Category: Relationships

Mood of the day: oh Boy!

I feel like I am dropping the ball a lot these days. I am sprinting in thousands of direction without knowing if I am ever going to cross ‘The’ let alone a line. Future will tell.

I have reached out recently to many old girlfriends from my London era whom I haven’t talked to in a long, long time for a project I am working on. And Oh boy, it felt good and rather emotional. Thank god for skype: I saw tired but happy women, excited new moms, serene matriarchs, beauty all around.

This whole experience made me jump back to a time and a style I used to sport on a regular basis pre mommy’s curves: the cheap Tomboy.

So, this morning I felt like wearing:
– a plaid shirt with gold studs embellishment, found for $20 in my new digging haven The beacon’s closet, a vintage/sell/exchange clothing shop by the famous Parsons Fashion School meaning that the choice is probably more adventurous than in traditional vintage stores, yeah!!!
– Old Navy boyfriend jeans I recently bought because I needed more jeans but I cannot fathom spending too much on this body that can’t be my final iteration right??? Hmmm ,I am going to have to come to terms about these new curves….perhaps…eventually.
– a stolen battered leather men’s belt previously owned by a then skinny jock stud college boyfriend, now a buff stud daddy aka DH. Somehow, I feel I am going to regret saying to the world that I am wearing my husband’s belt…Women wearing their men’ s shirts = sexy, women wearing their men’s belts = ????!!!! Yeah let’s move on for now to the next accessory
– Converse sneakers (bought 10 years ago near Tottenham Court Road in London)
– and a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs wayfarer sunnies borrowed from little sis

London ladies, this is a shout for you: I love you, you are an inspiration! And it’s finally fucking SPRING in New York City so I am going to enjoyit  until it gets blazing hot and the deafening sound of AC units around the City gives me a pounding headache …in about 2 weeks time.

On a total random note: I dated a very handsome dude way back, who was kind of an ass to me, while being on a break with DB (Dear Boyfriend, young DH). By coincidence I saw how he looks now,20 years later, and DH is way hotter. It is bad but I felt quite smug about it 🙂 Shush don’t tell anyone…

20140404-095424.jpg

20140404-095519.jpg

20140404-095555.jpg

20140404-095608.jpg

20140404-095619.jpg

2-0-1-4

I have read somewhere that the first week of the year is a good snapshot of what the rest of your year will look like. Or I am totally bullshitting this one because I needed to find a smartass way to frame my first blog post of the year. I could talk about my resolutions except that I haven’t made any resolutions…OK; I am lying. There are still two things on my ‘I swear to god this year I will’ and these are:

– I will lose the extra 15lbs I still carry around. One of my mates overheard me talking about these 15lbs and thought I had actually gained them in the last month or so…It was the wake-up call I sorely needed.

AND most importantly,

– I will stop saying ‘No, this does not make any sense…’ to every single suggestion DH makes about…basically anything. More recently, he was talking about living in the mountains breeding sheep or something like that (what does a city girl like me know about life in the mountains anyway?) and I started to say ‘It is impossible because a)…b)…c)…blablabla and z)…‘To which DH retorted:’Can you not put my ideas down like this? I haven’t even finished talking yet…It’s not a big deal; I know you, you’ve ALWAYS been like this but it is annoying.’ OOPS. He was not even angry, just resigned. That’s not good enough. It is actually terrible. So yes, I decided to bite my tongue before talking for the rest of the year. Even when DH starts talking about our crew of 5 spending a 2 weeks vacation in a RV in Middle America…See, biting my tongue.

Besides these 2 pledges, I have no resolutions worth detailing. I thus thought about the past week trying to decipher what this could seriously (and not seriously) tell me about what 2014 has in store for my family and I. Drum roll!!!! In no so specific order:

– Better ‘me time’ for everyone

The cold weather in NYC has proven really challenging. Cabin fever and the sober realization that this year we are slowly but surely going to outgrow our current living space led me to accept the plain truth that the 5 of us needed to sever our umbilical cords to each other. For years now, we have been doing everything together (including taking a family shower to save time sic) per choice as well as per sheer necessity. ‘Me time’ was for me something like doing the laundry and for DH, going to the bathroom.

