May 31, 2011

DIY disaster.

I tend to use good common sense most of the time. Unfortunately I have two character flaws which can get in the way: I tend to be a tad bit lazy and I would forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on. So it is really no surprise that once I forgot to get newspapers at the store and was then too lazy to search my flat for a suitable substitute that DIY Monday didn’t so well.

The inspiration started a while ago when I was at the Milnerton flea market with Carmen, looking for frames. While browsing I thought it might be a good idea to get a blackboard as well. Once to improve chances for things I need to buy to actually be bought and because I liked it at my friends’ house in New York. No luck though, there was no blackboard in sight so Carmen recommended to get blackboard paint, something I had never even heard of before and got therefore very excited about.
As my projects I get very excited about sometimes go, I bought the paint and it has been sitting on my counter for so long that Carmen had enough time to give birth and celebrate her daughter’s one month birthday in the meanwhile.
Then I got the necessary inspiration/push to get going from Vamp. I adore their furniture, but after inquiring about a price once which made me cry, I just look these days. Then I found this mirror and fell in love:

Besides not having the money to buy it, I have enough mirrors to equip another Hall of Mirrors in my flat. In fact I was thinking of turning one into a blackboard, but Thekla just yelled at me and called me stupid.

So there was my new idea – spray paint the mirrors. Re-read the first paragraph and you will understand how it came to this:

It started well enough, with happy bottles of paint and wine.

But went downhills with a too thin paper choice,
which I realized too late in the process.

So my hands ended looking like this...

... and my floor like this. Ups.
The pictures show and I will admit, it wasn’t my smartest move, but seems typical of me (you should see the amount of “painting” clothes I own). What is done is done though and now the options are as follows:

a) Gather courage, ask for price of Vamp mirror and start saving.
b) Buy newspapers and paint thinners (to clean the floor), air the flat, continue and pull through.
c) Start saving and get JJ* to do it.

I will report back what I have decided on, unless someone can come up with some other sparkling and hopefully smarter solution.

*JJ had to finish a previous DIY project of mine. Luckily my favourite chair was worth the R450 it cost me to have JJ strip it.

May 30, 2011

Spirited away.

To understand my weekend recap you have to understand something about me first: I am a very loyal person on a positive note, turn the notion around I am also a creature of terrible habit. I will go to the same restaurants and order the same dishes and if my re-reading of favourite books is any indication, I have a serious problem. I guess it’s the German control freak part in me that likes to know exactly what I’m getting when getting something.

This weekend though the German in me was pushed down the rabbit hole thanks to my friend Ruth who was here from Jo’burg and made my other side, the I-want-to-be-a-good-host-and-show-her-lots-of-fun-new-things side.
So after a lazy Saturday – no habit breaking there – we started with a really late dinner at Societi Bistro, a place I have always wanted to go and never made it. So that was very new and exciting to me, even more so as I ordered soup, something I never ever do, but it was well worth it. So was the pasta with boereworst, which conveniently comes as a starter portion as well. I realized that though I’m a pastaholic, I usually don’t order pasta when going out since I always think I can do it better. The exceptions was Mezzaluna’s sea urchin pasta and to my knowledge they have now closed. Which calls for a sad moment of silence. So after realizing that I should order pasta when out more often, we were off to Tjing Tjing, a bar very much to my liking, which unfortunately doesn’t happen as often as I wish in Cape Town.
Sunday dawned with a late sleep in, also a thing of luxury I don’t often do. I decided to take Ruth to Cafe Milano for breakfast and treats, but since the maitre d’ wasn’t so keen on seating us as she first pretended to be we fled to Manna Epicure. I know, people have a love/hate relationship with this place mainly due to their steep prices, but I only love it and always felt it was worth every penny. To comply with the ‘taming the creature of habit’ theme of the weekend I did not order my usual sandwich, but poached eggs with salmon, avo and coconut bread. Again in capital: COCONUT BREAD.

THE coconut bread in all its glory.
I rarely rave about a single item of food , but this was just out of the world and deserves to be mentioned in screaming capitals. I asked to buy a loaf. The price? Jaaa, let’s not go there. I will rather take my favourite foodie Thekla for breakfast and have her recreate the recipe for me later.
With full bellies we made our way to the National Gallery for the Tretchikoff exhibit I had been longing to see in ages. It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be, mainly due to the fact that two of my favourite pictures weren’t shown. DRUM magazine however had a photo exhibit on, which was stunning and inspired me very much to learn a bit more about South Africa’s history. Something a history nerd like me should have done upon arrival years ago. Not too late hopefully.
Art by the hour was enough for both of us and we indulged in a lot of very un-arty, but very funny episodes of Weeds. Yes, everybody, season six is out and available at DVD Noveau!
I peeled myself off the couch eventually as a new hot yoga studio in town has opened and unlike my studio they offer late Sunday afternoon Bikram, which I love. Mind you, I had to drive all the way to Constantia, but it was so worth it. Yogaspirit is one of the most beautiful studios have seen so far with the same bird prints I have at home, lots of wood and serenity.

