It’s that time of year again…

Four years ago, I wrote a plea on Facebook for my friends to please not vote for then Conservative leader Stephen Harper. He’d already been in office for four years and had muzzled scientists, hid finances, and shut down parliament for several months to avoid dealing with a tricky question.

He lost the election to Justin Trudeau, with his innocent looking face and down to earth attitude. Justin promised clean drinking water for Native Canadians among other promises. For a while he seemed to be as he proclaimed. His first step was to balance the cabinet, making half of the members female. He was spotted consoling a grade school student on the parliament steps, helping someone in a wheelchair down subway stairs, and his most popular picture ever… dancing in a pink shirt in the Toronto Pride Parade.

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Photo by mrdhball on Instagram

Now the varnish has worn off. Nothing’s been done to fix Native water, some of which is dirt brown. He was reported thanking an Indigenous person for their donation when the question about drinking water was asked. And he’s been photographed in blackface at least three times.

Then there’s Scheer, the Conservative leader. He’s been meeting with Ford, Ontario’s PC leader, and Kenney, Alberta’s PC leader. They’re different levels of government so meetings like this just don’t happen. Well until now at least. Scheer is anti-choice and anti-LGBTQIA2S, even to the point of comparing equal marriage to dog parts. He’s promised he’s not going to touch equal marriage now but that leaves a lot of wiggle room. What about equal access to washrooms for trans people, what about trans children wanting to play on their gender’s team, or adding hair removal to transgender medical care? What about adoption and surrogacy rights for gays and lesbians?

Scheer scares me and I don’t fully know why beyond what I’ve written. I think he would be worse for Canada than his predecessor Harper and way worse than Trudeau.

We have a third party in Canada, the New Democratic Party aka the NDP. It never gets voted in (other than occasionally by province) because they don’t have enough experience. I think it’s time to give them that experience. A friend of mine said that Jagmeet Singh was boring. Boring is great. We need a leader who’s not making an ass of himself. We need a leader who’s ready to settle down and work. And we need a leader who’s willing to tackle tough issues, like the aforementioned Native water crisis:

NDP Leader Rips Reporter for Questioning Cost of Fixing Indigenous Communities Undrinkable Water

I know where to vote and who to vote for. The 21st is coming quickly. Are you ready?

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My life…

by Colin Davidson
(the views of the guest are not necessarily the views of me)

In my life I’ve had many ups and downs but I guess that’s life. I guess I should start with the thing that took up most of my childhood, which is school. I can’t remember a lot about elementary school but the stuff I can remember were not the best times of my life. I’ll start with the positives, the breaks (aka lunch and recess) were nice. I was able to hang out with my friends and just chill out. But that’s all that I can remember about the good parts of school. The bad parts were weird. I remember my teacher just never helping. I was never able to learn fast, obviously, because of autism. I probably should have had someone sitting next to me, telling me what to do but I remember having my hand up for thirty or forty minutes at a time but no one would actually help because, I’m assuming they thought I knew how to do it. And whenever I got upset at the teachers they’d put me into the kitchen with a desk and a chair and that was it (Kathleen ~ he was supposed to be the snoezelen room but they saved that for good behaviour, which is not how it works).

High school was another thing altogether. My school life went from bad to worse. But I should start with the first high school I went to. I was able to make friends in the class, pretty simply, and it felt like the teachers were actually listening. They weren’t teaching, at the beginning, as they should but I could tell they were making an effort. The only thing I can say about that school was they should have taught math more but, when I told them I felt uncomfortable eating in the cafeteria that found me a safe place to eat.