Note: he does go 4-5 times a day equipped with his mini IPad while I almost NEVER go because I am just a mutant freak. Nature is seriously unfair! On bad days, I would nudge him to get out by tagging him on a Facebook update such as ‘DH, get out from your hiding spot right now!!’ (Worked every time by the way) or I would time him to count how much alone time I was owed. I am a petty, petty wife.

Anyway, I can see that things are changing – slowly. P has started to voice some preferences when it comes to seeing ‘her’ friends (the girls) as opposed to her twin brother’s friends (the boys). Meanwhile, G has been timing himself out in his own room quite often just so he can be on his own, I guess. L now plays on his own for a considerate amount of time without hanging onto my butt or tit. DH started a biweekly guitar/singing jamming session with some neighbors in the building. As for me, being stranded home because of snow, icy rain, or kids’ colds made me realize that I wanted to create, cut, pleat etc. MORE. But unfortunately this week-end, I stared at some chiffon fabric for about 2 hours and then tried to make a cape which actually made me look like a freaking black giant cocktail umbrella pick.  Not a good omen for my creativity.

– Wilder parties

Most our friends with kids are now, like us, at a stage where screen time is no longer felt like guilt but perceived as a socially acceptable survival tactics. Besides, PBS kids on the Ipad is kind of awesome right? What this means is that everybody is now ready to catch up on the last 2 years of no hard partying because of pregnancies, breastfeeding, fear of hangovers (TV in the morning makes those way more bearable) etc. And if our NYE party is a snapshot of what lies ahead of us, the year will be fucking wild:lots of Champagne, kids dancing surrounded by drunken parents, masquerade masks, split legs on the dance floor, choreographed Karaoke and so on. Yeah!!!

– Bolder decisions
Since we found out we were pregnant with L, we have been living in a temporary mindset: staying in the same not entirely furnished apartment because we did not have any energy to look for something else, DH staying in the same job because we could not afford for him to work 15 hours a day to impress a new boss while I have been sporadically freelancing because I was unsure about whether our fragile family equilibrium would sustain a potential return to a full-time job etc. But this can no longer last: no more savings, no more space, too much stress. We need to make our life easier NOW. And I started to commit to my life as as a New York mom to 3 kids by…going onto containerstore.com to buy: pegs rack to hold the kids’ scooters so I stop sliding on them and a shower basket for my shower products (3 years in the apartment and I am still hurting my stiff back by bending down to get my fucking Burt’s and Bees shower gel…). 2014 is looking productive, people.

On this note, I wish you all a Happy New Year and if you live on the US East Coast: STAY WARM!!!

Below some fun moments of our first week in 2014 including a video of how to let your kid crash (almost) into a pole while trying to figure out how to take a video with you IPhone…

20140107-150714.jpg

20140107-151021.jpg

20140107-150812.jpg

Christmas in Harlem

‘Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year in the life?’

Seasons of Love, Rent musical

I have been, in a very sadistic way, enjoying reading my fellow bloggers’ meltdowns about Christmas’ preparations because it was another testimony that I am not alone in this world (sorry guys but it really made feel better). I hoped (maybe even prayed a little) that days would suddenly last 30 hours and that my kids would grow into civilized human beings, helping us out in this stressful Holiday season. I hoped they would give us a break when we were already down in the gutter rather than ganging up on us like some unruly teenagers. Recent (parent) bullying includes G & P reenacting a scene from ‘Boyz in the Hood’, blasting my guts out for no reason whatsoever. They created this Mortal Kombat twin act, taking turns to yell, point their fingers at me and pretend to shoot at me… And when I could not help but crack up, P sternly told me:‘Why are you smiling? I am not smiling…’ and bang, she then shot me. I seriously need to check whether they understood how to operate our Netflix account and switch from their ‘Kipper the dog’ program to ‘Reservoir Dogs’ or something like that, behind my back.

Anyway I am digressing. This year, we didn’t have any relatives or friends sharing Christmas’ Eve dinner with us (we are spending Christmas Day with friends). It was a first for us and it was a little sad. DH and I both come from large families with a penchant for drama prone reunions so Christmas is always an entertaining affair. But alas, this year it was just the 5 of us. I guess it was a first that I should start to embrace.

Regardless, I realized that staying put for Christmas offered some positives such as going to see cool Christmas shows, besides avoiding the ‘mind boggling kill me now’ transatlantic flights. However, the best is probably how Christmas in Harlem makes me feel I am part of some kick ass musical.