 For those of you, who I don’t tell my dreams to daily – I have been dreaming of a yoga studio with rosewood floors over and over. I am not sure I would be able to tell the difference between rosewood and any other wood, but my dreams know the difference. Neither do I know whether the wooden floor at Yogaspirit is made out of rosewood, but it was the closest I have found so far and it made me quite happy. First practise without me having an angry tantrum about my knee not performing the way I want it. Chances are, I will make the to the middle of nowhere again (No offense people from Constantia, but you live far far away!).

And the moral of the story? Lesson learned. The creature of habit was tamed and is happily purring into the new week. Purr purr.

P.S. Spirited Away is the name of the movie I like loads. In case you don’t know it, check it out. It’s eerie yet beautiful and very cute.

May 27, 2011

This is boring, don't read it.

Is it better to write something rather unexciting or nothing at all? Your call. I felt bad leaving Friday blank, but my mind is elsewhere today, namely on the blog I’m putting together for my Dad’s birthday. So there. Here is my Friday randomness:

Oblivion. That word popped into my head yesterday and I actually had to look it up. I wasn’t too keen on the meaning, because to me it has a beautiful connotation after yesterday. So for the purpose of this post: oblivion = a good thing i.e. drinking just one glass of wine too many.

Everyone knows by now that I go to Hakim at Enmasse when in need of a bit of TLC. Combined with high, dark ceilings which for an odd reason remind me of my grandmother and Murray’s constant teasing because I’m useless at putting on my pants, it gives me the perfect massage/all around happy combination. The pants thing sounded wrong. Egal. He will know what it means.

Yesterday I was massaged into oblivion (now you understand why I even thought about it) at a spa in Zevenwacht though. I did feel like part of a senior tourist group, was scolded like a child for talking and realized that only hardcore tourist can watch a masseuse do an African dance and break into song without blushing in embarrassment. BUT the treatments were amazing and made me sleep like a baby last night. Sabina and I have now decided that we should become official spa testers. Anyone know where we can apply?

On another note before I run and boss my students around – because people think this is what a good yoga class is all about and who am I to disappoint them – the Gods of Home Affairs smiled on me today and gave me my new work permit after only waiting in line for two hours. The latter part sucked, but it seems they are trying at least.

Now off into weekend oblivion, there is much to do with danger mouse (don’t ask) in town and I promise I will remember to take some pictures for a change and report back on Monday with a more coherent story.

P.S. In case you can’t tell – this title is another one of me testing a theory. P.P.S. By now you will agree with me that everything is in fact better with a llama or at least when written in llama.

May 26, 2011

Because llamas make everything better.

I have not only a thing for giraffes, but also for llamas. Maybe because my Dad brought home a poncho from Peru once, made out of llama wool, and the entire family was constantly fought over it, because it was the cosiest, warmest blanket substitute ever.

Today I wanted to write a post about men and deserts due to last night’s desert experience at Massimo’s. It turns out to be one of those ‘just breathe and let go’ days alas I don’t want to get into a rant. Therefore something different today. Admittedly I’m being a copy cat, because

I read this

which lead me to →

where I found this:

Ta Dah! Here is her explanation why you need a llama font:

“What is Llama Font? It’s a font made of llamas.
Use it to write out any message you’d like.
It’s especially helpful in taking the edge off of bad news.

Need to send a harsh message to a loved one? Helvetica is cold. Say it in llama.
Need to make a confession? Times New Roman is just rude. Say it in llama.

Why would anyone want to write something in llamas?
Because llamas make everything better.”

I tried that theory and guess what? She is right. I wrote this in llama and immediately felt better:

P.S. Gladys had a pair of briefs with a cartoon and this ‘saying’, but without llama.

May 25, 2011

Quizzing the teacher.

Here my answers to the questions any Bikram Yoga teacher should ask themself:

1. Why do you like it hot?It reminds me of August in New York – the best month in the whole world!

2. As a child, what did you want to be “when you grew up?”
A dentist, a hairstylist, a secret agent, a princess and funny enough a woman in Africa.

3. Tell us about your first kiss: who, when, where?
Kim Roth, 20 years ago, in a tent at a family party

4. What’s your most prized possession?
These days my sheep wool slippers. In general my scarves.

5. What is your most embarrassing moment on the teacher’s box?
I don’t have a box. Kind of sad now that I think about it. If I had one, it would probably have been the time when I said “And now bring your weight into your balls.”

6. What’s the best/worst thing about being a Bikram Yoga teacher?
Best: The way people smile at you when they leave the studio.
Worst: Lots of sweaty laundry.

