Winter Wonderland - For Real!

Saturday, December 24, 2016


Hello, and Happy Pre-Christmas Eve, everyone. Hope you have all finished your holiday shopping, and been good girls and boys. (I plead the Fifth, personally.)

I've been dressing in seasonal colors the past few days, starting with a green dress on Wednesday and a white blouse and red maxi-skirt yesterday. Today I went with my red blazer, above. (If you look closely you can spot the green scrunchie holding up my ponytail too.)

This is just a brief post about my adventures last weekend, and not the second of the promised pair of posts mentioned recently. I hope to finish that one tomorrow, lest I further tempt fate with Santa. Read on below the fold for all of the details. :-p

Milestones (a/k/a The Breast Years of My Life)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a pleasant holiday season so far. Things have been quite busy here, between work and moving and various other adventures. I have another post that is about half complete, but I suddenly realized yesterday that I had completely overlooked a major milestone:

Five years of HRT.


For those of you not overcome by the vapors, follow along below the jump for more!

Coal for Cassidy? (a/k/a Christmas Cass: Naughty or Nice?)

Depends on who you ask, actually. [coughcough] ;-p

Actually, I have been naughty; I have several long-in-development posts that I need to finish. I promise, Santa, I will get them done as soon as possible! (No promises on any other mischief I may get into, however. [insert evil grin here]) ;-p

Meanwhile, I'll be here practicing my innocent look:


Paul Kelly, who is rightly considered a national treasure in his native Australia but is criminally overlooked Stateside, is the author of this wonderful, moving, and utterly unique Christmas song: "How to Make Gravy." While he does, indeed, tell you how to make gravy, it's about much, much more. This is a gem. :D


No one but Paul Kelly could have written this - and thank goodness for the rest of us that he did. :c)

Here are a few others from his vast catalog of great songs. First up, we have "Before Too Long," from 1986:

Next up is "If I Could Start Today Again," from 2002:

If you appreciate great songwriting, he has a terrific anthology called Songs from the Southland that is the perfect introduction to this wonderful artist.

Hello, and a Terrific Resource to Check Out

Sunday, December 4, 2016

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Devil(-ish) with the Blue Dress

Saturday, October 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Halloween, all!


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

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

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

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

Musings: Me & My Shadow

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

I was stunned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that the best is yet to come.


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

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

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

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

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

Back in Black

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

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

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

And another - with a clue as to my whereabouts!

Ciao for now, folks!

Getting Down to Business

Friday, September 23, 2016

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

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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

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

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

Now that I'm older I know the answer:


She didn't. 

Not then. 

Not ever.

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

As am I. Every. Single. Time.

But the story isn't just about the betrayal.

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

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

It's about looking into the abyss, alone.

It's about willing yourself to move forward.

On your own.

Not retreating to false, temporary solace. 

Be it in a bottle. 

Or bitterness. 

Or sex.


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

One minute at a time.

One hour at a time.

One day at a time.

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

Every. Single. Time.

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

The one person whom you learn to trust.

To know loves you unconditionally.

Every. Single. Time.

Every. Single. Day.


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

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

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

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

Then he imparts some hard-won wisdom:

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

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

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

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

And always will be there.

But knowing that is one thing. 

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

Whether they choose to or not is up to them.

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

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

You really do have to grow it from the seed.

Have You Heard the News?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

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

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

Incredible song!

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

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

Sting Me

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hello all, and Welcome to the Working Week, as a Mr. Declan MacManus once put it.  Just wanted to take a moment to say hello while I work on several longer posts.

My Monday was relatively good; I say "relatively" because I had a run-in with a bee while out for a brief walk at work. Somehow it managed to fly into my cupped hand (I was carrying my sunglasses). It was one of those one-in-a-million occurrences - and unfortunately for me, it stung me before I could react.

I'd been stung once before, all the way back in first grade, but never since. I cursed reflexively (apologies again to the gentlemen who were inadvertently subjected to  the un-ladylike stream of invective I unleashed as they walked past me lol), then immediately turned around and went back inside.

