New Friend

Hotaru invited Guille over after school and she stayed for dinner. I made カレーライス.

They had a blast. She’s laughed so hard and so much. I haven’t heard her laugh that much or that hard in two years. Her friend Megu is funny but too immature and Guille’s jokes are right down her alley, it seems.

I’m glad they had such a good time. I’ve been hoping Hotaru would befriend more of her school mates so she can broaden her circle (especially since Rami’s mother and Lulu’s mother don’t want her hanging out with their children because I’m transgender) but so far she had declined saying none of the other girls had anything in common with her and she found them plain (or rude).

Well, lately Guille has taken up writing just like Hotaru has and they now talk about it all the time during recess. Hotaru has been sitting with Guille and Diana during lunch these past few weeks and found out she has more in common with them than she thought. Diana shares her love for horror stories and told her a pretty ridiculous one the other day. Hotaru told it to me during dinner. It made no sense LOL. Kids these days are scared of the silliest things. Whatever. I’m still happy she has broadened her circle a bit. I really like Lulu, Rami, Feli and Megu but they can’t be her WHOLE world. Especially since Zahira and her crazy mother Jessica have been spreading ugly rumors about Hotaru and Megumi, saying that my daughter watches porn and shows it to her friends and Megu cuts her wrists to draw attention. Neither rumor is true but it gives Lulu’s and Rami’s mothers the perfect excuse to tell them not to hang out with Hotaru… not that they’ll ever listen. thank goodness.

Oh, Hotaru is officially going out with Lulu. They’ve been together for the past two months. I’m not surprised in the least. Hotaru has been in love with her since they were 5 and told me so several times, so when she came out as a lesbian six months ago I though “uh… we all know that, but thanks for the friendly reminder” but what I really said was something along the lines of “Cool. Now you can officially spread your gay spores around and scare your friends’ parents for real.” And we had a laugh. Then had dinner or tea or something. I can’t remember what time it was but it certainly wasn’t the morning.

I’ve been feeling rather lonely lately and, at the same time, I’d never dare to trust anyone again with my emotions… let alone share a house, least they end up plotting how to kill me in order to inherit, like my ex-wife, who was conveniently waiting for me to kick the bucket to ship Hotaru with Dr.Tomoe and enjoy the house and everything else that comes with it… aka the job. So, that’s a tough nut to crack. I feel sad, not because I miss HER, good riddance, but because I’m mourning the fact that I’ll never trust anyone again, I’m mourning my innocence and it hurts. And I can’t talk to anyone about it because my mother and aunt won’t understand and insist life is long and I’ll get over it (sorry but this isn’t your average broken heart, the woman literally held my life in her hands and she chose to play video games rather than save me, there’s no coming back from that) and my three closest friends… I don’t know. I feel they won’t get it.

I know I can always wait until the girls are 18 and put everything in their name (but with a clause that I can profit from the properties as long as I live) and then move in with someone because then that person won’t inherit anything but I don’t want to. I’ll never be able to TRUST people again. Not after what she did to me and for THAT, I will never forgive her. Well, that and doing nothing as I agonized.

Pill bugs

Pill bugs and crabs… yes, not a common bentou theme, I know.

Hotaru had to write an essay on Invertebrates for school and since she finds most utterly disgusting, to the point where she had to close her eyes during most of the videos they played in class, she’s been working very hard on picking the right subject for her essay. In the end, she picked pill bugs, declaring those were actually cute and she ended up enjoying the research process a lot. She was super hyped during dinner last night and kept telling me weird fact after weird fact in full fangirl mode. It made me happy. I love that she managed to turn something awful (aka having to research something you find nauseating) into a pleasant enough experience that she finished the whole thing in one day and then couldn’t stop talking about it.

So, to celebrate her hard work and determination to make the experience bearable, I decided to include pill bugs in her lunch hoping she’ll be as proud of herself as I’m of her.

Oh, BTW, these past two years I’ve grown such a beard Dr. Tomoe would turn green with envy. Only no one notices because COVID calls for the use of masks, so it’s a secret between me and myself LOL. Well, and my family, but the point was to impress the other school parents and shop owners enough so they’d stop making unsavory comments about me being trans. I figured once I was completely under the radar, the ones coming off as stupid and out of place would be them. I mean, it’s easy to bully s weird looking person that’s not completely here nor there regarding gender but no one would feel tempted to call someone with a beard like mine Ma’am. Everyone else would think them crazy. Meh… it will pass…

The point was, I’m happy with my beard and it’s getting fuller and fuller every day. I think at this rate it’ll be completely full by February. =D This is important because not every transman gets a beard… as not every CISman has one either. It depends on genetics and I’ve genes for VERY impressive beards on both sides of the family, so yay! On the other hand, I’m starting to fear my hair might be thinning a little bit and genetics aren’t as generous on that area. I’ve a 50% chance of going nearly bald and a 50% chance of having the most impressive male mane you’ve ever seen… I’ve just haven’t figured out which genes are active in me yet. And I’m scared to do so, too. I just can’t imagine myself bald (narcissistic Libra that I am) but I’ll take that any day if the alternative is living without Testosterone. Duh.

