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Month: January 2013

Don’t call me ma’am

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

The Queen 13
The highlight of my brief stint working for a bookstore was seeing Gloria Steinem approach my register. She exuded poise, beauty and strength and I missed an opportunity to express my admiration; I took the stack of magazines she handed me (no, Ms. was not one of them) and I rang her up. I didn’t even address her in any particular way, either than “Hello, thank you and you are welcome” but I wonder how she would have reacted had I called her “ma’am”.

The Power of Positive Thinking, as an antidote to fear?

Posted in Aging, and Life & Love

surf_-_big_wave_wallpaper_e781aDale Carnegie’s positive thinking books featured large on our bookshelves in the sixties/seventies. My dad was an insurance salesman – a tough job in the highly competitive life market. Roy would leave home in his big camel coloured Valiant – heading out across the country on a Monday morning, returning exhausted on a Thursday afternoon.  Having spent the week keeping himself and (when he became the boss) ‘his guys’ focused and motivated.

His job meant we moved towns pretty much every two years. Into a hotel, then a rented flat, and finally to a house, built under my mom’s watchful eye. My brother and I went to a new school each time. We were always the new kids.

Women who inspire – Sujatha Baliga

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

baliga_headshot_no_smile_smallHow do countries move beyond unspeakable atrocities? After World War II, the Nuremberg trials dealt with some of the Nazi criminals, allowing for a modicum of closure. In more recent times, countries plagued by civil wars have tended to adopt the South African model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, created after the end of apartheid, in which perpetrators and victims come face to face; the former accept their responsibilities and the latter have an opportunity to voice their stories. Think of Rwanda and, to a certain extent, Bosnia.

Forgiveness is not always possible but it’s at the core of this process, devised so that former enemies but still citizens of the same country can move on and live side by side.

The Other “Queen”

Posted in Style & Travel

The unmistakable Tube
The unmistakable Tube

Text by camparigirl – Images curated by sofagirl

That I chose to live in London, fresh out of college, surprised many who knew me. I was born in Bologna, a vibrant and colorful Italian city of easy friendships and easy living, known as the Learned, the Fat and the Red (la Dotta, la Grassa e la Rossa): for the oldest University in the Western World, the outstanding food and the red roofs and porticos that are its trademark (or, according to some, for its extremely left leaning policies).

The burnt sienna and deep terracotta my eyes filled with day and day out growing up were definitely nowhere to be found in London, nor were expansive people or, for that matter, good food.

A citrus bounty – Home made “Mandarinello”

Posted in Food & Entertaining, and Uncategorized

Citrus BowlMy citrus trees are on overdrive. When I moved to this house, nearly ten years ago, it was clear the previous owners were into growing their own fruit and vegetables, a task I would have gladly carried on were I not the most incompetent gardener  and for the small matter of a very demanding job that left me no time to coddle zucchini and lettuce.

The vegetable enclosure was thus dismantled but the fruit trees managed to prosper in spite of me. I have not bought a lemon in ten years,and, right about now, the orange and mandarin trees, grown into adulthood, are providing me with an extra workout – it helps they are perched on an unforgiving hillside.

Rhode’s Island – street-art in New York’s galleries

Posted in Style & Travel

_RR_A_Spanner_in_the_Works_of_Infinity_01_hr0We have a wonderfully vibrant art scene here – equal to any overseas – and I will feature more of our artists soon.  But I couldn’t miss this opportunity to honour one of our own, South African-born artist Robin Rhode, who opened a new show in New York on Jan 10th. And it is a two-part exhibition – spread across both of Lehmann Maupin’s New York galleries on the Lower West Side of Manhattan.

Fear and Loathing

Posted in Life & Love, Uncategorized, and Women's issues

Munch screamFriday night and dinner at some friends’ house.

“Did you put the snakes away?” are the first words that blurt out of my mouth after the usual pleasantries.

“Yes, they are locked up in a room but you can see them if you want” the host volunteers.

“Oh god absolutely not”. Puzzled looks around me, mostly because I live in an area where snakes are as commonplace as grass, especially rattlers. So how am I managing, they are all thinking?

Smoke gets in your eyes – travels with Jack: part 1

Posted in Relationships, and Style & Travel

The rainwater tank, my chalet, the red pure water bucket
The rainwater tank, my chalet, the red pure water bucket

I am on a road trip with my dog. For two weeks every year I like to go somewhere I have never been before. A two-day drive from Western to Eastern Cape brought us here. Our beach hut at Bretton Beach Crest in Port Alfred. Today was too windy to go to the beach, so I compiled a list of things I haven learned on this road so far.

A dash of L.A. magic

Posted in Style & Travel

Botanica voodoo“Do you believe in black magic?” the strapping young man asks me point-blank.

We are debating whether it would be wise to enter the chapel of Our Lady of Death and atone our sins.  He wouldn’t go unless I went first and, teased by his mates in the background, we relinquish the opportunity of sitting in a garishly decorated booth, filled with sickeningly scented calla lilies.

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