Category Archives:Random Waffle

Large Blog Image
Oct. 07.

Waffle Wednesday: Where Have I Been

ww-logo-thYes, I know I have been posting a little sporadically on Robyn Rants and Raves for the past while. Yes, I know I should post more often (I am working on that). But I haven’t been doing nothing. I have been keeping busy. And as this counts as a post, and keeps everyone here up to date, let me tell you, where have I been?

Okay, having been unwell, there was a time where Robyn Rants and Raves had my (almost) undivided attention. I needed the distraction, and here was perfect. But, I am no longer unwell. In July my GP told me I was fit to go looking for work again (hallelujah!). The finding work bit hasn’t been easy (boooo), mainly because I have a particular skillset, but I don’t have a qualification in what I know how to do. I am changing that though!

In September, I was told to apply to do a course. I was given two weeks to do that (the department of social protection are so generous!). I couldn’t take that long, and within 24 hours had researched courses, applied to one, and been accepted. And at the end of last month, I became a student in Dublin Business School, studying Digital Marketing. It is the choicest parts of a 3 year degree, stuck together into a 1 year course, but I get a Level 7 award at the end of it. I will talk more about the course over the next year, but it was a joyous relief to be told that a large part of one module is being graded on the “setting up and running of a blog”, and that we are to use WordPress. Well, I’ve been blogging here for 3 years, and using WordPress for longer, so I went up, kissed the lecturer (not quite) and did a happy dance.

My digital home from home :-)

My digital home from home :-)

I’ve also been working on getting fitter, and losing some weight, as I have on occasion blogged about. Well, it is most definitely working. I now train using a heart rate monitor, and can push myself so much harder. I can cover the 2.14 km circle around the local park in 4:30 (the first time I tried it was closer to 6 minutes), and I can now climb hills too! It was a great feeling to go up the hill that beat me the first time out on the bike, and go sailing over the top of it.

Finally, as I do enjoy my food (maybe a little too much) I have been spending a bit of time in the vegetable garden. Most of what we’ve grown for the year has been eaten now, but the most recent thing to be taken out of the garden is a pumpkin (actually, 3 pumpkins). They should be orange around the end of the month. I learned from lifting them up, they’re heavy!

The most orange of the pumpkins

The most orange of the pumpkins

All this means that I have gone from having too little to do and too much time, to too much to do and not plan as to when to do it. Things are settling down a bit more now, so I am finding more time to blog, and I plan on getting regular posts going again soon. Someone put the rugby on at the same time, and those rugby players, and Nigel Owens (I do have a little crush on Nigel, but who doesn’t?) can be a distraction too. I am working on getting everything back on track. As the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says, Don’t Panic!

Robyn

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ses-date
Aug. 16.

Something Else Sunday: The Creepiest Twitter Date That Never Was

ses-date-thI’m sure most of us have been there, with someone trying to chat us up, failing, and having us desperately trying to get away. It can be hilarious. It can be excruciating, it can be downright mortifying. But it can also make for a great story to laugh at afterwards. So, here is my story of my recent Twitter Date, that was never actually a date.

If you are young and good looking, chances are you’ve encountered this type of account on Twitter. Guy, not too many tweets, and just as few followers. For the purposes of this, I shall refer to him only as “Subject X” (even though that makes it sound like a twisted experiment). He was following about a hundred people, mostly of the good looking female variety, and he had 9 tweets, all variations of the “Hello Dear, I’d like to get to know you” kind. If you haven’t guessed it yet, he had one thing on his mind. Being up for a laugh, I decided to play along for a while, and followed him back. It didn’t take long for a DM to arrive, which read:

Subject X
Hi dear how are you doing its nice yo be friends with you on here…
you got a nice profile…where do you come from hope you dont mind me asking??

So far, so dull, but I answered, being truthful, but vague. I’m from Dublin, so I didn’t get more specific than that. He then asked me about if I am living with family (yes, but I don’t have my own family), before I asked him to tell me something about himself. This isn’t a one way conversation!

