December 2013


In 2013, I blogged about

  • memoir writing, from which I learned a lot
  • my three trips abroad
  • writing courses
  • various aspects of living in Jerusalem
  • a couple of books in review
  • social anxiety
  • snow

and more.

And I tried various challenges:

  • 100k in 100 days
  • A-Z challenge
  • 100 word challenge
  • NaNoWroMo

WordPress sent me my stats for 2013:

  • I posted 91 posts. This must be number 92.
  • My visitors came from 79 countries.
  • My 5 most active commenters were:

2013Commenters

Thank you, Angela, Jean, Rachael, Rosalind and catdownunder and all the other commenters and visitors. Without you I wouldn’t be here.

And so, as 2013 draws to a close, I have to make a decision: will I attempt the 100k words in 100 days challenge again, starting tomorrow? If I do, I’ll have to come up with more ideas of what to write. Hmm….

What I’m sure about is that I will continue blogging in 2014 as long as I still have visitors.

Happy New Year

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…when someone wishes me merry Christmas or happy holidays or season’s greetings. I’m just amused.

Because, while we have plenty of holidays here, only the Christians celebrate Christmas, and not all of those celebrate it on 25th December. The Greek Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7th according to our calendar, the Armenian Church on January 19th.

When I lived in England, the day was special for us because it was a day off for most people. We used to spend it with my uncle and aunt and cousins in their house, and we always enjoyed it.

But here in Israel it’s a non-holiday for us, a normal day. If I went to the Old City, I expect I’d see signs of celebration in the Christian Quarter, but elsewhere there are no signs at all. What amuses me is the assumption by some people that the whole world celebrates Christmas in some way. So if I send greetings, I usually get the same back.

People who think about it a bit more might say, “Happy Chanuka.” Most years that would be suitable, but Chanuka came early this year.

Only one person replied in the same way as I usually do when people wish me a happy whatever: “Thank you.”

Today I went into town to get a new battery for my watch and do some shopping at the market. I took some photographs to show how normal everything was. Well, almost.

The train was crowded, as usual.

Light railway train into town

Light railway train into town

More so on the way back when it would have been hard to take out my camera.

All the shops were open, including the watch shop that I needed.

Ben Hillel Street

Ben Hillel Street

Ben Yehuda Street looked as usual,

Ben Yehuda Street

Ben Yehuda Street

except for the piles of snow, still there eleven days after the last snowfall.

Pile of snow

Pile of snow

All over the Machane Yehuda market, it was business as usual,

Machane Yehuda market

Machane Yehuda market

including my favourite sweet shop.

Sweet shop

Sweet shop

Back at the end of the light rail line, a bus weaved between

.

Har Herzl light railway station

the mounds of snow.

Har Herzl light railway station

Har Herzl light railway station

And I carried my shopping home.

No, I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas. We’ve had quite enough snow for this year, thank you. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if I never saw another snowstorm like the one we had last week, beautiful as it was.

But as we did have a snowstorm so close to that holiday that’s somehow connected with it, I thought I’d post some links to posts about one or the other.

I also saw pictures on Facebook of a snow bride, a snowman wearing a skullcap by the Western Wall and a snow toilet and basin.

It’s a good thing Chanuka was early this year and over well before the storm began.

Snow at night

To all those of you who are celebrating Christmas, I hope it turns out exactly as you want it to and you have a lovely time.

Thursday was fun. We ventured out into our snow-covered garden. I took photos, saw lots of other photos on Facebook, read comments about the snow and blogged about it. In the afternoon we received a phone call from the supermarket. They wouldn’t be able to deliver our order the next day. We looked to see what food we had. OK, we could manage.

On Friday we woke up to more snow and no electricity. Not so nice. We had no heating, no hot water and no Internet. And batteries that wouldn’t last for long.

On Saturday the snow was thicker. Thicker than I’ve ever seen it anywhere. And the electricity only came back in the evening after being off for 40.5 hours.

But it could have been worse.

  • We were able to cook on gas rings. When we moved here we considered using electricity because it would have been easier. But we decided we prefer cooking on gas. Just as well!
  • We also turned on the gas to heat up the kitchen.
  • We had enough food to keep going.
  • If they’d delivered the food we ordered, it would have gone off.
  • There were four of us at home. I wouldn’t have liked to be alone in that situation.
  • We saw a lot more of each other than usual.

It’s good to look at the silver lining.

Updated with photos: same place, different days.

StatuesInSnow

 

 

 

 

 

StatuesInMoreSnow

The excitement in these parts knows no bounds. Pictures are all over Facebook. Schools are closed. Workplaces, too. News broadcasts are almost entirely about this.

“What happened?” you might ask.

“It’s snowing.”

“So what?”

“So what! This is Jerusalem. The whole city has closed down. People come from all over the country to see the city covered in white – if they can manage to get here. And you say, so what!”

Besides, how many people can say they’ve seen oranges growing in snow?

Oranges in snow

OrangesInSnow1

One morning during November, I took time out from writing my NaNo novel and went to check out a different dancing group – not the one I usually go to.

I had my doubts about it from the start because it was advertised as a group for over sixties and I wasn’t sure I wanted that segregation. It was much more serious than my usual group. They concentrated on one dance and discussed each step, telling us exactly how it should be performed – back straight, face the front and so on.

I understood that the result would be pleasant to watch because all the dancers would be doing exactly the same, but wasn’t sure I wanted to put in that amount of effort. I go dancing to have fun.

Dancing

We had to hold hands. In my usual group we’re sometimes told to hold hands. I generally don’t and I’m not the only one. When I don’t yet know a dance properly I’m afraid of making a mistake when holding hands and bumping into my neighbour. When I know the dance and my neighbour doesn’t, I don’t enjoy being bumped into. In this group we had no choice.

But the thing that bothered me the most was when one of the instructors (there were two for this small group) discussed a step called: step step jump. She said they don’t actually lift the foot off the ground at the jump. She said at our age we shouldn’t be jumping – that it’s bad for us.

That was when I decided I definitely wouldn’t be returning to that group. I enjoy dancing because I like to jump around and have fun. How can that be bad for me?

While America is gorging itself for Thanksgiving and the rest of the world is busy stocking up on Christmas presents, we’re celebrating Chanukah. And doing a bit of gorging ourselves.

The photo I posted last year came out so well, I had to post it again.

Chanuka2012Miriam

Along with my favourite of all the Chanukah songs, although I didn’t find a version I really liked.