Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Never Cast Aside Like a Sucked Orange

Now that Season Two of 'Mad Men' is finished, don't think I've fallen into a Black Hole.

No. There just was no time for a Vaccum to be felt because immediately the time slot was filled with Season One of 'Pure Blood' or 'True Blood' or Whatever it is. It sounds like a show about the Ku Klux Klan. But it's not. It's about the quest for Vampires to be accepted as a normal part of the community with voting & property rights, just like the rest of us.

It must be called 'True Blood' because of the TB initials on the amazing Experimental Plum Pie that Moniker made in honour of it's first Screening.

So, every sunday evening is now filled with a big sumptuous dinner made by my Pals who don't have Cable TV followed by 'TB'. (BTW, Moniker did realise the rather unfortunate associations behind the initials)
We watched Episode 2. I had to cover my eyes for about a third of it as there was blood all over the joint & lots of sex. I'm such a Delicate Creature.
But all my guests were transfixed.

I'm fond of Venn Diagrams. I always marvel at their Elegance & Simplicity, something that I'm always shooting for in My Own Life.
So, if I was constructing a Venn Diagram to explain Vampires, there would be three circles all laid on top of each other. The bottom circle would be labelled 'Vampire'; the next circle,'Sex' & the last circle, 'Violence'.

It's a heady mixture. And it's one that I don't really Get.

I have never had the desire to have sex with a Vampire. Maybe this goes back to my adolescence. When I was about sixteen or seventeen ,I was continually given Love Bites by Hungry Boys. It was a nightmare because I just couldn't cover them up & My Mother would see them & Go Into a Rant. I never worried about the Nuns at School noticing them because they'd never been with a Living Human Being because they were 'Brides of Christ'. So they wouldn't know what a Love Bite was.
Anyway, they were Half-Wits. In preparation for our Senior Formal, Sister Naomi told us all that if we allowed our Partner to kiss us, even if it was a Goodnight Kiss, the boy would throw us aside 'Like a Sucked Orange'.

What a piece of advice. No wonder I've been so Fabulously Successful with Men throughout my life.
So, I don't find Vampires sexy. In fact, I don't find any Made-Up Creatures as Appropriate Objects of Desire. Except of course Mr. Darcy.

But all my guests, including my step-son Tyler loved it. And that's enough for me. Next week I'm just going to focus on the Muscular Frame of the Australian actor who plays this really really dumb sex-crazed brother of the main character who can read people's thoughts. Thankfully, he's not a Vampire.

I just had to show off one of my new earrings that Sandrabollocks sent me. Of course you can hardly see them which is an excuse for another photo later.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just the One Earring

I have always wanted to be a Trendsetter. 
Or at least I've always Thought that I wanted to be one. But I was wrong. 
There's nothing trendsetting about me at all. I'm sure you've got to have a Gene for it. And I don't have it.  
Which isn't to say that I'm a Slavish Follower of Trends.  I only follow trends if they fit into a set of Fashion Rules that I have been almost Unconsciously Following over Many Decades.
For example, Footless Tights. As soon as they became fashionable again, I began wearing them. And I may continue to wear them for the next thirty years. 
I remember when they were a trend  in the eighties. Back then, I wore them with Big Sloppy Joes aeronautically engineered with enormous shoulder pads that gave the appearance of a Bar Fridge or perhaps a Gorilla. I often wore the Sloppy Joes with a large diamante safety pin. And I'd like to think I also wore Just the One Earring.
Which leads me into the Subject of Today's Post. What a clever segue.
This morning, one of my students presented the above item to me, torn out of a mag called 'Shop Till You Drop'. I was touched.
I also loved that it was a French Couture House that embraced what I like to think is My Trend. 
But I hardly consider myself a 'Brave Fashionista' for wheeling myself out in public with Just One Earring. In my books, Brave would be wearing a Joan of Arc style suit of armour complete with Flag, or wearing a large hat that was really a birdcage with a real bird inside it. Or even a stuffed bird.
 That's the sort of outfit that  Poor Dead Trendsetter Isabella Blow wore & look where that got her?

Coincidentally I wore Just One Earring Today. I couldn't believe the Synchronicity, or was it, Serendipity of it all? 
Anyway, I made it myself.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Mysterious Parcel

Lunch time in The Staff Room sometimes reminds me of the film 'Mean Girls'. Or maybe Lunchtime when I Really Was at School, like about forty years ago.  
It's a Minefield. 
Will I sit at my desk & eat 'alone' & risk being seen as Unfriendly?
 Will I sit at Trixie Drew's desk & eat lunch with her & then risk scattering crumbs everywhere & making others Feel Excluded?
Or will I go sit in the Favoured Table in the Larger Staff Room with an assortment of People & risk all sorts of things that I won't go into now.
You can see how Nerve-wracking it all is.

