Thursday, February 28, 2019

R2BC - So Long Wet Winter

Ready for Spring (photo by Sarit)
I really wanted to write this Reasons 2B Cheerful post tonight so that it gets in under February's posts, so that's why I'm on time this week. The Linky is at Mich's Mummy from the Heart for the last time before moving for March.

The Power of Whatsapp
Yesterday I was walkng to the bus stop when I met my downstairs neighbour on the corner waiting for her ride to work. We were chatting when we saw a car try to turn the corner on the wrong side of the road and hit another car. No one was hurt and both drivers got out and started taking pictures. My neighbour's ride came and I went on to catch my bus.

Later I got this Whatsapp message: "This morning I was involved in an accident on the corner of x and y streets. Two mothers from the school (actually my neighbour isn't but I am) saw it. Please pass this message on if you have kids in other classes so that I can find and talk to them." And there was a phone number.

I called. She is a First Grade mother but the power of Whatsapp sent the message to almost every class in the school. She told me that the guy in the other car is saying that it was her fault. I wrote down what I saw and whatsapped it to her. She was very grateful and said that they probably won't need a witness but the insurance company might call me to verify.

Away Away
In the famous words of Meryl Streep in Mama Mia, it's not just away, it's away away. Yedidya Bazaar was earlier this week. I took along five shopping trolleys worth of stuff that I'd decluttered last summer but not yet moved out of the apartment. I'm still trying to decide how to best use the freed up space in the spudy wardrobe.

Stormy Weather
We just had the most almighty storm in Israel. The streets turned to rivers, the lights went out at school (although strangely all other electricity was fine), it hailed tennis balls of ice, the ground is saturated. It was amazing! Obviously it was amazing because it only lasted two days. I get it that this sort of weather that can go on for weeks in the UK and other northern climes, is not amazing, just depressing. But for us, it was amazing. Now it has almost passed. Almost but not quite.

This winter has marked the end of a five year drought. That doesn't mean no rain for five years but very little, and not enough. And more rain expected next week, although not as big a storm as we just had.

Marching On
Tomorrow is March. So long winter. You were a wet one this year and we're ready to say thank you and good bye.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Shop, Colour, Catch Up - R2BC

Here are my reasons 2B Cheerful for this week. The laid-back linky is on Michelle's Mummy from the Heart for the month of February, with more R2BC posts from around the world. 

A Morning In Town
On Tuesday morning I was free so DD missed school to go and get her passport renewed. That took an hour and then we went shopping. New shoes and a top for me and we both came away with new leather-look covers for our previously naked phones. We feel very sophisticated. Then we went out for coffee. DD had three scoops of ice-cream with whipped cream and sprinkles. I had some aubergine pate and toast. We also tracked down a tapestry pattern for my cousin in London. This involved lots of photos and chatting via Whatsapp so she got exactly what she wanted. Then we came home. DD has half day on Tuesdays and a friend came over after school for lunch, which I provided before going off to teach my afternoon classes. A thoroughly satisfactory morning.

With some help from two 6th Grade girls, I spent my breaks at work this week colouring little posters for the English library. I got all enthusiastic to spruce it up and organise as I'd ordered 40 new books which arrived this week. Next week I'll be covering them all in protective sticky-back plastic. I find this quite a relaxing job and it keeps me away from the biscuits in the staff room.

Dinner For Two
A friend from NYC was in town and I invited her for Friday night dinner. She arrived at about 7 pm. DD said hello and then decided to go and lie down for a bit because her eyes hurt. She didn't make the connection with having been up since 3.30 in the morning to watch the space launch. I did and wasn't surprised that she fell asleep and was out for the night. Which meant that my friend and I had a lovely catching up session over a leisurely dinner.

Friday, February 22, 2019

To The Moon And Back

This morning Israel (and Nasa) launched the first Israeli Moon Lander. This is huge. Only three other countries in the world have ever landed on the moon.

Russia landed the first unmanned rocket on 13th September 1959. America was first to put a man on the moon on 20th July 1969. And China landed an unmanned something in 2013. We are the fourth country in the world to go to the moon!

I'm writing this at 4.10 am. No this is not part of my get up early regime. This was a special early rise to watch the space launch. Although it wasn't actually planned. I mean the space launch was planned obviously, but as we went to bed last night I said to DD, "do we really want to get up at 3.30 to watch the launch?"
"Nah," she replied, "we'll watch it in the morning."

Then I woke up with a headache so seeing as I was awake anyway I woke DD and she came to watch the live streaming with me. We listened to the commentary in English from America. There were flashes and flares, the rocket went up, every so often the people on the ground at Nasa clapped enthusiastically.
DD said, "We don't understand any of this, I'm going back to bed."

