Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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Preschool Pain in the A$$

October 3, 2015

The following is just a rant. 

I love my kids very much, but damn, sometimes you just want to lock them up and throw away the key. In my case, it's from about age 2 1/2 to 5. The foot-stomping, screaming, gimmie-gimmie, temper tantrum stage for both my kids is not fun. It's a frustrating combination of "I can do it myself!" and "I can't do it! HELP ME!" often within seconds of each other. It's sleeping through the night 90% of the time, but on the nights when it's not (and for Kat that's right around the full moon for some reason) it's shrieking fits until she's settled again. It's everything being Just So or it's time for a melt down. It's picking on her brother, being a tattle tail, fighting in the backseat over toys, fighting over the window being up or down or part way, food, dessert, EVERYTHING. It's exhausting for everyone, but especially her I think.

Some nights she'll say to us "I'm ready for bed now" and find her blankie and her bunny, pick out pajamas and patiently wait for us to come read a story. This stage of the game, not bedtime but preschooler time, is also the most affectionate. She says "I love you so much!" all the time and gives great hugs and kisses. Buy milk? "Oh thank you! I love you!" Pick out the perfect story? Same thing. Kat will crawl into bed with me in the morning and bring me a toy to snuggle or so I'm not lonely if she leaves. She's SO HAPPY to see us after a long day of daycare it's impossible not to melt inside when her eyes light up and she runs into my arms.

I have to go now; she's pulling all my pads and tampons out from under the sink in the bathroom, asking me if it's my moon time.

They Went A Walking

September 17, 2015

Now that school is back in life is much more hectic. Often we're not getting in the door until 6pm or later and bedtime for Kat is 7:30ish. It's go go go all day, fight traffic or take a 40 minute bus ride, make dinner, do school stuff, bedtime stuff, and then the kids are asleep. It doesn't leave a lot of down time for anyone and the kids are feeling it.

Yesterday I let the two of them walk up the block to the park. Kat has her trike and wanted to take a little ride and Gabe promised to stay with her and I needed to make dinner so I said "Fuck it." and let them play outside the building without me. I can keep an eye on half the sides of the apartment from where I am so when it got quiet I suspected right away they had wandered off. Pro-parenting tip; quiet kids are kids getting into trouble. Sure enough they were at the park; Gabe was happily pushing an even happier Katherine in the baby swing so I let them stay. I didn't love it, I was nervous, but I had to remind myself; what's the worst that could actually happen? Other neighbourhood kids were there, it's surrounded by homes full of people making and eating dinner or mowing their lawns and working in the flower beds. They're safe and they're having fun, so I made dinner.

Gabe wandered back a few minutes later to tell me Katherine was stuck in the swing and he couldn't lift her out, but other than that mini-rescue all was well. They had a blast and I went and picked them up in about a half an hour. Noone was kidnapped, murdered, injured, abused or hit by a car. Huzzah! We had a Chat about not going places without telling a grownup first but they were proud to have done this thing without me and I didn't want to rain on their parade. Gabe is 9 in a couple of weeks and Kat turned 3 last month. They might as well play together as much as they can, and Gabe can learn some responsibility when my hands are full. People in other countries let their kids do so much more a lot younger, and knowing the facts about things like kidnappings vs car accidents helps me be confident in my decision.

Now it's off to work!



FanExpo Canada 2015 THE BLOG

September 11, 2015

Well holy Hera, we're back! Our vacation that we've been planning and dreaming about for the last year is over. We decided to do the geekiest thing possible and save our cash, book at hotel in Chinatown in downtown Toronto, and spend four solid days at FanExpo Canada with probably close to 100,000 other geeks.  


It was everything I hoped a con could be; welcoming, easy to navigate, full of great people and wonderous treasures, and icons in the geek industry (though three of our BIGGEST weren't there; Nathan Fillion, Sir Patrick Stewart, and Stan Lee). 

First things first we had to arrange for nearly a week of childcare so an ENORMOUS shout out to Bree, my parents, and my sister Wendy for taking excellent care of our two munchkins while we were gone. It means the world to us that you could give us this time together, our first vacation in 6 years!  

