Toilet terrors

Reader warning – This post contains MANY mentions of toilets and toilet-related topics. If you’re offended by ones, twos or threes, please stop reading and I promise to write something less offensive next time. Seriously, stop reading now.

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I spent New Years Eve this year on a houseboat. My first houseboat as a grown up and definitely one of the best new years eves that I’ve had in recent times. I spent close to three days cruising around, napping, swimming, eating and drinking. It was great. However, as always one thing loomed in the back of my mind the whole time… ten people, one toilet.

I’ve always had something of an issue with travelling toilets, whether they be bus toilets, train toilets, portable toilets, plane toilets, boat toilets, or even just public toilets. I’m a nervous pee-er at the best of times and just the thought of using a tiny toilet that had been given a thorough workout by ten people at once was enough to strike fear into the heart of me (that, and the prawns that were due to spend two days sitting in the esky before they made the menu).

Alas, I was pleasantly surprised that despite my concerns, there was some unspoken agreement to keep the toilet pristine and, besides one early incident where I found my self ankle deep in toilet water before I’d even used the thing (don’t ask, I still have no idea what happened!), it stayed as fresh as a daisy until the last day, when above-mentioned unspoken agreement went out the window. No judgment there – if we’d all held on as long as I had, I envied anyone brave enough.

When I got home several days later and rinsed my feet for the umpteenth time since nearly losing them to the toilet caper, I started thinking about my apparent fear of public toilets, porta-pottys and just travel toilet use in general.

On reflection, I think it started at school camp in year 9 when we had a complete toilet set up at our campsite in the middle of the wilderness…

Although it was nerve-racking peeing while risking being eaten by some kind of wild animal (most likely a wombat or koala given the location) or ending up with a flashlight on you in your least dignified moment, it was great! You were out in the wilderness, roughing it like never before, exposed to the elements and living the dream. On a giant toilet. In the middle of the bush. What more can you want in life?

Well… one thing you can NOT want is to three days later have to carry that damn toilet out of the campsite, contents and all…

Never. Again.

Ten or so years later and I was facing the ultimate challenge – travelling. Well, not just travelling, but travelling through South America, where you can’t flush the toilet paper in the best of places. Cue many awkward TP related moments, several episodes of charades with hotel staff and many, many moments of pure horror and dry retching… and that was before I’d even experienced the Inca Trail.

By then, I’d master the dodgy toilet, I was even confident going with no toilet (always with paper, sanitizer and some foliage) when it was warranted, but nothing prepared me for drop loos. Foot markings or no foot markings, I took one look at it and proceeded to pop down as many gastro stop tablets as I had on me! Despite my best efforts to just not pee for three days, I eventually braved the drop toilets, torch in mouth, praying for my life… and you know what, with a bit of concentration I had it down pat!

Three days later, as we brushed our teeth, I was recounting the story of how I’d overcome my fear of drop toilets to my tent mate, with all the details… the near misses, the misses, the nerves, the successes, the failures… I was blabbering on for no less than five minutes until “Cough, cough… erm… Tennizzlle… the whole camp site can hear everything you’re saying”… Eek!

When I think of bad toilet experiences, however, there’s no doubt that the first thing that jumps to mind is travelling through Romania on one of those Europe tours with fifty young drunk people. Note to self – when on a month long bus trip, do not take the seat next to the toilet. I mean, sure, it might remain locked unless in case of emergency… But it’s all fun and games until someone washes the lettuce in the tap water… and let me tell you, that theory about lighting a match – IT DOESN’T WORK!

We were about 20 days into the trip when we got to Romania and three days into an outbreak of gastro. Stops were few and far between. I was barely breathing and had a permanent flow of hand sanitiser for fear of catching something. The bus toilet was not an option, even in an emergency.

We’d been on the road for several hours before we stopped outside a service station. Thrilled to have the opportunity to escape the smell of the bus and find a working toilet, I bolted for the closest convenience store and ran for the restrooms. Caught up in my desperation, it took me a moment to realise I was heading into ankle deep water which had all sorts of unpleasantries floating in it… dry retching, I turned around, ran out the door and straight around the back of the service station.

