Thursday, May 23, 2013

Plastic Fantastic

At fifty four she looks younger than she did 30 years ago and she hasn't gained a pound. She's had 130 careers and is still looking for new challenges. She' taken care of 50 pets, worn outfits designed exclusively for her by 75 top designers and starred in 25 chart-topping, direct-to-DVD movies.


Well she's never been pregnant...  

Her freckly friend Midge landed that job and where is she today you might ask?

Riffing on the Barbie theme of this week, I discovered in my archives a paper I wrote in 2004, during my MA, on Barbara Millicent Roberts of Wisconsin, (A.K.A Barbie) as a cultural icon.

So I've created a new page tab A Toy Story for your reading pleasure and maybe also to prove I can be 'serious and deep of thought'. Or at least I could B.C. (Before Child).

The paper subject was 'A Radical Ethnography' and the brief was to take an everyday object and discuss it's impact on, or reflection of, our cultural development. 

A subject dryer than an Arizona summer if you ask me. One student wrote a very clever piece centered around the transistor radio, but I wanted to take something seemingly frivolous and pretty (mostly so I could use lots of nice colourful pictures) to reflect our culture, our consumerism, body image and the developing roles of women in society.   

I don't think I received a spectacular mark for this one, but I kinda got the impression along the way that certain lesbian* members of faculty where particularly un-keen on 'girlie' stuff such as 'Chic Lit', and Barbie dolls.  Unfortunately those are two of my specialties.

The facts and figures are all updated so, if you think you're up for it, read on...

*Please know that I have absolutely no problem with Lesbians (some of my dearest friends are Gays)- each to their own - in fact looking back on most of the guys I dated in my twenties I can completely understand the preference.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Snot Season Survival

I have fallen in a heap - yeah, another one..

Mother and child both with bad colds and the wheels in our household slowly grind to a halt. She's sprawled on one sofa under a blankie watching Finding Nemo on loop. I'm under a throw, on another sofa with Dr Phil then the Nanny.

The front door's left half painted, a chair is in two pieces with its new upholstery stuffed into a wardrobe between winter coats. I keep shifting this bag of fabric, bought two weeks ago to make a new nightie, yet I'm still waking up with the old baggy one twisted around my body, corkscrew fashion.

When we manage vertical postures we stumble through rooms dotted with baskets of clean unfolded laundry like large untidy land mines.

Where is my obsessive compulsive disorder this week? I blew it out my nose into a wad of Kleenex. That was right after I sneezed eight times in a row throwing my back out in the processes. My back has never been the same since childbirth, followed by years of carrying child on hip and then child hitting 20 plus kilos.

Why am I not any thinner?

Well, when you're sick as a dog and your lovely husband offers you a Moroccan Lamb pizza with no washing up involved... Who gives a pair of dingoes kidneys? I'm ill and grumpy.  I need nourishment not dishes!

"I wont think about those calories now, I'll think about them tomorrow," said Scarlett.

Each day the clutter builds, no one has the energy to pick up anything and there are literally dozens of Barbie's and Ken's strewn about the place, hanging from lamps and other fixtures, tucked under bedding and cushions and making head-to-toe trails from one room into the next.

The Barbie dolls themselves have become very untidy too it seems; there are tiny stilettos, hats, handbags, uniforms, tiaras and stethoscopes all over the place. You'd think Doctor Barbie, at least, would be a bit more meticulous about her medical equipment.

We had something happen to our barbie population this week. Visiting some friends at the weekend, their very generous little girls gave our littler girl a box of old Barbies. She was over the moon and seeing her delight I was too. For a bit.

We now have a bit of a housing shortage to deal with. My clever re-purposing of two IKEA STÄLL shoe cabinets no longer cuts the mustard space wise.
I've just counted and each compartment (designed for four pairs of shoes) at a pinch, holds up to twenty barbies.

