Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I'm Back In The Hospital

I'm feeling pretty groggy right now. I'm taking two long acting Morphine tablets twice a day, and getting IV Dilaudid every three hours, so please bear with my incoherence.

My back had been bothering me for about the last month, and was getting worse. The pain in my left lung and spleen had disappeared altogether, but the pain in my liver never went away. In fact it got gradually worse, and by Sunday afternoon, it had become tortuous, reaching a crescendo of debilitating misery by Sunday evening. Anything but the shallowest breath would bring on a hellish stabbing pain and a cry of agony. There was nothing left to be done but get me to the Emergency Room as quickly as possible, and since I wasn't about to ride with my mother, especially at night, calls were put out to find alternative transportation, but no one was home! The only thing left to do was call 911. Within five minutes an ambulance pulled up to the building, and within less than 10 minutes total, five emergency responders were standing out in the hallway, ringing my mother's bell. That would be the bell on her door, not the bell in her head.

They came in and took vital signs, and questioned me about the history of my condition, and then with me moaning in agony, they helped me onto their gurney, and we began he trip down the hallway, and down the elevator from the 10th floor to the lobby, and then out to their ambulance. Mom rode up front in the ambulance as a passenger, with the driver and other male responders, while I was tended to in the back by the two female responders.

Because it was a Sunday night, the emergency room was not crowded, and it wasn't long before I was attended to. I was first X-rayed, then given a CT scan, where it was determined that my cancer had moved into the bone, and caused a compression fracture in my spine. It had also advance in my belly. The experimental therapy that I was on worked well to decrease the tumors with a particular genetic mutation in my lung and spleen, but there must have been other mutations as well, and they grew and spread unaffected by the miracle pills
I was taking. The ER doctor was very kind to me and giving me his blessings and well wishes, ordered the ER nurse to inject 2 mg of Dilaudid into my IV, which caused an instantaneous rush of blessed relief! It was like being caressed by a thousand angels! I now know why people become junkies.

I thought this was the end of the line for me, so I requested some information on hospice care, but I saw my oncologist yesterday, and he said that I shouldn't give up. He said he wants to treat the cancer in my spine with radiation, and then put me on an intravenous therapy that he said was pretty effective. He acknowledged that Melanoma was incurable, but he said he has seen this therapy add several years on to the lives of patients. He said that considering my age, he thought I should go for it. I agreed, so if everything gets approved by my insurance, we are going to continue managing my pain with drugs, and start radiation and chemotherapy. One of the side effects of most intravenous chemotherapies, is the loss of body and head hair. I'm already bald on top, so no big deal there. Hopefully I will soon be able to say good-bye to my recently reacquired hirsuteness as well.

Love to all!

Melissa XX

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Taste Of Freedom (and some other good stuff)

I managed to escape the confines of my 10th floor prison yesterday, when my jailer (mom) suggested we go to Ruby Tuesdays for our evening meal. While only a brief furlough, it was good to get out amongst other human beings with my mom and sister, and enjoy a meal cooked and served by others. It gave mom a break from her routine too. She spends far too much time cooking and cleaning up. I try to help as much as possible, but we often just get in each other's way.

We all like Ruby Tuesdays. They have good food, and their prices are reasonable. Like the geriatrics that we have all become, we usually go out to eat between 5:00 and 5:30 PM, so we get there before the crowd arrives. This ensures a good seat, and a short wait for our food. Before we left mom's, it was suggested that we take sweaters, since sometimes the airconditioning in restaurants makes them too cold for short sleeves. When I heard that, I thought, well if I'm going to take a sweater, then I might as well change from shorts to long pants. No point in wearing a sweater, if I'm going to have my legs exposed. As it turned out, we were seated next to a sweltering west facing window. Fortunately the hostess had the good sense to closed the wooden venetian blinds, otherwise we would have felt like we were having supper in a hot house. Needless to say the sweater wasn't necessary, nor were the long pants. Next time I go, I will probably forgo the extra clothing, and then be seated directly below an airconditioning duct!

Did I say the food at Ruby Tuesdays is good? I had a half a rack of barbecued babyback ribs, a serving of grilled asparagus, and large portion of some of the best French fries I have ever eaten. They were nice and crispy, with the skins still on, and not overly salted. The grilled asparagus was delicious, and the pork was succulent and falling off the bone. The ribs were slathered in a thick coating of sweet smokey barbecue sauce, that required the use of two napkins and a lot of finger licking.

Because she is very finicky about what she likes and doesn't like, Mom chose the Asian babyback ribs instead. She despises anything with a smokey flavor. She also got French fries and a serving of their yummy mashed cauliflower. She took a couple of bites from the ribs, and refused to eat anymore of them. She said they tasted like smoke. I guess she was expecting the kind of sweet unsmoked ribs that Chinese restaurants serve when you get a Pu Pu Platter, but this wasn't a Chinese restaurant, and these ribs were cooked in the smoker along with the others. They had Asian spices applied, instead of barbecue sauce. No loss though. They were taken home in a doggy bag, and I will be eating them for lunch today. She did enjoy her fries and mashed cauliflower.

My sister had a turkey burger, French fries and broccoli. I never had a turkey burger before, so she gave me a little taste. It was nothing like a hamburger, but it was good nevertheless, and she liked it too. So other than mom, who is a notoriously finicky eater, we thoroughly enjoyed our meals and were too full for desert. I really enjoyed getting out, and would like to do it more often. Hopefully next time my niece can come too.

Oh, by the way.............we took my mothers car, but my sister drove (Thanks be to the gods!). Mom's car is ruby red and so are the bumpers. We noticed white streaks on both the left and right corners of her front bumper. I'm thinking we need to install rods on all four corners of her car, with red flags at the top, so she knows where her bumpers are!

Melissa XX

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Two Nations Separated By A Common Language

My sister and niece came for supper yesterday evening. We can always count on my niece to lift our spirits by saying something funny, and as usual she did not fail us. She recalled a story over three decades old, about a visit my sister's best friend made to England.

It was back in the seventies, and at the time there was a very popular unisex hair style, worn by many of the popular rock stars of the day. It was a layered cut that was known here in the US, as a shag. Now as I'm sure most of you know, in England the word shag has a totally different meaning.

While there, my sister's friend decided she needed a haircut, so she went to a local salon. While seated in the stylist's chair, the stylist asked her what she wanted. Without thinking she replied, "I'd like a long shag, with bangs." You can imagine the laughter that ensued!

Melissa XX

Sunday, June 26, 2011


My road to fitness seems to be a hilly one. I spent three successful days on the recumbent cycle in the exercise room on the first floor. I was able to increase my time by five minutes each day, so I thought if I can do that, then surely I can walk across the parking lot to Krogers next door, and do some grocery shopping. My mother has been doing all the grocery shopping since I arrived here, and I felt a little guilty about it, so I asked her to make a list of what she wanted, and I would add that to my list and go over and get it.

They allow you to bring your shopping cart back to the apartment building, so you can take it up on the elevator to your floor. You then leave the cart in the laundry room, and one of the building's porters takes them back down the utility elevator and back to the store. So Thursday afternoon, I set out to get some groceries. My back was hurting, but I thought I could handle it. When I got outside, the temperature was in the low 90's and the sun was blazing, so I went to my truck first to retrieve my sunglasses, then I made my way across the burning hot asphalt to Krogers. By the time I got there, my legs felt like concrete, and I wondered if I could go on. It was an effort just to step up onto the curb at the store's entrance.

Once inside, I got a small cart and thought I would just lean on it a bit for support, while I attended to my shopping list. I manage to get just two boxes of pasta, a bottle of olive oil, and a can of salmon, before I realized that I just couldn't do it. I had to get my sleeping pill prescription refilled while I was there, so I hobbled over to the pharmacy section. The pharmacist said it would take about twenty minutes. Thank goodness they had a small lobby with some chairs, so I sat down and thumbed through a trashy tabloid, filled with stories of the infidelities of various stars, and their fashion faux pas. Not my usual reading material, I assure you, but it was all they had. As I sat there, I fet hot and faint. I noticed a cooler nearby filled with bottled water, so I got up and grabbed a 20 oz bottle of water and returned to my chair.

The way I was feeling, I knew I wouldn't be able to finish my shopping, let alone walk back across the hot parking lot pushing a cart, so I got on my cell phone and called my mother to come and rescue me in her air conditioned Mercury Grand Marque. I know...........I don't like to ride with her, but it was just a two minute drive back her building, so I figured what could possibly go wrong? I paid for my prescription, and the few other items I had, and waited in another chair at the door for her to pull her car up.

