Monday, August 29, 2011

Never Ends

I've talked about this before, but it has particular relevance right now.  Coming out never ends.  It happens again, and again, and again.  In my experience, it doesn't get easier.  If anything, it gets harder.

There's a fine line between having to share deeply personal information about yourself as your single most defining characteristic and retreating to the safety of a closet.  But for those of us who have seen comfortable, important relationships in our lives crumble under the weight of our disclosure it can become easy to become gunshy.  At the same time, NOT sharing is considered hiding or otherwise being less than honest.  It can easily become a lose-lose situation.

I broke one of my rules a couple of nights ago.  I created a series of 5 Rules during my transition a dozen years ago, and they have helped me through many a difficult, confusing time.  One of them is to "Be honest, with yourself and with others."  Well, a couple of nights ago someone asked me a question that I wasn't quite expecting and I said the first thing that came into my head.  It wasn't the truth.  In fact, if was a lie.  And I've felt guilty about it ever since to the point that I'm about to fess up to get back to being good with myself.

When I was a young teen I remember that I stole a pack of Football Cards from a local pharmacy.  I got halfway home before the impact of what I had done hit me.  I thought about how my parents would react if I had gotten caught, and how guilty it made me feel, and how this temporary "blip" in my morality was so not me.  So, I turned around, went back to the store, and put it back.  To this day - I'm glad I did.

Well, having the honest discussion that will happen over the next couple of days is my opportunity to "put it back".  It's my chance to get back to good with myself again.

I've had a number of "character" moments lately and while I'm happy with how I've reconciled most of them others of them are still in question.  This entire things about "telling" is one of them.  But one of the best things about this stuff is the fact that growing and learning, both for good and for bad, continues for as long as we let it.

One of the things I'm most thankful for is all the new people and relationships in my life over these last several months.  Living downtown here has been a Godsend of new opportunity.  For example, on any given evening down at the doggie park you can find upwards of 30 dog owners, all ages and types of people, standing around while our dogs have fun with one another.  Now that the weather is getting a bit cooler in the evenings it's quite the meeting place.  I have as much fun there as Maggie does.

Yesterday morning I did a 30-mile bike ride to the beach and back.  Going there never ceases to bring out my deeper spiritual self and yesterday was no different.  I take time to stop, breathe deeply, close my eyes and feel the warmth on my face, the sand in my toes, and the wind in my hair.  It is a time of connection and I continually leave there feeling better for having gone.

A special place - the lighthouse on Sullivan's Island

While some of these new friendships are seedlings others are changing, and still others seem to be fading.  That's neither good nor bad; change is change.  I consider relationships to be like tides - sometimes the tide will be in while other times it will not.  The strongest relationships aren't the ones that try to act like the tide is always in, it's the ones that survive the the various cycles over the course of time.

Today was my mom's 82nd birthday.  She's in Rochester to celebrate it with my brother and my sister.  Those are the relationships that I've truly come to cherish.  The support and love of my family.  No matter what the tides can bring my Family has become my safest of harbors.

I wish I could be there to celebrate with them this evening.  My mom's 70th birthday a dozen years ago today was the first family event that I attended as Donna, and the first time my brother met me.   Well - I'm celebrating with them in spirit.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Every time I do a blog entry I try to think of a word or a short phrase to describe the essence of what I'm thinking, feeling, or that's happening in my life.  For some reason, the word that comes to mind loud and clear tonight as I type this is "Redemption".

One of the confusing things is I'm not quite sure why.  I don't know who or what has been redeemed, needs redemption, or how that concept otherwise means anything to me right now.  But I do know that when the universe speaks those of us who have learned the hard way listen closely.  And I am.

I have had a wonderful several days.  This morning I was up early.  By noon I had finished a 30 mile bike ride to the beach and back, and had taken a camera-full of photos.  I closed my eyes and looked skywards  as I always try to do, with my feet in the tide, sand bubbling through my toes, the sun and wind on my face, and the sound of the waves filling my ears.  I express thanks, I look for strength and guidance, and I simply allow my spiritual self to sip deeply from a key source of renewal for me.  Maybe that had something to do with it....I don't know.

