Archive for the ‘social’ 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.

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 struggled for a long time in deciding whether or not I was going to write this particular blog.  See, the following story isn’t controversial.  It isn’t political.  It doesn’t attack the system or open your eyes to injustices in the world.  However, it is a story about positive energy, and that is also a recurring theme in this blog.  What I struggle with, however, is that this is my own story.  This is what happened to me.  I wasn’t sure whether I was ready or not to share it.  I wasn’t sure whether or not I was ready to have people know exactly what has been going on inside me for the past few years.  But then I thought, I have learned from the two seriously horrible experiences that I have gone through.  It has given me a positive outlook on life.  It has changed the way I am profoundly and for that, I thank these horrible experiences.  So, I think I am ready to tell what has happened, not in the least because it will make me feel better – I hope.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, I fell pregnant for the first time.  I was over the moon.  It was planned, it was the next logical step in our relationship, it was right.  Everything went well, until, at 22 weeks pregnancy, I went for a scan and something seemed wrong.  I had what is known as Intra Uterine Growth Retardation, which meant my baby wasn’t growing.  I spent four weeks on bed rest and had to deliver at 26 weeks.  My baby had only grown a little bit since that 22 week scan, meaning she was just 1lb and half an ounce in weight.  I ruined my body in delivering her, forfeiting my chance of ever delivering naturally again.  Small price to pay, to be honest.  Piper was born and she fought like mad.  She fought for six weeks, until she finally had to give up.  See, I am hugely pro-choice.  I don’t care what your reasons are for abortion, if you need one, it is your decision.  However, I beg of people, please don’t leave the abortion limit at 24 weeks.  That is a living, viable child that doctors will deliver and leave to die.  24 weeks is too late.  This was one of the positive lessons I learned from this horrible experience.  Abortion is ok, but only to a point.  What I mainly learned, however, is what it means to be a parent, to be willing to give your life up for someone else without having to think about it.  What I learned is what true love means and that is the lasting legacy of the very short life of my gorgeous little girl and for that, I thank her every day.  Losing her was the worst day of my life, but at least I had the pleasure and honour of knowing her for six weeks.

Three Months Ago

Since Piper was born and died, I’ve had two miscarriages before finally giving birth to a gorgeous little boy, who is my absolute life.  However, a few months ago, we felt the time was right to try one more time.  I was about to give up when the magical second blue line appeared.  I was pregnant.  Once again over the moon, I went to a festival with some friends and was dancing to some beautiful music when I felt a pang.  Worried that I was miscarriaging, I checked for blood but there was none.  Suddenly feeling very faint, I grabbed on to the nearest first aider, who took me to the Red Cross post that was at the festival.  My blood pressure kept dropping and eventually they decided to rush me to hospital.  From here on end, things went from bad to worse.  The pain I have experienced is still fresh in my mind and I don’t think it will ever go away.  I was delirious, decided to get up and fainted.  At 6 foot tall, that is quite a drop, and I suffered a significant concussion from my fall.  Eventually, a scan revealed what the surgeon feared: I was having an ectopic pregnancy and it had ruptured.  I was, basically, bleeding to death.

Rushed to the surgery room, in my delirious state, I thought the surgeon was trying to murder me when they were putting a mask on me to put me under anaesthetic.  I fought like made, getting the mask off some three or four times before finally going under.

When I woke up, I had once again been sliced open.  The doctor rushed to my side and explained it had been a really close call.  I had lost almost four litres of blood and ended up having seven bags of blood, which still left me anaemic.

My world was shattered.  Strangely, not because of losing a child.  The baby was never a baby to me, since it wasn’t viable anyway.  What worried me was that I had come so close to losing my life.  Really dying.  Right after I was dancing in a field to some beautiful music.  What was that about?  I now have post-traumatic stress disorder as well.  That stupid anaesthetic cap won’t leave me alone and keeps coming back to me.  I struggled with the whole dying thing.  I was so bloody easy.  There was no white light, there was no outer body experience, no nothing.  I was just gone.  And worst of all, the world didn’t stop with me.  That was a really weird experience and it made me feel quite insignificant.  And to top it all of, I can’t have kids anymore now because of the three sections your out rule and because it’s too risk…

Now, I promised you something positive, but I had to get the horrible bits of my chest.  In fact, I wrote this quite a few days ago now, toying with whether or not to post it.  It’s such a personal story and still so raw.  But I need to get it off my chest.  I went to see my therapist yesterday who said there is nothing else he can do for me.  I guess I have reached a new level of crazy…  What he really meant was that I need more specialised treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, which I will be getting soon, but it still felt pretty weird being told that.

