Archive for January, 2011

So, where is my Saga Magazine?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I apologise in advance but it is time for a daft blog. So, my forties are behind me. Unless I start aging backwards I have entered that new phase, my fifties. Even if I wanted to age backwards I don’t see that happening anytime soon so forwards I will go. So, what does one expect from their fifties? I had a think and a wee google and have come up with the following ‘facts’ and my opinions on the same:-

  • A recent article in the Guardian quoted Emma Soames, Saga magazine editor. She stated that 50 is the new 34. Her opinion, naturally enough, was that the glamour and vibrancy of fifty-somethings today made them look and feel younger. I like the sound of that but assume that this opinion was formed with sensible diet and exercise routines. If this is the case then I suppose I will have to give up crisps, dust the treadmill and get working.
  • The above article had an introduction I didn’t like quite so much and I quote – “As birthdays go, 50 used to smack of cardigans, nasty coughs and golfing carts. If 40 was the end of youth, “the big five-oh” was the dreaded number that ushered in the twilight years of cruise ships and varifocals.” I’m sorry but my cardigans are trendy, I want to go on a cruise and I do have varifocals – how else can I knit and watch Lark Rise to Candleford at the same time? Hmph:)
  • There are websites stating emphatically that 50 is the new 40! Hoot! I checked a few out so that you don’t have to bother with it. Believe me, you ain’t missing much there, unless of course you want to find out about skincare during the menopause? Oh, meh, meh and meh again. What twaddle and humbug you can find on t’internet.

As I read through the reams of nonsense I can find about being fifty, I wonder where this urge to be the new 34 or 40 has come from. Is it because we came from the baby boomer generation?  Growing up in the fifties and sixties when the world changed so much set new expectations for the young people involved in that change. There were affluent times and the world seemed smaller with travel and new experiences becoming the norm. I do think it was the start of the ‘entitlement’ age, where many expected their lives to be full of wonder because they wanted it to be, they deserved it. It may be charming, it may be naive, it may be downright foolish to expect so much from life. However, it did make people explore and cross boundaries as they felt there were no barriers. That is a wonderful attitude to life. The flip-side is when all the wild plans don’t come off and disappointment and bitterness follows.

Could this baby-boomer mindset lead to a denial of age? Are the baby-boomers scared that that middle-age and beyond is a place they don’t belong? I don’t worry about my age, it is only a number. I don’t feel and think much differently from 20-plus years ago and am sure that most of us feel the same way. However, this doesn’t make me want to hide my age, what would be the point.

My conclusion? Age is nothing, it is the person you are that counts. I would like to see everyone enjoying their age, whatever age that is. Think outward, not inward. Worrying about aging is like worrying about the world spinning, the alternative isn’t so pleasant. Enjoy life, ignore numbers:)

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

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January 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm 1 comment

Milestones?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

Life is full of milestones. People, me included, tend to measure their lives by these milestones. Birthdays, anniversaries of significant events, are celebrated or mourned in equal measure. I am hitting a large milestone this year, I leave my forties behind and enter my fifties. Age doesn’t bother me, it never has. Although I have one confession. There was one age that rather rattled me, 42. I know it seems an odd age to get a little freaked by. I can only say that the Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe is to blame. It stated emphatically that the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42. My dotty mind interpreted that as 42 is the age when you should be a ‘proper’ grown-up. Nasty, who wants to be a proper grown-up? Not me for sure:)

I know you cannot halt the ageing process even if you choose the road of injections and surgery, one road I will not take. This doesn’t mean I will age gracefully, there is no chance of that. I will continue on my bonkers way through life, it has served me well so far. However, reaching this milestone has allowed me to pause and ponder. What do I want in my world? I will share a few of my wishes with you. It may be my age turning me into a grumpy old woman but these are important to me:-

  • Respect, a small word with big meaning. Why don’t we show more respect for others? I believe you should treat others as you wish to be treated and know so many others who feel the same. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if there was less focus on making others see one viewpoint?
  • Peace. I know this one is to much to ask but this is my list and I will continue to wish for a peaceful world, even if it does make me think of Miss Congeniality.
  • Laughter. I know life can be tough a lot of the time. I would never diminish the difficulties that some face. However, when there is a chance to laugh then take it, it lightens the load.
  • Little things. Little words and actions stay with people. It is the small kindnesses and small slights that folk will remember. Why not make your world full of small kindnesses. I have been truly touched this week by those who were kind to me as I hit the ‘big’ birthday. All the messages and gifts have made me smile.
  • Know yourself. This is a hard one! We all want to think well of ourselves while conversely blaming ourselves for many things. I try to know who I am and be content with what I find. I hope I am not too generous about my good points. I hope I am not too hard on myself for my flaws but I will always try to understand what drives me. I don’t think any of us will ever be the ‘finished article’ we want to be but as long as we keep striving we will do our best.
  • Everyone should eat Maltesers!