Perhaps it's the changing dynamics of relationships in my world - some of which are changing on their own and some of which have needed to change.  I'm not judging whether or not the changes that are happening are good or bad because that's still being determined.  What I do find fascinating, though, is how much I'm learning about me in the process.  Not all of it is good....

This afternoon I had brunch downtown with some was wonderful.  And this evening I went back to the beach to take more photos as the sun went down.  That was wonderful too, until I started to be eaten by mosquitoes.  All things considered - it was an awesome day.  So here I am - at 1:15am - feeling the need to write about redemption.

I realize that much of this is probably difficult to decipher without knowing specifics but I can't share specifics now.  I've made a point of guarding anonymity and privacy here in recent years, and a recent trust-betrayal has made me all the more vigilant.  I don't even know what I'd say even if I could.  So all I can say is that life continues to unfold, intrigue, confound, and amaze me.

I've had several people email me with news that Joe Solmonese is leaving the Human Rights Campaign in early 2012.  They've asked me for comments, and I'm reminded of advice I learned as a child: If you don't have anything positive to say don't say anything.  So, I'll keep my mouth shut.

I need to get to sleep.  But for some reason I felt the need to write that.  Why?  I'll share that as soon as I know...


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Out of the Cross-Hairs....

Earlier this week there was a very real concern that Charleston was in the cross-hairs of a potentially major hurricane.  As someone who lives in the middle of downtown Charleston I was acutely aware of the possibilities and was watching forecasts closely, making plans, and generally figuring out what to do depending on how things were unfolding as the week progressed.

Thankfully, all of the forecast models have Hurricane Irene tracking east of Charleston, with the eye passing offshore within 140 miles of the city on Saturday morning.  The storm has been tracking slightly west of the most recent predictions so the more it drifts west the stronger the impact here.  A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for Charleston County and, since I'm 2 blocks from the ocean, I expect to see some of the "fun" first hand. 

It's amazing to see how big this thing is, and the potential impact it could have on the megalopolis north of North Carolina along I95.   I've never seen a hurricane hit there - I've seen norEaster's but this could be historic depending on how things progress.  We've dodged a bullet here, it appears, but others are going to get hit by it...

The morning here today was beautiful: clear sunny skies, warm, no wind.  Things clouded up a bit early this afternoon but nothing too nasty.  At this time tomorrow we should be feeling the first effects of the storm.  And although I'm relieved that we have been spared this time those living farther up the coast will not be so fortunate.  And everyone keeps reminding me that Hurricane Season is still young, so there will be other storms a-coming.

Let the Sun Shine: the calm before the storm.....
I was thinking that this is a good metaphor for life in general - that storms come and go, sometimes we see them coming and sometimes not, and we prepare as best we can.  As of now I'm pretty comfortable that there may be quite a bit of rain and wind but that the practical impacts to me will be minimal.  I suppose we'll see if I'm being complacent, naive, or just plain wrong.

Maggie has been digging living here as much as I have.  Yesterday evening at the doggie park there were at least 20 dogs.  It's only a couple of blocks from the house and although I feel guilty making her stay home all day while I'm at work she gets a good hour of exersize with her "gang".  She's a very good pup....and can still make me laugh out loud.  She's great company....

As for me, I've been busy busy busy.  Today was the first day I've gotten to the Fitness Center this week and it affects my overall outlook when I'm away too long.  It felt good, and I'm planning to be back again tomorrow, and hopefully again on Saturday - my favorite Spin class is on Saturday mornings.  Needless to say, plans for the weekend remain flexible at this point depending on what the weather is like.

