Here's To What The Future Brings

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year's Eve (or New Year's Day, depending on where you are/when you read this), all. Just wanted to put up a post to say goodbye (or, more accurately, good riddance) to 2018 and hello to what hopefully is a much better year in 2019.

I mentioned in my previous post that my nephew C was not feeling well (to put it mildly) and was seeing a specialist on Christmas Eve. As it turned out, he wound up being admitted to the hospital and, sadly, endured an absolutely hellish week. His new medical team - who have been outstanding - finally, at 2:30 AM on Christmas morning, were able to identify what has been causing his health woes for the past 14+ months - something that eluded his previous doctors. Because he had been so ill for so long before that diagnosis, however, he had an awful week of suffering while they worked round the clock to stabilize his system.

I won't go into detail, or obvious reasons, but fortunately, he turned a corner on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday afternoon he was feeling well enough to start walking in the hallway. If all goes well - for a switch - he'll be back home on Wednesday, He has a long road to recovery ahead of him, but these doctors are top-notch, and after an awful year-plus struggle, I feel confident he's going to be OK. That alone is reason enough to look forward to 2019. If anyone deserves to have the karmic scales start to balance out, it's my nephew C. Meanwhile, please keep him, and my sister C, in your thoughts. :c)

As for me, well I had an interesting week on the health front as well. I mentioned that I'd broken two ribs the Wednesday before Christmas. Last Friday afternoon, after a long night and day of increasing discomfort, I finally gave in and went to the emergency room after leaving work. A CT scan, chest X-ray series, and three-plus hours later, we had a verdict: I had actually broken *three* ribs, not two, as they originally thought.

And, as it turns out, I also had a bruised lung, which the previous CT scan hadn't detected. The ER doctor was astounded that I was able to carry on my regular schedule for over a week; as I told her, I seem to have an abnormal tolerance for discomfort/pain, for whatever reason. I'm feeling slightly better today, but I also have a ways to go, much like my nephew. I kidded with him today that we can punch each other in the stomach to see who's recovering faster in the coming weeks, which made him laugh. (I suspect his mother, the nurse practitioner, may have something to say about this.)

With the medical report out of the way, I want to end with several hopeful songs to ring in the new year.

The first is a song I've posted before: "Better Things," from The Kinks and their 1981 album Give The People What They Want. How this song wasn't a huge hit, and how it isn't a standard today, simply baffles me.

It's the quintissential Kinks song: melancholy, bittersweet, but with a core of bruised, hopeful optimism. I've always suspected that Ray Davies was writing this to himself, but, like all great artists, he's able to take the personal and make it universal:

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses, too
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

Here's hoping all the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know that better things are on the way

It's really good to see you rocking out
And having fun
Living like you've just begun
Accept your life and what it brings
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things

Next is another song of resilience and hope: "In A Big Country," from Big Country's classic 1983 debut album, The Crossing, which is absolutely in my top three desert island discs. This is a tremendous live version from a hometown show they played in Glasgow, Scotland on New Year's Eve 1983:

I've never seen you look like this without a reason
Another promise fallen through
Another season passes by you

I never took the smile away from anybody's face
And that's a desperate way to look
For someone who is still a child

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in a desert
But I can live and breathe
And see the sun in wintertime

In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

So take that look out of here it doesn't fit you
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here with every single hope you had shattered

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in a desert
But I can live and breathe
And see the sun in wintertime
In a big country dreams stay with you
Like a lover's voice fires the mountainside
Stay alive

And finally, a song from what is my Number One Desert Island Disc, Bruce Springsteen's Darkness on the Edge of Town. This is "The Promised Land":

There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor
I've packed my bags and I'm headed straight into the storm
Gonna be a twister to blow everything down
That ain't got the faith to stand its ground

Blow away the lies that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and broken-hearted

Well the dogs on this street howl 'cause they understand
If I could take this moment into my hand
Mister I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man
And I believe in the promised land
And I believe in the promised land
Yes I believe in the promised land

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope we all find better things in the year to come.

A Christmas Eve Playlist

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve, all. Hope your holiday preparations are proceeding apace.

Still recovering from my broken ribs here, which are putting a serious crimp in my ability to... well, do much of anything, really, but particularly to breathe, walk, and sleep. Oh well. All you can do is give them time to heal, so that's what I'm doing. Sitting still is hard, but you do what you have to do.

Unfortunately, my nephew is dealing with his health issues again. He's had a rough go of it this year, so please keep him in your thoughts. He's seeing a specialist this afternoon (the doctor kindly agreed to see him on short notice), so hopefully she can start to sort out what has been happening. Fingers crossed that 2019 will be a better year for him.

