Friday, April 10, 2015

Heart Splooge

After a long break, I feel like I should whip out a new post. It's been a ridiculously long time since I've written anything not related to school, and I'm not sure if I know how. So if this reads like a business report, I apologize in advance (I finished my last paper for school on Thursday. It was a fifteen page report on strategic compensation...riveting stuff (I'm pretending to be all suave and disinterested, but strategic compensation actually does get me a little excited...) ).

This actually isn't a new new post per se. It's more of a journal entry that I wrote in early February. I was emotional, and raw, and it's not even a little bit funny, so if that's what you're on the hunt for, move along to the posts about cat butts.

Here goes nothing... 

My grandfather passed away yesterday morning. Mike. My wonderfully intelligent, impeccably dressed, impossibly polite Grandad. For the past few weeks, his body has been hanging out in the palliative care room, while the rest of him (soul, being, essence, stardust, etc.) was walking a tightrope between this world and whatever comes next. 

Everything feels heavy, and I feel horribly sad, but I also feel grateful. I feel grateful that I was gifted with many visits with him and my grandmother in the final months of their lives. I feel grateful for the love in the room as he lay dying. I feel grateful for the opportunity to get reacquainted with family members as we spent time with Mike over the past few months. I feel grateful for the support offered by the many wonderful individuals whose lives my grandparents affected in various ways. 

And I feel grateful that my grandparents got to know me before they left. I came so close to not sharing important parts of myself with them, and missing out on some powerful moments.

A year and a half ago, I watched Ash Beckham’s video on empathy, openness, and coming out of our closets. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. Here’s the link, go watch it.

At first, I felt smug while I watched, feeling like I had at least this one small aspect of my life under control. I am a gooey love-seeking empath, with no closets to exit. I pride myself on my honesty, and on confronting those hard conversations. 

But later that week, I was sitting at Hava Java writing a letter to my grandparents, and Beckham’s words came back to me suddenly.

I had been carefully crafting my regular correspondence to Grandma and Grandad, sharing news of my Newfoundland adventures with my “roommate” and fantastic “best friend”.

The truth was that my “roommate” Lisa and I were newly engaged, with plans to build our lives in BC in the spring. And my grandparents, who had been loving and supportive influences my whole life, had been left out. Because of my own insecurities, I hadn’t offered them the chance to celebrate my happiness. 

I had intentionally chosen, with the input of other family members, not to tell them. I was afraid of their reactions, afraid they would love me less, afraid to see them disappointed, or uncomfortable. So I danced around it in my letters. I wanted so much to please them that I hadn't thought about the implications of not coming out to them. When it came right down to it, not coming out was implying that there was something shady, something "off" or wrong about who I am and what my life looks like. And that I was guilty of exhibiting my own special brand of internalized homophobia. 

My grandparents were English, dignified, very private people. We had never talked about relationships, love, or sexuality. When I spoke with my grandmother before I left for Newfoundland, she had shared with me her hopes that I would meet a “lovely boy” in St. John’s, and we would settle down and start having babies after my “nice little adventure”. I had choked on my tea, and flushed, but had ended up nodding and changing the subject.

When Lisa and I were new, and I didn’t know if it was something real or simply a grand experiment, it seemed unimportant to share with my grandparents that I lived with a woman. But as weeks with Lisa turned into months, and months turned into years, it started to feel like maybe I should tell them. And that feeling grew stronger when we decided to move back to BC.

Lisa and I had planned to go home to BC for three weeks over Christmas. I so wanted to be able to bring her to meet them, for her to feel included in our gatherings, to be recognized as family. After several conversations with my parents, I had decided that I would avoid confrontation, and write them a letter. Once I’d decided how I was going to do it, I procrastinated for at least a month (naturally). When I finally started writing, I agonized over each draft. Twelve handwritten pages. I used all fifty pages of my new ocean-themed stationary in the process.

When I’d finished, I carried the letter around with me, sealed, addressed and stamped, for at least a week before I sent it. I waited for it to ripen in my bag, for the niggling “I should send that letter sometime” feeling to coincide with a moment of bravery.

Finally, in a brief spurt of exercise afterglow-induced courage, I managed to force myself to shove the letter in a mailbox (and successfully resisted the urge to shove my arm back in to immediately retrieve my words).

I sent the letter at the end of October, and when I hadn’t heard back by mid-November, I started to feel like I’d made a mistake. I muddled through days at work, distracted, fumbling through routine tasks, unsure of what the next step would be… was I going to have to pretend I’d never sent it? Did they even get it? It was out of character for my grandparents not to respond, and surely even Newfoundland postal service wasn’t slow enough for a letter to take a month. And even worse, for the first time in my life, I hadn’t received a birthday card from my grandparents.

Lisa was away in Quebec during this time, so I was all by myself in a poorly insulated house in a frigid city with two elderly, sickly felines. One evening, feeling particularly dejected, I got home from the (fiftieth?) visit to the vet, and decided to practice some hard-core self-care. Sometime while I lay in the bathtub soothing myself with tequila, coconut milk ice cream and the latest issue of People (it was an extra lame day, okay?), I heard my phone ring in the bedroom.

