I Love You

I can’t. Like I actually can’t EVEN. I mean I can’t BEGIN to express just how consumed with Love I am for you.

Our first wedding...

Our first wedding…

I Love you when you roll over and give me a morning breath kiss on some random Wednesday, before we jump in the shower to prepare for battle in the trenches of social and technological justice and change…
Sleeping in… Hubby kindly took a snap to share with you :-)  Gosh I Love bed…

Sleeping in… Hubby kindly took a snap to share with you 🙂 Gosh I Love bed…

I Love you when you yell at me to stop making plans for you that you don’t want to do. Like interviews and key-note speeches, and photo shoots. I Love you when you sheepishly admit I was right to throw you head first out of your comfort zone and into the spotlight because you know, and I know, that we cannot be successful in a vacuum.
A rare moment of together time not fighting captured on camera

A rare moment of together time not fighting captured on camera

I Love you when you play with our children. When you answer the constant and unrelenting barrage of curly questions with accuracy and humour.
My hottie hubby... I got pretty lucky.  Might need to reign in the cray cray.

My hottie hubby… I got pretty lucky. Might need to reign in the cray cray.

I Love you when we are road tripping in the USA and you make light of social and moral inconsistencies and conspicuous consumerism as it bombards our senses.

I Love you when you scream at us for peace and beg for silence, knowing that peace and silence are not what you signed up for when you married me and met each of our four fabulous miracles on the day of their births.

Big smiles from James on my Birthday morning (he is six days old)

Big smiles from James on my Birthday morning (he is six days old)

I Love you when you cry at proposal videos on YouTube.

I Love you when you tell me you have a crush on someone because I know that you will crush on most beautiful, intelligent women, and you will always, ALWAYS stay faithful to me above every other person on earth.

I Love you when you make me coffee.

I Love you when you say thank you.

I Love you when you pick up hitch-hikers and call me on speaker phone to introduce me to them.

I Love you when you stop and talk to anyone and everyone about EV and clean energy. I Love when you let me invite complete strangers to stay at our home and we become firm friends with them.

I Love you when you think of some crazy generous idea to help a stranger or a friend.

I love that you so often hold up a mirror and let people’s greatness shine back at them. You show by example every single day that we are all infinitely powerful and able to do great things if we embrace big ideas and steel our fears and doubts in order to do little things that make a big difference.

I Love you when you share articles about woo or grammar or social justice on my wall.

I Love you when you decide we are going to spend all our time and money for the next several years rolling out the largest fast charging network in the Southern Hemisphere. I Love you when you tell me you couldn’t do it without me. I Love you when you do an interview and forget to have both hands on the steering wheel during filming, despite the fact I asked you a thousand times to hold the wheel at 10 and 2 or I can’t use the footage.

I Love you when you take my head in both your hands and kiss me deeply and passionately while standing in line waiting to pay for lunch at the mall on any insignificant weekday.

I Love you when you tell the children that their mother is beautiful.

I Love you when you wait for me to start talking to you after a week of silence because you have done or said something despicable to me, thinking it was funny.

I could go on for an eternity on all the things you do every day that remind me that the point where either of us begin or end is indistinguishable.

We often talk about what life would be like if we hadn’t found each other. You complete me, as I do you, and you drive me wild and make me want to scream. And I know that you are often given cause to lament marrying the LOUDEST woman in New Zealand.

Saying Thank You for all that you do, and all that you are, and all that you have given to me and so many people seems hollow and frivolous.

But I am going to say it anyway. THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank. You.

You stand on the precipice of a great chapter. You hear from strangers and friends that you are doing amazing things, and yet you know always, that you could do nothing without the support and help of hundreds, perhaps thousands of individuals. You are gracious to those who believe in what you are doing and support you tooth and nail as you slash and hack your way through red tape, risk aversion, fear and ignorance. You can also be a bit of an arrogant prick when you’re faced with some annoying roadblock or officious person holding you back. I particularly love the cool, calculating way in which you own their ass when forced to go head to head with this kind of ignorance. Seriously, that makes me weak in the knees every time.

With all that you do, and all that you have done, you remain humble and tenaciously focused on the end goal of a better future for everyone. You believe everyone deserves better, and you give of yourself day in and day out to deliver solutions and change that will benefit people you might never even meet.

