Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sobbing At Toys

As promised, I went to see 'Toy Story 3' with Trixie this morning.
There is something slightly decadent & naughty about attending a Movie Theatre in the morning. Like you're truanting or something.
We both loved it.
And we both cried. Yes, that's right. At Toys.
Towards the end, they all held hands one by one because they were about to be incinerated. Only of course they were saved in the nick of time.
It was one of the most moving things I've seen in a movie in a while. And..... I started crying again as I was drying my hands in the ladies room afterwards. In fact, I thought I was going to Completely Break Down like with Sound Effects, but managed to pull myself together by thinking about Lunch.
Food never fails to distract me.
Perhaps you are thinking that I may be a little Unhinged.
Perhaps you're right. But only this morning I was relieved to read in the newspaper how Grown Men who might have Super- Masculine Jobs like carpenters & plumbers are blubbering themselves silly over 'Toy Story'. In fact, whole cinemas are irretrievably breaking down.
So its not just me for a change.
Anyway, I made this little artwork above as a Homage (pronounced Hom-arge) to the film. Sadly, I didn't have a Jessie Doll (or whatever her Name is. I'm waiting for when all the toys become giveaways in 'Happy Meals') so I paired ol'Buzz with a Troll. Sadly, its not quite the same.
You may be wondering how I achieved the Lifelike affect, you know, like Buzz & his Troll Girlfriend are actually standing in a marble floored living room straight out of the pages of a vintage 'Architectural Digest'. You can see that the backdrop is paper because there's a crease on the right hand side. Then I position the models inside the backdrop & take a photo. Its that simple.
I wish the rest of my life was.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Showing & Telling More Than I Thought I'd Tell

This is a Show & Not Tell Much Blog Entry.
1. I'm now on holidays for perhaps three weeks but it doesn't feel like it because I've got to mark 74 papers by friday. I'm not Officially Whining, merely stating a fact.

2. Whilst on hols I intend to resume my Middleagedteacher Happiness Project by doing something that I love doing every day. I begin tomorrow by meeting my friend Trixie & seeing 'Toy Story 3'. Tyler & Hunter have seen it & assure me that it is right up my alley, particularly when Ken gives Barbie a tour of his wardrobe.

2(a) After the movie which we hope isn't full of screaming children also on School Holidays, we will eat our usual meals at 'Nando's Slightly Mexican Chicken Eatery' in the Food Court of Broadway Shopping Centre in a part of Sydney that makes me nervous for Reasons I Can't Divulge But I'd Love To. We may see if 'Target' has a DVD sale on. Perhaps I might venture into 'K-Mart' for more Yoga/Boot Camp outfits. Talking of which, I would sooo long for all of Jane Fonda's workout outfits including Leg Warmers from a long ago decade to be re-launched. Is that the right word, I wonder? I would snap them up with glee. And perhaps greed.

3. The picture above is the window of a local shoppe, 'Macleay on Manning'. It v. briefly featured floral watercolours by artist, James Gordon. I totally love them & have considered spending my holiday painting flowers instead of Shivering in my Studio. Or is it, 'Angsting in my Atelier'? Or 'Brooding in my 'Boudoir'?

4. During the term I uncharacteristically walked into a Science Lab. Sadly, as an English teacher, I have little use for a Lab. With large models of Human Internal Organs & Real Dead Things languishing in formaldehyde, I am reminded of Damien Hurst's Artwork only at a fraction of the price.
Anyway, I found this poster of the Human Digestive System decorating a lab. I was instantly entranced. I hope you are too.

5. I am still amazed by the growing population of Eiffel Towers all around me.
Is it a sign? Should I go to Paris? I have always eschewed Frenchness, particularly the way that Middleagedwomen carry on about it.
Oops.....better get off that Topic Quick Smart in case I offend somebody. Can't have that.

