The pause…

Our presents are opened and mostly put away. The wrapping’s been pitched and the gift bags carefully saved for another day. And we have just under a week until New Year’s Eve. But this week is empty. No school, no groups, and, depending on where you work, no shifts.

I like this week, it’s a pause between two major holidays, a time to reflect on the previous year and prepare for the new one, if only by thought instead of deed.

This year I’m going to serve healthy meals that I enjoy. Colin has a very limited palate and dislikes most vegetables and all legumes (other than baked beans). I’m tired of making bland dishes for him to enjoy. He’s old enough to cook and, while he’s ignored my multiple offers to teach him some basic cooking skills, he’s more than capable of trying to prepare a meal and asking for help if needed.

I’m going to keep up with my walking. I’m aiming for seven days a week but am happy with five. I’ve got my Fitbit to track my 10,000 and it’s making a difference. I want to encourage Colin to walk with me more. He’s gained so much weight in the past couple of months. I handed him a sweater of his to wear to his grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve, a lovely black sweater with tiny sequins on it, only to find out he’s outgrown it. Luckily I had a tank top which fit. One of my favourites with red sequins across the top. It looked festive so that part’s good. And he liked it which was better. Hopefully he’ll forget that by summer because I’m not sharing it.

I’m going to spend more time with friends. Which is easier said than done because most of them have social anxiety, but I’m at least going to try. I have one friend who’s an extrovert *waves at Allison* and I plan on spending more time with her. Woo hoo… karaoke in a week.

I’m going to push Colin into bringing his dishes into the kitchen when he’s done eating, not when he gets a whim to carry in an armload or two. That’s way too overwhelming for both of us and gross besides.

I’m going to get back to writing, which is also easier said than done. I’m going to get back into reading too. I’ve got a $50 Indigo card from my parents and I’m going to buy ebooks for my phone.

I call Colin, Emma at home because she enjoys hearing it, just not in public where her masculine looking features contrast with her name. With family I tend to flip between the two names, depending on who we’re with. I use Colin and he/him on the blog so I don’t confuse everyone here by using two names. But I need to remember, despite my own confusion, to continue doing so. I’ve called her Emma on the blog five times so far and have to keep backspacing and writing Colin. Using one name would be so much easier but it’s his path and not mine.

And I need to be more gentle with myself. I look around at other people and think *I should be doing that* but I’m not them and I need to make sure I don’t overdo things. Otherwise I end up overwhelmed and the next day’s ruined too with high anxiety. I need to do the best I can, not the best someone else can.

Well my hot chocolate (in my new handmade mug from my parents) is done and it’s time to get Colin up to buy kitty litter and cat food (I’m telling you, my life is a font of excitement). I hope those who celebrate had a wonderful Christmas! And enjoy the pictures 🙂

Kait, Kathleen, and Emma

Kait, Kathleen, and Colin. Colin’s wearing the emergency top and you can barely tell he’s wearing it with his track pants LOL

Emma's new kitty ear headphones

This is one of my favourite pictures of Colin because you can actually see him smile instead of the usual half grimace he claims is a smile. And he’s wearing the kitty cat headphones I bought him. He’d asked for them but it’s nice to get verification that a gift’s enjoyed anyway.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. The decorations, the lights, the chocolate, the music, the family and friends, the baking, the presents, the cards, the chocolate. I have to include chocolate twice because it’s so yummy.

We’re still sorting out what we’re going to do on Christmas. Is Kait coming here on Christmas morning? Will we have dinner at my parents’ house or my sister’s? But I’m sure that will all get sorted over the next couple of weeks.

I’ve already decided to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. Bonus is that’s a big incentive for Kait to come over here. And both my Mom and I picked up a Gardein vegan turkey for dinner so I’m all set there. Colin’s stopped being vegan so he’ll be eating turkey with everyone else.

