Monday, September 29, 2008

More Decorating & the Dumped Woman

Here's some more decorating touches that I've added to my apartment now that I'm living alone & don't have to please anyone else.
In my last 'Decorating & the Dumped Woman' blog entry, I posted  some Spring Floral Arrangements. 
Of course, they're all dead now. That's why I like Fake, like these yummy fake pears that I just bought at my favourite thrift shop, 'Beatniks & Bohemians'.
But at the market last saturday I found these large Toucanesque flowers that I hope may last a few weeks. Don't be put off by the upside-down bird hanging off them. It's just my little joke.
As the apartment is singularly devoid of any Male Energy at the moment, I decided to remedy the situation & place a doll of  Friedrich Nietszche (poor spelling) on the couch. I know it's a poor substitute for the Real Thing, but it will have to do for the time being.  I can definitely feel an increase in testosterone. 

The Tale of the Half-Mast Pants.

Most Saturday mornings, I get up & trudge across the road & meet my friends Jenny & Di at the Local Faux-Organic Food Market. We buy skim lattes from the 'Toby's Estate' coffee stall & then sit down & look at everyone.
There's usually a reasonable variety of people to look at.
Tragic Drag Queens still up from the night before, homeless people, brisk, well-groomed 'empty nester' couples, gay guys buying fresh flowers & fresh trout, local eccentrics & loads of v. pampered dogs. Oh, & a lot of people who look like Graphic Designers.  Potts Point has the highest number of Graphic Designers per capita in Australia.
Usually our conversation v. quickly turns to What Women are Wearing. On Saturday, we noticed  large numbers of Half-Mast Pants. You know what I mean - pants that finish way above the ankle, possibly on the Shin. 
All kinds of women were sporting this look in a variety of different pants - track pants, jeans, white pants, black pants, but perhaps not cargo pants. They seem to be Over for now.
I am a complete Pants Innocent. I know absolutely nothing about them as I haven't worn pants in decades. The last time I owned a pair of jeans was in 1981. 
I turned my nose up at pants because I was annoyed that I had short stumpy legs & not long leggy legs like Cher.
And my mother liked to make unfortunate comparisons between the appearance of my bum in jeans & an elephant's bum.
"Your bum looks like Jessie the Elephant in those jeans"
"Shut up Mum. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?"
"If I don't tell you, no one else will"
"Thank God they won't"
Mum finally won. And I haven't regretted it. Je ne regrette rien. 
So pants don't really exist in My Wardrobe Universe. But for Jenny & Di, pants are their Best Wardrobe Friends. They know everything there is to know about them. Di pointed out to me that the problem with Half-Mast Pants was that they cut off women's legs & make them look like short stumps. 
Here's Di & her Feet in the photos above. You can see that there's nothing short & stump- like about her. In the first photo, she's channelling Kate Moss, which is something that I'd never think to do. She's got a three-button white tee shirt that is from the Kate Moss collection for London's 'Top Shop'. The country & western plaid shirt & fisherman's cap also have vague echos of Dear Kate. 
But the thing I just love is Di's toenails. I know they look black, but their supposed to be v. dark blue. The brand is O.P.I. & the shade is called 'Light my Sapphire'. Next time I go to 'USA Nails', I'm going to get that colour but with white strips at the top like in a French manicure. 
Can't wait!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Invisible Makeover

In yesterday's post I mentioned that I thought I'd had a Mini-Makeover.
Now I'm not so sure.
I definitely had my hair cut & my eyebrows shaped & tinted, but except for a shorter fringe which beautifully highlights the frown marks between my eyes, I don't look any different. 
Oh, & I sprayed some 'Sun-In' on the top of my hair which lightened it a bit.
In any case, my Failed Makeover was very cheap:
1. Hair cut at 'Just Cuts' - $24. I got a free shampoo because I told the hairdresser that even though I had only washed my hair yesterday, it was looking oily & sad.  She seemed to take pity on me.
2. Eyebrow Shape & Tint at Beautician  - $29.
3. 'Sun-In'  Spray on lightener - one or two sprays from a $12 bottle.

Now that I'm on two weeks holiday, I'm wearing English Teacher's Holiday Clothes, which is basically the same stuff as  English Teacher's Wardrobe, but with more Casual Abandon. I'm itching to wear Flip-Flops or maybe even Gladiator Sandals so I can show off my $30 pedicure from 'USA Nails'. 
I hope that I'm not being too Self-Disclosing by revealing how much everything costs.
 It's just that I'm a Reverse Snob. Unless it's cheap it doesn't give me any pleasure.
In fact, why not reveal how much my outfit cost?
1. Faux Missoni printed shirt -$3.
1. One large Earring made from a shell - $5
3. Thrifted skirt from 'Supre' - $3.
4. 'Akira' fabric offcut worn as a scarf - $5.
5. Long faux gold chain with a key chain I found somewhere that says 'Schiaparelli' - no more than $5.
6. Bracelets with little religious paintings from a Mexican shop in Los Angeles - $15 for two.
Gosh that's Cheap. 
And worth every cent, I say!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I've Always Wanted to Be a Zen Monk & Now I Am

