Thursday, December 30, 2010

1921 To 2010

My mother is a New Year's baby! She was born on January 1st, 1921. On January 1st, 2010 she will turn 90 years old!

I love her, but we didn't always get along. In fact, until she discovered Zoloft about ten years ago, I couldn't stand to be around her. She was an absolute expert on everything, and had to be acknowledged as such, even when she was dead wrong. This led to so many arguments, and made her very unpleasant to be around.

The change in her personality, once she started taking Zoloft to regulate her moods, was remarkable. She was no longer the judgmental, confrontational shrew, that I fled home from, at the tender age of 17.

Today, mom is not much more enlightened than she ever was, but her obsession with having everyone agree with her is no longer there, and that makes her so much easier to get along with. Age has also humbled her. While living into one's 90's may bring respect, it also brings decrepitude. In mom's case that's chronic arthritis, the beginnings of macular degeneration, a general unsteadiness on her feet, and a whole host of other ailments, that require a bag full of meds. She is very obviously more tired than she was ten years ago, but she still keeps plugging away, preparing supper for us once a week, and on Thanksgiving and Christmas. She still drives her 1996 ruby red Mercury Marquis, but not much. After all these years, it still has under 15,000 miles on it. It's the best looking 15 year old car I have ever seen!

I just sent her a special bouquet of flowers, and tomorrow I will go out and get her a birthday card, and a gift certificate to her favorite book store. On Monday, my sister and my niece and I will be taking her to the restaurant of her choice, for a birthday meal. We decided to postpone it till after the weekend, so we wouldn't be competing for a table with the New Years Day crowd.

As we approach the New Year, let me take this time to wish you all well! For some of you, this coming year will finally mark your physical rebirth. Congratulations! For others it will mark your first anniversary as the person you always knew you should have been. Congratulations to you as well! Still, for so many others, it will mark yet another year of coping in the best way you can with the weird hand that mother nature has dealt you. Wherever you are, please be gentle with each other, and resist the urge to get ideas above your station. We truly are all in this together.

All the best to all of you in the New Year!

Melissa XX

Sunday, December 26, 2010

TCM Remembers

I love old movies, and Turner Classic Movies is in my opinion one of the best things that ever happened to television. At the end of each year, they produce a poignant video memorial to all those involved in the motion picture industry, that passed away that year. It always brings a tear to my eyes. I would embed it in my post if I could, but since I can't, here is a link to TCM Remembers. Have a look. If classic movies have ever made an impact on your life, I think you will enjoy it.

Melissa XX

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Another Christmas Come And Gone

Christmas at my mother's was short lived. A major coastal storm was brewing, and everyone wanted to get home before the roads got dangerous. It snowed all the way into Richmond, and all the way back out into the Piedmont on my return trip, but because VDOT crews had treated all the major roads in advance, the snow wasn't sticking to the highways yet. Today I'm afraid, will be another story as the storm moves off shore and intensifies, drawing in copious amounts of Atlantic moisture. Predictions for my neck of the woods aren't too bad. So far I've only got about 2 inches and a total of 3-5 inches is all that's expected, but Richmond could get as much as 7-8 inches before its all over tonight. The poor folks up in New England I'm afraid, are really going to get hammered, with anywhere from 1 to 2 feet of snow! This is shaping up to be a classic winter nor'easter.

Despite an early departure from Mom's condo, we all left with our bellies full, having had a sumptuous Christmas meal. The main course was roast turkey, but this unfortunate bird was apparently the victim of some horrible farm accident, because it came sans wings and legs!'s succulent breast meat was a perfect companion to the wonderfully seasoned stuffing, steamed asparagus, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes. My sister also made a cranberry and orange relish, and a delicious sweet potato casserole topped with pecans. Lemon meringue pie, and butter pecan ice cream topped it all off.

My sister was there, with her daughter, and so was my brother-in-law and his daughter. He hung around for dinner, although she didn't, preferring to have Christmas diner with the family of one of her friends. At just 22, she was 20 years younger than my other niece. Who could blame her for not wanting to spend Christmas evening with a bunch of old folks.

My brother-in-law was well behaved this time, except for one unfortunate incident. Despite protestations, he insisted on dropping his pants to show off the Christmas underwear his new girlfriend gave him!

I hope all of you had a good Christmas, and that you are all safe and warm!

Melissa XX

Friday, December 24, 2010

Important Stuff

The Origins Of Bert And Ernie

Did the Sesame Street characters, Bert and Ernie get their names from the cop (Bert), and the cab driver (Ernie), in Frank Capra's holiday classic film, It's A Wonderful Life ? No one is confirming it, and it's probably just coincidence, but I'd sure like to think so.

Bert ( Ward Bond, from another film):

Ernie (Frank Faylen, as himself):
Here's hoping all of you have a wonderful life! Merry Christmas!

Melissa XX

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Counting Down To Christmas

There was a lunar eclipse last night. I didn't bother to watch it, because it was to happen in the wee hours of the morning. That was way past my bedtime and besides, I had already seen one before, so no big deal. Add the one I saw a year or so ago to the solar eclipse I saw when I was in high school sometime in 1963/64, various comets, Sputnik, and views of Saturn, Jupiter and the Jovian moons I saw through my telescope, and my life's card is marked with some pretty impressive celestial sights. Perhaps the most impressive though, was a naked eye view of the Norther Cross over the Atlantic on a full moonlit night, while sitting on top of a sand dune on Ocracoke Island one August night many years ago. The reflection of the nearly full moon on the ocean, accompanied by the blanket of stars that stood out so well, so many miles from civilization's light pollution, was truly a sight to behold. Of course an evening's banquet of steamed crabs we had caught that afternoon, an abundance of cold beer, and numerous inhalations of a smoldering cannabis cigarette being passed around by friends, only made it that much more pleasing an event.

I went to my mother's Monday night as always, and she had received the set of kitchen and steak knives I bought for her. For those of you unfamiliar with my mother's cutlery, it was good for cutting things like pudding, butter and jello, but not much else. She managed to saw through roasts, hams, and turkeys with a bread knife of all things! I suppose I have to give her marks for ingenuity, but really........sawing through a Thanksgiving turkey with a bread knife? I couldn't stand it, and had to do something about it, so I bought her a nice set of razor sharp stainless steel carving knives, for Christmas. Her first reaction was, "I can't open that package you sent me." OK, I can understand that, after all she does have arthritic hands, so I opened it for her, and unwrapped each knife and placed it in the accompanying wooden block.
"What made you think I've been needing this for a while now?" she asked. "Because I have seen you sawing through meat too many times, with a knife designed to cut bread!" I said. "But the bread knife works fine for me.", she said................

Oh well...........the best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry. I guess the old adage is right, "You can't can't teach an old dog new tricks". She will use them eventually I'm sure, and I'm equally sure she'll get used to them, once the idea that she didn't specifically request them wears off. She'll be ninety a week after Christmas, so I'm going to go easy on her. Anyone who makes it to that late in the game, deserves our deference.

While we haven't quite returned to normal temperatures, we have thawed somewhat, and I was finally able turn the heat down some. Tonight is the first in a month, that I haven't had the radient quartz heater in front of my chair turned up to full blast furnace mode! As I sit here typing, just one low wattage element is aglow, and the fan is not turned on at all! I'm keeping my finger crossed for Christmas, but right now the forecast is iffy. A nor'easter is supposed to develop off the coast of the Carolina's on Christmas Eve/Day, and roll on up the coast. Nor'easters are the mid-Atlantic's heavy dumpers during the winer months. Depending on the coastal track of the storm, and the inland temperatures, we could get anything from a wintery mix of ice and snow, to a full on winter snow storm. Christmas is at my mothers, 45 miles east of here in Richmond. There is an average 10°F difference between Richmond and out here in the Piedmont, that makes driving in wintery conditions extremely hazardous. Depending on when the storm hits Saturday, I may have to stay home. The narrow two lane roads out here in the Piedmont have no shoulders, and often have deep ditches to either side. They can be quite treacherous when iced up. I've crashed one vehicle when I didn't know any better, and lost control on black ice. I don't ever want that to happen again. There is nothing scarier than driving on down the road, and suddenly losing all traction. At that point, you have completely lost control, and become a passenger in a vehicle controlled by fate. Not a good position to be in.