Although peeing in the open two metres from a service station in the middle of outback Romania sounds horrific, it was then and there that I realized how far I’d come. I may still have a completely unreasonable fear of porta-loos and public toilets, but give me wide open spaces, some paper and hand sanitizer and I will be just fine!

And that’s why I stopped driving to work in my thongs…

Yep, you read it right. Last week I drove to work in my thongs and it ended in disaster.

For those of you from the USA who read my blog, I know, I know… and yes, I was driving to work in my thongs – two of them – and when I got there I realized I had no shoes on!

Confused? Don’t worry, so was I!

As everyone in my life knows all too well – I am a complete shambles at the best of times. I fall over, run into things, accidentally tell strangers that I love them, forget how to get home and vomit regularly. However, in recent months, I had been reaching all new levels of coordination and things were going swimmingly.

No longer was I the bitter, sarcastic blogger who dated psychopaths and had an unreasonable fear of fake hair… As I said to another blogger several months ago, it’s hard to blog sarcastically when you’re happy with life… (and yes, contrary to popular belief, I had been getting out of the house at that point in time!)

Alas, it all came unraveled when I wore my thongs on the drive to work on Thursday. I had stayed at my boyfriend’s house, which sends me on a total different route to work and it was one of the first really warm days of the year, so I had just thrown my thongs on at the last minute as I ran out the door, not thinking much of it. I’m someone who avoids shoes at all costs, so I always keep a pair of work flats on the car floor for everyday use.

Unfortunately I didn’t think much of the fact that I had sent my car in to be serviced either, and the car that I had borrowed (strangely) did not come with a pair of emergency shoes on the passenger side floor. So, to cut a long, dramatic morning short, I turned up to work with no shoes, frantically yelling out to a colleague across the carpark something along the lines of ‘My shoes! My shoes! No shoes! No shoes! OMG! Shambles! HELP! HELP!’ while waving both arms frantically in the air…

Ah, you know that look of panic people get as they desperately think of a way they can pretend they don’t know you? Yep, that look is ALLLL too familiar for me!

So half an hour and one trip to Kmart later, I had a pair of $8 shoes making my feet sweat and I was back on track. Or so I thought…

This morning, I took the same route to work. I was back in my own car (spare shoes and all) and for a Monday, the day was looking fine. About half way through my drive, I switched my handsfree thingemy on in case I got a call, as I’d thrown my bag somewhere in the back of the car and had no chance of reaching my phone if I needed it.

Beep… Beeep… attempting to connect… no phone found… attempting to connect… no phone found…

Shizzle.

After a small panic, I ran into the office, waving my arms in the air like a madwoman. My colleagues have come to await the daily drama that tends to signify my arrival, so there was an air of anticipation as I ran into the office yelling ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got my shoes! I DON’T have my mobile phone but it’s going to be OKAY!’

Being a Gen Y girl and lacking the ability to memorise a single phone number since about 1999, I had no idea what my boyfriends phone number is. So I called myself. No answer. Redial…

‘oh shizzzzzz’

Yep, oh shizz indeed! But we had a plan, boyfriend would drop phone to my office at lunchtime and I would buy him lunch, which I did. I was all ‘sit down, get comfortable, let me buy your lunch and drink and prove my gratitude for you driving halfway across Melbourne for me…’

And then it fell apart…

In an effort to be super helpful and after I was clearly told the squeezy ketchup sachet wasn’t opening, I insisted on having a crack at it and with all my strength, attempted to outsmart what was, I swear, the most complicated condiment packaging ever made.

Unfortunately… the ketchup won…

We were both covered. As was our table, my bag, the entire pile of napkins on the table, the chair next to me… and the random stranger sitting no less than two metres away from me.

I spent the entire afternoon pulling pieces of dry, crusty ketchup from my ponytail and fringe while randomly bursting out in fits of giggles.

I took it as a sign I had been neglecting my blog.

The universe has spoken. I will blog more.

I will also stop wearing thongs in the car…  Except on weekends and public holidays.

And possibly also eating ketchup.

Also – I’m still scared of fake hair.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Arrrrrrrghhhhhhhh! I just sat down to write a post and realised that – shock horror – I haven’t posted since 5 June! 5 JUNE! I’m not even joking! Fail! Fail! Bad terrible blogger! How will I get discovered and have my life story turned into a made-for-television movie acting like this??

