Wednesday, 29 April 2009

My kids

It's been enough now. Enough of this time at home, only my son and me, just my sweetheart coming for coffee (is he here yet? no, but soon), giving me a lot of opportunity for being lazy.

Do you know the difficult kind of talking to a teenager? I know I do, that is why I enjoy so much when I can actually talk to my son, joke about things, even tease him about this and that and he is still nice. Compared to his grumbling version, never guilty of anything and everyone else is stupid, this is just awesome.

Lately he has developed this fascination with DIY jobs. Besides, he found out that some power tools are not that expensive. Mind you, we live in a flat. Not a house. A flat. Fifty-seven square metres, neighbours above us, below us. And my darling son bought a power saw. This one(not my photo):

When you make something from wood, it needs sanding of course. So this little mouse joined the saw (again, not my photo):

But then, you need to put things together, you have to make holes for the screws... you know. He got himself a power drill, too, which can also be used for other things. Good thing he can look for a good deal and not pay an awful lot for all those things.

Here you can see his last acquisition, lying in the middle of the not so welcome side effect - the messy balcony:

And I'm not a whiner - the balcony IS messy, here's only a small picture of it and it isn't the only place - the bathroom has suffered, too as well as the kitchen (sanding and sawing make a lot of dust) and my darling son just won't understand why I'm not thrilled about his enthusiasm.

Okay, I mustn't get all pessimistic now - he did sand the wndow frames which can finally be painted now and smoothened the wall before painting and... yeah, he's a good boy :)

Besides, he cooks, remember? Last night he made a cocomut cake (I do not like coconut), in a shape of heart, with vanilla cream and almonds... The cake vanished together with my son, the kitchen... well, I'm not putting THAT photo on the blog....

Sweet trouble, I'm having...

At least my batteries are all charged now and cleaning will help me wait till my daughter comes from her trip and starts talking. Maybe she won't tell me so much tonight if she's late, maybe most of the talking will take place tomorrow... Can't wait to hear everything.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Vacuum Break

Do you know what it feels like when some days are so packed with activities not to mention emotions that when they are over it feels like a void in your mind which expects to be doing something again. Like using some great force to suck all liquid or gas from a container, creating vacuum.

I've had some most enjoyable days. Tiring, too, but that didn't really matter. To prove that, my body woke up around half past four without the alarm, probably following my mind which, even in sleep, didn't want to miss anything.

Never mind the countries - there are these two groups of students, living about 1400 kilometres apart. We visited them in September. I accompanied my students, afraid a little- Will they be polite? -They are not always. Will they be homesick? - Even five days could make you homesick. Will they communicate? - I do teach them English and have been for three years, almost four, how well are we doing when it comes to using it? Will they... be OK? They did fine. "Do we really have to leave?" was the question on the last night. Yes, but they're coming to us in a few months.

And they did. On Tuesday the 21st. We met them at the airport, accompanied them on their bus ride to school and the parents were waiting there with a snack, including a cake with the photo of both groups together. A few words, a bite and the kids (14, 15 yrs old) grabbed a ball and went out to play football. Everyone seemed pretty relaxed and we, the grown-ups, liked that.

In the following days we tried not to fill their days with school-like activities. Yes, we spent some time at school, but then they got to meet in their spare time in the afternoon. Two excursions, a lot of talking, some jokes, getting to know each other... The two grown-ups (the headmistress and a mum) met my mum on our afternoon trip and seemed to enjoy that day altogether, finding out that my sister's daughter is half an hour older than that mum's son whose name, bye the way, is the same as my son's. How small is this world?

Saturday came and we decided to conclude these wonderful days with a barbecue somewhere higher - some 1200 metres above the sea level. The parents chose the location and we all loved it. They also did soooooo much of the work, god bless them! From there we walked to the nearby peak and back (an hour or so altogether), after which the kids felt tired - not from the walk, really, but from all those days, packed wih so many nice things. But they listened to their teacher - no, not me, sorry, the other one. They got up, mixed a little on the grass, playing volleyball, singing, whatever they thought of. The weather which was threatning a little bit at the beginning, did us a favour and got better and better.

We were al trying to comprehend what we were experiencing and feeling. And feeling was a great part of it. On Thursday - "trip to mum's place" day - we had dinner at my place and I asked my daughter how she found the two omen who accompanied the students. "I'm so glad they are not uptight," she said. Indeed they aren't. I felt like we had known each other for years. And we could talk about anything. And we all feel that this MUST GO ON.

