Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's All About You

Hello Hello Hello!
Not only am I back from California, but I'm back from Christmas all Shiny like Tinsel.

In memory of Christmas, I've just consumed a sizable portion of v. moist Christmas Pudding that has been sitting in the fridge since I served it on Christmas Eve. I sensibly ate it with Low fat yoghurt which was a slightly jarring experience even though I did my best to pretend that it was Brandy Custard.
Don't think for a moment that I cooked the pudding myself. Absolutely Not. All that fuss & bother making it months in advance & wrapping it up in some dirty rag & then boiling the Living Daylights out of it for hours & hours. It's Sooo Dickensian.
I'm Far More Moderne. I bought it at The Supermarket & popped it in the microwave. Honestly, if you were blindfolded you wouldn't have known. Trust me.

Scroll back to the First Photo. I took it whilst I was being driven along Hollywood Blvd by my friend Marge. When I go to LA I like to take pictures of billboards from the car. It's a Huge Challenge, rather like scoring a parking space in 'Westfield' on the first day of the After-Christmas Sales.
Perhaps you may think I'm being a trifle fanciful, but I do think that the billboards in LA speak to me personally. And 'It's All About You' is one of my all time favourite sayings. Except that I say, 'It's ALWAYS All About Me'.

And talking About Me, here's all the stuff that I had to pack into my suitcase to take home.
Let me walk you through it. At the front are wrapped gifts for Marge's friends & family that I Slightly Resentfully took home. Never mind that some of them were for me & Maeflower.
I must now resort to a Numbered Point:
2. Four round Xmas Decoration Globes from 'Cost Plus';
3. A Xmas Card featuring a fifties Mum & kids around the Tree opening their gifts with the caption, 'Now wasn't the best time to tell the kids that they were Jewish'.
4. A book by Maira Kalman, 'The Pursuit of Happiness' which I'm slightly sour I didn't write.
5. A 'Pottery Barn' bag
6. A H&M Bag.
7. A 'Barnes & Noble' Bag.
8. A lighter in the shape of a lobster.
9. I'd better stop now. It's getting a Little Tedious.

Here's Marge wearing her vintage Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress with a vintage bracelet I gave her some years ago & a bird necklace she purchased with me at 'Forever 21' which I like to call 'Eternal 21'. I, of course bought one too. We don't mind having the same stuff. It never looks the same on us anyway. I look like a Smurf next to her.

And talking of Smurfs, here I am in the Salvation Army Depot in Thousand Oaks sitting on a v. interesting & lush looking velvet chair that Marge actually bought & has now safely installed in her front parlour.
I am excitedly wearing a genuine 'Dorothee Bis' pure wool dress that I had purchased the previous day at the Thousand Oaks Hospice Thrift Shop, a shop that I had been told that there was never anything worth buying in it. So, imagine my Utter Glee when I found this item at an astonishing 60% off ,which made it $1.60.
You may notice that I'm smugly dangling a 'Coach' handbag in my fingers. Never a particular fan of 'Coach', I casually picked it up & began a thorough inspection to see if it could possibly Be Real. My hopes were raised when I discovered a little pouch inside containing a set of rosary beads. Surely a practitioner of the Rosary wouldn't use a Fake, I mused?
Anyway, I've convinced myself that the bag is Real. While standing in line at the checkout, an enthusiastic shopper loudly asked me how much it was. I said 50% off $15. She said that she saw one in Ventura that day for $70. I suppressed the urge to clap my hands together in glee.
Later, I rushed off to the 'Coach' shop in the Thousand Oaks Mall & purchased a little 'Coach' dangly thingy. I'm not sure what their Technical Name is. A Handbag Charm? Anyway, whatever it is, it's Adorable.

Not Technically in Paris.
Marge is showing off some more of our purchases from 'Forever 21'. This one is a pendant with the Eiffel Tower on it. Everywhere I go, I see Eiffel Towers even though I'm Not Technically in Paris. Is it a sign?
I'm now toying with the idea of taking French lessons at the Alliance Francaise.
Note how I'm not wearing any make up. And I'm wearing a daggy grey top. Talk about Fearless.

I loved this window display at a shop in Malibu. I do soo love polar bears although I do believe that they will eat you if they're hungry enough.

