June 30, 2011


This is a quick one as I have been out for some time for yoga so I need to get some work done. It will also be quick as I’m typing very quickly since yoga can have the same effect as speed on you. That never happened before, but now it is and it feels quite awesome.

So very quickly:

a) If you are in need of a manicure, wax or facial, check out Petticoat Parlour in Green Point. I went yesterday and it made me happily miss my yoga class, it was that amazing (and if you haveever been to the J Sisters in New York that ‘amazing’ says something). All the pink in there almost made me start singing Grease songs. That was fun.

b) On the radio they were discussing what you would want to have named after you if it could be anything. A guy said stadium, an okay wish for a guy I guess. A girl said a planet. Stupid I think considering how quickly the title planet can be taken away from you these days. Poor old Pluto. I decided I will have a diamond cut named after me. In case you do not know – they are rare like nothing else. What should it be – the Anycut or AZ cut?

Dear Tiffany’s, I would like my future engagement ring to be pink gold with an anycut 3-carat pink diamond.

Something like that. While waiting for either scenario I bought myself some diamonds on a string and already love them dearly. The only problem –just like their counterpart on a ring, they were not meant for singles. Putting them on usually takes 5 minutes and a chipped nail.
Queen Magpie diamonds on a string.
c) 30 Rock does rock, but I am nothing like Liz Lemon as my awful cousin Janni said.

June 29, 2011

Mexican Cooking 101.

I’m not going to dwell on the fact that I was right in the argument with the Buena Vista manager on whether Burritos are the same thing as Quesadillas. But I did of course have to ask Gladys to make sure if I’m right and get all my facts in order. In fact I’m not even posting that to prove I’m right, but because her reply just really made me laugh and I thought I could share this on this dreadful rainy morning.

Here is what she wrote when I asked her for the exact differences:

“There's a huge difference! Quesadilla is just a tortilla with melted cheese. You can fancy it up with chicken or meat or some sort of filling, but the tortilla is folded flat. A Burrito or as Deniz calls them Brutto is filled w/ meat, beans, rice and any other stuff you'd like to add then rolled like a crepe. Anyway that guy was an idiot. Tell him even a Chimichanga is closer to a Quesadilla than a Burrito at least that has melted cheese.”

Two side notes: our good friend Deniz could never remember the name, so yes, she named Burritos Brutto and it kind of stuck. A Chimichanga is basically a deep-fried Burrito, but I already told Gladys that the guy wouldn’t have known that if he didn’t even know the aforementioned difference of Burrito and Quesadilla.

Again I’m really not telling you all this to gloat, but as a pretext to share this picture she also sent:
Titled: Kitten Burrito in Spinach Tortilla*
No, that is not little Julian. Gladys would have not survived manhandling him like that. Though he does look like he had been stuck in a Tortilla for too long when he stood model for this one:

By Rez.
*She actually titled it Kitty Burrito, so I got very excited as I was hoping for a Hello Kitty Burrito, whatever that may look like.

June 28, 2011

My cotton candy friend.

The words in this story are not entirely mine. I’m actually just translating and adding my two cents of wisdom. I shall be quoting my lovely friend Julia. Julia is quite a new friend in my life though we are from the same town, went to the same school and also share a lot of friends. For some odd reason we never really met. That was till she approached me for an internship in Cape Town. The email she sent me was ... interesting. I should mention that she is a writer and fashion journalist by day and I believe a secret superhero poet by night. There was lots of mentioning of rays of sunshine and feeling like cotton candy. I was a bit baffled. I am if anything only a neo-romantic. I don’t even like red roses and someone to explain their feelings as cotton candy was a bit over the top for me.
So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when she arrived. What can I say? We fell in love. Like two girls who are just meant to be friends. Like when the universe is shaking its head wondering ‘Dah, why didn’t I think of the two of them earlier?’ kind of friends. With this friendship I came to love her emails cotton candy and all. As a sign of appreciation I once even send her a list of cotton candy translated into every known language.
This was just the prologue to what this is all about. Basically two single girls wondering why no one wants us. That sounds more than a bit pathetic, but is essentially true, especially on rainy days. As Julia rightfully says how is it possible that women like us don’t have to get a hidden identity to hide from all the suitors? Why is EVERYONE finding that one special person (sometimes even more than one!), but we? Two women, who are funny, who you can take to a bar and drink vodka till the wee hours of the morning when you need cheering up, who are smart and warm, who still appreciate the tree in front of the house they grew up in yet want to discover the whole wide world. Who can cook yet know the best restaurants in town and own the appropriate wardrobe for both – the restaurant and the beer fest in his parents’ village. Who will invite him on an overnight trip to Paris instead of just dreaming about being swept away by Prince Charming. As she said, it’s not coquetry, one just can’t help but wonder.
My I added wisdom to that: even Jennifer Aniston has a boyfriend these days. It’s no fair! I shall not dwell on the fact that she stole him from his live-in girlfriend of 9 years, but do wonder if she thinks karma will cut her some slack and let her get away with it after Angelina. Though I may add I’m definitely team Angelina and stealing or not, Brad picked the right woman. Enough celebrity gossip.
Julia concluded with the fact that regardless of how exciting our lives may generally be, sometimes you just want to have potatoes with green sauce, someone who takes you in his arms and tells you without words that everything will be alright even if we you just have potatoes and rain again tomorrow. That is Julia for you. Poetic even in describing the darkest scenarios. Me? I just replied whether I could substitute potatoes for pasta, because if not I’d rather stay single.

Pasta or not aside, she did also describe to me the dream scenario, the perfect man and the perfect life for me. I’m not going to repeat it here as it made me cry and feels too personal. I will add it on the ‘list’. It’s nice to know that I have a friend who not only knows me so well, but can also put my wishes into words for me. They seem a lot more tangible once in writing than chasing cotton candy dreams. Thank you, my حلوى القطن* friend.

*Cotton candy in Arabic. What else?

