Sunday, June 29, 2014

Things Happen In Threes

What is that they say about the number three? Third time's the charm? And things happen in threes?

I don't know if third time was the charm. Actually I do know that third time definitely wasn't the charm. But things really do seem to happen in threes.

I was hit on again. By another geriatric.

I don't know what type of pheromones I'm releasing but I'm pretty sure they smell a little of moth balls and liniment. That's the perfumes that old people like isn't it? Or maybe I'm attractive to the over-80 set because I'm using testosterone and they are attracted to something that they used to have but they've lost.

I'm so hoping that this is the very last time that it happens. Because whenever it does I'm torn between telling them to take a hike and not disrespecting my elders.

This last time happened on Saturday. In the checkout queue at Aldi's. With my husband. Well, actually my husband wasn't there when it happened. He'd been standing there with me but his back is a bit niggly at the moment so I'd sent him off so he could just walk around or stretch it out.

As soon as Iven was out of ear-shot my would-be-suitor pounced.

Let me just paint a picture of him because I couldn't exactly ask him for a photo - he may have taken that as a come-on. Bald, apart from a few straggly grey hairs around the sides. Wing-nut ears with long, pendulous lobes. And at least four teeth missing - of the ones I could see. I suppose that it was good that he had some of his own teeth - that's a step up from Denture Man.

He nudged me with his elbow and said, "Are you going to go wild when you have that wild berry?"

Wild berry? No. Obviously his eyesight was fading too.

And my response to his flattering advance? No witty repartee. No quick retort. Just a pained smile and a quick prayer that the check-out chick would move faster and I could be out of there ASAP.

I wished I'd said "Oh yes. I'm getting hot just thinking about it. . . sorry no, that was just a hot flush."

I'm seriously thinking of offering my services as wingman to rich, elderly widows who aren't particularly fussy. 

"No I'm not available but my good friend Gladys/Elsa/Flora/Violet is." 

Pretty sure I could make a killing at the retirement villages.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I'm not sure how to start this post.

There are moments in life that just leave you speechless. Gob-smacked. Flabbergasted. Traumatised!

Maybe that's why I'm finding it so hard to start - I'm suffering from PTSD. But bottling the trauma up inside is not going to help me move on so, as hard as it is to find the words, I'm going to try to get it out so the healing can start.

But before I start I need to give you some background info.

I have a cleaner come in every week to clean my house. Evelyn has quite possibly saved my marriage and the lives of people I love. When the kids were little and I was working 70+hours a week establishing my business, she was the reason that I wasn't screaming like a banshee at my family if they left a mess anywhere. If I had to clean the house and it was being trashed as soon as I was finished I was a psycho.

I wasn't particularly fond of cleaning house. But I was less fond of living is squalor so I did it. Very ungraciously. 

And then, like an angel sent from heaven, Evelyn arrived.

Her weekly visits saved my husband and children from a brutal, bloody death and me from a life of baking cupcakes in a prison kitchen.

Evelyn has been making her weekly visits for about fifteen years now. And she's almost like one of the family. She's seen the kids grow up. The dogs adore her. Iven loves that he no longer is nagged about doing his share. And I just love coming home from doing the groceries on Thursday to have the house smelling clean.

But yesterday she did something that's bordering on unforgivable.

After she finishes cleaning she always has a cup of tea and I'll often offer her a cupcake or a piece of cake. Which she usually accepts. She enjoys it and I get to rid myself of excess cake. I never mind sharing the cakes because I love to bake them but I don't particularly like to eat them and there's only just so much that the family can get through.

I started work, as I usually do, before she left and, as she usually does, she dropped past my workroom to say goodbye. But before she said goodbye yesterday she said, 

"I hope you don't mind but I helped myself to a couple of pieces of your rocky road. I love home-made rocky road!"

Just typing that has my heart racing and my heart thumping. 

