Friday, August 30, 2013


As I type this I'm in a hotel just south of Chicago, IL.  I'm headed home to Rochester, NY to visit with my mom, brother and sister, and my pups.  It'll be a 2,000 mile drive over the 4 days of this long weekend - not all that much fun being on the highway with 34 million cars, trucks, RV's, campers, and crazy people (story here).

I put in a full day of work today before doing my 450 mile drive and it actually wasn't all that bad until I started to get near Chicago.  The heatwave in the midwest is giving way to a storm that looked like driving into the jaws of hell.  Literally.  The temperature dropped from 102 to 72 in less than 45 minutes, and the dark skies full of lightning were actually pretty spectacular (other than I was driving straight into it).

Thankfully, the skies didn't actually open up on me until I was less than a dozen miles from the hotel.  So, here I bed, unwinding for a little bit before getting a good night sleep.  I've got 620 miles to go tomorrow.  I hope the worst of the storms are past.  At least it'll be daytime....

Actually - these distances feel like nothing.  I'm so used to 800 to 1,000 miles in a day that averaging 500 or 600 is actually a pretty short, almost leisurely, driving day for me.  Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing - it's just the way it is.

This is a lot of trouble and expense for less than 18 hours in Rochester but my mom is there for her 84th birthday and we don't get many opportunities to all be together as a family.  The last time was a year ago at my niece's wedding.  Anyway, from someone who believes that we do what we need to do to make what needs to happen happen - here I am.

Plus, I'll make a trip to Wegmans to bring a stockpile of stuff back with me.  I suspect that the time will go quickly.  


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I'm finally mostly caught up from my weekend.  I don't know if it's that the weekends are THAT crazy or it's just taking me longer to recover due to age.  Yesterday I was a dragging puppy...I think I yawned more between 8am and 8pm yesterday than I have over any 12 hour period I can remember.  Ever.

It's worth it, though.  Over the weekend I did my usual crazy trip to Charleston and back.  It pays dividends beyond what I can explain, but there is a price that I'm willing to pay.

I haven't been back home in several weeks - too long.  The weekend was a unique blend of my life...I got my hair done, I did a number of errands, I got a pedicure, I spent some time at the shooting range, I had a delightful dinner with some dear friends, I did some lawn work, I went to church, blah blah blah.  All things considered - wonderful balance.  And, although none of it may sound like magic - it all was.

My luggage on the way home contained a cornucopia of interesting things.  I brought my favorite waffle iron back with me.  My "main" tripod was in it.  I had some purchases from the latest MAC collection.  There was a couple of nice Victoria Secret bras.  I had a couple of dilators.  And there was a handgun.

There are some very specific "rules" to follow when putting a handgun in your luggage to fly on a plane; I was well aware of them and followed them to the letter.  Part of the process involves declaring the handgun at the luggage counter and showing the people at ticketing that the gun isn't loaded.

It's a little unnerving to pull out a large, full-sized .45 handgun in an airport where there is a big sign on the door saying "No Dangerous Weapons".  Thankfully, there weren't too many people in line to watch.  I will say that one of the guys behind the counter spent a moment appreciating it - I did a lot of research before getting it.

After showing them it wasn't loaded I put it back in the case, locked it, and they put a bright orange sign indicating that they had inspected it and that it was unloaded into the luggage.  Someone else further down the line checked the luggage, too, based on the little TSA flyer that they gave me.  I allotted an extra half hour for this process, and was glad it didn't take nearly that long.

Here are a couple of photos from the weekend:

The Marina

Broad Street evening

If you ever want to do something humbling, try on wet suits.  They're tight, and clingy, and they accentuate every curve (both the good ones, and the not-so-good ones).  I stopped at the Scuba store while I was home and tried on 8 of them.  It's amazing that I didn't dislocate a shoulder trying to pull some of those things on.  It reminded me of the early days, when pulling on a pair of panty hose with long nails was a significant feat.  Honestly, I can't remember the last time I wore a pair of panty hose.  I hope to be wearing my wet suit quite often....

The news has been full of trans stories lately above and beyond the Pfc. Manning mess.  Two brutal murders - one in NY (story here) and one in LA (story here). A trans nursing student in Florida was denied access to the bathroom (story here).  There are dozens of huge life events happening in the lives of friends that will never make the news.  I sometimes feel fortunate that my life has become so....unremarkable.  At least, as far as most are concerned.  Truth be told - I know otherwise.

I don't usually ask for favors here, but I'll ask one now.  I've said before how important a person my electrologist, Maria, has been in my life.  She has truly helped me through the darkest of times, and she has been a blessing.  I'd do anything I can to help her, just as she has done for me.  That's what friends do.

She has been working with the trans community for over 25 years, and deserves angel wings for the hundreds of lives she has touched, and changed.  She is a gift, a gem, a true hero to many of us.

Her spa, Senza Pelo Med Spa, is one of the Top 5 Med Spa's in the annual Phoenix New Times "Best of Phoenix" voting.  She needs votes to help her achieve the top spot.  So, I ask a personal favor.  Please go the the voting ballot and vote for her (link here).  If she wins - that'd be huge.  And I thank everyone in advance for taking the time to help.  As I say - that's what friends do....

My rest will be short-lived.  This weekend I face Labor Day traffic to drive 1,000 miles to visit family in upstate NY.  Then I turn right around and do it again - in reverse.

I'll have 3 days to recover from that before heading to Atlanta for SCC.  

I'll be homesick again by then.....

