Jobs and fangirling…

Good news first: I finally found a job! Due to budget cuts my last job ended at the end of last summer. I have been doing little bits of freelance stuff for my former employer here and there since, but nothing close to what could constitute a real and steady job. I’ve sent many applications and have had quite a few job interviews and finally that has paid off! I had a second interview at an organization I really liked yesterday for a job that will be challenging but I think also fun. They were going to let me know on Thursday but an hour after I left the office I was called and already offered the job! Next week I go in for a 3rd interview to discuss actual salary, working hours, etc. but that shouldn’t be a problem… I still have a few freelance things lined up from my former employer so I hope to start in my actual new job by mid March. Eeek! 🙂

The good thing about being out of work for a while is that I have had more time than ever to fangirl. Hence the time I had to binge-watch 5 seasons of Syfy Channel’s Haven with my new crush Lucas Bryant. Hence the time to make video clips and, yes, today even finish an actual Haven fan video (with plenty of touching and kissing in it, because the only touch Nathan can feel is Audrey’s)…

Laid back life will be over soon… I’ll be back to working 30-32 hours (which I haven’t done in a long time, my former job was 24 hours a week), I’ll continue teaching Dutch 2 hours a week to my Polish and Italian students, I might be doing some more occasional freelance stuff for my former employer, not to mention carving out time for family! I have a fear my fangirling will start to suffer somewhat… Sad in a way (because I really love fangirling!), but I do admit to being happy that I will finally have a steady work-purpose again soon! Not to mention the fact that the extra income will be very welcome again… Yes, times they are a-changing…

Won’t you be my Valentine, Richard?

Guylty has set a Valentine’s Day Richard Armitage challenge, it even has it’s own hashtag (#CelebRAteLove), and I just had to heed the call. Even though I am not really big on the V-day holiday – I prefer to love my loved ones all year round – I do like a very occasional blogging challenge. So, here goes…

The first thing that came to mind when I thought of Valentine’s Day and Richard Armitage was this video that I really love, made 5 years ago by Bccmee …

When I look at this video, it makes me feel happy and makes me appreciate yet again that I do still really love Richard Armitage.  It’s been pretty much 11 years since I first saw him in North & South and I was hooked…

Even now, 11 years later, I still love this and my heart still totally soars and melts at the train station scenes..

Valentine’s Day and Richard also makes me think of the Love Poems that were read by him and released on Valentine’s Day 2 years ago. I first thought I’d use the ‘How Do I Love Thee’ poem as a thread throughout this post as I really love that poem and really like hearing it in Richard’s voice…

For this challenge I was going to use each line of the poem, transfer the meaning to Richard and then write about that. However, when I listen to the words of the poem, I find that they become meaningful to me in relation to my husband and have nothing to do with Richard anymore! The depth of love in that poem and even the domesticity of it (I love thee to the level of everyday’s most quiet need, by sun and candle-light) pretty much exactly describes how I feel about my husband. It is so heartwarming that something my favourite actor has done puts into words so perfectly what I feel for my favourite man! It also puts into perspective for me how I love both my husband and Richard but how I love each of them in very different ways. My favourite man once took a picture of me with my favourite actor…

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… and I feel blessed that I can share this Richard-thing with him! I have a very special husband who, with a twinkle in the eye, supports me in all of my fangirling. He even reads all my blog posts and sometimes lovely talks spring from that (we had a very nice Lucas Bryant conversation after dinner on Sunday night, for instance). There are very many forms of loving and I find that loving both my husband and Richard goes together well. One is a real, all-encompassing and tangible love, the other is a love from afar and is also a gateway to worlds other than my own.

This post is supposed to be about Richard Armitage and not my husband. So, instead of using the ‘How Do I Love Thee’ poem literally as a thread as I had first intended to, let me instead use it as an inspiration. I don’t love Richard in the same way as in that poem but let me examine how I do love thee, Richard… I can’t really love thee as a brother or a lover or a friend because I don’t know thee personally. I only know the glimpses we are allowed into thine heart and soul through work and interviews and appearances and tweets.

