Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to All Of My Friends!

The evening started off with a double Jameson's, followed by double cheeseburger! Yum! I know........not good, but it's new Year's Eve, so I figured I could indulge in a little bit of sinful pleasure, and still get away with it. After all, I have the whole next year to be resolute in my exercise and abstentions........... ;-)

But on to much more important things. It has been so nice getting to know all of you this year! You have been my greatest support, and inspiration since I've begun blogging here, and I just adore all of you! I'm looking forward to a new year of reading all of your blogs, giving all of you my support, and receiving yours. Thanks so much for being here for me!

And now to all of you:

Teri (Common Teri)
Sophia (My tidewater girlfriend)
Jo (UK)
Jenny (Midlands,UK)
Sarah & her lovely significant other (Two Auntees)
Jenny J. (Manchester UK)
dr. Morbius (Christianna?)
Rachel Anne
Dana (My girlfriend on the city by the bay.)
Brittany (Doing it for real in Dallas/Ft Worth)
Reagan (Pa. girl, miss you!)
Rebecca (Gorgeous California girl!)
Sweet Caroline (My BGFF from Scotland!)
NickyB (the pretty Candyfloss Girl)
Chrissie (soon to sprout wings, & fly free from her exile on the Welsh coast)
Lori (Real life girl in Arizona!)
Elizabeth (Where in the world have you gone, sweetie? Miss you!)
Alex (Who sprouted her wings, and has flown off to freedom!)
Suzi (My other girlfriend from Texas)
Stephanie (In Arkansas. Check in with us, sweetie. I'm worried about you girl. :-))
Linda Scott (Where have you gone? Miss you!)
Leslie Ann (Trying to work it all out in Kentucky)
Shandy (Adorable young Kentucky girl, courageously making a new life for herself!)
Jonesie Lawson, & Jeanie Love Jones - The Crossdresser & her Girlfriend (Good luck on your move to San Diego! Keep in touch, sweeties!)
Calie (My other California girlfriend!)
Lucy Melford (Brighton, UK)
Helen (UK)
Robin (Va., I love you, so much!)
Rebecca (Va., I love you too!)
and to anyone I may have inadvertently left out (honestly), please accept my sincere thanks, for your friendship this past year, and my warmest wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! God love you all!

Melissa XX

A Toast To Lucy & Smudge On This New Year's Eve!

Love to you both, sweetie! May the new year bring you peace, joy, renewed health, and happiness till your heart's content!

Melissa XXOO

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Comes and Life Resumes.

The snow from the week before, still covered the ground of my home in the central Virginia Piedmont. It was Christmas day, and I had to drive into Richmond to exchange gifts with my family, and join them for Christmas dinner at my brother-in-law's house. Unlike the frozen flakes that came drifting gently down the previous weekend, it was pouring down rain, and turning our blanket of snow into a gigantic grayish white Slurpee. (For those who are wondering, a Slurpee is a sweet, slushy, semi-frozen drink, sold at 7-Eleven convenience stores). Fortunately the temperature was in the 40+° F range, so icy roads were not a problem.

When I arrived at my brother-in-law's house, everyone was there. D had invited his mother and brother up from Nags Head, N.C. , and another couple and their daughter, who he and my sister had been friends with since their two daughters went to elementary school together in the early nineties. And of course D's daughter, my mother, my older sister and her daughter were there as well. I gave gift certificates from Barnes & Noble Bookstore to my mother and brother-in-law, and checks to my sister and two nieces. They always prefer cash, and that's fine with me. That way, they always get what they want, and I always get a sincere hug and thank you, instead of a shrug, and an "oh......that's nice."

My sister handed me a bag from under the tree, that contained several things. The first thing I pulled out, was the pudgy little fella in the picture above. He's a Marzipan Pig from Germany. We used to get them every Christmas, when we were kids living in Bremerhaven and Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Marzipan, a confection of ground almonds, sugar and egg whites is delicious, but this little pig is just too cute to eat! I think I'm going to give him a home in the china cabinet.

My sister's daughter put together this little goody basket for me, complete with a scented candle, a coffee mug, a giant Hershey's chocolate kiss, a smothering of little chocolate kisses, a Happy Birthday Jesus balloon, and a bunch of toys to keep the kid in me alive, including a nifty little squirt gun. I love it! Some poor unfortunate soul is going to get it right between the eyes!
My older sister shares my irreverent sense of humor, and she got me this copy of The Book Of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb, of Zap Comics fame. It purports to be The first book of the bible, graphically depicted, with nothing left out! Adult supervision recommended for minors. I don't know if you are familiar with R. Crumb or not, but he is an absolutely wonderful artist. He has a wonderful off beat sense of humor, and for a cartoonist, his artwork is just filled with little details.

After a lovely glass of eggnog, spiked with two fingers of Wild Turkey bourbon, we retired to the dining room, where a Christmas dinner of roast turkey, baked ham, regular and oyster stuffing, tender young asparagus sprouts, mashed potatoes and gravy, coleslaw, and cranberry and orange peel dressing was laid out buffet style, on the built-in counter under the large window looking out into the back yard. It was just two months earlier, that my twin sister breathed her last breath in that very room. My brother-in-law had removed all of the dining room furniture, and had a hospital bed installed, so that my sister could have a convenient bedroom on the first floor of their house. Yesterday however, there was no trace of the sadness that hung over that room like pall, just two months ago. It had been restored to its former holiday splendor, complete with red brocade table cloth, holly patterned Christmas china, red linen holiday napkins, silver and crystal ware, and silver candlesticks. As I had hoped, everyone focused on what we had now, rather than what we has lost, and the dinner was enjoyed by all. After we were all stuffed, out came the pumpkin pie, chocolate coconut cake, and fudge brownies. I had a slice of pie and a brownie, but after the large plateful of turkey, ham and all the fixings, that was about all I could handle, so I passed on the cake.

It was a lovely gathering. D's house is a beautiful century old dwelling, in one of Richmond's oldest and most elegant neighborhoods. He had a lovely nine foot spruce Christmas tree, that was beautifully decorated with ornaments, that he and my sister had collected over the years. A warm fire was burning in the gas log fireplace, that looked so real, you would have sworn it was a natural log fire. It even had glowing embers below the real looking artificial logs. It's a great place to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we love going there, but soon it was time to leave, and my sister asked me to come out to her car with her. She opened up her trunk, and fished out another present, and handed it to me. She had told me in an email a day or two before, that she had a present for Melissa. I was in boy mode at the time, because only she and my niece know about me, so she had to give it to me privately. I hugged her and told her that I loved her, and then headed for home. The 45 mile ride home on the Interstate highway, was through a pea soup of thick fog and pouring rain. Visibility was down at times to less than one or two hundred feet. It was the fist time since I had owned my new truck, that I had to use the fog lights. Fortunately the traffic was very light, and I made it home safely in about an hour.

