All posts by subtle

Perth, Western Australia

I got my finger out of my ass

and my hand off the tv remote and posted the first two days of Ohenro. Day 1 and Day 2 are now up. You are welcome.

I also went to yoga and after a month of no yoga, my body is very confused and everything hurts.

I came back from my pilgrimage several kilograms lighter and feeling super fit, but you’ll be pleased to know that walking 400km uses totally different muscles to doing one and a half hours of yoga. It’s disturbingly sobering.

It’s pissing down with rain. I’m feeling really weird about the weather at the moment. I kind of missed the transition to cold, wet winter winter by going to Japan when I did and my body doesn’t know what is going on. It still expects it to be sunny and warm and every single time I walk outside, it’s like, ‘Whoa! What the fuck is this cold weather???’ Every.single.time.

I also managed to get a cold immediately after returning. I’m going to blame the airplane. Unfortunately I also infected M, so he’s been a sick, sad puppy for a while. And this may be tmi, but this cold has given me snot from hell. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just mention one word: viscosity.

Anyway, I’ll try and keep the Japan posts coming.


Ohenro revisted



Remember me?


Okay, I know it’s been a while, but I have a reason. Well, when I say a reason, it’s actually only a reason that covers about a month of my absence, but let’s roll with that. (The other 6 months was probably spent watching Netflix and/or every other tv show that has come out recently….but let’s not dwell on that.)

Recently I went back to Japan and did the second part of my temple pilgrimage!!! 420km over 16 days, incorporating 17 temples.

It was awesome all over again. And what was even more awesome was that I went to Japan purely for pleasure and it’s the first time I’ve done that in many, many years.

This time I walked the length and breadth of Kochi prefecture and dipped my toes ever so slightly into Ehime prefecture by visiting temple 40 as well. The path was mostly along the coast with jaunts up the nearby mountains to visit the temples. I wasn’t blessed with the perfect weather I had last time and I had the misfortune of experiencing one of the wettest, scariest, most miserable days of my young-ish life. Kochi prefecture is known as the path of ‘trials’ and in many ways it lived up to its name.

At temple 39 I received the turtle stamp, completing the back of my pilgrim coat. Now, I kind of feel like a ‘proper pilgrim’.

After my pilgrimage I flew back to Tokyo for a few days of shopping. On the way back, we flew very close to Mr Fuji and I had a glorious view of the snow-capped peak.

Planning 21 days of travel, including 17 days of staying in a different hotel/temple/b&b/ryokan every night made my eye twitch. It was a massive puzzle that required a lot of things to go right and I was blessed that it all went quite smoothly. These kind of puzzles give me extreme levels of stress, but also give me a massive sense of achievement once it is done.

Along with the sore feet, blisters, long days and eagles snatching food out of my hand (true story) there were also a few fantastic hot springs,

yummy meals,

fantastic scenery,

(although there was a bit of this too)

but all in all, it was another restorative experience.

So I’m planning on writing a day-by-day account like I did last time just to bore everyone senseless, but I’ll hide it up in the Ohenro menu so you can choose whether you wish to be bored or not.

Oh, and, I thought that there truly was a god when I looked at the Singapore airlines menu:

Because if you know anything about me, you’ll know about my unholy love of melon bread. And here it was being served to me on the FREAKING PLANE back to Australia!! Singapore Airlines, I bow to thee.

It wasn’t the best melon bread I’ve ever had, but then they followed it up with Singapore Sling ice cream and now I’m seriously questioning the loyalty I have for Cathay Pacific and their delightful free upgrades to business class.

Any who, I’ll stop rambling now.

P.S Melon bread forever.

Great walls

About a month ago I spent five days in China and a day in Taiwan. Yes, a day…my workplace has an unspoken rule that all business trips must be as tightly packed and tiring as possible. It’s like the company is run by travel masochists.

I spent most of my time in China in an inland rural community about 500kms south-west of Beijing. It was everything I was expecting it to be – smelly, dirty, awkward and very poor. It reminded me a lot of all the documentaries I’ve seen about North Korea (a place I would love to go to just because it’s so bat-shit crazy.)

We stayed at the guesthouse of our clients who are a bit of a matriarchal  power-house and  who have most of the local community working for them. The guesthouse used to be a staff dormitory that they had ‘renovated’ and installed some of the latest mod-cons: shower stalls (that didn’t work), bum-washing toilets (that didn’t work), air-con (which thankfully worked) and a variety of the weirdest interior decorating I’ve ever seen (my boss had disco lights in his room).


I felt like I was in a war zone. Everything was broken and/or half-built. The air was so thick with smog that you couldn’t tell if it was morning or afternoon and I just constantly felt dirty. Even after taking a shower I still felt dirty because the water was gritty and smelled like manure. The view out my window was this:


Being blonde and a bit of a foreign attraction, they rounded up the local school children and asked me to talk/sing/entertain them for an hour or so. The local newspaper crew turned up and took photos of me leading a round of “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes”. The funniest part of that was that my boss also had to join in and we got a great video of him inch wincy spidering it with gusto (complete with hand movements).

They had their own in-house chef who cooked up a storm for us three times a day and every meal was eaten at a large round table with the whole family and an electric lazy susan. Holding the table in place while someone wrangled some food onto their plate with chopsticks was etiquette. The chef was also very good at vegetable carving and each meal come with some delightful animal:


Strangely, in that part of the country they don’t eat rice and don’t drink tea. It’s wheat noodles, warm water and fruit salad covered in mayonnaise (they take the ‘salad’ in the name quite literally.)

We did go out for one meal at a local restaurant and they had a delightful English menu with all the bad Engrish cliches you could possible hope for (“e.” stands for entrails, going by what it says in Chinese):


After a couple of days I was desperate for coffee and suffering caffeine withdrawals. I was also quite ill with stomach cramps which magically cleared up the day I left the country. I was quite careful in what I ate (no raw food) and drank (only bottled water). I also used bottled water to clean my teeth but I still somehow managed to get China belly. I don’t think my daily game of how long can I hold in my need to go to the toilet was helpful either. The toilets outside the guesthouse were quite horrifying and I vehemently refused to use any form of public toilet. I kept my water drinking to a minimum and thought happy thoughts of clean toilets.

We did quite a bit of travelling by road, train and domestic flights. The road travel was just insane – cars coming towards you at break-neck speed on the wrong side of the road, roundabouts where there is no rule for giving way so you just push forward and hope for the best. You also apparently need to drive with one hand on the wheel and one hand permanently on the horn.

The train was better, although I had a lot of misgivings about going on a bullet train in China. The journey started with a wait in line to get tickets where we witnessed several screaming matches between the ticketing staff and the people in line (apparently that’s a thing too…). Fortunately we forked out more cash and upgraded ourselves to business class so we had our own little cabin and sleeping pods that reclined full-flat. For a five-hour train journey that began at 6:30am that was definitely required and was probably the most well-spent $200 of our lives.

We spent a couple of days in large coastal cities like Ningbo and finally saw the sky.


The city was very large and modern and I felt like I was back in civilisation.


After dinner with our clients we were walking along and I saw Starbucks. They asked if we wanted something and even though it was 10pm and waaay past my normal coffee drinking hours, my boss and I were like, “Uhhh, yessss!” They got us take away grande lattes and I took it back to my hotel room, ready to enjoy it like the caffeine junky that I am, except I put my handbag down and then immediately dropped my coffee all over the minibar bench. I managed to snatch up the cup and drink the last mouthful but I almost cried at losing 99% of my first proper coffee.

The domestic flight was fairly normal (and there was Haagen Daz ice-cream in the inflight meal!) the flight to Taiwan however, saw me stuck inside a plane for five hours while the tail-end of a typhoon passed. I’ve never been on a plane before that has taxied out to the run-way and then sat there for an hour and then has reversed back to the gate. Looking out the window at the torrential rain and wind, I was very glad that we hadn’t taken off though. My one-hour flight to Taiwan ended up taking 6 hours and I eventually arrived only to discover that my hotel was not where I thought it was (not even in the right train station!) and I spent about an hour in the rain walking around trying to locate it.

Taiwan felt very much like Japan to me. The bullet train was just like Japan:


The Engrish was just like Japan:


The funky showers were just like Japan:


Maybe the hotel service was a bit beyond what a normal hotel provides in Japan:


There were also a tonne of Japanese tourists there and everywhere around me I heard Japanese. If I’d had more time I would have stayed a couple of days and done some shopping because I’m sure I would have been able to stock up on Japanese supplies.

So that was my trip. I certainly won’t be hurrying to go back again anytime soon.



Words, glorious words!

I miss writing sometimes. It’s a dull ache that I feel regularly, but most of the time I can ignore it. I can go for weeks or months on occasion, but at some point it becomes a song that hums inside me until I give it a voice.

I’d imagine it’s a bit like how some people just need a good fuck from time to time.

Similar. But with more words and fewer wet spots on the sheets.

I love words – I always have. I’ve still got a book that I began compiling during my angsty early teenage years. It’s a collection of quotes and poems from anything I happened to come across that spoke to me. Sometimes I didn’t really understand what the words meant, but I thought the words sounded beautiful so I filled them away to look at whenever I needed some love in my life.

I used to hunt through magazines and incense-filled hippy shops for postcards and pictures that seemed to go with the words. Then I’d spend a few hours writing out the words in ‘cool’ script and hand-drawing borders to frame the words.

(The things I used to fill my days with before fail videos on youtube and quizzes that can tell the year I was born in based on my favourite drink….)



I’m not exactly the most artistic person. I’m terrible at coordinating colours or interior decorating. I’ve never been able to compose music or draw. I was the person in art class who made nothing better than an ashtray out of clay (puke-coloured glaze) and I’m not all that good with living creatures either (human or botanical). But words and I have always had a good relationship.

I’m thinking seriously about writing another story. I’ve even got a few great opening lines (it’s all about the opening lines!) I’ve got a few stories started many years ago that I never really continued, but I’m not sure whether I should go for something a little more ‘mainstream’? (a.k.a not erotica and not science fiction/fantasy)

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in my mind at the moment. I think I need an outlet or to go back to yoga or a holiday or a new job or something. (The new apartment trick really didn’t work to shake things up this time, see last post.)