That will do for now. This could be a very long list but I will save some for another day:)

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

January 28, 2011 at 12:39 am 5 comments

Opinionated?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I was, as usual, on Twitter this week. Anyone who has read this blog will know that Twitter is my favourite social medium. People chat in their 140 character limit. I am constantly amazed at the amount of humour, sarcasm, fact, kindess and even venom imparted in one tweet. You can of course use various tools to do longer tweets but most people make an effort to stick to the ‘limits’.

I do have accounts on other social networking sites such as Facebook and Linkedin but I always move back to Twitter. I think it is the immediacy that attracts me. Twitter is always scrolling, always moving. You can pop in and out, join conversations as they happen before the mood moves on to another thread, another subject that will make one person laugh and another shriek.

I do follow people who are not ‘backward in coming forward’. Strong opinions are forcibly expressed, sometimes to reinforce a point but sometimes to stir things up. The latter can appear very emotional, blunt, even offensive. If you don’t like strong language then you wouldn’t want to follow all those I follow. It can be tough to see some of the conversations when people you like and admire are caught up in an intense and insulting battle. I have occasionally logged out when it gets too personal; I am obviously a total wuss:)

I hold very strong opinions too but I don’t always share them. For all that I am extremely chatty on Twitter I am reserved and often keep my opinions to myself. This is not because I’m a mouse who considers her opinions worthless, I prefer persuasion to confrontation. There is also the theme of this blog to consider, if you are looking for kindness in others then persuasion is the better way. However, I do wonder if I should change? Should I give it a bit of welly on Twitter? Should I let rip, swear and insult all those around me? Perhaps I will find it liberating and will turn into an ‘in yer face’ old broad? That might be fun, let’s see if I have the chutzpah…..

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

January 22, 2011 at 11:53 am 6 comments

The Worst Monday?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

It has been reported that last Monday, January 12th, today, January 17th and next Monday, January 24th are the worst Mondays in the year. I am puzzled that three Mondays have been tagged as ‘blue’ but I do understand the sentiment…… just.

It is winter, cold, dark and dank. Most are back at work after a lazy Christmas holiday. We have no money, we should be at the gym, losing weight, cutting down on alcohol and never eating chocolate again, shouldn’t we? I blogged about New Year resolutions at the New Year; now is the time when the resolution chickens are coming home to roost. Did you start your new life with a bang and are you now whimpering in a corner? Are you metaphorically beating yourself up as a failure? Really? If you are, I have only one thing to say…….. Lighten up!

Now is the time to give yourself a break. Yes, it is winter, the mornings and evenings are still dark. Yes, most of our resolutions will have stuttered if they haven’t ground to a complete halt. January seems like the longest month, waiting for payday and those bills. I hope you are back at work. I want you to be working so money will land in your account at the end of the month. It may swiftly leave the account again but at least it will arrive. We are still in a recession and many fear for their jobs, now is the time to be cheerful if we are working.

You may have spotted that I am a ‘glass half full’ person. This doesn’t mean I don’t get blue, of course I do. We all have concerns, we all worry and I am particularly good at ‘fretting’. I over-think and have been know to analyse problems into knots. I hold many conversations in my head – I hope you all recognise yourselves here:) My saving grace, I think, is an ability to see the bright side in most situations. I don’t want to sound preachy but I will ask everyone to pause for one minute on this bluest of Mondays. Take one short minute and think about your lot. Is it horrible or is this just one day with the same opportunities as all the other days of the year? I hope it is the latter so you can dismiss blue Monday as just another piece of nonsense from the features writers of the daily rags. Then you can smile and get ready to face 2011 with rainbows and not rain in your heart….

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

January 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm 5 comments

Living in a Vacuum?

