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Thursday, 30 September 2010


Remember those reality television gems such as John and Kate Plus 8, Little People, Big World and 18 Kids and Counting?

Stories about multiple births in one family, dwarfism in another, and a family bigger than the Walton’s with all the kids’ names starting with the letter J. Well the good folk who kindly brought us those are now decorating our screens with Sister Wives. A tale of polygamy on steroids with ego on the side.

It goes like this. Fundamentalist Mormon Kody Brown, not content with his three current wives, snags the affection of a fourth, and so the rot continues.

Mind you, I’m still trying to work out what attraction the position of Wife #4 holds but each to their own, as they say. And I can’t help but wonder, in our society of sexual health, if anyone gets tested? Or is this another case of keeping it in the family?

Either way, it got me thinking. About what it would be like to have four husbands. Disregard issues of sex or childbirth. Just the husbands. Hey, I never said mine was reality!

Husband Number One would be my tradie. This bloke would be the man’s man. He would wear steel cap boots and coveralls, drive a ute, drink VB, watch football, play poker, and sport a crew-cut. He could stand in for Bruce Willis if Armageddon comes, or when Scott Cam is on holidays. He could install a new kitchen and shorten the electrical cord on my hairdryer.

He’d be muscly, sweaty, call me “hey sweetheart” and probably give my bum a playful smack as he walked past. He would take out the bins. And bring them in.

Husband Number Two would be Mr Mum. He would get the kids ready for school, fill the lunch boxes, iron the uniforms, make the beds and do the drop-offs. Dinner would be simmering in the oven when I returned from work. He’d make sure there were adequate supplies of toilet paper and tampons. Clean clothes would magically appear in my wardrobe and he would be the only one who heard the baby cry at 2am.

Husband Number Three would be my cultural attaché. If you will. He would source invitations to premieres, box seats to Madame Butterfly and Coldplay, guest appearances at black-tie dos. There would be moonlight picnics and poetry readings. He would look like George Clooney in Armani at the Oscars. He would be on a first-name basis with leading chefs and effortlessly secure us the best tables in their restaurants. He would open doors, choose perfect wine, call me his “beautiful bride” and let me choose which seat I want on his private jet.

Husband Number Four is a no-brainer. He’s gay. Gay as a picnic basket. He tells me what to wear, usually after he’s tried it on himself. Then adds the accessories. Usually after he’s tried them on himself. He sits for hours listening to my problems and telling me how truly fabulous I am. He hates on sight anyone who upset me, no matter how trifling. He takes the phone call from my mother when I don’t feel like talking to her. And when I run out of foot balm or hair conditioner, I can always borrow his.

I think I like my polygamous set up much more than yours Mr Brown.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


If they could get it so wrong with Julia Roberts, who even as a hooker looked amazing, then it’s not so far-fetched that they could get it wrong with me.

I know it’s a movie, I know it’s make-believe, I know it’s all fantasy but the principle remains. Remember how Julia – all legs and torso exposed – struts into some high-end Rodeo Drive clobber shop and is just as quickly evicted as not being suitable calibre? Or some such nonsense.

Yet she returns replete in Prada et al, in a fab hat and total glam. And tells the snooty assistants to get stuffed. Brilliant moment (and one that she revisited at the tail end of the movie “Valentine’s Day”, possibly the best part of that labouring movie).

Here’s what happened with me.

Living in New Farm, on Brisbane’s lazy meandering river, means that my favoured mode of public transport is usually the ferry. The other day, I had reason to catch the ferry twice.

First time was just before lunch. I had an appointment in the city and figured that while I was there, I’d reacquaint myself with my gym. We’re like long-lost friends. "Hi sweetie, gosh it's been ages, how've you been?"

So I chucked clothes for my meeting in my backpack and trundled to the ferry in my daggy gym gear. I know gym gear has a tendency to be daggy but mine is a little daggier than most.

I run in the old shorts I painted my house in. My sports bra is so stretched that I usually need to wear several of them to get adequate support. I hide my bed-hair up in a baseball cap. Etc.

