Holidays, Hospitals, Happiness and Hobbitses – Part Two

It has now been 6 days since the very sweet baby James arrived.


We’re all adjusting. Adam is having the toughest time and has terrible mood swings and shifts from Love to hate for baby James quite regularly. Adam is a very special, very clever, and very emotional young man. I must say, he’s an undeniably sweet and caring young thing, and getting him his own baby who he has christened baby Jim was a stroke of genius. He’s able to parent his baby and demonstrate and process how he feels about the whole thing a bit better with his own baby to nurture. Parenting win? We think so.



Today is James’ actual due date, and also my 36th Birthday. It has been a lovely day so far and I am struggling to feed the insatiable child, answer messages, post this blog, and get about a million other things done before heading out to the day spa for some alone time. How’s that for a champagne complain! I am more pampered and blessed than my wildest dreams could have ever foretold. Immensely grateful, but yes, I know that I am very spoiled indeed.

So… back to some stories of Hobbit life.

I’m beginning to think that this baby has a touch of magic in him. We’re very free and easy with letting people hold our kids from the moment they arrive. I’ve already lost count of the number of strangers that have had a snuggle with James. He got passed around the hospital, several people at the mall were thrilled to have a hold when offered. The staff at Soto were keen to have a snuggle. There’s a little bit of magic that happens when we let someone hold him. Particularly if they have rarely or never held a brand new baby.

One of the most worthy examples of the magic I am talking about, happened on ANZAC day.

We braved the chaos of the 1:00pm sale crowds as Grumpy had his eye on a pram that was 25% off at Baby City. The mall was a zoo. I took Stephanie-Jane and James up to grab a coffee while Steve stayed down to wait for the doors to open and buy the baby booty he’d been eyeing up.

On the escalator, I met some very sweet and enthusiastic women. They asked about James, and how old he was, and I told them he was only a couple of days old.

I handed him over to the woman who’s name was Trish. She relished her snuggle. And she told me about her daughter.

This is Christine Main.


Christine lost a valiant battle with a very aggressive form of cancer one year and one day earlier.

Trish shared her daughter’s story with me, while she held sweet baby James. The joy in her eyes and that radiated off her as she told me the story of her beautiful, adventurous, caring and generous daughter gave me goose pimples and as I share the story with you now is making my eyes leak.

She needed to share the story of her vivacious daughter, who I am quite certain I would have adored had I been lucky enough to meet her. I needed to hear that story. And we both needed to meet that day on an escalator at the Westfield Albany Mall.

Please take the time to read about Christine. She was an amazing woman. Trish told me about her sky dive and that the adrenaline rush she got from it never actually wore off, and that she spent every day of the rest of her life full of joy and vigor, even through her illness.

I’ve always found it quite amazing that the little people we have made have so much demonstrable personality, right from the moment they arrive. They have all been so different, undeniably unique. One could argue a bit of chicken/egg in this. Perhaps, as parents, we ascribe attributes to them from the moment they are born, and then there is a trajectory that occurs based on this. I can’t say for sure how it works. We’re just muddling through like everyone else does. For the most part though, we’re fairly proud of the empathetic, engaged and charming little people that share our home and our lives with us.

Here’s just a few more pictures to share with you before I head out for the spa in a minute or two:






He’s settled into Hobbit Life beautifully. The children have embraced their baby brother and are keen to help out and offer snuggles whenever the opportunity presents itself.

We’ve had a constant but absolutely lovely stream of visitors and we’re very keen to introduce him to everyone! We’ll open the doors to the Hobbit homestead one day soon and everyone is very welcome to pop in for a snuggle if they are close by.

Well, I’d better pack up and head out so I don’t miss my facial and massage!

Hope you enjoyed today’s peak into Hobbit life. And thank you for taking the time to read!

Have a wonderful week wherever you are and whatever you are up to. And thank you for your kind words and friendship from so many corners of the world.



Holidays, Hospitals, Happiness and Hobbitses – Part One

Easter weekend saw the met service (that is the Meteorological service – in NZ we call it the met service, and it is our go-to source for all things weather related) spreading gloom throughout our island paradise by telling us all that it was going to be a grey and rainy long weekend.

This prospect didn’t bother me a bit, as we had planned to head up to our cozy off-grid holiday home high up in the Matakana hills just north of Auckland.  There’s a warm fire, big fluffy blankets, amazing local produce right on the doorstep, magnificent Matakana markets, and the children even survive without the Internet for a few days.  They play in the clay, clamber up hills, skin their knees, climb trees, make forts, sharpen sticks, fight, laugh, cry, scream, yell and carry on like feral little creatures.  It is absolutely wonderful!


Three-Year-Old BatBoy son Adam after making a fantastic mess


The little dots in the middle of the picture are the children scrambling up hills


Chasing each other with sticks. Cause, well, boys do that sort of thing.

Happily, it turned out that there were only scattered showers, and the whole weekend was absolutely gorgeous, and warm but crisp, and the night skies were clear and beautiful and the stars twinkled over us just out of reach of our fingertips it seemed.

Sadly, we arrived to a less than perfectly presented property.  The last time we had been up was the re-wedding.  We left without tidying up, and our guests also vacated in a very big hurry, so it was left in a less than pristine state.