Indeed, a few days before Christmas, something wacko happened to me. I was at my local post office trying to find excuses for how I managed to fuck up yet again my Australian godchildren’s Christmas gifts. I mean, they live on the other side of the world and here I was queuing on 18th December trying to mail their presents. Considering that they have Christmas something like 24 hours  (or is it 36 hours?) before we do…yeah, I needed a Christmas freaking miracle for them to get their stuff before February. After queuing for about 1 hour, I and other fellow customers started to feel fidgety. An old man (Soul Man) in front of me was singing and was watching me closely. After a while, he offered me his spot in the line probably because I looked like I was going to pee on his shoes while in fact, I was still trying to figure out whether my amateurish sealing of the package would actually hold during its transit.

I gently declined after much hesitation (after all, he was older than me for heaven’s sake); that’s when Big Man from the end of the line  started to go straight to one of the counters jumping the whole queue. Oh boy, he got heckled good, Harlem style!

Crowd:’What the fuck you think you are doing? Boo, boo, get your ass back at the end of the line’

Big Man: ‘Chill out people, I thought there were were 3 lines that got merged for no reason’

Me thinking: yes because we are all idiots who want to cosy up against other sweating and stressed out customers.

He continued: ‘No need to shout. You think this whole thing is problems to me; it’s no problems. Believe me, I have real problems in my life, believe me.

Me thinking: please do NOT share more.

Soul Man gets involved: ‘Yes man, this is real life in here; we are not in a freaking movie’, before singing again.

The whole incident prompted 6 ft tall 70 year-old Mrs Doubtfire to leave her ranks and holler at the post office clerks. She lashed into a gospel-like monologue about the poor level of service and about how she had to do their job for the last hour by telling fellow customers which counter to go to and when. As the commotion was reaching its climax, she continued her paranoid preaching:‘I am sick of people thinking I am trying to jump the queue, I am standing here to make our rights heard. I was done with all my postage hours ago but I cannot leave without saying what I think. Do you feel me people, do you feel me?’

People started to cheer and Nicer Version Kanye West queuing behind me gave her a loud high five. Everyone started to laugh, whistle and show off some swagger while Big Man was yelling on his cell and repeating :‘Dude, people are getting nuts in here, they think they are a problem to me but Man, I have real problems, you know, real fucked up problems’.  Some people just can’t let it go, can they?

I swear, we were very close to break into an ensemble rendition of ‘Season of Love’ from the Rent musical. Meanwhile, Goody two-shoes White boy with a prepaid package got dragged to the front of the line by Mrs Doubtfire:‘Boy, you gotta understand that there is no need to queue if you have prepaid. You get your ass to this window in front of ALL these people, lift the glass, put your package, push down the glass and go enjoy Christmas. That is how it works in here’. Livid Goody two-shoes White Boy obliged and ran out of the Post Office probably thinking he was going to get his ass handled to him by crazy crowd because he believed a lunatic old woman. He must have been a tourist…

When I finally left the Post Office, I felt full of energy, ready to listen to Rent Soundtrack, and very proud of myself for standing up, with the help of Nice Kanye West, against an older lady who decided to ruffle my feathers out of the queue because supposedly, she did not see me. I actually yelled at the old lady. Me Mrs I Get Screwed Over All The Time When Queuing In General, I yelled and held my ground.  If only now, I could be as ballsy and firm with my 3 mini sociopaths at home…

Happy Holiday everyone!

1472038_10153624351080565_1116610730_n

photo 1

photo 2

1499593_10153726994490565_2017055132_n

1505111_10153726994245565_1738716781_n

Little Miss Sunshine

She’s my person. If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.’
— Dr. Cristina Yang – Grey’s Anatomy

I do realize that I have recently been a paranoid little prima donna but things will change very soon. Dear readers, you will soon be able to ‘see’ me bask in warm rays of sun. The light will pierce through the cold New York winter and give me and by procuration you too, I hope, a sun kissed tan. A sun kissed tan…literally. This sunshine has a name: Natasha, my very own BFF. The girl is, as we speak, on a plane from Australia and we will meet again after almost 3 years!

I am not exaggerating about how much radiance she is going to bring into my life. I will always remember meeting her for the first time in this dimmed light winter party in London back in 2002. People were talking softly, all wrapped up in their knits, sipping wine when she appeared and lit up the room with her piercing laugh. She was so…blonde and so ‘white’. Her teeth were shining through the dark living room and her stunning cream attire made me feel like if Tinkerbell herself had descended upon us spitting out balls of fairy dust on our faces. And if you are still not convinced, let me just say this: she lives in Gold Coast, Australia for Heaven’s sake and her middle name is Joy. Nuff said.