The guy who puts out that little bridge for you to walk onto the ferry was a bit cute. And being the lovely person I am, I called him a  cheery “good morning” and smiled a bit as I boarded.

No response. Almost dismissive. Now this happens a bit to me anyway, most times when I’m going about my business. I think it is because I work from home and alternate between slothing in my pajamas and donning the ugliest clothes known to mankind to slip down to get coffee and the papers.

So I wasn’t that surprised at the ferry man’s reaction. As the song so aptly says, "don't blame the ferry man".

Fast forward about four hours. I’ve been to the gym, had my meeting in the city, done a bit of work at home and now I’m heading back to the city for a pre-dinner drink.

So I stepped out of character and glammed up a bit. Straightened my hair, popped on some heels. Even my treasured Chanel lip gloss had an outing.

And as these things go, old mate on the ferry was still working his shift. Again, I repeated my cheery greeting, using the p.m. version, not the earlier a.m.

Not only did he simper and smile and coo a bit, he sat with me on the trip. Couldn’t shake him.

Bugger being Wonder Woman or Lara Croft or even Medium’s Allison DuBois. My superpowers are GHD and Chanel.


Sunday, 26 September 2010


Ask a bloke how many pairs of boobs he has seen in his life and he’ll probably say, “Not enough”.

Ask a woman how many dicks she has seen in her life and she’ll probably say hundreds because she works in an office full of them.

And speaking of anatomy, I’ve never quite got my head around the male pre-occupation with watching strippers. Bored businessmen who are nodding into their schooners, or uni boys celebrating an 18th by guzzling double rums and uttering phrases of sophistication such as, “get ya tits out”.

All class.

I’ve seen it for myself a few times. As woman oft do. Could be due to curiosity, could be due to playing out your bloke’s fantasy. Or in my case, a long birthday dinner, followed by a spot of karaoke, followed by “oh my God, there’s a strip club next door, let’s go”.

Which means it could be something to do with the four glasses of champagne I’d drunk. Or was it five? Hic hic.

I give full points to these girls. They may be naked but they’re wearing full-body armour. They may look like they love what they’re doing, but mentally they’re calculating how much longer they need to strip before the house is paid off.

They may appear nonchalant and sexy, but they’re thinking “oh bugger, that idiot is back here again, the one with the sex appeal of a bin liner. Where’s my security guy?”

In addition to being forced to interact with goofy dipshits, they must perform complicated dance moves with their legs permanently spread 90 degrees apart. Try doing that in your next Combat class.

These gals are smarter than smart. I’ve worked out it takes them about three songs to totally get their kit off, yet they don’t actually lose their drawers until the last 30 seconds or so.

They walk around looking gorgeous and slutty, bob up and down the pole a few times, slide off the feather boa or see-through skirt. This can take at least two songs. Maybe the bikini top is next, with the requisite boob shake aimed at the guy with the oily forehead who is sitting at the front.

Meaning the tossers sitting in the audience are on the edge of their collective seats, gasping in hope for a glimpse of the mighty vajootz. I doubt one of them would be able to lead a group in silent prayer. Sorry fellas, you’re only getting the merest peek before it’s pants up and off stage.

What these guys need to know is that as soon as the lady runs off stage, she’s making herself a coffee and calling the babysitter to check on her kids.

Years ago, I met a bloke who said he loved seeing strippers because they made him feel like he was a king. He couldn’t quite understand that he was paying her for that feeling, and in a domestic situation, she’d be telling him he’s a tosser and to take the garbage out.

Hey mate, you want to be worshipped? Go to India and moo.

Rule #1 buying a stripper a drink will not get you laid. Rule #2 looking a stripper in the eyes when she gives you a lap dance will not make her love you.

I think we need a new relationship book, called "Women are from Venus, men are just wrong".

Thursday, 23 September 2010


Rarely is it that I use my blog to weigh in on matters of public controversy. It is my vehement belief that, as women, we face sufficient levels of competing priorities in our daily lives. We juggle careers, kids, partners, hormones, evening meals, homework supervision, vacuuming and orgasms.