My home-made rocky road is sacrosanct! No one gets a piece unless I, the bestower of all things sweet and chocolatey, deem it thus. My husband knows this (and he also knows that I put in lots of nuts because he doesn't like nuts and won't be tempted to break his marital vows). My kids know this. Even my kids' girlfriends know this. 

No. One. Touches. My. Rocky Road!!

So many thoughts flashed through my head at the speed of light. Some involved assault with a deadly weapon - they were the most fun. Some involved torture - I've heard that needles inserted under the toenails can be quite excruciating and I have plenty of needles in my workroom. Some involved a gentler approach of just screaming incoherently until she became so terrified of all the crazy that she dropped the rocky road as she fled. And yes I totally would have picked it up out of the dirt and eaten it. Only after I'd dusted it off - I'm NOT an animal.

But, amid all the voices in my head imploring me to do bad things to the mean lady, there was one loud voice of reason that reminded me of just how much I love my clean house every Thursday. That I can always make another batch of rocky road but there's only one Evelyn. And it was this voice that prevailed.

It still took me every last ounce of self restraint to stop me from chasing her down, tackling her to the ground and prying those two chunks of delicious goodness out of her grasp.

Twenty-four hours on and I'm coming to terms with my loss. And I have a plan to prevent it from ever happening again. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

News, News and More News

After last week's events I'm finding it hard to enjoy my morning coffee trip. Having been accosted interrupted twice in one week I'm finding it hard not to scan the seats for white and grey-headed old lions on the prowl. I'm scanning all the seats before I choose my own and looking for the one furthest away from any likely Casanova in the hope that distance and dodgy hips or knees will be enough of a deterrent. I'm seriously dreading pension day!

In other news - Toby got a new toy.

I'm not entirely sure what animal it's supposed to be but I know that after only a couple of plays it was blinded. They don't make dog toys quite sturdy enough for tug-of-war-death-matches between two determined combatants. 

We did manage to find one eyeball. But the other seems to have disappeared. And my theory as to where it's disappeared should be proven any day now. I'm desperately hoping that it's been eaten and will be passed as the crowning glory to an epic power dump. I'd even be prepared to risk the $220 council fine just to enjoy the knowledge that some poor unsuspecting person might find this Cyclopean creation and be haunted by the memory of a poo that would win any staring competition.  

I know - I'm just a little strange.

And more news - my half brother, who's visiting for 10 weeks with his fiancée and baby, has decided to get married while he's here. It's going to be like a pop-up wedding. There's about four weeks to organise everything but so far so good. Clothes have been bought. Celebrants have been sourced. As has a venue. And it looks like I'll be on cake-duty. So I've been practising.

I need to work a little bit on getting the fondant on without wrinkles if they choose to go traditional.

This one is my homage to Game of Thrones. A crown. And all the blood shed to win the crown. 

And my final bit of news - I'll be running my tenth 10k at Gold Coast in just over a week's time. I know I haven't mentioned much about training lately but it has been happening. In fact it's been going pretty well. I've had a couple of successful 60k+ weeks (the + was because of a few unexpected detours in search of toilets) and some runs that have been confidence-building. My aim is to get under the 50 minute mark again this year and Monday's run of 16k where the last 8k were all under the 5 minute mark (except for two of them that included hills - and they weren't much over 5 mins).

Over to you. What's been happening in your world?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened At The Coffee Shop

I'm pretty sure someone tried to pick me up yesterday.

I say pretty sure because I've never been terribly aware of the subtle dance between men and women. I probably would have done well in caveman times when the woman got hit over the head with a club and was dragged away by her paramour. Nothing understated about being hit over the head - I would never miss that clue.

I was at my coffee shop just waiting for my coffee to be made before going to the movies with Iven. Iven had declined a coffee, due to his ever-shrinking bladder that tends to require relieving at the most climactic moment of any film, so I was there by myself when a voice from behind me said "Excuse me."

