Monday, July 29, 2013

Setting Sail in Turner's Boat

 For days & days, I've longed to post about my wonderful weekend in Canberra where my daughter Maeflower & I loved the Turner Exhibition at the National Gallery so much that we literally jumped into  the Best Painting there.
It was beyond our wildest dreams!
Ever since last week I've been obsessing about Turner. I'm now trying to actually read a book about him by that wonderful writer, Peter Ackroyd but of course I haven't got past Page 25 as I was distracted by pictures of Turner that are featured in the book.
In case you were wondering, he looked rather cranky.
And beaky.
Rather like myself.
Although perhaps I'm more Parroty.
Just like Sarah Jessica Parker is more Horsey.
And Keira Knightly is more Rabbity.

But enough of this.
Onwards & upwards in Canberra.
Some Background:
1. Canberra was v.v. cold.
2. My step-son Tyler joined Maeflower, her fiance Ptolemy & me.
3. We watched  Cloud Atlas, which along with Turner & a few v. unpleasant facts about Henry the Eighth, I'm currently obsessed with. Or is it, 'obsessed over'?
4. We all stayed at Maeflower's & Ptolemy's Bijou Apartment.

 One of the things that my daughter & I share is a love of Buying Used Goods at the Salvation Army & at the Mugga Way Tip in Canberra. It is always a highlight of every trip.
This time, I was desperate to start a collection of Seaside Paintings which Maeflower is so dutifully holding up.
Sadly, I resisted the urge & I sorely wish that I could race back to the shop right this minute & purchase them. Of course, that's totally out of the question as its now over a week later & I'm back in Sydney with my trusty 'ol Toy Ugg Boots on & it's almost Bedtime.
I guess just like everything else in my life, I'm going to have to Let it Go.

Here's me, above at the Mugga Way Tip looking v. like an Old Aunt who's being taken out for a Special Outing. I think it's the Effect of the Coat which I had just purchased twenty minutes before at the Salvos in honour of the Shocking Cold. It just had the feel of an Old Aunt which I don't think was helped by the addition of the Toy Mink Collar.
In case you were wondering, I'm not holding a couple of prawns.
They're Toy Giraffes that I found in a rotting box of plastic Farm & Other Animals & subsequently purchased for twenty cents.
Note, the way I'm nonchalantly carrying the Light Navy Longchamp Tote Bag that I recently purchased Brand New at the Longchamp Shop in Sydney. I had finally given up waiting for one to appear in the Bag Box at 'Bednobs & Broomsticks' Op Shop.
Sadly, I now slightly regret buying it as it seems that Every Other Middleaged Woman in Sydney has got one.
But I've always specialised in Following the Pack.

 Dinner at Mae's Bijou Apartment was a colourful & tasty affair. Here's Ptolemy who is carefully attending to the rather Sad Looking Spatchcock wrapped in pancetta which was my contribution to the dinner.
I hate to admit my ignorance, but when asked what a Spatchcock actually was, I couldn't say for sure.
Clearly, it's some kind of a bird. And when it's sitting on a plate, it looks like a v.v. small bird with lots of bones. That's all I know.
We ate whole baked parsnips that had rather nasty pointy ends, but had a lovely, almost nutty flavour.
But the two stand out dishes were the beans served with chopped pancetta that had been wrapped around the Poor Little Spatchcocks & Mae's Somewhat Cajun Lentil & Corn Salad which looked fab & tasted even better.

 When it was time for sleep, Mae & Ptolemy blew up their Queen Size Air Mattress & covered it with patchwork quilts for Tyler to sleep on. Luckily I had my Own Room which was a total Godsend.

That night I dreamed I was sailing in one of Turner's boats.

When we got up the next day, it was v.v. cold. Mae & Ptolemy are laughing about it, but Tyler isn't.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Winter Wonderland Waycation

Hello & Welcome to an even more Kinder & Gentler Holiday Me.
Yes, it's the third & final week of my Winter Wonderland Vacation (oh, what a shame that Vacation isn't spelt with a 'W' would be such marvellous symmetry, but maybe I could pretend that it is)
I'm following the same format this week that I did last blog entry - showcasing some of my Classroom Outfits from last term & then writing about what I'm doing/thinking/viewing/eating/not eating in my hol.