What I prefer to do with What Women Think is provide a comedic outlet, an hilarious take on the issues of our hectic lives. None of you reading this need yet another reference tool or cumbersome media transcript that adds further confusing viewpoints to pointless debates or social hyperbole. 

But something in today’s news is too close to my heart to ignore.

I hear that a Melbourne academic wants to boost breast-feeding rates by making formula available for purchase only via prescription. 

Those of you with sensitive eyes, skip the next line. Those of you with not-so-sensitive eyes, read on. 

Stick it up your arse love. 

And I can say that without fear of prosecution or being thrown into some skanky Russian prison with provincial lavatory facilities and nowhere near enough fresh fruit or Dettol. Unlike the communistic society our RMIT colleague would seemingly prefer to see us dwell. 

When my daughter was born, it was love at first sight. This is not an unusual case with mums, especially first time mums. I have chronicled my delight, fascination and admiration for her openly on these pages. I doubt there would be any reader of mine (be it long time listener or first time caller) who would think that I didn’t put her happiness, welfare and self-esteem above all else. 

But I bottle fed her.

My girl was born in those halcyon days of Paul Keating inspired 18% interest rates, business belt-tightening and soaring unemployment. Four weeks before her birth, her dad finds himself without regular employment, and two weeks later, with a belly extending from here to the moon (or so it seemed) I too was minus a weekly paycheck.

I’m heading back 20 years here, where there was no maternity leave, baby bonus, work place rights etc. This was allowed to happen. And it did. To us.

So when our gorgeous bundle arrived, I had already made the decision to bottle feed her, because I knew I would be finding myself back in the work force before too long. With the stress of potentially extended unemployment, crippling house repayments and a brand new family member, I was looking for ways to ease the load. Or at least share the love. 

Bottle feeding for us meant that we could tag-team night feeds. Her dad to this day will proudly say that he gave our daughter her very first feed, a paltry 5ml of formula when she was an hour old. It meant that when I found some temporary work, he could adequately and competently parent Jade without being controlled by the amount of expressed milk lined up in the fridge. 

And I could do my job without my boobs leaking down my keyboard. 

Moreso, it was our choice. And it doesn’t’ seem to have hurt her. She’s yet to see the inside of a hospital as a patient, excelled in her primary and secondary (and tertiary) education, is a thoughtful, positive and happy adult with one of the sunniest dispositions I’ve ever seem. Yes, even better than mine! 

Mind you, she rarely ate processed food from a jar. Even though I worked, she had fresh vegies and meat and home-made custards and porridge and soft-boiled eggs and all that really good stuff. 

I wonder why our RMIT friend doesn’t get on the processed baby food band wagon and chide mothers for not growing vegetables in the dirt of their own backyards to stick down the necks of their offspring? 

I’ll tell you a story. I was adopted at birth, in the 1960s in Brisbane. Never knew my birth mother. I was literally born and taken home by the couple I proudly and adoringly call my parents. Do you really think that they had access to formula? Or a wet nurse? Or that mum could just lactate by wishful thinking? 

I was raised on carnation milk. Thousands of tins of the stinky smelly stuff. To this day, it makes me want to throw up. But I’m fine. Well, my friends attest to that, and I choose to believe them… I was no more no less sick than any other kid in the 1960s. I went to school, did much better in English, languages and the arts than I ever did in maths and science (which is no doubt why I am a writer, with no ability to fix household appliances or balance a bank account).  

I doubt my clear talent towards the arts lay in an oversupply of carnation milk. Some gifts are intrinsic. 

Dr James, there are mothers out there coping with post-natal depression, breast cancer, disabled children, remote living, abusive or absent fathers, limited financial means. But they’re doing the best they can.

Let them be. If what they are doing doesn’t directly affect you and your life, then let them be. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


So, I'm staying with my g/f for a few days, change is as good as a holiday etc etc etc. In the shower this morning, washed my hair, thinking it's all fabulous. Having a scratch around in her bathroom shelves looking for fun new products to try.

I come across a hair product that looks suspiciously like some form of anti-frizz serum that promises my golden locks will resemble G Paltrow, J Aniston, lady in Pantene ad, et al.

