diet coke

I want to stab someone.

So if you’ve read any of my books, or more than one of my blogs, or you have the misfortune to be friends with me on Facebook – then you know I have a soul-wedded affinity with Diet Coke. As in I drink too much of it and write too much about it. As in, I really think that the makers of Diet Coke should pay me sponsorship money because I talk about it so often. (Or they could at least send me a few free crates of the stuff…)

No, I don’t drink it because I’m on a diet.  I drink it because it tastes good, isn’t too sweet, kickstarts my brain and generally makes me happy.

BUT, I am well aware that it’s bad for me. And many kind and thoughtful readers and blog supporters have sent me horribly informative articles that explain in disgusting detail, just why Diet Coke is so bad for me.

So with that in mind, I decided to quit. Because Im getting old and I want to be reasonably healthy as I creep into my senior years…And because the Hot Man is a freakin Ironman MACHINE with all his biking and swimming and running everywhere. It’s rather irritating actually just how dedicated he is to the whole endeavour. Especially if you’re just sitting here eating donuts while he runs and bikes and swims his Iron self everywhere. I mean, when we’re eighty I wont be able to count on him to help me cart my oxygen tank around because he will off swimming somewhere and my mobility scooter wont go fast enough to keep up with his bike. #SoSad.

So with better health in mind, I made quitting Diet Coke the first item on my checklist. After that I’m supposed to tackle replacing Twinkies and other chemically baked goods – with broccoli and carrots. Then, I’m going to learn how to ride a bike so I can be the Hot Man’s mobile water girl. (That way I can go back to Hawaii in the foreseeable future because his dream is to do the Kona Ironman and he will need a support crew, right? And who better to support him than his Diet Coke-clean and donut-free wife?!!)

That was the plan anyway. I quit six days ago. The first  48 hours were so painful. All I could think about was how much I wanted to kill people. By running them over with a truck filled with Diet Coke. (And lots of ice.)

Day three was better. I found that by watching non-stop episodes of the Walking Dead, I could distract myself from visions of popping open the lid of a chilled can…the way the bubbles would fizz and hiss as you pour the liquid over a stack of ice…the sweet satisfaction of that hit as caffeine and aspartame floods the system…oh the joy…the bliss. No, I wasn’t missing it at all. I had hope I would make it.

Day four I had a headache. Like someone stomping through your head and kicking it with steel-capped boots. I decided to have JUST ONE can. But there was none in the house so I asked Big Son to go buy me some from the corner store. He refused. Because he’s very unkind. And then the teenagers proceeded to lecture me. “If you have a headache then take a Panadol. Stop behaving like a drug addict.”  I was not happy. When they went to bed, I contemplated sneaking out and going to buy some coke secretly. Only, it was 11pm and laziness was at war with caffeine withdrawal. Plus, I had a headache and what if I crashed the car? So then I thought about ordering pizza delivery…just so I could get them to bring me Coke. But then I remembered Dominos only has Pepsi. Heck no!

Day five I was saying mean things to random strangers everywhere. On Facebook, Twitter. And at the petrol station. Sometimes just in my head because I’m chicken like that. But generally, I was thinking bad thoughts about everybody and everything.  I wanted to stab people. Especially if they were drinking Diet Coke.

And today? I bought a can . And drank it with lots of ice. And I was happy. High and floating in a blissful peaceful zen-like state.

I will try again tomorrow to quit. I promise. Or maybe quitting donuts and Twinkies would be easier place to start?