You are the Love of my life. You are my very best friend, and you embrace and encourage all of our many healthy and wonderful . You put me in my place, you pick me up off the floor, and you always ALWAYS tell me the truth.

And I Love you for all of this and so much more.

Happy Birthday.

The Sudden Death of David Goldberg

It is well after midnight.

Our one-year-old son is in bed between my husband and I as he is both teething and has the sniffles. He’s waking every 20-30 minutes. It will be a long night.


We discuss the annoying necessity of being politic and diplomatic, which is not really a strong point for either of us. Genuine, enthusiastic, passionate, knowledgeable or engaged we can both pull off effortlessly.

Suffering fools and/or “playing the game” does not, however, come naturally to either of us.

He is crafting messages, responses and presentations. Some of these are for people and entities we admire and trust, and some that make us sigh and roll our eyes, but engage we must, and engage we will.

We discuss the week ahead. It is as full as any we have grown accustomed to lately. That means we will be working from the crack of dawn till hours after the sun retires for the evening.

I ask him for the hundredth time if he has sent off the raw footage for editing or to the partners that hosted us on a recent PR trip up and down the country. He asks me if I have finished my personal bio or written the copy for one of the several websites. The answer to both of these questions (nagging) is no, but the list of things we HAVE accomplished is as vast as an ocean stretching endlessly out around us both.

This is all completely normal stuff for married couples that work together, or even in the same industry as far as we are concerned.

We each act; as sounding board, champions, devil’s advocate, support, hindrance, help, annoyance. Yet, we are a team.

I get to live every day in the knowledge that I have a partner who cares about the same things that I do. He supports me in good times and in bad. He helps to make sure our kids, household and lives keep chugging along.

He is also working vehemently and tirelessly on projects that we both feel, will make the world a better place. This makes me weak in the knees and so proud of him that I worry my heart might beat right out of my chest some days.

Sometimes we drive each other crazy with frustration or poor communication. Sometimes we get to the point we can’t even stand the sight of each other.

Most of the time, however, I can’t imagine a life where we aren’t attacking the same problems, or working towards the same goals, albeit from completely different angles.

We were married in 2004.  Just like they were.  We met in geek circles as did they.  We have eerily similar original last names, as do they.

We have four exceptional and unique children with exceptional and unique needs (all children are exceptional and unique and need exceptionally unique things as far as I am aware, just as an aside). The Sandberg/Goldberg team were sensible enough to have two children who they both nurture and support in equal measure if reports are to be believed. We are blessed with a diverse and amazing group of friends who all have integrity, make us laugh, keep us honest, and do not tolerate douchebaggery. The outpouring of Love and respect I have read lead me to believe they choose to work and play with similarly good and engaging people.

Life makes sense when we are together. I am no longer completely sure where one of us begins and the other one finishes, as we both occupy so much of the each other. Two halves of a whole, but not so much with distinguishable borders, like a coin or the well-known yin and yan symbol. At this point in our lives, I’d say we are more like an alloy. Melded quite inextricably together with heat and pressure.

Enough metaphor.

The reason I am writing this blog is that I am undeniably shaken and heartbroken by the news of the kind, clever, gloriously geeky Dave Goldberg’s passing.

Sheryl Sandberg is firmly in my top twenty, of smart girls to look up to.

These two are, or I guess more accurately now, were, the ultimate Silicon Valley power couple.

Humble, kind, successful, powerful, respected… and torn from each other when he was only 47 years old.

USA David-Goldberg-Facebook-Sheryl-Sanberg-husband-pic

I am not suggesting Grumpy and I are a power couple, or in any other way anywhere near the league of team Goldberg/Sandberg.  What I am saying, is that I have always found their relationship inspirational and relatable.  Days without my husband are unbearable.  We have seen each other nearly every day for well over a decade now, and that works for us.  I cannot begin to imagine life without this.

We are partners. We are equals.  We are astoundingly different human beings with obviously different personalities and strengths.

The idea of losing the biggest part of me is unfathomable.

The clock ticks well past 1:00am. Phteven is still working. Our four year old has joined us in our bed because he’s had a bad dream. The ten year old was not far behind him.