As I said at the outset, it take me longer to recover from these kinds of things than it used to.  The key right now is to NOT get sick, and to pace myself.  The rest will unfold itself, as it always does.    

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Short and Sweet

I'll keep this short and sweet tonight.

I was approached by a national news organization for my take on the Private Manning mess that unfolded today.  Here is part of my response:

As a transsexual woman, as someone who protects sensitive information, and as an American I cannot condone anything Chelsea has done or, more importantly, how she has done it.  Whether or not she has committed criminal acts is not up for debate.  That has already been decided.

But this entire fiasco has tainted the work, and the lives, of so many trans people who struggle to live their lives with dignity and self-respect.  We are a cross section of society and, as such, some of us have broken the law.  However, to use this as an excuse, a defense, or a self-serving distraction to suddenly announce a gender transition is more than unwise.  In my opinion, it is inexcusable.

It amazes me that we can have the governor of California sign a law respecting the identity of trans kids and this happen in the same week.  One deserves respect for the example it sets and it moves recognition that gender is more than body parts forward in productive ways.  The other does not - it is an embarrassment and a dishonor to all of us.

Granted, transsexuals face challenges in a number or arenas that don't get much visibility:  medical care, homeless shelters, prisons.  But this is not the way to move those conversations forward.  It does exactly the opposite.

I have little sympathy.

I cannot, and will not, defend her.  Some have said that the entire mess is sad.  I don't find it sad.  I find it maddening, and another example of how easily we become our own worst enemy.  

Over, and out.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


So, the good news is that I slept well on my new used mattress last night.  As I mentioned yesterday - it's softer than I'd choose if I planned to keep it for a long time.  But it'll do for now.

I was channel surfing this morning and came across a movie on Cinemax titled "Kinky Boots".  Despite the titillating title, it was a based-on-a-true-story feel-good kind of movie.  I did a little checking and found that it had also become a Broadway play with lyrics penned by Cyndi Lauper, and won several Tony Awards last year.  Who knew?  Obviously, I don't travel in those circles.

Anyway - I was pleasantly surprised.

I like to be pleasantly surprised....almost as much as I dislike being unpleasantly surprised.  I suppose both are part of life.

The weather here has been amazing lately, and that stretch is forecast to continue through the entire week.  Sunny, highs in the low 80's, low humidity for at least the last week, probably more.  Just wonderful.  Back home in Charleston it has been raining like crazy.  I spoke with friends in Phoenix yesterday who said that they're in the middle of a heat advisory....that usually doesn't happen unless it gets 112 or more.  Sheesh.  Anyway - I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Several months ago we drove from Charleston to Miami for the boat show there.  It was a wonderful trip.  We were specifically interested in the sailboats, and it was the first time I've ever been around these kinds of things.

I mentioned yesterday how much I enjoy drooling over the new Corvettes.  Well, we looked at a number of boats and manufacturers in Miami.  The Corvette of all of them - by far my favorite - is made by Passport Boats.  They were crazy amazing - the layout, all the beautiful wood, just......amazing.  Perhaps way out of my league - I realize that.  But that doesn't stop me from admiring them.

They follow up with me from time to time.  Their US office is in Annapolis, and I'm hoping to visit during the Annapolis Boat show in October.  I've thought about what I'd want more - a nice house or one of these nice 45 or 50 feet long sailboats.  I know what the answer is.

Those things will have to wait for now.  As nice as the weather has been, I'm in the middle of the country so days there isn't a sailboat like that within a thousand miles of here.  But life is about dreaming, and I continue to dare to dream.  As anyone reading this already knows - dreams do come true.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


As advertised, I took the plunge today.  I bought a mattress.

It really wasn't much of a plunge.  I've done a pretty good job of buying all my furniture here off Craigslist and the same is true of the mattress.  I'll admit to a bit of squeamishness wondering where it has been and what it has done - a mattress is a more intimate piece of "furniture" than, say, a table or a desk.  Wondering where a stain came from can make you feel a little skleeby.  But knowing that it's expendable helps to overcome some of those discomforts.

So, I bought this queen mattress, box spring, and frame for $50 (compared with $475 that I would have spent at Costco).  It's a bit softer (I think mattress lingo for soft is "plush") than I typically like but I figure I can dump the mattress and get a stiffer one if I find I don't like it.  Mattress frames alone cost ~$40, so it's not like I've made a lifelong investment in this.  Anyway - tonight we'll see how it works out.

I should have known better, but apparently i spoke too soon about my nails. Moving the mattress and other "stuff" today broke 2 of the longer ones. Sigh. Back to the drawing board

I must have really, really been tired from my week.  As I said - I fell asleep on my couch for a nap after work yesterday.  And I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night.  All things considered - good good.

Speaking of lifelong investments, I have no problem admitting that the new 2014 Corvette is smokin' hot, and I want one.  All the car magazines are reviewing it now - I've been waiting for the new C7 body style for a couple of years.  I realize it's totally unpractical and expensive (relatively),  but this is more of a visceral connection than a logical one.  I bought one of the new C5's when they came out in the late '90s and loved was a casualty of a certain mid-life crisis.   Well, if I can find a way to get my hands on one of these babies I'm gonna love it, too.

I did laundry earlier today...washed my one set of bed linens to get ready for the new used mattress.  It was a joy deflating the air mattress and putting it away.  I hope I don't need it again any time soon.  Anyway, I'm a 90's rock throwback so the word "Plush" for me has a whole other meaning.  This is the meaning....

Rock on!

Friday, August 16, 2013


I'm thrilled it's Friday.  Or, Fried-day.  I'm pooped.  I got home at mid-night last night from my quick trip to San Francisco and ended up falling asleep on my couch.  I've been foggy for most of the day, got home from work today, and....ended up falling asleep for an hour on the couch.

Smoke from forest fires made for some eerie skies flying thru SLC
My quick trip to San Francisco was to do workplace training to support an employee who will be transitioning there next week.  It's the second time I've done one of these for this particular company.  It went very well....3 sessions.  I felt fine while it was all happening, but the combination of go-go-go apparently caught up with me today.

I don't usually get this tired.  As in...never.  Honestly, I don't know the last time I came home from work and took a nap.  If I didn't know better (and I don't know that I don't) I'd think I was coming down with something - I know me and something's "off".  I was so cold at work today that I came home and got into warmer clothes.  I hope I'm wrong, and all I need is some rest.  Regardless, I'll be keeping my suitcase handy as I'll need it again next at the end of next week.

I've done dozens of these workplace sessions over the years and I continue to enjoy them.  I'd do one every month if I could....I don't actively seek them out but I'm glad they find me.  I know from experience that they have value beyond simply facilitating a particular transition.

I also enjoy the opportunity to meet the people I've gotten to know over the years who are near the beginning of their journey - many become friends I stay with whom I stay in touch.  It's truly an honor to be part of their journey at this key point in their lives.  On this particular trip I had dinner when I arrived with the person I first met when came here to do a similar event the week after my 50th birthday in 2009.  She has come a long way.  The last time I saw her she came to visit me when I was recovering from some jaw surgery a couple of years ago...a kindness I still appreciate to this day.

On another topic - One thing I've been wanting to mention.  Several months ago I started taking biotin as part of my morning ritual.  It allegedly strengthens hair and nails, and I've been wanting to protect my hair from breaking.  I get it from Costco, and never expected to notice any indication that it was working or not.  I was happily surprised to learn otherwise.

I realize this sounds like some kind of commercial or something, but I can absolutely feel the difference in my hair - thicker and stronger.  And although I've never been able to maintain long nails (well...they're not long compared to others I know but they're long for me) my nails have been really nice for weeks.

Since I'll be here this weekend I've got another list.  Laundry, cleaning, perhaps seeing Peter Frampton tomorrow night, out for dinner on Sunday.

I think I'm going to get myself a mattress, too.  I've been sleeping on an air mattress ever since I arrived here in early June and that's getting old.  It's the only piece of "furniture" I need, and although it's comfortable enough it's hard to say I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own bed when my own bed is full of air.  I've got a mattress in my storage unit but that's not doing me any good here.'s time to make myself a little more at home.  I've had a queen mattress for most of my adult gives me enough room to spread out.

And rest.  I need to rest.  In fact, I'm headed to bed for some in just a few minutes.  Gnight.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Some misc ramblings tonight.

I'm trying to make my flight arrangements to Atlanta for SCC.  Talk about ridiculous.  I can book a one-way flight from Omaha to Charlotte with a stop over in Atlanta, for $137.  Needless to say, I'd get off in Atlanta. OR, I could book that exact same flight as non-stop to Atlanta.  The cost for that would be....over $600.  Get that?

OR I could book a 1-stop flight from Omaha to Atlanta with a Charlotte.  That'd cost me more than double the $137.

The flight home is crazy, too.

Needless to say, I've gotten pretty good at making flight arrangements over the years so these kinds of little games are often unpleasant but necessary.  Ugh.  No wonder traveling can get so tiring.

I'm flying two time zones away this week to do a corporate training event in Northern CA.  I'll be there for less than 24 hours. wonder traveling can get so tiring.

I'm headed back to Charleston for a couple of days in a couple of weeks.  The flight arrangements there are similarly complicated.  But necessary.  All that is over the next 3, the day-to-day excitement that is my life.

My iPhone is like a train wreck.  I shared a photo of it almost 2 years ago - shortly after I dropped it and cracked the face.  I could have taken it to the Apple Store and gotten it fixed.  But I didn't - as far as I'm concerned the shelf life of a phone is a year - so as long as it worked I could live with it.

Between then and now the phone has progressively gotten worse.  Gravity is not my friend.  Lots more cracking.  Pieces have fallen chunks  But I've got to give them some's still working.

What am I waiting for?  The next iPhone model?  Hardly.  I'm waiting for my contract with my provider to end so I can finally get out of my contract with them without having to pay them extra for it.  They did me wrong a few years ago and I haven't forgotten.  I've been patient.  The contract ends in a couple of months.  Then - ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

I got a Facebook friend invitation from people whose profile photo is of one woman sucking on another woman's boob.  While I enjoy sucking on boobs as much as the next person, I'm not going to expose some of my friends (like my nieces and nephews, and other more casual friends) to that kind of thing.  Same for people who post photos of themselves sitting in a chair with their legs spread wide.  Not gonna happen.  There's a little something called "class" involved.

Speaking of boobs, let's talk about bras for a moment.

All of my bras are from Victoria's Secret.  I'm very loyal, and although they're admittedly expensive they fit me like a glove.  The engineering of these things borders on amazing.  Really.  The way they're built with support here, and lift there, and comfortable...just, well, amazing.  I've got a couple of favorites that are sadly ready to retire.   But, I've got others to take their place.

Another fave that I've mentioned before is Pandora.  I listen to it while I'm at work, while I'm working out, sometimes even in the car.  One of my favorite current channels is my Daughtry channel.  Every song is one I like.

