Weekend fun: a collage of me


Here’s how you play:

  • choose an image in response to the questions below
  • copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker over at FD’s image maker.

The questions:

  1. What is your first name?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What high school did you attend?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. Who is your celebrity crush?
  6. Favorite drink?
  7. Dream vacation?
  8. Favorite dessert?
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  10. What do you love most in life?
  11. One word to describe you.
  12. Your Flickr name.
* I slightly adapted the task, as originally outlined by Suburban Mum.

Only in Antwerp...


can you take a ride on a pterodactyl on the magic roundabout.

The summer of Antwerp has finally arrived in our fair city!

Bought a painting


The artist is Antwerper Dimitri Desiron. There is a certain Hopper-like quality to his paintings. We've been following him for quite some time now, but this was the one. Suits our heads, our preferences and our walls. What more can we ask for?

quick fix recipe: courgette, blue cheese and pea frittata


Courtesy of my significant other half:

Cook 350 g potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and slice thinly.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a nonstick ovenproof frying pan. Add 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped garlic clove and fry.

Then add 2 courgettes, thinly sliced of course. Cook until the whole caboodle is nice and golden.

Preheat your grill for the frittata effect to high.

Beat 6 large (organic, free-range) eggs to a pulp and stir in the potatoes, 100 g of steamed peas (fresh of course, podded by yours truly), some blue cheese (crumbled, if you can lay your hands on some Dolcelatte go for it) and a handful of fresh mint (from our terrace garden).

Wipe the frying pan clean, put on medium heat and toss in the egg soup.

Cook until you have something that resembles the beginnings of an omelette (i.e. until it is set).

Then get out those oven gloves and place under the bleeding hot grill for say 5 minutes, or until it is nice and golden. The aromas will make you ravenous.

Make sure to toss in a foccaccia or anything else of the breaded variety into your oven beforehand, as a side.
You can serve this with a green salad, but we didn't feel like it.

Serve on some tacky pink plates like the ones below (which I do own and no, I'm not ashamed to admit it, they match the pink pillows on our patio) and enjoy some al fresco dining.
Will feed four hungry souls.
Throw in a nice mild Rueda if you really feel like getting plastered.
And don't forget to order some evening sun.
Dinner is served.

The big, black bag


So (so what?) I freely admit that I have been somewhat uninspired lately, and I have been reading some good books, an activity which usually tends to take up a lot of my time if the tome is not some useless drivel. I am currently engrossed in Stephen Fry's excellent "The Ode less Travelled".

I did promise Fresco that I would write a post on the contents of my handbag one of these four mornings, after mentioning that I even carried a curtain in it, so without further ado, and because of the fact that I can't think of anything else to post -

Here is a photo of the big black object that graces my shoulder:

And here are its contents:

- some cards from an art exhibit that we went to yesterday (and the munchkin didn't break anything or didn't touch the art, although she did get to throw some newspaper balls at a hangman, the highlight of her day)
- an envelope with the A for Antwerp, for receipts and sundries (always shred!)
- a pair of shoes which I need to take back to the shoe store after my complaint about the quality (see earlier post on shoes)
- a box of Charlie and Lola sticky bandages (which is empty, but I keep it for the munchkin's treasures). Of course, yesterday the munchkin skinned her knees, and I had no sticky bandages.
- Lavera suntan lotion for kids factor 25 (absolutely kind to skin)
- Tropical Brown carrot suntan lotion factor 10 for myself (but I wear an Environ day cream with an SPF 15 on my face and neck)
- hair clips and comb
- various items of jewellery to "glam up" an outfit should the need arise. I need to get my ears punched again so I can wear my drop pendants again
- three pens and an ikea pencil; no paper; no agenda (don't believe in keeping time)
- screws from a baby gate, which my brother-in-law handed to me (baby gate has been in our cellar for 10 months, but he gives me the screws yesterday)
- roll-on deodorant (no white marks)
- a tube of harissa
- ipod mini with a special gizmo for the ear phones
- gym card
- MAC sheer face powder and mink brush, Estée Lauder Lash XL mascara
- lipstick L'Oréal sepia silk (because I'm so worth it!)
- spare undies for the munchkin (until Friday, I also carried a spare outfit for her, but she unfortch needed it)
- a Thomas the tank engine train
- a pack of Japanese seaweed crackers for munckin hunger pangs
- a bee from bee movie, which the munchkin got at the carnival
- sunglasses (corrective, blind as a bat, it goes without saying)
- pink motorola razr v3r
- my wallet (50 euros of cash, some Icelandic and British coins, countless restaurant VAT vouchers, visa and bank card, pics of the munchkin and SO, ID card, ben & jerry's customer fidelity card, munchkin's ID and health insurance card, driver's licence, receipts (which should be in the envelope).
- the one item not in my bag were my car keys (vw golf rabbit) and house keys on a blue lanyard sporting a Paddington Bear.

