Tag Archives: Thoughts

What the hell is that?
Mar. 04.

Waffle Wednesday: I’m Back! (Well, Almost)

Robyn RHello there! I’ve been kind of absent the past while, but the good news is that I’m just about back to doing whatever it is that I do here (if anyone knows what I’m meant to be doing here, let me know in a comment, please and thank you). It will take me a couple of days to figure out what is sitting in the review box (which looks like a bomb has hit it) and decide what to write about, but I’m finally able to get my mind back to what I enjoy doing most.

I apologise for my absence, but, as some of you may know (I’ve written about it a lot) I have been dealing with some complicated health issues for the past year and a bit, and it all got too much for me. Having your entire existence dictated by when you do (or don’t) have appointments with hospitals, doctors or nurses is not easy. I’ve said it before, but if you’ve been through it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, I hope you never have to. Concentrating on the blog, and well, concentrating on anything really, became almost impossible, so I took a break.

Fortunately though, on February 19th, I found myself in hospital, for a long awaited and looked forward to major surgery (I know that sounds weird, like I’m some kind of surgical masochist) to finally solve the kidney problem I was having – I’ll avoid the gory details, as it is bad enough that I know the mess that was made in there. It was a messy surgery (I left the ward at 8.30 and didn’t get back until that evening), and quite probably involved the doctors looking like this:

What the hell is that?

What the hell is that?

It was all a success, and after a week of recovery, heavy painkillers (morphine on tap for 3 days) and some fairly forgettable food (though not entirely bad this time, my nagging worked) I was deemed fit enough to go home (they really just needed the bed – as was demonstrated by the loud conversation about bed demands just outside my door before asking if I wanted to go home).

So, after almost another week at home, I’m at the point where the pain has more or less gone (unless I move stupidly) I am in a good mood and can pay attention to doing things like blogging again (woohoo!).

Bear with me a couple more days, and I’m sure I will find something to rant and rave about really soon! Expect topics to include the search for a good manicure, pedicure, brow shape and hairstyle (all things that have been neglected for a while) but don’t expect me to be talking about swimsuit season this year (not being able to be active for too long, and the huge scar that now wraps around my waist can be blamed for that).

Thank you for sticking with me through all this!

Robyn

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hospitalbed
Nov. 05.

Waffle Wednesday: A Frustrating Hospital Update

ww-bedthAnyone who has been following me on Facebook or Twitter, or who has been reading Robyn Rants and Raves for a while knows about my adventures in healthcare, and mid to late October saw another chapter written in the ongoing saga. Unfortunately it has not been a good chapter.

If you didn’t already know, I spent 5 weeks in hospital late last year, after discovering a problem with my kidneys and bladder (we’re rapidly approaching the 1 year anniversary). The bladder has been sorted, and in March we discovered the cause of the kidney problem – a polyp causing an obstruction. It was minor, and they were willing to wait and take a look at it again in July.

July turned in to October after 4 cancellations, but in mid October they finally got me back in to look at things again, and it had gotten worse. It is now a more serious problem, as it is completely obstructing the kidney.

The doctors suddenly decided that things must be done. Within an hour of getting home from the hospital that day I had a phone call giving me a date just on the opposite side of the weekend to bring me back in. That didn’t happen, but it did happen that week, on the Friday, for urgent intervention with the aim of protecting the kidney. Even that didn’t go perfectly. They were able to complete one part, but not the other. Cue a weekend of sitting in a room doing nothing. A LONG long weekend of doing nothing over the bank holiday. On the Tuesday they decided that yes they wanted to try again, and did try the next day. And again it didn’t work out. So they sent me home, with the aim of trying again next week.

So, the current plan is to being me back in on Tuesday, with the aim of trying yet again on Wednesday. After that, I have no idea what will happen.

This is where things get frustrating. It is rapidly approaching a year since this all began. A year where I have had to put things on hold. A year of not being able to plan ahead, not knowing when the hospital would want me again.