Slather it on en masse, and congratulate self on super-smooth hair. Feeling fabulous.

Said g/f arrives home. Do upsell on said hair product.

Only to find out that I've just put shampoo in my hair, and then gone to the trouble to blow it try.

Note to self: wear glasses when attempting to read labels on product bottles that belong to people other than myself.

Will be interesting to see what my hair does when I pop it under the shower tomorrow...

This is one for the blonde books my friends.

Monday, 20 September 2010


You can fool some of the people some of the time. What amateurs. I can fool all of myself all of the time.

Oh Lordy, how good have I become at it!

I think nothing of enjoying a glass of bubbles while I'm getting ready for a big night out with the girls, or even Lover Bloke for that matter. Hell, I might even enjoy two or three. Because sometimes I take extra long with my eye makeup or my hair straightener.

But see, they don't count as part of my - what was that again Bridget Jones? Ah yes, daily alcohol units. It's only the bottle of wine that I down over a long long dinner that counts.

Now if I've been out to lunch and partaken of some wine while the bread was being broken, that doesn't really count either. That's just lunch. A few Chardys at lunch, back to work for a few hours, then home to my first drink of the day.

Or so I kid myself.

It seems almost sinful not to finish the bottle. After all I'm only going to drink the rest of it tomorrow so it's nothing more than efficiency that I finish it tonight.

The truth is a very heavy burden to carry. And I don't get to the gym nearly often enough to have the strength for it.

There's nothing wrong with drinking scotch. That's because I balance it out with by pouring soda water all over it.

Ending the night with a glass of Baileys is akin to having a mocha. It's sweet, smooth, mild coffee flavour, bit of chocolate, works well hot or cold - see the sort of trouble I get myself into?

That's because I kid myself that the double shot of Berocca I take the morning after clears me of all sins. Bless me Father, etc. And sets me up for the day to do it all again.

I spend a couple of days eating total and utter crap. Toast and peanut butter for breakfast, Dreamy Donuts at morning tea, something toasted with lots of cheese for lunch, a packet of chips, maybe a chocolate bar around 3pm, and then a massive pasta with the requisite bacon, mushroom and creamy sauce for dinner.

But I don't feel too bad because I've taken a multivitamin. Which purports to contain all the key ingredients to making me healthy and functional. Makes you wonder why nutritionists go on and on about eating salad.

I know I need to diet. Just even to lose that annoying 5kgs that forbids me from wearing some quite fabulous frocks and low-rise jeans that hang neglected at the back of my wardrobe.

But it's always tomorrow that I'll start. I can't today because there's either a work breastfast somewhere (ooh Eggs Benedict, yum!) dinner at my mother's (“eat up,” she says, “you’re a growing girl”. Did she not come to my 40th birthday party?) or a weekend in Sydney (too many fabulous places to eat). Perhaps tomorrow. Or next Monday.

I went through a phase where every Saturday morning circa 7am, I would present at the Rocklea Fresh Food Markets. I purchased a myriad of salad, vegetable and fruit items, all hand-picked by me and paid for in cash by me.

By 11am, I had it stored in the refrigerator somehow (sometimes by drinking that pesky bottle of wine that was blocking space). I didn't touch it for the rest of the weekend (I mean, who eats healthy stuff on the weekend; it's the weekend for goodness sake!) But Monday morning I would rise early and chop chop chop to make fresh juice, a salad for lunch and stir-fry vegies at the ready for dinner.

By Tuesday I would at least get the salad done. Wednesday, maybe juice. Thursday? Friday? Forget it. This means that on Saturday, I had to throw the whole rotting mess out to make room for the new wad of stuff I'd just purchased from the markets.

While my lips continue to move, and my brain continues to function, I guess I will continue to kid myself.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


1. If you’re being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick’s Day parade – at any time of the year.

2. All beds have special L-shaped top sheets that reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only waist level on the man lying beside her.

3. All grocery shopping bags contain either a bunch of celery or a stick of French bread.

4. Anyone can land a plane.

5. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.

6. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

7. Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and toast every morning, even though her family never has time to eat them.

8. A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football field.

9. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.

10. If a killer is lurking in your home, the quickest way to find him is to take a bath.

11. Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.

12. Dogs will always know who’s bad and will naturally bark at them.

13. You can always find a chainsaw whenever you’re likely to need one.

14. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.

15. If you’re staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.

16. Make-up can be safely worn to bed without smudging.

17. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

18. Guns are like disposable razors – if you run out of bullets, just throw it away. You can always buy a new one.

19. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone will know all the steps.

20. When paying a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a note. Just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

Friday, 10 September 2010

COLONOSCOPY JOURNAL (reprinted from Dave Barry)

It's just gorgeous what you find when you're trawling around the net late at night, sipping a wine, having a laugh. Or if there's no one on Facebook to chat to. Have a read of this, it is really genuinely funny. Thanks Dave Barry.

Dave Barry's colonoscopy journal:

I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.

Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.

I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'

I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven.

I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.

I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.

Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation.

In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.

Then, in the evening , I took the MoviPrep.  You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water.  (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug.  This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.

The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result'.

This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.

MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative.  I don't want to be too graphic, here, but:  have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch?  This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle.  There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt.  You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently.  You eliminate everything.  And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet

After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.

The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic.  I was very nervous.  Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage.  I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?'  How do you apologize to a friend for something like that?  Flowers would not be enough.

At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said.  Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts; the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.

Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand.  Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down.  Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.

At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode.  You would have no choice but to burn your house.

When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist  I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere.  I was seriously nervous at this point.

Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.

There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA.  I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.

'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.

'Ha ha,' I said.  And then it was time; the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade.  If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like.

I have no idea!  Really!  I slept through it!  One moment, ABBA was yelling, 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.

Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt.  I felt excellent.  I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that It was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors.  I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

Monday, 6 September 2010


Found this interesting article when mooching about online this morning, it's pretty cool when you think about it...

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP'.

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP. To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost a quarter of the page and can add UP to about 30 definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so... it is time to shut UP!

Saturday, 4 September 2010


Are you a hoarder? I’m not. But I know many who are. I am the type of person who throws things out the minute I bring them home. Well, almost.

It could be the Virgo in me, it could be because keeping busy tidying keeps me from facing up to the real issues of my life, it could be OCD. But I spring clean my apartment ever couple of months and during the process, I can fill a huge box with stuff I don’t want anymore.

And interestingly, I never once regretted throwing these things out. Except one time when I gave away my Xanadu soundtrack and then had a bit of a girls night and we wanted to sing aka Olivia sans leg warmers.

Thank goodness for YouTube.

Hoarding is like safeguarding the future. We keep dresses we will one day fit into again. Old dinner sets that perhaps the kids will use when they move out. Handbags with the strap broken because we'll get around to mending it.

We won't throw the ski mask out. We haven't gone skiing since the 20th century but you never know. The wonky ironing board could be used for something so just pop it in the shed. Keep that container of odd nuts and bolts, because you never know when we'll find out what appliance or piece of furniture they belong to.

The hoarding queens are my parents. They have some seriously good stuff, dating back almost a century, like letters my great-grandfather wrote, and black and white pics of dour-looking family members (mind you it was during the Depression, so fair's fair).

But chat to my mother about a newspaper article that appeared circa 2005 and she’ll find you the original clipping. Ask dad for something to keep my gardening implements in, and he’ll pop out to the shed and come back with the perfect hold-all.

Reminisce about the fancy dress costume I wore to the 1972 Sunday School fundraiser and mum will open a box and show me the Cinderella original. Tell dad how I was trying to find a “Slip’n’Slide” for my daughter to play on, similar to the one we had as kids, and it’s back to the shed and the offering of a “Slip’n’Slide” original.

Those things are as rare as rocking-horse poo.

Mind you, there’s worse. Much worse. Someone who keeps 498 pieces of the 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, just in case the other two show up someday.

Or someone who meticulously washes and stores every yoghurt container and meat packaging tray, just in case.