Yesterday was the last day of term.
The photos were taken in our staff room which is in a state of disarray because we're moving our desks away from each other. Everyone is sick to the back gills of sitting up like a pack of Disaffected Battery Hens on top of one  another. So we're moving.
I must admit that I wouldn't want to sit next to me. I'm not just being Self-Effacing, or displaying a dreaded lack of Self-Worth, heaven forbid, but I do have a number of annoying habits. I won't bore you with the full list as I don't want to appear too Charmless & Oafey, but one of them is Noisy Headphones. It drives people nuts.
You see, I'm noise phobic, so when I'm at my desk & not contributing to the cacophony myself, I stick my headphones on & listen to Brain wave tracks that sound like rain with maybe a fan going on in the background. The tracks are supposed to induce an Alpha or a Theta state in my brain which is optimum for being calm, centred & creative, but sadly, those around me only hear  loud hissing coming from the headphones.
Even though it really does just sound like a massive amount of rain bucketing down, somehow it works, not that I want to sound like an Infomercial. Not only does it mask the surrounding noise, but my mind focusses clearly on whatever I'm doing on the computer - School Work or Blog Work. 
Centerpointe, the US company that sells this 'Neurotechnology', claims that by simply listening to them on stereo headphones you can, 'Meditate like a Zen Monk'. I've always wanted to be a Zen Monk, & now I am. 
Look closely at the words on my bangle. Can you see that it says, 'Peace'? How Zen is that? I got it when I was in the US on my last hols, at 'Forever 21' which I'm sure is often frequented by Zen Monks. The smock top is another US item from 'Anthropologie', another Zen Monk favourite.
In Tomorrow's Post, I'll be in Holiday Mode or at least in Dumped Woman's Holiday Mode.
 I've already had a semi-makeover - an Eyebrow Wax & Tint & a Haircut. Hope you'll tune in to see the results.
 Very Zen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Because I'm Worth It

Today was payday. 
I decided to reward myself  by going shopping.
First cab off the rank was my favourite local thrift shop, 'Beatniks & Bohemians'. It's a tiny and uninviting  place which is attached to a  drop-in centre for Street People. I find going there a bit stressful, because you've got to fight your way between other pushy woman bursting for a bargain & junkie shop-lifters.
 But it has the best stuff, generously donated by the Grand & Guilty woman of our area. I just love cruising the designer labels as I flick through the racks. Today, for instance, I tried on a Dries Van Noten amazing thick boiled  wool sweater with huge unfortunate sleeves that gave me Footballers Arms.
I ended up buying a whole lot of polyester clothes, which suits me fine as I absolutely don't iron. I was discouraged from ironing at an early age by my mother who found watching me doing anything that involved a degree of risk, like holding a hot iron, too upsetting to watch. She claimed my left-handedness made everything I did look somehow wrong or dangerous. 
So, I've never ironed.
I bought the brown dress above, & The Mature Shoes which I'm sure some well-heeled Old Dowager got loads of fun out of.  I'm not sure about either item, but that's the beauty of Thrift Shopping, particularly at charity stores. If it looks crap, shove it back in the bin. 

My second shopping expedition involved going to a posh shop in a posh shopping street & buying a scented candle. It was by Jo Malone & the perfume is Wild Jasmine & Mint. Have you noticed that Smells are getting more & more complicated & exotic?
 Even my Tea-Tree, Lemongrass & Kaffir Leaf Cruelty-Free 'Kitchen Hands' liquid soap sounds like it was cooked up by a celebrity chef. 
You may wonder why I splashed out to buy an expensive scented candle. 
1. Cheap candles from China are toxic.
2. Candles made from essential oils hardly smell.
3. I wanted an endorphin high from shopping.
4. I enjoyed carrying the 'Jo Malone' shopping bag around. In fact, a stylish young lady got into the lift in my apartment building this evening, & when she saw the bag said, 'Oh, Jo Malone candles! Aren't they divine?' I felt affirmed.
Isn't that what shopping is all about?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Smiling Dwarf & Wise Twin

Even though I finished with my Senior Class last friday, today was their last official day at school.
In Australia, the last day of school for Year 12 has always been called 'Muck Up Day', & was always considered one of the Rites of Passage into Adulthood.
In my day, jubilant school leavers would pelt the school with flour & eggs & maybe put a For Sale sign on the front gates. Boys schools would often use slightly rougher tactics involving making doughnuts in cars, balls & chains, paint & maybe some nudity.
But today, in a World Gone Mad with Occupational Health & Safety & Public Liability Issues, 'Muck Up Day' has become tame.
Our girls were read the Riot Act weeks ago. There was to be NO Bad Behaviour. Not a sausage. If anyone so much as signed their name on someone's uniform, which, by the way is a breach of copyright because the school owns the design, there would be DIRE Consequences.
So the girls got around the restrictions by adding little frills & flounces & bows to their summer uniforms & wobbling around in ridiculously high heels. The School Captain designed & made a frilly little black & red corset which she wore over her uniform. Straight out of 'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas'.
Of course, this is perfect for our area as the school is right in the middle of Sydney's Red Light District.
Here I am with my Official Wardrobe Remix Photographer, The Wise Twin. For nearly a year, she has taken hundreds of photos of me in front of the whiteboard. Wise Twin has really learnt lots about the intricacies of taking the perfect Wardrobe Shot. That's one thing that I've taught her.
But as I said in yesterday's post, Life Moves On & I've already found a replacement in one of my junior classes.

