Valentine’s Day

My morning started with a 7am call from my daughter Kait. She chatted as the sunlight streamed across my bed and three of our cats curled up around my legs. We don’t chat for a short time, we’re two hour long gabbers so we ended up chatting while I dressed, fed the oldest cats their wet food, and got myself breakfast.

Then it came time to wake up Colin. I’m a romantic at heart and woke him up by opening the bedroom door and yelling, “Stank love, sweat poo!” This, of course, confused the heck out of him until I explained they were Valentine’s Day wishes written by an AI. Then he thought that was amazing.

We needed to do a bit of tidying up as Colin’s claimed our storage closet as his own and relocated everything from the closet to the living room. I hadn’t worried about clutter in the closet, that’s what the door’s for. I’m way more concerned about the clutter when it’s on my living room floor and dining room table. Then I washed the dishes while Colin cleaned his beaded mini lamp. I’m sure everyone who tiptoes around the closet stuff will be in awe over his lamp shade. If they don’t trip first and land in the hospital.

It was creeping close to dinner when I showed Colin an article about students who couldn’t say no to someone wanting to take them to the Valentine’s Day dance. Colin was furious. First at feminists, who he was positive were behind this. I have no idea why. Then low-key mad at the school in the article and raging mad about his old school. He decided that what the school in the article needed to do was ask the students to write down their likes and dislikes, hobbies, and favourite things, then the staff could pair the similar students with each other. That way they’d at least have something to talk about. I agreed with his idea although chances are the girls would end up paired with the girls and the boys with the boys at that age. I’m not sure how well that would go in Utah.

“I liked the school dances at first,” Colin admitted, as he settled in to discussing his old school. “Then I slowly started to hate them. The only thing good about them were the snacks and I couldn’t always buy them.”

“That’s because you were going to at least one dance a month,” I reminded him.

From the look on his face, that was a surprise. Then again he wasn’t the one marking them down on the calendar.

“I would just stand by the wall because no one wanted to dance with me,” he informed me.

I wasn’t surprised. I knew the teacher was pushing his classmates away from him. When he was with his friends at lunch time, the teacher would come up and ask the kids if they really wanted to be with him. Were they sure? They could always walk away.

Every. Single. Time.

I would have complained but I’d already seen how far I’d gotten with Colin’s pronouns. They followed the rules when writing paperwork, once someone from the board told them they had to, but used he/him pronouns when they talked to him. And, when I brought that up in a meeting I got told they most certainly used zie and zir during the school day. Considering how often they misgendered him in the meetings, it was pretty obvious they didn’t. There was definitely no way they’d admit to trying to manipulate one student against another.

Then he told me that the students were warned not to be like Colin when they acted up. He was their bad example. “I know you don’t want to work on your spelling right now but you have to. You don’t want to be like Colin, do you?” I would have exploded with rage if I’d known that before he graduated. As it is, I can understand why he didn’t want to follow up with their bridging program. He might have been their “bad example” but he’s been a hardworking and well liked student in his current programs.

Colin joined me in the kitchen while I made brownies and started on the spaghetti sauce and I listened while he chattered about computer parts and the different tests he does on the computers. I have very little idea what he’s doing. All I know is one test looks like a fuzzy doughnut and another looks like an old time office. But he’s interested and that’s what matters.

And now dinner’s done, the brownies enjoyed, and it’s time to relax.

For those who are interested, Blackie is still doing well. She’s not eating nearly enough, just half of one of the big cans of Friskies (the ones that are the size of a tin of tuna). But she’s not losing any weight and is active. She loves curling up in my arms while I’m at the computer or lying between my keyboard and monitor. And she loves getting petted.

And, since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m writing out the brownie recipe we use just for you.

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a square brownie pan. Place 1/2 cup margarine or butter into a glass measuring cup and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Microwave for 35 seconds.

In a medium sized bowl add 6tbsps aquafaba (otherwise known as the water in a tin of canned beans) or 2 eggs. Then add one cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cups flour, a dash of salt, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. My kids hate nuts in baked goods so I add 1/2 a cup chocolate chips instead. Don’t mix yet. Now stir the melted butter and cocoa mixture and pour it over the rest of the ingredients. Now you can stir until it’s all mixed evenly. I’m pretty sure these brownies cause the blood sugar to rise in everyone in the near vicinity, they’re so sweet, but they’re worth it. Now try not to lick the mixing spoon. Try harder. I know the batter is really good but you can do it. It’s okay, that’s what the tap’s for, just rinse it off.

