Victories, tennis discoveries, and holidays

Last week’s victories

One: On Sunday I got my second Covid vaccination and it feels like such a relief!

Two: My sister in law (well, not officially, but she is my younger sister’s awesome partner) has an autoimmune disease and it was uncertain whether she could even develop Covid-19 antibodies. She’s had two vaccinations and was tested earlier this week and it turns out the vaccination has indeed worked for her and she does have the antibodies now. Yay!

Three: after broad consideration and lengthy discussions my son has decided on a gap year once he receives his diploma in September and we fully support it. He is proactive about it too, has made an initial plan, and we are proud of his ability to follow his gut and do what’s right for him. It was a really hard sell for my mother and aunt, who had all sorts of opinions on it, and then it also became a whole big thing with my mother on other fronts not to do with my son. This has cost me an inordinate amount of energy last week, on top of being ill with the flu, but after a lot of reassurance and explaining, all is right with the world again and I am feeling better (flu-wise and mother-wise). Most importantly, though, my son’s choices have been accepted, which I hope will counteract any possible negative family gossip.


Tennis discoveries

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been following what I could of Wimbledon these past few weeks and there is some really exciting new young tennis talent coming up! I was especially struck by the 18 year old English player Emma Raducanu, who made an impressive Wimbledon debut but had to pull out.

I also loved the 17 year old American quarter finalist Coco Gauff, who had aleady impressed at age 15 two years ago (so, technically not a new discovery for me) and who is only two days younger than my niece in London…

The 25 year old Australian Ashleigh Barty, who won the women’s singles title this year, has also wormed herself into my heart. I probably should know her as she’s the number 1 female tennis player, but I’ve been out of it with the tennis for a long time and didn’t know her before Wimbledon. Now I do and I hope she’ll win more as well.

With the men, the new ones (to me) were the 25 year old Italian Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini who was impressive…

… as was 20 year old Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime (who lost to Berrettini in the quarter final).

And 24 year old Polish player Hubert Hurkacz impressed by beating Roger Federer in the quarter final in three sets, winning the last set 6-0!

I think it’s time to dip back into following tennis more again (a long time ago I used to do so avidly). Now that these awesome young players are coming in, I feel a sense of excitement coming back into the sport for me and it will hopefully not only be the same ones winning all the matches anymore (although, don’t get me wrong, I love Roger Federer and I always root for him). They could all theoretically be my children, especially the younger players (Raducanu, Gauff and Auger Aliassime) who are the age of my own kids. Yikes, I’m really old.


Holidays

As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, we have plans to go to France for our summer holidays in a month. We were doing really well here with our Covid numbers and then our government let go of many restrictions, and WHAM! Covid infections are on a steep rise again!

Source

65% of the Dutch population has received one dose of vaccination and about 39% is fully vaccinated but by far not enough people are protected yet. So, the infection numbers are sky-rocketing, especially amongst younger people who have been going out en-masse to discos and nightclubs where most of the infections have been happening. Last Friday during an emergency press conference some restrictions have been put back into place. This sky-rocketing of cases means that our country may become ‘red’ in Europe, which in turn means that travel restrictions for the Dutch may be tightened and this whole France holiday we have planned may have to be canceled. I really hope not, I really hope infections will drastically fall again, and I really hope we can still go on our socially distanced holiday as planned… I love my house, am comfortable in it, but I so need that break abroad. Fingers crossed.

Twenty

Today this baby boy…

… has left his teenage years and is turning 20 (while watching football last night, rooting for the Danish who sadly lost to the English)…

He is a social, fun, charming and warm young man and he’s smart with a good head on his shoulders. He’s looking to the future, still a little uncertain about what’s next but I know he’ll get there. Today is not only for looking to the future but also for looking to the past and trying to wrap my head around the fact that this tiny being has now grown into this young man, heading into an adult life. I know he’ll do good but I think he’ll also always remain my baby boy in a way.

Pictures of the day

I was getting dressed in the morning and looked at my David Bowie 2020 calendar and figured that the December image is my fave image of the calendar. I had my phone with me and just had to take a picture.

