The Mystery Blogger Award

Herba, on her Unkraut vergeht nicht… oder doch? blog, has nominated me for The Mystery Blogger Award. Thank you for thinking of me, Herba! You can read her contribution to the award (in German) here.

So, what is The Mystery Blogger Award? I didn’t know how it works either, but here are the rules and here is the logo that goes with it:mystery-blogger-award-logo

About The Mystery Blogger Award:

This is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.

Okoto Enigma is the creator of the award. To motivate the Blogger please do visit her blog.

The Rules of the Award:

– Put the award logo/image on your blog.
– List the rules.
– Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
– Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
– Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
– You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
– Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
– Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
– Share a link to your best post(s).

My responses to 3 things about myself:

Hmmm, 3 things about myself… I could say many things, but I have said a lot of things about myself on blog before so I had to think a bit about what I maybe haven’t said before. Not quite sure if these things are totally new, but hopefully these 3 things about me are somewhat newish…

1.  I never drink coffee, I just do not like it, not even when it’s a tiny bit of coffee with a lot of milk! For years when I went to my parents’ house my dad would always offer, “Esther, do you want a cup of coffee?” It was this little joke between us because I would always say, “Nope, I still hate it!” I do love tea, though, especially herbal teas.

2.  I come from a large family, I am number 6 of 8 children. Half of my brothers and sisters are adopted (two of Palestinian and two of Ethiopian descent). Kids just sort of happened to appear on our doorstep, due to social projects my mother was involved in when we lived in Israel in my youth, and my parents just kept the kids who were alone in the world and adopted them later. 🙂 I have always loved our large, colourful family, warts and all. When I was a pre-teen I read a book called The Family Nobody Wanted about a couple that ends up adopting 12 children of different ethnic backgrounds and I really identified with that, as it was close to my own family experience as well! I still have that book.

All of this made me want to have 8-12 children myself and I wanted to adopt most of them! That idea quickly changed, however, when I got children of my own. I love them, I love having them in my life, but I couldn’t imagine juggling 8 or, God forbid, 12 children on a daily basis! And adoption in The Netherlands? So much more complicated, so many rules, such a long waiting period (up to 5 years!) and more expensive than the way my parents were able to do it in the 1970s… So yeah, I’m just very happy with my 2 kids now and enjoy having a lot of siblings, some of whom look nothing like me.

3.  I am NOT a morning person, I prefer to not go to bed before 1 am. It’s a real struggle getting to bed at around 11 pm on work nights.

Responses to the 5 questions Herba posed:

1. Do you have a phobia?

Yep, spiders!!! I can tolerate mice and snakes and scorpions but I can not do spiders!

2. Are you working in your dream job?

There’s a huge problem with this question: I don’t know what my dream job is! What I want to do changes all the time. Sometimes I want to be a kick ass social worker or children’s psychologist, sometimes I want to be a writer, or a web designer, or I want to go back to librarianship which is what I trained for (after trying psychology and English as fields of study first). I’ve wanted to be a teacher and a translator, I have wanted to be a journalist or a stills photographer on a TV or film set, I have wanted to be an aid worker in a developing country. What I can say is that I always look for jobs in a social field and so far, to my great satisfaction, I have worked for government, education and development aid organizations. Right now I have an IT-related job for an organization that provides healthcare and educational advice for children and youngsters and I very much enjoy it. That doesn’t stop me from still envisioning other career paths, though.

3. As a child, did you have a favourite book, a favourite movie or tv series, and a favourite singer or music group? What are your current 3 favourites?