In less than 4 weeks the annual Southern Comfort Conference will be happening in Atlanta.  I haven't missed the entire thing in a long time, but this year I'll be in Denver that weekend (details here).  I'm hoping I can sneak in a hike while I'm there.  That's one thing I'm missing.  But in the scheme of things, not such a big deal.  :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Caring More Than Trust

Many of us in the Carolina's spent yesterday and today watching the various models that meteorologists are using to predict where Hurricane Irene will make landfall later this week.  The Weather Channel is giving the growing storm 24-hr coverage and I'll admit it feels a little like watching the Super Bowl Pregame Show.  Weeks and weeks of coverage for something that rarely lives up to billing.  Thankfully, most of the current models are now targeting areas north of here but there's still lots of room to cover between now and then.

The property manager for the house where I'm living called and asked if I had decided whether or not to stay or leave.   Based on current information, I'm staying.  Still, everyone here is getting ready because even a glancing blow can cause some damage and become a hardship.  I'm stocked up on canned food, candles, batteries, flashlights, and other necessities.  I'm headed out shortly for water, and I've been told to fill the bathtub with water just in case - apparently the power and the water throughout downtown Charleston can be a bit "iffy" sometimes.  I don't relish the thought of sitting in my house in the dark for very long but we'll just have to see what happens.  This is a first for me.

In my last post I wrote a little about some recent musing about the concept of "Trust".  It's a pretty broad topic and one of the cool things about writing about that kind of thing is that it brings out all kinds of people's thoughts and opinions.  I suppose one thing I can or should share is that the events that prompted that "deep" thinking have come and gone and there's nothing bad happening in my world. It's just one of those things.

One friend wrote an email to me to explain her thoughts on the topic which I found well worth sharing:

I like caring about people instead of trusting. I often ask God in my quieter moments just what is trust? Is loyalty or faithfulness trust? Is love trust? Then what happens when that bond is broken?  Can it be healed? Do we want it to? Then there are days when I am so tired/angry/frustrated that I say I don't care anymore.........and the little voice in my heart tells me quietly......stop it.  You care, you always will and yes sometimes you will be hurt......just like everyone else.
Well said.  Trust may get bruised for one reason or another.  But I care, and caring is the more important part.

I didn't want to get into too much brain-food last time but the whole "Trust" thing is part of a much bigger concept in my world that is based on Faith.  Faith is a big deal for me.  For example, I have Faith that whatever happens this weekend with the Hurricane will work out fine as long as I do my part.  I have a similar outlook on life in general.

Trust is not necessarily the same as Faith for me.  I can have Faith even if I don't necessarily have complete trust.  I realize that at some point we're probably just talking about symantics or trying to explain "that which has no words to describe" but I think more of us "get it" than don't.

With that - I need to go and get water.  A Hurricane is a-comin' and I still have gettin'-ready to do.  :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hurricane Coming...

I've got some fascinating things going on in my life right now.  Absolutely fascinating.  I've got people who are doing some confusingly odd things and I'm not quite sure why.  I've got some significant new people and relationships.  I'm realizing that I've outgrown a number of things, and at the same time I'm realizing that I've got some new ground to cover in my own journey of discovery and exporation. All things considered I'm in a pretty unique head-space right now.  All good.

One thing I was forced to consider recently is whether or not deep friendship necessarily involves Trust.  There was a time when I would have said that it was one key ingredients to deep, sharing, caring, intimate relationships.  I'm not so sure about that anymore, or at least perhaps I'm just not quite so naive to think that's always the case; life experience has proven that it's not that simple.  I also don't believe that Trust is an all or nothing deal - that Trust is a spectrum that people in our lives are constantly moving along based on our own head-space, on events, or sometimes just on hormones.  And sometimes, one of the problems is that we share too deeply or trust too much. 

