Now Be Thankful

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is just a quick post to wish one and all a wonderful holiday tomorrow.

I'll be saying my thanks tomorrow for the wonderful new friends I've made this year through this blog, and for the old friends who have been so supportive. I wouldn't be here without all of you, so thank you so, so much.

Bring on the turkey, and especially the mashed potatoes (can't help it, I'm Irish)! Yum…


Here's a beautiful song from Fairport Convention that couldn't be more appropriate. Happy Thanksgiving!

HRT: Day One (a/k/a Where the f*** are my boobs?)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

OK, just a little joke there in the title. My friends T & J happened to be in town on Saturday, the actual day I started HRT. When I joked with J that I would use this for the title of this post, she pointed out that I was a) scrawny and b) Irish, advising "Hon, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on them if I were you." Duly noted. 

I'd actually received the prescriptions last week, as mentioned in the previous post, but - and don't gasp with shock - there were insurance issues that had to be dealt with first. Suffice it to say that while I'm glad I have access to COBRA, trying to figure out the mess is enough to make you *need* to see a doctor. Sigh.

At any rate, I spoke with a very nice lady at the prescription agency early last week. She was nice enough to promise to get my cards to me sooner than the standard ten days. 

Cut to Friday, when I awoke with a nasty allergy attack. I only get them once or twice a year, but when I do, I *really* get them. Ever swallow water while swimming? Imagine swallowing, say, five gallons; that's how I felt Friday.

Nonetheless, I dragged myself out to the mailbox where - Lo and behold! - the prescription card had arrived. To hell with the dizziness, nausea, and constantly running nose! I've waited my entire life for this; some crappy little dust particles aren't stopping me. 

So I wheezed my way over to the local Rite-Aid. A few minutes after I dropped off the prescription, the pharmacist paged me.  When I arrived, she looked slightly confused and motioned for me to a private section of the pharmacy. She held up one of the prescription bottles.

"Do you know this is estrogen?" she asked, a note of concern in her voice. 

I smiled and assured her I did.

After a moment, a startled look appeared, her hand went to her mouth, and she said, "Oh… oh!" I didn't intend it, but I began to laugh.

She started to apologize, but, still laughing, I told her it wasn't necessary. She looked relieved and thanked me for understanding her reaction. 

After ringing up my purchase and handing me my prescriptions, she leaned over.

"I just want you to know that I think you're very brave. Good luck with everything."

I barely noticed my throbbing sinuses the whole way home. 


When I woke up Saturday morning, my head was clear, and I was ready to start anew. And so I did, taking another step - a big one - on the long road.


Here are a few Pearl Jam songs that seem appropriate.

I guess this is technically is an Eddie Vedder solo song, first written for the Dead Man Walking soundtrack. The band does a great version of it as well:

Here's a moving version from the America: A Tribute to Heroes broadcast:

And last but not least, "Wasted (Reprise)", which uses few words while providing lasting thoughts.

The Promised Land

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm a night owl by nature, and an insomniac to boot. Not the best combination, but fortunately I can get by on 4-5 hours of sleep. I have a particular problem when I have an early appointment. The end result, typically, is me staring at the clock at 2:00 AM, hours before I actually have to get up.

Anyway, I *had* an early appointment this morning - to follow up with my doctor about my blood work and, hopefully, getting get the prescription for my hormones. So no big deal, really. :c)

I did make it on time, thankfully, albeit groggier and more bleary-eyed than usual. As it turned out, the appointment was pretty routine. Or as routine as this appointment could be, I guess! 

Doctor T said the blood work results all looked good, and that my cholesterol levels were outstanding. We went over the paperwork he'd given me, which explained what HRT does/doesn't do, health risks, etc. Nothing new; of course; I've only been obsessively researching this stuff for the past six months! 

He then asked if I was ready to start HRT. I asked him if it was appropriate to say "F*** yes!", to which he laughed and said under the circumstances, sure, why not? My kind of doctor.

His approach is to start slowly, which sounds smart to yours truly. I'll be taking pills to start, but after about two months or so we'll switch over to either injections or a patch. I prefer the patch, partly because I don't care for needles but also because getting to the doctor's office is a bit of a hassle, especially with winter coming. (I've also heard injections can really wreak havoc on your levels.) But we'll see where things stand in a few months.

