Thank God for morphine!


This evening at 7 pm I got the call.

Everything was all right, she'd just been brought back to her room. Leaving the munchkin in my mum's care, I made straight for the hospital.

Pale face, dark shadows, but a smile and she cracked a joke at me, while half asleep. A morphine pump is keeping the pain in check.

In the car I finally gave free reign to my tears.

Relief. Pent-up stress.

Thank you all for your support!

Current mood: brooding

I deposited my beloved in the hospital this morning where two respected surgeons will attend to her innards, hopefully with a positive outcome.

All I can do now is sit here and wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Blogging will be a bit more infrequent than usual in the next weeks as I juggle a household, a child who is on spring break and daily hospital visits.



Ah, a mother's chores never end.
Poor SO and I have been ripping and sewing as fast as we could, to customize a Sleeping Beauty dress into something that would befit Pinkalicious... The munchkin's request.

Below is the outcome. A rose pink fairy dress, with a tiara, with heart ribbons. Words fail me.
It comes with pink wings and a pink fairy wand. Egads. All we need are some streamers and her pink tights and she will look gorgeous tomorrow morning. Her friends are going respectively as a fairy, an elf and a princess. I pity the poor teacher.

The L Word Season 5 Episode 4 - Let's get this party started


If you don't like spoilers, then this is the wrong post for you.

Ironically enough, before I started to write this post, I had to go look up the title of the eppy that I just watched. Then, somewhere deep inside my brain, the cogs and wheels started churning. No, it wasn't Pink that I thought of, although one would have been forgiven for seeing pink, given the interior of the new She-Bar...

No, no, I was reminded of the following:

Yup, it's Dame Shirley Bassey singing thàt song. After this little camp interlude, on to more things pink: what's up with Bette and the fuchsia this episode? The eyeshadow, the tops, the mini-purse? First we have the Charlie's Angel pink lipstick last episode, now this. Is this a harbinger of things to come?

Some random thoughts and questions about this episode.

- the self-defence class: I'll take this as a subtle hint that we should all go take one. Here's a little tip though: I usually just take my safety key and insert it in between my index and middle finger on the way home, figuring that nobody is interested in the equivalent of an ice pick anywhere near their eyes or nether regions.
But such undercurrents everywhere. Bette's discomfort upon finding out about Miss Augmented Boobs, Shane resenting the pro's abs, Jenny's infantile lashing out, Jodie's visible discontent at Bette's arms wrapped around Tina, etc. I'm surprised they all made it out unscathed. By the way, did you notice Jenny chewing the cud the Nicorette?

- And while I'm on the subject - please explain the Shenny love to me? Shane caressing Jenny's hair in the gym, the comment about the see-through dress in her bedroom... When did Jenny promote to BFF? Does Shane know something about Jenny that we are yet to discover? Or worse, are they setting up a Shenny cathartic hook up by the end of this season?

- This episode signified the much heralded arrival of the tanorexics from South Beach and their trendy, lounge-like venue appropriately named She-Bar. I thought it said Sheba at first, which is the brand name of cat food over here. The interior of the bar looks my ex's living room, but then she's into interior decoration and champagne. Maybe I should suggest that she hire some go-go dancers... nah, scratch that.

- It took them five seasons to show us a threesome (if you don't count Shane sleeping with twins in the previous series and Mark videoing them).

-Cue to Alice and Tasha. I was informed by my SO, who is very knowledgeable about these matters, that those military guys were out of line. Apparently, you are not obliged to let them in (Alice's first error), and secondly, they are not allowed to touch anything in your place. Civilian/military, get it? Anyway, I'm liking this storyline a lot. Rose Rollins, of course, has a serious eye candy factor going on but she also delivers her lines very sincerely, which only serves to endear the character to me even more. Tasha's apology at Beech's house was so heart-rendering. Well-written, I thought. I'm interested to see how they'll wrap this one up, given that the army of course hasn't changed its position on gay people that much.

- Podcast/vlog. What's in a word, eh? And now that there's an online chart, the original chart on the white board met with its demise.

