I was severley chastised the other night about not writing the blog every night and that it is quite a serious misdemeanor in blog terms. Only single people with no job children must find the time . My excuse is that it i the beginning of the summer holidays, the children are at their most cranky and are decompressing after school--last week there was some quite spectcular bad language and petit crime going on in this house..and we had Grandmas visit. Grandma flew from England for ten days of LA glitze and out door life which she seemed to enjoy..The latest in our outdoor activities is riding- I loved riding as a child and was pretty good at it ..but as an adult in London toomuch of a hassle not to mention the patronising bossy teachers who no matter how good you are always seem to ask "have you riden before?' Here in LA riding is serious business and service with a huge american smile.Half an hour away from us in the vally at burbank is the sprawling and posh Equestrian Center One and a half squre miles of paddocks barns polo grounds and dressage centers. No mess .. all very slick and no riding unless equipted with jods hat gloves etc. the children are learning and so are Grandma and I...
Where I live now in West Hollywood, just above Little Ethiopia, there is a Starbucks every two blocks it seems. They have reached such a saturation point that they will soon have to start opening Starbucks inside the toilets of the bigger Starbucks.
The other oddly ubiquitous business here is the psychic. “Walk ins welcome, Chakras Cleansed, Karma changed, fortunes told, career advice, loved ones returned.” There seem to be more psychics per square inch than anywhere else I have ever lived. I suppose it’s a reflection of the uncertainty of the business and the flakiness of the people.
My mother grew up in Rutherglen and they had a neighbour who would come in and read the tea leaves for them. You drank your tea then swirled around the dregs into some kind of shape that she could read.
I’m not sure how accurate she was but seemingly she always started off the reading the same way no matter who it was. She would look down into the cup and then into the face of the person and with all the solemenity of an Aztec priest would state , “Sometimes you’re happy and sometimes you’re no !” This would have whoever was getting the reading nodding furiously at her uncanny accuracy.
Like so many her job fell victim to new technology when the tea bag came along and did away with the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. At first she hoped it was just a fad. Who saw that coming?
It reminds me of the story of the tabloid editor who called up the Mystic Meg on his newspaper, and told her, as you will no doubt have foreseen, your services are no longer required.
The Scots are hard to avoid in America, there is Carnegie, who came here with nothing, made a fortune in steel then gave most of it away, endowing, among other things Rutherglen library. Eleven presidents were of Scots ancestry, there are eight Edinburghs here but only seven Glasgows.
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be an extra in our friend Bernards film which was very exciting. I have never been on a film set ,let alone in a film. I had seen some of Bernards films in England and loved them noting what a talented director he was with a slant towards the seedy which I like. Philip landed an actual part as the "master of ceremonies" and as the whole thing was improvised had to prepare a speech and meet the head of an actual charity for whom he was campaigning.Philip assured me I would hate being an extra( low boredom threshold) and that the will to live would drain out of me after about half an hour of sitting around. The more Philip tried to divert me from the set , the more determinded I was to go on it. My part was being one of the Beverly hills well-heeled at a fund raiser concert. It was very disconcerting as we arrived only to be greeted by the main lead actor danny and to be followed around by a camera. we thought it might be a documentary about the making of the film, NO it was the film... We were asked to mingle in the garden by the pool with people we knew already -other friend /extras- there were no intrusive lights , no retakes just a camerea letting people be and do their thing. Philp made a good speech by which time we had forgotten we were in a film. Before the concert i noticed a scrum and sudden panic to get to the comfortable seats, the old hands knew that they would be sitting there for some time , I ended up on half a stool..The concert was fantastic , we got an impromto sonata from the director who was not only doing sole camera work but was piano coach too. There was a total crew of six. Th e whole thing was over by three and we left the incredible beverly Hills hacienda . I have not written specifics because I am unsure of blog etiquette. If I mention names will a lawsuit await me ?
Its all very well having a blog if you have time to write it , which I dont seem to ..I also average around 20 words per minute and anyone reading this will have noticed the spelling.Anyway to sum up , school ended on wednesday infact Gabriel "Graduated" from Kindergarten in an extraordinary ceremony where he had to wear one of those Scholar type hats and recieve a certificate, along with the other 20 six year olds in the class.It was very sweet and Gabriel enjoyed posing for Photos with the lovely Miss Kim. " I would like to marry she" was what he said on his first day at school .So i am now head of entertainment until summer camps begin next week,.Noses are turned up at my many ideas of eduacational interest like parks , museums, etc and suggestions always go back to the same place -theme parks and shopping malls.I am having none of it . Yesterday we had a forced excursion to the beach( we are lucky enough to live 20 minutes drive away) there were moans and groans all the way.A year ago the beach was a novelty and was greeted with great excitement but has now become so "whatever" ..so "5 minutes ago" They loved it despite themselves and the moaning stopped. Philip phoned to say Avril Lavigne was playng on the show so it was a rushed journey up to CBS with Grace in a state of near extacy.we saw her walking up and down the corridor, she was tiny but when she performed what a huge voice! I am in a frenzy of multitasking as i am in a mixed exhibition in two weeks ,so as I childmind, I finish off paintings, I vanish,, I write invitations, I fill out forms , I change nappies, I pay bills,I water the garden,the list goes on -are you feeling exhausted yet?This all gets put into perspective after watching "persuit of happiness"...I shall not complain, i am very grateful for my lot.