A Day in the Life of a (Slightly Demented) Author/Blogger

(An alternate title for this blogpost would be: “Why You should Never trust Book Deadlines from Authors who have Five Children, especially disorganized, chaotic authors – because their books will ALWAYS be Late. Always.”)
A Typical Monday
I get up at 5.30am, which I absolutely hate doing, especially if I’ve only just gone to bed at 2am. I then tackle the toughest task of my day – waking up my 13yr old daughter. She really does sleep like a log and if we ever got robbed, thieves could roll her up in her blanket, carry her out of the house and she still wouldn’t wake up.
6am. I drive my teens to Seminary which is a youth  scripture-study class run by our church. It’s on 5 days a week for every school week of the year.  While they’re in class, I go for a run. Or more aptly, a ‘very brisk walk alternated with a shuffly, jiggly sort of jog.’  I’m terrified of killers and attack dogs, so I usually just go many times round the block or the parking lot. If it’s raining (or if I’m feeling lazy)  then I take my laptop and cram in some writing time.
7am. Back home. Mobilize the troops for breakfast and family prayer, then teenagers take off to catch the school bus while me and the three Terrors attack the house chores. We rush through dishes, floors and lunchbox prep. (My 8yr old son is the fastest, bestest vacuumer in this solar system.)
8.45am. Take the Terrors to school. Stock up on Diet Coke on my way home.  Spend the next hour doing vital life-preserving things like…laundry and shutting the doors to all my children’s bedrooms so I’m not confronted by their chaotic messes.
10am – Write stuff. And eat lots of snacks. I’m sorry to say that I often consume way more Doritos then actual pages written…
1pm – Emails. Update all social media. This can take anything from an hour to two spread out over the day and includes, updating my blog Sleepless in Samoa, Facebook author site, Twitter, Goodreads, skim thru publisher/author blogs that I follow.
2pm – Run work errands eg. Post Office to mail out signed book orders, drop off books to local indie bookstores who stock my book TELESA, that kind of stuff.
3pm – Get the Terrors from school.  Try not to yell at Little Son for losing his shoes AGAIN, playing rugby in the mud AGAIN and ripping his school uniform AGAIN. Try not to freak out when Little Daughter asks, ‘Mum, did you ever like a boy who was older than you at school?’ Try not to crash the car when the 4yr old Beast is having a tantrum because I won’t detour to McDonalds.
4 to 6pm – The part of my day when I wish I could clone myself and have six of me. One to cook dinner and bake cookies .  One to help Little Daughter with her homework. One to test Little Son on his spelling words. One to play with the Beast on the trampoline so she wont stand in the middle of the kitchen bellowing ‘Nobodys playing with me! I got nuffing friends.’  One to drive and get the teenagers from Debate Club and rugby practice. And another one to lie on the bed with earphones on, blasting Eminem and muttering This is not my life. This is not my life. Any minute now,  Im going to open my eyes and be a stunning supermodel in a glorious mansion with Ryan Reynolds cooking me dinner. Oh, and my book would be all written. And at the top of the bestseller list. Any minute now…

7.30pm – Ideally, all small and filthy children will be showered and fed by this time. This usually involves lots of threats/blackmail/coercion/pleading/the muttering of curse words and the drinking of copious amounts of Diet Coke. (By me, not the filthy children.)  Teenagers do dishes and then sneak off to do Very Important Things. Like Facebook . Text their friends that they just said goodbye to a half hour ago. Weights in the gym downstairs.  And supposedly to do homework in the Dens of Darkness that they call their bedrooms…
8pm – I read stories to small and very clean children. And then they are supposed to go to sleep. Ha.
9pm – I read a book on my Kindle. Partly because when you’re a fiction writer, reading a revolting number of novels is called “RESEARCH”. And partly because that’s how I relax and not be too mean to my children.
10pm – I write some more.  The bestest time to write anything, anywhere, anytime is when the house is asleep.
Midnight. Or maybe 1am. Or maybe 2am. Or 3am. – Sleep.
                              **********************************************************
And there you have it. A day in the chaos that is Lani’s life. (So please don’t be mad at me about ‘When Water Burns’ missing its March release date. It’s with my editor and will be ready soon. I promise, with donuts, doritos and Diet Coke on top….) 
In case you’re wondering where the Hot Man is in this scenario – he travels often for work . Leaving the Fabulous Five Children at my mercy. *cue evil witch laughter*.  In spite of my chaotic schedule I’ve managed to finish several books so far. Narrative non-fiction account ‘Pacific Tsunami-Galu Afi’,  the YA Fantasy/RomanceTELESA series, and a short fiction collection ‘Afakasi Woman’  – which are all available on Amazon. If anyone has the secret for cloning one’s self, I would sure appreciate it if you shared it with me because then I could churn out way more books with much fewer headaches. I think…