6. Lastly, I do so love a Message Pinned to a Tree. It was directly outside my apartment building.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Boot Camptress

I'm not bragging, but this afternoon, I Boxed Like a Bantam & Skipped Like a Butterfly.
I stayed in plank pose for a minute while doing leg raisers.
I attempted a Hindi Squat whilst holding a barbell over my head.
I panted & sweated . I tried not to swear.
Now I sound like I'm bragging.
Not that I'm getting in shape for my 40th School Reunion Buffet Luncheon or anything. I wouldn't care if I walked in looking like Bette Davis in her last movie. And I'm sure if I did, no one would notice.
If I had my way, we'd have the Reunion back in the School Hall like it was an Assembly. We'd all be dressed in the School Uniform with our hair as it was back then. Mine would be in plaits like a Dishevelled Heidi . I would have to use hair extensions & not to wash my Existing Hair for at least two to three weeks beforehand to create the Exact Effect.
I can't think what would happen next. Perhaps we could hire a Professional Actor to stand on the stage dressed as a nun holding a microphone up to her mouth whilst she barks at us.

This is a Lame Idea. It must the Massive Endorphins swarming my body after Boot Camp.
Instead, why don't I walk you through this Small Series of Photos which demonstrate how swiftly & economically I change from Middleagedteacher to Bootcamptress?
Oooo.. I could have made a new word. I'm quite sure no one has said 'bootcamptress' before. Perhaps for good reason.
Anyway, The first snap was taken fresh out of the classroom. Note I'm wearing Houndstooth & Polka Dots. The only hint that I May be Sporty are the two sweatbands on my wrist, one with a pearl bracelet on it.

I'm peeling off the first layer to reveal a 'Trent Nathan' wool dress that I thrifted at 'BednobsEtc' a couple of years ago. It had unsightly should pads that I cut out. And its just short enough to contain a mere whiff of 'Slightly Slutty' without screaming it.
Oh, by the way, everything except the polka dot footless tights was from 'Bednobs'.

That's it. I'm done. All I've got to do is peel off the boots & put on my Pink Puma runners & I'm ready for action.
I absolutely loathe that type of shoe by the way. I feel Out of Sorts every time I wear them. But wear them I must if I'm going to avoid a Hip Replacement in a few years which is one of the Big Motivating Things that Miss Jay, the Games Mistress barked at me this afternoon when I didn't want to do anymore squats. Wacko.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Goal Number 1 With a Bullet.
Here I am in front of one of my Favourite Walls being Fearless. Or at least imagining what it would be like.

I've always been fearful.
Actually, no. Petrified.
As a child I was terrified of Clowns & Dogs. A clown went 'Boo' in my face when I was v. little. After that I couldn't go to any birthday parties if a clown was going to be there. Or if I did, I'd have to go to a Clown-Free part of the Birthday House where I would sit quietly shivering whilst I picked at a Lonely Cocktail Frankfurt or a piece of Fairy Bread.
Thank God I eventually got over that one. Imagine if it had gotten worse instead of better & I wasn't able to leave the house in case I ran into a clown?
And then of course, there were The Nuns at School. All thirteen years of them.
The most Frightening Nun that I had was called Sister Loyola. She was called 'Fish' because her mouth was perpetually poised in an 'O' shape like a Fish Mouth . And her eyes were Decidedly Fishy too. Kind of desperate & searching.
'She called me a 'Supine Spineless Jellyfish' once because I wouldn't dob another girl in. Or I wouldn't dob myself in. Or I didn't wear my school hat & gloves in the street. Or I ate hot chips in the street without my school hat & gloves on. Or I told a lame dirty joke about the definition of Hope being a pregnant schoolgirl rubbing her stomach with vanishing creme. Something or other.
I looked up the meaning of 'supine' later & was surprised to discover that it meant 'lying down perhaps on a chaise lounge'. Imagine a spineless jellyfish doing that? It gave me hours of fun but sadly didn't stop me from being Petrified of Fish.

This year, its been forty years since I've left school. The Reunion Buffet Luncheon is on next month. But that's a whole other story.

