Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Abundance Through Frugality

Monday, December 29, 2008

Is the Word 'Whinge' a Universal Term, I wonder?

My daughter, Billie-Mae & I went to the Degas Blockbuster Exhibition at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra. I'm now going to have a Slight Whinge about Art Blockbusters Aussie-Style. But maybe I should say, 'Whine,' as I'm not sure if 'Whinge' is part of the Universal English Vocabulary. 
Every time I go to The Northern Hemisphere I try to visit Big Museums. Like The Getty in LA. You can stroll through room after room of Masterpieces & there's barely a soul around to disturb you. I'm sure it breeds Masterpiece Smugness. 
'Oh yeah, there's  Van Gogh's Sunflowers again. I've seen it a million times. Yawn. Where's the cafe?'
In our whole Wide Brown Land, you'd be lucky to find maybe a dozen second-tier Picassos & a hundred or so third-rate Impressionist Paintings. Last month the Sydney Art Gallery had to sell half of it's Australian Contemporary Art Collection to buy this dirty-looking half-arsed Cezanne that cost millions & millions. 
Anyway, every time we have a Big-Name Blockbuster, like the Degas, you get like one, or two if you're lucky Big Ticket Paintings & then the rest is postage-stamp size etchings & prints that create the illusion of More.
Even so, it was just wonderful to see his Leaping Ballerinas & Racehorses.
But of course, we spent ages in the Degas Shop marvelling at the seemingly unrelated merchandise like freshwater pearl bracelets with silver charms that were on sale. Because of My New Frugality (more on that soon) we only bought a few little cheap items, like the round mirror above. 
We ended up at the Australian Aboriginal Cards, probably the best part of the whole joint.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

E verything is Coming to Me Easily & Effortlessly

I've always suffered from Boundless Resentment.
So, when I read in The Thoughtful Dresser that she wasn't going to write any blog entries until January because she & her hubby were off to some Fabulously Idyllic Mexican Resort, I thought, if she can can smugly go on hols & abandon her blog, so can I!!!
I've had quite a few days off, perhaps almost a week or more, but now Guilt has Gotten the Better of Me. I must now write something.
As I type, I'm sitting in my daughter's living room in Canberra, Our Nation's Capital. She's been busy impressing me with her Sensational Hand-Eye Coordination Skills that would do an Air Traffic Controller proud, in playing a violent, but Ultra Pleasant (her words) Video game called Fable 2. 
After I've finished blogging, we're going to continue watching this New Agey film called 'You Can Heal Your Life' which features the Doyenne of Affirmations, Louise Hay. Only my daughter, Billie-Mae has dubbed it 'Starting Over Yet Again' in honour of a famous episode of 'Sex & the City' where Charlotte drags Sceptical Carrie to hear the Wise Words of a Female Snake Oil Merchant & Healer.
 I know I sound like an Utter Flake, but I've always loved all that stuff. In fact, a couple of decades ago, Louise Hay toured Australia & my friend Marge & I saw her speak. She was just great, but we both thought Old at the time. So, I was v. surprised to see that she's still around now in her eighties & looking pretty good, if perhaps Slightly Startled & Permanently Wide-Eyed (if you know what I mean) 
I occasionally use Affirmations. One of my favourites is 'Everything is coming to me easily & effortlessly' in honour of the fact that I always feel that even small things are So Hard. This past year I said it to my Senior Class many times as they were always whinging about how hard & impossible the work was. I'm sure it helped because everyone of them got fantastic results totally beyond my wildest expectations which will help to get them all into the University Course of their Dreams.
Now, I've Totally Gone off Course.
This entry was supposed to be about Christmas & so far I haven't mentioned a single thing about it.  This is because the blog has a Mind of it's Own, sadly. I am just the channel from which it's Sage Words & Endless Anecdotes pass through.
I've got soooooo much to say about Xmas. I wonder how Rachel Zoe & her hubby Rodger spent it. I'm sure it couldn't have been more Glamorous than Mine. I'm including some photos to prove it to you. 
Me eating a scrumptious Mince Pie at a pre-Xmas dinner I hosted. 
Me (with Mr. Ex-Middleaged asleep looking like Rip Van Winkle in the background). Yes, he shared a Xmas Picnic lunch down at Sydney Harbour with My daughter & I. Then we all went to a French film called, 'I Loved You So Long', which I thought was such an appropriate name, and a totally excruciating & tortured experience, which I also thought was appropriate.
Me showing off a wonderful gift of Simon Doonan's book 'Eccentric Glamour' that was sent from Marge in Thousand Oaks.
My daughter made wonderful Xmas food, including  yummy pizettes. She's showing off her wonderful bangle sent by Marge. I got one too which was lucky, because I'd have to steal it from her if I didn't have one.
These holidays are a breeze.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yesterday I attempted to go Xmas Shopping which is quite challenge as I've embraced The New Frugality. 
And it's not such a Bad Thing. In fact, Embracing Frugality has become a totally entertaining & rewarding pastime. Just as long as it doesn't become another Obsession. 
I've always been careless with money like I'm Barbara Hutton without the Millions. I recklessly spent thousands & thousands of dollars on things like take-away Lattes  & endless copies of Vogue magazine from every English-speaking country in the world. And even sometimes non-English speaking ones. Frequently, I would buy Italian Vogue which was quite expensive, & sit for hours trying to work out what it was saying.
Now I buy one magazine a month - 'The World of Interiors' which I've been buying since 1985. It would be wicked to stop. All the others I steal from 'Zinc', my local cafe, or pull out of our building's recycling bin or read at 'Borders'. 
Books are a bit more difficult. And I feel like I really should buy books. Besides, it's hard to read them standing up in bookshops. 'Borders' is too noisy to read a whole book, so I frequent my local bookstore which is the size of a postage stamp. Yesterday, I found this wonderful new book of freshly discovered writings by Kafka, who I'm a fan of, not that I've read much of his stuff. But I like the idea of it. You know, people waking up one day only to discover that they've turned into Dung Beetles.  I'd hate for that to happen to Mr. Ex-Middleaged.
Anyway, it was a slim volume of Kafka's anagrams or aphorisms or something starting with the letter A. It was rivetting. But I couldn't stand there for too long because I could feel the slimy presence of the Shop Owner right behind me. I wandered out of the shop feeling smug for not spending $32.
Yesterday, I went to another bookstore. A much larger one where I can read in an armchair without being bothered by the staff. I found this wonderful picture book called The Red Shoes which is a re-telling of the old story. Or is it a fairy tale? And I can't remember the story. 
And I call myself an English Teacher. 
Instead of buying it, I took pictures of the fantastic illustrations with my phone. Which was yet another occasion to feel smug. I just love love love this book (Rachel Zoe is rubbing off on me). And I thought it was Relevant to my Own Life Right Now as I keep on thrifting red shoes. It's incredible. Four, or is it five pairs in the last couple of weeks.  What is the Universe trying to say to me, I wonder? 
I must go read the story & find out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Revolting Medieval Nightmare

