Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Grateful Grabber

Some months back I Discovered Gratitude.
It's not that I didn't thank people before, although I was always bad at sending thank you notes as a child, something I still feel a little guilty about, & I'm wondering if that's the reason that my Godmother  dropped me after I turned 21. 
But I never much thought about actually Being Grateful. I just grabbed as much as I could.
Nowadays, I'm still a grabber, but a Grateful One.
It all started when a colleague at school told me that her mother writes down five things that she's grateful for every day in a special book. I immediately loved the idea & began doing it myself. And, when a few months later this woman had some kind of Brain Aneurysm & nearly died I was undaunted. Admittedly, I stopped doing it for a little while, but since I found out that Oprah does it too, I'm Back on Track.
So I'm posting these snaps taken freshly today by my Default Schoolgirl Photographer Happy, to show off my Magnificant Houndstooth 'Simona' coat which was given to me by The Duchess' Mother- in-Love, Joy.  Thank You Ladies. Such a wonderful thing !

The Hierarchy of Men

Yesterday, someone (Darla) noticed that I'd written on the whiteboard 'Hierarchy of Men'. She wondered what I meant.
Yes, it does sound intriguing, doesn't it? What could Unlucky In Love Middleagedteacher be telling a pack of Back-achingly Bored seventeen year old girls about Men?

'Girls.....if there's one thing I want you to remember in all the myriad things that I've taught you is that there's such a thing as a Hierarchy of Men. The Man at the Top, for example, Jeremy Northam shown in this photo in his role as Mr. Knightley in 'Emma' is  Such a Man. Perhaps Richard Armitage as Mr. Whatsisname in 'North & South' is another. But  Colin Firth as Mr Darcy is the Exemplar.
These are the Men you must aim for Girls. Don't accept anything less.'
Of course I didn't say anything of the sort. I was just ranting on about Men in 'Emma'. 
But as I was writing that little imagined piece of advice, it occurred to me that that was exactly the sort of Ridiculous Mumbo Jumbo that passed as Received Wisdom when I was young. Stuff like,
' You can tell the character of a Man by the quality of the shine on his shoes'.

But now I've started to think more about The Hierarchy. I can see hundreds of men, all standing on top of  each other's shoulders, perhaps with a slight lean to them, looking like A Human Leaning Tower of Pisa. 
Who would be placed in the middle? Maybe Reliable Chartered Accountants and Suburban Dentists. 
And what about the Bottom? I shudder to think.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Over at my flickr photostream I've revealed my New Obsession. 
Michele Obama. And it's about time too. Jackie's Dead & I've Got To, repeat Got To Move On.
So every day I trawl through NY Mag's online Michele Obama Look Book  to devour more images of her so I can pretend to Shamelessly Copy.
You can see in the photo above that I'm Shamelessly Copying Mobama Arms. I like to call them Mobarms.
And look closely at my newly shaped & tinted eyebrows or should I say, Mobrows. Aren't they adorable?
Sadly, I think that I'd look like Hilary Clinton if I stood next to Mrs Obama, although I'd never be seen dead in a 'Slack Suit', or are they called 'Pantsuits' now? What I mean is, I'd look little next to her, although probably not quite as little as the Incredibly Shrinking Queen of England looked next to her. 