Then there is the lack of communication. I have been taking quite an interest in my treatment. I find it helps to have some idea of what has been done, and what still needs to be done. The medical team this time around seem a little unwilling to actually discuss things, and in the most recent stay, I didn’t speak to my consultant, even to have him say hello.

And of course there is the feeling of going backwards. These interventions have been done before, deemed to no longer be needed, and taken out. Now we are putting them back in. This doesn’t seem any closer to a resolution.

To know we are getting closer to the job finally being done, to being able to get my life back on track is all I want. Physically I am better than I was this time last year. I can put up with the poking and prodding and sticking things in me to try and do something. Mentally, however, I am suffering. It is not easy being unwell. If you haven’t experienced it, I hope you never do. If you have, this probably makes too much sense.

My GP today said something to help, a little bit of good news to remember. At least the polyp is benign.

That’s it. Stay optimistic. Keep the chin up. I’ll get through it eventually.

Robyn

P.S. This is also the reason for my sporadic posting in the past couple of weeks. Trying to juggle getting things ready for the hospital, being in there and blogging is difficult. I’ll try to do what I can though.

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Waffle-150x142
Oct. 15.

Waffle Wednesday: Bloggers, Photographs and Unauthorised Use

ww-wafflethIt can be difficult, getting the perfect photo for your blog. The lighting may not be what you wanted, or the angle may be off, or no mater what you do, you just can’t get the colour to reproduce properly. We have all been there, and it is a pain. But then there are moments where everything goes perfectly for you, you get a great photo, use it on your blog, and you are very happy with yourself. But then, lo and behold, it appears on another website. A website that took your image, your hard work without permission.

I have been known to right click on various images on my blog, and thanks to Google Chrome there is a direct option to search Google for this image. Mostly, no matches come up, except for on my own site, and that is a good thing. A couple of days ago though, I did find a match from another site. It was a site purporting to be an image library. And there was an image of one of my manicures on the site. I was never approached about it. I was never asked. They just added it to their site, which on their “about us” page was telling people that it was a site of high quality images, allowing people to download the best one to suit their needs.

NOTD-FrenchExcuse me? A site took my image, and was offering it for people to download for their own use? I’m not having that. On their contact us page, there was a spiel about how the images are not free to use. That they should be freeware, but might not be, and so you shouldn’t use them. There was also a contact form for copyright holders to request the removal of images, or if they prefer, have their link added to the recommended links page (it was a very short list of recommended links). Annoyed by the fact that my image was there without permission, and not wanting my link to be associated with what could be a very dodgy website, I told them that it was to be removed. Fortunately there was no argument, and a couple of hours later I had an email to say it had been removed. Problem solved, and crisis averted.

Meanwhile, I started checking through every image I have on the blog. Most of them came up with nothing. I mean, who wants to reproduce images of my face, but unfortunately I found another one. One of my most popular posts has always been about the SS ’14 launches from Shiseido. In it there was a photo of their Face Colour Enhancing Trio’s. A photo that I actually made a mistake with, in that one of the included brushes was pointing down, while the others were pointing up. It turned out to be a very telling mistake, as I found the same four products in 1 photo, with the same mistake, the same dimensions, and the same filename, as my image. That’s too many coincidences. That is my photo, again being used without permission or credit. This time on another blog.

Shiseido-Blush

Another blogger wanted to write a piece on the product, did an image search, and just helped themselves to my work. This irks me. Any blogger worth reading, to the best of my knowledge, takes great pride in their work. It is what makes blogging and the blogging community so great, because it is a person who is just genuinely passionate about a subject and wants to share their passion. So, to feel that one of our own didn’t have the courtesy to contact me for permission, or even credit my work, is a bit of an insult really.

Normally, I try to be polite, but I ran into several issues here. The blogger in based in Spain, writes in the Spanish language, and had no contact details on the blog, so I was left with two options. The first was to leave a comment saying that I was the copyright holder of the work, that it was used without permission, and that I needed the image removed. The second, which ultimately I have had to enact, is to approach Google with a copyright takedown request, as it is housed on one of their blogging platforms.

