Making it Through the Crazy

There’s some varied and impressive shades of crazy floating around right now.  Perhaps it’s the eclipse, or the end of winter, or the election, or the rise of fascism.  Perhaps it’s just that everyone has to lose their shit from time to time.


Whatever it is, a lot of people who I care for deeply are feeling wounded, or weary, or unshakably sad.


A lot of these people are staring down the barrel of vast levels of stress, or a long and unrelenting string of shitty news or tough situations.  Some crazy is circumstantial.  Some crazy is seasonal.  Some crazy is chemical.  Some crazy is reactive.  Some crazy is just crazy.


My homegirl Frida knew a think or two about managing the crazies.

I’ve also been tumbling down the abyss for weeks.  This journey is not new or interesting after three decades of highs and lows, it is a familiar and hated companion.  One silver lining in this dark cloud, is that It’s a privilege to be called upon by friends and even acquaintances who feel themselves slipping down the into a dark place.  A cuddle, a conversation, and a reminder that the shadows do eventually get chased away with powerful streaks of Love and light.  Even if it may not feel like it will ever end, it does.  And being the person to remind anyone of this fact, almost makes my own dark times worthwhile.  Almost.


Here stands humanity.  The rise of hate seems to be gaining a terrifyingly historic level of momentum, and yet people aren’t calling the terror committed in hate what it is, and what it is, is terrorism.  Then there’s acidification of the oceans, bleaching of the reefs, rising sea levels, deforestation, mass extinction and an impending antibiotic resistance.  I could go on, but I won’t.  Suffice to say, life’s pretty heavy in a lot of micro and macro fronts right now, and it can break even the most resilient of brains.


Today, after a lovely school visit, and the kindness, kisses, and cuddles of trusted friends, I am quietly optimistic that there’s a corner being turned.  I want to give anyone who’s currently being chased by the proverbial black dog some sage advice, as serious sad can strike anywhere, anytime, and hang around well beyond any usefulness.


  • Boundaries


boundaries-lir-820x321The irony of me passing on this advice is NOT lost on me I assure you.  I skip headlong through life, falling deeply in Love with all and sundry, and never stopping to think about much of anything beyond what I am feeling in any given moment.  But trust me, boundaries are important.  You can help people, you can let people in, you can laugh and cry and play with whomever you choose, and even however you choose to play!  But protect yourself.  Know when you’re in over your head or needing to take a step in a different direction.  boundaries-quote-6Let people in, but only as much as you can manage, and know when to say enough to anything.  Enough news, enough offloading, enough distraction, enough fun, enough sad, enough happy, enough anything.  You know when you’ve had enough.  Be okay with calling it.



  • Self-careselfcare

Many, if not most of us do not ascribe to the tenants of self-care, despite being told over and again that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Again, you know when your body and mind need a break, be it an early night, a yoga class or just an hour of active relaxing in the kitchen.  Please, please, please find the space in your life to do something that recharges you and cares for you holistically.  When we do not make this a priority, we crash spectacularly, and often leave collateral damage in the wake of the spectacle.


  • Say NO more


Say no more.  Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.  Be clear on what you expect and clarify other people’s expectation when you take on new endeavours.  A lot of us are people pleasers, and a lot of us (forgive me for saying, but particularly women) are professional jugglers and multi-taskers.  At the top of our game we are able to fulfill numerous roles and manage to keep countless balls in the air.  But the stress of this, and the gravity that brings some of those balls to earth is simply not worth the pain that it will leave on your heart and head.  So say no sometimes.  Just.  Say.  No.


  • Find and follow your bliss


Very few people get to do a job that they truly love.  Sadly, a lot of us don’t even have hobbies or distractions.  Please, go and find something that fills up your cup and soothes your soul.  I shall be treating myself to a kayak.  I live by the water, and adore the ocean, and I crave alone time so much it actually fucking hurts me to feel the need to be alone sometimes as strongly as I do.  I will kayak, and you please, find your magic, and tell me what it is because I would be quite fascinated.