On Thursday, I magnanimously decided to eat my lunch with everyone at The Favoured Table. But before I sat down, I noticed a small parcel pertly sitting up inside my pigeon hole. 
I raced over & grabbed it, heart racing.
I rarely get anything out of the ordinary placed in my pigeon hole. Pay slips, reminders about School events, invitations to attend Yawningly Boring Study Days, duty rosters, phone messages from disgruntled parents. Perhaps an occasional Rogue Chocolate given by a well meaning, but misguided colleague.
But A  Mysterious Lumpy Parcel! It obviously had things in it apart from paper! And there was was No Name on it!
I raced back to my place at The Favoured Table & began tearing open the envelope. Everyone was transfixed. Who could it be from?
Could it be a Belated Gift from that Special Year 12 Student from The Class of 2008 who I spent the whole year Selflessly Helping & who forgot to thank me when she finally walked out the door?
 That's the whole problem with being Selfless when you're really  Selfish At Heart. It Never Really Works. I guess I'm just Selflessly Selfish.

Back to The Parcel.
It contained a beautifully colour co-ordinated & presented Birthday Gift of many gorgeous earrings from Peru. Who would send me this? Someone who obviously knows my taste, whatever that is.
I opened the lovely handmade card. It was to 'Della'. 
OMG! A gift from the OtherWorld.
Lisa, a fellow Middleagedteacher, who I've never met, has been reading 'Della' for some time. She also teaches English at a girls private school in Sydney. And she loves shopping & bargains.
Trixie immediately exclaimed, 'How wonderful'. So did The Duchess. 
And that's Exactly how I felt.
But I could see that others were slightly disappointed that they didn't get a gift put in their pigeon hole. Serves them right.
I'm still trying to work how how Lisa tracked me down. I'm intrigued! And thrilled!
Thank you Lisa! You've made my week.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Long to Be a Woman Who Chose Her Own Battles

I thought it was Enough to just post this Wonderful Painting of a Woman with Hair Horns. I also liked the title I made up to go with it. But apparently it's Not Enough. It's Never Enough.

I just love the Concept of Horns. I would not like to grow any myself. But I do like the idea of turning your hair into them.

Why horns, you may ask? I'm not sure. Maybe they signify gutsiness. You know, like Don't Mess with Me.

Doris Day in 'The Pyjama Game,' Katherine Hepburn in 'The African Queen', Queen Latifah in 'Chicago' & perhaps Dear Doris again in 'Calamity Jane'. These were suggestions made to me by my colleagues when I asked them about Gutsy Women. Someone suggested Scarlett O'Hara. And I suppose she is pretty gutsy. In fact, probably the Gutsiest of them All. But I couldn't bear to put her on my list because I just Loathe 'Gone with the Wind'. It's just so overblown.

If you've got any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, March 23, 2009

As Indestructible as a Battleship

I almost hate to admit it, but my Grandmother, Eleanor Mildred Elley, known as Lena, was born in 1891. Which doesn't mean to say that I was born in 1930. Absolutely Not. Carefully examine  the above photo taken today, admittedly on the 'Soft Skin' setting. I'm sure you'd agree that it reveals   a middleaged but Not Quite Elderly Woman.

 I was crazy about Lena & never forgave her for dying of cancer when I was fourteen just when I may have needed her.
But for many years she lived across the road from my house where I used to spend a lot of time with her in her tiny, cave-like old apartment, cooking buttercakes, making cups of tea & watching v. early episodes of Roger Moore in 'The Saint' or Patrick Mc Goohan in 'Dangerman'.

Anyway, Lena or  Nanny as I called her, was an exotic mix of Edwardian Lady & Respectable Middle Class Matron with a hint of 20s Flapper. 
Look carefully at the photo taken at a Restaurant for my Second Birthday Party. I am the Poor Little Match Girl at the head of the table. My father stands next to me waiting for me to fall off the chair while my mother looks beatifically on. 
Nanny is the Old Dame on the left foreground. Look at her Firm Figure.

One of my favourite pastimes as a child was to watch Nanny put on her enormous peach coloured Whalebone Corset. She did this every morning after spending time in the bath scrubbing the nicotine stains off her hands with a pumice stone.  She also used the pumice stone on her corns .
After liberally dousing her body with Talcum Powder, & her feet with 'Vemo' foot powder, Nanny would ritually begin the challenging task of threading herself into the corset.
It was an Enormous Contraption that required  extreme concentration & expertise to get into. Nanny had worn a corset every day since she was eighteen, so was really expert at threading the laces & locking herself in. Once inside a Whalebone, a woman looked as indestructible as a Battleship & almost as attractive.

One day I witnessed a Shocking Sight.
 I walked in on Nanny just as she was getting out of the bath. I had never seen her naked before. Huge rivulets of skin were hanging down her body like there'd  been a Landslide. 
I was Shocked & Appalled.
'Nanny, what's wrong with you? Why is all your skin hanging down like that?'
'Oh, that's called Dead Skin. That's what happens to you if you wear corsets all your life'.
Nanny said it in such a Knowing, Matter of Fact way, that I completely accepted her explanation, & for many years thought that 'Dead Skin' was an actual technical term. 
If only I could meet someone now who could speak to me like that. Life would be sooo much simpler.

