GCS? Y-E-S! (a/k/a Miss Cass Goes to Montreal!)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

No burying the lead here: your humble blogstress Cassidy is in Montreal, and had my GCS on Monday with Dr. Brassard! Woo hoo!!!

I'm feeling as well as I could possibly hope so far, other than one bout with light-headedness/dizziness after walking from the hospital to the convalescence center yesterday morning. I did a bit too much too soon in that case, but otherwise I'm fine so far. Fingers crossed it continues this way!

The entire staff here, from Dr. Brassard himself on down, is absolutely wonderful. A special shout-out to the lovely Miss V, at the Gite du Marigot. Miss you already, girl!

As for the food... Oh. My. God. I told one of the nurses yesterday that the food is so good I've decided to just stay here permanently. lol

(My manager L, meanwhile, who has very kindly taken over attending my team meetings in my absence, asked if I could have Dr. Brassard send *her* some of my drugs. lol I guess we can't *all* win in these deals...  ;-p)

I want to finish with a huge, heartfelt THANK YOU to Alice, who was with me from my arrival here in Montreal on Saturday until I finally (albeit begrudgingly) agreed to loan her back to her husband  B yesterday. ;-p Thank you so much, hon; love you to pieces!!! xoxoxo xoxoxo And the same to Halle, who has been checking in several times each day to check on me and fill me in on what to expect next. Love you, hon!!! xoxoxo

Time to wrap up; I drafted this at 4:00 AM after a quick trip to the bathroom. (Cass's quick tip: water is your post-surgery friend. Even if it means becoming  VERY well-acquainted with the bathroom. lol) I don't want to wake up my roommate, the sweet and lovely Miss A, so I'll stop here. We want her in top form when her equally sweet boyfriend D comes by later today. (You two rock!)

Be well, everyone! More soon! xoxoxo

The Heroines of My Life: My Interview!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Hello all! Hope you had a lovely weekend and a good Monday. Summer is definitely here in New England, and I'm doing my best to enjoy it. :c)

So, this post is an announcement, as I'd promised in my last missive. However, it isn't the announcement I was referring to. Instead, it's a shameless bid for self-glorification. ("So how is that different from any of her other posts?" I hear puzzled readers asking themselves. :D) 

Joking aside, here's the big reveal: I had the honor of being interviewed recently for The Heroines of My Life, the wonderful blog run by Monika Kowalska. (I still have to read that sentence several times to believe it!) 

On the off-chance you haven't yet had the opportunity to check out THOML, Monika has interviewed - wait for it - four hundred and twenty-two women (yes, 422), and has shared their stories on her blog. It was one of a handful of blogs I found during the early days of my transition that truly spoke to me and helped give me the courage to believe that I, too, could be who I truly was.  

In her introduction, Monika says the women she has interviewed "radiate with wisdom, beauty, intelligence, and love." Whether I possess any of those qualities is, er, debatable. lol, However, I can assure you that all of Monika's other interviewees certainly do possess them. As does Monika, needless to say. Thank you again for this honor!!! 

You can find the interview here:


Be sure to check out the other interviews as well. You'll be as inspired as I always am, guaranteed!

***

Steve Earle's new album, So You Wannabe an Outlaw, has been on heavy rotation in my car and home stereos ever since it came out a few weeks ago. As consistent as he has been throughout his career, this is clearly one of his best, and is being compared with his earlier career peaks, particularly his 1986 debut Guitar Town (1986). That is high praise; it is entirely justified. 

Here's the barn burner of a title track:



Take note: the album version features none other than Willie Nelson!

And here's what is my favorite song so far: the haunting "Goodbye Michelangelo," written in honor his friend and mentor, the great Guy Clark.


This was his first public performance of it, and he did Guy proud.


Have a good week, everyone!

Q: Ain't She Sweet? (A: No. :D)

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Hello all. Hope everyone had a good week so far. We've been whipsawing between mega-hot and humid weather and unseasonably cool from one day to another. It was only 10 C when I woke up this morning; tomorrow is going to top out over 30 C, with a dew point in the 70s.) In other words, I will be in Big Hair mode whether I like it or not. Welcome to summer in New England. :)

I thought I'd post about a pair of enjoyable conversations I've had since my last post. New Englanders are known for being, reserved (if you're being polite)/suspicious (if you're being accurate) around anyone they don't know. lol That's what makes these encounters worth mentioning here. Hope you enjoy them!

***

The first took place about a month ago. It was Town Day where I live. It's the quintessential small New England town, even though it's only a few miles outside of Boston. I went downtown early to check out the parade and tour several of the colonial-era homes that open for visitors on this weekend each year.

