Sunday, August 31, 2008

Use Tricks Learned in Dog Obedience Class to Train Men.

Just because I've been dumped doesn't mean that I have to become cynical about Men. 
Quelle Horreur! 
But during conversations with other women concerning Men over the past few weeks, I've noticed a Recurring Theme. I'd describe it as a kinder & gentler variant to  the 'All Men are Bastards' routine. 
In a nutshell, it's  'Men are like Inanimate Motorised Objects or Companion Animals & for Best Results, Treat Them as Such'.
Over breakfast at my local cafe recently I became mesmerised when Liz, a highly successful businesswoman, repeatedly described Men as 'Tonka Toy Trucks'.  She used rigorous arm & hand movements to demonstrate how they move along their path oblivious to everything around them until, 'BANG', they run into a roadblock & then they stop. I can't remember what's supposed to happen next, but I quite liked the idea that Men were Toys that we could direct at will, which was supposed to be the Moral of the Story (I guess)
On saturday morning, I was seated with my friends, Jenny & Di in the park across the road watching a huge array of dogs play & poo. It was another mesmerising experience. Talk turned to Dog Obedience Classes, something that I should have done when  my Poor Dead Dog, Bill was alive. Bill, an amazing black toy poodle died about three years ago, & I've never really recovered. But that's not saying much as I don't think I've recovered from anything. Anyway, Bill totally ruled my life, something I've been assured he wouldn't have done, had I taken him off to Obedience Classes. 
Jenny said that a way to stop dogs from jumping up  on  you was to look at the dog, clap your hands twice, & then turn your head away. Apparently, it works like a charm. Then, someone said that they'd heard that you can apply the same principles of Dog Obedience Training to Men  with Spectacular Results. In fact,  there's a book written about it. 
I must find out the title. 

Friday, August 29, 2008

Top 500 Victim Songs

In my relentless search to find the top 500 Victim Songs, I've been given a few great suggestions. Darla, from Bay side to Mountain side, provided me with the lyrics of 'Black Coffee', a great & classy song that fits the criteria beautifully. Thank you Darla. 
Work that Wardrobe suggested 'Every Breath you Take' which immediately resonated with me as it's all about stalking,  a behaviour that I briefly flirted with during the Mullet Years.
Over lunch in the Staff room, my esteemed colleague, The Duchess, loudly proclaimed that 'If I Could Turn Back Time' by Cher was the No. 1 all time Victim Song. Who could forget that inexplicable video of Cher aboard some Naval Vessel packed to the rafters with salivating sailors? I seem to remember her singing whilst straddling a v. large cannon on board the ship while the crew leered at her. And what did any of that to do with Turning Back Time, I ask you?
And what about the Outfit? I guess she was just giving fodder to Drag Queens.

Old Mullets

In yesterday's post, I revealed that 1986 was Mullet Year for me & that I'd post a Mullet Photo as well as a Mullet Anecdote. I've just spent hours trawling through hundreds of loose photos & I finally found a Double Mullet featuring my friend Marge, who I  recently visited in California. What's amazing is we're both channelling Billy Ray Cyrus & didn't know it at the time. In fact, I think that Billy's Famous Mullet came a few years after ours, so clearly we were ahead of our time.
Note the closely cropped sides which accentuated the Rooster top bits & the crimped long bits. Neither Marge nor I had a crimping iron (that's a rather old fashioned term), so we used to smear our hair in 'Dippity Do' setting lotion (more stuff out of the Ark) & make lots of little plaits & then sleep on them. The next day, we'd take out the plaits, & just like magic, our hair was crimped. 
Now for the Rather Sad Anecdote. Just after a particularly brutal Mullet hair cut where the sides were actually shaved, I visited my parents. At this stage my Mum was v. sick, but not yet Officially Dying. She had always been totally obsessed with my hair mainly due to it's extreme blondness which was a mystery to her because I was adopted. 
As soon as she clapped eyes on my Fresh Mullet, Mum started getting angry. In an effort to calm her down, I breezily said, 'Oh, Mum, it's only hair, it'll grow back in about six months'. 
'Well, that'll be too late for me because I'll be dead by then!' she replied. 
And she was.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Relentlessly Trawling