I've noticed our once universally supportive Blogistan, slowly degenerating into a forum of divisiveness, ever since the appearance of a certain wily, yet extremely ill-mannered miscreant last summer. Please dear readers, do not be seduced by silver tongued narcissistic she-devils, who will manipulatively stroke your fragile ego in one breath, while verbally eviscerating one of your sisters in another. Even if you don't think you may be anything like those "others" that are being attacked, that never justifies supporting those who hurl their hideous invective at them.

On a further note. When you invite someone into your home, would you tolerate them verbally assaulting your other guests? I certainly wouldn't, so in that vein, I will no longer follow any blogger who allows anyone to insult me or any other commenter on their blog. This means it's up to you to monitor the comments on your blog, and delete all obviously spiteful comments made by others in a reasonable time frame, that are specifically directed at another individual commenter. If you are unwilling to do this, then no matter how long I have known you, or how well we have gotten along, I will depart your blog and have no further contact with you. I didn't come here to make enemies, I came here to share sympathies and support with like minded trans-folk, and I'm fed up with those who are obsessed with constantly drawing upon our differences, instead of embracing our similarities, which are absolutely abundant, whether they wish to admit them or not, and especially with those who obsequiously kowtow to manipulative bullies, in order to continue being stroked by them.

Peace and sisterhood to all of those who have it in their hearts to accept it.
Melissa XX

Friday, December 17, 2010

Twas The Week Before Christmas

After a month of simply trying to stay warm.........(we've been under the influence of what seems to be a never ending wave of polar air, with nighttime lows dropping to as low as 11°F/-11° C)......I had neglected my personal grooming, and I had begun to slowly ressemble that furry beast of yore. That's a bit of hyperbole actually, as the constant epilation has significantly reduced the total number of body hairs, and left the ones that remained much finer. Nevertheless, I was sprouting once again, and feared going to seed!

We seem to have entered a bit of a thaw. The mercury made it all the way up to 38°F/3°C today, so after clearing yesterday's three inches of snow from my deck, steps, and truck, I made my way up to the mail box out on the highway, and then back down to the house for a shower, followed by a long overdue full body epilation. It only took an hour to do my entire body from my neck to my ankles. That's how much my body hair has been reduced by regular epilation. No wonder that electrologists tell you to stop waxing or using an epilator. More hairs for them to take care of......and charge you for! I first noticed this phenomenon decades ago, after I began to tweeze my eyebrows. After a while, I noticed that some of the hairs were not growing back. This was especially true of the hairs between my eyes, above the bridge of my nose, and the hairs that used to wrap around the outside corners of my eyes. Today they are all gone for good. In effect, the constant plucking had enabled me to permanently achieve a much more naturally feminine brow line. Later I would discover this same phenomenon on my legs, and eventually on my entire body.

So............the lesson to be learned boys and girls, is that constant hair plucking weakens, and in some cases even eliminates hairs! If I had know that, I would have started waxing my face as soon as the peach fuzz began to appear!

Anyway...........I am now completely hairless once again, and it feels absolutely wonderful!

As I type, I am listening to the Nutcracker on my local NPR station. I love the music, but regret to say that I have never even once seen the ballet! Oh, I've see snippets of various productions on TV. Those are unavoidable this time of year, but I have never sat in a theater, and actually watched the entire performance unfold before my eyes on stage. Am I a sad case, or what?

Christmas is right around the corner, and I bought my mother a brand new set of kitchen knives, on-line, and had them sent by UPS, to her condo on the tenth floor of her twelve story apartment building. Last Monday I told her to expect a package, but to be extremely careful with it, if she decided to open it before Christmas, as she could easily injure herself on it. She asked me what it was, and all I would tell her was that it was something that she had been needing for a long time. Any woman who carves a turkey, a roast, or a ham with a bread knife, because all of her older knives are too dull, too rusty, and of no use to her anymore other than as butter spreaders, needs a new set of sharps for her kitchen!

Other than in some pictures I have shared with her, my sister has never once seen me en femme, yet for the second year in a row now, I have received a Christmas card from her addressed to Melissa! Isn't she just the sweetest?

As I said earlier, we have been under the chilling influence of a seemingly permanent wave of Canadian arctic air, (thank you very much Halle, and others in the frozen wastelands north of our border). For the past month, temperatures have been 10-15 degrees below average for this time of year. I live in an all electric home, so I am not looking forward to my next electricity bill! Last month's bill was shocking enough, and it hadn't even gotten cold then. The pond at the bottom of the hill out back has completely frozen over, and the barren wooded hillsides of my subdivision, are now covered in snow. Cruel winter has set in with an utter lack of regard to personal comfort, yet still, there is a stark sort of beauty to winter's bleakness. Tonight I gazed out the window, and the moon light had the snow covered woods set all aglow! If you had a mind to, and you were sufficiently bundled up to ward off the cold night air, you could easily navigate your way through the woods by moonlight alone. What hearty creatures the squirrels, raccoons, o'possums, foxes, deer, turkey, and all of the other creatures of the wild must be, to survive such harsh conditions. It makes me respect them all that much more, and wonder how anyone could kill them, unless their life depended on their meat for their survival. Obviously I am not into hunting for sport. It just seems like such a sacrilege!

A week from today it will be Christmas. I don't claim to be religious, let alone a Christian. I am agnostic, yet there is something about the Christian tradition at this time of year that will always appeal to my heart. It is one of two times on the ecclesiastical calendar, where judgement of the human condition is put aside through divine grace, and the unlikely prospect of human perfection is celebrated. What's not to like about that? So in that vein, let me wish you all a very Merry & Peaceful Christmas, and in the words of the one who's birthday we are about to celebrate, "judge not, lest ye be judged......."

Peace on Earth,
Melissa XX

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Brrrrrrrrrrr..............It's Been Cold!

The night before last, the mercury dipped to 12°F/-11 °C! I was looking at pictures of Caroline's neighborhood on her blog, and also reading on the web, that Scotland had to call out the Army to help clear the roads of the copious snows that have been blanketing them! My first impression was, "There, but for the mercy of Mother Nature go I". With weather this cold, all it takes to bury us in six inches to a foot or more of snow, is a random nor'easter sliding up the east coast, and pulling in Atlantic moisture. A massive low pressure system in the northeast is already wrapping around the Great Lakes, pulling moisture out of them, and blanketing adjacent states with what is known here as "lake effect snow". After a brief respite from frigid temperatures this weekend, the forecast is calling for more arctic weather next week. While sub freezing temperatures are by no means unknown in these parts, the mid-Atlantic states are generally known for their mild winters, with average daytime temperatures a good 20° F higher than what we've been experiencing.

I once had a neighbor years ago when I lived back in town, who had a house full if cats. She had no job at all. She also had no water, no electricity, and no heat, other than from what she could burn in her coal fireplace. I would occasionally leave her a bag of coal, so she could have a nights fire, but I'm sure she had burned most if not all of the furniture in her house, and anything else that was flammable.

I used to pass by her house at night, on my walks to the local grocery store. I could see her through her uncurtained windows, some of her cats sleeping on the window sills, and others walking about the table where she would sit, surrounded by stacks of old newspapers, while reading by candlelight in her darkened house, that she had inherited from her father years earlier.

Her name was Grace, and she was a neighborhood fixture, often coming up to you as you walked down the street, and asking if you could spare a few dollars. I always gave her something. She was very well informed from all of the reading that she did, and you could actually have some interesting conversations with her about politics and current events, but she was also quite mad. One day while walking down the street, a friend and I ran into Grace, and she immediately began asking us if we had heard about the alien women, who were seducing young earth males, and then eating them, once they had them in their clutches! My friend and I laughed all the way home after that one.

One year as Christmas approached, my heart felt heavy for Grace being all alone. She had no family, so I knew that no one was going to be giving her anything for Christmas, so I bought her one of those Wisconsin samplers. You've all seen them. They're the ones with the variety of cheeses, ham, summer sausage, nuts, etc. I gift wrapped it, and left it on her door step very late on Christmas Eve, with a card saying, "With love from Santa."

Grace was eventually evicted from her house, which was condemned by the city, and forced to live in an institutionalized setting that she hated. Her dilapidated house was claimed by the city for owed back taxes, and then sold on the cheap to yuppies, who fully renovated it. I never saw Grace again after that, and every Christmas I wonder how she is doing, or if she is even still alive. As for her house, it is now a glowing exhibition of bourgeois charm, but for me, that will never be as appealing, as the uncurtained, candle lit hovel, of the neighborhood cat lady.

