A conversation with Gregory Peck

I was watching the documentary A Conversation with Gregory Peck on Netflix earlier this evening (I was very pleasantly surprised to find it there!). It was made in 1999 (4 years before Peck died) during a speaking tour he did throughout the US, where he spoke about his life and his career.

As I watched it, I realized I must have seen at least some of it before although there were also bits I didn’t remember. As an old-time Gregory Peck fan, hearing the stories he had to tell about his career (even though I already knew many) was an absolute joy! At one special moment in the documentary the actress who played his daughter, Scout, in To Kill a Mockingbird was in the audience. Apparently she still called him Atticus and he still called her Scout. 🙂  He also invited his wife Veronique up on stage for a little bit…

The documentary also touched on Gregory Peck’s political convictions. He was famous for being a democrat and liberal and in the video speaks of opposing the Vietnam war while at the same time being proud of his son Stephen who had served in the army during that war. He is also shown giving a speech in Philadelphia in 1999 about gun control…

He says,“Is it the culture or the guns that led to the massacre at Columbine High School? And it is of course both. What is wrong with keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people?” Today, 19 years on, I could still give him a standing ovation for that. Gregory and I would certainly have agreed with each other politically…

What I loved even more in this documentary was the behind the scenes glimpses of him, with his wife and his family. His daughter Cecilia co-produced this documentary and was in it a lot…

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… but there are also glimpses of his other kids (two sons, Stephen and Carey, from his first marriage and a son, Anthony, from his marriage to Veronique). I loved the images of a family get-together, where they all sat around and watched basketball. Look at the anticipation on the faces of Gregory and his son Stephen here!

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I had to blink away a few tears when Gregory spoke of his son Jonathan who had committed suicide at the age of 30, with Gregory wondering whether he could have done more to prevent that. And I blinked away major tears when the film featured Gregory waiting at the hospital for his daughter Cecilia to give birth and then meeting his 10 minute old grandson! Most parts of the documentary are also up on YouTube, I’ll just share this part about the birth here (from 5.20 minutes onwards in this video)…

The fascination with his new grandson and the concern he shows over his daughter just after giving birth so very much reminds me of my own father (and my mother) after my son was first born. Yet again, here is Gregory reminding me of my dad, even in the way he was a dad to his daughter! My parents showed that same love to my baby and the same concern for me…

2001 A. born papa mama Esther

… and their love and concern was repeated two and a half years later when my daughter was born..

The look of being in love with a new baby grandchild is very similar… It made me miss Gregory Peck and it made me miss my dad.

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Oh, how I still love Gregory Peck! If you like him too, I recommend you check out this documentary on Netflix a.s.a.p…

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Back in the land of the living

This flu (was it the much talked about Australian flu?) has incapacitated me for about 10 days! It’s been years since I’ve had it so bad… My first outing outside the house was two days ago on Saturday when I went for a nice walk in our neighbourhood with Mr Esther. Yesterday he drove us all to the woods to the east of where we live; we had a pancake lunch and then walked there for a bit as well… The usual tugging and giggling went on with the kids…

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… and we weren’t gone that long, but boy was I tired afterwards! My body really needs to strengthen again. I was back to teaching my Dutch as a second language class to my Polish ladies this morning, which was fun but exhausting (I really needed a little nap after), and back to work again from home for a few hours this afternoon. I hope this tiredness subsides soon but at least I’m back in the land of the living again and that feels good!

Magic moments

Yes, I know smartphones can be very annoying things! But as I was clearing images off my phone, I realized they are also wonderful for capturing the small, unexpected moments in life that make you smile. With a smartphone camera at hand, I capture things I would otherwise never have and I came across some lovely ‘magic moments’ pictures that I had almost forgotten about!

One of those magic moments is this one, when on one of the first warm evenings of the year a few weeks ago, we made a little ‘campfire’ in our small back garden and the cat enjoyed it too!

Cosy cat

Or when, in the holiday cottage that belongs to my parents, my daughter cuddled up on the back of the couch and unitentionally almost mirrored the Klimt painting reproduction above her on the wall…

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… or those little fun moments, like when this spatula I have for cooking throws an unexpected shadow on the floor…

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… or when I unexpectedly saw my favourite car (old VW Beetle) in a parking lot in a lovely fresh green colour and then a few weeks later my kids texted me a picture of my fave car in my preferred colour that they saw somewhere else…

… or when I came across my son’s pencil case and had to laugh at the modification he made…

Pencilcase

…or, also at my parents’ cottage, when I flicked through the TV channels and came across a channel called RAPS! It was a black screen, nothing on it, but of course it made me think of Guylty’s lovely RAPS shrines… ah, imagine a whole channel dedicated to Richard Armitage shrines! I’d watch! 😉

RAPS channel

Or when I see that the small lilac my dad once planted at the same cottage has now grown into something huge and is blooming beautifully…

Lilac

… or last night, when my husband texted me a picture of our cat hearing something in our garden hedge, trying to figure out what it was…