Monday, September 22, 2008

No Wonder Our Self Esteem is Distorted

I'll never forget my first day employed as a teacher.
 It was early on a monday morning about three weeks into the school year when I got a phone call from the Deputy Principal of the local high school. He needed a substitute to replace a teacher who had committed suicide over the weekend. It would only be for a few days until a permanent replacement was appointed. 
I was a bit stunned getting the call because the whole time I was at University I was constantly being told there were no jobs for teachers. And so I never bothered paying attention to anything I was supposed to learn.  It was all as boring as batshit & they made us play tennis, which was a Hugely Shaming Experience because I couldn't hit the ball over the net. My coach told me that I obviously had a Major Problem with Self-Esteem, which was all the rage at the time. To this day I still can't see the connection between Low Self Esteem & Hand-Eye Coordination. 
Anyway, back to the First Monday Morning of my Teaching Career. I reluctantly got dressed in something that I thought looked vaguely teacherly & trudged up to the school. I sat  in the corridor outside the Deputy's office watching a depressing cavalcade of staff & students drift by.  Finally, the Principal arrived & the deputy stepped out of his office to greet him.  
'Mr. Wardrop, have you heard the news about Wally? He finally topped himself on saturday night.'
'That's terrible, Tom. What a loss to the school. Who've you got in to replace him?'
'She's sitting right here, Mr. Wardrop'.
That was the First Big Lesson of my Teaching Life: it doesn't matter how sad everyone is when you leave or die, in the end all they worry about is who's going to replace you. 
Life Moves On.
And that's exactly what happened today. Even though I'm slightly sad that I've finished with my Senior Class & that my designated photographer, The Wise Twin, is no more, I had to quickly find a replacement for her from one of my other classes. It wasn't that hard.  

I'm quite proud of my whiteboard work which my new photographer, who's yet to get a screen name, captured quite well. In case you were wondering, we were deconstructing the Vile ' Dove' Evolution ad which does a great job in positioning 'Dove' as the bastions of puky  Self-Esteem. After showing us a speeded-up version of the transformational effects of make-up, lighting & Photoshop on an average looking young woman, the ad ends with this slogan, 'No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted'.
Give me Estee Lauder any day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Goddess, Miss Lonely Hearts or the Wise-Cracking Dwarf?

Yesterday's post really wanted to be about Hitchcock's 'Rear Window', but I wouldn't allow it. I made an Executive Decision that I wanted it to be today's post, & here it is.
See, there's one part of my life that I have at least a semblance of control over.
I won't go on too much about the plot, or the character played by James Stewart, or the fact that the film was shot on one enormous sound stage on the Paramount lot in Los Angeles, & was the largest set of any film that had ever been made.
What I'm really interested in is The 'Rear Window' Women & which of these women most resembles me.
Of course I would like to think that Grace Kelly, who plays the role of Lisa Fremont, beautiful career woman & socialite , is most like me. The hair colour is almost identical to mine & I certainly would have her hair style &  outfits if I was an adult in the fifties. And her reading material is right up my alley. 
Look at Grace wearing those Prim White Gloves. And the white hat with the fascinator. And the huge pearl charm bracelet. I would never wear the gloves, partly because I have a strict Wardrobe Rule that forbids me from wearing white clothes or accessories because I'm far too grubby. And I wouldn't wear the fascinator because they're now worn by young Wannabe Slurry Socialites  at  Important Horse Races, like the Spring Carnival . But I certainly would wear the charm bracelet. 
But the truth is, I'm probably more like 'Miss Lonely Hearts' in the next photo. I certainly feel a bit like her at the moment. This poor lady lived in the apartment across from James Stewart's & he & Grace spend quite a bit of time observing her antics, which included having dinner with an Imaginary Beau, slurping a whole lot of hard liquor & then flinging herself on the sofa & sobbing uncontrollably. 
 I, of course would never behave like that, but I might in a Parallel Universe.
And then there's Thelma Ritter, who plays a hard-boiled, but wise & wise-cracking nurse who gives daily massages to poor invalid James. Thelma, who also had a small but memorable role as Bette Davis' maid in 'All About Eve', is one of my favourite character actresses. But she gets blown away by Grace's Regal Stature in that photo. That's the problem with us Short People. We're always being knocked off the stage by Tall People. I shouldn't go on too much about this because my Best Friend Marge is miles taller than me & it doesn't make me feel bad at all. But then again she doesn't look like Grace Kelly. Hope that didn't sound too mean.
Talking of Grace again, I once saw her. It was 1974 & I was a 21 year old excitable girl driving a little Mini Minor Van with another 21 year old excitable girl around Europe. We stopped off at Monaco &  swung by the exclusive Sporting Club de Monaco where Her Serene Highness, as Grace then was, was attending some Gala with the rest of her Tragic Family. We waited outside the Club talking to her chauffeur  until finally the whole family trooped out at 3am. I seem to remember that Grace had on a billowing Grecian-style evening dress & her hair had a huge fake plait across the crown. She looked like a Goddess. I felt underdressed.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Need More Outfits, Not More Blogs