While I finish off this blog to be handed over for my husband to edit, he gets up to administer a dose of antihistamine to our oldest son so we might all get some much needed sleep.

Tomorrow I will be exhausted and probably pretty grumpy as is often the case these days.

But I will be thankful. I will be thankful for the moments as they occur and as they pass, and I will be thankful for every day I get to be a part of team West.

Rest well David Goldberg.


#SMHS (S*** My Husband Says)

Just wanted to walk you through yet another clanger from the mouth of my less than smooth operator husband.

Soon we will be sharing office/warehousing space so that Grumpy can continue his distinguished career as a mad genius inventor type while I attempt to keep my boutique PR firm growing.

I’ll get the office space while he will be in the warehouse and storage area tinkering with his gloriously geeky EV and engineering mates.

I’m very excited!

My two business partners and I have more or less decided that we’d like to go for a 50’s chic motif in order to align with our ethos of recycling and up cycling and classic and timeless values.  Plus, rummaging through sally army stores and antique furniture places will be a heap of fun and a bonding experience I hope.

So, earlier today, I invited Grumpy to join me for lunch next to a kitchen installation guy I needed to see about the new office kitchen. The place is called Armadillo cafe in Rothesay bay and it is amazing! And the decor is spot on what I want to do at our offices.  I HIGHLY recommend this great little cafe, the food was nice and the decor was lovely!  It is called Armadillo Cafe and it is in Rothesay Bay and it gets an 8/10 from this Hobbit.



Grumpy of course hated it…

Anyway, I cheekily said to him:

“Well, you don’t have to like it, you just have to pay for it.”

To which he responded:

“Yeah, just like sex.”

And then looked at me, grinning and obviously pleased with his signature wit. He waited for me to laugh.

I did not laugh.


Grumpy looking at me waiting for me to laugh at his superior wit

What does that even mean?  He still, even after my posting this is moderately proud of his wit, which does make me more than a little bit confused.  Do I demand money and favours in return for coitus?  And is the resulting act regularly dull and unsatisfying? Or is he referring to a secret stash of call girls and mistresses that he manages to entertain in the non-existent hours we spend apart?  Whatever he meant, I found it nauseating, not charming.  Sigh.

So, on the bright side, he had to change a rather massive explody diaper.  As I passed him the baby he said: “I think it is your turn to change the baby!” to which I responded: “I think after that little gem of jerk face nonsense it is now YOUR turn to change the baby and you’d be lucky to ever get laid again as long as you live.”

He will continue to pepper our days with painfully inappropriate and tasteless clangers, and I will continue to roll my eyes and sigh.

If you, like me had to endure a hubby with no filter who says s*** like this, I feel for you. Lucky underneath all that he’s got a heart of gold, and I hope yours does too.

If, like my dear friend who popped in for a coffee on her way home from work tonight, you have a husband who is sweet and would never consider saying things so daft and painful, go and hug that man of yours for being a sweetheart.

Over and out for today.

Big Boobs Blog

In the first trimester of my fourth pregnancy, something happened.

My boobs ballooned to ludicrously large and have not returned to any semblance of normalcy.

My gorgeous girl and I in Sydney when I was 24 weeks pregnant.

My gorgeous girl and I in Sydney when I was 24 weeks pregnant.

The absolute largest nursing bra I have been able to get my hands on in regular retail outlets is a 14HH and I spill out of that even.

This may help give a sense of scale, as I am 7 months pregnant in this pic, and I do believe each of the ta-ta twins are about the same size as my belly.  Sigh.

This may help give a sense of scale, as I am 7 months pregnant in this pic, and I do believe each of the ta-ta twins are about the same size as my belly. Sigh.

I’m sick of them. I’m sick of feeling like a I’d be more comfortable in a circus freak-show than at the supermarket, as even trips out of the house result in gawks and whispers, particularly if I am not carrying the baby as an explanation to my watermelon sized appendages.

This is the picture that started it all… Grumpy took a snap of James looking particularly cute, and I realised that one of my breasts was about the same size as my 7KG son. Sigh again.

This is the picture that started it all… Grumpy took a snap of James looking particularly cute, and I realised that one of my breasts was about the same size as my 7KG son. Sigh again.

