It Must Be Santa

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

As anyone reading this blog knows via my endless selfies the past few weeks :c), I had my hair done several weeks ago.

However, I did *not* mention (other than a brief mention in a reply to Becca's comment) my visit's other highlight (no pun intended) - the person sitting next to me.

Who was it, you ask?

None other than Santa Claus himself!

Some Christmas Cheer I Ho-Ho-Hope You Like!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Given how somber my last post was, I thought it only proper to follow up with something much more upbeat. Also, I literally did  not sleep a wink last night, and do not currently have the wherewithal to write something from scratch. :-/ 

A surprising number of people have started following my blog this past year. (P.S. I'm sorry). :-p The majority of them quickly - and wisely - opted not to slog through two-plus years of angst, misguided attempts at humor, and questionable fashion and hairstyle-related decisions.

Nonetheless, buried amongst the dross there are a few posts that only make me cringe a little bit. I beg your indulgence in letting me share one of those posts again.

Oddly enough, I wrote it two years ago to this very day - December 23, 2011. It's about my favorite Christmas ever, when I was nine years old. I think it helps paint a fuller picture of my family - such as we were - when I was growing up.

I am still very pleased with how this turned out. While my current Christmas has turned into a bit of an adventure, I promise that this post has a happy ending. :c)

Enjoy!!!

Christmas Time Is Here

***

I wanted to share a pic I took after work today. This is my first effort with my new curling iron that did not result in: a) a visit from the fire department, b) a trip to the local trauma center for burns, and/or c) a more than passing resemblance to Little Orphan Annie. :D

But here - judge for yourself!


Not bad for my first serious attempt. I even received a compliment about it!

I was walking into Starbucks this evening just as an older gentleman was trying to open the door and balance a tray with four cups of coffee.

He gave me a grateful smile when I ran up and held the door open for him.

"Thank you, Miss," he said. "Polite, pretty, *and* a redhead - it's my lucky day!"

My face matched my hair as he wished me a Merry Christmas! :#)

***

Again, I wanted to share a few of my favorite humorous Christmas-related clips and songs from the past two years for anyone who hasn't seen them yet.

And also for those who have seen them, but still love a good laugh. :c)

First, a Liberace Christmas, with a guest appearance from the great (and hungry - watch that turkey at the end of the sketch!) Orson Welles:


Next up we have Christmas music done Muppets-style, starring the eternally put-upon Beaker:


If ever there was an eternal optimist, however, it is Beaker. No matter how much evidence there is to show his faith is totally unjustified. :D



Last but not least, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is reinterpreted for the 21st century - courtesy of Martin Scorsese:


April's observation from last year remains a propos: "Like I always say: never trust an elf."

True that. :-p

Coming up next: Cass meets Santa - in the salon!!!

Heaven Help Us All

Monday, December 23, 2013

I am emotionally drained at the moment, so I will apologize in advance if the tone of this post is somewhat skewed. But I need to write it before I can go to sleep.

I finally met with my parents today, about the events I've discussed in my recent posts. I may or may not go further into them at another time, but for now I will just cover the basics.

It was stormy, it was ugly, and it was raw.

It was, in short, everything I predicted would happen.

It finally ended with what must suffice for now as an "acceptable" outcome - and, most important, with my integrity and dignity intact.

More below the fold.

(Don't be afraid - it isn't *all* doom and gloom… just most of it. :-))


Welcome to the Working Week

Thursday, December 19, 2013



Hi kids!

I am still working on a somewhat lengthy post about my transition to full-time last Friday. It's been a very busy week here (two snowstorms in three days, my manager being in town, Christmas shopping, and more), which has left me with little to no time to write.

However, I wanted to quickly post something about my first few days at work.

In a nutshell:

Wonderfully, exhilaratingly normal.

If that makes sense. lol

Much like my first day and first week spent as myself, I was surprised to find that it simply felt… right.

I was not the least bit nervous on Sunday evening.

Not even when I needed to race to the supermarket for a a literally last-second purchase of supplies to create a new gaff. (My old one, which served with distinction - or should that be indistinction, given its purpose? lol - chose this day to shred itself to bits when I inadvertently put it in the laundry.)

Nor was I nervous when I woke up on Monday morning.

I awoke at 6:00 AM, put on coffee, and proceeded through a trial run of my new routine, minus a few key steps.

I chose not not to attempt to curl my hair, simply because I hadn't had a chance to try it before. (I had to leave it alone for a few days after going strawberry blonde last Thursday.) I also wanted to see how it looked when I let it dry on its own. The verdict: wavy, but in need of some styling. ;-p)

I also decided not to attempt makeup. Quite simply, I am not at all confident in my skill level yet. I will write more about this in another post, but for now I will leave it at that. I have had no trouble going out without out it so far, amazingly enough, so I felt OK doing so at work as well.

Once I was done and dressed (and yes, I did wear a dress!), I drove to work. Again, it felt like my standard 45-50 minute commute, which I spent listening to the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. I dislike the long commute, but listening to good music - and practicing my voice on the way home - at least alleviates some of the aggravation.

Upon arriving at the office, I didn't hesitate for a moment. I gathered my belongings - now including my purse (teal, of course) - and headed inside. I felt completely calm. Which felt pretty great at the same time. :c)

Without exception, everyone at the office treated me as they always do. As I joked to our HR rep last week, we tech writers are used to being shunned by our co-workers on a normal day, so I didn't see why this would change anything. lol

Actually, that isn't true at all. :D A number of folks stopped by to say hello, and / or offer their congratulations. (I would add that the cookies and candy canes I brought in may have played a part as well.),

Many others greeted me with warm smiles and greetings throughout the day as they encountered me in the hallways or saw me walk by. Even more amazing: everyone got the name and pronouns correct. (Even me, Stace! ;-p)

I really couldn't have asked for a better first day. I wound up spending the last few hours of the day in out main office for an impromptu Doc team meeting, which meant I got to say hello to the writers in that office I had not had a chance to catch up with personally. They were fine as well.