I still need to write about my trip to China last month (so much wrong) and several things about M and where we’re at these days. So many words to be written! Do I even have time to write another story?

All that bites

Two months ago M and I moved into a new apartment. When I say ‘new’, it’s actually a fairly old complex with 60 units and it’s a place I’d had my eye on for several years.

I thought it would be perfect because it ticked just about all of my boxes: fantastic bathtub? tick, double adjoining carparks? tick, pool & gym? tick, split level with space for me to have alone time? north-facing? tick, walking distance to work? tick, surrounded by shops? tick, cheaper than my previous apartment? tick.

It all sounds a bit too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Well, it was. As well as the above, I wasn’t counting on the ridiculously loud church bells that ring all day every day, the not-so-secure carpark that resulted in our car window being smashed and stuff stolen two weeks after we moved in, the classical piano-playing next-door neighbour, the low-flying planes that come overhead between the hours of 2am and 7am, the reticulation system for the courtyard garden that somehow runs through the apartment walls and creates a loud buzzing noise between 10pm and 1am that makes me want to peel my face off and last, but not least, the bed bugs.

Granted, all of the above are things that I couldn’t have known before we actually moved in (except the church bells, which I had known about and had had misgivings about, but the rest of the place was so perfect that I thought I’d be able to live with them) but still, I feel like I seriously fucked myself over. I left a perfectly good apartment with great owners for a bug-infested, noisy, crime-filled ghetto! Nah, it’s not actually that bad, but it’s been a stressful experience.

M was quite happy where we were and only agreed to move because it’s what I wanted so I’ve had quite the guilt trip as well. His bedroom is quite noisy and he’s had problems sleeping and it was all his stuff that got stolen out of the car. Along with his stuff, they also took the remote control for the carpark gate that we kept in the car. This resulted in everyone in the complex needing to get their remotes recoded or replaced. I don’t think we were very popular in the new neighbour stakes.

I angsted about whether to move or not for ages. I kept weighing up all the pros and cons and went and had a look at a whole heap of other apartments and this was the only one that I thought was better than where we were living. I’d also come and looked at a couple of different apartments in this complex over the years and always thought that I would like to live here.

I think what I’ve learned from this experience is to stop being greedy. I’ve got a serious case of fomo in regards to everything and the idea that I can ‘do better’ is always at the forefront of my mind. Why can’t I just be content with what I have? Why can’t I settle and accept? Am I chasing some unrealisable dream or do I just have an unrequited sense of entitlement?

Why can’t I ever be happy?


I have returned! With a new laptop and…a cold…

Actually, I’m mostly over it now, but it’s the first time I’ve been legitimately sick for quite a while. Incidentally, it also coincided with a very quick flight to Sydney and back again to see my grandmother who is in hospital, my plague and a very busy week. Shit is all over the place.

Since I last wrote, the rope workshop has been and gone, I’ve attended my friend’s 50’s-themed wedding, I’ve had a few social outings, I’ve angsted a great deal about moving to a new apartment and I’ve been caught up in various other things that have conspired to keep me in a state of non-blogging.

I’m also honestly still feeling a bit rocked over Kaya’s terrible loss of her son. It’s always very sobering when something profound like that happens and you realise that your whole life and everything that you hold dear can change in an instant. I feel nothing but sympathy and sorrow for her and Scott.

Kaya and I both started blogging around the same time. Back then there wasn’t really much around about bdsm and/or slave blogs. It was before fet, in those heady days of chatrooms and castlerealm. I’ve never Kaya in real life, but we’ve read each other’s blogs for years and you know what it’s like when you read the minutia of someone’s life for so long – they end up becoming a part of your life. I feel a bit funny (guilty?) about continuing my blog and making light of life, while she has put a stop to her blog and is dealing with pain and insurmountable grief.

But anyway, I guess we just have to be thankful for what we have and send her positive thoughts and love.

A couple of people have asked me how the rope workshop was. It was about a month ago now and usually I’d be jumping up and down like an excited puppy when there was rope talk to be done, but I found the whole experience to be very unfulfilling. Not only was the location cold and generally unpleasant, but the rope itself was ‘wrong’. I don’t know whether it was a tension issue or whether it was me, but it all hurt – and not in a good way. It wasn’t dangerous or technically ‘wrong’ but none of the suspensions (of which there were many) or floorwork really ‘did it for me’. It was the first time in my rope experiences that I’ve wanted to get down almost as soon as I was up.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most about the weekend was chatting with the Japanese sensei during the breaks. We talked a lot about innocuous things – food, Australia vs Japan, his photography/video work in Japan and shibari in general. We chatted away in Japanese, talking about everyone and everything and it was entertaining.

One of the most interesting things he said was in a response to a question from one of the attendee rope bunnies. He has a shoulder problem and found being in a chest harness with his arms behind his back for extended periods of time painful so he wanted ways of being suspended without using a TK. The sensei’s comment was that he should just ‘endure’ it because you do suspensions using a chest harness i.e. ‘that’s how it’s done’. That lead into a discussion between us about how rope is not for everyone – it’s inherently dangerous and uncomfortable. It’s not meant to be an accessible, fun thing for ages 8 to 80.

I felt  it was a telling difference between Japanese ideas and ‘western ideas’. We’re all about inclusivity and adapting things so everyone can have a go. We also often like to put our own spin on things and make them ‘better’ for our own purposes, but in Japan it’s very much that you do it how you were taught and if you can’t do it that way, you don’t do it at all. As that learned one says, “Do or do not do, there is no try”.

There’s another rope workshop in October, but I won’t be able to attend because I’ll be in China for work. I’m not sure if I’m sad or relieved that I can’t make it. I ended up buying 6 hanks of rope to add to the toy box. I’ve always wanted some proper rope, but I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with now that I have it. So that was the story of the rope workshop.

Der be rope in dem der hills

So, since we last had a proper chat (and I don’t mean about yoga…) I’ve attended three rope sessions. There has been some suspension, some inversion and some semenawa. All of it has been carried out in a drafty shed with a concrete floor, next to a creek where the chill just seems to set into your bones as you wait like the patient rope bunny you are.

For some reason every memory of rope I have has involved me freezing my tits off while getting said rope applied. I long for a rope experience in a warm room…maybe in front of a crackling fire, while my rigger feeds me roasted marshmallows (on reflection, maybe the marshmallows should come AFTER the suspension because possibility of vomit) but instead I get cold as fuck dance studios, unheated halls or backyard sheds. Maybe I should also consider getting involved in rope in the summer, instead of the middle of fucking winter like I always do.

Rope workshops always involve a lot of standing around for bunnies. There’s also not typically a lot of clothing (I don’t mean people are naked, but you can’t wear an overcoat while someone is trying to tie a TK on you.) Both of these things also lead to being cold.

But allow me to stop whining about the cold and talk about the actual rope. It had been well over a year since my last rope suspension. My body quickly realised that it wasn’t something I was used to and the next day I was sore in all sorts of weird places. That kind of affirmed the fact that I really needed to shape up before the proper workshop in July.

A lot of people say that suspensions shouldn’t hurt. I guess that may be true if you are some waif-like person who doesn’t feel their own body weight bearing down on them like a brick shithouse when there’s only a few strands of rope holding you aloft. Personally, I always find suspensions ouchie, no matter how talented the rigger. It’s not a get-me-down-from-here-now! kind of pain but it’s a pinchy slow burn that I kind of feel is akin to trying to hold yourself in a plank. Honestly speaking, some part of me would probably be disappointed if there wasn’t some level of discomfort involved in rope.

The suspension involved me trying not to hit my head on the chest freezer that was in the shed.The inversion involved having a hip harness put on me and then flipping myself upside-down like I used to do at aerial yoga. It looks a lot more showy than it actually is and once you lose the fear of falling on your head, it’s fun.

I’d post some pics of said rope, but unfortunately my laptop is slowly dying and freezes every time I try and do something with a jpeg. (New laptop is on the way and should be here in 10 days! Squee! I’ll be retiring my 5 year old Toshiba and giving it to M to play with instead.)

Rope is another thing that sounds sexier than it usually is in reality. If it’s a part of a scene with your significant other and they are a talented rigger and you are flexible enough to twist yourself into all sorts of poses and have a properly set up area to do all this in (without chest freezers to hit your head on or dogs running into the shed to lick your face while you’ve got your hands tied behind your back), it may look like some of those pictures you see plastered all over the internet.

One of the things instructors are really big on in shibari is connection between the bunny and rigger. There are supposed to be lots of lingering touches, grunts, inhalations and other assorted things to make the rope experience more connective and meaningful (actually it’s a bit more complicated than that and involves lots of Japanese concepts that I’ll write about into another entry) but it’s very hard to feel anything other than awkward if your rigger is a friend who you don’t really know very well and there are lots of other people in the drafty shed.

It’s about three weeks until the Japanese gentleman arrives. I’ve got another practise session in the drafty shed next weekend and then it will be on. Happy times.


Confessions of a yoga noob

Five weeks ago I signed myself up for yoga classes at a respectable yoga school close to my office. I had walked past that place everyday for almost 2 years thinking that one day I would like to see what is behind its blacked-out windows, but it took the fear of offering my services as a rope bunny in a three-day shibari workshop to finally push me over the edge. Late one Sunday night, I clicked ‘Pay now with credit card’ on a six-week beginner’s course and then there was no going back.

For a reasonably fit person, I’m horrendously inflexible. I’m one of those people that you sometimes see hunched over, trying desperately to touch their toes (or at least their shins) like everyone else in a fitness class at the gym, but really not getting anywhere close to that. Usually I’m sitting up, making awkward eye contact with the instructor while everyone else around me is draped on the floor in various states of flexible bliss. I can barely touch my knees let alone my feet when I bend over. This makes for interesting times in my yoga class.

I thought yoga might help me with my flexibility. I probably would if I did it 4 or 5 times a week and after a few months (or years!) of practise. But I don’t have a few months before the workshop and I have one yoga class a week.

I was super nervous the first time I went to class. The class started at 7pm and when I arrived, the place was in darkness, silent and the front door was locked. I wandered around a bit maybe thinking I had the entrance wrong, but then I bumped into another girl who was also there for the class. We exchanged nervous greetings and then loudly talked about what was going on and why everything was locked up. A few moments later, there was an audible click of the lock on the front door and people started pouring out from the class before. I later realised that the class had been silently meditating and the windows that were open at the top near the roof had allowed the 20 or so people inside to hear everything the noobs had been saying – that was mortification point number one.

