Why are you so quiet?

For the last week I have not written a great deal.  I do answer questions online for those coming to the site and seeing my chat interface there when I can, however I’ve not been very productive with new posts in the last week. You can see when I am online and available to chat, as there’s a little icon in the bottom of your screen saying so.

Of course, my program material is still being sent out to all my members and I am giving the support I always do. However, there’s good reason for the apparent silence.  I should explain.

Those of you who are regular readers may know my wife is always travelling. I don’t share a great deal of information in this regard, as you might know. However, I should explain that my wife is from Ukraine. Her daughter lives in Kiev with her two young sons.

I try not to be too political in these pages. When it comes to LGBTQ politics I feel this is a platform that I try to use appropriately to put some ideas out there, and like many writers I do like take the occasional swipe at authority and the self important stuffed shirts – most of whom need it from time to time. Generally, I try to focus on entertaining my members, and on providing a selection of informative and sometimes educational content. However, events in Europe in the last week are impossible to ignore.

I know over 70% of my members live in the USA, and that Kiev might seem a long way from these shores.  However, it really isn’t far away at all. Here in Canada Ukrainians are the fifth largest ethnic group in the country.

Events in the USA have considerable impact for many of us who do travel and have family in Europe. For example, when a politician undermines the integrity of an organisation, such as NATO, there are consequences. The damage done by four years of mismanagement on the part of the former administration very nearly derailed the organisation that has guaranteed the peace of Europe for the last seventy years. To the ignorant and the insular this may mean little – and I would be the first to agree that most such organisations are imperfect. However, we may be in the process of learning how very much we depend on the commitment of some of these structures. There really is a reason we have norms and standards in government. There is a reason we hold ourselves to a standard dictated by something other than pure profit and self interest. My many European members are likely as uneasy about the future as I am.

Tonight Kiev is under attack. For those of us with loved ones there we cannot divert our attention to the folly of a selfish greedy misogynist whose cowardice played a large role in bringing us to this place. Our thoughts are with those we love who are in desperate trouble. In these pages I have always emphasised the need to accept ourselves, and not dwell on the failings of others. It’s not always an easy thing to do. However, we must try to do so. And these dark days are not likely to be easy. So, for a few days I appreciate your indulgence.

Below is a track from a band called Baccara, performed at a televised concert in Kiev a few years ago.  I first heard this band when skiing in Italy in the Dolomite mountains as a preteen. The band was current at the time and the music would be piped out over the ski slope sound system. It was a lovely touch. I was surprised to find that the duo happened to do a TV special performance in Kiev years later. I thought it a good way to remind us all that even though these places seem far off, they touch us in a myriad of ways. The people who performed, staged and presented this show are just like you and I.  They have children that need to be driven to school, chores to be done and their own little idiosyncrasies, too. As a dictator’s bombs and rockets fall on innocent children in Kiev tonight we might want to spare a thought for the joy we are capable of sharing, when we focus on the positive and creative things we can do – and how easily we lose these things if we are not careful.

Please, spare a moment to pray for Ukraine.

Fiona.

It’s been a bit of a washout this week.

There’s a wonderful thing that happens in the face of adversity. People really do come together. In the last week in southern BC we’ve needed a bit of that.

If you’ve followed the news you may have heard we’ve had some extreme weather. It’s called an atmospheric river and it’s a direct result of global warming. So, in case you had the idea that global warming would only affect third world countries, it may be time to revise that idea.

This is just one of many landslides cutting the main highway to the interior.

No one has any idea what the total cost will be, as we’re still in the early stages of recovery – and praying it doesn’t freeze up too soon. The figure I am hearing, and I can’t back it up, is that there’s been over $30 billion worth of damage. At present we’re under gasoline rationing, as the oil pipelines have been severed by the landslides that resulted from the massive rainfall. We need to ration gasoline so that emergency services have sufficient fuel.

It is quite heartening to see Auntie Kittie, Rainbow, Sebastian and Katia Thornwood all arriving at my house on their bicycles. People have come together to prevent things getting any more difficult. Rainbow is naturally concerned that they may start rationing kombucha, but has resisted the urge to start panic buying the stuff. I suggested she start making kale smoothies to distribute if the situation deteriorates. She’s out buying kale even as we speak.