It's always tempting for me to have a Big Rant About Aging.
But I know that it's a little bit like eating McDonalds - ultimately it's an Empty Experience. 
So, I won't go on too much about the fact that this wardrobe shot highlights my Marionette Lines. And I won't tell you what Marionette Lines are. You'll just have to guess.
But on a slightly more positive note, I wanted to point out the differences between being Middleaged Now & being Middleaged Then. Just look at the little mixed media piece I did featuring souvenir spoons & a 1950's photo of those horrid Gossip Queens Hedda Hopper & Louella Parsons & an unidentified other Middleaged woman in the middle. They were photographed at some swanky Hollywood restaurant admiring the then v. young Sophia Loren, who I cropped out of the picture, but who looked a bit put off by all the slobbering middleaged attention.
Each woman is a Study In Jowls. And Louella, who's seated, looks like one of those little devils that are carved into the facade of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I'm not sure if they're Devils or Ghouls, but they're some Revolting Medieval Nightmare or other.
And I never realised before how aging Mink Stoles are. I must throw mine out.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Year's Xmas Tableau Was a Doozey

I couldn't help but drag out my Action Man Christmas Tableau from last year. I entertained myself for hours arranging it. And I always think that Action Man livens up any Occasion.
Of course, this years effort is a bit tame by comparison.
But as I always say to my students, & they love it, 'Compare & Despair'!

