Friday, September 28, 2012

A day to NOT

The most interesting thing happened this evening....

I've been doing two jobs lately, which wouldn't be so bad except that they're 200+ miles apart and neither is where I spend my weekends.  But that's nobody's fault but mine.

Regardless, it has been quite the week of criss-crossing North and South Carolina for various big work "things".  I should really give up one of these two things but the problem at this point isn't with handling both of them because I can do this.  It's with the logistics of it all.  Anyways...

Back to the story....  So, I drove 150 miles to get to work this morning and just over 100 to get from there to Charleston afterwards.  By the time I got here I was tired, I was ready for the weekend, and so I went to one of my favorite local places for a bite of dinner and a beverage.

The place that I go is a nice nice restaurant.  I've eaten there dozens of times, but I typically can't afford the entrees so I'll have lighter fare at the nice bar up front.  I know the bartenders.  I know the hostesses.  I know the waiters.  It's almost like extended family, in a way, which is one of the reasons Charleston has become so "comfortable" for me.

So, it's a Friday night and I go in and the bar area is very full.  One of the hostesses tells me that a seat is going to free up in a second an it does, right at the corner of the bar.  So I sit down, do some catching up with the bartenders, I order a drink and something to eat, and I'm thoroughly relaxing and enjoying myself after this crazy week.

There are lots of very pretty and handsome, well-dressed, men and women at the bar waiting for their tables.  I used to go in after wrestling practice, on Tuesdays, for a burger and I would have felt really really under-dressed except that they said it was fine.  Which it was.  But typically, a weekend night at that bar is a good place to watch people.  I'm usually too busy eating or chatting to pay it much notice, but it's true.

As I was finishing my meal a young woman came up to me and asked me if she could ask me something that might be personal.  This is typically not a good sign, because you never know what someone is going to ask....especially if you say it's ok.  Anyway, I tell her to ask what's on her mind and, of all things, she asked me if I was there alone.

I told her I was...that I live nearby and I enjoy coming there for dinner.  She seemed genuinely surprised, and somewhat impressed, that a woman would go to a restaurant/bar for dinner alone without any interest in anything but relaxing.  I never even stopped to consider it as anything but ordinary.  But that opened the door for a very pleasant conversation and I realized I was impressed that she had the courage not notice and approach me in the first place.

She has a very kind face, and a warm way about her, and it was easy to chat.  And after ten or fifteen minutes she and her dinner friend got seated for their meal and I go ready to come home, unpack a little, wash up, and get into bed.  Which is where I am now....

We chatted about how Serendipity works - I think she used the term "Serendipitous Circumstance".  Anyways - it was a very pleasant way to wind down the day.  And, oddly, I suspect we'll chat again.

Tomorrow is the first time in week I don't have to be up at 5am or earlier to get somewhere.  It's the first day I don't have 200 miles or more to drive from where I needed to be earlier to where I need to be later.  I'm not really complaining about any of what has happened this week because it actually all seemed to work fine, and it seems like over-abundance more than anything.  It's just nice to have a day to NOT.

Let the weekend begin!


I'm not even going to try to explain where I am, or how the logistics of the week have gone.  It's not just complicated, it's almost embarrassing.  The good news is that it calms down starting this evening.  Phew.  Well, it sorta does, for at least a couple of days.

I saw a couple of news stories that I found "interesting" recently.

One is from Time showing data that eunuchs live longer than....non-eunuchs (see the story here).  I can't believe there's data on this kind of thing.

Another is about the person who was on Anderson Cooper last week - the one who said a hair loss med  caused trans-ness (story here).  "Post Finasteride Syndrome"??  Oh, please.  And this silliness about not knowing what the show was going to be about just makes it worse.

Well - on a more serious note, there's a story in The Advocate about a 3rd grade trans child who is being "allowed" to use the girl's bathroom (story here).

Eunuch/Non-Eunuch thing....non-story.  Post-Finasteride Syndrome - confused, at best.  Child, school administrators and supportive parents - quiet heroes, probably best served if this "story" didn't become a story.  

I've started deleting "Friends" on FB.  I'm trying to be careful, but I've just got too many people there.....

I look forward to weekends.  I'm a work-hard-play-hard kind of person so this weekend it'll be time to play.  There's a new movie out that intrigues's called Looper.  It seems very Matrix vs. Terminator like.....

I'm going to try to find time to fit it in sometime over the next week.  It seems like my kind of movie.

I'll end this little entry by boing back to my previous one, titled "Ordinary", for a second.  There's a song that I've shared here before but it's such an anthem for me it's worth sharing again.  It's titled "Anything But Ordinary".  Amen.

I turn this song up as I'm driving....and sing it.  It doesn't just help the miles's just true.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I could have an ordinary life.  I really could.  There was a time when that's all I wanted.  To be just like everyone else.  To get "past" the mind/body conundrum that ended my marriage, that set me free from my "old" life (whether I wanted to be set free, or not), and that opened doors to things I never dared to imagine.

I'm approaching the 13th anniversary of my first day of full-time.  Oct 2, 1999.  It was the Saturday before my first day at work.  There are those who would tell me that that time is in the past, and of course it is.  But it is still part of me, and the mixture of excitement and terror of those times and my amazement at having reached that point is a constant reminder of many things.  Those things linger.  No - those things mature, and hatch......

There are times when I wish I were settled somewhere, surrounded by familiar, back on the path of whatever perception I've got of "ordinary".  Perhaps in a relationship.  Perhaps further along in my career.  Perhaps a lot of things.  But....and this is the thing I can't get away from....I wouldn't be me.

I had a good discussion with someone tonight who's working on a project for Columbia University on transsexual women athletes.  If you're a trans athlete and would like to talk with her write to me and I'll give you her contact information....

I was in my little hotel room tonight watching the National Geographic Channel and an ad came on for a show this weekend.  The show 'Taboo" generally tackles taboo subjects and the episode this weekend is all about being trans (see promo here).  I can't wait to see NCTE come out with a statement on this one, too.

I got something today from a friend at The Task Force in DC about two open positions they're trying to fill.  Here's the details:

A search has just been launched to fill two key permanent full time positions here at the Task Force: HR Director & Board Liaison. Will you please forward this link and the attached job descriptions to people you know over the next 3 days? It sounds like applications will begin being reviewed next week.
The Task Force is an equal opportunity employer. Women, transgender people, and people of color are especially encouraged to apply. The Trans Audit Committee, which I’m a part of, would love to see a pool of gender non-conforming and transgender candidates applying for these jobs. For your information, in addition to our general benefits package for full time employees, The Task Force also offers a health supplement for gender identity-related care.
The Task Force is accepting applications via email for this position at; or, submit a hard copy cover letter and resume to:

Human Resources Department
1325 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
The functions of these positions are very important to executing the mission of the Task Force. We will be working expeditiously to fill them. Here is a little more about each job:
Human Resources Director –
The Human Resources Director is responsible for all aspects of human resources, including the Task Force’s programs for recruiting, orientation, workplace training, and staff performance evaluation.
Executive office Board Liaison –
The Executive Office Board Liaison serves as the primary staff support to the boards of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Foundation and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund. 