When she pulled up to the entrance of the store, I went out and got into her car. We hadn't even gotten out of the parking lot yet, when she nearly t-boned a car coming up the entrance road! She was trying to make a left turn, and didn't even bother to look right before pulling out into traffic. I saw the car coming, and yelled LOOK OUT! She slammed on the brakes, just narrowly missing the oncoming car! I gripped the leather seat as firmly as I could with my buttocks, and held my tongue as she cut corners, gunned the engine to take off, and slammed on brakes to slow down at every stop, until we finally made it back to her building. She let me off at the entrance where I breathed a sigh of relief, then she put the car in one of the empty diagonal parking spaces. While doing so, she stepped on the accelerator pedal too hard, and slammed into the car parked in front of her, putting a pie pan size dent in it's fender! I swear, the woman is going to either kill herself, or someone else before long. I would like to find a way to convince her to stop driving before she becomes a statistic, but she really thinks she is a good driver, and you can't argue with her, because she is as stubborn as a mule. Even when proven wrong, she remains convinced of her certitude.

Other than that bit of excitement, life has been pretty dull here in the condo. TV is such a wasteland of obnoxious commercials that I have decided to dip into my mother's stash of books. I was never a prolific book reader. When I was working, by the time I got home I was always too tired to read. A few pages and I would nod out. But now, with so much time on my hands and nothing to do, it's a different story. I'm currently reading The WInd In The Willows. I'm sure that some teacher read it to us long ago in early grade school, but if they did, it's a long forgotten memory. It's such a lovely story told from the animal's perspective, and I soon found myself longing to live in a tidy, cozy burrow, sharing good cheer by a crackling fire, with mice, moles, rats and badgers!

Melissa XX

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Have To Admit It's Getting Better

I'm feeling good today. I went for a checkup yesterday. They drew blood, weighed me, checked my BP and temperature, gave me an EKG and then the Doctor looked me over. Everything checked out good. The Nurse Practitioner that is involved with their drug research program said she was amazed at how good I looked. The last time she saw me, I was in a wheel chair and white as a ghost. Since then, I had lost 30 lbs of fluid that I was retaining (yes, 30 lbs!), the color had returned to my face and I walked in on my own with no walker. I asked the Doctor if it was OK to get some exercise and he gave me the green light, so I'm going to start out on some of the exercise equipment down on the first floor. Once I get some stamina built up, he said it would be OK to go for walks outside early or late in the day, as long as I put on sun screen and wear a hat.

I also found out just how lucky I am to live here, when the Nurse Practitioner told me that the Virginia Cancer Institute is the only place on the east coast participating in the study of the experimental drug I am on. She said they have one patient who comes down from New York for treatment, and they had an inquiry from a patient as far west as Colorado. It's really a shame that Roche hasn't made this drug available to more cancer treatment centers around the country. The NP said that once the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approves it, the pills will cost $3500.00 a week! Fortunately for me right now they are free, because until they get FDA approval, I'm still technically part of their research program.

Speaking of getting better, does anyone remember this one by the Fab Four?

Melissa XX

Friday, June 17, 2011

Too Much Time On My Hands

What day is it? Is it Thursday? Is it Friday? Is it Saturday? Who knows? One day is a just like the next. I get up, I take my meds, I eat breakfast, spend some time on the laptop, watch some boring TV, eat lunch, watch some more boring TV, get back on the lap top, eat supper, watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, then a couple of old movies, take my meds again, then go to bed. I'm going stir-crazy!

Melissa XX

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Contemplating Hirsuteness

I've always thought it should be called hairsuitness. The word comes from the Latin hirsutus, but having absolutely no understanding of Latin, I can't say for sure that that isn't the original meaning. After all, isn't it a natural suit of hair worn by it's victims? I say victims, because from my point of view, hairiness is a curse, but I'm sure there are many, mostly males I would think, who take pride in their woolliness.

Since I became ill, I've been living with my mother in Richmond, because it's closer to my doctors and because I really couldn't expect people to make an 80 mile round trip just to give me a ride to my appointments. Mom knows I'm trans, but at 90 years old, she just doesn't understand the depth of the condition, and thinks it's just some kind of occasional quirk that needs to be satisfied. She has never accepted that I have a female brain, and will always think of me as her son. Consequently, she has never met, let alone known the real me, and likely never will. She doesn't even know of the existence of this blog. So for the last month and a half I have been living completely in male mode. It doesn't bother me all that much, because my mind is concentrated on doing all that I can to survive the cancer that has invaded my body. I'm sure the anti-depressant medication I'm taking helps too.

The one thing that does bother me though, is the return of my body hair. It's been nearly two months since I last epliated, and and I'm becoming increasingly wooly. I thought of having my sister drive me out to my house to retrieve my epilator, but I know it would create a stir with my mother. For one thing, her bathroom is tiny, and when I say tiny, I mean I bumped my head on the door knob, while bending over to pull my pants back up after getting off the toilet! It also does not have an electrical outlet. Epilators are messy too, in that they propel yanked out hairs in every direction. Even if I did have a place to plug it in, I would have to take up the rugs, and thoroughly sweep or vacuum the floor each time I epilated, and I'm just not up for that kind of effort right now. Then too, I have my cancer medication to think about. Side effects of the medication, which ironically do not include loss of body hair, do include dry flakey skin, rashes, and even the possible occurrence of other forms of skin cancer. I'm not sure that epilation would be a very wise thing to do while undergoing treatment, given the possibility of ingrown hairs becoming infected.

So, as High Priestess of the Order of the Immaculate Epilation, you can imagine my shame. I have confessed to dear Sister Caroline, that I have become a disgrace to our order, and am now contemplating self flagellation as a penance for my sin. She is praying for my lost soul. I beg you to do the same.

Your hirsute sister,
Melissa XX

Friday, June 3, 2011

Terminal Boredom

Now that the excitement of x-rays, CAT scans, surgery and hospital stays are over, terminal boredom has set in. I am now at my mother's recovering and taking my meds, and each day seems like a carbon copy of the day before. If it weren't for occasional doctor's appointments, my sister's visits, and the one day a week that mom has a lady come in to help clean the apartment, I wouldn't know one day from the next. Even weekends seem the same, except for the fact that the TV schedule is slightly different.

And speaking of TV, how can there be so many channels and so little programing that's worth watching? Turner Classic Movies has been the one bright spot in my otherwise dull days. I love good old classic movies, and they show lots of them. I often wonder how anyone can even think of remaking some of them, or even making a modern day sequel. They usually pale in comparison to the original. A good example is National Velvet, with a pre-teen Elizabeth Taylor and a young Mickey Rooney. What a wonderful movie that was! Then in the late 70's, someone decided to make a modern day sequel, with Tatum O'Neil. TCM showed it right after the original. What a waste of film! It had none of the charm of the original. No wonder Elizabeth Taylor turned down the role as Tatum's mother.

After several horrendously scary trips to the doctor as a passenger in my 90 year old mother's car, I have arranged for for transportation with some more youthful drivers. My sister, brother-in-law and my sister's choir director have all volunteered their services, to which I am eternally grateful! I honestly don't know how mom has avoided an accident. She has no mechanical sense at all, and didn't even know how to operate the master door lock control on her armrest. To let me in, she was tuning off the ignition, pulling out the key and pressing the unlock button on the key! I had to show her the little toggle with the L/U symbol on it and show her how switching it to U unlocked all of the doors. By the way, she has had this car since 1996! Bless her heart though, she is doing all she can for me, and I truly do appreciate it. I just won't ever ride with her at the wheel again. She only has two modes of driving, mash on the gas, and when she's about to run into the back of someone, slam on the brakes! By the way, did I tell you she thinks she's an excellent driver?

Melissa XX

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just A Brief Update

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you who who left a comment on my last blog! It truly warmed my heart and lifted my spirits to see your kind words of support.

When I wrote that blog I was feeling about as bad as I have ever felt. I was extremely fatigued and in a lot of pain. I spent the better part of each day lying on the couch, under the influence of opiate pain killers. I have now been on a new experimental anti-melanoma drug, made my Roche for four days now, and the difference in the way I feel is quite remarkable. I feel much better. I'm still not 100%, as I still get fatigued if I'm on my feet too long, and I still have quite a bit of edema in my legs and abdomen, but that is improving too. The drug has many possible side effects, but so far I have tolerated it very well. I have to go back to the Virginia Cancer Institute about every ten days for blood work and a brief exam. Oddly one of the possible side effects of the drug is squeamish cell carcinoma, another dangerous form of skin cancer, so a full body skin exam has to be performed about once a month to check for that. If any is found, then it can be nipped in the bud.

