Best laid plans…

Anyone searching for Facebook Notes tips, they’re a few paragraphs down

tardis ornament bokehI woke this morning to a cat nibbling on my fingers. That’s not out of the ordinary, not with Lara in the apartment. She’s a lovely cat, just lacking a bit with social skills (with cats too). I wasn’t in a rush so I stayed in my cosy nightgown while I brushed my teeth and fed the cats and chatted with my Mom and made my breakfast. I’d just settled down at the computer when I decided to open my email and see if there was an update on my Amazon order. It wasn’t due until Tuesday but sometimes they come a bit early… like now when the package was two towns away… clicks refresh… and out for delivery.

This was 10am and I had plans to go shopping with a friend of mine in the late morning to early afternoon (we were kind of winging it). Obviously that needed to be delayed. But how long could it take? And so I waited… and waited… and waited… while my parcel information just sat there doing nothing.

At 3:30pm I’d long since changed my plans to shopping tomorrow instead and cancelled our afternoon walk. But I had three very ripe bananas in my fruit bowl and a good banana bread recipe in my Facebook notes. I got out one bowl and the loaf pan then decided to call up the recipe before going any further. Notes has gotten harder to find recently so I went to my profile page and down to my about section then started scrolling… and it wasn’t there. I checked again and again, still nothing. I searched all over my page on both my tablet and computer and it just. wasn’t. there. A Facebook search called up a group of people who like notes and some notes apps but not my specific notes. And I wanted those notes. My Nana’s buttercream frosting recipe was in there and she died in 2003 so it’s not like I can ask her to rewrite it. My favourite pancake recipe which the long forgotten site removed. My hot and sour soup recipe which was modified from a product recipe. They’re irreplaceable.

Finally I did a Google search and struck paydirt. After a few false starts I found this link which lets you click on “my notes”. I was overjoyed until I realized I could only read the first couple of lines; the “see more” link wasn’t working. There’s a save option but that really only worked two or three times. But if you click on “comment” it will open up the link so you can see the whole post.

My first attempt at saving was to directly copy and paste to OpenOffice. This led to a weirdly formatted document chock full of lines. So I opened WordPress and pasted in there, thus removing the formatting, then copied and pasted into Open Office. I had to add the correct formatting but at least it was legible.

It was over an hour later by the time I got all the recipes copied to my computer and I no longer wanted to bake anything. Actually I no longer wanted to even cook anything, which is why I had half an English muffin for dinner tonight. Mmm… dinner of champions!

And, while I was eating my dinner, I was messaging another friend and telling her that my package wasn’t here yet but they still had another hour left in their estimate. I flipped over to the parcel information just in time to see the page update to “delivered”. And there it was on my doormat, much too late for me to do anything today.

But tomorrow’s another day, the stores will still be there, the trail ready to be walked, the bananas waiting to be smushed. And maybe I’ll have helped someone retrieve their Facebook notes… helped save a memory. As for now, my tardis ornament is safely on the tree, I have a stack of scrapbooking pages waiting and new photo sleeves to place them in, and I’m all ready to relax.

Remembrance…

remembrance day poppyEvery once in a while, when the stars align in exactly the wrong way, a war occurs. Of course it’s not that simple, nothing ever is. But it happens. And farmer’s fields and peaceful valleys and streams where children splashed and swam and quiet hamlets get ploughed into mud, trenches, and barbed wire.

Often, by then it’s too late to do anything else. There are marginalized citizens, either by religion or race, being (as Colin says) genocided. Often they’re pleading for intervention and yet… the ones who call the war are never the ones in battle. They’re never the ones who lie crying for their Mom while their life bleeds away and their guts mix with the mud. They don’t have to worry if the skinny teenager standing on the road ahead is innocent or covered in bombs and ready to kill them all. The ones in charge sleep in a comfortable bed every night and dine on a hot, well cooked meal every evening. The war they unleashed is an abstract in a place far away from their lives.

I remember being taught about World War I and the cavalry division. Cavalry had always played a huge role in the British Army so the commanders naturally placed them front and centre in the battlefield. Front and centre against tanks and machine guns. The cavalry didn’t stand a chance. The commanders soon realized this as the death toll climbed but they continued following the same plans because it had always worked before (against other calvary). Of course it wasn’t them or their children dying, it was the calvary and the foot soldiers so they continued.

