Saturday, 28 March 2009

At Her Age

I was making lunch when I realized I had no vinegar for the salad. Ah! So that's why that plastic bottle was sitting empty on the counter last night. Stupid me!

So I did what I hardly ever do and went to my neighbour for half a teacup of vinegar. I rang the doorbell, but no one seemed to hear me. So I grabbed the chance when I met my upstairs neighbour and asked her.

I met her on the ground floor and she lives on the second floor. She could hardl get there. Her veins, she said. It must be the veins. She bought some pills and hopes things will get better soon.

We talked but I had to stop her (how rude of me!) so that I could finish the salad and put lunch on the table. I washed the dishes and went back upstairs. I had told the neighbour before that she should feel free to call me if she needed anything - and not go to town limping and in pain. She would, she said, but forgets where she had my number.

So I wrote my two phone numbers on a piece of paper and took them to her. Be sure to call me! I go to the shop almost every day, anyway....

A lady at 73, living on her own, doesn't let a guest flee away as they come. So we chatted some more. About people about her sweetheart who lives an hour or so away, about her children, about this and that.

And about her veins.
"I must have danced too much on Saturday," she says.

I must have had a surprised look on my face. But she wasn't joking.

"It's so nice to dance with him. I simply can't resist that. My favourite is English waltz.It feels like floating on water. But last Saturday we danced some rock'n'roll. I loved it, but I guess that was too much for my legs."

I couldn't help but smile: "You know, if your legs hurt from dancing, I'm sure it's worth it!"
She absolutely agreed. Smiling.

She's been through enough, still works quite alot at home, has half of a hip replaced with an artificial part and goes out and dances. Seriously - I can only hope to be half of the person she is (not literally, she's skinny) at her age!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Little Villains

There's this class of twelve-year-olds. When you're with them for ten minutes you may think they're all crazy. The volume! Speaking loudly is not enough, they have to shout. When they drive each other crazy, they shout even more. Then they fight and instead of stopping when I say something, they start explaining the reasons - not in soft voice, I assure you... geeez!

Trying to put things in order you cannot help noticing all the other activities: swinging on chairs or putting legs on the nearest chair, picking noses and ... ugh!... or touching each others notebooks, pencil-cases or anything else just to annoy them, writing notes that fly through air to reach the adressee.

No matter what I say, no matter what I do, they just won't listen.

But if I have a closer look, I realize there are soooo many really really good kids in this class. Even if they are left alone, not bothered directly, called names or anything, I feel they are being bullied in a way by the noise their classmates are making while they are actually willing to study to know something - they find the stuff interesting!

I decided today not to focus on the noisy part.

They did all sorts of things.

"Teacher! His phone is ringing!"
"So what? Not my problem."
"He took my pen!" - not from an innocent boy.
"I don't care!"

They didn't get it.
I answered in soft voice or not at all to any such complaint. We did the exercises I had in mind. While doing them, I was making a list of the good students. I assigned another exercise, but told the quiet ones to gather around two desks. I gave them dominoes to play with. Vocabulary dominoes. They liked them. They found and learned some new words.

What's more important - the rest of the class didn't like that! They argued! They said I wasn't being fair! I ignored them. Surprisingly, most of them did the exercise in the workbook I told them to do. Two of them did it quietly and brought it to me to have it checked.

Good! They're getting the message. A battle won. Another one tomorrow.

Or not. After all, they're kids. And not bad ones. :-)

Monday, 23 March 2009

Where Did They Get YOU?

I don't remember ever asking mum where babies came from. But I do remember my parents telling me a story of them going to the shop for a

So they were married and loved each other. They wanted a baby. The lady in that shop showed them some babies. And they saw this cute little girl. They just fell in love with her. So they bought that one and went home.

After sometime they felt it would be nice to have another one. They went to the same baby shop and looked for a boy, as they already had a girl at home. They were shown an adorable little boy. He was a bit different from his sister, though. She had dark hair, while he hardly had any. And what he had, was blond. They liked him so much they didn't think twice, but decided in a moment.

Two years later they thought it would be nicer to have three children than just two. And off they went. They didn't mind if it was a girl or a boy. And then they saw ME! :-) And OF COURSE they couldn't leave me there...