Later in the day Mini-me had a nice 17th birthday celebration…

… while the cat was less amused…

… and Junior was in party animal mode during dinner, despite being tired from work….

December 19th, 2020 was a good day.

Cuddle cats

Every working day my black cat tries to get on my lap while I work at the dining table. The space between lap and table is not high enough that she can fit underneath the table while my chair is pulled up. This means that if she does make it onto my lap, I have to sit back and then I can’t type properly. So, nowadays I pull up the chair next to me and place it against mine and she finally settles down curled up against me.

Occasionally she will seize a moment, when I have moved or walked away and sat back down again, and she will claim my lap after all…

The cuddling cat struggle is real! It’s always great when my daughter comes home from school, she can then take over cat-sitting duties for a while (and loves it).

All cats we’ve had have always liked being on us or near us but I don’t think we’ve ever had a cat who insists this much on lying on us, any of us, all day long.

Our other cat, in his old age (he’s 15), also likes getting in the way to best position himself for cuddles, especially with my son whom he sleeps with most nights. Mr Esther jr was trying to get new sheets onto his bed yesterday, he walked out of the room for just a few seconds and returned to this…

As our red cat is old and sometimes takes a while to settle down, we tend to not want to move him when he finally does find a spot. Tough luck for him this time around when Mr Esther jr wanted to finish making up the bed, cuddles would have to wait for a later time.

Speaking of cuddle cats… I recently came across this absolutely adorable picture of Tom Ellis with one of his cats…

He never wanted cats until his wife wore him down, the love is real now…

Richard Armitage in his latest interview (thanks Servetus for the screenshots) says he may want to attempt starting a family by getting a dog first. I know he’s more of a dog than cat person…

…. but he sure looks nice with a cat and may I suggest that a cat might also do very nicely in his New York apartment?

Mr Esther, like Tom Ellis originally and Richard Armitage, never wanted cats either until I was able to convince him otherwise. He has now become a cat person too, despite them getting in the way of reading the newspaper, and they can be useful as iPad stands too.

I can attest that, with all that is going on in this world, the best battles you can have are cuddle battles with your cats!

And now, the end is near…

… and the summer will really start winding down here. We’ve been having a few nice, sunny and not too hot days here this past week. My favourite weather, really, which is 20-25 degrees Celsius (in the 70s Fahrenheit) with sunshine. On Sunday mini-me and I picked up my brother (who has just returned from a stint in Malta) and my mother and we headed to the beach. My mother isn’t that great of a walker anymore, so my brother and I took turns sitting with her in a cafe and walking with mini-me on the beach. It was lovely out there. Quite a lot of people there, but luckily it was easy to socially distance…

In the meantime, Mr. Esther went for a bike ride and Mr. Esther junior played handball outdoors in an away game and badly injured the middle finger of his left hand. The top of his finger is just hanging there loosely, looking very odd. I took him to the hospital yesterday for x-rays.

Luckily he has very little pain and it turns out that nothing was broken but he does have a torn tendon. Tomorrow his finger will be put into a splint for 6-8 weeks so that it can heal properly and doesn’t have to be taped to his ring finger anymore.

This afternoon, after some work meetings online, I took a few hours to work outside. Our old cat is curled up right near me, which is always lovely…

… and I am fully aware that this may be the last time this year that working outside like this will be possible. Chillier weather is predicted from tomorrow, so I guess that is when autumn will really start for us.

Corona cases are on the rise here in The Netherlands. Measures were tightened slightly last week but I suspect stricter restrictions may be coming. Add that to the weather getting cooler and we may be stuck inside for the foreseeable future more than ever these coming weeks/months. Mr. Esther and I will really have to make more of an effort to actually stick our noses outside our front door every day (mini-me and Mr Esther junior have school/internships and their sports activities to drag them out of the house… for now, in any case). Such strange times we live in and I’m not only talking disease; I almost fear reading the news, especially US news, every day. I so hope for some light at the end of the tunnel soon…