Easter, day two

We have a “Second Easter Day” here in The Netherlands, it’s always good to have an extra day off. After having a few sunny days and 20 degrees Celsius (68 F) last week, today it’s 3 degrees Celsius (37 F) and we even had a little snow earlier!

Ten minutes after that the sun was shining again, this weather is mad…

A code yellow weather warning for this evening has been issued, saying there will be strong winds and slippery conditions on the roads, thanks to hail and snow particularly in the north and west (and we live west-ish).

So, no Easter walks out today (like Mr Esther and I did yesterday), we’re just huddling up at home. Time for helping mini me with a small percussion assignment for school (using wooden boards that we use for breakfast, a milk carton and spoon and sprinkles, end result here, we’re not that talented but it’ll do) and taking an interest in Mr Esther jr’s computer game…

Mr Esther is in his study now, doing something with his Heraldry organization that he is a board member of and I am trying to figure out what to pick up on doing next. I wanted to do something with what feels like my brotha from anotha motha, Gabriel Macht (just pic spamming here, love his grin and seeing him with wife and kids and his colleague and close friend Sarah Rafferty from Suits and her husband)…

… but the starring roles he did have before Suits I’ve already seen and the other roles are smaller roles and I don’t want to stomach a whole movie that doesn’t particularly interest me, just for the few Gabriel Macht scenes in there. Maybe I’ll do another Suits video I had in my mind or I could do some necessary chores around the house… Nah… I won’t do the latter. Or I can finally start the Obama A Promised Land book, but no, that is too much of a time commitment, I need something shorter and sweeter… Ah, the endless possibilities of indoor activities… Ooh, or there’s always re-watching Gregory Peck! Today would have been his 105th birthday.

Yes, I think I can do worse than spend some time with Gregory, even checking out videos for this post has already been fun (and has conisderably delayed my posting this)…

Off to some more Gregory Peck, Gabriel Macht or maybe even Richard Armitage fun, i.e. will I finally try Spacesweepers? Time will tell…

Winding down online school & work for 2020

Since yesterday (Wednesday) schools in The Netherlands are closed again due to stricter Corona restrictions and my kids now solely have online classes. My son already had partial online classes next to his partial in school classes but now all his classes have gone online and he does those up in his room in the attic. My daughter up until Tuesday was at school but all classes have now gone online for her as well. She decided to do her online classes at the dining table opposite me today with beside her our black cat.

It’s lovely but quite distracting too, as the way mini me is reacting to other students in her online breakout room has me cracking up opposite her. Luckily it’s only for today as mini me has no more classes tomorrow. In effect this means her Christmas holiday starts after her last class ends at 2.45 pm. Mr Esther too has his last working day of 2020 today.

Mr Esther jr just came downstairs triumphantly to celebrate his last online class of today (only got a quick shot as he shimmied in our kitchen). He only has tomorrow morning to go before his holiday starts.

For me, it’s quiet at work now, not much left to do, which is why I can make extra time to be distracted and blog today. We have online Christmas drinks this afternoon with our department head (they sent us champagne glasses and snacks and sparkling apple cider in a package). Tomorrow morning, like Mr Esther jr, I will be working online one last time in 2020 and then we’ll all have two weeks off! It’ll be a weird, lockdown Christmas and we’ll be pretty much stuck around the house for most of it, but I’m looking forward to a two week break with no schedules, no online work and no online classes for the kids. The lockdown will still be in effect after the Christmas holidays (till January 19th), but we’ll deal with any distractions that will bring when the time comes.

A little paranoid?!

I’m working at home, trying to take a screenshot of the Microsoft Teams feature that makes automatic closed captions during a video meeting. Closed captions only works for English. I tested what the captioning does when I speak Dutch and it translates my Dutch sentences to the most outlandish English sentences, which does give me some amusement as I test it a little longer than I need to. Gotta do something to make this all more fun, after all.

So, I’m testing this functionality while my daughter is baking cupcakes at the table and my son just got home and they’re chatting with me. With some hilarity, of course, because what they say in Dutch gets translated to some weird stuff in English and they come and check it out. I then get serious as I need to take a screenshot of the menu option where you can switch captions on or off. Also, as I’m having a bad hair day, I need to hide myself a bit behind that menu bar. The kids are doing their own thing again while I am speaking some English sentences that make sense, like: “Good morning. Welcome to the meeting” which will end up in my screen. Then, just as I take the shot, the captioning apparently catches something in the background that my kids are saying in Dutch and this is the caption I get…

I only notice it right after the shot is made and can’t stop laughing. This is the perfect, serendipitous picture, isn’t it? The kids love it too, I don’t think my work has ever caused this much hilarity for them before. I did get the correct screenshot later…

… but I’m still wondering whether I should include the first shot in the little manual / news item I will be using this for… 🙂

Young man!

Yesterday was my son’s 17th birthday. We had dinner with our IL’s and next weekend we have a party with my family (we keep the two worlds and families separate for reasons of sanity). Yesterday, as I was walking behind my two kids after dinner, heading for the ice cream shop to get some good scoops of ice cream for our dessert, I really wondered where the time went. I saw two tall young people walking ahead of me (my daughter is almost my height, my son is almost a head taller than me)…

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… when in my mind my kids are still like this in a way…

small kids

I know it’s a huge clichĂ©, but time really does fly!

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!

Conversation Gregory Peck 02Conversation Gregory Peck 03

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.

Conversation Gregory Peck 05

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…