It’s the holy trinity of my last couple of weeks. In the absence of anything to rant about, I’m going to give you a rundown on what’s been happening since I last updated. Because the world needs more people talking about themselves, clearly.

I had my hair cut. Fascinating I know, but any woman who has tried to get a decent cut in Abu Dhabi will tell you that going to a salon is like playing russian roulette, only the chamber is FULL of bullets, and each one is a terrible haircut. Each one is also rude, dramatic, and achingly hip. So I fired a gun full of trend-setting, wanker-y bullets at my head, and came out looking like an extra from a Wilson Phillips video. Or a member of Martha Stewart’s militia (she’s got one you know, I swear that’s what she was doing when she was in the pokey, training the other inmates up to get all ‘festive decorating’ on our asses. Ever been stabbed with a sharpened xmas cookie? You just wait……..).

The best bit of the salon experience was right at the start of the appointment. After being sent off to have my hair washed I was plonked down in the stylist’s chair, and asked a couple of questions about what I wanted. I could have just quacked like a duck for 2 minutes, because I’m fairly sure none of the information made it in to Mr Cool’s head. Probably too full of ‘product’ and funny internet cat pictures. The stylist, bless him, puffed out his chest and bellowed ‘BRING ME MY BLADE’. Oh god, was my cut that bad that he was going to need to hack my whole head off???? Perhaps this was some kind of hipster cult and I’d unwittingly become their next uncool sacrifice. I’ll admit I giggled. And then I got a truly shitty haircut.

The day after my haircut tragedy, I went shooting. It’s totally unrelated to the cut, I promise, but I wonder if I would have had a better weekend if I’d combined the activities. Shooting is fun! I was fair shitting myself for the first few shots, but after a while I felt strangely calm. I was shooting a Glock 9mm, and it was adorable, in a way that only guns can be. Fatally adorable? Flesh-woundingly adorable? It was pretty hot anyway. My first shot was amazing. If you look at the photo below, the one closest to the bullseye was my first shot. Go me!


After that shot, as is glaringly obviously from the photo, things got less accurate.  The more the instructor dude told me what to do, the worse I got.  ’Lean forward madam, relax, lean forward’.  Shut up man!  Every time I was just about to take a shot, he talked.  Way to distract the chick with the gun.  I will be going back there though, unlike the hair-murderer, because it was therapeutic to shoot at a piece of paper and wear daft safety glasses.  Chicken soup for the soul, that.

And now we get to the vomit.  It’s a short story, and I won’t linger on it, but I think I should get it out there on the internet so I can embarrass my daughter about it in a few years time.  Yes, that’s right, she spewed on me.  5.30am rolls around and obviously I’m asleep.  My also sleeping daughter is nestled snugly in the crook of my arm, in what would have been a heartwarming photo had there been a weird ‘sleeping people’ photo stalker around.  This bunnies-and-rainbows scene was shattered in an up-chucky instant.  Angelicly dozing child had half woken and hurled down my arm.  Woot.  She stumbled out of bed, narrowly avoiding decorating my uni work with spew.  ’To the bin!’ I cried.  So off she went and hurled in the bin.  Then she went to her vomit-less bed and went back to sleep.

And that’s what I did since I saw you last……. The End.


I suppose it is.  Complicated I mean.  Pretty much anything can be complicated if you try hard enough.  I’ve been watching the developments of all the Occupy (insert city/area here) gatherings, and I have to say, I feel like this is a bit of a strike back for simplifying life.  Judging by the amount of unnecessary pillows on my bed, and sparkling things and frocks in my closet, you’d not think i was much keen for a simple life.  I’m one of those who just about drowns in their collected knick knacks of life – give me $5 and I’ll come back with assorted 2nd hand trinkets and forget the milk.  What I’m talking about, though, is a simplification of information.