I have so many posts planned to write and I’ve been sitting here, staring blankly at the screen unable to finish even one of them. So, to get myself back in the blogging space I have decided to FINALLY pass on the Beautiful Blogger Award that was kindly given to me last month.

The guidelines are as follows:

  1. List seven random facts about yourself
  2. Post a link to the blog of the person who nominated you
  3. Link to seven other bloggers who are deserving of the award
  4. Let those bloggers know that you have nominated them

So, seven random facts that you don’t know about me already…

  1. I just scored some sweet-as pink flamingos for my front garden, which are currently brightening my life. How COOL are they?!?!?
  2. I HATE winter and am struggling as this is the first full winter I’ve had in a long time. I mean full as in I’m not chasing warmer climates this year, unlike most! Nope, no trip to New York this year… or Hawaii… or anywhere… two more months. TWO MORE MONTHS and it will be over!
  3. Earlier this evening, I deleted someone from Facebook who I had been meaning to delete for ages. I’m not a Facebook hussy and like to keep my friends to people that I actually don’t mind sharing my life with. This person was not one of these people. It’s a long story.
  4. I haven’t cleaned my house for WEEKS! True story. I can sense your judgement and I’m committed to cleaning it this weekend!
  5. My favourite city in the world is New York. Nothing beats summertime in NYC!
  6. I desperately want to go to India. Like, soon. Like, desperately! Like, for serious!
  7. I might have cooked my dogs a steak for dinner tonight. Hold your judgement.

Post a link to the blog of the person who nominated you:

The lovely Jennifaye! Yep, go check out her blog! She writes much better than me AND she doesn’t abandon her followers for five weeks in a row… eek!

Link to seven other bloggers who deserve the award:

  1. http://raisingmyrainbow.com/ – If you haven’t read this one already, do it now!
  2. http://gojulesgo.com/
  3. http://pithypants.com/ – why branch out on my recommendations when they’re so funny?
  4. http://catherinebuday.wordpress.com/ – The tips for a summer day took my mind of the crappy weather for a moment…
  5. http://searchingforagentdalecooper.wordpress.com/ – Okay, so I haven’t read this properly, but it’s a blog dedicated to Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks!
  6. http://livinginfairyland.wordpress.com/
  7. I’m out of suggestions, so I’m sticking with 6!

Let them know they’ve been nominated – I’m on it!

Woo hoo! Real post coming soon, I promise!

Tag – You’re It!

So today I was nominated for the Beautiful Blogger Award by the lovely Jennifaye. Yay! Although this reminded me that I had also been tagged by nosugarjustspice WEEKS ago and I totally forgot! So, I’m starting with the earlier tag and, if I have time, will roll right on through to the more recent one!

First up, the one I am going to refer to as ‘Blog Tag’, has the following rules:

1.  You must post the rules

2.  Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post

3.  Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged

4.  Tag eleven people with a link to your post

5.  Let them know you tagged them

And the questions posted by nosugarjustspice and my answers are:

1. What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done in the last year?

Ooohhhh, quit my job, which I did just a few weeks ago! Exciting times are ahead!

2. Favourite 80’s movie?

Girls Just Want to Have Fun!

3. Do you still have toys from when you were a child?

Yes, and sadly some are still in my bedroom. I just can’t let them go and keep telling myself that they’ll mean so much to my kids when I pass them on (note – I have no kids and don’t expect to have any for quite a while still!)… except Sealy Lorne, who is my number 1!

4. You’re being sent to Biosphere 2 for a year and can only take one person, who would it be?

Hmmm… only for a year? Would I have any means of communication with other people? Argh, I can’t decide!

5. If you could be a member of the opposite sex for a day, would you?

No way! Haha!

6. Is there anything in the area surrounding you right now that could be used to fight zombies in the apocalypse?

Yep, a MASSIVE aerosol can of Fudge Skyscraper hairspray.

7. How many alarms does it take to wake you up of a morning? (It takes me 5)

Two alarms, which start at 7.15 and 7.20 and keep getting snoozed until about 7.50-8am. I HATE mornings!

8. Hollywood is remaking your favourite movie ever and wants you to play your favourite character from that movie, which movie is it and who are you playing?

