Christmas Eve…

It’s quiet at home. I’ve packed the stocking stuffers, presents, and clothes… and made the filling for tonight’s vegetable pie. The cats have extra food and water and Lucky the frog’s been fed. I’ll feed him again before we go… he’ll eat at any and all times (anyone who’s had an African clawed frog will know what I mean).

Jeremy’s downstairs washing their laundry while Emma’s chatting online and sending me cat videos (which is still pretty quiet).

Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday and this one is shaping up to be amazing; three days filled with family and friends. I hope everyone here is having a wonderful weekend, whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a holiday that’s already past (or nothing at all). No matter what it is, I hope it’s fabulous. And, remember, if your family is unsupportive, that’s a reflection on them NOT on you. You are still amazing, worthwhile, and deserving of happiness and joy!

merry-christmas

On doxxing and reading comprehension…

Nothing good ever comes from a message at 1am. That’s when I woke up and found a note from a friend warning me that I’d been doxxed. Apparently a small horde of them lives hangs out at a website where they have nothing better to do than spend their days anonymously mocking people.

All they managed to do is discover my real name (Kathleen) and the names of Emma and Jeremy. Oh and our Facebook pages. Emma alternated between furious and laughing at the irony of these people outing us while hiding behind their pseudonyms and cartoon pictures.

“Mom, they don’t have any personal information about themselves at all. It’s all fake names and pictures. When you click on their names, they have nothing.”

If you get doxxed, be prepared for a whole whack of misinformation. They skim through posts and only seem to read about every second or third word (if that). They have a habit of making stuff up whole cloth too. None of them correct each other’s errors either, presumably out of a fear of being seen as supporting the person they’re doxxing. Which is understandable, it’s not like the lot of them have an ounce of empathy combined.

Right now they’re claiming Jeremy functions at about the age of 7 or 8 years old, which would make them severely developmentally delayed. I’d love to know what 7 year old makes their own computers and sets up networks. Jeremy is delayed emotionally, but only by a year or two. Otherwise they’re mainly severely learning disabled. And the trolls are raking Jeremy through the coals as some major abuser.

*looks at Jeremy asleep with two cats*

Yep, they’re terrifying all right.

I think the most hilarious part is the pearl clutching over brightly dyed hair. They literally call it “Danger Hair” as if it’s going to jump up and bite someone. It’s coloured, not radioactive.

The second funniest is the general poor comprehension and their inability to realize this. At one point someone finds my post in which Jeremy talks about a nonbinary character in a cartoon called Gurren Lagann. Someone claimed that’s their favourite show yet had no idea that the flamboyantly gay character Leeron exists. Instead, they gravitated right to Nia, an extremely feminine (and female) character. Almost as if they have a huge bias.

If you have a blog that centres on LGBTQ issues (especially trans issues) it’s important to keep yourself as safe as possible. Use a fake email address for your blog, complete with fake information. If I remember correctly, I’m 73 years old according to my information. Setting up the blog with fake information helps too.

The part I slipped up on is pictures. When I first started out, I made sure to keep every picture under false names because the picture name shows when you open it in a new link. I got lazy after a year or so because “who was going to go through that much effort”. TERFS, that’s who (remember they apparently have loads of free time). So rename your pictures before you upload them.

If you have a Facebook profile, lock it down. That part is so easy. Just go to the privacy settings  and make sure you have your phone number set to friends only and your other information to “friends” or “friends of friends”. The good news is privacy settings confuse the hell out of them. They’re still trying to figure out why I don’t have photos from 2011 onward (other than profile pictures). So far they’ve determined I’ve deleted them all, something that would make my friends laugh out loud. I’m known for being a little snap happy.

You can hide your friends list as well but that’s not in the privacy settings (of course). You need to go to your profile page on the desktop and click on Friends (right below your banner picture). Your friends list will pop up with an edit pencil on the right. Click on the picture to change your friends list settings (mine is set to just me). You can also hide the people, places, and lists you follow from there as well.

I live in Canada, the land where LGBTQ rights are protected and our prime minister marches (under glitter no less) in pride parades. But if you live in Trump Land (or somewhere more restrictive), don’t mention where you live. Or just drop a random city in. It’s not like they’re going to check.

And, if they do dox you, take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, you can think of it as a badge of honour. They only dox the people who are out there making a difference.

Closing a chapter…

It’s easy to say it’s over. The hardest part is finding all the little bits of a relationship and separating them from my life.

