Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's exciting when you're five!!

See that pumpkin? We don't have any of those this year. It's Halloween night here in NZ. The sky is dark, the moon is up, the witching hour has well and truly begun.

Our friends back in Canada have been gearing up for Halloween Parties rife with drunken debauchery. Their children have no doubt been outfitted with appropriate costumes (or inappropriate, it seems, if they are over the age of about 12), and have begun wandering the neighbourhoods, knocking on doors with bags that get larger by the year, collecting anything that people are willing to hand out (we had a can of tuna one year. Um, thanks?). Houses and yards will be decorated with the spookiest of ghoulies and ghosties. Things will jump up and shout "BOO!", people will scream and laugh, and fun will be had by all. Our old school is even having a Halloween dance.

What are we doing?

Sweet fuck all.

Welcome to a (minor...I'll admit..very minor) downside to our new country. I've always known that this night was primarily a North American thing, but it wasn't until this week that I realised the full extent of that. Sure, there are costumed in the shops - about two racks of them. There is even bags of candy to be had for doling out to the munchkins that come a knockin'. But you know what? It just doesn't seem to be done.

*sigh*

While I respect the cultural differences, the alternative celebrations that happen, and even the missing "holidays"....it does make me sad to think that it could be years before we have a "real" Halloween again. (It should probably also be a long time before I put anything in "" again, yes?)

I should probably mention though, that while we are tad despondent about the loss of our candy coated eve of fun, we are still enjoying ourselves. We never really kept the candy anyway. We told the kids that there was a Halloween Fairy who could only stay healthy by eating tons of sweets. So, the kids would trade all but a few pieces of their stash for a gift from the fairy. It gave them something they'd wanted for awhile, and gave Hotty Hubby enough chocolate to keep him busy for a year a week.

Tonight there were fireworks. The gathering and fun began at 6 p.m. as a sort of fundraiser for one of the local schools. Another disappointment for the spawnlets when I informed them I had work, thus doing away with any hope of a trip down there.

Fear not dear kiddies, mummy is awesome (like there was any doubt?!). One of the greatest things about this town is that it is relatively flat. Because of this, I was pretty sure we could see the fireworks from our house. By the time they started the kids had been in bed for over an hour....it's Spring here and getting darker later.....so we woke them up, wrapped them in a blanket and perched them on top of our car in the driveway to watch the lights.

It was peaceful, it was fun, they enjoyed themselves and it was free. No money spent on candy, no costumes that they wear once and then we donate to the thrift store, no one knocking on my door til all hours.

The only thing that marred the fantasticness (it's a word dammit. Stupid spell checker) was the asshole down the road. Our neighbours two houses over also had the idea of coming out into the driveway to watch the fireworks, and had a friend with them.

Asshat (definition: someone with their head so far up their own ass, they are wearing it as a hat) was so drunk that he was doing his best to .... well I'm not sure what he was trying to do. Every time the kids oohed or aahed over the fireworks, he'd say "It's not THAT great". Every time they laughed, he'd tell them "It's not that funny" or "Are you laughing at ME?!".

The last time he said "Geez, it's not that exciting" I'd had about enough. I had a whole slew of profanities I was willing to throw at him, but I'm told that in the company of people under a certain age, this isn't necessarily appropriate. Instead I had to resort to "It's exciting when you're FIVE". I wish I could say that shut him up, but it didn't. However, I'm pleased to report that the kids started coming up with their own retorts.

Ahhhhhhh....I'm raising them well.

Happy Halloween to you all. Now, send me some candy!!


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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Some views of our little piece of NZ




For more Wordless Wednesday pics that are even better (like, duh!) than these...check out WORDLESS WEDNESDAY.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

All I need now is a cape......

Three years ago, I came up with the bright idea that seeing as I had sat on my ass and/or slept through my last two years of high school (it was a boarding school...thanks folks!), and then decided that there was no need for me to go to university even if I could have despite my poor grades, that I would go back to school. So, as a "mature student" (no better way to give yourself an ego boost at 27 than to suddenly have to declare yourself mature), I entered the local community college to be trained as a Legal Secretary. 9 months later, I had graduated with a piece of paper that I could have printed myself at home, and had a job at a local law firm. Yay for me right? Sure, if you don't mind having to work for a total asshat. There were two partners in the firm - Timid Tommy and Pompous Ass Pete. P.A.P (yes, the initials are appropriate. He was as invasive as one) was a jackass and ultimately my reason for quitting. There was just so many times I was willing to let him scream in my face. Y'know...pride and all that crap.

