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…”

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.

 

 

The Great Parental Debate

Before we had kids my husband and I didn’t really give flying whatsit about how people were as parents. We would see all sorts of things and judge in a way we had no basis to do so. Living in a city I see a lot of kids being brought up by nannies because Mum and Dad are working. For many this isn’t a choice if bills are to be paid and for others a career is too important. The weekends are clearly a massive nightmare for the biological parents and some simply don’t know how to handle their kids; we once over-heard a father says to his small boy, “Behave yourself! Stop acting like a child!” His son could not have been older than 6 years old. Perhaps this father works hard to provide for his family and was tired that particular day, I don’t know, but to tell a kid to not act like a kid…?

Anyways, my husband and I are parents to two fantastic children who are rambunctious, fun, artsy and loud. They are also two of the most loving and caring kids I have ever known. My youngest son adores his older sister and follows her around like a puppy while my daughter pretends not to enjoy the constant attention and bosses him around like a diva! As parents we haven’t really attempted to mold our young breed too much as we want them to learn for themselves, we just like to guide them and try to stop them from nearing danger so it stuns us when we see other parents going against the grain and doing things that we feel is potentially dangerous and incredibly selfish.

Everyone is entitled to parent in their own way but I ask you this: is putting your child’s health at risk because of your beliefs really worth it? For example, not getting your child vaccinated because of all the hype around autism. I recently listened to a parent on CBC news radio claiming vaccinations weren’t safe and posed more of a risk than the disease itself. ‘ARE YOU CRAZY!’ I screamed at the radio. If you decided not to vaccinate your child, are you really keeping them safe or are you potentially putting them at even greater risk? Do these parents stop to consider just how  lucky they are to have access to these potentially life saving drugs? Do they stop to consider how many children and adults have died throughout history before vaccinations were found? How many parents would have begged for a way to save their dying child? Some of the diseases and illness are still around today and children do die so flip that coin and ask the question: Do I want to protect my child or do I want to put them at risk?

I feel the same way about parents who try to mess about with feeding young infants. I read an article on the web about a mother who kept her 6 month old daughter on breast milk alone. No other foods. She went on to say she knew her daughter was hungry all the time and woke up every 1-2 hours through the night yet she continued to say nothing was better for her child than what she was giving her. Well, correct on the breast milk but NO to consciously letting your child be hungry. Again, there are children in countries that don’t have the access to foods and here is a mother actively denying her daughter nutritional foods. Iron, Vitamins, essential nutrients are all babies need for healthy development and it can be found in egg yolks, bananas, vegetables. Why, why, WHY do people do this? Why doesn’t she try living purely on breast milk and see how far that gets her before she keels over?

I understand there are some children who, for heath reasons, really can’t have the vaccinations and I know of children who have such severe allergies that their diets are a minefield of trial and error so I understand that some parents and children just don’t have a choice but for all the others, there is no excuse. Do the research, learn about Andrew Wakefield and his little ‘conflict of interest’ while putting out his so-called research on the MMR vaccine and it’s ‘link’ to Crohn Disease and Autism. Look for those magical words that say, ‘no real evidence has been found,’ because it pops up quite a lot.

I am no doctor, healthcare provider or medical guru; I am a mum who knows that I will let my kids be as healthy as they can be by putting their needs first before my own. I will vaccinate them so they can go to school  and travel easily, I did eat peanuts and sushi while pregnant and I even had a beer – all in moderation. My kids adore couscous and quinoa and snack on bananas, not because I force them to but because they like it and want it. I let my kids try anything once so they learn what they like or don’t like and of course I stop them from trying to eat a whole tub of Nutella! Parents are bamboolzed by ‘expert advice’ and some of it is complete rubbish. Global news reported last week that ‘experts’ are now saying pregnant women shouldn’t be driving because they are more at risk of having an accident. Again, no real evidence to support this and pregnant women are at risk no matter what they are doing and sometimes they can have something go horribly wrong while sitting at home, reading a paper.