Yep, I feel lucky again. I told the parents and the students about it. Lucky to be surrounded with such people in this time when we can do this exchange and take our students so far to learn about the world. My contribuition was small. really, just a few trips and some worries, after all the organizing, done by others. Yep, lucky.

After reading what I wrote above, you may wonder: "What' the big deal?"

You should've been there to know and understand. To feel. That positive energy among all these people. Among these teenagers whom we tend to find dificult and you know - teenager-like. Among their parents who hope it doesn't stop here. Among the students' younger siblings who are already asking if they, too, will be able to go when they're in the 8th or 9th grade....

We didn't say goodbye, just "see you", still we didn't want to let them go. Many hugs and good wishes - yes, they're great huggers - and plans for the future.

And now I'm having a break. A week off. Not even school. After such a full week. And I' alone. My son's out, my daughter went to Rome, the afternoon is all mine. It feels like vacuum. But like tiredness, I know this, too comes from something nice. And I have the opportunity to think things over, prepare for next week and it gives me time to feel this LUCKY feeling.

Sunday, 19 April 2009


I remember the day before I left home for the first time to spend the whole week in the boarding school.

I was fifteen. Even as a small kid I learned to cry over every bump and bruise. No problem there. Emotions were something completely different. Even when I was not such a small kid. If something made me sad, I got stuck with that thought which was rolling over and over again in my head and almost made it spin. It didn't because I had that outlet - a flow of tears that would pour like rain and wouldn't stop.

I cried and my mum tried to make me feel better. I knew I was going to be homesick. She said it was not forever, I'd be coming home every week which I also knew.

"But I'll never ever be really home again. Like I don't live here any more! Only weekends, some days off and holidays and after four years I'll go some place else, but never really live here the way I have till now."

I was sobbing, but managed to put those words together and sure enough, made my mum cry, too.

The following day I just packed and took the bus to school. No more tears. I spent them the night before and almost drove my mother crazy. There were some in the first, maybe the second week and I wasn't the only one.

I was luckier when my kids grew old enough to go to high school. One attended the school in our town an walked there and back. I take the other one to the train station every morning and he also comes back in the afternoon. It means he can stay at home for two more years or so.

Not that I don't know they're supposed to fly away. Sure I do. My oldest has been at the university for a year and a half now in a city 200 kilometres away. Lucky me, she still comes home every weekend.

And THIS is what makes Sundays different. Ironing clothes so that she can pack them. Talking about it and planning the week. How lucky I am to live in the era when I can just make a step or two to our computer and type her a few words and she types something right back! Or we can use the cell phone to hear each other.

How lucky I am that she is not annoyed by all this. Well, I don't think I'm fussy or bothering all the time. No, not me. And sometimes she writes those few words before I do. So she doesn't mind. So am I lucky or what? Lucky lucky lucky.

- I'm going.
- When will I see you?
- On Thursday. A class is cancelled for Friday.


Friday, 17 April 2009


This is absolutely annoying, frustrating, almost paralyzing. It's not a tragedy, but it's driving me crazy. It stops me from going out, I missed a wonderful sunny afternoon, it makes my thoughts stuck at one and only point:

Where on earth are my keys?

I remember putting them in the usual place. I remember seeing them hanging where they're supposed to hang, but when I decided to go out they were nowhere to be found. And if I go out without my keys when no one else is at home, I can't enter the building.

I can't help blaming my son for taking them, but he says he didn't. And why would he, he's got the two keys he needs, my bunch of door openers is much too big. I have thought of my daughter - is it possible that she took them by mistake I asked them twice and "No, mum, I have no idea where you put them, I have my own keys, remember?" stopped me from asking her again. I have tidied my room and started to move the furniture around, waiting for that obvious metal sound. The washing machine is washing and I keep checking if anything is banging on the door glass. It has even occurred to me it could be my sweetheart who took them along with his keys, cellphone or whatever. Yeah, right! He never does anything like that!

Just how stupid will I feel once I find out it really is my fault? Like once at school when I "had checked every corner of the staff room" before I started to ask my colleagues (and it happens to them sometimes) if they had mistaken my keys for their own. One of them even gave me a lift to a smaller school where I was supposed to have a lesson. When I got back I found my keys on a chair. And not in the middle of it - no, they were sitting comfortably where the arm would normally be resting. How could they stay there and not fall on the floor? Which I checked, by the way.

