When your mentally ill adult child rejects you

My trans daughter isn’t speaking to me right now. She’s not even coming home. All her stuff is here except obviously some clothes, medications and a few fluffy toys. She’s staying with trans friends because apparently last week I hurt her so much she can’t bear to be near me.

She had a “panic attack” at work, started cutting herself and had to be fired by her very understanding boss, who cannot in all conscience be responsible for a person self-harming on the job. I got really angry with my daughter because she did not take personal responsibility for her actions, she swore at her boss, and she was a danger to herself and others. Essentially, she didn’t want to go to work, so she made it impossible to be employable. I had to cancel my afternoon’s teaching, and wanted to take her home, but she told me to fuck off and I haven’t seen her since.

And I’m in terrible grief and sadness that she won’t talk to me. But I could kinda see it coming. Over the last few weeks she has spent very little time at home, staying with friends and couch surfing. She’s nearly 23, it should be fine, but she doesn’t have enough money to fully move out, and at the moment she’s not returning my messages. I’m so concerned for her well being, I’ve even called her psychiatrist.

My friend who mans a LGBTIQ counselling hotline gets quite a few phone calls from supporting parents of trans children who all of a sudden just up and reject the family. He says this is a normal stage in the transformation of self for trans people, where isolation and rejection of what they were can also include the sloughing off of supportive families.

It’s tragic but true. What shits me is that I then get the blame. Something I’ve noticed over the last year is my daughter’s headlong dive into victimhood and a quite negative and destructive trans community. Everything always happens to her, it’s not her fault, it’s the fault of society, it’s all about ‘woe is me’, ‘I’m ill and therefore can’t work’, ‘I’m being marginalised by society’. That sort of thing. As my friend comments of these environments: “Where is the joy?”. Where indeed.

My daughter becomes very shouty at me if I misgender a friend or make even the smallest mistake in conversations with her. She has become wafty and sad and much more depressed than before, she’s cutting herself and hating herself and turning on me. I suppose it had to happen – after all, I did this to my own mother when I was 17. And look how THAT turned out! I guess my daughter is at the 16 years-old phase now. Still 6 years behind. She was always a late bloomer (Leo the late bloomer is a book for children. Very cute story).

But after all is said and done, I love my daughter so very much. I fear for her safety and I hope she won’t try to kill herself. Because that is my worst fear – that she will end her life and I won’t know.

That she will end her life and I won’t know.

My sole-authored article is being published in an academic journal!!

My words, my study. My sole-authored publication. I’m a tad chuffed. I’ve written a PhD, I’ve co-edited a book on singing, I’ve even published articles with others. But NOTHING beats seeing my name as sole author in a prestigious music education and research journal. It’s my very first article. It had an awfully long gestation period. I wrote it back in 2010 for my mid-candidature review, then sent it to the journal in 2011. Heard nothing for a year, then a response – the editorial team had changed and my article was being sent out for review. Came back with major revisions required. I put the article away for about a year because criticism and then got a query about a year later wondering if I still wished to revise for publication. Oh, all right, quoth I. I got stuck into the revisions, discovered major flaws in my writing, fixed most of those, sent back the revised copy and ages later it was accepted for publication. Then the real revisions began. The editor of the journal is fabulous. I love this editor. Awesome at finding flaws in logic and writing style. The whole revision process made the article SO much better. There are still issues with it but not enough to be a major problem for the reader.

And it’s a damn fine article, if I do say so myself. I read through it for the final edits today and I thought, wow, I really knew my stuff back then. I still know it, but now I have Stan brain. (Stan brain is binge TV watching).

The editor of the journal is a real stickler for detail. I had to edit and re-edit after the review process, and even yesterday was fielding questions about my methodology. To be fair I had written a really crap methodology that was in no way good enough to publish but no-one had picked it up until the most recent pass. I revisited my thesis abstract for ideas re methodology. Revising this little article, a mere 9% the length of my actual thesis was actually more annoying than doing my PhD and I spent several weeks on it for absolutely no reward other than seeing my name on the byline.

No wonder that my PhD revisions felt like dancing when this article revision felt like shovelling shite. But like all hard work, totally worth it. I’m a better writer because of it.

I might have to write to my ex-supervisor and let her know the article is being published in the June edition.



Netflix v Stan

For non-Americans (aka Australians), streaming TV is somewhat new. We’ve had free-to-air streaming tv for ages, and those with VPN have been able to access Hulu and Netflix from the U.S. for more than 5 years. In my household we’ve had an Apple TV for about 2 years, and plenty of access to iTunes shows. Until 2 days ago we made do with DVDs and iTunes and unlimited internet data usage bundled with our home phone. Life was ok. Oh! And by the way, we’re Apple users. Not exclusively, but nearly. Begrudgingly. Because beautiful shiny, good for dummies. 2 iMacs, 1 MacBook Pro, 1 MacBook Air, 2nd generation iPad, 1 iPad mini, Apple TV, 2 iPhone 6 plus. Plus a bunch of derelict Apple phones (3,4) and touches and stuff. 