Wednesday the 2nd we dropped Kat off at school and Gabe off at Grandma's house (that's my mom) and hit the road. It was a bit of a rocky start as Kat had a meltdown in the car and I was *not* at my best in that moment as I was anxious about the trip, but I made sure before saying goodbye (and crying all over the place; I am so my mom!) that I said I was sorry for yelling at her and that I loved her. So that was both good and bad. After that it was an 8 hour drive with over 900 songs on the iPod where nothing eventful at all happened. I'm serious, it was just a great drive with my favourite person in the world. We sang, we laughed, we ate delicious snacks and then we missed a turn off to the hotel in downtown Toronto and added a half hour to our drive, THEN we missed the parking garage for the Super 8 and added another quarter hour or so swinging back around in 5 o'clock traffic. But we made it! We checked in, ordered pizza and slept the sleep of the sleepy with lots to do the next day. 

Thursday Sept 3: We'd decided the night before to do some touristy stuff before the con opened up at 2pm so after a quick breakfast we decided to walk to the Royal Ontario Museum. It was a hot, muggy day but we made it, passing through Chinatown, around the Ontario Legislature and then finally at the ROM. I'm so glad we decided to do that! It's a beautiful old building and it's absolutely FULL of neat things from around the world; prehistoric Chinese tiles, Greek statues, dinosaur bones, crystals and gems; you name it, it's probably in there. After that we walked all the way back to the hotel for a quick shower and pick up our official FanExpo wristbands (yay for getting them mailed and avoiding lines!) and then it was down to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  Displaying DSC_0250.JPG

It's about the size of a city block and the con was divided between the North and South buildings. We were able to just walk right in after flashing our silver bands and take in some sights. The vendors were up in the North where we entered and so was where the stars were going to be signing autographs. A few were already there, so I took a sec to say hi and chat with Robert Picardo, who played The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager. Good times! His voice is a bit higher in person. We got a feel for the place, walking from North to South to find a very nice couple Ryan knows from his time in Southern Ontario two years ago, then went for dinner with my friend Mel.

Mel is an internet-only friend I've known for years; we met on Twitter, became Facebook friends (so she knows the real me, has seen pics of my kids, etc) but of course I'm never in Toronto so we've never met. We had a great time at a pub on Front St; she's a lovely person with a great laugh and I hope we meet up again someday; maybe at next year's con! After stuffing ourselves silly Ryan and I walked back to the hotel and slept. Well, maybe not right away...

Friday Sept 4: Another semi bright and early morning where we went to the con at open, but this time we took the trolley! And by that I mean the electric streetcar. Super fun, very quiet, not a lot of seating. It was much faster to get down to the con but we got right in again when we wanted too.  We browsed around some more then I waited in line with Ryan to meet one of his favourite voice actors, Vic Mignogna, who plays (among many others) Edward Elric of FullMetal Alchemist. We went our separate ways after that, Ryan to learn about running a successful Kickstarter and me to watch a special airing of the show Mr. Robot and listen to the delightful Christian Slater speak. He really loved our room and said it was like Shangri La but his handlers made him leave on time. I snapped a few pics though-this one is my fave: 

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Mr. Robot isn't a show I'd normally watch but it was worth sitting through to listen to Mr. Slater. After that I ran over to where Ryan was going to another panel, this time on publishing your own tabletop role play game, then we went back to the hotel to get away from the crowds and relax a bit before preparing for the big FanExpo party at the Brassaii Lounge on King St.

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Super swanky party was super swanky. We had a delicious meal, hung out on the patio and drank delicious drinks, then went inside and danced a bit with some VERY enthusiastic geeks while the InnerSpace hosts and a couple of stars from DarkMatter mingled. Anthony Lemke even took a few minutes to randomly talk with us and has even been to my hometown! We decided that was a wrap and went back to the hotel.