Not only the shop, also the procedure was very special in that shop.
The lady behind the counter listened to what you wanted and opened several dusty carton boxes to show you the babies. And when you found the one you wanted, they went to the other part of the store to look for the suitable belly button. They screwed that into your tummy to hold your butt which would otherwise fall off. And the belly button has been there ever since - I guess they must have chosen the right one and fixed my behind properly (that is also still there).

I also remember my parents and other "old folks" talking about the past. The past beyond my memory. The years when they were young. And to my question "When was that?" or "When did that happen?" they sometimes replied it was before I existed.

Still little, I remembered the lesson about baby shopping and surprisingly believed every word of it. And I had a quick answer: "Of course I existed, you just hadn't bought me yet!"

I must have been three or four when I heard the story and nearly six when everybody else had forgotten all about it (but remembered when I refreshed their memory) and I still believed every detail. My parents never really talked about "those things", but they didn't really want me to believe THAT.

So I learned babies came from mum's tummy. I didn't need more than that at that time.

I had friends with different stories about where they came from. Do you have one, too?

Thursday, 19 March 2009

My Cup of Coffee

I promised Skye the other day that I would tell a little something about my kind of coffee, after I said her kind was not my kind. :) I certainly don't think your coffee is worse, Skye. I hope you know that.

From the beginning:

In the morning the alarm on my cell phone wakes me around five. I still have some time, no rush there, but I often get up right after that to enjoy the quiet of that particular part of the day. I open the cupboard and I swear, I could do it in sleep, I fill this coffee pot (or what would you call it?) and in a minute or so you can see THIS:

A quick visit to the bathroom and a look when I come back:


In the morning when I drink coffee alone, I take my mug and pour the coffee in it

... add some sugar (sweetener? yuck!) Now what else is missing? I don't drink it black (it would be healthier, though), sooo, yep, some milk!

I have another coffee pot, a big sister of the one you've just seen:

I use it when my sweetheart comes by. Then I don't drink it from my mug, but pour it in two cups like this:

But my big coffee pot is not the little one's only relative! Here's the one that waits for me at school:

See the wall behind it? Time for painting, yes. Having a cooker so close is not the best idea, I guess. As safe as all that is (and it is), people have forgotten about it and the result... well, can't be proud about it. The curtains on the other side? Whose idea was that??

The pot is for nine cups, I think. Since I'm early and it's become a routine, it's very easy to make sure that coffee is ready when the rest of them come, so that the smell of coffee welcomes them at the door. One of my colleagues then usually pours it for me - when I'm sitting by the computer, finishing something or just doing something not very important. We chat a little and the morning starts nicely and easily. And coffee sure has something to do with it.

Lesson after lesson leave you no time for coffee. Besides, a cup of tea or cocoa is better sometimes so that caffeine in your blood doesn't reach a dangerous level. But, as I said, NO TIME. For the short, five minute breaks, we have this beast:

Does the trick, but again, not my cup of coffee...

The one shown above is. Strong, with a nice smell... not coffee you could sip all the time, though. One, two, maybe three cups a day and that's enough. But those cups... mmmm!... Sit down and enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Honest Mistake

Today we had what we call a "sports day" meaning that some students went skiing, some swimming and the rest went hiking. And so we went.

We chose a not too steep road through some fields and villages. We walked and chatted, enjoying what the nature had to offer. No classes today - most students liked that and the teachers didn't mind, either. I took my camera with me, still determined to learn how to use it properly. Ooops, not MY camera, it's actually my daughter's. Anyway, I liked some flowers by the road,

but I didn't pick them. I believe they would lose all their cuteness and beauty in a vase indoors. I'll just have to go out again to see them. Right?

Anyway, the day was gorgeous, we couldn't ask for better weather to do this. I felt great just looking at the river and the trees and all those flowers.

Well, there was one little thing. Some crampy cramps in my stomach that come by once a month... lucky me! That's today! Wasn't too bad, but tomorrow would be better and certainly less inconvenient.

We came back to school, I sat on the chair and put the camera on the desk. I have this cute little backpack, only big enough for my wallet, a glass of water and a camera. And some"extra equipment" (the one used on monthly basis) in a small pocket inside with a zip. Clumsy me, and by no means for the first time, I somehow turned it around when all that was unzipped and quite a few things fell on the floor.

