Tuesday, December 10, 2019

DD 11 - R2BC

We kept a copy for ourselves without the sunglasses.
If you understand the title of this blog then you've been here before. Anyway DD turned 11 last week. Scarily grown up but also still a little girl in many ways. And nothing of the baby years left.

We're usually in London for Hanuka which is on or around the time of DD's birthday, so I (or Grandma) take her to a show or a pantomime, Grandma has a birthday cake and a birthday tea with the family, and there are lots of presents. The birthday is sort of swallowed up among all the seasonal festivities.

This year we went to London in September for my brother's wedding so we're not going for Hanuka. And anyway, Hanuka is late this year, falling over Christmas week. DD felt she needed to give me instructions about how to do her birthday. "I don't need a cake," she informed me, "but you need to get me a present."
"Fine, got it, thanks."

Of course I was going to get her a present anyway. She needed a new backpack just the right size for school outings. Her regular school bag is too big and the front bit that unzips to form a small backpack for outings, is too small. (What a waste of money that idea was.) Off I went into town like Goldilocks, looking for a backpack that was just right.

Not being much of a present, I set about buying other gifts to fill it with. I bought a new watch; an alarm clock (because I want the phones out of the bedrooms at night - I go a smaller alarm clock for myself as well); a small over the shoulder bag for when she goes out and just needs her keys, phone, and some money; two books in Hebrew because she needs to start reading more in Hebrew; a back scrubber for the shower; a big bottle of moisturiser for her bedroom and a smaller tube of moisturiser for her bag; a hair accessory; and some orange Tic-tacs to take the number of gifts to 11.

Reader, she was pleased. But not so pleased to move the gifts into her bedroom and they are all still sitting on the coffee table in the living room. *sighs*

I wanted her to celebrate but she wouldn't commit to what the celebration would be. I suggested either we do like last year - lunch and a [Netflix] movie at our place after school on early Friday, or I take a few friends out for lunch and fancy doughnuts - like we did the year before, and the year before that. In the end it was DD who thought of bowling.

So after school on Friday we took four friends for bowling and pizza (and chips actually, because they were there and why not?). It was exceptionally successful. The score pads of old are long gone so all you you have to do is toss the bowling ball and the machines to the rest. I just watched as they got on with it and had lots of fun. I was also useful for ordering the pizza and chips of course, and paying for it all, obviously.

One of the girls had to leave early so I took over from her in the second game. I didn't embarrass myself. However, whereas we all clocked up scores in the 80s, there was a group of little boys playing next to us who, seemingly without any style or strategy, all managed to get scores over 100. We left the bowling centre happy but humbled.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday Tidbits #51 - You Can Go Now

At Fiddler on the Roof in London.
We've not yet perfected the art of selfies.
This is possibly the last Tuesday Tidbits ever as it's the day before DD's 11th birthday. I can't imagine that she's got many more amusing tidbits in her and even if she has, after a certain age it's bordering on ridicule rather than amusing for me to report them online. So here are the final Tuesday Tidbits from DD.

1
The Silent Treatment
I went in one morning to wake DD up.
Me: DDush, it's 6.30. Time to get up.
DD: (nothing)
Me: DD, wakey wakey!
DD: (nothing)
Me: DD, come on now!
DD: (suddenly an arm shoots out from beneath the duvet with a thumbs up sign).

2
Diet Superviser
DD opened a bag of crisps and was taking it back to her bedroom.
Me: Oooh can you put some crisps in a bowl for me?
DD: Are you hungry or just snackish?
Me: Snackish
DD: Well go and get yourself an apple.

3
Delicious Russians
We went to see Fiddler on the Roof in London. I explained the story to her and told her how it is, in many ways, the story of our own family. I explained about the Cossacks, the pogroms and the mass emigration of Jews from Russia to Western Europe, England, America and Israel. When the Russian men started dancing in the pub...
DD: Are those the croissants?

4
Dismissed
I went into DD's bedroom late at night to put away some folded laundry. As I left the room she stirred.
DD: Mummy?
Me: Yes, I was just putting some clean clothes away.
DD: Mummy can you stay a little bit?
Me: OK.
DD: I love you Mummy.
Me: I love you too Darling.
DD: You can go now.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Because We Need R2BC Today

I'm totally out of sync with the newly revived Reasons 2B Cheerful linky over at Becky's Lakes Single Mum, but today we need some R2BC.

Over 150 Rockets have been fired at Israel from the Gaza strip since last night. Today all schools and non-urgent work was cancelled from Tel Aviv in the centre of the country down the coast to Beer Sheba in the south. (Incidently, each rocket costs between $10K and $100K apparently. Just saying.)

So here are my R2BC...

1
The Iron Dome
We have the iron dome which intercepts most of the rocket and explodes them in the sky before they hit land. There have been a few injuries today when people running to the bomb shelters have fallen, but thankfully no serious injuries. One very scary video clip showed a rocket that the iron dome missed, exploding on the motorway just behind two travelling cars. Jerusalem has been quiet so far and we are praying for a better night for those in the security areas.

2
I Subscribed
The Times of Israel is the online newspaper that I read regularly and rely on for good quality analyses of news about Israel and the Middle East. The other day they sent an email announcing a new Times of Israel Community. Basically it was a request to pay a nominal and discretionary amount for the subscription. It's voluntary. The content will not be behind a pay-wall and I could have continued receiving all the articles and features in my inbox without paying a shekel. However, I also read The Guardian and The Telegraph (both UK papers) online and don't pay a penny for them. I feel that there comes a time when you have to contribute for some of the services you enjoy or they will cease. So I was happy to sign up for a mere $6 a month.

3
Team leader
DD is taking her job as one of the team leaders for the school crossing guard very seriously. She has a team who all have back-up substitutes in case they can't make it (half an hour before school starts and for half an hour at the end of school). On her days she's on the phone the night before whatsapping her team to remind them to be on time and check that they are coming. A couple of time another team leader couldn't come so she rushed out at 7.30 am to take her place.

We live right by one of the crossings and if I know the child on duty I take a photo and send it to his or her mother. I'm the secret Mother's Pride Patrol. LOL.



Monday, November 4, 2019

FlyLady In A Nutshell

From the archives.
Thankfully we're past the stage of toys all over the floor 
I revisited the FlyLady because I needed a system. The FlyLady has a number of systems for organizing your home and not getting overwhelmed with housework and errands. Here are the systems in a nutshell...

