Counting my blessings

Recently I’ve not been in the best of places and to counteract that I’ve decided that today is for counting my blessings of this past week.

First off, it’s been a short working week as we had a holiday yesterday (Ascension Day) and at my work place the day after that (today) is also free. So, yay, very long weekend for me! It feels like a Saturday for me today but it’s only Friday and what a pleasant thing it is to have this extra free time.

The best news this past week has been that Mr Esther got his first Covid vaccination! He has asthma and is in a higher (though not highest) risk group, so was able to get it yesterday (in a town 20 minutes from here). Mini me and I waited in the car (Junior had decided on a lazy day at home) and afterwards we drove on and just made a nice day of it. It’s so nice that terraces outside restaurants are open again during the day.

Last Tuesday was my final Stephen Macht masterclass on dramatic movie analysis. I couldn’t make the final class but was sent a recording which I will watch this weekend. Those classes have been giving me joy these past 5 weeks and have set me thinking, which I love. In fact, I have requested and have been sent recordings of all 5 of the classes so I can re-watch it all if I feel the need to.

These past few weeks, on Wednesday afternoons, I’ve been doing some volunteer work for the Council of Refugees. Socially distanced with screens and masks and very few people present and by appointment only but I am really enjoying it. It also puts into perspective yet again how very privileged I am that I have not had to flee my country, leave family and other loved ones behind and start life over in a totally different country with a weird language and a huge amount of confusing bureaucracy. On Wednesday I was trying to comfort a woman my age from Eritrea, who doesn’t speak any Dutch or English or German, with a cup of tea. It’s so tough to be a refugee and I am just happy that I can try to make a little bit of a difference.

Another blessing is that I came across these pictures taken of my small family during our holiday to Israel eight years ago last February. All four of us in a picture is quite rare and these were taken by two close friends of ours who came with us on that trip. I really should frame some of these. (Pictures were taken at the Jordan river, Old City of Jerusalem, Ein Kerem overlooking the valley, at the Dead Sea and in the desert near Eilat).

Back to the present day and it’s still on the chilly side here in The Netherlands. It is getting a bit warmer, though, and in the sun it is possible to sit in our garden for a bit again and look adoringly at my two favourite garden statues.

While enjoying the sun in our back garden I decided to listen to some David Bowie again (despite me repeatedly mentioning him on blog I don’t listen to him that often). As my David Bowie song of the day I would pick this one, a duet with Queen…

Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking –
Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can’t we give love one more chance
?
Why can’t we give love?
Cause love’s such an old fashioned word,
And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.
This is our last dance, this is our last dance.
This is ourselves, under pressure

Funniest movie moment of this week was from the animated movie Zootopia. I had never seen it before but mini me watched it and we watched along. The scene with the sloth just made me laugh so much, it was a much needed relief.

I recall seeing this gif often online, now I know where it’s from and I love it…

This evening we had a cosy dinner with just Junior, eating cheese fondue. Yumm!

Despite continued lockdown and getting sad seeing images from India and the Covid tragedy happening there and worrying about Israel & Palestine and worrying about work and not really feeling like myself of late, there are still blessings to be found and that is a good thing.

Mood…

… at the beginning of this week:

This ad was not a thing where I live but I heard about it from American friends years ago and since then, on some days, that is what goes through my head. There’s nothing terrible happening, it’s just the mood. That is all. Back to work.

A festive ex-Queen’s Day

Before 2014, April 30th used to be our national holiday (as opposed to now April 27th) when we used to celebrate our then-Queen’s birthday. I’m not really a monarchist but I do love this national holiday for all it’s fun-filled celebrations.

Queen Beatrix’ birthday is actually on January 31st but as that is too chilly for a celebration, she chose to keep Queen’s Day (Koninginnedag) on April 30th, which had been her mother’s birthday. Even though it’s 8 years ago since the last Koninginnedag in 2013 (and since the coronation of her son as King), I still need to remind myself to call the new festival on April 27th King’s Day (our king’s actual birthday) and I still need to remember that April 30th, as it is today, is now just a regular day.