Every year around the end of October, I begin to get more than usually nervous whenever I enter a Mall. The reason is simple- I'm looking for Signs of Impending Christmas.  
And I swear it's getting Earlier & Earlier.
It usually starts off Small, like a virus. You might walk past a  little display of Chocolate Coins, or a Holiday Assortment of Candies. But within a week, it's Full Tilt Santa. 
The thing that really bugs me the most is the Christmas Songs.
 As I write, I've got an annoying Earworm in my head. It's the Absolute Smuggest Christmas Song of the lot - you know the one that starts, 'It's beginning to look alot like Christmas.....Ev-rywhere I go'.... 
And we all know that Christmas looks like Snow. 
Not where I come from. 1. I've hardly ever seen snow in my life except in New York. 2. It's Summer at Christmas. 
So it's  stupid to be trawling around the shops on Xmas Eve in Sydney in a heatwave with 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' blasting out on the PA.  And for hundreds of years, we Australians have just accepted it even though there isn't an inch of snow (except perhaps on the tip of our highest mountain, Mt. K, not K2) on our Wide Brown Land at this time of year. Surely I'm not the only person who's noticed this & finds it incongruous & annoying.
But I've never heard another person mention it. Maybe I just haven't been listening.

I'm beginning to sound Humbugesque.  Which is certainly not the mood I wish to create in this post. The Mood is one of not just passively accepting the Inevitability of Christmas, or resisting it, but actively Embracing Christmas. 
Why, you may ask?
I think it will make me feel good. And I suspect it's working. 
I've put every little card that I could find  (even Non-Xmas cards) on the top of the cabinet near my front door. So, every time I walk in the apartment, I see all these cards from people & feel kind of popular, or at least Known. 
Now I just need to buy some v. cheap gifts & get a tree.
One Day at a Time

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Transforming the Mundane into Magic

Actually, it's Not Day Three. It's more like Day Five. But who's counting?
The Only Rule for The Holiday Project is that every day has got to be a New Adventure of Some Sort. Umm........that probably means that I can't lie around  watching Fashion TV on Mute for hours. 
But maybe I should have another rule: Transforming the Mundane into Magic. 
What happened today is a Perfect example of my new rule. 
Be aware that there are Mundane Elements in this small vignette that I'm about to tell you, so I'll try & tell it in the least number of words:
My Canon MP600 printer decided to only print in shades of blue with some white touches. It is over eighteen months old, but I had cleverly bought an Extended Warranty. 
I phoned the toll free number on the warranty paper a few days ago & explained what was wrong with the printer. The phone answerer didn't seem too interested in what was wrong. She just said they'll get back to me shortly.
I didn't obsess about it like I usually do. 
Today they rang back & said they'd decided to give me a new printer for free. Just go  to the store & pick it up.
I drove like a maniac to the store & was served by a Naughty but Charming Ex-Student who decided to make up for all the times she gave me the shits in class by giving me a big discount on buying yet another Extended Warranty.
I was thrilled. 
Now, can you see the Magic in that Mundane Story? 

On a completely different subject, I couldn't help but post this picture of me taken at the Faux Organic Markets Across the Road from my Apartment on saturday. I am holding a bunch of gladioli, or 'Gladies' as they are called, which is the favourite flower of Dame Edna Everage who I mentioned a few posts ago by saying I spoke like her only l was louder & shriller. So I thought that it was Entirely Apt that I had this photo taken.
But what I'm really showing off is my Holiday Outfit. How smug I was as I put it on in the morning - in my  mind the newly-thrifted 'Benetton' skirt & the Comic book top were cool & edgy. 
I sneered at a v. famous Pioneer Feminist & Writer who was all porked up in a pair of khaki shorts.  I also sneered at a gaggle of older women who were wearing exercise clothes with Unsightly Runners. I wondered aloud if one of the women was wearing Proper Foundation Garments.
And then I went home & downloaded my photo. I got a Small Shock.  Because everything I was wearing was a size too small, all my figure flaws were Out & Proud. But I didn't know it.
It Never Pays to be Smug.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You may or may not recall that recently I'd been watching episodes of 'The Rachel Zoe Project' on Pay TV. I found it Compellingly Ghoulish.
And  even though I was watching hard, I couldn't for the life of me work out what exactly WAS Rachel's 'Style'.  All I could see was Huge Oversized Hair, Cute Rabbit Teeth & Bug-eyed Sunglasses.
 And I know that if my Poor Dead Mother could take a load of her, she'd immediately call her 'Cousin It', who was a Yeti-like character on the  sixties TV show, 'The Addams Family'.

