Month: December 2014

Our Troubles Will Be Out of Sight

I love Christmas. LOVE IT. I have always been a fan, but since the whole cancer thing, the feeling of joy I get from searching far and wide for gifts for my nearest and dearest, putting up the tree, nagging Dave into putting up the outdoor lights and wrapping the presents has increased about a million-fold. I’m alive, and I’m well and I’m loving the shit out of the season, completely and unreservedly without apology.

christmas 1

For me, Christmas is primarily about the food – making it, sharing it, and eating it. So far this festive season we’ve been to a dinner with our neighbours, hosted a barbecue for 19 friends and their kids and another dinner for 8 other friends, and gone for dinner and to see the amazing Christmas lights in our city with our other dear friends (who recently gifted me the Pussy in a Package). Dave’s been to his work Christmas dinner, I missed mine because I was crook (sob, sob) but made up for it with a lovely lunch with my fabulous workmates.

We are hosting either 13, 16 or 17 people for lunch on Christmas Day – the numbers are a bit fluid as we get a lot of pleasure out of having strays and waifs at our place, and some people’s plans aren’t get locked in until closer to the day. It really doesn’t matter how many there are, as we will have enough food to share with a small army. Ham, turkey, beef, pork, potatoes cooked in duck fat, roasted beetroot and goat’s cheese salad … you get the idea. I am, as I have previously mentioned, a feeder from way back, and Christmas Day gives me a chance to show my love and appreciation for everyone in the best way I know how – by making a heaving table of deliciousness for them to slowly consume over the afternoon.

Of course Christmas is also about family, and in particular my little family of three. Hugh still firmly believes in Santa and is full of ideas about how Santa knows what all the kids are up to and what they will be getting for Christmas. His wide-eyed wonder and excitement is contagious, and I am now counting sleeps until the big day, so I can see the look on his face when he finds his Santa sack. He is getting a much wanted but completely unexpected gift, so it should be a joyous – if early – morning.

Christmas 2012 I was in the middle of chemo – bald, sick, and pretty well convinced that I wouldn’t make through the coming year. So to be two years down the track, and feeling good, makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world. I had my regular appointment with my oncologist on 9 December, and was utterly thrilled to be deemed well enough to be moved from a three-monthly check-up schedule to six-monthly. That means I will only have to go back to the mind-fuckingly awful chemotherapy ward twice next year. I could say that news was the only Christmas present I need, but I’m just not that kind of Hallmark kind of cancer patient – bring on the gifts!

Best wishes of the season to you all, thank you for reading and for commenting and for being so bloody kind. I’m going off air for a while to spend time with my loved ones, and I hope you all have the chance to do the same.

merry fucking christmas

See you on the flip side!


On the 16 December 2006, I married a man I loved deeply, and I still love him just as much, although the realities and enormities and trivialities of life sometimes make it seem like hard work, for both of us. There are ups and downs and lots of in-betweens, but the vows I said on that day still remain true. Life is not picture perfect, not even fucking close, but we stick at it and sometimes that is all you can do until those joyful moments come again. Last night I slept upright on the couch as I have done for the past week, because the anastrazole that I take to prevent breast cancer recurrence has given me the side effect severe gastrointestinal reflux and oesophageal spasms. If I lie down the acid contents of my stomach flow back into my throat and choke me. And they say romance is dead.

On 16 December 2013, my beautiful friend Deb was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This will very likely be Deb’s last Christmas, so in between massive doses of chemotherapy which will hopefully lengthen her life, she is busy hand-making cards for her family and friends, and she made this amazing croquembouche for her workmates for Christmas. Anyone who knows anything about baking will know what a bloody amazing feat it is to produce one of these, and anyone who’s ever had chemotherapy will bow down to the intestinal fortitude required to do it whilst being poisoned.

deb croquembouche

Deb is also taking painting classes and learning to play the violin – the playing is going well, but she already has the Yehudi Menuhin face down pat.

I smell something, and it's not good, but I'm a professional, so will continue on. Also, note to self, buy hair gel.