A little drunk, much cheerier and significantly warmer, I got out of the tub to see whose call I had missed. When I saw my grandparents’ number, my hands started to shake a bit. The voicemail was brief, my grandfather simply saying that he’d gotten my letter and I should call him back. No clues as to whether the call would be good or bad, I took a deep breath and pressed “call” before I could change my mind. 

Grandad answered on the first ring. He knew who it was from the caller ID, and before I could say anything, he said,

“Now, I got your letter, and I just have one question for you.”

Gulping, I mumbled, “Ymmmhmm?”

“Do you think of yourself as a typical 25 year old? In your attitudes and values?”

Unsure whether it was a trick question and feeling like this conversation could go either way, I squeaked,  

“N-no? Not really?”

“I don’t think you are either. Now I have one more question. Do you think of me as a typical 92 year old in my attitudes and values?”


He laughed then, a baritone chuckle that made me spontaneously smile. All my tension thawed as he continued,

“Lisa sounds like a wonderful person. I so look forward to meeting her in a few weeks when you bring her round for tea over Christmas”.

I was smiling so hard my cheeks hurt as he finished with,

“I am so happy you have found someone to love you well. We love you, no matter what”.

And that was that. Powerful, to the point, classy. Just like him. I was unspeakably relieved, but I could have kicked myself for waiting so long. 

Lisa came with me to meet them over the holidays and her and Grandad immediately connected. Two of the most charismatic people I have ever met, in the same room, directing that charm at each other. Phenomenal.

My grandmother was a different story. While she was kind and warm towards Lisa, she persisted in calling her my “nice friend”. To be honest, for most of the last year of her life, I had no way to know if she had read the letter, or even understood that Lisa was a romantic figure in my life. 

My grandmother passed away a month before my grandfather. It was sudden, she was ninety five and went peacefully, in her sleep. Two weeks before she passed, while I was visiting, she pulled a blue envelope out from under the couch cushion where she sat, and held it up in front of her. 

"Do you know what this is? It's your letter. That long one you sent. I keep it next to me. We should always keep important letters close to us" she told me. And that was all. She tucked it back down beside her, and started talking about how active the birds at the feeder had been that morning, and what that might mean for the weather. 

I blinked my eyes quickly a few times to dissuade the tears that were sloshing behind my lashes. Though I'd sent the letter many months before, it was the first time she had admitted that she'd read it. I hadn’t been sure if my grandfather had made its contents clear, even. My grandma was acknowledging my words, and by extension, acknowledging me. 

I have the letter now. I took it from her things before anyone else could find it. I haven't reread it. I might never be brave enough. But I know what it says: I know it is the sixth and final draft of the hardest thing I've written, and the most honest, real and uncomfortable piece of myself I've ever put on paper. 

And I am so glad I wrote it.

The most important gift we can give is the opportunity to share the uncensored, vulnerable, many-sided version of self that we instinctively keep secret. What a worthwhile experience to meet our loved ones’ eyes and to see and be seen.

That’s what it’s all about, folks. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fur Kills: Why I will Never Wear a False Moustache

It has taken me a while to write this post, because, as with other traumatic events I have shared, it was just too fresh. While it does involve fur, this one isn't Marvin-related.

Our schedule of Vancouver Pride events was tight... Lisa and I were only in Vancouver for two nights, and we had to cram in social time with as many of Lisa's friends as possible.

Lisa and I dressed as matadors for Dykes on Bikes in the Vancouver Pride parade. We went all out on those costumes. I probably wouldn't have dressed up at all, since costumes are kind of Lisa's thing, but Lisa made it clear that street wear was not an option for anyone riding bitch on HER bike. So I searched endless racks at Value Village, bought obscenely priced orange opaque tights at American Apparel and sustained several severe glue gun burns, all in the name of keeping my woman content.

We even dressed Girlie (Lisa's motorbike) up as a bull by cello taping a viking cap to her speedometer.

Since I had put so much effort into my ensemble, when Lisa's pal (our lovely host) offered up a selection of false moustaches the morning of the parade, I jumped at the opportunity to further enhance my costume. Quirky! Fun! FAcial hair for all!

Except when we go to the parade, I was distracted by our many fans. We posed endlessly for pictures with old men and Asian tourists in the hour we spent waiting in the parade line up. Caught up in our celebrity status, I forgot to put my moustache on.

The parade was pretty great. It turns out that secretly (although Lisa claims this isn't a secret to anyone else) I really like being the centre of attention. I really enjoyed cruising along, at the front of the parade in front of thousands of spectators, both hands in the air, cheering and waving and blowing kisses. What can I say? I got into it.

WHEeeeeeeeeEEE!!! (actually, we are not moving in this photo)
Later, at the after party Lisa's pal asked what happened to the moustache. I had stached it (ha!) in my pocket to put on pre-parade, so I whipped it out and attempted to pull the backing off to do some impromptu costume upgrades on the dance floor...

I had selected "The Hero". How appropriate.
The only problem was, the paper backing was on the wrong way, so when I removed the backing, the adhesive stuck to it and pulled off too..