  • Be kind to those you Love


Sometimes, we lash out at our favourite people.  I can unequivocally say that I am guilty of this.  I will lash out and attempt to frighten anyone who truly occupies substantial real estate in my heart or head.  It’s a hangover from self-destructive teenage wasteland bollocks I think.  Terrifyingly, Phteven has been privy to this vitriol so many times, he is either immune or I simply do not bother to attack him anymore, and turn my sites on fresh new friendships. It’s not clever.  And you’ll lose potential life-long relationships if you test them too early or too much.  So yes.  Be kind to the people who Love you.  They’re trying to manage their own crazy as well as yours I’d hazard a fairly educated guess.


  • Rest


You MUST get enough rest.  If you’re having trouble sleeping get thee to the chemist for some chamomile and valerian.  Turn off your devices, lock your door.  Soak in a hot mineral bath and get your sad ass into the sheets early.  Seriously, the lack of sleep will drive anyone around the bend, so if you feel yourself slipping please get more rest.

  • Let shit go


This may well be the single most important piece of advice on the list.  The world is a fucked up, miserable, magical, frenetic, fantastic, mystical, place full or mayhem and misunderstandings.  You must learn that you cannot control things.  You must understand that not everything is your fault.  You must just see some stuff, accept it is too heavy, and let that shit go.


Okay.  So there it is.  Advice on curbing the crazy from one of the craziest women most of you know.


If you’re struggling right now, I wish you all the comfort and compassion you need to get your feet back onto higher ground.  If you’re on a good stretch, enjoy it and maybe stop to talk to someone who is looking a bit down in the mouth, as long as you observe the boundaries and are prepared to say no if things are too much.


We all lose our shit from time to time.  We all mend hearts and heads that are too heavy or too broken to function reasonably.


Hang in there, it passes.


Lots and lots and lots of Love from Dee to you.


Thanks for reading.







Monday – Managing Mayhem and Magic

We (ChargeNet) are up to nearly 50 stations in the ground. The Auckland network haters-gonna-hate-and-ainters-gonna-aint-haters-gonna-hate-cause-they-anusremains incredibly quiet, but the rest of the nation is doing quite nicely thank you very much.  Too many new projects and not enough people, so very typical third year – and it looks like impressive viability in the crazy world that is lean start-up. There’s been a total restructure (Phteven stole my GM, with my blessing, kinda) as well.

Today is also School Holidays official kick off as it is the first Monday of the two week “break” where bedraggled and world-wearied parents have to scramble to find childcare or alternative arrangements as the schools shut their hallowed halls to the children for an entire fortnight. schoolholidayparentsbeatup

Every ten weeks we get to repeat this incredible dance, exhausted before it even begins.  By week two, there are parents all over New Zealand curled up in the fetal position crying on the floor outside the loo in their home, sobbing into a towel and mumbling: “Why can’t you juusssssttt fucking fluuuuussshhhh the godamned toilet!”


The struggle is real.  I’ve been there.  It’s fucking intense.


So add to this the fact we are leaving for a week or two of Canadian summer.  Have I packed?  No.  Have I planned?  Not really no.  Have I told my family I am coming?  Kind of… But no not really.  I told them July.  This is July right?


And just to add further insult to injury I am on a dramatic down swing in the mood department.  Not sad, just very, very angry.  I have a short fuse with most people, particularly anyone I actually give a fuck about.  Feel free to ask my best friend Rebekah, or my husband or any of the children about my current state of play in the fuse department. It. Is. Short.  Just like me.


So tonight, after losing the proverbial plot at our seven year old son, after he pelted his guest in the side with the swiss ball, after three firm and clear warnings to stop playing so rough, I was given a timely reminder about my temper.


Adam, after being spoken to in the balanced mom-voice, was asked to go to his room for the 7 minutes that is standard for his seven years of age.  The fate of his sleepover at Lolo’s house was in the balance, and he was told (in the aforementioned mom-voice) to make better decisions or lose his sleepover tonight.   Rather than taking the mom-voice delivered advice, he hurled some abuse and told me he wished I would die.  Pretty standard operating for our fraught relationship, but it still hurts.


I smacked his ass as he ran up the stairs.  If you are a parent who rages against corporal punishment, I need to take a moment to say: PLEASE chill the fuck out. hardbattle

The single thing that has been hardest and most important to learn after four very, very, different and undeniably demanding children, is this:  Do. Not. Judge.  Other parents are fighting their fucking battles and always, always intervene and speak up if you suspect abuse or interference or have genuine concerns for a child’s safety. But in the general running of life, most of us make some fairly big mistakes, but we almost always have our kids’ best interests at heart.  We have three other children who never, or nearly never get any form of physical discipline, because other forms of reward and punishment are incredibly successful. Nothing gets through to Adam when he goes into the zone.


