The Best Bits

It is 3:38 am.

The baby woke me up and I can’t get back to sleep and I am just thinking about the bits that I like.

What do I mean?

Well, you know how there’s a bit in a bunch of songs that you like, and that’s your favourite bit? Or a bit in heaps of different movies that you like, or a bit about your kids, or a bit about food, or that bit about whatever activity that you can possibly think of that really makes you feel warm and happy and makes your brain think, ah, I really like that bit!

That is what I mean.

So, I am going to time myself and type freestyle till 4:00am about just some of the bits that I like:

  • That bit in Cat Stevens: “Can’t Keep It In” When he says: Now don’t you run don’t you hide… The whole song is one of my favourite bits from the very first note till the last one, I adore that song so much, but that particular bit is so great.
  • The smell of earl grey tea and the warmth of the cup in my hands as I sip it and feel relaxed and uplifted at the same time… I do like me some tea.  Yes sir-ee.
  • That bit in the Titanic movie when she realizes that wealth and “privilege” is kinda like its own prison, when she looks over and sees the young girl learning table etiquette. I’ve always liked that bit.
  • That bit when I walk in the door and my baby sees me, smiles and gives me massive cuddles.
  • That bit when I go away and someone watches the house for us while we are gone, and we get back, and it is pristinely clean and feels so good to be home.
  • That bit where we get to New York and head to the park to sit under our favourite willow tree by the turtle pond and give our baby their first ice block.
  • Any bit that involves newborn cuddles.
  • That bit when someone I thought didn’t like me says something absolutely complimentary. That’s a great feeling.
  • That bit when someone who I don’t have a great deal of faith in (so someone I don’t like very much) says or does something really awesome and cool and I can’t help but hold them in higher esteem for it. Pleasant surprises are so great when it comes to dealing with people.
  • That bit where I leave Steve in the hotel to watch the baby and I stand in line ALL NIGHT to hold his place in the line for the keynote at WWDC and meet at least five fabulous friends who are glorious geeks and we stay in touch FOREVER!
  • The key change in Woman in Chains, and watching how much all my children enjoy singing and dancing to Tears For Fears songs.
  • That bit where my eldest son delivers a wry/dry and hilariously insightful take on something that leaves me splitting my side laughing and beaming with pride at his comedic timing and ability to deliver some seriously excellent material as a total straight man. He’s been doing that as long as I can remember, basically since he could talk he has been a master of sardonic wit.
  • When my daughter snuggles in and hangs out with me and says “Guess what?… I Love you.” Heaps of times for no reason.
  • When she wins an award or certificate because, although she wins heaps of stuff like that, every single time she is SUPER excited and gracious and beaming with pride.
  • When my 4 year old just about loses his temper and brings it back and controls it and makes awesome decisions to be good and not lash out or lose it. And then he gets praised for displaying fabulous self control and he beams as bright as the sun about it and gives me huge four year old cuddles.
  • That bit when someone you respect says something nice about you behind your back and it gets back to you.
  • That bit when someone who was mean, or dishonest or bullied you turns their life around in some meaningful way and becomes a better human being, and maybe even contacts you to say: Hey, I know I was a jerk, and I am pretty sorry about that” and you can be super proud of how far they have come and you get to feel extra good about letting go of the pain they handed you, because in that moment you TRULY understand that hurt people hurt people, and it is always nice to see someone’s hurt healed up a bit or a bunch.
  • That bit where my husband pulls me into his arms and kisses me passionately in public and the kids are like: You guys are SO gross, everyone can see you!
  • That bit where I wake up in the middle of the night, and can’t get back to sleep, so I listen to my baby and my husband making sleeping sounds (tonight it was a symphony of snoring and James giggling in his sleep)
  • That bit where I look up at the clock and only have a few more seconds until I have to stop writing…

And those are just a small handful of some of the best bits… There are so many more best bits every single day.  And it was really nice to stop and just write some of them down.

Office Arrangement Awesomeness Makes Today a MAGIC Monday!

I’ve been moping around a little bit lately with that “why do so many people mistake my kindness for weakness and take me for a fool?” kind of storm cloud raging over my head.

Dramatic selfie of Dee moping.  Poor poor pitiful me. Boohoo.

Dramatic selfie of Dee moping. Poor poor pitiful me. Boohoo.

Total waste of time, because the moping kept me from seeing all the amazing people around me!


Almost exactly a year ago, we had a last minute pot luck before I have birth to our fourth and final child. Just about everyone we asked came along, the kids played, the parents laughed, and I am still absolutely chuffed to know each and every person in this picture (although I wish I saw them all more and we weren’t all so busy!)

