21 September 2008

What a Week!

Forget all the stuff going on with the financial markets. I'm blown away by all the news going on in South Africa. First there was the Jacob Zuma stuff - charges dropped against him. (Dang! And I was hoping he would be found guilty and therefore be unable to inherit the presidency.) Then there was the fiasco surrounding cartoonist Zapiro with his cartoon in the Sunday Times last week depicting Zuma unzipping his pants and about to rape the justice system. (Poor taste, Zapiro! Rape is a sensitive issue in SA - not something that should be used for laughs!). And then, as if all that wasn't riveting enough, we hear today that Thabo Mbeki rang out his farewell message to the nation. Well, well, well. I have to say the man showed gentlemanly dignity in this. Thank you for showing the world that African leaders aren't all power hungry, autocratic, insane dictators. Now the country has to brace itself for a Zuma leadership. Is there any way out of this? I am kinda hoping that with all the internal problems the ANC has been experiencing that a split in the party might occur. This would be really healthy for South Africa to strengthen its democracy. A viable opposition party to keep the ANC on their toes is what the country needs really badly.

It's Sunday afternoon - perfect as September days tend to be in Santa Barbara. Tomorrow summer offically ends and this makes me sad. Soon I won't be able to do what I love doing best on Sundays. I start the day with strong latte and homemade muffins or pancakes or croissant (thanks to Trader Joe's ready dough), then peruse the paper. Around 9:00 I go to the pool and swim for about half an hour. This is followed by a soak in the jacuzzi and then relaxing in the steam room. After a shower, I go to the farmer's market and buy organic produce for the week. Then it's off to Trader Joe's for groceries. Back home I get house and garden chores done and then there's the afternoon to catch up on emails, phone calls, visiting friends, reading, cooking ambitious meals like biryanis, etc., and catching up with the weeks news. I listen to podcasts of WAIT, WAIT, DON'T TELL ME, and the Mail and Guardian from South Africa. As the afternoon progresses to evening I get that heavy feeling. Time again to think about the work week.

08 September 2008

Another Birthday

Even though I still feel like I'm in my twenties it's taken me two decades to realize I have truly left that period behind! I did, however, have a fun weekend which worked superbly to keep me from certain depression that I'm another year older. On Saturday Daryl and I met up with friends at an Ethiopian restaurant on Fairfax in LA. Shaun Naidoo, a music professor and composer, grew up in Ladysmith. His father, a most unusual and somewhat arrogant man, was my high school principal. Vicki is also a music professor, and an accomplished pianist. Shaun and Vicki are incredibly lovely and it was really special to share a communal style meal with them at tastefully decorated Rahel's.

In the evening we went to see Il Trittico at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I wore a sari for the first time in public and I think if anyone who knows about saris had seen me they might have been mortified! As it was the opening night at Chandler everyone got a glass of free champagne. Last time we did this a few years ago we arrived early enough to see dignitaries stepping off limos and getting on to the red carpet at the entrance.
Il Trittico by Puccini is three one act operas. The performance at Chandler was stellar. The third act was a Woody Allen production. It was supposed to be a farce and Allen did a fantastic job with working that to the max. yet maintaining good taste. I enjoyed every minute of it.
After the opera we didn't have to drive back to Santa Barbara, because we decided to stay over in LA at a hotel. A birthday treat. Our hotel was right in the Golden Mile area near LACMA. A really cool location. We walked to La Brea Bakery the next morning and gorged on exquisite fresh baked pastries and satisfying strong coffee. After that we walked around the neighborhood a bit. Then we wandered around the shopping area called The Grove and then the Farmer's Market. We lunched at the Singapore restaurant - a tasty curry served on a banana leaf. We drove back to Santa Barbara after lunch and had a quiet, relaxing evening at home.
And now I begin a new year.