- To me, Max and Kit continue to drift on the sea that is the L-Word (maybe they got stuck in the dinghy instead of Jenny?). I'm not sure that the writers know what to do with them at this point. Kit continues to be a shallow reflection of her Foxy Brown self ('What if this MF has a gun?'), while Max has been obviously created to drive home some point (Ilene Chaiken is in fact a woman, who wants to be a man, who wants to be a woman? No, wait, that's Victor Victoria!). Max at She-bar: come to think of it, how did Max make it past the lady with the list, while Kit & Co didn't?

- Bette and Jodie: wow, how hot is Dean Porter? Were you just as irritated as I was though, when Jodie was chomping away on Bette's grapes without asking? My hand was just itching to slap hers. I am somewhat of a control freak, I'll admit to that. And why is it that when these two kiss I want to run out of the room and into the street screaming like a banshee? They remind me of two ships in the mist.

- And finally: yes, Bette and Tina did kiss. What a homecoming. How sad that Bette cried.

- For me this episode was all about standards. Setting them, sticking to them, letting them slip. Let me clarify. Shane getting it on with the two nightclub owners. Bette refusing to wear the little pink VIP bracelet in She-Bar, slipping it over her glass instead (she refuses to be meat-tagged?). Bette berating Jodie over the incident in class, with the student and the fake gun (be sensitive to other people's feelings). Alice signing a non-disclosure agreement and then filming people at the party with her iphoneclamshell (I officially envy her now for her gadgetry and thanks Luscious, I stand corrected). Tasha's behaviour (now there's a standard to adhere to). And I gather that some people are quite uncomfortable about what is perceived as another act of infidelity on Bette's behalf.

So on the whole another interesting episode. I'm already looking forward to what episode 5 will bring.

Monday evening quick-fix: coq au riesling

The Domestic Goddess strikes again, conquering my heart and innards with an express coq au Riesling. This white wine is historically from Germany, but is also grown in the Alsace region in France (where this dish takes its inspiration from: coq au vin). I'll be honest with you: Riesling ranks somewhere up there with Zinfandel in the list of wines to beeline with a vengeance.

As I remember it, because the wine has since clouded my mind.

Take some garlic infused oil (make ahead, bung chopped garlic in some good olive oil) and heat in a flat but large pan.
Toss in some 70 g of lardons (bacon strips in plain English).
Fry until crispy.
In the meantime chop a leek finely.
Toss in with the bacon once fried to a crisp, until soft.
Find yourself a kind butcher who will debone and skin 6/7 chicken thighs for you.
Cut these thighs in 3 and toss in.
Add 1 large bay leaf.
Rip up 150 g of oyster mushrooms.
Pour in half a bottle of Riesling. Drink the rest while waiting for your meal to be ready.
Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of good Maldon salt.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat.
Cover and let simmer for approx. 30/40 mins until the chicken is succulent and tender.
Eat the next day. Reheat and add some double cream, if you've got this artery clogging delicacy (from Jersey cows of course) hanging around your fridge.

If you're like me, and you didn't think of an alternative for dinner, have it the same evening. Top off with some nidi (yellow tagliatelle tossed in butter just before serving).

Pass out on sofa and leave SO to take care of the dishes.

Thank you, Nigella!

Morning webcam

The makings of a morning: what's to eat (coq au riesling courtesy of the DG herself), PG tips in the thermos and a nice pot of organic honey from the heath...

what can I say?


Great actress (being a celebrity must be tiring though)...

but why, oh why the fug footwear???

current mood: Grumbly hamster

The munchkin and I have been on a one-week 'all on our own' survival course in past days as SO is abroad hobnobbing with the likes of Emma Thompson who was wearing Uggs (how very dare she!)... I have to say that generally things have gone very well, in large part due to the fact that the little one has been almost angelical, requesting baths, eating her meals at all the appropriate times, playing well... except for waking up in the morning.

Always a scramble, EVERY morning, as she refuses to get up. So this morning it was a case of the dreaded croissant/pain au chocolat in the car on the way to school. I always feel like such a dreadful mother when this happens.

That said, it's hard to get all your work done in 6 hrs instead of 8, then gallop back to the school gates to be there at 3.30 p.m. waiting for your little one, who is beside herself with joy to see you after a fun day, and leaps into your arms, entertain her for another four hours, get dinner on the table, wash her filthy booty in a bath (I only want a bath, mama, and I don't have to wash my hair, do I?), then try to get her to bed, walk up those stairs at least three times in the next hour, because she calls you for things like "I want a hug" (how can you refuse?), "I need a drink", "I need to go to the bathroom", etc, after which all you want to really do is read or sleep, or watch inane TV, instead of work some more.