It wasn't an 'excuse me because I ate a meal of beans and cabbage last night' or an 'excuse me because you and your enormous purse are in my way'. It was an 'excuse me, I'd like your attention' kind of excuse me. And, being that I was the only person there, I knew it was directed at me so I turned around.

And there he was. A slight, wizened man of  advancing years with a peaked cap perched jauntily on his head.

"I just wanted to share this advertisement I was reading." He held out a magazine. "It claims it can help men get their self-confidence back."

I couldn't actually read the ad that he'd pushed in my direction but I watch quite a lot of late night TV programming and I know what can give men their confidence back - in the bedroom. It usually involves a nasal spray and the quirky little ditty - up your nose and away it goes.

A question flashed through my head - what exactly about me says 'talk to me about premature ejaculation'? Is it the red scarf? Red is a pretty sexy colour, I've heard.

I looked over at the barista, hoping desperately that my coffee was almost done but she was only just pouring the milk into the jug. No reprieve for me - I was going to hear all about what can make men get their self-esteem into better shape.

He pushed the magazine even further forward so I could see it more clearly. A picture of a woman running her fingers through her man's thick hair and the name of a company who promises help with hair loss. Phew! No need to chat with a stranger about the mechanics of the male organ.

My new friend went on to say that he found it sad that men might be so lacking in character (his words, not mine) that losing their hair would make them feel less about themselves. He himself was 90 and being a bit bald didn't worry him. And what did I think about bald men?

I told him that the only problem I could see with bald men is that they'd get cold heads in winter. Which made him laugh - hard enough to displace his upper dentures. And they never seemed to click back into place for the rest of our conversation. There's nothing more riveting than the potential horror of a denture being propelled with force away from its owner. Unless of course said denture was covered in the cake its owner had just been eating.

But before disaster could strike, my coffee was called. And as I said a relieved good-bye, he winked at me. That's when I realised that he was trying out his moves on me.

Or he might have just had a twitch in his eye. See I told you I wasn't good at this sort of stuff.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You Should Buy a Lottery Ticket

Have you every been watching the news and thought to yourself "Wow! He's a lucky guy. He should go out and buy a lottery ticket."

It's usually in relation to a near miss. Like with this guy.

Or an uncanny coincidence. Like this guy who gets knocked off his bicycle only to land on a mattress.

Well, I actually got to meet one of those 'lucky' guys today. At my local shopping centre. And I should have taken him straight to the newsagent to buy a lottery ticket or at least a scratch-it.

I was just sitting down, minding my own business and doing the crossword in the newspaper, when the 'lucky' guy walked by me. He paused by my table, looked down at my phone (which I was using to help with a clue) and said "It's cheating if you use your phone."

Really? Cheating?? I didn't know that doing a crossword for relaxation was like doing an exam. And that he was a self-appointed moderator. And personally I'm not a big fan of having strangers coming and telling me that I'm doing things wrong. Except if it's to do with changing a tyre and the thing I'm doing wrong may end up in me being crushed under a car. In that situation I'm more than happy for a stranger to intervene.

It's not like I'd go up to him while he's eating his KFC for breakfast (which he did) and say to him "you're cheating on your diet." 

So why is he lucky? He's lucky that I have amazing self-restraint despite having three nights of barely sufficient sleep and quite the case of PMS (or is it menopause? or both overlapping in one spectacular fireball of hormones?) And he's lucky that my death stare doesn't actually cause death ... yet. Believe me, I'm working on that particular skill. But I'm pretty sure he's aware that he over-stepped after I told him that I really didn't care about his opinions.

And on the subject of PMS -

A special gift from a special person who really gets me. It's funny because it's true.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Hypothetical Question

I have a hypothetical question.

Where is the best, most discrete place to drop one in a supermarket?

You do know what I mean don't you? Pass wind. Bottom burp. Play the butt trumpet. Cut the cheese. Fire a stink torpedo. Elevate to Gas Master status. Conduct a methane gas experiment. Pop a fluffy. Shoot the cannon.