After printing out the prescriptions and handing them to me, Dr. T  smiled and said "Congratulations on the start of an exciting journey!" 

And so it begins!


As anyone reading this blog has no doubt deduced by now, I'm a bit of Bruce Springsteen fan. OK, a big Springsteen fan. All right, I'm obsessed. Don't look at me like that!  

Er… anyway, turns out Doctor T is a fellow obsessive when it comes to Bruce. So here's a tune that seems appropriate.

The Plan Keeps Coming Back Again… (Pt. 4)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sunday, 2:00 PM
The scene: I'm lying prone on the couch in the living room at my parents house, eyes squeezed shut. The front door opens; my father and mother enter.

Dad: L? L? Are you awake? L?

Me (sighing inwardly): Uhh… yeah?

Dad: How are the allergies? Feeling better?

Me: I'll be fine tomorrow. This just lasts a day. I think I ate something with mushrooms last night at F's. So,how did E (my niece) do at her feis?

(Note: For you unfortunate souls not lucky enough to be Irish, a feis - pronounced "fesh" - is an Irish step dancing competition.)

Mom: Two first place ribbons and a second place in the team competition.

Me: Did you take any pictures?

Him: I would have... if your mother hadn't lost the batteries.

Her: I know I just saw them around here somewhere… Let me go look again…

(She heads off into the kitchen.)

Me: Seriously… again? I told you to get a safety deposit box for this stuff, didn't I?

Dad: Hey, she threw away her wedding gown. What chance do rechargeable batteries have?

Me: Well, don't say I didn't try to help.

Him: OK.


You know, I hardly feel like we talked all weekend.

Me: Yeah, I know. Me too.

Him: I know you have a lot going on, but next time you come up, you should try to make some time for your mother. She'd appreciate that.

Me (reeling from an irony deficiency: I'll, uh.. see what I can do. 

Him: Be sure to say so long before you go. I'm headed to the back room. They're in the middle of a three-part Streets of San Francisco story.

Me: Will do Dad.


The scene: Two hours later. My sister C looks down sympathetically.

C: And you hardly ever have allergy attacks anymore, right?

Me (weakly): Yeah. Just bad timing.

C: I'll say. So you *still* haven't told them?

Me: Like when? During the commercial breaks on TV Land?

C (nodding): That's true. All I can say is the clothes on those 70s cop shows are enough to make *me* ill. Seriously - plaid jackets and  polka dot ties? Even *you* know enough not  to do that.

Me: Thank you for the vote of confidence.

C: Don't be. All it means is you aren't color-blind or a retired cop like Dad. (shudders) Have you ever seen him mow the lawn in Bermuda shorts and dark knee socks?

Me: Hey, I'm already feeling queasy. Do you mind?

C: Sorry. Seriously, you'd better tell them soon. At this rate your boobs will be my size by the time they know. (looking down at her self-described "twelve-year-old's chest") Not that they'd notice, I suppose.

Me: Hey, you said it, not me.

C: Well, I'm off to work. (leans down and kisses me) Take care of yourself, sis.

Me: Thanks. You too.


Postscript: I now know the perfect Christmas gift for my parents: a universal remote. Preferably with a garage door option.


Here's where I swiped the title for the last few posts: Idaho's finest, the mighty Built To Spill. Incidentally, Doug Martsch, the lead singer, is no slouch in the guitar hero sweepstakes, as you can see:

And one more, if you're in the mood for an epic. These guys are seriously good musicians:

The Plan Keeps Coming Back Again… (Pt. 3)

Saturday, 3:00 PM
The scene: I'm walking down a busy thoroughfare in - you guessed it - a torrential downpour. My cell phone rings. It's my father.

Me: Hey Dad. Are you and Mom home from the church social?

Him: L? Is that you?

Me (counting to three): Has anyone else ever answered this number, Dad?

Him: Where are you?

Me: Out walking.

Him: You know it's raining?

Me (wiping the condensation from my glasses again): I've noticed.

Him: It wasn't supposed to start this early, they're saying.

Me: I gathered that.

Him: Is that why you're still walking?

Me: That plus the fact that it started when I was an hour and a half from home.

Him: Well, will you be home by, let's see… 3:00?

