Saturday, July 31, 2010

Writing Your Own Eulogy

Although this post is dated Saturday, its really Monday.
I lied.
You may wonder why I would bother. Its just that I wanted to have more than eight lousy posts for the month of July.
It appears that I'm Slackening Off. But don't be fooled by appearances, Dear Reader & a Half, inside I'm not.

Its Perilously Close to my Official Bedtime so I must now write in my Favourite Text Type, the Numbered Point.
1. Sadly, I've just been watching extracts from Arthur Miller's plays as well as an interview with the playwright himself. What a mistake.
Nothing depresses me more than watching even five minutes of 'Death of a Salesman'. I immediately identify with Willy Loman, even though I'm a different gender & haven't ever been a salesman, although I did work at a department store when I was young. Also, Arthur himself isn't exactly a barrel of laughs. He looks like, or I should say, he LOOKED like a bit of a Sad Sack. He's just told the interviewer that everything ends up badly for everyone in the end. I guess if you count death, he's right.

2. I'm in mourning for the end of Season 4 of 'Doc Martin'. It finished last saturday evening with me sobbing on the couch. It was v. cathartic.
Now I'm bereft. I need a new show but I can't think of anything.
Oh dear! I hope that no one will write a comment suggesting I Get a Life.

3. Behold my pure wool 'Bill Blass' tuxedo jacket I recently snatched/purloined/grabbed from 'Bednobs Etc'. I'm not sure what else I can say about it except that I wore it last friday to my ex-father-in-law's funeral & rather inappropriately felt like a million bucks in it.
While we're on the topic, it was the best funeral that I've ever been to, although I'm not in the habit of rating them. The problem with funerals is that they are either:
a. V. sad.
b. Boring.
c. Inaccurate. Like the speakers (or are they called 'eulogisers'?) say all this stuff about the Dead Person that bears little or no resemblance to the person you knew. Like the person was a Complete Saint when in fact they were a Boring Toad.
d. All of the above.
My Ex-Father-In-Law's name was Ted Kennedy, which thrilled me to the bone because my Second Favourite Kennedy as in President Kennedy was in fact Teddy. He was not a religious man, so God's Name was never mentioned during the 90 minute service at a Crematorium Chapel in a bush setting in the Central Coast.
Instead, Teddy's children & grandchildren which included Gumby, my ex-husband, & Maeflower, my daughter made wonderful speeches which made me laugh & cry & made me realise some things about the man that I didn't know before. And Ted's life wasn't sugar-coated. Everyone told the truth about him without being too too brutal.
I think that's the Perfect Combination for writing a eulogy, in case you were looking for some pointers.
Of course now, I'm wondering what I'd say if I was writing my own. Perhaps I could borrow what Arthur Miller has just said about his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe: After suffering terrible abandonment & abuse as a child & being unwanted by her mentally ill mother, things turned out badly for her, as they do for everyone eventually. But she had enormous courage.
But it wouldn't be quite true.

Monday, July 26, 2010

No Birkins, but Plenty of Op-Shop

The School Newspaper wants another column. I promised them for the next edition I would talk about Why I Would Never Buy a Birkin. What a stupid topic. Let me walk you through why :
1. Most students wouldn't have a clue what a Birkin is. They MAY think that it is something to do with Female Muslim Headwear which it certainly isn't.
2. In case you don't know, a Birkin is a large, v. dowdy handbag made by luxury designer brand, Hermes. I just adore saying 'Hermes'. I use my Best Franglais, pronouncing it 'Ermaze' instead of the more workmanlike 'Hermees'. It shows that I'm In the Know.
3. The 'Birkin' bit comes from the Francophile singer & actress Jane Birkin. God knows why they named the bag after her. It doesn't look anything like her.
4. Tyler,my stepson informs me that no-on under 45 should even consider wearing anything or buying anything from 'Hermes'. Far too Dowdy.
5. The real reason why I would Never Buy a Birkin is because I couldn't afford the $100,000 it MIGHT cost to buy a Birkin, which might be the cost of the Red Alligator Bag, not the ordinary, garden variety type.