What prompted my reminiscence  of Nanny was a visit to the Sydney Justice & Police Museum last week to view their current, 'Femme Fatale' exhibition.  Fabulous mug shots & other photos of Sydney's notorious crime queens of the first half of the twentieth century were contrasted with covers of Pulp Crime Fiction of the same time. 
Don't think that Nanny was a Notorious Sydney Crime Queen, although she looked quite similar to a really nasty one that was prominently featured.  No, no, no...... Nanny loved nothing more than to lie in bed, smoking cigarettes through a long holder & reading crime stories. It was one of her passions. Here's some fab covers that I secretly photographed at the exhibition.
I need to start channelling some of that Cheap Sluttiness


Thursday, March 19, 2009

What I Really Want is a Fairy Godmother

I am now going to Slightly Overshare.
Why not? It's My Blog. This is My Town. I make up The Rules.

Sick to the Back Gills of trudging around feeling like a Poor Old Polish Woman dragging a load of wet firewood behind me while my village is up in flames during WWII, I decided to go to a Therapist.
In fact, I'm now on to my second one. The first one was a Man. I thought A Man might make a nice change. But I was wrong. He was writhing in his seat with Ernestness. I couldn't stand it. Towards the end of our session, he asked me what exactly would I like to 'focus on ' in subsequent sessions. 
Definitely Not your Ernestness, I thought. I dutifully made another appointment, paid the $145 & walked out feeling marginally worse than when I came in. 
He also reminded me of a Carpet Slipper. And I just couldn't have an Ernest Carpet Slipper for a therapist. So I cancelled.
Yesterday, I started with Therapist No. 2. She was recommended by my local doctor & I'm kind of tied to her now because I get the next ten sessions for twenty-five bucks as part of a 'Health Plan' for people who feel that they're dragging wet firewood behind them.
Everything seemed OK during the session. She told me that according to a questionnaire that I had dutifully filled out, that I was A Worrier. And that I'm suffering from Grief.
 And then we started on the Well-Worn track to My Early Life with My Parents.
By the time the session was over I realised what I really want. 
I don't want a therapist, I want a Fairy Godmother. I want her to spray fairy dust all over me with her Wand & then I'll be Transformed.
Just like The Butterfly

The Themed Baby

You may recall that I gave my birthday a Sub-Title, 'New Beginnings'.
You may also recall that whilst I didn't think that it was an altogether Silly Practice, I did consider it strange, like no one else would do it.
Well, I was wrong. 
 Trixie Drew told me a disgusting story about her Best Friend, who has Saintly Manners.  Last week, this Best Friend (BF) was invited to a Baby Shower. She was sent an elaborate printed invitation as if she was being summoned to The Palace to attend the Glass Slipper Ball.  The invitation demanded that she make her gift selection from a Baby Gift Register . Possible gifts included Eighteenth Century Baby Armoires, Delicate Lace Christening Robes made by Carmelite Nuns in the Loire Valley & a nice fat cheque for the baby's first year at Sydney's most exclusive Private School. 
Perhaps I'm Slightly Exaggerating. But only slightly.
What ever happened to a couple of bibs & a rattle? 
By the time that the Saintly BF had read all this, she was getting quite hot under the collar. 
But as my hairdresser always says when she's telling me a disgusting story, 'It Gets Worse'.
At the end of the Invitation was a Postscript: Please ensure that all Gifts are Winnie the Pooh themed, as this is the Baby's Theme'.
Whoever heard of a Baby with a Theme?

This last bit of Lunacy really got up SBF's nose.  She sat & fumed. 
But then she started channelling Carrie in one of her favourite episodes of SATC. It's the one where Carrie takes revenge on a Disgustingly Smug Mother-to-be who has a baby shower where Carrie's brand new Manolos are stolen. 
So, she decided to graciously accept the invitation, because she's got Saintly Manners.
 But..... she's giving really really cheap little jumpsuit at the supermarket with Paddington Bear on it instead of Pooh. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where the Wild Things Might Be

I'm loving this photo because I think it makes me look A Little Bit Slutty. And for a woman in my situation, that can't be a Bad Thing.
I blame the 'Soft Skin' setting on my camera. It works a treat!
Anyway, apart from parading my sluttiness, I'm showing off some Birthday Goodies that I got from MBF Marge in California. She sent me & my daughter a rather large box filled with presents which I'm now slowly working my way through. I'm thrilled.
Click on the photo to enlarge it, if you will. Go on, you won't regret it. Then you'll be able to see the three little houndstooth rosettes that Marge sent me from probably, 'Anthropologie', our favourite Mall Experience. I'm loving them!
Also of v. slight interest, are wooden zebra earrings & a matching bangle that I recently thrifted from 'Bednobs & Broomsticks'. Usually I don't care for Matching Jewellry, but with the zebras I made an exception.
If butterflies are a symbol of transformation & new beginnings, I wonder what the zebra symbolises?
Crossing Roads Safely, perhaps?

