Happiness is…

Happiness is… spending time with Jeremy, either playing Mario Kart or swimming, and just having fun. We’ve been going to a different pool lately, one owned by the same landlord but in a nearby building. Jeremy loves it and I love that it’s warmer than ours.

1221 pool

“I’ll race you Mom!”

Happiness is… picking out the perfect presents for Jeremy for Christmas. Yes, I know I shop early. Yes, I know there’s still 130 more days left and it’s still only August. It’s just that Christmas is my favourite holiday of the year and they really will love  all of them.

Happiness is… watching Jeremy’s happiness at finally buying the laptop they’ve been wanting for years. And seeing their confidence bloom again. I’ve watched for several years as Jeremy hid much of their feminine side and today they casually bought a pink and white laptop bag because it’s “perfect” and a hot pink keyfinder button for their keychain.

new laptop

“I am smiling!”

Happiness is… needing to work on a suicide prevention plan and asking friends permission to add them to a contact sheet… then getting so many friends volunteer it might turn into a contact booklet. I don’t know if my friends realize how much this means to me, how much it feels like I’ve been wrapped up in their caring.

Happiness is… going for a whirlwind vacation in just under two weeks and listening to Jeremy chatter about it several times a day. We have so much planned from the butterfly conservatory, to the waterpark, to the antique aerial car over the Niagara whirlpool; I’m not sure how we’re going to fit in sleep.

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“I can’t wait until we get there Mom. What do you think we should do first?”

Happiness is… waking up to two adorable kittens snuggled beside me. Their antics amuse me and warm my heart every single day.

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So much adorable in such a small package!

Happiness is having so many things to be happy about 🙂

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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.

Our life… now with bonus kittens…

Jeremy and I had spent a wonderful morning shopping in a couple of stores we both know will be relatively quiet. I found a birthday card for my youngest nephew in Marshalls while Jeremy scored three bags of vegan white cheddar flavoured popcorn. We hit two aisles at Superstore then headed home before making a quick stop for cat food. That’s all we needed.

We were halfway there when a dream started rattling inside my head. I have absolutely wild dreams that are as rich and intricately detailed as a movie and its book counterpart combined. This one was giving me almost nothing, just a white kitten. Had I adopted one? Seen one? Danced the flamenco down King Street with one? Considering my usual dreams the latter seamed more likely but the former felt right.

“I wonder if there’ll be a white kitten there?” I mused.

“Umm why?” Jeremy looked startled, which was understandable considering we already have three adult cats, the baby being eight year old Oreo.

“I don’t exactly remember but I had a dream about a white kitten…”

“And you want to adopt one?”

“Only if there’s a white one,” I assured zir. “You don’t have to worry though, I dreamt about finding a white kitten and my dreams never come true.”

I didn’t bother pointing out that the store only holds adoptions about once a month for one day so the chances of a cat being there were slim to begin with, let alone finding a white cat. Except there was a one day only adoption sign out front. Hope began to fill my heart. Zie opened the door and made a beeline to the adoption cage. Jeremy didn’t crouch, zie stood looking.

“I take it there isn’t one,” I said a lot more cheerfully than I felt.

It wasn’t a question because, as I said above, my dreams don’t come true. Which, considering how bizarre most of them are, is a good thing.

Jeremy took a few seconds to reply. “There isn’t one white kitten,” zie said hesitantly, “there’s two.”

I was over there in a heart beat to see them then started working on getting the clerk to open the cage so we could check one out. She’d never held the kittens before and was hesitant to have anyone touch one. I pointed out it would be hard to adopt a cat if no one touched it. The kitten was not going to levitate itself to a carrier. I watched them both while she dithered. One was quiet and peaceful with a faint outline of M between her ears. The other looked about two seconds away from mischief, complete with a smudge of grey on her forehead that looked like a smear of dirt.

Jeremy was staring just as intently and wanted one equally as much. Luckily for both of us, zie had zir heart set on the peaceful one while I had mine set the one I’d already named Smudge. Then came the fun. They wanted cash only because the payment went directly to the Humane Society and couldn’t go through the till. So we had to go a block over to get cash. And the cash machine at the grocery store was broken.

“Umm, my teen and I are adopting two kittens and we need to get cash back. May I buy a dollar water bottle and get $180 back?” I asked the cashier. Luckily she was a regular  who’d chatted to us about Doctor Who before.

