Friday, October 26, 2018

R2BC - 1K!

From L-R, a pretty plant, rosemary, marva
(sage in English. If you put it in your tea it's supposed to be curative.) 
Here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful for this week. The linky is still with Becky on Lakes Single Mum as it's still October.

1
1K!
This is my 1,000th post on this blog. But blnk and you'll miss it because I'm going to go back and edit out some of the posts from years ago. I love some of the things I've written but some posts weren't so good, and some were out right embarrassing. So that's a job for this coming week. Minimalism goes digital.

2
The First Rains
We even have a word for it here - The Yoreh. there was one heavy shower in  middle of the night earlier this week. Apparently that didn't count as The Yoreh because it only lasted about 10 minutes. Then there was some light rain yesterday around lunch time, so I'm told, but I missed that one. Finally, last night, there was the biggest storm - wind and rain. Fantastic. We have The Yoreh!

3
Swimming Lessons
In the summer DD's partner for swimming lessons broke his arm and had to miss half the lessons. We paid the difference between joint lessons and private lessons for those sessions and finished the course. Now our friend is going back to use his credit and invited DD to join him for another course of five lessons. I'm always happy to pay for swimming lesson if it's convenient. Five lessons will take us through the autumn and finish just before the really cold weather sets in. We do not swim in the winter.

4
Shopping
The cooler weather and rain took us by surprise and I'd forgotten that DD didn't have a coat for the winter. She needed some supplies for the art class. And there is a pyjama party on Monday night for which her over-a-year-old pyjamas just won't do. I went to the shops while she was at school this morning and got everything. On my way home I went to the big supermarket and did a delivery. I was home by 11.

I have never, well for the past few years anyway, been able to buy clothes for DD without her with me. Either the size is wrong or she doesn't like what I buy. Usually both. This time I hit the jackpot. Everything was a perfect fit and she loved it all. Woohoo.

5
The School Greenhouse
Most of my summer plants have died. I sort of gave up on watering them during the past few weeks as they kept promising rain. Instead we had heat in the 80s. So I wandered into the school greenhouse this week to see what was growing. "What happens to all these plants in the end?" I asked. I was going to offer to pay for some to save me trip to the plant nursery. Not only was I given some plants for free, I also got a lesson in how to take cuttings. I sort of knew that but my cuttings hardly ever take. Must try harder.

All in all, a good week. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

R2BC - Old Friends

Here we are on a girls' trip to Paris in September 2003.
Nicola is third from the left.
Here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful for this week. The linky is over at Becky's Lakes Single Mum for today and the rest of October.

1
Old Friend
Not so much of the old if you don't mind, but we were best friends when we were seven years old in a primary school in Harrow. Nicola now lives n LA and I live in Jerusalem. We used to pick up the phone and chat once in a while but who does that any more? And she's not on facebook. So, ironically, as social media expanded, she and I had less and less contact. Until last Sunday.

A few weeks ago Nicola and I made a Skype date for a Sunday, which was put off and rescheduled. We finally 'met' last Sunday. It was 8pm my time, dark outside, and I'd finished a full working day. (I'm a teacher so that means 3pm but ykwim.) She was enjoying the morning sunshine in her garden and talking to me on her iphone. I came with my big glass of lemon tea.

We caught up. We gave each other tours of our homes. We laughed. We didn't cry. And we promised to do it again soon(ish) and every few months at least. Thanks for a lovely evening Nicola. (Who says I'm not a cheap date?)

2
Fish Fingers
After almost a decade of looking forward to real fish fingers when we go to London, I finally found some in my local supermarket. Made by the chicken shnitzel people, Off Tov (Good Chicken) I assume, as these are called Dag Tov (Good Fish). Fish Sticks (as they're called here and in the US) are usually minced up fish and other fillers. They're more like fish cakes in breadcrumbs. Captain Bird's Eye would turn in his grave. The Dag Tov wrapper clearly showed real, flakey, white fish inside. We gave it a try.

We bought the goujons and the fried fish fillets in breadcrumbs. Both were delicious. By this week they were gone. I must look for them in other supermarkets. (Caveat: they are ridiculously expensive but as we don't buy any other meat, I'm willing to indulge.)

