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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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Not Resolutions. Goals.

I don’t like New Year’s resolutions, because I never keep them. Does anyone?

And then I read this post on A Cup Of Lee and it resonated.

To be completely honest, as I like to be here on my blog, Leanne isn’t just a blogger I follow. She’s a friend and Adam’s best mate’s mum.

She’s also the one who walked up to me at the pre-school line up and said ‘Are you Tee?’ My first stalker. 😀

Anyway, I love her blog, both because she writes well and because I don’t know a lot about PR so I find what she does really fascinating. It’s a job I probably would have like to do myself, but my career took me other directions.

Oh, she’s also a client!

Anyway, I like the idea of making business goals, rather than personal resolutions and I really like the idea of posting them here on the ‘net. Accountability is a good thing!

So I opened my Wunderlist (which I highly recommend if you need a list/goal/note app) and added a new section called ‘Goals’.

And I started a list called DTAT Goals 2015:

  1. Blog at least once a week
  2. Redesign the DTAT web site
  3. Launch the Etsy shop
  4. Work on my novel

All four of those have a completion date of 31 December 2015. Lots of room to get them done.

Unlike Leanne, I do have one personal goal:

  1. Earn driving license

That has a completion date of 1 June 2015, because I really want to have my license before we go to California next summer. And I have my second lesson tomorrow. 😀

So hopefully you’ll see more from me here at Tee’s Blog.

And more from Designed To A Tee.

And you may want to pull over if you see an Abba Driving instructor in and around South Belfast.

That could be me behind the wheel. 😀

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Why I’ve Left Mumsnet and Will Never Go Back

This is the thread I’d like to start on Mumsnet, but I don’t want it deleted. I want it out there, on the internet, for anyone who wants to know what’s happened to a place that was once the best place for advice, a laugh, friends and fun.

Some will say this is sour grapes. It may be. I don’t really care. I need to say it. It’s my blog. I’m going to say it.

The destruction of Mumsnet as a good place started last year. Three things happened in rapid succession: their Head Community Manager left, #PenisBeaker exploded across the ‘net, their best and most experienced Community Manager went on Maternity Leave.

When Head Community Manager (HCM, I’ll not use her name here, but if you were/are a Mumsnetter, you’ll know who I mean) left, Mumsnet did not appoint a replacement. Instead they split the job between two other sitting Community Managers. And things started slipping. Trolls and other horrors were allowed to stand much longer than they should have because they were, quite obviously, short staffed.

And then came #PenisBeaker. Some day, I swear, a PhD candidate with get their doctorate studying this incredible Social Media phenomenon. But what it meant specifically for Mumsnet was the boards were, literally, brought to their knees both via tech issues and trolls. Their servers, never too steady to begin with, crashed repeatedly as hundreds or even thousands of more people headed to Mumsnet to see what was going on. It spread like wildfire from Mumsnet to The Metro to Twitter to Facebook to who knows where next. And, naturally, Mumsnet rode the wave and even encouraged it. Views equals pounds and no one, I think, can begrudge them taking advantage of this organic chance to spread the word and up their revenue.

The problem was, though, that they didn’t care who they were bringing to the site or what they had to say. You see, Mumsnet has had minor #PenisBeakers before. Press coverage that has brought the trolls, the lookyloos and the new posters in droves. The difference in the past is that when it happened? They tightened up their Community Manager coverage and they allowed the boards to self moderate.  They let their regular posters do what they’ve always done best, call a cunt a cunt and a dick a dick and keep the boards ticking.

When #PenisBeaker struck, it was like they were asleep at the switch. Between site outages and troll attacks, the few Managers they had around couldn’t keep up. And instead of hiring more or even shutting down registration, which they’ve done before (Mumsnet had a DDOS last year that shut registration down for about 2 days while they cleared it) they just let horrible posts stand.

Around this same time the site owner and members of the Community team had an open chat to talk about what had happened and what they could do better in the future. And then did none of it. So it was all lip service to shut people up.

And then, everyone’s favourite, most experienced and best Community Manager went to have her baby. And that was the end of Mumsnet as it had been.

Things could have been okay at this point if Mumsnet Staff had allowed the boards to really self moderate, they way they had in the past. They deny it now, but there was a time when you were allowed to say, on site, “I think you’re a lying cunt” and “No way did that happen, you dick”. Now anything like that is labelled a personal attack and troll hunting and deleted. No matter what it’s about or who.

