Monday, November 14, 2011

Marriage for all

I'm a big believer in marriage. I haven't always been, but after growing up an awful lot and realising the true meaning of marriage I became a convert. In August I got married to the most incredible person and it has solidified my belief. Marriage is awesome and it has deepened the commitment that I have for my husband and the family we have created together.

It has not escaped my notice that in some parts of the world, my marriage would have been considered wrong on a few counts. Firstly, I have been married before which in some cultures means I would not be allowed to marry again. Also, my husband is part Indian and there are still places out there that consider a person marrying someone who isn't from the same ethnic group wrong. There are also people out there in the world who believe a Christian marrying a non Christian is wrong. Luckily I live in a country where these things are generally not considered a big deal. Sure, there are pockets of society that believe that my marriage is wrong, but we generally don't experience any of that in our daily lives. It seems crazy to me that people would care who I married. It's none of their business. I am of an age where I am considered an adult, I'm not related to the person and I'm not already married to someone else so what is the big deal. I am grateful I live in a country that allows me to get married with barely any effort or rules at all.

Then I remember my gay friends and family and hang my head in shame.


I live in a society which believes a law forbidding gay people from getting married is justified. I live in a society where we deny a group of people rights which the rest of the population can have without question. And I am guessing you too live in a society just like mine.

What does this teach our children? When we as a society say that gay people getting married is wrong, we are saying that being gay is wrong and thus the person is somehow wrong. I have two children. I want them to know that persecuting someone because of who they are is unacceptable. I want them to grow up in a society where it is okay to be who God made them. I want them to be able to marry whoever they want. I don't want them to feel like less of a person because of who they are. I have spoken with parents who have gay children. They have the same dreams for their children that I have for mine. And yet, their children are persecuted for being who God made them and they can't get married to the loves of their lives. As a parent, this makes me so sad. As a human being, this makes me even sadder.

Why do we allow this to go on in our country? We do allow it, don't be mistaken. We could change it if we wanted to. Think for a moment, those of you who are married, if you woke up tomorrow and you discovered your marriage was no longer valid. That the marriage you had worked on and nurtured and fought for was suddenly taken from you and considered by society to be wrong. Wouldn't it make you mad? Wouldn't you just wonder why? Wouldn't you fight to keep it?

My name is Natasha Sharp and I believe in marriage. It's not about supporting gay marriage, it's about supporting marriage between two people who love each other and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, regardless if they are straight or gay. There is an election soon. There are candidates vying for your votes. Your vote can make a difference so think about who you are voting for and what they stand for. If this is an issue for you, then study which parties are prepared to do something about this. If you can't find out, call your electoral offices around the country and ask. We as a society are in charge of what laws we have. That's the whole point of democracy. We as a society have made gay marriage illegal. Only we can change it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

From guest writer Chris!

My friend Chris volunteered to write a blog for me. It has triggered me to think about what I am planning to do in regards to this election and I urge you to have a read of this before you vote!

Also if anyone else is feeling like blogging, drop me a line!

I have always been of the opinion that there are two topics that are off limits at social occasions – religion and politics – but recently I feel the both are becoming more accepted as legitimate topics to discuss at a BBQ or even a wedding. I’m not sure that I am comfortable discussing these topics with acquaintances or people I am meeting for the first time, particularly when their approach is the hard sell as to why all other political parties (or religions for that matter) are wrong. At the earliest pause in the conversation I’ll slip away “to grab another drink” and may just happen to bump into someone else.
So why then do you think it is a good idea to blog about this, you may be thinking. Well yesterday my wife forwarded me an excerpt from an agribusiness consultant’s newsletter which berated the Labour and Green parties by announcing their “terrible” policies. After being taken aghast by the bigoted comments contained in the email, I had strong feeling that the comments lacked any links to the policies of those two political parties. I did have to concede though, that I wasn’t familiar enough with the policies of the parties to be able to send a snotty self-righteous email to this consultant pointing out the short-comings in his research.
At that point, the light bulb came on and I had to stop and ask myself ‘why do I vote the way I do, if I don’t know the policies of the party/ies I support?’ Where do our ideas about democracy come from? Presumably when you are an impressionable teenager who has just turned 18, you vote the same way your parents do (if you get on well with them, or you vote for a party at the far end of the political spectrum to spite them, if relationships are strained). As we become more independent and more aware of the way the world turns isn’t it time we re-examine some of our fore drawn conclusions?
With that in mind I set about reading the key policies of the political parties I support (and some of the ones I don’t) establishing in greater detail the lay of the political landscape. Now, I admit it is not a quick process – nor would I expect something as complex as determining the economic and social policies of a country to be – but it was a useful one.
As I sit here writing this blog there are only 33 days until the election. I urge you to take a look at the policies of the party you are considering voting for, and perhaps some of the others. Make sure you believe in the policies that your party is proposing; this isn’t high school – it’s not a popularity contest. If all New Zealanders were informed voters and actively engaged in the political process New Zealand would certainly be a key player on the global stage.
So by channelling my anger at the consultant who shall not be named, into a more constructive outlet I now know what I am voting for. The added bonus is that if someone bails me up about politics as I am grabbing another beer out of the chilly bin I have some strong arguments and rebuttals at the ready – approach with care!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What your wife wishes you knew

I have been conducting an informal survey of wives and what they wish they could tell their husbands. This was triggered by a follower of my blog asking me to write on this topic. I asked a variety of wives from different ages, backgrounds and who have been married for various lengths of time and then collated the results. So this is for you and every other wife out there.

1. We get dressed up to go to the grocery store because sometimes that's the first time we have been out of the house in days.
This is particularly true for wives with small children. This time of our lives features a lot of t shirts, jeans, trackpants and pyjamas. Oh and body fluids that aren't our own. Sometimes we just want to feel pretty and for the rest of the world to view us as such. So yeah, we may take a while to get ready, and you might not mind going to the store in your crusty clothes, but we will feel better if you just let it happen without complaining.

2. Don't ask us where something is unless you have actually looked for it.
This was a comment made by almost every wife surveyed. There is nothing more irritating than having you ask us where something is when you haven't even looked. And not a man look, when you just open the fridge and expect it to jump out and bite you. Move things.

3. 'I invited people around and they will be here in an hour' makes us stressed.
This triggers a stress switch in our brains. There are key parts of our house that need to be cleaned before people show up, even if they are already clean by your standards. Also we will have to feed them which generally means cooking. And we will need to make ourselves look presentable. It doesn't matter who they are, these things need to happen and they take time. An hour is not enough time. Especially if you are arriving with them!