Melissa XX

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Death On The Highway

I was making my way home from my mother's last night, and all was well until I got about 11 miles from my exit off the Interstate Highway. Suddenly all I saw was brake lights coming on in front of me, and then we were all at a dead stop. About a mile up ahead, I could see a blue strobe light flashing, and what looked like high intensity flood flights. Was it an accident, or night road maintenance? If it was a road crew repaving a lane, we would be slowed down to a crawl, as both lanes merged into one until the construction was passed, but instead the Interstate had become a parking lot. After several minutes of standing still, the line would move two or three car lengths, only to come to a grinding halt again. There was an exit about a mile ahead, just about where the blue strobe was flashing. My plan was to exit there, and drive about a mile to the south to access an old two lane US highway, that would take me the ten miles further west to my rural neighborhood. It took about 30 minutes to travel that one mile, and when I got there, I discovered that the Interstate was completely shut down, and all traffic was getting off at that exit. There was a horrific accident between the off ramp and the on ramp at that interchange. Traffic was able to exit on the off ramp, and reenter the highway on the on ramp. As I reentered the highway, I looked to my left, and saw several emergency vehicles and two fire engines. In the left lane, facing the wrong way, was a burned out car, with the entire driver's side skin ripped off. My heart sank when I saw it. Later on the news, my suspicions were confirmed, when I learned that there was a confirmed death in that crash. Only a few days earlier, as I stopped at out local country store to pick up few things, a flat bed wrecker was parked out front with another passenger car on it, that had the driver side doors ripped off. The roof was caved in, and a wilted airbag laid draping over the driver's seat. Talking to the clerk in the store, I learned that the woman driving the car fell asleep at the wheel and ran off the Interstate, just two mile west of where I live. She was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I have no idea as to what her fate was, but after seeing her crumpled car, I'm sure she didn't fair well.

Winter is here dear readers. Snow and ice make roads treacherous. When conditions are dangerous, please stay off the roads if you can, but if you have to go out, take extra care. Drive slow, leave plenty of distance between you and others, and watch out for black ice! Also, if road conditions are wet, or slippery, never use cruise control!

Melissa xx

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The First Snow Arrives

Although the Solstice has yet to arrive, the first snow has, but unlike my unfortunate sisters in the UK, and parts west of here in the US, and of course my lovely Canuck sisters north of the border (All of you, poor sweet dears!), this time it was just a light coating. Sorry if it sounds like I'm rubbing it in. I certainly don't mean to, but this is my kind of snow! Here today, gone tomorrow! A pretty white sugary sprinkling, as if sugarplum fairies had just dusted everything down overnight. Nothing at all like the horrid + one foot dumpings of heavy wet snow that we had three times last winter, toppling trees and knocking out power, so that I had to hunker down next to a kerosene heater to stay warm, while listening to a battery powered radio, and eating soup cooked on a camp stove. I'll have none of that this winter, thank you very much! At least not if my luck holds out, (knock on wood!).

They say a new broom sweeps clean, and that's exactly what my new broom did this week, as I swept the last of the fallen leaves and acorns off of the deck. Fortunately a broom will be all that is needed to sweep the night's snow off the deck and steps tomorrow. I'm glad I got all of the fallen leaves off of the deck before the first snow, otherwise I would be shoveling the deck off tomorrow.

I received the most wonderful news today! My friend Brittany Lynn Roche (A Day In The Life Of A Texas Transsexual) is now situated in a residence house in Montreal, awaiting GRS by Dr. Pierre Brassard next Tuesday! It seems like only yesterday that I got to know her, as she detailed her torturous sessions at Electrology 3000 in Dallas, Texas, where they would inject her face with 36 lidocaine shots, and proceed to remove all of her facial hair in one sitting! Her poor face was so swollen afterward, that she woud have to sleep upright for the next several days! She would go back for this same grueling torture, at least another dozen times before her face was devoid of hair. But it was worth it, because today, she looks perfectly lovely! All the best to her, as she undergoes and recovers from her surgery. If you would like to send her an email, her address is located in her blog profile at the link I highlighted above. I'm sure she would love to hear from you.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is only 20 days away. It always amazes me the way the holidays sneak up on you after the Autumnal Equinox. First comes Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and before you know it, Christmas and New Years Day are here! It all happens way too fast for me. This is especially true since I have become older. Time passes by so much more quickly! When I was a child, school would start in the fall, and it seemed like forever until Christmas arrived. Not so today!

My mother will turn 90 a week after Christmas, and my sister and niece had a notion of throwing a big catered party for her, but last week she said she did not want a big party, so I suggested we just take her out for dinner, and she seemed to like that idea much more. Frankly I do too. Special times like that, are better spent with those closest to you, than a wider circle of acquaintances, who are just there for the party. Now the question is, where do we take her? Her usually choice is Red Lobster, or Red Slobster as my sister, the comedian likes to say. I must confess that I agree with her, since nearly everything on the menu is dripping in melted butter and way over salted. I'm more incline to taking her to a local privately owned restaurant, where the food is cooked from fresh ingredients, instead of a franchise, where microwaving pre-packed, overly salted frozen crap is the norm. The thing is Mom seems to love those kinds of restaurants, but then again she takes an abundance of meds to counteract all the bad stuff they serve. Yes, Mom is a finely tuned chemical experiment

I can't embed the following video, but you can still watch it on Youtube at this address Of course it's one of my favorites by Gustaf Mahler, but forget about the music this time, and just watch the lovely people playing the instruments that they love so much, and doing it so wonderfully.

Melissa XX

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All Is Well Here In The Piedmont

All quiet on the East Coast tonight. I survived the passing of the cold front last night, with no tornados, and just a bit of wind and rain. A line of severe weather passed through at about 3:00 AM last night, and some high winds blew out power lines in the county just west of here. As a result, the power went out at about 3:15 AM, and stayed out for about four hours. That used to leave me incommunicado, but with this new Macbook, battery power keeps me going, even when the power goes out! Four hours later when the power came back on, I still had half of my battery reserve left.

The temperature at this time last night, was 62° F, and right now it's 30°F, and is expected to descend into the mid 20's tonight. 30-40 degree temperature shifts within a 24 hour period are not uncommon here, but they do create havoc. Now that winter is setting in, that should happen less, but we've been know to have volatile weather like this into January. I didn't get to bed until after 7:00 AM yesterday moring, but who cares? I'm retired! It just seemed a little bit strange, eating breakfast at 1:30 PM!

For those of you who remember Helen Chapel, she is back blogging again, after a lengthy absence. She is a very sweet girl, and I'm sure she would love to hear from you. You can link to her blog here.

It's been so nice to get all of the comments and emails of support recently. I don't like to get into arguments with people, especially over gender issues, but sometimes you just have to stand up for what you know in your heart is right, regardless of what even some dear friends might think. Frankly I'd rather not even discuss these things, but it seems to be the obsession of some here lately. I'm going to try and avoid these sorts of discussions from now on, because they only serve to drive a wedge between us, and especially some of those we hold dear. This is something that obsessed interlopers don't understand. What we have in common, has always far outweighed that which separates us. How tragic, that some would divy us up, for their own self interests.

Let me make something perfectly clear. I don't believe in orthodoxy. Never have, and never will. You are all my sisters, and I have nothing but the greatest love and respect for all of you, regardless of where you sit on the gender spectrum. I will always take offense at anyone, who judges, belittles, or demeans you in any way, shape or form, either by direct verbal assault, or more obliquely, through sarcasm. None of you deserve that kind of disrespect.

Well, here I am, up until after 3:00 AM again! I suppose that's the consequence of not getting up until after 1:00 PM, but what the hell? I'm retired, and I don't have to get up at the bell anymore! So, hurrah for that!

Thinking sweet thoughts of all of you! (Well..........most all of you, anyway! I'm only human after all!)