This is when I learned something important: False 'staches only work if they'll actually stick to your skin. Otherwise they are useless limp scraps of synthetic fur.

I was disappointed and resigned myself to a moustache-less evening, until a friend Lisa's coached me in the delicate art of wearing an adhesive-less fake moustache. She showed me how, by curling my upper lip, I could hold the 'stache between my nose and upper lip temporarily.

This maneuver only works if you can hold your face still in this position, which is hard to do after consuming a fair amount of tequila. So the moustache kept falling off my face. Alcohol plus accessory malfunction equals general hilarity, and the floppy moustache scenario was pretty darn entertaining.

In an effort to remain the centre of attention and milk the laughter for as long as possible, I kept picking my 'stache up off the floor and re-balancing it on my upper lip. Each time it fell again, the false moustache trick became progressively more hilarious.

And then, in a final glorious display of my endless wit, I snort laughed.

Which would have been fine, if my rough handling hadn't severely compromised the structural integrity of my adhesive-less moustache. But it had, and the moustache fell apart, mid snort.

A rogue furry chunk caught a lift on my snort zephyr, and travelled up my nose and down my throat, eventually lodging in my windpipe.

Which is when I started to choke. Tears streaming down my cheeks, I quickly tried to wash the wayward moustache down with tequila, guzzling until I realized that adding burning alcohol to the fuzzball wasn't helping. The chunk was in my lungs. Or at least too far lungward to be washed away.

So I booked it to the wheelchair washroom, gagging on tequila and hair. Once I'd elbowed my way to the front of the line and locked myself inside, I tried to get the moustache to either come up or go down.

Ten minutes into my ordeal, dizzy and gagging and unable to get a breath, I had a moment of drunken clarity.

Spitting soggy hairballs into the sink, I realized something: This was how I was going to die. Locked alone in a wheelchair washroom at the Pride after-party, choking to death on a hunk of shoddily manufactured false moustache.

I panicked. I didn't want to die. Especially not like this. Meditating on how embarrassed my parents/Lisa would be at my funeral if I died this way turned out to be a good thing. The adrenaline released as I imagined the mortifying eulogies that would be delivered made me put extra effort into re-establishing air exchange.

Banging hard on my sternum with my fist (just like every first aid class tells you not to do), I managed to dislodge a large-ish fragment. Gulping for air like I'd just gone for a run with Lisa, I prepared to return to my friends (who I assumed would be panic-stricken by my unexplained disappearance).

After wiping most of the wayward mascara/snot/fuzz off my undereyes, forehead, inner nostrils, and cleavage, I rejoined the party on the dance floor. I fully expected to be bombarded by concerned questions regarding my twenty minute absence.

Shortly after the horrific mustache debacle of 2014. 
 But as I approached Lisa, she just smiled tipsily at me. Clad in a chain mail bra and sunglasses, she twirled around a few times laughing, then proceeded to hit me over the head with a giant inflatable glowstick. I quickly realized that no one, including my fiancee, had even noticed I was missing.

Makes you think, huh? I nearly died, and if I hadn't indignantly and loudly demanded post-trauma attention, no one would have even known.

I guess the moral of this story is that while the fur industry is pretty disgusting, synthetic fur is not without it's own set of dangers, and can also result in animal suffering (mine). It's a conundrum... I should write Pam Anderson and ask her, as a fellow vegan, what she thinks of the whole scenario...

Note to self: Anticipate the potential dangers of future costume choices... 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Minus The Meat (Dontcha put it in your mouth)

It was time. I no longer reside in Newfoundland, and the term "Baby Dyke" has never really been an apt one to describe me. After all, the only trucker hats I own have been pilfered from Lisa's collection.

So. Baby Dyke Goes to Newfoundland has become Minus The Meat

It's a play on words...Geddit???

Sweeping Generalization Time: GAys Don't Eat Things

Just about every lesbian I know has SOMEthing they won't put in their mouths. A non-exhaustive list of Things the gays don't eat includes (but is by no means limited to): Gluten, Sugar, Lactose, Animals, Animal Products, Starches, Refined Things, GMO Things, Conventional non-organic Things, Plants from the nightshade family, Non Fair Trade Things, Things that feed Yeast, Things that Had to Fly Here on a Plane, Things Jillian Michaels tells us not to eat, etc, etc, etc.

This is what vegan glutards eat for lunch on BC Ferries. I look delighted with my "cheezy" bean chips 

Which leads us to...

Meaning # 1): 

Lisa and I follow a plant based diet, and I'd like to use this as a place to share occasional recipes for carnivores in my life who are making an effort to consume fewer animal products and asked for some inspiration. I like telling people what to do, and how to live, so I am more than happy to share my endless opinions on this subject without being interrupted. 


 I have no problem with people who have informed themselves on the statistics regarding factory farming, their bodies, the environment, and the abuse many farmed animals endure, and continue to consume animal products. That's their bag, and I can respect that.

