Thursday, September 30, 2010

Journeys and Life Tides

I haven't updated my blog in several days.  That's more a product of my various comings and goings than neglect.  Sometimes, life just gets in the way.  I suppose I'll just catch up on things a bit before I need to head out again...

Last week I spent some quality time reconnecting with a dear friend.  It was a week when I just wanted to disappear for a bit - knowing how crazy life is about to get and needing some quiet time to relax and re-focus.  I think it was successful on all counts, and by the time I left on Friday I felt very much at peace, relaxed, and thankful for the opportunity to re-align some aspects of my life that have been out of balance in recent months.  I'll just leave it at that....

The train ride to DC on Friday was very pretty, and actually kinda fun.  There's something unique about train trips.  The weather was gorgeous, and the opportunity to sip the beginnings of autumn along the way were much appreciated, and helped me realize just how much I miss the passing of the seasons.  As much as anything watching the changes that seasons bring throughout the year provides an anchor of life and is filled with deeper emotional reactions based on memories and experiences.  That probably sounds like a bunch of psycho-babble but that's the best I can do to explain it.  Anyway, it makes sense to me.

I'm staying with friends in the DC area at the moment.  I spoke at the Out For Work Conference on Saturday and celebrated a birthday with a good friend on Sunday.  I had a number of meetings in DC on Monday.  I drove to central PA on Tuesday and very much enjoyed my visit.  I had some very productive conversations, visited with a friend who lives there, enjoyed touring the state Capitol and the scenery along the Susquehana River, and although my stay there was fairly short we got quite a bit done.   I expect that I'll be back again soon.  I drove back to DC last night before the unpleasant weather hit.

Today there's a tropical depression soaking the area.  There are flood warnings and tornado workings all over the place and they're expecting anywhere from 2 to 4 inches of rain today, or more.  As I sit and type this I'm listening to quiet piano music, watching rain fall from gray dreary skies, and generally feeling very comfortable with things.  I wish I could sit here all day but I've got lots to do.  Unfortunately, I need to brave this weather and get to downtown DC so I'll need to enjoy this feeling of calm while I can.

I very much feel that life is like tides.  It's sometimes high, and it sometimes wanes, but eventually the same cycles that seem consistent in so many other aspects of life seem true with life itself.  I have seen it quite a bit in the last few weeks - in relationships in my life that have ebbed and flowed, in the direction and energy of my so-called "career", in my continuing strong and positive mood, and in life direction in general.  Right now the tides are in and I'm enjoying it while I can, savoring and gathering the energy of it all knowing that I'll need it later.  Anyway - probably more psycho babble to some.  But it makes sense to me.

There is quite a bit of change on my horizon.  Exciting change.  Challenges.  Opportunities.  They are changes that I've spent years thinking about and I'm finally at a crossroads where I can either make them happen or not.  Have no doubt - they will happen.  More to come when the time is right.

When I was at SCC I mentioned that Oprah would be doing a segment featuring someone in the community soon.  That happened yesterday.  Christine McGinn and her partner Lisa had twins several months ago.  The unique aspect of the story is that Christine had some of her "swimmers" (her term, not mine) saved and frozen before her transition so both she and Lisa are truly the genetic parents to their children.  At the time I wondered why that thought never occurred to me, but the fact is that I wouldn't want to start over at parenthood at this stage of life.  I know a little of how difficult it was for them to get to this stage and kudos to both of them.  They'll make wonderful parents.

We used to joke that if Lisa became pregnant they'd be a good candidate for Oprah.  Well,  that show happened yesterday (details here).   It is unfortunate that the sensational title ("The Mom Who Fathered Her Own Children") almost puts this in the same league of freak-dom as Pregnant Man did a few years ago.  I didn't see the episode but have talked with some who have and the general consensus is that Christine and Lisa did a good job.

I think one aspect that will be discussed most is something that's mentioned in a shorter treatment on the Oprah website (see it here):
What some people might find especially interesting about Christine is that she's able to breastfeed. She says it's not as complicated as it sounds. "A lot of women who adopt go through a regimen of hormones before they have their child, and that enables them to breastfeed by the time they get their child," she says. "So I just did the same protocol. It's basically simulating pregnancy with hormones, and since I transitioned 10 years ago, I had enough breast development where it was basically the identical situation."

Anyway, congrats to Lisa and Christine.