The Sartorialst Hits Sydney & Doesn't Take My Photo

The Sartorialist is in town. Do I have to go through who or what he is or what?
Let me summarise in as few words as possible: Scot Schumann is Possibly a short man (not that I think tiny men have power issues or anything) who rules over the world's most popular street fashion blog. He takes photos of lots of Middleaged & even Slightly Elderly Men who wear dapper  bespoke clothes that can look, a little, dare I say, Silly. Then he takes photos of Fashion Insiders of both genders generally smoking outside some Exclusive Fashion Event, like 'the tents' during NY Fashion Week or Paris or Milan or even Sao Paulo. Honestly, You can bet your bottom dollar that at any given week it's  'Fashion Week' somewhere in the world. I was hoping that because of the 'Economical Downturn' (a phrase used by one of my twelve year old students) that 'Fashion Week' might be shelved in favour of 'Thrift Week', but no such luck.
Here in Sydney & of course Melbourne, which is really the Home of Australian Style it's Fashion Week, so He's Here.
That's a Long Summary. But let me assure you, Every Word was Needed.
So, Scot & his camera positioned himself in probably the daggiest parts of Sydney - near the Opera House & the Harbour Bridge. Here's a photo showcasing one of his most popular looks - Towering Inferno Shoes & Big Black Statement Bag. 
Meanwhile, in another part of Sydney Harbour, I was slaving over a Hot Whiteboard even though only yesterday I was at home sick with a Mild Case of Pig Flu.
In the photo, I'm struggling to find some poor student's work that I can't find because I'm really thinking about the wonderful Toy Chanel Quilted Handbag on the desk that my friend & colleague, Princess Pip just bought back from a Place that Makes Them . 
What is it about Me & Toy Chanel Bags? What do they mean, I wonder?
Don't ponder too hard because I'd like you to click on the image of me standing next to the board. Next, enlarge it so you can see the wonderful Faux Sixties Op Art pattern on my newly-thrifted coat dress. 
Sadly, I know that even if I was walking past The Sartorialist, he wouldn't stop me & ask for my photo. So, I'll just have to keep getting my students or me to do it instead. 
There's always a way around everything.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Oh God.
I had it all planned that I'd Burst Back into the Blogosphere with a Magnificent Post, full of verve & panache. Funny, breezy, ascerbic, with just a little touch of The Brave Martyr, like Joan Crawford, perhaps in 'Mildred Pearce', (one of my favourite films by the way)  lightly carrying the emotional weight of the world on my ample shoulder pads.
Instead I got sick.
I'm not kidding, I thought that I'd got Pig Flu. Last night as I lay in bed tossing & turning, boiling hot & then unexpectedly icy cold, I racked my brain as to where I could have contracted it. I certainly hadn't been to Mexico. 
When I woke up this morning, I seemed to have worsened. It was the first day back at school after our holiday. How could I stand in front of the whiteboard with Pig Flu? It would be Too Irresponsible. 
So I rang in sick. 
I went back to bed & wondered what to do next. For a while I listened to 'Mindfulness', an audiobook by some fabulous spiritual teacher called Jon Kabat-Zinn. The earphones made my earache worse, so I stopped listening. 
Then I got up & had two aspirin & three thousand milligrams of Vitamin C. And I've been doing that every four hours for the whole day.
 My answer to everything is Vitamin C. Never mind that I could be killing my kidneys. A small price to pay for not having Pig Flu.
And now it's Night & I'm feeling Slightly Better. 
So, I'm going back to bed to listen to more audiobooks. I've ditched Jon Kabat-Zinn for Lynne Mc Taggart who I discovered on Oprah's 'Soul Series' radio programme. Lynne is going to talk to me about how we live in this silly Newtonian Universe when really we should be living in a Quantum One. I'm quite interested & find her no nonsense confident American voice quite soothing. Just what my Pig Flu needs.
I've got sooo many pictures of my amazing thrifted finds from 'Bednobs & Broomsticks' to show you.  Sooo... stick around

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Small Savoury Platter

As this is my last post for two weeks, I decided that it would be a Corker.
Well, perhaps more of a Smorgasbord or at least a Small Savoury Platter.  I've collected some seemingly random images from my recent Wide & Varied life which I'll walk you through.
Yesterday was the last day of Term 1. And not a moment too soon. I have this theory that the school just Has to Go on Holidays frequently because if it didn't, it would burst. The emotional temperature gets too high. 
I, of course act like I'm Above it All, as you can see in the photo below. 
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Look at the first photo, above. I took it yesterday after my Year 9 class had a lesson reproducing their favourite image of the term. We spent most of it studying 'Romeo & Juliet', so that's why a student has written, 'Everybody Dies' which doesn't really sum up the play for me. In my view, Not Enough People Die in it.
While my students were beavering away on sheets of paper, I drew my favourite image of the term on the whiteboard, which was the v. nasty scene where Hateful Lord Capulet calls his daughter, Juliet a 'Green Sickness' & a 'Green Baggage'. And I  thought that my father was a pain.