Saturday Sept 5th: We got to the con as early as we could, having heard multiple horror stories from people about how busy it would be, and they weren't kidding. I literally RAN across the floor as soon as the doors were open and crowd would let me so I could get in line meet Ming-Na Wen aka The Cavalry from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Two and a half hours later she appeared and made US feel like rock stars by waving and shouting hello, then took a couple of pics of the crowd on her phone! Her treatment of her fans was much different than that of Tom Felton, Rupert Grint, Jenna Coleman or The Phelps Twins when they came out; a smile and a wave then sit down and get to work signing. Ming-Na was lovely to talk with, very warm and welcoming. We chatted for a minute while she signed my massive S.H.I.E.L.D mug and I pointed out to her how different her treatment was of her fans from the other stars who'd come out earlier. She thanked me and agreed that she was as big of a fan of us as we were of her. I may have left her table clutching my mug and grinning like an idiot, internally squeeeeeing.


BUT! The awesome of the day wasn't over yet! At the panel where I found Ryan we met Ed Greenwood, legend and superstar of the tabletop RPG world! He created the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting back when Dungeons and Dragons was still a baby, has written countless modules and many books, and gave us some fantastic advice on how to get published. I posted a pic of him on my personal Facebook page and a friend commented he's looking more like Elminster every day. He's got a good sense of humour but you can tell there's steel under that fluffy beard.

The rest of Saturday is a bit of a blur of artist's alley, shopping for friends and then driving to London to pick up a friend for revelry on Sunday at the con.

Sunday Sept 6: After a loooong night driving to and from London to get our friend Will, we got up even earlier the next morning to get in line so I could meet Hayley Atwell, start of the tv show Agent Carter. I wasn't quite as quick but the time and line passed quickly while I chatted with a cosplaying family (mom was Black Widow, kids were Poison Ivy, Cable and The Scarecrow), a couple of scientists and a pair of moms. Just before she came out we were told there were no pics allowed from the line but I had a very tall and very nice man snap one for me anyway, and then she signed my mug as well. Not as warm and welcoming as Ming-Na, that's for sure, and her handlers were rude. 

By the time I finally got my autograph it was time to head down to a special hour long panel with the aforementioned Vic Mignogna that was at times hilarious, touching and thought provoking. He had some very needed things to say about bullying inside geek communities that touched a lot of people; geeks are almost by definition outsiders and when you get push-back from people inside the community, for making not-perfect art or not-perfect cosplay or liking the 'wrong' things or liking something the 'wrong' way, that's the opposite of what we should be doing as a community. We need to be a force for light and good and hope, lifting each other up every way we can. We know what it's like to be on the outside, to be pushed around and laughed at. We definitely don't need that INSIDE the community. And yes, for the record, Edward Elric is his fave character ever to do voice acting for. 

That's it! We left the con shortly after and spent the evening with Will at Medieval Times (which I HIGHLY recommend if you're on vacation in Toronto and looking for something amazing to do; use code MINI when booking for 40% off your tickets!) then spent all day Monday driving home.We had a wonderful time all the way around, and as long as there's a couple of BIG stars for us to go see next year, we'll be back.

Rebirth Through Compassion

August 22, 2015

I'm fond of the saying "Kindness costs me nothing." Kindness, compassion, empathy; these aren't new concepts to me but they're things I'm trying so much harder to implement on a daily basis. For a long time I was an angry person, growing bitter from the experiences of my life and stewing in my own juices thanks to a lack of options. Earlier this year I realized I could continue to grow hard and bitter - become a rock instead of just having a rocky exterior, or I could be clay and adapt to my life. As I wrote lately, we've harvested the fruit of that decision already, having moved into our new apartment. We've been here almost 2 full weeks now.

This is Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion. She's sometimes called a Buddha but that's not technically true as she denied herself complete enlightenment in order to stay on earth and answer everything's pleas for mercy or help. While setting up a home altar for the first time in two years I pulled her card as the goddess I needed to listen too the most, who would call me to Serve if she saw fit. Ok then! The first thing I know I need to do is forgive myself for the bad choices that have led us to where we are; not going to Kitchener was a big mistake, and staying in the Soo the following year was too. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but I should never let comfort or fear make my decisions for me. I've done that far too much in the past and if I continue to do so I wont have anything to look back on but regrets.


First Harvest - Lughnassad

August 2, 2015

After two years of living here at my inlaws we finally shifted most of our things from the storage unit to our new apartment. It's been a long journey; four years ago we left the Soo and moved to Nanaimo, and a year and a half after that, to Victoria, then back to the Soo, with our things still in BC for a year, then in storage for another one. Last year we thought we were moving into our own place and it was kiboshed at the last possible second by the people we were working for. So we spent another six months spinning our wheels unsure where to go or what to do.

