Archive for the ‘Random’ Category


Posted: August 27, 2015 in Random
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It seems like no matter where your turn in this day and age, something controversial is jumping out of your screen. Once upon a time, it used to be (and in some places still is) taboo to discuss sexuality and the origins of being homosexual, bisexual or just plain sexual. Now that most of the intelligently thinking population has gotten past this ‘moral’ hurdle, we are faced with a new unconventional concept… Transgender.

The same way that the world stood against the notion that being homosexual was not a choice but in fact predisposed genetically

Having two young girls myself and being what I like to think is a very open minded person, I have no qualms in explaining to them what the new TLC show called ‘I am Jazz’ is about. I am sure that the same cannot be said for everyone and believe that many will struggle with the concept that a person (and even young child) can identify with one gender when created in the likeness of another. The same way that the world stood against the notion that being homosexual was not a choice but in fact predisposed genetically (an ongoing argument amongst the intolerant).
I believe that as a people (generalisation) we place far too much emphasis on the who, the why, the when. People who are different are boxed and tagged and fitted with a Wikipedia description. If we can’t find an explanation, we shun and judge. And now, here on TV, is a little girl showing off her almost normal little life to the world as a young teenager – her only gripe is that boys find her almost repulsive because she is transgender. Because she has a penis, boys won’t look at her. Because she has a penis, boys don’t want to be gay. Because she has a penis, she must be a freak.

This totally grates my cheese.

Why is it so difficult for people to separate sexuality and gender? Just because a woman was born a man but now identifies as a woman, despite having the male bits and bobs, doesn’t mean she has to like woman because she has a penis or has to like men because now she is a woman. That is irrelevant! The important piece of the picture that is missed here is that she is a person who had the courage to live the life she was born too (Cue Lady Gaga music) and had the ‘balls’ (no pun intended) to come out of the gender closet open to ridicule and scrutiny. The same can be said for a man born a woman who identifies as a man – props to that guy! Applaud these people dammit, they are being who they were made to be – THEMSELVES, no matter what form that is in.
So now it’s time to talk about HER, flavour of the month Caitlyn Jenner. I am so sick and tired of people breaking her down because she is a household name. Because she had some semblance of fame pre transition, she seems to get the brunt of everyone’s judgement and after having watched her series ‘I am Cait’, I’m more in her corner than ever before! Here’s the thing, yes she did have it easier than most financially in terms of becoming a woman. Like most famous women, she can afford fashion stylists and make up artists and hair stylists and expensive clothing and lavish accessories and even surgeries. Does that change the severity of her transition? Not at all?! How can the nay sayers not see that being in the public eye was a major deterrent from speaking out and the fact that she is so engrained in the Kardashian empire made her transition all the more difficult. I don’t think it’s fair to belittle her experience – it is still a profound undertaking not be laughed at and fortunately for her she had the means to do it. Does it take strength? Absolutely. Is she as courageous as the next transgender person? Hell yes. The fact that so many sofa psychologists sit at home judging the manner in which she came out or the reason for it, is a perfect example of the inability to accept that someone did something because it was right for them and not right for everyone else. I have been watching her reality series and her struggles are real, but more importantly her struggles are her own and she has chosen to share them with the world. The show is also full of transitioning or transitioned transgender people, men and women, each with a story to tell – some stories sadder than others. It sickens me that the human race can be so cruel and unkind to that which they do not know and I will refuse to raise my children to be so closed minded.

Having a penis does not make you a man. Giving birth does not make you a woman.

The reality is that we exist in an ever changing, ever developing world. What was the ‘norm’ fifty years ago is no longer. I do not need to be a sailor to have tattoos. I do not need to be a goth to dye my hair black. Having a penis does not make you a man. Giving birth does not make you a woman. Society has no right to dictate what is best for my children and so either of them may turn around to me at any time to tell me that she is a man trapped in a woman’s body – that is not grounds for ridicule. I am not a perfect parent but the perfectly parent way is to accept my children for who they are…

And if we accept our children as they are, why is that we cannot be so acceptable of others??

In a time before women were allowed to vote and men had mani pedi’s, our breast wielding predecessors were happy to restrict their movements by way of a corset and stay home to tend the home and children. Those days are long gone, instead we wear corsetry for sexual prowess and only marry a man willing to tend the home and children so we do not have to. Who are we? The modern, 21st century woman with independence and a career – We are a single man’s worst nightmare.

