Thursday, January 31, 2013

The sun will come out tomorrow

I finally got out of the house yesterday and took the trusty netbook with me. (This thing was well worth my time as a supply teacher just to be able to afford it.) I went to the gym for the first time since Jan 2nd too. After that, I grabbed my mug of coffee and sat at the cafe in the park to continue on my project.

The sun was out for the first time since forever, the sky was blue, and although very windy, it was a nice day. No snow cleats, no boots, no heavy coat. I could have done with some thermals but, what can I say, I’m a wussy Floridian who can’t function in anything below 70s F.

Or rather, I used to.

Anyway, so now that the weather has perked up, so have I. Even though it’s going to get cold again, I’m finally feeling that brand of hope that the New Year always promises. I have hope that I’ll get my project done, and I have hope that I’ll get my driver’s license. Even though I failed the test again on Monday.

This time, I knew what I did wrong. I screwed up the gear changes on a really steep hill, going about 20mph. I also hit a curb. Now, if you live in Florida, you’d think this means I’m a really reckless driver. Oh no. Here, the curbs are long and jut out into the street so you have to “be aware at all times.”

Yeah, you have to be aware of 100 things at all times. I’m surprised more people aren’t given Valium just to handle the undo stress of driving around here. But someone else yesterday told me not to give up hope because they passed their test after after five attempts. These are people who have lived with this road system their whole life! The main irritant about the whole thing (aside from being chastised by the driving instructor each lesson) is that it costs £62 plus the cost of the lesson because you have to use the driver’s ed car. I could have put a hefty down payment on my own car by this point!

Anyway, I’m just going to keep on keeping on. I’m also going to sign up with an office temp agency next week so maybe I can find a job I’m actually good at for a while. Every time I see someone praising a teacher for their wonderful lesson or fun activity in the classroom, I know Primary and Secondary School teaching is not my calling. I’ve never had training in things to make school fun. I asked the Department of Education yesterday if I could take any college courses to get myself more accustomed to working in the UK classrooms; the answer was, “no.” Since I’m already a certified teacher, I can’t take any teaching courses. Isn’t that insane?

They suggested I shadow a teacher, but from what I’ve seen, those girls are busy as it is, and I want fact, examples, reading material, creative ideas, Q&A… I may as well go into a classroom as is, and try to fumble around to find a place where I can be re-trained. But that’s what I’ve been doing since 2003 and without that initial teacher training, it’s just not as easy to put all the puzzle pieces together.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Being a good teacher: Part 2

Continued from my previous post – Being a good teacher: Part 1

I want to work on my books. I want to save myself the humiliation and frustration of being a crappy teacher for high school/Secondary school. I keep applying for lecturer jobs and, of course, library positions but nothing, nada, zippo.

When I first moved to England, I thought I’d be able to snag a library job or another job in adult education at the least, then have a nice second income for us. But when I found that the only people who responded to my resumes were teaching agencies, I ended up going this route. It’s a shame too because I’ve had headmasters ask me why I’d quit teaching to become a librarian and if I was really committed to librarianship. Of course I am. I wouldn’t have gone through the pain and debt if I weren’t sure. After four years of having nothing but disappointment in the public schools, I’m sure I’m sure.

Education takes a lot of training and more training. It takes acting like a wench at least 8 hours of the day. Without really knowing the material, the lessons, the school, the requirements of the administration, and the way to be a mean, hard-nosed, no-nonsense teacher, you don’t stand a chance. It sort of makes me ill when I see the motivational quotes about teaching because I’ve never been inspirational or life changing. I would have liked to, but I just wasn’t really cut out for that kind of life, I guess. I liked teaching at the college though because I came in, did my lesson, hung out in my office, mentored students, went home, graded and had a life outside of school. At the public school we’re up before dawn and too exhausted when we come home to do anything but eat and sleep – at least I always am.

It’s humiliating to be called “too nice” and “too soft.” Even at the English school I didn’t have out of control classes like I did in Florida (where one term I had kids who tore apart my outdoor portable classroom, who fell asleep during state exams, who got into physical fights daily.) I was really thinking that here I was getting better, getting them to settle, getting good work out of them, and all those things they want to see happen in the classroom. But since I wasn’t “mean” I wasn’t “good.” It’s an awful feeling.