The second high school was worse than the first. It actually felt like the teachers actively didn’t like me and made it their mission not to let me do what I wanted to do. I would sometimes bike to school, without my Mom’s permission, so she wouldn’t call the bus company. Some days I’d arrive five or ten minutes late. Well math would be written on the board. And the board is supposed to be this almighty powerful thing that dictates the entire day. But come second period, when math was supposed to be taught, they’d pick something else. I’ve had days where I’d come back to school after a doctor’s appointment or something and the class would be talking about how they did math the day before. I’d always want to do math but it never happened. It always felt like I was being singled out. We’d always have talks when we came back to school after the weekend or holidays where we talked about what we did. She’d let different students talk for more longer so I always kept an eye on the time, like every second when I was at school. So I always knew how long most people got. One person in the class always got like thirty minutes. Everyone else who would actually talk, got like five. And the teachers themselves got like thirty minutes. It wouldn’t abnormal for the class, when we got back from break to have the talks go until lunch. So me and the other students she didn’t like would get like five minutes. I honestly think that teacher should not have been in a special ed class. She would do things like just talk to the EAs and help no students who needed help. Any time I pointed out to her that we needed to learn basic math, she’d get upset. She wanted everyone to be on the same level of education, but no one was at all. I was in times tables with math and there would kids in the class who could barely do addition. They couldn’t do subtraction. And there was a kid in the class who couldn’t tell time off an analogue time at all. It was weird when I got onto the bus going home. I actually had comments from people on the bus saying it was weird I was taking the bus home because I was sent home that much. I have a disagreement with the teacher, I literally asked for math like ten to fifteen times. Now, in the winter they were more hesitant to send me home and to be quite honest, I regret not calling the police that day. It was -20C and the only thing I had to wear, which the school knew, was a long sleeved shirt. I only had a shirt because I always forgot to grab a jacket. After that day I didn’t forget my jacket.

Just a small note. It didn’t affect me too much but, at the time I identified as non-binary and the teachers refused to say my pronouns. It wasn’t the biggest deal for me because of all the stuff I said before but it was still a problem. My Mom brought in someone from the school board to tell them what they had to say and they still refused.

So it was obviously nice times I had with the family. They’d bring us to the zoo and we’d walk over to their place and have fun there. But there were also some things that weren’t great. One of the best examples is I had a skateboard I bought for myself. It was a Darth Vader skateboard. I spent extra for it because it was Darth Vader. I made sure not to use it too much so I wouldn’t mess up the picture. And then, I don’t know if it was me or my Mom but we left it at Nana and Grandad’s. I can’t remember if I asked where it was or they told me but my cousins were using it one day and they left it outside and it got stolen. They didn’t offer to buy me a new one, they just said “kids will be kids” and left it at that. But then there’s also the zoo trips were getting pretty repetitive for me. To this day, I can still tell you everywhere we went. We’d go to see the polar bears, the great apes, and we’d see the bats, and then that would pretty much be it. Every so often we’d do different things but it wasn’t that often. But now we’re going on to what happened at home.

There’s a lot of great things that happened at home. I don’t know how many DSlites my Mom helped me buy because I’d accidentally break them. I think it was five. I’d save up a hundred dollars and be all excited because I was buying a DS lite. And Mom would chip in probably a hundred dollars. But then there was stuff that weren’t the best things. To put in mildly, Kait was not gentle. I don’t know how any of our plates managed to get out of that apartment. One of the things that Kaitlyn would do is just grab plates and drop them out the window onto the roof over the entrance to our building. It was usual for me to wake up to Mom and Kaitlyn yelling. I remember waking up and not even thinking why are they yelling but, how long can I stay in my bedroom for because I have to use the washroom. Honestly the best times of my childhood has to be when Kaitlyn wasn’t at the apartment (Kathleen ~ they were the best of friends until Kait was a teenager and Kait’s issues started when her Dad tried to be more involved). She was taken away by the police twice because the police thought she was a danger to me.

Dad was an entire thing all on his own. I’m sure my Mom, if she hasn’t already, could write an entire blog just on him. So he did stuff like when Kait went over her maximum phone minutes, he’d tell her things like he’d never get mad, he’d just pay the bill. And then he’d make both me and Kaitlyn get upset at Mom and then say that, don’t worry, I’ll get each of you out starting with you Kaitlyn then I’ll get Colin out. He actually brought us to an apartment and said that, if he wins, he’d move us in there. He gave up trying for custody after he learned that the government money didn’t cover all of the expenses and him. That’s when he cut communication with both me and Kaitlyn. He’d often cut communication off with us. He’d constantly just stop talking to both me and Kaitlyn randomly.

Kaitlyn moved in to the place we’re currently living. So when this was going on, I was dealing with the second high school. So I was stressed out from school and stressed that Kaitlyn was here. I was optimistic. I thought everything was going to be fine (I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t). The biggest regret I have happened and I’ll say first. If there was one thing I could go back and change from high school I’d change this. I was dating this chick in high school. We both liked each other. Every day though, when I got home from hanging out with her, I’d hear from Kait that I should break up with her. And eventually, just to have her stop saying it, I did. I guess I should have been more strong willed but I was dealing with high school.

