Sorry that I've been gone for so long.
Last weekend Leo went to a carnival with a kid from the neighborhood and the kid's older sister. He came back with two goldfish that he had won by tossing a ball into a bowl or hoop. Instant pets - how wonderful. But I really shouldn't complain - as a kid I did the same thing and brought home a hamster and a cat - not at the same time of course. So Christopher goes out and buys an aquarium with all the equipment, only to have the fish die within a day - one within a few hours. So now we have an empty fish tank, soon to have new fish. But I was looking around the refrigerator last night and you can probably guess what I found. Two dead goldfish in a plastic bag. When I asked why the dead fish were in the refrigerator, I was told that Leo wants to bury them, just not yet. If I don't remind him we will have dead fish in there for weeks. I really didn't realize that fatherhood would lead to so many weird situations.
The three of us went on vacation over spring break to visit my parents in Georgia. It went fairly well - no major family drama. My dad didn't have a meltdown. The first day that we were there Christopher bought a wireless router for my parents' computer, so he was able to get online in my bedroom if my family was getting to him. I bet that he had some interesting Facebook posts during that time. I even restrained myself when my sister bought breakfast biscuits for everyone from Chick-fil-A. I asked if she was aware how anti-gay the company was and she responded that she didn't care, she liked the food. I wanted to say "If I supported a company that was actively working to take your daughter away from you would you be fine with that?" but I resisted the temptation.
There are been some advances in gay and lesbian equality recently. These include the Ninth Circuit Court ruling that California's Proposition 8 in unconstitutional, the signing of marriage equality laws in the states of Washington and Maryland, a federal district court in San Francisco ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, Maine activists getting a marriage equality ballot measure on the ballot for November, and even the New Jersey legislature passing marriage equality, although the governor vetoed the bill. Those are all positive signs, but...
This is where I keep getting stuck on the but (no pun intended). None of these positive advances are permanent or assured. The laws in Washington and Maryland are being challenged and will likely end up with a popular vote to overturn the laws this November, both court decisions can be overturned by higher courts (and let's be honest, our current Supreme Court is not one that seems to value individual rights - after all, corporations are also people according to the court), and Maine may vote not to have marriage equality. So although I recognized the importance of all these advances, I would like to see a permanent advance that won't potentially be overturned in court or at the ballot box.
We received good news yesterday. Christopher's third novel was accepted for publication! I'm really proud of him. It will be titled "Second Chances" unless the title is changed during the editing process. It will be published by Dreamspinner Press, which mostly does electronic publishing but does paperbacks as well. It was to be published in August, but another book scheduled for April release had some problems, so his book will take its place.
I think that I forgot to mention that he had a short story published in a Christmas anthology, "The Advent Calendar" by MRL Press.
Christopher and I spend part of last night moving furniture so that he can continue painting the bedroom. It is amazing (and disgusting) how much dust, cat hair and various junk can accumulate behind heavy furniture that he don't move often. We slept downstairs on the pullout sofa bed, and now I know that my parents lied when they said that it was comfortable to sleep on when they last visited. And Christopher's cat decided that she was going to sleep on my pillow, then spent what seemed like 20 minutes giving herself her evening bath.
Since we weren't sleeping in our bed, Leo decided that he didn't have to sleep in his. He dragged his sheets and comforter into the hall bathroom and spent part of the night there, then came downstairs and slept on the sofa in the family room. We are not allowing that tonight.
Christopher decided to repaint the bedroom starting yesterday. We painted it soon after we moved into the house in 1999, and then faux finishes were in vogue. So the bedroom walls were purple with gold applied over it with a sponge. Yeah, it was. After a while I didn't even really see it. I joked that it was our purple passion pit. It got old though, but inertia and the busyness of our lives stopped us from repainting.
Then Christopher was given an interesting abstract painting, and we decided to repaint the room to coordinate with it and to hang the painting over the bed. But the painting has purple and turquoise in it, and we didn't want purple again and could not find a turquoise that we could tolerate. So the painting won't go over the bed, and the bedroom will be a nice grayish-blue. It will still be the passion pit though.