So if any of that interests you - there's a lot of opportunity right now!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Low Tide

It's a beautiful autumn morning here in Raleigh.  It was in the low 50's this morning as I walked from my hotel to my truck....bright blue sunny skies, crisp clean air, very very pleasant.  The only complaint in that entire picture is the hotel thing....getting old.  Actually, it got old a while ago.  But to at least some degree my life as a vagabond ends next week.

I did a little video with my iPhone this morning.

As usual - nothing profound.  It seems that most of the videos I make happen in a vehicle lately.  Not surprisingly, most phone conversations happen there too.

I was totally wiped last night.  Drained.  Getting up at 4am driving 4+ hours before working 10 hours probably had something to do with it.  But physically, emotionally, and in all ways that matter last night was low tide.  I needed some rest, and thankfully I got some.

One thing I'll admit (changing subjects) - I've become addicted to Chipotle Burrito Bowls.  The combination of rice, spiced meat, salsa, cheese, and sour cream is something I could eat 4 days a week.  For someone who has been traveling as much as I have finding what I consider to be healthy, inexpensive options is a must.  Anyway - I'm liking 'em right now.

I received a nice note from the National Labor Relations Board in DC regarding the training event a couple of weeks ago.  I've got a DVD of it, as well, and I'm glad organizations are making these kinds of things available to broader audiences who aren't able to attend for one reason or another.  

I've talked about trans "stuff" for a number of years now and it's still something I enjoy.  I suppose it's part of my "balance" - I wouldn't want to be totally immersed in it but at the same time in my day to day world (other than here) I don't talk about it or have to think much about it.  If I had my druthers I'd do one of them a month but I don't actively go out and look for them.  At this point it's generally word of mouth.

Over the years people within the community have contacted me about how to get started doing these kinds of things and how to approach them.  Michele Angello and I used to give a workshop at SCC titled "Talking Trans" specifically about doing presentations.  The one thing I've found is that it's important to be able to "connect" with people and I seem to be able to do that.

My next event will be for Hallmark Cards in St. Louis early next month.

Anyways....onwards and upwards.  Work today.  3 hour drive this evening.  Tonight in another hotel.  Tomorrow.....well...we'll see how that plays out.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trust the Gut

Sunday AM:

As I type this it's a beautiful early fall morning in Charleston. I had a very peaceful breakfast enjoying the cool morning air in the courtyard of one of the restaurants downtown. The key, as with most restaurants on Sunday morning I suppose, is getting there before church gets out. I did, and now I'm sitting for a few minutes on a park bench to take some deep breaths, to think, and to let my considerable arsenal of defenses down for a little while.

I've got a number of places I like to go to relax, to think, or just to let my mind empty itself.  That's one of the cool things about Charleston - they seem to have put benches in these strategic places that lend themselves well for that.

My Sunday Bench
My Sunday Bench

The view from this particular bench is pretty remarkable.  Bright blue sky.  Marshes at low tide.  The big bridge in the background.  Downtown just across the way.  It's all there....

I've had a very busy last couple of weeks - some of which I've shared here and some of which I haven't. Regardless, opportunities that pop up and decisions that need to be made have are part of the ongoing re-direction that I've been doing lately.

I have no problem making decisions. We could argue whether or not they're good ones but when I make them there is a reason. Sometimes it's hope that they'll open the door to other things. Sometimes it's simply out of need. Sometimes it's part of some bigger plan. Regardless....there's always a reason.

I was talking with a friend yesterday about some of these things and she reminded me of something I know, but have somehow forgotten. She said, "Trust your gut.". Ironically, that's what I needed to hear because as often as not - it all comes down to that.  Trust your gut...your instincts...your deeper feelings.  And once you've made your decisions - don't keep looking back over your shoulder.
I went to the David Gray concert in Asheville on Friday. That town knows how to have a concert. The last time I saw him (last year) was in Charleston and it was a very proper, restrained, polite audience.  Not in Asheville. The crowd was up and dancing from the first song, and we were all on our feet more than not. It was excellent.

Yesterday morning it was my distinct honor to have breakfast with someone who lives in the area who has been writing to me for several years. It's truly a pleasure to have the chance to meet my "friends" - people who feel they know me through my book or my blog or what they've seen online who have taken the time to write me.  I like to think that if you follow any of my writing or my speaking and eventually meet me in person I'm very much as I appear - for better or for worse.  Anyway, I very much appreciate him driving into town to spend an hour together, face to face.

My "gut" decision to keep home base in Charleston has helped to sort out a number of other things.  And although there continues to be no small amount of tumult in my world at the moment, it's manageable.  Especially when I get quiet moments to soak in the universe from the comfort of my little benches...


I was up at 4am this morning to drive to Raleigh for work.  4 1/2 hours is kind of a long commute and I'll admit that the first couple of hours were tough.  Thank God the sun came up when it did.  I was ready to curl up and go back to sleep.  

I've been thinking back over this weekend, and reflecting in general.  I remember a year when the Out and Equal Workplace Summit overlapped SCC.  I had to fly from Austin to Denver to give a Friday talk at O&E, then to fight rush hour traffic to get to the airport so I could fly to Atlanta.  I finally got into the hotel at midnight, I spoke there during lunch on Saturday, then on Sunday morning I was winging my way back to Austin.

I don't regret for a minute doing my "community service".  And there's a part of me that would have loved to have gone to SCC in Atlanta just to say 'hi' to a few dear friends who are typically there.  But the balance in my world has shifted from doing things I feel compelled or obligated to do, to doing things I either want to do, or reasonably can do.  My weekend of concert, driving, some relaxing time getting my hair done, a nice quiet Sunday breakfast, time on my bench watching the world spin, and delightful dinner with friends is exactly what the doctor ordered given everything else going on.

Speaking of SCC - one friend who was there estimated that there were 800 or more attendees.  That's fairly remarkable as the attendance has remained fairly stable over the years.  As other major events have come and gone, and as smaller regional events have gained in both visibility and reach, staying "relevant" isn't an easy thing to do.  The fact that SCC remains as an institution is testament to the leadership and the vision that goes into planning something like this.  I'm sure the planning for next year is already under way...

And, speaking of Out and Equal....the Workplace Summit is scheduled for Baltimore at the end of October.  They've got a couple of job openings on their website so if you're interested take a look....

Back to the "gut" thing for a moment.  I've learned to trust my gut.  It's not always right, but it's always true.  My gut has been telling me a number of things in recent weeks and, right or wrong, I'm comfortable following where it leads.  It seems as though many of us want a sign, or a "right" answer, or we seem afraid to be wrong.  All I can say is that if you can find and listen to your inner self, you're well on the way to being ok with the way things turn out.  Sometimes, just "ok" is just fine.