Sometimes I envy those people who are so industrious that they have more than one blog, maybe even three of four.  All the Four Corners of their lives are Blogged. 
I've thought about it  &  even come up with some catchy names - 'Whiteboard Wardrobe' for my English Teachers Wardrobe Diary; 'Toy Relationships' for photos of my Dysfunctional Action Figures In & Out of Love & 'Diary of a Dumping', for my musings on Being Dumped. I could also have a food one, even though I've temporarily lost interest in eating. I quite like the sound of 'The Hopeful Turnip', a catchy title which accurately captures my zest for root vegetables.
But the fact is that I don't think I could manage more than one blog. 
And do I really think that I'm that fascinating that people would be prepared to spend their whole lives trawling from one of my rants to the next & to the next, day in & day out?
Of course not.
So, this blog will have to do. 
Today's rant really wants to be about me watching 'Rear Window' partly on mute while I type. There's so much to say about this fab Hitchcock film, starring James Stewart & Grace Kelly, but I'm going to be strong & save it for Next Post. 
Good. I'm finally in control.
Now....... I'm going to rant about what I intended to rant about which is Shopping for Clothes. Yesterday afternoon after school, I trotted off to Bondi Junction Westfield Shopping Mall to attend a Body Balance class at the gym. But before the class started, I decided to check the shops out to see what Spring/Summer was going to look like. Because I buy just about everything at thrift stores or markets, I haven't really been looking at new things. 
What a Pain in the Arse.
I walked into 'Sportsgirl', a large chain store with a supposed finger on the pulse & to my horror, the whole place was awash with Cheap Floral dresses & tops & little flouncy skirts all with a Done to Death Hippie Indian Folkloric Feel. And masses of fake silver & gold bangles & necklaces & dangly earrings & huge fake leather bags dripping with loads of fringing. Oh, & I almost forgot - The Gladiator Sandal. Actually, hold on a minute, when was the last time the gladiator sandal was in fashion? Was it ever in fashion outside Ancient Rome, or am I suffering from Selective Amnesia? Maybe it's a new idea.
Maybe not.

I trudged off to the gym feeling slightly depressed. I was just itching to find some fab outfit that would help me Get My Groove Back.  And the Mean Shop didn't have anything. 
But just in the nick of time, my Inner Pollyanna emerged - you know, The Glad Gal, who's always able to make a sow's purse out of a pig's ear.  I got up this morning - it's saturday, & drove to the Rozelle Market. In no time found myself a cute red  faux retro used dress & an early nineties zebra necklace which restored my faith in The World of Wardrobe.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not a Teacher in an Inspirational Movie.

I'm not one of those teachers who is desperate to be A Teacher in an Inspirational Movie where, against amazing odds & in an incredibly short time, manages to completely transform a whole class of disaffected ratbags into straight A students who all miraculously get into Harvard. 
Robin Williams probably set the standard for these films back in the eighties with 'The Dead Poets Society', where he manages to instill a love of poetry to a class of snotty rich boys with hateful parents.  Just when poor old Robin was about to get the chop from the school for being too wonderful, in a gesture of support,the whole of his class stood up on their desks brandishing rulers & shouting, 'Captain, My Captain!' 
It was Pure Torture.
And who could forget, 'Stand By Me', where  some small & ugly teacher turned a whole lot of badly behaved  Latino kids  into Quantum Physicists in one semester, just in time for them all to top some big Examination that usually only rich kids won. Everyone clapped & cheered.

But it's always the men that seem to be The Big Inspirational Ones. Never any women. 
Maybe Once.
Maybe Hilary Swank. I seem to remember that she was in a recent movie where she completely turned around a class of  sneering hopeless underachievers in a couple of weeks.
Which brings me to An Important Question: who would play me, Middleagedteacher, in a film? Certainly not Hilary, who's far too young & athletic-looking to be me.  Of course, as usual, the only actress that comes to mind is Bette Midler. But she'd have to put on an Australian accent, which, quite frankly I don't think she could pull off.  Meryl Streep comes to mind because she's good with accents & she's already played an Australian woman in 'Evil Angels', where she famously said, 'A Dingo took my Baby'. 
I wouldn't mind Helen Mirren, even though she's quite a bit older than me. I could see her injecting some Sexy Gravitas into my character.
Gravitas, sexy or otherwise was not evident in my last lesson  ever with my Senior Class. High on large amounts of sugar from hundreds of lollies that I threw at them when they answered a question correctly, the girls insisted that they support my supine body in a Class Photo. I happily obliged.
If you click on the image, hopefully it will enlarge so you can see that the girls on the left are holding up a sign commemorating my diligent 'Whiteboard Wardrobe' photographer, The Wise Twin, who was sick & couldn't make the class. Over the course of nearly a year, she has taken hundreds of photos of me at the end of the class each day so I could post them on flickr's
 wardrobe remix.  What a champion! 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Importance of Getting a Professional Pedicure