When I got home I couldn't wait to see what my present was. There was a card attached to the box, and I read it first. It said, "Melissa - Thought this might look pretty with your black coat. Love, R-----" My black coat? Obviously, sis has been reading my blog. ;-) It was the velour teal scarf, with matching silky floral like appliqués, pictured above. Unfortunately the lighting in this room is not showing its true teal color, or its gorgeous detail. Even still, don't you think it's just so pretty? I certainly do! What a sweet thing for her to do for me! I just love her! It's hard to believe that this is the same sister, who chased me through the house with a butcher knife, when I was eleven years old. Fearing for my life, I ran into the upstairs bathroom, and just in time, slammed the door shut and locked it. Panting heavily, I stood on one side of the door, while my knife wielding sister stood on the other side, scraping the tip of her blade menacingly against the door! Only siblings can get away with such insanity, and still end up adoring each other!

Melissa XX

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To Everyone!

I have been posting here since last April, when I finally decided in a limited way, to openly acknowledge who I am. In the convening months, I have made many friends, shared many of my secrets with you, and laughed and wept as you shared yours with me. Coming to Blogger and getting know all of you, has been one of the most positive experiences of my life, and as Christmas approaches just a few hours away, I am so thankful for getting to know all of you!

In an hour and half, I am going to watch Midnight Mass from St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Not because I am a Roman Catholic. I am not. And not even because I am religious, because I am nothing of the kind. I watch it because, it just kind of sets the mood for me on Christmas Eve. Although not a practicing Christian, I am a lover of Jesus and his message of peace to mankind. I gladly celebrate his birthday each year!

As the hour approaches, let me take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all of you, for the wonderful support you have given me over the past nine months, and for all of the wonderful, and not so wonderful experiences you have shared with me! All of you have touched my heart in one way or another, and you have all meant so much to me! Please accept my sincere wishes for a peaceful and joyous Christmas for each and every one of you, and for all of those you love!

A warm virtual hug, and loads of kisses to all of you!
Melissa XXXOOO

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Experiencing Such A Beautiful Glow Right Now!

Perhaps it's the Merlot, or the fact that Christmas is just a little over a day away. Maybe it's the the brand new flats I ordered on line that fit so well, and make my feet look so pretty! It could be the realization that my right rear tire wasn't damaged by my snow shovel after all! Then again, it might be the smoothness of my freshly epilated, and completely hairless body, or it might even be the absolutely lovely Christmas coral music being played on my public radio station at this very moment, but whatever it is, I feel so beautiful, that I almost want to cry!

I had been feeling kind of dead lately. I guess we all go through our spells. I was having a hard time feeling like girl. It was horrible! Almost like he had taken back over again. Then I took my truck to the garage today, to have the oil changed, and the tires checked out. Upon entering the place, I was immediately confronted by a huddle of men, and instantly the girl came back! There is nothing like a garage full of men, to make you realize how fundamentally different you are from them. Thank God for those beautiful, coarse men! When I worked around men like that all of the time, I hated being around them, because I wasn't free to be myself. They were a constant reminder of how different I was from them, and it made me paranoid. But now that I am retired, and living on my own, and can live virtually 24/7 as my true self, I find that I actually need that occasional contrast to keep the realization of who I really am alive. Whatever it is that is making me feel so good, I am truly thankful for it, and I wish that joy could be visited upon all of you!

In another half hour, it will be Christmas Eve! God love each and every one of you!

Melissa XX

Well, Now I feel Like Fool!

I think I'm just a worrywart! I could have sworn my right rear tire looked low, when I examined it yesterday afternoon, but when I pulled into the parking lot of the local garage today, it looked just fine. I still didn't believe my eyes, so I got out my tire pressure gauge, and it read over 35 lbs. My driveway isn't paved, so maybe the uneven surface I was parked on was slightly distorting the tire. Anyway, I decided to have my oil and filter changed while I was there, and asked their mechanic to check the tires, just to be sure. He said they looked fine to him. It was two days ago that I put air in that tire, so I guess it's OK if it has held that long.

Now I have another theory as to why that tire was 15 lbs down in pressure on Monday. When I came home from my mother's on Monday night, I saw two teenage boys walking together in the dark. I noticed that the valve cover was missing from the tire in question, and I had never taken it off myself. Now I'm wondering if these boys were out roaming the neighborhood the night before, and since my truck was parked out next to the road instead of down my driveway next to my house, maybe they decide it would fun to let some air out of my tire. In once sense that would be good, because it would confirm that the tire wasn't damaged. On the other hand, it's bad news if indeed we have teenage hooligans running the neighborhood at night. It wouldn't surprise me if they did it. They are typical thoughtless teenage boys. They live in the neighborhood, and they have a dune buggy that they tear up and down the neighborhood roads on at breakneck speeds, often driving off of the road and leaving ruts in the grassy margins. I asked them once not to drive on the grass, and the home owners association added a note to the monthly newsletter, to mind the 15 mph speed limit, and stay on the gravel surface, but they continue to do it anyway. Hoodlums.

Melissa XX

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I Thought I Had Emerged From The Storm Unscathed.....

..........the power never went out, I stayed warm and dry, my neighbor plowed the road, so we could all get out of the neighborhood, I dug my truck out of the snow, without having a heart attack, and I was able to drive into town and back last night........all is good, right? Well.............not exactly. Once I got into town, I stopped at Barnes & Noble bookstore to buy some gift certificates, to use as Christmas presents, for my mother and my brother-in-law, and to get a book to give to my mother for her birthday, the week after Christmas. In spite of the horrendous traffic in the area surrounding the store, I managed to find a relatively close by parking space, and was in an out of the store in record time. On the way back to my truck, my eye was drawn to the right rear tire, which seemed to be sitting kind of low. I walked up to examine it, and although still inflated, it was bulging out significantly on the sides where it met the pavement. Not a good sign, considering that I still had to drive another ten miles to my mother's house, and then another 45 miles back home on the Interstate.