After the altercation, and some cooling off time.  I ventured back into my middle son’s room.  Feeling like a prize shit for smacking his ass, and painfully, in fact palpably aware that the reason this child pushes my buttons is because he is just like me.


So I stood and looked across his huge room, and over his big fluffy duvet, and saw his tiny arms crossed and his beautiful bow lips curled in a pout.  And my heart fucking broke, as it does a hundred times a day, because I can’t make this shit any easier for either of us.


And as is always the case, he wound himself up so tightly he just wanted to further fuck things up by any means possible, to confirm his belief that he’s worthless.  This child is most certainly not worthless.  He is kind, and fizzes with hope and joy.  It scares strangers, friends, and even his immediate family how clever and insightful he is sometimes.  And he flies completely off the handle at the slightest thing and there is no rhyme nor reason, and the years of therapists, diagnoses, and intervention have not put this child’s demons to rest.


I asked my son what my punishment ought to be for doing exactly what I was upset at him for doing, taking things too far.  And I asked him if he understood that the reason it made me so sad, and so angry was that he was just like me, and that is a part of me that I am deeply ashamed of.


And he looked at me, not with his glazed over angry eyes, but with his hurt doe eyes.  And he said:  “Your punishment is you aren’t getting any punishment.  Even though you deserve it. You just have to keep feeling bad.”


And there went the waterworks.


Mom tears and a I took my troubled son into my arms and we sat there and laughed and cried for a little while.  He squeezed me so tight.  And I returned his pressure with appropriate mom-forced hugs.


So that’s it.


Work is nuts. Life is beyond busy.  The kids are all busy and beautiful and broken in their own ways.  My heart is full and my cup is empty, and I will be braving a long haul flight with four feral but fabulous humans that I cooked in my very own body.


Wish me luck.


Thanks for reading.


Singapore Sling Fling

Singapore is not my favourite.  Or so I thought…


It is hot, it is humid, it is stifling.  We arrived at midnight, and there was much faffing around before we arrived at the hotel.  Tired, hungry, and fed up with being on the move, I flopped into bed for a cathartic cry and fell to sleep.


The next day I was up at 5:30. Chats with my Wonder Women Fi, Philipa and Ranae in our DM group.  Down for breakfast.  Oh they do a great breakfast in the big hotels in Asia.  From Thailand, to Hong Kong, to Singapore, the fusion and variety is generally sublime. The coffee was shit though.


We had a meeting at the university cancelled as our host was unwell, so the morning was given to us for free time.  There were plans to head over to Little India for some shopping, and I opted out.  I am enjoying being on my own so much.  I like me.  I like my music.  I like reading.  I like being on my own so much.  It used to terrify me.  Now, it does not.  I relish it.


I needed to get some toggs as I forgot mine again.  So I peeled myself out of my cuddly king-size bed and hoofed it to ground level for a look around and some shopping.


A wall of wet heat blasted at me before I even managed to step outside.


I asked the bellman where the nearest shopping area was.  He laughed, and the man stepping out of the cab overheard our exchange and said “This is Singapore, there’s shopping literally everywhere.” And he was correct in his assertion.


So I turned left and landed in the lap of consumerism.  Not my favourite.  I did manage to get a lovely vintage bathing suit.  Feel a bit like middle aged Sophia Lauren when wearing it.  That’s a nice way to feel.


We had a meeting scheduled at a boutique agency that specializes in Real Estate comms.  They are based high up in an office block on Clarke Quay.  The views were stunning, and they office reminded me of my own.  The creatives were based around the corner and the two managing directors had huge desks covered in kitsch and creative trinkets.  Our host Sandi was warm and friendly and incredibly knowledgeable.  His friend and colleague Jasmine popped in and joined our conversation.  She’s an absolute rockstar!


They gave us a vast selection of Singaporean treats and nibbles and some sticky sweet coffee.  The warmth and hospitality was absolutely gobsmacking.  This was my favourite agency so far.