The most frustrating part is every war starts out with a need for all parties to sit down and negotiate a treaty. They refuse and convince thousands of their people to die, ostensibly for their freedom. Eventually those same parties all sit down and negotiate a treaty… the exact same one they needed to negotiate before all those deaths. When you get right down to it, every single war is a needless war. They all boil down to one or more parties simply refusing to negotiate or refusing to negotiate fairly.

I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who. The Doctor, the main character, was a soldier in a huge, fictional war called the Time War and he gave a speech that I think is eminently suitable. I’ll pare out the parts that are specifically related to the show:

Ah. Ah, right. And when this war is over, when you have a homeland, what do you think it’s going to be like? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you given it any consideration? Because you’re very close to getting what you want. What’s it going to be like? Well? Oh, you don’t actually know, do you? Because, like every other tantruming child in history, you don’t actually know what you want. So, let me ask you a question about this brave new world of yours. When you’ve killed all the bad guys, and when it’s all perfect and just and fair, when you have finally got it exactly the way you want it, what are you going to do with the people like you? The troublemakers. How are you going to protect your glorious revolution from the next one? Maybe you will win! But nobody wins for long. The wheel just keeps turning. So, come on. Break the cycle.

Because it’s not a game. This is a scale model of war. Every war ever fought, right there in front of you. Because it’s always the same. When you fire that first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die! You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn! How many hearts will be broken! How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill until everybody does until what they were always going to have to do from the very beginning. Sit down and talk!

Of course I understand. I mean, do you call this a war? This funny little thing? This is not a war! I fought in a bigger war than you will ever know. I did worse things than you could ever imagine. And when I close my eyes I hear more screams than anyone could ever be able to count! And do you know what you do with all that pain? Shall I tell you where you put it? You hold it tight till it burns your hand, and you say this. No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will have to feel this pain. Not on my watch!

No one else will ever have to live like this. No one else will have to feel this pain. Not on my watch! In other words “lest we forget”.

And so we were silent for two minutes yesterday in remembrance of World War I and II… and all the other wars. Silent so we wouldn’t forget. Silent because never again. And yet wars under a myriad of names are being waged all across this world. There are Muslims in concentration camps in China and children dying in camps in the United States. There’s an outright attack on the LGBTQ community happening through eastern Europe and Africa with Poland even declaring a third of the country LGBT free… as if every queer LGBTQ man, woman, and child is going to suddenly vanish. The Middle East is a hotbed of violence and, as always, everyone has their fingers poking in making it a hundred times worse.

We are all born the same way, birthed from a womb, whether it happens in a dirt floored hut or the private ward of a luxury hospital. We are all born innocent and ready to love and be loved. Everything else comes later. We’re born loving and taught to hate. If only there was a way we could teach all the children around the world to treat each other kindly, to accept each other’s differences, to listen and try to understand instead of resolving conflicts with fists, to hug consensually. It would make such a huge difference. Imagine those children as adults, having grown up learning fairness, kindness, and equity. Maybe someday it will happen but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

Dreaming of spring…

I had a relatively quiet day today. A trip to the gynecologist, a walk home netting me my 10 thousand steps, a long chat with my daughter, plus we voted in the municipal election this evening. Now it’s time to relax with a mug of hot chocolate and let my mind drift. And, as usual lately, it drifted towards our trip this spring.

The resort we’re staying at has a variety of excursions and activities. I’ve fallen in love with one excursion. This is how they describe it:

Discover the Damajagua Falls carved out by Mother Nature deep in the heart of the Northern Mountain Range, Cordillera Septentrional. We’ll spend more than two hours exploring the 27 natural pools and fascinating waterfalls carved into limestone by the crystal mountain waters, sliding down natural slides, and simply enjoying the beautiful landscapes. After a delicious, local buffet style lunch we’ll visit a traditional market to explore before our adventure comes to an end.

They had me at waterfalls and waterslides! That sounds absolutely incredible. I can hardly believe I’m going. It’s my Mom’s favourite excursion too. It’s going to be one week of bliss with the excursion, swimming in the ocean, relaxing by the pool, watching all the little lizards, singing at the karaoke bar, and enjoying the food.