Stephenie Meyer Said So

Some of you may know that I kinda like the Twilight books. Just a little bit… Ok, I’m completely obsessed with them, alright! I would choose Twilight over Shakespeare’s masterpieces any day. It’s sad, but true. (and since when have I ever told lies on this blog?) I love Twilight, which of course also means that I think the author Stephenie Meyer is kind of all-knowingly awesome. Anyone who can create an Edward Cullen AND a Jacob is right up there next to the inventor of Diet Coke and Doritos. *Said with tone of worshipful awe*

So when Stephenie Meyer says something, I listen. She said, “The HUNGER GAMES is amazing…I was obsessed with it.” So what did I do? I went and bought all the books in the Hunger Games series. I read them in one feverish go. And you know what? Stephenie Meyer IS all-knowingly awesome because she was right. The Hunger Games series is amazing. In a different genre from Twilight so the two cant be compared, but I would rank both series on an equal pinnacle of reading perfection.

And then when Stephenie Meyer said, “The Mortal Instruments Series is a world that I love to live in, beautiful!” then of course I had to go read it. I just finished the 3rd book and once again, I must concede that Ms Meyer is all-knowingly awesome because AGAIN she was right. This series is pretty cool and the lead character Jace gives Edward Cullen a run for his money. Stephenie Meyer really is super cool *more tones of worshipful awe*. If she told me to read the Bible I would do it! (Umm, but I like, totally read the Bible already. All the time. Before re-reading Twilight and all that other rubbish. Honest. And we all know that I never ever tell lies on this blog.)

If you have been living under a rock ( or on one called Samoa) and havent heard of these two book series then please know that you’re living only half a life. Oh, and it goes without saying that if you have never heard of Twilight and the genius Stephenie Meyer – then you must be a zombie. (Which means we’re all in trouble because the Zombie Apocalypse has begun and we didnt know it.) I urge you to read: Twilight, Hunger Games and Mortal Instruments.

Why?

Because Stephenie Meyer said so.

What books rock your world? What author do YOU think is a creative genius? So genius that you would quit drinking Diet Coke if they said it was bad for you?  

A Rare Good Day to be a Writer

                                                           Let’s live dangerously…

So this morning my cousin in New York, Facebooks me – “Congratulations on your prize! Awesome!”

 I message her back. (Somewhat shamefacedly.) “Umm, I didnt get one. But thank you! I wish I did…”
 She then forwards me the email announcement that her sister sent her (who works in Fiji for the University of the South Pacific) The announcement of the winners for the USP Press Awards, 2011. And what do you know? I did get a prize! Not only that, but my uncle Prof.Albert Wendt ( who as we know is the ‘Father of Pacific Literature’) took out the grand overall winner prize. And that’s how a (mixed up) Samoan-Maori writer living in New Zealand finds out that she won the USP Press Fiction Award via a cousin in the Big Apple, via Facebook, via another cousin in Fiji… Cool. 
I entered the competition back in January and then forgot all about it in the TELESA book chaos. What did I do when I got the news? I jumped up and down. Screamed a little. (Ok, I screamed a lot. I’m so uncool.What can I say, I’m so unused to winning things) I called the Hot Man so I could share the joy. I must have shared a little bit too much  S C R E A M I N G because he nearly crashed his car on the motorway. Pulled over, panicked, thinking I had been in an accident. What is it? Is it one of the children? What’s happened? Are you alright?
I told him my wonderful news. And he said, Dammnit, I thought one of my kids got hit by a bus or something. That’s not really the response I was looking for. Once he had established that all the family were alive, he hung up the phone. Buzz-Killer.
So thats why Im sharing my news with you my blogger world friends. (None of you are in danger of being distracted by my screaming and then crashing your car are you?) I’m letting you know that a collection of my short fiction ( some of it culled from Sleepless in Samoa blog posts) has won the Fiction Award and will be published by South Pacific Press. The collection is called…wait for it… ‘Sleepless in Samoa’! I know, I know my creative originality astounds even me. Not.

Its not often that a writer gets to be buzzed about their work. Let’s face it, it can get a little quiet and claustrophobic in our hermit caves…So, if any of you would like to be a little jubilant with me then please feel free to crack open a Diet Coke and slip in some Kahlua, grab some Boston cream donuts and go a little wild. I’ll be that chick dancing on the table to my current fave song, Cheers to the Freakin Weekend by Rihanna.
Thank you USP Press and congratulations to all the winners!