From that I learned:

  • He comes from Palm Beach, Florida
  • He is  in the US Army
  • Currently deployed in Libya “on a peace keeping”
  • He is single (well, if he is looking for a hookup, it does help)
  • He lost his parents 5 years ago in a motor accident
  • He was taken in and raised by his uncle, who is a reverend father

Right, nothing serious so far, I was sorry to hear about his parents, but was happy to see he is so positive considering the situation he is in. Standard small talk stuff. He asked my age, to which I replied mid 20’s (which is not far off), and the reply was maybe one of someone who isn’t mastering the English language, as he replied:

Subject X
wow you look matured and good i guess you have a boy friend

I would have never thought you tell a woman you look “matured”, unless you want a slap/drink thrown over you. I let it slide though. Things may be getting interesting. I explained that I was single, but was in a long distance relationship for 5 years (true). On being asked why it never worked out:

@robyntmorton
My girlfriend lived in Missouri, and 4,000 miles is a long distance to make it work out.

A pertinent bit of information there. My girlfriend. Did he pick up on that? If he did would I be writing this? Of course he didn’t. Instead his reply let slip some of the purpose of this whole conversation:

Subject X
okay i understand and tell me why since then you never want any relationship again can i ask you a question will you like having a serious relationship again and get married and have your own family some day i wish for that

Did I ever say I didn’t want any relationship again? Did I mention marriage and family? Is this what you are looking for, Subject X? Still I continued to play along, yet again not mentioning men or boyfriends.

@robyntmorton
I didn’t say I don’t want any relationship again. I just want the right person, and a family would be nice.

Alas he both did and didn’t pick up on the whole person thing. He is still convinced I am looking for a man, but did suddenly figure out that I was using the term “person” (he may be catching on – or not)

Subject X
okay i understand you tell me what kind of man would you like to have some day

@robyntmorton
I want someone with a great personality. Kind, funny, witty. Someone who I want to spend all my time with!

Subject X
wow thats very interesting and you really deserve such man well truly i want the same but its so hard this days to find the right one

Subject X
I enjoy slow or fast dancing, walking in the woods holding, hands, candlelite dinners, travel, shopping and watching movies, and playing romantic piano for that special person. I love snuggling and sharing passionate kisses with that special person.

So, he cottoned on to the person thing, and started using punctuation, though I question whether he likes walking in the woods holding, and also likes hands, or he likes walking in the woods holding hands. Maybe it is time to start ramping up the messages that I am not interested, and am really just winding him up. So, when being asked what I like and dislike, I dropped this little message in there:

@robyntmorton
I love spending time with my friends, enjoying good food and laughter. Friends are important to me. I don’t really like random pushy people.

Random pushy people. Does that include those who randomly follow you on Twitter looking for a wife? Apparently not! So it continued. Can I cook well, do I like food? (Is he looking for a wife to stay at home and create care packages for him while he is out policing the world?) Yes, I can cook. I love scallops (a seafood), so I was surprised by the next question – Do I like seafood? (sigh – how much longer can this go on). Maybe it is time to make it so blindingly obvious that I am taking the piss. Come on Subject X, give me the opportunity! He dutifully obliged!

Subject X
oh really thats so great well i havnt been to Ireland before and dont know how it looks but i will like to Visit your country maybe sometime

@robyntmorton
Ireland is beautiful. Very green lots of fields, great people and some leprechauns.

Oh come on, if that doesn’t make him realise, nothing ever will! Guess what, he didn’t realise, or he does believe in leprechauns!

Subject X
wow i like the way you put those words and i will like coming there to build and start my own family??

Woah there! Now you’re freaking me out. You both didn’t get the leprechaun thing, and you’re coming to Ireland to start your family. Don’t you know the rules of dating (Twitter or otherwise), you never mention starting a family on the first date! I have to get out of this! But I also have to be polite, so I obligingly tell him he is always welcome to visit Ireland (everyone always is), except for the fact that he took it as an official invitation!

I needed an out. Asking me for pictures seemed ideal, and I did try to let him down gently…

@robyntmorton
There I am in my profile picture. That is me!

@robyntmorton
Anyway, it has been nice talking to you Subject X, but I don’t think you are the special person I am looking for. I can’t do another long distance relationship. Stay safe out there, and best of luck to you!

I don’t think it had the desired effect, and I may have broken Subject X’s heart…

Subject X
Hey why do you say this

@robyntmorton
Because you are not the person I want to spend my life with, but I don’t want any harm to come to you? I’m being polite.

Subject X
its okay dear i understand??

@robyntmorton
It’s late here. I’m going to bed. Goodbye, Subject X.