Anyway, after stewing about this for some time, I’ve let the teaching agencies know I’m available again. I really don’t want to keep beating this dead horse though. I feel like I’m spending my day more productively if I’m writing at home. It’s the only thing I’ve really wanted to do anyway. My ultimate goal is to be a writer/librarian in the future; a really successful one at that. I would love to be able to help teachers and students from the library side of the school or university. I’ve been to schools were the libraries are not utilized in the way I know they could be and I would love to really show the school how important a modern, working media center can be.

If I’m going to schools as a teacher, were I know I’m not going to succeed, it’s just spinning my wheels and wasting my time. Well, I guess it’s not a waste if I keep in mind that I will be working and keeping a steady reference in my teaching agencies so I can keep applying for other jobs. (Not that I am able to get another job.) It’s a weird situation to be in – I don’t want to break ties with any agencies, especially since I need some kind of work history on my resume.

Plus, I get some cash here and there.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Being a good teacher: Part 1

Before I started working at the school last November, I wrote a post about accepting my fate as a self-employed person. I have always had the worst time trying to get a steady job; I’ve had temporary jobs, crappy jobs, horrible jobs, and jobs that I would have liked if the company had laid off everyone. I have sent out more application and resumes that I would even know what to do with (thousands, I tell you.) It’s always made me feel like a lesser person because I’m just not the kind who comes into a job and stays there. I struggle and struggle, look high and low, find something, then either can’t stay if I’m good at the job because of funding (as was with the Space Center) or, with teaching, I just absolutely suck at it (unless it’s at a college.)

As I’ve said before, the only place that would even consider calling me for any type of job was working in the public schools. Once you’ve worked in that field, you get stuck in it. I was never formally trained as a teacher, I was thrown in to try and swim as much as I could with training while I was working more than forty hours as week, plus dealing with administration, parents, grading papers, lesson plans and the like. It’s really not something I’ve ever been good at but that’s the only kind of job I can potentially get over here.

I had the same problem with classroom discipline as I did in Florida. I have been told time and time again to just “be mean, “ but until last term, I didn’t realize that I honestly don’t understand what “being mean” means. When I was first bouncing from public school to public school in Florida, my aim was to survive among my struggling students (who, bless them, were really fun to be around.) At the British school I did everything I thought I should do. I gave orders, acted consistent, moved seats, had good lesson plans, gave detentions, yelled, acted stern, gave “the look”, etc. etc. all like everyone else did at the school. (Incidentally, I was told all the time in Florida not to yell but this school really used that as a form of managing children.)

But I didn’t get asked to come back for this current term because I didn’t get the whole “mean” thing. There’s always been these essential elements that I miss so the way I conduct class is a bit messy. If I had known what I know now I wouldn’t have even considered teaching in public schools after I got my English degree. I would have gone right into my Master’s program and fought tooth and nail until I was able to work part-time at the community college. Then, maybe, started working on my doctorate.

I’ve known hundreds of teachers who are “good.” I’ve known people who are absolute loons, and/or idiots who are “good” teachers. It’s all about this meanness factor, I guess. I’ve been fighting myself the past few weeks about even going back to the school as a substitute/supply teacher because I was told, verbatim, not to do it. I had worked at a really good school last term and I would be setting myself up for major problems if I tried to go into a place with more behaviour issues.

But that’s the only kind of job I can get – so what else can I do?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Are we there yet?

Had my last driving lesson today before my test Tuesday. Absolutely totally tired of it. I’m getting worse at this and the instructor’s getting more and more fed up with me. If I don’t pass the test next week, I’m just going to flat out refuse to have more lessons. I either want to keep taking the test until I pass or quit all together.

Today I came closer than ever before to quitting. I mean, each lesson I consider quitting and think, “I’ll never do this again,” but today I was ready to say, “Okay, fine, forget it. I’m going home.” But I didn’t. I never do.

I don’t know if it will be easier if I drive on my own, get comfortable by doing things on my own and all, or if I will get as confused and frustrated as I get now. When I think about driving, I think about it in a fantasy-type way. When I’m really behind the wheel, I’m on the verge of tears. I get confused and it spirals into completely blanking out with all the signs because I can not get use to them or the having to pay attention to five different things going on each time I turn a corner.

I’m tired of being so stressed out about it. I use to want a car so much and now I feel like if I did have a car I’d let it sit in the garage unused. And this is coming from someone who use to love to drive. I mean absolutely loved it. I would drive for hours. I would look forward to driving. I would find reasons to drive. Now I hate it and I hate that I hate it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday is for laziness

Here’s one of my favourite photos from yesterday. I have plenty of good ones to use on the blog for a while, but this one was something I was hoping to capture when we were out around the farm areas nearby.

