Sunday, November 21, 2010


Kathryn at Marmite and Fluff tagged me.
The rules are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.  Done.
2. Paste these rules on your blog post.  Done.
3. Respond to the following prompts (in bold).  Done.
4. Add a prompt of your own and answer it. Hmm - in the interest of getting this post completed this year, I'm going to skip this step.
5. Tag a few other bloggers at the bottom of the post. Done (kind of).
6. Leave "Tagged You" notices on their blog/Facebook. 
7. Let the person who tagged you know when you've written the post. Done

1) The best investment you ever made:
The time spent getting to know my husband when we were dating. Because of my work schedule, it was often difficult to get to see each other, but we spent a lot of time on the phone, chatting online and emailing each other. Next best investment - travelling as much as I could while I was young and single, even though the list of places I want to see is still very long.

2) If you could’ve written any book, directed any movie, and composed any song, which three would you pick:
Simply because of the money it generated and the change it made in JK Rowling's lifestyle, I wish I had written the Harry Potter series. From the impact his work has had over the generations, I wish I had written anything by Shakespeare. Which movie and song do I wish I had written? Hmm - that's harder as movies and songs are not as important in my life as books. Maybe Picnic at Hanging Rock, for a movie (though I haven't seen it in years and it may not be what I remember!) and something by the Beatles for a song.

3) Weirdest quirk:  
DH says that would be my . . . SQUIRREL!! . . . tendency to get easily distracted. I don't think that's weird - I know lots of people with ADD! I'm sure there are plenty of other people who would take 10 days or more to answer the questions in this meme!

4) One wish immediately granted:
Decent, affordable, health care coverage for everyone.

5) Most expensive hobby
Jewelry making or knitting. Jewelry making - obvious - even making your own jewelry is not cheap if you have expensive tastes. No silver-colored or gold-colored beads and findings thank you, I want the real thing! Yarn is stupidly expensive nowadays, though thanks to Ravelry and growing confidence in my own design abilities, I haven't had to buy any patterns in a while.

6) An inexhaustible gift card at which store
The Apple store or my local yarn store.

7) In another lifetime, you'd be:
More athletic.

8) The most famous/interesting member of your family tree:

No one particularly famous in our family tree that I know of, but my mother has some interesting stories about her great-grandmother, Hettie:
"her sons would bring their best clothes to my grandma’s house … if they left  them at home, Hettie took them to the pawn shop to get cash for drink.
On one occasion she was badly burnt when she tipped a pan of boiling  porridge on her lap… she was sitting by the fire brewing the stuff, when she tipped it down herself.  There was an implication that she was the worse for drink when it happened, because despite  extensive damage to lower abdomen and thighs, she was reported to feel no great  pain."
9) The most famous person you've ever met:
King Hussein of Jordan. He died too young.

If you're looking for blog fodder and feel like answering these questions, consider yourself tagged, but don't forget to let me know when your post is up!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas shopping

I am one of those mothers who likes to take her kids to museums for fun and buy her kids educational toys. Fortunately, most of the time my kids seem to like this! Our trip to the UK this summer had a Roman theme - Bath, Chedworth Roman Villa, Roman tour of Chester, Wroxeter Roman city . . . So when I saw that the British Museum shop has a free shipping offer on right now - including to overseas addresses - I had to take a look. Oh dear! I could spent quite a lot of money there, and not just on the children! Well, I'm sure I could get some of those things here in the US, but some of the things I like  are British Museum exclusives. Hmm - may have to browse some more and put a wish list together!

By the way, if you click on my link to the shop and end up buying something there, you could help defray my expenses shopping there as I do get a commission on purchases made in the next ten days through my link.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sorry? What did you say?

English teachers in non-English-speaking countries face the dilemma of which English to teach. Often their school will have a preference for English English or American English, usually based on the textbooks they are using. I remember when I was at university in France one of the lecturers telling me that the way I pronounced 'bath' was wrong because I had a northern accent rather than the 'BBC accent' he wanted his students to learn. Equally, my lecturers back in the UK were a little taken aback when I returned from my year in France with a very strong southern French accent. Given that most people will retain something of a 'foreign' accent when they learn a second language, the most important thing to my mind is to be able to make yourself understood.

My accent has changed since I first came to the United States 25 years ago. It happened partly because as a language teacher I find myself naturally mimicking the accents of those around me. (That sometimes gets me into trouble as people think I'm taking the mickey!) Mostly though it has been a conscious choice to try to change my accent. I got thoroughly fed up of people asking me to repeat myself when I thought I was being perfectly clear. It was just faster and less frustrating to say it the American way. It also didn't hurt to sound more, rather than less, American when I was looking for employment as an English as a Second Language teacher here in the United States. My colleagues occasionally comment on my accent, and on rare occasions I  hear my students say something with an English accent (and I then 'correct' them!) One of my colleagues though has a strong accent from the south of the USA, which is just as alien to the northeast as my accent is - and I hear her students picking up her accent!

I suppose schools and universities in some countries may prefer Australian English. I can't think of any that would prefer Scottish English though ;-)

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