I had a pair of tweezers in my pocketbook (the better to pluck rogue eyebrow lashes with), and fortunately was able to pull out the stinger without a problem. I washed it thoroughly and applied some Bactine to be safe. Within a few minutes it looked and felt fine. And now, ten hours later, it's as good as new.

Hopefully the rest of your week (and mine as well) doesn't involve any wayward encounters with our insect neighbors (with the obvious exception of The Beatles, who are welcome any time). Hoping to have another post up in a few days, so watch this space! Ciao 'til then...

(Oh... I don't have any tops with yellow and black stripes, so I'm afraid the photo above is as close as I can come to today's bee theme...)


While getting stung was less than pleasant, it did give me a chance to post a great track from The Black Crowes - 1992's "Sting Me," from The Southern Harmony & Rhythm Companion:

Also from the same album, an absolutely ferocious version of "Remedy":

I was fortunate enough to see them on this tour, which featured the original lineup (with Marc Ford on guitar); they were absolutely on fire.

I subsequently saw them a number of times after they reformed in 2005, with Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi All-Stars fame filling Marc Ford's spot, and they were as good as ever. Want proof? Sure - here you go. :c)

And lastly, here's Rich Robinson (brother Chris was the singer) taking over the vocals for a phenomenal version of The Velvet Underground's "Oh! Sweet Nothin'" - 11:17 of utter bliss:

Sigh... I miss The Crowes... Oh well, at least Chris and Rich are still making music, I suppose...

Look Sharp(?)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Hello all. :) I'm working on several other posts at the moment, at least one of which I hope to post by mid-week. I think you'll like this one. :-p

In the meantime, I thought I would share some new-found wisdom I gleaned last Friday, albeit unintentionally. Follow along after the jump for the latest installment of Miss Cassidy's Follies. :c)

Vignettes: Of Fingernails, Cocktails, and Ponytails

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Greetings from steamy New England. This has been one of the longest stretches of exceptionally hot and humid weather that I can recall. Boston has already had 17 days with temperatures over 90F/32C, often with dew points in the 70s (think Alabama, Florida, etc.). At least it isn't snow, I suppose...

What follows is a mishmash of topics that don't really merit a full post, but that I thought would be fun to share. So follow along on to the other side for the details!

Vignette: Red-Headed, Strange(r)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Hello all, and a Happy Saturday to you from steamy Boston. Once again, this is NOT one of the posts I've mentioned I'm working on... well, for a while now. :c) Instead, this is another one-off about a funny incident that happened Thursday evening. Follow along below the jump for the details. :c)

Old Friends

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hi everyone - your eyes do not deceive you; two posts from Cassidy in a single week! Who woulda thunk it?

I originally intended to write about this subject several weeks ago, but came up with other topics that were a bit more timely. And I have two others in the pipeline as well; hopefully I can finish and post them shortly as well.

I'm writing this on Sunday evening; with my manager L's permission (and have I mentioned lately how much she rocks?) I'm taking tomorrow off. I've been dragging a bit lately, partly because the weather here has been unusually hot and humid for an extended period, and partly because I've only taken a few days off so far this year. So it will be nice to sleep in a bit later than usual tomorrow. :c)

This actually makes a nice segue to the main topic of this post. Follow along below the jump for more. :c)

Hot, Legs

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

So, I have a handful of partially-written posts, with varying degrees of completeness, but I thought I would share a funny story from Saturday evening. Thank you to my electrologist M, who suggested this would make a cute blog post. :-p

It's been unusually hot and humid here in the Boston area for the past two weeks; we just had our sixth straight day with temperatures well above 90F (33C) and dew points in the mid-60s, with at least two more days to follow.

We had an incredible microburst late Saturday afternoon, the likes of which I have never seen. We had torrential rain, 65 mph/104kph winds, and quarter-sized hail. The rain and hail were literally horizontal. It was surreal - and even more so when it ended barely five minutes after it started. Amazing.