3
Kick Over
I'd call it a backward walkover but DD insists that it's a kick over. Anyway, we celebrated that she can finally do it after weeks of trying. I would say that this was probably the highlight of her week, if not the whole month.

I totally get it. I remember when I did it for the first time. (No, I'm not talking about that. Cheeky.) It was on the school playing field during the lunch hour. I found a grassy mound and placed myself so that my feet were higher than my hands in the back bend position. (Although it is starting to sound like a kinky version of that. 😜) So I was cheating really. Later I perfected it on flat ground. I showed everyone who would watch. (Stop laughing. I'm talking about a kick over!) So yeah, it was a big moment for us. DD has completely surpassed me. She can do both front/back and box splits which I could never manage even though I wanted it so much I used to dream about it.

Have a great weekend y'all.


Friday, October 12, 2018

R2BC - Autumn

Basil by the kitchen window. In touch with my inner earth-mother.
1
Autumn
It's still reaching the mid 20s during the day. We're still wearing sandals. DD still went to school in shorts and a tee-shirt today. But it feels like autumn and after a long hot summer, that's a great reason 2B cheerful this week.

2
Minimalism
It keeps on going. I had to go through my college papers to prepare lessons for the start of the semester and I found exam papers from up to eight years ago. I kept the most recent as we should keep them for a year or so after the exam, but the rest went out. Whilst looking for a grammar exercise, I flipped though a book that I know I won't use again as I already have better grammar books covering the same topics. So out that went too. We're talking, all in all, a whole big IKEA storage bin on wheels. I also threw out my cooking apron which has hung on the side of the fridge of over a decade and never gets used. Oh, and two old hair brushes. And still not done.

3
Art Class
Turns out that DD can do the Art Class after all. Hooray! She starts this coming week although the day hasn't been finalised yet.

That's it for this week. Short and sweet. The Reasons 2B cheerful is over at Becky's Lakes Single Mum for the month of October. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Reasons 2B Cheerful - Just Life

This week's Reasons 2B Cheerful is back with Becky on Lakes Single Mum and will  stay there for the whole of October. Here are my reasons...

1
Tie Dye Tee-Shirts
The tee-shirts came out really well. Rubbish Photographer (that's me) did not take the time to position the shirts well before taking the photo of them drying on the line. My bad.

DD took BFF's into school for her yesterday and they both promised to wear them with leggings today. Friday is always mufti day in DD's school. Anyway, this morning DD chickened out. I think her tee-shirt looks really cute but she says it's too big. It is big because it's an adult Large but to me it looks like a great tunic. To be fair, BFF's tee-shirt was only a Medium. I wonder if BFF wore her shirt to school.


The Art Class painting from my school
2
Art Class
The artwork from the Art Class arrived at the school where I teach and is now displayed on a prominent wall. You can see the post about this project and DD's class painting here. I wanted DD to be in Art Class again this year but unfortunately it's a one time opportunity so that different kids get to to do it each year.

3
ALEH Arts and Entertainment Fair
We loved the ALEH Arts and Entertainment Fair on Tuesday.

Here's a close-up of the original painting.
Israel View by Yisrael Paldi
4
Orchestra
I can't think of anything else. We're back into the daily routine of school and work so no outings except to school, Gymnastics ad Orchestra for DD. I'm very happy that she decided to stay in Orchestra this year even though only three kids from her school are going. She complains about it but I feel that if she gives up after only one year, that year of clarinet will have been somewhat wasted. So we agreed on one more year and then we'll see what happens.

Wishing everyone a cheerful weekend but also, as the Chinese say, may you live in boring times. 


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Arts And Entertainment Fair - ALEH

The ALEH Arts and Entertainment Fair
Yesterday wasn't a Jewish festival in Israel (outside Israel it was - don't ask) but the children still had the day off school. As a wonderful end to the festivities we went to the ALEH Arts and Entertainment Fair at The First Station.

I've written about ALEH before - it's Israel's largest network of care facilities for over 750 people with multiple and complex disabilities. They have residential homes, respite stays, medical and rehabilitative care, educational frameworks, and assistive therapies. It's an amazing organization and I'm always happy to support the fundraisers and events.