Melissa XX

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm On A Tornado Watch Tonight

I watched the anual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show tonight. No tornados there, but the fashions were great, the girls were all gorgeous, and Katy Perry (the girl who kissed a girl) was her usual adorable self, rocking out her dance tunes. It was a fun hour of TV, as the girls strutted their stuff up and down the long runway, in front of the likes of Paris Hilton, Adrian Grenier, and Debbie Harry, but there was one thing that constantly gnawed at my stomach the whole time I watched them. Those girls are sooooo skinny! The poor things! Where do they keep them between a concentration camp? Thin is good, but emaciated is not! You could count the ribs on some of them! I wanted to take them all out to Ruby Tuesdays, for great big juicy cheeseburgers and steak fries after the show!

There is a nasty cold front pushing its way east tonight, that has left a wake of destruction in its path, and being surrounded by tall trees out here in the wilderness, it has me be a bit worried. I can tell by the sound of the wind gusts rushing through the trees tops, that the wind is already picking up out in front of the front. Temperatures east of the front have been unseasonably high, while temperature on the back side of the front are much more wintery. With the warm humid air, that comes up north from Gulf of Mexico and the southeast Atlantic coast, this is usually a recipe for disaster. Disaster in the form of strong thunderstorms, micro bursts, and tornados, caused by a collision of the two fronts. It all reminds me of a scene from an old Woody Allen Movie, where he was living in an old, poorly heated apartment. He complained that when he took a hot shower, the warm front coming from the bathroom, would meet the cold font coming from the living room, and he would have thundershowers in the hallway!

Here's Katy Perry, making us all feel like we're living a teenage dream:

Melissa XX

The Monday Night Report

Another Monday evening has passed and as always, it was taken up with a visit to my mother's condo in Richmond, for supper with my octogenarian, and soon to be nonagenarian mother, my dear sweet sister, and my absolutely adorable niece. It was our great fortune, that my brother-in law was not there again tonight. Having finally gotten over the loss of our sister, he has become attracted to another woman, and their plans appear to be superseding ours. All of us wish him the best, but are secretly happy that he is slowly separating himself from us.(If you find this relationship puzzling, email me and I'll clue you in.) Unfortunately that means his already aloof daughter will be even more estranged. That's truly a shame, because she's such a dear, but at 22 she has an active social life of her own, and I clearly remember my own desire to separate myself from anyone over 30 at that age, so C'est La Vie!

After the big spread that Mom laid out just last Thursday for Thanksgiving, I didn't expect an elaborate meal this evening, and of course I was right. Tonight it was just a simple tossed salad, and some home baked frozen pizza, but I did make sure to rob Mom's freezer, for some Butter Pecan ice cream, while the rest enjoyed Key Lime Pie, for desert!

When I got there tonight, my sister was already there, and my niece was curled up under the covers on my mother's bed, in a semi fetal position. The poor baby had just undergone a DNC this afternoon, (That's a Dusting and Cleaning, for any males who happen to be snooping in here!), and she was still recovering from the anesthesia. The poor thing had to go without eating for nearly a day, so that there would be no complications during her procedure, and she was absolutely starved by suppertime. The trouble was, her doctor said no greasy food, so pepperoni and cheese pizza was out for her. Fortunately, Mom had a can of chunky beef soup that she heated up for her, and she did enjoy a piece of the Key Lime Pie!

I can't even tell you how much I adore my niece! I love her dearly! She is such a sweet girl, and she is so naturally funny, because she has virtually no inhibitions. My sister (in her wisdom) allowed her to be whoever she wanted to be, while growing up, and it shows! Never having to hide any part of oneself while growing up, will give you that kind of self-confidence, and make you so much more approachable. My niece is one of the most approachable people I know! I just love her!

After supper, we pulled up the flash mob video, of the choir singing the Halleluja Chorus in the shopping mall food court, from Simone's blog a couple of days ago, and mom just loved it! Isn't that video just wonderful? I must have gone back to it at least a dozen times, after first seeing it! The choir that got together to do it, did such an excellent job of not only choreographing the event, but their singing was just excellent!

While writing this, I've been listening to various CD's tonight, from Jethro Tull's Aqualung, to Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited, and then finally on to Paul McCartney's Wingspan! Being a rabid Beatles fan, I was so happy that Paul and Linda continued the musical tradition of the Beatles for another decade! This of course does nothing to diminish the accomplishments of Dylan and Ian Anderson. I'll never forget the evening, that I sat in dumbstruck wonder, and watched the magnificent Ian Anderson play his flute, while perched on one leg like a crane, with his magnificent band, Jethro Tull, at the Mosque in Richmond, back in the early seventies! One of those wonderful memories that will be forever be etched into my psyche!

Never let anyone tell you who, or what you are! The fact is, our life's narrative is uniquely our own. Regardless of how others choose to define us, our definition belongs to us, and us alone! We alone define who we are!

Melissa XX

The Seven Deadly Sins Of Narcissism

The following was taken from Of course the curse of Narcissism, is that the Narcissist is incapable of recognizing the following signs within themself, and in fact will call on their wiles to vehemently and skillfully deny them.

Narcissism's Seven Deadly Sins

- Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.

Magical thinking - Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.

Arrogance - A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.

Envy - A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.

Entitlement - Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

Exploitation - can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.

Bad Boundaries - narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and be expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist, there is no boundary between self and other.

Melissa XX

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Wonderful Link

I don't know how many of you are following Simone's blog, but if you aren't, then you just have to see the video in her latest post. It is absolutely wonderful!

Melissa XX

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving: 2010

I just learned something very important about Blogger's text editor tonight..........DO NOT HIT RETURN TWICE, RIGHT AFTER ENTERING THE TITLE OF YOUR POST! Doing so will post your title as your entire post, even though you haven't yet entered a single syllable in the main body of you post. that explains my numerous blank, titled posts. Apparently I have fingers with a mind of their own. Got to get them under control!

Today started out real lazy. I went to bed last night at 1:30 AM, and once in bed, I watched the last half hour of Laurel and Hardy's movie, March Of The Wooden Soldiers, aka, Babes In Toyland. Laurel and Hardy have to be two of my favorite old time comedians. I don't think I every saw a movie of their's, that didn't make me laugh. I remember one of their movies in particular, that I just roared too. I'm sorry, but I can't remember the name of the movie off hand, but the scene that made me laugh so hard, was when they checked into a boarding house, where their very strict landlord forbade any cooking in their room. They were both very hungry, and had no money to buy a meal, but they had somehow acquired a nice large fish that could feed the two of them. The trouble was, they had no means to cook it. Then as Laurel and Hardy always do, they came up with a harebrained scheme. They decided to remove the mattress from their bed, and place a candle under the wire bedsprings, and use them as a grill! Ingenious, or completely insane? I'll go for completely insane, but I still love to laugh at them!

In spite of turning the lights out at 2:00 AM, I woke up at 6:00 AM, because I had to pee. I blame that on drinking diet cola right up until bedtime. When will I ever learn? I mean, I'm only 62 years old. You'd think I would know better by now! Well anyway, I got up and went to the bathroom, then hopped back into bed, thinking I would fall right back to sleep.

Nuh-uh! My brain had other plans. I laid there for another hour and a half, and every time I thought I was about to nod back out, my brain would assume the role of the "sleep nazi"............."No sleep for you!" Finally at 7:00 AM, I got tired of fighting the sleep nazi, and got up. I hated it! ? Sitting on the toilet to pee once more, I envisioned that little brown shirted bastard, grinning at me!

Finished with peeing, I went into the kitchen to make some coffee. Considering that I only had about four hours of sleep, I was going to need it! As the coffee brewed, I boiled some water in my Sunbeam Hot Shot, and then pored it over a mixture of oat bran, and a bit of Kellogg's All Bran, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and three packets of Splenda artificial sweetener. As a type II diabetic, I always eschew natural sugars, either as a main ingredient, or an additive. Not just because they have too many simple carbohydrates, but too many totally unnecessary calories as well.

As the hot water began to be absorbed by the dry cereal, I put about two teaspoons of Smucker's sugar free Blackberry Jam into a bowl with two packets of Splenda (artificial sweetener) and mixed in a cup of low fat yogurt. A half of banana sliced onto the top of the oat/all bran, and breakfast was served, with a fresh cup of coffee!