I'm not quite sure why I'm posting this photo above. The more I look at it, the more I can't believe it. 
No, I'm not running classes in Provocative Poses for Prospective Prostitutes. It's just that it's my second last lesson forever with my senior class & I was madly giving them some last minute tips  on The Importance of Having a Professional Pedicure. You see, I'm trying to cram in not just those important last little tidbits about Exam Technique or King Lear etc, but all these other things that they might find useful in the years to come. I've told them all my little pet hates of which I have many.
Acrylic Nails.
Fake Tan.
Comparing yourself to others.
Being Charmless & Oafey.
Too Much Waxing.
Professionally Straightened Hair.
Getting Legless Regularly or even Semi-Regularly.
Keeping Secrets.
That's just the Short List.
I was also showing them some rather showy Glittering Mules that I had just bought on my way to school at the local thrift shop, 'Beatniks & Bohemians'. When I first saw them, I thought that they might be Call-Girl Mules, but Gabe, the manager, said, 'Absolutely Not. They're Dorothy Shoes!' Of course! Dorothy! I must have them now! 
As I'm not the sort of person to ever dress in Fancy Dress, I don't suppose I'll ever wear them, but maybe The New Me will. 
Oh, I haven't mentioned anything before about The New Me. But I'm considering it. 

On a different tack, you may have noticed the rather enigmatic text on the top photo. Yes, what ARE you waiting for? I may well ask this question of myself. 
Actually, its a photo that I've included in a Farewell Photo Story for the Senior Class. And, I hate to admit it, it's a line from Christina Aguiliera's tortured song, 'Soar', which I've used as a background song. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

You Teach Best What You Need to Learn Most.

While I'm writing this, I'm also watching TV. What a Multi-Tasker!
I know I should press 'mute', but  I'm rivetted to an interview with  a controversial Australian neurosurgeon called Dr Charlie Teo who spends his days removing brain tumours from people, of which, seventy per cent are malignant.
Charlie plays the bagpipes, has a black belt in karate & rides v. fast motor bikes because he loves speed.  He said that he feels that we should 'embrace life' . He got quite cranky when he gave examples of people getting angry over things like being cut off in traffic or getting upset about having hemorrhoids, when every day he has to operate on people who are going to die in the prime of their lives, leaving little children & spouses etc. Charlie feels that we all should be happy. 
I just Love hearing that stuff.  I'm the kind of person who  loves getting incredibly steamed up over a large number of Tiny Little Issues like someone getting served in a shop before me even though I was there first. 
And I also felt sad that I wasn't a neurosurgeon.  Not that I've ever wanted to be one before. In fact, the closest I've come to thinking about neurosurgeons is wanting to marry 'Ben Casey' who was a gorgeously smouldering TV doctor in the sixties who managed to look  sexy while he was telling a patient that they only had days to live.
But back to the job that I actually do. Here I am today wearing a vintage Spring outfit trying my best to lamely motivate my Senior Class into putting that last little bit of effort in before their Final Future-Deciding Exams. This is their last week of school forever.
 They all know the drawing on the whiteboard quite well as I've drawn it many times, although today one of them had to draw the legs for me as I'd forgotten how to draw them. In case you can't see it, it's a drawing of a horse with a person trying to get back on it. The caption says, 'When in doubt, Get Back on the Horse'.
Actually, I was thinking that the message of the drawing was probably more for me right now than for them. But you know you teach best what you need to learn yourself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fake It Till You Make It

It may be Winter in my Heart at the moment, but inside my apartment, it's Spring.
I'm usually an unabashed fan of Fake Flowers, or fake anything for that matter, but right now my place is bursting with The Real Thing. 
In the first photo, can you see the little fake bird I've stuck on the yellow flowers, whose name I've forgotten?  I made sure I captured the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which is a great thing to look out on when peeling vegetables.
The next photo is Wonderwoman's Garden at Night. You may notice the little bunches of parsley on the side. I always think  parsley is a wonderful but slightly overlooked Decorating Tool. 
Even though they look fake, the tulips are real. I'm hoping to get a few more days out of them.  The coloured glass bird is actually a very old 'Avon' bottle  still half full of 'Deep Woods' after shave. I just smelt it & it was hard to tell if it had gone off or not.
The blossoms & the candles make up The Spring Altar on the dining table.  
I know that I sound like my old Irish-Australian Grandmother, but I'm a great believer in the Power of Lighting Candles to Get What You Want. From an early age, My Nan would help me light candles at the local parish church to ask for whatever I wanted from God. I can't possibly imagine what I would have asked for. Probably some fancy talking doll who cried & pee-ed at the same time. The candle on the left is a gift from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I'm hoping that it carrys some cachet with God, because I've got a lot riding on it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The World of Therapeutic Blogging

Look at Freud's Couch. Can you imagine yourself lying on it with The Doctor blowing cigar smoke all over you while you tell him about some ghastly rat-infested dream you had the night before & then he tells you that clearly you'd feel better if you had a penis? I don't think so.
I bet none of his patients ever felt any good. Ever. 
Maybe when they stopped seeing him.
But I read in the newspaper that there is evidence to show that therapeutic blogging may make people feel better. According to a recent issue of 'Scientific American', there is some speculation that  expressive writing may activate a cluster of neurological pathways in the limbic system, which is the area that controls our drives like hunger & sex.
Goody Goody! I KNEW that the blog was doing me good, but I just didn't know how.  
The article quotes research at the University of Texas way back in '99 which said, 'Constructing stories facilitates a sense of resolution, which results in less rumination & eventually allows disturbing experiences to subside gradually from conscious thought.'
Since I'm absolutely Choc Full 'O Disturbing Experiences, this is definitely good news for me.