Since my thumb is still bothering me from typing a lot all week (that’s always the trouble – stay indoors to keep myself productive, then suffer the consequences) I’m not going to write too much. I finally took it upon myself to ask EA how to get a hold of my Sims 3 registration codes. I have the discs but I left the boxes in Florida when I moved. Now I’m back on Origin and downloading my old games and patches galore.

So much for the productivity, huh?

Late night Star Wars

Today we took a 4-5 mile walk up to the Angel and down to the grocery store for dinner. On the way we made a snow man and enjoyed the weather. I hadn't played in the snow like that since I was really little.

I'd put pictures up but it's late and I don't want to put my computer back on. I still haven't even bothered to get my shower before bed and it's almost 2AM. I had a nap when we got back home, so I'm not really that tired yet.

I should be reading though. I have a ton of books from the library that I need to get through. I really wish I could buy something that made me work quicker. Does coffee count?

We've been watching the Star Wars Blu Ray box set that Steve got for Christmas. We saw the making of videos, and now I'm watching the clips from television that had a Star Wars theme - lots of That 70s Show. Love it. Now we're at the Darth Vadar Tom Tom commercial. I think of the "round abound" bit every time I talk about those stupid roundabouts.

On a sad note, my mother's brother passed away. I wasn't close to that side of the family but I feel quite bad for Mom.

It's still been snowing off and on. I wonder what this place will look like by Monday.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Then it began to snow

It’s been snowing off and on all day, and this is how things look right now down the street. I’m not sure if it will keep up over night or not but we’re planning on taking a walk to see how things look in the daylight.

Tonight while in the bath, I listened to a Stephen King Q&A. I’m trying to get more inspirational materials around me since January is so blah. Well, the snow keeps it from being too dull. I’m just glad I don’t have to drive in it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not going out

This snow blizzard, or whatever it may end up being, is supposed to show up tomorrow. I’ve been in the house all week because I really have no interest in a. being cold or b. getting more sick. Of course this gets quite boring, being inside all the time. I’ve been working on things each day, but being without a walk does make me feel more blah.

January is blah enough without that.

We’ve been watching Celebrity Big Brother this week. I’ve been trying to read and I’m fairly certain I’m going to chuck the Novel Writing book in the “partially read” pile because it’s not very interesting. I do need some books to inspire me though, because while I don’t have any New Year’s resolutions, I know I need to work harder on my projects this year.

I’m still taking sinus headache medicine. I’m still fighting the stuffiness and the cough.

I at least got a letter from Home Office today saying that my application was there and in the queue. It just feels like 2012 was the year of aiming for 2013. Now it’s here and things are almost all sussed (even the stupid driving) that’s like, “Hhmm. What do I do now?”

And…it’s snowing again.

My attitude and driving

I’ve talked a lot, and I do mean a lot, about my driving in England. Today I had my second to last lesson before my second attempt at the driving test. This was the day when I finally just got fed up and my driving instructor warned me to get rid of my attitude. It’s not the instructor, or the gear shifting, or the fact that it was 23F with snow and ice on the ground – it’s the stupid road system.

The main problem I have with trying to learn how to drive here is that a native Brit does not understand that situations such as the picture above, ever, ever, ever happen in Florida. Before I started taking my lessons last spring, I didn’t even understand how you read the roundabout sign. Tonight I had to drive through one of my favourite double roundabouts that also require the driver to get into the middle lane at their exit because the left lane is for left turns only. Fair enough but where is the sign to indicate that?

Right next to where the same information is given on the road, right before the next turn. So if you don’t see it 100 feet down the road, you get muscled out of your lane.

Now, my instructor’s argument for this is that I need to constantly be looking and assessing and this is entirely my fault because I’m not aware of my surroundings. Well, no, the problem is there’s way too much going on in my surroundings. Aside from having to watch traffic, I have to memorize what the roundabout sign looks like because after you pass it, that’s it. You have to get in the correct lane and hope you take the correct exit because most of the time there is no sign that says anything like, “NEWCASTLE” with an arrow saying “TAKE THIS ROAD HERE!”

He also didn’t understand how I got confused when the roundabout ended up having road works (construction) on it we had to drive on it in the opposite direction. Well, no, that’s not anything I had every anticipated. How can I be blamed for that? It’s not “quite straightforward,” as he keeps telling me. After I drove through it five times and figured out that each exit had a separate stop light, then I realized that I could drive the opposite direction without crashing into an on-coming bus.