7. Describe your perfect yoga shorts.
Indestructible cotton shorts from the GAP.

8. What’s the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go, can I stay in bed please?

9. Have you ever been in love?
Yes, I think so.

10. Say one nice thing about the person who first told you about Bikram Yoga.
My lovely, wonderfully crazy sister-in-law. She is lovely and wonderfully crazy.

11. Words or phrases you overuse:
What not.
And then ...

12. Do you remember what your first Bikram class was like?
Uncomfortable due to the floppy, polyester running shorts I was wearing.

13. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pinot Noir and pasta.

14. Do you have a “most memorable Bikram moment”? First class I ever taught. I walked in, stood in front of the class and felt a very profound sense of purpose.

15. If you could have any job, what would it be?
Travelling writer or writing traveller.

16. What’s your favourite smell? Coconut.

May 24, 2011

Bikram, mon amour.

That’s what I would call Bikram - though others may call him names - and here is why:

This is a story I have been wanting to write for a long time, but have been too scared of. Writing about it for me, is like writing about the love of your life – it’s really beautiful and you really don’t want to mess the story up. Yesterday I at least gathered the courage to start with some notes. Then I got the little sign from above by meeting a girl before my 6pm class who I recognized from somewhere...turns out she goes to my old studio in New York and I remembered her face.
If you haven’t gathered what this is going to be all about – it’s yoga. More exactly Bikram Yoga. The little comments and mentions I let slip ever so often, don’t cut it anymore. So here we go, in honour of Mr. Bikram...

My love for yoga started very late. So late that my mother, a yoga instructor for 40 odd years had surely given up on me. I recall when I was about 11 years old and my school was offering ‘project week’ that my Mum offered a yoga class for kids. You would assume her only daughter could support her with attendance. No, not me. I preferred hiking in East Germany during a time when they still called brown sugar water Coca Cola.
It didn’t get much better over the time. In college I had to do a PE class so I thought yoga would be an easy way to score an A. I underestimated the fact that getting out of bed and into a cold classroom by 8am was quite hard for me; laying on the even colder floor on a stinky mat trying to breathe just wasn’t enough motivation.
Only when I went home a year later did I attempt another try. My sister-in-law, who I was in awe of at the time, was doing Bikram yoga and it was the new cool kid on the yoga block everywhere. It took an hour and a half (the exact length of a Bikram class in case you wonder) and I was hooked.
Back in New York I went on the mission to find myself a studio. Do you know the feeling when you walk into a new place and you just feel ‘arrived’? That’s how I felt when I walked into Bikram Yoga LES: Everything was pink and reminded me of my long lost friend Barbie. Also there were fun teachers, hot guys next to me dripping in sweat, ice cold coconut water for afterwards and me in my little shorts, I would have never dared to wear before.
It became my joy, my challenge, my safe pink haven. I ran or crawled to class six times a week, depending on whether I was late or buried by snow. And when I hit a rough patch in my life that literally glued to the couch in front of the TV with anxiety, my classes were the only thing that got me off once a day.
The idea to teach did not come to me in a very profound or meaningful way. At some point I was just browsing the studio’s website and found the teachers section, where they give everyone a little questionnaire. I liked the idea and in my mind was answering the questions as if I was a teacher. All of a sudden I liked that idea too.
I did like the idea of moving to Cape Town better though and so I did. The nice thing about Bikram is that you can do it anywhere in the world and always get what you know what you’ll get. Or so I thought. My first studio here was fine at best. More laid back, too laid back for my taste, the classes and the teachers. I went, but not happily so.
I was saved about a year ago when Jai Yoga opened. It was not a pink haven, but a white heaven I found. A new home for my passion, conveniently located between Col’Cacchio and a liquor shop. Have I mentioned that I am a bad yogi who will make use of places like that way too often? I secretly think they should give discount to all Jai Yoga attendees, because surely I can’t be the only one.
Thanks to Sy, my teacher and mentor I also can take now the elevator (I should explain – back in high school only a student with a sick pass or teachers were allowed to use the elevator. So I only use the elevator now when I’m teaching, but the stairs when I practise myself. Taking the elevator may seem lazy, but it puts me in teacher’s mode). He taught me how to teach, though I don’t like to call it teaching as it is really more a sharing of an experience.
Before I walked into my first class, Sy was teasing me, told me he wanted to see me cry in there (apparently that had happened to him or something). I didn’t. Instead I walked in, all of a sudden became very calm and felt again that I had ‘arrived’ somewhere.
So now there I am a few times a week, not turning myself into a pretzel. In fact Bikram is very un-pretzely, which suits me fine. What I don’t like to tell people who get very impressed when I tell them I teach yoga, is that I’m one of the most inflexible persons I know. Also I have days when I doubt I should be wearing tiny little shorts. Then I think – so what? This is what yoga is all about. It’s for everyone. It doesn’t judge. It doesn’t gossip. It doesn’t tell you, you are too this or too that. All it does is teach you how to breathe, stand still and be loving to your mind and body. While I teach others, I still learn all of this for myself. Every single time. That’s the beauty of it.

