Friday, October 31, 2008

Icons Coming Out of Every Orifice

I'm on a roll.
I just can't stop posting things on here. It is now Officially Looking Like I Don't Have a Life. But Who cares?
This is another little mixed media collage featuring that Iconic Model from the fifties, Lisa Fossagrives. You'd be forgiven for not recognising her because I made her look like a Crack Addict, which I'm sure she wasn't. I've given her a little jewelled headress & placed her inside a horse's head but I am not meaning to compare her to one.
I believe Lisa was married to another Icon, the photographer Irving Penn.
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Decorating & the Dumped Woman

Ever since I've been dumped, I've been gradually colonizing my apartment. Pre-dumping, I had exercised restraint. But not anymore. This week I've taken over the bedroom. The chest of drawers features an old plastic torso covered with my own handmade necklaces. It has a little Japanese head with a long white lump of hair that I find quite curious. Then there's the copy of an old pre-Factory Andy Warhol drawing of a shoe that was a gift from a student. I just love doll's house furniture. It's quite hard to buy. But I just found the little tables at a two dollar shop. Alice in Wonderland is sitting on the top of the chest, & tiny Mexican plastic guardian angels that I got in LA this year are on the dressing tables.
All along the bench under the window is my collection of current books & obsessions & on the bottom left is a picture of my Mother who I often mention. Above her is my Godmother Dawn who hasn't spoken to me for about thirty years. I'm not sure what I've done. But I still appreciate her Godmotherliness when I was a child.
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Finally, I'm able to proudly display my wonderful Blog award that was bestowed on my by La Belette Rouge. I was so pleased! And thank you!
The reason why it took so long was because I really had to stop & think about what blogs I would pass on the award to. It's not that I read a lot of blogs. I wish that I did because I find so many interesting & inspiring in their own way. But time is a bit of an issue, as I'm sure it is for everyone.
And because I'm a flickr wardrobe remixer I do look at a lot of young people's blogs because they're mostly the ones who post on wardrobe remix. I must admit I feel a little creepy about reading them because I'm old enough to be their mother.
God, I'm full of Pathetic Little Excuses.
Let's just Cut to the Chase.......
Here's seven great blogs that I'd like to pass the award on to:
squirlaraptor This talented blogger is also a well known wardrobe remixer. Her blog features wonderful photography.
whatiwore2day is one of the top contributors to the flickr wardrobe remix pool. Her extremely detailed outfits & great enthusiasm are an inspiration to many.
kellyloveswhales showcases the great art & outfits by a wonderful yoga teacher & (I think) environmental lawyer.
dlittlegarden takes us into the Wide & Wonderful World of Etsy. Discover great vintage & hand made designs.
Iheartfashion at allthingsstyle is a Personal Shopper who not only has great style but writes in a really punchy way. I love it.
Sheila at Ephemera poses some thoughtful fashion dilemmas & showcases her daily outfits. Classy & Stylish.
Darla at seeyouthere is a great one for Art Swapping which I think is a great way to boost your creativity. She also writes the best comments which I enjoy enormously. So generous.
Sadly, all those blogs are Not Australian. Not One. I'll have to go & find some

Hubert de Givenchy's Aeronautical Engineering Genius

Ever since I posted my previous post this afternoon, I've been thinking about the Fabulous Fifties Givenchy Dress that was the inspiration for my collage, 'Redefine Your Outline' featured below. 
So, I just had to go & trawl through all my really badly organised magazine clippings, of which I've got thousands until I found the original photo from 'Elle' mag. 
Isn't it a marvel of aerodynamic or aeronautical engineering genius? 
But it was probably a real pain in the arse to wear. You probably wouldn't have been able to sit down. And no dry cleaners would have touched it. And people would have stared & some may have even sniggered as you glided by. In my case, I would have waddled. 