Holiday Activity#1. Trying to keep to the 5:2 Fasting Regime,& not think of it as a Nasty Punishment which is quite hard for me as I tend to think most things in life are Nasty Punishments.
Sadly, today is an Intermittent Fast Day & I've eaten absolutely everything that I'm going to eat today & it's only 7.19 pm. I'm now officially entering The Danger Zone - that time of the day where the cravings take Centre Stage & all I can think of is that Big Hole, no, Massive Crater that is rapidly growing inside of me. I'm madly trying to restrain myself from leaping out of the chair & rushing to the fridge where a large slab of chocolate cake that I made from scratch is sitting on the middle shelf. (I just love that saying - it always makes me think of making something out of little twigs or sticks lying in the dirt)
I made the cake using my Mother's recipe that must be at least fifty years old. It requires cocoa which I note has become Slightly Old Fashioned.
The reason I made the cake was because I had rowdy dinner guests & thought that I would impress them with my Superior Baking Skills.
Sadly, they bought their own Baked Goods - chocolate brownies, so we had cake & brownies & Maggie Beer Burnt Fig ice cream for dessert which was kind of Overkill. And not in a good way.
But it was a wonderful raucous nite which we nicely rounded off by looking at Susan Boyle's audition for Britain's Got Talent in 2009 on YouTube.
Where would dinner parties be today without GoogleorYouTube?

Anyway, in the first photo I'm wearing a pure wool Italian knit dress by 'Spinelli' that I bought many years ago from 'BednobsEtc'. Every year I wheel it out & think that this will be the last time. But it got many compliments (probably because of the addition of the Door Knocker pendant & the Exotic Animal Print Toy Pashmina) so I may even give it another airing when I go back to school.

Next, I'm sitting in the Staff room showing off a colleague's Real not Toy Hermes Bangle.  Although I really like it, I would much rather have a Chanel Cuff.

Holiday Activity #2.  Reading. You'd think that being an English Teacher would mean that I've always got my nose in a book. Sadly, no. I'm usually far too busy watching Fashion Police or Miss Marple Movies or Generally Googling to be bothered. 
But this hol I did actually take up a book. It was lent to me by my friend, AJ who, unlike me is a Quality Reader. The book is called The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud. She is an American writer who recently came to Australia for the Sydney Writer's Festival.
Every morning I read two chapters in the bath. Sadly, I dropped the book in it, & now the pages have gone all wild & frilly. But I am determined to finish it even though the narrator is a Total Pain & I'm sick to the back gills of her going on about her invisible good girl school teacher frustrated artist life.
Maybe it's a little Too Close to Home...

Holiday Activity#3- going to my favourite op-shop, BednobsEtc on a daily basis.
During Term Time, I'm usually v. strict about going & only allow myself two visits a week - one as a special treat on friday afternoon after school & then on Saturday, which often turns into a marathon where I stand discreetly off to the side desperately Willing a Designer Label in my size to emerge from the Magical Sorting Room. Often that happens.
 But this holiday has been Slightly Slim Pickings.
So far, I've bought:
* 3 woolen sweaters, one featuring a French Bulldog on the front that might scream 'Novelty Sweater' a bit too loudly;
*1 Real not Toy 'Dior' Saddle Bag. I know that sounds fab. And it is, trust me. But it's made from a kind of washed out denim that looks, well, a tad washed out.
* 1 Calvin Klein dress. It's lovely even though it proudly sports a 'Made in China' tag.
There have been many tantalisingly real looking fake bags that I've dragged out of the Bag Basket & agonised over & then reluctantly put back. Like today's, Toy Gucci large bag in off- White (maybe it was once On-White) with gold hardware. Or the v. convincing large grey Jimmy Choo that I nearly fell for.

Above, I'm wearing a Totally Real Armani Jacket from Bednobs that has got unfortunate pointy lapels that wobble but you can't really see them because I've cleverly folded them over.
Always the Innovator.

Holiday Activity #4: Finding out about Louis the Fourteenth. 
I saw a documentary on him & Versailles & then found Nancy Mitford's Book called The Sun King & now I am Not Quite an Expert.  I  know that he wore high heels  (not stilettos) so he could be more Kingly not Queenly; worked v.v. hard attending meetings & endured almost unendurable pain during a long operation without anaesthetic. And also died probably a bit sad. Too many wars & too many of his loved ones dead.

 Above, I'm so v. slightly channelling Louis in a brocade coast dress that I've definitely decided I'm going to retire as it doesn't fit that well . Don't try to talk me out of it.
I do love my 'Dream' bangle which always reminds what I'm doing 24/7.  
Below, I'm laying the law down whilst wearing a highly synthetic  wrap dress from 'Charlie Brown'. I could go up in smoke in an instant.  I was soo close to turfing this one out until  I convinced myself that I've lost a few pounds. So, I think I'll keep it a wee bit longer.

I can't go on much longer. The Massive Crater is taking over. I must go out to the kitchen & make a cup of  ginger & lemon herbal tea & eat half a capsicum which I might spread with a little peanut butter.