I'd like to end on a Positive Note by talking v. briefly about Goals. Every time I write the word, I type 'Goad' instead. Not on purpose. Entirely by accident. Perhaps my unconscious is trying to tell me something.
Anyway, My #1 Goal is to Become Fearless. I used to think it was v. clever & almost sneeky to 'Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway' which was my favourite self-help book at one time. Like, 'I'm not gonna let that lousy ol' fear get the better of me! What would Annie Oakley do? She'd just jump on her horse backwards & then stand up on it while it was galloping! Never mind that she might have puked later!'
No. My goad/l is to completely stop being fearful. No more gnawing in the stomach. Or sweaty palms. Or dry mouth. Or occasional stuttering.
I'm off to bed to practice. Fake it till you make it.

Why I Don't Wear Jeans

The School Newspaper has asked me to write another column. Here it is.

Why I Never Wear Jeans.
There are many many reasons why I never wear jeans. In fact, I never wear pants. Except of course when I go to Yoga or Boot Camp. But that's a Whole Other Story.
The main reason why I don't wear jeans is the photo above. You may recognise Cher. Perhaps she is not so famous now that she is oldish & has had a little too much work done, but back then (The Seventies) she was a Major Brand.
I realised early on that Cher couldn't sing & I particularly hated one of her biggest hits which was stupidly called, 'Bang Bang, He Shot Me Down'. But I absolutely adored the way she looked in this photo. And I wanted to look Just Like Her.
Sadly, my genes wouldn't let me. But that didn't stop me from wanting to. At first I thought it was just a matter of losing weight. All I need to do, I thought, was to stop eating pineapple donuts (my favourite food at the time) every day.
It didn't work. I couldn't stop eating & I finally realised that even if I did, I wasn't ever going to look like Cher in jeans. A crushing blow.
So, I decided that if I couldn't look like Cher in jeans, I would give up jeans forever.
And that's what I did.

But recently I saw a pair of 'John Galliano' jeans on sale at 'Bednobs & Broomsticks', my favourite op-shop for twenty dollars. Because I can Never Resist a Label, I took at radical step & tried them on.
When I looked in the mirror in the change room, I didn't look like Cher in Jeans.
I'll just have to find a Galliano dress instead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Home Other Than My Own

Today I'm Making a Home Visit.
Please come with me.
The home is owned by my friends, Merlin & Maud who are pictured above with their dog Rabbit. I v. generously visited them yesterday for a hearty brunch.
It is a spacious Terrace House in Sydney, built in the late nineteenth century where The Museum of Natural History meets The Pickwick Papers With Modern Conveniences.
I've always wanted to talk like that. You know, where Something Meets Something Else. Like SATC 2 is 'The Red Shoes' meets 'The Wizard of Oz'. Or 'Casablanca' meets 'The Princess Diaries'.
I've just realised that only a v. special kind of brain can actually do that & I don't have that kind. But perhaps its an Acquired Skill.
Like Skipping. Ooo.. I must tell you about My Skipping Renaissance. Remember that I told you that Miss Jay produced some fairly shoddy skipping ropes at Boot Camp & demanded that we skip a hundred skips & I couldn't even skip One Skip?
Well, last thursday I suddenly remembered how to skip & skipped seventy. Hurrah! Move over, Mike Tyson!

Another Character in a Sit Com.
This has got to be the Absolutely Best Photo Ever taken of me. Maud took it. Of course I'm totally channelling Morticia Addams from 'The Addams Family', who I never really liked because I didn't know what she saw in her creepy buck-teethed husband, Gomez. Remember how he used to maul her arm like he was lasciviously gnawing on a Lamb Shank?
Anyway, the only thing that I have in common with Morty is that she sat on a huge Cane Chair & so am I, only Maud found this one in the back lane near her house.
Finding furniture & other treasures in the street is my Absolutely Favourite Way of acquiring things. Sadly though, I've never had much luck, although last year I did drag home a wooden bookcase which proudly holds my collection of Schoolgirl Annuals from the late fifties & sixties.

