On Being a Parent Without a Holiday

Happy, uh, Whatever You Are Day?

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Ah, springtime! Holidays, anniversaries, and all sorts of reasons for celebrations!

Graduations. Weddings. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day.

But No Day For Me

And no day for thousands of other men and women like me. I am a Transwoman. I have two daughters and three grandsons. One of my grandsons was IFAB (Identified Female at Birth) but has finally begun his own journey, similar to and yet different from mine.

By the time I was able to start the long process of becoming my true self, my daughters were already grown. They had never known me as the woman I am, but rather the empty husk they had grown up calling “Daddy.” In those days, I got Father’s Day cards every year. Now, nothing.

So at least in that sense, they’ve finally come to accept who I am — and so there are no more cards for me. But in accepting me, and acknowledging the changes I’ve made and am still making, there’s no recognizing the fact that I’m no longer “Daddy,’ but some other kind of parent for which they have no name. I’m certainly not “Mommy” or “Momma” or any other title that reflects the new reality of who I am.

If I were a reasonable person — something of which I’ve never been accused — I suppose I could comfort myself by celebrating Grandparent’s Day. I’ve been told that I should console myself with the knowledge that I’m not the only Trans* parent facing the same problem.

But no. Just because there are so many of us facing the same problem holds no comfort for me. Instead, it angers me. I am enraged by the fact that my transitioning — which for me and so many others — was a life-saving decision is used to discriminate against me simply for BEING WHO I AM.

But rather than rage, rage against the dying of the light, I have chosen June 6 — my original birth date and the day my friends surprised me with a surprise birthday party, the theme of which was ‘Happy Birthday 1-Year-Old — to celebrate as my personal Mother’s Day. I’ll wrap myself in my Transgender Pride flag, take a few selfies, and pick the best of them to serve as the basis of my very own Happy Trans-mother’s Day e-Card.

It’s much more satisfying than simply ranting on my blog….

The 999 Market and Super Deli

The Best Chicken in Town?

Chicken Wings & Drumsticks

I reluctantly left the house for a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. Reluctantly, because my depression has kept me housebound for most of the past two months. But I couldn’t put it off any longer, and Ed was kind enough to drive me to the clinic. I’d catch a bus home afterward.

The appointment resulted in my antidepressant prescription being increased, and I had an hour to kill before the next bus. The bus stop was across the street from the 999 Market and Super Deli, and their sign proclaimed “The Best Chicken in Town!”

I had curiosity, hunger, and time to kill. $7.50 got me 6 wings, 4 drumsticks, and a cold drink. Sitting down on the curb, I started eating.

First, everything had just come from the fryer, so it was nice and hot. Second, everything was crispy and perfectly seasoned. Third, even though I had asked for 3 drumsticks, I got 4 for the same price. This has always been the case each time I’ve eaten there.

Yes, I confess: this was not my first time eating their chicken. But it was the first time since I quit smoking, and it tasted even better.

I’ve written of the joys of dark meat when it comes to poultry; the same is true today. If anything, this afternoon’s repast has only strengthened my beliefs.

And their claim to the best chicken in town? Let me put it this way: KFC could learn something from these folks!

Coffee, Tea, or …

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

“I like to look at ‘em, but I wouldn’t want to own one.” W. C. Fields, comparing women to elephants.

That’s how I feel about coffee: I love the aroma when it’s brewing, but I rarely drink it. To be sure, I never say no to a Starbucks when someone else is buying, but I don’t go out of my way for one. Especially when it would entail a 2-hour bus ride there and back.

No, just give me my tea, a decent book, and I’m good to go. Bring me constant refills and I’ll follow you to the gates of hell itself.

But coffee? Meh. I can take it or leave it.

This morning was different. I enjoyed a nice breakfast and had just sat down to peruse Medium when our house guest started brewing a pot of Sumatra Mandheling on our Mr. Coffee knock-off.

Remember what I said about the aroma of coffee when it’s brewing? Yeah. It got me up out of my chair and into the kitchen so I could smell it better.

Constant Reader, I confess: I yielded to temptation—which by the way is how Oscar Wilde said is the best way to avoid it—and am now enjoying a cup of strong coffee, tempered by the addition of real cream(!), sweetener, and a hint of flavoring (just a tiny splash of genuine New York State pure maple syrup).

