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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A tiny bit of an update…

I try to write at least once a week but just haven’t been up to it lately, this along with everything else. I figured I’d pop in for a quick update. I’m still here and still depressed. Sometimes I wonder if I irritate people by mentioning it over and over, I’ve been almost constantly depressed for four years now. But, honestly, it’s worse on this side.

I had my psychiatrist’s appointment today and it went well. He brought up having me admitted but I didn’t want to go. Going meant being away from the cats and my home. No Doctor Who. No listening to music. I’m second and third guessing myself now but it’s done and I’m in my pjs. I don’t particularly feel like doing myself in at the moment. I’m currently seeing (by phone) my psychiatrist every two weeks and my Canadian Mental Health Care workers twice a day (once a day on weekends). Sometimes I think it’s overkill then sometimes I start making plans. I’ve got my cats and my family though, I can’t leave them.

Is this post long enough? It’ll have to be long enough because I can’t write more. I’ll add a photo too. Oh and my psychiatrist is putting me on Adderall because my memory sucks and I’ve got the attention span of a squirrel on crack. Picture. Must add picture.

me with balloons

Hopefully me once the Adderall starts working

You could have been so much better…

She’d been a friend of a friend. At first we clicked, then there were squabbles, and finally there was an unfriending. For the life of me I can’t remember who unfriended who. About a year went by and she messaged me and asked if we could be friends again. What we’d argued about was trivial so I agreed. As before we clicked then we slowly started disagreeing. Finally today got ridiculous. The latest argument was about, of all things, grocery store direction stickers. She simultaneously claimed they were completely worthless garbage that should be ignored and one of the government’s initial attempts to control the population. I have no idea how it could be both. We’re now mutually blocked. There is no third chance.

In the vein of deleting friends, I deleted over 100 people off my friend’s list last week. I’d been adding people because they seemed nice and I felt guilty saying “no”. Something I need to work on. But I had too many startles as I scrolled down my newsfeed, wondering who that person was and how they got on my page. So I deleted everyone I didn’t recognize and put a note on my page saying I wasn’t accepting requests from anyone I didn’t know. My page has been quiet lately and that feels nice. Recognizing all the faces is even nicer.

I’ve made a promise to myself, in part made due to the argument mentioned above. I am no longer debating the minutiae. I will stand up when it comes to prejudice of all kinds but grocery store stickers? You think aliens stuck them there? Happy shopping! I refuse to continue to stress myself out because some touch typing troglodyte fired up some brain cells and came up with a thought. It’s just not worth it.

As for my former friend. You could have been so very much better. Maybe someday you will.

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Happy birthday Colin!!!

Twenty-three years ago, in the middle of a thunderstorm, I gave birth to a chubby 9lbs 11oz baby who looked remarkably like Winston Churchill. I resisted a sudden urge to name him Winston (probably for the best) and named him Colin. Time went on, as it does, and he grew and continued to grow quite a bit beyond what I thought was necessary. He thought his height was great and proceeded to call me his “pocket sized Mom”.

When you get right down to it you go into the hospital and, after a lot of pushing and pain, you’re handed a baby. There’s all sorts of advice for what to do when they’re babies and toddlers and when they’re talking back in elementary school but a dearth of information on what happens once those babies are gone and moved out. I think today, going to Colin’s place, it really hit me that my children, the skippers on sidewalks and hunters of ladybugs, have well and truly left the nest and built homes of their owns. I’m so happy for them but I hope I’ll still have family dinners and visits for years to come.

Today was the first day visiting Colin at his new place, which is right out in the middle of nowhere, a very lovely nowhere by the way, I love what they did with the place. Colin was happy to see us and thoroughly enjoyed his lunch and his presents. As always, it was over too quickly but hopefully we can stay longer next time.

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Colin opening one of his presents. I believe this one was pjs

Colin and my card

Colin reading the card from me

Dad, Colin, and Mom

Colin and my parents

Colin and I close

Colin and I

That dark little rain cloud…

That cloud just keeps hovering overhead no matter what’s done to try and stop it. Last month my psychiatrist swapped most of my medications for new meds in an attempt to make an improvement. I’m now on ten medications (18 pills) a day. My parents worry about me. They say I look drugged, that my pupils are small. That I zone out constantly. From my side I feel exhausted. It’s less zoning out and more nodding off.