So, how do I love Richard? Let me count the ways:

  • I find that there is a soulfulness in Richard’s work that reaches out to me and makes me feel connected to the stories and the characters he portrays (even though there are many characters I don’t necessarily like).
  • I find that he is a pleasure to look at. Granted, tall dark handsome really is my type, but something makes him stick out for me, even more than say Pierce Brosnan or Hugh Jackman or latest squeeze Lucas Bryant (yes, even with my current level of obsession with Lucas) or even Colin Firth… I blame the intensity in his eyes and the expression on his face that exudes something… extra… hidden depths, maybe…an intelligence… a strength of feelings…
  • I find that his deep warm hot chocolate voice strikes a real chord with me, combine that with the accent and yes, I am done for. My phone ringtone is Richard singing “Far over the misty mountains cold…”, for obvious reasons.
  • I find that I feel connected through things I find important that seem to be important to Richard as well. For instance, people seem important to him and he feels like a humanitarian to me, he seems to be leaning in the same political direction as I am, he likes chocolate and red wine like I do and need I mention yet again my glee at him liking Muse? Love is about feeling connected and I feel connected with him on many fronts.
  • I find that, just like with people in my real life, I can love him and still be frustrated with him sometimes.
  • I find that, just like with people in my real life, he can like things I don’t like (skiing, for instance) and I can still love him.
  • I find that he has been ‘with me’ for so long that intensity of feeling sometimes ebbs a bit because there is no way that intensity can always burn that bright. Yet he is always there in an undercurrent of my consciousness and every scrap of news about him always pulls me right back in again.
  • I find that I can use the image I have of him or of characters he has portrayed and become creative with them in the occasional writing I still try to do now and again.
  • I find that he attracts some very lovely fans to interact with, which in recent years has also deepened the fan experience for me (this challenge is one such example).

In the end, I find I can love Richard in all sorts of ways and to a certain degree he almost becomes real to me: as a lover in a story I may write, or as a brother when I think he could use a little guidance, or as a friend when we share Muse songs, or as an artist who can show me all sorts of facets of the human experience. I tell my husband I love him every day and on this one day, Valentine’s Day, I’m adding an ‘I love you’ to Richard as well in the form of this post.

So, Richard Armitage, today you are my Valentine and maybe I – along with all your other fans – can in a way be your Valentine(s) too!

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Happy Valentine’s Day one and all!

The Lucas Bryant obsession

Yep, I am in full on obsession mode, trying to get my hands on anything and everything Lucas Bryant has done in the past… I fell for him recently and can’t get enough. I’ve been roaming the internet, finding interviews and pictures and other TV/movies he has done and I am liking what I am seeing. I even updated his Wikipedia page, adding a son in the ‘personal life’ section after I read in a recent interview that he had also become dad to a baby son in 2015 (he already has a daughter).

Especially everything he did before Haven is difficult to come by… But I did find a little gem from 2006 called Playing House (in the end only downloadable via iTunes USA, something that took a bit of researching on how to do that for me here in The Netherlands). The movie is about a young woman enjoying her life in New York and her latest fling when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant. She must re-evaluate what it actually is she wants out of life and what sort of man she does or doesn’t want to share her life with. A recognizable struggle, I think. Lucas plays the maybe not exactly ideal but sweet musician boyfriend who is the father of the baby. He is so young in this (in 2006 he would have been 28), a bit of a bouncy puppy really, but he is absolutely endearing… Here’s a fan video for that movie…

Lucas the actor can also sing and play guitar and is a bit of a goofball… (and I think he was the motor behind the lyrics of the song in this following video, because when the others sing their parts, you can see his lips moving subtly along to some of the words as well).

He also plays guitar in Playing House for his baby which is really sweet…

Literally the second after this lovely moment ends, baby mayhem ensues again. I thought the movie depicted extremely well what life can be like for parents with a newborn. I recognized a lot, showed some scenes to my husband and he sat nodding beside me. Overwhelming love and desperation and cluelessness all rolled into one rollercoaster ride…. Yeah, little gem of a film.

Lucas Bryant was a cute young actor and now is maturing very nicely in his end 30s. Here are some more Shoot the Messenger stills, an 8-epsiode TV series set in Toronto that he did after finishing Haven in 2015 and it aired in 2016 (I shortly already mentioned StM at the end of my one-day film festival post). He’s very good in this!

While I’m at it, a few more Haven shots in a slideshow…

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And one of the videos I found on YouTube was a charming one of him answering questions from fans wearing a hat and looking soooo cute in that too (click on images to enlarge, it’s worth it)!

OK, here’s that video too…

He’s also on Twitter but mostly only for promo purposes, he hasn’t been on for a while now. He is charming and amusing on there as well. There are no announcements for new projects for him yet that I am aware of. I hope something turns up soon because I want to see more of him!

Yeah, all of this babble may not interest anyone but I am smitten and when I am smitten like this I just need to let it all out on blog. It’s amazing how there is always room in your heart for more than you already have in there to love. I love love, it is such a wonderful thing!

Snow day!

Except for a few cold days here and there, it has been a mild winter so far. This morning, however, has felt like the first real winter day – we woke up to a white world, covered in a layer of snow. Not that deep but it’s there!

