Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Pits of Social Media

Normally when I blog its of an amusing nature however today I feel so strongly about something I wanted to raise awareness. I wanted to share something that I am sure lots of people aren't aware of. 

In 2004 a college student Mark Zuckerberg would create something that most people now use as an everyday activity. It would bring people together from opposite ends of the globe. It would allow people to share pictures, memories and for some just let people know what they had for their tea. Facebook a major social networking site would become a mass phenomenon. I never really cared for it whilst I lived in the UK, but living in Jersey its been a great way to keep in touch. As you know this blog will be posted on Facebook. Yes it bugs me a little when an unflattering picture is tagged but all in all I quite like using it. That picture that's tagged I know who did it. I can remove it if I so choose. I can send a private message "with you bugger that picture is awful". Generally my wishes are respected.

However there is a new craze. Something that children feel they want to be part of in case they miss out. This social networking site is Ask.fm. If you haven't heard about it google it. If you have a child in their adolescent years its possible they have an account. The purpose of this site was for children to ask questions they might normally be shy to ask. In principle I get that. Unfortunately the key aspect of this site you can ask questions anonymously. I say question its generally abuse.
"Do you cut yourself? You are fat and ugly?"  Sexually explicit questions and the worse kind "Go kill yourself, no one wants you".

There has been newspaper articles relating to children taking their own lives linked with  constant torment and cyber bullying conducted by the cowards otherwise known as the anonymous.

Within my own home, the beaus daughter had an account. I consider myself vigilant and responsible but its difficult to try and watch everything the girls do. She had held an account for months.  On finding the account it was horrific to read the vitriolic comments aimed at her. She no longer has an account. However her friends do. I remember  peer pressure, wanting to be part of something and the fear of missing out. Sometimes its a difficult time as an adolescent trying to walk that fine line of wanting to be popular and doing the right thing. 

People have campaigned to try and get the site closed but as a Latvian company it sits outside UK law. 
Ask.fm founder Mark Terebin posted a statement in defence of his website: "Ask.fm is just a tool which helps people to communicate with each other, same as any other social network, same as phone, same as piece of paper and pen. Don't blame a tool, but try to make changes... start with yourself... be more polite, more kind, more tolerant of others... cultivate these values in families, in schools."

I believe I have these values. I also believe we are instilling them in the beau's child. We want her to do the right thing and understand the obnoxiousness and dispicable behaviour  of how cowardly people can be. How hiding behind your keyboard and writing horrific bullying messages does not make you a decent person. She is comprehending that. It can be argued that those writing anonymous comments on ask.fm are trolls. Those that set out to write inflammatory comments to promote an emotive response are generally trolls. However its not always the case. Certainly in my own experience of researching it, lots of comments are done by children as young as 13 who use the online community to bully others.

A current comment on  a persons ask.fm profile is "Lol I cyber bully all the time! Its fucking fun don't ruin the fun by this stop the bullying shit"
The response, "Guess you got some problem young lad ;) and saying "fucking" or "shit" doesn't make yourself look cool just saying have a nice day".
Unfortunately not all have the emotional maturity to answer such abuse succinctly. Children generally don't have the skills to verbally fight back.

Sadly one such boy was Joshua Unsworth who  hanged himself last week in Goosnargh, Preston  after enduring months of constant cyber bullying on ask.fm.  I am sure his parents don't agree with Mark Terebin's statement. How hard would it be for the site to have responsible policies of monitoring? Facebook does and it hasn't impacted on their success. 

I cried when I read about Josh and I thought about the inflammatory disgusting comments I had read on both the beau's daughters page and her friends.

I am doing everything that is possible to raise awareness about this site. I have spoken to  the the E safety Officer. I have been into the beau's daughters school and I am educating the beau's daughters about respecting and standing up for yourself.
I want to do what ever I can to inform people about the site. However I want the girls to have their privacy and make informed choices . Maybe that's a tad hippyesque, but I want them to say no that's not right because they know it isn't, not just because we say it isn't. So far that process is working. Tonight she read the article from the Mail that talked about Josh Unsworth. We discussed the reality of cyber bullying. 

So think about it readers, do you know what sites you children are signed up to? Have you heard of ask.fm and have you explored whether your child is on it?

I enjoy social networking and appreciate its value but what joy is there in being told several times a day "No one wants you". 

I never use my blog to campaign or ask you to sign up for something. That is not its purpose. For me its about my journey in Jersey. So by asking  you to consider looking  at it then it demonstrates the concern about what is happening. 


