Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

If you have children, there will come a time when they will want a puppy. Choosing to add a dog to your family is a fantastic idea, particularly for children, because it teaches them a lot about caring for others and loyalty, and it allows them to build lasting friendships. However, you shouldn’t just pick any dog you come across, particularly if your children are still very young or otherwise not used to dogs. There are a number of steps you should take into consideration before you pick your new four-legged friend.

family-friendly-dogsYour Family Dynamics

First of all, you need to do some soul searching. What sort of house do you live? How does your family operate? Will your children help to look after the dog? What kind of behaviour does the breed that you are considering generally exhibit and is that appropriate for your family? How much energy is in your own lifestyle and can you exercise your dog? How much living space is available for the new addition to the family? These are all very important considerations to make.

Pedigree or Not?

Next, you need to start considering the breed in earnest. Do you want a full pedigree, a mixed breed or a mongrel? There are pros and cons to each of these options. For instance, with a full pedigree, you know the dog’s complete history. However, they are more expensive and often have complicated health problems. Mixed breed dogs, on the other hand, are each completely unique, although that also means that it may be more difficult to determine its personality. Different dogs have different temperaments and you need to consider this.

The Breeds and Temperaments

It is now time to really start looking into the different breeds. Take the time to look at the characteristics and temperament of different dogs, but also at what sort of grooming and exercise they need. Don’t simply look at pictures and pick the dog that you think looks the cutest. Dalmatians, for instance, look adorable and are everybody’s favourite dog since The 101 Dalmatians, but they are largely unsuitable for families with small children. You need to find a dog that is friendly for families, which means you need a dog that can be trained, that is affectionate and that, above all, wants to please its owners. Sporting breeds such as gun dogs and hunting dogs are generally the best for this. Do remember, however, the owner of the dog plays a big part in how the dog behaves, and that means even the sweetest dog can become vicious if mal-treated.

Getting Your Puppy

Finally, you are ready to actually go and find your puppy. There is something to be said for going to an animal shelter, as this means you will rescue a dog that would otherwise not get a home, and possibly would get put down. However, the problem with shelter dogs is that you don’t know how they have been treated in the past and how they will respond to your family, even if their breed would class them as “friendly”. Additionally, it is likely that your child will much prefer a puppy.

You must, at all times, make sure you only work with recommended and properly registered kennels if you are to purchase a puppy. This will guarantee that you will purchase a puppy that is healthy and that has been raised properly, meaning it immediately had lots of exposure to other people. Do also make sure you visit your puppy more than once and that the whole family gets to know him or her a little bit before you bring the puppy home. Above all, remember that you have just added someone to your family, and this is an addition for life.

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Complaining – it works

Posted: February 17, 2013 in Fun, protest, social

I have recently started a one woman action against the driving parents at one of our local senior schools and have made great strides.  It has had newspaper coverage and road signs have been repainted as a consequence.  Baby steps, but we are getting there.  More on that some other time.  I decided that it was about time I ceased to be a couch potato and took up an age old hobby of mine – swimming.  That is, until I saw the price of it.  Couch potato doesn’t sound so bad after all.  However, why should I have to get unhealthy simply because sports are unaffordable?  Isn’t that wrong?  So, I have emailed the Forum (where our local swimming baths are), to see how their prices work.  My email is below, I’m looking forward to their reply.

Take a guess first, however.  I foresee one of four options:

  1. They won’t reply at all, or only send a standard “thank you for your interest bla bla” response
  2. They will tell me that they appreciate my concerns but…
  3. They will give me a voucher for one free swimming session but won’t change a thing
  4. They will waver the administration fees (a girl can dream right)?

Which one do you think it will be?  Or have I overlooked an option.  Here’s my email anyway.

To whom it may concern,

I would like further information about the following:

Monthly – 6 month Committed swimming membership

All for only…

£20.00 per month per individual 

£16.00 per month per individual concession** 

Please note a one off administration fee of £25.00 is payable for this package.

First of all, you state that the subscription is “only” £20 a month (I believe this is now £19.75?).  Considering FULL membership to the Forum and all its activities is “only” around £25 a month, would it be possible to only pay £6 a month and use everything except the pool?  I can already guess that your answer to that is going to be no, but I do hope it illustrates how bizarre your pricing plans are.  All I want to do is swim, I have no interest in going to any classes or to use any equipment except for your pool.  I find it completely unfair that I should have to pay 80% of a full membership, when I only want to use a single facility.  I’m sure you will now say that this is simply the way your pricing works, but before I part with my money, I would like to know why this is the way your pricing works.  We live in a very difficult global economy at present and enabling people to stay and get healthy should be a priority, but you make it very difficult for us.  I currently do not work, nor am I in receipt of any benefits.  As a consequence, I am not even able to receive the Option 3 leisure card.  Why is it that people like myself always have to get penalised?

