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Standing with Pride

June 12, 2016

Sunday never seems to be a good news day lately; too many shitty things happening overnight at clubs. I went to work today and kept an eye on the news feeds about the Orlando, Florida gay nightclub massacre and was overwhelmed with how supportive so much of what I saw was. Still, it's not enough. I saw a lot of tweets today that hit home, hard; the gay agenda is still just to survive. If after the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings America couldn't change how it dealt with guns and gun violence, there's no hope. The only explanation for what happened today was not enough thoughts and prayers after the LAST mass shooting. People in power who speak against the LGBTQ community and also promote the 2nd Amendment are a HUGE part of the problem. Religious extremism is too, from all the big Abrahamic faiths. And on and on.

It's Pride month around the world right now and even the Sault and Subury are having events, though Sud's isn't until July for some weird reason. Across vast nations thousand and thousands of people are marching, dancing and singing to show the world that love is love, you can't hate someone for their own good, and.you can't kill us all. Gay pride started as a protest against lives lost and injured in the Stonewall Riots. It's morphed and evolved over the years into flashy pageantry and a place of politicians to score points with The Gays, but at it's core it's about visibility. We're here! We're Queer! Etc. 

After today's events, with 50+ gay folk gunned down in cold blood at nightclub by someone asshole with an assault rifle, I feel the only thing I can do is take that last little step out of the closet. For most of you this will be no surprise at all; I've been open about my bisexuality with people outside family for a while. I've known I've like both women and men for a long, long time. My first real girl crush was in highschool (of course!) but I've never been able to have a Real Relationship (TM). I settled down with Ryan pretty quickly but that doesn't mean women haven't continued to spark interest over the years. It doesn't mean that I don't care about the LGBTQ community where I live, and abroad. It does mean that I have a ton of privilege that comes from being a bisexual woman who married a man. It means that it's been fairly easy for me to pass as straight, to just coast along and not worry too much about certain things. 

Well, enough of that. Visibility honours the past and preserves the future. It's a step I can take, sure footed and thankfully safe. I'm old enough now I don't have to fear backlash, and it's just time. I don't need to pick a team and being bisexual doesn't make me a cheater or insatiable (in fact my libido runs towards the other end). Next month when Sudbury has their pride parade I'm going to be there as a visible member of the bi community. Enough with the jokes and erasure. Enough with closets. Enough with the tears and the blood and suffering. Enough. 

Sleepy in Sudbury

April 30, 2016

I can't seem to get warm. Have been hit with a 48 hour flu or something after Katherine brought it home from daycare earlier this week. I'm an achy ball of misery but there are things that need doing so today I'm going to take my time and get them done.

The new place in Sudbury is great; the buses run every 15 minutes and I'm a five minute walk from the biggest mall in town so any time I need anything, or I'm just bored, I can wander over that way. Gabe decided to stay in the Soo with his Nana and Poppa (my in-laws) to finish the school year and it's so odd not to have  him around all the time. It's quieter, that's for sure. He's at camp this weekend with my parents and I'm sure when we talk later he'll have amazing stories to tell me of riding on the atv, shooting the .22 and going fishing. 

Ryan's new position finally seems to have all the kinks worked out so that's good too; it was a rough road getting all the new staff in place and trained. It's SO wonderful to be together again; to sleep side by side every night, cuddle on the couch and watch a movie, share the pick ups and drop offs for Kat's new daycare and be able to sit and chat and dream. We're hoping to get to FanExpo again on the Labour Day weekend and do some traveling and camping when we can this summer. Other than that, no big plans.

On the 'what the heck is up with my thyroid?!"front, I had a meeting with a thyroid specialist and he's recommended we take out the whole thing, just to be on the safe side. I'll be going back to the Soo for that sometime in June and will probably need 3-4 days off work. After that they'll poke around and see if it was cancerous. I don't want to think about what comes after that if it was.

There's more but I'm fading fast so I'll just say that I like my new branch and being with my old boss, Shannon, again. Sudbury has been, so far, pretty great.