Mortification point two followed very quickly. I had purposely chosen the 7pm Ashtanga class because it had a limit of 20 attendees instead of the much more convenient 5:30pm Mysore class which had a limit of 8 attendees. I didn’t want too much attention focussed on me so I thought safety in numbers. I quickly found out that only 5 people had signed up for the class (and one dropped out after the second class) so the instructor is very focussed on all of us. The numbers give me no safety at all…

Mortification point three happened last week when none of the other people in the class decided to turn up and I was Forever Alone girl a.k.a one-on-one awkward AF. Fortunately the gods must have been looking down on me with favour because another girl had signed up for what she thought was a Yin Yang class, but the website was glitching and she ended up rocking up to the beginner’s class and they let her stay so it made things much less awkward.

We ended up walking home together (it turned out she lives quite close to me) and had a very interesting conversation about her yoga experiences at other places which involved a lot of farting.  Apparently it can be the norm to just let it rip in the silence of a yoga class and I find that hilarious. Granted, the fear of needing to fart is a near and present danger with me regularly, so I felt comforted to know that if I ever lost mastery over my wind tunnel, I wouldn’t be setting a new precedent.

Basically each class sees us learning some parts of the primary series and at the end we have about 10 minutes of meditation time. The class goes for 1 ¼ hrs and by the end of it, I’m glad for the chance to lay down and close my eyes. I’m glad I had had some exposure to yoga before in the few body balance classes I had attended because we pretty much plunged into it and were soon working up a sweat doing a million sun salutes and poses that my body can’t even think about getting in to.

And just for the record, I can’t even really do a proper sun salute because I have to have my knees super bent in order to get my hands down on the floor. I’m sure it looks very ungainly and not at all flowing and yoga-ish.I find just about all the poses very challenging. The instructor shows us modifications for noobs, which is helpful but even then I’m huffing and puffing my way through the class.

I started going to some yoga classes at the gym to supplement the beginner’s class and it is really interesting to see the difference in styles and instructors. Yesterday I went to a new class and it takes the cake for weirdest yoga class I’ve ever been to.

Usually I need to see the poses modelled by the instructor because if someone says to me:

“Bend up your right leg and put your toes on the ground then reach out with your left hand towards your toes and then reach out with your right hand and turn it palm up and wrap it around the right leg and bend the left arm and reach it around to grab the right hand in a finger lock and then lean forward and BREATHE!”

I’ve got no fucking idea what they are talking about. But that is exactly what this instructor did. He prowled up and down the class with his hands clasped behind his back like a prison warden, spouting instructions for an hour and a half without modelling a single pose and I spent most of my time trying to remember which was my right leg and which was my left (I got it wrong on three separate occasions…)

The class culminated in inversions, which luckily I’d had a couple of attempts doing at the beginner’s class – just shoulder stands- but in that class they were walking up the walls and doing handstands and all sorts of stuff not suitable for an inflexible noob like me. It was funny because there was one point when several of the other people in the class were doing their handstands and I made eye contact with the girl next to me and we just sort of shook our heads at each other in a ‘Yeah, yeah, nah’ moment. Funnily enough, the class was packed and everyone seemed au fait with it all.

Anyway, it’s all been an eye-opening experience – from the actual physical toughness of it to the mantra that begins and ends each class of Ashtanga. When my instructor begins with “Oohm Vande Gurunam Charanaravinde” (Om I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru) it reverberates throughout the room and is pretty magical.The first time I heard it, I felt the hairs on my arms rise. I’ve been doing 2-3 classes a week of yoga for over a month now (as well as my other cardio and core classes) and while I can’t report any amazing changes in my flexibility, I feel like I can hold some of the poses a little deeper than I could before. I’ve got one beginner’s class left and then I’m wondering what to do. Should I continue the adventures of a yoga noob, or should I move on to something else?

The end of the trail

I’ve posted the last two days of my pilgrimage so that’s it. So as M succinctly put it, “You’ve walked it, you’ve blogged it. It’s all done and dusted.”

I quietly close a door in my life…and then I pull another open one with…

Yoga lessons.

Yes, I’ve signed up for a six week introduction to Ashtanga for noobs that starts this Wednesday. I’m thinking the theme for this year will be, “Mindfulness and pain.” I’m as stiff as a block of wood (not a euphemism) and I wish there was a pill you could take that would magically make you limber, but there isn’t so I’m sure it will be interesting to see just what I can’t do.

The yoga is, of course, another attempt by me to prepare myself for rope workshops in July (which is like Christmas in July, but with less Christmas.)

Speaking of yoga, I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about how ‘white people need to stop saying namaste’. I’m guessing it’s yoga snobs saying that because they don’t like their  ‘edgy’ past-time suddenly become a thing for the masses and that the commercialism of it rubs people up the wrong way. I think it’s a little bit akin to what has been happening in kink circles.

It’s just getting harder and harder to be edgy these days. I know I don’t like it when every other tv show and movie these days is trying to slip some sort of bdsm into the story line just so they can keep up with the cool kids. And I do like to think that I was into Japan before it became cool and accessible. Does that make me a kink and Japan snob?


It also probably just means that I’m an old fart.

And speaking of old farts, I watched Deadpool tonight and I realised that there are so many references in that movie that anyone much under the age of 40 is just not going to appreciate and my mind was slightly blown.


Crisis averted

I have a ropey top to tie me up in July! Yay for desperate messages on fetlife.

Unfortunately the workshop needs minimum numbers of attendees so I don’t actually know if they will be going ahead. I can haz sum rope pleaz?

It’s a long weekend in Australia and I went to the gym and did body pump and cx works this morning. It has been a loooong time since I’ve done those particular classes and I’m expecting to be incredibly sore tomorrow. I used to be a pump bunny who had 30kg on her bar during squats. Now I’ve got 7kg on my bar and I’m barely making it to the end of the track. Yeah…

I’d planned on going to the gym yesterday as well, but a 9:30am dentist appointment put a spanner in those works. I was at the dentists for and hour and a half for a clean and scale! An hour and a half!!! I was getting to the stage that I couldn’t take it any more when she finally announced that she was done. Due to my heart murmur I have to have a big dose of antibiotics before ‘invasive’ dental treatment so for the rest of the day I was zonked out. It’s a weird sensation that they give me, kind of like being overtired combined with low blood sugar vagueness.

Why the sudden gym bunny behaviour you ask? Well…rope in July. I’ve got two and a half months to make myself presentable and try and get my core strength up a bit. The race is on!

I put day 5 up there as well.

You know what would cheer me up?


And I discovered on the weekend that Kazami Ranki, one of the shibari grand masters, is coming to Perth to do workshops in July.

And I really want to go!

It’s times like this when I wish I had a friend who knew rope and was in need of a bunny on a regular basis. M has given me his blessings to indulge in rope in whatever and however way I see fit, so I’ve put out a general distress call on fetlife for someone to tie me up.

What a girl has to do to get tied up!

The recent spate of earthquakes around the world has been devastating. Ecuador now seems to be much worse off than Japan. I got in touch with the last of my clients today and things are ok. I hope things settle down now for a while.

I’ve put Ohenro day 4 up. 3 days left.


Yeah…so there was another large earthquake in Japan. The one that happened on Thursday has been now downgraded to a “pre-shock” and the one that happened this morning (Saturday) at 1:30am is officially the “earthquake.” In between there have been 142 pre/after shocks of level 3 or more so I’d be pretty damn jittery if I was anywhere in the vicinity at the moment, the vicinity being Kumamoto prefecture in Kyushu.

To pre-empt some questions, no, it wasn’t really close to where I did my pilgrimage and yes, I’ve been there. You can see I’ve marked Tokushima in the map below and Kumamoto is just to the east of Nagasaki on the island south west.


In my work trip to Japan last August, we actually visited a place that is about 5km from the epicentre in Kumamoto. I also have lots of clients and clients of my clients in the area. I spent a lot of Friday trying to find out if everyone was ok and except for the company with an office closest to the area, everyone responded that they were ok. I couldn’t actually make contact with that office, but I have a feeling they had other things on their mind than letting their Australian supplier know they were ok. I’m also mindful of not clogging up phonelines in emergency situations like this. After the official earthquake this morning though, I’m fairly worried.

Kyushu island is actually the area in Japan where most of my clients are. I go there a lot and you might remember last year I spent my post-work trip time in Fukuoka city which is to the north and in the most populous part of the island. There are a lot of volcanos dotted around Kyushu so it’s a hot-bed of seismic activity and hot springs. Of particular concern is the active volcano Mt Aso since it is so close to the epicentre which was at Mashiki  (just to the east of Kumamoto city).

Mt asao

Apparently there has been a small eruption since the earthquake so fingers crossed nothing big happens.

These sort of disasters happening in Japan always upset me. I can watch things happen in Australia, which should affect me more, and be very chill, but for some reason I’m a lot more emotionally invested in Japan and its people.

Anyway, I uploaded Day 3 of Ohenro last night while I was still in an okay mood, but after seeing the pictures this morning of collapsed buildings and landslides, I’m not feeling very jovial to write much else.


Hello again!

Holy crap, it’s been so long since I did a proper blog that I’d forgotten how long it takes. I just did the first of the pilgrimage blogs and I swear it took me three hours (not helped by the fact that I’ve discovered that photos you take on your phone don’t like being rotated and so you have to first save them as a bmp file after rotating them before resaving them as a jpeg in order to upload to wordpress……*deep breath*)

Anyway, the first blog is a bit of a ramble and is mostly info about the preparations more than anything, but I’ll continue to put the pilgrimage blogs up in the menu to the right under Ohenro.

And, did you see that Outlander Season 2 has begun? Squee!

And, GoT is starting soon? Squee!

It’s a good time to be alive (and I’m glad I didn’t fall off any of the mountains.)

Filling in the blanks

Hello! I’ve been away for a while.

“No shit.” I hear you say.

Actually, I have a fairly legitimate excuse.

There’s been some of this:


Some of this:


Some of this:


And lots of walking up this:


While I looked like this:


It’s all now much clearer, right?

