Thursday, October 31, 2013


I wrote this on Sunday but never finished it or posted it.  I suppose I should share it here before adding anything newer.

Sunday, Oct 26

I slept until 8:30 yesterday morning.  That's almost 10 hours.  I so so so needed it.

Last night was a different story.  It was the worst night I've had in a long time.  I think I had a fever but I don't own a thermometer so I'm not sure.  Regardless, I slept horribly.  I felt like crap.  I'm still not over it....

I attribute both to my drive to (and from) Charleston.  3000 miles over 6 days culminating in an 800 mile drive on Thursday.  I've said it before and it's as true as it ever was - long road trips take a significant toll on the body.  It sounds odd to say or consider that simply sitting behind a wheel for 6 or 8 or 12 or 14 hours is exhausting but it is.  Lord don't I know.

It led me to consider that I don't remember the last time I've been sick.  I mean....sick sick.  There are times I don't feel well - scratchy throat, no energy.  But I don't know the last time I was sick.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles so I must have been feeling ok as of mid-afternoon.  But by evening I was tired to the point that I was in bed by 9.  Oh well - I'll take it easy today.  Lord knows I need it.

I had a list of things to accomplish this weekend.  Vacuum the truck (lots of doggie hair after the trip).  Go shooting and clean the gun - I did that.  Go for a run - did that too. Unpack.  Clean my make-up brushes.  I achieved most of what I had hoped to do.  But it's not even 6pm yet and I'm already in my pajamas.  I suspect tonight will be an early night, as well.

On the drive back across country we crossed the Mississippi River in St. Louis.  The World Series is being held there.  It's backed up right to the highway....

We stopped at a local restaurant that serves roast beef sandwiches....Lion's Choice.  It was excellent....

Thu. October 31

Today was Halloween.  I don't know if it has ever been more of a non-event for me.  There was a time when it was the one day of the year that Donna got to come out and "be" in the world.  I'd think about it for weeks.  Now....I would have pretty much forgotten about it except that you can't go anywhere and escape it.  

No costume.  No party.  No big deal.  I actually took the opportunity to run some errands after work hoping that crowds would be minimal.  I was right.

I made some changes tonight.  I got a new cell phone.

That probably doesn't matter to anyone else but me, but there was a time when I was absolutely dedicated to my iPhone and to AT&T.  Well, AT&T done me wrong a couple of years ago and I've never forgotten.  So, they are now history for me.   

The same is true of my iPhone.  As I said when they announced the new version I would have been far more impressed with a stronger screen and better battery life than fingerprint technology.  Well - I am now a Samsung Galaxy S4 user.  They lost me, too.

I've got quite the learning curve to feel comfortable using this thing.  But I'm comfortable that I've made the right decision for me.  It'll be interesting to see how this goes...two years from now.

Another thing that was a big deal in my life for a number of years happened this week...the Out and Equal Workplace Summit happened in Minneapolis.  That's where it was the first year I went to it - in 2003.  It was a transformative experience and set the stage for a number of things that happened over subsequent years.  I wouldn't have known it happened this week if it hadn't been for a few posts on Facebook.  I hope it went well.  I suppose I've moved on to other things in life....

Things that once took up significant portions of my time, energy, focus, and life have faded.  They have been replaced by other things.  I think that's a natural part of the circle of life.  I think sometimes we try to hold on to things too long out of perceived safety or stability.  But like it or not - things change.  The key ingredient in it all is time.

I didn't plan where my life is today.  I doubt I could have imagined it.  There are things I wish would be more a part of my life that aren't.  And there are things filling those voids.  Where is it all leading?  I don't know.  I'm still having fun watching it all unfold.

What I'm not having fun doing is mentally preparing for winter.  They said tonight was the mildest Halloween evening in 25 years here.  Temps were around 50 or so at sundown - a beautiful evening.  It's supposed to last through the weekend. with life won't last.  It's just a matter of time.....

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Impetuous:  Characterized by sudden and forceful energy or emotion; impulsive and passionate. 

