Half a century…

me and my cake croppedFifty years old. I’d counted ahead years ago and knew it was going to happen in 2020 but that seemed so far away… sometime in the distant future. It was so unreal, I couldn’t wrap my head around it. To be honest, I never thought I’d make it this long. And here I am, halfway to a hundred.

Fifty doesn’t feel like what I thought it would feel. I don’t feel that old. My shoulders hurt occasionally but that’s it for pain. I love to go for hikes. And if my local mall ever offered a slide as an option instead of stairs I’d be first in line.

But little things trip me up. I can’t believe 1990 is 30 years ago. How did it get so far away so fast? And I’m finding techy things more and more confusing, which feels weird as someone who once worked in technical support. I don’t own a television and have no clue how to operate modern remote controls. I don’t even know what half the buttons are on my microwave.

My birthday was yesterday and I had my parents, sister, and nephews over for dinner. We had curry, pizza, and vegan cheesecake then opened presents. It was a lot of fun and so nice to have everyone over. My place might not be large but it’s welcoming and I think that’s more important.

The presents are put away, the couple of cake slices are in the fridge along with the last serving of curry, and the wrappings are down the chute. My celebration is done for another year. Now it’s time to get on with life and living. I’ve got another fifty years to work on!

Being the memory keeper…

My parents and I went to visit Colin today. We met in Elgin Park and ate A&W burgers at a picnic table under one of the shelters. While we were eating my Mom looked around and commented on how different it looked with everything tucked away. No food stands, no animals, no rides, no crowds.

Colin looked at her blankly and asked, “What do you mean?”

“Don’t you remember?” my Mom replied. “We used to come here to the fall festival with Daddy Harold.”

But Colin couldn’t remember, not even with me bringing up specific events. And that’s when it dawned on me. I thought I was making memories for them when they were growing up but instead I was making memories for me. They enjoyed the experiences but I’m the only one who remembers. They don’t remember being preschool aged and playing The Grand Old Duke of York in the backyard. They don’t remember putting the slide in the living room. I do.

In some ways I find it sad. I’d love for them to remember all the little things they’ve now forgotten but now they’re adults and will make memories of their own. And maybe someday they’ll want to go through the family albums and revisit the memories they once knew.

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The kids are in the green one

Just what I needed… another diagnosis…

me1-filteredI talked to my psychiatrist this week and he agrees with my therapist that I have ADD. This is something I’ve wondered for a while, something I brought up with my family doctor well over a decade ago, but nothing was ever done about it. Now something has. I’ve been placed on Adderall with an increase next week and it’s making a world of difference. Suddenly I can organize. My thoughts don’t fly around like frightened birds. And it’s helping my depression too, apparently it can do that… work alongside antidepressants to make things better.

That being said, I have so many diagnoses already. I’ve been diagnosed with:

major depressive disorder
severe anxiety
agoraphobia
autism
and now ADD

The list seems to just keep growing. The good news is my psychiatrist has emphatically said I don’t have a personality disorder which scratches sociopath, borderline personality disorder, and narcissist personality disorder off the list entirely. And hopefully I won’t gain any more.

I find some people get upset about labels, even if they’re on someone else. I, for one, find them a help. They help explain some of the quirks I’m dealing with and lead me to people who are dealing with similar quirks. Sometimes they offer solutions for the more annoying ones.

I didn’t really need another label but at least it was one I was already expecting. And that helps.

It’s time to be normal…

Me and my giant carrotIt seems like it’s something that works for the majority of the population so it’s time for me to step up and join in with normality. The first step is figuring out how.

What do normal people talk about? I’ve got the weather down pat. I mean that’s a necessity. But what about cats? Do they talk about their cats? How about their cats interests? It hardly seems worth it to talk about your cats if you neglect to discuss their likes and dislikes. You’re basically just saying their name. What about your favourite stuffies? Can you mention several stuffies or do you have to stick with just one? I don’t know how I can winnow it down to any less than three. And is Doctor Who a major topic of conversation? Does everyone have a favourite Doctor? I like 10 but I really like 11 and thirteen and nine and blargh! I really like them all! How do I pick one?