So overall I am doing well, and I attribute at least a part of that to all of the love that you have sent my way!

As always, I love you all!

Melissa XOXO

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I'm sorry for going so long without posting an update on my blog. As most of you know, that's unusual for me. Some of you may recall me saying I had a nagging dry cough, and I thought it might be a case of late season flu. Turns out it was much more serious than that. The cough got worse, and I became increasingly more infirm. Finally on Monday, May 2nd I gathered all my strength and drove into town for my weekly supper at my mothers. When I got there I told my mother and sister that I was seriously ill, and needed someone to drive me to the doctor. After supper my sister drove me to Patient First, where I was examined and had blood work and x-rays taken. I had a mole on my back that out of stupidity and a good degree of fear and depression, I had neglected. It had started bleeding and became infected. The doctor at Patient First recommended that I make a bee line to the emergency room of a nearby hospital, so my sister drove me there, where further blood work and x-rays were taken. I was admitted to the hospital that night, and put on IV antibiotics. Two days later I was given a CAT scan, that revealed spots on my lungs, liver and spleen. The preliminary diagnosis was metastatic melanoma. The next day I had surgery to remove the mass on my back, leaving a 7-8 inch wound closed by 25 staples. I also had several lymph nodes removed from under my armpit. That wound was sealed with surgical glue. The wounds are healing nicely, and the staple have now been removed.

The pathology report confirmed the preliminary diagnosis. The oncologist said there is no cure, but there is an experimental drug that has shown significant success in shrinking certain melanoma tumors, and extending the life of the patient. They had to send my pathology from the hospital, to a lab in California to ensure that I had the proper mutation for the drug. Today I learned that my pathology does indeed conform to the drugs requirements, so tomorrow I'll be going the the Virginia Cancer Institute, where they will do a full body skin exam, and EKG, and some more lab work. If all is well, I will begin treatment the following day.

Being so acutely aware of your mortality, makes you take stock of yourself, and I have not been happy about the way my blog and many of my comments have turned. It went from bright and friendly to downright combative. Perhaps because I love you all so much, and felt the need to protect you and myself from so many of the negative posts and comments that have shown up this past year. Well, I'm done with that. I will now leave the fighting to others. In reality there is no need for any defense. We all know who and what we are, and the subjective judgements of others truly are irrelevant.

I will try to keep you updated and occasionally leave a comment on some of your blogs, but because I have so little endurance right now, they may be few and far between. Much love to you all!

Melissa XOXO

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lets Get Those Blinders Off

For those who are still stubbornly maintaining that the assault on a young woman in a Baltimore area McDonalds had nothing to do with her status as a transgender woman, irrespective of her surgical status, and was solely a racial matter, let's shine a bright spotlight on a few facts.

The following are excerpts from an Associated Press article, dated April 26, 2011:

The woman beaten, 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis, told The Baltimore Sun that before she was attacked she heard a teen say Polis was a man using the women's restroom and accused Polis of talking to her man. The 14-year-old told police that she and Brown fought with Polis over using the restroom, according to charging documents.

Vicky Thoms said she walked into the restaurant to find the two teens beating Polis..........When she stepped up and asked the girls to stop, Thoms ended up getting punched in the face herself, she said.

Afterward, a man behind the counter asked Thoms if she realized that the person being beaten was a not a woman and was transgendered. "I told him, 'No I didn't and I don't care,'" she said. "He said he worked with her and she had a smart mouth — in other words, she deserved it."

You can see the entire article here.

The bold highlighting for emphasis is mine.

While racial hatred may have exacerbated the problem, clearly the prime motivation for the confrontation was Ms. Polis's transgender status and the fact that she used the women's restroom, as admitted by one of her attackers.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Alison Steele, The Nightbird

“The flutter of wings, the shadow across the moon, the sounds of the night, as the Nightbird spreads her wings and soars, above the earth, into another level of comprehension, where we exist only to feel. Come, fly with me, Alison Steele, the Nightbird, at WNEW-FM, until dawn."

Those were the words that opened up the best late night radio show I've ever heard. When I was living in in New Jersey in 1968 and early 1969, Alison Steele's sexy voice, and her playlist of late 60's progressive rock, was the lullaby that put me to sleep each night. WNEW was one of the country's first FM progressive rock stations, and one of New York City's strongest. I had no trouble at all picking it it up in Eatontown, in Monmouth County, New Jersey each night. Her colleague, the über cool Rosko started the night off with progressive jazz, blues, and rock, then at midnight, Steele would come on, reciting her poetry, and mesmerizing us all with mind expanding progressive rock, and trippy psychedelic trance music. Of all the rock radio stations I have heard, WNEW was the best, and Alison Steele was far and away the best DJ. Sadly she only lived to be 58 years old, dying in 1995 of stomach cancer, but she lives on in my memory, and I'm sure in the memory of countless others. You can read her Wiki bio here.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Piedmont Awakens From Its Winter Slumber

Spring is now in full bloom, and along with it comes runny noses and respiratory discomfort. Runny noses are always expected this time of year, but this year respiratory distress seems to have been added to the ticket. For the past week or so, I have been plagued with a tightness in the bronchia, accompanied by an intermittent dry wheezing cough. I thought I may have contracted a late season case of the flu, but now I'm not so sure, since the discomfort in my chest seems to correlate with the intensity of the flushing of my sinuses. Please wish me well, and be sure to beseech the gods to encourage all of the flora to get their free love fest over with as soon as possible, so that all of us fauna can resume our normal dry nosed, and clear lunged lives.

Here are a few pics of the awakening flora around the house. It was overcast when I took them, and it had been many months since I used my camera, so please take them for what they are worth. If you click on the images, they will enlarge to a much bigger size.

A view of the tree tops above my roof.

A view from my rear deck through the woods overlooking the pond.

My lone scraggly redbud.

Tonight's Supper

I don't often eat large quantities of beef, but I do like it. I went to the grocers today, mainly because I had run out of anything to eat other than peanut butter and sardines, and while there stocking up on essentials, I decided I wanted to eat steak tonight, but I wanted it to be lean. So I ended up with two petite round steaks, that looked quite good in their polyethylene wrapped packages. Into the cart they went. This evening, I put one of the steaks in a broiler pan, and put it under the burner. Ten minutes later, with beefy smelling smoke pouring out of the oven, I removed my medium rare steak, and plated it with a serving of steamed broccoli, and half of a backed potato. The broccoli and the baked potato were delicious, and the steak wasn't bad tasting, it just had a vein of sinew in just about every bite, making it very tough to cut and chew. A slow cooking crock pot full of carrots and potatoes should been that piece of meat's fate.

A word about human decency.

There will always be disagreements between human beings. That is a given. It's been that way since the dawn of humanity, and will remain that way until humanity breaths its very last breath. The trouble comes when one group sets itself up as morally and intellectually superior to all others, and then in the fashion of zealots, casts itself as the sole arbiter of truth, rendering unsolicited judgements against all others, and declaring non-believers to be the equivalent of the devil's spawn, or worse. When people start to thinking that way, trouble is always sure to follow. No one likes to be denigrated and dismissed as a heretic, or worse yet, a pervert, but in so many words that is exactly the way a certain self-satisfied element has been treating a good portion of the trans community here in Blogistan for the better part of the last year. While we all have certain similarities, our lives are all completely unique. No one can pigeon hole us, simply because our lives didn't exactly follower their own personal narrative. We, and we alone define who and what we are.

This past week, I was the target of one of these, self-appointed high priestesses of the Transexual Sanhedrin. Her judgement? Since for personal reasons, which of course are none of her business, I am non-op, and not transitioning, and didn't demand my parents get me a sex change when I was a teenager, or commit suicide by the time I was 25, then I must be a fraud. This coupled with the fact that I had the audacity to challenge her self-appointed authority on all matters transgender, then I am obviously in her words, a.................well, I won't repeat those despicable words here. There really isn't any point in repeating what you can read post after post on her own blog, if you are so inclined.

Thanks so much to those dear sweet souls who posted in my defense. To all the troubled souls who are so full of sulfur, and so quick to pass judgement on others, of course you are free to wallow in your feelings of hatred if that's your thing, but take care dears, for there lies the way to desolation row.

Speaking of desolation row, here is some very good Bob Dylan. Does anyone write lyrics and play their instruments this good anymore?