My second issue is the “one off administration fee of £25”.  Having worked as an administration worker for many years myself, I know how very little admin workers are paid.   An admin fee of £25 would suggest that you require somebody to work for 4 to 5 hours just to enter my details on your system.  If you were to provide me access to one of your computers, I will enter my own details in about 10 minutes, and I will even do that free of charge.  Again, please explain to me where this seemingly random amount of £25 comes from, and why there is even a need to charge this, consider the exorbitant amount a month you will already be charging me for swimming.

I look forward to your reply.

 

I hate them.  Not just out of some misplaced sense of jealousy because I don’t drive.  I quite simply can’t drive.  I can park (even parallel), I can change gears, I can reverse around a corner.  What I can’t do, however, is steer.  At all.  In fact, the only car I have ever driven without banging into a curb or driving straight over the roundabout (and I do mean STRAIGHT OVER), was a 1969 Morris Minor.  But I thank my lucky stars for the fact that I can’t drive, because drivers are, quite frankly, wankers.  All of them.  Not just the taxi drivers or the white van men, just all of them!

My Mode of Transportation

I walk and I cycle.  And I have never felt like I couldn’t get anywhere.  If the destination is a little bit too far, I’ll take a train or a bus and walk from there.  Besides the fact that it is reasonably convenient, it is better for the environment and a whole lot better for my health as well.  I try to instil these values into my son as well, who, at just five years old, cycled from my home to the beach, a good hour or so bike ride across hills and busy roads.  Find me a five year old who can do that when he or she has parents that drive everywhere?

My Major Gripe

My major gripe at the moment is with a senior school where I live.  The school is in the middle of a residential area and parents INSIST on driving their kids to school.  As a consequence, the whole residential area is at a complete standstill twice a day.  This wouldn’t annoy me so much, because I don’t actually live in that particular area, so I don’t have a problem with crubs getting destroyed, not being able to get in or out of my own house, or the exhaust fumes.  What does annoy me, however, is that me and my son either cycle or walk there and almost get ran over every bloody time.

What I Have Done

So, I’m seriously pissed off and I’m taking action.  I hate people who complain to others but refuse to stand up and actually do something.  So far, I have done the following:

  • Play lollipop lady every morning by simply jumping in front of the cars and letting everybody pass at a leisurely pace.
  • Petitioning residents to ask for a solution and sending this to the local council.
  • Write to my MP.  He recently wrote a letter saying changing the area into a one way system wasn’t feasible.  Fuck a one way system, parents need to stop dropping their kids off in front of the school.   The school is within walking distance of a town centre, a large supermarket and a number of other main roads, why not drop them off there?
  • Speak to the school.  Who, by the way, casually informed me that the children at their school could not be expected to have sufficient road sense, mainly because the school is responsible for these children and doesn’t want to get sued.  No, of course kids don’t have any bloody road sense if they get driven EVERYWHERE!!!

I am now in the process of making a huge sign with “kids can walk” or another catchy text, which I intend to hold up to the cars whenever I get passed them.  The other thing I have done is scream at any driver who does the typical driver thing and just simply doesn’t look.  If you are a driver, do you have any concept of the fact that you are driving in a huge killing machine?  Getting ran over by a car doesn’t just hurt, it kills.  So open your fucking eyes and pay attention to the rest of the road.  Particularly since I may only be a person on a bike, but I still have right of way!  I don’t have a driver’s license and even I know shark teeth on the road mean you bloody well have to stop.

I would really welcome any ideas anybody else has about what I can do.  I’m getting to the point now that I’m tempted to track the cars and simply slash their tires, or write offensive messages on their cars with battery acid or something (I did write a message of sarcastic thanks in the dust on one of the cars the other day).  So yeah, any thoughts, let me know!

I love the word fuck.  It has to be the most amazing word in the English language.  You can use it fucking everywhere, can’t you?  Plus, it is a word with feeling.  Fuck yeah it is!  And, when you really think about it, it isn’t a rude word at all, talking instead of love.  For fucking real!