I was left to ponder this question yesterday when I popped into the local Coles to pick up a couple of things.

The obvious answer is in an empty aisle where you can make a quick get-away. But what if that aisle is the fresh bread aisle? It's one of life's little pleasures to be able to inhale the deliciously fragrant aroma of warm bread. Letting one rip there is really a crime against humanity. Especially if you go into that aisle specifically just to breathe deeply and reminisce.

That warm yeasty aroma always makes me nostalgic. It takes me back to the days when there used to be a big bakery not far from our school, on our route home from softball practice. We'd have gone straight from school to practice and by the time we were finished we were always starving. And the scent of the baking bread would waft over the park. We would be drawn to it like bees to honey or Mickey Mouse to the delicious smell of baking.

I would never be brave enough to ask. But that's what bigger sisters are for. And she was brave enough to ask even after our Mum had banned us from begging for bread again. But when Mum found a still-warm loaf hidden under the bed the gig was up for ever. My Mum had, and still has, the nose of a bloodhound.

So in my quest to relive the good old days, I managed to inhale something that surely could not have come from a human. And my reaction was a little like this monkey's - but without actually falling down in the aisle. I also may have gagged a little - so glad I still carry the airline vomit bag in my purse.

I totally understand that flatulence can be hard to contain at times. Sometimes all it takes is a hug from a family member to help it on its way. Or a sudden cough or sneeze. But assuming one had just enough control over the situation, there would be way better aisles to play a sphincter song. Like the seafood aisle. It always smells a bit funky. Or the deli where they keep all the stinky cheeses. Or even in the cleaning products aisle - they're bound to have air freshener in there that needs testing.

Any other ideas?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cringe-worthy Moments

Cringe-worthy moments - we've all had them. They're those moments that you did or said something you desperately wish you could take back. But they're the moments that eventually fade into amusing anecdotes. Given enough time.

I have two stellar cringes.

Both were in my years of procreation. I found that all the niceties you'd been taught - to keep your knees together, to be modest, to keep your private parts private - go out the window when you're pregnant. You show bits of yourself, that you'd never dream showing in normal circumstances, to complete strangers. Who hasn't, in the throes of labour, offered to let someone check how far they're dilated only to find out that the person you were offering yourself up to was just there to do a quick tidy of the room and check supplies?

My first cringe-worthy moment was in my first pregnancy. I can talk about it now because it was over 27 years ago and time heals all excruciating embarrassment. I'd found a lump in my left breast. My doctor wasn't too concerned but wanted me to have it checked out just to be sure. So I went to my hospital appointment and was told to undress, put on a hospital gown and wait to be examined by an intern.

And I waited. And waited (it was a public hospital and a two hour wait is almost mandatory in a public hospital when you're basically naked). Finally someone came into the room and it happened to be a someone I had gone to high school with. Cringe!

I had to let him examine my huge, bovine breasts and as he was doing so, it dawned on me that he didn't actually recognise me. But instead of thinking 'phew, I've dodged a bullet there' I proceeded to introduce myself. Yep - I had to remind him that we'd been classmates just a few short years before. More cringe!!

And then his supervisor came in with a full complement of other students in tow to discuss my 'friend's' findings. Luckily I was allowed to cover myself up by then. It was decided that the lump was just a fibrous benign lump.

Being that it was a teaching hospital, that was a good moment for the supervisor to actually do a bit of teaching. He asked the group when would be the best time for surgery on a pregnant woman if the lump did need to be removed. There was dead silence. Until I piped up with an answer - the right answer, I might add.

I may have not had any dignity left but at least I could leave on a winning note.

My other incredibly cringe-worthy moment came in my third pregnancy. I was at ten weeks and I'd started to have some bleeding and cramping. It wasn't a lot of blood and the cramping hadn't gone on for too long but I knew that I needed to get checked out. So Iven took me up to the hospital.