But she would do other things like, I paid $50 for her old smart phone. She originally said I could just have it and I didn’t have to give her any money and then she said she felt like she had to give it to me so I offered to pay her $50 for it. I left a video one because I was using the phone as a wifi antenna. I was listening to music at the time, in a playlist and Mom brought me over to Superstore and I left my phone at home. And I knew I’d left it at home because the computer kept playing videos 12 to 15 minutes after we left. I haven’t seen that phone since and Kaitlyn had been the last person in the apartment.

We had an agreement that she got the living room and we wouldn’t go in there at night. Well I’d have to wake up for school. I’d have to be outside at 8am and Kait would get upset at me because she needed to get dressed and ready to go. We gave her a large closet area to get dressed and leave, she was never meant to change in the living room. She only changed in the living room. So I was getting ready to run out the door and I would have Kaitlyn yelling at me that I needed to go back to my bedroom because she needed to change. I remember once, when this was happening, she pushed the fridge door at me, well what was I supposed to do? I pushed it back at her and she started screaming about how I’d assaulted her. So Mom was going to go out and buy ink for this printer that obviously was broken and I threw the printer on the floor because if it was broken, buying ink for it would be pointless. So I made everyone know it was broken because I wasn’t able to convince them. I threw it at my feet. Honestly I was slightly worried I was going to hit my own feet because I was that close. Kaitlyn’s boyfriend ran over and put me into the most violent hold I’ve ever been put into. And they were planning on leaving anyways so I told them to leave. Eventually they did leave but we continued arguing for an extra 10 or 15 minutes. At the time this happened I think Kaitlyn’s boyfriend was about twenty. I think he’s four years older than me.

Well that’s it for this one. Like, comment, and subscribe. See you guys on the next one. Generic YouTuber out.

Be you…

From the time we’re born, we’re taught how to be normal. We’re taught when to sleep and eat, what colours are appropriate for us to like, what shows to watch. Through peer pressure we’re taught what attitudes to have and who to befriend. We’re taught what to believe in, what is proper and what to ridicule.

We grow up and conformity continues. What conversations are appropriate to have with friends and family. What clothes we should wear. What to think, how to decorate, what activities we should enroll our children in.

If we succeed we’ll have a life that’s fairly similar to all our neighbours. But is that really succeeding?

The world doesn’t need a cookie cutter copy of your neighbour. The world needs you! Dare to be different. Dare to choose the clothes you like, even if they’re not the same as everyone else. Rescue worms and caterpillars from the sidewalk. Have the pet you want, whether it’s a mischief of rats, a fuzzy tarantula, or a snake. Take your cat for a walk. Just be you.

me-with-glitter-1I tried so hard to fit in, especially for my kids, although I never really managed. And I kept on trying until I was crushed under the weight of depression. As I slowly put my pieces back together, I asked myself what was wrong with wearing sparkles and glitter. What was wrong with sequins? I found hair and body glitter at Marshalls and just had to have it. I nearly put it back because it wasn’t normal. Then I thought to myself “why do I have to be normal?” and bought it anyway. I found floral garlands to wear at Icing and, once again, nearly didn’t buy them. But I did and love them. And I’m sure you’ll find your little pieces of joy too.

Hold your head up high and take pride in who you are and who you’re becoming. Take the time to enjoy the things you like, even if it makes you different than everyone else. You came into this world as an individual, don’t leave it as a carbon copy.

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Little bits of random…

As far as I can figure, it started with accepting a friend request from a vocal Mom of a trans youth, someone well known in the trans community. She seems to have been the catalyst of a deluge of friend requests. I went to bed and my friend request box was empty. I woke up to twenty requests and they just kept coming. I weeded out a few. One immediately sent me a diagram of various sex positions. She helpfully noted her favourite was #5. I introduced her to the block list. But most were trans women just looking for an additional friend. Thankfully the deluge seems to be nearly over. I woke up to only three today.

There’s 132 days left until I move to my brand new (literally) apartment. My Mom and I drove past there on Monday and the construction crew were spreading concrete on the walls. We tried out a Chinese restaurant… once we figured out where the door was LOL. We parked at the end of the lot farthest from the entrance and tried the locked service door first. The restaurant was pretty good. The buffet looked good but they didn’t have anything vegan so I had a preselected menu option that was vegetarian and they swapped one item out for me. The staff were friendly and the place was immaculate. I’d just been craving homestyle bean curd and that wasn’t an option.

We went on a walk along a nearby trail and it was gorgeous. Luckily it’s not very far from where I’m moving so I can go down there as I choose. There’s supposed to be a conservation area as well and hopefully we’ll find an entrance to it soon.