One thing I talked about with my gynecologist was how to avoid my period while I’m on the trip. She agreed with me that tampons would not work but sadly that meant the diva cup wouldn’t work as well. And she was really hesitant about prescribing birth control pills considering how much medication I’m already on. So that left the IUD, which could potentially stop my periods for five years. I’m okay with that.

And now it’s time to put aside the trip and join Colin in watching the latest episode of Doctor Who. I’m low key in love with the 13th Doctor. I think she’s doing an amazing job.

Screenshot (54)

One of the waterfalls I’ll be visiting on the excursion

The hues of September…

Yesterday was steaming hot, the sort of day where you feel like you walked face first into an athlete’s sweaty gym sock, a huge, all encompassing one. I eyed the outdoor pool wistfully, its quietness a reminder that it’s been closed for another year.

boat at the Peterborough lift locks crop

A boat at the Peterborough lift locks

Today is a different day entirely. Today brings to mind brilliant fall leaves, the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg, crisp autumn apples, and crisp new schedules. While I happily celebrate New Year’s Eve at the end of December, September seems to me like another New Year. I’m sure all sorts of Jewish people agree with me on this 🙂

Colin’s home sick today with a nasty cold but he was back at school yesterday, getting his schedule and starting his math class. Something he’s quite excited about. And Kait will soon be entering the wonderful world of trying to get a baby on some sort of schedule. Meanwhile the baby’s belly will be calling the shots. It’s amazing how insistent something the size of a shooter marble can be.

All my programs start again next week. Yoga on Monday evening, Social Recreation on Tuesday afternoon, and Wellness on Thursday. There’ll be some anxiety while I get back into the routine. There’s some anxiety right now even thinking of it. But I know I’ll get used to it soon and I’m already looking forward to the walks to and/or from groups.

Last year Colin signed me up for a site which offers Google Play credits in exchange for completing surveys. The one thing he didn’t take into consideration is how rarely I actually play games. So the credits have been accumulating since then, reaching a grand total of $44. That was when I discovered the Play store has the newest Doctor Who series. So I bought it and splurged and got the high definition version. Now I’ve got something else to stick in my schedule. I can’t wait to find out how the new doctor’s going to manage falling to a planet from an exploding Tardis.

Spoilers dear

I can’t wait for apple pie and new activities and family time and Thanksgiving and fresh new baby snuggles and apple picking and homemade vegan butter tarts.

Welcome autumn. I didn’t think I had but I missed you.

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.

Transgender Day of Visibility

trans day of visibility

I made this for Jeremy today while zie went out to Rona to look for “stuff” in general and “needed things” in particular. I’m reasonably sure zie was simply looking for anything to spend money on but zie came home happy with two new plants (both lilies and both well out of the way of our cats) and two wall adaptors that allow zir to plug light bulbs directly into an outlet. I had no idea these were necessities but apparently they are.

Jeremy came home and informed me that zie’s been thinking a lot about zir gender lately and zie’s decided gender is not very important to zir personally.

“I don’t mind when people call me he or him and I’m fine with people calling me she or saying I’m a girl,” Jeremy mused as zie gently pet one of our cats.

“What do you think about me using zie and zir for pronouns?” I asked then watched as zir mouth widened into a huge smile.

“I like those pronouns,” Jeremy said firmly.

Of course it isn’t as simple as that. It bothers zir intensely when people assume zie’s male and persistently refer to zir as he/him. Jeremy’s still furious with zir teachers for constantly referring to zir as a boy and snapped a few days ago when zir father referred to zir as son.

Jeremy’s not male, zie’s pangender so is all genders. And zie is so much more than that. Zie’s a gamer… a computer geek… a Whovian… a cat person… an RC car enthusiast… and someone with a passion for chocolate, flowers, and purple.

Zie’s too fabulous to be invisible!

The shopping blues…

“Mom, I can’t find a clean shirt to wear,” Jeremy said ten minutes before we needed to leave for the bus.

I got rid of all my larger shirts a month ago but that didn’t stop me from frantically pawing through my shirt drawer and closet just in case I missed something, anything. I hadn’t.