                                                    USP PRESS AWARDS
The USP Press wishes to announce the winners of its International Competition. Close to 100 entries were submitted to this competition. (Cash prizes are in US dollars)
USP Press Literature Prize for Overall Winner ($3,000):
‘Ancestors’ by Albert Wendt (collection of short stories)

Fiction ($1,000): ‘Sleepless in Samoa’ by Lani Wendt Young (collection of short stories)
Commendable Mention ($300): Maiden Fiji by Samantha Peckham-Togiatama (novel)

Poetry ($1,000): ’14 Degrees South’ by John Enright ($500)
and When Things are Dirty ($500) by David Howard

Drama or Screenplay ($1,000): The Cycle by Andrew Porteus
Commendable Mention ($300): The Visitors by Larry Thomas

USP Press Non-Fiction Prize for Overall Winner ($3,000):
Mystery Islands: Discovering Ancient Pacific by Tom Koppel

History/Autobiography ($1,000):
My Memories of David by Ilaisaane Kakala Taumoefolau

USP Press Best Children’s Book ($2,000):
Killer Waves by Sereima Lumelume
Commendable Mention: Hair Raising Cut by Emma Kruse Vaai ($300)
Welcome to Our Islands by Leslie Hayashi and Lori Philips ($300)
and Friends of Joji by Nicole Daniels ($300).

The USP Press will publish the winning titles. Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to the panel of judges and everyone who made submissions.
Professor Vilsoni Hereniko, Chair, Editorial Board of the USP Press

It’s NOT a ‘happy place’. Why you shouldnt go to the gym.

Mean Matt’s Twin Brother

The other day, someone called the gym their ” happy place.” I couldnt see how that could be possible. Unless they’ve started serving Diet Coke and Doritos at the gym. And Ryan Reynolds is doing the serving. So I went to my gym to check.

My usual nice personal trainer Steve was on holiday. He had been replaced by Mean Matt who is a handsome hunk from Turkey. Mean Matt speaks with a captivating accent, kind of like Arnold the Terminator. Except there was nothing captivating about him once we started our training session.  When I couldnt pedal furiously on the cardio bike for ten straight minutes, he told me to “stop being lazy woman.” I told him very politely that I’d only just started coming to the gym ( A lie. Alright, alright, I tell lies sometimes. So shoot me.) I said “Im not lazy, Im tired. I have 5 children and thats really hard work you know.”

He was suitably astounded. “No. You lie. How you have five children?!” He even went so far as to threaten me. “I no like when people lie to me! Tell me truth. Speak truth now.You too young to have five children.”

I assured him, yes its true. I (am dumb enough) to have five children. He persisted. “Maybe some of them are from  husband and another woman?”

Oh honey, hell no. “Excuse me, all those (demon) children are mine thank you very much.” Ain’t no other woman taking credit for this lot.

With that truth firmly established, I mistakenly thought that Mean Matt was my friend. On my side. The workout continued. We moved on to the weights machines. I happily worked out on the leg thingamajig machine. And the shoulder thingamajig machine. Mean Matt seemed almost chatty. “What job you do?”

“Oh, I’m a writer.”

 He grunted. “How much exercise you do every week?”

I blathered on like the trusting fool I am. “Oh I used to run 5 days a week. Last year I did a 105 km relay with a team of six women. It was so much fun!” (Ok, ‘fun’ an exageration. What am I going to do – tell people that I wanted to puke and die for most of those kilometers?)

And that was when Mean Matt revealed his true self. Mean as meanie.  He upped the weights on the ab machine. Started counting reps faster. Told me off for pausing too long in between sets.  I whined. “But you dont understand, I dont have any ab muscles. Maybe I did when i was like 12…”

He didnt care. “Hurry up, keep going, why you stop for? If you can run 105km relay, you can do abs workout faster.”

“But I can’t. I’ve had three c-section deliveries. Do you know what that means? They literally SLICE through your abdominal wall and Im sure they sewed my abs back up wrong because they just dont work anymore. There’s something wrong with them, I just know it. And my youngest kid is practically a BABY and I still havent recovered my full strength…” (So the kid is three. Practically a walking, talking adult, but what the hell…)

Mean Matt interrupted me. “What, now you are writing book here? Telling me your whole life story? Stop doing writer job here and do workout.” In other words – shut up Lani and do this.