I hate having to do things like this, but at the same time I feel that my rights as the creator of the works should be respected. You can call me a moany bitch if you so wish, but I am really quite easy going on things like this. I love seeing people acknowledge my writing, my photos, my work as being excellent and that they want to use it, and well, I am completely fine with it. All I ask is that someone sends a quick email to say that they want to use such and such an image, for whatever reason, and that they’ll credit me as creator. Hey, if I can I will even sort out higher resolution versions of the image.

And finally, if you do go searching the web for images (and we all have) to use for something, I encourage you to acknowledge sources, be it a brand, an image library, or another website. If we do take the convenient way out, it is really only fair that we tip our hats to the ones that put the effort in to create the images for us.

How do you feel about unauthorised use of images? Do you regularly check and ask for images to be taken down? Do you watermark your images? Or do you think that people will just use them regardless and let them get on with it?

Robyn

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hospitalbed
Sep. 24.

Waffle Wednesday: Yet Another Hospital Rant

ww-hospitalthWell, it’s time for another one of those posts where I talk about hospitals (I’m making a habit of it). As you may know I was in hospital for 5 weeks before Christmas, than again for a couple of days at the end of March, and since then I have been waiting. Well I am going to rant a little about still waiting.

I was told at the start of April that I have an issue affecting one of my kidneys. It’s minor, and they wanted to look at it again before deciding what to do about it. So they gave me an appointment to repeat some tests in July. July came and went. All I got was a letter to say it had been rescheduled until the start of September. I later found out that it was because my consultant had been called away for a time. It happens. I wasn’t entirely happy but I persevered.

The start of September came. I got a phone call going through the standard 101 questions that would be asked time and time again, was told that it was going ahead and all was good. Then I got another phone call saying that the theatre wasn’t available for when I was scheduled and it was postponed again. I couldn’t really give out to the admissions secretary, as it was not her fault, but I was quite annoyed. I think that is understandable for me to be unhappy. Having it cancelled once is unfortunate. Having it cancelled twice is a pain.

Well, let’s figure out what is about to be said. It’s the 24th, and I’m writing this about an appointment for the 22nd. You can guess that it was cancelled yet again. This is just getting ridiculous. Again after being told it was all good and it was going ahead, I got a phone call. About 12 hours before I was due in the hospital I got a call from the on call registrar calling it off. He told me that he would have called me sooner but there was difficulty finding my contact details, and that because of a number of cases arriving in over the weekend mine was cancelled.

The trouble I have isn’t solely with it being cancelled again. It’s with what it is doing to my head. I am sick of waiting for this. I am sick of getting myself ready, being told that it is going ahead, only to have it called off. I am sick of what feels like being fobbed off with excuses.

Is it too much to ask for to actually get things done? To know that there is further work required or that it is something that can be left as is? I want to be able to get myself sorted out, back doing something, and not just waiting around waiting to do something.

All I know at the moment is that the appointment has been rescheduled for early October, yet still another 2 weeks away. Again I have been told that it is not going to be cancelled, but bitter experience has taught me that until I’m actually there, that being told it’s not going to be cancelled means nothing.

Robyn

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Waffle-150x142
Sep. 03.

Waffle Wednesday: Managing the Blogger-Brand Relationship

ww-wafflethEarlier this week, an incident occurred where an unnamed brand sent an email to an unnamed blogger saying to take a review down or face legal action. It later transpired that it was all a big misunderstanding, but it did lead to a discussion as to how far a brand can go to deal with potentially unflattering reviews, how bloggers would respond, and just how quickly a relationship between a brand and bloggers can go sour.

While everything was unfolding on facebook and twitter, a number of bloggers stated that they would be reluctant, or just plain unwilling to post reviews of that brand that they were working on, out of fear that they would be turned on too, and that is completely understandable. After all, the majority of bloggers write their blogs for the fun and enjoyment they get out of it, and don’t expect to be put on the spot that way. It does though, make me wonder about how to manage the relationship between blogger and brand.