I'm ready for a new normal, for a new routine and the way sunlight plays on the walls. I'm ready for coffee freshly ground made in my wee one cup coffee maker. I'm ready for a queen sized bed and my own room, for friends over for games or a movie. I'm sure my inlaws are ready for quiet evenings and having their entire house back! It hasn't always been easy sharing this space but we did it and everyone's still alive, so that's something. *wink*

It's harvest time, time to taste the first fruits of the past year's labour; we started saving up for the apartment and pay off our debt during the cold winter months and now we have a place of our own. It's such a dream come true. We owe such a debt of thanks to our parents for giving us the space and time to get our feet under us, I can't even properly express it. It's harvest time! It's harvest time! IT'S HARVEST TIME!



Becoming - Mother's Day

May 10, 2015

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, a day rooted in peace activism, but commercialized beyond recognition. Gabe was upset he didn't win me a cake at school on Friday and I told him that was fine, if he never bought me a single thing for Mother's Day, only remembered to come by or phone and say hi, I'd be ok with that. He was relieved. At not even nine years old he's already feeling the pressure of capitalism which pisses me off as you can imagine.

I used to want a lot of recognition on Mother's Day. Motherhood hasn't come easily to me; for a long time I didn't even know if I wanted kids (Gabe was a happy-ish accident) while Ryan knew forever he wanted to be a dad. Gabe and I's relationship got off on the wrong foot, to put it lightly. Flowers and a nice card, a quiet day, a pat on the back, some recognition for all the work I've done, and do, as Mom, isn't unwelcome, it's just not necessary any more. As a parent I'm doing a good job; my kids are happy, well adjusted and for the most part, polite. They know they are loved not just by their parents, but by their grandparents and aunts and uncles as well. Every day isn't ice cream and sprinkles but I keep trying to put into practise all of the things I've learned over the years on how to be the best mom I can, building on the foundation my mom laid for me, Leslie's shored up, and countless internet moms and science have expanded.

From my mom I learned to always tuck your kids in at night no matter how old they are, to take the time to check in and listen, to give them space to talk or just be with you. Leave the light on at night to guide them home. She is a model for knowing how to pick your battles, though there are a few I wish she'd fought a little harder. From her I get my no-nonsense attitude in a crisis and first aid skills, such as they are, and 'keep your head down and mouth shut' tendancies (which I tend to ignore when I probably shouldn't). My mom shows she cares by feeding us, tidying and taking care of my kids, and slipping me money my dad doesn't know about for little things I want or need. She may not always understand me but she's always supported me in the ways she can. It's not her way to make things easy for me or do for me things her mother never did. Both my parents have raised me with a very 'take care of yourself' focus and I think it's served me well in a lot of ways, and hindered me in others. I hope to temper this with my own kids.

Leslie has added her incredible generosity to the mix, showing me over and over there is nothing a parent wouldn't do for their kid. Seriously, the amount she has helped us out over the years would be embarassing to post. Throw in a sometimes overwhelming fierceness in protecting her famlily and you realize that woman is a tiger. Don't mess with her cubs.

Thanks to the internet I've been allowed to follow the journey of a few special moms and dads in intimate detail, from the woman at The Progressive Parent who lost her little boy Patrick to SUDC, to the hilarious dudes who run How to Be A Dad.com and their growing families. Evolutionary Parenting and The Feminist Breeder keep posting up the articles I need to practise patience, compassion and patience some more with myself and my kids, rooting their pieces in the latest science around child development. It helps me to know that my kid's brains are still building themselves, to remind myself that they're not just little adults in smaller bodies who just need instruction on how to be proper grownups.

I'm working this Mother's Day so here's to all the moms out there who are putting in the time, effort, blood, sweat and tears to do it as well as they can with what they have. For those of you who may be having a hard time with Mother's Day, being estranged from your mom or mourning her passing, I hope you get a chance to practise self-care today. Be kind to you.

