Friday, January 12, 2018

Report Card Friday - R2BC

Hahaha, it was 19 degrees C today and the forecast is hotter tomorrow.
I'm still praying for a snow day before the end of the winter though.
Here are my Reasons 2B Cheerful for this week. I'm on the linky at Mich's Mummy from the Heart where it's  being hosted for January.

Here in Israel we have two semesters instead of three terms. Report cards at the end of each semester of course. Mine have to be in by Sunday and I've written 29 out of 44. I'll do another 9 on Saturday evening after Shabbat and the final 6 on Sunday afternoon after school. I got an extension on those final 6 because one mother requested that I hold off writing the reports until her child had given in some homework and they are going to help him with it over the weekend. Luckily for me his class teacher agreed.

I could have got another few reports written this afternoon but I somehow lost one of the pages saved somewhere in my computer. Or not saved at all. Anyway, it disappeared with 8 reports written in English and translated into Hebrew. Ugh! It was very frustrating at the time but in those situations you just have to redo it straight away. By the time I'd finished it was already time to stop for Shabbat.

January Project - Paperwork
Writing my reports is part of the January Project so I'm doubly glad that they will be done by the end of Sunday.

Park Outing
I was able to get so much work done today because Deed was at school this morning and then after school her friend's dad took them both out for lunch and to play in some super duper park somewhere on the other side of Jerusalem (Park Mexico for those who know it). So that was an extra five hours of peace for me in which to work.

To top it all off, we are invited out for dinner tonight so I didn't even have to stop to cook.

Wishing everyone a great weekend,
lots of love from
Self Satisfied in Jerusalem.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Harry Potter Cluedo

My brother and his girlfriend gave Deed the game of Cluedo for her birthday. It's the same game as we played as kids but with a Harry Potter theme.

Gone are Captain Peacock and Miss Scarlet and instead we have the characters from Harry Potter. The players are the Gryffindor pupils, the suspects are various villains, and the crime is committed with either a magical object or a spell. Interestingly, he who must not be named is not named. Voldermort doesn't appear anywhere in the game. (Phew! I don't want that evil dastard [I said dastard] in my house.)

The board is divided into locations from the books such as Hogwarts, Gringotts, and Malfoy Manor. Other fun innovations include doors that can be blocked so that you are trapped in a location, Dark Arts cards that slow your progress but can be nullified by Help cards (spells, items or allied wizards), and floo powder counters that enable you to travel via the fireplaces in some of the locations - but only when they are lit.

Deed got the game on a Sunday afternoon at my sister's while we were in London. She was desperate to play and since you need three people (and we were going home to a two-person household), we roped my mum into a game that evening back at her place. We made the mistake of thinking the Dark Dark Arts curses applied to everyone every time (we didn't read them carefully enough) and so we forfeited all our floo powders before we had the chance to use most of them - which eliminated a lot of the fun and slowed down the game considerably. And we got preoccupied with collecting help cards instead of trying to solve the mystery.

My brother's girlfriend also wanted to play but she had a prior arrangement on the Sunday evening. So she decided that their date night on the following Tuesday would be to go and play Cluedo with Deed at my sister's where she would be staying the night while I went out with friends. (Who says romance is dead?) They played the whole game only to find out at the end that they had the wrong mystery cards in the envelope and so nobody actually dunnit. Deed admitted to me afterwards that it was her fault because she'd accidently picked from the location cards twice. They didn't start again as they'd already been playing for hours. Obviously as the game was unsolvable. Oh well, the game's the thing.

When we were starting to pack to come home, I insisted that my mum join us for one final game because I knew that the two of us would not be able to play unless we had a guest who understood English. This means that most of Deed's friends won't be playing it for another couple of years. This time we got to the end without incident. It takes a lot of practice to become a good wizard.

Today Deed's friend came round to play. She happens to be an English speaker so we of course grabbed the opportunity to play Cluedo. It was surprisingly easy to explain the game and we had fun.