A few posts ago, I revealed my Latest Listening Choices for the Dumped Woman on my iPod. Of course most Dumpees  would gravitate to what I like to call The Wailing Woman Genre, also known as Victim Tunes.  I'm no exception. 
Lately, I've become obsessed with discovering my Top 10, or even my Top 100 Victim Tunes. But why not My Top 500? It's not as if there's not millions to choose from.
Between lessons, I sit at my desk in the staffroom, earphones in position,  relentlessly trawling through iTunes. Today, both Aunt Neddy & Trixie loudly complained that they could hear the earthy tones of ADELE (she only has a one-word name & it's inexplicably capitalised) asking 'Why be Right as Rain, it's better when there's something wrong' coming through the earphones & it was disturbing them. I hadn't realised until now that they both have Bionic Ears. That's a sadly dated reference to the eighties show, 'The Bionic Woman' which was a companion piece to 'The Six Million Dollar Man'. I personally didn't watch either show because I was too busy at the time relentlessly trawling bars searching for 'Mr Right', but my parents watched them. 
Ah, the Eighties! 1986 was a particularly Bad Year for Me & I celebrated  by having A Mullet. Next blog entry will contain at least one photo of Me with Mullet.  In the accompanying text, I'll reveal my Poor Dying Mother's reaction to it. It's almost a tearjerker. 
Anyway, I've just rediscovered at least some of the great Victim Tunes from that time. Aretha & Tina Turner were my favourites. Aretha had a couple of hits, with a silly song which  I quite liked, 'Who's Zoomin Who?' & my Personal Favourite, 'Another Night', where she loudly proclaims - 'My Man.....I Don't Need YOU to be bringin me down.....HEY!!!' I listened to it last night in bed just before I turned the light out. It made me feel surprisingly good & didn't disturb my sleep at all.
But the Song That Speaks to Me Most at the moment has got to be Dusty Springfield's 'Goin Back'. Strictly speaking, I don't think it's really a Victim Song, but it's got a sad, slightly knowing & regretful tone to it. In fact, I think that it was played when Dusty's coffin was being carried out of the church at the end of her funeral. 
Here's some of the words:
'I think I'm goin back
to the things I learned so well
in my youth.
I think I'm returning to
Those days when I was young enough
to know the truth.'
I just love the photo of Dusty singing in 1964.  I was desperate to look just like her. Unfortunately, that was virtually impossible because I was eleven at the time. Here's me, standing next to the sewage pipe in our backyard in Bondi, Sydney, wearing the outfit I wore to see The Beatles live. On the night, I wore a long Beetle Pendant & red tights & black patent shoes. Mum made me wear my hair like that. I would have preferred a beehive.
If anyone has any suggestions to add to the Top 500 list, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tears Dry On Their Own

Wardrobes, Lamb Roasts & Wishing Wells.

