On Moms

27 12 2009

Hilary Duff

My mom is rad.  I feel I’m so much like her.  I don’t know if it’s wrong to drop an F-bomb in the same sentence as your mother, but I’m so fucking lucky to have my mom.  She’s just taught me so much and given me so much, and she has such an open heart.”   Hilary Duff in Nylon Magazine December 2009.

I kind of love Hilary Duff, she is awesome on Gossip Girl.  But more than that, I love that in an interview situation where she could prattle on mindlessly about clothes and men and the stresses of her career, she chooses to praise her mother.  And not only that, she talks about her mom being her friend.  So many people thank their parents as an obligation, as if the words don’t mean much.  Or so that it keeps their parents out of their hair.  A lot of people have a love-hate relationship with their parents.  But mine is all love.

You see, my mom is fucking awesome.  I know it, my friends know it, the people she encounters know it, my co-workers knew it, everyone knows it.  In many ways, she is the quintessential “mom” type.  Very caring, nurturing and kind- my lifelong coach and cheerleader with something positive to say about any situation.  She is always taking care of people, baking cakes and banana breads to give away and generally making sure the people in her life are happy.  But in a lot of ways, she is more friend than overbearing mother figure.  I can honestly talk to her about anything and it would be fine.

When I was younger, I hated when people told me I looked just like her and I used to fire back that I had no wrinkles.  But as an adult, I couldn’t be happier to look like such a wonderful person… and hopefully my skincare regimen postpones the inevitable wrinkling.  Every day I hope to become a bit more like her, because she is my best friend.

[Photo and Quote via Nylon Magazine]

Train Time

4 12 2009

As I write this, I am currently sitting on a dank London tube surrounded by bags and trying not to stare at the older gentleman across from me wearing a blue pinstriped suit with red tie. I am fascinated by his chunky gold pinky ring which reflects his scowl every time he catches me sneaking glances. Because here’s the deal: I love people watching. I love to get on a train with no headphones, no book and with no agenda and just observe my fellow commuters. People are fascinating. Some are afraid of other passengers and try to fill up the seating area while others appear to be so perilously lonely that if nobody sits down they will just sink back and be engulfed by the stale, sweaty seats.

Different tube lines have different scents. None of them are pleasant. The metropolitan line always smells like manure but a woman behind me is eating an orange. The zest has wafted throughout the carriage and even Mr. Pinky Ring seems grateful for it.

Some people get on the train and continue loud, raucous, inappropriate conversations. I like these folk better than those that drop to a stage whisper and look around as if the carriage is conspiring to spread their secrets. These are still better than those that believe public transport is their bathroom and apply lashes of makeup, clipping their fingernails and occasionally painting them for good measure. And the few that know people watching is happening grab an intelligible newspaper and wait to be scoped doing heavy reading.

I’ve switched onto a train now and am zooming North towards Manchester. I see rolling hills, horses, sheep and every other cliche of the British countryside. Thatched roofs and slightly browning, wispy grass that stretches dormant as far as I can see. Horses and cows grazing peacefully in shared pastures. Why can’t humans get along so well?

The wet slick of a puddling field winked up through the bales of hay. This is how I see this country. I think the majestic foliage is lost on those napping around me. Back to people watching I go.

Love Christmas is All Around

2 12 2009

Model- Julia, Photo taken January 19, 2005

My last post was all magic and splendour and Christmas loving.  And I still feel that way.  But, there is something about this season that has always bothered me.  And that is, I think, all tied into the weather.  Summer, and to a certain extent, autumn, belong to the singles.  Summer is the time for reckless abandon, where the skirts get shorter, the drinks get stronger and the parties last until the sun rises.  Autumn sees a bit less spontaneity, but up until Halloween, it belongs to those who make the most of the last warm days.  I do not mean to say that couples do not enjoy summer, but what they can and do get up to is limited by their commitment (and if it isn’t limited, then often they end up single).

When the temperatures drop in November, people pack on sweaters and head indoors to curl up with a good book, a glass of wine or a movie with a loved one.  They opt in for nights in with their sweetie.  As a single girl not particularly looking to settle down right now, this throws me through the loop.  I can deal with hating Valentine’s Day like every other single person, but being unable to see my coupled-up friends from November onwards (because they are busy doing absolutely nothing and too lazy to put on a sweater) really gets me.

But then, out of nowhere, I feel like a hypocrite.  I want to stay in, I want to cuddle, I want someone to buy presents for.  Am I bitter?  Lonely?  Hardly.  I am suffering from the Mariah effect (which I touched on before).  Every time she warbles that she wants him and nothing else for Christmas, it slowly ingrains itself into our brains.  We begin thinking that Christmas, which is a lovely time for family and friends to show each other that they care, is a time for people to make grand gestures and pronounce their lifelong love and devotion.

One of my favourite romantic comedy films is Love, Actually.  The eight storylines all end in different ways and as much as we all want that Hugh Grant prime minister or the author played by Colin Firth to realise that they love us, that we should love them… it doesn’t always turn out so spectacularly.  Take Emma Thompson’s character, who realises that her husband is somehow involved with his secretary.  She has a moment of tears, then plasters a smile on and tells her kids that they were fabulous in the school play.  Or another sad moment, but a favourite of mine is when Mark confesses to his best friend’s wife that he has always loved her.  Without ruining the whole film for everyone, what is spectacular about it is that it celebrates the highs, the lows, the clichés and the conundrums that real people face during the holiday season.

A Christmas song I’ve had stuck on repeat lately because of its realism and beauty is by Heather Nova, a native to my homeland.  She sings that although she and her partner have a long way to go, she feels the Christmas magic.  Which I won’t bah humbug about at all.  Hope you enjoy it.

December Magic

1 12 2009
Oxford Street Lights

Umbrellas, presents and double deckers on Oxford Street

There is something intangible and magical about December.  Maybe it is the memories of years past staying up all night waiting for Santa only to fall asleep just when you are sure he will be on his way.  Maybe it is waking up the entire house at 6 AM to let them know that Santa came, even though you were positive that you hadn’t been bad that year.  Perhaps the joy of Christmas is the simple act of families coming together, exchanging gifts and eating incredible food.  Whatever it is, it has finally started humming in the air.

It is refreshing to feel connected to the Christmas Spirit.  Most years, I dread hearing the cheesy tunes blaring out of every shop and my love of Mariah Carey wanes after the 20th rendition of All I Want for Christmas Is You.  I think experiencing new Christmas traditions and festivities are making me nostalgic.  This year, I am loving the season!

Piratey Good Time

Piratey fun at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

London is a playground for people looking to explore rich history and culture.  But what is somewhat more exciting is how they have imported and incorporated foreign traditions as their own.  Yesterday I visited the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, which is styled as a German Christmas Market.  I ate pizza from the Italian stall, I drank Gluhwein (German mulled wine for the uinitiated) and posed with a pirate.  Yeah, I have no idea what the pirate was doing there, either.  But what was so incredible was families coming together and exploring, having fun, playing games.   I went with an old friend and spent the day catching up, laughing and stuffing our faces with all the different treats and sweets.


It allegedly tasted like, "Hot and sour devil semen".

She termed the eggnog as “hot and sour devil semen”, a far cry from the cold, smooth and sweet   stuff from home.  But then again, isn’t that what living abroad is all about?