The Miracle of Change: Givenchy Dress Becomes a Snake

Hope you like my artwork. I's a little collage featuring a picture of a v. famous Givenchy dress from the early fifties that I've combined with a long twirling snake. I've added lots of little fragments from a broken mirror & some other jewels plus a silhouette of Jennifer Aniston's hands. I'm not sure if you can read the text. It says, 'Redefine your Outline'. I took it from an magazine ad for some beauty product or other.
Since I've been listening to the Silent Affirmation CD which has encouraging messages about embracing the Wonderfulness of Change embedded within soothing nature sounds , I thought the message of this collage is rather timely. I suppose by telling you this that I'm exposing myself as a bit of a New Age Nutter. And now I've probably insulted the New Age Devotees by saying that. 
It's just that I'm giving everything a shot right now - yoga,  listening to large amounts of meditation tapes that put me in a theta state, having pedicures, eyebrow shaping & waxing & buying heaps of thrifted outfits. Amazingly, it all seems to be working!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Want to be My Version of Oprah

I've always loved Winston Churchill. And I particularly loved his wit & rudeness. Can you see one of his famous sayings is on my collage?

One of my favourite Little Winston Vignettes is when he was behaving badly at a dinner party. Some Toad Dowager said, 'Sir, You Are Drunk!' Quick as a flash, he replied 'Madam, I AM drunk, but when I wake up in the morning I won't be. But You, Madam are ugly. And sadly, you'll still be ugly in the morning'.

Just in case you didn't bother reading Winston's saying on the collage, I'll tell you what it says: 'Success is going from one failure to the next without any loss of enthusiasm'. I've always loved this & thought it was a great attitude to have.

But now I'm not so sure, particularly if you want to be more like Oprah, which I might want to be but haven't mentioned until now. I'm certainly keen to make some more money so I can go on overseas trips & not worry that the Australian dollar is almost worthless again. And have other homes dotted around the place. And give large sums of money to favourite causes at the drop of a hat. And buy expensive skin care products & procedures. Oh, and have root canal therapy and maybe a couple of tooth implants & expensive whitening. I'd still buy Thrift Shop Outfits though.

Back to the collage. It's got many of my favourite things on it. Marianne Faithfull, David Suchet as Poirot, Joan Crawford, English Schoolgirl Annuals of the fifties, The English actress Margaret Rutherford who played Miss Marple, Bette Davis, Frida Kahlo, Japanese Fashion, the Super-Old artist, Louise Bourgeois, Death Valley & Old Queen Mary.

Anyone got any favourites?

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not So Cool Bette

Ever since I was a v. little girl glued to the family black & white TV set, I've loved Bette Davis. My mother always said that when she was young everyone said that she looked like her. I found that encouraging because I thought that maybe I too, might look like Bette one day. But no one told me I was adopted. But that's a whole other story & I'm NOT going to get side-tracked again.
Here she is dressed for her big Drunken Party scene in my favourite Bette film, 'All About Eve'. It was made in about 1950 when she was just forty. She looks miles older. Probably because of all the smoking & being cranky with everyone.
The text is one of my Mild Little Ironic Jokes.
Bette Davis was one of the least cool people on the planet, & I loved her for it.

Artwork by me.
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The Ancient Gucci Logo & Blog Awards

gucci logo
Originally uploaded by middleagedteacher
I just love this huge logo, that sits like a large Magic Medal in the middle of the 'Hysteria' bag that I so desperately desired.

On another topic, was ssooooo thrilled to be given an Honest blog award by Jane from workthat wardrobe & also an award from la belette rouge.
I've spent hours this evening trawling through endless blogs trying to find fourteen blogs that I will give my awards to. So far I've come up with ten. Four to go. Can't believe how many great blogs there are out there. Why would you bother buying magazines?
Thank you so much belette & Jane.

