Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Let's Dance

I'm up at Alta, Utah doing a four-day powder clinic and singing Young Americans as I blop down the slopes. Not that that was the best of David Bowie's many brilliant songs-- but if you want to feel incredibly young at 53, just come to Alta, where people ski until they are 93 years old.

She was a young American

My group, of which I'm the veritable spring chicken.

In my group, the four blokes are ages 66 to 59. "You're the spring chicken" said one, "do you have a chaperone?" Larf.

In the afternoon I was in the same group as  Rudy who is 83, here with his lovely wife Dorothy, 79, who also skis all day every day. They live in Maine but are very involved with the Lighthouse charter school in Oakland, apparently.

So amazing to see the outpourings of grief over David Bowie.

Tomorrow I'm going to ski with Let's Dance and Golden Years, playing in my head. I'll tell you if it brings my rodeo style under control.

Alta Lodge, where everyone stays, is the  comforting same; on the walls, photos of Frida Kahlo, taken by Nickolas Muray, father of Mimi Levitt, the matriarch of the family-owned lodge.

The fire where you can spend a lot of time gazing out and thinking amazing thoughts that you can't remember later.

I brought the same outfits as last year with the addition of a white vest given to us all by Alta Lodge. I have always wanted a white vest. Now I don't know how the heck I got by without it. The bruise in my forehead is from acupuncture, btw.

Rebecca Taylor sweater and Frank and Eileen shirt
Clue sweater

No weight lost here, that's a guarantee. Just as well I bought some new phat ski pants--my old cream ones had gone from squeaky tight to screamers.

I'm here by myself but that's no problem, most of the other punters are low key and very nice. Of course there will always be someone who must tell you all their accomplishments in 15 minutes plus what they had for dinner last Tuesday, and where their genuis kids go to school, but I am happy to make them feel even better about their lives. 

On these first impression experiences I've also learned to keep my silly-cynical-sarcastic asides in check as some other young Americans just see them as just negative.

Read "Man At The Helm" by Nina Stibbes on old FF's recommendation, about a British family in the 70's.  Funny and sad, loved it. Then I read Stibbe's first book, her real life letters to her sister when she was a nanny in London in the 80's, where she worked for a literary family. Clever and hilarious, the letters were found by her sister a couple of years ago. Amazing to think she wrote both these in her Twenties (she's now 53) and they have just been resurrected.

Lovely moment this morning as I saw Rosie, one of the staff here, as she watched her daughter skip down the hill to her little school in the snow.
"She's so lucky," I said.
"I'm so lucky," said Rosie.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Big Purge (and whether you're an Inny or an Outy)

We're home now--to rain. Thank goodness the drought has broken. And now we're in the year they're calling Sweet Sixteen, my thoughts are turning naturally to the Big Purge (that sentence seems all wrong somehow).  For an article on how to best start, I interviewed two of my go-tos. Organizing stylist, Angela Hoxsey, owner of House in Order says to start with the stuff on the floor and go clockwise.  No, no, don't go to the drawers just yet (full article here)

Angela Hoxsey, organizing stylist. Love this huge photo of M. behind her, don't you? Photo by Robb McDonough

You might remember that I've interviewed Angela before and I told her that my husband and I were opposites. I like all the surfaces clear, am a veritable Monica about that. To the extent that I actually give away all my books (I read about three a week) and when I do online video classes often I can't concentrate on what they are saying because I'm too focused on the shelves behind them! 

But my drawers are a mess.

"Oh yes!" Angela said. "You're an Inny." I'm tidy and seemingly organized on the outer, but a secret mess on the inner.

My husband is an Outy who doesn't mind a bit of stuff on the benches but has tidy drawers (oh er missus).

Here's the evidence.

My desk. Oh yes, it seems like I'm a tidy person

What lies beneath...Detritus includes: report from pest guy, three(!) empty sunglasses holders, three cameras, (one underwater one not developed from goodness knows when), five photos of Tallulah, business cards from restaurants where we ate an on the Camino which I'll likely never see again, old letter from my Auntie Doris who died many years ago (I just love just to see her wobbly handwriting every time I open the drawer) appt, reminder from vet from many months ago. And the rest.

Compare and contrast: The Hubstar's drawers:

The second person I interviewed was Chad Olcott who owns Mulberry's Home in Oakland--love how calls himself a "decorator" so old school --said his best clear-out came last year when his house was photographed for the SF Chron. He took out the little stuff--pictures on the walls, everything on the surfaces. Each of the littlies had to earn their way back in. So his advice is: imagine a newspaper or magazine is coming to your house.

Chad Olcott says take all the littlies out. Now they have to earn their way back in. 

The constant thing we have to purge is--you would not believe it--costumes! What's yours? Because we have so many themed fundraisers at the three schools the kids have gone to, we have accumulated what turned out to be a carload of costumes. We did this purge in late August.

My glamorous life all bagged up

Good! All cleared out. But since then we have actioned three more costumes...