Right, that’s my 2 cents – if you have a view, if you think I’m wrong then I’d love to hear why. As I said previously there are two sides to the coin. If you are expecting your first child, what horror stories have you been told? If you have kids have you had people try to sway you into a different mindset? Which side are you on?

Why crap on anyone’s parade?

I’m not a huge follower of many things but I have a few select YouTube videos I like and a select few bloggers I find fun to read, I have Instagram and Twitter and the book of face. While reading a blog the other day I noticed there are quite a few people voicing concerns about publicly posted negative comments and the effect it has on them.

Social media, as we all know, is a double edged samurai sword. It can be brilliant, it can be positive, it can be productive but it can also be deadly, vicious and extremely negative. Prime examples of late have been the heart-breaking stories of teenagers committing suicide due to ‘cyber-bullying’. The scary part is the the Trolls who take the time and effort to be down right vile can be anyone in the world; one teenager in the US who committed suicide was hounded by classmates along with someone in Europe, a total stranger. It’s disgusting. What makes a random stranger feel the need to act out like that?

I follow quite a few tattoo artists on Instagram and I really enjoy looking at posted pictures of various forms of tattoo artistry. Some I look at and think ,’Eeeew!’ and others I will stare at for ages, marveling at the detail/color/image depicted on a persons body. My opinions are mine and I recognize that one persons’ likes won’t mirror mine but I wouldn’t dream of slamming a person publicly through social media, which is exactly what I saw happen to a very talented artist who goes by the name Paul Acker. He did a stunning Harry Potter leg piece which would have taken a lot of time and patience to complete. Looking at it, anyone worth their salt would say, ‘Wow! That’s quite something.’ Apparently some people did not think so and posted on his Facebook page their negative thoughts – some individuals didn’t like it, slammed his talent and said he had done a bad job all because the characters didn’t look exactly like the actors portrayed in the movies.

Why?

As a free thinking world we are entitled to opinions but to slam someone because they didn’t draw Harry Potter ‘properly’? Did J.K. Rowling feel the same when Daniel Radcliff was cast as her protagonist? He was probably as close as you could get to the character but it he would never be the Harry Potter we each, individually dreamed up as we read the books. To declare an individual persons’ expertise incompetent because it doesn’t match your personal opinion is so wrong! Do the haters take into account the actual level of capability artists possess when it come to tattoos? Sure, there are definitely people who should never be allowed near a tattoo needle, but in this case Paul Acker has serious talent. Just look at his work – it’ gruesome and not my kinda style but even so, I was amazed by some of the pieces he’s done.

 

Flip the coin; if you are going to put yourself out onto the world wide web then you have to expect an audience to have many views. You won’t please every singe person. I learnt that when I took a children’s book writing class through the University of Toronto. We all had to learn to accept that people will read/see/hear/think things totally different to what we originally wrote and sometimes it was really frustrating. With Social media there are a lot of voices, each with their own opinions and thoughts, but why get nasty? What’s the point? If you don’t like something, move on, don’t take time and effort to crap on someones parade!

One more person I am going to highlight, it’s to do with make up. This girls talent is MIND-BLOWING! Her name is Alexys Fleming, her YouTube Channel is here and she has, in my humble opinion, a stunningly good talent as an make-up artist and body painter. I will freely admit her accompanying music can be a bit harsh and personally I find her thick Chicago accent funny to listen to, but all that aside she can do brilliant work! With that said, she also receives hateful messages through her Instagram/youtube account and it gets nasty. Individuals will leave comments saying her voice is horrible, her music choices are terrible, her art is worthless…why the hell did the hater watch the video in the first place?! Positive feedback far outnumber the negative and her loyal followers will tell the haters where to go but still, why go to the trouble of writing it in the first place?

Anyhoo, that’s my two-cents on the matter. I know one day I will probably get someone voicing their disapproval of my thoughts but hey, their entitlement and if it gets nasty I will tell them to bugger off! I wonder though how many people, normal, regular individuals, deal with this sort of behavior on a regular basis? What’s the worst thing someone has written about your blog and how did it get handled?