And so ends the story of the date with Subject X. I’m not against internet dating (I met two ex partners on the internet) but I’ll probably avoid these kinds of dates in the future. That said, if you know someone who would get on well with me, knows how to punctuate (and who wouldn’t discuss starting a family on the first date) or you want to share your creepy dating story, I encourage you to do so below! Come on, laugh with us, it’s therapeutic!

Robyn

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IBC-ft
Jun. 03.

Waffle Wednesday: A Learning Experience – Irish Bloggers Conference

ww-IBC-thAt the weekend I was so lucky to be invited to attend the second Irish Bloggers Conference, by the absolutely wonderful Anita of Dolledup.ie, and held in the delightful venue of the Radisson Blu hotel on Golden Lane. It would have been wrong of me to attend and not make it a learning experience, as the wealth of knowledge on stage was immense. I went armed with my notebook and camera to find out what was what.

Just some of the displays at the conference

Just some of the displays at the conference

Now, I will say that I probably didn’t use either as much as I should have. I am partly to blame for this, though I also assign blame to those who were speaking. You could spend so long paying acute attention to what was being said, that you plain forgot to take it all down. There were, though, a few bits that did make it in to my book, which will stick with me. The first part of the day was mainly about blogging as a business, and was led off by fitness blogger Rob Lipsett, who also has a line of gym gear. Three things stuck with me from his presentation:

  • Build up your name: Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Be unique! Be noticed. This is very true. If you have 50 people all blogging about the same thing, in the same way, everything looks far too identikit, like it is the exact same info on a different template. Make your content unique, make it interesting. Put your slant on something and claim it as your own. It will make it so much easier to recognise YOU!
  • Be good at what you do: If you are doing something don’t half-ass it. Know what you are talking about! If you are knowledgeable and passionate about something it will show in your work.
  • And finally, if you are looking to make blogging your business, DO IT! If you are in a 9-5 job that you are just slogging through, ask yourself WHY? Move from something you are just doing to something you are passionate about doing!

Conor Lynch of socialmedia.ie talked about monetizing your blog – making it pay for itself, and you. Luckily a link to his full presentation is available here, but the main thrust of his talk was about the main forms of advertising, how they work, and how to implement them in a way that will not drive away visitors. There was one caveat he had though. The most important thing you need to have before advertising becomes worthwhile is TRAFFIC! If you think that you can just slap some ads onto the blog and it will become a goldmine, it won’t. You have to work up to it first!

I admittedly didn’t take any notes during Alison Canavan’s talk. We were all ordered to uncross our legs, clear our laps, and be in the present. The group meditation was a nice touch though!

The final speaker in part one was Anita Whyte of Dolledup.ie, who, though battling nerves, gave us two things. She has an app coming out soon, and one piece of advice: Interaction is key. Talking to people, sharing with people, interaction makes a big difference. The social aspect can’t be underestimated.

Artwork on display

Artwork on display

The second part of the day focussed on women in business & media (well, it was a mostly female audience, with the few men being questioned as to whether they were lost or being held there against their will, by the brilliantly funny MC Marcus O’Laoire). Sonya Lennon, of Off The Rails and Lennon-Courtney fame told us to not put all of our eggs in one basket. Keep building your profile. Keep looking for the next thing that you can get involved in. Basically to not expect one thing to last forever, but to keep adapting and evolving.

Writer and broadcaster Barbara Scully gave one of the standout talks of the day about women in media and social media (it’s owned by women and cats don’t you know). Again, I was paying too much attention to her to actually make notes, but a couple of things stood out.

  • Keep disciplined, making regular updates to your blog or social media. Watch the reactions to each post. Does something get people talking or clicking more than others?
  • With social media, particularly Twitter, get your name right from the start. Can you expect to be taken seriously with a name like @aurora111? – this is Barbara’s original twitter handle (Incidentally, I’ve always been @robyntmorton – I got something right!)
  • Know your facts: How difficult is it to say something incorrect and try to salvage the situation. You are better off checking your facts and getting it right first time.
  • Important: PUT DOWN THE WINE! Tweeting/facebooking/whatever after a few glasses may seem like a good idea. It may seem like fun, until the next day when you ask “Did I tweet that?” Think before you tweet!

