Lani Young

The key to greatness in rugby league.


Do you think they ever paint their nails?

I have only ever been to ONE rugby league game in my life. This morning – to watch Little Son’s team play. ( Te Atatu Roosters Jnrs vs Waitemata. And yes, we won. Yaaay.) And yes, Little Son was quite impressive. Running. Tackling. Never dropping the ball once. And I was buzzed to bits about him. Except when it was half-time and he came running over for water, I noticed his fingernails. Painted three different colours…pink, green and glitter yellow. What the Hell?! I thought maybe his sisters did it to him. But no, he said quite proudly, “I painted them myself!” Before running back onto the field. And I was groaning. Because how are you supposed to smash people and intimidate the opposition with sparkly pretty nails?!

But nails aside, I now know the KEY to inspiring succcessful rugby. Five minutes into the game and a little boy with the speed of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon dashed through the opposition and scored a brilliant try. We cheered. The little boy stood up, looked at his proud Dad and yelled out, “Twenty bucks right Dad?!”

His Dad gave him the thumbs up-you rock-signal. “Yep thats right son!” Then the father looked at us and explained, “I told him that for every try he scores, I’ll pay him twenty dollars.”

Aaaaahhhhh….the lights came on in our heads.

When we got home after the game, I told Little Son – “Boy, when you score your first try, I’ll buy you your first pair of real rugby boots.” (He’s currently wearing borrowed old shoes from his cousin.)

Little Son’s face lit up. “Can I have bright orange ones?!”

“You can have bright orange ones with flashing red lights on them if you want.” Little Son was speechless with joy.

Then i told him – “Boy, when you score FIVE tries, I’ll buy you a PSP.
And when you score ten tries, I’ll buy you a bike.” I was getting carried away. “And then when you score TWENTY tries I’ll ummm…whats better than a bike?”

Little Son piped in hopefully, “Take me to Disneyland?”

Which brought me down to earth quick smart. “Hell no! Dont be ridiculous. I’m not made of money! Whenever you score 20 tries, I’ll be very proud of you. And give you a hug.”

(Which did not transport him into another dimension of bliss…)But now with visions of electronically marvellous rugby boots, flash racer bikes and hours of Playsation fun – all dancing in his mind, the Little Son is well on his way to rugby league glory. Show me the money!

With or without sparkly pretty fingernails.

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High School is a Warzone.


My English Teaching Competition.

I am currently in the process of applying to be a NZ registered teacher. (I confess I have given up on the fast food industry ever wanting me, big sigh) Its a simple enough procedure. Fill in some forms, send them all my certificates and glowing references ( minus the bits where i swore at some rugby boys for putting condoms on my windscreen) and pay a large registration fee. In four weeks I should be legally allowed to teach in a NZ secondary school.

Except, I dont think I will be able to cut it. Times have changed since i was last in the workforce. High school is a warzone now and you have to be a warrior to make it out alive. Case in point – JB’s English teacher is a virtual demi-goddess to her teenage class. She has tattos everywhere and numerous body piercings, including some in her neck. (See how lame i am, i never even knew that people were piercing their necks these days…) Not only that, she has a black belt in Kendo ( think long swords and kickbutt women in Kill Bill)and she likes to recondition cars and motorbikes in her spare time. And she has a Facebook page that she wants all her students to be-friend – ‘if you’ve got any questions about the homework, just FB me!’ She’s all that and more. She’s a genius who started at university when she was 15 and she’s currently working on her PhD thesis. While teaching packs of adoring teens. JB is not the only one who’s in awe of her. While he’s raving about her qualities, HRH has got an amazed expression on HIS face – ‘Wow son, she sounds like the perfect woman!’ ( I am overwhelmed by an inexplicable desire to kill the Kill Bill teacher. With a wooden spoon.)

