Half A Century

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

The big Five Oh.


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.


The Winter of My Disconnect…(Too good to pass up. Sorry. Not sorry.)

About two months ago I suddenly realized I had no idea what I’d been doing all winter. I mean, my son was alive and happy, my husband likewise, and there were a few knitting bits around. But I remembered very little of it. I had been black in the Land Of The Black Dog and didn’t even realize it.

It had, indeed, been the winter of my disconnect. I can remember days, weeks even, of seeming to be looking out of my own eyes. Of being someone else inside me, watching me go through my life.

When I finally ‘confessed’ to Simon, he said he knew something was wrong. That I had spent whole weekends in bed, asleep. He didn’t say anything because he knows me and knows I would deny it, even bury it, until I was ready to say ‘It’s bad again.’

So I saw a GP at our practice and we switched me to a new medicine that worked for a bit. And then didn’t. And then I saw another GP and actually had an anxiety attack right in front of him and he switched me again. This time to Venlafaxine. Which has not only helped my anxiety, it’s helped my fibro.

To the point that I am nearly pain free. I am still tired a lot and my brain is constantly leaking out of my ears, but I can deal with that so long as I’m not in pain!

I mean, I still have pain. I’m not cured or anything. But I am so much better.

So…what have I been doing?




Yup, I launched my shop. And immediately had two custom orders with a third happening soon.

I also sold one item from the shop directly.

I’ve also been doing this:

Yes. That’s a sewing machine. I’ve got the two Great British Sewing Bee books and I’ve started sewing from a pattern. My first shirt is nearly done and I am so chuffed with myself!

So I am feeling more connected to my life and my husband and my son and my craft. I’m imagining studio space through out my house as the dining room table is a bit inconvenient.

And, as the icing on the cake? In one week from tomorrow? I’ll be in Berkeley loving on my first two babies.

I may acknowledge their parents and my parents as well. 😀

So, Yesterday…

Was my 46th birthday.

I’ve been struggling quite a lot with this birthday and I’m not really sure why.

I mean, I know part of it is that I’m now officially closer to 50 than 40 and 50 seems huge.

40 wasn’t huge because I was 20 weeks pregnant at the time with the baby that would become my wonderful little boy. So I was huge, but the birthday wasn’t. 😀

me and adam today and yesterday

Adam when he was the baby on the interior and yesterday when he was the boy waiting for the school bus.


I am, for the most part, happy and content with my life. I have a husband and son whom I love. I have more creative energy than I’ve had at any point in my history. And I enjoy what I do every day.

Yes, I’m sore. A lot. My arms ache and my legs ache and I’m tired a lot of the time. Such is life with Fibromayalgia, after all.

But I’ve been spending the time leading up to yesterday trying to figure out why it seems so huge and reflecting on my life.

And I recognize that I am not where I thought I’d be by this time in my life. I thought I’d be a published writer (well, I am, but only on the ‘net) and/or a professional theatre designer or at least fairly high up in the career that I started on at Kaiser about 20 years ago.

All of which was derailed, very firmly, by my first psychotic break at 25.

But I am, as I said, happy and content.

So why is 46 so hard?

It’s not the signs of ageing. I know I don’t look 46, for one thing. And I don’t really mind the signs that do show my age; my grey hair, my laugh and frown lines and the fact that I seem to be getting my mother’s hands, but without her lovely long thin fingers. 😀

So…why is 46 so hard?!

I have no idea…


Who Am I If I’m Not In Pain?

So due to an incredible set of circumstances, I am remarkably pain free.

First I took up knitting to help my arthritic hands. And it worked. My hands are much looser and practically pain free. I still get twinges and opening jars is beyond me, but day to day activity is so much improved I am actually thinking about trying to draw by hand again.

Then the chemist couldn’t get me any Xanax. It’s not a drug that is prescribed in the UK, since the NHS doesn’t cover it (I’ve been paying private ‘script charges on it for years), so the European distributors haven’t been keeping it in the country. So I am in the process of switching to Zoloft. Guess what else Zoloft is good for, along with anxiety? Fibro pain.

So despite the fact that the med switch has given me some insomnia, I’m not really in fibro pain at the moment. I have nearly a full range of movement in my arms and the new pains that had started in my upper legs has totally gone. I’m still getting the fatigue and fibro brain, but I can deal with all of that, if there’s no pain.

Finally, I have been working with a podiatrist to pinpoint why my left leg hurts so badly, even with having had cortisone and exercise and losing weight and all those things. And for the first time someone looked at me and said ‘Your left leg is shorter than your right.’ Around 30 years my left leg has hurt in one way or another and this is the first time someone has noticed that. And that is skews the way I walk and the way I stand.

So I have a temporary thing for my left shoe that I am to try different thicknesses on, using, belive it or not, beer mats to raise or lower it as feels comfortable. And in four weeks I go back to report and have casts made of my feet and custom shoe inserts created. Just one day of having this temp thing in my left shoe and my leg feels better.

So how does it feel to not be in constant never ending pain?

Fucking terrifying.