We lost power in my neighborhood for nearly 10 hours, which made for a stiflingly hot sleepless evening. (We lost it again Sunday night/early Monday morning, but I'd had my air conditioner on for several hours already, which helped my bedroom stay reasonably comfortable until the power came back on at 3:00 AM.)

But I digress. :c) The story takes place early Saturday evening, shortly after the power went out. It was a limited outage; the other side of my block never lost power, nor did downtown.

I decided to simultaneously run an errand and reward myself for managing to exercise in this heat by picking up my favorite, toffee nut iced coffee. I took a quick shower and threw on a dress I'd had for several years but had never actually worn before. I grabbed a pair of flip-flops and headed out to my car.

There was an outdoor concert taking place near downtown, so I decided to park a few blocks away and walk over, rather than hunt for a parking spot.

As I was making my way downtown, a car was passing the other way. I wasn't really paying attention until it slowed down and the driver side window lowered.

I glanced over and saw a middle-aged gent (and rather nice-looking, actually) whistled appreciatively.

"Damn... those legs must go all the way to heaven!" he said with a wink.

(For the record, here's what I was wearing:)

Somehow he avoided coming off as a leering jackass lol, so I felt comfortable replying.

"Thank you," I said with a smile. "But actually they're just going to CVS."

(CVS is a drugstore, for anyone outside the States who may not be familiar with the name.)

After a split-second he laughed out loud, then replied "Touche!"

I grinned, thanked him again for the compliment, and wished him a good night. He bowed theatrically behind the wheel, raided his window, then beeped twice as he drove off.

The grin never left my face the rest of my walk, needless to say. :c)


Here's a bonus photo, in case you were wondering just how humid it's been here. This was taken  Sunday evening:

Yes, somehow my hair was even bigger than the previous post. :) I did nothing to get it this way, incidentally - no gel, mousse, hairspray, etc. This is Mother Nature's doing entirely. Any bigger and I could be a Southern Belle the way I used to dream about! lol


As you can imagine, I had no choice but to post this tune:

That is one hell of a great song, even if you don't like Rod Stewart. I do, incidentally, as you probably guessed. :-) His first five solo albums, and his tenure in The Faces atone for nearly all sins committed since.

Here's one more to demonstrate what an incredible live band The Faces were. Be sure your seat belt is fastened and your tray tables are in the upright and locked position before watching this one:

RIP, Ronnie Lane and Ian MacLagen...

Hair, Meet Humidity

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This isn't the post I mentioned previously (I actually have *another* one I need to write before that one, in fact). But a photo I snapped yesterday (Monday) amused me greatly, so I thought I would share it.

It was VERY hot and humid here over the weekend, and particularly on Monday. Think Southern Florida hot and humid.

I had a fascinating chat with TDMM (The Divine Miss M - hey hon! :-p) at work about some of the differences I've noticed between "him" and myself. My perspiration certainly differs, which we both found intriguing.

I still perspire quite a bit, but its feel, and taste, are totally different from "his." I mention this because after work on Monday I went for a long walk. (I'd run both Saturday and Sunday.) I'd had my hair up all day, as I typically do at work, mostly so it isn't in my way. When I came in from my walk in the steam bath we call a New England summer, I took my hair out of its bun, sat for a few minutes to cool off a bit, then got dressed and headed home.

I'didn't think anything of how I looked until I stopped at Starbucks for my toffee nut iced coffee, my daily post-exercise reward. A fellow customer glanced at me and said, "Pretty humid out there today, huh?" I smiled and nodded while she stared at me, apparently in wonder, for a moment more. I filed it a way after a moment as one of those odd moments.

No sooner had I done so than one of my barista friends came over and said, "So... just a bit muggy, huh, Cass?"

I must have looked baffled, because she laughed and suggested I go look in the mirror.

So I did.

And when I saw this I burst out laughing:

Oh. My. God.

This is hair you measure by its wingspan.

We are talking Southern-Belle-Closer-To-Heaven hair.