Hotaru is very much obsessed with music and singing these days and with writing fanfiction, too. She writes about genderless skull headed videogame characters, which I find a little weird but whatever. It’s harmless enough. Go figure what my parents thought of the anime I used to watch as a teenager LOL. Oh and she’s joined a tabletop RPG group that narrates medieval fantasy campaigns biweekly via Zoom. It’s meant for kids 10 to 12 and I know the guy who narrates for them and the parents of half the kids in the group so I’m not concerned. It’s all very age-appropriate but she still gets to socialize with people from other schools, broaden her circle and acquire a whole new set of useful resources that will aid her in her trouble resolution in real life as role playing allows you to try new angles in a controlled environment. She’ll learn to collaborate with a group of people who share her goals even though they might not share her point of view, negotiate and navigate a world full of “dangers” without mommy and daddy’s guidance but, AGAIN with no real consequences if she makes a mistake. Hotaru always tells me about the adventure after each session and how she tried to solve whatever problem the group faced, she also reflects on other people’s actions and the consequences the characters had to own up to… or run away from. It’s very enriching. So far, roleplaying has taught her to manage a tight budget and haggle efficiently hehe. She’s lost some in game money learning but now she can handle real life shopkeepers like a charm. The entire group is learning negotiations and peace keeping among opposing religious groups, as well as how to handle being discriminated against and chased for being who they are… in this case, elves and half-human half-animal hybrids.

The first time her character was discriminated against, Hotaru told me about it in an outrage and I could see the hurt in her eyes. She was like “Can’t they see we’re all creatures of this forest, fighting to protect the same place we love? Wouldn’t it make more sense to fight together against the common enemy instead of one another!?” It was plain that it had gotten to her, it had become personal and I know it stung, as only being discriminated against after a lifetime of being lavishly praised can, and it probably scared her that none of her charm or smarts mattered to that other group, that it frustrated her when her default tools failed her. But that allowed her to find herself in the shoes of less fortunate people who have to face that daily and then, it forced her to find another way forward, one WAY out of her comfort zone. Both empathy and learning to operate outside of your comfort zone are very important things to learn in life. Best she learns the easy way, through a game that allows her to practice and mess up harmlessly than tasting the real world so that when reality hits her… as it always does everyone sooner or later, she’ll already have some experience handling that sort of situation and won’t panic, for she’ll find the situation familiar, if only subconsciously.

It’s like a vaccine. Let her have a taste of it that won’t kill her so when the real enemy comes she’s ready.

The kids are all right

Hotaru has gotten SO good at drwaing it’s insane.

For the first week after the divorce, everyone kept asking me how Hotaru was. They feared she might be sad. I think she was… maybe not as happy as I am but twice as relieved. Not having a helicopter bitch of a stepmother breathing down her neck at every moment must feel great! She kept saying things like “Ooh, look, dad! The kitchen’s actually CLEAN!” and “I just CAN’T believe how CLEAN this house finally is!” or “I just LOVE the way the house is looking these days!” So I gather that it’s been a happy turn of events for everyone. What really broke my heart was her rolling on her freshly made bed for twenty long minutes giggling and saying “This smells sooooo goood!!!” Turns out she didn’t know beds were supposed to smell like whatever fragrance your laundry products had because my ex wife changed her sheets every three or four months and never once changed the duvet in TWO WHOLE YEARS. I cannot tell you the amount of cat hair and general grime that was on that thing. I was tempted to throw it away but Hotaru didn’t want me to because she loves that kitten comforter I made for her. In the end, my mom had it cleaned for us. She’s a darling.

I know you might think I should have done something about it but just standing on the threshold of her room triggered my histamine reaction so badly I had to keep off from her room, so I had no idea of what went on in there. I had to rely on my ex wife and hope she wasn’t a bitch about it. Well, wrong. Apparently, that was too much to ask for.

Sorry about the weird fingers. It’s not some subliminal thing, it just my Rheumatoid Arthritis T_T

Hotaru has become such an adolescent by now hehe. She’s begging for me to watch My Little Pony and Detective Conan with her one second and programming game mods with her girlfriend and writing popular fanfiction the next. She’s super responsible about her school work (straight As, as usual) but then forgets to feed the cats every other morning… because she was too busy doing her bangs just the right way in front of the mirror for half an hour… And still, she’s doing much better than most of the other 11 year olds I know and, moreover, I know she’s trying her best.

So cool in her new clothes 😀

Two weeks ago I took Hotaru shopping because she had literally outgrown her entire wardrobe except for her fleece pajamas and her school skirt but that’s hardly enough clothes to go through spring so… shopping. It was hard on my credit card, but they had great prices and the chance to pay for it in six installments so whatever; won’t be that bad… only as bad as her new computer… BUT she paid for 12% of that herself, with her savings, so that counts for something. I’m so proud of her, of the fact that she pays for her own things, or, at least a part of it. I mean, after her old computer broke down irreparably, she wanted a computer that would allow her to play videogames on top of just doing her schoolwork, so I offered to buy her a better CPU if she pitched in. And, between the two of us got her a wonderful deal, 20% off, with 8gb RAM rather than the default 4 and to be paid in 18 installments so everyone was happy.

