Saturday, September 11, 2010


I’m so sorry for my intemperate outburst last night. After spending an hour and half composing an entry to my blog, I entered a keystroke, and suddenly all my work just vanished into thin air! I went back to edit posts to see if it was there, but no! This has happened to me several times before, and I was outraged, so I cursed. I’m ashamed of that. Since I retired, and am no longer under the daily stress of having to go to work and pretend I’m a guy, I rarely ever curse at all anymore, but this struck a nerve. When I write, it usually comes right off the top of my head, but it’s as real as if I was talking to you face to face. Suddenly I realized I would never see those words again, and I felt like I had been robbed! Well………it ain’t gonna happen tonight! On the advice of Veronica, Caroline and others, I am composing this post as a Word document first, so that it will at least be saved to my own computer, should the hungry Blogger decide to devour it as well.

I went to the grocery stored yesterday. That’s about a 35 mile round trip to the closest one. It gives me a chance to take a nice little drive through the Virginia Piedmont, an area of rolling hills, leading up to the Blue Ridge Mountains, from the coastal plain. It’s pretty country. Lots of woods interspersed with hay and cornfields, a few ponds, and the occasional cluster of subdivided lots. The hay fields had all just been mown. It was the last harvest of the season, and huge wheels of fresh hay lay strewn across them. Have you ever smelled new mown hay? What a wonderful sensation! Whenever I smell it, I envy the horses and cows that will be dining on it. Maybe it’s just the particular type we have growing here. I don’t know what it is, but when mature, it has a red top, and when freshly mown, it has a sweet spicy aroma that is very enticing! I really thing I could eat it myself! Lucky cows and horses!

On the way back I became acutely aware that summer is done for. Not by the calendar, since the equinox has yet to arrive, but by the more moderate temperatures, the long shadows across the road, and the clear azure sky, with nary a cloud in sight. In fact the only thing separating horizon from horizon, were the contrails of long gone jetliners. The high temperature today was only 79° F and the humidity was much lower than what it had been only a month ago. There were also telltale signs in the woods. Hints of amber, yellow, orange and red are just beginning to appear here and there. In a little over a month from now, the Piedmont will be ablaze with color! My favorite time of year!

In late October, it will also be one year since my twin departed. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year. For the most part, I am over my grief, but every now and then, something will trigger my memory, and I am overcome with sadness. Memories of Jane when she was healthy don’t do that. It’s just the memories of her during the end, when she was deteriorating, and I knew that she was on an inexorable down hill slide. I’m just thankful that she had very good hospice care. Oh, geeze! Just writing about it is making me cry. I have to stop it, or I won’t be able to continue this post.

As I write, I’m listening to Sibelius’s, Finlandia – Karelia Suite & Lemminkainen Suite. Sorry, no umlaut on my keyboard, so the “a” in Lemminkainen goes shamelessly naked. I was first introduced to Sibelius, by none other than the writer Jan Morris, when I read her account of her transition from male to female, in her autobiography, Conundrum. It’s been out of print for ages, and was even out of print when I first went looking for it in book stores, back in the early mid eighties. I finally located a copy of it in the Virginia State Library in Richmond, and checked it out, and what a revelation it turned out to be! Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Although she was writing about her own personal experience in life, there were so many similarities to my life, that I almost felt like I was reading my own biography. I wept through the entire book, and when I finished reading it, I could not stop weeping. After years of denial, and beating around the bush, and trying to convince myself that I was just a cross dresser, I came face to face with the reality of what I actually was. There was no mistake about it anymore. I was indeed transsexual. So thanks to Jan Morris, for opening my eyes, and helping me to accept who and what I am.

All of the fall catalogs are starting to come out now, and once again I am enticed to splurge, but I’m really trying to practice restraint this time. I haven’t made an online purchase in over two months! That’s an excellent short term track record for me! I’m normally such a pushover for ads of pretty girls wearing pretty clothes, that I go straight to the order form, deluding myself into thinking that what she is wearing will be just as pretty on me. Ha! How could it ever be? She is nineteen years old, with a beautiful face, and a perfect body, and I am nearly 62, with an old face, and a body that I have absolutely no intention of describing to you!

I mentioned Sibelius’s Finlandia a while back, but I didn’t tell you that I am also listening to Sibelius’s Symphonies No. 4 and No. 5. Great stuff! Thanks again to Jan Morris!

