Monday, December 22, 2014

The Lord Giveth....

... and the Lord taketh away.

A few weeks ago the Head of English at the college I applied to teach at last February, was accepted by, was rejected by temporarily, etc... called me and asked the progress of the verification of my MA at the Ministry of Education. I was happy to tell her that my application had been accepted and I was expecting a reply within the month.

"That's great," she said, "because we have a job for you here, starting next semester, in February."

Here are the posts about the hoops I jumped through just to get my application accepted by the MoE.


Yesterday the envelope arrived in the post. Full credit for both my first and second degree - each with a certificate of verification from the MoE.

The first thing I did was call the Head of English to tell her the good news and maybe arrange a time to meet with her. However... unfortunately... we have a problem....

The college has just issued a directive that they should only employ teachers with a PhD.

She's going to put in a special request for me because they need a good teacher, with experience, who is available... and not many PhDs are willing to teach level 4 English to students taking English under duress. (Every degree course in Israel requires that you reach a certain level of Academic English. Imagine if you had to have Academic French in order to get any degree in the UK - well that's how some most of the student's feel about it.)

God must have some very good reason for not wanting me to teach at this college. I'd go with His plan without a fight if He'd give me another source of income in its place.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Meal Hygiene

It seems to me that DD is hungry every evening just before supper. Even if I bring it forward to to try and catch her before the whine, "I'm hungry!" As soon as I go to make supper she's hungry. Of course I tell her to wait bearing in mind that she's eaten a number of snacks since coming home from school about an hour before. "Supper's in 10 minutes," I say.
"But I'm hungry now! What can I have to eat?"
"Nothing, you'll wait 10 minutes and we'll have supper."
"But I'm hungry! Can I have something to keep me going?"
"No there's nothing now, wait for supper.
"There must be something I can eat now." She goes to the fridge. 
"Get out of the fridge!" I shout, losing it. "We're not in Africa, you're not starving to death, you can wait 10 minutes!" I forcibly pull DD's head out of the fridge, shut the fridge door, and banish her from the kitchen.

Later while we eat, I tell her that when I was a little girl and I was hungry, I would ask, "what time's supper?" not "what can I have to eat now?" And if Grandma said supper was in 10 or 20 minutes, I'd go away and be hungry for 10 or 20 minutes while I waited for supper. I don't think she got it.  

I remember my brother-in-law saying that they never established good meal hygiene and that it had been a mistake. He wasn't referring to washing your hands before you eat and using a knife and fork, he meant serving proper meals at set times, sitting at the table and not running an all-day open buffet. I loved this idea and vowed to instigate in my home - but I've never quite managed it.

Natasha at The 1979s Diet writes this: In the 1970's we had 3 meals a day. The only snack we had was a piece of fruit. There were no take-aways, no giant cupcakes, no endless supply of nibbles ...... and you felt properly hungry between meals.

Natasha once wrote about this oft had conversation: "I'm hungry."
"Have an apple."
"I don't want an apple."
"You can't be very hungry then."

LOL, didn't we all get that response at some time in our childhood?

At what point in time did we stop waiting for supper (or any proper meal)? When did we make the shift away from three proper meals and a couple of tea/coffee breaks to just grabbing food whenever we felt like it?

I think in our case it might have been when I was about 9 with the instigation of packed lunches for school and my Mum going back to work. These two events meant that there was suddenly a stock of small bags of crisps and chocolate biscuits in the house to supplement the sandwich and fruit for packed lunches, and we were encouraged to take something for 'tea' to keep us going until supper - which changed from an early children's supper to one family supper later when Dad got home from work. Suddenly we were allowed to help ourselves and we did.

I tried to be more strict with DD and I got the following lecture from my 6yo: "But I'm hungry. You've got to let me eat something if I'm hungry. I didn't come here just to be hungry and not eat anything!"

I stood my ground but, as always, it ended with a fight. I won of course because I'm the grown up but I know why she fights it - because she's seen me eat whenever I'm hungry and not just at meal times.

So from now on this family is going back to 1970 when there were no ready made snacks in the house apart from fruit, meals were served at the table three time a day, and in between were a drink and a biscuit - just one. Well maybe two.

Does anyone practise meal hygiene these days? I'd be interested to hear how it works in your house.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Famous Photo

Last week, On Thursday evening, 4th December - DD's birthday, the dusk looked like this. I think everyone in Jerusalem and surrounding areas has these photos, I've seen at least 6 postings on fb. It was, in the real sense of the word, simply awesome.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Now We Are Six

Now I am Six

When I was one I had just begun,
When I was two I was nearly new,
When I was three I was almost me,
When I was four I was not much more,
When I was five I was just alive,
But now I am six I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six for ever and ever. 


The day started with two presents wrapped and sitting by the front door as if they'd come through the door somehow. I don't know why we do that as we don't even have a letter box, but that's what we do. Opened in my bed of course. One was from me and one from Grandma and Grandpa (although they don't know about it yet - I'm still waiting for my mother to get online so I can tell her what they bought and thank them). 

School and work followed as usual. I didn't dare suggest going out for tea after the fiasco on my birthday. So we came straight home to prepare for the party in school tomorrow. 

I don't get to stay for it but we have to take a cake with candles, some nasherai, paper plates and napkins, a present for the classroom (a book or game), a little gift for each child or prizes are optional (I found little tangram puzzles for 1.5nis each (25p)), and an activity for the teacher to do with the class. 

Until now, as far as I can gather, the activities have been either pass the parcel or musical statues. So I decided to make a pin the tail on the donkey. 

I'm not much of an artist but it's a donkey. And as it's all on plastic paper they don't actually pin with pins. I'm sending sellotape instead, and a blindfold of course. 