Fluro Pink Like a Highlighter Pen.
Finally, I'm shopping at Olvera Street in downtown LA. I go there every year. Always to the same shop. And basically buy the same stuff. We're done in half an hour.
But that's not why I'm showing you the picture. Look look at the sweater. I bought it the previous day. It was $10. Because of the price, I convinced myself that it was Shocking Pink, like you know, Shaparelli Pink. Sadly, when I got it home I realised that it was more 'Fluro Pink', you know, like a Highlighter Pen. I wore it anyway.
Thankyou, ReaderRita for making those fab suggestions for places to go to in LA. Sadly, I was leaving that day. But manyana.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Never Booking in Advance

You'll be relieved to hear that I read in the LA Times that Bing Crosby is making a comeback. Up until now he's only ever been wheeled out at Christmas Time. Now it looks like we're going to be hearing from him all the year around.
The first film my mother took me to see was 'High Society'. Bing was in it. It must have been 1955. I must have been two. How ridiculous. Fancy taking a two year old on their first ever movie outing to watch a whole lot of grown ups in party clothes swill martinis & fight with each other.
Not that Disney's 'Snow White' was much better. Boring whiny Victim Snow White never has a Costume Change for the entire length of the film. Oh maybe when she's in the Glass Coffin.
But that's a whole other story.
We're talking about Christmas. Look at Me & Marge above in the frontyard of her son's girlfriend's house. It had totally been transformed into the North Pole complete with Polar Bears. You can see from the expression on my face that I was stunned. Marge is kindly petting the bears.
Here's a window display from The Gold Bug, a shop in Pasadena we visited. The Giant King Rodent was a real Conversation Piece. I was not moved to want to purchase it, although I'm sure there are many people who are just aching to own one. I felt the same way about the stuffed goats in the window display below.
But there were many other wonderful & amazing things there. I do recommend a visit.

Back to More Historic Houses. It's my last full day here in LA & as I type, Marge is scouring her computer for other Historic Houses for us to visit. She found one, The Foster House in Ventura, but it sadly burned down in August.
We thought about going to 'Lotusland' in Montecito, but of course you have to book in advance, something we rarely, if ever do.
I wonder what my life would have been like if I had Always Booked in Advance?

This is me impersonating Crazy Paving outside the entrance of Historic Adamson House in Malibu. Oh, that's another thing about us visiting these joints. They're always closed when we go so we have to peer in from outside. This place was supposed to be open, but because it was Litely Sprinkling, the Docents/Tour Guides had shut up shop. We didn't let that bother us. In fact, Marge, who is far braver than me, boldly strode into an Off Limits Area, the Poolhouse, which is where the original owner of the House, Merrit Adamson blew his brains out after becoming depressed because he lost his athleticism at aged 60. This happened in 1949.

I have absolutely oodles to tell you about this place. But perhaps you'd be bored. But I'll tell you a little anyway, because it's My Blog & I can Blog What I Want.
Look look at me impersonating the huge door. I am standing on 'Malibu Potteries' Tiles which are all over it . In fact, Adamson House is known as The Taj Mahal of Tiles.
The place was decked out for Xmas like you wouldn't believe, although not as much as The North Pole House I mentioned earlier. You could go on Nite Tours to see all the decorations lit up, but of course we didn't Book in Advance so we missed out.
I'm wearing a Wool Blazer that Marge bought at the huge 'Salvation Army' Depot in Thousand Oaks. Sadly, it doesn't fit her, but it appears to fit me.

Here's Marge impersonating a Cool Christmas Wreath. Apparently, Mrs Rindge, the mother of the original owner, stuck v. elaborate wreaths on this door. Nowadays, Strict Council Regulations prevent anything being stuck on front doors obviously for Important Safety Reasons. Note that the wreath is hanging from the door frame. That must make it hard for visitors to enter via the front door which was a problem that we fortunately didn't have to deal with.