Then the first stage rocket was ejected, then it made re-entry into the Earth's orbit, and finally it landed safely. More clapping from Nasa, I joined in. I wan't entirely caught up in the excitement yet but it would have been rude not to clap.

They announced a short break. Oh good, time for coffee. I made coffee and found the live streaming on the big smart tv screen, ready to watch the moon landing, or at least see more of the journey. My channel was still on a break but they showed how you could get an app on your phone to see pictures of the Earth from space. I won't bother - Design Home is taking up far too much phone memory already.

I texted a friend who I knew was also up watching. "What time is the actual moon landing?"
"Some time in April."
"You're kidding. I just made coffee."

So now I'm up and awake. It's going to be a long long day.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Smug And Friendly R2BC

The last of the clutter heading to the Yedidya Bazaar
This week's reasons 2B cheerful are about a lovely weekend. Social as well as productive. The linky to more R2BC posts is on Michelle's Mummy from the Heart.

On Friday morning I was up early(ish) and well into my work (writing the answer key for the exam my students sat on Tuesday) when a friend whom I've not seen for ages, called. She is a very good friend who moved away a couple of years ago and we sort of lost touch. However, she was in Jerusalem for the morning and asked if she could pop in for coffee. This is the best suggestion as I didn't have to get ready to go out and I didn't have to waste time actually going out.

She gave me half an hour to jump in the shower and then do a quick tidy-round of the apartment. No time to clean but at least it was tidy and the sink was free of dirty dishes. It's amazing what you can achieve in 20 minutes of frenzied panic when you know a guest is coming.

We had a lovely chat and catch-up over coffee and then she said she was driving down to my preferred supermarket. I should always go to this supermarket as it's much cheaper than the smaller one around the corner. But I don't always have time for the 15 minute walk each way or I don't have the energy so I pop around the corner and spend way more money on food. (New week's resolution is to go to the bigger supermarket every week now that the worst of the winter is over.)

So I grabbed the opportunity and took the ride down to the big super. I bought all sorts of fresh fruit and vegetables, and some other staples. I was quite shocked at how little it all came to compared to what I've been paying recently. (New week's resolution is to absolutely and no excuses, go to the bigger supermarket every week now that the worst of the winter is over.)

I came home and graded all my exams. Whilst I was grading, another friend whatsapped some photos from their (she and her son) two day trip to Mt. Hermon to play in the snow. They were on their way back to Jerusalem and would get in just before Shabbat. I had to ask, especially as I had a kitchen full of food: "do you have dinner planned or would you like to come to us?" I was sure she'd say no as she had an invitation to someone else, or they were so tired they just wanted to eat a sandwich and go to bed. She accepted immediately. 😊

This was good as it made me cook. And, with an already tidy house, the necessary cleaning wasn't too much of a chore.

We had  relaxed dinner. She brought goody bags for the kids' desert and they took them off to play while we chatted over green tea. It was all very laid back and I was left with a fridge full of cooked food for today and tomorrow in a clean and tidy house.

This afternoon I got out all the decluttered things from last summer that had only got as far as the cupboard in the spudy. The Yedidya Bazaar is next week so this week they'll all be taken to the venue which is a synagogue hall five minutes walk from my home.

As soon as Shabbat went out at sundown, I planned my lessons for tomorrow, wrote some emails, and blogged. And after reading some other blogs, I shall watch something on Netflix whilst sewing up two pairs of DD's leggings.

It's been one of those weekends when everything got done as well as being sufficiently social to make me feel thoroughly smug and blessed with friends.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Eat, Read, Watch The Sunset - R2BC

DD's photo of Sunset over Jerusalem
This week the happy go lucky linky is back with Michelle on Mummy from the Heart. And here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful. Sunsets, books and food. What's not to be cheerful about?

DD took this photo on her phone and I shared it on facebook. It was a spectacular sunset over Israel that night and lots of people were sharing their snaps of it. I thought DD's was particularly good and apparently lots of people agreed as it got 71 likes. (One of the likes was me. I admit I liked my own post.) DD was so excited and kept asking me to check her score.

English Library
We have quite an extensive English library at our school of which I am in charge this year. Most of the books are donated and I would say that about half of them are not suitable for English language learners from 4th to 6th grade. They were donated by English speaking families and are great for native English speakers, but not so much for learners. 