A Birthday with a Sub-Title

And now for My Birthday. 
This year I gave my birthday a sub-title. New Beginnings. 
This is a slightly Unusual Practice. I admit I haven't done it before. But maybe I should start giving all Important Celebrations sub-titles.
"Xmas 09: Scrooge is Screwed". How's that?
What prompted my 'New Beginnings' was the beautiful butterfly who is now the centrepiece of my 'Homage to Charles Darwin' Nature Display.  As a birthday gift, I was given an exquisite Murano sterling silver butterfly brooch that was the size of a macadamia nut. The Giver had thoughtfully left the receipt in the bag it came in, so as soon as I gasped at the price, I trotted down to the shop which is handily located within metres of my home &  exchanged it for this Largish Real, but Dead Butterfly along with an amazing scented candle which no kidding, exudes the smell of the floors & candleabra in the Palace of Versailles. The brand is called 'Cire Trudon' & it's been going since the reign of Louis the 14th. 
What a mouthful.
Talking of mouthfuls, I'm looking genuinely, what is it?  overwhelmed, overawed, overcome, by the sight of six superb 'Villeroy & Boch' wine glasses that my wonderful friend, Rubber-Glove Jenny gave me.
I'm really throwing around the brand names now. You might think that I'm somewhat of a Brand Whore. And you may be correct.
Anyway, I was thrilled to get them. Anything to stop the Poor Little Match Girl Feelings taking a grip.

And then was The Cake.  Monica, who is a Restaurant Quality cook, made it for me. It was a  chocolatemudblackforest extravaganza. It had to be the best cake I've ever eaten. In fact, it was so good that I had another slice today at lunch which is totally breaking my v. strict dietary rules. All my colleagues were gobsmacked, as I'm well known as the Gandhi of the Staffroom. 
Such a Self-denier. 
Monica also gave me an  exciting pink bangle that had text on it that said 'Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History'. Some dame called Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said it. 
And then I started to think of the women who have Made History starting with Eve. She was hopelessly  swayed by a Evil Talking Serpent & look where that got us?

I think I better go back to the butterfly & 'New Beginnings.' It's more me.

Thank you girls.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stonewash, Sprouse & Pussy Bows

My great School Chum & Colleague, Trixie Drew has her desk quite close to mine in our staffroom, which is a Microcosm of the Universe. Everything that a bunch of Inquisitive Aliens would ever want to know About Us can be found there.
Anyway, Trixie often calls me Mrs. Dalloway, which believe me in Our Universe, is Not a Compliment. We use it to describe Stream of Consciousness or should I call it, 'Stream of Unconsciousness' behaviour when a person keeps up a loud running monologue about what they're doing usually on a minute by minute basis. It's a version of Thinking Aloud, but with the added irritation of making the hapless listener think that they've got to respond.  E.G. 'Oh God, I can't find my copy of Lear/R&J/Gwen Harwood/Emma/etc. I had it there only a minute ago. I Can't believe this. How are you anyway? I may be getting a headache' On& On & ON & on it goes.

That's My Blogging Style. Stream of Unconsciousness. 
But I'm not going to change the Blog Name to Mrs. Dalloway. No, I'm firmly sticking to Della Street, who, in case you didn't know, was the secretary of Perry Mason, the best TV attorney of them all. There was Nothing Stream of Anything about  Della.
Note to Self: Start Channelling Della.

It was my daughter's 21st birthday family dinner on saturday night. No one mentioned The Elephant in the Room, Mr. Ex-Middleaged. He of course wasn't there but he sent along a birthday gift. 
Between Billie-Mae are her two step-brothers, Tyler & Tim.  Her Godmother, Rubber-Glove Jenny was also present, & we had a great time going around the table telling stories of Mae & celebrating her life.

I really wanted to celebrate with a Huge Themed Cake - you know a cake in the shape of Dr. Freud perhaps holding an Igneous Rock, as Mae is studying Psychology & Geology. Sadly, that didn't happen. And now I feel slightly sad about it. I went for Safe & Tasteful instead. 
You can see the cake below. It has a little saying  on it that I used to say to her when she was a kid - 'Mae - Wise Beyond Your Ears'. 

No occasion is complete without a Wardrobe Photo. And here it is. Well, it was supposed to be here, but now it's moved to the top of the post. I swear I didn't touch anything.
Mae has a part-time job in a jeans store, so she's wearing gorgeous black 'Lee' jeans & a tee from the store. I, of course never wear pants or jeans because I've never gotten over not being able to look like Cher in Levis in 1973. My little legs were too short & stumpy, so I've punished them forever by never wearing jeans. I can't even imagine what I would actually look like in a pair. 
So, of course I'm wearing a skirt. I just love this little thrifted number, from 'Bednobs & Broomsticks'. I am a great fan of that renegade New York Punk Dead Designer, Stephen Sprouse, who decorated Louis Vuitton  bags some years ago with punky writing. I like to think that  this skirt is a Lite Version of it, even perhaps an Homage to Sprouse.
For some reason I'm wearing a scarf that I've made into a Pussy Bow. I'm not sure if I'm just being a Slave to Fashion. I THINK that pussy bows are IN & everyone is wearing one. But maybe they're not. 
No, I'm sure I didn't make it up. It's just Wishful Thinking. 
At least it covers The Neck.
The next photo has at least two interesting things I want to point out to you, O Reader. First is Mae's stonewash jean jacket. Women of my age generally recoil in horror as Stonewash in it's first incarnation perhaps in the eighties (?) was generally associated with Mullets, little white boots &  Bad Skin. It could also look a Little Slutty, but not in a good way.
That's all a Thing of the Past. People who wear stonewash now don't have any of that loathsome baggage to carry about, so they can wear it Loud & Proud. Personally, I'm too steeped in the Past to wear it, but I applaud any fabric that doesn't show the dirt as I lack Laundry Skills.
Second, note the fifty dollar notes that I cleverly stuck to her other gifts with clothes pegs. Not that I'm trying to Show Off my Generosity, heaven forbid!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Reverse Braggart