One year ago today was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. It was less than two weeks away from my favourite holiday and I was chatting, once again, with my best friend. It couldn’t get much better, then this happened…

Michelle: (((hugs))) He flat out said, “I like you. Do you want to be my girlfriend?”. I need blatant information like that. Subtlety confuses me.
L: are you asking me to ask you?
Michelle: I’m asking if you’re interested or if I’m just wildly missing something.
L: yes, I am, yes I’m kinda shy, no I don’t want to lose my best friend somehow
Michelle: Aww you’re not losing me (((hugs)))
Michelle: I love you
L: I love you too. Would you do the honour of being my girlfriend?
Michelle: Sure 🙂 Thanks

Suddenly things were a whole lot better. After almost 15 years of being single, I was dating my best friend. Soon we were making plans to get married in Cardiff, followed by a hot air balloon ride overlooking the ocean and pictures at the Doctor Who museum. I even picked out my wedding dress, which needed some alterations and a handful of butterflies but was otherwise perfect for me.

my-dress

We were going to move to Richmond, England together, which I found a tad poignant seeing as my Mom grew up in Richmond, BC. All my life I’ve lived in the same two cities, both side by side. This was my chance for adventure and I’d be doing it with the one I loved beside me. I just needed to hold on.

That was the hard part. I’d been depressed for over a year and it was getting worse instead of better. Plus I was finding it harder to cope at work. But I needed to hold on… I had to. L couldn’t move to Canada and I needed to be sane and employable to move to England. There wasn’t any other way. I just needed to hold on.

And the more I tried to hold on… the more L stepped back in self preservation… and the deeper I tumbled. I didn’t realize I was holding on too tight. I just knew that I couldn’t let go or else I’d fall. And he let go.

I spun into a free fall of suicidal depression that spring, one that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital. The night I got home, I sent L a letter, begging him for our old friendship back, and got this in return.

“Your idea of being friends is hiding from issues instead of dealing with them or letting them go. I don’t need to have a pretend tea party every time something bad happens, I need to deal with it. I have changed, and you can’t accept that so I guess things will be very quiet for a very long time because you don’t accept the type of grown up friendship I can give – the only type of friendship I can give. take care.”

I was blocked shortly after.

I look back at L’s initial nervous fear that he’d lose his friend and it brings tears to my eyes. He did lose me barely half a year later… and it was of his own free will. I don’t think either of us got what we really wanted. How do relationships end up so tangled anyway?

I’ve been slowly letting go. Changing passwords and secret answers so he no longer was entwined in them. Deleting monthiversary notices off my phone. Removing email addresses, phone number, and his snail mail address from various locations. Taking the charm off my keychain… the one I kept there to remember him by. Putting away the postcard he mailed me so I could see his favourite cafe. Removing… deleting… hiding. And now it’s been one year.

The last connecting piece was L’s blog. He started blogging before me and I was one of his first followers (just as he was one of mine). I’d tried to unfollow him before but he wasn’t on my list of email follows. It wasn’t until now that I realized I’d have to log out of my blog in order to remove him. Deleting him reminded me of all the times we spent working on blog posts simultaneously, sharing in the excitement of posting and seeing the stats go up as people read.

And it’s now done. I don’t want to be that person, the one who won’t let go long after a relationship is over. I loved him, and I miss him as a friend, but it just plain didn’t work out.

Someone we both know assured me that if our friendship was meant to be, we’d find each other again and, hopefully, we’ll have kept up with each other. All I can do, in that case, is hope he keeps up because 2016 is almost over and my 2017 is going to be fabulous.

It’s not child abuse…

A friend of mine was accused recently of child abuse by someone she knows. Her child is loved and supported, disciplined fairly, has a clean and safe home, and plenty of food. The child is not abused by any stretch of the imagination. And most people would agree with this statement… right until they learn the child is trans. Then everything falls apart.

Some people argue it’s abuse to let a child transition because “what if they change their mind?”. Okay, so what if they do? There is no surgery performed on children. No hormones. If a child changes their mind, all that’s involved is clothing, a hair style, and some paperwork. Know how I know? Because it happens. Not nearly as often as some organizations claim but it does. Sometimes the child turns out to be between or beyond male and female… sometimes they turn out to be cisgender. And the parents do another wardrobe switch and let the kid change hair styles. And that’s it, it’s that simple.

Others argue that it’s abuse because the child is too young to know. How many people here have ever met a toddler who didn’t know their own mind. They know what they want to wear, what they want to eat, how they want their hair, and they know their gender. Most of the time people have no problem with this. They aren’t concerned when a child with a vulva says “I’m a girl” because she’s old enough to know that. It’s only if she has a penis that she’s too young.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jeremy at three years old

Then there’s the people who have the best of intentions. What if the child gets teased? I hate to break it to them but all children get teased at some point and it can be over anything (or nothing). You can’t prevent teasing by restricting your child. You prevent teasing by teaching children kindness, coping skills and how to handle social interactions.