Last weekend we discovered that Leo was raking the leaves in our front yard, and that he had somehow convinced the two bothers that live up the street to join him in raking. They even brought their own rake. How exactly did he manage to get them to help out with a chore like that? Christopher suggested that maybe he is Tom Sawyer. But I think Tom Sawyer got other kids to do the work for him, while Leo was out there working too. We felt that we should reward all the kids for their work, so we gave them $2 each. Well the next day they were all back for more. So we paid them again but told them that the cash payments were over. So the little entrepreneurs went up the street to the brothers' house, raked their yard, and got paid again. Maybe Leo is Donald Trump, just nicer and with much better hair.
I hope that everyone had a good holiday season. Ours was low key but good.
I also wanted to welcome a new follower, Dodger. Dodger, do you want to tell us about yourself?
I hope that everyone is having a good holiday season. Our family is having a nice, low key holiday. We had my mother in law and father in law over for lunch today. Not a huge meal but nice.
Leo has been great today. Quite calm for an 8 year old with ADHD on Christmas day. He liked the gifts that he received and thanked us several times throughout the day. He seems to enjoy his new, warmer hoodie, his nerf disc-shooting gun, and his solar powered robot the most. I said before he was born that I would not buy him a gun, but he was using a stick and pretending it was a gun, plus the two brothers down the street that he plays the most with had guns and were shooting him, so we got him a gun to keep up.
Christopher saved the day with the nerf gun. We didn't realize that it required batteries when we bought it, only to realize today that it required six large batteries. He looked around and found two in the cabinet. Later he came downstairs with four more and put all six in the nerf gun. He remembered that we have a ... I'll call it an adult sex toy that uses four batteries. As he said to me "We just won't tell him where we got them." So the sex toy rescued Christmas.
You might wonder why I celebrate Christmas, not being Christian (and not having much good to say about the church that I was raised in.) But to me Christmas was always about getting together with the family (OK, and the presents when I was younger.) My grandmother routinely fed 20+ people at the holidays. Our family gatherings are much smaller now but still special to me.
Leo has been especially affectionate lately. He spontaneously hugs me and Christopher, and he joins us when I hug Christopher in the mornings as I leave for work and turns it into a family hug. He has also been telling us that we're good parents and that he is glad that we are his parents. I wonder if part of that is that he realizes that since he is adopted that he might not have ended up with us as parents. He gave us interesting gifts - a homemade coupon book with things that he will do for us. Mine includes "dish cleaning", a cup of homemade tea, and a car wash. He's a sweet kid that I love very much.
So last night at about 9:30 PM Pacific time was the winter solstice. Although that is the official start of winter, to me winter started in early December and ends about February 1st when I see the first blooms on fruit trees around here. But we are supposed to have a hard freeze tonight, which may damage my orange trees. That was one thing that I insisted on when we put in our backyard, that we have some orange trees. I had never lived anywhere that citrus would grow until I moved to California.
Leo decided that he wanted to change his hairstyle with his last haircut, and he got it "buzzed" or cut very short as one of his friends has. It took a day or two to get used to. He liked to run his fingers through it and wants me to do the same. I'm glad to see him expressing his own opinions about his hair. Before he was born I told myself that hair isn't important and I would always let a child choose his or her own hairstyle. I guess my years of Catholic schools with mandatory short hair helped me realize that hair doesn't really matter.
We're having a low key Christmas. Just the three of us and Christopher's parents over for dinner. The "extended" family, which just adds Christopher's aunt and stepgrandmother got together last weekend. I miss my grandmother's large family get togethers when I was a kid - easily 20 people or more. Five just isn't the same.
My 92 year old great aunt died last weekend. No one was surprised. But of course, family drama had to occur. My great aunt left everything to Heather, a great niece who had lived with her and helped care for her the last several years. One of Heather's aunts accused Heather of "brainwashing" my great aunt to get her house and estate. No, she was there providing help, where were you? There is only one surviving sibling of any of my grandparents, and she is 90.