Thankfully everything is cleaned up, but there's still the trash to put out, work to be done... and tomorrow, we're right back in the hamster wheel, where we left off today.

I just don't know how single parents manage.

From Thursday we will be at it again as SO goes in for surgery and a week at least in hospital.

Fending off the flu epidemic, as I write this. The baby-making appointment with the distinguished professor has been postponed until March. Hopefully SO will at least be upright and walking by then.

oh she was gorgeous - Fouquet's Madonna


I had one of those weeks where I have been working like a dog again. But in the last two days some exciting museum-related jobs landed on my desk, which will keep me happy through February. So, reflecting on my home town's museums, I thought about the extraordinary painting of the Madonna by Jean Fouquet, which rests in the hallowed halls of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

The painting itself is striking, surreal almost, considering it was painted by the artist somewhere around 1450. The second panel of the Melun dyptich, which depicts its benefactor, resides in Berlin. It is said that the person who sat for the Madonna is Agnès Sorel, the first mistress of a French king to be officially recognized as such. Sadly, the power that Mlle Sorel amalgamated over King Charles VII and the court at Chinon did not do her much good, as she eventually died, from mercury poisoning. The order was probably given by the heir to the throne.

What is interesting about this work first and foremost, is of course the apple-like exposed breast at the centre of the painting. French kings seemed to be infatuated with their mistresses' breasts. For instance, did you know that the "coupe de champagne" apparently was modelled on the breast of Jeanne Poisson, better known as Madame de Pompadour (all I can say is, judging by our champagne coupes, that there was not much to write home about... an A cup at the most. So pour me seconds please.).

You will also notice the lack of angular shapes in this painting. Everything is curvy, or rounded, even the nude, chubby angels, who are positively glistening. The rounded shapes contrast with the angular, distant manner in which the mother holds the child on that pristine white silk.

Also, the angels are not staring adoringly at the mother and child. In fact only one gazes in their direction, and his eyes actually are oriented beyond the painting, to us, as it were.

And finally, the colour of the angels themselves. All I can think of is latex. Lots of latex. I was thinking about making a remark about the French tricolore, but that would have required Fouquet to have a glass ball to predict the Révolution... and the French flag... so I'll just leave it at that.
Anyway, I just thought to share this treasure with you, so I posted it among my gorgeous offerings.

must-have: Mozart Kugeln - the campiest chocolates evah


Sooooo, this evening my friend returns from his extended weekend in gay Berlin (Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Weeeelcome), drops by to pick up his house keys and rewards my cat-sitting efforts with a box of Mozart Kugeln.

Those of you who are well versed in the sciences of geography and musical history will immediately remark: Austria, Germany, wot?

Mozart Kugeln are indeed an Austrian delicacy, although my box states that it was manufactured in Germany.

But let's continue: even though I might be a tad predisposed to that delicacy known as chocolate, my palate had yet to have a special encounter with this type of ball (sorry, I couldn't resist it).

So I opened the box only to discover 12 pretty round chocolates adorned with WA's effigy and... a prize! A Mozart CD. Shoot me, oh ye classical music aficionados, but I just can't admit to loving Mozart's creations all that much, except maybe his wind serenade (K.361).
I then wondered whether this was all about some synesthetic experience, whereby the music was supposed to enhance one's pleasure while eating the chocolates. I decided that in my case that was a foregone conclusion and proceeded to discover the challenge within.

My first thought was: it's a negerzoen! (Dutch candy, translates as negro's kiss, white and spongy contents on a biccie topped with chocolate on the outside, known in popular Flemish as a negertiet, negro's tit. Being PC is not a forte in Belgian dialects.). But now I am still reeling as a result of the marsipan and pistachio wave that hit me.

As one might have surmised on seeing the packaging, this candy gives a whole new meaning to the word sickly sweet. Two are as much as one can handle.

But I think it is a must-have, if only because of the campiness of the box that you can whip out when you have visitors.

So on the list of must-haves it goes!

And thank you my friend, for giving me something to blog about tonight.

