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.

everything is different

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.

cliff1

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.

walk away from drama

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

27georgefloyd-superJumbo

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.

Decorating while (really) broke…

I’ve had a few people ask me how I manage to decorate on a limited budget. They want a nice looking home but just can’t afford the prices they see pretty much everywhere. They can’t be the only ones who are curious so I figured I’d post my tips here. And, if you have any tips, please feel free to comment below.

My first tip is to check the dollar stores. Seriously, you can find some amazing stuff there. You just have to go often and be selective. Don’t pick up a picture or other decoration just because it’s there and in your price range. My favourite shop is Dollarama. Sorry everyone else in the world, Dollarama’s only in Canada. I’ve found some fantastic finds. They get items in regularly that were from everyday stores. Maybe they were overstock, maybe they’re out of season, maybe the store went under. Either way Dollarama’s got it for $4 or less. You can buy pictures, wall art, pillows, lap throws, table cloths, dish towels, artificial plants… the list goes on and on. But you can’t just go once in a blue moon. Often the good stuff comes only in the amount of two or three and they go fast. If you see something good, get it then, it might not even be there tomorrow. Plus check different stores. They mostly have the same items but sometimes you’ll find something special that wasn’t in your usual store.

Dollar Tree is okay. I find where they stand out is with wall art. They get some amazing wall stickers there and those can really tie a room together. I found a cute glittery unicorn sloth on a rainbow once but otherwise I’m not impressed with their decor.

Second hand stores are great too. They’re obviously hit or miss but they can have some gorgeous things. I’ve found ficus trees there before (I only have one now) and a lovely ceramic hot chocolate container. Colin found a ceiling lamp that looked like it belonged in an old bar. I think they’re called tiffany lamps. Google says I’m right and, oh my goodness, they’ve got some pretty ones out there.

Don’t forget to check out the clearance section. I have found so many things at Icing, Marshalls, and Homesense. Icing has a buy three – get three free deal which includes their clearance rack too.

I also order online. I use Aliexpress but I know other people have used Wish. It is buyer beware but I’ve had good luck with their wall art stickers and small items. Just remember it’ll take up to two months to arrive.

And, of course, what you need are pictures of what you can find for inspiration. Remember, when you go to the dollar store or thrift shop, you might find nothing at all or you might find something you adore. It’s all part of the adventure.

Just breathe

This Just Breathe sign was bought at Dollarama. It wasn’t there for long. The vase in the back was also a Dollarama find as is the flowers (which I sadly cut off in the picture). The table’s a freebie I found in the laundry room. I’ll get around to refinishing it… someday.

fit happens with blurry m

Both “Fit Happens” and “every day – is a – fresh START” are from Dollarama. They certainly don’t look like they are though.

desk wall

The word art starting with “each day” is from Dollar Tree and is very sturdy while the gold glittery picture is from Dollarama. They still have glittery pictures but not this particular one.

bedroom wall

The two pictures on the left are from Dollarama, the circle is a glow in the dark moon from Aliexpress and it glows really well, while the last picture was on clearance at Icing. I love that store!

kitchen

The folding dish rack and mat are from Dollarama as are the miniature topiary, spice racks (under the spices), wire utensil containers, potted plants, and the lemon “live your life with zest” hanging. The lemon wall stickers, the towel saying “Love, laugh, & gather together”, and the word art on the cupboard reading “The secret ingredient is always love” are from Dollar Tree. And the tree “window” is from Aliexpress

Just breathe and sloth

This “Just Breathe” sign is also from Dollarama as is the metal bucket. The flowers are from Clair de Lune and were on clearance. And, as said above, the rainbow unicorn sloth is from Dollar Tree.

living room wall

The “home is where your story begins” sign is from Dollarama and was one of two. “This is my paradise” is also from Dollarama. It’s fabric and held to the frame with twine.

Dream big

This is one of my Icing finds. I absolutely adore it. I’m a sucker for glitter!

word art2

This is another Dollar Tree find. I love having family photos on the wall and this just ties them together.

kitchen finds

This is an old picture from 2016. It shows my hot chocolate jar and a plate (with apples on it) that I found at Value Village. The “Today’s Menu” chalkboard is from Dollarama. Oh, and the rice container/cookie jar is from Goodwill going back years ago.