Mary Carty of spoiltchild.com and Stemettes was talking about women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) and told us that “skills are the new safety.” If you don’t have skills, learn them. If you do have skills, keep improving them. And keep learning new things. Skilled people are always needed! She also told us not to wait on perfect. You will be forever waiting for the perfect opportunity.

Orla McDonagh, the Gym Bunny told us of two important things that are needed – Passion & Ego – before encouraging us to take pictures of a couple of slides that contained important information to keep considering (these are in the gallery below)

Gym Bunny

Picture 1 of 3

After the second break, where I tried to be sociable and passed on the delicious looking cupcakes that disappeared in about 5 seconds we had our final three speakers of the day.

Pete Wedderburn (the vet off the television, yes) talked about how he used old media and now new media to build the profile of his vet practice from having two vets not busy, to having many vets always busy. He also asked us to tweet about why exactly we blog, as he was interested to see the myriad of reasons (I blog for enjoyment, friendship and as a means of relaxation)

Timi Ogunyemi, the picture editor of Picture This talked about the 3 C’s (Communicate, Collaborate, Celebrate). I was more lost in his stage presence & glasses, but did manage to note that we should embrace creativity, and love what you do.

The final speaker was Darragh Dolye, a man who has a simple job description – to get things noticed on twitter. He led us on a 20 plus minute, 211 slide journey, that comprised many of memes and funny pictures, while telling us to know where different sources of traffic get to the blog (he is the reason that Robyn Rants and Raves now has a Whatsapp share button). When I wasn’t doubled up laughing, I did manage to take a couple of photos of his presentation, so, the best of Darragh Doyle is below, minus his naked pictures (yes, there were pictures of him, and lots of other naked people, in the presentation)

Darragh Doyle

Picture 1 of 16

The day finished with a fashion and beauty bloggers panel, including Anita Whyte, Nuala Gorham, Holly White, Joanne Larby, David Cashman & James Butler. One of the interesting questions asked was about dealing with negative comments on blogs and social media. I thought the answer given that negativity will happen (some people just hate seeing others being successful) and while you shouldn’t stifle it unless it gets really bad, do not engage with it. There will be so many more positive comments, and brands may be watching. If you lower yourself to the level of trolls, it does not reflect well on you.

blogger-panel

The bloggers panel (I was in an awful place for pictures of this)

One more thing that was mentioned a lot, by numerous people, was about saying yes to opportunities. There must be a reason for someone offering an opportunity to you, so always, where possible, say YES to the opportunity. There may come a time when you have to balance which opportunities pay the bills or not, but don’t let opportunities pass you by. A Richard Branson quote was used to illustrate this: “If you don’t know how to do something, say yes – then learn to do it.”

It was a fantastic day, and as you can see, I took a lot away from it, which, hopefully, you can take bits of too. It was, at times, a bit overwhelming, and a bit of information overload, but it was a very worthwhile day (without even mentioning the goody bags, the Yamamori gift card that I won, or the drinks afterwards in 10 St. Stephens Green), and in the absence of a video of the full day that I can watch back, I will certainly be in line for tickets for the next one. Major kudos have to go to the team at Cool Events for the effort in putting together the day, which is most appreciated.

Robyn

 

(Thumbnail picture credit: Irish Blogger Association & Holly Shortall)

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birthday-cake
Jun. 01.

Three Years

birthday-cakeThree years. That’s 36 months. Or 156 weeks. Or 1,095 days. 26,280 hours. 1,576,800 minutes. You get the idea. It is a long time. And there is a point in all my three year references. It is the length of time I have been blogging.

That’s right. Robyn Rants and Raves is three TODAY (well tomorrow, as I spent the first day tinkering with design, instead of posting)!

robyn-early

The baby picture, captured courtesy of the Internet Archive

A little corner of cyberspace where I started posting nonsense on June 2nd 2012 (it all started with this post by the way) for nobody to see, and now, after three years, people actually see it. People respect my opinion. People sometimes even talk to me (and I do love talking to people).

Robyn Rants and Raves is my baby, and I’m glad to see it growing up. Yes, I have made mistakes here. I will continue to make mistakes. I have learned a lot, and I will continue to learn a lot. What is important is that I am glad you are along for the journey with me.

birthday-cake

Cake, because it’s a birthday and birthdays need cake.

In lieu of a long winded speech, or post, on this most auspicious of days, I will say two things. I would love for you to tell me what you want to see more of this year, as long as it does not require eating copious amounts of hospital food. I am so done with that! What works for you? What doesn’t work for you? What just shouldn’t see the light of day?