Anyway, Newspaper Editors - Maddison, Sophie & Alex, perhaps disregard the above.
I think what I am about to type next is More Appropriate. And you know that I'm Nothing if not Appropriate.
Op Shop Parade & Stall.
I'm soo excited. In fact I'm soo excited that I'm misspelling 'so'. If I am your teacher, don't think that it is OK to spell like this because it isn't.
Anyway, I'm excited because the Op Shop Fashion Parade & Stall is coming up in Week 5.
I am relying on YOU, dear students to open your Overcrowded Wardrobes & remove any items that you haven't worn for six months. Remember the rule: if you haven't worn it in six months, you're Never Going to Wear It.
Carefully place each Unwanted Item in a bag & bring it in to me. I will reward you with a big smile & a hearty thank you. You can then feel good because you've not only cleaned out your wardrobe to make way for the new, but you've done your bit for charity. Yes, this is all for charity, girls!
If you wish to take part in the Parade, come to the Drama Room in Garcia, thursday lunchtime. Everyone wants to be stylist. Or a make up person. V. few want to be Models.
We NEED MODELS regardless of age, height & size. It will be such fun. Our Professional Make Up Artists will apply make up to you & perhaps do your hair in an interesting way. I will take your photo.

I would love to bang on about how buying Used Clothing is a Wonderful Guilt Free Shopping Experience because its cheap & it reduces your carbon footprint as well as making you feel all warm & fussy because you're donating to Charity. But I can't be bothered.
Perhaps, O Editors - Maddie et al, you can add this last bit yourselves. Feel free to use whatever image you like.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wearing a Tablecloth

Hello, & Welcome to The World of Me.
1. Its friday nite. I am back at The Whiteboard. Holidays are but a Dim Memory.
Exhausted from an all-important Apres L'Ecole Eyebrow Tint & Wax & Lash Tint, I am huddled in front of the two-bar radiator with 'Casablanca' on mute. I must have seen it at least sixty times, but as usual can't remember anything more than the Broad Brush Strokes.
Ingrid Bergman looks just as ravishing as she always does every time I watch the film. I console myself with the fact that she is dead.

2. I do so love a two dollar shop. I even like their cheap little names: 'Hot Dollar', 'Hot Potato', 'How Low Can You Go?', 'Cheap But Not Necessarily Cheerful'. The wonderful little Wild Animal fridge magnets were discovered by my daughter whilst we were trawling the aisles at a 'Hot D' in the Canberra Mall last weekend. She just HAD to have them. I almost did too.
We're not quite sure how the text fits with the animals, but I'm sure there's some link.

3. Here we are outside 'Cream Cafe' in Canberra where we had a large brunch with Maeflower's partner Russell, her step-brother Tyler & his friend Hunter. The two boys were passing through on the way to the So-Called Snowfields which had about a tablespoon of snow scattered around.
I persisted in wearing the little black & white Tablecloth dress throughout the day. I should have Never Worn It but I just can't resist the $5 Rack at 'BednobsEtc'.

4.Talking of 'BednobsEtc', tomorrow I am tempted to film it. The director, Ridley Scott who I think is a genius even though I can't bring myself to see such films as 'Gladiator' or 'Robin Hood' because they've got loathsome Russell Crowe in them but also because I couldn't stand the violence, is asking the World, or at least the Googling World to film their day tomorrow. You can't edit any of it & you have to be careful not to have any Rogue Signs visible like a giant Coke sign or maybe a Huge Picture of George Clooney sipping Nespresso, because ol' Ridley & his team are going to make a v. large film of selected films that participate in the project & they don't want to have to pay Licence fees.
But perhaps you know all this.
Anyway, I mite make a film of my day which has to be tomorrow which is a saturday & no saturday is complete without a visit to 'Bednobs'. If I do I'll post it on here.