I have left out of a few items, which are a woman's own business. But there you have it.
One woman and her handbag... Obviously not one of these lesbians... But then again, we're talking about a woman who dares to go out with this type of footwear...

We'll miss you, lady legs...


Cyd Charisse 1921-2008

Raging, rampant hormones



Happy Feet



Mommie Dearest

Oh they were gorgeous: 56 years...

of waiting and finally these two gorgeous ladies got to tie the knot.

Yesterday, Mayor Gavin Newsom married Del Martin (87) and Phyllis Martin (83) in San Francisco, for real this time.

There is something extremely touching about this photo. And it is also a testimonial of their patience, commitment, and love. Not the only ones of course. Last year, my uncle and aunt were the only attendants and witnesses at the Canterbury wedding of their dear friends, Michael and John. They had been together for 23 years. Michael has since died from pulmonary emphysema, but at least, John had full access to him until his very last breath, as his acknowledged partner.

So here's a toast to all those people, who had to wait, and who can now make their dream come true!

House MD S1 Ep. 4 (Maternity): throwing the babe out with the bath water


Yesterday found me prostrate on the couch watching House MD. I like the caustic responses penned by the writer's team for Hugh Laurie and I like the drama. It's a good way to spend one's Sunday night after a long day out.

That said, yesterday's episode made me perk up slightly.
Storyline: a group of babies in the hospital was affected by some strange and deadly virus. And, lo and behold, one of the babies belonged to a same-sex couple. A very cute couple, I might add.

Imagine my joy at the same-sex storyline fading rapidly though as the writers then proceeded to spin some tale about the MD's female resident/assistant dealing with the loss of a baby. Two babies, two antibiotics, which one will provide the cure? Mother of straight couple's baby stands in front of the window of the neonatal ward and says, we will also break up, won't we (like the neighbours, who lost a baby, it then transpires). One toss of a coin later, and one of the babies dies. The Chen-Lupino baby. The same-sex couple's baby. Cue to straight couple holding up baby together as sheet is changed. Assistant, at the end, gazing woefully at straight couple, as they exit the hospital in golden light, close-up of baby.

First of all, did we all guess it was going to be the same-sex couple's baby? On this sofa, we did.
And how pathetic is that, that the whole story of the resident and her baby loss could not be played out with the same-sex couple? With one of the partners standing in front of the window, saying we won't make it. With two women lifting their baby as the nurse changed the sheet?
Because, dear reader, the team was ready to test the water with the same-sex couple (way to go, three minorities in one storyline - Asian, Latina and lesbians), but they weren't ready for the bath. Instead they threw the baby out with the bath water.

Am I reading too much into this? Maybe. But that's the way I felt and feel about it. End of soapbox rant.

Father's Day


My father in law rang us this morning at 5 am his time. We thought he had anticipated our call to him to wish him a happy father's day. But he was calling us... to wish us happy Father's Day... since we are both fathers and mothers.

I admit the logic is slightly twisted, but the underlying thought is extremely sweet.

I wonder how we will deal with it next year when the munchkin is older, and inevitably father's day will require some craft project in second kindergarten. Must reflect on that. Maybe she can make something for an uncle? Uncle's Day anyone?