This wondrous specimen of womanhood is not an aberration at my childrens school. No. Sade’s teacher is a cage fighter on the weekends. Thats right. She engages in free-for-all fights in front of screaming blood thirsty crowds. And apparently shes quite good at it. (They googled her.) And she also teaches the Bring it on Cheerleading dance club after school.

I dont understand. What happened to little old ladies with grey hair and sour expressions who would make you fall asleep in class? Back in the day when i was teaching, I was considered the cool teacher. The one who kids wanted to be like when they grew up.

But now? How can i possibly compete? How can i impress any kid and get them to listen to me now? ‘Hiya, mother of 5,coming right at ya…’ Doesnt really instill awe in anybody. I suppose i could lie and tell them : “Hi my name is Ms Young, but you can call me Blade – thats my stage name for when i compete in American Gladiators. These bags under my eyes? Bruises from my sparring session with Jet Li last weekend. This scar on my left knee? Bungee jumping off the Sky Tower last month and misjudged the rope a little…got a little scrape. Your old teacher was the stunt double on Kill Bill? Huh, wimpy stuff. Has she swum with sharks? Danced with crocodiles? Played chicken with the bulls in Spain? Thats what i live for – danger. I walk on the wild side. Every day. Your other teacher is the cheerleading instructor?! Pshaw – you wanna see some real moves? Check out my pole dancing routine on YouTube. Now theres some gymnastics for you! Here you all are, Im giving out free autographed copies of my latest rap CD. Where I do a few numbers with Eminem, you know, teaching him a thing or two about what real music skills are…”

(Hear that? Those screams of derisive laughter and ridicule? Thats the sound of my teenagers mocking my attempts to be BAD.)

No. I wont be able to impress teenagers with my coolness factor. But i do have a secret weapon in my armory. Its called – Lani’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.

If all else fails – food can always buy you friends and awestruck admirers.

How many wives have you got?


And do they each have their own bush hut?

HRH has got a job here in NZ. Unlike me. Who has now been rejected by so many employers that it would just be tiresome to blog about each of them separately…(Huge Hi-Five for Cleverness goes out to an Aussie called Kane for nicknaming me ‘Plunket Flunket’…Yes thats right, the latest employer to doubt my worth is the really awesome parent educator and baby help organization that basically saved my life when i was going nuts with my first baby. Which was not enough of a recommendation for them to give me a job. Sigh.)

Lucky HRH. Not only does he get to leave the house everyday for 8 hours. He doesnt have to endure people telling him how lucky he is that he can sit on his ass all day and “do nothing.” (I hate people who say that. Hate them, hate them. For the record AGAIN: I am not doing nothing! I am cleaning, cooking, writing a future bestseller novel, hiding from my annoying neighbors and killing my plants. I am intensely busy.)

But once again, i digress. This blog is about HRH. Who has a 6 week job at a sheetmetal fabrication workshop. Where he gets to meet some fascinating people. Like a man called John. Who grew up in a cult in the South Island back in the 70’s and 80’s. John and his cult lived in the bush somewhere and their leader was (supposedly) Jesus Christ. On his second coming to earth. Their Messiah happened to also be the father of quite a few of John’s contemporaries in the cult. They had tons of guns and ammo. And ‘lived off the land’. And at one point there werent enough women to go round and so they had to share them. And then they had too many women and so every man got to have at least two. They just built each wife her own little bush hut.

John helpfully told HRH – “but you would know all about that because you Mormons do it too right?! How many wives have you got?” HRH told him ( sadly), that he wasnt that kind of Mormon and no, he had only one. And he didnt think that he could handle two wives in a cult because the one wife he did have would not be very happy with living in a little bush hut anyway…(Damn straight!)

John shook his head sympathetically.

HRH then asked John how and why did he leave the cult? Wasnt that like, really hard to do? John replied, ” The cult broke up because our Messiah died. It was a shock. We thought he was Christ and so him dying was real unexpected.”

(Yeah, I guess that would kinda be a wake up call wouldnt it?)