I stayed a bit later than I had planned to finish off a few items for a co-worker, then headed to the nearby Starbucks where I often stop on my way home.

For various logistical reasons, I hadn't been there for nearly two weeks, so they had no idea about my transition. I suspected they would be fine; they are exceptionally friendly, and we all love to talk baseball and hockey each time I visit.

When I walked in, the manager, B, who has become a good friend, glanced up at me while on his dinner break. As he does with every customer, regular or no, he greeted me with a smile. And then he added a polite "Good evening, miss." :D He had no idea who I was. I smiled back and said I was doing well, after which he resumed his dinner.

M, the barista working the register, also greeted me warmly. "Evening, miss. I love your dress!"

"Thank you," I replied, smiling widely.

"You're welcome," she said, smiling back. "What can we get - "

She stopped and looked at me for several seconds. Then she clamped her hand over her mouth.

"Well, look at you!" she said with a grin. "You look wonderful, hon! Oh, I just *love* your hair!"

I thanked her, my face no doubt the color *of* my hair at that moment.

B had looked up from his dinner again; a moment later, he too recognized me. He stood up immediately, came over - and hugged me. Yes, I teared up a bit. :')

"You look fantastic!" he exclaimed. "Congratulations! We've been wondering where you were the past few weeks. How long since - I'm sorry, what is it called when you do this?"

"Going full-time," I replied. "Last Friday was my first day. And today was my first day at work."

After congratulating me, we chatted for a few minutes about my new name, how folks at work took it, and how my family was handling it. I told them the truth, albeit without going into details.

B shook his head.

"All anyone needs to do is look at you and it's obvious how happy you are. I can see it, and I just met you, Cass! Why can't they?"

I shook my head.

"Well, you have our full support, right, M?"

"Absolutely," she added. "You're not just a regular; you're a part of the family here, hon."

I teared up again, and didn't care a bit.

"Thank you," I said. "You have no idea how much this means to me."

"Well, we have to stay on your good side, Cass," B said. "How else are we going to get the Bruins and Celtics scores every night?"

(Those are Boston's hockey and basketball teams, respectively.)

We all laughed.

"Well, it's always good to know people's real motivation," I replied.

Several new customers walked in, so B and M returned behind the counter.

"If  there's ever anything we can do to help, Cass, you just let us know," B said. "I mean it."

"Even if you just need someone to listen, hon," added M.

"Thank you both," I replied. "Now I almost feel bad I didn't leave a tip."

And thus ended my first work day as myself. :D


***

A few songs for my new status as a full-time working girl. (It sounds so wonderful to be able to say that!!!)

To begin, song one on side one of album one from Elvis Costello, 1977's My Aim Is True:


Such a brilliant album!

I am going to cheat now. I used the next two songs in a previous post, but they are both such great songs, and so appropriate for this post, that I'm going to use them again. (My blog, my rules!)

A way cool song from The Members, back in 1982:


Always loved the lead singer's sly grin and the twinkle in his eye as he sings about being a kept man. :c) I had this album (Uprhythm, Downbeat) back in the day, and wish I could find it on CD or MP3. Good times, good times…

This is from 2001's masterful The World Won't End, from the Pernice Brothers:


Isn't it great? The whole album is that good, and is just one gem in an impressive catalogue. The fact that I am fortunate enough to know Joe Pernice, the main force behind the band, only increases my admiration for them. Check them out; you won't regret it.

Enjoy!!!

Happy

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Working on a lengthy post about the Big Day, but for now just want to post about my general mood the past two days:

Happy.

:D


Flaming Red

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hello world… meet the new Cass - redhead style!!!







 Lots more tomorrow, cats and kittens - 'cuz Cass is now in the house - full time, all the time! :c)

***

What else could I possibly play now but the title track from Patty Griffin's 1998 album? :D




And one more great song from the same album:




Taillights Fade… For "Him" :-p

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hi all!

It is hard to believe, but it is just over 18 hours until "he" bids goodbye and I am myself - finally, and for good. :D

It barely seems real. This week has been a whirlwind, as you might imagine. I will have to write more over the weekend, but everything is going according to plan at work.

(My family… well, that is another story. But this is not their time any longer.)

My manager arrived in town today. She had a meeting with the managers in the satellite office where I work. On Tuesday, she and P, her boss, had met with the management team yesterday and told them what was happening.

Shortly after that meeting, I had a visit at my desk from AS, one of my work friends and a fellow baseball and hockey fanatic like your humble blogstress. (I will call him that to differentiate him from A, my friend who works as a tester in my group. More on her in a moment!)

"Hey… got a minute?" he asked with a grin.

I smiled, knowing immediately what he wanted to talk about.

"For you, absolutely," I replied, mock-solemn.

"Might want to grab your coffee there too," he said, his grin growing wider.

So I did.

We chatted for 45 minutes or so, during which he promised his full support. We made plans to go out to lunch so we can chat more about my transition and transitioning in general.

As we walked back to our desks, he asked me if I still was going to be a die-hard Mariners fan (the woebegone Seattle baseball team that has a seemingly unshakable grip on my heart).

"Darned right I am!" I told him, hands on my hips in mock-anger.