Amelie and Amelie!

9. What are 5 terms/names/etc you wish you had never heard and could be removed history?

The first thing to come to mind is too horrid to share, but I had to ask blogger Lyndon Keane to translate and we both regret googling as soon as we had done so… no further comment on that.

Second, third, fourth and fifth would be babe (as in people refer to each other as this), moist, Hugh (as in the name, because I can’t pronounce it) and… Mash (just the mention of it makes me feel sick)!

10. What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done when drunk?

Oh, there’s way too many to narrow it down… In recent months projectile vomiting all over my luggage and the hotel room floor would probably be the worst of it.

11. If you could wake up tomorrow and walk into your dream job what would it be?

Professional world traveller and gazillionaire :)

And eleven new questions:

  1. What’s one city in the world that you’ve always wanted to visit and why?
  2. What is your biggest fear?
  3. Have you ever seen a ghost?
  4. What is your guilty pleasure?
  5. If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what animal would it be?
  6. Are you a dog or a cat person?
  7. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
  8. What’s your favourite song of all time?
  9. When you were young, what did you plan to be when you grew up?
  10. Chips and salad or roast potatoes and vegetables?
  11. If you won a million dollars, what would you do/buy first?

And the eleven blogs that I tag are…

  1. www.frugalistablog.com (for her great Kristen Stewart impersonation)
  2. www.findingravity.com
  3. www.somethingswedish.wordpress.com
  4. www.housewifedownunder.wordpress.com
  5. www.paltrymeanderings.com
  6. www.beetleandswan.wordpress.com
  7. www.pithypants.com
  8. www.mikesilvia.wordpress.com
  9. www.disseminatedthought.wordpress.com
  10. www.torinelson.wordpress.com
  11. www.simonandfinn.com (the baby mouse deer made me cry :()

I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do!

Okay, having just done this one and with seven more blogs to nominate, I’m going to take a few days to complete the Beautiful Blogger Award! Phew!

Never Trust a Man Who Gives You Flowers

I have always been told that when you receive flowers from a man for no apparent reason, it’s a sign that he is cheating on you. I don’t exactly agree with this theory, but I do find the whole flower-giving thing fascinating.

I remember being younger and always wanting a nice boy to give me flowers. Not some crummy bunch of roses or, even worse, a single rose, but a pretty, well-planned and thoughtful bunch of flowers, which may or may not feature lilies or something similar.

But the flowers I envisaged and the flowers I actually got back then were vastly different. The lilies were replaced by god-awful weed-like flowers and the beautiful, ribbon-bound box was replaced by clear and white flowery glad-wrap that screamed of having been bought in a hospital foyer or stolen from a cemetery.

As I got a bit older, I completely lost interest in flowers. I never expected them and never really got them, but when I was about 25, I started to notice that they were making a comeback. Gone were the days, however, of flowers bringing joy and happiness.

First, there was the bunch that arrived with the statement ‘I might have an STD…’ (please note that the might turned out to be a definitely did not) and then there were the ones that came shriveled up after being hidden behind the heater in the lounge room for an indeterminate period of time, resulting in me arriving late for work after being ordered to go to the florist to exchange them…

Yep, flowers weren’t so glamorous anymore. They brought disease scares, anger and embarrassing encounters with florists. But I am a girl and don’t we all, deep down, dream of one day receiving flowers from a secret admirer declaring their undying love for us?

What we don’t realise though, is that this is actually the behavior of sociopaths and serial killers… and holiday crashers… yep, holiday crashers!

I mean, if you really think about it, if a person has the ability to interact with people, hold a conversation and enter into a real-life relationship, why wouldn’t they just mosey on over and ask you out? Alas, hindsight is a wonderful thing…

Back in 2009, I was a few months into my current (recently resigned from) job. Part of my role back then was to do presentations to young people about living and working overseas. Me being me, this involved lots of goofiness, many bad jokes and technical disasters.

My main problem with these presentations was that if I told a joke or a story that should get a laugh didn’t, I would just keep on pushing… bad joke after bad joke… higher pitch… faster talking… and it would start getting just plain awkward.