And now i am SOOOOOOOO envious of HRH. Who has a real job. Because I want to get out in the big bad world and meet super fascinating people too. Totally. Totally. I want to get down and bond with former cult members.

Instead Im stuck here chatting to Dora the Explorer. And dancing along to the Wiggles. Not half way as interesting as HRH’s day.

I am afraid.

I used to walk the Beast to school.Because I am a healthy, fitness-loving, outdoorsy kinda mum. (bleugh)

The Beast is going to preschool three days a week. (Everybody cheer with me – Yaaaaaaaay!) She loves it. The sandpit, the water play, the painting, the bird called Bella, the boys that she bosses around, the dancing and the kickball. But. Most mornings she has conveniently forgotten that she had a blast the day before and so she refuses to go to preschool. She would rather sit and watch 24 hrs of Dora on cable tv. And so as we would take the 5 minute stroll to her school, she would start up. Crying. Whimpering. Screaming. Sitting down on the pavement and refusing to budge. Appealing to complete strangers for assistance. It went a little something like this –

“Somebody help me!! I dont wanna go! Help! Help!”

The Beast is a Drama Queen of epic proportions. Who we have all over-adored and over-worshipped. (The only thing i can say in my lame defence as a mother who has over indulged her child – is that the Beast is my very last baby. And so mothering her thus far has been heavily influenced by bereft feelings of loss and nostalgia, sniff sniff, no more babies for me…) So when I would tug on her hand and smile and speak in soothing, appeasing tones, she responded by upping the volume. And putting on an Academy Award performance.

“I dont want to go. You’re hurting meeee! I dont like you! Somebody help me! I want my Dada! I dont like you! I want Vale! Im afraid…Im afraid!” ( Vale being the name of the super sweet babysitter back in Samoa who would indulge her every whim and fancy.)

And as I alternately threatened, cajoled and pulled her along the street I was cringing internally with fear. Because NZ has laws about not smacking children. And theres so many cases of horific child abuse in the news every week, so I was sure that everybody and their dog who lives on this street – were all secretly looking out their window as we went by. And they were speed dialling the Child Protection Agency. To report a ‘typical BROWN polynesian mother who is obviously mistreating her child right there in front of my house, come quick!’

And I wanted to carry a big placard that screamed : “This is my daughter. She is not abused or mistreated in any way. She is just totally spoilt rotten and we are now rueing the consequences of aforementioned spoiling.” The other side of the card would read – “Somebody help Meeeeee! I’m this beastly child’s mother and I’m afraid! I’m afraid!”

And so now? I drive the Beast to school. So nobody can hear her screaming. And nobody can see me being a bad mother and totally ignoring her.

Confessions of a BYU Hater.


BYU…Forever Happily After.

I have a confession to make. It has to do with BYU (Brigham Young University, USA), Mormons and getting married. It goes a little something like this.

I used to think that BYU was a university where Mormons went for the sole purpose of getting married. Not only that – I used to think that finding another Mormon to marry was the ONLY reason why anybody would want to go to school there. Whenever BYU would come up in conversation, I would scoff and cast aspersions upon its academic worth. Whenever anyone asked me if I was planning to go to school there ( which happens a lot when you’re a teenage Mormon living in the USA and applying for colleges…) – I would look horrified at such a RIDICULOUS assumption. Insulted. I would be like…’What?! Are you nuts? No, of course Im NOT applying there! Unlike those Mormons, I’m going to university to LEARN. So I can get a REAL degree in important stuff. Im not out to be married, barefoot and pregnant in the first year of my degree. No way! Im an intellectual who’s going places! (And so I went to Georgetown instead and did lots of academically challenging things. Like cut class so I could hang out with too many steaming hot basketball players. )Yes, I was very dismissive of BYU.

