Colin, Richard and a nun’s blessing

In the midst of a diplomatic row between Turkey and The Netherlands (elections here in two days, this is apparently the best time for rows) I like to focus attention on more positive things. So, here are a few pictures I’d like to share from the past weeks…

Captivating Colin Firth graciously and with big smiles received roses (it looks like he’s hugging them too!) and a kiss from a fan, all nicely caught on camera a few weeks ago:

He was also seen in a turtleneck sweater (I love turlenecks!), filming scenes for the Love Actually revival for comic relief, which will be shown on the BBC at the end of next week, I believe!

I am already looking forward to that!

In addition there are also Richard Armitage pics to share. First off a quick sighting this past weekend at JFK, with Richard striding by in a flash (thanks for the find, Servetus!)

Richard JFK march 2017 crop

Whereas there are regular Colin sightings at airports, there are only a few Richard ones, so I really lap these up! There were also some riveting Richard pictures, shared last week, of him with Michelle Forbes and Tamlyn Tomita and dogs…

RA march 2017RA2 march 2017

Apparently shared on Michelle’s instagram account, I first came across it via Moose Turd’s twitter. Especially that first picture with the three of them laughing with the dog has me riveted… A very nice and handsome man laughing with women and a dog – it hardly gets better than that!

And there’s more feelgood stuff! Last night was the season 6 finale of the BBC’s Call the Midwife. One of the main characters, Shelagh Turner (played by Laura Main) gave birth to a baby. After the baby was delivered by Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter), she smiled and said the following blessing (I have put the words on my screencaps):

Call the Midwife Aaron's Blessing

I am not religious but this blessing (called Aaron’s blessing, from Numbers 6:24-26 in the bible) is very special to me. It’s a little longer than the part Sr Julienne says…

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

… and it was my dad’s favourite blessing to say to his loved ones. He said it at my wedding, at my oldest brother’s grave and every Christmas to all his grandkids.

In all the turbulence of the news out there right now, it is comforting to know there is still (memories of) happiness and warmth to go around. 🙂

Esther-Daddy Day

This evening the Jewish festival of Purim starts, celebrating the Persian Queen Esther who saved the Jewish people from genocide some 2500 years ago. My parents gave my siblings and me names from the Hebrew bible (old testament). So, my brothers and sisters are called: Rachel, David, Daniel (in fairness, Daniel wasn’t named by my parents; he came to our family age 11 and fit right in, name and all!), Joel, Rebecca and Jonathan. And then there’s me, Esther, named after Queen Esther herself! Hence also the title of this blog – I am named after the biblical queen in The Book of Esther and books tells stories, which in a way I do here as well, sharing stories and experiences in my life.

My parents always enjoyed giving me Queen Esther themed gifts. Many of them I don’t have anymore, or are scattered throughout the house and I don’t know where they are, but I do have two paintings still hanging on my walls here. One of the them, called “The town of  Queen Esther” was painted/printed by an acquaintance my parents had many years ago…

Queen Esther 2

It’s not my fave painting ever, but I like it enough to keep on my staircase wall.

A second piece of art I own hangs in my living room and was once given to me by my parents. It’s an absolutely fascinating ink drawing they got me when we were all visiting the artistic town of Tzfat (Safed) once in the north of Israel…

Queen Esther 1

If you look closely you’ll see that the figure of Esther and the pillars next to her are made up of tiny Hebrew lettering. We were told that the whole text of the Book of Esther is worked into this ink drawing! I just love this. This drawing is not only connected to my name and that bible story, it is also forever connected to my parents who picked it out for me. I can still see myself standing outside this artist’s atelier together with my parents, deciding on this particular work of art.

Tomorrow is not only Purim, the festival of Esther, but is also the second anniversary of the passing of my father. I am happy to have such mementoes as this one that keep me connected to him. So, as this evening/tomorrow is the happy festival of Purim as well as a day during which I commemorate my dad, I am dubbing March 12th, 2017 “Esther-Daddy Day”!

According to Jewish custom you say “May his memory be for a blessing!” and I can honestly say that although I will miss him forever, my father’s memory truly is a blessing. For tomorrow I wish for my family and myself to be filled with not only sad but also many happy memories and in Yiddish I wish to those who celebrate (my Jewish brother and sister among them) “A freilichen Purim”!

Tall dark handsome men…

Warning: tall dark handsome men pictures overkill ahead! I may be overcompensating for the depressing times we live in… a girl has got to do something to cheer herself up!