Directly after the meeting it was off to Raffles for a Singapore sling.  Not my favourite drink ever.  But it was the foundation for an incredibly long and interesting adventure.


That coffee kept me up all night.  But oh my goodness I am glad it did.  I had dinner and chats with my darling Ranae and we worked out a strategy including many-a-cunning-stunt to save the world.  Think we might have also worked out some plans to manage some of the stunning cunts we have to manage at times.  Have I mentioned that I Love Ranae?  Because I fucking Love that staunch, beautiful, gentle soul so much.


And then, I drank with strangers until the wee hours.  It was perfection.  Fiona stopped down to find me but I must have been out the back with my new friends and frenemy (a tall young man who called me ma’am and doesn’t believe in climate change…ouch, and ouch again, with a side of WTF).  I was complimented by another in the group for the tolerance that I showed toward him, considering how much we all had imbibed.  Thanks for that sir.  I appreciate you noticing that I am the poster girl for self-control.  Then again, maybe not.


Morning came and messages from my peers bounced across my screen.  I had a long leisurely bath and made my way down to breakfast with my friends.


The meeting was great, and another bubbly and feisty comms professional shared their passion and their story with our group.  It was agency culture (corporate), so I was not as enthusiastic with questioning as I had been with the boutique and niche agencies.


Then we went to lunch at a chicken rice place.  I abandoned my vegetarianism for a taste of the chicken.  It was okay.  I will go back to being a vegetarian now.


After lunch we headed to a mall for coffees and discussed the fire in the London flats.  The thing about being in the business of sharing information, is that we are painfully aware that bad news travels faster and farther than any other force on earth.  Tragedy pushes a lot of the buttons as far as News Values are concerned.  Personally though, I fucking hate the helplessness of seeing tragedy and not being given a call to action or the opportunity to DO SOMETHING.  Amplifying news of tragedy and fear for the sake of amplifying news and getting clicks and eyeballs across your channels makes me feel a bit sad for the communications industry.  Saying that, being well informed of current local and global events can be very useful and empowering.  Sigh.  Medium, message, message, medium, chicken, egg, voyeurism, fear, fanaticism, fake news, real news… I just don’t fucking know what I think as I sit in Changi airport feeling markedly exhausted after a very long day.


So back, to that long day.  I walked back to the hotel with Ranae and then headed directly to see my dear friend Harri and her son (who is one of Daniel’s best friends on the planet).  It was a wonderful visit.  I got to hang out with their cat, who came to Singapore all the way from Greenhithe.  I miss her being closer to me.  But thankfully there’s social media so I get to know what she is up to and she feels closer.  Which is lucky, because she’s good to the core and hates mean girl keeping up with the Jones’s bullshit as much (if not more) thank I do.


After swims and chats and much laughing I caught a cab to the airport.  Breezed through check-in.  Got to customs and the attractive Indian man scanning passports was talking to his colleague and peppering his conversation with some fairly punchy language.  I started to giggle, and he got a bit agitated.  Then I explained I like that he swore a bit, as it puts me at ease.  And then I explained that that would NEVER happen in the US, and probably not in Canada, but possibly in NZ.  He’d warmed up to our conversation enough by this point, to inquire how an American or a Canadian expresses their emotions.  I had no decent answer for him.


And now I am here.  With my slightly tipsy and extremely terrific team (they had cocktails in the sun while I had a much more family friendly afternoon) and we are at the gate lounge charging our devices and waiting to board our plane.

I didn’t mean to have such an incredibly epic time here in Singapore.  There’s social and human rights issues that make me loath to travel here, but people are beautiful the world over.  And there’s a lot of people in Singapore.  Expat and local.  Travelers and residents.


I’ll be back, but next time I come through I will bring Daniel to see Owen.


Goodnight.  I am knackered and have hours of flying to look forward to, I hope you are considerably more comfortable as you read these meanderings.









Don’t Fear Happiness

Tuesday – June 6th 2017


5:21am – An incredibly sweet little face with big brown eyes and breath that smells rather a lot like a cat litter box (we don’t have a cat… thankfully) wake me up for “tuddles” which I enthusiastically oblige, without hesitation.  Chubby little hands stroke my cheek and stubby little arms squeeze around my neck.  I lie awake listening to my baby breath and eventually fall back to sleep.


