Thoughts: 2016 

Well, I survived 2016. 

Of course, my measures or KPI’s around how 2016 worked out may be different from yours, but I’ll give it a solid pass.

For me, the year started on the back foot. It involved really hard calls and compromise. It involved a lifestyle upheaval and I’ve been closely monitoring the impact on my kids. (So far, so good and they don’t seem to realise I’m keeping an eye on them).

I have fought battles to the point where I had to make the decision to risk all or walk away.

I have learned that there are people in the world who will impact your life negatively and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

I have learned that I should focus on things that I can actually control or at the best, influence. I have learned that things not in my control aren’t actually worth expending my energy on.

I have found friendship and support in unexpected places. I have learned that by being open and vulnerable, good people will come to your side. I am grateful to those that kept an eye on me (especially Katherine). Supported. An encouraging word here and there. 

God I hate being vulnerable.

2017 brings change. And I’m actually looking forward to it. 

Thoughts: Losing My Voice

So. The last year has been challenging. I’ve had to revalue and reassess and make life changes that I really didn’t want to make. I had a pleasant non-confrontational existence that has been turned upside-down.

A client (former) decided that they didn’t want to pay me what we agreed to. And this action of theirs has put me on the back foot.

I’ve had to be incredibly guarded as to what I can say, write, vent. You know that this is a publication, yes? 

Dealing with this has meant that I have lost my voice. I’ve had opinions on so many topics but I’ve not shared. I have had to stop speaking in case I jeopardise my legal case against these people. 

I’m recovering. Successfully I might add. Happily, I have people in my world that care and actually give a damn. And have supported me and loved me.

My voice is coming back. 

Thoughts: Living A Life Of Significance

This sort of story makes me a bit sad. And it seems to occur all too frequently.

I don’t want to die alone, in an apartment, and not be discovered by benefit of wafting aroma months after the fact.

I’m quite sure that no-one wants this as the final act of their life.

So, how to live a life of significance? A life where people actually knock on your door to see if  you’re ok? (Or text, or email). 

I’m thinking my philosophy of trying to make a difference to every person I meet is a decent start point. And hopefully, it’s a positive difference. It’s important to me that my kids have some sort of role model thing going on.

Looking ahead, I’ve already planned my funeral extravaganza (in my head, and it’s awesome, and there are dancers and comedians everywhere) so frankly my expiration will be entertaining on some level.

Here’s to the future of being positive and impactful!  (And not desperately alone and insiginificant).

Thoughts: Reconnections

I have mentioned this in a previous post but it is an interesting story, worth revisiting and digging into.

Recap: I’m adopted. My birth Mother, U.K.-based, whom I’ve met two times in the last 6 years having tracked her down 8 years ago, sent me an email last week with ‘by the way I’ll be in Auckland on Friday”.

That kind of spun my world a bit.

A little digging and I’ve learned that she’s kept things quite quiet. Not only to me, but also to her close family in Somerset. And here’s the rub: my birth Father (who lives in Tauranga) is her first port of call. And he has kept things quiet. My half-brother is as off-balance as I am. We like a plan.

Mum is 76. She’s just done a 36hr global transition and I got to meet her at the airport. We had about 30mins available to catch up before she was whisked away by the shuttle driver.

She did her OE from England in 1967. Got pregnant with me, gave me up for adoption, and in 1970 returned home and didn’t tell a soul of her experience and my existence. Different times huh?

She’s seen my dad briefly in the last 46 years. He got across to the UK in 1990 or thereabouts. But little contact since.

This is an amazing reconnection. Super-cute, yes. It’s so great that she’s here as she will be able to meet my kids – her grandchildren – and all the other significant people in Simon-land that she’s only heard about.

It’s like the Universe is conspiring to move pieces in my world to a start position of sorts. 

It is exciting and concerning in equal measure.


Thoughts: Mum’s Coming To Town

Jeepers. I just got a surprise!

I’m adopted (many know this) and my birthmother lives in the UK. I’ve met her and my British side of the family a couple of times but haven’t been able to be back there in the last few years.

My kids have never met her nor have my wonderful adopted parents.

I received an email overnight which was “blah blah blah, by the way I’ll be in New Zealand next Thursday”. NEXT THURSDAY!!

I’m gobsmacked and excited in equal measure!

Diary of a Shore Thing #1

Well, tonight marks the start of a new cohabitation. I’m now a Shore dweller. (North Shore of Auckland for those who love abroad).

In my limited experience, I’ve always found the North Shore to be different. Certainly different from the city fringe that I’ve enjoyed for the last seven years. And generally views with suspicion from Howick and further afield – Palmerston North for example.

And then there’s the micro-climates of the Takapuna, Belmont, Devonport strip, compared with Birkenhead and surrounds, and then Albany is whole different beast altogether.