I'm going through a phase where I find it important to tell people I appreciate in my life that I do appreciate them.  I mentioned a couple in a recent blog entry - Karen from CO who calls me every Sunday, for example.  My electrologyst, Maria is another.  I can't imagine where I'd be in life if I hadn't met her.  She's one of a handfull of people I can honestly tell that I love them.  And I do.

One dear friend is always there with a kind word, or a positive thought.  I've never met anyone so positive in my life but I've learned to know when she's hiding something.  Another is Angie...I never want her to think I take her for granted because I truly do appreciate our friendship.

I've could keep going...but I think lately I'm feeling "Appreciate the People In Your Life" week more acutely than usual at the moment.  I think it's partly because of people who have really taken me in and helped me over recent weeks when I've needed it.  I'm so used to doing things on my own that accepting help can take a little getting used to.  And appreciating people that offer it...well, I just want them to know....

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Boundaries of Love

The transgender experience, or more specifically, the transsexual experience, makes good drama.  It's an intensely personal journey full of universal experiences that force people to question even some of their most basic notions about gender, about self, and about love.

A Canadian film titled "Laurence Anyways" recently won the Best Canadian Feature prize at the Toronto Film Fest.  It's about a couple in love, and what happens when on of them announces that he's going to transition (see story with clip here).  It's a very complicated dynamic, and needless to say there's no way to guess how any one of our experiences is going to play out.

I find that romantic/physically intimate relationships as a transperson is a damned if you do, damned if you don't proposition especially if that relationship starts at some point after a transition.  Questions about objectifying any of us AS trans when all we want is to be treated as a man or a woman are intertwined with many of our realities of not having been socialized as our authentic gender so there can be a level of intimacy awkwardness.  On the other hand, we can try to hide it, but that strategy is loaded with a number of significant (and potentially dangerous) pitfalls as well.

It's no secret that many transpeople end up with other transpeople.  There are a number of reasons for that.  But I also find it to be disturbing that there are transpeople who avoid those kinds of intimate relationships with other transpeople specifically BECAUSE they're trans.  It's an odd dynamic, but a very real one.

Personally, many of the transpeople I know are some of the most sensitive, caring, giving, loving, strong yet vulnerable, people you could ever imagine meeting so I'm not sure what qualities they wouldn't have that would make them worthy partners.  Still, that doesn't change my belief that the single most oppressive post-transition need for many of us is intimacy.

Anyway -  this movie looks interesting.  Movies dealing with trans themes are often fairly sensational and simplistic, but various aspects of the journey are well worth sharing with the world.  In this case, it looks like it was handled sensitively.

I've got a big weekend ahead of me.  There's a fork in the road where each path leads in a different direction and I'll get to that fork tomorrow.  Tonight I'll be in Asheville to see David Gray.  I've got a 5th row ticket. Tomorrow?  We'll see how things unfold...Decisions to be made, options to be considered, doors to open, and others to close.

Someone asked me if I had finished my thought thread the other night when I was writing an entry I titled "Friend of Faux".  The answer to that is "Kinda".  But there was more to write than I really wanted to at the time (I was tired) so I left it at that.

I've said before that I perceive relationships to be like tides, coming in and going out in some kind of natural process.  Sometimes the process seems to be helped along by specific incidents, moods, broader life events, and other "things" that tend to pull or push.  But sometimes they're close and sometimes - well, they're not.

I have one specific friend who calls me every single Sunday.  Without fail.  She's done it for year and although I can't always answer we only see one another every 3 or 4 years but she's reliable and dependable and she cares enough to not forget.

I have another friends who I can always count on.  No matter what.  She's dear, and sweet, and loves to laugh.  She sends me simple "Have a nice day" texts or "Good morning" or "The moon is beautiful tonight" notes which I may or may not respond to but the fact of the matter is that I know I can count on her.  Without fail.

I've had friends in my life who I've felt wanted something from me.  Whether or not the friendship grows into anything is more a function of balancing that out than whether I can actually deliver what they think they want from me.

And I've got friends who have stepped up when I've been at low points and have provided help at critical times.  Friends who can do that are special.  I'm blessed to have had several of those in my life.

With all these kinds of friends the question becomes - how long can it last?  Of course, most people seem to want it to last forever.  But it rarely does.

The key to all of this - in my opinion - is communications.  The deeper the communication the stronger the relationship.  Communication is a very personal intimacy but I'll rarely share deeper than I feel I'm being shared with in return.  I've got a defense reflex that just won't allow that.  Once we can talk about deeper topics...NOW we're making progress...

Anyway - that's why I didn't finish the thread the other night.  Too complicated and I'm certainly no expert.  All I know is the way it works in and for me.  Other than that....I'm just as lost as the next sucka....

Another thing I think I know - tonight I'll be sitting in Row E in Asheville enjoying David Gray.  The rest of life should be so simple....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Friend or Faux?

The Southern Comfort Conference happens in Atlanta this weekend.  I attended 7 or 8 of them in a row until last year.  I've met many dear friends there, including the person who has probably had the most significant impact on my life over the ten years since we first met there.  For those who are going - safe travels, and have fun.

Speaking of Atlanta - I recently got a copy of the CNN Dialogues event that I did in Atlanta last December.  It was a mixture of fun and serious topics, but I've uploaded a couple of brief segments to youtube...

Those kinds of things can be a challenge.  You never know what you're going to be asked, and putting answers into coherent but thoughtful responses involves some quick thinking.  I like to think I do ok with those situations, and I'm ok with how things went.

I'll remember several things about that event.  One is that it was a week before the US Open Wrestling tournament in Dallas so I was crashing weight.  Another is how the makeup artist airbrushed me - that was a first.  Another was the groupies following Olympic figure skater Johnny Wier and his fiancee...

Uploading it reminded me that I haven't done a video blog in a while.  I'll have to rectify that sometime over the next couple of weeks.

I saw an article on the news that caught my eye.   It's about a judge who refused to approve a transwoman's name change because he objected.  This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy (story here).

I went to downtown Raleigh for the first time tonight.  There was a get together at a place downtown, so now I can finally say I've actually been to the city.  I ended up talking with someone about the nature of friendships, and the importance of choosing your friends wisely.

Death, and Life

I went to see Finding Nemo 3D last night.  It's still one of my favorite movies.  It stands up amazingly well even though it's ten years old....the way they captured the various textures of being under water still still astounds me.

When I'm here in Raleigh - I work.  I get up at 5, I'm at work by 7 and typically I don't leave until 7.  I've got an opportunity to meet some people for dinner tonight so I may force myself to get out but we'll see.  At the moment I'm 50/50 about it....not that I have anything better to do but just because....

