Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Unfolding

It's rare that I post twice in the same day.  Sometimes I'm lucky if I post twice in the same week.

Usually it means something is going on.  Writing is an outlet, and whether or not I actually write about what's on my mind or what's happening it still helps to "get it out".  I suppose I could write someplace private, as in my own journal, but as I've said a number of times this blog has become that for me.  As far as I know, I can write whatever I want here, push the "Publish" button, and nobody will read it but I've got the benefit of the catharsis that writing provides.  Of course, I realize that the reality is otherwise but it's like a tree falling in the woods with nobody there to hear it.  To put it here is to share it.

It's easy to become paralyzed by uncertainty.  When all options seems to be inter-related and all of them are waiting for something to happen in hopes it will clarify the path it can be easy to delay decisions, or actions.  Making a decision involves putting a stake in the sand, and forcing other things to happen.  That can be scary, as it involves uncertainty (in reality, there's always uncertainty....we just choose to find ways to minimize it so it feels comfortable).

I don't do inaction well, probably to a fault.  I'm not afraid to make decisions, and then to live with the consequences.  I suppose I could continue to wait, and hope that something will somehow magically shed a light on the "right" path.  But I've learned the hard way that sometimes all roads are the right road, or the wrong road, so the key is to trust your gut and accept the path you've chosen.  Thankfully, I think I've chosen more right paths than not....or at least I've come to peace with the decisions I've made.

So - that said, today I made a decision that will significantly impact things that happen next.  I signed a lease, here locally, to rent a house.  When I say "locally" I use the term loosely as home will be in the same county but for the first time in recent memory I have a place where I can move all my "stuff".  That's a small part of what this means, as the uncertainty of contract location and other practical considerations are still very real.

And, when I say "house" I mean a whole 2-bedroom/2-bath 1,400+ square foot house with a large screened in front porch.  It's not a furnished apartment, as this is.  It's not sharing someone else's space as I've done for the better part of these past half dozen years.  It's MY space....and it's so private I can move my drum kit there and play without a neighbor complaining.  It's so "out there" that they don't get cable so there's a satellite dish to watch tv.  My dogs can live there and have a huge yard bordered on 3 sides by over a quarter million acres of National Forest, and nearby ocean.  I need to buy a lawn mower because there's actually a bunch of lawn that needs attention.

My new space is the polar opposite of living here downtown.  And as much as I love it here downtown I'm stretching out knowing I can always come and visit just like anyone else (although the irony is that most Low Country locals avoid downtown like the plague - too many tourists here).  But the days of walking around the corner to a restaurant, or to shop, are coming to an end.  I'll need to drive a bit to get here.

There is risk.  I could hate it, as it's a totally new thing.  It could get kinda lonely.  The ongoing conundrum of career/life balance is a concerns as most of my current work discussions are centered around cities that aren't Charleston.  Some aren't even in the same time zone.  Rationally or not, I'll admit at least a mild concern that there might be biting snakes out there (South Carolina has its fair share - read here).  And this area is close enough to the ocean that it was almost totally destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 - there are still huge boats by the side of the road that were left there by the tidal surge (I'll put a picture of one here eventually).

All that said, my gut is good with this and sometimes that's all we've got.  I'm ready for some change, and this is certainly that.   But for me, change is often served in fairly large portions.  Sometimes life changes are forced upon us, and sometimes we get the opportunity to choose if we've got the courage to actually make a decision.  In this case, I choose.  I suppose time will tell see if I have chosen wisely.

Very few things in life are permanent.  I've done some things that truly are permanent, but where I live isn't one of those things.  This is simply what comes next and as with most change I look forward to it with a mixture of anticipation and tempered concern.

In honor of what is happening, I'm about to watch a movie that I DVR'd a while ago, but haven't seen yet.  I'm going to watch "We Bought a Zoo" which seems to have a number of parallel threads.