We’d planned several times to get up and tidy up after the event, but kept getting side-tracked.  So after 8 weeks had passed and we had finally made it to the property, it was in a less than welcoming state and required a phenomenal amount of scrubbing and disinfecting and general faffing to get it to the standard we are now comfortable with.

As it was Easter weekend, we had the whole family join us for a big Easter dinner, some cribbage, some chaos, and everyone got stuck in and helped with some cleaning as well.

Grumpy and I had discussed the plan for the week, which included the rather large inconvenience of having to give birth to our fourth child on the 25th of April (ANZAC day).

He’s been very busy inventing a new product for the EV (Electric Vehicle) market that we will be shipping in the next month or so if all goes according to plan. He had set himself up a make-shift station to get on with his soldering and fashioning for the prototypes and circuit boards he’s been working on.  So he was quite happy to work quietly away while I waddled around the house cleaning, scrubbing and nesting like a small, round, madwoman.

I simply MUST share some of the after pics of upstairs with you…


Biggest comfy holiday bed 🙂


Our silk rug from China. The dragon and the phoenix… a really beautiful and poignant love story. And RED. We really like Red.



I suggested that he should just head back down in the Leaf and work till the wee small hours of morning as he has been prone to do most nights over the last month or more of R&D (Research and Development).

“I’ll just come down tomorrow after I’ve taken some pictures of the house as neat as a pin.  It will take me all morning to get it up to scratch anyway.”  I had told him.

And that was almost what happened.

I managed to get the master suite looking ship-shape and had just been taking pictures of the results when I started to get stronger and more noticeably painful “tightenings” as they are sometimes referred to.  I passed it off as nothing, just some Braxton Hicks, and carried on with my cleaning and ran a bath.


Before jumping briefly into the bathtub, I mentioned the pains to Grumpy.  Now, he is not renowned for his intuition, but he looked me up and down, put down his soldering iron, and started to pack up the car.

“I think you’re having a baby, baby.”  He said quite calmly and matter of factly to me as I waddled my way up the stairs and into the bath.

“Meh, we’ll see.  Google said these BH things happen mostly at night and can get quite strong for days or weeks before labour, but yeah, lets head back to be on the safe side.  Shall I drive the Leaf and you take the van?”  I suggested nonchalantly to him.

“Okay.” Was his equally nonplussed response.

However.  After emerging from my nice warm bath, I realized that driving may be a less than brilliant idea.

He messaged Anna, we texted our LMC (Lead Maternity Carer) and headed down to Auckland just before midnight.

Arrived at the maternity ward to a mean and matronly old battle ax that was standing guard at the desk and ripped shreds off of us for not calling ahead.

So, me, being me, handled the whole ordeal in an undeniably and embarrassingly Canadian way.

I apologized for not calling ahead.  I apologized for showing up in the middle of the night.  I apologized for having gestational diabetes.  I apologized for my midwife being off-call.  I apologized for over-reacting and suggested perhaps I should just head straight home, as surely it was nothing, just some false labour nonsense, and I really felt quite genuinely terrible for being such a bother at this time of night.  And then, I apologized for erring on the side of caution, but explained that I labour and give birth very quickly indeed, and due to my poor health and history, thought it best I just pop in, if nothing else, for some monitoring.

Looking back now, I proper want to take a time machine and rip some shreds off that matronly old meat ax.  What on earth is she doing working in a maternity ward and making women feel like they are a terrible inconvenience for showing up at hospital, very possibly to give birth?  Grrrr.

So Grumpy called Anna.  They chatted.  He handed me the phone.  I continued to spit out apologies and said I was terribly sorry for bothering her so late, and would be fine to just go home.  But apparently, nobody there could do an internal and she’d had to drag her tired self out of bed to check me out anyway.

I felt terrible.  I knew she had to work in the morning.  I now feel terrible for feeling terrible.  Terrible isn’t it.

It was at around this point I got a flash-bulb image that coincided with a very strong contraction that said: 3:33.  I’ll be here by 3:33.  It looked like a red digital alarm clock face on the inside of my eyelids. Not sure how or where that stemmed from, but it was very vivid, and it turned out to be absolutely accurate.  Weird or what right?

Shortly after Anna arrived, she plugged in the Nitrous Oxide, I gratefully sucked away and spent the next two hours in an almost out-of-body state that I am sure I can’t accurately describe, so I won’t even try.

James arrived at 3:24am.


I bid farewell to our dear friend Anna and my bedraggled husband just before 6:00am.

I got a very welcome visit from a dear online friend of mine, Mel.  We chatted and laughed.  I swore like a sailor, she snuggled with James.  We laughed and bonded and I felt very pleased indeed to know that good people like her were all over the place, and my prolific social media meanderings have been a vehicle through which to find wonderful, quirky and kind souls to connect with.  Thanks Melanie.

To be continued…


Storms, Shopping, Strangers, Snogs, Squishes, Stories and Songs.

Yesterday was a pretty full day.

We got the tail end of cyclone Ita which caused chaos throughout the North Island. I’d planned to spend the morning visiting friends, but traffic was at a standstill, and the prospect of crossing the motorway turned out to be well and truly in the too hard basket after school drop off, so I took shelter in a local mall instead.