P.S. In case you wonder if I ever did fill out the teacher’s questionnaire – of course I did! Will post it tomorrow.

May 23, 2011

Pizza con stallion.

As some may know, I not only have a pasta obsession, but also a slight pizza obsession. This obsession was born with the help of pizza auntie Sylvi, who taught us all how to make the greatest homemade pizza on a terracotta tile in your very own oven. It was further developed by an ex of mine who loved the pizza so much that he devised a 17 page manual on pizza making, ingredients and recipes. Ever since he has sent it as birthday gifts to friends all over the world.
Now with the re-opening of Massimo’s the obsession has reached an all-time high. I have only been twice, but I am in love already and they know it. I’m already getting special menu updates as I am known as the pastaholic there. Regardless I would not dare to touch anything else there but pizza.
They really do seem to read my blog thoroughly (Which is quite sweet, thank you!), because my request for them to be open on Tuesdays ended in the following twitter conversation:

@anysroad: @pizzaclub_hb Can you please be open on Tuesdays too??

@pizzaclub_hb: @anysroad nope! 5 days a week is more than enough.. we need beauty sleep!

@anysroad: @pizzaclub_hb Fine, then I must come on Wednesday I guess...better give me a reallyyyy nice pizza though!

@pizzaclub_hb: @anysroad ps, we have a very nice Parma ham (not sure about the stallion).

It’s okay, Massimo, Parma ham it is. I’m not sure I would like a stallion on my pizza anyhow. Any Italians with advice on that: pizza con stallion or not??

P.S. In case you are shaking your head and don’t understand a word here, read this Of Italian stallions, hams and husbands for clarification.

The teenager in me.

I was quiet last week, because work stuck me at a stand at the Marketing Indaba for two days. Oh the joy! It ended in a successful pizza evening at Col'Cacchio where I was being adventurous for a change and 10 hours of sleep followed by a full yoga class. It was in fact so full that some new girls timidly asked whether the classes were always that full or if they could still bring more people along in the future.

I will write something more coherent than a weekend recap later, but did want to share something that my yoga studio just posted quickly. In general I hate motivational quotes on blogs, facebook, etc. and don’t like posting them myself but this stuck with me and just made me very happy:

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of living, it doesn't matter
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come even if you have broken your vow a thousand times,
Come, yet again, come, come.

In case you wonder, it is by Rumi, who was a 13th century poet and Sufi mystic. I have decided that any quotes by Dr. Seuss and Rumi will get a carte blanche from me.

On another note – I got a lovely email from my sister this morning, praising my blog and my stories and my writing in general. Very sweet indeed. Then she suggested to put my stories in a book and name it something like “Experiences and life of a Teenie”. I’m unsure whether that was supposed to be a compliment or an insult. I am well aware of the fact that I do sometimes still behave like a teenager, but... I am actually not and quite happy about it. Do my stories make me sound like a teenager? Again, not so sure... Only few excitements actually happened when I was still living at home. I was in fact such a good teenager that my mother suggested I should ditch more classes and have more fun. Okay, she took that back quickly, but you get my idea. Either way, from now I on I shall indicate time and era of stories of my life more clearly.

P.S. The only “naughty” story I can remember, which my sister could relate to anyhow was the time I bought my 1001. Barbie. I was 11 or so and still needed an adult with me to go draw money from the bank with me. Since my mother said I had enough Barbies already (can one ever really have enough Barbies??) and wouldn’t allow it, I convinced my sister to go with. She took me to the bank and then to the store. I’m sure it was worth all the trouble she got in once we went into our sauna in the basement to see the glow-in-the-dark Barbie glow and my little face glowing as well.

May 18, 2011

Busy bee.

That's me and now I'm off to drink wine. Quickly sharing some random thoughts, which have been popping into my head over the course of the day.
1. I think this is why my uncle calls my boots cowboy boots though they are not:
image by uncle in question: dirk schwager

Can anyone tell how absolutely terrified I am on this horse?

2. I immediately want to go back to &Union and eat their steak prego again. I am afraid though they may not let me in. Conversation at 11pm was er, lets just call it 'not for other ears' and I think there may have been other ears around.

3. Alphabetical from The Foodie is super yummy (don't you love how sophisticated I am describing it?). My uncle - the one with the Spanglish swear words - would not approve of the label, but I like it. Now I'm excited to go home to the bottle I sneaked out there last night.*
4. I get to see guys half naked tomorrow for a body painting promotion at my office. One of them promised to bring his superman suit. I'm excited, I love superman.

5. Irises are beautiful, but kak flowers who last only about a day.
6. Last but not least: my wonderful friend danger mouse Ruth is coming to CPT next week. I believe we have L&J to thank, so thank you guys!