Food has been Rather a Challenge during my visit. And also lattes. But I have set that all aside & just gone with the flow. I've happily swilled 'Starbucks' Gingerbread Lattes & even eaten Carbs after 5. Here I am proudly showing off my carb intake at a diner in Pasadena that has been proudly serving the same hamburger since 1947. Note my necklace that I bought v. cheaply at 'Anthropologie'. Also note the wearing of sweatbands. What a wonderful way of combining Style with Exercise Clothing.
It is now totally freezing. It has rained constantly for two days. It kept me awake last nite. I have just eaten a 'Trader Joe's' 'Kozy Shack' Chocolate Pudding containing a mere 60 calories even though it's only 9.30 am.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Breezy Travelog with Christmas Lights

It's friday morning in Los Angeles, but the Real Time for Me is actually 4.36am on Saturday morning. That is what the time is in Sydney. So it feels Slightly Fraudulent that I'm waking up & it's only friday. But I can live with Fraudulence. After all, I've lived with it for most of my life.
Oooo.... I must get rid of that Nasty Tone. It simply won't do. This is supposed to be a Breezy Travel Log with Christmas Lights, not a dreary visit down Resentment Lane.
Perhaps a series of Elegant Numbered Points will lighten me up:
1. Everywhere I go I'm surrounded by Xmas Lights. It's like a Major Xmas Pageant in everyone's frontyard. Where do they get the energy & also the storage to make these huge displays, I wonder?
I particularly liked the American Flag I noticed in a house in Santa Monica.

2. Marge & Me went to the wonderful Skirball Center (NOT the way I would normally spell CentRE) on Sepulveda to see Kathleen Turner in 'The Graduate'. That's one of the things that I really love about LA. The Names. La Cienaga, Sepulveda, The 101, The 405, Ventura, Marina del Rey, Venice. I could go on & on. But I won't because I've got to rush because we're going off to The Thousand Oaks Mall to Macy's.
Note I'm wearing a gigantic Toy Gold Necklace that I got before I left at 'Bednobs' I'm wearing it with yet another of 97 year old Aileen's shirts & a little Fairy Skirt which is perfect for a 57 year old woman to wear. Always Nothing if Not Age Appropriate.

3. Here I am quickly shovelling down a Chicken Caesar Wrap at intermission. I totally Loved loved loved the play even though I've seen the film many times, the first being in 1968 straight after I finished an important end-of-year exam called The School Certificate. Back then, I was soo disappointed I didn't look like Katherine Ross who played Elaine, but try as I might, I just couldn't grow long straight black hair or develop a forehead like hers which I thought was brimming with Beauty. My forehead at the time was Brimming with Blackheads. But that's a whole other story.
After watching Kathleen Turner playing Mrs Robinson so Magisterially, I am now desperate to play the role myself, particularly if I was just reading it into microphones which is how they did it. There were no distracting stage directions or props, although there was a v. clever person on the side who made all the sound effects like the clinking of ice in their glasses right on cue. I could never do that job because I'd go to pieces with the worry of it all.

4. Here's Marge eating her Chicken Caesar Wrap at intermission. She looks model like in a v. lovely long shirt.
5. I was dragged along to The Sierra Canyon School where Marge's son, Edmond attends for a talk on How to Sit for the SAT's. I was desperate to attend because I thought that maybe celebrities, like Alec Baldwin or the Kardashian's might be in the Parental Audience. Sadly, they weren't. Instead, there were a whole lot of Concerned Parents.
I was dressed up in my newly thrifted from 'Bednobsetc', Country Road mainly wool double breasted jacket with a large plastic red mouth pin.

6. Here's a back view of me you don't often see. I don't either. I was shocked.
I'm hopping down some stepping stones at The Gamble House in Pasadena. Note I'm wearing grey, a colour I've recently embraced, even though I used to think that it was the colour of fear. I totally love the horizontal striped leggings which are not shown off to their best advantage in this photo, but I'm sure you get the drift. Who said that Horizontal Stripes were Bad?

7. Marge in a Reflective Mood at The Coffee Bean in Malibu. Please note her v. old little pin of a painting of a lady's face. It is a Real Corker.

