One Queer Journey

Right. So this week I'm house-sitting for my parents, and since the cat hasn't changed much in the year since I've watched her, you won't be getting more adorable cat pictures.

Instead, I decided to spend my week going through the boxes of my stuff that are still at my parents' house (two boxes of stuffed animals, one box of books, two boxes of miscellaneous junk). One of those boxes had a shoebox full of photos (organized by film roll/date and sorted accordingly because it's me). I also found an unused photo album, and since I'm all about downsizing, I decided to junk all the photos that I couldn't fit in the album. That's my childhood reduced to 160 pictures (aside from those photo albums I've already made).

Which meant I spent a few days going through the photos of my childhood (which involved a lot of me taking weird pictures of birthday presents, because that was a thing I loved to do. As if I was going to forget what I'd gotten). And I thought it'd be fun to share my haircut journey. Some of these I look back on and say, "Really, genderqueer, why was this a surprise?"

Back in the day I had fairly blond hair. And since I had two older brothers, my mother LOVED to put me in dresses. I was not as happy about this.

You can't see the full extent of frilly dress-itude in this picture, but I think the bow says an awful lot.

But long hair does not a girly-girl make. My mom may have insisted on dresses for holidays, church, and special occasions, but most of the time I ran around in jeans...or cleats.

Because I played soccer! I loved soccer. My dad was a great coach, I was fairly athletic, and I got to be rough and tumble. I wasn't a good long-distance runner, but I could sprint well and knock people (completely legally) on their butts.

The older I got, the more I resisted the dresses, the more I was a 'tomboy', until eventually....

Listen, I'm not saying it was a great haircut on me, but this was probably sometime in the nineties, so we'll just go with that as the excuse. Also, I'm pretty sure it was the first time my parents (read: my mother) let me pick my own hairstyle. And the hairstylist just sort of went along with me, I think. The details are a little fuzzy.

I don't necessarily think clothes make the man, but they sure do say something about me :)

And yes, in that first picture I was holding Mario Paint. It was the one video game that was MINE and not my brothers' and I was so proud of it (even though it wasn't nearly as fun as all the games my brothers had that I played).

In high school I let my hair grow out again, either because I do sometimes like it long (even if all I do is put it in a ponytail or braid) or because peer pressure indicated long hair was a must to attract the attention of guys (which is what all high schoolers want, right?).

So I let it grow out. And out and out and out. The picture shows the absolute length of my hair (it doesn't grow any longer, because I shed too fast for it go do so. It also shows my hair's tendency to have a SLIGHT wave.

The reason I took this sort of random shot?

Because it was the summer before my freshman year of college, and I once again cut all my hair off. I didn't go as drastically short this time, mostly because I was going through enough changes, I didn't want to look stupid (which I then felt like I looked back with my short hair).

Over the course of college my hair got shorter and shorter and shorter, until a few years after graduation, when I started getting basically the same short hair as I have now (with some variations and different styles over the years).

So here I am. Thanks for joining me on this journey down memory lane!


Birthday Bash Giveaway!

In case you haven't heard, my birthday's in a week (August 24)!

To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of Second Skin and Sharing a Pond. This is a tumblr-only giveaway (sorry!).

You can find the Sharing a Pond giveaway here.

You can find the Second Skin giveaway here.

Good luck!


Coming Out, Part 2

So, at the beginning of this year I was talking to a therapist about coming out to my family as genderqueer, and we discussed how to do it and whatnot, and eventually it got to the point where I needed the topic to just naturally arise with my parents because otherwise anything would feel weird. Like a setup. My mom (and I assume my dad) knew I was on the LGBT spectrum, but none of the details.

And then Thursday happened. It was a terrible day for me emotionally and I couldn't even tell you why. It just sucked. It got a little better as the day wore on, but I was mostly on edge. Anxious and depressed and just BLAH.

In the evening I was down near home, so I swung by to pick up some zucchini and a cooler, and my mom and I chatted (for like an hour and a half). Then I went to leave and she asked if I was getting excited for me coming vacation and I said I'd be excited for that once I got my hair cut, then I described my haircut.

Her: You want a boys' haircut?
Me: Well, lots of girls have that haircut, but yes, I do want a boys' haircut. *pause, thinking: Well, fuck it.* You know, because I'm genderqueer.

I am the picture of grace an eloquence. 

We talked a little about transgender vs genderqueer, which came up again when she called me her "daughter" and I corrected "child" and she looked at me dumbfounded, and I explained I preferred nongendered words, but we could discuss that pronouns at another time. She seemed stunned and I said she probably needed some time to process this, but she said she was fine.

I think she wanted to seem fine and not like she had to readjust things in her head, but I also think needing time to readjust things in your head is OK. Like, hey, I just told you flat-out that you don't have a daughter anymore. Even if you're totally cool with it, I imagine it takes some pondering. It sure took me some pondering!

So that was my very low-key coming out as genderqueer. Hopefully this means she'll never question my clothing choices again (although someone should probably question my clothing styles...).