I thought I'd share some Christmas songs for the rest of this post for your listening pleasure. Here's hoping your Christmas Eve is as peaceful as the one Calvin & Hobbes are enjoying, above, and that Santa brings you exactly what you want. Merry Christmas, one and all.


First up are Blue Rodeo, a longtime personal favorite, performing a rocking version of "O Come All Ye Faithful" from a CBC Christmas Eve special a few years ago:

Here's a lovely take on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' fromBlue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Kathleen Edwards:

Next, a haunting, minor key version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" from T-Bone Burnett. Although these days he's best known as a producer, he's a terrific songwriter/performer in his own right (check out his brilliant 1983 Proof Through the Night album sometime), as you can hear here:

Finally, a gorgeous, melancholy instrumental titled, appropriately enough, "Christmas Eve," courtesy of Scotland's great Teenage Fanclub. This is a cover version, incidentally; the original is from Welsh band Gorky's Zygotic Mynci (say that five times fast), whose version is equally pretty:

Once again, Merry Christmas to you and yours, everyone...

Rib(s) Rocked

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hello, and a Happy pre-Christmas Thursday to everyone. Hope you're already on vacation, or will be after tomorrow.

Yours truly is working, and will be next week as well. It's been frantic at work the past few months (more so than usual), and exhausting, so you do what you have to do. The bright side, such as it is, is that no one is in the office, so I can get a lot done without interruption.

There is one complication, however:

I broke two ribs last night. :c(

Or, to be completely accurate, I broke two ribs again last night.

What happened? Follow along after the jump.

Musings: Five Is Right Out

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hello all. Hope you're having a good December so far. This isn't my favorite time of year, although it used to be. It brings to mind painful memories of broken promises, lies, and betrayal. This December has been harder than usual for some reason. But I'll get through it. I've come too far and worked too hard.

And on that note, I just wanted to put up a brief post today to commemorate one of the most important days of my life.

Five years ago today - December 13, 2013 (Friday the 13th, incidentally) is the day I went full time.

It simultaneously feels like yesterday and a thousand years ago - in a good way. And while I'm going through a less than pleasant period at the moment, I'm doing it as myself. And that makes it all worthwhile. I wouldn't trade my life now for anything I had back then. I think the two photos below - the first taken the day I started HRT (November 19th, 2011) and the second taken this evening, December 12th, 2018 - tell the story far better than any words I can conjure up:

And here I am five years ago to the day on the left, and today on the right:

A lot has changed since then - including my address (several times), hair color (once), boob size (OK, not so much), and, of course, plumbing (absolutely only once!).

(I also put on some weight, as you can see - a combination of prolonged, involuntary inactivity, a much-busier-than-usual work schedule, and the side effects of medication I was taking. But no excuses. I weighed the same from high school until just before my surgery in September 2017, and I am going to get back to my normal weight. I'm hard at work on it, every day. And I'll succeed (in fact, I'm already on my way, in the past three weeks since I started in earnest). I know now I can do anything I put my mind to. Posting these pics is one way to hold myself to that when I'm tired at the end of the day and need a reminder of my goal. In six or so months I plan to be back to my normal weight. Book it.)

What will the next five years bring? Who knows? But I'm looking forward to finding out. See you back here on December 13, 2023. :c)


By the way, for anyone wondering where the title of this post comes from, I refer you to the Book of Armaments, Chapter Two, verses 9-21:


In the spirit of the season, a few Christmas songs from two wonderful new holiday albums, by The Mavericks and The Old 97s, respectively. Check them out; they're both terrific bands who get a lot of airplay here in Cass's Little Corner of the World.

And to end on a more contemplative note, here's Kate Bush's 1979 classic, "December Will Be Magic." First, a live version, from her Christmas special that year:

And last but not least, the single version, which is as lovely as its singer:

Hope to post at least once more before Christmas. Have a lovely holiday season (whichever you observe) in the meantime, everyone.

A (Brief) Visit to the Tunnel of Love, or My (Mis)Adventure in Stirrups :D

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Greetings and salutations, one and all. Hope all are well. It's been a looonnnngggg time since I posted. Things have really been hoppin' at Cass's Casa, and this blog, alas, has been one of the casualties.