4.Comparing us to your mother is unfair.
According to the mothers surveyed this also annoys them. We are not your mother. Your mother is not us. It may result in us saying 'then move back with your mother'. But I have it on good authority they don't want you back.

5. Pick up after yourself.
Funnily enough, your socks magically making it back into your drawer clean and folded has many steps. Leaving them on the floor is not one of these steps. If you need to know the steps, ask by all means but learn fast.

6. Appreciate us.
This isn't about grand gestures or even giving us stuff (although stuff is good) this is just about telling us you appreciate what we do. It may seem small to you, but it's big to us. We are compliment vampires that can continue to do mundane things purely if we are appreciated.

These are just the common ones that I have heard from the surveyed wives. Please tell me ones you think should be included. I'll add them here if you comment on Facebook (where most of the commenting takes place!). Also if there is a husband who would like to contribute a blog about what husbands wish they could tell their wives let me know!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

There is a new sheriff in town

In every household there are rules. They may vary, but everyone lives by some sort of guidelines. I have been thinking about the rules in our household after a day of complete mutiny carried out by my two little monkeys. They are both at that stage where they have realised they have free will. Oh it is exciting times in the Sharp household (she says while twitching involuntarily). There are rules I never thought would be needed but oh how naive I was. So here are some of the unusual guidelines of my household for your entertainment. By the way, these are also rules for the adults in the household too.

1. Whinging will not get you what you want. In fact it is going to make me dig in my heels and definitely say no because whinging will not be rewarded. You are more likely to get something if you ask nicely and say please.

2. We eat food. Not sand, paint, dirt, rocks, paper or anything else that is not food. When I have lovingly cooked you dinner and you are full on sand, it makes me twitch.

3. The cat has fur and does not need clothes regardless of what they portray on Shrek. After I have warned you about this more than once, if you get scratched, that's on you.

4. Rubbish goes in the bin. This is not a Viking dining room where things are thrown over the shoulder with great merriment. It makes me feel anything but merry.

5. Please keep your clothes on during daylight hours. It freaks people out when they arrive for a cup of coffee or to drop off something and there are half naked people running around.

6. When you go to my work, it is impolite to ask my boss if she is 'one of the old people'. It is also impolite to refer to an old lady in a wheelchair as the 'lady in the buggy'.

7. When I am on the phone, don't bug me with things that can wait. I am talking to someone else and it is rude to interrupt for things that are not important. It will be quicker if I can say what I need to say without interruption.

8. The supermarket is not a free for all. Whatever you put in the trolley needs to be paid for and we can't have everything. If we don't pay, we get in trouble. And I am not running from the law over a pack of chips.

9. When we need to be somewhere at a certain time, that time is not a guideline. So when I tell you to be ready by a certain time, HAVE EVERYTHING READY and HELP EACH OTHER GET READY. People always judge the mother if you are late or shoeless.

10. No matter what your father says, waking me up by jumping on me screaming 'MUMMY MUMMY MUMMY' is not endearing. In fact it may result in crazy Mum appearing.

What are some weird and wacky rules you have in your household?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That's PARANOIA!

I probably should admit two things at the beginning of this blog.

Firstly, I am writing to avoid doing the housework. There seems to be a never ending amount of cleaning and tidying that needs to be done and right now I am choosing to ignore it because the thought of having to tidy the house for the 10th time today (no exaggeration) is making me want to scream.

Secondly. I am a rather paranoid person. I know this and I know some of them are weird. But through sharing some of the crazy in my head, maybe I can become a bit less paranoid.

Welcome to the crazy mind of Tasha Sharp. Please fasten your seatbeats and keep all pointing and laughing to a minimum. Here is the weird paranoid section of my crazy brain...

When I work on night shift at the rest home I worry when I am walking around the complex alone that people will break in and I will have to protect everyone. This has resulted in me carrying my torch like a baton and thinking to myself that I will be able to beat them with it. I know this is unrealistic as the place is like Fort Knox and also I am kinda little so chances are I would be as effective as a bikini for an Eskimo, but the fear is there.

When my husband is away overnight, I sleep with a bat next to the bed for similar reasons as stated above. Seriously, where did all this crazy break in paranoia come from?

A man left a bag outside the check in area at the airport and walked away for about 5 minutes and I was SURE he was trying to blow up the airport. It turns out he was just helping his friends with their luggage but still I had considered running and screaming from the building. Not reporting the bag, no that would be embarrassing if I was wrong, but running and screaming seems WAY more logical.

When my sister's credit card didn't work online when we were ordering pizza and the pizza place asked for her credit card over the phone, I freaked out. In fact I had to resist grabbing the phone and yelling at the poor pizza person about WHY they wanted all that information and would we get a receipt and surely they didn't NEED all the details of the card. I know that they just needed us to pay for the pizza and it was way more convenient, but didn't stop me acting like a crazed lady.

I will go for a walk at night by myself around our street but will not go into the garage in the dark in case there is a crazed murderer in there. Because obviously the most logical place for a crazed murderer is in my messy, cold garage. This also goes for public toilets after 5pm. Yes even in summer.

After watching 'Toy story 3' I was so worried that one of my son's toys would feel abandoned that I hunted for two hours for it. And I feel worse if it is one of the toys from the movie. The rational part of my brain knows this is ridiculous but if you have seen that movie you will understand.

And my craziest paranoia?

I have a zombie apocalypse plan. And have had one since 2002. I didn't have a natural disaster plan until after the Christchurch earthquake but am pretty convinced zombies are a real possibility. And we will be ready.

Yes I know I am crazy. But at least I'm not paranoid about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When cellphone users go bad

My cellphone is broken. It had a horrible encounter with a glass of water and my two year old and now is broken. I am getting it repaired but for now I am out of the cellular world. And the funny thing is that I don't actually care. It may be different if I didn't have a landline and Facebook but not having a cellphone is not bothering me in the slightest.

This lack of cellular contact combined with going out and about with various visitors over the past fortnight has allowed me to observe from the outside the crazy places and ways people use their cellphones. So sit back, relax and enjoy.

I was at the airport on Saturday and needed to go to the toilet. Imagine my surprise when a lady walked into the toilets and was talking on her cellphone, then walked into a stall and KEPT TALKING! After I had thrown up a little in my mouth I started laughing so much that people were concerned. WHY WOULD YOU TALK ON YOUR CELLPHONE WHILE GOING TO THE TOILET?! I cannot think of a single instance where a conversation could not wait until I was out of the toilet. And what about the poor person on the other end? There are things you don't need to share with your family and friends!