I smell something, and it’s not good, but I’m a professional, so will continue on. Also, note to self, buy hair gel.

On 16 December, 2014,  I woke, as did all Australians, to the dreadful news coming out of Sydney. I feel such deep sadness for the dreadful loss of those two people and the terrible suffering of the survivors. I also fear for those Australians who may become the target of ignorance and bigotry in the aftermath of this.

It may not always seem like it, but I usually know where I’m going with these posts. Today, I have not a clue. Life is unpredictable, life is hard, life is good, life is for living. There is always perspective to be had, no matter how bogged down we get in our own personal quagmire. Take a chance, marry someone you’ve only known for a year, make a fancy French cake, laugh at yourself. Love.

A Boob’s Tale

So here I am with my second post in a row. I might as well be running this whole shebang. I think I’m going to go the Heather Locklear – Melrose Place route and keep my special guest star billing, despite being on the show every week for four years. Special guest just sounds so … special.

As you will have gathered, I made it back from Thailand in one piece. Sadly, there was no upgrade to business class. I think we were almost there, what with the hideous beige lymphodema sleeve and the doctor’s letter and the I’ve had cancer face, but the check-in lady caught one sight of the kid and our chances were done. People do not pay big bucks to sit up the pointy end only to listen to a 6-year-old boy loudly narrate his game of Angry Birds Star Wars on the iPad for eight hours straight. Although if anyone from Guantanamo Bay is reading, I reckon I’ve found your latest and greatest instrument of torture. He goes by the name of Hugh and will.not.shut.up.

Anyway, after our stint in the cheap seats, we made it to Thailand – or as I like to call it – land of the continuous sweat. I am handmade in Germany, and have a special backing material which means I am warm against the skin in winter, and cool against the skin in summer. Except if summer is hotter than a balmy 26 degree day in Berlin, in which case I will become the cause of considerable extra sweating. Because when it’s 35 degrees celcius and 95% humidity, and she’s walking around a market where stalls are packed in like a crazy person’s game of tetris, what she needs is a little something else to make her perspire. She wasn’t up for much shopping at those markets, although she did lash out and get me these Prada sunglasses for $2. The man at the market stall said they were 100% genuine. I said me too. Oh how we laughed.

prada boob

You’ll be pleased to hear that I managed to keep myself safe whilst swimming in Thailand. She wore a rashie over her swimsuit so I had no chance of escape. I did notice that we were the only ones not frying our skin wearing nothing but a string bikini and some coconut oil in the blazing sun. You might be looking tanned now, ladies and gents of Russia who like to holiday in Thailand en masse, but eventually you’re going to look like this:


So there was lots of swimming, meeting of elephants, patting of tiger cubs, rides in tuktuks and visits to temples. I got through all that ok, although I admit I was a bit worried when one of the baby elephants groped me with its trunk. When you touch me, I do feel somewhat like a squishy rockmelon so I can’t blame that elephant for having a crack, but fortunately for me a nice man came to the rescue with a banana (and no, I don’t mean that metaphorically, this is not an episode of the Benny Hill Show you know).


Now we’re back in Australia and on the countdown to Christmas. Actually Boxing Day is when I really celebrate, for obvious reasons. And speaking of boxes, I have a new friend. Some dear mates of she who’s supposed to write this blog recently visited the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania where they saw a very special exhibition. It was a collection of moulds made from the :ahem: lady gardens from a lot of ladies. By lady gardens, I mean the downstairs area. You know, the vulva. Anyway, as you would imagine, these mates are very cultured, and they know I’m a classy boob, so they bought back someone to keep me company on the shelf of an evening. I’m so pleased to be able to introduce you to her now. Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, behold my friend Pussy in a Package:

pussy package 2

Just to be clear, whilst I’ll be doing my daily duties in the bra, Pussy will be staying in her package all the time, because thankfully we don’t know anyone who has practical need of a prosthetic vulva made of lemon myrtle-scented soap.

I’m just off to register the domain name (can’t imagine why that one would already be taken) and then I’ll be spending some quality one-on-one time with my friend who smells like the Australian bush. Come to think of it, she kinda looks like it too.