Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Extraction Distraction (or, Life After Tooth)

I had one of my molars extracted yesterday. The definition of the word "extract" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is "to pull or take out forcibly". That is, "extract" is a happy word for ripping something out with brute force that is supposed to be permanently embedded, like a tooth in a skull.  In reality, there's very little that's happy about it.

I've been through some pretty icky things in my life and haven't flinched. Through all those hours of electrolysis, both on my face and down"there", I had no pain killers and it wasn't all that big a deal. I've been awake during procedures that would curl your hair, and I've got the photos to prove it. I've had crowns and a root canal and all kinds of things going on in my mouth - no big deal. The one thing that creeps me out, for whatever rational or irrational reason, is having teeth pulled.  Or, "extracted".

Nobody likes to have a tooth pulled, I suppose, but the emotional energy that I expend on the entire ordeal - and I do mean ORDEAL - it is significant. I've had all my wisdom teeth "extracted" at various times and survived each of those so I'm no rookie to this stuff. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if having been through it before makes it better or worse but in the scheme of things it really doesn't matter. My mind HATES the entire process from the pulling to the disgusting bloody gauze in your mouth to the ooze that seems to permeate your mouth for days to the general discomfort of it all - there's absolutely nothing about it that makes it palatable in my world. In other words, it's a last choice.

In this case, it was indeed the last choice.

A dying tooth has all kinds of health issues associated with it. I've been on antibiotics for a couple of weeks now which has ripped up my insides. Apparently, there's bacteria involved that can affect the heart, as well. It's amazing that a small, localized area in the mouth can hurt a whole lot and although I've got a significant threshold for pain dealing with it for weeks on end wears you down. And that's not even to begin to mention the financial implications of it all.

So, this past Monday was E-Day (Extraction-Day) for my #15 tooth - the 2nd molar on the top left. I'll say before I get too far into this that my friend Kimberly has been a Godsend through it all. She drove me there, drove me back, didn't think that it was wise for me to be alone for the first 24 hours so she let me stay with her, and she took wonderful care of yours truly. It's amazing how much you appreciate relatively simple things in your times of need and although i'm used to dealing with these kinds of things all by myself, her care was much appreciated and will not be forgotten.

I was up at 6:30 yesterday morning and spent a half hour pacing from one end of the house to the other before deciding to go for a drive to kill some time and take my mind off things. I don't get that agitated for ANY of my other procedures - in fact, there's often a calming effect before it happens - so waiting for this particular thing to happen was NO fun.

When we arrived at the oral surgeon's office shortly after 10 things happened mercifully quickly. The surgeon was professional and businesslike. He looked at the X-Ray and peeked in my mouth and it was a done deal. They explained my options with regards to sedation and we all agreed that given my general anxiety level going to sleep was best. The doctor explained some of the risks - that removing this tooth involved rocking it back and forth which might affect the tooth next to it, and that the deep root might go all the way into my sinus cavity. I just wanted it to be over.

Before you knew it I was in the next room with some "laughing gas" to inhale. Maybe it's just me but I didn't notice any difference in anything whatsoever from it. It didn't lower my anxiety, didn't make me feel better, didn't seem to affect me in any way. The doctor came in and inserted an IV into my left arm and told me I'd begin to feel relaxed. I didn't feel relaxed, and I remember everything perfectly until about 30 seconds after that.

My memories of the next few hours are sketchy. I remember that they wheeled me out to the car in a wheelchair. I remember going up the stairs and climbing into bed at Kim's house. I remember waking up and spitting out the disgusting blood soaked gauze, and Kim coming to check on me from time to time. At first things didn't hurt. But when I woke up after a couple of hours it was VERY uncomfortable from my jaw all the way up into my cheek.

Now that it's a day later the bleeding has stopped but there's still unpleasant oozing and seeping going on up there. Ooze is another one of those words that I think is pretty unpleasant no matter what context you use it in. Yuck.

I slept a lot yesterday and last night. I find that when I'm vertical for any length of time the area tends to hurt, but when I'm lying down it's not as bad. I'm not swollen on the outside as far as I can tell, and the surgeon told Kim that everything went well. I even have the tooth as a souvenir.

A highlight of the day yesterday was feeling good enough to go out for some frozen yogurt last night.  Soft, mushy foods will be my friends for these next few days, as will pain meds and antibiotics.  And, hopefully, some rest.

The good news is that I'm in good spirits.  Despite what it might sound like I'm pretty good at resigning myself to things that need to happen and dealing with them in a pretty business-like way.  Whether you like them or not isn't the issue - they key is taking care of business and moving on.

In other parts of my life I'm about to cancel my cable TV service.  I remember a time when people laughed at the thought of paying for something that most people got for free - the same way they'd probably laugh at the fact that we pay for bottled water these days without so much as a second thought.  But I really don't watch enough TV to make it worth my while, and I can get things I need, like local news and weather, from a simple digital antenna.  I've paid for cable TV since the early 80's so it'll take a little getting used to, but in reality there are other options.  One thing I won't give up is my internet connection.  That's the one thing I'll continue to over-pay for....

I'm also taking a bit of a break from my usual physical training regimen.  I've been working myself so hard for so long I've just gotten weary from it and need a bit of a break.  That's not to say I'm going to turn into a couch potato and get fat.  But all of this recent "stuff" has provided a good opportunity to hit the breaks a bit and cut down on it all.  I hiked Squaw Peak this past weekend and it was more of a chore than usual.  That's ok.  With everything else that's going on I deserve it.

All things considered - I'm healing up and will be ready for SCC next week.  If you're going - I'll see ya there!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Goodbye. To a tooth.

I've had a love/hate relationship with my teeth over the course of my lifetime. Part of it is genetics, part of it is circumstance, and I'm sure that part of it is just me. But as with so many things the end result isn't so much what happens as how you deal with it.

One tooth in particular has been causing me grief for quite a while. It'a s molar so it's in the back, but it has hurt on and off to one degree or another for months now. There are those who would say "well, go to the dentist to get it fixed!" and under normal circumstances they'd be right. But this particular tooth already had a crown on it so the expense of "fixing" it isn't such a simple thing.

However, one thing you learn in life is that no matter how much you try to delay it, the day of reckoning always eventually comes. You can put things of and put things off but eventually "that" day will arrive. And that day, for my molar, will be Monday.

I went to a local dentist about it several weeks ago who was concerned that it was infected and put me on amoxicillin. I showed it to my dentist in Rochester last week who provided two very bleak options. I went to a periodontist locally here this morning who told me I really had only ONE option - it needs to come out - and that the only choice was about "how". And now, that decision has been made and I'm on the schedule at a local oral surgeon for Monday.

I'm a very resilient person but I'll admit this thing has taken a toll on me. It may sound silly to say that a relatively small thing like a tooth could have an overriding influence on your entire body, not to mention on your psyche, but it has. I'm sure the infection itself has made me somewhat out of sorts. I haven't felt good recently and as I type this I'm just not feeling my usual self.