Secondly, although it is my blog birthday, I really need to give you a present. Unfortunately, I have nothing adequately prepared at the moment (I am so disorganised, though I am working on it) so expect a giveaway of some sort, shape or description in the near future!

And so, as three is far too young to be drinking, I can’t ask you to raise your glasses to year four of Robyn Rants and Raves. Instead, do whatever any little madam would do. Get into a makeup bag and play with lipstick!

Robyn

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ziaja-ft
May. 27.

Waffle Wednesday: Things You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Trans Person

ww-logo-thThere is a video currently doing the rounds of internet land, that was originally made by BBC Three’s Free Speech programme, entitled Things You’ve Always Wanted To Ask A Trans Person (But Probably Shouldn’t) that has popped up in my timeline a couple of times in the past two days. It was on The Journal today (where I engaged in the comments, which are a dark soulless place – bad Robyn, don’t read the comments, you know that!), and it does pose an interesting question as to just what is and isn’t okay to ask.

Looking at some of the questions included in the video, you have to wonder just what some people are thinking in believing it is okay to ask these things. Let’s be honest, if you were to go up to a woman at random and say “Can I feel your boobs?” you’ll be lucky to get away with just a slap around the face. Why should someone who is trans* be any different? Likewise, how do you have sex? If that is your opening line, you better have much more than your charming personality to go with, because it alone is letting you down. There seems to be an attitude that trans* people are at best curiosities, and at works (as put by one commenter on The Journal) creatures, seemingly beneath basic human rights and boundaries. That is very much not the case.

That said though, I do believe that sometimes asking questions, in the right way, and at the right time, is acceptable. If you are asking for the right reasons, to learn and understand what trans* people go through, then I wouldn’t mind answering them, and I’m sure most trans* people would be the same. (Some questions may be off limits unless you are really close though). And so, if it helps anyone, here are my answers (though they’re probably nowhere near as good as the ones of the people in the video!)

  • When did you decide to be transgender? I never really decided. I just am, though to give something, I suppose I became aware of it in my mid teens.
  • Have you had the op? Medical questions, woo! I’ve been through so many ops now that I lose track of them, but the ones you are thinking about, no. Patience, grasshopper!
  • Which bathroom do you use? The one that is there when I need to pee. Which one do you use?
  • How do you have sex? In bed with the person I love. Get to know me better and ask again.
  • Are you a drag queen? No. I don’t have the makeup skills for the eyes and contouring.
  • Are you sure you aren’t just gay? Gender and sexuality are two completely different things, with infinite different stops on each scale. Variety is the spice of life after all. Wouldn’t life get boring if we were all the same.
  • Can I see a picture? If you know me well enough to see a picture, great. If not, too bad. There’s not much difference, except for my being much more fabulous.
  • Can I feel your boobs? Can I feel yours? No – then don’t be such a tit and stop asking stupid questions.
  • I can tell you used to be a man/woman – Well good for you, but the thing is I don’t really care. I am who I am and if you don’t like it, move along.
  • I never know what to call them – he/she/they? This is quite simple. If you see a woman you use she. If you see a man – he. If you’re unsure, they is gender neutral and works great until you politely ask. That should clear up and issues. If in doubt, ask. We don’t bite (much)
  • Do you think you’ll ever go back? Happiness is everything. Why go back to being unhappy?

As I said, there are some questions there that should really never be asked. I know curiosity may get the better of you, but stopping for a second and thinking whether you would reasonably ask a cisgender person the same thing will give you a pretty good basis for asking or not.

I must also say thank you to BBC Three for putting together the video, and for their respondants for giving such excellent answers!

Robyn

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ziaja-ft
May. 10.

Something Else Sunday: 50 Facts About Me

ses-me-thI was tagged by Amy (you know Amy, or if you don’t you should) from Red Lips; Red Hair to do this tag. It is very simple. It is 50 facts about me. A random 50 facts, as dredged up from my somewhat rambling mind. Some you may know, some you may not, but here goes.