I have hesitated the entire time I've been writing this blog to discuss the vegan thing. People get their panties in a twist when they feel criticized, and nothing gets people more excited/ up in arms than attempting to discuss food/ lifestyle choices. But I LIKE the idea of getting other people to drink the Vegan Kool-Aid.The environment, your body, and the 99% of farmed animals that reside on factory farms (yup, even organic meat does not equal environmentally friendly meat) thank you.

I don't eat meat and don't consume animal products for many reasons. My body feels better, my brain feels clearer, I get sick less. As an individual, statistically, the single easiest thing I could do to reduce my carbon footprint was to stop consuming animal products. As an environmentalist, I could do so much better in lots of areas. I still shower way too often, sometimes for twenty minutes plus... I still forget my reusable bags, and I forget to turn the heat off when I leave the house. I also love airplanes and travelling on them.

Basically, I'm lazy. And eating animal bits wasn't that important to me. So in the name of Lazy Environmental Activism, I became a Vegan.

And there are so many delicious alternatives.

Like this. You should make these. They're easy to make, and can't be screwed up (they even taste good if you burn 'em) They're a good post-workout snack, they pair well with hashbrowns and spicy kale stir fry for brunch, they're high in protein, they're gluten free, they go well with rice and veggies and almond butter dipping sauce for dinner... They're an all round solid choice.

Sesame Ginger Tofu Strips 

(The St. John's brunch crowd will have eaten these repeatedly)

Find these:

A block of pressed tofu. 
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup bragg's liquid aminos
2 cloves garlic, minced
Thumb sized piece of ginger, grated (more if you're a ginger freak)

And then do this: 

-Preheat oven to 375
-Whisk the last four ingredients in a shallow dish
-Cut yer tofu into strips (thinner=crispier)
-Saturate yer tofu with the gingery-saucy mix (marinating overnight/for a few hours is ideal but not essential)
-Dredge saucy strips in sesame seeds, making a crust on both sides
-Pour extra sauce over top before baking or reserve as base for a spicy almond butter sauce or put em on steamed/stir fried kale... the possibilities!
-Bake on parchment/silicone lined tray for 20-30 mins (depends on how crispy you want them/how hungry you are)
-Eat them. If you're lazy like us but still want to dip them in something, chipotle vegenaise is delicious.

A block of tofu will usually feed two people, unless you're gross like us and can polish off a block of tofu each in one sitting.

If I bring these to a potluck, I arrange them on a bed of spicy steamed kale, with dipping sauce in a ramekin in the middle (I'll post this recipe next time)

Your tofu strips should look nothing like this. (Also note: Lisa's Black Eye, courtesy of Marvin)

In Conclusion, and while we're on the subject of Things Lesbians Will and Will Not Put in their Mouths...

Meaning # 2) Woman Gays don't like Man Meat.

There. I AM absolutely WiNNing at Blog Naming today.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Five Fun Facts about Fruity Friends

(Okay, I know "Fruity" isn't the mOSt p.c. term, but there aren't any other "F" words denoting homosexuality...other than "Faggoty" which somehow seems worse. I needed alliteration, so I went for it. You can flog me later)

Lisa is excited for Fun Fact time. Lisa LOVES Fun Facts. Fact.


 When meeting a homo, it is unnecessary to prove how cool with their sexuality you are by talking about all your other AMAZINGLY WICKEDLY COOL gay acquaintances.

The devil in me is mildly amused at the scrambling that occurs when I reveal that my fiancee is female. But my kinder parts feel discomfort at causing embarrassment and confusion... and even for someone as well adjusted and supported as myself... there is the tiniest bit of shame that comes along with causing discomfort to other people. And that's the part I dislike.

The year is 2014. I will assume you're okay with the fact that I like lady bits unless you start hucking rocks and calling me a carpet muncher. In any case, unless I indicate that we should have an in depth convo about my sexuality, and we are becoming instant besties and telling each other all our dirty little secrets (it has been known to happen), we don't need to talk about the fact that your ex best friend's hairdresser was also gay! And you were TOTALLY! COOL! with that. Because they were AWESOME! (insert extra enthusiasm here).

Again, no enthusiasm necessary. I don't get overly psyched when talking about my best friend's straight mechanic.


It is totally okay to say the words "gay" and "lesbian" in the presence of someone who is, in fact, gay or lesbian. Truth= Not Derogatory. The number of times someone has gone out of their way to butcher the English language/ sentence structure in order to avoid saying the word "lesbian" in front of/ about me since I came out is astounding. Calm Down, Sparky...Isss allll good. I won't be offended if you call me a lesbian... I am in a same sex relationship. It's a fair assumption to make. A refusal to employ correct terminology makes it seem like being gay, or being a lesbian, or being LGBTQ is somehow negative/ impolite to talk about.

If, that moment, day, or week, or month I am identifying more with a "queer" or "bisexual" label, I DO NOT expect other people to know that unless I am in self disclosure mode. And if I'm being a socially awkward verbally volcanic oversharer, I will probably need to be the one apologizing...


All members of the LGBTQ community don't hang together on the daily. So, no. I don't know your lesbian friend Candace, or your transgender friend Steve (despite the fact that they both went on a weekend vacation once to the island where my parents live). I'm sure they're great, though, since you told me five times how AWESOME they are.