I'm Hysterical, Just Like the Bag

hysteria bag
Originally uploaded by middleagedteacher
This pic was taken last friday at 'Zinc' my local cafe while I was waiting for my Usual takeaway Self-Named 'Breakfast Pack' - a skim latte, Vegemite toast & fresh orange juice.
I quickly posted it this morning on to my flickr photostream, but because I was in a hurry didn't bother to write a comment. JanaviNYC asked whether I had suddenly become extravagant & BeeBeeKay wanted to know the story behind the Large Designer Bag dangling from my arm like I owned it.
Both these fellow flickr travellers are familiar enough with my wardrobe to know that this bag just couldn't be mine. And they were right.
It belongs to K, another regular at 'Zinc' cafe who is a Stylish Stylist. I spied her sitting at a table nursing the bag & couldn't resist interrupting her breakfast, gushing all over the bag & then getting her to take my photo with it.
Luckily K is v. good natured & didn't seem to mind. She also doesn't seem to mind answering a whole lot of questions that I think that a Stylist should know. Things like, does she think that 'Diptyque' candles are worth the ridiculous price (No, because they no longer burn properly); is the New Re-Launch of Chanel No. 5 just the same old Cat's Wee re-packaged in a Slick Bottle (Yes) & has Tom Ford had Cosmetic Surgery (who cares?)
But back to The Bag. It has a Name. It's called The Hysteria Bag. I was immediately intrigued & felt a strong identification with it. I wonder why. Because it's mainly made of PVC with v. little leather & no extravagant Dangly Bits, The Hysteria is a steal for about $1200 Australian dollars. Apparently the designer is mining the Gucci archives & using an original logo which is the Big Knob in the middle of the bag.
This little Photo Opportunity with An Important Bag would, under normal circumstances have made my day, & it almost did.
 But I had Other Fish to Fry on friday.
 For the first time since he abruptly left eleven weeks ago, I met with Mr. Ex-Middleaged. You can see that I was dressed for the occasion in almost entirely one colour. Well, two colours - black & navy, a combination that would have sent My Mother into a tailspin. The polka-dot footless tights were an attempt to inject some much needed humour into the occasion.
Because I'm a naturally Self-disclosing person, I'm just aching to tell you every last salacious detail of my meeting. But I'd better not. 
Just think of Princess Fiona & Lord Farqaard from 'Shrek'.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can Pink Ribbons Make A Fashion Statement?

Now that I've mentioned  a few of my colleagues in our Staff Study, everyone wants to be featured. Actually, that's not quite true.  It's just The Blondes. 
I took these photos yesterday at recess when we were having  a semi-heated discussion about the ribbons on offer on Pink Ribbon Day. I know that it sounds like a fairly Lame topic, but with us, Even Pink Ribbons Make a Fashion Statement. 
Princess P, ever the Purist, settled on the Plain Ribbon, whilst The Other Sue proudly sported a more showy pink rhinestone number. The Duchesse & Goldie didn't bother wearing one. Neither did I.
Trixie who also didn't wear one, said that the rhinestone ribbon looked straight out of 'Kath & Kim' which is a hugely popular Australian TV comedy that lampoons a certain type of Super-Suburbaness. An American version came out a week or two ago to almost Universal Loathing by American audiences. Maybe our brand of humour just doesn't travel well across The Pacific.

 Meanwhile back in the Staffroom,  we all found it funny to think that any of us could possibly be like 'Kath & Kim'.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

After I Found Out Dali Had Bad Halitosis, I Didn't Like His Paintings As Much.

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that if I find out anything awful about an artist or a writer or a filmaker, it often affects how I feel about their work. For instance, if they smell ,I don't like it. This a particularly true in the case of Salvador Dali. Since reading about his Bad Breath , things have never been the same .
But here's a little painted collage I did of him as a poor pathetic old man with a tube coming out of his mouth sitting in a comfortable armchair on an old boat with his Famous Melting Clocks as sails. 
The painting is part of a series of paintings  for a Picture Book for teenage girls that I wrote but of course never tried to get published. The book was called 'The Perfect World'. 
But over the Xmas hols I plan to revive, revamp & reinvigorate this project & take it to a publisher. 
No excuses.
This is a Definite Goal (I just typed 'Goad' instead. Maybe it's that too.)
Has anyone got any Definite Goals they'd like to share?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'd Rather be a Chicken than a Mouton.

Yesterday I wore yellow leggings to school. I'm not sure about them because even though they are located at the lower end of my body, they tend to send a sickly glow upwards . And even though Yellow has become The Fashion Colour de Jour, or at least I think it has, it's dodgy.
My staffroom is Formally Known as The Humanities Staffroom. This is an accurate title because there's certainly alot of Humanity in it. Talk can often Turn to Fashion particularly now that we have some stylish Young Ones, like the fab Princess P, pictured above.
But yesterday our fashion talk turned just a Bit Nasty, & I loved it.
At recess, a colleague, Ernestina, a teacher roughly my age who also enjoys fashion, took one look at the yellow tights & said Something Disapproving. I can't quite remember what it was, maybe she compared my legs to a chicken's . I immediately became enraged & began to open my mouth to say, 'Get Effed'. But I quickly remembered my policy about behaving like The Queen Mother at all times, so I closed my mouth & waited for someone to defend me.
Sure enough, my friend Trixie said to Ernestina, 'At least she doesn't look like Mouton Done Up as Lamb, like some people around here'.
I just loved it!
But, to be honest, Ernestina could be right. I think it's time to retire the whole footless tights/legging thing anyway, particularly now that summer's supposedly coming.