Dozens of volunteers at Surrey’s Dukh Nivaran Sahib Gurdwara cooked more than 3000 meals for those stranded in Hope. They’re paying for private helicopters to deliver meals (roti, cooked carrots, fruit) Wed AM – and will try for more trips in the coming days @CityNewsVAN

So, you can imagine life in Huckleberry Close has been just a little disrupted. Sylvester has been driving his truck up to the nearest affected areas to help in the cleanup, and Ali has been helping prepare meals which are then ferried by helicopter up to people stuck in areas between landslides. The Sikh Nation has been distributing food to many people who have been cut off. They’ve done some wonderful work, all are volunteers. While Ali is not Sikh, people have all been pitching in together.

One way or another we’re all going to be ok. I did notice that Sylvester has been driving up to the landslides and delivering tools and supplies, and returning with christmas trees. Yes, that’s what I said. Apparently the trucks bringing christmas trees to Vancouver for all the malls was caught in the slides and we have, of all things, a christmas tree shortage. So, he’s been shipping them back a couple of dozen at a time from a small grower who is on this side of the slides. He tells me he’s distributing them to the hospitals and schools. It sounds like one of his capers to me.

As you may know, Bernard is a keen sailor. He has great wet weather gear, and kitted Ali out with a stunning set of bright red storm clothes. As Ali has been getting up to the remote sites, where it’s still raining and snow is beginning to fall, he’s been seen trudging through the weather, his big white beard and red suit very distinctive in the mess. Apparently one family thought he was father Christmas. Well, it’s an easy mistake to make, after all. Magic flying christian saint – Syrian refugee in Canada…

Yesterday was the Trans day of Remembrance, in which we remember the injustices against trans people. There’s no shortage of them, for sure, however most of us in this space are so used to injustice that it just becomes part of being trans. I’ve tried to stay above the fray on the whole Kyle Rittenhouse situation, however when people who are so exposed to discrimination see how society can be so openly lacking in justice it seems to leave little room for hope. The video below was one I found quite on point.

I would, however, say that we all have an innate sense of justice. These things sit above the law. They are the values that make us people of integrity. I know so many of my members have faced injustices of their own. And things like the Rittenhouse farce will come and they will go. Life has a way of ultimately delivering justice. We do have to move forward with our own sense of what is right, even when it is challenged. Sometimes we have to hold our silence and live the change we want to see in the world. So, for those many people who feel disappointed in this farce of a situation, it’s worth staying focused on being true to ourselves and moving forward. However messed up that judge, the jury and the sad sack of $hit Kyle Rittenhouse may be, we still move forward. We can still live our truth and hold our own values. Gradually things will get better.

To move things on to a lighter note, if you’ve not read The Sweet Stench Of Revenge, perhaps now is a good time. You see, there is a such a thing as justice.

Have a great week.

Fiona

Newsflash – Jesus didn’t wear trousers either!

While not exactly a regular church goer, I have found great comfort in getting on my knees from time to time.

I had a bad start to life – I was born into good family. I am firmly convinced that those of us who are in the gender fluid and trans space have a major hurdle to get over when it comes to talking to our families.  Sometimes the effort of getting them to understand the issue of something as simple as pronouns is such a monument task. In my case it’s like trying to have a conversation with the walking dead.

My intent today is really not to upset any who are Christian. So, bare with me for a moment. The fact is trousers were not commonly worn in Jerusalem until well into the seventh century.

In researching this subject however I did come across an interesting bible reference. Deuteronomy 22 verse 5 says: “Women are not to wear men’s clothing, and men are not to wear women’s clothing; the Lord your God hates people who do such things.”

While I am a bit concerned with the presumption that God ‘hates’ anything, there’s nothing there about trans people wearing trans clothes. It seems more concerned with whose clothing you wear, rather than what clothing you wear. And as I always say, don’t steal your mother’s/sister’s/wife’s clothing, so we’re all in agreement there. The clothing I wear belongs to me, so no problem.

Katia Thornwood has from time to time brought her own special perspective to caring for the wellbeing of her flock.

I wonder though, if one dedicated one’s life to helping the needy, serving God and healing the sick, while wearing a nice pink blouse and strappy sandles, would this mark you for a place burning eternally in hell next to a murderer who didn’t crossdress? Perhaps there’s just a little bit of an overreaction here. There’s got to be room here for a joke about, ‘Is that a fire extinguisher in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?”, but we’ll move on I think.

In the end one has to come the conclusion that our task is not really to educate the rest of the world.  We are who we are. Frankly, I couldn’t care less what anyone uses as a pronoun for me, or what they think about gender. That’s their problem. It’s disrespectful for them to be unkind, but I remain who I am regardless. I’m just not that bothered about how people around me deal with it.