Straight men: Scissoring. Not a thing. Just for the record. Seriously, no one does it. Because it doesn't work. And it's too much effort. So you can stop wondering/ imagining.


To a select group of middle-aged straight women with teenage daughters (often the ones wearing khakis, hideous strappy sandals and pearls): Here is my promise. We're not checking out your daughter. She's fourteen, and Im not into that. Y'all can loosen up your death grip on her bony little shoulder... Statistically speaking, you should be far more concerned about the dude in the business suit standing next to you.

I smiled at her because I smile at many humans (and all pets). I am about as interested in your daughter as I am in that panhandler across the street's mangy dog (Actually, I'm probably more interested in Mangy Dog... Mangy Dog is sweet. In a scrawny, smelly, flea infested kind of way). You can stop glaring. It's ridiculous.

If I was heterosexual and your daughter was a son you wouldn't assume a grown woman would be lusting after your pimply adolescent while waiting for the light to change. I wasn't thinking it, and you were. Who's the pervy one now? (Hint: It's not me...)

I am making Cloe uncomfortable. One of my favourite activities. Family is Fun! Fact.
In other news... Last weekend was Victoria Pride. We went to the parade, although we almost forgot and my mom had to remind us (bad gays). We have been exclusively focused on Vancouver Pride (and trolling Value Village obsessively for our Dykes on Bikes costumes) and had forgotten about Pride in our backyard. We went. It was short. It was sweet. I took exactly three pictures. One is fuzzy. These are the other two.

Lisa eating Dykes on Bikes. There was no way to make that not sound dirty.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Where I got my Skillz

It has been months since I last posted... I have no excuses. I was lazy. In Newfoundland winter survival mode, actually. Eating frozen gluten-free Daiya pizzas by myself on the couch watching Netflix. This was only interrupted by the necessary but horrific trudges to work through two feet of slick snow and ice, the wind whipping pellets of freezing rain in my face. I had to close my eyes while I walked to prevent eyeball lacerations, no exaggeration.

Anyways. All that has changed because I am in Victoria now, being funemployed (ie writing blog posts when I should be updating my resume for the umpteenth time). I am procrastinating because I feel like no one will hire me with green hair (it's actually grey/blue, with green, pink and coppery highlights. Interesting, but doesn't scream "HIRE ME").

Why, yes. That is a multi-coloured mushroom cut I am sporting. Marvin likes it.  

I have been looking through job postings ad nauseum. And I have encountered a problem. Out of financial necessity, (I had to support myself while attending university) my resume is all over the map. I have been a lifeguard, caterer, personal assistant, swim instructor, housekeeper, support worker, program coordinator, nanny, server and line cook.

 I feel like I have done a pretty darn good job in each of those positions. This is largely because I like people, I like to learn things, I like to try hard, I can tell time, and I have fair to excellent personal hygiene.

But all this experience and drive to do well don't add up to squat. Because I am overqualified for menial jobs, and underqualified for even entry-level non-menial positions.

I wasn't one of those people who knew what they wanted to be right out of high school. I went to university because I had some vague idea that was what I was supposed to do when I graduated, and I had some scholarships that couldn't be deferred. I took English, and Philosophy, and Creative Writing courses. Because I liked them. Sometime during my second year of university, I looked at my transcript and said "Oh. I've taken lots of English. I like books and reading and stuff... I hate math. I'm an English major". Actually I think my internal conversation was even shorter than that.

I enjoyed university. I played intramural sports, I stayed out til four am, I spent my student loans on shoes. In short, I had fun, and did mildly irresponsible young adult type things in a fairly well-supervised environment.

 But I was horrifically shy outside of my immediate group of friends. I had imposter syndrome big time. I thought everyone was smarter than me, and was terrified of opening my mouth and confirming their suspicions. So I cruised through my four years without speaking in class unless absolutely necessary, without ever seeing an academic advisor (after making one appointment that the advisor never showed up to), without volunteering for all of the possible activities I might have used to pad my resume, without attending a single job fair, without making any particular impression on anyone I could later ask for a reference. I did decently well grades-wise, but didn't study anywhere near as much as I should have, and ended up with a B+ average. Okay, but nothing stellar, and not an accurate reflection of my capabilities.

And what I didn't do in university was figure out how I could turn my degree into a job. Because I was seventeen years old when I started university. And socializing and exercising were my priorities. I was twenty one when I graduated, and still had no idea how the actual world functioned. And decided to sit back and wait for the job offers to roll in. Embarrassingly, I legitimately thought that's how it would work. No one told me otherwise.

I was sure that hiring managers would look at my well-composed but skimpy resume and just know that I would try my hardest and do a good job. And they'd be busting down my door to hire me for some cool public relations or communications job. And I'd do my best and get promoted and pay off my student loans and get a dog and buy a new car for my parents by the time I was twenty four.

Five years later, I am no closer to a "real" career, and no closer to paying off those student loans (my allowance from Lisa doesn't stretch that far).