Now for the positive note, however.  I have learned something hugely important.  You know when people say you could cross the street and get hit by a bus?  They mean it.  You really can have the best day of your life and find yourself dead a few hours later.  I have learned that you don’t have a minute, not even a second, to waste in this lifetime.  It will, one day, be over.  Just like that.  Your day may be today, it may be tomorrow, or it may be in 100 years, but your day will come.  I have learned that I will therefore not spend a single moment of my day doing something I genuinely don’t want to do (I would love to give up my job, but there’s no chance of that lol).  I won’t spend another second of my life being bored.  I will seize the day, every day, all day long.  I will tell people how I feel, that I love them and that they matter to me.  I will make them know that they make life worth living.  I want to tell everybody that you shouldn’t be complacent.  Don’t live your life doing things because you have to, do them because you want to.  Wake up every morning with a smile on your face and remember it is another day in which you have a chance to be happy and change the world.  I’ve gone through hell and back and through absolute shit, but I am grateful for that, because it has made me who I am and I, personally, really like myself.

As humans, we are a species.  We are mammals, and as such we have certain things, on a biological level, that we have to adhere to.  We have to eat and drink, we have to breathe etc…  However, we have a great amount of choice and we have free will.  We can choose not to drink any alcohol, we can choose not to eat meat.  These are all biological factors.  What I am far more interested in, is how we should behave towards each other.  How we should co-exist.

We Are Driven to Be Selfish

One thing that I notice again and again and again is that we seem to be driven more and more to only think about ourselves.  Some of these messages are subtle.  For instance, we know we need a roof over our heads to live comfortably, but have you ever thought why we need to have one house per family, rather than living in a commune together?  This is one of the many subtle messages that we are being exposed to, but there are also some far less subtle ones.

Take the culture of suing others for instance.  Say you have a car accident, a pretty minor one that just happened.  How quick will you be to run to the doctors, claim whiplash and claim some compensation on the insurance of the other party?  We are being told in popular culture and by the media over and over again that we should do this.  It is our right to sue someone, it is our right to amass money.  In fact, we need money, otherwise we are nobody.  But by suing someone, you are suing another human being, a human being that also has a life and feelings.  If this was just an accident, and accidents happen, how can we be so mean and cruel to our fellow humans?  Because we are desensitised to the plight of other human beings, that’s why.

A good example was given to me a while ago: if you walk past a dead body, you will probably be shocked.  But how many dead bodies along the way will it take for you to no longer be shocked?  That is desensitisation and that is what is happening around us all the time.  And it’s scary.  It’s scary because it means we have gotten so used to hardship in others that we don’t even see it anymore.

Another good example for me is authority.  We always have people in authority, but why is that?  For me, it’s an element of trust.  People in authority don’t trust others to make the right decisions.  People who need a figure of authority don’t trust themselves to make the right decisions.  Because of this, like sheep, we look towards a leader who tells us what to do.  And if this leader tells us that we need to think about number one first, and no one else, we do it.

What Should it Be Like?

I personally believe in co=existing.  We are here together, we share this planet, we have lines that link us all together.  Why not nurture those lines?  Why not be there for each other?  If I have something you don’t, why can’t I just share that with you?  No doubt a time will come that you have something I need and you can share it with me.  Why don’t we live together, help each other take care of one another?  Why aren’t we co-existing as humans?

This isn’t about privacy.  Everybody is entitled to privacy.  Everybody is entitled to have a space for themselves, some time to just be with their self.  We are, after all, individuals.  But is there any need for us to be so individualistic?  I personally believe in community.  I believe in helping people who need my help.  And I don’t give this help because I may need help back at some point.  I hope beyond hope that I will never need help.  But I also believe that if the time were to come that I do need help, someone will be there for me too, because that is how a community works.  That is how we should all co-exist.  Instead of focusing on our differences and using them to elevate one belief or behaviour above another, why not celebrate differences and use these differences to learn more?

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!