I am angry…

This post is a long time coming, it’s not something I’ve suddenly realized in the last day or two. But three incidents happened this week and they pushed me over the edge. So here I am.

I’d been enjoying some Instagram on my cell phone before I got up one sunny morning. Pictures from friends, cute shots of animals, and then a picture¬†Alok Vaid-Menon came onto my screen. I started reading… started discovering what their day’s like. Being verbally harassed. Being spat on once or twice a day. The realization that no one would come to their aid if they were attacked. People taking pictures of them to post online and mock and they’ve done nothing except being themself. They’re not hurting anyone. I cannot understand why someone would go out of their way to harm someone who is doing nothing wrong. What is the reasoning behind this? Sigh, I’m not sure I even want to know.

The second incident happened on Facebook. A friend of mine shared an article about a study that had been done regarding pronouns and I discovered that three people out of five will deliberately use the wrong pronouns for a trans person. Excuse me but really? You’ll apologize and make sure you use your friend’s cat’s correct pronouns but you can’t offer the same kindness to a fellow human? For fuck’s sake, the cat doesn’t even care. But the human certainly does. What is wrong with people that they can’t extend common courtesy to another person just because they’re perceived as different? There is nothing wrong with being different.

Then a page named Kialo showed up in my newsfeed with a discussion on whether trans women should have the same rights as cis-women by entering women’s only spaces. I know better but I still clicked on the link, commenting on the most egregious posts. It’s still going on (and on) with the usual arguments. Genitals trump all and trans women must be men. Trans women grew up with male privilege and therefore aren’t eligible for women’s spaces. Some cis-women have been assaulted before and trans women might trigger them – ignoring the fact that trans women get assaulted more than cis woman. And, of course, one lone idiot bleating “I’m not a cis woman. I’m just a woman”. Because Latin prefixes are so scary. I gave facts and rebuttals but I’m sure most of them went unread. Hopefully someone who’s wavering took a look and gained some knowledge. Who knows.

And I am so tired. I’m tired of the same damn arguments. The same lame “I identify as an apache attack helicopter” as if two hundred other assholes haven’t already used the same line. I’m tired of my friends being narrowed down to nothing more than their genitalia… being stripped of their humanity. I’m tired of them being nothing more to a whole swathe of people than a topic of discussion on a Friday night. I don’t want to have another discussion like that again. But I will. You know why? Because my friends are the ones being attacked and if I’m tired, they’re beyond tired of arguing their very existence. Because friends stay there for the hard times, they buckle down and say “I’ll help”. I can’t do anything physically or financially but I can be supportive and I can throw fact after fact at the bigots in hopes that one will stick.

Trans people are your family, your friends, your neighbours, your store clerks. They’re in the line up behind you. They buy their gas at the same station as you. You might not think you know someone trans but in reality you do. What are you going to do about this? Would you give a tissue to Alok and sympathize that they’d been spat on? Would you use the right pronoun if asked? Would you stand up via internet or in person for a trans person’s rights? It’s really scary standing up in person but it’s something you can do. Or are you going to be on the wrong side and ignore someone’s basic humanity. It’s up to you.

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Mommy wine culture…

icing hatFor me it started with a hat. A very glittery baseball hat in my favourite store. As everyone who knows me knows, I am a glitter fanatic. Then I read the caption and sighed. It wasn’t perfect after all. I don’t drink. I hate the taste of alcohol. But my sister loves wine and it seemed perfect for her. Birthday present shopping done.

It was after that I noticed the sheer amount of wine related items aimed at women, in particular mothers.

wine glassGoogle “Mommy juice” and you will find so many stemless glasses to choose from. And then there’s this unsubtle glass. Yep, I get it. We’re boring sober, awesome halfway though the glass and magical unicorns if we finish the whole thing. I’ll have you know I’m a glittery magical unicorn without alcohol, thanks.