This is the only salvageable photo of the lot; I was giggling so much the others are all useless. lol

I think my dear friend Alice summed it up best when I sent her this shot via text:


Just so. :c)

Anyway, I know many of my posts have been fairly somber. The past 8-9 months have been difficult. So when a moment of much-needed levity arrives, it should be treasured. And this one was. :c)


A quick shout-out to a special someone (let's call her... oh, I don't know, Miss SBS) for a most memorable evening late last week. Hope you enjoy the little memento I left and file it away for future reference. ;c) Thank you again, hon!!! xoxoxo


Here's some Otis Redding to help celebrate Hump Day (a/k/a Wednesday):

And here's Peter Gabriel's stunning cover version of Lou Reed's gorgeous "The Power of the Heart."

It's from an covers album (which is excellent) that he recorded in 2010... although I can't quite nail down the title... :c)

Friday Check-In

Friday, July 15, 2016

Just a brief hello to say I'm working on a longer post, which I should have up in the next day or two. Hopefully it's worth the wait. I've been dealing with insomnia for some time, which partially explains my pensive expression, above. I'm doing my best to just try to take things one day at a time.

More soon. Have a good Friday, everyone...


I've been listening to the blues quite a bit lately. First up is "Old Love," a great song co-written by Eric Clapton and Robert Cray, from Clapton's 1989 album Journeyman. For my money it's his best solo album, and this is its best song. The guitar playing, as you would expect, is stellar:

I was shocked to discover that in five years of writing this blog I have never posted a single song from Robert Cray. I've loved his music from the beginning. This is my favorite song by him, "The Last Time (I Get Burned Like This)," from False Accusations, his 1985 album. (Strong Persuader, which features "Smoking Gun," came out in 1986.)

Few songs are as dead-on in capturing the emotional devastation caused by betrayal. He still performs "The Last Time" to this day, and more than does it justice. But it's clear from his performance here, shortly after the album was released, that this song was deeply personal:

His guitar playing is so spare, but so incredibly evocative. Less is quite clearly more in this instance.

I will certainly be posting more from Mr. Cray in future posts. Stay tuned, everyone...

A Trifecta of Thank You's

Monday, July 4, 2016

Hello all, and Happy Fourth of July for those of you in the States. (And a belated Happy Canada Day for my friends north of the border.)

I realize it's been a while since I posted. I hope to do better. A lot has been happening, not all of it good. But for this post I thought I would focus on three instances when it was, and thank those responsible.

A Brief Check-In

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hello everyone. A very brief post.

I've been dealing with the fallout from two incidents with my family over the past few weeks. I'm not comfortable saying more than that at the moment. But I can say that they have caused me a great deal of pain and heartache - some of the worst of my life. 

I'm currently weighing my options regarding how I move forward. And I *will* be moving forward. I will NOT allow their actions - overt and otherwise - stop me. Enough said for now.

I want to conclude by thanking several people who have gone above and beyond to help me. 

My colleague S has been there when I simply needed to not be alone. Thank you for being there, hon. 

My therapist, M, has twice taken time out of her busy schedule to talk to me on short notice. Her compassion and insight have been invaluable. I will never be able to repay the debt I owe you.

My friend F, who has known me almost literally my entire life, spent an entire afternoon today listening quietly but intently as only he can. 

I can sum up F as a friend by telling you the question he asked as our conversation drew to a close: "What can I do to help you, Cass? Anything I can do, I will." That is a true friend.

Finally, and most of all, thank you to my dear friend Alice. The last six months have been some of the most difficult of my life, and at a time when I had been hurt terribly by someone I loved deeply (and still do, in spite of everything), you have been there for me. Thank you, hon. xoxoxo

Hoping to write more soon. In the meantime, please keep the 50 innocent people murdered by a hateful thug in your thoughts. We live in dark, dark times. The only option, in the words of the great Bruce Cockburn, is to "kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight." Amen.

Let's Face It

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hello all - hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Just a brief post about the past week in my corner of the world. As it turns out, my face was the center of quite a bit of activity, albeit somewhat unplanned. :c)

Cassidy Coughs Up a New Post

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hi everyone! I'm sorry for the extended absence, especially in light of my previous post promising an imminent follow-up. I do have a good excuse, however... honest!

