Shopping in Corona times

As of today, here in The Netherlands, there are 7431 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 2151 of these people are in hospital and 434 people have died. Numbers are still rising here although yesterday and today they have said the rise seems to be a little less steep due to all the measures taken. Measures here in The Netherlands to prevent the spread of the Corona virus were tightened three days ago, like not being allowed outside with more than 3 people in a group, the rule to keep at least 1,5 meter distance strongly reiterated and the shops must take measures to ensure people stay 1,5 meters apart.

I ventured out to the stores in the little mall across the street yesterday, we needed some groceries and I had a trip to make to the post office, and sure enough things looked different in the shops. There were signs, like this one I saw as I passed the butcher’s where not more than 5 people are allowed in at a time and they are told to keep a distance.

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Other shops had marked the floors where people queue, indicating the 1,5 meter distance…

At the supermarket there were markings where you can queue for the shopping carts and a guy in an emergency vest was checking that not too many people went into the store at the same time…

I use a self-service scanner to scan my groceries and the scanner tells shoppers to come alone (so not in groups) and has a 1,5 meter warning text…

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At the self-service check-out there are partitions so contact can be avoided…

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I ran into a neighbour at the store and we stood and talked to each other for a bit with that distance between us. It felt weird.

Today, after a very busy day working from home, Mr Esther and I walked to a DIY store (a bit over a half hour’s walk away) during what would normally be rush hour on a Thursday afternoon. There were some cars, a few occasional bikers (normally you’d be run over by bikers while walking on a bike path at such a time!) and virtually no pedestrians in the streets at 5.30 pm. It’s almost eery.

Our little family ended the day yesterday by playing a game, which is lovely, but I wonder how sick we will get of Rummikub by the time this ends.

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It looks like our reality will continue to look like this for a while. I so hope it will all help keep the virus somewhat in check so that the hospitals can keep up. We are living in such surreal times right now!

Back into the swing of things again?

Looking at my inbox I realize I have not been around much on blog and on other blogs for the past month or so! It’s pointless to try and catch up on all the old posts of my fave bloggers that I have missed, it would just take up too much time. So, I’m jumping in on posts from a week or so ago and I’ll take it from there…

Where have I been you ask? Well, right here, but very busy. I am now 2 months into my new job, I am enjoying it very much but it’s also extremely busy! So busy, in fact, that I have been in talks about needing another person there with me to share the load. Luckily my direct managers also see that, so we will be working towards a solution. I’m still so glad I made the choice to leave a toxic situation at my old job and find this new one. So far, no regrets there! I’ve also been busy with family stuff, so by the time I get to down time, all I want is to put my mind to rest and not think too much.

During that down time I have been ‘Hallmarking’ again (i.e. watching Hallmark movies), because those are easy movies to watch that don’t make you think too much. They tend to use certain actors over and over and I am becoming quite knowledgeable, in any case about the actors I tend to like in these movies. I feel a ‘fave Hallmark actors’ post coming, we’ll see if I can find patience to actutally write about it. The ones that have preoccupied me most lately are Paul Greene…

Heart of a Fighter

… and Paul Campbell…

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They both have these gentle, warm, friendly ways about them with humour (Campbell’s humor seems a little more dry than Greene’s) and they’re easy on the eyes without being too flashy.

Anyway, that was a little side-track from the sorry-I-was-absent message. I know I always said I would not put any rules or restraints on my blogging. I blog when I can and when I want to and if that means not blogging for a while then that’s fine! Having said that, since starting this blogging thing close to 5 years ago I have rarely been this quiet and inactive and it does feel a bit weird and like I should apologize for being so silent. Let me just tell you: it’s not you, it’s me! And I hope I’ll get back into the swing of things again more, although I hate to promise anything.

Back to daily life: my foot is still really sore (just now hobbled out to the garden to take these pictures)…

… so I’m working from home today. Cancelling two appointments has freed up a little time to write this post. 🙂  For now I think I’m back and I hope to see you around, also on the other blogs I read.

