Don’t You Judge Me! or Eternal Principles Betrayed

As I am going to France at the weekend and won’t be back this side of Hogmanay, I thought I’d review my self imposed “goals of steel“.

1. Make sourdough bread, the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall way (Taking recipe to France)

2. Get through all 7 of my Michel Thomas “Even Grade A Morons Can Learn to Speak French” cps ( Er…)

3. Send my short “Agatha Blake” to Basement Stories (Will do)

4. Knit a hat (Chosen the pattern, Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Workshop hat. I’ve done it before and it even has a bit of fancy colour change)

5. The data for this entry has been lost to cyberspace. I cannot be held accountable.

6. Get S and P reading. (Plodding on fine)

7. Make Raisin Wine from my Jewish cookbook. (So happy when I found I could use my Rumtopf pot. So sad when my wine went hairy. Now replaced with “get bikini wax”. Done)

8. See Simon Schama (I SHOOK THE HAND)

9. Get back to Zumba (packing DVDs for holiday)

10. Get back to belly dancing (Done)

11. Grow my fingernails (Done, I look hot in those trousers)

12. Make macaroons from “A Homemade Life” (Done, they are super easy, only three ingredients, taste fantastic)


No One Has To Cry For This To Happen

Only one room in our house (the tiny toilet) has less than fifty books on the shelves, several rooms have hundreds. When I thought about teaching the children to read I didn’t have a set method in mind but I did have two convictions:

1. It must not be an ordeal. For either of us. Nothing dampens the prospective pleasure of reading more than a tear soaked Roger Red Hat.

2. It must have context. Stuff that’s connected to an experience, story or conversation is easy to recall and therefore use. Random facts are harder to absorb. The whole point of this agreed code of written language is communication. It has meaning. Getting my child to learn combinations of sounds in isolation would feel like writing vowel pairs on helium filled balloons and letting them loose to float around the Albert Hall.

C picked it all up latish, she was about 9 before she could muscle through the average sentence. It didn’t happen gradually, a switch was flicked and abruptly all made sense to her. Before that, any attempts to teach her felt like trying to communicate through plate glass. It seems to me that she just needed more data, information was constantly being unconsciously assessed and sorted, it’s patterns deduced, until one day she just knew. Now she’ll get through a 400 page book in a couple of days. Later doesn’t seem to mean less efficient, more efficient if you take into account how frustration free the path was.

This is something to do with my 12/2012ing. The switch has flipped in S’s brain and when he sees a word he knows what to do, he’s very good at connecting new up with known. P’s still groping around in a fog.

Pilgrim’s Patchy Progress

Making a list is so easy, I made one weeks ago. Have I been implementing it or have I blissfully forgotten all about it? Neither!

2. Get through all 7 of my Michel Thomas “Even Grade A Morons Can Learn to Speak French” cds.

Done 1-4. Before I made the list. ( Oh, the agony of honesty!) Anyway, I’ve started on number 5 since.

10. Get back to belly dancing.

Today I pranced about to my Saroyan “Dondi” DVD. Dondi is very skilled and I easily warm to her display of eyes, teeth and tiptop bangers but that Las Vegas variation of womanhood, with the glassy, relentless smile of a belly dance cult abductee, is something not mirrored in myself. My local(ish) teacher, Janai, is perfect. Graceful, precise, self-contained, her classes are relaxed but thoughtful, encouraging all abilities to leave their mundane shells behind and feel beautiful.

11. Grow my fingernails.

Now only 2 are stumpish, the rest could totally belong to someone not wrestling with post-traumatic stress disorder.


12 by 2012

I love list making. Getting the feeling of optimism and control without any actual effort is intoxicating. So I had to join this (courtesy of the sweetly titled Hello Friend)

1. Make sourdough bread, the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall way.

2. Get through all 7 of my Michel Thomas “Even Grade A Morons Can Learn to Speak French” cds.

3. Send my short “Agatha Blake” to Basement Stories.

4. Knit a hat (gulp)

5. Use the sewing machine (“as a doorstop” doesn’t count)

6. Get S and P reading (harder, because I don’t have the electronic probing equipment to physically fire their neurones for them)

7. Make Raisin Wine from my Jewish cookbook.

8. See Simon Schama (and not treat it like a Tom Jones concert)

9. Get back to Zumba (even if it’s just the dvds)

10. Get back to belly dancing (is that one or two words?)

11. Grow my fingernails.

12. Make macaroons from “A Homemade Life“.