 Even though all this 'research' is only 'speculative', there's one thing that I can say for Absolutely Sure:
Just before I sat down at the computer this evening, I was feeling Quite Low. But as soon as I opened up 'Della' & clicked on 'New Post', I immediately began to brighten up. Somehow I felt In Charge & At the Helm. 
And it's not the first time that I've felt this way.  I've noticed it many times, particularly since Being Dumped.
So I'm sticking to blogging- its far cozier than Freud's Couch.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reclaiming my Eyebrows

This is me today - friday afternoon in front of the whiteboard after teaching my last lesson of the week. 
The weekend stretches out in front of me like a blank canvas, an elongated question mark, a 'patient etherized upon a table' perhaps????? 
OMG, where did all that come from? I must resume my usual restraint, particularly when it comes to Punctuation Marks.  
Well, one thing's for certain: this weekend I must trot across the road to the beauticians & have my eyebrows attended to. As you can see in the photo, they've almost disappeared. 
I would like to have beautifully arched eyebrows that give me a kind of knowing look.  That's just what I need right now.

Discovering My Secret Boyfriends

In yesterday's post, I asked the question, Who will be my  Secret Boyfriend? 
I wasn't really being serious, you know,  I just wanted to use the term, 'secret boyfriend'. I stole it from Mrs G at Derfwad Manor. She & her guest bloggers like making lists of  their 'secret boyfriends' which I think roughly translates to Ideal Men or Thinking Women's Crumpets. Oh my, where did that expression come from? I haven't heard the term 'crumpet' for decades & I don't remember ever using it before now, although I did used to enjoy eating them.  
Mrs. G & her friends constantly come up with fabulously good-looking, interesting & intelligent men like Johnny Depp & gorgeous Celebrity Chef types to add to their ever-expanding lists of SBs. I imagine that they while away the hours fantasising about what it would be like to have their toes sucked by one of them or maybe all of them at once.
I envy those women. They have their Fantasy Lives All Sorted. They admire quality & have no difficulty claiming Johnny, or Antony or Viggo as their own.
But I'm not like them. Every time I try & think of My Secret Beau, an image similar to the one at the top of the post springs to mind. By the way, it's an illustration by the famous early twentieth century illustrator Heath Robinson for 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. 
Maybe I can change. I've posted a picture of Atticus Finch just to get me started.  He was pretty wonderful & I seem to remember that a few years ago he topped the list of the Person who Most Americans Admired. 
Who cares if he's fictional?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Question of the Day

Not a Pig with Lipstick.

Because I buy all my clothes at thrift shops, occasionally friends & colleagues like to give me their cast offs. They'll look at an item that they've been meaning to shove in the charity bin for ages & think, 'Della will love this!' & then present it to me.
I'm particularly fond of acquiring clothes in this way, in fact it's my favourite way of acquiring clothes. It makes me feel that the Universe Really Wants Me.
So yesterday was a Red Letter Day for me when my colleague, Aunt Neddy presented me with a genuine dress from 1980. I immediately tried it on over the top of my existing outfit & felt fantastic. 
Oh, I know it badly needs taking up. No one of my stumpy little height should parade around in a floor length day dress. And everyone thought it needs a big wide belt. And maybe the shoulder pads removed. And  not wear it with a whole other outfit on underneath.
But Definitely Not a Pig with Lipstick.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Decorating and the Dumped Woman

I've always enjoyed using multiple copies of Free Postcards as Decorating Items. I found this postcard featuring a drawing of the Human Heart & thought it summed up my current mood perfectly. I've placed them on the top of a Hall Cabinet with my Antlers, a couple of plastic Mexican skulls & a vintage Gloved Lady.

After I've Been Glad for a Week

Here I am after I've been writing down 5 things that I'm grateful for each day in my 'Pollyanna Glad Book' for a week. I'm just Wrapped in Glad!
Because I uploaded the photos last thursday but didn't write the text  until now, my entry telling you everything you ever wanted to know or cared to know about Being Glad is positioned way back in last thursday's entry.  Scroll back & find it right now. I promise it will be worth the effort.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Food & the Dumped Woman