As usual when I am sleep deprived, about an hour or two after breakfast, I feel like going back to bed, but at this point is was mind over matter, and I was determined to stay up. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was about to start, and I certainly couldn't allow that to pass, without at least making an attempt to watch it. And watch it I did, until lunchtime finally arrived. By lunch time the distraction of the parade was over, and I began to feel the effects of just four hours of sleep the night before. As the afternoon progressed, I gradually became more alert, and then it was shower time, so I could get ready to go o my mother's. My new well pump and pressure tank appear to give me more consistant water pressure than what I was used to in the past. With the old system, the water pressure would noticeably cycle up and down, as the pressure tank charged up and discharged, but apparently the guy who installed the new one, set the limits on the pressure switch to much closer specs, because the drop and increase in pressure as the pressure tank discharges and recharges is barely noticeable.

Anyway...........after a shower, it was time to hop into the Dakota, and drive the 45 miles on into Richmond. While driving, I listen to NPR (National Public Radio), by far the best radio in the the US, unless you are looking for contemporary music, but unquestionably the best for more sophisticated music, and certainly as a source of objective, domestic and world news coverage. Driving from the Piedmont into Richmond there was a noticeable climate shift. I'm about 30 miles east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, while Richmond is about 75 miles east and considerably further south. The distance is not all that great, yet their is a great contrast in the foliage between where I live, and in Richmond proper. The Trees out where I live are now stripped bare, with the exception of the occasional White Oak and maybe one or two others that I can't identify. Many of the trees in Richmond however, still have their leaves, and color. Chalk that up to an approximately 10 ° average differential in winter time temperatures, between Richmond and the western Piedmont.

When I arrived at my mother's, I parked the Dakota in one of the parking places on the perimeter of the lot, that were designated for guests only. I had just gotten out of the Dakota, and was walking through the parking lot, when I heard a horn honking. I turned to see who it was, and it was my niece and her boyfriend pulling in behind me, in her brand new, 20 year old Volvo station wagon, that she bought for $800.00 a couple of months ago. (Hey! Don't laugh! It still runs, and after 20 years of bike riding, and hitching rides with friends and family, it might as well be a Cadillac to her! I hope she gets many more years out of it, and that its never stolen.)

Anyway......I let them park, and I proceeded to the building. Mom lives on the tenth floor of a 12 story high rise apartment building. You can't just walk in, you have to be identified by the desk clerk looking at your image on closed circuit TV. Usually they recognize me, and as soon as I approach the electronic door, they open it for me, but Ed, the regular desk clerk had the holiday off, and his substitute was and older woman. Quite older actually. She may even be an elderly resident. She has seen me dozens of times over the years, but I still always have to identify myself into the speaker, before she will let me in. No problem, she's just doing her job, I mean after all, I could be the Boston Strangler, come down south for a change of venue! Now, if she wanted to give the sort of sexually invasive pat down that TSA (Transportation Security Agency) agents are now giving to airline passengers here in the US, then I think I would have to protest!

Entering the lobby of Mom's condo, I waved hello to the old lady at the desk, and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving, I'll have to remember to ask mom what her name is, so I can address her personally the next time I see her pulling guard duty on a holiday. I might even want to bring her some kind of little holiday gift, for being so sweet as to substitute for Ed on his holidays. She seemed to be quite delighted when I acknowledged her upon entering the lobby, and I wished her a happy Thanksgiving! She then wished me the same in return, and onto the elevator I went, and I pushed the button for floor #10. In no time I was stepping off the elevator, and taking the left turn down the hallway to Mom's apartment at the very end. Being politically liberal, I'm so glad that she didn't choose one of those awful apartments in the right wing of the building instead! ;-)

As it is she hads wonderful neighbors, although her next door neighbor has a claustrophobic friend, that insists she keep her door open whenever she visits, so many times when I walk by, and her door is wide open, and the two of them are sitting in there, simply enjoying each other's company. Mom says she has talked to her neighbor, an discovered, that her friend once OD'd on some sort of psychedelic drugs, and her brain is addled. I don't believe it. My guess is that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with illicit drugs, I came of age in the late sixties and early seventies. We all did illicit drugs by the handfull. Only those who were already unstable to begin with, had a permanent problem, and the drugs didn't cause it.

On to Mom's at the end of the hall. I used the key that she gave me to enter her apartment. Mmmm..........can there be any nicer incense, than the scent of a roasting turkey with stuffing, a sweet potato casserole, and freshly baked Pumpkin Pie. Hmm.....hmm!

Right on my heels, My niece and her boyfriend came in. I exchanged warm hugs with her, and politely greeted him. I hadn't met him before, but he turned out to be a rather nice, mild mannered sort, that played guitar in a heavy metal band. Quite a contrast to my egomaniacal former brother-in-law, who to our secret delight, had opted to have Thanksgiving with some old friends of his!

We had a wonderful time together! My soon to be 90 year old mom, who is normally a tea totaler, had two glasses of Riesling, and became wonderfully giddy! My niece , while perfectly sober, is so much fun to be around, because he is just so naturally uninhibited, and my sister and I just seem to connect on a very subtle humorous level. Often just a word or certain look will propel us into laughter! It's aways been there, but I feel this connection between us is more acute, since I came out to her over a year ago! The same goes for my niece! While I have always loved them both dearly, I always felt like I had to hold back a significant portion of my personality when I was around them. Now that they both know the full story, and have even seen many pics of me, It's so much easier to let down my guard when I'm around them.

I have noticed another significant change in my relationships with family members. Now, right off the bat I want to emphasize that I dearly loved my twin sister, who departed a little over a year ago, but god love her, she had a personality, that put her in front of every one else. She was without a doubt, Mom's pet, and as such, recieved amazing forgiveness of sins. Now don't get me wrong. My twin was not a mean rotten sister by any means, she was just spoiled rotten, and consequently she gave little consideration to others, except when she wanted to for her own reasons. She was never deliberately rude to anyone, and she would have been appalled by anyone who was, but because she was so spoiled, she often didn't even consider the thoughts or feelings of others. She simply assumed that everyone else was on her wavelength. I never blamed that on her, I blamed it on my mom, who made a pet out of her, instead of a daughter. So.......anyway, when she was alive, she used to dominate the conversation between my mother, my older sister, and my niece if she was there. I couldn't get a word in edgewise, and was relegated to conversing with my brother-in-law, with whom I had little if anything in common. But a while after my twin was no longer able to dominate our narrative, I came out to my older sister and my niece, and ever since, we three have had a much stronger bond. I no longer feel like I have to compete with my twin to be part of the conversation, and I enjoy my time with my older sister, mother and niece, so much more. I'm sorry to say, that the passing of my twin has brought me closer to the rest of my family, but it has.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow I will be driving into Richmond for Thanksgiving with my mother, my sister, and my niece and her boyfriend. My late sister's husband will not be coming this year, since he made plans to go to spend Thanksgiving with some old friends of his. Everyone is secretly happy that he won't be there.

Yesterday I went on line, to find an appropriate holiday centerpiece for mom's table. I settled on a wicker cornucopia filled with colorful autumn flowers and leaves. It always amazes me how much it costs to send flowers theses days. A simple arrangement that list's for $39.99, will end up costing you over $60.00 after shipping, handling, rush delivery, and taxes are added in. Mom always tells me not to bother, because of the cost, but I always send her centerpieces for Thanksgiving and Christmas anyway, because I know how much she enjoys displaying them on her table. She kept last Christmas's evergreen centerpiece on her table for several months after Christmas. It was so dry by then, that it would have burst into flames, if a lit match came within an inch of it. I finally told her, she should either throw it away, or have it encased in a block of plastic!

Yesterday I also finally got around to installing the cover over the opening to my crawl space. After 21 years of exposure to the elements, the existing wooden framing and cover had almost completely rotted away. When I started to pull it out, two pieces of cinder block, supported by the top piece of framing fell out, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to completely seal the hole. Fortunately I had the piece of 1/2" pressure treated plywood that I got last week, cut large enough to cover the additional space that those two pieces of block took up. I drilled three holes on each side of the cover, then used a masonry bit to drill three corresponding wholes in the cinderblock on each side of the opening. Then it was just a matter of simply fastening the cover to the block with self-tapping masonry screws. It was a bit hard drilling into the block, because I couldn't find my relatively new DeWalt 3/4" drill motor, and I had to use a 35 year old Black & Decker 1/2" drill motor, that sounded like an old hand held electric mixer, and had about the same power. It did the job, but took some time, and I worked up a pretty good sweat keeping enough pressure on it to get the drill to penetrate the block. Once the holes were drilled, putting the screws in was a breeze using a nut driver to start them, and a socket and ratchet to tighten them down. The cover fit good and tight, and it won't be going anywhere, without using a wrench to take it loose. Hopefully it will help keep the mice out too, but I won't count on that. Eventually they always seem to find a way to get in. It was wet and muddy under the deck, so you can imagine what I looked like after crawling under there on my hands an knees, and spending 45 minutes sitting in front of the opening. When I was done, I was covered in mud, and wet all the way through my underwear. I'm thankful that's all over with!