Ita Closes Tamaki Drive

The tail end of Cyclone Ita closed a generally very busy Tamaki Drive.

Met my long-suffering husband. No problem finding a park, as most people either had the sense to stay indoors or were stuck in the chaos on the roads trying to get on with their day.

Thousands of Aucklanders’ days were thrust into chaos. Power outages, road closures, downed trees, flooding and even flying roofs meant some people got an extra day off before the Easter weekend officially kicked in.


This guy is in good spirits considering. This was posted yesterday on the More FM website according to the image gallery I found it.

Breakfast was ordered and plans were hatched for the day. Steve would get a squish (massage) while I’d do a spot of shopping and waddling around the mall. He planted a passionate snog on me before taking his leave, which was a very nice reminder that he likes me, despite the fact I have been absolutely insufferable recently.

We agreed we would have to go shopping for gifts “from the baby” to bring along to the hospital and present to the children in conjunction with introductions to their little brother.

It is a thing we do. The biggest helping of attention will be heaped on Adam, as we are often reminded that he’s a hand-me-down kid and rarely gets anything new and has always more or less had to slot in with what everyone else is doing. The upside of this is that he’s not spoiled or entitled, and appreciates every gesture and gift he receives with such earnest it melts my heart. The downside is, we have far less patience with him than we did with his siblings, and sometimes forget to tolerate him like the three year old that he is, and expect far more from him that might be reasonable. He’s seems to be turning out alright, despite our many parental failings though. So fingers crossed he grows up to be a good, kind and engaged human. Time will tell.

I squeezed in some retail therapy. Lost count of the number of people who looked at me and said something along the lines of: “Not long to go now!” or “Oh my, you look just about ready to pop” and happily received few strangers’ belly rubs while explaining that the induction was now only a week away.

Oh, also managed to catch up with my Canadian friend Leigh as she was down from the Hibiscus Coast for an appointment on the Shore, so stopped in and treated me to tea and muffin while Grumpy was getting a squish (massage) at the Chinese kiosk downstairs. It was nice to have some one on one time with her.

We wrapped up, Steve popped in just long enough to subject Leigh to his usual lascivious groping session (reserved for pre-cleared and previously screened friends, as he does actually respect boundaries, and there are plenty of our friends that he’s quite a gentleman around) before we headed over to the toy store together.

The plan was to get Adam one of those motorized plastic jeeps or something equally OTT. That plan didn’t pan out. We ended up getting him a baby doll complete with carrier and pram. So Adam will be able to care for his baby while we care for James. Luckily he’s a big fan of pink, because let me tell you, gender biases are alive and well here in New Zealand’s retail toy industry, and all the baby stuff was geared towards girls.

We then went our separate ways again.  He went home to work on his latest project, and I stayed out to finish up some rare retail therapy as I hardly ever shop these days.

I headed over to Briscoes because they were having a SALE!  For those non-Kiwi types, Briscoes has a sale every single weekend.  The motto and jingle “You’ll never buy better” scrolls across our television screens every single weekend.  It is a bit of a joke.

I also made a short detour to the pet store where I failed to purchase a miniature maltese puppy as it had been claimed by another family the day before.  Here is a picture of the puppy that wasn’t meant to be a part of the West family.


Bought some supplies for the house, and was served by a lovely (and very handsome) young man.

He had a long verse tattooed on his lower arm. I can’t recall exactly what it said, or who he attributed it to. Some Persian poet. The gist of the phrase was Carpe Diem, but be respectful as you go about Carpe-ing your Diems. He then helped me to the car with my purchases, and a really great conversation on religion ensued.

“So I take it you aren’t Islamic, seeing as you have quite a bit of ink.” I said to him.

“Well, I am Muslim, but not hardcore or anything” He explained.

“Ah, kinda like I’m Christian, but not super OTT or anything I guess. My husband is Atheist. He thinks it is ridiculous that I believe in something bigger. But seriously, it is way too amazing that all of our major religions pretty much say the same stuff. There must be something more. Just so messed up that it is the source of so much hatred and crazy, when the messages are actually really good – tolerance, grace, Love, all that great stuff! Religion can be so nuts” I continued.

“Exactly. The really hardcore types can be a bit intense. I mean, I eat bacon, but I still respect Islam. Maybe when I’m older I’ll get more religious. That seems to happen.” He said nonchalantly as we walked to the car on the now clear blue-sky day.

“Yeah, my dad is ordained in the Anglican Church, but he’s not pushy. It is really quite cool that the kids get to decide. I have one Atheist and two believers so far. And the bacon thing, I totally get! Heaps of our Jewish friends love a good bacon cheeseburger.” I laughed.

And we wished each other well. I got in the van, swung by daycare and school to collect the children and headed home to unpack the family and my purchases.

Arrived home greeted by Grumpy getting ready to head into the office for some drinks and pick up some packages.

He left, I napped.

Woke up a couple of hours later and called my friend Anna about picking her up for the Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row concert we were going to that night.

I picked her up after 7:00 and we made our way up to the top of Mt. Eden to get a good look at the moon as it was extra beautiful this evening. I was surprised that she’d never been up to the top before. I’d been there quite literally hundreds of times. She’d even lived in the area for some time as a child, but with 5 other siblings, car trips to the top of Mt. Eden were a logistical impossibility. She’s had a very different life journey than I have. I just get on and do absolutely anything that catches my fancy, without too much planning or forethought, as things generally just seem to fall more or less into place and resources become available how and when they are needed, and always have done one way or another.

