LAX, Heathrow and HEAPS of Tired


This Blog is going up a week after my travels began… I’ll try and be a bit quicker from now on.

Here goes:

Today’s adventure started… erm… About 29 hours ago I guess?

I am currently sitting in the Lufthansa Senator Lounge in terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow airport.

Despite my flight to Munich being cancelled, I am feeling fairly genuinely fantastic!

I slept most of the flight from Auckland to LAX and then again most of the flight from LAX to Heathrow.  So, all in all, I’d say I’ve had more decent, uninterrupted sleep over the past two days than I normally get in a week.

Because I travel so much, I am top tier with Star Alliance.  This trip has been in business class so this is the absolute tip top of plush travel before you start talking about private jet territory.  Oh, and there’s also a private terminal for celebs and so forth here at Heathrow which I have no interest in finding or joining because I am more than happy with the mind blowing service I get at this level of travel.

So, I’ll skim over LAX and get into a review or my 6 or 7 hours at Heathrow.

LAX sucks a whole, heaps and awful lot.  I spent more than an hour going through three checkpoints at customs and immigration, and then another hour getting BACK through security.  This was TRANSITING!  I wasn’t even landed.  Suffice to say there was an entire flight full of miserable travellers getting back on NZ2 after this stupidity.

Not okay America.  Not okay LAX.  Up your game, because there is NO WAY that that was necessary!  Try ANY OTHER AIRPORT ON THE PLANET if you want to learn something about not being immensely frustrating and wasting everyone’s time.

My advice to anyone heading to Europe is DO NOT CONNECT THROUGH LA!!!!

So I got back on the plane and settled into my seat.  Had a good loud moan with the rest of the passengers in our cabin about our experience.  Had a single glass of champagne (which I generally do not do when I fly long haul, I only drink water) and then ate something and went to sleep.

Landing in Heathrow was a very different experience.

Queues were small.  Staff were cheerful.

I got into the terminal and it was familiar and comforting.

Walked around for a bit taking in the very British feel of the terminal.

By the time I got to the lounge I was pretty tired of walking, and found out that my flight was cancelled.


Being the seasoned, and ever so reasonable traveler that I am, I decided to chill out and head for the showers at the United Airlines lounge.  Here, I enjoyed a leisurely hour and a half just showering, grooming and being locked away from people.

I took some pictures of the facilities. The United Club was very pleasant indeed, I didn’t stop to eat or drink anything as I had so much time I went exploring after my shower.



I decided to go on an adventure around the terminals.  Heathrow is MASSIVE!  And there are people coming and going and connecting and scurrying all over the place.

At one point, I was trying to pass from one terminal to another along a corridor, but the door was closed for some reason.  A large group of people had congregated at the bottleneck and some were getting obviously anxious.  I try not to get anxious when I travel, but I guess I could understand why these people were antsy.  Especially those with children or tight connections to contend with.


A man with a walkie talkie came and opened the door and the traffic flowed through with very little drama.

I returned to the Lufthansa lounge where the counter staff were exceptionally cheerful and friendly, and said that I am probably the nicest person they have ever dealt with when a flight got cancelled.  I thanked them, but said that I felt there was very little use being a grump about things, when it is so obviously not their fault.  It’s nice to be appreciated for not being a jerk though.  I do try very hard to not be a jerk.

IMG_1570IMG_1585IMG_1586IMG_1587IMG_1588IMG_1584So I settled back into the senator’s lounge and had a beer and some prawn curry while I checked some emails and did some work.  All and all not a terrible day, but certainly a LONG one.

I arrived at the Munich airport hotel and checked in and called my beloved Grumpy before finally crawling into bed after nearly two days of travel.

This is the first solo trip I have done to Europe.  I’ve meandered around the continent heaps, but I’ve always come back to my beloved in a day or two as he worked trade shows and I played tourist.

I think it will be a long trip, as I am not used to being so alone for so long.  So far though, I must say I kind of like the peace.  I’ll let you know if that continues.

Thanks for reading.



I was lucky enough to attend the Prince, Piano and Microphone concert a few weeks ago now.

The thing that struck me then, and still does now, is how sad I felt watching and listening to the music pour out of this man.  I was struck with an overwhelming urge to cuddle him.

His music has touched my heart and my mind for decades.  His raw and radiant sexual energy has been the soundtrack to break-ups and make-ups and make-out sessions since I was in High School.