Yes, I went to Japan for a work trip (which was a complete cluster fuck that I don’t want to talk about) but after the work was done, I took some time for myself and did a temple pilgrimage known as Ohenro on the island of Shikoku.

I think I may have mentioned the pilgrimage here many, many years ago, saying it was something that I would love to do one day. So after the events with M’s health and my resulting mental state, I thought a few days climbing mountains and chanting the heart sutra would do me good.

The whole pilgrimage is about 1200kms and it takes a good 45-50 days to travel to all 88 temples, and I couldn’t take that much time off, so I did the first prefecture, Tokushima,  around 2250kms in 7 days and visited 23 temples.

I’m planning on doing a blow-by-blow account of the whole thing here on the blog and I have something like 500 photos that I took on my phone to share, so prepare yourselves, photographs are coming!

M has been good (thanks to everyone who was concerned!) Things are pretty much back to normal as far as his health is concerned. We skyped every day while I was away and I skyped him a few times from the pilgrim trail so he could share in my experience (most of the time, I was just too breathless to talk and skyping really wasn’t an option.) He went to the doctor yesterday and got a reasonably clean bill of health. We’re still working out what combination of meds will be best for his diabetes, but the doctor wants his kidneys back to normal before we play too much with that. He was brave while I was away: cooking, showering and even feeding himself! It’s cute. He still plays the, ‘I’m sick!’ card when he wants something i.e. “Change the HDMI cables over for me?” “Change them yourself.” “But I’m sick.”

The pilgrimage was awesome. I really don’t have words to describe how great it was.  Serene. Magical. Restorative. Those are some of the words I have thrown around when talking to people about it. And the people I met during it were just wonderful and giving. So friendly and memorable.

Of course, it was tough, super tough, physically. Every part of me hurt and a couple of mornings I woke up and wondered how I was going to walk at all, let alone walk 30kms to my next lodging. I was tired to the point of delirium on one evening and I spent a great deal of time in the foetal position after finishing my distance for the day, curled up, on the floor not able to move. But I did it and you know how I love me a good challenge! I’m really looking forward to when I can go back and do the next section/prefecture.

So yeah, that’s what’s been happening. Stayed tuned for temples, temples, temples.



On the mend

Q: How do you know when your man is on the mend?

A: He starts getting horny.

And for a man who spent the better part of six weeks with a ball sack the size of a melon, being horny is particularly significant.

M is much better now and thanks again to everyone who was worried about us. His kidney function has not returned totally to normal and his diabetes is still a bit out of control, but hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll get both of those things sorted.

The experience put a lot of things into perspective for both of us. We had a particularly teary banter session lying in his bed one day not long after he got out of hospital. I told him that it had been a very scary and stressful ordeal for me because I didn’t want to lose him. And then he said that he realised that he didn’t want to die and leave me alone, that he wants to get healthy and try and live as long as possible for me.

It was exactly what I wanted and need to hear.

He has said before that he is sad that there is such an age gap between us – 19 years to be exact – and that inevitably he is going to die first and leave me alone (assuming nothing happens to me, of course!) but never before had he said that he wants to extend our lives together as much as possible.

I felt incredibly loved and cared for. I cried then when he told me and I’m crying again about it now when I think back to what he said and the look on his face when he said it.

I had been worried for years and years about his size and the fact that he was literally eating himself to death. I guess in many ways he had simply been lucky up until this point that his body had coped. But your body can only cope for so long under that sort of stress and it all came to a head. It was a fast, sharp wakeup call and as M puts it, ‘the worst experience of my entire life thus far.’

Since then we’ve both been on a portion control dieting plan. In typical man-fashion, M has lost something like 12kg (24 lbs or 2 stone) since getting out of hospital with not a huge amount of effort, by doing nothing except eating less. Yours truly, on the other hand, in typical girl-fashion has lost a piddly 3kg (6 lbs or 1/2 stone)  by eating less, exercising more and not touching an ounce of chocolate. M has actually lost 34kg (68 lbs or 5 1/2 stone) since his peak in hospital when his body was filled with fluid and they were wanting to start dialysis. Those are simply crazy numbers when you think about that level of change over such a short period of time. The human body is a very tough machine.

Two weeks before any of this happened, I’d had a melt-down about needing some alone time in the apartment. M had said that he was going to go and stay in a hotel for a night and give me a couple of days of quality alone time. There was a morning I was laying in bed and I could hear the tv and ‘feel’ him sitting out in the living room and I literally felt like I was going to scream. It wasn’t quite a panic attack, but I felt claustrophobic and ridiculously angry and just wanted him gone then and there. My alone time never eventuated because he got sick and then suddenly he was in hospital and I was coming home to an empty apartment every night.

As you might guess, I felt incredibly guilty because I’d wanted him gone and then he was. Yes, I wanted alone time, but definitely not in this way. Funnily enough, the ‘alone time’ I ended up getting, wasn’t really what I wanted. I couldn’t relax at home and went into a mad cleaning flurry. I’d sort of wander around the apartment aimlessly like a dog suffering from separation anxiety and I wasn’t sleeping very well at all. We usually have constant fights about the tv volume. I’m a person who likes to only have the tv on for certain short periods of time and then on a low volume. M likes the tv on from the minute he wakes up until the minute he goes to bed at a volume which I can still hear through two closed doors and with a pillow over my ear.

When he was in hospital, the apartment almost felt too quiet. It wasn’t the restorative nest that I’d usually come home to, it was lonely and I was alone.

Those boppy remixes of Fast Car kept popping up on my music feed while I was walking between the hospital and home. I still remember the original (and best!) with Tracy Chapman. I was eleven years old when it came out and my sister and I were obsessed with it. She was 15 and in the midst of her rebellious years so it probably meant a lot more to her than it did to me at the time. I’ve got a song for all the ‘bad’ periods of my life and Fast Car is now my song for this one.

Good news, everyone!

Just a quick update, M was discharged from hospital on Friday. It was a loooong three emotionally-charged and tiring weeks, but he’s home and that’s great.

It will still be a few more weeks before things are back to ‘normal’ I’d imagine. He’s grumpy, restless and uncomfortable so it feels like I’ve suddenly given birth to a fifty-seven-year-old baby who wakes me up every two hours needing attention. I understand he has been through a lot and has been in pain for a long time, but he’s not a good patient. I think it will be interesting come Monday when I have to go to work with not a lot of sleep and I have whiney customers to deal with. Hell hath no fury like an overtired girl (and that’s exactly another reason why I should never have children).

Thank you all for your messages of support. M and I thank you for your concern and touching comments. A few days after it all happened, I had a big blubber-fest at work in front of one of my colleagues and then my boss (I really can’t cope with the question, “Is everything ok?”) and then I had another blubber-fest with my ninety-two year old grandmother who is simply so supportive and gloriously precious.

It was a very new experience for me and I’m generally not good in these type of high-stress/worry situations so I didn’t keep it together well but we got through it in the end.

I might be a bit quiet on here for a while as we try and sort stuff out. Feel free to amuse yourselves in my absence 😉

In sickness and in health

(TL;DR: M has renal failure and a bevy of health issues and will be in hospital for the foreseeable future.)

I’ve had one of the worst weeks of my life. Actually, I shouldn’t be bitching about my own week being bad because I’m not the person in hospital, in a lot of pain with various tubes and things sticking out of my body, but for the purposes of venting, I’m going to say that my week fucking sucked.

M has been in hospital since Monday so for seven days I’ve been a ball of worry who is functioning on very little sleep and spends her days travelling between the hospital, the office and home.

They’re not really sure what the infection is that started everything, but it’s some sort of staph/strep/cellulitis infection on his scrotum (of all places!) that caused it to swell up to the size of a melon. He was shuffling around the house for a few days with that uncomfortable thing between his legs not wanting to go to the doctor – like a typical man – until eventually he made an appointment and when it came time to leave the house, he realised that he’d never be able to put his pants on, let alone walk to the car and drive the 30mins to the doctor, because, you know, that’s what happens when you leave an infection for too long.

So he arranged for a home visit from another doctor and called me to come home because our apartment has super security that means you actually have to go downstairs to the lobby to let people inside and you need a security fob to operate the lift. That week I was travelling over east and roaming through the countryside for several days with customers so the timing of everything was bad. The doctor gave him a script for antibiotics and said if it wasn’t getting better in a couple of days to go to the hospital.

Four days (four days!!!) later he finally gave in and called the non-emergency ambulance/patient transport number. They asked what the problem was and as soon as he said ‘my balls are as big as melons’ he got transferred through to the 000 line (that’s Australia’s version of 911) and if the whole thing hadn’t been so tragic and wrong, I would have laughed about the conversation he had which went something like this:

Operator: “Hello, what’s your emergency?”

M: “It’s not an emergency, I’ve just got big balls.”

Operator: “Ok, we’re going to despatch an ambulance, I need some more details from you.”

M: “I don’t need emergency care, I just can’t walk or drive to get to the hospital.”

And so on and so forth…

About ten minutes later the first ambulance arrived and after assessing the situation they called for a different ambulance because there was a logistical problem with his lack of mobility. After about an hour the second team arrived and they then went to work trying to figure out how to get him into the lift and into the ambulance while negotiating the obstacles, stairs and the slight hill our apartment building is on. We also live on a very busy road and it was morning rush hour and he wasn’t wearing anything from the chest down. Yeah. There was a lot of shielding with sheets and fortunately the cafe that is on the ground floor of the building is still closed for summer holidays and the audience that gathered to see what was going on only included a couple of nosy neighbours.

Anyway, we got to the hospital, he waited four hours to see a doctor then it was another eight hours before he was moved out of the emergency department into a ward. They started pumping him full of antibiotics and said he may be discharged on Wednesday or Friday at the very latest.

Tuesday was a public holiday so I spent most of the day with him playing cards and chatting happily while he sat gingerly on a chair and left about 5pm then Wednesday I went to work and told him to call me if he was going to be discharged before I went to visit. We exchanged a few text messages that night and he asked me to bring a charger for his ipod and the next morning I sent him a couple of messages asking how he was and said that I would visit in the afternoon. I didn’t get any response to the texts but I just assumed his phone was either flat or he’d run out of credit or whatever and I didn’t think anything more of it because he was perfectly fine and reasonably chirpy when I saw him the afternoon before.