My interest in Rachel has been fuelled by Janavi,  one of my favourite flickr friends who I like to think is my eyes & ears in New York. She tells me that Rachel earns $6000 a day which is a preposterous amount to a middleagedteacher. That's one of the wonderful things about my job - the ability to assume the High Moral Ground at a moment's notice. Here am I slaving over a hot whiteboard ensuring the wellbeing of the Next Generation & getting paid toy money for doing it while Rach chooses a lousy gown for some Stick Insect to wear on the Red Carpet & makes millions.
I've already mentioned that I'd like to have my own reality TV show, The Middleagedteacher Project. I'm sure it would be a hit. But I don't think that I'm strong enough to face all the nasty things that people would say about me on their blogs.
Best to Stay Anonymous I think

Friday, December 12, 2008

I've decided that I'm taking on the Summer Holiday as A Project, rather like making a patchwork quilt or scaling Mount Everest. 
Each day I will get up out of bed & begin a New Adventure, even if I've really had the New Adventure hundreds or maybe thousands of times before. Like going to the Cafe. Drinking skim lattes. Eating Weet Bix. Making Jewels. Going to the thrift shop. Going to Yoga. Doing artwork. Taking photos. Posting Photos on flickr. Arranging the house. 
I'll even find New or Relatively New things to do.
And I'll Trot, not Trudge down the road.

P.S. I hope you like my latest little Shrine to Happy Elephants featuring the Wonderful Ganesh. I thought it was Highly Appropriate as Ganesh is the Remover of Obstacles.

Trotting, Not Trudging

I'm now on holidays until nearly the end of January.
You'd think I'd be thrilled. Nothing of the sort. In my mind, the next seven weeks are stretching out  before me like a Great Yawning Chasm waiting to be filled. With what, I ask?
And there's absolutely No Way Out. I have to be on holidays. The school is shut. My salary is still going into my bank account every two weeks. And Christmas is rapidly approaching.

My Holiday Trepidation is of course caused by the winning combination of Self-Pity & Resentment.  Poor Middleaged Me - single & lonely, trudging down the street dragging my squeaky shopping trolley behind me on the way to the supermarket to buy food to make Dinner for One. As I trudge, I notice nothing but  Middleaged couples smugly holding hands & laughing no doubt at some Smug Joke. They're probably just about to go on a Smug Romantic holiday to Paris or Noumea, I bet.
But this morning, the second day of my holiday, my Poor Me Fantasy  was abruptly shattered by a phone call from Peter from 'Zinc', my local cafe.
He wanted to know if I was coming down to the cafe because he had something for me.  I immediately applied lipstick & trotted, not trudged down the street. When I arrive Peter hands me  a card. I open it & out pops a front row ticket to see Lucinda Williams in concert next April. I'm so excited that I'm getting My Tenses all mixed up!  And I'm not even going to bother correcting them.
 I don't have to. I'm on holidays.

All That's Missing is a Wand

This week was the last week of term.
That means that I'm about to start The Summer Holidays. In fact I've already started them. But that's a whole other story.
The picture above was taken at our Annual Speech Day. And as it's supposed to be a Formal Occasion, I'm wearing my Academic Gown but in a v. silly & distorted way like I'm maybe An Anarchist or Glinda the Good Witch or a Snow Queen. All that's missing is The  Wand.
Lily,  a great student who I sadly no longer teach, insisted on posing along with me. At least she looks normal.

So, I'm done with English Teacher's Wardrobe Diary for 2008.
It's now Teachers are Always on Holidays Wardrobe Diary 2008-9.
 Keep watching, I'm sure you'll notice the difference.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Middleagedteacher Project

Tonight I watched an episode of 'The Rachel Zoe Project' on Pay TV. It's not the first time I've watched it. In fact, I might go as far as to say that I'm now Officially Following the Show, although I don't seem to be able to watch it all the way through.
For those of you who haven't been lucky enough for Rachel to pop up on your Radar, she is a Famous Fashion Stylist to the Stars, specialising in Red Carpet Dressing. Her show, which is of course, a 'Reality Show', follows her incredibly hectic life where she chooses backless gowns for A listers like Cameron Diaz & makes Meaningful Statements like, 'Style is showing people who you are without having to Speak'. I swear I didn't make that up.
I am now going to be Quite Mean.
Rachel is tiny & spindly & seems to always wear huge oversized round sunglasses which really does make her look like a Boho Stick Insect. But the thing that really fascinates me about her is her Voice or possibly it's just her accent. I'm certainly not someone who should criticize anyone else's accent as I sound v. similar to Edna Everage except louder & shriller. Rachel's accent relies heavily on accentuating her 'Rs' to the hilt. I think that's what it is, but I'm definitely Not Professor Higgins, so I could be wrong. 
Anyway, her assistant Taylor talks like that too.
 And then there's Brad, the other assistant who did some really bad things like forgetting to bring  Nipple Cover-Ups for Rachel when she was styling some big star. 
It was such a Bad Thing that Rachel ended up in tears on the front step of her house & then Brad sobbed uncontrollably in front of the cameras  & Taylor didn't cry but acted like a Hard As Nails Cow. I loved her. 
I know I'm asking the Bleeding Obvious, but how can anyone cry uncontrollably on camera knowing that millions of total strangers are looking at him, & perhaps harshly judging him? 

