Thursday, December 18, 2008

Blue Christmas

Christmas always make me sad. I love all the friends and family I have near me, and I love my husband, but Christmas always reminds me of the people who aren't where I am. I miss them more at this time of year than any other, and not just because of all the family get togethers. I get to the end of the year and it's another 365 days gone that I haven't been able to go for an early morning coffee with my mum, or shop with my sister, or hang out with my brothers and step dad.

I think it's my siblings that I miss most of all. My sister and I are very close, and I think about her at least once every day - when I see something in a shop I think she'd like, or I hear something funny that I know we'd both laugh at. I miss her a lot at this point in my life, when we're both trying to have a family and it's proving difficult for each of us in our own way. When we're each finally successful in that arena, it's going to kill me to think what I'm missing out on - seeing her be a mum or me, needing my big sis around to help me when I'm bewildered.

The eldest of my two younger brothers currently lives in China and before that he was living in Perth. Both of us took the biggest leap away from the nest and I wonder if he feels like I do. The yearning to be in the family fold but the need for independence dominating and keeping us away. I miss his easy going nature and his laugh.

I miss my youngest brother and his quietness. He's got a wicked sense of humour that comes out when he drops his shyness. I wish more people could see that - how funny he is. I sometimes wish I could peek inside his brain and see the thoughts he has. I know there's something brilliant in there that he's hiding from us all.

On the bright side, my sister and her man are coming out here this Christmas. They'll be here in 5 short days. They arrive on her birthday and I can't wait - it's been almost 2 years since I've seen her. It's the best possible present I could ask for, short of everyone coming with her. She brings with her a piece of home, and I've been missing that so much.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Exercising my right to bitch.

I'm about to complete the 6th week of a fitness bootcamp that my friend talked me into joining with her. So far, it's been great, and the time has flown by, much to my surprise. There is one thing that has been bugging me though - or should I say, two things?

Collectively, they are known as 'The A Team' and I'm not talking about that delightfully crappy 80's show. No, this A Team is made up of a couple of girls in their late teens and truthfully, they are as annoying as any gum-snapping, hair twirling, 'whatever'-ing stereotype you can imagine.

They show up to bootcamp only to giggle, gossip and laze their way through the entire workout. I don't understand why they are there. If all they're going to do is chat and go for a leisurely stroll, while the rest of us sweat and exert actual effort, why don't they just do that on their own time, FOR FREE? It would save them money, and it would save the rest of us from having to listen to the crap that flows freely from their mouths.

In fairness, they aren't always lazy. At least two or three times a class they miraculously have a burst of energy and are able to break into a run, or bust out a few more reps of any given excersize. In an amazing coincidence, these sudden demonstrations of their fitness levels occur precisely as an instructor is approaching or looking their way. It makes me want to bop them over the head with a rolled up yoga mat.

Unfortunately, because they are tiny waisted teenage girls (seriously, WHY are you at bootcamp?) at least one male instructor has a nasty habit of flirting and pandering to these two. This irritates me because a) the rest of us who want to workout may need some instruction as to what to do with the 10 pound weight we're holding precariously over our heads and b) I am not paying him to work on his 'game' with girls!

Near the end of Friday night's power walk, I overheard the A Team discussing their exercise plans for after bootcamp has come to an end. They were talking to the aforementioned instructor, and I'm sure this piece of information was shared to titilate him, and telling him that part of their plans include pole dancing. Now, I understand that this is now an legitimate form of exercise and quite popular, but when I heard that all I could think was 'for money?' A tad harsh, perhaps, but after 6 weeks of witnessing them do not much, and listening to their inane conversations about guys who think they are hot, I'm not pulling any more punches.

Here's hoping that when my friend and I show up for orientation again in January, the A Team will be somewhere else. Like perhaps getting to know their new workmate - Shiny Metal Pole.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let the ranting begin!

Welcome to my first post on my new blog. Today's topic: Advertising that promotes brattiness in children.

Being stuck at home for the past week, I've had the opportunity to watch a tragic amount of television. Today, my sensibilities were assaulted by this:

According to the voice over, 'It's okay to let messes happen' as the kid in the commerical proceeds to waste a large quantity of maple syrup and spill it all over the table, and then drop a meatball into a pot of sauce, causing it to splash everywhere. Meanwhile, 'Mom' appears to be perfectly fine with this behaviour, all the while wearing a white shirt that miraculously seems to repel pasta sauce.

I realize that this commercial is not the root cause of bad parenting, but more a reflection of the bad parenting that has insidiuosly crept into society. However, I really wish that the good people at Clorox would not imply that raising bratty children is 'okay'. It is definitely not okay and any child that pulls stunts like that should be promptly placed in a time out corner, after being made to clean up the mess he's made.

Lately, I've become increasingly disturbed by the obvious lack of discipline being used in parenting today. Don't get me wrong - I'm not advocating physical punishment at all, although a smack on my butt when I was being hideous did me no harm what so ever. I do think, though, that children need to have boundaries set and they need to be taught the valuable lesson that there are consequences to their actions, good or bad.

No wonder so many kids out there are self indulgent, impatient, rude, and disrespectful. Parents aren't taking any control or any responsibility for how their children are developing and what kind of adults they'll become. Kids behave in the manner in which they've been allowed and if they can get away with something by being obnoxious and loud, they'll keep on doing that long after they've left the nest.

Personally, I think parents today have just gotten lazy. Maybe it is easier to just tune out your kids but if you have no interest in raising them properly, PLEASE STOP BREEDING. You aren't doing your kids any favours by giving in to them at every turn. You're only setting them up for bitter disappointment when they get out into the world and realize that they don't get everything they want, when they want it.

Yes, spills happen, kids make mess and we're all grateful for easy cleaning solutions. However, I implore advertisers everywhere to not promote this 'children free to be jerks' parenting.

For the parents out there who recognize themselves in commercials such as these, do us all a favour and take a parenting class or at the very least look up 'discipline' in the dictionary. Otherwise, you may as well start saving up for little Tommy's bail now.