I know almost nothing about life in the upper echelons of society.  Yes, I know, society is quite a vague word really, and for the purposes of this wee ‘rantomime’, what I’m really referring to is the place i know, which is NZ society.  I also know very little about finance, be it international or otherwise.  I suspect I have, for many years, been a willing victim of a quiet campaign.  The campaign to make these things so inaccessible to us 99%-ers that we don’t look into it, and it all seems very complicated.  Note the use of the word ‘willing’.  And perhaps not so much a victim as being an accomplice.  My disinterest being my contribution.

Yes i suppose we can blame rather a lot of the economic crisis malark on those buggers at the top who are making all the decisions.  The people who seemed to come through it all relatively unscathed while us underlings tightened our belts etc etc.  Well, I suppose this, but i don’t really know.  I’ve not really thought to check.  Lazy?  Maybe.  Actually, that’s probably exactly it.  And i doubt I’m the only one who has not really given it much thought.  Not until food prices went up and things got difficult, for those of us who were pretty comfy in our complacence before.

Now we’re occupying things.  And I like it.  When i see protests in places on the news, I’m not usually moved to feel any differently.  I have a pretty good grasp of right and wrong.  I’m not part of that generation that actively fought for things though.  More’s the pity i sometimes think.  Watching the footage of Occupy Wall Street, and seeing it spread, even to lil’ ol’ NZ, has woken me up a bit.  I’m enjoying being part of it, even if it is from afar.  I’ll retweet and share links and publicise things til i’m blue in the face, goodness knows it’s all i can do from here.  Hopefully it’s helpful.  It feels a bit helpful, if only indirectly.  See, I have a feeling this is going to be with us for some time, this Occupation, and hopefully it’ll result in the 99% being more informed about our circumstances, how things are decided, and who decides them.  Bless my idealistic little heart, but I think it might just change something.  I want it to change something, I want to understand how it works, and I want to be involved in it.

Tagged , , , ,


…..I want to write something I’ve been trying to find the right words for for some time.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a wedding last weekend.  It was in Umm Al Quwain, which I’d not visited previously.  The shawl I wore that night is draped over the head of my bed, and it is still fragrant with the oils I was daubed with as I entered the wedding hall.  That fragrance will remind of that night, and the beauty of it, for as long as it’s scent curls through the air.

When I arrived at the hall, I was terrified.  As instructed I rang my gracious hostess, and she told me which door to come in.  I skirted the group of men outside, keeping a respectful distance even though my curiosity was desperate to stop and watch.

I got in the door, my shaky legs and wide eyes betraying just how scared I really was.  I was scared that I would make a mistake, that I would offend someone.  A freaked out little white girl way out of her depth, in a way that us western types aren’t used to being.  We are so often the majority, even here in the UAE.  That night I was not in the majority.  I was out of my comfort zone.

With all my nerves, I immediately committed a little faux pas by not greeting everyone at the door.  I was mortified.  My lovely friend assured me I shouldn’t worry about it, but my legs began to wobble all the more, and my hands were shaking with embarrassment.

On we went to the main hall.  As we approached we were suddenly caught up in the rainbow whirl of the groom’s sisters.  Such beautiful girls, clothed so brightly and elegantly, and with so much warmth and grace that I was immediately put at ease.  As they applied the oils to my shawl, and wafted the incense around me, the scent began to work it’s magic.  Yes, this was scary for me, being thrust into a culture that I have little knowledge of – but it was magic.  The girls were sweet and kind, and spoke to me in English.  One of the girls told me her English wasn’t very good.  I replied that her English was way better than my Arabic.

We entered the main hall, and I was seated at one of the tables close to where the bride would sit when she arrived.  I felt proud to have been seated here, but hoped no-one would mind that this expat girl no-one knew was sitting in such a good spot.  One of the groom’s gorgeous sisters sat me down, and laid out so much food in front of me that I was glad I’d worn a loose dress!  I sat, ate, looked around in amazement, and looked around some more.  The gowns, the embellished abayas, the little girls like sugared dolls, all worked together to create a scene that is difficult to describe.  The hall shone like crisp cut glass, each woman adding to the sparkle with her own light.  To see the women relaxed, at ease, and largely unfettered by the rules of modesty in public was an amazing thing.