To the untrained eye, my scattered resume might look an awful lot like failure.

Today, though, as I do laundry while coordinating a family outing on the phone while typing a blog post while making soup while working on a resume while texting my fiancee while wiping goop out of Marvin's eyeball, I think that maybe I'm doing okay.

Because as a housekeeper, I learned to fold a load of laundry in two minutes. As a support worker, I learned to care for others (animals included) with endless patience. As a personal assistant, I learned to talk on the phone and type seventy words a minute simultaneously. As a program coordinator, I learned to organize and delegate. As a line cook I learned to feed hordes of people impossibly quickly. And all of these skills are infinitely useful and practical. I am grateful for my experiences, even if they're not highly marketable.

So I have decided to stop beating myself up. The right job will present itself, and I know I will find an interesting and rewarding position when the time (and hiring manager) is right. Over the past handful of years, my personal tool box has expanded in a way that it wouldn't have if I had found a "real" job right out of university, and I feel better prepared for what that "real" job might entail.

I know there are many other university educated twenty and thirty somethings out there with schizophrenic-seeming resumes like mine. I think it time that we acknowledge our efforts to survive in a hostile job market, and recognize and value the important skills we have acquired. We are doing our best, and our best is totally acceptable (that nugget of wisdom I learned in kindergarten).

As I multi-task on this sunny West Coast afternoon, I'm going to give myself a big ol' pat on the back. Those hiring managers don't know what they're missing.

(I bring cookies to work)

Friday, January 3, 2014

How the Vet Stole Christmas

This is an old post. I wrote it a month and a bit ago. I am putting it on the interwebs now because I was too lazy to proofread, but too much of a perfectionist to post it before I proofread.

How the Vet Stole Christmas: 

I had to wait a few weeks before writing this post, because it was all too fresh. It wasn't funny yet. But I think I'm ready now.

Lisa has been gone four weeks. Because the Navy is specifically designed for anal-retentive competitive people like Lisa, she is actually enjoying all the unpleasantness the Navy inflicts on candidates. It sounds pretty terrible to me, but I suppose this is why I am the Navy Wife. I get emotional when I'm sleep deprived, and I'm sure I would have been sent home from training after less than twenty four hours.

I am settling into a routine on my own, which mostly revolves around cat feeding/playing/sleeping times, as explained in my post about Lisa's Colorado trip.

I love Lisa a lot. And I want to keep her happy. And it would make her very UNhappy if I killed one of her feline children. It's a lot of pressure.

General Observation: many lesbians are a little weird about their pets. I have yet to meet a gay animal mommy that wasn't in a slightly atypical codependent relationship with their fur babies.

Let me start off by saying being a single mom is hard. Props to those who manage it with real live human babies and successfully keep them alive.

I don't think I can be one of those people.

I almost killed Marvin.

Well, actually, he tried to commit suicide because I left home for too long.

I work Wednesday evenings, and then am home for nineish hours before heading to work again Thursday morning. I like this arrangement, because it allows me to cram all the work into a condensed time frame on those days, and leaves lots of time for origami and runs and coffee shops and baking.

(Incidentally, my freezer is full of baking because there's no one around to eat it and I consistently over-estimate my cookie-eating capacity. I had to toss some cupcakes I'd frozen to make room for more cat meat. It was a sad day)

Anyways, on those two days, the kitties are alone more than they think is ideal. And Marvin comes up with new and exciting ways to induce vomiting and/or diarrhea. Tinkle is a good kitty, and remains content with angry pooping in my shoes or on my pillow when I leave for too long. Not Marvin. He rifles through cupboards, climbs on top of fridges and snoops under the bed, looking for all the things he shouldn't be putting in his mouth.

That fateful Thursday I came home to a decidedly lethargic Marvin. I am ashamed to admit I was happy he was so quiet, and thanked a benevolent higher power for a silent kitty. For about half an hour. Then I went into the kitchen to feed them, and immediately noticed the letter I'd left on the counter was gone.

 It was a letter to Lisa, containing a baggie of iron supplements that she had requested I send. I found the letter shoved behind the juicer, the envelope and baggie ripped open and covered in cat hair and drool.

The baggie was empty.

I swore.

And immediately started Googling.

The all-knowing internet said I had killed him. He was for sure a goner.

I started hysterically crying while I shakily dialed the vet's office, explaining through sobs that I had poisoned my fiancee's fur baby.

While I was on the phone, said feline started sprinting around the living room, yowling as he projectile vomited on walls, floor, couch and coffee table.

I didn't know cats could projectile vomit. It was simultaneously horrific and fascinating.

And then Tinkle tried to eat it.

While I cursed the cats, Lisa and the universe in general, I followed the Marvin the Magical Vomit Fountain around on my hands and knees, sloshing water and soap on everything.

Suzanne rescued me from my soggy living room and drove us to the vet. She was laughing. I was not.

After 30 minutes and a quick visit with the vet tech, I was told to go home, and give him lots of fluid and things that would speed the iron through his system.

So began forty eight hours of obsessively syringing water, meat, psyllium husk, pumpkin and spirulina slurry into Marvin every hour on the hour. Yes, I made him a high-fibre cat smoothie.