The L Word - Season 5 episode 3: Lady of the Lake



As the skies are rumbling over my homestead, I sit here pondering the episode of the L Word that I’ve just seen. I’m quietly bemused about the fact that the episode that I have just viewed is mostly good, in fact excellent in places. Incredibly enough, I laughed out loud on several occasions.

A few of the cherser moments:

* Bev’s Angels: Alice’s Farrah flip was picture perfect, but what about the campdom that was Rachel Shelley? I was in stitches, she was priceless. In fact the whole scene was: the clothes, the wigs, the blush… Now if that gaydar could have just been a real bullet for Jenny? Wishful thinking on my behalf.

* Then there was the return of Mama P, or the incredible Peggy ‘I’ll do you family style’… Can you spell P-L-A-S-T-I-C-S-U-R-G-E-R-Y? Honey, if Holland Taylor smiled any broader her butt crack would rip. Still, I loved the way they filmed her from the back, swishing through that prison corridor.

* Just as I was really getting into the Helena/Dusty storyline, we all have to watch aghast as Helena walks off into the sunset (couldn’t they just have reserved this fate for Jenny? Why?), presumably off to the Neverland of Taha’a… where she will be reunited with her ‘prison butch’ and they will remain eternally young and gorgeous, and have coconut-milk drenched sex on the beach? I’m sorry, I’m getting carried away here.

* Classic moment: Jodie in the car saying ‘you’ll love him’ about her friend Michelangelo. The bells of doom were already ringing, as we all know when someone makes a statement like that you are bound to hate them the minute you set eyes on them. This weekend was doomed to bomb and Bette in the water was quite like a bomb.

* This was a very snobbish episode, don’t you think? The book Bette was reading by the way was ‘Verandah people’ by Jonathan Bennet, for those who want to expand their library.

* The cardio lady’s boobs: yeah, we all knew they were augmented from the minute the nipples popped into our eyes… Yikes.

* Poor Max: who would have thought that I would ever say this? Total parve, completely neutral… nobody is interested. I find myself wanting to defend her. What a change a season can make.

* On a final note: I’m quite interested to see where the Tasha/Alice storyline will go. I think it will all end in tears… but what an impassioned soapbox speech Tasha made to Beech. And a good point too: if you can function in the military, and be gay, why should you have to be booted, or discharged, as they like to put it?

* Alas poor Shane. I knew her, you know….

Better sign off now because the thunder is becoming increasingly ominous. Nothing like a good winter storm when you’re all alone at home with nobody to cuddle up to…



Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair!

* in the background is the real 'Lula de Montes', in the foreground is her alter ego.

Mogilino again


The other day one of our public TV channels - Canvas - showed the Mogilino documentary, which I posted about on 18 November last year.

A Belgian film maker by the name of Chris Dusauchoit (I think he lives right around my corner, ironically) has jumped on the band wagon stating that something should be done and calling on Belgian MEPs to react.

At the time I drafted and sent an e-mail to various Belgian MEPs and websites asking them to react. Nothing happened. Not even an e-mail back. I'm curious to see if this time around something will.

Time for an update also: Kate Blewett will be at the European Parliament on 4 March. She has been invited to show the documentary there after a hearing on the state of care in Bulgaria.

Most of the children are doing better, are receiving healthier food and specialized care.

The fact remains that even now there are children all over Bulgaria in similar situations. As recently as this week, footage was leaked of children being penned/caged in Czech orphanages.
I have a hard time wrapping my mind around such an approach to a being as fragile as a child.

More information on
The documentary can be seen in various locations on the internet, including here. Again, not for the faint of heart.

I can't wait for the weekend to begin!


Only a month ago I was griping at the lack of pampering in my life. Since then, I've set in motion a beautifying (well, sorta) programme of unseen proportions. Yesterday, the mani/pedi appointment finally happened (mercifully!).
Result below.

I wanted some ferociously fake nails of Barbra Streisand proportions, but got myself a French manicure instead... because it looks so fabulously fake and it didn't involve having portions of one's own nails filed off. I understand the concept of 'il faut souffrir pour être belle', but my pain threshold is notoriously low.

Sunday the hairdresser arrives at 9 am to start a marathon cutting session of all three ladies in this household, during which several centimetres will be cut away to reveal eyes, faces, and other body parts... My SO has finally consented to a layered cut (she has approx. 50 cm of blondness to contend with on a daily basis)!