Her experiences are such, that flying off footloose and fancy-free wasn’t ever much of an option for her. While I was in my late teens and early 20’s, poor as a pauper, I still managed to embark on so many adventures and see amazing things. The same time as I was off road tripping on a shoe-string budget, or nightclubbing on K-Road, she was managing a young family as she had her first daughter when she had just turned 17.

A few years back, Anna went back to school and got qualified as a professional medical practitioner in midwifery.

I can’t begin to explain how cool it is that I have a friend who I like going to concerts with, who is also a trained midwife. Very advisable to bring your own midwife if you are going to attend a hair-band concert in your ninth month of pregnancy. Anna was great fun. She ensured I was always topped up with soda water and kept guard over my spot on the couch during one of my frequent bathroom breaks.

She also managed to introduce herself to the other obviously pregnant lady at the concert who came over to say hi and we got this picture.

I wasn't the only pregnant lady at the concert!

I wasn’t the only pregnant lady at the concert!

There was a very nice bouncer lady who was stationed at the toilets, and we got to talking. She’d had four children, lost one and was now dealing with a 20 something year old daughter who was struggling with drugs and gambling issues. So when it came time to leave (after Skid Row played I Remember You) I gave her big hugs and we wished each other well. Anna laughed.

“How do you even DO THAT!” She chortled. “You didn’t take any longer than a normal person going to pee, and yet you managed to get yet another complete stranger to open up to you about all of that. At a concert. Outside the loo. You’re kind of a freak you know.” Anna said affectionately.

Such heartfelt compliments are rarely so gratefully received. I am a freak. And I hope to stay freakishly friendly until the day I draw my last breath. And oh how I adore strangers!

There isn’t much in the world I enjoy as much as reaching out to someone who just wants to connect. And my fickle and unreliable nature lends itself to successful relationships with strangers, even if it proves to be a challenge sometimes when tackling deeper and more meaningful relationships. Some people find me insufferable. And that’s okay.  The older I get the less time I have for the vast majority of people as well.  Time just gets more precious.  But strangers, I think I will probably always find time to reach out very actively to strangers.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Easter!



Wanting to Run Away

We’re about a week out from becoming parents again.


Pre-knocked up self had pictured this point in the pregnancy as seeing a glowing and maternal me crocheting blankets and staring blissfully off into the distance imagining the hours of baby bonding that lay ahead once the fourth and final heir to the Happy Hobbit throne had arrived.



House is almost completely baron of newborn gear.  It is cleaner than usual.  And the kids and Grumpy are all chipping in to keep it that way. That’s something worthy of note.

I have a pack of newborn diapers, some muslins and a breastpump and hand-me-down onesies in a drawer somewhere. This is the sum total of proof there will be a new baby arriving here soon.  That is, aside from my large belly that got at least half a dozen complete stranger rubs today. I admit I will miss that. There is something so cool about breaking down barriers between people.  I have found, when it comes to strangers, it is mostly Polynesian and Indian women who reach out for a feel.  I’ve never had an Asian lady lay a hand on my belly to feel the kick.  Someone could do a sociology thesis.  Not me.  I’m too busy denying the inevitable to embark on a thesis at present.

So yes.  Mum of the year all up in here.

While I should be fantasising about the fleeting joys of meeting and greeting a new member of the family, I am actually just dreaming about pulling a full on Dian Fossey and running away to the Rwandan jungle where no children or husband will find me.  Hanging quietly in the mist with some chilled out band of gorillas. Oh wait.  I suppose now they’d be looking in the Rwandan jungle.  Scratch that.  I’d have to hatch another plan entirely after mentioning that I suppose.


I have no idea if I should be sharing any of this.  And I am in full on white knuckle praying mode wishing that when he arrives something changes and my maternal instincts kick in.  I know they are there… Somewhere.

So now, I will attempt to embark on some sleep which will of course be completely denied me for a minimum of 6 weeks starting in the very near future.  

Maximum of 8 more nights of relatively uninterrupted sleep… I shall enjoy every single one thoroughly.



I have been scouring my files for the video of Carol delivering this FABULOUS poem to us at our Valentines day celebration.  Sadly, no dice.  Couldn’t find it anywhere.

Let me introduce you to Carol anyway.

Carol and Dee

Here I am hugging Carol after flawlessly and brilliantly delivering her fantastic poem at the celebration.


Reading us her masterpiece 🙂

She is a deep, kind, thoughtful, passionate, intelligent, interesting and wonderful woman.  She’s also a Canadian Kiwi (Caniwi) like me.

Here are a few pictures of I found from the wedding:


Ann and Lee

Here are a couple of our friends thoroughly enjoying the gifted and talented poetess and performer

In the Marquee

Here is a group shot – Carol and her partner Shane are in the far left corner of this shot.

And here is the poem that she shared with us that evening.