P.S. In case you are wondering – I would have loved to include pictures of us, unfortunately Mr. iBook is still in a coma and I haven’t practised my computer CPR enough to wake him.
P.P.S. I had just send this post to Julia to get it 'approved' and she not only replied that she felt touched and liked it, but also send me an air kiss a la Julia:

June 27, 2011


Luckily I have a job that not only allows but encourages me to leave the office. It’s called location scouting and brought me to Green Point today. I was happy to get myself out of the house and was hoping for an improvement of my mood by improving the scenery. It worked like a charm as I got to see the Green Point Park, which I had never seen before and it is stunning and a great mood improver especially with weather like this. Especially the little signs everywhere made me laugh. Perfect inspiration for parents with naughty children.


Macro shot for Marie.
So now I feel very inspired to write about coconuts, why women like Julia and me are still single even though Jennifer Aniston is not, and how I want to have a diamond cut named after me. Will tackle all of it tomorrow and just use this space to thank my wonderful godchild Eliza whom I just chatted with. She had to run and realized that I hadn’t told her much news yet and guess what she said when I said there was nothing exciting happening in my life right now. “I always like hearing unexciting things from you.” You made my day, girl!

Post-weekend weekend blues.

My weekend was moderate to say the best. In fact it was pretty crappy. Or to not sound too ungrateful, I should say the crappy parts overshadowed everything else as I was in a funny mood.
Friday I went to the ‘new’ Buena Vista with some new friends and though I know that is my own fault I got very hooked on the fact that they ran out of wineglasses (how does that even happen??) and when the very clueless waitress organized cognac glasses we had to return them as I actually refused to drink out of glasses that dirty. I also don’t take kindly to managers who want to tell us that a Burrito is basically the same thing as a Quesadilla and therefore we shouldn’t make a fuss when one isn’t served anymore. It was my friend not me who made the fuss, I actually don’t like Burritos so was happy with the Quesadilla to begin was, but on behalf of Gladys everywhere I didn’t like the concept of throwing all Latin food in one pot together.
Coming home 22h30 to get a sensible early night I was greeted by blasting music from the upstairs neighbours with the bad music taste.
The next morning started accordingly and I had a hard time not falling asleep while teaching.
In the afternoon I went to see my cousin who was here from Germany for one more day and I wasn’t too keen on leaving early in the evening. I did though as I had an infamous blind date. What a disaster. The guy didn’t pitch. I even approached a 20 year old, just to be sure that he wasn’t my date as he was the only one lolling around the bar area by himself. I went home after a lonely glass of wine and a text message to the dude saying something like ‘thanks for nothing, love.’ After the last guy who stood me up, told me that his grandfather had died after my enraged tirade, I’m really trying to give people the benefit of the doubt. No doubt here though, as I have yet to hear from him again. The worst part wasn’t that I didn’t get to meet the potential future father of my children, but that I left my family early to even attempt. Told you I was a bad single...
To top that all off I am having more weird dreams than usual at the moments. So weird my dreams would be R ratings for violence and suspense left, right and centre if they were movies. The exception was Friday night when I dreamed the Frenchman told me that he was in love with me and Saturday when he wanted to take me for a day trip to New York. I’m telling you I don’t know which one was worse waking up from – probably the New York one; I would have obviously seen my friends there if he had taken me for a trip.

I was chatting to my cousin just now that it can be summed up as follows: it’s only Monday and I’m already feeling fragile and I didn’t even drink last night. Maybe that was a mistake.

P.S. Two good things did happen: I spent lots of money on Saturday, made great by the fact that it was for presents therefore guilt-free. I went to a Skinny La Minx sale and only now realized that I can’t show what I bought as the present recipients read this. Argh.

And it was a really great picture before....
Sunday Bikram was great too– I realized the very silly reason, why I sometimes need to go to other studios, is so I can be best in class and have the teacher give me lots of praise, which I realize is not very yogi-esque at all, but nevertheless true and helpful to my bruised ego.

June 24, 2011

The big double - 0.

Celebrating my 100th post today, I think I can indulge a bit and let my narcissist side shine for a change. After all this is my blog and it’s all about me. Never mind me, just don’t take me serious...
I did however just in time find a genius application on facebook – The Museum of Me. Very well possible that everybody has already seen it, done it and is over it now, but I just found it and I am excited. This is cool.

So now for the big double – 0, I proudly present the Annika Ziehen exhibit:

Exhibition opened yesterday already.

Yup, that's what it is all about.

Some of my best work.

Robots doing something...you gotta watch it!
Words like pasta...any...new york...work...yoga...red wine. You know, the usual.

My wonderful friends in all their glory.

My little universe.
 The actual application turns it all into a little film clip, which unfortunately I couldn’t copy in here. Go to the link and make your own - it is stunning and the pics here don't really do it justice. It is especially great if you are having an off day and think you must go skydiving in Timbuktu to turn your life around – to see your life turned into an exhibition may actually show you ‘hey, now that's an interesting person with a really awesome life’. You never know, give it a try.

June 23, 2011

Gone fishing.

The problem when you live across the street from work is the following: you almost feel like you are working from home, yet you still have to keep up a modicum of professional appearance. That includes brushing teeth in the morning and putting on at least sweatpants instead of PJs. This morning I decided things needed to change and I needed a muffin. So I actually put on clothes, make-up, contact lenses and literally let my hair down. For those who don’t me – letting my hair down is a big deal as I tend to look like a 80s rock star who has spent too many hours combing and puffing. My hair is naturally unruly. People love it, I just find it annoying. I’m not fishing for compliments here as my mother would call it, I really just don’t like it. The gale force winds on my way to Wembley Square did not make it any better.
I quickly scattered in and the first thing I see is a very cute guy sitting at Vida. He looks up, at me, at my hair (By now I must look like Medusa sans snakes) and then he looks some more. So do I, obviously. A bit bewildered maybe, because I feel like I have not flirted with a stranger in forever so I wasn’t sure whether he was flirting or wondering if he should give me the number of his girlfriend’s hair stylist. But yay for me, no such offer followed, which leads me to believe he was flirting with me. Complimenting me with his eyes if I wanted to put it more poetical.
That got me thinking of compliments on my way back with cappuccino and muffin. What are the best compliments guys have ever paid me? The special ones. The ones you remember and sometimes even write down, so you can remember when he is not around anymore. The ones that remind you that someone loved you once. Or at least really, really fancied you.