I was recently chatting with Kara, a young member online.  She was telling me how her family – a conservative Christian family – were quite unkind to her as they considered Kara to be doing something outside their faith.

I did mention to her that as far as I was aware Jesus didn’t wear trousers one day in his life, and that a principle value in the Christian faith is not to judge others, but it’s sometimes a little optimistic to hope that some who profess Christianity would themselves live by sincere Christian values.

Whether one agrees with the doctrine or not, most faiths are based on the idea that love and understanding are good things, and being a prize asshole is not. So, when we look about us and see all the division and discord it’s fair to say that those who are the engineers and vocal proponents of such hateful divisiveness are anything but godly. People like Marjory Taylor Greene, who are so fond of sowing division, and Gym Jordan, who steadfastly refused to acknowledge abuse when it was right in front of their own eyes, live by values that are so at odds with our own we can do little but stand back and watch as they march with grim determination toward their own demise. History does show that these people generally get what they deserve.

I have to say there is something horribly cynical about the way that many politicians pick up and drop Christian values to suit their own needs. However, we’re not really here to judge them either. Ultimately we have to live as well as we can, being as kind as possible to others, regardless of their prejudices. It’s up to us to be the better person.

I did mention to Kara that they may wish to trot out  a phrase like “My relationship with God is something between myself and her.” Standing back and watching the ensuing fireworks might be entertaining, if nothing else.

And with that I will step down from this soap box, into these panties and go back to my work of the moment.

As I continue to manage the roll over out of Patreon, I would like to say how very grateful I am for those of you who have joined my Good Gurls $1 a month membership (you can do so here). This is most appreciated and as I continue to develop some new content it does help the work I do enormously.

All this month I am featuring the work of Mollie Blake on the website.  You can follow her on Twitter here. Be sure to check out her series, The Dating Game. She’s got some lovely content there.  I have new material on the site virtually every day at present, so checking in at http://FionaDobson.com daily is a great idea. There’s always something there that’s sure to grab your interest. Have a delightful week.

🙂

Fiona

http://FionaDobson.com

As the counting continues Auntie Kittie urges calm.

What a very stressful few days it’s been. Just today I had one of the neighbourhood boys over while my delightful niece, Nancy and I arranged some flowers in my house. I do find it so relaxing to put out a few nice flower arrangements.

The children in Huckleberry Close seem to gravitate to my house, and the large garden I’m lucky enough to have. Fiona’s delightful gardener, Ali, has been helping me and cutting some beautiful blooms for me to arrange in the house. The unfortunate challenge of being so available to the neighbourhood children is that from time to time the rather revolting neighbour, Donald comes and plays in my garden. I try to be kind and even handed, but it’s really not always easy. I think all the children think of me as their personal Auntie.

It’s hardly surprising really. They love to come over and are sure to sample my pie, or anything else I put out on the kitchen table. I like to provide a nice spread. Some of the young boys just can’t get enough of it. I should be flattered I suppose, that they have such hearty appetites.

“Auntie,” said young Donald this very afternoon. “What’s an erection?”

“Donald, that’s a very unusual question. Now, let me see. Your mother should really talk to you about this, but when a man and a woman… No, when two people… No, when a small group of people of undetermined genders or something between genders…”

“Auntie,” said little Nancy jumping in and coming to my rescue between placing holly sprigs in vases I’d put out on the table. “I think Donald means, ’What’s an election?’”

“Oh, I see,” I said with relief. “Really? You don’t know what that is? Ok, let’s see. How can I explain? It’s something we do now and then to get rid of people who aren’t running the country the way we like it. For example, by locking up all the little children. Or making promises they don’t keep, or are generally doing things that are douchy and not representative of our values.”

“What are values, Auntie Kittie?” asked Donald.

“Don’t worry, Donald,” I replied. “I’ll let you know if you ever get any. We usually elect people based on policies, Donald. So, for example in Canada we believe in religious freedoms, freedom of thought and belief, and freedom of expression. You believe in freedom of speech, don’t you, Donald?”

“Well, I guess,” agreed Donald reluctantly.

“Well shut up then,” I said firmly.

“Tell him about the polls, Auntie,” piped up Nancy, always keen to be of help.

“I don’t trust the Poles,” said Young Donald.

“Don’t be so racist,” I said and cuffed him around the ear, before sending him off to the bathroom. “Be a sensible boy and be sure to wash your little hands after.”

Donald has a lot to learn in the hygiene department.

Nancy turned to me and said, “I’m not sure Donald quite understands about democracy.”