Visits to friends and family who have not seen me in a few months ALWAYS result in comments of concern, surprise or astonishment. Some of my favourites include:

“Oh my word, they are even bigger in person.”


“I know you keep saying you’re fat, but surely carrying a couple of things that are clearly bigger than a human head in front of you can’t be helping.”

“That’s just not right.”

There’s an extensive list of comments and quips regarding my sweater huskies (I can’t say sweater puppies as a euphemism here, as puppies can be tiny) and most of the time, I find it genuinely amusing and am glad people make light of them.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel as our sweet baby James has opted to start solids, which means my days of cluster feeds and distended, engorged, gargantuan ta-tas are numbered!

So this experience often makes me ponder the puzzle of people’s pleasure pillows.

Women the world-over, spend time comparing and contemplating their own and other women’s breasts.

Breast augmentation is far and away one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries the world over.

Meanwhile, there are women like myself that are genuinely tired and in my case, even a little embarrassed by the size of their bosoms.

So, as is often the case with my meanderings, I am not entirely sure what I am trying to communicate with you today.

What I will say, is this: As women, particularly child bearing women, our bodies are in a constant state of flux. I think we should all work a bit harder to accept ourselves and our bodies. Creating, growing, and continuing to nurture a tiny human with our body is nothing short of miraculous. It comes with a whole range of strange and surprising side affects and changes to our bodies and our minds. I just think we all ought to celebrate the many different shapes and sizes of women around the world pre and post partum, because we are all beautiful, and it is the differences that make us interesting and unique.

If you are a woman reading this, know that you are gorgeous. Whether you have or have not embarked on the breeding, embrace your boobs and your bum and all the bits, because they make up you, and I can assure you that you are truly beautiful. But the most beautiful thing about you is the kindnesses and quirks that cannot be seen with the naked eye. The thoughts and experiences that make you the amazing miracle you are is alluring to those who you have chosen to be close to you as you journey through the days and this life. So say it with me ladies:

“I am beautiful, I am strong, I am amazing and I am getting better and better through all my trials and triumphs!”

And, if you are a man, take the time to genuinely compliment (tactfully, and not lasciviously please) some of the women in your life today. A kind and candid compliment can change the trajectory of our day, and we need to hear more supportive stuff from you guys.

That is all.

BigboobsblogPolkadotdress BigBoobsBlogNAAM

Births, Deaths, and Marriages

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (also known as Births, Deaths, and Marriages) sent us a letter last week, kindly (but firmly) reminding us that we had to register the birth of our new son and henceforth choose a name.

This hadn’t caused us any grief with the previous children, as we always pick the names months before the baby arrives. We’ve been tossing up between several combinations and second guessing ourselves this time though.

The letter is now sent, and our son is now saddled with the names we have chosen for him. Grumpy made the final decision and we’re sticking with the original choice: James David Leonard West.


So that’s done.

This evening I’ll be home on my own with all four kids. We’ll watch movies and eat popcorn together after I pick Daniel up from his drum lesson and ferry them to the mall so I don’t have to cook. Grumpy is out at a work party and then wants to get the 3D printer that’s been collecting dust for a long time now up and running.

Not ground-breaking stuff, I realise, but all this humdrum is mortar between the bricks that build my existence. I have mine, and you have yours, and that mortar is kind of what I want to talk to you about today.

Where was I?

Ah yes.

Mother in law was around a couple of days ago to hold James while I attempted to get a little bit of work done. While she was over, I mentioned that we’d all be coming to her house for dinner and to play cards with her and my father.

My mom and dad and mother in law all live together in a big beautiful house that we call the old folks home. It is only a few blocks from our house. For the most part, they cohabitate quite comfortably, and my mother in law and dad are both quiet and gentle types who like to watch sport and don’t make a lot of noise or fuss.

“News to me.” She said in her trademark soft but cranky tone.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about dad getting older and his mortality.” I said nonchalantly. “The way he talks, he expects he’ll be the first of all of you over there at the old folks home to go. He’s probably right too, as you’re too miserable to die and despite her food choices and hypochondria, my mother is as healthy as a horse. I adore my dad and want to play more cards and file more memories while I can.” I said.