The anti-biotics have really ripped up my insides recently, too. They kill the good bacteria as well as the bad so I've been trying to replenish with yogurt. The financial reality is something I can't ignore, either, because fixing teeth is expensive no matter how you slice it. And, I've just got an irrational mental "thing" about having teeth pulled.

You should see the roots on this tooth. Jeez. When the periodontist started talking about the possibility that the decay under the crown could cause the tooth to break during the extraction, and they'd have to go in to dig out the roots, I got sick to my stomach. Ugh. No wonder I haven't wanted to deal with this.

Regardless - here we are. And, my mouth will lose one of its team members on Monday. Sigh. I'll just have to find ways to NOT dwell on it between now and then.

My mom is in Rochester this weekend for her birthday. I wish I could be there for it, but the timing of things made it not-to-be. The very first time my family saw me as Donna was for my mom's 70th birthday and I think I've been to every one since then. It's generally our family's only time to get together as a group. But, as I say, this year I just couldn't make it happen. I'm there with them in spirit, though.

I do have traveling coming up, tho. I'll be in Atlanta for SCC, as usual. I'll be in Washington DC for the Out for Work Conference. I won't be at the Out and Equal Workplace Summit this year - the first year I'll be missing it since 2003. And, I'm scheduled to be in New Orleans for the SHRM Diversity Conference in early October.  There are some other things in there too - the NGLCC Board Retreat, a training event....all in all it looks to be a busy autumn.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pennies From Heaven

I've had my iPhone 3 for two years now.  I think I got it in August 2008 and it has become an integral part of my day-to-day existence.  I'm not saying that I couldn't live without it, mind you.  In fact, there are times when I feel like closing my eyes, chucking it as far as I can, and running the other way.  Fortunately I recognize that this kind of insane move would be misguided blame, but I'd be lying if I said that it hasn't crossed my mind.

I've learned to check my purse to make sure I have it whenever I leave anywhere but that doesn't seem to ensure that I haven't misplaced it.  Over these past two years I've lost the phone at least a dozen times.  Airports.  Restaurants.  Random places.  I got all the way through security and to the gate for my 6am flight last week before realizing that I didn't have it and hoping it was still in the car.  Thankfully, it was.  But getting it almost made me miss my plane.

I'm not addicted to it, at least not as much as some people I know, but there are friends who would argue to the contrary.  It's one of those Catch 22's where I generally have it out so I know where it is but the more I have it out the more chance there is that I'll lose it.  As I said at the outset, the fact that it's still here and hasn't been broken or scratched or worse is really extraordinary.  At least, for me it is.

My phone has more lives than an alley cat.  But with all the photos and music and contacts on it, not to mention the various apps I've got there it truly serves a number of important functions in my day-to-day world.  I know many people who load their phones with games.  I'll admit that I've got a few games but in the next breath I'll defend myself by saying that I don't play most of them.  It probably says something about my personality to admit that the one I play most is a version of the old Minesweeper game that came free with Windows.  I have a copy of Galaga on there, too, but it's not the same without the trackball.  My favorite game from back in those early days was Centipede, though - it'd be cool to find a version of that for my phone although that gets back to the roller ball problem again.  It's just not the same with keys.

The battery life of my phone at this point is like the energy level of a 100-year old with a pacemaker, or an 80-year old on Viagra.  It generally won't last an entire day without an extra charge at some point.  But, by and large, it does everything I need so I passed on the 3Gs upgrade last year.  I expect that I'll eventually jump on to the iPhone 4 bandwagon for a number of significant reasons, most important of which is the ability to take HD video.  I know some friends who enjoy the FaceTime feature which allows you to video conference with another iPhone 4 user during a conversation.  We'll see about that one.

It's like a car, though, in that it's easy to talk yourself into all kinds of expensive upgrades but the underlying need is that it's a phone.  I'll figure it out.  I guess I'm just not in that much of a hurry at this point...

Speaking of unexpected - I am unexpectedly sore after a couple of hours of lifting at the gym with my sister on Wednesday.  I've got a pretty comprehensive workout regimen to stay toned and don't often find muscle groups that escape it.  My sister's fitness center has a couple of machines that I don't usually do that apparently identified a couple of muscles that do.   It actually feels good to be sore.

Speaking of feeling sore, I've been slowly but gradually getting feeling back in a portion of my chin that has been largely numb since April.  I haven't been worried about it because I generally know that these things take time and in this case it's coming back slowly but surely.  My two forehead procedures were the ultimate in getting numb but regaining sensation.  The top of my head was numb for almost a year before the feeling started to come back.  It's strange to feel an itch in an area that's numb and to scratch it only to realize that you can't feel a thing there - the itch is really somewhere else but somehow has been mapped to a numb spot.  Anyway - it's nice to know that my chin and lip are finally awakening.

Another thing my trip did for me is to nudge me to play with my hair style a bit.  I've been growing it out for a while now.  My hair gets a mind of its own when it gets past a certain point so thinking you're going to control it becomes futile.  While I was in Rochester the humidity made it crazy so the past several days I've played with a variety of products and styles.  Yesterday was my best hair day in a long time - I only hope I can recreate it at some point.

It's no secret that I and many of us are passionate about kids.  I got an email from Kim Pearson from TYFA about a project that her organization is currently working:

Those of you who follow my Facebook may be aware that I made an emergency trip to Kansas this week. A school there was refusing to recognize a 10-year old transgender girl's gender identity. They were requiring her to attend school as male and wouldn't budge.

I met with a school across town and they were happy to have her and wanted to learn how to make her school experience safe and productive. We registered her and expected that she would start school later in the week. I flew home to AZ.

Now the district administration has become involved and informed the parents (two moms) that their child will not be accomodated at ANY SCHOOL in their district. The child must present male or gender neutral, must use a male name and male restroom. The reason given is that to do otherwise would "interfere with the learning environment".

We are going to file suit against this school system . TYFA has retained the best attorney in KS with experience in GLBT discrimination. We need to raise an estimated $25,000 (or more) to litigate this case. I am calling this fund raising effort "Pennies From Heaven". Make any donation amount but end it with .01 (example 20.01) so that we know you are donating for the KS Defense Fund. Are you with me here?

It is time to take back our schools for gender variant students everywhere and we are going to start in Kansas.


This kind of stuff makes me crazy...

On the music front one of my favorite singer/songwriters released a new album this past week.  David Gray has been somebody whose lyrics and musical range grabbed me when I lived in Austin and I've enjoyed watching him grow and progress artistically over the years.  I really enjoyed his last album and am glad to see another one.

He's fun to watch in concert.  Here's a video of what I'd consider one of his lesser-known songs.  The title is "Lately" and it's from one of his concert DVD's (which I have and watch from time to time).  If you listen to the lyrics you'll understand why I enjoy his music so much.

Some of the lyrics:
Honey lately I’ve been way down
Load on my mind
Honey lately I’ve been weighed down
Load on my mind

Someone tell me where did it go
Darling I'm damned if i know
I seen that look in your eye
No one ever gave it a chance
I could have said in advance
You saw it all at a glance
And goodbye

Good stuff!

The free song in iTunes this week is by Stacy Clark.  It's another offering well worth the price.

I'm not a "member" of anything on YouTube but one channel I enjoy is by "MakeupGeek".  She's fun and interesting and has a unique way about the way she approaches makeup.  She's got a website, too (visit it here).  One of her current pages is titled "$100 at MAC: What Should You Buy?".  I, for one, really enjoy MAC stuff and found her thoughts to be helpful.  Anyway - if you're interested in this kind of thing it's a good resource and can provide hours of fun.  One thing I've learned, though, is that when you do these things yourself they never seem to look like when she does them, at least not the first time. Still, just having fun with it is part of what makes it all so enjoyable.

It's going to be 110 degrees here again today.  That's a far cry from the 70 cloudy degrees in Rochester.  I think the thing that's most confused right now isn't my thermostat - it's my sense of time thanks to this cross-country thing.  I was awake at 6 something this morning and couldn't get back to sleep which is a real bummer for a lazy Saturday morning.  Oh well - lots to do and the first cup of coffee is working its magic.  As usual, I expect it will be another full day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Own Bed

Tonight will be the first night I spend in my own bed in a week.  Although I had a wonderful time in Ohio and with family in Rochester there's just something special about your own bed.  I almost forgot what the  magic of my bed felt like as it was in Phoenix while I was elsewhere over much of the past year.  But now that we've been reunited I really miss her when I'm gone.  :)

My sister and I "bonded" yesterday at the fitness center.  There aren't many people who can hang with me for a couple of hours in the gym but my sister did a great job.

I spent most of today flying.  First, to Chicago.  Then, the longer flight from Chicago to Phoenix.  Despite the fact that the flight was delayed it was still no big deal, we were an hour late.  They showed Shrek 3 on the plane - I hadn't seen it yet - so the time went quickly.

The biggest casualty of the past week was any semblance of my usually regimented diet.  The good news is that I balanced it all with some exercise but it'll be nice to get back to my usual regimen, starting tomorrow.  The second casualty was my sense of time.  I was up at 6 this morning, which is 3am here in Phoenix, and it's almost 10 as I write this so it has been a long day.  I made a special point of not sleeping on the plane so I could get a full night sleep tonight.

There has been quite a bit of talk lately about a new feature on Facebook where you can pinpoint exactly where you are at any point in time.  It will show you where your friends are, too.  I don't know about anyone else but that's one feature I won't be using.  I share the concerns that many have about privacy - there's a point where sharing becomes over-sharing.

There is a long article on Christine Daniels/Mike Penner in LA Weekly this week (read it here).  I don't think there's much there that hasn't already been said, and I still think the article in GQ was the best, most sensitive article written on this tragic tale.  Although this is a long article one sentence stands out for me:
Although many issues were at play at this point, one stood out: Penner repeatedly told friends his return to a male lifestyle was a last-ditch effort to reunite with his wife in some way.
I've seen many of us make that same mistake.  Hell - that's something I did as well before I realized that it just wouldn't work.

But the only thing more dangerous than not transitioning for the sake of someone else is DE-transitioning for the sake of someone.  It may seem like a positive thing, but the end results are rarely positive and sometimes fatal.  It's not a rational decision so much as an emotional one, although we tend to use rational arguments to try to explain it.

Let's be clear - once you say those words, once you out yourself as trans anything, your world is most probably changed.  Forever.  Irrevocably.  That's what makes it so difficult, because of the permanent  nature of it all.  And, once the stresses of our admission are compounded by our own guilt and fear and discomforts it can become easy to second guess ourselves.

I feel extremely fortunate to have survived my own aborted transition.  I can't even begin to describe the trauma of getting as close as I did before pulling the plug.  Thankfully I recognized that the problem wasn't in my own reality, it was in the misguided implementation of trying to make it work.  I also think that the way it all unfolded the first time set the stage for a much better understanding the second time.

Christine Daniels never gave herself that second chance.  As you read that story there's so much there to learn - so much that is personal to each of us.  It's just so tragic.

Anyway - I'll spend tomorrow getting back into my groove here again.  I've got a lot going on in the background that's not ready for prime-time yet.  I'm hoping that the next few days bring some clarity and direction.  We'll see....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

D Time

Tonight I'm baby sitting my 9 year old niece.  We're watching "Ella Enchanted" with Anne Hathaway on the Disney Channel.  We've been for a walk, she showed me where she fell off her bike and broke her leg earlier this summer, and the pink cast she had on it until recently ("smell it", she says).  She says she's not good at drawing flowers so I drew one for her - not that I'm any better at it.  It's one of those simple things I miss out on when I'm not around family...

I've enjoyed the last couple of days here.  Except for my trip to the dentist.  But even that - he's been my dentist for almost 25 years so it was nice to see him.  That's the cool part of having history someplace.  I've got history here - not just here here but all around here.  Part of me just feels at home in the northeast although even that part of me isn't crazy about the winters here.  Still, it's just "nice".

There have been a number of things going on in the broader community to talk about.  For example, there have been new developments on the Nikki Araguz situation in Texas (details here).  Same-sex marriage in California has been put on hold in California.  Again.

That being said, I'm in family mode tonight. Life is very much a balance, and this is "Donna" time.  I went for a long run on the canal yesterday to clear my head and my mind. I've enjoyed time with my brother and sister and their families.  I met with a high school friend I haven't seen since 1976.  I had dinner at my favorite BBQ place with a long-time friend last night and then went to the Buffalo Bills evening practice to enjoy a beautiful, cool evening.  A dear friend who I haven't seen in several months drove into Rochester to spend a day here, and I watched my amazing littlest niece (who was born with a significant number of birth challenges) play ping-pong on the Wii.  All things considered, there have been lots of little moments that have made this visit special.

I've got a couple of days left before I head back to the desert on Thursday.

Since my little tirade last week about of my general disappointment regarding integration and leadership opportunities in broader LGBT efforts I have been pleasantly surprised to have some substantive conversations on the topic.  I don't think I said anything that many people aren't already feeling or haven't already articulated but I suppose it's the first time I acknowledged it.  The proof is in the pudding and all I can say is that I hope to be proven wrong.  When that happens I'll be the first person to eat my words.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the rest of my time here.  My own biggest "issue" right now is a top molar that most likely will need to be pulled.  I've gone thru lots of unpleasantries in recent years, no problem, but the one thing that I've really got a phobia over is having teeth pulled out.  It just creeps me out.  It does.  I had my 4 wisdom teeth pulled many years ago so I know I can do it but it's just not something I want to dwell on.  Yuck.

With that, I'll say "g'night".....

Saturday, August 14, 2010


The last couple of days have been a blur.  Rather than go into excruciating detail about the breakneck speed and ridiculous hours of the past couple of days I'll simply share a couple of highlights.

The TransOhio Symposium in Columbus, OH was another of these local events that's incredibly well planned, remarkably well attended, contains a combination of local and national flavors, and seems to be the "trend" in trans conferences these days.  I was only in Columbus for a little over 24 hours but was very impressed by the entire thing.  Congrats and thanks to everyone involved.

It was nice to have an opportunity to spend time with friends, as well.  It's an opportunity that doesn't come all that often and I truly appreciated it when it does.  Again - thanks for all the wonderful friendship and hospitality (you know who you are).

As I type this it's after 1am and I'm back in Rochester to visit with family for a few days.

I wanted to take a moment to kind of clarify and expand on one of my sentiments from the last post.  That is, the frustration that I'm feeling with what I'll call the "mainstream" LGB movement and that I tried to express.

The fact is - there was a time when I felt that perhaps the best opportunity to leverage my skills and my passions was as part of that movement.  The frustration I have been sharing isn't new frustration - it's frustration that I've had for a while but just haven't expressed in that way before.  How sad is it that the same glass ceiling that prevents trans people from getting hired into corporate America positions also seems to exist when it comes to hiring an openly trans person into an LGBT non-profit?  It's very sad.

Why is this?  I can think of several possible reasons.  One significant one, though, is that I think many trans people are perceived as having an agenda that's different than LBT agendas.  In the bigger picture I suppose we can all agree that "Equality" is the goal.  But when it comes to prioritizing and strategizing there may be a perception that my priorities as a trans person may not jive with someone who's not.  Frankly, I don't think there has been a bigger cheer leader for broader communities than me but whereas there was a time when I strongly believed that more recent experiences have caused me to re-think.

Some have argued that as long as broader LGBT organizations are responsible to predominantly gay and lesbian boards who engage predominantly gay and lesbian donors there will be this conundrum.  Perhaps.  But it takes leadership to see it and I'd argue that current events are more a statement about leadership (or the lack of it) than anything.

Don't get me wrong.  There are some organizations where this isn't an issue because they walk the talk.  And, often times the workings of the organizations themselves is fully inclusive - this isn't a condemnation of the broader movement.  But at my talks across the country one of the questions that I'm often asked is how organizations can attract more trans-people or be more inclusive and the answer is an easy one.  BE inclusive.  If you've got the full spectrum of your constituency represented in the workings of your organizations it's much more inviting, and it's more than just talk.  It's action, and this entire rant is all about action (or, more specifically, the lack of it).  It's about bridges; if you build it - they WILL come.

The most important learning out of all of this, for me, is that wherever my path leads it's not something to be sad about.  I'm comfortable that I've done my part and that I'll continue to do my part for as long as I can.  For whatever reasons the time of actively pursuing more formal roles may be waning - in part because of some of these frustrations - and I'm turning my attention to other pursuits.

The fact is - I've got a job.  I'd have to quit my job to take another job.  I've got a number of things on the horizon that I'm excited about as well.  This isn't about desperation.  It's more about the lack of respect that we have for one another or for people who aspire to positions of leadership in the movement.  We pursue these roles because we're passionate about the mission.  When are we going to see someone who breaks the mold in those roles?

Me?  I'm busier than I need to be.  I'll be here in Rochester for several days.  In the next few weeks I'll be in Atlanta for SCC, I've got a couple of events in the DC area, I'm doing an event in New Orleans, and there may be a couple of other trips in my future.  I'd also like to get out to Austin to see my little man.  All things considered - lots going on.

I'll write more tomorrow but now it's 1:30am and I need some sleep.  It's nice to be back "home".  :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Off My Chest

I've got a couple of frustrations that I'll share tonight.

First is with Facebook.  On one hand I've reconnected with friends from high school and college, I stay in touch with family, and I've made some good friends there.  I came to peace with the fact that I had to accept people I've never met as friends there a long time ago.  That was just reality for me and I don't regret that.  But, I'm thinking that things have reached critical mass.

Lately I turn down more people than I accept.  There are lots and lots of men and I get lots and lots of what I'll call "creepy" email or wall posts from them.  Not just sometimes, but every day.  Not just one or two, but several.  Somehow, what was a kinda fun forum for connecting with people has become some kind of a dating site where people feel free to take all kinds of liberties.

Some examples:  I've had 25 year old guys - kids as old as my son - saying stuff to me that is actually embarrassing.  Are you kidding me?  I've had people tell me they love me, or send me phone numbers.  They seem to think that I want that kind of stuff, when the exact opposite is true.  I don't find it flattering, or validating, or positive.  I find it uncomfortable, and insincere, and just creepy.  If another guy writes to tell me how they're looking for their soul mate, or the "one" I'm gonna puke.  Take it to Match or someplace where people go to actually get that kind of unsolicited stuff.

Lately it has gotten really bad.  People don't even need to friend you anymore - they just send you an email.  Often, they'll send you an email address and/or a phone number.  The height of silliness in all of this is when people send me an email and ask ME to friend THEM.  Are you kidding?  Not on your life.  It's just out of control.

Anyway, that's one thing.

The second thing is the arrogance of broader LGBT organizations towards the trans community, and towards me.  Over the past year there have been several opportunities in some or the larger, well-known organizations that I'm more than qualified to do and, in fact, I'd be an asset.  I realize that probably sounds self-promoting, but that doesn't mean it's not true.  My resume as an LGBT "Activist" is a long one full of firsts, full of breaking barriers, full of being part of important, foundational efforts.  The reason that it's as long as it is is because I was practical, pragmatic, knowledgeable, passionate, effective - there were lots of reasons I was stretched as thin as I was.

But to have a transperson as a single voice on a board is not the same as having one of us in a position of leadership or even NOT in a position of leadership but on the payroll.  When you look at the broader LGBT movement you can count the number of transpeople in employed on one hand.  Why?  Well, the answer to that question opens a whole can of worms about LGB and T.  Do we belong together?  Are we anything more than tokens or placeholders? Without getting too deep into it - the proof is in actions not words.

In a previous paragraph I used the word "arrogance" - it is carefully chosen and, methinks, very appropriate.  The kinds of positions I was investigating aren't necessarily executive director level roles - often there are other roles that are more appropriate for my skills and background.  But it has been my experience that not only do we/I not get hired, we don't even get any kind of acknowledgement that they even got the inquiry.  Nothing.  Nada.  What word would you use?  Disrespectful?  Uncomfortable?  Or maybe it's just that they treat everyone with equal disdain.  I don't know.  But what I do know it that organizations need to be better than that to people who express an interest in them.  It's just that simple.

On one hand I'm glad to see that the trans community is taking steps to take matters into their own hands, but that's a whole other discussion.....

Well - I feel better.  I'm glad I've got that off my chest.  :)

Things for me have been busy, and are about to get busier.  I'm leaving early tomorrow to participate in TransOhio's 3rd Annual Transgender & Ally Symposium in Columbus.  I've got a God awful early flight to catch in the morning.  One thing I've never seen the sense in doing is dressing up to fly.  Some people seem to feel that's important.  I expect to sleep on these flights so I may as well wear pajamas or sweats.  Anyway - if you'll be there I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here We Go

Today is the tenth anniversary of my SRS. Ten years ago right now I was on the table in little Neenah, WI - my mom was in the waiting room - and as surgeries go it really didn't take that long. The photo on the left was taken in July of 2000 - my unofficial SRS "portrait".

Some of my memories of various events along the way have faded into the fogs of time but I have some vivid memories of that particular day. I remember saying goodbye to my mom and being wheeled down to the OR. I was calm, and I took the time to truly soak it all in because it was something that I never in my wildest dreams imagined would or could happen. Of course I knew it happened, but more specifically, it always seemed like something that happened to others so the fact that this was my turn was surreal.

After we got into the OR they had me scooch off of the gurney and onto the OR table. There were stirrups down by the legs, and at the top it was shaped like a cross. They had me put my arms out and they velcro'd them down which I thought was funny, as though I'd try to escape or something. It was cold - OR's usually are - and I was cold so they brought me a nice warm, heavy blanket which helped.

People were coming and going doing a number of things and were introducing themselves to me. I made a particular point of not letting my eyes wander too much because I didn't need to see scalpels or other sharp stuff - I'm happier not knowing about that.

After a few minutes the anesthesiologist took a seat up by my head and shoulder so his mouth was near my left ear. He asked if I were ready, and I said I was, so he said that he was going to release two different chemicals into the IV that was in my left arm. He said that when he released the first I might feel a warmth move up my arm and spread through my body, and that I'd feel a sense of calm overtake me. Then, he'd release the second and that within a few seconds I'd be out, and the next thing I'd remember was waking in the recovery room.

When he said, "Here we go...." he released the first chemical and I could feel the warmth moving up my arm and through my body. After a few seconds he said, "Here comes the second one" and that was that.

I had come to feel that SRS was really pretty much a detail at that point - kind of like the exclamation point on a profound statement. What I've come to learn is that many of us both under and over emphasize the importance of this event but that's something that became clear later on. I had become comfortable that a small patch of skin in the middle of my body didn't define me but then again, by society's yardstick, it did.

But in a larger sense finally resolving this incongruity between mind and body had more significant long-term impacts, not only for me but for others as well. My mom admitted that, as far as she was concerned, that was the day that she truly lost a son and gained a daughter. Although this particularly surgery happened in my mid-section it affected every inch of my body, from my skin to my core.

In those days Dr. Schrang didn't allow patients to get out of bed until a week after surgery. Common wisdom is to get you up and out of bed (ambulatory) as soon as possible, both for healing purposes and to minimize the risk for clots in the legs, but not in Neenah. When I finally got out of bed and took my first shower, a week later, and I looked down and saw for myself that it was gone - I got light headed. I couldn't believe it. I stared in disbelief, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. But the fact is, I was just calm. It was just "right".

For those of us facing these kind of conundrums, that's a very welcome feeling - to finally be "right" with ourselves.

The funny thing is, I still appreciate those days. I celebrate this particular milestone each year by myself, taking time to recognize the solitary nature of the journey. I appreciate it as not the end, but certainly a significant event. It was an amazing time.

I continue to live vicariously thru friends who are still experiencing the frenetic energies of those early stages just as there are others who seem to live vicariously thru me. One dear friend had her name legally changed yesterday. I thought about that several times throughout the day because I remember doing it myself, never realizing the doors it would open to other profound things deeper into the journey. It's easy to forget, to eventually get lulled into the trance of sleep-walking through life just like so many others seem to be doing. I appreciate that some simply want to get on with their lives, to live "normal" lives, but I continue to appreciate things as much because of the profound nature of getting here as anything specific.

I started an SRS "diary" at the time. I didn't want to forget anything. I think my pre-op thoughts are as true today as they were then:

Tues. 8/8/00 12:30pm

I am sitting at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. I am halfway to Neenah. My flight arrived a couple of hours ago, and I am sitting at gate 6B waiting for the flight from DFW with my mom on it to arrive. It’s supposed to get here at 1:12, so I have a half hour to kill. I have spent my time here so far having a bite of lunch and paying my bills. I am unbelievably tight on money at the moment, and if my mind weren’t so sharply focused on other things, it would really scare me. They’ll be time enough for that later (I have less than $100 in my checking account…).

I am going to document this trip as much as I can, as I never want to forget it. It still amazes me that I am here right now….at this point so close to a dream I never imagined had a chance to become a reality. From a young teenager who daydreamed about changing minds and bodies with girls in order to make the universe right, to the career guy who felt more trapped in his life than in his body….it is still amazing that I managed to steer myself here.

The cost has been horrendous. The emotional toll on [my wife] and her family. On my mom and my family. On my relationship with [my son]. The unbelievable amount of $$$ that has me buried under a mountain of debt. But the returns have been beyond my wildest imagination, and I stand at the doorway to the rest of my life. It is odd to me that people tend to define themselves by their genitalia, regardless of anything and everything else. That is the sole criteria that is used to proclaim a newborn as either boy or girl, and I think the impact of this criteria sticks with us throughout our lives. So although I am able to live my life as female, I’m thinking that I will not really able to consider myself as such until that criteria is met. Although the surgery itself is a physical modification, I think the mental changes that happen as a result are far more profound. We shall see….

I have said that I would rather die on the table than continue with this body. I truly mean that. I am ready to die to finish this journey. I have come to that peace in myself, and I am not worried or nervous or apprehensive in the least. I certainly do not look forward to the drudgery of the post-op care, but being near the end of the road (as far as this journey is concerned) fills me with renewed strength and vigor. I can see the end of the road…..and I’m not going to screw it up now.

I was about to say that the last 6 weeks have been a whirlwind….but in looking back at things, the entire last year has passed at absolutely breakneck speed. As has generally been the case, I have filled these last weeks with sooooo much “stuff” that I haven’t had much of an opportunity to fret or get too wrapped in what is about to happen. I feel a bit like a bug who is about to hit a windshield…as my life is about to hit the brakes big-time, and I a very much looking forward to the respite.

Well, my mom’s plane is pulling up to the gate, so time to shut down and meet her….

* * * * *

I had one especially dear friend who was the only person who remembered this day as an anniversary in my life.  She'd call me every year, without fail, and I came to look forward to talking with her.  She has since gone to heaven, and her passing several years ago is still a profound reminder in the need to appreciate things in our lives while we can because eventually they will be gone.

