Tuesday, March 31, 2009


This post is for my friend kendalee who loves toast (and who is exploring her amazing alter egos on her blog at the moment), and also for all others who have a special affinity for it.
"Toasted bread for this man of norms and principles is almost a vice and truly a manifestation of uncontrollable greed, wherein enter multiple sensations, both of vision and touch, as well as of smell and taste, beginning with that gleaming chrome-plated toaster, then the knife cutting slices of bread, the aroma of toasted bread, the butter melting, and finally that mouth-watering taste, so difficult to describe, in one's mouth, on one's palate, tongue and teeth, to which that ineffable dark pellicle sticks, browned yet soft, and once more that aroma, now deep down, the person who invented such a delicacy deserves to be in heaven."
(from The History of the Siege of Lisbon, by José Saramago, translated by Giovanni Pontiero)

Here's to toast.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Cake

My baking skills are limited to xmas spice biscuits, vanilla biscuits and pasteis de nata, and a chocolate cake which I make about once in five years. Yesterday I had this insane desire to bake a cake for lunch - a new unchocolatey cake - and I found a recipe for a grape harvest cake in a newspaper. It was pretty good (although next time I'll tweak the recipe slightly). Actually, it looked so good that I immediately took a pic - I couldn't wait to tell you about it.

Then, this morning, I saw a reference to a book about blogging called "No one wants to know what you had for lunch". Well, really. What a blow. (I decided to tell you anyway.) And just so you know, I disagree. But totally. I, for one, would LOVE to know what you had for lunch.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Red Leaves and Black Spots

The leaves of my star jasmine are starting to change colour - autumn is upon us ...

In the meantime I have been busy with my list of fabric projects. Yes, it sometimes takes me a month or two (or in some cases a year or five) but eventually I get to all the items on my various lists. Well, most of them, anyway ...

This is the result of my yo-yo cushion cover. Having miscalculated the amount of fabric needed to make enough yo-yos to cover a floor cushion, I had to adapt the original idea, so I just stitched them onto the existing cream-coloured cover.
Have a great weekend, dears! I will be sitting on my black-spotted cushion drinking a glass of Haut Espoir chardonnay, learning how to change the course of history ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Oh Yay!!

Two bits of goodness arrived on my desk today:
1. My author copies of the text book I co-authored. It is so great to see one's name on the cover of a book! Of course, I have cunningly taken the photograph so that you can't see it - because then you would know my real name, and it is such a boring name. Really, I much, much prefer my blogworld name ...

2. My laptop! Yay, my laptop!! Oh dear, dear laptop, I have so missed you! Never again will I swear at you or utter sarcastic comments when you bravely chug away downloading a big file for me. Really, I promise.

Oh, life is good! (and the glass brick is getting lighter and lighter ...)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Isn't it weird ...

... how different the world looks when you've got a head cold? It is like looking through one of those glass bricks.

Oh, wait, I did look at this through a glass brick ...

This week I plan to:
1) see my nephew & his wife who are both working on a musical production at Artscape
2) get my laptop back, if necessary by force ...
3) start reading Jose Saramago's The History of the Siege of Lisbon - I snuck out today to the library to get it. Thanks, aimee, for the suggestion!
4) use my new white gel pen in my art journal - I still get excited by little discoveries like these.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Be obscure clearly ...

I am proofreading a new text - happily not one from the Publishers from Hell - and so my posts are even less frequent, I fear.

Writers, editors and proofreaders will be familiar with Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. I've been looking for a second-hand copy locally, but I think I will rather get this version, illustrated by the fabulous Maira Kalman. This is her illustration for the following admonishment from their book:
Even to a writer who is being intentionally obscure or wild of tongue we can say, "Be obscure clearly! Be wild of tongue in a way we can understand!"
What a find! A ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary day filled with protozoa, algae and fungi ...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why should this exist?

I have just been reading the March 11 entry of Keri Smith's blog. (Somehow I can't link to the actual post, but it is called: "in which she unleashes it all, thoughts on creation, life, ads, things not making sense, grumpy feels and a whole mess of stuff" . It is food for thought ...)

"Why should this exist?"

This question has added another dimension to my reflections on my own creative journey. Is "wanting to" or "expression of myself" a good enough reason for bringing something new into the world? Should there even be a reason? What gives value to the thing? Is the making of it enough? Does it need to be seen by someone else to have value? Does it need to have a monetary value put on it, i.e. be for sale, to be taken seriously? Why am I using the term "be taken seriously"? That implies that I need others to approve or value what I do. Is this important to me? And if so, why?

I really do not have any answers at the moment ...

Laptop update - I phoned today - "Oh," she said, "21 working days, then only can we tell you what is happening ... "

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Kendalee played a letter game a while ago, and gave me my very own letter to play with - C!
So, off the top of my head:

Carrot cake
Cream puffs

No wait, they all have to do with food ...
I think I'll try again tomorrow.

In the meantime, have a lovely weekend, dear people! I am proofreading (unfortunately, as the weather is lovely), but at least now I know where the islands of Langerhans are, and it is not the Indian Ocean ...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Me ...