Friday I'm headed to Asheville to see David Gray.  I saw him in Charleston last year and would go wherever was within driving range to see him.  Asheville is 250 miles from here so it's not an insignificant jaunt.  Regardless, I'm looking forward to it.  The combination of my enjoyment of concerts plus seeing artists I've enjoyed for years just makes these kinds of things special.  I close my eyes and float with it all sometimes....

Then?  Not sure yet.

When I got back to my hotel room I was switching through the channels and somehow ended up on something that was more than worthwhile.  It's something I doubt I'll ever forget.  It was on  the PBS show American Experience and was a documentary film titled "Death and the Civil War".

It was fascinating, horrifying, and very revealing.  The entire episode is available online for those with a couple of hours on their hands (watch it here).  It's a couple of hours well spent....just watch the first few minutes if you get a chance.

There's a review of it from the NY Times yesterday, as well (read it here).   Seeing those photos, hearing from those letters, having the benefit of hindsight to consider what happened - I can't even begin to imagine the unspeakable horror of it all.

Living in the South now brings new meaning to things I haven't seen or considered before or learned in a different way.  The Civil War (or, the War of Northern Aggression as some there still call it) continues to be an integral part of identity.  As a main port of entry for many slaves and a flash point for secession - it played more than a minor role.  History is on every street.

I remember my senior year of high school in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and their interpretations of Americans and American History.  It was totally different than we had been taught in our American schools.  Right or wrong?  Who's to say.  But certainly seen through different eyes, from a different perspective.

That's one of the benefits of calling South Carolina home has become.  New insight.  New perspective.  There's a scene in the video about the mass burial of Union soldiers who died at a racetrack turned prison in downtown Charleston.  But more than anything, this show is about the efforts of everyday people to identify the dead and get them back to where they belonged for burial.

Needless to say, the effort was very much a Union effort and, in fact, is the basis of what has become Memorial Day.  The South didn't recognize any Holiday to celebrate the Union war dead so they came up with their own date.  But the efforts of people like Clara Barton and countless others to identify both Union AND Confederate casualties and bring their bodies back home from mass, unmarked graves in from places like Antietam and Gettysburg for burial in the south - without funding or government support - is fascinating, very sad, and amazing.

I'm not going to get into an argument about the Civil War.  The last time I brought up the Civil War here some were looking to fight about it.  Still.  Or again.  I'm not gonna do that.  As far as I'm concerned it's all part of our collective American Heritage and in that context it's worth knowing.

I've never said this here before - but I believe in past lives.  I don't really care to get into specifics because it's not relevant.  What I do know is that I have a memory - whether it's from a dream or from some other place - of lying in a quiet woods on an a warm day, surrounded by tall skinny trees, on a blanket of leaves, all alone, looking up through the trees to the sky, and dying.  Regardless of the reality of that experience or not - watching this show reminded me of that.

Life is fragile.  That's why it begs to be lived.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I did something significant today.  I got a new driver's license.

That in and of itself may not be significant.  What's significant is that despite all the places I've worked and lived over the past dozen years I've only had driver's licenses from three states:  Arizona, Texas, and South Carolina.

When I finally allowed myself to give up my Arizona identity (that is, I turned in my Arizona driver's license for an SC one) last summer it was a big deal.  That was significant too.  Even though it's just a piece of plastic that says it's legal for me to drive my car, the state on it is a big deal to me.  It's an identity. More than that, it's an identity I can (and will) choose.

Given that I'm currently working in Raleigh, and the closest thing to a residence at the moment is a hotel room here, that begs the question about which state my new Driver's License is from.  It's from South Carolina.

Why I needed a new driver's license is actually irrelevant for the purposes of this discussion.  Over the past few weeks I've come to terms with the fact that my SC identity isn't something as transient as a job, nor is it something I'm willing to shed again, at least not in the short-term. I never say never, but the key element in all of this is time.

Some may feel that whatever state happens to be on their driver's license is unimportant.  I appreciate that, but I am not one of those people.   I see people become "stranded" in life in any number of contexts for any number of reasons, but I have made and continue to make decisions to avoid that.

So today I re-affirmed that - I went to the DMV, I turned in my original SC driver's license, I got my picture taken, and now I've got my new one.  There will be a Palmetto tree on my license plate for the foreseeable future, and I couldn't be happier about that.  It actually feels like a burden has been lifted.

It's more than simply symbolic (although, I suppose, there is some significant symbolism involved).  Again - I don't feel compelled to share specifics right now.  But for me - I know where center is right now.  The key is staying there.

It was truly a good weekend.  I drove to Charleston Friday (it takes 4 1/2 hrs each way, so it's not trivial).  I turned in my fancy rental car for my repaired truck, I enjoyed a little of Restaurant Week, and I even had the chance to do a load of laundry.

I spent all of Saturday at a class....I mean ALL day.  Got there at 6:45 in the morning, and didn't leave until 5:15. at night. 

I had the chance to see some friends, to spend some quality time with one particular friend who I've been missing and needing to see, and to visit with a friend I haven't spoken with in a while.  I did a little shopping, I ate and drank more than I should, I didn't get to the gym, and I didn't get enough sleep.  The weather was great, it's nice to have my truck back, it was nice to be "home", I watched an hour of football, and for some reason despite everything crazy that's happening in my world right now I'm calm (at least for the moment).  All in all - a wonderful weekend.

I will admit that my driver's license photo this morning came out better than I hoped (I liked the previous one, but this one is better). I've got pep in my step. All things major complaints other than some logistical nightmares ahead.  Still, I seem to face them on a regular basis and they always work themselves out.

Gas....I paid $3.45 in Charleston yesterday.  I paid $3.54 just south of the SC/NC border.  Because as soon as you cross into NC - it's $3.85.  Crazy, but true.  I have no idea what taxes they add to it here but I've already learned to fill up as much as I can in South Carolina.

Butt....I mentioned that I haven't been to the gym in a while, but one of the things that happens when I gain a little weight is that I can feel it in my butt.  I actually like that....because when I start dropping weight the first two places that seem to get skinny are my butt and my face.  I'm about to start running here again shortly, but I'm hoping to keep some butt.  It makes a difference.

Money....well, not real money.  But...

I got a note from the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC).  It says in part:

"The AGLCC is printing “gay money” to make our Pride booth more fun and interactive.  Through public nominations and our board selections, we will be honoring you as one of the 6 people to be on one of the $3 bills!  You will be listed as the “First Transgender Leader at HRC” on the money"

Needless to say, I consider this to be a tremendous honor.  Lord knows what picture they're putting on it.  Maybe I should forward a copy of my new driver's license photo.  :)


Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last night was kinda atypical for me.