He shook his head sadly.

"And here I always thought women were smarter than men." :-p

***

I also told my friend A, mentioned above, as well. (Hi A! :D)

She was wonderfully supportive, just as I had expected. As soon as I told her, she broke into a huge smile.

"Congratulations! I am so happy for you! Also… welcome to the cool team (i.e. girls)!" lol

I showed her several pictures of my transition (she told me I looked "adorable" :#)), and immediately told me that we need to go shopping - as in, as soon as possible. Clearly, she and S will be formidable allies in helping me build a wardrobe. Lord knows I need the help!

As A was leaving at the end of the day, she came by my desk to tell me she was going to be working in the other office on Thursday. Since I plan to work at home on Friday (to give my co-workers some time to absorb the news without my presence), she won't see me until I come into work on Monday as myself for the first time.

"Goodbye, <my boy name>," she said with a smile. "For real this time!"

Only a few more hours to go until I can say the same thing. :D

***

I didn't realize I hadn't posted this photo until a few minutes ago, when I was looking through iPhoto:


The way-cool teal hat comes courtesy of my NJ friend C, who can clearly teach me a thing or two about style herself! Good to know I have a trusted panel of advisers to whom I can turn. :-p Thank you again, hon - I will be putting it to good use this winter, if December is any guide. Brrrr!!!

***

A great song from one of Boston's own: Buffalo Tom's "Taillights Fade," from 1992's Big Red Letter Day album:



And another killer tune: "Summer," from 1995's Sleepy Eyed:


I can personally attest to their power as a live act, as you can no doubt see and hear for yourself. Great band - and still going strong today, I am heartened to report. Check them out - you will not be disappointed!

Mandela Day

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Some inspiring words from a great leader, who wanted freedom - true freedom - for all.





RIP, Madiba.

***

A tribute from the Scottish band Simple Minds, from their 1989 album Street Fighting Years:


Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My recent posts have been quite somber, and I am still under the weather nearly a week after coming down with the flu. Things with my family are far from perfect, and the big confrontation is likely days away.

All of the above is true; there is a great deal of turmoil in my life right now.

But that is not all there is.

Life is rarely just one thing - thankfully, in this case.

Sometimes there is humor - even if it shows just how deeply, totally uncool you truly are.

And as proof, a short anecdote about last night. It involves - who else? - April. :c)


April texted me yesterday morning asking if I wanted to chat on the phone later that evening.

While I knew nearly 90% of the conversation would rotate around cars - luckily, she has to pause for oxygen from time to time - I said sure.

When the appointed hour came, and I texted Miss A.

No reply.

I tried again 30 minutes later.

Again, nothing.

I tried a third time.

Same result.

Finally, I sent a short text saying I was calling it a night shortly and wishing her pleasant dreams.

This time she replied.

She had fallen asleep for several hours after getting home from work.

No problem, I replied. We can make it tomorrow night, OK?

Tomorrow?!? she replied instantly. I was really hoping we could talk tonight.

Asleep for two hours with no mention of cars; she's in withdrawal, I thought to myself. God… she is such a dork!

Sure, no problem, I replied.

It can be like a brief pre-conference hello, she texted back.

Being a super-cool, with-it, impress-the-guys student of history, I immediately thought of a witty reply:

Just like Yalta!

Ha-ha-ha! I thought. That's pretty clever!

And I started to type…

Only to see the following reply:

Just like Yalta!

Oh.

My.

God.

I pondered the implications:

I was a dork too.

I mean, April is Canadian; she can't help being that way.

But me…

I know the Bruins are a hockey team - her country's sport!

I know music continued to be made after 1964!

I don't pronounce "about" as "a-boot"!

How do I explain… this?!?

Sigh.

I did what I always do when my sense of self is threatened, and I need to reestablish my bonafides as a girl of the street:

I dug up the Nancy Drew books I, uh, "borrowed" from my sister when we were kids and started re-reading again.

Ah… dignity restored!

***

Some seasonal music for you, from Low, an indie-rock trio from Minneapolis.







Following Up

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. :-)

I wanted to add a quick update to my most recent post.

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who left comments or sent email and/or text messages after last nights' post. (Special shout-out to Calie, who didn't give up after Blogger decided to use her comment for its holiday meal, but instead sent me a lovely, heartfelt message by email.)  That means a great deal to me. You are the best, all of you.

(That includes you, April, even though you were just trolling for ideas for my Christmas present. :D)

I wound up missing Thanksgiving dinner today. I started feeling poorly last night, and within a few hours I was achy, coughing, and sneezing, all of which kept me up far too late.

I finally fell asleep as dawn was breaking, and awoke around noon. I knew as soon as I did that there was no way I could make it to dinner.

I always get sick around the holidays - last year, unfortunately, at Christmas - so this was not wholly unexpected. But I am certain the stress of the other evening played a part too.

In any case, I wound up spending the day either in bed or on my couch, sneezing and coughing. Not the way I prefer to spend my holiday.

I told my therapist M recently that I suspected my health would take a marked turn for the better shortly after I went full-time. She agreed. Both she and friends like Kelli, April, Stace, and others have told me I will not be aware of just how much of a toll GD was taking until it is gone. I will be quite happy when that happens.

My nephew C checked in via text (my voice is shot at the moment) to make sure I was OK, and to tell me he was behind me 100%. He said his mother (my sister C) is still furious, both at my parents and at my brother and sister-in-law.

He asked if I was coming for Christmas. I replied that it wasn't up to me, but that I wanted to.

His response was instantaneous.

"I want you there and so does Mom. As yourself."