Here is my Top 5 list of best compliments I have ever received. From the bottom up...

No 5: “You look really hot in your sweatpants.”
I think this compliment is every girls dream and yes, I really heard it. Mind you, we did argue about which sweatpants he was referring to a few days later and it wasn’t my favourite pair, but still – good enough.

No 4: “You are so beautiful.” I know it sounds simple, but unlike being called hot, sexy, cute or pretty; beautiful has such a well, beautiful sound to it. Works best first thing in the morning, when you usually feel everything but for the lack of make-up, brushed teeth and clothing to cover the wobbly bits. The times when someone called me beautiful, felt truly special and I did in fact feel beautiful.

No 3: “Your mouth was just made for kissing.”
I know, I know, someone is gagging right now, because this must be the cheesiest line ever and surely copied from a Telenovela. But when a guy you are madly in love with, tells you at 2am while you are laying on your bed bathed in moonlight, you will swoon as I did.

No 2: “You have the ass of a goddess.”
Now that is a really cute story actually. One must know that I have always had a love/hate leaning more to hate relationship with my bum. Already when I was a teenager I just knew it wasn’t my best feature and I was quite shy about it. My first boyfriend now in an effort to show me that he even loved my ass constructed a poem/song with the lyrics ‘she has the ass of a goddess’. Cute, non? I think my bum blushed a bit with all this attention.

No 1: “Miss, you have very nice legs.”
This makes the top spot purely because a man who was about 90 years old told me at the health food store and he preceded with the question “May I pay you a compliment?” Now that’s what I would call a true gentleman.

Girls, I’m calling on you to tell me your best compliment ever received. No price, just for fame and glory and to remember that someone thought us special.

P.S. And if you are really bored and know me well you can also try to match the compliments No 5 – 2 to my ex boyfriends.

June 22, 2011

What's cookin', Pastaholic?

After lots of Pastaholic stories and how I came to be one, I’ve decided that it is time to actually show what kind of pasta I usually eat. The ritual that happens in my house about every other night finally documented. If you are hoping for a recipe, don’t. I don’t do recipes, a fact that almost caused my last boyfriend and I to break up. Which we did eventually, but not due to recipes or lack thereof. I also don’t do complicated so if you really wanted to re-cook what I made last night, you could just take the ingredients and put them all together. It’s quite simple really.
I had a somewhat serious hangover yesterday. I came to realize that may have been because after bubbly and red wine I decided to almost single handily finish a beautiful bottle of desert wine as everybody else was going for the grappa. No headache though, which speaks for the quality of the wine. Regardless, I wasn’t a happy girl and whenever I get niggly due to too much alcohol, I start day dreaming about pasta. Obviously that is not the only occasion when I think of pasta, but this situation is a sure, reoccurring thing. Through the grapevine, I found two new food blogs and got very inspired by Chris’ Vongole. I got intrigued by the pictures, yes, but even more so by the suggested combination of drinking rose champagne with pasta. Where have I been all my life?? I mean I love pasta, I love rose champagne. I sounds like a match made in heaven.

Pasta + rose champagne or pink bubbly as we would call it here = Perfection

I’m not sure why I have been sticking to stupid old red wine with pasta when it clearly calls for a nice cold bottle of Old Man’s Sparkles. Though to be honest here, that wasn’t the plan for last night. Because I’m a) scared to make vongole by myself and b) I had a date. So if there was to be any drinking done, it would have to be in company. Not ideal for the way I felt.
Then I stars magically realigned. First I found this recipe from Sweet Paul, which was so profound and so beautiful and did not require any vongole and then my date cancelled.
You know you have become too good of a single if you are happy when a date cancels just so you can stay at home and eat pasta. But the feeling was good and I’m sticking to it. Here is what I did last night:

I love trying new pasta shapes and though this one wasn’t quite as exciting as I wish it would have been, it worked perfectly for what I had in mind.

Fresh prawns from Woolies – I totally lucked out as my store usually doesn’t carry them and I seemed to have found the last packet. They were delicious.

I’m not sure of their proper names, but these are blackish/green/red tomatoes from PnP. I am totally obsessed with them as they are full of flavour and the colouring is just freakishly cool.

Garlic, of course.

Parmesan grated two ways.

I forgot the lemon zest, but it actually turned out – it did not matter. And with or without the rose champagne (I was being good yesterday, so I can go to &Union tonight) it was so good, I could not not finish the entire pan.

June 21, 2011

Modern family.

This post has been long time in the making. Namely all of last night as I kept dreaming about it. Wild dreams they were, also including the Frenchman, a long haired sexy stranger, and IKEA. Anyhow this is not about any of them, this is about my wonderful family, which I have shamefully neglected in this writing.