This Time Is Different

February 19, 2016

So a lot’s been happening behind the scenes here in Canada-land. Ryan’s been working out of town four hours away since mid-November; this isn’t new for me, as I’ve been on my own with the kids before. It’s different this time though. Every instance of us being apart before has seen me off work and us living nice and close to wherever I need to go.

Now we’re apart again and it’s the hardest. We live across town from both the daycare where Kat goes and the school where Gabe goes, and fairly far from my job as well. I couldn’t bear the thought of taking the kids away from their familiar surroundings, not when they were doing so well, and hey, with Ryan’s help shipping them across town every morning it wasn’t too hard. Now I have no car and do it every day by bus. It’s an hour and a half round tip, and then I either go to work for 8 hours or I head home for two, then leave to work until 9 at night. It’s exhausting. I’m exhausted, and so are they and everyone I’ve been leaning on to help with all the nights again. I’ve asked friends, friends of friends, cousins and of course the grandparents every single week      

"Hey, are you available X night(s) to watch the kids for a few hours? I know you already worked all day/had class/did placement and they’re not your kids, but it’d really help me out!" My friend Brian is currently asleep on my couch, having worked all day and then picked my kids up after dinner from my parent's, brought them home, dealt with bedtime for Kat with no blankie and helped Gabe finish his homework.

Thankfully my manager at work is flexible enough that I don’t have to worry about covering mornings right now; nothing earlier than 10am, (as I need time from 20 after 8 to 9:30 to drop the kids off via bus) but at the same time, all the nights are a problem. See above. I may have resolved this but I’m not sure yet. We had a sit down two Fridays ago about it when the new schedule came out and it was literally all late nights but a trio over 3 three weeks, and damn, I thought I was going to lose my mind. They need manager coverage at certain times, I get that, but dammit there are 3 of us. I shouldn’t have to do all the late shifts myself. That’s what I get for being low priority AND unavailable before 10 am. Yes, having kids to take care of is MY problem, and they’re MY priority, but if I hear one person complain about not getting to sleep in I’m going to laugh in their face. Choosing to have kids isn’t the same as choosing to have two jobs or choosing to go out to the bar at night. It’s not the same as choosing to spend the night at your boyfriend’s and come to work unshowered and in the same clothes as the day before. It’s not the same as having a dog you love; you can choose to not have those things. You can choose to stay home or quit a job or kennel your dog during the day with some food and water. I can’t choose not to have my kids. I have to muddle through as best I can, and the best I can isn’t good enough any more. After 3 months of it I’m tired. Bone deep, out of fucks, tired.

So that’s fun. What’s also ‘fun’ is that I found a lump in my neck two months ago and had an ultrasound to get it checked out, and then a biopsy, and Wednesday I finally got to sit down with an endocrinologist and take a look at what the results were. They’re somewhat inconclusive. I have a follicle of undetermined significance aka FLUS aka a giant fucking lump on the right side of my thyroid and they don’t know what it is, exactly, but it’s growing. It grew from 4.1mm in December’s ultrasound to 4.5mm at February’s biopsy.  I could get another biopsy done, which in 50% of cases shows nothing at all, and in 50% of cases shows cancer, or I can just get the thing sliced out and have them take a really good look at it and go on thyroid meds for the rest of my life. I’m more ok with option B than wasting time on another biopsy so I’m waiting now for an appointment with a local surgeon to see if we can make that happen. Do I have cancer? I don't know. It's not looking great though.

After my appointment I called Ryan in Sudbury (so far he hasn’t been able to come to a single one with me) to tell him the sort-of news. I was feeling down about how long I’m going to have to wait just to hear from the surgeon’s office (probably a week) to get an appointment (probably a month after that), and what about if this or that, and maybe Sudbury has better doctors? How often would we have to drive to and from the Soo? It was depressing and I was upset. Tea and chocolate were on the menu for lunch, that’s for sure.

Did I mention we’re moving to Sudbury in April? That’s happening too. Ryan’s finally been offered a full manager position of a really successful store (now that they’ve fired all the thieves and liars) and the money is too good pass up. Maybe I can finally start paying off my student loans! Ryan’s house hunting and I’m transferring stores, Gabe will go to a new school or stay here until the end of this school year (we haven’t figured that part out yet and he’ll have a chance to decide) and Kat will come with us, which also means a new daycare, after school care and all the rest of it. Any wonder I’ve felt run down and also like exploding lately?