There was a Jiffy Lube in the next shopping center down the street, so I pulled in and asked them to put some air in the tire. The technician put his gauge on it, and said there was only 20 lbs. of air in it! It should have been 35 lbs. He pumped it up to 38 lbs, figuring I had a slow leak, and it held for the rest of the night, including the 45 mile ride home on the Interstate at 65 MPH. This afternoon I went out to look at it again, just to be sure, and it was starting to bulge at the bottom again. I pushed my thumb into the sidewall, and it felt soft, compared to the other three. Apparently I do have a slow leak, and now I now that I caused it. While digging the truck out of the snow on Monday, I remember feeling the corner of the snow shovel hitting the side wall of the tire. I have a plastic snow shovel, but it has a metal strip in the edge to allow it to dig into ice a bit better. When I felt the shovel hit the tire, I was little concerned. I looked at the metal strip and it had a fairly sharp corner on it. I didn't hear any air escaping form the tire at the time, so I just dismissed it, thinking that surely the rubber would be thick enough to survive a little bump with a snow shovel, but I guess I was wrong. The side wall of a tire is quite fragile, compared to the tread, with its laminations of thick rubber, steel belts and synthetic fibers.

I thought about taking it off and putting on the spare, but because I'm located on the south slope of a hill, there isn't a firm level piece of ground anywhere on my entire property. Besides, the idea of changing a truck tire in a wet, muddy, melting snow environment just grosses me out! I do what I have to do, but I'm not a Tomboy, and in spite of the fact that I had to spend twenty of my 37 years of employment as an industrial electrician, I don't like getting dirty! I didn't then, and I certainly don't like it now.

I have an electric air compressor/pump, that plugs into a DC power outlet in the truck, which by the way, I searched high and low for today, and couldn't find! Finally after several frustrating searches, and nearly pulling my hair out, I found it under a pile of old clothes! I really need to get them to the charity dumpster! I will attempt to use the pump, to bring the tire back up to a safe pressure. If that works, I will drive two miles down the highway to a garage, and get them to swap it with my spare, and because I hate to change my own oil, I'll get them to change my oil and filter too. A better deal all around as far as I'm concerned. That way I get to stay clean, another community business gets my support that I can easily afford, and their mechanics get another job to help keep them gainfully employed.

After Christmas, I will go to the Goodyear dealer, and get a full set of new tires. I hate to do it already, since they only have about 36,000 miles on them, and after closer inspection there was still significant tread left, before the wear bars are exposed, but I like to keep an even tread on all my tires, and with the side wall ruined on one, it will need to be replaced, so I might as well replace them all. Most of my driving is on the Interstate, so a new set of Goodyear Kevlar® tires, should last me for close to 100,000 miles.

I keep looking forward to a peaceful, uneventful existence, but it always seems like there's another gremlin around the corner, waiting for me with a nasty little surprise. Grrrrr!

Melissa XX

Thank Goodness For Neighbors With Tractors!

My next door neighbor has a diesel powered John Deer tractor with a snow plow on it, and fortunately for the rest of us, he loves to use it. He plowed our entire subdivision yesterday. That's nearly a mile of gravel road. He'll even do residents driveways if they request it. Our homeowner's association has allocated funds for snow removal, so better that one of our own gets it, than hiring some contractor, who may not show up when needed. Keri Renault at Words That Trans-cend, knows what I'm talking about. She and her neighbors got tired of waiting for their contractor to show up and plow their street this weekend, so they all came out with snow shovels, and did it themselves! What great community spirit!

Unfortunately for my neighborhood, a mile of road is bit much to clear with snow shovels, even if everyone chipped in, so we are very fortunate indeed to have our neighbor with his tractor. He's a country boy, and a carpenter by trade. We are not on the same plane, intellectually, so we haven't connected as friends, but he's a good guy, with a good community ethic. He has pulled my fat out of the fire a couple of times. Our mailboxes are not located at our houses. As is the practice here with many rural subdivisions, all of our mailboxes are located out on the highway in front of our subdivision. As usual one day while coming home from work, I stopped at the mailboxes to pick up the day's mail, but this time I accidentally locked myself out of my truck. At the time I didn't keep a spare key on me, so I stood there locked out of my truck with the motor still running, wondering WTF am I going to do now! I couldn't even get into my house! This was before I owned a mobile phone, so the only thing I could think of doing was stopping by my next door neighbor, and asking them if I could use their phone to call someone who could unlock my truck. P wasn't home from work yet, but his wife, who's name also starts with P was. They were a young newly married couple at the time, and she was a real sweetheart. I apologized for dropping in on her unannounced, and told her that I locked my keys in my truck at the mailboxes, and needed to use her phone to call someone to come and unlock it for me. She said, "Oh, you don't need to do that. P has a slim jim, and he can unlock it for you as soon as he gets home." She then called him on her mobile phone, and as it turned out, he was on his way home about 7 miles away, and he had his slim jim with him in his truck. I thanked her, and walked the quarter mile back up the hill to the mailboxes to wait for him. Soon he showed up, and within minutes, he had slipped his slim jim down through the window seal, and pulled the lock lever up. A few years earlier, before I had a four wheel drive vehicle, we had another big snow storm and I was stranded in my drive way. I could not get my two wheel drive vehicle up the hill. He had a four wheel drive truck, and offered to take me down to the local country store to get provisions to get me through the next few days. What a mensch!

I didn't buy this place for the quality of the house. As far as houses go, its piece of shit. I bought it, because it was a beautiful 4.5 acres, with over 400ft. of pond frontage. The house itself is so chintzy, that it doesn't even have gutters, so all of the melt water drips of the roof to the deck below, creating a dangerous slippery sheet of ice underfoot, and menacing icicles dangling overhead at the roof's edge. They do look kind of Christmasy , but maybe I should wear my hardhat, when coming and going.

Melissa XX

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Digging Out

My 15" high boots, were barely high enough to keep the snow out, while cleaning off my truck, and walking around taking pictures today. You can click on these pics to get full screen versions.
The bed of my truck was completely filled with snow.
My neighbor used his tractor to plow a path down the middle of the road out front.
Every time there is a snow or ice storm, these two pines bend down and kiss the roof. They were bent over for the first time in a storm about five years ago, and they never completely straightened back up. I've wanted to cut them down ever since, but because they lean toward the house even in the summer, I'm afraid if I cut them, they will twist and either kick back and kill me, or fall on the house and seriously damage the roof. Sooner or later, I'm going to have to do something with them, because if the get much bigger, they are eventually going to snap, instead of bend.
I'm going to have to make sure to put out some bread and fruit for the squirrels, until this stuff melts. I'm sure they have caches of acorns stashed away somewhere, but I still like to help them out in the winter. Footsteps in a winter wonderland, are almost as cool, as dance steps in boogie wonderland!
There is ice on the pond now. Yesterday it was covered with snow, but the sun turned it to slush today. There is another storm on the way for Christmas Eve and Christmas, that could be either rain, sleet, or snow. I have to drive into Richmond, to spend Christmas with my family. I hope it turns out to be rain. This is pretty but a little bit goes a long way.