Back to the clothes, I had her pick out her own outfits because she’s old enough for it despite what my ex wife might think. I didn’t give an opinion unless it was asked and Hotaru had hours of fun trying on the entire shop lol. The only person happier than her was the salesperson who would earn a commission on the sale. She picked three hoodies, four long sleeved T-shirts, two tops, three short sleeved T-shirts, two pairs of shorts and two pairs of socks. The young lady helping us threw in two jeans in her size that were on sale for free because we had spent so much already LOL. I also bought some new underwear for myself because it was much needed.

For years I had asked Hotaru to play Gran Turismo and 2K17 with me and she always refused with a disgusted face. Then I quit asking around the time she started elementary school. Well, two weeks ago she suggested we did exactly that and now she’s all hyped about both games. I brought it up and she said “I was too young to know what’s good” LOL and now that she does love basket and race games we’ve been having a ball playing for about half an hour every other day. =D

Too tired to make sense

Hotaru and Fran, christmas 01/01/2020

I’m so exhausted at night, I’m not sure I’ll be able to blog properly, but I’ll try to at least post something.

Today Aunt Grace came over to help me organize the bathroom cabinets and towels. Couldn’t finish the project because her clothes smelled like mold and I didn’t want my towels touching it by accident what with my severe histamine problem. She brought some frozen prime meat cuts to treat Hotaru and I asked her to put it away at once, but she didn’t know they belonged in the freezer so it wouldn’t thaw and put it in the fridge so now I have to stay up past midnight cooking it so it can be frozen again… otherwise it’d be a waste. It was my ex-wife’s fault. Hotaru said “Sorry, I thought the fridge was ok since mom used to leave meat there when she came back from the store…” I had to explain to her that was because she’s a lazy person who was counting on me doing it for her.

Cocoa and Choko were out in the terrace again today and when I went to bring them in, Cocoa was nowhere to be found. Had to call her for the longest time before she showed up but at least she did. I REALLY need to prioritize buying them collars with my cellphone number just in case.

Oh, I’m so exhausted I forgot to mention the most exciting bit of news. My ex finally submitted the paperwork to the government and they sent an email asking for my share, which I happily sent, asking what the next step was, but only got an email confirming they received what I sent. It was an anticlimax but whatever… the important thing is this brings Hotaru and I one step closer to the adoption of a little sister for her. She’s soooo excited and so am I. Been putting this off for TOO LONG due to my ex. The plan was to adopt back in 2015 but whatever, you do what you can and better late than never.

I wish I had time to write about how I have dreamed about adopting a child and/or a baby ever since I can remember, or about how well my ex and I did in the interview we had before the divorce but I’m too exhausted to form coherent sentences. I also with I had the time and clarity of mind to write about my plans for the future, both about remodeling the house and my family. Let’s just say that, after the adoption is final, I hope to become a foster parent for babies from 0 to 3 years old and nurture them so they get a good start in life rather than being part of a system that treats them as things.

Also, my Aunt Grace and Uncle Angel are fostering a wonderful toddler named Francine since she was six months old (her mother had her when she was 14 so she co-parents to some extent but is mostly a hindrance and not very involved). It’s a long and complicated story but Hotaru absolutely LOVES her baby cousin. She talks her friends’ ears off boasting about all the things Fran can do… and they’re many because she’s the smartest baby EVER. She’s smarter than a full term baby although she was born 3 months premature.

Hotaru helping Fran open her Children’s day present, which was a tray full of plastic vegies.
Hotaru reading to Fran two weeks ago.

It’s impossible to summarize two whole years into one post but there’s been some really sweet moments. I’m happy for Uncle Angel who always dreamed of being a father. He finally got to raise a child, though the original idea was for me and my ex to adopt Fran… thing is my ex is a bitch and wanted a “real” child, not “some ugly adopted kid” which is a funny thing to say because Fran is an absolute beauty. She’s got brains AND looks, which is more than my ex can say for herself or any child she might share her faulty DNA. But it’s impossible for anyone to adopt Fran under the new law, so everyone is co-parenting her. My aunt and uncle, the biological mother (well, she sort of spends time in Fran’s vicinity rather than parent her but whatever) and the female priest who took mother and child in when they were kicked out by Fran’s grandma. Like I said, it’s complicated and that’s just the tip of the iceberg… but I digress and now it’s sleepy time.

Oh and the messy wall is our living room. We had mold, had to impermeabilize it and never had enough money to paint over it afterwards.

Bento

Now that Hotaru has gone back to school full time, I’ve been able to make her cute bento again. It makes me happy to be able to do so and it’s one of the highlights of my day. I might not have as much stamina to put into them as before, but I think they’re somehow better than what I used to make for her. Nutritionally speaking at least, since I’m including at least four or five different colors of fruits and veggies now. Sometimes I wonder whether she’s too old for kyaraben or not… what with her having a girlfriend already… but then she asks for me to watch My Little Pony with her and I’m reminded one’s never too old for a Bulbasaur onigiri. Still, those will have to wait. I’ve cut down on her carbs for now since she’s overweight (too many hours sitting in front of the computer, attending virtual classes took a toll).

