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Confessions

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Maybe it’s the Catholic in me but I’m in the mood to confess. As none of you know who I am it is – as they say in the PC classics – a ‘safe space’.

1. I Google-stalk ex-boyfriends, and sometimes their wives. (Privacy settings, people.) This is, on balance, not advisable, particularly after a few champers as sometimes you (slash me) accidentally fat-finger ‘like’ or ‘friend’ and…bingo! Totally busted.

2. Sometimes I go to the toilets at work to listen to podcasts (I’m looking at you, Hedley Thomas). Not for long, but sometimes for longer than is standard practice for normal ablutions on the company dime.

3. In winter, the pull of a slip-on sometimes leads me to wear Birkenstocks with socks. Not far, just around the ‘hood.

4. La recently went 17 days without washing my hair. Dry shampoo and hairspray can work miracles. Secretly, occasionally being this festy appeals to my inner something. (Let’s not wake Freud up for that one.)

5. La’m petrified that when dementia inevitably hits no-one will attend to my personal hygiene because #NOFILTER. This worries me on an almost daily basis and reminds me how effective the fear of social opprobrium is in censoring potentially horrid stream-of-consciousness comments.

6. I’ve researched becoming a copper. The idea has not yet been entirely dismissed.

7. I’ve farted in lifts and pointed the proverbial digit at my children, before they had the gift of speech.

8. I get dead jealous of how funny Fashion Critical is and sometimes wish her ‘likes’ number would go backwards. Similar feelings occasionally bubble up about the brilliant Faux Fuchsia. Former PM Malcolm Turnbull would call this behaviour ‘nefarious’.

9. Love aeroplane food. And hospital food.

10. I love blood and gore in TV shows and fillums. Someone saying “it’s really violent” is like Trivnip.

11. Sometimes I get Jacki Weaver confused with Noni Hazlehurst which feels like a crime against the sisterhood.

12. I send messages to musicians and authors I love. And they reply. Tracey Thorn, Penny Flanagan, David Mitchell, Peter Carey: no-one is safe.

13. I am a GFC geek. Whatever you want to know, #justask.

14. Bloody hate summer. Hate its guts.

15. Some days I like my dogs more than my children.

16. I judge men who wear skinny ties.

17. Bradley Cooper may have had a tops turn in A Star is Born but I still believe he’s utterly weird and I do not trust him.

18. I’m becoming the type of over-friendly, “days are long but the years are short”, creepy lady women fear might steal their baby from its pram.

16. I want to write TV in LA. However, I understand I could actually start by writing TV in my study in Sydney. #bloodylazy

21. One day I want to learn how to count.

You fill up my senses

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This is a love letter to my Americans.

La’ve never lived here, only visited, but about 30 times. Have only been to about six states, almost exclusively blue ones.

But this isn’t a political bloggy, or a race bloggy, or a guns bloggy or even – much more trivially – a tipping bloggy.

It’s about the incredible generosity and hospitality with which this country has always welcomed me on each of those 30-odd visits. (And let’s disclaim that: white, English-speaking, not poor, not trying to stay.)

La may have los rose-coloured specs on, sitting atop a Colorado mountain with John Denver songs earwigging through la brain, but here are just a few reasons I love this country.

First up: the sustenance. Yes, we heap scorn on American portion sizes, but there’s something about them that says, “We want you to be satisfied, to leave here feeling happy, to want for nothing, to want to come back.” I’ve never had to ask for water. I’ve never had to ask for my wine glass to be refilled. I’ve never been denied an off-menu cocktail order. Dietary constraints have been dealt with faultlessly and without fuss.

Second up: the focus on the customer. Or rather, the person.

I’ve never left an American restaurant feeling like someone viewed it as a chore to serve me. (Tips work, but it’s about more than that.) I’ve left many an Australian and English restaurant feeling that way.