  1. My name is Robyn Morton.
  2. I was meant to be born on Christmas Day, but arrived a week early.
  3. I have a twin brother.
  4. We’re both left handed.
  5. I was one of the last twins to be born in Loughlinstown hospital before their maternity unit closed.
  6. I am the middle child of seven. 3 sisters above, 3 brothers below.
  7. I have an eclectic taste in music, but prefer easy listening and female vocalists.
  8. I’ve only ever been to one concert (Flogging Molly, Kansas City, Feb 2008)
  9. It left me deaf for several hours after (was right next to a huge speaker)
  10. I’m currently (not very blissfully) single.
  11. I’ve only ever been in two relationships.
  12. Both were long distance (Copenhagen & Kansas City)
  13. If I continue in the long distance trend, I’ve calculated my next relationship will be between Dublin and the moon.
  14. I like to travel (hello, long distance relationships require lots of travel)
  15. 4,068.3 miles (as the crow flies) is the furthest I’ve ever travelled for a date, but the flight route taken made it so much longer.
  16. My US relationship led to me being stopped by CBP the first time I was over there, trying to figure out if I was a genuine visitor. I missed my connecting flight as a result.
  17. I was introduced to baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals as a result (go Redbirds!)
  18. I used to play softball, but had to give it up when it started affecting my knees.
  19. My favourite city in the world that I’ve visited (so far) is Copenhagen.
  20. If I was given the opportunity to move there, I would.
  21. I have a keen interest in aviation.
  22. I’ve taken control of a number of light aircraft, both here and in the US. All of which survived their encounters with me.
  23. I once did work experience as part of the overhaul crew working on a Ryanair jet (I was responsible for the emergency lighting system and pilots emergency oxygen supply)
  24. I was once offered and had an interview with Flybe for the position of an airline pilot (I didn’t get the job. The flight training school later closed down, taking a lot of students money)
  25. I can at best be considered a nail polish addict, and at worst a makeup addict.
  26. I don’t know how long I can keep going at dredging up these facts.
  27. I can disassemble and rebuild a computer with my eyes closed.
  28. At home, when people come to visit, I am “the one with the wifi password”
  29. Nobody has died from my cooking. There have been times when I’ve been the only one to eat something (I’d rather eat it myself then admit it went wrong) but for the most part, my cooking is okay.
  30. I enjoy making Mexican food, but can work with whatever is left in the fridge and cupboards.
  31. I’ll drink (nearly) anything, but do enjoy craft beers.
  32. I am not one of those pretentious craft beer snobs.
  33. I am still searching for the perfect mojito (closest I’ve found so far is on the cruise ship Norwegian Epic)
  34. I once flew to Spain and back in a day, never leaving the airport. I got off the plane, turned around and got back on the plane.
  35. I’d love to be a one tweet food critic. I’ve had lots of practice with my legendary hospital food pictures.
  36. I’ve eaten far too many dodgy hospital food meals. Really, I’ve spent far too long in hospital.
  37. I still need to get my life back on track after being unwell, but I am working on it.
  38. I am transgender.
  39. I came out in 2010 (after finally getting sick of hiding it).
  40. I am still part time (but do hope to change that).
  41. Some people have met, or do know of my male self, but this is who I am.
  42. Being trans doesn’t change who I am. I have always been me.
  43. I am naturally brunette, but have been anything from purply red, to really red, to currently nearly blonde.
  44. I have four tattoos. The first was a Celtic design on my lower back, a complete (but for a long time secret) act of self affirmation. The second was a heart on my right foot on the day I came out. The third is a breast cancer awareness ribbon on my right wrist/forearm, and the fourth is a butterfly and cherry blossoms on my left foot.
  45. Adding more tattoos, I would probably start with extending my butterfly and flowers onto my leg, though I am not necessarily a fan of big tattoos.
  46. I have my ears pierced (lobes) but have previously had my tragus, nostril and tongue pierced.
  47. I would get my nostril and tongue redone.
  48. Yes my life sounds complicated, and it is, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  49. My outlook on life has become more positive from being put in adverse situations.
  50. I look forward to my life settling back down into some routine, though adventure can be fun too!
  51. I couldn’t get through everything without the help of some very close friends. I owe them more then I could ever express in words.

There’s your 51. I hope it gives some insight into my weird and wonderful existence. If you want to share yours I encourage you to do so, but I am tagging two people:

Paula from Random Rambling and Musings

Cat, the Big Blonde Girl

Robyn

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Robyn R
Apr. 29.