I was buying coffees on Saturday (before the traumatic toilet incident) and there was a man ordering food while talking on his phone. This was holding up the line and was making me angry. Talking on your phone and treating check out people like crap by using hand gestures and grunts is RUDE! What could be so important that the conversation could not wait while you ordered your food? I'm thinking that if it was that much of an emergency that maybe food should be the last thing on your mind. And think about the other people that are waiting while you talk on your phone! Step aside and let the polite people use their words to order!

I am not sure if this is a new thing or not but why do people scream in their phones? I thought this was just reserved for old people (Nana Ross used to do this and it was endearing) but I have noticed people of all ages doing this. The most annoying places are on public transport because you can't escape. I have learned more about random strangers than I know about my own husband. There are some things that should be texted or not spoken about. Please don't scream down your cellphone about your latest conquest on the bus. Think of the children!

And my personal favourite?

I was at the mall the other day eating McDonalds and saw a group of adults all sitting around a table. The funny part? They were all on their phones! What a way to connect with people! I have an aversion to people talking on their phone while eating. Unless there is an emergency don't talk on your phone while you are meant to be talking with real living people. I'm sure that if I was at that table and wasn't talking on my phone I would feel incredibly left out.

Technology has allowed us to keep in contact with people we would otherwise not be able to contact without a significant time delay. But I wonder if cellphones have actually made us ruder as a people? We seem to have forgotten basic manners (don't talk on the toilet, sharing your personal life with a busload of people is a bit skanky, ignoring people is rude etc) and have become somewhat isolated in our own little technology worlds. Also some things can wait! Instant contact isn't necessary. It is handy if there is an emergency but honestly how many things can't wait until you are somewhere appropriate to be conducting a private conversation?

So let me know what is your craziest cellphone story?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Things I wish I knew at 25

Recently I have been getting asked a lot for advice. This has gotten me thinking about what I wished I had known between the ages of 16 and 25. So instead of just mulling over this in my own mind, I thought I would blog about it and we could all share what we wished we had known when we were younger.

1. Work hard at university
Although I worked very hard through school and got great grades, once I got to uni, things went a little pear shaped. Apparently not attending classes and partying a lot means you probably are not going to graduate. At the time this did not seem like a big deal because I decided I didn't want to be a teacher anyway, but now working for just above minimum wage while trying to support two kids, the partying and wagging class were really not worth it.

2. Some guys are just losers and they will not change
No matter what romantic comedies teach you, a guy will not change. A great test I learned later on in life was that you can judge a guy by how he treats his mother. So if he treats his mum like crap, then guess how he's gonna treat you. However if he treats his mother with respect, then you are in luck. And no matter how much you want them to, YOU CANNOT CHANGE THEM! And don't listen to those stories about how some guy used to be a loser then he met the right girl and now he's amazing. Yeah it happens but so does snow in Wellington. It's the exception not the rule.

3. What others think of you is sometimes important
Notice I said sometimes. If a random person thinks you are a horrible person, then that doesn't matter. It doesn't affect your life in the slightest. But there will be people in your lives whose opinions matter. This doesn't mean you should change who you are to fit their expectations, however sometimes (again I say sometimes) they may have a point. If it is coming from a place of love, then at least listen to it.

4. There comes a point when you have to be responsible
I think most people go through an experimental stage (otherwise known as a speed bump to becoming a grown up). Whether this is drugs, smoking, drinking, random dancing on police cars etc most people do something that they look back on and shake their heads in embarrassment. This only becomes a problem when it doesn't stop. By all means live your life, but if you are getting to the point when all your friends are settling down with careers, studying, kids, marriage etc and you are still out every night living the vida loca, then maybe it's time to look a little deeper.

5. When you have kids, some of your friends will disappear
I really wish someone had warned me about this one. Again, romantic comedies LIED to me. This isn't necessarily because your friends don't care about you anymore, it's more because you are at a completely different stage in your life. Your world is consumed by a small person (or people) who is incredibly demanding. This makes maintaining friendships hard. Thank God for Facebook or I would never talk to some of my friends! But there is a silver lining. When they start having kids, they may make their way back. But at the beginning, realise a lot more changes than just having to buy nappies at the supermarket.

6. You are not as fat as you think
I realised this when I was 8 months pregnant. I had taken my little waist for granted. Oh the clothes I could have worn! But seriously, you are not as fat as you think. And, unless you have to be removed from your house by a crane, no one is judging you by how much you weigh. And if they are, they are random people and see bullet point three. Love your body and value what you have.

7. Your parents are not always right
In the end you have to make the decisions for your life that may contradict your parents views. They may not like it, and in some cases may not be able to get over it, but (unless you are Buddhist) you only get one life. You have to live it as you see fit.

8. Foundation comes in lots of shades
Yep. AND if you don't pick the right shade, it looks gross. When the lady in Farmers says 'can I help you?' say YES! Or get a mother in law like mine who is a wealth of knowledge in this department.

9. Everyone is a little weird, it's not just you
This was a huge revelation to me. I always assumed I was some freak of nature that was TOTALLY unique. Nope. I am just as messed up as everyone else. Everyone has their quirks. Also everyone's families have quirks too. Compare notes sometime with a friend. You are not as weird as you think.

And my last thing I wish I had known,

10. ALWAYS close your curtains before you have a shower
This is in case you have to make a mad dash to the dryer to grab a towel or the phone rings or your child wakes up. The time that you don't is the time the MP for your area shows up at the door and then RUNS for the gate. You have been warned.

Please share your advice here! I would love to hear it :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

When society doesn't care

Today, in Wellington, an 88 year old man was found dead in his council flat and it is believed he had been dead for over a year.

Let that sink in for a minute.

For a WHOLE YEAR a man lay dead in his council flat and NO ONE noticed?! How does that happen? I work in Aged Care and so when I hear about cases like this, I take it personally. I get angry, I rant and I rave. And then I wonder WHY? And today I got my answer from reading through some facts that I would like to share with you.

1. The Wellington City Council is meant to check on it's elderly residents once a year. Even if this procedure was followed (which it wasn't) how is once a year a reasonable amount of time between visits to people who are vulnerable and when it is known that they have no family? And the only time they go around outside of this yearly check? When they haven't paid their bills. Now while the caring part of me would like to believe this is because it could be an indicator that something is wrong, the realistic part of me knows that it's purely financially driven.