4.(a) Last saturday nite, I cooked what some mite consider to be a Partly Austrian meal. Not that I'm really familiar with Austria except from 'The Sound of Music'. I made Schnitzel that I beautifully crumbed & then baked in the oven with Favola poured over the top & mozzarella. In the photo, I was frantically making pumpkin fritters which turned out to be the cutest & plumpest little things I'd ever seen. What a triumph! And, I got it all done before 'Doc Martin', still my favourite show, in fact, I LIVE for that show, began. And, Maeflower & Russell generously allowed me to watch it over dinner. I know its oafey of me. But I'm addicted.
4 (b) Note we are both wearing Ugh Boots. Mae is wearing Real Sheepskin ones. Mine are Toy Ughs, bought at 'Aldi' discount supermarket for eight bucks. She gave them to me.
I'm a total convert & have even been out in the street wearing them. Its like wearing a Toy Sheep.
Finally 5.
More Me & My Tablecloth. if only tablecloth began with the letter 'M'. Even though I've shown you before, I just HAD to show my 'Dinosaur' Fingers again. I bought them at their Factory Second Shoppe for ten bucks each which I thought was a steal & dovetailed beautifully into my 'Abundance Through Frugality' project. Rebecca wisely questioned why buying what appear to be coloured plastic rings for ten bucks could possibly be frugal. Just trust me on that one.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No Artificial Additives

Holidaying in Our Nation's Capital is Not an Oxymoron.
Last year I was castigated by a Disgruntled Parent of one of my students for drawing a picture of a large ox with Ewok horns & a nose ring & other piercings next to the word 'Oxymoron' on the whiteboard & making her copy it into her English Exercise Book. Perhaps I also included a short definition as well just to be on the safe side.
When the D.Parent confronted me, I burst into tears.
But I still like the word & never fail to take up any opportunity I can to use it.
As you can see.
Behold, above, Maeflower sitting on an Artificial Outcrop of Shale which was part of the Hellenic War Memorial we visited on friday. In fact, we made a tour of all the war memorials that line Anzac Parade in Our Capital, Canberra & had a bumper time.
Most of them were Australian - Memorials to Our Rats of Tobruk in WW2, Our Army, Navy & Air Force, Our War in Vietnam, Our Nurses, Our Korean War, Our War Partners, New Zealand. We spent some time critiquing each one along Strict Guidelines while we took photos of each other.
At the end, we both decided that the Tobruk Memorial was the most moving. The Poor Old Nurses one looked like a really really long shower screen that could have been easily mistaken for a Bathroom Accessory Shoppe Display. Clearly, a victim of Creative Death by Committee.

Next stop was An Enchanted Wood at the National Gallery. We just loved the Artificial Fog that sprang out of artfully placed enormous corroded iron jets.
I do so love Maeflower's outfit. She is wearing a dress that we decided is 'Azure'. Or at least, she called it that. Her grandmother bought it for her. Sadly, NOT my mother.
I have or HAD two mothers:
#1- A Wicked Birth Mother who is still alive & now 80 & is too ashamed to openly claim me & my sister Bronwyn who she also gave away 2 years before she had me;
#2- My Adoptive Mother Esme who was difficult but loving & who died 25 years ago.

No visit to Our Nation's Capital is complete without a visit to our Spiritual Home, The Canberra Mall.
Behold my newly-bought at 'Cotton On' toy sheepskin & leather jacket. This now makes three toy jackets I've acquired over the hols. I had just got it on sale for 35 bucks which is on a par with 'BednobsEtc'.
Fearful of the bitter cold of Canberra, I dragged down a huge vintage 'Acquascutum' coat which was a brand v. popular with the Royal Family, particularly the Queen Mother when she was alive.
It was a Sad Choice. Matron Central. And besides, far too bulky & unwieldy. Someone who hadn't seen me for ages recently commented that she thought I'd, 'lightened my load'. Well, I didn't want to load it up again. V. wise.
Rex, my favourite character from 'Toy Story' is behind me on the TV screen.
If I was a character in 'Toy Story', I'd be Rex. Some of you may think that I'm more Mrs Potatohead. That's not true.
When Rex exclaims, 'I can't stand all this uncertainty!!', I totally understand.