My father is absolutely one of my heroes. Despite, or perhaps because, of the fact he had very little to do with me until we got here to New Zealand. He’s non-demonstrative, humble, patient, and works tirelessly helping others in countless capacities. He’s the closest thing to a living saint we have in our family, and he’s the last person to have any clue we all feel as much awe and respect as we do for him.

“He’s not well at the moment.” She shook her head gravely and filled me in on the terrible ongoing cold he’s had.

She then said something that I am still trying to process.

“And you know what really pisses me off.” She said. “Marie has gone and died.” She fumed.

Now, I need to take you back a few dozen steps and explain the relevance.

Mother in law has a group of women who she has known for decades. They’re a collective of artists and potters. They’ve seen each other through good times and bad. Mother in law is the eldest remaining member of the group by far, and recently the numbers have been dwindling.


She never tells us when one of them has passed and suffers through her grief quite on her own. I don’t understand it, however, she’s been a tough and independent woman her whole life, and I guess we all do what we know. She knows how to soldier on in silence. I don’t.

I adore this group of women on countless levels. I coined them “The Ya Ya Sisters” over a decade ago, as there was a movie about enduring friendship with that title.

Marie was an amazing woman and I was very fond of her indeed. I’d just seen her at our re-wedding, and news of her death was a shock. She’ll be missed.

It was strange that mother in law chose anger as the emotion of choice when she told me. Upon reflection, however, it seems very plausible that this was, and often is, the stage and emotion she cleaves to in times of grief and sorrow. She’s not one for pity parties or soft, squishy emotional stuff. She’s getting more comfortable with this stuff with me as a daughter in law though. I am all about the soft and squishy.

So this weekend we’ll be attending a funeral, a housewarming, and two young children’s birthday parties as the bricks and mortar of my life, and the lives of the people I love are built higher and stronger every day.

I don’t want to go into a big existential or philosophical rant or anything. I do, however want to take the time to say every moment, no matter how seemingly dull or insignificant, is fairly precious. I can’t say how far through the journey any of us are, and I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow.

Sitting here listening to my husband snore and our son seemingly giggle in his sleep as I bounce his hammock and write this blog, I can’t help but smile and feel very much at peace indeed. They’ll both wake up soon and annoy me in their own expert ways though. Grumpy will likely say something that will hurt my feelings several times before he heads out the door and to work. James will do what all infants do and demand food and Love and completely obliterate any plans I have for being productive today. Then the children will walk in the door of our home and be noisy and messy. They will fight, and whine, and push my buttons and I will rant and rave and probably swear at them for it. And then they will settle down and snuggle with me in our big cozy bed and watch a movie. I’ll hear “I Love You” dozens of times and say it just as many today, just like every day.

All of this beautiful and complex chaos is life, which is punctuated by births, deaths and marriages and all of the moments in between.


Envy is an Illusion


Not sure about you, but I can’t really help myself looking at other people and feeling more than a little bit inadequate.  I have friends who are doctors, lawyers, activists, and working in a variety of other interesting and successful careers.  I am 36 years old, and quite frankly, I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.


I also have friends who are supermums.  They keep tidy homes, feed their children a diet of gluten free and vegetable rich concoctions.  We throw burgers and chips and sauce at the children as we rush around the city and the planet doing whatever it is that we do. 


We were in the kitchen surveying the chaos and mess a couple of nights ago.  We entered into a discussion about our financial situation, and our plans for the year and so forth.  Pretty normal stuff really.  The conversation took a tangent about risk and reward and whatnot.  Elon Musk came up (as he frequently does in our house not surprisingly).  He invested every single penny he had into Tesla and really put himself on the line to pursue his EV dream.  And with the success of Tesla, and his insatiable thirst for innovation, he went on to great things with SpaceX.  And Grumpy got a wee pout on his face.


“You know he’s like a few months younger than me.”  He said in genuinely downtrodden tone.

I have to admit I laughed. 

“Yes darling, he is.  He also has one more child than you do, and is a Billionaire.  I can pretty much guarantee that if you stay married to me, you’ll never be a billionaire.  So, yeah, you’re a pretty big failure.  I’d probably just pack up your things and go live under a bridge somewhere if I were you.  Your life is really very terrible.”

