Saturday, March 31, 2012


Fri 7:30pm:

This is a weekend that I need to flow without too much drama.  Apparently, that's not to be.  At least, it's not without the threat of drama.  I've already put plan B and C and D into action.

I flew from Charleston to Grand Rapids, MI yesterday to speak at at an event at wonderful Grand Valley State University today.  The topic was about inclusion and access in Sports - something near and dear to my heart.  I came to GVSU a couple of years ago and it was great to be back, except for the 40 degree rainy weather.  It was admittedly difficult to leave record 85 degree warmth in Charleston yesterday for the potential of snow but here I am.

I purposely scheduled a late flight to Iowa so I would have time to work out this afternoon.  Up to that point, everything went great.  The conference was wonderful - thanks to everyone who made it happen.  The athletic facilities at the university were amazing.  And by 2:30 I was in a plastic top on an elyptical trainer sweating up a storm.

That's when United called me to tell me that my flight this evening was delayed, so I'd miss my connection in Chicago.  I called them and, to my dismay, found that there were no options.  There were no flights that would get me to Iowa tonight and, in fact, if I get stuck here there are no flights tomorrow either.  Not good.

So, I decided to take my chances that when I get to Chicago my flight there will be delayed too.  If so - everything is ok.

If not, I'm scheduled on a 7am flight which means that I'll need to spend the night in Chicago.

If that doesn't go for some reason, it's a 4 hour drive from Chicago to Cedar Falls.  It doesn't leave much time to deal with any last-minute weight issues but we'll cross that bridge when/if we get there.  BTW - I weighted myself on a bathroom scale a little earlier and was a pound over my limit.  That's GREAT news.    I've had some soup and something to drink so we'll see how it looks tomorrow, but I'm very relieved about that.

Anyway, all this uncertainty adds lots of extra drama to an already drama-filled weekend but that's just the way things go, I guess.  Anyway, as I type this I'm in the Grand Rapids, MI airport waiting for my delayed flight to arrive so we can board and leave.  We'll see how it all works out.

There's really not much more to say.  I've lost 10 pounds since Monday - freakin' crazy.  I'm skinny-winny.  I'm a bit drained from it, but I'll survive.

My plan is to get down to weight tomorrow, weigh in at 4, and by 5 I hope to be at Olive Garden filling my face with salad, bread sticks, and pasta.  It'll be time to carb-load to get some of that energy back.  But one thing at a time....let's actually get to Iowa first before making plans for dinner.

Why do things that should be simple need to make themselves complicated?  Dunno.  Sometimes they just do.  Let's keep our fingers crossed that my next entry will be from Cedar Falls, that I'll have made weight, and that I had a decent dinner.  What happens between now and then?  Dunno about that either.  It's still complicated....

Sat. 8:30am

Well.  It's morning, and all seems to be well so far.

I'm in Iowa.  My flight was delayed but as I had hoped so, too, was the connecting flight so I arrived into Cedar Rapids at 10ish last night.  I got a hotel nearby and got a pretty good much-needed night sleep.

I weighed myself this morning (yes, I did bring a scale with me).  First thing this morning I was 1.5 pounds over my limit.  That's a relief, as well, as all week long I've envisioned stepping on that scale and being 4 pounds over at this point.  I have no idea how I've lost as much as I have other than to say it has been a constant effort.  I'm actually feeling ok despite being as light as I am.

I've had a bit of morning coffee and a hard-boiled egg (brought those with me, as well) so I'm getting ready to lose 2 or 3 more to put me were I need to be.

Plan for the day:  (1) put on plastic suit and go down to the fitness center in the hotel for an hour (2) clean up and pack up (3) drive the 90 minutes from here to Cedar Falls (4) register and verify weight on the test scales (5) medical and weigh in starts at 3 (6) Olive Garden!!!  Then - chill, and watch basketball to get ready for tomorrow...

Little fire-drills in life like what happened yesterday are tests of creativity.  I'm glad things worked out as they did, but I'm pretty confident that all the plans I had in place were safe contingencies just in case.  Today seems calmer.  So far.  :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just Weight

As I type this I am 7 pounds lighter than I was on Monday.  I weighed myself after my sweaty workout tonight and I'm within 3 lbs of the target.  I'm feeling much better about that.