Well - it's absolutely POURING outside at the moment but I need to get ready to go out in it.  Yuck.  It looks like we'll be needing an Ark if this keeps up all day.  I'm here in DC today, I'm headed to the Hamptons for a Board Retreat tomorrow thru Sunday, and then I'm doing 3 days of training here in DC next week before heading back to Phoenix a week from today.  I've got a scratchy throat but overall I'm not feeling bad which is a good thing since I really don't have the time to get sick right now.  I'm in the middle of this jag of travel, but realistically things are about to get more complicated.  As I say - more to come when the time is appropriate.

I'll post some pictures in my next update.  I've got to get the day going.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


It's early - as in 6 something am - on Thursday morning.  I'm already working on cup of coffee #1 and out of bed.  I may take a nap later, though, so as I've got a full-day train ride tomorrow and will need to get to the Amtrak station relatively early.  I'm sure I'll have more to say on that tomorrow.

I'm listening to something from the archive of Acoustic Sunrise shows (link here).  They play some really pleasant unplugged/acoustic versions of popular songs.  I find that they're just as enjoyable on days other than Sunday, and even upon repeated listening.  Anyway, it's a nice calm way to start the day.

I've been spending my last few days re-doing the website, getting caught up on emails, doing some daily sort of exercise, and enjoying a little down time before things get too crazed.  It has been a good balance.

I've been enjoying doing the website thing.  As I've added more recent photos noticing how I've changed over the last several years has been eye-opening for me.  I think my favorite "look" was from a couple of years ago.  Here are a few head shots I like from 2008-2009:

(Click on the photo for a larger version)

Pretty crazy stuff.

For those who want a "sneak peak" at what I'm doing to the website it's available at  My most significant concern is how the formatting comes across on web browsers other than Safari, and whether or not page loading times are excessive given some of the image processing that's going on.  Anyway, thanks to those who have already provided feedback.

Some have asked me where I am right now and all I can say in reply is that if I wanted to be found I'd be more forthcoming in that regard.  Sometimes it's just nice to disappear for a little while.  That's what I've done.  I've disappeared.  I'll re-appear tomorrow when I arrive in DC.  For those who do know where I am - things are going well.  I'm having a very pleasant week.

Over the past several days I've gotten a number of calls on potential IT opportunities back in the Phoenix area.  I think I stunned this recruiter yesterday who was looking for someone to do some process mapping and gap analysis when I told her that the role sounded too boring at this stage of my career to keep me interested.  I was only being honest, but I don't think she hears that much.  As I'll tell anyone who asks - I refuse to die in a cubicle so it would take quite a bit to drag me back there.

If you live anywhere near DC I'll be at the Out for Work Conference on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Another Day in the Life

I don't really have much to share today.  Why?  Because I'm chillin'.   I'm enjoying a few days of relatively quiet time before the craziness of the next few weeks starts.  So far so good.

I went for a bike ride this morning.  I sometimes forget how much I used to enjoy riding bikes.  I started to chat with one guy who suggested that I try a triathalon.  I'm pretty sure I could do the biking.  The running - probably.  Swim a mile??  I don't know.  I've never tried to swim a mile.  This particular gentleman said he once ran 18 marathons in 18 days for charity.  That's insane.  I couldn't do that if my life depended on it.  Really.   I'm just saying.....

I had dinner with a friend I've known for 20+ years tonight.  I knew her husband - actually, I video-taped her husbands first marriage.  She and her kids played with my son when they were all in grade school.  It was great to see her.  We've chatted a few times in recent years and it's always nice to have those kinds of long-term relationships in our lives.  It's sad when all the long-term ones die off and all we have left is relatively new ones.  I realize it happens sometimes, but people like Kathy make me glad to still have some of those kinds of special friends in my life.

Here's a pic of us:

An effort to get "Don't Ask Don't Tell" failed in the Senate today.  That absolutely sucks.  But when it does pass the fact of the matter is that it still won't be safe to come out as transgender.  Per today's press release from NCTE:
It is important to remember that the military policies that negatively impact transgender people are entirely different than those which speak to sexual orientation, although some transgender people have been caught in "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" investigations. Transgender servicemembers should be aware that it is still not safe to come out as transgender, whether or not "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is repealed. You can read the resource that NCTE and SLDN issued earlier this year for more information about the laws that impact transgender people and how you can find assistance if you are serving in the US military.

That's not to say that I don't know openly transgender people serving in the military.  I do.  But it's a different thing than "just" being gay or lesbian.

Australia allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in their military 18 years ago.  They just recently dropped the barrier that prevented transgender people from serving (details here).  This country is so far behind other parts of the world when it comes to puritan ideas of sexuality, masculinity, femininity - these things that are happening in other countries who recognize, "What's the big frickin' deal?" and they do the right thing to fix it.

Here's another interesting article on schools and trans kids (see it here).

In my world - I watched my first football game of the year last night.  The 49ers-Saints game was a lot of fun.  I know this is going to sound whacked, but the teams "looked" good together.  I watched it on a large, large flat panel TV in HD and besides just being an exciting, well-played game it was visually stimulating.

Anyway - that's it for today.  Nothing too deep or profound.  It's just another day in the life...   Tomorrow will come.  It's supposed to be another nice, sunny, day.  I'll live it when it gets here - in it's own good time.  I wouldn't have it any other way.   :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Winding Road....

This is today's song. It's kind of how I'm feeling about life right now.  If you knew what I know you'd see just HOW appropriate it is.  :)

This is Friday.  How did that happen?  How can a full week be done again?  I realize that some might feel as though the week has dragged but that's not my experience.  It has zipped by in another of those "So much to do but so little time" things....

I mentioned that I shut off my cable so I've got, like, 5 local channels to choose from.  It's probably a comment on my personality to admit that the one channel I miss most is ESPN.  Second is Paladium - the HD music channel.  The rest?  Not really.  It's pretty amazing that you can link your DVD player to NetFlix and other online video content and stream it directly to your TV.  I remember having an antenna on the house and having an entire separate dial on the TV for the UHF channels, that usually included PBS.

I was watching the news the other morning and they said that the big fashion accessory for fall is large sunglasses.  It may come as a shock to some that I've never really had much of an interest in fashion or trends.  Unlike engines of cars, where I have little knowledge and absolutely no interest, I attribute my limited fashion sense to not having the appropriate guidance and mentors.  In any event, I watched this thing on sunglasses with interest because I've NEVER had a large pair of sunglasses.  Mine have always been aviators or something of that kind, and I'll admit to being kind of intrigued.  I suppose that says something about my personality, too.

I'm heading out of town tomorrow and won't be back for several weeks.  How does one pack for a trip like that?  I've got a number of things going on and may just end up at a Ross or a Marshall's while I'm away rather than try to fit everything I think I'll need into my suitcase.  Of course, that makes getting it back home a little more "interesting" but I'm confident it will all work out.

I've got lists - things to pack, things to do, things NOT to forget.  But somehow I have a feeling I'll realize that I missed something.  No big deal.  I've become good at going with flowing so it's just one of those things...

I haven't slept well these last couple of nights which is not the norm for me - I typically sleep VERY well.  I'm not quite sure why but this morning I was up at 5.  I was laying there trying to get back to sleep when the reality of just how much I have to do today crept into the picture and that was it.  I probably shouldn't even be writing this but if not now then when?  I have no idea when I'll have the next opportunity.

Thanks to those who have checked out my re-designed website and have provided feedback. It is much appreciated.  One thing I'm curious about is how the pages look on other laptops, using other browsers.  It looks great and the pages load ok here on my machine but I realize that might not be true for everyone.  The link is

The pages that I'm specifically concerned to get "right" are the Training pages.  I've embedded a few videos into them from various trainings I've done.  Anyway - continued feedback is appreciated.

As for my "Check Engine" light - I took the car to the dealer yesterday and was told that the code was for the "Electronic Throttle Module".  Hmmmm.  I don't know what that is but the good news is that if they replace it it's under warranty.  He turned the light off and told me to call him if/when it turns itself back on....

I also went over to Maria's and had a chance to meet her grandbaby, Isabella.  I haven't held a baby in a long time and really enjoyed seeing this beautiful young child.  She stared at me, and it sort of reminded me of when my son was that age.  It's funny, though, because I used to think that I was fortunate to have had a son because I knew how to relate to boys.  I'm not sure how I would have related to a daughter.  Anyway, Bella is beautiful and I really enjoyed having the chance to meet her.  :)

Too cute.

I've done a number of things for me this week.  I got a long-needed pedicure.  I've spent some time with friends.  All things considered - that's probably why the time has gone so fast.  Sigh.

And with that - I'll say 'bye' for now.  So much to do.  So little time....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm in a good mood.  I'm not quite sure why, but I've been this way all day.  Actually, I've been in a good mood for a while now so I need to enjoy it while I can.

I paid off my car recently which is a big deal in my world.  NOT having a car payment is something I haven't experienced in the last 15 years so this is great.  Today my "Check Engine" light came on.  It's like they have a computer somewhere and know when you finally own your car so they can push a button somewhere and make things break.  Geez.  I was hoping it was just that the thingy wasn't on the gas tank tight enough but that doesn't seem to be it.  Sigh.

I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to cars I pretty much don't have a clue as to what's what, or why.  I've never been mechanical.  I've never wanted to be mechanical.  I've had other interests so knowing how an engine works or what a tie rod end does has never been a priority.  Until, of course, it breaks and I'm told that I need a new one.

The big news of my day is that I'm in the middle of re-designing my website and published it in a sort of "beta test" environment so I can see how it's going to look and work before I get too far into it.  For those who want a sneak preview, here's the link.

I haven't made major changes to it for quite a while and I hope to continue working on it for the next couple of weeks.  One of the things I'm particularly interested in seeing is some embedded video I've put on the "Training" pages.  So far it looks to me like most of them don't appear until they've finished loading which I don't like.  If that's true I'll got to plan B - getting them hosted on Vimeo or something and stream them although the downside of that is a degradation in video quality.  Anyway, it's nice to finally have it up and out there although it's still pretty much a secret.

Speaking about secrets, get ready for the annual Oprah transgender show.  If things unfold as I think they will it'll feature an interesting story involving a doctor in our community.  I'll leave it at that for now...

I went to the fitness center today and ran 4 miles on the treadmill in 38 minutes.  I wasn't looking forward to it going in, or during, but feel pretty good about it now that it's over.  I'm in pretty good shape so keeping my body "tuned" is just something that's part of my lifestyle.  It'll be a challenge to keep it up when I'm traveling over these next few weeks but make no mistake - I'll find a way to make it happen.

I went to see the Extended 3D version of Avatar last week.  It includes a number of scenes that were deleted from the original, which was already admittedly (a) amazing and (b) long.  I'll admit that I was surprised that a couple of these scenes ended up on the cutting room floor as they really helped fill gaps and set context.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but even though I've already got the Blue Ray version and have seen it at least 15 times there's nothing like watching it on the big screen in 3D.

Dana Beyers has been a good friend for a number of years and has been running for a Maryland General Assembly seat.  In tonight's primary she came up short and conceded a difficult defeat (details here).  My hat is off to her for her efforts, and the fact that she got as close as she did is an indication of her talent and passion.  You rock, Dana.

It's getting towards midnight so I'll end for today.  In this "good mood" thing I've had going I've been sleeping very well.  I didn't wake up until almost 8 this morning.  Good stuff.....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday Monday

Monday, Monday
Can't trust that day
Monday, Monday
It just turns out that way....

As I sit this morning sun is streaming through my window, I'm on my second cup of coffee, and I seem to have been on the phone for half of the morning already.  I did an interview for the Out For Work Conference where I'll be speaking in DC in a couple of weeks.  I may participate in a story that's being done on transgender athletes so we're trying to work through some logistics.  It seems like there have been a half dozen other calls, as well...

I hardly even remember falling asleep last night.  I remember landing on time, on seeing Kimberly's smiling face when she picked me up at the airport, getting home and unpacking, and grabbing a bite to eat.  I was tired.

The best part of this morning is that it provides an opportunity to chill.  I've got a bunch of things to catch up on and do before heading out of town again but somehow that will all wait.  I'm busy chilling.

I'm a "list" person so if I've got a number of things happening I'm more likely to remember them if I've got a list.  I've got a list a dozen items long of things that need to happen over the next few days.  I'll start to move again here in a few minutes.

SCC is in the past for another year.  I posted some of my photos on FB (see them here).  I suppose I should have gotten some pics from throughout the entire conference but I brought my big, bulky camera with me and didn't want to lug it around all day.  These pics are from the Saturday night dinner.

I ate and drank way too much on the trip and only feel a little bit guilty about it.  I could have been REALLY bad during this trip, in MANY ways, so I'm thinking that if my greatest sin was a little too much gluttony then I'm ok.  As I said last night, I'll be at the fitness center later to pay my penance.

Although I'm a little heavier than I've been the problem is that I like my face with a little extra "chubbiness" to it.  I want to have my cake and eat it too - to stay a size 6 and keep my stomach and thighs the way they are when I'm skinny and have a little extra fat in my face and butt.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.

On another note, the US Wrestling teams had a very disappointing showing at the World Championships in Moscow last week.  The men's freestyle team didn't win a single medal for the first time since 1975, and the only two medals were a bronze and a silver won in the women's divisions.  (Details here).  There's lots of work to do between now and the 2012 Olympics.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

SCC 2010

As I type this I'm in the air somewhere between Atlanta and Phoenix. The fact that there's internet connections on planes these days is pretty cool. Normally I'd be getting some sleep because it's midnight East Coast time and it has already been a long day but if I snooze I won't be able to sleep when I get home.

SCC 2010 was a blast. It really was. I knew going into it that this edition of SCC would have a different "flavor" to it for me for a number of reasons - some obvious and some not so obvious - and was curious as to what that flavor would be like. I'm happy to say it was a feast. A banquet. A cornucopia. As I say - I had a blast.

A small group of friends and I went to a drag show on Thursday evening that was a hoot and a half. I realize that there are many in the community who poo-poo drag shows and I'm not here to preach or to argue about it. I'm here to say that I haven't been to one in a long, long, long time and that it was a lot of fun. It was funny, and upbeat, and the entire place was having a good time.

I was surprised at the diversity of the performers. There were typically drag-like performers like you'd expect who had attitude, one-liners, wit, and personality to spare. There were a number of drag-kings. There was a bad-ass FTM. And, there was a beautiful performer who was just amazing to watch. Lord what I wouldn't give to be able to move like she did.

After the show I asked what time it was and was shocked that it was after 1:30am by then. Time flied. And, Lord knows I paid for it the next day. Note - the photo above is Stephanie's - thanks for a great time  :)

I'm told that there were over 700 people registered for the event which was wonderful to see given the economy and other factors. I wouldn't be surprised if I talked at some point over the weekend with 3/4 of us - either in the lobby or in the bar or in a session or at a meal.

It was wonderful to meet up with dear friends I've made over the years where our friendships thrive despite time and distance. It was also a joy to start some new friendships that I have a feeling will become long-term ones. That's truly the reason I go year after year. It's like a big group hug - a family reunion, a celebration, and a unique sharing or energy that's worth traveling halfway across the country to participate in. The fact that this was the 20th anniversary made it even that much more of an honor to be there.

I'm sure that there were glitches but as an attendee everything seemed to go flawlessly. Congratulations to all the planners and volunteers who worked so hard to make it all happen. It should come as no surprise that they're already starting work on the 2011 version. It will be at the end of September next year and will be held in conjunction with the WPATH Conference.

This year things just "flowed" for me. Between attending events, doing my workshop, hanging with friends, enjoying a little get-away time, and surviving some fairly crazy time the days seemed to go seamlessly from the minute I opened my little eyes and stumbled upstairs for coffee in the morning to crawling into bed (I wasn't in bed before 1am any evening I was there) hoarse and tired and relaxed. I tried to get to the fitness center on Saturday morning but the back patio at the hotel is just so pretty and the weather was so nice that I never made it. I did make it there today, though. Several days of eating and drinking more than usual were enjoyable, but I'll get back to my routine. Tomorrow.

Anyway - I could go on and on but I've got photos that I'll share when I get home and have a chance to download them.

When I get back to Phoenix I'll get a good night sleep in my own bed. I've got a bunch of things to catch up on tomorrow. And then I'll be on to other things.

Well, my battery is getting low and it feels like we're starting to descend into PHX so I'll end this now. I hope everyone who attended had as enjoyable a time at SCC 2010 as I did. And, I hope those who couldn't make it there this year to share in the group hug will be there next year. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Gettin' Busy

The entire week feels compressed.  Between the Holiday on Monday and flying out to Atlanta on Thursday morning there's only a couple of days to get quite a bit done.

SCC is early this year.  I'm typically used to it being at the end of the month.  I'll be interested to see how well attended it is - the economy being what it is and some of the other established conferences have suffered as a result.

Every year I wonder if it will be my last SCC.  Who knows what the future holds, and I'll admit that at some point something will probably prevent me from attending.  In years past there have often been schedule conflicts on SCC weekend so I've had to do some crazy planning to be there.  Just last year I introduced Jamison Green for his keynote during the Saturday lunch and then had to bolt to catch a flight to Washington DC because I had a talk to give at a Conference there later that afternoon.  But, as I admitted that this will be the first year I miss the Out and Equal Workplace Summit since 2004, eventually you'll find you won't be there.

