I don’t know when…

party roomI don’t know when it’s going to happen, sometime when social isolation is lifted, but I’m going to host a pride party and it’s going to be fantastic!

I found out that our party room (as seen to the left) is only $50 for three whole hours. Just look at it! Plenty of space, plenty of tables, and a big kitchen island for buffet food.

I’ve been going on Aliexpress to look at party supplies and have found a bunch to buy. I want a photo backdrop for, well, photos and pride pins so everyone can go home with something. I’ve also found some gorgeous plates too. I can buy the cutlery and cups at Dollarama.

Right now it’s too early to invite people but I have a bunch in mind for invites and can’t wait to see their faces, it’s been far too long since I could visit friends! And to see everyone at once would be amazing!

I need to order the decorations soon because they take a month or two to ship and I get nervous. I’d rather have them here well before the time they’re needed. And by then, hopefully, we’ll be closer to an actual date.

We won’t have a pride parade  this year but at least we’ll have something. And I can be happy with that.

pride-napkins

The cutest napkins I got at Homesense last summer!

Call me Colin…

Colin and his pierced ear

Colin with his first pierced ear

Colin has a way of edging topics into conversations and this time was no different. I can’t remember what the original conversation was. Computers? Video games? Politics? But I do remember the rest.

“I really like the name Colin,” he mused. “I think I’m going to keep it no matter what gender I am. Even as a girl.”

I get the feeling that most people figure Colin just “got over” being trans like he’d get over a bad first date or a friendship that drifted apart. It’s not the same thing, it’s not something you just get over. It’s a part of him, like his eye colour or shoe size. Not something he can change.

Earlier, in another conversation, Colin started talking about stopping being transgender. I asked him if he still struggled with gender dysphoria. His response?

“Not anymore. I pushed it down as hard as I could and locked it away so now I don’t feel it anymore.”

I’m no expert but I don’t think that’s how it works. I have a feeling that someday that locked away dysphoria is simply going to explode and I don’t have a clue what to do about it.

He’s not male, no matter what pronouns he uses, and he’ll continue to not be male. All I can do is hope that he accepts it when it blows up in his face and can no longer be ignored. I’ll be there the best I can. The rest is up to him.

Good luck Colin, my hidden daughter. You are loved.

Thirty days of self love…

A friend of mine is trying a self-help technique and invited me to join her. It’s called “thirty days of self love”. Basically, each day you pick an activity you enjoy and do it for you, mindful of your enjoyment and the task at hand. Each of us is doing this a bit differently. She loves making lists and is listing her individual tasks while I’m more visual and am photographing and scrapbooking mine. I’m only on day three (I think she’s one day ahead of me) and today was buying a scrapbooking kit I love. Once I bought the kit, I opened it and browsed through each and every picture, savouring the colours and textures. Then I used it to scrapbook my 30 days layout. Yesterday was watching Doctor Who. I love David Tennant’s character, he’s so smart and witty. I paid lots of attention to the interplay between characters, including Cassandra’s fast character development, and the imagination behind the set development. My first day, which started late, was simply a bowl of individual sized vegan cookie dough. It was very yummy (I used agave nectar and vegetable oil instead of the maple syrup and coconut oil).

I have a vague idea of what I’ll do tomorrow but that could change at a moment’s notice, meanwhile my friend already has her ideas listed out and ready. If you’re interested in joining us, please feel free to leave a comment describing how you’re planning on expressing your experience. And, above all, enjoy!

30 days of self love

My scrapbooking layout. I’ll post again when the layout is finished!

 

Maybe I shouldn’t read the news?

I was reading an article a friend posted on Facebook today when this sentence caught my eye…

In those who survived mild and severe disease alike, the researchers found that many of the biological measures had “failed to return to normal.”

To be honest it was less like that caught my eye and more like it grabbed my eye and screamed at it. The article went on to say…

“COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disorder,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholtz, a cardiologist at Yale University. “It can affect the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the brain, the endocrine system and the blood system.”

Isn’t that just spiffy. I can understand why people who have been intubated for days on end could end up with long term side effects but mild illness? That was totally unexpected.