I wish I could show you the video, because it was delivered in a way that had us rolling in the isles.  Thank you so much Carol.  It is an honour to call you friend lovely lady. XXOO

To Dee and Steve West

On the Occasion of their 10 Year Celebration of Love


February 14, 2014


Ten years of anything is an impressive feat

And with this first decade of marriage

Dee and Steve have joined that elite

Group of couples who have at their core

A commitment, always, to honour love and not war

So what is the secret of their staying together?

This partnership from the land of rugby and the ice hockey puck

What keeps them saying “I’ll love you forever”

Some might say it’s obvious, they just love to…


Find comfort in each other; a melding of their minds

It keeps them coming back time after time

To build on that relationship of unbreakable loving steel

Looking out for one another and listening to what they feel

Raising their gorgeous children in a sharing, caring way

Doing something right somewhere every single day

Being grateful for it all, especially their really good luck

And never forgetting how important it is to…


Free themselves of the petty things

That can tear a couple apart

Eventually getting back to that special connection

Which flows between them heart to heart

Making a positive difference to our precious earth

And doing it all with infinite kindness, grace and mirth

And, of course, plenty of PDA’s

So despite the odd fight which does suck

Always they sort it and work out their ways

Cause they both want to have that really good…


Future together where they are united

And continuing their journey of love

With the support of their families and friends around them

And the blessings of heaven / whatever above

So even though these Hobbits can sometimes be grumpy

And a little cray-cray with emotional muck

We admire how they get through it and push past what ails them

To stay focused on having a good…


Fun life together whilst doing great things all around

Travelling and sharing their caring with others

Where intelligence and integrity abounds

Sustainability is high on their list

Of making the world a better place

Isn’t it great how they help so many?

Knowing that together – anything they can face

So I want to say ‘Thank you’ for sharing this day

With awesome people, great food and drink

And thank you for being just who you are

Making a difference and making us think


So here’s to you handsome Kiwi Steve

And Dee you gorgeous Canuck

I know all of us here so appreciate

How much you both love to…


Love us



Peace to the world…

With love and appreciation,

Carol Rewega


Attempting to Unravel the Truth About Beauty – Part Two

Beauty – Part Two

The human race’s obsession with attractiveness is probably, in essence, quite innocent.  Displaying and acknowledging attractiveness can be argued to be a perfectly reasonable evolutionary mechanism employed by most (if not all) people to help determine health and vitality.  We’re naturally drawn to attractive people as it is generally synonymous with health, vitality, fertility, and good genes.

I can’t be bothered talking about any of that.

I do, however, want to wrap up this conversation about beauty.  Seeing as it is my blog, I’ll give this final installment the Dee treatment, and just share with you my own personal opinions on what is beautiful, basically ignoring the screeds of research I’ve been wading through on the subject.

I’ve opted to share five things that I think are beautiful to illustrate my point on this subject.  I am leaving out countless others including:

1)  Integrity

2)  Grace

3)  Smile lines and well-earned physical signs of living a full and interesting life

4)  Honesty

5)  Humility

6)  Generosity

7)  A warm smile

8) Health and vitality (regardless of what the scales may say!)

9)  Confidence…

The list could go on and on.

However, for today’s blog I am sticking to five things that I think make women truly beautiful:

1)  Strength and resilience

I realised again last week that there are a number of absolutely amazing women I am lucky enough to know, that have overcome some gargantuan obstacles in their lives.

I am lucky enough to have met women who have faced (and overcome) addictions, mental illness, hard times that I can’t even imagine being faced with.  Women who have survived life-threatening illness, cared for others tirelessly (be it a sick or severely disabled child, family member, or in some cases they have made the care of others a career), mind numbing loss, war, natural disasters, poverty, abuse.  These ladies have experienced rock-bottom and climbed out with an understanding and resilience that is impossible to describe.  Although you can’t immediately put your finger on it, just being around them, you get a sense of the strength and understanding that can only come from the experiences that they have faced and overcome.

I have dozens of examples I’m intensely eager to share with you, but these are not my stories to tell.  So I’ve scoured the web for images of the strength that I am talking about, as a picture truly is worth a thousand words.


Rescued from slavery in the sex industry. Strength and beauty embodied.


Iconic shot of an Afghan refugee – her eyes say so much, the pain, the wisdom, the things she must have seen. Beautiful and haunting.


Drew Barrymore, one of the more well known recovering addicts in the spotlight.




Hurricane Katrina survivors supporting each other. Touching and beautiful.

2)  Vulnerability


While there is a time and a place for being tough but fair, or for “putting on your big girl knickers and getting on with things”, there is also something absolutely beautiful and human that can only be seen when we are exposed and vulnerable.


The other part of the beauty of vulnerability is that, even the most amazing and effective women have vast and gaping imperfections.  Being privy to that, and seeing just how broken we all are is fascinating, comforting, connecting and refreshing.


Perhaps there is something a bit more basic and visceral about vulnerability and its association with beauty.  We are, apparently, the fairer and weaker sex.  There is something magic in being  swept up into strong arms in a moment of weakness.  Something so romantic about needing protection and rescuing.

But only sometimes.  There’s a big difference between being an occasional damsel in distress, in need of a hero, and a consistent mentality of being a victim and not just getting on with things.  While I truly think it is beautiful and more than a little sexy to be vulnerable on occasion after you’ve been strong for too long, there is also something quite sad and ugly about expecting other people to solve the world’s issues for you.