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

This is not one of my cheeriest posts but I hope you think it is one that is worth a read. With the recent bad weather generating many news stories about people being cut off I started to think about those who live like this all year round. There are many people out there who suffer from loneliness. I looked at a few definitions of the word loneliness and the ones listed below are those I think cover it well:-

  • The state of being unfrequented by human beings; the ‘lonely’ road
  • A feeling of depression resulting from being alone.
  • The condition of being lonely; solitude; seclusion.
  • Love of retirement; disposition to solitude

As you can see, the definitions above show that it can be a choice for some people. There are those who select a solitary life; it is their preference and they derive great satisfaction from their choice. However, most human beings do not chose a lonely road. Humans are social beings, exclusion from society is damaging to us. We need interaction, affection, touch, warmth and love to flourish. It doesn’t matter what age you are; without a sense of belonging you will suffer. Loneliness is also subjective, the level of loneliness will be defined by the individual.

In the long-term loneliness can erode health. The stress of unwanted loneliess may cause your blood pressure to rise. Along with other physical stresses this can cause long-term health issues. Loneliness can cause bad lifestyle habits; abuse of prescription and non-prescription drugs and increased alcohol consumption being the two main vehicles. It is sad that people feel the need to anaesthetise themselves against the reality of their lives.

Another impact of loneliness in an increase in fear levels. These can be general and specific but are heightened by the lack of someone to reassure and reason over fear. When you have support fears can be soothed and rationalised by conversation; if the only conversation you have is the one in your head then it is much harder to escape from fear. Most of us have support networks from family and friends. We can get through the toughest situations as we have people who will be there to listen when we need it as well as talk through problems. I know that I can get stuck with one perception and am glad that I have my friends to help me see other angles to an issue; it does make the difference. Friends also stop you being too obsessed with yourself and that is a good thing, we all need to be challenged when we only think of ourselves:)

Child development is also hugely dependant on love and comfort. Social and physical exclusion has a dramatic impact on all areas of a child’s development; movement, speech and social skills. Babies and young children need love and contact to develop. As they grow they need encouragement and support to deal with the big, bad world. If children don’t feel love they will develop huge issues very quickly. If a child grows without support they have to find their own way to deal with the world. Social detachment means that they can only focus on survival and will struggle to love and empathise with others as they grow. If you are not given a sense of worth as a young child it will impact the adult you become. Imagine growing up without love. How can you learn to love and be loved in return when it is absent in your younger years?

Many of the charities that have been mentioned on the blogroll focus on supporting children in loveless and neglectful circumstances. Often these charities are the only caring contact that these children have; the only feeling of support they get are from people outside their family. This makes me feel sad and hopeful. Sad that this happens in the first place, hopeful in that there is some hope whilst there are those organisations are in place.

I am not an academic in this field, that much is fairly obvious. I merely skim the topics that I wish to blog on with the hope it will make you think a-while. I am also, like most of you reading this post, very fortunate in that I have support. I try to appreciate that fact every day, I hope you do too. I hope I am a good friend and know how to reach out, writing this makes me resolve to work harder. I will be cheeky and ask you to do this too……

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

January 14, 2011 at 9:57 am 3 comments

Water……

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

This is my challenge post from my friend @Ivan_Jelical on Twitter. He had been chatting with friends about the recent water problems we had in Northern Ireland. We made the main UK headlines and for once it wasn’t about a horrific and violent act. In one respect that was a relief as I have spent most of my life seeing Northern Ireland make the headlines for all the worst reasons. Don’t get me wrong, making the headlines because many thousands of homes were without water for days wasn’t good but it is a change to get headlines for the ‘normal’ failings.

I will add some salient points regarding the water issues in Northern Ireland. These are taken from the BBC website so that you can have a summary of ‘highlights’:-

  • Unprecedented number of burst pipes reported as temperatures thaw over Christmas period
  • NI Water instigates ‘category one incident management regime’ as calls reporting problems rise by 21,000 from 26 December to 27 December
  • 40,000 properties in NI without running water by 29 December
  • About 80 NI towns and villages affected
  • Points set up across NI for water distribution and collection
  • On 29 December, Scottish government says it will send 160,000 litres of water to NI
  • NI Water contacts UK mutual aid scheme for support on 31 December

A friend of mine lives just outside one of our beautiful villages. She and her husband were without water from Boxing Day until New Year’s Eve. It was extremely unpleasant for them. They had friends bringing them bottled water from 40 miles away as you couldn’t get water anywhere close. When you have no water you are left very vunerable. You can’t wash properly, you can’t cook, you often don’t have heat. You feel grubby and not in control.

We take so much for granted in our lives. We expect the weather to behave and let us lead our busy lives. We expect that the flick of a switch will allow us to make tea, be entertained, keep our homes and ourselves pristine and lovely. It is very unpleasant when that capability is taken away.