This morning we rocked up for a loin fruit snowboarding lesson, and where should have stood a boarding instructor, there stood a ski instructor. A rapid ferret through my emails unearthed proof that it was not my mistake. I bristled and squared my shoulders, ready for a “not-my-bad” fight. (I feel like, in my real life, I menace-up for so many of these battles with people to whom I’m giving my hard-earned shekels.) No need. The man in charge said, “Our mistake, we’ll have a snowboarding instructor out here momentarily.” And right he was: within four minutes, Ed from Kentucky emerged, 6’5″ of him, face like a handsome moose, all loose limbs and teeth and fist bumps for the star-struck child. We loved him immediately.

Yesterday I fell badly in the street. Cut my hand, almost smashed the back of my head on the well-heeled Aspen sidewalk. Hurt my shoulder preventing this. No-one was around, no-one saw. But I wandered into the nearest shop and the kind women (young, young) sat me down, patched me up and offered to call someone. Once, I slid arse over turkey in the middle of George Street at lunchtime and no-one, not a soul, helped me. (I know – a one-off, not representative, my experience blah blah. But this is a bloggy about me. MEEEEEEEE. That’s why I have one.)

(Just a free, random, thoughtful selection of personal hygiene products in the ladies’ toilet at the top of a mountain.)

My irrational fear of chairlifts springs from the time a few years ago when I miscalculated my dismount and fell off, face-planting in the powder. What did the two Swiss lift attendants do? They LAUGHED. Yup. Today two handsome, white-choppered, cornfed youths each took one of my arms and gently escorted me off the lift, then implored me to “Have a nice day”. Quite the contrast.

And third up, the people. Polite to a fault, manners for miles, eager to please, smiling, welcoming, open. Curious. Proud of their beautiful country and so very happy to share it.

Let’s face it – it’s a tough time in history to be an American abroad. (For many too it’s probably a tough time to be an American at home.) Many of my much-loved yankeedoodle friends living in Australia regularly field loaded questions about issues they’ve played no part in bringing about. They are asked to explain and apologise for a gun culture and a loser president, neither of which they support. They have to endure all sorts of casual put-downs of their homeland and their compatriots. And they do it with the good grace and manners I know to be a hallmark of their upbringing.

Visiting this county this time has made me appreciate my beautiful American friends, the ones here and the ones abroad, even more. You know who you are.

Have a nice day.

Peak Triv 

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La reported for Corporate Handbag duties Friday night, here in Hongky. 


La’m a wee bit embarrassed to say it’s la first time here. IKR, how has that happened? Wah!


This is the International Conversation Centre, where Seriousimo and 700 of his best new lawyer buddies chatted about legal blah blah contract nonsense torts and juris guffguff for many days. Fun, right? Hope they have a good hot air recycling system in that building. 


Aside from two new pairs of Céline specs (love that Céline), I Did Not Shop. I wandered through these Elysian Fields, marveled at the old/new, west/east juxtas for which Hongky is famous, and had a killer pedicure. 


My feet are so disgusting (corns! Bunions! Dermatitis! A second toe twice as long as the first!) that if I put a photo of them here pre-treatment you’d need a trigger warning. I gave the lovely lady a MASSIVE tip as compensation for having to fondle my clodhoppers. 


My cab driver thought I was deranged when I asked him to stop so I could take a photo of bamboo scaff. BAMBOO SCAFF!!!


And these stairs were so vertiginous I almost stooped to drinking the sweat of Wise Old Pocari, but I resisted. 

Instead I squeezed in a Flirtini at the Mandarin Oriental and could have squeezed in five more except I had to get changed for the Big Lawyer Shindig. 


Got changed and met @the___nomads at Sevva for a pre-party drink – what a spot!


At this point the girl and bloke in the foreground hadn’t yet chatted (you can see she’s reading a book). By the time me and old Nomads left they had discovered they were both French, from Avignon, freshly minted HK residents and shared a love of rosé. Two observations: don’t think that book saw any more action last night, and yes I am a stickybeaking eavesdropper, verging on stalkerish.

Dress code was Chinese Chic (!!!). I kaftaned, but Seriousimo went all out to impress his new legal overlords, and was pleased as lunch with himself in his Shanghai Tang jacket. 