After a bit more playful mocking we wrapped up our conversation, and I was left to think about how absurd it is to compare oneself with other people. 

Here’s some conclusions and gems of wisdom that occurred to me as my brain was processing all of this:


–      A bit of comparison is probably healthy, but as soon as it starts eating away at you, or makes you feel bad, you’re officially in unhealthy territory.


–      Comparing yourself to others takes effort you could be spending doing cool stuff instead.


–      The people you might think have a super sweet gig are actually fighting their own battles, facing their own demons, and feeling their own inadequacies.


–      If you spent the time being grateful rather than feeling a bit ripped off, I’d hazard a guess you’d be surprised how much happier you are (even happier than the people you used to envy)


Won’t go into to much detail unpacking the stuff I’ve just said.  Most of my contentedness comes from being able to be truly happy for the success of those around me, and abundantly and consciously grateful for the blessings in my own life.  True joy never stems from what we have or feeling better than other people.  True sadness can, however, come from comparing myself to others. 

Sometimes, for whatever reason, I get really fed up and feel like running away from my life.  Because I am tired, because I see what single or child-free people are up to (all that sleep, all that rest, all that freedom, and all that excitement and adventure while they are out experiencing new things and new people), or because I’ve taken a few too many blows and had to learn a few too many consecutive hard lessons.  Or it is as simple as the fact I’ve worked myself up into a right royal lather by trying to be all things to all people and failed rather impressively.  Because, you probably will fail in big ways and in small when you attempt ridiculously lofty and unattainable goals. 

The feeling passes and I again realize that the crazy, mixed up life I lead is actually fairly fantastic, and more importantly, of my own design.  I chose to marry Grumpy.  And we chose a family, and then we chose a larger family. I’m happy to trade frequent late nights out partying for early morning cuddles and sticky faces and fingers as the children help bake on a Saturday night.  And I am happy to be at the beginning of what I hope will be a very successful career, while so many other people are so much further along than I am in their professional lives.  We all have to start somewhere, and nobody can do it all.   And for the most part, things are going very well.  This is in no small part owing to the fact I’m surrounded by truly wonderful people.  People so much greater than me!  And yeah, occasionally I am jealous of them and the fact they have their stuff together so much more than me, but I put that to the side and just feel thankful that they are in my life at all.

Wherever you are and whatever you are up to as you read this, I hope you are able to celebrate your gifts and blessings and feel joy instead of jealousy as you go about the rest of your day.

Thanks for reading.



Careful what you wish for

I’m bossy.  You can sugar coat that and say I’m assertive.  Sheryl Sandberg would have us “Ban Bossy” but as many of you know, I am a die hard fan of the simple, unfettered, stone cold and occasionally uncomfortable truth.  And the truth is, I often think I know what is best for everyone and too often force my agendas and opinions on the people I care about the most.  I am pushy, occasionally self serving, and very bossy.  If people don’t ascribe to my ideas, schedules or plans, I can turn into a right royal P.I.T.A, and I’ve been known to pack a sad of epic proportions when things don’t pan out the way I desire.


I’ve been encouraging (nagging) my long-suffering husband Grumpy to get back into the office for quite some time now.  Why?  He is amazing and has so much useful code rattling around in that brain of his. And he often complains about suffering from a recurring case of a big gaping empty, and when he’s busy and engaged, the empty is kept at bay.

So after four years of nagging, he’s back.  He is making huge and positive breakthroughs in his code, and I sincerely hope with his team as well.

The kicker in all of this being, I have been quite miserable and unsupportive, as he started back with regular (and full) days when our son was two weeks old.  So after several years of begging and pleading with him to march that brain of his back to his desk, he picked this point in our lives to comply with my ardent demand to do so.  Just days after I’d had our fourth child.  Awesome.  Fan-freaking-tastic even.

*Very loud and insistent interjection from Grumpy:

“YOU (expletive) MADE ME!  How can you keep complaining when the only reason I am back is because you INSISTED. (Many colourful expletives)”

I keep complaining anyway.

Where was I?

Oh yes.

When he’s not working there, he’s in the garage or his home office putting the finishing touches on a project involving a component for Electric Vehicles that he has invented and is now testing successfully.