I didn't say that I have any energy.  Or that I think what I'm doing is in any way healthy.  Exactly the contrary.  But getting within striking distance give me some freedom to be a little less crazed about it for the next day or so.  Each of the last two days all I've had to eat is a hard-boiled egg, and some soup.  My burst of energy from the weekend is gone, but I haven't hit the wall of nothing-in-the-tank that I nicked a couple of weeks ago.  I'm focused and generally good right now.  But tired.

Tonight I spend some time on what seems like a uniquely wrestling piece of exercise equipment.  It's called an Aerodyne bicycle, and compared to some of the most current aerobic technologies it's absolutely ancient.  But it's incredibly effective, and the only place I see them is around wrestlers.  The 20 or 25 of them at the Citadel are in various stages of disrepair so you can tell they've all gotten lots and lots of use.  There's one in particular I like.

It works your arms more than you'd think, and your legs too.  So if you keep a good pace for 25 minutes or more it reminds you that you're working hard.  Anyway - tonight I did, and it did.  If I had an extra hour or 90 minutes tomorrow I'd go and find one.  But the day is packed end to end so I doubt I'll get that chance.

Last night I slept better than any night over the past few weeks.  It was truly blissful.  I think I had as much good, solid sleep last night as the previous three nights combined.  It's amazing what exhaustion can do for you.

I'll need the energy for the next couple of days.  Tomorrow I've got to pack, then I've got meetings all morning starting at 8:30.  My flight leaves Charleston shortly after noon and I land in Grand Rapids, MI at dinnertime.  I'm meeting some folks for a bite to eat (NOT soup) then I'll try to get to bed.  Friday I talk at an event at Grand Valley State, I'll work out at the gym (dare I hope for an Aerodyne?!), and I've got a 7pm flight into Cedar Rapids, IA.  I'll rent a can when I get there for the 2 hour drive to Cedar Falls so I don't expect to tuck myself in before midnight.

I bring my scale with me to these things.  My wake-up weight determines how sadistic I'll need to get on  Saturday.  Another uniquely wrestling torture implement is a plastic suit, and I've got one of those packed as well.  I'm ready to do what it takes.

Why?  Because this is the big time.  This is a dream.  This is something I only recently started to dream I could even attempt to achieve.  It...of the Olympics (details here).  The first and second place finishers this weekend receive an invitation to the US Olympic Team Trials later in April.  That's an incredible achievement no matter who you are.

Video of the entire event will be streamed live (here's the link).  Women's freestyle competition is on Sunday, but I don't know what times I'll be out there.

That's way too much talking about wrestling, so I'm sorry for that.  But that and work have consumed my life right now so I'm living and breathing this stuff right now.  The reality that this could be my last tournament is very much on my mind.  And, if not, the next step is a huge one.  Either way, all I can do is my best.

Off to bed....tomorrow at this time I'll be in Michigan.  And Friday night....I'll be in Iowa.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Odd Day

I don't often provide two updates in one day.  I don't often go to the gym two times in one day either.  But I've done both in the same day.  This is truly a first.

It was an odd day.  I was at the gym at lunchtime and got an email asking if I would do an interview for CNN on the Miss Universe Canada mess at 3:20.  I figured I could get my workout done, get showered and over to the studio by the time they said.  Well, I was headed over there when I got a call saying that the studio wasn't available anymore so I came home to Skype it.  Just as well.  I was dialed in doing work before and after.

I think it went well.  Doing live interviews with someone you can't see can take a bit of getting used to, but I've gotten comfortable that the words will just come in some form or another.  It'd be nice if you could actually think about the questions before answering, but this kind of thing requires that you say something at least somewhat intelligent, and sound-bite size.

One of the guys a bit up the food chain from me at work called just to ask how I'm doing.  That's another first.  Ever, I think.  This is the same person who once told me when I noted that he rarely called that not calling was a good sign.  So when he called today and asked how I was doing I was a little suspicious at first that perhaps there was something going on that, if I had known, would make me feel less than good.  But he assured me all is fine.  I actually appreciated his call....

I'm here in Charleston tomorrow and Wednesday.  Thursday afternoon I fly to Grand Rapids, Michigan for an event at Grand Valley State University.  Then Friday I fly to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where I'll rent a car and drive a couple of hours to Cedar Falls.  Weigh In is Saturday at 4, after which I'll eat myself into a carb-induced coma (assuming I make weight) OR I'll start drowning my sorrows (if I don't).  Competition is Sunday.

Dr. Oz is having a trans-themed show later this week (details here).  I wish they'd stop using goofy titles like that - I think Oprah had a similar title for one of her yearly trans shows.  But he's got good people on, so I assume it was well done.

