Archive for February, 2012

So, Which Type Are You?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

It is a quiet Sunday evening and I have done all I intend to do for this day. I am meandering through the virtual universe, reading some blogs and dipping to and out of social media sites.

I find myself intrigued by the different types who tweet, blog and post on Facebook, Google Plus, Linkedin etc. I find it interesting that there are, to my mind, some very defined categories of social media users. I have of course made a list. This is not a serious analysis of social media by any means, this is just my own little definition:-

1. The Politico.

The Politico is not a politician but a person who likes to put their political opinion out there. Be they left, right, centrist or multi-coloured swap shop they will be telling you what is right, fighting with those who disagree and happily agreeing and reinforcing the opinions of those they agree with. For me they provide education in alternative viewpoint but occasionally my jaw drops when I read something that seems alien to me. The debates can get heated and even quite nasty but I still enjoy reading it most of the time. If I am not grown-up enough to see opinions that differ from mine then I ain’t old enough to be on social media.

2. The Campaigner

The Campaigner is perhaps one of the categories I fit into when you think about the reason I blog but I have multiple traits. The Campaigner works, often quite tirelessly, to promote a cause or causes dear to their heart. This can be charitable, business, technology, lifestyle. They are different from the politicos in that they don’t necessarily want to convert you to their cause but instead raise awareness and understanding of the same. They will try to persuade rather than cajole and are always charming in their thanks when you show your support,

3. The Provoker

You have to love  The Provoker. They are such fun if you can take the pace! The Provoker will stir things up simply to get a reaction. One day they will support blues, the next reds simply to wind up the reds and blues. Some of the reds and blues do get rankled but I think the Provokers have a very necessary function, they challenge. They can be confusing but make you laugh and make you think.

4. The Humourists

The Humourists can have a lot in common with the Provokers as they will burst the bubbles of those they perceive as pompous. However, their focus is on laughter and making people smile. The humour can get near the knuckle but most of us are old enough to take it; if we can’t we are certainly old enough not to click the links?

5. The Lurkers

We all fit into this category sometimes. There are times when we read and don’t interact, when we just aren’t in the mood. Some are permanent Lurkers though; I confess I could never be one, I love to talk in case you hadn’t noticed.

6. The Ranter

Some would say I am repeating myself here and the the Ranter is a copy of the Provoker. Not in my social media world. The Ranter is the Mr or Mrs Angry of the virtual world. They may be provoking but not to stimulate thought, they want to stimulate rage. You have to be brave to take them on.

7. The Amuse Bouche

Perhaps an odd category but I have a large soft spot for the Amuse Bouche. They are the random thoughts of the social media world. They may be quiet for long spells but when they are in the mood their bon mots will have you in stitches. They are not Humourists as they are not joke-tellers, they are observers of life and its nonsenses.

8. The Eejits

I probably most closely identify with this category as I am happy to admit my inner and outer Eejit. We Eejits want to chat, spin daft tales and simply enjoy ourselves. We are serious as well but often we stray into the bonkers where *chortles* await. Social media is a place for fun too and we should not forget this.

I suspect that at times we all fit into the categories above but wonder, where do you think you belong?

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

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February 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm 2 comments

Having It All?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

Chop, chop, busy, busy, work, work, bang, bang. Anyone remember the BT advert with industrious penguins of many years ago? Sometimes life feels like this, I’m sure many of you feel the same.

I am going through a busy time at the moment and am planning changes to my work patterns. I have good reason for doing this, I will get some time during the day to assist family members. It is a conscious decision made after much mulling and wondering how to fit everything in. I have been puzzling how I can do it all for some time now and I hope this will be the answer, many thanks are also due to those at my work who have helped facilitate this.

As I  have been putting the wheels in motion for the change I have been thinking about this ‘having it all’ I keep hearing about. I have worked pretty much all my adult life and for this I am grateful. I have had periods of unemployment in my youth and found it intensely frustrating, mainly due to the lack of funds due to lack of job. I like working, like to use my brain. There are many who would find my job uninspiring as it is a management role but dealing with people and situations is meat and drink to me.

I have talked before about being a working mother. The term would be more loosely applied now as all my children are grown. However, while I still have offspring in the house this still seems (slightly?) appropriate. I will miss it when they are all gone so do try to cherish this time. Well, most of the time…….. *Warning, ranty bit starts now*….

Who said we had to have it all? I want to know as I am very tempted to question their sanity. Did the creator of this cliché know what trouble they would cause? Do they know how many working parents are cream-crackered at any given point of the day?

I have ‘had it all’ for all my adult life. I have cooked, cleaned, ironed and worked my way through the last thirty-odd years. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do all this and I would not change the children I adore and the work I do. Everyone has things they would like to change or have more control over, I am no different. However, I am not a great believer in regrets, the things I have done in life I have chosen positively and that is all I can ask of myself.