I shut up. Seethed. And worked out harder, fantasizing about (one day) having a kick-butt awesome body so I could come back to the gym and kick Mean Matt’s ass. I’ll be back.

Maybe that was Mean Matt’s secret personal trainer technique for getting his clients to push themselves to the limit. When we were done, he smiled ( meanly) and said, “All clients tell me they hate me. But when  finish workout, they thank me for pushing them hard.” I smiled. (Weakly) And said thank you. But inside? I was hearing my inner Arnold Predator movie voice, “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”

I knew I hated the gym. News-flash for those of you who havent been there in a while? They arent serving snacks. And Ryan Reynolds is definitely not there. But Mean Matt is. Hasta la vista, baby.

Notes from the Edge of Reason

She’s driving me nuts. I need help.

Dear Diet Coke,
You’re killing me.
Painfully yours,
Lani’s Kidneys.

Dear Racy Lacy Sexy Lingerie from ‘Deliciously Exciting Lani’s drawer,
We really miss you. All this life-sucking control top, boring 100%cotton stuff does nothing for us. Please come back. Bring deliciously exciting sex with you.
Wistfully, breathily ( and over abundantly) yours,
Lani’s Dismal Domesticated Un-exciting Body.

Dear Dora the Explorer,
Could you just fall off a mountain already? Could Swiper the Fox catch rabies and rip you to shreds now? Please?
Sincerely, beseechingly yours,
President of the worldwide “KILL DORA” movement. (Me)

Dear Death eaters,
I think there’s an Azkaban escapee living in my house. Her name is Sade. She’s 13 yrs old and really mean to me. Can you please come and get her? But when you do, can you make sure she tells you where she hid my iPod?
Anonymously yours,
Sade’s little sister.

Dear Angelina Jolie,
Every time I see you, I want to buy you a hamburger. So instead I eat one on your behalf. With fries, a sundae and an apple pie. Because that’s how much I care about you.
Lots of love and concern,
Founder of “FANS WHO EAT SO ANOREXIC STARS DONT HAVE TO”.

Dear TOYS and Kmart Catalogue makers,
If we get one more piece of your filth in the mail, I will hunt you down and kill you. Strangle you with the Santa wish list my 3yr old is adding to everyday using your disgusting literature.
Signed in Dora toys blood,
Serial Kmart Killer.

Dear Lani,
You used to care about me. I used to mean something to you. What happened to the french inspired love? The gentle caresses with moisturizer? All the red hot times we shared? Why you treat me so bad? Where is the love?
Reproachfully yours,
Your nasty, unpainted, unkempt, un-loved, dry-as,fingernails.

Final Notice to Lani’s Luscious booty/thighs/stomach,
WE DONT FIT ANYMORE. ACCESS DENIED.
From Skinny Jeans.

Dear Clearasil acne cream,
Is it too much to ask that you live up to your promises and actually banish acne? LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE.
Angrily,
From Mothers who are sick of their teenage sons that invent illnesses so they dont have to go to school when they have a huge pimple on their forehead.

Dear teenagers who live in the same house as me,
You look exactly the same to me as you did when you checked yourself out…two minutes ago. And the two minutes before that. And this morning? The same. And a heads up, two minutes FROM now? You will still look the same. And again another two minutes from that? The same. Trust me. I know. Now please…STOP LOOKING AT ME.
The Mirror.

Dear Edward,
Grow some muscles. Get a tattoo. A tan. Play some rugby. Try to box. Then maybe there wont be anymore debates about what Team the girls are on. I mean, look at me. You don’t hear chicks arguing about Team Sonny vs Team Jonah vs Team Richie.
Confidently, supremely me.
Sonny Bill Williams

Dear Sonny Bill Williams,
I can sparkle in the sunlight. Stare at the love of my life for hours. Offer her eternity with a bite. Give her piggy back rides up trees. And I’ve graduated from high school…oh…fifty times? Trust me, I dont need chick tips from you. Besides, when you’re 80? I’ll still be sparkly new.
Thanks but no thanks,
Coldly, heartlessly me,
Edward.
P.S Dont forget I can rip your throat out. Effortlessly. And run reeeally fast away from the police.