I got the bill last week for the well pump, well pipe, and pressure tank replacement. It was just $126 short of $2000! If I had hired a carpenter to reframe the opening and install a new cover, I probably woud have had to add another $300-$400. My fix cost me just $45 in materials, and about an hour of sweat.

The following is a video on the history of Thanksgiving. I hope yours is a happy one!

Melissa XX

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Down To Business

Winter will soon be setting in, and I needed to secure the opening to my crawl space, where the well and pump contrator replaced my pressure tank. For those of you hooked up to municipal water supplies, when you are on a well, you need a a pressure tank to keep your pump from running continuously. The tank holds twenty gallons of water, and has a rubber membrane inside, that expands as the tank is filled, and provides water pressure to faucets, toilets, shower heads, and washing machines. When the tank reaches maximum pressure, a pressure switch turns off the pump, and the tension on the rubber membrane provides water pressure to the various taps in the house. When the pressure declines to a fixed point, the pressure switch turns the pump back on, and the tank is recharged with well water, so you always have adequate water pressure. It all works quite well, as long as everything is in order.

With cold weather coming on, I needed to get the opening to my crawlspace covered, so that freezing cold air does not blow on the tank and associated pipes and valves. I measured the opening, and determined that a 26" x 30" piece of pressure treated plywood could be fastened over the opening with masonry screws, and thereby keep me from having to hire a a carpenter to reframe the opening, and construct a replacement cover, which had rotted away after 21 years. So I drove into Richmond yesterday, and went to Lowe's ( a big box hardware store ), and got them to cut cut me the appropriate size piece of pressure treated plywood, which by the way those mercenary SOB's charged me the price of a full sheet of plywood for, even though it was less than a quarter of a sheet! I also got some masonry screws, an appropriate size masonry drill bit, and a new broom, since my 18 year old straw broom has seen better days. I'm thinking of donating my old broom to a certain witch, who seems to delight in tormenting selected bloggers in our little trans blogger community. Maybe she can use it to fly somewhere far, far away! Of course she won't. She is far too pathologically obsessed, to refrain from stalking sites where she has clearly been told she is not welcome.

I didn't do much tonight. I just sat in front of the TV, and watched PBS. Globe Trekker came on first at 7:00 PM, and gave us a glimpse of Paris, especially it's history, including the revolution and the Bastille, and a bit of an insight into the last days of Marie Antoinette, before her beheading. Her story always reminds me of the hilarious cartoon that Gary Larson of the Far Side once drew. He was one of the best cartoonists ever, and he depicted a terrified Marie Antoinette being hauled up the steps to the Guillotine, screaming, "And ice cream! I said, let them eat cake, and ice cream!"

Next came a Masterpiece Theater Contemporary show on John Lennon. I'm sorry I watched it, because I love John Lennon, and it seemed to focus way too much on his acerbic side, making him seem like a heartless SOB. But how could anyone who wrote Imagine be anything but full of love?

After that came a documentary on how the Russian youth's love of the Beatles' banned music, undermined Soviet propaganda, and helped bring down the Soviet system! It seems that back in the 60's, Russian teens were just as crazy about the Beatles, as western kids were, but they weren't permitted to buy their music, so they tuned into Radio Luxembourg, and recorded it on tape. I remember Radio Luxembourg well, because I was living in Frankfurt/am Main in the mid 60's, and the British pirate radio station, Radio Luxembourg was Europe's American military dependent's only good source of rock'n'roll. We loved it, because they even played their commercials in Rock'n'Roll! Armed Forces Network only played easy listening music back then, and the German stations played all German music, so Radio Luxembourg was not only a godsend to Russian kids, but to us as well! Anyway, the tradition lives on, and many Beatles cover bands exist in Russia, and the younger generations seem to love them as much as their parents. I wonder if those four boys from Liverpool, ever had any idea of how much of an impact they would eventually have on the world?

America's Thanksgiving is coming up this Thursday, so my sister, myself, my niece, and her new rock' n' roll band boyfriend, will be gathering at my mother's condo in Richmond on Thursday, to partake in roast Turkey, and all the trimmings. It sure will be nice, if my mother can refrain from making negative remarks about his long hair. Hopefully that will be the case. Zoloft seems to have mellowed her temperament considerably from when I was a child.

Melissa XX

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TDOR Revisited

The annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance has past, but that doen't mean we have to stop thinking about the victims of trans related violence. Indeed, we should never stop thinking of them. I apologize to Amy for lifting this from her blog, but everyone needs to see it:

Roy Antonio Jones III

Location: Southampton, NY

Cause of Death: Punched repeatedly and grabbed by the neck

Date of Death: August 1, 2010

Roy was 16 Months old.

Note: 20 year old Pedro Jones told police he had struck the infant several times with a closed fist. Jones said he was “trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl."

God love that dear sweet little child! The poor baby never never had a chance.

There is something radically wrong with our culture, when a 20 year old male feels compelled to beat a toddler to death with his closed fist, because he doesn't think the innocent babe is acting manly enough! I can think of few things sicker, than expecting a 16 month old child, who hasn't even realized itself, whether it is male, or female, to act like a male! I had this very same trouble with my own mother, when I was growing up, and although she could indeed be quite violent, and often was, at least she wasn't murderous. Still, she expected me to be a miniature version of a mature adult male, as early as three years old. In my very first blog post, An Assault On Innocence, I chronicled how violently my mother reacted, when I came home one afternoon, joyously sporting bright red fingernails, after spending a day with two very sweet teenage female baby sitters.

When are we going to get smart, and stop projecting our gender ideas on others, especially on innocent babes, when lives can be destroyed before they ever begin?

God love everyone who has ever been a victim of violence based on their gender identity, or sexual orientation, but especially all of the innocent children, who suffered at the hands of spoiled, selfish, and immature adults, who knew in their hearts, that they were wrong to visit such horror on innocent little babes.

With a tear in my eye, I bid love to you all,

Melissa XX

Friday, November 19, 2010


My new computing equipment just keeps on astounding me! If you have followed my blog, then you will know that I have had a problem with a certain aspect of the Blogger experience. That is, ever since switching from dial-up to wireless, I have been unable to post comments on any blog with the embedded comment box at the bottom of the post. Well.....since I plugged in my brand new wireless USB modem from Verizon, I now have full functionality on Blogger! So, all of you bloggers using the Blogger default embedded comment setting, keep an eye out for comments from Melissa! There are several of you who I've wanted to leave comments with for quite some time now, and I've always been sad that I couldn't.

Absentee Bloggers
We have all know bloggers that we were fond of, who simply vanished into the night, never to return again. Not being one who likes to panic (even though I do on occasion), I paid no mind, to when Sophie seemed to stop blogging. Sometimes people just want to take a break, and I know first hand that Sophie was very busy, tending to the requirements of her transition, so a leave of absence was not at all unexpected. (But was it a leave of absence, or was it.......a leaf of absinth...........) Oh my, there goes the silly side of my brain again. I assure you, it's quite uncontrollable. Now I'm picturing Sophie sitting somewhere in a cafe on the left bank, with a strange glass of milky green liquid before her. Well, at any rate I emailed Sophie just to inquire how things were going, and I found out she had even closed her email account! We belong to the same support group, but I haven't been to the last three meetings, and by the last comments she left on my blog a couple of months ago, I think she many not have gone recently either.

So, I don't have a clue as to what she is thinking about the rest of us. She has left a comment, or two on other blogs, that I have noticed, but she reamins un-linkable and un-e-mailable.