These are last week’s bento.

I was rather in a hurry but it turned out ok.
I realized too late that I had nothing to draw the kitty’s face with LOL need to buy nori.
Can’t see them from this angle but there are two cats hoping to eat momma hen.
Hard to tell that’s a turtle but it was REALLY late and I was a zombi.
This one turned out amazing but I planned ahead and spent half an hour on it… I saw this design on a book though. Won’t take credit for it.

Hotaru is really happy about going back to school. Seeing her friends every day has boosted her mood 200%. She’s so grown up at times. Last Sunday we had a quiet lunch up in the terrace and shared a beautiful silence. Then she said “I LOOOVE THIS TERRACE. It’s so nice and quiet!” Never knew she appreciated peace as much as I did and keep fearing she might find living with just me too plain after her mother’s constant chatter. Turns out it bothered her as well. She’s told me so. That it gave her headaches. I just LOVE THIS KID TO BITS.

She’s really into writing fanfiction lately. I love it that she’s taken after me hehe. Makes me proud in a very special place in my heart. =P

Know who’s happier as well? The cats! They love the new freedom. I’m letting them out in the terrace to sunbathe for an hour a day. They just love to roll on the warm tiles and chase flies.

I’m just so happy I can’t find the right words for it. And I was so miserable before I just wanted to die. She didn’t want to help around… now her mother has sacked her grandma’s caretaker and has her living with her, taking care of the 95 year old woman and her diapers 24/7. KARMA IS A BITCH, YOU KNOW?? And I fucking love it. Hope the old lady lives up to be 106 =D

A prisoner of love

So, right after my last post I got a very serious and very unknown condition that almost takes my life. It seems years of antibiotics and NSAIDs did something to my microbiome that made my immune system react to… well, everything, really, from taking a hot shower or being under the sun to dust, cat dandruff and all foods except for zucchini and plain rice. Fun, huh? Two years of that. I ended up weighing 68 lbs due to muscular loss since I couldn’t tolerate any whole protein for the longest time. I spent most of my time bedridden, as not to “waste” whatever nourishment I got from food in vain.

This was in the middle of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak and, secluded as we were by isolation, I couldn’t ask my mother or aunt (or anybody, really) for help. In the meanwhile, my then wife who was unemployed and not looking, refused to clean the toilets, vacuum (you know, things a sick man needs to thrive since dust triggered my anaphylaxis) or do anything around the house, really, other than playing dinosaur video games for hours at end. We couldn’t afford for someone to come clean the house for us unless she got a job, something she refused and even refused to sign up for a lower plan at her health care provider so we could afford it… well, we means me, since it was money from my hotel that kept us going.

By the way, she had to take over the job (which demands 2 hours of involvement a week TOPS!) and let the place fall to poop, failing to provide basic services so everyone left except for two girls and we had really little money… but she insisted on getting pregnant through In-vitro and then used it as an excuse to do even less (thank goodness she had a miscarriage!!!) and started mistreating Hotaru. She refused to buy her clothes even though she had outgrown her entire wardrobe “since she won’t be going anywhere in this pandemic” and had her wearing only her pajamas for two years. Then, when things got a bit better economically she even refused to buy Hotaru fruits and healthy food “because it’s too expensive” and fed her junk instead, making the poor child gain weight until she was 8lbs overweight.

And that makes no sense because Tomoe-Sensei sends enough money each month to cover for Hotaru’s expenses, something I explained to her ad nausea but she wouldn’t budge. Or would say yes just to placate me and then continue to buy junk and not buy clothes for Hotaru. Also, she’d treat her poorly, make fun of her and nag her constantly. Oh, and did I mention my ex-wife didn’t shower? She’d shower every 6 or so WEEKS. Toilets? She’d clean them every 4 to 5 weeks. Shower? Bi-annually. The house was a mess and full of dirty laundry and dishes. She hoarded cardbox and empty bottles too and the two times I tried to set up a small business for her to run she declined because “it bored her”. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, but I don’t have enough time to condensate two years of neglect into one post. Just know that it was tough.

All the while, I could eat only two things and was bedridden for most of the day… I visited and had Zoom appointments with at least 70 doctors of all specialties (both from the free healthcare system and private medicine), from gastroenterology to immunology and none knew what the hell was wrong with me. Most thought I just needed a shrink, which was not only hurtful but a waste of my time and limited energy. Dust closed my throat so I needed the house to be clean in order to be able to… well… live, thrive, breathe, eat, you name it. But she allowed the place to go potty on purpose so I would have to stay trapped in the bedroom upstairs while she enjoyed my house, pets and daughter… oh and spent my money too!

My mother and I both started desperately investigating online until we came across with some health supplements, vitamins and probiotics that helped people with similar conditions and I started taking them, but it was too much for my body in the beginning, even the best of supplements had to be taken every other day until I improved enough to tolerate them several times a day as prescribed. Still, it seemed to work and I started getting a little better. Then my luck changed and more people started coming back into the hotel as the quarantine lifted and there was more money to go around, but it was still dangerous to hire someone to clean the house because I was so weak, the COVID-19 virus would surely kill me. That’s when she started getting cranky and moody and picking fights with me over everything. She’d get irritated that I couldn’t do things and yell at me for expecting her to help around since she wasn’t bringing anymoney home.