They took me straight in and I didn't have to wait terribly long to be seen thank goodness. But once again the doctor that they sent in was one I'd gone to high school with.

Seriously??! How does that happen twice?

And this time was even better than the last. I refreshed his memory about our prior class-mate status in the middle of an internal exam. Again - seriously?? Who does that??? What a fun moment that was - reminiscing over the good old high school days when he was... well, let's not talk about where he was and what he was doing. But having said that, it was interesting to hear what some of my old classmates were up to.

So there you go - two of my finest! Over to you now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

One Less Session To Hate

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Or it can be when that knowledge relates to speed session and knowing what session is ahead of you before you get there.

There are some speed sessions that I really don't like. Because they hurt. Actually all speed sessions hurt but some seem to hurt more than others. On a scale of 1 to 10, most speed sessions are about an 8 or 9. The speed sessions I like least feel like they're a 9.5.

They're usually the long rep, short recovery sessions. The sessions where I start out all optimistic that I can maintain pace but somewhere along the way I lose all will to live. The 10 minute rep session is one of these. Five minutes out and five minutes back with a two minute recovery that feels like 30 seconds. I have yet to complete one of these sessions with my internal dignity intact. I might be running on the outside but on the inside I'm crying that really ugly cry with snot and tears and a big red nose.

The other session I really don't like is the 3,2,1 session. Three kilometres, two kilometres, one kilometre. I usually start the session okay but lose my way in the second rep then pull it all together for the last. And I get so annoyed with myself for mentally giving up.

We do these sessions every so often and yesterday was one of those occasions.

I would have griped about it if I'd turned up on the morning and found out what was ahead but Coach Chris hinted at it on Saturday (not-so-subtly) so I had three days to anticipate the pain. Or to work up a good excuse why I couldn't be there.

A fake illness seemed like a good idea but I should have chosen one that's a little less exotic. Pretty sure he saw through that one.

Being a little short on imagination, I couldn't come up with anything else that wouldn't seem like cowardly piking and, as much as I'm a cowardly piker at heart, I don't want to look like one. My only option was to pull on my big girl panties and get it done.

But this time my aim was to not give up in my head on the second rep. No. Matter. How. Much. It. Hurt.

And it was going to hurt.

So Tuesday came and we did our usual warm up. Followed by the usual explanation of what torture is ahead. Followed by another explanation for all the people that were still chatting through the first. And then we were off.

My aim was to run the first three kilometres at a strong pace but without going over the edge like I usually do. And to not get ahead of myself and anticipate the rest of the session. When I finished the rep I looked at my watch. And I was happy - fast-ish (for me) but not stupid fast. 

Coach Chris must have been feeling particularly magnanimous because he gave us a whole kilometre for recovery. I won't say he's getting soft because he'd take it kind of badly and go out of his way to restore his reputation as mean, cruel and sadistic. 

Then I started my second rep. Two kilometres of not giving up. Two kilometres of not thinking about how far it was to go. Two kilometres of Rob Schneider yelling at me.

And this time for the first time in living history, (or at least in my living memory - which is probably only about a week or so at my age) I kept up a steady pace. I did not give up. I did not die. And I was encouraged enough to go a little faster on the last one kilometre rep.

So I now have one less session that I really despise. And I have a solid, working strategy for future speed sessions. Don't anticipate the pain - it's a given so you might as well embrace it. Don't go out too hard - that's a sure way to make the session a tragic farce. And turn off your brain - just run the rep that you're running and not the one that's coming after the next recovery or the one after that.

Are there any sessions that you dread?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Soy Or Lactose-Free Milk?

One of my regular coffee chops has just started offering lactose-free milk.

I say 'one' because I have a few that I deign with my presence. They are all cafes that are pretty consistent with what they hand over - hot, strong, not bitter and preferably with staff that know my order without me having to say a word.