Home Repairs and Other Pains in the Ass
Owning a home is a royal pain in the ass! As Roseanne Roseannadana used to say, "It's always something!". When the workman replaced my well pump and pressure tank last week, he brought to my attention the fact that the the wooden framing, holding up the plywood cover to the crawlspace where the pressure tank was located, had rotted away, and the plywood cover had fallen into the opening. He recommended that I get it replaced very soon, because when temperatures drop severely, the cold wind blowing on my pressure tank and its associated valves, will likely freeze up my water works. So, I have another project to attend to. I will have to make the long trek back into Richmond, and get an appropriate size piece of plywood cut, to fasten over the opening. Since it is under the rear deck and no one can see it, I'm not going to bother hiring a carpenter to reframe the opening. I think I will just fasten a piece of plywood to the cinderblock over the opening with masonry screws. "Keep it simple stupid", is my motto!

And speaking of the late Gilda Radner
Here is a lovely little treasure of her, and the late Madeline Kahn together back in the day. Both of them always made me smile, but only when they weren't making me laugh hysterically with their crazy antics.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Quote Mark Twain.......

........."Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

OK....I know.......that line is pretty trite, but I needed a quick opening. Can you find it in your heart, you forgive me?

No........I'm not dead, nor have I been driven to ground, as one dear friend surmised. I'm afraid the explanation is much more mundane............internet problems. It seems that my trusty old wireless modem, that connected to the internet so gloriously fast for over a week, just kicked the bucket, but what did I expect? It was seriously out of shape. For two and one half years, it was connecting a cumbersome desktop to the web. A good hard pull to be sure, but never the aerobic workout it was designed for.

Wireless modems are marathon runners, not weight lifters, and my poor modem had become out of shape and muscle bound. When suddenly it was tasked with connecting the speedy laptop that it was originally designed for, it gave its all, and sent me surfing the web at blistering speeds! Then suddenly it faltered. It began to disconnect every five minutes, as if to say, "Slow down.....pant, pant......I can't keep up!" But being the cruel misstress that I am, I would dimiss its complaints, and instantly reconnect. Time and again it would try to do its duty, only to disconnect once more, then ultimately it collapsed. Presumably of heart failure. No attempts at resuscitation, could bring it back to life. Rest in peace, kind and faithful modem. You rescued me from the hell of dial-up, and for that I will be forever grateful.

We never realize how dependent we have become on our modern devices, until they are no longer available to us. For two and half days, I had no internet access at all, and I felt totally isolated from the world! No email, no internet news, no Wikipedia, no Blogger, but worst of all, I was faced with the prospect of actually writing and mailing checks to pay my bills! Imagine the horror! Now, that was just too much! Something had to be done, and it had to be done fast, so today I made the long trek into Richmond to visit my wireless provider's store, and get a new wireless USB modem.

The speed with which technology progresses never ceases to amaze me. The modem I bought to replace my nearly 3 year old modem with, was only a quarter of its size, and required no CD to to install it, because its driver was built in. It's hard to figue out the pricing of some of this communications stuff. The modem had a list price of$189.00, but was on sale for $50.00, with a $50.00 mail in rebate, making it essentially free with a new two year contract. I'm sure that at the end of two years, I will have paid far more than the actual cost of the modem, but C'est la vie!

Now that I'm back, I hope that all of the ridiculous carping over "is you is, or is you ain't a real lady" is finally over. Since there is no exact science concerning gender identity, and in spite of all of the pseudo-intellectual tripe that has been offered as science concerning transsexualism, essentially transsexualism remains a self-diagnosis. How absolutely absurd, to tell anyone you have never even met, and haven't spent any time with, that the way they self-identify is bogus! Hang in there sisters! You are who you say you are! And don't worry for one second about how pretty you are. Pettiness is not a requirement for womanhood. If you don't believe that, just take a look at all of the women around you.

I've been watching a really good documentary series on PBS, called Circus. Here are some videos from that series. If you get a chance, check it out. It's well worth the watch.

Melissa XX

Friday, November 12, 2010

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

No.......this isn't about any trans related experience. Just about some every day mundane things that I've had to deal with lately.

So my lovlies, as you all know, my I-Mac bit the dust more than a week ago, then my water system crapped out on me a couple of days ago, and today I went to wash a load of clothes, and lo and behold, my washing machine had died!...........or so I had thought.........for the better portion of the day, anyway.

I joyfully did several loads of laundry after my well pump and pressure tank were replaced yesterday, and all went well, but when I decided to do a load of whites this morning, (Yes! I do segregate my colors! No pink underwear for me, thank you!) suddenly my washer would not respond to its commands! It seems that even though it was turned off, water had been dripping into my machine overnight, caused by a tiny little piece of slate sediment stirred up by the well pump change. It was clogging a solenoid on the washer. At first I thought my washer was shot, and my heart sank! Another big expense, I thought! And that thought continued through the day today, until this evening when I was bailing out the accumulated dripping water from my washer with a sauce pan. It was a long and tedious process, and I was getting tired of it, because the configuration of the machine and its ringer in the middle, would never let me get more than half a sauce pan full of water at a time!

Then I remembered when I first installed the machine nearly 18 years ago, I had a similar problem. The wheels in my brain began to turn, and suddenly the solution popped into memory! I turned off the pump breaker, and opened the tap on the bath tub to drepressurise the water lines. This allowed the washer fill line to depressurise and clear the solenoid of its obstruction. Once the line had completely depressurised , I turned the pump breaker back on, and, voila! The machine began to drain and cycle again! Another big expense avoided, at least for now. My washer and dryer are 18 years old. How much longer can they last? The same can be said for my electric water heater. How have I avoided replacing all of these notoriously fickle appliances in all these years? Just lucky, I guess.

Please, keep your fingers crossed for me! I would love to get through another winter, with a minimum of hassles!

So, while I have you all here, have I ever told you how much I love all of you?
Melissa XX !


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ashokan Farewell

Since Armistice Day has morphed into Veteran's Day in the United States, and because I was so inspired by a viewing of a poignant episode of Ken Burn's documentary, The Civil War tonight, I thought I would post a video of Jay Unger and Molly Mason's "Ashokan Farewell", that Burns used as the theme song, for what turned out to be his best work ever. The American Civil War was the bloodiest war in all of our history. Tens of thousands died in battles that lasted only a few hours, as they marched headlong into each other's field of fire. It was absolute insanity, but as Ken Burns showed in his award winning documentary, it inspired the absolute best from some of the most insignificant people. People with only an elementary school education, wrote some of the most beautiful and eloquent letters back home to their loved ones. Listening to them, makes one aware of how much better those with scant little education in those days wrote, than many today with multiple university degrees. Listen to the music in this video. It is both beautiful and haunting at the same time, and a perfect tribute to all of those poor souls on both sides, who gave their lives in this horrible war.

Melissa XX

Have I Ever Shared This With You Before?

Forgive me if I have. I just couldn't resist.

Diana Krall: You Go To My Head


Melissa XX

Ahhh! The Joys Of Living In The Wilderness

It's pretty and peaceful out here in the Piedmont. None of the hustle and bustle of the fast life back in town. But it requires a sense of independence that many city dwellers are unaccustomed to. There are so many things that you just take for granted when you live in a city, like uninterrupted gas for your kitchen stove, furnace, water heater, and even your fireplace if you have gas logs. You are also hooked up to a municipal water supply, that remains constant, unless a catastrophic flood takes out the water purification plant.

On Monday evening, I went to my mother's in Richmond, for supper as usual. Before I went, I took a shower. Upon my return, I wanted to wash my hands and face, so I went into the bathroom and turned on the tap. Nothing! Just a sickening gurgling sound. My first reaction was, WTF? I have been living here for nearly 18 years, and the only time I ever lost water was when the power went out, but this time the power was on, and I had just taken a shower five hours earlier. I went straight to the circuit breaker panel to see if my well pump had tripped the breaker, but it hadn't.

Flowing water is such a basic necessity of modern life. You need it to wash your body, your clothes, your dishes, and most of flush your toilets. Suddenly I felt my body being washed in that sickening flood of adrenaline, that happens whenever panic begins to set in. Oh crap! What was I going to do now? What would it cost me to replace a well pump, or pressure tank, or both? Who would I even call, that I could trust to do a decent, honest job? I went to bed that night, with the aid of two Benadryl tablets to help me take my mind off of it all and get to sleep. Otherwise I would have lain in bed all night, agonizing over it.

