The hues of September…

Yesterday was steaming hot, the sort of day where you feel like you walked face first into an athlete’s sweaty gym sock, a huge, all encompassing one. I eyed the outdoor pool wistfully, its quietness a reminder that it’s been closed for another year.

boat at the Peterborough lift locks crop

A boat at the Peterborough lift locks

Today is a different day entirely. Today brings to mind brilliant fall leaves, the smells of cinnamon and nutmeg, crisp autumn apples, and crisp new schedules. While I happily celebrate New Year’s Eve at the end of December, September seems to me like another New Year. I’m sure all sorts of Jewish people agree with me on this 🙂

Colin’s home sick today with a nasty cold but he was back at school yesterday, getting his schedule and starting his math class. Something he’s quite excited about. And Kait will soon be entering the wonderful world of trying to get a baby on some sort of schedule. Meanwhile the baby’s belly will be calling the shots. It’s amazing how insistent something the size of a shooter marble can be.

All my programs start again next week. Yoga on Monday evening, Social Recreation on Tuesday afternoon, and Wellness on Thursday. There’ll be some anxiety while I get back into the routine. There’s some anxiety right now even thinking of it. But I know I’ll get used to it soon and I’m already looking forward to the walks to and/or from groups.

Last year Colin signed me up for a site which offers Google Play credits in exchange for completing surveys. The one thing he didn’t take into consideration is how rarely I actually play games. So the credits have been accumulating since then, reaching a grand total of $44. That was when I discovered the Play store has the newest Doctor Who series. So I bought it and splurged and got the high definition version. Now I’ve got something else to stick in my schedule. I can’t wait to find out how the new doctor’s going to manage falling to a planet from an exploding Tardis.

Spoilers dear

I can’t wait for apple pie and new activities and family time and Thanksgiving and fresh new baby snuggles and apple picking and homemade vegan butter tarts.

Welcome autumn. I didn’t think I had but I missed you.

Advertisements

All about Colin (by Colin)

One of my earliest memories was hanging out under the bridge at my old place. It was so dirty. It was a swamp. If I wasn’t careful enough my feet would go right into the soil. One of my favourite memories was that I stole my Mom’s laptop when she was at work and my friend and I stayed in this elevator for about two hours, nice and air conditioned elevator. And we just sat there on the elevator and it was fabulous. We were just playing this one game, I think it was Facade, the game where you go into this house. You’re celebrating the fact these people got married and you had to try to keep them together. It was this most challenging game and it took over YouTube longer than most games. The only game that took over longer, I think, is FNAF (Five Nights At Freddys).

I did not have a nice time going to high school. My first high school wasn’t as bad as my second. I got into arguments about doing math. A sneak preview for the second one is the second high school would change what they were doing in the day just to bug me. Manipulate the other students to not like me. Bring me to the office for barely any reason. Refuse to let me do the classes I wanted to do. They didn’t let me do any work placement stuff. Caused one of my friends to move because of the stress their parents were going under.

Now let’s get back to my first high school. They did stuff bad like I wanted to do more school work. They started handing out more then they told everyone in the class that it was my fault because I kept asking for more school work. But I got the last laugh because I pointed out that I could do the work while everyone else had free time. For the most part, if we stayed there it probably would have gotten better. But, because we moved, oh boy does it get bad.

The second school, they did stuff like, I’d bike to school and they didn’t know I was coming in because I was 10 minutes late so I’d come into class and they’d have math on the board and I’d say “Great, we’re doing math?” and they’d be like, “No, we’re doing something else, we’re doing science.” They’d say we’re doing this for you but it was always weird because they were doing it instead of math. Days that I was not at school because I had a dentist appointment, a doctor’s appointment, I had to stop the universe from imploding again, they’d always have math. They’d always talk about how they had math the day before. I asked in the third year if they were moving math and removing it if I was there or not. You’ll never guess what they said, they said they’re not. And, if you don’t understand why I thought they were, just go to the beginning and re-read again. It’s blatantly obvious. Then one day I did go into class quite upset but all I did was keep asking to do math and they sent me to the office who sent me home, in the middle of winter, and I’d forgot my jacket.

They’d do other stuff like manipulate the class to get the kids to fall into line. They make sure kids follow exactly what they say or they’d punish them, for no reason, by sending them to the office and sending them home. They’d hold back school work. There was one kid, I remember who was going home every day walking. Eventually he stopped going home early. I asked him why and it was because of the teacher. Has anyone heard of the flexing kids of snapchat? They basically just flex their money and tell people “I can afford this and you can’t”. That’s basically what my teachers would do when we got back to school every Monday. They would talk about how their trailer was amazing and how they got like a golf cart and their 16 year old kid a brand new car. Almost every kid in that class was doing horribly financially. And they’d talk for half an hour. Then it would come to me and I’d have five minutes tops. Oh and they’d talk about, like, their boat too. Keep in mind this person had a car, a house, a car for their kid, a trailer, and a boat.