Making a statement meant wearing a pair of pants and non-conformity was met with oppression

Women before me spent hundreds, no thousands of years fighting their way to the top of any ladder they could – Political, financial, emotional to name but a few. They donned their bonnets and walked the streets, picketed their views for all to see. Making a statement meant wearing a pair of pants and non-conformity was met with oppression. It has always been an underlying fuel to any gender driven fire – A woman, refusing to be held down by societal norms, wanting only to be found as equal.

Well here we are, 21st century women in arms living the spoils of the gender equality war. And are we happy? I don’t think we are not happy, I think we are too proud to admit that women before us fought so hard for something we are not even sure we wanted or still want – To be independent, to be emotionally self-supporting and to be reliant on only ourselves for anything we could or would want. A man, a relationship, sex, love – It is on our terms, we call the shots and if it exists it is only because we allow it to.  Or so we think…

SO what happened? When did we skip the grey area between the two extremes? On the one hand we chose not to be oppressed but on the other we choose to need nothing but what we can give ourselves. What happened to being dependent with an opinion and why do women come under such scrutiny for wanting to be a stay at home mother, reliant on her husband but still having a voice and actually wanting to support and give her husband what he needs to make her happy. Surely we should be acceptable of the middle ground when we advocate for the extreme.

General perception said that a woman’s place was behind her man and in the home, his place was to bring home the bacon

We have forgotten that in those times of ‘oppression’, many (if not most at the time) revered the role of doting housewife. General perception said that a woman’s place was behind her man and in the home, his place was to bring home the bacon. So now, the modern woman has the opposite – She can go out, make and have a career, bring home the bacon and refuses to stand behind anyone. But what makes standing behind your husband any less admirable than what you do by being self-sufficient.

As a gender, women are the nastiest kind. We judge the women that choose the dependent lifestyle and rebuff the 21st century norms that say a woman need not have a man to be happy. And what of the men? The confused souls that have to endure this ever-changing mind-set and never know where they stand… We tell them we want independence and do not need them but when they do not provide what we expect them to, we emasculate them and make them feel worthless. We tell them that they can be whoever they want to be but when they take metro sexual strides, we mock their sexuality. We say that we don’t need them to play the role of the man, the provider, the bread-winner and yet work them so hard they are filled with resentment.

With much love I say that the modern woman wants to have her cake and eat too and she needs to take a step back and evaluate what she wants before calling any more of the shots. I have said ‘we’ all this time because as a gender we have always wanted one thing, equality, but in some way we have managed to abuse that and use it to our advantage – No longer do we feel we are equal but we now act as if we are superior. Who are the oppressed one’s now?

The societal pressure is still there, to be the career woman. The perfect mother. The perfect wife. A lady in the streets but a freak in the bed. To have and keep it together, always. I am just saying that it is OK not to slander the women who choose the lifestyles they do, in fact that makes them more modern than any of those fighting for independence. If a mother chooses not to work, if a wife chooses to cook and clean, if a woman chooses not to have children or if a lady chooses she only ever wants to be single it is because of choice. Who are the rest of us to decide that their choice is any better than our own?

So who is the modern woman?

She is the woman with choice.


2014 in review

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Random

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


There is something incredibly abnormal about waking up every morning and reminding yourself of what you were doing one, maybe two or even five years ago. That said, I too must be incredibly abnormal as that is what I’ve become accustomed to doing every day. Where once I’d wake up and peruse my Twitter feed or Facebook page, I now analyze my past comings and goings one cringe at a time.


So what is it about Timehop that has millions of Smartphone and social networking users all over the world downloading this application? Are we just obsessed with the next ‘cool app’ or is there some deeper, root meaning to this phenomenon?

