Finding a little peace again

About two weeks ago I drafted a whole “worry list” post because there was so much to worry about and I was just too busy with too much going on. I ended up not posting it as I didn’t have time to properly edit it, it also just felt too whiny and open to discussion and I didn’t have the energy for discussion.

Now I’m two weeks on, it’s the weekend and things are looking up again. The worry about my son has resolved itself into a new strategy which I hope will make him happier, my mother in law was in hospital but is fine and at home, the market I organized for refugees has been done and dusted and gave me a real boost of positive energy. There was some big tension at work and on Thursday morning (the most difficult day) I happened across this little ad for a shirt that completely summed up my mood that day…

(OK, I don’t drink coffee, but in all other ways this was spot on)

However, things turned out alright in the end. I have for now been able to calm things down somewhat and while it was difficult, I do feel a real sense of accomplishment there. I’m also glad that the worry about my husband is lessening a bit as he is slowly doing better. Other worries do remain (my mother, wanting to move but there are so many ‘buts’ connected to that, work-volunteer work balance, a small health issue of my own that I still have to make an appointment for, etc.) but I guess I can’t do more than take it all one step at a time.

In the midst of all the unrest and turmoil, we try to do and plan some fun things to balance it all out. Mr E and I went to the cinema together last week (Dungeons and Dragons which was quite fun even though we don’t know the game at all) and last weekend, Mr E and I were treated by family (for our birthdays, which were in March and early April) to a trip on a ‘Dinner Train’. It is exactly what it says in the name: you eat a nice dinner while the train you’re on drives around for a little over two hours. I look terribly pale and tired in the one picture but it was a really lovely thing to do.

We have also pre-booked our summer holiday. We will be going to Vienna for 5 days in July (I’ve never been there before). The kids will come with us there and after that Mr E and I will continue on our own to Slovakia for two weeks. We’re doing it all by car, which gives us a lot of flexibility.

Next week will be a short working week (only Monday and Tuesday) as we head into several holidays here. This means I also have time for a little London getaway! Next weekend (Friday evening – Monday afternoon) I will travel to London on my own to visit my brother and to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the theatre with him. No other plans yet for London, it’s all open, but there’s always something nice to do there.

I feel more peace settling over me now than I have in many weeks and that’s a good thing. It also helps that on some days the sun comes out and we can actually sit outside for a bit. Our cat enjoys that too…

Here’s hoping for more calm waters for a while yet.

Quick update

Been busy with work.

And volunteer work.

And supporting Junior in his new study plans.

And supporting Junior in looking for a small place of his own.

And sending Junior off on a two and a half week holiday to Israel (with my brother) and from there on to Malta on his own next weekend.

And supporting Mr E, who’s dealing with close-to-burnout issues.

And daily almost endless cat combing because she had some fleas we couldn’t get rid of. They seem gone now.

And taking my mother to the doctor tomorrow for what I hope is a minor issue. She’s 87, so you can never be too careful.

Also been keeping up with some news and this following clip is pretty much me on the whole Prince Harry revealing all issue. I’m a little more interested in the royal family than this guy below, but otherwise the sentiment is pretty much the same.

And I totally get it when Harry says this on setting stories straight…

And why do we have to be “Team Harry” or “Team William”? Why does everything have to be so black and white? Anyway, keeping comments open for now but, despite posting this, I am in no mood to discuss and debate this whole Harry issue, it’s being discussed to death as it is.

What’s been far more important and has been occupying us most for the last few days is this: this past weekend a possibility popped up for a big penthouse apartment in another city that I’ve wanted to live in for years at an affordable price! We’ve been dreaming, calculating, talking and driving around the city and the area to assess it and this Thursday we have a viewing scheduled. Should this happen, it would mean a major shift in our lives. Eek!

So, that’s my update: just too busy to post and lots going on! I wonder when things will finally settle down a bit more. If this house thing really is happening, it’ll be a while… Yikes…

Mama’s meltdown

I called my mother on the phone yesterday evening and this was her basic mood…

… due to some family stuff going on. Sigh. My mother turns 87 next month… is this an age thing?

(MTA – I had a whole rant on here about my mother, but about 10 minutes after posting it, I decided to take it down after all. Not the whole world needs to know all of that, after all, and while my mother really can exasperate me, I also love her and she doesn’t deserve to have her foibles plastered over the internet).

On April 3rd 1970

This morning my mother called me for my birthday and regaled again the story of my birth. My older siblings were all born at home in The Netherlands but by the time I came along, my parents and older siblings were living in Israel, in a village just outside Jerusalem, and home births were not done there. So, I was born in a hospital. My mother didn’t have me in the good, reknowned hospital not far from where we lived as my oldest brother had died there a year before and I think going back there was just too much to bear. Instead, I was born in a not so state-of-the-art hospital in the city of Jerusalem. My mother tells it like this:

“It was a Friday afternoon around 2 pm and I was outside in our back garden, hanging out the laundry to dry, nine months pregnant and a few days overdue.”