Desolation row
This MP3 was found at Dilandau MP3

Melissa XX

Friday, April 8, 2011

What Did You Have For Supper Tonight?

Me? I was in the mood for eggs tonight, so I whipped up a two egg omelet, with diced onions, red, yellow, and green bell peppers, and sharp cheddar cheese. I spiced it up, by dousing it liberally with Texas Pete Hot Sauce. Great stuff, that Texas Pete! It will wake up just about any sleepy meal.

Accompanying my omelet, was a serving of Brussel sprouts in butter, garlic, onion and basil, with a bit of salt and pepper...... and to round out my meal, I had a large serving of the venerable Great Northern bean.........as opposed to those no count, Lesser Southern beans. ;o) (Now before my southern readers show up at my door with axes, pitch forks, and flaming torches, that was just a joke!). Anyway, it was quite tasty, and a welcome break from my standard piece of chicken or fish.

Inevitable Spring
Peering through the woods the last few days, I've begun to see little bits of green emerging from the gray and the brown, and even a few tiny white blossoms. My Beech trees and Dogwoods are sprouting leaves, but once again the Dogwoods don't seem to be flowering. This same phenomenon occurred last year. No pretty white flowers, and consequently, no pretty red berries later on. I can't figure it out. I did read something in Wikipedia today, that said some species of Dogwoods in England don't flower well, because of the lack of harsh cold winters and hot summers, but that certainly isn't a problem here. The last two winters were unseasonably cold, and we rarely ever have a summer where late June, July and August don't see average daily temperatures soar up into at least the upper 80' s or lower 90's. So what's up, Dogwoods?

Against my better judgement, I paid a visit to the "Everyone Who Doesn't Fit My Definition Of A Transsexual, Is An Imposter" blog the other day, and attempted to leave a few words of wisdom, for it's author and her acolytes. I should have know that was a mistake, but I had forgotten to remember that sage advice, "Give not that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you." Matt. 7:6 Don't worry, I escaped with my garments slightly rent, but my flesh still firmly intact. When you know you are right, your skin thickens, and the pointy tusks and sharp hooves can't penetrate so easily.

The latest bit of farce being propagated on that blog, is the absurd myth of rest room hopping in the work place, by part timers. As the myth goes, if all transgender people are afforded protective rights in the workplace, then crossdressers, who are so inclined, will come to work as a female one day, and as a man the next, only to return as a woman whenever they feel like it. The female employees will then have to share the ladies room with these pretenders one day, only to have them hit on them as males in the office the next day.........ergo, only afford equal protection to those "true transsexuals", who pass the bigoted elite's muster. The argument is of course completely bogus, and born out of totally irrational fears. I can't imagine anyone seriously doing that, but if by chance someone did decide to swap genders from day to day, a unisex restroom for part timers would easily solve the problem. As for hitting on the female employees when dressed as males, most, if not all companies already have rules against such conduct, as part of their sexual harassment policies.

Can anyone recommend a well built, heavy duty epilator? Perhaps one with brass gears? As High Priestess of the Order of the Immaculate Epilation, I am ashamed to say that my choices of epilators has been less than perfect! A couple of years ago, I switched from an Epilady, to an Emjoi, and at first I was very impressed with it's obvious better quality, but only a year later it began to falter. I purchased another, thinking that maybe this one was an aberration, but no. A year later, I'm finding my second Emjoi beginning to falter as well. I think it's the nylon gears. After about a year of once or twice weekly use, the gears beging to slip at the slightest resistance. I usually epilate after taking a bath, but even after I have toweled dry, it takes about an hour before the heat generated by the bath water cools down, and I completely stop perspiring. Just a bit of dampness on the skin seems to add resistance to the spinning tweezers, and that puts an extra strain on the motors and gears, and eventually is casuses the nylon gears to start slipping. Maybe they are all that way, and I will just have to resign myself to spending around $100 each year, for a new Emjoi. I hope not, so please feel free to give me your recommendations!

I hope you are all happy with the final departure from the Northern Hemisphere, of this year's miserable winter (The northeastern US and parts of Canada actually got snow this week!), and the subsequent arrival of spring! Here in the Piedmont, mother nature is rushing things. The local news/weather are predicting 90°F/32+°C for Monday. A bit early for those kind of temperatures, but mirroring last years immediate leap from winter into summer, with little regard regard for the normal period of spring acclimation.

A big spring hug to all!
Melissa XX

Sunday, April 3, 2011

From Euphoria To Melancholy In Two Hours

Tonight I share my grief with Leslie Ann. We had both hoped to see our teams compete for the National College Athletic Association basketball championship, but it was not to be. After proving all of their detractors dead wrong, VCU finally bowed out to the very tenacious Butler University Buldogs in the semi-finals, and the University of Kentucky got edged out by the University of Connecticut in a one point squeaker. What a crying shame! We would have made such lovely adversaries! Leslie sweetie, you have my shoulder to cry on! May I have yours?

Pink Floyd is once again my inspiration, but with tonights defeat, the feeling is somewhat different. A bit more somber, as if all of my euphoria over the last few weeks has drained out of me, and I'm once again the one bricked up behind the wall. Try as I may to break that wall down, sooner or later, it always seems to reappear. Now, once again, here I am completely isolated in my own little world. I will live with it. I always have. That is the one constant in my life. A life of compassion and empathy for others, but nevertheless physically isolated from everyone else, simply because close social interactions are just too painful to bare. After all, how does one comfortably relate socially to cis folk, when one feels like a butterfly trying desperately to burst the seams of her cocoon, but never quite able to get out?

Enough of this dark moody stuff! I can't overcome it, so I will have to do as I've always done, and just find a way to learn to live with it. And there you have it. No suicide attempts, half hearted or otherwise. Just a long dull semi-depressive life of coping with the inevitable, punctuated with brief moments of euphoria, coupled to the thrills and adventure of others. A sad life, isn't it?

And speaking of Pink Floyd, here is an interesting critique, albeit a bit dated, and the the video link has unfortunately been disabled by those owning the rights to the music.

Here's the original.

As always, I love you all!
Melissa XX

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Happy Spring To All!

No......the preceding blank post was no April 1st tomfoolery. It was simply the result of a stupid double click, after entering the title line in Blogger's post editor. When will I ever learn?

I haven't listened to Pink Floyd in a long time, so I thought I would pop Echos into the CD player while composing this post. I must say, I had forgotten just how much I've always connected with that wonderful group of talented musicians, and Echos is a great mix of some of some of their best work. What a shame that Roger Waters and David Gilmour reached such an impasse over their creative ideas, that they could no longer see a future together. Together they made some of the very best music I will ever hear in my life.

This Week In Blogistan
It was with a certain degree of amusement, that I read the many comments on a couple or three blogs this week, concerning the ongoing gender identity wars, over who is, and who isn't a "legitimate" transsexual. Although actually quite sad in many ways, it was amusing at least, because some of the very people who had earlier openly questioned, or at least alluded to the illegitimacy of others, were now having their own legitimacy called into question by several self proclaimed, Type VI/Type V "true transsexual" elitists. How in the world, they were challenged, could they possibly be genuine transsexuals, when they married, and/or fathered children, and/or waited until middle age, or later to declare that they could no longer live as men. Surely they must be self-deluded transvestites, since any "genuine transsexual" would be driven to suicide by the time they reached 30 years old, if they coud not transition.

Well! To put it politely........horse hockey!

I'm hoping this puts the kibosh on some of the silly, narcissistic, self-serving crap that gets bandied about so much here in Transsexual Transylvania. Leave that nonsense to the handfull of geriatric early transitioning "true transsexuals", who can't seem to deal with fact that there has been 40 years of new research on the transsexual phenomenon, and think that anyone who isn't aligned with their personal narrative, is either a delusional man in a dess, or even worse, a malicious fraud, out to steal their thunder!

Bottom line girls..........you know who, and what you are, and what you are doing. You don't need to pass anyone's muster!

Sports Alert! (for those disinclined)

I blogged earlier about Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) basketball team making it into the "Sweet Sixteen" (out of a field of 72 teams from around the country) of the NCAA (National College Athletic Association) Basketball Tournament, the winner of which is declared the NCAA National Champion. Since then, they beat Perdue University to advance to the "Elite Eight", and then they beat Kansas to to make it into the "Final Four"! This is the farthest any Virginia school has ever advanced into the NCAA tournament! The NCAA "Final Four" is a really big deal here in the US, so naturally the whole state of Va. is ecstatic, especially those in Richmond and here in the central Virginia area. It's 1:27 AM as I type this. In less than eleven hours, the Rams will be taking to the court in an attempt to make history. I wish them the very best, and although I want to see them go all the way, win or lose, I'm so very proud of them! GO RAMS!