Genius comes at a cost.  The man on the stage in Auckland was saturated with genius.  His brain and voice and fingers and body were a portal for musical perfection that will never be  repeated.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking today:

There seems to be an inescapable correlation between pain and creativity.  People seem to suffer for their art, whatever that art may be.  And quite often, “tortured souls” seem to spew forth impactful and amazing food for our senses, hearts, brains, and souls.  The likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Robin Williams, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, or any number of legendary “tortured” artists.  I do think the tortured artist stereotype is a bit obtuse, as every one of us is exceptionally unique and traveling our own road.  Lumping clever people with mental illness into a whole category seems dull and simplistic.  Still,  I do think that pain feeds creation and creativity.  And I would guess that Prince had a lot of pain.  His love affairs alone would have opened up the flood gates to rivers of tears that most people will never even have to imagine coping with.

There also seems to be a negative correlation between fortune and fame and happiness.  The pages of newspapers across the decades have been strewn with stories of the well heeled being embroiled in scandal of one sort or another, or struggling through personal trials.  There have also been too many headlines telling us that some of the most gifted artists and entertainers lost battles with demons and took their leave by their own hands.

Watching Prince being Prince made my heart ache for him. He was in total control and had every single one of the hundreds of people in the audience eating out of his beautifully manicured hands.  We all Loved him.  We’d all be blown away and changed forever if he were to even speak a word to us on the street or at a bar. There he was, all alone giving us a part of himself and his soul.  I recall the lyrics (particularly in the middle of the set before he gave the audience what they came for with his top ten repertoire) made me wish he would find Love, comfort, safety, joy, peace, and connection.

The reports are still pretty sketchy at the moment.  But it sounds as though he was struggling with some demons as so many geniuses do.

The world has lost a shining star.

And there are oceans of tears being shed the world over for a man that was very private, and iconic, and eccentric, and beautiful.

Rest well you Sexy MF.  And thank you for creating so much of the soundtrack to the backdrop of my life.

I am off out to have dinner with my bestie so we can pontificate on just what the actual eff the world is coming to these days.

Thanks for reading.





Ferries, Friends and Family Planning


I just had an enjoyable crossing from Wellington to Picton, talking about finding bliss, having fun, life, and Love, and whatnot.   I came to the conclusion that our current journey was encouraging not only better energy choices, but also good family planning decisions!  My bliss and life choices have led to Grumpy and I having a VERY large family.  Young couples (or those who are confidently coupled) meet us, and I think the chaos that we carry around satisfies them to hold off on kids, or aim for a slightly more traditional sized family, or in some cases verifies that being kid free really is a palatable choice in 2016.  Population growth is a real issue, perhaps we should take this show on the road and get more people hold off on breeding!  In all seriousness, the children are all charming, funny, and amazing.  They are the best thing we will do in our lives, but man they are a handful!

I get story after story from the childless and child rearing among our group that have me in stitches.  One in particular about a young fellow (friend of one of our group, so this story is second or third hand) who’s bliss involved really REALLY liking women, and figuring out a rather pragmatic way of enjoying his hobby without complications after building a rather complicated life for himself.  No idea why I thought this anecdote was so funny, but my goodness I nearly broke something laughing.

At any rate, today was a bittersweet metaphor.  Travelling away from one thing that I Love (the North Island) to another (the South Island).  It marked more than halfway through this epic trip we are all on together.  It also marked leaving some stuff behind that I’ve been trying to shake (I call this feeling Giles, my relatively new but wonderful friend Jane helped me name it… it is a feeling of empty, numb, and struggling to breath, but I am fairly confident I left it halfway through the ferry crossing).  Wellington is an amazing city and I adore it.  Arriving and leaving always sends my already super-sappy self into a tailspin.

I laughed, because I LOVE to laugh.  I’m reminded how extraordinary (and crazy) individuals are.  I am reminded about my own special brand of crazy.  Watching my kids laugh and play with other kids makes me a bit sad for the lonely little girl I was at their age, when they are so much better at social situations than I ever was.

I also felt a twinge of jealousy, which is NOT a frequent visitor to my emotional pallet, yet has snuck in a bit over the past few weeks. I must say it is not a useful emotion at all and I will take steps to remove it from the spectrum because, ick!  Anyway, seems to me that those without kids have a freedom that I can only dream of.  This is despite the fact I get a great deal more freedom than most parents because of the amazing army that provides support and scaffolding for myself and the kids.  Watching my dear friends who do have kids spending an entire year together as a family on the road is a stark contrast to the sporadic parenting I’ve been doing lately.  Somehow I managed to feel jealous of those with and without kids.  They all seem to have things figured out far more than I do.  Lately, I feel like most people have things figured out more than I do.