As for me - one of the best parts of my transition was lowering my defenses and barriers to the poing of finally being able TO share.  For a long, long time I was vigilant about what I'd tell anyone out of concern that giving too much private information away (a) allowed people to see a part of me I didn't want to show and/or (b) that sharing involved becoming vulnerable and that's not something I was ready to do.  Thankfully, in recent years, I've learned that I can and do trust and that I can and do get hurt.  Both are ok and, in fact, are directly connected.  Truth be told, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Still, part of being an adult is learning to deal with dissapointment.  It's something we all need to learn in some way or another.  The fact for all of us is that  there are key people in our lives, who we truly care deeply for, who will prove time and again that they can and will betray personal trusts and will disappoint us.  The irony is that the more we care about someone the more we feel compelled to share, and as a result the more we feel hurt when we feel betrayed.  That's just part of life, and I'm certainly not alone in that - it's something we all do and all experience.  As for me - I have learned to adjust my expectations accordingly, in part because I have a very strong response to betrayal of trust that experience shows can get the better of me.  I have learned hard lessons...

William Shakespeare said, "Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."  That seems to sum up how I'm feeling about it at the moment.  Sometimes, finding those few to trust most deeply can be the most difficult part given the shifting sands and tides of life...

This past weekend was exemplified why I'm loving living here.  On Saturday night I went to a concert at Patriot's Point.  I saw the band Guster and a couple of other bands on an outdoor stage, by the water.  It was one of the most laid-back, informal, wonderfully cool concerts I've ever seen.  Dancing under the stars with toes in your sand, right up near the front, great sound - it all made for a very pleasant evening. More than once I simply closed my eyes to soak it all in.

Yesterday I had a delightful breakfast with a friend at a favorite local eatery, and did another 40+ mile bike ride from downtown to the Isle of Palms and back.

I spent some time walking on the beach contemplating some things.....

And I went for a kayak trip out to one of the smaller local islands near IOP.

This morning I'm still feeling some after-effects of the very-busy day.  But I had a great time. :)

How come it has taken me this long to discover Skype?  One friend and I have been video-chatting for a couple of weeks and it's great.  I can do it from my phone or my laptop and it's very tool.  The quality is good, I don't need to be attached to a network (which is what makes it different from the Apple video chatting tools) and best of all it's free.

It's Hurricane Season here, and the coming week threatens to highlight the all-too-real dangers of living in a place that can realistically be a place where a Hurricane could make landfall.  They tell me that hurricanes generally hit Charleston every 20 years and the last direct hit was Hugo in 1989, so by that yardstick we're about due.

Hurricane Irene has formed down near Puerto Rico and is headed this way.  It is expected to be a Cat. 2 or perhaps even a  Cat 3 storm by the time it makes landfall on Friday or Saturday, and many of the current models have it hitting Charleston or slightly nearby (see details).  Needless to say, it is a source of quite a bit conversation here already and I expect it will be a main topic over the coming days.  All I can do it be ready for it as best I can - I've never been through one of these before - so we'll see how this all plays out.  Stay tuned.
It's going to be an interesting week....

Noon Update: 
Forecasters are now calling for Hurricane Irene landfall at Edisto Beach, just south of Charleston, OR at Charleston itself (see here) on Saturday morning. Sustained winds of 115+ mps are expected. The course can still change, but if not this camper is packing the car and heading inland by mid-week...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Honeymoon Continues

It's Monday.  I've been back in Charleston since a week ago today.  I very much enjoyed visiting the other two places I've lived that I'd consider moving back to someday, but I've got to admit that I still wake up every morning and I'm struck speechless by the fact that I live where I do.  It's still wonderful to walk down the historic, picturesque streets, walk along the ocean, take a long bike ride, and listen to the sound of rain falling.  The honeymoon continues.  How long will it last?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I'm doing my best to savor the moments.

I went for a long bike ride yesterday and both my legs and butt are not happy with me right now.  46 miles.  I'm not used to riding that far and it was tough but now that it's over I'm happy to have done it.  Yesterday was another warm, humid day here in the Low Country - we've had lots of those so far this summer.  The heat doesn't bother me, and neither does the humidity.  The only thing I'd complain about with regards to the humid air is that my hair goes crazy in it.  All I can say is, "Thank God for pony tails."