In just about every blog entry of late, I've banged on & on about the Unintended or Accidental Benefits of Being Dumped.  And this entry's no different.
I'm becoming the Pollyanna of Dumped Women. I'm just so0000000 Glad!
One of these Unintended or Accidental benefits is continued weight loss. In the two days after I'd been dumped, I immediately lost 2 kilos, which felt like Divine Intervention. You know, I'm being punished in one way, but then rewarded in another because God felt sorry for me. 
Now after over four weeks, I've discovered that I've lost another kilo. 
Before being dumped I 'd become Strict with Food. Determined not to follow in the footsteps of my Side of Pork Birthmother who I've only met twice, I shed about six kilos through mainly eating less  & no carbs after 2pm.  And no soft drinks or fast food. And only smallish mouthfuls of cake. I'd read a book called 'French Women Don't Get Fat' which presented a highly romanticised view of weight loss which I immediately tried to copy which was hard because I've hardly ever been to France & don't know any French Women. 
But like most Middleagedwomen, I found it hard to lose those last two or three kilos. 
Until now.
As my Longing for Food seems to have been replaced by a General Longing, I'm not being tempted as often, nor eating our usual friday night takeaway of Salt & Pepper Squid, San Choi Baw & Asian Hotpot, washed down with Rose. 
So I've got a Whole New Regime - because I don't want to eat much, I can stuff the fat & the carbs, & eat what I damn well like! 
Over the weekend, I cooked a hugely fatty meal loaded with salt for my daughter, her boyfriend, her dad & his other daughter.  They all loved it.
My daughter, Billie-Mae asked me for the recipe which is dead easy & mainly involves shovelling in loads of cream. Here it is:
Cut up into strips a packet or two of organic chicken thighs. Two packs were plenty for four adults & one child.
Generously sprinkle them with powdered chicken stock & fry in olive oil until lightly browned. Don't bother draining off the oil. You can  also add dried oregano or a desertspoon of wholegrain or dijon mustard, maybe some field mushrooms & a few squirts of lemon.
Then gradually start adding a tub of thickened cream. When all the cream is in, it's time to eat.
I love sprinkling everything with chopped parsley. I know it's a bit passe, but I still like it.
Serve with a big steaming plate of gnocchi & maybe a rocket & parmesan salad.
Bon appetite!

The Top 500 Victim Songs

I'm still madly trying to compile my list of Top 500 Victim Songs. I came up with a great one this afternoon after watching VH1 (one of those cable music channels) with my daughter. 
'Crying' , the 1987 version featuring Roy Orbison with KD Lang. It's absolutely perfect, but in a catagory of it's own - Dignified Victim Songs.

From a Sow's Ear to a Silk Purse.

Lately, with all the Life-Changing Turmoil in my life you'd think that I'd forgotten my wardrobe. Not a bit of it. Although I do seem to be viewing everything through gauze at present, I'm still getting up each day, & putting on clothes.
 As I stand in my Sad Shower with the lousy water pressure & the sudden unwelcome changes in  temperature, I plan the day's outfit. Then I try & make it a Reality. It's not an easy job.
Friday's outfit hopefully looked better In Real Life. It was intended to be a clever attempt at turning a Too Young Dress into an Age Appropriate Outfit. You know, a Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse. I thought that all I needed to do was to to add a Matronly Skirt & some Mature Beads & magically it would be transformed.  Sadly no. And I'm not just saying that for people to say, 'Della, you're wrong. You look Perfect'.  I now think that if a dress is Too Young, no matter how many Matronly Touches you add, it's always going to be Too Young.
And then there's the matter of the Foot Treatment. 
I'm a great lover of sockettes, but with reservations. The Little Rascals won't stay on my feet. Just when I feel that the Sockettes & Me are getting on well & we're happily walking down the street together, one sockette quietly slips off my heel, closely followed by the other one. Then I've got to stop & put them in place again. 
Always the problem solver, I devised a simple method to prevent Sockette Creep: I pull down footless tights over my heel & then pop  the rogue sockettes on top. Then they stay in place. As you can see from the photo, it's a form of Foot Layering which certainly adds interest, but possibly not in a good way. The jury's still out on this one. Maybe it's just too cutsy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Let the Queen Mother Be Your Guide

What I Would Have Looked Like If I Really Was 'With the Band'

In yesterday's post, I belatedly bemoaned the fact that I'd never pursued my true calling which was  Rock Photojournalist. Here's a pic of me taken decades ago wearing black plastic pants  a vintage cape & an Oroton snake on my wrist. It's what I would have looked like had I become one.
It's far far too late for me now. I'm far too busy Being Dignified. 
Talking of Being Dignified, my personal benchmark is the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. You may recall that she lived to be over 100 & wore a dazzling assortment of floral hats very similar to meringues. The Queen Mum, as she was affectionately known, spent her entire public life Smiling & Waving, never saying a Thing. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the British population probably never even heard her speak. But  everyone loved her. Doesn't that tell us something? I'm not sure what, though
So, every time I get into a sticky situation & don't know how to act, I immediately think of the Queen Mother. Just Smile & Wave. So far it's worked wonders.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Pollyanna Glad Book