Please scroll down & see the rest of my Winter Outfits. 
It will be kind of worth it.
I promise you.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Not Quite Holiday Agony

 Hello & Welcome to a Kinder, Gentler, Holiday Me with all my Unsightly Rough Edges temporarily smoothed out.
Yes, I'm on the second week of a three week mid-year break which I won't be too smug to say that I've definitely earned.

So far, I've done the following things:
1. Cleaned my apartment. 
Clearly, I've been in such a state of Dirt Denial that I failed to notice the filth that was lurking everywhere.
Emptying the vacuum cleaner was quite a revelation. I wondered How I could have shed so much hair without exhibiting a bald patch?
But I must say that I took great comfort in remembering the words of that great English raconteur & eccentric, Quentin Crisp who once famously remarked that he stopped doing housework when he realised that after four years, 'the dirt doesn't get any worse'.
Quentin also said a nasty thing about holidays. He said that the most you can expect from them is a 'change of agony'. I must say that I don't agree with him even though I have spent rather a little too long cleaning.

But before I move on to the next picture, let me walk you through the first one.
Just because I am wearing a Giraffe Jacket, I am not trying to emulate one, although I do admire them & long to find a YouTube video of a baby giraffe sneezing. The scarf is Cashmere & it features a Roberto Cavalli print. I am so in love with Cashmere & would love to swan around completely swathed in it.
Sadly, I'll just have to content myself with the scarf. The shoes are by Robert Clergerie. I only bought them from 'Bednobs & Broomsticks' because I'm always bedazzled by Designer Labels.

 Things I've done so far (cont.)
2. Collecting Interesting Facts.
 Did you know that Florence Nightingale invented the Pie Chart?
Or that the Collective noun for Wombats is 'Wisdom of Wombats'?
 Who knew?
I'm wearing a 'Banana Republic' wrap dress & a David Lawrence jacket all from 'BednobsEtc'. But I think that the most outstanding thing about what I'm wearing is the door knocker necklace that I bought from 'Diva'.

 More things:
3. Culling clothes for the Annual Clothing Stall that the Ex-School Nurse & I were supposed to have at the Rozelle Markets on Sunday but didn't because it rained.
But we're such optimists we're trying again next Sunday.

In the picture above,I'm wearing an  outfit from the Flight Attendant Section of my Wardrobe. Everything, except for the red lining in the sleeves of the Ralph Lauren jacket from the Salvation Army Depot in Thousand Oaks California is Navy Blue, a colour that I totally love & I'm not sure why. Perhaps because it shrieks Wealthy Dowager, a look that I aspire to.

 Even more things:

4. Watching Mad Men Season 6 at my usual Sunday Nite dinner .
To add to our Viewing Excitement, each one of my regular guests has  a character as their Avatar - you know, a character that most resembles themselves perhaps in a Slightly Hidden way. I don't mind confessing that my Avatar is Pete Campbell, a shortish character prone to making dreadful choices & then throwing tantrums when absolutely nothing goes his way, who the creators of the show have decided is going bald even though the actor who plays Campbell isn't.
Currently, his hair looks like a cut sandwich which is not the reason why he's my Avatar.

Above, I'm wearing what can only be described as A Brave Choice. A grey Country Road dress featuring figure-flaw-concealing drapery at the front teamed with a pink Toy Chanel jacket. I've carried the Pink theme, which screams, Elderly Barbie, \over to the bangles. The largish one has text on it that says, 'Well behaved women rarely make history'.
Someone gave it to me as a gift possibly to spur me on to something or other.

 More Things:

5. Going to the accountant to finally get my tax done after years of pretending that I was a child & didn't have tax to do.
I went today. I was so nervous as I'd imagined that the Tax Office was going to fine me thousands & I would have to sell everything & move into a granny flat at the end of someone's garden in an outer suburb. I was in such a tizz that I forgot to bring my tax file number & had to go home & get it after I'd scored such a magnificent parking spot almost right outside the office.
Bob, the accountant was ancient, had a persistently weepy eye that he said was caused by medication that he was taking & wrote painstakingly in longhand which I found charming.
I won't go into the gruesome details, but I nearly wept with joy when I discovered I wasn't going to be fined anything, & I only had a small sum to pay which I could pay off in monthly instalments.
Who knew that the Tax Office was so kind & forgiving?
I almost, but not quite, feel that I've been let out of jail.

Above, I'm wearing an coatdress from Bednobs that I teamed with a green bejewelled crucifix that a nasty person said made me look like a Christian Lacroix Wannabe. How cruel. 
Do you know that I only learnt how to pronounce 'Lacroix' correctly from watching an episode of 'Absolutely Fabulous'? Before then, I just called him La Crow.

Must get back to My Holiday. See you v. soon.