I was in the gym over the weekend, as well, and am in fairly good overall shape right now.  I'm very much at peace with my body and that, I think, is one of the fundamental goals of this journey.  Actually, I'm confident that people's relationships with their bodies in general is a love/hate affair but for transpeople it has a uniquely powerful dynamic due to the dyssonance involved.  In any event - I can get into my size 4 slacks, I'm fairly solid and toned, my aerobic health is good. 

Self portrait at the gym

Last night I watched a show on National Geographic called Witness: Katrina.  It was amazing.  I was in Phoenix when Katrina happened but I still remember the day and the days that followed.  It felt like it was all a world away, but all this footage really hit home about the tragedy of it all.  It was heartbreaking and terrifying. There was a scene someone taped from their attic and entire house was full of water.  Furniture was floating, and the dog was clinging onto a table but kept losing its grip.  The woman taping it was frantic that the dog was drowning and there was nothing she could do.  Ugh - it was absolutely gut-wrenching.  I can't even imagine living through something like that.

I was at the Dog Park with Maggie recently and the group of adults there were talking about the fact that Charleston hasn't been hit by a major hurricane since Hugo in 1989 when it took a direct hit.  I wouldn't mind never experiencing a Hurricane first hand but each of these storms that forms in the Atlantic has the potential of getting here.  I'm just saying....

Texas Governor Rick Perry announced his candidacy in the Presidential race here on Saturday.  I don't remember many people mentioning him 6 months ago but now his announcement changes the dynamics of the race.  It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

One thing I've recently discovered and wondered why it took so long is Skype.  Specifically, Skype video calls.  I've got a particular friend in Arizona that I'd like to "see" more and now thru the magic of Skype I can  (and do!).  I've got FaceTime and iChat on my iPhone and my Apple laptop but there are a number of constraints that make it very inconvenient.  I was at the beach yesterday and Skyped my friend so we video-chatted while I was cooling off under the pier and she was eating breakfast.  Way way cool.  I don't consider myself technologically challenged but I'm new to this, and having lots of fun with it.

Lastly, there has been significant international coverage (I saw a story on it on CNN) of the recent marriage between a gay man and a transsexual woman in Cuba (details here).  The man is apparently an activist and proclaimed that this marriage is "a step forward for the gay community."   I dunno, but this seems like a step backwards for everyone to me.  If these two people are somehow proclaiming the marriage between a man and a trans-woman to be a "gay" marriage then all it does is perpetuates age-old stereotypes that we know are no longer valid.  Don't get me wrong - if they're in love and getting married because they're actually wanting to spend their lives together then more power to 'em.  But if they're doing this as some statement of rights for gays and/or transsexuals then they're way off base.  From everything I've seen the event seems more like an orchestrated media event than a wedding.

Anyway - nothing earth shattering here but that's the speed of life at the moment.  I'm at a comfortable trot with some exciting things, some sad things, some hopeful things, some forward planning, and lots of simple day-to-day life things going on.  I suppose it's all part of the cornucopia of life.  As with living here - I'm just enjoying it while I can....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Home" Again.

It's Tuesday.  I got home from my 10-day trip spanning Texas and Arizona last night.  As usual, it was wonderful to sleep in my own bed for a change after having been away from it for a while.  :)

When I say that I got "home" I mean that in a deeper sense than simply "I got back to where I happen to be living at the moment".  I've written in the past about my need to feel a deeper connection to someplace in order to establish a sense of belonging and of "home". 

I'm certainly not going to bore anyone with all the various details of the week.  What I will say, though, it was significant in a number of ways.

One is that I was reminded (again) how very much I enjoy being back in the Valley.  It was hot - highs over 110 degrees each of the days I was there - but honestly I don't have a single complaint.  About anything.  The comfort I felt living there is still there, and in a way that too is "home".  It's not the same feeling as I have here right now, but I'll be the first to admit that the possibility that I'll end up back there at some point remains very real.
It also became very much apparent that some of the relationships in my life are changing in some significant ways.  Some are getting more important and deeper while others are beginning to fade or to become less important in my day-to-day reality.  Other relationships have suddenly popped into the picture unexpectedly.  In some significant ways that I think will become more apparent as time goes on things are a bit different in my world now from when I left on the trip ten days ago.