Melissa XX

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Blizzard of 2009!

13" seems to be the total amount of snow that fell here in a little more than 28 hours, although that's deceptive, because it was a wet snow that compacted a lot. It's still coming down, but according to the radar, it should be ending soon. It's dark now, so no digging out until tomorrow.

These pictures were taken from my back door. The one above, is the steps leading up to the rear deck.
Here's a shot looking out over the rear deck, into the back yard, and no, I have no intention of shoveling the entire deck. I'm no fool! I'll just clear a path to the steps and then clean the steps off. My driveway is gravel, so I won't be shoveling that either. Before it started snowing yesterday, I parked the truck at the top of the driveway, just off the road, because the driveway is on an incline. I have four wheel drive, and wouldn't have any problem driving out of anything less than 10", but I remember a 15 " snow we had back in 96" and the truck plowed up so much snow in front, it finally stopped the truck's forward progress.
As you can see, I'm already beginning to get some wicked looking icicles, from melt water off the roof. I'm hoping I won't get an ice dam along the edge of the roof. That can cause melt water to back up under the shingles, and run down the inside of the exterior walls. It happened during the Blizzard of 96, and it left water stains on the walls.

I'll try to get some more pictures, when I finally dig out of here tomorrow, and clear off the truck. Tonight I'm watching a cute, sappy Christmas movie; Tim Allen's, The Santa Clause 2, and fighting back sniffles, between the laughs. I always get choked up watching sappy movies, especially when they involve a Christmas theme. Christmas and the belief in the Santa Clause myth, were some of the most wonderful parts of my childhood.

To Keri, Sunny and others north of here, stay hunkered down and safe, until it's over. Stay off the roads until they are clear. People below the Mason-Dixon Line think they know how to drive in frozen weather, but they really don't. Virginia had over 4,000 wrecks, between yesterday and today!

Melissa XX

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Snowing To Beat Hell!

Well! The 8-12" of snow forecasted last night, has been revised to 12-20"! It's been snowing for five hours now, and I already have 7"! It's supposed to continue through tonight, and all day tomorrow. This is shaping up to be the biggest East Coast snow storm, since "The Blizzard of 96", 13 years ago.

I made my way into Richmond today, to stock up on provisions in case the power goes out. Don't worry Caroline! Fortunately for my neighbors, I won't have to resort to cannibalism, like the Donner Party!

God! What a hell hole the Short Pump shopping district, of west Richmond has become! Bumper to bumper traffic, and wall to wall people! A grand example of irresponsible urban sprawl gone mad. Everyone must have taken the day off to prepare for the coming onslaught, because the stores, the parking lots, and the roads were just jammed! I was never happier to get my errands run, and get the hell out of there! Sadly, I have to go back there on Monday, to get my mother a Christmas gift certificate, from Barnes & Noble book store. I hate going back there, because of the traffic and the crowds, but I do love looking at all of the lovely books in Barnes & Noble. For the last couple of years, in addition to the gift certificates I usually give my mother, I also got her two volumes of wonderful pictorial histories of starlets. One of Lucille Ball, who she is crazy about, and then last year, one of Lana Turner. I hope they have new ones this year. They are truly beautiful coffee table books, with the most wonderful photographs in them. I could look at the pictures of Lana Turner all day long, and never get tired of them. She was so beautiful!

Oh crap! I just went for a pee, then checked the deck again, and since I started this post, another inch has come down! We are now already at 8"! I filled my big whirlpool tub with water, just in case the power goes out. I live in an all electric home. My water supply, is a deep well (380'), with an electric well pump, so if the electricity goes out, I can't even flush a toilet. Filling the spare tub with water will allow me enough water to to flush toilets, and wash with for several days. For emergency lighting, I have a couple of battery powered lanterns, several kerosene lamps, and a bunch of long burning storm candles. I think I already mentioned that I have two kerosene heaters and ten gallons of kerosene. I almost sprung for a 2,000 watt, very portable generator at Lowe's today, while getting my five gallon bottles of water, but I just didn't want to spend nearly $600 on a gamble, that power would go out. If it does, I'll wish I got it. If it doesn't, I'll be glad I didn't throw my money away. I already have a shed full of tools and contraptions, I have only used a few times in the last 16 years I have lived in this house. Do I really need another?

While in Kroger's today, I spied a tall, very androgynous looking woman, with a collar length blond page, wearing black slacks and a tweed jacket, and pushing her shopping cart. She was thin, but very tall, at least six feet, with a very nice, but relatively manly looking face, and I am just sure she was trans. I was in boy mode, and she caught me looking at her twice. I couldn't help it, I was just drawn to her. God, I hope I didn't make her paranoid! The only reason I was looking at her, was because I though she was beautiful, and I was overcome with envy. I do so love my trans sisters!

I will charge the battery on my camera up tonight, and tomorrow, I will see about getting you some pictures of what the right Nor'ester blowing up the East Coast, can do to the Virginia Piedmont in winter. In the mean time, I would appreciate it, if all of you would offer sacrifices to the gods, in hopes that they will keep my power on.

Melissa XX

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow Is On The Way!

Riding the edge of a cold front, this storm centered in the deep south, is projected to move up the east coast tomorrow and Saturday, dumping 8-12" of snow in the Virginia Piedmont. Yikes! This is fairly early for a snow storm of this magnitude here!

Keri, if you and Sunny are reading this, get out your snow boots sweeties! They are predicting 1-2' of snow north of here! Very unusual for the Virginia Maryland area, especially this early, except in El Niño years. And yep! It's an El Niño year!

So, it's into Richmond tomorrow, to stock up on bottled water, non-perishable food items, and a little vino, just in case the power goes out. And while I'm there, I 'm going to have to stop in Best Buy, and get a new Logitec Trackball Mouse. The one I have now has become recalcitrant, and requires a sound thrashing every five minutes to keep it working!

Since I live in an all electric home, with a well for a water supply, I will have to fill at least one of my bathtubs with water, to wash and flush toilets with, in case the power goes out and my well pump stops working. I have two kerosene heaters, and ten gallons of kerosene to keep the house warm just in case, and a Coleman propane stove to cook on, if necessary. Hopefully it won't come to that, but history tells me it's possible. If you don't hear from me for a few days, it will because I have reverted back to pioneer mode.