La was horrified by the cultural appropriation, lairy lining and navel-grazing length (did Shanghai Tang run out of fabric?) and considered finding myself another date, such as Philippo, the South American partner who joined us for dinner Friday night. 


He had weeny little pelicans embroidered on his smartly-cut shirt. PELICANS! *swoon*. And an accent. 

Love Hongky, but wonder whether the conflab will be in Buenos Aires next year? 

First-world problems

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On the list of phrases La hates, “blessed”, as in, “I’m so…”, is right up there. But spreading its sanctimonious skirts to sit atop the shoulders of “blessed” is this hussy: “Well, that’s a first-world problem.”

Eagle-eyed readers would know the motto of this virtual home of La Triv is “it’s fun to sweat the small stuff.” Small stuff is often the kind of stuff that gets up the noses of the First-world Problems Brigade. So let’s do this.

Today, La’m outing and owning privilege. Specifically, first-world privilege. For the length of a bloggy we’re parking gratitude, becoming smaller people and strapping on the whinge rod. Here, in no particular developed or developing world order, is a list of first-world problems that right now are a pain in my particularly well-fed first-world arse.

The slimness of the Apple TV remote. This. Shits. Me. To. Tears. In fact, its teeniness — and subsequent propensity to disappear between sofa cracks — almost made me cry two nights ago when I wanted to finish watching Ozark and had to make do with temporarily morphing my iPhone into the remote. That’s clearly a sub-standard solution that belongs firmly in the second world.

When the help fights. This morning I had laser on my pigment-infested face. (This could explain the mood.) It was free. I was a guinea pig for a training session. Lucky me — blessed. However, I was supremely irked that the French instructor lady and the derm man kept bickering with each other about the widgets and settings. Total buzz-kill! Then one of them forgot to point the cold-air hosepipe at my freshly burnt visage. I KNOW! As if getting hundreds of dollars of free laser on your face isn’t difficult enough to sit through.

The dinky handbrake button in la car. What happened to a totally yankable, proper, grown-up handbrake? This flicky little piece of cr*p makes me mad every time I get in the car to drive to my well-paid job or chauffeur the loin fruits to their cushy schools.

When waiter dudes take away my glass / cup while there’s still a swallow in it. Faaaaark! Will these minimum-wage embryoes never learn? This almost makes me want to wail. Or slap their skinny little un-pigmented hands.


That the shelves at Coles’s self-serve checkout aren’t big enough to sit my reusable shopping bags on. I am a freakin’ legend for saying no to plastic. More people should be like me! Reward me with a decent-sized platform for my eco-bags. Bloody revenue-generating supermarkets, channelling so many of those megaprofits back into my super fund. Get it right!

When the hair-washing apprentice gets water and shampoo on the bits of my face that have make-up just before my blow-dry. This is one la really feel in la feelings. The messiness of the aim. Small and accurate hand movements are appreciated closer to the face. Pride in all aspects of your work, young people! I know you feel (are?) underpaid now, but the financial rewards will come! (Hopefully the cost of housing will come down too for you, but only after I’ve cashed out.)

Those dumb bits of looped fabric that allegedly keep the clothes on the hangers in the shop but which then have to be cut out when I get the garment home. Manufacturers, why do you make your workers in the second and third worlds stitch these in? Do you have ANY IDEA how hard it is to find scissors on-demand in the average family household? Generally they’ve been pilfered for toenail grooming, canine roo-chew chopping or some dumb educational project demanded by the cushy schools. Temporarily tucking these jinglejizmos into the bra-strap doesn’t cut it. Cut it — gaaahhh! Clearly, this is one of those debilitatingly circular first-world problems.

Car park exit pay terminals that keep saying reinsert your card. Waaaaaahhh! Was it in there too long? Not long enough? Why can’t this machine have PayPass?!? Poor first-world me, stuck here at the boom, shouting at a machine!

When the local Palace Cinema doesn’t have Veuve by the glass. Srsly, when will operators learn that if something’s on the menu it also needs to be on the premises? These young people have no idea how hard it is to work at your well-paid job all day, care for the first-world loinies, then have to enjoy the latest independent feature film without champagne. Reading subtitles is harder stone-cold sober.