Curious Cat

Yes, I love these small magical moments and that I (or someone else) was able to capture them! 🙂

Ok, now I have this song in my mind…

Cats (and kids)

Ah, the joys of May in the Netherlands! Lots of holidays and long weekends. The kids just had 2 weeks off school and now we just had another long weekend off as well. The holiday season starts at the end of April with King’s Day, then on May 5th many people have the day off for Liberation Day (celebrating liberation at the end of WWII), after that a Thursday off for Ascension Day (although this year it was the same day as Liberation Day) and this past weekend was the Pentecost weekend where we always get the Monday off as well. Not that anyone here really knows anymore what Pentecost is… but that’s OK. It’s an extra holiday and no one minds a holiday!

We took the opportunity to go to the north for a weekend to the holiday cottage my parents bought 11 years ago. As we’ve been there so often, there’s not much sightseeing for us to do there anymore, so we just chill out there. The nice thing is that every time we go to the cottage we bring our cats along. So, the only pictures I took during our weekend away were of the cats…

We noticed that the carpets in the cottage and our cats go together well, as you can see in this ‘match the tails to the carpets’ picture… 🙂

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Our beige cat (he’s not really red, too light for that) is turning into a cat with seniority now with his 11 years of age. Our black cat is 2 and while she loves to jump on our older cat and play with him, she does know who’s boss. What I love is that these cats have become good friends over the past 20 months! They do not sleep together but they do play together and they like to sniff each other…

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What makes all this extra cute is that they are not only very sociable with each other, they are cuddly with us as well and the kids can do anything with them, like carry them around or lay on top of them…

A cats and kids filled weekend – always fun!

What I have learned in the past 9 days

On the travel front

  • The Czech Republic is beautiful and green and hilly with lots of woods.
  • I literally can not understand a word of Czech… learning to say “thank you” (“děkuji“) properly is quite a task…
  • I remember loving Prague when I last was there 20 years ago and I now remember why: it is truly beautiful! Granted, it is overrun by tourists like me but it’s beautiful.
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Prague, central square

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My daughter trying to catch bubbles in Prague

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Prague – Charles bridge

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Memorial to 80.000 murdered Prague Jews in WWII (all their names emscribed on the walls)

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Prague – Old Jewish cemetery

  • Sometimes I wish I was a man, then I wouldn’t have to miss certain sites like this one:
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Men’s room in a shopping mall in Prague… DH was kind enough to document it, I think he peed in the urinal beneath the lady in red… 😉

  • We have visited many places already. Besides Prague my so far other favorite place is the town of Telč (Teltsh)
Telč

Telč

Telč

Telč

  • Yet again confirmed: my kids are so much fun and make me laugh!
Headstone for a dead bug made by my daughter.

Headstone for a dead bug made by my daughter.

My son high-fiving the Virgin Mary

My son high-fiving the Virgin Mary

On the reading front

We have also had some down time. We stuck to our campsite now and again and when the kids go off to play in the pool or with new friends on the trampoline, there is plenty of time to read. With bad internet connection I have been less glued to the laptop and have been able to finish 3 of the 9 books on my summer reading list! I have learned that:

  • GSaWHad I read “Go Set a Watchman” before “To Kill a Mockingbird” I would never have loved Atticus Finch quite as much but I do still love the way he parents. “Go Set a Watchman” is a good book about growing up and letting go of the image of a parent as a superhero, but nothing can beat Harper Lee’s first novel. And I can’t let go of Attitcus as one of my heroes…
  • Parents can screw up their kids so badly! Well, that is no news, of course, but in “Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew” that became so verUGatSCy painfully clear yet again. And the character of Chop in “Urban Grimshaw”: he is so far from perfect, how can he be the one to help Urban? And yet, he does. A little attention, a sense of right and wrong, a little love and some nurturing can help a young life forward and can redeem your own. In the end, even when people are more or less redeemed, humans remain fallible, that is also clear. Can’t wait to see what Richard Armitage has done in the role of Chop when the film comes out!
  • It’s amazing what the chemistry in a brain can do to wreak havok in a life… Susannah Cahalan’s story in “Brain of Fire” BoFwas a very interesting read. And her dad, I love how he and Susannah ‘found’ each other again. He has a tough facade but is gooey on the inside. A role I already look forward to seeing Richard in.

On Richard Armitage

I was able to view the first two Hannibal episodes he is in and… WOW! The show still creeps me out (I started watching and I couldn’t make myself view more than a handful of episodes) but he is amazing. The things he does with his body I have never seen him do before!

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The quietness and the hidden emotion and the insecurities and the creepiness.. ah, this man is good! And I really love how he is stretching his acting legs, finding roles that challenge him as I think this one did.

Finally

I hate wasps, the ones that sting and are circling around my head  right now as I try to post this blog entry with awful wifi, which means it will take ages to load. Nonetheless, I am loving my vacation. 🙂