2. This has happened before, not once but several times before. According to the Dominion Post, in 1999, Wellington police called for the council to check regularly on tenants after several cases in which the bodies of elderly people were not discovered for some time. So in 12 years, there has not been a review of the policy? This has happened several times and the council is not taking responsibility for the welfare of those who live in their flats, even when the police recommended it?

3. Mr Clarke (the 88 year old man in question) had lived in his flat for 30 years. How did no one in that complex notice he had not been to his mail box to collect his mail, or been seen pottering to the grocery store or noticed he hadn't opened his curtains for a year? While the council is at fault, I am astounded that none of his neighbours noticed he hadn't been out of his flat for a year. Did they not know he even existed?

So why did no one notice this poor man was dead until a year later? Because we just don't care about each other. Wellington City Council doesn't care about your well being until you stop paying your bills or your yearly visit is due. Your neighbours may not even notice if you don't open your curtains or collect your mail for a year. We are a society of people that are so insular that we have forgotten to watch out for each other.

We can hide behind the idea that people don't want to be bothered by busy bodies making sure they are okay, but consider the alternative. I would rather have someone call me once a week to check I was okay than be found dead after a year. It is not an 'unnecessary intrusion', as was described by Wellington City Council Social Portfolio Leader Stephanie Cook. And how long does a phone call really take? Considering that these people have paid taxes, the least we can do is call them to make sure they are okay.

Those were my recommendations for us as neighbours. Here is my recommendation for Wellington City Council.

Review your policy. A year is an insult. You have been told by the police and the several dead bodies found long after death that this needs to happen and you have ignored it. Either you are lazy or you don't care. Take your pick. But don't you dare let one more person die in your flats only to remain there unknown for months. And Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, this is not just 'very sad'. It is a travesty. And it is one you need to make sure never happens again.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When to walk away

This blog has been a long time in the making. I have been trying to find a delicate way to write it, but have failed miserably so I have decided just to write uncensored and see what comes out. I do not apologise for my viewpoint, but I do apologise if people are offended or hurt for what I need to say.

Recently I have been faced with hypocrisy. People who, to the outside world, present themselves one way, but then, in their own personal dealings with their peers, behave in a completely contradictory way.

I am a person of bluntness. I am one of those people who you will always know where you stand with me. I would much rather know that a person didn't like me, or what I did than live in a fairy world where I thought everything was okay when, in reality, it wasn't.

I am also a person of honesty. My life is an open book, good, bad or otherwise. I have always believed that if you make mistakes, you should own them. I have made MANY! But I own them. And this is where my issue with hypocrisy begins.

I have had a few instances recently of people being hypocritical. People who have portrayed to the outside world a view of love and family being important, while, in reality, have done things which are to the contrary. While this has hurt, it has left me wondering why. Why would you do that to people you profess to love? Why would you do that to anyone for that matter? It has left me with a feeling of not only confusion, but has challenged the beliefs I have held for most of my life.

In case you haven't figured out by now, I believe in God. I am reluctant to say I'm a Christian, because I don't go to church and some of the dogmatic views of religion I believe are not what God means. But that is for another time. The one belief I have always maintained is forgiveness. Everyone stuffs up. Everyone hurts someone at some point in their lives, whether they mean to or not. Humans are imperfect. So I have always believed in forgiveness and second chances. People have been gracious enough to forgive me and give me a second chance, and I want to do the same.

I am now struggling with this belief.

Is there a time when you can't forgive anymore? Is there a time when the hypocrisy is too overwhelming, that continuing to forgive means you are actually excusing their behaviour?

I work in a facility where I constantly work with people with mental illnesses. These people can be challenging, and sometimes rather brutal. Yet these people are not in control of their actions or words, so it is easy to forgive them for these actions. But when people in my life behave in this manner constantly without having any impediment, it does start to make me wonder how long grace should be offered to them.

As I have blogged before, I refuse to complain about people and their actions on the Internet. So if you are waiting for a specific example with names, then you shall be waiting some time. But in saying that, when communication breaks down, when you have tried everything to sort out the colossal mess, is it okay to just walk away? By nature I am a person who likes to resolve things. This is not always a positive thing because it does mean that all the ugliness is out there, but at least it isn't sitting in the background festering.

So my blog readers, what do you think? Is there a time to walk away, leaving things unresolved? Is it okay to not forgive? How do you deal with those people in your lives that just make you wonder why you continue to have them in your lives?

Monday, July 4, 2011

The things that matter

Today I logged on to read another blog (that shall remain nameless). It's a parenting blog and, as a parent, I like to see other people's views about parenting and what lessons they have learnt along the way.

I have already blogged about my distaste for parenting blogs which constantly trot out the question 'which is better: staying at home or working?'. After despairing about this on Facebook, it was suggested I write a parenting blog instead.

So for your reading pleasure, here is the tips I have gathered along the way. I am NOT an expert, so please keep that in mind before using me as a defense in a court of law.

1. You are going to get poo on you at some stage. Chances are that you will notice, but get into the habit of completing a body check (similar to a mole map) before you leave the house. People tend to respond with loud shrieking and potential fainting if they notice poo on you.

2. 'Because I said so' is an entirely acceptable response. Explaining for an hour why your child cannot have the screwdriver to 'play with' (which is code for terrorise the cat with) is a waste of time. Explain what you can, but don't feel like everything is a negotiation.

3. Time out is not just for children. Have a screaming pillow which you can scream into or bash at the wall (away from your children). Your kids are gonna make you angry. They are creative little beings who can see the potential of mixing milo and juice on the carpet before you do. Get a screaming pillow.

4. Don't dress your whole family in the same outfits. It makes you look weird and people will laugh at you. No matter what American TV has taught us, it is not acceptable behaviour.

5. Your children will repeat what you say. So when describing how much pain you are in after tripping over their toys AGAIN, use words that will make your kids sound like geniuses instead of potty mouthed sailors. My favourite? Aorta.

6. Kids are fascinated by the Discovery Channel. I don't really have anything to add here but I was kinda surprised by that.

7. Big birthday parties are a waste of time. Have little birthday parties with simple things so that you won't have to deal with the craziness of MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen in later years.

8. Don't read studies. They are usually out to fit a certain agenda. If you don't know something, ask a grown up you can trust who has kids. Or ask a bunch of grown ups with kids and get a general idea.

9. When you have kids, apologize to your friends who had kids before you for judging them. It always seems way easier until it's you who has been up all night with screaming kids, then at home all day with screaming kids and is feeding your kids WHATEVER THE HELL THEY'LL EAT for dinner so you can get them into bed and you can finally sleep.

10. Find a kindy you trust. There will come a time when they see you at less than your best and you will need their support. Also when your child refuses to wear anything else other than his new PJ's, it will make it a lot easier if you can all laugh about it.

