Friday, April 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes: 16th April 2011

1.  I love the way small children go through phases of fixating on a particular skill they are developing. (Come to think of it I guess that applies to any age, but it tends to be more obvious in little ones). Last year Cherub went through a stage of drawing like a maniac at any opportunity. This Easter break, it seems to be writing. She sits there, carefully sounding words out to herself, then writing down something that bears a slight passing resemblance to a phonetic version - usually with just enough common sounds for the reader to make an inspired guess at the word. For example, all stories start "Wunsapoltim" ("Once upon a time ..."). Unfortunately she hasn't yet grasped the need to leave a space between words, which makes the guesswork a little trickier. Direction is also hit and miss. Sometimes she starts at the back of a book and works forwards. One page started at the bottom and went up. Occasionally there is a hiccup and she writes backwards. But on she writes ... stories (always about a girl called Rose), lists of names (registers?), and even instructions for playing a game.

2. She is also thoroughly into the Brian Wildsmith books. As predicted, when she likes one, she likes them all. We have read Jesus, The Easter Story and Saint Francis. Moses and Mary arrived yesterday, and we are already well into Moses (some of these are meatier books than others, and I am splitting them up rather than trying to blast through in one reading). I forgot just how much I love his Saint Francis. Beautiful pictures and flowing text, written in the first person as Francis speaking. One of my all time favourite picture books.

3. Alongside Brian Wildsmith, she is on a Ramona kick. Wildsmith and Ramona, together with her school reading book, currently make up our bedtime reading routine, occasionally with an extra picture book added in if we have time. The Ramona chapters are quite long, so mostly we don't. We made it to the end of Beezus and Ramona last night, and have Ramona the Pest ready and waiting for tonight. Star used to love Ramona, and I bought a set of six books from The Book People for her. Frustratingly book number five has gone missing. Why? Where? Now I will have to search for another copy in the same edition, because having an odd one in a set would irritate me!

4. Angel is job hunting and was out this week dropping CVs into various businesses in town. She already has one part time job, coaching at the gym on Saturday mornings, but wants to start saving for driving lessons. The minimum age to learn to drive in the UK is seventeen, and to drive solo everyone has to pass a very thorough and rather intimidating practical driving test. Professional driving lessons are really a must for beginners, which makes learning to drive an expensive business, particularly when you add on the fee for a license, a theory test, and other incidental expenses. Insurance for under 21s is also incredibly expensive - adding Angel onto the insurance for our small car will at least treble the insurance premium. We have said we will pay to insure the car, but she has to pay for lessons. She still has another 11 months to go before she hits the magic age, but she is determined to have the money ready so that she can learn as soon as she can.

5. American readers ... I know the rules are different in the US, and that teens can drive at a younger age (is sixteen the norm?), but I don't know any more than that. What qualification, if any, do they need to drive unaccompanied? Is the expense of training and insuring a young driver an issue for you too?

6. Blog post of the week: Everything you'll ever need to know about makeup by Jen Fulwiler, guesting at Betty Beguiles. There is stuff here that I wish I had learned decades ago. These days I am a light foundation, dash of concealer and lipstick person - foundation and concealer to even out skin tone and for the built in sun protection, and lipstick because as I get older my lips look bleached out without it. They have become part of my morning routine and take only a minute or two to apply. Jen may have inspired me to experiment with a couple more items. Mascara more than once in a blue moon? Lip pencil? (I've never had one of those!). I wear just enough make up to have a favourite brand - Boots Number 7, partly because I genuinely like their products, and partly because Boots often give out discount vouchers which mean I can buy higher quality makeup for budget prices.

7. A plaintive Facebook message from Tevye this morning. A colleague at work has demolished the kettle. He does not function without a regular supply of tea.

Read more quick takes at Conversion Diary


Linds said...

I was a lot like Cherub when I was small - I wrote everywhere! According to my mother, also in random fashion. What can I say.... I always liked words!
Make-up. Well. When I had a make-over at JL, the very nice lady was appalled that I a) didn't use a serum and b) never considered a foundation brush. Good grief. I need lessons, not to mention a mortgage to afford the bits! Light foundation, blusher, lipstick, eye pencil and mascara. That is me sorted.
Driving.....SO expensive to learn here! My older two only drove with instructors till they had passed the test. Not me. I took David out when he turned 17 and my car has a beautiful bump on its nose as a result. We discovered that size 14 shoes and a Renault Scenic do not go well together. The brake and accelerator are too close together. The other thing to remember is that 99% of American cars are automatic, which makes driving a lot easier to learn. I think it is just the UK which sticks to mainly manual, though I have NO idea why! My next car will be automatic.

Pamela said...

Here in Rhode Island, you must take a 33 hour instructional course if you are between the ages of 15 years, 10 months and 18 years old. Sophia took the course at the local high school during the summer and it was $75. She passed and was then eligible to get an instructional permit for another $11.50. She must accumulate 50 hours of driving, with a supervising adult in the passenger seat and then she can take the road test for another $26.50.

There are also places offering driving instruction - how I wish we could afford it because I am not a good teacher - but they are expensive - $60 an hour so private instruction for the 50 hours would be ridiculous!

We're taking it slow and easy - she doesn't seem to be in any real rush to drive. Her road test is scheduled for July but if she hasn't accumulated the 50 hours, we will push it back a few months.

The insurance issue is about the same here - ours will double when she gets her license and is added to our policy.

Pamela said...

* That's 33 hours of classroom instruction.

Debbie said...

Here in Ohio you can gain a Driver's License between the ages of 16-18 if you have:

1. Completed 24 hours of classroom instruction with a state approved program

2. Completed 8 hours of in car driving with a state approved instructor

3. Completed 50 hours of driving accompanied by another person over the age of 21.

4. Passed the written portion of the driving test, administered at the License Department.

5. Passed the driving portion of the driving test, administered at the License Department with one of the officers.

If you are OVER 18 only #4 and #5 apply.

Melanie B said...

Bella is so different from Cherub. She's such a butterfly. She does get periodic fixations but they generally last a day or so. They aren't nearly so constant or of such duration. They're more like brief flings. Then she gets it out of her system until it comes back again in a few weeks or months.

Catherine said...

Here in TX, you can start taking the driving class ($285) at 14 1/2. Then at 15 you can take the permit test. Lauren did this on her 15th birthday last July. With a permit, you can drive with one of your parents in the seat beside you. Then at 16 you can take the driver's test and you are free to drive alone. That's only 3 months away for Lauren!

Lauren is also looking for a job. Her problem is that you have to be 16 for almost all jobs, and she won't turn 16 till July, after all the summer jobs are filled by high school students who are already 16. We think this fall, when everyone else goes back to school, she'll have her pick of jobs. We're hoping anyway.

A Trifle Rushed said...

Re the driving, I have two grown up sons (Sandhurst and University) so technically still living with us. 4 cars in the census! I felt so un-green, last time it was 1! Yes it is expensive, but gets cheaper:-) and girls cost less them boys, be glad.