The other problem I have is that in England everyone (well 99% of them) is a polite driver. I can’t do anything like slow down too much, move over to the left or right too much, turn on a signal too early, etc. because it will “confuse other drivers.” In Florida we were taught to drive defensively. We do our thing and stay the heck away from everyone else. Here, I was told, “You should move off the moment the other car is an inch away from you.” Seriously. This is being a confident, immediate and with-it driver. I can’t put a signal on for a left hand turn if a parked car is on the left because that means, to other drivers, that I’m parking and not turning. That means they’ll pull right out in front of me if they’re turning right. Also, when I’m on a highway (motorway), I can’t signal that I want to pass (over-take) and go in the right lane until the right lane is clear because that will “confuse” the drivers. Screw them, I’m doing my thing! No. Must be courteous to everyone else on the road. Just a totally different way of thinking about driving.

My other big concern is the proximity of the other cars. I cannot stand being an inch or two from on-coming traffic. My driving instructor doesn’t understand that at all. When I have to parallel park a car, there is nothing in my driving brains that says, “Oh, this car is really tiny so I’ll miss these other cars by a mile.” No. I’ve been in parking lots where I’ve had other drivers argue with me for being too close to their car.

I also tried to explain to my instructor that I can’t just expect anyone to let me into a left lane if I’m stopped in a right hand turn lane. He didn’t understand why my logic was, “Dang, can’t get in that lane, have to go around the block.” When he finally said, “Well, stop the car and wait for them to let you in,” I was astonished. “Why?” he wanted to know. I said, “Because if you hold up a lane of traffic in Florida they will blow the horn and shout at you.” You stay away from other cars. Heck, they won’t even let you have a parking space at Wal-Mart or even cross the parking lot on foot. I am not use to nice drivers at all. Drive on 1-4 where it’s every man for himself and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

When I failed my driver’s test on the first attempt it was because I went 35mph in a 30 zone. Why did I do that? Because you’re lucky to find a speed limit sign on some streets. Apparently this is because the default speed limit is 3o mph and I “already knew that.” How did I know that? Because the Highway Code handbook says that the speed limit is 30 mph in any built up area and built up areas are identified by having street lights.

Um…and how does this translate to “the default speed limit on any road is 30 mph unless there’s a speed limit sign?” Because, apparently, everyone in England knows that a road with streetlights means, well, a normal road. Why could they not just spell that out exactly or, better yet, have some speed limit signs? The thing that gets me is the National Speed Limit signs that are a circle with a fat, black slash mark in them. Why do they not say 60 mph or 70 mph? Because the National Speed Limit is different on different roads for different types of vehicles and as a driver we’d know that. Yeah…

Incidentally, they’re taking down signs in England now because, “there are too many of them and they cause confusion.” My driving instructor said this will, “make people think for themselves.” As if having to play the memory game every time you turn a corner isn’t enough.

So, again, I’m irritated. Each time I take a lesson I swear to myself that I’ll never drive in this country again. I don’t know if it’s because I have the instructor in the car with me, or because I’ve not had a chance to drive on my own, but I am not confident driving on these roads at all. I mean I could get around but it is no way near as simple as thinking, “Oh, okay, I’ll just drive from Orlando to Cocoa Beach,” because the roads will tell me where my exits are. No. It’s so much more complicated than that and I cannot even explain as much in detail about how I can’t make this get any easier.

Of course my driving instructor thinks that I’m just making b.s. excuses all the time. Sigh

I will keep on trying to get my license since I’m almost there (technically) but I just don’t know. I thought learning to drive was going to be fun and take about 10 hours to figure it out. No. At least now I could drive a stick shift in America if I needed too, I guess.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ePublishing on a snowy Tuesday

Today I finally found a couple more places to publish my book:

The first chapter of The Cupcake Witches is on Wattpad and the full book is now available on Scribd. Apparently through BookTango it will also go to Google Books and Apple iBooks because I’ve yet to find it there even though I thought it was published to those sites via Smashwords.

It snowed a lot today. I stayed home because it was cold and my sinuses are still a wreck. Well, they were better but that only lasted a week. Ridiculous. Since it’s only 23F degrees outside now, I doubt I’ll be doing more than venturing out to the driver’s ed car tomorrow. Only two more lessons until I take the test again.

Links where I uploaded the book today:

The Cupcake Witches (The Cupcake Witches series Book #1): Chapter 1

The Cupcake Witches (The Cupcake Witches series, Book 1)

Right, time to do the washing before bed. Night!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

University a scam?