We asked each child to pay 10 shekels to "join" the library for the year and so I ended up with over 1,000 nis to spend on new reading books. I went online and had the time of my life choosing a balance of girl/boy/both interest, beginners to intermediate levels (mostly "I Can Read" books, levels 1 to 3), interest appropriate for 9 to 12 year olds, and some interesting non-fiction (biographies and history, e.g. Amelia Earhart and Titanic).

They've not arrived yet but I've got my sticky-backed plastic ready for hours of covering.

Val d'Isere
Not the skiing resort, the breakfast. I went out for breakfast to celebrate a friend's birthday on Friday morning and chose the Val d'Isere from the breakfast menu. It was toast spread with pesto, slices of camembert over the pesto, and topped with a poached egg. On the side was a salad of baby beet leaves and almond slivers with a vinaigrette dressing. It was delicious.

So if I disappear off to Val d'Isere for a week next winter. Know that I'm going for the breakfast (pre ski?) rather than the skiing.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

R2BC for February

Reasons 2B Cheerful from a sunny Jerusalem in February. I'm joining the cheerful linky on Becky's Lakes Single Mum.

Lark - Trial Run
I wrote that I'd be starting the early mornings on Sunday (tomorrow) - the first working day of February. But on Wednesday I had a trial run. I got up at 5.30. I didn't do any work work as I'd planned, but rather I spent 1.5 hours pottering. The other half hour was getting dressed.

I cannot tell you how much that pottering affected my whole day. I did the dishes in the sink and folded the clean laundry whilst also doing two more loads of laundry and then hanging it out. I tidied, I paid all the outstanding bills that were due, I filed papers, and I found the documents I needed to take to the tax office - a job that has to be done in January and that I've been putting off.

I gave DD a pile of clothes to wear instead of shouting out to her to find something in her cupboard. I made her lunch. We were both much calmer than usual without any of the usual pressure and stress to get out on time. I caught the earlier bus and, helped by the fact that the sun was shining and the sky was a clear blue, I sat on the bus thinking how happy I was (pht pht pht).

And the effect rolled over to Thursday when I got up at 6 but still felt empowered by Wednesday's early start. I didn't achieve much on Wednesday morning but just being up early gave me such a feeling of control that I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow morning. (And I intend to do things like dishes, folding laundry and tidying up before I go to bed tonight.) This is unheard of, no one looks forward to Sunday mornings in February. (Remember we start the working week on Sunday.)

Tax Office
I did my homework and went on a day that they are actually open. There are two visits one has to make at the beginning of the year if you work in more than one place. The first, in January, to get your tax positions for the coming year, i.e. how much tax each employer has to deduct. The second is in March when you apply for any tax returns from the year before. You can, of course, do all this online, but I like to go and get the papers in my hand immediately. And the tax office is only one bus ride from my house. I was in and out in 20 minutes. Wednesday was a very good day.

In more northern climes, February is usually miserable. You've had enough of the cold, gray winter, Christmas is long passed and snow has well and truly lost its magic. But it lingers for up to another month. February in England used to be the Monday morning of the year.

Here February is a weird time. It could be the beginning of spring. We're having plenty of warm days atm, with blue skies. The almond blossom is out. It feels all hopeful and light. Otoh, February could surprise us with another bout of winter, and even snow in Jerusalem. We didn't get any snow that stuck this year and a snow day would be most welcome, seeing as we get no half-term or spring break holiday from school. So either way it'll be good.

We bought strawberries for the first time this season. They've been out for a while but you have to wait until the price comes down to something reasonable. Delicious.

Report Card
DD got her report card for the end of the first semester and it's fine. I have to sign it and send it back but before it goes back, there's a section that DD has to fill in about what she's proud of and what she wants to work harder at next semester. She's proud of her progress in Hebrew, that she got top marks for Bible Studies and Computer Studies, and that the sports teacher noticed how much fitter she is this year (thanks to gymnastics twice a week).

She wants to work harder in Maths because although she progressed, she feels the teacher underestimates her and she should have got the top grade. And she'll put that she wants to work harder in Geography because I want her to. Especially as she lost ground because I didn't realize the urgency of buying her an atlas. We scraped through science but we're not that bothered. I'm not scientific so it'll be up to some future science teacher to inspire her in that subject if it's going to happen. And finally, English and Art - top grades. All in all, just fine.

Yedidya Bazaar
We have the dates for this Year's Yedidya Bazaar. 24th and 25th of February. And we can start dropping things off a week before on the 17th Feb. That's really near. I'm so excited to clear almost a whole cupboard of things I decluttered last summer (as part of the 1000 Clutters Challenge) - but only as far as the spare room wardrobe.