Corona hair & encouraging figures

Yay! My Friday afternoon 3.30 pm video meeting was cancelled! Of course there are a million other things I could do, but hey, why not shoot out a blog post instead, I thought?

Just before starting this post, I came out of a close to two hour phone call with someone who had all sorts of questions. She was so glad to be speaking to someone that she took the opportunity to ask about a hundred other questions as well. At least I left her happy, and that’s always good, right? I thought the call would be a short one, so was going to eat lunch after, but instead lunch didn’t happen until just a little after 3 pm (after also emptying and refilling the dishwasher). Yep, I had chocolate sprinkles on small matzoh crackers…

Not sure why I have the headphones in, probably habit once I sit down at my work laptop. Anyway, Mr Esther is growing his corona age beard and I decided to just let my hair grow as well and see what happens. Getting quite long now, which means I’m brushing my bangs a bit to the side now. Befitting the age of 50, it’s also getting greyer and greyer and I admit I kinda like the grey! We’ll look like real hermits once lock down is completely over, like this guy in Monty Python’s Life of Brian… I’ll have that hair and Mr Esther will have that beard…

This week further easing of restrictions have been announced here in The Netherlands as of July 1st as the figures of Corona containment here have become encouraging. We’ve have a few days in the past week with no Corona deaths at all, as shown in this graphic I took from the article I just referenced.

With the easing of restrictions, the 1.5 meter distance rule still holds true and work from home, if in any way possible, is also still encouraged. This social distancing thing does work when people stick with it, so we’ll be sticking with those rules a while longer. We do have a 4 week holiday coming up in a few weeks’ time and have decided to rent a self-contained holiday cottage in the south of The Netherlands for 10 days. Mr Esther jr will probably have to work at the hotel he’s interning at but may come down for a weekend to join Mr Esther, mini-Esther and myself. We can continue social distancing in such a cottage and we can nip into Belgium and Germany if possible but will still be close enough to home should things change, restriction wise.

So, all I can say in closing is: stay socially distanced, stay safe and hope that the Corona vaccine will come soon (first human trials have already started)! Oh, and get back to work Esther, enough mucking about…

Whitewashed history

A little extra post before I really go offline tonight. Yesterday I watched a video by Sandi Toksvig, nowadays known from presenting the fabulous quiz show QI.

The video is called Scratching the Surface of Whitewashed History

… and is totally worth the 9 minute watch! We need to do better. #Blacklivesmatter

My thoughts with the US tonight

What Mr. Guterres, General Secretary of the UN, said…

I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow (or rather, later today) to a Tiananmen 2.0 in the US.

Source: https://www.neweurope.eu/article/the-lasting-tragedy-of-tiananmen-square/

I had many more words written in another post but decided to not publish that. I get incoherent when I’m angry and that doesn’t help. Just three short points I want to make:
– Black lives matter!
– Listen, talk and change; violence (looting or militarized response) is not the answer.
– Please vote when the time comes.

I was thinking of not posting anything ‘trivial’ anymore for a few days but this trivial stuff keeps me sane. So, I’m letting my next scheduled post (the final fictional crush challenge) go live in a couple of hours anyhow in order to retain a sense of normalcy in this crazy world. I know I am privileged enough to be able to do so.

To my friends in the US: my hopes for a peaceful discourse are with you. Please stay safe and stay well!

A black mask

The Corona curve here in The Netherlands is flattening and has a downward trend and so on Wednesday our government announced a small ease in the measures. A roadmap has been announced for easing of restrictions that will only happen step by step if the trends stay as they are now. If you’re interested, there’s an English language summary here.

Masks have not been compulsory here as there is doubt about how effective they are. There are also fears that by using them people will be lulled into a false sense of security and will therefore stop being as careful as they are now. The absolute stringent rule here is the 1.5 meter distance and you should try and keep that distance even if you are wearing a mask. Public transport will be picking up it’s normal scheduling in June again and with growing passenger numbers it will be more difficult to adhere to 1.5 meter distance rules. Therefore masks will need to be used after all and will be made compulsory on trains. The hope is that wearing masks will at least be of some use when there are more people in a confined space such as a train. The government does not want people buying any medical masks as those are needed for healthcare. Self made masks are fine but it is stressed they will not work as well as keeping a distance works.

So, now, finally, I too have decided to get some masks. I have no crafting bone in my body, can’t sew, and saw that our little local tailor is selling self-made masks for €6,- a piece. I have decided to buy some for the four of us and I like that I’m also supporting a local business that way. They’re made from cotton and I can re-wash and re-use as often as I like. I tried on my new black mask when I got home…

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… and I know I’m going to hate wearing it! It’s hot behind such a mask and my glasses keep fogging up. I think I’d rather continue staying at home (which is still the number 1 advice here apart from hand washing – stay at home and work from home as much as you can). I can only think of one good thing when it comes to wearing this mask: it brings my eyes out quite nicely. (Oh, and it may possibly protect others if I use it correctly). I’m not planning on taking public transport anytime soon but if I do at least eye flirting may be on the cards.

Remembrance

May 4th in The Netherlands is always Remembrance Day for those who have died during the Second World War. In the evening of May 4th there’s a ceremony in Amsterdam where the king and queen come to lay wreaths. Due to the corona crisis the central Dam square in Amsterdam was empty except for the king and queen, our PM, the mayor of Amsterdam and two more people. Very weird, as normally the remembrance is very crowded every year.

This year, for the first time as it’s 75 years since the end of the war, our king also gave a speech and I think it’s the best one I’ve ever seen him give. Our king is not a natural public speaker yet this speech seemed to flow naturally from him. It was thoughful, and even gently critical of his own grandmother’s role during the war, and the line “Sobibor began in the Vondelpark [a park in Amsterdam] with a sign that said ‘no Jews'” felt very simple and very true. There’s a little blurb in English about the speech here.

I won’t go into all this in detail as I’m very tired because it’s been a bit of a difficult day for me where we buried my aunt’s friend, who had also been a bit of an honorary aunt for my family. It was strange doing so with only 20 guests present, everyone sitting a distance from each other and afterwards picking up a cup of coffee and tea and then standing outside with a distance, talking about the funeral and remembering H. During the funeral my father was also referenced several times, which was heart warming and also emotional. H had a beautiful send off, filled with love.

This Remembrance Day for me today is not only about the war but also very much about my father and H…

Papa jarig (3)

May they rest in peace and if there is an afterlife (something I don’t believe in but I would like to believe in), may they find each other there.