That's the end of my creativity. The cake started out as this:

But it ended up looking like this after DD decorated it herself:

That's a house and a butterfly btw. Obviously we will add the candles when we get to school tomorrow. 

So if I can drag DD away from her new tablet...

Before we turn out the lights and call it a [birth]day, I just want to say one word about tablets for children. If you are an only child with a single mum you need a tablet at least until you can read fluently. That's all. 

Happy Birthday DD 

Now you are six you're as clever as clever,
 I love you now and I'll love you forever. 

Your Mummy xoxoxo 
(with apologies to A.A.Milne)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


In May I wrote about suddenly being disqualified from M.A. status as a college tutor. You should read this first because I cannot bear to go over it all again, I'm far too traumatized. Here's the update.

I eventually heard back from all the institutions I contacted and gathered together a pile of emails saying I'd been awarded the B.Ed. (Council for National Academic Awards) and the M.A. (London University) but no one has transcripts of courses or grades from 1885 (although I could request they dig under the housing estate that is now my old college to see if we could find something) or even 1998 which were both in the pre-digital era.

I asked London University to write an official letter describing the course of study I completed and stamp it in red - because red is official innit. They sent it to my parents in London (for a 10 pound fee) who then gave it to their neighbours to bring to Israel when they came on holiday, thus saving the 15 pounds extra it costs for LU to send an official letter abroad.

My friend from the same course sent me a copy of her Ministry of  Education certificate showing that our M.A. has been accredited by them for the past 16 years. I copied my pay slips from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the college where I now teach to prove that - I don't know what it proves but I took them anyway. I filled in a five page questionnaire for each degree. I took my bound dissertation. I took my degree ceremony photograph with me posing in a robe and mortar board. I even took a published book that has my name in the acknowledgements as an expert with an M.A.

Off I went to the MoE with originals and copies of everything. I knew this would be the first of two visits as I didn't want to get anything notarized by a lawyer until I was sure I had everything. They accepted the B.Ed - even they couldn't see a way to get 30 year old grades from a housing estate. But the M.A. documents didn't satisfy them. I spoke to the boss, I waved my friend's certificate about and cried, "we sat next to each other in every lecture!" They weren't buying it.

Eventually, and I think it was because of my friend's certificate which they could see me using against them if they didn't find a solution for me (thanks Chana :~) ), they said if I got another official letter from LU explaining that they don't have transcripts and grades from 1998, they would accept my application. OK, I could do that.

It was June. I came home and put my head in the sand. Then we had a war and the summer holidays and I dug deeper into the sand. Then the new academic year started and I didn't start at the new college so I pulled my head out of the sand and wrote to LU. It took them a whole month to answer me, another two weeks for my parents in London to get the letter and another two weeks after that for the post office to deliver it to me in Jerusalem.

Today, 6 months later, I rushed to the MoE (the Israeli Government collapsed yesterday and the Ministry of Tourism is on Strike with no end announced so who knows what will go next) with everything in triplicate, the photo, the book, and my bound dissertation.

I saw the same lady I saw in June (not the boss lady) and went over everything again. She looked at all my certificates, papers, and copies. She even took a copy of Chana's certificate and wrote a note on it explaining why it was included. Then she told me I had everything except....

She was right, I'd never been to a lawyer to get notarized. The boss lady had said all I needed was the extra letter from LU. Therefore I thought the notarization wasn't necessary. Silly me. "Don't worry, you can do it now," said the nice lady. "Down the road is a law courts building. Go there and grab a lawyer, get him to stamp and sign this page and come back. Sometimes they make you pay sometimes they don't. You don't need to wait in line again, just bring it in to me."

Grab a lawyer? Grab a lawyer? Honey if I knew how to grab a lawyer I'd have done it 30 years ago and I'd now be out lunching with the other lawyers' wives. (I didn't say this.) However, she seemed to have seen this work before so I toddled down to the law courts and tried to grab a lawyer. It doesn't work like that of course. You can't just grab a lawyer. The guard on the gate told me to go to room 107.

There was a man behind a desk in room 107. The sign on the door said 'Secretary to Someone' but I asked him if he was a lawyer just to be polite.
"Do you need something notarized?" he asked. He was obviously used to this. "Go to room 100, pay 480 shekels (about 80 pounds) and bring me the receipt."
Me: "480 SHEKELS?!!!!"
Him: "No, not 480 shekels, 48 shekels."
I went, I paid, I brought back the receipt, Mr Secretary took out a stamp, he asked me if all the documents are true, I said 'yes', he stamped, he scribbled over the stamp (I think that activates it or something), and I left.

When I returned to the nice lady I told her about room 107 and the 48 shekels. She wrote it down to help others in the future. (Dear Karma, please note that I paid it forward.) She told me I should hear from them in about a month. I'm hoping that means I get accredited in a month but I'm trying not to think about it too much.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits 26: Almost Six

DD (trying on my sandals): Why don't you wear these anymore?
Me: Because it's too cold. I need to put them away for the winter.
DD: No, you mean you need to put them away for the summer!
(Now I'm not sure which one of us is right.)

DD (waking up in my bed with my radio-alarm on): Turn that music off, it's going right up my ears.

DD: It's a good thing the tooth fairy knows I like sticker books. How lucky!

DD: Do you know you can dance sitting down?
ME: Yes I think you can.
DD: Yes, it's for when you don't want to waste too much energy so you can dance sitting in your chair.
Me: Good to know. Thanks.
DD: You're welcome.

DD: Some of the songs in the films are my favourite.
Me (thinking of songs from Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music): Which songs are your favourite?
DD: Something from Shrek 2.
Me (thinking of Halleluia and I'm A Believer, etc.): Sing it to me.
DD: (wiggling her hips and arms in the air): I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt!
Me (!@#$%):