Monday, July 29, 2013


My GPS quit on me.  Just stopped working.  Maybe it's unhappy that I travel so much so it has to work harder.  I dunno.  But this isn't good.

I spent the weekend in Charleston.  On Friday I worked all day, got onto a 5:30pm flight, eventually landed in Charlotte at midnight, got a car, then drove the 3+ hours to Charleston.  I got there about 4am - long day.  After 4 hrs of sleep I was good to go.

Today is Monday and I did it all in reverse.  I left Charleston at 1pm and drove to Charlotte.  Caught my 6:30pm flight.  Had a couple of hour layover in Atlanta.  Landed here at midnight (1am ET).  And here it is - 1am - and I'm decompressing for a few minutes before getting into bed.  I've got work in the morning.  And a dull headache.

I love my trips home.  Love, love, love them.  It's a lot of expense, a lot of craziness, a lot of logistics to make them happen.  But I love 'em.

We went tried out one of the local churches on Sunday and the topic for the morning was Simplifying your life.  My life is anything but simple.  But it works for me and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'll post some photos here and go into a little more detail when I'm a bit more awake.  For the moment, I just wanted to check in while I relax.  Next stop - bed.

Monday, July 22, 2013


So....Now that I've pretty much come to peace with the fact that I can't be at home in Charleston every weekend I've come to peace with accepting where I am while I'm here.  As I've's actually a very pretty place and I feel more comfortable here than when I was in Raleigh.  The problem with Raleigh was that it was close enough to Charleston so I never got comfortable there, nor did I want to.  I could always escape and get back to Charleston given a tank of gas and 3 1/2 hours of highway time.

Here it's different.  I'm too far away to get home like that.  I can't afford to fly home as frequently, although my heart aches about it if I let myself dwell on it for too long.  So - I don't allow myself to dwell.  It seems pretty simple- the options are to hate it just because or to come to peace with it.  Harder said than done, I realize, but I've done the latter.  For now.  

Yesterday afternoon it was 90+ sunny degrees here.  I've done something I haven't done for a long time - I went for a bike ride.  The area around where I live is what I'd think of as stereotypical for the midwest...lots of greenery...lots of "country"...of fields, and farms, and farm animals.  There's a bike path near where I live so I got on that and followed it for a while.

On this blog, over the years, I can remember showing scenes from several of my different running/biking routes.  There's the Erie Canal photos from Rochester, NY.  I've put pictures from my route while I was in Scottsdale.  I've shared scenes from my route in Charleston.  Well, here's a new one....a scene typical of my most current route.  

Yesterday evening, as the sun was going down, I headed into Iowa for an evening walk along an area known as the "Wabash Trace".  It's a 60+ mile trail that's an old rail roadway.  I've heard it was pretty, and it delivered (especially in the golden light of the sun going down).  I took a couple of pictures...sharing them too.

Sometimes that takes a while....coming to peace with your circumstances.  Lord don't I know.  Sometimes I can do it, and sometimes I can't.  Or won't.  Regardless, here I am.

I wear a cross around my neck.  I wear it pretty much every day.  If you look at the photo I posted recently (or any photo I've posted in the past 18+ months) you'll see it.

People ask me if I'm religious because of it - and what it typically represents to most.  But the reason I wear it, and what this specific necklace represents to me, is unique to me.

The cross represents intersection.  Past and present.  Life crossroads.  Yin and Yang.  Lots and lots of intersections.  It's not a religious image so much as a spiritual one.

And the dove....well...the dove is what makes it more than just another cross.  The dove represents peace.  More specifically, it represents inner peace.  That's what this image means to me.  That's why I wear it.  Intersections, and inner peace.  Symbolism means a lot to me, and it's a constant reminder.  I never want to forget.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Sometimes, a good day is simply about finding little nuggets of surprise.  Hopefully, it's a good surprise.  Not always the be sure...but sometimes you so.

I went to a local dive shop today.  Admittedly, I didn't have high expectations.  The suppose the I assumed that a dive shop in the middle of the country, where it's just as far from one ocean to to the other, would be rinky-dinky.  Not so.

The dive shop here is amazing.  It's the nicest I've ever seen.  According to the sales guy I talked with, it's one of the largest in the entire country.  There's a huge, almost new, pool attached to it visible thru a pane of glass.  And a gigantic salt-water aquarium in the middle.  And there's more cool diving "stuff" there than I've ever seen in one place before.  The irony is that it makes the dive shops in Charleston - right there on the ocean - look rinky-dinky.  Charleston Scuba has a small-shop kinda charm to it and the people there make it almost like a small family...but comparing the "stuff" in the two is like comparing a Circle K to a Costco.

