September 2013 Archive

Why do I write? Why be a blogger?

I have a full life without large uncontrollable projects taking up further head-space:

Enlightened Housewife Part One

Realistically, I am too busy to put a lot of time and effort into another endeavor; blogging is time consuming. But I have strong reasons to do so.



Writing has always been a passion. This, from early grades, when I perfected the the dark art of plagiarism.
I would faithfully pen missives that were identical to whichever Enid Blyton jaunt I was devouring.
I peaked, far too early, in High School when I attained my greatest literary achievement to date. I won second place in a school writing comp.

I introduced an element of commercialism to my literary endeavors.

In those years, I felt as strongly about Shakespeare, Auden and T.S. Eliot as I did about my first High School crush.
It was no great sacrifice to write essays for the students of other grade levels (so there was no suspicion of the identity of the author of some very well written essays) in return for a suitable quantity of booze.

I got to meddle around in Hamlet and King Lear to my hedonistic little heart’s content. A situation that remains my preferred state of being today. It keeps me passionate about life.

Passion is the core of the unfinished feminist revolution. Fear of judgment by others, by society, leads to keep our voices muted. We can barely ask for time for ourselves, let alone passionately espouse causes or pursue interests other than family.
We put everything else before pursuing our passions.
Regardless of the equality implications outlined above by Silvia Federici, it’s important to keep the passion alive as the years go by. Passion can be drowned out by overload in both one’s professional and personal lives.
Not so much for men who tend to remain committed to tickling the flame of their beloved one’s ardor of an evening.

Or find another outlet for their spuds’ sticky secretions:

Sad reality Behind Pretty Woman Tale:

An abandoned wife hates on the whole profession. The article screams “victim”, so I enjoyed the feisty rejoinder published subsequently, by a member of the world’s oldest profession.

I write because writing being my passion, I owe it to myself and other women to pursue my passion, outside of work, family and contributing to my community.


Or rather, lack of them.

At various times in my life I have attempted to “Lean In.” All to no avail. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

There’s no skirting it. Abbott is helping deny women a voice

New Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbot has only elected one woman to cabinet. This phrase resonates:

“As women, we’re expected to shoulder the burden of blame. If we were only better, we wouldn’t be denied avenues to power. We would have earned them.”

So what’s going on in Abbot’s head?


Men in business see women in the business world as either a Wilma or a Betty.
Forget the Madonna/Whore complex. The Flintsonian Wilma/Betty duality is the stereotype that needs to be smashed, along with the glass ceiling, for future generations of women to be represented in senior levels of business. And in the same numbers as their sometimes lesser qualified male counterparts.

Wilmas (Alpha Females)  sometimes get to break through and join the men at the Board table but no matter how intelligent, the Bettys almost never do. And if they do, it can take years and repeated attempts to stand alongside men who attained the same career heights, years prior.

Being a Betty, denies me some opportunities in business. I also call it the “Live and Let Live” attitude.
I’m just too, ‘Live and Let Live’, in the workplace to flourish. I go to work to do my job and to talk to my workmates.
But just wanting to get on and do a job and be noticed for your work ethics rather than your aggressive management style is not enough for some businesses and business men.
If the Bettys really want to rise to the heights of business, they need to pursue this agenda with the aggression that marks successful businessmen but without the anger that so often turns shrill. It’s being an aggressor, but not aggressive.

I’m lovin’ on Marissa Mayer who is a great example of this. She has retained control of her femininity, her ovaries and has written her own narrative in business.

But, like many other talented women in the community, some who are part of the Harvard alumni, Mayer’s path is not for everyone. So, I’ve learned to “Lean In” by creating¬† my own opportunities. This blog is my latest effort to do so.

I have been tapping the keyboard in this capacity for almost two years now. This is an incarnation of a previous blog that I started to maintain ties with my homeland of New Zealand.

It was also an anger management exercise over some of the daily injustices and political turmoil in the world. I have since learned that fretting over events that you cannot change is a narcotic second only to victim-hood.

I go hot and cold on blogging. Hot when a particular issue in the media is grinding my gears and cold when the housework is overwhelming,


I am a failed novelist and short story writer. Sending my misbegotten creeds to publishers has accorded me no recognition as the next upcoming author.

