Red-Purple Pity Party

I allowed my long suffering husband to choose my latest hair colour.

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My hair is a similar colour to my shoes… While I adore the shoes, the hair I do not care for.

It is red-purple.  I am not happy.

The fact I can be so affected by something as superficial as hair dye is not a great realisation on a crisp Monday, after a brilliant but fleeting weekend of fun and family.

My hair comes second only to my substantial bosom when it comes to physical attributes that affect my self-confidence.

So there it is then.  Undeniable proof I am vapid, and vacuous and vain. When it comes to my hair and boobs at least.

It seems to me that when a woman reaches a certain age the fucks she gives about her appearance take on some sort of phoenix-like transformation.  I do not look anywhere near as fresh, young or dewy as I did 15 years ago when Grumpy Husband first met me at the tender age of 23.  He often reminds me that he thought I was a little chubby when we first started seeing each other (mere weeks before he proposed) as I weighed a hefty 55kg at the time.  There’s considerably more of me now, and I very much doubt I’ll ever see those lean little numbers on the scales again.

Yet, it seems strange to admit that I have never felt more confident or at peace with how I look, or who I am.

I still hate this fucking hair colour mind you, but the whole package of me is pretty well worn and I am happier living in it than I can ever remember.

One of my heroines, Jane Fonda, is recently and famously quoted as saying:  “You couldn’t pay me to be 20 again.”  I couldn’t agree more, and I couldn’t be more impressed with her poise, appeal and stunning appearance as she nears 80 years of age.

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My gal pals of a similar age often talk about looks and sex appeal and professionalism.  We sometimes lament the struggles of our younger colleagues, and their need to balance the two.

That struggle is real, kids.

So here’s my take on the whole sordid affair.

By the time you are pushing or past 40, you may feel as if you have flown over the clear and present dangers of being asked out by clients or lurid looks from colleagues.  You can wear your wrinkles and muffin top as signs of surviving the trenches of life and perhaps even parenthood.

Do some women pine for prettier days?

Probably.

Do I crave a world where age, gender and attractiveness are totally eclipsed by the meritocracy of performance, experience, skill, enthusiasm and integrity?

You bet your fucking ass I do!

Do my own behaviours, preconceptions and actions sometimes contribute to the status quo of women having to fight tooth and nail to be seen as equals?

Sadly, I think yes.  I might be a part of the problem and not so much the solution.

All this self-reflection stemmed from a bad bottle of hair dye.

I don’t have to be concerned with how attractive people think I am, as I am happily coupled and enjoying the spoils of toughing it out through the trenches of marriage and parenthood.

My husband is my business partner and my biggest client.  So keeping him happy personally and professionally is in my best interests.  I don’t think that’s where my self esteem stems from though.

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I am well worn, curvy and kind.  I am full of joy and enthusiasm, and keen to share this energy with any willing recipient.

And I think that it is the joy that bubbles over into conversations and relationships that makes me whole.

So, if you’ve taken the time to read this, and you are, or you know a woman who struggles with her appearance and the ageing process, here’s some advice for free:

Do what works for you.

Make small or large changes if you want to.  Be it botox, or yoga or hair dye or a pair of Spanx.  Or don’t change a single thing!  Wear your yoga pants and puffer jacket with pride. You are already beautiful without a shred of make-up.  Just own the fuck out of who you are and what you’ve been through, because every mark and millimetre on you is part of your story.

So I will continue to hide behind a thick mask of cosmetics, because I like to play with make up and it does affect my self-esteem.  I’ll suffer through this painfully purple hair colour and feel a bit silly every time I see it until it fades.

You be you, I shall be me, and together we will fight our battles with or without the war paint of rouges and contouring creams.

Have a good week.

1.2.3… 8-9-10!

Home.  Safe, sound, and extremely tired, but we are definitely HOME!

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In my room, and I have exactly 60 minutes to write a blog before I get to go and pick up my two middle children from school and take them to music lessons.

Three of our four children have given us welcome home hugs, and there’s just our eldest son left to see since landing back in Auckland after THE MOST AMAZING FUCKING MONTH OF AWESOMENESS IN RECORDED HISTORY!

Steve and I reconnected and got pretty real with each other.  To say I Love that man and his enormous heart and brain is feeble and words can’t begin to describe how lucky I feel/am to have found him.  He’s still an asshole in a lot of ways, but I am no prize pig myself to be fair. Together we work. I have no idea what the reason for this formula is.

We got to see friends and meet new and phenomenally intelligent people.

Sadly, we missed seeing some very special people including Eva and Bill and Alicia in Denver (flights grrrr) and my wonderful family in Livermore… And just missed seeing a handful of other friends by mere moments as the power of social media informed me that I was very close to dozens of new and old friends as I galavanted around the planet.

Landing at home was perfect.

We timed the trip through customs and immigration just perfectly it seems, as there were no lines and it was a breeze to get through without any children in two.  Didn’t even stop for duty free and sailed through straight to the X-rays (that I wouldn’t have to bother with if I bothered to get my Kiwi passport… DOH!)

Arrived in our drive to tears of joy from our daughter Stephanie, and excited bounces and squeals of joy from Adam our five year old.

Steph came out for a super quick breakfast at our local cafe, where everyone knows us, and beamed to see us back.

Returned home and our friend/nanny Lou arrived moments after we arrived with our baby James.  He’s changed so much.  He is no longer a baby.  Prior to leaving I was concerned about his speech, as he is two now, and the other three children were all speaking in complete, if not, broken sentences by this age.  I needn’t have worried.  He knows his colours, he talks, he’s secure and happy and content and has thrived under the watchful eye and warmth and nurturing of Lou and her family, as well as his weekends with my parents and his three older siblings.