Another Saturday...


... in the DDM's lair had three women, one with a Leatherman tool in hand clustered around a toilet bowl and a new toilet cover (see below). A spot of DIY was required and since I am completely inept at such crafts and the munchkin couldn't be expected to know about such things quite yet, it fell upon SO's capable shoulders to take care of this task. And we, her loving audience, decided to look on as she demonstrated her admirable skills.

At least we achieved something today. All other chores that I had set aside for myself miserably failed: getting a new card for our digital TV receiver, which the munchkin had considerately chosen to rip out thus damaging the chip, was hopeless as the kind TV people close at 4! Hello! At 4??? Frames for photos? Impossible to find in the right colour (azure). Stylus for SO's Treo? Lines at the till were awful, so we decided against that.

On the upside, we did have an icecream at B&J's (I can recommend their Baked Alaska) and SO made one of her magnificent herbed roast chickens. And I did bag the carcass and freeze it to make stock at a later date, ever the DDM.

And this brings me to the actual point of my post. After having read the Graces' posts on Stuff that Lesbians like, I have come to the conclusion that I must be the Anti-Lesbian: I do not possess a single roll of duct tape, I do not spontaneously break out into tone-deaf versions of 80s ballads, I do carry a monstrously big purse (the contents of which I will share with you in another post some day, but it has been known to include a curtain), I do not have an entourage of women, I do not read horoscopes, and I do most certainly not hand tuck. Oh, and I hate Angelina Jolie and I forgot what heteronormative means, or maybe I've never known what it meant in the first place.

So, dear reader, what does this make me? Neither fish nor flesh. The word lesbian doesn't seem to cover the package in this case, and the word gay seems to have been coined by my male counterparts. I think of myself as all woman, and that's the way I like it best. Not all woman, in the gender sense of the word; but my temperament is feminine. It is simply my make-up and it is how I express myself. A woman, who just happens to love another woman. Unapologetically so.

DDM Express Ep. II: steam-in-bag frozen vegetables


Ever interested in pushing back the boundaries of express cooking, the DDM this week half-heartedly ventured towards the frozen section of her supermarket. Terra incognita thus far.
Although I will confess to driving 100 km for two bags of frozen garden peas imported from the UK (so much for my ecological footprint!), so far this has been the only frozen item that I consent to buy, next to haddock and cod fillets for emergency fried fish cravings.

In this household, the freezer serves a dual purpose: making and storing ice cubes, the storage of coffee imports or bread, as well as some leftovers is its main purpose in life. One of its other uses includes the quick chilling of wine or prosecco, for those days when the DMM requires an instant pick-me-up. Although now that we have a SMEG with a wine rack, these days are also a thing of the past. The bar is now open 24/7.

My suspicious eye alighted on such delicacies as boxes of soup, soup mince balls (why not make them fresh, such an easy way to keep kids entertained for at least 15 minutes until they decide to start eating them raw), French fries (only when restaurant dining, no friolators allowed beyond the threshold of my lair), and of course frozen veg.

To cut a long story short, I finally noticed some 'steamfresh' bag vegetables. Once home, I gladly tossed one of said bags in the wave and waited for the outcome. Seven minutes (not seven seconds, mind) later, the 'bing' alerted me to the fact that my vegetables were now crisp and ready for consumption. What's more, I managed not to burn my fingers while slicing open the bag. Hey presto, vegetables were go.

Some findings: I don't know about you but I have never seen carrots this shape or size before. Somewhere in Spain, there must be a slew of farmers growing miniature carrots. These are then whittled down to something which is a far cry from the whopping foot-long muscular and firm orange object known as a carrot around these parts. The accompanying crunch of these limp little stems was unsettling. As for the peas, they had shrivelled slightly. Since I prefer mine wrinkle-free, I was not amused. Munchkin then proceeded to have a hissy over the 'red thingies'. Bell pepper, you guessed it right; I checked the ingredient list to be certain. Some mottled green leaves pretended to be spinach over in a corner of the bowl next to the odd Brussels sprouts. But the main surprise was the saltiness of it all.