When I was picking this

my colleague started laughing, but NOT AT ME, actually she had a story of her own:

"You know how they offer you sweets to taste at the mall? Well, one day I passed a stall like that, I didn't even look, they gave me something I thanked them and went on shopping. I put it in my purse and forgot all about it.

Two days later I took my students somewhere (I think it was another school) and there I was, standing with another teacher, not too hungry, but I felt like eating a little something, so I took it out saying "I wonder what that chocolate is like".

Fast came a thrust of the colleague's elbow accompanied by her soft voice: "Put it away, it's a tampon."


I must say here that they are rather new in this wrapping. and honestly, it could be anything...

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Who Am I?

Sometimes it hits me that I simply cannot put my feelings or my personal traits in one file box or another to be classified and done with. I'm not always pleased with it. Sometimes I feel our identity is just another vague and blurry element added to the uncertainty of our lives.

Yes, I'd like to say I'm nice. I guess I usually am. Except for when I'm not, that is. When I am ready for a word fight or incredibly good at finding flaws in good things. And saying something about that out loud. AND I KNOW it takes so little to make people smile. And you take so much when you spread negative energy.

I'm painfully honest. Well, not really. I lie sometimes. Lying is really not my thing, but ... do you know the feeling when you simply don't want to be bothered with small things that would make you look stupid or worse than they think you are? A small lie... to them or to me?

But I AM painfully honest. I'm not good at lying. In fact, I'll tell you the truth even when you would prefer something else. Anything else. It doesn't help to hit my head afterwords. Feelings have been hurt. Ouch. Sorry, I didn't mean to. Another lie - of course I did.

I'm hardworking. Yeah right! I can do quite some work and do it well when I feel like it. But when I don't, I can be a regular couch potato or a potato rolling round my own an other blogs. I'm brilliant at finding excuses - you know, this is a perfect writing and language exercise (except the mistakes don't get marked in red or corrected).

I have a sense of humour. Really? Who's laughing? I guess I must have outgrown it...

I'm ... what else am I?

I guess I'm an ordinary minestrone soup of personal traits, feelings, flaws and virtues. Yep, that must be it.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Spring Walk

It was an ordinary afternoon - I was washing the dishes, cleaning the kitchen... always the same, I guess you know the feeling. The sun, this mischievous thing, stretched its rays into our kitchen only to show me the spots I had missed. Okay, the broom, the mop, the regular accessories...

The bathroom has this thing with lots of clothes that don't smell nice. They are in there for a reason - waiting for me to put them into that revolving drum with occasional showers and liquids with nicer smells. And the bathroom itself needed a caring hand. The sun was very kind to me again, distracting me when I decided to be a good girl and turn the place into an unpleasant-smell- free-and-sparkling room that would fit in the cheesiest of commercials with one of those perfect housewives someone has made incredibly happy by giving her the newest thing that will kill all known germs and some we have no idea of yet. But will soon, so.... better safe than sorry.

Anyway, I didn't get that and all because of those index fingers that the sun has many. They kept pointing at one spot and another and I was fed up. I picked the phone and called my colleague who said she was doing something about the laundry. We needed ten more minutes to get ready and meet for a walk...

I had one road in mind, she had another and we chose to take a third one. And learn. It was not far from home, but we soon found new paths, got lost and found our way again. And enjoyed the sun that was teasing me before. It was like charging the batteries, waking my soul by using my body.

It was good. And the bathroom is OK now. The clothes, too. You can see some photos below. I put them there before I knew I would write this.

Spring is Here!

(all pics clickable to enlarge)

Country road, take me...

...for a walk.

Show me where Spring is coming into the land.

The pastures that are turning green...
... and vineyard after winter rest...

Show me marvels rarely seen...

...and show me what hard working hands have done ...

the fields all neat in golden sun.

Is She really really here? Oh sure she is! She is, my dear!

It makes my soul feel light and high

like birds all free up in the sky.

Friday, 13 March 2009

The blog award: “When Life Hands You Lemons”

I was thrilled to receive this award! :)) Thanks, Viznine!

The terms and conditions set out for this award :

1) Put the logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
3) Link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link to the person from who you received your award.