Anyway, when I first met her I thought: either I am going to hate her or I am going to love her for ever. I thus went out of my comfort zone to have a conversation: I never speak to strangers in parties, I always pretend to be on my phone because I am actually very shy, it’s pathetic, I know. We talked, she mocked my French accent (which was so refreshing in very politically correct England), I laughed and we never left each other’s side while both living in London.

She was the Glenda to my Elpheba
She was the Cameron Diaz to my Lucy Liu
She was the Emma Frost to my Ororo Munroe
She was the Gwynnie to my Madge

And then, life brought me here in New York and she to the other side of the world in Brisbane 😦 As I am getting very anxious to see her glowing face again, I am reflecting on the importance of beautiful friendships.  Although I grew up being a boys’ girl hanging out with the lads talking about Marvel comics and soccer games and drinking lager beers, I always had one girl with whom I shared everything. One girl for each stage of my life, as a child, a teenager, a student and then as a grown up woman. One relationship in which there was no backstabbing, no jealousy, just fun, love and full fledged support. However in hindsight I realize all this happened by luck rather than by design. 

It strikes me that as a little girl, everything around me was prompting me to find Prince Charming, making me fantasize about THE soulmate and even helping me find Him. I mean, how many pseudo psychological tests in women’s magazines are about:‘How do you know he is the One?’ Tell the truth, how many of those tests have you done :)Well,  I have done loads of them, shame shame shame. Match.com, the biggest dating site in the world, is all about finding that guy right? But what about finding that girl who will always root for you, who will stay when the lovers go, who will actually listen to you seriously when you talk politics while dressed up like a Walmart version of Madonna in her Erotica music video (no comment), and who will not mind your wrinkles and your saggy boobs etc.? Will there be in our future a BemyBFF.com ?

P, my daughter, is only 2. She is mostly hanging out with little boys. She makes me laugh because she is really awkward with other girls, both fascinated and intimidated at the same time. P is only 2 but I have already decided that my first serious conversation with her will not be about ‘boys’ but about ‘girls’. #womenlovingwomen

