Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 Roundup - Drowning in Blessings!

[I got one of those nauseating boasting end of year letters featuring kids wearing matching reindeer sweaters today - naturally I felt the need to pen my own gloating letter taking the piss just a tad!]

Dear Friends,

It's that time of year again. The time for my annual Christmas letter. I am jumping for joy because this has been one heck of a fabulous - yet exhausting year. This Christmas I'm going to keep it simple. Usually I have a 500 head bash complete with ice sculptures of the family and we perform a selection of rousing Christmas tunes - me on mike, my hubby Bert on the keys, little Scarlett on violin and tiny daughter Bonnie doing her dying swan dance on top of the grand piano while I release thousands of rare African bluewing butterflies.

But this year although Bert's plastic surgery business is going through the roof showing off doesn't seem to be in. Basically we didn't want to rub our good fortune in people's faces too much so we are limiting the guest list to 100 and the celebrities will be strictly C list. Beatrice and Eugenie have already said yes and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing their big white teeth around our Swarovski crystal Egg Nog bowl.

And now without furher ado I'll give you the 2009 round up:

Bert's new wing of his plastic surgery business Cankles R Us has taken off in leaps and bounds. This is tough love surgery with the ankle bone being scalped back so that unsightly cankles no longer ruin your life. Profits are huge on this so who am I to say that Bert isn't helping women with unsightly legs? There have been a few clients who can no longer walk after the surgery but I've poo pooed their concerns. Wouldn't you rather have beautiful ankles and be in a wheelchair than be mobile and with cankles? I certainly know what I'd prefer.

Scarlett who is eight is now six grades ahead and is taking advanced calculus. The other day I looked at some scribbles she'd done on a piece of paper. I wasn't sure what she'd written but it turns out she'd independently arrived at E=MC squared! She continues to astound me every day with her huge capacity for doing stuff with numbers and I feel so sorry for other mums who are trying to get their kids to just wrap their heads around long division. What can I say except don't be haters!

Six year old Bonnie continues to thrill us both with her dancing and singing skills. She has been accepted at the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow and the private jet takes her there weekly. Some people claim all this early success might go to her head but I keep her down to earth by having firm rules. For example, although she is very hairy I've told her that she cannot have laser hair removal until she is eight.

As for myself I am just recovering from a romantic gesture Bert made to me. He gave me my usual shot of Botox in my forehead and then gave me some extra shots in my cheeks and chin. He swears he didn't give me too much but the situation is unfortunate as my mouth is paralyzed and I cannot move my lips. This will be a loss for my guests at the Christmas party tonight but bear with me you will be able to hear me very very soon.

Another thing that's really bothering me is these people who are whining that they have lost their jobs. Yes I realize that we can't all be as highly intelligent and stunningly beautiful as we are in my family. But we can get on our bikes as Normon Tebbit so famously said. And once we are on our bikes we can achieve anything. Do you really think that this kind of can't do attitude would have worked in the second world war when we bombed the jerries into submission? Of course not. So all I ask is you put on your 'can do' face rather than your 'can't do' face. So you've lost your job. So what? Why not take this as an opportunity to brush up on new skills. Learn something useful like maybe the harp or how to do shiatsu massage. In the words of the great humanist Barbara Bush who so touchingly said after Hurrican Katrina:

"What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them." –Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 5, 2005

So let's take a leaf out of Barbara's book. If you're poor it's probable you're used to it - that's the big saving grace!! Hey let's laugh a little at our misfortunes. And now I must get ready for my party. I am generally a very modest person but let me step out of character for a second to say Goddamit I have it all and I'm the happiest woman on earth!

May 2010 bring you many blessings. And remember Bert's doing two-for-one plastic surgery procedures all through January. It's do your own anaesthetic but it's still a huge bargain. And if you have fat ankles do give Cankles R Us a whirl. Walking is really overrated believe me!

If you have a moment drop me a line and tell me what your year was like not that I'm that interested but I'm just trying to be polite.