And these are my 10 nominees, ten authors I love to learn from, that make me smile or laugh and ten whose language I enjoy reading, so vivid and fluent it is and often accompanied with great photos! I added a thought for each of you, I hope you don't mind:

hope your words help you and others in hard times

Teri - for nice little highlights of the present and the past

mo.stoneskin - for your unique sense of humour when everyday things can make you LOL more than once a post

Teresa R. - for the great photos, kind thoughts, teaching important little things to those who want to learn – and even a giveaway…

TheBlueRidgeGal - for the great photos and the stories that come with them and the humor you can put in everyday event that could otherwise make you angry…

Kim - (yep! we need chamomile tea sometimes)…for making us think about things that make you think.

Skye - weekly injection of chuckles – what is there to explain

Simplysweeter- thanks for sweetening our blogging, you’re getting it for the originality in your field

fynneus - I hope I’m not disturbing here, I like this positive attitude

Last but not least
Viznine - again for bringing laughter and keeping track with our comments

Here! I hope you like it. Now pass the award on....

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Write neatly!

(All pics clickable to enlarge)

I remember the first grade.I loved school! In general, I was a shy, self-conscious kid, but school was definitely a place where I could shine! Well, sort of. You see, I knew most of the answers to all sorts of questions, spelling was a piece of cake, math was like playing games. Yes, I could make a mess at art (not my thing, art), I was kind of clumsy at P.E. And, I mustn't forget I missed a tone or two at music (actually, I sang out of tune completely). But in the end, my grades were great and I was very proud of them, even developing a sort of arrogance, feeling I was better than some of my classmates. Arrogance is NOT ME. It just disappeared as it came.

I remember clearly what my first grade teacher said (one of those mom-like-teachers): Your grades are perfect, but if handwriting was a subject like maths, you would have to repeat class. You would fail completely.

It was said with a smile, but I had heard that before. My handwriting was just sooooo ugly! When we learned cursive writing, I tried to do everything in the exact way as our teacher did. I JUST COULDN'T! The letters ended either too low or too high, crossing the lines that were there to guide my hand. Where they were supposed to be round, they had some unexpected corners. Besides, I was terribly slow in writing (as I was in most other things).

My family commented on the looks of my notebooks, saying it was in genes -my brother was the same, sister only a little bit better, but neither mom nor dad wrote that ugly. Sometimes they joked about it, but when it got too bad, dad could get really angry. My brother and I had to practise letters and numbers in order to learn how to write them properly. Little did they know that I practised on my own, too, because I WANTED to write neatly.

It got worse and worse. At the age of thirteen I couldn't read what I wrote. Neither could anyone else, of course. I heard that over an over again. In different tones. Ugh! I was always clumsy with my fingers and writing most certainly involves some "finger activity".

In high school I heard the same comments. I tried and succeeded in writing legibly in most cases. Many notes were simply missing because I just wasn't one of those diligent students. I figured out how much work I needed to do to get by.

And then it happened.I fell in love with the drummer in my brother's band. It didn't last. It ended with a couple of letters. And they just HAD TO be neat. You should see the letters in those letters :) ! There they were, one by one, printed rather than cursive and looking so neat. I was so proud of myself.

It got a little bit easier. I copied lyrics of songs into a notebook, being very very careful about handwriting and even started to use my new skill in my school notebooks.

There is this funny thing about handwriting: people like me show in every word they write how they feel, how much they like what they're writing and how much time they have to write what they're writing. So these are some of my creations that were written in the last few years.

Some planning, when I had time and will to do it. In the beginning, at least, then I got kind of fed up with it :An exercise at a language school - I loved it, had an idea and very little time. I don't know why I chose red. I guess I liked red that day:
And I had some worse notes from meetings I didn't want to attend. Notes from one I attended with a bad headache, are particularly illegible.

An exercise we did with a boy, him talking and me doing the writing - it had to be neat for him to be able to read
:See? Even my "neat" isn't neat.

Of all the things people have said about this the worst thing was that some people think that everyone can write neatly, you just have to try. If your handwriting is not neat, or if it's horrible like mine, then you are lazy and obviously don't care. That is SO NOT TRUE!!!