The next day was spent fruitlessly searching the internet for well and pump contractors in my county. I could find none. Finally I looked up the county Chamber of Commerce, something I should have done in the first place, and asked if they new of any reputable well and pump contractors that servered our county. The woman I spoke to gave me the name of a contrator that recently worked on her well, as well as several others. None were located in our county, but they were in adjacent counties, and served our area as well. I looked up the one that she said did some work for her on the internet, and they were only 25 miles away. I read their reviews and, they seemed to get good reports, so I decided to call them. The trouble was, it was late in the day by then, so I waited until the next morning. Fortunately I had several five gallon jugs of fresh water, for my drinking water dispenser, so I could at least wash my hands and face and brush my teeth.

So, this morning.........well yesterday morning actually, by the look of the clock, I called them right after breakfast. Their secretary took my call and information, and said that she would get back with me shortly, or one of their service teams would call. About 30 minutes later, I got a call from one of their technicians, and he said he would be there within 30-45 minutes! I was surprised! I was sure I would have to wait a day or two, but sure as he said, his truck pulled up in my driveway in about 40 minutes!

Now, I had spent 37 years, working in a large chemical plant, maintenance department, staffed mainly by a large contingent of........well, let's be frank.........rednecks. Many of them were some of the surliest, cocksure, hard to get along with men I have ever known. It's been so nice the last three years, to get away from that type, and I feared having to deal with it again, but these guys were great! I stood and watched them, and talked to them the whole time, and they were nothing, if not very courteous and knowledgeable good workers, and far as I could tell, honest.

It turns out, the pvc pipe connecting my well pump to the main water line, broke at the brass fitting. They said that type of pvc pipe weakens with age, and the constant torque of the pump starting and stopping, eventually broke the pipe off at that junction. The pump was still working, but it and the pressure tank under the house were 21 years old. They were amazed that it lasted that long, and said the average age of a well pump was 8-10 years. Since they had to pull the pump, to replace the old pvc pipe with new blue poly tubing, I told them to go ahead and install a new pump and pressure tank as well, so I wouldn't have to call them back six monts to a year from now. Amazingly, they pulled out 180 feet of pipe, and installed a new pump and pressure tank in just a little over two hours time! So this afternoon and evening was spent, happily doing laundry, and once again giving toilets a well needed flush! Now I await the bill for their services. I'm expecting anywhere between $1,200 to $2,000. I'll let you know what the damage is, when the bill arrives in the mail, but whatever, as the old folks say, "C'est la vie"!

It was a beautiful autumn day to be outside! The temperature was in the low to mid 60's, thanks to a high pressure system stalled out over the eastern part of the US. The sky was azure, (If we were in central Asia, I would say it was, "Azure by John!") and the remaining turning leaves basked in the glory of the late autumn sun! There were so many uncollected leaves on the ground, that the well technicians lost a few electrical butt splice connectors under them. No worry though, since they had a well equipped service truck, filed with whatever they needed. No Jacklegs, these guys. They were true professionals!

On to other things.

I'm a peaceful type, and I tolerate a wide range of opinion, provided it's done in a civil manner. That's why it pained me so much to shut my blog down to someone yesterday. Ironically, for the ultra orthodox transwoman that I blocked, the only other person I have ever done that to before, was a fetishistic transvestite, who had a very kinky, sexually suggestive avatar. While I have nothing but love for all transgender people, wherever they stand on the gender spectrum, my blog is not sexually oriented, nor is it a blog for long running feuds with the transsexual elite. All those however, with open minds, open hearts, who are calm of nature, and possess a relatively good sense of taste (According to my is my blog after all!), and a good sense of humor, are perfectly welcome. I have to say that I was touched by all of the comments on my blog in support of me, and especially all of the emails! What lovely, supportive friends we have here, in our own little corner of the blogosphere!

Melissa XX

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Daylight Savings Time Comes To An End

Greetings my lovelies!

Tonight marks the end of Daylight Savings Time here in the US. At 2:00 AM, we turn our clocks back one hour. This is better than when the reverse is true in the spring, because it means we get an extra hour to lounge between the sheets in the morning! The downside for many, is that it will now start to get dark by about 5:30 PM. That has never bothered me. I can relate to the night. Unlike Dracula however, I don't consider the barking of my neighbor's dogs in the middle of the night, to be beautiful music. No children of the night, these dogs.............just a bunch of rowdy yappers, but a fan in the bedroom drowns them out.

Actually, the early onset of darkness has it's advantages, for me at least. For one, it means one less hour a day, that my obsessive/compulsive disordered next door neighbor can run her noisy ass, gasoline powered leaf blower! What I've often been tempted to do with that infernal machine, is just too obscene to mention in this blog.

It also means that while driving home from my mothers in Richmond on Monday evenings, I won't have the setting sun shining directly into my eyes, although if I'm honest, that actually ceases to be problem by early to mid September, since my drive is to the northwest. I do prefer the coziness of the dark cockpit, lit only by the glow of the light from the instrument panel and radio. There is just something very intimate about riding down the highway in a car at night, with the radio, or CD player playing your favorite station or album. You're in your own little world. You can't see the other drivers, and they can't see you. I suppose those so inclined could interpret it as a regression.......a desire to return to the womb. I don't know about that, nor do I really care. At 62, I'm not about to tell my nearly ninety year old mother, that I want back inside, because I really don't, besides that would be way too icky to even imagine! So, nope........nothing quirky about it, I just like night driving.

I was out driving around the countryside today, and while there are still plenty of leaves left on the trees in the Piedmont, sadly we are now past peak color. The brilliant reds, yellows and bright oranges have been replaced by pale greens, muted yellows, muted ambers, and browns. From my rear deck, I can once again see the houses on the other side of the pond, where only a month ago, they were obscured by the jungle of foliage between my house and the north bank. Two weeks from now all the color will be gone, and most of the trees will be bare. The shameless exhibitionism of Autumn, will be replace by the stark dignified beauty of the oncoming winter. It's currently 28.7° F/- 2.3° C, and I'm comfortably ensconced in front of a glowing quartz heater. Radiant quartz heaters are the next best thing to a crackling fire. Maybe even better, since they take only a fraction of the time to come up to temperature.

My new Mac Book Pro laptop has me mesmerized! I'm using the same wireless USB modem that I used with my now defunct I-Mac, but the connection speed with the lap top is ten times faster! No more ten minute waits for videos to play! I also prefer the tactile sensation of the keyboard, to the I-Mac. It seems to be much more sensitive. On the I-Mac, I always felt like I had to pound the keys pretty hard, or I would miss a character. The Mac Book keyboard is also back lit, making each character stand out. I was a bit taken back by the smaller screen size at first, but since it's sitting on my lap, directly in front of my face, and I can easily enlarge the text, or picture it's not a problem. I've never had a lap top before, so it took some getting used to. Eventually, I had to plug my trackball mouse into it, not only because I had become so used to the convenience of a trackball, but because I couldn't figure out which keys corresponded to the left and right mouse buttons. The Mac Book has a wonderful finger pad, that you can use one finger to move the cursor, or two fingers to scroll the page up and down or left and right, but I still haven't figured out the corresponding left and right click keys. Does anybody have any ideas?

A very dear sweet girlfriend came to my defense yesterday in an email, when a now notorious TS pedant, and drive by shooter, decided once again to spray my blog with her reactionary bullets. At 62 years old, I have so much scar tissue from far worse attacks, that bullets of this sort do no more than leave a small bruise. She is at least my age. Surely she must know by now, that while the heart remains soft for those who deserve its warmth, the skin thickens to protect it from the attacks of those who don't. What a shame she is so self-satisfied. Coming from the same generation, she and I could have been such great friends, but she burned that bridge, with her very first judgmental comment on my blog. I'm so sorry about that. Hopefully she will someday learn the truth revealed by Albert Einstein.....that everything is relative. That is a law that applies not only to the cosmos, but to everything within it, including our own existence. A lack of that fundamental understanding, or an unwillingness to accept it, has been at the root of every human misunderstanding, since the dawn of mankind. Unfortunately it will very likely remain so, and that is the curse of the human race.

Well all know me, and I'm not about to end my blog on a negative note. My dear sweet girlfriend in Arizona is not the only one who has supported me. There are so many of you who have expressed your love, kindness, and solidarity with me, since I've started my blog, that I am truly overwhelmed. How could I not love you all?

Melissa XX