And now comes my hard decision. Do I have a nap now or go for a walk? I am so very tired, like I keep pausing to rest from typing. But I’ve only been up for two hours. If I nap I will take a walk after I wake up. I flipped a computerized coin and am going down for a nap. Edited to add, The nap was wonderful and I got to see a deer on my hike, which was all kinds of awesome.

Oh and I used some filters on a picture of me I liked and now I absolutely love it.

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The guests I’ll never miss…

It was twenty-six years ago and my now ex-husband J and I were engaged and anticipating our wedding in half a year. J was chatting on the phone with a high school friend of his. Then that friend got a call from another high school classmate and drew her into the conversation on 3-way. J was not impressed as he remembered the girl as someone who thrived on drama and created it wherever she went. But by the end of the call he’d decided the classmate had changed and exchanged phone numbers with her. Over the course of several months they chatted back and forth and eventually we decided to get together for a visit. Her kids were living one town over from us with her parents and she and her boyfriend visited them every weekend. They could come over for lunch. Tomorrow. Which seemed fast but we didn’t have anything going on so okay.

This was back in the early 90’s when internet was dial-up and hard to find and cellphones were as big as cordless phones and equally as rare. They didn’t know where we lived and Google Maps and GPS devices wouldn’t exist for another 15 years or so. We settled on having them call us from her parents’ house to get further directions and also to give us a head’s up that they were on their way.

J rolled out of bed the following morning and immediately walked to the window, this wasn’t usual for him, we knew what it looked like outside. He let the curtain fall and announced, “They’re here”. I laughed and told him to quit joking. I mean seriously, what would the chances be of him looking out the window just as they pulled up? His expression said he wasn’t joking.

He ran to the closet and pulled on the first pair of pants he found (thankfully his) then said “I’m not kidding. They’re walking across the street right now. I’ll try to stall them so you have time to get dressed.” And off he ran, pulling on his shirt as he barrelled across the living room and down the stairs.

I jumped out of bed and looked around in a panic. I was in my pjs with messy hair and unbrushed teeth, the bed was unmade, I had nothing ready, food-wise, at all. Of course it was only 8:30am and they were supposed to be coming for lunch so my lack of preparations made sense. I pulled up the sheets and got myself presentable as quickly as possible, finishing brushing my teeth as they were walking up the stairs.

Instead of saying “hi”, J’s friend announced she was tired and needed coffee then made a beeline for the kitchen. Her little girl raced right to the bookcase where she immediately started throwing books around the living room. The little boy ran for the furniture, where he alternated between trying to poke holes in the fabric so he could rip the stuffing out and jumping off the back of a chair, narrowly missing the coffee table. The boyfriend glanced around then scoffed, “This is it? Where’s the rest of your apartment?” I felt like making a snarky comment but there wasn’t a point. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise as he detailed how much bigger and better their place was.

J’s friend wandered back into the living room. She was wearing spandex pants, a ratty t-shirt with a huge hole over the nipple, and no bra. I spent our whole conversation alternating between staring at her feet and the wall behind her. She was heartbroken she hadn’t gotten us a wedding present but was great at doing nails and had all sorts of colours and rhinestones that she could use. Wouldn’t it be so cool? We’d have matching nails. Did she think she was attending the wedding? I looked at the kids and hoped not.

Before I could answer, the little boy announced that his sister had peed on one of our cushions… that she’d placed on a stack of my books. I raced to grab the books and asked the parents to deal with their little angels. Mom immediately remembered that her coffee wasn’t finished yet and scuttled off to the kitchen. Her boyfriend informed me it was his meditation time, then proceeded to sit cross legged in the corner with his fingers beside his head while he ohm-ed loudly. Both kids were screaming by this time and jumping off any furniture they could find onto yet more of my books.

I grabbed every book and shoved them into my room then announced I was making lunch. It was 9am. I’d had some ideas for our meal but those plans had revolved around me getting up and cooking for a few hours before our guests arrived. And, by this time, I didn’t want them in our house any longer than necessary. I pulled two big cans of soup out of the cupboard and chucked them in a pot then tossed together a salad. It didn’t seem like much of a meal so I pulled out one of those microwavable powdered sauce and cake mixes. Then I called the boyfriend and kids into the kitchen to eat.

While I was childless at the time, I wasn’t an idiot, and I’d placed the kids half full bowls of soup in the freezer to cool. The boyfriend walked in and immediately started complaining. He never bought canned foods, he made everything from scratch. He had at least twice as many spices as us and couldn’t imagine cooking with that few. And our lack of storage space blew his mind. He had no idea how we could function with so little space.