So. Many. Feelings.

And what do I ALWAYS say?  Comparison is the the thief of joy.  We make our choices.  We have good days and bad days.  The secret is to find the joy in the moments as they pass I guess.  And to work really hard to see the blessings that stare at you as you are whizzing past them.  The fact I get to spend time with and learn from such an amazing spectrum of human beings is humbling,and encouraging, and I ought not be anything but grateful for the opportunity.

I wouldn’t trade the chaos that Phteven and I have built.  It is exhausting, terrifying, and spectacularly fulfilling. But I am pleased to be finished and seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.  The baby is growing up and my plans for riding off into the sunset (childfree) with my husband one day once they are all off at Uni, really isn’t that far away.

So, the kids will be here with us until I say goodbye in a few short days and fly up to Auckland and then to Munich.  I’ve got a whirlwind tour of the EV landscape in Europe and then the USA.  It is absolutely tied into my work, but it would be out of character of me to fail to admit to myself that I am also running away.  A few weeks to recharge my batteries, do some work, and miss my four fabulous creations will hopefully reboot something in my brain and put me in good stead to carry on and get my mothering act together a bit more upon my return.

Who knew a little trip across the Cook Straight could bring such an onslaught of introspection!

Have a wonderful week, and thank you for reading.






Funerals, Family, Friends, Facebook, and Fleur


Funerals are hugely draining.  This was only the second one this year for Steve and I.  Both occasions were standing room only.  Last Saturday, we saw his huge extended family together for the first time since Fleur’s wedding in 2011 very near the same beach town that the funeral was held yesterday.

The funeral was for Steve’s much admired older cousin, who once plied him with Kiwi Fruit wine to the point he was a rolling drunk at a family function  There is no shortage of stories like this.  There were five siblings in this family (all Steve’s cousins obviously), and my mother in law used to watch them sometimes when they were growing up.  They would get into all sorts of mischief and blame another sibling and maintain solidarity in the confusion, so she never knew who to scold.  They are all great people, and I relish the rare chances I get to see them or connect with them.

Kim passed away on Easter weekend on a bike ride around Mt. Cook. He died in his wife’s arms.  They have known each other since she was 5 years old.  They are as intertwined personally, professionally and socially as any couple on the planet.  They worked and played together, and adventured around New Zealand and the world.  He lived a life that was full of fun, resilience, community, leadership, kindness, innovation and adventure.  I am so thankful to them for making me feel welcome and a part of the family when Steve and I first married, as I was (and still am) quite an odd duck among Steve’s Kiwi family.  They are predominantly no nonsense and somewhat non-demonstrative rural types.  But they all Love each other so much, and the family is tight and make sure they stay close and see each other at cool events like fun fancy dress weddings and special occasions.

I watch them all with great interest on Facebook.  The amount of busy that Steve and I are means that we are only truly close to a small handful of the cousin’s kids (Fleur and Amy in Australia mostly), and most of our relationships are again, nurtured predominantly through Facebook.

We do Love them all very much, and the grief and shock of losing such a vibrant and important piece of their tightly woven tapestry was unspeakably sad.

So, as is the case with any situation, there’s something to be gained or learned from the experience.  This funeral was HUGE.  The rain was pouring down in solid sheets at one point, and the grass floor under the marquee was more like a lake than a lawn.

There were five or so seats up in the front area that was reserved for family, so I went to the back and invited five people to come and join us just moments before the ceremony started.  The gentleman, Tony, that sat next to me, had known Kim and Robyn for years, and worked for them.  He ADORES them, as did everyone there.

The thing that I noticed most obviously, is many of those who gave speeches talked about Kim in the present tense.  I liked this.  I am certain it was due to the untimely and sudden shock of losing him, and none of the guests at the funeral were fully able to grasp the loss that the family and community had just been dealt.

He was an incredibly good man.  An excellent communicator, but hardly one who just liked the sound of his own voice.  A kind, honest, and fair businessman.  A partner and friend and equal to his amazing wife Robyn.  A hero. A much adored and joyful father. An incredible poppa.  An adventurer.  And someone my husband has looked up to his entire life.

If you have taken the time to read this, I thank you.  More importantly, I implore you to grab and hold every moment you have with those you Love.  Hug more.  Laugh more.  Do more. See more.  Cry more.  Learn more.  And hold those that you have loved and lost close forever by sharing their stories.

Thank you for reading.  I wish you health, happiness and adventure.  And every time I see Kiwi wine I shall think of a man who had a surplus of all of these things, even though he was taken too soon.