Tuesday is my college day so I had to work this morning but after lunch DD, her BFF, and I walked down to the first station in time for the show. I enjoyed it although DD and her friend patiently explained to me that if it's a show "for all the family" that means it's for little children. I watched the show while they went shopping.

The tie-dying was held in a bar but unfortunately the bar was closed. :(
The First Station is our mini Covent Garden without the street artists. There were stalls lining the main drag and selling all sorts of artisan items: knitted, quilted, ceramic, jewellery, hats, beautifully painted hand held fans, bags and purses, religious items, and toys. The girls inspected everything and came back with some little jelly beads that grow when you put them in water, and an egg with 'nauty putty' (sic) inside. They spent £1 each and we were all satisfied.

We didn't need the Covent Garden street artists as there were about 20 arts and crafts tables for kids to join, including face painting, glass painting, hair braiding, wooden ornaments to make and decorate, slime making, you name it, if it involved painting it was probably there.

Then we sat and had ice-cream because it's rude not to when you're at The First Station. DD had vanilla and marshmellow, BFF chose the more sophisticated pistachio and cheese cake, and I had frozen yogurt with pineapple and lychee and mascarpone with berries. Delicious!

Yeah, we loved it!
The highlight of our day was a tie-dye workshop. Each of the girls got a white tee-shirt which they twisted and bound with rubber bands. Then they painted them and finally the shirts were handi-wrapped and put into bags for us to bring home and finish. Tomorrow we have to rinse them out, wash them them in the washing machine and hang them out to dry. I'll post the results on Thursday.

We walked home in the sweltering heat, even though it was after 6 pm which is unusual for Jerusalem. Reality hit as we walked through the door - supper, showers, bags ready for tomorrow and early to bed (for DD, obviously not for me). But it felt good to have ended the holidays with a full, fun and active day out.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Minimalism Phase 2 - Milk, Meat, And Playmobil

Goodbye to 7 Barbie-type dolls
This past year I played the Minimalist Game and also gave myself a personal 1000 Clutters Challenge (which included all the items from the Minimalist Game). I held back at 999 items so there could be a celebratory post featuring the 1000th clutter. Then two things happened.

1. We saw on the local fb Buy,Sell,Swap group that one of DD's friends was selling all her Playmobil. DD decided that, actually she doesn't play with hers anymore either. Within half an hour we'd arranged to pass on the Playmobil and seven Barbie-type dolls. (Easily 100 items)

Goodbye to a load of Playmobil
Then DD announced that she doesn't need the Fisher Price dolls' house and all the furniture either. So I packed that up to go back to the friend who lent it to us almost 10 years ago. We also found a load more small plastic toys from Kinder Eggs and cereal boxes, etc... which will go to the next school fair.

2. Although DD won't eat meat (apart from the occasional chicken schnitzel) she does like the chicken soup with lockshen (noodles) that we get on the kibbutz. When she asked if I could make some, it appealed to my sense of tradition.

Now, religious Jews have different sets of utensils, pots, plates, etc... in the kitchen for meals cooked and/or eaten with meat. It's "Thou shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk," blown crazy out of proportion. I don't like it, I disapprove of it in fact, and this is one of the main reasons we don't have any meat in our kitchen. Even though we are not so religious anymore, I need to be able to invite various friends and family over to eat. And, I did have a set of meaty kitchenware packed away, left over from when we did do meat, just in case I ever wanted to go back to it.

Goodbye summer and some more Playmobil
I bought a chicken, I unpacked my meat kitchenware, and I made chicken soup. DD took one look at the chicken carcass in the pot and declared, "that's disgusting! I'm not having any of that!" Then there was the whole business of washing up. I had a washing up bowl for the meat things but the sink is for milk things so how do you throw out the meaty water from the meaty washing up bowl? The answer is of course, to have a milk washing up bowl and the actual sink is only for draining the water. It was all too much bother and too many extra things cluttering up the kitchen.

Little bags of plastic toys waiting for the next school fair.
I have to say that I grew up with this meat-milk divide and it was no problem at all. We didn't even think about it. We had two bowls for the sink, we had full sets of kitchenware for both meat and milk. Even separate bowls for the magimix. Whilst most people who keep meat and milk separate today, and there are thousands who do, have two sinks in the kitchen, most people my age grew up with only one sink and we managed fine.