People talk so much about coffee and wine. Hopefully being normal doesn’t mean I have to like either of those. I really like hot chocolate (especially with vegan mini marshmallows on top) or slushies, particularly the red ones. It doesn’t matter which red, it’s either going to be strawberry or cherry and both are good. It’s probably not an adult drink. I guess daiquiris are slushies, just without a straw, but with rum… which would ruin the taste. I think I’ll stick with my slushie.

Then there’s clothes. What sort of garlands do people wear in their hair? Apparently none. And sequins? There’s a none there too. There’s got to at least be glittery shoes! And we’ve got another nope. I’m batting right out in the clothing department, very sparkly too I might add.

What do normal people do in their spare time?

*looks around cautiously*

Watching TV? I don’t own one. Hanging out with friends? I’ve got a couple. How do I collect more? Does it involve snares? How about gardening? Except I’m surprised I haven’t killed off my artificial plants yet. Do I spout off Doctor Who facts outside the grocery store until someone perks up and starts a conversation? Umm maybe that one’s not normal. Snail collecting? Someone throw me a clue here?

Maybe if there’s room enough for everyone, there’s room enough for me as myself. Maybe I don’t have to be normal. Maybe the normal people have it under control. Which is good because I don’t think I’d do very well at being normal. I do just fine at being me.

 

You spin me right round baby, right round

When I was growing up all the local towns and cities had their own bus service so, if you went from one town to another, you had to pay two fares. When my kids were growing up they changed that. All the bus services amalgamated into one big transit system called Durham Region Transit or DRT. Yes, this really is going somewhere, I promise.

Now the DRT was able to connect one town to the other in most cases but there were a few spots that didn’t have an available route. Enter GO transit. GO transit is a regional bus service that connects all the regions in the Greater Toronto Area to Toronto. DRT made arrangements with GO transit for them to accept DRT tickets and passes on the parts of the route where there was no DRT bus. Hopefully that’s clear.

This worked well until Covid-19 hit. Everywhere that sold DRT tickets and passes were closed. The DRT operated for free but the GO buses were still full fare. Luckily I had some leftover tickets but the drivers were starting to look hinkey at them and I was looking forward to getting my monthly pass back.

The mall reopened in the middle of June and I met with friends at the end of June to buy our passes. I’d heard rumours online that GO transit wasn’t accepting DRT fares anymore so I asked the City of Oshawa employee who was selling the tickets and was told, no, the 90 Go Bus was still taking monthly passes for sure.

I was still cautious so I contacted GO transit who said no they weren’t and Durham Transit who said yes they were. Their website said that GO wasn’t accepting paper passes anymore (which are held at least a metre away) due to covid but was taking paper tickets (which the drivers need to handle). Because that makes total sense.

A lady in a group I belong to on Facebook was quite irate and spoke to a lot of people. She ended up speaking to the Transit Committee who told her, “We have now reached an agreement with Metrolinx, effective Monday, July 13, that will permit customers to show the GO Bus operator a copy of the payment receipt for their DRT Monthly Pass purchase. This interim process and the One Fare Agreement will be in place until Aug 10, when customers will be able to travel between Bowmanville and Oshawa using the new DRT Route 902.”

That’s a bit worrisome for me as I have my actual pass but no longer have my receipt. I bought it just over two weeks ago and it wasn’t like I was planning on returning it. Then I got an email from a customer representative at GO Transit saying, “All existing passes purchased are accepted for travel.” This would have been a relief except I got a reply this afternoon, “Unfortunately, due to safety-related restrictions on the use of paper passes and transfers, the One Fare program between GO Transit and Durham Regional Transit is currently suspended until further notice; you will have to pay the full fare with your PRESTO card when using GO Transit.”

Seriously GO Transit, which is it going to be? Are you taking the passes or not? You’ve got me spinning in circles so fast you’re making me dizzy!

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Colin in front of a GO bus ~ 2012

A tragedy and irony…

He was a big man who loved beer, tits, and women… not necessarily in that order. He was crude and rude and loved a good joke. He also didn’t like being told what to do. But sometimes life doesn’t give us choices. Or the choices we get have consequences that are dire, consequences we don’t even wish to think about. And that’s what happened to this man. He made a choice then went on living his life. Living loud, living large. He’s not a man I ever knew, he’s not a man I’d have liked to know. I just know what I’ve read of his posts. But he was kind to his friends, like driving them to Canada kind, and that counts for something.

