‘Sweet’ 16

My daughter is 16 today. It’s a long way from this…


… to this…


Being in full on “Save Anne with an E” fighting mode, I immediately thought of this little Anne moment at the beginning of season 3, when Anne hangs out of her bedroom window, shouting out to the world that she is 16…

AWAE finally 16 -01AWAE finally 16 -02

… and I laugh with a little bit of pride that my own daughter does not want to watch this show. Period drama is not her thing, even if it’s about her own age group. She’s definitely and stubbornly developing her own tastes and views. My daughter is excited to be 16 as well but there’s no “sweet sixteen” nonsense for her. Her favourite song as a younger kid was this one, “Nothing’s sweet about me”:

She always protested people calling her ‘sweet’ and ‘cute’ and that still holds true today. This evening she is going to a school Christmas gala, she was “forced” into going by her friends and, oh horror of horrors, she needs to wear a dress! She and I picked out a simple little black dress (her fave colour to wear) that looks gorgeous on her. She thinks it’s “OK”  and would rather wear her black tight jeans and a hoodie. 🙂

I love her spunk and humour, her quick mind and soft heart, and I’m so proud of the young woman she is becoming. Happy birthday to our mini-not-me!

Family parties & December festivity

December is always a month of festivities here. Now, that the kids are bigger, we don’t really do Sinterklaas (traditional St. Nicholas feast here in The Netherlands on December 5th) anymore, so the weekend right after December 5th was free for Mr Esther and I to go away together. Every year we go to a Christmas market in Germany with two college friends of ours. The kids stayed at home alone together, which they throroughly enjoyed. My oldest brother was visting from Israel with his 19 year old daughter (we had seen them at a family Shabbat dinner on the Friday evening before) and they ended up dropping by my kids on Sunday to watch my son play handball and take my kids out to lunch (alas my daughter’s Saturday soccer game had been cancelled last minute due to extremely soggy soccer fields). So, they had a fun weekend while Mr Esther, our friends and I had a lovely Saturday and Sunday away together.

We braved the city of Osnabrück this year, we’d never been there before. I had to give up part of our afternoon city walk through town for a rest in our hotel room, but the evening was reserved for going to the Christmas market. There were some nice bits…

… but 80% of the market was dedicated to food and drink stalls and that is not the point of a Christmas market for us. So, while it was nice, it was not that great. Went back to our hotel and the next day we drove on to Münster, which we have visited several times before but it had been a few years since we had last been there.

The Münster Christmas market delivered, just as we had hoped. Many more arts and crafts stalls and a very nice atmosphere. We had nice Käsekuchen (cheese cake) and also stopped for a late lunch at a restaurant called “Hans im Glück” which had a beautiful natural interior design with tree trunks and very nice food. So, the slightly disappointing Osnabrück Christmas market was nicely counterbalanced by the lovely Münster market.

On our way home in the evening we stopped by a sushi restaurant in The Netherlands for dinner. Yummmm.


Next year will be the 25th anniversary of when the four of us graduated college together, we’re thinking of celebrating by going away for a longer weekend in December to Berlin. That should be fun.

This past weekend we did an early family birthday celebration for my daughter who turns 16 in two days time. My aunt celebrates her 83rd birthday on the same day (these two love sharing a birthday) so I had a shared cake made for them. Their ages combined make them 99 years old together.

So many family parties at the end of the year! Last month we all celebrated my mother’s 85th birthday in the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam with a lunch and a guided tour…

… and at the end of the month we celebrated my niece’s 15th birthday (no pictures) and we still have Christmas coming up! Christmas Eve we have two friends coming over for dinner, Christmas Day we have dinner at my in-laws house and the next day we have a Christmas celebration at my mother’s flat with my family… By the time Christmas is over, Mr Esther and I are ready to crawl back into our anti-social hole. 🙂

In years past, after Christmas, we’d go to a cottage in the north of The Netherlands that my parents used to own to hide away for a bit. This year we have decided to get away for a few days around New Year’s to Frankfurt am Main in Germany; we booked a hotel in the city center there a few weeks ago. My son will have to work (he’s doing an internship in a hotel right now) and plans on going out to party with friends anyway for New Year’s, so it will just be Mr Esther, our daughter and I.  Yes, the end of year is always a very busy social (family) time for us. Makes up for being anti-social at other times in the year. 😉

To Mr. A. on his birthday

In South Korea it’s almost 6 am of August the 23rd but over here in Western Europe it’s still August the 22nd, close to 11 pm. So, I’m still (just) on time to wish Richard Armitage a happy birthday!

I was delighted this morning with this childhood picture the man posted of himself on Instagram

2019-0822 Childhood picture posted on 48th birthday… and these recent images of Richard arriving in South Korea again for filming.

And there’s an extra delight that I have won a small item in Guylty’s auction for Richard’s birthday and that she has been able to transfer € 2300,- as proceeds from the auction to the Shelter charity! I really love the thought of making a donation to a charity as a birthday present so it’s been a delight to be a tiny part of this. (Modified to add: Servetus also has a fundraiser still going on, as I type this, over on her blog! Check it out if you like!)

As for my own personal birthday wish, let me quote a bit of Alexander Pope’s poem called To Mrs MB on her Birthday for him. So, from me to Richard, it’s basically:

To Mr. A. on his birthday:

Oh be thou blest with all that Heav’n can send,
Long Health, long Youth, long Pleasure, and a Friend. […]
With added years if Life bring nothing new,
But, like a Sieve, let ev’ry blessing thro’, […]
Let Joy or Ease, let Affluence or Content,
And the gay Conscience of a life well spent,
Calm ev’ry thought, inspirit ev’ry grace.
Glow in thy heart, and smile upon thy face.
Let day improve on day, and year on year,
Without a Pain, a Trouble, or a Fear! […]

Happy (almost belated) birthday, Richard Armitage!

All grown up!

It’s my son’s 18th birthday today! Officially speaking, he’s all grown up… Here in The Netherlands he may now vote, drive, drink, do his own finances without us having any control, he may get married and get tattoos without his parents’ consent.  It’s a bit surreal that although he’s our child he’s not a kid anymore.

I so remember these days…

… and now it’s this!

Mr Esther and I got old and my son is now all grown. It really does go by so fast…

Audrey’s 90th!

Today would have been Audrey Hepburn’s 90th birthday! She was born on May 4th, 1929 and died of cancer, way too young, at the age of 63 on January 20th, 1993. I was introduced to her via Roman Holiday in my teens (which to date still is pretty much my favourite movie) and have loved her ever since. Yes, I have Audrey memorabilia in my house, although that link doesn’t show the big Roman Holiday poster in my bedroom (with an apron hanging on it), or the calendar I once bought on a visit to Rome in 2010 and can’t bear to throw out, or Audrey Hepburn on a tin card in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, positioned between pictures of my children when they were little.

I will forever regret not trying to get a glimpse of her at a UNICEF event she attended in The Netherlands not too far from where I lived, a year or two before she died. She was a lovely actress and a warm humanitarian, who has touched my heart in many ways.

To celebrate Audrey Hepburn’s 90th birthday, here’s a Roman Holiday fan video to help convince you to see that movie if you haven’t ever done so already…

… and here are some lovely Audrey Hepburn pictures…

… and this link to the Audrey Hepburn Fund, where her sons continue her legacy of helping the less fortunate children in this world.

I have loved her for most of my life and she will live on in my heart forever, I hope. Happy Birthday, dear Audrey!