  • Favourite book, that I read when I was about 9 or so, was a simplified children’s version of Jane Eyre and the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • Favourite TV series was Little House on the Prairie and I loved the first movie I remember seeing in the cinema, a Cinderella movie called The Slipper and the Rose.
  • I’m not sure I had a favourite singer or group as a kid. I do remember loving ABBA songs and I liked Boney M. My absolute favourite song was Ma Baker by Boney M:

Current favourites:

  • Favourite book: Jane Eyre is still up there, along with Jane Austen’s books Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice, but I think I’d have to go with To Kill a Mockingbird as my favourite. I still remember reading it for the first time, it was almost like a religious experience, it spoke to my very being.
  • Favourite movie – I love so so many but I think my all time favourite still is Roman Holiday. Favourite TV series: I love so many, I couldn’t just pick one. Latest obsession is Suits.
  • I already once blogged about all my musical favourites throughout my life. My current fave for the last few years has been English band Muse. Just for fun, here’s a song I haven’t linked to before in other posts; it’s one of my faves and is called Hysteria. I have blogged about 2Cellos covering Hysteria but here is Muse’s original:

4. If you could walk in someone else’s shoes for 24 hours, who would it be and why would it be that person specifically? 

I had no idea what to answer here so I asked Mr Esther who he thought I’d like to be for a day. He immediately shot out a reply: Colin Firth’s wife! And, oh my goodness, he is right! The man knows me well. 🙂 Livia Firth is smart and socially very conscious, she’s an Eco warrior with her own consulting firm through which she tries to make the fashion world a more fair place and, extremely importantly, she’s married to Colin Firth! So, yes, I wouldn’t mind being Livia Firth for a day and I know exactly on which day as well: I want to be Livia with Colin Firth on Oscar night! They had a great Oscar night in 2011 when Colin won the Oscar for The King’s Speech. They got all dressed up together (click on images to enlarge)…

… and looked quite lovey-dovey and had fun on the red carpet together…

… Colin kissed Livia when his Oscar win was announced. Ah, to be on the receiving end of Colin’s kiss..

… and Livia and Colin had fun together after the win…

So, I’d like to be either Livia on Oscar night, or I wouldn’t mind being Richard Armitage’s make up artist Tami Lane on The Hobbit for a day, specifically this day when these pictures were taken…

5. McDonald’s or Burger King?

I’m not really a fan of either. I think there are more McDonald’s than Burger Kings here in The Netherlands. I never go to Burger King, I think I can count on one hand the amount of times in my life that I’ve entered a Burger King. I do go to McDonald’s and the reason for that is not the food (I rarely eat anything there) but I do love the milkshakes! So, I choose McDonald’s for the milkshakes. Mr. Esther likes the coffee there.

Mystery Blogger nominations and my 5 questions

Nominating others is always a tough one. I’ll just throw a few names out there, but feel free to ignore or jump in, whichever! And if your name isn’t here but you’re inspired to answer, please feel free to!

So, the nominations first (trying to not nominate anyone already nominated by Herba):

Violet | SueBC | Lady Butterfly | Sarah | Gratiana | Linnetmoss | Heather | Obscura | BerLinda | Richard

And my 5 questions:

  1. Your favourite genre of book or movie? Name 3 examples of each.
  2. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life and who should play your partner? (If you don’t have a partner, you can make up a mystery one! Even if you do have a partner, you can make up a mystery one. 🙂 )
  3. Are you sunrise, daylight, twilight, or night? Please explain why.
  4. If you won the lottery what would you do?
  5. Tacos for life or sushi for life?

Tag, you’re it if you want to be!

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Liebster Award #2

When I was quite new to blogging I was nominated for a Liebster Award and I dutifully answered the questions I was posed. Now Die Pö has nominated me for another Liebster Award. Thank you!

liebster-blog-award-2

The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog into your post.
  2. Answer 11 questions which you have been asked by the nominating blogger.
  3. Nominate 5 to 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 1,000 followers.
  4. Add a new list of 11 questions for the nominated bloggers.
  5. Paste these rules into your post.
  6. Make sure your nominees know about your post and their nomination.

Die Pö posed her questions in German, but I’ll just translate them into English before I answer them.


1- Do you only write on your own blog or do you also write on other blogs or platforms?

For my work I have in the past written messages on our work intranet and I have written some content for a company internet page. Privately, I used to post on a few forums (parenting ones back in the day when I first became a mother and a Richard Armitage one later), I have posted some fan fiction, and I post reactions on other blogs, but basically the only place I ever really post any original content is here on my own blog.

2- Which of your posts hasn’t been clicked on enough?

