Saturday, January 19, 2019

Happy New Year Trees! - R2BC

I think they should have closed the schools!
Remember this?

Whether the weather be hot, 
Or whether the weather be not,
We'll weather the weather, 
Whatever the weather.
Whether we like it or not.

Reasons 2B Cheerful for this week are almost all weather related. I'm joining the R2BC linky over at Becky's Lakes Single Mum.

1. It's my Eight Year Blogiversary. 19/1/2011 was the first the blog post. That's it really, who knew that eight years later I'd still be at it.

2. On Wednesday night we had snow. If the snow sticks and is still visible at 7 am, even the tiniest bit which we all know will be gone by 08.30, school is cancelled. They were expecting it and all schools closed at 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon. (Thanks for nothing - most Primary schools finish at 3 or even 2.30. Remember that we start at 8 am.) DD's class were in a frenzy of whatsapping on Wednesday evening. Reports coming in from all the surrounding areas about whether it was real snow or just hail. We live half way up the valley so we didn't quite believe that there was actually snow. By Thursday morning the storm had passed and the the ground was wet but clear. All over Jerusalem pupils and teachers dragged themselves out into the cold, wet, grey morning. Their hopes of a snow day at home dashed. Apparently there was snow on the higher grounds and I saw some of it malingering on my way to my school. Seriously, I think that patch warranted a day at home but no one asked me.

3. So on Wednesday evening, DD and I settled down on the sofa, under blankets, and binge watched Heartland on Netflix. We saw about five episodes. Yes that's five hours of TV but it was punctuated by rushing to the window every few minutes to see the lightning and count until the thunder to find out how near the storm was. And we had to assess the snow/hail/sleet/graupel situation in order to contribute to the whatsapping. It's very sweet that this group has rules that the kids are very strict about. A previous class group got silly and sometimes nasty so they set up this new official group. One of the rules is no messaging after 8 pm. So at the height of excitement about the weather, at 8 pm it suddenly went quiet. I was very proud of them.

4. On Monday is Tu B'Shvat (the 15th of the Jewish month of Shvat) which is the New Year for Trees. I think it's supposed to be the official start of spring. The traditional song is all about the sun shining, almond blossom appearing and the birds singing from the rooftops. Seems a bit ridiculous  for the middle of January but every festival has been early this year. (It's a leap year in the Jewish calendar which means we have an extra month next month so while Tu B'Shvat was early, Purim and Passover will be late.) Still, the sun is shining, we are forecast temperatures in the teens all next week, and it feels like the end of the winter might possibly be nigh.

Happy New Year dear trees! I'm not planning to go out and plant a tree, which is one of the Tu B'Shvat customs, but I'll definitely give one or two of them a hug.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Lifestyle Change - R2BC

We Love London!
"I'll still be blogging," I wrote back on December 1st 2018, when we announced that Reasons 2B Cheerful was taking a month long break for the holidays. And then I didn't. Of course we didn't stop living, heaven forfend, but we went to London for Hanuka and when we returned after only one week away, work suddenly got very hectic and it got cold and it always takes me a while to settle back into real life after a holiday. LSS, I've not blogged for about six weeks.

We had a fabulous time in London. My Mum took us all to see "The Lion King," as a big 10th Birthday celebration for DD. It was amazing. I can cross that trip to Africa off the bucket list as I feel like I've been - and without the malaria shots or risk of ebola virus. We had lots of family Hanuka parties - ours, my sister's in-laws, and an extra one for DD's birthday supper. We went to my nephew's school play which was lots of fun. If you're counting, that's five evenings out of the six we had available. In between we went shopping, we saw the lights in the West End, went to the Hanuka candle lighting and concert in Trafalgar Square, and hung out with friends. It was a really lovely break.

I thought about blogging. A lot. I kept thinking of things or seeing something and I'd instantly go into blog mode - how I was going to write this up and what photo would I use to illustrate it. And then I'd have an hour to write and I resisted. I don't know why. I certainly wasn't short of things to say.

One thing became very clear over the past few weeks, and it's something I've seen in other parenting blogs that have survived the years. DD turned 10 during the holidays and this blog has changed over time, as we have changed. It's no longer just a parenting blog but has evolved into a bit of everything. A lifestyle blog? I'd like to write a lifestyle blog but I feel like I need a lifestyle.

Obviously I have a lifestyle. It's sort of chaotic, lived by default, lots of procrastination, and, it must be said, not the role model I want to portray for my DD. There's a book called, "The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy." So it's been done and I could live up to a similar role, but I don't want to. We have fun and enjoy being laid back about things. However, you can be so laid back it's hard to take your eyes off the clouds above and deal successfully with the real life around you. I feel I need to live more purposefully.

New Year's Day came and went as work pulled the rug out beneath me. I needed to write school reports, hand in end of semester exams, and at my college they suddenly announced that all course materials have to be online. That means no more photocopying as the students can access and print out all their materials themselves. One of my courses is online so no panic there. One of my courses is planned and ready to be transferred but it's an enormous amount of work as you don't just want to scan and repeat. If you're already changing the format, you want to edit and improve. And adjust to a different way of teaching whereby the students don't have to photocopy reams of papers every week.

My third course is new to me this year. I've been making it up as I go along. I've been finishing the lesson plans on Monday nights and photocopying the material for everyone on Tuesday mornings before the lesson. It's been hit and miss but I figured that by next year I'll have lesson plans ready for the whole year. Except now I can't do that because they want everything up and accessible for the rest of the year. So lots of work hit me all at once.

I did the inevitable when faced with such a tsunami. I got sick. And DD followed my lead because she also wanted some time off school during a week of stormy weather. I had the whole week at home - some for my sickness and some because I couldn't leave DD at home on her own all day. I didn't get any actual work done, but I do feel refreshed and ready to hit the ground running tomorrow.

I need a plan. Planning is my favourite thing to do. Implementing the plans, less so. I don't know where this "Project Lifestyle" will take me but I'm up for the ride. I'm feeling cheerful about it. So, a bit late but.... Ready! Steady! 2019!

Reasons 2B Cheerful is back with Becky for January 2019 and I'm joining the R2BC linky over at Lakes Single Mum.