Friday, April 11, 2014

Good stuff

Kate made a jolly clever move wearing this ensemble in Nu Zild don't you think? First off she's wearing black, colour of the All-Blacks (Kiwi Gods, national rugby team). Secondly, she's got a silver fern on her shoulder, so the Silver Ferns (national netball team) are all taken care of.

On Tuesday we went to the Pet Shop Boys. Yes, that's what I thought too. "I love the Pet Shop Boys...what did they sing? Western girls da da de da, Eastend boys do da de la." You just remember he's got one of the most iconic voices ever. Go to the show if you can, it's art installation meets solid gold dancers.

First the back-up dancers wore tinsel balls on their heads and jumped around on the stage on pogo sticks, then they wore dead cow heads with orange jumpsuits. A video of a not very transitional Goldhawk Road in Shepherd's Bush which I spent many good years wandering along for one reason or another...

Pet Shop Boys giving it heaps in their toilet brush arrangements
Mike (of Kenny'n'Mike) did well with his concert outfit didn't he?
We met WiseProof Auser on our way. He is a Phenomenological Economist according to the card he gave me

The PS Boys look like Grandpas now, but they've still got edge. Instead of trying to push out new songs I reckon they should just get one of those mix and match masters like Pharrell to do their perfect old stuff. No one asks me though...

Don't you just love friends who set a nice table? William'n'Ron do, the cutlery and glassware is sparkling, it's a real treat going to their house, they always put on a top spread. Ron is a superb baker, look at his cheesecake.

Ron's  topnotch cheesecake

David, Ron the v. good baker, and William

Boiling here! Here's an outfit I wore four days in a row (with a few washes). Nothing spesh but it works. The jacket had been MIA at the cleaners for a few months. Heavens knows what it was doing, mind boggles really.

Here's three of the home design articles I did lately for the San Francisco Chronicle. You will see from the first two that I might have become the retiree correspondent for the paper. Finally, a job where I get to feel young! This first couple had lived in a small flat next to the Oakland Airport because they travelled so much for work. Now they're retired - look where they live! (read article here)

Their home in Sunol, a town which used to have a black labrador as Mayor

This Chicago couple retired from to the Berkeley Hills knowing no one. Brave I reckon! (read here)

House in the trees, they store 9,000 gallons of rainwater under this driveway

If you're like me and you love having a good old nosy in other people's home, you'll love all seven of these home tours coming up. One of the homes is just at the end of our road and has stunning views. They are a sports-loving couple who have 11 televisions - three of them in a row in the living room. Each to his own - we have just the one behind closed doors and I rarely go in.  I prefer a monastically silent day (read article here )

On the CSL Tour

Today was our wedding anniversary, neither of us remembered. Mum did. Eleven years ago we were living in London intending to move to the US and we were told we had to get married toot sweet if we wanted entry (even though we already had three kids ). We made a next-day appointment at Marylebone Registry Office. Both Kevin and baby Tallulah had dodgy tummies and we had to change Tallulah's clothes three times in the loos after successive explosions. We dragged in two security guards as witnesses. Memories...

Got anything nice planned for the weekend? We're off for the week tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chez Panisse and Junior Prom

The festival of birthday continued with enormous amounts of eating and drinking. Harley, 16, had his Junior Prom, I really felt the passing of time. When the kids were tiny I would get to 10am and think: by gosh, the morning feels like a century! The hours they were long, my friends, but the years have zoomed by.

Harley and his prom date Mairin

Harley did a bit of a Tom Cruise and asked Mairin not to wear high heels (Harley!) In the end I think she looked even cuter with her flats. (She has really good posture... funny that was the first thing Dad noticed about my mother) I loved the picture of Harley with all his friends below, he's been at school with these kids since he was four years old. They graduated from their K-8 school, just 24 of them, and they've stayed friends right up until high school. Proud that we parents stayed friends though all the emotional ups and downs. That's a feat, let me tell you.

My Platinum dance group performed again this weekend, with DC Productions at  Castro Valley.  We did the Stevie Wonder tribute again -  how awesome was that guy?