*Okay, that is a lie. I paid for it. I would be too terrified to steal. Especially since after some time has passed and they won't recognize me anymore, I will go back for steak prego.

May 17, 2011

Of Italian stallions, hams and husbands.

Allegedly single women hate married ones and vice versa. If they dare not call it hate, most will at least admit to some sort of envy. I am no exception. Lucky for me – the single one – I have my amazing friend Thekla, who is happily engaged to the wonderful Pie, to share.
Depending on what mood each of us is in, we will either tell story of our latest fruitful endeavours or failed adventures on each side of the single vs. taken fence. So for me that would include telling her about first dates, first kisses, first sexual encounters and the thrill that goes with it. Thekla will sit and listen in awe. Till a few days/weeks/months later I will tell about the first non returned phone calls, the first of many unsuccessful deciphering of ‘what is he thinking?’ attempts and first break-ups.
She on the other hand will tell tales (I am a bit obsessed with this word these days, I know.) about shared anniversaries, having someone to come home to every night, having someone who loves you no matter what. That usually gets me really envious till she talks about how much she misses to flirt with strangers, how sloppy he is around the house, how he doesn’t tell her she looks pretty anymore.
In our conversation we share the best of two worlds and the worst. We engage in laughter, sympathy for the other, envy and jealousy, but ultimately we always end up feeling better about our own lives, because in the end we know how deceiving ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’ principal can be.

This is all theory though and could have been in Cosmo, I know. Here is how it really goes and how Thekla and I can move from a spice market in Morocco to an Italian stallion with a ham in mere minutes:

Annika: Is Komati Foods good for buying spices in bulk?
Thekla: Yup, but I would rather try Atlas Trading.
Thekla: There are very nice spice people all over Cape Town.
Thekla: Spice Mecca.
Annika: Do you think if you ever went to a spice market in say Morocco or India you may just faint and die happily?
Thekla: I would love to go but not sure about dying happily.
Thekla: I may die happily in Italy somewhere.
Thekla: With lots of cured hams and wine around me.
Annika: I am having major wedding envy right now - a friend of mine in NY just got married and now they are in Italy.
Thekla: And hopefully being made love to by some young saucy Italian.
Annika: All over - Capri, Santorin, Venice, Rome and they post pics. So cute.
Annika: What about the Pie? Just because he won't eat the ham (he is vegetarian!) doesn't mean he doesn't want some of your ham.
Thekla: One day............. ................ ................ ................ ................ ....
Thekla: That was referring to you post about Italy not the Pie wanting my ham.
Annika: Haha.
Thekla: When one has a fantasy, does one's husband always have to be there?
Annika: No, definitely not. You can just tell the single gal’s fantasy opposed to engaged one’s fantasy.
Annika: My fantasy has a husband, yours a hot Italian stallion with a ham.
Thekla: You are funny! Love it!
Thekla: Think you may need to blog that line
Annika: I was just about to say...good story for the day.

Good story indeed. Even I would like an Italian stallion right now. Or for the lack thereof some ham.

May 16, 2011

Fashion Chronicles - part 4.

Dedicated to all (my) fashion lovers & haters from all times and places.

Bad Hersfeld
The one distinct fashion item I can remember was also one of high embarrassment: Buffalo shoes. The platform heels went high and higher and everyone was wearing them. At some point even I couldn’t resist and bought a pair of ankle boots with 10cm heels, 2 sizes too big as per usual since I needed them in time for a party. My outfit and the party was a smashing success and made me go a bit crazy since I felt the need for a second pair afterwards. This time the fashion police should have been on my high, high heels as I got a pair of mint coloured, suede clogs. I have nothing to say in my defence.
New York
The devil wears Prada and so did we. If you had the honour to work at Vogue as a fashion assistant, you would manage to walk around wearing little Chloe dresses with some very fashionable high, high heels. Why? Because you work at Vogue and it’s not too hard to walk in heels if you have a town car at your disposal to get you around. I didn’t work for Vogue and had to use the subway – therefore Old Navy flip flops or vintage motorcycle boots with the Chloe dresses. The one time I attempted to walk in heels on a New York sidewalk, I literally ended up flat on my face and deep in humiliation.
Cape Town
I am waiting for a guy to show up not wearing shorts and slops on a date and girl to say to me at the supermarket “Wow, what a beautiful bag. Is that Pucci?” I have been waiting for a long time. I haven’t given up yet. I’m still waiting. In the meanwhile I hope that the guy who stole one of my Pucci bags, was in fact one of the ignorant ones, threw it out so now some old lady, who found it at the side of the road, is walking around with a funny coloured bag in Gugulethu.

More tomorrow – what should it be? I’m thinking food, art&culture, sex, and favourite pets. What are you guys thinking?

Part 3: Tales of coffee.