Waffle Wednesday: I see the posters & Despair for Humanity

Robyn RYes, I will say it right now. This is a political post. It is about the Marriage Equality Referendum, and if that’s not your thing, please come back soon. Normal service will resume shortly. There is now less than a month to go until the May 22 Referendum, and I’ll be honest. It can’t come soon enough.

As it typical with all elections and referenda, it comes with posters. Tons of them. Millions of them. Every (other) lamp post is festooned with one or more of them, and sometimes with multiples of the same one (cover every angle). I try to ignore them. I am not a fan of them, but some of them are hard to ignore (but to make it easier, there are no poster images in this post).

My issue isn’t with the Yes campaign posters. they are hardly emotive ( I personally find the Fianna Fail ones to be very banal). The AAA ones skirt a bit close to not being suitable (Vote yes to Equality in 2015, no to Austerity in 2016), but generally they are okay. My issue is with the No campaign. There are a wide range of posters out there, all dealing with highly emotive topics, which aren’t relevant to this referendum. They are issued by and paid for by a group called Mothers & Fathers Matter. Now, I completely agree with the group name. Mothers matter. Fathers matter. But it does not mean that the mother and father have to be in a single group, a single unit. To say that someone who raises a child without a mother, or without a father (why is the evil couple ALWAYS two men?) you are automatically failing the child. Have Mothers & Fathers Matter actually stopped and thought about what they are doing there. They are insulting, and delivering a slap in the face to every single parent in Ireland, and indeed the world. To say that a mother, who threw an abusive partner out, and did the very best she could to raise a child, protect them and care for them in not at all easy circumstances, is a failure as a parent, as they didn’t raise the child with a father, is degrading, inhuman and wrong. Likewise, if fate happened to conspire to leave a father to raise a child without a mother, the father is a failure? There is something seriously messed up there.

And yet, as I said above. The issue of children is not the topic of the referendum. It is about marriage. Very simple. As the proposed wording states:

‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’

Nowhere does it mention children, or mother, or father. Though, as the constitution will, and has, inevitably been brought up, let’s do some simple word finding exercises:

  • There are 6 mentions of mother in the constitution. Most are as part of the word “mothers” (twice in relation to abortion & four times in relation to work)
  • One mention of father, in this passage (Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,)
  • Nine mentions of parents  (in relation to Article 42 – education)
  • No mentions of female or male

I have seen the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child quoted the same way. The figures are just as bad, and prove the argument wrong just as easily there.

It is unfortunate that psychology says someone will be swayed by the No posters, and that is unfortunate. It is one thing if you choose to vote no, for the right reason in your mind. I don’t agree with you, but I respect your opinion. To decide to vote no, as the result of an argument that is completely irrelevant, though, is wrong. Completely wrong, and as a result I need to advise everyone of this: Find out what the referendum is about. Look at the logical arguments from BOTH sides, discount the ones that you can see are crazy or irrelevant, mull things over, and then make up your mind. You have until May 22.

I must also add, please, do your civic duty. If it is at all possible, check you are on the voter register (you have until May 5th to get yourself on there), and on May 22, get out and vote!

Robyn

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My usual domain. 60 seconds from house is 2km of paved paths!
Apr. 23.

Run, Robyn! RUN! Where Robyn Learns to Walk First

Robyn RIn case anyone hadn’t noticed, two weeks ago I started working on the Couch to 5K running program, and well, it showed that I was overweight, unfit and basically needed to do everything possible to change that. My doctor agreed with me. And, as accountability is a cruel, heartless bitch, I said I would publicly document my progress. This is my first update.

Fitness:

Still pretty poor, but it is improving. I find myself being able to do more, for longer, and slightly faster than I was before. There is still a long way to go to improve sufficiently, but everyone has to start from nothing and work up. I am getting better, and I am happy about it.

Weight:

Unchecked from previous baseline. I will either have to buy a scale, or get out the Wii Fit board and get a reading from it for next time.

My usual domain. 60 seconds from house is 2km of paved paths!

My usual domain. 60 seconds from house is 2km of paved coastal paths! (credit: Google Maps)

Workouts completed (Fri 10/04 – Wed 22/04):

No official workouts from the Couch to 5K. I am having difficulty with impact pain in my legs with jogging (more on this below) however, I am instead putting in a lot of walking time.

