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.
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!
I’d say I’m sorry about that but really? I’m not. Things happen. Things don’t happen. Ya know. Life.
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.
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.
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.
I realise this is late as International Women’s Day was earlier this week, but it’s been floating around my head and, really, we should celebrate women, international and otherwise, all year long, shouldn’t we?
So I’ve been thinking about the women in my life. My friends, my family, my tribes and squads and crews. And there are several distinct groups, some of which overlap, some of which don’t, and I’ve been reflecting on how they help me and how I help them.
My family is full of kick ass women. My mom, who was one of the first computer programmers in the 60s. I wrote about how kickass she was here, on Jump!Mag. Who was divorced and single mom long before most people. My dad was around, but mom did the day to day school/doctors/ill child/sort childcare/take to birthday parties part of my childhood.
My sisters and sisters in law and cousins who are business women, world travelling ecology experts, clergy, stay at home moms and teachers. Who sort their children and their partners and their homes and their jobs still find time to join marches, wear pussyhats and raise my equally kick ass nieces and second cousins. The boys are kick ass too, but I’m talking about women here!
My local friends, who are the ones who I call when I need emergency Adam care, a ride to Ikea or a cup of coffee and a belly laugh. Who are also kick ass women coping with their children, their partners, their jobs, and the total insanity that can be Belfast.
My hussies, whom I’ve written about before. This amazing group of women who found themselves othered on a popular message board for daring to speak against the message board’s main ethos. Who banded together in a chat room and carried that bond forward to Facebook and elsewhere. I’ve only ever met one of them in person, but they are the ones I look to when I need some mojo. Hussy mojo is unstoppable and incredible and has done everything from help people land their dream jobs to have babies. It may be virtual, but sometimes knowing that a group of people are out there, thinking about you, helps you find that inner je ne sais quoi you need to get things done.
And what I think of as my Core Four (three plus me). Four women who come from different backgrounds and countries and life experiences who have managed to find each other through the internet and are my closest friends. I have never met any of them in person and we now live in four different countries (England, Northern Ireland, Germany and Cyprus) but they are the ones I run to first with my most joyous news and most disastrous downfalls. And we never tear each other down and we always lift each other up and they are the ones I wish were nearby. We have a dream of retiring to a beach in adjoining cabins, but first, we need to figure out which country!
Oh, there are others too. Some on Facebook. Some on other message boards. Groups and groups of amazing women. An MP, a life coach, a writer or two. Some artists and musicians and crafties. And we talk. And we laugh. And we cry.
And we are, slowly, being heard. Being loud. We get knocked down, but we get up again. We shout for justice. For equality. For everything we deserve as members of the human race.
About a year ago I stumbled upon the idea of Health At Every Size (HAES). And I loved what it said.
It says that no matter what size I am, I can still be healthy. It says I have the right to move my fat body in any way I choose without censor or ridicule.
And it says that fat does not immediately mean out of shape and that thin does not immediately mean healthy.
In fact, I remember a man in my first ‘Oh fuck you have Type II diabetes, now what?’* class who was thin as a rail. And still had Type II.
You know why? Because a Type II diabetic is one whose body does not use insulin properly. Yes, that can mean because they are too big for their insulin supply, or could just mean their body produces too little. But they produce some.**
Anyway, HAES gave me the courage to say ‘fuck it to dieting.’ I have never really been a “dieter” anyway, but I certainly tried Weight Watchers or other weigh what you eat plans. And have never kept the weight off for more than a year.
Of course, I didn’t just see HAES and give up watching what I eat. I also read the actual studies about the harm yo-yo dieting does to the human body and also how none of the weight loss “experts” or programmes, such as Weight Watchers, will even publish studies past about 5 years of success.
One of the blogs I follow, Dances With Fat, says this about weight loss past five years:
“The vast majority of people who attempt long term weight loss gain their weight back, and a majority of those gain back more than they lost. When most people trying an intervention have the exact opposite effect, ethically we have to stop recommending it, at least until we figure out why and have research that shows a higher degree of success.”
HAES has actually even permeated Type II Diabetes guidelines. When I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, I was told my HBA1C*** had to be under 7 in order for me to be in control. Just last year that number went up. To 7.5. And just two weeks ago, at my 6 monthly appointment, I was told it needed to be about 7.6**** or under.
This was because a lot of studies showed there was a nominal difference in health and secondary pathic issues between 7.5 and 7 but a huge difference in the quality of life for diabetics. In other words, people were working so hard to achieve 7 or lower, they were miserable.
And my last A1C (not counting two weeks ago, that one isn’t back yet)? 7.4.
And then there’s SA. SA is exactly what it says it is. Accepting that people are fat or thin just as they are tall or short, brunet or blonde. My weight is none of your business and your weight is none of mine. You can’t tell how healthy someone is by their size. And it’s really none of your business how healthy I am or am not.
So what does this mean practically for me? It means I still eat fairly well most of the time (I’m a huge lover of vegetables and always have been) and when I don’t? I don’t worry about it.