Bad Hersfeld
I spent half my waking teenage years at Zanella’s Eiscafe. Every single day my friends and I would go there for hours after school. I think most of my pocket money went towards ‘Schinken- Käse-Toast Spezial’.  It’s the kind of place where they still ask you whether you want your cappuccino with whipped cream or the Italian way (which is what you get when you order just a cappuccino anywhere else in the world).
New York
There is only one way to drink iced coffee to me: espresso in a glass, ice cubes, cold water – no questions asked and very barista in NYC knows it.
Cape Town
As long as I don’t expect the above without being asked whether they should use hot or cold water (really??), I am quite happy with the choices here: Instant coffee culture at my office, Deluxe for vacation feeling and Vida with a slab of Lindt for everyday joy. Oh joy!

Part 2: Tales of the weather.

Bad Hersfeld
Your average mid-Germany mix of sun, snow and everything in between. Mind you, one time it snowed so much that I managed to lose my neon pink gym bag on my way to school in a snowstorm and it was never seen again after. I must ask my mother some time: What was she thinking to let me walk in this weather?
New York
The time of the big black out comes to mind when my friend was doing Bikram yoga in our lounge as it was about 40 degrees without air conditioning. Or the time I was stuck in crazy cat guy’s flat, because there was so much snow. Or how August in NYC is still the best smelling month ever to me, though everyone who has been will call me crazy for it.
Cape Town
You know these rainy days when you just want to cuddle up in bed, watch movies, eat chocolate and not leave the house at all? In Cape Town they are usually spoiled by some sunshine coming out sooner or later making you feel guilty for not spending the day outside. When my aunt has a day like that she will refer to the sunshine as the yellow piggy, I will simply be thankful for my heavy, dark curtains and the knowledge that there is never a shortage of more sunny days just around the corner.

Tales of men.

I will break this up a bit as I’m quite busy today and my attention span can’t deal with more than a paragraph at the time. Shall you have a request for a category, feel free to ask. For the time being I will start with something for the girls:
Part 1: Tales of men.
Bad Hersfeld
Back in my day there was a small, but nice selection on the menu: preppy doctor’s sons, local celebrity offsprings and the annual addition of yummy actors from the summer theatre. I shall report on the current situation when I go back in August.
New York
“No one has breakfast at Tiffany’s and no one has affairs to remember.” Yet, the tide might be changing as my list of friends getting married, having babies and generally living happily ever after in NYC seems to be growing over the last couple of years.
Cape Town
In the words of my favourite new wine:  “Western Cape – Where the winemakers surf and the surfers make wine.” What’s not to love?

May 14, 2011

The tale of how the tales came along.

This story was inspired by something you can call a dare from my Jo’burg writer pen pal. I have been trying to get him to come to Cape Town and finally suggested he pitch a story about Bikram yoga and get his boss to pay him to fly down. Apparently this won’t work as they have studios there as well. (Pah! Not with me teaching and saying silly things like “And now smile!” Yes, I actually said that in class and almost wanted to bite my tongue off to make up for it afterwards. Silly, silly phrase when you are standing on one leg, trying to stretch in opposite directions. I walked out of class once when a teacher said it.)
No good reason for him to travel for this, so he told me I should come up with better pitches. Last night I took to the task and started thinking and up I came with Tales of 3 Cities. A story only I could tell as only me has lived in the cities in question. Or least I am the only one he knows. So an interview would have to be set up and I pretending to be a diva would have him fly down.  That was the plan. 
Then I looked at my beautiful writer desk du jour, having everything one needs to write – candles, wine, ancient eMac, cigarettes, notepad. All of a sudden my inner me got a bit feisty and thought screw that, he can come up with his own pitches to come see me, I will make it my own story. Sorry, man!

So here we go…Tales of 3 Cities. The tales part might be misleading though. Consider it more a guide to cities, which had and still have a big significance in my life: my home town Bad Hersfeld, my heart city New York, and my current favourite Cape Town. All rated on things I find important when visiting a city like coffee, fashion, weather, men...stay tuned...

P.S. For anyone who thinks I screwed myself now, by not giving him the story – I pitched an even better one to him last night via email. Involving hotels and tooth brushing and sexy strangers. If his boss doesn’t pick that one up, then I don’t know what’s wrong with the world. It will be genius.

May 11, 2011

In heat and on fire.