I suppose I could be called impetuous.  My filter between thinking something and doing something is sometimes very thin or non-existent which has both it's good and bad points.  I sometimes consciously remind myself to slow down to consider things more carefully when I sense that something might be taking that path in me. 

The reason any of that is relevant right now is that I had a trip home to Charleston planned and it struck me that the answer to several of my conundrums was to drive instead of fly.  I already had the flights booked, mind you, and the 1,300 mile each-way drive is not for the faint of heart.  I really did try to stop to consider the options but the right answer that kept popping up was to drive - so here I am.

We (as in me, and the pups) did almost 800 miles on Saturday and 500 miles on Sunday.  We were up at 3:30am and on the road by 4 to get here quicker - as always they were wonderful traveling companions.  The weather was wonderful, the roads were good, the truck behaved flawlessly, and there was some spectacular autumn scenery along the way....especially along I-40 northwest of Asheville NC and I-26 just south of it.  

It typically takes me a couple of says to recover physically from those long drives and this was no different - I'm finally over the lingering effects.  But barring unforeseen delays - and honestly the chance for one is 50/50 - we'll be back on the road at this time tomorrow to do it all in reverse.

The thing I want most right now is to bring my worlds together.  That seems to be an ongoing story for me.  For years it was the gender thing.  Now, it's the home/career thing. of my worlds often seems to be traveling a different path than the one I'd like it to be on so aligning them into a single direction seems to have become a life constant.  That's not a complaint so much as an observation.  I realize it, I see it,  and I've come to peace with it.  I've got a good job, good health, a nice place to live that I truly enjoy, and I'm looking forward to the future.  The only problem is that some of those things happen to exist across different time zones....

All that said, I realize that I've got two very good worlds going on, as I have for quite a while.  It's not like I need to flee one to get to the other.  They're both there and the situation will rectify itself in its own time - not in my time.  The best I can do is remain patient, sip from both my worlds, and keep a good spirit about it all.  I think I do that pretty well most of the time although as my Nebraska world heads into winter this entire dynamic may change.  We'll see.

Some of what I've got on my To-Do list today is practical...I'm getting my flu shot, registering my car, I'm getting my hair done, I need to pick up my wet suit from the scuba store, I need to move some things in my truck, I'm meeting some friends for dinner and I've got a ticket to see Matt Nathenson tonight.  All said - a busy day.  The weather here has been wonderful - highs in the 70's - and I'll take this any day of any week.  Love it.

Speaking of Matt Nathenson - there was an article in Towleroad yesterday about his latest video (see it here).  Apparently, it features a trans-woman.  

I typically feel "blah" for a day or so after having my flu shot so feeling blah while doing a 1,300 mile two-day drive is something I'd prefer to avoid so we'll see how I'm feeling tomorrow.  Regardless of my physical health - right now everything I'd want to be here in Charleston is truck, my pups, and me.  But my job is waiting patiently for me to get back and I need to heed that call until such time as the job thing is here too.  

Until then - and probably even afterwards - impetuous is typically something you are not something you do.  And...I am.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's in the air.

It has been quite the week....

I ran 7 miles around a local lake with a friend on Saturday.

I went to Kansas City for a couple of days of relaxation over the long weekend.

Now that I'm back - it's very autumn-like....brisk, cold, gray.  The low tonight is supposed to be 39.

That said - the last week feels like it has been a month.

The run was farther than usual for me - I've made a new friend who pushes me farther than I would have otherwise gone.  It was almost fun.  It has helped me to set some new goals - in case you haven't noticed I'm very goal driven.  Goal #1: I plan to get into shape to hike the Grand Canyon - down Bright Angel trail to Phantom Ranch next spring.

I drove to Kansas City - 3 reasons.  Shopping....relaxation....and BBQ.  I achieved all 3 in spades.  I've got a "thing" for backpacks, and a "thing" for REI.  Put the two together and....well...there's 45-minutes of backpack-trying-on.  Now, I need a place to wear it.  I'd hike up Squaw Peak to train if I were in the Valley but, needless to say, we've got nothing quite like that here in what's about to become a tundra-like landscape.  So, I'll run.