1. Morning routine.
You must get up and dress till shoes, i.e. be ready to leave the house. That way you''ll be more efficient about anything else you want to accomplish before leaving the house.
She suggests that while you're in the bathroom in the morning, you give the mirrors, the sink/taps, surfaces, and the toilet a swish and a swipe. i.e. the bathroom is left clean every morning.
She suggests you get up early enough to put on a load of laundry in the morning and hang it out (or put it in the dryer) before you leave for work.
Any other morning jobs, or none, are up to you.
You can add in meditating, exercise, etc... as you wish.

2. Evening Routine.
Basically, you tidy your house by putting everything in its place, do the dishes, wipe over the kitchen and shine your kitchen sink. And you prepare anything you need for the morning.
Again, you can add your own preferences or necessities, for example, reading in bed or walking the dog.

3. Each day has an assignment.
You choose your own but for example...
Sunday: House Blessing - cleaning the house, but only surface cleaning. No moving furniture or washing windows, etc... It should take only a couple of hours to dust, wipe surfaces, and vacuum, sweep, and mop the floors around the furniture. (If it takes much longer you probably live in a big house and employ a cleaner.)
Monday: Running Errands
Tuesday: Pay Bills and File Papers.
Wednesday: Procrastination Station - where you do one job that you've been putting off.
Thursday: Food Shopping.
Friday: Cooking
Saturday: Family Day.

4. Zone Cleaning.
You divide the areas of your house into 4 or 5 zones. e.g. Zone 1 - the bedrooms, Zone 2 - the kitchen, Zone 3 - the living and dining rooms, Zone 4 - the bathrooms and halls, Zone 5 - everywhere else.
Each week of the month is a zone. So during the first week of the month you're in Zone 1 - the bedrooms.
Every day you put on a timer and do 15 minutes of cleaning one area in that zone. When the timer rings you stop. Anything you don't get to that week can wait until next month.
Remember that your weekly House Blessing is basic cleaning, the bathrooms get a swish and a swipe every day, laundry is a daily task, and the kitchen gets cleared and wiped down every evening. Zone cleaning is for e.g. washing the windows, clearing out a kitchen cabinet, doing out the fridge, cleaning behind furniture, etc...

There are women who take these systems very seriously. I've seen You Tube videos of page by page explanations of thick ring-binder files full of every task possible in a house and when it's scheduled for doing. This is what put me off the first time I read about the FlyLady. Who lives according to such important schedules for cleaning your house? (Answer: mostly SAHMs with low self esteem and no outside interests, who feel they need to make their lives into a serious business. Note, SAHMs with self esteem and outside interests don't generally go to so much minute detailing.)

Me, I like the idea of a couple of hours cleaning on a Sunday and 15 minutes a day doing out a cupboard or cleaning the fridge. Washing a window maybe. It might take six months to clean your house but it's better than letting it go for six months.

As with life itself, I'm not going to be religious about it. However, I'm going to give some of it a try and see what happens. I'll let you know.
  

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Work Reasons 2B Cheerful

I've been watching the [refelcted] sunrise.
Reasons 2B Cheerful is back with a proper linky and everything. The linky is at Becky's Lakes Single Mum. Us cheerful bloggers got a bit behind over the summer and then with all the back to school stuff going on the linky lapsed for a while. But a lapsed linky isn't a dead linky and I'm happy to have it back as it encourages us to post something upbeat at least once a week.

My R2BC for this week are about work.

1. Straight Exchange
A colleague from college phoned and asked me to stand in for her one week just as I was worrying about having messed up by scheduling an exam for one set of students while I was supposed to be teaching another class. We did a straight swap. She proctored my exam and I'll take her lesson later in the month.

2. Paid
I got paid for the summer online course I facilitated. It all goes to pay for DD's annual school payment (it's a state school but the parents have to pay a sum towards extra costs), her birthday party in a few weeks, and my yearly building dues. But it means I don't have to worry about these Autumn expenses.

3. Perfect Hours
I wanted to teach fewer hours in school this year and so have an extra day to run my home - i.e. clean, shop, make appointments, and run other errands during office hours. I had 22 hours, they cut it to 12 hours and I requested 15. I got 15 teaching hours spread over three days. Perfect.

4. Free Sundays
 My free day is Sunday. Oh how I love having my Sundays back. One of the hardest things to get used to in Israel is no Sundays. We still have a two-day weekend over Friday and Saturday (just the grown-ups, most children have school six days a week 😢), but Saturday is Shabbat and it's not the same.

Shabbat is a very busy and often over scheduled day with synagogue services (if you go) and big meals with guests, friends or family. Often people stay overnight with friends if they don't travel on Shabbat. It's soul destroying to have to cut the day off when the sun sets and suddenly get all busy clearing up and preparing for work the next day. So this year I shall enjoy my Sundays.

5. Early To Bed
DD and I have been going to bed very early. 9 pm for her and around 10 pm for me. It makes getting up in the morning very much easier. We are so not morning people, but we've both enjoyed waking up refreshed at 6 or 6.30 at the latest for DD and I've even been waking up at a time with a 5 at the beginning. It's hard for us to make ourselves go to bed at a reasonable time because we're not naturally tired in the evening. But it's so worth it for everything that gets done before work.

OK, that's it. 8.45 and I'm off to bed.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Morning Meditation Without Orgasm

The view from the balcony
It's 9 am on Shabbat Morning. I got up at 8.30. I'm rested. All is quiet. DD's still asleep. We're not going anywhere today. It's Shabbat so there are no buses and everything is closed in Jerusalem. (We can take taxis, Yes Planet Cinema is open as well as a few restaurants, but I'm trying to create an atmosphere here.)

I made coffee and went to sit outside on the balcony. I read recently that people who meditate can rejuvenate parts of their brain to the brain function of a 25 year old. I can't remember where I read it now.

I assume it meant the brain function of yourself at 25 and not any random 25 year old, or the average intelligence of all the 25 years olds on the planet. That wouldn't be fair because I had to go through years of homework and writing essays to get my particular 25 year old brain.

Anyway, as I said, I tried to meditate but after ten seconds my eyes kept popping open. They say you have to practice and build up to about 40 minutes a day. 40 minutes a day! I wonder if you can play Home Design on your phone whilst meditating. If you think about it, the two activities are compatible. Meditating requires clearing your mind and playing Home Design is pretty mindless.

I had an experience with meditating when I was very young and years later I read something that shattered all my illusions about it. I was at Limmud (a Jewish learning and social experience for adults held in the English countryside, over the Christmas and New Year holidays.) One morning I attended a session of guided meditation.

We were guided by a young American rabbi who suggested we meditate on the first line of the Shema. This is the prayer that we're supposed to say every morning and evening and if we think we're about to die. It starts (although I was saying thinking it in Hebrew): Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Every time I got to the the word 'Elohaynu' (our God) I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. It was like being hugged. I kept saying that word over an over and letting the feeling wash over me. In the room I heard the rabbi telling us to gently finish and open our eyes. I didn't want to stop. But obviously I did, after a couple more 'Elohaynus'.