One thing I could do without. Housework. I do it, am even good at it but it was, is and will always be a chore. I know there are people out there who enjoy it. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD WHY? Why would you like spraying and scrubbing and polishing and mopping and vacuuming and all the rest of it? I just don’t get it. I do love the end result and yes, admit to a sense of satisfaction when it is all done and I sit down with a cuppa in a sparkling house. That feeling is fleeting however; between untidy kids and two dogs who live to traipse muck across floors the tidy is a temporary blip. My favourite quote on housework would never be from the original Superwoman, Shirley Conran, it would always be from that wise woman Phylis Diller – Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?

There is one thing I would like to have just for me. Quiet time. I do get this from blogging if that doesn’t sound strange; me and my thoughts tapping the keys. And therein lies my cure for the housework blues. When I blog I am thinking about those who have much more to struggle against than me. This kicks my lazy bum back to reality. My life may be busy but I am fortunate in many ways and should not lose sight of that….

So, I will continue to use this with a very sour face but will remember to count my blessings too.

Take it Away!!

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 20, 2012 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

When I Don’t Want to Write……

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page or read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I love blogging, I have been at this malarky for almost two years and have loved every minute. Well, perhaps not every minute. There are times when I struggle. Sometimes I lack inspiration. I know successful writers say you should put words down even when you aren’t in ‘that place’ but when I do I am always disappointed and trash the result. The other time I struggle is when I find the topic upsetting.

I read yesterday’s news about the latest Save the Children report on the risk that 500 million children could suffer from the long-term effects of malnutrition. Yes, this is a headline-grabbing figure meant to hit you between the eyes. Do people look at a figure like that and think no, that can’t be? I wonder. Would it be better that the figure was four hundred and ninety-nine million, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine? Facetious perhaps but whatever figure is out there the story remains sadly the same.

We have a global recession, fact. We are seeing the impacts of this recession. Food and fuel prices rising and for most salaries not keeping pace with these increases. We see stories every day of families struggling in the developed world. It may be easy to dismiss stories of the previously affluent now struggling due to redundancy but isn’t it a sense of scale and expectation? You start to struggle when bills go up and you don’t have the income you had before. You must adjust and that adjustment is painful.

However, the sense of scale takes on a whole new level when you struggled before the recession hit. Poverty has levels of desperation. There can be enough food and shelter but nothing spare to give life joy. Hard but at least you survive? Then there is not quite enough, where to have enough food means some other necessity will be sacrificed; perhaps heat or shade. And then?  Then you get to the level where no matter what you do there isn’t enough to eat and what you have will not provide the nutrition to maintain good health. Beyond that lies starvation, not something any of us want to dwell on.

I have written before of my love of words. There are words that make me smile. Thrive is one of those words. Children should thrive. Those two words put together give me that mental image of toddlers taking their first steps with chubby baby cheeks and half a dozen white teeth showing as they smile. I know that sounds like a Hallmark card but that is the image in my head, baby curls and all.

There are words that I don’t like. Malnutrition is one. When you look up the definition of mal you get this – a combining form meaning “bad,” “wrongful,” “ill,” occurring originally in loanwords from French. Combine mal with nutrition and you get bad or ill-nourished. The effects of malnutrition are well-documented. Stunted growth and development leading to long-term poor health. An inability to fight disease thus shortening life expectancy, sometimes dramatically. Even when malnourished children reach adulthood they are more likely to live in poverty and so their children will suffer this same fate.

Lastly, we should not forget the ‘here and now’ effect of malnutrition. That is hunger. Not enough food and not enough nourishment from the food you have means that you never feel well. You exist with an ache that never goes away, it is there when you wake and is the last thing you feel before sleep. I have always believed that children need joy to thrive, that joy must be hard to come by when you exist with that ache……..

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 17, 2012 at 12:28 am Leave a comment

Disappointments?

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page and read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I had my annual rugby trip this past weekend. Ten of us headed to Paris for four days of relaxation, eating, drinking and hopefully seeing the Ireland rugby team beat France at the Stade Francais. This was my fourth visit to this magnificent stadium; I was really hoping I would see Ireland win when I was there. It hadn’t happened for me yet but I live in hope.

Paris was cold! Chilled to the bone cold. The compensation for the weather was the beauty of the city, walking round Paris will always make you smile inside. We spent a couple of hours walking from the Rue De Provence to Les Invalides. I wanted to visit Les Invalides again as I hadn’t spent enough time there on previous visits. I wanted to see the very grand tomb where Napoleon is interred again. I believe that those who are remembered in history are worth seeing, they had impact whether we think it grandiose or benign. It is a magnificent setting, a tad overblown perhaps but worth seeing.

I also visited the famous shopping centre, the Galleries Lafayette. What a spectacle and I am not just talking about the prices. Even with ‘Solde 50%’ sale prices some of the price tags on those pretty things made my eyes water. I did see a handbag or two that may have tempted me but I kept my credit card zipped away so that I wouldn’t be carried away by the thought of ‘but I saved so much money!’. Seriously, the thing about the Galleries Lafayette is the beauty of the building itself, the circular floors looking up to a magnificent stained glass dome. I also went up to the roof to see the Parisian rooftops and the Eiffel Tower in the near distance, I would recommend that view to everyone. My favourite site of the weekend though? The piano playing busker, his playing was wonderful and his piano-trolley was little feat of engineering…..