When I was part of a couple, I often lamented the lack of dinner invitations to private homes. Now that's a rather old fashioned term, isn't it? Private Homes.  It's the kind of thing my grandmother who would be 117 if she was still alive, would say.
Anyway, rarely did we get invited to dinner. Maybe people assume that as part of a couple you're far too busy Nesting. I'm not sure.
 But over the past two weeks I've been on two such outings.  And I'm fairly sure neither of them were Sympathy Invitations. 
On saturday night I unintentionally chose to dress as Mrs. Claus to have dinner at Jenny's house. At present, I'm mad on Muppet collars, so I wore this White Rat Muppet with a red wool sweater & big faux Chanel quilted boots. But the Wardrobe Highlight was the creamy gold cuffs freshly purchased from Diva. Luckily, I still have My Wardrobe to keep me distracted.
Di, another guest, humoured me by wearing a vintage suit from Paris. Worn with just one huge black bangle, it was simple & chic with a slight Hitchcock Blonde feel to it. 
After a fabulously cooked lamb roast, Jenny took us into her bedroom to admire her Wishing Well. Over dinner, we'd been discussing the Nasty Lawsuits against the founder of 'The Secret', Rhonda Byrne. I have to admit that 'The Secret' which has cleverly marketed the Law of Attraction,  has been my Guilty Secret, where I greedily  gobbled up the book & the video & the web site without telling anyone. Jenny's version of  'The Secret' is the Wishing Well which she keeps in her wardrobe.  It's a small Japanese-looking ceramic miniature well that contains a scroll where you write down what you want & then lower it into the well. So far every wish that Jenny has put in the well has come true. Mind you, some of the things she's wished for were pretty tame.  But I'm still impressed & will rush out & get one tomorrow.
Whilst admiring Jenny's Well, I spied a wonderful Rotting Doll Decorative Touch  on a  nearby shelf. Regular readers know my penchant for the Rotting Doll Style of Decorating, so when I see a great example, it makes me feel at home. Jenny's rather scantily clad Rotting doll  is also just visible in the photo of Jenny & her sister  taken  during the heyday of black & white photography. 
I guess it's almost my turn to host a dinner. Maybe on the weekend. Gosh, who would I invite? I'll have to drag some people out of The Vault, or maybe Cold Storage.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Glands & Things

My senior class have only got a month of their School Life to go & then they face their final exams. It's a dangerous time for them & their teacher. Frequently, students cope by going on the Glandular Fever Merry-Go-Round, a medical condition that I believe is known as 'Mono' in other Lands. Large numbers of students are either currently absent from school with it, or getting ready to go back to school after having it, or waiting for the Test Results to come back. Others fear that they might have it but would rather just worry about it instead of going to the doctor. That would be my Preferred Method of dealing with Glandular Fever.
Meanwhile, I'm at my usual post in front of the whiteboard  desperately trying to shovel in some last tasty morsels that they can use. When I mentioned that David Malouf uses truncated sentences  in 'An Imaginary Life'  , everyone looked at me blankly. You've never mentioned that before, they said. What is a truncated sentence anyway & what effect do they create? I just drew a picture which they then heavily criticised.
Anyway, I thought today's outfit thematically fitted in with the whiteboard.  I guess because it's got a slight Forest Feel to it. Everything except the Forest Green footless tights is thrifted, including my favourite YSL flats.

'These Are the Days of Our Lives'.

For the past two weeks,  I wake up with the dawning realisation that, Yes, I've been Dumped, it wasn't just an Unpleasant Dream. 
Luckily I've got an outfit to Plan & Execute which gives me a reason to get out of bed. Once I've got it on, I may as well go out into the street & wear it. 
As I trot down the Hill towards School, I listen to a range of Wronged Women on my iPod. Dusty Springfield is the undisputed Queen of the genre, & I love her late career song with the Pet Shop Boys, 'What Have I Done to Deserve This?' 
Then, there's the New Dusty - Just the One Word, Duffy. Pretty crap name if you ask me. Duffy's voice is like a Toy Version of Dusty's or what Dusty's voice might have sounded like if she was a chipmunk, you know, like 'Alvin & the Chipmunks'.  But I do find myself singing along to her song, 'Stepping Stone .......take it all, or leave me alone'.
Then there's the Big Inspirational Belters - Christina Aguilera is my favourite, telling me to 'Spread Your Wings & Sour'. 
Oops! I meant SOAR! But Sour is kinda cute, don't you think?
Talking of sour, some days I just can't get enough of Poor Old Amy Winehouse who sings my story - 'he walks away, the sun  goes down.........tears dry on their own'.
By the time I get to school, I'm thoroughly cheered up & ready to begin my first lesson. One thing though, I have been finding myself drawing strange things on the whiteboard. Yesterday, when I was trying to make a point about the Symbolism of Sand, I drew on my memories of that long-lasting Soap Opera, 'Days of Our Lives' which my students assured me is still going. My  drawing of the famous hour glass which began each episode looks more like spotty sausages, or dare I say, Testicles.
I wonder what that might mean?
And then there's my feeble attempts to Hide My Tears behind a newspaper featuring one of my favourite sixties models, Twiggy. That trick never works.
In bed at night, I snuggle up with this wonderful book of short stories by David Sedaris. It's called, 'When You are Engulfed in Flames', another apt title which correctly mirrors my internal state. David has just been in Australia doing a whirlwind publicity tour. I saw him interviewed on TV. He's another one with a voice not unlike one of the Chipmunks from 'Alvin & the Chipmunks'. But what a guy! What a writer! I found myself actually LOLing alone in Bed. What an achievement!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You Are All Princesses in a Good Way