I thanked him, and said that wasn't how anyone else in the family saw it.

"Well, they don't get to decide that. You don't tell them how to live their life, do you?"

I mentioned that my brother and sister--in-law may well say they won't come unless I go as "him."

"Who gives a damn whether they come or not? If they don't want to come, they can stay home."

I replied that Nana and Papa may well side with them.

"To hell with them. All of them."

Have I mentioned lately what a good kid he is?

For his response alone I am thankful today.

I am also thankful for my wonderful friends, and for my co-workers who have been there from the moment I told them.

And for April, who makes me laugh harder than anyone else ever has, even on days like today when I am feeling blue, physically and emotionally. And even when that means she says something that makes me spit out my tea all over my laptop - twice. (Repair bill is in the mail, bitch.)

OK, time for this girl to get some rest. It is very cold here tonight, so I broke out the heavy artillery - my footie PJs:



Mock me if you feel you must. I, however, will not be shivering tonight. :c)

Night, everyone...

***

In honor of Thanksgiving, some quiet, meditative music from George Winston's lovely 1982 Christmas album, December:

This album perfectly captures the melancholy nature of the holiday, as well as its joyous side. I never tire of it. Here's another beautiful track from it:


No Regrets

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From the moment I came out to my parents nearly six months ago, I have known that it was simply a matter of time until the final confrontation would begin.

That confrontation started last night.

And it is going to be very ugly.

That Was The Week That Was: Part I

Monday, November 25, 2013

(Thought I would throw a bone to my friends on the other side of the Atlantic with that title. :D)

Greetings from frigid New England, one and all! As I write this, I am in my living room, huddled under two blankets, watching the Bruins defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime (yea!) while wearing the following items:
  • A t-shirt
  • A long-sleeve t-shirt
  • A fur-lined hooded sweatshirt (zipped all the way up)
  • Three pair of leggings
  • Heavy wool socks
  • Calf-length boots
And I am *still* cold. Even my pal Cody the Cow can only provide so much additional warmth: 



Clearly karma remembers my years of mocking my mother and sister for complaining about the cold. (In my defense, however, I *was* dealing with the handicap of trying to pretend I was a boy at the time!)

It is slightly warmer today than it was yesterday, when we had temperatures in the lows 20s with 25 MPH winds. For those of you in countries that use sensible means to measure temperatures and such, that means it was wicked cold (as the locals say). :c)

Now that I have established the hardships I am enduring, I thought I might share a bit about last week. 

The short version:

It was a good one. :c)

HRT: Year Two (a/k/a The Not-So-Young and Breastless)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


That's right, boys and girls, it has been two years (!) since I began HRT.

That is simply astonishing to me. It simultaneously feels as if it happened an eternity ago - and yesterday. How is that possible?

Follow along, below the fold, for more!

I think the biggest change in the past year has been internal. The single most important event in my transition, in retrospect, happened just before last Christmas, when I finally allowed myself to cry - to really cry.

I wish the circumstances could have been better, but it was absolutely necessary for me to let go. It is no coincidence, I think, that I was addressed as "she" in public - while in boy mode - for the first time not two days later.

That has become a common occurrence, something I still find remarkable. I don't think I look all that different; clearly, others think I do. Just last week my colleague RO told me he didn't recognize me in photos taken just before I started HRT. Given that I am addressed as "Miss," "she," "her," and so on more often than not while out and about - even in boy mode - I have to concede they are on to something I simply cannot see yet.

I suspect it is more than just my appearance, however. The moment I allowed myself to finally cry that day was the moment I think "he" began to let go, and allowed me to become myself. Not two weeks later I marched into a MAC store, unplanned - again, in boy mode - and calmly told a makeup artist I was transsexual, and hoped they could help me.

Two days later they did, giving me a full makeover - at dinner time, on a Friday evening, in the front of the store. I didn't realize it would be like that, but I remember  thinking to myself that I have every right to be there; I'm a woman, and I should have been able to do this my entire life.

I sat there for over two hours, in full view of everyone, while the artist worked her magic. (Trust me - it was magic, given how pale and sick I was while recovering from the flu. She did *not* have much to work with. lol)

At one point the manager who had booked the appointment came over and told me she and the other staff members had been watching, and were amazed at how calm I seemed. I admitted I was amazed too. Her immediate reply: "It's because you belong here."

The other major tipping point this year was when I finally spent a day as myself outside my home as myself. Again, I was amazed to realize it felt… normal. Completely, utterly, normal. Even after I outed myself to the very first person I spoke to that day. :#) Cassidy Elizabeth, Mistress of Disguise, foiled again!

I am beyond fortunate that I seem to pass fairly well, given that I have barely begun to master makeup, or had my hair cut properly (it is an unruly mess right now), or learned much about style. I will hopefully improve on these, and other areas, the way I try to do with everything: hard work and practice.

To touch on the physical changes for a moment, the most visible change to me is how fast my hair is growing, particularly in the past few months. It seems to have gone into overdrive for some reason. My back and chest, meanwhile, are nearly clear now, which is pretty remarkable, considering where it was a year ago. (Sorta gross, I know, but there it is.)

I have also been startled by the progress we have made in my electrolysis sessions, especially the past month or two. I haven't shaved my face since last Thursday (sigh), but it was only today that it is noticeable. The discomfort is beginning to pay dividends - yea!!!

As I wrote yesterday, I cannot wait until I am full-time (24 days and counting!). I am wondering if lifting the constant strain of trying to pretend I am someone I am not will be noticeable. My therapist has said I have no idea what an enormous burden it is, and will not know it until it is gone.