Me: Dad, it's 3:00 right now.

Him: Is it? OK, I have to keep this short - Kojak is coming on.

Me: Keep what short?

Him: Your brother F invited us over for dinner.

Me: Oh, OK. I have something to talk to you all about, actually, so that's good.

Him: Sure.

Me: What time do we have to be there?

Him: 3:00.

Me: Dad, again, it's 3:00 right now. Why does he want us there so early?

Him: Well, he wants to order early from Bob's.

Me: But why not just get everyone's orders now, call them in, and tell them when you want to pick it up?

Him: No, they want to eat early.

Me: Why?

Him: Aren't you listening? There's a Kojak marathon on!

Me: Right. Sorry. Well, I can't be there at 3:00.

Him: Why not?

Me: Because it's 3:00 right now.

Him: It is?

Me (sighing): Yeah, Dad. I'll just meet you all over at F's house, OK?

Him: OK. By the way, F's father-in-law will be there too.

Me: @#$%!

Him: Hey, he's not my favorite person either, but I don't let him get to me like that! Anyway, do you have keys for his house? We don't to miss any of the show.

Me (shaking head): I do. No worries.

Him: Good. (yelling to my mother) M, how do you manually program the VCR again? This remote still isn't working!

Me: See you in a bit, Dad.


Postscript: if you're ordering from Bob's I highly recommend the turkey tips.


Here's one from The Dave Rawlings Machine. He is hands-down the best guitar player I have ever seen - and bear in mind that I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan live. Judge for yourself:

The Plan Keeps Coming Back Again… (Pt. 2)

Friday, 8:30 AM
The scene: I'm in the family room with my mother. The show tonight isn't until 8:00 PM. That gives me a whole day to tell my parents. They're retired; they have nothing *but* free time, right?


Me: So, any plans for today, Mom?

Her: As a matter of fact, yes. My sisters are taking your Aunt M and I out to lunch for our birthday. (My mother and my Aunt M are identical twins.)

Me: Oh... okay. What time are you all meeting?

Her (checking watch): Let's see… 10:00 AM.

Me: Say, can we talk before - wait... 10:00 AM? For *lunch*?

Her: Well, we want to get there early.

Me: Why?

Her: Well, your father wants to watch the Kojak marathon on TV Land this afternoon.

Me: You realize I gave him the entire series on DVD last year for Christmas, right?

Her: Oh, the VCR is broken.

Me: You mean the DVD player.

Her: No, we returned that.

Me: But you asked for one last year.

Her: I know. But now we want a Blu-Ray player.

Me: Let me guess: Aunt M just bought one.

Her: Well… yes.

Me: Mom, what's a Blu-Ray disc?

Her (after a long pause): Well, it's better.

Me: Better than what?

Her: Could you look at the TV? This remote doesn't work anymore.

Me (approximately two seconds later): Mom, you realize this is the remote for the garage door, right?

Her: Are you sure?

Me (pointing the remote): Is the garage door opening now?

Her (peering out the window): Why, yes. Yes, it is. (pause) Do you think that's why the remote in the car doesn't work?

Me: I don't know. Can you use it to change the TV channel while you're pulling out of the driveway?

Her: I'll have to check. (looking at her watch) Well, look at the time! (standing up)

Me: Where are you going?

Her: To lunch, of course.

Me: But it's barely 9:00 AM.

Her: I know.

Me: The restaurant is only three blocks away.

Her: I want to beat the traffic.

Me: *What* traffic?

Her: Well, your aunt J. She always has to be first.

Me: And this matters why?

Her: She thinks she's entitled to it just because she's older.

Me: Older than who? Mom, you're all in your sixties and seventies. 

Her: You kids wouldn't understand. (putting on her coat) Oh, could you look at this while your home too? (pointing) Your father says he can't get it to connect to the Internet.

Me: Mom, that's a word processor.

Her: Well, I'm sure you can fix that right up. Bye, hon!

Me: Bye, Mom.


Postscript: The Civil Wars show was terrific.


A sample of that evening's entertainment:

The Plan Keeps Coming Back Again… (Part 1)

Ever seen the movie Hot Shots? It's sort of an Airplane!-style takeoff on war movies. There's a character in it called Dead Meat, who is the All-American guy who always buys it in those war flicks the movie parodies so well.