I spoke all day in Washington DC, caught the Metro back to Vienna, and hit the road to head back to Raleigh by 6:30.  I could probably have  by midnight, but after a very full day (actually, a very full week), dealing with the end of DC rush hour traffic on I95 headed south, and the need for a good night sleep I fought my general inclination push all the way through and spent the night in Roanoke Rapids.

I finished the drive this morning - it's absolutely beautiful weather here right now and I watched the sun coming up as I hopped back onto I-95 for the rest of the drive.  All in all, a good plan.

Funny story:  I was adjusting my rear view mirror to "night mode" last night (in the rental car) and accidentally pushed a button that apparently called OnStar.  I started pushing other buttons hoping to hang up quickly, which I managed to do.  But 5 minutes later this voice just started talking to me asking the nature of my emergency.   I explained my mistake - I wonder how many of those kinds of things they get.

I may have mentioned that I was in DC to do a training for one of the government agencies to support an employee who is transitioning there.  I've done a half-dozen or more of these in DC and they generally go very well.  Often the people who plan these events work for the EEO office, or for HR in some significant capacity, and become very invested in the outcomes.

Thanks to everyone at NLRB who made yesterday's sessions a success.  We had 3 2-hr sessions - the first one for managers and supervisors was mandatory.  The "buzz" from the first session helped to fill the room for both afternoon sessions.  Talking all day like that is more tiring than you realize sometimes, but you often don't realize it until the adrenaline of the "moment" wears off.  For me, that was around 9pm.

Speaking of energy, I'll share a couple of sentences from the email I received from the person at the agency who helped arrange it all:
I have received so many comments from people across the agency telling me that they have never attended anything at work as impressive and meaningful as your presentation.  Your openness, honesty, vulnerability and humor were incomparable.  Moreover, your stamina is equally remarkable.
Stamina just comes with the territory I suppose.

And....speaking of telling stories.....

I've done a good job of staying out of "trans issues" here for a while.  That's not by accident.  There was a time when this blog was at least half dedicated to that, but the blog has changed as my own life balance has changed.

However, there's something today that I feel compelled to comment on.  It's a segment from Anderson Cooper's talk show.  More specifically, it's NCTE's reaction to it that I find comment-worthy.  (Details here)

In a statement from NCTE:
“In the past, Anderson Cooper and his team have earned a great deal of respect from trans people for their coverage of our issues. Tomorrow, they’ll throw all of that away. Worst of all, they seem set on misinforming the public about the causality of trans identity.”
I totally disagree with both those sentences.

First, if anyone accepts that the trans community is a community of communities, then how can there be such a thing as a singular "trans identity", much less a cause for it?  As distasteful as this particular guest may be, or as confused as the way they approach their supposed trans-ness seems - nobody gets to manage the media or the stories it chooses to tell.  Responsible media is a myth.

What's the difference between saying that taking a baldness med caused it, or a bee sting, or anything for that matter?  That's not the point.  And as misguided as this individual may or may not be an organization that distributed stickers after ENDA saying "Am I too freakin' trans for you?" can't go around saying someone is too freakin' trans.  An organization that focuses on the importance of "telling your story" can't then cherry-pick stories that it may not want told.  You can't have it both ways.

Secondly, the fact that Anderson Cooper is airing this show this does NOT undo all the positive work they've done.  It's just plain wrong to believe, or to even say, that.  Mara and NCTE (and any of us, for that matter) can express their collective disappointment, but saying this this this way is an opinion I, for one, don't share.

Lastly - the fact that NCTE is complaining about it that way is giving it way more visibility than it deserves.  It could have been an opportunity to tell BETTER stories but now...well.....I'm just saying...

As for me - well, tomorrow I head back to Charleston after a morning full of meetings to turn in my car and pick up my truck.  I may have a training class all day on Saturday.  I hope to spend a little "me" time (maybe at the ocean on Sunday?) before driving back to Raleigh late Sunday.  Then Monday...another week begins.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick Trip

I'm in Washington DC for the day.  It's a quick trip, but it involves a couple of long days.

I drove up here from Raleigh after work yesterday.  I've driven all over this country and there's something about driving within a 50 mile radius of DC that I find particularly and uniquely draining. I got into town by 10, was in bed by 11:30, was up at 5am to dress and get myself to the Metro, and here I sit chillin' before the day really gets going.

There was a time when I envisioned that I'd live here, or work here.  Now I can't imagine that in my wildest dreams.  There are a number of places where I will live, but a much longer list of places that I won't.  That's not to say its a bad place - its just that the pace of things here isn't my cup of tea.  Anyway, it's a beautiful day here but if all goes well I'll be sitting at my desk in Raleigh at this time tomorrow.

I'm staying with a friend here and we spent some time last night talking about how I've retreated from so much of the advocacy work that was a significant portion of my life for a little while. Chapters of like come and go and for the most part that work is being done by people who are likely much more qualified than I was.  It's nice to look back at the people and the things that filled my life those days but in most ways that count I'm off on other adventures right now.

I registered a number of domains yesterday as part of a "Domain Name Sale". One of the domains I claimed is I'm not sure what, if anything, I'll do with it.  But its kinda fun to have.

I talk with someone in Raliegh who I've only met in person once but who lifts my spirits when we talk.  She's got a good energy about her, and she seems to know when I need to hear a friendly voice. I doubt she'll ever know that I appreciate her as much as I do just because....  Katriana rocks.

Anyway...I need to get the next phase of the day going so I'll keep this short.  Onwards...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The moment

I didn't watch a minute of football Sunday.  Honestly.  I was too busy doing other "stuff" and it just didn't fit into the day.  But last night - Monday Night Football.  And I watched.

It was a long day.  I woke up in Charleston, took care of some things there, drove the 4 1/2 hours to Raleigh, and was at work until 7:30.  It's not a complaint - just a long day.

I have a rental car for the week while my truck is in the body shop.  It's a 2013 Camaro, a very sexy car.  I'll have to admit that I'm having fun driving it - it's a big difference from my truck.

I uploaded a couple of photos from the weekend to my Snaplog.

Part of getting through life one day at a time isn't necessarily finding answers to difficult questions or even taking action.  It's coming to peace with your situation.  I've learned the hard way that it's easy to mistake thrashing for positive action.  I've also learned to sleep on difficult decisions because I've made more than my fair share of emotional, passion-of-the-moment choices.

Regardless, it'd be nice if there were some kind of connect-the-dots, step-by-step process to make the "right" decision.  The problem is...I'd argue that there is rarely ever one right decision.  In fact, there are probably many "wrong" decisions but the paralysis that waiting for all the information to make decisions is often more of a delay tactic than anything constructive.

If I write another book the process of decision making would be part of it.  I'm no decision "expert", as I don't think anyone can claim to be, but I still find it a fascinating process.  As I've admitted here more than once, I have no problem at all making decisions.  It's making "good" decisions that I sometimes struggle with.