Nothing really springs to mind. I don’t really evaluate the success of a post by how much it is clicked on, the value comes from my satisfaction writing it. For instance, one of my most clicked-on posts is a translation of a Dutch newspaper article on Richard Armitage but it is not my most satisfactory post – it’s just a piece of translation that actually I did not enjoy doing that much (I’m just not a translator at heart). So, I looked into my blog statistics to answer this question and I see that the least clicked-on post is this one: https://bookesther.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/where-is-my-mind/. It’s about a piano cover that I really loved in a movie I saw and that lead me to reminisce about Greta Garbo.

3- What excites you at the moment?

Besides the fact that France elected Macron as its new president (and not the extremist Le Pen), I have been very happy about Portugal winning the Eurovision song contest this past weekend! We watch the contest every year and we vote in it too, but most years you just sort of vote for the least bad song. This year was different. Well, not that different, as there were so many songs there we didn’t much like! So many songs are about effects and fireworks and being sexy, with all the women screaming out high notes. However, there was one song, the Portuguese entry, that captivated me. This song was so touching in its simplicity, differing very much from most of the other entries. It was a solo performance sung by Salvador Sobral and was written by his sister Luisa. After winning he and his sister sang the song together as a duet. Not only does Salvador have a beautiful voice, so does his sister Luisa! (The song starts at 3:55 minutes)

What excites me is that such heart-felt simplicity can triumph almost unanimously (from juries and audiences alike) over bombastic songs that all sound almost alike.  (P.S. I also liked the Belgian song, despite the young 17 year old singer’s nerves – she came in 4th)

4- Which TV-series did you love in your youth?

Without the shadow of a doubt it was Little House on the Prairie. I adored everything about that series. I loved Laura Ingalls. In hindsight it was dripping in all too Christian values, but that’s OK and I still enjoy re-watching bits today!

5- The first 4 months of the year have passed: what is the best movie you have seen during that time?

May I name two? I absolutely loved both Moonlight

… and Lion.

6- What is your current favourite catchy song?

I love Human by Rag’n’Bone Man. Can’t get enough of it…

7- If you had to summarize your past week in one word, what word would that be?

Reconnecting.

8- What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?

I was at my mother’s house yesterday and we opened a box of letters that my father had kept that had formerly belonged to my grandfather (his dad). My grandfather had been a theologian and pastor (just like my dad had been) and during the Second World War he had received many letters from parishioners, men who had been deported into forced labour for the German occupiers. In that box of letters (fascinating stuff, btw!) we also found a post-war (1946) invitation for my grandfather to attend a ceremony at Leiden University where Winston Churchill was to receive an honorary doctorate! I took a picture with my phone of that personal invitation…

Churchill invite Leiden 1946

9- Quickly: what does the word “Light” make you think of?

Candles.

10- Which book is beside your bed right now?

I’ve already finished reading it, but Michael Palin’s diaries that I received last year for my birthday is still lying there.

11- For dessert: pudding or ice cream?

Oooh, tough one! After long deliberation I will choose pudding; to be specific: crème brûlée! I hardly ever eat it because I can’t make a good one myself (and don’t have the patience for it) but when I eat a good one, I absolutely adore it!


Paying it forward

The rules state that I can now pose 11 questions myself and nominate 5-11 others to answer them. I like the questions Pö asked, so I’ll use some of them and add my own (and Pö, if you’d like to answer these as well, feel free to 🙂 )!

  1. What excites you at the moment?
  2. In one sentence: what depresses you at the moment?
  3. Cats or dogs? (Picture material appreciated!)
  4. Which TV series did you love in your youth?
  5. Who is your favourite actor or actress no longer living?
  6. What is the best movie you have seen so far in 2017?
  7. The top 3 live theatre and/or concert experiences you’ve ever had?
  8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
  9. What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?
  10. Your favourite dessert?
  11. For Armitage fans: your favourite Richard Armitage photo ever?

I am curious to hear answers to these questions but I really don’t like to obligate anyone to do anything! So, I’ll just nominate 11 people (Armitage fans one and all, who do not post exclusively about Armitage) and it’s totally up to you whether you want to do this or not!