On another topic, I'm glad I shared the beach wrestling photo this morning.  It's actually a significant statement of comfort.  To compete on a beach, in that particular sport, in a bathing suit, in front of a lot of people, requires a certain comfort level to do for pretty much anyone.    Needless to say, that's particularly true for me as there are, well, additional "complications" that make it that much more difficult.  To be honest, I didn't think much about it while it was happening as I was too focused on the issue at hand.  But in looking at that photo, and making the decision to share it here, I do see it in retrospect.  Anyway, as I said it's certainly not the most flattering photo ever taken of me.  But at 50 plus years of life and counting, I hope to have similar comfort with my body for a long time to come.

Tuesday is Half-Price-Burger night at my favorite little downtown pub.  I had dinner there tonight, and then went for a walk to soak it all in.  I'll be moving the small portion of my life stuff that is here in Charleston into the house slowly over the next few days.  Then?  Well, we'll see.  That's the beauty of life sometimes.  It unfolds itself.

I'll close by sharing some misc iPhone photos from my downtown stroll this evening....

To Oblivion

We went to see the movie "Oblivion" over the weekend.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It was the kind of movie I'd typically expect to see in the summer - but for some reason I enjoyed the characters (including Tom Cruise), there was the right amount of "action", the special effects were stunning, and in the end it lasted after I left the theater as it provided kernels to think about.  Anyways - it's the kind of movie I like regardless of whether critics rave or pan it.

I needed the temporary diversion that a movie like that can provide.  I've got a lot on my plate right now and don't mind admitting that if I stop to think about it all it can be nerve-wracking.  I've got a number of options and it's hard to know what to do on any one of them because they're all connected.  So, until something happens to nail it all down I'll either need to continue to ride things out until something becomes more solid or just make a decision hoping that everything else will fall into place (and knowing that it might not).  I tend NOT to let myself become paralyzed while waiting for things to happen so I expect I'll just do what I decide to do and hope the rest of it all falls into place.  

Regardless - last week was too busy to stop and think about it but this week I can't help it.

The headline on the national news last night wasn't about a bombing.  It wasn't about a building collapsing, or something horrible that happened in Afghanistan.  It wasn't about North Korea, or jobs, or guns, or politics.  It was about an active NBA player coming out as gay.

I'll admit that I was a little taken aback that this was deemed the "headline" of the day.  While I certainly admire this player and recognize what it could/should mean, I didn't expect it to make this big a splash.  I guess I was wrong.  Anyway, I'm glad that openly LGBT athletes in the big 4 professional team sports is no longer something that doesn't have a face.  It's real.  And, as big as it finally happening is what happens next.

Back to movies - the DVD for Silver Lining Playbook is out this week.  I'll buy it.  All things considered, it was my favorite movie of 2012.  

A friend took some photos of the Beach Wrestling on Saturday.  They're not necessarily the most flattering photos I've ever shared but I had a wonderful time.  At this age I think I enjoy this style of wrestling most.  I only wish there were someone around I could practice more with...

2013 US National Beach Wrestling Championships

The key to all of this, and it's not just talk, is to DO things in life.  I like to think my actions reflect that approach to life as it's the driving force in much that I do.  The only failure in my book is to prevent fears or discomforts from doing the things in life that you want to do, want to try, or simply enjoy.  If anyone had ever told me I'd be doing half the things in my life that I do I would have told them that they were crazy.  My opponent in this photo is 24 years old and has competed on the Jr. National World Team.  All I can say is thank God I'm still in shape enough to do this, and that sand is soft.  :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Sport

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I love my sport.

That's why I do it at this stage of life.  And the infrequent opportunities that I have to actually do it remind of of that.

I traveled to Carolina Beach, NC yesterday to compete in the US National Beach Wrestling Championships.  The top 3 finishers in each weight division earn a spot to represent the US at the World Championships in Morocco at the end of May.

But, to be honest, the thing that makes these events special for me are the people as much as the competition, or the sport.