My senior class have now less than five weeks to go before they leave school & commence their horrible final exams which decide their future. Each day, they troop into the classroom  & crowd around the heater which drives me up the wall. Then they sit at their desks & look at me & expect me to start. This is what I started with today. 

Decorating & the Dumped Person

One of the few pleasures available to The Dumped Person is The Gift of Shopping. Yes, even though we have to pay for it, Shopping is still a gift. 
Research has shown that shopping creates many many more endorphins  or pheromones than any amount of sex or chocolate eating. No wonder the Wealthy parts of the World are full of shopping malls.
Since I've been dumped, I really haven't done as much shopping as I would have liked. But this evening at my usual weekly visit to the Art Gallery, I spied a wonderful range of Art Pillowcases in the Gift Shop. They are from Third Drawer Down who make screenprinted pillowcases & tea towels that they describe as 'visual dialogues'. This one is called, 'Hair Girl'. I just loved it as soon as I saw it, although my tasteless colleagues, Trixie & Sue, turned up their noses at it in favour of some really rather twee & cutsy other ones. 
But I was rather alarmed when I read the Artist's Statement on the packet when I got home. The artist, Irana Douer says that she's 'really interested in broken hearted women'. That's a shame, because I'm not.
Irana did go on to say that these women, although they might want to hide behind hair or masks, are still 'still strong & move on & never lose hope'. 
Talking of not losing hope, I might add that the patchwork quilt was made by Women with Aids in Cambodia. 
I'm planning on going to bed shortly, after I've watched an episode or two of SATC which I now strongly identify with. But I won't sleep on the 'Hair Girl' pillow in case I dribble all over it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

All I Need is a Couple of Chipmunks Inserted.

I don't mean to harp on it, but being dumped has some advantages. The first & most obvious one  is the sudden weight loss brought about through an inability to eat. As I sort of covered this last time, I won't go on too much except to report that I just ate a hearty dinner which featured my favourite Meal in a Packet, Ainsley's Lemon Twist Couscous.
Second, I keep running into people in the street or at my local cafe & having lovely chats. It's like I'm on 'Sesame Street'.  For instance, today over breakfast at the cafe, I chatted to Elizabeth, a stylish PR consultant. We actually had to sit together because the place was packed to the rafters. For most of the time we just read the paper & smiled politely to one another, but then we got chatting.  After I told her that I'd been dumped, she said that she does PR work for Prominent Plastic Surgeons who often want women to be 'Before & After' Models  for ads promoting their handiwork. You know the deal - a horrendously lit profile shot showcasing lank hair &  a receding chin  next to a soft focus shot with great lighting & hair & make up. Elizabeth said that if I agreed to be  one of these Before & After Women,  I could get some work done for free. But I'd have to wait until the offer came up.
I was thrilled & went running back down to school to breathlessly tell my colleagues the great news. All I wanted, I said, was to have little 'chipmunks' (or something like that - I couldn't hear properly in the noisy cafe) inserted near where my mouth begins to turn down in that slightly sad way that it does at a certain age. Apparently, the chipmunks stop the nasty downturn by propping up the skin, or something. 
'You know that once you start having stuff done to your face you have to keep having more & more done because if you don't, you'll look even worse', said Aunt Neddy, always The Voice of Reason.  
What would she know, I thought. But what if she's right, I also thought.
I'm inserting this portrait of myself which is neither a 'Before' or 'After' shot. What's great is that my camera seems to magically airbrush away most of the wrinkles even though I haven't selected the 'Soft Skin' option. What a pal!
The other good thing is the truly lovely comments that I got yesterday on the blog. Thank you so much. I don't want to sound too Pukily Gushy, but those comments really made a difference to me  today.
And of course my In Real Life friends & family. Marge in California has rung me every day & Jenny invites me to dinner & coffee. And my daughter & stepson. I'd better stop before this starts sounding like My Academy Award Acceptance Speech.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Dumped Doll