Saying the Word Fuck

You can always say fuck.  You can say it when you are doing what the word actually denotes, but that is why less fun.  Imagine stubbing your toe.  It fucking hurts right?  But that’s where the word comes in so beautifully.  You can put all your pain into that one, simple, four lettered word.  The “f” can be drawn out, coming from your mouth.  The “u” can be equally drawn out and comes straight from your belly.  The “ck” comes right from the toe you have stubbed.  Fucking amazing!  There is no better feeling than saying it at the right time.

It’s not Such a Bad Word

We are raised not to say bad words, and fuck is the big bad word isn’t it?  Kids all over England are told never, ever, to say the “f word”.  Instead, they are told to bugger off or that they are little buggers.  Any clues on what that actually means?  It means something a whole lot worse than “fuck” when you think about it.  Although they are somewhat intertwined of course.

It’s All about Feeling

Now add to that the fact that fuck simply means making love.  When you say “fuck you” to someone, you are actually complimenting them, telling them that they are quite physically attractive.  Plus, you are spreading a message of peace and love across the world.  Nothing wrong with that right?  I say you should say fuck as much as possible, in the most creative possible way.

Then again, I guess you might say I am a bit of a hypocrite.  I don’t want my 6 year old saying fuck.  However, I most certainly don’t want to hear him say bugger either.  It’s not so much about the politeness and shit, swearing is not very polite after all, it’s more the fact that I just don’t think he’s quite ready to yield the awesome power of the word fuck.  He might use it too much and the word might lose its power.  Because the fact is that if someone suddenly decided that fuck wasn’t a swear word anymore, and you would hear global leaders say it all the time during board meetings or shit, it wouldn’t be such a nice word anymore.  So no, use it, use it all the time, but for fuck’s sake, do know when to stop as well!

We all know breast is best for babies.  This subject is particularly close to my heart, because I breastfed my son until he was two years old.  Not because I’m one of these freaky extreme breast feeders who still feed their kids when they’re coming up eight or something, but simply because I wanted to stop when my son was ready to stop.  For him, this was when he was two.  For others, this is at two weeks.  Whatever.  My problem is the amount of women that don’t breastfeed and that choose not to do this for the wrong reasons.

Breast or Bottle?

There are lots of very valid reasons as to why some women don’t breastfeed.  Perhaps they simply don’t like the feeling.  Perhaps they get mastitis and are unable to continue.  Perhaps they don’t produce enough to feed their hungry baby.  Perhaps they have had breast surgery and are no longer able to lactate.  All perfectly good reasons.  Let me get one thing very clear: choosing to bottle feed does NOT in any way make you a bad mother.  Too many women are made to feel as if they make the wrong choice for their child by bottle feeding, which simply isn’t the case.  Of course breast is better, but your child will not grow up some sort of deprived little urchin if you don’t whip your boob out.

What pisses me off, however, is the amount of women that don’t breastfeed because they don’t want to get their boobs out in public.  Now that is the wrong reason not to breastfeed.  However, I don’t blame them personally, I blame society as a whole.

Boobs as Sex Objects

A big problem is that too many people see boobs as something sexual.  They’re not.  You may like the look or feel of them, you may be a boob-man (or woman for that matter), you may get turned on by boobs.  However, boobs are simply a body part and they are there to feed our children.  So get over it!

We’re supposed to be ever so grateful that stores are offering “breastfeeding rooms”.  They are comfortable and clean and at just the right temperature.  Fuck that!  Why should I have to lock myself in a room in case someone walks past and sees me feeding my child and gets turned on by the sight of my breasts?  Sorry, but I’m not the one with the problem there.  I shouldn’t have to hide away, regardless of levels of comfort, just because some people are total perverts.

And I’ve had experiences.  Funny enough, more so with younger generations.  I was feeding my child in public in a restaurant once, simply because I can and I am allowed to, and a couple in their early thirties whispered (just a little bit too loudly of course), that it was absolutely disgusting.  Well, I made a point of turning towards them even more.

Change this mind set, please.  There are so many women out there who would love nothing more than giving their babies the breast but feel incapable of doing this because they fear public perception of them.  I don’t want to write yet another article about how breast milk is so much better and cheaper and how you will save the NHS millions by breastfeeding.  We all know that.  But even though we all know that, levels of breastfeeding are still at an all-time low.  And that is because of this perception of boobs being sexual objects.  So, if you are one of these people that think tits are for sex, fuck off and get a life.  If you are one of the women who wants to breastfeed but is scared because of perverts, stand up for yourself and feed your child when it wants feeding and not when you are next to one of the “special rooms”.

And well done for anybody who is able to get over this, I, for one, am proud of you!