Not Sad Like Sylvia Plath

I loved the comments I got about my bout of Self-Pity and particularly liked hearing the term, 'Pity Party' which I hadn't heard before. Thank you.
My friend Marge reminded me of the, was it Overwhelming Sadness, Misery... even Self-Pity perhaps? of writers like Sylvia Plath & Charles Bukowski. I haven't read anything by him since at least 1979. Back then, if you were a little bit disaffected or felt that you'd like to be, Charley B was your kind of guy. I personally couldn't stomach him because reading his stories made me feel like I had a hangover, even when I didn't. And I kept on imagining how ugly & smelly he'd be In Real Life. Sometimes when I start thinking how unappealing an artist or a writer is, it ruins everything for me. Like with Salvador Dali. I've always loved his paintings but since reading about how he had a really bad case of Bad Breath, it's never been quite the same.
But looking at pictures of Sylvia Plath, like that seductive but wholesome one above doesn't turn my stomach. Only the fact that she made food for her kids & then went & stuck her head in the oven. Knowing that about her has made it hard for me to teach her poems. But I do occasionally teach them.

The good news is that I'm Not Sylvia Plath! And I'm definitely NOT the 'old woman (who) rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish'.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Art of Self-Pity

It's Sunday Night & I thought I'd better sit down & Blog.
It's been a few days since my last entry & I always feel that if I don't keep it up, My Whole Blogging Empire will collapse in Ruins.
It's not that I haven't had plenty of time to write a whole huge novel in Blog Form over the weekend, but you see, I've been busy enmeshed in Self-Pity.

Yes, dear Reader, I seemed to have spent most of the weekend feeling Sorry for Myself. It's an Art that I learned at my Mother's Knee. I've never met anyone who felt more sorry for herself than Mum. She was the sort of person that it was unwise to ask how she was because she'd REALLY tell you in a Very Detailed & Sad Way. It was particularly gruesome after she got bowel cancer & had a colostomy.
I remember watching her ironing Dad's hankerchiefs one rainy day when I was about ten. I can't recall anything about our conversation other than her looking resigned &  saying , 'I've had a hard life'. It was one of those remarks that echoes down the decades & still has the power to punch me in the guts. I couldn't  understand what on earth she was talking about. Her life didn't look too hard to me. What's so hard about ironing men's hankies? Or grilling steak or Lamb chops? Or going to the dry cleaners? Or abusing shopkeepers?
Anyway, it didn't matter how easy I thought Mum's life was, SHE thought it was Hard & Sad. 

Well, that's Me this weekend.
I must say that I don't look too Self-Pitying in the photo above, taken last night before I went out to a v. lively & entertaining birthday dinner that I managed to feel Silently Sorry for Myself throughout. I'm hugging my friend Jenny's wardrobe in a rather stagy way, like I'm trying to channel Shirley Temple Without the Ringlets. Every time I wear  Tap Shoes I feel the urge to point my toe. And I've never tap danced in my life. I desperately wanted to, but Mum said only 'Common girls' tap danced.
Please don't think ill of Mum even though I'm making her out to be an ogre. She wasn't.