Monday, 18 March 2013

A Comedic party with a swing

I am feeling slightly delicate today following a little soiree in aid of Comic Relief. You may of remembered readers in an earlier post that I feel I am turning into Hyacinth Bouquet? Well I decided to host a wine and cheese party at my house.  

I know that sounds very cheesy, pardon the pun but it was for a good cause. So I decided to reinvent the wine and cheese concept to ensure it wasn't something stuck in the 1970's. I appreciate some of of the readers may not remember the 1970's. The reason I choose wine and cheese is because I am inundated with wine that I have had to expand my wine rack from a 10 bottle to a 30 bottle. "Poor you!" I hear you say sarcastically. The beau keeps receiving wine as gifts for a job well done. I can't get my head round it. He charges lots of money for the bill and the client pays it and then says "there you have this bottle of wine". I know he is exceptionally good at what he does but I have yet to see him come home with a box of Roses or Quality Street. In Health that's the gift staple and not to say my beau doesn't work hard. He does, exceptionally so but "here is a bill for 7 k, why thank you for that vintage red". "Oh here is the discharge letter to say your body is back to good working order, why thank you for that box of Roses." I do remind myself that health care professionals do it for the love of it and that it is extremely rewarding. Something that if you could bottle it, then it would most definitely sell.
Anyway so there you have it a wine and cheese party to shift the wine on. "Bring a cheese and a fiver for the Comic Relief jar. There will be entertainment!"   

So as we discussed entertainment, again we went off at a tangent. The beau plays piano which is lovely but there is only so much Desperado I can listen to. We discussed hiring a pianist but we couldn't find one that played in public only ones who taught it. Then the beau, as he gets carried away said "oooh look what about these?" They were Bossa Baseline, a fab duo who played great swing music at our soiree for 2 hours. They are really lovely people and were fantastic at playing everything I adore. I love the old time glamour of swing. Everyone had a fantastic time with the periodic singing along.

Once they left a pal decided he would do a recital. Unfortunately he can't actually play the piano but is an amateur dramatic treading of the boards type so he improvised. The video demonstrates that. Please forgive the northern voice over. Golly don't you sound hideous when you listen to yourself. Perhaps that's just me.

My pal who reads this blog wanted me to mention him. He said write "I am swishing the wine, smelling it" and although he didn't say "ooooh" I have added that as poetic licence.

A good time was had by all. We raised £137 for comic relief, so it was worth the effort for the evening.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Yes its a Mong tomato ANNNNDDD????

So readers I have just returned from Waitrose after a hideous shop. I hate shopping on a Saturday its full of families and stressed women. The thing with supermarkets and Saturdays its like someone made an announcement on the previous evening news that the world was about to end. What do people do when that happens? They go shopping!
Remember when the  Millennium was approaching? People, I say people, I mean those that watched Richard and Judy that day as he talked about buying things and storing them for the world to end. Well those people went out panic buying baked beans and powdered milk. What happened when the bells struck 12 that mammoth eve? Nowt that's what happened. I remember it being nowt as I was standing in my street toasting the bells like I had done previous years. I woke up with a monumental hangover and a house that looked like it had just had a home invasion. I was so glad that I didn't have a kitchen full of baked beans and powdered milk to accompany the empty wine glasses and lots of bottles.

Anyway I have gone off at a tangent. Working shifts is hard, you lead an antisocial existence doing your week of nights or those miserable late Sunday shifts. Now as a Monday to Friday worker I enjoy my weekends. However with that I find my self in Waitrose on a beautiful sunny day being interrogated by the till assistant. As  she beeped my shopping through the scanning thingy, she started a running commentary rummaging through my items. There should be some customer till assistant code of conduct where rule one is "Never comment on the customers shopping". Its embarrassing! Maybe she is a spy for Jamie Oliver to see if shoppers are actually "reconnecting with food and  resuscitating dying food culture  and ultimately keeping cooking skills alive.”   Now I get that Jamie. I can resuscitate a dried, dead mushroom at the back of the fridge to look like fabulous cuisine but do you need to send Margaret from Jersey Waitrose to report every ruddy thing in my basket?