With Corona crisis measures still in place, there hasn’t been much public celebrating for King’s Day and today, on what I still like to call Queen’s Day, there are of course no parties to be found either. That doesn’t mean that this day hasn’t felt a little festive to me (and it’s got nothing to do with our ex-Queen)! Some Corona crisis measures have been slightly loosened here two days ago (the day after King’s Day), which means that there is no curfew anymore from 10 pm – 4.30 am, all shops are open again under strict regulations (mask wearing, hand sanitizing and limited visitor numbers) and from noon till 6 pm restaurants are allowed to open their terraces for outdoor lunching. So, today, despite chilly and wet weather, Mr Esther, mini me and I tried our luck.

We drove to Noordwijk, which is on the coast to the north of The Hague, and tried to find a terrace that is covered so we could eat out for the first time in over six months and stay dry as well. We found an Italian place and filled in the health check form…

… and although it was chilly and we had to keep our thick coats on, it was lovely to be able to eat out again! We warmed ourselves with hot chocolate and omelettes and a sandwich for Mr Esther…

Afterwards I wanted a glimpse of the sea but as we were cold and it was wet, we didn’t do any more than just glimpse.

Despite the cold, it felt like a little feast to be able to do this again on an ex-festive day such as ex-Koninginnedag. On a little side note: this going for lunch outside thing will be even more fun when the weather gets warmer but for today I will take what I can get.

King’s Day in quarantine again

It’s King’s Day here in The Netherlands today where we celebrate the king’s birthday (he’s 54 today). Normally the country errupts into one big orange festival but we’re still in Corona crisis quarantine lockdown, so it’s all low-key yet again. Last year we already spent an even more low-key King’s Day in lockdown at home. Quarantine isn’t as strict and as new as it was last year so this year we opted for a little more mobility.

Junior was picked up by three friends at the end of the morning and they spent the day having their own little party amongst themselves and walking in a nature area where they saw this…

Meanwhile at home mini me had some studying to do for exams tomorrow and I had some homework to do for my Stephen Macht drama masterclass that I hadn’t gotten around to earlier. I first watched a bit of our royal family on TV visiting the city of Eindhoven in the south for a socially distanced birthday celebration where they participated in a socially distanced talk show setting and played a virtual quiz game. It was good that I could fastforward a lot of it (hadn’t watched live from the beginning) as it wasn’t that interesting but I did get a bit of an impression.

I then turned to my homework, watching the drama Tender Mercies from 1983, a movie I hadn’t really heard of before, despite the movie earning an Oscar for best script and for best actor Robert Duvall. Thankfully, it really was a good movie…

Afterwards Mr Esther, mini me and I decided to drive to Den Haag and take a walk around there. Some cities were apparently very busy and people were asked to leave according to the news but Den Haag wasn’t bad at all. The sun was out, we got some fish to eat at a fish stand, the trams even had little Dutch and orange flags and it was at least a little bit festive as we walked around for maybe an hour and a half…

When we got home again, Junior was back and sitting in the sun in our front garden (yes, we have the flag out for the occasion, a thing Mr Esther always likes to do) with the cats around as well…

At 7 pm I had my third Stephen Macht drama masterclass which was again interesting (a longer post will follow at some later time). I do notice in the background that he has what looks like Billy bookshelves from Ikea (we have the same but in a lighter wood colour and in white).

After a late dinner the family reunited in the living room again to watch soccer on TV (Madrid versus Chelsea in the Champions League).

The day ended with some gazing at the beautiful full moon. Couldn’t get a good picture yet as it is still quite low and obscured by trees but I got a little something…

I hope next year we can have a real King’s Day with the country turning into an orange street party again with open air junk sales, music in the streets and cafés and restaurants open again to all the celebrating people. I hoped the same last year and look where that got me. Still, a woman can wish, can’t she?

Me, myself & I

Had to test something yesterday for work in Microsoft Teams, so logged in on separate accounts with my phone and my personal laptop as well. It ended up looking like this (I took a screenshot)…

Suffice it to say, I was eager to end the test.

Yesterday I also told a teamleader who I work with a lot but is not my boss that I think I need to look into doing something else, as I don’t enjoy this work anymore. My boss also knows (told her a few weeks ago). Gulp. What next?