When people can’t spell your name first go. What are you, from another country or something? It’s L-A T-R-I-V-I-A-L-I-S-T-A. It’s even a bit foreign too!

See? Life is hard! Just as well Seriousimo is good at unearthing scissors, lending me his car, crawling around on the dusty Palazzo floor to find remotes and giving young waiters a subtle look that says, “it’s possibly just a smidge too early to take away her glass…”

Otherwise I could just DIE.

*winks*

Lift shift

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After all the grouchy old beeatch musings of yesterday, awoke to a new day and a new, improved attitude.

The snowmakers had been whirring away overnight, erasing the previous day’s lumps and lines, and La too had been reforming, shape-shifting, evolving…into someone determined to conquer a chairlift.

Eighteen years La’ve been stuck in a snow plough, confined to magic carpets. Trapped by fears of knee injuries past and because GUTLESS. Spectating. Benched. It’s a metaphor for life. And as ol’ Georgie Michael (*sob*) would say, “Choose LIFE!”

It was a split second decision, highly spontaneous. Out of character. (Put it this way, no stonemason in 2061 is likely to be chiselling, “You never knew what she’d do next!” on La headstone.)

We’d relented and sent the Male Junior Cost Centre (JCC) off for his first snowboard lesson. As the owner of the loins that fruited him, it’s hard to see this as anything other than the first step toward a future of unemployment, dope-smoking, butt-crack revealing half-mast trousers and slackerism. But at least he’s off a gadget.

Walked into the rental shop in my civvies, and rented the goods. When the slackerdude boot-fitter asked how I’d go on the slopes in my non-waterproof ponte pant, I replied, “Oh, fine. I don’t fall over.”  I mean it, I don’t. I’m so rock-solid and cautious I make ‘glacial pace’ look Schumacher-esque.  (Well, before he brained himself on a ski slope, poor Michael.)

Seriousimo accompanied me to the dreaded lift. The non-stop parade of doom-and-gloom signs began to scare the bejeezers out of me.

In all honesty, I couldn’t tick the box on this one, but I persisted.

The chairlift is a hairy, scary one — yup, its official moniker is “The Easy Does It Chairlift”. Or EDI to those in the know (and trust me, everyone except me seems to be in the know in Thredbo). Shit! It’s been ferrying ski-flesh as long as I’ve been out of school? Is it safe? Does it get maintained by people who aren’t stoned and have all their teeth? *Breeeeaaathe*

Seriousimo takes my poles, the chair slides under my ponte-panted butt and — we’re away.

Find it hard to look at these empty returning chairs and see anything other than the ghostly forms of skiers who never made it home. Am determined won’t be my narrative.

This makes me want to void my bowels: cross sections of chairlifts, a spaghetti junction of wires and dangles. Remind self to sit back in chair as instructed by shouty nanny-state sign. Thankful am person happy to do as told and not nihilistic counter-cultural slacker on a snowboard, always looking to break the rules.

Find self nodding in violent agreement with signs. Look fore and aft to make sure everyone doing right thing. They seem to be a good crowd. Mostly they are under the age of 10.

Hyperventilation sets in. Have never successfully dismounted a chairlift and stayed upright, even one called Easy Does It. Seriousimo takes poles. Pushes up bar. Slacker-type chair attendant beckons for me to slide forward and…I do it. Upright. Skiing. Facing downhill.

Loving self sick! Schuss past the boardy slackers, always on their half-mast arses, lazy bastards, too hungover to be upright. Get some pride in yourselves, people! Be one with the nobility of the alps! Look sharp! Pull ya dacks up!

TOTALLY SMOKED these little bastards! They were so freakin’ SLOW! Ha! They think they’re so farking great, bloody Thredbolanders! Not today! They ate my snowdust!

Think I’d earned today’s reward. And let’s face it, one’s better than four.

Internal Monologue of a Non-skier on a Skiing ‘Holiday’

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7.30am. Wake up in Hotel d’Hovel, Thredbo. Hit up the breakfast buffet. Shall I go Swissy (seedy dark loaf, cheese, processed meats), continental (boulangerie goodies) or fry-up? Shit. Remember am on skiing holiday: best go for all three. Food = therapy. And three coffees.