But of course, by the end of the show everyone Made Up & Hugged, just like in real life. Rachel's husband came home & presented her with a brand new car. 
I was livid.

You know, I'd love to have my own TV Reality Show. The Middleagedteacher Project. Cameras could follow me into the classroom. I could cry when a student didn't do her homework.  Then I could make a student cry. Then we'd kiss & make up.
Just like in Real Life.

Will Anyone Follow Me Home in My Safe Shoes?

When it comes to shoes, I feel quite Left Out. 
I want to trot around like Carrie Bradshaw, nay, Sprint Around like Carrie Bradshaw in six inch Manolos or Choos. Actually I'd be quite happy to wear the fabulously cheap plastic copies  that you can get at KMart or even Target on a good day.
But that's not gonna happen. 
Every morning as I trudge down the hill on my way to School, I walk past 'Booty', a small shoe boutique that I've mentioned before. On the weekend it's absolutely choc o block full of women queuing up to buy Hugely High Shoes like the , what I like to call, Follow Me Homes , above, that have been in the window for the past week. 
These are Not the Shoes I'd wear if I could wear stilettos. I think these shoes are Vulgar. 
Now, there's a word that you don't hear too often these days. But it perfectly sums up my feelings towards them. 
No, the stilettos I covet are far edgier. You know the ones I mean....Maybe Prada or Givenchy  first made them up. I'm not sure.  I'll have to go & find a picture of them, but right now I couldn't be bothered.
You May or May Not be wondering why I'm so Stiletto Averse. 
It's because I'm afraid that I'd fall over so badly in them that I'd have to have both feet amputated. 
So I'm sticking to Safe Shoes, like the red ones below that I've thrifted over the past week. 

I wore the Red Heels today for the first time at our Annual School Speech Day. Fortunately, you can't see that I wore sheer sockettes with them because I didn't want to get blisters. 
I'm Nothing if Not Comfortable.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Love Shamelessly Copying Other People's Style 2.

chanel beads
Originally uploaded by middleagedteacher
Here's my version of atriuum's pearl/diamante extravaganza that I featured in the previous post.

I now realise that my version is tame. Her's was kind of anarchic. Which is why I liked it.
There is clearly Nothing Anarchic About My Version. It is neat. Well-ordered. Arranged. Just like the Rest of My Life could be, but isn't.
Mastery Through Wardrobe.

I've threaded a pearl & diamante pin through one of the Faux Chanel C's in my long-stranded necklace.
It may be Tame, but I don't think it's Lame.

I Love Shamelessly Copying Other People's Style

necklaces, detail
Originally uploaded by atriuum
I never like my birthday.
And I never celebrate anniversaries.
But this month marks the First Anniversary of Me being a contributor to flickr's Wardrobe Remix.
So I've decided that I'm going to uncharacteristically celebrate it by running a Small Festival of Wardrobe Remix on my blog.

I want to run you through some of my wardrobe highlights as well as show you people & outfits that have inspired me over the past year. Would we say this is Rampant Narcissism, or perhaps a Futile Attempt to Keep The Passage of Time at Bay? Or is is Just a Massive Distraction to Stop Thinking About the Big Issues of Life?
I'd say, All of the Above.
But who cares?
First cab off the rank is this fantastic Pearl Diamante Extravanganza which is from fellow Aussie Remixer, Atriuum. Although She is old enough to be my daughter which means that I can't just blatantly copy her Young Look, I do like to take parts of it that will translate into Middleagedteacher style.
You can see my version in my next installment.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is a Great Message, If Only You Can Read It.

I just loved the card that my friend Marge sent me in what seems by now to be a Bottomless Parcel.
Boy, am I getting some mileage out of her. 
Hope I'm not Officially Sliding into Overkill.

In case you can't read the tiny text, it says, 'Life is what you make it. Always has been. Always will.' - Grandma Moses.


Eternal 21
Originally uploaded by middleagedteacher
I'm in my Preferred Spot - propping up the Empty Whiteboard. Actually, it's usually not Empty. But it's the end of the term & I've kind of run out of steam.
I'm really showing off my wonderful matching pendant & hoop earrings that were inside the 'Forever21' parcel that my friend Marge sent me that I went on & on about in the last posting.
I think that I can confidently say that I'm Officially Matching.
Oh, & Completely Thrifted.