After we ate the main meal, which was the most delicious (and only) roasted(?) camel I have ever eaten, the was a sudden hush and dimming of lights.  The bride was about to come out.

She walked slowly and purposely, making her way to the stage.  She gleamed the brightest of all, her eyes vivid in their purpose .  Her dress was exquisite.  Like a jewel floating on a cloud, she made her way to the front of the hall.  I thought I caught a glimpse of nerves, but just as quickly it was gone.  She stood tall, and her mother, my friend, must have been very proud of her daughter that night.

I don’t think I spoke much the whole evening.  I was concerned mainly with taking it all in.  I was introduced to some lovely women, who were very sweet and spoke to me in my own language.  I wished I had learnt more than the few Arabic words that I knew.  On being told I was a writer, one of the ladies encouraged me to write about the night.  This is for her, I hope it is what she was expecting.  I know that the wedding was not what I expected.  It was so much more than I could have imagined.


and I just can’t conceal it…….. no wait…..that’s not the words……..

Anyhoo, I got my first go at being a media type today. I mean in public, and not in the glorious comfort of my own boudoir. You know, it’s very glamourous my boudoir and writing sanctuary, and not at all scruffy, pyjama clad, and covered in cookie crumbs from marauding children. Oh no! Quite the luxurious haven is this i tell thee……….have i convinced you yet? No? Dang…….there goes my mystique….. So today I hauled myself out of my literary splendour, went to the Emirates international date Palm Festival, and they actually gave me a press badge! Me!!! It’s my first one. Forgive me if I wear it all week…….


See!  Look at that!

And, AND i got to take a few photos of H.H Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, which I’m not going to post because frankly I don’t know if I’m allowed.  He’s a handsome chap though.

Right, hands up who wants to give me another press badge for something else awesome??  Go on, I dare you…..


Oh lookit, here i go ranting again! Today I have an excellent reason to rant though.

Last week I went out for a wee drink with a friend to a pretty popular local-ish watering hole. You know, just a couple of drinks, nothing major, not a big par-tay or some such hoopla. And for about the millionth time since I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I proceeded to spend a good portion of the night avoiding people who thought it was ok to touch me. Why do they think it’s ok to touch me? Because I have tattoos.

Ooooooh yes, if you’re a tattooed lady here be prepared for a good old prodding (aherm, not that kind) wherever you go for a drink. Even if you’ve got most of them covered up, you’ll still be getting people squinting trying to peek through the sheer arm of you shirt, seeing your tatts and going in for the kill. If, like me, you have a tattoo in the collarbone area, that one is a doozy. A single finger prod to the collarbone has been the newest addition to the repertoire of the tattoo-botherers (it’s close to the boobies, teehee!). And bother me they do. You get the ‘arm stroke’, the ‘back-tattoo tickle’, along with the time honoured ‘lecherous leg grab’. Then add the really deep sounding question about the meaning of the tattoos, which doesn’t make them look any less gropey. It just doesn’t. If i had a tattoo that said ‘please come and touch my tattoos while slurring and acting like a complete moron’ then sure, come on over! But I don’t. Not that the botherers need any encouragement.

Aha! Now you’re thinking ‘well you shouldn’t live in a Muslim country if you don’t want attention for your tattoos yada yada yada’. Well that’s all very well and good, except IT’S THE BLOODY EXPATS!!!!! Seriously people, would you go around groping peoples body art in your home countries???? If you would, YOU ARE A DOUCHE. Maybe there’s a higher ratio of douche to nice dudes here within the expat community, who knows. But it is still highly douchey to touch someone you don’t know in such a way.

Yup, I have tattoos, and yes, sometimes I even go out with them uncovered, but that is NOT an invitation. I don’t care if you think I must be a slutty, trashy, air-headed thing and you’re in with a grin (you’re not btw, I’m happily married with kids), but please, just don’t touch me.