Possible Reasons for My Self-Pity:
 1. I've been Dumped for nearly 11 weeks.
 2. It's familiar. 
 3. My best friend, Marge went back to California on friday after not quite a two week stay.
 4. For over a week, each day for 30 minutes  I've been listening to a Silent Affirmation CD which is supposed to have embedded within theta brainwave sound technology Powerful Affirmations that help you embrace change. "I Now Let Go of the Past With Vim & Gusto". "I Love Change with All My Heart & Soul", "I'm a Chick for Change" "Gimme Change Baby"... blah blah blah blah...... 
I've never felt worse. Or more fearful of change. Actually, that's not quite true. I'm sure I've felt worse,  I just can't remember when. 
But I'm not giving up. In fact, tonight I ordered  online another CD of Silent Affirmations about Wealth & Prosperity. I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm sure I'll have lots to say.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue taking advantage of  Renewed Slimness caused by Being Dumped by wearing lots of little figure hugging Seventies Nylon Frocks that I keep buying at the Sunday Market across the road from my apartment. 
I'm fairly sure that there's no real correlation between Self-Pity & Weight Loss. If there was, I'd be a Stick Insect.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Something Silly Under the Desk

I can't tell you how much fun I'm having concocting increasingly more bizarre colour & pattern combinations in my daily outfits. But please don't think I'm becoming smug. Heaven forbid!
As the Nasty Nuns that taught me always said when they caught a poor girl doing Something Silly under their desk, 'Small things amuse small minds.'
Thank God for Small Things I say!

Today I'm wearing a rather boxy blouson top that has just a Hint of Shoulder Pad. Underneath is a patterned black & green hugely acrylic dress that I'm sure that is hardly visible because the photo is so bloody minute. I have to learn how to download larger photos to the blog, although this one has been lazily uploaded from my flickr site.
You may also notice that I'm standing in front of a picture of an Ancient TV set, not unlike the one that I grew up in front of. On the screen it says, 'Get outside your comfort zone'. And then there's arrows coming out of it.
I drew this in response to one of my Year 9 students saying that she tried reading our current set text, 'I Am the Cheese' by Robert Cormier, but she couldn't finish it because 'it was too boring'.
I then asked the class what would be a good response to that comment. The Class Goody-Goody stuck up her hand & said that it doesn't matter how bored we get, we just have to think positive thoughts & read it anyway. I immediately wondered what character in 'Peanuts' this kid resembled.
I decided to end the discussion with drawing this picture & making them copy it into their books, which they did v. obligingly. I can't remember how I linked boredom with getting out of your comfort zone whatever that means, but somehow I did.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love Me I'm Helpless

This is me at the Art Gallery late this afternoon.
It looks like I'm channelling the Old Bag in the painting behind me. Maybe I did have her in the back of my mind while I was posing, but I was really trying to look Coquettish.
I failed.
The photo instantly took me back to the early eighties when I was heavily involved in what was then known as The Personal Growth or the Human Potential Movement. My mother preferred to call it A Cult.
I spent thousands of dollars attending weekly courses & weekend workshops with names like 'Becoming a Complete Person' & 'Own Your Own Life' & 'The Breakthrough Course'.
'The Breakthrough' was a completely scary eight day course held in a horrible run down country hotel where our watches & any other Personal Crutches were taken away from us by & they wouldn't let us go to the bathroom for hours & hours. I kid you not.
It didn't do a thing for me, except perhaps to make me More Scared. Just what I needed.
The Charismatic Course Leaders believed in the Importance of Releasing Anger . One of their favourite group activities was to get participants hitting rubber baseball bats on mattresses while encouraging them to yell & scream, which was called 'Catharting'. If you 'Cartharted' long enough, you'd inevitably fall into a 'Past Life Regression', where of course you'd be taken back to playing with crystals in Atlantis, or find yourself somewhere deep inside the Pyramids in Ancient Egypt. Atlantis & Ancient Egypt were Must-See Destinations in any Past Life Experience. Sadly, I never got to go there.

But the worst experience I had was when they made individual videos of each course participant. You had to walk up to a video camera, then talk for a few minutes about yourself & say what you hoped to get out of the course. Then you had to sit in a huge group & watch all the videos, including your own. While you watched, everyone had to write little notes about each person & then hand the notes to them With Love. Just about everyone wrote really nasty stuff like 'You're hiding behind your beard' or 'Stop Game Playing' or 'I feel Your Fear'.
Someone wrote about me, 'Love Me, I'm Helpless'. I remember being really devastated but of course pretending that it was the best, most honest feedback I'd ever had, & thank YOU so much for sharing.
Well, that's what today's expression reminds me of. But in an amusing way. And so what if it's true?
I'm also showing off my wonderful new gift. My colleague, Princess P brought me back the faux Chanel black beads from Hong Kong. I loved wearing them in just one long strand, but everyone else disagreed.
I'll think I'll stick with my own judgement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

After a Lifetime of Resentment, I've Decided to Own My Own Wardrobe.

I've been reading 'Vogue' since I was an adolescent. At least I think I have. It certainly feels like it. But Pardon Me if I seem a little unsure. It's just that so much of my past feels as if it was made up or maybe happened to a different person. 
Oops! I've fallen into some kind of Existential Hole which is certainly NOT my Desired Mood for this particular blog entry. See, Della Street has a mind of her own & try as I might, I can't really control her.
Why I mentioned 'Vogue' is that for years & years I've been reading those overblown profiles of Beautiful Stylish Thoroughbred WealthyWomen that the magazine is just full of. You know the type of women that 'Vogue' loves - they usually live in New York or if it's Australian 'Vogue', they live in some amazing mansion with spectacular views of Sydney  Harbour.
 Of course the reader is  taken into the inner sanctum of these Fabulous Women's lives - their palatial walk-in wardrobes with shelving along one wall which holds their  enviable collection of Hermes Birkin Bags perfectly lined up like in a high-end shop. 
Everything else in the wardrobe is perfectly organised - the mountains of shoes are all in individual Shoe Garages, sweaters are colour-coded, which isn't hard because usually everything is either black, creme or beige/camel & all the really big ticket items are in hermetically sealed containers. 
These gals are just perfect. Not only d0 they have all this stuff, they're skinny like  stick insects & have all the other trappings of a Perfect Life that I'm sure you're familiar with.
You can see where this is going can't you?

But, after nearly a lifetime of Resentment, I've decided to Own My Own Wardrobe. So here it is, or at least a part of it. 
I emptied out all my bangles on the floor of my bedroom. That was five days ago. They haven't moved since & I'm loving it. 
And then there's the neatly folded & stacked clothes covering all four seasons that are sitting at the bottom of the cupboard. Never mind that you can't really see what's there . I'm just enjoying creating little two towers of clothes right now.

Slightly Wounded Ganesh on a Pig

In yesterday's post, I proudly showed off a fond member of my Kitchen Icon Family - the Hindu God, Ganesh who I've placed on a v. life like & endearing miniature pig.
The wonderful La Belette Rouge  alerted me to the fact that of course Ganesh is the Remover of Obstacles. If you look closely at the photo, you can see that the upright hand closest to the daisies is holding something. It's a convenient lasso, which is supposed to capture & then eliminate all your obstacles. I was thrilled! Just what I need right now. 
Sadly, I knocked off one of Ganesh's other arms - one that is holding something - maybe a shell or a writing implement of some sort. I hope to hell that this Slight Wounding doesn't diminish His effectiveness. At least the lasso is intact.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ganesh on a Pig

Now it's over, I'm slightly full of nostalgia for my Holiday. To be honest, I'd been slightly dreading it, because I thought I'd have just a little too much time on my hands to feel Dumped. 
Nothing of the Sort!
I just love this picture of my friends Jenny & Marge taken in my kitchen whilst we were waiting for my daughter to cook us dinner. I'm proudly holding a little damaged figurine of the Hindu God, Ganesh who I've always loved because he reminds me of Babar. Sadly, Ganesh is missing an arm but he still looks fairly majestic sitting on a rather life like miniature pig.
Both Jenny & Marg are posing like Senior News Readers, a job that I know that they both secretly desired. 

Don't Call on Me to Save Your Life

I've always been rather curious about the meaning of the term, 'Busman's Holiday'. In fact, I've hardly ever heard anyone ever say it. But I know it exists. It was the title of a Dorothy M. Sayers crime novel of the 1930s that I don't remember reading.
But  even though I really don't know the exact meaning of 'Busman's Holiday', I like to think that I've just had one. You know, fun & carefree, or about as carefree as a Woman who's been Dumped for Maybe Ten Weeks can get.
As you can probably work out from the picture, the holiday is Now Over, although you may think that practising CPR on an armless mannequin is a Fun Holiday Activity. After all, I did visit the cemetery whilst on holiday. 
Yes, it was Back in the Saddle this morning & first cab off the rank in a Pupil Free Day was the  CPR Refresher Course. Whilst I was sitting there listening to the Hunky Manmuffin from the Royal SurfLifesaving Association tell us gruesome tales   about  the dangers of saving lives, I wondered how many times have I actually sat through this material.  And when was the first time I heard it. I think I was  about twelve &  since then, I've probably heard it on average of once every couple of years.
And guess what?
I still don't know a thing. I was even pumping the mannequin in the wrong spot.
But don't think I don't have a Back-Up Plan. If one of my students suddenly went unconscious I'd run out of the classroom screaming for help. Or if I was perhaps a little calmer, I would simply direct one of my other students to perform CPR. I'm sure someone around me would know it.
But it just occurred to me that if a student went unconscious, they'd probably be dead before I'd notice. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fashion Should Be Funny

My Best Friend Marge is visiting Sydney from California. We went to school together right from Grade 4. I was originally attracted to her for many reasons, but the clincher was that I fell in love with a picture of a sailing ship floating in a deep blue sea that she painted in Grade 5.  From then on, I knew I wanted us to be friends for Life. That was in 1963.
This picture is definitely odd. We've both got on quite an assortment of clothes which is partly due to the changeable Spring weather. 
Of course, I'm dying to have a rant about my wardrobe choices. But I suppose I should  quickly mention that Marge is wearing a complete 'Anthropologie' outfit, including the shoes. She looks great & 'Anthro' is our favourite shop. 

But Back to Me.
One of the advantages of Relentless Self-Examination Through Photography is the opportunity to critique your everyday outfits. If I hadn't had this Completely Thrifted Outfit photographed I might never have realised how truly awful it is. But when I put it on this morning, I thought it was a Triumph of Pattern Mixing. The shirt was perhaps from the v. early nineties & came with fairly bulbous shoulder pads that I had a devil of a job cutting out before I put it on . I congratulated myself on how cleverly I had selected the faux reptilian skin skirt that accentuated the brown highlights in the shirt. Wrong. 
It looks like a Blind Person selected the outfit or I had my eyes closed when I opened my wardrobe. Or I was drunk.
And I've just got to stop wearing those little Kindergardenesque Sockettes! 
I know this sounds Very Negative. You might get the impression that I'm becoming a Crotchety Old Crone. 
Nothing of the Sort! I regard Wardrobe Selection as an amusing game that One Mustn't Take Too Seriously. It's not like Parenting, or Negotiating High Level Peace Talks or Going for President. 
In the words of one of my Great Role Models, Simon Doonan, the world famous Window Dresser, 'Fashion should be Funny'.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Face to Face with My Mortality

Yesterday, as part of our Fun Holiday Activities, my daughter & I visited my my mother's grave. It's not at all morbid , partly because the cemetery is hugely interesting & as historic as Sydney can get & is also in this killer location on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 
Large Italian families have mausoleums resembling little miniature churches like the one on the left of the first photo. But my mum's grave is far more modest. She was cremated, so she just occupies a tiny patch of a small circular garden.
But yesterday I found it a slightly unsettling experience when we got to Mum's grave & found that a small stone bearing a sign that said, 'Reserved' was sitting right next to her. In fact there were two stones side by side  bearing 'Reserved' signs.
When my Mum died twenty three years ago, my Dad decided to buy three tiny plots. One for him, one for me & one for Mum. I found it a bit creepy at the time, but it turned out to be a wise move because now all the cemeteries are filling up & it's hard to get a spot.
But now the Cemetary People have put up these Reserved signs it really rammed it home to me that Yes, I'm going to die. And that's where I'm going to end up. And I also better go & find my Dad's ashes which have been languishing at the Crematorium since 1999 & stick them in his Reserved spot. 

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned.

I'm full of rage. For the last probably eight minutes I've been unsuccessfully trying to upload another photo of my daughter Billie-Mae with a different pair of shorts on.   
And nothing happens. 
I'm also listening on my headphones to a very soothing meditation tape featuring  a restful flute, tweeting birds & a  running water soundtrack. I could just scream.
And just after I've written all this, whaddya know, the second photo  miraculously appeared, making me look a little hysterical & unhinged. 
Now my daughter has walked in & said that she doesn't like the top photo of her with the parasol in a Field of Knomes. But I'm not deleting it. 
I'm loving her shorts, but glad that I'm not wearing them. I don't wish to appear a Captive to Age Stereotypes, but I'm not fond of shorts of any description on women over say, 21. Maybe a little older.
 I particularly don't like those longer, baggy ones favoured by many women of my age who love to bushwalk whilst  looking like an Porky Scout . Baggy shorts never have & never will look good on anyone even Kate Moss, who I don't think looks that great, but everyone else seems to think so.