So keys my darling, where are you hiding now? Have you found a yet wierder spot to take a break? Should I be checking the fridge and the inside of the shoes? Oh, but shoes would not be your first time, would they? Fridge, then. Nope.

Calling doesn't work. I give up. I'll watch something stupid on TV and pretend I'm thinking of something else. And wait for the washing machine to stop.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


What do you do when it gets kind of late for lunch, you're hungry and really don't feel like cooking?

If your culinary student son is sitting by the PC, trying to type some notes from a piece of paper, doing it painfully slowly, it is definitely time for a job swap.

"I'll type it for you if you cook something."
"Whatever you want. I'm starving. And I don't want to cook."
"Okay. Do we have any meat?"
"Enough meat in the fridge."

I exercised my fingers and finished before my son finished his steaks and roast potatoes. He seasoned the meat differently and made a sauce I've never tried before and the potatoes with parmigiano cheese were just yummy! Some salad would have been nice, but you can't have everything, can you?

It's soooo nice when you can talk to your teenage kids (17 and a half), do things together and really get along with them, even at this old age (over 40, remember? :D ) And sit on the couch in the evening and watch the best film ever about that box of chocolates, called life.

Oh, and no pictures today, sorry . Too hungry when lunch was ready.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Sunny morning

All photos clickable to enlarge.

Today's sunny morning lured me out to take in some fresh air. It was my son really, that made me put on my trainers and go hiking a little. I said I couldn't - I had to clean the kitchen. He promised he would do it, if only I agreed to go out for at least two hours.

I really am a couch potato, and having been home for almost a week, I thought it actually might do me good.

I chose a nice path through the woods. It had everything a hiker could ask for. Even stairs where it is a little steeper.

It has a nice bench for the more tired moments - or moments of deep thinking.

While sitting there you can look up and what do you see? Don't get dizzy now!

It has... now what is this? It has objects that make you think and wonder...

Oh, I see - I guess it was a wooden tap that didn't work. Too many holes or something. So they left it there for aesthetic reasons and made another one for the thirsty ones.

Yes, this path offers water to drink and water to rest your eye on.

And when you get there, a bridge is already waiting.

And if it's too hot out in the sun, you can have a rest in a cave.

Just kidding. That was only a hole in a stone. See?

I was hiking alone so I didn't talk which was good. But I wasn't all alone. See that busy bee on the right?

Then I put my camera away. So I didn't take a photo of my doctor, whom I met on my way home - I was supposed to be at home till Tuesday - or the kitchen when I got home. My dear son didn't keep his promise and only washed the dishes after I got home. I cleared up the mess in the kitchen after lunch, so it's fine, really.

Hope your day is as nice as mine.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Nostalgic me

This afternoon was a sweet reminder of spring, together with Easter. Not only is the flat cleaner than it has been in a long time. My daughter is celebrating her 21st birthday with her friends, so she put an extra effort in cleaning. With our powers joined and with some new furniture and paint (not because of her birthday) it really looks neat and it gives me a feeling of something fresh. On top of that, the sunshine was teasing me really kindly and showing off warming my back as I was sweeping the balcony. It made me feel like going for a walk, but I couldn't, of course, still being on a sick leave. Never mind, just seeing it made me happier.

When I was a little girl, I could go for a walk almost any time I wanted. It was nicer if I went together with my brother, though. My sister is five years older than me and my brother two. I had my advocate in my sister, besides we could talk sister talk with her as we grew a bit older, but my brother was good to have around when I wanted to do things: hike, play, climb trees and make a bow and arrows and actually shoot with them. I never felt I was acting like a boy, but maybe sometimes I was. I skinned my knees more than once and learned not to cry over that. No broken bones, though, none of us. My brother was like a little god to me. He taught me not to run to our parents with complaints: When I did something wrong (which might even hurt him), he told me not to tell them. So there was no joy in telling on him when he did something.

I have very few pictures from my childhood. But today I looked for them. I have some sunny ones and the nice sunshine reminded me of them. These two are of me and my sister:

My dad didn't take many pictures, but I guess he liked it when he saw us picking flowers.

I always had short hair as a child. My parents convinced me it was more convenient. Maybe it was, but it was also very (completely) unruly. And when we added glasses to that at the age of six, well...