.my 3rd wedding anniversary, I would like to be all gushy and romantical for a moment. I know I know, and if I could I’d provide you with a wee sick bag for your barfing pleasure, because generally there’s not much more sick-making than people blathering on about how amazing their relationship is. Well pfft to that. I’ve put up with enough of that from other people, so it’s my turn to do it.

Husband and I had been together for over 7 years when we finally tied the knot. I’d managed to get an engagement ring out of him when i was fairly comprehensively up the duff with our first born, and we got married after number 2 had arrived. In fact, we only got married because my husband was about to start a job over here in Abu Dhabi.

I’m starting to wonder when this story is going to get romantic.

Actually, it doesn’t really get romantic. My other half, bless him, isn’t the ‘expressions of undying love’ sort. Our wedding day, while it was amazing and emotional, was notable for a number of other reasons too. For example, people feeding my then 2 year old daughter strawberries which had been soaked in Cointreau. That’s a recipe for all kinds of hilarity. Photo time was brilliant, as my friends and I dutifully lined up for ‘bride with her mates’ pictures, only to realise we were a bit too excitable (and some of us too tipsy) to stand still for 2.5 seconds without making an inappropriate joke and collapsing into great cackling fits of un-photogenic laughter. And then there was my boobs. Oh bless them, they just couldn’t stay put. Dress was rather plunging at the neck line, and boobs were rather, aherm, ample, thanks to my youngest still being breastfed. I will forever be grateful to my friends for being on booby patrol that day.


‘Yeah?’ (slightly drunk and a bit overwhelmed and happy at this point)

‘Boobs!’ (pointing wildly at my cleavage)

‘Oh right, cheers dude!’

I was the picture of the innocent and pure bride, really I was.

So on this wonderful day, the 3rd anniversary of my marriage to an excellent, funny, smart, and devilishly handsome man, I say thank you to all the people who were at my wedding – the booby patrollers, the boozy strawberry feeders, and the people who just looked on and said ‘Wtf??’. Here’s to another 3 years.

Here’s the song i walked up the aisle to, who says it wasn’t romantic?


No sleep for me tonight.  Again.  Discovering the contents of other people’s minds has got me over-thinking like a mo-fo, as is my way.  The things I could write, if i could only translate my thoughts into the right words.  So instead I read and read and read, and search and discover and read some more.  All the while seething a bit from jealousy.  The words of others are twisted into my head like filthy ribbons, and I lose the distinction between what is mine and what is theirs.  Even the style I am writing in now has been stolen.  Pilfered from somewhere else, and sat on my head like a child’s plastic crown.  Ha!  I’ve got it, it’s mine now.

I used to be able to do this.  I suppose, technically, I’m doing it now, but whether I’m doing it well is another thing entirely.  I am stranded in an hourglass of a country, a country of poets and history and closed doors and unseen things, that my silly little heart would love to seek out and describe to itself.

This is what happens when everyone else goes to bed.  I am alone in my wakefulness, and the things that give me purpose don’t need me while they sleep.  Without the rhythm of the day, my thoughts get childish and too-free-for-sense.  And sad.  Not sad sad, but that sad we enjoy because the regret reminds us that we had somewhere else to be once, we weren’t always waiting for someone to wake up.


I’ve just finished reading a thoroughly amazing book, The Enchantress of Florence, by Salman Rushdie.  It was, as his books always are, a beautiful, lyrical read, and even the violent bits never seemed to be that bad, wrapped in those amazing words as they were.

There was, in the story, as there are in many stories, an amazingly beautiful woman, very smart and strong, almost defiant in her will, and her character was great.  As each male character fell for her, loved her, or generally just worshipped her, I began to get this funny feeling that romance is not what it seems.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a total sucker for romance.  Nothing lovelier than sighing over a soppy movie and wishing to shite that your husband would be that nice.  You should see what happens when i watch ‘House of Flying Daggers’, hankies as far as the eye can see.  But really, does that kind of  ’I would move mountains for your love’ relationship actually exist?

