Wednesday, December 14, 2016


I entitle this blog, Rusty, due to my infrequency of blogging, and also that I haven't written or edited in weeks. I feel I may be out of practise. But surely it's like riding a bike. You never forget. Right?
In order to blow off the cobwebs, I thought I'd tell you about my December so far, and some of the interesting, annoying, possibly great things that have happened. That should get the brain working and let the words take over. So here goes......

Well, December kicked off with me stressing about our annual dinner party: The Night of Five. The flat was a tip, we barely had a menu put together, and I had all the presents to wrap up and decorations to put up. Then an impromptu babysitting job, shat on my chances of catching up with any of the house stuff, leading to me having a slight freak out but being unable to turn the money down. Of course, in the end my stress was for nothing. And the extra money really helped. We hastily threw together a menu and I finally made successful meringues. Very successful meringues. Our guests received their customary five courses and I pulled a centrepiece out of my ass at the last minute.

The Centrepiece: A snowy tree. 

Though, twenty minute before the guests arrived, I ran down to take the rubbish and recycling, and it finally happened, the thing I dread every time I go down there: I dropped my keys in the bin. And they are those huge dumpster type bins. Oh crap. I had just showered and changed too. Clearly in future I should take the rubbish before showering. Not that I plan on going dumpster diving again any time soon. So, it was my first time jumping into a dumpster. And thankfully, there wasn't too much rubbish in there, all the rubbish was in bin bags, and I could actually see the keys, it was just that my arms weren't long enough. Stupid short arms for short people. If ever I needed go go gadget arms, it was in that moment. So I used my two recycling bags and placed them on the edge of the dumpster, to at least try and preserve the cleanliness of my jeans. I hopped on in there, fished out my keys and scrambled back out, all in the shortest time possible. Then I pissed myself laughing. I couldn't wait to get upstairs and tell A what an idiot I was. 

This month I set a new record for writing music reports, in that I completed 45 in 5 days. Though I did make my life easier, for once, and I typed them on the computer instead of hand writing them. To me that is a huge cop out but it was certainly quicker and allowed me to keep the right side of the sanity line. Which leads me to the last music classes of the term and some unlikely recurring incidents. Okay, so ladies, it's not often you get head butted in the lady parts, unless you work with kids who are all about the height of your lady parts. Man, it hurts. Then one of the other kids decided he was going to punch me in the lady parts. Honestly, twice in one lesson. I did shout at the second one though. The first one, the head butt, was an accident but the second was deliberate and not at all amusing. I told him to never ever do that to anyone. Ever! I think he got the message. 

I enjoyed an evening of calling out gender stereotyping in the Marks and Spencer's Festive Food brochure with the eight year old I teach and look after. He loves a catalogue. Who doesn't? And he's also food obsessed, and shaping up to be quite a good cook. But anyhoo, I digress. We were going through the catalogue and pointing out the hampers we would like, or the food we found irresistible, when we came across the dreaded: For Her and For Him sections. The first item was an afternoon tea hamper, with cakes and scones and biscuits and pink fizz. My charge rightly pointed out that it wasn't only for girls. He would love scones and biscuits and afternoon tea. He knew, obviously, the only thing he couldn't have was the pink fizz, but everything else he would have loved. Cue: a talk about gender stereotyping. 

I am so glad it was him that brought it up, because I feel this way every time I walk into a clothes shop, or a toy shop, and especially card shops. It's all pink for girls, blue for boys. Pirates on one side, princesses on the other. The girls bit here and the boys bit there and never the twain shall meet. And it's all bollocks and limiting and stupid and ridiculous! But what's great is that he's starting to see that. 

So we went through some more of the catalogue and talked about how it couldn't possibly be just for girls or boys, because it's food. Food is food. It has no gender. There is no reason why a particular drink or food should be aimed at men or women. We all need to eat and drink in order to live and survive. Though granted not all of us can afford to shop at M&S. Hilariously, in the: For Men section, everything was whiskey and cider and port, because women couldn't possibly like or want to drink any of those drinks. And he pipes up, but mummy likes cider. Exactly! When I saw him for his lesson this week, he remembered our chat and asked what is was called again. Gender Stereotyping. There's hope yet. 