There is another picture of us two. I can almost feel the love we had for each other. I felt so protected with the older two around!

Over the years many things have happened, many hard words were said, but it's like a house: when the foundation is solid, it gets a crack or two (or twenty), but doesn't really fall down.

My brother? I could hardly find a photo with him on it, I don't live in my home, mind you, most photos are still there and there are not many at all... Well, here's one with him and my mom, before they bought me in a dusty carton box :D

I wonder who kicked those years - they couldn't fly so fast by themselves, could they? From little kids' games to being parents ourselves and now my daughter is only two days away from being 21... I guess this is the way it's supposed to be. But still, I feel like I'll wake up one day and ask the question my grandma used to ask: When did I become so old?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

What goes around comes around

What a cliche!
But it's true, isn't it?

And if you ask me who I am and what I'm like, I will tell you, among other things, that I love talking! I talk too much. Waaay too much. Even as a child, I was rather obedient, not demanding at all, I was kind of slow in motion, no tantrums, nothing! But if I had something to say, you couldn't stop me.

When you grow up, you learn, of course, that it's not always your turn. You have to listen, too. And it feels good to listen, as well. You cannot spread your thoughts and opinions all the time, can you?

And yet, sometimes I almost think aloud. I often find my mouth quicker than my mind. I wish I hadn't said this or that!! And one of my students says sometimes (when I say something because I want what's best or her): "Don't start and spread your life wisdom here, pleeease!" I guess, some other students feel the same, but don't say it. You know how we old people are - always preaching! Yep, I'm over forty!

Yesterday it happened. God must have said: "Will you woman shut up for a moment or what?"

When I woke up, I started to say something - LA LA LA or anything, just to test my vocal cords, because I felt something was more wrong than yesterday. Yesterday, you see, I had a voice of a bear which I lost completely by this morning. And stayed numb. I could only text our principal assistant about my misfortune and ask her to confirm receiving the information. Later on she called, my daughter answered and then they both laughed at me! Not nice! Well, it IS kind of funny, anyway, I admit.

Somehow it happened that we are all at home today, my two children and me. We tend to quarrel when we're all together. No quarreling today... I wonder why?

Sunday, 5 April 2009


I remember some 22 years ago when I was still studying for my teaching degree, another student lent me her notes. A week or so later I was talking to the librarian and mentioned to her that I had to go and find that girl so I could give them back.
"Don't worry, she still has them on her computer," she said.
"What do you mean?" I actually wanted to know.
"They're printed notes, she has them on her PC."
I did not keep asking, I felt rather stupid, but I really didn't know what that looked like. I took her word for it, though.

Some 13 years ago we had a computing course at our school. I took it, not that believed I would learn. Not having a computer at home, I hadn't really had the chance to use one. We did the basic things and... I loved it! :)

There were other courses, we learned things from Word to Power Point and basic web design... yaay! Still love it! The last two were about online learning and dynamic web page (Moodle and Yoomla) Haven't had the time to do much about my "online classroom", but I sure will...

The first time we had a computer at home was about ten years ago. One and a half giga hard drive... LOL my USB is 16 giga now! And I had internet access over phone line. And that's what I really meant to write about in this post. You see, this was really the first additional cord in our home - from the phone to my desk. You couldn't, of course, talk on the phone and use the internet at the same time. And while a page was loading, I could go to the bathroom, sat back on my chair and still wait a little. If it was heavy with photos, I could make myself a cup of coffee. And sometimes I just changed my mind and cancelled.

Then came the ADSL - together with ISDN which made it quite expensive. Again, we needed some additional cords. OK, never mind.

Then our TV became a problem. Not that I need over 100 channels. I wanted to see four or five, but because of one more satellite dish (of one of our neighbours) we couldn't see any. So we got ourselves cable TV. Another cable.

With all sorts of internet providers I figured out (but it took me some time) that I was paying way too much. So I chose triple play from the same provider I was using for the internet access before. More cords!

Yesterday we took the furniture in the hall apart to replace it with some new one - after painting the ceiling. And if you want to see what PROGRESS looks like, here's the picture:

I decided to cut off the cable TV cable (LOL - like table tennis table), but I'm still not sure about some of the others. The floor and the walls will be nicer, but I guess we will still have some of this spaghetti behind the furniture.

But without it there wouldn't be this post, either. Not for one reason, but two.