The running was, like, pre-penance for the amount of BBQ I ate.  Sunday night I had dinner at Jack Stack.  I ate every bite.  Then, Monday I had something called a Z-man sandwich at Joe's BBQ (voted the nations "Manliest" BBQ over several impressive contenders, including my favorite - The Dinosaur)..

The Z-man Sandwich - brisket, provolone, BBQ sauce, and two onion rings.

It's heaven on a bun.  All I can say is that I'm glad they don't sell those things here because it would all be counter productive to the afore-mentioned training.

They're pretty happy - almost giddy - in Kansas City these days thanks to their undefeated football Chiefs.  Everything is red.  I remember similar excitement in Buffalo...nearly 20 years ago now.  Sheesh.

On the way home I stopped in a little town by I-29 to visit a friend's mom.  She's 97 years old and the last time I saw her was probably before I transitioned. was so so nice to see her, and she was happy to see me too.  She's spunky, full of good energy and good attitude - I hope I can be half as spry in 10 years.  Anyway - it helps bring things back into perspective.  True friends, family, health.  Those things are truly priceless, and should never be forgotten.

With Lucy....

The pups had a good trip, too.  We had some good playing - and they had some good BBQ as well.

I'm making some large strides forward at the moment.  It's never too late.  In fact, when I stop moving forward I move backwards and I'm not going in that direction right now.  I'm not sure where tomorrow leads, but I'm headed there.

I've been emotional lately.  I watched an HBO special on Joe Namath the other night and almost cried at a couple of points....not sure why.  Tonight I'm watching one of those movies that I've seen dozens of times and would watch every time it's on - A Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger.  It makes me laugh out loud, even after as many times as I've seen it.  One of the theme's of the movies is being able to change your stars, or your destiny.  It's something some of us know all too well.

Anyway - I am in touch with the breadth of my humanity right now.  I am breathing it deeply

Speaking of breathing deeply, when I lived in cold winters I had cold induced asthma and had an albuterol inhaler to protect my lungs.  I can already tell I'm going to need one.  I'm not ready to stop this breathing right now - cold, or warm.  It's the air that's important.

On the national level there's a story that's the kind of thing that makes me crazy.  A trans-woman in the Denver area was denied free local breast cancer screening because she's trans (story here).  She's gonna teach them a thing or two.

Change is in the air.  Know it.  Embrace it.  Savor it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

For every season....

Yesterday was chilly, wet 50-degree autumn.  Today was bright, sunny 75-degree autumn.  I suppose both come with the territory.

I'm still diggin' work.  For a Monday - today was good.  Many (but not all) of my co-workers affected by the government shut-down were back at work today.  It was one of the few times that I was happy to see the parking lot mostly full when I got back from lunch.  I still don't think it's going to end anytime soon.

I'm still on my cooking bender.  Tonight I made a home-baked white pizza I enjoy.  I start with one of those Baboli personal size pizza bread thingys.  I drizzle olive oil over the entire thing topped with a sprinkle of garlic salt and cracked pepper.  One of the things I've started doing recently is adding a thin layer of creamy Caesar salad dressing - it adds a little something - topped with a sprinkling of feta cheese.  I top that with a layer of mushrooms (and sometimes diced tomatoes).  Lastly, I cover with a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake it in a pre-heated oven (450 degrees) for 8-10 minutes and - Voila.  Mmmmmm......Delicious!

That it.  I realize it's not much but that's my day.  I'm fine with it.  It could be a lot worse.  :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

This is me.

Anyone who has ready this blog for any period of time realizes that I continue to celebrate annual milestones in my life.  The date of my FFS.  The date of my SRS.  Each continues to remind me where I've come from, and each continues to be a foundation pillar of my year.  I never want to forget.