8.00am. Fark, time to wedge the four loin fruit feet into rented ski boots. Requires bending. Hate being lower than cost centres: sends wrong message. Must be top dog. Friggin’ ski boots. Friggin’ skiing. 

8.15am. Meet girl child’s school ski chums for lesson. Instructor from Brisbane. Looks like a foetus. Has he lost his shaving cherry even? Can I trust him with the lady loin fruit? Think so; he has short hair and all his teeth, no visible ink. I probably went to uni with his parents. Might have snogged his dad… FOCUS. Off they all go. Graceful, upright. Bastards. Hate people who can ski.

8.17am. Jesus, everyone’s so WHITE. Where’s the diversity? Oh, there it is — Scots and Kings boys are here. Clearly fluoro is the new digi-print on the slopes. Fluoro. Choose Life. Georgie Michael. Teary. When will my ball of Georgie grief shrink to marble-size from Swiss-ball size? 

8.30am. Seriousimo and male junior cost centre (JCC) heading up mountain. Breathe out. Time for me. Me time. Temps pour moi. Suddenly overwhelmed with a desire to write about how generous skiing is in terms of the shits it continually gives me. Hear birdies. They’re nice. Nice birdy sounds.

8.35am. Seriousimo calls with news of major falling out with JCC over skiing. Sadly this comes after five minutes on slopes and yesterday’s purchase of $180 fluoro (ah, George. Sigh.) kid helmet. Little turd. Feel like publicly whacking child with now redundant rented ski pole, but exercise atypical restraint. Will exact revenge later. For now have withdrawn iPod privileges until he’s 26.

Off goes Seriousimo, child-free, schussing like a pro, draped in Helly Hansen and new ski boots. Bastard. He might cop a ski pole to the eye socket too, later, for being that graceful on skis and a whole bunch of other reasons I’ll think of in due course. Because marriage.

9.00am. Return to Hovel HQ. Assume submissive position to remove male JCC ski boots (“Last time I wear them, EVER!”). Install male JCC in hovelroom reading due to no gadgets til 2033. Reflect on outdatedness of hotel. For $530 a night. Ugh. Reflect too on fact bathroom has only one roll of bog paper. Bugger. Will take action.

Suddenly fret, then sweat, about Thredbo landslide of 1997. Have they addressed the underlying issues and fixed the poles into the hillside properly? Is it all good? Who’s in charge? Who certified? Is Hovel HQ in danger of dribbling off the mountain come the midnight hour? Remember Stuart Diver? Spunky. But apparently a bit thick and boring.

9.15am. Jeez, is it only 9.15? Faaaaaaaarrrk.

9.16am. Schlep to car for computer, 20 minute walk away. The birdies again. That’s nice. Sun’s out. Appreciate vista of babbling brook, then almost land in it when side-swiped by passing charcoal-grey Range Rover with three private school stickers on rear windscreen. W*nker. New dove-grey Uniqlo puffer now covered in slushy alpine road sludge. Whip out phone and take photo of retreating four-wheeled arsehole. Will take action.

10.20am. Muffin time.

10.22am. Muffin time, again.

11.30am. Drag male JCC to Thredbo Alpine Leisure Centre. Sport Billies and their habitats make me nervous. Don’t trust fit people. Don’t trust their motivations. All that personal excellence and barrier-smashing, it’s fishy. What are they running from? To? JCC finds an inflatable water gadget and is happy, for a time.

12.15pm. Muffin time. Jeez, this has to stop.

12.20pm. Pizza time. Feel ill. Deep down, wish I could become graceful skiing Sport Billy but getting too old for self-reinvention.

1.00pm. Meet female JCC and crew of swishing ponytails after ski race. They’re excited and fit and fresh and rosy-cheeked. Reflect on occasional lovely camaraderie of alpine life. Wish I could be more than a spectator, but too scaredy to ski. It’s a knee thing. Oh and because GUTLESS.