We are the Schwagers. Technically not even half of us – me included – is officially called Schwager, but we all share the same Schwager-esque characteristics, so no one really cares about the technicalities of a last name. You ask what characteristics I’m talking about? It’s hard to describe, one has to experience us to understand that we are just not a normal family.
One is the sheer size of us. They just don’t make families that big anymore these days. I tried to do a little family tree, so you can see the extend of my South African family and understand the connections better, but I got too dizzy and gave up.
Yesterday was Carmen’s and Nikki’s birthday. Nikki is my cousin, Carmen is Nikki’s cousin, which for the sake of ease makes her my cousin too. After already having a pre-birthday dinner with the extended family, whatever that may mean for ours, on Sunday; Nikki had asked me to come over for some bubbly last night.
So after yoga I rushed home, changed, put petrol in my car and arrived a little while later in Hout Bay with bottle and birthday card in my hand. I rang once, I rang twice and by now the dogs inside were going gaga, yet still wasn’t in. A few phone calls later the mystery is solved as everyone ended up at La Perla and unfortunately no one had told me. I was promised huge amounts of bubbles over the phone and so I drove all the way back.
La Perla, you must know, is something like an extended living room/kitchen for my family and so to no surprise, I walked into their bar area completely decked out with various cousins, aunt & uncle, nieces, nephews, enough drinks to feed an army, and a very shamefaced Nikki. Due to it being her birthday she was of course gracefully forgiven immediately for the faux pas of not telling me the venue change.
What followed was a beautiful evening of celebration with a family on best behaviour for a change (Oh ja, we all can do very different too...). The restaurant brought out beautiful little plates of prawns, risotto and lamb, and tiramisu birthday cake... Glasses were never empty....The birthday girls were smiling, the kids laughing... Cousins, sitting in a corner, giggling, sharing old stories, which I had to promise not to repeat in writing today. Don’t get excited, because as a birthday present to Carmen I decided I shall keep that promise.

It was a Schwager family night to remember. Good to remember for the next time, when we all scream and shout at each other again as we do ... just like any other normal family.

P.S. I just tried it again – the family tree thing. First online, then by hand. Really wanted to include a chart, but it’s just not working. I didn’t even know which side of the paper to start.

June 20, 2011

The Devil Smells Baies.

Amongst other things I do have a bit of an obsession with candles. Not candlelight, just candles. I couldn’t care less whether they are lit or not. Proving my point, my favourite picture of my newest acquisition from Country Road on my recent winter splurge:

One might quite rightly object now and say - But why? Candlelight is so romantic and such. Here is why I find it completely unnecessary:

Scenario A – Taking a bath.
When I take a bath I’m usually in and out in ten minutes and it would take longer to set candles up than I could enjoy them. Plus I usually read in the bath so I would need to leave the lights on anyhow.

Scenario B – Dinner.
I think Gladys spoiled that one for me as she says candles on the table always shine directly in her eyes and hurt her. Therefore any candle wouldn’t survive on our table. I must have adapted the habit. Plus I like to see what’s on my plate.

Scenario C – Sex.
I’m very much a lights on person, but whether there is candlelight or not doesn’t really do anything for my mood. Good sex is good sex with or without and bad sex unlike facial complexions doesn’t get better in candlelight. The only exception here are the massage candles from Kiki de Montparnasse which turn into oil when poured on skin. But obviously they are burnt for a different kind of mood setting purpose than to make everything and everyone look pretty.

Having that said, I do love Carols at Candlelight at Kirstenbosch, which is the only scenario I can think of when lighting them is kind of essential. Though I love buying all kind of candles, I have a special fondness for the scented kind. Proving my point again, it is not about the candlelight, but the smell when you walk into your home. In New York I developed an unhealthy habit of buying only the most exclusive = expensive kind. Diptyque. When you worked in fashion it was mandatory to burn their Baies candles in your office and home. If like me you worked as a mere little assistant, you had the choice to either steal one from your boss (NO, never! I'd be to scared to get caught...) or to not eat for a week and save the money to buy one.
Baies is to this day one of the most delicious smells ever to me. Yet I was a bit shamefaced at times, when people asked me how much I must have spent on a candle, which I would only burn to the most special of all occasions. Of course this question would only come from non-fashion people and for a good while I got away by saying that cheap scented candles gave me a headache. Which is sort of true.
Since moving to Cape Town I had to give up on them as they are not being sold here and would probably force me to not eat for 2 weeks considering the exchange rate. Luckily my wonderful friend Sam agreed to bring me two when he came for a visit from New York. Unfortunately South African airport thieves seemed to have the same taste as me: his Prada jacket was untouched, yet my Diptyque candles got stolen out of his suitcase. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for Sam, but to this day I’m still wondering about the thief’s motives and if there is a shack now somewhere that smells like Baies.

A blonde moment.

I realized this morning I must have been seriously confused last week and can now blame either all the rain or too much yoga for the sogginess of my brain. Organized little me booked all train tickets in Germany in advance, but only with a gentle nudge from my friend Nele discovered that I booked half of them for the wrong month. So the week is starting off a bit on the wrong foot, but since the mistakes were done last week, I try not to have my mood too affected by it.

My weekend was a mishmash of emotions with two important discoveries:

a) I think my tolerance to red wine is getting lower, which is very, very concerning.
b) I must get one of those do-not-drunk-text applications on my phone immediately.

The highlight of my Saturday was this:

I know that sounds a bit sad, but I was hibernating and if you were to eat this, you would know there is nothing sad about it. That’s the aforementioned Twilight by the way. Have I said how much I adore Malibu? Can’t say it enough.

The highlight of my Sunday was lunch in honour of my two wonderful cousins’ birthdays. In particular a conversation with Cuma, who is my cousin’s foster son, 10 years old and too sharp for his own good.
Sitting outside, chilling after lunch in the sun, Cuma comes up behind be and looks down on my head.

Cuma: Is that grey or blonde hair?
Me (without hesitation): Blonde of course.
Cuma (very doubtful, told you he was sharp): Reeeeally? It doesn’t look too blonde.
Me: No, no it is. You know that very light, silvery blonde. The one that Paris Hilton has.
Cuma: Aaah. Okay.
Off he goes.
Me (murmuring) : Puh, close call.

Good to know I can still fool a 10 year old, if not myself.

First on my Monday to do list: re-do my roots.

June 17, 2011

California dreaming a la German.