11. Have food in your house you can eat with minimal preparation and is relatively good for you. There will be days you just need to reach into the cupboard and eat things directly from boxes. If all you have is cookies, this may result in your children mistaking you for Cookie Monster (especially if you eat like I do!)

12. Have one friend you can complain at. Someone you can ring and say 'I need to talk at someone'. Once the feeling has past, thank them so they don't think all you do is complain. Alternatively write a blog where you complain *AHEM*

13. Some parenting groups will suck. They will be full of parents who think their child is better than everyone else's. Their child isn't. In fact, their child is probably embarrassed by their parents. Find a group where the parents are clutching their coffees and running after their kids. These tend to be the more helpful groups.

14. No one wants to see your birth video. Actually, don't have a birth video. It's just weird and a little creepy.

15. When you have had a hard day, watch your children sleep for a bit. It will remind you that they do eventually sleep.


Right your turn! What is your most valuable parenting tip?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Clothes maketh the woman

Out of sheer boredom today, I went onto Stuff to see if anything interesting was happening in New Zealand at the moment. I have been boycotting Stuff since Chaz Harris' blog was cancelled, but thought I should quickly check out any major news in our great nation. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the top headline was 'MP kicked out for Highlanders shirt'. I will forgo discussing the issue of the media yet again reporting something which is so obviously not news and move on to discussing the issues that have been brought up from this non event.

Clare Curran was only ejected because she was a woman
I am at a loss to figure out how her being a woman has anything to do with her showing up to Parliament, her workplace, in a rugby jersey and being asked to leave. Is there sexism in Parliament? I believe there probably is so maybe it would be helpful for people to take their job seriously and not show up for work dressed like they have just finished gardening. I get angry when women play the sexist card when it is uncalled for. There are real instances of gender inequality in this country and for someone to play that card over something so ridiculous, it puts those with actual claims on the back foot. And, as Nana Ross would say, just because someone else shows up to Parliament wearing a rugby scarf, doesn't mean you should show up in a rugby jersey.


Curran was raising awareness to an important issue
Now I will admit I am a little rugby mad. Okay I am a full blown fanatic. But to describe the Highlander's change of kit as an important issue seems extremely far fetched, especially when the economy is in the toilet and our child abuse rate is still one of the highest in the Western world. This is not an issue for the government. This is an issue for talk back and bloggers. I would be deeply concerned if we as a nation thought that Parliament was a suitable forum for discussing what shirts our rugby players wore. I'm sure they could use their time better discussing how to cut down our $71.6 billion national debt.

There is not a clear enough description of what is normal business wear for women
I don't know about you, but I want the people who are in charge of spending my tax dollars to know the difference between business clothes and gardening clothes. My father in law to be has often spoken about 'casual Fridays' being the strangest New Zealand custom he has come across since he moved here from Scotland. No matter what job you are in, there is a level of dress that is expected. I have the ugliest uniform in the world, but it is practical for my job and I know if I turned up to work in anything else, I would be sent home WITHOUT PAY and told to come back to work in my work clothes. If Curran really doesn't know what is expected of her in regards to her attire, then maybe she shouldn't be making decisions that affect us all.

Although this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, I think it needs to be mentioned that our politicians represent us to the rest of the world. I want the rest of the world to view this country as a place that can be taken seriously in economic, political and social matters. I also want them to view this government as being a professional group of people who can make big decisions and doesn't need babysitting. When someone shows up to Parliament wearing a rugby jersey and has to be told it is inappropriate, I wonder how the rest of the world views us.

So I ask of the politicians of this country, please feel free to call your mother if you have trouble figuring out what to wear to work. I know my three year old often finds it difficult to figure out what to wear to kindy, so maybe your mum can help.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How feminism ruined my life

I always assumed I was a feminist. I believed that women should be equal to men and should have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to them. I still believe this. I am inspired by the women in history who fought for the freedoms we have today. I remember sitting in my history class as a teenager learning about these amazing women and believing I would have a voice and a choice due to all their hard work.

Now as a woman in her late 20's I believe that these same women would turn in their graves to see how we have butchered all their hard work.

Rewind to the generation before. Most mums did not have to work. Due to the campaigning and sometimes all out brawling of the feminists before them, mums had the option to work. But most were not under financial or social pressure to work. They had the freedom to choose. Being a mother was not easier then by any means. Mums still had to work hard to make ends meet, but somehow they managed.

Coming back to present day, most mums have to work. I don't believe that it's because we are less resourceful than the generation before us. I believe it has a lot to do with the fact that most basic items such as petrol, food and housing have sky rocketed, requiring two wages to get by. This means mums have lost the ability to choose, the very thing feminists fought for in the first place.

Obviously this is not just the fault of feminists. But somewhere along the way, feminism became skewed in such a way that it was expected that mums would want to work and thus it became the social norm of which policy has been derived from. So now mums are increasingly finding themselves under both financial and social pressure to work.

Do I believe that mums shouldn't work? Of course I don't. I believe mums should have the freedom to choose if they want to work or not. That is one of the fundamental beliefs of the feminist movement: women would have a choice in their lives. What I object to is mums being put into a position where they are forced to work just to provide the basic necessities a family needs.

Do I believe that people should have children they can't afford? Of course I don't. But I believe in a country as resource rich as ours, a family should be able to be supported on just one wage.

Another area where feminism has ruined my life is that I left home not knowing how to cook, clean or sew. I could write an essay, do long division and recite elements from the periodic table, but ask me to boil an egg or sew on a button and you were just out of luck.

Where men have become more domestic (in some households ;)), it appears women have almost been discouraged in learning these basic skills. The pendulum again has swung in the opposite direction. And while women have adapted from this lack of knowledge by discovering it for themselves (I googled 'how to roast beef' today), we have been let down by a ideology who believed we didn't need to learn these things.

Feminism was meant to liberate women. It was meant to give them the ability to be whatever they wanted to be. It was meant to give them a voice and it was meant to give them a choice. Somewhere along the way, this beautiful idea was ruined now meaning I, like a lot of other mums out there, work a full time job and google basic cooking instructions just to get by.

I will always be grateful to those women who sacrificed so much for the freedoms I have. But to those feminists who swung the pendulum too far in the opposite direction, assuming you knew what was right for all women, you have now become the reason we are increasingly having less of a voice and a choice.

And that's how feminism ruined my life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

How to raise a baby

Recently I have read a fair few articles about the best way to raise children. These include how to feed them, if you should stay home or return to work, should you immunise them and where they should sleep.