Dear chocolate lamingtons with cream,
I love you.
Forever,
Lani

Telesa Tuesday: The Secret to Writing about Kissing. (and other steamy stuff)

My book Telesa is YA fiction. Romance. Which means there’s a girl. Who falls in love with a boy. And they have to overcome all sorts of obstacles to be together. And of course there’s another boy who’s also in love with the girl. And the girl is a little bit conflicted between boy 1 and boy 2. ( of course. But I promise that neither of the boys turn into hairy overgrown dogs or want to drink her blood). And there’s bad guys – or – in this story, bad women. Who do lots of bad stuff because they have some really bad plans. And there’s a really big showdown at the end where deep dark secrets get revealed and people die. ( Only i wont tell you who. You have to read it.)

The key word in all that jumbled 1st paragraph is: ROMANCE. And where there’s romance, there’s usually overtones of lust…skin…passionate looks…a runaway pulse…and (at the very least) kissing. Which means SOMEBODY (meaning ME) has to write all that stuff. And then put my name on the book cover for people to read. People like…my Bishop at church, the teenage girls in Youth that I prepare lessons on chastity and virtue for, the women in my Sunday School class, my old English teacher, all my aunties and uncles, parents of every teenager I have ever taught or will one day teach, the man who will interview me for that ever elusive job at Subway…my children, my DAD. I ask you, how in hell does anybody write anything lust-laden when they start thinking of all those people who might read it? Or who might not read it but will stage public burnings of it because it’s the work of Satan?

When I first started writing Telesa, my older children were key players in the project. I bounced ideas off my son – who is a voracious reader and a pretty decent writer himself. (I suppose by acknowledging him I’ll have to give him 50% of my sales now.)And I would read out finished chapters to my two daughters who were totally entranced. Harry Potter at bedtime was forgotten as they would plead with me to ‘pleeease read us what you wrote today!’ (Thats why you need to have some children – so that you can say, ‘Readers are choosing my book over Harry Potter, no lie.‘) My girls loved hearing about Leila as she arrived in Samoa, settled in with her Samoan aiga, started school, went to watch her first rugby game, met Daniel, noticed his dancing green eyes, his rippling muscles and the way sweat trickled down his chiseled back and how his ripped shorts clung to the delicious curve of his hip, the taste of his lips when they kissed, the burn of his hands as he….ummm oops. Right thats enough Telesa storytime for tonight girls, off to bed! Yes, once elements of boy-meets-girl-lets-hold-hands-and-kiss-in-the-sunset-forever showed up in Telesa – I couldnt read it to them anymore without chopping out big censored chunks of it.

Worrying about my future readers tender minds started getting in the way of my writing as well. I’d finish off a deliciously taut scene absolutely crackling with chemistry – and then cringe as I clearly visualized my parent’s horrified/bemused/confused looks, the way their shoulders would slump as they asked each other, “What happened to our daughter? She had so much promise…she was supposed to be writing a Pulitzer Prize winning novel of piercing intellect and truth. Instead, she comes up with this crap full of half-naked boys. And a girl who keeps catching on fire and burning all her clothes off. A girl who thinks that boys are more important than schoolwork?! Thats NOT what WE taught her!

Worrying about writing romance was seriously killing the romance writing buzz. And you know the funny thing about all of this angst? It’s not like I was writing porn or erotic fiction! No, Telesa is strictly first base (okay, maybe hints of second base) stuff. Because Im all about the love, the feelings, the loooooong heart stopping stares, the talking about the love and feelings… (the kind of stuff that makes most men’s eyes glaze over…)

So how did I do it? How did i write about kissing and other steamy stuff? I lied.

I told myself any number of the following –

* You have no children. No parents. No friends or peers. Its just you writing this story about Daniel and Leila. Nobody else. There is nobody else and nobody else matters but this story.

* You aren’t going to show this book to anyone. You are going to put it in a cardboard box and when you die, HRH will publish it posthumously. And he and the children will be filthy rich – because everybody knows that books published when you’re dead are always amazingly successful. (hello, girl with the dragon tattoo…)

*You are going to publish this book under a fake name. Like, ‘Cherry Luscious’. Or ‘Sina Sunset’ or ‘Storm Went’. And when everybody is talking about how crap it is, you’re going to talk the loudest about how crap it is. And then drink copious amounts of Diet Coke and cry in the privacy of your wardrobe. ( which is the only place I can get any ME-TIME in this household of attentionsucking leeches.)