My best friend for two years in high school got pushed out of where he even lived because of the stuff that was going on. I think it was mainly him being my friend that got him bullied by the teachers. I asked his parents when I saw them last if they were moving because of the school and the teachers and they said yes. And, umm, the one teacher who was nice to me got transferred to another class. A tonne of other teachers were confused about how I wasn’t listening to my teachers when I was listening to them and trying my hardest and I could just see in their faces they were confused as to why the teachers weren’t letting me go to other classes.

Now going to the best part of all, they wouldn’t go by the gender pronouns I wanted. I don’t go by them at all anymore but it was zie and zir. First thing I want to say is, I don’t think they should have been fined but it shows their character. They refused to call me by the gender pronouns I wanted for absolutely no reason. Even when the school board came in and told them they had to, nothing happened. And then they’d do this stuff that ladies first and I told them jokingly I’d have to go between because of my gender and mostly because I wanted them to stop having women go up first. And it was causing a thing where women hanged out with women and men hanged out with men. I don’t know how the others saw me because I don’t know what the teachers said when I wasn’t at school.

Now we’re at the present today. Now I’m finally getting the education I wanted. I went to the John Howard Society and got a shit ton of math done. And it was for like a year and it was great because they’d me sit down and listen to music and do as much math as I could that day. Some days would be a page and some would be five. And now I’m going through college courses.

I want to transition to female but I can’t because I want to have kids. I knew something was wrong with my gender when I was a kid, that I was probably born with the wrong gender. But I didn’t know exactly what and, to be honest, I didn’t particularly care. I was more interested in “hey, where does that creek go?” I feel upset about not transitioning.

So that’s about it. That’s my life. Other than video games, I really don’t do much anymore. I’m thinking about starting a gaming channel or something like that.

And coming up in the next blog, my views on politics. Here’s a sneak preview, politics is a bit more difficult than most people believe like Obama legalizing gay marriage is possibly one of the worst things he’s done.

Colin on the dock

p.s. How Canada did it is how Obama should have done it.

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

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

A good day…

I woke this morning to three purring cats, all snuggled over and around me, and Jeremy laughing in his room. I’m not sure what he was watching but apparently it was good.

I then got a message from a friend of mine saying the website that doxxed me is gone (for now at least). Ironically, the owner of the site got doxxed and didn’t like it, to put it mildly.

To make it even funnier and more ironic, here’s a line from his goodbye speech:

“I have thought hard about the cumulative value of the site and all the opportunities it presents me and us, as a community. We have done amazing things. But, the cumulative damage outweighs all of that. It is enormous.”

The opportunities it presented? Amazing things? This whole site consisted of nothing more than bashing people anonymously. Telling lies about people they have never, and never will, meet interspersed with sharing private information like home addresses and the real names of children. Today karma bit back. Tomorrow? Well they’re worms, I’m sure they’ll pop up through a new hole at some point. But for now they’re gone.

I start intensive group therapy on Monday. It’s going to be similar to attending school, except it’s one for feelings. We have our own time tables and classes in such things as psychotherapy, coping skills, self-esteem, and stress/symptom management. We even have a lunch period where we can go down to the cafeteria to eat. I bought myself a fancy turquoise binder complete with folders and a zipper yesterday. Luckily my work lunch bag is still good.

Jeremy is eager to go back to school. The good news is he has a lovely certificate showing he graduated from his Lifeskills program in high school. The bad news is it’s apparently worth less than the paper it’s printed on. He can’t go to the local alternative high school or to the nearby continuing education school to upgrade, he doesn’t have enough education for either. But we have options we’re looking into. One is a bridge to school program through local high schools and the other is an education program run through a nearby mental health hospital. Hopefully one of the two options will pan out.

As for today, I’m anxious enough to need an Ativan and rocking while I type. Even so, it’s a peaceful day. I’m going to force myself to go to the gym for a walk on the track with my favourite music because my health is worth it.

Here’s my current favourite exercise song. Enjoy 🙂

Graded heteronormative crap…

This gem showed up in my Facebook’s newsfeed today… a grade eleven AP honours assignment. What the class is, I don’t know. Do they have a class called “Heteronormative 1950’s Bullshit” in Utah?

fucking-heteronormative-bullshit

He even gets to sign for her grade

My first thought was for the bullied and shy students in the class because you know there’s going to be someone in the class who is absolutely everyone’s last pick. You know someone’s going to be saying, “Well I guess I have to date you.” And what if the class is uneven? Is there going to be a student-teacher date? Does one poor sod date themself?

Plus what about the kids who aren’t interested in the opposite binary gender? Judging by this sheet, the school’s answer is “fake it till you make it (to heterosexuality)”.

My last thought was $5? Where are they going with five dollars*? Are they splitting a burger at McDonalds? I can’t remember the last time I was at McDonalds but Emma pointed out that they’d have to order from the dollar menu, even with splitting a single burger. Then she went through the list, point by point, and made her own comments.