A friend I've known for years (you know who you are!) just so happened to be nearby and I had the distinct honor to spend yesterday evening with him and his wife.  They attended today's event, which made it even more "fun" for me as I typically do these things alone.

The woman who won my weight class drove all the way from Kentucky with her husband to compete. She's a wrestling coach there, and has competed for the US on the Jr. National Freestyle team before.  I've seen her at other competitions, but today was the first time we wrestled.  To be honest - even though I won this event in 2011 that was because there were no other competitors in my weight class, so today was the first time I've ever beach wrestled.

If someone were to ask whether I'd rather be in a weight class with no competitors and win a trophy or actually have someone to compete against and lose I'd choose the latter.  That's what happened today - I lost.  But as far as I'm concerned, I accomplished everything I went there to do.  Including not getting hurt.

When I was a kid I had a poster on my bedroom wall that said "Second Place is Just the First Loser".  There was a time when I absolutely believed that....when winning at all costs was the ONLY goal.  Thankfully life experience, maturity, and perspective have helped to mellow that outlook so that often simply putting yourself out there to experience something is enough.  I continue to be the only 54-year old woman crazy enough to do some of these things...and I'm not done yet.

I'd LOVE to go to Morocco to represent the US at the Worlds.  Now THAT would be a true first.  The challenge is to find the funding/sponsorship to make it happen in the short period of time available because that's not in my budget.  But I'll do my best to investigate what can be done, starting Monday.

I chatted with three or four people - all very nice - including a referee who's my age who remembers me from a previous tournament.  We had a good long chat - it turns out he's from Cortland, NY which is up near the area of NY state where I spent all totalled 25 years of my life.  He lives in North Carolina now and I suspect our paths will cross again.

The real kicker of it all is that today was another opportunity just to be.  Just to live.  To do something I enjoy.  There was no drama.  There wasn't a bunch of wonky bullsh*t people trying to prevent me from being there.  There was no inherent advantage.  Exactly the opposite.  People were warm and inviting and genuine.  As I said at the outset - these events are as much about my "community" (the wrestling community, that it) as about winning or losing.  Today, the better wrestler won.  But, I live to compete another day.

I expect that video of my matches will be online at some point over the next couple of weeks.  I'll share them if they are.  In the meantime I'm treating myself to a little Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Honey Caramel Greek Frozen Yogurt as therapy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

ENDA 2013

As I predicted in my last post, it has been a whirlwind of a week.  And it's not over yet.

I made the 10-hour train trip to northern Virginia on Monday, I did my event there all day on Tuesday, I took the train back on Wednesday, I had a busy day catching up on things yesterday, and today I pack and drive to a beach in North Carolina to wrestle tomorrow.  I'll drive back tomorrow night.

It was a fairly remarkable trip, but I can't really talk about it other than to say it was a very full day and I'm happy with how everything went.  It was unlike my typical "event" in a number of ways and my thanks go to everyone who worked to make it happen.  One of the comments I heard over and over again the fact it happened at all is a huge step forward as it would have been unthinkable even 4 or 5 years ago.  Anyway, it was a pretty big deal, and everyone was wonderful to me.  Again, thank you to everyone involved.

If you take a train trip of any distance you'll find that the train stops from time to time.  Typically, they'll come across the intercom and say that the tracks narrow to one instead of two ahead and they're waiting for another train to pass before they can proceed.  Over the course of a ten hour trip it's not a big deal and you just get used to it.

I mention it because on on the way home we came to a stop in North Carolina, just north of the South Carolina border.  They came onto the intercom and said we had stopped for mechanical reasons.  Most of us didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, until police and EMS people were visible out the windows walking along the tracks next to the train.  A rumor started spreading that we had struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing, and after nearly an hour the conductor confirmed that it was indeed true.

