Covidiots on the rampage…

… here in The Netherlands the past few evenings and probably this evening as well and that makes me furious. Read this if you want to know more: “Curfew stays despite ‘scum’ riots in Dutch cities“.

This past weekend an evening curfew started from 9 pm till 4.30 am to combat the further spread of Covid. The curve has been going down for the regular Covid 19 variant but is on the rise for the British variant, which is far more contagious. We’re basically battling two pandemic diseases at once now. There has even been a riot outside a hospital, for crying out loud! Seriously, what do these rioters think is the alternative: just all go out and party and kill each other instead through transmitting this disease? A few weeks ago, on January 6th, everyone was aghast at riots in the Capitol in Washington DC and now we have riots here. Not instigated by political leaders, thank goodness, but riots nonetheless. If they were peaceful protests I could understand but rioting like this over a night time curfew to protect each other? Where is the sense?

Sign in The Hague that says: “I understand that you’re angry but violence doesn’t help. – An ordinary girl

I despair at the idiocy of the human race.

Quarantine bedtimes

This quarantine thing has quite an impact on my daily rhythm. I find it difficult to get to bed before 1 or 2 am. Last night it was 2 am, or a little after. I’m a pretty sound sleeper and usually can fall asleep quickly but last night our black cat had decided to grace our bed again. She’d been sleeping curled up near Mr. Esther but as soon as I got into bed, she first decided to lay on top of my side, but that got hot for me, so I pushed her off. I then had to battle her for space on my pillow. She likes to lie on it too, particularly half on my head, which is not comfortable for me either. In the end, after about half an hour, she settled somewhere between Mr. Esther and I and I could finally fall asleep.

Then, this morning, after barely 5.5 hours of sleep, I got up again so that I could help my daughter get some food into her and give her some moral support before she went to school for two socially distanced exams (she has an exam week this week). She does really well in all subjects, except for math, and she was nervous, despite studying really hard for that on her own and also via video calls with friends. She’ll be getting extra help with math from school from next week onwards (we had asked for extra help some 7 or 8 weeks ago as Mr Esther and I are pretty useless with math) but for this exam that help comes too late. Anyway, I figured the least I could do was give her that little bit of extra support this morning, so that meant waking up some 45 minutes before I normally do. When she left I was still tired, so I decided I could just lie down again for another 25 minutes or so before I took a quick shower and started work at 9. Of course, I fell right back asleep and didn’t wake again till 9.30! I hastily got up, threw something on that looks halfway decent infront of a webcam, did a quick brush of the hair, put on a dusting of mascara and then got to my laptop to prepare for my first meeting which was at 10 am. Luckily, there wasn’t too much to prepare.

So, here I am, unshowered and tired. Luckily no more video meetings today, just some chores to do on the computer that aren’t time sensitive, so I took a little time eat a late lunch and now to blog. I’m wearing the Pride & Prejudice green book cover earrings I got from Guylty and lunch was a slice of bread with a little butter and chocolate sprinkles. I look wrinkly, old and my hair is an unwashed mess, but I am happy with the earrings and sprinkles! They are the only things to really bring me joy so far today (and the news from mini-me just now that the exam seemed to go OK, we hope enough for a passing grade).

I really need to work on getting to bed sooner, though. Half an hour past midnight should be doable, right? And then get up at 8.30 am after 8 hours of sleep? And yet… Last night, Mr Esther went upstairs at 1 am and I said I’d be right there and before I knew it an hour had gone by! A little while ago during a video conference, my boss told me she pretends she needs to travel to work, so she gets up early and does her normal routine and that helps her be on time. I am not that disciplined, however, and I just can’t do that because in the back of my mind I keep on thinking it isn’t real anyhow so why bother?

I think it’s time these lockdowns ended and some sense of normality comes back into our lives. Only then will I be able to discipline myself for better bedtimes, I think. However, it will be a long while yet before normality returns. There are talks of possibly setting an evening and night curfew here and vaccinations don’t seem to be progressing that quickly either. I know I need to self-discipline but I’m so terrible at it… Am I alone in this or are you guys just as terrible as I am?

Quarantine continues

We’re just about ten months into Corona quarantine now. We see a handful of other people/family (socially distanced) on occasion but most of all we’re in and around our home, for work and for most of our free time as well. We go for walks, like today, with the sheerest, thinnest sheet of ice on the water. Alas, it isn’t cold enough for the ice to become thick enough to stand on.

As we’re in quite a strict lockdown now, everything’s closed and there’s nothing much else to do outside the house than that. In all that time, I’ve only had my hair cut (a bit) once, so it’s grown quite long now, the longest it’s been since my early twenties, which means I can now even braid it again…

Vaccinations have started here this past week but it will be a while yet before it’s our turn. Mr Esther has asthma, so he may be called in for a vaccination first (just checked, they say from February) before the kids and I (from April/May). Already, they aren’t sure whether this schedule can be adhered to, it all depends on enough vaccines being available. The number of hospitalizations and positive tests here aren’t falling fast enough…

Source

… so there is every chance this stricter lockdown will be extended after January 19th. We have quite a way to go yet, so I guess it’s just best to not look too far ahead. Speaking of the short term, what would really make my week next week would be if Donald Trump were indeed impeached and kicked out of office – not likely, but I live in hope.

