Corona hair & encouraging figures

Yay! My Friday afternoon 3.30 pm video meeting was cancelled! Of course there are a million other things I could do, but hey, why not shoot out a blog post instead, I thought?

Just before starting this post, I came out of a close to two hour phone call with someone who had all sorts of questions. She was so glad to be speaking to someone that she took the opportunity to ask about a hundred other questions as well. At least I left her happy, and that’s always good, right? I thought the call would be a short one, so was going to eat lunch after, but instead lunch didn’t happen until just a little after 3 pm (after also emptying and refilling the dishwasher). Yep, I had chocolate sprinkles on small matzoh crackers…

Not sure why I have the headphones in, probably habit once I sit down at my work laptop. Anyway, Mr Esther is growing his corona age beard and I decided to just let my hair grow as well and see what happens. Getting quite long now, which means I’m brushing my bangs a bit to the side now. Befitting the age of 50, it’s also getting greyer and greyer and I admit I kinda like the grey! We’ll look like real hermits once lock down is completely over, like this guy in Monty Python’s Life of Brian… I’ll have that hair and Mr Esther will have that beard…

This week further easing of restrictions have been announced here in The Netherlands as of July 1st as the figures of Corona containment here have become encouraging. We’ve have a few days in the past week with no Corona deaths at all, as shown in this graphic I took from the article I just referenced.

With the easing of restrictions, the 1.5 meter distance rule still holds true and work from home, if in any way possible, is also still encouraged. This social distancing thing does work when people stick with it, so we’ll be sticking with those rules a while longer. We do have a 4 week holiday coming up in a few weeks’ time and have decided to rent a self-contained holiday cottage in the south of The Netherlands for 10 days. Mr Esther jr will probably have to work at the hotel he’s interning at but may come down for a weekend to join Mr Esther, mini-Esther and myself. We can continue social distancing in such a cottage and we can nip into Belgium and Germany if possible but will still be close enough to home should things change, restriction wise.

So, all I can say in closing is: stay socially distanced, stay safe and hope that the Corona vaccine will come soon (first human trials have already started)! Oh, and get back to work Esther, enough mucking about…

Strange days indeed

Yesterday during a press conference given by our prime minister the announcement came that primary schools will re-open with some restrictions after the May holiday we have here (May 11th) and that young kids are allowed to gather together again for sports training activities under supervision (and with no parents watching from sidelines). All other measures we have in place with our lockdown will be extended until May 20th (four weeks from now) and all large gatherings, events, festivals have been cancelled till September 1st. Our PM said that should more restrictions be lifted in four weeks time then that will only be possible with some very strict measures in place that need to be stringently observed. We need to prepare for a “1.5 meter economy”. How all this will effect the university I work at is anyone’s guess. We’re physically closed till June 1st, I’m already thinking that will probably be extended until after the summer…

In the meantime all we can do is make the best of the world as is and, for now, enjoy the ducklings and lambs and little daises on the side of the road as we take our walks-with-a-distance (pictures taken two days ago)…

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Personally, I also enjoy the view of Mr Esther and my cat waiting for me in our front garden as I walk to the recycling bins and back…

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Six weeks of lockdown now for us and while many things are starting to feel normal it also still remains weird to be so restricted in where you go and what you do outside the house.  At least another four weeks of these restrictions to go and probably even longer after that…  It makes me think of this John Lennon song:

I specifically think of the chorus: “Nobody told me there’d be days like these | Strange days indeed | Most peculiar, mama…”
(Side note: Wow! At 1 minute 21 that’s Fred Astaire on Yoko Ono’s arm in this video!)

I really liked one thing our PM Mark Rutte said yesterday: “The freedom of one person cannot be at the expense of the health of another”. I think he’s right, so the message continues to be: #StayAtHome.

(Home)work & Gregory Peck

Mini-Esther had math homework to do while I was working today. Messy table and all but it was nice having a little company. She hates math, needed a little help here and there. Not that I know anything about math (it’s always been my worst subject, Mr Esther’s worst subject too, so Mini-Esther is biologically challenged when it comes to understanding math) but I could at least help her understand the questions.

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And last night I watched Gregory Peck, Diane Baker and Walter Matthau in the pyscho-mystery movie Mirage from 1965. It’s quite a good mystery about a man with amnesia trying to figure out why he’s being chased. I had seen it before soooo many years ago but remembered nothing about it except this part where he’s convinced that there are several sub levels in a building that he can’t find anymore. It’s viewable on YouTube here, should it take your fancy. Peck sure remains a joy to watch! Still love the man after having first seen him some 38 years ago or so! I took a ton of screenshots. Of Greg alone…

…with Walter Matthau, who is awesome in his own right and I felt had a special bit of magic with Greg…

… and with Diane Baker…

So, yeah, those were just about the highlights of the last 24 hours. It’s also the end of my little break now, back to work again for another hour and a half or so.