For example, I was once talking about San Francisco and started telling the story about riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, taking a wrong turn (can you even take a wrong turn?) and ending up going overland to Sausalito all the while turning right involuntarily because I get balance issues when riding in the wind…

Alas, after being met by dead silence, this story led to the one about getting lost on a ‘quick drive’ before returning the hire car, the one about accidentally offending a group of dutch backpackers after telling one that his friend smelt like cabbage and finally wrapping it up with a declaration that I love San Fran because the hills made me feel like I was in Full House…

Silence.

You know, FULL HOUSE?

Silence.

It must be my lisp, audience does not comprehend… Cue terrible attempt at singing the Full House theme song:

Everywhere you look… everywhere you go (there’s a heart)… There’s a heart, a hand to hold onto.

Silence… crickets chirping… tumble weeds rolling through the room… you get the idea.

To this day I tell myself the crowd were just too young. They clearly didn’t know Mary-Kate and Ashley when they were knee-high to a grasshopper!

But back to my story, I was having one of these HORRIBLE evenings where the crowd was giving me absolutely nothing. No number of cheesy jokes, funny stories or even crowd interaction was saving it and besides one over enthusiastic guy in the second row, whose fake laugh was way too elaborate to be genuine, the audience were having none of it.

So you can imagine my complete shock when a massive bunch of roses turned up at my office two days later with a card that read:

Dear Tennizzle

I saw your presentation the other night and have been thinking about you ever since.  Do you want to go for a drink sometime?

Michelangelo* 0404992883*

My colleagues and I tried to think of who it could be, with one suggesting it was ‘probably that one person who was laughing at your jokes!’ and after some crafty investigation, I had a full name and an email address.

Looking back, I should have read between the lines, seen the unwritten references to kidney stealing and paid attention to the music that started repeating in my head.

But really, the guy had made a pretty big effort and as someone who cannot even remember having asked anyone on a date before, who was I to reject someone without even meeting them?

So, I went on a date with him and despite there being no chemistry whatsoever and him judging me for liking Simon and Garfunkel while saying his favourite type of music was ‘anything they play on Triple J’… I didn’t regret it. I told him I wasn’t interested, we agreed we would be friends, added each other on Facebook and caught up a few more times before he went overseas.

Fast-forward to early 2011 when I was planning a work trip to Canada, followed by a week of Tennizzlle-time in New York City on the way home. I was contacting a few business partners and customers who were over there to catch up, one of whom was this guy. He wasn’t going to be in the cities I was visiting in Canada, but was going to NY with some friends around that time. I sent him my dates and said we’d have a drink if we crossed paths.

A week before I left, he emailed saying he had great news, it turns out we were going to be in NYC at the same time, so we agreed to have a drink. It all seemed so normal…

We met at a bar downtown before dinner and had a quick beer. We had the quick catch up, how’s life, blah blah blah, and then I asked him ‘So, what are you even doing in New York?’

His response: ‘I came to New York to spend the week with you’

Dead silence.

This guy had driven from Montreal to New York to holiday with me… without me knowing.

After a few deep breathes, I talked myself into it. I’m the queen of miscommunication and I probably misunderstood something along the way. I’m sure it’s fine, when he says SPEND the week with me, he doesn’t mean SPEND the week with me. Nervous laugh, nervous laugh…

That was Thursday night.

By Friday, it was clear that he did actually mean spend the entire week with me…. Every single second of it…

‘Oh, you want to go to Forever 21 and try on seventy dresses? I’ll come!’

‘Oh, you want to purchase outfits for your dogs? That sounds like great fun!’

‘Should we plan out all our evenings in advance and buy tickets to everything?’

‘Let’s go to the farmers market and buy some food to cook in the luxury Soho apartment I have rented for us to hang out in’

By Saturday, I had lost my shit. Somewhere between Canal Street and Union Square, after being dragged around by his know-it-all self all afternoon trying to find ‘the best coffee in New York’, I had had enough. I hadn’t spoken to him for at least an hour when I made my escape, yelling something along the lines of ‘Space! Tennizzlle time! Forever 21!’ before throwing myself into the midst of a crowd of fast moving locals and running for my life.

A few months later, I was at work one afternoon and received a text message from a US number.

‘Hey, are you free to catch up?’

Assuming it was someone from our US office, I responded ‘Yeah, sure, but I have no idea who this is!’