Please note my newly-thrifted 'Bally' metallic blue shoes that I've been banging on about all week. I spent the whole of yesterday trotting around in them, which let me tell you, was Quite a Feet. (ha). They have a reasonably high heel for a woman who mainly wears faux ballet flats, but of course they are nothing like the Towering Inferno Heels of Victoria Beckham. My great challenge was not to walk like a Drag Queen in them. You know, that kind of gangly splayed walk that Drag Naifs can have.
Anyway I'm thinking that the shoes are contributing to a Slightly Slutty look that I'm going for.

Next is a container of Pouring Custard & a dish of Peach Cobbler, which Magnificent Moniker made for last Sunday's 'True Blood' dinner. 
Last week she made Plum Pie. I'm hoping for Bombe Alaska next. 
I put this photo in because these rather homey & old fashioned but beautifully made desserts are the Absolute Highlight of my Culinary Week. 
 Most of the time I am fairly abstinent. In fact I enjoy looking down my nose & saying a Snooty 'No thanks' when someone at school offers me  even a tiny chocolate easter egg. 
But certainly not on Sunday night. I just shovel in it as fast as I can.

This aged sign intrigued me when I looked closely at it in the Art Deco foyer of the Enmore Theatre this week when I saw Lucinda 'Muffin Top' Williams. It's probably been sitting there misspelling 'Snacks' as 'Smaks' for the past seventy or so years. 
Was it deliberate, I wonder? Was the pre WW2 signwriter just having a little joke & hoped that no one would notice? 
One of Life's Little Conundrums, I guess. 

I'm almost finished. Look closely at my young colleague, Princess Pip. I just had to post this because she bought the rather Authentic Faux Hermes Scarf at lousy old 'Cotton On' for ten bucks. I was both Happy & Infuriated when she told me.
Happy, because I could rush out & buy one  first thing tomorrow when the shops finally open as they have been shut all day because of Good Friday which is ridiculous because Australia is the most heathenistic country on Earth for God's Sake. How's that for an Anarchic Sentence? I told you I was on holidays.
Infuriated, because I actually own a Real, not Faux Hermes Scarf that I bought when I was working at 'Harrods' in London in 1974. And Princess Pip's looks a little too much like mine.

Well, that's My Savoury Platter. I hope you found something in it to your taste. I'm off for the next two weeks. But I'm going to still be posting on my flickr site.
Please Please Please be here when I return.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Everyone Who is Not a Celebrity Should Have an Online Wardrobe Diary

