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The Menopause

Drawing of me with fire in the background

So, as I think I’ve mentioned before, I turned 50 last week.

And like a switch being flipped my occasional bout of feeling slightly warm has turned into hot flashes so hot I swear I’m on fire. So far my sleeping meds have prevented these horrible things waking me up, but I am expecting to have that happen any day.

So I went to my GP’s office and chatted to one of my favourite GP’s, Dr Mc, about what I could do, since I can’t take hormones, as they give me migraines. And he actually suggested natural remedies. He admitted that he had no idea if they actually worked or if it was all placebo effect, but we agreed even if it’s just placebo effect, anything is better than feeling like you’re on fire!

So one night this week after work I am going to go to Harland and Barrett and see what they have for “Menopause Vitamins.”

I promise to report back.

Unless I spontaneously combust before then…

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Why I Really Missed PIP by One Point.

As I mentioned previously, I applied for Personal Independant Payment in 2017 and took it all the way to appeal.

And I lost. By one point. I am one point not quite ill enough to receive the  money the government claims I’m entitled to. 

Except I’m not entitled to it. Not any more.

And everyone keeps telling met to reapply. That finding that one point, by starting from the beginning, shouldn’t be too hard.

But, for right now, the government has won. I don’t have the energy to start all over again.

And that’s what they are counting on, really. That they’ll wear down those of us who, according to them, are ‘fine’, so we’ll give up. Go back to work and not try again.

So I am, currently back at work, part time. 

And I’m exhausted and in pain. Like always.

But I’ve also been thinking about why I actually didn’t win my appeal. 

Because I don’t think it’s because I didn’t have enough evidence as to why I get anxious when I go some place new (the point I was trying very hard to get).

I think it’s actually because the appeal committee, who I met in person, saw the Robyn who covers her pain. And her exhaustion. 

Because that’s what a lot of us with invisible illnesses do. We cover. We put forth a facade of being normal. Of not hurting. Of being fine.

It’s not that we’re faking sick. We’re faking well.

And it can be hard to turn that off. To show how we really feel. 

How every step hurts. How our words get jumbled. How tired we actually are.

I am so used to letting no one, not even my family, see how bad I really feel, that it’s hard to drop the act and let it show. 

And why do I keep up the act? Because I have to. No matter how I feel, I have to get up and get Adam ready for school, and now me ready for work. I have to make lunches and help him with his uniform (Yes, even at his age. He’s still autistic, after all, and still has issues with fine motor control.) and wait for his bus with him.

Sure, Simon helps as much as he can. But he leaves the house over an hour before we do, to make it out to his campus for his first class. That might ease up a bit if Ulster ever actually moves to Belfast. (Perhaps a post for another day…)

So, as it always has, it falls on me. Except now, after Adam is on his bus, I’m on mine, off to work.

And I love my job. I really do. It’s the Administrative job I’ve always wanted in terms of autonomy, power, and the back up to use it. 

But it takes it’s toll. Even if I do not have a physical day at work, I still end the day exhausted. And some days have to be physical as there is a lot of cleaning up and organising my poorly neglected office needs.

So I spread that work out and make sure I have whole days of just sitting at my desk doing other things.

But even on those days I do 5,000 steps without even trying. Just from walking around the office.

It will become somewhat easier in a few months when we buy a car, because I won’t need to do any of the walking I do now to get to work. It’s not much, but what it is takes some of my energy. Not that driving isn’t tiring, but I don’t find it tiring in the same way.

But what I really want is to not have to wear the facade, ever. 

But I have to. 

Because my kind of illness? The invisible kind? Is still not believed by a whole lotta people. 

So if I grimace in pain, or don’t laugh off my word confusions or give in to the exhaustion as often as I truly want to, then people would think I was faking. Pretending to be ill.

When, really, I’m pretending to be well.

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Half A Century

In less than a week, on 5th February, I will be half a century old.

The big Five Oh.

50.

And I’m really good with that.

I wasn’t good with it for a long time. It seemed so very old. Half a century. Firmly middle aged.

And then I was. I’m not really sure what I did or said to myself to get to the point where I’m actually looking forward to the nice round number that is 50.

And I’m celebrating. Hard.

Out for dinner with Simon and Adam this Saturday.

Bryan Adams in concert at the end of February with some friends.

A trip to Glasgow in April with three of my closest women friends.