Part of the reason I enjoy Pandora is that it plays music I wouldn't have otherwise heard. For some reason, they sprinkle songs by young country singer Hunter Hayes into the mix.  I wouldn't have thought it would be a good fit, but I've come to enjoy his songs.  I don't have much country music, but now I've got Hunter.

I checked out a couple of his videos.  He looks like a kid, but then again so does Justin Bieber.  I've heard one of his songs before.  This video has over 36 million views.  That's crazy.  The words are absolutely wonderful.  So meaningful....

Lastly - I went out to my truck today and found a note on the windshield.  Apparently, someone had been backing out of a parking spot and smacked into the front corner of my truck.  They left a contact number so I've already spoken with them.  The truck must have been backing up quickly, as it did quite a bit of damage.

I'm not too bothered by it (yet) as I assume the right things will happen.  It will be an inconvenience, but these things happen in life.  I'm ok with inconveniences.  I wish I had parked frontwards into the parking spot, rather than backing in.  I've already got a couple of dings on the back bumper so it would have been much less noticeable.  :)

Anyway, I've got a long day ahead of me tomorrow.  Time to clean up, to pack, and to get some rest.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Balance Baby

I'm watching The Matrix.  There are a number of great, important, applicable lines and phrases from that movie.  One in particular is key to many, many things: Don't think you are....Know you are.

Another key element...the sign in the Oracle's apartment.  The Latin for "Know Thyself".

And....There is no spoon.

I've seen this movie dozens of times, and each time I see it the whole nature of "The Matrix" reminds me how relevant it is to everyday life.   I was thinking earlier who I'd rather be....Trinity, or the Woman in the Red Dress.  Actually, I know the answer.  I'm far more like Trinity.  Know thyself.

It is particularly appropriate to watch this movie tonight, on my 13th Rebirthday.

One of the things I'm particularly aware of these days are all the challenges in life so many of us face - in our jobs, in our relationships, in many aspects of our lives.  There was an article a couple of months ago that was particularly relevant (read it here).
Societal stigma and the resulting prejudice and discrimination trans people face from society at large and, possibly, from family members, peers, co-workers and classmates often exacts a high price. 
So true.  It does.  It takes a whole other set of life skills to deal with that.  The cost for inner peace for many of us is a high one, and it remains an ongoing quest throughout life.  I recognize how fortunate I've been in that regard.  I still have issues - Lord knows.  But the key for me changed a long time ago, from finding a path that may or may not exist to happiness to finding my own balance.

Yin/Yang changed from being a gender thing, or a body thing, to being an overall life Balance thing.  That's the key to my own life these days.  Balance.  Finding it...keeping it for a while, and appreciating it when I find it....dealing with it when it's gone...determining what it takes to find it again...and repeat.  That's how I approach my life - cycles, tides, flows.

I've found that Transition was very much like taking the Red Pill.  It's about seeking "The Truth".  Once you take it, you can't go back.  When I see people who de-transition and try to re-insert themselves into the Matrix I get more concerned for their well being than anything.  As they so effectively describe in the movie, I suppose that some people just aren't ready to be unplugged yet.

Anyway, that's a lot of mumbo-jumbo but it's real to me.  If I had to find a word to describe today - and life in general - that would be it.  Balance.  If I had to find two words...well...they'd be "Balance Baby".  That approach has served me well over the years, and the longer I live the more I'll live that truth.

A friend invited me over for a BBQ this afternoon - it was very nice.  I worked on a little "project".  I did a shopping.  I went to the gym.  It was lower body day so today's menu included 3 miles on the treadmill, squats, sit-ups, and a number of other small tortures.  As I've said - now that I'm comfortable in this body I'm not about to let it all go to he**.  That work is ongoing.

I had planned to watch my team play football but wasn't around for it.  They did well.  Unfortunately, these games don't count.  There was a time when we were good, and we'd lose every pre-season game. Now that we've fallen on hard times, they're important confidence builders.  And not only for the players....for the fans too.

Back to my project for a second.  I bought a dress at Christmas only to find at some later point that they didn't take didn't take of the big, clunky security thing.  I took it to a number of stores in Charleston looking for where I bought it so they could fix it.  But I couldn't find it.

This security thingy had a warning on it saying it was full of ink.  I can't wear it with that plastic thing on it, so this morning I took it out to my patio with a hammer and started whacking away at it.  I got the thing off, and as advertised it was full of blue ink.  The good news is that (a) the dress is dark so it really didn't make much of a difference and (b) I sprayed it with some laundry stain remover and blotted most of it out.

I wrote a couple of things yesterday.  I've attached them, as well.


I'm working through my weekend list already.  As I write this I'm killin' time at the Laundromat.  I don't have a washer or a dryer out here and although I could get one (or rent one) the fact is that doing laundry once every 2 weeks or so puts it on the "not a priority" list.  So, I go to the laundromat.

I'm generally not a Wal-Mart person, whatever that is.  There are very few things I actually go there for.  In fact, only two things come to mind.  One is prescriptions.  I needed a couple refilled this morning, and they're convenient and cheap.  The other is ammunition.  If/when they have it on the shelves they've typically got the best prices.

At this particular laundromat there's an interesting blend of university students, military, and "other".  This particular establishment is right next to "Babe's Fine Drinking Establishment"'s 9:30 in the morning and the doors are already open.  Maybe it's me, but I can't imagine starting to drink this early in the day other than the occasional Mimosa, Bloody Mary at brunch, or wine cooler to tailgate.  Still...