Back to this Miss Universe thing.  The things that really galls me is that they're lying.  They're lying thru their teeth, trying to make Jenna look like some kind of deceitful villain.  Make no mistake - there's a villain here, and it's not Jenna.  Their contention that they didn't know ahead of time is a bunch of hooey.  And this whole rigamarole about updating their rules in 2003 with a clause disqualifying trans contestants, despite the fact no record of this mysterious "rule" exists - that's a bunch of hooey as well.  Spin control.  Statements like "We consider her to be a woman" reek of conniving spin control.  It's disgusting.

The first thing the interviewer today asked is how this thing makes me feel, and I told her it makes me feel sad.  It does.  But make no mistake, it infuriates me as well (can you tell?!).  Jenna is a victim, and every tacky morning radio show in North America will be making fun of her because of it. It has already started.

She started hormones at 14.  She had SRS at 19.  We're living in a time where kids are can find the resources to address their situations in an empathetic way early on in hopes of giving them the best chance to just move on in life.  But this is another of those situations where we find ourselves looking back over our shoulders for someone looking to use it against us.  Whether it's a relationship, an employer, or something else - it does make me sad that for everything we've accomplished over the years we still have to deal with this crap.

From everything I've seen she's handling it all well and I hope that continues.

I hope I can focus all this frustration on the mat this weekend.  Now THAT would be cool.

When they introduced me on CNN today they referred to me as a "transgender activist".  I remember a time when both of those words made me uncomfortable, and others used them to describe me but I wouldn't use them myself.  But not anymore.  I simply consider myself as someone trying to do the right thing.  If that makes me an activist, well, guilty as charged.  Ten times out of ten.

You know what's twisted?  Watching "Drive-In's, Diners and Dives" on the Food Channel when you're losing ten pounds in a week.  Crazy.  This guy has the best job in the world.  Honestly.  If he ever wants to retire or if there's a spin-off - I'm there, ready willing and able.  Ten Times out of ten.


I promised to put together a little video about my wrestling training sessions.  Here it is:


My training sessions last an hour, although by the time you add getting there, getting ready, warming up, and then stretching afterwards it's 2 hours or more.  That makes for long days.  I go there straight after work 3 days a week (if I can) - usually getting there around 5:30 or so.  After I change I warm up and stretch for 20 minutes or so.  Then we drill, have "practice" matches, and coach brings various guys from the Citadel team to beat up on me.

As is obvious, there are no women to train against.  The only time I get to wrestle against other women is in tournaments.  There are a number of reasons for that, including the fact that there just aren't that many of us and most that do compete are part of university programs.  Thankfully, the guys who they bring in to spar with me have been universally great and don't go full bore.  Regardless, getting to this point mentally, physically, and emotionally has been a significant test of creativity and will.

My weekend was consumed with trying to make weight which isn't a bad thing as I got to both enjoy our spring weather and spend some time at the gym.  Whatever energy I've been lacking over the past few weeks has been in abundance over the weekend.  On Saturday I visited the gym twice, and yesterday I went for a long run/walk to enjoy a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon.  I've still got a long way to go and one of my most focused efforts this week will be to achieve it.

When I watch that video sometimes I'm enthused that I can even do this at this stage of life.  Why?  I don't know.  I stopped asking why.  It's just something that I've set my mind on.  But sometimes I watch it and wonder if I shouldn't just stop before I get hurt.  I very much do believe that the most important aspect of this is in the doing, not in the winning.  So as far as I'm concerned getting ready to do what I'm about to do is the bigger battle - what happens between the ears, and in the heart.  Whether that can translate itself into what happens on the mat, well, that's another story.

In other news, as expected the Miss Universe Canada folks disqualified one of their finalists because of her trans history (story here).  In a dubious statement they indicate she doesn't meet a mysterious qualification of being "female since birth".  Mara from NCTE has rightfully questioned the validity of that "rule" as nothing more than keeping this particular contestant from participating.  It's infuriating, but it's reality right now.

Gotta keep this short.  For anyone who has written to me or left me messages lately that I haven't returned, just know that I'm focused on other things right now and am a little behind.  It's not intentional, but I haven't had extra time or energy to do my usual "stuff".  I'll get caught up.  And thanks for your patience...