When I was a little girl, my Mom would ask me what I wanted for Christmas and I’d reply “a tree with sparkling lights”. That hasn’t changed. And now we have even more. I hope you enjoy my pictures and wish you could share yours as well.

tree and mantle

My electric fireplace mantle and our little tree, which is actually standing straight, no idea why it’s leaning in the photo.

sparkle ornament

My favourite ornament. It reads “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go”

dining room

Our dining room. I love this little penguin. Oh and you can tell which decorations on the hutch are mine and which are Colin’s.

Christmas village

This was Colin’s favourite decoration as a child. He’d spend hours walking the little figures around and making stories for them.

If you do want to send me a picture of your ornaments, feel free to message me on Facebook and I’ll add them to this post.

There may be some confusion…

Colin’s decision to postpone his transition has caused some confusion for both of us. What do I call him? Colin or Emma? I mean he’s still technically female so Emma fits but he’s also fine with Colin. He wants to be called Colin in public, except at his doctor’s office where he’s Emma. And he’s still wearing female tops.

So I’ve ended up with a mish mash of Colin and Emma, she and he whenever I talk to or about him. This seems to suit him just fine.

Christmas is coming, along with an assortment of presents. I asked Colin what he wanted on the labels.

“I don’t care,” he replied. “Colin or Emma are both okay.”

The presents are staying at home so I wrote Emma on the tags. And I’ll write Emma on his last remaining present, a pair of kitty cat ear headphones he breathlessly showed me and said, “I need these!”

Yesterday he went out and bought my stocking stuffers and a present. He had a budget of $20 and spent $70. Apparently we need to discuss restraint. My stocking stuffers are hanging out in a bundle buggy because they’re too big to fit in a reusable bag. I don’t know how he’s expecting them to go into a stocking if they can’t fit a bag and I’m curious as to what he actually got (although not curious enough to peek).

I came into the living room this morning and discovered my wrapped present with To: Mom written in the thickest black marker he could fine, I mean that marker’s bigger than jumbo. Then I looked down, wondering what name he’d pick for himself.

Emma's present to me

Apparently he’s just as confused as I am because it says From: Child

We’ll sort things out eventually and, until then he’ll live ambiguously. As long as he’s happy that’s all that really matters.

Christmas tree oh Christmas tree…

I thought putting up our tree was going to be easy. I don’t know why, it wasn’t like I’d had an easy time the last couple of years.

Two years ago we got our tree out of storage and it was missing a leg. I jury rugged one out of a plastic coat hanger then quickly covered it with the tree skirt. It wasn’t perfect but it held the tree up until after Christmas, which was good enough.

Then Colin and I went to Superstore during the Boxing Day sales and I picked up a new 6ft tree for $15. It was such a good deal that I called Kait and asked if she wanted one too. Luckily she refused.

I nearly cried last year when I put up that tree and looked at it for the first time. The spaces between the branches were nearly 10cm apart. I like some large spaces for dangling ornaments but not the whole tree. The spaces were so wide it resembled some sort of bizarre fern instead of a pine tree.

That’s when Colin came to the rescue. He’d kept the old tree and all three feet. He promptly stole a foot from the mutant fern tree and hammered it into the old tree’s base.

“There, you have all your feet,” he said triumphantly.

And I set up our original tree and Christmas was good.

It was after dinner on Friday when Colin and I went downstairs to get our four Rubbermaid bins on Christmas decorations and the box with the tree in it. Colin piles all four boxes onto his skateboard, the only time he uses it, and I grabbed the tree and carried it home.

The worst thing about our original tree is it’s one of those older style ones where you have to attach every single branch. I started digging out all the branches then found the tree feet at the bottom of the box… all two of them when the tree needed four. We triple checked and nothing. No more feet. At that point I declared it a night and went to bed. The next morning I went downstairs and found another foot near the back of the locker. But three feet weren’t going to cut it and I couldn’t find a coat hanger similar to the one I’d previously used.