That being said, though, I typically really look forward to seeing friends at this wonderful event, and to making new ones.  As much as anything - that's what keeps me coming back.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I won't be home for another weekend until at least mid-October.  The good news is that most of my time away will be spent on the East Coast where there really IS a fall.  Here in Phoenix our idea of fall is when the monsoons end and daily highs fall into the upper 90's.  There was something on the news yesterday saying that this was the 9th warmest summer here on record.  It wasn't that there were so many days that were more scorchingly hot than usual - it was because our nightly lows were typically 3 or 4 degrees warmer than normal and often didn't get below 90.  Can you imagine that?  Where the overnight low is more than 90 degrees??  Crazy, I know.  But for those of us who live here it's just something you get used to.

I'm looking forward to being somewhere in autumn where there is some "nip" in the air, where leaves change, where you open your window at night and there's a cool breeze coming in.  Autumn is my favorite season but living here involves some aspect of NOT having seasons in the traditional sense, or at least how I'm used to.  So, if we want to experience fall we typically have to go somewhere else and this upcoming jag of travel just so happens to provide that.

I've been busy updating my website here locally and need to understand a few things more clearly before I'm ready to roll it out publicly.  I'm trying to incorporate the old with the new, the best of the past with things that I think are important now.  At the same time, although iWeb makes it insanely easy to create web pages it has some limitations as well.  Some are obvious while others aren't - like, the ability to add meta tags to your pages.  The simplicity of it allows you to do some fairly complex things with a simple drag and drop, but the real question is how is it working behind the scenes and whether or not there are things that can be done to "tweek".  Anyway, work is ongoing and I'm getting there.

Three days are down at the World Wrestling Championships is Moscow and 8 US wrestlers have competed so far.  No medals.  The Women's brackets started today and 2 US women competed.  My weight class happens on Friday.  I have no shame admitting that part of my morning ritual this week is to look at the overnight results.  I wish I were 25 years younger....I'd be SO into this stuff.  This sport gets into your blood - it just does - to the point where it's not just something you do but it's something that you are.  I realize that sounds odd but if you do something with the intensity that some of us do this sport for as long as I did you'll know what I mean.  I have enjoyed reconnecting with the sport in general as another of those "full circle" things....

I have what I'll call a "hiking friend".  Actually, I've got a couple of them but one of them actually lives here, and she's one of those rare people I meet who is as extreme and driven as I am.  There's a special thing about choosing your hiking friends wisely because at some point you may be attached to a rope with them on the rocky side of a mountain and your lives depend on one another. 

We're talking about doing Mt. Whitney in California in the spring.  At almost 14,500 ft. it's the tallest peak in the contiguous US, and can be quite the challenging climb depending on your route, the time of year, the weather, and your skills.  I'm a very goal-driven person and once I've set goals it's hard to dislodge them from my head.  This particular climb is something that would be a huge stretch for me, but training for it keeps me in shape.  She's already done it at least a couple of times and talks about setting base camp and starting the ascent on the summit at, like, 3am so as not to be on the top during the most dangerous part of the day.  You've gotta be kidding me.  And, I'll admit that going up doesn't cause me as much anxiety as coming down.  You know how they say, "Don't look down"?  Well, it's hard not to look down when you're actually going down.

This hike is preparation for an even bigger trek we've been discussing, but I'll leave that for another entry...

As with the photo I shared of the light tied to the bow of the boat during the dark of night these mountains are symbolic of many things for me.  I'm even planning to bring some of my dad's ashes up to the top.  He would have LOVED to make this climb.  Hopefully, he will.

I look over my life and see so much - so many dear friends, so many things accomplished, so many passions, so many things I enjoy, so many things I appreciate, so much I still want to do.  I can't imagine NOT making time for living.  Sometimes it honestly feels that there's just not time for it all in one lifetime.

The paradox is that is my life:  The song that has been stuck in my head for a week now is one I've shared here before and it's actually a pretty dark song but I blast this sucka in my car.

I've gone all this fuc*in' way
To wander back at - back at the start.
Hey!  The closer we think we are
Well, it only got us apart
Have you got anything left to show?
No no I didn't think so
Hey! The sooner we realize
We cover ourselves in lies
But underneath we're not so tough
Oh, love is not enough.