Two Grandmothers
The painting which is of Sydney Harbour featuring Fort Denison before the Harbour Bridge was built was painted by Maud's grandmother. My own grandmother was certainly living in Sydney at the same time, but she didn't paint. Instead, she chain-smoked out of a long cigarette holder whilst still managing to have nicotine stains on her fingers which she diligently scrubbed off each morning in the bath with a pumice stone. She read Carter Brown & Mickey Spillane & Earle Stanley Gardner crime stories whilst she smoked. What a peach.
But back to Maud's Grandmothers. Note the beautiful little picture of a tweeting bird on the left of the painting. That was sent to Maud by her other grandmother in Germany.
There's nothing besides finding Treasures on the Street that I like more than an old edition of a book I love. If you look sideways at this intriguing Domestic Still Life, you will note that the top two books are 'Vanity Fair', Vols 1 & 2. I soo loved hating Becky Sharp when I was young & totally thought that she got her well-deserved comeuppance at the end by running a Boarding House. Of course I'm now gripped with fear that this is going to happen to me. But that's a whole other story.
Can you see the bone & the little birds?

Its time to say goodbye to Merlin & Maud's Home.
I'd love to end with a Wonderful Sentence that summed up to a tee their home. But I'm too tired. I'll just give you a few words & you can string them together yourself:
whimsy, memories, comfort, delight, happiness, heart, family, warmth, belonging.

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Do Love Nothing More Than a Recurring Consonant

No Walking Down Steep Hills for This High Flyer.
Hi Netters!!
At this v. moment, I am feeling a range of emotions all the way from 'A' to 'B'.
Of course I'm rather self-consciously stealing that line from Famous Alcoholic Wit, Dorothy Parker who said that about Katherine Hepburn's acting.
I won't bother walking you through all of them, but I guess the Main Emotion is Frustration.
You see, I've been desperate to post my entry about attending The SATC charity event for Simply Days, but sadly have been prevented because I had to mark a hundred & twelve exam papers over Our Almost Over Queen's Birthday Long Weekend.
And now its almost my Official Bedtime. So I must hurry along. And I'm in Teacher Marking Mode instead of Blog Mode. Quelle Horreur!
Oh dear, I hope I'm not whining or even worse, Making an Excuse.

It happened on thursday nite. A large Gaggle of Middleagedwomen descended on a local cinema to drink a Cosmo & eat sushi that came as part of the ticket price. Note that I've used the term 'gaggle' as a Collective Noun. But it doesn't feel right.
Perhaps 'Melee' would be better. A Melee of MAW. Oh, I do love a Recurring Consonant!

I spent quite a large hunk of time talking to The Towering Inferno Lady in the first photo. I was mesmerised by the height & was anxious to ask her about walking in them. She said that you absolutely can't walk down steep hills in them because your foot is pushed forward enough as it is.

I Want a Muscular Back Too.
And here's the Back of Miss Jay, The School's Games Mistress who is of course my Boot Camp Mistress. No prizes for guessing which character she came as. Miss Jay organised the event to raise money for 'Can Too', a charity which supports kids with cancer.

Smug Never Pays.
And here's me at the bar holding a cosmo that I didn't drink because I thought that if I drank it I might get more annoyed with the film than if I didn't drink it. I'm sure that was the right decision. But to tell you the truth, I'm a bit of a wowser anyway. I love nothing more than to smugly say 'No thanks' to a drink when everyone around me is getting legless.
Talking of Smug, take a close look if you can bear it of Me. I thought I was so extra specially smart & sassy for buying this little satin jacket at 'Bednobs&' for a v. low five bucks. If you look you can see why it was soo cheap. Nasty Sweat Stain under both armpits. Of course on the nite I was Blissfully Unaware of this which is just as well because I judged the Best Dressed.
Also note my Hair. I had it cut & then boldly asked the hairdresser to apply the Straightening Wand.
Ah! What a machine. In a twinkling, it totally transformed my hair into a Straight Silken Curtain. Oh God I wish I could think of another word for curtain that started with 'S'. Then my Blog Entry would be Compleat!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Drastic Measures

Graceland's Jungle Room or Perhaps The Kitchen.
Behold, above, what I wore today.
Desperate to keep warm in a classroom that is straight out of 'Jane Eyre', I decided to take Drastic Measures & wear a Totally Wool Dress & Matching Bolero. If you look closely you will see that The Ensemble is Orange & Brown, which gives a Strong Hint as to what decade it is from.
Desperate to get warm after I slithered out of the shower this morning, I quickly reached into the Tights Cupboard, grabbed the ocelot ones, put them on, threw the dress & matching bolero on, shovelled in raw muesli with yoghurt, furiously flossed & then frantically cleaned my remaining teeth, threw on makeup & a loose coat & ran out the door still shivering.