Flash forward to present day and I'm not only in a new country, but in a new industry altogether. I am what is known so lovingly as a "Community Support Worker". I make the rounds of all the blue hairs in town and take care of them. Not since working at Motel Mayhem have I met such interesting and ...um... well let's just leave it at that shall we?

So I thought, just for kicks, I'd introduce a few of my old dears to y'all. Are you up for that? Of course you are! (Like you had a choice. Puh-lease!) With just a snap of my sexy rubber gloves, I can make an 80 year woman shed her clothes in about 10 minutes flat. Stripping has never looked so wrinkly!


Picture lifted from Daily Mail thru Google Images

First up...we have "The Lady on the Floor" (as dubbed by Girl Spawn once I explained I couldn't give her actual names). From the very first day I met her, the LOTF had me laughing and rolling my eyes all at the same time. A diabetic who could barely walk because of her sore legs, LOTF had me serving her every whim for an hour or more every morning. Yes, every morning. Within the first week, I arrived to find her neighbour standing at her front door looking at me and tapping his watch. Apparently he was annoyed that instead of my normal 10 minutes early, I was only on time. Seems she was the floor. She flatly refused to press the button on her medic alert bracelet, preferring instead to test my strength by having me lift all 170 pounds of her now dead weight. This happened at least every two days for the first two weeks until I ordered her to stay in bed until I arrived in the morning. My mistake. Those latex gloves up there? I have a plastic apron to match. I wish I had smell resistant mask. A week after ordering her to stay in bed and wait for me, I got there to find she had indeed waited for me....covered in what appeared to be explosive diarrhea. I do not have the strongest gag reflex in the world. For that morning though, I became the superhero AWE (Ass Wiper Extraordinaire!).

Like any good set of instructions, this also included the requisite "rinse and repeat". Not my most fun month.


Next up is "Moaning Minnie". In her 90s, I have no doubt that she has earned every moan, whine and bitch that comes flying out of her mouth but it can get as tiring as ass wiping sometimes. MM will continually refer to her care workers, myself included, as "you people". Thanks to her age, she sometimes has difficulty remembering which of us is actually in her house and for the entire hour I am there, it is entirely possible that I will listen to bitching about myself. Thankfully, her worst complaint thus far seems to be that I didn't shower her for long enough. Sorry Minnie, when the water starts getting cold and I can't tell where your wrinkles end and mine begin, shower time is over.

Last up, for today anyway, are "The Grumpersons". One of my most unpleasant couples to visit, I will be grateful when my time with them is done. It started with the anger over un-ironed sweatpants and underwear (complete with skid marks still in place), carried on through "the bedspread isn't straight! That flower should be 20 inches from each side of the bed" and finished with how I had moved Mr. G's slippers 2 inches to the right and thus he could no longer stand to have me in the house as I clearly didn't know "what the hell [I] was doing!" Hey Mr. G, I have an idea. Why don't you take your slippers and shove 'em?!


Though I whine about the LOTF and Moaning Minnie, they're really quite awesome gals and I look forward to going to see them. Not so much the Grumpersons. I will continue to stock my purse with snappy gloves and aprons and hope that someone finds me a cape. All I ask is that the letters A. W. E. be sewn on the back of it. After all, how else would anyone know me?

ASS WIPER EXTRAORDINAIRE!!!

Picture from Tasty Infidelicacies through Google Images

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's getting hot in here,....so do something about it.

**Warning...this post may be significantly longer than I normally drone on for. I forgive you, in advance, if you decide to take a nap part way through. But please, pull up a chair, get comfortable, crack a beer...and join me in my thoughts**

Something we hear a lot about these days is "Climate Change". And that, my dear peeps, is the subject of Blog Action Day 2009. I took part last year, so when the topic was announced for this year, I was excited. A chance to brush the dust off the soapbox and stand tall and proud and make you all listen to my opinions. Please don't be shocked my darlings. I know that this is highly unusual for someone as meek and mild as myself, but I feel that at least once a year it is necessary.