So I rocked up at 4pm and got told he was in the operating theatre having a venous catheter inserted because his kidneys had shut down and would probably need dialysis and they’d had two teams in trying to insert a catheter to monitor his urine output which was made all the more difficult and painful because of his infection down there and they were worried about his heart and blood oxygenation and they were checking for fluid on the lungs and I was all, WTF?!?! and just burst into tears and spent the next few hours while I waited for him to come back from theatre bawling my eyes out. I had a long talk with the nurse and he told me that the antibiotics had caused a bad reaction and things had just spiralled out of control after I’d left the previous afternoon and I was super angry at M because he hadn’t told me anything and we’d been texting until about 9:30pm.

So eventually M got wheeled back in with all the tubes and stuff coming out of various parts of his body looking like Frankenstein and I couldn’t stop crying which was bad because then he got upset because I was upset. And then I did the worst thing ever, I expressed my anger about him not telling me that something was wrong during out text messaging (because I assumed he had chosen not to tell me because he does shit like that sometimes not to make me worry.)

Me (crazy bitch voice with angry/upset tears streaming down my face): “You didn’t think there was something more important to tell me other than that you needed your ipod charger???”

M: “Well, it all happened after that and I was being taken from here to there for all the tests and things shoved into me. I didn’t have my phone or a chance to tell you.”

And I’ve never felt so guilty in all my life. Not only because I got angry at him but because I wasn’t there when all this shit was going down (and granted I was angry that no-one from the hospital had contacted me to let me know that shit was going down). I stayed until visiting hours finished that day and walked home (another 45 minutes of crying time) then I spent a sleepless night, went in super early to work the next morning, did what I needed to do, broke down a couple of times when different people asked me if things were ok and then headed back to the hospital where I stayed as long as I could. I went back first thing the next morning, then went to work for a few hours to do a few things then went back to the hospital again. Rinse and repeat for most days.

I spend lots of time at the hospital just holding M’s hand and watching the pee drip into his bag. I help him to the toilet and wipe his bum. I gave him a sponge bath and shaved his face (first time I’ve ever shaved a face and that was scary as hell) and even though he’s fully capable of feeding himself, he likes me to feed him and do “Here comes the aeroplane!” and give him fluids through a straw. When he’s feeling ok we play cards. I banter about the weather and work.  Today I’m going to try to get him into the shower

I talked with the nurses about the importance of getting him mobile again as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the infection and swelling that started this whole thing doesn’t seem to be getting better, and they’re trying various cocktails of antibiotics. His heart seems to be ok and there’s no fluid in his lungs (but there is about 10 litres of fluid in his system that needs to come out.) His kidneys seem to be doing better at the moment, but I’m not sure how much of his output is courtesy of the diuretics that they are also giving him. They’re going to assess him on Monday for dialysis, so fingers crossed he doesn’t need it.

All in all, it’s been a bit of a harrowing week. I’ve got a few other things to write about the emotional side of all of this and impacts on our dynamic, but all of that will have to wait until I’ve got a bit of space in my head and heart.


I met an old friend for lunch today. I’ve known her for over ten years and she has always been fascinated by two things: my crooked index finger and my lifestyle.

By the way, I really hate calling it a ‘lifestyle’ but I don’t know what else to say…’life choice’? ‘kink’? ‘out of the ordinary stuff I do’? And the crooked finger thing? That’s a whole other story for another time.

So, my friend, we used to work together when I first came back to Australia and sometime near the end of my first M/s relationship I told her what that necklace around my neck really was and I talked to her about my interests. She was fascinated then and is fascinated now. I’m surprised she hasn’t gone and done something about her curiosity in the past ten years, but I guess like a lot of other people who don’t act on their fantasies, she simply stays curious.

I’d describe her as a switch or maybe a service top. Or maybe she’s just another one of those newbies that doesn’t really know what they like or want and so feels better with a label that broadly covers everything. Anyway, she met a new guy and wants to do kinky stuff with him and she asked for some advice.

What I wanted to say to her was, ‘Really? You’re asking me for advice? Fuck, if I knew what I was doing I wouldn’t have been whining blogging about this stuff for the last ten years,’ but instead I tried to give her some advice and in the middle of it I realised that I sounded like some pompous asshat that was trying to give someone a lecture in the twue way.

The advice I actually wanted to give to her was, “Have fun, be safe and don’t think things through too much,” but what I actually gave her was two hours of, “You guys need to have a talk about your limits, learn how to safely tie each other up and where it’s ok to hit and think about whether you want a dynamic or to just remain play partners.”

Yeah. I don’t know what came over me. I felt like the fun police raining down on her new relationship parade.

I’m pretty sure my kind of advice is what puts a lot of people off getting into kink. It all sounds so serious and overwhelming. It makes it seem like kink is some super science that you need a Ph.d in and ten references before you play with anyone. The reality is that it isn’t. You can have a lot of cheap, low-tech fun with just some occy straps and clothes pegs and no-one is going to go home crying.

It is really necessary to have a first aid kit, basic anatomy knowledge and to have memorised The Mechanics of Safe BDSM Play from cover to cover if you just want to fool around a bit?

Probably not.

I guess, I’ve just heard a lot of stuff about things going wrong and people having bad experiences. I’ve heard stories about random, simple things being a trigger for some people and boundary pushing moving into abuse territory.

But I also think you need to try stuff and experiment. Discover what you like and what you don’t and enjoy the butterflies and the thrill that you get from the unknown. The honeymoon period of bdsm is a joyous one that you really only get to experience once and I think everyone should have the chance to do so without worrying about whether they are doing it ‘right’.

It’s similar to how I feel about the recent trend of helicopter/cottonwool parenting and nanny-state laws. I think removing people’s chance to make conscionable decisions generally results in us becoming more stupid and unable to develop good judgement and the more you restrict people, the more they want to do even stupidier stuff when they get the chance (i.e. we’re breaking the law anyway, so let’s make it worth it.)

After talking with her a bit, apparently they’ve already dappled and she has the cutest safeword (not cute because she has one, but that the actual word is cute and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to say it without laughing.) After lunch we toured the couple of adult shops that are nearby and I manage to get my hands on the legendary thuddy flogger that I’ve been lusting after for a while. I’m not sure what they ended up buying, I was too busy fondling the flogger and wondering if I wanted to spend a hundred dollars on it – which I did, because it is a beautiful thing. Pics to come!

I feel like I want to talk to her again and tell her to just ignore the stuff I said, but I’m pretty sure I’ve already put doubts into both of their minds. Thoughts? Was I wrong or right for saying what I did?

Planes, grunts and scowls

I spent a few days travelling this week for work. There were a couple of flights, a shitty hotel room, several taxi rides and many hours in cars traversing the countryside with nothing to look at.

Travelling always makes me tired. It takes me a while to be able to sleep in an unfamiliar place and I spend a lot of time worrying about schedules, alarms and people and places I’m not familiar with. Oh, and no matter how many flights I take, I always, always think about the plane crashing and how I should really write a will and give M all my passwords and stuff that he would need to know if I was no longer around.

Plane travel makes me particularly melancholy. I was reading an article in some newspaper or something a while ago on the topic of how plane travel makes a lot of people emotional. Apparently being totally cut off and completely at the mercy of the pilot and flight attendants can be very cathartic and makes you introspective. I would totally concur with that opinion because I know I’ve had very strong reactions to movies I’ve watched on planes that I wouldn’t give a shit about otherwise and I’ve ended up teary for no particular reason on many a flight.

Most of my plane travel I do alone. The last flight I took with anyone was the trip I took to Japan with M in 2010. Before that, it would have been my honeymoon in 2002. So that’s 6 flights out the probably 150 flights or so I’ve taken over the past 21 years where I’ve had someone sitting next to me to talk to instead of drowning in my own thoughts.

There’s a part of me that likes the freedom of being alone and the anonymity of plane travel where nothing is expected of you, but then there’s that part that gets lonely and bogged down in deep thoughts. I find that the energy in airports is more sad and negative and the prospect of travel to me is sad as opposed to exciting and fun. Does anyone else feel like this, or just me?

Anyway, that shitty hotel I stayed at? Well, it wasn’t cheap at $150/night (but I guess it is on the cheap end of hotels in Australia) and everything seemed to be ok until I had a shower and peeled back the bedspread to find this:


For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would put a sheet on a bed that was a foot too short and feel ok with that. Obviously there were absolutely no fucks to give that day.

A couple of days later I was in a rural town in Western Australia with some clients we went to a cafe for lunch. The waitstaff literally scowled and grunted when I ordered food for the group and when I asked for drinks, I was told to ‘Get ’em yourself’. Cutlery also seemed to be a bit too much and some of us were just given knives and others just forks and apparently five napkins for seven people is enough and asking for one each is just annoying. We paid $150 for some unforgettable food and were happy to get out of there. Sadly, that experience though is pretty on par with what I experience in many local towns.

Australia’s hospitality game is so weak…I often wonder why tourist even want to come here at all.



I spend a good 85% of my time at work skimming through documents, proof-reading and absorbing (through open-plan office osmosis) conversations going on around me so I know what is happening. The other 15% I spend talking to clients, carefuly composing ranty emails and fighting the urge to kill my colleagues. When I make a coffee, I thumb through the newspaper looking only at the pictures and the headlines and then when I go home I scroll through FB, fet and other newsy internet sites, reading not much more than the title, before half-watching some stuff on tv and doing some reading in bed at night that usually also turns into me skimming through the words so much that I have to often go back and read pages again because I’ve got no idea what is happening.

Most of the stuff I scan through registers with me for a short time – usually enough for me to form some sort of arm-chair opinion about it or to spark a blog topic, but then it is very quickly forgotten. I don’t usually retain the story lines of movies I’ve seen (unless I liked them and watched them multiple times) or remember with a lot of depth what someone has said to me (unless it hit some sort of nerve and I replayed it over and over in my head a few times).

As a result of this, I’ve become very good at skimming through vasts amounts of data and information, but horrendous at remembering anything. Most of my conversations with M go something like this:

M: “You said blah blah blah.”
Me: “Did I?”

M: “You did blah blah blah.”
Me: “Did I?”