Obviously if I went out and spent all that money today it would be a fortune, dollar store and thrift shop or not. But spread out over the course of a year or two(ish) it’s definitely manageable… anywhere from $4 to $12 a month and the results are very much worth it. Happy shopping!!!

 

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!

 

It’s the little things…

As the saying goes, it’s the little things that make a house a home. And my apartment is no exception. I shared pictures of my apartment last week, stepping back so I could take in the whole room, but that meant the little things were minimalized or overlooked entirely. Now it’s time for them to shine.

rainbow unicorn on my monitor

This little guy sits on my monitor so I see him every time I look up. I love all the rainbows and glitter

glow in the dark moon

I got this moon via AliExpress and it really does glow

dare to be different wall sticker

When I’m feeling anxious it’s nice to have a small pep talk on being myself. It’s hanging on my closet door

Super Mario

Colin got this for me. Mario lives on my bedroom windowsill

rainbow unicorns in my shower

No, I don’t play with them, they’re just decor. I actually don’t even have a bathtub, I have a bathtub sized shower stall. Somehow, even though my apartment is not a handicapped unit, I ended up with lowered lightswitch plates, a lowered peep hole and an accessible shower stall.

salt and pepper shakers

These salt and pepper shakers are part of Walmart’s Pioneer Woman collection and I though they were too cute not to buy.

unicorn sloth on a rainbow

Another “had to buy” purchase. I bought my little sloth unicorn at Dollar Tree and he lives on my hutch. So sparkly… so rainbowy

Shrieky Poulet

Shrieky Poulet, my rubber chicken, lives in my ficus tree in the living room. If you look to the left you can see one of my colour changing lights. At night it’s like he’s in a disco, minus the crowds

sequin unicorn

I saw this unicorn at Superstore and just had to have her. She was the last one in their $5 Christmas bin. Ironically they had the identical unicorns in the Valentine’s Day bin for $25

And that’s it. Well it’s not exactly it. I didn’t share my squishy blue unicorn with a rainbow mane, or my red light up pound symbol with Toad sitting on it or… well you get the picture. I hope you have things in your home that make you smile just as much as mine make me smile!

When is a joke not funny?

I got kicked out of a group I liked because I literally could not understand how a Dad joke was racist against the Indigenous people of North America. The joke doesn’t even mention Indigenous people. If you want to help me understand feel free to break out the crayons and colouring paper because I really don’t understand and you’re likely going to have to bring it down to kindergarten level. Conversely, if you don’t see the racism, especially if you’re Indigenous, please let me know this as well. Here’s the joke:

nonbinary joke

I’d seen this joke in Asexual Aces earlier that day, where it was liked, and thought it was a pretty typical “Dad Joke”. I even shared it myself. Then I saw it in A Group For Only Cute Queer People and that’s where the shit hit the fan.

Almost immediately there were posters demanding it get removed due to the racist content. I had no idea what they were talking about. It was explained that prospectors killed Indigenous people so any joke that mentions prospectors is racist. I could not grasp that and still can’t. Does that mean talking about settlers/colonizers is racist as well? Are my friends being racist for joking about the Oregon Trail? Is mentioning my family’s background racist (they didn’t kill the local Natives)?

Chances are it’s probably the autism that’s sticking here. I tend to see things in black and white. But I do honestly want an answer. Feel free to put your answer below or, if you came here from Facebook, on my Facebook page.

Thank you!

Edited to add: Apparently it’s not just me. I had quite a few people comment on Facebook that it wasn’t racist at all and that’s with me promising I didn’t mind people disagreeing with me. Not a single person said it was racist.

Saying goodbye to a decade…

Kathleen and Kait 2009It was 2009. I had a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Both seemed so old then and so young in retrospect. That New Year’s we went to my parents’ house for a family celebration that including a bonfire and cousins running everywhere.

 

Maybe it’s just me but I find that how things are now feel like forever, as if nothing’s going to change. And yet it does. Sometimes glacially slow and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Colin and I moved into what was my dream apartment (complete with pool) and he finished high school after many years of turmoil, mostly involving pronouns, his stims, and his love of math. Kait started dating her boyfriend and eventually had a baby with him. Kittens were adopted and adult cats grew older. The kittens did too but they’re still young. The adults are getting elderly.