So the first item through my beep beep experience was a jam jar with Freesias in it for the sum of £5. I liked them they were twee like me. Margaret's response "Ooh oh in a jam jar, smell nice only £5 very good" Now I agree with that point, thank you Margaret I like them too. Next item Heinz Tomato Ketchup flavoured Cheddar. Yes I am aware that's an interesting concept, but I am trying to keep my Slimming World diet interesting. 3 weeks in and I am 11 1/2 lbs  lighter. I am committed to it so I thought oh they might be interesting. Well they are readers very tasty indeed. I would recommend them. I appreciate its not a Blacksticks Blue or a fine mature Cheddar but once in a while we need something quirky. Margaret seemed particularly shocked by the tomato cheesy slices to the point of a slight shriek. "Well I never tomato sauce.. in a cheese..when did they come in? Never seen them..I mean cheese with tomato sauce in" It was like a Peter Kay moment of garlic bread. Next came the fig and nut slice bought to accompany a cheese board for an evening I am having next Saturday.
" Whats that? What do you do with that?"
 "Its for a cheese board" I respond.
 "You put it with cheese well I have never EVER seen one of them"
Then there was the marrow I bought. "Oh these are very popular today" Maybe thats because there is a bucket load reduced I thought.
"Well you can't have one of those when you live on your own they are too big"
I said nothing.

The lady behind is now smirking as she looks down at her shopping knowing any minute now she will endure the same experience. Glancing over she has a fairly well balanced shop. Her embarrassment may only be 2 minutes long over the papaya she is hiding under a loaf of white bread.
Margaret remarked on pretty much several items of the shopping. However what prompted me to share this experience with you readers? Well it was this.

What you looking at? Never seen a tomato before?
I love tomatoes and they are very good for Slimming World. I can eat as many as I like. Its name a Mong tomato, named after Hmong, an anti communist who brought it originally from Vietnam in the 1970's. I saw them on the shelf and thought oh I have had that tomato before, I will get it again. Well Margaret picked it up and said in a very alarmed voice "What on earth is this?" The lady behind me who was smirking before was trying not to make eye contact as I could see her face was about to erupt with laughing. This was  the conversation that ensued.
Me: "It's a tomato"
Margaret: "A what?"
Me: "A tomato"
Margaret "It looks like one of them weird things"
The beau " A kumsquash?"
Glares at the beau. Me: "You mean a kumquat. Shush"  
Beau now laughing like a school boy saying the word kumsquash.
Margaret proceeds to look item up on her menargerie of fruit and vegetable intelligence.
Margaret: "I can't find it. You sure its not one of them weird things"
Me: "Its a tomato"
I look back at the mounting queue at the checkout. Eventually she locates the item.
Margaret: " Is it a mo..err.mang...err Mong tomato?"
Me: "Yes a tomato"
Phew the last item to bag. Then I can get out of here. She still hasn't handed the tomato over.
Margaret: "What do you do with it?"
Me: "Put it in a salad"
Margaret: "Well it must be quite the delicacy at THAT PRICE"

That was it! That's what incensed me. Its my tomato and I will get it if I want to. I like tomatoes. Its not like I can get the rum baba I actually really want. I am on a diet. So I am comforting myself with an exotic tomato at the princely sum of 89 p.  Of course that conversation was in my head. I didn't share it with Margaret as that would of been rude. I wanted to shout loudly in Waitrose "everyone look at my Mong tomato that's a kumsquah in disguise." We left the shop went home and unpacked the shopping.

I have had this experience before with a till assistant. He repeatedly remarked on my shopping. Even flicked through the magazines I may of purchased and commented on the articles. He was a pest. So I decided to hopefully shush him once and for all. I felt I couldn't say shush and stop being nosey at my shopping as it does feel rude. I know they are being friendly and just engaging with the customer. 
However reading my magazine articles and stating "Cheryl Cole looks fat there" was becoming annoying.
So one week I bought a copy of Razzle, a bottle of Newcastle Brown and a chamois leather. Awaiting the running commentary of "ooh she could do with a trim, newkie brown eww and what a bargain price for a chamois leather". He said not one word. Not a comment, a cough or a snort. He may now think of me as the weird pervert with a fetish for chamois leathers, but at least he isn't rummaging through my shopping!

Enjoy your weekend readers.  

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I love Easter eggs me! Do they come in muller light flavours?

So Easter is round the corner. One of my favourite times of year not just because I am a fan of baby Jesus but because I love Easter Eggs. Every year I like to treat myself to an Egg with my name on it. Ridiculous I know . As a child I didn't know eggs had things inside them because my mother concerned with how much chocolate we got as children used to remove the innards. Imagine my surprise as I was older opening one to find it had stuff in them. So I think from then on I became obsessed with having one of my very own with my name on it. You would think I would grow out of it but unfortunately I haven't. I say unfortunately because I am now on Slimming World. Its a shame there is no class here as I liked going to class. Not the little Britain one with the odd women but slimming world class. There is so much you can do with a scan bran you know!!
I have a wedding to attend in Vegas in June so I have to get skinnier for that well slightly smaller would be a start. I have put the beau on it too. After our debauched night on Friday where he fell in a bin and it took me 30 minutes to get him out I thought you too can benefit from slimming world buster! All I could see were legs sticking out and him shouting "I'm big aren't I ".