8. Here's what happens when you don't really believe the temperatures on the stove. This mess started out as four individual Stuffed Apples. But, under the intense heat, they disintegrated. I am now desperate to make the Perfect Stuffed Apples.
9. I just couldn't help but photograph this numberplate while I was on the 405. We were crawling along at a Snail's Pace & Marge saw it.
I'm not sure why we have to LOL, but why not?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Love the Present

Hello & Welcome to a Californian Christmas.
I'm sitting here bristling with excitement because:
1. I'm drinking a can of Hansen's Zero Calories Black Cherry Premium Soda with No No No preservatives, No sodium & all natural flavours. I'm in No Calorie Heaven. I wonder if I can get it in Sydney?
2. I've just come off the freeway where my friend Marge & Me spent most of the afternoon. In between, we visited Pasadena where Marge drove while I took photos of huge Arts & Crafts style houses & wondered what kind of people lived in them. I was totally thrilled to visit the historic Gamble House which was used as Dr. Emmet Brown's home in the 'Back to the Future' series which is one of my all time favourite Triquels.
3. Then we went to H&M. It was like falling into a Black Hole. Honestly, I never thought we would manage to claw our way out of it. We made a number of v. cheap purchases which I will reveal to you in the Fullness of Time.
Now Scroll Back to the Top Photo. It will be Totally Worth It.
Look look look above at the top photo. It's a house owned by an Anonymous Family called The Beckers in Simi Valley in Ca. I was taken there as a Special Treat. Apparently, every Major Holiday, The Beckers go to town Hyper-decorating their modest suburban home so that a whole lot of Free-Loaders like me can trawl over their front yard, ending up at the front door marvelling at the Spectacle. I imagine that the whole family are holed up inside the house seething with resentment at this massive invasion of their privacy & perhaps quietly yelling at each other so that their visitors don't hear. Just imagine, though, if you could hear them. I would soo love it. Polar Bears, Penguins, hot air balloons (yes, there's a v. small one hovering over the house) & Santa all to the tune of a Family Squabble Soundtrack.
But I'm sure The Beckers are absolutely not like that. I'm sure they are generous & kind-hearted. And wanting to give a little Holiday Magic to the World.

Purchasing Jewellry on Sale Sends Us into a Deep Meditative State.
Look at Marge. As she holds the v. cheap Sale Item up to her Throat Chakra, she is transformed. I am the Mere Recorder of her Altered State, a role I graciously accept.
This happened last Saturday nite at 'Anthropologie' at Santa Monica. What a trip.

The Anti-Christmas Elf.
Outside 'The Coffee Bean' at Malibu. This is one of my v. favourite places in LA. It holds Special Meaning for me because it is v. near to where I had my photo taken last year with Rachel Zoe, the Red Carpet Stylist & reality TV star. It's also where a lot of celebrities are photographed clutching takeaway coffee containers & looking Disassociatedly Dishevelled. Imagine Joan Crawford doing that.
I, of course am dressed up in a whole lotta black & gold chains & pearls. Rather like an Anti-Christmas Elf who could be selling Real Estate on the side.

When I go to Los Angeles, I always look for signs. It's rather hard not to, actually. I particularly loved this one which is currently plastered all over 'Banana Republic's windows. It's soo unselfconsciously spiritual.

Here's my stash of jewels that I brought with me in a plastic 'David Jones' bag. Such an economical traveller.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cats

Christmas Cats
Originally uploaded by middleagedteacher
Season's Greetings, dear Friends, or Perhaps Friend.
Here is a Christmas Card from Me to You. Sadly, I wasn't able to incorporate Hannukah in the card. Somehow, 'Hannukah & Christmas Cats' doesn't really work. Or perhaps I should have just mentioned 'Holidays' instead of Christmas. But 'Holiday Cats' just doesn't do it either. It lacks that special 'Double C' ring to it that 'Christmas Cats' has.
And you might also wonder what a large gaggle of wooden Balinese cats has got to do with Christmas or Holidays?
Absolutely nothing, except that they look kind of festive.
Please feel free to send this card on to your friends & family if you can be bothered. Just know that its an Original Della Street Dreaming Photograph.
OH, I'm in Los Angeles. That's probably why I mentioned Hannukah. Must hop into the shower because I'm going out soon. Shortly, I will be thrown out of my friend Marge's moving Hybrid Car on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard & Third Street in Santa Monica so that I can go shopping while she works. Hopefully, I'll find "Hennessey & Ingalls' Art & Architecture Bookstore where I might find some hidden treasure.
Can't wait.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


