Sunday, December 25, 2016

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like.....

Candles are nearly spent because Rubbish Photographer remembered too late.
Today was the second candle lighting of Hanukkah (don't be confused by the third candle in the middle - that's the taper), And of course it was Christmas Day.

DD was sick last night so she didn't go to school and I was supposed to go to a wedding tonight but I didn't want to leave her so I didn't go to the wedding. My Mum is visiting from London and the three of us hunkered down doing our traditional thing.

I have to say that it was nice not having to go to work on Christmas Day. It's not that we celebrate Christmas, but you know, it's Christmas.

Being two women and a sick child we didn't need a big Christmas dinner. Instead we had a bagel and cream cheese brunch - lest we forget that actually we're Jewish.

After brunch we played Kalooki. Up to 150 points and you can come in once for the highest score. (Those of you who understand what that means will understand. Others won't. It is what it is.) We had to teach DD how to play of course. I told her that she's eight years old and it's about time she knew how to play Kalooki. I may have mentioned something about if she wants to stay in this family....

In the first game she slaughtered us. I'd like to say we let her win to draw her in to the magical web of Kalooki, but actually she just slaughtered us. We don't do, 'let the children win.' It's every man for himself when it comes to cards in our house.

At 5pm (our time) we watched the Queen's speech on Sky News Live. (Although we all know it's not actually live but pre-recorded about a week ago.) I stood for God Save The Queen but the others wouldn't. Mum and I both sang though. DD just looked bemused.

Then we lit the Hanukkah candles, sang some more, and DD had more presents to open. My mother came with rather a lot of presents from herself, cousins, aunts and uncles. We're rationing them. It's an eight-day festival dontcha know.

Then, with a light supper on our knees, we watched Saving Mr Banks on DVD. (Apparently the same film was shown on the BBC tonight too.)

No snow but you can't have everything. It was a lovely Hanumas Chrisukkah Day.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Hanukkah And Merry Christmas From Jerusalem

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah as well as being Christmas Eve. We went to a Christmas concert in The Old City as DD's friend and her mother were singing. It was beautiful and warm and uplifting.

Afterwards we went for a walk around the Jaffa Gate. We saw Christmas Carolers and close by, a sound and light show on the city walls played Hanukkah music and a bit of Jingle Bells for good will.

Here are some photos from The Rubbish Photographer with the cheap smart-phone a.k.a Me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter Is Coming

Retrophoto from before the creation of  Chain of Moans or whatever it's called
Winter is coming.

Today we had a big storm. No thunder or lightning but strong winds and heavy rain and hail. I was caught in one of those hailstorms that actually hurt. It's like being struck with millions of tiny pellets. The ground turned white for a moment before the hail stopped.

Winter is coming.

Last night there was an almighty crash at 12.36 am. My full length mirror had fallen off the wall and shattered all over the floor. The mirror was given to me by a cousin who left Jerusalem over 20 years ago to return to England. There she got married and has two teenage daughters in school. However, if you were thinking of coming back to Israel, Lucy, you''ll have to buy a new mirror as your old one broke.

Winter is coming.

We have given up pretending that DD sometimes sleeps in her own bedroom in her own bed. She's firmly in the other half of my bed for the duration (nights only). This means we only have to heat one bedroom unless she's playing in hers during the day. It's cosy and she's miles better than a hot water bottle.

Winter is coming.

Having got to the end of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and with two weeks until Grandma gets here with book #7, we are filling in with The Little Princess. Last night we got to the part when her father dies and she is left a penniless orphan with no family at all. We were both sobbing. I could hardly get the words out. DD stammered through her tears, "why did they put this in a book? It's not fun! It's no fun at all!" I woke up with my eyes all swollen and red.

Winter is coming.

I made a big pot of onion, carrot, tomato and lentil soup on Friday. It's the sort of thick pottage that makes you think of selling your birthright (or tricking your brother out of his). I've been drinking a mugful of it with croutons each night. Tonight I had two mugs of soup.