Moving today was hard on several levels, but mostly physical. I can’t walk at the moment, and then there was the highly inconvenient heat exhaustion that caught me about 3pm. I was fairly useless for the next 90minutes whilst rehydrating and eating.

But I’ve made it. It’ll be interesting to see how my chameleonic nature blends me in. Who knows, I may actually grow to love this place.

Thoughts: Small Business Trials

I’ve been a bit quiet on the whole blogging thing in recent times as I’ve had a bit on my mind.

I have my own wee business and I work diligently and sometimes, just sometimes, I even work hard.

Last year I put a lot of effort into one particular client over a six month period, on the promise (and signed agreement) of commissions. And I succeeded, earning $30k. However, towards the end of last year it became apparent that they didn’t want to pay up. Mainly because they couldn’t. It’s one thing to earn an income, it’s quite another to receive it.

Phone calls have been unanswered. Emails not responded to. And it is ongoing.

It has been so frustrating as I’d budgeted for the arrival of at least some of the money before Christmas. It didn’t. Christmas was therefore lean.

I’ve had to put this situation into a silo because focusing on it would bring a lot of negativity, anger and bitterness into my world, which I simply don’t want. Being able to pick up new work with awesome people has softened the blow somewhat but I’ve been on the back foot. And I don’t like it.

I guess in life you meet some people who show their true colours aren’t as good as they should be. It’s a shame that it’s usually in times of pressure when you can least afford the emotional energy.

So, I’m planning my next steps. Survival has been achieved. I’ve made some fairly substantial changes in my life that will make things a little easier and quite possible a little funner (it’s a word!!!). Now it’s time to plant my feet and toughen up. You can do that with good people in your corner (Thanks KT).

Will I ever receive what I’m owed? Hard to say. It’s reached the point where I’ll have to hand things over to the experts.

Why oh why do people renege on agreements? And stop communicating when things get tight? Such a stupid course of action. Not at all helpful.



Thoughts: Fathers Day Advertising

So it’s that time of year when I do my best to avoid mainstream media. 

I like Fathers Day. It’s a day of reflection where  my kids make an effort and I reassess how I’m doing given my solo-Dad status. So far, so good.

But this Day of the year is spoiled for me by retail advertising. All the brands spend big bucks trying to sell their shit.

Hannah’s selling “Dads’ Favorite Bramds – such as Pulp”.  Wet and Forget  telling you to buy Dad a real gift : a 7l sprayer. Farmers with their underwear. Hardware stores with their hammers.

It’s depressing really. How about a brand message telling the kids to put some fucking thought into things. Like, don’t buy Dad something he will buy for himself when he needs it, spend some fucking time with him.

It’s the lead up to Days like this when my contempt for Brands, Brand Managers and Ad Agencies hits peak. 

We have talented people working in these fields but they’re producing crap. Nauseating crap.

Mothers Day advertising is different. Show Mum you love her. Jewellery. Spa pampering. Good shit. Not the same ‘practical gift’ messaging that Fathers Day gets. 

You try buying Mum face cream or an ironing board and see how far THAT gets you.

Thoughts: More About the NZ Flag Debate

So. Our well-constructed panel has whittled the submissions down to 40. 40 flag options, of which the most popular 4 go up against the current flag.

This is actually complete bullshit.

A Nation’s flag is created out of an Historical need. An event of importance, requiring marking and establishment.

We do not yet have this pre-condition.

So, what is the play? 

I do not believe that John Key wants a flag change as his legacy. I think it is much much bigger than that.

My read is that we will get to the end of the flag exercise, and then we will be told “We can’t change the flag unless we become a Republic and sever our ties to England, once and for all”. 

We will then collectively say “oh OK, we’ve chosen a flag, let’s become a Republic.” 

Key’s desired legacy is NZ becoming a Republic. New flag. New currency imagery. No Governor-General. New everything. Independence. 

We are being herded to an Historical Event of some significance.

In my humble opinion of course.

Thoughts: Winter Colds

it had to happen I suppose. It’s my annual foray into being under the weather.

It’s bloody annoying. It’s bloody frustrating.

I was susceptible to catching the cold. I’ve jut come through a period of pretty intense workload, and from 1 July I reduced the hours I was working, recognizing that my health and my sense of humour were both suffering.

But with that reduction in hours, there was a corresponding reduction in adrenalin. Leaving me wide open. It’s why Executives get sick when they go on holiday.

Two weeks. Loss of energy, loss of voice. Coughing, spluttering. Awful. 

The loss of voice is the worst. I rely on my voice for income. And not being able to talk is brutal.

So, sleep, ginger, sleep, garlic, sleep, panadol has been my routine. It seems to have worked. 

All things going well, next week is back to mostly normal. 

Crossing everything.