Everybody who has been getting slightly annoyed with my whining (including myself) will be happy to hear that my spirits are soaring high today. Probably due to a kitten free sleep and the fact that I will be teaching again tonight. It has been ages, though I counted and it was actually only two weeks. Also though (Attention English nerds – can I write that? I don’t usually care, but here I’m curious: Also though – okay?) I am enjoying the winter rain, I am freezing cold most of the time and can’t wait to be in the heat. Kervin, are you reading this? In the heat. Not in heat. He had just asked me whether I was in heat. Thanks, mate, but I am no bitch. At least not today it seems.
I will keep this short and sweet today as I need to run now.  I did want share some pictures though I took in the Seychelles as they make me feel warm and I had a dream about it tonight. Does anyone else ever giggle in dreams, because you realize your dream is completely silly? I do all the time. Tonight I was explaining to someone that they had to go to the Vallee de Mai on Praslin, a UNESCO world heritage site where the Coco de Mer grows. The guy in my dream wasn’t convinced that he wanted to hike through a forest so I had to be more explicit and explained to him: “Dude, the coconuts look like bums. Like big brown bums.” I did laugh about myself. I would make an awesome tourguide.
Any idea what Freud would make of this dream? And am I in trouble now for actually not saving any any pictures of the coconut bum to show?

May 10, 2011

No sex on the beach.

So this day has been the culmination of a crappy week and so bad that I thought my anxiety was back. I managed to keep it together for my co-worker because just like any man he gets scared by crying women. I thought the day was a goner for sure and only insane amounts of wine and some happy pills could make it remotely better, but luckily I was wrong. I think it was a mix of lots of Earl Grey with loads of sugar and some entertaining anecdotes from my Jo’burg pen pal. Probably the notion of hotel room sex, which he brought up in one of his emails also helped. No indecent proposals here, but just the mention of hotel room sex in general, which it seems we are both fans of. Who isn’t?
It started when I was a slave i.e. fashion assistant. One of the perks was that I got to travel travel cool places and usually stay in 5 star hotels with my boss. The boss would eventually complain about the 5-star hotel and ask me to request from the producer to be moved to another 5-star hotel. I had to hide my embarrassment when the producer asked me whether I was happy or would also like to move. Happy? I was still getting over the fact that they had Hermes bath products!  So I thankfully declined, the current 5-star hotel would suit me just fine.
This could now become a whole different story. A hotel story. I may write it one day. This one is about the not having hotel room sex.
The truth is that I have never had a crush on a male model before. Ever. I’ve seen them all, clothed, naked and everything in between and would usually help them getting from one state to the other. All part of the job description. Stereotype or not though, a lot of them are not very smart and either look too beefy or like 12 year old boys. Therefore usually no flirting, no crushes, definitely no hotel room sex for me on the job.
One exception was Oreol, the model for a fragrance campaign we shot in Ibiza. The day I had was quite stressful:

09h00 – 18h00: Lounge at the pool of the photographers’ villa all day while the private chef is making gourmet snacks.
18h00 – 18h05: At sunset give model a pair of black swim trunks.
18h05 – 19h00: Watch how they take portrait shot of him.
19h00 – 19h30: Go down to the beach with crew and take a swim.
19h00 – late: Have dinner on the beach.

No kidding – I got paid for this.

Oreol and I ended up having the loveliest conversation over dinner. A guy to my liking: from Barcelona, well travelled, studied, smart, funny and yes, he looked like a Roman god. At some point with the help of wine, sunset, beach some mild flirting entered the conversation. We ended up realizing that though we both travel lots we never pack toothpaste and end up paying exorbitant hotel prices. I had already done that in our Ibiza hotel and he hadn’t, so I thought it was only polite to offer him some of mine. I honestly didn’t even think it would go any further – what else would this god want in my room but toothpaste? Apparently other people, namely my boss George did. Travelling up the elevator together after returning from the beach, we got out, politely said good night and moved along the corridor to my room. George must have thought it a real possibility and gotten jealous because next thing I heard was him yelling: “Oreol, don’t you dare sleep with my assistant”. Thank you, George.
Needless to say that Oreol did not sleep with the assistant. Ever since I have stuck to the regular guys for hotel room sex and made sure George had something to complain and moved to another hotel before.

May 9, 2011

Of cat women and kitten guys.

I thought it would be a nice opportunity for my scarves to shine. I must admit though that the biography she included was a couple of weeks old (I did not know it would be included in all its’ glory at all to be true). I feel I must make this a point because after this weekend I am at ease with the world in general and the male population in particular for a change. Here is one reason why:

