zeitgeist ˈzʌɪtɡʌɪst/


the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

This word really annoys me because it seems to be overused in the media. I’ve even heard ‘zeitgeisty’, which really curls my toes. Possibly more than the word moist. Maybe it just sounds harsher than it is. I don’t know. It’s just not on my list of favourite words.

Which words curl your toes? which words make you happy?

X is for kisses

kissesAll kinds of kisses. Raspberry kisses reserved for baby tummies. Passionate kisses reserved for new loves. Familiar kisses for old loves. I-want-to-kill-you-for-leaving-a-red-sock-in-the-wash-but-I-Love-You-kid kisses. I’m-only-kissing-you-to-stay-in-your-good-books kisses. 

Today’s kisses are going to the locum doctor who heard my tale of woe and has given me a prescription for stronger steroids and antihistamines. I have taken the pill, applied the cream, and now, for the first time in two weeks, feel no pain. I don’t want to rip my face off any more! So kisses, doctor man, kisses. I almost didn’t take it because I mis-heard fexofenadine for fluoxetine – duh!

But no fluoxetine. Just fexofenadine. Simply typing these is making me dizzy.

What makes me less amused is the steroid cream for my red, itchy, welty hives. Its possible side effects include “skin irritation, e.g. redness, rash, itching or burning on application, or allergic inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis)”. Oh, yay! But I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just going to look forward to a good night’s sleep.

Sidebar: There were a lot of X words to choose from, but none that didn’t make me scratch my head. 




Klutz, kvetch & kvell


I spent a fair amount of time in Pennsylvania as a teenager, with a lot of Pennsylvania Dutch and Jewish friends. My vocabulary improved vastly! As a linguaphile, I couldn’t wait to integrate the words I learnt into daily use. Here are some brilliant words borrowed from Yiddish, which I love using:

KLUTZ : a klutz is a clumsy person. A klutz has the agility of a wooden beam.

KVETCH : both a verb & noun. To complain and be a complainer.  Multipurpose! One can kvetch and be a kvetch. Plus, the ‘kv’ sound is just so satisfying.

KVELL : To burst with pride, especially for a family member. To shout it out loud. As in, I’m usually  kvelling about DD. Again, the ‘kv’ sound. Lush.

Have you got any audacious or fun K words to share? Last year, I wrote about kaffi, kanilsnudar and koeksisters.

Justified and Ancient

I am both. Seriously, who remembers this video from 25 years ago?! And who feels really, really old now? Hands up, y’all!

Husband couldn’t believe there was a reference to an ice-cream van in there, so I had to play the video several times over this evening to prove my point. DD now feels really, really sorry for us. I think she despairs.

You’re welcome. Enjoy. Good luck getting it out of your head. Got any other classics for payback?

The courage to be imperfect

wpid-img_20150825_141358.jpgIf you read my post Wholehearted last year, you will know that my favourite quotes and talks on vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame come from Dr. Brené Brown, research professor and author of Daring Greatly, The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong.

Brené’s 2010 TEDx Houston talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world, with over 19 million views.

Here are some of her quotes which really resonate with me:

The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.

Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.

‘Crazy-busy’ is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.

I can encourage my daughter to love her body, but what really matters are the observations she makes about my relationship with my own body.

Are you a Brené Brown fan? Have you watched her TEDx talk? What did you believe about vulnerability and being vulnerable?

Guilty pleasures

The unbranded soft and fruity red wine – it goes down so smoothly

Reading romance and chick lit all day

Binge-watching Say Yes to the Dress with DD

Lying in the sunshine, WITHOUT sunscreen

Eating way too many of BB’s pancakes & galettes

Fatigue, fame and flowers

Fatigue is where I’m at these days. Multi-tasking myself into an exhausted oblivion, then binge-watching Netflix until way past my bedtime. I am treating myself with appalling carelessness. It’s catching up with me. I’m too old to be pulling stunts like these.

I’m off to Paris this weekend and I plan to slow the pace down. Something has to give before my body does, right? Time to be sensible.

But before I do that, let me show you the happy dance I did (thanks, GIPHY) when I discovered my name printed in the latest issue of Oh Comely magazine this month. And since the magazine goes out globally, I figure I’m famous worldwide! Woot woot. Who cares if my name is 3mm high?