A smile back on my face

First off, news on the Mr E front is very promising as his health is improving! They want to keep him in hospital for a little longer to see if his improvement continues. If blood levels are good on Monday morning (which looks likely going by how much better they were today), then he can come home again on Monday afternoon. 🙂 This is a great relief and now leaves a little room in my brain and heart for other, more fun, stuff again.

One such fun thing is what my younger brother shared with the family today. He is staying with my mother for a few days and came across these two pictures from my childhood. Going by how small my younger brother and sister were (they are 7 months apart in age, two babies that had joined our family from Nazareth in 1973), and the sweaters we were wearing (this is just outside Jerusalem, which got a little chilly in winter but was warm in summer), these pictures must have been taken in the winter of 1973/1974. I know the pictures but haven’t seen them for ages! I was close to 4 when these were taken, I’m the little blonde girl on the right. I have a fleeting memory of these pictures being taken as I distinctly remember sitting on that wall for these pictures, something I wasn’t normally allowed to do on my own.

20181231_092535img-20190111-wa0011The brother who shared these pictures is the little baby in the front in this second picture. The guy in the back with the curls is not a sibling of mine but is a violinist who stayed in our small back garden guesthouse for a while. I have no idea how he came to stay there or how my parents knew him. He gave my older sister (in front with the babies) and brother (beside me) violin lessons. His name is Volker Biesenbender, I just looked him up and he is quite prolific. He was a student of Yehudi Menuhin and I even found clips of him on YouTube, like this one:

I remember Volker’s face and his name, but I don’t recall what he was like or how long he stayed. It’s so sweet to see the little black dog in Volker’s arms. He was our family dog, Lalo, and we absolutely adored him until he died when I was 10.

I can now walk around with a smile on my face: Mr Esther is getting better, I had to finish off some work today which I at first totally botched but then managed to fix again and then got the task done as well, and I have sweet childhood memories flooding back. Real life duties call now, but that’s not so bad if you can smile. 🙂

Here we go again

So, Mr Esther took a turn for the worse yesterday evening. Long story short: went to hospital last night because of fever and not being able to keep food down. Mini-me S insisted on coming as well (she really wants to work in a hospital one day)…

… and Mr Esther had to stay the night and will have to stay a few nights more. S went to bed at around 2.15 am, I went an hour and a half later after bringing Mr Esther some of his things and getting messages out to people (family and also colleagues on my work phone) while having a half glass of Baileys to unwind.

Mr Esther’s pancreas is inflamed, so he’s on fluids and antibiotics now. He’s thankfully not as sick as he was in October, but this still isn’t fun.

I’ve had it with all the drama this past year or so. 🤨

Wedding rings part II

For 3,5 days I have been wearing Mr Esther’s wedding ring as well as mine as he was in hospital for the removal of his heavily infected gall bladder. At the end of this morning the man came home! We’ve been having gorgeous weather here lately and as he has hardly been outside since last week Wednesday when his stomach pains started, he relished the opportunity to just sit in the sun. I planted him on a chair in our front garden with a cup of tea and a stroopwafel (typical Dutch syrup waffle – yumm); it was warm enough for him to be sitting in a t-shirt (his fave Monty Python one with the “What have the Romans ever done for us” print)…

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… and afterwards he put his own wedding ring back on…

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The scary part is over, this is the perfect sign for me that everything will be alright now! He’s still on painkillers and has very reduced mobility but he’s OK and can finally get some proper rest. Hospitals are fine (and seriously, our hospital is the best with the most empathetic care you could hope for!) but still they are very busy with doctors and nurses at your bed constantly, sharing a room with a stranger (albeit a very nice one), a stream of visitors coming to see you and being subject to hospital schedules which differ from your own. The man hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in a week and is exhausted. Mr Esther is also a bit of a hypochondriac, his over-worked mind and overwrought feelings need a little calming down. Now he’s back home, the wedding ring is back on and he can finally have the peace and quiet to settle down, process what happened and recover.  When he took a little nap after lunch I laid down in bed with him for a little bit and it felt so good to have him beside me again. Welcome home, Mr Esther! ❤️