I'm sure someone noticed that I haven't posted anything for almost two weeks. I'd been planning to, but up until now, I just couldn't. 
Because you see, I've been dumped. 
Yes, after fourteen or so years, Mr. Middleaged decided that he needed Time & Space. 
When it first happened, one of the many thoughts that  raced through my mind was, 'Oh, No, I won't be able to do the blog now because I'll be Too Sad!' Also, he'd become a character in the blog - in fact one of my last entries entitled, 'Decorating & the Straight Man', showcased his interior design skills in our Beach House. 
How would I be able to carry on, posting Miserable Little Wardrobe Shots of myself looking Brave & breezily not mentioning him? What the hell would I have to talk about? Would I have to start inserting Lame Recipes & photographing Creative Meals for One featuring Giant Zucchinis? Perhaps a tour of my pantry? Maybe my handbag?
I don't think so.
So, I decided the only thing I could do was to Tell the Truth. Of course, there's always a few snags connected with doing that, particularly if you Overshare, which I'm really tempted to do right at the moment. But I've got to think of My Students. I've always thought that none of them could be bothered reading the blog, but just lately I've become aware that some of the Really Really Lovely Ones occasionally do read it. And I don't want to Creep them Out. So girls, if you're reading this, ignore it - it's just Old People's Stuff. I promise you that I won't break down in the classroom or throw some weirdly embarrassing tanty over nothing. 
But back to Me & the Big Breakup. One of the Big Shocks that I got was when I jumped on the scales a couple of days after I'd been Dumped. I'd lost two kilos in two days! It was like a Little Gift from the Weight Fairy. It usually takes about a  month of eating like an anorexic for me to lose even  half a pound.  I wouldn't go as far to say that it was almost worth being dumped to have such a fantastic weight loss, but it felt pretty damned good. 
Because the thing was that I couldn't eat. Food just stopped doing it for me. But then my daughter came to stay with me for a couple of days. And I couldn't not eat in front of her. So I decided that I'd just eat things that normally I wouldn't allow myself to eat & haven't eaten for years. So far, I've eaten a large fries from Maccas, two double-coated chocolate 'Tim Tam' biscuits, two-minute noodles, plates of pasta & six pieces of deep-fried crumbed veal. I've also totally relaxed my ban on carbs after lunch. 
I'm so glad that I've managed to write all this. I've got oodles more to say but I'll leave it until tomorrow. Oh, just one last thing - the Dumped Doll in the picture was my First Toy. Her name's Jane & she's part of my Rotting Doll Collection.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Hilton is Mandatory