Evolved to a Higher Level of Shopping

A couple of days ago, an Exciting Thing happened to me.  I came home from school to find a large stamp-encrusted parcel with my name on it sitting on a chair in the foyer of my apartment building.  It was from my best friend Marge who lives in California. 
When I visit her which is surprisingly often, we go shopping. We never go to Barneys or Saks or any of those snotty joints along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. No, there's Nothing Upscale about Our Shopping Habits. 
I absolutely loathe paying full price for clothes & I loathe shopping at Expensive department stores & boutiques, although I must admit that I once had a  a weakness for 'Barneys', but I'm not sure why. 'Barneys' certainly didn't deserve it.
 A few years ago while in LA with my daughter, I bought her an Olive green Mark Jacobs dress from 'Barneys'. At the exact moment when the salesperson handed me  the black 'Barneys' bag with the dress inside, I honestly felt like I'd died & Become a Celebrity.  Hopefully, I'm over all that now & have evolved to a Higher Level of Shopping.
But back to The Parcel.
It was full of little jewels bought presumably on sale at one of 'Our Stores' - 'Forever 21'. I'm not being in the least disparaging by saying that they must be sale items, because that's Our Thing. We only hang out at The Sale Racks, not just 'cos we're desperate to be frugal, but because of the wonderfully Smug feeling that not paying full price creates.  
But we absolutely don't buy clothes at 'Forever 21'. They are not for us. But the jewels are. 
I was so thrilled that Marge included the little 'Forever21' plastic bags. It almost, but not quite, made me feel that I'd had a Real 'F 21' shopping experience.  
But as I was lining the bag up to be photographed with the wonderful card featuring a Matisse painting that was also in the parcel, I noticed that inside a fold on the bag  was discreetly printed  the words, "John 3:16".  Quick as a flash I realised that this was a Biblical Reference & so I looked it up. I thought it might have something to do with the New Testament version of shopping, but no. It was about how God thought so much of  Us Earth Dwellers that He sent his Only Son to save us. It's comforting to know that we can have  a Big Shopping Experience & have our souls saved at the same time. 
Now that's Effective Time Management!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Once Upon a Time, there was a Middleagedteacher who didn't have even one single gray hair in her blond head. She also had a slightly hooked nose which gave her face character & didn't make her look like a witch one bit.
Some time before she  became Middleaged, Middleagedteacher fell in love with a man who eventually became known as Mr. Middleaged.
He was short but perfectly formed & had a wonderful luxuriant crop of grey curls that always looked immaculate. The only downside to having such  hair was that he would occasionally be mistaken for an elderly lady from behind. This happened most often on planes, when the stewardess would refer to him as 'Madam'. 
Middleagedteacher & Mr. Middleaged spent fourteen years together. He had two boys & she had one girl. During this time, their children grew up which was a constant source of surprise to Middleagedteacher who had stupidly thought that they were going to be kids forever.
Then the children left the nest. 

The Middleages had fun.
 They vigorously exercised.
 Even though they were obsessed with weight, they ate huge amounts of Chinese takeaway every friday night at their newly-acquired beach house. The next day, they went soft-sand running along the beach to compensate.
 He watched football on TV & read biographies while she attended to her flickr photostream.

One day, Mr. Middleaged decided that he needed 'Time' & 'Space'. He moved  full time to the beach house while Middleagedteacher stayed in the city apartment. 
She was sad, but did not collapse in a heap on the couch.
Instead, she continued to live her life as best she could. It was not an Altogether Unpleasant Surprise for her to find that Life Actually Went On.

Eleven Weeks went by. 
Finally, Mr. Middleaged sent a text message. He wanted to 'meet & talk'.
Middleagedteacher quaked in her boots at the thought of what Fresh Hell she might have to hear. 
She was Not Wrong.
But in spite of this, Middleagedteacher agreed to see Mr Ex-Middleaged, as he was now known, in a kind of Friendship Dating or is it, Dating Friendship Scenario. 
So far they've had Four Dates with another one planned next thursday after he returns from Buenos Aires. 

Middleagedteacher finds it Strangely Surreal to suddenly find herself dating a man who she owns property with & who still has clothes hanging up in her wardrobe.

To be continued...........