In case you're wondering, which you probably aren't, we're on a small holiday together, which has nothing whatsoever to do with My Rage. I spent four days visiting her in Canberra where she attends University & then she v. kindly has been staying with me in Sydney. My friend Marge who I visited last holidays in California is here seeing her 95 year old mother, so we've been doing a few things together. This evening we had an early dinner  in a popular & homey looking beachside cafe. The food was dreadful but it didn't stop us eating it all. Never in my life have I been served slightly hard brussel sprouts & squash in a Goats Cheese Salad. 
And I was slightly disgusted with myself for eating part of a communal dessert which was a hugely ordinary Tiramisu. I realised that there's not much that anyone can do to ruin cream, which it was full of.  
So much for being a Zen Monk.

Friday, October 3, 2008

If Only My Boyfriends Could Have Been a Little Bit Like Paul Newman

I've been meaning to write a blog entry about Me & Paul Newman all week, & here it is. 
One of the unexpected side benefits of a Major Celebrity or a Member of the British Royal Family dying, is that all the Big Highlights of their Lives are wheeled out for everyone to get all all choked up about. 
Not that I was too choked up about Paul. I know that sounds a little Hard Hearted, but let's face it, he was pretty old & sick & I didn't know him personally. Ever since Princess Diana died, I've made it a rule not to bother getting upset when Famous People die. Just like everybody else, I cried through the entire ten hours of her televised funeral, from the time the coffin rolled out of the gates of Kensington Palace, to the gruelling flower-strewn trip to her final resting place. And when it was all over, you could have wrung me out like a rag. I was a mess.

So, even though I wasn't too sad about Paul's dying, seeing  snatches of his best films on the news sent me into a Lather of Nostalgia & Not Quite, But Almost, Regret. 
I970 was the year of Paul & Me. 
I was in my final year of high school & all the boys that we'd frolicked with for the past three or so years had suddenly disappeared.  They'd all gone to University or jobs or maybe they were just hiding in their bedrooms.  Plus, we were supposed to be serious about studying for our Final Exams.
So Paul Newman became my boyfriend. And in many ways it was a pretty satisfying relationship.
It all started when the local run down Art Deco theatre, the 'Randwick Ritz' began showing double features of his early films on a saturday night. My friend Elizabeth & I would trawl up the hill from her place & sit on these creaky old seats where we salivated for hours watching 'Cool Hand Luke' or 'Harper' or 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'. 
When it was over, we'd roll down the hill together in a trance & then spend the next couple of hours drooling over a huge poster of Paul that hung above Elizabeth's bed. I'd sleep over & before drifting off, would imagine myself  lying in his arms while he whispered how wrong he'd been about loving his wife Joanne Woodward & how he'd finally found love at long last with me. This was a bit of a stretch  to believe because I couldn't really imagine Paul Newman falling in love with Me at the Time -  a seventeen year old slightly pimply & desperate Australian schoolgirl. 
I'd done a similar thing with John Lennon when I was eleven, where I had an elaborate fantasy going about how tragic it was that John's wife Cynthia had died in a  snow skiing accident, but then he met me on the slopes & fell in love. 

Back to Paul & Me.
 The Paul Newman film that really did my head in was the boxing biopic, 'Somebody Up There Likes Me',  a redemption story of a nasty real life boxer called of course, Rocky, becoming this fantastically charming & wonderful person all because of the love of  a Beautiful woman, played by Pier Angeli.  The tag line to the film was 'A Girl Can Lift a Fellow to the Skies!' 
You can imagine the fantasies that were going around in my head over that film. In fact, I think that it became the Blueprint for most of my subsequent relationships. 
By the end of the year the 'Ritz' had gone through all of Paul's films & had moved on to Warren Beatty, who I had a short fling with, but it didn't work out. 
I finished my exams, left school, got a holiday job in a cake shop & waited for a Real Boyfriend to arrive.