Everything finally and completely came to an end on New Years Eve. Mumsnet, in their infinite wisdom (insert pause for laughter), decided to not only have only one Community Manager on duty, but have it be a new one. Someone who had barely been on the boards, never mind on the boards on a night when everyone was drinking. And then it started. Some regular posters decided to play Mumsnet Bingo, which they decided meant posting the often most controversial subjects as if they were serious. Everything from parking spaces (don’t ask if you don’t know) to using offensive language deliberately. And the Community Moderator actually turned off the boards for posting. Not just shut down registration, but shut down the entire site.

One of the Co-head Managers came along at some point, turned it back on, edited some posts and apologized. But the damage was done.

That was the last day I posted on Mumsnet. The day they left a newbie in charge who shut the boards down because she was overwhelmed. I get being overwhelmed, I do. And I get being new. We’ve all been new. But surely her first move should have been to call for back up? Call for someone else with  more experience to decide how to handle a board gone mad? Or maybe she was told to not contact anyone no matter what. I’ll never know.

What I do know is that from then to now? Things have gotten worse. The Professionally Offended, the Goady Fuckers and the Out and Out Trolls have taken over. To the point that most of who have been regular posters for years? Refuse to post anything serious any more or post at all. I’m not the only one who left New Years and has never gone back.

I haven’t deregistered, it’s true.  That’s for one reason only: I made a commitment last year to the Chocolate Panel as part of their Insight Panel. I will finish that and then I will close my Mumsnet account for good. I had already stepped down as Mumsnet Belfast late last year and I have stepped down from the Mumsnet Bloggers network.

I was asked, by the way, why I was leaving the BN. I told them it was because I no  longer believed in Mumsnet or what it stood for. Their response? “Okay. Good luck in the future.” Alrighty then.

Mumsnet’s owners and, by default, their staff just don’t care any more. All they can see are the pounds stacking up and their own salaries and bonuses or what have you increasing.

It is no longer a place to go for true help or encouragement or even a good laugh.

And I can’t even believe or begin to tell you how sad that makes me.

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Railway Children, Mumsnet and Aviva – Please Help

People tell me, sometimes, that they can’t believe how much I put on the internet. My real name, the name of my son and husband, my general location, my health issues, both mental and physical.

But what they don’t realize is how much I don’t put on the internet. About my childhood. About my parent’s divorce. About my journey from being a troubled child and teenager to being an adult with those mental illnesses.

About my running away.

I’ve run away twice in my life, once when I was about 13 and once when I was 25.

30 years on I have no idea why I ran away when I was 13. A fight with my mom and step-dad no doubt. About…who knows?

But run I did. Out the door and down the street and, I remember, to the left. To the right was known and led to major roads they would be able to find me on. To the left was unknown and led to I didn’t know where.

I was just looking at a map and I can’t remember how far I went or where I ended up. I do know a nice lady stopped and tried to help me, but I jumped out of her car at a light, stories of kidnapped children in my head. And then was picked up by the police and taken home; the nice lady had called them. It was dark and cold at that point. I was gone for at least a few hours.

My parents were, of course, relieved. My step-sister, who was home from college, was really mad, but still ran me a bath to warm me up.

I have no idea what my mom said to the police to get them to just leave me and not investigate further. But that’s what happened.

And I was lucky. I was on the street for hours. Not days or months. And at this point, I don’t remember the aftermath. In what way, if at all, I was punished. All I remember was thinking I had to get away from them. From myself. From my pain.

My second running away at 25 was the beginning of my mental breakdown that led to my diagnoses today. But that one was by car, with my cat and isn’t what this post is about.

It’s about runaway children. It’s because Mumsnet and Railway Children and Aviva have come together to help young runaways. The ones who don’t get taken back home in hours. The ones who are on the streets. The ones whose home lives are probably filled with horrors I can’t even imagine; horrors that make the streets better than home.

For every blog post, every Tweet, every Facebook status, every comment on this blog and all the others writing about this, Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children, up to £200,000 by the end of 2013. Money that will go towards helping runaways, like I might have become.

If not for one nice lady and some police.

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Sunday Sunday….

Posted as part of One Topic / Forty Opinions via The Belfast Bloggers Network.

Sunday. What can I say about Sunday?

It used to be so different, when we started living in City Centre. Nothing was open before 1p. Well, things were open, i.e. Primark, at 12:30, but you couldn’t actually buy anything until 1p. True fact.

Then the Tesco Express opened on Dublin Road. Just around the corner from our flat. And it was open at 7. Very handy when we had a small boy and had run out of milk. Or needed some croissants. Especially chocolate filled ones.

Because the opening laws are based on square feet, you see, and that was the right size. The law hasn’t changed.

And I was a bit sad, handy as it was. It had been, for years, that, unless you were going to church, highly unlikely in this Jewish/Atheist/Something house, you not only had no where to be but no where you could be.

You had no choice but to be lazy in bed. Or on the sofa. Cruising the ‘net, watching a movie, eating a huge breakfast, what have you. Until after lunch.