We were stopped for a bit over two hours while they searched along the tracks, and removed a portion of the vehicle that had been stuck under the front of the train.  A news article (read here) indicates that a 19 year old had gone around the barriers and tried to beat the train - travelling at nearly 80 mph - across the track.  He didn't make it, and was killed.  It's a tragic reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye...

In other news, something happened yesterday that I've been told to expect.  ENDA was introduced in both houses in DC (see details here).  It's hard to believe that it has been 6 years since the ENDA debacle of 2007 where sponsor Barney Frank dropped transpeople from the bill.  I'm totally confident that it will not happen again, and that the sponsors this time around are committed to ONLY a fully-inclusive bill.  Of course, I heard the same thing last time around (and believed) - but although that perhaps should make me somewhat cautious that it could or might happen again, I'm totally convinced that what has been introduced will not be significantly altered.

Will it pass?  Time will tell.  NCTE is sponsoring a lobby day in DC and I think that the more people show their support the better chance it has.  It's also important to keep the discussion focused on what this relatively simple piece of legislation is about - workplace equality for ALL LGBT people - and not let it get sidetracked to the usual disgusting arguments about bathrooms and such.  

I also have no interest in discussing my feelings on how HRC fits into any of this.  As far as I'm concerned, they're irrelevant in every way.  Regardless of how things play out they'll either shift blame or take credit and I really couldn't care less as long as the right things happen.  

Time to pack for my trip.  I'll compete tomorrow for a US National Championship, and the right to represent this country at the World Championships in Morocco.  I won it two years ago and didn't make the trip to try to win it again last year.  It's a much simpler version of wrestling than Freestyle.  There's a 20-foot circle on the beach and the first person to score two points wins.  Competitors score points by pushing their opponent out of the circle or taking them down and gaining control.  Typically, most matches are relatively short so we'll see how it all plays out.  I approach this with the same attitude that I had in previous tournaments - it's truly an honor simply to participate because I really enjoy the sport.  The outcome will happen as it does, and all I can hope for is to do my best, and that nobody (including me) gets hurt.  


Saturday, April 20, 2013


So...a certain someone called yesterday.

She's got a cat, and from time to time her cat leaves little "gifts" or offerings for her on the porch by the front door.  Partially eaten birds.  Fur balls.  Other stuff.

Anyway, she called to tell me that the cat had injured a chipmunk and chased it into the garage.  So, I headed over to help her find it and get the poor thing out.

When I got there she had found it, in the corner of the garage.  It was scared, hiding behind some stuff and all you could really see was it's big eyes.  I tried to lure it out to see how badly it was hurt and two things became apparent (1) it wasn't hurt and (2) it wasn't a chipmunk.

We had been at the mall sometime last year and they were selling these little squirrel-like creatures called Sugar Gliders.  They're like small flying squirrels, and this little thing was certainly a sugar glider.  Someone must have gotten one and let it go or something - they're indigenous to northern Australia - and they're expensive little critters.

Well, we were trying to get it out so we could set it free and the little thing suddenly lept directly towards a certain someone, flying thru the air, landing on its feet, and scampering behind some shelves.  It all happened in a moment....it was so unexpected.  I wish I had it on video....we're still laughing about it.

Anyway, it was just one of those things.

I was watching Forrest Gump a little earlier.  I've seen it dozens of times.  Maybe even 50, or more.  It's an important movie to me for a number of reasons, including the fact that it always makes me emotional.  Even now, after all these times.  I turn it off as soon as Forrest and Jenny get married because watching more than that wrecks me for hours.  Anyway - it's good to get your emotions stirred sometimes.

This is going to be a busy week.  I head to the Washington DC area on Monday to talk at the CIA on Tuesday, then come back home on Wednesday.  I'll be here for a day before driving up near Wilmington NC on Friday for a wrestling event where I'll be competing on Saturday.  I expect to drive back to Charleston after the event, but depending on how I'm feeling I might stay there an extra night.  Then I need to finish moving my "stuff".  I'm not quite sure how it's all going to fit, but somehow it always does.