Another Murder-Suicide

April 26, 2015

I was unsurprised earlier this week to read a headline at the Huffington Post Canada site that a man in Saskatchewan had murdered his girlfriend LaTasha Gosling and three of four of their kids. Completely and utterly unsurprised. Violence against women and children is an epidemic on my planet so these headlines no longer surprise me. I barely even get angry any more when I see the faces of the victims in the news. I mean, it's not like women aren't raped or murdered by their partners or someone known to them, in every country, at every socioeconomic level, every day. Every day. It's just another day for us; it's getting too easy to read the headlines and say "I'm just glad it wasn't me".

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Before any of the details of the relationship between the victims and their murderer was released I called it; "Let me guess", I said in HuffPo comment on the original story, "they recently broke up, and in a rage of 'If I can't have you, noone can!' idiocy, the coward in question murdered his girlfriend and her three children from the previous marriage, then killed himself." I did call it. It was later revealed by a friend of LaTasha's that indeed, she and the murderer had broken up a few days earlier, at LaTasha's insistence. He not only killed her and her kids, but took photos of their bodies and sent them via text to the cell of LaTasha's ex and the children's father. This didnt' surprise me either, honestly. It's sick and twisted but it's also perfectly in tune with a guy who would murder four people, three of them under the age of ten, because of a break up.What a selfish, entitled asshole.

The only surprise in this whole thing was for me that he spared the baby, a six month old girl, and drove her 130km away from the scene to leave her with someone else before he killed himself in that person's home. I guess blood IS thicker than water. That wee child is an orphan now, but thankfully too young to remember any of the carnage.

To be honest I'm not even sure why I wanted to write about this. Maybe I just wanted to point out that even in Canada, a country with such a good reputation, shit like this still happens. It happens a lot more if you're a First Nations woman, or poor, or a person of colour. I think also I don't want that family to be forgotten. It's only been three days since the story broke but it took me nearly five minutes of searching the CBC website to find an article to refresh my memory. The ache of loss, the horror of it, will resonate within LaTasha's family and friends for the rest of their life.

Things like this shouldn't be so common place that I can scroll past them without bothering to read it, knowing already what's inside; the same dark tale told a hundred thousand times and always written in blood.

LaTasha Gosling, 27.

Her children include two girls, Janyaa, 4, and Jenika, 8, and a boy, Landen, 7.

May they rest in peace, and may their killer recieve the punishment he deserves in the Afterlife, whatever that may be.


April 20, 2015

It's been nine months since we decided to try and make a go of it in the Soo, to work with Skyline at their apartments, build friendships, strengthen family ties and soak up the North instead of going back to Vancouver Island. Skyline dumped us a month before Christmas and we spent the winter at my inlaw's again, dreaming of spring. Some friendships have faded, some have grown, and family is more family than ever. The last year and a half has been a bitter pill but it's also taught me so much about compassion and empathy, communication, gratitude, and grace. Trying to handle this ongoing situation with grace hasn't always been easy, or even possible, but I'm learning. The nine months leading up to creating a new person isn't easy, but it shouldn't be. Stripping away the layers of accumulated damage and debris is work. Delving deep into who I am and who I want to be, and becoming that person, is work. Grace carries me.

Grace keeps me from resenting my situation and allows instead for being thankful for what I do have.

Grace keeps a (mostly) civil tongue in my head during frustrating situations, or helps me to say nothing at all.

Grace asks "Is it kind? Is it true? Is it needed?" before speaking. Or at least it tries. I'm no angel.

Grace reminds me to say 'thank you' as often as possible to those who deserve to hear it, and they are legion. So many people are helping us get our feet back under us, helping with the kids, but especial thanks go as always to my inlaws. We might get under each other's skin now and then but at the end of the day I know they've got my back.

Grace lets me pour my heart out to those who need to hear it when I need to say it and creates true understanding and connection with no room for misunderstanding.

I don't have the spoons for a lot these days, but with a tentative plan in place for finally for real moving out on our own for this fall, I dare to dream of things again.