M: “Don’t you remember blah blah blah?”
Me: “Nope, not at all”

Honestly speaking, I was getting really worried for a while that I might be starting to get dementia or had some sort of memory-loss issue, because I was doing or saying stuff and literally having no recollection of it whatsoever. But then I started to really think about what was wrong and I realised that I wasn’t focussing on what I was saying or doing, I wasn’t being ‘mindful’ of my words or actions and that got me to thinking about why that was the case.

I used to be fantastic at remembering stuff. I was one of those people who didn’t have a diary or calendar, who didn’t need to write stuff down at all, but now I know that if I put something down intending to deal with it later, it ain’t ever getting done. I have to immediately pay my bills when I get them and deal with emails as soon as I receive them. I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve woken up in a cold sweat at 3am because I’ve suddenly remembered that I forgot to do something. And if that isn’t ironic, I don’t know what is.

I’ve also noticed with my writing that I’ll often misspell things or leave words out and not notice it at all. I’ll re-read things ten times and not notice what I’ve done, and I was never like that.

So, the question is, has all the skimming that I do day-in-day-out really affected my ability to pick out mistakes and remember things or am I just becoming an old fart and this is part and parcel of being a newly minted 39 year-old?

Boot camp

Normally when I talk about boots, M’s eyes light up like mine do when I spot NY cheesecake on the dessert menu, but I don’t think he’s going to be very excited by this discussion of boots.

I signed up for boot camp last week. Well, when I say boot camp, it’s actually ‘outdoor fitness sessions’ but because it’s doing gym-type stuff outdoors with the flies and at the mercy of the elements in the Perth summer heat, I’m going to call it ‘boot camp’. I’ve seen the boot camp attendees doing their mountain climbers and partner boxing in the park when I’ve shuffled past on my runs and I’ve always said to myself, “Ain’t no way I’d do that shit.” But then I went and signed up. Mostly because it’s free as part of my health insurance (I’m pretty sure I pay for the sessions 100 times over in my premiums though) and because I thought it might be good to do stuff with other people and have some accountability.

I hate all that group fitness stuff and I hate exercising outdoors. Actually I hate exercising. Period. I’m really not looking forward to it in any way, shape or form, but I’ll do it because I said I’ll do it.

Being a martyr and having a slight masochistic streak, I often find some sort of perverse pleasure in doing things that I don’t enjoy. But as I get older the voice inside that says, ‘Life’s too short to spend it doing things you don’t enjoy!’ keeps getting louder and I’m wondering more and more why I bother.

I know everyone has to do things they don’t like. We all have to work, pay taxes, not kill each other etc. But there is a line between stuff that you have to do or else you get into trouble for and stuff that you ‘should’ do, but at the end of the day don’t really have to. Not brushing my teeth won’t kill me (well, it actually could because I have a  dysfunctional heart valve, but that’s just me) and likewise, eating crap and not exercising also won’t kill me ( though it may shorten my life span). They are things that I should do, along with going to the dentist for check-ups, having a pap smear, getting insurance etc. Most of these things I would put into the ‘adulting’ category. I notice that a lot of men don’t ‘adult’ very well. I wonder why that is?

Before I signed up for boot camp I was looking at a lot of ‘challenge’ plans. I was thinking about doing a few 30-day challenges like the plank challenge that takes you from 20seconds of planks to 5mins of planks over 30 days, or the 30-day thigh buster. After looking at all the challenges and feeling a bit overwhelmed, I felt like joining the napping challenge which takes you from a 5 minute snooze to a 2 hour nap over 30 days! It seems much more up my alley.

The other thing I did to go with my exercise regime was order a couple’s set of portion plates. We get two plates, two bowls, a 4-week eating plan, a visual guide to portions and a snack bible.

I feel like portion-control is something that M and I need to get a handle on and instead of going it alone, I decided to pull him aboard my healthy eating train. I’m hoping that the visual-way the information is presented makes it a bit easier to digest (see what I did there?) than blocks of numbers or needing to bring out a set of scales every time you want to eat something.

Apparently the average diameter of dinner plates has changed from 9 inches to 12 inches in the last 40 years. That might explain why all those women in movies from the 50’s and 60’s have impossibly small waists (or it might be that they have fantastically constrictive underwear.) The new dinner plates I bought when we moved here are so big they don’t even fit into the dishwasher (dinnerware purchase fail…) I’m guessing the new plates will.

Toxic thoughts

I woke up this morning to discover that the twin sister of someone I knew had died from a caffeine overdose. Apparently she had been taking some ‘diet’ pills and after drinking a coffee at a coffee shop, the combined amount of caffeine had been toxic.

She was twenty-seven and had only recently been married. It’s a very sad situation and one that is being made harder by the fact that the media has jumped onto the story and is sensationalising the crap out of it. There’s all the talk about body issues and the pressure on women to be thin and of course the dangers of so-called diet pills and how they can contain stuff that actually can kill you.

I met her twin when she was studying her MBA here in Australia. I hadn’t known until she did a Facebook post about it, but she had apparently been a large girl herself most of her life and had never really worried about her appearance. Then, for whatever reason, she decided she wanted to be different, got a personal trainer and lost 20kgs. She posted some rather unflattering pictures of herself captioned with, ‘This is the old me’ and wrote a little about how she had been ‘tomboyish’ and never bothered dressing ‘like a girl’ because she didn’t think she was attractive enough and that was followed by a slew of selfies of her in skimpy clothes and looking exceptionally hot.

When I saw all of that, my initial feeling was a wave of jealousy. I’d imagine I’m not the only person who would react that way, but it’s still a bit sad that I couldn’t be happy for her. Of course, the reason for my reaction was that she succeeded in doing what I want to do and on some level it felt like she was rubbing my face in my failure.

(And let me just say at this point, that I’m not trying to trivialise the tragic death of her sister and turn it into a ‘woe be me’ thing. What happened just made me think about the games I play with my body from time to time and why I do it.)

I’ve had an uncomfortable relationship with my body all my life. My weight has yo-yoed spectacularly every 2-3 years and so much so that I have enough stretch marks to have given birth to a bevy of children. Unfortunately, as a result, there are just parts of my body I cannot bear other people to see and I’m always limited in the types of clothing I can wear.

I’ve also tried quite a few pills and potions, done pretty much every major diet that has done the rounds (except paleo…I draw the line at that…) and spend a great deal of every day worrying about my weight and how it’s ‘ruining my life’.

Unfortunately, I’ve also been successful at losing weight enough times to know that losing weight doesn’t magically fix all of your other issues. The only thing it does is free you from the worry of having to lose weight, which then becomes the worry of having to maintain weight. Basically, you don’t lose the worry, it just becomes a different form of worry. But I still do it. I still think about my weight every morning when I get up and try to choose clothes for the day (why don’t I just have a wardrobe of mumus?) when I walk past any windows or shiny surfaces I can see myself in, when I eat by myself, when I eat in front of other people (are they judging what I’m eating?), when I walk and feel my thighs rubbing together, when I go to gym and see myself in the mirror and compare myself to everyone else I see in the mirror.

It’s exhausting, but it’s all stuff that I do to myself. I don’t particularly feel that pressure from the media is making me want to lose weight. I don’t look at models and feel like I have to look like them – they’re models…I know they’re not like normal human beings. I don’t see thin, smiling people on tv and think that I have to lose weight.

I think I have to lose weight because none of my clothes fit and it’s hard to climb stairs and having chafing between your thighs sucks.

There’s a lot of talk these days about embracing plus-sized models. Personally, when I see a catalogue or some sort of advertising with a plus-sized model, it kind of gives me a false sense of security. I don’t feel positive about it, I just feel “Phew, there’s someone else bigger than me!” It almost feels like it is giving me an excuse not to do something about myself.

I honestly have to say that I don’t find plus-sized models attractive. I know that some people enjoy larger people, but health-wise there’s nothing good that comes from being overweight. To me, healthy is good, well-proportioned is good, I don’t need to see every single bone in someone’s body, but I also don’t need to see bulges and rolls when I’m thumbing through  catalogue. I can see enough of that stuff when I look in the mirror.

I have a lot more energy when my weight is lower. I’m healthier. I sleep better. Shopping for clothes is fun. Going somewhere is fun. Food becomes more fun because I appreciate it more instead of shovelling it into my mouth hole.

There are so many positive things that I feel when my weight is lower, but of course being thin is a lot of work for me – I like food, a lot and I do not like exercise or sport- at all. For whatever reason, the person with so much self-control that I am, just cannot control that part of me. I’d like to just be able to stay at a lower weight, but I’ve shown time and time again that I can’t and it irks me like nothing else. That’s why I can’t be happy when people around me succeed and why I can understand and sympathise so much with someone who was taking ‘diet pills’.

I don’t know why her sister felt the need to take the pills. I don’t know if there was a feeling of ‘rivalry’ between them after her sister’s weightless or whether maybe she had taken them in order to lose weight for her wedding and had just continued taking them. Whatever the reason, I don’t feel like what she did was ‘crazy’ or ‘stupid’ and I don’t think that she is a victim of ‘body image portrayal in the media making girls do dangerous things.’

I’d like to think she was trying to lose weight for herself, for her own reasons and what happened was a tragic unintended mistake.

Huffing it

It’s not very well known that I have a floor-plan fetish.  Poring over floor plans is one of the things that I love to do and it makes me quite sad that floor-plans are rarely provided in Australia for properties that are for rent or sale (unless you’re building). I’m surprised that more people don’t demand a layout when perusing properties. It makes it much easier to know whether a property is worthy of going to see than simply reading that something has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Even in Japan, a floor-plan is provided for every single room/property that is for sale or rent through an agent, even though the room sizes and layout of most properties are quite standard.

You may remember that I got quite anal about the layout of the apartment I rented for M and myself last year. It’s mostly due to the fact that I’m very sensitive to noise and I need my space. In an ideal world, I would have my own detached wing where I could create my girl-cave and not worry about getting woken up in the middle of the night or early morning by M’s nocturnal wanderings, but the best I could do was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with an internal hallway. I wasn’t overly impressed with the location of the apartment and the fact that the building didn’t have a pool or a gym, but when I looked at the floor-plan, I decided that I needed to go and have a look at it and when I did, the rest became history. And for your (mostly my) viewing pleasure, here is a slightly blurry look at our 100m² digs:


After actually living in the apartment, we both agree that the use of the internal space could have been better (the way the rooms are placed) and there is a complete waste of storage opportunities, but the high ceilings, lack of adjoining walls and floor to ceiling windows are all positive points.