Still refused to buy Hotaru clothes and high quality food and got bitchier the better I got, for I started getting better when I was finally able to tolerate probiotic supplements. The more I took, the better I was. I was able to eat quinoa as a protein source and gained back some weight, spent some hours off the bed though being downstairs still triggered my flare ups. So I got tired and asked the tenants to deposito the money directly into MY account rather than handing it over to my ex-wife. And then something magical happened… MONEY APPEARED!!! She used to say there was not enough money for my medicines or clothes or food and suddenly there was PLENTY of money available… But I got a very cranky wife in exchange. Seems she’d been lying to me about the price of things and sending money to her mother and sister. I mean, I’m not a scrooge, if they needed money I could have lent it to them, but I hate being stolen from. In her eyes, however, it wasn’t stealing since we were married. Well, that might be true from a legal point of view, but if it’s my money from my job that I got from my inheritance and she gives it away without me knowing, it feels a lot like stealing. Just sayin’…

As I got better and stronger, I argued back and there were endless yelling matches that lasted for hours and tortured both Hotaru who had to hear them and me who had to endure them for there was NOTHING I could say to end them other than giving in to her ridiculous whims… and I do not negotiate with terrorists. So it was awful because arguing made me nervous and stress triggered my condition so I was poorly again for a while and barely ate. I got so tired of it all that I even asked her to leave, several times. I told her that even if I was very sick and needed help, she should go to her mother’s because I could call mine to lend a hand if push came to shove, but I could no longer endure living in such a horrible environment. And the bitch said “I won’t leave just because you ask. I’ll leave this house whenever the fuck I want and right now I don’t feel like it. Maybe after I find a job.” Which of course she didn’t.

I started ignoring her in hopes she’d leave me alone enough to eat without stressing me with pointless arguments but it only made it worse. At some point it was so awful I started picking fights with her and being unpleasant in order to make her uncomfortable. I mean, she said she’d leave whenever she wanted, I just had to make her want it, right? Since I couldn’t get her to understand the marriage was over. Several times I asked her for a divorce and she refused and asked to keep trying… my relatives suggested I didn’t divorce “for Hotaru’s sake” as if the poor child could thrive in such a house! I felt pushed around from all angles. It was horrible.

In the end, one day she and I were arguing as usual and she told me “You know what? I’m getting tired of you, if you keep being unpleasant I might leave, even without a job!” And I said “Wonderful! When exactly are you leaving? Today? Tomorrow!?” Because I knew it was a once in a lifetime chance. Everyone tells me she must have been waiting for me to die so she could ship Hotaru back to Mr. Tomoe for him to rape her at his heart’s content and inherit the house and everything else. That’s why she was so keen on getting pregnant, I think. To make sure she’d keep inheriting things from my side of the family once my mother and uncle passed, because her kid would have been legally mine and she’d have those properties to manage until he came of age.

She must have been bluffing because she tried to back pedal by saying she needed weeks to collect and pack her stuff and then find a truck… but it was too late, I wasn’t going to let that chance escape my hands. I told her “no, if you wanna leave, then do so right now and then you can come back for your things whenever”. And so, she was out, at last.

A few of the many things I’ve been blessed with

D&D with Hotaru and the guys
My beautiful, beautiful wife ❤
My faithful cat, Chokoretto (gotta love nap time)
My adorable, wonderful daughter ❤ (at my dad’s radio show)
My amazingly creative dad, doing what he loves most
Best. Moms. Ever.
Tons of support

And more…

So, let the arthritis be only a small pebble on the way.

I live to laugh and love a lot, that’s all I need.

Hotaru the Minotaur

Last Sundays’s D&D session got moved to Monday because it was a holiday but Michiru’s boss made her work anyway, so she and Hotaru couldn’t go out as usual. Knowing Hotaru loves roleplaying, I told the guys she’d be with me that day and suggested to give her a pregen and let her tag along rather than cancel. After all, two of them had already roleplayed with her the week before last when I narrated that story about dinosaurs she and Michiru wanted and had been impressed by her ability to stay focused and contribute to the situation. So naturally they all agreed she could tag along and play the tank our party had been desperately needing. I thought she’d be bummed to play a minotaur but it turns out she loved playing something outside her comfort-zone and loved it even if she had to play a character that wasn’t cute or even a girl.

This time Hotaru intervened a lot more and in crucial moments too. She was the one who discovered the entrance to the secret lab we’d been sent to investigate after all of us had seasoned players just forgot to explore the entire room we had been resting in. Then my hippie centaur ruined it by losing the evidence we collected after being being too legal but that’s a whole different story I don’t wish to dwell in. The point is Hotaru had fun and acted and spoke of her own free will, healing and dealing damage and helping unlock doors barred by heavy objects. It was nice playing with her and I’m looking forward to doing it again. I suspect there’s a lot someone her age can learn from roleplaying, from good group dynamics and cooperation to negotiation and situation analysis.