Ah, at least we haven't hit the gym yet like all those other annoying people with New Year's resolutions ;-)

Sorry for releasing my inner femme on you!

Song of the day (sorry, haven't figured out to stream music in blogger yet):

william klein photo - Florence 1992

I was bowled over by this photo the first time I saw it. It was 1992 and I was fortunate enough to be studying in Florence. The poster was for the exhibition 'La Sala Bianca: nascita della moda italiana' at the Palazzo Strozzi. The photographer is William Klein.

There's something about the bold contrast of the lines, the black and white, and the blurry image (overexposed negatives?). Of course, there's also the iconic Vespa, and the way the woman in the white dress is looking back at the other woman who is fiercely striding past.

I bought the poster and took it back home to my student rooms, in an old 1900s carriage house on the greener outskirts of Antwerp. It was an interesting room, the same high ceilings as in our current house, with an arch in one of the walls, which had been turned into a bookcase. The walls were painted in full-out white, highlighting the vast space and the huge window... and then the poster pulled it together. After a wonderful year there, I then moved to a little flat in the city with a view of the river and the cathedral, with its old wood floors. When the time came to decorate the study, the bold black and white pattern of the crosswalk and the sash were reflected in the alternate black and white hardwood floor, - again - with white walls with a bold green desk for good measure. I spent too few hours in that study, in retrospect.

How times have changed... but the image remains, stored in my mind for times like this.

Thoughts on reducing one's ecological footprint


Today we visited the library.

Our books are slowly starting to take over the house... and when I think of all the paper that is needed to print a book and the trees that are felled to make that paper... I just say to myself that I should first borrow the book, and then decide whether it's worth buying for posterity (i.e. the munchkin).

I'm currently reading 'Brideshead Revisited' by Evelyn Waugh, a suggestion prompted by the Mitford reading that I've been doing lately.
What's more, the library even has the dvd of the series.

Hours of enjoyment guaranteed.

Next stop, a Toyota Prius or solar panels? I'm fed up of being the equivalent of an ecological Bigfoot...

oh she was gorgeous - Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons

What with all the pooha surrounding Glenn Close and her phenomenal performance as Patty Hewes in Damages, I thought it would be good to remind myself of her wonderful interpretation of the role of Madame de Merteuil in Stephen Frears' adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1988).

The scene where she gets out of the carriage, with her derisive smile under that beautiful hat, is burnt on my retinas forever.

The L Word - Season 5 episode 2: look out, here they come



The photo* above is an accurate rendering of my expression during this episode. Amused yet slightly bemused. Some random remarks in no particular order.

Let me start by saying that the title, 'Look out, here they come', could also be taken literally this episode, thanks to Shane's antics at a wedding.

After 'let's get pregnant sex' and 'holy moly, you are so pregnant sex', 'on the carpet of our new flat' sex, 'in my phenomenal beach condo' sex and temporary incarceration sex (yes, remember Bette and the nail and hammer lady?), we were served a plate of prison sex during this episode. Predictable, but fun nonetheless.

I also made a point of cleaning my glasses very meticulously before this episode but I still missed the chemistry between the Bette and Jodie characters. But maybe it's just me. When they were kissing over dinner, I wanted to poke out my own eyes for some reason. The horror, the horror. But again, maybe it's just moi. The prison shower scene came a close second. Too much flesh. Really.

The Tasha character is slowly and insidiously worming its way into my heart. And surprisingly enough, so is Max. Is it me or has Daniela Sea's acting improved (no, I have not been hitting the sauce tonight). Although now that I've heard that she's hanging out with Paris Hilton, I will revise my opinion.

Did you also spot Pam Grier's Foxy Brown moment? Mmmmm, mama. All she needed was to snap her fingers and do that Bette thing with the arm and I would have screamed 'You go girl' at the screen.

I was irritated at times by the music, and felt it was somewhat too overbearing. I was somewhat irritated at the ties that they inflict on Jane Lynch. I was even more irritated by la Schecter. Please, die already. And take your scary assistant with you.

In conclusion, overall a good episode, but I'm still waiting for that zing that I used to feel during Season 1.