Jeremy went to a birthday party when they were four years old. The girls all got princess Barbie napkins and the boys got plain blue ones. Jeremy immediately asked for a Barbie one, which surprised the mother of the birthday girl.

“I thought the boys would rather have blue,” she said in confusion as she handed Jeremy the coveted pink Barbie napkin.

Every other boy in the room immediately asked for one too. It’s easy to say that gender stereotypes are inherent but it’s hard to judge considering how we ingrain them from before birth.

What I don’t get is how people can denigrate a little boy (or a child perceived to be male) for acting feminine, for being a “sissy”, or for liking the colour pink. They consider it okay to make their child cry over their personality or preferences in order to “toughen that child up”. Even though that attitude comes with a 75% chance of suicidal depression and a 58% chance of that child attempting suicide before the age of 24 years old. Yet they’ll claim allowing the child to be well adjusted and feel happy and supported with their gender expression is abuse.

Listen to your child. Love them. Trust them. They know who they are.

It’s the most wonderful time…

When I was very little, my parents used to ask me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer was always the same. A pretty tree with lots of sparkling lights. Things haven’t changed. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year. I love it all. The lights, the decorations, the glitter, the music, time with family and friends, pretty cards, baking, presents, and an ever present feeling of hope and goodwill. This holiday is me.

This is also the time of year I started writing this blog… three years ago. So much has changed since then. Back then Jeremy identified as a femme, bisexual male (who felt a bit like a girl on the inside) and I was completely and totally straight (and deep enough in the closet I could hang out with the lion in Narnia). Now Jeremy’s straight, agender and alternates between masculine and femme while I’m a demi-romantic, pan-romantic asexual. So the fabulous has broadened to include both of us.

Three years ago Jeremy wanted a hair straightener and Jaffa cakes. This year I got them a strand of light up mirrored disco balls and a big stuffed Freddy Fazbear from Five Nights at Freddys. Meanwhile this is what I want for Christmas…

  1. Self-cleaning kitty litter boxes
  2. Self-washing dishes
  3. Magic refilling fridge
  4. Copious amounts of writing time
  5. A huge green space beside my building
  6. Endless supply of free books on my e-reader from my favourite authors
  7. Winning lottery ticket for $15 million dollars
  8. A stay at a tropical resort

Pretty much the only one that can fit under the tree is the lottery ticket. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Christmas morning 🙂

This year we’re staying overnight at my parents’ house, which is new for us considering we live a 15 minute drive from their place. It means we can hang out on Christmas Eve and open stockings with them on Christmas morning. Plus it’s more like the Christmas I was used to growing up, when we stayed at my grandparents’ house with a bunch of relatives. I’m looking forward to hanging out with them, Karen and her family, and my cousin and his fiance.

Three years ago Jeremy and I would be watching Doctor Who on Netflix but they’ve taken it off the Canadian line up. I did promise them that I’d watch Supergirl with them as soon as they finish the dishes. I hope the show’s good.

My almost, but not quite, relationship…

I’m curious about something
And feel free to say no … obviously
I’m looking to be in a relationship.

Do you think you and I are a possibility?

To say this was a surprise would be an understatement. Ann* and I had previously only messaged each other sporadically on Facebook (mostly her messaging jokes about Canada) and had never met. And I’m a demiromantic asexual. I need to know someone in order to be in a relationship. And yet… I’d never get to know her if we didn’t talk plus I’d never know if we were compatible if I said no. So…

I’d have to talk to you more. I don’t know you well enough. I wouldn’t rule it out though.

Then we started to talk about politics and camping and food and families. It was the most we’d talked ever. But I still didn’t know her. I mean I’d talked multiple times a day to L for three years before we started dating. How do you get to know someone through awkward conversation?

I messaged her “good morning” the next day and got a three word reply four hours later. The same thing happened that night (except I hadn’t texted good morning at that point). I was beginning to think she and I were on different pages when it came to learning about each other through messaging.

Then came a four am message. Nothing good ever comes from a four am message.

Hey

 I’m sorry for being slow on responding
 I don’t even know how to say this.
 Now that I’m working the day shift, I’ve rediscovered a crush I had on someone
 I’m sorry

What could I say to that beyond “It’s okay”? When L and I broke up I’d needed an Ativan in order to start breathing again but Ann? All I really knew about her was she liked chicken and camping and preferred the term progressive over liberal.

A short while later I was warned by a few people that Ann had a mean streak and could get quite nasty. A short while after that she blocked me when I pointed out it was rude to waste a cashier’s time just because she was mad about a bus delay.

It definitely wasn’t a match made in heaven. It technically wasn’t even a match. But it was interesting while it lasted.

me-in-winter-pjs

Me in my winter pjs, just because 🙂

*Ann is so not her real name

The little bits of our lives…

“Mom?”

