The fun of caravanning is that you want a new van, and end up needing a new car to pull it!
Yesterday we said goodbye to Frosty the Snow Car and now have a near-new Outlander to replace him. She takes a bit more weight on the towball, and doesn't have nearly 200,000 kms on the clock or several bumps and broken bits either.

Mitsubishi do make a plug-in hybrid version of this, but have knobbled it with a reduced tow rating and only 5 seats, so as much as we would have preferred that, this is the AWD diesel instead. It does use less fuel than the old car though, despite finally giving up our beloved last manual gearbox 🥺

Can't wait until we can buy a full-electric car with a decent tow rating for less than $60k. Until then, welcome Roxy!

So I have an opportunity to do a TEDx talk. Yes, a real one.

If I were to do such a thing, what would you like to watch and hear me talk about?

The theme of the entire talk is “Weapons of mass disruptions - ideas that have changed or will change the world."

When you think of me, what do I have to say that fits into that? I'd really appreciate your input, as I'm finding it all pretty daunting. I have some ideas but am throwing it open for suggestions.

I'll even say "thanks for coming to my TED talk" at the end :)

'The number of male calves being killed straight after birth is on the rise again, despite efforts by the dairy industry to end the practice known as ‘the dirty secret’. '

'One dairy farmer, who asked to remain anonymous, explained to the Guardian that she could not find a market for her male calves. “This year we’re shooting the Jersey crosses, because we’ve not got the space or money to keep them. It doesn’t make me feel good.

“We get the knackerman out to do it. I could never do it. I can’t even feed them if I know they are going to be dead in a few days.” '

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It didn't make me feel good either, once I realised unprofitable male calves being destroyed was an absolute requirement for my two litre jugs of milk for the kids, tasty cheeses, chips with milk solids in them, and absolutely everything that is made from dairy.

It's a very dirty little secret - even our local Country Valley dairy blogged about it a while back [1], saying they hadn't been able to find an alternative to selling their bobby cows after a few days separated from their mum 24 hours after birth, and that was years before they had to ask for sponsorship due to drought. No doubt they haven't suddenly decided to raise these souls as well for no profit. No update on whether the market for them still exists to have even a short life, or they too are now like the farmers in this article.

Life without dairy is achievable, the reality in most of the world, and yes provides enough calcium, with zero cholesterol as a bonus. And no soul needs to suffer for it.

[1] http://countryvalleymilk.blogspot.com/…/story-behind-bobby-…

Back when I first came out and started transitioning, Liz and I really struggled to find two things:
- Any support or social groups for her to be with others in similar situations
- Many other couples where both wanted to make the relationship work in a new, modified form.

So I set up two secret Facebook groups to address these missing areas. We now have a public page and website over at https://tgdsupport.info/ where people can find these groups, and request access by telling myself and the admin of the non-transitioning partners group a bit about their backstory.

Hopefully this is another step providing important types of support that we ourselves found lacking only a few short years ago.

Camden-Narellan Advertiser Article

As I've written about this amazing woman's assistance at our school during my transition:

"Once we’d decided to tell the kids, I booked some time with the principal and explained that after the break our kids would return with two mums.
I was a little worried about how she might respond, but I wasn’t asking for permission, I was explaining what was going to happen. Despite it being a tiny school in the country, the principal’s first response was: ‘Well you aren’t the first!’ I certainly wasn’t expecting that! We are currently the only LGBTI family at our school, but have immersed ourselves in the community and found broad support. "

Thanks so much Sharon for such a huge piece of leadership that has meant so much to all of us, as well as guiding all three of our kids plus many more towards adulthood.

So the decade that was my 30s sure held a few more twists and turns than anyone was expecting. We bought land and designed and project managed the build of our strawbale house, living in a shed while that happened. We challenged a lot of "normal" ways of building, and are now reaping the benefits after learning from others that did similarly before us.
William and Cameron came along to join Phoebe in our family, a combination of personalities unlike any other, that teach me more than I thought possible.
We acquired a lot of animals that had nowhere else to go. Rather than farming them for food, we realised that didn't have to happen at all. Now we tend to our replanted forest, orchard and vegetables.
I took a full-time role with the NSW government that ended up having worse job security than the 11 years of contracting before, and was made redundant. Now I am winding down a couple of years working in the Arts sector.
We now own a (cheap-ish) electric car, even though if you believed the media you'd think they were absolutely useless and utterly unaffordable. Turns out we have saved thousands of dollars and fight over who gets left with the diesel clunker.

I exited that decade last night as a different gender to the one I entered it as, and a member of a few new communities that I hadn't really understood and never imagined I could be a part of. I'm proud of finding a way to hold my family together through all of this, even when the professionals and society were telling us it wouldn't happen.

Oh, and I have boobs now :)

What on earth will my 40s bring?