A cheer-me-up post

I need some cheering up after another attack took place yesterday, this time in Utrecht which is about half an hour away from where I live. When will this killing end?!?

Anyway… so, this cheered me up yesterday (before I knew about the Utrecht attack) and still cheers me up today: Richard finding his old Guy of Gisborne leathers!

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Look what I just found in an old washing bag 😮

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Yup!!!

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(I for one would be curious to see those episode 1 North & South scribbles!).

Then, last night, to cheer myself up after I switched off the news, I finally finished a video I had started making a long time ago but had never gotten around to finishing yet. It’s a fan video for the not so known but in my eyes absolutely wonderful Danish film starring Pierce Brosnan called Love Is All You Need. The Danish original title is way better: Den Skaldede Frisør (which translates to The Bald-Headed Hairdresser). The film is full of heart without being sappy and you can see a trailer here. I made another video for this film a few years ago which can be found near the bottom of my Pierce Brosnan fan video page, along with a brief description of what the movie is about. I needed to do something with love, after all the hatred of the past few days, and this video is all about that (set to John Denver’s Annie’s Song). When I heard that John Denver song again a few months back somewhere, suddenly images of this movie flashed through my head when I listened to the lyrics. So, the video begged to be made and now I have finally finished it. Beware that, if you haven’t seen the film and you still wish to do so, this video is full of spoilers!

And last but not least today, while I was having lunch on my own for a change, eating a delicious falafel in town close to my office, I happened upon this little gem of a video. It’s a choir flash mob on an airplane, by the choir that also sang at Harry’s and Meghan’s wedding last year. I’ve seen it before but this time it gave me goosebumps.

I guess we can all use a little solidarity and a feeling of people standing by each other.

It’s good to know there is also a lot of good in this world.

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BTS – the stress!

So, my daughter has become fan of the Korean K-pop boyband BTS.  

She and a friend of hers have seen the concert movie, that came out a few months ago, two or three times in the cinema. She knows the songs (although she doesn’t sing along to the Korean parts, that’s a little tough), the stories they sing in their songs (taken from their life experiences), the boyband members’ names and their background stories. In her room she now has a little BTS shrine…

… and now the boyband is doing a world tour and they are coming to London. With cheap lodgings possible at my brother’s house my daughter is desperate to go with her friend. And who am I to stand in the way of fangirls? So, last week Friday we were ready for the sale to begin for the show on June 1st at Wembley Stadium. I was logged in on a laptop, my daughter was logged in, her friend was logged in at her home as well, as was her friend’s brother. Oh man, we tried for hours, but no dice, no tickets! Even my work colleague, who I was Skype chatting with, offered her help, but no luck. There is also a show in Paris, so we tried that as well, even though lodging would be way more expensive, but nope, couldn’t get anything there either. The girls were very disappointed.

Last Saturday morning a second Wembley concert was announced for June 2nd and the tickets went on sale this morning. My daughter couldn’t be home, so I logged in on two laptops…

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… my colleague also logged in at home and the brother of  my daughter’s friend was logged in. Again, no luck! Got all sorts of errors on the website, my colleague got those same errors.

Finally we got this one, which was supposed to mean we had made it into a queue…

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… but even then we got kicked out. My colleague at one point was able to secure two prime tickets (the most expensive, but what the heck) but when she wanted to proceed to check out was kicked off again. Happened to me as well a few minutes later with two other tickets. Aaaargh, the frustration! But then finally, after about 45 minutes my colleague got through and sure enough, was able to secure two tickets! Quite high up and to the side of the stage but good enough.

BTS-tickets

My daughter, who had just come in from an appointment and was going off to school again soon, was over the moon! After my colleague got in, I also got in (several times, actually, after refreshing) but the tickets I could purchase were even further back. So, these two tickets are it. And oh my goodness, the stress and heart palpitations this has cost me… Who knew a Korean boy band would be so popular?

I’m glad I’m working from home today, I couldn’t have survived this stress at the office. Speaking of stress at the office, another colleague was apparently in a heated argument with micro-manager yesterday. Looks like the next generation of micro management warriors is standing up. Anway, let’s not think of work. I need to de-stress after this whole ticket saga. Looks like I have another London trip to book. I’ll be going to London with the girls, just won’t join them for the concert. K-pop isn’t quite my thing and the girls want to fangirl on their own. 🙂

A smile back on my face

First off, news on the Mr E front is very promising as his health is improving! They want to keep him in hospital for a little longer to see if his improvement continues. If blood levels are good on Monday morning (which looks likely going by how much better they were today), then he can come home again on Monday afternoon. 🙂 This is a great relief and now leaves a little room in my brain and heart for other, more fun, stuff again.

One such fun thing is what my younger brother shared with the family today. He is staying with my mother for a few days and came across these two pictures from my childhood. Going by how small my younger brother and sister were (they are 7 months apart in age, two babies that had joined our family from Nazareth in 1973), and the sweaters we were wearing (this is just outside Jerusalem, which got a little chilly in winter but was warm in summer), these pictures must have been taken in the winter of 1973/1974. I know the pictures but haven’t seen them for ages! I was close to 4 when these were taken, I’m the little blonde girl on the right. I have a fleeting memory of these pictures being taken as I distinctly remember sitting on that wall for these pictures, something I wasn’t normally allowed to do on my own.

