sector and ya boo sucks to you Hogwarts, I’ve not only made the last 8 weeks alive, but emotionally in tact! Today’s teaching was sponsored by a litre bottle of Kick (cheap own brand Redbull) which counteracted the minimal sleep and made me a VERY enthusiastic teacher, with only minor chest pains.

I’ve discovered a number of things so far:

I don’t speak teenage girl anymore. The speed at which deliver detailed information about their incestuous friendship groups indicates that their brains must be functioning at breakneck speed. This is usually reflected in their essays which contain volumes upon volumes of words. Words that eventually lead to a point which may or may not be connected to the original question. I may mock here, but I clearly remember being in year 10 & 11 and all the hysterics and heartbreaks that go with it. It’s not a great time for those who feel the need to be very small adults before they’ve learnt to appreciate being outrageous college kids. The TV show The Inbetweeners has unwittingly done a huge favour to a generation that suddenly saw what they could do between child and adult stages. They made a levels attractive in a way no educator or government ever could. And. AND they coined the phrases ‘clunge’ and ‘buswanker’. Pure bottled genius.

I know my shit. You’d hope so really, but there are still times that I wonder if I’m just spouting a load of tosh. Turns out, I can pick up two new programming languages and teach them without a nervous breakdown. Python & Pascal, I salute you for being decent languages which support the syllabus and have a place in industry (if only because Pascal is derived from C++ and as such borrows a fair amount of syntax). Not only do I know my programming, but I am an algorithm goddess (after a glass of wine, or too much redbull). Today’s end of half term brain teaser was an algorithm which included the need for iteration and selection which described how to recharge Mrs B. This involved a process of eating pizza and drinking beer. Once beer percentage was less than 0.1%, Mrs B must be pronounced asleep. A few of them (sixth form! Not school age! Theirs was much more age appropriate!) traced the algorithm and shouted from across the room “Miss, is this your plan tonight? You’re going to eat pizza and drink beer ’til you fall asleep??…. Lad!”. Bless, yes that is my plan (actually, it’s fried chicken and beer), but it also includes knitting and TV. Not quite the lad.

State school isn’t scary! Much to the contrary of the horror stories told at Hogwarts, state school is a NICE place to work. With supportive teams that want to make education enjoyable. It’s not a walk in the park, and there are classes that I walk out of wondering if evolution really is right. But, on the whole as long as you’re ok with standing your ground (without losing your temper) and are not disturbed by the teenage boy sense of humour, then combined with a few years experience and a diary that holds details of everything you need to achieve each day, it’s frankly the best job ever.

A note on teenage boy humour – look in the mirror. Now say penis, willy, porn, boobies and breasts and the top of your voice. Red in the face? You’re doomed. All PGCEs should include a full unit (hehe) on saying and hearing the word penis without reaction. Differentiation could apply here – top achieves could also show no reaction to vajazzle, pussy wagon and shclong alongside descriptions of their latest piercings.

Just a thought.

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