Deed thinks this is one of the best presents she's ever had. I lie awake in bed trying to work out a way the two of us could play it together without a third.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The First R2BC Of 2018

This was England (not all of it) in the snow a month ago.
Of course January also brings us in Jerusalem the hope of a few snow days.
Snow days are when there's 1mm of snow, school is canceled and it melts by 9 am.
So that's actually another R2BC - 4!
Here we are back again for another year of Reasons 2B Cheerful. Just call me Pollyanna. The linky is back with Mich at Mummy from the Heart for January. I'm joining in as usual with my upbeat buddies.

New Year
Not that I'm flogging this New Year business like a dead horse but seriously, it's the New Year. That's a wonderful reason 2B cheerful in itself. Even if I didn't have anything to be cheerful about I'd be cheerful just because it's the New Year and I'm dreaming of all the opportunities it's going to present us with 2B cheerful over the next 12 months.

After a couple of years of writing 90 blog posts, last year I set myself the challenge of 120 blog posts or an average of 10 posts per month. I managed 130. It was also the year that I came down from beyond the 1,000 rank on TOTS100 and back to a more comfortable rank in the 500s. This was nothing to do with my blogging but only because they changed the calculation variables back to something similar to what they were last time I was in the top 500. I'm still tantalizingly close to being in the top 500 but not quite there, so that is my blogging goal for the coming year.

I know that's a strange R2BC but I'm not actually in pain. I have a bad cough and couldn't possibly teach. In fact I can't do anything except sit and suck Strepsils. The moment I speak or do anything physical I am hit by a coughing fit. So of course I had to stay home from school for two days. And whilst home, I made big headway on my freelance writing job. This has taken loads of pressure off and it contributes to my January project. Win-win-win-lose. (The lose is the school, my pupils, and the poor teachers who had to cover for me - sorry guys.)

Possibility Of Snow
See the photo caption above.

Minus 1
Somats Gotta Give
That's it for cheerful things. Unfortunately I'm missing a birthday party this evening that I really wanted to go to. And of course I won't get paid for the days I missed at school (except that I will get paid for the other work... except I was supposed to do both... except you have to pace yourself and you can't do everything... here endeth the first lesson of 2018.)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 Celebrations And Projects

Over the past few years people I know, especially bloggers and vloggers, have been looking to tackle the new year in a more effective or meaningful way than the old fashioned resolutions. I've seen intentions, goals, an inspirational word for the year, affirmations, and anti-resolutions, to name a few.

I'm not going to lie, I have New Year's Resolutions and some of them will stick and some won't. Some of them will appear again another year and some won't bother. However, I also needed a more structured way to tackle the year ahead. So for each month of 2018 I'm going to celebrate something and undertake a project.

January is the New Year for plans and preparations. I have school  reports to write for the end of the semester, an exam to give and then mark for my college students, I have a study full of age old photo-copies that it would be a shame to just chuck without making use of them, and other old records of taxes, pension plans, and national insurance that need scanning. I have also taken on a freelance writing job that is due to finish, including all the requested changes and edits, by the end of January. It would be nice to have next semester all planned and prepared too.

Thus the celebration for January is "Planning And Preparing" and the project is "Paperwork!" Tadah! I'll let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

About This New Year

From 'A Year of Amazingness' by Rachel Bright
Not only was it a new year yesterday, but it's an even numbered one! Odd numbers, even for birthdays, are less exciting. Odd numbers are almost like half years in my opinion. Often they turn out a bit crap, maybe because I don't expect much from them. Really I should start thinking in two-year cycles. I think this might work better for me. I'll consider it for next year. However, this year it's a nice round 2018 and I'm psyched.

Going to work on New Year's Day is as hard as having to work on Christmas Day but for different reasons. I love New Year. I'm full of hope and resolutions, etc. There is so much I want to do and achieve that it's frustrating to be spending the day at work when I just want to get started on being amazingly fabulous. I know there is a weekend coming but by Friday some of the magic has worn off already.

So I went to work yesterday, even though I was genuinely sick with a bad cough. If you read the post about what it's like trying to get a sick day organised you'll understand that it was easier to go in.