Jeremy liked my black velour holiday shirt with glitter across the front but it was too small. It was also a little over dressed for Wal-Mart but if pjs are appropriate than fancy attire should be too. Jeremy finally declared my very last t-shirt to be “okay”. Zie also took my sweater, one I’d long outgrown but loved too much to give away.

Jeremy expressing zir

Jeremy expressing zir “inner cat lady”.

Both Jeremy and I approach clothes shopping with a sense of despair coupled by a frantic desire to flee, which is why we both need new shirts badly. It’s not that either of us hate clothes particularly, we simply hate what’s out there. Why on earth would a t-shirt need pleats on the back? Or a stripe of completely different fabric along the bottom (but just on the front)? Or an entire front panel that’s a different material? Rips up the side? Ties *and* rips up the side? See through material? Jeremy abandoned me halfway through the shirt section with a promise zie’d meet me at the dressing room if I found anything. Zir “if” sounded dubious. I didn’t blame zir.

I eventually found four shirts for me to try and three shirts for Jeremy before calling zir out of the electronic department. Zie dismissed all three as being too tight and too weird; I had similar complaints. Zie finished first and raced back to the electronic department, asking me to meet zir there.

The sales associate looked up from Jeremy’s pile of shirts as I walked over with mine. She leaned close, obviously concerned.

“Did you know all these shirts are from the ladies department?” she whispered.

I leaned close as well. “Yes, I know,” I whispered back. Then I walked away and collected Jeremy for grocery shopping.

I tried not to glare at the old man blatantly staring at Jeremy when I found zir by the cellphones, although, to be honest, he was so focused on Jeremy I don’t think he’d have noticed if I even stuck my tongue out at him.

I vented to Jeremy about shirts on our way home.

“All I want is a plain, simple t-shirt with maybe a picture or a saying on it. Preferably Doctor Who. That’s it!” I exclaimed. Jeremy nodded.

“All I want is a shirt that’s not too tight and pants that have pockets. Oh and both have to be purple.”

After our last round of shopping I’m thinking we might as well ask for the moon.

Jeremy’s birthday extravaganza ~ part two

I promised Jeremy two things this birthday; a ride on one of the quad bikes at Centre Island and a rainbow Doctor Who cake. The first got fulfilled on zir birthday… then I had to complete the second.

I cheated when it came to the cake and bought a plain white cake mix which I made with a can of 7-Up (okay, Dollarama’s knock off “billion bubbles” version). Then I got out six bowls and a box of neon food colouring and got busy.

baking cake2

I’ve seen recipes with six layer cakes but I have two pans and not nearly enough patience. Instead I made each layer three colours, giving the cake an almost tie-dyed effect.

rainbow cake

I’ve baked a lot of cakes over the years and most of them I’ve summed up as “good enough”. This one ended up better than I expected…

Doctor Who cake2

Purple, sparkly, and Doctor Who!!! Also, there’s some heavy duty editing here as my camera is quite insistent that purple simply does not exist.

The purple glitter and silver stars represent space while the glittery circle is the time vortex. My reaction was “OMG… I did it! I actually did it!” while Jeremy was quite blase. Zie figured I’d pull off an absolutely magical cake no problem… despite all my previous attempts.

We had zir family birthday dinner at my parents’ house and Jeremy had an amazing time. One cousin made zir a mansion on Minecraft and then they all settled down to play SuperMario on the Wii-U until dinner.

Of course Jeremy’s favourite part of the day was the present opening and my parents’ gifts were a huge hit. Zie really wanted a remote control car, one that was strong enough to take camping and on our walks. My parents bought zir a huge orange behemoth of a truck, complete with horns and rubberized tires. Plus they got zir a red telephone booth shelving unit with windows and a door. Karen bought zir a gift card for video games which was also greatly appreciated.

I’ve tried to keep my most recent disappointment as far away from Jeremy as I can. Emma has borderline personality disorder which is a hard illness to live with from every angle (hers and ours). The two of them had a fight last week which involved Jeremy pushing Emma out of zir room. She says zie pushed her… Jeremy says zie tripped. I figure zie tripped and ended up pushing her harder than zie planned (which is less hard than she claimed). As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. This all would have blown over except Emma went on to tell her paternal grandmother about the argument and went on to claim zie’d been assaulting her every single day and I knew all about it. At the time, she was probably in enough emotional pain that it felt like the truth.