The great thing about the app itself is the ability to link numerous social networking sites and sync your history in one place. I have Facebook, Twitter (Although apparently my Twitter feed is too much for Timehop at over 15 000 tweets), Instagram and Foursquare synchronized to keep me in the know on just how dorky I was 4 years ago or remind me of what I was doing last year, in case it was too long ago to remember. The truth is, if you’re like me, extremely active on many (if not most) of the available social networking sites, then you’ll understand that there is too much information to just ‘scroll down’ when you’re in the mood to reminisce. What the creators of Timehop have done is given what the modern day Smartphone user so desperately craves, an easier and quicker way of doing things. You can view pictures, status updates, links and even the weather – Timehop also adds in a ‘fun fact’ a day, just another way of reminding you how much older you’re getting. Did you know that on this day, 18 years ago, Eminem released his first album? Yes, if your own youthful, skinnier pictures weren’t reminder enough, that kind of fact will ensure that you feel old today. Older than you were yesterday, ancient in comparison to your Timehop feed.

To be fair, we aren’t only downloading this application because it’s cool. We are still human after all, the ability to jump back in time allows us to relive the moments we thought worthy of a status update. In a time when I’m in the UK, sans my beautiful children and handsome hubby, my Timehop feed shows me our family photo shoot that I uploaded at this time a year ago… A reminder of how strong my family is, how we made it through the year that was and undoubtedly will make it through another. Two years ago, I was going to the gym and posted about a spinning class I had attended – a newfound stab of guilt eats at me for not having seen the inside of a gym in over a year, maybe the reminders that I need to get my A into G? Three years ago I was taking ‘Movember’ pics with my best friend at the time, a reminder that we no longer speak and instead do anything possible to avoid one another after the fall out. Four years ago I took a selfie for my then boyfriend, now husband. A happy reminder of just how in love I truly was and still wholeheartedly am.


While many would turn around and insult the desire to ‘live in the past’, I don’t see it as that. I see it as a common place for social media worthy memories. We posted those statuses for a reason, shared those pictures to boast, joined those social networks in the first place to sate our mortal innermost need to be accepted, loved and attended to. What is a ‘like’ if not a written form of agreement? What is a ‘share’ if not an electric ego boost?
What is Timehop, if not a storage place for your most loved memories?

This afternoon I watched one of the most disturbing documentaries I have ever seen, Blackfish. The movie centres around ‘Tilikum’, an Orca living (existing) in Sea World in Florida who killed a while trainer and what transpired in the aftermath of her death. What was disturbing about this documentary was not the death of a human being but the utter disregard that people have for the lives of animals. As a race, we should be disgusted in ourselves.

I am not an animal rights activist, nor am I a vegetarian and admittedly I do not do enough for animal rights as I could be doing. I am just a regular woman with pets that I absolutely adore and love who is guilty of visiting zoos and aquariums, funding the idiotic animal circus that is this parade of the earth’s creatures. Something about this documentary on Tilikum has sparked a few things in me, one of which being anger. I am so angry that human beings feel they have the right to own and control such beautiful creatures – To take an animal from its natural habitat where it will be healthy and free and instead, lock it up in the smallest pools for most of its life for our viewing pleasure and then fool the public into believing that this is what is best for the animal.

A friend of mine has been battling with guilt around eating meat, something we have discussed at numerous lengths to gauge what exactly is the best way forward to do what she / we can, even in the smallest way, for animals. It is such a debated and controversial topic and unless you only eat fruit and vegetables exclusively, you walk a very thin line trying to aid the cause without doing any harm. Most of our conversations ended at a crossroads, unsure of the answers to the questions and what to do next. Where does one draw the line? Who decides that cows, pigs and chickens are good enough to eat but wanting to have your feline for dinner is frowned upon? We judge people in foreign countries for eating some of the things that they do (and consider a delicacy) whilst eating a steak from a cow that could also have been someone’s pet. I am not condoning eating domesticated cats in any way, but who is to say what animal ‘deserves’ to be eaten and which animal does not? If I, as a cat lover, do not agree with eating cats because I keep them as pets and could not even fathom the idea that someone could actually do that, would it be fair to say that people who own animals such as cows, pigs and chickens amongst others, would not eat meat from that animal as well for the very same reason? If this is true, could you then go on to say that someone who does not have any pets whatsoever considers all animals ‘fair game’ making the cat dinner sound a little more plausible. Rather than the above, the alternative is to look at a no meat option because let’s be honest, you cannot be a vegetarian but still eat chicken, fish and meat products – What makes that fish any less important than the cat in your house (If animal activism is your reason for being a vegetarian of course, I am generalising here).

But what about animal products?