OH MY DOG!!!: that means she has over 40 Barbie dolls now?  How did it come to this? No wonder I can't close the compartments anymore without having a ribbon or ponytail poking out somewhere.

It's like a mass immigration from Mattel - we'll have to introduce off-shore processing if the situation gets any worse.

So after a week without TV, I turn on Finding Nemo. And it stays on. And on, and on. 

You see when She-Who-Loves-Pink is not dragging out her entire Barbie collection, she's into drawing murals. Elaborately themed pictures that run over at least five A4 pages taped together. They're very cute and creative but wall space is another diminishing commodity in this place.

So the old' idiot box' goes on after so much silence.  I make my excuses that Nemo is about the ocean and considering this is her science topic at school this term, I am, in fact, merely supporting her education. Yeah.
It has nothing to do with the fact I need her to be still for a while and give me time to clear up, take some drugs and have a damned good lie down myself.

Yeah- it's all glamour and cocktail frocks this mummy gig.



By pure coincidence, this came through Facebook today from a wonderful page called
'Meanwhile In Australia'

Footnote 2

Many thanks to the divine Mr Frenchie, who cleared the land mines, folding the clean washing and putting it all away. We must not breathe on him, lest he is contaminated and rendered incapable of further acts of  kindness, support and pizza purchases. As always, he stops the wheels coming off entirely.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lucky number 8

Before the start of this school term I made a pact with myself.
I had 8 weeks before the next school hols in which I would drop 8 kilos, add 8,000 words to my novel and write 8 blog posts. Yay! Nothing like a new BAG (big audacious goal).

Whereas grocery shopping used to be my cardio, I’m trying to build proper exercise into the school routine so that I do something energetic every day.

I pretend I’m doing the Atkins Diet – I say pretend because although you’re allowed a glass of wine a day that’s not in the first phase and definitely not three glasses a night. Also KFC’s popcorn chicken and wicked wings aren’t strictly a carb-free protein hit, even if you don’t eat the fries.

So my pact is not exactly on track. I've kept up the running after school-drop-off, but the weight isn’t (Dropping off). And I hate it. I feel like I have lead in my runners and sandbags wrapped around my waist.

I would rather have my armpits hand-plucked than go for a run, on any given day, quite frankly.

I’m thinking though, if I keep hammering away at the anvil one morning I'll just wake up, feeling great and all my clothes, of the non- maternity left-over variety, will miraculously fit me again.  Except running everyday makes me extra hungry.

So I’m a bit in the doldrums; a spotty faced, lead footed Lumpkin.  What’s that? Time for a bit of retail therapy? Yes, well that’s exactly what I thought, but since clothes shopping depresses the hell out of me at the moment, I bought a new door!

It was delivered and installed yesterday and needs to be painted. (even that’s more fun than running) It’s quite freaky though, with a solid door the hall has always looked like a black hole and now- I keep seeing light in my peripheral vision.  All day yesterday, I got halfway through the thought ‘bloody hell, who’s left the front door open?’ before I remembered.  We have triple glazed lead-light panels with a red rose bud in each panel and quite frankly, it’s gorgeous. We just need to decide on a colour.

She-who-worships-at-the –altar- of- pink has already started lobbying for her favourite (gaaaaah). By lobbying I mean, begging and whining that escalates into the threat of tantrums to come.

I have assured her that no self-respecting ‘real-life’ person (nixing the 'Barbie does' argument) would ever paint an actual door, Screaming-Hot Pink. She tried leveraging the fact that the old door was "shiny apple red" too. 

I say; “We didn’t paint it that bright it was already done when we bought the house and we were never keen on it anyway.”

“But it was really lovely, and PINK would be even lovelier, and everyone that sees it will say “WOW look at that lovely PINK door” oh pleeeeeese mummy..’

I agree about the 'wow' but I think any other comments to follow that would be very negative ones.
Personally I'm leaning towards a nice heritage charcoal with a hint of blue that blends in with all the iron lacework.

Any ideas from you lot? 