Firstly, one main thing is important. Both sides have rights and responsibilities. The blogger has the right to write and share their opinions of a product, free from pressures from the brand to say things a particular way. The blogger though, has the responsibility to be fair, honest and truthful in their review. They can’t go and say that something is the best thing ever, when it really isn’t, just because they have been given free products to try out, as then nobody will trust what the blogger has to say. But likewise, they can’t go and present something that isn’t true, just out of spite. They can’t say that a brand, for example, tests products on puppies and fluffy bunnies when it just isn’t true.

The brand though, has the right to feedback, good or bad, on products that are sent for review. Even if the review never makes it up onto a blog, it can be helpful and polite to give some opinion on the product and that it is not going onto the blog as the product didn’t agree with you and you stopped using it/have too many reviews of similar products clumped together/insert your own reason here. It shows that the blogger and brand appreciate working together. At the same time the brand has the responsibility to accept what the blogger has to say about the product in question, provided it is truthful. After all, the brand is looking for opinions of normal people, written for normal people. It has a marketing department (usually) to come up with the shiny emotive wording for advertising, while a blogger gives the view of the everyday person using it. Both sides have their uses, but you don’t want everyone to be sprouting the same marketing lines about products.

When something does go amiss though, the way it is handled is unbelievably important. It can be so easy to send a snarky email to say take your review down NOW or else! But that is not the best way of doing things. Addressing concerns, where valid in a polite way, is more likely to get the intended result. Sending an email to say” Thank you for your review. We appreciate you taking the time to write about X. We would like to address a couple of things in your review, namely…” will almost always get a polite response, and the issue cleared up. In the vast majority of cases there is no malice intended by the blogger, and minor issues can be cleaned up, leaving everybody happy. Of course, you can’t tell someone to change their opinion, and you can’t guarantee that everyone’s opinion will be positive, but these things happen.

The knee-jerk reaction though, can backfire spectacularly though. As alluded to earlier in the post, once the original email was sent, the bigger blogging community found out about it, and opinion towards the brand turned really icy, really quickly. Blogging is a social activity, and bloggers are great about sharing information with other bloggers. A brand can suddenly see an entire community turning on them, just from one little faux-pas. That can lead to the opinions of those you want to hear, and that readers want to see, being distinctly unflattering, if they are voiced at all.

Both sides deserve the right to be respected. There are no winners from making threats against people for voicing their honest opinion, or making a small factual error. In the end, both brands and bloggers need to work together for the system to work, and in realising that, we are almost guaranteed an outcome that is acceptable to everyone.

Robyn

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Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com
Aug. 13.

Waffle Wednesday: Childhood Memories

ww-wafflethSomething has been going around my head for a while, and I’m open to hearing opinions on it. I’m pretty certain we all have memories of activities that we did as a child. The question I am thinking about, is that, in doing the same things as an adult, how does the experience change? Does it still hold the same sense of excitement and wonder that it did as a child?

Lets take, for example, something that was a summer staple for me as a child, a day trip to Mosney. There was always the excitement of getting up early, making sure swimsuits and towels, and a packed lunch were ready. Taking the dart to Dun Laoghaire to change over to the big diesel train that went out to Mosney. Getting off the train on what was basically a platform in the middle of nowhere, but seeing the park laid out in front of you. Then you got  into the park and there was Funtropica, the swimming pools, the playgrounds and amusements. Oh what a joy it was, and by the end of the day you’d be ready to flop onto the train to go home, thoroughly happy with yourself.

Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com

Pic Credit: L.Stott/Butlinsmemories.com

As an adult, is there the same sense of joy, or does a lot of it become banal and routine? Many of us use the train every day to go about our lives. It is just there, it is nothing special. Unfortunately, it is kind of difficult to revisit Mosney these days, considering it closed down in 2000 (14 years ago – wow!) but it still leads me to think about this question – is there something you had done as a child, which you’ve done recently as an adult?