You may have decided that you will no longer eat meat whatsoever, instead you will try to balance a diet of legumes and rabbit food, I for one could not stomach that way of eating. But surely, for the good of the animals, we should be avoiding their products as well? How am I saving a cow by not eating a beef steak but I will buy a litre of milk at the shop that was knowingly STOLEN from that cow after it was forced to reproduce non-stop for its entire adult life to maintain sufficient milk production, after all it is a business right? Is it fair that I will not eat the chicken but we will take their offspring (Yes, that is what they are) and eat it before it has a chance to be that little chicken? That aside, I will eat those eggs knowing that its layer was kept in a cage with 200 other chickens where they could lay egg after egg for the everyday consumer to keep up with public demand. How about my genuine leather belt, shoes or handbag? I do not want to eat the beef but I will still wear the skin of the animal because I like those shoes or I need a jacket in winter?

Let’s assume that after many discussions we deem it near impossible to avoid some, if not most of these scenarios. It is decided that perhaps we will continue to drink milk, eat eggs and throw a steak on the braai but instead we choose to investigate where our food comes from to make sure that the animal has been looked after well enough before having its throat slit or head chopped off. Will it help me to sleep at night knowing that the beef ribs I had earlier would have come from a cow that was free to roam the meadows and ate the greenest of grass, drinking the most pure water with many other fat and healthy cow friends? No, because while the cow has a somewhat nicer life, the end result is the same. That cow is being raised to be food, that cow will still be turned into a handbag and that cow’s milk is still taken to put into my cereal instead of what it is meant for, to feed its young. Even if it did make me feel better, this is what the world suddenly calls ‘free range’ and ‘organic’ – What should be natural and NORMAL is now a speciality – When did it become a speciality for an animal to roam in a field? Since when is it acceptable that this animal can only eat the best grass if it is raised in this way?

We moan when a registered voter doesn’t vote because they want to complain but will not actually do anything about the situation but it is easy to feel that way about not eating meat as well. What point is there to me, one person, no longer eating meat or derivatives? Just because I stop eating meat, doesn’t mean the rest of the world will. As long as there is a demand, the battery chicken farms will still exist and the milk stealing dairies will still go about their business, that is not going to change because of me. Then I have to hope that as long as I am eating the steaks and drinking the milk, the animal did not die in vain and someone who truly appreciated its sacrifice has ingested it instead.

What does this whole rant have to do with Tilikum?

At the end of the day, it is all the same. We keep and kill animals in the most inhumane way to feed the population. At the same time, we capture and imprison innocent animals for our selfish viewing pleasure. When will the realisation come that we are a selfish, cruel, disgusting species who live only for ourselves instead of for the good of others. Too many SICK things are happening in the world already, is it too much to ask to preserve the life of animals that cannot speak for or defend themselves? What does it say about us that so easily we abuse those that are weak and defenceless – If we cannot preserve animal life, how the hell do we have any hope of raising children that actually give a sh1t? In an age when we can send men to the moon, we cannot create a world without the unnecessary killing or abuse of animals for food or entertainment?

Call me a wishful thinker but I can only hope that day will come, when it will be just as inhumane to eat a cow as it is to eat a cat. I am not a vegetarian, I am not an animal rights activist and I have been to a zoo or two. I am not perfect and I do not have all the answers but I can only hope that things get better for animals like Tilikum and so many others that suffer at the hand of the human race.


No, I am not single. Thank the pope. I am not sure that in this day and age I could handle being single (Single mother to boot) on a quest for love – Let’s be honest, it’s a mine field and I sure as hell like the use of both of my legs.

Sick, war jokes aside, the dating game is rough to say the least. There is nothing wrong with being single and NOT looking for love, in fact, if you are not lonely this may be the easiest way of life possible. However, I also know some singletons my own age ready to mingle, looking for love and wanting to settle down… So where do they start? Where on earth do you find a suitable partner to settle down with?