Now in my defence, I have my parents to largely blame for my discriminatory attitude towards BYU. They’re the ones who kept telling us that it was a school for academic wussies that only cared about finding a fairytale romance. My parents have four daughters and it was always their greatest fear that we would get married, quit school before getting any qualifications. And then voila – we would be barefoot and pregnant, baking bread and sewing quilts. Time and again they would tell me, ‘Lani, its all about choices. A lot of girls who go to BYU will just get married, start a family and never finish their degrees. And then when they’re stuck with a deadbeat husband who beats them, they wont be able to leave him because she’s got no job, no skills, zip, nada, nothing. Don’t go to BYU.” (I was obedient. I went to Victoria Uni instead, got married at the end of my first year and look at this beeeyoootiful quilt I just finished making ! And my GF bread is to die for…) So, all the BYU-ers out there, don’t get mad at me for being a former BYU-basher, blame it on my parents! ( Thanks to my parents I also have a degree. And they are very relieved that Im married to a wonderful NON-abusive husband, whew!)

Now Im older and wiser. And I have a teenage son who in a few short years, will be looking at universities. A son who announced that he wanted to go to BYU when he grew up. And my initial knee-jerk reaction was, “Eeeew! Yuck! Why?” And I started pondering 101 ways to change his mind. Without him realizing I was changing it for him. ( Parenting…all about manipulation u know…) I started doing buckets of research about BYU’s academic record – and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was the absolute opposite of abysmal. Okay, so maybe I was a teensie weensie bit wrong on that one. I opened my mind to the POSSIBILITY that BYU might be a decent school for my children to go to.

And then several things happened to confirm it. In the space of the last month. My son got himself a girlfriend. ( Read all about THAT angst in a previous whiny blog post.) And a BYU basketball player made headlines – he was kicked off the Cougars team because he broke the school honor code by having sex with his girlfriend. Wow. I was blown away. Because I have been a teacher at several different high schools and had to see star rugby players getting preferential treatment time and time again. Just because they could kick and run and tackle really really good. I have seen rules bent for them. Standards skewed for them. Excuses made for them. And it has totally driven me nuts. BYU’s code of conduct has me in humble awe. I salute a university that has the moral courage to hold its students to a higher standard. Without exception.

And now? Im really really sorry I ever dissed on BYU. Because I really really really want JB to go to school there. Sooner rather than later.

A Sneak Peek.

A sneak peek at my novel, Telesa … YA thriller/fantasy inspired by all the stories/legends of telesa. Its a love story set in modern day Samoa where different telesa can do assorted things like..summon volcanoes, burst into flame, stab you with a lightning strike or trigger an earthquake. Leila has come to Samoa from Washington DC in search of her mother. Daniel is Captain of the First XV at Samoa College ( and suspiciously S.B.W -ish.) JB said make sure theres lots of fight scenes with heaps of blowing things up. Sade asked for heaps of teenage girl angst and a believable relationship between the main characters. Have tried to satisfy both my literary mentors!

Prologue
“No…please….how to stop it? How can I stop it?” I burst into useless tears. Tears that fizzed and hissed in a heartbeat of heat. No amount of crying would help now. I wrung my hands…no, no, no way out of it. It was hopeless. In a few short moments I would be a mass murderer. A killer. In my minds eye, I could see it now. People on fire running in circles, frantically beating at the hungry flames. The smell of flesh scorching, peeling off ashy bone. Screams. Pleas for help. I sank to my knees, drained dry of strength. Unwilling to watch the carnage but unable to take my eyes away. I was drowning in a sea of fiery despair. Suffocating in a red night of terror.

A clear, calm voice spoke from beside me. “Call it back. You can do it. Call it back. Call it back NOW.”

I looked up, eyes glistening with molten tears. He stood as close to me as he dared, shielding his face from the heat with his hands, the edges of his clothes singed and charred.

“I can’t.” Abject despair in my voice. “I don’t know how.”