Have a blessed Festive Season


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Celluloid Shenanigans

My pal Dulwich Mum handed me the meme baton and I am helpless but to respect her orders. She asked me for some of my favourite film moments. I must say that these days I have rather gone off the silver screen but as a teenager movies had a vice-like grip on my imagination and I became certain leading ladies in movies for a few weeks in real life - I mean wearing their clothes, styling my hair like them etc - these included Jean Seberg, Louise Brooks, Marianne Faithfull and Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. I was frequently holed up for hours at the triple bills at the Everyman Cinema (Hampstead) and at the King's Cross Scala (which went into receivership after losing a court case over an illegal screening of A Clockwork Orange but then reopenened in 1999).

Jean Seberg - terrible American accent but coolest girl in the world

There are many film moments imbedded in my memory from Au Bout de Souffle but not many are available on youtube without some ghastly soundtrack so this will have to do. When I was sixteen my girlfriends and I thought Jean Seberg was the coolest girl in the world. And she is.

My God those cigarette pants and the Herald Tribune t-shirt. Those fifties dresses. That elfin haircut. Top that with Jean Paul Belmondo and lots of pretentious French existentialist talk and I was in heaven. The Jean Seberg character inspired me to take a train to Paris when I was sixteen with a friend but I did not bump into a Jean Paul Belmondo lookalike (or any other French male for that matter) and after about three days we'd run out of money and had to content ourselves with living off supermarket baguettes and Gitanes, sneaking into museums and throwing water balloons down at innocent passers by from our one star hotel.

Another girl I wanted to be for a while was Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and there was a phase (luckily no photographic evidence exists of this period) where I walked around in baggy men's clothes and a big scarf until it dawned on me that I looked less androgynous-sexy and more like a tramp. But I'm really much more like the hyperneurotic Woody Allen character in this queue who is irritated by the pretentious git who's droning on behind him. I absolutely adore Woody although I would draw the line at sleeping with him. He is very funny but not funny enough for me to get beyond his looks.

I was also obsessed with the film Withnail and I for many a moon and could recite it word for word. My favourite scene is when the two degenerate actors meet Uncle Monty who is just such a wonderfully realized character and comes out with such hilarious lines as:

"Flowers are simply tarts; prostitutes for the bees," and

"I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium."

Priceless. This scene really makes me proud to be English - that such raving eccentrics are celebrated and nourished in the UK!

And now I am asking my blogging pals Misssy M at The Misssy M Missives,Sexy Scarlet at Scarlet Blue, and Kevin at El-Kevo - The coffee house guitarist to share their favourite film moments.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Take That Ya'll

I am much blessed ... Southern cook Paula Deen has been staying with me and we worked our way through quite a lot of food let me tell you. Here [this is me doing the impersonation!!] Paula tries to get creative making a gingerbread house in my kitchen! See if she tickles your fancy y'all! Paula Deen's dog Bodine, or is it Bo-Deen sat on the table all the way through. She tells me he is her oracle and she always consults him about the important questions in her life like whethere to have cream or ice cream or both on her pie. He is one smart little doggie!

I first fell in love with Paula when I saw her eat a lasagna sandwich - not only was the piece of lasagna the size of a brick but it was nestled between two pieces of garlic bread:

As a self confessed glutton I would never be able to match Paula's insatiable appetite but as we became firm friends God knows I tried!

It was great having Paula over but I feel like I have gained 20 lb just looking at her cooking which is full fat and bursting with shortening. I really would love to her be a granny around the house because she is ridiculously cheerful but she said she was needed back home to roast a pig.

Dontcha just love her? Or who is your favourite celebrity cook?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Speaking in Spanish Tongues

People say that if you really want to change you can but I'm afraid I don't buy it. Take me learning Spanish. I have done evening classes for nearly a year and a half now and I am totally fluent if by fluent you mean I could easily converse with a group of Spanish five year olds. The current class I am in is mostly peopled by people who have advanced Spanish but like taking an intermediary class just to show off. Or maybe it is simply a situation of Us and Them. The people who effortlessly learn foreign languages are simply Them and I am simply an Us. I really do adore all of the people in my class but the penny is only now belatedly starting to drop that not only are they all doing the homework they are listening to Spanish radio on the internet and doing extra study to get themselves up to snuff while I basically gaze at my navel and fantasize about Enrique Iglesias whispering Spanish nothings in my ear.