Then Netflix and Stan and Presto and Quickflix arrived. Actually, Quickflix has been around for years but I never cared before.

I’m here to report on Netflix and Stan. I’m taking advantage of the 30 day free membership to assess each provider and their libraries. I’m excited!!

So far here’s the thing. At $8.99 per month Netflix offers SD streaming on one device. Handily already added to Apple TV, all it took was a neatly synchronised iTunes account to join up, and we were away. What a great, convenient approach. Love it. I’ve chosen an SD stream because our TV is 6 years old, so there are limits to what it can show. Also, streaming in Australia can be crap. There is no point getting a higher def stream, it’s too data hungry. Yes, we have unlimited usage but there’s a limit to what our network can manage.

Netflix currently have about 1000 movies and TV series in its library. This includes about a third children’s programs. This leaves adults with a surprisingly small library of shows. Our first day on the site started well. We caught up with the latest Superman (Henry Cavill with the most adorable underbite), then the following day I caught up with old favourites Serenity, Enchanted, The Matrix and Frozen. Plus some TV things I’d not seen. But then that was it. It was like looking at the old video hire store and being sad and bored by the crap offerings. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there’s lots and I’ve just not seen it yet. There IS the entire seven seasons of Dr Who (modern version), so hello holidays, and I’m pretty sure The Good Wife and some other shows I’ve been holding off watching due to mismatching timetables will be just the ticket for a jaded palate. But I think the small offerings are poor thus far. No West Wing!!!

No problems with streaming yet. The video is great, smooth and not at all laggy.

Stan is a peculiarly Australian offering, via Fairfax and Nine Entertainment, and StreamCo. At a clean $10 per month, it’s got some nice features. 

It has secured some pretty impressive British and American shows already and with lots of Australian content it makes me happy. One of my favourite shows already is the US show Transparent. Every time Moira tries to come out to her children I cry. Stan’s interface on our devices is awesome, and we can stream onto 3 devices at once. Stan’s interface with our Apple TV has not been a happy experience as my Apple TV won’t talk to any of my devices through AirPlay. I think the only way we can watch Stan on the big TV is if I hook up my HDMI cable to my laptop and stream through the Internet page. So I’m watching Janet King (an amazing Australian court house procedural)  through my iPad mini, which is old and laggy. (It shouldn’t be; it’s 2 years old, but it acts like it’s ancient). 

A few bugs to fix up, mainly streaming issues, but I think it’s because of the device, not the provider. I wrote to Stan to check an audio issue and they responded in 30 minutes with a real life email from a human. Take that, Apple! 

At the moment I’m kinda siding with Stan. As an Australian provider, it understands its market very well. It has fast acting personal service. And I like the Australian content. Because Janet King is as good as, if not better than, The Good Wife. From the DPP angle, of course!

So, for Netflix 9/10 for ease of use, 6/10 for content. Stan 8/10 for ease of use, 8/10 for content. Price being the same, these are bargain prices for the benefit of watching shows without ads. 

I’m thinking I might just buy both subscriptions anyway. At $20 per month it’s less than I was spending on iTunes anyway. And that’s the benefit right there. 

Facebook is a mind sink

About 18 months ago I left Facebook convinced it was preventing me from working on my thesis. I finished my thesis so I think that’s a causative relationship! 

Went back on the other night to try and locate my angry, frustrated, ill trans daughter who is screaming at the world. While I couldn’t connect with her I was able to find out where she is staying, so all good there. She’s safe and with friends.

Then I thought I’d have a look around on Facebook and see what is happening there.

Omg Facebook is a mind sink. Sponsored ads, people’s lives curated just so with photos of babies, cat videos and dog pictures. Nothing has changed. I think I’ll leave again. It’s nice to see what friends are up to but the nonsense I have to wade through just to see their news is totally boring. Also, the same old memes keep coming up. I saw some particular ones several years ago and there they all are again. What a waste of time.

If someone wants to chat to me they can call me on the telephone. Seriously. 

Rant over!

Sleep, why dost thou leave me?

This quote is from a renaissance song by composer and lutenist John Dowland (poet unknown). Quite pertinent at the moment because my sleeping is not going well at the moment. DH is having similar problems. I think part of the reason is that the weather is bloody horrible. SO humid and hot. And it’s the end of March! When will it get cold? I’m lying awake dying slowly under the ceiling fan, sweating and uncomfortable and cursing climate change.

Aaaanyway. Nothing really to mention except that at the point of dropping off I had one of those wonderful flying dreams, and I was soaring through the universe, looking at the Earth as I flew backwards through space. Nice. And then I woke up again.

And another thing. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m a bit addicted to a terrible small game called Frozen. Yep, by Disney. Part luck, part skill, it involves doing¬†things with jewels. After spending a small fortune on it last year on my iPad I downloaded it onto my new phone. My key goal when playing is to not BUY any lives or extra time or turns. So far I’m succeeding but then I get stuck on a level that’s essentially impossible to complete without an extra few turns, and I have to wait for my daily gift. You see where I’m at now? It has become my life. Ugh. And I play it when I can’t sleep. Thus contributing to my disrupted sleep schedule because of the blue light thingy. And that’s it for today, folks.