Friday, March 23, 2012

I am a Rock

I've had an interesting week.  One night I have no recollection of falling to sleep sideways across my bed, and waking up in a funk that make me feel very "out of body" and foggy through lunchtime the next day. I've had long days at work, but I suppose many of us do - not a complaint, just part of the picture.  I wrestled twice.  I lifted once.  I went to the gym once only to decide that it was too late and I wasn't mentally ready to do what I do with the intensity that I do it, so I went home.

I video taped one of my training sessions and this week: from leaving work to drive to they Citadel, to changing in the bathroom, to wrestling, to making it out to my car afterwards to come home.  I just need a few minutes to stitch all the pieces together into something short to share.  I don't know that there are any other 50+  year old women wrestlers actively training to compete so it's a unique moment that I felt needs to be captured.  There won't be many more days (or opportunities) like this.

Natalie Reed wrote what I feel is a very good, comprehensive, well-thought, compelling blog entry about the ongoing conundrum many trans-women face with regards to outing themselves to a partner or to a potential partner.  Yes/No?  Under what circumstances?  How?  Why?  It's very much worth a read (read it here).

In a totally unrelated, but in my mind - still related - story there's news about a woman of trans history who transitioned at an early age, recently won the right to compete for Miss Universe from Canada, and suddenly had all her information deleted from the pageant website (read it here).

Regardless of how you feel about dating, or beauty pageants, or sports - the continuous theme that flows through all of this is definition of what constitutes a "real" woman.  That's the rub - that some women are NOT woman enough because of past circumstance to be accepted as such in what is generally considered uniquely woman space.  That's the thread that connects bathrooms, birth certificates, proms, athletics - you name it.  Some think you can hide from that if you try hard enough.  I do not, nor will I.

In one of the articles I posted the author posted a compelling argument of why it shouldn't be necessary to self-disclose.  And in the other this particular stunningly beautiful woman has been open and honest about her history from early on, and now it's costing her.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.....many times  that's just the way it is.

That's what I try to explain as people start wading into this pool called transition to test the waters.  There is generally a cost.  For everything in life.  But at the same time, there can be rewards beyond measure for those willing to take the risk.  But that cost is often one that stretches a lifetime and is measured in relationships, lost opportunities, daily indignities of having to validate yourself to those who would invalidate you....all the way to being victimized and having your personhood taken.

As I approach my competition next weekend I feel that way - damned if I do and damned if I don't.  But it's something I have chosen to do and, well, the argument of whether I should or not is significantly overshadowed by the argument of whether I can or not.  We'll see how things unfold....but I'm pretty good at staying focused on the things I can control and letting go of the things I can't.

One of the real life pressures I've placed on myself right now is something I've been mentioning in recent weeks, and is now becoming all too real.  I need to get down to my competition weight.  That's one of the things that makes this sport unique, and as I've said in the past my weight class is ten pounds lighter than my body likes to be at or that feels natural.

I suppose society in general has a "thing" about weight.  One of the women I work with weighs herself every single day.  But the reality for me is that all this work - everything I've put into getting to this point simply to get out onto a mat to compete - is dependent upon my ability to get to 158.75 pounds for at least a minute next Saturday afternoon for weigh-in.  There is no padding.  And soon, there is no time left.

I've struggled mightily with this in recent weeks.  One part of me has tried to lose the weight gradually to get down there but I find myself weak, tired, demoralized, dehydrated, and unmotivated to the point that I need to get out of that funk.  I've faced that and brought myself back from that edge several times in recent weeks only to be where I am.

My mom hated this part of the sport.  She hated the violent physical nature of it, too, but the weight thing was ongoing for me way back then just as it is now.  But this isn't something I plan to keep off, it's just something I need to reach.  It's a test of will, and as I face the coming week I'm SIGNIFICANTLY over my limit (but feeling strong, fairly motivated, and fairly hydrated).  So - next week will be a pretty intense week in many ways.....

As I was training with one of the coaches tonight we were talking about doing this particular move strong, with purpose, as though you mean it.  I found myself thinking about that on the way home - about living live in general as though you mean it.  As though there was purpose.  Head high, chest out, not timid or apologetic or tentative.  When you make decisions - make decisions.  Those are all life mantras I've tried to live by and in one way or another I can trace some of that back to whatever inside of me finds this particular sport so compelling.  Compelling in ways that transcend athletics....

Anyway - that's a bit of a brain dump of what I'm thinking right now and how I'm feeling and I suppose it's good to do those kinds of things from time to time.

I'll post the little unflattering as it is....shortly.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Feet

In my last blog entry I said something about shoes.  I actually took a picture of my shoes this morning because I was wearing another of those pairs of heels that I like - relatively comfortable, a bit of height, kinda cute, a strap, and a bit of a wider heel.