He did not cry or make strange when he saw us, he just beamed and craved cuddles and asked for mummy and daddy to pick him up and his requests were gratefully fulfilled.

He also counts.  But there’s something about his counting that hit a chord and piqued my metaphorical sensibilities.

If you say:  1.2.3… He jumps in and says: 8!-9!-10!!!!

And you can correct him, and tell him that he missed 4-5-6, and he’ll sternly look at you with his two-year-old-toddler-resolve and say:

“No! 8-9-10!”

Here’s the thing about that.  I have no idea what this year is going to bring.  I have no idea what battles I will need to fight personally or professionally.  It feels like as a family, as a business, and as a human being I have set the foundations for some really cool shit to happen.  So with lots and LOTS of help, I have made it through the 1.2.3.

I know what the goal is.  I know what 10 looks like.

I want to hug my kids, fight with them, listen to their stories, hold them and stroke their hair when things get tough, or they are sick, or the inevitable broken hearts that loom on their adolescent horizons occur.

I want to stand with Steve and all of our friends and partners and build a better world however I can.  If that is fighting greed and stupidity with sensible solutions, transparency and kindness, then that’s what I want.  If it is improving air quality and encouraging energy independence for New Zealand by doing everything we can feasibly think of to help expedite the uptake of green technology, then LET’S FUCKING GET THAT SHIT DONE!  If it is fighting misogyny and discrimination by trying to embrace a meritocracy and constructive conflict and growth that is going to make the world a place where my boys can choose to be nurses and my daughter can decide to be an engineer and NOBODY even BOTHERS to talk about traditional fucking roles… then BRING THAT SHIT ON!

I am not entirely sure what the next bit looks like.

I know it is going to be busy, tiring and there will be times I want to give up and move to our little off grid patch of paradise north of island and stop pushing ahead with our many personal and professional projects.

So 4-5-6 is upon me and my entire family.  So in good faith I shall take the metaphorical lead from my absolutely delicious two year old son James, and I will just keep smiling and reaching out to grab hold of 8.9.10.

Hope that all made sense.

I am going to go collect my children.

Thank you for reading, and if you’re one of the many people with their eye on the same prize as us, THANK YOU for your strength, and idealism and effort.  We will get there by working together, I’m pretty confident about that fact.

XXOO

Dee

 

 

I AMsterDAMN I LOVE THIS PLACE

I PROPERLY ADORE the Netherlands!  My beloved soulmate Phteven is half Dutch.  He seems to have held onto some of the quirks and characteristics that seem to be aligned with this colourful culture.  His humour is pretty similar to the standard humour around here it seems.  Intelligent, but plenty crass, with a liberal seasoning of shock value.

Where do I begin… Germany was lovely.  I am so grateful that I got to attend the Tech show that I went to Berlin to be a part of, but I must say, German culture is a bit too fucking precise for this hot mess of a Hobbit.

As soon as I stepped onto the KLM flight, populated with many MANY Dutch people, I felt more at ease.  The flight crew were warm, friendly and gorgeous on so many levels. They smiled, joked, flirted a little bit even (with everyone, not just me!).

And then I arrived at my hotel and had a perfect check in.  Everyone speaks impeccable english here.

After dropping off my gear I headed into town to just be a tourist.  The coffee houses (hash bars) and bars and restaurants had super stoned tourists pouring out of them everywhere I went.  The locals rode around on bikes and smiled and laughed together.

It all felt like I went through some sort of joyful vortex and escaped the dull and stuffy seriousness of Germany to be delivered to a much more Dee-friendly universe.

I met up with our friend Anne who is a rockstar in the EV and conversion game.  He and two of his old friends had to tow a large electric truck through the narrow streets of Amsterdam to his shop as he will be kitting it out and pimping it out to the max.  The large vehicle is destined to be the Netherland’s first FULLY electric food truck.  I’ll be spamming all y’all with news of that journey as it happens.

We got to chat at length about how SERIOUSLY FUCKING LUCKY we both feel to be working in Green Tech and emerging technologies.  We get to hang out all day, every day, with SUPER smart, gloriously geeky, sincerely connected humans.  Thanks to technology, we have found each other.  Eccentric early adopters are able to meet up online and IRL and just shoot the shit about how awesome life is and how fabulous breakthroughs in Electric Vehicle, energy, and battery storage technology are!  Everyday is like Christmas morning for me working alongside these people, and he feels jus the same way.

The Dutch seem a passionate and fun-loving bunch in general.  All the guys that helped move the ducktruck.nl from point A to point B have families who they are very proud of and take great pains to maintain a good work/life balance.  Big respect for them and their stories.  And seeing them talk about their wives and kids was pretty magic.  It did, of course make me miss Grumpy!

I do not know how two crazy different kids like him and I ever managed to run into each other at just the exact correct moment, but I am forever grateful that we did.  He’d suck without me, as I would if he were not by my side and sincerely invested in my happiness.  Yay for Love.  It is a very VERY good thing.

So where was I?

Ah yes.

After celebrating getting the truck safely to its destination, I asked if I might try some of Amsterdam’s world famous marijuana.  And I did.  And I couldn’t feel my face.  And it was awesome and I don’t want to do it again in a hurry!

I made it home at a somewhat respectable midnight-ish.  I was invited by the cab driver to go and smoke some more hash, to which I very firmly responded: “HELL NO!”

The ride from the bar to the airport where my hotel is seemed to take a million years.  It was super strange. Figured it was pretty safe to give it a spin in this beautifully tolerant city.  I won’t be making partaking a regular event however.  I have enough vices, no need to add to the mix.

So here I am on day 2 in this fabulous city.  I’d better finish my lunch and head out so I can see a few things before it is time for dinner.

Thanks for reading.