“You can buy a 5 cent bag and get cash back if you want,” she offered cheerfully.

“I’ll get the water bottle,” I replied. “Jeremy can buy the bag with zir card.”

With the money out of the way, we ran to the dollar store to buy balcony proofing materials. The kittens can’t fly any more than I can. I ended up buying a roll of mesh to cover the gap in the bottom of the railing and lattice fencing to add height to the top. Then we hurried back to the store so I could sign tonnes of paperwork and Jeremy could cart around both kittens while cooing and talking baby talk to them.

Colin and Lara

The kittens are, hands down, the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. Jeremy adores the kitten zie’s named Lara (pronounced Lar-ah like the character Lara Croft) and is absolutely besotted. The kitten loves zir just as much and comes running when zie calls. My kitten is a ball of independent fuzz who snuggles up against me at night, looking at me like I’m the most important person in the universe.

I wake up early these days, likely a side effect of my medicine. But the kittens wake early too. The past two days I’ve shooed them onto the balcony and sat, with a mug of hot chocolate, to watch them tumble, bounce and roll from one side to the other before relaxing on the outside cat tree.

Lara and Smudge on the outside cat tree

Lara and Smudge

Our older cats are unimpressed but the kittens are ignoring them and the cats are slowly relaxing. Blackie (our most skittish cat) ate beside Lara this afternoon, which is an amazingly positive sign.

Jeremy’s already talking about taking zir cat for walks once she has her shots.

“I could take Lara into the woods,” zie informed me happily. “I bet they’d like it. And maybe when they’re older, I could take them to the conservation area to see the big woods.”

Jeremy uses gender neutral pronouns for both kittens because zie doesn’t want to assume their gender or preferred pronouns for them, which is very sweet of zir.

I can make no promises for the future but I can be reasonably sure that tomorrow will find me, hot chocolate in hand, watching the kittens while the sun comes up. I can’t say that will be fabulous but it’ll be very nice.

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Valiant attempts at healthy eating…

Poor Jeremy would be happy if he lived in a house that regularly served macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with meat sauce, ravioli (preferably canned), chicken, beef, and pizza with lots of gooey cheese. Instead he’s got me, his vegan mother. Yesterday I had a craving for kale chips with nutritional yeast and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. We’re not just worlds apart when it comes to food, I’m pretty sure we’re in entirely different galaxies.

But I try, which is why I made fettuccine alfredo this evening. The description claimed it was rich, creamy, and luxurious. Her husband asked for it for Valentine’s Day and she ate her first batch over the stove, loving it too much to grab a bowl and sit. The ingredients were ones I already had in the pantry (I even found a lemon tucked away in the back of the crisper) and I bought cracked black pepper fettuccine noodles to make our dinner even more decadent.

I boiled the cauliflower while carefully measuring the rest of the ingredients into the blender. At this point I got a message from my friend Lenny. I told zir what I was making and cheerfully said it smelled good. Then I added the cauliflower and turned on the blender. It made a glorping sound. I was reasonably sure it wasn’t supposed to do that.

The next ten minutes were spent mashing down cauliflower and hoping for the best. After a while the florets disappeared, which was good. Except my sauce had turned into a paste, which wasn’t. It was thick enough to spread as the worst, saddest frosting ever and it was gritty. That was my “screw it” moment. I dumped in half a jar of roasted red peppers, most of the liquid from said jar, a whole teaspoon of the hottest hot sauce I’ve found (it laughs at sriracha sauce), and more coconut milk. The sauce finally stopped glorping and started whirring.

That sauce ate a box and a half of noodles before it started looking like a pasta dish instead of a really bizarre soup and it filled three good sized storage containers. I stuffed two of them in the freezer. There’s no way Jeremy would touch it in any galaxy. I’m going to be eating this for well over a month.

Jeremy called two hours ago to say he’s on his way home and to ask if he could bring home a free kitten. He even held the kitten up to the phone so I could hear its plaintive mews. He’s not getting a kitten. We already have three cats.

I do, however, have chocolate peanut butter pudding cups waiting in the freezer as a surprise. They’re made with tofu, ground flaxseeds, and agave nectar. Just don’t tell him because they are really good and he’ll never know. Meanwhile, I’ve found a recipe for stuffed pasta shells that calls for tofu instead of ricotta cheese. What could go wrong with that?