You know, I'm always a little unsure about bragging. Should I or Shouldn't I? Will people be Impressed or Groan? 
 Of course that's never stopped me from doing it. 
I'm a Reverse Braggart. When other, more Conventional Braggarts might brag about owning luxury items & how much they cost, I like to brag about how I just picked this fabulous silk shirt up at my favourite thrift shop, 'Bednobs & Broomsticks' for a mere twelve bucks. 
And then I could brag about how I selflessly gave it to my beautiful colleague, Princess Pip, just because she admired it 

Because that's what I did. I must say that I was thrilled that she would want to wear it. And I read somewhere that We Humans are happier when we are Being of Assistance or Giving in Some Way rather than just taking all the time. Maybe it increases our pheromones or something. 

One more thing. After trying & trying for a long long time, I finally became a Wardrobe Remixer of the Week. Each week, the founder of flickr's famous wardrobe_remix
 Tricia Royal, publishes her remixers o' the week on her blog, bits n bobbins. I was thrilled. But sadly, I think about five people saw it. Never mind. It's another milestone I've crossed.

Knights & Queens Deeply Dancing in a Whiter Shade of Pale Satin

It's friday night & there's a saxophonist eight floors below me belting out Abba's 'Dancing Queen' with a v. loud backing track helping him. Unlike most of the other buskers that are around my area, he sounds like a Professional. 
It still doesn't stop me from wanting to pelt rotten eggs at him. 

OMG, he's moved on the Bee Gee's 'How Deep is Your Love?' 
Oh well, I'm just going to continue to type.
I'm not going to sing along in a  silly falsetto voice like  the Bee Gees. And I'm not going to think about how one of them, was it Maurice? had teeth that pointed in different directions & how sad it was that his twin brother, Robin, who was dedicated to the sport of 'Paintball', died suddenly & tragically a few years back.

Where was I?
No NO.....can you believe he's now doing 'Knight's in White Satin'?
It's like this guy intuitively knows my 'B' or is it, my 'B minus' list of songs & has decided to torture me with them. If the next song is 'Close to You', I'll know I'm right.

I must take control. 
On to the photo above. If you are a Regular Reader, you MAY think I've posted it before. 
Wrong.  I haven't. This is An Update. 
It's my Mary Easter Shrine which is sitting on the green terrazzo counter in the kitchen. Since last you saw it, it has many many more tiny golden bunnies (not bilbys) on it as well as four  rather smug Large Rabbits. 
My daughter is arriving tomorrow for a Birthday Celebration. Hers & Mine. She always complained that I never bothered giving her a Proper Easter Egg. So now I'm trying to make it up to her. 
I can't stand it anymore. He's now moved on to 'A Whiter Shade of Pale'.  
I must go find some eggs. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Lady of Shalott or The Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Jar

The Regular Reader (if I may be so bold as to presume that I have any) may or may not know that I teach English to girls aged between 12-18.  The Casual Reader definitely won't know. What both these Readers have in common is a Complete Lack of Caring about this fact.
And I don't blame you.
But it kind of might interest you to know that I Really Love My Job. I don't love it in a 'Hockey Sticks School Spirit' kind of way. And I don't go around oozing with Breathless Enthusiasm about it. In fact, I try & avoid talking about being a teacher at all  because everyone thinks they are an Expert on Teaching because they went to school.
When people ask me about teaching they naturally assume I'm going to say I hate it. Or I'm just hanging in there waiting for retirement. Or it's too boring. Or tiring. Or hard. My Best Friend Marge's 96 year old mum Aileen asked me last week if I taught alone. She thought perhaps I had someone else in the classroom as a backup . I could tell when I told her, Yes I do it all by myself ,that she was impressed. 
I guess the reason that most people are surprised when I say that I love my job is that many people don't like their job. Or if they do like it, they like to take the opportunity to have a bit of a whinge or should I say, whine about it. Or maybe they feel that they are Expected to say that they don't like it. 
Anyway, I always enjoy the reaction I get when I tell people. It's Almost, but Not quite, A Power Trip.
Apart from the fact that the girls I teach are pretty wonderful, I love The Text.

Right now, I'm doing traditional tales with Year 7 - aged 12. I'm finding it Slightly Creepy because I keep on choosing stories with Poor Sad Victim Women with Wicked Curses on Them or Nasty Ungrateful Old Whiners Who are Helped Out by Obliging Fairies Who Never Get Thanked. 
Like The Old Bat below. She's the Old Woman who lived in a Vinegar Jar. It's a tale that's been told in various ways, some involving a Wise Fish instead of a Fairy. But they all end the same way - after the Fairy kindly takes her out of the jar & makes her a Queen, the old bat complains that she really should be The Pope. You can guess how it ends, can't you?
The fairy has a gutload & sends her back to the Vinegar.
I'm Sooooo hoping that's not going to turn out to be Me. Or maybe it's me now & I just haven't realised it.