Making the best of longer isolation

Our prime minister, Mark Rutte, gave a press conference yesterday and all measures that had been taken to combat the Corona virus have been extended from April 6th till April 28th. To quote the statement:

“The extension means that sports facilities, establishments serving food and drink, childcare centres and other locations will remain closed until 28 April inclusive. Schools will remain closed until at least the end of the May school holidays. The ban on events still applies until 1 June.”

It’s all getting more and more grim.

Total number of confirmed cases: 12,595 (+845)
Total number of confirmed cases who are or were admitted to hospital: 4.712(+722)
Total number of reported deaths: 1.039 (+175)
The number of patients admitted to hospital and the number of deceased patients reported in the Netherlands are increasing less rapidly than would have been expected without measures in place. The province of Noord-Brabant seems to have moved past the peak of new hospital admissions. Hospital admissions are still increasing in Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland, Gelderland and Limburg.

We live in Zuid-Holland so we’re still getting the worst in this part of the country. It’s no surprise that the measures have been extended and, listening to the press conference yesterday, chances are that the measures will be extended even longer after that date. We’ll have to wait and see. I’ve got to say that with all the criticism I have had in the past of our PM and his policies, I do feel like he is handling this crisis very well.

So, at the very least, we have another 4 weeks of this isolation thing to go… I am extremely grateful that Mr Esther and I both have steady work and a steady paycheck. Not everyone has that luxury and very many don’t have work they can do from home but this stay at home thing is not a holiday either like many in (social-)media do seem to suggest. So many ads and social media posts giving well-meant advice to combat boredom and I keep on thinking, “Really? Is no one else working except for hospital & care staff, grocery store staff and Mr Esther and I”? I really don’t have time to read 10 books a week, watch 20 Netflix series, do full time meditation retreats and play indoor games all day (even if I do have a day off work today). I’m not so much bothered by boredom, rather I am affected by restriction. Our world is large in virtual life but very small and confined in real life. And even then I am lucky that I have a good home life, a good internet connection, am healthy and not lonely.

I hope all these measures to stay at home will help stop the spread of the disease, I hope that all healthcare staff and all other people that work so hard to keep everything going get through this unscathed, I hope that all those who are now not able to work or fear losing their jobs and businesses stay well, I hope that those who have difficult at home lives or no home at all come through this alright and I also hope that in all this darkness we can also try to see some light now and again. With so many people here and around the world getting sick and dying, and these economic problems looming, and our home lives and contacts being restricted, life can be a little demoralizing. So, for me as a cup half full sort of person, I’m tyring to make the most of the little things, like enjoying a geriatric 15 year old cat in the sunshine in our back garden…

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…or taking a walk with my home office colleague while keeping our distance from others…

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Our black cat is happy that we’re home all day as it means she can always find someone to stretch out on (mostly on my daughter who, by the way, is bored)…

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… and faithful reader Squirrel sent me this picture of her son which made me smile and that she asked me to blur and share on my blog. She says, “My son is creating 3D printing masks at home, in his narrow student studio, during spare times.”

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And last but not least, sharing a gorgeous Richard Armitage in Uncle Vanya image might help a tiny bit as well with cheering up. It’s topical too, as he is a doctor.

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If Dr. Astrov really were a good doctor, I’m sure he’d say, “Take care of yourselves and each other!” and I second that. Here’s to making the best of at least another 4 weeks in isolation.

 

Tea break…

… in my home office…

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I have this Roman Holiday tea set that was sitting decoratively on a shelf but I figured, what use is a tea set if you never use it? The tea cups are a bit small for my liking, so I prefer my cat-cup that can hold a whole lot more tea, but the plates are perfect for a piece of carrot cake! It was yummy.

My view right now shows that the sun is shining and it’s beautiful outside.

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I should really go outside for a lunchtime walk but that means I have to get out of my pj bottoms and the Muse t-shirt I slept in and have to get dressed.

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No time for that because I have another video call at 1 pm. So, here I am on my lunch break, blogging instead about tea and cake and t-shirts. I think I’ll go have a sandwich now with my home-office-colleague. What another riveting day in Corona isolation it is!