Cape Town is measly at the moment, even when it’s not raining. Or so it seems to me, which is usually a sure sign that I’ve got travel fever. Increased dreams about the Seychelles are another indicator. In my dream we took a boat from the V&A and just nipped over for a day trip. How awesome would that be? I think my dreams are on a roll these days, first James Bond, now secluded island..it’s all coming together nicely in Lalaland.
Though if I’m very honest, all I want to do is finally go on my trip back home. I guess I have a combination of wanderlust and homesickness and it got so bad that I allowed myself to daydream a bit this morning and started a must-do list in my head.

Bad Honnef
· Sit with my mother at her dining table, drink white wine and talk yoga. Great combination especially since I tend to get much more flexible after 2 glasses. I also love the fact that I must have the only mother who allows feet on the table as she tends to do the same. *
· Drink Kölsch at ‘The Island’ beer garden. The best thing that the little town has to offer. Can’t describe, will show pictures after (If I remember to take some...the usual problem with me and the camera.) The Island that is, Kölsch pretty much tastes the same anywhere.
· See all my new nieces and nephews. I think my family has quadruplet yet again in the last year.

· Spend a night on the Kiez and come only home when it’s already light out.
· Bribe Jakob with ‘fussi’ playtime to let me sleep in afterwords, but end up doing early morning yoga with him anyhow.
· Drink lots of ‘Lokole’ (Short for chocolate, which actually stands for something sweet, but means the adult version = champagne) with Xenia and Stephan.

· Attempt to actually get some art and culture in for a change, but probably end up shopping.
· Shopping. I can also put that on the list officially and unashamed on its own.
· Spend a night out on the Berlin equivalent of the the Kiez and come only home when it’s already light out.

Bad Hersfeld
· Festspiele. See a play and dwell in nostalgia about the times I was dressed up like a maid and fought on stage with Katrin.
· Raspberry picking – the only household activity I ever volunteered to do.
· Sitting outside on the terrace with my Dad, having him tell me old stories about my grandparents & co. This time I shall remember to record them.

· One Saturday with Nele.

That’s the plan and I’m sticking to it. Additional ideas obviously welcome as long as they include food, drinks and/or shopping. Obviously combinations of all three get preferential treatment.

For now back to measly Cape Town; will put a smile on now and try to make it a smashing weekend!

*When I told my mother about this, she said I must please make sure to mention that she only puts her feet up in her own house, never in public.

June 16, 2011

Holiday hello.

I spent approximately 8 hours of the last 24 hours at the studio. So, yes, so far the challenge is working and to no one's suprise I have liquidized my body and also my brain a bit more than usual in the beautiful heat. Therefore 3 glasses of red last night are still circulating wildly in my body and asking for pasta to settle the dispute, which of course - you know my me, I'm not unkind - it will get. What happened you ask...well there was a man, a funny ugly dog and two puzzle pieces, which I have yet to figure out what they mean. The puzzle pieces that is. More tomorrow as I need to go back napping, there was something very interesting in my dreams going on a la James Bond last time, so I want to try and bring it back.

Flip, that wasn't James Bond. That was my ex. Not sure if that makes me happy or upset now.

P.S. And to demonstrate really how useless I am today, I just published this post on my Dad's birthday blog. Nice story for my Dad about his daughter getting drunk. Super.

June 15, 2011

Home sweet home.

Everybody in Cape Town agrees that today is a sleeping and staying in bed weather day. Unfortunately the holiday only starts tomorrow, which doesn’t keep me from feeling oddly dreamlike and not quite awake. Apparently I’m not alone. Good to know.
Yesterday on the other hand was glorious sunshine so I can keep my promise and show you pictures of the things that have moved around with me for quite some time. I do agree that some may seem a bit random, but keep in mind – too each their own. I take them with to make myself feel at home and don’t care if it doesn’t make feel anybody else this way.
My Habitat trays, which I got in Cologne (At least I think that’s where they from, I had them for so long, I can’t be sure.), which means they have moved from Cologne to New York, from New York to Bad Hersfeld, from Bad Hersfeld to Cape Town and there from Seapoint to Obz to Oranjezicht to Claremont to Tamboerskloof to Gardens. You get the picture. They are quite well travelled and have brightened many of my kitchens.
Compared to the trays this ashtray is probably even more ancient and can rightly be considered a vintage style icon and a suitable murder weapon. One of my very best and funny enough non-smoking friends, Katrin, gave it to me way back in the day. One of the greatest gifts I ever got and therefore worth paying for the luggage overweight.
My travel book, which I think could technically be considered a coffee table book. Then again usually coffee table books are not meant to be read. I read in this book all the time. Two pages dedicated to each country there is in the world: pictures, map, things to do, best time to go, etc. Condensed to give an overview in the most beautiful and inspiring way possible. I need it to feel home, because it reminds me that I am.

If you want to see something really random, look at my Pretty Useless Post. The little enamel blobs have also been with me for the past few years and they really have no good reason to stuff up my suitcase, except that I like having them around.

I guess, if I ever do get stuck on a deserted island and these are the things I have decided to take with me:

a) I will not get bored as I can play Frisbee with my trays.
b) I won’t be hungry as I can beat a coconut open with my ashtray.*
c) I can try to identify with the help of my book where I got stranded.
d) I can make an SOS out of blobs in the sand.

I’ll take my chances I say.

*This may actually not be true as I once saw a huge tortoise with a hole in her shell from a coconut that fell on her. In the fight coconut against tortoise, coconut won and I’m not sure where the ashtray will be on the hardest things in the world scale. I may have to club fishes over the head instead.

June 14, 2011

The land before time.