As he is a staunch meat eater, he is embracing quorn not because he likes it but because he does adopt a "anything for you darling" methodology.
He is such a meat eater that someone remarked "you look like a meat eater." What on earth does that mean? I never envisaged him to look like Lady Gaga but I do get their point. I think some blokes just look like they eat Desperate Dan cow pies. He is one of them.

Valentine's night was spent doing homework and washing dirty P.E kits. Not the most romantic evening but I suppose normality. The beau sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers to work. I think he had concentrated on getting me some really lovely ones as he knew two days later he would be shouting "I'm big aren't I ?" from a bin.  I shouldn't grumble as Saturday night was spent at two balls. The Heart Association ball then the Diabetes one. I had double booked myself and promised I would go to both. I think I might be turning into one of those charity Mrs Bouquet types. As I am currently one of those self righteous slimming types "Oooh I can't have that I am on a diet"; I didn't have a hangover the next day. I did have ruddy sore hips though as I had spent the night Salsa-ing with a junior doctor. I must remind myself I am not in my 20's and its been a while since I did the salsa or even a junior doctor..(titters). It was exceptional fun though. Anyway it will limber me up for my new found exercise class Hoola hooping. After the first week I thought ruddy hell this is hard work. I am a superb neck hoola hooper but it doesn't seem to like sitting round my midriff. My teacher keeps saying keep at it you have all the spirit for it. I am not sure if that's like telling someone they look like a meat eater! Well after week one of slimming world and hoola hooping I am 6lbs lighter so something is working. The bear is 2lbs lighter to which is daughter remarked "never mind daddy as Tesco says every little helps". Well at least it will take me only 28 minutes next time to retrieve him from the bin!! 
Right readers I am off to watch The Great British menu whilst eating a Muller light!                

Thursday, 3 January 2013

It's the Eyyeeee of the Tigerrrr Grrrrrr


Risin' up, straight to the top

Had the guts, got the glory

Went the distance now I'm not gonna stop   

 Just a man and his will to survive

So there's the lyrics from Survivors song much covered by the hideous medium of karaoke. Why is it relevant? Well I thought it might be a good idea to be my theme tune to assist me in achieving my New Years resolutions! 
In July I wrote on my blog  
Man or woman if you are out there thinking god I too am conscious when naked then remember these things. I am no Gok but I can talk from experience. There is nothing more beautiful than the human body, its a fantastic piece of machinery. Yes it may be a little wonky or not be how we like it. In truth we can change it if it bothers us so. It requires hard work and you have to decide if today is going to be the first day of doing something about it.

Well I feel that time is here. I still consider myself to have an inner goddess but I can't kid myself any longer I am 42 years old. With that in time will come dodgy hips, creaky back, wonky eyes and other such lovely things. I have to say I am not looking forward to getting older, its not like I want to be Benjamin Button but ageing is bothering me. He did make quite a valuable comment.

For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it.   

So what am I going to do to try and make my body last that little bit longer? Like most people at this time of year I commit to a vow of dieting, exercise  and general health. I have done this before and been successful the picture on my blog profile is 4 years ago when I lost 5 stone in a year courtesy of Pearl at Slimming World. So I can do it so why did it go so wrong over the last few years. possibly because I couldn't be arsed. First pitfall ..apathy! However I might not be miserable or feel oh my god when I look in the mirror and I may beat my beautiful counter part to most cardiac arrests despite the fact she is athletic and toned. That's because I know most short cuts and can slide into a ward like a Michael Jackson tribute act not because I am fitter.  
Unfortunately there isn't a Slimming world here in Jersey, there are endless Weight Watchers. I am not a fan of ready meals and I also had a Little Britain experience when I went to a Weight Watchers class. On arriving to see a very thin woman who when she spoke sounded like she smoked 100 Benson Hedges a day, I knew it was going to be interesting. Her introduction to the class was "look around the room , see who is the fattest.. I bet all your life people have said aww aren't you bonnie.. well you are not bonnie you are fat" (Imagine that said as if you had an ashtray in your gob). She then went off on a tangent by yelling the word "sausages" like Bob Carolgees. If honest it amused me, however I could see not everyone shared my sense of dark humour. 