As I placed the bowls on the table, the boyfriend started telling us about how he’d been badly abused as a child and this had left him totally impervious to pain. Just then I put the girl’s tepid bowl of soup in front of him, he knocked it onto his lap and immediately started screaming about the pain and how badly it was burning him. Thankfully he shut up when I told him the bowl had been in the freezer for the past five minutes and the soup was almost cold. J was obviously trying to stifle laughter by this point.

The soup was finished fairly quickly and I started making dessert. Once again the boyfriend complained. His desserts were all (of course) from scratch and he hated packaged desserts. He hated it so much he inhaled his helping then took seconds before J and I had a chance to get our first serving, finishing the bowl.

Thankfully J came up with a reason for them to leave. He hated to be rude but we’d been invited to a (nonspecific) family function and we needed to leave now. It was great seeing them and, oops, don’t forget your purse or your son. We’d finished lunch and had them out the door before 10am.

That was the last time we ever spoke to them. My wedding nails ended up being a plain peach with nary a rhinestone in life. Somehow we muddled through.

An evening with friends…

The days are slowly ticking down to my summer move and I am anticipating a lot of things. One thing I’m going to miss though, is my biweekly karaoke dates with my friends A & S. We laugh, talk about our lives, and most of all sing. Trying new songs and sometimes failing spectacularly. I don’t recommend singing Hey Jude for example. Great song with 5 minutes of random syllables at the end.

One song I tried yesterday was Pentatonix’s Sing. I had no idea how hard it was to sing that song acapella. Wow! My impression of  them just soared and it was already high to begin with. I’m also determined to master that song. I’ll post it when I finally do.

Yesterday I videotaped myself singing Candle on the Water as sung by Helen Reddy. If you want to hear, please click on the picture 🙂

My weirdest boss ever…

It was 2004 and I’d just moved the kids and I to a high rise complex. Then I got a job at the doughnut store across the street. It was almost perfect. There was a daycare in our building so I just took the kids downstairs and walked across the street. I could be there in under five minutes. The only problem was my boss. He was beyond weird. One day, or even one moment, he’d be jubilant, praising me to the skies for something that was perfectly normal, like mopping a slushy floor.

“You’re my best employee,” he’d exclaim, “The best employee ever.”

Then he’d flip and he’d start literally offering me to his customers.

“She’s useless, absolutely useless! Take her… take her!!!”

The customers would shuffle awkwardly then hurry for the door as soon as their order was complete.

Then one day I came in for my shift and went to work at the cash only to be told he didn’t want me to work there, which was my usual spot. So I moved to the bagel counter and was told the same thing. So I asked where he wanted me to work.

“Nowhere,” he retorted, “you’re fired!”

A short while later I went in to get my last paycheque. I found it lying on the floor under the shelf they usually sat, marred with foot prints. He’d literally stomped all over it. He asked if I had a job yet, even though it had only been a week, and smiled when I told him no.

A year went by and I found work at a call centre representing a major internet provider. It wasn’t the best job but I was making $12/hr and was only a few months away from getting benefits. The kids and I were going out shopping one morning and just missed the bus. We could have gone home to wait but the kids wanted bagels so we walked across the street and went inside. The boss’s wife was behind the counter. She was quiet but polite, as usual. We ate our bagels then the kids asked for doughnuts. And that was when the boss came in.

He pushed his wife aside without a word and took our order. His face was like sunshine and his grin beamed.

“So, do you have a job yet?” he asked. His grin said he expected the answer to be no.

My smile widened until it was almost as big as his. “Yes, I have,” I replied and his smile disappeared.

“I’ve got a full time job with major internet service provider,” I continued. “I make $12 an hour and I’ll have benefits in a couple more months.”

He didn’t even say a word. He spun around and stalked into the back of the store. I figured he was going to his office. His wife took over the order and quickly completed it. Then she looked up and said, “Oh!” in surprise before running out of the store. I looked up too in order to see him in his partly backed out car while she urgently talked through the window.

He was so mad at me that I’d moved on in my life and got a better job than the one he’d offered that he had stormed out of the building. Even though he’d just arrived. Even though he hadn’t so much as said “hi” to his wife.

We walked out the door in silence then Kait looked up from her doughnut and said, “Mom, that man’s really weird!”

I laughed. “You don’t even know the half of it.”