“Yes you can. You have the power. You know you do. You spoke to it before. It listens to you. Call it back now – before it’s too late. Please…”

It was the ‘please’ that did it. That snapped me out of the depths. He wanted me to call the fire. He believed that I could. And I wanted him to believe in me. Slowly, I raised myself from the ground, closed my eyes and willed that fiery beast to come home. To listen to me – it’s mistress. To return and feed instead on my molten core. I trembled at the very thought of the blaze finding its way back. How could I possibly summon it all when it had grown so exponentially as it fed? But this was my fault. I had to find the strength from somewhere. I opened my eyes and shuddered at the majesty of the sight before me.

Directly ahead of me was a massive wall of fire. It had stopped advancing across the field and now it stood waiting, the beast waited for my command. Now, it asked – what would you have me do? Opening my arms, every ounce of my being quivering with fear, I summoned it home.

I burned. Inside and out. I burned. There was indescribable pain and the knife edge of pleasure. It was ecstasy and hell all at once. Then as swiftly as it had begun, it stopped. I was empty. A dried husk scorched beyond belief. Withered and dead. I fell. The steaming darkness claimed me.

American Idol – Is it safe?

I am an avid follower of American Idol. The bestest part about it would have to be the insults. The crushing put-downs. The devastating critiques. And then we sit here and ask the TV – WHY? You fool! Why did you try out when you cant sing for @#$*&?! Yes, watching American Idol is great fun.

However, I confess I am puzzled. With all the soul-shredding comments that are dished out to hopeful contestants, I cannot understand why the Judges dont get stalked/threatened/attacked more often. Think back to some of Simon Cowell’s splendiferous critiques – why, they alone should have been enough for him to need 24 hr security, sign up for the Witness Protection Program even.

Now im not talking here about contestants getting murderous, Im thinking about contestants PARENTS getting murderous. Especially now that American Idol has lowered their entry age and hopefuls have to bring their mummy and daddy with them when they go to Hollywood.

Ive been thinking about it because, last week the Princess auditioned for the school choir. That’s right. Her little primary school of 300 children, situated within walking distance on my street, required choir hopefuls to AUDITION. I was aghast. And spent the day biting my nails to the quick. Because the Princess wants to be a famous singer when she grows up. No, strike that – the Princess KNOWS she’s going to be a famous singer when she grows up. ( And who are we to contradict her? We cant sing for #$@&*% so what do we know?) This is the child who challenges others school children to ‘sing offs’. Thats right. When she hears on the primary school grapevine that some other child has singing aspirations, she goes and she CHALLENGES them to a singing competition. This is the child who every other day, tells her teacher, ‘Miss, I have a new song I would like to sing for the class. Would that be alright?’ ( And who is the teacher to say no? The poor woman probably cant sing for #%@$^& either, so what does she know?)

I have heard my daughter sing. And yes, she TOTALLY does NOT take after me in the voice department. Because yes, she does have a rather stunning voice. And when you combine it with her graceful, J-Lo kick butt dance moves – well, then you just know this child is going to be a famous singer/dancer when she grows up. (But like i said, I cant sing for #@&#^%$ so I could be wrong…)

I was not happy that the school was having auditions. I was imagining a Simon Cowell wannabe ripping my daughter’s soul to shreds. And a Randy Jackson twin telling her, ‘You’ve got to bring something DIFFERENT to the song. That just didnt do it for me, sorry.‘ And a J-Lo clone bursting beautifully into tears as she tells her, ‘Im so sorry you didnt make it. You’re so talented and wonderful and sing like an angel but youre just not good enough for this choir. And its making me cry and mess up my makeup so we need to take a break now so everybody can focus on ME ME ME.