I digress.  I was there for an hour and if I had any money would have been been in trouble.

So, that was part of my day.

Another part of the day is that I decided to spend a couple of hours at the pool.  The apartment complex where I live has a pool that is sometimes overrun with people and sometimes almost deserted.  I was pleasantly surprised that for most of the day it was the latter.  The weather today was absolutely perfect for pooling - around 90 degrees and sunny - so a couple of hours of slowing down and chilling by the pool is just what the doctor ordered.  Very relaxing.

Obviously - today was not an earth-shattering, pedal-to-the-metal kind of day for me.  By design, I think.  I just needed some time to relax so I did.

Speaking of the weather, we haven't had rain in quite a while.  Charleston has had 40" of rain so far this year - 15+" above average - so the ground is soaked.  Here, it hasn't rained in weeks and the ground off my back patio is cracked and dry.  No complaints here, mind you.  We're supposed to get rain tonight which is fine by me.  My truck needs a good washing.  :)

I spent some time letting my hair dry on it's own and putting on a little make-up before heading out. I was watching one of my favorite YouTube channels (Pixiwoo) and showed some things I wanted to try on my own. Anyway - here's a selfie before heading out this afternoon.

And here's a photo from 14 years ago today.

I don't mind admitting that I like the top one a whole lot better.  I still sometimes need to pinch myself for the me I've become.  It will never get old.....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

All that bad

I've had a few revelations recently.

First - turkey bacon is disgusting.  It doesn't taste like bacon.  It doesn't even really look like bacon.  It reminds me of a tofurkey.  I bought some thinking it'd be like turkey sausage - not all that bad.  Well, I was incorrect.  It is all that bad.

Second - I make a mean turkey sandwich.  Not turkey bacon, mind you.  But real turkey turkey.  Some pickles (the full sized gerkins are best, sliced length wise).  Mayo.  Tomatoes.  Lettuce.  Oven-baked turkey.  Some Muenster cheese.  Fresh bread.  The magic ingredient is some Wishbone Chipotle-Ranch dressing to give it a little kick.  Warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds.  I enjoyed one so much yesterday after I got home I made another one today.  It was equally as yummy.

Third - life milestones are never to be forgotten.  Today was the anniversary of my wedding day 32 years ago.  Despite what eventually happened to my marriage, it's a day I'll never forget.  There is no sadness in it.  There is no regret.  It's just a life milestone not to be forgotten as the years pass and it fades in the rear view mirror.

The same is true for my FFS.  In any way that matters, it was the dramatic beginning of life as I know it.  That anniversary is on Sunday.  July 21.  It was a Wednesday.  Back in 1999 tomorrow was the last day I spent at home.  The 20th was the day I left, flew to San Francisco, and had my pre-op appointment with Dr. O.  And the 21st - well, 13+ hours of life-changing surgery.

I will never forget being rolled into the O.R.  And I'll never forget the Hell of the night after I woke up from surgery - when minutes felt like agonizing hours.  Some may choose to not look backwards at those kinds of things.  As for me, well, it remains a life anchor that I celebrate annually by calling Dr. O's office and catching up.  I did that today, for the 14th time.  That has been over a quarter of my life at this point.

Fourth - Kill Bill Vol. 1 sounds great with a half-decent surround sound system.  That may not be as big as #3....but I'm just sayin'....

Today was catch-up day.  I had lots to do after my little time away - that's the price you pay.  No worries, tho.  I'm still enjoying what I'm doing and the day passed quickly.  So tonight - it's a glass of red wine, a turkey sandwich (as described), and Kill Bill.

None of this may be big for anyone else but me.  But it's the roadmap of a life well lived, and in progress.

That said, Lynn Conway recently had a piece in Huffington Post (read it here). It's titled "The Many Shades of 'Out'".  It's nice to see Lynn "out there" again.  She was such a pioneer for so many of us, and she seems to have found her own healthy balance between privacy/outness.  I've got some thoughts.

I never liked the term "Out".  It feels like "admitting" something.  Or, that there's some binary of Out, and not.  But that's more an argument about semantics than one of substance.  The important concept is that it's not that simple.

In a practical example, I recently had to disclose quite a bit of personal information in a specific aspect of my career.  It's certainly not like I'm hiding, as anyone looking for me doesn't need to look hard to find more information about me than I'd typically bring up in a conversation.  I don't need to convince anyone that I'm not ashamed of any of it.  But at the same time, in many instances it's just not germain to the circumstance.  But sometimes, it is.

