Sunday, 27 May 2012


As I was walking to work the other day, a man in a metallic blue car pulled up the kerb and asked directions. Recalling lessons from several personal protection/self-defence classes, I took a step back from the car and quickly shouted directions into his open window. After confirming the directions (which when repeated sounded incorrect) we both moved off towards the roundabout which was only a few feet down the road and stopped at the intersection, confronted with a rather unusual sight.

In the middle of the slightly raised roundabout was an amazing looking woman. Her prematurely grey hair hung think and well coiffed, falling perfectly to her slim shoulders. She wore rich earth-tones over a dark blue silk shirt which perfectly matched her brilliant sapphire eyes. However, what was most striking was that she was sitting very erect, like a professional dancer, perfectly poised atop a mechanical wheelchair - the type you would see advertised, very loudly, in a mid-day commercial aimed at hearing impaired old people who are yelled at that they CAN! GET! MOBILE! AGAIN! Her only accessory was a black, chubby, smooched-faced pug attached to a rope-like leash.

She must have seen the blue car stop to ask directions and seeing that the road was clear had started to cross the road diagonally only to have made it half way by the time we had finished our short conversation (she obviously had not attended the same courses where you are taught to keep your distance, be quick and pass them on to someone else or refuse to give them directions if you feel at all uncomfortable, or she would have known how quickly I can shout out wrong directions and move on).

While she was waving him around her and he was waving her around him, another car approached the intersection causing a rather stressful traffic jam. Like a trained traffic warden, she kept waiving her arms around for people to go, obviously embarrassed to be causing a bit of chaos on an otherwise sleepy road. But no one would budge. Finally she stopped waiving and with a huff of protest and a slight raise of her chin she started rolling towards the sidewalk where I was standing, still waiting to cross.

Everything was going just fine until, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, the pug stopped and just rolled over onto its back in the middle of the street. The woman rolled along for a moment before noticing that she was now dragging the pug, upside down, along the road. She stopped, glanced around at the cars that were now going to be late to wherever they were going and looked back at the pug and gently said "come on Pugsley." But Pugsley was going nowhere fast. He was LOVING the back rub on the rough cement and did not have a care in the world.

At this point I decided help was needed. I approached the pair and leaned down to Pugsley who got really excited at the expectation of getting a belly rub and started to do a little upside down happy dance. I picked up the squishy pug, set him on his feet and gave him a little push in the right direction. Meanwhile his "mom" was saying "it's okay, it just takes him a little time to get started..." Once we had all safely crossed and the cars had gone, I looked back over my shoulder and saw Pugsley rolled over on his back in the freshly cut grass doing the happy dance again.

Monday, 14 May 2012


A friend of mine who is getting married kindly invited me to her hen do/bachlorette party a few weekends ago. Being originally from Mexico, the whole night had a Mexican theme. We started with a tequila tasting, had some amazing Mexican food and went out salsa dancing (we were looking for mariachi dance club but failed miserably... how do those not exist?). While partaking in the tequila tasting, the bartenders asked for volunteers to help make some of the drinks. Two of us jumped on the opportunity and what was pitched as a friendly how-to course on making passion fruit mojitos (with tequila) quickly revealed itself as a competition to see who could make the best drinks in the least amount of time. Looking back, this may have had more to do with the participants than the bartenders.

For those of you who don't know me, I like a little competition... So I rolled up my sleeves, handed my sombrero and maracas to another hen/bachlorette and went for it - there was ice flying everywhere, tequila being poured a bit too heavily and lots of shaking and muddling happening. During all of this a SLEW of photos were being taken - our group had quickly turned from on-lookers to paparazzi. I imagine it was the manic flailing of arms, intense focus and total chaos that caused the frenzied photo taking. Ultimately we finished pretty much simultaneously (probably due to the fact that we were using the same utensils) so we participated in a penalty shoot out of sorts and had to do a shot of tequila, without using our hands, as the decision maker... she never stood a chance.

However, my glorious triumph was short lived once I saw the photos. I was expecting some cute, fun candids of me behind the bar with a shaker in hand - or cutting up some passion fruits, or mid-pour. Instead I was met with pictures of me looking super intense and actually kind of scary. I just jotted it down as being a bad photo or two taken in bad lighting from a bad angle by a bad photographer - that is, until the next morning when my husband and I were looking at the photos and he stopped on one of me bar-tending, zoomed way in and said "HA! that is totally your 'I'm working' face!" I took ahold of the camera with the 30x zoom I was now regretting paying extra for and examined the photo again.

I had a huge frown. My chin which had somehow become dimpled, was pulled in closely to my throat creating a twelve-chin-melding-into-neck effect that I was positive had never been featured on American's Next Top Model. My hair was a complete mess - my bangs/fringe, instead of hanging down in a lovely curtain were parted and oddly sticking out right along my ill-placed cow-lick. The rest of my dishevelled hair was tucked behind an ear with a little section somewhat stuck to my face like a weird sideburn. But I did have a pout... of sorts. My bottom lip was protruding as a result of my clenched jaw which somehow further accentuated my dozen chins.  THAT'S MY WORKING FACE??!!!??

I was in denial at first. I mean surely it was just a really bad photo. I could not POSSIBLY look like that on a regular basis. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that the occasional reflection I would catch of myself in my laptop screen, or the times I would turn my iPhone on to have the camera facing me... those were not fluke bad face moments... they were The Working Face (TWF) in full effect. It was one of those penny-dropping moments, where you have the little movie montage that runs through your head and suddenly that one piece of information explains so much.

I used to work in a fish bowl rrr..... I mean law office, where my computer and seat faced a window which had an amazing view of... wait for it... the hall. I know - you are seething with jealously! People (read partners) would pass my office and with a slight flick of the head look in to see 1) if I was still chained to my desk and 2) if I was still hard at work. I had a reputation for being a very diligent and hard working associate and would constantly have people (read partners) pop by to see how I was holding up and make comments like "sure looks like you are hard at work!" I never really understood these comments until the TWF photo. TWF is not only wholly unattractive, but it also makes me look like I am working so hard that I am actually in physical pain. The best bit is that sometimes people would comment on TWF when I was looking at something like dresses, puppies or houses or while I was reading the latest gossip on Lindsay Lohan (which would arguable cause most people to pull TWF).

Ultimately that weekend taught me a lot. 1) A passion fruit tequila mojito is only as good as the bar tender making it; 2) Jose Cuervo is not actual tequila (and is so vile that the makers decided to market it with salt and lime to make it remotely drinkable*); and 3) I need get rid of TWF. That statement just made me relax my features and grin a little at the computer screen. So much nicer than the twelve chin frowning monster. Maybe TWF is the actual reason my old computer kept crashing. This new one without the camera seems be be doing just fine!

*I am not sure this is actually true.