And a tattoo on my left shoulder.

a hand holding a fountain pen drawing in yarn a semi colon
copyright 2019 DTAT

The quality of the image needs to be improved, but overall that’s what it will look like. A hand holding a fountain pen writing a semi colon in yarn.

It’s taken me about 50 years to decide on what my tattoo should be and I’m very pleased with it. Can’t wait to get it inked on.

It’s a big year in general around here.

I’m 50.

Simon is 45.

Adam is 10.

Simon and I are married 15 years.

Surely it should be a great year with all those zeros and fives!

It’s certainly starting well.

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Commitment.

I was reading a really really good fan fiction series recently. It was Rafael Barba/Sonny Carisi from Law & Order Special Victims Unit. I can link to it if there’s any interest. It’s on AO3.

Anyway, along with being really well written, it had a fantastic timeline. It started with Sonny and Rafi as friends. The first story ends with them dating and admitting how they feel about it each other.

And then it jumps ahead. A year. Eighteen months. Three years. Five and a half years.

And I realised how realistic that is. I mean, sure, some of the inbetween stuff might have been nice to see. Their day to day lives together. Cases worked together and the like.

But the truth is, day to day life isn’t all that interesting. Even if you’re a cop and an ADA.

In real life you don’t ponder every day. You just live it. You meet your mate, live together, maybe marry and start a family. And you don’t really think about the years going by.

Simon and I have been married for 15 years this coming September. Together for 18 years at the end of the year.

And I certainly can’t remember every day. I remember big things. Our first real life meeting. When he asked me to marry him. Our wedding. The day we found out I was pregnant. Our son’s birth. Buying our house.

And some little things. Like the time my sister in law thrust my baby niece into his arms so she could pee and I found him there sort of staring at the baby in his arms, totally perplexed.

Or the time my sister did the same thing with my baby nephew and when she took him back, Simon had left red marks on his legs, he was holding on so tight.

But otherwise, years go by with nothing of note. We do things, of course, but every day things. We go to work and take care of our son and do things around the house and visit people and watch TV. Play games.

And, always, at the base of it is the fact that today is like tomorrow and the next day because we will be together until death do us part.

Maybe it’s taking each other for granted.

But that’s not always a bad thing.

 

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So It’s Been About Six Months

A capital T in a tea cup creating the pun A Cup of Tea

Since I’ve posted anything.

Lots has, of course, happened. We bought a house. I have a job. I fought for PIP and lost on appeal. By one point.

We have two cats who are just over a year old.

Black and white cat lying on her side in a bed.
Princess Ella
Face of a black and white cat
Jack the Clown

Adam is only about 10 inches shorter than me and will be 10 in June.

Simon is still a foot taller than me and will be 45 in March.

I am still as short as ever and will be 50 on 5th February.

Simon and I will be married 15 years in September and together 18 in December.

As always seems to happen with me, the busier I get, the more things I think to do.

Of course, my fibro and arthritis and other joint issues means I can’t do things as much as I’d like to. In fact I had the worst flare ever a week or two ago when I, literally, couldn’t move without moaning in pain. Luckily it was on a Saturday and I was find by Monday morning for work. But, I have to admit, it scared me. It still scares me.

But I’ve had lots of blog posts floating in my head. And about five stuck in my drafts folder.

One about relationships that last. And one about coming out nearly 30 years ago. One about my new job and how much I love it.

And one about the hell that was the fuck up with my Indefinite Leave To Remain visa that postponed my job by two months.

I guess I just feel like writing, is all.

So I hope some people are still around to read this thing. Perhaps the email notification will pop up and you’ll be all ‘who?’.

But maybe, just maybe, the notification will pop up and you’ll be all ‘Whaoo! I missed her!’

Finally, I am still knitting and crocheting (sort of) and quilling and doing tapestry and weaving and all that other fibre I do. And I am hoping to open a shop right here on this site.

The plug in is active. I just have to figure out how it works!

So keep an eye out. Some interesting things should be coming!

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A Change…

Today I have closed the Conscious Crafties Knitted By A Tee shop.

Why?

Lots of reasons. Mostly because I was paying for it and I wasn’t getting any work or sales from it.

So what if you want to buy something from me?

Contact me directly!

robyn@designedtoatee.co.uk will land you right in my inbox and we can work from there!

Hope to hear from you soon!