I took this picture from the plane window as the sun was going down.  It's sort of symbolic of some things.  Plus, it's just a pretty sight....

One thing for sure - I'm tired today.  I didn't sleep all that well while I was gone but at least I was beginning to acclimate to the 3-hour time zone difference by the time I left.  When the alarm went off this morning it felt far more like 3am than 6am and it still feels that way.  I'm seriously dragging and could very much use a nap.  But I've got too much to do today to allow for that kind of luxury.

I did take a nap while I was in Phoenix though.  That was the first nap I've taken in a long, long time and is one of those simply luxuries that somehow gets lost in the day-to-day hubub of life.  It was very much needed but it'll probably be a while until I have an opportunity for my next one...

One highlight from last week that I'll mention: I visited with my ex- at our old house and it was very pleasant.  We ended up going out for ice cream.  All in all - it wasn't earth shattering or anything like that but it was very enjoyable.

Tomorrow marks the 11th anniversary of my "re-birthday".  August 10, 2000.  SRS was certainly a life milestone for me and I typically mark the occasion (when I remember it) quietly.  One particular friend who knew me from the earliest days of my transition used to remember it every year and called me to wish me a Happy ReBirthday.  She passed away several years ag,o so now I just remember it on my own (if I remember it at all).

I was reading some of what I wrote in the days leading up to that event:

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. On the horrible emotional and physical pain I've endured. But the returns have been beyond my wildest imagination, and I stand at the doorway to the rest of my life.
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 can see the end of the road…..and I’m not going to screw it up now.
Crazy...  At the time I never imagined being in anyone's list of History's Essential LGBT Figures (from Bilerico), or a list of Top Ten Difining Moments of  Queer Sports History (here), or that I'd be invited to speak at Trans Conferences (here's one), or that I'd be involved with "activism" in general.  All I knew at the time was that I was at one of those moments in life when one chapter ends and another begins.  Perhaps not coincidentally, I'm sensing another of those moments in the not-too-distant future, but we shall see.

Anyway - enough for today.  I'm way behind on lots of things so I need to catch up. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Hot Everywhere

It's hot everywhere.  We set a record here in Phoenix yesterday.  It was 113 degrees.  Today is supposed to be just as warm, if not warmer.  All I can say - I love this weather.

I don't know if I've ever complained about heat here on my blog before because, frankly, I really don't mind it.  Just like there's cat people and dog people I think there's heat people and cold people.  I have friends who would prefer cold to heat and would explain that they can continue to add layers to get warm if they're cold, but when you're hot there's only so much you can take off.  No matter.  I'm am absolutly NOT a cold person.  And I'm loving this summer.

I arrived in Phoenx early yesterday and spent the day with my electrologyst, Maria.  Maria has become a dear, special, much loved friend over the years and her kindnesses towards me and towards others are far too many to count.  It was wonderful to see her again and have the day to catch up on things.  I have a number of things to accomplish while I'm here, and after a good night sleep I'm feeling rested and relaxed. 

Tasha from Dr. Meltzer's office, and dear Maria

I have been invited to attend a conference call today with Vice President Joe Biden.  The goal of the call is to bring a number of people up to speed on the Debt Deal in hopes of getting more "high profile" people to (a) understand it and (b) support/defend it.  I'm looking forward to hearing what he's got to say, but as I articulated in my previous note I'm very disappointed in everyone and everything that had anything to do with the dangerous game brinksmanship that we, as a country, faced.  I'm not sure what, if anything, we will learn from the experience;  as a whole our society has a very short memory span.  But those who can't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it and I fear this won't be the last of the blatant indications as to the level of "broke" that our country is right now. Oy.