Here they are:

-If I say I don’t want to go out with you, don’t be pushy (and don’t shoot me)
-If I say I don’t care, don’t push for an answer, because I probably actually don’t care
-Don’t expect a second date if your budget is $5 (money isn’t super important, but I do value myself enough to know that anything fun is going to be more than $5)
-Don’t get pissy if the serving size is too much for me to finish, I’m not going to gorge myself and feel like crap, so you can feel better
-Don’t assume I only care about money, I’ll go dutch no problem, but you have to be willing to spend enough that we can actually do something enjoyable
-If I’m spending the whole date thinking I look like crap, something has gone terribly wrong (ie. you said “dress casual” then surprised me with a fancy restaurant, you’re making me feel ugly (did you criticize how I look?)
-I’ll comb my hair if it needs to be combed, fuck you
-Why do you assume I will, or am, fishing for compliments?
-The only reason I can think of my body weight coming up on a first date, is because it was mentioned first. Unless you mean the “does this make me look fat?” stereotype, which doesn’t usually happen until well past the first date
-If I’m enjoying myself, you’ll know, if I look like I’m not enjoying being with you, then I actually am not
-I’ll sit next to you if it’s appropriate to do so (i.e not at a restaurant, that’s weird, but at the movies for sure)
-I’ll be in the bathroom for as long as I need to (how do I go in a group? How many people are on this date?)
-If I’m talking to the girl we’re doubling with, instead of you, then it’s because she’s got a better personality than you
-What’s considered appropriate for a $5 date? I’m thinking sweatpants.
-Fuck you, and fuck your “lady-like” standards, I’ll say whatever the fuck I want, and you can sit down, shut up, and appreciate it, you pile of shit.
-I show respect, where respect is deserved
-Why do you assume I won’t be?
-If I feel the need to flirt with/text/check out other guys, you clearly aren’t that fun to be around (and you better hold to the same standard for yourself and other girls)
-Seriously? Why do you keep assuming I’m a psychopath? If this is how you feel about me, the date isn’t even going to happen.
-So you not only are trying to dictate my personality now, but my feelings? I’ll have a good time, if you’re fun to be around.
-Again with assuming I’m not going to be a civil human on this date, why are we even going on it?
-It depends on the personal habit, if you’re habitually shoving your hand down your pants to scratch your balls, I’m telling you to stop. If you’re being gross, you’ll be told.
-I’ll compliment you if I think you should be complimented, but based off of this list, you probably shouldn’t be.
-How long do I stare at the door, before realizing you aren’t opening it?
-My standards mean this date isn’t happening. If by some miracle it does, however, are you going to respect the fact that my standards mean I’m not screwing you at the end of the night?
-I’ll criticize you’re driving if it needs to be. Bad driving isn’t always obviously unsafe, but any form of bad driving is unsafe in even subtle ways (also, what if I want to drive? Why are you assuming I want you to drive?)
-You made a giant list of rules for me, then told me to be myself? You just tried to dictate my entire personality (and feelings) for the night, I can’t be myself at that point. I also can’t relax, because this sounds like a dude who will murder me at the end of the night.

She also did some digging and found out the class was an “adult roles and financial literacy class” which I’m pretty sure is a euphemism for “heteronormative 1950’s bullshit”. Plus she found the boy’s side of the assignment…

boys-page

Sorry about the blurriness. And look, there’s mutual signage.

Girls like flowers and little gifts? Umm… that’s sweet. It’s a five dollar mandated date. You’re lucky if you get a bouquet of dandelions and a ring from the bubble gum machine. Go buy your own damn flowers.

I am so glad I’m not raising kids in Utah! I hear there’s nice mountains but holy hell!

*it looks like they’re each spending $5 so at least they can both order their own burger from the dollar menu.

I’m going to need a crowbar and forklift…

Jeremy went to school willingly on Monday, which not only floored me but surprised all my coworkers. I was thrilled with this… until I came home. I’d barely walked in the front door when Jeremy informed me zie’d gotten so fed up with being misgendered, zie started calling the teacher and EAs “he” and “him” to see how they’d like it. It turns out they didn’t like it at all.

One EA told Jeremy that she didn’t mind at all, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Zir teacher complained that she was promised zie wouldn’t make a scene if they forgot the right pronouns. Jeremy informed her that was supposed to be an occasional lapse, not non-stop for half a year. The teacher then went on to complain about Jeremy’s rudeness and told zir that she was going to write a letter to me about it. Then she sent zir out of the classroom ten minutes early sans letter. I figure she had second thoughts about writing me an angry note about being misgendered. Good choice on her part because I’d have either laughed hysterically or put that letter someplace letters should never go.

The irony of the whole situation is that Jeremy figures zie used the wrong pronouns for about five minutes.

I half joked on Facebook a few days ago that I was going to need a crowbar and forklift to get Jeremy out to school today. I could have used them because zie didn’t go. Jeremy was positive they were going to be mean to zir, which made zir anxious. Jeremy uses electronics to calm down, meanwhile they’re constantly fighting zir on having “gadgets” in the classroom.

There’s a meeting with the school board tomorrow night called Families Engaged, where they want to hear from LGBTQ families (either LGBTQ parents with children in the school board or parents with LGBTQ children). Emma and I are going and I’ll be sharing what’s happening with Jeremy. I also have a meeting with zir school on Tuesday. Jeremy’s not back in school until Wednesday so hopefully we can get something sorted out before zie returns; although considering my track record with this school I’m not hopeful.