A state of mind

Recent weeks have been a bit of a downer, or to express it with an Anne with an E gif, the weeks have left me feeling like this:

Anne with a E pms

The vertigo I had a couple of years ago has come back with a vengeance and has left me with not being able to do much. But, thankfully, it slowly does seem to be improving now, so hopefully I’ll see the end of that soon. The only comfort has been my laptop, where when I wasn’t resting, I was able to while away the hours watching stuff that is not the news, because oh my gooodness, the news is absolutely relentless again these days! It seriously depresses me even more than my dizziness and scares me too! So, I have been disappearing into the world of Anne obsession (these following gifs are from last week’s season 3, epsiode 3 – not too spoilery, I hope).

And I understand this dance will be happening in episode 5 in a little over a week:

Anne Gilbert dance

Seriously, I can hardly wait for the next episode. Is it weird that I should love a show about teenagers so much? 😉

Anway, I was dismayed when earlier this week, in addition to the horrible world news and my vertigo, my laptop crashed and big time too. Nothing I could do could bring it back to life. Mr E and I took it to a repair shop and there the news was that the harddrive had died – forever!! Nothing, no data, could be restored. Thankfully the more important stuff was back-upped on our home network drive and I didn’t lose all too much. A new harddrive has been placed, the laptop is working better now than before it completely crashed (when it was agonizingly s-l-o-w) and everthing is configured again (what a hassle to figure out which of your standard passwords have been used for which sites/accounts!).

I guess I can now state that personally things are starting to look up again (please let the improvement continue and the vertigo be gone soon!). If only I could also say that about the state of the world. I can’t wait for the day that the disastrous president Trump is gone and please please please let xenophobia be a thing of the past… SOON! That would improve my state of mind immensely.

The downside to being bilingual…

The Mach Was challenge this time around is to do something with languages. I love the topic but have not had time to get around to doing anything about it yet. And now the deadline is here, and all I can think of is this post I wrote some 4 years ago about being bilingual Dutch and English. Some would say I’m trilingual because I’m quite fluent in German as well, but my German has deteriorated over the years so I just call myself ‘virtually trilingual’ now.

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Anyway, I realize it’s cheap to just repost something old but I was just starting out wth blogging when I wrote that and most people who come here now will not have read this before. Also, every word I wrote then still holds true today, right up to that writing project that I mention and still haven’t started! Reposting this is a great reminder of that project I had thought up then and I think this may now finally motivate me to take some time to interview my mother before I can’t anymore. I should at least start somewhere so I won’t have regrets later.

Happy reading, if you choose to do so!

The Book of Esther

… or almost trilingual, is that you don’t speak or write any one language perfectly!

I am Dutch, my first language was Dutch but, as I lived abroad during my childhood, I went to an English school starting at the age of 4. I’m not sure if I was already speaking English by then or whether I learned it when I was there. All I know is that my whole life I remember always being able to speak Dutch and English. The first language I could read and write in was English. We spoke Dutch at home and although I did get some Dutch lessons as a child it wasn’t until I was 16 and moved to The Netherlands that I actually started writing and reading Dutch on any regular basis.

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When I was 10 we moved to Germany. My older brothers and sisters continued their education…

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Cats over fandom today…

I was going to post Richard Armitage pictures today but then we went to visit Mr Esther’s aunt and uncle to meet their new kittens and that whole plan went out the window. So, it’s cats over fandom here today!

It’s no secret that I adore cats. We had loads of pets growing up (especially dogs and guinea pigs) but we didn’t have cats. I always wanted cats, was famous for that wish and the nickname my parents gave me as a little girl was “Poestie” (“poes” is cat in Dutch). My mother still calls me “Poes” sometimes. When I went off to college there was no room for cats in my life and when I moved in with Mr Esther, he wasn’t about to have cats move in as well. He was a dog person but that soon changed.

We’d been living together for a year when we went to visit my parents who were living in Jerusalem again at the time, bordering the checkpoint to Bethlehem. When we came to visit them my mother had rescued two kittens that had been orphaned by a wild dog on the grounds of the institute they were living at. She hand-reared them and didn’t have the heart to release them again into a very uncertain wild future. When Mr Esther and I came to visit I fell in love! I mean, who wouldn’t with kittens such as these?

During the 3 weeks we stayed with my parents especially the kitten on the left (in my brother’s hand) was able to win Mr Esther over and when we travelled back to The Netherlands, we travelled back with two kittens. We called them our Palestinian refugees. One of the cats became ill at the age of 8 and died, the other cat was thankfully with us much longer.

When my baby son arrived, the cats didn’t trust the crying baby and virtually lived in the attic the first three months of his life. Yeah, they were scaredy cats and remained that always. They came to tolerate the children but weren’t that close to them. Babies and toddlers are scary beings but they adored Mr Esther and me. When one of the cats died, the other one seemed lonely for a while and hovered around me more than ever.

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We then went to the local shelter and asked for advice and they told us it would best to add a kitten for company. So, we got a beige-reddish kitten out of the shelter. Our old cat didn’t trust the kitten much at first…

… but in the end they learned to at first tolerate each other and in the black & white cat’s older age, they’d even lie against each other at times.

Where the black & white cat was somewhat stand-offish with our small kids, our beige cat instantly became fast friends with them, always searching them out. He has the dearest soul, loves everyone and allows everyone to love him.

