Tagged: goals

Toilet terrors

Reader warning – This post contains MANY mentions of toilets and toilet-related topics. If you’re offended by ones, twos or threes, please stop reading and I promise to write something less offensive next time. Seriously, stop reading now.

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I spent New Years Eve this year on a houseboat. My first houseboat as a grown up and definitely one of the best new years eves that I’ve had in recent times. I spent close to three days cruising around, napping, swimming, eating and drinking. It was great. However, as always one thing loomed in the back of my mind the whole time… ten people, one toilet.

I’ve always had something of an issue with travelling toilets, whether they be bus toilets, train toilets, portable toilets, plane toilets, boat toilets, or even just public toilets. I’m a nervous pee-er at the best of times and just the thought of using a tiny toilet that had been given a thorough workout by ten people at once was enough to strike fear into the heart of me (that, and the prawns that were due to spend two days sitting in the esky before they made the menu).

Alas, I was pleasantly surprised that despite my concerns, there was some unspoken agreement to keep the toilet pristine and, besides one early incident where I found my self ankle deep in toilet water before I’d even used the thing (don’t ask, I still have no idea what happened!), it stayed as fresh as a daisy until the last day, when above-mentioned unspoken agreement went out the window. No judgment there – if we’d all held on as long as I had, I envied anyone brave enough.

When I got home several days later and rinsed my feet for the umpteenth time since nearly losing them to the toilet caper, I started thinking about my apparent fear of public toilets, porta-pottys and just travel toilet use in general.

On reflection, I think it started at school camp in year 9 when we had a complete toilet set up at our campsite in the middle of the wilderness…

Although it was nerve-racking peeing while risking being eaten by some kind of wild animal (most likely a wombat or koala given the location) or ending up with a flashlight on you in your least dignified moment, it was great! You were out in the wilderness, roughing it like never before, exposed to the elements and living the dream. On a giant toilet. In the middle of the bush. What more can you want in life?

Well… one thing you can NOT want is to three days later have to carry that damn toilet out of the campsite, contents and all…

Never. Again.

Ten or so years later and I was facing the ultimate challenge – travelling. Well, not just travelling, but travelling through South America, where you can’t flush the toilet paper in the best of places. Cue many awkward TP related moments, several episodes of charades with hotel staff and many, many moments of pure horror and dry retching… and that was before I’d even experienced the Inca Trail.

By then, I’d master the dodgy toilet, I was even confident going with no toilet (always with paper, sanitizer and some foliage) when it was warranted, but nothing prepared me for drop loos. Foot markings or no foot markings, I took one look at it and proceeded to pop down as many gastro stop tablets as I had on me! Despite my best efforts to just not pee for three days, I eventually braved the drop toilets, torch in mouth, praying for my life… and you know what, with a bit of concentration I had it down pat!

Three days later, as we brushed our teeth, I was recounting the story of how I’d overcome my fear of drop toilets to my tent mate, with all the details… the near misses, the misses, the nerves, the successes, the failures… I was blabbering on for no less than five minutes until “Cough, cough… erm… Tennizzlle… the whole camp site can hear everything you’re saying”… Eek!

When I think of bad toilet experiences, however, there’s no doubt that the first thing that jumps to mind is travelling through Romania on one of those Europe tours with fifty young drunk people. Note to self – when on a month long bus trip, do not take the seat next to the toilet. I mean, sure, it might remain locked unless in case of emergency… But it’s all fun and games until someone washes the lettuce in the tap water… and let me tell you, that theory about lighting a match – IT DOESN’T WORK!

We were about 20 days into the trip when we got to Romania and three days into an outbreak of gastro. Stops were few and far between. I was barely breathing and had a permanent flow of hand sanitiser for fear of catching something. The bus toilet was not an option, even in an emergency.

We’d been on the road for several hours before we stopped outside a service station. Thrilled to have the opportunity to escape the smell of the bus and find a working toilet, I bolted for the closest convenience store and ran for the restrooms. Caught up in my desperation, it took me a moment to realise I was heading into ankle deep water which had all sorts of unpleasantries floating in it… dry retching, I turned around, ran out the door and straight around the back of the service station.

Although peeing in the open two metres from a service station in the middle of outback Romania sounds horrific, it was then and there that I realized how far I’d come. I may still have a completely unreasonable fear of porta-loos and public toilets, but give me wide open spaces, some paper and hand sanitizer and I will be just fine!

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Will Write for Food

Last week I quit my job.

