Home, Sweetest Home

Last week was a week of heaven for me for a number of reasons, the main reason being I was able to fly home to London (UK) for one whole week. All. By. My. Self.

The arrival of my first nephew was the original cause for my decided trip home and I intended to stay only a few days to meet the newest member of the family however my husband, who is the most wonderful man in the world, insisted I stay for at least a week. His reasoning was that I hadn’t been home to London in 3 years and I needed a boost of UK goodness! And what a boost it was!

After waiting nearly 5 months for the trip the day finally arrived! I packed a weeks worth of clothes into a tiny carry on bag and after a very wet and thunderous drive to Pearson Airport I whizzed through Toronto security and was at my gate in record time! (It’s amazing what you can accomplish when there aren’t two kids and much luggage in tow!) I boarded my plane and had 7 uncomfortable hours trying to pretend I could sleep in next to no space before landing at sunny Gatwick airport the following morning. (Side note: if you fly AirTransat, don’t expect too much: for ‘dinner’ there was pasta or chicken. One girl asked what the sauce was on the pasta. The reply? “uuuh…pink sauce?…”)

I must have looked like a complete loonie walking through Gatwick as I spotted familiar stores and heard familiar sounds; a massive smile spread across my face and stayed there for quite a long time! I boarded the Gatwick Express and was lulled into utter homey comfort as I raced towards Victoria Station and my Mum, who was waiting impatiently and excitedly for my arrival. The beautiful countryside flew past, rolling green fields, neat row-houses and little allotments before things started turning more industrial and city like. Soon I could spot red double-decker buses and black cabs winding through streets, landmarks appeared like the Battersea Power Station, now going through a revitalization. In the distance I could see the heart of the city with it’s weird skyscrapers with equally weird names – the Gherkin? The Shard?! A very British female voice announced our impending arrival to the station and as I arrived at Victoria I was thrown into the mad chaos that is London – I had completely forgotten how manic and fast London is!

After a warm, loving welcome from my sparkly-eyed mother we walked the short distance to the flat and I downed a much needed Advil and an incredibly fat crumpet before heading back to Victoria and hopping on another train to Bromley to meet my beautiful, smiley nephew.

My week flew by in a flurry of nephew cuddles, reunions with friends, sightseeing and dinners with my parents. It was just the three of us, something which hasn’t been like that for about 13 years or so. It was actually quite lovely; we talked about life, kids, family and future. Just me, my Mum and my Dad. During the day my Mum and I gossiped and story-told as we walked through Carnaby street, marveled at Selfridges ‘Wonder Room’ and gazed at exhibitions at The Imperial War Museum. I breathed in London life, the frantic pace and bustling streets and caught myself at how much I had forgotten and now remembered. It was pure heaven! Through it all my husband was back in Toronto keeping our two kids assured that Mummy would be coming home soon! We Skype’d every day and as my return trip loomed closer, they became more animated and excited (although that may have been due to the fact I had found gifts for them too!)

As is always the case with vacations the week flew by far too quickly and suddenly it was time to fly home. Gatwick Airport security was in full swing and after being ‘randomly’ searched twice I boarded my plane and flew home with very mixed emotions. I was sad to be leaving home, yet happy to be going home. I couldn’t wait to see my babies and husband yet I felt sad at leaving my family behind. I arrived to three very excited family members and received the warmest welcome home any mother and wife could wish for.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to visit London again but I’m hoping its in the not-too-distant future. I got my boost of home: smells, sounds, sights, foods, tv shows and magazines. Silly little things that make a huge impact for someone living abroad. Compared to London, Toronto is much slower, calmer and politer!

HAPPY!!! SO HAPPY!!!

I love feeling happy! It’s doesn’t happen probably as much as it should but when it does, POW! Its consuming and delicious.

The reason for my happiness is something close to home; the Scottish referendum happened over the course of the last 48 hours and Scotland voted NO to independence. I spent the last two days feeling almost sick to my stomach at the thought my beloved county was facing the possibility of being broken up and plunged into uncertainty, however that was thankfully not to be. I was up until 3am this morning glued to my laptop as I watched the live stream of Scotland Decides from the BBC and I now know they are all to have a driech day weather wise (dreary, wet and stormy).

