Tee's Blog

The Adventures of an American in Belfast

I was really annoyed today…

when the GP (a new one to our practice) said ‘down there’ and ‘in that area’.

It’s my vagina doc. And my uterus and my ovaries. Use your words Doc. Please?

Wish I had said something at the time.

And now you all know I’m having a possible medical issue.

I’ll keep you posted. (Mom? I’ll email you.)

 

Giving them Roots and Wings

Last night I was talking to my sister in law and 2 nieces on Skype and we were trying to remember how old my oldest niece, now 14, was when she was first allowed to walk to their downtown on her own. We all concurred that she was probably 10, the same age she was allowed to walk to school on her own.

It got me thinking about the things we are working on with our son. He’s 5 and most definitely Not Neurotypical (NNT) in some, as yet undiagnosed, way. But his father and I are doing our best to make him as independant as possible. He has no sense about cars or other danger, so I’m not sending him to the corner shop, but we certainly expect certain things, i.e. clearing his plate, throwing out his own garbage, tidying his toys.

And I was reminded of a story a friend of mine told me. She was visiting a friend with a child the same age as my son. This child handed my friend a piece of paper or something to throw away, even though they were both standing right next to the kitchen bin. When my friend pointed this out, the child looked at her like he didn’t understand what she was saying. He had obviously never thrown anything away before. At least not at home.

So, by logical conclusion, my NNT son is more independent than her NT child.

So now I’m wondering, in general, how much you let your child do themselves. How old are they?

Are you giving them roots and wings? Or just roots?

Lessons From The Not Quite 5 Year Old…

“What did you do today mummy?”

“Well, I walked you to school and then I went to the GP’s office for prescriptions and then to the chemist to get them filled and then to the supermarket for bread and pancakes and cereal bars. And then I came home and had a coffee and did some knitting and then had some lunch and then came to meet your bus. So, really, I did nothing today because I’m not feeling well. Again.”

“But you took me to school and then went to the chemist and the supermarket!”

“True, but I meant I didn’t do any housework today, like I had wanted to.”

“But you knitted! That’s housework!”

“Is it?”

“Yes.” With nearly 5 year old conviction. “You did lots today.”

I Am Wondering if Facebook Staff Actually Use The Site

So today I was reading my news feed and there were several times friends of mine posted on various groups they belong to. These groups hold no interest for me, so I selected to hide the group’s notifications.

And Facebook wanted to know why. So I clicked on the link to be asked if I wanted to stop seeing my friends feed altogether, you know, if I didn’t want to see every group they belong to.

No. I don’t.

You see I have lots of friends. And, guess what? Some of them don’t have all of the same interests as me! Shocking, I know. Completely.

Or, you know, only to Facebook.

I mean, you probably know lots of people, right? And you know them from different places. Some are from your child’s school or your work or maybe another web site you belong to. So you have that one point of connection.

That doesn’t mean you don’t want to see them talk about themselves, or their child or what have you. But it might mean you have no interest in their underwater basket weaving group. I’m sure it’s something that is totally thrilling to them. But that doesn’t mean it’s thrilling to me.

And I can’t believe it’s thrilling to Facebook staff, either. Surely, if they use Facebook, they’ll know how incredibly frustrating it is to have someone say ‘Hey, I was hoping you’d comment on my question about X Y Z on Facebook, since it’s your area.’ and you have to respond ‘I never saw it. Probably because Facebook thought it was more important that I saw B’s comment on her underwater basket weaving group.’

Yes yes, I don’t pay for Facebook. They get money through advertising, they don’t have to keep anyone happy but their advertisers.

But how happy will those advertisers be when more and more people go to Twitter or G+ because they get to see what they actually want to see?

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!

The Part of Heart Bleed No One Seems To Be Explaining

I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard all about Heartbleed and that you should change your passwords as soon as the websites you have accounts on confirm they are patched.

But I keep hearing from non-technical people ‘Why would anyone want into my Facebook/Twitter/other non-financial/credit card link account? For what purpose?’ And no one seems to be explaining!

So why should you worry?

Because hackers think you are dumb. They assume, rightly in a lot of cases, that you use the same username and password for all your logins. This is bad practice, of course, but lots and lots of people do it.

So the hacker harvests hundreds or thousands or millions of usernames and passwords from, say, Facebook, and then puts them into a programme that sends those username and passwords across the web. It automatically tries the username/password combinations it has saved and, if it gets lucky, gets into your bank, or your email (for phishing or replicating) or some other useful thing. And they have you.

So how do you remember unique passwords for all of the things you access?

There are three really easy ways to create secure and memorable passwords:

1. Think of a sentence that you will remember on a specific site, like Facebook Sucks But Everyone Uses It So I Do. Then take the first letter of each word: FSBEUISID and then add some symbols or numbers rather than letters: FSB3U1S!D. Appears totally random to someone else, but you will remember it!

2. Create a code of numbers, letters and symbols: 123&^324. For each website, add 2 or 3 characters to that code: FB123&^324. Now you only have to remember your random code and your website code.

3. Create a pattern on the keyboard. You look at the keyboard and imagine shapes on top of the keys. Trace those shapes with the keys and a totally random string of characters will be chosen, but all you have to remember is the pattern.

So wait until you get the all clear on your sites (there’s lists all over the web) and then get to strong password creation!

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.

There’s A Difference Between Being Bossy and Being Boss

I keep hearing, over and over, various places, that it is no longer okay to tell someone, girl or boy, that they are being bossy. Especially girls.

“Let them be bossy then they can be leaders!”

Yeah. No.

I have never ever in a working life that spans close to 30 years at this point had a good boss who was bossy.

Bossy is bad. And it’s not being a boss.

Bossy is telling people what to do, with no compromise or room for their interpretation. Bossy it pushing someone to do something they may not want to do because you want them to do it, even if it’s not the best thing for them or your company or what have you.

Being boss is not that. Being a leader is not that. Being a good boss, or leader, is guiding and listening and compromising and surrounding yourself with good people who disagree with you in a way that makes you think and change your mind and make you a better boss.

Oh sure, bosses have to be bossy sometimes. No one wants to be told to do something that they really don’t want to do and sometimes employees have to be told that something has to be done for the good of the company or what have you whether they want to do it or not. But being bossy does not make you a boss.

So, yes. Call that little girl or boy who is dictating like, well, a dictator, that they are being bossy.

And then teach them how to be a boss instead.

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