There is no greater stressor for parents than the thought that every action you make creates your child and who they will become. So when articles claim to know the best and only way to raise your children, parents tend to take notice.

The problem with this is these articles are sometimes not fact based, some not even mentioning a single credible study to prove their point. They are written with such fear mongering intent that all parents can do is read them and slowly start rocking in a corner believing they are solely responsible for their child's inevitable demise.

But wait, I have had a different thought.

Most parents want what is best for their children and make their choices accordingly. They listen to their common sense and credible advice and take great care of their children and their children grow up to be functioning, well rounded members of society.

Bottle fed or breast fed? Seriously, who cares? As long as the child is fed, does it matter? Do mothers really need to be made to feel bad because of how they feed their babies? Neither is going to hurt the child and both will help the child grow. So really don't harrass mothers about how they feed their babies. They are tired enough. And before people start talking about how breast is best, yeah it is. But if you can't breast feed, then bottle feeding is not the end of the world. And to people who think breast feeding is gross, really? Feeding a baby is gross? Grow up.

Working or stay at home mother? Some mothers have to work. It's called survival. Some mothers want to work. It's called freedom to choose. Some mothers want to stay home. It's called freedom to choose. Some mothers have to stay home. It's called survival. Either way, unless you are locking your child away in a cupboard, someone is looking after your child. They will know who their parent is. They will still love you. It's the decision of that family and that family alone. We shouldn't be making judgements on a family situation unless we are in that family situation.

The comments underneath some of these articles have prompted me to write this. There are some horrible people out there that need to learn to BACK OFF! There is an amazing difference between having an opinion and terrorising others about theirs. I have seen people be verbally abused for the way they raise their children when in all honesty they are doing a great job. When did people start believing that they could talk like that to others? Did they not have a mother?

Also the media needs to show some level of responsibility about what they choose to publish. Articles based on phony science that claim you will mess up your child if you don't do something or do something only encourage fear. Parents do not need more fear in their lives. They are responsible for a life and that is scary enough.

So to all the parents out there. Chances are high that you are doing a great job raising your children. Chances are they will look back on their childhood and smile. In the end, you can only do the best you can for your family. That's it.

Happy Mother's Day people out there. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Killing in the name of...

Most of today's news has been occupied by the death of Osama bin Laden yesterday. Many different perspectives have been discussed and a variety of topics have been brought to the surface by this event.

A topic which has reared its ugly head again is religious intolerance. This has been portrayed by the criticism of bin Laden's burial, celebrations on the streets in America praising God for the killing of bin Laden and even more anti Muslim feeling throughout the world.

Most of the world can agree that the events of 9/11 were horrible, no matter what religion you are or are not. As humans, that kind of mass killing triggers in us a sense of disbelief which leads to grief and anger. Bin Laden's role in these pointless killings made him one of the most hated people of our time. And I understand that. I think his actions are deplorable. What I don't understand, is how the actions of one crazy man with his small group of crazy followers led people around the world to persecute the Muslim people as a whole.

Killing in the name of Islam is wrong. Leaders of the Islamic faith have condemned this by saying this is not what Allah wants. They have stated that what these extremists are doing is misreading the Koran to justify their hatred of the West and the pointless killings they carry out. The West watched their televisions and saw a different picture. They were horrified at flags being burnt, celebrations of the events of 9/11 and support for bin Laden and his merry group of followers. This small group of extremists tarnished the Islamic faith as a whole in the minds of people around the world. There were mosques destroyed, people bullied and beaten in the streets and more overt 'profiling' of innocent people.

And yet 10 years later, Osama bin Laden is killed in Pakistan. And there are celebrations throughout the US. People are cheering on the streets with signs and balloons. Celebrations that resemble those we saw after 9/11 by Islamic extremists. Have we such a short memory? Is death really a cause for celebrating and cheering?

People are stating it was God's will that bin Laden died. They also believe that God is on our side. It sounds strangely familiar because I remember the extremists after 9/11 saying Allah was on their side. I don't know what Bible they are reading but mine states 'Thou shalt not kill'. Killing in the name of God is just as wrong as killing in the name of Allah. It's not the message and is just extremists finding justification for murder.

What the US did was a necessary action against a man that had left them no choice. But to celebrate the death of a person, no matter how evil is wrong. And to assume that there is no one that will replace him is naive. We live in a world where people carry out evil deeds. But blaming God, Allah or any religious group as a whole for these deeds is the height of naivety.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ridiculous news stories

We don't have television in our house. When I say television, I don't mean we don't have a television in our home. What I'm saying is that we don't have it linked up to receive television shows. Let's take a moment for that to sink in because I know for some of you this may be incredibly hard to fathom.

Right, shall we move on?

Due to this lack of television, I rely heavily on the Internet for my news. During the Christchurch and Japan earthquakes for example, I was metaphorically glued to my laptop for DAYS! The live feeds from around the world were incredibly useful in finding out what was happening.

There is a bad side to getting your news from the Internet though. I have discovered that apparently respected news providers have a very loose definition of what 'news' actually is.

While I realise that what people find 'news' is relative (take the royal wedding for example), there has to be a line about what is reported by mainstream media. Some things that have been reported recently have left me wondering why?

A phenomena that is rather creepy is a fascination with reporting on non celebrities. Those people in our world that haven't actually done anything, but are followed around and their lives are documented as if they were important to our daily lives. A news article recently reported that Paris Hilton's boyfriend was pushed outside court. Really? This is news? I got pushed in the supermarket yesterday but it didn't make the papers. Do people seriously care?

Another irritating trait of mainstream media is reporting on a hunch. The obvious example at the moment is will Prince William and Duchess Catherine's marriage last? This isn't news, this is a question that NO ONE could know the answer to. Not to mention incredibly rude since they have been married less than twenty four hours! And yet it is a story that makes it into mainstream media worldwide.

The one type of news story that makes me go GRRRR? Pointless research stories. These include research which claim if you don't have enough nutritious food to eat due to poverty you will be depressed, if you don't interact with your child they won't develop and my personal favourite parents with young children often don't go to the gym. Really people? We really didn't know all this already? How is this news? We should be researching things which are important and unknown or (now here's a thought) acting on the knowledge we have already gained and help improve society. But that is another blog entirely.

What would I like to see in my news? Coverage of local, national and international events which change the makeup of lives. I want to be informed. I want to be challenged. I want Judy Bailey back. But that again is another blog entirely.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Know me before you hug me

I am not a hugger. In fact I would go as far as to say I am possibly one of the least huggy people you will ever meet. I come from a family that does not hug unless someone has died, been born or has gotten married. Oh and if the All Blacks score. But that goes without saying really.