  • Walks completed: 7
  • Total distance: 13.3 km
  • Total Time: 1:59:56
  • Of note: 15 April – Dun Laoghaire East Pier – 2.27km in 22:17 (9:48 min/km avg) and 20 April – Shankill Beach 2.27 km in 19:35 (8:37 min/km avg) I am picking out these as they are equal distance, but I completed the latter almost 3 minutes faster. This shows, in my eyes, that something is happening to make things easier.
  • Best Pace: 8:30 min/km over 1.98 km (16:52) on 18 April
  • Best distance: 2.61 km in 22:55 (8:46 min/km avg) on 22 April
The ideal motivator. Once you get to the end, you have to get back! (credit: Google Maps)

The ideal motivator. Once you get to the end, you have to get back! (credit: Google Maps)

Problems Encountered:

Leg Pain: I am suffering with a lot of leg pain when I go to jog which is not present in walking, which I can only attribute to the higher impact pressure. This caused me to pull up on an attempt at interval training within 30 seconds. My doctor has advised me to not run before I can walk, saying that at the moment it is like asking someone to pick up two full suitcases, and then run. It doesn’t work. So, I am keeping to walking for now.

Medical complication/motivation: Last week I was diagnosed with high blood pressure, and put on medication for it. Typically, once you are on blood pressure medication, you are on it for a very long time. I have been told though, that if I can get my weight sorted and get fit, the blood pressure should correct itself. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.

Personal Notes:

At first I expected this to be a chore to have to push myself through, but over the past few days I have relished the challenge of pushing myself a little further, or a little faster each time. In fact, while I was happy with my new best distance on Wednesday, I thought I was going to get a faster pace too, and was slightly disappointed to not get it. I remember thinking to myself in the shower afterwards, that I will have to make sure I improve on it next time. I do think I am getting a little more competitive, even if I am only competing with my own mind.

Next steps:

One thing I used to do a lot was cycling. I was a cycle commuter for a time, and I was much healthier because of it. The time has come to get back on two wheels and get going again. So, in the next week, I hope to have a new bike, and to cycle the wheels off it, again working up on distance, and in tandem keeping up with walking/running.

Robyn

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patchball
Mar. 15.

Something Else Sunday: Here’s Some Animal Pictures

ses-patch-thI normally do something a little different at the weekend, but the truth is, I’m sick of talking about hospitals, and you’re probably sick of reading about them. I haven’t done anything interesting, or taken any fabulous photos to show off. Instead, I’m going to go with something that is universally loved. Here’s some animal pictures.

Particularly, here is Patch. He’s a cross between a Dalmatian and a Springer Spaniel. He’s got the spots. He’s got the patches (hence the name). He’s all muscle, and completely daft. And for some reason he doesn’t understand after all these years, that his tail is meant to be there. It’s adorable to watch him chasing it, until he spins around too fast and crashes into something, especially indoors!

patchball

patchsleep

patchface

And, as she is holding a razor-sharp claw to my neck, here are two pictures of Rascal looking cute and cuddly (she isn’t. Don’t leave me alone with her!)

catface

catbelly

Happy weekend!

Robyn

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deals-ft
Mar. 07.

Something Else Saturday: In Search of a Good Deal

ses-deals-thEveryone loves a good deal. Money off, or something extra thrown in, we all want some of that. And that led to the rise of the deal sites. We see emails from them every day, sometimes several times a day, but are any actually worthwhile?

In my current situation I need to make money work as hard as possible for me. If I am looking for a manicure or a pedicure, or occasionally a hairdresser, I will check out deal sites and see what is on offer. It used to be that I would go to the same beauty salon all the time. I was a loyal customer, as the prices were good, and the service excellent. Unfortunately they closed down and since then I have moved about a lot. I haven’t had any bad experiences, but I have heard of them. Can you really get a good service in a good salon when you are paying only a fraction of the usual price, and the salon are only getting an even smaller fraction of that? Should you expect high quality salons to advertise on deals sites, or only salons where the price may be good, but you wouldn’t normally go anywhere near the place?

deals-emails

The morning deluge of deals emails…

 

So, today for Something Else Saturday, I am looking for opinions on whether deals sites do offers that are actually worthwhile. Have you had particularly great experiences with them, or particularly horrific? Are they a good way of saving money, or should I spend the extra money, find somewhere and stick with them? Please do let me know in the comments!

Robyn

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