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm So Glad That I'm No Longer a Bright Young Thing

When it comes to my daughter, Billie-Mae, I'm Nothing if Not Smug. 
Not only is she Beautiful, but she is smart, compassionate, funny & original. I love the fact that she is studying a Double Science Degree - Psychology & Geology which is a combination that I'm sure no one else has ever thought of. I love the symmetry of Rocks & Brains.
Here's a little Photo Essay showing preparations for a 21st Party with a 'Bright Young Things' theme that she & her beau, Russell attended on saturday evening. 
I personally loathe Fancy Dress Parties. The only time I attempted to dress for one was in the late seventies when I  stuck a Quite Large Cucumber in the front bib pocket of a pair of dark blue 'King Gee' overalls I was wearing. I can't remember the theme of the Fancy Dress. Maybe it was something to do with Gender Roles or Penis Envy, or maybe it was  Come as Your Favourite Vegetable. I do remember that I was flattered that some  people found the cucumber a funny idea, but I've never been tempted to wear fancy dress again.
But Billie-Mae doesn't feel that way. She prepared her 'Flapper' look with panache & gusto. 
First, she re-styled a black wig while Friedrich Nietzche, the token male of the house, looked on with interest.
 She gave the wig a slight haircut so that it vaguely resembled Liza Minelli's hair in 'Cabaret', which is still one of my favourite films, & one of her's too.

Then she applied these amazing false eyelashes that were trimmed with a thick layer of silver. Again, I was plunged back into remembrances of the past.  When I was a young teenager, I used to save up my pocket money & buy mink false eyelashes. I was absolutely desperate to look exactly like Twiggy  & had convinced myself that if only I could learn to apply false eyelashes, we'd be like Twins. 
Sadly, I always got the eyelash glue stuck all over the eyelashes like I had really bad Conjunctivitis.  So I never actually ended up wearing any.
And I never looked remotely  like Twiggy.

Here's Me & The Finished Product. 

And here's the two of them. I was quite thrilled that Russell wore my father's Old Tails that definitely go back to the early thirties.
Since it was pouring rain, I drove them to the party. 
Then I came home & watched a couple of episodes of SATC that I'd been greedily storing on Tivo. It was fabulous not to be 21 again.

Things You May or May Not Know or Care to Know About Me.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


I wonder if anybody has ever bothered to calculate how many tears the average person sheds in their lifetime?
I guess it would be an impossible task . 
And say if you really could calculate a Lifetime's Tears, would you count the tears you've shed at movies, or when you've sung the National Anthem, or when you watched a Gay Pride Parade? Are they Real Tears anyway?
For almost my entire life there are two things that always make me Cry Like Clockwork - 1. pictures of Jackie Kennedy at President Kennedy's funeral. 2. Watching our annual Anzac Day March of War Veterans on TV.
I can also get a big Tear-Up if I listen to Martin Luther King's, 'I have a Dream' speech. 
 Oh, & I just remembered The Mother of All Tear-Making Speeches - Churchill's wartime, 'We will never surrender' speech. I'm now crying as I'm typing, just at the thought of it.
Birthdays, or more specifically, My Birthday has always had a Tear Component. I remember when I cried at school on my sixth birthday, a Horrible Nun said to me, 'Dear, if you cry on your birthday, you cry for the rest of the year'. 
Thanks, Sister Arsehole. That wonderful Gem of Wisdom really helped.

Hope you like my artwork.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mad With Fame

I know I look like I've gone mad in these photos. 
And maybe I have.
But over the past few days I've been infected via The Mainstream Media with the idea of becoming 'Internet Famous'. 
 I'm now Officially Desperate to become a 'Fameball',  a blogger who, by Relentlessly Oversharing the banal & inane details of their  daily life, permeates their way into The Collective Consciousness rather like an Earworm, which is a song that you can't get out of your head even if you hate it. 
'Julia Allison', picture above is the Biggest Fameball of Them All Right Now, with the accent on the 'right now' because according to this article I read in The Sydney Morning Herald, you're only as Hot as your Last Blog entry. 
Golly Gosh, I'm going to be chained to the computer all Summer!

'Julia Allison' (not her real name) immediately attracted my attention because of her superficial similarity to Charlotte York in SATC, who I love in as much as you can love a Fictional Character. So I tracked down  her blog/lifecast/personal manifesto, nonsociety.com.
 And to be honest, I couldn't follow it. I don't mean to be too self-deprecating, but sometimes it takes me ages to work things out.  Like it took me an hour to realise that you didn't scroll down her blog, but ACROSS. And then when I started reading , I couldn't understand it. It was kind of like the time I tried to read Virginia Woolf's, 'Mrs Dalloway' aloud to my Senior Class & they just sat there blankly staring me. 
 I really should go back & try reading it again, Julia's blog I mean, not 'Mrs Dalloway', although maybe I could read both  together - One blog entry - One page of 'Mrs Dalloway', One Entry, One page & so on...................
How's that for a Novel Post-Modern New Media Reading Experience?