And then there's The Lady of Shalott. I decided to give my lovely little girls a Nasty Surprise by inflicting pages & pages of rhyming Lord Tennyson on them. No one could understand a word of it including me. We ended up drawing the whole thing with towers & moats & lilies & passersby & Knights & mirrors & looms. 
By the time I worked out what it was all about - this poor, sad, isolated but creative woman who had a wicked curse on her, looks at Darling Sir Lancelot & then dies in a boat, it was too late to stop. 
When  I googled The Lady of Shalott, the  image below popped up - the famous painting by Waterhouse. 
I had an immediate & uncomfortable flash of recognition. Could this be the same picture that I had hanging up in my bedroom twenty five years ago? 
Yes, it was. Am I her?
Oh Quelle Horreur! 
Is this how I'm going to end up?
The Perils of Being an English Teacher

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

After All, I Am the New Me.

Saturday was the annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. It seems that people from all the outlying suburbs of Sydney & people from all over the World flock here every March to join in the festivities.
I am a person who feels that Christmas comes around far too often. It's not that I'm a 'Bah Humbug' type, but I think it would be far better for Christmas to be celebrated every five years. Every year around early October I go on 'Xmas Alert', where I look for signs of the impending celebration in Malls. When I find say, a packet of tinsel  or a Santa Scented Candle for sale, I inwardly groan. Here we go again, I mutter to myself, but not at all in a Scrooge-like way. There's Nothing Scroogie about me.

I feel the same way about the Mardi Gras. If only it could happen even every three years. But that's Never Going to Be. People are just desperate to  regularly get all joosched up in tiny little sparkly shorts & march down Oxford Street twirling a Rainbow Flag. And then go to the party afterwards & turn themselves into Total Trashbags.
This year I decided to take a Slightly Different Approach. Instead of feeling & behaving in the Usual Way, why not Embrace It, I asked myself.
After all, I Am The  New Me. 
So, around five on saturday, I trudged into the city where all the tinsel clad Parade Participants were assembling &  started taking photos. 
Hyde Park was awash with Wigs & Wings. And no one cared about having their photo taken. In fact, they Expected It.  No one gave me dirty looks or  accused me of Image Theft or Invading their Privacy, or threatened to break my camera.  So, I was kind of In Heaven.
 I just love taking photos of people in the street. But candid photos, not posing. I like for people to look a bit silly, but nothing humiliating, like snapping them when they're picking their nose.

 As I type, the thought  just struck me that I could be a Voyeur. And I would like that to be said with a strong French accent, like the word starts with a 'W' & not a 'V'. 

Back to the Parade.
I ended up taking 209 photos. And I found myself getting so into the swing of things that I had my photo taken with a couple of exceedingly large Drag Queens dressed up in shiny jump suits made of the Australian Flag.  By that stage I was feeling rather sad that it was impossible for me to Jump Ship & become a Lesbian . Even though one of my favourite sayings to my students is, 'Fake it Till U Make It', I really don't think I could do it. 

Oh, but now I really want a Giant Pair of White Wings just like a Swan. I would wear them everywhere, even to school & to the supermarket.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Birthday Blessings

Today's my daughter's 21st birthday. I've decided to post a small photo tribute. Of course I feature in it prominently.  
Let's start at the beginning. Her birth. Or more specifically, My Labour. Here I am lying in bed with my wonderful brave loyal poodle Peggy lying right next to what must have been a v. warm & cozy part of my body. Later on, Peggy who was blind, used to sometimes ride up in the pram with Billie-Mae. I'm sure people didn't know whether to call the Child Protection Hotline or the Animal Welfare League.
MBF (my best friend) Marge is sitting next to me desperately trying to bone up on what was about to happen by reading a book about having babies without any anaesthetic or trauma or something,  as she was supposed to be my helper. None of us knew anything.
My husband, Gunnar & I had never gone to pre-natal classes mainly because my doctor said that I was too nervous & it might upset me. She was definitely right about that. 

 Marge is not wearing a wig. Don't forget it was still the eighties. It was a giant Afro Perm job that probably looked sensational in her head before she had it, but couldn't take the transition into reality. 
Anyway, twenty-eight hours later, after a whole hospital's worth of drugs, topped off with an emergency caesarean, this amazing  Red haired creature was born. I was totally expecting a blonde. Her Canadian grandparents,  who have a family tree with names on it straight out of The Lord of the Rings, immediately called her their 'Viking Goddess'.

As you can see from the next two photos, I had Absolutely No Idea how to look  after a baby. I remember when we were leaving the hospital, this Old Nurse was desperately trying to tell me how to bath her. And  how to avoid nappy rash.  And when to start introducing solids. And how to get her into the Poshest Girls School in Sydney. I just smiled & nodded.

Once we got home, I got a shock. No one told me she would cry & not stop. And no one told me that a three week old baby would Absolutely Not Love going to the Paddington Markets on a saturday. 
Sometimes I would sing every song I could remember from 'Funny Girl' to her. My favourite was 'Don't Rain on My Parade'. Who could forget those immortal words - 'Don't tell me not to live, just sit & splutter/Life's candy & the sun's a ball of butter/don't bring about a cloud to rain on my parade'. 
Mae would just look at me with a slight frown.

