Meet the Devynes...
This blog records the adventures of Tempest Devyne - a True Brit (maker, sewist, costume designer, prop builder, mad creative genius, broadcast journalist, Mum, retired burlesque performer) a long, long way from home in Phoenix, Arizona.
My mission: to explore the American way of life, to bring some sunshine, fun and colour to this world, to show the importance of creativity and good old-fashioned silliness, to bring up two kids who are proud to be themselves and confident in their differences, and to uncover some of the secrets to happiness for myself...
From the North of England (and intensely proud of the fact), I've trained and/or worked as a secondary school RE teacher, a radio journalist, a chartered accountant, an adult-education knitting tutor, a PR Officer, a volunteer recruitment officer, a website designer, a Best Value and Communications Officer, run a knitting charity and various others that I've probably chosen to forget.
As well as learning to live in America, I'm learning to live with my cyclothymic disorder, the mildest form of bipolar disorder, but still a life-stopper at times. Although I've had this since my mid-teens, it was only diagnosed a few years ago. However since then I've had superb treatment and therapies from the fabulous NHS whilst I lived in the UK (save the NHS!). With this help I can now spot the signs of when the deep lows are coming (mainly because they follow periods of intense creativity and hyper behaviour) and though sometimes I can't prevent myself sinking, I do know that the sun will eventually come out again and ways to get myself back to the plateau between extremes faster and for longer periods of stability than I used to. Wow, that was a long sentence ;) The major advantage of now having coping strategies is I can now leave the house (was a shut-in for a couple of years) and cope slightly better with social situations. If I can help just one person with similar health issues through this blog, all will be worthwhile.
Other posts you might want to read about me:
Mental health, cyclothymia and bipolar help:
Need help? In the USA, call 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In the UK, call 08457 90 90 90 for the Samaritans, you're not alone.
Find a helpline for your country through Befrienders Worldwide.
Living Life to the Full - a superb Cognitive Behavioural Therapy interactive website that I've used and helped me immensely.
Additional cast members...Team Devyne:
Mr D is my gorgeous, clever, witty, wonderful, utterly-dependable, quirky husband. My better half. The calmest head in any storm. We've been together for over 26 years now and one blog could never describe the fun we've had :)
Though you don't get to see or hear too much about him, it's usually because Mr D is sorting everything out in our lives in the background. He's the 'Producer' to my 'Director'. Having said that, he's often the one behind the camera.
Mr D not only finds the solutions or satisfactory compromises to any problems, but also regularly thinks up the maddest ideas and then sets about on making them come true. If you see me vacuuming the grass outside a stately home, it's Mr D who had the mad idea in the first place. He's the ultimate pusher of every envelope.
He'll also do most mad things I come up with....knitting under water, dancing with me in the pouring rain. He's the best. I wouldn't have upped sticks and moved across an ocean for anyone else.
Goth Child is my eldest daughter. She'll tell you her name is ironic. She's never actually shown anything near goth tendencies (she's much more grunge!).
She's totally obsessed with all things manga, anime, cosplay, fanfiction, geeky...though topping her charts at the moment are Homestuck, Sherlock and, as always since she was tiny, Doctor Who.
She's turning out to be a pretty incredible artist and is developing quite a following on Deviant Art (the social media of choice apparently for teens here, FB is so old skool...and she'll shout at me for that spelling). She's also the only one in the house with formal training in photography and frequently gets annoyed with the rest of us not using the camera's manual settings. Many of the photos on fanbloomingtastic are hers.
She's inherited her father's calmness and practicality, and I wouldn't be alive today without her help when my mental health is bad. She's also coping very well with the complete change from UK to US schooling. But I'm probably proudest that's she's growing up to be a person who passionately believes and fights for the fair and equal treatment of others. She's pretty darn cool and I'm very proud to be her Mum.
How on earth do you sum up Melchett in a few paragraphs?
Melchett is indeed named after the character played by Stephen Fry in Blackadder. She came out of the womb shouting and hasn't stopped. She's the family clown, comedian and in ten years still hasn't discovered an "indoor voice".
She's a big ball of unstoppable energy, and the odd mix of equal parts girly girl (obsessed with teddies, dolls, and pretty clothes) and tomboy (nobody gets as dirty as Melchett as she's building her forts, dens, running everywhere top speed, playing with the boys, annoying them with her knowledge of American football). As you'll also quickly discover, she's also the most accident-prone child in the world and often bandaged up or on crutches.
Probably the most like me in character (incredibly stubborn), we're often to be found clashing over the stupidest little things whilst Goth Child sits back despairing....only to be cuddling and being silly minutes later. Just like her sister, she is a very kind person and equally determined that people be treated fairly. She makes me incredibly proud.
Luca Brasi, the '$5000 cat'
Luca Brasi is my cat and constant companion, in drawers when I'm putting the washing away, in the 'back yard' when I'm gardening, crawling under my fabric when I'm sewing, getting in front of my computer screen whilst I'm trying to type....shove off Luca, come on...
Constant companion that is except when she's out hunting. In the UK she used to bring me live shrews to let go in the kitchen. She's also been know to catch a wild bunny in the farm fields behind our house....it got away from her in our garage. I had 'loads of fun' trying to save a fast, wriggly, terrified bunny, I can tell you! Not. She's the only cat we've had to bring us home a pheasant. She managed to wedge it half way through the cat flap before coming and informing us of her triumph. Luckily that one was dead. Roadkill she'd 'found'.
She's nicknamed the $5000 cat, not because she's bionic or in reference to any veterinary bills, but because that was how much it cost to bring her to America....luckily Mr D's work paid the bill as part of them bringing us to the USA....I don't know how we'd have paid it if they hadn't, but I'm not sure what life would be without her....constantly annoying me ;)
If you need to contact me, email fanbloomingtastic (AT) gmail (DOT) com