Hello, and a Terrific Resource to Check Out

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hi everyone, and apologies for the radio silence. I need to keep this brief; I've been frantically busy the past 5-6 weeks, and will be for (hopefully only) another.

Long story short: my landlord, C, who is 91, unfortunately could no longer live by herself. So her family made the difficult position to place her in a nursing home. It's a very good one, fortunately, but it's still quite sad.

As you can imagine, it's quite expensive. As a result, they need to sell her house to pay for her care - which meant that I needed to move, with very little notice (as in, less than a month).

I manged to make it happen (thank you to my best friend F, who was there for me on moving day last Saturday), but it was quite stressful to pull off in just a few weeks. And it necessitated moving Thanksgiving weekend, which is typically a four-day holiday. I am exhausted, as things are quite busy at work right now. Hopefully things will calm down after this week. Fingers crossed.

***

In other news, I wanted to say a few words about a new TS resource that I hope might be useful to some of you. The good folks at Juno Medical, a European healthcare company, kindly asked me if I could let readers of my blog know about a guide they've created with information about GCS.

It's clear they have invested a great deal of thought and care has gone into it, so it is my pleasure to share it with you. Please take a look at the fruits of their labor here:

https://www.junomedical.com/en/sex-reassignment-surgery-guide

Thank you to Tim and all of the lovely folks at Juno Medical for putting this together, and for giving me the honor of sharing it with all of you! I hope you find it to be a valuable resource!

That will do it for this girl for now. I hope to start posting a bit more regularly, so watch this space. :c) Have a good week, everyone...

***

On top of the stress of moving,  I'm still coping with the fallout from our most recent election here in the States. I almost never post about politics here, and only mention it now to say that it makes me even more grateful than usual for what is my very favorite Christmas album of all time: Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. This is "Christmas Time Is Here," one of the lovely originals he composed (along with Lee Mendelson, the special's producer).


So peaceful... thank you, Vince, and thank you, Charles Schulz...


Devil(-ish) with the Blue Dress

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Well, I don't know about Devil (perhaps "mischievous pixie," to paraphrase how Alice usually refers to me? lol).. but I certainly enjoyed wearing my steampunk outfit to the Halloween party at the office today!


Well, part of my steampunk outfit, anyway; I purchased an awesome hat online to go with this outfit, but alas, it didn't arrive in time for the party today.

But no matter; I loved every second I spent wearing it, from the dress to the petticoats (sigh... petticoats) to my thigh-high boots. (The skirt and petticoat cover them up, but take my word for it: they are sooooo much fun to wear! Even if I was barely able to hobble to my car in the parking lot at the end of the day. lol)

Since this is an actual outfit and not simply a costume, I'll be able to wear it again in the future - and I plan to do so as much as possible, be-hatted and carrying my aerodynamically-efficient parasol. In the meantime, here's a more close-up shot of yours truly in her steampunked glory. Hope you like it!


As you can likely tell, I had an absolute blast dressing up today. Not to be outdone, my colleagues, The Divine Miss M and The Equally Adorable Miss S, both came dressed to the nines today.

As it turned out, TDMM and I were matching gingers. She even managed the seemingly impossible feat of being even paler than your humble blogstress. No mean feat, that. (In case you're wondering, she came as a zombie - a cute-as-a-button zombie, granted... but still a zombie). :D

TEDMS, meanwhile, while not a ginger-for-a-day like TDMM, was just as fetching in all of her elf-like glory. :c) And she bakes a mean spicy chocolate cookie too, I might add. Yummm....

Happy Halloween, all!

***

It's a given that this post feature Bruce Springsteen's epic "Devil With the Blue Dress" medley, covering Detroit's great Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels:


And since I saw them just a few weeks ago, here's a gorgeous song from Toronto's favorite sons, Blue Rodeo:



Soooo good! In fact, that deserves a follow-up, don't you think?