My in laws and adopted family and friends despair over my aversion to hugging. There have been many discussions about how hugging shows love, and how hugging is a source of comfort. Even after all these years, I still don't really get it. So when I found out my brother was marrying into a family of huggers, there was some fear and trepidation about the impending wedding day and the unavoidable hugs to follow.

Now don't get me wrong. My brother's in laws rock. They are pretty cool people who I have gotten to know over the past few months and consider them an extension of my own family. So when it came to hug time, I just sucked it up and hugged them (briefly). It was slightly traumatising and made me incredibly uncomfortable (and this is with people I like!) but it was their custom so I hugged these new members of our family.

After the required hugs were over, I breathed a sigh of relief. Until, from out of the blue, a random stranger grabbed me and HUGGED me! With no warning.

Apparently, saying 'get the hell off me' is not the appropriate response to someone hugging you at a wedding. Also describing this ambush (and I was ambushed) as bad touching is also viewed as slightly over the top.

Why do people feel compelled to hug me? I kind of understand people who are close to me wanting to hug me, but strangers? Why would someone want to hug a stranger?

This person at the wedding looked stunned when I didn't hug back. In fact they looked offended. But they weren't family, they weren't even someone I knew, so I told them 'I'm not a hugger'. Their response? 'Oh don't be silly, it's just a hug'.

As a hugging novice, I am guessing that hugging shows a degree of love. So it seems inappropriate for a stranger to hug someone because they don't have that level of intimacy with you. It's not just a hug. It's a sign of love.

I don't think I am a prickly person. I am generally a bubbly person who will talk your ear off if you let me. I just don't like being hugged. So my advice for you all from the non huggers of this world: know us before you hug us. Wait for us to initiate a hug. It will happen, just not as regularly as you huggers would like.

And if you are a stranger, don't hug me. Next time, the mace is coming out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Destiny's Child, you have inspired me

I have discovered something about myself over the past forty eight hours that I have suspected for some time.

I am the Facebook Police.

I stole this expression from my father in law. It is used to describe someone who feels obligated to monitor what people discuss over Facebook. Before you view me as a CRAZY stalker, maybe I should explain.

When I see people airing their dirty laundry over Facebook for all the world to see, I get cranky. There is something tacky about it that just rubs me the wrong way. However, the most surprising thing is this phenomena is no longer reserved for bitter teenage girls fighting over Twilight. It appears to be happening more and more among adults who should know better. Which has caused me to pose the question: Why?

I have always been a strong believer in confronting problems in person. While I can appreciate that some people find this intimidating, I find that a direct approach is much more effective, kind of like ripping off a Band Aid really fast. The problem with arguing over Facebook is that it draws the conflict out, sometimes for days. This creates even more tension and the initial issue often gets lost amongst the mud slinging.

The other major problem is everyone can see what you are discussing so you get them popping their two cents worth in which is often unhelpful as it drags in even more issues, taking even longer to resolve. Also, just as an issue is about to be resolved, a third party can jump in and the fight starts again.

But my major issue with people arguing over Facebook? It is there forever. You can delete it, you can kiss and make up, but it is always there in the vast expanses of cyberspace. The issue will never go away. This lessens any chance of resolution and, because it is a public forum, forces people to take sides, sometimes permanently.

So, in response to observing this time and again, I have become the Facebook Police. When I see people I care about brawling over Facebook, I have a somewhat unique way of expressing my distaste for what they are doing.

This is where Destiny's Child comes in.

In 2001, Destiny's Child released one of the greatest songs of all time, 'Survivor'. This is a great song on so many levels, but the one line that has changed my life for the better is 'I'm not gonna diss you on the Internet, 'cause my momma taught me better than that'.

So now, when people are fighting it out online, I quote Destiny's Child to them, sometimes repeatedly, for many, many posts. It is getting to the point where soon all I will have to do is type 'Destiny's Child' to them.

This is all from a place of love. I don't want you to hurt someone so badly that you may never get that friendship or family relationship back. I have seen this too much recently so I am begging you, next time you sit at your computer screen to type something confrontational ask yourself:

WWDCD? (What would Destiny's Child Do?)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Old people behaving badly

I am surrounded by old people. I live in a town where it's the place you go to retire. I work in a rest home. I am exposed to old people probably more than the average person. So let me share an insight with you.

Old people are incredibly rude.

Now before you all jump down my throat and tell me about all the wonderful old people you know, how old people fought for my freedom, how your Nana used to bake you and everyone around you cookies, realise I know those old people too (especially the last example!) and I love them!

What I want to expose is the dark side to old people, the hidden side that only a select few get to see.

There is a running joke in my industry that you know you work in a rest home when the most cutting thing that has ever been said to you is uttered by the tiny ninety year old woman in a wheelchair. Here are some actual real life examples of nasty things old people say to their caregivers and nurses:

'You must be such a disappointment to your family' (said when I mentioned I had been a caregiver for 10 years)

'You are so fat you need to stop eating' (said to my friend who is a size 14)

'I don't want a black nurse' (said to my Samoan friend)

'Just as well you are funny because you are ugly' (said to me when I laughed at HER joke)

The list could go on and is regularly added to by my friends and me after each shift and each outing to the supermarket. Do we take it personally? No. Do we wish it would stop? Sometimes.

Another example happened to me yesterday in a cafe. An old lady yelled at me to 'control my children' when my two year old squealed with delight at the lollipop given to him by the owner. I went over to the offending old lady's table and apologized TO HER! If she hadn't been old, I would have cussed her out so bad her head would have spun! But instead I felt like I had to be nice and not call her out on her rudeness. And yeah, I felt dirty doing it. But I was compelled to apologize. Why?

Why do we allow old people with complete mental competencies to be rude to us? Why do we excuse this behaviour as we would if they were a toddler with no concept of what they are saying? When does it become okay to say to an old person 'Don't be rude to me'? I'm actually starting to wonder.

Respect for old people is a good thing. Anyone who is cruel to an old person, be aware there is a special place in hell for you. But in saying that, I have always believed that respect is a mutual experience. I don't think it is okay to be treated badly by anyone who knows what they are doing. And yet, there appears to be exceptions.

The other question that could be asked is what makes old people become rude? When does the switch change when they lose all sense of what is and isn't appropriate to say? I'm assuming they haven't always been this way (as I am told regularly by embarrassed family members of my residents) so what happens?