To quote Nelly for a moment - "It's gettin' hot in here, so take off all your clothes". Is it just me or is that what other people have wanted desperately to do for much of the last few summers? It was one thing when I was pregnant, I attributed it to the kid that I was so lovingly carrying into the middle of the summer (something I will continue to guilt them for in the years to come. It's my duty as a parent no?), but it is quite another now that they're too old to blame for things like that. Winter is getting harsher in certain parts of the world with buckets of snow being dumped on places that would not ordinarily have to deal with things like that. Spring brings heavy rains and flooding.

Samoa was just hit with an earthquake and at least one tsunami. Vanuatu was hit with SEVEN earthquakes, all over 6.5, on the same day. Those earthquakes caused more tsunamis. (Those are both islands in the Pacific down near me, for you geographically challenged folks). We've had hurricanes and tornadoes, temperatures so hot that everything dries out and wild fires start, and temperatures so cold that people are dying in their houses.

But why is it all happening?

Image from Natural News

The simple answer is this: - WE are why it is happening. Us dumbass humans down here on the earth pretending we know better than everyone else and ignoring any advice that is given to us. Every day we hear more about how bad it is getting and what we can do to change, but how many of us really do anything productive? Not enough of us, that's for sure.

Everytime we plug something in and use it, we cause greenhouse gases. Everytime we get in our car, because we're too lazy to get off our asses and walk, we add to the gases in our environment. All that crap that we throw out instead of recycling or composting? It's putting tons of methane out there. The heat pump that helps keep my house warm, the air conditioner that helps us from melting into a puddle in the summer...they both contribute. The chemicals we use to clean our houses, the factories that make our toys and clothes, the products we use in our hair and on our faces. Everything that we do, affects our planet in some way.

Yeah ok, most of the things you do are pretty small on their own, so what damage could they possible be causing? But when you add all of us together, it's a problem.

So what can we do?

Stumped? I was too. I actually had to go searching on the internet about what we wee pleebs can do to help make the planet healthier and better for our children and their children and so on down the line to the days of flying cars and teleportation.

The David Suzuki Foundation has a long list of what can be done at home, work, outside. What suprised me was the section on food. I'm a huge lover of food (in case my Rubenesque body wasn't a dead giveaway) so it surprised me to learn that even my food choices could impact the climate. I was actually kind of horrified to learn that my carnivorous tendencies are a huge contributor. I guess I've always thought of the lovely cows and pigs as a great addition to my veggies.

It is estimated that livestock production accounts for 70 per cent of all agricultural land and 26 per cent of the land surface of the planet. Because of their sheer numbers, livestock account for a large share of greenhouse gases (such as methane) that contribute to climate change. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that livestock are responsible for a larger share (18%) of greenhouse gases than the world’s transportation sector (14%).
Of course then there's the importation of meat and veggies and fruit. All those planes up in the sky, boats etc etc.

Do I plan to become a vegetarian? HELLZ NO! (sorry to any veggies out there or any PETA supporters [what is up with them lately by the way?]) But I will be more careful about where my food comes from.

Local food. Non processed food. Not only is it better for the environment but it'll be better for me. And!! It will cut down on what is going into my garbage right? And that in turn will benefit the environment, thus doing a little bit to help with this whole climate change dealio.

I think the biggest thing though, is the politicians. As will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas so brilliantly put it....

Corruption and bullshit politics
The planet's gonna die cause of bullshit politics
In December, world leaders will get together in Copenhagen, have a few drinks, shoot the shit and then get down to the nitty gritty....the issue of climate change and what they can do about it. They'll be talking regulations, laws, policies. But they can't do any of that without input from the regular folk like us (notice I chose not to say normal? Cos I know none of you is normal...that's why I love you).

I want my children to grow up safe in the knowledge that the world is not going to spontaneously combust around them. I want them to be able to venture outside in the summer without having to be wearing SPF 5000 on their bodies just to prevent a mild sunburn. I want my grandchildren (and I WILL have some dammit...I don't care that they're both saying they're going to marry same sex partners) to be able swim in the oceans and build houses wherever they want without fear of them being swept away by a tsunami even though they're 100 miles inland. I want my children and their children and their children's children to be able to BREATHE.

Our world is dying as we watch. We CAN do something about it. But we need to start NOW instead of sitting on our rapidly expanding asses for the next 50 years and then wondering what went wrong. We know there's something wrong now. Now is the time do something.

So. A note to our politicians, the world over, after my not very well composed and quite long post? Get your acts in gear and come up with some REAL ideas. Don't just sit around with your thumbs up your asses.