(picture above: temporary tattoos that kendalee sent me, left: wind, right: water)

Esti tagged me to answer the following questions about myself:

what is your current obsession?
matching colours to paint chips, re-inventing signs and symbols, thinking about my zine

what are you wearing now?
black cotton drawstring pants, grey long cotton prayer shirt, black leather cuff. big silver ring, bare feet, reading glasses

do you nap a lot?
no, but I may take a little nap on the sofa if I've had a long walk in the morning or if I'd gone to bed after 2am.

who was the last person you hugged?

what is your favourite tree?
i don't really have a favourite real tree. My favourite tree would be an imaginary one with a door in the trunk leading to a cozy little room with books to read and thoughts to be thought and hanging from the branches would be chocolate cupcakes and strawberries and making music amongst the leaves would be a tiny jazz band and there would be little stairs going up to the branches with a platform where I could lie watching the clouds in the day and the stars at night and from where I could see see four different views - the sea in the south, snow in the north, the desert in the west and the mountains in the east.

what´s for dinner?
bread baked by l'usband and soup made from leftover curry - butternut, potato, carrot, lots of chillies, coconut milk, vegetable stock

what was the last thing you bought?
an ice cream for l'usband

what are you listening to right now?
the very loud and strange-sounding hum of the desktop computer - i hope it is not also going to give out on me ...

what is your favorite weather?
sunny and warm, with a very light breeze

what is on your bedside table?
reading glasses, book (richard dawkins's the god delusion), perfume, two chinese fans

what is your most challenging goal right now?
to make a living freelancing

say something to the person who tagged you.
your art is beautiful

if you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where do you want it to be?
i already have it, right here

favorite vacation spot?
I don't really do vacations. I prefer holidays at home. But weekends away: Karoo (Prince Albert), Napier, Riebeek Kasteel

name the things you cannot live without.
l'usband, lindt chocolate, coffee, books, a sea view

what would you like to have in your hands right now?
all of the above!

what is your favorite tea flavor?
Five Roses Chai Spice

what would you like to get rid of?
hatred, unkindness & prejudice in people

if you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
a tango hall in buenos aires

Monday, March 9, 2009

Whizzing past ...

Yesterday I walked down to the end of our road to watch the Argus cycle tour cyclists come past.

I derived a certain smug satisfaction contemplating the fact that I was comfortably seated and would soon be walking home to a glass of chilled wine and lunch, whereas they would have to slog for several more hours, and that against a roaring South-easter. Oh, I am a meanie, I am ...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thoughts on Creativity #1

Today my copy of Esti Hernandez de Miguel's book arrived in the post. Called My Drawings of wolf men, girl skaters, tree women, black skies and other stories, it is a beautiful collection of drawings, quirky stories and musings. (See more of her fantastic work here.)

As I was paging through it and delighting in how her mind works, I was thinking of my month of tadding, and how difficult (and draining) I found it to think of things to make (and then to make them ...) and how relieved I was when it was all over and I could relax into my semi-vegetative state once again. My goodness, to have the discipline to sit down every day and work at an idea!

I have renewed admiration and appreciation for creative people, I really do. For those who sit down every day (or almost every day) and create. Whether it be a drawing, a piece of music, paragraphs of prose or poetry, a felted garland, a paper doll, a tea towel with a hand-printed design, a clever cushion cover, an outfit, amazing hand-lettered art, a photograph, a painting, a vignette of arranged objects ...

Creative people, I salute you all.

And now go off and have a fantastic weekend. Make something. (Or take a little rest.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

21 days ...

Dear friends, thank you so much for your kind words and commiserations - I appreciate it!

Yesterday ...
1. ... I took my laptop in for an autopsy. (I was hoping for a miraculous resurrection right there on the spot but alas, that only seems to happen in the Bible and other such documents.) Three weeks they say, three weeks before they can tell me anything about it! It is under guarantee which seems to be a problem - it now has to go back to the original suppliers.

2. ... I went to look at new laptops. The range of choices is confusing to say the least. I have not looked at laptops for ages, but I was confronted by prices ranging from R6000 to R30000. And all these new versions of Vista. What is with that? I was happily tootling along on XP when my computer gave up the ghost, so the fact that Vista comes in a variety of versions was a bit of a shock to me. Can any one advise?

3. ... I went to see Changeling. What can I say? After Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima this was a huge disappointment. Also, I have never thought Angelina Jolie is a good actress, and my opinion has not changed.

So, 21 days of irregular posting and very little blog reading ... But, as a friend who came to visit me said, maybe not such a bad thing. In his words, "there are shells to be collected and roses to be smelt ... "

Monday, March 2, 2009


Dear friends, my laptop is sick. In fact, I think it has probably died, but I am in denial. When I switched it on this morning it just went Phhrtttttttttttttttt. Well, something close to that. (Did I perhaps overdo things with my constant tadding, I wonder?)

This is the second serious breakdown in eight months, but this time no amount of cajoling from L'Usband could coax it back to life. So it appears I will be sans computer for a while. It also appears there is a good reason why people back up, one that I should be well aware of after 25 years in the IT industry. It seems nothing on my hard disk is rescueable. Yes, one never thinks it will happen to oneself, does one?

I may have to use my Buenos Aires travel fund to purchase a new laptop. Quite frankly, the choice between this amazing city with daily tango lessons from the masters, and a dependable connection to my beloved blogworld, is more difficult than I thought ...

I will keep you up to date. Please excuse me now while I go and put my head in the oven.