I have no problem admitting that I'm addicted to the Sudoku game on my iPad.  Specifically, it tracks the number of games in a row that you've solved without an error - my record is 26 of them.  I play it on planes.  I play it for hours on end while I'm just chilling.  And once I get past the frustration of breaking whatever streak I've got going I'm on the trail of setting a new record.  I don't read books.  I don't play other types of games.  I just play Sudoku, and like to believe (or justify the waster of time involved) that it keeps my mind sharp.

Today is centered around the mid-afternoon showing of Elysium at the IMAX.  I'll head over that way in a bit and get my ticket...don't want it to end up getting sold out....


I went to Elysium at the IMAX, as planned.  It was good.  Not great.  Frankly, anything at the IMAX is impressive simply because of the IMAX experience.  The entire place shook - it was way cool as always.  But as for the story.  Well...silly.  I liked Oblivion better.  I even liked Pacific Rim better.  But it wasn't a waste of time.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gettin' It

I saw an article today that President Obama indicates that he does not support a boycott of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia due to recent diplomatic and policy tensions (story here).  I'm glad, as I feel similarly.

I remember when we boycotted the Olympics in 1980.  You know who paid the dearest price for that misguided move?  The athletes.  I feel very strongly that athletic events should not become pawns for those looking to make political statements.  I also strongly believe that there will be a significant outpouring of support for LGBT athletes between now and then, and especially during the games themselves.

Some on Facebook seem disappointed by this, as though it were some sort of betrayal.  One comment was "He's not getting it".  I disagree.  I think this is wise, and I think he is getting it just fine.  As I ty

I'm a homebody for a second weekend in a row.  Sheesh.  I've got a long list of things to do and hope this weekend is as productive as last.  Of course, some of the things on my list aren't "work".  Like going to see Elysium, going to the gym, and a bbq with one of the

Lunch today was a grilled, stuffed burrito from Taco Bell.  It was actually fairly yummy.  I like all the various ingredients - meat, seasoned rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole - but often time I've found that the end result is not as good as you'd think compared with the individual parts.  Anyway - not good for the high protein thing I'm doing.  But, it was good good good....and filling.  I went to the gym after work to pay my penance.

As I type this preseason football is on in the background.  My patio door is open, and it's a very pleasant evening outside.  This is a good time of year.  I'm glad it's the weekend.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Going Back

I've seen a number of people commenting lately on the recent public "de-transition" of Don Ennis, the ABC Producer who made news less than 6 months ago by showing up at work as a woman and announcing that he was going to transition (de-transition story here).

It'd be easy for me to say that, in this instance, the whole transition "process" worked.  It's one thing to think you know what kind of life you want to live, or that you feel you were destined to live, and a whole other thing to actually face the day-to-day realities of doing it.  As far as I'm concerned, that's the whole purpose of separate that fantasy from reality.  So those who "de-transition" are simply learning that and doing something about it.  Again - as far as I'm concerned there's nothing wrong with that.  Regardless of the quote-unquote "bad press" that this kind of thing invites that's why it's a difficult process.

That said - if this is even partially true then Don Ennis was a nut the first day he showed up at work dressed as a woman.  From May 8:
"A producer at a top news channel has announced that he is now a she.  Dawn Stacey Ennis, formerly known as Don, surprised her colleagues at ABC News head quarters in Manhattan when she arrived in brown locks and a dress to declare her new identity."
Read more here.

For anyone with any level of sanity or respect - you just don't do that.  You just don't show up one day at work dressed as a woman, say a few flowery things, and think that's in any way good for anyone - including you.  Every time I've seen that in the past it's because of external events (like threats of outing) or some other immediate emergency.  But in this case - no.  I said at the time that this was wrong and I'm not surprised that things unfolded this way.

Reality vs. Fantasy.  It can be a difficult thing to have to learn.

When Christine Daniels announce that she was planning to de-transition in 2008 I wrote about it for Bilerico (read it here).  My thoughts on it haven't changed.  I truly felt for her.  I have to say I am not similarly empathetic in this particular situation.

I'll be headed to do a corporate training next week to support someone transitioning at work.  There is a whole team dedicated to ensuring that it goes well, and I have no doubt that it will.  There are countless ways of doing this right, since there is not one-size-fits-all answer for everyone.  But, just showing up one day and surprising people by claiming you're a woman isn't one of them.

Anyway - there have been several interesting "de-transitions" lately.  More than one of them have been people I've known, and still like and respect.  The transition or de-transition plays no part in that.  But anyone surprised at what has happened here is naive.  I'm only surprised it didn't happen sooner.

I'd argue, and I'm fairly confident I'm right, that a not insignificant number of people who do transition  would make other decisions if given the opportunity to go back.  Whether because of relationships, or career,  or other components - life is not what they had envisioned.  It can be a difficult life.  But, there is no going back.

On to other, less weighty, topics....

One of the things I'm pleasantly surprised about this area is all the music that comes thru here.  Over the last couple of weeks we had Daughtry, Darius Rucker, Steely Dan, Pat Benetar, and a bunch of others.  Over the coming days and weeks we'll have the Doobie Brothers, Peter Frampton, Train, Chicago, etc. etc.  I'd love to go to some of these, but typically use my limited "discretionary income" to travel back home.  I explained in a recent post that I've got quite a bit of travel on my horizon.

That won't stop me from going to see Elysium in IMAX 3D this weekend.  I've been looking forward to it since I first saw the trailer months ago.  Some may be tired of these futuristic, post-apocalypse movies.  But I enjoy them when they're well done.  I enjoyed Oblivion when I first saw it (just bought the DVD this week) and this looks to be equally as stunning.

As far as I'm concerned, these are the kinds of movies where the sensual onslaught that IMAX 3D provides is worth the extra $$$.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pleasant Surprise

I had a couple of pleasant surprises today.

I wore a bluish blouse to work.  I realize that's not big was actually brighter out in the sunlight than I anticipated.  But one of my co-workers surprised me when he said it made the blue in my eyes "pop" (his word).  That was very nice.

I went to the gym - not once, but twice.  My favorite time to work out is during lunch, or early afternoon.  That's often problematic.  First, I often have meetings scheduled that infringe on the quote-unquote "lunch hour" so I can't get away.  Second, and no less limiting, is the fact that going to the gym    during lunch can involve re-doing hair and face.  As a result,  the process of getting there, changing, cleaning afterwards, getting ready to go back to work, actually getting back, then cooling down can take an hour all by itself so it's just not worth it.

Anyway - the pleasant surprise in all of this happened when I weighed myself.  To my surprise I'm within a half dozen pounds of the consistent weight that I maintained during my entire transition.  I actually had no idea how much I weighed - it's been months and months since I've been on a scale.   But as life goes on and years pass it can become easy to let things go little by little.

A couple of posts ago I talked about dilating and someone wrote a comment saying that paying for this particular new body part and not using is was like having a Porsche and keeping in the garage.  Well, that's how I feel about my body.  It took me a long time to build it into a comfortable house for my soul, and it involves ongoing "housekeeping".  For me, it doesn't just happen.

Admittedly, watching my dad fade away from diabetes had a significant impact.  He died when he was 8 years older than I am now.  But my goal is admittedly to leave this world in as healthy a body as I can.  That process is ongoing.  Dark - perhaps.  But honest.

A dear friend of mine, who's my age, called me last week to say that she was having quadruple bypass surgery to fix a significant blockage.  She had the surgery today, and from the status updates I've heard so far indicate she's doing well.  Thank God.  I've been thinking of her all day.

One of my favorite shows each week is CBS Sunday Morning.  It has a "pace" that appeals to me, and the stories are always fascinating and relevant in some way.  This past weekend they had a profile of Carol Burnett.  Watching the clips of her variety show was like opening a time capsule - I so remember watching it on Saturday nights as a teen.

One of the projects I got to work on for my college degree at Syracuse (in Radio, Television, Film production) was as a production assistant on the Phil Donahue Show.  On one of the episodes, she was a guest.  After taping was over I went onto the set and took the plastic cup she had been using home to show my fiancee - it had a ring from her lipstick on it.  She was unimpressed, and threw it out.

Over the years I've asked myself "whatever happened to Carol Burnett?" - she seemed to disappear after her daughter died a couple of decades ago.  But she's still as funny and full of life as ever.  It was - well - a pleasant surprise.

I've had a couple of unpleasant surprises recently, too, so it's not like life is ALL rosy.  But I think the key is to appreciate the pleasant surprises and not dwell on the rest.


A friend invited me over dinner last night with her spouse and some of their friends.  I had a very nice time.  As I pulled up into their driveway in the early evening the flowers along their driveway were almost glowing in the unique late-day light.  I took a photo with my iPhone (click on the photo for a larger version).  I like it so much I may print it and frame it - I've got nothing on my walls and this would be a nice addition.  A simple scene from everyday life...but I think that's one of the reasons I like it.

Monday, August 5, 2013


An astute passage from the uncommonly astute tv show Elementary:

Holmes:  It has it's costs.

Watson: What does?

Holmes:  Learning to see the puzzle in everything.  They're everywhere, and once you start's impossible to stop.  It just so happens that people, with all the deceits and illusions that enform everything they do, tend to be the most fascinating puzzles of all.  Of course, they don't always appreciate being seen as such.

Watson:  It seems like a long way to live.

Holmes:  As I has its costs.

It's 4:54 am....I woke and can't get back to sleep so I'm watching things I've got on my DVR.  That's one great little invention...the DVR.  I remember being a kid when my dad got a VCR from the university to record his movies (Frankenstein, Dracula, and such).  Several years ago a friend said that his DVR was the most transformative invention in his recent life.  I really won't go that far, but it's cool.

I recently started a high protein/low carb diet.  I've done this before.  Unfortunately, I know from experience that the beginning of withdrawal from carbs involves headaches (yesterday), gastro-intestinal "cleansing" (sorry for the overshare), and difficulty sleeping (that's why I'm watching TV at 4 in the morning instead of in bed).  The significant physical affects make me think that carbs are almost like an addicting drug, and these are symptoms of withdrawal.  Regardless...been here before.

I've also already had breakfast (a scrambled egg, sausage, and coffee....can't go without the coffee), packed my gym bag for later today, and finished reading yesterday's paper.  All that, and I don't need to be at work for another couple of hours...

Another passage from Elementary...Holmes was in line to order a coffee at a Starbucks.

Barista (serving an order):  Tall half skinny half two percent extra hot latte with whip.

Holmes:  These coffee orders.....the Magna Carta was less complicated.

Even at this hour my sense of humor is perky.

Anyway, back to the diet.  Some people eat when they're depressed.  I eat when I'm content.  I'm often content, and I truly enjoy food.  So, I typically workout to balance it.  Lately I've been too busy to workout regularly.  Ergo - my current protein regimen (plus the fact that I like most things protein - except tofu), and my increased effort to get back into the gym.  

It's almost...well... Elementary.

Time to go and start the day.  My second show is almost over so it's time to slowly start the week.  Onwards!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I laugh when people refer to transgender or transsexual lives as a "lifestyle".  Perhaps for some, although I'm not sure what that would look like.  I know many, many of us and most are living the same day-to-day lives and looking for the same sense of deep inner happiness that most others are.

This was one of those weekends when I accomplished EVERYTHING that was on my list headed into it.  I washed my truck, and gave her some good loving (on the outside....still need to do the inside).  I cleaned my bathroom.  I washed my floors.  I sent some emails that needed sending.  I went the the fitness center.....twice.  I did a shopping.  I went to Costco.  I made myself a nice dinner last night.  I took some clothes to the dry cleaners.  All things considered it has been very productive.

Funny thing - as far as I know I know I know 4 people here outside work.  Some places where I've lived I knew lots of people....especially pre-transition.  As I mentioned a couple of posts ago there is a certain level of isolation (and I don't mean that in a bad might not even be the right word) that comes with not wanting to have to explain things over and over again.

The reason I mention that is that I was at Costco yesterday I was approached by someone who recognized me.  She had a friend there who knew me from my website, too.  I'm glad that I look enough like the pictures I've share so that people can recognize me out in the world.  Anyway, it was nice to meet them and I hope we have a chance to go out for dinner one of these nights - always good to connect with friends.

I watched something on Palladia this morning - a Storyteller episode featuring Nora Jones.  The thing I noticed about her (other than her musical talent, her voice, and her perfectly sculpted face) was how her shorter hair really looks wonderful.  I went through a several-year-long shorter hair period (some of the photos are on my website).  But these days I want to be able to put my hair into a pony tail so it's a bit longer.  I'm just glad I still have my own hair.

I was so impressed I took a photo of the TV screen...

Love it.

So tonight, my "lifestyle" includes a glass of red wine, some chicken, some sweet corn, and a little football.  If that's a lifestyle - count me in.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I haven't written a post like this one in a while.  But part of the problem is that if nobody talks some of this stuff publicly it nobody realizes that they're not the only one....

The topic today is "Dilating".  It means different things to different people, but to transwomen it has a very specific definition.  It's something that begins within minutes of your surgeon unpacking your newly-created body-part a week or so after vaginoplasty. For the first several weeks afterwards it consumes your life.  And then.....well....that's what this post is about.

I remember the first time.  My surgeon was Dr. Eugene Schrang in Neenah, WI.  My SRS date was August 10, 2000....13 years ago next week.  Some parts of my SRS experienced are forever burned into my memory.  Like the "prep" the evening before, being wheeled into the OR before surgery, first dilation.

After surgery there is a timeline of what happens when.  One of the most significant was the unveiling - the "Ta-da" moment on Day 5 post-op when Dr. Schrang himself took off the outer bandages that had been in place since surgery and sat down between my spread legs.  Until that moment, I hadn't seen what was under all the dressing that had been down there.  The amazing reality is that what had been there for the first 40 years of my life was gone.

In it's place was a new body part - one I had dreamed about, wondered about, and never dared to imagine would become a reality for me.  I had convinced myself at that point that the surgery was no big deal.  I had lived for a full year as Donna and didn't want to dwell on the possibility that a body part could define a person.  But SRS was far more profound than I ever imagined in more ways than I can explain.

I digress....back to the unpacking.  Dr. Schrang began pulling out what felt like a mile of gauze that had been inside me.  It was crazy.  When he finally finished he introduced me to my new best and most intimate friends....5 straight white missile-shaped dilators with girths ranging from a half-inch or so to well over an inch.  Each one had a number.

Without stopping he grabbed the middle sized dilator (#3), put some lube in it, and started to slowly but steadily pushed it deep into me.    When I first saw it I thought he was going to split me in  half, and that it would be excruciating, but it wasn't.  It was good.  As he pushed he explained what was happening, as this was something I'd need to do myself 5 times a day to start.

It was amazing.  It was a sensation I had never felt before.  He only left it in for a couple of minutes before slowly pulling it out (another new sensation) and leaving we with care instructions for my new body part.  I followed his instructions to the letter.

The first weeks after SRS could be divided into 4 parts.  Preparing to dilate, dilating, cleaning up from dilating, and sleeping.  In the years since I've known people who set their alarms to get up in the middle of the night to dilate - I didn't do that.  But in order to maintain depth and width as things heal it's very important to follow a disciplined regimen.  I did.

There were interesting fluids coming out for quite a while.  At the beginning, there were definitely signs of blood.  As time went on it became pink, and the slow but steady flow eventually became a trickle became spotty over a number of weeks...and then stopped.  Thank God for panty liners.

I'm a goal oriented person, so my goal was to get to the point where I could dilate with the 5th, and largest, dilator.  At the beginning I had a hard time getting #3 back in....when Dr. Schrang did it things were still stretched out so it went in pretty easily.  Not so when I did it.  But slowly, over weeks of constant attempts, I got there.

As I moved up in size it hurt.  I popped a couple of stitches in my perineal tissue along the way.  The hardest part was getting past that curve of the pelvic bone.  When I first started it would get raw and sore  there.  Eventually, I got a set of curved dilators with rounded tips that made it less uncomfortable.  Some would think that it would be a pleasant sensation.  It wasn't.  It just needed to be done.