I'm staying with a friend who recently came to Charleston to visit with me.  We've talked for a year or more about our going together to her Pilates class.  I've never been to Pilates before but she seems to love it.  Whereas I'm reluctant to go to Yoga (although I very much need to) and Zumba (Lord knows I definitely need to) today will be my first Pilates experience.  We'll see how it goes.  I feel as though I've been eating non-stop since Monday and although I know it's not true being on the road has an odd way of making you feel "out of sorts".

The music service Spotify recently became available here in the US.  I'm loving it.  I find that I listen to all kinds of internet music and I stop to tag songs or artists that perk my interest.  Spotify lets me get deeper into music that I otherwise would only have scratched the surface of listening to.  As I type this I'm listening to the Dandy Warhols.  If you're wondering specifically what I'm listening to at this very second here's the video for it:

It reminds me of music from the 80's with a more modern twist. I like.

Since I'm on a music theme at the moment I'll share another band I've been listening to.  It's very different.  Most of their stuff is very hard and and, in fact, is the kind of music my son would have liked back when he was in high school (he has since graduated to more extreme Death Metal stuff, but that's another story for another day).

The band is Five Finger Death Punch, and this atypically quiet song has some meaning for me.  The images on this particular video make is very powerful:

And lastly, here's a move from the Jr. World Wrestling Championships being held right now.  It was featured on ESPN SportCenter as their "Play of the Day". 

I just had to share that. It's not often that wrestling gets that kind of visibility. :)

With that - off I go to Pilates. Wish me luck...

Monday, August 1, 2011


It's 6:30am and I woke up on the pull-out couch that serves as my bed when I visit my mom's house.  I'm told that other guests have complained that it's not comfortable, or that the AC vent blows directly on it, but I really have no complaints.  I sleep well on it and always have.  Perhaps most importantly, it's here in my mom's house.

I haven't traveled in a while but it's not something that fades away quickly.  I left Charleston on Friday for Austin, dealt with some tiresome maintenance issues, and arrive 90 minutes late.  I spent Saturday (a) at the hair salon and (b) hanging with my son.

Here's a photo from the hair salon.  I had a couple of inches trimmed off the back and things cleaned up a bit.  I've gone to this stylist for a number of years but haven't seen him since my trip across country to drive to Harrisburg last fall.  I think I look tired in this photo, but it's a fairly accurate portrayal of how I'm looking these days.

My afternoon with my son was great.  He's got one of my dogs so it was wonderful to see Cody again.  We ran some errands, chilled at his house, and had dinner together.  I need to soak these moments up because they don't come around as often as I'd like.

Yesterday I went to brunch with a friend from high school, drove the 200 miles to Dallas, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with mom at her favorite restaurant (Red Lobster!).  Needless to say, these have been very full days.

Speaking of full - it feels as though the one constant over these last several days has been food.  It has been an orgy of eating and I'm absolutely stuffed even as I wake up this morning.  I feel as though I've gained 10 pounds over the last few days and will take some time over the next few days to get back into the groove.

I head back to Austin this afternoon, will see my son one more time, and then fly out for Phoenix in the morning....

As an American I have been watching the Debt "crisis" in Washington over the past few weeks and am just shaking my head.  I'm absolutely amazed at how broken and dysfunctional our government is.  As a citizen I'm disgusted, frustrated, and just plain fed-up with all the shenanigans that somehow passes itself for "leadership" these days.  I have absolutely NO confidence in anyone or anything happening at the highest levels of government, and have come to the conclusion that we're far more FUBAR than we know.

Although they may have come to an 11th hour agreement to avert the current "crisis" that doesn't change the deeper problems.  I am embarrassed for our country.  Truly embarrassed that things were allowed to get to that point and that the leadership that we so badly need was so glaringly lacking across the board.  I fully expect that the country's debt rating has been irreparably damaged and many of the doomsday economic things we've been trying to avoid are going to happen anyway.  There's a price to pay for ineptitude, and I hope that all of this remains fresh enough in the minds of voters by 2012 to clean house and start fresh.

Anyway - enough of that.  Good thing I don't have any credit or any money.  I don't feel as though I have too much to lose in all of this, except what remains of my confidence.