I'm going to leave you with some more from will.i.am and his wonderful song "S.O.S (Help Us Out)". The lyrics can be found HERE.




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Monday, October 5, 2009

......with integrity

Some of you may have noticed the wee badge on my sidebar that says "Blog with Integrity". I saw it on someone else's blog...can't remember who for sure but I think it was Frogs In My Formula. It intrigued me, so I clicked on the button and had a look at the site.

Loved it!

What a fabulous concept...a novel idea! People owning their words, being respectful towards each other, giving credit where credit is due and being honest. Shock! Horror! What is the world coming to?!

Now, to be fair, the vast majority of the bloggers that I read are great with all of this. And I try to be. When I write a post, I am fully aware that my words may hurt or offend someone (although I try and avoid this if possible). I stand behind my words that I lay down for this space and behind any I may leave as a comment for someone else's thoughts. It is very important to me that everyone do this. I have had negative comments posted here, and people suggested I delete them, but part of the reason for my having this space is so that people can respond to my thoughts and ideas. What right do I have to censor someone's thoughts? Sure, I sat and typed out a response, that in turn garnered more negative comment, but it was a conversation and that is what this space is for.

And it makes me happy to see other practicing this.

So, if there are so many of us out there who already "Blog with Integrity", why the need for a website all about it, where you can get the badge.......

BlogWithIntegrity.com

......and you can take their pledge?

As I see it, it's because there are so many MORE people out there who do NOT blog by this philosophy. They steal content from others (which prompts so many of the "steal my stuff and I'll rip you a new one" warnings I see on so many sites now), they leave inflammatory anonymous comments and stir up the crowd and so much more. This is why it is necessary. This is why so many more people are taking up the pledge.

Now....no one asked me to post this. I'll tell you that right now. I'm posting this because this of THIS ARTICLE. As a Canadian living in New Zealand, I have no idea how much impact any FDC rulings have on ME (I'll have to look into that...I'd wager that it's very little), but it does impact many of you out there. The gist of what they're saying, I think, is that if a blogger like me has a bunch of advertising on their blog and they haven't disclosed any relationships between themselves and those advertisers, is their credibility called into question.

More importantly, many bloggers that I know are sent free products to review, or are paid to review something. The FDC sees this as the same thing in some instances. Their opinion, as I understand it, is that the blogger in question (geez I get sick of typing "blogger"...can't we have another word?) should be FULLY disclosing these things. "Hey y'all, I wanna review the latest sex toy gizmo. Just so you know, they sent me a free product, but I'm NOT being paid for this".

I happen to agree. They really are onto something there.

But then when I finished reading the article, I realised that I never did the same thing myself.

So.

In the interests of FULL disclosure, let me say these things:

1) I will write with honesty and integrity whenever laying out my thoughts for you all to read.

2) I will continue to respect y'all and will stand behind my words.

3) In my sidebar, I have THREE ads. One is for a university, one for a baby goods store. I have NO personal relationship whatsoever with them. However, they DID pay me to place their ads in my sidebar for a certain amount of time. The third link (and my favorite ... sorry other folks!) is for "The Realm". This is owned by a friend of ours, Tiffany. She sells oodles of fairy stuff (ornaments, cards, tshirts etc). So, there IS a personal relationship. But, I was not paid to put the ad there. But! It IS an affiliate link, so there IS potential for payment later. Much later.

And just in case, my blog was designed by BadassGeek through his awesomely fantastic design biz Badass Designs.

So there you have it. Full disclosure.

Oh. And my undies are black. Today. Just be thankful I'm wearing any!

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

An assault on innocence

The girl stood in her room, staring at her reflection in the mirror. As she brushed her long blond hair for the 100th time she thought about him. While taking care to apply her mascara properly, her thoughts were occupied with images of him as he'd looked that morning. She thought about his face as he asked her to go out with him that night. Her excitement was palpable.

"Lookin' good!" she thought to herself unusually. Lately her self esteem had been at an all time low as she watched him strut around with his new girl. But that day it had gotten a boost. That day, he had asked her.

She straightened her skirt and top, gave her hair one last confidence filled toss, puckered her lips in the direction of the mirror and went off to meet him. She didn't have to go far. There he was, standing outside......looking bored. Perhaps she should have taken that as a clue, an omen. But for that one moment she chose to ignore what would have ordinarily been an annoyance to her.