It's a bit like regular exercise. If you don't do it for a few years you lose the momentum and it becomes a big effort. Obviously you can get back into it if you want to but we decided that we just don't want to. All this to explain why there are a set of cutlery and a soup pot in the photo. I'm not even going to keep my meat kitchenware.

goodbye meat kitchenware and Fisher-Price dolls' house, etc...
While I was sorting I found four medicine spoons/syringes and a set of chopsticks that can also go. (Easily another 100 items including the dolls' house furniture and Kinder toys.)

1,200 items? Probably, but it's time to stop counting. Still to go are collections of dvds and cds that I can't bring myself to part with yet. Two box files of photocopied teaching materials that I know I will never use (but reduced from five box files at the beginning of the year). And my vast wardrobe of clothes I will never wear again. I'm not done yet but I'm almost there. My living room looks like a holiday apartment. I may need to get more plants.



Monday, October 1, 2018

Celebrations and Projects Hahaha

Back in January I eschewed New Year resolutions, word for the year, intentions, etc... for a celebration and a project each month.

January was celebrating planning and preparing my teaching for the second semester and the project was to go through and sort out all my paperwork. Well that second semester is done and dusted and I did go through all my papers and got them sorted. However, ten months on, another pile of papers has emerged that needs sorting and filing.

February was celebrating the promise of Spring with decluttering and Spring cleaning. I certainly have decluttered and I probably did Spring clean. Who knows, it was so long ago.

In March we had both Purim and Passover, so I celebrated family and friends and the project was to actually get together with said family and friends, catch up with promised coffees and invite people for a Shabbat meal once in a while. I think I did all that.

Then came April. Notice that there is no link for April. We came home from London on the 8th and I never got my act together to continue. April should have been celebrating the outdoors and planting a lovely potted garden on the balcony. Well we didn't celebrate much outdoors because we're not really outdoors sort of people, but we did plant the garden - in July. So... TICK! Obviously it now needs some serious weeding and some new plants but We'll do that easily because we actually love our balcony now. In fact, I usually drink my morning coffee out there - so can we call that a bit of outdoors? I think we can... TICK!

May, June, July, August, September. What can I say? Sorry.

And here we are at the beginning of October. Not only is it the beginning of October but we've just had the Jewish New Year, all the festivals are over, and we start the proper and serious working year tomorrow. What better time to jump back onto the Celebrations and Projects train for the remainder of the other year. I'm a Virgo which means I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I hate loose ends. So I'll have to catch up rather than start from now.

May was going to celebrate the early mornings (I have a list) and my project was going to be getting up early for a sort of Miracle Morning routine. Though mine will be less meditating and affirmations and more about doing laundry and other chores. I'm coupling this with going to bed earlier or it won't work. It seems like the perfect time for this project so it starts tomorrow.

June was supposed to be organizing photos and editing this blog. The photos are in pre-digital albums and boxes as well on various sim cards and computers. The blog is approaching 1000 posts (in almost eight years) and some of them, tbh, are not worthy of keeping. In others the photos have mysteriously disappeared making them nonsensical or boring. Still others never had photos and I've come to realize that a picture is preferable. so in a grand nostalgic celebration I will revisit all my photos and blog posts and sort them out.

July and August was the summer holidays. We traveled some, we relaxed, we had some days out. I taught two summer courses. We vegetated and turned to mush. We celebrated nothing to do (apart from the summer courses) and our project was to survive the heat... TICK!

September meant that we went back to school for two minutes before the New Year festivals took hold. September was celebrating the New Year and planning the coming semester. Mostly done and there's still another week until college starts so I'm in good shape... TICK!

Which brings us to October and the happy co-incidence of everything starting at the beginning of a calendar month (like the New Year in January). I have three things I want to tackle. Time management, health (eating, exercise, and enough sleep), and a frugal period as we spent money over the summer and festivals with gay abandon.

I'm going to do all three from now and call it October, November and December. I won't be repeating this exercise next year. It didn't really work for me despite the things accomplished being worthwhile and satisfying. But I started it so I'm finishing it and be done with it.