And now, the end is near…

… and the summer will really start winding down here. We’ve been having a few nice, sunny and not too hot days here this past week. My favourite weather, really, which is 20-25 degrees Celsius (in the 70s Fahrenheit) with sunshine. On Sunday mini-me and I picked up my brother (who has just returned from a stint in Malta) and my mother and we headed to the beach. My mother isn’t that great of a walker anymore, so my brother and I took turns sitting with her in a cafe and walking with mini-me on the beach. It was lovely out there. Quite a lot of people there, but luckily it was easy to socially distance…

In the meantime, Mr. Esther went for a bike ride and Mr. Esther junior played handball outdoors in an away game and badly injured the middle finger of his left hand. The top of his finger is just hanging there loosely, looking very odd. I took him to the hospital yesterday for x-rays.

Luckily he has very little pain and it turns out that nothing was broken but he does have a torn tendon. Tomorrow his finger will be put into a splint for 6-8 weeks so that it can heal properly and doesn’t have to be taped to his ring finger anymore.

This afternoon, after some work meetings online, I took a few hours to work outside. Our old cat is curled up right near me, which is always lovely…

… and I am fully aware that this may be the last time this year that working outside like this will be possible. Chillier weather is predicted from tomorrow, so I guess that is when autumn will really start for us.

Corona cases are on the rise here in The Netherlands. Measures were tightened slightly last week but I suspect stricter restrictions may be coming. Add that to the weather getting cooler and we may be stuck inside for the foreseeable future more than ever these coming weeks/months. Mr. Esther and I will really have to make more of an effort to actually stick our noses outside our front door every day (mini-me and Mr Esther junior have school/internships and their sports activities to drag them out of the house… for now, in any case). Such strange times we live in and I’m not only talking disease; I almost fear reading the news, especially US news, every day. I so hope for some light at the end of the tunnel soon…

Happy 5781!

This evening the two day festival of Rosh Hashanah starts, which sees in the Jewish year of 5781. The song I’m sharing here is called “BaShana Haba’a” (“Next Year”) and is a popular, secular, new year’s song, a joyful song filled with hope for the upcoming year.

Every time I hear it (which is not often) my heart swells up with cherished memories of my childhood with my parents and siblings in and around Jerusalem. This family photo was taken in a field right behind our house in the village we lived in just outside Jerusalem, a few months before we moved to Germany when I was 10…

My father’s life’s work as a Dutch Protestant theologian was devoted to dialogue between the three large monotheistic religions. He taught us to be anti-missionary and pro understanding of the other in their faith, specializing in Jewish-Christian dialogue. Our own family technically was a multi-Christian-faith family (not that we ever paid attention to that ourselves). My parents were Dutch Protestant, my older siblings were also baptized Dutch Protestant, my younger brother and sister were born as Arab Christians in Nazareth and, like me (born in Jerusalem), were baptized in the Anglican church. My Ethiopian brother and sister entered the family as Catholics.

Because of my father’s work, we had Jewish friends and were often invited to celebrate Jewish holidays with them. I loved Jewish holiday celebrations at the homes of those friends and sometimes even hosted in our own home, with Hebrew prayers and good food and a lot of singing. Almost all of us became non-religious as we grew up but I always think that if I ever were to choose a religion for myself to follow, it would be (liberal) Judaism. There is something about Judaism and hearing Hebrew and the Hebrew songs (even though I barely speak Hebrew myself) that make me feel completely at home.

I have two siblings who did convert to Judaism (my older sister on the left next to my mother in the picture above and my older brother with the black and white dog) and so, because of them, I am always quite aware of when the Jewish holidays come around. So, to them and to anyone who is Jewish and reading this I want to say: Shanah Tovah! I hope the coming year will be better than the last….

Diamond anniversary

On September 16th, 1960 (60 years ago today) my parents got married.

Their marriage has always been a real role model for me. Although they were very different as people, they were true partners in everything, always proud of the other, lifting each other up, encouraging the other in separate and common endeavors, each person allowed to be themselves within their union. Even as a youngster I always thought that if I ever marry, that is the kind of marriage I would aspire to. If I couldn’t have that then I would rather be alone and to this day I still feel that way. I wanted be in love with my best friend through thick and thin, I wanted to be able to completely show myself and be accepted for who I am just as I would want to be able to accept the other completely for who they are, just like my parents did, warts and all, with open lines of communication and no taboos between us. I am lucky I found someone like that. I am ever grateful to my parents for showing me that such a partnership is possible and that I didn’t need to settle for anything less.

I wish papa were still with us to celebrate this day. At least the sun is shining today, just like it did on her wedding day my mother told me this morning on the phone.

(A rose in the sunshine in our back garden today)

Happy diamond anniversary to my beloved parents!

Home office

The sun is shining today and both Mr Esther and I have no work calls pending this morning, so we have decided to work outside for now. It’s a tad chilly (even though Mr. Esther is wearing a t-shirt, I’m in a sweater) but we want to make the most of being able to sit outside before the autumn really starts here and we’ll be stuck inside more than ever due to quarantine measures that are still in place.

It all looks very sweet and romantic to be working side by side like this with my husband but actually Mr. Esther is very chatty this morning and I needed to concentrate on something (just done now) and I had to tell him to please stop talking. Of course, five minutes later I needed his help formulating something and now he needs me to shut up. It’s a good thing we aren’t colleagues at the same organization, we’d get annoyed with each other.

My fingers are a little cold and my work laptop battery is starting to run low, so I may need to relocate soon. Anyway, back to work now. Have a good week, everyone!

Water

I’ve been catching up on all sorts of blogposts that I missed while I was in Lucifer bingewatch mode and I came across Herba’s reminder for the Mach’ Was challenge. This time the theme is water.

I have very little inspiration, but there is a nice Tom Ellis getting out of a swimming pool image I came across during my current Lucifer internet surfing…

… and DB Woodside at the beach.

I’m starting to develop a real crush on him, looking at all sorts of YouTube interviews with him and last night I watched a 50 minute interview with him on #BlackLivesMatter where he openly discussed his experiences with racism. Tom Ellis, awesome man with a huge platform of 7.8 million followers, is hosting a friend of his on his Instagram to talk about #BlackLivesMatter. There’s just something about DB that is touching my soul right now.

Anyway, I’m going off topic here. Back to water. Of course, I have no real inspiration on what to do with water but on my phone I did have a clip of hail falling from the sky a week ago in our little back garden. The cups we had left outside were quickly filling with water.

Today, after watching my daughter’s soccer match, I spontaneously decided to go on a little bike ride (Mr Esther was a little tired, so I went alone). There’s lots of water near where I live and I took this picture…

I got off my bike for a bit to look at the pretty water and the pretty sky. These are very trying times so a little water as restoration for the soul is not a bad thing…