It's Saturday afternoon, and I'm just back from lunch with my friend J. We worked together years ago, then lost touch when I moved to Seattle. We reconnected on Facebook, and, finally, got to meet up in person. It was J's first time meeting Cass in person, which made it extra enjoyable. J was a good friend at a time when I needed one, so it's great to have him (and his lovely wife S) back in my life. :c)

I went for a run this morning, so I have some free time before my nephew C comes over later to watch Game 7 of the National League Championship Series to see whether the Brewers or Dodgers face - oh, how sweet it is to be able to say this - the American League Champion Boston Red Sox in the World Series! Woo hoo! :c)

So, follow along below the fold for my further adventures, including one of my more memorable (in a good way) post-transition experiences - and while seeing my doctor, no less. :c)

Pounding The Pavement (Again)

Monday, July 23, 2018

Greetings, one and all. Just a quick post to say hello. Hope everyone is having a good summer so far. The news has been almost uniformly awful :-/, so I'll avoid talking about it here. 

Instead, I'll focus on something positive: I'm finally able to start running again, at long last. Woo hoo! It had been 14 months, between a lingering issue with my hamstring last spring/summer, followed by my surgery and then a standard-issue New England winter.

I was able to start again in June, and got two weeks in, once again using the Couch to 5K (C25K) app I used to get started a few years ago. I was finishing the final run of the second week, and feeling good... only to have my 18 month old running shoes fall apart as I was finishing a run. Specifically, the heel came off my left shoe mid-stride. 

Luckily I escaped with a sore left knee, which healed quite nicely during the time it took to order new running shoes online and wait for their arrival. (I have an uncommon shoe size, so even specialty running stores typically don't carry anything that fits.)

Anyway, they finally arrived a few weeks ago, so I was able to start anew. Since I'm starting up again after a long layoff, I decided to repeat the first two weeks, lest my penchant for injuring myself kick in yet again.

I completed the first run of week 3 this morning before work, and am just now beginning to feel my stamina returning. As I mentioned in previous posts, I put on weight post-surgery. I was concerned I would have a hard time losing it, given how high my testosterone was pre-surgery, even after taking Spironolactone for years. 

My doctor, who is also a runner, assured me that my body would remember once I started exercising regularly again as my daily dilating schedule became more manageable. And... she was right. :c) I've put a nice dent into the amount I need to lose in a short period of time. I'm not really seeing the results yet (although my stylist, who saw me for the first time in six weeks last Friday, immediately commented on it as I walked in), but I'm beginning to feel it. For now, that's plenty.

I have a long way to go, but I feel a lot better knowing that I'll get back to my regular weight by sticking to my normal workout routine. It will take patience and a lot of hard work... but so did my transition. I did that; I can do this. In fact, I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to, I now realize. :c)

OK, off to cook dinner here, then work on my *other* big project. More on that soon... promise. :D Have a good week, everyone!


Since I'm out pounding the pavement again, what better band to end this post with than... Pavement? Check out Stephen Malkmus absolutely shredding during his guitar solo on "Summer Babe (Winter Version)", one of my faves of theirs.

I was going to post a clip of them performing "Cut Your Hair," probably their best-known song... but then I remembered Wilco had covered it a few years ago during one of their Solid Sound festivals, held in North Adams MA. They devoted an entire show to cover versions, starting with a killer version of Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town,"  followed by "Cut Your Hair." Speaking of shredding, Nels Cline absolutely tears the place down here. Enjoy!

Finally, a great song from the first of two masterpieces Stevie Wonder released in 1972,  Music of my Mind - "Keep On Running":

This is the album that contains "Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)", my favorite Stevie song:

Hopefully that's enough tune-age to hold everyone over until my next post. Enjoy!

Cassidy Gets Caricatured

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thought I'd share something fun; Lord knows we could use it these days, right?

The company I work for held our annual summer barbecue today. The food was terrific, and the weather was perfect (70, breezy, and overcast - i.e. no sunburn risk for the cadaverous-pallored likes of myself). Even better, they had caricaturists there once again, as they did a few years ago. I sat for one for the first time in a few years.

For reference, this is from 2015:

And here is this year's model (to quote Mr. Costello):

Alice and Deanna were kidding me earlier this afternoon about the apparent growth of, er, "the girls" in the intervening three years; I advised them it was a textbook case of artistic license. :D

Anyway, it was a fun day, and I'll be picking up a couple of frames to hang these up this weekend. :c)

Have a pleasant Friday, everyone!


Since I quoted Mr. McClanus earlier, I thought I should share a few songs from 1978's This Year's Model, the second in his amazing run of classic albums (from 1977's My Aim Is True to 1982's Imperial Bedroom). First up is a great live performance from the Capitol Theatre in Passaic NJ of "This Year's Girl":

And here's another from the same May 5, 1978 show; probably my favorite song from that album - "The Beat":

Man, were the Attractions an incredible band or what? Going to be listening to some EC this weekend, for sure...

