Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Never Knowingly Overthinking

As usual, there have been many things on my mind this week:
Like, when is lousy stinking daylight saving going to end? And why oh why do I hate it so much?
Am I getting only six hours sleep a night, & if I am, does it matter?
Should I continue to eat six plump oysters twice a week even though I might be overdosing on zinc?
And, my personal favourite -
Is it just me, or is time actually speeding up?
Sadly, I can't answer any of the above except the one about daylight saving, although I don't really know why I loathe it so much. Maybe it has something to do with my chronic distaste for watching television & eating the evening meal whilst it's still light as it has unpleasant echoes of childhood.

Like everyone else this week, I have been thinking of many other things too - lost planes, celebrity girlfriend suicides, the return of Knights & Dames honours to Australia & , just in, the shock celebrity split of Gwenwyth Paltrow & her hubby Chris Martin, who once said that marrying Gwennie was like winning the lottery. An unfortunate comparison, given that most lottery winners end up losing it all.

But also this week, I've been madly distracting myself by Thinking Some Fashion Thoughts.

Just when I was feeling a little unhinged after marking 63 essays on how Shakespeare's play, As You Like It links to the topic of Belonging, I found a wealth of distraction in Carine Roitfeld's article in maybe Huff Post on How to Dress Like Her. Or perhaps it was her version of How to Dress Like an Ex Editor of French Vogue.

Ever since I was ten & read in a neighbour's Town & Country Magazine an article on How to Live Elegantly on Very Little Money, I've been obsessed with How To articles & books. The only bit of advice I can remember from that long ago article was to fix yourself an elegant breakfast tray each morning with an elegant Limoges tea cup & saucer that you purchased at a flea market next to a small elegant bud vase containing one elegant red rose that you grew from a window box in your elegant bijou apartment.

My ten year old self thought that was amazing.
My sixty one year old self now realises with that kind of advice, no wonder I've found life a struggle.
Anyway, Carine's advice was just as helpful.
Let me give you the executive summary:
1. Never wear comfortable clothes & shoes. If you do, you'll never look edgy.

2. Wear slightly messy hair. I can't remember the actual reason, but maybe so you'll look like you've just rolled out of bed with a Frenchman. Like Gerard Depardeau who reminds me of an aubergine. At least it's a French vegetable. Or a vegetable with a French-sounding name.

3. If your eyes are your best asset, completely smear them in black eye make up. I'm not sure what you do if they're not your best asset. Leave them alone? Sunglasses even at nite?

The Next Fashion Thought I had was, Normcore.
This is a term that I've recently picked up from the style section of Flipboard.
In case you don't know, it's a way of dressing that is just like, Normal. You know, jeans & a tee shirt. Jerry Seinfeld but not in the Puffy Shirt episode. Steve Jobs. Barack Obama.
Note all these examples are men. I can't think of any women.
But trust me, I'll make it my Life's Work this week to find some.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Post-Birthday Debrief

Hello & welcome to my Post-birthday Debrief.

I don't know about you, but I've always been a bit funny about my birthday.
Feelings of slight dread begin about a month before the actual day, building up to full blown Existential Ennui by the night before.
Usually, by the actual day itself, the worst is over & I just settle back & wait for it to end.

I'm sure that there's lots of reasons why I have had this reaction:
1. I'm adopted & even though I don't actually remember being torn away from my mother who was told by a kindly nurse not to look at me after I was born, maybe I've been carrying around some kind of loathsome trace memory of the ordeal ever since.
I'd like to think so.

2. I had an unpleasant experience at my fourth birthday party when I spilt orange flavoured soft drink all over my self-spotted cream silken dress with a blue sash & Mum hastily dressed me in charmless shorts. And my sourness wasn't helped by the fact that I only had one friend, Margaret who lived across the road. And Mum had to invite her friend's kids to make up the numbers. And I didn't really like them.

There are lots of other reasons why I don't like my birthday involving Nasty Nuns & not enough fuss being made of me & boring presents & boyfriends who forgot & dry & tasteless birthday cakes & not enough surprise parties, & Happy Birthday being sung to me in a sneery way, but I won't go on. I'm sure you get the drift.

But last year , on the cusp of turning 60, I'd finally had enough.
It was time for a change.
No more Birthday Blues. From now on, I was going to embrace my birthday even if I had to grit my teeth & create even more Dental Problems in the process.
On the morning of my 60th, I skipped ,not plodded ,down the street shouting "I'm sixty! I'm sixty!" to passers-by.
Actually, I didn't. I saved it till I reached the entrance to Zinc, my local cafe where I was meeting my friend Trixie for breakfast. No one noticed. Maybe Trixie did. But she already knew how old I was turning anyway.
But I was out & proud, owning my birthday for the first time maybe ever. It was mildly liberating.