What was it about the activity that makes it so memorable for you from your childhood? And, in doing the same thing as an adult, how has the experience changed? Was it as you remembered it from childhood, or did doing it as an adult change the experience for you, and if so, does it make it better, or worse? Please do share your thoughts.

Robyn

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Liege Waffle
Jul. 30.

Waffle Wednesday: My Absence

ww-wafflethFor those of you who regularly read the blog, you will know that I usually plan on writing 6 days per week, and that I had been struggling a bit before taking most of this month off. I feel that it only fair ro offer some kind of explanation for this.

For me, blogging is meant to be all about fun, and sharing my love with the world. Unfortunately, the fun kind of fell away from blogging for a while. I was working away on the blog, but I was feeling like my work wasn’t being appreciated. Page views were diminishing, people weren’t commenting, and I started to wonder what the whole point of it all was.

I was questioning what to do. What is the point of continuing to do something that I’m not enjoying? Yet, at the same time, I have made so many friends and learned so much through writing Robyn Rants and Raves, that to abandon the blog outright would have been a decision I just couldn’t make. So, I walked away from the blog for a while, originally expecting it to just be a week, but having it turn into three weeks.

It was actually an odd feeling, not writing something, or preparing things for the blog, but it was needed. Sometimes you just have to stop, walk away, and collect yourself before going back to it. In writing the first couple of posts for this week I found myself enjoying it again. I’m back to having fun with the blog, which is the most important thing. This isn’t a job. This isn’t something that is life and death. This is FUN. I don’t earn anything from it. If anything it costs me money. But I do it because I enjoy it, most of the time.

If you do find yourself in a similar situation, don’t get overly panicked about it. Do take a step back, relax and leave it for a bit. It will always be waiting for you when you are ready. And likewise, if you see a blog post that you enjoyed reading, or it is something that you can share advice or an opinion on, then PLEASE, do share it. Even a one line comment saying that you agree with the person, or that you recommend something to go with it, it shows that you appreciate the effort that has gone into the blog. Blogging is a social activity, and feeling that you are talking to yourself really, at the end of the day, helps nobody.

Robyn

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... to this
Jun. 19.

Waffle Wednesday (Thursday Edition): How Hair Makes You Feel

hair-thI know this is a Waffle Wednesday post, and yes, I know this is a Thursday, but work with me on this, as I did say on Facebook and Twitter yesterday that I would have something to add to this today. It’s about hair, and how it makes you feel.

From this...

From this…

I generally have a love/hate relationship with my hair, or my birds nest, as I often call it. I’m so naturally curly that it just ends up in tangles and knots, leaving more hair on the brush than on my head when I brush it out, and well, I hate that with a burning fury. That said, I do have times when I love my hair, like when it is behaving for a day or two, or I’ve just had it done (which can be anywhere from 3-10 months in between).

... to this

… to this

Fortunately today is one of those good days. I bought a deal on Living Social yesterday, booked it yesterday, and was in the chair today (I don’t like waiting around, do I) for a couple of hours, trying to have my hair tamed.

And this

And this

And the good news is, it worked. I’ve gone from being brown with a scattering of blonde highlights to being somewhere in between blonde and brown, or in other terms, I’ve gone from chocolate to caramel, two of my favourite food groups. It’s also currently more wavy than curly, thanks to being properly blowdried, but once I add water to it it will just curl up again. Having some length taken out of it to manage the weight of hair should help to leave it a bit more manageable.

I was actually originally anticipating going a bit lighter than this, but looking at it now I’m glad I didn’t. This is a lovely intermediate step to go with. Making such a drastic change can be difficult, and having been some form of brunette for all of my life, it makes sense to not overdo it by going too far in one go.

It also is a good way to make a change from feeling stuck in a rut for too long. Changing something little can inspire you to make a bigger change, and change is something that should always be welcomed.