Usually I'm not one for celebrating Anniversaries & I Absolutely Fear Birthdays. Or at least, The Old Me felt that way.
But now I'm The New Me, I'm loving every Milestone I can lug around.
So today I'm celebrating a Blogging Anniversary. But it's not mine. No no no. I let my One Year Anniversary on February 21 2009 quietly slip past. I was just too Aw Shucks & Shy to draw attention to it.
It's Sheila from Ephemera's blog anniversary. She, also was going to let it quietly slip by, but I wouldn't let her. 
So I sent Sheila some questions to answer & promised that I would blog her before going on my Two Week Blogging Holiday starting tomorrow, Good Friday. Such a perfect time to be going on a blog holiday. In Australia, Good Friday or Easter Friday, which may or may not be observed in other countries, certainly not China where I'm sure they hardly ever go on Holidays, is one of the Most Depressing Days of the Year. Everything is Shut, although Worried Retailers have been recently pressuring the government  to be allowed to open. But they said no. 
Good Friday in Sydney feels like everyone's at home watching Cecil B. deMille's 'King of Kings'  or 'The Passion of the Christ' or maybe 'The Life of Brian' on TV. I'm sure people are sulking because they're not allowed to shop.
Anyway, back to Sheila.
Look closely at the three photos posted above. Clearly, they are Not Me. And clearly, it's not my closet, but you wouldn't necessarily know this. 
One photo is Sheila's first wardrobe diary photo she posted. And another photo is Sheila's latest photo posted today. And I'm not going to tell you which one is which.
 Work that out for yourself.
 The middle photo is her  closet, which houses her amazing Tower of Power Shoe Collection & a giddying array of designer label outfits mostly bought Not at Full Price.
I was interested to find out that Sheila has had quite a long history as a writer, beginning with diaries from age 7. She accumulated 14,000 posts over five or six years on an online movie forum before moving to an online journal thingy which sounded like a wonderful way to develop your writer's voice, but perhaps a little lonely because people tended not to read much or comment. 
Sheila Shared, as opposed to Over-Shared, in her first post that she had lost sixty pounds in the previous year. No wonder she wanted to scream, 'Look at Me' by creating Ephemera!
Her Blogging Inspiration is Kasmira from whatiwore2day, who I know is an inspiration to many (including me) 
A couple of other Salient Points - Sheila says that posting wardrobe pics has definitely improved her posture & given her a more accurate Whole Body image of herself. 
Clearly, everyone in the world who is Not a Celebrity should have an Online Wardrobe Diary. The World would be a better place if we all had One.
Keep Blogging Sheila!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Anarchy Heaven

A night or two ago I went to a Lucinda Williams concert. It was thrilling. For a number of reasons which I'll walk you through............

Oh, by the way, today was the end of Term 1 & the beginning of my two & a half weeks holiday.
So, in celebration, I am going to Set My Sentences Free even more than I normally do. I may start a sentence mid-sentence & maybe even finish it mid-sentence. I may attempt to write in the style of Virginia Woolf or Agatha Christie or Alice Walker. Famous Literary Characters, like for instance, Blanche duBois may make Guest Appearances & pose for Wardrobe Remix. 
 Sounds like Anarchy Heaven. 
But I just remembered that on friday I am going on a two week Blogging Holiday. So that means that I've only got a couple of posts to do this. 
Better Start Pronto.......

1. It was a Christmas Gift from Peter & Nigel who own my local cafe, 'Zinc'.
2. We had front row seats.
3. Lucinda is six weeks older than me.
4. It was a chance to dress in my new Slightly Slutty way.

Isn't this exciting? Are you following me? I hope so.
When Lucinda first came out I was mildly shocked & disappointed. Not that I expected  her to look like Kylie Minogue or Madonna or even Dolly Parton.
  I took one look at her Last Century Rock Chick Standard Outfit & instantly wanted more. In fact I wanted frequent Costume Changes - a Delta Airlines Flight Attendant, a Middle Ranking Executive in a navy suit & pearls, HM Queen Elizabeth & maybe Miss Peggy Lee for the Encores. 
But of course Lucinda doggedly kept the same outfit on for the whole two hours.
 I am now going to say something Quite Harsh: It looked like she made up the outfit about twenty years ago & in the intervening years hadn't bothered to check in the mirror to see that she had grown a Medium Muffin Top. If you don't believe me, look at the photo.
Now I'm going to Attempt a Save: I admired Lucinda's Muffin Top. Mind you, I wouldn't like to have one myself. 
But..... It in no way detracted from her Absolutely Amazing Voice &  Total Mastery of the stage.
And I just love that she's my age & at such a Creative Peak & everyone is madly applauding her & thinking she's fab & wonderful & not ready for the Seniors Card. Or if she is, she just uses it to get free transport & other discounts & still keeps on rockin

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Debbie Harry in her Middle Years.

