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Month: May 2014

Lemon Bars Lebovitz – tart and tangy.

Posted in Baking, Food, and Food & Entertaining

bright-lemon-bars Last week in McG I bought a big plastic bag of rumpled looking lemons from one of the local entrepreneurs or smouse (smohsah) as we call them. These guys are experts on using what they have to hand, and making ends meet. They go out and forrage for various bits and pieces they have learned that city types like to buy and will arrive at the gate and stand there yelling: “lemmmmonnns, leeeeemmmmmonnnns” or “eppples …. epples….” until you take your R20 outside and buy a pack…. mainly to stop the noise. I know they are as organic as they can be, the guy who sold them to me had undoubtedly been scrumping them from an uncared for orchard somewhere.

Anger management.

Posted in Life & Love, and Relationships

anger-enjoyMany years ago I worked for a man who was my boss but behaved like child. He had a henchman who was a bully. And they had a hanger on who was a decent guy – but needed a pack to run with. When they walked into restaurants my boss would shout: “who let the dogs out?” and the pack would respond: “Woof, Woof, Woof”. Some people thought it was a complete hoot. I found it excruciating.

This man was new to the company and he used his position to intimidate and frighten. He let my colleague A and me know that he didn’t like us and hadn’t wanted to keep us on. That he had been forced too. That he was looking for a reason to get rid of us. He would explode with no warning, or reason. We had invested in our careers – so for a year we walked on eggshells around him, thinking time and proof of our abilities would calm him down.

The other F word

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

Image from story
Image from story

In the pantheon of awful bosses one is likely to experience over the course of nearly 30 years of employment, the top honours, in my case, belong to two women. The first one was a mustachioed German lady whose zest for life and love for humanity never registered above 0. The other was a frosty blonde American prone to despondency and generally lacking in the support department. The German happened to me in my late 20s, so I grinned and bore it until I got out. The second was only a few years ago and, by that point, I had learnt to use my big mouth and, mostly respectfully, I struck back. She was the one who ended up leaving. In both cases, I am quite certain, I used the “bitch” label with not an ounce of restraint.

(5) Things we love…#7

Posted in Things We Love

In case you are wondering what I am doing, I am taking photos of  room I am in the middle of renovating. More to follow
In case you are wondering what I am doing, I am taking photos of a room I am in the middle of renovating. More to follow
  1. Retail Therapy. About 25 years ago, expecting a nice year-end raise, and receiving instead a paltry UKL250 bonus, I blew out my rage by wasting nearly the entire amount on an extravagant Bluemarine silk top (emphasis on extravagant), worn maybe half a dozen time, and still lurking at the back of my closet. But I felt so much better afterwards. Let me be clear: I don’t advocate spending money I don’t have and I have never gotten into credit card debt – but, once in a blue moon, I will treat myself to extravagant to improve my mood. As was recently the case with this Stella McCartney jumpsuit that I tried on a whim – it looked just perfect, the way certain items do. I knew I had stepped out of my financial bounds when bothsofa girl and my sister missed not one, but two beats, when I informed them of my splurge. The silence was followed by “How much?”. Am working like a dog next week to make the money back…..But I did feel so much better.

    No, he did not serve me mimosa
    No, he did not serve me mimosa
  2. Everyone and their mother will tell you flying has become a hassle of gargantuan proportions. My otherwise flawless trip to New York  was marred by technical difficulties/bad weather and the shutdown of LAX, all within the space of three hours. My usual bearish attitude towards airlines, which will make me complain and demand upgrades or other goodies at the drop of a hat, did not make me cast any blame on Virgin America, so I rolled with the punches and got home 24 hours later than expected, taking it all in stride. Imagine my delight in receiving, a week later, a $125 credit from Virgin America and profuse apologies for all the mishaps. My first instinct was to forward the e-mail to American/Delta/USAirways etc. When it comes to airlines, Sir Richard Branson does have better manners.

    Name forgotten: vodka, passion fruit and basil
    Name forgotten: vodka, passion fruit and basil
  3. On the hottest day of the year so far, my friend Bonnie and I celebrated her being back on her feet after a back injury by climbing to the roof bar of the Hotel Shangri La in Santa Monica. One of the few original art deco buildings on the coast, the real treat (beside the company) was the vodka and passion fruit cocktail. Bonus points for the view and the (slight) breeze.Life After Life
  4. Unusual and roundabouts descriptions of love have me swooning for days.I am currently reading “Life after life” by Kate Atkinson, a curious book whose heroine keeps on dying every few chapters. In it, a doctor who has been called to deliver a baby and spends the night at his patient’s house on account of bad weather, wakes up in the morning thus: “He lay in the cold bed, the piccalilli repenting unpleasantly. He wishes he was at home, next to the slack, warm body of Mrs. Fellowes, a woman to whom nature had denied elegance and who always smelled of fried onion. Not necessarily a disagreeable thing.” Best description of the comforts of a long-standing relationship I have read in a while.Buddha don't be a cunt
  5. If you are offended by curse words, please accept my apologies. I couldn’t resist when I saw this on sofagirl’s FB page. At a time when we are flooded daily with inspirational quotes that, let’s be honest, nobody takes to heart, this summed it up the best: just don’t be an asshole. It goes a long way.

De do do do de dada dada – Penniless Photographer style

Posted in Home & Decor

ZerenBadar05Jasper Johns, that great, great American artist, once wrote a note to himself in his sketchbook – which said: “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” The excellent thing about that piece of advice is that it can be applied to anything creative: food, art, film, music, words. I have nary an arty bone in my body – I would love nothing more than to sit down and create something beautiful. I have tried. And have failed miserably.

Hot day: Campari shandy required

Posted in Food & Entertaining

Campari shandyWhen I tell people I don’t drink because I am allergic to alcohol, they think I am making it up. Until, after downing a mojito or two, they witness my bouts of relentless sneezing, watering eyes and non stop nose dripping, as if I stood in a newly mowed lawn on a windy Spring day. My body always knew that alcohol and I were not destined to form a long-lasting friendship and I never craved it. Sure, I experimented in my youth with rum and Coke, some beer now and then but I can count the times I got drunk on two fingers. They both happened more than 25 years ago and, to this day, I am happy never to experience a hangover again.

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