Lipstick and Lies

October 11, 2014

Have you ever had a reaction to something someone did or said that was so strong it surprised you? Not a trigger, that's not what I'm talking about, but a gut reaction of NOPE that blindsided you? That happened to me Friday morning while trying to get the four of us out the door to our various destinations. Kat was playing with her crayons, picked one up, rubbed it across her lips and said "Look mom! Wipstick! I beautiful." Wait, what? In that moment between thinking and speaking there was room for a lot because the human brain is a marvelous computer. I know my jaw dropped, then clenched. Thinking back on it now I get tense across the shoulders and my hands want to make fists. What am I angry at?  Whoever it was who said "Here, try this!" instead of "Not for babies" when she was showing interest in make-up. Y'know, 'cause she's TWO.

I didn't waste my breath with "Oh Katherine, you're far too young to begin buying into the beauty myths and garbage societal expecations for your gender! You have been and will always be beautiful without any help at all from any make-up! It's just a collection of toxic colours that will poison your body and weaken your confidence. You don't need it. Noone needs it. "

What I said was "Kat, you are beautiful without lipstick. It's not for babies." She tried again, making a kissing sound this time, and I said no, it wasn't for her, and why didn't she draw with the crayon instead? Distracted, I won for a time. For now. A few minutes or maybe months more of breathing room in the ongoing battle to keep my daughter from becoming...something.

I wasn't expecting to have to worry about this so soon. I wasn't expecting people close to me to tell me to calm down and that I was being ridiculous for being upset about it. I'm sorry (I'm not) but she's my daughter, and she's TWO, and I feel that I'd be doing her a disservice if I blindly allowed her to just fall into current gender roles and expectations. Make-up's purpose is to a) make money for companies off of women's (commercially created) low self-confidence/esteem and b) uphold the dangerous notion that women are sexually available at all times. We can tell ourselves all we want that 'I do it for me, because *I* like it" or "It's just a part of my daily routine" or whatever, but unless you've actually taken the time to sit yourself down and analyze why exactly you wear the stuff, and for who and be honest with yourself, I'm going to say no, it's very likely you're not wearing it for  yourself, you're wearing it for the people around you; your boss and/or coworkers because it's expected of you in order to be seen as professional, for your partner because you want to look 'nice' for them, like you 'tried', and just because hey, women wear make-up, even for something as simple as a trip to the store for a loaf of bread. Our bodies are seen as public property, to be commented on and critiqued by complete strangers, on a daily basis. Women have a very fine line to walk between wearing enough make-up, and not enough, and for heaven's sake it had better look natural, like we didn't even try, or the illusion is ruined.

Katherine is two. She is, IMO, far too young to be thinking about playing around with make-up of any kind. Ryan agrees with me and will be helping me to discourage her from this particular imaginary play for a while. We understand that it's likely inevitable and that prohibiting it will only make it seem even more desirable, so an outright ban isn't feasible. We are hoping that friends and family will help us out and also not play along, and continue to compliment and encourage both our kids on things that have nothing to do with their physical appearance. If Kat grows up to be the most feminine of women, that's fine by me as long it's a conscious choice and not how she feels she *has* to be. The same goes for Gabe; there's more to being a man than big muscles. To quote another mommy-blogger, "I really have no desire to add to the messages she will be inundated with her entire female life, that makeup makes you look better, prettier, sexier, and that is what women do."



Two? Two?! TWO!?

August 21, 2014

Two years ago today Katherine was born via cesearan in a BC hospital. Her delivery was fraught, my recovery slow, but other than that little bump at the beginning the last two years have been AMAZING. She is the sunniest toddler in the 'verse (and I can say that 'cause I'm her mom and it's her birthday!) and I truly never ever thought I could love like this. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity. Sure, it's not sunshine and roses every second of every day but it never is so I dont' expect it to be. She's almost potty trained, speaking in 3-5 word sentences (though pronunciation and word placement still needs work), loves bunnies, Spiderman, trucks and Toopy and Binoo, playing outside and especially at the park on the swings, and car rides. Omg does this girl love car rides! Doesn't matter if it's to the beach or to just dropping me at work, her day isn't complete without a 'caw wide!' Sadly I work all day today so I wont see her much but I know she's going to have fun with her Auntie Melissa and other family.

Happiest of happy birthdays to you, my sunshine girl!


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Every once in a very great while there may be a post which contains a link to a product or service for which I've been paid to promote or have recieved for review purposes. I Blog With Integrity so you'll know which is which.