Incidentally, the handsome young gentleman singing the second verse is Devin Cuddy - and that's his father, Jim, Blue Rodeo's co-founder (along with Greg Keelor, who wrote and sings this song) beaming proudly in the background. :c)

Musings: Me & My Shadow

Tuesday, October 18, 2016



Hello all. Hope autumn is treating you well. My allergies have been acting up in ways they haven't since before I moved to Seattle over 15 years ago. I don't think they're back; it's just that we had an unusually hot and dry summer this year, which has stirred something up. 

I'm not really congested; mostly I get headaches (nasty ones, in several cases), a dry cough, and feel somewhat tired. Once we have our first frost I'm sure I'll be back to normal. (And as I joked with my manager L today, I can finally start wearing the cute boots I purchased last spring!)

I have several posts in various stages of readiness, but need to wrap up a few things before I post them. In the meantime, I wanted to share a moment from last week that stopped me in my tracks - literally.

I was walking downtown around noon on a bright, sunny day. I'd just returned from a mini-vacation to visit my dear friend Alice up above the Maple Curtain (known to some as Canada) that morning (aside: Canadians have the right idea in celebrating Thanksgiving in October when, you know, it actually happened in the first place!), and decided to go for a walk downtown to pick up a prescription.

Perhaps I was tired from allergies, or still a bit bleary-eyed from having risen at 5:30 to catch my flight. Whatever the reason, I noticed something that I suspect would ordinarily not have.

I saw the silhouette of a woman, wearing what looked like a ruched dress, reflected in the store window I was passing. She was taking long strides, her pocketbook bouncing and hair ruffled by the breeze.

I thought, "Hmm... I should check her out"... -until I suddenly realized who she was:

Me.

Whoa.

As I mentioned above, I truly did stop in my tracks.

I was stunned.

I've been full-time for nearly three years.

I've long since become comfortable in my own skin, long since realized I genuinely liked who I was, for the first time in my life.

Transitioning is the hardest thing I've ever done. I've experienced depths of pain and loss I could not have fathomed previously. 

But it's also the best thing I've ever done. I've worked and worked - and continue to work - to learn who I truly am, and to appreciate myself, flaws and all. 

Part of that - a crucial part of it - is that I've come to realize that I pass. I look in the mirror now and see me, not "him." I've also come to realize, much to my surprise, that other people are noticing me in ways I never once experienced pre-transition. I'm still learning to adjust to that reality (and enjoying the process of doing so immensely, I must say!). :D

For all of those reasons, I was beaming as I began walking again.

For in that moment, seeing the silhouette of that woman, I had my first experience of seeing myself as someone else would.

And for all the heartache and pain, I was reminded once again that it has all been worth it.

And that the best is yet to come.

***

Not that it's ever necessary to have a reason, but this post gives me a great excuse to share this great track from Tom Petty's classic 1979 Damn the Torpedoes album: 


And this track is from one of my favorite bands, Oasis. If it's possible for a song on an album that's sold in excess of 15 million copies worldwide to be a deep track, it's this one from (What's the Story) Morning Glory?


This version comes from one of two sold-out shows Oasis played at Knebworth in October 1996 to over 250,000 people. Noel Gallagher, the band's chief songwriter and guitarist, has since remarked that he played those shows in awe of the fact that in barely four years they had risen from playing their first show to perhaps a dozen people to the absolute pinnacle. 

I think I've posted this before, but my favorite Oasis song wasn't even released on an album, or as a single. It was, incredibly enough, the flip side of the "Roll With It" single - "Rockin' Chair":


It's incredible that such a great song could be released as a B-side! 

Back in Black

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Just saying hello. I've had some adventures the past few days, which I promise I'll post about as soon as I get some sleep. (As I said... I had some adventures. :-p)

Here's a quick shot I snapped over the weekend in a rush - so much so that apparently I neglected to, you know... aim. :)



And another - with a clue as to my whereabouts!