“Oh,” I said gently. “I’m sure he’ll learn. And then probably be thrown in a cell where he belongs, before dying alone in disgrace. Under the circumstances I think that’s not a bad outcome.”

“What do you mean, Auntie?” asked Nancy.

“Well, five hundred years ago we would have stoned him to death, in the time honored fashion. Under the circumstances, if I were Donald I would consider myself lucky.”

Don’t worry, it’ll soon be over. Let’s just stay calm, and choose an extra special pair of panties with which to celebrate as the tide of change flushes out the U-bend of the last four years.

Your favorite auntie,

Auntie Kittie.

Get more Auntie Kittie HERE.

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We all get to swallow our own medicine.

“Swallow, Fiona!” said Sebastian, pushing me onward.

“But…” I protested, my mouth almost overflowing.

Rainbow, Sebastian’s sister, added, “Go on, Fiona. You’ve taken more than a couple of mouthfuls already.”

She gave me a knowing look and whispered, “I know you love it really!” Then she lay back on her yoga mat in my garden, the soft fragrance of lavender wafting over us.

I should explain, Rainbow and Sebastian are at my place this morning and brought some healthy kale and ginger smoothies with them. I know how good it is for me, so even though I may gag a little, I manage to force it down. I don’t mind Sebastian and Rainbow coming over for breakfast as long as we enjoy it in the garden, and maintain a reasonable social distance.

“It tastes very,” I searched for words, “…healthy.”

It tasted so healthy I wondered if I was going to throw up. It’s not the first time I’ve been exposed to this recipe. To be fair, one does feel wonderful when one finishes drinking it.

Rainbow brings a couple of interesting points to her interpretation of yoga poses.

Sebastian is a very diligent personal trainer. This dreadful virus business has hit his business quite hard. He and his sister come over to my place every two or three days for morning yoga, which helps me keep nice and trim and as long as we are reasonably careful I feel glad of their presence. I get to dress in a beautiful leotard and tights as we do our yoga class, and Max my next door neighbor’s young son watches us through his binoculars from his bedroom window.

“You know,” said Sebastian, “your body is the sum total of all that you put into it. It’s best to choose things that are wholesome.”

I briefly thought back, remembering a long and and enjoyable youth, and smiled.

“See,” cut in Sebastian, “the thought has brought a smile back to your face.”

“No, you misunderstand,” I replied. “I was just thinking about a little encounter I had last fall. Very wholesome.”

However, that’s not the main reason I’m writing today. We’re living in turbulent times. You don’t need me to remind you of that. I do however want to encourage you to do a couple of things this week.

The first is to stay focused on social distancing and wearing a mask in areas where there are groups of people. Just because there’s a lot of protests going on, the virus doesn’t just go away. Guard your health with common sense.

Second, as I often suggest to my members, let’s not rush to judge others this week. Asking oneself, “what would I be doing if that were my brother?” is a good first step to trying to understand some of the events unfolding. Those of us who explore the gender spectrum understand about being judged harshly. Let’s try not to make that mistake with others.

If you’ve not already done so, be sure to join my Patreon, I’d like to try and get up to 175 Patrons this month.  It’s just $1 a month and you know you’re going to get a lot of joy from it.

Enjoy the beautiful song by Marvin Gaye. Be sure to let me know how you’re getting along.

😊

Fiona

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Can you spot the idiot in this picture?

I have a short tale to tell you that probably will go down as one of my less stellar moments in my career in advertising.  Because of some of the people concerned you will understand that I have to be a little vague on some of the names.  Needless to say, the primary protagonist in this little adventure was none other than one who shares their name with a certain occupant of the White House.

“You must be very proud,” I said.

Well, I had no idea at the time, of course, only aware that one of the charities that we work with at the advertising agency wanted me to organise Bernard (my photographer) to come to one of their locations for a photo opportunity that I was informed could be very valuable in the fund raising campaigns that we typically manage in the fall.

As a result Bernard and I took the flight from Montreal to Vancouver, and then north to the Yukon, where a local company flew us on to a remote hunting lodge. Now, here’s the back story.  Apparently some hunter from the US had decided they want to shoot one of our bears. It’s not that we are short of bears, but the area of incredible beauty that this particular ‘sportsman’ wanted to hunt in is designated as a national park.  Now, we take these things rather seriously in Canada. There’s meant to be no hunting of certain species in the national park, however I was informed that a large donation would be made to the conservancy were this particular hunter allowed access, and a special dispensation had been granted.

Continue reading “Can you spot the idiot in this picture?”