Photo by Natasha’s DH

20131107-102623.jpg

Cougar town

cou·gar
ˈko͞ogərnoun
  1. a large American wild cat with a plain tawny to grayish coat, found from Canada to Patagonia.
  2. informal, an older woman seeking a sexual relationship with a younger man.
I cannot remember the last time I went dancing with my girlfriends. I have a vague feeling that it was just after I stopped breastfeeding P & G, like 2 years ago. We were at Bagatelle and I thought ‘Boy, I am back! I am so going to rock New York night scene now’. Of course, a couple of months later I learnt I was preggers with L. It then felt like I was never going to be back. EVER. I have been missing a good ladies’ night out where crazy dance antics meet existentialistic drunken tirades about Love, Life, Career, and other women’s frocks… So last Friday, when, after a dinner drowned by a few pisco sours with my girlfriend Jules and her husband, my very own DH suggested to check out the only lively bar of Upper West Side, ‘Prohibition’, I think I squealed and literally rushed everyone out of the peruvian restaurant.
.
What I like about ‘Prohibition’:
– it’s jammed packed (because there is no other bar in a 20 blocks radius) so it reminds me of my time in London when we used to push left, right and center to reach the bar. And then, you had to show some gymnastics prowess not to get drenched by over filled pints of flat beer. I never thought I would ever said this but yes, from time to time, I do miss the ‘beer shower’. When you spill martinis over here, there is no much to drink afterwards. Fact.
.
– There’s a live band playing some Rihanna and Maroon 5, which means the crowd is …old-ish but wanna be young. In fact, last time I was there the place was full of Cougars. I had heard of cougars, I had encouraged my single girlfriends to become cougars but it was the first time I ever saw an entire room full of them. It was impressive. They are super toned, perfectly manicured, and wear J Brand (very) skinny jeans. You can see around their eyes that they have lived and lived well but were stunning. It is well documented that Manhattan has a very high ratio of single ladies but contrary to what TV shows like Sex and the City or Cashmere Mafia suggest, from what I have seen so far they are much nicer than their televised versions.
.
– Because the crowd is old-ish, people don’t give a fuck about how good they look. I remember when I went to Buddha bar, I was amazed by how many young pretty ladies would do a 2 step dance, not smile, and slowly sip their cocktails…DH called it ‘the cover magazine pose’ or something like that. I called it ‘a waste of alcohol’. The crowd at Prohibition also does not seem to care if they are embarrassing themselves talking to a stranger (often yours truly, I don’t know why but I always attract the most random conversations). Last time, I found a new mom sulking in the restrooms about how it was her first night out since she gave birth and she asked ‘Be honest, do I look like a mom to you? Cause I really don’t want to look like a mom tonight?’. I replied: ‘I am not sure what you mean by that. I am a mom too. But you look hot so you should not worry’. She was skeptical, stared at me and blurted: “Can I borrow your make up? I never wear red lipstick or black kohl on my eyes…And you don’t look like a mom’. I was going to oblige but she suddenly rushed to the cubicle to…Oh well, poor mama.
.
Instead of dancing though, I ended up spending most of my night on the sidewalk with Jules ranting about absolutely everything. How does DH cope with my insecurities, my body getting old and never recovering from giving birth to my 3 babies etc? I mean,let’s face it I could never be a cougar because I could never have the body of a cougar. Why is it that older women can only nab a younger stud if they look like goddesses (e.g. Bo Derek)? But older men can look like a troll but still bag themselves a top model? Why is it that I am so confused about what I want and who I am now? Is it motherhood? Is it age? Is it the 2 Pisco sours and 2 mojitos I had tonight? I don’t have any answers hence the existence of redlipstickmama (my alter ego who actually can admit she is fucking lost…) However, something funny that happened that night is giving me some sort of peace for now.
.
Jules was complaining about how, if she had known about this impromptu night out, she would have taken her ‘baise-en-ville’ instead of her beach bag/mama bag (it was the last day of her summer vacation). I laughed hard because I hadn’t heard nor used this expression in like 15 years. Note: in French a ‘baise-en-ville’ (literally a ‘shag-in-town’) is an overnight bag or even smaller, in which one might carry all the necessary items one might need were one to decide to not go home and instead spend the night elsewhere to usually have sex. My younger and wilder self would have: a toothbrush, a deodorant roller, some facial moisturizer, a lipstick and a miniature bottle of Eternity fragrance by Calvin Klein. Anyway I tried to find the proper English translation for this expression and found a ‘shag bag’…A ‘shag bag’ is a rucksack or other small bag which contains condoms and sex toys to be handy at any time and any place. Example of how to use this expression given by the Urban Dictionary is: ‘Let me reach for my shag bag, baby!‘ (???)
I think some stuff are better left untranslated 🙂
.
OK getting back to my story…So I started to empty Jules’ bag for a laugh and realized it could have been my bag. What I found was a beautiful metaphor of my life as it is at the moment:
– some dried fruits i.e. sweet healthy snacks in case the kids starve or have a tantrum (which seems to happen all the time)
.
– a half-eaten bagel. I never have the time to digest properly a meal so leftovers are always welcome
.
– a pretend play plate and spoon for an off-the-cuff play date. Moms are seriously the best unpaid improvisation entertainers.
.
-some designer sunglasses to hide over tired eyes on a lucky day and the ‘I am just fed up with life’ eyes on a very bad day
.
– expensive sun block because while the kids can do with Neutrogena, we are old and thus need the big guns
– a lipstick, obvious.
.
– a gossips magazine because sometimes I need to see what seemingly ‘have-it-all’ women are like and sometimes I need to pity those who seem to mess it up more than I do. I am talking about Scarlett Johansson, divorcing Ryan Reynolds??? Really? But mainly because perhaps insecure Me craves for some kind of public recognition…one day.
.
– And my ultimate favorite: one, not two, heeled shoe! Because I secretly hope that my dancing queen alter ego is not dead and ready to rock it big time but the reality is that I forgot the other shoe at home with my babies soundly sleeping and snoring.

As Jules and I were giggling contemplating the state of our messy lives, our DHs looked on, shook their heads, smiled (almost lovingly) and cooly went back to their pool game. No judgment.

I may never be and look like a cougar and will always be a silly dork but I guess, my salt and pepper haired man does not seem to care much about it. And it is just fine by me.

Mama bag

securedownload