The fact that I'm out where I've wanted/needed to be out and not necessarily out in other elements of my life isn't something I consciously consider very often.  A far more healthy approach is to NOT think about it, and other than this blog my day-to-day life isn't ABOUT this.  I realize I'm incredibly fortunate to be in that position but it's as much mental as anything.

When I talked with Mira at Dr. O's office today we talked about how much the world has changed with regards to trans-visibility over the 14 years since I had my FFS.  Lynn was part of that.  I like to think I've done my part to help things along, too, even if it's simply NOT allowing myself to be one-dimensioned by the label.  That - and changing perception of the label.  Both are equally important to me and are things I doubt previously generations of us imagined they'd see.  But - here we are.  We dare to imagine.

In any event - tomorrow is Friday.  It seems like a short week thanks to my travels.  But, as with some of the things I've chatted about tonight, that's more mental than real.  Regardless - I'm already looking forward to the weekend.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Miles to go

I'm in mid-travel, and it feels like deja-vu.  I flew east on Friday for a few days of RnR which I have enjoyed immensely.  But I've got lots happening at work this week that I need to get back to.

My flight out last night was delayed due to a mechanical problem past the point where I could make my connection.  So, I spent another night here and am trying again this morning.  We'll see how today's adventures in the air go.

As I say - lots going on at work that I need to get back to.  So, although I'm thrilled to have an extra night here I had mentally prepared myself to leave yesterday which is no easy feat.  How you approach these things in your head is as important (or more important) than the actual logistics involved.  The problem is that often times we perceive that we can control the logistics more than we can control what's going on internally.  I think both are equally iffy sometimes.  Still, I was ready yesterday so I've tried to get get myself re-ready today.

Regardless of the travel logistics, I've had a wonderful few days.  In my unique Yin/Yang sense of balance these trips fill a gaping hole that's more mental and spiritual than physical.  But keeping that Holy Trinity of self aligned from time to time is key, and I feel fortunate to be able to do that.

I wish there was more I wanted to say today, especially given that I haven't posted here in over a week and lots has transpired over that time.  But in both my personal life and my career-life there is need for a sense of carefully considered privacy at the moment.

Over the past few days the headlines have been full of commentary on the Zimmerman verdict.  Now that there's no high-profile case for TV to fixate on - whether it be Casey Anthony, Jody Arias, and now this - they'll look over their shoulders at what happened and analyze it twenty ways to Sunday for weeks.  And I, for one, couldn't possibly care less about the name, gender, or other specifics of the royal baby about to be born in the UK.  I have no idea how we've become so crazed about these kinds of things as a culture, but I for one am so tired of it I can't even listen anymore.  Crazy.

My own focus is on decisions with a more immediate personal element.  Like this one (here).  Perhaps not as sensational, but the mere visibility to these kinds of things has practical everyday implications for many of us.

Onwards, and hopefully, upwards.  :-)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The heat index outside today is upwards of 110 degrees.  That's not a complaint.  That's actually something I could get used to.  I'm at my best when things get hot.  That's not bragging....I'm just sayin'.

Things are ramping up at work.  I'm still at only 80% of full power thanks to this cold I've still got.  It's 7pm and I'm already in my PJ's - hope to be in bed by 9.  Still - I found enough energy to take my depleted, worn out, mucousy self to Five Guys for a little burger-and-fries therapy.  Whether or not there's any substantive medicinal value is irrelevant.  It did my psyche some good...sort of like a tasty placebo.

Speaking of work - I'm still enjoying it.  Thank God.  I would be in a tizzy if I'd come this far and had such high hopes for what brought me here and I hated it from the get-go.  It was a risk, and I'll be the first to admit that when you take enough risks you win some and lose some.  I think the keys go back to things we've talked about in the past.  Go with your gut.  Don't let fear rule your life.  Driving your life instead of simply being a passenger involves taking Risks.  Those are more than just flowery concepts.

I can't control everything that happens in or around my world.  I'm good with that.  Other people will do what they do.  Things will happen as they happen.  Despite all of that - I'm not afraid of myself.  I've proven to myself that there are more things I CAN control in my world than I dare to realize given the right intersection of circumstance, timing, opportunity, and "gut feeling".  Approaching life direction decisions with a general mindset of "No Regret", and recognition that there is no one "right" direction hidden among an infinite number of wrong ones helps to point the way.  The right direction is the one I choose, as that's the only one that will become real.

So, for a bigger reason than I know now, I'm here - a long way from home - but still on my journey.  Having burgers for dinner.  With a cold.

I can tell it's time for me to put myself into bed.  I hope tomorrow I'm 85% healthy and 15% cold....on the mend.  G'night!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Less than Stellar

I've had a uneventful, lazy kind of day.  I didn't sleep well so I was awake at 6 which is way too early for a weekend when I don't need to be anywhere.  I lay down for an hour this afternoon but didn't want to nap for fear it would keep me awake tonight.

I went to the shooting range.  I ironed, and put away the rest of my clothes.  I bought some dishes - I'm done living with one large plate, one small plate, and one bowl.  Now, I'm watching the first Bourne movie.  Love it.

Still feeling like doo-doo, tho.  Not whining, mind you.  Just saying....

I'm minimizing my "discomfort" with a few Trader Joe's Caramel Cashew Cookies, and hot Chai Tea.

Some of the reality tv commercials on A&E are pretty icky.  "Storage Wars"??!.  "Shipping Wars"??  Really?  This is entertainment?   This is what TV has devolved into?  Maybe it's just me, but this junk seems like neither A nor E to me.

Good thing they don't go to my Storage Unit.  There's not much there.  It's unsettling to think that in the event of my untimely demise nobody knows where my storage stuff is but me and they'd eventually take it all when the monthly fees didn't get paid.  I realize it's only "stuff" and probably doesn't matter to anyone, but I'd hat to think that it'd all eventually end up on some icky reality show.  I need to make sure that doesn't happen by either (a) getting my stuff OUT of there or (b) making sure someone else does.

I'm taking some weekend summer "vacations" over the next few weeks.  A trip (or two, or three) to Charleston.  A trip to visit my son.  A trip to Dallas to see my mom.  And, most likely, a trip to Rochester.  I suppose I should enjoy the quiet weekend while it's here.  If I had to be feeling less than stellar for any of them, I suppose I'd pick this one.

Friday, July 5, 2013

No Whining (or, I Want it All)

I like to think I'm not a whiner.  I don't complain much.  What's the point?  Of course, something like that is always subjective but that's what I think, anyway.

That said, I feel like crap.  When you're in the hospital they sometimes ask you to rate your "discomfort" (in doctor-speak, that's the nice word for pain) on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being almost nothing and 10 being the most intense pain you can imagine.  Well, on a scale of 1 to 10 my "discomfort index" right now is probably only a 4 or a 5 - I've felt lots worse - but it's no fun.  I feel lots worse than last night.  Stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, weak, doped up on decongestant.  I probably don't have a fever...don't own a thermometer so that's just a guess...but that doesn't east the "crap" factor.

I got home from work today and lay down for a couple of hours.  I'm killing some time to get something to eat and drink and expect to be back in bed shortly.  Where I work is chilly.  It's like a meat locker sometimes.  With all my illness by the time the day was over I was almost shivering.  Not sure if it was chills or just me but regardless....I have finally thawed.

There are some movies I can watch over and over.  When I'm browsing the channels if I see it I'll stop at it 9 times out of 10.  The Bourne movies are like that...I've seen each one at least 15 or 20 times.  The Matrix.  Tonight I watched "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for probably the two dozendith time.  They still make me laugh out loud.

One of the things I like about me is that I can still laugh out loud.  Lots of things make me laugh.  So far tonight I've laughed at the movie, at a commercial on ESPN, and at a couple of other things.  It's good medicine, and I have no problem when it comes to a laugh.  If I ever lose that, something is seriously wrong.  I'm happy to say I'm healthy in that department - it's good medicine.

Now I'm watching "We Bought a Zoo".  They're going to re-open the zoo on 7/7.  That's only a couple of days from now.

One of the things that made it especially fun tonight is that I've set up a little home theater set-up here in my apartment.  It's actually probably a total waste of some good audio equipment as it sounds best when it's relatively loud.  Apartments frown on loud.  The subwoofer shakes the walls given the opportunity, so I'm doing my best to keep it down but it's still cool to be surrounded by all this sound.  But if/when my upstairs neighbor says something to me I'll know I've crossed the line.  So far so good.

I guess that's a life mantra....knowing when you cross the line after you've crossed it.  I suppose I've crossed my fair share of lines over my lifetime and I'd like to say it was due to some level of bravery or character.  Sometimes, though, I don't even know there's a line there.  I don't even see them.

Last night I mentioned something about memorable July 4th's.  In 1997 I had made arrangements to go and see Dr. O for my initial consult with him on July 3.  We were in Phoenix and I was supposed to fly into SF on an early morning flight, but because of fog (in SF??  who woulda thunk?!) the flights were delayed for hours to the point that I wouldn't have the time to go get my X-rays, do my consult, then catch my flight home.  So, we had to reschedule.  My ex- knew about it and wouldn't speak to me.  That night she brought my son to the fireworks herself and I stayed home - it was usually the other way around.  It's not a momentous thing but in the scheme of things sometimes the simplest things have the greatest impact.