PS: two and a half weeks into my B.A.G : I've lost one just kilo and don't even ask about the novel...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shag-a-delic Baby



Holiday Hair Goes Retro... where we ask the big question: "Who hasn't had a shag, baby?"

How do you know when your hormone therapy is working? An increasing obsession with Shags? 'Fraid not. More likely you'll bust-out in teen-style acne. 
I have Mt Vesuvius growing out of my left nostril, acne infested; decolletage …and the left side (only) of my jaw. Still trying to figure out that one.

But at least my hair looks nice.

A funny thing happened after my last trip to the hairdresser... I decided I needed a change, after never letting my hair down- both literally and figuratively, for months. 
I took in this picture:

And I came out of the salon with my hair at least, looking exactly like that.

Then I slept on it and it looked like this:

One more sleep and it looked like this:

This was when it dawned on me - I had inadvertently revived the 70's Dolly-Cut.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Dolly Cut it was a female variation on the 'Mullet'.
But the Dolly-Cut was a bit subtler than the guys’ version (sometimes).  It usually had one heavy layer, level with the bottom of the ears, and either one length or subtle layering below.

MacGyver; probably the only man in history who made the 'Mullet' look half-decent
Incidentally, allow me to digress for one moment because my research has uncovered
a ban in Iran on the Mullet!
                 Smart move if you ask me. 

But I'm serious, according to this fascinating article The Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned "un-Islamic" Western hairstyles for men especially the mullet, as recently as 2010! Begs the question; "has it seriously only just caught on over there?" Are they watching too many MacGyver re-runs or something?  Catch up people, David Beckham will show you all you need to know in the latest male hair-trends. 

I bet the female version would go down like a cup of cold sick with the IMCIG, especially known by its other name. It falls under the category of, and is often referred to as a ‘Layered Shag’. As opposed to the ‘Long Shag’ which I know nothing about since I became a mother – (oh yeah, wrong kind of shag, sorry)

There is also a Short Shag (Is that like a quick shag at all?) Sorry, mind in the gutter again.
This style below is sort of a Dolly Cut/Shag hybrid:

Long Shags, Short Shags, Layered Shags, seriously everyone from Posh-Becks to Helen Mirren has had a shag at some stage . 

Jane Fonda is especially fond of Shags. In the 70's she started out with the real deal; Jane like Suzy Quatro was one of the most famous Dolly Cut pioneers. She didn't look too happy about it, huh? She looks a lot happier post Shag..

Mind you, if I could live in permanent soft focus these days, I'd be smiling that wide too.

 Even Florence Henderson (AKA Carol Brady) looks positively smug after her Shag:

Anyway,  I now have a Dolly Cut (or shag). The same haircut I had when I was wearing my first school uniform... Ok.

I can’t complain though;after a 14hr flight wearing either  headphones,or a sleep-mask, my 'do' looked gorgeous! My face was another story of course.
Twelve washes later, my moody mop still did something a bit different each day, but now it's mostly always a good something.

Apparently this kind of style is recommended for both double and weak chins, although I notice that the models and celebs in these articles have jawlines like Buck Rogers.  My chin is as weak as a wet Kleenex, so anything that steers me in that direction is a bonus.

Now my fashion-crystal-ball is thinking that maybe cowboy jeans (please, God, NO!) and Indian moccasins are due for a comeback too. The latter I wouldn’t mind so much - they're pretty much just 'themed' suede loafers.

As far as the rest of me goes,  I just have to sort out the acne, starting with Mount Vesuvius - and of course my weight, which hasn't shifted at all. Note to self – cut out the twice weekly KFC and king-size portions of ravioli bolognaise.

But hey, at least my hair looks nice.  


My fashion crystal ball was right, on my return from Europe, Indian moccasins started making appearances in stores all over.  Zoe Wittner does them, but oddly they have spiked studs all over them. That's fine if you want to look like a Native American punk-rocker.  
Which I don't.