I set my phone alarm through the night to make sure he was still breathing.

Those two days were a dark time. It was kind of like being in charge of someone else's extremely ill and hideously hairy newborn.

He was fine. A little dopey, but fine.

I was a nervous wreck.

On Saturday, he was still fine. But I continued to Google cat iron overdoses, and stumbled across a new article. This all-knowing-web-forum-contributing veterinarian told me that cats with iron poisoning will seem to get better, only to deteriorate and die over a period of weeks or months.

I concluded that because his condition seemed to be steadily improving, Marvin was probably going to die.
Marvin on his death bed
So, sleep deprived and suffering from internet-induced heart palpitations, I took him to another vet.

Four hundred dollars and several hours later, he said that Marvin was fine. A very healthy elderly kitty, in fact.

So Lisa will receive three sheets of blood work results, and a brand new cat insurance policy as her main presents for Christmas. (Surprise, Honey! You're welcome) Instead of chocolate and expensive knick knacks, I will fill her stocking with origami and cat fur puppets felted by yours truly.

I have learned two things from this whole experience:

Firstly, I need an adult to deal with crisis situations. I am lucky to know some grown-ups in Newfoundland now, and was very very thankful for all of them. Especially the ones willing to talk me down from the ledge in the middle of the night. (Well, it was actually Marvin I was dangling over the ledge) And the ones willing to drive me to the vet at an ungodly hour on their day off.

Secondly (and most importantly) Google is not a veterinarian.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Homos Getting Hitched

Since my post on Macklemore, I decided to take a break from my blog to let the controversy die down...Okay. Full disclosure: there were only two hecklers, and I'm pretty sure they only read the first three paragraphs.

Still. I was Controversial. People I didn't even know were fired up! They were passionate! They might not have agreed with me, but they were thinking, they were talking, they were engaging with LGBT issues! Mission accomplished!

God, I'm a dork.

Oh, well.

There have been so many major changes in my life over the past couple of months. It has been awesomely overwhelming and I haven’t been able to stop for long enough to sort out my thoughts.
Lisa bids farewell to her training partner, Signal Hill.
Many of you will know that Lisa has joined the Navy. For the next four months, she is in Quebec doing her Basic Military Qualifications. As far as I can tell, this involves lots of push-ups and cleaning and marching and very little sleep. 

Of course, Lisa is enjoying the challenge immensely. The Forces are designed for anal-retentive competitive people like Lisa, and she is tired but thriving under the pressure.

While Lisa is training, I am staying in St. John's, working and living on my own for the first time (about time, right?) I was fairly certain last winter that I would NOT be spending another winter here. I hated the cold, and the wind, and the sogginess. It's wet here like BC, only slushier.

I prepare for a winter alone in St. John's.
So it is ironic that I will be spending the winter here in St. John's, caring for my feline step-offspring and playing housewife while Lisa is in Quebec. I was only  here because Lisa had some harebrained romantic ideas about Newfoundland, and I had some harebrained romantic ideas about Lisa.

But it is temporary, and there are some wonderful people here, and I will get lots of knitting/crafting done.

The weather in St. John's has begun to change. Yesterday was truly horrifically wet and chilly.

And with the change in the weather, ALL the ladies are pulling on oversized toques, cozy plaid shirts, blundstones and hoodies. As a consequence, my gaydar is going haywire. Everyone looks like a lesbian. Just when I thought I was nailing the whole Identify-A-Gay thing.

This morning on my walk to the gym there were a few brave snowflakes falling, and despite the fact that I will soon be cursing the snow, I couldn't help myself. I got a little thrill of excitement. In a few months, I will be a lot less excited when it snows on top of the slush on top of the ice on top of the mud, but today, my inner five year old couldn't wait to pull on her winter boots and build a snowperson.

I did a little snow dance in front of the Basilica, hedging my bets by combining solemn prayer with pagan ritual. Actually, I may have made that up, my knowledge of pagan history is pretty limited, and probably doesn't involve snow dances. In any case, now that the Pope approves of homos (well, not approves, but at least doesn't condone active homo-hating) I feel almost warm and fuzzy about the Catholic church.

Maybe those warm fuzzy feelings are also partly because I almost got engaged in the Catholic church during mass.

A week before she left, Lisa asked me to marry her. Since we had already sworn an oath about our relationship in front of a Navy lawyer, I guess making it official was the logical next step. 

Either that or Lisa got sick of me channelling Beyonce at every opportunity.

(To be entirely accurate, she probably got sick of me channelling Justin Timberlake channelling Beyonce, because that's who I look more like when I dance around in a leotard singing "Single Ladies". I FEEL like Beyonce, but have been told I LOOK like JT's parody of Beyonce. Whatever. Haters gonna hate.)

In any case, whether it was my dancing skills or pressure from the Canadian Forces, Lisa decided she had better put a ring on it.
It's shiny and I can't break it and has a spinny thing on it I can play with. 
In true Lisa fashion, she proposed at the moment I least expected her to. 