So today I set out with the intention of being healthy. I didn't do so bad but I think I was assisted when someone popped in my office for something then embarked on a conversation they had just got over Norovirus. Politely I tried to tell them to sod off , they kindly told me I would be OK as we hadn't sat on the same toilet and shared 18 micro organisms on the seat. I promptly threw my sandwich I was eating in the bin. Maybe that's the secret of getting thinner. Eat food  during conversations of loo chat. I am not the same ED Sister who could eat a curry at 6am on a night shift after suturing a big head wound, I have lost that die hard quality required of all ED sisters. Essentially I have gone a bit soft.
So the quorn will be featuring very heavily at dinner, not sure the beau will be very keen, but he is on a health kick too. However he is like stone age man and will rip the leg off a chicken whilst running on a treadmill. He isn't known as the bear for nothing. He will protect his jar of nuts ..life or death.

The exercise, well one of my Christmas presents was a hoola hoop with a lesson. I think this kind of activity will suit my personality, it is hip wiggling after all and I am very good at that! I have done the gym thing but I spend most of my time looking to see how many may require a surgical removal of thong arse or as my friend calls it. " thing me a thong syndrome" . Last time I did the gym I was a young 20 something and on emptying a catheter bag whilst working in ITU, I couldn't get up again. Fortunately a passing anaesthetist oiked me up.  

So there you have it. I am starting the year with the best intention. Maybe by next Christmas I will be like Rocky. Wish me luck

"Adriannnnnnn......Adriannnnnnnnn...Adriannnnnnnn.. help me I am stuck in a 30:2 position..me ruddy hips gone! "

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The start to the year!

Well I have just dragged my tree out on to my decking, well the beau has; hopefully it won't still be there in March. So that signifies the start to a new year. Baby Jesus from the nativity that apparently looks posh because he has a gold nappy on and a hair style that looks like he has just come out of the salon (quote from the beau's youngest) is now safely in bubble wrap and put away in the loft.

Back to work tomorrow and I should be refreshed so why do I feel like I need a holiday? Christmas has been very hectic, rewarding but hectic. There is something comforting about children at Christmas even if they no longer believe in Santa, they still get giddy and embrace the spirit of Christmas. I think the reason I need a holiday was  perhaps because I over did it. Oi! not because I drank too much (those days are behind me, remember?), but because I felt had to go all traditional at the festive season.

When I was with my ex we always spent Christmas away from home.  Times I will truly treasure. Lovely Christmas Eves sitting in the old square in Prague or in a Pagoda in Portmeirion drinking something sparkly.

I am glad I have those memories, not as Elaine Page would feel though "All alone in the moonlight I can smile at the old days".
Things are very different to those times as I have family. Yes I know I have my sister and my mum and I missed them terribly this year. I thought I had got past homesickness but just shows you  never do completely. Gawd right I am rambling, what I am trying to say was Christmas was a family occasion. I had roasted 3 ruddy meats.. yes I say 3 and made a yule log, Christmas cake and mince pies. The beau just kept shaking his head saying "whats wrong with Marks and Spencer's.. you are making lots of work for yourself?"
This is very true whilst rolling the log in a tea towel  I did think "I wish I had gone to M & S". However watching the excitement on the beau's youngest daughter's face; well that's what is rewarding. Remember readers as the non biological parent you feel you have to go  that little bit further? I am already looking for Easter egg moulds!  

New Year's Eve was very quiet. We were going to have a party but due to the high volume of sickness we cancelled it. I have to say spending a hectic day  taking the beau's daughter to the ED with a broken arm from ice skating; the thought of going home and making blinis, ensuring the bathroom was clean and creating a festive atmosphere well,  I was sort of glad it had to be called off. I think its the first year I have been in bed before 1AM, well excluding being a child that is. As boring as this sounds I was pleased when I woke up the next morning, no hangover , no mess , no aching feet. Dear Lord I sound ancient! What is happening to me? Is this the start of things to come?  Looks over and spies the tequila bottle sitting invitingly on the kitchen work top. Then looks right at the school uniforms waiting to be ironed for tomorrow. Tequila..school uniforms.. tequila ... school uniforms... God dammit!!!

Right well I have to go iron some school uniforms ( the piccy is by K Von Meow) so I will bid you farewell readers. May 2013 be full of adventure, wonder and good surprises. If however it is not I wish you the strength to get through it.