I think there is a certain level of 'pack mentality' involved. This is obvious at meal times where I work. If one person starts to complain about the soup, everyone starts to complain about the soup. If one table gets served before another table, all hell breaks loose. And don't get me started if the tea isn't strong enough. It would give you nightmares.

I also think there is an attitude of 'Screw it I can't be bothered being nice anymore'. Theirs was a very suppressed generation who sacrificed a lot. I think they are just over it now. This is obvious from a lady in the supermarket who said to the checkout lady 'And why not?! I want THEM and I want THEM NOW!' when the checkout lady said they didn't have her brand of cigarettes.

Whatever the reason, the secret I give to you is that old people are ruder than you could possibly imagine. They are portrayed as loving, almost religious icons in their own right. But DON'T BE FOOLED. That's when they get you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

When the time does not fit the crime

Today I became a firm believer that sometimes justice just isn't served. There was an article on Stuff.co.nz which illustrated this perfectly. The article was about a Belgian bishop who abused his two nephews , one for thirteen years, and discussed his complete lack of remorse.

What struck me was when it described the punishment that he could face, the only punishment listed was he MAY be stripped of his priesthood, and even that was almost an afterthought at the end of the article. Also, this is after he has confessed on live television. Which made me wonder, why are some people apparently exempt from the laws that govern society?

This has been widely debated in many cases involving the Catholic church, where people's abuse of children was covered up and condoned for decades. I have always been under the assumption that there is a definite separation of church and state in most countries. Maybe I have been misinformed.

Before you think I am against the Church, I am not. I believe the church has done many good things for society, including helping the poor and disenfranchised within society. What I am against is a group of people being able to not be punished under the same law as everyone else.

It's not just churches where this is happening. There has become even more cases of celebrities behaving badly and getting away with it. Cases of drug abuse, domestic violence and other crimes which go unpunished and, by a cruel twist of fate, seem to make them more money.

So what makes priests and celebrities above the law? Why are they any different than you or I? Are we so blase about these groups of people that we condone child abuse, violence, theft and other crimes because of purely who they are? If that is the society we have become, then something is drastically wrong. Something which needs to be fixed now.

I have always believed that we, the people, have the say in what happens in our own backyard. We can trigger change and have done so before with things we have found unjust and unfair. So, as a society, have we accepted that there are groups in our society which are above the law? I would like to think not, but with example after example of people being let off for crimes, maybe we have.

So where do we go from here? How do we bring about change?

This would have to involve a chunk of society and they would need to be prepared to protest in person, in writing and through other mediums. They would need to be dedicated to bringing about a change which says 'everyone is to be treated the same by the law'.

I'm game. Are you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Things that make you go GRRRR

There are things in this world that just irritate me. Little things which, in the grand scheme of things, don't matter but annoy me anyway. So here are some of the top things that make me go GRRR!

Pyjamas in public
Pyjamas are a night time clothing you wear at home. They are not for wearing at the supermarket or at the mall in the middle of the day unless you are a child under 3 or an old person that is lost. I don't understand how people can look in the mirror and think 'Yeah all I need now are my keys and I'm ready to go!'. If you have the ability to make a conscious choice about what you wear, DON'T WEAR PYJAMAS! It's not a fashion choice, it just makes you look like an escaped patient from a hospital.

YOUSE
This is not a word. It is 'you'. It can be a plural or a singular word. I heard this recently in a presentation given at my work. The woman was very articulate but kept saying 'youse'. I don't think I heard anything in the presentation because I was too busy twitching to the point where a nurse asked me if I was having a fit. So unless you are talking about sheep, the word is 'you'.

Doctors who don't listen to mothers
I know there are some mothers out there that are (for lack of a better word) just crazy when it comes to their kids, but the majority of mothers know when their kid is sick. They know intricate details of their child that no one else could know. So when a doctor dismisses you, then words are going to be said, most which are better said away from little ears. We are often sleep deprived zombies at this time after dealing with our sick kid and not listening to us is not wise for your health. We don't want to be there. We would rather be anywhere else actually because doctor's surgery's are usually full of other sick people (surprising I know) and we don't want to see anymore sick people than the ones we have to deal with. So just check our child and we will be on our way. But check the child at least. Because if you don't, we will be back and will be looking for your blood.

Sitting on tables
Not only is this culturally unacceptable in this country, it is GROSS! Think for a moment of what gets in contact with your clothes. Would you want that on your food? I think not. There are chairs for this reason. It's just laziness. So get your bum off the table and sit on the MANY chairs in the room. Or sit on the floor. I don't care just don't sit on my table!

Weight bigots
People who feel it is perfectly acceptable to say 'You are so skinny!' irritate me. People who feel it's okay to say 'You look disgusting and should eat something' bring out the crazy in me. People are skinny. People are fat. That's none of your business. They shouldn't need to justify it, they shouldn't need to be embarrassed by it, they should be able to walk down the street and not be harassed by strangers about their weight. That's what family and doctors are for.

Kid haters
My children are loud. Actually my children are often beyond loud. But they are generally happy little individuals who just like to talk at a level more suited to a rock concert. People who stare and complain about children in the supermarket or in a cafe annoy me. They have a right to be there too. If there was a switch that would make them quieter, trust me the parent would have not only found it by now but would have used it. If you want to shop in peace, do your shopping online. If you want a coffee without hearing 'The wheels on the bus' at full volume, don't go to a cafe near a playgroup at 10 o clock in the morning. And be aware that approaching an already stressed out mother and complaining about her child may result in you being beaten to death with a cucumber.

And my number one grr thing....


Early morning joggers
I often start work at 7 o clock in the morning. There is something incredibly irritating about seeing people smiling and voluntarily jogging at 6 o clock when you would rather be in bed. Especially when it is raining and cold. That kind of happy can only be tolerated at a more godly time. Now while this may seem like a rather bizarre and overly critical thing to find irritating, keep in mind that it is dark at this time and these joggers often don't wear bright clothing and just jump out in front of cars. After you have slammed on your brakes and had a mild heart attack, there is nothing more irritating than someone smiling at you and proceeding to jog away. It brings out the crazy in me.

I accept that I am a cranky individual. Small things in the world annoy me, but don't be mistaken, big things in the world annoy me too. And I will be writing about those too. Please share with me the things that annoy you. I may be one of those things and that's fine. But get them out there! Too often we are expected to be happy and balls of sunshine all the time and this is not healthy. Things get done by angry, fed up people. So this is a place where you can wave your cranky flag without people telling you to cheer up (another grr thing). So wave your cranky flags proudly!