Muttering darkly about the “Hegemony of the Baby Boomer”, I turned to journalism. I accordingly qualified as a functioning alcoholic (the one distinguishing Journalistic quality) Massey University New Zealand: Class of 2001.

I have acted for many years as a journalist in a volunteer capacity and have contributed over the years to many local community newspapers and organizations.

Being able to coin a phrase and find the truth in bodies of literature gives you access to different worlds. I’ve contributed to political party policy, to local body debates and have passed through the world of criminals and¬† businessmen. Sometimes the last two categories are indistinguishable. .
I mostly do this for free and in return I get a lot of satisfaction in meeting people from all walks of life.

Banging away on the keyboard, circa 2013. Leaning In. Thanks for joining me.

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From Huffington Post:

¬†Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Housewives.

Blogger Jennifer Ball attends a Cabi party.
A contented housewife annoys Ball by confessing to still “just”, being a housewife and being there for her husband and grown children who are living adult lives.

Ball: “Now, as I have stated before, I’m not one to judge a woman by what she does all day. Or so I thought. Because when I overheard one mom, who happens to have two adult children (her youngest is my oldest’s age, 19), reply to that question by saying, “I’m still just a slave to my family!”, I felt something so foreign and cold and icky… no, it wasn’t my ex-husband rubbing up against me…

It was judgment. I heard her say this, and something in me bristled. And a shrew-like voice in my head actually said these words:


This was never spoken out loud”

“(To clarify: I didn’t say this out loud. Thank God.)”

Almost immediately, I felt bad. I felt shameful and regretful and worst of all, I felt mean”.

Yes. Thank the heavens.
Her fellow Anne Klein shod housewives may have roundly kicked Ball, if she’d given voice to this sentiment.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Housewife Scorned.

Anne Klein Oct13

And American Housewives take house-wiving seriously. Unlike some other nations where house-wiving is an adjunct to a career; to be a housewife in the U.S. is to be a Professional.

But a lifestyle of relative discomfort separates Ball from her compatriots. Ball has had it rough. Her husband turned out to be a loser and she has since scraped from payday to payday to make ends meet for teenage children.
Indigence was a nasty surprise. Her childhood sweetheart dumped her when: “he decided that the co-worker he had started screwing in parking lots after Happy Hour was his soul mate.”

Ouch. And Double Ouch. Ball’s internal monologue continues over the course of the CAbi party:

“That’s when I want to stand up, toss my fork aside and proselytize to these women, to all women who were and are like I once was: comfortable and safe and complacent in their roles as stay-at-home moms. I want to shake them and sit down with them and make sure they have a Plan B. And a Plan C, D, E and yes, even a Plan F. I want them to look at me, and my life, and the shit I’ve slogged through and see that you can Opt in or Opt out or Opt sideways and somehow still find yourself struggling just to make it from paycheck to paycheck.”.

That is a given. After the massive social upheavals of the 70’s through the 90,’s it is imperative that women work on being financially independent even if we remain mostly financially reliant on the Lord and Master. But I think Ball’s inner voice is giving her fellow Moms grief for her own lack of judgement.

I suspect Ball had an easy upbringing. If her parents had a settled, stable life she may have expected just to follow in her parents footsteps

Perhaps she thought a life of ease would be handed to her on a plate.

Life can be a cutthroat exercise. You’ve got to be able to adjust.

Ball is now aware of this:

“Don’t ever make the same mistake I did and put your life in someone else’s hands. And always, always, ALWAYS have a Plan B.”

Some learn this truth earlier than others, One good thing about a tumultuous childhood is that, thereafter, you are deeded Low Rat Cunning in spades.
If the nuclear family  deserts you,  it becomes a given that others are fallible.

You always have a fallback plan. From your early years you learn that a lot of people can’t be fully trusted. This goes along with wariness of others and a constant search for new opportunities.

Just in case. Not necessarily in case of being deserted or bullied. Life can hurl shit sandwiches  at you by way of ill health and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And at the end of the day, no matter how dearly we love them, people have a habit of dying. Whatever the age. The ultimate loss and betrayal.
They may die suddenly, leaving you insanely bereft, or after a long protracted struggle.

Despite thinking the inevitable won’t happen, we are humbled to find we can’t follow them.

So it is imperative and probably unavoidable, that at some stage in our lives, we work on our financial independence but that we also develop an independence of spirit.