Speakeasy party: Over-Donatella-ed it on the tan, not terribly Twenties

Tacos and Toga 50th birthday party. Anthony and Cleopatra, the greatest love of all time...or just two people in really bad wigs?

Space party: We were the two faces of Keith Moon (The Who drummer) Only two people got it. There was no prize for most obscure get-up, dang it.
Keith Moon as the Queen
Keith Moon as a rollerblading nun. Now do you geddit?

So it's back to commandeering the boy in the upstairs corner room to take them down to the garage to store.

There was actually a third box just for the wigs

What's your groundhog day of effluvia? (Wow, this blog post really took a strange and messy turn, just what you'd expect from an Inny, innit?)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

I'm I hope you have a really sssparkly  New Years Eve. Ours starts in just an hour. Sadly I've had the dreaded lurgy so will have to stay off the champers tonight. Well, thats's the plan...at this stage.

My friend Sue, who was famous in our day as she was the first woman to be accepted into the NZ Air Force as an officer (though she still wasn't allowed to fly!) has invited us over for a barby tonight and promises she has a recipe that will cure what ails me! It is a rum and ginger wine cocktail learned from an old barman in Ohakea. I am not convinced!!!

Spent the past few days catching up with friends from back in the olden days when there was just one channel on the telly and you stayed out playing till your Mum called "Tea time, kids!" 

Helena, Sue, sister Pietra, sister Sharon and me.

One of the friends I caught up was Helena, who I told you about before. She wrote Give Us This Day. It was brilliant to hear all about her process. Rather than rattling out the shitty first draft ( as most of us have been taught) she edits as she goes along, agonizing over each word. It works for her! We all do things differently 
and sometimes we need to stick to that.  We forget that we've found an efficient way of being and doing-- and then we want to change it totally!

My sister Pietra and Helena

Six of us from our third form (freshman) class got together one night. The year of 1975. We refer to our year as our third form year, because in those days most people left school at 15 or 16 years old to do trades, and in those times you could study nursing and other professions at polytechs too. For example in third form we numbered 350 kids but only 30 stayed for seventh form. Sadly 30 of our class have died. 

Dave, me, Shiona, Maureen and Helena (Sue went back to her bach to let out her new puppy)

The chap on the left, Dave, has been amazing. About a year ago he started organizing get-togethers, including pub nights, a weekend of events and even a comedy cruise to Australia, in the process reuniting people, some of whom lived in the same town but had gotten past the stage of even ackowledging each other ( "wiill they recognise me?")

I wont pretend my high school years were all glorious memories;  like many kids of that era I was verbally and physically bullied. It's good to acknowledge this, and other people's history too, but its also good to move on.

We had so much fun those nights. I so looked forward to seeing these old schoolmates and it was so relaxing to spend an evening with people who share such a deep history, talking about times that were pants-wetting scary, ridiculously funny, sweet, mind-bogglingly boring, and sometimes painful, but mostly stuff you can have a good old leg-slapping cackle about later....

Blue and Grey

So sad today to leave Ohope Beach and the blue skies and blue seas and the houses and baches all greyed by the salt air. All around me is grey and blue and going through my snaps, I realized everything I wore was the same colour. I was matching my holiday! ( Do you ever do that?)

Ohope Beach unwindulaxing "sweet as" style

In my grey Standard Issue jersey. Tried to lead by example with the feet washing though the kids seemed genetically hardwired not to follow

 We had some bewty blue/grey evenings. Look. 

Heres a visual of me in my Ricochet ensemble patiently waiting for my glass to be filled, saint-like, I know.

Kiwis seem to love floaty frocks w ssslips underneath, and I followed suit with this one, also by Ricochet.

The silver sneaks were seen all over the beach purchasing lattes, steak and kidney pies and other baked goods with extra buttah.

Then there were the brighter blue moments, down at Port Ohope.

Old linen shirt from J Jill

Old Cover up by Elif, you've seen this one before.

Everyone here is buying 1970's caravans and doing them up. It's veritable caravan madness in this beach I tell you! This one is parked outside the Port Ohope Store.

Same aqua colour in the coffee drinking nook inside.

Inside the caravan. Its a "no kids" coffee drinking area, so we remained outside with our little darlings and just snapped through the window.

The coffee caravan even has a matching bike. 

Blue caravans galore! Our lovely friend Marion who just turned 61 (!) is doing up a blue caravan too. She was a six years ahead of me at school.  I call it the Cariovarion. She and her American husband Jack have lived sussed: they live half the year in Ohope Beach, the other half in Wyoming. She had a health store and then worked as a milk trader in the old Chicago stock exchange, trained by her husband who was a pork belly trader. She was one of his best students, if not the best, because she learned by other people's experiences and didnt have the ego that tripped up other (male) traders, apparently.

Hello Marion! 

This is Marion's neighbors' caravan. Caravan madness I tell you! 

Believe you me, there was a lorralorra blue!! Hope you're dressing like your hols? Or your sparkly sneaks are taking you for baked goods...
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