Friday - Oct. 4 - marked my first day at work as Donna in 1999.  I've shared this before (it's from the compilation of emails and journal entries from that time I've hidden online)....but it's still relevant.  It will always be relevant:

How long have we talked about this day? I can't believe it's here. I can't believe this is me. It's as if I were just a spectator watching this person do these things, and to realize that it's me is really amazing to me. I have no idea where I have gotten the strength/courage to actually show up here  today. It has built itself up over time, because I know it wasn't here too too long ago. It's one thing to want it and talk about it, and another to do it. And still another to feel comfortable about it. How many people actually follow it through? Pretty amazing.

I guess that's it for now. I may write more tonight. I can't remember everything right's all like a blur. I made a promise to myself to keep my head up, and look people in the eye, and display on the 
outside the happiness and satisfaction I feel on the inside. So far, I have done that. And when this day is  over, those are the things I will remember. Not necessarily what I wore, or what I did at lunch....but how I felt. I will never forget this day. 

I never will....And I will never lose appreciation for that particular milestone.  I have come a long way.

Speaking of remembering.....I remember when I was in college and had to write an analysis of the movie Raging Bull.  It was such a complex film that it was actually easy to find things to write about.  And the more you thought about it, the more you realized how many layers made the complex character played by Robert DeNiro such a compelling figure.

I remembered that yesterday, as I watched the new Sandra Bullock/George Clooney movie Gravity.  Deep, complex, compelling....for much of the movie she's all by herself so watching the roller coaster of her development through terrifying circumstances is more than simply a technical and visual wonder.  At its heart it is a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit.  Anyone who is down, who is facing seemingly unsurmountable challenges, who feels hopeless.....they need to see this movie.

I've said in the past that I want to build an IMAX theater into my house.  Anything in IMAX is a sensual onslaught, and this was no difference.  The ground shaking sound coming from every direction....the huge images...the stunning 3D...I'm definitely an IMAX junkie.  This movie was probably the best $12 I've spent in a long time.  I can see myself going back again.  Not for nothing, but I liked all the previews they showed before the movie, too.

At the end of the year, when it's time for Oscar nominations, Sandra Bullock's performance will be featured prominently along with Kate Blanchett's character in Blue Jasmine.  The scene where she's crying, and the tears roll out of her eyes and float away as weightless droplets is particularly affecting.

Anyway - suffice it to say I share the superlatives that seem almost universally used when discussing or reviewing this movie.

The remainder of the my was excellent as well.  I went to a new local shooting range and gave all 3 of my handguns a workout.  If I may say so myself, I was sharp.  It's

I stopped at Costco and Trader Joe's to buy my favorite cookies - nobody else sells them.  In my continuing cooking jag I made a tasty fresh mushroom, ham, and Colby Jack cheese omelette for breakfast and I met someone out for dinner.  It was even a good hair day - you need to appreciate those when you can.

To close out the evening last night I watched a show on Paladia that's part of the CMT series "Crossroads".  The gist of the series is that they typically pair a well-known country act with a well-known act from some other genre to play their songs together.  Previous episodes have featured Sting and Vince Gill, Train and Martina McBride, John Mayer and Keith Urban.  I love these.

Last night's episode was particularly entertaining.  It was Stevie Nicks combined with Lady Antebellum.  The full episode is available online (link here).  If you get an hour of quiet time, it's an hour well worth spent watching this.

I mentioned the other night that we were having some intense storms come thru the area.  There was an EF4 tornado 100 miles north of here as part of it.  I went to the top of the hill where I live and watched the lightshow of lightning in the distance - it was pretty incredible.

The Lightning Show

Now, it feels like fall.  Real fall.  It's gray, windy, and the high temperatures are in the low 50's.  It's wet, too.  I took the pups to the dog park and took a picture of the basketball court.  I looks like a swimming pool.  That's not a complaint....I enjoy fall.  It's what comes after that I'll complain about...

The basketball court after the rains....

Today is a new day.  This morning I made some home-made waffles with fresh strawberries.  I brought my favorite waffle-maker back with me and it did what it doest best....makes yummy, warm waffles.  I've already done my shopping.

Today, I'm unwinding.  I think I'm going to make and upload a video to my YouTube channel has been far too long.  I'm planning to go for a run at the gym.  I've got some cleaning to do.