Meanwhile, back at the National Gallery Cafe, we're eating Macaroons. Since they cooked them on 'Masterchef' a couple of weeks ago, large chunks of Australia have gone mad for macaroons.
Because of my Strict Regime, I don't eat macaroons, although in honour of the show & the holidays & my daughter, I made an exception. Another wise decision.
Crunchy, yet Smooth; Light yet Substantial. Green yet Not Tasting of Grass.

I totally recommend them.
And a holiday in Canberra. Particularly if you have a daughter like mine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I can't write much because I am at my daughter's apartment in Canberra & she is playing Regina Spektor on her Darth Vader iPod speakers. Previously, we heard Florence & the Machine singing 'A Kiss With a Fist is Better Than None', a lyric that I don't fully understand. I'm sure she didn't mean it, though.
I can't write much because I Have to Have the TV on mute, or better still, on Pause, to Blog. So I am Out of My Comfort Zone.
Also, I am more than usually freezing & sincerely hope that my toes are not suffering from frostbite.
But this is of course NOT the topic de jour. This is my Constant Problem. The Blog has a life of its own. It wants to talk about what IT wants to talk about. There's a Continual Power Struggle going on.
But tonite I'm winning. No, the topic is Holiday Happiness & that's what we're sticking to.
I'm sure you're relieved.
Holiday Happiness #1: Thrifting with Almost a Sixth Sense.
Look above if you can be bothered.
Yes, its me wearing some Holiday 'BednobsEtc' Booty. Its an Alice McCall top. And pants not from 'Bednobs'. They're from the girlswear section of 'Best & Less'. Which is almost as good. I'm now going to list what I've got these holidays: One Bill Blass pure wool tuxedo jacket.
One Carla Zampatti striped silk skirt.
One Adrienne Vittadini white pleated shirt which breaks my rule about wearing white because I'm really grubby ,but I couldn't resist it because its a Known European Brand & I'm now a Total Label Whore.
Two Toy Leather Jackets.
And I've forgotten the rest which is probably just as well because it was getting a little tedious.

Holiday Happiness #2: Serious Studio Time.
Here I am wearing one of Mr Ex-Middleaged's discarded Calvin Klein tee shirts in my studio. And I'm not just wearing it for effect, either. Every time I put it on over the top of my normal clothes I know I'm serious. And you can tell by the authentically messy state of the studio that I've been doing stuff. You'll see it in a minute. Can't wait.

Holiday Happiness #3 - Dinosaur Designs Rings.
Last saturday, the Ex-School Nurse took me on a Fascinating Retail Adventure. We visited a large Auction Warehouse which was celebrating Xmas in July with fake snow & Carols. Sadly, we didn't buy anything. On the way home, we swung by the Dinosaur Designs Discount Shoppe. Not that they call it that. Guinevere, Nursie's gorgeous daughter manages it on the weekends. I bought all these resin rings for ten bucks each. Their purchase dovetailed beautifully into my 'Abundance through Frugality' Project. God, I've got a lot of projects happening. Hope I can complete them all.
I've soo much more to say, but daughter Maeflower & Me are just about to jump into the car & pick up a whole mess full of Indian Takeaway. So I must be quick.

Cutting to the Chase.
I'm just Bottom-Lining you. Behold Toilet Roll Dolls I made. Can you see that their bodies are toilet rolls? If you can't, take my word for it.
I also made the room where they are living. It was a shoe box.

Behold Jungle Room Mixed Media piece I made in honour of what one of my outfits was called by someone who had just visited Graceland. Rock Hudson in Doris Day's mink is on the left. I wonder if he ever went there?

I sold an artwork. Here it is being carried away in my lift off to live a whole new beautiful life with its owner, Harvey. It's called 'The Sexiest Man Alive' in honour of George Clooney who I'm in love with who features in the middle of the painted collage.

Here's another product of my studio. Its a shoe box interior.

Maeflower's cat just loves her Mac.