The thing that's different now is that I actually seek input on some of the more difficult ones.  I've talked with a couple of my most trusted "advisors" more than once in recent weeks, and I suspect we'll be continuing to talk for a while as things continue to play out.

But for now - things are calm.  It's just a moment, but for those who can live in the moment...that's a good thing.

My niece has been posting various photos from her wedding on FB.  There are several of me.  There's one in particular that I like.  I don't know why.  Maybe it was just the moment....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Time to Play

I had a "Make-over" at MAC yesterday.  I remember a time when those kinds of things where - like - Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, my birthday, and the Fourth of July all wrapped into on.  The opportunity for someone who actually knows what they're doing to work their magic on my face was such an exciting (and rare) thing it would consume my thinking for days.

I also remember a time when the end result was as depressing as the excitement leading up to it.  Regardless of what they did, there was no getting past the fact that the face behind the paint still didn't reflect WHO I was.  It provided a brief opportunity for Donna to express herself in ways that where otherwise generally forbidden, or deeply hidden, but at some point in the middle of it all the excitement suddenly gave way to sadness, and I couldn't wait to go and wash it all off - wishing I could wash the forces that drove me to these things away as well.

Anyway - yesterday's session had none of that.  My MAC people here in Charleston have become friends.  We know each other on a first name basis, and if I ever need a hug I know I can get one there. They're the coolest, nicest people and although we always take the time to talk and catch up on things yesterday we actually took an hour to "play".  It was fun.

I make time to play on my weekends.  It's restaurant week in Charleston - I've written about that before - so I went to my favorite 3-for-$30 place for a steak.  I usually eat at the bar, as I know all the bartenders there too and there were a half-dozen very drunk guys from Auburn there.  Apparently Auburn lost yesterday so they were unhappy, but that didn't make them any less humorous as a group of drunk young guys.  One of them wanted to show me his abs....I told him it was a good start.  He wasn't amused...

Normally I'd head back to Raleigh today but I've got several things here locally tomorrow.  I have to visit my doctor.  I'm dropping the truck off to get repaired (from the fender bender - they'll have it all week).  I've got a meeting about some insurance.  Then - it's a mad dash BACK to Raleigh.  Next week is a crazy week for me so I suppose I should enjoy this bit of down time while I can.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Double Lives

It's Friday again.  Yay.  And I'm headed to Charleston again.  Double-yay.

I almost feel like I'm living a double life.  I have my weekday, worker-bee life away from home.  And I've got my weekend life in Charleston.  And never the two shall meet.  :)

I suppose lots of people have double lives of one kind or another.  Or even triple, or quadruple.  But for now, this balance of here and there is the familiar and the unfamiliar.  With everything else that's popping in my world right now - balance is necessary.

I stopped in to see a place to live more long-term (if I stay here).  It was exactly what I'd need.  The reason that this is relevant for this conversation is that they guy who would be my room mate had a 2-meter ham radio and I said something about it.  There was a time in my prior life when I was an Extra class ham operator so I know more than a little about it.  He was impressed.  He was doubly impressed because he doesn't know that many women who are involved in the hobby.  As I say....double life.

I need to drop off my truck to get the bumper repaired from the fender-bender several weeks ago.  I'm dropping it off while I'm in Charleston which means I need to go back to Charleston to get it, too.  I need to go to the doctor to get my flu vaccine.  I'll do that while I'm in Charleston too.

One of the goals while I'm there this weekend is to make some decisions on places to live when I'm there. Oh - plus it's one of my favorite times of year....Restaurant Week. 

I'm only scratching the surface on what's happening with me right now.  But until I feel that things are settled to a point where I'm comfortable sharing them - I'll just leave it at that.

Thursday, September 6, 2012



It's fall.  Perhaps not "officially", but for all intents and purposes the mindset changes on Labor Day from summer to autumn.  I realize it's not true for everyone - when I lived in Phoenix one hundred degree day isn't all that much different from the previous one.  But there are a number of annual cues that make it unmistakable beyond simply that you're supposed to put away your white clothes until spring...

Most significant, to me, is football.  It's football season.  Even though I'm not nearly as invested in what happens the fact that it's happening at all means it's autumn.  In my simplistic way of looking at things, the two are synonymous.   Fall=Football.

I traditionally live in places where there are significant college rivalries.  In Charleston (and through much of South Carolina) it's the two colleges in Columbia - Clemson and the University of South Carolina (the "other" USC).  Here in Raleigh it's even bigger - NC State, Duke, Wake Forest, UNC.  Most of these schools are better known for their basketball programs than for football, but it's still one of those fall things.

Last night I made sure to be back to the hotel to watch.  It grounds me.  Football is one of the threads that connected my dad, my brother, and I.  It was a connection to our city, and to other fans.  It doesn't even matter who's playing so much...there's football season, and there are the long months filled with preparing for football season.  And - here we are!

I was listening to something on the radio the other day and they were talking about what songs that came out during this past summer will be used to "define" it.  I think the general consensus of the people talking is that there were a number of candidates, but that the single most defining song will be "Call Me Maybe".  I dunno - it's catchy, it's danceable, but at the end of the day it's ultimately only as memorable as similarly catchy, danceable songs.

For me - the song that defines this past summer is "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye.  Besides being unique, and complex, with haunting deep lyrics, and a cool video the deeper meanings apply to a number of people in my world for a number of reasons (don't read more into that than necessary - it's as much symbolic as literal).  Anyway - it's my personal Summer 2012 song.

Football.  FB.  Fall.

Speaking of FB, it also stands for Facebook.  Let's talk about FB messages for a minute....

In FB, there are your "normal" In-Box for messages.  Then there is an in-box titled "Other".

I didn't find the "Other" in-box until a year ago.  It was full of what seemed like spammy come-on email from guys.  There were a few things there that I would have liked to see in my "normal" in box, but most of it was pretty trashy stuff.  Some included indecent photos...some pretty raunchy stuff.

Anyway, recently many of the emails that show up there seem to have a similar theme....

Here's part of one from today:

How are you doing?i am xxxxxxx by name ,i am a widow,never still married since my ex died,i have a son...i am Looking for a serious woman who i am gonna call my wife for real...

A widow?  This guy even included his cell# in the note, saying he's waiting for my call.  Ummm, no.

 Here's part of one from yesterday:

i saw your profile page last time when i was searching for an old friend of mine in Facebook ,you re very pretty i must say and am kind attracted to you,am sorry if you feel offended but i will be glad to know you more.. Am a father of a lovely child whose wife died of a car accident four years ago. i have never been so attracted to anyone ever since her death years back or gotten into any relationship.
I've received 25 or more of similar ilk:  have a child, wife died in car accident, can't be bothered to use any capital letters, looking for a wife.

Now - I'm no rocket scientist but who the heck would even answer one of those?  Is that supposed to be flattering?  I mean....really?! 