* photo courtesy of Dorothy Surrenders.

must-have: radiator cat hammock


I simply couldn't resist putting up this beautiful example of pet gadgetry. I noticed this cool bed aka radiator cat hammock in one of Suburban Mum's posts and immediately fell in love with it. Our cat has a propensity to sleep on the very cold window sill, face down over the radiator. When the curtains are closed, all you see is a protruding paw and tail. However, since she's getting on in years, she also developed a cold as a result. Nothing worse than a sneezing cat, especially one with wet sneezes.

So the search is on. Of course, one or two worries remain. Will our moggie not be too heavy for this funky bed? What if the radiator falls out of the wall as the feline jumps into her hammock?
Oh well, time will tell.



Cutest moment of the day: the munchkin and her friend each enveloped in a towel, saying 'we are ballerinas' during the Sunday playover exchange-over with our next-door neighbours three houses down.

Cutest moment no. 2 of the day: the two of them sleeping in between the towels in the middle of the living room on the floor, turned towards one another.

Most satisfying moment of the day: seeing the two of them toss handfuls of 'snow' (ticker tape) at one another with several other kids during the neighbourhood's new year's cocktail in the park, kindly brought to us by the Antwerp section of the socialist party and our mayor.

Most unnerving moment of the day: realizing that everyone around you is straight and that you're the only gay parent in a 1-km radius. Makes you want to instantly run for the hills, but the only thing that retains you there is that your neighbours are there, that everyone is nice to you and that your kid is having one helluva good time.

Parenting: who said it was easy?

Sunday night quick fix: a little bit of this and a little bit of that

Tonight's dinner was a bit of Express and a bit of Ramsay... and the two blended seamlessly.

Cauliflower-broccoli gratin
Blanch 1 mini cauliflower and 1 mini broccoli
Slosh some oil around an oven dish (you can also use butter)
Mix two egg yolks and 200 ml of crême fraîche or double cream.
Add salt and pepper.
Pour over veggies, mix, ensure all is coated.
Sprinkle layer of finely grated parmigiano, gruyère, etc. until you no longer see the veggies.
Bung in oven for 10 minutes or until fully golden on top (you can also use the grill, but keep your eagle eye trained on the crust)

Mustard pork chops
Heat some garlic oil in a heavy skillet
Fry the pork chops for 5 mins on each side
Set aside on a warm plate
Deglaze your pan with 250 cc of good apple cider (for those of you who live in Belgium or the Netherlands, Appelaere will do the trick and has great taste).
Add 1 tablespoon of moutarde à l'ancienne
Add 125 cc of crême fraîche
Keep stirring until you have a nice not too thick sauce

Serve with some rosemary and butter jacket new potatoes.

Dessert: I used the left-over egg-whites to make a mini clementine pavlova. Oh, those dieting days are so nigh.
As you can guess, I'm still the A-list endorser of a heart-attack on a plate. Ah heck, you only live once.

Because you should always have a must-have: hot cocoa


Some days you need the comforting unctuousness of a hot cocoa, gently oozing its way down your oesophagus to warm you up inside.

Here's a quick recipe:
dark (and I mean really dark) chocolate*
honey or brown sugar
vanilla extract or vanilla syrup (in which case eliminate honey)

if so inclined, you may add dark rum (but since I associate rum with summer cocktails I don't).

Heat milk
Add all the ingredients in function of your liking, and the chocolate, which you should break up in chunks.
Keep stirring with a mini-whisk until the chocolate has melted.
Fiddle around a bit with the taste until you have what you are looking for.
Take out the cinnamon stick.
Pour into a large cup, while steaming.
Find some good mixed spice cookies and snuggle up in bed with a good book.

It will become a ritual. As it is in this household. So without further ado, off to the kitchen I go.

*I'm addicted to Green and Black's dark 85% but my next endeavour includes Marcolini chocolate bars to take it to an altogether new level. I have this hunch that Equateur or Fleur de Cacao will cinch it.

The babe's first sit-down opera

and she actually managed to sit still for most of it until the dancers came on and we were all summoned to the dance...

Thanks to polly at who not only provided me with a madeleine moment but who had the whole family dancing in the living room this evening.