Most people who know me saw it coming, but for the many people I know through work, it was completely unexpected. So far, everyone has reacted with ‘Omg, what’s happened?’ and I suspect, knowing my tendency for dramatics, they are assuming that I cracked without warning, slamming the manual lift door while screaming ‘I QUIT!’ and storming off down La Trobe Street.

Alas, it was not so exciting and unlike the time someone put spag bol all over the bin in the midst of a bug infestation or the time I realised someone was stealing the toilet paper (I still have my suspicions, but no proof), there was absolutely no hysterics.

Resigning was a massive relief and although I had a TINY panic attack in between being offered my new job and quitting my current one, it wasn’t long before I was getting excited about taking a huge step off my current career path and throwing caution to the wind.

There’s something liberating about having absolutely no idea what the heck you will be doing a year from now, and, to quote my ever-unreliable Fortune Telling Fairy Cards, I am moving forward fearlessly!

Gone are the days of work-related panic attacks and swatting bugs as I sit at my desk – it’s time for freedom, creativity and full, uninterrupted nights of sleep! Woo hoo!

As mentioned above, I do have a new job lined up, which I am very excited about, but leaving my current role will also allow me to look into new opportunities, to focus on my blog and what I really want to do – to DANCE!

Okay, that was totally a joke, but I have spent a fair chunk of the past few days thinking about the future. Now is the time to work out exactly what I want to do and how to do it… But in typical Tennizzle-style, I have become overwhelmed by the decision.

Ideally I would win lotto and spend the next few years jetting around the world, renovating my house and volunteering my time to the greater good… however accepting that this is not going to happen and that the chances of anyone paying me to hang out with my dogs for a living are just as low, I am going to need a more realistic plan.

I have decided to focus on copywriting, but without it being part of my everyday work.

So far, I have taken the massive steps of purchasing my blog domain (check it out, I’ve dropped the ‘wordpress’ from my site, la di da!) AND getting my own personal domain for the future… I haven’t quite worked out how to set up a website or get it hosted, but I’m on my way! I can feel success in the air!

I’m starting with a bit of blatant self-promotion to people I know professionally and am hoping to start putting a portfolio together in the coming months. As a result, my blog will be growing and although my regular, neurotic posts will continue, I will also be using this page as a means of collating writing until I have a proper website.

In the meantime, if you see someone with a sandwich board reading ‘Will Write for Food’ standing outside Flinders St station next month… please stop by and say hi!

Please Leave Your Shoes and Your Fake Hair at the Door

I have some serious issues with hair. Other people’s hair, to be more specific. Have you ever had someone else’s hair just kind of make itself at home on your shoulder, desk or face? I’m not talking about the hair of a loved one on the pillow, but the hair of someone you don’t know well invading your personal space in all it’s fuzziness…

While travelling in Europe several years ago, I found myself on a boat with a tour group in Italy. All was fine and good until the girl next to me started to doze off. Her head fell forward first and stopped momentarily, before it started to swing… I saw it coming right at me, the whole head with her long ponytail swinging straight for my face. It stopped just short, resting on my shoulder and making itself at home.

Panicked, I started yelling and shaking the girl awake while desperately trying not to dry retch. Once she was back in an upright position, I spent the rest of the boat trip watching her out of the corner of my eye, ready to fight her and her space-invading ponytail off if necessary.

It was on that fateful day that I came to realise my extreme hatred for involuntary contact with other people’s hair and I have tried to avoid any altercations ever since.

Being someone with very long hair and a tendency to malt like a Pomeranian on steroids, I have learnt to adapt to my own hair attaching itself to my clothing, skin and household items. It’s safe hair, I know where it came from and I know that it’s clean.

Wet hair, even if it’s my own, makes me dry retch like there’s no tomorrow, but this is fairly easily avoided through a combination of strategic household cleaning and carefully executed exiting of swimming pools/baths/showers.

In recent months, however, I have started to notice a growing trend, which is making me increasingly nervous. It’s something I can’t control, but something that for some unknown reason is taking over the world…

Fake Hair.

Horse or human, fake hair not only has the power to drop without warning, it can also instil fear from any distance and it must be stopped!

In general, I am against pretty much anything fake; fake boobs, fake labels, fake nails and fake chicken to name just a few (and yes, fake chicken exists – trust me!), but I accept that other people enjoy these things, so I generally don’t judge. When I started to realise that fake hair was causing me some serious distress, I thought I was alone… until the other day.