I love to watch the snow, especially when it first starts coming down. As everything turns white, it gets so quiet and peaceful. There is also a prediction of another wintry weather event next week, so we have a great chance at having a white Christmas this year!

And speaking of Christmas, I got a lovely Christmas card today, from a sweet little lady up in Michigan, complete with a beautiful picture of her and her family! Thank you so much, Amy! You are all just beautiful!

Melissa XX

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Am a Rock

Specifically? The philosophical kind, as expressed in these lyrics by Simon and Garfunkel:

I am a rock

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I've built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don't talk of love,
Well, I've heard the word before.
It's sleeping in my memory.
I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

Sound familiar? I have my womb too. My little computer room. A small 10' x 11' enclave in my 1500 sq ft. house in the woods. In addition to my desk and IMac, my womb has a TV and a stereo AM/FM/CD/Cassette player. It's cozy and private, and I'm very comfortable there.

It is a Winter's day, in a deep and dark December, but there is no snow, and unlike years ago, when I lived in the city, I am not gazing through my window to the streets below; but I'm still alone, shielded in my armor, safe within my womb, and I'm still a rock. Maybe not the piece of granite that I once used to be; today, maybe more like sandstone, or pumice, but a rock nevertheless.

My hardening began as a child, with the emotional rejection of my very neurotic, and often extremely cold hearted mother. Thank God she finally discovered Zoloft, but unfortunately for me, not until she was in her eighties! This left me a very needy human being indeed. Not a good way to enter young adulthood. Innocently seeking acceptance wherever I could find it, I more often than not found exploitation, ridicule, or outright rejection. So it was not without a profound sense of euphoria, that I found myself after being discharged from the Army, a 22 year old hippie, being seduced by a curvaceous university art student, that reminded me so much of the zaftig female creatures with flowing waves of hair, that R. Crumb loves to draw, albeit much younger and prettier than the one in the R. Crumb cartoon above.

She was sitting on the sofa in a friends apartment. A place where my friends and I would often go to begin our mescaline trips, while listening to early Pink Floyd (think Ummagumma). This time however I was straight as an arrow. The glow in her hazel eyes, and her bright smile were intoxicating. "I want you to come here, and sit by me!" she said. How could I resist? I was drawn to her like a moth to a flame, and within moments I was hopelessly in her clutches.

I just wannabe be loved! Is that so wruuong?

She wanted sex. I could give her love, but I couldn't give her sex. I didn't know why, at least then I didn't. I could give sex to women I wasn't in love with, with no trouble at all, but not to women I was enthralled by. It wouldn't be until years later, when another disastrous affair with a woman who had seduced me months earlier, ended with a soul crushing rejection on New Years Eve, that I would realize why. She was the most beautiful, and feminine woman I ever laid eyes on. I came home from work one evening, and saw her sitting on the back porch of the apartment below mine. She had just replaced the tenant who moved out. She was another hazel eyed beauty, but nothing like my first love. She was very fair and petite. My first reaction was, she is so beautiful! My second reaction was, I could never have her! So, imagine my state of elation, when she came knocking on my door a few days later to begin her seduction.

I had no choice. I fell for her hook, line and sinker! Our relationship took off, much like the one with the R. Crumb model five years before, but this girl was far more affectionate. I never made out with anyone as much as I did with her, and every time I did, it was more satisfying than any sex I ever had. But apparently not for her. Eventually, she too would pressure me into having sex.

She picked her day to do it. It was on Thanksgiving day. Neither of us had anywhere else to go, so we planned a quiet Thanksgiving dinner together for just the two of us. It was beautiful! We shopped together, prepared and cooked the food together, and that evening we had a beautiful candlelight dinner for two in her apartment. It was without a doubt, the most wonderful day I ever spent with someone in my life. After diner we cuddled, caressed, and shared kisses on the sofa. It was wonderful!

The trouble with all of that cuddling and kissing, is that eventually it lead to her wanting to take me into her bedroom. What was I to do? Destroy the moment and say no? She grabbed me by the hand and led me into her bedroom. I loved being invited in there, but not for the reason she probably expected. For me, entering a girl's bedroom, was like entering the holy of holies. It was a place of reverence, and I felt truly blessed to be invited in. I had been invited into her bedroom on previous occasions, for some of the most wonderful moments I've ever spent in my life. Once, to brush her silky auburn hair, before going out for the evening, and once again, where I would find myself sitting at the foot of her bed. painting her pretty toenails. She loved it, but she had no idea how much more I loved it, than her. For me, that kind of intimacy was far more valuable than copulation, and indeed, when she did finally invited me into her bed after that wonderful Thanksgiving dinner we shared, I felt lost. She wanted so much for me to be her man, but I just couldn't find that man within me. I could feel her disappointment. After two months of courting, she laid herself bare for me. She loved my tenderness and sensitivity, but she wanted some manliness to accompany it, and as much as I wanted to make her happy, I just couldn't muster it.

She didn't understand that, and I couldn't explain it to her. She took it as a rejection of her affection and her womanhood, and her once sweet affection for me, turned into resentment. The old adage that "hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned", was soon brought to life for me. Undeservedly so, but there, nevertheless.

Her rejection of me was absolutely devastating. Much later I would come to realize, that both women were rejecting me, because I could never even hope to be the man they they wanted me to be. I wanted to be their lesbian lover, but how does someone in male form, make love to a woman as a lesbian? How can you even tell them that? Its impossible. I could never reveal to them, my secret desire to be a girl. In those days, and most likely today as well, that would have ensured being instantly dropped like a hot potato. Ha! What difference did it make? They both dropped me like a hot potato anyway. Both of these relationships began to slowly take form in early October. The beginning of the end was evident by Thanksgiving, and shortly after Christmas the coup de grâce was delivered, leaving me a broken down hulk of a human being. The second one being even more devastating, than the first.

I could never allow this to happen to me again. I had walls to build to protect myself, and worked furiously to erect them. I became an island unto myself. Never again, would I allow anyone I felt vulnerable to, to ever touch me again. You could talk to me on a casual basis, and we could even go out together, but true intimacy was off limits to all. And that's the way things have remained.

With the exception of family obligations, my monthly support group meetings, and my on-line conversations, I'm still pretty much a cloistered recluse, and I don't think I'll ever be able to change that. I've been doing it for so long, that it seems fixed. What's worse, is that I've gown comfortable with it.

Melissa XX

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Spoke Last Night Of Coming Out On A Message Board

It's just a general discussion board. I've been posting there for about four, or five years now. With the exception of only a couple of selected people, none of them ever knew my secret............not until last night, that is.