Amazingly, she survived. And as I have said before, with Bell& Trumpets .  Here she is with her step-brother, Tyler having breakfast at a really swanky resort that we stayed at on an infamous holiday. I've always loved this photo, but now that I look at it, both of them look Slightly Irritated or should I say, Pissed Off. Maybe it was the sun in their eyes. 

Happy Birthday My Princess.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

How Come Others See What We Don't See in Ourselves?

Well, I've completed my Skirt-Wearing Challenge initiated by Jane from workthatwardrobe. I would  love to report that everyone around me was absolutely gobsmacked that I wore the same skirt three days in a row, but of course no one noticed a thing.
I'm sure that I could keep on wearing that skirt for the next month & no one would notice. Actually, my students would. They've got nothing better to do but to sit in class & look at me.
And to draw me as well.
Today  I was shocked & horrified when I was presented with the drawing above after class.
'Do you really think that my waist is THAT Thick?' I demanded.
'Oh, Ms......it's my first attempt at drawing.' 
It was amazing that she managed to really capture the essence of the electrical sockets hanging out of the wall,  but just couldn't nail my figure.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the Skirt Wearing Challenge. And  I may decide to extend the Challenge into tomorrow. 
Now, that would be a stretch. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Never Realised That Wearing the Same Skirt on Consecutive Days Could Be a Personal Growth Experience

You may or may not notice that I am wearing the same polka dot pleated thrifted skirt in both pictures. And on two consecutive days.
This is almost unheard of for me.
Why? you may ask, if you could be bothered.
Well, I decided to participate in Jane, from workthatwardrobe's Skirt Wardrobe Challenge which is to wear the same skirt in different ways three times over a two week period. 
I decided to slightly alter the rules by doing the challenge over one week. You can always tell if someone considers themselves to be 'Special & Different' if they try & change the rules about something. I'm always doing that. 
Yes, I have special permission to Change the Rules because I'm Adopted. Because I'm Left-Handed. Because I'm  a Natural Blonde. 
Oh dear, I hope I haven't switched the dial over to Self-Loathing.

Over the past year or so, Jane & other wardrobe bloggers have set up all sorts of Wardrobe Hurdles that they have to jump over. The Big Hurdle is No Buying New Clothes. But they each find simple but ingenious ways to wear different outfits by swapping clothes with friends or online buddies, buying & selling on ebay where no money changes hands, thrifting & by just finding new ways to wear their old clothes. And also planning their outfits in advance. 
I envy them. Even though I don't really buy new clothes anymore (except in moments of Extreme Temptation when the Nasty Landfill Shop has dresses for $9.95 & I just happen to be walking past) & I mainly just buy at 'Bednobs & Broomsticks', my local thrift store, I could never be that organised to do what they do. 
For instance, I have a whole Separate Wardrobe called  The Poor Relations. These are the clothes that I don't care for anymore. Maybe they were Mistakes to begin with. Maybe they don't fit me now. Maybe they Never Fitted. Maybe their hems have fallen down. 
 What's inside The Poor Relations Wardrobe would fill an entire shop. It's packed to the rafters. If I was organised I could start swapping these clothes. But I can't for the life of me think who I could swap them with. 
Or I could sell them on ebay. But I wouldn't be able to work out how much postage to charge. Or I'd find the wrapping up in brown paper  bit too hard. And then there's standing in the Endless Queue in the Over-Stretched Post Office. 

And I rarely, if ever plan my outfits in advance. I like the thrill of getting up in the morning & throwing open my Non-Poor Relation Wardrobe & deciding then & there what to wear. I like the adrenalin rush that comes with knowing if you try one more necklace on you'll be too late to get a takeaway latte on the way to school.
Ohhhhh........I do like to Live Close to the Edge.

I desperately wanted to give the above outfits Names. You know, like 'Lady Sings the Blues' or 'Cool Sophisticate'.  Of course I could only come up with Silly Names like 'Oxymoron' or 'Season in Hell'.  So, I've decided that they shall Remain Nameless. 
Can't wait to get up tomorrow & wear the polka dot skirt again. In fact, I may decide to wear it every day for the next two weeks.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Freedom from Magazines

I know this sounds mean, but I kind of find the current financial downturn slightly comforting because it mirrors my own personal financial downturn which sadly has nothing to do with World Markets.
Gone are the days when I'd come home every second day with a fresh new magazine to pour over. I now only buy one magazine a month, the Magnificent 'World of Interiors', which I've been religiously buying since the eighties. 
Nowadays, I read magazines at 'Borders' which is like my local library, or I read or pilfer them from my local cafe, 'Zinc', or I drag them out of the garbage bins in the basement of my apartment building.
Don't feel sorry for me, though. I just love not buying mags. It's True Freedom At Last! 
And I love reading them for free or stealing them or finding them in the rubbish. It's like a little gift from the Universe.
Anyway, I was frantically reading a dog-eared copy of 'New York' mag this morning at 'Zinc' while I was waiting an eternity for my takeaway latte, & I found this page featuring Patti Lupone, a Broadway star who is not really known in Australia as Broadway isn't here. 

I just loved her saying, 'I could see the writing on the wall, so I started writing on the wall'. 
I  wish I had said it. 