I've been a soy drinker for a few years now. Ever since I realised that the stomach pains I was getting every afternoon were related to the cappuccino I was drinking every morning. I wasn't happy to have to make the swap but the lack of pain made it worthwhile. And I got used to the flavour pretty quickly. So now my coffee order just rolls off my tongue without it ever having to be processed by my brain - on the odd days that I have to actually utter it.

Seeing the sign which pronounced the offering of lactose-free milk presented me with a dilemma. Do I stick to my new tradition and just do the same-old-same-old? Or do I venture forth into a brave new world and try something new? Being that it was a public holiday (Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II) and I was feeling footloose and fancy-free and just slightly reckless, I decided that I'd throw caution to the wind and try something new and daring.

"Could I have a tall cappuccino on lactose-free milk?"

I forgot to order an extra shot of coffee but luckily the girl behind the counter recognised me. Or could sense my need of the extra caffeine. She charged me the usual astronomical amount that I'm happy to pay because daily coffee, books, running shoes and now running bras it seems are not wants but needs in my existence.

Then I waited on the other end of the counter for my order to be called out.

"Double shot cap on lactose-free milk!"

I felt every eye in the shop turn my way as I went to collect the coffee. And I felt a judgement that I'd never felt before when ordering soy.

Soy has street cred. It's drunk by vegans, health nuts and the lactose-intolerant alike. By ordering soy I could just be viewed as someone who's a little anal about their diet or someone who is willing to make culinary sacrifices to protect every living creature. Either of whom are willing to stand up for a cause - be it health or their fellow beings.

Lactose-free milk has no street cred. What. So. Ever! It is drunk by one sort of person only. The sort of person who has a defect. The sort of person who becomes a ticking time bomb after ingesting milk sugar. The sort of person that makes dogs take the blame for their indiscretions and who, in Billy Connelly's words, will 'never trust a fart'.

I slunk away from the shop feeling just a little bit of shame. And then I tasted the coffee. It really wasn't that great. But at least I know that it won't have any deleterious effects. And I know that next time I'll be ordering soy again so I can leave the judgemental cafe set wondering which category of soy-drinkers I belong to.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Uphill Battle

Yesterday's run was awesome!

If you follow me on Facebook you may not have got that impression. I may have done a little whining there.

And I'll still say that the whining was justified because the session was hard. Actually, brutal wouldn't be too strong a word for it. Paddington and Red Hill have four of the top six steepest streets in Brisbane. Coach Chris has a sadistic streak in him so combine the two and you get the hill session from hell.

I know hills will make me stronger and fitter. Doing a hills session is like doing a leg weights session only you don't have to be in a gym and you don't have to sit in someone else's sweat when they forget to clean up after themselves. Doing a hills session in a group means that pride will make you work harder than you would on your own. But I don't have to like them. 

And as a hill runner, it wouldn't be wrong to say that I suck! Big time!! My leg strength is pitiful. I start to run uphill and I get slower and slower until I could be passed by a ninety year old who's using a cane because of a recent hip replacement. I run so slowly that I could be going backwards.

I might start of at the front of the pack but one by one they run past. Leaving me plodding on my lonesome towards the top. Legs burning. Lungs burning. Wondering why I got out of bed so early to torture myself like this.

Yep, it sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it?! No really, it was. Obviously not because of the running and the pain part. But because of a little blonde cherub who'd woken up too early and had been taken for a little walk outside by Daddy (presumably so Mummy could get a bit of a sleep in).

This little blonde cherub was so excited to have a whole group of runners running up and down his street. He became our cheer squad for that hill and, honestly, it made the hill that little bit easier to run (apart from the last five metres which were still a b!#ch). He made us all feel like champions every time we got to the top.

I was sorry when we had to move on and leave him behind. But I wasn't sorry to finish the session. And I was sorry any time I had to walk up and down stairs for the rest of the day. Or really any time I had to move at all. If I could have laid on the floor for the rest of the day I would have been happy - as long as someone threw me a few handfuls of food cause running up hills will give you a pretty ferocious appetite.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Some Days You Just Need A Bit Of Support

All I can say today is thank goodness for a loving, caring support network.