I thought I would take a comedic look (No disrespect meant to anyone) at the ten various hiding places of potential life partners…

1. The local pub.

I am not so sure that this is the place to be meeting and finding soul mates, that said it is not impossible and I am sure there are some lovely personalities to be found at the bar night after night racking up unpaid bar tabs and reeking of a tobacco pipe. Ok, so I am generalising. Not every man or woman sitting at the bar has absolutely nothing to live for and it is quite possible that a lone stranger could truly be out on the hunt for romance – I am yet to come across one but no doubt there are a few (two or three) out there. I guess my concern here would be the guys and girls strewn across the bar counter most nights of the week having come in alone and leaving shortly after closing (because that is how long it took to throw them out) with nothing else to do and nowhere else to go… sadly, if one of these questionable characters tickle your fancy you may be barking up the wrong addiction tree and could end up spending more time car pooling AA meetings than having romantic dinners for two that don’t involve take away pub food. Pub food is only ever good when eaten at the pub anyway… Despite all of the above, pub crawling groups on the sporadic occasion could hold substantial promise for singletons everywhere. My advice – Look out for the guy or girl singing along to the classic pub tunes, mixing it up on the jukebox or dancing with a crowd (Not alone and not swaying, that is just creepy). Try stick to the potentials that pay their bills, do not go to the toilet in groups and make sure they have a safe ride home – in case you go home with them to of course!

2. Church

While this can be a really great place to meet people with common values, interests and goals – It really is not beneficial if you yourself are not an avid church goer – If you prefer sleeping in on a Sunday then this option probably is not for you (No offence intended). If you are not an active member of church and happen to meet a really nice guy on that one day of the year that you did go to church (Easter / Christmas – Insert holiday here) then understand that his/her expectations may be that you do not only attend church once a year and this could make things a little awkward. That said, do not discount church as a meeting ground for awesome people completely – If you really are into someone, religious compromise can always be worked into the relationship. My husband studied to be a pastor and I am a Pagan, it is possible – We did not meet at church though…

3. Online

In fact, we met on the Interwebz. Can you imagine? Thanks to the internet I met my husband so I will not knock online dating completely (if at all). Be prepared for dodginess to creep out of all woodwork possible if this is how you intend to meet the future Mr or Mrs you. There are various aspects of online dating that come into play here. Online dating option 1 is social media – All these free and easy to use tools at your disposal, why not use them to troll the pages of your friends and family – I recommend sending a ‘Like to meet’ list to the owner of the Facebook page you have just trolled and if they love you enough, I am certain they will fulfil your little request at the next gathering they arrange. You can always do what my husband did and add every female possible on the internet to his Facebook friend list (Don’t I feel special) to infuriate a certain person, only to meet the love of his life… RIGHT husband??? :) Option 2 would be subscribing to free or paid for online dating sites – I recommend a paid for site because if you are too cheap to actually pay for a decent profile, how on earth will you afford dinner? Don’t diss online match making, there are people that actually get paid to make Discovery reality TV shows about this stuff so it must work.. you hope. You are always going to be succeptable to the online wierdos so be ready for a few creepy messages and profiles that do not have pictures – Whatever you do, do not entertain those profiles – They do not have pictures for a reason. I am not saying the profile creator is a swamp donkey, it is not about looks anyway, I am just saying that if he says he is 35 and has not uploaded a profile picture of himself then he is probably 65 and freaky – I mean, why lie? If you do happen to cross the path of a profile that tickles your pores then why not set up the meeting? Meetings should always be in a public place, always have an escape route and always have a friend sitting anonymously watching to make sure nothing goes pear shaped. Make sure they give you the tell tale sign / what they are wearing and not other way around so that you can make a quick escape if necessary and make sure that if you do meet your soulmate, he or she DELETES the online dating profile once you get together. If you find out that he or she is married at this point, I am sorry, I cannot help you – Perhaps an SA ID home affairs check for marital status may aid in the decision making process.

4. The office

This is NEVER a good idea. Let’s be honest – If you meet someone at work and continue to work together, surely you would just get sick of each other? Surely after a full day at work together, a car ride home and possibly even living together, you would wear the relationship out before it starts? I am not discounting seeing if the sparks are there but my suggestion would be to avoid dating work colleagues and if you really cannot do that, start typing up a resignation letter and find somewhere else to work so you and Mr or Mrs Right can continue in ignorant bliss while your careers do not suffer in the process.

5. The zoo

This is just odd. If a person is going to the zoo ALONE and you spot them and are interested, you have to ask yourself what the hell YOU are doing at the zoo alone. If there is any form of attraction to a lone zoo visitor, you may have just fallen for a paedophile. I do not recommend this. If, however, the zoo visitor is not alone and has taken his or her kids out for the day – feel free to flirt and fraternise.