I’ve not met one person who has a relationship that’s all flowers and sonnets and grand gestures.  Most people I know have managed to drag a grand gesture out of at least one past partner, but usually not our current partner.  In the 10 years i’ve been with my husband, flowers would be the absolute limit of his romantical abilities.  I’ve written him love notes, poems etc etc, but he’s just not into it, so i didn’t persist.  He feels the same way regardless of whether i move a mountain for him or not.  The only time i think he actually got a bit misty-eyed and impressed by the strength and resilience of his wife was when i had our first child, but frankly, the novelty of bearing them a child seems to wear off pretty quickly. “Honey, the baby wants you…….”

Maybe it’s the intensity of the romance thing that sucks us in.  I am one to get very wrapped up in a romantic story, or even a song if the lyrics are just right.  The intensity of it, the fact that someone took the time to express it, seems to make me stop in my tracks.  I wonder to myself, when i see these movies, and hear these songs, how real the thing being expressed actually is.  Perhaps the whole idea of romance is just something people sing about, and write about, and make movies about, but never actually happens.  Like science fiction for the heart.  Are the people making this stuff dreamers or liars?

Often as soon as we get the uber-romantic type, we don’t bloody want him anyway.   Because, after a time, they are boooring.  I had the nicest, sweetest, most adorable boyfriend when i was but a stroppy 19 year old, and good glory did he spoil me.  Flowers, dinners, picnics, the poor wee mite even wrote me a song.  And he was so nice.  So, so nice.  So nice that after 8 months of being treated like a princess i was about to snap. Cue the ‘we need to talk’ talk, and him leaving in tears.  I am so mean.  How many of us contrary biarches have done that?  Oh he was too nice, i got bored.  It’s like cuddling a puppy every time it does something cute, and then punishing it for exactly the same behaviour a few months later.  Effectively, they’re being trained not to do that stuff, because if they do it all the time, we get over it (or them).  If they hardly ever do it, it’s amazing when they do, but we still manage to slip in a comment about how they don’t do it enough.  Trouble is, after a few years the remembering to do it is the problem, what with life going on and all.  Plus once they’ve put a ring on your finger there’s not much need i s’pose.  Less romance, more farting.

I guess it does exist, somewhere, that earth-shaking, all-encompassing ‘our love is like the stars’ hooha.  And really, as much as it makes me cry and reach for a glass of chianti and swoon, i’m not convinced it’s meant to be in the real world.  As much as i can get swept away in the idea of a manly, intelligent sort, who speaks from the heart and would die for me in countless horrible ways without batting a manly eyelash, I think I’d prefer the one I’ve got.  He, after all, is real.  And manly.  And intelligent. Doesn’t speak much though.  Sigh.


…and sadly i won’t be ranting today.  I’ve got nothing.  Between last-minute completion of assignments, evil desert-flu, and assorted other happenings which i can’t clearly recall (all my beer has disappeared, I’m guessing some kind of memory erasing ray gun, and then aliens stole my booze), I’ve not been keeping tabs on anything rant-worthy.

I did notice an odd thing though.  After living in Abu Dhabi for a few years now, news headlines from home can get a touch confusing.  On the NZ Herald website, i saw a headline and immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion : ‘Russian Hooker Cited’.  Yes i know it’s rugby related.  I’ve been here too long i suspect.

Another odd thing i noticed is going to need a picture to explain.

Waiter, there's a small man in a loin cloth in my drink....

Waiter, there’s a small man in a loin cloth in my drink….

Oh Trader’s, how you made my evening with your little man, and he even has a bare arse, if you’re inclined to check.  Now he lives on my bookshelf.  Sort of like an oompa loompa, but sexier.

I’ll do better next time, i promise……..

Oh oh oh, i forgot to mention a delightful email that somehow ended up in my junk folder, goodness knows why…

Sender : Gay Christian

Subject : Get a boner!

Gay Christian is telling men to get a boner.  Best fake name for counterfeit erectile drug emails, EVER.