I was walking from one side of the city to the other in a hurry, so wasn’t paying much attention to anything and had stopped to wait to cross the road. I looked directly ahead of me, where a well- groomed girl was standing. She was power-suited up, and in normal circumstances I would have been envying her shoes (generally power-suited people have shoes that I cannot afford), however the second I saw her hair, all I could think and see was ‘FAKE HAIR! FAKE HAIR! EXPENSIVE BUT FAKE HAIR!’

I was overwhelmed and started to feel unreasonably angry and slightly ill, so I took an emergency right and added an extra block to my walk to get away from her. That night, I started talking through the bad experiences I have had with fake hair.

Surprisingly, I  realised that I am not alone in my hatred and the anti-fake hair movement started gaining momentum.

A buddy of mine, who shall remain unnamed, quite eloquently summarised them as ‘borderline shazza (girl bogan)’ and encouraged me to ‘let others know about this common fail’. While another emailed me this little chestnut:

On the fake hair note, I was at the hairdressers last week and was telling my hairdresser that I wanted to grow my hair long and was complaining about having thin, boring hair. She was all like “you should totally get extensions” and I was like, “Ahh no. Blond extensions always look tacky and would make me look like one of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends.” She then pointed to the tackiest looking fake haired, fake nailed, fake tanned girl in the room and was like “I did her extensions – they look so real. Not tacky at all right?” I immediately broke out in a chorus of “oooh, ahhh, so lovely!”

I would like to add in here that I am not talking about wigs. Wigs serve a purpose, whether it is because of hair loss or for a dress up party. I would even go so far as to say that I don’t have any major issue with someone giving hair extensions a crack every once in a while.

However, there is a line, which is getting crossed, and we need to take a stand against it.

So, I am offering a community service to anyone who needs it.

– Do you know someone with bad hair extensions and you don’t know how to approach it?

– Have you encountered someone with bad extensions, openly criticising someone else’s bad extensions?

– Do you find yourself asking – if the hair is fake, does it matter if it’s horse or human?

– Are you genuinely concerned that this person is unaware that society is judging them for whatever they have hanging off their head?

If so, please email weneedtotalkaboutyourhair@gmail.com, providing the contact details of the person you would like this message passed on to, along with a reason why and your own contact details. I will happily send the following email on your behalf*:

Hello there

Someone who cares a lot about you has requested that this email be sent to you anonymously. Maybe they’ve been meaning to raise the issue with you for some time or maybe they just don’t have the heart to tell you to your face.

You’re a great friend and you mean a lot to the people around you, but there’s something you need to know…

Your hair extensions aren’t working for you. Your friend believes they (please select) [look fake/look cheap/don’t match your hair colour/just don’t do your pretty face justice/look damn horrendous] and would like to suggest you remove them.

Unfortunately we cannot pass on the details of the person who nominated you to receive this email, but if you would like a response passed onto them, please feel free to send it through.

Yours sincerely

The We Need to Talk About Your Hair Team

Additionally, to lead the movement, I am introducing a ‘No Fake Hair’ zoning on my house. Visitors please note – When you enter, please leave both your shoes and your fake hair at the door.

*I won’t ACTUALLY send anything to your friend… Geez, I’m not a total bitch! However, I will enjoy you sharing your fake hair stories with me and may add them anonymously to this post.

What I’m Not Telling You

Just a quick post this week as I figure no one is reading courtesy of the Australia Day public holiday… Also because I don’t have much time… I’m too busy watching the tennis and drinking beer in the 30+ degree sunshine!

So I started writing a blog entry the other week about the last date I went on, which I would classify as one of the worst of my life. In all fairness, the guy was nice, just a really bad match for me and it was a complete disaster. The post I started was about the many signs and opportunities I had to escape the date, yet I stuck it out to the very awkward end, so as to not seem rude.

I hadn’t finished the post, as with most of my half baked ideas, it was sitting in my drafts waiting to be finished, polished and published. But then, I was walking back to my office the other day, my mind swirling with blogging ideas for the week ahead, when I actually bothered to look up at the exact moment that the bad date guy flew past me on a skateboard (yes, I dated someone who travels by skateboard – stop judging me). For some reason, my heart raced, not in any lovey way, but just in a moment of utter shock.

I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that you are reminded of people from your past as necessary. I would never have stopped him or spoken to him, mainly because I was totally not interested and had a bit of difficulty expressing this at the time, but I am convinced I saw him for a reason – I’m very conscious of my blog not personally attacking anyone or being negative and I think I saw him to bring me back to earth. He was a nice boy, it was a bad date, but no harm was done. So I came back to my desk and deleted the draft.