I often come across notes, exercises and test I can hardly read, but in most cases I can - with my experience! This is one of them, far from the worst:

I NEVER say to a child: "Write neatly!"
I'm never angry about it.

I do say: "Try to write more legibly. It's important! It will save you a lot of trouble."
The reply is often: "But I can't write neatly!"
Me: "I'm not telling you to. But it must always be legible enough for people to read it. I myself write terribly, but for you, I try hard and you can read, can't you?"

They're usually surprised. The reason is that I use a kind of first-grade handwriting for the short notes on the blackboard.(Or I type and use the projector.) Yes, I can do that for a limited amount of text if I try. But that just isn't me.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

I'm not writing this for the followers...

... but you sure put a big smile on my face when I see there is one more of you guys on my list! :D

Thanks! I'll try not to disappoint you.

(Now what do I do to make you tell me IN WORDS what you think about all this? Let me think...)

Happy Women's Day!

To all you women out there - may this be YOUR day, whatever the reasons may have been to make this day special

and celebrating it in your country or not - may it celebrate all those things you contribute to the lives of the people around you! Everything you are and all the good that you do!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Naughty boy

We were revising present simple, "my day" stuff, you know... There were just these two boys in the classroom and me. Not a regular class, but an extra lesson for those who are willing to put some more work into studying in order to improve their grades. In fact, one of these two boys was talked into it after a discussion with his mum (me an her, that is) and after me talking to him on several occasions. Well, he's finally here. Let's name him Bob.

The other one decided to be a good boy that day, I guess, or just figured out that with some more revising in a smaller group (there should be five or six other students) he would have to study less at home. I don't know.

None of these boys is what we would call "a good boy". But Bob - he can really wreck my nerves. Turning around ten times a minute to talk to someone instead of listening, he always answers with a broad smile on his face when I say something to him. He comes to class without homework, doesn't start doing the exercise many have already finished - he draws a mustache on a face in his workbook instead - interrupts my explanation or instructions annoying one neighbour or another and yet, he denies doing anything wrong. Grrrrr! But we can't let him get away without actually learning something. After all, he will be studying English for six or seven more years.

Anyway, we were revising "My Day". You know: I get up at six o'clock... They described their day in turns - one sentence each. We came to the evening, went past dinner, now what? My suggestion was shower...
"Well, I don't know, I said, maybe you don't have it in the evening. Maybe you have a shower in the morning."

This boy's answer was: I have it on Saturdays.

I just wanted to overhear that, but Bob was shocked: "What?!!? Not every day?"
The other boy then named some more days - the ones when he had practice (football or basketball, I'm not sure), saying that he always has a shower after practice, he came to some five days a week, so maybe he was just interrupted too soon the first time... but Bob...:

"I have a shower every day! At least twice!"
"Twice a day???"
"Of course! In the morning I go to my horses and feed them. When I come from the stable I must have a shower.I can't come too school all smelly, can I? And after homework, I go out and help dad with the horses and the rest of the animals. so, of course, I need a shower before going to bed..."

From present simple we came to all sorts of thoughts spinning in my head: Then this menace I can hardly stand some days is actually a boy who does some serious work - and I didn't hear a tone of complaint in his voice, he liked it!- and had a shower BEFORE CATCHING THE SCHOOLBUS! We start school at seven thirty so his bus must be leaving around seven!!! And he is happy to do the same in the afernoon... Wow!

I'm not sure this new knowledge about this boy's life will help me in any way. Perhaps it will. I'll try to make the best of it.

Friday, 6 March 2009

What's on TV today?

Dust usually lies on things that are used very rarely and rests there until a diligent housewife deals with it.

Our TV is anything but unused. Maybe that is also the reason why I didn't notice the thick layer of that unwanted substance sooner. And when I did, it was ime to do other things (or bedtime), I decided to do it later and then forgot.

I often watch news in the morning, around six o'clock before leaving home. That is my news time. I don't usually watch the evening news. That morning programme helps me - together with my cup of coffee - wake up slowly and easily.

This morning, however, there was something different on: no news, no music, just a nice landscape with a tree and a little sunshine, all framed very neatly:

(click to enlarge)
It was my son that made my morning more interesting and sunnier than usual. No, he is not five. He is seventeen (17!). I guess it's a good thing to be a little childish at all times.