1.20 – 5.00pm. Devour friends’ piccies of Amalfi, Split, Lago Maggiore and Roma on Facebook. Weep into fourth muffin. Loathe self for marrying schuss-loving husband.

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Thredbo: the ski resort equivalent of an outdated Commodore with venetians on the windows.

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Pretty bits.

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Pizza parlour humour.

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Small mercies at Hotel d’Hovel.

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W*nker.

5.30pm. Dinner at Burger Bar. It’s tasty. Walk home past all the lovely non-hovelish accommodation one can secure if one books early enough or doesn’t travel during Interschool Championships week. Weep a bit for chalets lost. Quietly hate smug lodge-dwellers with open fires and bathrooms they don’t have to walk sideways into. And no breezeblock. Want to do a Britney with a ski pole on the clubby smugness of it all. Must take action to curb violent fantasies.

7.00pm. Walk by hotel bar and witness frightening spectacle of middle-aged people on way to being plastered, wearing fleeces and bootleg jeans (I know), dancing to some dude playing Pink Floyd on guitar. Lots of overbiting. Battalion of JaegarBombs on bar. Die a little inside, then feel shame for being repulsed by scene. Why shouldn’t old white people be allowed to shake their babymakers? Vow to take action on attitude when return to big smoke.

8.00pm. Tired from excessive jaw exercise as a result of muffin, pizza and burger mastication. Sleep.

12.10am. Woken by Seriousimo shouting at turdwad teens racing through hovel hallways. Jeez! Thought these rendered breeze-block walls would be soundproof. Apparently nots.  Seriousimo says female JCC has been barfing for two hours and he still has two legal opinions to write. Ask self, why do we holiday? Might embark on M.Phil course at Sydney Uni to investigate. Remember beloved old Wordporium boss’s wise words: “Never go on a holiday where you’ll be less comfortable than you are at home.” Sadly, am on that holiday.

7.30am. Repeat til…

4.30pm. Pack of teenwolves race past while I’m loitering in hallway. Guess they’re the turdburgers Seriousimo shouted at the previous night. They stop outside Seriousimo and female JCC’s door and holler, “P*nis!” An unholy wall of sound issues forth from my mouth as I chase them into the upper reaches of the building. (Suddenly I’m thankful for the super-echo powers of the breezeblock walls — I sound über-menacing.) I may even have shouted that I was a cop. Seriousimo’s been telling me for years this is illegal but he’d have to try harder to make me physically, figuratively and actually give a shit. Sometimes I wish I was a cop. Would get to scare teens professionally. Have vision of self as tough but benevolent law-enforcer, showing strays the path to good behaviour, handing out wee moral compasses to the ones who show promise. Must investigate coptions on return to big smoke.

Jeez, so much to do, so much action to take. No time for holidays.

Fallopian dude

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So here La is in California’s City of Angels, the day after an orange clown became president.

Setting aside los fears of walking into a wall of earnest types sporting burlap sacks, overalls, tie-dyed tees and other activist clothing, La marched. With the women. And some progressive dudes. 

There were uteruses. 


There were pink puppies. 


And leopard puppies. 


And much to the puppies’ collective joy, there were pussies. Everywhere. 


Princess Leia was there in spirit, bringing her Resistance wisdom. 


One of La’s marching buddies lost a bit of her ‘swamp’ ‘s’…so she improvised and repaired it with pink lip crayon, which seemed appropriate. 


The vibe was friendly and supportive, but with a distinct and unignorable undertone of angry lady with twisted knickers and a bellyful of rage. Loved it. 



There were the old-school crunchy-granola left coast hippies, whom you could tell were thrilled from the crowns of their wiry grey hair to the hems of their burlap overalls that once again people were taking it to the streets. 

And then there were the pink pussy hats. Fleece ones…


…through to a finer-gauge knit…


…all the way through to ones that had been knitted with rolling pins. 


There was humanity in all its glory, shouting about making the world right. Some were very small. 


Some were channeling Michelle. 


And most were there to be part of something that reminded them that the whole world hadn’t lost its mind.


And so we marched. And it felt good.