Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Last-Minute (!) Halloween Costumes

Young Wendy reckons she "sucks at Halloween." Well, if she has one pumpkin on her porch that's 100 percent more decorating than I've done this year for Halloween - or as Cy calls it "The birth of the Candy Gods." Today I did take some snaps of three genius-easy costumes ideas while Tallulah was shopping at her favorite second hand store Crossroads. Just in case you need a last minute costume...

All you need for this one is to cut out a paper beard and stick on a slip.

Hipster Waldo Just Wants to Find Himself. 

Wanda, The SouthWest Witch. (Just wear black with a touch of Santa Fe)


Some others we've have done in past years, though not all for Halloween.

Viking Kevin - look behind you!
Me (right) having cocktails with Viking grrrlfriends
Sarah, Lesley and Sally doing Seventies, baby. I know who to come to for white boots

Me and Kevin being the Green Day guys, Billie Jo and Tre Cool. They used to live around the corner - wonder if this costume had anything to do with them moving away?
Back of Green Day
Andrew and Caryn doing Avatar

Vicki and Michael - The Hangover

Me and Kevin being Wacky Races. Teddy is McMutley. I'm not going to win any Oscars with my scared face - put some effort into it girl!

Tallulah and friend Ariana are Cookie Monsters. Cy is a baseball fan

12 years ago! before our re-model, Me and Kevin, two faces of Boy George: Doing Probation and Eighties George
Me and Kevin were Royal Tenenbaums
Seb and Laura being Shy Ronnie and Bonnie (Sat Night Live)

More characters from Sat Night Live including The Wild and Crazy Guys!
SNL characters: Dick in a Box, Two Pats and Roseanna Roseanneadana

More SNL: Mary Katherine Gallagher and Martha Stewart's Topless Christmas

Phew, this is only a tenth of our costume photos. Hope you have a spooky day possums! Much love my boos.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Selfies by Jackie Kennedy and Andy Warhol

Just found out that Warhol and Jackie Kennedy have something in common. The other day I saw this mirrored image Jackie Kennedy took with husband JFK and sister-in-law Ethel. That same night we went to a private art collection (as ya' do, darlings) which featured Andy Warhol -  who of course was the master of the selfie, way before it was Zeitgeisted. In fact our selfie culture is the realisation of his vision.
Ethel, Jackie and Robert Kennedy

The private Fisher Collection at the Gap Headquarters in San Francisco. All these pictures are being donated to MOMA so you can see them there soon.

The Warhols were part of the Fisher Collection,  described as one of the greatest private collections of modern art in the world. It's chockaful of Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, and Andy Warhol.

We had "won" - i.e. paid for -  this evening for eight people at a fundraiser for the Oakland Museum. You've probably noticed there are fundraisers galore here in the US  -  nothing here is paid for including proper education.

Inspired by the Kennedy linen-arama I wore my old linen trou made by Gwen Stefani (with her own fair hands I'm thinking)

Me, Ron and Amber

The foot dude says I need to wear sneaker-like shoes from now on what with me bunions. These ones are MaxMara bought in London (and as you can see already need a scrubdub)

Great chance to see a wide range of work from Chuck Close, the hyperrealist artist, who despite achieving fame as a portrait artist, suffered from "face blindness" where he is unable to recognise faces. Then unbelievably one day in 1988 he had a spinal artery collapse and overnight lost most of the use of his limbs. He taught himself to paint with the brush strapped to his arm with tape.  The paintings look like photos from afar but close up you can see the squares.


Close continued to paint with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape, creating large portraits in low-resolution grid squares created by an assistant. Viewed from afar, these squares appear as a single, unified image.


Then we walked across the road to the  Pier 24 photography exhibit (open to the public) which I had never heard of.  You would never know it's here. You literally go through a whole in the wall. See the Bay Bridge overhead as you go in?

Pier 24, you can see the Bay Bridge looming over


He we all are: Kevin, Mike, Kenny, me, Ron, William, Amber and Rachel


The screen shows old music videos. Look at Amber sitting in the stuffed dolphin chair

Amber loves animals - she volunteers at a dog shelter. She would rather like this stuffed dolphin chair


 Sisters Rachel and Amber. They were Kevin's "little sisters" at Penn State. (It's a fraternity-sorority thing apparently)

They provided wine and a Mediterranean platter. Naturalement I scoffed all the stuffed vine leaves. Mike and Amber looking out the Bay Bridge to Oakland. You feel as though you are floating on the water


This looks deceptively easy, like "I'll just stick some magazine images together" but it took forever apparently

They have a collection of old work I.D. badges

And finally a whole room full of photos that you are allowed step all over. An artist printed out all the photos uploaded to Flickr in one day. You might find something from your camera here.


A room full of photos uploaded in 24 hours to Flickr


Then onto Waterbar and seafood.



Nothing is new and everything is.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Uncle Fred Finn

My Uncle Fred has died at the age of 93. My journalism teacher always said avoid cliches like the plague, but Uncle Fred had a great innings and was possessed of all his marbles right until the end. My mother, who's 75, has now has lost all her (older) seven brother and sisters. She said: "I'm in charge now!" That was funny and also sad. You never stop being the youngest child.

Uncle Fred as a young man
I asked my sisters to send some snaps of Uncle Fred. They sent some which were, well, dreadful. (I am scion of two families who take bad photos - there is the full shot of sky, the blurry something in the foreground, the awkward side shot of someone's forehead. It's all there ).  But these un-posed un-photoshopped snapshots made me smile like no one's business.




Fred and his wife Peggy and family, 1980's
Family gathering: Fred, seated and Dad, middle (See what I mean about the photos? Classic!)
My sister Sharon with little Leah, Mum and Fred, 10 years ago

Uncle Fred and his brothers and sisters looked like their Dad, my Poppa. Poppa was from Ireland; a lovely, tall chap with enormous ears, a curly smile and a full head of hair. The kids inherited also his very gentle Irishness. They listened, they waited patiently for others to speak first, they smiled and nodded (and made wicked-funny little asides).

My Dad has always said there was no hurrying the Finn family into church for weddings, funeral and christenings. The whole lot of them would be standing around at the entrance, rocking back and forth, smiling to themselves, waiting for someone else to go in first.

"Oh hello Fred (surprised), fancy meeting you here. How are you?" Little giggle, smile, nod, rock back and forth.
"Good as Gold, Madeline. How's the family?" Smile, nod, little laugh.
And so on.

Fred, far left and Mum far right, waiting to go in somewhere

Uncle Fred loved nothing more than to be with other people, hear their stories and tell his own when it was his turn. He had a new lease of life when he went into a retirement home two years ago and wished he'd gone in sooner. He left behind six children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

He was the proper elder brother, taking responsibility for all the family trees and seeming to have endless knowledge of people's to-ings and fro-ings within the family. He once visited my cousin Martin who lives in Camberwell, London. Martin says: "I particularly remember him getting lost in London, us having no idea where he was and Sharon (my sister) coming round and laughing saying that he'd find his way back. We eventually got a call and he was nearby and in good shape. "

At the moment our ten year old, Cy, is constantly practicing his Irish accent. It's just one sentence: "There's no cause for suspicion, I'm just having a pint at the Irish pub." His accent is currently somewhere between Scottish and Russian. Uncle Fred would've had a good chuckle at that.

Until we meet again, Uncle Fred.






Monday, October 27, 2014

Catching Up

I haven't blogged for two weeks, it's a bit scary clicking in. I've pretty much been sitting at my computer but I can't post that. Outside the computer I've had incredibly "challenging" times in a perfect storm of shite. Hopefully someday I can write about it, feeling all the wiser and enriched. In the meantime, here's a blast of the positive highlights, bringing you up to date.


After months of drought we finally got one stormy day of rain. Good chance to wear my seafoam Workshop jersey. (Friends, apparently I can't use the word jumper, has rude connotations here.)

I must really like light blue, look at our deck after the rain.



Heres a pic at Mum and Dad's place after I bought the sweater. Look, it matches their seafoam tiles. Mum says she would never use colored tiles again. You tire of them, opt for white tiles and paint the walls a colour, she reckons. I do like stripes. Please feel free to weigh in on the colored tile debate.

Me matching the tiles in Mum's bathroom in Ohope Beach. She regrets choosing seafoam colored tiles.

Speaking of light blue and also raising the spectre of middle class problems (Tabitha of Badinage talks about a really funny one on her blog today) our backyard fountain has been a nightmare. The tiles fell off a couple of months ago. We re-tiled the whole thing with different tiles that we thought were more suitable. Yesterday we woke to find nine of those new tiles have fallen off and the rest are about to drop.

Our fountain last week


Our poor fountain this week

Lovely morning watching the annual Black Cowboy Parade in Oakland.  It's great to remember that African Americans made up one quarter of all cowboys in the old West.








Wheeled out the ancient Louis Verdad skirt and top at Harley's Senior Mass.

Me and Harley, 17, at Lake Chalet afterwards


In the US, high schools have Spirit Week this time of year and I love seeing them go off in costume. Despite the fun, kids have it hard these days I reckon, so much pressure, college, social, sports everything. I would not have done well if I was a teen now. I was content to read all day in my room and make cinnamon toast on Saturday night. Not exactly a Queen Bee.

Harley (left ) on Nerd Day at school during Spirit Week
Harley (far right) with friends on Eighties Day
Jackson (right) and friends on Seventies Day

Remember I told you about the Superwoman Stance, how standing open and wide immediately gives you confidence.  In my disorganised melee of photos I found pictures of two people with super open body language. One was Angelina Jolie, I snapped this pic at the Berlin Film Festival. The other person was also at Berlin: Kiwi director-actor-writer Taika Waititi  His film Boy is one of my all-time favourites. Have you seen his movie about Vampires flatting together in Wellington? Can't wait.

A snap I took of Angie at Berlin Film Festival three years ago.  She's leaning against the stage - look how relaxed she is in front of hundreds of people. 
Also very relaxed stance: Taika Waititi (centre). Also at the Berlin Film Festival with my sister Pietra (right) and Nga, subject of her documentary, Maori Boy Genius.


I think Renee Zellweger has a botoxathon rather than plastic surgery don't you? Her bee-stung eyes and lips were adorable but she was obviously ready for a change (and the work is not Meg Ryan bad) Love her - that train scene of her in Bridget Jones was a revelation, you could see every thought on her face without any over-emoting.

Hmmm....What has she done?

Good-oh, now we're all caught up. Tomorrow - three great and easy Halloween costume ideas I've just seen. I know. My posts are like the Number 28 bus in London. Nothing, and then three come along at once.

Hope you're doing well?






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