Saying goodbye to a decade…

Kathleen and Kait 2009It was 2009. I had a 14 year old and a 12 year old. Both seemed so old then and so young in retrospect. That New Year’s we went to my parents’ house for a family celebration that including a bonfire and cousins running everywhere.

 

Maybe it’s just me but I find that how things are now feel like forever, as if nothing’s going to change. And yet it does. Sometimes glacially slow and sometimes in the blink of an eye. Colin and I moved into what was my dream apartment (complete with pool) and he finished high school after many years of turmoil, mostly involving pronouns, his stims, and his love of math. Kait started dating her boyfriend and eventually had a baby with him. Kittens were adopted and adult cats grew older. The kittens did too but they’re still young. The adults are getting elderly.

I went to a friends’ apartment today and we were talking about the next decade and how old we’d be when 2030 rolled around. Sixty seems so far away but it’s coming closer in increments. Most of our time was spent chatting about happier things, stuffing our faces with food, and singing karaoke but sixty tugged at my brain. I’ve never pictured anything past 2020 so sixty is a novel concept and a not entirely welcome one. I can barely wrap myself around turning fifty.

I mentioned a few of my goals in an earlier post. Things like exercise three times a week and try to make friends. I want to get back into writing. I miss writing. I miss having a brain with an attention span too. I will definitely have to write in shorter chunks. And I need to make at least one friend. I don’t know how. I’m good at chatting with strangers but don’t know how to bridge the gap between chatty neighbour and friend. And I want to get back into cooking. Colin keeps putting stuff on the kitchen counter, which makes it difficult to prepare food. He has a lot of stuff, none of which belong there.

It is going to be so odd moving into an apartment just for me. I have never, in almost 50 years, lived totally on my own. Will I still be there on New Year’s Eve 2029? Who will be with me? Oh my goodness, my tiny toddling grandson is going to be in late elementary school! Our lives are going to change so much.

I’ve already had my New Year’s Eve celebration so I’m going to curl up in my swing chair and read a Patricia Briggs novel. Happy New Year to you all and I wish you all the best in 2020!

Kathleen, Allison, and Sean

Myself, Allison, and Sean about to sing karaoke

Coda…

There’s one short week between Christmas and the New Year. It should be a celebration. A goodbye to the old year and a welcome to the new. Instead it’s filled with the minutiae of our lives. When was that dentist appointment? Did I take the tofu out to thaw? It’s less a poignant goodbye and more, oops, someone stepped on the bagpipes.

!BLAT!

When you get right down to it, even New Year’s isn’t very relevant for us. It was chosen because January was named after the Roman God Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and one looking behind. But you’d be hard pressed to find someone worshipping Janus these days. I have to admit, the whole concept of a totally clean slate and our best future is appealing. We get to say goodbye to what’s hurt us this past year and look forward to better things.

I’m looking at 2020 with a mixture of anticipation and dread. I’m looking forward to moving. I have bought so many cute little things; items that will make me feel happy when I see them. And I’m going to have a new apartment that’s just for me. No one’s ever lived there before, I’ll be the absolute first. I’m also panicking about the move. I’m still waiting for my move in date, sometime this February. And I’m used to having so many things close to me. Three grocery stores, three drug stores, a Giant Tiger, and a Dollarama. I’ll have most of that… if I walk a half hour from my new place. That’s pleasant in the summer and hellish in the winter.

I mentioned some concerns to my psychiatrist and he commented that with my level of severe anxiety, it is common to have agoraphobia. I’m not sure how I’ll manage walking thirty minutes from home to face crowds on my worst days. There’s options like door dash and grocery delivery but I don’t want to rely on them too much to the point of avoiding everything and everyone. That’s not healthy and only makes agoraphobia worse.

This is the year I turn fifty. I don’t feel half a century old, despite having a grandchild. I’m planning on celebrating it at Ste. Anne’s Spa with my Mom and sister. It’s going to be so peaceful.