Whoever Said Girls Weren't Interested In Sports?

Spring Is Busting Out All Over!
Spring is slowly but surely bursting forth into the Piedmont! Bradford Pears, Forsythia, and Red Buds, are now in full bloom. The Dogwoods are trying desperately to open up, but there just hasn't been quite enough warmth for them yet. Still, absolutely nothing bearing rose colored glass! I think a certain someone must have the Piedmont mistaken for either Oz, or Wonderland. ;-) Maybe she spent too much time napping in the poppies, or perhaps she couldn't turn down one of those strange attractive mushrooms....or was she just a poor innocent victim of that awful fat caterpillar, and his narcotic hookah?

Happy Spring my lovelies!

Melissa XX

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Does A Plate Of Nachos Constitute A Balanced Meal?

You've got your whole grain corn chips, vegetables, including onions, peppers, tomatoes, and garlic, although some would argue those are not vegetables at all, but fruits instead, and then you have your protein based dairy products, like cheese, and sour cream. In my case however, I substitute low fat yogurt for sour cream.

It certainly is a satisfying meal, although some would claim that it is essentially junk food.

I had nachos for supper last night. Does that make me a bad girl?

Melissa XX

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'm So Excited! (Sports alert for those so disinclined!)

I'm about to lose control, and I think I like it!

No.........I haven't met the love of my life, but I have met a bunch of guys that I absolutely adore! That would be Virginia Commonwealth University's basketball team! Sorry girls, but I do like sports even if you don't, and especially local teams that I can relate too. I used to watch VCU basketball games religiously way back in the seventies and early eighties, but then they went through a long period of decline, and I simply lost interest. I have to admit that I really didn't care all that much about the team until the very end of their season this year, when they had the chance to win their conference tournament. They did well, but wound up being runners up, and hence were all but excluded from entry into the National College Athletic Association's national tournament. But when tournament selections were made, the selection committee saw something special in VCU, and selected them as an at large team! That meant that they had to play one more game, than all the other regularly selected teams, in order to qualify for the regular field. Critics panned them, saying they had no right to be in the tournament, when other teams were more qualified. Well.....as we trans sisters all know, who is, or who is not qualified for something, is a matter of opinion, and so it was for VCU!

They silenced their critics, by soundly beating the University of Southern California 59-46. Still there were nay sayers. They would never be able to beat Big East powerhouse, Georgetown they said, but beat them they did, and not only did they beat them, they humiliated them, beating them 74-56! They then went on to humble Big Ten conference, Perdue, beating then 94-76!

Tonight, after several days layoff, they played Florida State University in San Antonio, Texas. It was nip and tuck from the very start, since both teams were very evenly matched, but in the end VCU pulled out a one point win in overtime! I watched it all on streaming video on my laptop, since the regular station carrying it on TV, was a cable station that I didn't have access to.

As soon as the game started, I knew it was going to be a cliff hanger. Florida got off to a sight early start, but VCU adjusted defensively, and by halftime, VCU was leading by several points. The second half was a nail biter. There was no way to predict who would come out on top. Finally at the end of regulation time the two teams were tied, and so an overtime period had to be played. In the end VCU nudged Florida State by just one point, beating them 72-71! What a nerve racking game! I sat with my fingers crossed for the last thirty minutes, hoping VCU would come out on top! Now they have to go on to play the University of Kansas, who beat the living piss out of another local team, the University of Richmond tonight. I don't think VCU will let them do that to them, but Kansas may still be more than they can handle. We'll see. My heart is with VCU. They have already gone farther than they, or the University of Richmond has ever gone in the national tournament, so even if they lose to Kansas, they will still be grand heros back home!

.........We now return you to your regular trans related conversations. *wink*

Melissa XX

Monday, March 21, 2011

Into Jaws Of The Beast

I was making my way west on I-64 this evening, after having supper at my mother's condo. I was about 20 miles into my trip with another 20 or so to go, when I saw the first lightning bolt streak across the western sky. It was dusk, and the bolt had a surreal orange hue. I had watched a weather report earlier in the day, and the meteorologist warned us to expect some thunderstorms in the evening hours. I didn't like what I saw. I had a bad feeling I would be in the thick of it, just as I was pulling off the Interstate at my exit. Since I had stopped at Krogers after leaving my mother's, I had groceries to unload, and I didn't want to do it in the rain.

The sky got progressively darker as I got closer to home, and a veritable light show ensued in the sky before me. Bolt, after bolt lit up the sky, no longer orange in color, but fluorescent white against the blackened night sky. My windshield began to show drops of rain just before I reached my exit, but not enough to turn on the wipers. I left the Interstate at my exit, and made a left turn for the one mile ride south to US Route 250, where I turned right for the two mile ride west through the hills to where I live, when all of a sudden, the heavens opened up, and the deluge began! With both headlights and fog lamps on, and windshield wipers slinging water at at full speed, it was everything I could do to see the road out in front of me. Fortunately I had two other cars in front of me, and their tail lights provided a beacon for me to follow, otherwise I would have had to pull off the road. The intensity of the cloudburst, was reminiscent of the downpours I experienced on a daily basis, during the Monsoon season in South East Asia over 40 years ago. The normal 55MPH ride down US 250 to my subdivision, was reduced to a 15-20MPH crawl. By the time I pulled into my driveway, the rain had slacked off considerably, but it was still coming down in sufficient quantities, that I would have been soaked to the bone, had I not remembered to take my umbrella, but how do you hold a large golf umbrella, while opening vehicle doors, retrieving and carrying bags of groceries up a flight of deck steps, and then have to negotiate a locked door as well? Needless to say, when it was all said and done, I was more than a little bit wet, but on a positive note, the Dakota got a good spring washing!

After nearly a month's absence caused by illness and other plans, my bro-in-law showed up at mom's tonight, so once again the conversation was dominated by him and his plans for the future. And speaking of his plans, they include a glorious (for us *wink*) 3 week trip down to southern Florida this week, with his new main squeeze, so the next three weeks at mom's should be all girl affairs!

Mom served up beef tips and mushrooms in gravy over egg noodles, with fresh steamed asparagus slathered in butter, and a tossed garden salad. Es schmeckte so gut! Since I live alone, meals at home are generally pretty basic affairs. A piece of baked chicken, or fish, some microwaved frozen veggies, and some sort of beans, or a baked tuber of some kind is the boring norm. It's good to go to mom's once a week for some variety, and of course, it's always a surprise what she is going to serve, since she doesn't send out menues in advance.

After a long cold winter, spring has finally arrived here in the Piedmont. I noticed as I was pulling out of my driveway this afternoon, that my Redbud was just beginning to bloom, and further on down the road, at the mini-storage facility, the Bradford Pears were in full splendor! 77°F/25°C was the high today!

I've been living out in the country for over 17 years now. It has it's rewards, but sometimes I get nostalgic for city life.

Melissa XX

Friday, March 18, 2011

Running The A/C One Day After St. Patty's Day

Is 83°F/28.3°C hot enough for you on March18th? It's 25°F above normal for this time of year, but so what? Just like last year, spring has decided to say the hell with convention, and take a flying leap! It's nearly 11:00 PM, and I'm sitting here in a short denim skirt and a tank top. The outside temperature is still in the 70's, and higher still inside, because I had both the oven and clothes dryer on earlier. It was becoming so uncomfortable, that I had to switch the air conditioning units on to cool things down a bit.

All of the trees in the Piedmont are budding now, and the forsythia is now in full bloom! In Richmond, 40 miles east of here, flowering trees are blooming everywhere! It will be another week or two, before we see that here. Our night time temperatures are colder, so we are usually two weeks behind areas east the James River fall line. For those who don't know, Richmond is 223 feet lower in elevation than where I live, and apparently that make a significant difference climate wise.

Because of my normal late winter malaise, I've been lackadaisical about my epilation over the last couple of months, and when I finally decided to tackle it yesterday, I realized it had been a month since I last epilated! I wasn't exactly furry, since over the years a lot of the hair had been eliminated, and the rest has at least been slowed down significantly, but there were hairs that had a months growth, and that meant they were long! Epilating long hairs is not a pleasant undertaking. It's much less painful, if the epilator can grab the hair at the skin's surface, rather than a quarter to a half an inch away. When that happens, the shock of the hair being whipped out of its follicle, is significantly increased, and the sensation can be quite prickly, not to mention the occasional drop of blood that gets pulled out along with the hair! When it was all done, I looked like I had the measles! Little red dots all over me! Fortunately they were all gone by the next morning.