I'm not planning to talk too much about the wrestling thing until after it's over.

That's it for now.  Lots to do over the next couple of days before things really get crazed.  That's just the speed of life sometimes....  :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Interesting Times

We are living in "interesting" times.  Over the past week the news has been consumed by the bombings at the Boston Marathon and the ensuing manhunt, the arrest of a woman for the murders of a DA, his wife and an assistant DA in Texas, a huge explosion at a fertilizer plant just outside of Waco TX, and lost in all of this, the failure in the Senate to pass new gun control legislation.  I haven't seen North Korea making headlines in over a week which is a welcome change.

As for me - I've alluded to the fact that I've got a number of big things going on in my own life.  One is finding my next contract.  I like the fact that my projects have a specific beginning and end, and I very much enjoy my "me" time in the middle.  But it's time for me to find another project and that effort is now seriously under way.  I expect that it will very likely take me away from Charleston during the week similar to my most recent project in Raleigh, but I've made the decision that if I do need to go someplace (a) it needs to be someplace I can fly to for a reasonable cost - my days of driving 1000+ plus miles per week are done and (b) I'd prefer to go someplace I've already been (that means you, Austin and Phoenix).

Part of the bigger picture involves the fact that I've decided to move at the end of the month.  As much as I love living downtown, my practical side has convinced my impetuous side that a more realistic long-term arrangement involves more than this historic one-bedroom apartment.  I'd prefer not to have a roommate or share a space, I don't want an apartment, I want something that's got some space around it, and I'd like a "home" so I'm looking at house that are "farther out" to rent.  I saw one yesterday that I really liked.

Part of my packing includes going through boxes I've got and lightening my load by throwing some things away.  I came across a box that included the champagne glasses from my wedding - they really have no  value to me anymore.

They've been in a box along with my wrestling singlet from 1979 and some other things.  It's all in my trash bag now.

I'm a nostalgic person and like to keep what I'll call "memorabilia" from events in my life but I'm ambivalent when it comes to my wedding.  It was a lifetime ago.  

I suppose that's a lifelong process - gaining new things in life and letting go of old things.  Anyway - it continues.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fog and Clear

Attention this morning is on the horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday.  We live in dangerous times, and whether it's something as huge as the Boston Marathon, going to a movie, going to school, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time - terrible things can happen.  My heart goes out to all who were injured and their families.

It's easy to wonder how people can intentionally do these kinds of things to kill and injure innocent victims.  But it's also reassuring to see how quickly strangers sprang into motion to help one another.  They mayor of Boston said, "Moments like these, terrible as they are, don't show our weakness.  They show our strength".  Amen.

This kind of thing puts other "stuff" in perspective.  Some of the things that have happened this weekend, not to me but in the lives of a number of dear friends, are reminders about the ebb and flow of life tides.  I'm in the middle of my own little ebb/flow thing but it's nothing in comparison to the challenges friends are dealing with.  The good news is that none of the news is life threatening and the pain/difficulty will pass but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with in the moment.

On to other topics....

They just had an article on the news about falling gas prices.  Apparently, SC has the lowest prices nationally.  Most of the gas stations around here are selling unleaded for $3.30-$3.40 a gallon, but I filled up at Costco earlier today for $3.11.  With a big gas tank like mine, it makes a big difference.

I was driving across the bridge into Mt. Pleasant this morning and I noticed something that seemed symbolic to me.  I see symbolism all over the place so it's not surprising that this was one of those things.  It's just that I'm sharing this one...

There's a big bridge that spans the Ashley River connecting downtown Charleston to Mt. P.  At the bottom of the bridge this morning, things were completely fogged in.  You can usually see the bridge and all the "stuff" on the other side, but when there's fog you can't see 20 feet ahead of you.  One thing you could see, though, was the bright sphere of the sun burning through it all.

The bridge itself is a high arc.  Within 30 seconds, I was above the fog.  It's like flying through a rainy day, and getting above the clouds.  I took these two pictures - literally - less than a minute apart.