'Oh, Amahl is helemaal alleen' (Amahl is all on his own)... After the last notes died out, she said, can we watch it again? So without further ado, here is Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Because you can never have too much music in your life. Even at the age of three. Next stop: Peter and the Wolf.

Red dot!


This lunchtime the munchkin walked in with a red dot on her hand.
It took a lot of prodding and questioning to understand what had been going on in class... and finally, after the fourth version, I decided to text her kindergarten teacher in order to glean the mischief of the day.

It turned out that my little mite had been chucking the poufs in the book corner around. The teacher then proceeded to mention that V. has a hard time finding a place in class, that she tends to roam about and get into trouble but when she is told to go to one of the corners (dolls, magnets, farm, cars, puzzles, etc.) she settles in well and finally that I should not worry because this is perfectly normal behaviour for children of that age.

NOT WORRY? This led to instant pearl clutching in SO and myself, as we tried to wrap our minds around the fact that
1) we thought she was doing so well
2) she was unruly in class, meanwhile we keep on being told by EVERYBODY how well behaved our munchkin is
3) she was disciplined with a red dot.
4) she roams about aimlessly in class.

This evening the class teacher sends all parents a mail with photos of the day and it turns out that the red dot was part of an estafette game (and she was on the red team). So no cookie stealing. No discipline dot. Just a red game dot.

And nothing to worry about. Sorta.

Parenting. It's the hardest job in the world.

Who would you vote for?

Sooooo, the US is gearing up for a momentous vote. The New Hampshire primary is behind us and the Mac and Hillary came out victorious.

But who gets your vote?

Find out here*! It would seem that I am firmly rooted in the Edwards camp myself. What if I want to be on Team Hillary?

*Click the US flag for an English version.

oh she was gorgeous - Peggy Hookham aka Dame Margot Fonteyn


Ah, the Magic of Dance. How many of you actually remember this series with dainty, tiny Dame Margot strolling through the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles regaling us with tales of Le Roi Soleil's dancing prowess? I also own the book to the series. That was the measure of my infatuation with ballet at the time.

My fascination has waned since, and has lain dormant until November last year, when I discovered Rudolf Nuryev's biography and it waxed into full-blown passion once again (at which point I also launched this blog, I think?)*. Presently, I am reading Meredith Daneman's biog of Dame Margot, one of Nureyev's preferred dance partners, and his long-standing friend.

One surprising fact that I gleaned from this book was that Dame Margot lived right around the corner from where my relatives live today. Too funny, really. So the Mitfords are temporarily on the side burner, while I remind myself about retirés, arabesques, épaulement, etc. She was referred to as 'pas belle' but somehow managed to create that stuff of legend, which means she is by rights in my 'gorgeous' gallery.

* the Nureyev nudes by Avedon have been the greatest traffic generator to my corner of the net... not, I surmise, attracting droves of balletomanes, but rather many a size queen.

A giant with feet of clay - pet peeve

The thick, natural fleece on the removable insole molds to the unique shape of your foot creating a natural arch support.

This quote pertains to Uggs, that phenomenal chav fashion statement that everyone, of all ages, from toddler to gran'ma, was sporting during my travels around Kent.
Sadly, a whole generation's feet are going to pot as their arches slip, slip, slide away... The pull of gravity on some people's ankles was frankly worrying.
I vote that they be renamed 'fuggs' and that somebody at least sue them for false claims.

The Mac is back and he's going to make the world a better place

because he's married to Barbie!
In Barbie's beautiful pink world, everything is perfect!

A quickie in Kent


As usual, it was too brief, too wonderful, and too relaxing. Four days in the Weald felt like four weeks in heaven... thanks to the kind care of Jill and Penny at the Lion Lodge in Hythe.

We enjoyed family time, ate chicken pie from the Maids of Honour, managed to shop at Waitrose (double cream delight), drank litres of tea, cruised from Canterbury to Rye and even stopped in Dungeness.

Above is my dream house, the rubber-clad Conder cottage near Derek Jarman's house. It is apparently owned by a couple from London for use as a weekend house and has a silver Airstream caravan for a guest room. Perfection!

I will now spend the next weeks working off the outcome of my daily Full English, which I miss already.

The L Word - Season 5 Episode 1


Yes, I have seen the episode. No, I was not overly enthusiastic about it, for all the wrong nitpicking reasons. Tina Kennard's face in this photo gives an adequate description of my mixed feelings.