I know I cannot wait to see what changes the next year brings, physically, emotionally, and otherwise. I am determined to get back on track to exercising regularly after nearly two years of assorted illnesses, injuries, and other woes. It is really important to me, and when I make up my mind to do something, I do not let anything stop me. On this date next year I am going to be in the best shape of my life. Book it. :c)

I will end with a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me in more ways than they can ever know, or I can ever repay. That includes both my dear online friends, those of you in my life offline, and of course my sister and nephew C.

Calie, Halle, Becca, Jenna, Leslie… you have been, and continue to be, an inspiration and a source of comfort. The same goes for Jen (from Jenesis), Debra, Faline, and others who are either no longer online or are living their lives as themselves.

A special shout out to Kelli, Stace, and, especially, April, for your unwavering support and friendship. I cannot imagine how I managed without you in my lives before this. (Or, to put it another way... where the hell were all of you before this?!?) ;-p OK, no more snark. I love you all more than I can ever express. :') Thank you SO, SO much!

Thank you for joining me on the ride so far! Cannot wait to see where it takes us next year!

***

Just wanted to post a brief note about the title. There is a story to it that involves (of course) April.

She decided earlier this year that she and I clearly merited our own sitcom, given our shared unique (read: weird) sense of humor and warped view of reality.

I have learned to humor her in situations like this, so I played along.

A: "This could be really great for both of us, Cass!"

C: "Um… okay. So, what's your plan?"

A: "Well, first we take the nation's TV screens by storm. Then, once you and I are America's sweethearts at the end of our first season, we use that as leverage."

C (confused): "Leverage for…?"

A (indignant): "Our boob jobs? What else?"

C: "Oh, of course."

A: "We get Victoria's Secret to sponsor it. And we show both of our surgeries on live television! I'm thinking one-hour special."

C: "One hour? Have you looked at either of our chests?!? We're both flatter than a Utah dessert, hon."

A (after a moment): "That's true, isn't it?"

C: "Better tell them to make it a mini-series."

So there it is. Let me say, here and now, for the record:

Fear not, for we shall both forever remember all of you little people once our inevitable rise to stardom begins.

Or... maybe not. (Hey, those all-night bacchanals at Brangelina's won't attend themselves, you know.) Perhaps we'll just hire someone to remember for us…

Anyway, that's the story behind it. (You're welcome.)

Oh, what was our second proposed title, by the way? Why, here it is:

The Bold & The Boobless

Send us you cards and letters to let us know what you think!

***

Just thought I would repost some pics, plus one new one, for easy reference in case anyone is interested.

June 2011:


November 19, 2011 (HRT day 1):



June 2012 (eight months):


November 19, 2012 (HRT, one year):



July 6, 2013:


July 20, 2013:



July 27, 2013:


August 3, 2013:


This is my favorite so far, which is why I put it at the top as well. This is how I wish I looked all the time! :c)

October 20, 2013:


November 19, 2013:


I deliberately took one the night before HRT, to show the difference between my beard now, after 14 months of electrolysis, and the day I began, above. 

I had shaved *that* morning in the picture taken on 11.19.11, if you can believe it. And in this picture, I last shaved… five days ago. I find that encouraging. :c)

(For the record: I *am* not topless in this picture, nor am I any of the others that make me *look like* I am, er, unclad. :#) The "girls" are simply not yet up to the task of holding up some of my nighties. Honest! Guess I need to ask Santa for a bathrobe...)

Really looking forward to seeing how I look a year from now! Curious to see if the changes are mostly over, or if they still continue. Should be interesting either way...

***

As a full service blog, I wanted to post the following link, courtesy of The Onion, as a public service. It offers some useful tips for we girls in the workplace. I hope you find it as enlightening as yours truly did:

http://www.theonion.com/video/the-onions-tips-for-succeeding-as-a-woman-in-the-w,34594/?playlist=recent-news

Watch and learn, girls, watch and learn. (I particularly like # 2, incidentally.)

***

I would be remiss not to include something from one of my long-standing favorites, so I shall go back to Pearl Jam, and a couple of deep cuts that I have always loved.

First, this gorgeous, haunted gem (and perhaps my favorite PJ song) from 1996's underrated No Code album:


Eddie Vedder has since admitted he wrote this about himself, detailing his struggles to deal with the massive fame thrust upon the band in general, and him in particular, after their first three albums. Happily, both he and the rest of the band seem to have survived - and prospered.

From 1998's Yield (also an underrated album, imho), here's "Wishlist." It began as a lark in the studio, but quickly became a favorite of both the band and their fan base.


I always liked the ambiguity of the song's final verse:

I wish I was your favorite song
The one that you can't turn off
I wish I wish I wish I wish
I guess it never stops

That last line could be taken several ways; is he saying he will never stop wishing (in a way that implies he will never be satisfied)? Or is he wishing that his/her favorite song goes on forever?

I suspect it is the former, since he made a small but telling change to the final line when I saw them at the final show on their 2000 tour in Seattle:

I wish I wish I wish I wish
I guess my list goes on

That always struck me as a more hopeful ending. He isn't resigned to feeling he can never be satisfied; instead, he is looking forward, hopeful about what is ahead that might bring joy. I have always preferred this ending. :-)

Big News: Cassidy's Confession!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I have a confession, dear reader.

I am afraid I have not been completely forthright with all of you.

I have been holding out on sharing some important information about myself.

And for quite a while, too.

Is it that I dream of a world in which I can happily eat peanut butter every single day of the year?

No. (I will admit that freely.)

Is it that my bedroom is covered with Photoshopped pictures of a shirtless Dick Cheney?