I love the memory of our back garden and when she starts telling that story, I can completely picture her in my mind’s eye with that laundry. In my childhood I’d see her hang the laundry there often and she always marvelled at how quickly it all dried again. We lived in a red house and I always picture that and then the big garden in the back with grass and flowers and shrubs and trees and a lot of sunshine. The pictures here below were taken at the back of the house about two years before I was born, when my parents and siblings first moved there. We lived in the downstairs section of the house, there were also two small apartments upstairs.

My memories of our back garden are very much linked to these following pictures (and yes, that is me at about a year old in that one picture). I loved the fir trees and to this day when it’s hot outside and I walk underneath a fir tree, the feeling and smell of that can immediately transport me back to my childhood.

Anyway, back to my mother’s story…

“I was hanging laundry when my labour started and it came in fast. Your father drove me to the hospital in Jersualem and an hour later you were born. It was an extremely quick delivery and your dad wasn’t allowed in the room. I was in a cubicle and just after you were born the doctors and nurses left me to attend a birth in a neighbouring cubicle and then a third birth in another cubicle. I almost felt like I had given birth three times that afternoon! I was then told to pick up my baby and belongings and to go and find a bed somewhere on the ward. They also gave me an antibiotics pill because apparently hygenic conditions in the hospital, especially the bathrooms, were not ideal. It was a hospital favoured by Orthodox Jews and I remember the women lying there without their wigs on, their hair very short and patchy. A rabbi came by the beds to sing a blessing for each mother and baby. When he came to my bed he said, ‘You are a goy (i.e. non Jew), I won’t sing for you.’ I protested, however, saying I didn’t want to be treated differently and that I would like a blessing for my baby as well! And so he did indeed sing his blessing for us. On Friday evening Shabbat had started and no one was allowed to be discharged on Shabbat. Papa was allowed to come by and visit us and then on Sunday, I picked up you and my belongings and discharged myself and papa picked us up to go home again.”

My mother loves telling this story and I have heard it so often! I always used to roll my eyes at her when she would tell me the story of my birth yet again, willing her to be done with it as soon as possible and trying to rush her along. Yet now that I have children of my own, I find myself repeating stories of their births to them as well and they are impatient with me about that too. It took me to have children of my own to finally understand my mother better and her need for telling this story as I now too like to do the same thing with my kids on occasion. And so this morning, when mama called me and told me again about how I was born, I smiled happily and was glad to still have her around to tell it.

The week that was

Mr E has been feeling off since mid last week with throat aches, head aches and very tired. The Corona Omicron variant is around us everywhere, or rather, around mini me. Some of her football team mates and some class mates have tested positive. She’s been testing herself almost daily through all of last week but so far nothing. We thought maybe Mr E might somehow have contracted it too (even though both he and I still work from home and don’t mingle that much with others). He’s been doing at home tests as well and so far everything remains negative. Fingers crossed!

Also this past week, Junior finally got an eagle tattoo after saying for ages that he wanted one. Early in the week he went in to the tattoo shop he had picked to talk about what he wanted and he got a quote. On Friday he was inked. The eagle has a special meaning for him and he’s stoked with the end result. He wanted it on the inside of his arm so that it’s easy to cover under t-shirts and shirts if necessary.

I like it and he has inspired me to finally go for the tattoo that I have been wanting to get for years but never dared to. I think I may drop by the shop next week and speak with them about the design I want (on my foot).

After our latest Covid lockdown, the cinemas have been open again for a week or so now. Entry is only allowed with a valid vaccination pass. You have to wear masks until you get to your seat and you are seated at a distance from others, which I love. Secretly I hope this seating at a distance in the cinema will become the norm forever. I know, not happening, but I like to dream. Anyway, Junior and I went to see the new Spider Man movie (mini me had already gone to see it with friends a few days before).

I really liked it! I also really like Tom Holland and I love Zendaya. They are apparently a couple in real life too. So cute!

Today my siblings, aunt and mini me & I (without Mr E and Junior had other commitments) met at my mother’s house to belatedly celebrate my father’s life on the occasion of his birthday a little over a week ago. I had a celebratory cake made. We were also going to visit his grave but as there was to be stormy weather today, my mom and a few of us went there yesterday instead (Junior did join me for that). My mother did a reading and we placed small stones with our names on them that my mom had inscribed.

It was nice to commemorate and celebrate without breaking down in tears for a change. My mother shared a story of when she and my father had been invited to a synagogue in Jerusalem in the late 1970s. The rabbi had called on my father (a Dutch Protestant pastor) during the service and had called him a ‘Tzaddik’, which means one of the few righteous ones. It was nice to remember that. It was also fun to remember my dad’s driving ‘skills’ which even had us in fits of laughter for a bit. I like when my family can get together like that and just have some fun chatting away and sharing stories.

And last but not least, for the first time in months I went to the hairdressers again this past week. The hair was quite long and I was getting annoyed with it, so I had it cropped to shoulder length and I feel much better. It’s amazing what a good haircut can do to enhance the mood.

Right, off to find something easy to watch now, maybe a Hallmark movie, and clear the head before my work week starts again tomorrow with a Teams meeting at 9 am.