Another glass I saw said “coffee am/ wine pm”. I’m hoping they mean dinnertime and not one in the afternoon. I don’t like coffee either so I get to be “boring” twice over.

wine shirtDon’t get me wrong, I know alcohol is fine in moderation. What bothers me is all this media makes it seem like alcohol is the norm and you have to drink to be cool and fit in. I posted about this on Facebook and everyone but one person said there was definitely an increase in products advertising wine to women. One friend said, “I feel like its everywhere. I often feel like I am the only mom who doesn’t drink” and honestly, I feel the same way sometimes, especially when I see products like these virtually everywhere. I wanted to get a glittery hat for my Dominican Republic trip next week and every hat in Icing was about drinking. The only hats I could find without alcohol were in Claires and very obviously aimed at children.

wine printI’ll be at our local mall on Tuesday, hoping to find a cup with a reusable straw so that when I buy my slushies for by the pool, I can just keep reusing my cup. I have a feeling though that if I want a glittery cup with no reference to wine, I’m going to have to hit the children’s store again. Maybe I’ll be lucky but I’m not counting on it. And I can’t help but wonder how much pressure this puts on woman to drink in order to fit in.

For those of you out there who feel left out because you don’t drink, you aren’t. There’s plenty of us and we’re fabulous. You don’t have to drink to fit in. You don’t even have to fit in, just be yourself and let the world fit in around you. You can be a sparkling magical unicorn without fermented grapes. So raise a glass of whatever you like, ignore the marketers, and celebrate you.

be you

What vegans know…

  1. There’s a joke going around (and around) that you’ll know someone’s a vegan because they’ll tell you. That’s not usually the case. If someone doesn’t ask outright where the meat is in your meal, they’ll hear you explaining to the wait staff. And then the barrage of questions start.
  2. Vegan foods are treated as weird. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as vegetable soup or if it’s someone turning down Becel vegan margarine because it says “vegan”. It’s different so they won’t eat it even though it tastes the same.
  3. potatoIt doesn’t matter how cute the piglet picture is, someone is going to either say, “Mmm bacon” or “look bacon seeds”. The same people are horrified that some people eat dogs.
  4. There are so many people who have tried to become vegan and failed. I have no idea how. Maybe they were junk food vegans? I’ve never bothered to ask. I’m sorry you’re obviously distressed but I don’t know what validation you need.
  5. Stores always put vegan and gluten free products together, leaving people totally confused. I’ve spent so much time telling people that, really, I don’t need a gluten free crust. Cheeseless is just fine. Conversely I’ve had to run after someone with celiac disease to tell him, no, my vegan chocolate cupcakes were so not gluten free no matter what he’d been told.
  6. There are sanctimonious vegans out there and no one likes them, not even other vegans. They crab about us just as much. “Do you have any idea how many chemicals are in that Gardein product???” “Everything’s made out of chemicals Karen, simmer down.” Chances are they don’t even like themselves, which is sad when you get down to it.
  7. Many vegans are pet owners (usually with rescue animals) because they love animals. 99.99% of them feed their dogs and cats meat because they’re dogs and cats, not guinea pigs.
  8. People suddenly become nutritionists when they realize you’re vegan. But they’re only interested in protein and B12. My protein is fine and my doctor told me to stop taking B12 because my levels were high. I’m more worried about my iron, I was born anemic.
  9. People have this idea that vegans are all skinny, weak, and pasty white. Umm, no. I’d be a lot more skinny if Haagen Daz vegan chocolate peanut butter bars weren’t a thing and I’m definitely not pasty white. I had someone ask me if I was part Native a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve never been described as weak. Plus the whole pasty white thing ignores all the vegan POC, which is crappy.
  10. It’s expensive to be vegan. Umm not really. It’s expensive if you go to the vegan section of your grocery store and buy the bulk of your food there. But if you branch out into different sections of the store, especially the ethnic sections, you can find beans, legumes, rice, pasta, tofu, and veggies. That’s why people in third world countries eat limited meat because meat is expensive. Vegan… not so much. If you have any more points, please leave them in the comment section!animal love

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.”