Bah! Almost forgot to post today. I was even going to write something thought provoking as well.

We've been watching Celebrity Big Brother which I thought I would hate (because I only ever know the Americans they bring in) but I like it. Anyway, before I go on a tangent about Heidi and Spencer versus Ryland, I was thinking about how the Lacey chick said that going to university was a scam.

My education is nothing I would ever give back. I love taking classes in subject areas that I'm interested in. I was so much brainer during my undergrad days, and my graduate degrees gave me insight into fields I didn't think about before (regarding Creative Writing and Library Science.)

But have those higher degrees been beneficial for more than my brains? Not really. They're terribly expensive and the job market is pitiful. Granted, the girl who claimed school was a scam is a naked model but, hey, maybe one day she'll want to feed her brains with school when she gets older.

Anyway, I tried out the new desk today. Loved it!

And it's been snowing off and on all day. I am indoors. Period. The sickness is still here so I'm just not going in the cold unless absolutely necessary (or until I get cabin fever.)

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, January 14, 2013

Know Me Better

"Know Me Better"

This Week's Questions:
Where is your favorite spot to read?
Are you a fast or slow reader? (you can test your reading speed here)
Fanfiction - Love it or Hate it? Have your ever read/written it?
Summer or Winter?
Truth or Dare?

My answers:
Where is your favorite spot to read?

I like reading my Kindle Fire in bed. So relaxing and much easier to concentrate without distractions.

How fast do you read?
According to the test, I read 340 words per minute; 36% above average.
I've never been fast. I take my time so I can understand everything and let it sink in.

Fan fiction? Love it or hate it?
I've not read any but I've only heard that it's attempt to make perfectly good stories into X rated versions.

Have you ever read/written it?
No and no.

Summer or Winter?
Summer. I'm from Florida and I love being able to put flip flops on and run outside. It's cold here and I don't even want to go outside. Snow is fine if I can watch it from the warm comfort of my heated living room.

Truth or Dare?
Truth. I'm not a dare devil.

Feel free to join in the fun. Either answer the questions on your own blog or in the comment section. Click the link below to sign up.

I Am A Reader

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Snow for Sunday

For some reason there's no Blogger or GMail app for my Kindle, so I can't get my entry posted to the blog on that. Weird.

Anyway, Steve and I slept until 4PM today. We're both trying to get past the 95% and 98% well point. I had some weird dream with Zoe Saldana and Tom Cruise were in a high tower hotel and trying to catch baddies. The other dream was that I was trying to get people away from the zombies by keeping them in the abandoned hospital.

Steve put together the Micke desk from IKEA, so now I have a place to work in the living room as well.

We ate roast dinner and watched Celebrity Big Brother (loving this now.) We'd been waiting on the snow all day but must have missed it because I see a light dusting on the cars outside.

I'm still not going out in this weather.

Sent from my iPhone

New desk day

Today we had the groceries delivered at 10:45 by Tesco. Since it was cold and rainy (a wonderful combination) we took a taxi to the MetroCentre. There we had lunch at the Chinese buffet, walked around, then went to the retail park for Starbucks and a visit to IKEA.

Now that the Christmas tree is put away, I decided we need a desk in the corner of the living room. After much debate we chose the smaller white desk with the green drawer. We also grabbed the £9 yellow Jules chair even though it didn't have roller wheels.

Since we had to watch Celebrity Big Brother tonight, the desk is only half finished. Jake has already claimed the chair for himself - as he should with his catty ways.

It's getting down to 27F soon. It snowed for a bit today, as the taxi driver told us, and it's going to snow Monday and Tuesday. That means me, the netbook, and the new desk are going to be spending a lot of time indoors next week.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Everyone want to rule the world

books by aigle_dore

200 million Americans want to publish a book.

256,618 people signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2011.

From 8,000 to 11,000 new publishers enter the field every year; they are mostly self-publishers.

These are the things writers have to take into account these days. No longer is the term “writer” used as a unique form of art that one crafts because of a driven passion that can only be satisfied by working and creating. Well, a lot are but not 8,000 per year.

It’s easier these days to create what you want and put it in a form where someone could see it. We’re no longer locked in our own little worlds, thinking we’re unique and special. There’s what we want to do, then there’s the whole world that’s doing what they want to do. Unfortunately, now everyone wants to do the same thing but not all of them want to do it for the same reasons.