Last August in New York I went to the Museum of Natural History. It was amazing. I have a tendency to sneak up to guided tours and listen in, so that way I learned all about the fossilized dinosaur eggs and I got to touch them too. I like dinosaurs lots and I do one day want to own a Night Fury. I think it’s Jacob’s doing. In case you don’t know, my little nephew Jakob has a slight obsession with dinosaurs and even when he was only 4 years old he could tell you exactly the difference between a dinosaur and a dragon and would tell you off if you mixed them up. So no surprise that he was very happy when I got him a walking and roaring dinosaur, one of those presents parents will never buy for their own kids. I’m surely going to be paid back for it in singing toy ponies once I have a child.
When carnival came along a few years ago Jacob to everybody’s surprise decided not to be Jack Sparrow, but a T-Rex. Actually that might not be accurate, but is the only dinosaur I can think of and spell. Xenia bought some fancy felt fabric and sewed him an outfit, which of course ended in tears because last minute he wanted to be some other kind of dinosaur and now the fabric wasn’t the right kind.
I was overjoyed when I found cameras at the museum that film you and you can send a video message to people via email. The best part of it? It puts you in a New York taxi which is being chased by a T-Rex. Unfortunately I don’t have the email anymore otherwise I would have posted it here. I think I looked quite heroic in the eyes of such danger. And my imaginary cabbie was cool too.
My most exciting part however was a stint at the South Sea exhibit all put together by the late Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist. In addition to articles by her and things she had collected, they also showed films about her life and I became utterly fascinated. So fascinated that back in Cape Town I decided I had to read her autobiography. Only problem was, it had been out of print for years. I started my research and finally located it at Strand in NYC, sent Gladys the details and was now apparently responsible for my poor pregnant friend to walk all over town in the snow heaps to get my book. Not only that, but she had to climb up a ladder to get to it once there.
Though she gave it to me when she was here in February, I hadn’t yet opened it. It had just been lying on my ‘to read’ pile of books. I think sometimes I feel anxious to actually open a book that I have so looked forward to as it may just disappoint.
This Saturday I decided it was time, so I took my iced coffee and Blackberry Winter out on the balcony just to fall in love with it: To read someone describing home away from home for the first time exactly how I felt about it all my life was mesmerizing. How it doesn’t matter how long you spend in a place, but what you make of it and who you meet. Her notion of how you always take certain things with you that instantly make you feel home. I too, have the oddest assortment of things, useful and not, that I have been dragging around with me for years. Just to make home away from home...Will take some pictures tonight and show you tomorrow. I might also tell you the story of the home I shared with the little bellboy whom I watched gymnastics at the summer Olympics with. Or write about his flatmate who wrote his emails while wearing a black g-string. All for the sake of anthropoligical research of course.

June 13, 2011

Sunday Roast.

I must admit, I was laughing when Nicole Kidman named her baby girl Sunday Rose, which was quickly turned into Sunday Roast by some devilish funny media people. I guess she should have seen it coming...

I am probably one of the few people who usually don’t enjoy Sunday roasts or Sundays in general. It may have to do with the fact that in Germany everything is closed on Sundays. No shopping last minute or leisurely, no spa treatments, no nothing. If in desperate need and willing to pay the horrendous price, you go to the gas station and buy microwave fast food there. If you just feel the urge to go shopping for fun, you better live in a big enough city where you can go shopping at the train station mall.
Neither options were available when I was growing up plus I had to sit through Sunday lunch with my parents, which I hate to say it, was just not all that exciting. My Dad would make a roast of some sort and expect eternal gratitude from my mother for taking the cooking off her hands for a day. He didn’t realize that it would have taken my mother less time to cook and clean the kitchen than it took her to just clean the kitchen after my Dad was done cooking. That usually ended in the same argument every week.
Even when I was younger and my brother and Opi would join, the highlight was usually Stephan spitting on Opi’s bold head, telling him it was raining and being delighted when he believed him. I’m not sure if that is a true story or was just passed on in my family to demonstrate my Opi’s general gullibility better. I do know for a fact though that Opi insisted on pre-warmed plates for every meal and would test the temperature by grabbing the side of the plate. One day my mother got so fed up with his high maintenance that she heated the plates till they were scorching hot. We can all imagine how that ended and hopefully understand now, why I’m not a big fan of Sunday lunches.
Another good reason why Saturdays are so much better than Sundays, is the simple fact that they are further away from Mondays. Last weekend though I had decided to turn the usual blue Sunday around and re-introduce Sunday lunch. My way. And so the Beef Wellington project was born. Initially for the reason that I had never eaten one before, owed my uncle a thank you for jump starting my car in the middle of the night and was planning a little video cooking show for my Dad’s birthday blog.

As one can guess, wine more helpful...
...than kittens.

Fillet or duck?
With good help from a few bottles of wine and of course the kittens we prepared on Saturday evening and off it went into the oven on Sunday for lunch. Unless you are a vegetarian, the idea of beef, chicken, and pork in their various best forms i.e. fillet, parfait, and bacon all rolled up in one dish, can’t be anything but heaven. And it was. Even the non-meat-eaters at the table, and there were plenty, had to admit – our little Wellington looked amazing. For us who had a slice, it tasted even better. I, for a change, enjoyed my Sunday since it came with lots of sunshine, family, chocolate for desert, and a Tupperware with leftovers for breakfast.

The Wellington in all it's glory.

Challenge accepted! *

Just a quick Monday morning hello with the proof that I have finished part of my DIY project from last weekend. My own little homemade blackboard in newly spray painted frame:

Ta-Dah! I must say though that blackboard paint is a tricky one and not as easy to write on as a regular blackboard (and we all remember even that wasn’t as easy as the teacher made it look like). Therefore I have moved away from using it as my ‘To Buy’ blackboard, though I’m in desperate need of a better system than writing lists, which I will eventually leave at home anyhow.
No, for the time being I’m using it to keep score for my self-prescribed 30-day yoga challenge, which I’m starting today. Unlike everyone else around me, I can’t use winter weather as an excuse to slack since I will be travelling into the sun soon. (No, silly remarks here – there is lots of sunshine even in Germany in summer.) I also thought it might be good for my knee and general state of mind.

So here I go...30 days and yoga once a day every day. Wish me luck!

*If you know where that quote is from, I will buy you a beer.

June 10, 2011

A thank you letter.