Meditation, to me, is the ultimate form of relaxation.  I strongly believe that I have much of my good health (touch wood!) to thank to meditation.  It allows me to make a conscious decision to just leave behind the stresses of the day and think of nothing but my own spirit and its place in the universe.  That sounds really big, doesn’t it?  But that’s exactly what I like about meditation, it allows me to become aware of the fact that I am so tiny in the grand scheme of things, but that I am no less important than any other molecule or particle in the universe.  And that this is true for each and every individual cell in the galaxy.  Ok, I haven’t been able to make this sound more graspable, have I?  That doesn’t matter.  The point is that by meditating, you will feel calmness, a sense of belonging and a great awareness of yourself and the world around you, eventually expanding to outside of the world around you as well.

Learning How to Meditate

Now, I am sure someone somewhere has written a book about exactly how to meditate.  I’m sure, as well, that this book will cost quite a bit of money.  You won’t learn how to meditate by reading a book.  You learn how to meditate by doing what feels good about you.  I have been on numerous meditation classes (free ones!) and have picked little bits of each to get to the point that I am now.  What I have come up with is my own method, and it works for me.  That doesn’t mean to say it also works for you of course.  Experiment.  Find some guided meditations on YouTube, look for hints and tips on the internet and just try it out.

I personally love meditating myself to sleep as well.  Some people think this is very wrong, that it is normal to fall asleep when you are learning to meditate, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you shouldn’t fall asleep anymore.  I don’t know, maybe they think you miss something important when you’re asleep or something?  For my own part, I love it.  I have the most vivid dreams, in which I can really let go of all the stresses of the day and I wake up refreshed and invigorated.  In fact, for personal reasons, I haven’t been able to meditate lately, and I have had nightmares every single night.  Hopefully I will be able to start again soon, because I seriously miss it…

It’s All about Awareness

In all the classes I have followed, all the articles I have read and all the guided meditations I have done, one thing that comes back again and again is that you have to start by becoming aware of your body and its place.  For me, this means opening my chakras and becoming aware of anything that my skin touches (the fabrics of my clothes, the seat of the chair, the air around me, the weight of my blanket and so on).  What it means for you is up to you, but with me, I find this is what helps me to stop my mind’s natural overdrive because I am focusing on just one thing.  After that, it is about enjoying the feeling, enjoying the silence and just, for once, not thinking about anything.  No answering questions, no planning ahead, no stressing about money, school runs or other problems.  Just being.  Being still and relaxing.

That’s it for me, hope it helps you as well.

As I am sitting here in the freezing cold, listening to yet another Conservative party conference in which the poor are getting trampled on and the rich are getting richer, I figure I would make a little change from the norm.  Sure, it’s freezing cold out there, but the sun is also shining.  Sure, the Conservatives are spewing their usual gall, but I can just stick some music on right?  No, I’m not digging my head in the sand and ignoring the problems that exist in the world.  But I am, just for a moment, focusing on things that make this world an amazing place to live in.  Let’s take a look at things I am thankful for, at the risk of sounding like a Thanksgiving dinner guest…

Art

I am so grateful for art.  Art is beautiful.  No, not all of it is beautiful, but that is a matter of taste and opinion.  You can’t argue about taste and you shouldn’t.  Something that you think is beautiful is something that will make you feel good inside.  So, I personally think Dali is amazing and Picasso is a load of crap, but if you love Picasso and feel what I feel when I look at a Dali, then good on you for liking the cubist weirdo.  Art is an expression of feelings and it is a little window into the soul of the artist, she or he wants us to feel a little of what they feel, see a little of what they see.  It’s amazing.

Music

Music, to me, is the universal language.  Screw maths being the universal language, it is definitely music.  You can’t feel sadness, happiness, anger or any other emotion by staring at the theory of Pythagoras or at some sort of algebra equation.  No, the universal language is definitely music.  Music has the power to move people, both physically and emotionally.  Music gets people to listen to a message, sing along to the words of a song they like.  Sure, there is some seriously crap and commercial stuff out there, but I’m focusing on the good stuff right now.

Love

I am hugely grateful for love.  What would the world be without love?  Love for my family, love for my friends, love for the world.  Love for culture, love for experiences, love for learning.  Love truly is what makes the world go around.  We make almost every decision in our lives based on love.  You have a job because you love to live comfortable, or because you love the work that you do.  You choose to eat a carrot because you love the taste.  You travel the world because you love different cultures.  You stay at home because you love spending time by yourself or with your family.  It is all about love, every decision you ever make is made because you try to avoid what you don’t love as much as possible.

These are but a few of the things I am grateful for, and I would be happy to hear some of yours.