Do not read below if you're not interested in spoilers.

First of all, the fit of Bette's bra was atrocious, with skin escaping from under the underwire, which, the wardrobe girl should have corrected. Women should learn to wear the right type of bra, with the right type of fit. Grrrrrr.

The character of Jenny has managed to rise to new levels of irritation. Somebody must be doing some bad drugs, if they think that I find this amusing. Conclusion: I am sure the outcome of this season will be some kind of catharsis for Jenny, where she is taken down a few pegs. In the meantime, suffer or record the eppy, in which case you can fast forward. The rewrite of her script had my heckles up, if only because it was sooo bad (and no, I'm not angling for a job in this department). Are we to believe that an ageing Stavros Niarchos type would be interested in 'Hello I'm such a lesbian' OTT Jenny? The answer is NOT.

Shane does what she always does best: being Shane. The same applies to Max. Rien n'a changé.

And the curious glances between Bette and Tina are obviously designed to string us along for another season or two.

Toss in some Cybill Shepherd (I'm not sure what the point of this storyline is, unless by the end of this season she goes back to her hubby), the prison story arc for Helena (nothing like some prison sex in orange overalls for those undersexed viewers) and the political story of Tasha (and Alice), and voilà episode 1.

This episode was streamed on that chart site, hence it was cleaned up a little. No F-Word (but we got the L-word instead), even The Betty's act (the theme song) was windexed a little, although they cast some major blurs over Tina's assets breasts, and Shane's nakedness during her sex scene.

Conclusion: I'll keep watching, finger on the remote to zap Jenny where necessary, for my own viewing comfort, but as yet, I'm not on board of this train.

Photo: courtesy of

Ring out the old, ring in the new!


2008 is here to stay! And guess what, it started uneventfully, with a family party, without drama. That alone is a miracle for which we will kiss the hemline of
Pope Clementine's Nigella's frock... Mouah, mouah's all around!

Yesterday evening we had an easy dinner, after which we watched Ratatouille. I know, not much to scream about, but the choices are very limited when you have a 3-year old on the sofa with you. The munchkin had been promised fireworks, so around 11.30 we laboured upstairs and started about the difficult task of waking up the poor mite. It was facilitated by the first boom at 11.50 after which she was gung-ho to get out and see the fireworks over the river herself. So we raced out as fast as we could and were able to take in 17 minutes of relatively good fireworks (see youtube clip above, although now I saw the offerings in London and Sydney, they look somewhat pale in comparison). We then mosied on back home, for pink champagne and milk, and Jools Holland's Hootenanny. She watched Kylie with a lot of interest, I must say, although she did not care much for Kate Nash.

Today started off leisurely as my beloved led two lobsters to the chop; this was the first time that any live creature had been killed off in this household, and contrary to my expectations, it went rather smoothly. I sat in the living room, with the munchkin, while the beasties were given their send-off on the executioner's block in the kitchen, without a murmur. My SO believes in saying a prayer for them, the Native American Indian way.

Lunch, with family but sans sister, consisted of:
Half a lobster with butter sauce
Roast poussins, rubbed with cumin and cinnamon, and a mélange of sweet potatoes, patty pans, baby courgettes, purple carrots, and potato croquettes
Apple crumble

Very low-maintenance.

Now about New Year's Resolutions, they are quite related to one another:

As we wish to enlarge our family this year, and I am the designated oven for the bun in question, I will be subjecting myself to the turkey baster and a sperm surge on a regular basis from April onwards. This is barring any complications, of course. However, there is a significant detail: I will have to redux myself from Nigella Express dimensions to a more acceptable Nigella's Forever Summer size. So back to the prison gruel, it is... And portion size, must remember portion size. If it doesn't fit under two fists, then it is excess, to be removed from one's plate instantly. Healthier body means exercise, i.e. Pilates classes. And since I a firm believer in the 'Mens sana in corpore sano' adage, I will be taking some time off from everything in the new year... A little fresh air in the brain never hurt anyone and all work and no play, etc.

Over the last year I have come to appreciate it pays to be happy with what you have. And so I start 2008 on a generally happy and relaxed note. Let's try to keep it this way.

Lula bites Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino