The End of a Lovely Week

I’m sitting on a train that is destined for Manchester as I’m spending the weekend with my mum. I haven’t seen her since my sister’s wedding at the beginning of the month and I’m looking forward to a few days of vegetating on her couch in my PJ’s and a duvet.

For once, I appeared to be reasonably organised, until Daisy (my diabetic cat) decided to have a hypo this morning… Cue the blood curve testing kit and a jar of honey – not what is needed at 7.30am with an unexplainable hangover. Luckily, her levels have gone back up and The Bloke is on standby over the next few hours to check on her.

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I’ve got myself settled into my seat with everything that is necessary for a successful train journey – my phone, headphones, a playlist of 80’s rock anthems, charger, bottle of water and a cheese and onion pasty the size of my face (not exactly the healthiest breakfast I’ve ever eaten, but sometimes it has to be done). I’ve managed to drop half on it on my clothes as I seem to have the coordination skills of a two year old at this time in a morning, which is unfortunate as I am sitting across from a man that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hugo Boss advert. Gorgeous. He’s so pretty I could actually cry. I’m having to turn away before he realises that I’m gawking at him. I’m not the only one to notice him either – there’s a whole group of women (and a man) who have given him the eye as they boarded the train.

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It’s almost the end of the holidays and I’ve had a great time. It was The Bloke’s birthday, for which I bought him the Lego Ghostbusters car (I loved his face when he opened it), met my friend for drinks, I went for several lovely meals, did a bit of shopping and met a group of bloggers – my social life has been more active this week than it has in months. I’m conscious of the fact that I still have some schoolwork that needs completing, but it shouldn’t take me more than a few hours.

My online adventures have also been great – my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party was a huge success and I’m looking forward to this week’s party, and I’ve had lots more views on individual posts because of it. If you’re around on Sunday, you’re more than welcome to participate – I’ll send out further details tomorrow…

Here’s to sleep… And lots of it!

What about you guys? How has your week been?

You can also find me on Twitter an Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

Posted in Daily Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Create Your Own What?!?!

Every school holiday I meet up with five teacher friends that I met when we all worked at the same school about six years ago. Only one remains at the original school and the rest of us have moved on to other places, but over the years we have all managed to stay in contact as we have been through house moves, promotions, marriages, births and a number of OFSTED inspections. We go out for meals,  cook for each other and on one occasion we watched the entire special extended edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy back-to-back, with a McDonalds break in the middle. They’re a lovely group of very intelligent women and I thoroughly enjoy my time with them as they regale me with stories of their recent exploits.

Tonight we visited a wonderful restaurant that I had never been to before. The group was a little smaller as were missing two of them – one has moved to Spain (of course, I’m not jealous in the slightest) and one has just had a baby boy, but the food was lovely, the atmosphere and the staff were great and the conversation was hilarious. One of the women had discovered a ‘create your own cocktail’ item on the menu, and when dessert arrived she was presented with a selection of little bottles of various liquids that she could use to create a drink that was tailored to her liking, and I was a little jealous that I hadn’t ordered one too.

The bill arrived, and suddenly everyone shrieked with laughter, to the point where people sitting at other tables turned around to find out where the commotion was coming from. This is what they were laughing at:

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At just £2.00, my friend said that it was worth every penny…

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Blogging Paranoia: When Avatars Become Real People

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In the real world, I am careful about what I divulge to people, particularly those that I would consider to be acquaintances rather than friends. In the blogging world, I have become far less careful. While I never include names, faces and personal details and I avoid talking about it in my professional life, I have become quite blasé about the content of my posts and frequently forget that the stuff that I send into the online world is actually read by real human beings, instead of an Avatar on a computer screen.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet up with a group of WordPress bloggers and Tweeters from all over the country in person. They were a nice bunch of people of different ages and experiences, and I had a really enjoyable time chatting to some of them (time constraints meaning that I had to leave before the end as I’m taking The Bloke out for his birthday so didn’t get to properly speak to them all). I got to know a little about some of them and have been invited to further meet ups in the foreseeable future. We exchanged Twitter handles (I never thought I’d actually be douchey enough to write that, but there you go) and I left to go and meet The Bloke.

As I was on the way out, I suddenly had a realisation: oh sh*t, what if they actually read my blog? Suzie81 Speaks, effectively, has become almost an online journal and offers a far more personal insight into the cloudy muddle that is my mind, dotted intermittently with the occasional cat picture and rant about the British Education System. These people were no longer just Avatars on a computer screen – they were intelligent human beings that had the power to openly judge what I write… to my face. Initially, it was quite a scary concept.

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This is the risk that we take when we blog on a website that is open to the public and it is important that we are accountable for (and indeed, confident in) what we create.

As I always do when I feel nervous about something, I asked myself (and answered) a few questions on the way home.

1. Who do you blog for? Myself – Suzie81 Speaks is the best form of therapy I have ever had.

2. Do you enjoy it? Immensely – I can easily spend all day on it given the opportunity.

3. Are you proud of what you have created? Absolutely! I have a list of posts that I can reflect on and be proud of. Granted, one of my more recent posts was simply a picture of a guinea pig wearing heart-shaped glasses, but who doesn’t like guinea pigs?

4. Are you going to change what and how you write in response to negative comments? No!

Panic over. Suzie81 Speaks may not be suitable for everyone, but it is certainly suitable for me! And who knows – maybe the new bloggers that I have met may discover that they also like guinea pigs in heart shaped glasses!

What about you guys! Have you ever met anyone from the blogging world? Did it make you paranoid about your writing?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

The Wonderful (and Sometimes Weird) World of Social Media Communication

Warning: bad language is used in this post.

Since the beginning of Suzie81 Speaks I have received almost 14,000 comments on this little blog and it’s associated social media links. I love them and encourage readers to share their thoughts at the end of most of my posts. When they do I read every single one, even if I don’t have time to reply to them at that point. These comments have formed the basis for not only the development of my blog, my levels of traffic and my introduction to lots of different bloggers in the WordPress world, but they have created friendships with people that I otherwise wouldn’t have met, and these friendships are proving to be ones that I value very much. With the exception of a handful of people, I’ve been lucky to have found support in most.

I took some time today to revisit all areas of my social media accounts in search of comments that I have received over the last eighteen months.

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I get quite a range of comments and messages from an awesome group of followers - thankfully most of the comments are friendly (or at the very least, respectful) that make me feel good, make me laugh and that make me feel positive about my writing. They also show me a little bit of their personality and their world in their comments.

The sarcasm in this post has convinced me that sarcasm font does in fact exist.

Too many people seem to equate “enjoying life” with being irresponsible. There’s no reason that has to be the case.

I’m just picturing a barking seal with a rucksack on a train now, lol.

When you’re feeling down and out, and when you’re feeling blue.
Remember that the mighty Oak, was once a just a nut like you.

(In response to the question ‘what would you tell your younger self if you could?’) The pull out method doesn’t work! 

 If you keep up this positive outlook and embrace each day, your life will be fulfilling and satisfying. On my 50th b-day I wanted to do something different to celebrate the milestone. So, I decided to have 50 new experiences over the year…new paces, things, foods, people, skills…whatever. I got pretty close to that goal at year’s end. The point being, life is an adventure full of possibilities. Enjoy the journey!

(In response to an article about beauty) Frankly, I think we, as a society, need to start minding our own business. It is absolutely NOT okay for someone to come up to me and tell me I need to exercise or for someone to tell your skinny friend to eat a cheeseburger. Anyone making inane statements like that without knowing a person’s struggles is ignorant. Let’s judge each other on character and not appearance, mkay, people?

(In response to a post about apologising too much) Yeah, this is me to a tee. I apologise a lot in general. It’s just a reflex action. “Hi, how are you?” “I’m sorry.” “O… kay.” It is a bad habit, I know. On the plus side, I’m invariably lying.

If you were stuck on a CD, what desert island would you take with you? 

(In response to a post about a job I had in the fast food industry) If you put plastic striped straws into the french fry grease, they twist into amazing shapes. We decorated a whole Christmas tree with them. Every last other thing you said is true. But it isn’t everything… (There may have been spit-rounds where the whole staff could participate if an unpopular customer came in. Or someone who was dating your ex. Or it was a slow night…) I lasted until the manager told us we’d have to sing the restaurant jingle whenever he rang a bell. For some reason, that was the last straw. (See how I did that? Came full-circle back around to straws? Can this woman write or what?) Good times.

It took me years to realize that I did not have to live up to other’s expectations or give them everything they want. Understanding this at a young age can prevent a lot of heartache and disappointment. 

I don’t think people understand the true damage a few “simple” words can say. That old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, is a load of rubbish. Words do hurt. No matter how much we deny it, one wrong comment can ruin your whole day no matter how much of a happy, positive person you are. WORDS HURT!

I love these people. They’re kind-hearted, supportive and they make my day.

 

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I get quite a few spam comments, and comments that seem to make no sense:

Love you for writing this post Suzie. All true. Its sounds so skeptical at first but seriously the bullets can murder the people who actually do all this self absorbed stuff. I am definitely inspired and I shall use my Facebook and Instagram accordingly now.

I’m not Mexican. Erm… Thanks for clarifying that – although I hadn’t actually asked or made any presumptions about your nationality.

Harassment everywhere.

(Inbox message on Twitter) Bagels? Lots of Bagels? 

(Inbox message on Twitter) A foot by any other name would taste as sweet. What?!! Eww – my feet would make even the biggest foot fetishist run screaming in terror.

 

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Unfortunately, I have also received a few from people that had clearly misunderstood (or don’t see the point in) what I had written and have sometimes become enraged by it:

(In response to a post about being a professional writer and a hobbyist) Too bad that so many people seek to define others by their current jobs. That was the point of the article – to discuss it!

(In response to a post I created about the metaphorical lies that exist within the teaching profession) Wow. I’m not certain why you would tell them any of these lies. You probably aren’t a bad person, but, only knowing that you tell such lies doesn’t leave the best impression. I don’t actually tell anyone these lies!

(In response to a post I wrote whilst travelling on a train) Why are you writing about trains? Because I was sitting in one!

(In response to a photograph I posted for the Weekly Photo Challenge that was about snow) Why are you showing me snow? I don’t want to see snow. It’s hot I want to see the sun. That’s what the subject of the prompt was about!

I sometimes imagine that if I were talking to these people in real life I would have this expression:

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And even though it’s rare, I’ve have received a few where the commenter is rude and sometimes just downright nasty.

(In response to an article about why Justin Bieber is a poor role model) Adults should have compassion and more to do with lives than jump on the bully bandwagon.

(Again, Justin Bieber) Lol, you’re such a stupid bitch… 

(And again, Justin Bieber) You’re so full of shit. He is my king.

(Professional or hobbyist again) Bit of a snob aren’t we?

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And the most epic, angry comment of all?

(In response to a list I created about things I feel I am allowed to do) Hitler would have benefited greatly from this list, given all the grief he’s probably gotten. Just kidding, sorry you wrote this list, it is terrible. It’s literally not even relevant… It’s some thoughtless, aimless nonsense about your dumb feelings you wrote on a blog…

Hitler would have benefited? Really?

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When reading things like this I am always torn between sending an equally nasty response, which would undoubtedly lead to an escalation of the situation, or just ignoring it and moving on. I usually end up doing the latter, which sometimes secretly leaves me with a sense of frustration as I feel that they have been able to get away with being rude to me without reason or provocation. I adopt an inner fake smile and pretend that my feelings aren’t hurt when really I’m resisting the urge to hunt them down.

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It’s always important to remember that some people are just arseholes. I have been trying to adopt my inner Jack Nicholson both in the real and online world recently, and so far it’s serving me well.

However, when I was going through previous posts to find comments to include, I realised just how many of them I hadn’t replied to. It hasn’t been intentional and I’ll endeavour to change this – I think that it is important to reply to as many people as possible and thank them for taking the time to visit, even if it is a few weeks after their initial message.

 

What about you guys? Have you received comments that have made you laugh, cry or scratch your head in confusion?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog.

 

Posted in Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Twitter Party: #SundayBlogShare

suzie81speaks:

In case you missed this post this morning, #SundayShare is in full swing! Link your posts to Twitter with the hashtag #SundayShare and enjoy!

Originally posted on Suzie81 Speaks:

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If you’re in the blogosphere today I will be hosting the second of my #SundayBlogShare Twitter parties – it was a huge success last week and I’ve been receiving lovely messages all week from bloggers who shared their posts and met new people. It’s a simple process – post one of your recent links to Twitter using the hashtag #SundayBlogShare and enjoy! If you include my Twitter handle (@suzie81blog) in your post I can retweet it for you too! Your posts can cover any topic, you don’t have to follow my blog or any associated social media accounts and there isn’t a limit on the number of times you can post. I will remind everyone again on Sunday but here are a few rules for everyone who wishes to participate.

1. #SundayBlogShare is a happy place. Racist, sexist and homophobic propaganda will not be tolerated, and if you disagree with…

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Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Twitter Party: #SundayBlogShare

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If you’re in the blogosphere today I will be hosting the second of my #SundayBlogShare Twitter parties – it was a huge success last week and I’ve been receiving lovely messages all week from bloggers who shared their posts and met new people. It’s a simple process – post one of your recent links to Twitter using the hashtag #SundayBlogShare and enjoy! If you include my Twitter handle (@suzie81blog) in your post I can retweet it for you too! Your posts can cover any topic, you don’t have to follow my blog or any associated social media accounts and there isn’t a limit on the number of times you can post. I will remind everyone again on Sunday but here are a few rules for everyone who wishes to participate.

1. #SundayBlogShare is a happy place. Racist, sexist and homophobic propaganda will not be tolerated, and if you disagree with the content of a post it should be done in a polite and respectful manner.

2. Blog posts only.

3. No pornographic images are allowed.

4. Do not use it as an opportunity to demand follows and retweets from others, but feel free to retweet posts that you like.

It will start from Sunday morning and will end at midnight. I’m in the UK, so you will need to work out times for whichever country you live in. This may mean that some of you may be participating on Saturday, but please use the same hashtag…

Looking forward to seeing you there!

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog

 

Posted in #SundayBlogShare | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Is There Anything Better Than a Guinea Pig Wearing Heart-Shaped Glasses?

imageThe answer would be no. No there isn’t.

 

Posted in Animals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments