Friday, January 17

Where I’ve Been, Part2

Hunny has been on hormones for over a year and a half. She has changed so much, not only physically, but emotionally. She is so feminine that the constant comments about her height drive her crazy. From my own experience, I can say that the ‘you’re so tall’s and the ‘do you play basketball’s get old quickly and she’s still a few inches taller than I am.  She loves her shoes, boots especially. Happily, her feet are only about a half size larger than mine (her feet have gotten significantly smaller, and mine are decidedly not tiny) so we share.  She gets mis-gendered (called sir or him instead of miss /ma’am or her) far less often than she used to (at least when I’m with her), and more often, by people who know her but don’t understand or support her transition rather than strangers.

Physically, the changes are both subtle and startling. Her lips continue to become fuller, her cheeks less angular. Her eyes aren’t as deep set, and even her nose has become more refined. Her body becomes curvier (in all the right places) and her stance has changed as her hips and pelvis widen (I believe the amount of estrogen and progesterone she is taking is causing her body to loosen her ligaments as though pregnant). As her hair has grown out it has become a tumble of curls (since my hair won’t hold a curl at all, I am incredibly envious). I find myself smitten all over again.

The emotional changes are harder. Hunny is breaking decades of societal conditioning and going through puberty at the same time. We argue more than we used to, and more spectacularly, but we also spend more time curled up together, holding and supporting each other. We are closer than ever before, much to the annoyance of the kids. I love her so much. It is physically painful to be apart for very long.  

. . .

Our tenth anniversary is only six months away. We decided to have a wedding, not just a vow renewal, but a wedding to celebrate. We want to have the opportunity to say our vows, Hunny as her true self without hiding and me to the woman I love. We found a beautiful venue that includes nearly everything, and is in our price range. It even included a cake through our choice of outside bakery. We even found our dresses on the same day, at the same store. The sales girls had tears in their eyes when we kissed after finding our dresses. Hunny looks beautiful in her dress, and I love how I feel in mine.

. . .

I turned 32. My parents took the kids overnight. Hunny and I went to dinner, and after a failed attempt to go dancing (the club we went to doesn’t open the dance floor until after the entertainers finish) we went to a movie. Not having the kids underfoot, Hunny and I spent the morning cuddling in bed before going out to breakfast and picking up the monsters. All in all, it was a good day.

. . .

While I hope to be able to write more often, life is hectic and the triplets don’t nap anymore . . .

 I have many things I want to write about. Here’s hoping that I get a little more opportunity to do so.

-  Vixi

Monday, January 13

Where I’ve Been, Part 1

It has been a long time since I’ve had a moment to sit and type, to get my thoughts out of my head and share them. Having triplets deep in the threes will do that. The boys are back in school, the holidays are over (they’re still taking over the house, but the pressure of making them happen has lifted). The laundry has become its own entity and I battle daily with little sign of results.

. . .

Strong, out of season winds blew down a large section of the fence separating our back yard from our reclusive neighbor’s. When it happened we could have fixed it, but due to said neighbor’s reluctance, it will have to wait until after taxes. 

. . .

The triplets’ adventures have become both more amusing, and more harrowing. They are rapidly approaching their 4th birthday (and I hope an end to the terrible threes).  Strawberry and Peach look less alike due to Strawberry’s adventures in hair styling. The first incident left Peach with a cute chin length bob (Strawberry has very steady scissors for being three) and Strawberry with a short asymmetrical cut (like Kate Gosling had). Raspberry was able to get away without her sisters giving her more than some layers and trimming her bangs (to her scalp on one side). The second incident was only about a month later and left Strawberry with a very short pixie cut. I was finally able to convince Hunny to get Raspberry’s hair cut after Strawberry tried to give her layers yet again and Raspberry told Hunny that she wanted shorter hair; she had been telling me since the first incident.

. . .

Raspberry got her ears pierced. Although I was hesitant, and still am honestly, (here’s why ) it was Raspberry herself who convinced me. The girls rediscovered the clip on earrings I had made them for their pirate costumes for Halloween of 2011 and their third birthday pictures. For those who haven’t had the experience (or don’t remember), clip on earrings are painful to wear. They are torturous after even a few minutes, and these were the larger flat clips, not the screw down, point of fire implements of torture that were popular a few decades ago. Raspberry wore those pirate hoops for 3 days. As in, asked me to put them on and wore them for 4 to 6 hours at a time. For comparison, Strawberry would wear them for only 10 to 15 minutes and stopped asking to wear them after a couple of times, Peach wore them for less than 5 minutes and refused to try them again after the first time.

On the third day, I told Hunny that it looked like Raspberry wanted earrings. She jumped on my moment of weakness, and that evening Raspberry had cute butterfly studs for us to take care of. Unfortunately, the backs didn’t hold like they needed to, and within the first week Hunny and I ended up reinserting her earrings at least 3 times (not easy when the holes are still that new and not at all healed). So far she hasn’t shown any sign of my metal allergy but we did switch her to sterling studs after she told me her earrings felt ‘pinchy’. Neither of her sisters seem interested in getting their own earrings, although Bam-Bam has shown an interest (if he’s still interested by his 7th birthday we’ll get his done, he tends to go through fads and we want to make sure he really wants them).

To be continued . . . .

Wednesday, June 19

Nine Years

I wore a medieval gown a generous and talented friend custom made for me. The fabric was (and still is) a soft ivory, but it looks white in every picture. My long, dark hair falls down my back, the front braided (less than symmetrically) by my soon to be sister - in - law, who realized half way through that we should have taken time to practice before the big day. I chose not to wear a veil. The red roses in my hand were a last minute bouquet my soon to be mother - in - law assembled from flowers purchased from Costco just hours before.

The embellished sneakers I wore caught in the aisle runner; the park wouldn’t allow us to anchor it to the grass. My dad was reluctant to let go of my hand.
 But at the end of the aisle stood the only person I had ever loved, had ever wanted, had ever needed.   

We got married in front of the same fountain we had taken prom pictures under.  The Officiate had married most of my family, and although we had talked with her about our beliefs, during the ceremony all of our revisions were forgotten, but the I Do’s were heartfelt. And if we both had happy tears threatening to fall, they only served to make our eyes brighter as we walked back down the aisle together, fingers intertwined.

In the nine years that have come and gone since that joyous afternoon, we have lived with family, had our boys, lived on our own as a family, bought a house, had triplet girls, lived through darkness, had moments of shining happiness. 

The groom I walked to on that day is now my wife.

And we are stronger for it. Our marriage, our partnership, our love is stronger, and deeper for every step we’ve taken together. She is still the only person
 I have ever loved, have ever wanted, have ever needed.

 I now understand why her face is hidden in most of our wedding photos, why so many of her happy smiles were tempered with a trace of sadness. And why she doesn’t look at our old photos anymore. But her smile today is radiant. 
The joy of being who she really is burns so bright she almost glows.

Here’s to walking this path together, fingers and hearts still intertwined;
 to holding onto each other through both the smooth and the rocky.

Happy Anniversary, Beautiful Girl.

I love you.

Our rings photo 322045_230356493765642_627821223_o.jpg


Friday, June 7

Kid’s Quick, Dirty (and Cheap) Blaster Tutorial

Ok, my last few posts were pretty heavy. I thought I’d get off my soapbox for a bit and show you guys some last minute steampunk blasters I made for my kids.

We live near two great Renaissance Faires and were given some tickets. We had already gone to this faire opening weekend, so Hunny and I decided to take the kids for Steampunk & Time Traveler Weekend. I have been working on my gear for over two years but didn’t have near enough to outfit myself, my Hunny (who decided to wear her medieval garb with just a blaster) and our five hoodlums.

More accessories would be needed.

We only got the tickets a few days ahead, and our budget for anything is always tight, so the day before we went I took a break from the kids and hit the local dollar stores. A few hours (and $15) later I headed home with what I hoped would be enough supplies to give everyone that steampunk touch.

Kid's Steampunk Accessories photo DSCF1702.jpg

These are the pieces I put together for the kids to wear. The eagle pouch and belt set were for Elroy (he wore a frontier Doctor Who inspired look), the green blaster was for Bam-Bam (he went as a futuristic Indiana Jones type character), and the girls wore their pirate dresses from Halloween (without the jewelry) with one of the small blasters each.

Now, on to the tutorial . . .

Repainted Retro Water Gun Blasters photo smallspaceblasters.jpg

I got these mini squirt guns in a three pack on Target’s dollar aisle last summer. They were transparent colored plastic that showed none of the fun (Hunny says Duck Dodgers -esque) detailing. Since paint doesn’t always stick to plastic (and I didn’t want to be constantly repainting them) I wiped each one down with acetone nail polish remover to rough up the surface. These were cheap enough plastic (three for a dollar) that the plastic got cloudy and the paint has stuck no problem. I tried using the acetone on the other squirt guns (both transparent and opaque plastic), but as they were a dollar each, the plastic was of better quality and the acetone didn’t rough up the surface (the paint on these has not stuck near as well and they are already in need of touch ups).

First Stage of Repaint photo DSCF1692.jpg

I used my enamel paints for this (because I already had them), but if I had had more time (or a larger budget) I would have probably done a base coat of plastic friendly spray paint and then used the enamel paints for the detail work. The yellow tube gun and muzzle are actually from a ‘ninja blow gun’ I picked up at Dollar Tree (the paint does not like this plastic; these pieces came home from the faire almost entirely yellow again).

Base Coat and Beginning Details photo DSCF1693.jpg

Once the base coat was on you can really see how much detail was put into these molds, which I found fairly depressing. Someone had spent a good deal of time on each of these designs; not only are they being sold for next to nothing, they’re being molded in a plastic that makes all that detail invisible. *sigh*

After the base coat, it is simply a matter of deciding which details to use each specific color for (I try not to use more than 3 or 4 colors for any one piece, I prefer a more streamlined look) and painting (and repainting . . . and repainting . . . and touching up) until I liked the look of each one.

Finished Repaint photo DSCF1698.jpg

But what about the adults, you might ask . . . Hunny decided to be my ‘Companion’ (think Doctor Who, not Firefly) and carried the long muzzled blaster in a holster made out of a piece of cheap belt and a shoe lace (sorry about the focus, this one didn’t want to photograph nicely).
Long Muzzle Blaster and Holster photo DSCF1704.jpg

 I carried my ray-gun, wore my goggles, and wore this great pouch (found at Harbor Freight for under $20!) filled with dollar store bits.
Steampunk Hip Pouch with Accessories photo 73a12026-0722-45bf-91f6-8fb0d1cad8f3.jpg

In my kit were the painted out blow gun (2/3 of it anyway), a magnifying glass (I painted the rim copper with brass details), a pair of copper rimmed reading glasses (I got lucky with those, I got a pair for Elroy and just popped the lenses out so he could see, and painted 3 coats of iridescent nail polish on the inside of my pair so they looked like the lenses were made of mica), a plastic caliper from the same tool set as Elroy’s hammer (I repainted the handle, it used to be blue) and screwdriver. I also took a small wooden toy spoon, stained it using dark furniture scratch cover and glued some decorative plastic trim onto it. The trim was actually part of an old ‘viking’ helmet that I had used for another costume a few years ago and hadn’t survived the boys’ closet. I also got all of the decorations on Elroy’s belt pouch from this same helmet trim (I just painted out the pieces for the pouch). I even used one of the horns to make an alien tooth necklace for Bam-Bam’s costume.

Everything else was something we already owned (we keep an extensive set of dress up clothes for the boys as well as the girls, it comes in really handy and since I clearance shop after holidays, I’ve been able to pick most of the pieces up for next to nothing).

We had a good time at the faire. There were some really great steampunk outfits and weapons (one guy had a nerf rifle he had modified onto a 5 foot long bazooka, it still fired). We even got pictures with a guy doing a great 10th Doctor cosplay (staying in the character you’re dressed as). Since Elroy and I are both fans of the series (since the 2005 reboot), that was a definite highlight. Totally worth the late night putting all the props together the night before.

Anyone else do any cosplay? Feel free to share any tips and tricks in the comments.

Friday, January 11

Arguing with Myself: Rape Prevention

Lately rape has been in the news quite a bit . . . 
Congress voted down the Violence Against Women Act.
Jyoti Singh Pandey, the 23 year old med student was brutally gang raped and beaten, days later dying from the event.
Notre Dame University chose not to bench 2 football players after separate allegations of sexual assault and rape, leading to the suicide of one victim.
Two members of Steubenville, Ohio’s high school football team were videoed bragging about taking a girl who had passed out at a party, stripping her, digitally penetrating her (fingering her), and taking her, unconscious,  to three other parties where they exposed her body to others, urinated on her and humiliated her.
 The boys still got to play . . . . 

I think the underlying reason that so many people are willing to use this as an excuse to ‘slut shame(she was drinking, out at night, wearing X style of clothing, was dancing, wasn’t a virgin and had it coming) or ‘victim blame’ (she fought back, didn’t fight back, should have done X to avoid the situation) is because rape isn’t generally understood.
Most people believe the fallacy that rape is an issue of impulse control.
That rapists can’t control their sexual urges.
That rape is about sex . . .

Rape is about power and control, not sex.
Rape is about taking the power to consent away from the victim, about proving the rapist has more power because they can make you submit to them.
That the rapist is entitled to the victim’s body, to sex,
even to the victim’s life.

I have been lucky. I am 31 years old and have not been the victim of sexual assault or rape. But there is a very real chance that at some point in my life I will be, simply because I’m a woman. My sister and three other friends over the course of my life have been. My daughters, my sons (men are as vulnerable to rape as women but very, very few report it), my wife (she’s at higher risk because she’s transgender), everyone I love has the potential to be a headline.
Or, far more likely, not make the headline.  
Prevention isn’t about the victim avoiding being victimized. That hasn’t worked in the past, and isn’t working now.
Rape prevention is about people, men as well as women, working to change the conversation. Parents teaching their sons and daughters that only yes means yes. That being drunk doesn’t equal consent. That no does not mean try harder.
Custador, a fellow blogger who writes at Unreasonable Faith ), has made this pledge in order to help do just that . . .
I will never condone rape or support rape culture in any way. I will object, loudly, when a rape joke is told. I will not tolerate objectification of women, amongst my male friends or amongst anybody else. I will do my best to be aware of my male (and white, and straight, and middle class) privilege, and to not take advantage of it. If and when I have children, I will try to educate them to critically appraise the media to which they are exposed and be aware of the gender messages within it. I will not spend money on any product, company or media which I am aware of having promoted rape culture or gender disparity, regardless of whether they have done so deliberately.


I think most of us, men and women, can get on board with that.

Saturday, December 22

Because I can . . .

The Doctor did it!
He saved us!
Sorry, I couldn't help it.

Friday, December 14

Thoughts on Coming Out

A spouse’s perspective
At the end of March my world changed.
Two words turned my life upside down and set me spinning.
 “I’m transgendered.”
There was so much heartache in those words,
 so much fear and longing.
Pain at the thought of such a complete rejection.
 A voice teetering on the edge of losing everything.
In that moment I had two clear choices:
I could run screaming and
break the fragile heart opening up to me.
Or I could see this as exploring a new aspect
of the person I’ve loved for so long and accept.
With either choice my life would change.  
A choice between fear and love.
Not everyone would agree with my choice,
but for me, in that moment, the choice was clear.
Love won.
It was the easiest choice I’ve ever had to make.
Love won.
In the months since she came out to me,
 we have weathered stresses and storms,
sick children and family who can’t understand.
We have disagreed, worried,
 broken down and held each other up.
We have answered questions, made new friends
and been hurt by those who can’t
come to terms with the changes.
We are closer now than we have ever been,
kissing like we did in high school, constantly in contact.
More supportive of each others’ needs,
 more forgiving of their faults.
I am so proud of her, proud and honored to be with her,
to take this journey hand in hand.
Two words can change the world.
Love won.