We have a JYSK a block away from our place and a quick internet search turned up a 6ft tree for $23.99. I grabbed our wagon, which Colin’s decorated for Christmas, and headed over. The only one they had at that price was 5ft but it was good enough.

Colin came in while I was decorating and stared at it in shock.

“It’s tiny,” he blurted. Which it must seem from his 6ft4in height. But I’m not much bigger than the tree and it looks fine to me.

The best thing about this tree is it has legs instead of feet and they’re all one solid piece. Now to see what’s going to happen to our tree in 2018!

our little tree

 

Christmas Eve…

It’s quiet at home. I’ve packed the stocking stuffers, presents, and clothes… and made the filling for tonight’s vegetable pie. The cats have extra food and water and Lucky the frog’s been fed. I’ll feed him again before we go… he’ll eat at any and all times (anyone who’s had an African clawed frog will know what I mean).

Jeremy’s downstairs washing their laundry while Emma’s chatting online and sending me cat videos (which is still pretty quiet).

Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday and this one is shaping up to be amazing; three days filled with family and friends. I hope everyone here is having a wonderful weekend, whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a holiday that’s already past (or nothing at all). No matter what it is, I hope it’s fabulous. And, remember, if your family is unsupportive, that’s a reflection on them NOT on you. You are still amazing, worthwhile, and deserving of happiness and joy!

merry-christmas

It’s the most wonderful time…

When I was very little, my parents used to ask me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer was always the same. A pretty tree with lots of sparkling lights. Things haven’t changed. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year. I love it all. The lights, the decorations, the glitter, the music, time with family and friends, pretty cards, baking, presents, and an ever present feeling of hope and goodwill. This holiday is me.

This is also the time of year I started writing this blog… three years ago. So much has changed since then. Back then Jeremy identified as a femme, bisexual male (who felt a bit like a girl on the inside) and I was completely and totally straight (and deep enough in the closet I could hang out with the lion in Narnia). Now Jeremy’s straight, agender and alternates between masculine and femme while I’m a demi-romantic, pan-romantic asexual. So the fabulous has broadened to include both of us.

Three years ago Jeremy wanted a hair straightener and Jaffa cakes. This year I got them a strand of light up mirrored disco balls and a big stuffed Freddy Fazbear from Five Nights at Freddys. Meanwhile this is what I want for Christmas…

  1. Self-cleaning kitty litter boxes
  2. Self-washing dishes
  3. Magic refilling fridge
  4. Copious amounts of writing time
  5. A huge green space beside my building
  6. Endless supply of free books on my e-reader from my favourite authors
  7. Winning lottery ticket for $15 million dollars
  8. A stay at a tropical resort

Pretty much the only one that can fit under the tree is the lottery ticket. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Christmas morning 🙂

This year we’re staying overnight at my parents’ house, which is new for us considering we live a 15 minute drive from their place. It means we can hang out on Christmas Eve and open stockings with them on Christmas morning. Plus it’s more like the Christmas I was used to growing up, when we stayed at my grandparents’ house with a bunch of relatives. I’m looking forward to hanging out with them, Karen and her family, and my cousin and his fiance.

Three years ago Jeremy and I would be watching Doctor Who on Netflix but they’ve taken it off the Canadian line up. I did promise them that I’d watch Supergirl with them as soon as they finish the dishes. I hope the show’s good.

Some days are interesting…

I dozed this morning and wondered what Jeremy’s speaker was trying to tell me. Underneath my sleep music ran a repeated loop of “beep beep beep beeeep” over and over. It sounded like Morse code but the only code I know, even vaguely, is SOS. Even then I’m not sure which is the dot and which is the dash.

I admitted defeat around four am, ate breakfast around five, and we were at Wal-Mart by eight. I’d planned on shopping today but at a more decent hour. Insomnia didn’t seem to care.

Jeremy wanted to buy potting soil with our grocery money. We don’t eat potting soil but I didn’t want an argument at Wal-Mart, I’m sure the employees have seen enough already, so I told zir to get a small bag and meet me in the grocery section.