It pains me to think that writing books has become like an Ebay seller store. Maybe someone out there will pay me some money for this junk. I know plenty of people are doing it because they want to write, and that’s absolutely fine. I’m happy that we have the means to get our work in print (and eprint) differently now. But I’m wondering what this is going to do to the book market in another year or so.

Anyway, it’s going to snow tomorrow.

Links to share for today:

Les Miserables Taught Me How to Hate Again

Fifty SHAPES of Grey - the exercise program!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A paid day out

Today I took the Metro out to the coast to help out with test invigilation for a community college. There were two hundred plus students all set up in the gym and I got to answer questions like, “What’s my test centre number?” and “Can I borrow a pen?” I couldn’t even answer the specific questions they had about the test set up because I’d honestly not taken a good look at the English GCSE booklet before. At the last school I was teaching, the others in the English Department were teaching those questions so I at least now have a better understanding of the Sixth Form English exam.

I’m sitting in the dark bedroom this afternoon on the netbook while our regular PC is still claiming to be only at 11 out of 16 updates. It’s been saying that all night and day so Steve will have to check up on it tonight. I sort of like being tucked away in the bed as I write though. It’s much warmer here, that’s for sure. (It’s supposed to snow this weekend. Snow!)

Tomorrow, I’m still not sure if I’ll go to the gym of give in and go to the walk-in clinic.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

09 Jan 2013

I couldn’t think of anything more interesting than a date for a blog title.

I was going to go to the walk-in clinic today but I’m driving this afternoon. Also, the walk-in clinic has moved next to the hospital, which I only found out in a comment on one of the websites that listed their address and phone number. The NHS site still has their old address listed. But since I can’t take any medicine before I drive, I decided to just take these decongestants that I got from Boots last weekend and hope for the best.

Tomorrow I have a test invigilating job assignment for the morning so I’ll be up again at 6AM to grab the 7:16 bus. Once I get done with that, I can always take the bus up to the hospital so I can see if the walk-in clinic will see me. Of course, they’ll be closed for lunch so I’ll probably be waiting around for a while. I could always try to get over there tonight. We’ll see.

I’m tired of being sick, and I’m tired of both of us having to be sick. I don’t like being so groggy, and having pain, and ringing in my ear, and feeling all together not myself. Until then, I’m just hanging out here at home unless otherwise required. I have the netbook now so I can lounge around and research and get some work done. I also have plenty of books to keep me occupied. I’ve been trying to get back into updating my book blog this week too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Indefinite Leave to Remain

We went to Newcastle Civic Centre today to get our application for my Settlement Visa looked over and sent out. We brought ever scrap of mail from any kind of official organisation we could. We didn't realise we couldn't have six month gaps in our postal mail dates. Luckily since we brought everything, our application *looks* fine. Of course the person who did our application check couldn't give us any kind of decision.

What happens now is we get to wait for my biometric (fingerprints and retina scan) request card. I'll have to take a trip to South Shields for that, then it can take up to four months before I get approved.

Once I get my biometric card, I'm all set. Then I can get my citizenship next year.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rainy Monday

rain by lightknight

Heck, every day here is rainy, isn’t it?

I didn’t go out today. Steve woke up with a cough at 5AM; the same thing I have first thing in the morning. That kind of uncontrollable cough that won’t let go for a while. It’s awful. Plus, my ear is still bunged up and since I don’t want to pass any more or get anymore germs (my main concern), I didn’t go to the gym. I started getting sick on Dec 21st. I’m now on Day 17 of “Why won’t this go away?!”

Anyway, now that I have my new Nook, I’ve been downloading books from the Newcastle City Library. I chose the only book on writing that I could find, simply called Novel Writing. It’s an okay book because it goes through steps on how to set up your story ideas, which are always nice even if you don’t like working with formulas. (I generally keep notes and ideas and then jump in with them to stay afloat.) It’s good to read other people’s ideas on the craft, however, I have a really hard time with the amount of typos there are in this ebook version. It’s not a here and there thing, either, it’s on every other page. And it’s obvious errors like faws instead of Jaws, and capital letters used in the middle of sentences. It’s off-putting, especially for a book devoted to writing well.

Tomorrow we’re going to our appointment to apply for my Indefinite Leave to Remain. I have the form filled out in pencil but this afternoon I have to go over it in pen to make sure it’s perfect before I hand it over. I still have to ask what I put for my monthly income since it’s never stable.