It was the best cup of coffee I’ve had in a long time.

“How long, Robyn?”

Long enough that I can’t remember the last time I drank one.

And I find it interesting that each and every time I drink a cup of coffee, Gordon Lightfoot starts singing in my mind:

“I’m on my second cup of coffee and I still can’t face the day
I’m thinking of the lady who got lost along the way
And if I don’t stop this trembling hand from reaching for the phone
I’ll be reachin’ for the bottle, Lord, before this day is done.”

Thanks for taking a few precious minutes out of your day to read this.

Scribophile: An On-Line Writing Community

Are you like me? You’d love to join a writing community so you can discuss ideas, problems, etc., but you have no transportation and would rather spend the 4-hour bus ride writing?

Or maybe you’re in a town that’s too small to have a writer’s group. Maybe your only access to a public library is via the Internet.

Then pour yourself a nice cup of tea, find a comfy chair, and let me tell you all about Scribophile. Here’s what the site has to say about itself:

Scribophile is a respectful online writing workshop and writer’s community. Writers of all skill levels join to improve each other’s work with thoughtful critiques and by sharing their writing experience.

We’re the writing group to join if you want to find beta readers, get the best feedback around, learn how to get published, and be a part of the friendliest and most successful writing workshop online.

Scribophile is famous for the detailed and helpful critiques our members exchange. The critiques you’ll get are so much more than just a pat on the back—you’ll get actionable ways to improve your writing.

As part of our community, you’ll be writing critiques for others too. Members tell us again and again that learning how to write great critiques dramatically improved their own writing.

I first learned about Scribophile from an article I read on Medium and decided to check it out. I did, and it so impressed me that I created an account.

In fact, I was so impressed that I went back the next day and upgraded from a free to a premium account. For just a little more than a latte and a little less than a pack of cigarettes I now have access to all of the site’s features.

Pay It Forward

Scribophile expects you to contribute to the site. But not with money. Rather, before you can post your own story for review, you have to gain karma points. It costs you 5 karma points to upload each story.

You gain can karma points in any number of ways: writing a critique of someone else’s work, posting comments, and just generally being a polite and active member. I’ve only been a member for 2 days, and I’ve already received 2 karma points. As soon as I earn 5, I’ll upload my first work to be critiqued.

Why This Makes Sense

At first, I resented that I couldn’t upload a story until I earned the required karma points. But the longer I thought about it,  the more t made sense: you can’t come barging in demanding that everybody read your work and then run off. You have to earn the right to have your work critiqued.

That approach also keeps people active in groups and forums.

Scribophile: your online writer’s group. Give it a try!

Different Strokes for Different Notes

Or, I’m always on the lookout for The Ultimate Note-Taking App

freestocks-org-570357-unsplash

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to exist. IA Writer comes close, but it still doesn’t have all the features I’d like. Note’d is pretty nifty, but it too lacks the features I need. Standard Notes has all the features…but you have to pay $10 a month to get them. It is available, however, for all your devices: iPhones, iPads, Windows machines, MacOS devices, and Android smartphones and devices. So if I create/edit/delete a note on my iPhone, it syncs to my iPad and my laptop.

(As an aside, before I went completely digital, my ultimate notepad was a Rite-in-the-Rain notepad and a pencil.)

Which brings us to Apple Notes. From what I’ve seen of it—and used it—it seems to be the best all-around note-taking app available for iOS and MacOS: iPad, iPhone, and Macs. The problem is that in addition to an iPhone and an iPad,I have a laptop running Windows.

Apple Notes started out as a bare-bones note-taking app. But Apple, like just about every other software publisher, lost sight of the First Rule of Engineering: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.

Over time, Apple Notes has been tweaked and massaged and upgraded until it’s now just a short step away from being a full-blown word processor. And if I’m going to use a word processor for taking notes, I might just as well use Notes’ big sister, Pages, which runs on all of my devices.

The Ultimate Test

So I’ve decided what I’m going to do: I’ve downloaded  all the apps I listed above and installed them on the appropriate devices. For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to use each of them to jot down the same notes. At the end of the test period, I’ll decide which one I like the best, based on ease of use. Then I’ll get back to you with the results.