I was sitting down with a English muffin and coffee for a belated breakfast at a downtown coffee shop, reviewing the box scores from the previous nights ball games (baseball, for the non-seamheads out there), when I heard a man's voice.

"I do believe that this fair maiden before us is Irish," he said. "What do you think?"

I looked up and saw two gentlemen, in their 70s, smiling at me as they awaited their coffee. They were, well... really, really, Irish looking. lol The taller of the two was dressed head-to-toe in green; green shirt, green tie (with shamrocks, of course), and green slacks. (The shoes, needless to say, were white.) The shorter gentlemen was less ostentatious, but his face was like a map of Ireland, as my father would say. 

"Well, Irish-American, anyway," I said, returning their smiles.

They laughed, then asked my name. After I told them it was Cassidy, they introduced themselves as R (the gentleman in green) and L (the shorter of the two). 

R then asked if I knew what "Cassidy" means in Gaelic. 

"I do, actually," I said, grinning, and pointed to my head. "It means 'curly-haired.'"

"It does indeed," R said, chuckling. "You are aptly named, my dear." 

We wound up chatting for about 10 minutes, the conversation inevitably (as we're in Boston) turned to the Red Sox, and then the Celtics (Boston's pro basketball team, for those who are not sports-obsessed), who were in the conference finals that weekend.

L asked if I knew how many championships the Celtics have won in their history. 

"I do," I said. "17 - John Havlicek's number." 

Duly impressed, L commented that he had actually been at the deciding Game 7 at the old Boston Garden when they won their first championship.

"Do you know what year it was?" R asked me.

"1957," I said. 

"Not bad at all," L said. "But do you know who was a rookie on that team?"

"That's a trick question," I said. "Bill Russell *and* Tom Heinson were both rookies that year. And Heinson won Rookie of the Year, even though most people assume it would have been Russell."

"That's right. Do you know why?"

"Russell was on the US Olympic team that year, wasn't he? I think he didn't join the Celtics until just before Christmas."

"Well, now you're just showing off," R said, mock-angry. "But L can tell you the entire starting lineup from memory, can't you?"

He nodded solemnly, then gazed at me expectantly.

I closed my eyes for a moment.

"Bill Russell. Bob Cousy. Tom Heinson. Bill Sharman. And, of course, Jungle Jim Loscutoff." 

I paused.

"And the sixth man was Frank Ramsey. The Celtics retired all of their numbers. And all of them, with the exception of Jim Loscutoff, are in the Basketball Hall of Fame."

They gaped at me, slack-jawed. 

"Red hair, blue eyes, freckles... and she loves sports!" R said.

He extended his hand to me, respectfully. "My dear, may I have your hand in matrimony?"

"Hey," L said, indignant. "I wanted to ask her!"

"What is it you young people say these days, Cassidy?" R said. "'You snooze, you lose?'"

"Bless your hearts for including me with the young people," I said. "But I'm afraid I'll have to ask some of them and get back to you about that."

"So that's a promise, Cassidy?" L said.

"Cross my heart," I said, crossing it as I did so. 

"They say you'll find true love where you least expect it," R said as they stood up to leave. "I never thought it would be a Dunkin Donuts though!"

Guess I can cross "find a spouse" off my To Do list now! :D

***

The second conversation took place at Rite-Aid as I picked up my hormones a few weeks ago.  

"Gee, hon, it feels like forever since I last saw you!" the pharmacist said with a big smile as I walked up to the counter.

I'm usually only here once a month to pick these up, so I guess it has been a while. Count your blessings it isn't more frequent!" I joked. 

"Oh, no," she said. "You're always a ray of sunshine, hon!"

"A barista friend of mine calls me that!" I said. "That's too funny that you did too." 

"Wel, it's true," she said as she searched for my prescriptions on the shelf. "Weren't you stuck here last time because the cash registers all stopped working?"

"That's right!" I said. "I forgot about that. Oooh, I was in a hellcat fury that night!"

She burst out laughing.

"See what I mean?" she said. "Why aren't all of my customers like you?" 

"Just lucky, I guess," I said.

She laughed again, then studied my prescription for a moment. 

"'Cassidy'," she said. "So what do you go by - Cassidy, Cass, or Cassie?"

"Mostly Cass or Cassidy, but a few people call me Cassie."

"Do you mind that?"

"No, I kind of like it, actually."

"Well, that's what I'm going to call you from now on," she said. "It's sweet and cute - just like you!"

"Oh, don't be fooled," I joked, feeling my face turn red.

"I'm not," she smiled as she handed me my prescriptions. "See you next month - Cassie!"