But with my personal elation come other peoples heartbreak. Although the NO vote won, it wasn’t by a landslide. Glasgow was the only major city to secure a strong YES vote followed by Dundee while Aberdeen and Edinburgh remained the opposite. From the very first result the surprises kept coming for the SNP and unfortunately it got clearer and clearer that people just didn’t want to risk putting their country into turmoil without a strong plan for the future. The bullying and the scare-tactics used bruised and battered both sides of the division to the point it got vicious towards the end; people’s homes were vandalized, posters constantly being torn down or burnt and folks forced to leave their towns to avoid being ostracized for their opinion. At the end of the day the quiet uncertainty screamed the loudest and the UK is to remain a united nation.

I do hope, however, the government takes this result as a serious learning curve; for a long time they brushed the referendum off, thinking there was absolutely no possibility it would cause a separation and they were caught with their pants down 3 months before now with a sudden realization that actually, yes, Scotland might go that way. Talk about a mad scramble! Right now they are probably praising themselves for all their hard work but it seems it was done right in the end rather than all through the 2 years this process has taken. The YES campaign deserve recognition for their dedication to the cause. If that determination can come about for something as positive as wanting a better life for all Scots then it should be channeled correctly and used for the good of the country. It should also be noted that the 90% turnout for the vote is historical and if those numbers came out for every election I’m sure people would feel a little more in control.

Politics is politics and there will never be something in place that appeases everyone but I do hope that the lessons put forward from this event is taken seriously and is followed through to give the people of Scotland a stronger voice and an equal footing in the affairs of the country. I am proud to have witnessed these events and even prouder the UK remains the UK.

Yes or No?

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I live in Canada so news of the impending Scottish Referendum does not feature very heavily, if at all, over here. Even the BBC World News app I have on my iPhone doesn’t cover a huge amount of it so I find I get all my news from articles posted on Facebook by friends and family back home. The ‘Yes/No’ vote is due to happen next Thursday and from what I’ve been told things are heating up and getting just plain nasty.

I’ve tried to read as many articles and news reports as I can to try and get a better sense of both sides of the story but I just can’t. To me there really isn’t a ground-breaking reason why Scotland should separate and at the same time the ‘Better Together’ camp doesn’t seem to have a absolute reason why Scotland should not become independent except to say it would be bad all round.

What I have started to see is the ridiculous emotion behind the Yes camp; a bunch of bullies and troublemakers. Horror stories are flooding news articles of people tearing down posters, vandalizing voters homes and heckling canvasser’s. Some of the Yes voters are nothing short of selfish, arrogant, immature bullies who really don’t give a s**t about the actual benefit of independence; they just hate England and everything English. There is something pure Braveheart about the whole thing and I curse Mel Gibson for making that stupid movie! I have spoken to friends who have lived in Scotland for decades and they are being targeted just because they don’t have a Scottish accent. How pathetic. Is that really the driving force behind all this?

The Better Together camp is now panicking because the numbers (if you believe statistics) are very, very close. All of a sudden there is a possibility that the Yes camp might actually win. There is one possibility though – due to the nature of the Yes campaigners, the active destruction of anything No, there could be a surge of unheard No votes that could knock the whole thing down. Although afraid to visibly show their union support, voting day could potentially show Scotland exactly how it’s residents feel. Scotland has been a part of the union for over 300 years and to have it broken would be a sad day so I really, really, REALLY hope that if that happens, the men in charge know exactly what they are doing because there is no turning back. (If they tried, they would probably get the coldest shoulder ever from the rest of the country.)

I live in Canada but my home is Thurso, Scotland. It’s where my family, born and raised for over 500 years, have come from. Clan Sinclair have been in Scotland since 1160. I have family members who have made it their life’s work to better their community and country through good times and bad and all that could be rejected all because of an accent. I am proud of my family heritage and I will not have a die-hard Braveheart nutter tell me otherwise. I am also proud of my countries capital, I am proud of it’s accomplishments and it’s strengths. The UK has faced two world wars as a UNITED front, it has shown the rest of the world it works as a Union, not as a separate entity. Why destroy that?

Robin Williams Lives and will always Live

The Comedy Awards 2012 - Arrivals

This week the world lost one of it’s most beloved actors and comedians and the effects of his passing are like the ripples on a large pond. Everyday brings further outpourings of sadness but there is also an equal amount of celebration. Yes, Robin Williams has died in body but his spirit is alive and shining brighter than ever and because of this he will never truly die.