I opened my eyes and the rabbi was smiling at me. "You had an experience, " he said. I nodded. I was beaming and every time I thought about it during the day as I went to lectures and meals, I had to wipe the smile off my face or look like an idiot. I also wondered if I'd had an actual encounter with God or if you could get the same feeling meditating with "OM".

That had been the last day of guided meditation. I tried doing it myself but I didn't get the same effect. For years, I'd try meditating every so often but I never ever even got close to the experience I'd had that first time. I remember the name of that rabbi and I occasionally thought of contacting him for advice. But I didn't and eventually I gave up meditation.

Fast forward about 30 years and I saw an article about the connection between meditation and orgasms. Turns out, many women experience a kind of orgasm the first time, and only the first time, they meditate. Well that explains everything. So moving OM, I'm not expecting the orgasm. I'm just going for my 25 year old brain. I'll try again next week.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Autumn D-Day

First soup of the season. 
I hesitated to call today Duvet Day as that label has been used before to mean a day that you stay at home under the duvet. Today was not such a day. Today was D-Day in the sense that we finally put the duvets back in the covers after the long hot summer.

It coulda, shoulda, woulda been done a few weeks ago but we came back from London when it was still quite hot, then we were up and down the country visiting family over the festivals, and then I went back to work and was exhausted for the first week while I got used to early mornings and full days again. And, if I'm honest, changing the duvet covers is the job I hate doing the most. Even more than cleaning the toilets.

So we put blankets over the empty duvet covers, then we shut the windows, then we switch to winter pyjamas. Finally, when the clocks have gone back and I find myself searching for my fleece in the middle of the night, I know I can't put it off any longer. And DD told me she was cold last night so not getting out the duvets might be classed as child abuse.

The beds look nice and puffy again with added blankets on the end, just for show until the real winter starts.

Along with putting the duvets in the covers, I put the table-top fan from the living room away in a top cupboard (recently vacated by two duvets) and put an extra lamp in its place. Then I put my fitflops (which I've not worn for about a week) into the cupboard.

It's too early to get out the heaters. All the windows are wide open still and we're not even wearing coats outside. The days are pleasantly sunny. The mornings and evenings are cool and the nights are cold. (N.B. This is only in the mountain regions. Tel Aviv, the coast and the Negev are still hot. - which is why I live in Jerusalem.)

I'm not quite ready for it to be winter but I am looking forward to climbing under the duvet for the first time tonight.

  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Crazy Cousins




Very near my Mum's, on the Watford Way between Elstree and Stanmore (in case anyone is interested in going there and I don't remember what it's called) is the largest (apparently) crazy golf in Europe. 




On a Sunday morning in September I invited my three nephews to join us for a round of crazy golf. "Bring your student cards, I'm paying." That ensured full attendance and we were picked up first thing in the morning at around 10.30. That's bright and early for two students and a recent graduate. 




They can all three of them drive now and the oldest was behind the wheel. We could have walked there but it was a moving experience being driven by my nephews. I remembered taking them on the train for a treat when they were little.

Anyhoo, back to the golf. There are two courses you can choose from - the Jungle or the Dinosaurs. We chose to do 18 holes on the Jungle Course. 




Some of the holes were more crazy than others but they're all designed to be not too difficult. The last thing you want is a queue building up whilst someone is still trying after 100 putts. Even so, there was some nifty footwork employed when necessary and nobody minded. 




The boys were very patient with DD, giving her some guidance over her swing, etc... (I say etc... because I've almost run out of golf jargon.) 

I have no idea what my handicap is and whatever we scored was par for the course, or significantly below par, or just fun. (There, that's all the golf jargon I know.)

We will definitely be visiting again.  


Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Icing On The Cake




The final celebration for my brother and s-i-l's wedding was the Shabbat lunch at my sister's for the last round of Sheva Brachot (see yesterday's post). After a delicious hors d'ouvres and main course, the centre piece on the dessert table was a wedding cake made and decorated by DD. Well DD helped make the cake and was then guided in the decorating. Let me explain.

MishCakes of Mill Hill, NW7 is owned and run by my sister's friend Michelle Lipowicz. We've enjoyed Michelle's cakes at almost every party my sister has made. So a fancy cake was ordered for the Sheva Brachot and DD was invited to help make and decorate it.

I say, 'invited' but actually I don't know what the arrangements were. Looking at MishCakes' facebook page, I see that Michelle runs workshops for teenagers so I'm not sure if my sister paid for a workshop or if Michelle was just being kind. All I know is, Grandma dropped DD off at Michelle's house and a couple of hours later I received these fabulous photos.

DD absolutely loved it. She was  thrilled to have decorated such a sophisticated cake and was very proud when she was asked to carry it in and present it to the bride and groom as we served dessert.


And I schepped naches (kvelled with pride) when Michelle told me that DD is very talented, she's a quick learner and lots of fun to work with.

Thanks Michelle!

Anyone in NW London should check out Mishcakes.com or MichCakes, Personalised and Novely Cakes on Facebook.










Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Wedding - R2BC

DD was a bridesmaid.
In my last post I explained how in Israel the summer holidays segue into the autumn Jewish festivals and no one takes real life absolutely seriously until after all the festivals, particularly people in academia and/or with children in academia. Tertiary education doesn't even start until after the festivals. This year the festivals were very late - probably the latest possible as we had a leap month back in March. Add to this that I work according to university semesters and we were away for most of September, it's been a helluva long break from real life and routines. But now I'm back on the blog.

So here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful...

1
London in September
Two of my favourite things in one time and place - London and September. we went for my brother's wedding. The celebrations lasted three weeks! The weekend before is the Groom's Shabbat when he celebrates with his community. We all went to my brother's synagogue and enjoyed a celebratory lunch after the  morning services. It was trebly great for me as I sat with cousins I don't see very often and we got to meet my future s-i-l's family for the first time. And, more importantly, we liked them.

The banqueting hall at The Old Palace, Hatfield House
2
My Brother's Wedding
The wedding itself was a week later on the following Sunday. It was at the Old Palace at Hatfield House. It was a lovely wedding but for me an added enchantment lay in the fact that we were eating dinner in the same banqueting hall as Elizabeth l once ate. It's the place she was living when they came to tell her that she was the Queen of England. 486 years later Rachel Selby (and some others) is dining in the same hall. Legend has it that she was sitting under an oak tree when they told her but I'm sure they had some sort of celebratory dinner later.