Our staff room is a warm friendly place  (as opposed to the rest of the school which is freezing cold). As I went in yesterday morning one of the other teachers held up a plate of cakes and offered me one. I was taken aback. "Cake for breakfast on the 1st of January? Are you kidding?" She laughed but seriously, what was she thinking? I was almost derailed before 9 am on the first day.

There's a very annoying notion in Israel that if you celebrate New Year's Day, you are worshiping Saint Sylvester. This was a very effective PR move by ultra-orthodox rabbis who were horrified that a. we might celebrate a day that is not connected to the Jewish calendar and b. we might have a party and enjoy ourselves by mixed dancing and, heaven forbid, give each other a kiss or a hug. Thus they made out that New Year's Day was somehow a Catholic holiday.

I seriously had to explain to even some of the teachers that there are a bunch of Saints for every day of the year so any celebration on any day could be called Saint worship. There is no connection between New Year's Day and any religious festival of any religion (except maybe Paganism?). In fact, in communist Russia when all religious practice was outlawed, the one day they were allowed to keep that was not a nationalistic holiday like May Day, was New Year's Day which they celebrated as passing the Winter Solstice and New Year.

The irony is that only Jews in Israel even know that December 31st is Saint Sylvester's Day (except for the Pope maybe or if you are a religious Catholic called Sylvester). Now I've got that off my chest, I'll move on to the rest of the day.

I arrived home after a full school day as usual, tired and in no mood to do any of the things on my list of resolutions. I spoke to a friend who said, "you have to pace yourself and this means with work as well." I'd already realized that working full time five days a week plus extra remote writing assignments, plus looking after Deeds and cleaning and cooking and other household business was too much if I wanted to do  anything for myself. As a teacher I'm locked into this schedule until the end of June. I'm always in awe of teachers who resign mid-way through the year but I'd feel too bad doing that.

Thus the new year didn't get off to a great start but I did go to bed early and I didn't feel like eating anything because of the bad cough. I gleefully ticked off the achievements of getting enough sleep and not overeating. And the scales were down a bit this morning. I don't know how I'm going to handle being healthy though.

I wish you a happy, healthy and successful year. May all  your dreams, hopes and ambitions come true. May we all be granted the gift of regrouping back here (or on facebook) in 12 months time with big smiles on our faces and queuing up for pats on back for a year well done.


Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Other [Embarrassing] Resolutions For 2018

Get a grip, Mum!
New Year, new resolutions. Ha, it's more like, New Year and the same resolutions I've made every year for the whole of my life. However, there are other resolutions that are not lofty enough to warrant being part of the Big Ten. They're sort of embarrassing as they reveal petty habits that don't show me at my best. Here are some of them...

1. Stop booking the cheapest flights on EasyJet in order to save thruppence (which then goes on the minicab because there is no public transport at that time of day). It's a false a economy that I am totally aware of so it's just stupidity that makes me keep doing it.

2. Stop eating Deed's leftovers. Throwing her leftovers down my throat is just as much a waste of food as throwing it in the bin and the consequences are far worse. I do not want to be fat more than I want to save half a plate of food, but I do it anyway. It has to stop.

3. And don't eat her crisps. These are not leftovers - I sometimes eat them before she even knows that I've bought them. Crisps are my weakness. Well chips and sandwiches are my weakness too but for those you have to put some effort into preparing them. Crisps are just there calling my name. Note to self: buy headphones so you can't hear the crisps calling your name.

4. While we're on the food issues theme, stop doing research about the best diet. You need to choose between Keto (high fat no carbs), Vegan (whole food, plant based, low fat), and Intermittent fasting (nothing for a set and regular period of time), and stick to it. You don't get healthy from watching the debates on You Tube.

5. For Deed, a yogurt, an apple, a packet of crisps and some chocolate is not supper. Even after a long day at work and an evening of more work ahead, a proper supper needs to be a priority. Maybe I'll add an egg and cut up a cucumber and a tomato. 

