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)


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.



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:



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!




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?!?


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.


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