Or the other someone who keeps the stand from a broken lamp just in case.

Just in case of what? Broken lamp stands make a designer come back? Along with Datsun 120Bs and sunbaking?

To be honest, as a writer my one hoarding weakness is paper. Lots of lots of paper. Scraps of paper where I’ve scribbled down an idea for a story. Pages ripped from magazines where I wanted to purloin some ideas. Quotes I’ve printed from the internet. Post-it notes galore.

But it is all put to use at some point.

Where do you think I got that line, “as rare as rocking-horse poo”? Read it about five years ago and knew it would come in handy.

Friday, 3 September 2010


May you have the hindsight to know where you have been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far...

Thursday, 2 September 2010


When I worked in an office, probably the thing I hated the most, more than filthy kitchens or women who sprayed too much perfume around. was going to the loo. For #2.

For blokes this is no big deal. They don't care if they are at home, at work, on the golf course, in the boat, making love or visiting another bloke. If you gotta go, well, you just go. "Back in a sec fellas."

I once went out with a guy who had actually removed the door of his ensuite because it gave him more room. Yep - took it right off its hinges and shunted it into the garage. I'd come sailing into his bedroom in the morning with mugs of tea, take one look at him on his perch and sail back out.

For women, we think it's a huge deal. A bathroom break is sacrosanct. Private. Borderline embarrassing. It's fine at home. Still almost fine when visiting mum. And something that is never undertaken under the public scrutiny of the office, or in an environment as obscene as a shopping mall. And never ever ever at a new boyfriend's place.

One Saturday afternoon a few years ago, I cheerio-ed a girlfriend who was going for her first sleepover with her new man. The following morning, I sent her a text asking how it was going, aka did she need rescuing.

Her reply was succinct. She was having a great time, they were getting on fabulously, but right now she'd pay $1000 for a bathroom break. He wanted to take her to Sunday brunch but her need for bathroom privacy far outweighed the delight of a public outing with him. She was home before 10am.

Same happened to me. Except I was at Byron Bay. Had driven down there to a new-ish sweetheart at his fab-by-the-water holiday retreat.

As the new morning dawned, I realised I'd have to physically remove myself from Byron to gain some physical relief.

"Hey darl," I cooed, "I've got lots to do back in Brissy, so I might leave now."

"No worries," was his calm reply, "I've got a few things to do as well; I'll follow you back." Wherein I spent 90 minutes squirming around in the driver's seat while I squirmed my car around the Pacific Highway.

If I'd pulled over at a servo, I would face a dual dilemma - the horror of using roadside conveniences meeting the horror of him knowing what I was doing. After all, it takes a smidge longer than the standard 30 second pee. Not counting the time it takes to sterilise the seat ... of course.

Anyway, back at work, I inched my way bravely towards the door bearing the sign "Ladies". As luck would have it, I barrelled straight into a colleague, standing innocently at the mirror, putting on make up.

Now if I was a bloke, I'd do a "g'day mate" number, wave the sports section of the paper at him, swing into a cubicle and proceed. Blokes don’t care about noise.

But I'm a woman. There was no way I could do that. Already I could see myself in the starring role of "Most Embarrassing Bathroom Break Moments", scripted by John Cleese, narrated by Russell Coight, directed by Baz Luhrmann and produced by Sorbent.

Sometimes I've borne aural witness to my colleagues' bathroom breaks. I've shuddered with equal mortification and empathy. I've even tried to hide my feet in case other occupants are the type to take a sneaky peak under the cubicle partition to see who is in the witness box.

Ever walked into a lavatory at work and seem the previous occupant's calling card still in the bowl? I usually shriek and rush into another cubicle. What's worse than having to subject myself to being near such vileness is the fear that the subsequent user may think it was me who did it. Aarrggh!

It didn’t take me long to sort it out. A bit of sniffing around heralded a ladies loo buried three floors below ground level. It seemed that no one else in the building knows of its existence, apart from me. It became my escape pod. So when things got desperate, I’d tell everyone in the office I was going to a meeting and hit the "B3" button on the lift.