Love it.

Back to the here and now:  I've got an appointment with the oral surgeon today for a "check-up" on the tooth extraction.  I haven't had any complications (at least, not as far as I know) so I expect that will go quickly.  I'm scheduled to see the extended version of Avatar 3D with friends.  I need to pack.  I've got some errands to run.  I'd like to spend an hour at the fitness center.  I'm meeting someone for lunch.  I've got a laundry list of other things that need to get looks to be a busy day.  So, I better get at it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day weekend - musings

I wish I were still in bed. I was up before 6 on this Monday Labor Day and just couldn't get back to sleep. Sigh. Thankfully, I've got my coffee and am slowly waking up.

It has been a nice, quiet weekend. I've really enjoyed it so far and, like lots of people who are unofficially ending their summer over these three days, consider this holiday Monday to be an extension of it. It's my last "down" weekend in quite a while one quite a while - I don't expect to be here for a Saturday until mid or late October - so I'm taking the time to chill as best I can before things get busy on me. Again.

One of the things I've been wrapped up in lately is re-doing my website. For a little while I was too caught up in deciding what tool to use to get much done - there are so many options. I finally decided to use the iWeb on my Apple computers to see how that would work. Building the sites with it is fairly easy, and I've been converting things that I still want to include for several days now. On Friday I didn't even leave the house - I was working on it from mid-morning until midnight. Hours just seemed to fly by. I love it when that happens, when you're doing something you enjoy and become so engrossed in it that you lose track of time.

I've got a few questions to ask the Apple folks so I'll be going there tomorrow for another training session. If all goes well I hope to have at least a beta version of it published sometime next week. It won't have everything from my entire existing site, but I don't want to get too far into it to find that the pages take too long to load or some other problem that might cause me to rethink this strategy.

Part of the fun of it, as well, has been looking at all the old photos and videos from years gone by. It's fascinating to me how things have progressed and changed. My "look" has changed over the years - my favorite look I think was in 2008 or so. I had a fairly short hairstyle and everything seemed pretty together. I was a little heavier than I am now, too, and my weight has always been a double edged sword. When I gain a little weight I have good fullness in my face and butt, but also feel a little too thick around the middle. When I'm down to a good sized waist (I'm a size 6 at the moment) I feel a little too thin in other areas. Sigh.

Next week at this time I'll just be getting back from SCC in Atlanta. It's pretty early this year - I'm actually happy about that. I'm scheduled to arrive on Thursday night so perhaps I'll see you in the lobby if you're planning to be there.

I've got quite a bit to do between now and when my flight leaves Thursday. I'm confident I'll fit it all in. Somehow.

As for this long weekend - it's still hot here in the desert (108 yesterday) but it really doesn't feel that bad (and it's getting cooler!). A friend and I went to the movies Saturday and had a nice time. Some friends invited me over to their house last night for burgers and I stayed pretty late - we had a very nice time there as well.

I'm balancing the eating component of this Holiday weekend with some running and stretching. I've never been able to bend forward and touch my hands to the ground while keeping my legs straight - flexibility has never been one of my strong points. Muscle mass and tone, yes. Muscle flexibility, little or none. Anyway, one of my friends teaches yoga and Pilates and I've set a goal of doing the stretching and exercises to loosen up so I'll be able to touch my toes by the end of the year. We'll see how it goes.

In news that very few people except me probably care about - the World Wrestling Championships are happening in Moscow this week. I'm following it online. The Women's Freestyle events happen a little later in the week but I'll be following.

Now that I've canceled my cable I'm finding other things that are available on my TV. I don't watch my TV all that much in the first place, and I'm going to be traveling for a bit, so it's not like I expect any withdrawals or anything. One cool thing is I can get all kinds of streaming video to the TV using the USB connection on my DVD player.

One of the channels is a channel that shows coming attractions for new movies - it's like going to the movies and seeing the previews with no movie that actually follows. Funny thing is - I enjoy it. And the best part is - it's free (except for my NetFlix account, which I can stream directly to the TV). I'm also going to investigate the new Apple TV just announced last week to see if it would add anything. I like options.

Last year Labor Day was a highlight of the entire summer. We took the boat out and set anchor overnight. It was like camping out on water and I'd never slept on a boat like that before. It was another "first".