3
Sheva Brachot
This is a tradition whereby the wedding celebrations are drawn out for another week as each night different friends or relatives host a dinner for the couple and include friends who were not at the wedding. Sheva Brachot means 'seven blessings'. It refers to the seven blessings that are added to the end of the grace after meals in the presence of a newly married couple during the week after their wedding.

It was a small wedding so my mother hosted the first of the Sheva Brachot to which she invited all her friends and a wider circle of cousins. I got to see all the cousins and 'aunties and uncles' of my childhood. It was in a local restaurant so no clearing up afterwards either.

A week later my sister hosted the final of the seven Sheva Brachot in her house. It was the perfect ending to all the celebrations. I caught up with all my sister's friends whom I've got to know a bit over the years. I sat  and caught up with with another cousin who'd not been at the previous events. Lots of clearing up but I actually love that 'all hands on deck' effort at the end of a successful party.

The day finished with a short walk to see my brother and s-i-l's new house followed by several rounds of the game of Catan back at my sister's.

That's enough for now. I have sufficient blog fodder from our trip to last several posts so I intend to be back on the blog more regularly from now on. I'm not sure if there is a R2BC linky atm as we all flaked out over the summer. I'm checking it out.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Yom Kippur In Israel

May all your roads to happiness be clear. (Acre, August 2019)
I've been AWOL on the blog due to traveling and then having to catch up with real life, and a bit of apathy tbh. I keep composing great blog posts in my head and never getting round to typing them  up and publishing. Oh well. This is how it goes in Israel... July and August are the long summer break for schools, and then when you get back to normality, the Jewish festivals kick in. These festivals (New Year, Day of Atonement, Sukkot) last over three weeks with regular days in between during which you have no idea what day it is as every other day seems to be a weekend. Nothing really starts until after the festivals.

This year the festivals are late due to an extra leap-month back in the spring. Instead of falling during September as usual, they only started on October 2nd. All this to say, don't expect any sort of routine from me until the end of October.

Luckily my friend Leonie Lachmish wrote this lovely description of what it's like celebrating Yom Kippur (Atonement) in Israel. I am copying it here with her permission.

Yom Kippur in Israel

By Leonie Lachmish

Every Erev Yom Kippur, while we were bringing up young children, I'd make sure the radio was on for the 2pm news so we could all hear the announcement that Israel's National Airport, Ben Gurion Airport (that functions 24/7) was closing down until after Yom Kippur (around 30 hours later) and then that all the radio stations were ceasing their broadcasts until after Yom Kippur. Every year it thrilled me (and still does) that a modern industrialized high-tech country, shuts down for the holiest of days , Yom Kippur. I don't know of any phenomenon like it anywhere else in the world.

Having been away for Israel during the Ten Days of Repentance over the past 10 years, it was a joy today, two days before Yom Kippur, to hear the radio channels broadcasting songs for Yom Kippur, and discussions about repentance and starting over and saying sorry and being forgiving and changing one's life - from different viewpoints, religious, secular and over the whole spectrum. And all in Hebrew, the language of the Bible, the language of the ancient Yom Kippur prayers.


In the Gemara , it is asserted that a Jew should always live in the Land of Israel, even if surrounded by pagans , rather than outside the Land of Israel even if surrounded by Jews.


I'd add: especially in our modern-day State of Israel, where the Jewish festivals are national holidays and you can know which festival is approaching just from the ads on TV, where the sights, sounds and smells reflect which festival we're at. There is also a spirituality or form of Jewishness in Israel where thousands, even millions, of Israelis who don't count themselves as religious, are nonetheless strongly connected to and in love with their roots, their language, culture and tradition and the land of Israel.


Tomorrow, for the duration of Yom Kippur, there is no law against driving your car but practically nobody does. In Jewish areas , the only cars will be emergency vehicles and ambulances taking medical staff to their hospital shifts. Children on scooters and bikes take over the roads.


Within minutes of the end of Yom Kippur on Wednesday night, after people have broken their fast, maybe just a drink and a slice of cake for those who can't wait to perform the next mitzva, all over the country we'll hear the sound of hammers and nails as Succot (Tabernacles) booths start to be erected in gardens, on balconies, outside restaurants, etc. By Sunday, they will be complete, decorated with children's drawings and colourful pictures and Sunday evening begins our 7-day Succot Festival.
May we all be sealed in the Book of Life ! צום קל וחתימה טובה



And from me: I wish everyone a good year, a successful academic year, a fulfilling twelve months, happy, healthy and full of joy. May you be written in the book of life. 


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Back To School - R2BC

Good Bye Summer!
Here are my Reasosn 2B Cheerful for this week. The linky is back with Becky on Lakes single Mum.

1
Back to School (Obviously)
I'm only writing this because my actual classroom time doesn't begin until after the upcoming Jewish festivals, They're late this year so I won't be wall-to-wall scheduled until the end of October. That said, I am working at home and some hours at college but it's a whole different ball game when you're managing your own time. 

DD has started 6th Grade. She was chosen as a supervisor for the crossing guards - because she's sensible and she took it seriously. She also started gymnastics twice a week at the classes two minutes from home. This cuts out two taxi rides a week (we used to walk home) and she can go and return by herself. The teachers are the same as last year - they do different locations on different days, so they know her already.

I took the obligatory photograph of DD on the first day of school but am under strict orders not to share it anywhere. I posted some bougainvillea on facebook instead and got 120 reactions so that was some compensation as I wasted the morning liking other people's back to school photos. 

2
The weather has cooled
A bit. Or I could be imagining it. But the mornings do seem a bit cooler and the nights a bit colder at least.

3
Builders
I have builders in my apartment. This in itself is not a reason 2B cheerful but the fact that they started after three days delay and a lot of rescheduling appointments on my part, is great. 

4
I'm scraping the barrel here
I can't think of anything else. God's in his heaven and all's right with my world, for the moment. Pht pht pht. PGTGABW*

*Please God, thank God, all being well. 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

R2BC - End Of Summer

I once wrote a blog post about why you have to go away during the summer and how you can do it without spending a fortune. I wrote it when DD was 4 1/2 but it's still relevant for older kids. We were coming to the end of nine weeks of school break for DD and although I've been working steadily on online summer courses and prep for next year (supposedly), we were beginning to feel like we'd done nothing. Because we have a family wedding in London in the autumn, I regarded that as our holiday and didn't organize anything for the summer (apart from some days out). However, re-reading that blog post, I decided to cobble together a summer holiday.

It started out with a trip to my happy place - my friends' kibbutz in the south. We traveled down on the Thursday afternoon for a wedding celebration that evening. On the Friday we hung out at the pool with friends and then we stayed for a full Shabbat of after-celebration, known as the Groom's Shabbat. It involves a lot of eating, drinking, chatting, singing, silly games, and some dancing. And it was all wonderful.