I couldn't be happier with the response I received! Not one of the people who replied to my post, both men and women, had the slightest problem with me being trans, and some even complemented me on my courage to reveal this secret about myself. I can't tell you you how encouraging this is to me! Either people in general have come a long way towards acceptance of us, or once people have had enough time to internalize us as a fellow human beings, they simply have more compassion for us. I don't which is true, but whichever it is, I am truly thankful!

It is just so nice to be able to post my real picture, and openly express my emotions along with the other women on the board.

Taking one small step at a time, and having no regrets.

Melissa XX

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well, Now You've Gone And Done It!

I just came out on a message board, that heretofore had no idea that I was trans! Of course I owe this little bit of outrageous boldness to all of you! Oh yes, YOU! Don't deny it now! It's you, who have decided that you would rather be girls, than boys, who have so greatly influenced me! You know how suggestive I am!

Melissa XX

Friday, December 11, 2009

There's Something Funny Going On.

I was having problems with my wireless connection last night, and this morning I could not connect at all, so I disconnected my wireless modem, and plugged in my old dial-up modem. I had forgotten how infernally slow dial-up was, but once I was able to get logged on and into Blogger, I discovered I had all of my Blogger editing tools back again, and was once again able to post comments on all blogs. The only trouble was, because it was dial-up, it sometimes took several minutes for a page to load in.

I had to go to the dump this afternoon, so I shut everything down, and when I came back I decided to try the wireless connection again. Apparently Verizon fixed whatever was ailing their servers, because I was able to log on without a hitch, but now that I'm back on my wireless connection, my Blogger editing tools are gone again, and once again, I can no longer post comments on any blogs that don't have the pop-up window enabled. This vexes me! I'm using the same computer, and the same Firefox browser that I was using this morning. The only difference is, that this morning I was connecting via a dial-up modem, and now I'm connecting via a wireless modem. Why should that make any difference? How is it possible, that an otherwise fully functioning connection, would prevent me from fully utilizing all of Blogger's functionality? Enquiring minds want to know!

Melissa XX

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Feel Tingly All Over!

No......I'm not under the influence of any illicit, or even licit substances. The tingle of which I speak, comes from a multitude of tiny little hairs being yanked out by the root, because today was epilation Thursday. Epilation Thursday, that sounds kind of like a religious holiday, doesn't it?

And the faithful gathered together each year, on Epilation Thursday, and one by one, they
reverently walked from the nave to the chancel, where they were disrobed and epilated, by the priest and his acolytes.

Hey! What are you laughing at? Stranger religious rituals than that exist! What about a bris? Fortunately, the poor little victim being subjected to that little bit of strangeness, is too young to remember it later on.

My epilation wasn't exactly a religious experience, and it certainly wasn't done by a priest, or his acolytes, but the tingle was invigorating, and it does always give me a sense of renewal, not to mention the joy of smooth hairless skin! And a mild tingle, is all it is now, even on the backs of my thighs, and my bum. I can remember when doing those areas, brought the sensation of siring heat to my skin, beads of sweat to my brow, and tears to my eyes. Not anymore! What I feel now, is more like the touch of hundreds of almost microscopic needles, dancing on my skin; not penetrating, but touching just enough to let you feel their sharpness. It's almost kind of enjoyable...........almost.

After discovering epilation for myself, and it's benefits over the blade, I am astounded, when I hear of girls still shaving their bodies with a razor. I've done that before, and while I got a few hours of smoothness after shaving, I also got stubble, and days of miserable prickly itching. I'll have no more of that, thank you!

Melissa XX

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Sister Is So Sweet!

I went up to the mail boxes this afternoon, to collect my mail, and noticed an envelope addressed to Melissa. It caught my eye, because other than catalog purchases, most of my mail comes addressed to my male name. I was expecting something addressed to Melissa from a certain someone, but when I looked at the return address, I noticed it was from my sister. She had sent me a Christmas card, and addressed it not to the brother she has known all of her life, but to the girl who came out to her just a few short months ago. That brought a huge smile to my face, followed almost instantly, by a welling up of tears in my eyes! She is such a beautiful woman, in mind, body, and spirit, and I just love her so much!

Melissa XX

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Christmas Party Just For Girls!

Well..........OK, there were some boys there; three to be exact. I'm speaking of course, about my trans-gender support group's annual Christmas Party. I wasn't even sure if I was going to make it. For several days in advance, all of the weather reports were calling for a winter storm to blow through the region on that very day. I'm an East coaster, but I don't live on the coastal plane, where the weather can be significantly different. I live in the Piedmont, less than thirty miles from the mountains. Get me to a spot where the trees aren't obscuring the horizon, and I can see the Blue Ridge Mountains. Winter temperatures here, average 5 to 10 degrees F lower than in Richmond, so a winter storm blowing up the coast is nothing to laugh at. It often means either snow, sleet, or worst of all, freezing rain. Fortunately this time, it turned out to be just a snow event, and not a very significant one at that.

Just the night before, I went to our December support group meeting. No snow that night. Our November meeting was the first meeting, where the temperature had dropped into the 40's, so I got to wear my brand new black hooded, zip front coat; a lovely little wool/cashmere/nylon blend coat, with a banded, and button trimmed waste line, and cute little faux fur lined hood. Friday night, it was even colder, so I pulled out my red, double breasted, button front pea coat. I put it on, and looked at my self in the mirror. Oh God! It was so pretty, and it made me look so girlish! I just couldn't believe it was really mine! I loved that coat from the first moment I laid eyes on it in the J C Penney catalog, and I was determined to have it! So, out came my credit card, and down went my info over the internet, and a week and half later UPS delivered it to my door!

Underneath that gorgeous coat, I was wearing a mallard colored cardigan, with a matching leopard print attached blouse, a pair of light stonewashed jeans, and black pointed toe flats. With my black leather bag slung over my shoulder, I exited the back door, and jumped into my bronze quad cab pickup truck, for the cruise on into Richmond. Close to an hour later, I pulled into the parking lot behind the clinic, where our support group meets. I entered the building and went down the steps to the basement. Before entering the conference room where we meet, I stopped off in the ladies room to remove my coat and brush my hair. I love ladies rooms! Mens rooms are purely functional, but ladies rooms often have a lounge area, with a vanity and plush seating. The ladies room at the clinic was no exception. In addition to the normal plumbing, it had a lounge that was carpeted, with two sofas and a mirrored vanity, encircled in lights.