I’m not a person who has ever been obsessed with home-owning. It is a national past-time in Australia: buy the biggest house you can, as soon as you can and spend the rest of your life struggling with the mortgage. I supposed property has been a good investment over the last 20 years and that’s why, but when I think about buying a house, I think about all the upkeep that needs to be done, gardens that need to be maintained and basically being locked down in a place for the foreseeable future. I know it’s not very secure to not have a place of your own to live in after retirement, but I figure that if worst comes to worst, I could always live in a cave…or a caravan.

But, if I was ever going to build a house, I would definitely build a HUF Haus, because those Germans can certainly make a house.


I was very familiar with pre-fabricated houses in Japan. There are several companies that pre-build sections of your house in a factory and then put them together on your land. It makes much more sense to me to do that and have a home water-tight and ready-to-move-into home in a month or two than to spend 12mths or more while the frame of your house is exposed to rain and whatever have you not while the thing gets built.

M and I watched a programme about the HUF Haus several years ago and we both decided that it was great. The house was essentially locked together on site in 4 days and then the interior fitting took another 1-2 months. It was all done with German efficiency and attention to detail and while I’m sure the house was quite pricey, I feel like it would be worth every penny.

Huf house

Some people might think that their designs look like something IKEA or LEGO put together or that they have no soul. I think if you were considering building a HUF house, you’d need a nice private block of land (because of the masses of windows) and some awesome furniture and art to decorate the interior with, but I feel like the functionality and workmanship of the house would make up for its chunky design.

Actually I feel like many of the designs feel a little bit Japanesey (particularly the ones with the white and black colour schemes), so maybe that’s why the houses appeal to me – together with the whole Huf Haus service that comes with their creations.

All I need now is the million dollars or so it would take to build the house and how ever much for the land. Somehow I don’t think there will be any house-building in my future, but in the meantime, I’ll keep drooling over floor-plans…nom,nom,nom.




Six degrees of separation

I’m about to embark on round two of my Japanese client visits. The busy time of the year in my job coincides with the harvest time of certain agricultural products and so before Christmas and after Christmas are the two times of the year when we host many groups of visitors. In the quieter times are when we travel to see our clients overseas and all of this means that there is a lot of too-ing and fro-ing throughout the year.

People often comment that I’m lucky that I get to do so much travelling in my job and lots of wining and dining at the company expense. I suppose if I was a normal person, that would be true, but I spend a lot of my time staring at my diary and calculating how many free days I have until the next ‘social occasion’ or thinking about ways I can get out yet another awkward dinner (death/birth/wedding in the family?) When I’m on a trip I have an hourly countdown until I can go home and feel free. There is nothing quite as sweet as walking in the door of my apartment after spending a day or several days with clients and/or colleages. I find all this required social stuff exhausting and if I had a choice, I’d rather travel and dine using my own money than have to do it all with people I do not feel completely comfortable with.

I sometimes wonder how my levels of anxiety about this kind of stuff compare with other people. I have a feeling that it’s not normal to spend the night before a day-trip with clients in a cold sweat dreading the small talk I’m going to have to make in the car, but I’m also not that bad that I need to curl up in a dark room with a blanket or drink myself into oblivion beforehand. Most people actually say that they have no idea that I’m not comfortable with all of that social stuff and that I always seem reasonably relaxed and can be the life of the party. I guess I’m just good at putting on a normal face when I’m really dying down inside.

I kind of feel like I can’t really say I have social anxiety unless I’m left shaking in a corner at the mere thought of a social interaction.  And on that point I also tend to see that people who are introverts or who have social anxiety always tend to say that they are not comfortable with larger groups and much prefer a one-on-one or small group situation. I’m actually the opposite. I would much prefer to have a group of people around me because it takes the pressure off me needed to lead the conversation and I can just chill and absorb the discussion and whatnot without needing to actively participate. The fewer the people, the more pressure I feel.

Many of my clients I have been interacting with for over five years and it’s almost a daily interaction thing, whether it be by phone or email. They are people I know quite a lot about and have met their families etc. They are by no means strangers and generally nice people, but I still don’t feel comfortable around them and I still have a gut-churning feeling whenever I need to play host or visit them.

I’d say there are a total of six people in the world that I have reached the level of absolute comfort with and three of them are my mum, sister and grandmother. The other three are my best friend from high school, my ex husband and of course, M. These are the six people in the world that I wouldn’t clean my house for, who I don’t have to think about what to talk about when we’re together and who I can be myself with. It’s a very select and elite group and it takes years before you can possibly be invited to join.

Ii ka warui?

Apparently Japan was the number overseas travel destination for Australians in 2015. That doesn’t really surprise me a great deal given that every other person I met these days is either going to or has recently been to Japan. With super cheap airfares (using some low cost carriers from the eastern side of Australia you can get a return flight for around AUD$400), a so-so exchange rate of around 90cents/100yen and the popularity of Japanese food & skiing, it seems a logical place to go these days.

I actually thought that the number one destination would be Bali. Bali to Australia, is like Ibiza is to the UK or Cancun to the USA. It’s known for its cheap food, beaches and $5 love-you-long-time. I went to Bali on my honeymoon and I haven’t felt the need to go back since. Although the cheap food and cheap everything is a big drawcard, I don’t enjoy feeling like a walking cash machine (a source of money that can and should be scammed) when I go somewhere, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting.

Maybe I just need to go with a group of peeps and have a wild time to understand the attraction. Particularly while living in Perth, as it’s actually cheaper to go to Bali than to travel domestically and closer than flying to Sydney so it seems like a no-brainer.

Anyway, I was thinking the other day about whether my ten years in Japan was good or bad for me in the sense of ‘did’ anything to me and if it did, was it anything different to what another country would have ‘done’ to me. Deep questions, I know, right?

I didn’t spend any time adulting in Australia before I went to Japan (I was still underage and living at home) so it is a little bit difficult to say what type of person I was back then and I also have to admit to not remembering what I was like 20-ish years ago, but I have a feeling that I was different pre and post Japan.

It’s easy to say that Japan is soooo different and of course it’s going to change you, but I feel like it’s the little, subtle things that change you more than the really big things. I feel like sleeping on the floor, using chopsticks and bowing doesn’t change you as much as needing to be harmonious with those around you or understanding concepts such as wabi-sabi (loosely a feeling that ‘less is more’).

Any environmental change is going to affect you in some way – that’s a given. Who with, where and in what manner you live will change your outlook on life and how you process interactions with other people. When I went to Japan I went through culture shock (or wtf are these people doing? as it is more commonly known) and then when I came back to Australia I went through reverse culture shock (or wtf straya?)

My culture shock was mostly to do with why everything had to be made difficult/manual/overdone in Japan and my reverse culture shock was extreme irritation with people not doing what they said they would do, shoddy service/products and the general inconvenience of Australia when compared with Japan. For a long time I had a feeling that Australia sucked and Japan was so much better or many levels, but now I think I’ve reached that happy medium where I can appreciate that Australia does have some things going for it and that not all is good in the land of the rising sun.

I’ve been back in Australia now for ten years, but I’ve spent those ten years still having Japan in my life – whether it be through work, travel or the  internet. I haven’t actively studied Japanese for about 5 years, but I still get a reasonable amount of exposure to it. People often ask me would I ever forget Japanese? Honestly, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that it’s such an ingrained part of my life that I don’t think I could forget it completely. I can certainly forget some words easily enough, but forget the grammatical rules, structure, sounds etc? No, I don’t think so.

So back to the original question, did it do anything to me? Yes. I think I am a lot more empathetic and considerate about other people. I don’t touch stuff that is not mine and I always go to extremes not to be a burden on other people. Japan makes you very self-reliant while requiring you to be a part of a group (or many groups) at the same time. I don’t ask other people to do things for me and I would never think about ‘dropping in’ on someone (which I hear is a thing that people often do in Australia.)  I constantly assess whether what I’m doing affects other people and will endeavour not to affect people in negative ways.

I also have an increased appreciation for aesthetics e.g. presentation of things and minimalistic beauty and am much more adventurous with food. There was a time when I couldn’t stomach the smell or sight of seaweed and that the thought of fish still wriggling on my plate would make me heave, but now for me, deliciousness comes in many forms.

On the negative side, I have a deeper understanding of discrimination. What I experienced as a white, native English-speaking, married-to-a-Japanese, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Australian (if you’re going to be a gaijin, that’s what you want to be) was nothing compared to what other people experience, but it was still a disturbing feeling to be treated as a foreigner all day, every day. I had minimal exposure to foreign people growing up in a small country town where everyone I went to school with was white, born in Australia, Christian or Catholic and spoke only English. I basically went from that environment to being the odd one out in every which way so it was a humbling experience. I dealt with it by trying to be more Japanese than the Japanese were, and that effort has sort of helped me gain a sensibility for all things Japanese, but it was still a tough and lonely experience overall.

Fortunately, I never really adopted Japanese work ethics. While I am probably more meticulous and customer-centred than most Australians are, I don’t believe in spending endless hours in the office looking busy, making meaningless graphs, having yet another pointless meeting or prioritising work over life and family. I do my job to the best of my ability and then I get the hell out of there.

I think overall, Japan made me a better person and I’m glad I had the chance to experience it when I did.


M and I had the beginnings of a frank discussion early on new year’s eve. By ‘frank’ I mean he was all weird and frosty after reading my purge blog, I started crying, he asked me what I wanted, I told him, he responded with mostly what I wanted to hear and then our talk ended in me feeling guilty for ‘making’ him give me what I wanted through emotional blackmail.

All in all, a very frank discussion.

That’s generally how our ‘frank’ discussions have gone for the last ten years, so no surprises there.

When I write in my blog I’m not trying to make him seem like an asshole (unless he has really pissed me off and then it’s all bets off) but I know it often ends up being that way. He refers to it as ‘throwing him under a bus’ or ‘stringing him up’. I get that, because it’s the result of yours truly writing one-sided blog entries about emotionally-charged encounters in an entertaining way.