3)  Connectedness

There is something exquisite and enticing about the effortlessness that some women include and embrace those around them.  These are the women who get down to eye level when they talk to children, they look you in the eye when they are talking to you, they are frequently found quietly (and often thanklessly) doing what needs to be done in their homes, families, communities and even the world itself.

I really enjoy people watching, and looking out for examples of the beautiful things I am talking about in strangers.

Old couples holding hands or sitting together and so comfortable with their partner that you can hardly tell where one of them ends and the other begins.




New mothers looking into their baby’s face, radiating a contagious sense of peace.



Seeing a couple on a successful first (or early) date and witnessing the energy between them.



Teachers, trainers, coaches, community leaders working with a group and being able to see the cohesion and enthusiasm that their words and energy plant in the hearts and minds of their captive audience.



This is connectedness, and it is absolutely magnificent.


Again, I have an almost limitless supply of stories I could share with you about friends and family who demonstrate this amazing connectedness.  But, they are not my stories to tell.  I hope you get what I mean, and I added some more stock photos and pithy sayings I am sharing in an attempt to illustrate this point.

4)  Kindness

Kindness is beautiful.

That’s it.  Full stop.


5)  Humour

There are few things as appealing and attractive as laughter.  Just overhearing people laughing releases positive endorphins in most people.  Smiles and merriment break down barriers, ease tension, bring people together and, not to put too fine a point on it, make life bearable.


Being able to laugh at our self, and each other, without malice or envy, is about the shortest distance between two people I can imagine.

So I’ll wrap this post and subject up with some pictures of gorgeous funny women who have influenced me directly and from a distance.









From Pouting to Appreciating in One Simple Step – Courtesy of Grumpy.

Yesterday, Grumpy and I ventured out to the mall for lunch.

He waited patiently for me to upload dozens of pictures to my blog as the pictures have all arrived from the wedding.  I’ll get more up soon for anyone waiting on their photos.  It will take weeks, and I think I’ll start a separate site for this mammoth endeavour.

Back to the story.

I popped in to get my 36 week bloods taken (at 37 weeks as last week I just got too busy and distracted), and then I waddled up to the food court moaning all the way.  Have been feeling rather sorry for myself because I don’t have the energy or inclination to do everything I’d like to and things aren’t moving as quickly or smoothly as I would like with my business or some projects I’ve attached myself to.

I am miserable because I am sick, sick, sick.  I did it to myself with ridiculous eating disorders and bad decisions in my youth, and then going hog wild with food in my first pregnancy.  Actions compound. My decisions and gluttonous personality have culminated in me being far less healthy than I ought to be through this pregnancy, regardless of the fact I am making a concerted effort to be less stupid as I have aged.  This is not karma, more just cause and effect.

Regardless.  I am deep in the throws of a particularly impressive pity party lately.

“You know, I spend all this time harping on about karma and kindness and being the bigger person.” I huffed on my way up the gentle incline at the mall.  “Well, I am starting to think it is all bollocks.” I said sourly.

“Why is that.” Responded Grumpy.

“Well, take, for example (insert secret list of names of people who have hurt me, or us, or other people A LOT in one way or another).  They do sweet F-all for anyone else, they don’t seem to learn from their mistakes, they don’t listen, and the universe just keeps reaffirming their assertion that they are entitled to act however they want, they always have gimme gloves on, act like total jerks, lie, think they are cooler than other people, think they are entitled.  The worst part is, things seem to continue to pan out for them time and time again.” I whinged. “And what is WORSE, is they never seem satisfied or grateful either.”  I growled intensely.

“Is that right?” He responded calmly and thoughtfully as he is prone to do.  “Do you really think (insert name of a particular jerk here) is happy?  Do you think they are happier than us? Do you really think that their mistakes and stupidity isn’t catching up with them?  What would you have karma do exactly?  Do you need more smiting?  Is your karmic assertion a vengeful one?”  He laughed at me.

“Maybe a little more smiting.  Some people deserve to be smote a bit.  Not my job to dole out smote.  But yes.  It would be nice if they got knocked back and stopped managing to lie to themselves and others and live in some false fantasy.  But they don’t seem to learn or change.” I continued. “Better than smiting, would be if they actually learned to be more gracious or rational, and stopped expecting so much and learned to say thank you or learn from their mistakes and selfishness to give something back for a change. Or at the VERY least, realise that they are hurting people and make some effort to mend that damage, or at least stop making it worse.”

At this point I was almost in tears thinking about how tired I was of trying to save the world and apparently making little to no headway at all.  And the demon of indignation welled up even more in my belly as I then thought of all the good people who seem to be handed so much heartache and manage to continue to be kind and decent regardless, or maybe even because, of the hurt that they have been dealt.  People who have suffered unimaginable loss or trials, while JERKS make bad decisions and then even have the audacity to COMPLAIN about their lot when it is quite clearly the result of their own selfishness and stupidity!


“And what would your own good karma look like anyway?” He said.

Penny.  Dropped.

Here I am, living an undeniably charmed and amazing life.  I’m basically drowning in the Love and respect of good and interesting people.

Every time I, or we have been duped, damaged, disappointed, or even attacked, we have always managed to claw our way back having learned something from the experience.