Needless to say, I did the dusting before I left for work. And I'm going to do some more now.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Vivid explanation

We all know about these modern car keys. You can use them from a distance to lock or unlock your car. So far so good.

My colleague was curious, though, what the heck is that other button for. What do you do with that one?

Our headmaster was glad to explain it to her. Sitting in the staffroom and drinking coffee, he explained it and showed it to her:
"If you press this button and hold it for a little while, like this, all four windows come down. It's very convenient in summer, so that the car is aired a little before you even get there. It works from...I don't know...twenty, thirty metres..."

"Oh, I see... I..."

She couldn't finish the sentence when our janitor runs into the staffroom:
"Headmaster!! I don't know what happened, I mean, I don't know why, but suddenly all four windows of the school's car opened!"

Yep, the key does work from distance... and through thick concrete walls!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

What makes your morning?

I like mornings. If I only have enough time. Isn't it nice to get up before others do, have a cup of coffee in peace and start the day slowly?

I usually come to work much before I need to and have time to think it over - what I'm going to do and how. I check a blog or two and in the meantime, I make coffee for my colleagues. And myself, of course. Maybe I write a few comments and then people stasrt dropping into the staff room. One of my colleagues often pours coffee for me - isn't that just sweet - and start talking about one thing or another. No tension. i like coming to work and I feel blessed for it.

Let me end here and look for some exercises now.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Testing and Grading

How do you remember being tested at school? And by this I mean the tests you had to write to get grades at any subject you were studying. Did you like that?

No matter how you change your teaching methods or what subject you teach, no matter what topic you're dealing with at the moment, you are required to grade your students in the end (with very few exceptions).

When you are dealing with something new, don't you tell your students: "Revise this at home, if possible, do it TODAY"? I know I do. And I offer extra help for those with more problems. And we check their homework together and I try to let their parents know if they are not doing well.

One day I come to the class with a testpaper. They are not happy about it. But we've done something similar about a week ago. And done more exercises. Revised. Now what?

They have forty-five minutes to solve what they can as well as they can and earn a grade.

I don't like that. But we have to do it. We have to find out how much they've learned. But do we?

There is this child who is very bright and understands connections between things, different concepts in life and can also deal with numbers very easily. Brilliant at music and fairly good at art, the child can barely read. Is this student really so bad at language if the test is poorly written? Will we be fair enough to this child to let his or her potentials evolve?

There is this student who hasn't got a good ear for language. I IS and I ARE both sound good to this student. But just before the test a thousand exercises get solved and the chapter in the textbook studied back and forth and all the notes in the notebook become of all sorts of different colours. So much work must do some good and the test goes fine. We are all happy. The knowledge, well, it lasts or not.

And there is this other student. You feel a perfect understanding of everything you're teaching somewhere behind the gestures that indicate self-consciousness. This student shines at revising, but comes to the class all pale and nervous on the "test day". The results do not meet the expectations. There must be a way to overcome this. Or not?

And another one: this little person is convinced in their own geniality which makes any kind of studying needless without saying. No exercises. No work. No studying. The result? Sometimes good and sometimes disappointing.

And yet another: not brilliant, but with some work this student comes by with fairly good grades. Will they remember next year what we are studying now?

And another: there is almost no way for this kid to pass. Not without one more chance and yet another one to make up for failing the test. But if we go abroad, this might be the child to actually use the language and talk to someone. With big mistakes, but still...

And others. And others. And more others. All different.

Some students want to know. A lot. As much as possible. Because they're curious. Because they're ambitious - positively ambitious. Because they want to be praised. Because good grades make them feel good.

Others lack ambition and motivation. They have accepted the generally known fact that they are the ones with the low grades. For some it would only take to think a little and their grades would go up.

My question is: should we grade what hey know? Their skills? Or how well they can show them? Their attitude? Their work? Their willingness to use the language?

I think I grade how well they can present their skills and knowledge. I don't always like that, but that's how it is. It is the only thing we have. No matter how well I understand how they feel when they don't do so well, I'll even bring more tests to the classroom. Get used to it, kids! Feeling happy, sad, frustrated, tired, stressed out, disappointed, feeling fine or not so fine, doing things you like and those you hate - that's life!