Yesterday as I took Grace to our very wonderful dentist Dr Gold (he looks like Valentino) the cheery assistant greeted me with "you look tired""-like I really needed to know this..why do people feel a compusion to tell you you look "tired" What do they think it will achieve? "Tired " is a polite way to say "you look terrible" If you feel bad and tired it will make you feel worse (not only do i feel crap I look it too) If you feel fine which I did its great to know you certainly dont look it so dont be too smug.This brings me to the dilemma when is it ok to tell someone they are piling on the beef, getting a spare tyer or two? A couple of months ago it was a grim day for me when Sara Silverman as US commedienne informed me via TV that soy Chai Tea Lattes had about 2 thousand caleries per cup.These were indeed my comfort drink and staple diet. Since giving up the ciggies it was the highlight of my day.Unlike England they use vanilla flavored soy milk here making it unbelievably sweet and sickly just my kind of drink. I was on first name terms with the staff of our local starbucks who would have my chai tea waiting for me. Even though we live in the body facism capital of the world and I go to a gym where every one is over sixty so there is no "compare and despair"It suited me to blame my tight and shrinking clothes on our wonderful housekeeper Aricelli ( much maligned) who was putting the clothes in the spin dryer .Philip said nothing about the growth of my girth. But the grim reality took shape when I saw a photo my friend Anna had taken of me. I had indeed developed a "muffin top" fat spilling over the edge of trousers. I decided then and there to detox from chai tea lattes and prevent myself from becoming obese and diabetic. I have made a consderable dent in starbucks revenue and the staff now think I am dead. The good news is the weight has gone off..It was very hard to walk past a starbucks for a while but I am back on the PG tips. Philip has said that it is part of my job desription to inform him if he is getting fat, a sackable offence not to although he said nothing about the muffin top as not to hurt my feelings
This is one of the few family photos of us as I hate having my photo taken as I usually always look like an active hysteric. Grace my eldest daughter is helping me with the blog- her techno knowledge is immense and mine miniscule so it works. I dont know why I have started the blog as does anyone really give a monkies. It entertains me though which is the most important thing, also helps me make a record of our life here which is far from dull, I am inspired by my sister Lizzie who has written about her life in Lausanne and is moving to Uganda. we have been here for 15 months and experienced a very different culture to Europe and different values, I have to confess when I heard we we moving here I was horrified as it opitomised every thing i loathe about modern culture, showbiz,celebrity worshippers, captitalism , proposterous ostentation ,monster trucks and waste on a spectacular level. In England i had such a hatred for the SUVs and 4 wheel drives and got here to find this was the world center of large vehicles, This is also the place where it is necessary to optimise yourself, to the extent that many women are severly "over restored". The anti aging work ranges from making people look like they have had a mild stroke to full on wind tunnel with trout pout stuck on.
Also i have seen another side to los Angeles, the people are kind, friendly even gentle.I feel pretty safe here , ther is a sense of community, very little snobery( noone cares wher you come from) or what class you are.People are eager for others success and new wealth is celebrated.
Its the weekend -Phew, no getting up at 6.45 and manic search for childrens shoes and arguments about teeth cleaning.Last night I went to see Graces performance of Sandy in Grease , she was wonderful, only 11 and very at home on that stage. I love watching childrens performances, they dont care , no luvvie self conciousness and they are not worried about reviews and what people think. As I sit here with no children I am at a loss- I am so used to having multiple small hands attached to my apron that being alone feels like being on mars. I went on a fantastic walk with My friend Xan this morning up into the St Gabriel mountains-it was like being in the alps but with no people .Spectacular pine forests and mountain trails. One great thing aqbout living in LA is being able to get out of it so quickly , Xan is a hikeaholic and has all the gadgets like poles and proper boots and knows every hike in Los Angeles. Philip is in Seattle shooting a Ford commercial wearing a kilt and a ginger wig , He says he is having fun. back tonight at midnight.