Old Stevie, smiling down on Platinum (I'm at the back)

On Friday lunch we went with Kenny'n'Mike to Chez Panisse, the most famous restaurant in the US. (60 days to get a rezo downstairs) It's owner, Alice Waters, was the first to do the eat-what's-fresh farm-to-table thingy. First time I went I was shocked; it's such a simple, unassuming place with a coupla tables. Everything tastes so real and deep and without rich sauces. I had the roast chook and rhubarb crumble, I even ordered the pizza with sardines and I never ever order pizza (it was good). We had three big old beardy blokes behind us, all in green caps, looking like old ZZ Top guys. It's that kind of place.

ZZ Top guys next to us at Chez Panisse

Kevin and I with Kenny'n'Mike. All my make-up was missing (Tallulah!) so I had to do a Tilda Swinton
Our waiter at Chez Panisse

Obligatory champers

Beet salad
Roast chook and turnips

Rhubarb crumble
Pizza with sardines starter

I know what you're thinking - she doesn't like pizza, what a weirdo!  I hope we can still be friends? (Do you have an unpopular tastes?)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Conscious Weekend and Anjelica Huston

Had a good giggle over old FF's Consciously Doing Everything following Gwyneth Paltrow's announcement. This conscious living suits me. It's a land where all choices - wobbly or otherwise - are not just valid, they are elevated! Instead of writing for a plethora of deadlines, I lay a-bed finishing Anjelica Huston's A Story Lately Told about her life until 22 years old, growing up in old pile in Ireland and modeling in London and Paris. She says she willed herself to be photogenic, despite big nose, narrow eyes, weak chin and too wide shoulders (her description). I ate two donuts in bed with a toast and rhubarb jam chaser. All absolutely consciously.

Anjelica with her family

Anjelica, 18, with her beloved Dad on the set of A Walk With Love and Death, directed by her father, which she hated being in. More stories here
Modeling for Zandra Rhodes in 1973

Angelica says one childhood summer in Ireland there were no adults present. Later,  tired of her father's numerous affairs, her mother left and no one mentioned it. Full of family friends like Marlon Brando and Betty Bascall (someone has to be their friend!) She writes like Hemingway - can't wait for the next one where she meets Jack.

By the way the NY Times says there's a bit of a (passive aggressive) storm in a psychologist's teacup over the provenance of the CU saying. Apparently Gwynnie's person had failed to attribute the phrase to the colleague who had registered it. The colleague had actually heard the phrase from a friend. Don't you wish you could coin a phrase (maybe you have?) I have banned eclectic and plethora (oops) which will provide some impetus to find one.

On Saturday night we went to Juhu Beach Club (Indian street food) a bars-on-the-windows right-under-the-highway place which Oakland does so well. Spicy curryleaf prawns and beet salad.

Juhu Beach Club which could be described as eclectic if I used that word

Loved the monkey wallpaper

Kevin wore the shirt my sister bought him from H&M in Qatar, "cheap as chips" as no one seemed to know who Martin Margiela was. Consciously decontructred.

Wore my birthday zip-up arrangement. Could have got a nice frock but I'll wear this more

Tried a Lorde lip, had to tp most of it off. She was in Oakland but tix all sold out

The clematis consciously unfurled on Sunday like nobody's business.
Teddy likes to eat the succulents to settle his stomach.

Platinum, my dance group, performed a tribute to Stevie Wonder at Broadway Boogie (Yes Oakland has a Broadway too). A really great show with two professional groups. Little kids stole the show which is as it should be.

Platinum performing on Friday. Photo by Terry's husband

We followed our current spate of overhyped movies with  Bad Words, a "comedy" about a 40 year old man who enters a kid's spelling bee. Inappropriate where it didn't need to be (giving a nine year old boy a tequila shot? tomato sauce under a  girl's chair? yuk) I watched it so you don't have to. Then Gravity ...I have vertigo just putting my hair in a ponytail so incredibly discombobulating - but not Oscar.

What conscious news from your weekend?


Friday, March 28, 2014

Turning 52

I turned 52 yesterday, trying to summon up wisdom learned in all those years but all can think of is a line from Will and Grace: "Stay away from capris." Actually I like capris and will keep on wearing them, which shows I've learned nuttin'.

Photoshopping, cheaper than Botox

Apropropos of nothing, I love Tina Fey but don't understand how she insists on always being photoshopped but reviles Botox, which she says produces the "shiny people." What's the difference - both eliminate wrinkles. I say go for it. I may pass comment on those with boobs bigger than their head and their lips permanently in that selfie pose called the "duckface" that we keep seeing from Miley et al.

Real me doing Da Duckface

If you're planning anything huge in the injectable-facelift area please treat yourself first to a visit to the the fruit and vege aisle of Gelsons in the Pacific Palisades, LA. There you will witness The Night of The Living Dead (the people shopping there, not the veges). Don't go that far. Your thoughts?

I sort of postponed my birthday as we have rehearsals for our Platinum dance performance. Here is one of my Platinum sistars, Kathleen, dropping off some goodies whilst scooping up guard dog.

Kathleen with gifts and guard dog.

My three fave things; champers, fleurs and toast

Also card from Tallulah, 12. Will post my other things next week.

Is that 5/5 or 5/10?

Gloria Steinem turned 80 this week.  I heard a while ago that one of my Varsity friends remembered me as a "rabid feminist" telling everyone off about everything including calling women "girls." What happened, said my friend "now she's a mother in suburbia." Like to think I'm still kicking a bit of sexist bum out here.  Of course now I would be thrilled to be called a girl, thought I do get annoyed about people saying "you ladies" and declaring they are not feminists - all feminist means is that you think women should be equal.

Gloria Steinem turned 80

Gloria went undercover as Playboy Bunny to show how women were treated at these clubs

What's this about mere mortals having messy divorces but Gwyneth gets to have a Conscious Uncoupling and a Break-up Moon. Course no one asked me but I could see it coming. Look at this recent photo: she looks posed, thought-through and pristine, a woman on the brink of something new.

Walking on Venice Beach 

On Monday I'll have something more esoteric for you. In the meantime what is one thing you've learned in your how many? years?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Indoor-Outdoor Flow, Prom and The Grand Budapest Hotel

We hear a lot about this mysterious indoor-outdoor flow, don't we?  Jean Simpson, a retired special needs teacher, who built a second home in Sonoma, really has the concept down. She literally has to walk outside her kitchen-living room to get to her bedroom, bathroom and study. And her shower is outside the outside rooms! Very cool. I know that sounds confusing, I probably described it better in my article (here) for the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend.

All photos by Michael Hospelt. Showering in the outdoors

The Great Room, all other rooms are outside

The Great Room (kitchen and living room)
Speaking of outdoors - look! a clematis has come through at our house.

Saturday night, the old Hubstar and I went out to dinner at Camino and to see the Grand Budapest Hotel, which is so pink and purply charming at one stage I burst out laughing. But okay having now seen that and Wolf of Wall Street (boring debauchery) and American Hustle (hair dos! DVF! didn't care what happened to anyone!) there seems to be a leaning towards style in place of heart and guts. Movies full embraced by the fashion world before you've got to the end of your popcorn. Also any film maker who uses voice-over should be fined!!! (Full disclosure: my favorite movie is Nil By Mouth, but I've also never met a romcom I didn't like) 

Long time readers might remember this scarf from Barcelona

I love menus where there is only a few things to choose. 

The pork snozzy
If you go to Camino you get a halo, halo halo

In Teddy news, he's going great guns with Leslie, the dog whisperer, running with the big dogs (sometimes 12 of them) on all sorts of field trips. One days it was under the Golden Gate Bridge, another day it was following behind Leslie's horse in Half Moon Bay.  Thank goodness this has bought him back to normal and he's left his post-operative neurosis behind him.

Guys, this is where I get out...Teddy (far left) being dropped at home
Harley, 16, below asked M, a swimmer, to the prom. He commissioned his friend Tassia to draw the sign. Already a skilled outsourcerer, that boy. Apple. Tree. (Apparently the theatrics of asking to the prom and the bus you go on are just as important as the actual prom)

Meanwhile Cy, 10, was desperate to be in a baseball fantasy league and unbeknownst to us signed up on the ESPN website. We just found out yesterday he is in the Prison League. Could be prison guards but also could be prisoners. Like the sterling parents we are, we made him pull out. No doubt there's some blokes having a cuppa tea on Cell Block H right now saying: "Rocky, what happened to that Cy guy? He had some good picks, I miss him."

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