Michiru’s mom is being less toxic with her lately, but there’s still something going on with her. Last Saturday she spent all night criticizing everything Michiru did in an old homemade video Miki had played for us durign her birthday party. I, on the other hand, got to see Michiru play as a young kid and fell in love with her all over again. I noticed she maintains some of the tics and habits she had at seven years old, which was sweet and the way she went about protesting when people misbehaved was uber cute. I don’t know what came through my mind before, fearing how our children would turn out. If we have more children, I definitely want them to look just like her. Bossy righteous temper and all!

Talking about my wife, she was sad that her mom told her Miki’s friend who got married the weekend before us (thus getting a sunny wedding day rather than a flood) is already three months pregnant. I honestly don’t know what’s going on inside that woman’s head but telling your daughter who’s sad about her failed attempts at tryging to conceive via IUI that someone else got it to happen for them quickly, easily and the old natural way IS JUST TOO CRUEL. And I don’t like to trashtalk Michiru’s mom because it’s her mother and all, but I can’t overlook someone being disrespectful and outright sadistic towards the woman I love, the love of my life, my wife, my life partner… I’m trying to wait and see, hoping the tendency to be less mean she has had of late keeps on gaining momentum. That’d be wonderful, because when she isn’t criticizing or trying to micromanage other adults’ lives she can be super fun to be around and she’s a great cook too.

Also, she took Hotaru to the theater last Sunday. They had a blast. The play was a classic and Hotaru loved it. I’m glad she’s decided to be grandma and form her own one on one relationship with Hotaru because although I’m always a little worried at how having someone like her around will affect her in the long run, she’l definitely be a part of our next child’s life and it wouldn’t be fair if Hotaru didn’t get to call her grandma while the other kid did. This way at least the two of them will be able to talk about her like equals and forge their own opinions on her behavior as they grow up.
The sofa Michiru and I ordered two weeks ago is being delivered later today. I’m so excited we’ll finally have the kind of sofa I’ve been in love with for over fifteen years. Michiru and I have been talking a lot about redecorating lately and there’s several projects we’ve embarked in but it’s mainly the art studio upstairs, our bedroom and the living-room. The cupboards at the barbecue room will be painted white too and I’d like to do something about our ghastly kitchen but that’d take a lot more money. The new heater we bought for the living room fireplace (and its installation) were expensive enough as is so all the improvements we’ve been discussing involve little budget a tad of paing and a lot of furniture rearanging.
My rheumatoid arthritis is improving greatly with Dr. Susan Blum’s diet and the probiotics. I’m also using homeopathy and cannabidiol to keep inflammation in check without invasive traditional meds like Methotrexate and such which I refuse to take as they’re very toxic for the body.

I’m still mad at Setsuna despite us allegedly having made out. I just can’t overlook the fact that she’s doing to someone else what my parents did to me which resulted in severe trauma, phobias and chronic depression for years. I’d be enabling and although I don’t feel inclined to cut her out of my life, I do intend to let it cool until we barely speak anymore. I was waiting to see if I’d eventually stop feeling mad at her, as it often happens when we keep our distance for a couple of months but even the idea of talking to her is cringe-inducing. I don’t want toxic people in my life, people who’d rather consume than create, whose most meaningful experiences happen as interatcions inside a computer videogame and who have the discipline and self-control of a mite. It’s sad, though, because I wanted to get over it (or have her fix her priorities) but it is what it is.

Hotaru got a certificate and a daruma and a pencil for participating in that oratory contest and was happy about it. Other chlidren got cute kokeshi dolls but she loved the daruma most because it’d grant her a wish. I love the fact she can put hardship and pain behind her and move on, stronger and empowered. Losing was horribly crushing for her but I blame the teachers. They never informed her the date of the contest and she thought there were still two more weeks to finish learning and practicing the second half of the text, or that the time she read aloud in front of the entire school had been it. So she kept practicing for weeks after the gig was over and she had been poorly judged for reading the first half amazingly and the rest ok. Had she known the dates she’d have organized her time better and studied the whole text harder rather than just half of it as her sensei said… so I’m also blaming her for that.

This year’s sensei is no good and I don’t meant to be disrespectful to people with a hearing impairment, but this teacher has speaks so poorly the children don’t understand what she says half the time. And I’m not exaggerating, I don’t understand her either and I’ve talked to her a few times this year already. Not all people with a hearing impairment speaks like she does. Michiru’s right ear is 100% deaf but she still has her left ear intact and speaks just fine. Hotaru’s teacher? I can’t tell whether she’s speaking Spanish, Japanese or English most of the time. She shouldn’t be teaching a foreign language. Math, perhaps or Geography. The school should assign her to higher grades where they have finer tuned ears and such. Perhaps they thought third graders would have less to lose by not understanding what’s being explained to them.

At any rate, Hotaru will study harder next year. I didn’t mention it before because seeing her cry and sob for 45 minutes straight was heartbreaking for me. Especially when I offered to treat her to ice-cream and she declined… four times! But we talked A LOT about that and she understood the situation and learned the valuable lesson that sometimes talent and hard work aren’t enough to grant us our dreams and that the right course of action isn’t to resent who got our desired spot but to root for them and try again next year. I’m glad she’s not the jealous type and understood it well.