But I am also exercising more. Because my goal isn’t weight loss, but to just enjoy the exercise, I am more willing to do it and I do it more often. There is no goal, actually, beyond trying to move (I usually walk) about 4 days a week, if not more.
So give it a try. Try eating what you want, when you want, as much as you want and accepting that some people are just fatter than other people. I mean, I will never be 6′ tall. And now I accept that I will never be 140 pounds either.
*Probably not the actual name of the class.
** For the record, a Type I or Juvenile diabetic produce no insulin at all. That’s the difference between the two. Also, everything I say here having to do with diabetes is about me and Type II.
***HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin (A1c), which identifies average plasma glucose concentration, usually over 8-12 weeks.
****The United Kingdom no longer uses DCCT numbers for A1C but IFCC numbers instead, which are two digits and start at 35. But just as kilometres have no meaning to me, IFCC numbers mean nothing. So I always convert to DCCT, which I understand!
First of all, the sharp-eyed among you will realise that the URL of the site has changed. My former web host, aka my brother, decided to shut down his server and so we’ve migrated to a new host (NameCheap, if anyone cares) and given me a new URL. Which is actually my same URL that I’ve used for the company website since I started it seven years ago. Six years ago? Some amount of years ago.
But don’t worry about changing your bookmarks or that you’ll miss something because Leyser.org/TeeBlog will get you directly to designedtoatee.co.uk/TeeBlog. That’s the front page of the entire site now. It’s a nice picture of me, yeah?
Of course, if you don’t care about looking at my working or buying things from one of my shops (And why not? Huh?) you can add a new bookmark. To get directly here, to the blog, you need to use http://www.designedtoatee.co.uk/TeeBlog/Blog.
Or you can come through the front door. That’s okay. 😀
Let’s see, what else…
We’ve purchased and moved into our new house. OUR new house. As in, we own it. Weeeeelll, us and the bank, at least. But we can do whatever we want to it. And we are. And we will. And it is awesome in be here. I’ll be posting some before and after pictures at some point. Major changes coming, actually, starting with a complete bathroom refit.
My mental health is good. My diabetes seems to be under control. My fibro/early degenerative disease/arthritis kicks my ass and steals my spoons on a regular basis.
But I’m knitting. And crocheting. And doing tapestry. And sewing. And being a mum and a wife. And I have just bought a drop spindle and some wool and a book and I am going to learn how to spin.
I wonder if Simon will notice if I put a new shed up in the garden to hold a spinning wheel and a shuttle loom…
Well, that was a year, yeah? Good, bad, and ugly, all together.
Personally, it was a good year. I met my two main goals (more on that in a minute), Adam is thriving and only 10 inches shorter than me (eep!), Simon is working hard and enjoying it and I just keep keeping on.
My two goals were buying a house and earning my Driver’s License. Check and check.
The license took longer than expected, but I did it! In my case 6th (I think it was 6th) time was the charm. And passed with flying colours at that point. I had something like 4 minor faults. So yeah. I know how to drive!
The house also took longer than expected that but that was because all solicitors are evil. Weeeel, all solicitors working for other people are evil. Our solicitor was great. The vendor’s solicitor was a dick and a half. But we got there, in the end, moving in on 24th October. And two months later I still get a fission of ‘Oh yeah! This is *our* house!’ at the most random moments.
The other really good thing that happened was the letter from my former California employer informing me that I had a pension I could cash out. A pension I barely remember having. A pension that was now worth a fuckton of money. So I cashed it out. And the cheque cleared a few days before Christmas. And we now have the money to redo our bathroom (which is livable but needs work to be perfect), buy some new appliances for the kitchen and do some other bits and bobs we thought we’d have to wait to do.
And I think most people agree about the bad. A never ending list of celebrities left us this year. Some were just old, 80+. Others were taken way before their time. And the younger ones hit hard. Really hard in some cases.
The personally hard ones were George Michael and Carrie Fisher. No, I didn’t know them. But I admired them. And both of them were with me through my childhood and/or teenage years. And their deaths were so unexpected. And the last 2 seconds of Rogue One didn’t help me deal with Carrie Fisher’s death. At all.
And of course, the ugly. Brexit. President-Elect DT (I will never use his name. He deserves to be nameless. He gets no respect.).
So 2017 has a lot of stuff coming up. I imagine it will also be a hard year. Maybe not quite so many major celebrities dying. But a total world change with the UK pulling out of the EU, or at least starting to, and President-Elect DT living up to his campaign promises, even though he’s already gone back on several.
A line from the voice-over from Torchwood keeps going through my mind. “The 21st Century is when it all changes.” And maybe we’re already a decade and a half into it, but it is still true. I just wish that what voiceover meant (aliens) was what we were actually dealing with.
Instead, there are shades of The Nazi Party and WWII. Borders slamming shut to the those who need help. The definite ‘smell’ of WWIII in the air, if not actually in progress.
So what are my goals for 2017?
Get our house to the state we want it to be
So nothing exactly quantifiable. Or with a completion date.