I do have several goals in mind for 2020. I’m going to sign up for Planet Fitness and I want to get there three nights a week. They have massage chairs which will provide incentive for me. The spa has massage chairs and I fell in love with them. I want to make sure I walk to the grocery store once a week, saving grocery delivery for the absolutely abysmal days, like -40C before the windchill. The easiest one of all, don’t check out the troll site. It’s been over a month since I’ve last been there. It’s hard when I’m depressed to stop myself and a lot easier when I’m feeling good about myself. But they’re not writing about me. They’ve made an almost unrecognizable caricature of myself then act if they know the truth. I spent my childhood being badly bullied, I don’t need to seek out bullies in my adult years. They’re not worth my time. Instead I’m going to focus on making IRL friends. I don’t know exactly how yet but I’ll do it, even if I have to set out snares.

Now to count the days down to when the calendar changes. I wish the best to everyone in the coming decade!

New Year wish2

A week of contemplation…

The time between Christmas and New Years seems almost like a holiday, even though it isn’t one. It doesn’t feel like a busy party with presents and too much food but a contemplative party heading toward the birth of new year.

20181225_202409-01We opened all our presents yesterday and I got the gift I was hoping for… a new scale that says “You are amazing”. I need that daily affirmation, I think most of us do. I also got two pairs of slippers, one unicorn and one with mermaid sequins and two hot chocolate mugs, one with a unicorn that says “be magical” and one is a white cat with legs. Plus I got an ornament for my tree, a round, pink pig with wings and a crown. I knew they were sold out at every Pier One nearby, I didn’t realize my Mom had picked up one of the last ones.

More importantly was the time spent with family. Kait, her boyfriend, and their baby came over for Christmas morning, complete with stockings and cinnamon rolls. Then we all went over to my parents’ house for more presents, conversation, and yummy meals.

But Christmas is over and now it’s time to look forward to 2019. I have my main goal, I want to get on track diet wise so I can be a decent weight for our family Dominican Republic trip. I’ve slipped up this month and regained four pounds (arguably it could have been worse).

I want to spend more time with my friends and family. I’ve been enjoying Saturday karaoke nights with my friends each week and Sunday visits with family. I need to make it a priority to see Kait regularly too. I was going quite often when the baby was born and now the pendulum’s swung the opposite direction. I’d like to see her once every week or two.

I also want to get moving consistently. I don’t have to reach 10 thousand steps every day but I do need to get physical. It’ll help both my weight and my sleep.

My contemplative self wants a peaceful year. No worrying about trolls, whether they’re on Facebook or anywhere else. They can deal with their negativity on their own. And more connecting with my online friends. A message means so much more than a like.

The hardest one will be getting back into writing. I just don’t have the concentration I used to have. I read that writing in comic sans can help with concentration and creativity so that’s worth a shot. I can change the book back to garamond later.

This week will be spent converting our apartment back to it’s usual appearance. The tree will unravel back into plain green and the village will abandon it’s spot on the kitchen table. Soon they’ll all be tucked away in rubbermaid bins and moved into our storage unit. Recycling will be sorted and placed into the outside bins and our big garbage bag of gift wrap removed from our front hall. And, all the while, I’ll be ever so conscious of the new year looming ahead with it’s promise of a fresh start.

Hello 2019. I think I’m ready for you!

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Me at my parents’ house on Christmas evening

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.

New Years…

I found myself at Wal-Mart on Boxing Day with my Christmas money and a complete lack of exercise clothes. Gaining fifty pounds in half a year will do that. Thanks Abilify. Finding a top turned out to be the easy part. I also needed pants in size “I ate Christmas dinner and all the baking”. What I found were pencil thin exercise pants (even in XL) and shorts shorter than my underwear. The latter would probably look amazing on someone who’s fit but on me it would look like my crotch was eating them. Which is never a look I’m aiming for. Luckily I found some comfy yoga pants at Penningtons, a Canadian chain for fat people. They have great clothes.

Fifty pounds is a scary amount of weight to gain all at once, especially when it happened so fast. Literally, one week I could wear my favourite jeans and the next I couldn’t pull them past my hips. I was out of breath yesterday on a walk I did with ease this fall. So, naturally, my resolutions this year are health centred.

Our local gym offers a discount for people on disability so I signed up to start in January. They have all the usually equipment but what I’m really happy about is their indoor track. My iridescent rhinestone headphones and I can listen to music and walk without banging my knees around on a treadmill.