For those of you who love the game of college basketball (probably only some of my American readers), The Big Dance is in full swing! For those who don't know what that is, The Big Dance is a nickname for the National College Athletic Association's anual national basketball tournament, where 64 teams; expanded to 68 this year, compete for the national collegiate title. It's a really big deal, because college teams from all over the country get a shot at becoming national champs, and sometimes smaller schools upset much larger ones, and go on to become Cinderella teams. The Big Dance........Cinderella ..........what's not to like about something, with names like that? Occasionally a Cinderella team will make it to the final four, and that's a really big deal. Virginia had five potential Cinderellas in the tournament, Hampton, Old Dominion (ODU), George Mason (GMU), and two Richmond schools, The University of Richmond (UR), and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). After two rounds, GMU, UR and VCU are all still in it, after beating teams that have been very strong traditionally, so we'll have to see how far they can go. All three teams are showing an intensity of play, that bodes well for future success. I just hope they can keep it up. Of course after living only blocks away for many years, 11th seeded (in the SW Regionals)VCU is my favorite. They hit 12 out of 23 shots from 3 point range tonight, to beat former powerhouse and 6th seeded Georgetown, by 18 points! They will go on to play 3rd seed Purdue on Sunday. Will they make it to the final four? Who knows, but at least they are still on the road, and every game from now on will be a great adventure!

I know I'm boring my girlfriend, Caroline to death with all this this talk about basketball, since she isn't the least bit interested in competitive sports. And truthfully, I can't say that I blame her, considering that when growing up, boys tended to exclude those like us, from pickup games out on the playground, or in the school gym. I was more fortunate in that regard, in that I was tall, and although I was never picked 1st, 2nd, and even rarely 3rd, I usually did get picked 4th or 5th for basketball. I attribute that solely to my height, since I stunk at the game, until I had played for a few years, and finally got the hang of it. I did play basketball in High School and again in the Army, and I enjoyed doing it, but I must confess, I'd much rather have enjoyed being a cheerleader! Short skirts, hair ribbons, and everyone in school adoring you.....you'd have to be crazy to not want that over being a second string basketball player!

I was rummaging through some of my old blog posts today, and I noticed a significant drop in the number of posts from last March. I can't explain why. Maybe I'm just running out of relevant things to say. One can only talk so much of their gender identity dysphoria, and related memories, before one runs out of anything interesting to say. I do hope I haven't become a bore to all of you. I always fear that, because it seem that I'm usually talking about the weather, or some other mundane subject these days, rather than anything trans related. Maybe I'll just have to start talking off the top of my head, regardless of the topic. Oh god, what a pitfall that could be! Can you imagine anything more boring than a blog about politics, or current events that have already been discussed ad nauseam?

Speaking of politics, I think my mail carrier must be a Republican, or even worse, a Tea Partier. I contributed money to the campaign of Barrak Obama, when he was running for president. Consequently when he got elected, I got put on his mailing list. In American politics the quest for future campaign funds never ends, so former donors are constantly mailed request for more money. When the president does this, he usually sends a nice portrait of himself, or a print of the White House. It comes in a large envelope, that clearly states who it is from, and on the front of the envelope, it says in bold lettering: Artwork enclosed - Do Not Bend! Today I received such a mailing from President Obama, and just like all the other ones I have received in the past, it had a sharp crease running right down the middle, just above where it said, Artwork enclosed - Do Not Bend! I'm not sure if she hates the president, or if she is just clueless, since she often puts my next door neighbors mail in my box too!

Melissa XX

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Whew! I Thought I Had Been Exiled!

Imagine that! Being suddenly and surreptitiously disconnected from all those you hold most dear! What had I done to deserve this awful fate?

For those who do not know yet, yesterday, I logged into my Gmail account, and was given a message informing me, that my account had been disabled, due to "suspicious activity". Suspicious activity? What in the world does that mean? It gave me a page full of optons, so I pondered them. At first I wondered, had I violated some obscur term of agrement, and offended the delicate sensibilities of the Google hierarchy? Then I thought, no........nothing on my blog coud even come close to some of the risqué stuff I have seen on countless other blogs. Not on any of your blogs of course......dear sweet innocent sisters! *wink*

I was given instructions to give them my wireless phone number, and they would text me a verification code, that I could reactivate my account with. Now like most internet troubleshooting problems, the instructions given to resolve issues were minimal and quite vague, leaving me to guess exactly what they meant. I have a Verizon wireless USB modem that I connect to the internet with. It has a designated phone number, and according to its on screen display, is capable of receiving text messages. So I submitted the phone number of my USB modem, thinking I would get a text message displayed in the modem's window, but no! I got nothing. I tried again, with the same result, and again, and again, and again, but to no avail. Soon frustration began to set in. I was upset! Through no fault of my own, I was totally disconnected from the outside world, and I deeply resented who or whatever caused it. I decided to take a break, and have some lunch. While eating my cup of chicken gumbo, and ham and cheese sandwich, I thought........let's try my regular cell phone number after lunch, maybe that will work. So after lunch, I typed in my cell phone number, and within 30 seconds, my phone buzzed! I flipped it open (Yes......dinosaur that I am, I still have a flip phone!) and lo and behold, there was a text message with my verification code! Suddenly my spirits were lifted!

I typed the verification code into my laptop, and hit the send button, and voilà! There I was! Just like Dorothy clicking her heels two times and saying,"There's no place like home!", I was home again! Immediately I ran to say hello to Auntie Em........er.......well.........not really! After all I was in Virginia, and Auntie Em was four states away in Kansas, but it was still good to be home, and in touch again!

I've been watching the Virginia State Highschool basketball championships.......both boys and girls......on the TV, with the sound turned off, and simultaneously listening to the grand works of Mahler. Oddly, the heroics on the court, blended remarkably well with the 4th movement of Mahler's Symphony #2; In Tempo des Scherzos. Then again, maybe the wine was just that good, and horrors of horrors, even P-Diddy, or God forbid, Usher would have sounded as good while watching the kids play! I hope not! If that's the case, then please rush me into re-hab!

I've enjoyed what I've seen. I used to play B-ball in both high school, and in the Army, and for a time after the Army, in pickup games on public courts. It really is a great game, that keeps you fit, but it's no game for old timers. Too much wear and tear on the feet and joints, plus you lose speed as you age, and you can't keep up with the more athletic youngsters. And for those who think that B-ball is just for men, it's not. I've played in pickup games, where I was being guarded by an athletic young woman, who had no qualms whatsoever of laying her shoulder into me, to drive to the hoop, or leaning her back into me while I was playing in the post post position. I have nothing but admiration for such young athletic females.

In Jenny's blog today, She talked about walking past a group of seemingly harmless teenagers, and even though she describes the image that she often presents to the world, as that of a scruffy bloke, she still felt vulnerable to the possibility of their hurtful adolescent jabs, proving that this rough exterior that many of us non-transitioners carry, is but a thin veil, that we wear to bluff our way through this world of hurt. Jenny sweetie, I know where you are coming from! You have my heart, dear. As I said on your blog, The girl inside, is a lot more vulnerable, than the scruffy male exterior would suggest.

Melissa XX

Friday, March 4, 2011

Changes Are Coming To The Piedmont

It's not quite spring yet, but you can tell that the flora is desperately waiting to spring into bloom. There is a bush at the head of my driveway that just couldn't quite wait. Impatient rascal that it is, it decided in a spate of unseasonably warm temperatures last week, to prematurely unfurl it's blossoms, if you can even call them blossoms. A scraggly barren bush, with little green caterpillar like blossoms hanging from its wispy thin appendages is a more apt description.

The temperature has been on a roller coaster ride for past two and a half weeks now. Soaring into the mid to upper 70's some days, then plummeting back down into the low 30's , and upper 20's at night, before rising only into the 40's, or low 50's for the next few days, then soaring back up into the upper 70's again! So, the heat has been on and off according to the fickle whims of mother mature, but the mild temperatures have tickled most of the trees into budding. Within the next few weeks, spring should be busting out all over!