Anyway, it was kind of symbolic of life for me.  In the day-to-day goings on it's sometimes hard to see the bigger picture.  But, in reality, if you wait a little while things do become clear.  

I realize that probably sounds like a lot of psycho-babble, but given some of the uncertainty in my own life at the moment it's a lot like this...foggy at the bottom, but a clear view of the bigger picture nearby.  It just takes a bit of patience (and faith) to wait for it.  I think a similar perspective would be helpful right now for a number of my dear friends...

They announced that Steely Dan is coming to Charleston in September.  I've been a Dan Fan since I was a teenager and would LOVE to see them.  But tickets start at $100 and go up from there - frankly, I don't know that I'd pay to see $100+ for any concert at the moment.  I've got other more expensive things going on so I'm going to need to be satisfied with my Dan records for the moment.  Given a choice of getting my hair done or a concert ticket - I'm choosing getting my hair done.  That's a place I won't scrimp....

I got back from my 2,000 mile road trip without significant issues.  But the very next day I went to start up the car and the dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree.  I brought it in and it had an exhaust issue that was thankfully covered by the warranty.  Anyway - I'm at nearly 50,000 miles for the year, and counting.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

So little time.

I did some yard work yesterday and got my first bit of sun since last summer.  It felt good.  Despite the fact that I've had a melanoma I won't hide from the sun.  Rather, being "wise" about sun screen, preventing significant burning, and 6-month dermatologist skin check-ups is my way of balancing the risks and the healthy benefits of the sun.  I choose to live in places that are warm and sunny, so it's more a matter of coming to peace with that relationship than hiding from it.  Anyway, it felt good to do some work outside - it was well worth the itchy ant bite on my thumb.

Last week I wrote about a list that had been compiled honoring the work of 100 notable trans people for the work they're doing.  The full list was recently published (see it here).  I mentioned at the time that I'm not a big fan of lists, but it's nice to see that there are so many of us out there doing important work and getting recognition for it.  I'm of the opinion that any list of trans recognition that doesn't have Jamison Green (in my mind, he's the ultimate) on it has missed something but I'm sure that anyone who considers any list has their own version of people who should or shouldn't be included.  I don't think anyone does this work does it to be recognized for it, they do it because it's important and it needs to be done.  Re-congratulations to ALL who are working so hard on moving the mountain for trans visibility and equality.

I typically sit down at my computer twice a day - once in the morning when I get up and once in the evening.  My morning visit is typically combined with a cup of coffee, and a quick scan of the news.  Current headlines are about events in the world: N. Korea, gun legislation, a situation where firefighters in GA were held hostage, the Dow Jones, etc.  One gruesome story caught my eye about a man who walked into a Home Depot and started cutting his arms off with saws (story here).  Oy.

On another note, I watched the ceremonial beginning of the Masters this morning.  I don't play golf - I don't even really watch it.  But the opening featured drives by Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer.  Those are all names from my childhood - names that personified golf.  My dad would spend Sunday afternoons watching it (or bowling....yeesh), and although the rules (and skill) of the game eluded me those are the names I remember.  Anyway, it was oddly nostalgic to watch these three people still hitting the ball.  Afterwards, Jack Nicklaus mentioned that he could hear the ball land which gives an indication of how far it went which made me smile.  Time doesn't stand still for any of us.  Anyway, I'm glad I saw that.

Well, I've got a number of things to do today and thru the weekend so I'll keep this short and get at it.  So much to do....so little time.  :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

World News

So, in the Fallon Fox MMA saga the buffoon who decided to spew his hateful ignorance on TV last week has been suspended "indefinitely" for his breach of the UFC Code of Conduct (story here).   It has now made it's way to be national news.

As for me - I finished the last 700 miles of the drive yesterday to get home.  Good weather, good roads, truck ran great - I think the thing that's worse for wear at the moment is my neck.  But overall, I tried to split up the 2,000 miles over the 4 days so that no single day involved over 10 hrs. of driving.  That's probably a good life rule.