“But why can’t you come with me?” zie asked plaintively.

Because I was tired, didn’t want to walk that far and, more importantly, wanted to sneak off and buy part of zir Christmas present. Jeremy doesn’t read here so I can spill the beans (so to speak). I bought zir a strand of lights for zir bedroom. But not just any lights, mirrored disco lights. Zie’s going to be so excited on Christmas morning.

“Because you can walk there on your own and I can get a head start on groceries.”

Jeremy huffed off and I hurried to the back of the store to buy zir present as quickly as I could. That part was a success at least, I got the last one.

I’d got our cashew milk and was musing over the fake meat when my phone buzzed. I put down the fishless filets and pulled it out. I’d forgotten to close Pokemon Go and, for some weird reason, the vegetarian section of Wal-Mart was teeming with Pokemon. I caught three then turned to grab the veggie ground when I heard a ri-iii-ip.

My capris were originally my Mom’s, who’d worn them for years before losing weight and passing them along to me. Fine, beige linen, which had now become too fine and more like shredded tissue paper. So there I was, catching Pokemon in the frozen aisle, with a huge rip in my pants from my crotch to my knee. I don’t think I could look any more mature than that.

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The epitome of maturity

This was when Jeremy showed up, dragging along a shopping cart full of soil. A small pot of ivy dangled off the side. Apparently zie translated one small bag to mean three small bags and a plant… and zie needed them all.

“It’s only $10 Mom,” zie assured me. “They’re three dollars each.”

Either zir math skills are worse than I thought or zie thinks mine are atrocious.

“One bag and the plant or two bags and no plant,” I replied. “That’s it.”

I turned to see if I’d picked up everything and felt, more than heard, another rip. This one was across my right butt cheek.

“I need to get new pants now,” I said as I wheeled my buggy toward the woman’s section.

“They better not be over ten dollars,” Jeremy muttered. “It’s not fair that you get new pants and I can’t have the soil I need!”

I walked through the store, pants flapping in the breeze, with Jeremy grumbling loudly behind me. I felt like the Pied Piper of snotty teens. Luckily the store was nearly empty so zie was the only one I gathered.

The first pair I tried were an extra large and too small. The fine print said that brand’s XL was size 13. Alrighty then. My button fell off between the second and third pair. Note, it didn’t pop off, that whole patch of fabric just fell to the ground. My capris were disintegrating as I shopped. Luckily my fifth try was a success, a pair of teal shorts that will thankfully match just about every shirt I have (except for the one I was wearing).

We picked up a new brand of kitty litter at Superstore then headed home. Well the brand was new to the kittens, the older cats have seen it before. Poor Lara looked about ready to burst when I changed the litter then she stared at the box in horror. It wasn’t her litter.

She cowered in the corner, looking miserable, and I remembered my Mom saying years ago that kittens learn how to use the litter from their mother. I undid my pants. This was so not what she meant. It was harder to stop peeing than it was to start. Lara stared at me the whole time.

“See,” I said reassuringly as I lifted her into the litter box. Each paw spread wide as she attempted to escape in mid-air, then she smelt the litter and stared at me in astonishment. A few seconds later she was pawing the litter herself and, seconds after that using it. Phew! One down… one to go. Hopefully Smudge will simply follow Lara’s example.

I changed that litter so fast!

Yesterday we bought new to us armchairs from Value Village…

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… today my parents came over so we could take our old futon to the dump.

I needed to pick up my scrapbooking pages, which I’d forgotten at Superstore so we got a quick ride to there too. We were standing in the check out lane when Jeremy started talking about speakers and I remembered zir speaker’s Morse code. Luckily Google came to the rescue. Three dots and a dash means V, commonly used as “victory” in the resistance.

Victory. Against whom? Is there a electronic rebellion? Who won? Should I be sleeping beside this speaker at night? Jeremy was already making me a new set of speakers. I’m not sure whether to give zir this one back or just give it a cigar and it’s freedom.