Now, living here in Finaghy, several stores are open on Sunday morning. And Simon likes to run and get the Sunday papers. Sometimes Adam can be convinced to join him.

But he really is my son.

He’d rather watch a movie on the sofa with Mummy and wait to turn on the kettle when Daddy gets back with the paper…and apple cake…

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Finding My Writer Again

If you had asked me when I was growing up what I wanted to be I would have told you, no hesitation, a writer.

Well, until I discovered the theatre. Then it would have been a scene designer.

I am a designer, not of the scene, but haven’t really written, except in this blog, in ages and ages. I can’t even seem to write in my journal any more, partly because my hands are so bad I have a hard time holding a pen for longer than a few lines.

But yesterday I started to write. (Yes, I tried NaNoWriMo last year and failed)

It’s fan fiction, and I won’t be linking to it because it’s adult fan fiction and my mother reads this blog. And I am not sure who else, but maybe my niece. It’s not work for either of them. 🙂

It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan fiction. I think I was inspired by the fact that Buffy premièred 15 years ago this past week. Without that show my life would be very very different. I wouldn’t live in Belfast. I wouldn’t be married. I wouldn’t have Adam.

And so I started to write a story that’s been floating in my head for awhile. It’s a cross over with the show Supernatural. It’s slash with Xander and Dean. It is most definitely NC-17/FR21.

If that’s something that interests you, send me an email. I’d be happy to link you up to the site it’s on. tee @ leyser dot org. Usual formatting.

If it’s something that’s going to offend you, ignore this whole post. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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Counting My Blessings – Blog Hop

So I am joining in with Salt and Carmel‘s Blog Hop this week and counting my blessings.
They include:

  • A fantastic husband
  • A fantastic son who, while has constant colds and such, is relatively healthy
  • A career I love
  • A warm place to live
  • Enough food to eat
  • Great friends, near and far
  • A loving family
  • And, most of all, recently some fantastically pain free and productive days

I wish, very badly, that this was just another Blog Hop that I thought would be fun and/or inspiring. But it’s so much more than that.

Because this Blog Hop was started off because of this:


This picture was drawn by Aillidh. She is 8 years old and has Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. She’s just started her third round of chemo and is desperately praying for a bone marrow donor. She is the daughter of a fellow Mumsnetter, which is how I, and many others, heard of her. She also has Facebook Page asking for help and encouraging people to register for or donate to the Bone Marrow Register.

That picture inspired this post at Salt and Carmel, the Twitter Tag #makemebetter, and this Blog Hop.

Everyone has problems and no ones problems are better or worse than anyone else’s.

But Aillidh needs a donor. So I am counting my blessings and helping to spread the word.

If you are eligible, please consider signing up to donate. Since Aillidh is of mixed race, finding a donor for her is harder, and actually most likely to come from the US as she is of white Scottish and meztizo – the mix of European and indigenous N. American peoples (Native American/Indian) descent.

In the UK you can contact the Anthony Nolan Trust.

In the US there is the Be The Match Donor Register website.

If like me, due to poor health and/or age you can do neither, please spread the word. ‘Like’ Aillidh’s Facebook page. Tweet using the #makemebetter tag. Pray.

It’s not just for Aillidh. But for all the ill children and adults who are looking for a miracle.

Let’s spread the word and use the power we have to help all of them live long and healthy lives.

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Fighting The Black Dog

Today is the launch of a Mental Health Blogging Carnival here at Bundance.

The timing is interesting as I am currently fighting the Black Dog myself today. After feeling really well for ages today I’m just not. No idea why.

Do take a look at the carnival. Lots of great blogs by lots of great bloggers.

Let’s get talking. Let’s fight the Black Dog.

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As predicted, I have failed. I think I wrote around 2,000 words and then just sort of…stopped.

To be completely honest, I forgot all about it, between hand injuries and sick babies and too much work people actually pay me to do.

I guess I am suppose to feel bad or like a failure or something. Sorry to disappoint. It was something to try, not something to circle my entire life around for the month. I don’t have that kind of free time or, really, ambition.

Good luck to all those going for it. 9 days to go.

Maybe I’ll try again next year.

Maybe I won’t.

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Oh God, What Have I Done?!?!

Every year I think about doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrMo to those in the know) and every year I chicken out citing lack of time/inspiration/don’t need the pressure.

What did I just do?

Signed up for NaNoWrMo.

Why? Not sure. I have less time than ever. But I have had a novel in the back of my head for, at least, 20 years. Maybe the pressure of 50,000 words in one month will be enough to get me to actually sit and write.

After all, just after I signed up I wrote 23 words.

It’s a start…