Robyn

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plaice
Jun. 04.

Waffle Wednesday: Relaxation

ww-relax-thLast night I found a place of incredible relaxation. I left the house not long before Midnight, took a walk, and found myself on a deserted Killiney Beach, with just myself, two fishing rods, my iPod and the water, and it was bliss.

boat

Out fishing in Wicklow on Monday, with this sailing across the bay

Okay, it did get cut a little short after some lightning flashes in the area at about 3.15, leading me to get out of there. I didn’t want to be left out in the open, sat nest to a couple of 15 foot lightning rods, but for those 3 hours plus, it was just so incredibly peaceful to have a couple of kilometres of beach to yourself, just to sit and think, to listen to music or the rhythmic sound of the waves lapping on the shore, and to generally be content. It doesn’t really matter that all I caught was either too small or generally inedible, because it was so enjoyable, so relaxing to be able to take some time completely to yourself, get lost in your own thoughts, and not be distracted by the outside world.

ray

A nice little Ray, caught by my brother.

So, yes, I fish. But this is not about fishing, or whether it is right or wrong to kill, cook and eat your catch. This is about relaxation. What is it that you do to take some time out, to calm down, unwind and ponder the universe? I’m a beauty blogger, yes, and it is an immensely enjoyable thing to do. In fact, I would bet that the majority of people reading this are bloggers too, but there is more to each of us than blogging. I enjoy reading. I enjoy tinkering with computers, getting beauty treatments. I’m a student pilot, and find flying relaxing (when I can afford it), and I fish (I actually combined flying and fishing on Bank Holiday Monday, when myself my dad and my brother went to Newcastle in Wicklow, to fish right next to the airfield). There is something so amazingly special about finding something you can lose yourself in, something you love doing so much that you can have hours go by in the blink of an eye while doing it. So, while this is just a short Waffle Wednesday this week, what I want to do is ask you a question.

What is the most relaxing thing that you love doing to take some time out from everything going on in your life?

Robyn

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Liege Waffle
Apr. 09.

Waffle Wednesday: I Don’t Know What To Say Here

ww-wafflethI really don’t know what to type here. I’m having one of those days. It’s not that I’ve not been productive, because I have. I worked through some issues with a UPC technician. I went for a walk. I bought potatoes and brought them home on the train. I just don’t know what to write about for Waffle Wednesday today, even though I want to do an insightful post.

Do you have days like that? Days where you want to write/paint/do something, but for the life of you, you can’t make yourself do it? It’s something that happens to me from time to time, and unfortunately it usually means the blog suffers. I am trying to work through it though. I am trying to relax and let words flow, seeing where it takes me. I’ve even been getting out of the house to do things that I have to do, avoiding thinking about what I have to write for the blog for a while. I’ve found that trying to force myself to write doesn’t work. If I’m not feeling it, there is no way that I will write something useful,  no matter how hard I try.

A lot of it has to do with state of mind. If I’m wound up about something, I can’t concentrate enough on what I want to write, or even writing something. I find my mind somewhere else and not on what I’m doing. This tends to make me more frustrated, and as I get wound up more and more it becomes more and more difficult to write what I want to write. Eventually it is easier to walk away from it for a little while, do something else and clear your mind. Going for a walk, to the shops for a look around, or playing a game are great options, as they’re enjoyable, a distraction, and help me to relax. I also have been known to stop and listen to music for a while, before continuing to write, leaving the music on. It is amazing how listening to your favourite music can change your state of mind (though I have been known to end up miming and chair dancing too) allowing you to get back to what you’re doing.

Now I have a question for you. Do you ever suffer from not knowing what to write, or have difficulty writing, even when you know what you want to write? What are your best ways around it? How do you get yourself in the right frame of mind to write something. Please do share your expertise!

Robyn

 

Note: On reflection it appears I’ve just written an insightful post on not being able to write an insightful post. Go me!

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