After brushing my hair and checking my makeup, I proceeded to the conference room, where the social hour was still underway. Slim pickings on the pot luck that night, so I settled for a piece of cold greasy fried chicken breast, a few crackers and pieces of cheddar cheese, and a paper cup filled with Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper. Good thing I ate a small PB&J before leaving the house! I had just finished my Chicken breast, when Madam President convened the meeting. She had arranged a large number of folding chairs in a semi-circle in the center of the room, and was imploring us to to leave the safety and comfort of our seats behind the tables. I have slowly grown to like Madam President, although I'm sure she doesn't know it yet. I have to admit I was intimidated by her at first. She is about 32 year old, and unlike me, supremely confident. She is also quite bossy, and very direct, but she is a good hearted woman, with out best interests in mind. She and a few other girls, virtually run the entire organization on their own. That night one of them had arranged for a lesbian lawyer, they met at our weekly lesbian bar gathering, to come and address the group about what kinds of legal services she could offer. She was in her early thirties, and had partnered with other lesbian lawyers from the public defenders office, to form their own practice, that specialized in, but was not limited to GLBT concerns. She was absolutely wonderful! Very intelligent, very accepting and compassionate! She told us she and her partners practices all aspects of the law, and were more than willing to offer free consultations, to determine if they could help us with a whole range of legal issues, and not necessarily gender related. She also discussed and answered a multitude of questions concerning trans issues, and current laws that effected us, as far as employment, discrimination, and marriage rights went. Unfortunately she told us, that living in one of the most conservative states in the country, our rights as transsexuals are extremely limited, if not completely non-existent. A very interesting meeting. One of the best I have attended.

The next day it was time to prepare for the Christmas Party. The big question was, would I be able to go, or would I not? It was a 45 mile ride into a neighboring county, and the weather report was iffy at best. They were calling for snow from about noon, until nine PM. Fortunately, there was no forecast of sleet, or freezing rain, and snow was only expected to accumulate from to 1-2 inches. After eating lunch, and watching the snow fall outside my windows, I hopped on my stationary bike, and pedaled like a woman possessed for a full hour! Nothing like a good aerobic workout to relax you, and give you stamina for the rest of the day. Afterward, I showered and shaved with my brand new Braun Series 7 Pulsonic foil shaver (High marks for that device!). Just my face though! I took sweet Sarah's advice , and thoroughly epilated my entire body, early the day before. About the Series 7 Pulsonic; it is a bit pricey at $200 +, but it gives an excellent shave, for an electric. Not a bad investment!

After shaving, it was time for make up. No problem there. I had everything I needed, was well versed in what needed to be done, and wasn't worried about a thing. Soon my makeup was done, and I liked the way I looked. I had a plan as to how I wanted to dress, but unfortunately, a plan is just a plan, and reality often throws a monkey wrench into the works. I was going to wear one of three different red sweaters, a mid calf length black, red, and green plaid, pleated skirt, and black 3 inch heeled, knee high boots. The trouble was, I had never tried the skirt on. It was still in its original plastic plastic bag. I know! Be prepared! A lesson I should have learned in Scouting! So give me thirty lashes with a wet noodle! I deserve it! Anyway, out it came, and to my disappointment, it was not only a tight fit, but it was wrinkled, and in dire need of ironing. Now time was short, and I wasn't about to iron a new pleated skirt, just before I had to drive 45 miles to a party, so after panicking, running in circles, and crying hysterically, I pulled myself together, and scoured my closet for an alternative. I settled on a black denim pencil skirt, that stopped about one to two inches above my knees, a very pretty red, scoop necked 3/4 length sleeve sweater, with ruffled cuffs, and a white lace trimmed, pintucked, attached blouse, for a layered look. A poinsettia and ivy wreath pin, adorned my upper left breast, and miniature Christmas tree ornaments hung from my ears. I looked into the mirror and thought, "Hmmm.....not bad!"

The snow storm that was still gong on, had dumped an inch and a half or snow, so my elegant 3 inch heeled, knee high boots were of no use, when clearing the snow from my truck. Fortunately, I had a pair of flat heeled Toe Warmers boots, that I could wear until I arrived at the party. Much better for driving in too! I tucked my elegant 3 inch heeled boots into a silver carry all bag, that I got as a bonus from Clinique, and laid them on the passengers seat, to put on when I arrived at the party, and with my pretty red pea coat on, I took off for the party.

Driving down the road in a snow storm at night, is reminiscent of the closing scenes of the old Star Trek series, and also of some older screen saver programs. The headlights illuminated the snowflakes coming at me, and I felt kind of like I was traveling through space at warp speed. As I got closer to Richmond on I-64, the snow stopped and turned to rain. I turned South at the appropriate time, exiting I-64 and entering State Route 288 witch crossed the James River into Chesterfield County. R, the girl who was hosting the party, lived about 15 miles farther south. I had looked her address up on the internet a few days before, and was confident I would have no trouble finding it. Of course looking up an address on Gooogle Maps, and actually navigating your way there in the dark, is a horse of an entirely different color! I exited Route 288 onto Route 76, just as the Google had instructed me to, and from there I proceeded to Brandermill Parkway and made a left. From there I proceed Southward, to a road named after a number, of a certain type of deciduous tree. A piece of cake, I thought! What I hadn't counted on, was trying to read street signs, on roads with no street lights, on a pitch black night! As each new street was approached, on came the bright lights! Approaching drivers were probably cursing me, for being an inconsiderate idiot, but I couldn't help it! I have Sixty-one year old eyes, that just don't pick up the detail anymore, especially at night. Eventually I found the road with the deciduous tree moniker, and made a left turn onto it. The road is configured in the shape of a P, so if you enter it, and proceed ahead, it eventually intersects itself, making it even more confusing in the dark. I drove around the P once, and thought I was on the wrong street, so I made my way back to Brandermill Parkway, and took a left, hoping to find the right deciduous tree name road further on down, but soon I was about to exit the subdivision altogether, and I realized I needed to to do a roundabout, and re-explore the the road I had been on. So, once again I headed back to the P shaped road, and suddenly the house I had looked up on Google Maps street view, popped out in front of me. At the same time, I saw Madam President exiting her vehicle, directly in front of the same house. I knew then that I had found it, and I found a parking place across the street and down a house or two, and so I pulled in, stopped and changed our of my Toe Warmers, to my fashionable 3 inch heel boots, and on to the party I went.

R, the hostess, answered the door, welcomed me in, and pointed to a closet where I could hang my coat. She warned me in advance that it was pretty full, and advised me to just shove everything aside, to make room for my coat. I opened the closet door, and laughed silently! It was packed full! I took off my red pea coat, found an unused hanger, and shoved my arm deep into the tightly bundled mass of coats, hoping to shove them aside, to make room for my own coat! I shoved, and I shoved, but the bundle of winter coats would not yield! Soon I was working up a sweat, and I silently said "Fuck it!". squeezing my coat between two others I shoved it in as hard as I could, and as soon as the hanger hooked over the closet rod, I slammed the door shut, hoping it's contents would not all come tumbling out on me!

