Sunday, May 17, 2009

This and that

Lendonwood Gardens - Grove, Oklahoma

It’s been a long time, but I’ve been ill – again! Surprise, surprise! By now, I’m sure you all must think that I’m a complete hypochondriac. The truth is, ordinarily I am not a sick person, but these past few months it just seems to have been one thing after another. (Sigh!)

This latest ailment was the flu, and it was a bad one. The doctor said he didn’t think it was swine flu, but as he gave me his diagnosis over the phone after telling me not to come into the office, I’m not sure how reliable it was. But he did put me on anti-viral meds as a precaution.

The worst thing about this flu, was when all the fever symptoms began to abate, I couldn’t keep any food down. On the plus side I did lose 8 pounds, but I would not recommend this particular method of weight loss. :-(

The illness also put me behind with my latest assignment for Oklahoma Living Magazine, as the doctor had told me to avoid all contact with people until my symptoms were gone. My editor did extend my deadline, but it was still a bit of a push to get it done in time. Sometimes the writing just refuses to flow. This piece was about a local mushroom farm – a fascinating place to visit – but tricky to write about.

Until I started doing my research for this article, I had no idea what a complex process growing mushrooms is. If you’re interested you can take a short video tour of a mushroom farm here:
The site also has lots of information about mushrooms, and some great recipes.

There was yet more doom and gloom in our house this week. I got my entries back from the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation contest, and I won a big fat zero, not even so much as a measly honorable mention. Oh hum. On the plus side, I did get some excellent marks from the judges and some very favorable comments, but I guess others just did better. Oh well, you can’t win them all, and there’s always next year.

Way back when I last posted, I did say I would tell you what I was up to in 1973. In that dim and distant past, I was 16 and doing my O – levels at school. Back then they were called GCE’s, (General Certificate of Education). You took a GCE in each subject you studied, (provided the teacher thought you had a chance of passing), up to a maximum of 10. I took 7 and passed 7. Later, I did take 3 more and passed those too.

These exams are not like the tests you do here, where you get multiple choice answers to questions that you can have a stab at it even if you don’t know the answer. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, but that's the impression I get). You actually have to answer many questions in essay form, and marks are deducted for sloppy handwriting, poor spelling, grammar and punctuation. You have to know your stuff and be able to present it in a logical manner.

My granddaughter is taking these exams at the moment, though now they are called GCSE’s – General Certificate of Secondary Education. I’m wishing her lots of luck – not that she needs it – she is one smart cookie.

Also in 1973, I was dating my first boyfriend, he too was doing his GCE’s though we didn’t attend the same school. All my friends were really jealous of me, because he was so good looking and played bass guitar in a band. It was all very innocent, but they were happy days.

It was also the year I made my first trip to Italy. My mum had an Italian friend, and the previous year, she and her husband had decided to move back to Rome. In 1973 they invited us for a visit. It was a fantastic holiday. And when we got back to England I remember my mum phoning to get my GCE results, while I stood outside the phone box panicking. All in all, I have very fond memories of 1973.

Toodle pip for now.


Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Hey Jan, so happy to see you back, I was worried and even asked the Hubster if the flooding could have been in your area.

Sorry to read you have been so sick, I understand how that can just drag you down. Also sorry about the writing contest, things like that can be demoralising, but the fact you earn from your writing tells me all I need to know about the quality!

Phoebe said...

I've done three exams so far! Yay! Maths, French speaking and German speaking ^^

Glad they're out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately the American education is not all multiple choice tests (only the standardized ones), we just tend to have the essay and other non-exam components count for more than exams and be longer-term, project style. But most exams when I was a student were short answer or essay, and that's even in the sciences.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

Sorry to read you've been sick, but hopefully that's all behind you know...onwards and upwards.
I may have been one of the first classes in my school (maybe the second), which took the GCE's. At the time, you were allowed to take up to six, and I passed six.
You're right about the standards, even when I took college exams here, it was mostly multiple choice questions, and I thought how easy, compared to ours.
Maybe different states, have different standards, just like the driver's test. The one I took in Colorado was similar to the English one, but when I took the test in Tennessee, no emergency stops, or reversing into a parking spot...easy as pie...
Stay well !

pamokc said...

Let's all go to ROme to celebrate you feeling better and we can pretend it is 1973=!!! I'm for it! :) Welcome back!

Janet said...

I'm all for that, Pam. Are you paying?

pamokc said...

Janet, when we get that winning lottery ticket, we'll have a big blogger meet-up in Rome ... on me. Promise!