Sometimes these things get through whatever filter FB uses to direct them to the "other" in box.

But regardless of these intrusions, the gems that somehow get through make it worth staying plugged in.  For now.

One thing about North Carolina - my hair loves it here.  It's still humid, but for some reason my hair is soft and smooth and it behaves itself.  It's not quite Phoenix good, but my hair enjoys it much better than Charleston, or Austin.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I was in my hotel room last night, flipping through channels.  As I mentioned I've made it a point to avoid the National Conventions because if feels like either selling me something I already want, or something I don't, and I'm not in the political rah-rah mood at the moment.  I know who would best serve my needs and who best reflects how I feel about things.

I ended up on the National Geographic Channel.  There was a show following the Trauma Unit at a Hospital in Chicago on a Friday night.  Oh. My. God.

I have no idea how those people do what they do.  God bless 'em.  But the sight of some of that stuff made me woozy.  I can't imagine actually being there and seeing it while it's happening, or having to deal with it in a personal kind of way.  For some reason I stayed on that channel until the show ended.  I was horrified. but I watched.  Man oh man.

One friend who knows me and reads what I share her recently wrote to me to tell me that I seem sad (you know who you are!).  She's very intuitive.

Well, first off, I'm not sure what words and/or phrases convey this message.  And I don't know if "sad" is the right word - melancholy, blue, other words with similar meaning but having various subtle differences in connotation would also work - but I'm not worried about the semantics.

Truth be told, it's probably true.  There are parts of my life right now that do make me sad, or at least have me less than happy. 

Before getting too far into this, I want to say that I'm not under some pervasive cloud of sadness, because that's not accurate.  I'm not depressed, either, at least not that I know of.  But the overwhelming change I've been dealing with recently mixed with the isolation of being alone in a strange place, in a hotel room, has been a significant burden on my psyche.  I've done this before, and I'm self-sufficient enough to do what needs be done, but I don't like it.  It's lonely, and it's hard, and it's....well....sad.

I've written about this in the past but I'll share it again because it's important.  One of the people who writes in a way that I can absolutely identify with is Dr Anne Vitale.  I've read her stuff since the earliest days of my transition and she seems to get it right every time.  Her most recent essay, published in April, is a reflection on post-op life (read it here).  It resonates.

I'm at a stage of life where I had expected to be more settled than I am.  I think that's part of it.  And I'm about to get even more unsettled before I allow myself to GET settled.  It just becomes a drain after a while.

I'm certainly not going to have a pity party for myself.  I've actually got things pretty good.  Job is fine.  Health is good.  Overall mood is good.  No major distractions.  There are some relatively minor irritations, but that's just part of life.  Overall,  something is missing, and that's the crux of it.

For some the missing piece is a fulfilling intimate partner.  That's not my most pressing need.  I find that the person who could be the other half of my coin would be a fairly rare thing.  Actively looking for someone to fill that role feels like it would be an energy sucking, confidence sapping, undertaking that would REALLY be depressing.  I won't let myself go there.  At least not now, while other things need attention.

I'm changing.  I suppose everyone is always changing, but this is a time of molting for me.  I'm moving past some parts of my life that have been there for a long time but need changing, I'm facing some of the things I've put on the back burner as finally needing to be settled, and in general there's lots going on.  I'm re-evaluating relationships, I'm re-evaluating priorities, I'm got lots of time on my hands to think, and that's not always a good thing.  

As I type this I've got basic creature comforts I could want.  I've got a good job, making a very good salary, at a billion dollar tech company known as being the leader in its field.  I've got very few distractions and if I did the logical thing I'd set my anchor here and start moving forward.

But that's not what I'm least not yet.  I'm unsettled.  I've got other needs that need attention so I'm taking care of bidness.  So, the more I think about it...I'm a little sad, I'm a little unfulfilled, and I'm a lot unsettled right now.

I'm not alone in this.  I suspect that lots and lots of us can relate.  These are universal human experiences. And, as my dad used to say....this too shall pass.

The song that immediately comes to mind...

So - if you see me.  Gimme a hug.  The universal cure for whatever ails you is a good hug.  And really - that's all I'd need right now.  :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Retail Therapy

Happy Labor Day.  Unfortunately, this day involves some labor.  I guess I won't complain as it certainly could be worse.

I need to bring my "stuff" 4 miles from one hotel to another.  I wasn't sure how long I'd be in this situation, but at the moment I'm not actively looking for something more permanent here so I'm going to an Extended Stay place that's a little less of a number of things.  It's less expensive.  It's less convenient.  I suspect it's less comfortable.  But, it has a kitchen so that's a plus.  Did I mention that it's less expensive?  Yup - I did.  Anyway, until some things get settled this is the way it's going to be and I've become ok with that.

I took a picture of the "other" side of the room here in the hotel at the moment.  Not horrible, but still several trips to the truck to pack.  I uploaded it to SnapLog along with a pic from the target I mentioned yesterday.  Still feeling good about that... (SnapLog here).

In my "balance" world I've got some fun scheduled for today, too.  I've got an appointment at the Apple store to chat about a couple of things.  It's near one of the other major stores I enjoy visiting, so although I don't necessarily need more "stuff" to move one can never underestimate the value of Retail Therapy.

Good day yesterday.  I went to a new gym and enjoyed that - good energy there leading to a good workout.  I visited a park at a lake.  The afternoon included a couple hundred miles of driving but no big deal.  I hooked up my DVD player to the TV here in the room so I'm not bouncing off the walls without anything to watch.  There was a fascinating story on 60 Minutes last night about KahnAcademy.  I got caught up on my laundry laundry.  I burned the pictures I took at my niece's wedding to CD's to send to the family.  I'm uncluttering some general clutter in life, things that I've needed to do for a while but I'm taking this time in-between "chapters" to do something about.

In another of those paradox things, I spent some time last night with my sewing kit fixing a couple of minor things that have needed a stitch here or there.  Sewing is one of those things mom mom does very well, and that I'd actually like to learn how to do more than simply be able to clumsily stitch the most rudimentary tears or buttons.

In this case, one of the fixes was on one of my favorite bras...I've had it for a long time and we've been thru a lot together.  I have grown into 38D bras, and for those who don't like them or wear them regularly, a good bra is more than a piece of clothing.  It's embracing some very important "assets",  so although there are some very significant basic considerations (are the straps comfortable?  how well does it fit?  what about the cups?) there's also an intimate intangible component as well (how does it make me feel?)  I realize there's a time to "let go", but this is the second bra that has had a "strap" issue so I fixed her.  She's a little tattered, but as far as I'm concerned she's got a bit more life left in her.

The "fix"

I may not make someone a domestic goddess someday, but at least I can do the basics when it comes to sewing and cooking.  I wish I were better, and still hold out hope to take lessons on learning because I really do want to.  Ironically, that's about the same rudimentary level that I am with a hammer or a saw, too, but I have no interest whatsoever in getting better with those things.