We returned to Jerusalem in time to do our laundry before heading off again in the other direction - to Acre in the north. My friend and her son, whom we often go away with for short breaks (see Independence Day Holiday for example), found a reasonable deal on two nights in a hotel on the beach, with a pool. We've been to Acre before but it was four years ago. The kids were younger and we happened to go on a day that was so hot we couldn't enjoy it as much as we'd have liked to.

This time the weather was perfect. We arrived at midday and the kids spent a couple of hours in the pool. Then we got our rooms, unpacked and rested for a while before heading into Acre. We went on a thrilling motor boat ride, surfing the waves swell and getting thoroughly sprayed. We loved it. We even forgot about the irritatingly loud Jewish wedding music playing the whole time. Seriously, it was motor boat on the Meditteranean Sea, not a Bar Mitzva party. Dinner followed with local fish freshly caught that day and then back to sleep shower, watch tv (the kids) and drink tea (the grown ups) on the balcony overlooking the sea with the harbour lights from Haifa across the bay.

Day two saw us heading into Acre again after a leisurely breakfast. We visited the crusader fortress and the kids did some archaeology where they learned how the ancient ruins of Acre were discovered and unearthed. They did some stone carving and 'went on a dig' discovering their own bits of pottery.

After that we walked through the crusader tunnels. You start off bent double which wasn't so comfortable but I concentrated on not tripping over my shoes. Suddently I heard giggling and saw they were all laughing at me. The ceiling had been a regular height for about 25 metres and I'd not noticed. I was hobbling along with my nose to the ground when there was absolutely no need.


The afternoon was spent back at the pool of course. Two more friends joined us for dinner, each with another child. On the third day the boys wanted to go to an extreme sports park and the girls didn't. The family with the other girl took DD back with them to near Tel Aviv for more days of fun (a pool with a massive slide, a movie, Legoland Tel Aviv and a bike ride) and sleepovers. I took a pleasant ride back to Jerusalem on the train and had two whole days to myself.

DD was delivered home three days later for a grande finale lunch - I bought her favourite caramel cheese cake from Roladin. We were happy to be home together but so pleased that we'd had a lovely summer holiday too.

The Reasons 2B Cheerful linky is with Mich for the last time this summer, over on Mummy from the Heart

Sunday, August 11, 2019

R2BC - Actual Colouring

On Friday I wrote about clearing out DD's bedroom and how one pile of art supplies, artwork, and school books was left to do. Today we tackled it together. And then we went through the list of things she needs for school. Read on, it was a very pleasant experience all round and definitely worthy of Reasons 2B Cheerful.

The linky is with Mich on Mummy from the Heart for the whole of August.

1
School Supplies
Amazingly, from the long list, we only need to buy a geometry set (compass, two set squares, and a protractor) and a pack of 10 A4 ring bound notebooks. Everything else we have left over from previous years - even school t-shirts that still fit and sticky labels. We agreed that we'd forgo a new school bag and pencil case this year as she'll want to have new ones for Secondary School next year. We also already paid for the full set of textbooks and workbooks that will be given out at school in a couple of weeks. Sorted. 

2
Down to the last pencil
Reader, we organized DD's room down to the last pencil. Everything now has a home and all the rubbish has been thrown out. She hasn't said it, but I can see that DD is enjoying being in her room now. I caught her just sitting on the bed and looking around appreciatively. Later she came and asked if she could have a rug. It was very sweet. 

3
Colouring
We also dealt with all the pens, pencils, highlighters, and felt tips that were in a hundred different pencil cases and boxes. They're still in several cases and boxes but are now more consolidated. We also found a book of cards and envelopes to colour. DD got it as a present and used it once. It's lots of fun. You colour the card and the corresponding envelope (which you fold yourself ) and there is a matching sticker to seal each one. 

I'm going to a birthday dinner and a wedding this week. At the wedding I'll see my friend's daughter who has just had a baby. And in January I did a Paying it Forward game on Facebook. The first five people to reply to the announcement could expect a surprise at some time during the year. Well it's pay-forward time and three of my recipients will be getting their surprise within the next two weeks. So that's six cards and envelopes to colour and make. I did three of them today. It kept me out of the fridge so win-win. (Incidently, it happens to be a fast day in the Jewish calendar today. It's a full 24 hours, sunset to sunset, when we remember the destruction of the Temples and the beginning of the exile from Jerusalem. I started late but I'm going to finish late too so all's good.)

Have a good week y'all.  



Friday, August 9, 2019

Coloured Pencils

I can't believe I put DD's name on every  pencil she took to 1st Grade.
As she goes up to 6th grade, we have finally come to the end of some of them.
Phew!
Where did that eternal (well nine weeks)  summer holiday go? We only have three weeks left! How did that happen? In my defense, my teaching assignments never really ended.

The grande finale involved a surprise intensive course last week. I taught for six hours a day, spent my evenings  grading and preparing the next day, forgot about the diet completely (there's only so much intensity you can take without pizza for supper, and cold for lunch the next day) and I let DD watch tv all day and half the night (whilst eating said pizza). And of course there was no blogging. But we got through it and the extra money will be welcome.

On Thursday afternoon it finished. I came home to an apartment in a state of chaos, and not clean. Overflowing laundry baskets and no food in the fridge, freezer or cupboards. It was time to take back control, big time!

On Thursday evening I reorganized DD's bedroom. I'd already culled a load of books the last time I did a big sort out about two years ago. Since then her bedroom has degenerated into low-grade tidy and less tidy mode. There was lots of confusion as to what each drawer was designated for and a mish-mash of 'stuff' in a number of storage boxes.

All the books went onto the bed and I did a real Conmari on DD's behalf. Some books were siphoned off for my school library, some to pass on to friends with younger grandchildren (yes I am that age), others to my teaching resources, and a few to throw away. (Yes you can throw away books.) It's strange how books that we absolutely had to keep only a couple of years ago, don't interest us at all now.

The storage boxes now contain 1. Lego (because it's just too expensive to give away), 2. Art supplies, and 3. empty to be decided. The games are all in the living room sideboard. Also culled - we no longer need "Who Am I?" or 300 piece jigsaw puzzles. DD's clothes were already organized so nothing to do there.

The big problem area is years of accumulated colouring pencils and felt tip pens. We never throw them out, of course, and every year there are new sets received as gifts or just to start off the academic year with pristine supplies. There are now boxes and numerous pencil cases filled with perfectly good coloured pencils but just not in sets.

I take one pencil case-full for teaching and I regularly top it up from the supply of orphan pencils. Sometimes you get a pencil that won't sharpen because the lead is broken all the way through. Those do get chucked. And very occasionally a pencil will be absolutely finished down to the quick. These are also lovingly chucked into the bin.