Er... no. (That would be April.)

Is it that I harbor a longstanding, but unstated, passion for the New York Yankees?

Hell, no! (Being a diehard Seattle Mariners fan is shame enough, believe me, even for a native New Englander.)

No, it is something else.

What is it, you ask?

What is this secret that Cass has been harboring?

Well, let me tell you what it is, dear reader:

I set my full-time date.

:D


Prelude, Plus Some Quick Tidbits and Musings

Finally getting around to finishing a post about some news in Cass's little corner of the world. I will be finishing - and posting - it tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Follow below the fold for a few items from the past week if you are so inclined.

(It includes shoes - specifically boots - among other things, in case you are wondering. Or am I the only person who would find that intriguing?)


Musings: Sound & Vision

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I wanted to write about a conversation - via text - that I had with my mother earlier this evening.

We communicate in a number of ways.

I seem to be getting better at picking up on what is really being said the further my transition progresses.

And not just by others, either.


Hurt

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I returned from electrolysis several hours ago.

I walked into my apartment and sank onto the couch.

I am still there.

It hurt so much tonight.

I'm not sure why.

We worked around my lip, mostly the upper lip and the corners.

Needless to say, these areas are less than pleasant under the best of circumstances.

Tonight was not the best of circumstances.

While I hardly enjoy the process, electrolysis is usually tolerable, even when we work in these sensitive areas.

But tonight was agony.

And I do not use that word lightly.

I will usually chat with M, my electrologist, during my session, even when we work in these areas.

But it soon became apparent that this night was different.

For some reason, I was unusually sensitive to each pulse.

I soon lapsed into silence.

I tried to focus on the sound of the clock ticking.

It didn't help.

I told myself that each pulse was another closer to the last one for the evening.

That didn't help either.

M stopped at one point.

"Are you OK, Cass?" she asked.

I nodded.

"You're crying, hon," she said, her voice quiet.

"You have been for a few minutes."

I didn't realize it until she said so.

"It's pretty rough tonight, isn't it?" she said.

I nodded again.

"Do you want to stop, hon?"

I thought a moment, then shook my head.

"No, let's keep going," I said. "It will be worth it eventually."

I hope, I added silently.

"Good girl," she said, gently rubbing my shoulder.

I could hear the smile in her voice.

Finally, it was over.

I stirred as I sensed M moving the light away.

"Don't get up, Cass," she said, pressing on my arm. "Just lay there a bit."

Secretly, I was glad. I was utterly spent.

As she applied the rubbing alcohol, I started sneezing uncontrollably.

"I'm sorry, hon," she said. "This was a really hard night."

"But be proud. We're using nearly the highest setting, and in some very sensitive areas. And we went the full hour."

"We should film just a few minutes of one of your sessions," she mused. "Then you can show it to anyone transitioning is a lark."

"No one would go through this unless they had to."

***

A dear friend has said on several occasions that transitioning is hard because it should be hard.

It should not be undertaken on a whim.

It should require a serious commitment, in terms of time, energy, and effort.

And that commitment will, at times, require pain.

Both physical and emotional.

I have felt both - intensely - this past week.

I would be dishonest if I said I never doubt whether this will be worth it.

All I can do is my very best.

So I can, finally, be myself.

Even if it hurts.

***

I can count on one hand what I think are truly great music videos.

This, by far, is my top choice.


I am moved to tears each and every time I see this.

Johnny Cash, and his wife, June Carter Cash, filmed this in February 2003.

June, whose haunted expression as she looks at her husband has stayed with me ever since first viewing this video, died three months later, on May 15.

Her husband passed away shortly thereafter, on September 12.

Their courage, their commitment to their art, and, especially, their commitment to each other, resonates even a decade later.

They faced their pain.

And they transcended it.

Bronafides

Monday, November 4, 2013


Happy Monday, all!

I spent today in our main office for several meetings.

I thought I would share a bit about my day, my realization that I have been less than vigilant in maintaining my deep cover as a boy, and my radical steps to remedy this alarming development.

Follow along, won't you?

Vignettes: It's Not Easy (Being Blonde)


It is late, I am tired, and I just took something to help me sleep…

But some posts demand to be written.

This, however, is NOT one of them.

lol

But in my quest to be as honest as possible with you, dear reader, I shall share yet another moment from Cass's seemingly endless Walk of Shame.

Join me, won't you?

Just don't get too close; I'm liable to trip and take you down with me.

You have been warned...


Magic and Loss

Sunday, November 3, 2013

This was another of those posts that seemed to write itself.

They seem to happen from time to time; in fact, one arrived, unbidden, last week. I have learned to simply get out of the way and let them go where they will.

It began as a light-hearted reply to Jenna's comment on my previous post, about her sudden interest in all things Red Sox.

(Jenna, all I can say is that you are now a citizen of Red Sox Nation. Welcome! Oh, and please - try not to get any tobacco stains on the clubhouse furniture, OK?)

But then, mysteriously, it turned into something more.

It was soon about baseball.

And Lou Reed.

And community.

How did all of those widely disparate things come together?

Follow along, and discover as I did.

Read Socks

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The last few days have been quite emotional. The entire week, really.

Much of it was a reaction to good news, or to happy circumstances, in the early part of the week, peaking on Wednesday evening as the Red Sox won the World Series.

I watched as they put an exclamation point to their remarkable, joyous season - and, simultaneously, felt hot tears streaming down my face.

I felt quiet pride for their achievement - and almost unbearable grief at the same time.

And I wasn't completely sure why.

I'm still not, to be honest.