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So sparkly!

I told Jeremy that I’m going on an apple diet, which is kind of true. I’ve decided that every time I’m having an absolutely irresistible craving for junk food, I’m going to eat an apple. Plus I’m centering my diet around beans, legumes, and vegetables. Hopefully this will make a difference.

Jeremy and I are on wait lists for our own separate apartments and, while that’s not happening this year, we can downsize while we’re waiting. Not only will it be cleaner but it’ll make the eventual packing that much easier.

Both of us can’t wait until we have places of our own. Me because it’ll be so much cleaner and Jeremy because he won’t have to hear me complain about cleaning up. I’m not sure how he’s going to end up once he’s on his own. He’s either going to be the sort that cleans dust before it falls on his furniture or I’m going to show up one day to hear a muffled “I’m over here” from under a pile of junk. There’ll be no in between.

One big resolution is getting out of my comfort zone. My comfortable New Year’s Eve would be sitting at home with Jeremy. We’d watch a video together and end up in our own rooms on separate computers… in quiet… only getting together for the count down. Instead, I’m going to my parents’ house for dinner and to my sister’s house for a big New Year’s Eve party. It’s going to be loud, crowded and definitely out of my comfort zone.

And, how about you? What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any resolutions?

Saying goodbye to 2015…

“Is it the new year yet Mom?” Jeremy asked.

I flipped over the last of the fries and put the tray back in the oven. “It depends on what year you’re talking about,” I mused as I started the timer. “It’s the new year compared to 2014 but then 2016 starts in a couple more days.”

“Oh,” zie sighed. “I wanted it to be the new year now. Everything I ordered off Amazon comes next year. How about now? Is it 2016 yet?”

According to the timer, about 25 seconds had elapsed. I sent zir out to buy a fuse and pizza dough after the fourth “how about now” question. We don’t need the pizza dough until tomorrow but I need a bit of quiet writing time and zie needs some fresh air (and a chance to redirect zir thoughts to something other than parcel delivery times).

I figured this would be a year of change and it has definitely lived up to that title. Within the first month of 2015, I had a friend walk out of my life; a friend I thought would be there for life. The second month had me almost lose my Dad to an unknown infection. And to put it as vaguely as possible, living with my daughter Emma for four months caused a huge setback for our relationship. Then I found out that a friend of mine died suddenly… or not so suddenly considering she’d been dealing with medical issues for a while that had been ignored with the advice to “lose some weight”. She shows up in my Facebook memories regularly and it’s a blow to the heart each time.

Depression permeated my life for most of the year and I’m still slowly digging myself back out. I realized this summer that I had stopped reading, which was horribly shocking since I’m the person who couldn’t make it a day without reading something. I’m working on incorporating books back into my life and even bought myself two new novels the day before yesterday.

I posted a brief bit of information about my family history on my personal Facebook account, along with a plea for people to not vote for Stephen Harper, and lost one of my uncles (who declared me to be the rudest, most arrogant person he’s ever met) and my sister Amy. She responded to my yearly, family Christmas card with “fuck off” and a request to never speak to her again. Love was written at the bottom in quotation marks. My uncle didn’t respond at all.

On the flip side, Jeremy had an amazing birthday celebration with one of zir good friends and we both had an incredible time at our Unitarian Universalist campground. We painted our rooms this year and love how they turn out; now we both have a safe place. And we went on some amazing walks. Never underestimate the power of a good walk.

I found two labels that fit me after years of feeling like I simply didn’t fit in anywhere; asexual and autistic. Asexual doesn’t need anything more than a self diagnosis. Hopefully I can find someone who can help me sort out the autism puzzle. I’m on a wait list for a psychiatrist and, presumably, he can help.

This year I took a chance and accepted a whole lot of friend requests with the end result of several new good friends. They make me smile every time I see their posts and I enjoy chatting with them.

And, just when I figured that 2015 was going to end with more bad times than good, my best friend L asked me if I wanted to be in a relationship with him. That definitely pulled 2015 up into the positive 🙂 Jeremy really likes him too.