Their grandmother completely and utterly sided with Emma, which means assuming her other grandchild is an abusive bully. And Jeremy heard nothing from her all week; not even a Facebook birthday wish. If she truly thinks Jeremy’s been beating up zir sister every day, she obviously doesn’t know zir.

After dinner was eaten, the gifts all examined, and the cake demolished; Jeremy and zir cousins went inside to play Watch_Dogs. Soon it was time to go home. Jeremy begged to stay just a little longer as zie’d promised to show zir youngest cousin something really cool. Except zir character kept getting in massive accidents.

“My character’s immortal,” Jeremy laughed. “He lives through everything!”

“Maybe he’s Captain Jack Harkness,” I suggested and Jeremy shrugged.

“No, he’s not gay.”

I was about to point out Captain Jack wasn’t either when Jeremy looked speculative.

“Or maybe he is,” Jeremy mused and zir face brightened. “I don’t think there’s any storyline involving his sex life. He very well could be gay. That would be amazing!”

We got home and I sent the cards up on our kitchen table.

“Nobody got me specifically boy cards this year,” Jeremy said happily then zie looked more closely at the card from zir grandparents.

“They made sure to pick out gifts they knew you’d like,” I pointed out and Jeremy nodded.

“Aunt Karen didn’t pick out a boy card though. She got one that could be for a girl.”

And zie smiled the sweetest smile before heading off to zir room.

birthday cards

A new year… a fresh start…

Jeremy and I had a great New Year’s Eve. Karen came over with her boys and we had a vegan fondue and homemade pizza. I got the recipe for the fondue from the Vegetarian Times…

Blonde Bliss vegan fondue

Blonde Bliss vegan fondue

This recipe made tonnes of fondue dip, which would be helpful at a huge party but was overkill for the five of us. I see it being transformed into soup in the near future.

Karen made a chocolate fondue for the kids, which was a success for two of them. Jeremy, in particular, pretty much cleaned it up but zie’s always been a chocoholic (zie comes by it naturally).

chocolate fondue

You can see Jeremy’s favourite cup in the corner. It’s a mason jar on a wine stem and Jeremy thinks it’s the fanciest cup ever.

And then Jeremy and I played Doctor Who Yahtzee. Jeremy quickly decided zie’d gain an advantage if zie surrounded zirself with Doctor Who paraphernalia. Every roll of the dice was accompanied by the TARDIS noise and zir handful of Doctor Who characters joined us.

Jeremy's Doctor Who conga line

The 9th Doctor looks surprisingly relaxed

I love the New Year. For all it’s an arbitrary date, I love the chance at a fresh start, a time to try and make things better. It’s a chance to reflect over the previous year and ponder the future. And I do resolutions.

1) Exercise at least three times a week and eat healthy – in some ways I’d love to look amazing this summer but my main reason is for health. I’m watching as more and more of my friends suffer from type two diabetes, high cholesterol, back problems, knee problems, breathing problems, etc. I’m really the only parent my kids have and they need me. I want to be healthy and here for them.

2) Spend more time with my kids – this one is tricky for an introvert who works in the public. Often by the time I get home, I’m totally peopled out and need time to recharge. But it doesn’t take long to play a game of Doctor Who Yahtzee and it would do both Jeremy and I some good to go for a walk, even if zir purple car tags along. Emma’s coming over this afternoon so I can start this resolution pretty much right away. And, even though Jeremy’s not exactly awake, I started off zir day with a good morning hug.

3) Watching my finances – I’m spending too much time dipping into overdraft and we’ve been eating out a bit too much too. I need to plan more “fancy” meals at home. There are things I’d like to do with Jeremy this summer which I won’t be able to do if our money’s frittered away on take out food.

4) Reach out more – I waited too long to extend an open offer to anyone who wanted to have Christmas dinner at our house. I need to try harder to reach a hand out to others. I put it off because I’m already stretched pretty thin, forgetting that when I’m reaching out to someone, they’re reaching out to me too. It’s a help for everyone including me.

5) Organize my life better – I won’t be stretched nearly as thin if I’m not going three directions at once. Life’s too busy to spend running around in circles.

I hope 2015 is a fabulous year for all of us. *throws confetti in the air*

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