Sunday, April 26, 2009

six degrees

We were playing "six degrees" on Friday night.

I'm two degrees of separation away from a few musicians that I admire.

KS also pointed out to me that courtesy of a mutual friend, I am two or three degrees separated from every aboriginal writer in North America. And the one I admire the most is the parter of aforementioned mutual friend.

I am blessed.

The storms have passed, the air outside is fresh and cool. I'm sleeping with the windows open tonight. Perhaps the light breeze and distant thunder will colour my dreams.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

value village and good friends

First a side note: It's starting to warm up ever so slightly in Southwestern Ontario. My school age group immediately responded by shedding all their outerwear, and in some cases, stripping down to their undershirts for the six-block walk back to the day care at the end of the day. I don't find it that warm, personally, but they're old enough to add a layer when it gets warmer....

So yesterday I was playing basketball with a gap-toothed six-year old boy. Or trying to, as he really didn't understand the game and we had no net, but he brought his basketball and he was going to use it, so really we were chasing each other around the playground - he was traveling with the ball, and I was showing him how to dribble and pivot. I must have tired him out. For a brief moment this tiny person stopped, and said to me:

"Good thing I put on my deodorant today!"

That's why I still like working with kids after all these years.

Last night was supposed to be a housecleaning/writing night for me. Instead I went to Value Village.

I know I don't have much money. But I also don't have any summer clothes. I weighed 40 pounds more last summer than I do now. The few items I saved are suitable only for wearing as pajamas. And when my friend KS calls and asks me to accompany her to VV, I can never say no.

I love the woman. Intelligent, outspoken, beautiful...and she's merciless in the change room.

"Take that off, it does nothing for you"

"Here. Try this on. No, I mean it, try it on. I don't care if you don't wear dresses like that, just put it on and see what it looks like."

Which is why I own any dress at all beyond the "hippie-flowy" skirts that I wear in the summer time. I don't wear dresses. But there's this little black dress sitting in my closet that looks amazing on me.

I have no place to wear it, but no matter....

So last night KS and I did the usual. VV (in Cambridge this time) and coffee at her place to follow. We closed down VV once again - we have a habit of forgetting the time, and then we're frantically trying stuff on because there's fifteen minutes left before closing and the're going to kick us out soon. Not that we've ever been kicked out, but it's come close.

And then we curled up on her couch with our coffee mugs in out hands and talked far into the night. I love nights like this - intense conversations with good friends. With her, because after four years I can finally let my guard down and be myself. I live for them, which is why my house is a mess and no writing is done. She's my sounding board, she asks me all the tough questions that I'm afraid to answer. She laughs at me when I need to be laughed at. She has no pretense.

I went home at 2 am.

I was with N for more than ten years. It was hard to leave in many ways, because I was afraid of being alone, of never finding that right person. And that hasn't changed - of course, it's only been eight months and I'm really not looking. But I've found something that I've missed, or that I only had infrequently over the years.

The company of women.

Beautiful, intelligent women who are funny and compassionate. Who care about their lives and the lives of others. Willing to fight for what they believe in, to make the world a better place because they believes so strongly in feminism, in equality, in and end to negative power relationships. Because they love and are loved in turn.

I am lonely sometimes. Having great queer friends to visit and talk to has a level of intimacy that I love, but some days it's not enough. I want to explore a bit, find out more about this new body of mine, hey, maybe even meet single queer women and date...or something radical like that.

But until that time comes...I hope it comes...I will be content, because of VV, good coffee, and good friends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

my world this minute

This morning's post is actually the text of an email I sent to my lovely friend KS - it's pretty much everything I want to say about last night's concert and life in general at the moment. I hope everyone has a wonderful, loving, productive day!

The Indigo Girls were incredible. Amazing. And they played all my favourite songs. When they do a Canadian date I am taking Emily along - there was a group of about six girls in front of us with their mom. I would have brought her except for the hassle of bringing a kid across the border without both parents present.

I left at 3:45 - I wanted to leave at 3, but you know....and it would have taken about 2.5 hours to get there, if it wasn't for the flawed nature of all things technological. We set our parents GPS to The University of Buffalo and ended up in some urban neighbourhood somewhere that in no way resembled a university campus.