I didn’t earn the life or the level of comfort I enjoy.  Aside from having a massive penchant for travel, adventure and just getting on with things, it is nothing short of miraculous to think back over the adventures I have had (good and bad).  I’ve met some amazing people, been involved with some inspiring charitable, social, environmental and community initiatives.  I’ve also been taken for a ride, used, abused, or even defamed.  Too often, by the people I have left myself extremely vulnerable and exposed to, and tried the most actively to help in one way or another.

I have also had so much fun. Being able to share great moments with wonderful people, and even some of the more jarring and costly mistakes have had rewards and gains that I can only see if I change perspective and realise they are there.  There’s a balance, and it is bigger and more complicated than my feeble comprehension.

So, in a matter of seconds, I went from feeling like a slighted and hard-done-by mega pregnant martyr, to a total jerk.  I don’t think either is starkly true.

We have a lot, so we get the amazing opportunity to share lot.  Our homes and hearts are open to the point we have made ourselves a slow moving target for some less than ethical characters.  But I live in the most beautiful country I have ever seen, in a home that far surpasses my wildest childhood dreams of happily every after, with a motley and magnificent support crew of family and friends.  We are generous with what we have, whether that is advice and laughter to share, or things of a more tangible nature like a roof, a meal, gifts, sharing travel or experiences that might otherwise be unattainable.  How cool is that?

So today I will try to stop complaining so much and looking enviably over fences at other people’s lives.  I will have some faith, gratitude and patience and do my absolute best to celebrate the wins and learn from the losses.  Because life is actually beautiful.  And part of that beauty is making mistakes and moving forward without pouting, pining or nitpicking.  And sometimes, the biggest challenges are actually couching the biggest rewards.  Sometimes, things just suck too.  But we survive those things surrounded by the Love of family and friends.

People are on their own journey, and I have to let it go and let them be. I should also pay a bit more attention and show a bit more appreciation for my own journey.  Make fewer excuses, be a lot less lazy, and a lot more effective.  I won’t get anywhere if I don’t keep on moving forward, so forward it has to be.

I’ll start right now by getting some work done and tidying up for our Blessingway this Sunday.

Have a great week, and thanks for suffering through today’s reflections.







Attempting to Unravel the Truth about Beauty: Part One

Sometime ago I posted an article written by a self-professed “exceedingly attractive” woman who was having a good moan about women who were punching well above their weight and married or dating attractive, successful men.  Snopes said this was a possibly a hoax, but it highlighted some really cool and confronting stuff I want to talk about.

Here is the article in question..

Something strange happened after posting this. I got a lot of responses from single men and women, who agreed with the sentiments of the woman (real or fake though she may be) in the article. They also disclosed how fraught their own romantic struggles could be, but they were quite vehemently on board with her honesty regarding people needing to be attractive, and work on their external looks, as an absolute priority.

The happily married guys and gals chimed in saying lovely or amusing things about themselves or their partners. One quite cool guy stated he felt like he was punching well above his weight and his wife was amazing (she is by the way). Several mummy friends laughed and shrugged off the derogatory statements made about our comfortable clothes and ponytails.

I’d hazard a guess that the people who are jealous or incredulous towards the happily, comfortably married folks (male or female) and not-so-secretly noticing their faithful partners, probably wouldn’t have given them a second look before they were taken.  A simple case of grass is greener, or wanting what they don’t currently have. That’s fine, and it makes sense, so no harm no foul, provided the jealous parties don’t actively coerce the happily coupled types to jump ship.  And if they do, good riddance.


Consistent and long-term coupling takes effort and evolution as an individual and as a team. So yeah, sometimes the lipgloss gets retired as it is not a priority when we need meet the rigorous challenges of family life.


But standing on the outside looking in and thinking:  “Why doesn’t she just put in a touch of effort!  Look at her man all dapper and hot” actually makes a great deal of sense. It isn’t particularly helpful though, as I also think these women would bore quickly if they were subjected to the throws of domestic bliss of yoga pant, ponytail, and bare faced mummy types.


In my genuine experience, a lot of these guys think their make-up free, slightly frumpy female companions ARE beautiful.  Grumpy proper thinks I am one of the most beautiful women in the world.  He’s an absolutely ineffective liar, so experience tells me that he’s genuine in his assertions that, to him, I am.  I don’t think I earned this, I’m just grateful for the fact it is.  And to me, he is equally perfect and gorgeous.  Lucky or by design?  Probably a bit of both.  And it doesn’t mean that both of us don’t occasionally meet other human beings that we find quite irresistible in one way or another.  Meet enough people in this life and you’re bound to bump into a few you’d not mind bumping uglies with.  Sorry if that’s crass… We’re animals.  Choosing not to act on this stuff and resisting temptation has its own rewards though.

Here’s the thing: We are the women that have bore their children, tended to them when they get the man-flu, have seen them cry (yes, men cry) and laugh and everything in between. That kind of intimacy and collateral that builds up over months and years comes at a cost that nobody can ever quantify.  That kind of connection evolves over time and through trials, and it is not for everyone. And, quite often, that intimacy has a life expectancy for some people as well.  Many a couple have gone their separate ways when the kids fly the coop, or if priorities or personalities go too far askew in their trajectory.  This is life.

