A voyage is a piece of biography at best. Robert Louis Stevenson
Month: May 2015
Phyllis Rodriguez is an artist, a teacher and a social justice activist. On September 11, 2001, her son Greg died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet Rodriguez and her husband wrote an open letter, “Not in Our Son’s Name,” calling on President Bush to oppose a military response in Afghanistan. Aicha el-Wafi is an activist with the French feminist group Ni Putes Ni Soumise, working with Muslim women. Her son, Zacarias Moussaoui, was tried in relation to the attacks on US soil, and faced the possibility of execution if convicted. She has no idea where he is today. Watch this short TED talk in which Aicha el-Wafi and Phyllis Rodriguez tell their story of reconciliation and forgiveness. Nelson Mandela would have been proud to know them both.
Mooching around a shoe store in Santa Monica with my friend Luisa, she mentioned her doctor recommended she stops wearing flats. “Not good for your back – that is why you are experiencing pain along your sciatic nerve”.
Luisa, who is tall and favors a casual style, wears flats exclusively: not just ballet flats but flat boots, sandals, booties…the whole nine yards. I must have seen her in (2”) heels maybe twice in all the years I have known her.
“I don’t know what to do, I am so used to flats….” she trailed off, picking up a pair of Sketchers.
“You are not buying Sketchers” horrified, I plucked the shoe from her hands and put it back on the shelves.
On Sunday I did something new. I got up at 6.00am, had a coffee and set out into the heavy fog that was leering damply over Cape Town. My destination was Langebaan and a Food Photography Workshop I had been looking forward to for a month. Despite the fact that I couldn’t see more than 5-feet in front of me, and that Jack was performing his usual whining soundtrack to our travels, I was bright, breezy and optimistic as I negotiated my way through the soup and headed up the West Coast Highway.
The Egyptians and the Victorians, in their own different ways, were rather obsessed with death. The Egyptians sent their departed on to the afterlife embalmed and equipped with anything they might need. The Victorians were keen on remembering their loved ones by casting masks directly from the face of the deceased, masks that were kept around the house, in lieu of photographs, I suppose, the most famous of which can now be admired at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
TV – Other than seeing Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin reunited on screen, I had few hopes for “Grace and Frankie”, a new Netflix series on 70-year-old women left by their homosexual husbands who, having been in love for 20 years, finally decide to marry. It’s a 30 minutes fairly straightforward sitcom but one worth watching for so many reasons beside the fine acting (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play the husbands): it’s funny; it hurls so many truths about aging while keeping these women (and men) still very engaged with life and it shows an aging homosexual couple outside of the usual stereotypes, and within an intimacy rarely seen on tv. Needless to say, I have been bingeing and am now on the last episode. Hope they renew.
A tendency towards hypochondria combined with the ability of feeling very sorry for myself when I am not well make me rather unbearable to be with when I am sick. This past weekend saw me recovering from a minor procedure in my mouth, but one that left me with a swollen face for a couple of days and a few stitches on my gums. Needless to say, I was rather cranky, even more so because my chewing options were limited.
The past week was a bit of a struggle frankly. It felt like I was running uphill, through toffee, in heels and carrying a watermelon. There were no answers when I asked the questions. There was no rebate on what was taxing me. There was no explanation for the plates shifting under my feet. When that happens I usually put my head down and get on with things. But the builders were bang-bang-banging on the walls, the dog’s stomach was growling sickly, he was depositing streaky blood poop, and my phone was ringing every few minutes with “where’s my delivery” queries. The research I did for a project was thrown out with no explanation, I regrouped, restarted and got a new set of results only to have the person call – triumphant from a board meeting: “they loved the original site – let’s lock it down!” A result, yes. Wasted time, wasted energy, waste of space …that too.
But mostly – me with my ego-wheels spinning.