I am genuinely proud of him and all that he’s doing.  Although we’ve had a heaped helping of stresses and trials, both in and out of our control, I haven’t seen him this happy in quite a while.  And all this contentedness is despite the fact neither of us has had more than 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a row since welcoming James into the family.

Still, I find the timing of all of this stuff quite exasperating.  And boy oh boy do I make Grumpy suffer in the wake of that exasperation.  Guess I should rein (I am always tempted to spell that reign…) that in for fear of scaring him off.  Nah, I’m a hot mess, and he knew that when he married me, so he’ll just have to handle the occasional spattering of venom while I struggle to maintain some semblance of sanity.

Meanwhile, back on planet Dee, I am bound and determined to change the face of reputation management and Public Relations by successfully unleashing a socially, environmentally and generally conscientious Social Media/PR firm that offers sound and empowering advice and support to people and organisations.

With the help of my business partner, a very dear friend (and kind of business partner) and a spectacular network of like-minded individuals, I aim to change the communications landscape of NZ and eventually the world, by sticking to a simple plan:

Encourage people to be honest and authentic – because the truth will set you free and take you exactly where you need to be.  I want people to start, engage in, and nurture conversations for good.

So, with a five-week-old baby asleep in his hammock next to me, I am furthering this epic vision and moving forward.  Thanks to the ongoing efforts and friendship of my patient and passionate partner Pauline, the momentum is fantastic, and we’re well on our way after a series of hard earned professional wins.

With all of these things coming to fruition, I ought to be seriously satisfied?

Well, I’m genuinely grateful.

I am also, undeniably exhausted and in a fairly constant state of feeling frazzled and fantastically overwhelmed.  For the most part, that’s okay, provided it feels like we’re moving forward and making a notable difference or inroads into our lofty goals of a cleaner, greener, kinder, fairer and more interesting world.

While there is magnanimous momentum in many corners of our lives, something always has to give.  It has been a rare occasion indeed that I am able to get into the kitchen and create, which has always been one of my absolute joys.  The older kids are feeling edgy and we’re having trouble staying abreast of the many spectacular dramas of childhood and pre-pubescence.

Today, for example, our eldest son had a pencil flung at him by a classmate, which left a nasty gouge on the surface of his iris and now he requires drops.  I must confess, the only reason we made it to an optometrist to get it looked at was because I brought the children to the mall in lieu of having to cook for the family because it has been such a busy day.  He’d hardly complained about it, but when I asked him how it was it became painful again, so off to the optometrist we went, “just to be on the safe side”.  You know how it goes.  It did make me stop and wonder how much regarding our bourgeoning brood we are oblivious to because of our commitments and schedules.


And don’t even get me started on our social life.  We’ve missed so many parties and catch-ups and seen less and less of all of our favourite people.

I’m not complaining though.  Probably sounds like that, a step up from a white whine to a fully-fledged champagne complain, and that’s not what I am trying to get across at all.  I think I just want to share with you the benefit of my experience.  We all ought to be careful what we wish for.  Because we just might get it.  And when dreams start coming true and stuff you thought you wanted finally starts happening, well, that is when the real work begins.

So here we stand only a few unsteady steps into the journey to the top of the next mountain we’ve decided to climb.  And let me tell you, we’re already absolutely knackered.  Happy, but so very tired.

Writing this blog made me stop and think.  Most of us are guilty of the when syndrome.  “I’ll be happy when…”  or “I can stop worrying about this and that when…”  or “I’ll do that thing I’ve always wanted to do when…”  And you know what, I think we’d all be better off and considerably happier if we made an effort to be happy now. To do things now.  To try things, even though we could very well fail, now.  So that’s what I’ll be working on this week.  Changing my own when syndrome into a now superpower.

I Have Absolutely No Idea What I’m Doing… And am Totally Cool With That.

Four is a lot of kids.

And when you introduce the level of change that a new baby will bring to a household, the flaws in everyone’s personalities are given a chance to put their best foot forward.

Darling daughter is extra needy and bossy and being extra miserable to her three year old brother.  This compounds because she’s smart enough and kind enough to know that she’s being a little horror, and feels bad about it, so her behaviour gets even worse and she becomes not only bossy and miserable but becomes quite a soppy sook as well.  Super fun stuff.