Ciao for now, folks!

Getting Down to Business

Friday, September 23, 2016


My game face is on, as you can see. More news soon.

Musings: Playlists, Self-Worth, & Choosing the Harder Path

Wednesday, September 14, 2016



I've had a challenging few days emotionally. I thought I would share two songs that have been on Repeat on my iPod the past few days, and some thoughts they inspired while I was writing this post (which, as so often happens, is completely different than its original, intended form). Follow along after the jump.




Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: "Backstreets"
First is an utterly devestating performance of his greatest (to me) song.




I've l listened to "Backstreets" hundreds of times over the years. I often wondered about Terry, and whether she even cared about the narrator, or his heartache over her betrayal (because that's what "Backstreets" is about: betrayal). 

Now that I'm older I know the answer:

No. 

She didn't. 

Not then. 

Not ever.

Springsteen knows it too; just listen to his palpable anguish, beginning at 9:45. Absolutely shattering; he is audibly crying as the song ends. 

As am I. Every. Single. Time.

But the story isn't just about the betrayal.

It's about carrying on, even after your heart is torn apart.

It's about facing the darkness, and confronting it head on. 

It's about looking into the abyss, alone.

It's about willing yourself to move forward.

On your own.

Not retreating to false, temporary solace. 

Be it in a bottle. 

Or bitterness. 

Or sex.

How?

By choosing, to quote a Bruce Cockburn song I so often turn to for inspiration, "to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight."

One minute at a time.

One hour at a time.

One day at a time.

By expressing yourself, in whatever way you choose - a song; a poem; a story; even, perhaps, a blog post. Because unlike people, it never betrays your trust. And it's always there when you need it most.

Every. Single. Time.

And in doing so, you gradually come to realize that all along someone has been there.

The one person whom you learn to trust.

To know loves you unconditionally.

Every. Single. Time.

Every. Single. Day.

Yourself.

Chris Smither, a great New Orleans songwriter now based in Boston, says it best, in his song "No Love Today." It's sung from two perspectives: first a heartbroken protagonist (presumably Chris when he was younger), then a wise vegetable cart salesman from his youth. 

He first lists all of the things he can offer young Chris - and then what he cannot:

I got banana, watermelon
Peaches by the pound
Sweet corn, mirleton
Mo' better than in town
I got okra
Enough to choke ya
And beans of every kind
If hungry is what's eatin' you 
I'll sell you peace of mind

Oh, but this ain't what you came to hear me say
And I hate to disappoint you
But I got no love today
I got no love today
I got no love today
No love today

Then he imparts some hard-won wisdom:

No love today, none tomorrow
Not now, not forever
You can't see what comes for free
I think you much too clever

For your own good I will tell you
What's right before your eyes
Intelligence is no defense
Against what this implies

In the end no one can sell you what you need
You can't buy it off the shelf
You got to grow it from the seed


The answer Terry, and so many others, seek has always been there.

And always will be there.

But knowing that is one thing. 

Choosing to take that longer, harder path, though, and to eschew the easier path, be it sex, liquor, and so on, is another.

Whether they choose to or not is up to them.

You can try to help them. But you can't do it for them.

That is the lesson I've learned the hard way this year:

You really do have to grow it from the seed.


Have You Heard the News?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Well, in this case... no. :D But watch this space for some shortly. I can state with authority that while there is, in the words of the King, Good Rockin' Tonight, there will be other news as well. :-p
***

You can't ever go wrong picking an Elvis song, especially Sun-era Elvis:
While we're at it, here's my very favorite Elvis song: "Suspicious Minds." It was recorded early in the sessions for what become his classic From Elvis in Memphis album at American Sound Studio in Memphis, and was released as a single in early 1969:




Incredible song!


And I would be remiss if I didn't include Dwight Yoakam's stellar cover version:






He certainly channels more than a little of that Elvis swagger, does he not? :c)

 

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