However, all of us knew that this would be a temporary situation. Full water supplies have now been restored in Northern Ireland and, apart from the aftermath of who did what and when, what changes we need in the infrastructure to minimise the chances of this happening again, our lives will go on as before. There are those who will have more serious impacts with burst pipes and perhaps not the insurance to deal with all of this and for them I am truly sorry. It will be a struggle to pick up the pieces and get their lives back to their normal.

But………………….

Have you ever imagined if the situation I describe above was your norm? I know I take my surroundings and the ease with which I can turn a tap on very much for granted. How would I cope if I didn’t have constant running water, electricity to power all those gadgets I can’t live without? It would be hard.

The generally accepted statistics are that you will survive between 3 and 5 days without water. However, dehydration takes hold very quickly and will impact your ability to think coherently when you can least afford it. When in situations where you need all your capabilities to survive dehydration will become a killer. There are some who estimate that one third of African people will have to cope with water scarcity – where there are imbalances between availability and demand,  poor quality ground and surface water; these all contribute to water scarcity. It can also be impacted by conflict where supplies are deliberately contaiminated. This is not just true for Africa but it is a good illustration for this post.

Consider children having to live with poor water. It is hard to thrive when your water supply is poor or diseased. In some developing countries, 80% of illnesses and death can be linked to poor water and sanitation. Water supplies are limited and involve walking for miles to collect what you need for your family for the day. I am sure you have all seen the same adverts as me where small children will walk for miles to help collect the daily supply – because that is the price of survival. The water they collect will help keep their family going for this one day, regardless of the disease that the water may harbour. What helps you live may also give you pain and suffering but you know you have to get it this day and every day because you have no other choice.

So, my conclusion? When you are used to water on tap and you have to go without you will be frustrated and angry, you will find it deeply unpleasant. It isn’t nice to be taken out of your comfort zone and none of us like it. But please, consider what many have to do simply to get enough water to get by for just this one day…..

Please don’t take this for granted

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

January 6, 2011 at 12:57 am 7 comments

Post Christmas Blues? Bah Humbug…….

I blog to get people to donate to kid’s charities. I don’t want money, I want you to donate direct to a children’s charity then write to me by commenting on the blog. Please read the ‘About Lesley’ section of the blog to find out why I do this; the Comments and Running Totals pages to see how far we have come….

I went back to work today after almost 2 weeks of rest, lovely!. I have done like many of you. I have eaten too much chocolate, drunk too much wine and stayed up too late watching movies or cricket. I don’t regret any of it and judging by the number of times I had a wee doze I needed the rest:)

I have also tried to blog more than normal so that I can prompt people to write to me. This was fun for me. Although I am back at work I am going to blog more than I did before the Christmas break. I may ask my Twitter pals for more themes to blog on; they can be relied on to give me interesting and daft ideas.

That is the thing about blogging on a very specific topic, if I bore myself then what am I doing to everyone else? So, I will put out a request soon and see what kind of nonsense I can come up with. The thought of this makes me happy, I do love a challenge. The last time I asked Twitter peeps to give me suggestions I blogged on topics as diverse as Diamonds and Star Wars, Unicorn and Platypus. It taxed me, that is true but isn’t it better to have ideas from many people than just one?

I will therefore make sure that I don’t let the post holiday blues get me. I will be positive. I will blog and I will ask you all to write to me. I do have one little ambition for the blog. If we could have £5000 of donations by the time I reach my blogiversary (if it isn’t a word it should be) in April 2011. I hope you don’t think that is too much to ask, it is good to have something to strive for and I am happy to strive:)

So please, get me thinking! Feel free to suggest a new topic for me on this blog; I will be delighted to do my best for you. Wouldn’t you like to give me a challenge? I am up for it if you are:)

I close with my normal request to you:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice. It is easy to do – online, collection boxes, Give as You Earn. Any amount is important and I am delighted for one pound, dollar, euro, yen to reach a charity. Donate a present to a family or child that will not have the holiday season that you might expect and plan for.
  • Visit this blog and comment anywhere with the charity, amount including currency and please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I love the stories of childish ambitions.

I will then:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • All comments will be stored on the comments page so that you can see what charities people are interested in and also what a variety of 8-year-old ambitions we have already. I am looking forward to way more surprises from you all.

The steps are simple. Again, if you like the idea please tell others so that they will come and tell me their stories.

Take care of you and yours.

Lesley

January 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm 2 comments

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