Only recommended if you love dogs, cats, reptiles (trouser snake?) and animal hair on your couches because no doubt the man or woman you meet here is in obvious love with their animals. The downside, you will be competing with an animal. The other downside, this expo only happens once or twice a year at the most so you have long waiting periods between opportunities.

7. Pick up a hobby

A hobby, not a hubby – I do not advocate the breaking up of homes or marriages. My suggestion? Decide on an instrument and then take classes to learn how to play it, chances are the teacher is not bad to look at and perhaps a fling or romance will ensue. Remember, you are not the only student so don’t think that you are the only one having a fling but perhaps, if the teacher is serious about you being the only student, you could work together to teach the instrument of choice. Ok, that sounded totally awkward. How about sewing?

8. War gaming conferences

I had to throw this one in there because my husband is a war gamer though I am not sure that we would still be married today if I had met him at a gaming conference of some sort. The truth is, most attendees are just happy to see a female, if they see you at all. I say this because most of them only look up from the table long enough to throw the dice, take a sip of their cold coffee and page through a rule book. I do not recommend getting too close to a table in fear of knocking over a model or two, this is strangely frowned upon and your cos play outfit will not even save you now. If you do manage to get the attention of a war gamer and he does more with you than reads you his codex, be prepared for a very expensive and time consuming hobby which he will attempt to teach you unsuccessfully and then moan about having no one to play with. On the up side, there is never a shortage of birthday or Christmas gift ideas. Oh, and apparently it is a convention and not a conference.

9. At a festival

Just no. You are at a festival to have a good time, get wasted, watch your favourite band you paid the money to come and see and drink copious amounts of alcohol subconsciously trying to avoid alcohol poisoning and remembering where you parked your tent. While not recommended for meeting new potential mates, I would suggest taking along a few friends that may have a future as your partner – They will get to know you extremely well in this type of setting and if they are still interested once you have gone back home, I am certain they are a keeper. If he or she is the person feeding you beer and carrying you to the porter loo, marry them the minute you reach civilisation – Except if they are in the band, they are probably music teachers.

10. A sports game

If you meet someone at a stadium and you are still interested in them when you leave, they should marry you immediately. Lets face it, there is something about a sports game that gets a supporter overly passionate – The obscenities become more obscene, the aggression more aggressive and the voice box suddenly manages to reach levels of screaming you may not even hear in the bedroom. Stay away from the guys with the combs in their socks, that is never cool and you will probably have to go home and milk a cow. Avoid the guys standing in the queues for beer all the while the game is progressing, only to get back to their seats and the plastic cups have been emptied – You never want to be just a ‘designated dickhead’. I am completely PRO meeting a potential husband or wife at a sports game if you are into sport, remember that when you take the supporter home he or she will continue to support from their couch (Couch referee?) and it is advisable to have SS1 to SS3 at home. Try to avoid planning your wedding on the day of a Super 15 semi final and you should not have any problems… Wish I had read this before I got married.

So by the time I had finished writing this, I have already thought of five more potential meeting places and so a definite follow up piece will be written but in the meantime, I would love to hear how and where you met your partners if you are not single and if you are, have you had any success at the places listed above or do you have any ideas for me to add to the follow up? Let me know, I would love to hear from you!

Happy hunting


Eating in silence.

Posted: July 11, 2014 in Family, Friends, Random

Sitting at a restaurant for dinner last night, it was hard not to notice the apparent over usage of mobile devices in a social environment. I have always advocated social media and the use of technology, I am in fact an addict and find it very difficult to sit and do nothing when there is a Facebook news feed to be read. That said, I know where to draw the line and one of those lines is drawn at dinner where I choose to have actual human contact and engage in conversation – Surely that is common sense? Alas, it is less common to interact with your dinner partner and more acceptable to eat with your fork in one hand and your other hand scrolling through your Twitter updates.


Out with the girls, we had our phones out, obviously. We spent some time playing with the camera’s and taking selfies, air brushing our skin after a long day at work and accidentally taking pictures of the diners at the next table which prompted some friendly conversation and quite a few laughs. It was easy to see that we were the most social table in the section, surrounded by human beings devoid of any human interaction or emotion. The saddest part of it all – a young couple behind us having dinner that I spent much time ogling (In a non stalker way – I hope). They sat down shortly after we did, each with their phones on the table, one hand scrolling and the other hand being used for refreshment. The couple did not share one word, not one look, not a nod or a grin for the entire time they sat there. It was obvious they were scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram accounts from the time they sat down, pausing to order from the waiter and not so much as looking up when the food arrived. They continued to peruse their mobile devices as they ate and after they were done, all the attention was once again devoted to their social media.