I’m nervous, dancing along the edge of scared. I’m lonely and tired and impatient and not as loving towards the kids as I’d like to be. I miss my husband. Thankfully I have the love and support of a lot of people, near and far, to carry me through yet another bump in the road.

So there it is. Update from Canada-land.

On the Way Back Machine

January 10, 2016

After I put Kat to bed the other night night I decided to put Fern Gully on Netflix while I tidied up from supper and a weekend home with the kids. It was a nice little stroll down memory lane; Robin William's nonstop chatter as Batty Koda, the music and gorgeous watercolour backgrounds, and the unforgettable characters of Crysta, Zack, Pips and Magi Lune. When I watched it for the first time, back in grade four, it made a big impression on me, but I didn't realize how much until I went back and watched it.

Seeing it as an adult it struck me how much of what Magi Lune taught Crysta that I brought with me forward into my later Pagan practices. I went back through the film and wrote down her lines to have here for reference.

"There are worlds within Worlds, Krysta. Everything in our world is balanced between the forces of destruction, and the magic forces of creation. Everyone can call on the magic powers of the web of life. You have to find it in yourself."
"Look for the hero inside yourself, Krysta. Look for the good and loving heart in you, and all others. For just as every seed holds the magic of creation, so too do you, and every other creature in this world."
Krysta: "Magi, don't leave me!"
Magi: I love you! I'll always be with you. We all have the power, and it grows when it is shared."
Even the dedication at the end: For our Children, and Our Children's Children, is especially poignant as I was watching it with my son and daughter. When I first saw it in grade four I never dreamed I would have kids. It was Far Away in the Future, but I could understand as a child that time would continue on without me, but that future was in danger because of human actions.
As a Pagan, I tend to approach my practice with a lot of hands on application to the real world; Sabbats reflect what's actually happening on a local environmental level, not what a European agricultural calendar tells me, and stories of the Holly King fighting the Oak King at the solstices are explained in relation to where the Earth is on its journey around the Sun. I strongly believe we all have a responsibility to work closely within Nature's limits and to respect natural spaces as much as our human nature allows us too. We all have the power inside ourselves to make the world a better place, for our children, and our children's children. 
Has this happened to you? What movie or show was it?

GlitterForce is Sparkletastic

December 31, 2015

It's Christmas holidays for the kids here in Canada and unfortunately due to a recent lack of snow we spent a lot of it indoors not doing a whole lot. I worked mostly evenings and as Gabe doesn't have skates, we've just been coasting through Netflix and playing around on the new WiiU. While searching for something to watch other than Paw Patrol, Kat's absolute most favourite thing EVER right now, I stumbled over GlitterForce and gave it a go. Once upon a time I was a fan of Sailor Moon so this looked promising.

First things first, lets get this out of the way; yes, it's very similar to Sailor Moon. Five pre-teen girls team up to fight evil from outside their world with the help of a cute animal friend. They get gloves, boots, skirts, tiaras/headbands and bows during a magical transformation sequence, and each is tied to an element or theme; luck, fire, peace/lightning, spring/life and air/winter. They learn valuable lessons about friendship (at times I was more strongly reminded of My Little Pony, which I also love) and inner strength while also kicking ass and saving the universe from a crew of fairy tale baddies.

Despite of, or maybe because of, the strong similarities, we loved this show; Gabe was right there on the couch with me and Katherine when Emily became Sailor Lucky and he was there again this morning when Emily and her friends achieved their final, fantastic transformation and defeated the evil Emperor Nogo. It was so glittery and full of good vibes that I think we all had a little tear in our eye. Kat's fave is Spring, and Gabe's is Sunny. Mine is Peace; her catchphrase is "Puppies and kittens! The power of love! I'm Glitter Peace!" What's more powerful than love and peace? Nothing, as far as I know! It doesn't hurt that her power is similar to that of my old favourite Sailor Scout, Jupiter either.