And that is how I successfully managed to write a YA fiction novel thats got a lot of kissing, skin touching, and 101 different ways to describe Sonny Bill Williams half-naked torso. Oh yeah, and love. Lots of soul stirring, earthmoving, moon shining LOVE. Now my next problem is – how do i write Book Two? Where people are kinda supposed to move from base 2 to 3 to hitting a home run? All with lots of LOVE?

WarriorMum vs. Wild.

Man VS Wild. Why are we watching this show? The man is a derwit. Tonight he’s running around some desert wilderness. He’s got diaorrhea from eating old bugs. And now he’s excitedly showing us some special plant with leaves that are a great replacement for toilet paper. (Umm..come to Samoa, just about every plant has leaves suitable for that purpose. Not that I speak from experience…just saying. Do white people really need a person to SHOW them what plant they can use to wipe their bum?!) He just cooked a lizard and ate it, “Thats really tough. Just like eating old shoes.” How does he know that? Did I miss the episode where he ate his old shoes?

And how can anyone take this show seroiusly when we all know there’s a fudging camera crew following his every move? I mean, come on, he keeps repeating…”If I dont find water soon, I could fall into a coma and DIE. A slow death from dehydration.” HELLO! I BET THE CAMERA AND LIGHTING CREW HAVE SOME EVIAN. OR DIET COKE. Besides, theres no way they’d let wildman stay in a coma for very long. No. They’d rustle up some scorpions to crawl on him and wake him up. The show must go on! The show must go on! And how do we know that the water he siphoned from camel dung wasnt really Diet Coke carefully placed there ahead of time by the stunt team? No, I am too clever to be fooled by this man in the wild. Because I was raised on Macgyver, Oprah and Martha Stewart – and so I KNOW everything about making it through the wildernesses of life. This derwit stumbles along through salt pans, ice lakes, crocodile infested swamps, mosquito ridden bogs and is supposed to be a shining example of survival skills. NOT. I live in Auckland. In the 21st century. Aint no crocs, bogs or saltpans around here.

I think a far more USEFUL show would be: WARRIORMUM VS.WILD. I want to see some survivor type mother try to cope with terrifying dilemmas like –

*You’ve got one egg, some moldy cheese, a couple of rotten bananas and two pieces of stale bread. AND five kids whining “We’re hungry. What can we eat?” Note, WarriorMum is not allowed to whack anyone with a wooden spoon or snarl ‘Go outside and eat grass. Its green and that means its good for you.’ She is allowed to stare menacingly at the camera and announce dramatically,’If I dont find food for these animals soon, they could collapse into a coma and die. Or turn on each other. The situation is critical.’

*Son 1 has a basketball game at 4pm. Son2 starts league training at 4.30pm. Daughter1 doesnt want to budge from computer where shes doing highly impt and classified internet homework research. Daughter2 wont finish ballet until 4.45. Daughter3 is having fullblown tantrum and refusing to get in car. How can any one mum face this dilemma and win? Is it possible to make everyone happy in this wilderness? ‘This is a deadly situation I find myself in – one false move and I could descend into a pit of chaos and confusion from which there is no escape.’

Yes there are any number of desperate situations that WarriorMum vs Wild could take on. Ranging from First Aid emergencies to sullen teenagers who hate you to nights when you suddenly realize you’ve run out of diapers. and all the stores are shut. (And robbing one is not really an option.) I would definitely watch a show like that.

But ‘Man vs. Wild’? Nah. We certainly dont need Wildman telling us what leaves to use. Because when we run out of toilet paper during the Apocalypse – there’s always crappy drafts of my novel lying around that people can use. Just an example of the kind of sacrifice a TRUE warriormum is willing to make for her family!

Confessions

My second personal favourite oldie post. Because it felt soooooo good writing it!.