Ok, scratch the part about me feeling better, my neck is SO STIFF today. It doesn’t hurt or anything (unless I try to push my limits and move it more than it can) which is good. I still wish I had a full motion range like I did two weeks ago.
Hotaru, Michiru and I can’t wait for summer. We’ve been fantasizing about our next holidays a lot and even I can’t wait to go back to the sea and the mountains.

Arts and crafts

Her first electric project!

Hotaru’s second report card came back and we couldn’t be prouder.
She got straight As in Japanese, Bs in English (which makes no sense since she’s bilingual but whatever) and a mix of both in Spanish. All the other subjects like music and P.E. are all A+ as well, as expected. She’s very proud of herself and happy her hard work paid off. I love that attitude of hers. Other children don’t care much about their grades, especially if the’re good.

She’s super excited about a new school project where they’ll teach her to weave her own rugs. They were supposed to start today but some boys didn’t have all the materials and they postponed it ’till tomorrow. Her crafts are getting more and more complex. Today she made a birthday card for her friend Lulu and it was beautiful. It took some help from Michiru and I because the plastic we had available wasn’t sturdy enough and it needed to be reinforced before it behaved like needed, but she did most of it herself and the result is amazing. You pull out a blank drawing of Litten from a purple frame and it comes out colored but goes back to being white once you put it back in the frame. Interesting little project. I hope her friend likes it for she put a lot of effort into it. I also hope I remember to bring the actual present along with me when I pick her up. It’s a night lamp that Hotaru made herself from scratch (yes, electrical connections and all though she didn’t interact with actual electricity working only in the circuitry and waiting for me to plug it in to test the result).

Hotaru works hard in her music every day.

Oh, by the way, Hotaru’s card and present for Kouchou Sensei did turn up the following day. It appears her Sensei took it to the headmaster’s office after class so it wouldn’t get stained by the food the children were eating and she forgot to notify Hotaru, for which she sent Michiru an apology note. All’s well that ends well.

The crabs in my life ❤

July the 20th was my dad’s birthday (and Friend’s day). We had a nice family dinner and things between him and I were so good I suggested we had dinner at his place the day Michiru stopped by to trim Ula’s claws. We had a blast! My dad might not have been the best of parents but he’s a decent granddad and Hotaru knows how to handle him anyway 😉 But the point is I’m happy we’re getting along this well lately. I hope for many more good times to come.

Our Kokoa is too beautiful for this world…

Michiru’s mom stopped by for lunch last Saturday and brought her hat collection over for it was taking up too much space in Miki’s room or something. Hotaru inherited a couple of said hats and looks as cute as fluff in them.

It was quite a busy day, actually. Aunt Grace came over for tea and my mom for supper. Fun times =D

Sorry for the eclectic post. I’m in a lot of physical pain tonight because of the arthritis and I’ve also come down with the flu, so thinking straight is quite hard but I won’t let that ruin my mood.

On morals and hypocrisy

First of all, let me say that Hotaru is a lot tougher than I gave her credit for and certainly a lot more than I was at her age. Then again, I didn’t have the kind of emotional support from my family she gets from Michiru and I but I digress. I was applying my Testosterone gel tonight and got thinking about the values we’re teaching Hotaru. As a grown up, I think they’re the right ones and I feel absolutely bursting with pride whenever she reflects the patience, perseverance, discipline and responsibility we’ve been trying to instill her for years… and still, I can’t help but feel a bit like a hypocrite because, although I do hold those values high and can honestly say I do live by them now, they’re not what I valued at her age.

When I was in third grade, I absolutely despised neat, responsible little know-it-alls who always did their homework, never answered an insult with another insult and ran to the teacher for help whenever trouble arose rather than physically fighting the person who had injuriated or otherwise hurt them, which is exactly what Hotaru is growing into. I mean, that is what I do today, I live by the rules and try to be efficient, responsible and neat but, back then? I would have wanted to hit her senseles for being so perfect and oblivious to the inequities of this world where fair people gets trampled and thieves almost always win. I do make a point of talking to her about just how lucky she is for not being bullied, for having parents who love her and stand by her and understand her emotional needs and give her tools to work through the unfairness of this world and the frustration it evokes but sometimes I’m not sure talking is enough to convey to her just how hard it was for me growing up and exactly how extremely fortunate she is for not crying herself to sleep every night like some of her friends do… and like I did. That being said, let’s move on to what actually happened:

Mugen Gakuen’s Elementary Headmaster was hospitalized last week due to a scheduled surgery. Hotaru has a good relationship with the man whom we all admire for his professionalism and heartwarming dedication so she decided to make him a get well soon card that she spend hours working on. She took it to school today along with a gift of green tea for other teachers to give it to him as an omimai if/when they visited him at hospital. The idea was for her to leave the bag with both card and present at the Headmaster’s office after the rest of her classmates signed their names during breakfast. They did but then, when she came back from lunch break the bag, which she had left inside her closed backpack, was gone.