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Okay, Yeah, It’s Been Nearly A Year

I’d say I’m sorry about that but really? I’m not. Things happen. Things don’t happen. Ya know. Life.

But I have just updated the privacy policy to align with GDPR (hey, I’m only 6 days late!). And some other bits and pieces, like the Welcome page and the About Me page, so I thought I’d pop over to here and give y’all a thrill.

Are you thrilled?

For the record, I keep almost no data on anyone. My digital data is kept by Conscious Crafties. Anything physical I have is under lock and key and I have the only key.

So your data is safe with me.

So what have I been doing?

Some of this. Some of that.

Some of the other.

I’ve been knitting and crocheting and turning 49 and planning Adam’s 9th and just general living.

I’ve had incredibly pain-filled days.

I’ve had perfectly normal days.

I’ve had mentally bad days.

I’ve had mentally good days.

I’ve just been being me.

How are you?

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Me and My Bullet Journal

My BuJo

So, I don’t know about you, but my handwriting sucks.

It hasn’t always completely sucked. At one point, during my university career, I spent a lot of time working on it so it would pass my drafting teacher’s exacting standards.

And I did take my graphics classes at the juncture between by hand and by computer and back then I drew much better than I do now.

But in recent years, between arthritis and typing, it has deteriorated. A lot.

And so when I look at Bullet Journal (“BuJo”) layouts on the web, I am totally intimidated by how pretty they are!

BuJo Menu Plan Layout
My menu planning for the month.

The perfect handwriting. The beautifully drawn pictures, the various fonts! Fonts! Handwritten FONTS! FFS

And so it took me ages to start a BuJo. Because I knew I didn’t have the time, or the hands, to make one look like the pictures.

And then I saw one that wasn’t perfect. It was still nicer than I can do these days, but it was far from perfect.

And I started my own.

And I love it.

And I don’t follow any of the ‘rules’ of BuJos because, really, isn’t that point of one? You add to it what you need at any given time.

BuJo Goals Layout
My monthly goals. Spin is not exercising. It’s wool spinning!

So long as you title the page and number it and add it to your index, you’re good to go.

So, do you want to BuJo? Then BuJo!

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Okay, So, Discretion is Indeed the Better Part of Valor…

And Simon and I have agreed to not name and shame our plumbers on the internet until we see our legal position.

So, if you live in Northern Ireland and want to know who they are? Private message me on FB or Twitter or wherever you know me from and I’ll tell you who to stay away from.

And stay tuned to hear about other stuff.

Maybe.

 

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I Am About to Name and Shame Our Plumbers

Who we’ve just fired, but I thought I’d name and praise our gardeners, first!

When we moved into our rental house 5.5 years ago now, it was October and the lawn was dormant.

And then it was spring and it started to grow. And we hauled out the mower and Simon tried to mow. He was not successful.

So we ignored it.

Then my mom and step-dad came to visit and step-dad insisted on giving it a go.

So he did.

Then he left.

And we ignored it.

And then the house next door started having Moulds Gardening Services do their lawn, very surprising as the man who lived there seemed to love doing his own lawn, but whatever!

So I walked over to the guy doing the mowing and asked if he’d have a look and give me a quote to do ours.

I don’t remember what the exact figure was at this point, as it was a bit more in order to tame the wildness of our lawn, but after that first mow, it was £15 every two weeks.

And William and his then very small team (him and another man) started regularly mowing our lawn. I barely saw them, an invoice hitting the matt every two weeks, unless I was home and paying attention, and then I’d pop out with a cheque and for a chat.

Then the weeds went mad and the hedges needing trimming and there was William happily working away, neatly, cleanly and with reasonable prices.

And then we moved to our house that we own. And it was time to start actually caring about the lawn, since it was ours. And William has been right there with us the whole way.

At this point, William has expanded. He has at least two branded trucks and I saw him driving a plain one just today so a third one may be in the works. He has several crews working for him.

And he and his gang of merry men are amazing. They show up when they say they will. They trim and mow and pull weeds and do plantings and are just spectacular.

Our weeds were out of control again and so I sent William an email asking him to sort it. He said he’d be here this past Friday.

And then before the end of the day Friday he sent me an email apologising for not getting to us but we would be done first thing Monday.

 

Our weeded back garden.

How first thing?

One of his men was working on our weeds when Adam and I left for the school bus at 845 this morning.

That’s how to run a business.

Stay tuned for how not to run a business…