Oh cripes it really is a case of doing it (studying Spanish) every day but what is going to be the motivation? It's time to have a motivational fantasy to keep me going. In a year's time I will be asked to host a S. American chat show and I will need to speak fluent Spanish! Yes of course. I mean how do these Them people do it? How do they learn Spanish JUST FOR FUN when learning Spanish is not fun apart from the lessons when you do role play in broken Spanish about, "Now we are fishing with our rods. You have a very long fish. Would you like to see my fish?"

So far the class is stricly Us and Them. The Us is me and a sixty year old jolly English nun who I will call Sister Valium because she is always high even though she isn't on anything. She seems to study a great deal but isn't really any good.

Then there is the Them group. The main people in that group are:
Harry Potter - a totally nice looking French Canadian guy but scratch beneath the surface and you'll find a Type A. Firstly he told us that when he moved to Baltimore to do his PhD he had never spoken English and just 'picked it up' when he got here to the level where you could do a PhD. I thought, WHAAAATTTTTT? He seems to be living in some kind of world pre supermarkets because he said when he goes fishing in Canada he brings six ice boxes of fish down to Baltimore (WHY? And where does he store them?) Then he said he makes all his own cheese and pickles his own vegetables and has whole bookshelves full of them. But the wierdest thing he said was when we were discussing what we did over Thanksgiving and he said he cooked a twelve pound turkey JUST FOR HIMSELF. He did not break down and sob with embarassment about this i.e. that he had no friends to invite for Thanksgiving. He is cheerful as you like and insanely good at Spanish. I mean come on, even Sister Valium had seven nuns over for Thanksgiving. I am wondering if maybe Harry Potter and Sister Valium might not get together one day because she once told me she thought he was 'very handsome' and winked saucily. I don't think the forty year age gap should put them off.

Bird Lady - a sixty year old wizened crone who told me she 'hates kids but loves birds' and who without a trace of embarassment has told us that she is learning Spanish especially the Spanish names of birds because she is a bird fancier and wants to go on a Spanish bird watching holiday. She also works in a bank as a computer programmer ten hours a day and somehow has the time to be absolutely brilliant at Spanish in her spare time. Makes me spit let me tell you.

There are a few other Thems in the class but none of them are that interesting. There are a couple of middle aged eggheads who are going off to an Argentinian holiday soon to 'perfect their Spanish' who I have mercifially palmed off a ton of Argentinian pesos on knowing that if I held on to those notes until I was next in Argentina it might be too late and the currency might be worthless as toilet paper.

So what I am really wondering is do you have to be a cheese making high flyer or bird fancier i.e. be someone who is totally unembarassed by having a mindblowing boring hobby to be good at languages? I mean I can't imagine admitting a passion for a holiday tracking the yellow bellied warbler let alone admitting I'd ever made a turkey for one. Jesus I'd go and join an AA meeting before I'd sit home pulling a cracker between myself and slicing up a twelve pound turkey before cutting my jugular. Know what I mean?

My point is that right now I am an Us but I want to be a Them. I want to astound people at parties with my fluent Spanish. I've got a feeling slackerhood is no longer cool. Maybe I've missed the new trend. I've got a feeling Nerddom is the new black and I missed the trend. What about you - are you an Us or a Them when it comes to learning languages?

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Krankies Reloaded

Think of all the famous double acts you know. Think of ...

The Krankies

Rod Hull and Emu

John Noakes and Shep

Posh and Becks

Well watch this space because there's a new double act in town. It's called Kaufmann and Martin and while I admit the name may need a bit of work myself and my co-author Gillian Martin are about to be launched into the publishing stratosphere. Why? Because we wrote a humorous parenting tome called Cocktails at Naptime together which will be published next year. Yes we're still reeling from the shock.

Now, I am currently in the depths of flu. And while I may be full of phlegm my phlegmatic days are well and truly behind me. I am ready to be upbeat, nay optimistic! We are ready to take the world by the horns and give it a bloody good shake.

When our book launches next year we will meet up in some country or other and may be shocked by the other's appearance. I have only talked to Gillian via cyberspace and the phone and my impressions of her is that she is a tiny pint sized Scot no heavier than maybe a chipmunk. I hope when we meet it will not be a case of Little and Large. Or Elf and Elephant.

I am here today, right here right now, to go all American on you. I am here to say: Don't give up. Never give up. Get knocked down ten times and get up eleven. There is a God. You can get published. Kaufmann and Martin. Watch this space!