You think if I did this over and over, I’d have biceps like Michelle O? I want her arms! And her stylist.

Want to look at something pretty? Check out my flower board.

Just desserts

Yep, taking suggestions from the Husband will probably only ever take me in one of two directions: dessert and football. That’s soccer to my American readers. He worships the game, the logistics, the statistics, the….sorry, I tend to zone out. Since desserts are closer to my heart (and my waistline), let’s talk about those.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may know I’ve got my boards organised into categories: cookies, baked treats, chocolate treats, easy sugar… my heart lies in the cookie section. That should be my tagline: My Heart Lies in the Cookie Section.

IMAG0444Snickerdoodles, with their cinnamon-sugar dusting.

Delicate blush rose macarons.

Unctuous salted caramel macarons.

Chewy peanut butter cookies (gluten free, of course).

Freshly baked white chocolate and cranberry cookies.

Simple sugar cookies.

All accompanied by a delicious cup of coffee. I wouldn’t be the woman I am without coffee!

So what are your favourite treats? Your go-to feel-good delights? Last year, my D post was the poem FOR MY DAUGHTER by Sarah McMane.


As my skin gets drier, and my hair, greyer, I’m making peace with the ageing process. In the last few years, my skin has proven to be the litmus paper for how my insides are working. Whether my autoimmune conditions are flaring up, giving me hives and blisters, or if my system is in remission and at peace, skin moist and calm.

The lines are here to stay, and I have to admit, I like them. Same with the grey hair. They lend me some much-needed gravitas. 

A few years ago, I found myself looking in the mirror, and realised that instead of seeing the imperfections, I just saw the whole. My body. Not better, or worse. Just a body. A vehicle. And I realised I had turned a bend. Instead of how I looked, I examined how I felt. Does my hip hurt? My gut? Do I feel strong today? 

As a parent of a rapidly maturing tween, I’m more focused on DD’s growth process right now than I am on my ageing. Don’t get me wrong, the recent warm flushes are entertaining reminders that my youth and fertility are waning, just as my daughter’s are waxing. But that’s just the circle of life. Perhaps I’ll turn 46 and all of this will hit me like a ton of bricks. Perhaps not.

“…As she grew older, she was aware of her changing position on mortality. In her youth, the topic of death was philosophical; in her thirties it was unbearable and in her forties unavoidable. In her fifties, she had dealt with it in more rational terms, arranging her last testament, itemizing assets and heirlooms, spelling out the organ donation, detailing the exact words for her living will. Now, in her sixties, she was back to being philosophical. Death was not a loss of life, but the culmination of a series of releases. It was devolving into less and less. You had to release yourself from vanity, desire, ambition, suffering, and frustration – all the accoutrements of the I, the ego. And if you die, you would disappear, leave no trace, evaporate into nothingness…” 

Amy Tan, Saving Fish from Drowning

Zydeco music

Today is International Jazz Day, and while sending a friend recommendations for her listening pleasure, I found my Z – Zydeco music! It’s the instantly recognisable sound of New Orleans, my home while I was studying architecture. It’s impossible to live in New Orleans and not be forever changed by the music, food & art. 

What is Zydeco music?

Zydeco is the music of Southwest Louisiana’s Black Creoles, a mixture of African, Afro-Caribbean, Native American and European descent. Sung traditionally in Creole French, English is becoming more popular these days. As of 2007, it even has its own category at the Grammys!

Listen to The Louisiana Two Step (New Orleans 1984)

Where does the word Zydeco come from?

One theory is it comes from a contraction of the phrase Les haricots ne sont pas salés, which sounds like “lehz-dee-co nuh sohn pah salay” in the Louisianan French Creole dialect, and means “The snap beans ain’t salty”. Seriously. Another theory is that in the languages of West African slaves, the phonemes za, re and go were frequently associated with dancing and playing music. A little more believable, perhaps?

When did Zydeco music become popular? Is there a ‘parent’ of Zydeco?

Clifton Chenier is widely regarded as the King of Zydeco. He created music in the 1950s which was bluesy, syncopated and very different to the sound of Cajun music. He blazed a trail and made it clear that Zydeco was unique, using piano accordions & modified washboard vests (frottoirs). He also wore a cape & crown during most of his performances! Zydeco music is continuously evolving, showing influences from R&B and even hip-hop, in this century.