And the moving plans begin…

20190127_130325Yesterday I got the news I’ve been hoping for. My name is 100% for sure on the confirmation list for the new building and I’ll be moving sometime in August. They can’t specify any more than that because, as you can see, the building isn’t finished and I’m sure they’ve got tonnes more to do inside too.

Colin’s picked out the building he’d like to move to and will be putting an application in on Monday. We also sat down last night and worked on an application for Value Village. Next step is to make a resume.

The one thing we’re struggling with is the Go Fund Me. So far he only has two donations. Apparently I’m not good at this asking for money thing. I’m happy with the money he’s got but it won’t cover last month’s rent and he needs that. The apartment he’s looking at is $895/m and he needs it up front. I’m not expecting huge donations, a hundred $5 donations is $500, so anything can help. I’ll be linking his Go Fund Me me to every post from now on until he a) has enough money or b) is moving. I’ve been sharing his Go Fund Me more on Facebook but even there is going to increase. I hope people understand. This is so anxiety inducing for both Colin and I. We thought we had years before I got up to the top of the list and now we have months. I keep telling myself it’ll be worth it when it’s over but that’s hard to believe when my heart feels like it’s doing the mamba.

And, with no further ado, here’s the link…

Colin’s Go Fund Me

Three more weeks…

In three more weeks I’ll be sitting in a hotel hot tub with my family, laughing and joking while we wait for our morning flight. Our bags will be packed and whatever’s forgotten… well it’ll be too late to pack it now.

Today I went to Value Village with friends of mine to look for resort clothes. I didn’t have much luck. Most of the shorts were gym shorts, which are fine for the gym but hardly useful to wear to lunch. Thankfully I found a pair of shorts, two short skirts, and one sundress.

clothes for vacation

Lara kept trying to eat the sequins

So much is uncertain in my life right now. The people at CMHA keep alternating between talking about the apartment like it’s certain to be mine then telling me it’s tentative. Getting a subsidy here is tentative too. Blackie eats well usually then goes for a day without eating. The one certainty I’ve got right now is this trip.

I am so looking forward to getting away on this trip. Swimming in the ocean, lying on a beach chair, enjoying a simple but yummy meal. Singing karaoke with my sisters. It’s coming. Slowly but surely it’s coming.

And, speaking of karaoke, this is one of the songs I’m practising for the vacation. As you can tell, there’s one line that needs a bit more practise.

Turn around bright eyes…

I gently stroked my hands down Blackie’s back, paying close attention to the prominence of her spine and how her hips sunk in. And I thought to myself, “Oh no, not again.”

Last year my clue had been how awkwardly she curled up to rest. I hadn’t noticed the weight loss until then. Black fluffy fur hides a multitude of sins and she prefers head scratches, not over all pets. This year was different. I knew the vet couldn’t offer much other than an appetite enhancing injection and a can of food Blackie hates. Plus I was still feeding the cats wet food that she liked.

I immediately separated a portion of each can for Blackie, microwaving it for 15 seconds so she could smell it better, adding a tiny bit of water so she could lap up more, and serving it in a different room. At the beginning she needed to be coaxed to eat. I had to carry her bowl and her to my room, often after searching out her hiding place. Then I’d have to follow her around the room with the bowl until she finally got tired of running and started to eat. Every time she startled she’d bolt from the bowl and needed to be coaxed back. And she startled at the smallest things, a slight foot movement could send her running.

She’s still skinny but she’s moved up to eating half a can now and is hurrying to the room to be fed. She’s also eating her whole meal, something she wasn’t doing even a few days ago. I’m so glad she’s turned around. She’s 12 years old but she’s still feisty and I’d like her to be here for years to come!

20190103_102154

The cutest excuses for an unmade bed ever!