And if any of my readers have questions, feel free to ask :)


Dogs, Heatwaves, and Writing

If you follow my whining me on twitter, you'll know that I've spent the past week dog sitting. Which isn't a problem, generally. I mean, I always complain, but I've rather gotten used to sleeping in their bed and the lack of really hot water in the shower (it's summer, it's fine). The dog is always a stressor, because he's more work for me than I have to tend in my daily life, but this year it's rough.

As you can probably tell by his picture, Duke is a geriatric pup. He's gotten more and more white as the years have gone by, and although I'm not sure of his age, I'm guessing it's around ten or twelve, which is about peak for a Labrador, and he's a Chocolate Lab. He was a handful as a puppy, but he's also raised three kids to five years old, and taught them to respect dogs and how to behave around dogs, and not to be afraid of big dogs (even when they plow right over you when you're just learning to stand).

He's old. He has a breathing problem (he pants a lot, and I'm pretty sure it's not just because it's hot most of the time), is going blind and deaf, and has terrible hips. The hips especially have taken a swift downturn recently, where when he's walking on the tile (seen here with him sleeping), his hind legs will just slip out from under him and plop him on the floor. He's pretty chill about it. He just sort of sighs and says Well, I guess I'll lie here then.

Of course, putting carpeting down would be a good solution to this problem. Except in his old age he also has some bathroom issues, which I've ranted about enough on Twitter that I'll spare you the details. But it's messy. And frustrating. And STINKS. And I can't really be mad at him because he's just an old dog doing his best.

Another problem with the hips is going up and down stairs. Thankfully he can pretty much live in the downstairs, but when he has to go out, he has to go down five porch steps. Which he usually does without completely collapsing (but every time he collapses it breaks my heart). But most times to get back up the steps, I have to grab him by the hips and walk his hind legs up the steps while he works the front end. We've actually gotten pretty good at it. (His owner made a ramp right before he left to try to avoid this problem, since the level of hip issue has turned suddenly for the worse, but the ramp seems to cause us more problems than solutions, so we're doing it our way.)

So some mornings I get woken up by whining at 4 am because he's fallen and he can't get up (I'm serious), and I trudge downstairs and haul him to his feet and then let him out to pee (because why risk it) and then trudge back to bed. That's better than the second morning when I woke up to...well, we won't discuss that.

But he's a lovely creature, and while I wish his owner would have given me a bit more warning about what I was stepping into, I can't blame the dog. Even when I leave him out in the cool porch where he has food, water, and easy walking turf, plus access to potty space, and yet he LOOKS in the window like I've betrayed him. Okay, I may blame him a little for that.

The house itself is lovely. The owner has a fantastic sense of style, and has added a few touches that I appreciate.

Yes, those are tea kettles that say "Green Tea" "Ceylon Tea" and "Oolong Tea" in the kitchen. They also have a gas range stove, which I only really care about because it heats my tea water so quickly.

The reason I'm (over?)sharing this is because I came into this week with GRAND plans of productivity. That was, until I met my charge for the week and realized how much time and effort was going to go into caring for him. Which is partially an excuse (because I still have time to watch the entire second season of Daredevil), but also can be emotionally draining. Bargaining with a dog is futile. Bargaining with a partially deaf/blind dog is the beginnings of insanity. But there's really not any other choice.

That said, I still outlined a Christmas novella(?) that was supposed to be 20K at max, but the outline seems to be sort of long for that. But who knows. I wrote it out by hand in a tiny notebook, so maybe it's just the right length.


I'm not a frog.

Part of me wants to sit here and write a post about how I haven't gotten anything done because I've been busy and now I'm dog sitting a geriatric dog who weighs about as much as me and who can't go up and down steps in an old house that is nothing but steps. I was going to complain how I'm exhausted and sleepy and the dog is sitting at the bottom steps of the porch unable to get in because going up steps is nearly impossible. I was also going to complain about how I've been here a day and a half and have had to clean up two piles inside the house already. There was going to be a lot of whining here.

And I think I have good reason to be whiny and exhausted. But today I'm going to strive to be positive. My friends just had their first baby! His name is Owen and I haven't seen him (they haven't left the hospital yet and the pic I saw was a wrinkly little raisin), but he's the first born among my friends, so it's exciting.

I rode yesterday, and while it wasn't a great ride (*refrains from whining*), I'm glad I got one last ride in before my week away (and a week of intense heat!). I also did all the barn chores, so I feel less bad about eating those three cupcakes last night while rewatching The Force Awakens. And I saw some toads, which isn't unusual, but most of the time they are large (the size of a coaster), but I also saw a tiny one (pictured) who was roughly the size of a quarter. (Let me tell you, it's hard to take a picture of something that small, in poor lighting, while playing the game of "how close can I get before you hop away.")