I spent the day preparing what i would do and say IF the child didnt make it into the school choir. ‘It’s alright darling, there’ll be other choirs, other shows. Come lets eat a gallon of soyamilk ice cream together.’ or ‘Dont worry about it, they dont know #%@^&%* about good singing. Lets go shopping at the mall and drown our sorrows in fashion…

I also spent the day thinking of all the things i SHOULDNT do to the choir teachers in charge of the audition, if my daughter had her dreams dashed. No, i would NOT slash their tyres or put maple syrup in their oil tank. No, I would NOT put their faces on ‘NZ Most Wanted’ as escaped dream-dasher criminals. No, I would not import centipedes from Samoa to accidentally release into their briefcases. No, i would NOT
curse, scream, weep or chain my self to the school flagpole and demand my child put into the school choir OR ELSE. No. I would be calm, gracious and understanding.

And then my resolve didnt need to be tested ( and I could cancel my order for paintbombs) because the Princess came home and happily announced that yes, she had made it into the choir! Yippee!

And I was oh so relieved. And Im even more surprised that Simon, Randy, J-Lo, Steven and all those other Idol judges – are still alive. Unscathed. And un-tire-slashed. Wow. What tremendous restraint American parents have. I am so thankful that the Princess is in the choir. And we cant wait to hear the choir perform.

And now, when i watch American Idol this weekend, I will be oh-so-more sympathetic when hopefuls totally stink. I will say, ‘Oh, you poor thing. Never mind. Good on you for having the courage to try. There will be other shows. Other auditions. Other career choices. Other dreams.’

I’ll be a nicer American Idol watcher. Because really, I cant sing for #%@$**% – so what do I know?

It’s gotta hurt.


Like a kick in the butt…

JB was a BAD boy and got put on detention yesterday at his high school. He had chosen to turn his nose up at wearing the regulated black school shoes and instead he wore some other pair of sloppy footwear. “Everybody else does it!” he whined.

But some dutiful prefect busted him. And as punishment ( DRUMROLL PLEASE) – he was given a piece of paper with the school dress code on it and a passage on why it was ethically and morally wrong to break it. He had to bring the paper home and copy it word for word on a piece of A4, have me sign it, then return it to the front desk and pop it in a box. That was it. That was the full sum and total of his punishment.

I was flabbergasted. Excuse me?! In what parallel universe does writing a few sentences on a bit of paper actually constitue as DETENTION? What the heck is he going to learn from that, may I ask? What the heck kind of suffering is paragraph writing?

Now, I know that the days of caning students and knocking them about with a yardstick are long gone. That such practises are illegal, inhumane and quite rightly relegated to the dungeons of ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. But honestly, what kid is going to dread detention if there isnt some measure of discomfort and irritation involved?

Why, back in the dayzzz at SamCo, we would weed, cut grass with a bush knife, clean the toilets ( Ugh..i feel nauseaous 20 years later just thinking abt that one), wipe windows and sweep classrooms. Three detentions and we would get Hard Labour. Which would usualy be triple doses of any or all of the above. We HATED detention. We LOATHED it. We FEARED it. It was hard work. And humiliating – as power hungry prefects lorded over us with gleeful smiles. Yes, sure people still broke the rules once in a while. But when they did, they knew they had a price to pay.

I ask you – how can any school rules really have any OOMPH in them if they have such wimpy consequences? Whats going to happen if he does something really awful? Like swear at a teacher? Will they make him write a whole essay maybe? Oooooh thats scary! OR list 101 reasons why he shouldnt say bad words? Ouch, that really hurts!

I dont know. Is this a reason why theres so many teenagers running around here doing whatever the heck they please at school? I go to JB’s school and Im surrounded by kids who throw out ripples of F-words even though a teacher is right in front of them. I see couples getting passionately passionate in the hallway, in the canteen, in the classroom – totaly oblivious to whos around them. (and the Samoan in me is screaming, ‘Oka ka’i makaga! Smack them!’

I’ve decided. Next time JB gets school detention, it’s gotta hurt. Im going to make him – scrub the toilet with a toothbrush, cut the grass with a dinner knife and dig a hole to China with a fork.

And THEN write a essay about it.

Get Naked… Or not.

There’s one thing I really admire about people who are not brown. (ie. white people. ie. People who didnt grow up in the same country I did.) Their ability to wear swimsuits. Regardless of their age, size, shape or bountifulness.