I'm afraid I've been down for the count for nearly two full weeks with the flu. Yes, again, believe it or not. I had a particularly nasty bout with it for nearly a month back in December/January. I was hoping I'd be spared my usual March follow-up visit, but alas, it was simply biding its time.

On the bright side, I didn't get sick until I had just about finished work for the current project at work. It's been a very busy six months. I was also dealing with the fallout I've alluded to in my personal life as well.

I suspect my immune system held off the bug until I could finally take a bit of time. This has happened in the past when I've completed a major project, so it would make sense. I haven't been quite as sick as I was around the holidays, fortunately, but I'm still coping with a persistent cough and seemingly endless congestion.

That said, today was the first day in some time I felt as if I was improving. I'm hoping with the weekend imminent (and good weather as well - it's been a particularly raw and damp spring here in New England) that I can get past this. I am chomping at the bit to go for a run. But I've learned my lesson - better to wait an extra day or two than set off a relapse that puts me right back where I started.

OK, time for this girl to get some rest. In the meantime, here's a quick shot to give you some idea of my current cadaverous pallor:

OK, I really *am* paler than usual at the moment... but not cadaverous like this! Joking aside, isn't the light in this shot wild? Pretty cool, eh?


Like many of us, I suspect, I've been listening obsessively to A Moon Shaped Pool, Radiohead's new album. I'm a huge fan, so my opinion is admittedly biased, but I think it's absolutely brilliant. If you haven't already, check out the video for "Daydreaming." The song and the video are stunningly

And from back in the day, here's their ferocious performance of "Paranoid Android" at the 1997 Glastonbury Festival:

Man, are Jonny Greenwood and Ed O'Brien monster guitar players or what?!? I love their more experimental albums, but I know I can put on OK Computer and (particularly) The Bends when I need an energy boost on a run. :c)

And to prove a great song is endlessly adaptable, here are Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings with a mesmerizing cover of "Black Star":

Dave Rawlings is the best guitarist I have ever seen. Period. And I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan. :c)

Finally, for comparison, here's the original, from 1995's The Bends:

Songs like this show why they frequently merit comparison with Pink Floyd at its most majestic. Just stunning.

Off to bed here. Have a nice weekend, all, and I'll do my best to get to posting weekly again!

Be On The Lookout...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

...another post is en route shortly! :c)

Meanwhile, since waiting is the theme du post, here are The Jayhawks, with a great live version of "Waiting for the Sun," from their classic 1991 Hollywood Town Hall album. I was lucky enough to see them in 1992, and they were every bit as good as this performance promised.

Their new album, Paging Mr. Proust (produced by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck!) comes out Friday, and is getting great advance buzz. Already ordered my copy. :c)

Musings: Grow Grow Grow / Long Long Long

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hi everyone. This post evolved quite a bit as I worked on it today. I've had a lot on my mind the past few months, and that came out as I was writing this today. It began as a brief post on my recent visit to the salon, but it soon evolved into something much more involved.

Upon reading it now, I think the two pieces of the post - the original, somewhat light-hearted idea, and the more intensive, soul-searching conclusion - share a common thread: self-worth, and self-awareness. I hope you find it worthwhile.

Chilled Cass (a/k/a Spring Has Been Sprung)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chuffed Cass, searching the Internet for where spring went.

Happy Sunday evening from frigid New England. The weather has been crazy here, even by Boston standards. On Thursday and Friday of last week the temperatures reached 70 F (21 C); I wore sandals to work for the first time since last October.

Today? Snow, a high temperature of 32F (0C), and gale force winds (with gusts up to 60 mph/96kph). Tomorrow will be even colder, with half a foot of snow (~15 cm) and more wind. You would never suspect that tomorrow is Opening Day for most major league baseball teams, including personal favorites Boston and Seattle. (Toronto and Pittsburgh, my other two adopted teams, actually opened - and won - their season openers today - yea!)

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and say hello; I'm wiped out after four-plus intense months on both the personal and professional fronts. With a bit of luck the craziness on the professional side peaked last Friday, and should begin to slow down considerably - and not a moment too soon, to be honest.