Canada, Cuddy, Coffee, & Cows (a/k/a How I Spent March & April)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Happy Friday, all. Hope everyone had a good week. So, I was off my one weekend in getting this written. Sorry about that. I drafted most of this last weekend, but didn't quite get it finished. This will be one of those grab-bag posts, so hopefully there's' something for everyone! :c)

Hello, How Are You?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Greetings one and all. Haven't written for quite some time... and won't really in this post either. :c) (Sorry!)

I just wanted to say hello, and that I *do* hope to write a new post for real this weekend. It's a long weekend here in the States, so I really have no excuse not to at some point. :c) Watch this space; lots to chat about since my last missive!


I don't think I've ever posted a picture of myself wearing my glasses, oddly enough. This is how I usually look at work when I don't wear my contacts. Unfortunately my prescription has changed, and they no longer make these frames. Bummer, as I really liked them. Oh well. Hopefully I can find a pair I like just as much.

Think that will do it for now. See you this weekend (I hope)!


I thought I'd end with "How Are You," a great song from Cheap Trick's third album, 1978's Heaven Tonight. You know it's a great album when a song this good is only about the fifth or sixth best song. Check it out if you've never heard it. (Same goes for their first two, Cheap Trick and In Color; all three are stone classics.)

And because one Cheap Trick tune is never enough, here's "Surrender," from 1979's Live at Budokan. The studio version is on Heaven Tonight, incidentally. Both versions are wonderful; it's such a joyous, life-affirming song. And they're still going strong, 40 years after this was released! God love 'em. :c) Enjoy!

Moving, 'Mones, & The Mane Thing

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Greetings all.  Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. It's been one of the strangest winters I can recall here in New England. We started off bitterly cold and with well above average snowfall through mid-January, followed by nearly a month of above-average temperatures.

Then, in the past week, we've twice gone from several days close to 80 F (26.6 C) to snow - in the first case, eight inches (20 cm) of snow the same night(!), all of which was gone barely 36 hours later. Even by New England standards, that is strange.

Just thought I'd post about a few unrelated items. Follow along below the fold for all of the details. :c)

Poking My Nose Out

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hi all, and a Happy 2018. Apologies for the radio silence the past few months, especially to those of you who have kindly reached out to check in. It's much appreciated.

Everything is OK, I'm happy to say. I've been back at work since mid-November. My energy level isn't where it usually is, unsurprisingly, given that I'm not quite five months post-surgery. I saw my doctor last week for an exam, who told me I'm recovering nicely, other than some swelling and soreness.

That's likely due to a less-than-comfortable chair at work; I've found I can basically sit for 45-50 minutes at most before having to get up and go for a brief walk. Another factor: I'm still staying with my sister, which, while wonderful, means that I've been sleeping on a futon mattress, which is quite firm and very uncomfortable.

Because there's only has one bathroom, I get up at 4:30 every morning for my first round of dilating, to ensure that I'm finished before she gets up. I work from 6:30 to 3:30, then head home for round 2, followed by the usual weeknight activities (dinner, getting ready for the next day, etc.).

As the week progresses, the fatigue sets in; by Friday evening I'm wiped out, as my friend A can attest from watching the bags under my eyes grow during our Skype chats during the week. I wish I had enough time to exercise the way I usually do, which would help enormously, but between my schedule, the winter weather, and my annual holiday bout with the flu it simply isn't in the cards at the moment. I'm just walking as much as possible, as time, weather, and my energy on a particular day permit.

I have no complaints about any of this, of course; it is all totally worth it. On occasion, I will step out of the shower, catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and be reminded: "You did it, Cass."

It's a great feeling, as you can imagine, especially knowing how far I've come and how hard I'be worked the past six-plus years. I know that I earned every bit of this. And in the weeks and months to come, as I continue to recover, and am able to resume my normal activities (and begin to have new experiences), I'll be doing so as myself, inside and out, at long last. I can't wait. :c)

I think that will do it for now. I'll do my best to write more, time and energy permitting. Ciao til then, everyone!


By the way, that's my sister's dog in the photo at the top of the post, in case anyone is wondering. As you can probably tell, he isn't a fan of winter either (or mornings). :D


As you may know, I'll use any excuse to include a track from Pearl Jam, one of my favorite bands. As soon as I started this post, I knew which song I should use. This is "In Hiding," from 1998's Yield album, at the final show of their Binaural tour in their hometown of Seattle, on November 6th, 2000 - a show I was lucky enough to attend. Enjoy!!!

Have a good week, all!


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