In that spirit, there was a song at the time that I listened to quite a bit in those early days.  The lyrics had and continue to have significant deeper meanings for me and given the right mood it can make me cry.  It seems appropriate to share it here today.


Sunday, August 8, 2010


I got my hair "trimmed" the other day and the stylist spent a little time massaging my scalp and neck. Honest to God - I would have paid her the fee for a cut just to continue with the massage for a half hour or so. It was SO relaxing.

I've had fairly short hair for most of recent memory. One person even complimented me on my "courage" for having short hair - my courage is put to the test from time to time but it's has nothing to do with how long my hair is. I find it interesting how many people seem to equate femininity with hair length. I remember feeling similarly at the very beginning but I've learned my lessons to the contrary the hard way. Anyway - I'm just thankful that I've got hair to grow out.

At the same time, for several years before and after my transition I wouldn't touch a weight if you paid me. The thought of doing anything that risked buffing out my physique was unimaginable - again, my entire concept of masculinity and femininity was much different than it has grown to become over time. I don't think it's a stretch to admit that I'm in pretty good shape - all the training for wrestling and hiking and just "being" is simply part of my lifestyle at this point.

I mention this simply because I did a leg workout a couple of days ago from which I'm still still recovering. Squats. Ouch. I don't think it's age so much. I'd admit that it actually hurts in a good way except that might raise eyebrows. There something to be said for being connected to your body in a way where you can "feel".

I think most people - trans and not - have some sort of disconnect with their bodies. It seems to be a war sometimes, or at least a constant battle. I don't know how many people take the time to realize that they're just inhabiting the body and that and that their mind, their body, and their spirit are 3 separate things. The more that all three can find harmony the more "peace" one finds.

Another aspect of my journey that I didn't realize at the beginning was that it was very much about reconciling that dissonance - that mind/body/spirit thing. It seemed like is was a man/woman thing, a male/female thing, a body thing but the bigger picture is was an alignment thing with more moving parts than I realized, or could have realized, at the beginning.

One of the ironies is that many of us naively think our soul, or our spirit, or our mind stays stationary while our bodies change to align with the way that we think they have always been. The reality is that our spirits and our minds move, too - that the only changes happening aren't physical ones. There are lots of moving parts that are all trying to align. It affects our relationships, our jobs, our sense of ourselves and how we connect with the world, and our ability to continue to mature in healthy ways.

I'm sure that sounds like a bunch of gobbledy gook or psycho mumbo jumbo but it's not that simple. It makes sense to me and I suppose that's all that matters - trying to put it into words somehow over-simplifies things.

When I sat down to mention that my legs are sore from doing those squats yesterday I didn't expect all this to come out.  That's what I enjoy about writing - that you never really know what's going to come out.

One a lighter note I watched the "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" tonight.  I've actually had a pretty busy weekend.  All in all - good stuff.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dangerous Streets

Fall is here.  You'd never know it with the 110+ degree days we've been having here lately but the NFL Preseason starts this weekend.  Football=fall.  Ergo, fall is here.

Things in my world are very busy but not all that much to share.

One thing I do want to share is the craziness of the city streets around here.  Watching the news every night is a reminder that every time you get into your car you take your life into your hands.

I'm sure that's true everywhere, but one of the things we noticed when we first moved down here a dozen plus years ago was that the drivers are absolutely nuts.  If there's an empty road with two cars on it, there's as much chance as not that somehow the two cars are going to hit one another.  Why?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I've been all over the country and Arizona road drama never ceases to amaze me.

Here are 3 stories from today and yesterday.

In the first, a high-speed chase across the entire Valley where it's fortunate that nobody got killed.


Second: School started here this week.  Today, a car carrying 10 students from a local high school,  ranging in age from 12 to 16,  swerved to avoid a car that was turning.  The driver lost control and rolled several times, ejecting several of the kids.  Two of them have since died, and I wouldn't be surprised if that number isn't higher by tomorrow.

Third: A 12-year old girl was killed yesterday when she was hit by a car driven by an 82-year old woman as she crossed the street on her bike.  It's just tragic...

Why all these clips from Fox? - you might ask...  It's easy.  They're the only ones who seem to have a helicopter.  Two news helicopters crashed here last year and it seems as though Channel 10 is the only one in the air anymore...

Angie Zapata would have turned 21 years old this week if her life hadn't been brutally ended during a savage beating at the hands of someone who justified his act by saying it was due to the fact that he was enraged at learning Angie's unique situation.  Shortly after her death a number of people, including me, were invited to attend and speak at a vigil for Angie.

I put together a slideshow of photos from the vigil....

Angie Zapata Vigil - Greeley, CO - Aug. 9, 2008

These kinds of things remind us of why we do what we do.  To attend something like this is to make this fight a very personal one.

The reason this is pertinent tonight is that another of the people who spoke at the vigil that night was Adam Bass from GLAAD.  He wrote a wonderful entry on the GLAADBlog yesterday titled "Remembering Angie Zapata and Reflecting on Media Coverage of Transgender People" (read it here)
Unfortunately, crime stories involving transgender people are all too often sensationalized, with inappropriate focus on a person’s gender identity, and include material that is disrespectful and dehumanizing. The bodies of transgender people are rarely granted the same privacy that is given to others in the media. Covering crime stories about transgender people can be challenging, but it is extremely important that it is done well.

I wrote to Adam to thank him for his important words. They are oh-so-true.

When I was growing up none of this made news.  Transgender was invisible.  It was unspoken.  It was a much different world than the one that many of us are living today.  But just as every action has an equal and opposite reaction so too have the advances we've made, the awareness we've helped to achieve, and the outdated stereotypes and stigmas that we've helped to shed made us targets for those who would steal that which matters most to us.  Our dignity.  Our futures.  Our lives.

None of us can afford to forget the past....

Speaking of the past - the ten year anniversary of my SRS is coming up next week.  Ten years.  That's 20 percent of my life.  I still worry sometimes that I have actually fallen asleep during halftime of a football game and will be rudely awakened for the second half kickoff - with all of this having been simply a dream.  If this is a dream - I never want to wake up....

Speaking of dreams - same sex marriage in CA! Believe it or not, there are those who aren't nearly so happy about it as I am/we are. Here's one response.  Here's another.  And another.  And another.  And, a call to impeach the judge.  As for me?  I'm just smiling.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Judge: Marriage isn't simply an institution - it's a right.

If you're reading this then I'll expect that you've heard by now that a Federal Judge overturned the ban against gay marriage in California.  I'm ecstatic.

I'll accept arguments about other controversial things I might write about - most recently, the immigration situation here in Arizona - but I won't in any way accept arguments that same sex marriages are immoral, bad for our culture, unequal, or otherwise a threat to existing marriage or the foundations of western civilization.  And, in this culture war that we're fighting it's a big, big deal.