As usual, I went to my mother’s for supper Monday evening. My brother-in-law wasn’t there, thank goodness, but neither was my niece, and I missed her. I asked her mother where she was, and it turns out she was at the “Criminal Pool” celebrating Labor Day. Now don’t get me wrong. My niece is a sweetheart, and definitely not a criminal, but the pool she goes to has been dubbed “The Criminal Pool”, because it is a private association, comprised of a lot of non-conformist and artistic types (read that: bohemian) who like to smoke weed, and drink a lot of beer and wine. Wonderfully intelligent and friendly people, but definitely not your average mainstream types. If I lived back in town, and I still thought I was a guy, I would probably want to go there too, since those are the type of people I hung out with when I was younger and still in denial. My niece is a sweetheart! She is a college graduate, but she majored in theater arts, and there is no job market for actresses. Consequentially she waited on tables for years, before securing a job with a national big box hardware and home improvement store. At 42, at least now she has a secure job with benefits, even though she never gets two days off in a row. Personally I would hate that. Being off on Monday, and then again on Saturday? Screw that, but when you have no choice, like she does, you do what your have to do to make a living.

Well, what do you know? Nine paragraphs written, and all of it is still here! I guess Veronica and Caroline gave me good advice after all! A big warm hug to both of them!

Melissa XX


Stace said...

OK that was weird... Tried to post a comment and blogger said it couldn't complte my request. Refreshed the post and blogger said it didn't exist - I had to go back to your main page and try again...

Anyway, whilst it's a pain composing offline and then copying it to blogger - at least you know you are not going to lose your text.

I'd love to see autumn in a place with little traffic. Here everything gets turned a brown colour due to the amount of polution you get in a high population concentration. We need pictures when it happens :)


Caroline said...

I read this and my heart sank a little. The colours are changing here now and I was going to write in my blog that the colours were changing here now. See! Not a hint of poetry in that description! To make it worse no sweet smell of hay in the air but of cabageyness from the harvest of broccoli!

Glad you got the post out in the end.

Caroline xxx

Lucy Melford said...

Melissa, it sounds as if you should be getting your camera out again for the autumn colours!

I too love Sibelius. My ex-wife introduced me to his first symphony back in 1990, when our marriage was on its last legs, and she'd come home, open up a bottle of dry Martini, and listen to that symphony over and over again. God knows what she was thinking. I always thought that the surge of the music here and there was very reminiscent of the rise and fall of an argument between two people exasperated with each other. After she left me, I went on to explore the rest of Sibelius's repertoire, which I claimed for myself. I still enjoy it so much.


Veronica said...

I might have mentioned Word, but I hope I emphasized using Notepad. It requires manual saving, but at least it's a bare-bones text editor. That allows the Blogger style sheet to do its thing, and it stays out of sight. For me that's good, because sometimes I edit the HTML. The trouble with Word is that it drags in its own style sheet and a whole lot of "cruft" -- extra HTML code. But then, I'm an old school programmer from the days when disk space was at a premium.

BTW, your description of the hay fields is lovely, but I don't think you'd enjoy the hay unless you were a ruminant. :)

Dru Marland said...

I used to like sitting in the barn smelling the hay. Ours was particularly heady because father was always a bit impatient, and there would often be a bit of fermenting going on down there in the bales. So they were sometimes also warm on a chilly evening...

Conundrum was out of print for ages here too, and then I found a copy in the Amnesty charity shop and finally got to read the whole thing. In the back of the book were cuttings from the Sunday Times excerpts from the book, which I had read in the ST back in 74, very surreptitiously and in the shock of recognition and fear that I might be the same...

Caroline said...

Of course Melissa would enjoy the hay, she is always ruminating!

Caroline xxx

Caroline said...

For such a small print run it is surprising just how many that book touched.

We read it because we already knew we were cursed but it was reassuring to know that we were not alone.

Caroline xxx

Melissa said...

@ Veronica

I might enjoy the flavor of hay, but I don't think I have the teeth for chewing it. I'd probably have to run it through the food processor for a bit first!

@ Dru and Caroline

I think that a picture of Jan Morris in an early 1970's edition of Time Magazine, was only the second picture of a transsexual that I had ever seen. Of course the first was of Christine Jorgensen. When I first went about inquiring about Conundrum in books stores, I also took a somewhat surreptitious tack, claiming that I was doing some academic research on transsexuals. I was so afraid being discovered.

Melissa XX

Calie said...


I compose all of my posts in Gmail. It always autosaves and they remain there as drafts until I decide whether or not to posts them. Most never get posted, lol, but then you're luck if you see a post from me every two weeks or so. Once I have the post done, I paste it into Blogger and add pictures or whatever. There's probably a much better way to do it but it works for me.

I always love your comments about the seasons and particularly Fall. Still very much summer out here, even in the mountains where I live, but I so remember Fall when living in New England.

Please try to remember the good times with your twin. Never lose those memories.

And what's this about an old face? How many time do I have to tell you that you're gorgeous?

Calie xxx