Have you ever seen some one's doppelganger? I hadn't until last Wednesday, when having a nice belated birthday meet up with my friend. I came across the double of our mutual friend who lives in the North East, walking out of the restaurant we were in. He clearly had no way of being in London at that very moment, but it was him, just carrying a little more weight. I had to stop myself shouting out to him. Then of course, we had to call our friend straight away to see if it in fact was him, but he didn't pick up. Eventually we got through to him but he was in the North East, at home, not in central London. I don't know, I think somehow you don't want to think about there being someone out there that looks identical to you. It kind of shits all over the, I'm so unique thing, though granted they probably wouldn't be anything like you in any other respect. Still. It's kind of creepy. 

Oh and one more thing about that night, the stupid waiter guy was determined to get us to buy a bottle of wine, when we both insisted we wanted one large glass each and that was enough. Clearly he had to try and up sell, but when you have been told two or three times, just listen and bugger off. We go out to talk to each other, not spend valuable minutes explaining our reasons for not wanting to drink an entire bottle. Our choice. Bugger off. And because we were using the tastecard, he was also trying to persuade us to have starters which we declined due to our love of pudding. Then he asked us to promise we'd have pudding, which I realise we did promise to, but mainly just to shut him up and make him go away. But really, we have absolutely no obligation to do anything. If I want three main courses and nothing else, then so be it. If I want a starter and a dessert, I'll have it. I don't think I realised quite how annoying the guy was until having a couple of days to ruminate. 

And so, I'm almost up to date with the happenings of December so far. Sunday saw my 5th officially timed run of the year and my 4th 10 km of the year. I started off the year with a PB of 58.50 and had already shaved that to 58.17 in May, and 57.52 in October. So the heat was on. Could I shake a few more seconds off that time and finish the year on a running high? Well, as it turns out, yes, I could. I must be a winter runner, because my PB now stands at 57.02. Absolute shock and joy, as always. I'd never done one of these runs before for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. It was nice to have such small numbers, I think there were 533 people on my course. I'm used to doing the big runs with thousands of runners but maybe these smaller runs are where it's at. I'm also tempted to do the Greenwich run this Sunday, but we'll see. Greenwich Park is awfully hilly. 

 Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, sky, tree and outdoor Run complete. PB achieved. Happy Rants. 

I had my final Italian lesson of the year on Monday. I'm bottom of the class in terms of being able to speak out, coherently and speedily. But I feel like I'm not given enough time to work out what I want to say. And like they always say with kids when they are learning to speak, give them as much time as they need. Don't jump in and take the words away from them. I feel this should also be applied to adults learning a second or third or fourth language. You need time to process. Because you need to think about what you want to say, then translate it, and then get your mouth around the words. Unfortunately, the same sort of patience is not given to adults and often I am cut off mid-sentence leaving our resident annoyingly good at everything person - though I do really like her, it's just annoying that I'm not as good as her - to take over. I realise I should have written this on the feedback form, but she gave them to us at 9.05pm when the lesson had finished and my brain was frazzled, and I just wanted to go home and eat. Anyhoo, I'm not giving up. I've already signed up and paid for Module 2 Lower 2. My reading and writing is good. My listening is improving all the time, and I am using websites and TV shows and short stories and Grammar drills to delve deeper into the language. If I can just get over my talking fear, then next term will be a little easier. 

Well, if nothing else, this blog proves I can still write. And I still have brevity issues. So nothing much has changed. But December has seen a few firsts for me. To summarise:
  • My first dumpster dive. Hopefully my last. 
  • My first successful batch of meringues. I will be making them again. 
  • My first PB over 10 Km whilst wearing a Santa Hat.
  • My first year of studying the Italian language complete. Here's to the next one. 
Happy middle of the week, rants readers. 
How goes your December so far?


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