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Apparently it will all be gone again tomorrow, so my husband and I took the chance to take a walk in the snow through our neighbourhood…

I also saw this Hugh Jackman Instagram post this morning…

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… and know exactly how he feels. 🙂

And it was all yellow…

The new ‘Mach was’ (‘Do something’) challenge is to do something with the colour yellow. When I read that, two things instantly flashed through my mind simultaneously.

One thing that flashed through my head was the Coldplay song ‘Yellow’ that I really like…

And the other thing that flashed through my head was “Israel photo books”! I had made two photo books of a special trip to Israel back in the fall of 2008 and, as where we’d been to had been warm and sunny, I had chosen to have all the photos printed on a yellow background…

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A little personal history: I was born in Jerusalem and lived in a village just outside Jerusalem until I was 10 years old. I have very clear and very happy memories of my childhood there and I have been back to Israel 6 or 7 times after we moved away. My oldest brother moved back there at the end of the 1990s and now lives there in the south, in the desert, just above Eilat. My brother and his family are Jewish and in 2008 the eldest son did his bar-mitzvah in the kibbutz where they live. For the first time since we had left there in 1980 we were all back in Israel as a family to celebrate my nephew’s bar-mitzvah. It was a special trip with my parents, my brothers and sisters (I have 7 brothers and sisters, of whom 4 are adopted) and our kids, and my aunt. I made these photo books for everyone after we returned from our trip and I still look at them regularly. I associate yellow, sun and warmth (not only weather-wise, but warmth of feeling as well) with that trip. That trip was all about reliving our childhood memories. Here a few pages from my yellow photo books…

For instance, pictures of my old school in Jerusalem. My dad used to drop us off at school before he went to work in the mornings and in the afternoons we’d go home to the village we lived in (3km outside Jerusalem) by bus…

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Or the “monster” we used to play on a lot. My parents would go to a nearby shopping center once a week to get groceries and we kids would stay and play at this playground on the “monster” (a sculpture by French artist Nikki de Saint-Phalle) until they picked us up again…

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We used to go to the old city of Jerusalem a lot, my dad’s office was just outside Zion gate, not far from the Western Wall. It was special taking my kids there…

… with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the place where Jesus is supposed to have been crucified) not too far off either…

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Alas we were not able to visit the Al Aqsa mosque that year (it is often closed to visitors for fear of attacks) but the golden Dome of the Rock next to it is always beautiful, glittering in the sun, just like on the first picture I shared above.

During that trip in 2008 we stayed at the guesthouse of the convent right near our old house. As kids we used to be at the convent all the time, we were good friends with the nuns there, and it was so special actually staying there with my own kids, sharing the memories. My oldest brother, who died age 7 a year before I was born, is buried in that convent and we had a little ceremony for him while we were all there together…

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We visited our old house. When you approach our old, very red, house from the front, you have to walk this narrow path till you get to the gate of ‘our’ front garden. They were renovating the house when we were there and we were allowed to come in and visit. These pics are of the approach to our house and the back of the house…

Inside the house, right at the center which was also the living room (the bedrooms surround the central living room area), there is an old olive press. I remembered it as something huge, but standing next to it as a grown up, it felt really quite small to me…

We were also able to enter my old bedroom that I had shared with my younger brother and sister the last few years we lived there. I remember loving to stare out of my bedroom window, I had a great view over the valley from there…

The walk from our old house to the few little shops in the center of the village is only a few minutes and when I captured my daughter skipping down the short central pedestrian street in the village, it brought back many memoires of me skipping there in the same way as a child.

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In the old days when we lived there, there was no checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem like there is nowadays (including a horrendous wall!). On Sundays, after we had gone to church in Jerusalem, we’d often drive to Bethlehem and have a falafel there in this small place on Manger Square, where the Church of the Nativity is situated. The tiny falafel place is gone, but the Church is of course still there. The entrance door to the church was made very small a long time ago during the Ottoman empire so that people wouldn’t just enter the church on horseback… or it’s small because that means that everyone entering it needs to automatically bow, leaving all egos at the door…

Jerusalem itself is in the hills but when your drive out of Jerusalem to the south you soon head down and into the desert. In the south you get to the Dead Sea…

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… and after a few hours you get to the kibbutz my brother lives at. It’s all rock desert, and orange and ochre and dark yellow down there…

And even inside where the bar-mitzvah for my nephew was held, the walls are yellow…

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So, yeah, the colour yellow is inextricably tied to Israel for me. There is even a very well known Hebrew song called “Yerushalayim shel Zahav” (“Jerusalem of Gold”), so I am not the only one with this association. 🙂