All things considered.....Life is good. more thing.  I still can't believe that this is me.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I continue to believe....

It is Thursday night.  I'm watching my Buffalo Bills - about to blow their 10 point lead.  Sigh.  

I have a bunch of disassociated, mostly mundane, things to write about tonight.

The trip home to Charleston over the weekend was wonderful, as usual.  It' was one of those rare weekends where I accomplish EVERYTHING I had intended to do.  Plus some....

Of particular note was my dermatology appointment.  After I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma in Feb. 2009 one of the significant life changes was enhanced vigilance to ensure that if it re-appears we'll catch it early.  I find the sun to be a non-negotiable source of life in my world, so I refuse to hide from it for fear of making something bad happen.  I live in places where sun is abundant.  I don't hide under hats, or long sleeves, or SPF 100 lotions.  I'm aware of things, but I'm not afraid of sunlight and I think I balance things pretty well.

I go to the dermatologist every 6 months to endure a detailed screening.  They check my skin from my scalp to between my toes.  They check my lymph nodes.  As often as not they'll find something - usually on my back - that attracts their attention so they'll cut it off and get it checked (6 months ago it was a small cyst).  This time - thumbs up all around.  I didn't expect otherwise, but getting validation on these kinds of things is always reassuring.

My flights - in both directions - were on-time and without incident.  I'm hoping that means I've regained my airport mojo.  I seem to have lost it based on my experiences on my last few trips but this time it all went smoothly.  All in all - no complaints.  And, as usual, I was as sad to leave as I was happy to arrive.

Next topic: the government shut-down.  I'll share here that I work in a government facility.  As a result, the shut-down affects me directly.  I'm not furloughed - that is, I still get to show up and do my job - but at least 2/3 of the people I work with aren't so fortunate.  Some are government, some are contractors - but there are thousands facing an uncertain future where they don't know when they'll be allowed to return to work, or get paid again.  It's absolutely ridiculous.

I find that I've been on a cooking bender lately.  A couple of nights ago I made pork chops and Spanish Rice.  Last night I made baked ziti with Italian Sausage.  Tonight it was BLT's.  I'll need to control myself tomorrow as part of the problem is that cooking for 1 generally involves left-overs.  I'm thinking that tomorrow night will probably be pork chops again.  Good thing I enjoyed it first time around.  :)

A friend recently wrote to ask me why I'm always so "driven".  I honestly don't know what pushes me.  There seems to be so much I want to do in life, and only a finite amount of time.  Maybe it's making up for lost time, maybe it's stored up energy, maybe I'm compensating for something, maybe it's just the way I am.  I honestly can't answer.  But I know that my passion and my gusto are undimmed.  As I approach my 55th birthday in a few months I continue to believe that my best days are in front of me - not behind me.  

This coming weekend will be a quiet one.  I want to go see "Gravity" in IMAX 3D.  I plan to get to the gym.  I may get together with a friend for dinner.  I want to go shooting.  I can't imagine having a weekend happen - and not having at least a couple of things that I want to do.  Since I'm not traveling this weekend - well, I consider that to be a quiet one.

We're in for some significant "weather" over the next 48 hours.  A tornado warning just came onto the TV.  They said there's 3-inch hail.  If that hail finds its way to my truck Ima freak out.  We've had some very warm days recently and the Weather Channel is calling for some major changes.

I'm in the red area.  Sigh...  I hope the red is just for weather - not for life as well.  I'd rather not deal with stormy weather right now although I suppose in each life some rain must fall.

A couple of friends are in the relatively early stages of their transitions, and are dealing with the incredible highs and lows many of us experience during this profound time.  This includes you, Sophie.  I remember those days, and I thank God that I'm long past that stage in my own journey.

It reminds me, though, of a quotation that meant a lot to me.  It's by Amelia Earhart, of all people.  People often use only the first part of this.....I find the entire thing is worthwhile.

“Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace,
The soul that knows it not, knows no release,
From little things;
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.”

Anyway.  That's enough for tonight.  Time for bed.  Tomorrow is Friday!!