So, I have a very definitive type of man I always fall for. It’s an Oedipus thing – the first man I loved was my dad. He wasn’t particularly tall but he was dark and handsome and smart and caring…

Then I discovered Roman Holiday in my early teens and Gregory Peck…

I adored Peck (and still do), in hindsight he was big time daddy-issue material. Dark and handsome and smart and caring… and tall. I even wrote him a fan letter once! I received a reply about 2 years later with an autographed picture. Apparently a mail bag had been misplaced and found again and I got my reply after all. I have been searching for that autographed picture ever since I discovered not too long ago that it isn’t in the drawer that I thought it would be in…

I also had a soft spot for Richard Chamberlain in those years…

… but I was never as obsessed with him as I was with Gregory Peck.

After Gregory Peck and Richard Chamberlain I fell in love with a real life tall, dark, handsome, smart and caring man (and luckily he fell in love with me) and I’ve very happily hung onto him for the past 25 years

At the end of 1995 I discovered Colin Firth! He walked out of a lake in Pride and Prejudice and straight into my heart…

… and as regular readers here know I still love the man and blog about him!

I’ve had a little flirtation with Pierce Brosnan (even saw him up close and personal two and a half years ago!)…

… and have made a few fan videos with him in them.

I’ve also had a little flirtation with Keanu Reeves (including a fan video I made of an interview he did on Graham Norton and I loved him in that)…

Since 2006 the actor of my heart has been Richard Armitage, of course – the actor I blog about most on here!

And now, since a few weeks, there’s Lucas… No, not this one…

… I was never a huge Lucas North fan (or Spooks fan, for that matter), even if he was portrayed brilliantly by Richard Armitage. No, the Lucas I have discovered is named Lucas Bryant!

I have been watching Hallmark movies and I continue to watch them and Lucas Bryant was in two of them that I actually quite liked. I had seen them before a few months back and I had noticed him then as well. He was instantly on my “oh oh, there you go again!”-radar, but, as I often do when I discover someone new, I try to resist them. If I don’t resist, then I binge-watch and who has the time and energy to binge-watch?

Anyway, I don’t quite remember how, but I happened upon a Syfy channel series called Haven (based on an original story by Stephen King) that aired for 5 seasons but is finished now. And who should be in that but Lucas Bryant, the guy I’ve been trying to ignore?  The series is not quite my kind of thing – supernatural powers that often lead to deaths take over people in a small town. These ‘troubles’ as they are called have to be brought under control by two agents, Audrey Parker (who is somehow weirdly connected to the ‘troubles’) and Nathan Wuornos. His trouble isn’t that dangerous to others, only dangerous to himself: he has lost the sense of touch, he can’t feel anything, and is eventually shocked to find that when Audrey touches him he can feel her! Audrey, in turn, is immune to the ‘troubles’.

I watched a few episodes of Haven and while the stories of these ‘troubles’ didn’t always grab me, the story of Audrey and Nathan did. And so I have been binge-watching and skipping through 5 seasons of Haven episodes (each season has 13 episodes, 5th season has 26).  In the first series it’s still a bit of a baby-Nathan, the actor Lucas Bryant looks so young!

What attracted me in this first series is how Nathan deals with not being able to feel anything. I love how Lucas acts those Nathan moments when he suddenly realizes he can feel a touch from someone for the first time in years. He first feels something when Audrey gives him a brief kiss on the cheek.

He keeps it to himself at first (he confesses it to her later in the series) and especially in one episode he seeks out these touches (skip the first 1 minute and 15 seconds of this following video if you like, it’s not really essential). I like baby-Nathan in those scenes!

But as the series progresses (and also becomes more weird, especially regarding Audrey) he matures and yes, as the lines deepen a bit in his face, he becomes sexier to look at! Here, some pics of Nathan at the end of the series…

I don’t know what it is about him. He’s a bit too GQ handsome (just like Pierce Brosnan was in younger years) but there’s this boyish, almost shy, charm about him and a bit of goofiness and, of course, hidden heartache and then there are the forehead crinkles and the eyes and the hesitant smiles that light up his face… I think what finally tipped me over the edge into new obsession mode was this little love scene in season 4 that makes me grin widely each time; it happens soon after they have finally been able to become intimate in a previous episode. Nathan wants to kiss her, Audrey keeps on talking ‘troubles’ and he makes use of her ‘troubles’ obsession to persuade her to think of other things…

So, after Haven I re-watched those two Hallmark movies and I liked him even better in those than before. There is Tulips in Spring about an interior designer who must halt her work on a big project in order to return home and assist her injured father at her family’s tulip farm in rural Washington state. When she gets there she meets a handsome and kind flower broker (yep, that’s my Lucas)…

And there is Summer Love about a widowed mom who gets a summer internship at a tech company and draws the attention of two very different executives while learning about accounting, app designs and finding love. Lucas plays the accountant and is of course the true love.