Yesterday wasn't the best. Some of it was okay. And some was pretty good. But the good bit - speed session at the beginning of the day (please don't tell Coach Chris that speed session was the highlight - it'll go to his head) - was overshadowed by the not-so-good.

Some work stuff. Some family stuff. An inability to just let it all go meant that I went to bed feeling a bit anxious. And I woke up feeling a bit anxious. And then I carried that anxiety all the way round on my run this morning. Like I was carrying a belly full of lead weight. My mind just wouldn't let it go. I was almost hoping that the Botanical Garden Flasher would strike and distract me from the stuff that was happening in my head.

Distraction finally came in the form of two hairy friends. So happy to see me home. Bringing gifts and joy to greet me.

To them I am perfect. Even my sweat tastes good. Especially from my left knee. Although it did make Toby burp.

Then I met up with a friend who just gets it. In one sentence she summed up exactly how my life feels sometimes. Because she's felt it too. And it's so good to know that it's not just me.

From there I hit the shops. To get a birthday card. And to have another coffee because it's likely that today will require additional caffeine. 

Spontaneity led me into a store I hadn't been in yet. The promise of a decent discount led me to the Intimate Apparel section. And despite the most hideous fitting room lighting - my home mirror definitely is kinder than the one I stood in front of today - I managed to procure the kind of support that every female runner craves. Unwavering, firm support that points you back in the right direction when you've lost your way. 

In pretty colours.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Hard-Nosed Business Woman - Who Me?

I've always felt like a bit of a fraud when it comes to my working life.

After all, I'm self-taught. I've had no training in my field unless you count a few semesters of Home Ec back in my early teens. I still remember proudly receiving my sewing machine licence after successfully sewing around the outline of a snail.

And I'm no business woman. I don't want a multi-national business or even employees because then I'd have to learn about stuff like paying wages and taxes and occupational health and safety. And I wouldn't be able to wear shorts to work (or bikini tops when it gets really hot) and I wouldn't be able to watch television all day while I'm working.

So it always amuses me just a little when I have to pretend like I know what I'm doing in the business world. Like I did last week.

I've had dealings with a designer on and off for a few years now and a couple of weeks ago he approached me about doing up a swimwear line for him. Actually, it was more like re-doing stuff that I'd done for him a little while ago and I already had the patterns so why the hell not?

So I ordered the fabric, cut out the bathers, sent them off to the machinist and Friday they arrived back. And so did the designer - to pick them up and have a chat about his plans.

Turns out he has pretty big plans. He wants to get his range into some resorts overseas. He was talking big numbers and his expectation was that I was going to be his manufacturer. He wanted to know costings for a bulk order. And that's when I started to feel out of my depth. Because I've never really worked out accurate costings for anything.

I go on gut instinct. And that's okay for small orders. If I under-charge then it's not the end of the world and if I over-charge usually no one's the wiser. But in this case it's kind of important not to under-charge. I don't want to spend weeks and weeks working for a pittance. And I certainly wouldn't expect my machinist to.

I came up with a number and he thought it was a bit high. I suggested that he might like to get them made in a factory - he'd definitely be paying less that way. But he was not keen. Seems he wants to work with someone he knows will be able to produce a garment to his standard.

That's when I knew that he wanted me to do the work more than I actually wanted to do it. And, seeing as I didn't care whether I got the work or not, it wasn't hard to say no when he asked if I could lower the price a bit. Oh I pretended to think about it for a minute or two. I used my most contemplative expression. I furrowed my brow and pondered. And then explained that I couldn't possibly.

Oh it was a heady feeling. My first real business negotiation and I'd won. Do you win business negotiations? It certainly felt like I'd won. I actually felt like a suit-wearing business woman in stilettos even though I was wearing my oldest denims and runners.

So I might be pretty busy over the next few months - as long as he manages to sell the range.