I should have realised that I had Slightly Overdone It when a rather mild male neighbour saw me in the street & did an obvious Double Take instead of his usual hello.
When I arrived at school, The School Nurse saw me & did a double take.
After she recovered, Nursie said that last Christmas she took her family to Graceland for a Holiday Treat & that my Ensemble reminded her of Elvis' Jungle Room. I could tell that she meant this as a Huge Compliment.
I scurried back to my desk & to the Google Machine where I immediately Googled The Jungle Room. Quelle Horreur!
Do I really look like a huge room with shag carpet & enormous lounge chairs with brown wooden armrests in the shape of serpents, I wondered?
Definitely Not.
Nay, I look more like Elvis' Kitchen. A symphony of brown cupboards, brown & orange carpet & big brown & orange Tiffany Lamps. Oh & brown Smoked Glass.

At least I was warm.

Who Actually Wore a Trench Coat in 'Casablanca'?
Last post you may recall that I made up some stuff about 'Casablanca' being the film which really put Trench Coats on the map. I said that Claude Rains & Ingrid Bergman both wore them.
Of course I was wrong even though I knew I'd seen a Trench somewhere in that film in the twenty or thirty times I've seen it.
But it was Bogie who wore it. And doesn't he look stylish ?

And here I am channeling a Game Show Hostess perhaps from 'The Wheel of Fortune', wearing the 'Ralex' trench that could possibly pass for a Burberry if you didn't look too closely. You may notice that I'm not exactly obeying all the Trench Rules that I meticulously outlined in my last entry. But I'll leave it to you to work out which one I'm disobeying.

Lastly, I was strutting down the street this morning on my way to school. Note that I no longer trudge. Or trot. That's because I've decided to become more like Mick Jagger.
Anyway, I couldn't help but notice this poor woman in front of me who was having a helluva time wobbling down the street in Towering Inferno Heels.
Quick as a flash, I took out my camera & snapped her. But sadly, the photo absolutely doesn't do justice to the height or The Degree of Difficulty.
What a shame.
Another Anti-Climactic Story. I often take both of us to the edge of a Non-Existent Precipice.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who Would Play Me In The Film of My Life?

Can I Make Ten Points About Trench Coats?
1. I was overjoyed the other day when I saw an interview with Christopher Bailey, the creative director of 'Burberry' where he said that the most stylish thing that had ever been captured in a movie was Meryl Streep wearing a Burberry trench in Central Park in 'Kramer vs Kramer'.
Do you think he really meant it, or was he merely trying to Suck Up to his bosses?
Hard to say really.
But looking at that picture above, I'd have to agree with him.

Of course, I've had a Love/Hate/Couldn't Care Less Relationship with Meryl now for many years. At present, I'm half way between Love & Couldn't Care Less, although I do think she would be the most Sensible Choice to play Me in The Movie of My Life.
I'm now frantically trying to think of a good name for the movie, or would we call it a 'Biopic?'
I can't come up with a name. All I can think of are names of films that have already been made that have got nothing to do with me.
Like 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown', a stinker of a film with Debbie Reynolds in it.
Or 'Thoroughly Modern Millie', another stinker starring Julie Andrews.
Or 'The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe', a film that might be a stinker but I can't really say because I haven't seen it, which usually doesn't stop me from pronouncing something a stinker
How about 'The Thoroughly Unsinkable Wardrobe'?
OMG. How far have I moved away from Trench Coats? And I'm only at Point 1.

2. I would loved to have a Burberry Trench. But they cost $5,000. I read this in the newspaper. Perhaps it isn't true.

3. I have a 'Ralex' trench that The Ex-School Nurse gave me as a kind of swap. I defy anyone to tell the difference between it & a 'Burberry'.