Speaking of which, school started again today. Wonder if I’ll be doing any supply teaching again or if I should give up again. Hhmm…

I also did a factory reset of my HTC Sensation so now it can be sent away. It means no more Instagram but, oh well, one less problem for me to deal with.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Back to normal

Eldon Square, Newcastle - Win 7 camera with auto-fix

Yesterday we eventually did get out and about. We went up the steep hill to the charity shop to donate our old toaster. There isn’t anything desperately wrong with it, aside from it being really over-zealous about toasting. It did not make our smoke detector happy but neither does our oven, grill, or stove top.

We took the bus, went into town, got some decongestants from Boots which are, as the clerk behind the pharmacy counter claimed, “the strongest you can get without a prescription.” When I took them last night it did nothing for my stupid ear. Now Steve and I are just hanging out calling, “What?” to one another because we can’t hear anything. Wish this would just go away. The sneezing and coughing isn’t nearly as bad as it was but it’s still there to remind us that these germs aren’t going away. Steve suggested that we had a cold after my flu. Whatever it is, I’m tired of it.

Since we wanted to find relief from the stuffy head symptoms, we went to Nando’s for hot chicken. It’s always way too busy so when we were on our way to the Chinese buffet and we saw that there wasn’t a long wait for chicken, we took the opportunity to treat ourselves. They have cloudy lemonade that is, by all American accounts, “proper” lemonade. Very tart, non-fizzy and so, so good.

After our chicken dinner, we hit Paperchase where I already ordered sale item notebooks, but this time I found a couple of earbud cord wraps (one spider, one garden gnome) and some pens. I still have yet to use all the notebook I bought previously but I was still tempted to buy more.

Before heading home we went to Krispy Kreme where their prices trick me into buying a whole dozen. The coffee’s awesome and I could eat six maple iced donuts in one sitting but I don’t plan on running a marathon anytime soon, so I have one at a time.

Once we got home we took the Christmas tree decorations down. Sad. It’s especially sad when we were sick all holiday so we couldn’t enjoy it as much as we’d have liked to. Today Steve threw the tree out and I filled in my Leave to Remain form for UK settlement. I’m going to be so glad when that stuff is all over.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sniffles Saturday

I must say, I am really glad that Santa brought this netbook to us. It’s so much more convenient to sit on the couch with a 10 inch machine and type up stuff. We even used it to order the groceries this week. While I usually work at home on the PC and keep all my files on Scrivener and Word there, but having the ability to type from another vantage point is nice as well.

Today we both slept in but had gotten up a few times through the early morning due to this stupid cold that will not go away. Both of us have pressure in our sinuses, coughing, and plugged up ears. It’s absolutely maddening, especially since we both don’t feel sick, just walking around with symptoms.

Still, we need more medicine and even though the weather isn’t great (wow, January is a depressing month) we’re going to venture out. It’s already after 2PM and I’ve been watching Dirty Dancing in HD from the V+ plus (I really need to buy this on Blu-Ray and get it over with.) But since we’re losing daylight, I’ve got to get moving.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Empty spaces

I decided not to go to the gym today. Instead, I kept my sniffly, coughy, stuffy self on the couch with some Lemsip. Steve is still not feeling well and we’re both totally tired of all this junk.

This means I’ve not gone to the gym. The Couch to 5K will have to wait until next week to pick the routine up again. I’m glad I did one day of it, just to see how it worked. I’ve heard conflicting advice that you should go to the gym when you’re sick. The most compelling argument I read to not go if that other gym goers don’t want germs. I still swear I’ve been sick in the past because I didn’t use the anti-bacterial wipes on the equipment before and after use. Plus, if it’s at all possible to get ill all over again from the flu germs, I don’t want to risk getting them.

Today will be devoted to working on my second Cupcake Witches novel. Plus, I have to phone Parcelforce and complain about the horrible state of the box we received from the US this week. I’ll also have to print out my Leave to Remain application form and get that all filled out. We have all of our necessary papers ready to bring along (plus some smashing ID pictures from the photo booth at Sainsbury’s while we were both in the midst of the flu wrath.) I’m also supposed to be receiving a delivery from Paperchase where I decided to buy some sale notebooks. As much as I want to give up on keeping paper journals, I always get new ones from time to time. The new year seemed like a good reason to have a new one.