Back to real (virtual) life

Christmas holidays are over and we’re all back to work in our virtual real life worlds. Mr. Esther is working online in his study upstairs, Junior had online classes in his attic room until 2 pm and now (between 3 pm and 6 pm) he is at his part time job in a DIY store. He normally works at the cash register there (behind a plastic screen) but due to Corona restrictions, the store is only open for pickups of online orders. So, the last two times he went in to work he had to do other jobs (masked), like cleaning shelves and re-stocking merchandise.

I’ve just finished my first working day (which was OK), here at the dining table, and mini-me has been doing her online classes opposite me as her desk in her bedroom is too narrow to accommodate all the materials she needs. I went up to her room for an online meeting for a bit, but otherwise our working station today is looking like this (mini-me has started studying for exams that will be happening in two weeks).

School from home for the kids will be happening for at least the coming two weeks but as the Covid 19 cases aren’t going down fast enough here, I suspect those measures may be prolonged.

Two weeks of holidays have just flown by. We’re all not quite ready for all this real life, virtual, stuff again and each one if us looks a bit pale and tired today because our bodies are still on holiday clocks instead of work/school clocks. We all really need to make sure we get to bed earlier tonight than we did last night. All four of us are night owls, so wish us luck!

A quieter Christmas

Christmas this year was quite lovely albeit a little more low key than usual due to Covid 19 restrictions. Thankfully everyone I know is in good health, so we actually could still have a nice Christmas and see a few people.

This year we didn’t get to go to a Christmas market in Germany with two good friends of ours from college, like we do every year. At the Christmas markets we sometimes keep the commemorative mug from the Glühwein (mulled wine) that we usually drink then. This year there would be no Glühwein in mugs at markets like we’d been having for more than 20 years. So, I had our own commemorative mugs made with selfies from Christmas markets past, for Mr Esther, myself and for our two friends.

The text translates to “Due to Covid 19, a mug instead of a Christmas market. Merry Christmas 2020!”

We were going to try a socially distanced get together instead of a market at one of our friends’ houses about a week before Christmas but then the other friend canceled because she had some cold symptoms. Good thing she did too as she tested positive for Covid 19 a day later! She and her husband both had it, although luckily only mildly. I still wanted to get my mugs to our friends, so last Monday mini me and I drove to the healthy friend, handed her her mug and spent half an hour drinking tea with her at a distance. On Christmas Eve Mr Esther, mini me and I drove over an hour north and dropped off the other mug. We set it down infront of our other friend’s door and then, keeping a good distance outside despite her not having any symptoms anymore, we chatted across her front garden with her for about 15 minutes. It was good to bring a little Christmas cheer that way.

We had a nice drive back home coming through some typical Dutch landscapes and the picturesque town of Volendam, which was quite deserted due to the lockdown we’re now having…

Back at home again, we had a quiet Christmas Eve dinner with Junior’s girlfriend also present and we unwrapped a few small gifts with her as he wouldn’t be seeing her for the rest of Christmas. Afterwards I dedicated myself to finally reading the rest of my Michelle Obama “Becoming” book that I had bought second hand a while back and had started reading the first 3 or 4 chapters of but still needed to finish. The cats seized that opportunity to lie on and next to me.

One of my favourite things that day was my brother sending us a video of my mother reading the Christmas story from our old family bible. On Second Christmas Day (or Boxing Day, December 26th) we usually have a big family get together where she does that but, as the whole family get together wasn’t happening this year, I loved that my brother (who’s temporarily living with her) made that little video and sent it out. It’s one to cherish for the ages.

On Christmas morning, Mr Esther made us a nice brunch, we then unwrapped our gifts. I got lovely cat socks that I adore and chocolates from mini me, Junior got me Barack Obama’s “Promised Land” that I had wanted and Mr Esther got me a Audrey Hepburn calendar and a portable record player, so that I could play my old Bowie records. My fave thing that I got for Mr Esther was a “Blessed are the cheesemakers” t-shirt (a line from the brilliant Monty Python’s The Life of Brian). As Mr Esther is a cheese nerd, it felt like a very fitting gift for him.

Mr Esther has no siblings so we could adhere the ‘no more than 3 guests’ rule easily by inviting our in laws (whom we hadn’t seen in months) over for dinner. We table grilled. On Second Christmas Day in the afternoon we went to my mother and my brother and had a low key delicious turkey buffet dinner at her house.

In between these social activities we played a game or two and I read and read and read, really enjoying the Michelle Obama book. Today is a lazing around day, I finished the book a few hours ago but, even though I love the Obamas (even made a video once as they left office in January 2017), I need a little Obama break before I start Barack’s book.

Anyway, I hope all of you who celebrate in one way or another had a nice Christmas too. Now it’s back to the real world again, I guess. For me that means that from tomorrow I should become productive again (we have some storage clearing out to do). For now I’m loving the down time, though, so we’ll see if that happens.