6:27 – Still can’t sleep.  I’ll check social.  (reaches for phone) Oh good, cryptic monosyllabic from some, interesting and engaging messages from others.  Reply, reply, reply, reply, bye.


7:15 – “Oh SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT!” we’ve slept in. Daniel needs to get to school and nobody’s lunches are packed.  We need to get to the gym.


8:20 – Lolo arrives and nobody has any idea what happened to our copy of George’s Marvelous Medicine but fuck-me-days it is great to see my friend (and our housekeeper) because I am free until 3:00pm.  I could not and would not have that freedom without her.  And when I get home, almost like magic, it will be tidy and fresh.


8:30 – Gym.  Music.  Really enjoying Catfish and the Bottlemen and today was also a Leonard Cohen day.  Tower of song on repeat because I fucking wanted to.


9:30 – Arrive in the office.  Dad jokes, bad puns for days.  Nick used all the hot water so I had to baste in my own gym juices for an hour while the hot water reheated.


9:45 – downstairs to see my people at solPR.  Rachelle was halfway through making by coffee, broke her nose walking into the glass door over the weekend, gentle hugs.  James arrived home after meeting with our partners in Brisbane.  Big bear hugs because James is a big bear with a voice like a foghorn.


10:30 – Meeting to discuss and design conference modules/banners/floorplan.  I am a GENIUS when it comes to details and synergies.  Can’t discuss further, NDA.


11:30 – Rush to track and field.  PANIC ATTACK!  Other parents.  Many are nice, some are lovely, but some are FUCKING RIDICULOUS!  Judgmental, unhappy, insincere and angry.  Over a decade living in this leafy suburb and I am utterly without joy and terrified of every single child’s event.  We’re weird.  I get that, it has always been that way, but I don’t know how or why it is so important for the mean girl cliques I never understood in high school to be omnipresent on the children’s watch as well.  I ran 10,000km away from mean girls, just to run into them again.  Thank God for the few friends I have.  They always safely block me from the stares and snarls of distant acquaintances who have time for such distractions as disproval.


11:32 – Kiss Stephanie-Jane goodbye and wish her luck.  It must have worked, as I will find out later she got 5th and is going to interschool, same as happened last year.  Can’t handle any more pursed lipped parents.  Run faster than the track and field kids to get the fuck back to my car where I am safe and away from there.


11:45 – Stop at the office for hugs to wash away the feeling of dread and vulnerability that happens whenever I have to face local, school, or community events.  I absorb and appreciate my hugs then bark out some suggestions between getting briefed on the mountains of stuff they are shoveling through.


12:30 – Drive to see the slender Eastern European caricature that is my Psychiatrist.


1:02 – Arrive in the newly renovated offices that smell of paint and carpet glue.


This is where the day got interesting.


More than six months since I started/changed medication.  A diagnosis I’ll talk about at length one day.  Not today though.  Rui (caricature Eastern European shrink) and I cram a shitload of conversation into our 40 minute sessions.  We talk about geopolitical states, business, sustainability, refugees, immigration, family, sex, food, travel, and sometimes we even talk about my mental state.  I often tell him I don’t agree with his observations on the world, and he often tells me that my crazy is fascinating to him.  I like being fascinating.  I also like that I am now a little less crazy.


“So how are you?” He said in an uncharacteristically concerned tone.


“I am actually, genuinely, really fucking good… Happy.  Content even maybe?”  I said.  “There’s been a lot, there’s always a lot and we’re figuring shit out, and we had a week filled with grief and big changes, but I am excited about the future. And, yes. Happy.”


A knowing smile curled across my very own eccentric psychiatric specialist.


“And you worry it will end?” He inquired with raised eyebrows.


“Yeah.” I said looking at my thinning crossed legs.  “That’s a nagging thing, and also, do I deserve to feel okay.”


“One of the strangest things about people, Dee, is that they/we seem to crave, and fear happiness.  When we are happy we are waiting for something to go wrong.  It is very strange.” He said pulling out his prescription and blood test pad and paper.


“And do you still want to die?” He said while writing something illegible on the multicolored pad he just fished out.


“Sometimes.” I said.  “But not like before.  Not constantly, not eternally, not uncontrollably.”