I had it down to a ironing board next to my bed with a small dish of mineral oil (Dr. Schrang recommended it since it wouldn't cause a suction when pulling the dilator out), some KY, a washcloth and some paper towels, and my 5 white dilators in a row by ascending size.  And a phone....I usually passed the time with a dilator in one hand and a phone in the other.

Fast forward a year.  Life goes one, and dilating changes from something that consumes your days to something you do once a week or so depending on circumstances.  The goal is to keep it open, and I certainly can't speak for anyone but me but dilating sometimes became an afterthought.  I wasn't all that interested in guys so the need to keep it "ready" really wasn't a motivator.

Fast forward another year, or two, or three.  Dilating became sporadic.  I lost depth, and width.  And I grew to hate those hard, white, cold things.  So, it got to a point where I could count the number of times I'd dilate in any calendar year on two hands.

When I lived in Scottsdale and was working with Dr. Meltzer's patients we had discussions about this.  Linda, his office manager, had found some soft, rubber (or silicone) dilators (see link).  I started with a couple of them, and they were much more appropriate for me at that stage of my life.

Today - I still dilate.  I did it this morning.  It's better now than it was a year or two ago.  Sometimes, it's actually even pleasant (to be discussed in some future entry to be titled "Orgasms").  I haven't used those straight, white dilators for many years, or their curved clear counterparts.  They're in a shoebox back home.

Today I use the latex ones that Dr. Meltzer's office recommended.  That's all I've got here, and I do it every couple of weeks.  I'm nowhere near fitting the largest couple of sizes in the set,  but that's not my goal anymore.  Much of the depth I've lost is irretrievable.  That's ok, too, since it's done.  It all fits into my world.

This story is not unique.  I know I'm not alone, and that many post-op women who rarely, if ever, dilate.  There are many reasons, but I'd suggest that it's much more common than not.  Of course, it depends on what you use it for.  For me, though, it became a matter of time, convenience, comfort, and need.  As I approach my 13th RebirthDay....I've got that balance in all the above.

Now - out to enjoy my Saturday.  :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Hither and Yonder

Well...the GPS seems to be working again.  Maybe it's a battery thing.  I'm no electrical engineer, so I've got no clue when it comes to this stuff.  I'm just glad it's better....for now.

Zee weekend - she is here.  I'm glad.  It has been a long one.  I'm staying put this weekend.  Maybe go to the pool, a Costco run, a trip or two to the fitness center.  Calm and quiet is a rarity for my weekends so I'll enjoy it while I can.

In case anyone cares, I'm still enjoying my job.  Two months and counting.  Good thing, because that's why I'm here and not back in Charleston.  Or at least, that's what brought me here - 1,300 miles away.  In life I tend to think that there are larger elements at play in things that may seem fairly obvious at the time...a bigger picture (if you will)...that unfold themselves to have unexpected and deeper impacts.   My ex- used to tell me that smart people think (and over-think) too much and I sometimes agree with that.  In this particular instance - we shall see.

One thing I'm thankful for - football season starts this weekend.  More accurately, football pre-season starts this weekend.  Football season is a frame of mind, and it has very deep and still strong memories and feelings for me associated with it.  My dad.  Watching games together.  Going down to the drugstore to buy packs of football cards for a dime each.  Getting ready for the end of summer, and the beginning of the school year.  If football is being played, then fall can't be far behind.

My team tanks every year so I'm already simply hoping we get thru the season without sucking too badly.  Expectations are low, so if anything good does happen it's a pleasant surprise.  I like pleasant surprises.

I've been re-discovering lately how comfortable I've become being alone.  I've got opportunities to do things with people outside my shell but the motivation to put forth the effort to do it just isn't there.  That's not to say I've become a hermit because I haven't.  But my life is more fluid than solid and I don't want to have to start at the beginning to explain it or justify it to anyone.  I suppose I've learned the hard way that getting thru my outer shell takes more time and effort than I expect people are willing to invest, or that I'm willing to invest myself.  Either way, it is what it is.

We were talking at work today about my various weekend adventures coming and going here and there.  Someone made the astute observation that the reason I go places is typically for people that are there.  My peeps in Charleston and in the Phoenix area, my son near Denver, my mom outside of Dallas, and family in Rochester.  Those are my anchors.  

I've got some trips coming up.  I've got a dear friend dealing with some difficult issues I want to go to see.  I expect that I'll be headed to the Bay area for an event sometime mid-month.  I want to head to Denver to see my son, and a leg of the US Pro Cycling Challenge, in late August.  My mom's birthday is at the end of the month - she'll be 84 - and she'll be headed to Rochester so I'll try to get there too.  The weekend after that I'll be in Atlanta for SCC.  I need to get back to SC sometime this month, too.  Sheesh - I'm getting tired just talking about it.

So.  Back to where I started this post.  I'll enjoy this quiet weekend while it's here because I'll be headed hither and yonder in the coming weeks.

I'll end with a photo from this past weekend.  This is my "other" family - in Charleston.  I cherish them and miss their warmth, their positive energy, and their love.  Goat.Sheep.Cow rocks.

I'll end with a USA Today story about the country's "Happiest Seaside Town".  Someplace in Florida? Nope.  Along Cape Cod?  No again.  Quiet, picturesque Maine?  Not there either.  According to a Coastal Living Magazine - it's little Beaufort, SC (story here).  Beaufort is a quaint, pretty little town an hour south of Charleston off Hwy 17.  I've driven down there before just to sit on the swings along the's THAT quaint.  I can see myself there.  Someday.