Delivered by a man in suit. For anyone who knows a bit about me – I am a sucker for men in suits and since everyone knows that Cape Town is a desert when it comes to suits this was a special and unexpected treat. Mind you, I like Irises too and thought it was quite endearing that he did not know their name, just that they were pretty and purple. Smiling me.
As I mentioned before the kittens will get one more write up here and then I will stop and hope that they will outgrow their cuteness. As godmother I was happily kitten sitting for the weekend. I probably have not mentioned that I do really want a cat myself and name her MiuMiu. The only reason I haven’t gotten one is that I’m afraid it will make me the old, single lady with the cat. Mind you I don’t consider myself old yet and if I had a cat the being single might not be so dreadful on rainy Sunday afternoons either. But for some reason I haven’t done the step yet – it seems to be seen as a step of desperation especially by guys. I think in this day and age most men like dogs. I also think if they do prefer cats that something is wrong with them. I know this assumption isn’t fair and bares all logic. I may have to blame Josh, a  guy I briefly dated in New York. He lived by himself with his big fluffy white cat called ‘Boo’. First I was delighted to have met a fellow cat lover, but after spending the night I realized there was something too strange about a man carrying a fluffy, white cat around the bedroom naked. With or without cat, it ended when he told he was moving to Houston. Funny enough in true Murphy’s law fashion I ran into him in a store two months later. We both mouthed the words ‘What the fuck?’ at the same time. Then he told me, no really, he was moving to Houston this week. I wasn’t sad to see him go – or not- and do blame him for my men with cats aversion.
I don’t think I need to explain anymore and will just say that for my world I don’t want a man who likes cats, but would like a man who likes me with a cat. That seems to be a bit tricky though. Kitten sitting was a good test run for things to come if I were to get a cat. The result – all is well in the world of cat girls and dog guys. Instead of kittens being kicked out of bed for being too squirmy, I was told off that it was my fault since I brought them into bed to begin with. Neither were the kittens reprimanded for watching R rated things, but me for not realizing what they were watching. The biggest surprise was probably that they had their pictures taken too and not by me.

What did I learn this weekend? I shouldn’t have to worry. Men, even if they love dogs, cannot resist kitten charm. Or me. Either way will work out fine for MiuMiu and me.

May 7, 2011

The old, the ugly and the useless.

So here is the dilemma. Or not. Depending on where you stand. The other day I wrote about the beautiful yet useless things I love and own. There are plenty of them and only their beauty can justify their crowding existence in my flat. There are however also numerous things I own that don’t have the good excuse of making my living space more pretty. Like the favourite cup with the broken handle, you used since college and no coffee ever tastes good except from this cup. I actually don’t own such a cup and I don’t drink coffee at home, but I have other stuff. Stuff that is old, ugly and/or useless, BUT which I love dearly - what to do with things like that?

My uncle insists on calling them my cowboy boots even though I have explained a thousand times that they are in fact motorcycle boots. Bought when motorcycle boots where the shit in NY, second-hand for $60. There price has gone up by about 500% over the years, both in sentimental value, worn-in-ness and actual money spent on repairs.
Sadly they live in my closet now as I think my mother did have a point that boots three sizes too big could be a reason for tripping and twisting my ankle.

The best little H&M rhinestone bracelet ever and unfortunately too cheap to even attempt to repair the broken clasp and replace the lost stone. I keep it in a box and like to look at it once in a while trying to remember the last time I wore it.

The thing.
The truth is I love kids, but I am usually not so keen to display kids made presents. Ups, there I said it. Parents go ahead and stone me. This thing (which upon questioning I learned is an ant) was made for me for Christmas by my director’s daughter Genie. She is 8 and I think it’s amazing. It looks like a weird creature from Pan’s Labyrinth and therefore has an honorary display spot on my shelf.

Over my years in NY I spend such an insane amount of money on tank tops that I will actually die shamefully if I ever had to tally up. In my defence I have worn each and every one of the precious little pieces of fabric till they have fallen apart or longer. This Genera tank is ancient. I had to dye it as I spilled tomato sauce on it (previously white) within the first week. I had to cut the bottom off as the holes got too big to fix. To this day though, it is my favourite, softest, most often worn tank and will stay in my closet till it has more holes than fabric and then a little bit longer.

Actually never mind, no dilemma – as none of the stuff is actually old enough, ugly enough or useless enough for me to get rid of. Never ever. Or at least for now.

May 6, 2011


I’m somewhat back. At the office that is. My mind is still a bit clouded and I am not sure if it’s because it can’t actually work itself up to do anything productive or because my pain killers in fact do get me tripping. I haven’t had any today so if it is the latter, then they are really good and I think I should rather keep and sell them to people who appreciate them more and will pay me loads of money.
For anyone who cares, I didn't write much, because I didn't do much and can sum up the last two weeks of my life in a few sentences:

-          Valrhona chocolate eggs are worth every cent and should be available all year round.
-          Reading a book which ends in murder and consequent suicide is not a good idea when in hospital. I do think the girl at the bookstore should have warned me.
-          They do wear fun scrub caps with colours and patterns at the Mediclinic – just like in Grey’s Anatomy. That is unfortunately where all similarities end.
-          Alcohol is vital to any sickness recovery. Well, I knew that much before.
-          Animals also. That I did not know before.

Penny sitting on my sore knee in an attempt to make it all better.

Now I do promise, I will just do one more post with kitten pictures (as I am kitten sitting this weekend and because the ones I took yesterday were just deleted by accident) and then leave everybody alone with the kitten cuteness and instead deal with other ‘stuff’. Pinkie swear – only one more!
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