I'm a very, very, very loyal person.  I'm not sure that my own definition of "loyal" is the same as anyone else's but, I can point to a dozen examples in my world that make no sense but fit into that "loyalty".  For example, when it comes to buying my MAC make-up, I could go to any local store and do it but I call it into my peeps in Charleston so I can stop in, see them, and we can "play".  99% of my makeup is MAC.  100% of my bras are Victorie's Secret.  They're made well, they fit me, and I enjoy the overall "experience" of shopping for them.  As I say - retail therapy.

The Domocrat  Party world is descending on North Carolina.  Charlotte is less than three hours from here and the DNC is happening there all week long.  It's all over the news here so there's no getting away from it even if you wanted to.  According to recent news repots North Carolina is up for grabs so it's gonna get worse here before it gets better.

I feel no guilt in admitting that I don't plan to watch any of it, and will generally avoid all the "stuff" coming from it.  As I've shared already - when it comes to my vote my mind is already set for many, many good reasons.  Mitt Romney represents everything that I detest about "politics" these days so that's not a hard one.  But my opinion of Mr. Obama isn't quite what it was 4 years ago either.  My biggest concern at the time was that he had set such high expectations and wouldn't be able to deliver.  In my opinion - by and large - it took him a while to gain a sense of what being "president" was about.  And by the time he did, the moment had passed so he has become a victim of his own unrealized potential.

The thing I find most concerning is that there is such a large crowd of "Anyone But Obama" that would vote for Mitt Romney - it says something pretty scary to me about this country.  But be that as it may - everyone is entitled to an opinion so I'm going to hunker down while all the theatrics are being played and just do my thing.  I expect some big things happening in my world this week.

I try to avoid talking politics too much here, but I suppose my own blog is the appropriate forum for my own opinions if I wanted to expand on them.  I share them here more as a sign of disengagement more than anything.  I'm certainly a very engaged American.  But the background motivation isn't fueled by the same passion that it was 4 years ago.

In an odd way I've gotten relatively comfortable here in this hotel.  The bed is comfortable.  The room is big enough.  I've learned where things the various boxes or drawers or things aren't in so much tumult as usually comes with moving.  I'm hoping the next place has a similar feel to it - if the vibe isn't good there my current good head-space could take a bit of a hit.  Anyway, we shall see.

So - now to set about packing.  The sooner that's done, the sooner I can enjoy the rest of the day.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


It's a pretty Sunday morning.  I'm having breakfast at a hotel in Columbia SC.  As of Sept 1 I've gone my own version of a high protein/low carb diet for a while.  The first few days of these things are usually "interesting" but I've done them before so it's nothing I can't handle.  Your body gets used to lots of sugar so even though you may be eating other things, not having the typical high dose of carbs causes a "withdrawal".  Yuck.  But necessary.

As I've said in the past, I don't weigh myself.  I gauge my size by my clothes, and in particular by some slacks I own.  So, I'll know when I'm done when I can fit back into these pants.  I've started running again, too, which I've been pretty slack at doing over the summer.  It's just time to get back to it after a much needed "rest" following the intensity of the wrestling stuff.  That's pretty much the cycle of my life - intense/rest/intense/rest....

I was in Charleston for most of the day yesterday which was very pleasant.  I've been working in Raleigh for two weeks now and both weekends have included day-trips back home.  So far so good in that provides balance.  I still haven't found a place to settle - partly because a few things that seemed like possibilities have proven to include to much drama.  And partly because I'm still to unsettled to get settled.  That probably sounds like a paradox, but it's true.

I've decided to change hotels, though.  That starts tomorrow, so my Labor Day will be spent moving again.  From one hotel to another.  That may not sound like much work but I've actually got quite a bit of stuff collected from not knowing that I'd be able to get back to Charleston so frequently.  I suspect it will take the better part of the afternoon, assuming that it's not pouring.  I need to put the stuff in the back of the truck so if it's raining that'll slow things down.

I spent part of the day yesterday at the gun range trying various handguns. I'm focused .45's and have been doing research for a while now.  But shooting is like driving - it's one thing to read reviews or see videos online bu nothing can replace actually getting one in your hand so you can feel it.  It's amazing how different one gun is from another in terms of how it feels, how it aims, the kick after the shot...there are lots of dynamics involved.

One of the guys there was very, very helpful in looking over my shoulder, making some suggestions on stance and things to do/not do.  It really helped, and I both enjoyed and appreciated his help.  He got me an extra target and put it out - wanted to see what I could do with it.  Well, I did myself proud. (I'll post a picture of it on my SnapLog).  The person I usually deal with there is a woman a little younger than I am but she's a hoot.  Anyway...I enjoy going there.

I realize that guns are a touchy subject.  I appreciate that, and they're not for everyone.  I'm relatively new to them myself.  But one of the ingredients I'm looking for in my first firearm purchase is one that's actually fun to shoot.  I enjoy going to the range.  That's more important to me than getting something small I can put in my purse, or getting something that I'm going to lock in a drawer in my house and hope to never use.  I've learned that when I'm interested in something I wade pretty deep and I can already tell this is going to be one of those things.

Anyway - For this first gun I've pretty much settled on the specific model I'll be buying, and where I'll be buying it from.  Now it's a matter of saving the $$$ given all the other expenses in my life at the moment.  In one of those unique life balance things, another of my errands yesterday was to visit my people at the MAC counter.  I recently ordered some makeup and had to go pick it up.  I know most of the girls there by name and look forward to seeing them, too.  They're a cool, fun, hip kinda crowd.

That's what I'm talking about when I say that Charleston has come to be "home".  I know people there. They make doing things fun.  And as I've articulated here recently wherever I go for work - I'm going to keep a foothold in the Low Country.  That's my grounding.  That's my center right now.  I'll visit it every weekend if I have to, but for now the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder is true in that respect.

I've said in the past that I consider FB to be a blessing and a curse.  But when it is a blessing - that's what keeps me there.  People I haven't kept in touch with over the years or surprising things that turn up.  Otherwise, I would have disconnected from it a long time ago.  When I stop seeing that value - I'll unplug.

In the meantime I started deleting 'Friends' from FB since I'm way over the limit and people I actually want to keep in touch with can't connect with me.  If all you post is political stuff - we really don't need to be friends.  We probably already have similar views anyways, so don't get your feelings hurt if it happens.  If all we have in common is "trans" stuff - and we don't connect regularly - that's probably not enough either.  Anyway, I'm trying to delete upwards of 25 people a day so I can get to a point of being able to add people I actually know.

I've got some errands to do here in Columbia today so I'm going to head out to start.  I'm relatively upbeat at the moment for some reason - not sure why considering all that's happening in the background that I'm not talking about.  But the important part of life is outlook - that helps to overcome the gloomiest of days.