Yesterday it was my niece’s birthday so after quickly dashing into the V&A to find a suitable cool gift for a 12 year old I drove to Hout Bay. I decided to take Beach Road as the sunset was stunning and I felt I could use a sea breeze after shopping mall air and the shock of seeing the contents of YDE up close.
So I had a beautiful half an hour drive that I used to contemplate on my recent life. Giving myself a good dose of tough love over the last couple of weeks, I think I have aired out my life quite nicely. Out with the old, in with the new - seems to be working well for me right now. I realized that for the first time in a while, I not only felt content and quite cheerful, but also very grateful. Part of what makes me so grateful is this here...writing, sharing, and actually being read. An experience that is new to me and that I find quite humbling. So on Victoria road at 17h40 I decided it was time for an official THANK YOU or my ode to the readers as I like to call it. Just like in an Oscar acceptance speech a few must be mentioned in person (Yes, I have done a speech in my head already, just in case -I hear that James Bond is coming to town).

In no particular order, I promise...

Thank you, Thekla.
My wonderful cousin, friend, and ever faithful companion on the blogging road to Narnia.

Thank you, Sabine.
My sister, who even though she admits that she only understands half of the English, thinks I should be a published book author. Danke, Schwesterherz! I’m working on it...

Thank you, Oliver.
Who makes money by writing and says he likes my stories. That meant the world to me.

Thank you, Sy.
For letting me teach and thus giving me lots of inspiration for pretzel yoga stories.

Thank you, Xenia and Stephan.
They read what I write so they know what’s going on in the life of their ‘little Anna’.

Thank you, Frenchman.
For feeding me pizza in bed and letting me kiss and tell all autumn long.

Thank you, Mother.
For telling me I write nicely and asking me to write more. I think in a way this is kind of all of her fault here...

Thank you, Dad.
For being so proud when he remembered that only cliché Germans wear socks in sandals and took them off. It just makes me smile every time I think about it. Smiling helps me write.

Thank you, Anya.
She wrote to me “You are very funny (in a very positive way)”. The clarification made me laugh.

Thank you, everyone else, who ever told me I was funny with a slight note of surprise in their voice. Yes, people, some Germans are funny. Told you so.

Now, feel free to complain if you feel left out or if I have actually forgotten someone here. Sorry, my brain is in Friday mode...

June 9, 2011

Genie in a pizza.

Wise people always tell us that everything, even the bad things, happen for a reason. Then they want us to believe that the reason is not only valid, but good. I haven’t evolved my higher being enough yet and usually have a problem with this “argument”. Till yesterday.
I knew something was wrong with my oven when it made a crackling sound with a little hiss and the lights went off two days ago. I texted my landlord and he called the oven people to come over soonest. Yesterday I spent my office hours thinking what I could make for dinner that wouldn’t involve the oven and went grocery shopping accordingly. An inner voice told me to rather test if the hotplates were working before I went to class. What an ingenious thought. They were not.
I spent my class thinking about alternate dinner options to adjust to the new stove situation. Salad without some chicken or roast butternut is boring and even Thekla’s infamous cabbage/carrot salad is not the same without roasted seeds. The options started to narrow down to Mc Donald’s or pizza. Considering that I had had pizza the night before and can only justify eating MD after a night out drinking heavily, I wasn’t impressed by the choices I had given myself.
Once I left the studio, my hand made the decision for me and automatically opened the door of Col’Cacchio when walking past. Two magical things happened next. First I decided not only to be as healthy as one can possibly get with pizza, but also adventurous and ordered Justin Bonello’s special pizza Greengenie. I have come to terms with the fact that I’m not an adventurous pizza eater; I find chicken on my pizza to be exotic. Don’t ask why. Probably because in Italy they don’t put chicken on their pizza and I like to pretend I grew up on somewhat authentic pizza. So a pizza with whole-wheat base, shitake mushrooms, seeds, and more greenery than your average house salad is quite novel for me. But to summarize the experience quickly now: this pizza made the top 5 of best pizzas I have eaten in my life. Ever. That excludes the fact that I felt I was actually eating something quite healthy; that was just the green cherry on top.
In case you wonder whether I am sponsored by Col’Cacchio, the answer is sadly no, it’s was just good enough to make my night. Though I probably would not have admitted to the fact that I ate pizza twice this week in writing, if it wasn’t for magical thing no. 2 which happened.
So there I sat, sweaty, hungry, bored, just waiting for my pizza and in walked a very familiar face. Before I reveal the mystery guest I have to remind you of my favourite place to eat pasta: Mezzaluna. I think I have written about their sea urchin spaghetti often enough that the term has its own label here. I have also mentioned twice that they closed down, my general sorrow about them closing and pondered where I can get sea urchin spaghetti now. To my utter delight it was Andrea, former chef at Mezzaluna, who walked in last night, recognized me and immediately came over to chat. Not only can I hope to score some free coffee as he is working for Lavazza now, but I can also look forward to a special occasion to host a dinner party as he also cooks for private events. My aunt will be invited for the dinner for sure as she wrote her thesis on the sex life of sea urchins and still wonders if they taste any good. I still wonder how sea urchins have sex. Maybe we will both learn something.

So next time your oven breaks or some other annoying misfortune occurs, don’t despair. You may just learn how sea urchins have sex from the experience. Or at least get a good pizza out of it.

June 8, 2011


The nice thing about being single is that I can a) spend too much money on Country Road pyjama pants without being judged and b) don’t have to care that they are the unsexiest item of clothing I now own. They are soft, comfy, and warm and go perfectly with my equally unattractive sheep skin slippers. I’m not wearing them out of defiance and to show the world that I don’t care I’m single. I NEED them. Something I finally accepted by taking ‘Winter Essentials in SA 101’ after freezing throughout my first Cape Town winter. Same goes for a cashmere pillow. Essential!