I haven’t been diagnosed with anything other than a mild viral infection that could be covid-19 or the flu. They aren’t tested mild cases around here, even with shortness of breath (which worried both the doctor and the telehealth nurse). I’ve had the flu before. It was horrible but it was nothing like this. And the shortness of breath worries me too, especially now. What if this is it? I’m short of breath walking from my bedroom to the kitchen and my bedroom door pretty much is in the kitchen. I live in a shoebox. Heck, I’m short of breath sitting typing at the computer. How am I supposed to walk twenty minutes to the grocery store? Or go on a nature walk? Heck I just signed up for the gym right before covid struck. This is going to be the world’s slowest walk on the treadmill. The shortest too.

I’m out of my apartment technically on Friday although I’ll probably wait until Saturday just to be sure. Hopefully I’ll be able to walk if I pace myself, I’ll just need to wait and see. And, for now, I really should stop reading articles for my own peace of mind. At least until there’s more information.

20200419_123911_hdr

Ironically enough this is the surprise photo my phone took while I was aiming the camera. I like it better than the posed shots.

Feeling blah…

mask from Mom

Homemade mask from my Mom

It was Good Friday, April 10th, and throughout the day I developed a mildly runny nose and a slight dry cough, both of which could easily be caused by allergies. They worsened the next day and I started feeling short of breath. Easter Sunday found me tired, coughing, sweating off and on, and short of breath. I took an online covid-19 test and bombed the second question. That wasn’t good. There was no way I was walking to the local hospital, not when simply cleaning the kitty litter left me short of breath and needing a break, so I called Telehealth, an Ontario healthline staffed with nurses.

I originally tried their covid-19 line but you needed to have contact with an infected person and I have no idea if I did or not. It’s not like I asked the people I passed in the grocery store if they were sick. So I had to go through their regular line, which had an astronomical wait. I elected for a call back and got one four hours later. They were swamped! The nurse wanted me to go to the hospital but by then it was cold, dark, and I was too tired to walk a half hour anyway. So she gave me a website which linked me up to video chat with a doctor. That was great. Obviously she couldn’t take my temperature (and I don’t own a thermometer) but she was able to see me and hear my cough.

The end result is I have a viral infection but whether it’s the flu or covid-19 she couldn’t say, and it’s too mild for me to go to the hospital for testing. So now I wait… and read… and scrapbook… and pace myself with cleaning and cooking. My energy levels suck and I’m spending a lot more time just sitting in my swing chair listening to music. I can’t even read a full chapter of a book, I just can’t concentrate.

Thankfully Colin’s feeling fine. We don’t need his move screwed up any more than it already has been. But he needs to stay isolated too. So he’s watching lots of movies, cleaning up, and packing. The organization that’s helping him will drop off groceries and, hopefully, in exactly two weeks, he’ll be on his way to the new apartment.

Meanwhile I sit here and play word games… and read… and watch Doctor Who. I’m tired enough and out of energy enough that I’ve got no real interest in going outside. And hopefully by the time I feel better and can be sprung from here, we’ll have some spring weather for my walks!

A matter of luck…

I sit here with homemade chocolate chip cookies beside me and I can’t help but reflect on how lucky I am. I’m in a brand new, spotless apartment with working appliances and tasty, clean water. My fridge and cupboards are full of healthy food (and the ingredients for junk food). I have plenty of books to read and unlimited high speed internet. There’s friends and family to call when I need to hear a human voice… specifically their voices. And I have five goofy and loveable cats to keep me entertained.

So many people have so much less. I think of Colin, who’s stuck in our old apartment with no one around and no internet. He wanders over to the community centre to sit outside and download videos via their wifi and he calls me (yesterday he called seven times) but that’s it. He should have just under three weeks left until he moves. That’s going to be so long for him.

The job loss rate around the world is staggering. I was full tonight after dinner and put my leftovers in the fridge. Meanwhile there are countless people counting their change and hoping to scrape together enough money for some food. Where are they going to find work with almost everything closed? They’re trapped in a situation not of their choosing and struggling, and sometimes failing, to make ends meet.

I just read an article which said that police are concerned because domestic violence charges are down when they know the incidents are going up. How many people are injured at home, without medical treatment, because they can’t get out and can’t even make a phone call? How do you get away from an abusive and possessive partner who’s now constantly at home, especially if you have children? My heart aches for those caught in a nightmare with no end in sight. I hope they survive this experience and manage to get away. Please stay strong and stay safe. Do what you can to survive.