Men who look that smooth aren’t normally my thing, they seem vacuous to me, but as he matures Lucas becomes even more mesmerizing to look at. There is just something about him and it’s not just the looks…  I think it’s in the eyes and in the smile, they seem to suggest something more to me. Here are some more pics, the woman in the one picture is his real life wife, an Australian actress and personal trainer called Kirsty Hinchcliffe who also had a small supporting role as a police officer in later episodes of Haven.

Lucas Bryant is Canadian-American, born in 1978, he and his wife have a daughter born in 2008 (all according to Wikipedia). He is still quite unknown, I think, and there is yet more to research and more roles to find… I’m not sure if he’s more than a temporary infatuation (I may be projecting a wish onto him that he can stop the troubled person who is sitting in the White House now) but I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I am having fun and can happily distract myself when the need arises. 🙂

Hate, Loss and Love in two days

These are emotional times… what’s happening in the UK and the US politically is deeply affecting me. It’s hitting home because I love so many things about these countries and it’s painful seeing that fear and intolerance are taking over there. I also wonder what that means for my own country which is dealing with some of the same issues and could take it’s cue from the US and the UK. We have elections coming up soon and I am very afraid for the outcome. Today, January 27th,  is Holocaust Remembrance Day and everyone says “oh, we must never forget the lessons of the past!” and yet the Western world seems to have forgotten already! I was reading a piece in ‘The Independent’ newspaper about Holocaust Memorial Day and the rise of antisemitism and xenophobia now and this quote struck me especially:

“The Holocaust didn’t begin in the death camps. It began with words. It displayed the most destructive of human behaviour – indifference, ignorance and greed. The choices made by ordinary people contributed to the deaths of millions.”

I visited Auschwitz this past summer, it’s one of the most sobering and heartbreaking experiences and a very powerful reminder of where hatred against certain groups of people can lead. In the US it’s starting already with immigrants, refugees and Muslims being ostracized officially now by the Trump administration, with a ‘me first’ philosophy prevalent and an attitude of building walls over bridges. I am afraid that it can not be stopped, I am afraid of who else will follow suit and I am afraid where this islamophobia / xenophobia and ‘me first’ philosophy will end… Now is the time to speak up against this, now is the time to try to act against xenophobia, before it is again too late. German anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller once said this…

martin-niemoller-first-they-came

I have been reading in certain places about people not understanding why opposition to Trump is so fierce right now, of being scared of that fierceness and wanting to give the man a chance first. I, on the other hand, can not understand why people of good will are hesitant to oppose him. After a first week of Trump presidency I am starting to almost be paralyzed with dread for the future by the words I hear coming from the Trump administration; I have not seen a single action I can even remotely support! I just now read the White House’s statement to commemorate this memorial day and part of it reads…

“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

and I honestly wonder how this statement rhymes with all the executive orders we have just seen signed in the past week. I see no love or tolerance in any of them! All I see is prejudice, the bottom dollar and ‘me first’. I ask you – which alternative is worse: peaceful yet loud opposition to Trump and his policies or allowing people to be ostracized by Trump and allowing human rights and basic freedoms to be endangered? I can’t allow the latter so I have to choose oppostion… and this is coming from someone who hates conflict…

January 27th is not only Holocaust Memorial Day, it is also the birthday of my father. He would have been 83 years old today, it’s the second birthday without him after he passed away. He dedicated his life to combatting antisemitism and islamophobia and if not for myself I at least owe it to him to oppose this hate mongering in any small way that I can. I still keenly feel the loss of my father but I am so happy he does not have to witness these political times, he’d have been horrified…

Luckily the world is not only filled with hatred… it helps to remind myself that I am blessed with a lot of love in my life! Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of when my husband and I got together.

25-years

The picture on the left was taken when we were a week into our relationship, the other picture was taken yesterday by our daughter. We’re definitely older and larger but we are still very happy together. With all the turmoil in the world, this love is something to hold on to even more closely as we try to stand up to all the harshness out there in the world.