I promise I'll write more detailed posts soon; at the moment I'm just too worn out at the end of the day, or even on the weekends, to do much more than the cursory posts I've been putting up recently. Thank you for bearing with me, all. :c) Have a good week, everyone...


In honor of Opening Day, here's a lovely song by folk singer Chuck Brodsky, "Letters in the Dirt." While the ostensible subject of the song is baseball (and specifically Richie Allen, an outstanding player for the Philadelphia Phillies in the Sixties), it's really a moving meditation on racism, injustice, and childhood innocence.

I'm pretty sure I've posted this next one before, but it's such a great song it deserves to be heard again. Greg Brown's thoughtful "Laughing River," from his 1992 Dream Cafe album, uses baseball as a metaphor for self-acceptance, resilience, and contentment.

This has always felt like a song Gordon Lightfoot could have written, which is high praise indeed. Perhaps it's the chord changes, or that it's set on Michigan's Upper Peninsula; regardless, it's one that is clearly inspired by one of Canada's greatest songwriters, and more than does him justice.

Last but not least, a song that sums up the past few days here - the great Bill Evans (from his classic 1962 Moonbeams album) and "It Might As Well Be Spring." It should, but this certainly helps take the chill out of the air while we wait for it...

Quick Sunday Night Check-in

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hi everyone, and Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it. Hope the Easter Beagle was good to you today.

Apologies for the gap between posts; I've made it past my major deadline at work, but things are still quite busy with the remaining work for my projects. It isn't difficult, but there's a lot to do. And quite honestly, I'm running on fumes.

It isn't just work, although that is certainly a major factor. I think this deserves its own post, so perhaps I'll save it for the next one. For now, suffice it to say I'm weary. Not tired - weary. I've learned the hard way what happens when I don't listen to my body, so I'm taking steps to address this before it gets out of hand. More to come on that.

I thought I'd end with two songs that are semi-related to Easter. The first is "The End of the World," from U2's Achtung Baby.

While it doesn't get discussed much now, U2 were identified as a Christian band early in their career, with many overt references in their songs. This song, from 1991, is a later example of that influence. The lyrics are a conversation between Jesus and Judas Iscariot, told from Judas's point of view. It is a powerful song from one of their masterpieces:

The Edge's guitar work on this is just astonishing. Such a great song.

The second song is from Robbie Robertson's self-titled debut album from 1987. Like many great songs, "Broken Arrow" is open to interpretation. Robertson is half-Jewish and half-Native Canadian, and the lyrics contain several instances of Native American/Canadian symbolism (a broken arrow is a symbol of peace, while a bottle of rain represents a wish for prosperity for the recipient).

I tried for years to decipher the meaning of this song. Late one night, I suddenly realized that while they could certainly be taken as a love song - and, judging from Robertson's anguished vocals, an intensely personal love song - but also as Jesus talking to God.

Who else is gonna bring you a broken arrow?
Who else is gonna bring you a bottle of rain?
There I go
Moving across the water
There you go
Turning my whole world around

Can you feel what I feel?
Can we make it so that's part of the deal?
I will hold you in these arms of steel
Lay your heart on the line
This time

Can you see what I see?
Can you cut behind the mystery?
Count the beads of sweat that cover me
Can you show me a sign
This time?

Who else is gonna bring you a broken arrow?
Who else is gonna bring you a bottle of rain?
There I go, moving across the water
There you go, turning my whole world around

I'm gonna come when you call
I'll get to you if I have to crawl
I will meet you by the witness tree
Leave the whole world behind
This time

Who else is gonna bring you a broken arrow?
Who else is gonna bring you a bottle of rain?
There I go, moving across the water
There you go, turning my whole world around

Regardless, it is a remarkable song from one of my very favorite albums. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Me & U2 (24 Years)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day, all. Hope you had a lovely Thursday.

24 years ago tonight, in 1992, I attended a concert that remains as one of my most cherished memories: U2 at the Boston Garden. Follow along for the details...