If others reading this feel the urge to answer these questions as well, please do so, you’re more than welcome to (even if only in the comments, if you wish to)! If you’re not an Armitage fan you can substitute the name in the last question for the name of your favourite actor or actress. 🙂 I’d love to read any and all responses.

Walking down memory lane…

Herba walked down memory lane on her blog today, looking back at what she did on April 9th these past few years. Then Guylty joined in and did the same, as did Servetus. And here I am, giving it a go as well… Only, when I looked back, I realized I have not been blogging that long! It’s only been 2.5 years for me, but it feels longer…

Maybe it feels like I have been blogging longer because I’d been struggling with wanting to write a blog for a long time before I actually started. I just never knew how to go about it. What theme do I choose? What audience should I have in mind? What form should I choose? Which platform? How often do I post? I’m so fickle, I can’t stick to one theme like ‘only movies’ or ‘only Richard Armitage’ and then the other questions just got too difficult. If I couldn’t think of a single blog-theme, the rest of it didn’t matter. Or so I thought.

I wrote exactly one post in May 2013, a ‘letter to John Green’, because I had enjoyed his book The Fault in Our Stars so much (I have not yet seen the movie, though) and then I went quiet again, trying to figure out all the questions above. At the time I thought maybe I could write my blog in letter form but after the first letter I just didn’t feel that was it. And sure, I’d written about a book, but what if I wanted to write about something totally different next, wouldn’t that be confusing to readers/audiences? I just couldn’t answer all my own questions, so the blogging-wish was left by the wayside for over another year.

Then The Crucible happened and the ‘summer of love’ with it. I was silently glued to Me+Richard for all the updates of fans reporting about seeing the play and finally in September 2014 (after having seen the play myself in July) the urge to write about it myself was so huge that I just went ahead and did it; I finally posted my own Crucible experience. I then decided to not limit myself to anything on my blog, just post what the hell ever I want to when the hell ever I want to. And my audience? Who the hell knew who they would be? I’d just write and see what came from that and I haven’t looked back since.  🙂

Themes have emerged since then. I blog about Richard Armitage a lot and Richard-readers have turned out to be my largest audience; I blog about Colin Firth, about other actors, about movies, sometimes music, an occasional book, politics, real life… and when I look back at April (9th) posts I see my two largest themes emerge: Richard and Colin!

My first April 9th post was in 2015 and was about a very special birthday gift I had received from my mother. I think painting it had also been therapy for her after the loss of my dear father just a few weeks before and I loved it and still do!

IMG_0651 w c

And that is also my only other April 9th post!

Last year my first post in April was on April 12th! It was about Colin Frith at a movie premiere with Helen Mirren…

… and featured Richard Armitage in La Palma where he was filming for Berlin Station…

RA La Palma3

So, that’s it, just two April 9th-ish posts and a lot of reminiscing on how I started blogging in the first place. On to another year of blogging and making more memories. 🙂

MTA: Herba has started a trend! More April 9th posts from Zeesmuse, Perry and Judiang!

2016 annus horribilis… and 2017…?

Well, even Christmas was not left untainted by 2016 with George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds dying!! RIP to all three of these very talented people!

I came across this video today, which sums up 2016 nicely – as if it were a horror movie!

Let’s hope 2017 gets better…

I’ll probably be AWOL for the next few days, maybe a week even, so I’m already sending you all my best wishes for the new year. May it be a better one than 2016 was!! If it could start off with something like an image of Richard Armitage on a snow-covered mountain, I wouldn’t mind…

ra-ski-selfie

In honesty, though – while the world may be falling apart, for me personally not all of 2016 was bad. I had some lovely times with family and friends and meeting new friends and I still do continue to enjoy blogging. So, thank you to all of you who drop by here for reading and  commenting, you helped me make it through 2016 OK! I wish you all the following…

newy-year-2017

Happy Holidays, everyone!

boe-holiday-greeting-2016

Shamelessly using Colin Firth and Richard Armitage for my holiday greetings here. 🙂

Thank you to everyone who has been dropping by to read here over the past year, you all make this blogging thing extra worthwhile! Have a wonderful Christmas / Hannukah or whatever you do or don’t celebrate and let’s hope 2017 will be better than 2016…