So I’ve spent the last couple of weeks skimming articles on attraction, relationships, marriage, courtship, physical beauty, sexual desire, and a variety of other subjects that were touched upon in the article and its responses.

I feel no more enlightened, but what I have confirmed is that although there are varied personal and cultural criterion for what people consider attractive, there are also some fairly universal themes.

Here’s a short list of stuff that just about everyone is looking for in a partner and a brief explanation of why:

1)  Symmetry


Absolute symmetry in the human form is quite simply impossible. But we have an innate ability to seek it out and be attracted to it on both a subconscious and conscious level. While our mammas are making us in their bellies, the cells are striving for health and symmetry as they are being made.  Outward physical appearance of symmetry can be a basic indicator that your parents gave you good genes and you had a nice safe and healthy place to gestate so you’ll have plenty of good genes to pass on yourself.  Not that this is always the case, of course, but it is a thing our brains do consistently in clinical test and daily life.

2)  Health


Having nice clear whites of your eyes, bright smile, fresh breath, healthy proportional weight, rosy cheeks, red lips, great skin, good muscle tone, etc. These are all generally universally sought after traits.  We’ve even designed ways to “trick” people into thinking we are healthy.  Make-up colours and techniques tend to mimic the naturally occurring facial signs of health.  We also have gravity defying undergarments, platform shoes, fashion tricks like pin stripes to make men look taller and a variety of other tricks and hacks to put our best (and healthiest) face forward.

3)  Posture

Good posture makes you look taller.  Taller is frequently considered more attractive. Posture also exudes an air of confidence, and confidence is something the vast majority of people relate inextricably with attractiveness as well.

4)  Hygiene

Good personal hygiene is obviously attractive.  Different cultures have different definitions of what this actually is. Some cultures are quite keen not to mask their personal musk with such things as perfumes and deodorants, and a strong musky scent is considered just fine.  Other cultures primp and preen and mask personal odor with potions, lotions and scents.  Regardless, there is a conscious and subconscious reaction to the way people smell. Have you ever just been wantonly attracted to someone for no apparent reason, even, horror of horrors if you really thought they were a bit yuck?  You might just be falling prey to pheromones.

5)  Energy levels

People with a lot of energy, even quiet confidence, are generally universally considered more attractive.  Sluggish, slouchy Eeyore types are not going to be imagined as the monster in the sack that most of us are keen to take for a joyride. Neither are they going to be seen as good prospects for genetic material or long term coupling. Humans generally crave comfort, protection, joy and even excitement.  Confident people hold the promise of these things.

Research also states that women have an evolutionary lean towards “bad boys” or “alpha males” or even “beta males” for genetic purposes, as these douche bags tend to have healthy genes (at least, according to our reptilian brains!).  They are good for coitus and procreation and not much else. However, for long-term coupling, the nice guy wins. And I for one, am eternally grateful for this fact, after being mixed up with several lifetimes worth of undeniably beautiful, but absolutely abhorant and appalling bad boys.

Men also crave an excessively brazen hussy on some level.  What is that saying? Men want their wives to be a saint in public and a slut in the sack?  Well, apparently there’s similar biological and evolutionary reasoning for this as well. Highly sexed and fertile women were historically more likely to breed prolifically. That window of the luteal phase of our ovulation where our cheeks flush, our lips plump up, our pupils dilate, and our legs more readily open is our most fertile point, and men are quite receptive to it on both a conscious and reptilian level. Apparently.

Historically, there were other, perhaps less highly sexed women in the household, tribe or village that took on the nurturing roles.  Or in some cases, women who passed their breeding prime took on these roles. This job sharing stuff was quite common until relatively recently, even in Western civilisations.

Even today, in many cultures and tribes phenomena like wet nurses and matriarchs are not uncommon. Cultures and religions that allow the taking of many wives for one wealthy man tend to delegate child-rearing responsibilities.

Modern women in the Western world place upon themselves and have placed upon them lofty expectations of performance, beauty, maternal instinct, youthfulness, success, and even vulnerability.  In modern Western society we are often expected to be perfect and able to do it everything.

Kind of unfair if you ask me.  Women are meant to be hot, ageless, maternal, sexy, independent, dependent, vulnerable, attractive, well behaved, entertaining, tough, kind, nurturing and needy all at once. Pretty tiring, and a tall order even for Wonder Woman. Sadly, gone are the days when households and communities could job share this stuff.  (Not that I am in any hurry to run out and get a sister wife anytime soon!)

Back to the point:

  • Our ideas of what is attractive and important is constantly evolving and in flux.
  • Choosing to be with one partner is not for everyone, and the sacrifices and rewards for making these choice are also constantly in flux.
  • True beauty is a package deal has more to do with compatibility and shared priorities than it ever has to do with symmetry or universal physical attractiveness.
  • The most integral Love affair anyone is ever going to have is with oneself. If you don’t cherish and adore yourself, you’ll end up empty and dissatisfied with or without someone else.

I’ll elaborate if enough people are interested in a second instalment.

It would be fantastic to hear some feedback on this before the next installment.  I realize that it is a bit married mamma centric, but I write about what I know, and what I know is indeed being a married mamma.

Thanks for reading.