I had to get the room tidy as one of DD's friends turned up for an impromptu sleep-over. This turned out to be an amazing incentive not to just leave half of it for the next day. There's one pile of colours, school supplies and artwork left to sort out but I told DD she'd have to do that herself over the weekend.


Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Day At The Pool In 1982 - R2BC

This week's reasons 2B cheerful comes to you from 1976 - 1987, a swimming pool just outside Jerusalem, I was in Seventh Heaven, and we missed the final week of July R2BC linky so this one is with the August linky on Mich's Mummy from the Heart. So traversing time and space, lets go...

On Wednesday we went to the pool at Messilat Tzion, a village just outside Jerusalem. We went with friends who are early risers and movers so we left at 8.30 in the morning. Arriving as the place opens allows you a prime spot near the pool, but not too near. Our children can swim so we want to be able to see them but we don't have to be actually at the poolside. Also, at that time of the morning there are only a few children in the pool and two lifeguards on duty.

We found a shady spot on the grass under a tree and made ourselves at home. Then the music started. Blaring. It could have been a disaster. But as luck would have it they were playing my own personal favourite playlist. A medley of pop from the 1970s and 1980s.

It was all I could do to stop myself getting up and dancing. I did sing out loud though. Every song held a memory for me from 40 years ago.

Summer 1976 - the longest and hottest drought in the UK in my lifetime, so far (I was 14). The grass was yellow, some rural areas had standpipes for water at the end of the streets, washing your car and watering your garden was banned. We sang, "skyrockets in flight, afternoon delight." It's just as good now as it was then.

Summer 1978 the movie Grease came out and my sister and I and the girls next door, sat with our heads almost inside the cassette player singing "You're the one that I want," over and over again until we knew the words by heart.

There was the winter camp 1979, where my friend Mandy and I were the cooks. Ohoh ayay, I love you more than I can say. We changed the next lyric to "and if our food is hard to swallow, oh oh, we'll give you twice as much tomorrow."

Summer 1980, camping in Lanarkshire, Scotland. My baby takes the morning train, he works from 9 till 5 and then, he takes another home again... What they lacked in sophisticated lyrics they made up for with sing-along potential.

Come on Eileen, was the wet weekend in July that I spent with Sharon in Liverpool. It was 1982 and we'd just returned from our gap year on a Kibbutz in Israel.

They just kept on coming. I gazed out across the pool and the palm trees, towards the Jerusalem hills. The scenery and the music carried me back to the summer of 1987 spent in California. La Isla Bonita, and Yeh, I wanna dance with somebody, with somebody who loves me.

The kids (what kids? Oh yes, we had three kids with us) frolicked in the pool. They had ice-creams and later hot dogs and chips for lunch. We left at 2.30 pm just before the heat of the day and the afternoon crowds arrived.

It was the best pool day ever. Except for maybe the pool days back in the real 1970s and 80s.

Monday, July 22, 2019

R2BC - Tackling That Debt

Reasons 2B Cheerful is late because we didn't do very much anything last week. As most of DD's friends were still busy with some type of day camp, we mostly hung out and went to gymnastics. There were a couple of teas out where DD loves one particular cake (the butterscotch cheese cake) but there was also one day when a horrendous heatwave sent the temperature soaring to over 100༌F. (About 36༌C in Jerusalem but over 100 sounds so much more heroic.) We were very cheerful home-bodies but it wasn't interesting to write about.

Today I'm more interestingly cheerful and joining the linky at Becky's Lakes Single Mum. DD has gone to a friend and I'm making practical plans for tackling that 30,000 debt I wrote about yesterday. Here's what I've come up with so far.

1
Budget
This is key because it frees up any extra income to go towards debt repayment. Accounting for all fixed income to cover all monthly costs and allow for a certain amount for debt repayment every month.

2
Debt Repayment
Tomorrow I'm going to open a Bat Mitzvah bank account with the monthly amount automatically transferred.

3
Spending On Wants
The only two places to cut monthly costs are food and spending on wants. I have no more wants after going clothes shopping a couple of weeks ago. There is a certain amount set aside for DD's wants and for entertainment like going to the pool and other summer stuff.

4
Food
After a year of buying far too much convenience food, I'm determined to switch to more cooking from scratch. Yesterdays's weekly shop was full of fruit and vegetables. And today I'm going to make a batch of pizza dough to divide and freeze. It's more time consuming. Last night I cut up a fruit platter for DD whereas I never have to help her grab a packet of crisps or a biscuit. It's also a health thing so I'm excited about it.

The money saved doesn't directly add anything further to the debt repayment but it will help to make the budget balance so that everything else is covered by fixed income.

5
Extra Income
All extra income from occasional work, tax returns, and the annual Single Parent Education Grant, will go towards debt repayment.

6
The 10 Shekel Jar
I'm not cutting up my credit card and living out of cash jars like Gail Vaz-Oxlade advises her clients. we're doing a reverse jar savings. Every time I have a 10 shekel coin in my purse at the end of the day, it goes into the jar. I thought of doing it with coppers or 1 shekel coins but I'd end up with a full jar worth not very much. I'm hoping the 10 shekel jar will eventually add up to 1,000 shekels.

That's it so far. So far so good.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

30.000 In Debt

Confused? Us too but it's an idea....
I've been considering my finances recently and with the help of three of my financial heroines - Elaine Colliar, Darci Isabella, and Gail Vaz-Oxlade, I've made the decision to go into debt to the tune of 30,000 shekels (about £7500). In addition, I want to cut my teaching hours next year to free up an extra stay-at-home day. At first glance this all seems totally counter-intuitive, but read on. All will be revealed.

I used to follow Elaine Colliar on her blog Mortgage Free In Three (which seems to be down atm but here's her most recent update vlog). After having the rug pulled out from under her by the bank, Elaine, a single mother of two young boys, found herself at rock bottom and in debt. She lived extremely frugally and intelligently in order to pay off her debt in record time. She then used the lessons learned from this to extend her lifestyle in order to pay off her mortgage in three years. Once free of that albatross the aim was to soar without any financial burdens holding her back.

Elaine is an accomplished seamstress, she's handy and artistic, very tech savvy, she has a garden in which to grow vegetables and she's a great cook. (my favourite post ever was The Rubber Chicken about how one chicken provided the protein base for seven meals for the three of them.) One of her top pieces of advice is that you have to be willing to learn new skills towards being more self sufficient. It makes sense. You're not going to save as much money if you have to buy services all the time.