My very outgoing personality, and Grumpy’s huge heart combine to make us a very accessible, very open, generous and trusting team. We had a hitchhiker couch surf at our house for two years on and off at the beginning of our relationship, and we’ve had dozens of people and families stay with us or use any one of our holiday homes for various reasons. We like giving back, and we like showing strangers and friends the kindness that was shown to us as we maneuvered through life and sometimes needed a helping hand.  Most of these experiences have been GREAT.

Sometimes, unsavory characters creep in and leave me feeling depleted and actually pretty pissed off.



Well, the dark clouds have lifted.


With a workweek full of adventures and interesting campaigns and clients, four healthy, happy, and (despite being watched by their father for a good chunk of the weekend while I slept) currently uninjured children to go home to later today for laughs and cuddles, and so much to look forward to and be excited about this year, I am feeling absolutely reborn!

Our home is currently bursting at the seams with good people who are enriching our lives and CLEANING and ORGANISING everything!

I want to share with you, just how rejuvenated that help cleaning and organising has made me.

A friend from high school in Canada got me in touch with a woman who was planning on coming to NZ for a bit. We met and chatted over social media, she came for a visit with her travel companion and very dear friend Danielle, and they were only mildly scared of me and my incessant chatter and ADD-licious ways. They didn’t have any solid plans, so we agreed that they’d stay in our apartment and we’d cover room and board if they’d help us out with some things (like cleaning and kids).

A few weeks later, I arrived home from an overseas trip to San Diego for a conference (and to visit some very good friends) to a clean garage. A clean house. Clean cars. Happy kids.

A few weeks in now, the girls came in and completely renovated and finished my somewhat sad little office over the weekend. They spent all of Sunday sourcing picture frames, buying second hand furniture, moving things around, hanging curtains, and being proper angels on earth to me.


My beloved Nerd/Dork retro cups. Too small to drink out of as I have a bucket of tea, not a cup, but definitely one of my favourite things in the world. Maria gave them to me on my 34th Birthday. She is also great. Most people are I believe.


Retro desks, that it turns out I paid waaaayyy too much for but I love them anyway. My friends cleaned up the whole training room and put away all the bits and bobs.


Clean desk! Wonder how long it will stay this way?


Training room at the ready!


Clean desk sans Dee selfie 🙂


Come over and have a chat with me at the office anytime! It looks great!




Nerd Dork in pride of place (as it ought to be!)


Tidy little kitchen with plenty of geekiness.


Training room ready for some lucky guests to come and feel all cosy and LEARN some cool stuff!

Fave pic!  Great spot for it Thanks ladies!

Fave pic! Great spot for it Thanks ladies!

So, if you are having a tough run and dealing with not-so-great people, hang in there. And, as far as I can tell, there are FAR more good people out there than bad ones, and even the ones who leave us feeling a little tired and scarred have something to teach us, so please keep your heart and mind open, and keep letting good people in. I know I will!

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.




Fish and Chips, Funny Quips, Memory Lane Trips, and… What Kind of Pics?

One of the coolest things to come of our impending celebration renewal of vows (currently a week away) is the reminiscing.

My flatmate from a semester I studied at the University of Calgary has taken a very rare break from her work to come down and join us for the party.  After being stopped by the drug dog, interrogated for two hours, searched, and then finding out that it was actually the dude next to her that was carrying and she just kinda got caught in the crossfire, she arrived safe but shaken through our threshold a couple of days ago.  She’ll be adventuring around the Auckland region with one of the many new friends she’s already made, and then heading out to the Eminem concert on Saturday night, before catching a plane to embark on a two day journey to get to Orlando Florida for a work gig.

THAT is friendship.  Also, probably more than just a little bit of foolishness.  But then, if, I recall, as a team, we always did have a bit of a penchant for foolishness, so why would it wane after 15 years?

Here is a picture of our good friend Coen and Alie… and our fridge at University.


NOTE:  IF ANYONE ANYWHERE HAS SEEN THIS MAN, PLEASE LET US KNOW!  We have scoured the Internet for our long lost Flying Dutchman friend, and it has turned up nothing so far.  If you know him, tell him to get in touch with either Alie or myself!  We’d LOVE to see him.

Back to the story.

For the past two days, the house has been full of friends, kids, and various visitors.  We’re putting the finishing touches on the run sheets for the day, finalising menus, all that type of stuff.

While I was off gallivanting in California last week, the bridesmaids and another friend (who is a stellar event manager) have spent hours on the phone and Internet organising EVERYTHING for the day.


I’ve got no idea what I did to deserve friends and sisters like these, and even with my generally extensive verbosity, I just don’t have the words to tell them how much I Love and appreciate them, not just for what they’ve done for us recently, but for the years and years of support and ups and downs and all that they have been through and we have weathered together.