. Frozen

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

This is not a review of this book. I read it in one great gulp 2 nights ago during an insomniac episode. Couldn’t put it down. Read some reviews of it which were mostly a bit harsh. Anyway, I worked it out. The conceit, I mean. 

Gosh, Donna Tartt is clever. Too clever for her reviewers, that’s for sure. There’s a reason this book won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. 

I was trying to work out what it was that was just a bit wrong about the book. Just a bit off. A bit overwrought, grandiose and false. I mean, all the coincidences, the strange unexplained episodes. The sheer near normal but not peculiarity of it. The love I felt for Theo even though he was essentially a liar, drug addict and thief. The romance, the yearning, the quest.

And there it was. It’s a picaresque novel. It’s absurdist, but grounded in enough truth that you have to look more closely to see the conceit. Like the painting by Fabritius on which the book hangs, from afar it looks real, delicate. Up close it’s just brush strokes. Donna Tartt was TEASING us. It was a joke. A long one, but there it is. 

Well done, Donna.

A call to arms.

Oh dear. It’s a Sunday. The weather here in south-east QLD is hot, humid, and very, very wet. There are no children about. This can mean only one thing for DH (darling husband) and me: shopping time!

DH has a problem with shoes. As I see it, he doesn’t have enough. Boots, lace-ups and one pair of thongs does not a happy wifey make. All those pairs of lovely shorts going to waste because bugalugs here doesn’t have a decent set of casual clodhoppers. The red Vans died about a year ago. But he’s still wearing them. They’re no good with shorts. And the white leather sneaker Seinfeld lookalike Nikes don’t count. He’s old enough to know that look died out in the late 80s along with puffy shirts and groomed mullets. And thongs are not appropriate for those casual lunch get togethers with friends at restaurants (this happens more often than one would think).

DH would disagree about the shoe quantity. But I’m a bit sick of him wearing lace-ups with jeans – it’s too much, people. He looks like my grandpa. Who died in 1979.

So today became an expedition. To the shopping mall we went. Apparently so did everyone else, but the Gods of Asphaltia were smiling on us today – we found a carpark first corner, about 20 metres from the entrance to our favourite mall. Huzzah!

This type of shopping often occurs after I have said something like: “that’s it, we’re not spending any more money until the house is finished”. It’s a call to arms. Into the breach we go, debit cards aloft and rampaging.

First stop Myer – there’s a shoe sale. DH complains that all the shoes make him look and feel old. There’s nothing I can say. He’s 53. Thirty minutes later after some strong-arm tactics by yours truly we’ve found him the perfect set of tan boat shoes and we’re off. boatshoes1


My turn next. It’s makeup at 30 paces (and a gift bag, awww) followed by three pairs of shoes for 3 different occasions. And it’s a sale. 50% off, folks. We’re killing it! Stopping briefly to refuel with a salad and a delicious hot cinnamon doughnut (mmm, doughnuts) we continue to work tops for me and finish the day with a triumphal purchase of champagne flutes at 40% off.

Well done, all! A champion three hours spending money. And home to quiet repose.

TV watching may be next, perhaps I’ll make scones with lashings of cream and jam, and we’ll have cups of tea. What a lovely way to spend a rainy, rainy, rainy Sunday.




Pesky narrative voice

I’m beginning to write short-form stories again but I have a problem with one of my narrative voices. He’s an abusive husband. POV-wise, I’m not sure I can accurately portray him. But he won’t go away. He’s hijacked my creative process! Sigh. I’m going to have to get him out of my system before moving on. He’s hung around for years. 

Anyone else have problems with their POV characters? Do they hijack your stories too? 

And another thing. What do people think of fan-fic? I’ve read some good stuff recently that in no way reads like fan-fic and I’m wondering, do these writers use the plots and characters of well-known films (Star Wars, true blood etc) as impetus for their creative flow or as a genuine tribute to that film? What gives? Personally I can’t see the point of fan-fic but I’m sure there’s one somewhere. 

Grumpy old ladies

Probably closer to sad sad ladies. 

Birthday last Thursday. Old. Bit depressed. Mid life crisis definitely in full blown mode. But before I could celebrate my age-related birthday misery 2 things happened to others that exceeded my misery by a factor of about a billion to one. 

A student’s parent attempted suicide that morning (unsuccessfully). My poor student was not really in a good place upon cancelling the singing lesson in order to go to the hospital where said parent was recovering. Shaking and tears. Poor lamb. The parent should recover with the appropriate care and help.

Then, during a lunch date, a good friend of mine told me she had recently separated from her abusive, mentally ill husband. But given she now has to deal with the separation shit, plus going back to work in a crappy hateful job that in no way makes use of her impressive academic research skills, plus dealing with his crazy, she is seriously depressed and miserable. I would be too, if I were in her position. 

Sad, sad day. Then, on Friday, Malcolm Fraser died. Totally awesome week all round.