I like going to church, really I do. But there are some things that some people say and do that can really get on my nerves. If Im not feeling very Christian. So in the interests of ‘getting it all out’ and thus better being able to have ONLY loving,pure and charitable thoughts towards everyone, I’m going to let rip with a mini-meltdown…an OPEN DIATRIBE TO ALL DO-GOODERS, NEGATIVE, NOSEY-POKER, INTERFERING BUSYBODIES…

1. Yes that’s right I havent ironed my kids clothes. In fact, i made them put them on before they went to bed the night before. That way, we would all make it to church on time AND with only half the stress and screaming and tantruming that is usually required to get this family there. And if you have a problem with their wrinkly state – then take it up with the man upstairs. Because last time i checked, He didnt care about ironed perfection either.

2. No. I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat. Or to be more precise, I have a tendency to carry all my (excess) weight in my belly. As opposed to YOU who is carrying so much weight that it’s taken on a life of its own and is busting out everywhere and doing strange things to your brain, making you run around telling people they look pregnant and/or fat when in fact they are several sizes SMALLER than you are. And besides, why are you even checking out people’s fatness…shouldnt you be praying and stuff?

3. If I want to pinch my child or give him a slight whack on the head or a little twist of the ears because he just wont stop talking/fighting with his sister/ staring at the lady behind us who insists on singing louder than Mariah Carey on a happy day – then I will. So there. So get over it and pay attention to your own child…who just ran out of the building screaming and is at present, playing hide and seek underneath cars in the parking lot.

4. Yes you are seeing correctly, my child is wearing two shoes of two different colors. She could only find ONE of her shoes this morning and rather than mope about and see that as an excuse NOT to come to church, she chose to be creative with color. If you dont like it, then i suggest you buy her a new pair of matching shoes. And while you’re at it, I would love a new pair of stilettos myself. So i can stab people with them. People who are obsessed with OTHER peoples shoes.

5. And yes, my daughter’s nails are painted five different colors. Overlaid with glitter. And she has stuck a gigantic plastic yellow flower on the top of her head. That happens to clash in a rather frightening way with her purple dress. And she is wearing pink lipgloss. And that is a necklace she is wearing made of all my broken earrings which she has strung artfully together to create an original masterpiece of fashion. And you are smelling correctly. She is reeking quite strongly of my Estee Lauder perfume. And if you dare say a single mean word to her, I will quite possibly, beat you to a pulp with my scriptures / choke you with the kids Froot Loop snacks / lock you in the storage closet with that creepy little boy who loves to kick people in the shins – just because it gives him joy. My daughter wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up. She is creative and loves to experiment with all kinds of different fashion ideas. And she loves coming to church. Because she loves learning about Jesus. And if you dare make her feel the tiniest bit unworthy to be here just because she doesnt look like the other kids…well, lets just say, things are going to get REAL ugly around here.

6. No I do NOT want to hug you. Or kiss your cheek. Or be patted on the shoulder. What is with church and people’s personal space? Are they not compatible concepts? I come here and i have to dodge people hugging and kissing and over enthusiastically greeting each other everywhere. Get this straight. I ABSOLUTELY HATE THE SOCIAL KISS AND HUG GREETING CRAP. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Im all for world peace and save the children and the whale and make love not war…but that doesnt mean i have to hug and kiss to prove it. Give me my space and I’ll be nice to you. Cross my line and I will be forced to make a run for the carpark where i shall sit in air conditioned comfort, sipping diet coke and reading Twilight.

7. I love coming to church. But sometimes, coming to church with 5 children can be a tad bit stressful. So every now and again I give myself a holiday. I leave all the children at home. With their father. I make sure they have adequate food and water. I even kiss them all goodbye as i skip out the door. As we speak, they are eating pizza leftovers from last night with cake and ice cream. And petitioning their father to be allowed to play illegal xbox games on a Sunday. ( Because their mother wont let them do such sinful things on the day of worship.) So yeah, I did it. I can say it out loud. TODAY, I LEFT MY FAMILY AT HOME SO I COULD COME TO CHURCH IN PEACE AND QUIET AND SIT AND LISTEN AND MEDITATE AND PRAY AND FEEL GOOD. So you think Im a bad mother? Go tell someone who gives a #$@%&*#. And when church is over, I guarantee you, that i will return home a much nicer, much kinder, much gentler woman.

Okay. Thats the end of my rant n rave. I feel so much better now!