Many of our Indigenous people live in substandard housing with no clean running water, expensive food, and no local health care. And now covid-19 has been thrown at them too. How are they supposed to survive when their situation was already deplorable? How are they supposed to take care of the sick with no fresh drinking water and holes in the walls? We need to do a lot more as a country to bring up their living environment. Their treatment is a black mark on the nation.

And I feel horrible for LGBTQIA people, especially teens and young adults, stuck in a home with unsupportive family. It must be hell on earth for trans people who are continually misgendered and misnamed by the people who are supposed to love and care for them and for people who hear regularly about how awful queer people are. There are celebrity ministers right now who claim gay people caused the covid-19 virus, even though it’s beginnings have been clearly established. Quite a few of the people who listen to and agree with those ministers have queer children at home. For all of you. You are loved, you are valued, you are important. This is horrible now… a nightmarish hell… but it will get better. You will break free. Just hold tight.

And here I sit in comfort, passing through the storm in a well stocked and weatherproof home. Lara stands beside me begging for (and receiving) pets. Pentatonix plays on YouTube, while my scented candles wreath the rooms with the aroma of lilacs. We are in the middle of the storm but hopefully, especially for those who are trapped, I hope it blows over soon.

breathe

A covid conundrum…

Colin and Chinese foodI got a call from Colin’s case worker yesterday. The good news is he really, truly should be moving on April 30th. The bad news is they need his banking information. He can’t give them the banking information. He can read a bit but he can’t write and he doesn’t have any internet right now. His banking information is all online. That means he needs to come here.

I know the strict guidelines for covid-19. Stay home… stay safe. And allow no one inside your home except immediate family members, the ones you’re already living with. Having a special needs child makes that difficult, if not impossible.

Colin’s not supposed to be living on his own right now. I moved at the beginning of February and he was supposed to move within a couple of weeks after me. We gave notice to the building and booked the moving elevator. Then came covid and both were cancelled… then and again at the end of March. Colin’s supposed to be living in a group home with six hours of support a day. Not sitting by himself in an almost empty apartment. Everyone has been telling him to stay home. To only shop when necessary. He still goes to Dollarama and Metro every single day to window shop. He still asks me almost every day when we’re going to visit. Can he come over soon? We’d been living together before, he doesn’t understand why we can’t see each other now.

So he came over once for Chinese food and to download some videos to watch when he’s all alone. And I went over to make sure he was keeping up the apartment to the best of his abilities. Then we went grocery shopping together, with me stressing we had to stay 6ft apart. And now he’s coming tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to seeing him and sharing pizza tomorrow but I can’t help but worry that I’m putting him in danger (or he’s putting me in danger). It’s not like covid-19 has a neon sign. I’ve got soap and Lysol wipes so we’ll muddle through as best we can. Having a special needs child is hard and covid’s made it so much harder.

I don’t know when I’m going to see him again after this. He’ll be moving (fingers crossed) in a couple of weeks and will be at least one hour’s drive away. But he’ll have his own apartment and loads of support. It’s just getting him to that point.

Isolation ideas…

cedar-hill

Part of my morning walk

I woke at sunrise then quickly hurried outside, breakfast in pocket. I met a handful of people, all on brisk walks just like me. We kept our distance, nodding or smiling as we passed. The birds sang cheerfully as I entered the woods. It’s not an easy path. There’s a couple of fairly rickety wooden bridges and the thigh high remains of a wall to scale. But the creek is lovely, the woods are beautiful, and the obstacles keep it quiet.

This is one of the ways I keep myself relatively sane during these days of isolation. I’m hoping I can share my ideas here and, if anyone has more, they can be shared in the comments in the hopes we can keep everyone happy and relatively sane during these days of covid-19.

One of my biggest ways of keeping myself amused is going on YouTube and selecting a playlist. They make them up relatively randomly of music you’ve listened to and similar music. Sometimes they get it right and others, well I just skip some songs. Or I’ll watch videos like The Dodo. The beginnings can be sad but there’s always a happy ending. And right now I need those happy endings.

I also go on YouTube and sing karaoke. Just find a song you enjoy and type karaoke at the end. You can either just sing along or record yourself on your phone. If you’re really feeling brave you can share it on Facebook or Instagram or wherever your little heart desires.