MOST people who grew up in the same country I did, wouldnt be caught dead in a swimsuit. When they go to the beach or the pool, they will wear any combination of any (or all) of the following:knee length shorts, a voluminous t-shirt, a tanktop, a lavalava, a mu’umu’u floorlength dress, and sometimes underneath all of it they will ALSO be wearing..( wait for it) …a swimsuit. Now of course there are those brown people – usually in the younger generation, who will wear skimpy swimming outfits. But NEVER when their elders are about. And only if they are skinny and fabuloso. And when they do, the rest of those on the beach ( who are all struggling to stay afloat as their denim shorts and big t-shirts drag them down into the ocean depths) – will then sit there and loudly talk about what skanky ho’s those skinny swimsuit girls are. Because, its just not ‘Samoan’ to display one’s body for all and sundry to gape at. ( Never mind that we ran around topless before the missionaries came along and ruined it for us.) Needless to say, I have never gone swimming wearing ONLY a swimsuit. Even before the fabulous Five came along and destroyed my Sports Illustrated shape. ( everybody laugh together and say, yeah right!)

But now I live in NZ. And I go to the swimming pool to do my water jogging ( a fantastic way to exercise I must add – no sweating, no dogs trying to bite you, no killers hiding in the bushes waiting to kill you, and complete weightlessness!) And at the pools I am surrounded by…really old women, really young women, really large women, really skinny women, really bountiful women and really bountiless women. And all of them are quite happily wearing nothing but swimsuits! Bikinis! Thongs! Maillots! And quite uncaring of all the fludgy bits that blob out where bits shouldnt. Its wonderful. And I am awed by their fiery confidence and complete disregard for whatever anyone else may be thinking

.Nobody sits in a cluster and calls out, ‘Eh suga! makua lapoa kele lou vae!…Eh vaai le la loomakua ma ana ofu valea!…Auoi! kai makaga le la fafine!’ Nope. Nobody tells you you’re too fat, too old, too ugly, too wrinkly, too flat chested to wear anything but a sack. Nope. Nobody cares. Everybody just wears their thing and gets on with doing their thing. Swimming. Diving. Walking. Jogging. Wow. I take my knee length shorts and voluminous shirt off and salute you all! (theoretically and figuratively speaking of course…) All of us brown people who still believe in wearing double layers in the pool or at the beach – could sure learn a few things from these women.

However. In my humble opinion…there is such a thing as taking a good thing…waaaay too far. In the changing rooms, it is rather horrifying. Because lots of these same women, are so cool about their bodies…that they take all their clothes off and shower/dry off/get changed and dont give a hoot who’s around. And for a girl who grew up in the country where you still need to put a lavalava on OVER pants during ceremonial ocasions…it is truly disturbing to walk into the changing room and be confronted by all these naked people. Ugh. And not only that, they are having chats and casual conversations with each other. And not even making any effort to cover up. Or hide behind a flowery lavalava. Or a curtain. And I cringe and shudder and make a hasty dash for it. And scream silently – for goodness sake, put some clothes on!  Yes you can say Im riddled with ‘hangups’ and accuse me of being ‘prudish’ or crippled by weak body image issues or whatever. But its probably more of a cultural thing because honestly, I have yet to see a brown woman get butt naked in the ladies public changing room.

But I could be wrong. Because after all, Im running so fast to get the heck outta there and trying frantically to get my eyes to look everywhere EXCEPT at all the naked people. So its totally possible that I could have missed the brown woman strutting her stuff at the opposite end of the room. (thank goodness) Now I have no problems with people wearing revealing clothing. Heck, the days when I would wriggle into a tiny mini-skirt and dance on tables are not THAT long ago. (cue another group, ‘Yeah right!’) If people wanna go skimpy, then hey, go for it! But in my perfect world, the swimming pool changing rooms would have a sign on the door. In neon lights. Pleeeease dont get naked unless everybody in the room wants you to!