But I am trying, with the help of some dear friends, to untangle the knot of emotions I feel.

I have SO much to write about.

So much I need to write about.

Some of it is quite upbeat. (Much of it, in fact.)

But some of it is also dark, and melancholy.

I will write about it all. Doing so helps me process what I am feeling. And why. (That last part is the trickiest.)

It is intense, and it is emotional - both pleasant and not-so-pleasant.

But as I told April last night, I would rather feel intensely - even painful feelings - than be numb, as I was for most of my life.

Because that is how I know I am leaving "him" behind, and growing into myself.

But all of that can wait for the next few posts - which includes some not-insignificant news in Cass's little corner of the world. So please stay tuned.

Before I delve into those murky waters, however, I want to share a happy story that took place on - you guessed it - Wednesday. :c)

Three Down, One To Go!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



The Sox did indeed bounce back  Sunday night in Game 4, as I'd hoped they would. And they did it is as a team - again.

Their starting pitcher, Clay Bucholz, pitched with what is called a dead arm - that is, he has a shoulder injury that's leaves his pitching arm numb. He gave the Sox four innings on sheer grit and will.

As for the Sox offense, rhe one person NO ONE was counting on was outfielder Jonny Gomes, who has been flat-out awful the entire playoffs when hitting. There were calls to remove him from the lineup. 

Manager John Farrell resisted those calls, sticking with a player who brings far more to the team than his statistics indicate. 

So what did Gomes do?

Just absolutely crush a pitch and drive it into the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run homer that decided the game, that's all.

Game Five was more of the same: contributions from everyone. Jon Lester, their best pitcher, was magnificent. David Ortiz, their best hitter, has been awe-inspiring, and is on the verge of setting numerous offensive records this series. He was 3-4 at the plate tonight.

So who drove in the winning run, you ask?

David Ross, their catcher.

Their BACKUP catcher.

Their *defensive specialist* backup catcher.

Of course. Who else could it be, after all? :-p

The Series returns to Boston in Wednesday for Game 6. The Red Sox are one win away from being the champions... but St Louis is a tough, proud team. Whatever happens, the winner will have earned it.

That said...

GO SOX!!! :D

Lessons Learned

Sunday, October 27, 2013


For those of you poor souls who inexplicably are *not* baseball fans ;-P, the Red Sox lost Game 3 of the World Series last night on a call - obstruction of a base runner - that had never ended a World Series game in its 109-year history.

One of the Boston sportswriters summed up the consensus here: the rule as written makes no sense, but it *is* the rule and it *was* applied correctly. (BTW, in spite of the well-earned reputation of Red Sox fans as insufferable whiners, I have yet to hear a single person argue otherwise.) 

Sports fans here in New England are drawing comparisons to another play in another sport (football - American football, for non-North Americans) that also involved a Boston team. In that case it was the New England Patriots. They wound up getting a second chance to win a playoff game against the Oakland Raiders in the 2002 AFC wild card game because the referees correctly applied what is known as the "tuck" rule. 

The details of the rule, and when it was applied, aren't really relevant for this post. What is relevant is that the rule, as written, defied common sense once you looked at it closely - but it *was* the rule. And the referees called it correctly as the rule stood then. (I think it was eliminated as a result of that game, but I could be wrong. I'm not really a football fan.)

I guess the point is, you play within the rules; sometimes, as they did for the Red Sox, they do you in. Other times, as they did for the Patriots, they give you a second life.

Before 2004, when the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 - yes, 86 - years, I would have been certain that this single call in last night's game foretold certain doom for them.

Their previous trip to the World Series, in 1986, illustrates why. 

In hindsight, it also reveals quite a bit about the person I was then.

And my belief that it means nothing more than one loss reveals a great deal about the person I am now - in part because of lessons I learned from that 1986 Red Sox team.


My Bad...

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Well, I'm afraid I have to take the fall for the Sox tonight.

Why?

I have been fighting a bit of a cold the past few days, enough so that I left work early today to finish up at home.

I did so around 6:00. I then threw in a load of laundry, sat back down on my couch, and wrapped myself up in an afghan, as I was freezing (again)...

... And I woke up just now to see they dropped Game 2 to St. Louis.

If only I had stayed awake and donned my Red Sox garb, this would NOT have happened!

I take full responsibility, gentlemen.

It will NOT happen again!

On to St. Louis!

Go Sox!!!!


***

On the bright side... the Bruins won again tonight!


That's One!!!

One down, three to go for the Sox!!!

This is my Happy Cass face:



Not sure if you can see it, but this is my Red Sox jacket. 

It belonged to my nephew C, who outgrew it - when he was 15. lol I am literally swimming in it, as you can tell. 

But it is SOOOOO comfy - and warm. That's important on these chilly New England fall evenings! I get cold VERY easily now. Between this and leggings (may their inventor's name be praised, as my friend B would say), I was only Semi-Chilled Cass, even wearing a nightgown under the jacket. :-p

Anyway, good night all! Game 2 tomorrow - Go Sox!!!

(BTW, this is my Post-Workout Crazy Hair look. I cannot WAIT until I can put my hair up to avoid it hanging in my eyes the entire workout! And barrettes are great for home, but not so much at the gym in my office building. At least for the time being. :-p)

A Must-Read (Two, Actually)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fascinating, moving article from Salon.com, written by a male author:

I'm Attracted to Trans Women

Kudos to the author, Thomas Katt, for his courage - and in particular for acknowledging the far greater difficulties endured by trans women.