As they say in MLP, friendship is magic and GlitterForce has it in spades. I wish there was more than one season available but I know we'll watch it again in the meantime. It's sweet and bubbly and I absolutely loved watching it. Give it a try if it's near your alley and let me know what you thought!

Justifying my Existance

December 30, 2015

I've been tweeting a lot about feminism and gaming. My mentions have, to noone's surprise, been alight with all the dudes (and it's almost entirely dudes) who want to tell me how good I have it, how useless, how inconsequential, and how wrong I am. Like so many years ago at teacher's college when the entire discussion was shut down by one dude saying "Well I don't think that's true."  ,it's impossible to have an actual discussion with someone who's world view is so incredibly skewed. Who needs feminism in 2015? Women have it SO GOOD.  Dont' you have anything IMPORTANT to worry about? Why attack video games? You must hate them. I bet you don't even play. Women really have all the power! You don't even have to go die in wars. And if women are so horribly oppressed, why do men kill themselves so much? Why are men laughed at if they say they were raped? WHAT ABOUT THE MEN!?

How do you talk with someone who denies the moon landing? The Holocaust? Believes in reverse racism? Takes the Bible (or Koran or Torah) as literal truth? Absolutely cannot see the everyday sexism that women put up with? I say one thing and it comes back mocked or simply denied. "That's not true." How do you start a dialogue or change anything when someone is denying your lived experience? When they deny who you are? When they refuse to hear you? 

Is an entire gender just lying? Acid throwing is lies? Child marriage? Female genital mutilation? Rape? Domestic violence? Being hounded out of jobs, off campus? Back alley abortions? We're all just lying for no reason? Because speaking up hasn't helped too much. The backlash has been bitter. We're all just lying for the fun of it, so people can laugh or say "But what about the men?!"

https://images.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fgamikia.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2012%2F02%2Fmetroid1-e1329769775740.jpg&f=1Laurie Penny wrote a thing that's worth sharing and re-sharing. It strikes all the chords with me. All of them. I recently saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I too was struck the moment Rey picks up Luke's old lightsaber to battle her enemy on equal footing. I've been waiting my whole life for a female lead, not a background character, to do that, to be a Jedi, to fight with one of those beautiful, humming weapons. Stories matter. Who the hero is, matters. When I played Super Metroid as a kid and died for the first time, revealing that Samus is a woman, I was struck in a similar way except also completely surprised. This badass bounty hunter was clearing realm after dangerous realm on this hell world full of monsters completely alone AND she was a GIRL!? Like me?! Like me! It changed me.

I don't have to justify my love of games, any game, to anyone. I've been playing since the SNES and I'll probably keep playing until I'm old and grey and can barely hold a controller anymore. I also don't have to justify my existence to anyone; I'm a woman, a person. I hold up half the sky. I have all the same rights and responsibilities as any other person. This is a fact that's been affirmed not only by my country's laws, but by the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. It's not my job to hold some knuckle-dragger's hand and spell these things out, especially only having 140 characters to work with. But sometimes, just sometimes, I try anyway. You never know when you might change someone's mind.



Currently in December

December 15, 2015
December 2015
waking in the dark every morning is the worst. 

finishing a book is very satisfying.

watching The Last Unicorn

loving the kids.

appreciating all that my family has done for us.

packing a lunch.

keeping the home fires burning.

hunting for a snack.

planning for ladder climbing.

looking for a place to put our Elf on the Shelf tonight.

anticipating the Christmas bustle.

working where I do is bearable. That's about it.

having my scotch REALLY cold.

hoping to still get back to the Island someday.

feeling tired.

We're all People Under the Same Sky

November 24, 2015

Generally if I'm going to be political it's for body or feminist reasons, things that hit close to home for me. Since this summer, however, when I started reading about how many refugees are in the world, especially from Syria, home has become a bit bigger. My activist home is larger to make room for the millions of displaced people in the world.