It's saturday nite & I'm feeling a Tad Smug & almost Self-Satisfied, although I have a rather persistent craving for perhaps something sweet like some dark chocolate or better still, a large bowl of vanilla ice cream with hot chocolate sauce & nuts on the top. Or maybe a baked custard or a Bread & Butter Pudding. Or even one lousy little 'Red Tulip' After Dinner Mint. How v. seventies of me!
Stop this now, Blog. It is torture for me & v. boring for My Readers. You see, I'm just a Ventriloquist's Doll, mindlessly typing what Della wants, not what I want.
And do you know what I just did?
That's right. I cracked. Upon the typing of the words, 'Red Tulip' After Dinner Mint, I raced out to the kitchen & scoured the cupboard for some. I just had this vague trace memory that there might be a Rogue Box of them, way past their use-by date of course, lurking behind all the old half-empty fish oil containers that were generously left behind by Mr. Ex-Middleaged.
Sadly, I couldn't find any .
But then I opened the freezer & found one dainty little tub of 'WeightWatchers' Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding. I clapped my hands together with joy, even though there was a stern warning on the silver foil lid that it, 'May contain traces of tree nuts'. Now there's a worry that I hadn't previously thought of.
Anyway, I uncharacteristically cast caution to the wind & spent an agonising minute next to the microwave mentally wrestling with the idea of eating the pudding with full-fat ice cream. In fact, I actually went so far as to almost take the ice cream out of the freezer.
And then I put it back.
God, I feel even more Smug & Self-Satisfied now. I cleverly managed to find a way to Have My Pudding & Eat It Too.
But Victory Over Food wasn't the original reason why I was feeling Smug.
No. It's because today The Ex-School Nurse & her friend Chrissie & Me went Xmas Shopping & I'm nearly done. And it's literally weeks before Xmas. Never in my entire life has this happened before. I've always left everything to the last minute. Perhaps I'm getting better at doing everything. Maybe all those years of obsessively repeating 'Everything is coming Easily & Effortlessly to Me' to myself is Finally Paying Off.

Spoiler Alert!!! If you think you might get a gift from me this Xmas, Don't, I repeat, DON'T read this next bit.
Chrissie knew of a fab 80% off massive warehouse sale of FAmous Brand Name Cosmetics & Perfumes that had been on for two days & was finishing up this afternoon. She'd been there the day before & marvelled at all the Mercedes & BMWs that were queuing up outside the warehouse. Wealth always can sniff out a bargain.
My whole body started tingling the moment the friendly security guard handed me a large plastic sack at the door which I promptly filled with Wrinkle Fillers for my more Mature Gift Recipients, 'Prada' Male Perfume that the assistant assured me was v. similar to Tom Ford Male Perfume that Tyler loves, but sadly they didn't have, lots of lovely smelling things for Maeflower & Azzaro Shaving Kits for Other Young Males. I bought some 'Clarins' perfume which I've covered myself in but I can't smell anything except the remains of the 'WeightWatchers' Pudding.
Must must must hop into bed. But before I go, here's some Numbered Points:
1. Am now on holidays. Our last day was yesterday. I celebrated with my colleagues at the Tilbury Hotel in Woolloomooloo where I drank a Mojito cocktail & followed it up with a vodka, Lime & tonic & followed that up with another one, but fortunately decided to stop after perhaps five mouthfuls because I knew that I'd follow that last one up with throwing up.
2. I go to California on monday.
3. I've bought at 'BednobsETc' an entirely new winter wardrobe especially for the two week trip.
4. I hope I run into Rachel Zoe & hubby Rodger again at the strip mall at Malibu.
5. Not looking forward to not having Potts Point lattes. Instead I will force myself to have non-fat iced coffees at 'Starbucks'.
6. Looking forward to eating almost entirely Mexican food from various outlets like 'La Salsa'.

Oh, in the photo I was Xmas Shopping earlier in the week at 'Macleay on Manning' in Potts Point. Sadly, nothing there was 80% off which would have been an absolute godsend because I bought Trixie a 'Limoges' coffee mug in a delightful green colour. She totally deserves it.
Note my v. elaborate 'Fifty Coins in the Fountain' mess of necklaces wore with a glomesh snake that I adore. What would Joan say, I wonder?