There can be no arguing that putting the rights of a minority up to popular vote is inherently unfair.  On Anderson Cooper tonight there were a couple of lawyers on both sides of the argument and, just like in the trial, the lawyer who supported "traditional" marriage really didn't have anything to say.  The other lawyer was compelling, and explained how our country is built upon foundational principles in which the majority gets to choose a number of things, but one of the things they DON'T get to choose is rights that are guaranteed in our constitution.  Both today's decision and the justification for it are absolutely huge.

Newsweek already has something online to put it perspective (read it here).  The fight isn't over by any means.  And, the cultural component of all of this will be fought for generations.  But as far as I and many others are concerned - this IS the revolution.  Time magazine has a visual history of the "Gay Rights" movement (see it here).  NY Magazine says that this is what "history sounds like" (see article here).  It truly is.  It's an amazing time that I doubt many of us ever imagined we'd see in our lifetimes.

I realize that there are those in the trans community who don't believe that same-sex marriage is "our" fight.  I have been vocal about the fact that I do not share that perspective.  The cultural implications are huge and reverberate far beyond marriage.  It is validation.  I'll admit that I sometimes get frustrated when everything else seems to get overshadowed and pushed into the background by marriage - including ENDA - but that in no way diminishes my belief that all of these things are tied together and that movement in one area facilitates movement in others.  These rulings set the groundwork for my wearing a wedding dress someday as I would not be surprised if my partner were wearing one, too.

As far as I'm concerned - and I said this at the time - the fact that we lost the Prop. 8 fight at the ballots will ultimately prove to be a positive thing.  It brought the grassroots together like never before.  It helped the community to realize that the power was in the people, not in organizations who asked for our money and purported to represent our needs.  It crystallized the movement, and that movement has reason to celebrate today.

For what it's worth, I feel the same way about ENDA.  What happened last time - and the disappointment and acrimony involved - will set the stage for the right thing to happen next time.  History will show that those of us who refused to stoop to the lowest levels of political pragmatism and who stood firm on concepts like full equality for ALL, community, and fairness will win the day and those who opposed will prove to be the foils.

I don't know how many are following the fact that Target and Best Buy recently made significant campaign contributions to Tom Emmer, who is actively anti-gay in Minnesota, and the outcry that has ensured (see details here).  The Human Rights Campaign wrote and open letter  and have release a subsequent video demanding that both companies "Make it Right" and over 100,000 people have already signed it.  As for me - I won't sign anything with an HRC logo on it.  Ever.  That may seem counter-productive or bitter to some but I don't care.  I respect that others have signed it or are involved with the organization - that's fine and I have no problem with what others do.  As for me - I have good reasons for how I feel.  And, I'd be a hypocrite to betray myself.  I just won't.

There have been a number of interesting twists in the court case involving Nikki Araguz, as well.  One article in the Houston newspaper is uncharacteristically open-minded, ending with the sentence: "The case is in the court's hands, but here's hoping that amid all the confusion and the drama of this bizarre situation comes some long-sought clarity for the transgender community." (read it here).

Why is all of this so important?  Because of situations like the one just reported near NY where a man murdered a 17-month old infant for "acting like a girl" (see details here).  That kind of stuff is just sickening, but it happens.  Why?  Because of the cultural bullsh*t pressures that are still so suffocating to be the "right" kind of man or woman.  To kill a defenseless baby who you're simply baby-sitting over something like this - are you kidding?  Apparently not.

 See video and read WPIX Story

It's tragic, and heart-breaking.

As for me - I ran today.  I try to run a 10K (6.25 miles) on a treadmill in an hour at least three or four times a year.  I'm in very good shape but running for long distances on a regular basis is harder on me more than it helps me.  Well, today I ran for an hour and was a little shy of my goal - 6.15 miles.  I'm not too disappointed, though.  I'll admit needing to lay down for a while to recuperate this afternoon, though.  I wear a sweatshirt when I run which saps strength as time goes on more than it used to.

Right now it's almost 10pm and it's still 104 degrees.  We enjoyed some cooler, cloudier weather last week but our "normal" summer heat seems to be back.  The high tomorrow is supposed to be 112.  It's not a complaint - it's just the way it is....

I'll be in Ohio next weekend for the TransOhio conference next Saturday so I'll have a brief respite from this.  No worries, though, I may even try to do Squaw Peak tomorrow.  That'd be something...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hot Tubs, Bikinis, Immigration, and "The Dress"

It was quite the weekend here in the Valley.  Lady Gaga played here.  There was pressure on Ms. Gaga to cancel her show as part of a broader boycott of the state because of the passage of SB1070 - the "Immigration Bill".  But she played here anyway and addressed the issue in no uncertain terms:
"I got a phone call from a couple really big rock'n'rollers, big pop stars, big rappers, and they said, 'We'd like you to boycott Arizona...because of SB 1070,' " Gaga shared with the crowd. "And I said, 'You really think that us dumb fucking pop stars are going to collapse the economy of Arizona?'

"I'll tell you what we have to do about SB 1070," Gaga continued. "We have to be active. We have to actively protest, and the nature of the Monster Ball is to actively protest prejudice and injustice, and the bullshit that is put on our society."

"I will not cancel my show," Gaga told her Phoenix fans. "I will yell, and I will scream louder, and I will hold you, and we will hold each other, and we will peacibly protest this state. Do not be afraid, because if it wasn't for all of you immigrants, this country wouldn't have shit."

Amen Sistah.  I, for one, happen to agree with her.

You should see it here.  It's unbelievable - especially with the elections coming up.  I hear terms like "The Illegal Allien Invasion" and "open borders".  Our country has lots of issues but to make immigrants the scapegoats is dangerous and wrong-headed.  And it's not just immigrants.  It's specifically Hispanics being targeted.  Every other day the Sheriff is having a highly publicized round-up of people suspected of being "illegal".  It's like McCarthyism all over again.  The Governor here is making a career out of it.  Anyway, it panders to peoples' fear and it's a mess.

Adam Lambert played here, too, but he wasn't nearly as controversial.

I was invited to participate in a call with US Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and some of her senior staff today.  They provided an update on some of the DOL efforts with regard to LGBT needs.  The two things I'll say is that (a) I'm more than gratified that this call even happened at all as it included a number of key community leaders and the highest levels of the government and (b) I never imagined I'd hear the word "transgender" used so often and so seemingly comfortably by people at that level.  I, for one, very much appreciated that the Secretary herself was an active participant on the call. Two simple words come to mind:  Thank You.

My friends at Campus Pride conduct a survey of colleges and universities each year similar to the Corporate Equality Index to rate schools on their LGBT awareness, policies, and climate.  They released their 2010 version today - just in time for students to head back to campuses around the country.