Back story: Lisa has spent the past three months trying to convince me she had no desire to EVER get married. She said it was dumb, it was cliché, it was too soon, why should we follow conventions set by heteronormative/ patriarchal societal structures… blahblahblah feminism 101 lecture etc. 

She actually almost had ME convinced that getting married was a terribly gauche thing to do. And I've wanted to get married since I was three. 

The Sunday before Lisa flew to Quebec, I was sick. I had a sinus cold. Despite this, Lisa made me get up and go to mass with her. Now, mass is not something we DO in our household. But she made a bit of a stink about how important it was to her that we attend mass in the Basilica before she left Newfoundland.

Lisa and I have a rule to solve disputes. It's a ranking scale. We each have to (completely honestly and openly) rank how important it is for us to get our way in a particular argument. On a scale between 1 and 10. (I think it works because ultimately we love each other, and we know if we're not honest it will seem asshole-ish and dumb to consistently claim our needs/wants are most important) Ranking also makes it concrete, and forces us both to openly acknowledge just how selfish we are feeling that day. 

She claimed it was 10 important to her that we both go to mass. Unfortunately, it was only 9 important to me that we didn't go. 

So I pouted and whined, but I got dressed and went. 

The Basilica is amazingly beautiful. 

This is what wikipedia says the Basilica looks like. It's lovelier in real life. 
Mass was actually nice. Solemn and spiritual and nobody made me eat the weird cracker I was dreading. I'm pretty sure that it can't be gluten free. Despite my apprehension, nobody talked about stoning the gays, or even looked at us funny. It was all about love and forgiveness and being a good person and helping others. All stuff I can get behind. The priest had the kind of voice that cures insomnia, and I got lost in my own head for a while.

I used my space-out time to examine my own conflicted feelings about organized religion. I thought about how I judge certain religious groups while simultaneously condemning those people for judging me, and reflected on the problems that perpetuates. 

It was a worthwhile hour for me, although I admit I was distracted, because Lisa was being a weirdo. She was alternately teary and giggly and kept making me get up and change pews if anyone sat near us. I began to wonder if this was a typical lesbian meets Catholic church reaction. Honestly, she was freaking me out. I thought maybe she needed cheering up.

So to lighten the mood, I whispered "You're being weird. If you were thinking of proposing in the Catholic church during mass, your timing and choice of venue would suck". 

I honestly had no idea there was a ring in her pocket and she was about to pop the question. Actually. She went kind of pale and laughed a little too loudly. In hindsight, I should have known. But I am the least perceptive person in the universe, and Lisa is often strange. So I suspected nothing. 

At eleven o’clock that night I was in my pajamas, still sick. I hadn’t bathed in three days, I’d eaten a garlicky dinner, I was mouth-breathing heavily from congestion.

Clearly, I was at my most irresistible .

The two of us were sitting on the couch reading through the endless list of stuff Lisa was supposed to be able to do at her Basic Military training. She got to the section about sit-ups and of course, started obsessing a little. Apparently, despite my need for snuggles, tea and bed, she NEEDed to test herself to make sure she could do the required 30 sit ups quickly enough and with proper form.

So I kneeled on her feet while she did them. And because we have a healthily competitive relationship, I got all fired up and when she finished, I said, “I bet I can do more”.

So we switched positions. After about five I wanted to quit. But I wanted to win more than I wanted to quit, and I did three more sit ups than her. Ha! I almost killed myself and she was barely out of breath when she finished, but I did three more.

As I collapsed back on the rug, breathing heavily and revelling in my victory, Lisa observed me quietly with a thoughtful expression.

 I assumed she was sullen because I had beaten her, or having feelings because she's a lesbian (and they have lots of feelings) and prepared to chastise her for being a sore loser and/or offer her a tissue. But before I could respond, Lisa took something out of her pocket and laid it on my chest.

 It was a hand-stitched leather box made of recycled scraps.

Initially, I thought the box was the present. I picked it up and said earnestly, “Wow… that’s really cool, Honey. Is it my prize for winning at sit ups?”

She started to get all glisten-y eyed and quietly said, “No, you have to open it”.

At this point, I assumed the contents would be a treasure Lisa had found. A heart shaped rock or a double pine cone. Or a drawing of a volcano. Something symbolizing her feelings for me.

I opened it, realized it was a ring, and said “That’s pretty. What’s it for?”

Tearily, she started a long Lisa-speech touching on an astonishing variety of mushy topics. Slowly, it dawned on me that she was proposing.

I catch on quickly. 

She then rolled her soggy eyeballs and said, "You're going to make me say it, aren't you?" I nodded, and made her get down on one knee. Her eyes dribbled as she said "Miranda-Jean, will you marry me?" My nose dribbled (from my cold) as I said "Yes". 

And then she peeled my grapefruit for me and rubbed my sinuses while we drank tea and watched Criminal Minds. And then we each carried a cat up the stairs to bed. It was a perfect lesbian marriage proposal. 

Our compatibility is immediately evident. 

COMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE: How I Almost Killed The Step-Cat or Homo Gives the Vet Our Christmas Fund