When I was a child of eleven or so, I truly believed that I looked like Hayley Mills.  Hayley, a beautiful & gifted child actress who Greatly Disappointed Me as an adult because she lost her bloom & became kind of ordinary, is in the top photo in her signature role as 'Pollyanna'. I absolutely adored her, the film, and Walt Disney, who made it. I was desperate to go back to the early 1900s which was when the film was set so I could wear Enormous Bows & Pinafore dresses instead of crappy nylon capri pants with matching tops.
I can barely remember the story now, but Pollyanna was some poor little orphan who was sent to stay with a snotty old wealthy aunt in a town with lots of  other snotty women who spent most of the time looking like they all had a bad smell under their noses. No one was happy. 
Anyway, Pollyanna cheers the whole joint up by going around smiling & 'Being Glad' all the time. I remember my Mum saying  that she'd imagine that a kid carrying on like that would  drive everyone up the wall after a while. But it didn't seem to in the movie.
Recently, I decided to take a leaf out of Ol Pollyanna's book. Since Being Dumped I've been feeling a little like those Womenfolk with the Bad Smell under their Noses. So I decided to do something about it, but didn't as usual know what that something might be.
But last week I struck up a conversation with  Carina, a v. young sport-type teacher at school. As we were both supervising Year 8 girls who were practicing vile dance routines to the tune of 'Nutbush City Limits', she told me about her Mum, who had totally transformed her life from a miserable downtrodden wife with no job skills, dependent on a control freak husband, to a happily divorced mum with her own reflexology practice. This woman had used a number of strategies to help her make her big Transformation, & one of them was using what she called a Gratitude Book, a little book where each day she records five things that happened that she is grateful for.
I immediately pounced on the idea with gusto! 
Five Things! Surely I can come up with Five!
But first I had to find The Perfect Gratitude Book. I rummaged around in the drawers at home & uncovered this Twee thing featuring a sad version of  Monet's water lilies. It was one of the few things that Mr. Middleaged had left behind. Just the ticket! I ripped out the first couple of  pages where he'd made some lame notes about paintings he'd seen at the Tate, & the Gratitude Book was ready, only I decided to call it The Glad Book.
The next day I went to school , & on my desk lay this magnificent wooden shoe mould, also known as a Let. It was a gift from my wonderful colleague Trixie Belden. Of course it had to be the first entry in the Book.

'I'm With the Band'.

Life's full of Little Surprises!
An unexpected bonus of Being Dumped is that my best friend Marge, who lives half a world away, rings or emails me nearly every day. And I've noticed that other people have been More Than Usually Nice to me as well. You know, coming up to me in the staffroom, looking really interested but slightly constipated while asking, 'And how ARE you really?'
For my part, I'm not Playing the Victim Card, but Bravely Soldiering On with Grit & Determination while wearing a dizzying array of Thrifted Outfits, mainly in Brown. I feel quite well-qualified to take on this role because I've seen it so often in movies, maybe starring Meg Ryan or Meryl Streep or in later years, Jennifer Aniston.
But the truth is, I'm more a Bette Midler Type. What wouldn't I give now for that huge Mermaid's Tail she wears in her stage shows?
Oh, I'm really getting into my stride now, thinking of all the films I've loved that have featured Dumped Woman. My absolute Role Model for Being Dumped with Dignity would have to be Greer Garson during her heyday in the forties. I must do a whole blog post on this topic.
But none of this is what I intended to say & it certainly doesn't go with the photo I've posted.
I wanted to say that just when I was feeling a little more chipper, I got sick with a sore throat & a blocked nose. I'm sure at least part of the reason for this is that I became Totally Overheated & Excited at school  by a lunchtime concert by one the 'Stars' of 'Australian Idol', Rickie Lee. Perfectly lovely & charming girls who could tear 'King Lear' to pieces with their bare hands  or who could confidently discuss Worldworth's attitude to Nature became like Crazed Evangelicals speaking in tongues at a Revival Meeting.  O, I hope I haven't offended anyone here. But I can't imagine they'd be too many Multi-Tongued people reading this. 
Anyway, I got up on stage next to Rickie & frantically took photos.  After a few moments, I realised that, what a shame, I really WAS meant to be a Rock Photojournalist after all. No wonder I always resented Linda McCartney.
But then I got the cold.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Dysfunctional Action Figures in Love

One of the unexpected benefits of being dumped is the opportunity  to showcase my photographs of Dysfunctional Action Figures in Love. Last year I began buying these Desperate Figures wherever I could. You'd think they'd be everywhere, but they're not. Oh, there's plenty of Male versions around, but v. few Females. I guess that's because Men are associated with Action & we're associated with Feelings. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have Feeling Figures as well? I can't imagine what they'd be doing - Crying I'd expect.
The trouble with most Action Figures is that even though you might be able to contort their bodies in some way, you can't do anything with their faces. And just look at the couple above. Not even a hint of an emotion. Not a sausage.
In my quest to find suitable Women Action figures, I was forced to buy replicas of Porn Stars which was a slightly disconcerting experience. Upon opening a package bought on eBay of Jenna Jamieson who is  Big in that world, I was shocked to see that it REALLY was a replica, down to the Enhanced Breasts, the Tidy Brazilian, the tatts & the Rude Underwear. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a spot for Jenna in any of my photos so far.  But I'll keep on trying.
You may or may not be wondering how I photograph these tiny figures & Since I'm in a Self-Disclosing mood, I'll tell you. The backgrounds are all pages from early eighties 'Architectural Digest' magazines. I pick out a suitable set - usually a bedroom or living room, tear it out & prop it up against a hard surface & have the figures stand on the 'floor' of the room. . The only aid I need is 'Blutack' to stick the  figures down with. In fact, if you look close enough at the photo above, you'll notice the 'Blutack' on the Track Suit Wearing Girl's joggers. 
I'm Nothing if not Low-Tech.
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