So yes I am very admiring of women who love their bodies enough to wear swimsuits. And I might even take my big t-shirt off next time I go to the pool. Ta-Da!

But until Im living in my ‘perfect world’ – I’ll keep doing my mad dash through the change rooms, averting my eyes and pretending that everyone has their clothes on.

P.S – And impt end note. Speedos. Tiny little swim underwear on men? Disgusting. Please dont EVER make the mistake of thinking they’re a good idea. Even if you’re built like Sonny Bill Williams? Still, DONT DO IT. Speedos are bad on any man. Every man. Are a crime against humanity and should be feared as such.

I am a Junkie.

You know what gives me a breathless slightly delirious feeling?

Recycling.

I love it. They have this big wheelie bin thing that youre supposed to put all your metals, glass and plastc in and then once every two weeks, a huge truck chugs along and takes it away. Where ( Im assuming) it’s all translated into –

1. Points in heaven for me as i contribute to further saving of the planet. Like a big KACHING Bingo board where angels call out, “Lani Young, another 38 cans of Diet Coke recyled!” And all the ghosts of endangered and extinct species cheer and give me a standing ovation. Yaaaay! ( and all the people who dropped dead due to excessive consumption of Diet Coke, go Booooooo…)

2. Lots of shiny NEW things that i will buy and then recycle again! (I bet Mufasa never knew his ‘Great Circle of Life’ applied to such frivolous things as my milk bottles. And pizza boxes.)

I have to say that there is just something so incredibly satisfying about stomping on cans and bottles to get them as flat as you can so you can cram MORE and MORE of them into the limited space bin. HRH hasnt even finished the last precious drops of his Diet Coke and Im making a sprint for the can…”I got it! I got it!” So i can smash it and add it to my growing treasure trove. Im even going through my regular rubbish bin, finding bottles that people HAVENT put in the recycler and screaming, “WHO PUT THIS IN HERE!? DONT YOU KNOW YOURE KILLING GORGEOUS BABY DOLPHINS WITH THIS THING!” Well, we prob arent but still, it sounds better than saying “DONT YOU KNOW YOURE CLOGGING UP LANDFILLS WITH THIS THING?”

But im ashamed to confess that my obsession with recycling doesnt really have much to do with saving Mufasas circle of life land at all. No. I am just obsessed with filling that bin to the top, cramming more and more stuff into it…if i could just squish this can a little tinier…And i take furtive sneak peeks at OTHER peoples recycling bins and laugh to myself wickedly, ‘HAHAHA nobody has as much aluminium and plastic as ME!” ha ha ha. And i feel triumphant. Like i have meaning and worth in this world….YES!

Okay. That makes me sound INCREDIBLY lame. I am a Class D – Derwit. I think i need to get a life…

Speaking of recycling though – theres some things i really wish i could recycle.
Like a 3 yr old’s hugs and kisses. Nobody can hug and kiss like a 3yr old i reckon. And when shes the last 3yr old you know youre ever going to have, her kisses and hugs are all the more precious. I wish i could put some of them away in a giant wheelie bin and stow them away. For the day not so far off when shes too cool to REALY hug me. And give me LOUD lip-smacking kiss kiss noises. For the day when she moves out. Goes to school. Gets a job. Finds a man. And gives him ALL her hugs and kisses. Then, whenever i felt a little lonely. Or like life kinda stank, i would gently open up my wheelie bin of recyclable 3yr old love – and take out a hug and kiss. Or two.

Oh and this is sooooo off the topic, but kinda about recycling still. I was thinking wouldnt it TOTALLY make sense to take the fat that they remove during liposuction, and use it to give someone breast implants at the same time? So theoretically speaking, IF one were so inclined…one could pay for ONE operation and wake up – skinnier AND booostier!

Hows THAT for recycling!?


Its all MINE, mine, mine, mine…