The trinity of winter essentials.
People look at me like I’m a crazy person when I tell them – I have never been as cold during any winter as I have been in Cape Town. Yes, that does include 19 winters in Bad Hersfeld, 2 in Hamburg, 1 in Cologne and 6 in New York. Cape Town takes it home, winner of the coldest winter ever contest. No, I’m not kidding. Cape Town winters are just particularly nasty for me. And just because there are good reasons for it i.e. much more rain = wet creeping cold, bad isolation, not enough choices in quality cashmere jerseys; doesn’t make it okay or any easier to bear.
Admittedly I get cold easily. As previously discussed I do think it’s the reason why I started doing Bikram yoga. It doesn’t matter whether I practise or teach, it gives me an hour and a half of not freezing at some part of my body. Imagine my sorrow when I came to the studio Friday evening for class to find out that we had ran out of gas and I would have to take a cold class. By the way – cold class is a proper term in this case, not me being whiny. So we started with 29 degrees, which at best could be described as balmy. Glad to know I’m not the only one who is addicted to the heat fix. I had to tell people to stop giving me dirty looks as the lack of warmth and sweat really wasn’t my fault and I was the one, freezing most in my little shorts.
Saturday morning was marginally better as the gas was renewed, but the heat came on too late for my taste so I was still moping. Sunday evening I was finally a happy girl again, as I had ventured to Constantia for a class and the room was steaming hot so people actually complained after class. Obviously not me, being the teacher’s pet and asking them to turn it up even more. Yes, I often do get annoyed with myself...

Winter view from my window.
I briefly wondered whether it was overkill to take my cashmere poncho to wrap myself afterwards, but it turned out it wasn’t. Due to the stupidity of leaving my lights on, I had to first beg my uncle to come and then wait for him for 40 minutes in a chilly car. Poncho came in handy. So would the slippers. Unfortunately I assumed people would think me even crazier if I’d wear them out, so I left them at home and warm.
It’s at least warm in my flat as last year I managed to find the unthinkable: A flat, not only across the street from work, but with a built-in heater and a mezzanine level for my bed right under the ceiling, which keeps
toasty all throughout. Happiness, because believe it or not once the cold inside is gone, I quite enjoy watching the mist, rain, clouds of Cape Town winter outside.

June 6, 2011

A story about chocolate, not pasta. Finally.

Apparently my subconscious is concerned that I might get too slim after doing two yoga classes this weekend. It (the subconscious) just pried a snackwiched tuna, onion, mayo, cheese toast out of poor Mark’s hands for breakfast and now just stuffed the forth piece of Lindt chocolate into my mouth for lunch as I was so so hungry and the way to the fridge to get my proper lunch just too far. It might be this time of the month or it might just be pure laziness that I can’t get off my chair next to my heater and have to therefore take any food that comes my way. Either way even for my standards it has not been a healthy start in the week. I usually try to live by my Mum’s rule of ‘I’m not going to ruin my figure with junk.’ She will say that and put a really nice chocolate truffle in her mouth. When I say try, I mean I will eat the chocolate truffle and the Bar One too.

So this weekend started nicely when my usual Cassis weekend treat came along a bit early. I had to buy our landlord a little birthday cake and thought my stomach might get very confused if I walked into Cassis without it having any of the benefits. Anyone who has seen any House, Grey’s Anatomy or General Hospital ever knows a confused stomach is not a good thing and could lead to serious complications. One vanilla and one coconut macaroon please! Just to be on the safe side...
By any standard I think Cassis can be immediately classified as a non-junky, it’s –worth-that-your-jeans-feel-too-tight-now treat. Until I went to the new market on Hope Street on Saturday morning and found the Vanilla Orchid lady aka Salszari.

I was instantly sold on the concept to chop up precious truffles, put them in pretty china bowls and have people try as many as they want to without judgment. That’s called good customer service. So I started trying, yet was strongly resistant to buy some, till I had a piece of the salty caramel. Why has no ever given me salty caramel before??

Transporting truffles in a huge, overly crowded bag is always a challenge. No wonder people at Haas were laughing at me when later I had to pick up my truffles from the bottom of my bag where they had rolled to. It may have been the fact that I spoke to them like I would speak to a wounded kitten.

I just managed to take this picture before devouring them as I thought the little eatable pearly bits were too pretty not to share. But as you can imagine, afterwards their supermodel career was short lived.
Even just writing this, I put the Lindt chocolate down. The comparison is just too sad. Next on my list to try is this the following, which was described on their website:

“As many of us dream, few to experience - the spirit on a tropical island. The flavours of this chocolate; a fusion of white chocolate, Malibu and pineapple, may help to take you there if you let your senses go.”

It is followed by a ‘warning’ that it contains alcohol, which is good to know, because it gives an even better reason to eat it for me - have I admitted to the fact that I am a huge fan of Malibu, the uncoolest drink ever? It may also keep away the underaged teenagers in my family who may otherwise go crazy over it, as that particular flavour is called Twilight. Though tropical island sounds more like honeymoon, which we all know doesn’t happen in Twilight, but in Breaking Dawn...

I think I spend too much time with my family for me to know this much.

Weekend afterglow.

My attempted weekend schedule didn’t start off well as minutes after posting I cancelled my spa appointment. I decided it was more vital for my wellbeing to take a nap instead. It turned out to be a decision I didn’t come to regret.
Other than that I think I crossed of everything on my list and more. So much more that one post is not going to cut it and I will therefore hack it into yummy little pieces for everyone to enjoy. And whether or not you care, I have also decided that instead of just telling funny stories a la ‘how everybody knew what bra I was wearing while making out with a boy named Julian on the stairs leading to the dance floor at the local disco when I was 15’, I will tell you a bit more about places I like to go, things I like to eat, read, wear. Reason for that is simple - there are just very few 'Julians' on the horizant right now. I also find the combination of rain and dwelling on the past too depressing. Don't worry though, if there happens one to be on the way, I will kiss and tell. 

For now...snippets...more later...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...