The rest of the day was a blur of frustration and exhaustion, so I won't go on about it. This week was pretty good in the writing avenue, and though I'm sleepy and grumpy, I'm going to try to keep that momentum going this morning. Possibly while listening to Christmas music. Because reasons ;) Hey, it is Christmas in July, isn't it?!

Hop to it!


Being Busy and Playing Real Life Pokemon

The second-ish week of the month is always hard, as in addition to riding twice and getting together with friends on Friday, I have a 4-H meeting (horse club, go figure), and writers' group. So it's super busy, and my scheduled "I need to work on revisions" this week fell through hard. Ah well, there's always next week, right (you know, the one with two barn trips, writers' group, and two social nights...)?

I currently have my fantasy novella shipped off to another batch of beta readers (for another set of eyes), so now I've (hypothetically) begun edits on my trans cowboy story. Deep breath.

My current WIP is the same story I've been writing for the past forever (it feels like). I like the story, but it's fighting me tooth and nail, and since I'm sticking to "write one story at a time" rule, I'm eagerly looking forward to finishing it. Both characters are sort of angst-muffins, and I love them dearly, but they are a heck of trouble to write!

In other news, all of my friends are playing Pokemon Go, so I started sharing pictures of all the real life pokemon I caught.
Ponyta (aka, my gray pony who rolls after I bathe him)

Meowth (aka black barn cat who is a love muffin)

Pidgey (aka, chicken at the barn)

Real-life Pokemon Go is fun :P I encourage everyone to participate.


When Drama Happens, Pull on Your Boots

Earlier this week there was a bit of kerfuffle in the M/M community (I know, surprise, right?). My original post today was going to be about my frustration with people, in general, who are uninvolved with something, yet feel free to state their opinion/beliefs (generally unasked). I mean, obviously people are allowed to state their opinion about things whenever, but I just find it happening so often on social media, that it feels like it's only there to stir the waters and make people angry--often about something they don't have all the facts on, if the person is being vague in their spouting.

Today's post (ironically) was going to be my opinion on people keeping their opinions to themselves. On how people need to just kinda sit down and shush sometimes. That we don't have to scream our thoughts from the rooftops every time something comes up.

Then I decided I'd rather not. (Well, not more than I just said.) What's the point of getting angry. Instead, I give you cat picture.

This is Lily. She's sort of a barn/house indoor/outdoor cat. She's a love muffin and every time I have to go to the fields by the house where she reigns, she stops by to say hi and beg rubs. Unlike some cats, who beg rubs and then attack you completely unprovoked when they've reached max rub, Lily just walks away.

And I didn't really realize this when I was originally planning on posting, but Lily is doing something we could all learn from. Absorb the love while it's there and when you've had enough or are no longer enjoying it, Walk away. There's no need to make a fuss. (Look at me bringing it back around. Don't expect the same for all of these :P)

My Monday ride was kind of crummy. The weather was gorgeous and cool. Unfortunately, the horse was in a bad mood from the beginning, and while lately he seemed to have settled down and be doing okay, on Monday he'd returned to his insane self. To say that my ride was not stellar is accurate. It may have been related to the level of stress I was feeling. Maybe the horse knew. Maybe I was just already on edge. It wasn't a good combination, whatever it was.

On Wednesday, however, when summer finally decided to show itself and make it hot, the horses were good. First was Dish, the quarter horse I've been exercising for a friend, and we've been making some nice advancements in our ride, but today was just great. She had good energy, I was positioned right, and things just clicked.

Part of it, I'm sure, is that she was feeling good and energetic and like she didn't want to challenge me at every turn. But I also feel like the work we've done together has give us this progress. I kept my legs stretched down, I sat up straight, I didn't lean forward, and I was there to give cues when she needed them.

A good ride is a tenuous thing, because you know that the next ride can always be horrible (see previous horse mentioned). But it also makes you feel like master of the world. Because you managed to get in sync with a half-ton animal, get it to do what you wanted, and both of you ended up happier for it (because they don't really like when you get pissy with them either). So being able to connect with the animal and advance in your personal goals/skills, is amazing. And because it's a physical sport, the results of the victory are also physical: sometimes that means you're energized, sometimes that means you're exhausted, but you still have a grin on your face. (Sort of like when writing a huge emotional scene.)

After I finished my ride, circumstances were such that I could ride another horse, a sweet, dead quiet mare whose owner rarely comes to the barn and never rides. The only exercise this horse gets is when she's (sometimes) ridden from the field she stays at to the barn for the day. It's a 5-10 minute ride.

I wasn't really planning on giving this horse a hard ride, just plod around while waiting for someone else to get done, so I just threw on a bridle and rode bareback (well, I used a bareback pad because she has bony whithers, but mostly bareback!). I only did walking and jogging (she has loping issues), but it was another good ride. Nothing magical, but it was nice to get this girl moving and working. And I ended up working her for a lot longer than I'd planned.

Of course, that means I dismounted and my legs are like Jello-O and I ended up getting home a lot later than I wanted.

But horses, man. This is what it's all about.