20181231_092535img-20190111-wa0011The brother who shared these pictures is the little baby in the front in this second picture. The guy in the back with the curls is not a sibling of mine but is a violinist who stayed in our small back garden guesthouse for a while. I have no idea how he came to stay there or how my parents knew him. He gave my older sister (in front with the babies) and brother (beside me) violin lessons. His name is Volker Biesenbender, I just looked him up and he is quite prolific. He was a student of Yehudi Menuhin and I even found clips of him on YouTube, like this one:

I remember Volker’s face and his name, but I don’t recall what he was like or how long he stayed. It’s so sweet to see the little black dog in Volker’s arms. He was our family dog, Lalo, and we absolutely adored him until he died when I was 10.

I can now walk around with a smile on my face: Mr Esther is getting better, I had to finish off some work today which I at first totally botched but then managed to fix again and then got the task done as well, and I have sweet childhood memories flooding back. Real life duties call now, but that’s not so bad if you can smile. 🙂

Pressure… don’t push me…

It’s been a busy week in Esther-world: celebrating my mother’s 83rd birthday last weekend (she’s still in good health and able to care for herself, thank goodness), dealing with family stuff at home (all is well, but still needing attention) and trying to get myself not too riled up about my micro-managing boss. I feel a conversation coming up in the near future where I make it clear to him that the pleasure I have felt working at this organisation the past year and a half has evaporated ever since he started micro-managing… During the first job interview he had with us (I was one of the people interviewing him!) he had said he was good at managing where needed and letting go where needed. I had faith in him when he said that, that faith has evaporated quickly. I guess he interprets the ‘where needed’ differently from me…

The news world has also been very busy. Trump has been a bumbling fool on the international stage again, the whole Brexit mess has kept me watching BBC news in fascination and even Richard Armitage has been tweeting nonsense (seriously, turn the other cheek to bullies? When has that ever helped? Peaceful resistance, I am all for that, but just turning the other cheek only helps bullies, not the victims). Thankfully, I did enjoy this picture of him that turned up last week or so from Audible…

Oh, and there was this picture as well from the upcoming season 3 of  Berlin Station

These are little highlights as I still wait for something great to come from the Armitage that even I can enjoy other than just nice images (nope, no audiobooks for me, Castlevania is still on hold and I’m not that keen on the upcoming Berlin Station either…). I wish I had the energy to blog about my stage in Armitage-fangirling right now, like Herba, Servetus and Nell have been doing so eloquently recently on their bogs. And I still might, when I feel more space in my brain, but suffice it to say that I too feel the drought and I too am still hoping for other great things to come from Richard.

This means that I am stuck to other fangirling right now. Lately that has been all about listening to Muse’s new album which came out last week. I like this album better than the last one, some really good songs on there! I’m really liking this one right now…

I guess the whole “Pressure … don’t push me” message feels relevant. 😉  Luckily, last Tuesday I was able to purchase tickets to their world tour that starts next year! They’ll be in The Netherlands in June. Some friends of mine are going too and I got tickets for myself and Suzy from the Silverbluelining blog as she too has become a Muse fan. This band is absolutely awesome live and I find myself already wishing for June!

Jeff Lynne’s ELO live in Amsterdam

Last night Mr Esther and I went to see ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) perform live in Amsterdam at the Ziggo Dome concert hall. Actually, it was Jeff Lynne’s ELO, as the original ELO are not together anymore. This was before the concert started…

The warm up act was a singer called Billy Lockett. He had a great voice, the music was nice and he was just cute in his interaction with the audience. The hall was three-quarters full, I think, when he sang and he seemed pleased with the reception.  Said he thought that there were more people there than he has followers on Twitter, which may be a fair point. 🙂

We all came to see ELO, however, and boy, did they deliver! Mr Esther (along with a friend) had seen Alan Parsons live a few months ago and had been disappointed in the Parsons voice. He hoped Jeff Lynne would be better and Lynne certainly was! His voice is still great and he had great backing singers as well. The band was good and there were violins and a cello, which gave a beautiful richness of sound. Add to that the beautiful background graphics and the light and laser show and it certainly was one heck on an evening! Here are some picture impressions (click on images to enlarge)…

The only down side was that there were seats also in the field (where we were). We wondered why there would be seats but figured maybe it had to do with the average age of the audience being a bit older than our age. When you want to dance and clap besides sing along, it’s hard to stay in your seat, especially as most of the concert was upbeat. It’s also annoying when people complain when you jump up and stay up for a while. However, that didn’t stop us from dancing in our seats (and waving with our hands and clapping and singing along and woohoo-ing). Finally, the last 20 minutes or so, people couldn’t stay in their seats any longer and when Don’t Bring Me Down started playing, everyone got up on their feet and stayed there till the end of the concert. Here, a clip I found on YouTube from last night of Jeff Lynne’s ELO singing that song…

One of my fave songs of theirs is Mr. Blue Sky

… but really, all the numbers they performed were great (check out last night’s setlist here). I could share many more clips that I found on YouTube from last night, but I won’t bore you with them all here. If you’re curious just type in “elo ziggo dome 2018” in YouTube search and you’ll find loads of clips there. 🙂

Mr Esther got a concert t-shirt with the ELO spaceship on it…

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… and we left the concert very happy and wishing it had been longer than the 90 minutes or so that it was. Should they play anywhere near you (and you like their music), go see them live, it’s totally worth it.