In my last post, I mentioned hearing the ominous snarl of a dangerously close, large wild cat, after stepping out onto my rear deck last Saturday night, for a breath of the cool night air. Hear a close approximation of what I heard here. The only difference is the pitch was just slightly higher, and there was no low frequency rumble at the end. My instant reaction was WTF? My fears were somewhat relieved when I read today, that the US Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the Eastern Cougar to be extinct. But what else could explain what I heard, unless it was a very large and aggressive bobcat? Bobcats, which are larger than domestic, or feral cats, are about the size of a medium sized dog. While not as abundant as deer and other wildlife, they do habit most of North America, and are occasionally taken by hunters, here in the Piedmont, but they are shy creatures that like to avoid contact with humans. My only guess is that whatever it was had just made a kill, and saw me as an uninvited guest showing up for dinner. Fair enough mystery cat, as long as you weren't sizing me up for a future midnight feast! Hmmm......thinking maybe I should invest in a shotgun.


I shopped for groceries at a fairly new Krogers today, and every time I passed a stock clerk in the aisles, they flashed a smile and said hello! I went to the self checkout, so that I could bag my own groceries, but they always have a clerk standing by to persuade the computer to cooperate with you, and he too flashed a warm smile, and thanked me for shopping there! What is this world coming too? Could it be that we are we actually becoming civilized once again, or are my more cynical instincts correct, and as soon as this store has established its cliental, its staff will become as surly and uncaring as all the others? I don't know, but until I do, I think I shall continue shop for my groceries there.

Muammar al-Gaddafi

What can I say? What can any reasonable human being say about this supremely bizarre and ignorant self-imposed Libyan supreme leader? The son of an illiterate camel herder, he was once invited to a foreign state dinner, where shrimp cocktail was served as an appetizer. Gaddafi was aghast! "You people eat insects?" he was reported to have said. How in the world has this bumpkin ruled an oil rich nation for over forty years? How will he avoid being hung from a lamp post by his countrymen?

Lucy Melford

Our dear girlfreind is in Nuffield hospital in Brighton, recovering from her GRS. Please email her at lucymelford@googlemail.com, or leave a comment on her blog at, http://lucymelford.blogspot.com/ to let her know you have her in your heart. She really is a dear, and would love to hear from you!

Melissa XX

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's A Jungle Out There!

I just stepped out onto my rear deck. It was about a quarter after eleven, and since the temperature was mild, I wanted to get a breath of the cool night air. I flipped my porch light on and stepped out. Save for my light, and the distant porch lights of a few neighbors, it was pitch black out. Suddenly I heard what sounded like a very large cat letting out a loud snarl from a distance so close, that it made me very uncomfortable! This was nobody's pet tabby, nor was it a feral cat. It was much too loud. It had to be either a bobcat or a cougar. I know we have bobcats here in the Piedmont, but there have been no confirmed sightings of cougars for a very long time. Yet when I Googled wild cat sounds, this cougar sound was almost identical to what I heard coming from my woods, no more than 30 yards away. After hearing it a couple of times, I decided to douse the light, and step back into the safety of my house.

Melissa XX

French Transsexuals Gain A Small Victory!

How long before the rest of the world follows? Some countries have already taken the lead, but so many still lag behind. Those who adhere to strict gender norms will be displeased with some of the references in this article, but so what?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oliver Twist

What is it about Dickens, that stirs my soul? Could it be my own painful dark past, that makes me relate to his long suffering heros? I think there is more than a grain of truth in that assumption.

I am currently ensconced before the TV in my great room, my formerly trusty cozy quartz heater having finally gone on the fritz, yet here I remain completely mesmerized by a BBC production of Dickens' story of the hapless orphan Oliver. What a treasure Dickens' writings are, and what superb acting by the players in this wonderfully produced and directed mini-series! By the looks so far of Oliver, I'm counting on the rest of this BBC boxed set of Dickens' stories to be equally entertaining.

As usual, I went to my mother's for supper Monday night. When I get there, mom is usually in the kitchen, and I come in and fix myself a drink. She has an automatic ice maker, so I usually just grab a handfull of ice from her freezer and put it in a glass, then I reach for a two liter bottle of Root Beer or Dr. Pepper in her fridge, and pour a glassful. All went as expected until I reached for the ice. I put my hand into the pan holding the ice cubes from her automatic ice cube maker, but they were all frozen into a solid block!

I said, "Mom, your iced cubes are all stuck together", and pulled the pan out of the freezer to see what could be done about it. Mom..........yes my feeble ninety year old mom, took the pan away from me and hoisted it back into the freezer, where she proceded to bang the pan against the back wall of the freezer, in an attempt to loosen the frozen cubes! It seems she had previously left the freezer compartment door open, and all the cubes began to melt. Then, rather than just dump the defrosting mess into the sink and start a new pan of ice cubes, she just closed the door, and they all froze together into one solid block of ice! Of course her attempts to bang the cubes into submission was unsuccessful, and I asked her if she had an ice pick, which of course she didn't, but she did hand me a rather thin bladed steak knife, which I carefully began to chip the cubes apart with. Fortunately we only needed enough cubes for three drinks, since my bro-in-law and my niece weren't coming, and we sat down to a supper of chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes, a fresh garden salad, and chocolate pudding with a whipped cream topping.

Before I left my house for mom's I got a message on my phone from my sister. She wanted me to help her move a special reading device from an acquaintance of hers on a lower floor, up to mom's apartment. We would need a flat bed cart to move it, so when I arrived, I got the flat cart stored next to the utility elevator on the first floor, and proceeded to take it up to the tenth floor, on the utility elevator, but the utility elevator was out of service, so I had to take the cart around to the lobby and up on the the normal passenger elevator.

When I got there, my sister and I took the cart back down to the seventh floor and to her friend's apartment. What she was giving away was, a reading system for people with macular degeneration, which consisted of a 25" television set, and a camera system that mounts on a table over the book you are reading, and displays its text magnified many times on the TV screen. Mom was recently diagnosed with macular degeneration, and has had an increasingly difficult time reading, even with reading glasses, so this should be a big help to her.

I like to purchase DVD's, and when I'm done with them, I like to pass them on to my sister, for her enjoyment. Monday I gave her a two DVD set of an excellent mini-series called The Corner. It is about life in a run down black neighborhood in Baltimore, where some otherwise decent men, women and adolescents get caught up in the heroin and cocaine scene, and the resultant violence that has flooded their once peaceful neighborhood of row houses. It's a great series about a depressing subject, if you can handle it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and discovered how hard it is for those living in that environment to not get trapped in it, and once trapped, how hard it is to get out.

The ongoing TG vs TS war continues unabated, often hyperbolized in wishful thinking and self-serving rhetoric, but every now and then you hear a voice of reason. Teri, of Common Teri's Commentary is such a voice. She is a sweet, intelligent and talented trans woman, with her feet planted firmly on solid ground. Do yourself a favor it you haven't read her blog, and pay her a visit. By the way, she is a very talented audio, and visual artist! She plays guitar, writes and sings, and has done some very lovely photography, as well as some beautiful drawings.

The weather here has moderated significantly from just a couple of weeks ago. You'd think that spring had already arrived, with temperatures soaring into the mid to upper 70's°F several afternoons. Still, we had our sixth snowfall so far last night, albeit just a light dusting that was gone by mid-morning. My kind of snow!

Melissa XX

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Are You An Idolater?

I am! Now, I'm not speaking of kneeling before the golden calf. If I ever do that, you can come and put me in a straight jacket! No, I'm speaking of the pop TV show, American Idol. They are still in the process of separating the wheat from the chaff, but this year's show promises to showcase some pretty serious talent, if the contestants can only refrain from attempting to guild the lilly, as they have been so want to do in many seasons past. It appears that the worst offenders have been weeded out, so we shall see. After all, it takes more than pretentious vocal gymnastics to become the next American Idol.

Up to 65°F tomorrow, and 75°F on Friday! WTF? Has mother nature suddenly reverted from cruel bitch mode, and and taken pity on our poor suffering souls? What a fickle mistress she is! Give me one good reason why I should have any respect for her above any other deity? My view of deities is like that of the mischievous Greek gods, cruelly toying with us for their own pleasure. Who needs them?

On a somber note.........my heart is with CBS journalist, Lara Logan tonight, as she lays in a US hospital, recovering from a brutal beating, and sexual assault by a gang of despicable, ignorant, misogynistic thugs in Egypt this week, while covering the pro-democracy protests for her network. She will get over the bruises, but will she ever recover from the emotional trauma? Her experience highlights the dangers that all foreign correspondents must endure to send stories home from around the world, but especially the dangers faced by women reporting from countries where women are still treated with little more respect than slaves.