I am trying so hard to not get my hopes up that this is how I will feel all the time now. I am trying to treat each day as a gift of painlessness.

And I’m not sure who to be any more. I’ve been Tee, the woman with three chronic pain conditions for a long time. I can’t even imagine what I might get done if I’m not spending days on the sofa just trying to get from one minute to the next.

But I am going to find out!

When I was a child, I had a friend named Gail

She was my best friend in the whole world for years and years.

Gail’s house wasn’t like my house.

Her mom was always home. My mom worked.

Gail’s kitchen table always had butter on it in a pretty dish. We used margarine in a tub.

Gail had 2 sisters, one older, one younger. When we met, I just had an older brother.

Gail’s mom was crafty. My mom wasn’t.

I used to wonder at the odd things in Gail’s house. Not just the old fashion rug beaters her mom would hang on the wall,  but the tree branches that came out at Easter that had coloured hollow egg shells hanging from it and the giant pine tree that would appear in their living room every December.

Gail was Christian. We were Jewish.

But the thing that always fascinated me, was how Gail’s mom sewed. I don’t remember if she actually made all of her girls’ clothes, or if she just sewed some things, but her sewing machine was always busy. And always nearby was her pin cushion. It was shaped like a tomato and the strawberry looking thing hanging off it was crunchy when I would pinch it with my fingers.

I never asked what that squishy thing was for, just accepted that it was part of this odd object that people used to hold their pins when they sewed. And I used to sit and play with the pins and crunch the strawberry while sitting at their kitchen table chatting with Gail.

I have never forgotten Gail or her mom or her house or that pin cushion.

And today, I bought this: pincushion

In many ways I am more like Gail’s mom than mine. I am mostly a housewife with some freelance thrown in. I knit. I cook. I bake.

And now I know that the squishy crunchy strawberry on the pin cushion is for sharpening pins.

Because I own a tomato shaped pin cushion all my own. Just like I always wanted.

I Am Stuck…

I have something I want to say. I’m not sure I should say it.

That makes a lot of people snigger. They seem to think I am never at a loss for words and/or say everything that comes into my head.

That’s not true.

Is your mind now boggling as to what I may actually be keeping to myself?


Before I Kick Off The New Form Tee’s Blog

Let’s get a few things straight. Then you can see if you still want to be reading or if you want to run for the hills. Or maybe if you want to recommend it to your friends.

I am an American. That’s never been a secret.

I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am registered as Independent.


Because there are some things the D’s do that I like and some that I hate. There are some things the R’s do that I like and some that I despise.

I am, in reality, an anarchist at heart. I don’t actually think any government is necessary but am happy to accept whatever rules the rest of you think are necessary to keep yourselves happy. If I find I want to do something that’s against your rules? I might do it anyway and take the punishment, if any, except that I follow the 11th Commandment: Thou Shall Not Get Caught.

Anyone who has read Robert A Heinlein will know where I learned most of my beliefs. Go read Moon Is A Harsh Mistress if you want a fairly good explanation of Rational Anarchism.

Be that as it may, I do also recognize that there are over 7 billion people on this planet and therefore some rules for happy living are necessary.

However, I do not believe that any government anywhere has the right, in no particular order, to: –

  1. Tell me how to use my uterus
  2. Tell me how to raise my son, other than, of course, to treat him well which, of course, I do
  3. Tell me who to love
  4. Tell me who I can marry
  5. Tell me what I can say
  6. Tell what I can write
  7. Tell me what I can view on the internet or read in a book

Or, in a nutshell, I am a pro-choice, anti-censorship, and pro-free speech feminist.

But I am not a radical feminist. I believe in the original basis for feminism, which was choices. You want to work and have children? Go for it. You want to be subservient to a man (or a woman)? Go for it. Find what works for you and your family and be happy in it. And fuck what anyone else thinks about it.

I am also a believer in God. Oh, maybe not your god. Definitely not a Christian or a Jewish or a Muslim or any other recognized religion’s god. But I believe there is a higher power out there. Otherwise what are we doing here, apparently alone in the universe, on this big rock, if not some being’s play thing?

On the other hand, I will also be very surprised if we find definite, indisputable proof that we are alone in this universe. This whole universe, just for us? Pure arrogance to think so. I think they are watching us (and, no, I don’t need a tin foil hat, keep reading) but realize we aren’t ready for them yet. I don’t think they kidnap people for anal probes or other bullshit. But I think they are keeping an eye. We are, after all, in the scheme of the age of the universe, very small children.

And I think they’ll make themselves known when they think we are ready. I think we’re ready now and could use the help, but, as much as I hate to admit this, I’m not actually in charge of the universe so will just have to wait and see like everyone else.

I am, also, an artist. I don’t draw or paint any more, due to bad hands, but I still create. I just created art, as a matter of fact, and submitted it to a contest, using my mouse and my keyboard and Adobe CS5. I’ll post a link when it goes up. I’m fairly proud of what I’ve done.

I think that’s pretty much it. I’m happy to answer any questions in the comments or at Twitter or on my Facebook or in email.

Or you know, if you don’t like what you’re reading? Bye!

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.