I went to a friends’ apartment today and we were talking about the next decade and how old we’d be when 2030 rolled around. Sixty seems so far away but it’s coming closer in increments. Most of our time was spent chatting about happier things, stuffing our faces with food, and singing karaoke but sixty tugged at my brain. I’ve never pictured anything past 2020 so sixty is a novel concept and a not entirely welcome one. I can barely wrap myself around turning fifty.

I mentioned a few of my goals in an earlier post. Things like exercise three times a week and try to make friends. I want to get back into writing. I miss writing. I miss having a brain with an attention span too. I will definitely have to write in shorter chunks. And I need to make at least one friend. I don’t know how. I’m good at chatting with strangers but don’t know how to bridge the gap between chatty neighbour and friend. And I want to get back into cooking. Colin keeps putting stuff on the kitchen counter, which makes it difficult to prepare food. He has a lot of stuff, none of which belong there.

It is going to be so odd moving into an apartment just for me. I have never, in almost 50 years, lived totally on my own. Will I still be there on New Year’s Eve 2029? Who will be with me? Oh my goodness, my tiny toddling grandson is going to be in late elementary school! Our lives are going to change so much.

I’ve already had my New Year’s Eve celebration so I’m going to curl up in my swing chair and read a Patricia Briggs novel. Happy New Year to you all and I wish you all the best in 2020!

Kathleen, Allison, and Sean

Myself, Allison, and Sean about to sing karaoke

Coda…

There’s one short week between Christmas and the New Year. It should be a celebration. A goodbye to the old year and a welcome to the new. Instead it’s filled with the minutiae of our lives. When was that dentist appointment? Did I take the tofu out to thaw? It’s less a poignant goodbye and more, oops, someone stepped on the bagpipes.

!BLAT!

When you get right down to it, even New Year’s isn’t very relevant for us. It was chosen because January was named after the Roman God Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and one looking behind. But you’d be hard pressed to find someone worshipping Janus these days. I have to admit, the whole concept of a totally clean slate and our best future is appealing. We get to say goodbye to what’s hurt us this past year and look forward to better things.

I’m looking at 2020 with a mixture of anticipation and dread. I’m looking forward to moving. I have bought so many cute little things; items that will make me feel happy when I see them. And I’m going to have a new apartment that’s just for me. No one’s ever lived there before, I’ll be the absolute first. I’m also panicking about the move. I’m still waiting for my move in date, sometime this February. And I’m used to having so many things close to me. Three grocery stores, three drug stores, a Giant Tiger, and a Dollarama. I’ll have most of that… if I walk a half hour from my new place. That’s pleasant in the summer and hellish in the winter.

I mentioned some concerns to my psychiatrist and he commented that with my level of severe anxiety, it is common to have agoraphobia. I’m not sure how I’ll manage walking thirty minutes from home to face crowds on my worst days. There’s options like door dash and grocery delivery but I don’t want to rely on them too much to the point of avoiding everything and everyone. That’s not healthy and only makes agoraphobia worse.

This is the year I turn fifty. I don’t feel half a century old, despite having a grandchild. I’m planning on celebrating it at Ste. Anne’s Spa with my Mom and sister. It’s going to be so peaceful.

I do have several goals in mind for 2020. I’m going to sign up for Planet Fitness and I want to get there three nights a week. They have massage chairs which will provide incentive for me. The spa has massage chairs and I fell in love with them. I want to make sure I walk to the grocery store once a week, saving grocery delivery for the absolutely abysmal days, like -40C before the windchill. The easiest one of all, don’t check out the troll site. It’s been over a month since I’ve last been there. It’s hard when I’m depressed to stop myself and a lot easier when I’m feeling good about myself. But they’re not writing about me. They’ve made an almost unrecognizable caricature of myself then act if they know the truth. I spent my childhood being badly bullied, I don’t need to seek out bullies in my adult years. They’re not worth my time. Instead I’m going to focus on making IRL friends. I don’t know exactly how yet but I’ll do it, even if I have to set out snares.

Now to count the days down to when the calendar changes. I wish the best to everyone in the coming decade!

New Year wish2