‘Oh, sorry, it’s Michelangelo*, I’m in Melbourne but still using my Canadian number’

*Delete*

These days, if I want flowers, I just go buy myself some damn flowers. They’ll always be tasteful, they won’t be on the verge of death, they won’t die overnight and I will be able to sleep soundly in the knowledge that my kidneys will still be attached when I wake up in the morning.

NB – In doing a little Google research for this post, I typed ‘Flowers from a man’ into the search bar. I love the predictions Google comes up with and where they lead you. This time, I got ‘flowers from a man who shot your cousin’… as you do!

Also, if you were thinking about sending me flowers, feel free! I like lilies (just in case you didn’t get that) and I will accept them graciously. Just don’t be expecting me to go on a date with you afterwards!

*names and numbers have been changed, though not very well

Will Write for Food

Last week I quit my job.

Most people who know me saw it coming, but for the many people I know through work, it was completely unexpected. So far, everyone has reacted with ‘Omg, what’s happened?’ and I suspect, knowing my tendency for dramatics, they are assuming that I cracked without warning, slamming the manual lift door while screaming ‘I QUIT!’ and storming off down La Trobe Street.

Alas, it was not so exciting and unlike the time someone put spag bol all over the bin in the midst of a bug infestation or the time I realised someone was stealing the toilet paper (I still have my suspicions, but no proof), there was absolutely no hysterics.

Resigning was a massive relief and although I had a TINY panic attack in between being offered my new job and quitting my current one, it wasn’t long before I was getting excited about taking a huge step off my current career path and throwing caution to the wind.

There’s something liberating about having absolutely no idea what the heck you will be doing a year from now, and, to quote my ever-unreliable Fortune Telling Fairy Cards, I am moving forward fearlessly!

Gone are the days of work-related panic attacks and swatting bugs as I sit at my desk – it’s time for freedom, creativity and full, uninterrupted nights of sleep! Woo hoo!

As mentioned above, I do have a new job lined up, which I am very excited about, but leaving my current role will also allow me to look into new opportunities, to focus on my blog and what I really want to do – to DANCE!

Okay, that was totally a joke, but I have spent a fair chunk of the past few days thinking about the future. Now is the time to work out exactly what I want to do and how to do it… But in typical Tennizzle-style, I have become overwhelmed by the decision.

Ideally I would win lotto and spend the next few years jetting around the world, renovating my house and volunteering my time to the greater good… however accepting that this is not going to happen and that the chances of anyone paying me to hang out with my dogs for a living are just as low, I am going to need a more realistic plan.

I have decided to focus on copywriting, but without it being part of my everyday work.

So far, I have taken the massive steps of purchasing my blog domain (check it out, I’ve dropped the ‘wordpress’ from my site, la di da!) AND getting my own personal domain for the future… I haven’t quite worked out how to set up a website or get it hosted, but I’m on my way! I can feel success in the air!

I’m starting with a bit of blatant self-promotion to people I know professionally and am hoping to start putting a portfolio together in the coming months. As a result, my blog will be growing and although my regular, neurotic posts will continue, I will also be using this page as a means of collating writing until I have a proper website.

In the meantime, if you see someone with a sandwich board reading ‘Will Write for Food’ standing outside Flinders St station next month… please stop by and say hi!

Yams, Turnips and Other Life Challenges


When it comes to vegetables, I am the first to admit that I am absolutely clueless.

I’d like to claim I grew up in a vegetable-free household which would explain this and several other unexplained mysteries, such as why the heck I can’t use cutlery like a normal person, but it would be a lie.

Adding to the confusion, I was a dedicated vegetarian for seven long years and I still have no idea about vegetable-related matters!

I recently found myself making a salad at someone else’s house. I was trying to be all helpful and enthusiastic, but quickly found myself having a small panic attack when faced with something I suspected was a zucchini, green skin and all, and didn’t know what the hell to do with it… peel it? Don’t peel it? Slice it? Bake it? Throw it in a cupboard and pretend it was never there…?

Turns out it was actually a cucumber and yes, you can eat the green bit!