Aren't random compliments the best? :c)

***

That is going to do it for this post. Stay tuned for the next one - it's going to be thrill-packed! (Well, not really. But it won't be a standard-issue Cass post either, promise!)

***

I had a bunch of songs come to mind once I figured out the title for this post, so pull up a chair!

First up - "Ain't She Sweet," covered by a little-known Liverpool combo called The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany in 1961. Hmm... wonder whatever happened to these guys?


Next is the title track from Matthew Sweet's great Girlfriend album, from 1991. The gentleman in shades playing the epic lead guitar is the late, great Robert Quine, who played on Lou Reed's 1982 masterpiece The Blue Mask


Next up, a great song from Big Head Todd & The Monsters, "Bittersweet," from Sister Sweetly (1993). The entire album is excellent, as is the 1994 follow up, Strategem. I'll have to post some more BHT soon...


Here are two tracks from Australia's finest, The Hoodoo Gurus. First: their song called "Bittersweet," from Mars Needs Guitars! (1985).


And last up is "I Want You Back" - not a cover of The Jackson Five classic, but an original tune from 1983 - and a great one, too.


Man, that's a great song! Time to pull their albums out and give them a spin again, clearly...

These Days

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hello all. Apologies for the extended absence. It's been a crazy busy few months - a crazy busy 6-8 months, really - at work. Things should quiet down now (she said hopefully). This upcoming weekend should, fingers, crossed, be the first weekend I haven't had to work (excepting when I was on vacation) in nearly that entire time.  As I said, crazy busy.

We've had one of the strangest winters and springs that I can recall. Believe it or not, the months of March and April were both colder - significantly colder - than February. The week of the 15th was typical of this atypical stretch. When I woke up on Tuesday morning the 16th, it was barely 40°F/4°C. It actually snowed in parts of New Hampshire and Maine. 

The next day, Wednesday the 17th, the high temperature was - believe it or not - 95°F (35°C). It was the first day of a three-day heatwave, with temperatures each day well above 90 temperatures.

To give you an idea of how big these extremes have been, I went from my winter coat and gloves on Tuesday to this on Wednesday:


Talk about wardrobe whiplash... Things became more seasonable last week, but it's still cooler than normal (I was sitting outdoors as I wrote this, but had to come inside because I was shivering). And tomorrow is looking even chillier, with yet more rain. On the bright side, we're no longer in drought conditions here in New England, as we have been for the past few years. Definitely a good thing, that.

All that being said, I'm hopeful that I can soon retire the coat and gloves, cute though they may be, and finally break out the sundresses at long last. Fingers crossed.  

Anyway, I promise to try to write more often. I know I've said that before, but hopefully this time I'll have enough time/energy to follow through. Quite a bit has been going on, and will be going on, so I'm hoping I can write about some of it here. Watch this space. Have a good week, everyone. :c)

***

I was originally going to post several songs from what is my favorite album so far this year, The Sadies' Northern Passages, but with the untimely passing of Gregg Allman this weekend I've decided to include a few personal favorites from his amazing career. 

First up is "Melissa," one of his most tender songs, with the Allman Brothers:


Next up is a ripping live version of my favorite Allman Brothers song, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed." 


I saw them play a jaw-dropping version of this during their headlining set on the second day of the 2007 Newport Folk Festival. The interplay between them is breathtaking.

And to bring this post to a close, here is his moving rendition of Jackon Browne's "These Days," from 1973's Laid Back, his debut solo album.


Jackson Browne recorded it on his For Everyman album, also from 1973, although he actually wrote it in 1965, when he was 15(!).  A number of other artists have covered it over the years (Annie Clark, a/k/a St. Vincent, does a particularly affecting version), but for my money Allman's version is definitive. RIP, Gregg...

Back, Down

Saturday, March 18, 2017



Hello all. Work has been insanely busy, and it's been a while since I've had time to do anything else. So this will be brief.

My back, unfortunately, is still an issue. I've been wearing a brace for the past two weeks, something I've never, ever had to do before. (You can sort of see how bulky it is in the above photo.) After two weeks in it, the back feels slightly better, but is still quite stiff. It's almost certainly the result of stress. I don't see it going away for several more weeks, unfortunately, but hopefully the soreness will ease its grip on me before then.

It's been unseasonably cold the past 7-10 days, with record-setting temperatures. It's been one of the strangest winters I can recall - well above average temperatures *and* well above average snowfall at the same time. One reason I've been so stressed is that I haven't been able to do any running for nearly four months. Two extended bouts with bronchitis, an iffy stomach, and the aforementioned cranky back are the culprits. I'm sure the constantly yo-yo-ing temperatures aren't helping either.