I could deal with the side effects if the medications were working but they aren’t. I had another panic attack last night as I climbed into bed. It came out of nowhere, knocking the air out of me, making me feel like I couldn’t breathe. My chest hurt. What if something was seriously wrong? What if I was having a heart attack? I knew I couldn’t stay in bed at that point. I downed a 1mg of Ativan and curled up in my swing chair. No screens, just quiet and a chance to work on my breathing. And it slowly helped. But it wasn’t a one off.

Going out on my own makes me feel naked and exposed. I try different coping strategies but nothing beats the relief of getting back in my door. I’m better out with people but I can’t handle too many activities or stores. Two or three is the most for me. Even writing about going outside is making me nervous and I’m sitting safely in my own bedroom with the front door locked. I’m not going anywhere and yet that fear remains.

And the depression. My whole body feels leaden while everything takes more energy… more effort. Even getting up from the table requires thought and effort. My thoughts are heavy and run slowly. I make more mistakes, typing the wrong letters, using the wrong words. It all seems pointless… futile. What difference is my life going to make anyway? I’ve been trying the whole “fake it ’til you make it” idea but so far it’s not working. And then comes the fear of what if nothing works and I just keep feeling like this forever? I don’t know what I’d do if that were the case. And, for total irony, I got this with my dinner tonight…

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Riots

It was 1:20am, not the usual time for the police to arrive. Usually Stonewall (and it’s patrons) were tipped off and knew what to expect. The business was owned by the mafia after all so that sort of inside information was typical. But this time no one knew in advance plus the police weren’t arriving at the right time or behaving as usual. Everyone was unsettled and unhappy.

A crowd formed outside, mostly of LGBTQ people. Then a rumour spread that people were being beaten in the backs of the police vans and riots broke out. Of course these were gay riots so there were some chorus lines and show tunes. But there also were some bricks thrown. Back then by black transwomen and crossdressers… now the movie has whitewashed them into being pretty white men.

Fifty-one years later the in-your-face, rampant prejudice toward the LGBTQIA community has faded (but isn’t totally eliminated) and the riots have transformed into a parade of rainbows and glitter. Except for this year. A virus ate this parade, a nasty little dream killer of a virus. But the parade will be back again next year, bigger and more sparkly than ever. Which brings us to today

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New York Times ~ Ben Crump Law

It was a gorgeous day on the 25th when George Floyd went into a deli to buy some groceries. He paid for them with a twenty dollar bill, which was legal tender. The cashier didn’t think it was legal and called the police. I’ve worked as a cashier in two different places and you don’t call the police. You check it and hand it back. But apparently she had loads more free time than any cashier I’ve ever met and her decision to waste time brought about someone else’s death. I hope she sleeps horribly.

Derek Chauvin, a now former police office, knelt on George’s neck for almost 9 minutes while he pleaded for help, called for his deceased mother, and slipped into silence. Derek ignored it all, killing an innocent man while he shot the breeze with his coworkers (who have also been fired).

I very strongly believe in peace and working together in harmony but sometimes something simply needs a brick or two. Right Marsha P. Johnson? I think the Black community has been trying the peaceful route for a long time. And I think the future of Black boys and girls deserves those bricks.

Saying goodbye to what was…

I handed them in today… gave my apartment keys to Colin to pass along to the superintendent when he vacates the apartment next week. Sometime next week. This has been, hands down, the worst move ever. Not only does Colin not know when he’s moving, he doesn’t even know where he’s moving, whether he’ll be moving into a temporary unit or his own apartment. I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that it’ll be his own unit.

20200523_180802We walked over to the nearby strip plaza and got lots of time to chat between the lines outside and walking down aisles. JYSK (Danish household store) was finally opened. Colin looked at computer desks and I found a unicorn popsicle mould. It only makes two popsicles but there’s only one of me so that’s fine.

Then we went to Dollarama and the biggest miracle of all happened. I didn’t buy a single thing. Not one single item. It’s one of those things that just doesn’t happen. I feel quite good about it to be honest.

We went back to the apartment and I chatted with a friend for a while and then Colin and I chatted for a bit before I left.

I dreamed of moving to that apartment, it was my dream home, my apartment with two balconies and a pantry and my building with an indoor pool and gym. We lived there for eight years. And I stood there in the living room and felt nothing. It was a stranger’s place. This is home, my tiny apartment.

I’ll never be in the north Oshawa apartment again. Chances are I’ll never be in that building. But I’m okay with that. It ceased to become home a long time ago. And now it’s Colin’s turn. I hope his space turns into his home as much as my space has turned into mine!