Now if I seem slightly sceptic about this product, bear with me for a second. Like every other lesbian food snob, I believe in choosing your own veg, where possible straight from a farm. Call me selective, so what? Secondly, I prefer a steam basket over boiling water any day. Why, you ask? Because you can fiddle. Peas do not require a 7-minute steam bath. For me, they need to be a dragon-like virulent green colour, smooth on the outside, somewhat crunchy on the inside after 3-4 minutes à la vapeur. As near to the freshly podded pea experience as you can get, but warm. The same applies to Brussels sprouts (which work really well with bacon strips by the way). Bell peppers should not be unrecognizable. As for spinach, it may wilt, but not to the point of losing all its tender charm.

Finally, there is the small but significant detail known as salt. Since the DDM is genetically predisposed to achieving unheard of cholesterol and blood pressure levels (my father's notoriously was off the meter), salt is a rare commodity in this house. We use it, but sparingly. As my taste buds adjusted to this sensation, I found myself wondering what it was designed to mask.

Meanwhile, next to me, the munchkin proceeded to gobble up half of her portion fuelled no doubt by the growls in her stomach. She was non-committal in her verdict.

Does Captain Iglo have a new customer in me? Je ne pense pas, she said delicately. Not even in a pinch.

This shopping trip also included store-bought carrot mash. Also salted beyond belief.

Visual connection


Only Nijinsky did not require a trampoline.

must-have: the rainbow maker


Ridiculously expensive, but the munchkin chose it at her favourite store, the fossil and bone shop, and since it was so ingenious, I bought it anyway.

Meet the rainbow maker: place it in a sunny window and a solar panel powers the motor that rotates the Swarovski crystal. The crystal splits the sunlight into rainbow-coloured reflections that cast light around the room.

You will need a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight.

Enjoying the rainbows all over the living room as I type this.


You will need the following image to understand the following discussion.

Munchkin looking at a photo of my father.
- Opa lives far away, hmmm.
- No, sweetie, Opa's heart was sick. And because his heart didn't work properly, he died.
- Opa doesn't like it where he is, huh?
*gulp* on my side. This is the kid who would routinely say a person's name only a year ago, only to have the doorbell or the phone go ten seconds later and the person in question would be at the door or on the phone.
- I don't know what's it like where Opa is, sweetie. But I'm sure he would have really enjoyed playing with you.
- Opa is flat, huh?
- Yes, sweetie, Opa is flat.

(lying flat on his back obviously, a term coined by the munchkin and her friend a few months ago when they were narrating one another the tale of Snowwhite).

Big Edie & Little Edie


I've been interested for some time now in the documentary Grey Gardens. I've heard a lot about it, and I've obviously seen clips on the web. Rufus Wainwright also has a song referencing it (and that other favourite of mine, Death in Venice, but I digress). I finally have it and I'd like to share my fascination with you. We all need some individuality and fabulosity in our lives.

For those of you interested about knowing more about the doc, here is a link to the official website.
The Beales (or Bouvier Beales) were relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Lee Radziwill.

Here is the trailer:

And here is Little Edie in action. Don't you just love her accent?

Oh she was gorgeous - Hillary Clinton

Well, that's it then. Curtain call. Or maybe not? Maybe Barack Obama will kindly give Hillary Clinton a place in his administration. A place where this phenomenal brain can be set to work. A place where she can maybe bring about the dream of universal healthcare for all in the United States.

In the meantime, here is a toast to Senator Clinton. For running a good campaign. For reaching out to the gay community. For the graceful way in which she took all the crap that was slung her way. And here is to her place in history; along with Barack Obama, the first black man to be nominated as a party candidate for the presidency of the US.

As a team Hillary member, I am trying not to feel just a little bit over-annoyed that he is standing where Senator Clinton should be standing. It would have been a true victory for women, in the US and elsewhere, had Mrs Clinton cinched the nomination.

