Sunday, December 26, 2010

Xmas 2010

I've had some "interesting" Christmases in recent years.  One year I started editing some video and found that the day passed in a blink before I knew it.  There have been a few years where I've been recovering from this or that - I refer to one year in particular as the "Lost" Christmas because I don't remember anything from that week.

To be honest, I wouldn't mind NOT remembering yesterday.  It was a grueling, up and down, one step forward two steps back kind of a day that didn't end until well after midnight.  It didn't have anything to do with romantic notions of families gathered around a table or a fire, or kids waking early to get down to the Christmas tree to see if Santa had visited, or with the religious aspects of the day.  I negotiated with the airlines to try to get to the East Coast ahead of the winter storm and found myself involved in a day that tested patience, creativity, luck, trust, and resolve.  I found myself routed and re-routed to avoid Atlanta, first through Miami and later through Charlotte.  I got on planes only to be told that the plane was broken and then filing off again.  Not once - but twice.  I sat on a plane for almost two hours before we left the gate to be de-iced.  In North Carolina, of all places.  It was stressful, taxing, frustrating, but ultimately what I'll remember is being greeted by a smiling face that made it all worth it.

I won't have much to say on things over the next few days as I've made a point of keeping certain aspects of my life private.  But I've started my annual purge - of things and people in my life.  I culled the contact list on my phone - including my ex-.  I'm doing some personal end-of-year cleaning of things that seem to pile up all year long.

One thing that kept me sane yesterday was editing some of the photos that I scanned when I was visiting my mom.  I scanned a few dozen photos of my son, of me, of my wedding, of my family - it was a much needed walk down memory lane to keep myself from getting too wrapped up in the events of the day.

I may make a slideshow of some of them.  We'll see.

For now, I'm enjoying my time here.  Today was much more like traditional Christmas for me.  It was worth the trip.  :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Family Xmas

Last year on this day it was snowing like crazy here in Dallas.  This year it was chilly but not cold enough to snow so all we got was rain.  Lots of rain.  But not enough to dampen the Holiday spirit.

I had an enjoyable day with my mom.  We ate breakfast out together and I ran some errands with her (swhe bought tickets to the Senior Center New Year's Eve Dance - so cute!).  We looked through a box of photographs she found in her closet and reminisced for a while.  I made salmon for dinner.

I wish I could say that everything was calm but I'm feeling a level of anxiety at the moment regarding the next step of my Holiday travels.  I was originally supposed to fly east tomorrow afternoon to visit a certain someone,  and even received an email from Delta yesterday indicating that I had been upgraded to First Class.  My happiness was short-lived, however, as a subsequent email indicated that my flights had been cancelled.  Well, I've since received notification that my re-booked flights have been cancelled too and I've been re-re-booked on a flight that leaves here at an unGodly early hour on Monday.  It might just be the earliest that I've ever been booked on a flight but in this case it's probably a good thing as nobody in their right mind will be at the airport.  I'm told the the problem is due to wintry weather in Atlanta although I've got more than a sneaking suspicion that it's because they didn't have enough passengers to make it worth their while.  Either way,  all I can do is hope that things go smoothly on Monday.  The good news is that I get to spend a little more time with mom which is something that's fairly rare.  So I'm not complaining too much, but still....

I drove down to Austin early yesterday and spent the middle of the day with my Son and puppies.  We had a similarly wonderful visit except that I left a couple of things there that he needs to mail back to me now.  It was great to see him and the pups.  The pups couldn't get enough playtime - it was crazy.

Tonight I've been scanning some of the photos that we looked at this afternoon.  There are some photos of my grandmother when she was a youngster, some of my dad, some of me, some of Andy - kind of fun.  I don't have most of them so I've been enjoying this.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Xmas Eve Eve

Two years ago I arrived in Dallas the day after Xmas and it was lovely.  Last year I got to Dallas on Christmas eve and it was snowing like crazy.  The year, thankfully, I arrive into Dallas in mild weather again.   I appreciate that there are people who enjoy the romanticism of a traditionally white Christmas and I can be one of those people - so long as I'm not traveling.

Mom and Me
I was up at 4am yesterday to make it to the airport for my flights.  It was my first experience with Harrisburg being my "home" airport and everything went fine.  I think I beat the Holiday rush by a bit and things weren't too crazy.  The planes were full but other than that I was both happy and relieved to land in Dallas and see mom's friendly face there.