Robin Williams impacted so many people all over the world; he made us laugh uncontrollably, breathlessly, while tears streamed down our faces. He made us sit riveted to our chairs as he quietly delivered a powerful, heartfelt monologue. He made us feel happy, sad, shocked and stunned all while dealing with powerful demons threatening to destroy him. It will never cease to amaze me how someone battling those demons could bring such happiness and laughter to the world. It was a powerful gift, for which I am very grateful. I just hope we can all focus more on the happiness he left behind rather than what took him away but at the same time recognize the powerful force behind the comedian which darkened his mind at times.

His family asked the world not to linger on his cause of death but on the life he gave. He dedicated his life to making others laugh. His sparkling eyes always shined, brimming with glee as he told his stories but they also showed a seriousness to him which changed him completely when needed.

People, both regular and celebrity, have shared amazing stories about Robin and long may those stories last because they ensure his memory continues, making his light shine bright. His family can be lifted by the happiness he brought the world even though their loss is great. Spare some time to watch your favourite movie or comedy sketch. A favourite of mine is ‘A night at the Met’ – when I was expecting my first baby a friend recommended I watch his skit about childbirth: I was in stitches! I watch it sometimes when I need a little pick-me-up. A favourite movie of mine is ‘The Birdcage.’ Those were his gifts to me and I’m thankful.

So take it minute to say thank you for the laughter, thank you for the happiness, thank you for the kindness. Thank you for giving us a brightness to life even when you were battling your demons.

(If it starts raining a lot, then take it that God is crying with laughter right now thanks to the legend that is Robin Williams.)

To Facebook, or not to Facebook…and Instagram…and Twitter

It’s a question I keep asking myself and I haven’t yet come up with a definitive answer.

Social media is a giant. It’s a force that has taken over life as we know it and controls large parts of the human race. We love the idea of throwing ourselves out there, sharing photographs with strangers and telling the world what we think, yet at the same time we open ourselves up to scrutiny and possible backlash with our words and images. When it all began I’m sure the intentions were honorable; 10 years ago Facebook was a means of keeping in touch with friends, Twitter was a way of sharing your thoughts quickly. It all started nicely but now those little social fairies have morphed into controlled giants capable of producing scary outcomes even their handlers can’t manage. In recent years teenagers have used Facebook as a way of bringing Cyber Bullying to life. Twitter had produced wars between celebrities and normal folk alike. We now deal with Trolls and stalkers who spend hours going through random pages leaving horrible messages for unsuspecting innocent people. And then there is Instagram which some people like Kim Kardashian use religiously to define the word ‘Vanity’.

I know I’ve written about this before but it was brought to light again with the recent death of Robin Williams.  His daughter Zelda used her social media accounts to express her grief and gratitude for her father. However she has apparently received negative comments, and images, through Twitter causing her to delete the apps so she doesn’t have to deal with added pain during her time of grief. Who does shit like that? Who goes out of their way to purposefully cause someone added grief when they are already dealing with death, pain and sadness?

I have these apps: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Facebook helps me keep in touch with family and friends who live abroad. Twitter is near to useless for me and I think I will delete it (again). Instagram lets me keep up with tattoo artists I love and other hobbies I have an interest in. I find on FB I am more of a glorified stalker than anything else. I poke around spy on friends pages! I comment on photos or status updates but that’s about it. And I’m wondering if I really want that. I spend a scary amount of time trolling through the days statuses and comments and stories and I think, ‘is this right?!’

My Dad refuses to be on any social media. He views it as a Big Brother situation and I thinks he is not far off. He has a page on Facebook but that is because he works with the public and it’s a publicity thing he has been recommended to do (I asked for a friend request and I still haven’t been accepted!) I have friends who either never jumped on the social media bandwagon or who jumped off completely and in some ways I envy them! I wish I could but the one thing that keeps me logged on is being able to ‘see’ friends and family who live so far away.

Queen sang about it, and I long to do it…but I’m scared!

“I want to break free…”

FOLLOW UP!

I did it. I officially divorced Facebook on September 17th 2014. It’s freeing and weird all at the same time. I keep catching myself wanting to check up on who has done what but I can’t. I didn’t realize how much I thought about Facebook until I hit the ‘deactivate’ button. I think this is a healthy thing to do! My husband has also done the same as me so we have jointly stepped away from the giant that is Facebook and we are no longer informing our friends about the movies we watch, how we are feeling or taking mundane Buzzfeed quizzes!