That's what I'm talking about.

Work is endlessly crazed.  I had a team of specialists from a certain giant huge software company in town today for a kickoff event.  There were 7 of them, 7 people from my team, and me.  I was the only woman in the room.  I notice those kinds of things, and I'm sensitive to whether these advanced technical people treat me in any sort of a condescending or dismissive way.  I know it when I see it as I've live both sides of that equation, and I've had that experience with particular giant huge software company on other projects.   I'm happy to say that today there was none of that.  Just one big professional group hug at the end.

When I say that work is crazed, what I'm really saying that that I'm still enjoying it.  The days are long, the politics can be frustrating, some of the churn can test both creativity and patience.  But the bottom line is that I'm enjoying the role I'm playing, I truly like the people that comprise the team, I love the fact that I'm here in Charleston, and overall I still look forward to getting up and going into work in the mornings.  No if's, and's or but's - I just do.  It's like being in a relationship where the early excitement of seeing each other hasn't worn off  yet, that "newness" that gradually transforms itself into something mundane and unexciting as the routine of familiarity sets in.  None of that yet.  And, this is even better than a relationship because there's nobody at the other end to sap your self-esteem, control you, try to redefine you, or make you feel crappy.

Ooops.  I think that was the cynic in me chiming in for a second.  Sorry 'bout that.   But both the dreamer and the realist in me are alive and well and living in harmony so both get a chance to speak their minds.  :)

I've given up being hopelessly romantic.  That's not a bad thing, because I've given up being hopelessly anything.  One of the managers in my group reminds us that "Hope is not a strategy" and I actually agree with that.  That's not to say it doesn't have a role, and I'd argue that Hope is sometimes all you have.  But if that's true it's a dangerous place to be because I'd also argue the Life is all about Plan B so those with no Plan B need to be ready to fall long and hard.

I'd admit, however, that I've matured into what I'd call a hopeful idealist.  I manage my hope, and at the same time I cherish it.  But I don't count on it so I make other arrangements.  If the unexpected happens - well - that's welcome too.  I don't put too much trust in what others will do or won't do as I've learned I end up being more disappointed times than not.  So, getting comfortable that things will unfold themselves as they do and that the unexpected happens is simply part of the joy of life.

On to another topic....I got my new iPad last week.  I got Verizon flavor, rather than the AT&T flavor, because AT&T has screwed me over far too many times for me to give them another chance.  Not going to happen.  I just turned on the service today and I've got an appointment at the Apple Store to learn about my new toy this weekend.  I'm still trying to justify what it can do in my world that I can't already do with other gadgets but we'll just have to see.

Oh...and I got the black version.  So many decisions to make.  Now I've got to make choices about covers, keyboards, apps....ugh.

I've got a confession to make:  I "fell off the wagon" today.  Not just in one thing, but in a couple of different ways.  First, I've done something physical for so many days in a row I can't remember the last time I didn't go to the gym, go cycling, have wrestling, or do anything at all.  Well, today was one of those days.  I just needed it.

I've also been depriving myself with regards to food (and drink).  Not today.  The big giant software company I mentioned bought pizza for the group and I shamelessly indulged.  And I didn't realize how thirsty I am until I let myself start drinking something today.  I'm dehydrated.  Although I feel both a little guilty and a little concerned (I still need to make my weight limit by next weekend) I'm also full for the first time in a long time.  I'll end up paying for it one way or another.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Toppling Over

If it's March, it's that time of year again.  And no - I don't mean the month before taxes are due.

Many people around the country are caught up in the craziness of the annual NCAA Basketball tournament. It's called March Madness for a reason, and even at work there are people who have no idea what team is what playing brackets (for fun and profit!)   I'm happy to say that my basketball team is part of the Sweet 16 despite having lost it's center for academic reasons. Still, college sports has an emotion all it's own that make it fun to watch no matter who's playing. Go 'Cuse!

While I suppose that most people consider only Baseketball as part of this madness, each year the NCAA Wrestling Championships are decided in March as well. It is an insanity all its own (see some video here). The finals were broadcast in primetime on ESPN on Saturday night and seemed more like gladiators entering the ring to do battle than anything.  As someone who enjoys this unique sport, it's incredible to watch these athletes, and the 20,000+ people who convene to watch it in person.  It's a whole different kind of Madness - similarly frenzied and no less amazing.   Perhaps only a wrestler can truly appreciate it, but given that I'm headed to a tournament that will decide the final 2 spots at the Olympics Trials in less than two weeks, it was very inspirational.

My own weekend was fairly low-key. By design.

Saturday: 80 degree day just begging to be enjoyed. Pedicure. Relatively light run at the gym. Drive to little Beaufort, SC and spend the afternoon sitting on a swing watching the world go by. NCAA Wrestling Finals.

Sunday: LONG bike ride on the new bike (42 miles). Caught in a downpour. Freezing. Tired. Slept great!

I'll admit that I over-extended myself a bit yesterday on the bike ride, but nothing major. By the time I got done I was soaked, cold, and beyond tired. But a good dinner and a good night sleep did the trick. I'm pretty much back to my usual place today.

I got my blood test results back.  My estrogen level is high, like...over 500.  I need to pull that back.  Yeesh.  No wonder I get emotional.

LDL is 60.  HDL is 99.  Testosterone is 8.  All in all, most of the levels seem pretty good.  I keep all my results so I'll compare these to the last one. 

On less important topics, I've got several pairs of heels that I've come to really enjoy wearing.  I have a hard time with skinny tipped heels.  Most of the heels I like have a thicker heel to them.  I also like heels with a strap or something to keep them on.  Otherwise my feet tend to slip out of them while I'm walking.

It's one thing to live in a world where you wear heels for a night at a time, or as part of an outfit.  It's a whole other thing to wear them every day to work, to shop, and just as part of life.  Practical realities set in really fast, and I've reached a point where I don't need anything too crazy, where comfort is still important, where I don't feel like a clutz when I walk, and where there's some sense of style involved. 

Speaking of shoes, here's a funny story...

Now that I've got this fancy bicycle I've got special shoes that clip into the pedals to improve the efficiency of the pedaling.  I've never had that before.  And for those of us who are creatures of habit remembering to twist your feet to unclip before you can actually put your foot on the ground when you come to a stop is an extra step you've got to consiously work into the process.  Or, you fall.

When I was originally trying on the bike the guy at the bike store assured me that everyone falls at least a couple of times when they're just learning to work the shoes.  I told him I better not fall because (a) I'm fragile and the last think I need to do is fall on cement somewhere and (b) if my bike got hurt in the fall I'd get cranky.

So, yesterday was my first time in these shoes and I did a good job of remembering to unclip when I was coming to a stop.  That is, until I reached the main intersection on Isle of Palms.  There were lots of firemen standing around collecting money and I was watching to see what they were doing as I approached the intersection.  But when it came time to actually stop I realized that I had forgotten the step that involves unclipping so you've got something to put onto the ground.

So, I slowed down ready to stop, I moved my foot to prop myself up when I stopped.  And it's at that moment that I realized that it wasn't going anywhere because it was clipped into the pedal, and I was going to fall over.  Which I did.

I'm sure it looked a little like Arte Johnson falling over on his tricycle in Laugh-In (some might be old enough to remember that).  Because as soon as I stopped and realized there was nothing was just a matter of toppling to the side, still strapped onto the bike.  The good news is that I was next to a piece of grass so the fall was actually pretty soft.

One of the fireman came over and asked if I was hurt.  I told him no.....just my pride.  I was embarrassed and was actually relieved that they were gone by the time I had to go past the intersection again.  Sheesh.

Gonna keep this short.  So much to little time.  :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wearing Weary

If I thought I was exhausted on Friday, I'm not quite sure how much lower in energy I could get to Monday evening.  I made the mistake of wrestling training (hard) two days in a row - something I try to avoid simply because my body takes that much time to recharge itself after going through the intensity of my training sessions.  But for a number of reasons I went Sunday AND Monday, and by the time I got home Monday night I was on E.  Literally.  I cried for the first time in a long time.

Every once in a while I get these reminders that my considerable energy reserves do have limits.  And from time to time I can't help but stop and ask myself what the hell I'm doing putting myself thru this.  What am I trying to prove?  What is the driving force?  Why have I forced myself to lose almost 8 pounds in the last week, and have a seeminly impossible 8 more to go by April 1?  Just.....why??

Like many things in life, I have no answer.  It just is.  I'm past a point of letting a down moment define something that inherently involves ups and downs.  I'm a 50+ year old senior citizen competing in a sport made for college-aged athletes, that involves significant mental and physical punishment, and that is inherently dangerous to even the most skilled athletes.  And although I rarely stop to think of it like that I did on Monday.  I was exhausted.  No more gas in the tank.  Drained.  Done.

The good news is that the storm was over by Tuesday morning.  Now I'm recovering energy-wise. And mentally.   

Work has been crazed, too.  I can't go into too much detail because of the nature of the work I do, but suffice to say that being in a position of both leadership and accountability in a political environment involving millions of dollars is full of fire-drills and drama.  I'm still very much enjoying what I do; that hasn't changed.  But yesterday I got to work before 7 (still dark out - don't like Daytime Savings Time in the morning) and didn't leave until after 6 (still light out - like Daytime Savings Time in the evenings).  But what I'm doing is not for the faint of heart, can't hold their own in an environment full of strong personalities and differing agendas, are unable to make commitments based on partial information, or who can't collaborate.   So far so good, but it can feel like herding pirhannas sometimes.

I don't cry very often.  I feel like crying far more than I actually let myself cry.  And when I do cry I don't like doing it in front of people.  I can only think of a half-dozen people who have seen me actually do it over the past 40+ years.  Every once in a while I can feel it building and something simple can set it off.  I suppose it's a necessary release and I'm actually thankful that it's something I can do.  I'm also thankful I don't do it very often...

One song that can set if off in me for some reason was a freebie on iTunes that I listen over and over sometimes.  Given the right introspective mood, it hits home in me in a unique way.  It's by singer named Audrey Assad titled "The House You're Building".

Some of the Lyrics:
Yeah these are old shoes that I've been walking in
I'm wearing weary like it's a second skin
I've been looking for a place to lay my head

All this time like a vagabond
A homeless stranger
I've been wandering
All my life you've been calling me
To a home you know I've been needing

I'm a broken stone
So lay me in the house you're building

I just picked up my glasses and recorded a little video just for the fun of it earlier this week.  I'll share it here.

A little blurb I recorded on my iPhone this morning...

A little blurb I recorded on my iPhone this morning...

Spring is springing around here.  It's supposed to be 82 sunny degrees today, and warmer tomorrow.  I hope it lasts thru the weekend.

That's it for today.  Nothing too profound.  Just a little update.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shock and Awe


I'm exhausted.  It's Friday evening a little before 10 and I'll be going to bed soon.  I so need some sleep.

This has been a fairly extraordinary week, although I don't know that I'm cogent enough right now to truly appreciate it.  As I type this I'm on my second glass of medicinal Merlot, and just finished dinner of Salmon with a pesto butter sauces punctuated by a sprinkling of "Slap Ya Mama" cajun seasoning.  I'm almost ready to melt into bed.

At work I accomplished something significant this week.   The program that I'm working on is at the formative stage of an IT architecture effort hat will be deployed at data centers and facilities across the country over the next several years.  We've line up best-of-breed solutions, but in a complicated data center various pieces need to integrate well with others.

To minimize risk and increase communication I've arranged an ambitious Architecture Summit that brings together a number of internal groups, all our vendor partners who have sent teams of engineers from around the country (Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, and others), and key stakeholders for three days of deep-dive technical discussions.  It has consumed me for a couple of weeks.  This is the first of its kind that anyone can remember, and the good news is that it's receiving almost universal acknowledgement for value and as something worthwhile.  The effort to make it happen has no been insignificant - physically and emotionally, so I'm both happy and relieved at how things unfolded.  And exhausted.

I've been going from 6am until late into the evening to get everything ready, facilitate the various discussions that need to happen, and generally make sure that this unique window of time together lives up to its potential.  I haven't been sleeping well....up at 4:00 one morning, and at 2:30am  last I really really really need to catch up on zzzz's.  I hope to begin that tonight.

I also haven't been able to slip away for any personal time, to get to the gym, or to wrestle.  This is a significant concern given that my tournament in Iowa is 3 weeks from this weekend.  I've got my flights, my car, my all I need to do is (a) make weight and (b) deliver.  The top two finishers qualify to compete in the US Olympic Team trials.  The rest.....well, thanks and good luck.

I did go to a group Happy Hour on Tuesday where everyone had a chance to let their hair down and get to know one another.  It was one of those unique team building opportunities that happens when teams bond over alcohol and fried food.  By the time I left at 9 it was still in high gear, and it was another reminder that the real value of these kinds of things happens just as much after hours as during the sessions themselves.

Now, I'm waiting for things to get back to "normal" again.  Of course, even my "normal" is pretty unique.

They announced the new iPad this week.  I'll admit - I hope to own one shortly.  I didn't order one yet simply because it's more money than I like to spend in one sitting.  But, I'll save up my pennies and take the plunge shortly.  I'm also hoping to go to France for 10 days in May - round-trip airfare from Charlotte at the moment is $783 - it goes up significantly after June 1.  And I've coveting one of the new Canon cameras.

I was absolutely drained when I left work tonight.  Now that the Summit is done my main focus for the next few weeks will be my wrestling training.  3 times a week.  Starting tonight.  I'm telling you here and now....what happens in Iowa on April 1 is gonna be a big deal.  I'm just saying.

These are the Olympics we're talking about.  The Olympics Olympics.....not the Special Olympics, or the Gay Olympics.  We're talking the real deal, and in order to compete in the Olympic Team Trials I've got to earn it.  Plane reservations are made, car is reserved, hotel is set, registration is done.  Now all that's left is to make weight and to shock people.  That's my goal.  Shock and awe.

I'm going to take it easy this weekend.  That said, my plate is full.  I have a number of errands to run. I need a pedicure.  I'll spend time at the gym tomorrow, and I've got another wrestling session on Sunday.  I'm hoping to take some photos as flowers downtown are beginning to bloom.  I've got a ticket to roller derby tomorrow.  I'm  hoping to do a 50-mile bike ride on my new bike if the weather lives up to it's promise.  I'm sure there's more, but that's enough for now.

I got my first real pair of glasses this week.  They're transition lenses.  That is, they've got slight distance correction on the top and then gradually change to reading lenses on the bottom.  I'm trying to get used to them.  We'll see.

That said - it's time for bed.  The Merlot is doing what it's supposed to do, and I'm hoping to get a full night sleep out of the deal.  I need it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tired but energized.

I mentioned in a recent post that I've been a bit sleep deprived lately.  You know why?  Because my days are so crazed that I don't finish wrestling until 8pm, that's why.  For some reason, exercising hard after 6 gets juices flowing in me that keep a-flowing for a long time.  That'd be fine, except that it either keeps me awake or wakes me up early and prevents me from falling back to sleep.  I was up at 4:30 this morning - no going back to sleep.

Speaking of wrestling, I had a great practice last night.  I've got good generally flowing overall - lots of energy for some reason - and it spilled over into wrestling.  I hope I'm feeling similarly perky at this time next month.  I made hotel arrangements for the Final Olympic Trial Qualilfier tournament in Iowa.  The countdown is on - 30 days to go and I'm so focused on it right now it's not even funny.  I've got to finish first or second to qualify for the Trials so that's the goal.  I'm very focused on it.

There are a couple of significant product announcements coming up that have me kinda excited.  In one, Canon will announce the release of its new Canon 5D Mark III on March 2 (see details if you'd like).  And next week - on March 7 - the world welcomes the long awaited introduction of iPad 3 (details here).  Time to start saving up my pennies.

I don't go out of my way to talk about the Human Rights Campaign anymore, nor do I NOT talk about them.  As I've moved on in my life after serving in my various capacities there they've become pretty irrelevant to me.  I'm not all that mad anymore but as I explained a long time ago, whatever part of me still could give a damn won't give a damn until and unless there's some closure there and there hasn't been.

HRC President Joe Solmonese is leaving the organization so there will be someone new in charge there soon.  Joe was recently named as one of 35 co-chairs for the Obama campaign (details here).  I recently provided my formal support to the Obama campaign and that hasn't changed.  All I'll say about that is that if they're going to ask me to do anything it'd be wise not to have Joe doe it.  There's no closure there, either.

I digress.  The reason I started to write about HRC in the first place was to highlight a tool that they published last week specific to trans related insurance coverage (see it here).  I wouldn't even mention it other than the people directly involved with it, Jamison Green and Andre Wilson, are THE right people to present the topic.  I'm not here to defend it, criticize it, or otherwise comment on it.  I'm simply sharing its existence for those who might find it useful as a tool.

Anyways, enough of that....

I'm going for labwork tomorrow morning.  It's time for my annual blood check-up.  It's not just a minor detail in my world as previous labs have highlighted some potential kidney concerns that required attention this past year.  Plus, knowing cholesterol levels, hormone levels, and other "stuff" just seems to get more important the older I get. 

It's supposed to be 80 degrees here today.  I won't be able to enjoy it.....I'm booked with meetings through 5:30, then I'm off to spend some quality time on a treadmill.  Life is good!  :)