You may wonder who the Old Dame is above. It's Certainly Not Me.
 I stole the picture from The Sartorialist
I was attracted to it for a couple of reasons:
1. She is Old. And how often do we see Old Fashionable Women, except of course on this blog?
2. I sort of like what she is wearing although she does remind me of one of the suspects or perhaps the victim in a David Suchet version of Agatha Christie's Poirot which is set always in 1936. You know, Lady Honoria Entwhistle, an eccentric dowager, who was found dead in her bed from strychnine poisoning.  

Here's Me Below. I'm nothing like The Old Dame who, by the way has finger waves in her hair which of course is Totally Poirot, so I'm right . But I bet she wouldn't like to be considered a Period Piece. But maybe she doesn't give a Rats.
I think Old Finger Waves owns a fashionable boutique in Milan. In the photo I've just finished teaching a lesson about Jane Austen's 'Emma'. We couldn't live more different lives. But maybe not. Maybe she reads Jane in the translation, although I couldn't imagine what reading it Italian would be like. 

You know, I've been writing this blog entry on & off now for nearly two days.  Make that three. I'm not sure why. Normally I just sit down & it all comes pouring out of me like warm custard. 

OMG.....  that's it. Maybe I have Officially Nothing Left  to Say. I'm like one half of those Tired Old Couples that you see in restaurants sitting forlornly sipping wine & chewing out of the side of their  mouths whilst looking off  into the distance. And not saying a thing to each other. When I was young, I was convinced that every restaurant in the world had to have at least one of these couples  at any given time. It was the rule. You know, like the rule that no matter where you work, there's always got to be At Least One Really Barking Mad Person working with you besides yourself. 

I think I need a holiday, which is really convenient because Term One will be over in three days (its' now Monday, even though the blog post probably says saturday) School will be shut for two & a half weeks. Unlike last hols when I went into a panic because I thought I would drown in my Own Miserable Thoughts, I'm looking forward to this one. 
So, I am going to go on a Blog Holiday beginning on Good Friday. And I will return two weeks after that. I wonder if I will have any readers left? 
Oh well, as Stupid Scarlett O'Hara said, 'I'll worry about that tomorrow'.

Oh, I don't seem to have run out of things to say at all.  Funny that.
Look below at my newly thrifted Bally metallic blue pumps. I couldn't be More Thrilled. I paid fifteen bucks for them. And you may well say - 'Yuk.... I wouldn't pay fifty cents for them'.
 I like to think that the blue is the same blue in the coat of The Finger Wave Dame. See how I'm nicely tidying up this post, creating links back to the beginning?
Tonight I'm going to a Lucinda Williams Concert. The owners of 'Zinc', my local cafe are  kindly taking me. And we're sitting in the front row. I can't wait to wear these shoes because I'm sure they'll provide me with the Slightly Slutty Look that a Rock Concert demands. I'll pretend I'm Debbie Harry in her Middle Years.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Young Enough for the Front Cover of 'Seventeen'

Is it just a Old Folk Tale that women who live together or whatever end up having their Period at the same time?
I'm sure it's true.
Anyway, we teachers cooped up in The Staffroom together have Successfully Moved  Way Beyond Periods into another more Splendid Realm. 
So, instead of having our menstral cycle in sync, it's our Wardrobes instead. 
It's uncanny the number of days that we come to school wearing similar outfits & colours. 
Mind you, not everyone fits into this mould. Aunt Neddy, for instance never wears anything other than black & white with perhaps the occasional   muted colour in an elegant Body Wrapping that only She knows how to pull off. 
 You may think that I'm only saying this in order to Crawl to a Colleague. But I'm not. Besides, I don't think she reads this. 
Yesterday, a number of us turned up looking v. similar - lots of patterns & spots & stripes all in shades of red, white, blue & black. Maybe you could call it Poor Woman's Ralph Lauren Resort.
I'm not sure.
Anyway, The Spotted Duchess looks Regal  in  her  Red  Suede 'Follow Me Homes' . Ernestina looks Fabulously Foxy in her bubble skirt & sexy new hairdo. I'm posing like a Las Vegas Showgirl without the height & the Other Assets.
And we all look young enough to feature on the front cover of 'Seventeen Magazine'.