6. Talking of You Tube, no You Tube until you've done your homework. Yes even grown-ups have homework. That was a hard lesson to learn and I still struggle with it. Some of my homework is work for work and other homework is housework. However, I need to put what needs to get done in my life before watching what others are achieving in theirs. Why is it so much more satisfying to watch another family achieving their goals than it is to do something towards my own goals? This has to switch. Us first.

7. Ditch the snooze button. I can hit snooze 7 times - this is 63 minutes on my alarm clock. It would be better to just set the first alarm for an hour later and get the benefit of that time in uninterrupted sleep. But I don't because I have grand ideas about magic mornings. (Not the prescribed Magic Morning, but a version of it that suits me including doing a load of laundry and hanging it out before work.) Maybe I should position the alarm clock across the room?

That's it. All slovenly and slothful habits that need to be addressed this year. But as today is only December 30th 2017, I might go back to bed for a while... after I've watched that other family on You Tube building their own house and off-grid homesteading... "Deed! There are snacks in the kitchen, help yourself to some lunch. whatever you want."

Friday, December 29, 2017

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane Is Not Entertainment

A selfie at Tel Aviv Airport before we left. 
We have been suffering from Jet Lag since arriving home last week. This is totally unnecessary when only travelling through two  time zones but as usual, I messed up.

I get drawn into a personal challenge when booking EasyJet flights. I have to try to get the price down to the cheapest I can within our possible dates for travelling. We only take hand luggage. That may change next time as I'm fed up of having to leave stuff at my Mum's to bring home next time and that scary moment of will it? - won't it? fit into the checking frame. We don't choose our seats, or do speedy boarding, or pay to carry an extra purse onto the plane. And I cannot resist those early morning and late night flights that are tuppence hapenny cheaper.

It's a false economy because we arrive in Luton around midnight and have to leave Stanmore for the return journey at 4 am - both journeys requiring a minicab which swallows the full savings we made on the flights. And still I find myself doing it.

There are advantages to these anti-social flight times. For example, Deeds (that's DD, I nicknamed DD after almost seven years) sleeps on the plane, you get an almost full working day before you leave, and you arrive home in the afternoon with time to get yourself organised to go back to work the next day. The only horrible bit is getting up at 3 am to leave for the airport.

This time I decided to stay up and not have that awful having to drag myself out of bed. Whatever Happened To Baby Jane was on television at 10.30 and not finishing until 12.45. I remember seeing it about 40 years ago but couldn't remember any of the details - except that one sister was in a wheelchair and the other one hates her. Mum and I watched it while playing kalooki and trying to second guess what happened next. Mum only remembered the budgie, I thought I remembered the wheelchair being thrown down the stairs or someone falling down them, but I was wrong.

Through the mirrored ceiling at Luton Airport.
I have a red bag at my feet and I'm looking up.
(Or don't bother trying to find me and just read on.)
OMG. What a depressing film. It's hard enough having to leave all the festivities of Christmas and travel back to Nochristmasland on Christmas Eve. And staying up all night has not had any magic attached to it since I was 21. By the time the film ended I was thoroughly miserable. (I admit that there was a good little twist in the tale/tail.) We had to have another match of kalooki while watching Escape to the Country in order to cheer ourselves up.

We slept on the plane. Landed in Tel Aviv at 14.30. Arrived home in Jerusalem at 17.00. (We took a shared mini-bus taxi and had to go round the whole city while eight other passengers were dropped off before us. It costs 25GBP whereas a private taxi costs 70GBP, which is why we do it.) And then we were home and not at all tired. So we went to bed late and couldn't get up in the morning.

This has continued all week because Deeds keeps falling asleep on the sofa around 5 pm and waking up at 7.30. I have been catching up on work that I didn't do while away so I've also been going to bed extremely late. In a spectacular finale, we both fell asleep at 3.30pm this afternoon and woke up at 8. We're screwed. Tomorrow night we're getting into bed at 8 whether we're tired or not, and no napping during the day!