So, part of the preparation seems to be a lot of trips down memory lane.  Friends of mine are meeting for the first time, and sharing eerily similar stories about the things we got up to in days gone by.

Oh my word, I have crammed a lot of adventures in over the past 35 years.

The thing that has struck me though, is that I look back on the many foolish things I’ve done, and the time I spent in my youth, and it generally makes me sad.  Talking to my friends about it over the past few days though, oh my… did we have some fun.

So last night, we drove out to get some Kiwi fish and chips.  My two friends shared stories about the fun we had and the mischief we got up to.

I’ll spare you the gory details.  We did have an amazing laugh about a Halloween party in Calgary where we hosted people from various nations and continents in our small res apartment.  One of the Germans very loudly proclaiming “I have a bratwurst in my pants!” while our Newfie friend (dressed in completely politically incorrect garb) was yelling “Coen, COEN!” (pronounced K-oo-n) across the room to our flying Dutchman friend who was standing with the gorgeous social butterfly lad from Ghana.  The hilarity of that night is easily fodder for one of the best comedy sketches that could ever be written, and we weren’t even trying to be funny or ironic.  Just being young, foolish, insecure and enjoying our time together as we all knew that it was fleeting.

More than a decade on, I’m languishing in the rather sheltered existence of wedded bliss. I have a suitcase full of memories of the time before time when I was footloose and fancy-free.  And the many varied paths my friends have taken, both getting and staying married, or single, breeding, or not breeding, traveling or building careers.

I am enjoying learning vicariously about life as a single person from the friends who are out there in the dating trenches.  It is quite mind-boggling how things are done in the digital age.  It turns out a lot has changed since I was single, and there’s way more happening on dating scene in 2014.


So being happily spoken for for more than a decade now means I have not been privy to the wonders of technology that are bringing people together in this digital age.  When I was a young lass, I’d date people I ran into at work, school, or out socializing and courting and chaos would commence from there.

It is no longer so simple.

There are dozens of sites and apps for people to go to in order to find Love, or a romp, or anything at either extreme or in between.

You can hook up with someone at a moment’s notice anywhere in the world, by swiping left or right on your smart phone.

It just happens that my friends are not only quite attractive women, they are also charming and funny and therefore the object of more than a little bit of attention out there in the singles scene.

And you know what happens to them with alarming frequency?

How can I put this gently…

Well.  They get sent pictures of the male anatomy, that really ought to remain unseen in polite society, with no solicitation.

I found this little sketch on YouTube, and I think it is important for those single people out there to take the time to have a listen as it offers some fairly sound advice:

Why I found this so fascinating I don’t know.   It was also quite a shock to be faced with the fact I am so utterly out of the loop and, I guess, a bit of a prude.  “What do you mean it happens ALL THE TIME?”  I gasped upon hearing literally dozens of stories from my girlfriends.

As a result of seeing these girls, we have been engaging in a lot of conversations about dating etiquette, then and now.

I’m not sure if it is a testament to our age and the increased confidence that comes with being over 30, or if things are really genuinely changing, but as far as I can tell many women are gaining the upper hand in this dating dance.

Dating today means there is no waiting for the man to make the first move.  It is okay to say no, and it is absolutely okay to say yes as well.  Being single is not a sin, and being separated and sowing wild oats does not make you a harlot or a social pariah.  Strangely, my gorgeous guy friends who are recently back in the game are finding it much harder than the women, and in my small study sample, that seems to consistently be the case.

All this talk of dating exposed my beloved Grumpy’s strangely chivalrous side.  Despite being quite a cad in a lot of ways, the man I married is a gentleman and, quite genuinely, a fabulous feminist.

“I just don’t think you should ever be in a position where you feel like you owe any of these guys anything.”  He said to our friend. “There are some real jerks out there, and just because they buy you things or shout you plane rides, you shouldn’t feel obliged to them for anything.”

Well.  Colour me gushy, my gorgeous Grumpy feels genuine concern and protectiveness for the women we know, and also thinks it is about high time they had the option of being out there chasing a bit of tail of that’s all they want to do.  Double standards be damned, but a lady should still be treated with dignity and respect, and she should certainly be showing the same level of regard for the hearts and minds of the men she dates.

So.  In conclusion.

I am enormously and immeasurably thankful to NOT be out there in the trenches of the dating game.  Regardless of the improved ease the online environment has given to participants wishing to engage in, well, anything you can imagine from what I gather.

I’ve met my match.  And as our friends have oft pointed out  (rather coarsely at times) perhaps the only man on the planet who has what it takes to handle the fantastic tapestry of chaos, kindness, Love and confusion that is Dee.  And vice versa.


So all the best to those of you out there on the dating scene, and also to couples old and new that are toughing it out together in good times and bad.

Thanks for tuning in.