Excuse me, but when did it become acceptable to leave the house with someone but not say two words to them because whatever is happening on your phone is far more important (For over two hours!). I ask you, with tears in my eyes, what is the actual point in leaving the house? You are probably better off ordering take away dinner, staying in doors and giving each other the silent treatment in the comfort of your own home – Without all of the restaurants patrons judging you?

I have said this many times before – I love social media. I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I do update my Facebook status at least once a day, I have occasionally tweeted about bad service I have received, I have Instagrammed a pic or two of dinner, I have a Pinterest board for my cats and like to update LinkedIn on more business related topics. I do it all and I am proud of it – I am just as proud, if not more so, of the fact that I understand when enough is enough. I know that when what is happening on my phone is more interesting or important than what is happening in my life, a change needs to be made. Life was not made to live through a device – By all means, share what you do with those you love but as my good friend mentioned in his recent blog:

In my opinion you should be posting about experiences with friends, not experiencing posts with “friends”! – Chris Huntingford

(Click here to read Chris Huntingford’s full blog on Social Media)

This brings me to another sore but pertinent point, social networking and gaming – the destroyer of relationships.

When Candy Crush came out, we all downloaded it. We played it until we were ill. We sent numerous requests on Facebook for extra lives and bonus sweets to see how far we could get. Candy Crush morphed into Pet rescue, despite how much we all moaned and groaned about Farmville. Then, if you’re like me, you went and blocked every game app on Facebook to stop receiving requests and invites and made sure that all the games had been deleted from your devices… The phase was over. I realized that I was spending far too much time ‘playing’ these online games that it was actually taking away from my day to day human interaction. Hours would pass in the quest to build my Ice Age Village (Which I was mighty proud of after many hours of hard work) and it was only a matter of time before my dragons were levelling up in Dragon City – Then I sat back and realized how absolutely absurd that all sounds when I have far more important things to do like spend time with my family, converse with my husband or get my chunky ass to gym (Like I am always complaining about).

In a world where we already battle to separate home from work, where we constantly struggle with living to work versus working to live, how did we think that we were so evolved and mature to incorporate yet another split to struggle with – Quality time versus Game time. Well, that is exactly my point. Unless your life is perfect and you can balance every aspect without fail, stress or anxiety… unless your family gets enough quality time and you give your all in everything you do (lacking nothing), the last thing you should be doing is spending hours each night on your phone levelling up. When are you giving life a chance to happen?

I have had to ban the use of mobile devices for game purposes in my home from Monday to Friday. Though my husband will not admit it, he is addicted to social gaming (The latest being Hearthstone or something like it). When did I realize he had a problem? When he got up and walked to the kitchen to make me some hot chocolate and took his laptop with him – he continued playing while the kettle boiled, while he poured the mug and after bringing it to me he quickly raced back to the kitchen to see what was happening. The tell should have been the fact that he upgraded from his cell phone to his laptop… that’s commitment.  While annoyed with me for the ban, he will eventually see the point when we are interacting as a family more and worrying about the games less. When instead of coming home to him couch bound in front of his laptop gaming, perhaps a conversation will take place instead.  He wont get snippy retorts over the work or personal work he cannot get to at the expense of his gaming habit and he will value the weekend game time he has more so than the brief interludes he was getting midweek – The love affair with online gaming. The social mistress.

I have only one request… consideration. Be considerate of those around you when you are staring at your phone or device. Be considerate of your family when it is interaction time and you’re fiddling on your phone. Have some consideration for yourself and the valuable things you could be missing out on – Life is short. Too short. Don’t be remembered for the amount of time you spent online, be remembered for the amount of time you didn’t…

It is all about balance, balance takes practice and practice makes perfect. Don’t be upset with those of us implementing bans, we only want more of your time.

(PS. Thank you to my husband for inspiring a portion of this blog)

(PPS. Here is hoping that somehow, that couple at the restaurant gets to read it).