So I completely disagree with Ball.

Being a Housewife can be surprisingly satisfying in many areas of the um bedroom. Umm, I mean Life.

Before you can attempt any Herculean task, it is imperative that the home front be orderly.

My advice to others would be:

Mama, if they must be Housewives; Grow your Babies up to be Good and Cunning Housewives:


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A recent foray from my home in East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area to the grittier South of Market District (SOMA) in San Francisco.

SOMA is bordered by the US 101 freeway to the southwest. This North/South freeway runs through the states of Washington, Oregon and California. The US101 joins the commercial heartland of San Francisco to Silicon Valley proper: Santa Clara County, including the city of San Jose, dubbed, “the capital”, of Silicon Valley.
This is the Northern end of Silicon Valley. A corridor of tech innovation that begins in Southern San Francisco. San Francisco is located on the Northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula that separates the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean and runs down “The Peninsula”, to Silicon Valley proper.

The stretch of the US101 that runs from San Francisco to San Jose highlighted in red.

The stretch of the US101 that runs from San Francisco to San Jose highlighted in red.

A note: Living in Northern California is to be acquainted with the phenomenon of geographical nicknames based on whimsey  rather than logic.

Locals call the stretch of land between San Francisco down to Santa Clara County “The Peninsula”.

This label differentiates this area from the City and County of San Francisco, which is also part of the entire geographical area of the San Franciscan Peninsula but not part of, “The Peninsula”.

My SO and I are driving into SOMA for meetings at New Zealand  business incubator; the Kiwi Landing Pad. Then we are going to the St Francis Yacht Club in the afternoon.

The youth sailing teams are racing in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup and the New Zealand teams are looking good.

Driving in: A major event in the Bay area recently has been the closure of the Bay Bridge last week and the re-opening of the new Eastern span last night. Today we get to be among the first commuters to drive it for the first time.

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is a marvel of modern engineering. It has a price tag of 6.3 billion and a construction timeline of over a decade. Part of the design includes the world’s longest suspension span.

Bay bridge

The Bay Bridge. Fresh, funky and futuristic.

We traverse the Bay Bridge, drop off the US 101 onto 5th St and take a right onto Clara St.

SOMA - Entrepreneur Town.

SOMA – Entrepreneur Town

Disembarking onto the fragrant Harrison street, we encounter the sometimes distasteful odor of San Francisco city streets.

Harrison St predominantly smells of pee.

Negotiating a homeless man and a condom wrapper, we walk to the building that houses Kiwi Landing Pad and Startup HQ.

For over two decades I have been working at or visiting random warehouses that have nurtured fledgling Tech Start-ups. This is a high energy environment.

We are greeted enthusiastically by fellow Kiwis. Our conversation promptly turns irreverent. There is a humorous discussion about the possible provision of a mobile keg to KLP.

We arrive on the day of installation of the office artwork:




A  stylised Kiwi  (top left) can engender a bit of homesickness in the most hardened of expats.

Flightless no more, Kiwis are flocking to other countries in droves.

Stepping off the plane at SFO, motivated individuals can get a berth in the inclusive environment that has been set up at the Kiwi Landing Pad. This brings them in contact with valuable experience and advice of others who have gone before.

The artwork has been organised by Kiwi intern. Annaleisha Rae

Annaleisha is a 21 year old intern from the Auckland University of Technology, in her final year of a Communications Degree.

The conversation turns to law and order.

2 people were shot in this district recently. The door to the building had been kicked in the morning of the shootings. Our Kiwi residents in SOMA were aware that a shooter was possibly on the loose and couldn’t secure the building.A few hearts stopped monetarily but the shooter was promptly arrested later that day and life in KLP went on as normal.

Annaleisha feeds us updates about the races underway on the San Francisco Bay. The gorgeous Annaleisha has a long yachting pedigree; her dad is Tony Rae, a grinder with Emirates Team New Zealand.
She adds a touch of class to the mostly male cohort resident at KLP. However, there are female residents along with dynamic San Francisco Director Catherine Robinson blazing a trail for other business minded New Zealand women.

Annaleisha informs us that our youth teams have won the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup.

We all, “Whoop whoop” in glee at our nations yachting prowess and prepare to depart KLP and move on to the waterfront.





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