Pour the batter into the pan, leaving a bit of batter in the bowl for you, then set the timer for 30 minutes. Let cool (I toss mine onto the balcony in the winter but they can go into a self defrosting freezer for a bit too). And enjoy 🙂

Blackie on my desk

Blackie-Boo on my desk. Ignore the clutter, I’ve already cleaned up most of it LOL

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The February blues…

It’s early February and outside is buried under snow and slush, thankfully more of the former than the latter. Salt crunches on sidewalks and turns both the sidewalks and roads white. The elevator talk is all about the weather. How cold is it going to be? How many centimetres of snow are we going to get?

I’m doing a lot better this winter than last. Last winter I was hospitalized twice, once in January and once in February, but this winter I’ve stayed home. Maybe it’s the pills, goodness knows they’ve been adjusted enough times. Maybe it’s the support of family, friends, and community groups. Maybe it’s a bit of euphoria that Blackie is alive and now thriving. And maybe it’s because I can escape to my room, which has been decorated in a springtime theme.

Colin’s life is relatively on track. He has a doctor’s appointment at the end of February and sees his new psychiatrist toward the end of March. Hopefully the two of them can work on a new treatment plan for him. His prescription helped with his highs but he was, and is, struggling with depression and anxiety. Despite both, he’s finished his schooling at the John Howard Society and has moved on to a work at home program run through our local college. He goes in for four hours every Friday for new assignments and help with any of the previous work. He came in here to chatter earlier and is back in his room running speed tests on all his computers and comparing the results. The downside of having a kid who builds and fixes computers is a whole whack of computers around the apartment. The upside is free technical support on everything.

Kait’s doing well too. The hardest part of her job, for me, is her hours make it nearly impossible for us to connect. She’s in bed sleeping by the time I get up and gets up shortly after I go to bed. But we do sometimes connect and, when we do, we gab for about an hour about everything from her job to her fur babies.

Soon February will turn into March… giving way to April. Soon the snow will melt and blue bells, trilliums, and snow drops will push their way through damp soil. Until then I’ll be found ensconced in my swinging chair, pondering the next chapter of my novel and waiting for spring.

my room

Gratitude…

It’s dark outside, the snow still softly falling. I sit in my room, surrounded by sleeping cats, as my electric fireplace hums behind me. Dinner’s been eaten and the dishes, yet unwashed, will only take a few minutes to clean. Colin’s in his room, playing video games and laughing. In a few more hours we’ll be heading off to bed in our nice, safe apartment and clean, comfortable beds.

I wasn’t nearly so peaceful earlier. Colin had an optometrist appointment this morning and a mix up left me with a $105 bill. It turned out I didn’t need to pay it after all. Then there was an issue with the bank, which was solved in five minutes on the phone. Then Colin needed to go to the ER to get a new prescription because his old one was finished and his psychiatrist is away until July. That got sorted out as well. When I got home, I sat down wondering when the next shoe would drop and hoping it would be as easy to fix.

Then I woke my computer and listened to Colin laughing at a vlog, while my electric fireplace warmed my back. And I thought about gratitude.

We did an IQ test today, Colin and I, on separate computers. It was just for fun and obviously not on par with the ones done by psychologists, not that those are necessarily accurate either. We both started at the same time and kept pace with each other. I ended up with an IQ of 140, which is pretty much what I usually get and Colin ended up with an IQ of 120, definitely a respectable result.

I’m glad Colin’s out of the school system which labeled him developmentally delayed and in a program which lets him go at his own pace. A program he’s doing quite well at. He’s emotionally delayed, which is normal for autism, and has poor fine motor skills (anyone who’s seen his handwriting with agree with that) but he’s definitely not developmentally delayed. I can’t wait to see how he continues to do at his school.

I’m grateful for our safe, clean apartment in a decent neighbourhood. Our neighbours and quiet and generally friendly, holding open the elevator door and making small talk on our ways home. I’m grateful for the little things we take for granted here in Canada. The hot and cold running water, electric appliances, a flush toilet, grocery stores nearby.