4. Every Woman & Her Dog Literally is wearing a trench in My Suburb, Potts Point, which has a Dog Shop, 'Paws Point', that sells Dog Outfits & Accessories. There are v. few dogs who venture outside without a trench these days.
Its a Trench Coat World, After All.

5. Even though trenches are considered to be a Fast track to being stylish, I do believe it is possible to Look Slovenly in one.

6. There are some Strict but Simple Rules to wearing a Trench that Hunter is beautifully illustrating, below.
a. Always tie the belt like he has done it. If you don't, it shows that you're Not in the Trench Club.
b. An alternative to 'a' is tying the belt at the back.
c. The Modern Update to Meryl's billowing Trench is to wear it above the knee.
d. To avoid Slovenliness, always button it up.

7. The Most Famous Movie Featuring The Trench: 'Casablanca', worn most famously by Ingrid Bergmann & also by Claude Rains. This film really began The Trenches long association with Stylishly Tortured Goodbyes on Rain-Soaked Airfields.
I have completely made this up. But I'd love it to be true.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Almost Being Eaten by The Rolling Stones

'He-llo Gorgeous.'
The above sentence (perhaps not a Real Sentence. Where's the Verb? Maybe 'He-lo' is a verb? But its not doing anything) is the opening line of what movie? Hint: it was a fairly lousy sequel with a MajorMajor Star in it.
Right at the v. end of this post I will tell you.
And you will also find out at the end what I'm Absolutely Desperate to Do as soon as I finish typing.
So hurry up & Read Fast.

But before we finish before we've even started, let me explain why I'm almost being eaten by The Rolling Stones.
Over the past week I've been watching two films on them. I recorded them so I could watch little chunks at a time which was by far the Most Sensible Option.
First I watched a v. recent film that I think debuted at Cannes a couple of weeks ago. It was called 'Stones in Exile', about the making of 'Exile on Main St'.
Then I re-watched Martin Scorscese's 'Shine a Light'.
I won't bother walking you through each film. Or giving you my opinion.
I'm sure you can imagine what happens in both of them.
Yes, that's right. Alot of singing. Alot of smoking. Alot of Smirking Smugness.

But perhaps you can't imagine what my opinion would be.
The answer is: I have decided to dress like Mick Jagger.
I know it will be hard because I don't wear pants except leggings or half-mast harem pants bought from the Girlswear Section of 'Best & Less'.
But I'm going to try.
And I'm also going to try to walk like him. From now on, I'm not going to trot down the hill to school like an Elderly Dorothy from 'The Wizard of Oz'. I'm going to Strut.
I hope I remember to do this tomorrow morning.

Pearl & Diamante Sweatband: Where Sport Meets Bling.
Gosh, I wish I could have thought of an 'S' word that means Bling.
If you can think of one, please let me know & I'll change this Heading.
Anyway, I'm thrilled with this Arm Candy Innovation - combining a sweatband & elasticised pearl etc bracelets. Pure Keith Richards. Certainly not Mick. Or Charlie for that matter. They would interfere with his drumming.

Would The Rolling Stones Wear This if They Were Cross Dressing Middleagedteachers?
What a silly question.
Don't bother to answer it. Although I'm now wondering which member of The Stones would look best in it. That's a tough one.
I'm v. keen on my newly-thrifted from 'BednobsEtc' Toy Chanel Jacket. I hope you can see that it has pink running through it.

And here we are at The End.
1. Here's what I'm going to do now. Or at least I was going to do now, but thanks to You, dear Reader, its Too Too Late. I must instead hop into bed with my 'Hot Date' Hot Water Bottle. But before I do, let me extol the virtues of Epsom Salts. I'm sure they do something. I'm hoping that they suck all the pain out of my aching muscles which I'm definitely going to have tomorrow evening after a session of Boot Camp Hell. Note that I have got a fancy variety with Lavender Oil in it. Such an innovation!
I'm certainly getting into some Old Fashioned Stuff. First, hot water bottles, now epsom salts.
Where can I go from here, I wonder?
2. The answer to the film question: Barbra Streisand said those words to her reflection in a backstage mirror in 'Funny Lady'.