Having secured my coat in a closet, about to explode from having too many coats, I collected myself, and proceed on into the party. A lovely girl named Silvia, who had driven all the way up from North Carolina approached me, and introduced herself. I didn't recognize her from any of our meetings, and she told me that she rarely attended them, because she lived so far away. Virginia is backward in many ways, but sometimes North Carolina makes Virginia look like a bastion of liberalism.

I walked into the kitchen and saw Sophie , who blogs here as well. She was looking positively resplendent in her long black skirt, black and white checked blouse, pearls, and dazzling electrified heels, that lit up, and sparkled, as he sashayed about the party! Kudos, Sophie!

A bit later, while talking to Silvia in the living room, I persuaded her to take a few pictures of me, in front of the Christmas tree. She did her best God love her, but she wasn't familiar with my camera, so the pictures I had hoped to show you of myself, were essentially unusable. I wasn't much better at operating my new camera myself. I took two pictures of Sophie, but I forgot to activate the anti-shake and the flash. The pictures that came out, were so dark and orange, they were essentially unusable. I was able to brighten one up enough to send it to her, but I will allow her to decide whether or not to post it.

After several misguided snapshots, I finally figured the camera settings out, and snapped a fairly good picture of Silvia, and Dani, who is one of our groups officers.

Overall the party was fairly subdued. Mainly because no one was drinking any alcohol. I would have been much more relaxed, and gregarious with a few drinks in me, but with a 45 mile trip home in unpredictable weather, and the Virginia State Police hiding in the bushes alongside the road, I decided to stay sober.

A couple of the members were very talented singers and electric guitar players, who graced us with some fairly spectacular blues numbers, that were very good indeed! In fact they were excellent, and I remember commenting to one of the other girls,about how good I thought they were! One of the newer young girls, who looked adorable by the way, in her black sleeveless sheath dress, plays the bagpipes in a highlander band, and she treated us to Christmas carols on her pipes! Definitely a first for me! What a sweet confident young girl she is!

No Christmas party would be complete without food, so our hostess and her helpers provided us with ham, turkey breast, green beans, cornbread stuffing with apples and
raisins, whole cranberry sauce (the best!), chocolate chip, and peanut butter cookies, and chocolate and vanilla cake. Yes, I sample a bit of each, and it was yummy!

After three hours of standing around in 3 inch high heeled boots, it was time to go. Madam President reminded me to retrieve my ornament, from the Christmas tree! She and the other girls who had prepared the house for the party, painted the names of all the members on the Christmas tree ornaments, and every one got to take theirs home.

After retrieving my ornament, and placing it securely in my purse, I took on the task of extricating my red pea coat, from the overloaded and about to explode cloak closet! Fortunately, no hideous incidents ensued! I donned my coat, slung my bag over my shoulder, and bid my farewell to our hostess and a few others, then made my way out to the street, and into my truck. I made it about halfway around the P shaped block, when suddenly I realized, I couldn't feel the pedals! With 45 miles of tricky road to drive, I knew instinctively that this would never do. I stopped in front of a house down the block, and put the truck in park. Then I unzipped my fashionable high heeled boots, and swapped them for my comfy Toe Warmers, and gained an instant relief, and probably a much safer drive home!

I hope all of your have happy Christmas, or holiday parties to attend. Here's wishing you all, a very Merry Christmas, and a joyous wonderful new year!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

!st Day Of advent

Well, today was the first day of Advent, so I opened up the first window on my new Advent calendar. I had hoped to share it with you, but alas, my camera wasn't able to pick up the fine print on the inside of the window. I thought 8.1 mega pixels would do the job, but no, not enough. Not sure if it was the lighting, the camera, or my unsteady hand, but it just didn't work. Since I couldn't share the picture with you, I will describe the window. It was a picture of three people; a woman and two men, gazing up with their arms outstretched, at the star of Bethlehem. The caption on the window read: The people who walked in darkness, have see a great light - Isaiah 9:2 I love Advent calendars! They remind me so much of the best part of my childhood.

My support group's Christmas party is coming up this weekend. I'm both excited, and and a little freaked out, all at the same time. It's been twenty years since the male I have been impersonating, went to his last Christmas party, and this will be the first for Melissa. Just think of it? My very first party as a girl! And a Christmas party too!

Understandably, I'm bit nervous. I finally got the directions, thanks so much to Sophie. I looked them up on both Google Maps, and MapQuest to get explicit directions, and found that while about an hour away, it's going to be a breeze getting there, as long as the weather hold out. It's mostly Interstate highway, and four lane limited access State highway, and then just a couple of turns to our hostess's house.

I guess by now, most of my readers know what a worrywart I am. My biggest worry now, is the weather. Although winter won't officially arrive until Dec. 21, the forecast for Saturday is predicting a frozen mix of precipitation, with temperatures in the low 20's F that night. I'm not worried about getting cold. I have a long black woolen coat I can wear, or a red wool/cashmere/nylon blend pea coat, warm leather gloves, a scarf and furry black ear muffs, warm tights and knee high boots. What worries me, is driving conditions. Wet snow that quickly melts doesn't scare me, but heavy snow, or freezing rain out here in the Piedmont, can make driving home a nightmare.

I bought a used 2007 Dodge Dakota 4 wheel drive quad cab pickup truck a year ago. Considering it only had 27,000 miles on it, and was over $10,000 less than a comparable new 2009 model, it was a great deal. It's been a great truck, but it was a rental vehicle before I bought it, and it made a lot of short hauls around town. Consequently the tires, while still legal, are considerably worn. We have had a lot of rain lately, and my driveway is not paved, it just has a light layer of gravel. Lately, my rear wheels have been spinning before gaining the traction needed to propel me up the hill out to the road out front. So, now I am faced with a conundrum. Make another stinking trip into town, and spend close to $1000 for a brand new set of tires, to replace the ones I have, that will more than likely pass the vehicle's annual inspection in January, or sweat it out, and hope the roads stay clear enough to drive home Saturday night. I'll figure this one out, after I get over the painful lumps that result, from banging my head against the wall!

Sweet precious Fiona, wrote a cautionary blog today, dealing with acceptance. I would encourage you all to read her blog, and my reply to her. Hurt, Acceptance and HurtMelissa XXOO