I stopped putting on my shoe. “What Jeremy?”

“While we’re on our walk, could we stop and pick up a computer? It’s only $15. And it’s right here!” They pointed at a circle outline which encompassed a 5 block radius. It was near where we were walking but still a decent hike to even the nearest part of the circle.

I mentally groaned. If they picked up a computer, there was no way we were going to continue on our walk on a gorgeous wooded trail, something I’d been looking forward to all day. And we knew nothing about the computer. I explained that to them. They immediately texted the person who almost immediately texted back. It was right near where we were walking and he was willing to meet us in an hour. The excitement on Jeremy’s face made me agree.

They babbled all the way to the bus and the whole half hour long bus ride then for the whole twenty minute walk too. We got to the man’s apartment and Jeremy’s jaw dropped. It turned out the man’s job was finding deals on lots of computer parts, fixing them up, and selling them on kijiji. Jeremy was in computer heaven.

“This is the $15 computer,” the man said, “and this is the $25 computer.”

It was my jaw dropping turn. I’d picked out a tiny $150 netbook when Jeremy offered to buy  me one (the cheapest computer at the store) but it was very slow… like can’t manage Facebook slow. I needed a new computer… especially a $25 one. It was the beginning of the month so we bought both.

Then came Jeremy’s time to shine. They checked my computer, decided the hard drive was way too small and swapped it for the one in the netbook.

“Don’t worry Mom, it’s not the hard drive that makes it go fast, it’s the CPU and the RAM.”

Then Windows had problems so they tried me with Linux and Ubuntu. I couldn’t use my programs on either so they sorted out Windows and got that reinstalled. Through that whole time of uninstalling and installing, Jeremy kept all my photos, novels, and scrapbooking graphics safe. And now I have a computer that will actually load Facebook.

On Sunday we went down to the lake to watch the full moon rise over the water (and take pictures). Unfortunately it rose over the tiny bit of land to the east but I got a few good shots of the moon rising over rock piles at the shoreline while Jeremy got an amazing short video of the waves rolling in.

full-moon-over-rocks-close

A bit blurry but still cool

Jeremy’s waves video…

We were almost home when I heard the friendly “mow” of a cat greeting us. I immediately replied back as Jeremy said, “Mom! There’s a cat!”

I looked over to see a beautiful grey and white long haired cat walking through the brush beside the path all the way to the fence. It squeezed through and stayed for a moment, long enough for us to note the lack of a collar, then it ran back as a dog drew near.

“Mom, we need to take her home,” Jeremy pleaded. “She doesn’t have a home and she’s going to freeze to death soon.”

I looked at the tiny area of brush and the townhouse complex behind it. “Hon, she has to have a home. She’s got long fur, she’d be covered in burrs if she was abandoned.”

Just then a man and his four little dogs stopped by and looked at the cat behind the fence. “Such a pretty cat,” he mused. “Too bad someone dumped her. She’s been here begging for a few days now. The cat lady had food set up over there…”

He gestured down the path to a section with trees between two buildings. “… but someone keeps setting his dog on them and knocking down their shelter.”

“Fine,” I said to Jeremy. “Let’s take her home.”

We coaxed her out and Jeremy carried her the rest of the block while I debated naming her Mariposa and finally settled on Luna because we’d found her under the full moon.

Once we got her inside, we realized how filthy she was. Brushing turned her into a mixture of tabby and white and she was laid back enough to let me pull burrs off her belly. Even the embedded ones. And she was gorgeous!

luna-under-my-bed

The next morning I got up and started calling. The vet clinic, the humane society, animal control, a local animal rescue. Then we hauled her over to the clinic and… beep… they found a microchip. She turned out to be Tarzan, a 1 1/2 year old male (I also stink at sexing cats). Tarzan had been rehomed nearby because of his extreme laid back behaviour. Behaviour which allowed their puppy to shake him by the neck. He’d jumped off his new owner’s 6th floor balcony and, of course, couldn’t get back home after that. His original owners live an hour away and came that day to pick him up… despite us being in the middle of a power failure that engulfed half our city. We’re talking traffic jams for miles. But he’s safe now and back home. Smudge looked for him for a day.

And I have another frog. This one is an albino African clawed frog. He’s quiet during the day but I can watch him swimming while I drift off to sleep at night. He had a sibling who escaped this morning and was found by the kittens. He was alive when I found him but died about an hour later from his injuries. My remaining frog is named Lucky. He’s not nearly as adventurous but will hopefully outlive all my other frogs. Plus I have a filter now, which will help Lucky’s breathing and my sleep.

I still stink at endings so here’s Lucky (in the back) and Not So Lucky making jazz hands in the front.

albino-clawed-frogs