My hotel room.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Lucy, Less Charlie Brown

It is nite. I am sitting on the couch toasting my toes in front of a two-bar radiator.
it feels quite luxurious for a change.
I saw on the News tonite that the fastest growing segment of the population that (or is it 'who'?) are becoming homeless are women my age.
I absolutely knew it was a mistake to watch the news. But I wasn't quick enough with The Remote. And besides, I was feeling a little guilty that I wasn't informed enough about Bad Things.
Of course, my problem or one of them anyway, is that I over-identify with Nasty Things. I rarely, if ever identify with Women who have Homes in Places like St. Barts or Gstaad or The Hamptons & own an entire warehouse full of Birkin & Kelly Bags. Or have George Clooney for a boyfriend.

Vanity Alert!!
I just had to say that I had a complete other set of other clothes on underneath the dress that I'm wearing in the first picture. I want to make that Perfectly Clear.
Cotton pantaloons with a wide waist band, one cotton 'Bonds' singlet & one long sleeve thermal Spencer. At least, that's what I think it is still called although I haven't heard anyone using the term 'spencer' out loud for ever so long. But I can't think what else its called. If only I had a Thesaurus.

More Happiness Than You Can Poke a Stick At.
I love nothing more than Fabulously Funny & Fresh Graffiti. If only graffiti started with an 'F'.
Anyway, my friend Maud Darkstar ,whose house I profiled here a couple of weeks ago, is always on the lookout for me. For graffiti, I mean.
She found this in Newtown & rang me immediately. I raced over, heart pounding, not knowing what to expect. I wasn't disappointed.
'Lady Lash'. Perhaps its the back entrance of a Discipline Parlour. Or perhaps an Eyelash Tinting & Curling Parlour.
I'm not sure. But in any event, I thought it was a perfect spot for a Wardrobe Photo.
I'm wearing brown, one of my favourite colours, definitely the Poor Relation of the Colour Spectrum. And I always love to add a little red when I wear brown. And.... I'm wearing my new black perspex stiletto brooch that I bought last week at the Art Gallery Gift Shoppe on the Big Old Overcoat that Aileen, the 97 year old gave me. I'm draining the last little bit out of the red wool tights I bought at 'Bloomingdales' in NYC about four years ago. They've got a little hole which I'm choosing to ignore. Just like a whole lot of other things.

I Always Used to Say that Grey was The Colour of Fear.
I don't know where I got that old Chestnut from, but I don't believe it anymore, although I am a trifle fearful.
This is what I wore today when I went shopping for a 40 inch TV with Trixie to 'The Supercentre'. I certainly wasn't buying it, Trixie was.
The 'Esprit' dress & Totally Toy Leather Jacket is from 'BednobsEtc'. Yesterday,I was sooo excited when I plucked the jacket off the rack , thinking that it was Real Leather. Such a Naif.

More Eiffel Towers.
After we bought the TV, we looked in at 'Bed Bath & Table'. What a Shoppe, I say! I do love it, particularly their v. colourful & reasonably priced bed linen that appears to be permanently on sale. Because I'm still practicing 'Abundance Through Frugality', I don't bother buying bedsheets. You don't really see them anyway. I just buy pillowcases.
Reminder to Self: Showcase newly bought from 'Bed BathEtc' pillowcases in next or near-to-next blog entry.
Please note two things in the above photo:
1. I'm holding yet another Eiffel Tower replica. This one appears to be a large peg. Or perhaps a paper clip. The shop was groaning under the weight of Eiffels. I even considered buying a doona cover with one on it, even though I don't own a doona. I managed to resist the urge & came away from Our Shopping Experience only purchasing a ten dollar CD of seventeen songs from series one of 'Glee'. OMG, I'm in Heaven: 'Endless Love', 'Don't Rain on my Parade', 'Don't Make Me Over' . I'm in Drag Queen' Heaven.
2. Note my Neck Treatment. I've combined a long scarf from 'Cotton On' with a necklace of black flowers from 'Diva'.
I wish I was less like a Non-Cute-Middleaged Version of Charlie Brown & more like Lucy. In Middleage, of course.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Starting Over Even When There's No Over in Sight.