“Well, 30 years means you may never stop feeling it, we learn, our brains get hardwired.  You seem to be managing it better than before.”


And then we talked about my new Tesla and my marriage and my propensity to be deeply in Love with everyone always.  We talked about sustainability and Trump and Comey and Brexit and animals and dirty waterways.


And then I carry on with my day.

I arrive back at the office, where my husband, who I am more in Love with than ever asks how the eccentric shrink is, and how the appointment went.  He expresses gratitude for the improvement in my mental health since the appointments and medication began.


And life carries on.  And I am going to try really hard not to fear contentment.


Thank you for reading.






Slime and Sensibility

The children were off school today, while us big kids didn’t have to work.  Queen’s Birthday weekend is the last stat for several long weeks.


I have been unceremoniously booted off my own television, where a few short moments ago I had almost finished watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice for what could be the thousandth time.


The two little boys have settled in next to me, snuggled in tight like little tattoos on my chest and my options are pretty limited so I thought I may as well write a fucking Blog since this is my position for the next couple of hours at least.  They are watching some CGI cartoon thing, about robot dinosaurs and I just can’t get emotionally invested in that kind of shit.


Steve’s working on an issue for a customer somewhere in the central north island, and as per usual, overhearing him sends me swooning and reminds me just how fucking RIDICULOUSLY audacious he is, trying to completely disrupt an industry. Again.


Tomorrow we are back in the office and I am incredibly excited about that, because I miss my people and have a million calls to make before heading overseas for a short stint with my masters class and professor.  I’ve been forced back into my mom role recently, because all four were suffering with the lack of routine and security.  I am home for them and cook for the ungrateful little parasites most nights.  We also put screens to the side and play games like hangman or Pictionary or Uno.  Parenting is hard.  Working is hard.  They are both fucking fabulously rewarding though.  Feeling a bit smug about smashing the balance bit, but missing being the badass networking goddess who only has time for good cunts.


So I am pretty certain that both Steve and I are unemployable.  The idea of anyone, anywhere, trying to get us to stop or start doing anything that we weren’t compelled to do/be and insanely passionate about… Well that concept is puzzling.  There’s a bit of mundane and plenty of tough bits in what we do, but we Love what we do and we Love those who are smashing it with us.


Somehow, the entrepreneurial spirit has rubbed off on the children, especially on Stephanie-Jane.


Steph is churning through buckets of PVA glue and borax, and selling various colours, textures, and scents of slime.

She’s diversified her product range to pop sockets and squishies, and is turning over $100 a week.  Cheeky little con-kid hasn’t paid us for raw materials yet either, so she’s rolling in cash.  I will have to remind her of this fact.


So she’s got an amazing understanding of economics, and scale and she knows how to add value and upsell and cross-sell and diversify to minimize risk.  She’s aware that slime is a fad and is forever looking for the next big thing.  She’s ten. I know grown assed adults who don’t have the balls this girl has to take care of b’ness.


How the hell did a couple of raging socialists end up with a wee capitalist I wonder?  She does say she is going to give her money to charity, or start her own charity.  I support those ideas whole heartedly.


So she’s got a display chest organized to pedal her wares and show people what she is capable of.  She’s taking orders daily and a couple of dollars for rose scented slime leaves Steph’s pockets well lined and gets her friends (and Daniel’s friends, as she’s broken into the much sought after Albany Junior High territory with great success) flush with sweet smelling slime.



Eat, Pray, Love British Styles

I’m finding the time to write every day.  Not much time.  30-45 minutes of brain dump as my mother does some faffing or other and the children succumb to their jet lag in the afternoon.

It’s brilliant though.

Words are delicious to me.  Putting letters and phrases together to tell a story is magic that makes my heart pitter patter and skip beats.  I fall into a proper puddle at the thought of people reading my meanderings.  Further to that, people actually responding to it sends me all a flutter and makes me wish I could just stop the world and write day and night.  writers

Although, I already do that on social to be fair.  You’ll find me frequently on most of the platforms (except twitter, I never did get the hang of Twitter) spilling and spouting this and that.  There’s a mighty big gap in my social media behaviours lately though, because someone I spoke to nearly every day won’t be able to respond as he’s recently shaken the mortal coil and left us in a state of shock and grief that no amount of reaching out and bad jokes or silly comments can cure.  I miss him.  He was my friend.  My real friend.  And I wish I could tell him about the adventures I am on and he’d be cheerful and kind and full of knowledge about everything and anything the way he always was.