I figured this was as good a time as any to do a bit of a draft-cleansing and started going through some of the random crap I have been writing over the past few weeks. So, in no particular order I would like to share a few of the little gems that have been lurking in my drafts list – but which I have decided will never see the light of day.

1. What’s the easy let down? As mentioned above, how long should you stick out a bad date? Maybe at the point where you find yourself wondering if your date has the mental capacity of a seven year old? Just an idea.

2. All the things I want to say to your face but never will – Pretty self explanatory. When I realised I was listing an abundance of items directed at one person in my life, I decided this wasn’t helping my mission to become a more positive person.

3. Graduating from Slut High – A reflection on the truly awful high school I attended and how it made me a better person.

4. Crazy dog lady – I realised any exploration into whether I am or am not a crazy dog lady was not going to end well.

5. My iPhone is trying to tell me something – When your iPhone auto-corrects ‘love’ to ‘live’ or ‘lie’… it’s time for a bit of self reflection.

6. My jumper ate my underwear – I’m not even going to try to explain this one, but it was a very difficult time in my life.

7. Horses scare the shizz out of me – Actually one of my first drafts, but I later realised that it could be misinterpreted as a dig at someone… and really, horse people aren’t THAT weird, right? But just fyi – horses do actually scare the shizz out of me.

8. I’m not being cute, I just don’t like you – When your lack of tone starts working against you.

9. The owl addiction – Yep, this one was also briefly titled Crazy Owl Lady.

10. That moment when you find your favourite canned tomatoes on sale – and other moments of pure joy and happiness. Inspired by a recent trip to the supermarket when I found Easy Off BAM for $3! $3! I’m not even joking!

I could keep going… there were a fair few that were too embarrassing to include… and you never know, I might return to finish them off one day!

And on that note, I’m off to enjoy the sunshine. Yay! Happy Australia Day!

New Year, Old Resolutions

The tradition of making New Years Resolutions has been around forever. At the beginning of every year, we announce our goals for the year ahead and commit to making those long-awaited changes to our lives.

As always, as the end of 2011 drew near, I found myself asking the people around me if they were making any resolutions this year. The consensus seemed to be that resolutions are never kept and that it’s a pointless exercise setting them when you’re only setting yourself up for failure.

For the past few years, I have made the exact same resolutions – to be happy and to quit Diet Coke. Being happy is always a safe bet, but every year I would quit Diet Coke on New Years Day and swear I was going to stick with it for a year… or a month AT LEAST, with a couple of exceptions to get me through. These were:

1. I was allowed to drink unlimited quantities of post mix (fountain) Diet Coke without guilt. My justification for this was that post mix contained more water than Diet Coke, so it didn’t count.

2. I was also allowed to have one can per week, which I would carefully plan in case of an anticipated hangover or spicy dinner.

As you’ve probably guessed, I failed. The first year it took about 3 weeks, the second year about 2 and last year… about 2 days. It was like officially quitting it was actually causing me to want it even more, and each year my commitment was getting weaker.

I’ve never had any serious addictions, I’m not a smoker, gambler or alcoholic and besides the occasional short-term food obsession (which generally happens when I’m in the midst of a baking phase), Diet Coke has been my only vice.

By late January, I was well and truly off the resolution wagon. I had a particularly messy night out and the ensuing hangover was easily the worst I have ever had. I accept that I am no longer the spring chicken that I used to be and that every hangover hurts that little bit more than the last, but after five (yep, FIVE!) days of not being able to eat anything without getting sick and drinking my body weight in Diet Coke in an attempt to feel better, I realised something was not quite right.

I was sitting on the Manly ferry in Sydney the following weekend, feeling like crap and sucking back my zillionth Diet Coke for the week when the realisation hit me. My bloated, sore stomach and complete lack of energy was not due to the white wine/beer combination of the previous weekend, but from my beloved fizzy friend…

I got off the ferry, walked to the bin, ditched the can and quit – not just Diet Coke, but soft drink altogether, then and there. Once my stomach calmed down, I felt awesome! Since that day, I have had exactly 2 Diet Cokes, neither of which would be considered falling off the wagon.

A couple of days ago, I started thinking about whether or not I would set resolutions for 2012. Initially, I assumed I would make the same ones, but then I realised that I had unintentionally achieved last year’s!

So, for 2012, I’m making myself no promises and setting no resolutions that can be broken. Instead, I am setting the following goals:

By the end of 2012, I want to still be as happy, fulfilled and excited for a new year to come as I am now, bidding adieu to 2011! Happy New Year!