When five years ago our old b&w cat died aged 17, my heart broke. We had loved her so dearly!

However, as our beige cat is such a social cat, we decided to adopt another kitten from a shelter a few months later. No one wanted the black cats there, so we took one home. This black cat, even though she turned out to be a mass murderer, instantly took hold of our hearts.

The two cats needed a few days to get used to each other but soon became friends, even though the beige cat really needed to get used to the playfulness of a kitten after only having lived with an older cat.

Nowadays the beige cat is the old cat, he’s 14. The cats still occasionally tumble over each other for a minute or two to play but mostly lead separate lives. They both love their cuddles from us. The beige cat takes to my son a lot of the time while the black one takes to my daughter but they both also love to spend time with Mr Esther or me when I sit on the couch and have a cup of tea, as pictured here last week…

The beige cat lies against me or Mr Esther on the couch almost every evening and likes to come on the bed when I put him there (the jump is now too high for him)…

Our beige cat used to greet us outside our house when he heard the car come home but now that we have a quiet hybrid Toyota, he doesn’t always come out anymore. He does often still come out to say goodbye when we leave, though.

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Anyway, this whole post came about because Mr Esther’s aunt and uncle have adopted two kittens from a charity in Greece. They were inspired to do so after we told them about visiting a cat shelter on Rhodos last year and when their cat died, the decision to adopt these kittens was made. This afternoon we went to visit these kittens who are now about 5 months old. Although they look completely different, it reminded me of us adopting our two black & white sisters from Jerusalem, which kickstarted sharing our house with cats. These two kittens were found in a dumpster on the Greek island of Crete and are so very affectionate and playful! I think they will have a very happy home here in The Netherlands.

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We’re in love yet again.

As I finish this post and link back to earlier posts on this blog, I’m realizing that this september is the 5 year anniversary of this blog! Coincidentally, I am also just seeing, this is my 600th post. Not as many posts as many bloggers out there (I, by far, don’t post daily), but 600 still seems like a lot to me. How fun that I was able to celebrate this with cats. 🙂

Family over fandom

Yes, I’ve been seeing more Toronto pictures of our Richard in my alerts and feeds but it’s family (and friends) over fandom at my house and it’s been busy. We’ve been to a friend’s house for a high tea for her birthday (and yes, these are all self-made goodies, so we baked some cupcakes and sausage rolls)…

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With another friend of mine (once colleague) and an ex-colleague I went to see an Open Air Grease singalong, which was a lot of fun.

My daughter has taken up football (soccer to American readers), she just started training a few weeks ago and has games on Saturdays now which I go to. She has come a long way through some very difficult times and is in such a great place. It makes my heart burst with joy to see how much she enjoys football and she seems quite a natural at it as well. Team coaches are extremely pleased to have her, in any case.

My son has been playing handball from a young age. At 18 he now does his own thing  but we still like to go watch him play and cheer him on when he’s playing at home as he did last week on Sunday (in the white with number 10 on his back).

On Thursday evening my daughter and I went to the theater along with my mother, my older sister recently returned from Japan, my brother, his daughter, my younger sister and her girlfriend, some of her children and friends. The girlfriend, through contacts, had been able to score a load of free tickets to the Dutch version of the musical Anastasia. Musical was well-done but dragged a little sometimes. Still, great to have an evening out all together like that to a very well-staged show.

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Friday after work (yes, I had work going on as well, which has been busy too) we went to my mother’s again to see my younger brother who was visiting from abroad and today, Saturday, was filled with chores. So, as you can see, barely time to fangirl over Richard! However, a few hours ago fangirling was back on as we happend upon Richard Armitage on our TV screen!

So, while half watching that, I multi-tasked and collected all the remaining Armitage at TIFF images I could find. I’ll post those in another post as this one is long enough! In the meantime, I’ll just leave with this…

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… and fangirl more on blog hopefully tomorrow. 🙂

Cat therapy

My older sister, who lives about a 10 minute bike ride away from me, is in Japan on her holiday right now. She has a cat she rescued from a shelter a year ago who is adorable and who needs a little care while she’s away. So, at the end of every afternoon I go to her apartment, to feed the cat and do the litterbox. But oh no, I can’t just leave as soon as I’ve done that! Mr Cat loves his attention and needs a little more from the cat-sitting experience. The moment I come in, he is swirling around my legs until I sit down. He loves rolling around on my old Birkenstock slippers I was wearing last week…

… and he plants himself on my lap as soon as I sit down on the couch. He really wants to be petted….

Today, when I went there after work, this was the situation with Mr Cat lying on my lap for ages and rolling around on my legs:

Mr Cat was in a spot alone in the shelter at the time because he’s a bit of a scaredy cat, afraid of the outdoors, and didn’t much like other cats. I think he makes up for that by loving people all the more. Not just me, he’s not shy of my daughter or Mr Esther either. Seriously, every day I stay in my sister’s apartment for over an hour, to give him some attention and to allow him to stare out the balcony door, enjoying the slight breeze coming in:

cat10It’s quite a bite out of my day but I don’t seem to mind so much. It’s great cat therapy amidst the Brexit mess (I’m following the debates in parliament again this evening), the Amazon on fire, hurricanes, and a US president who thinks it could be reasonable to nuke hurricanes and who thinks he should be seen as the “King of Israel”.

Mr Cat may prefer people to cats; as I watch the news, I think that in many ways I prefer cats to people.