Winter is coming.

I dedicate this blog post to 13 yer old Felicity Wilcox who was threatened with a lawsuit for using the phrase "Winter is coming" in a piece of artwork. Apparently HBO thinks it owns the words and phrases of the English language that it uses in its TV dramas. Well here's news for you HBO, winter has been coming for centuries. Eons before you even had the means to broadcast it to the masses, the masses already owned the phrase "winter is coming." Oh and by the way,......

Winter is coming (in case I forgot to mention it).

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Kettle Sings And Other R2BC

Here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful this week....

DD Is Eight!
We celebrated DD's birthday. Eight. In many ways unbelievable how the time has gone. I was going to write that it's flown but it hasn't flown - I feel like she's been here forever, it's just gone. And whilst no more baby in the house is a bit sad, it's also wonderful that we can do more interesting things together (more interesting for me that is), we're more mobile, and we're better company. I can only see these advantages increasing over the years. I can always find a baby to cuddle and then give back if I feel the urge.

The Kettle Sings
My electric kettle broke. I accidently put it on for two seconds without any water in it and it fused the whole house. The electricity was fixed with the flick of a switch of course, but only if the offending kettle was unplugged.

I dug around at the back of the corner cupboard in the kitchen and found my old kettle from way back when. It actually sings when the water is boiling. I came over all nostalgic. There was something comforting, in a Mrs Bridges sort of way, about putting the kettle onto the stove over the flame. (I wonder if I'd have felt the same if I had an electric hob?).

Anyway, as lovely and cosy as it is using the old-fashioned kettle, it doesn't half take ages to come to the boil. Tomorrow I'm going to buy a new electric kettle and come back to the future where I live.

A General Contentment
I'm sitting here trying to think of a third R2BC because two isn't enough for a R2BC post. Not that there are any rules, but it just doesn't look right to stop at two. I can't think of anything specific except to say that there is an aura for calm and contentedness about me and my home that I've not felt for a long time.

Without getting too spiritual about it, there are times when you feel like life is a struggle and times when things seem to fall into place and feel right. I'm in a falling into place and feeling right phase. I've no idea what I've done to get here. I don't know what shifted and changed everything - although nothing has actually changed except inside my head.

Confused? Yes, me too but I'll have another week like this please.

As always, I'm linking up with R2BC which is on Lakes Single Mum this week, hosted by the lovely Becky.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rain And Other Reasons 2B Cheerful

It's Raining!
I know I announced the first rain a couple of weeks ago but that was one short storm and then it stopped. Since then we've had major uncontrollable fires all over Israel resulting in over 1,000 homes being destroyed or damaged. A big part of the problem was that everything was still so dry from the summer.

Today the heavens really opened. I hope the trees and the land got as soaked as I did on the way home this afternoon.

There's nothing like a raging storm outside when you're safe and warm inside and no reason to leave the house until tomorrow. Lovely.

Problems Solved
I had some problems at work which were making me seriously consider how much notice a teacher needs to give in order to leave a teaching post in the middle of the year.

This week they sorted out the glitch in my contract that meant I was being paid for 8 hours a month less than I was actually teaching. Entering the third month of this, it was adding up to quite a sum of unpaid work.

And the problematic class that was making me miserable has been re-distributed and disciplined which makes life a whole lot  easier. It turns out that the behaviour problems weren't only in my classes but across the board. Phew.

Today I breezed through the school day and it was all rather calm and pleasant.

Good Photos
My friend took some photos of last week's gleaning which were much better than mine so I'm including them here. It's a good job her birthday wasn't one week later or  we'd have had to cancel. (Or go in the rain, but nobody does anything in the rain here.)

Happy Birthday!
It's DD's birthday on Sunday. Eight already. Nothing baby about an eight year old. I find this exciting and also a little sad. However, she's still young enough that she's always up for a cuddle and still says cute things.

As usual I'm linking up with R2BC which has returned to Becky on Lakes Single Mum, for the month of December.