My goals for 2016 are simpler…

  1. Focus on the family I have. We had a huge family gathering on Boxing Day and it was wonderful. Then, today, Jeremy came with me to work and walked over to zir grandparents’ house. Jeremy’s cousin specifically asked if zie could hang out today. Family, and I’m including L in this, needs to be treasured.
  2. Relax and get back into writing. I have not written or edited a novel in over a year and I miss it terribly. One thing I’ve stopped doing is carrying around a notebook and I need to get back into that habit; that way I have somewhere to jot ideas and conversations. I found I’d do that on the bus then hurry home to add it in on the computer. And I have the cutest journal for that too.
  3. Take time for myself. I need to scrapbook, read, and take the occasional bubble bath. I can’t see myself lying on my deathbed saying “I should have done more dishes and mopped twice a week”. I’ve picked up a lot more frozen veggies so I can pare down cooking time. Hopefully this will increase my free time.
  4. Encourage Jeremy to find something to do outside of surfing the net and browsing for products. This one is going to be tricky considering Jeremy has very limited interests beyond the computer but I’ll work with zir and see what we can come up with together.

Tomorrow is the very last day of 2015 and then we’re on to a bright, shiny new year. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us!

Jeremy's rainbow unicorn snail

Jeremy with zir rainbow unicorn snail from Karen

 

A new year… a fresh start…

Jeremy and I had a great New Year’s Eve. Karen came over with her boys and we had a vegan fondue and homemade pizza. I got the recipe for the fondue from the Vegetarian Times…

Blonde Bliss vegan fondue

Blonde Bliss vegan fondue

This recipe made tonnes of fondue dip, which would be helpful at a huge party but was overkill for the five of us. I see it being transformed into soup in the near future.

Karen made a chocolate fondue for the kids, which was a success for two of them. Jeremy, in particular, pretty much cleaned it up but zie’s always been a chocoholic (zie comes by it naturally).

chocolate fondue

You can see Jeremy’s favourite cup in the corner. It’s a mason jar on a wine stem and Jeremy thinks it’s the fanciest cup ever.

And then Jeremy and I played Doctor Who Yahtzee. Jeremy quickly decided zie’d gain an advantage if zie surrounded zirself with Doctor Who paraphernalia. Every roll of the dice was accompanied by the TARDIS noise and zir handful of Doctor Who characters joined us.

Jeremy's Doctor Who conga line

The 9th Doctor looks surprisingly relaxed

I love the New Year. For all it’s an arbitrary date, I love the chance at a fresh start, a time to try and make things better. It’s a chance to reflect over the previous year and ponder the future. And I do resolutions.

1) Exercise at least three times a week and eat healthy – in some ways I’d love to look amazing this summer but my main reason is for health. I’m watching as more and more of my friends suffer from type two diabetes, high cholesterol, back problems, knee problems, breathing problems, etc. I’m really the only parent my kids have and they need me. I want to be healthy and here for them.

2) Spend more time with my kids – this one is tricky for an introvert who works in the public. Often by the time I get home, I’m totally peopled out and need time to recharge. But it doesn’t take long to play a game of Doctor Who Yahtzee and it would do both Jeremy and I some good to go for a walk, even if zir purple car tags along. Emma’s coming over this afternoon so I can start this resolution pretty much right away. And, even though Jeremy’s not exactly awake, I started off zir day with a good morning hug.

3) Watching my finances – I’m spending too much time dipping into overdraft and we’ve been eating out a bit too much too. I need to plan more “fancy” meals at home. There are things I’d like to do with Jeremy this summer which I won’t be able to do if our money’s frittered away on take out food.

4) Reach out more – I waited too long to extend an open offer to anyone who wanted to have Christmas dinner at our house. I need to try harder to reach a hand out to others. I put it off because I’m already stretched pretty thin, forgetting that when I’m reaching out to someone, they’re reaching out to me too. It’s a help for everyone including me.

5) Organize my life better – I won’t be stretched nearly as thin if I’m not going three directions at once. Life’s too busy to spend running around in circles.

I hope 2015 is a fabulous year for all of us. *throws confetti in the air*

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