But Back to Me.
I was deliberately trying to Channel 'Julia Allison' in the first photo. But I think I channelled 'Julia's' grandmother instead, who is the Lady above with the Racehorses on her Chest. 'Julia' posted a whole rivetting blog entry about having lunch with Grandma which really proves that she's really just A Sweet Normal Girl. Or Something.
Now I'm starting to sound like a Caustic Bitch. I must stop.
But before I do, I wanted to point out why I was kicking Ernestina in the staffroom. It's not because I find her annoying. I was just using Her Butt as a vehicle to show off my Freshly-Thrifted extremely pointy shoes. I realise that they are a Far Cry from 'Julia's' fashionable round toe patent pumps, but I'm Nothing if Not Unfashionable.
 If you enlarge the photo where I'm channelling Julia's Grandmother, I would like you to Note Four Things:
1. The Animal Print Thrifted Dress on it's first outing with me. I plan to wear this on saturday night when I have another 'Date' with Mr. Ex-Middleaged. 
2. My homemade 'Dora the Explorer' necklace.
3. My matching oatmeal & faux gold cuffs. Talk about Faux Glamour!
4. The little nylon sockettes that peep out of my Ridiculously Pointy shoes. My colleague Goldie says that they are v. unsightly. I bet ol' 'Julia' wouldn't dream of wearing them!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Betty Bacon Goes to A Party

This is Officially Not an Explanation.

But I just thought that you might like to know that I've been Slightly Sick. Maybe a v. mild virus, with a hint of Existential Ennui thrown in.

But I've got such a lot to Bang on About that I Must Post Now.

The pictures above are from a House Leaving Party that I attended on saturday evening. The House that is About to be Left to a shiny new owner is a Serious Sydney House. That means that it has Views. The particular view that this house has is The Pacific Ocean which is fab, but not quite as fab as having Harbour views. I've been to a party at this house before, so I was thrilled to be invited to another one.

It's always a little awkward to go to a party alone. I walked up to the front door clutching a v. reasonably priced bottle of Merlot, found it was open & walked in. And There I Am! An unknown person is standing in the hallway & I say hi. They grunt & then I walk into the huge living room with the pool & the Ocean all laid out in front of me & look for any familiar faces.

I spot the Hostess who looks glamourous in a Long Halter-Neck Sheath even though it feels like Late Autumn again when it's Almost Summer. I am dressed Autumnally in a Thrifted wool-like substance coatdress. I'm Nothing if Not Appropriately Dressed for the Weather Regardless of Season. 

Then I spy an Dear Old Friend who's chatting to Barbara & Joan, a couple of his friends that I like & would like to get to know better. It's a great thing when you go to a party alone & then you suddenly see your friends. It's like arriving at a Safe Harbour.

I was so relieved & excited to see them that of course I immediately began Oversharing. I started to tell in great detail The Story of My Dumping. Every little Twist & Turn including important background information about our relationship going back many years. A Complete Stranger came up & joined the group, but that didn't stop me. I just kept going. I would like to tell you that after a while a small crowd gathered around  me, hanging on my every word, &  urging me to go on in even more gruesome detail.

Sadly, that didn't happen. Instead, the host's black cocker spaniel, who is deaf & blind, knocked into Joan & started pathetically whining. Immediately all the attention went to the dog. I was crushed.

But I managed to bring the spotlight back to me by loudly bragging to anyone who'd listen that all my clothes are thrifted. That's always a great Conversation Starter, I find.  Barbara revealed that her wonderful 'Prada' bag, pictured above, was also thrifted. I just knew that we had something in common! 

Vive La Thrifte!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home Decorating Update

At school I've got The Filing Cabinet to keep me occupied, but at Home I've got the whole apartment. And I've certainly been busy.
The drinks trolley has been cheered up with The New York skyline. The large ceramic structure which combines a French Country Cottage & The Chrysler Building was made by my Step-son Stuart when he was fourteen. He's twenty-three today. I've been collecting the miniature skyscrapers over many visits to NYC.
The little Chinese Cloth Doll was a gift from my friend Marge. She's sitting on a miniature carved African chair which now sits in the living room.
The Puppet theatre is sitting on an antique cedar chest of drawers that was my childhood dressing table. The pastel portrait of me was commissioned many years ago by Mr. Ex-Middleaged.