Whereupon we laughed like idiots for about five minutes. I had to pull the car over because I was laughing so hard. I think it has something to do with the GPS voice system - that modulated, gentle tone that calmly says "Arriving at Destination" (can you not see the capital letters in your mind?). And here we are, in what is supposed to be a university campus, and we're surrounded by wooden houses circa 1920, with no university in sight. We learned a powerful lesson - there were two entries for the University of Buffalo, and we inadvertently picked the misspelled one. Well, there you go...I have sent the GPS back to my parents' house, and from now on will use the time-honoured method of following maps to navigate myself.

My dad is one of those people that names things. The gps' name is apparently Jenny. But he only calls it Jenny when my mom is not around,because he bought it for her (ha!) and she doesn't think he should have the right to name things that are hers.

The concert was at the University of Buffalo Center for the Arts - a pretty big venue. Bigger than River Run...and it was sold out, from all appearances. I've always thought they would be better live (and you know how I love their music) and they are...simply incredible. They played a good mix of their new stuff and some of the old faves - you know, Closer to Fine, Galileo...Amy sang a song off the new CD called True Romantic, which I never really liked, until she did it live. She brought the house down...when she gives her all vocally, it's a sight to behold. And I love watching her jump around on stage. When she's into it, she's really into it. My seats were okay...the energy from the crowd was amazing, and it was great to take Megan, who grew up on IG music.

But the size of the venue meant that there was no chance to meet and greet the performers.

I am recovering (this morning) from a fight with Norm - over fucking boots! That I brought to his place and he can't find, therefore he has declared that I never brought them and I must be wrong. Worth yelling at me, for sure. And "he" doesn't understand "my" attitude. All my problem, none of his. The usual crap, and I'm really tired of it.

Egads! I need serenity in my life for sure.

I'm liking Camlin (for those of you who are reading this as a blog post, Camlin is my "magical" name, a name I use in circle, for blogging, and suchlike), but I don't hear it enough. It suits me. I want it to become me.

I hope you packed some red wine to go along with your negotiations. That would make things go much more smoothly!!! I'll be thinking of you today as I mull over household budgets and lost boots.


Camlin xxoo

Monday, April 20, 2009

on a more positive note....

I'm feeling much better today! I was wide awake at 7 am, listening to the rain fall outside my window. The sky was grey, the wind moved through the trees a bit, and the sound of rain was calming. When I woke up this morning, my little girl was sound asleep in bed beside me, she continued to sleep as I journalled, her face flushed and rosy.

And today is the day....Indigo Girls in Buffalo!

I'm so excited!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

dear universe

I'm 43 years old.

I have iron-deficiency anemia.

I am completely finished with childbearing.

I thought the pill would improve things a bit.

Please, just make it stop.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I want to write a post about the things that lie closest to my heart. I want to wax poetic on ethereal subjects like the budding trees, and the warmth, the longer days, my journeys into solitude and connection, the wanderings of my mind.

I am not at a loss for words. I am never at a loss for words. But my words are paper-weighted, they are all spent wrapped around a cause, a longing, and a hope for the future. I've spent my morning wandering the trails by the riverside, dog in tow, and now I have a few minutes to collect myself before I move on to work. And I can't settle, exactly, on what I want to say.

A story needs editing. I lost my Word files when the computer broke down and I have to start from scratch. A child needs to be nurtured, and I have precious few hours to spend with her. A city park needs to be saved, before the powers that be sell off forested land to developers. Believe me, you will here more about that later. And my heart is discovering something that I lost, or neglected many years ago. Too full for words, only suffice it to say that when you ask to be open, and you really mean it, the Universe will step in to make things happen.

Transformation can be abrupt, an unfolding, or a combination of slow and rapid change. Whenever I think I've reached the other side, I discover more about myself, I learn that work has been left unfinished, that there is more stretching and (un) comfortable growth to take place. Losing 130 pounds was a beginning, but not an end. Coming out was an integral part of my process, but my journey is far from complete.

I cannot be who I am and hide myself from those I love. I cannot embrace the causes that are dear to my heart and stay in the shadows. I can make a difference.