I Never Knew I Had Ears Like An Alien

Rarely do young attractive Males feature on my blog. Except perhaps Tyler, my step-son. But he doesn't really count because he's Family.
Tim, featured above is Not Family.
But don't think he's become my new Toy Boy. Non, non & Double Non. Besides the fact that he's definitely taken by Lara, my Favourite Barista in the World, I am strangely not attracted to young men. I used to be. But that was twenty-five years ago. I've Moved On.
Oh, but not far enough, it seems. Lately, I've been desperately looking at Men My Age on the street, in the supermarket queue & dare I say, on the Internet, & sadly  they all remind me of my father. 
I loved my Dad. I was a real Daddy's Girl. But I never wanted to date him. And all these blokes over fifty I've been looking at look like Dad. Or Santa. Or Fidel Castro.
Anyway, back to Tim. He's an artist, graphic designer, design teacher & gallerist. He & Lara have recently opened Buckland St Gallery in Sydney with an opening exhibition featuring Tim's digitally altered portraits of people. The first photo is a straight photo of the person. The second photo is their left side merged & the third photo is their right side merged.

I was thrilled & honoured when Tim asked me to be a subject. Of course I was worried sick that my middleaged skin would look all wrinkly under such close scrutiny. I shouldn't have worried. Far worse were my Rogue Eyebrows & the Disturbing Alien Ears I've got in the third photo.

I dropped in to the gallery on saturday & became involved in a lively conversation with an excited lady who found the whole process v. fascinating. She was earnestly looking at everyone's portraits & deciding which side was vulnerable or hard or artistic or playful or whatever. She told me the Alien Ear side of me was the Disciplinarian & the other side was the Artistic Dreamer.

I was completely stumped. For the life of me, I couldn't see any of that . Maybe I was blinded by The Ears.
But of course I just loved the attention.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Miracle of the 'Mad Men' Dinner

Last night was my weekly 'Mad Men' dinner. 
It's a v. appropriate name for a dinner that I might host. Not that I'm taking any cheap shots at anybody or anything.
Some of you may wonder what constitutes a  'Mad Men Dinner'.  You may have imagined a whole lot of crazy middleaged guys Behaving Badly whilst we raucous women throw rotten tomatoes at them. 
Sadly, that's not it.
 It's a cable TV show convincingly set in a Madison Ave Advertising agency in the early sixties. There's a large cast of characters & many of them are Rather Mad Men who behave appallingly whilst smoking cigarettes from every orifice. You could get lung cancer just from watching the show.
Luckily for me, none of my local pals have Cable. But I do. So I'm Suddenly Popular.

Look at the picture above will you. Tyler, my wonderful stepson again joined us for dinner. As you can see, he's a little in awe of the intense light just above the statue of  Our Lady With No Hands. In fact, we were all a little amazed.
Was this the precursor to a Vision, like Fatima or Lourdes, perhaps? 
I have always been terrified but also fascinated by these Earthly visions ever since I was originally told about them by Hateful Sister Rosalia in Kindergarten. She told us five year olds that Our Lady had visited these three stupid peasant kids in Fatima in about 1917 & told them three secrets that they could only tell to the local priest who would then pass them  on to The Pope. Over the years, the first two secrets were revealed. I can only vaguely remember one of them, which was that Evil Communism was threatening to take over the world & kill us all. And all because the world didn't go to Mass on sundays enough.
 That scared the living daylights out of me. 
But the thing that made me totally unable to sleep with the light off was that Only the Pope knew the contents of the Third Secret. And he wasn't going to tell.
Instantly, I knew what it was. 
Now, you may think that a five year old wouldn't know such things. But I was an Old Soul, as they say. I'd been around before. I knew that the Third Secret was about the World ending by perhaps one of those large bombs that I'd heard about. I sat at my little desk a complete mess.
And I hated that Mary for coming & smarmily telling hideous secrets, all the while looking like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth. What was the point? Did she really think that the whole world was suddenly going to drop everything & race off to Mass every Sunday just because she tells little peasant kiddies that ? I don't think so.
So, it was with some surprise & relief that when the contents of the Third Secret finally came out in the nineties, it was a Complete Fizzer. The Vatican revealed that it told of the Pope's assassination attempt in the early eighties. Yawn. But what a relief all the same. All those years of mindless worrying for nothing. Maybe I wasn't born an Old Soul after all. 
Just a Worried One.

And now for The Food.
 Each week, everyone brings something with a Slightly Sixties feel to it. My parents favourite hors d'oevre (bad spelling) was Angels on Horseback, which were smoked oysters with bacon wrapped around them. And then there were tinned prunes again wrapped in bacon. It was amazing how versatile bacon was back then.
So far, I haven't served up any of these delicacies. But I might soon.
Last night I made Potatoes au Gratin which became a firm favourite of mine in I believe, the late sixties. I'm proudly showing it off, below, along with my bare arms that I usually cover. What a risk taker!
The potato dish was served with a Brave Meatloaf that Jenny made. 
The Grand Finale was Traditional Trifle made by Monica.  Jenny is looking on as if she's never seen anyone use whipped cream in a can before. What a sheltered life.
Because I have v. strict dietary rules, like no carbs after lunch & hardly no wine, I find these weekly feasts a magnificent treat. I let everything slide & shovel in as much as I like & even have a couple of glasses of wine. 

Mad Men, Carbs & Wine. What more could I want?