The lowest gas I saw was $3.08/gal at one gas station in VA.  I also saw prices as high as $3.85 in other parts of VA, closer to DC.  Typical prices were around $3.50.  Needless to say, my Big-A$$-Truck needs be to fed fairly frequently...

Lots going on in the world.

N. Korea preparing to test some missiles.  I look at the news every morning when I get up to see if a war has started there yet.

Conversations about guns are like conversations about religion or politics - they evoke strong responses.  A gun control "deal" appears to be making its way for a vote in Washington.  It's a significantly watered down version of what was originally proposed in terms of banning certain items including a wide arrange of firearms and limited magazine capacities.  The version being proposed specifically focuses on universal background checks (supported by 90% of US citizens based on recent polls).  I made no secret that I truly don't think that the originally proposed "gun control" would significantly reduce gun violence (which is the reason it's being considered in the first place) and was a simplistic knee-jerk reaction to a single specific tragic event.

Whereas I didn't support those original farther-reaching bans, I can support the background check push.  However, I perceive that it's affects will be more symbolic than real.  Should that prevent it from passing?  No.  But the argument that much of the gun violence in this country happens with guns that are obtained illegally so the most significant affect will be on law-abiding, responsible gun-owners is a compelling one that I don't think will be significantly affected by background checks.  Congress feels compelled to do something, and I feel that this will be that thing.

Personally, as a gun owner, I feel that something along the line of ensuring gun buyers demonstrate some sort of knowledge of responsible gun ownership would have as much of an effect on accidental gun deaths in this country.  How to clean it.  How to store it.  How to keep it away from kids.  As far as I'm concerned, responsible ownership of a firearm is just as (or more) important than being able to buy one.

Individual states are implementing their own restrictions.  Connecticut just passed the most restrictive gun-control legislation in the country.  But a USA Today headline story earlier this week is more concerning for me - the fact that some states are looking to slap significant taxes on ammunition.  For example, it says that Maryland is proposing a 50% tax on ammunition, and California is considering a 5-cent tax on every bullet.  Needless to say, I won't be buying ammunition in Maryland or CA.

I was looking at some firearm death statistics and was shocked to learn that there are more deaths annually from self-inflicted gunshot wounds (ie suicides) than homicides.  In 2010 there were ~11,000 homicide deaths involving firearms, compared with nearly 20,000 suicide gunshot deaths! (link here).  Suicides overtook motor vehicle deaths as the #1 cause of injury death (story here).

Anyway, it's a complicated topic and all I can say is that I'm VERY careful, and I don't expect to become a statistic in any of those categories.

On a lighter topic - I enjoy breakfasts.  This morning I made myself some scrambled eggs, covered them with pepper jack cheese, some salsa, and a dollop of sour cream.  Mmmmmm.  Now that's the way to start a day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Roading again

I'm in a hotel again, in the middle of a nearly 2,000 mile, 4-day road trip.  As ridiculous as things like this are, they are getting harder and harder for me to do - I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or I'm just getting tired of them - but I can still drive pretty much anywhere if I need to.  I realized today that I put 45,000 miles on my truck since I got it last April...that's almost 1,000 miles a week.  Sheesh.

Anyway, tomorrow is the last leg of the trip.  690 miles to go.  It's not my Phoenix trip, but it's not a social trip either.  It's something that needed to happen.  I'm a do-what-you-need-to-do kind of person and this is one of those things I needed to do so there's no sense in whining about it.  I'll admit, though, that if I could time-warp myself ahead a few days to get past the road time I'd do it.

I've got some pressures waiting for me back home, including needing to do my income tax.  I typically do it with a shot of bourbon nearby - it's good to either celebrate some money coming back or drown the sorrows of owing.  Either way, we'll see how it all works out this year.