I’m grateful for our health. I had a bit of a scare earlier this month when the optometrist sent me to a specialist to check for glaucoma but my eyes were fine and so are Colin’s and Kait’s. And our physical health is good too, for the most part.

I’m grateful for our cats, who fill the little spaces in our hearts. I wake in the middle of the night to find myself surrounded by four cozy cats keeping me warm, the fifth lies with Colin. They each have their own very distinct personalities and our home wouldn’t be the same without them.

I am thankful for my two daughters. Kait has my off beat sense of humour and it’s wonderful to watch her grow and thrive. Whereas Colin is more eccentric and runs experiments I would never think of. The two of them are more amazing than I could imagine and my life has been enriched by them.

And now it’s time to wash the dishes then settle into a warm bath with the bath bomb I made in my Wellness group. I hope you all have plenty of reasons to be thankful and may your joyous times outweigh any sadness.

An open letter by Kait…

Trigger warnings;

Mention/quotes of homophobic/transphobic comments, mention/quotes of emotional abuse, general fuckery, bullshit, and douchebaggery

An open letter to my father;

I am writing this, not for you, but for every parent like you. I honestly hope you leave us alone, including not reading Mom’s blog anymore, but I know you won’t, so I might as well address this to you.

This week, you showed your true colours, not just to us, but to everyone who saw your birthday post on Emma’s Facebook wall. You planned a month in advance, a post in which you intentionally dead-named and misgendered her, and tried to disguise it as a loving birthday wish. When you planned it, you told me you wanted to start a fight, you said you hoped it would make Mom angry enough to confront you, or at least get some of her friends commenting at you.

I guess you got your wish.

You used every chance you could to antagonize people further, and when you couldn’t find a legitimate way to escalate the fight, you would make things up out of thin air. By the time everything was said and done, you had lost both of your daughters. We both blocked you, and I wrote you off as a lost cause.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, you called Emma yesterday, claiming you wanted to comment your apology on the thread, and asking to be unblocked. Emma hadn’t totally written you off yet, so she unblocked you, without demanding a private apology first. You then claimed that there was nowhere to comment, and when she asked how you would apologize, you told her that you had gotten what you needed, by copying the beginning bits of the conversation to prove to somebody that you “tried” to apologize. That was when Emma wrote you off as a lost cause, too.

We all hoped that after the things you said publicly, this would be the end of the contact you would have with us (especially with Emma), but of course, that was not the case.

The messages you sent her today went way over the top. You sent multiple messages to her, just to tell her that you don’t think LGBT people are people, you think they should all be killed painfully, you want to watch the aforementioned killings, and that not only is she not your kid until she “realizes” she isn’t trans, but that you want your DNA back, because “it kills me u soiling my last name u freak”.

I don’t know at what point you became such a disgusting, pathetic, excuse of a person, or maybe you’ve always been like this, but just hid it better, either way; I hope that one day someone says those kinds of things about you. I’ll say one right now; I am ashamed to share a last name with you.

So, here are some questions, not just for you, but for every parent who feels the way you do;

Why does it matter to you so much that your child should be a boy, instead of a girl? If she was born with a vagina, would you have run out of the hospital room, screaming that she wasn’t yours unless she grew a penis?

How does it hurt you when she wears dresses, instead of jeans? Do her dresses turn into weird fabric snakes, and strangle you?

What’s the difference if she carries a purse, instead of a backpack?

How is it so offensive to you that she paints her nails?

Why does the fact that your daughter has a penis, mean that you love her any less?

Emma is my sister, and I will always stand with her. She drives me all the way up the wall, back down again, and around the whole bloody room, but she is still my sister. Changing her name, pronouns, and wardrobe, didn’t change who she is, or how much I love her. It sure changed who you were though.

To every homophobic, and/or transphobic parent out there;

If you wouldn’t say it to your newborn, don’t say it to your grown child.

If who your kid is, loves, or wants to be, could offend you so much that you’d stop loving them, don’t have children.

And if it’s too late, and you already have kids, do them a favour and walk out quietly, to leave them with the family members that actually deserve to interact with them.

Sincerely,

Kaitlyn

Proud big sister of a transgender, lesbian, little sister