My family on the night of my Birthday… The kids made me a cake. Very sweet.

Adam is very enamoured with the baby most of the time, and we let him help with the baby and hold him (supervised) a lot.  He’s on an emotional roller coaster ride most of the time, so enter newborn baby and changes in arrangements including the fact he’s no longer allowed to sneak down and make himself at home in mom and dad’s bed at 3:00am, and you’ve got a recipe for a fairly angst ridden toddler on your hands.


Daniel, James and Adam

Daniel has probably risen to the challenges of the newest family member with the most style.  He’s been great at encouraging Adam and telling him what a good job he’s been doing.  He’s been patient with his parents, and kind to his siblings.  The only real problem is the already limited amount of supervision our oldest child tends to get has decreased even further.  It is school holidays, so we’ve relied on him to keep his personal hygiene regime in check, and every morning tell him to hop in the shower and brush his teeth, assuming it was happening.  It wasn’t.  And We sent him off to a playdate smelling like a homeless man last week.  Sigh.  I’m not going to feel too bad though, as you only get to be a 9 year old boy once, and I am sure that being able to wallow in your own filth probably plays some useful part in the successful navigation of this stage in a man’s life.  Or at least that is what I am telling myself.

And then.  There’s the baby.

He wears the same onsie ALL DAY, and on the days that we’re home he might even just stay in his nappy and a blanket.  I breast feed.  Not because I feel I have to, or the breast-feeding brigade has changed my opinion about it in any way, but because I’ve done this enough times to know that it can be really hard to start out with, but a much easier option in the long run for me.  It also means I can double up on the calories I take in.  So the fact it is good for baby is a lovely bonus, but I breastfeed because I am lazy, plain and simple.  And I have to take a moment to vehemently defend any woman’s right to make that decision for herself.  Formula or boob, it is simply none of my business.  I do what I do and what works for me, and there are some wonderful mother’s out there doing their thing their way, and probably quite differently.  Power to them.


Steve’s idea of parenting win… James is two days old here, and Steve managed to get him to “feed himself” There’s a video as well, but I couldn’t upload it…

We also co-sleep.  That would be to the horror of many people, but it’s easier, and that’s how we roll.  He has a naturesway hammock and I try desperately to settle him in it, but he’s happier between his father and I and it means he’s right there, and not even at arms length for night feeds which his father tends to sleep through.  If we are extra tired or have had a drink (even one with dinner) he sleeps in his own bed, otherwise, he’s in with us.  Easier.

So today, my mother has taken the older children to clip and climb for the morning, so I have some time to sit down and reflect on how things are going and share it in my blog.

I’m still in my towel with James snuggled in hand-me-down blankets beside me and Food Television playing in the background.

I have no idea what I am doing or how I will manage to do any of the many things I have committed to doing in the next days, weeks and months.  I still freak out a bit every time we go out as I feel so much safer cocooned in the comfort of my own familiar room.

But venture out I do.  I embrace the fear and keep on moving.

The biggest differences between the first time I did this and the fourth are as follows:

1) First time we read all the books and thought we were fairly well prepared and had this parenting thing in the bag… After four very different pregnancies and exceedingly unique babies, we have no idea what to expect or how we’re going to deal with anything until it happens, and that’s actually perfectly fine.

2) First time, I gave a toss what people thought.  I wanted to hear that I was doing a good job as a mum.  This time, I’d have to put in a great deal of effort to care any less what other people think about how I am managing.  I’m too busy switching from survival mode to extreme exhaustion or hormone soaked confusion and daydreams…  But we’re good.  We’re a family, we’re all being pushed to our limits, but we’re good.  And we Love each other.

So I’ll leave it there.

I need to get out of the house soon or I may never leave and I’ve arranged to meet some friends tonight and go to the MTV Veejay party in town for an hour or two, and then swing by a friend’s birthday on the way home, which means I get to slap on a dress and some heels and feel human for a brief space in time.  I’ll take that opportunity! I’ll take it with both hands thank you very much!  So Grumpy gets a bundle of sweet baby James and I get to feel like an actual grown up human for a little while.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a great weekend everyone.



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…


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.