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Author: camparigirl

Trying to make sense of the world and life through food and words.

“In the years before we were married, we were ‘just dancing’.” The Moral Indefensibility of the Defence of Marriage Act

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

edith-edie-windsor-on-the-right-holds-hands-with-thea-clara-spyer-the-day-of-their-wedding-after-40-years-together-on-may-22-2007-by-then-spyer-was-suffering-from-multiple-sclerosis
Text by sofagirl

My first, openly gay pal was a guy called Mark. We worked together at an Advertising agency in Johannesburg. I was 19 and the Creative Department secretary. Mark was a budding art director. I was fascinated that he only ever wore shades of grey. He was amused that I said anything that came into my head – and knew how to pronounce Tao correctly (he was a huge fan of ‘the right way’).

We had lunch together every day – sitting in the sun outside the ugly concrete building that housed our agency. And imagined our futures. I would travel all over the world and be rich. He would find someone who loved him, get married and have a gracious home – filled with his delicate watercolours and sunlight. We would tease each other about the role reversal, and plan what we would wear to his wedding. Then he would laugh and say ruefully: “as if …”.

Till Death do us Part

Posted in Life & Love, and Relationships


Women at the windowA few days before July 10, 2009, Sir Edward Downes, Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Philharmonic, and his wife, Lady Joan, travelled to Switzerland. Lady Joan was in the final stages of cancer and Sir Edward was completely blind and severely deaf, although not terminally ill. She was 74 and he was 85 and they had been married 54 years.

Thought for the week… #38

Posted in Life & Love

IMG_1315When in emotional doubt, it’s not Carl Jung I resort to but Leo Tolstoy.

Leo and I have been conducting a love affair of sorts since my teens, when I first opened a four-volume paperback of “War and Peace” and fell madly in love with Prince Andrei and Natasha, and thought it extremely unfair I wasn’t born a century and a half earlier.

No need to stop exploring – Just bring the little ones along

Posted in Style & Travel

Little me, traipsing the Austrian Alps, with my friend Michele and a furry travelling companion
Little me, traipsing the Austrian Alps, with my friend Michele and a furry travelling companion

It might be a bit presumptuous of me to give advice to parents, as I am only half a parent myself – I raised two step-children which, let me assure you, is a very different ballgame than having children of your own. From my 50-year-old perch, this might also sound like the usual “when I was young things used to be better” kind of tale but, looking at the over-parented children I am often in contact with, I am fairly certain they would all benefit from less protection and more exposure to travel. Or life in general.

Letting go of the D word

Posted in Health, and Women's issues

3249036871_f6c64c6da2_zLast week I had lunch with one of my best friends, who happens to be a chef, and about a decade younger than me.

“I have been trying to eat better” she mentions.

As we kept on talking about her ideas towards better nutrition, I noticed the word “diet” was not part of the conversation.

Have a Heart. And a Dog.

Posted in Health

Ottie and Portia
Portia and Ottie

A couple of days ago, walking back from retrieving the trash cans from the bottom of my driveway – a despised but necessary evil – I stopped to observe my dogs engaging in a bit of problem solving. They had heard one of the neighbours’ horses whinnying from an unexpected direction and  were curious to see what was going on. Unfortunately, trees, a fence and a low wall impeded their view. Portia climbed to the highest point she could think of and stretched her neck – still not good. Ottie pondered the problem for a few seconds then, counter-intuitively, marched down the slope, circumnavigated the wall protecting the propane tank, hopped on a conveniently placed crate and, from there, climbed to the top of the low wall. Mission accomplished. For a few minutes, I put everything else aside and immersed myself in my very own National Geographic documentary.

A Victorian Dinner of French Chicken Cutlets

Posted in Food, and Food & Entertaining

Chicken CutletsThe guessing game I inflicted on my unsuspecting guests was “what would we have eaten on a Sunday night in 1861?”. Blank looks ensued. I thought inviting people over for dinner and preparing a meal straight out of  Mrs. Beeton’s “Book of Household Management”, in the interest of finding out if food cooked in the 1860’s could stand the test of time, would be fun and a conversation starter. As the day approached, I wasn’t so sure anymore. Did I have a plan B? Not really and no restaurant delivers where I live. In the back of my mind I decided that  a bowl of pasta would be a respectable fallback if all else failed.

Keeping house – who does it anymore?

Posted in Home & Decor, and Women's issues

Maid-in-Garden-Hanging-Out-the-ClothesWhen the urge strikes, or a sense of guilt takes over, I become a fury: the patio floor will be scrubbed clean; the closet will be emptied, sorted and vacuumed; the garage will be reorganized; the kitchen drawers will be rearranged and there is no stopping me until the work is done. Unlike my mother, who always found a sense of purpose in cleaning, organizing, re-arranging, in short, in keeping house, I don’t particularly enjoy the process. I find nothing meditative in it, just a compulsion to get it done and a lifelong aversion to junk and dirt.  The fleeting satisfaction of admiring the patio floor devoid of bird droppings, until two days later when the cycle commences again, is not shared by anyone in my household, so I am left alone to contemplate the fruit of my fury. I don’t enjoy it, no one cares and still I do it.

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