This week is Oratory Week. Girls from all the junior classes, 7-10, have to give a speech during their English class. The teacher then selects a Class Finalist who competes in the Year Final. In some ways, it's an easy gig for me as I mostly just have to sit there & record their time from the Official Class Timekeeper, write some comments & wack in a grade from A to E. But at times my role demands that I become a cross between a Really Strict Game Show Host (UK TV have this awful quiz show run by a middleaged blond woman with spectacles perched at the tip of her nose who insults all the contestants) & a Really Really Caring Talent Show Judge (Paula Abdul comes to mind, but maybe she's a little too nutty & unpredictable)
Overall, the girls perform well, making earnest & thought-provoking speeches about 'Success' or 'Chaos' or 'The Power of Love'. Just about everyone, regardless of the topic manages to mention Paris Hilton, it's like we've made Paris Mandatory.
One student chose her topic from a list we handed out, 'Power is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac'. Unfortunately, her Geography teacher read it , declared that the topic was 'Inappropriate for girls at a Catholic school', & dutifully confiscated it. The poor child came to me in tears. I just told her to re-write it. Clearly, Geography Teachers don't teach Shakespeare.
Of course I didn't give a speech, but I wrote almost my favourite topic on the board, which is a quote from my Ugly Baby Hero, Winston Churchill. This would be the speech I would have given if I was in the Oratory Competition.
Note my Prizefighter's Arms. I knew this jacket had a problem when I put it on in the morning, but persisted with wearing it because of my Strict Wardrobe Rule- if it's in the Wardrobe patiently waiting to be chosen, then it must be chosen, if only occasionally. No One Wants to Be Left Out.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Home Decorating & The Straight Man

Mr. Middleaged has become obsessed with decorating our Beach House. I am discouraged from adding any little decorative touches around the place & quite frankly, it's giving me the craps.
The Desire to Decorate is not exactly a new thing for Mr. M. He has always been interested, but I have up until now managed to get in first & impose My Own Signature Style of Decorating, which largely consists of arranging found objects & old rotting dolls before he ever had a chance to do anything.
In a couple of posts or so, I'll tell you the Moderately Interesting Story of how we came to buy this house, which is a marvellous example of The Power of Wishing.
But for now, I just wanted to showcase some samples of Mr. M's decorative touches.
Last week, he got paid, which  is a Monthly Event. Immediately the money goes in his account, he's out the door & into the shops where it's time for a Substantial Reward. This time, Mr. M. rewarded himself & I guess, me as well with a set of three authentic apothecary jars with exotic French labels on the front. They look great on the wall next to his old Schoolboy Cricket First Eleven cap & an interesting mirror made from recycled industrial moulds. The globe is something I put there & I'm shocked that it's been allowed to stay.
Next is the bedroom. Here we have Laura Ashley Meets The Beach Boys. He's plastered the walls of our bedroom with old surfing photos to remind him of The Past That Might Have Been & completed the look with a pretty floral bedspread that shocked me when he first brought it home. 
I reluctantly admit that it all looks good. What a shame.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Why It's Better to Cry at Movies Rather Than At Your Own Lousy Life.

Friday was my last lesson with my senior class before their Semi-Big Trial Exams which is a precursor to their Real-Big Exams in October. It was a Rollercoaster Ride of all the Big Feelings - Love, Hate, Panic, Laughter, Worry & Despair, where I tried as hard as I could to cram the last little tidbits about one of their texts,the film, 'Life is Beautiful.'
Although I'm not a big fan of the Star & director, Roberto Benigni, I absolutely love this film. It always makes me cry which I think is a good thing because shedding tears reduces stress & is perhaps anti-ageing. Besides, it's much better to cry about some made-up story than your own Miserable Non-Made-Up Story.
Of course I cried during the lesson when discussing the climax of the film. As he is being marched off to be shot by the Nazis, Guido the Dad, comically winks to his little son Joshus, who is watching him from inside a box where he is hiding. It's Guido's one last little act of Fatherly Love.
I drew my tears all over the whiteboard. They're the little orange droplets.
The stakes are high for my students as their results determine whether or not they get into the University Course of their Dreams. Nowadays, that often means doing something really meaningful like Marketing or Public Communications or Event Management. What could be better than writing a whole bunch of press releases for a drug company or maybe a brewery or cozying up to Corporate sponsors at yet another Champagne Product re-Launch?
Who wants to be a Teacher or a Dental Hygienist or a Molecular biologist nowadays?

Oh dear, better get off my Soapbox before I fall off.
P.S. I look a little unsteady in the photo. I really do have two legs.