I am not at all handy so I can't do half the things Elaine accomplished, albeit with the occasional help of her handy Dad (covering her sofa, building partition walls to create an extra bedroom, making all her Christmas presents and selling homemade items online). However the biggest difference between Elaine and I was the time factor. I once asked Elaine why she didn't just take a part time job to help with the pennies. She explained that the loss of benefits and all the costs involved with working (travel, childcare, work clothes, socializing with colleagues and collections) made it better for her to stay at home and use the time to live frugally and build up side hustles.

I also had no debt apart from my mortgage, I also took in paying guests for a while, and I was also the single mother of a young child. DD was in childcare because I had to go out to work. But you can only work very restricted hours when you have a young child and no back up (no partner and no family nearby). And here's the thing about teaching (I'm not complaining, just explaining) - you only get paid for the hours you are in the classroom but half the work has to be done before or after hours (planning, preparing, marking, paperwork, co-ordinating with colleagues, meetings, and speaking to parents/students about individual matters).

So I followed Elaine's advice the best I could. I built up a store cupboard to keep food costs low, cooked from scratch as much as possible, meal planned, cleaned my own apartment (still do - in theory), tried to grow some vegetables on my balcony - not very successfully, rented out my spare room to paying guests, took on no-spend challenges for months at a time, saved every spare penny, and looked for side hustles to bring in a little extra income. The effort nearly killed me but we survived those early childhood years which are the hardest. (Luckily kids that age are so cute that you'd do anything for them.)

The years passed and both our very young children grew a bit and became more independent. There were more free hours to work with. I built up my work load and Elaine was able to take a job locally that suited her. We both elevated our families from the bread line towards the cakes and biscuits. And then Elaine stopped writing her blog. I understood that as well as the time constraints, it's hard to live so frugally every day when you don't actually have to anymore. We also enjoyed more convenience foods, evenings out and material treats. It's true what they say about needs must. And it seems that the opposite is also true. Don't need, why kill yourself over it?

With my mortgage nearing its end and the emergency fund in place, it's not a matter of getting out of debt. Otoh, only 10 years away from retirement is not the time to take a gap year and live off savings. Otoh, I'd spend less money if I had more time to shop at the cheaper but further supermarket and cook from scratch. And I'd have more time to take on better paid work at home.

I now follow a lifestyle blog by Ameican, Darci Isabella, who recently decided to become debt-free. By making small changes for herself and her large family, she shifted thousands of dollars of debt in eight months. Here's how she did it. I was inspired but (unfortunately?) I'm not in debt.

I've been binge watching Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Money Moron  and Till Debt Us Do Part programmes on You Tube. She's another of my financial heroines. At times I almost wished I was in debt so that I could take on her advice about getting out of it. Then it dawned on me that I could be in [imaginary] debt if I waned to be. The great thing about imaginary debt is that you can owe as much as you like - and no interest.

Imaginary debt is just saving up with a goal sum. Calling it a debt makes it more urgent. And in a way, it is a debt in the sense of a deficit of funds needed for future use. So I'm henceforth in debt to the tune of 30,000 shekels. I aim to be debt free in 20 months, with no borrowing from currant savings - it all has to be earned and saved starting from now.

When I've paid it off, the money will be used for (or towards as I've no idea how much these things cost) DD's Bat Mitzvah in 18 months.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Slimming Sunday - Slow But Steady

Some more beautiful Chihuly. What?
D'ya think I'm going to show before and after photos in my underwear?
Hahahaha. Not a chance.  
Yes I know it's Monday again but I don't have much to write, other than a weight loss update, so I procrastinated on it all day yesterday. This morning I decided to just start and see where the post goes.

To re-cap, I started Intermittent Fasting on April 28th, the Sunday after Passover. I lost 12 lbs in the first 5 weeks (5.5 kg) and wrote about it here. Fast forward another 6 weeks and I've been losing about 1 lb/week. So I'm 18 lbs down (8 kg) and getting a bit frustrated that it's going so slowly now.

I have to admit that the slow progress is entirely due to some spectacular diet failures. For example, schools finish early on Tuesdays here so DD's friend has a standing arrangement to come to us for lunch as her mother works late on Tuesdays. One Tuesday I couldn't be here at lunchtime so I had to leave them something ready and cold (we don't have a microwave).

On the Monday afternoon I bought a whole baguette and was planning to leave the girls a selection of filled 'rolls'. That baguette taunted me all evening. In the end I succumbed and reasoning that the girls didn't need more than 1/3 of a baguette each, I could have one sandwich out of it. Of course we all know that a carb addict can't just have one sandwich. Within half an hour the whole baguette was inside, and the smile on the face of the tiger.

Tuesday morning I had to go out early and pick up another baguette before dividing it into six 'rolls' and preparing three with tuna-mayo and cucumber, and three with egg-mayo and cucumber. I set them on a dish, covered them with cling-film, and lovingly put them in the fridge before going to work. Fir me that would be the perfect lunch. I love sandwiches.

Tuesday evening I get home to find that DD's friend didn't come that day (actually I knew that by 1 pm) and DD still doesn't like sandwiches so she hadn't eaten any of them and didn't intend to. What's a girl to do? So that was two whole baguettes in two days and I wonder why the weight loss has slowed down?

I'm still thrilled to be 18 lbs (8 kg) down and we have no bread in our home at all atm. I'm still doing OMAD (One Meal A Day) and hoping to up the ante for a better result next Sunday. 


Saturday, July 13, 2019

R2BC - Clothes


Beautiful Chihuly glass because #Rubbishphotographer
can't get new clothes to look as good in photos as they do in real life. 
This week's Reasons 2B Cheerful are about an unexpected shopping spree and finally getting down to the bones of decluttering. The linky is with Becky on Lakes Single Mum for the whole of July.

1
A Chain Reaction
It was started with a bag of second-hand clothes. A friend of a friend is a serious clothes shopper. (It's cheaper than therapy.) Every few months she has to purge. Since we are of similar size and taste in clothes, they come to me. I take what I want and pass on the rest. I gifted myself a couple of floaty tunics and a couple of dresses from the bag, and put the rest aside.

2
A shopping Spree
I've hardly bought any new clothes for years. Apart from underwear, shoes, and the odd cardigan, my escalating weight made me totally disinterested. I always had enough hand-me-downs from my friend's friend and a couple of outfits for Shabbat and celebrations from years back so I made do.

Since starting to lose weight I've noticed a reawakening. Over the past few weeks I've bought a few new t-shits and some work wear. In a fit of fashion enthusiasm I donated my one Shabbat dress that was at least 10 years old and way past its prime. I needed a new one for the summer.