Their press release reads as follows:

Campus Pride Climate Index ranks gay-friendliness of American colleges and universities just in time for ‘Back to School’

Nineteen schools nationwide make highest five-star rating; Other schools taking positive steps to 'come out' for their LGBT students

(Charlotte, NC) – As thousands of students return to their college or university campus and as many step onto campus as a new student for the first time this fall semester, they now have one complete and comprehensive national resource ranking for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion and friendliness.

The Campus Pride LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index lists over 230 publicly available campus climate reports online at www.campusclimateindex.org. The nationally praised Index takes an in-depth look at LGBT-friendly policies, programs and practices. Colleges are ranked from one to five stars, depending on their answers to a detailed, voluntary questionnaire submitted to Campus Pride, a national non-profit working to create safer, more LGBT-inclusive colleges and build future LGBT and ally leaders. In development since 2001, the Index has become a staple in student and faculty research, campus organizing efforts and benchmarking for LGBT student safety and inclusion on campus.

Each summer, university officials are encouraged to fill out new questionnaires and update their Index profiles. This year, the Campus Climate Index is proud to announce five-star rankings for 19 colleges and universities – the most ever achieving the Index’s highest ranking since the its inception in 2007-08.

The 19 five-star-ranked campuses include: Carleton College; Humboldt State University; Ithaca College; Oberlin College; Oregon State University; Princeton University; San Diego State University; Syracuse University; The Ohio State University; The Pennsylvania State University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Riverside; University of Maine, Farmington; University of Oregon; University of Pennsylvania; University of Southern California; University of Vermont; and Washington University in St. Louis.

Visit the CampusPride website for more details or to see how a specific school rated...

* * * *

There's a social network in the community called Pink Essence that's run by my friend, Chloe Prince.  It's quite the impressive set-up and a number of my friends are regulars there.  She's even got a video network and does regular video broadcasts on Livestream.  She can have up to 50 participants at one time and the queue is almost always full - as I say, it's quite impressive.  I hadn't seen the behind-the-scenes workings until I stayed with Chloe in April for the US Nationals in Cleveland.  She's done quite a bit of work to set it all up.

I stopped by last night's broadcast and am still chuckling about it.  They were broadcasting from a hottub in the backyard - no lie - in bikinis and drinking champagne, with the camera placed a little bit above, very well lit, and the sounds of frogs and crickets in the background.  I didn't think it was in bad taste.  Heck no.  They did an awesome job.  I must say - the Donnanator was impressed.

I've visited her broadcast in the past and heard people call in who are in the process of de-transitioning, or who are coming out at work and are terrified, or who are dealing with the various legalities of our unique journey.  We all face some pretty serious stuff and it's wonderful to me that we can have a sensitive forum to discuss.  And to celebrate.  And to mourn.

But there's also a time for fun, and opportunities to mix serious with fun.  That's what was going on last night.  And I, for one, couldn't help but smile because we can take ourselves so seriously sometimes that it's important to balance it out.  Anyway - I want to thank Chloe and Lana for their efforts to set all that up and for taking my call.  I was only there for a short while, but truth be told it was as much fun as anything I watched on cable last night....I'm thinking they can make it big by selling the rights.   :-)

And, continuing in the light-hearted mode:

I've mentioned in the past that one of my goals in life probably not all that different from many girls'.  I want to wear a wedding dress.  More specifically, I want to have a reason to wear one other than to simply put it on and take it off.  Whether others appreciate that or not is immaterial to me.  I'm usually pretty aloof to "celebrity" weddings but I've really enjoyed looking at the photos of Chelsea Clinton's wedding from over the wedding.  I don't know that I've seen a bride look so lovely - her dress, the look of love on her face, her calm, the bouquet - it was all affirmation of many things we sometimes forget.  The only description that comes to mind is "Stunningly Lovely".

As for me - I took today off.  I didn't go to the gym.  I didn't go hiking.  I stayed away from the computer.  I had other things to do and I even had 3 meals, and dessert!  Go figure.  I'm still looking for what comes next for me but as I said earlier it's easy to take everything too seriously.  Today was my balance day.  It'll be back to "normal" tomorrow....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Geek You!

I think one of the more important life skills is to know your limitations - know what you're NOT good at.  I'd suggest that your limitations are probably much farther out than you think, but in one capacity or another they're there.  As for me, one activity that is outside of my ability to do in a way that is satisfactory to me is to paint my toe nails.  No matter how hard I try it just never comes out the way I like.  When I go to the salon it's just bip-bap-boop and it's, like, a perfect job.

Why is this important today?  Well, I tried to do it myself.  I guess I either forgot how miserably I fail at it or I was hoping that perhaps I've progressed to a point where I could magically actually do it.  Nope.  I still suck at it.

I can do other people's toes just fine.  And, I can do other more complicated things like cool wrestling moves but this one thing has always been a stumper.  Somehow, it's the combination of being left handed and the awkward way of how you have to put your own foot that's next to impossible unless you're double jointed.  Anyway - thank God for acetone.  It's like a magical eraser, so now everything is back to "normal" again.  I'll go to a salon and stop the madness of thinking I can do it by myself.  What was I thinking???

I'm having fun mapping and re-vamping my website with newer technologies and tools.  When I first started it things were very rudimentary and, frankly, I liked it that way because it kept things simple.  Now things have changed quite a bit so I'm messing with Cascading Style Sheets and PHP and Drupal and other cool stuff.  I admit it - I'm a geek at heart and all this stuff is feeding my inner geek; she's been stuck in the closet for a number of years.

For most of my career I had been a computer developer specializing in a number of things but the best part of it all was the fun of being able to "create".  Writing and photography are aspects of my life that feed my creative side, and so too was the programming aspect of my career.  In 2000 I was asked to take a role as a Project Manager and figured I could get back into the technical side of things when the project was over.  I was kinda naive, I think, and by the time I was ready to get technical again the technology had passed me by and I had somehow been forever marked as a PM.  Oh well - redoing my website is helping to get some of those creative juices flowing again.  It's all in "test" mode at the moment so there's nothing available to show yet.  I'm still working it all out.

Today's Song:  Facebook has  become quite the interesting "experience" lately.  I've reconnected with family there.   I've found long-lost high school friends (or, they've somehow found me).  I've made some new friends.  I've met some creepy people who have no class and are NOT cool.  And, I've connected with musicians I've followed for years who have a presence there.  That's way cool.

One particular musician is Jonatha Brooke.  I first found her while living in Rochester way back - probably around 1991 or 1992 - when she was part of a group named "The Story".  They had a song that was getting airplay on a little radio station that I particularly liked so I bought the CD and have followed her work ever since.

She seems like someone I'd enjoy meeting in person.  I'm just saying....

Here's another song.  I was driving the other day and a Rob Thomas song that I've never heard before started playing.  He's one of those artists who seems to do everything right - wonderful voice, good tunes - ever since his Matchbox 20 days.  Anyway, the beat is exactly the speed of my feet on the elyptical trainer so I downloaded it.  :)

Good Stuff.