A moment ago, I was in my master bathroom, taking a pee (Shouldn't that be leaving a pee? Who would actually want to take a pee?), and even though it is after midnight, through the skylight, I could hear the Canada Geese on the pond out back, making a commotion. What could be disturbing them? Is there a fox, coyote, or bobcat prowling the bank? The geese tend to stay in the water, far from the shore, for their own protection. After all....long fanged predators, who would love nothing more than to dine on fat succulent gooseflesh, await there stupid mistakes.

But then the darker side of my imagination kicks in, and I begin to wonder if some murderous psychopath has escaped from the prison farm on the southern edge of the county, and stealthily made his way here to my wooded neighborhood to murder me. But now, the geese and the neighborhood dogs are all calm, so hopefully, any convicts on the prowl have moved on.

Melissa XX

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Early Arrival Of Spring?

I just paid my third electric bill in three months, in excess of $300. This one was the highest yet, at $344.44. Thankfully after more than 37 years of blood sweat and tears in an international chemical corporation's manufacturing plant, I have a decent secured pension, and could afford to heat my home this frigid winter. Sad to say, that many of those younger folks following me, will not be so lucky, as corporate leadership elected to do away with the company secured pension plan, and force everyone into funding their own retirement, through volatile IRA's, and 401 K's.

As cold as it has been for the last 2 and a half months, spring seems to be at our doorstep! Yesterday the mercury soared to 70°F/21°C, but along with it came tropical storm force winds, gusting at 40 to 50 MPH! Living on a wooded lot, high winds are always a concern, especially for the dead and dying trees, and yesterday was no exception, as an old dead tree gave up it's ghost, and tumbled down across the driveway. A last minute call had to be made to my mother, to inform her that I wouldn't be coming to supper, because I had some emergency lumberjacking to do.

In another sign of spring, I heard a tremendous chirping of birds this morning. I rushed to the back door to see what was causing the commotion, just in time to see a huge flock of starlings taking flight across our finally unfrozen pond, from the the trees above in my woods out back. They are amazing birds, and when in flight, remind me of schools of fish, in the way they behave as a single unit.

I must be getting old, because Im not very keen on learning new tricks. I recently obtained a DVD of The Social Network, because it had received rave reviews, and won a bunch of Oscars at the Academy Awards Show. I'm sorry to say that I was not all that impressed. It did have and intense driving musical score, that kept the film on a very upbeat pace, but the storyline about a surly, obnoxious computer geek, starting up Facebook, left me kind of cold. I'd give it maybe, six or seven stars out of ten. I'm just not that impressed with the subject. Indeed, I rarely ever visit my own Facebook account, because just like Betty White, I think FB, Twitter, and the like, are such a colossal waste of time. I've thought about closing my Facebook account, but I keep getting requests for friendship from people I have met here on Blogger, and many others I have never met at all. My usual reply is to accept the ones I know, with the caveat, that I rarely ever check into my account, so don't hang around waiting for me to respond if you leave a message. I will eventually get to it, but by then any response will more likely than not, be irrelevant.

Here is a treat for you all. Unfortunately, I can't embed the video. It's a lovely clip of an Orangutan and Blue Tick Hound, who have become the best of pals! Check it out here.

Melissa XX

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It Snowed Again Tonight............

...........for the sixth time so far this winter, but we have been incredibly lucky here in the Virginia Piedmont this winter, compared to last year. We have been on the fringes of all the major blizzards blowing from the southwest up to the northeast. Tonight was no exception, just another light dusting. Maybe a half, to an inch of snow. A mere sweep with a broom tomorrow and the deck will be cleared. If we have to endure snow, let it always be thus!

Tonight I popped in a DVD of Alice In Wonderland (the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version). As the movie started, I ate a light supper, consisting of a skinless/boneless chicken thigh, some collard greens and a small serving of baked beans. Hardly a carbohydrate laden meal, but halfway into the movie, I started to nod. I think the fact that I only slept for 4 1/2 hours the night before may have had something to do with it. I tend to stay up late, and even though I have venetian blinds in my bedroom, when the morning sun begins to shine, I wake up, and once awake, I have a hard time going back to sleep. So....if after a half an hour or so, and I haven't fallen back to sleep, I usually just get up and fix breakfast. I'm usually good for the rest of the day then, but I think it catches up with me in the evening. I'll have to give Alice another try. What little I did see was fascinating! I love Tim Burton's art.

My longtime readers all know of my love for the works of Gustav Mahler. Right now I am typing this post to the strains of his Symphony N0. 1 "Titan", by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. It's perfectly magical! Please take the time to enjoy this little snippet.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It Isn't Easy Being Green

Kermit is absolutely right!

I like to eat green things. Not Kermit of course! I could never eat such a dear sweet frog. However.........shamefully though I must admit, over the course of my life, I have eaten a few of his cousins........possibly even some of his brothers and sisters!

Of course the kind of green thing I'm speaking of, is the green, leafy, cruciferous kind. I love greens. In addition to Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and altough not green, Cauliflower, I usually buy a can or two of mixed greens........turnip,and mustard usually. Last night while shopping, I remembered how long it's been since I had eaten collard greens, another one of my favorites, so I bought a can of them too. I had planned on eating them tonight with my supper, so I opened the can.

Now, because canned vegetables usually have an over abundance of sodium, it's been my practice to pour off the liquid before heating them up. So.......I partially opened the lid on the can of collards, and began to pour off the briny liquid. I poured.........and I poured.........and I poured..........and I poured........hmmm! There is an awful lot of liquid in this can, I thought. I continued to pour. By the time I was done pouring, the can felt extremely light. I resumed opening the top with my can opener, and sure enough, there was but a half a can of greens left inside! My first thought was, "The stingy bastards!" Then I realized I must have gotten the last can of the batch! Still, poor quality control.

But, que será será! My luck was rotten, but not as bad as the man who found a mouse in his bottle of beer, the woman who found a thumb in her can of peas, or the hapless soul who found a breaded, deep fried chicken head in their order of chicken McNuggets!

As Teri posted on her blog yesterday, always look on the bright side of life!

Melissa XX

Monday, February 7, 2011

Working Up A Sweat

No.......this is not going to be a blog about hard work or exercise, what I'm talking about here is a simple trip to the grocery store. Tell me please, is there some kind universal law governing retail merchants, that compels them to keep the heat in their stores at 80°F or higher throughout the winter? For my non-American readers that would approximate 27°C.

From past experience, I knew it was going to be warm in Krogers this evening, so I intentionally left my jacket in the truck, thinking a lightweight cotton shirt and a cardigan sweater would be just the ticket. About five minutes in, I began to wonder what their monthly electric bill was, and then how hard their refrigerated cases had to work to compensate for the ridiculously high ambient temperature. Then begrudgingly, my thoughts drifted to how much cheaper my weekly grocery bill would be, if they would only lower their thermostat to a more reasonable 72°F/22°C.

Warm as it was while pushing my cart around the store, it was nothing compared to the burning hell of the checkout lanes, where heat ducts have been strategically placed to ensure that cashiers and baggers don't have to suffer the life threatening consequences of gooseflesh! God forbid they should ever be advised to put on a sweater if they feel a chill!

So there I was in the self-checkout lane, my sweater living up to it's name. By the time I had finished packing my first bag of groceries, I could feel beads of sweat forming on my forehead, and by the time I was ready to pay my bill, my undershirt was sticking to my flesh! The temperature outside was just 47°F/8.3°C, but it felt like heaven when I emerged from that cauldron. I crossed the parking lot and loaded my groceries into the truck, then put my cart in the adjacent cart corral. Getting into the truck, I removed my cap and wiped the sweat from my brow. Needless to say, my jacket remained on the passenger's seat for trip home.

Supper at my mother's was pleasant this evening. My niece couldn't make it, but the other usual suspects were there. My sister told me she enjoyed the DVD of The Girl With The Pearl Earring that I gave her for her birthday last week. That entire movie is shot to ressemble a Johannes Vermeer's painting. If you haven't seen it, and love Dutch Golden Age art, you will surely enjoy this movie.

My bro-in-law wanted to tell a story, that he had already told us three times, about his brother using a hernia as an excuse not to lift anything over 25 lbs. He began by saying........"Did I ever tell you about about the time I............", to which my sister said, "Yes, you have." Well, he proceeded to tell the story again anyway! When he was done, I said that's the fourth time you've told us that story, you must be losing your short term memory, to which my sister replied, "I wish I was losing mine!"

Melissa XX