The article contains a link to another site, TransOriented, designed for men who are attracted to trans women.  I plan to take a look - when it isn't 12:55 AM on a work night, that is. lol

I do hope you take a moment to check these out; both are well worth your time, I assure you! :c)

Happy, Happy Cass :-p

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Sox are headed to the World Series!!!

Vignettes: Passing Inspection

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I wound up taking a sick day today, alas.

But it wasn't *all bad, as it turned out. :c)

Vignettes: Checked Out


This was an interesting day from start to finish. It started off with a yow... and ended with a wow. :c)

First, the yow.

(Actually, the yows.)


Sox Appeal

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Red Sox (a/k/a the Carmine Hose, for the more literary amongst us) open the American League Championship Series tonight at Fenway Park against the Detroit Tigers.

It has been an amazing season. Last year was one of the worst in the storied history of the franchise. After a late-season collapse for the ages in 2011, they tumbled into last place.

Worse, they didn't seem to care (with the exception of a few stalwarts, such as Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz, at least until an injury ended his season). They were an unlikable bunch of malcontents and underachievers, who squandered what seemed to be a lifetime of goodwill after the magical seasons of 2007 and, especially, 2004.

That makes what has happened this season so remarkable.

They have the best record in all of baseball.

They have shown a remarkable ability to come back, usually in dramatic fashion, from the beginning of the season.

And more amazing, they are an utterly likable - even endearing - group of eccentrics.

And hairy.

Very, veryvery, hairy. lol

Win or lose, it has been an absolute pleasure watching them this season.

If the Red Sox are not the best team in baseball, then the Tigers are. They are a terrific team, with a long, storied history. And they also have arguably the best pitcher (Justin Verlander) and unarguably the best player (Miguel Cabrera) in baseball. In fact, they are so good I can even forgive Halle for rooting for them against the Sox!

It doesn't often happen that the best teams wind up standing at the end of the season, but that is the case this year, in both the American and National League (the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers).

As a Red Sox fan, I hope they win the World Series. As a baseball fan (and those are not the same thing), I think any of the remaining teams will make a worthy champion.

Anyway, Game 1 starts in just a moment. Having just come home from a long, excessively dewy walk ;-p I am settled in for the night in my team approved nightwear:


Team approved *and* soooooooo comfortable (other than my bare legs, which are mighty chilly!); a girl cannot lose!

May the best team win!

Most important, go Sox!!!


***

A few Boston-appropriate tunes to set the mood:

The Dropkick Murphys and The Boss in Boston - on St. Patrick's Day (of course!):


The mighty J. Geils Band, promising to blow your face out:

video

The ultimate Boston rock anthem, courtesy of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers:


This has often been called the first punk rock song, and you can make a pretty good argument in its favor. (Detroit's MC5 can also make an equally strong claim, incidentally.) No matter, it is an anthem - and all the more remarkable when you realize it was recorded in 1971! Talk about prescient...


Vignettes: Brilliant Disguise

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thought I would dash off a quick post about a recent chat I had via text with my co-worker/friend R.

Pretending to be "him" is becoming increasingly difficult as I progress in my transition. The GD takes a toll, as any of you who are full-time can no doubt attest.

Still, I am doing a good job of maintaining the pretense.

Although it turns out that ain't necessarily so!

:c)

Vignettes: Sign Language

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Another of my shorter posts while I work on the longer one(s). :c)

As I have mentioned, I work at my company's new office, which is a fair distance from both the main office and my home. In fact, it is more than double the commute to the main office from my home. I dislike driving to begin with, so the extra time in my car is unwelcome.

(As an aside, I hereby offer a formal apology to my sister April and her fellow gearhead Stace; no doubt they consider my remarks to be blasphemy, if not outright heresy. ;-p)

To make matters worse, there have been a seemingly never-ending series of construction projects on my route for most of this year. My commute time in some cases would be more than double its normal, and already considerable, length.

Fortunately, most of them seem to have run their course with the arrival of fall.

All but one - on the two lane road leading to my office.


Vignettes: Boo(b) Boo(b)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I have a longer post I need to write (I know I keep saying that, but it's true!). However, since my posts have been few and far between recently, I thought I'd fire off a few short - and fun - ones in the meantime.

First up, I get busted.

Well, sort of. :c)


Getting Better

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I've been very busy this week with a deadline at work, but I wanted to do a very quick post.

I'm slowly beginning to feel like myself again, thankfully. It's going to take a while, but hopefully the tide has turned.

The measures I'm taking to address my depression are beginning to take effect. I'm still exhausted, and am still dealing with insomnia - every night, unfortunately.

I could tell during my electrolysis last night that I am still very tired. It was a 90 minute session, focused on my upper lip and neck. Yuck. :c(

Near the end of the session, M paused for a moment and asked if this was more painful than usual. I admitted it was, and asked her why she asked.

"Because you've been wincing after every pulse for the past five minutes," she said. "You never complain (that was news to me! lol), but I can tell this is bothering you."

It was true. We have worked on these areas before, but this was by far one of the most painful sessions I have had. But as always, it was worth it. I am one session closer to being rid of these cursed follicles once and for all.

Anyway, I'm hopeful that the insomnia will ease in the next week or two. Getting my energy back will be an ongoing process, but I will get there.

I've already started to slowly increase my daily exercise regimen as best I can (taking into account the long hours I'm working this week), but I will work to ramp it up gradually.

More to come soon, I hope, but it will have to wait until we put a stake through the heart of this cursed project. It is going down hard, but we will wrestle it to submission by the end of this week. I hope. :c)

Have a good week everyone!

***

While I am a Beatles fanatic, I thought it would be fun to post Gomez's cover of this tune:


Really like their version. :c)

 

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