I will fight for what I believe in, tooth and nail, lay myself down in front of bulldozers if need be, carry the signs that proclaim my beliefs. I will love and be loved.

Beginning with myself. Embracing who I am, with all my glorious beauty and my forgivable faults.

I know who I am. I have always known.
My head is full of dreams, my heart is full...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Emily was in the bath this morning and I washed her hair. As we were rinsing, she asked me "what's six plus six?" "Twelve", I told her.

"Okay," she said. "Then six plus five is eleven. And six plus four is ten. And six plus three is nine."

"Well then," I said to her, "what's six plus seven?"

Without hesitation, she answered "Thirteen."

And also got six plus eight and six plus nine.

She's five years old. When I was five I could print my name, and I was just beginning to figure out that two plus two equals four. She can read, she writes me big long stories about everything, and she can argue her point like a seasoned lawyer. These qualities don't make her easy to live with, to be sure. But she has an open face like a spring blossom, she's alive and aware because I'm teaching her everything I can. Not so much about numbers, but about life, and the earth, and the people that live here. She will change the world some day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My computer lives! It almost ended its days as a linux machine, but I begged, whined and pleaded until the holders-off-all-tech-knowledge conceded and re-installed Windows for me. Thank the goddess for small mercies! I think that linux is great if you can program....but you can't upload or download anything if you have a non-technical brain like mine.

The news, in brief

-My ex was given his employment termination notice yesterday. We are not panicking, no we are not. We (meaning I) are just slightly worried. We have enough to last for about two months. If my hours had not been reduced, I wouldn't feel nearly as anxious. But the job I have becomes full-time again in early July...given the number of new ECE grads who are out there looking for work (most community college programs finish up in April)I am far better off staying where I am. N has one contract and is close to acquiring another, which would be equivalent to full-time employment. But I find him to be overconfident sometimes, which I think leads him to some level of arrogance...which is not good if you are looking for employment. And he's overqualified for a lot of things. Contract is probably the way to go.

-our new piano arrives tomorrow. It is a giveaway, a relative of my sister-in-law decided she was tired of it, not long after having it tuned. I play a bit. I want it for Emily, not that we can afford lessons right now.

-My little hellion is running around small-town Ontario telling everyone who cares to listen, and even those who don't, that girls CAN marry girls and boys CAN marry boys because her mom says so. Her child care teachers have mixed feelings regarding this topic (as I well know because it is also my workplace) but she is unstoppable. And loud. And determined to marry a little girl in her day care class - she was not pleased when I told her that marriage was something that had to be chosen by both parties involved. I labour under the delusion that I am not out at work.

-also in the small child department - I have given up trying to stop Emily from singing "Lucystoners" and instead taught her what the song means, and why it is important. And that some parents may object to some of the words in the song. She heard it once, by accident, almost a year ago. She has never forgotten the chorus. But her favourite part is the "woo-hoo" that happens after the chorus. She has decided that it is better to sing "little perennials" at school and day care.

-the older daughter is progressing on the guitar but we are easily sidetracked. Today she showed me this karaoke website and we ended up spending the entire hour singing duets and suchlike. it was great fun. I will not link to the site because you might find my singing, and although I sing well, I am my own worst critic. I grit my teeth whenever I hear a mistake.

- I have been writing a lot, which is good. I'm happy to have the computer back because I have a lot of editing to do.

-I'm saving up my tutoring money for Michfest. I make about $160 a month tutoring, so I should be able to go, unless Emily's dad is not working by then, because things will be really, really unstable at that point. It won't happen.

For your listening pleasure or displeasure, depending upon your taste in music:

Hope your spring days are warming up!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


That, my friends, is the unpleasant sound of my hard drive imploding.

I lost my backup discs somehow during the move. My photos, my itunes library, my writing - gone.

Computer-savvy ex has loaned me a laptop and is trying to retrieve my stuff for me.

We'll see what happens.

At least I'm online again.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


We are a group of eight. We used to be a group of five.

We were five for three years, right up until the beginning of this year. At first three of us identified ourselves as queer in some way, and then I came out. I share bonds with these women that I can't begin to describe. They knew and accepted me when I weighed 300 pounds, they accepted my decision to have surgery, and they know and love me for who I am in this minute. Whoever she is...

