Archive | Weekend Magazine Columns

Help save our wildlife

WIRES animal rescue group is struggling due to lack of donations.

A STRANGE and surreal story. I was woken last week by the screeching of birds. Such a cacophony that I had to put two pillows over my head. But it wouldn’t stop.

I glanced up to see that my cat, usually the cause, was asleep. Suddenly I heard my cleaning lady, Eva, cry: “Ruth, what is it?” She was shaken, standing on the veranda of my little Bondi house. “Ruth… it moved,” she said, nervously pointing at what looked to be a large, stuffed toy perched at my front door. She’s from Hungary and had not seen anything like it before.

It was a tawny frogmouth – a nocturnal bird often mistaken for an owl. Continue Reading →


Plastic poison


I hate lights left on all night in city buildings, glossy junk mail, plastic bottles. Share your pet company waste hates here and let’s try to make a difference!

ONE of my readers made a disturbing comment on a blog I wrote which showed a distinctly defeatist view about taking a stand. It was in relation to the story about animal exports to Indonesia.

To paraphrase, he said: “If we don’t supply them someone else will. And then our farmers will be the only ones who get hurt.”

I replied that history is too often tragically shaped by silence. As philosopher Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” One person has to step forward and say: “No more!” Continue Reading →


Dealing with Regret

Trombone players in New Orleans


How do we deal with regret when the decisions we make in life prove wrong?

I’m going through that time of my life where I think to much about what I could have done differently, and should have done. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

What happens as we get older and we suddenly realise we should have been a writer; a musician; a lawyer. We should have married differently or invested that money or not invested and travelled the world. What are the decisions you regret and how do you deal with them? Continue Reading →


Pet Friendly

Landlords continue to discriminate against pet owners. Often it becomes “the dog or the home”. Should bias be illegal?


I MET a woman recently who’d just moved to Sydney.

She’s a single mum with a dog, currently staying with friends while looking for a place to rent. I knew the drill as she started to tell her story. Her tired face said it all. I remember moving back to Sydney a few years ago and the nightmare I had trying to rent with two cats. I was always banished to the back of the queue.

“Friends said I should lie,” she admitted. “But he’s a sheep dog. How can I hide him? It has come down to a home or the dog,” she said, almost in tears.

I wonder why such discrimination is still possible, especially since landlords can take bonds to cover pet damage. Surely animals don’t do any more damage than young kids (or teenagers for that matter, after their drunken parties). Continue Reading →


Is it time to legalise medical marijuana?

U.S father has claimed marijuana helped save his 2 year old son. Is it time to take the drug seriously?

EARLIER this month, a father in the US state of Montana claimed that medical marijuana had helped save the life of his two-year-old son.

Mike Hyde, 27, said he slipped a little cannabis oil into his toddler Cash’s feeding tube behind his doctor’s back in desperation after the boy stopped eating for 40 days. Chemo treatments were making him too sick to eat.

“Not only was it helpful, it was a godsend,” Hyde told American’s ABC News. Marijuana boiled up with olive oil allowed the dying child to regain his appetite enough to recover. Hyde also believes it contributed to the overall cure. Continue Reading →


Nip and Tuck

Beauty comes from the inside, my mother told me. “Smiling is the best face lift,” she said. Wrong. I love my life. But smiling hasn’t taken the bags under my eyes overseas. Call me Judas for betraying my “natural ageing” beliefs, but I’m asking myself: To nip or not to nip. To betray one’s beliefs or look like a train wreck, the new computer or the new face? That is the question.

Share your views and experiences of cosmetic work and plastic surgery with me.


Continue Reading →


Stop criticising

Do friends/family and our partners ever have a right to criticise, or interfere if not invited? Share your stories.

A FRIEND recently stood in open judgment of me. She criticised my parenting without invitation. She’d clearly felt the way she did for a long time, given her eloquence. She also chimed in that “other people” had agreed with her, which clearly buoyed her up enough to liberally share her views.

For a few days I stewed about it, then decided it was a topic worthy of public debate. To what extent are people entitled to intrude on our lives and pass judgment or offer righteous advice on the decisions we make? I mean if our children’s lives are not at stake and we’re not heroin addicts. Continue Reading →


Should we have babies by 29?

The Australian Newspaper

On this Mother’s Day weekend, and with a teenage daughter of my own, there’s something I want to canvass opinions on. What’s the latest time in a woman’s life that she should have kids?

The reason I ask is that, as peri-menopause creeps up on me, I find I haven’t got the energy or the patience to manage our mutual hormonal dysfunctions. I anger easily, and often wonder about the decision I made to nurture my career like a mother-hen until it was old enough to walk. Did I leave child-bearing too late? Continue Reading →


One Man’s Meat

A controversy is brewing and I need your comments for a letter to the meat industry. Would you prefer hormone-free, free-range meat or are concerns about food shortages more important than compassion to animals?

IT’S a complex moral dilemma indeed. A few weeks ago, 35 veterinary scientists put an advertisement in this paper promoting the use of hormones in meat, and giving reasons why hormones were better for livestock, people and the environment. The ad was in response to Coles’ saying it was promoting hormone-free meat. Continue Reading →


Souvenir hunting

IT was reported the other week that a US company has invented a washable microchip to track robes, towels and bed linens stolen from hotel rooms.

Theft apparently costs the industry millions each year. A Honolulu hotel, which introduced the technology, claims to have reduced theft of its pool towels from 4000 a month to just 750, two figures I found deliriously far-fetched.
For those who manage to smuggle their towel through the hotel lobby like sweating drug mules, I can see a reality TV show: Hotel Cops. Fugitives are brought to justice in their homes: “Hands up! We have reason to believe you have an illegal hotel towel in your possession!” Then from another room, “Oh my god, Brian, come quick,” as they kick over a garbage bag filled with mini-shampoos. In the background the music score: “Bad boys, bad boys… what ya gonna do when they come for you.”

My own hotel theft story is even better than this. For my wedding we flew my fiancé’s eccentric parents to Melbourne and put them in a luxury hotel for two nights. His late parents, as I have written before, were Holocaust survivors and already had a very strange relationship with the world. Eva, for instance, would keep cupboards full to the brim of canned tomatoes, beans, asparagus, just in case the Nazis invaded Bondi. They had never flown before, having come to Australia by boat.

But they took to hotel life like ducks to water. When it came time to leave, the bill for two nights came to more than $1000. We couldn’t understand, given we’d paid the accommodation in advance and taken them out for meals. The mini-bar tab listed two bottles of Moët, countless bottles of wine and mini-spirits, chocolates, nuts, and four towels. “Mum, Dad, you don’t drink alcohol! What happened here?” We opened the heavy suitcases and there were the items. “What are you doing?” we yelled.

Eva was totally baffled. She said, “Dey were so kind to us. Dey give us all of dis food. We didn’t want to be rude.”


We pay hotels enough to stay in them. Should we be entitled to keep a few souvenirs?