Social media keeps me entertained and informed these days, more Facebook than Instagram. I belong to a local group on Facebook and get information on the latest covid-19 stats plus tips on where to find toilet paper and Lysol wipes. So far finding yeast has been a total bust. What are people doing? Baking twenty-five loaves of bread a day? Eating it by the spoonful? Spreading it on toast? It’s even sold out at Shoppers Drug Mart. I made my own private group on Facebook as well. It’s nice to chat with friends.

I downloaded the Kobo app on my phone for free, which means I can buy books at 9pm in my pjs or when I’m bored in the middle of the afternoon. The app also remembers my page for me. I’m in the middle of an Anne Bishop novel now called “Wild Country” which I’ll probably reread since my memory stinks and I’ve lost track of half the names. If you’re looking for a book to read, I’ve got two available at a good price. Just click on my books tab and enjoy. They’re both easy reads and LGBTQ friendly.

On the days I just can’t concentrate enough to read but still want something to do, I play games. I’ve got two versions of Word Connect on my phone, one downloaded because they made it look like a different game and one I actually use. I also have a trivia game I play online with one friend and a scrabble game I play with another. There are so many options out there, just about everyone can find something they like.

And hobbies are amazing. I’ve been doing digital scrapbooking for years and, when I get enough interesting photos, I’ll throw together a layout. My latest was quarantine cooking because so many of us are making big dinners these days (myself included) and I’ve been photographing mine and sharing them on Facebook for dinner polls. One friend of mine has taken up watercolour painting and is doing an incredible job while another seems hellbent on supplying half of Canada with homemade face masks. She’s doing a great job too. My Mom’s been painting beautiful designs on rocks and my cousin and his wife are taking old furniture and re-purposing it. Their whole house is going be completely different by the time isolation is up and it’s going to look amazing.

So what have you been doing to keep yourself busy?

quarantine cooking

What about the kids?

I wrote a blog post a year or so ago about The Transformed Wife, back when I thought she was a small time blogger like me and not a bigger blogger with a book under the same name and a very active Facebook page. She’s one of many Christian bloggers who feel they have God’s ear and a need to speak for him. Apparently that big Bible isn’t big enough. She’s a Mommy blogger as well, which means she’s also speaking for the children. What she feels is right for them… how children should behave (straight, cis, and obedient).

There’s one group that tends to be voiceless, especially under the weight of those fundamentalist Christian words, and that’s LGBTQIA children. Fundamentalist Christians are very big on marrying the opposite sex and raising yet more Christian children. Be fruitful and multiply. LGBTQIA children don’t fit into their plans. Fundamentalists tend to be rigid in their thinking so, instead of changing their thoughts they try to hammer the child in place.

Remember Leelah Alcorn? She was a transgender teenager being raised by fundamentalist parents who would not accept her for who she was. They did everything the Christian right said they should do. They got her into counselling to try and convince her she was both male and straight, blocked her from liberal influences (especially any that affirmed her as trans), and banned her from seeing her supportive friends. And she died right after Christmas several years ago… walked in front of a transport truck because she couldn’t handle being seen as male anymore and didn’t think she’d ever be seen as female.

Fundamentalists think being LGBTQIA is wrong… flawed… demonic. They take great pains to claim they love us but they don’t. Their so called love is tainted with hatred. I watch it in the States, where people who claim to be deeply religious trod on the rights of the LGBTQ community regularly (especially the trans community). They forget the little eyes watching them, presuming their innocence must mean they’re straight and cis. All the children learn what they’ve been taught. The LGBTQ children learn they’re wrong, flawed, demonic, and hated. Do the fundamentalists know they’re teaching their children this lesson? Do they care? I know they love their kids, the straight ones at least. But that’s one hell of a lesson.

Love is more important, and stronger, than hatred. Love is what’s important. You love the child you have, not the one you assume you should have. And you care for that child, doing your best to raise them with their spirit and soul intact. They aren’t toys to be discarded curbside when they no longer fit your narrative. And they aren’t clay to be moulded into your ideal shape. Love your children, accept your children, for who they are. And, Lori Alexander, if you’re reading this, be the mother your children needs… not the one you think your audience wants.

Colin on a spring walk

Colin when he was using zie/zir pronouns