At times I wonder if I am like Most Other Bloggers.
For instance, I blog at Nite. Mostly.
Only its Daylite now. Saturday late morning. And it feels Unnatural.
My Internal Headmistress is sternly inquiring why I'm not sitting huddled in one of the local cafes sipping a latte & perhaps eating Corn Fritters, a frequent weekend treat. Or why I'm not across the road with my friend AJ critiquing all the outfits at the Faux Organic Markets. Or why I'm not rummaging through the racks at 'BednobsEtc'.
The answer is:
1. I've already done all that stuff except for the corn fritters which I am postponing because I am sampling Delayed Gratification as part of 'The Middleagedteacher Holiday Happiness Project'. So far, I'm not sure if putting off something good makes you feel happier in the long run. Like, leaving the best bits of food on your plate till last isn't necessarily going to make the Eating Experience better, is it?
2. I'm trying to Not Be a Slave to The Clock.

Look above at my new Bag which beautifully dovetails into 'The Double H Project' which is what I'm now going to call it.
(a) I love a New Bag. It always creates the illusion of a New Beginning, of Starting Over even if there isn't one in sight.

(b) It was a Gift. I love nothing more than a gift, although I've been told that giving is the same as receiving which may perhaps be right but I'm testing it out. Peter, the owner of 'Zinc', my totally favourite local cafe positioned right in the heart of Potts Point, the epicentre of Sydney Style, bought it back from a v. recent trip to Europe for me as well as a crucifix & a set of rosary beads from Notre Dame Cathedral. Was it an all-knowing Jesuit that said, 'Brainwash a child before the age of seven & you've got her for life' ?
The bag features The Joan Crawford Alphabet. E.G - 'A is for Axe', 'N is for Neuroses', 'R is for Rage'. Anyone who knows me knows that I love Joan Crawford & that I've modelled my eyebrows on her. The Ultimate Homarge.
I always expect that everyone knows who Joan was. Sadly, my expectations were not met earlier this week when I took the bag off to therapy to show St. Brendan, my All-Knowing Psychotherapist, at least I thought he was. He looked blank.
I wanted to scream at him, ' Well ,how the hell are you going to cure me if you don't know who Joan Crawford is?'
Instead, I smiled weakly & quietly murmured, 'No More Wire Coathangers'. And then he remembered.
Poor misunderstood Joan.

As part of 'The Double HP', I visited the Art Gallery yesterday with Trixie. We had a bumper of a time, doing all our favourite Gallery Things:
1. Drinking a latte at the cafe;
2. Visiting an exhibition where we picked out the artwork from each room that we'd most like to hang in our modest homes, size permitting. Yesterday was a show of Victorian Paintings, a subject of Particular Interest to both of us. My favourite was a large painting of a family of sheep, including lambs that were reclining on gravestones in a cemetery. Talk about cute.
Trixie's favourite was a portrait of a Redheaded Sneering Slattern.
3. Lunch back at the cafe.
4. Purchasing at the Gallery Shoppe. Trixie bought a Sherlock Holmes doll, part of
'The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild' range & I bought a perspex brooch of a vintage stiletto which will feature here soon.
5. Having a wardrobe photo taken next to a favourite Australian painting. This one is a self-portrait from twentieth century artist, Margaret Preston whose paintings & woodblocks of flowers & bushland I love & I may slavishly copy over the hols.

6. Taking a photo of a stylish woman at the cafe. I couldn't resist taking my camera out & quickly snapping this lady even though I was Mid-Mouthful. She had ocelot tights on & I was entranced by her Exciting Hemline.
Can't wait for another new episode of 'Doc Martin' tonite. Martin's ex-fiance, Louisa who is a peach now really really looks like one because she's six months pregnant. And his hateful old girlfriend has appeared. She has Seriously Nasty Hair that could perhaps be called a 'Quiff'.
Must cease typing as my hands are sore from aggressive boxing at Boot Camp on thursday. Hope its not arthritis instead.