 The sunset was absolutely spectacular, and has come to symbolically represent the sunset on summer in general and, in retrospect, a number of other things in my world as well. Here are a couple of pics of the sun going down in the islands off Charleston that evening:

When I went to bed the seas were rocky and rough but I woke up sometime around midnight or 1 am and things were eerily calm. I went up on deck and there was a full moon beaming like a spotlight down behind us. The tides were pulling the water past us and it was, like, flowing and glowing glass moving behind us. It was way cool.

We had a lantern tied to the bow of the boat to warn other boaters and act as kind of a guide.  That bow light is sort of symbolic in a way, as well, of life directions and the need for flickers of light in the dark.

Very cool stuff.  (Getting that photo to come out with a rocking boat and with no light isn't as easy as you'd think).

Here's to hoping that everyone has a pleasant and safe Labor Day!

Friday, September 3, 2010


The hole in my skull where my #15 molar used to be is feeling a little better every day.  I find that two things make it hurt - being vertical for too long (it must be a gravity thing) and talking too much.  I limit both as much as I can but I Wednesday the afternoon at the Apple Store doing some training (vertical) and I spent an hour and a half on the phone that night (horizontal) so by the time bedtime rolled around I was ready for the day to end.

Yesterday was a better day and my tongue is making tentative attempts to begin exploring that area of my mouth - an area that has been strictly forbidden since Monday.  It's still sore, but as it heals it doesn't creep me out quite so much to so little my little my tongue is starting to get familiar with the new landscape on that side of my mouth.  I'm still on soft foods, though, which is fine.  I can eat soft foods for weeks and not miss anything.  I'm' not on a regular dose of ibuprofin anymore - it doesn't really hurt all that much at this point.  I even went for a fairly long run yesterday which I enjoyed.  All things considered,  I'm very much (thankfully) on the mend.

I was looking at a couple of friends' photos on Facebook yesterday which reminded me of the early, early days of coming to terms with the part of me that was Donna and I kept well-hidden at all costs.  There was an excitement about the rare opportunities that I had to express that part of myself because it was like giving a prisoner exiled to solitary confinement some brief time to experience the warmth of the sun that is life before being banished back to the dark and cold confines where I needed her to be.

Back in those days there were no tools like Facebook or the internet to express that side of myself, or the "Donna personna", as so many seem to do so freely now.  Even if it were available I don't think I would or could have taken advantage of it.  I admire the way that some seem to be able to keep their two separate personalities or lives apart and how they seem able to avoid allowing them to intersect.  I couldn't do that.  Even back in those old days I am Donna and Donna is me.  We are all part of one - various aspects or sides to a single thread of life that was not a game, not some alternate "self", not something that could simply be worn or unworn.  We all find different ways of handling our "gift" but I'm curious if I would have done anything differently if I were at that stage of my life now instead of a dozen years ago.

I went to a local monthly support group meeting last night.  It was my second time there and it's another reminder of how far we've come as a community and from where I came from as a person.  The room was absolutely packed to the point that people were sitting on the floor and the energy was generally very positive.  It was nice to see people I've met in passing as well as people who have become dear friends - all are brothers and sisters in one way or another.  I am thankful that I have retained my connection to my community and to my roots - I know others who try to erase or deny those links and that's certainly fine if it works for them.  As for me - I had a nice time last night and I'm continuously reminded of the many blessings in my life that I wouldn't have otherwise realized.

Here in Arizona there was a televised debate for the Governor's office a couple of nights ago.  Our current governor, Jan Brewer, got her job when Janet Napolitano left to take the role of the Director of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration.  She has made quite the name for herself in recent months as the mouthpiece for SB1070, the immigration bill here that has galvanized local and national sensitivities on the subject of immigration.

The reason I mention this here is that she's legally required to do one televised debate and that debate happened on Tuesday night. It will be the last one, too, given the fact that she fell flat on her face in a big way. There was a very awkward 16-second pause at the beginning of the debate as well as some questionable "stuff" later such as beheadings in the desert and other stuff. CNN did a good job covering it (see it here).

Once you see the real deal it makes this very funny.  One local personality did a parody of it that makes me laugh out loud:

Too funny.  If I hear the word "differenter" one more time I'm going to split a gut....

Here's another CNN take on it that's pretty funny (see it here).

Anyway - next week at this time I'll be in Atlanta attending SCC.  See you there!

I'm still laughing at that video, by the way.....