I took four posts off of his page. The first was written on April 28th, the second on July 1st, the third on July 2nd, and the meme was posted on July 3rd. He died July 4th.

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We’re doing pretty well here in Canada. Masks are becoming mandatory in many indoor locations and our infection levels are dropping. I can’t say the same for the States.

Please! This man could have been one of your neighbours, friends, or coworkers. Not only is he dead, we don’t know who else he infected. Covid-19 is invisible, you never know who has it. You never know if you have it. Masks cut the rate of infection phenomenally, I believe up to 95% if both people are wearing one. I saw a snazzy diagram about this a few days ago but can’t find it now so we’ll just have to go off my memory. They definitely help a lot though. And they don’t just help you, they help everyone around you from newborn babies to your elderly grandmother.

I know masks aren’t comfortable. A friend of mine (who’s a nurse) suggested breathing through your nose, nice and evenly, instead of your mouth. It really does help. And you’re not going to pass out. If you were then hospitals and dental clinics would be littered with bodies. Health care professionals wear them for over eight hours a day at least five days a week with no problems. You can manage a trip to Walmart. They also don’t drop your oxygen levels or anything else you might have heard. Who comes up with these things?

Live life loud and live life long. Learn from the man above and wear a mask. And above all else, stay safe!

A change…

When I started this blog back in 2013, it was aimed squarely at Colin. In those days he wore bright colours, was quite flamboyant, and regularly said, “because I’m fab-u-lous!”, hence the name of the blog. It never was about me. It was never supposed to be about me.

But Colin grew older, the flamboyance faded away, as did the colourful clothes. He came out as trans for a year then went back into hiding again. And I crept out, writing posts about me. There’s only so many stories I can write about the back of Colin’s head while he plays video games.

Slowly he grew out of his teens and I tweaked the title a bit and then finally we moved apart. It took me some time until yesterday when I looked at the blog’s banner and realized it wasn’t right. Colin lives just over an hour from me. Any posts about him are going to be few and far between. Seven years later, this blog is mine now.

It’s an ill fit. When I get right down to it I don’t feel fabulous, I hate myself. That’s something I have to work on. But hopefully I’ll grow into the title. Hopefully someday I’ll be fabulous.

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Bon Echo…

We camped the whole time I was growing up and much of those summers were spent at Bon Echo. My parents had a tent trailer, which fit us three girls just fine, and we brought along our friends’ three children (which warranted a tent). Plus our neighbour across the street camped at the same time with their three kids and often brought another neighbours’ two girls. It was a lot of kids and we had a tonne of fun. Swimming, biking, exploring, roasting marshmallows, singing campfire songs, getting lost and finding our way again… all of it was an adventure.

I took my own kids camping. We went to campgrounds closer to home and I loved them, especially Sibbald Point, we had so many great trips there. But Bon Echo was special.

My sister Jen takes her boys to Bon Echo at least once a year and often goes with our cousin Greg, his husband, and a whole bunch of friends.  They’re there right now and, on July second, my parents and I went up to join them. It’s not a short trip, it takes three hours each way, but it’s well worth the drive.

We crunched down the familiar road past two cabins then the scent of pine and camp smoke brought me right back to thirty-five years ago, jumping down the benches of the amphitheatre, positive I was going to fall any second yet somehow managing to stay upright. Walking along a rock strewn path to the point while the waves lapping the ground beside us. Hiding in an old, spider filled change room during a freak thunderstorm.

And then we were at the site, meeting everyone as they got back from a long hike. It was time for a swim on the beach where we always swam at while growing up, the beach that wasn’t the day beach. I like it better because it’s far more scenic with its backdrop of a stories high cliff. This beach is less popular because of the nearness of the underwater drop off. No one wants little Junior to go from chest height to 40ft deep in one step. This year it was more popular than usual due to social distancing. We spread ourselves out as far away as possible from the crowds.

Sometimes time creeps up on you, other times it smacks you in the face. My kids are no longer cuddle bugs snuggling up for bedtime stories, my Dad is no longer young and strong, and we will no longer run through the woods of Bon Echo seeking adventure. That mantle has passed to other children.

We left at dinnertime, saying our long winded goodbyes, and I was grateful to leave. I don’t think I could camp for even one night. I’m not sure I’ll ever camp again. But I’m so glad I went up for the day with my parents. I’m so glad I got to experience that sliver of Bon Echo.

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