When another friend, with the same name, passed away I was 18 years old.  He was a first Love of sorts and accepted me despite my already well-established crazy.  His death broke me, and so I high-tailed it back to Alberta for 6 of the best (and blurriest) months in my entire life.  I am still great friends with my roommate from that adventure, and the Calgary cousins I stayed with are closer to me than most of the family I grew up with now.  Life’s strange.  Loving people and losing them hurts.  And the empty that is left by some people’s departure will never be filled, only softened with time and the ability to trade tears for happiness when thinking about whatever time you had with them.

So here I am in London.  Grieving for my husband’s childhood father figure (who passed away last Saturday) and my very clever, chatty, uplifting friend.  Writing yet another blog as my rolly polly little mother waddles off to the laundry to drop off our clothes so we can be ready for the next leg of the journey in Iceland soon.  We’ve laughed a lot and fought much less than I’d anticipated we would.  I genuinely wonder if this isn’t owing on some level to divine intervention of one kind or another.

Last night after finally waking my two sleeping beauty boys from jet lag induced coma sleeps, I went to see my friends Christine and Lochmar and their two pathologically overachieving children.  I adore Christine.  She’s the kind of woman I’d have been totally intimidated by a few years ago and never thought to engage in a friendship with, as she’s so very far out of my league.  I can’t begin to say how glad I am to have gotten over that, and to have the luxury of choosing amazing, kind, intelligent, hilarious, beautiful women to be my friends now.

So Lochmar and Christine fed my sons and I.  He’s a great cook, and a vegan who occasionally eats fish for the nutritional values (I believe that’s the same diet the former President Bill Clinton follows) and he made carnivorous for the children and vegan option spaghetti and meatballs for us.  They were perfection.  So was his hummus.

I was sat in their home not too long ago, as I tend to nip through London about twice a year these days.  Their house feels perfect.  They are a family who all read the same book and have lively discussions about it over dinner while they all sit down together.  The fact they not only tolerate me but seem to look forward to my/our visits is a great honour.  Christine’s staff are also great and I relish the quick catch ups and cuddles I get when I whip through the office in Windsor.

Today my mother and I brought the children through Windsor Castle.  A busy place.  James was faffing about on my lap and fell on the hard stone floor in the Albert chapel, and Adam flat out refused to use his inside voice for most of the day.  I think he gets that from me.

When we got to the Queen Mary doll’s house and stately apartments part of the tour we were told to ditch the stroller at the cloak room.  No problem.  James was, however, only in his socked feet at this point as he had lost one of his green boots earlier that day.  Apparently, this is a problem as we were told half a dozen times to put shoes on him.  Being the chilled out Kiwis that we have become, we thought this was quite ridiculous, especially in a carpeted area like we were entering.  AND HE IS THREE.  Seriously, chill the fuck out please.IMG_4678.jpg

We also noticed that people looked at us quite strangely a few times.  The conclusion for the rudeness was that some people may have thought my mother and I were actually lovers, not mother and daughter on vacation together as we actually are.  I did say to mom that she was totally punching well above her weight because I am super hot and rich.  Mom laughed.  It was a good moment.

Later in the tour I stopped to rest my aching feet while my mother took the boys around the corner to see a guard on duty in the red jacket and bear hat thing that they wear.  So she wheeled off James and Adam flew and fluttered in zig zags around her as they went over to another corner of the courtyard.

Shortly after she left one very tall guard, flanked by three seemingly very small guards came stomping through in the same direction that mom and the kids had just gone.  I found out upon my mother’s return that the stompy guard guys headed over to the other stompy guard guy to ask him if he needed a pee break.  They also got to see James fall out of his pram as mom reeled to get out of their way as they stomped by.  Comical.  IMG_4681

We walked back toward the exits by my favourite bit of the entire castle.  A waterfall that runs into a little pond down some steps behind a walled garden.  I like gardens.  And I really like waterfalls and ponds too.  I do not super like the aristocracy, but the history, architecture, and art are a marvel and I eat marvellous for breakfast.