A couple of things are going on in the country that I'm following.  One is that ENDA is scheduled for a conference vote next week (story here), and is expected to pass.  It has been a long-twisting road and I assume it will be longer and more twisted.  But it's all progress.

Another is that California passed the nations first state law protecting transgender students (story here).  As far as I'm concerned - that's absolutely huge.  That's something that will affect generations of kids who don't have to be afraid or ashamed as I was.  They won't have to carry the burden of a secret that forces to be something and someone they're not.  I'm not under any illusions that society will change because of one law.  But, it's important that there be recognition of the unique challenges that these kids face.  And, once that is done - it's important to protect them.

One statistic I've read that makes me absolutely sick is that the average age of a homeless gender variant kid on the streets is 13 1/2.  Can you imagine that?  I can't.  That's the reason we struggle to make a better world.  It's all about legacy, and it's a fine line between simply living your life with dignity and allowing yourself to be defined by one aspect of yourself.  Again - I'm not sure where that line is.  At least, for me.  But I've come to accept that I don't really care where the line is.  You can do both.  I sometimes tell people I'm not an "or" person - I'm an "and" person.  I want it all.  Sometimes I even feel like I have it....and sometimes I don't.  That's just life.

Well, that's alot for a person who's got a headache, a stuffy head, and feels like crap to say.  But I venture to say that sometimes being a 4 or a 5 on the discomfort scale can be a good thing.

Going to bed soon, and hope to feel better by Monday.  Until then - no Whining, lots of liquids, and hopefully lots of feeling better.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


It was a beee-you-tee-full day here today.  90 degrees.  Sun-drenched.  Low humidity.  Just gorgeous.

I'd love to say I was on a boat, or hiking, or sitting on a dock overlooking the ocean.  Those are things that I've done for several recent July 4th's.  And while I really didn't have a bad day - my main complaint is that I've got a cold.  It started coming on last night, and has slowly worsened throughout the day.  Tonight my nose is stuffy, my throat is scratchy, I'm tired.  Not good.

I don't get sick very often which is actually fairly surprising given how much I do.  But when I do get sick it's usually a prolonged thing, so I'm not optimistic that it will have blown over by tomorrow morning.

Still, that didn't dampen my day.  I went to Trader Joe's, and did some shopping.  I grilled a hamburger, and boiled some fresh local sweet corn for dinner.  All things considered - it was a nice day off.  Except for the cold.

Someone is doing fireworks outside.  I have a feeling it won't stop me from falling asleep in a few minutes.  I need to be at work tomorrow.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The hard part is leaving.

I'm surprisingly alert, given the circumstances.

I think I'm still on my "high" from going home to Charleston over these past few days.  But I'll come down fast enough.

The traveling logistics were funky - both ways.

On the way east I had a connection in Atlanta.  There was lightning in the area so they shut everything down for a half hour.  That typically makes a mess of air traffic across the country, as it did this time.  Two of the cabin attendants who were supposed to be on our flight were still in Knoxville at our scheduled 8pm departure, so we wait.  9pm comes and goes.  10pm.  Finally, they found some replacement attendants so we started to board at 11pm.  By the time we arrived in Charlotte - where I was supposed to pick up my rental car - it was past the magic hour of 1am when the rental counters close.  In fact, it was almost past the 2am deadline when the last hotel shuttle buses operate.  End result was to fall back to plan B - I spent the night in Charlotte.

These past 24 hours have been crazed, too.  I got to bed last night at 8:30 or so.  Alarm went off at 1am.  On the road by 1:30am for the 3 1/2 hr drive to Charlotte to catch my flight - in the rain.  5am...I arrive at the CLT airport car rental return.  5:15...shuttle bus drops me off at the terminal.  5:30....going through security, I got pulled aside for a detailed search that lasted 10 minutes.  5:45...I finally got to the gate - the plane was boarding.  6am...flight leaves.  7am flight arrives in ATL, where I go from terminal B to terminal C.  8 am - plane boards, and leaves on-time at 8:20.  As soon as we landed I got my truck, and I was at work by 10:00am CT.  I  spent the day catching up.  As of now I've been up 20 hours.

In between arriving and leaving, though....well, THAT'S what makes it all worth it.  Every visit reminds me of why the area is "home".  We cooked hot dogs and brats.  We had went to Cracker Barrel.  I got my hair colored, and had a doctor appt.  I even went on a jet ski for the first time in my life.  The best part is arriving.  But the flip side of that coin The hard part is leaving.