Cut & Run (Again)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Sunday, everyone. Hope you all had a nice week and weekend.

The word I would use to describe last week is "eventful." In a good way, thankfully. Three separate ongoing concerns came to a conclusion last week.

I'm holding off on discussing one of them for the moment; it's the most significant in the long-term, but I'm not quite ready to go into it yet. Soon, I promise.

For details on the other two, follow me over to the other side...

Blast From The (Semi-Recent) Past

Monday, March 7, 2016


Hello all - another off-day post, since I never got to post one this weekend. Follow along below the fold for a quick update...

Deep Cuts (a/k/a Scarface)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Hi everyone. Just thought I would put up a midweek post to switch things up.

I went under the knife today - but alas, not for the reason I wish. Instead, I had a procedure on my right cheek to take care of a lingering issue.

As a fair-skinned girl of Celtic descent, I'm prone to this sort of thing. On my dermatologist's advice, we decided to take care of it via surgery. Follow along below the fold for the details.

The Grind

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a nice week. I'm going to keep this brief, as I need to work tomorrow (Sunday).

I'm trying to meet a very tight deadline at work, one that is tight because of circumstances beyond my control; accordingly, I've been writing frantically, particularly the past three weeks, to try to make it. I think I'll get everything done in time, but I'm worn to a nub.

I can tell I'm worn out by the kind of mistakes I'm making - silly spelling errors, typos, and forgetting to do routine tasks that I normally do automatically. But the combination of fatigue and racing to get everything done means those tasks aren't routine at the moment.

My personal life is hectic as well, for reasons I don't wish to go into right now. They're necessary, but they require a great deal of driving (4-6 hours on those days), which, as regular readers know, I find to be incredibly stressful and exhausting. But I have no choice in this case, so I simply have to grit my teeth, get through it, and hope it proves to be worth it.

I've been having trouble sleeping since the weekend before Christmas, and it's become a vicious cycle. I typically get this way at the end of a project cycle, but in this case it's exacerbated by the other matters to which I alluded. Even on the nights when I do sleep, I wake up feeling worn out. I get everything done, but it takes everything I have to do so.

I want to stress, once again, that as challenging as this is, and has been, it is still *infinitely* better than my life pre-transition. I am dealing with all of this as myself, and that makes all the difference. I can look in the mirror and like the person I see. That was not the case for most of my life. I earned that peace of mind by working incredibly hard, and I do not take it for granted.

Hopefully things on the work front will slow down somewhat after this week (or possibly the week after), and I will be able to catch my breath, metaphorically speaking, and focus on the big picture. For the moment I'm just focused on getting through each day as best I can. It's all I can do.

Next post I hope to write something a bit more upbeat. It merits its own post, so I will hold off until I get through this stretch and hopefully get some energy back.

Oh, and I realize I've neglected to write about my exercise routine, as I'd promised to do in my first post this year. I've been doing pretty well, given my schedule, my lingering illness at the beginning of the year, and simple fatigue. Once I get through this stretch, and once it's safe for me to run after work again (because the sun is setting later), I'll kick into overdrive again. For now, I'm doing as much as I possibly can. I've learned the hard way - several times - to respect my limits, so I will be careful to think long-term.

Have a good week everyone...


I don't think the photo at the top is particular flattering (I know I'm tired when my face is puffy like this, plus I can see the bags under my eyes, in spite of the filters I applied), but the expression seems to capture my mood at the moment. I included it so it will help me sometime in the future when I look back on this time. Hopefully it does the same for others reading this post.


I've been listening quite a bit the past few weeks to Nap Eyes, a terrific new band from Nova Scotia. I have some family in the Canadian Maritimes, so I suppose I'm inclined to like them already, but their music stands on its own merits.

This song, "Mixer," is the opening track on Thought Rock Fish Scale, their second album, which was just released a few weeks ago. Nigel Chapman, the band's singer/songwriter, has clearly listened to his Velvet Underground albums, but "Mixer," a quiet, thoughtful song about being alone at a party, shows he has a songwriting voice that is all his own.


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