One story that I've been watching from afar is the saga of MMA fighter Fox Fallon.  After an "investigation" she was granted a license to fight in Florida, as I expected.  But getting a license and gaining social acceptance are two different things and the fact that the right thing happened here has simply made the crazies even crazier.

One MMA fighter went off on her (story here, and another here).  He is ignorance personified.  The days when people can sling that kind of crap without being held accountable have past.  As of tonight, his contract has been suspended (story here).  I can't wait to see what his apology looks like.

When I'm on these kinds of trips I don't typically have much time to follow news.  I did watch parts of the Syracuse/Michigan NCAA Final Four game on Saturday but I was dead tired from a day on the road.  I'll admit to some disappointment in the outcome, but my days of being emotionally invested in sports teams is over.  As a Buffalo fan I've learned the hard way that sports disappointment is a bitter, but all-too-reliable, companion.  And whether it be maturity or transition or whatever - it's easy to keep these kinds of things in perspective.

Anyway, the Championship game is tonight but I expect to be in bed before halftime.  I'll see the winner on the USA Today in the lobby as I check out.

I'm watching Diners, Drive-In's and Dives on the Food Network to unwind.  Good thing I'm not hungry.  I still think that the host of this show has one of the best jobs in the world....

That's it from here.  It's time for this road rat to get to bed.  :~D

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Good Company

I had originally hoped to go to Phoenix this week.  As with many things in my life, general "plans" didn't play out to be reality....too many other things going on right now, original plane fares that were affordable suddenly disappeared, life just got in the way....so that moment has passed.

I had a very pleasant Easter.  I've got some friends who have become like "family" here who invited me (and the pups) to dinner.  It was delightful.

These last several days were originally forecast to be rainy and brisk.  They have been wonderful.  The rain moves in tonight, though, and we'll get a couple of days of it....good for lawns and flowers.  The city is already flooded with out-of-towners here on Spring Break vacations, for various University functions as their school year winds down, and the usual crush of people who come here in the spring to enjoy all the beautiful colors and aromas.

I saw that there is a Trans 100 List out there, and am glad that there is something to recognize all the amazing work being done - most of it quietly - to support the trans "movement".  By "movement" I mean the effort to move us from a marginalized minority to a relatively mainstream one that is able to transcend the tired, old stereotypes.  When I was young - heck - even ten years ago when I was busy w/ HRC - I would have had a hard time naming two dozen trans people who were quietly making things happen.  The fact that we've got 100, and I'm sure that there are many more not on the list, is tremendously encouraging.  We need to provide these kinds of forums of visibility.  Why?  Because nobody else does.

I have always envisioned the community as going through the growing pains of infancy as we find out who we are, how all the various "flavors" that comprise the many communities involved can find a common direction, and we can escape the need for larger, non-trans focused organizations who don't get it and never will to define our needs, our agendas, and our heroes.  Anyway - this is nice to see.

A certain someone took a photo of me playing with the pups on her lawn yesterday.  It's not the most glamorous or graceful photo, but it's a good candid of me and my dogs.  Maggie is loving a tummy scratch and Cody just likes being near.  He sleeps on the foot of my bed, and truth be told although they cause all kinds of logistical challenges for me that are causing me some angst at the moment but they're good company and...well....they're family.

From time to time a song comes along that hits me for some reason.  Sometimes I know the reason.  Sometimes, I don't.  Or at least perhaps I do but I don't want to face it.  Same difference.  But it stirs emotion in me and as far as I'm concerned that's the beauty of art whether it be a song, a video, a movie, a book, a photograph, or whatever.

Anyway, one of those songs is the latest by Maroon 5 titled "Daylight".  I love the video for it:

There's another, longer version video version that's equally as compelling (link here).

I've got a lot of my mind at the moment.  Lots needs to happen this month, some of which I'm going to like and some of which I'm not.  Regardless, decisions will be made, chapters will end, and others will begin.  In other words.....life continues, as usual.