He looked......delicious. His jeans fit his ass perfectly, his shirt draped his shoulders in a way that just made girls melt (perhaps that was part of the problem?). He brushed his hair out of his eyes and looked her way with that smoldering gaze of his. Every doubt was wiped from her mind. He'd told he was done with the other girl. He told her only wanted her. Her!

As they walked downtown, enjoying the calm night and the starry sky, she attempted to make small talk. It was hard considering how long they'd known each other, but really the only thing she could think of for that moment. He certainly wasn't making it easy for her. Maybe a few drinks would help.

Three hours later, she'd had a few too many beers and they were laughing hysterically at the most inane things that the other was saying. It was almost like he'd been trying to get her drunk. Every time a beer was finished, another would appear in front of her. They were having a good time. She was hopeful. She was excited. She was....going to puke.

Having decided it was probably time to head home, they headed through the park, holding hands. She was happier than she had been in a very long time, giddy in fact. But she needed to sit. She found a tree to lean up against and slumped down underneath it. He slid down to sit beside her and put his arm around her. She snuggled into his strong chest and felt herself relax. He made her feel safe, made her feel .... loved?

Suddenly his hands were wandering. She wasn't ready for this. It was too soon. She wiggled away. He came after her. "C'mon, you want it as bad as I do." She slid backwards to get away and ran smack into the tree. "No!" He pounced, grabbing her wrists and laying on top of her. Terror flooded over her. She couldn't move, couldn't escape. Why was he hurting her? She thought this was meant to be a new start, why was he doing this to her? "No!" He fumbled with his jeans and slid her skirt up to her waist. Tears streamed down her face as she listened to him whispering "You love me, I know you want me". She wanted desperately to scream but no sound escaped her mouth. He just kept going as she listened to his grunts and just lay there waiting for it to be over, waiting for her mind to cloud over, waiting for the nightmare to end.

And then, it was done. She flinched as he brushed her hair back off her face. Such a loving action from someone who had just hurt her so badly. As he stood and did his jeans up, she just lay and cried. How had the night ended up this way? Where was her happy ending? His hand appeared in front of her face, offering to help her up. It was like someone had flicked a switch in his head, and he was back to being his charming self. Once up, she trailed behind him on the way home, crying all the way. She supposed that she should tell someone. She thought she should be reporting this, him. That's what the girls in the movies did. But all she could think of was washing him off of her. And the whole way home, he talked. "Tonight was fun, we should do it again." "I'm really glad you wore a skirt." "You looked really pretty tonight."

Once home, she got straight into the hottest shower her body could tolerate and scrubbed herself raw. A part of her knew she was making a mistake, but she wanted him off of her.

Over the next week, she avoided him where she could. But sometimes it didn't work and he made a point of telling her that he didn't do anything wrong, that she had wanted it. He said it so often she started to wonder. Had she? She wasn't a virgin, hadn't been in awhile. But she knew that something had gone terribly wrong that night. Had she led him on? Had she given him the impression that she wanted it?



That girl....was me. That boy.....was you. You know who you are. You know what you did. For years, I thought that it was ME that did something wrong that night. You made me believe that I had ASKED for it, that I wanted you to do it. I never reported you, I never told my mother, I never made any trouble for you. I stayed away from you, I kept my mouth shut, and you went on with your life.

You destroyed the trust I had in men. I spent the next few years of my life sleeping with any guy who would look at me, thinking that I could somehow numb the feelings deep in my heart. Kind of an odd way to deal with what you did to me, no? Even when I met my now husband, thoughts of you invaded every aspect of our relationship. You destroyed parts of my life that to this day I still haven't recovered. It's possible I never will.

I wish I had reported you. I can only hope that I haven't caused another girl to be hurt by you.

But you didn't win. I have held onto this hurt for too long. Today, I am letting it go. I will never forgive you for what you did. I will never forget that you chose to ignore me when I said "NO!". Today, I am blessed with a man who treats me well, who loves me, who takes care of me and would DIE before he hurt me in the way you did. Today, you no longer affect my life. You no longer have a hold over a part of me. I am done being scared to walk alone in the dark. I am done having my heart skip when I see a strange man walking behind me. I am done....with you.



This was meant to be my submission for "Letters That I'll Never Send", and instead it has turned into some sort of therapy for me. In some ways, I wish I had sent a letter like this. If you made it to the end of this....bravo. I don't know if this is what I am meant to use my blog for, but for today, it works for me.

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