The first week

Today I spent the morning on the couch, trying to get this stupid sinus headache/earache stuffiness to go away. I was awakened by the pleasant surprise of my Tassimo delivery, courtesy of my £20 voucher that I received in the box with the new machine. I think I’m set for quite a while. I also came home to a delivery of a Christmas gift that included a ton of Dunking Donuts coffee. My parents had sent me some Barnie’s Santa’s White Christmas coffee as well, so yeah, totally stocked up for months.

My biggest accomplishment today was going to the salon. I decided to ditch the highlights and go for an all-over natural dark brown. I only had my hair dyed at home (and I messed it up really bad on my own, I tell you.) so this was a treat. It was pricier than usual but now I only have to do the root touch ups to keep the tell-tale signs of age from creeping back on my scalp.

I bought Steve some more supplies since he’s still feeling badly. I hope we both get over this stupid flu soon. I’m tired of feeling like an invalid and I know he is too.

I was thinking tonight that after mentioning the blog post regarding how many blogs writers actually need, I’m going to go back to having my author website forwarded to the blog. I may cross post later on, but for now, I’ll just stick to this since my updates are all here.

Tomorrow I plan on going back to the gym for my second jog/walk of Couch to 5K. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Starting the new year

Today I walked in with Steve, who went back to work at the office again. It was such a dreary morning, and we woke up at 7AM so that whenever I do go back to work, my 6AM wake up call won’t be as hard to get adjusted to. The morning was just rainy, grey and dreary. I commented that everyone is always excited for the new year but when it comes down to it, it’s depressingly the same. Steve agreed and was bored by the idea of sitting in a quiet office as the rain came down all day.

I decided to start my Couch to 5K podcasts from the NHS. I liked them because the podcast host didn’t count down my 60 second jog and 90 second walk. She just prompted me for each stage and the time went by really quickly. Before, I was trying to do the walk to jog method on my own and staring at that clock on the treadmill makes you want to hurl yourself (and the treadmill) through the gym window.

It also helped that I now have my Nook Simple Touch so I was able to download Along for the Ride from the library and read that during my walking sessions. (I finally got this achieved after spending all yesterday afternoon fighting to get my PC to recognize the Nook until I finally de-registered it and registered it again fresh before it would work.) I also took the new netbook to the library cafe and took some notes on what projects to work on. After knowing how many millions of indie authors there are out there (and how many talented writers who aren’t published yet), I feel so blah going into the effort again. But, hey, I have to keep doing it.

When I got home I played some Skyrim, took my nap to ward off the stupid cough and sinus headache/earache crap that I’m still plagued with. Steve came home with a Christmas box that my parents had sent that was to be delivered on the 24th of Dec but since no one was at reception in his office, it was apparently put into a very wet depot until today. Every article of clothing we received in the presents had to be washed to get the mildew out of them. The magazines and mail was ruined and even the wrapping paper was damp. I’ll be phoning Parcel Force tomorrow to tell them uncalled their treatment of our mail has been.

Steve was ready to move to the US after today. Once we get my driver’s license and Leave to Remain we can do that whenever we want. Of course there are those pesky US Government loops to hop through. Yay.

Tomorrow it’s off to get my hair done (no highlights this time, just all over dark.) And I got my author update that Ali’s Pretty Little Lies is available now. Wee!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome 2013!

So begins another year. Today is windy but sunny so we’ve decided to take a walk to shake off this cabin fever. The moment I got home from school on Friday the 21st, I felt weird. That evening I developed the chills. By Saturday, despite my driving lesson, I knew I had the flu. All over Christmas break I fought off the terrible sickness which Steve didn’t get until Boxing Day or so. Luckily he didn’t get this crud as bad as I did but we’re still feeling the tail end of the junk. I now have a cough and a sinus headache that only pharmacist approved Sudafed can ease. I’m so very grateful to not be as sick as I was but I’m also planning on getting my flu shot the minute they’re available this next winter.

Tomorrow Steve will be back to work, and I’ll be back to the same routine I was before I started teaching last term. I was planning on finishing the second book in the Cupcake Witches series so the first draft could be done by the end of NaNoWriMo. It didn’t happen that way but, oh well, there’s always this year.

I’ll keep on searching for a steady paid job but, honestly, the only availability I’m getting is through the teaching agencies. I’ve thought about going to an office temp agency as well. Again I say, I’m not holding my breath on getting anything permanent but there’s not much else I can do about the situation.

All in all, I’m happy that a new year is upon us. I know things will get done such as my settlement Visa and passing my driver’s test. I know I’ll write more and I’ll keep on keeping on as we all do. At least I have some money in the bank to use for bus money and coffee when I go out to write in public places.