Unfortunately for M, I’m a much better manipulator of written language than he is and I know how to string a sentence together that paints me as the victim, victor or whatever the hell I want to be at any given moment. While I will always lose when it comes to a verbal exchange with M, I can run rings around him when it comes to writing (my actual conversations are always much better in my head or on paper than they will ever be coming out of my mouth!) And while conversations are soon forgotten, the written word remains and ten years of my whining – over 1200 blogs -are here to trawl back through and think, ‘Gee, M is such an asshole!’

I don’t often talk about the good things in our relationship. I don’t often give M a pat on the back for a job well done or thank him for putting up with the difficult ball of angst that is me for a couple of reasons, firstly, happiness doesn’t make good blogging material (I don’t feel compelled to write about not having a problem) and secondly, I don’t want him to get too cocky *snickers*.

I think in most D/s situations, when something goes wrong, the dominant is always seen as the one to blame. It’s natural for people to take the side of the ‘weaker’ party and I suppose there’s an idea that the dominant is supposed to be the one in control, so if something is broke, the dominant needs to fix it.

As with other mere mortals, the dominant is not a mind-reader, super-human or infallible and likewise, the submissive can undermine, manipulate or essentially just be an asshole. Nothing good is ever going to come out of a relationship where both parties aren’t playing nicely with each other and a healthy relationship relies on both sides putting in some effort.

One of the more interesting comments from M to come out of our frank discussion was,

‘You always make the mistake of holding me to your standards.’

I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I have to agree. Not only do I set the same high standards for those around me as I do for myself, but I also assume that everyone has similar hang-ups and reactions to me.

He followed that initial bomb-shell with an equally eye-opening comment that make me stop and think:

‘I’m not you.’

It seems like a no-shit-sherlock thing as well, but I had to really stop and think about it for a moment. It’s wrong and bit egotistical to think that he interprets, thinks and feels in exactly the same way I do and there are a lot of basic things that we process in very different ways.

As exhibit one I’d like to offer that rant I had the other day about how he leaves the dirty dish-water in the sink on a regular basis. There is a large part of me that processes his action as a lack of love because I’ve asked him not to do it over and over again, so his wanton act makes me think:

Not doing as I ask=lack of care=lack of respect=lack of love.

To him though, it’s got nothing to do with how he feels about me, and everything to do with a weird feeling that maybe he will need the water later on (some hang-over from his hoarder-type personality?)

I do take a lot of things personally. I can probably entwine some level of emotional attack into every single thing people do or say around me and I probably just need to step back, take a deep breath and realise that sometimes you need to simply take things on face value or as I like to say, ‘Not everyone is as twisted as I am.’

The First

I started the year by getting a bit retrospective (‘when do you ever do anything differently?’ I hear you all ask…) by putting together a poor-man’s version of toshikoshi soba. Eating toshikoshi soba is one of the more popular rituals for seeing in the new year in Japan – along with watching the first sunrise of the new year and going to a shrine. I was always told that the tradition of eating toshikoshi (literally ‘passing the year’) soba related to the long noodles representing having a long life, but apparently there are a few other meanings including the noodles being easy to chew (cut) when eating, representing ‘letting go of difficulties’ and that the buckwheat is a tough plant so it represents strength and resiliency.

Whatever the meaning, I hashed together some soba from my current meagre store of Japanese ingredients (I discovered I had no wasabi, no mirin and my seaweed had gone soft!) and came up with an approximation to satisfy requirements. Most people eat toshikoshi soba warm in soup (or have some instant noodles bought from 7-11 or the supermarket) because obviously it’s winter in Japan and that makes more sense, but it’s the middle of summer here so cold soba is the way to go.

M and I saw in the New Year watching fireworks from his balcony. I was in my room getting reflective about my last blog and trying to post it before midnight when he came in and said that he could see the fireworks so I joined him out in the windy Perth night.

It’s all a bit subjective, isn’t it? How an arbitrary point in time is supposed to be the beginning and end of a year and, for many people, the time to start or finish something. For me, a person who likes schedules, plans and programmes, I find new year to be a particularly meaningful point. I start thinking about my ‘attack plan’ for the next 365 days and get angsty about another impending birthday. Words from John Lennon’s  “Happy Xmas”, in particular the line,’So this is Christmas, and what have you done?’ generally go through my mind from the time the Christmas music starts playing in December until the pain of my birthday fades in late January.

One of the main things I miss from my time is Japan is the rituals and all the festivals and things that you celebrate/do throughout the year to mark the passage of time and the change of the seasons. At the end of the day, eating toshikoshi soba at new year’s or throwing soya beans around your house to get rid of the demons at setsubun or any of the other myriad things you can choose to do in Japan to celebrate certain times of the year don’t mean anything, but because I like a ‘plan’ to live by, that kind of lifestyle just works for me.

You’ll have noticed that for the last few weeks I’ve been trying to blog more regularly and I’m just pretty much writing about whatever comes into my mind just to get words down on the page. I’m trying to get away from the thing that was dragging me down before,‘Is xxx really blogworthy material?’ and just rolling with it, so apologies if my entries have been a bit eclectic. Maybe I’ll settle into a weekly thing of Mondays are for kinky shit, Tuesdays are for weird shit I find on the internet, Wednesdays are for ranting, Thursdays are for ranting, Fridays are for ranting…and so on and so forth *snickers*.

By the way, 2016 is the year of the Monkey and if you were born in 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 or 2016, it’s your lucky year! Enjoy.

30 Questions to Ask Before 2016

1. What did you do this year that you’re proud of? Completing my first marathon
2. Who did you meet this year that inspired you? I didn’t actually meet anyone irl who inspired me, but I read about James Lawrence who completed 50 triathlon events in 50 days in 50 states in America and I was floored. Also John Beeden, who at age 53, recently completed a solo row across the Pacific Ocean from California to Cairns made me think that people are awesome.
3. What did you read that you think bettered you? A lot of feminist writings and sad realities about the challenges that women face around the world.
4. What are songs that you will always hear and think of this year even when you’re listening on some contraption that hasn’t even been invented yet? Hello -Adele, How Deep is Your Love – Calvin Harris, What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber (I know…it was just in every single running mix I played…), Lean on -Major Lazer (also in EVERY SINGLE running mix I downloaded)
5. What were some times that you laughed so hard you could barely breathe? Lots of times at work when our Romanian receptionist was just so funny (I’ve started a post-it collection of her classic lines.)
6. What were your favorite movies? Not what was good, not what you had to see because of your friends or the media. What were your favorites?Hmm..well, I really enjoyed The Intern and I thought The Martian was well done. I didn’t really see a lot of movies I really liked this year, but in terms of tv shows…Outlander gets my No.1 series watched award followed by Man in the High Castle in 2nd place. I’ll also give a shout out to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (released in 2013, but I didn’t watch it until this year) as a quirky, endearing movie I really enjoyed.
7. What are some fears that you had at the beginning of the year that you overcame? Not being able to finish the marathon & not making it through a work trip I was loathing going on in November. I luckily made it through both things.
8. What were quotes that you loved this year?

It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive -James Baldwin

Love is forgiveness. And it’s atonement. And it’s basically like putting your soul in a washing machine-it’s not some gentle cycle, it’s a fierce whipping that rings you out good –  Hannah Brencher

Basically anything on Wordporn or berlin artparasites (two of the very few pages I have liked on FB)
9. What are ways that you exercised self care? Ummm..I bought some hair balm after the lady at Supercuts told me I had dry hair (because she was trying to sell me $20 product, and I was like, ‘I just paid you $20 for my haircut, what more do you want?’ but then I felt bad for my hair…) and a bought a sonic toothbrush.
10. What are things you want to see more of next year? Rope, Benedict Cumberbatch, good cheesecake.
11. What are five things you did that you never thought you’d actually do? Finish training for my marathon (generally felt much harder than the marathon itself), finish my marathon, put my books on the kindle store, get though the year without killing anyone I work with, put on so much weight (not something I’m happy about but it feels like an achievement o do that *while* also training for a marathon…)
12. What were your favorite things this year? Tomb Raider, my Microsoft mobile phone (I wanted to hate it, but I love it), getting to travel proper business class (first time!) to Sydney for work, my kindle, my stretchy jeans, kiwi fruit, the xmas tree I bought and decorated for the office, M’s xmas pudding.
13. What are the most important things you learned this year? Food can be your friend. Lube is your friend when running long distances.
14. What is your favorite photo from this year?


This koala was just sitting in the tree like a boss.
15. What are five things you want to say to people you love?

  • Ask if you need help
  • Even if I don’t tell you I love you, I do
  • The reason I don’t call is not because I’m not thinking about you, I just really hate phones
  • Call me!
  • Text me!

16. What are some places where you feel true joy in your life? In my bed.
17. Where do you feel most yourself? Alone, at home.
18. What were your favorite meals? So many good ones. M does spoil me. I definitely enjoyed my food at home more than any of the meals I had out. Except maybe the kebabs we get from that kebab shop. They are pretty damn good.
19. How did you calm yourself in times of stress? Chocolate and more chocolate
20. What are some compliments that you received that deeply affected you? Mostly comments left on this blog and things about my writing.
21. Who are people that you believe are bringing out the best in you? M
22. What items of clothing did you buy that felt the most you?


This cardigan is so comfy and it covers my large bottom perfectly.
23. What are you excited about leaving behind in 2015? Reckless eating habits.
24. What are five things that you were hard on yourself about but would never have been hard on a friend if they were experiencing it? Putting on weight, not doing things perfectly, making mistakes, not being sociable enough, wasting money
25. What are the best pieces of advice you heard this year? “When faced with a crisis, immediately do nothing.”
26. What are the best pieces of advice you gave this year? “Your 8 year old has years ahead of her to angst about her weight and body. Let her have her childhood to enjoy.” “Your child will have lots of friends in her life, but only one mother. Be a mother, not a friend.”
27. What things have you been putting off doing because you didn’t have time? Cleaning out my closet, starting my next book.
28. What are some things you’d like to focus and work on in the next year? Clean eating, finding an exercise I like, getting out more, travel, having more kink in my life, writing
29. What are the best parts of you that you feel really showed through this year? Will-power, inner-strength, self-discipline
30. What are your biggest hopes for 2016? I hope I can find a goal early on and work towards it.

Thanks Buzzfeed for the questions. Happy New 2016