The stompy guards then returned, probably after asking if some other stompy guard needed to pee, and I walked over to mom as they stomped past us and said, “You know, I think I totally need a boyfriend with that level of self control.” to which my darling mother responded with a loud snort and belly laugh.  She looked at me with an earnest stare and patted my arm and said: “Oh my, someone with that much self control would never be interested in you darling.”  I laughed.  She’s right.  I’m not exactly a magnet for the pious or stern.  And that’s just fucking fine by me.

The last stop today was the war memorial in Runnymede.  Adam was still awake at this point, and James had well and truly already crashed for the day.  We got there and explained to him where we were and what it meant.

“Should I get down on my knees and pray?” asked my middle son with earnest.

“If that is what you feel like doing, you should absolutely do it.” I responded.

Then Adam ran out onto the grass, 500 metres away from the entrance of the memorial and dropped to his knees and started to pray.  We called him back and said that this wasn’t the place.

“Oh, I shouldn’t have prayed there then.” He said in a playfully sheepish way. “No, no,  no.” I interjected.  “You should pray and/or meditate whenever or wherever you are moved to do so.” I said.  “And you don’t have to call or imagine that is like a traditional God, you can call it whoever and whatever the fuck you want when you are moved to pray honey.”  My mother snort laughed again.  It was a good moment.

So I’ll leave it there. Today was good.  We just paid 25 quid to get our laundry done, and now I need to wake up the children and roll them downstairs to grab a bite to eat.

Thank you for reading.  There’s not much point to this one I know, I am just really enjoying writing.








To The Manor Not Born

I need to start by explaining the play on words in the title.  To the manor born means aristocratic or of high birth ranking in British society.  There was a program that ran from 1979-1981 entitled “To the Manor Born” that was a kind of meshed up romance/comedy that was incredibly British and had characters called posh names like Penelope and Daphne.  I don’t think I have ever watched more than five minutes of any episode, but I’d know it if I saw it.

British class system and manners are things that don’t sit too well with a peasant such as myself.  I’ve got crazy notions about life, society, and equality that lean far more to meritocracy than aristocracy.

I am also incredibly crass and swear a lot and would fail almost any etiquette guidelines that might be thrown at me.  I Love that about me.  A heart the size of a planet and I still drop the C bomb with reckless abandon.  I’m not Eliza Doolittle, I am more like Estelle, salt of the earth and completely comfortable with the fact.

So I have arrived in London with the kids and my mother and we are staying at a charming manor house that backs onto the grounds of Windsor Castle.  What is interesting about this, is that I get to stay in comfortable suites in places like this all the time.  These are the kind of places, that as a child, my mother would take my brother and I for a cup of tea and a sandwich and we’d be urged to lie about our age so we could be spared the entrance fee to sit in such grandeur for a moment or two.

Now, I frequently stay at castles, mansions, manor houses, and even old monasteries.  The staff are always nice, and I rarely mingle with other guests at these places.  And there’s always a part of me that knows I am an interloper.

The place we are staying right now is quite lovely.  It backs onto the Thames river and has its own resident ghost stories.  Today is crisp and beautiful.  The spring air on the banks of the Thames smells just like I remember it smelling when I lived in the UK when I was a child of 5.  Today is basically the opposite of yesterday on the hectic scale, and I feel at peace with the world, and utterly out of place.

Everyone in New Zealand is asleep so I am waiting for the evening here so I can ping home and see how the kids are and how far back down the island my husband has made it after being at the Northern-most tip of Cape Reinga yesterday.

So I’ll wrap it with some pictures of my day so far.

And I will sit back and watch the breeze kiss the branches of a weeping willow on the banks of the Thames, and I will know the whole time I sit in this opulence that the world is not yet fair or just or safe for far too many, perhaps most, people.  The water and the air are not clean enough to sustain us into the future, and the people sat on the terrace with their beer and their cellphones may or may not give a fuck about any of it.

Life is a sequence of moments and choices and boils down into memories that we carry with us in good and bad times as we carry on to our inevitable end.

I’ll just breath in this sequence of moments, and hope that somehow the peace of this moment will sustain me when I am faced with all the things that break my heart and force me into battles of one sort or another.

Thank you for Reading.