Since exercise, particularly running, is by far the best method I've found to relieve stress, it's doubly frustrating that I've been unable to do much of it for some time. Hopefully the cold and snow - we received 12 inches/30 cm on Tuesday - will finally abate, and I'll be able to get outside after work and ease back into my usual workout routine. I cannot wait. 

Well, actually I can. I'll heed the lesson of my doctor, a fellow runner, when I asked her when I could start running again.

"Wait until your back is totally pain-free... then give it another week," she said. She knows me too well.

OK, time for this girl to run - metaphorically speaking only, alas. Sigh. Hopefully only for a bit longer...

***

I've been on a tight budget for some time now, for reasons I'll be able to explain later. I made an exception, however, when I read that Gary Clark, Jr. had a new live double album coming out this week. I wrote about my first time seeing him several years ago [LINK], and how incredible he was. This is his second live double album in three years, with a single studio album in between. 

For most artists that would be overkill. Not Clark, however. As adventurous as his studio albums are, his live shows are even better. He never plays a song the same way twice, and his blistering guitar playing alone is worth the price of the album. That he is a superb singer and songwriter on top of that merely seals the deal. (His outstanding longtime backing band, particularly rhythm guitarist King Zapata, who isn't exactly a slouch on guitar, is icing on the cake.) 

Based on two listens to the album since last night, this one is even better than his previous live effort. "When My Train Pulls In" is a highlight on both albums. While this scorching version is from Eric Clapton's 2013 Crossroads guitar festival, the version on the new album is equally incendiary. 



You know you have the goods when Eric Clapton and Buddy Guy watch your entire performance from the side of the stage, as they did in this case. Not bad for a skinny kid from Austin...

Back Off

Saturday, February 25, 2017


Hello all. I'm writing this on the third consecutive day of flat-out hot weather here in New England. It was 75°F (24°C) here yesterday. In February. (Needless to say, the above photo was not taken the past few days.)

Today is slightly cooler (66°F/18°C); still, this is still crazy-warm for February in New England. One week ago we had over two feet of snow on the ground; other than the remnants of several large piles in the corners of parking lots, it is now completely gone. While I am no fan of snow, temperatures this warm in the middle of winter here are more than a little unnerving.

That being said, follow along for more on the rest of my week.


Mid-Winter Musings

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

 

Hello all. Hope this finds you well. It's been quite a while between posts, so please follow along below the fold for what I've been up to the past month-plus.

Conversations with C: Leftovers

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Hello all. Hope you're having a good week so far. Believe it or not, I'm only just now beginning to feel better from my bout with the flu. 

I was diagnosed with bronchitis (again) early last week after being sick for over a week already. I wound up being out sick all of last week. I battled bronchitis back in November as well, which leads me to believe it never really went away. 

I spent every day from New Years Eve until Sunday in bed, which is highly unusual for me. Generally even at my sickest I feel well enough after a few days to at least get out of bed; not this time, however.

I managed to go back to work this week - minus my voice, alas, which seems to have taken the brunt of the damage in its pitched battle with my nightly coughing fits. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to my colleague C, who kindly made me a drink combining hot water, honey, and lemon every day this week. It went quite a ways towards soothing my vocal cords. Thank you again, Mr. C! :c)

More below the jump...


Another New Year Flu By

Monday, January 2, 2017


Happy New Year, all. Hope you had all had a lovely holiday season.

I'm going to keep this short, for, as the title indicates, I'm battling the flu. Again. Sigh.

I had it back in November, and unfortunately it decided to pay a return visit just after Christmas.

I managed to fight it off for several days, but since Friday evening I've basically been in bed. Not necessarily sleeping, mind you; a wracking cough has been waking me up throughout the night.

I was hoping it would go away, but last night was the most unpleasant yet. It's painful to breathe at times as a result, and my ribs are sore as well. Bleah. I'm hoping it's not bronchitis (I had it in November as well), but I suspect it might be. It wouldn't be the first time I've had it multiple times in short order. Hopefully I'm wrong.

More to follow when I'm feeling up to it, including (buried lead alert) seeing my parents for the first time in nearly two years. The short version: I survived, helped in no small part by the presence of my sister and nephew. I think the result was the most I can hope for, under the circumstances.

Take care, everyone, and here's hoping 2017 is good to you all. :c)

***

Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but the photo above was not taken the past few days! :D It's from about three weeks ago. I wouldn't subject you to a shot of me now. ;-p

***

This feels like a particularly appropriate song to begin 2017. It's the leadoff track from R.E.M.'s great 1986 album Lifes Rich Pageant (sp). "Let's begin again," indeed.



 

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