As he's climbing into his fighter jet before a routine test mission, he's telling his wife about all of the astounding discoveries he's made: a cure for the common cold, who really shot JFK, and on and on. Each time his wife asks him to explain, and each time he says "plenty of time for that! I'll tell all as soon as I get back from this totally routine test flight, honey!"  And of course, disaster ensues - hilariously.

Well, that sort of sums up my last weekend. :c)

In my case, the goal was simple. I was going to spend a few days staying with my parents in my hometown. The ostensible purpose was to see Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings on Thursday night and The Civil Wars on Friday night. But my main goal was to tell my family that I was trans. I'd planned to do so a few weekends ago, but my father's stomach problems chose that weekend to make their presence felt, so I put it off until last weekend. I'd be there for four days; plenty of time for that! What could possibly go wrong?

Thursday, 12:00 PM
The scene: I'm sitting in the parking lot behind the wheel of my car, idly eying the partly cloudy skies above. Just to be safe, I quickly check the forecast: intermittent showers. I then check the traffic report: clear sailing the entire way. My trip ETA: 1:15 PM. Plenty of time to sit down for a heart to heart with my folks before heading out for a magical evening of music with Gill and Dave. Should be smoooottthhh sailing all the way...

Thursday, 5:15 PM
The scene: I'm standing in the hallway at my parents house, wringing out my drenched Gore-Tex jacket. My mother stands nearby, holding my iPhone.


Mom: So you really spent three and a half hours on the Expressway?

Me (emptying approximately three inches of rain from my left sneaker): I did. But it will be worth it tonight when I get to the show.

Mom (looking down): Uh… was it Gillian Welch you were seeing tonight?

Me: "Was"? Why "was"?

Mom: It says here that she has laryngitis and tonight's show is canceled.

Me: #$%!*

Mom: That's not nice.

(The door opens. My father enters.)

Dad:  Shouldn't you be on your way to your show?

Me: #$%!*

Dad: What?

Mom: The show was canceled.

Dad: Hmm. (momentary pause) Did you close your car windows before you came in? It's raining out, you know.

Me: #$%!*

Dad: Hey, don't blame me. I didn't make it rain.

Mom: Well, this will be nice! Your sister is working, so it's just the three of us! (The phone rings.) Let me get that and see what I have for dinner. (heads off to kitchen)

Dad: Too bad about the show. Oh well. We can always watch TV.

Me Or we could just talk.

Dad: I think there starting a Kojak marathon tonight.

Me: Right. Or we could just talk.

Dad: I think they're showing the first season.

(The doorbell rings.)

Dad (opening the door): Now who the hell is that? It's pouring out, for Christ's sake.

(It's K, our next door neighbor and her six-month old daughter C, huddled under an umbrella. My mother brushes past my father and I.)

Mom (in baby voice): Well, HELLO, Missy C! And how are you?

Dad (confused): Hi, K. (brightening) And hello, princess! 

K (apologetic): I'm so sorry. Our babysitter just canceled, and I didn't know who else to call…

Mom: Nonsense! We're always happy to spend time with our favorite little neighbor!

K: We aren't interrupting anything, are we?

Mom: Not at all! I think there's a Mannix marathon on tonight.

Dad: That's next week. This is Kojak week.

Mom: He's the bald one, right?

Dad: Right. (to C) Just like this little angel!

C: (massive burp)

Mom: See if she wants to go to L.

(I hold out my arms. C reaches for me.)

K and my Mom (simultaneously): Aww!

C: (throws up on my shirt)

Dad: Well, looks like someone had peas for lunch!

C: (gurgles happily)

K: Well, I should be on my way. Thank you *so* much! Bye honey! Be good! (kisses C on the head)

Dad: Let me see if I have a shirt you can wear, L. (heads upstairs)

Mom: I'll go get a facecloth to clean off Missy-Miss here! (heads off to kitchen)

(C and I stand alone by the door.)

Me: Hey, C. Want to know a secret?

C: (smiles and laughs)

Postscript: C is an absolute sweetheart. And I say that even though she vomited on both my Gillian Welch *and* Dave Rawlings Machine tour shirts. 


Here's a taste of what I missed that night:


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