I've moved a LOT in the last few years. Not having a home to call my own, having to leave one that I loved, again and again, was painful. It's not as painful as this, of leaving home because it's dangerous; leaving filled with desperation. Few things are, except maybe the loss of a child. And then there was that photo of the little boy on the beach in Greece, face towards the waves in the way no living person's would be. His mother and brother are dead too, but his photo will live on in infamy of what we do to each other in the name of power, greed and hate. I can see him in my mind's eye, clear as day, and I hope I do for the rest of my life. I hope everyone who saw his photos remembers him and tries to do better, to BE better, to their fellow humans. We're all in this together on our little blue dot. Try not to forget that in face of irrational fear of people who are different from you. They're not, really. They just want a home again.

"HOME," by Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbours running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it's not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn't be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
i dont know what i've become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here.

by Somali poet, Warsan Shire

Remembrance Day

November 11, 2015

Today is Remembrance Day. It's cold and foggy outside. My media streams are full of images in black and white and red; soldiers in tanks, crosses and poppies, medals, uniforms and flags. Services are in an hour, culminating in a minute of silence for the fallen then a single brassy voice will ring out. Silence for the dead, music for the living.

The Great War and the War to End all Wars seems to me, looking far back over my shoulder to 100 years ago, clear cut. The enemy was easy to see, the atrocities committed swiftly (but not swiftly enough) condemned. World domination will not be tolerated. We are all free peoples here on this little blue dot. We may disagree but one cannot exterminate the other.

Then came Korea. And Vietnam. And Iraq. And Afghanistan. And Iraq again, Syria and Egypt and and and the black and white images become grey and green instead; hazy blurred lines between right, wrong and power and politics, and tinted green with money, shadowed black with an oily sheen.

This isn't new, paying for land and riches with the lives of soldiers. It's the oldest way to play the game. But today the eyes and ears of the world, of every person, are everywhere. We have unprecedented power to watch and see for ourselves, if we want too, what's happening in war torn countries. We can tune in or tune out at will, thanks to social media and easy access to smart phones. We can see for ourselves and read for ourselves the current situations simply by opening a web browser and searching for the people who are speaking out.

We all need no more trouble. We need to work harder to pressure our leaders to only commit those who have sworn to serve, to defend, to protect, to die, in just causes. We must find a way to live together in peace and turn our war machines to better uses. In Flander's Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses row on row. No new crosses. No new gardens of the dead.

Vexing Vaccinations

October 27, 2015

Last week I took the kids to get their vaccinations; Kat's behind, and I thought Gabe was missing a set from when he was five but apparently not. Let's get one thing straight right off the bat; while I might be a liberal hippie feminist, I'm not anti vaccinations. Kat's behind because I'm disorganized. So over the next year we'll be getting her finished and ready to go to school in the fall. She was excited to go 'see the doctor' at the local clinic and wanted to go first, and after a lengthy wait while the nurse figured out which shots she needed, we indeed let her go first. Gabe tried to warn her saying it would hurt a lot, and I said she'd feel a big pinch, but no talk of getting super powers so she wouldn't get sick, or that it was just plain necessary, was enough to prepare her for it. It HURT. Kat squirmed and cried and the look of utter betrayal on her face nearly undid me.

"Why you do that?! Why you hurt me?!"

And then the second needle.


I froze for a second and then, but then, it was done. More tears and wailing and betrayal. I said I was sorry for hurting her and so did the nurse but she wanted nothing to do with me. Ryan took her and held her and brought her away from the cubicle while Gabe got his last shot and I stayed with him.

Since day one with my kids I've taught them about their bodies, respected their bodies, and taken care of those bodies. That's pretty much job #1 when you're a parent; make sure your kid grows up healthy and whole. My kids are happy and healthy and will stay that way in part because of vaccinations. But I'm still having flashbacks to her telling us, very clearly and loudly, to not put that needle in her arm. She's too young to know, to even be taught, how important vaccinations are to her health and to the health of people she loves. She's too young to make this decision on her own so as her mom I have to do it for her. These moments are the price we pay for happy, healthy kids. Sometimes we're the devil and our kids reject us for keeping them safe but that's ok. I can take their anger and hurt. She can scream at me all she wants because I wont let her run down the hallway with scissors in her hands, or not have icecream for breakfast, or spend ten hours a day playing on my phone. It's my responsibility to be as tough as I need to be and ensure they have as strong as a start to life as I can give them.

But I don't think I'll ever forget last week's vaccination visit.

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