Of course, the highlight of the weekend should have been the rugby. We all knew the weather was bad and knew there was a pitch inspection. Many texts came from home and we were pleased to hear that the match was on at 7:30 so we headed to the Gard De Nord and packed, quite literally, into the trains. There was good humoured banter on the train, Ireland’s call and the Marseillaise was roared out by the opposing fans and then smiles and cries of ‘Bon chance’  from everyone. It is a wonderful thing about rugby, all the aggression remains on the pitch and the fans just love to sing and smile. Our tickets were gained at the last minute and proved to be up in the gods, my fear of heights always kicks in for about 15 minutes until I get used to the altitude:) Then we sat, sat and sat some more. I was told the next day by friends that everyone watching on television knew the match was cancelled, commentators were able to say that those in the stadium were not being told.

I understand why they took the decision not to say until everyone was seated. So many people moving in one direction is hard to manage, if the thousands had been pushing in two directions there would have been injuries, this I do not doubt. However, it is fair to say that the fans gave out many boos when they were finally told. As for me? I was sitting wrapped in layers with a not-so-fetching furry hat and a rug (yes, a rug!) so stayed in place until the crowds started to thin before the trek back down those steps. There was much muttering about the referee amongst the crowd but there wasn’t really anger, more bewilderment that anyone would think it was sensible to organise a match at 9pm in such weather. The only thing to do then was to meet everyone back at our favourite Basque bar and sing with the locals until the wee small hours.

The thing about disappointment? It only has power over you when you let it. Life is that strange thing, it is what you make of it. You may want different things, you may work towards your own targets but you won’t always have the control over choices that must be made or the timings of those choices. So, what do you do then? You can shout and scream but that won’t make you feel better for long. Isn’t it better to work through the twists and turns even if it takes you a little longer? Keep your sense of humour and don’t let the little things spoil your mood. I may not see the match in Paris but I will still see the match. I did get to see Paris again and that will always be worth it to me.

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm Leave a comment

Bile, Invective, Vitriol.

I do this for a reason. I want you to donate to a children’s charity and write to me. Please see the About Lesley page and read the instructions at the end of this post…..

I  have been reading random blogs over the last couple of weeks. Most of them have been educational, people wanting to share their knowledge on cooking, knitting, books, films, any topic of interest. I also read many funny posts, there are so many smart and witty people out there. Then I moved to more ‘opinionated’ posts and they have a different nature altogether…..

The thing about bloggers is that they have no filter except themselves. No sub-editor will check the words to ensure that there is nothing libellous or offensive therein. The words are written, they may be proof-read by the writer. Then they are sent out there, one person’s opinion into that cyber-void.

This is a good thing and a bad thing. The good? Blogging is a personal thing, it is one person sending their opinions and knowledge out there for all to see. It encourages people to be creative, develop their writing skills and share something with all those who choose to read. The bad? It is one person’s opinion without check. If an individual chooses to lie they can. I don’t suggest for a second that many bloggers do this; I think most people who choose words as their medium are very consious of the joys and danger of doing this. However, everyone’s perspective is different. They say that six witnesses to a crime can provide six different descriptions of a suspect. Isn’t it just the same with opinion? Two people will see a situation in very different ways. I think we only need look at the reactions of politicians to, for instance, the cost of education, to understand that is possible. Just read the comments sections of some of the popular political blogs and this will be perfectly illustrated.

This is the way of the virtual world and I accept that. We can’t plunge into the water and not expect some sharks to circle. What concerns me is how easily it can turn, how it can become personal. I have written before about the power of words; I am fascinated by the skill of those who can put words together to capture our interest and even our hearts. What I don’t enjoy is the attack-blog as I tend to think of them. They can come from a need to defend against words already out there from another individual. I understand the need to defend one’s position and portray a balance, this is only fair isn’t it? Yes ‘but’ is my answer. The style becomes crucial when taking this action. Surely words are more effective when calmly and factually put? Reason will persuade more than rant I think. When bloggers react to the emotional words of one person with more emotional words it will easily spiral into tit-for-tat. I don’t think that is how most bloggers want to see themselves. Bloggers write because they want readers, fact. For me this means there is an inherent responsibility associated with blogging. If you blog you want to influence, isn’t it your responsibility to make sure this influence is used in a benign way? Persuade by all means but persuade truthfully and without attack on those who don’t share your opinion.

I am not saying that blogs should be cold and emotionless, that would make the blogsphere a very dull and uninteresting place. I want to see love and anger coming out from the words I read. I love getting goosebumps from reading words that come from the heart, this makes me smile. What I will never enjoy is the name-calling and singular perspective that one person is always right and another wrong, the world is shades of grey…….

I close, as always, with this:-
  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are older.

I will:-

  • 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
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.

Lesley

February 5, 2012 at 10:56 am Leave a comment


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