Watching the birth of a DIY Dad

DIY Dad     It all started on Sunday night. Our basement loo (toilet) has always been a bit damp but we could not figure out where the seeping was coming from. We had removed various chunks of the wall thinking the problem was there but to no avail. It wasn’t until my husband started following the wet marks that it lead him to the floor, under the tiles and to the loo. Having lived with the problem for nearly 2 years, Hubby decided enough was enough and, after careful consultation from various YouTube videos, removed the loo. Not only did he find the problem (it had been replaced and never sealed) he discovered the previous owner was absolutely sh*te at DIY – and he’s done a lot!

Long story short, Hubby completely fixed the loo, re-sealed it and replaced it. But that wasn’t the end of it, oh no! There was more water coming from somewhere! This time is was the drainpipe leading from the kitchen down to the laundry room and it, too, had a slow but messy leak. I’ll never forget the look of slight dubiousness in Hubby’s eyes as he made the decision to cut all the old pip out and replace it but he did a marvelous job!  Oh, did he look proud of himself! He walked around the house with his chest out for a while afterwards. It is amazing how much one can learn from YouTube. Hubby must have watched at least 10 videos before launching into the job. His mecca is now Home Depot and he’s eyeing up power tools the way a woman might eye up a pair of shoes or a new handbag!

I think doing DIY is a right of passage for a man and if the job is done properly, true pride just flows from him.  I don’t know if the previous owner ever felt like that and if he did then he was very deluded. Unsealed pipes and unsealed loos aside he also saw fit to glue a bookcase to the dining room wall – WHO DOES THAT?! All it would have taken is 2 screws, already there and ready to go…but he glued it. WITH MIGHTY PUTTY! I now have to repair two walls and repaint them. He also silicone sealed a plastic dryer pipe to the vent when it specifically stated on the dryer not to due to danger or death. Didn’t family safety ever cross this guy’s mind? I know people might like to cut corners but when something says not to do something due to the fact it could kill your family, you would want to follow that instruction and do the job properly, no? Thanks to my DIY Hubby, we now have a very swanky, clean not to mention fire hazard free steel pipe.

That’s just a few of the crazy DIY jobs that we have discovered. The really scary thing is the deck was built by him too…

A sex spreadsheet? Hahaha!

That was my first thought when I happened upon an article on Buzzfeed about a Reddit user who had posted a photo of a spreadsheet she had received from her husband. Did you read about this? Well, for those who didn’t catch this glorious nugget of entertainment I will explain.

The wife was about to go away on a 10 days business trip but before she left her husband emailed her a sex spreadsheet. A three column, dated spreadsheet which had cataloged their apparently dry sex life. It stated the date throughout a six week period, whether sex had been granted or not and if not, the reason behind it. Only 3 days out of the 28 recorded days had ‘Yes’ marked in the ‘Sex’ column. The ‘Excuse’ column contained things like, ‘I’ve been to the gym and I feel sweaty’, ‘I’m watching my show and don’t want to miss anything’, or my personal favourite, ‘(non verbal)’.

This post has been view over 1.5 million times! The world now knows about this and the reactions are both fabulous and ridiculous. Theories are now flying through the interweebs as strangers battle over this tasty tidbit of human silliness. Everything from being married to an Asexual partner to serious mental issues are being thrown into this ever growing ring. Both teams have supporters, each calling the other immature, selfish or just plain stupid. Personally I think it’s equal on both sides; who in their right mind makes a spreadsheet to catalog this sort of thing?! And who would post it on the internet to shame the poor sap for doing something so silly? You begin to wonder how it all came about (or not, pardon the pun.) Did the husband, now affectionately named Spreadsheet Guy, just walk up to his wife and say in a rough, monotone way, “Sex!”  Was there any romance, a gentle wooing of the wife to arouse her, even if she didn’t feel like it? Judging by the spreadsheet, me thinks definitely not! But then to feel so outraged and hurt that you think, “I’m posting this on a heavily used website and make people see what an ass my husband is, how dare he!”

Two things are very clear now: 1) The husband will never get sex from his wife ever again and 2) Can you say ‘Divorce’?!

Sex plays a HUGE role in a marriage whether people want to admit it or not. It connects a couple emotionally as well as physically and without that connection people can feel neglected and distant which apparently happened in this case. I’m sure there were women who read the article and cursed Reddit Wife for being so lucky to have sex readily available. But I have to wonder about what their life was like before they married; was the sex amazing and adventurous so it is now missed or was it OK to the point Spreadsheet Guy thought, ‘I’m sure she’ll get better with age.’ Maybe Reddit Wife thought, ‘He wants sex a lot, I’m sure he’ll calm down with age.’ Who knows, we can only speculate. Either way it looks like good old communication seemed to once again have been left out of the equation.