Hopefully, she doesn't run for veep but follows the example of people such as Al Gore, who went on to put their power and brains to work elsewhere. Iwait, with bated breath... And, to be honest, I weep at the idea of President McCain.

A meme - my life


Bun tagged me with an interesting challenge: my life…

My ex (which one, oh that one?) is a closed chapter.

Maybe I should dye my hair tomorrow, seeing as the grey is popping through.

I love procrastinating, drinking prosecco, taking the time out to read a good book at 2 am when all is quiet, finding the time to read the newspaper over some coffee, taking long hot showers, walking barefoot through the grass, dancing as if my life depends on it…

People would say that I lead a lonely life working from home, but I quite like it actually

I don’t understand how people can be bigoted, cruel, mean, cheap…

When I wake up in the morning (if I actually hear the alarm and don’t punch the snooze button 7000 times) I head downstairs and fervently hope that a little elf has prepared me some coffee and toast already (no such luck)

I lost my virginity on an Italian beach to an Argentinean lifeguard. Needless to say it was not a memorable experience.

Life is full of surprises.

My past is that just that, the past. I live in the present, the here and now.

I get annoyed at people who respond too slowly to the traffic light turning green, about the hay bales that they leave alongside the road for months on end after having moved the wild grasses

Parties are fun, but also quite exhausting when you are experiencing next-day hangover symptoms.

I wish there were 48 hours in a day to accomplish everything that I wanted.

Dogs smell funny after a walk in the rain.

Cats are not as intelligent as they pretend to be.

Tomorrow I will do all the same things as today, except the munchkin will only be going to school for half a day, so I'm thinking about taking her to my gran's who has some huge koi in her fish pond.

I have low tolerance of pretty much everything on a bad day. You have been warned.

If I had a million dollars I would give half to charity and put the other half in the bank for the munchkin’s edu-ma-cation.

I’m totally terrified of anything bad happening to the people that I love.

Blogging for LGBT families


Dana at Mombian has organized the third edition of Blogging for LGBT Families Day, which takes place between Mother's Day and Father's Day, on June 2nd, to honour both, but also to indicate that not all families fit the traditional model of one mother and one father.

Blogging for LGBT families day is upon us and I am struck by writer's block.

Not because I have no idea what to write about (I am a member of a LGBT family, doh) but because when you are fortunate enough to live in a happy family, surrounded by a pleasant environment at all levels, with people who are even encouraging you to have another peanut, it's rather hard to write about the complications.

After all, at the end of the day, just like other families, we deal with all the same issues: food battles, bedtime battles, contention and clashes (especially with toddlers who can act like teenagers), buying new shoes, clothes, books, toys, pondering whether you are going to let your child watch TV and what to watch on TV, asking yourself if your child should be allowed anywhere near a PC for the next twelve years (the answer to that is yes, but you will understand why in a second), searching for a good school and making sure that she develops friendships, surrounding yourself with the right people, and so on.

After having spent the last week on our own, and as we head into our second week, I have come to realise something extremely important, though. Every morning, the munchkin dutifully trots downstairs, and I open my laptop to dial Mama on Skype. The webcam on both sides allows us to function more or less like we would on an average day, having breakfast together, as a family.

Our strength lies in the fact that we are such a strong nucleus, that over the past 11 years SO and I have grown a powerful bond, and that the munchkin has cemented that bond. That precisely allows us to get out there every morning and deal with all that I mentioned above. It is also why we reach out across the web, talking to and reading about other families, learning from their experiences.

This, in future years, I hope, will serve us well, as the munchkin grows up and we may or may not have to face issues that will test that relationship.

To sum it all up, I believe that there is strength in numbers. And as long as we all remember that, especially on a day like this, we grow stronger and move forward. Like any other ole family. Albeit one big LGBT family, pursuing exactly the same goal: happiness together.


No Picasso here. 'Headfooters' as drawn by the munchkin this weekend in anticipation of tomorrow's outing.

I don't know why she is so obsessed with black and monochromatic creations.

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