Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Birthday party

Despite the fact that Jay's brithday was on the 9th we didn't have his party until last Sunday. Figured he may as well get used to the idea that birthdays tend to stretch out a bit. Besides my friend Zara was due to arrive the day before his planned party and as she is Miss Super-Party Planner I admit I had an ulterior motive for waiting. The theme was the Circus. Keith displayed his artistic talent and made Jay a fantastic top hat and then he and Zara spent the better part of an afternoon making red and white bunting. Zara and I made Jay a whip, (enough said there!) and I did my Martha Stewart bit and spent hours in the kitchen making a circus tent cake, cucumber and pb&J sandwiches and jam and lemon curd tarts. Jammy dodgers came courtesy of Zara. It was all very English. Needless to say Jay was not that enamoured with being the ringmaster and refused to wear his top hat. Although he did love the afternoon's soundtrack of La Moulin Rouge - suitably circusey I thought, kind of goes along with the whole whip theme... Anyway we had a good turnout and the children were remarkably well behaved. We didn't bother with formal games and just let the kids play skittles and throwing the hoop. We were going to do face painting but in the end it merely extended to curly moustaches. Just listening to Steve Wright on BBC radio 2 commenting on American and English not being the same and how an American once said to him he had a nice pair of pants on and how he was utterly amazed they could see through his trousers! Zara and I have been having a good laugh this week over a similar troublesome word, fanny. Our discussions don't seem to get very far though because we end up laughing uncontrollably instead. Ah, the joys of language. Speaking of language I am into my second week as a tutor for the Literacy Alliance of Fort Wayne. I am working in one of the Literacy Centres so tend to do more group tutoring rather than one on one. I am really enjoying it although last night spent two hours doing maths. If anyone ever asked me what fun things I did in my day maths would not be one of them. When it comes to numbers and mathematical problems I have a genuine phobia - my mind completely blanks, my heart starts palpitating and I feel thoroughly sick. I can stare at a problem for hours and be no closer to solving it than when I started. So, one of the things about working at the centre is that you tutor in both English/Language and Maths. There I was having to do long division with subtraction, percentages, negative and positive numbers and it was utterly hopeless. If I thought my multiplication was bad at school it is truly horrible now. Plus, the way they are taught to work out long division is totally different to how I was taught at school, (yes, I do vaguely remember) so I was sitting there with the answers, (advantage of being the teacher)and trying to work out how the hell to get the answer working it out the way the students are taught here. NIGHTMARE!! But the guy I was helping was cute so that made that easier and then the girl I sat with next said, "This is really fun working through this with you" and I replied, "What because I'm like the worst person at maths you've ever met?" Anyway I never thought I would say this but I actually enjoyed spending two hours doing maths. As the Americans would say, go figure! It's still bloody cold here although has been rather sunny. My friend, Cath sent me pictures of her and her husband and baby Isabella by the pool and on the beach in Dubai where they live. It was gorgeously sunny and they looked particularly healthy. I want to pick her eyes out! I do miss the Phoenix weather - Fort Wayne totally sucks in the winter. And I miss the city. I have exhausted all the shops here and feel quite bereft of decent shopping. I looked at a job in Milan the other day - not that I'm aching for a big city fashion fix or anything! Actually the job was fantastic and would have suited me down to a t. Figured I should probably give us a bit longer here first. I see Europe over the horizon though and keep playing Waterloo Sunset to prepare me On a confession note, I have become an iPod junkie. Keith gave me a Nano for my birthday last year. Needless to say the technology was so new that after a month it was back at Apple after having totally shut down on me. The replacement has been fantastic though and just to encourage my complete unsocialness Keith provided me with an iTrip Griffin so I can listen to it in the car and a docking station/speaker circle so I can listen to it in the house. I believe he is now completely regretting such gifts and the house, car and his ears are now overloaded with "crap Euro pop" - Eros, Enrique, Nek, Tarkan. I try and play other stuff but european pop music is perfect for some serious Friday night dancing with a two-year old! It's tea-time and Shrove Tuesday so I'm off to make pancakes and join Zara and Jay in gorging ourselves before lent starts. I love being English...

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