On Tuesday I went shopping. There is one shop in town that I used to love (Hagara) although it has become a bit dowdy over the years. I went there anyway and found a Shabbat dress. As there was a 1+1 sale I also got a tunic top for free. And a t-shirt and black, thin cotton trousers not in the sale.

I was done. DD was home from her summer programme so I called to say I was bringing falafel for lunch. On the way to the falafel shop I passed a small mom and dad shop with a lovely simple dress in the window. I fell in love with the soft cotton material  and went inside, not for one minute thinking they would have my size. They did. And it was very cheap. So I bought another one in a different colour as well.

Onwards to the falafel and no looking in shop windows! Would you believe it, in the very next shop were lovely dresses suitable for weddings, for example. As we have a family wedding coming up in September, I had to go in to take a look.

I've had my head in the sand about what to wear for my brother's wedding. The family have agreed to wear the colours chosen for the wedding so as not to clash in the photos. So I looked for dresses in the permitted colours and found some. Also not expensive so I bought two in different designs and I'll decide which to wear to the wedding nearer the date.

I am absolutely not buying any more new clothes for the next decade.

3
A Clothes Swap
Fortuitously, a clothes swap was announced on facebook. A couple of friends organize these events seasonally and a group of women turn up with clothes they want to pass on and nosh - because it's also a party. You can take whatever you want and anything left over gets donated. I've never been to one of these before but this one was around the corner and quite early in the evening. I decided to go and take DD with me.

I packed up the remainder of the clothes from my friend's friend, and I went through all my clothes adding to the pile of donations. We arrived at the clothes swap early but DD wasn't into it at all, so we left our clothes and went home. Result! I was looking forward to the social but I had no intention of bringing any more 'new' clothes into the house.

4
Project 333
With some rearranging, and even with all the new clothes I've accumulated over the past few weeks, I managed to reclaim the shelves I've wanted to use as a linen cupboard since starting the decluttering journey almost two years ago. This sets off a whole new chain reaction of shelves freed up somewhere else leading to the eventual downsized and desired minimalistic effect.

The magic happens as soon as you see a neat shelf holding all the sheets you own. You realize that a lot of them mix and match, every set has under sheets that go with it, and there is no need to buy any more bedclothes for the foreseeable future.

There are still clothes to go. I'm still holding on to some skinny clothes to see what happens. I'd like to think that one day I could do Project 333 but although I probably only wear 33 items in any one 3-month season, I own nearer to 333.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

The New Year For Diaries And Planners - R2BC


Last year's Diary is still in use until Sept 1st.
I don't know why I still have the year before -
it's being chucked out now.
The new one tempts me. I can look and even caress...
but not write in it. 
Here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful for this week. It was hard to think of anything specific as I've already posted about DD's school prize and the Sound and Light Show on Jerusalem. There is a general cheeriness around here due to the relaxed summer, reduced schedule, and no stress time of year. So here are a few little things. 

1
New Diary Time
I've bought mine. I just have to be patient through the summer until D-day on September 1st.

I was going to write a whole explanation but I've covered this subject before. Bottom line is that everyone only gets one New Year for Diaries, and ours is in the summer. Here's what I wrote about it a few years ago. Nothing has changed.

I followed my own links and found this other post I wrote about the year I created my own bullet journal. I'm a little bit tempted but it's just too much work and the bought diaries work just as well. Especially as they are 15 month diaries. So even though they start on September 1st, they go through till the end of the following December. This leaves loads of superfluous pages on which to paste in collections, lists, and plans.

As we're already on the subject. Here is my love letter to Filofax. It was unrequited.

2
Clear Table
You may have noticed the clear table background on the photo of the diary. This is the first time our dining table has been cleared since stuff started coming home from our combined schools and it becoming our dumping surface. I'm finally getting organized again!

3
A Light Supper
My nephew was in Israel for a short trip and came for supper one evening. I was prepared with a pile of lightbulbs for him to change and we are now bathed in light after sunset once more. Of course I can change a lightbulb myself but I don't like climbing.

This was actually a couple of weeks ago but I wanted to check that the lightbulbs were working properly before mentioning it. 😜

After the light fixture renovations and a light supper (pun intended), we sat down for a card game - a match actually. Kalooky up to 150 points and you can come in once. We were just wrapping up the game and my nephew was getting ready to leave, when he got a phone call. His friends were leaving their hostel and going into town. He went off to start his evening and we went to bed.

Have a great week. The Reasons 2B Cheerful linky is back with Becky on Lakes Single Mum.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Universe On Trial

The Spooky Old Tree at the Israel Museum
(Spooky is the connecting theme here.)
Years ago I read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. For those who don't know, it's a self-help book teaching the law of attraction. In other words, if you will it, it will come to you. You're supposed to ask the universe (or God, or any higher power) for what you want. Visualize it. Meditate about it. Speak of it in the present tense as if you already have it (e.g. I'm so happy I can wear these size 8 jeans, I just love them!).

The book freaked me out. It was the visualizing that scared me. What happens if you accidently think of something tragic that you absolutely don't want to happen? Bad thoughts pop into your head sometimes, you can't help it. Does that mean I've just placed an order for this with the universe? I gave the book away and tried not to think about it.

Then I started watching Ted Talks on You Tube. Many motivational speakers truly believed in this law of attraction. So when The Secret appeared as a documentary on Netflix, I watched it. They did actually address the question of what happens when you accidently have bad thoughts. The answer was that good thoughts have far more power than bad thoughts. Well that's convenient.

After watching the film I decided to give it another go. DD wanted to do a drama summer school in English where the participants write a play, make all the costumes, scenery and props themselves, and then perform the play. We've been going to see the end production for a few years now and this year DD was ready to join. So I called to register in May and, would you believe it, it was already full!

We were disappointed but agreed to go on the waiting list. I was told that the waiting list is never utilized as no one ever cancels and if they do we are only third in line. But hey! I knew The Secret. I wasn't taking that for an answer Mr. Universe! (Not that Mr. Universe, another Mr. Universe.) Prove yourself! I dare you.

I visualized DD going to that Summer Camp. I meditated on it. I prayed. I accepted it as fait accompli. Meanwhile DD's school opened up a summer programme for the same three weeks at a third of the price. So we signed up for it.

And then the universe delivered. Lo and behold, a place did come up at the English drama summer school. But a group of friends from DD's class were already signed up for the school programme and I'd already got excited about saving all that money. We declined the offer but I told them that we absolutely want to be first on the list for next year. (It's for 10 - 14 year olds.)

A week into the summer and DD is hating the programme in school. She says it's boring and she wants to quit. I've persuaded her to stick it out for the first week. I hope it gets better today or I'll have no chance of making her continue next week.

The verdict: The Secret works but I don't. The universe delivered and I messed up.