Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Breaking the bad habit of Breaking Bad

It was a terrible addition. 
I had no social life for an eternity.

I never wanted to go out. I had to get my fix every evening. Not just one episode, it had to be two, sometimes three, once four!

Binge TV at its finest. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had loads of time on my hands and I could lie-in every morning, but I can’t, I have small kids, and a job and a life (or so I thought I had until I started watching Breaking Bad).

Five whole series to get through! With anything up to 16 episodes per series. 

That’s a whole of telly to feed an addiction. 

The main characters are normal people who end up cooking crystal meth to survive. They end up turning into killers and bad people, but you can’t help still liking them, can’t help hoping that they live to change their ways. 
The brilliant Breaking Bad grips a hold of you like the addictions that are being fed by the meth in the series. Watching it every night means that you start channelling some of the characters behaviour and expressions. Check out Glennon Melton’s hilarious new blog post about accidentally channelling Jesse to her kids.

It took 6 months before we finally cured our addiction (my hubby and I, who was my partner in crime/watching) – by getting to the end and breathing a sigh of relief. Finished, finally! The final episode finished and we entered cold turkey - it was the only way out for me and Walt (he's the main character if you've never seen it).

And now I’m free… but only free as far as finding another series to binge watch. 

After the heavy shock horror stuff of Breaking Bad, I'm currently enjoying the fun light-hearted humour of Modern Family. Need to get a few laughs in there somewhere...

What do you binge watch on Netflix?

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Disclaimer: I am of the Netflix Stream Team so I'm trying trying to bring you news and updates every now and again, and sharing bits and pieces with you that I find of interest.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

A Break from Facebook

So I had a bit of a break from Facebook.

We didn’t really fall out - I just got bored of being constantly notified of inane things on my phone.

Whilst the whole world was sharing their fun-filled summers, I suddenly didn’t want to share my stuff anymore. Facebook Fatigue set in!
Yeah, I’m aware of the irony in not wanting to share my stuff at the same time as writing a blog (and sharing that link on Facebook). So occasionally, I take little holidays from the blog too.

I was hardly gone a week when I started pining, wondering what my friends were up to. Sad huh?
I sneakily snook back in to see if I was missing anything. And guess what? All I saw was a load of people pouring iced water over their heads. WTF?!

The rest of my news feed was jammed with 50zillion ‘days of positives’. Don’t get me wrong, I love positive thinking, but not when it takes over Facebook and blocks real stuff from coming through, if there is any real stuff there anymore.
Yes, I’m a total bore when it comes to these kind of social events. I regard them like pyramid chain mail, nothing short of Facebook Chain Bullying: “do this stupid thing or pay $100!”, which means they always bring out the dormant teenage rebel in me and I become a non-participator.

I don’t like joining the crowd. Tell me I’m a killjoy, I don’t care, I hate them. I will not be participating in throwing ice on my head for charity, nor blocking up my Facebook page with everyday positives, nor taking selfies of myself without make up on. Not that I ever wear any makeup – every pic you see of me ever is without make-up so I had no issue with that. I just don’t like forced mass-media events and the sheep like mentality of everyone following them.
There I’ve said it. Please don’t be offended if you love them. It’s cool if you do, I offer no judgement, just a lack of enthusiasm for them from me. Instead of a ‘no-make up selfie’, I donated the money to the charity, and I’ve supported my hubby in doing the ice bucket challenge not once, but twice, and donated three times to ALS.

Truth be told, these events make Facebook really boring for me. I prefer real updates from real friends – such as pictures of their new babies and discussions in private groups. I use Facebook for polling different friends fast, such as asking questions about where to get my iPhone screen fixed locally, or sharing pictures of the kids at recent events for family and friends.
Facebook has become a marketing platform. A tool for sharing articles and teasing friends.  A research study from the US Pew Research Centre reckons that 61 percent of Facebook users take breaks from the site because of 'too much gossip and drama' and 'boredom.' Some respondents said there simply is not enough time in their day for Facebook.

So I’m going to stay on the peripheries for a while – maybe dip in and out – and turn off my phone notifications, hide a few people’s updates and take regular breaks.  My end of summer resolution is to stop using it as an excuse to not being in better contact with old friends. We need to start writing letters and emails again, not relying on Facebook updates to keep in touch (because if they’re anything like me, nothing important about how I’m feeling goes in an update).

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Touching the Magic in Slowing Down

So I had my first car accident – a very minor one when I reversed into someone parked in my blind spot on double yellow lines.

It was my fault, said everyone, despite the yellow line thing. A moment of blindness, resulting in a torrent of self-flagellation and calling myself ‘stupid’ all week and feeling rattled and rotten.

Needless to say my kids’ needs have not been met this week – as I can barely meet my own. I’ve decided to take a break from everything this weekend (thanks to my amazing hubby saying he will mind the 3 little ones all weekend) and breathe some deep air at a retreat centre in west Cork.

Luckily, my insurance covers the damage, thank god, as we don’t have €500 in spare cash lying around to pay for the coin-sized repair to her front bumper.
And there’s the rub. Five hundred quid for a tiny crack on a plastic bumper! Has the world gone mad? Aren’t bumpers supposed to withstand small bumps, hence their name? When did bumpers stop being made of solid metal and rubber defenders and get replaced by aesthetic plastic that wouldn’t absorb a fly?

My own car had a proper bumper and guess what, not even a scratch from this collision!

Anyway, I do but digress.

Dealing with other people’s anxious energy and various claims departments in insurance companies can be very stressful. I’ve been going back to positive energy music and mindfulness bells on my phone to remind me to ground myself and take deep breaths.

How easily we get lost in a busy life with 3 kids and a job that we rarely allow ourselves to slow down and nurture our soul. This incident was merely a catalyst, a warning to recharge my body with energy before I get sick, but I felt it trigger something: I felt tightness in my chest where I literally could feel the stress eating away at my heart. I felt a deep disconnection in my body and soul. I yearned to cut myself away from the chaos of my everyday life and experience a beautiful silence that would allow my body to flow in harmony again. To reconnect with my soul. To touch the magic in stillness.

I just told my two eldest that mummy needs a break for a few days.

“But you’re always going away!” said my 6 year old.

“Can I come?” asked my 5 year old.

“No, mummy needs to be a person again and then I can come back and be a better mummy for you,” I replied.

They looked at me like I'd just told them I'd eaten their rabbits!
So I’m going to be a person for the weekend. A real bone fide person where people use my real name instead of ‘maawwm’. I don't even know who Amy is anymore!

Imagine a whole weekend with myself. What a treat!

It feels very indulgent but I feel I deserve it (because I work so hard). And I can’t bloody wait!


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