A little paranoid?!

I’m working at home, trying to take a screenshot of the Microsoft Teams feature that makes automatic closed captions during a video meeting. Closed captions only works for English. I tested what the captioning does when I speak Dutch and it translates my Dutch sentences to the most outlandish English sentences, which does give me some amusement as I test it a little longer than I need to. Gotta do something to make this all more fun, after all.

So, I’m testing this functionality while my daughter is baking cupcakes at the table and my son just got home and they’re chatting with me. With some hilarity, of course, because what they say in Dutch gets translated to some weird stuff in English and they come and check it out. I then get serious as I need to take a screenshot of the menu option where you can switch captions on or off. Also, as I’m having a bad hair day, I need to hide myself a bit behind that menu bar. The kids are doing their own thing again while I am speaking some English sentences that make sense, like: “Good morning. Welcome to the meeting” which will end up in my screen. Then, just as I take the shot, the captioning apparently catches something in the background that my kids are saying in Dutch and this is the caption I get…

I only notice it right after the shot is made and can’t stop laughing. This is the perfect, serendipitous picture, isn’t it? The kids love it too, I don’t think my work has ever caused this much hilarity for them before. I did get the correct screenshot later…

… but I’m still wondering whether I should include the first shot in the little manual / news item I will be using this for… 🙂

At work today

Fascinating stuff…

Time for lunch, I think…

… and hope the afternoon can inspire me more (even though it doesn’t look like it).

Bad news, good news

I remember four years ago, when the whole world mourned the loss of Barack Obama and feared US fascism under Donald Trump, Democrats were told to suck it up and accept “the will of the people” in the 2016 US election. I even remember having a discussion on blog back then with a Republican who went on about the “will of the people” when Hillary Clinton held 3 million more popular votes. The electoral college system is what it is, however, and defeat was graciously accepted by Clinton, and Obama invited Trump to the White House for the beginning of the transition, as he should.

Yet now, with Biden leading the popular vote by 5 million and after having won the electoral college, the will of the people does not seem that important anymore to Republicans. Trump announced months ago that if he loses there’s fraud and if he wins there isn’t, which is ridiculous. And yep, he’s yelling ‘fraud’ now without any evidence and supported by his Republicans as well. Goodness, if the Democrats had been fraudulent, would they really have let all those Republican senators be re-elected? I know I shouldn’t be surprised with such an aggressive, un-democratic president, but I truly can’t believe what I am seeing. The world is watching the erosion of democracy in what used to be a beacon of democracy and that is sad and frightening at the same time. Inauguration day for Joe Biden in January can’t come soon enough.

Luckily, it isn’t all terrible news, in my real life some nice things are happening. For one, Uncle Vanya will be coming to the Netherlands after all!

It’s scheduled for November 29th but ticket sales haven’t started yet as cinemas and theatres are closed here again due to the Corona measures. It’s not certain yet whether this really will happen or not on that date. The movie theatre is an hour away from where we live but Mr Esther and I do plan on going, if we can.

Also, today I had a video interview with someone at the Dutch Council for Refugees on doing some volunteer work there. Next week I go in, with social distancing measures in place, to take a look at what I could be doing and that makes me happy. So, with all the bad things, I also keep on trying to do this…

… and try not to get overwhelmed by news and midlife crisis stuff, and hope things will get better.

Moments of zen

It’s been quite a week with the US elections completely fraying my nerves. I wonder how Joe Biden can unite such an entrenched and divided America, where half the population live in an alternate conspiracy theory universe, making wild accusations and calling the president-elect and his wife unspeakable things, and where the other half doesn’t understand why the people take solace in that universe. Fear seems at the bottom of it all but how can the fear be taken away? How can that divide be bridged, I wonder? But I decided not to wonder too much about all that today; today was about getting some zen back into my life.

It was a beautiful day out, so Mr. Esther and I decided to go for a walk in the woods, about 40 minutes away from where we live. The kids wanted to stay home and chill, so it was just the two of us. The weather was dry and pleasant, perfect for an autumn walk in the woods, with lots of mushrooms to admire along the way.

It was lovely to take the time to really talk with each other without other distractions around. We sat on chopped logs for a while, taking in the quiet autumn atmosphere and when we walked, it was lovely to walk through the rustling autumn leaves. I wish we lived closer to those woods, it’s so good for relaxing your nerves and finding a few moments of zen.

Cats and levels of stress

Last night when I went to bed (far too late, Mr Esther was already sleeping) I thought our bedroom smelled a bit odd. This afternoon when I went back up there the smell had become more pronounced. I went in search of the source and, sure enough, I found the dead body of a blackbird underneath our bed! Now I know what decaying bird smells like…

Later, I had a very serious and scolding talk with our black murderer cat about her horrible and immoral behaviour. I mean, it’s one thing to hunt and eat, it’s quite another thing to kill for fun and just leave it there, underneath our bed. Alas, she was not impressed with what I had to say…

It does feel a bit hypocritical that I completely condemn a divisive, hate-mongering president but that I am accepting and relatively tolerant of an actual murderer living in my house. She is so very soft and cute, though, so that does leave me defenceless. At least our other cat is a darling, keeping me company while I intermittently track the votes in the US election…

He is a prime example of cats being able to lower levels of stress and anxiety and when my black cat is not being a murderous hellcat, she can do that too. I’m so glad we have them.