We had a very pleasant day.  She had some errands to run so I helped with that.  We had a nice dinner at Outback.  We even ended up at the mall last night and I can't say the same thing about avoiding craziness about that.  The parking lot was insane and I wouldn't be surprised if there are still people there (a) looking for their cars or (b) still stuck trying to get out.  Yeesh.

In the bigger picture the President signed the repeal of DADT in Washington DC yesterday and needless to say I'm thrilled about that.  Several of my friends were there to attend the signing but honestly, I wouldn't have gone back to participate even if I could.  I recognize the historic nature and I'm sure it would have been a thrill but I'm very clear about where my priorities are right now and having the opportunity to spend time with Family and special friends over the Holidays is time that is non-negotiable.

Speaking of family - it's 6am as I type this and I'm about to get ready to hop in the shower before driving down to Austin to spend the day with my son.  The traffic on I-35 can be horrible, especially near the outlet center about 60 miles from here, so I'm going to try to beat the worst of the traffic today.  We'll see.  I'm just looking forward to seeing him, to having a chance to hang for a while, and to spending some time with the dogs.  I'm sure I'll have something to share about it a little later.

As for now - onwards.  It's Christmas Eve Eve.  So much to do - so little time.  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Home Stretch

There was a time standing in line outside the White House on Saturday night when all I wanted to do was leave.  I was freezing - absolutely positively freezing.  In recent years I've become aware of a circulatory issue I've got and although I've had bouts with it before nothing approached what happened in line that night.  I was actually a bit concerned for a while.  Thank God I had a chance to stand in a hotel across the street for a few minutes to warm up.

I spoke with a few friends today that I've known for several years.  One of the best parts of being involved with the community for a while is watching friends "blossom" in their lives and then move on.  Still, the unique bond that gets formed doesn't get dulled over time or distance.  It was nice to catch up with my friends - it sounds like everyone is doing ok.

I've also done some thinking about how long I've been doing this blog.  It will be 7 years in April.  Seven friggin' years.  I was looking back at some of my earlier entries, especially at some of the photos that are embedded in there.  I've seen blogs come and go, people come and go, and still here I am.  Crazy.  Just as I've watched others "grow up" and move on so too have I watched myself change and move to various adventures in my life through my writing here.

One of my goals for the Holidays is to finally replace my website with the new version that has been out there for a while (see it here).  It's time for it to evolve to whatever comes next.

I watched the 4th quarter of the Giants/Eagles game yesterday.  It was wild.  All I can say is that I'm glad I wasn't emotionally invested in who won.  But it sure was exciting.

Tonight they say there's a full lunar eclipse.  I'm sure THAT will be exciting.  Or not.  I dunno - I'm just not seeing the excitement in this.  Let's just say it's after midnight as I type this but I'm hoping to be sleeping by the time it happens.

With that - time for bed.  Tomorrow is another day.  :)

Home Stretch

So here we are - the last couple of weeks of the year.  That's just crazy.  Last night was the last relatively "quiet" night I'll have for a while so I took some time to actually enjoy it.

The highlight of the past several days was a quick trip to DC for a White House Holiday event.  The place certainly does get dressed up for Christmas.  Even better in my world was the opportunity to share it with a certain someone - that was truly the highlight.  But the lowlight was absolutely freezing in line waiting to get through the security checkpoints.  I've got circulation issues in fingers and toes that have gotten worse over time so this was the first time I can remember in my entire life where a finger froze to the point of not being able to move it.  Ouch.  It's still sore, two days later...

Of course, the broader highlight was the festive mood thanks to (a) the general spirit of the Season and (b) the historic repeal of DADT earlier in the day.  I'm absolutely thrilled that this stupid, ridiculous policy is a thing of the past and hope that it provides a learning opportunity for the future.  Most significant, tho, is the fact that it's the first piece of stand-alone LGBT legislation to pass both Houses and garnered bi-partisan support.  Given the logjam in Congress these days it's a small Christmas miracle and I, for one, have to admit that it was a very pleasant surprise.  I actually started to believe during a DADT conference call w/ the White House on Friday where they made it sound like it might actually happen.  Raising expectations like that can have significant backlash if the outcome doesn't come to pass.  Thankfully, this time it did.  Congratulations to the President, to all who supported it, and to the broader community for activating and engaging.

As for those who don't perceive this as a good thing, the Politically Correct portion of my being says that I respect their right to have an opinion even though the overwhelming evidence indicates that it was time for what happened to happen.  But my more authentic reaction is one of satisfaction and I suppose it shows a childish component to my personality to admit that the more vehemently they protest the more satisfied I feel.  One blogger wrote that this was part of the Democrats "War Agains Christianity".  Ugh.  And another noted the blasphemous nature of doing this during the same week as the "Birth of Christ".  It's the end of another battle in this culture war we're fighting and despite threats and condemnations to the contrary it's all over but the crying...

Here's another: the repeal of DADT "will usher in a sea-change of pro-homosexual political correctness — not just on our Armed Forces, but on the rest of society, as a Brave, New, ‘Gay’-affirming Military will be held up as the new 'civil rights' paradigm for the rest of America (God help us)."

I refuse to put links here to the hateful stuff.  I don't want to provide whatever additional credibility or visibility to them.  One wrote that "the joy has been taken out of the Holidays".  I'm not sorry about that. She says that normalizing gays and lesbians is part of the "pornification of our culture".  She warns of "hell to pay" in the 2012 elections for anyone who supported it.  Yawn.  Another writes: "How can you possibly be allowing for the flamboyancy of effeminate male soldiers to engage in sexual conduct and their notorious ever wandering lust for the new...?".  Yawn again.  One last example of The-Sky-Is-Falling mentality: "Rarely can you point to a moment in time when a nation consigned itself to the scrap heap of history. Today, when the Senate normalized sexual perversion in the military, was that moment for the United States. If historians want a fixed marker pointing to the instant the United States sealed its own demise, they just found it."  Actually - No.

On to other topics:  Another highlight in my world - my son turned 25 years old yesterday.  I wished him a Happy Birthday, and I'm thrilled that I'll have the opportunity to celebrate it with him in person later in the week.

I recorded a little ditty late last week so I'll include it here.

Ha-Ha-Happy Holidays!

I mentioned the craziness that's upcoming in my world.  Here's a taste:

I'll be here today and tomorrow.  The schedule is busy finishing up with things that need completion for the end of the year.  Lots of tying up loose ends.  I've also got lots of packing to do.

I fly out of here at 6am on Wednesday.  Destination: Dallas, to spend Xmas with my mom.  I arrive mid-day.  I flew into Dallas last year on Christmas eve and it was snowing like nobody's business.  The extended forecast seems to indicate a much more hospitable welcome this year with highs in the 70's.

I should note that flying on the Holidays can sometimes be painful.  The headline at USA this morning is all about the pain of delays (read it here).  I can only control getting to the airport on time, finding patience, and hoping that everything goes smoothly.  I'll do my best in all three regards.

On Thursday I'll drive down to Austin and spend the day with my son.  I also get to spend some quality time with the pups - I haven't seen them since May and I'm very much looking forward to sharing some loving with 'em.  And, of course, son and I will celebrate his birthday as well as Xmas.

I'll spend Xmas eve with mom.  She says she wants Salmon for dinner so that's a wish that's easy to make come true.  Salmon with a pesto butter sauce - yumm....

On Christmas Day I've got an afternoon flight out of Dallas to an undisclosed location to spend some time with an undisclosed special someone.  I really don't have more to say about it than that.

Shortly after the New Year I've got a trip to head back to Arizona for a few days to take care of business back there.  Although I have no idea how the logistics of it all will work themselves out (they always somehow do) I miss dear friends there and am looking forward to seeing everyone even though it'll only be a short visit.

And by that time, it'll already be the middle of January.

I suppose the bottom line to all of this is that there's lots going on, I'm doing well, and I look forward to next year already!  Bring it on.

One more thing - a friend and I went to see Tron in 3D on Saturday.  I'll admit I was pleasantly surprised.  I enjoyed it.  Not that it was any earth-shattering in any particular way but it was just fun, visually interesting, story was convoluted but not horrible, and the characters were well cast.  As I say - all things considered, I enjoyed it.

All that said - time to get busy.  So much to do - so little time.

Monday, December 13, 2010


This seems to be a time of year for lists.  What do buy.  Who to buy for.  Stuff to do.  Stuff to get done.  Year end "10 Best Of" Lists.  Lists lists lists.  Well, I have my own list to share.

The NY Times ran a story last week that touted 2010 as "The Year of the Transsexual".  Why?  Because it has been a transformative year in a number of ways.  Looking back over the year there have been a number of significant stories and efforts for/about/involving trans people.  Some of them happen loudly while others of them happen quietly.  Off the top of my head these are one casual observer's thoughts about the Top 10 Stories/Events in the Trans World over the past year.

1.    Changes to the Rules for changing the Gender Marker on Passports
2.    Transgender Athletes
3.    The Nikki Araguz situation in Texas
4.    Changes to the Corporate Equality Index that will require Workplaces to remove ALL trans-related exclusions from at least one wellness plan.
5.    Amanda Simpson goes to Washington DC as Presidential appointee.
6.    Teen bullying / It Gets Better
7.    End of an era: IFGE Cancels its 2011 Conference (click on the link to see what happens)
8.    End of another era: Marci Bowers leaves Trinidad, CO
9.    Increasing visibility in mainstream media
10.  Despite initial promise, Inclusive ENDA goes nowhere

I'm sure there are others.  But these are ten that immediately come to mind.

Talking about the passage of time, I was talking with my ex- tonight.  Twenty-five years ago this evening we were doing a test run from our house to the hospital as we approached the delivery date for our son.  He was born less than a week later.  It's hard to believe the my son - my little boy - will be a quarter century old in just a few days.  I'll see him to celebrate with him in person next week.

Time waits for no one....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday bites

Today was Sunday.  It was also my first day of nothing-planned in a long, long time.  I suppose it was my last of them for quite a while as well.

What do I do on a down day?  I have to admit that it felt wonderful waking up at 8:45 and laying in bed for another half hour.  I did a little bit of shopping.  I went to the gym.  I watched a little football.  I went out for dinner.

Some quick bits to cover for this evening:

Weather:  The weather here was warm and wet today - highs near 50 but raining since mid-morning.  I suppose that's not such a bad thing given the weather I saw in Chicago during the football game on TV today, which was the same storm that collapsed the room of the stadium in Minneapolis.  But I also noticed that the weather back in Phoenix set a record for warmth, and the ten day forecast there is typically beautious.  Sigh.

60 Minutes:  I haven't watched CBS 60 Minutes in years.  Now I've watched two weeks in a row and saw some fascinating stories.  Last week they had an extended story on Facebook that was tremendously intriguing.  This week there was a story about Brazil (oops - originally said Argentina here.  My bad) - culture, economy, topography, politics.  I'll have to admit, it made me want to visit Rio.  I've never really had that urge before.

Ipad:  I see that the next version of the iPad is supposed to have a camera on it (details here).  That's exactly why I didn't buy one the first time around - not having a video camera on it means that it's not worth the investment for me until it does.

Gingerbread Martini:  I had a Gingerbread Martini at Outback tonight.  It was double delicious.  I asked the waitress for the recipe and all I can say is that I hope to make some of my own sometime soon.  When I got home it made me start thinking about other types of Martini's I'd like to try.  Like an Eggnog Martini.  Yumm.

Egg Nog:  I LOVE Egg Nog.  Not watery, low-fat, no-taste egg nog.  Heck no.  I'm talkin' about good, thick, rich, spiced egg nog.  From time to time I'll even mix it with something more potent but that's not really the point.  It's the Egg Nog itself that counts.  It's one of those addictions that we're fortunate only happens for a short time each year.  Perhaps that's what makes it special.  Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I gave in to my urges to have some and bought a  half gallon of it at Costco.  I told myself that I'd have a small drink of it from time to time and actually believed that it'd last me until the Holidays.  Hah.  I've got a small glass-full left and will be headed back to Costco for another half gallon.  If I were still in Arizona I'd buy the ingredients for the Gingerbread Martini while I was there.  Here in PA they don't sell wine or liquor in most stores so that'll have to be a separate trip to somewhere....

Fitness:  I've finally gotten back into the groove with my fitness.  There were several weeks during and after my move across country where I took a bit of a break and I ended up feeling big and flabby a couple of weeks ago (partly due to the egg nog??).  The break actually did me some good and I'm back to it with vigor and purpose.  I've made time to be there each of the last 3 days.  I'll take tomorrow off.  The next challenge:  Each of the last three years I go for a 60 minute run on the treadmill on or around New Year's Day.  I try to average 6.4 or 6.5 mph and it makes me feel pretty good to be able to accomplish that year after year.  I'm planning to do it again this year.

Athletics:  Trans athletes are getting more and more visibility.  Not because we necessarily want it, but because it's an intersection of world that tends to draw the spotlight of public emotion.   There's an article on at the moment about a trans triathlete (read the story here).  Part of my training is anticipation of competing again this year.  No guarantees.  But I'll be as ready as I can if and when the spirit moves me again.

Holiday Plans:  The flavor of the Holidays changed for me a dozen years ago when my son wasn't around anymore, and when my dad died during the week between Christmas and New Year.  It has become a time of more introspection and analysis - not in a morose way but in a positive way.  I've gone to visit my mom for the last two years and I'll be doing that again this year.  My son turns 25 years old a few days before Christmas and I expect to see him as well.  I've got a few other plans that I'll keep to myself - deeper soul nourishing plans.  And I hope to be headed to Phoenix for a few days early next year....

TransCentralPA:  Last night I attended the TransCentralPA monthly dinner and meeting.  As I expressed to them least night, in a very real way that group is responsible for my being here now.  They asked me to speak at the last two Keystone Conferences and I was and continue to be impressed by their passion, their organization, their purpose, and the humanity of their members.  Last night there was a gal who's been full-time for a week and a half.  Another gal read something that she wrote for school to introduce her authentic self to her class - she had half the place in tears.  It's really amazing to be part of these kinds of things.  If you're in the area and want to be part of a special event - the Keystone Conference is quickly becoming one of the most well planned and run events in the country.  I'll be there again this year - God willing.

The Week Ahead:  I've got a busy week ahead.  I've got a Young Professionals Meet and Greet event on Tuesday.  I'll be in Lancaster PA for a meeting on Wednesday evening.  I'll be headed to DC next weekend - I've been invited to a Holiday event at the White House.  If it's anything like last year's - it'll be amazing.  Last year I had to travel two thousand miles to attend.  This year it's almost local.  What a difference a year makes.   :~P

That's more than I planned to write when I first started.  Time for a cup of team.  Then, time for bed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Typically Atypical

It's Friday!  Woo Hoo.  As I look out my window on the 25 degree weather and the Susquehanna River I notice how different cold water looks when it's flowing than warmer water.  I'm told that the river will freeze over at some point and the glassy sheen on the surface makes it look like it's already on the way.  I'll know we're really in trouble when I see an iceberg float by.

Today ends my 6th week on the job.  I often marvel on how fast time seems to be passing but in this instance I've got to admit that it seems like I've been here for much longer than that. That's not a bad thing - it's just that I've packed a lot into a fairly short period of time.  I'm still very much enjoying things and I look forward to going into work every morning so as far as I'm concerned that's the main thing.

Sometimes people ask me what my job entails on a day by day basis.  This is a big change from the cubicle, structured, "corporate" world that I was used to.  My days go from early until late evening - last night there was a Central PA Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Mixer, tonight there is a Youth Holiday mixer, tomorrow night I'm talking at the TransCentralPA monthly meeting.

No two days are the same.  Yesterday included follow-up work to a planning meeting for our Fall Banquet.  I spoke with a guidance counsellor who called to ask for resources for a student in his school who identifies as trans.  I drove to York - about an hour from here - to meet with some people about an event we're planning for February.  I had to deal with the post office about our non-profit mailing permit.    I'm working on our budget and on Program Plan for 2011 and beyond.

Today is more of the same.  I've got a grant writer coming in to talk this morning.  We've got a Technology Committee meeting over lunch.  And the list goes on...

But I enjoy it.  I do.  And I finally feel as though I'm pretty much ready to hit my stride.  Anyway - all good there.

In all of this I'm still carving out some "me" time.  I find a way to get to the fitness center 3 or 4 times a week.  That's a key component to my sense of balance so it's got to be a priority.

I really don't want to get into details right now but I'll share that I'm proud of my sport.  I'm proud of wrestling.  When people ask me what about the sport attracts me the bottom line is that it's all about the people.  It truly is a community, and my experience is that for the most part the connections are based on your heart, your dedication, and your motivation more than ability or age or other less important details.  I've found resources that are nearby where I may be able to train next year and I'm thrilled...

Yesterday was the equivalent of a slaughter for our President.  Between the collapse of the negotiated tax deal because his own party refused to consider it, the failure of the effort to end "Don't Ask Don't Tell", and the failure of the "Dream Act" to move - it was a mess.  I hate to say it but what it says is that the next couple of years are going to be a stalemate of gridlock.  It's not going to be pretty.  Where did the promise of two years ago go?  Well, it's gone now.

I've gotten email from all the various LGBT organizations about what happened (and didn't, and why) yesterday but my favorite is from GetEqual (read it here).  That about sums it up.  Ineffective leadership opens the door to chaos and that's what's going on.  We've moved from a situation where some are happy and some are not to one where everyone is unhappy.  Not good.  Scary, even.

All that said - next weekend I'll be heading to DC for a White House Holiday event.  I went last year and it was a blast.  I don't know if they're having the same kind of thing this year but there's a time to set aside the daily travails and to celebrate the sentiments of the Season.  I'm looking forward to it.  A special someone is coming into town to attend with me which makes it doubly exciting...

Well, gotta go.  So much going on.  But ya know,  I wouldn't have it any other way.  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Late Tuesday....

It's Tuesday.  It's almost 7pm and I'm just getting ready to meet a friend for a drink and a bite to eat before heading home.  These are long days.

I spent time a couple of days ago "nesting" a bit.  The place where I'm living is furnished but I moved furniture around so it's more open and useful for me.  I also found the few Christmas decorations that I have, including a very nice stocking that my sister made for me a few years ago.  I hung it on the mantle above the fireplace, although I don't expect that Santa will find it.  :)

I'm playing a bit with my little "Flip" camera and the software that comes with it.  I uploaded a short little video from my office yesterday.

I'll admit that the quality looks fine to me (although the green tint of the florescent lights can be a bit tiresome).  The main problem I've got with it is the audio.  I'm investigating options....

Some who have followed my website for a while may remember me mentioning my sister's youngest child, Kyrie.  She was born with a number of significant birth "challenges" and even now - at 11 years old - she's got a G-Tube in her stomach and a trachea tube in her throat.  She's one of the most amazing people - wonderful energy, positive spirit, uplifting courage.....she's truly a hero.  Anyway, I've got a new photo of her that so much looks like her, with the attitude to match!  Kyrie rocks!!

There's an Op-Ed piece in the Toronto newspaper - The Globe and Mail - titled "Why Canada Should Protect Gender Identity".
While Canada has made great strides in opening marriage and adoption to same-sex partners, there is still a case to be made for ensuring vital social and legal protections to members of transsexual and transgendered communities. Adopting Bill C-389 would not end discrimination. But it would go a long way in protecting those who still face physical violence, economic disadvantage and social ostracism for being perceived as different.

There are multiple reasons why society struggles to understand the regular challenges many transsexual and transgendered persons face. Society takes for granted that there are two distinct sexes, with two corresponding ways of expressing gender identity. And we have concocted a range of stereotypes to reinforce the supposed chasms of difference between men and women, boys and girls.

Despite the fact that biologists such as Brown University professor Anne Fausto-Sterling have demonstrated that “nature” itself yields not two distinct sexes but as many as five in a small but still significant number of cases, we still think male or female is something constant and unchanging. Sex is not only something viewed as uncomplicated and self-evident, but masculinity and femininity are tied to one’s birth-assigned sex. To many, men are from Mars and women from Venus, and “normal” sexual desire is focused toward the opposite sex.
Very well said indeed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wig, Pony Tail, and other Hairy Situations....

Early Early Early on 12/5 (or Late Late Late on 12/4)

As I type this it's almost 1:30am on Saturday night (or Sunday morning depending on how you look at it).  I'm in Northern Virginia at a after attending the TGEA Holiday Gala in Alexandria, VA earlier this evening.  I'm chilling for a few minutes before going to sleep....

One humorous thing from tonight.  I suppose I should start by saying that I'm digging my hair at the moment.  I'm trying to grow it out and it's at a good length right now.  I finally had it colored a couple of weeks ago and I've just been pleased with it lately.  I even put it into a pony tail for the first time yesterday at the gym.  Over all these years I've never felt that I had a decent looking pony tail, and in recent years my hair hasn't been long enough to do it even if I wanted to.  Anyway, I digress....

I was talking with a couple of gals when one of them says to me, "That's a beautiful wig!"  I looked sort of incredulously at her and told her it wasn't a wig - that it was my real hair.  She seemed to not believe me so I offered for her to tug on it, which she did.  She proceeded to ask me if I've had any surgeries.  Oh brother....where to start.  Later someone stopped by to tell me that "She's new".  No worries.  :)

This is my first weekend at "home" in well over a month (which is odd to say given the fact that I'm in a hotel room that would seem to indicate otherwise).  I could very easily have driven home after the event tonight but I decided that it'd be nice to do just what I'm doing - relaxing for a little while - rather than get back into my car for the two hour drive back north.

Speaking about my car - I had some more work done on her last week.  Little by little I'm working through the list of things that need to be done and have to admit that she's driving like a dream.  The car has been quite the investment in recent weeks but I've mentally made the commitment to stick with her while she gets better.  Friday's fix was "upper spring seats" - something having to do with the front suspension - and an oil change/fluid top off to get it ready for the months ahead.

One of the things that's hard to learn is when to let go of something and when to stick with it.  That's as true of a car as it is of relationships and other aspects of life.  Even when you approach things logically and weight all the pro's and con's in the end it's little more than a crap shoot.  In this case my fingers are crossed that getting past this jag of expense will keep her happy and healthy for quite a while.

Monday 12/6

Man - it's brisk outside.  The temperature isn't that big a deal.  It's the wind that's killer.  I hear that Buffalo got 2 feet of snow, and Rochester got almost a foot today.  So by that standard I suppose we're fortunate.  We haven't seen much more than a stray flake here and there.  But it's friggin' brisk out there.

Last year when I left PA to go back to the Phoenix area I got rid of most of my winter stuff.  I never expected to be back in this climate again (which is probably silly of me) so as I decided what to keep and what to give away almost every wintery jacket I owned ended up finding a new home.  I've got a couple of nice coats, but what I don't have is a good, warm, all-purpose winter jacket.  I mean, what do you put on when there's a foot of snow outside and you need to go out and shovel?  That's the kind of jacket I'm talking about....

So yesterday, with all this chilly wind going on, I decided it was time to get a new jacket.  Comfort was important, as was warmth, fit, and of course cost.  It took the better part of the day.  I tried on dozens of them.  Long ones.  Short ones.  Puffy ones.  Down filled ones.  By mid afternoon I was at REI with a couple of friends and we found "the One".  It's made by Columbia - a good name.  It was on sale - that's a big plus in my book.  It was comfortable.  All things considered - it seems perfect.

I don't think the fact that it's technically a man's jacket should matter.  I tried on women's jackets but typically they were shorter and tighter.  Men's jackets seem to have more room, be more comfortable, and be generally longer.  I don't really care one way or the other as to the "gender" of my jacket.  I'll be the first to admit that I like men's bikes too - the ones with the bar across the top - better than women's bikes any day of the week.  Perhaps it's just what I'm used to but I don't assign gender-ness to my athletic gear any more than I do to my jacket.  Anyway, for anyone who's curious as to what I bought, here's a link.

As I type this I'm listening to a mix of Christmas music.  Chloe Prince has put together a very nice collection on the PinkEssence website.

To revisit something I said earlier: Part of what I'm thinking about at the moment is this process of letting go.  Learning to let go of things in life is an important skill.  Somehow it's easy to forget that and there's often some misguided sense that letting go is a sign of weakness or of failure.  Even if that's true, so what?  How does anyone expect to be able to grab new things if they're unable to let old things go?  We often outgrow things during the course of our lives but we can't or won't recognize it.  Relationships.  Careers.  Interests.  Lots of things.  That's not to say that any of us should give up on something the moment things get hard.  Learning when to let go is probably harder than learning how to do it.

The reason this has any relevance to me right now is the need to let go of parts of the life I led in Arizona until recently.  Many aspects of that life are gone forever.  They just are.  I could certainly go back there and live there again but aspects of my life that were simply part OF my life there are gone.  In a way, a good example is the transition process itself.

There are some examples in my life right now of things that I've let go of, but that I have subsequently come to embrace again.  Like wrestling.  That doesn't change the fact that part of my own survival instinct involves consciously letting go of things rather than allowing them to fester too much.  Granted, things can bubble over in my world before I shut it down but that's a whole other discussion.  The main point is that letting go is sometimes followed by subsequent engagement again.

That's probably a bunch of mumbo jumbo to most, but some will know what I mean.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who Dat?

Who Dat?

Today is Tuesday.  It's that nether time between Thanksgiving and New Year that we commonly refer to as December.  How can it be December already??  Jeez.

My vast experience as a northeasterner involves memories of snow by now.  Tonight the thermometer in my car said that the temperature outside was 38 degrees but there were definite flakes of snow in my headlights.  It was our first bit of snow, and I'll admit that it was actually kinda nice.  I'll also admit that it was nicer than the inch of rain we had here today.  By and large, tho, the weather here recently has been wonderful.  I have no complaints at all in that regard.

It's hard to believe that today is the beginning of my second month on the job.  I'm still enjoying it, so that must mean something.  We've got a lot done in the last few weeks and there's a long way to go on this journey.

My brother called yesterday to tell me that Rush is coming to the area in April fand asked if I wanted to go.  Rush was the second band I ever saw play live (Jethro Tull was the first) way back in 1978 and I've seen them play a dozen times or so over the past 30 years.  Bro wrote today to say we got tickets in the 9th row dead center.  I'm already looking forward to it.

The reason I was out tonight is that I FINALLY made it to the fitness center.  A month ago I was in the what's probably the best shape of my life and lately I've been feeling like a big blob.  The difference is that I had the time to go to the gym for months and months and months, and lately I'm lucky to get there once a week.  That, and the constant eating out, Holiday fare, and general unhealthy eating end up taking a psychological toll.  I feel GREAT tonight after an hour at the gym, and am already planning on getting there tomorrow as well.

I made my travel plans for the Holidays today.  I was pleasantly surprised that airfares were relatively reasonable.  I would have expected more of a premium on travel during the last couple of weeks of the year.  Thankfully - not so.

Part of the trip includes visits with my mom in Dallas and my son in Austin.  Speaking of my son - he turns 25 years old a week before Christmas.  That's a quarter century!  Omigod.  How can that be?  Anyway - so many things to achieve and so little time.  The key for me is to make sure to include a healthy dose of quality "Donna" time.  And, I have.

Speaking of Donna Time, one thing I've said in the past that perhaps needs to be reiterated is that I'm fairly careful about the things I choose to share here in my blog.  I've learned many lessons over the years about being TOO forthcoming on some things.  That said, I've learned that I sometimes wear my emotions on my sleeve and they come out here.  I suppose what I'm saying is that I have come to enjoy this outlet for my thoughts and experiences but what I share here is NOT all there is.  Nuff said.

Kudos to Lana Lawless on helping the LPGA become more inclusive.  Here's an article from the NY Times:
“She can compete if she can qualify,” Kerr said. “We certainly don’t want to discriminate against anybody; that’s not what the L.P.G.A. is about. And if she can qualify, she’ll be able to play.”

The L.P.G.A.’s policy shift follows similar changes made by other sports bodies to allow transgender athletes to compete, including the International Olympic Committee, the United States Golf Association, the Ladies Golf Union in Britain and the Ladies European Golf Tour.

The N.C.A.A. has also said that it is reviewing its policies regarding transgender athletes. A member of the George Washington women’s basketball team, Kye Allums, came out this season as a transgender man. Allums has been permitted to play on the women’s team because he has not undergone hormone treatments or sexual reassignment surgery.

Dolan said the L.P.G.A. players’ decision reached beyond golf. “I think it’s a victory for the transgender community,” he said, “and that hopefully other women won’t have to go through this just to have the right to play golf or any other sport.”

Read the story here

There are three important things in this snippet. First is the recognition that Lana first needs to qualify to participate. She's not asking for anything special. Second, is recognition that the clause that specifically prevented her from competing was discriminatory. And third is the fact that this decision does indeed reach beyond golf.

Special recognition goes to Lana for all the hateful crap she's had to deal with.  She's been under attack from every knuckle dragger who's still stuck in the 1970's.  She's also facing some/many in the trans community who somehow feel that she shouldn't compete.  I've said before and I'll reiterate that I'll respect that opinion however I don't and won't share it.  Expect more from me on this in upcoming weeks....

Lastly for tonight - where I'm living now has one of those large LED TV's and it's just amazing to watch.  Good thing I don't have much time for TV.  It's so visually stimulating that it just could become addicting.  :)