This is just the most recent of many situations I’ve had resulting from my lifelong vegetable confusion. Others include:

The Yam

I’d heard of the elusive yam but was pretty happy living in the knowledge that it had never crossed my path. It just didn’t sound like a friendly vegetable, or a tasty one for that matter, but more like some kind of angry little man in a cape wielding a Bamm-Bamm style club.

That was, of course, until I blogged several months ago about my fear of mashed potato and for some reason, these yams kept coming up in my comments.

Do you like yams?

How do yams make you feel?

Do you eat mashed yams?

Things were getting weird.

I was confused and finally accepted that it was time to consult my friend Google.

So, for anyone who is unfamiliar with the yam equation, here it is:

Yam = Sweet Potato = Awesome!

Kumara

You know those cultural miscommunications you have when you are so clueless as to what is going on you just smile and nod and accept that you will never know the truth? For me, Kumara was one of these.

For quite a few years, when kiwi friends kept saying things like ‘it’s kumara, right?’, ‘does this have kumara in it?’ and ‘I’m going to get kumara on the side’, I was seriously confused. Initially I thought kumara was a bird or maybe a person, but after much smiling and nodding and a whole lot of confusion, I realised they were simply trying to say ‘sweet potato’!

Better than that girl I once heard about who told her boss at a staff event at a chalet that he ‘had such a nice long deck’.

Ah, bless those little kiwis!

However, the real beginning of my vegetable confusion can only be blamed on one vegetable…

The Turnip.

Many years ago, while still reasonably new to the world of vegetarianism and after a chinese doctor told me I was going to die if I didn’t eat meat, I made it my mission to learn to cook vegetables.  I bought myself a cookbook, aptly titled ‘Learning to Cook Vegetarian’ and dog-eared the pages of anything that looked even remotely manageable (ie. Had less than ten ingredients) for experimentation.

One of my first attempts was some kind of baked creation, which seemed pretty straightforward. I copied down my little list of ingredients… garlic… onion… potato… turnip… turnip? Turnip! What the heck was a turnip?

Keep in mind here that this was before the days of Google on your phone, or even readily available high-speed internet, so my investigation of what the heck a turnip was consisted of squinting at the photo in the recipe book and by process of elimination and some vague recollection of a turnip character in a childrens book I had read long ago, came to the conclusion that it was a root vegetable with a sprout, which may or may not also have big eyes and wear a pair of runners…

Not one to shy away from a project I have committed to, I decided not to scrap the chosen recipe and chose another, but to take my new found knowledge to the supermarket to source the aforementioned turnip and everything else that the recipe called for and, of course, me being me, I got everything else and left the turnip for last.

With pretty much no idea what I was actually looking for, I had been standing in the root vegetable area for a good twenty minutes, reading all of the price labels when I found it. The excitement was overwhelming:

Turnips – $3.50 per kg | Beetroot $4.00 per kg

I looked up to the corresponding box and to my horror, there was no separation between the two vegetables – just a whole load of round things rolling around in one big box!

Having never seen beetroot except from can, I had reached a whole new level of confusion. Refusing to accept defeat or ask for help, I took a gamble and grabbed what most closely resembled the turnip I had envisaged – I figured if they had been stored in the same box without proper labels, there can’t be much difference anyway… Right?

Wrong.

Needless to say, to this day, I have never cooked or bought a beetroot OR a turnip ever again.

Other awkward vegetables I have encountered include ‘Green Onions’ (which, it turns out was my Fast and Fabulous cookbook seeing how far I would go to find a vegetable that DOES NOT EXIST), ‘Chinese Leaf’ (otherwise referred to as any leafy Chinese vegetable, walking around the markets asking for Chinese Leaf is not recommended!) and ‘Pepper’ or ‘Bell Pepper’ (which, contrary to popular belief is referring to a capsicum, NOT a chilli!) amongst many, many others.

On a side note, a few weeks ago I finally worked out how to install emoji emoticons onto my iPhone. Clearly a fairly simple task once you realise it’s an app.

My newfound love of emoticons was going well, I’ve been throwing them in here and there to create confusion or make a completely unclear point. In the midst of a recent texting conversation, I needed to throw in something completely unexpected. Insert Emoticon:

Think to self: A PURPLE zucchini! Of course! No one will see it coming!

The response: “Eggplant?”

:(