The teacher had her classmates search their own backpacks and they all looked around the school but no one could find it. Hotaru was sad, shocked and very hurt by having something stolen from inside her bag though this is hardly news. One of her manga books (which she had lent to her friend Lulu) got stolen from her best friend’s bag two weeks ago right before Lulu could return it to her during recess. A few months back various drawings and other things were stolen from other girls and last year someone stole Matsu’s LOL stickers and broke Diana’s back pack. I’m sad to inform we’re inclined to think of ourselves as “lucky” because all of this was the work of a single boy rather than common behaviour as it is the case in most public schools and some private ones as well. Still, I had hoped things like this didn’t happen in Mugen Gakuen, it being a Japanese school and all. Guess it’s not their fault it’s full of us gaijins and our nasty habits.

I wasn’t feeling well, so Michiru went to pick up Hotaru from her Taiko training alone. She informed me of what happened through text message and I was seeing red. Still, not being there helped me keep my cool so I crawled out of bed and bought Hotaru more art supplies so she could make Kouchou Sensei a new card (she had used her last bits of color card stock for it). I also stopped by the hardware store and picked up a (rather cute) padlock for her backpack and then made a last stop at the tea store but the place was closed. I called Michiru to inform her of this setback and she confessed to have bought Hotaru more card stock as well. We laughed in delight at the isshin denshin moment and she handed the phone over to Hotaru so I could give her my own version of a pep talk on the way home.

Hotaru was a lot more cheerful by the time I got back and we got to work on the new card at once while Michiru calmed Ami down over the phone (she’s seriously ill and was having a nervous breakdown of some sort) oversaw the dinner I had left simmering to make sure it didn’t burn. The card turned out even better looking than the first one and her kanji were neater too. Also, I found an extra bag of imported matcha in the pantry for Kouchou Sensei, so all was well. Michiru wrote the teacher a note asking her to please allow Hotaru to deliver the bag with the card and present to the Headmaster’s office right after everyone is done signing it to avoid further mishaps but what she really wanted to do was slap everyone in the school silly… and so did I.

She had previously texted the other parents about the incident but, as usual, everyone claimed kids are clumsy and lose things on an everyday basis and then lie to cover up for it. Well, not our Hotaru, that’s for sure. She’s all about justice and virtue. Well, not everyone was like that, really. Hikari, Felipe’s mother, seemed as outraged as we felt and made it clear she wasn’t happy with things continually getting stolen from everyone’s backpacks. Her son gets bullied a lot by this punk who steals and breaks things so she knows how we feel. She also sent Michiru a private message offering support and good wishes. ❤ Megumi’s mom, Elsa, with whom we’re sort of close, had a totally different approach and we’re very disappointed in her though not the least surprised by the lack of backbone she showed by informing the entire group that her daughter usually loses things too and claims someone stole them. I find it very hard to respect cowards who never take a side and try to keep peace when there’s an injustice demanding people took a stand and did something about it. Reminds me of the worst parts of my childhood and rubs me wrong in a very personal place.

But the thing is we fixed it for Hotaru. She made a new card, got a new present and a brand new padlock to prevent this from happening again. The poor thing had such a bad day. Her Taiko practice was so intense her hands were full of blisters and she could hardly open them. Luckily for her, I was sadly asigned female at birth and knew just the thing to cure blisters thanks to the ones wearing high heels had given me through the years. I had her dip her hands in warm salty water for half an hour, after which they were fully functional again 😀

Also, the bully boy made a cruel remark to her after she discovered the bag with the present was missing and she stood up to him and told him “that isn’t the least funny, you know?” in that tone angry mothers and wives use when you’re in serious trouble, so he’ll know not to mess with her again. The nerve of that little bastard, though. ¬¬

That’s her new haircut and brand new Pikachu pajamas I made for her.

Setsuna called me today, but I was in pain and rather depressed so I wasn’t good company and we didn’t talk long. It seems her pregnancy is going well so far. She’s on her 24th week so the diabetes specialist said she’s ready to start using insulin until delivery. I’ll try to call her back tomorrow and apologize for being so aloof. I really was in a crappy place today, though I don’t know whether I’ll have the time. I’ve promised my mom I’d configure her brand new all-in-one for her since she doesn’t understand modern operative systems (which is kind of ironic her being a programmer and all). And then we’ve an appointment at a government agency to update some of our personal information and after that Hotaru and I are supposed to meet Michiru at my dad’s for tea/dinner or some other form of eating, though the main reason we’re going is Michiru promised to trim my dad’s cat’s claws since neither him nor his wife know how… and Ula is fairly aggressive to be honest. She’s a carey they found at their back yard a few years back but acts like an indoor kitty most of the time these days.

That’s the Espeon pajamas I’ve made for her (Umbreon and Eevee are too small already). She was helping me work by writing the receipts for the girls since one day she’ll inherit everything the light touches, Simba. LOL (live action movie sucks)

Tomorrow is Michiru’s sister’s birthday. I hope I don’t forget to send Miki a text of some sort. Perhaps some Hufflepuff themed virtual card or something. The party is the saturday after next so we still have some time to get her a proper present. I like her new boyfriend. He’s much nicer than the last and very funny to talk to. Seems like a good guy. Hope she doesn’t break his heart.