This year, I was a little more low key.
There's something a bit anti-climactic about turning 61. It's a kind of Nothing Number - four years away from being eligible for the Old Age Pension, but not too young to get a Seniors Card if only I could stop work & many years away from the next big Milestone (or should it be Millstone?) Birthday.
I celebrated it over two weekends which doesn't sound v low key, but it was. There was no big cork-popping celebration but more of a Slow Burn.
I :
-bought two designer handbags, loads of Mall Jewels at Diva on sale & the entire set of Sherlock DVDs ,
-had a pedicure & now I've got apple green toenails,
-didn't bother going to the gym but had an extended afternoon nap instead,
-ate chocolate fondant cake that was deliciously soft in the middle,
- ate plump Sydney Rock oysters & jumbo tiger prawns.
- was treated to see The Monuments Men by Trixie which we enjoyed but only gave three & a half stars to.
-chatted & laughed with Maeflower
- got lovely thoughtful gifts & warm wishes.

Without trying to be too much of a Brown Noser, I have to say my favourite card I received was from Tacitus, who is a Classical Scholar. Mindful of the fact that I was born on The Ides of March, that fateful day when Julius Caesar was stabbed in the back by all his close personal friends, he sent me the card featured below. I thought it was a hoot.
Lastly, is a photo of me holding a beautifully wrapped gift from friends Raquel & Carlotta. I was thrilled.
Lastly, lastly is a photo of me today wearing my new apple green toenails.
Goodbye Birthday, hopefully see you next year!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Shock, Surprise & Schadenfreude

It's been a week since the Oscars.

I watched the show on Fast Forward , stopping only occasionally to listen to a nominated song or view Ellen's monologue & of course watch my favourite part of any Oscars show, the In Memoriam Segment, where we trawl through the cavalcade of stars & key film industry players who died over the past year. I'm always hoping that someone will turn up on the list that I didn't realise had passed away. I'm not sure why, but I do.
Perhaps it's because I enjoy the heady combination of shock, surprise & schadenfreude that can often accompany news of someone's death. But not someone close to me of course.
This year there were no surprises. Either I had never heard of the dead person - like a special effects pioneer, or I already knew.
I keep waiting for Mickey Rooney's turn. He must be 100.

Can't believe I've turned the Oscars into a Giant Obituary. Why can't I talk about Liza Minnelli's blue Smurf hair & matching blue silken pjs & orthopaedic shoes ? Or Brad Pitt's badly tailored Tom Ford pants? Or Anna Kendrick's one- boob -in -a -sling look? Or poor old Kim Novak's smooth as a sow's ear face at 81?
That's because it's already been covered by Fashion Police. Why gild the lily?

But seriously, I learnt a few important lessons from this year's Oscars:

1. If I want to look like a movie star, I'll wear a cape. Even in the classroom.

2. Avoid messing around with your face. I felt vv sad when I saw my favourite Goldie Hawn. And of course, Kim Novak. And Liza. All my old heroines look like they've been invaded by Aliens.

3. Don't slim down to such an extent that your head looks bigger than your waist. I'm including a snap of myself playing Donatella Versace below so you can see what I mean.

I've followed it with a photo of me playing me in the classroom in a thrifted silk Lisa Ho mother of the bride floral dress where I'm desperately trying not for my head to be bigger than my waist. I think I've succeeded admirably.

4. I'm really stretching it to get to four things I've learned from the Oscars. There must be something........oh yes, this is a good one. If I have to get up & speak to the whole school at Assembly & I'm nervous, I'll just channel the Majesterial Manner of Angelina Jolie when she partnered ancient Sidney Poitier to the microphone to give a Humanitarian award. Or Cate Blanchett when she gave her acceptance speech even if her dress did look a little like Glinda, the Good Witches costume in The Wizard of Oz.

There's so much more for me to say.
Like I went on a giant shopping spree at Bondi Westfield this past weekend with my daughter Maeflower & her fiancé Tacitus. It was her birthday yesterday & it will be mine in a few days. Thank God I'm not turning sixty again. I couldn't stand it. It's just soo low key to turn 61. I mean, why even bother having a birthday at all, I say!

To celebrate, I bought her a wonderful Tommy Hilfiger trench, which you can see below.
And after much fussing, I bought myself a Michael Kors bag & a dainty little Marc Jacobs shoulder bag.
I can't believe I bought Michael Kors. It just screams Mall. But I did it anyway, & I've already used it today so I can't v well take it back. I think I was seduced by the Versace-like Large gold hardware on it. And those Michael Kors ads where the model is covered in gold jewelry & wearing shades of camel which always screams Something I Always Wanted to Look Like.

After four hours in Westfield, we were forced to detox outdoors in the grounds of Vaucluse House surrounded by tame goats & wild mushrooms. Mae is wearing a little thrifted dress in ,what used to be called in My Day, a Granny Print. I'm wearing a thrifted man's Zegna shirt which I love even though I spilt the inside of a Chinese Dumpling all down the front of it which is a pity because I'm a Lousy Laundress.