I've always had a hard time being open. Not just open about my sexuality, but open to the world, open to loving and being loved, open to everything that my senses can hold. I had a dream a few days ago - it reminded me that I closed myself up to protect myself long ago. It was right for me at the time, because I needed to be safe, I needed to close that vulnerable part of myself off from other people. but I don't need those habits any more. No one is out to get me. I don't have to shield myself from pain any longer because I am strong enough to bear what comes my way for the sake of the joy I will find.

It's very easy to be joyful, once you get the hang of it. I wasn't, for so long. I stayed in a safe relationship, closed myself off completely for the sake of staying within that safety. I kept people at bay. I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped listening to music I loved, stopped thinking. Having done that for so long, it's hard to move in the other direction, and without really thinking about it, I cut people off.

I've done it again, with someone that I recently met. I mean, she's this amazing person, has an incredible job, has had tons of life experiences that I can relate to. We got along really well. And I cut her off because I was getting the uncomfortable feeling (without asking her, of course) that she wanted something I couldn't give her.

I'm just not ready.

So I did what was safe, and I stopped talking to her. Of course, I have a million excuses, the lamest one being that I am just too busy.

You know I'm not. I've even caught up on my blogroll.

So what's holding me back?

What prevents me from admitting to someone (a different someone) that I'm attracted to her...never mind the fact that she lives miles away, is partnered, and anything with her would be short, passion-filled, and doomed for destruction. Why can't I just say it?

Because, I just don't do those things. I can't....which is the lamest thing I've ever heard. Let's rewind the tape a bit, go backwards to when it wasn't safe to be open. That was so long ago, and I really don't need to hide anymore.

The women in my group know me well. And they feel comfortable enough that they sometimes ask me uncomfortable questions. The three new women are challenging for me. Where I used to feel completely relaxed an comfortable, there's a small barrier now, just a wee block, that seems to separate me from everyone else. I can't flirt like I used to (if you're new to this queer thing and you're not quite sure what to do with yourself, get thee to a coven, it's a great place to safely explore...) I digress...

Our ostara (spring equinox) ritual was outdoors, at a local labyrinth. I've never walked one. You take the same path in as you take out. You can walk quickly, or pause at each curve and reflect. Ostara is a time for letting go of what you don't need, for bringing the things into your life that will give you abundance in the coming months. Creating balance. So on the path into the centre, it is a good idea to walk with your palms down, so that you can let go of what you don't need.

Do I need this fear? Not at all. So I began the process of shedding it. At first, as I walked, I would say to myself "I really need to let go of...." and then I caught myself. Without realizing it, I was hanging on to those I changed the chant (or whatever, call it what you will) to "I'm letting go of this... I walked, and thought about the person I am, the person I have become, the person that I want visible to the entire world. And how my perception of myself has been skewed for so long - I hang onto the image of the 300 pounds, the face obscured, the averted eyes, the silence when I really want to speak. Now I have no shield, and I obsess about wrinkled skin, and about crooked teeth...what superficial thing can I find next not to like about myself. Geez...I'm 43 years old, I have not a strand of grey, when I take my clothes off, or when I keep them on I really like what I see (loose skin aside, but I can live with that, especially now that I have a ribcage and biceps).

I have no shield. The weight is gone.

It's scary. or so I've been telling myself.

But is it? Or am I just tied into knots because I think that it's supposed to be scary, I'm supposed to be frightened of revealing myself to people. I reached the centre of the labyrinth, drew a rune, and began the return journey.

The blank rune. The Unknowable.

Drawing the blank rune is a lot like drawing "the fool" in a tarot deck. There (s)he is, walking with his head turned skywards, not even caring that (s)he's stepping off a cliff. So much trust in the universe that even when there's no ground to walk on, you know you'll be upheld in some way, safe, protected. Maybe you'll fall, but if you do, you'll begin a new journey. And the fool, the fool's errand, is the beginning of a journey of faith. In yourself. The Unknowable rune reminds me that I don't know what's coming next, but that if I want to move forward, I need to take this giant leap of faith.

Into openness.

I know who I am.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In case you missed it

I've moved here.