Monday, August 30, 2010

Supper At Mom's Tonight

My brother-in-law must have been on his meds today, because supper at my mother's tonight was a relatively pleasant affair. His daughter surprised us, by showing up tonight too, so maybe he was just overwhelmed by the sheer number of feminine personalities, but he really did keep his cool.

Mom had prepared a supper of mashed sweet potatoes, coleslaw, a medley of steamed baby carrots, green and yellow wax beans, and snow peas, along with baked ham, and bread rolls. When I came in she was slicing up the ham, and seemed to be having difficulties. She will be 90 in another four months, and has arthritic hands that have have been under the knife a few times, so her grip isn't very good. I said, "You look like you're struggling with that Mom, let me do it for you." She happily surrendered the meat fork and carving knife to me. Immediately I could see why she was having such a hard time. Instead of an actual carving knife, she was sawing the ham loaf up with a bread knife! In her defense, she was probably using a bread knife, because all of her other knives are so dull, they would have a hard time slicing through soft butter. Dad used to sharpen her knives on a wet stone, but Dad has been gone for close to ten years now. (Note to self: get mom a new set of sharp kitchen knives.).

It was good to see my other niece tonight. She is enrolled in training to become a nurse's aid, with an eye on following in her mother's footsteps, and eventually going to nursing school. Knowing that nurse's aids have some pretty nasty tasks to perform, I asked her if she had passed her test in attending bed pans yet, and she said "Oh yes, but it's not just bed pans, sometimes the patients even poop in the shower, and we have to clean that up too!" I said, "Well.....if they are going to do that, then the least they could do, is have the courtesy to squish it down the drain with their toes!", to which my other niece went, "Ewwwwww!", and then began to roar with laughter! Bathroom humor seems be one the favorite topics, when visiting my mother. Probably a legacy of our anal retentive upbringing!

My late twin's daughter is a very sweet kid. She's about six feet tall, so you would think that would give me more confidence in my female presentation, since I'm just a bit over 6 feet, but even at 6', she occupies only half the space that I do. be very young, and skinny again!

It's funny how little things remind you of your grief. As I'm typing this post, I have the TV on with the sound off, so I could listen to Beethoven's 9th. A commercial came on the TV for motorized chairs for the disabled. Suddenly I got to thinking of how my late sister would have benefited from having a motorized chair like that, when she had lost so much of her mobility. Then I got to thinking about the layout of her house, and how she would have to maneuver the chair through the dining room to get to the kitchen to avoid the step down, where the stairwell landed in front of the other entrance to the kitchen. Then I realized, she would still have a hard time getting upstairs for bed, and of course that's when I realized that her husband cleared out the dining room, and made that into her her bedroom in her last days.

Sadly, one thought leads to another, and the next thing I thought of was Jane lying in her hospital bed in that dining room, staring out into space as I stroked her cheek, and I found my self weeping all over again, thinking about the suffering she went through. In only two months time, it will be a year since she passed. I'll go for several months and not think much about it, so I think I'm over it. Then out of the blue, a moment like this will hit me, and I'm right back at her bedside again. I know it takes time, and each time I am brought to revisit her death, the pain become less acute, and the tears flow for a shorter period of time. Maybe I am learning to let go, and this is just the natural process of doing that.

As I posted earlier, the tropical cyclones are lining up, one after another out in the central Atlantic. Hurricane Danielle, after reaching major hurricane status, managed to stay east of Bermuda, and is now been downgraded to a tropical storm, threatening only shipping in the north Atlantic. Following behind her is Hurricane Earl, a major category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of over 135 MPH! That's enough to blow your roof off! Earl is going to track well west of Bermuda, possibly raking North Carolinian's Outer Banks around Cape Hatteras, before turning a bit eastward, and finally slamming head on into Nova Scotia. Then, right on the heels of Earl, is tropical storm Fiona (No relation to Lucy Melford's Fiona, I hope! I'm sure that her Fiona, while respectfully assertive, would never be aggressive!) No one seems too be sure, what Tropical Storm Fiona has in mind for the US east coast just yet, but we certainly hope she will will follow in the footsteps of her siblings, Danielle and Earl, and simply remain an open Atlantic nuisance

EEEK! I just looked down, and some beetle like creature was crawling on my leg! It was an outdoor insect that somewhat reassembled the shape of a lightning bug, but was a bit smaller, and all black. I'm sure it was a perfectly harmless creature, but nevertheless it gave me quite a start, and a quick brushoff with the back of my hand quickly whisked it off of me, and sent it sailing across the room. It's really not nice to go around bitch slapping harmless little creatures, but when they take to crawling directly on us, do we really have any alternative? Actually I think bugs are pretty cool, and living out here in the woods for the last 18 years, I've grown pretty fond of most of them, but not all of them. I'm still not crazy about the wood chewing, or stinging and biting kind. I have some horseflies that like to buzz around the yard, and if given half a chance, they will gladly take blood donation! I can surely do without them!

While not an insect, I think my favorite little creature of all, is the blue tailed skink.
I have a couple of them living on my deck.

Melissa XX

Sunday, August 29, 2010

WTF? Hot Spicy Wings, Tropical Cyclones & Social Security


It seems that if you type in a blog title, and then hit return, Blogger thinks you have finished your post and publishes it! Never mind that you never hit the "publish post" button! At least that seems to be the case for me. Now I think I know why so many new postings are showing up on my reading list lately, but when I click on them, there is no content.

Ho......hum! I'm listening to Mahler's Symphony No.1, what do I care?

Hot Spicy Wings.......Yum!

I don't often eat fried chicken, but I went to the grocery store today, and one of the first things I spied was a small container of spicy fried chicken wings. All I had for lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple, and I was getting hungry. Like Pavlov's dogs, when I spied those wings, I began to salivate! I had to have them! Very ingenious of Food Lion to put them in a place, where they are one of the first things you see when you enter the store! They were accompanied by whole roast chickens, being kept warm under a heat lamp. I almost bought one of those, but then I quickly came to my senses when I realized that one whole roast chicken was enough to feed me for an entire week..........but of course I would never make it last a whole week. It would easily be devoured in two days, as its siren song constantly beckoned to me from the refrigerator! Melissa?........Eat me!.........Oh, please Melissa , eat me..........I'm soooo tasty! And you know what? I would!

Time to tremble!

The hurricane season is now well underway, and tropical cyclones are lining up out in the Atlantic, getting ready to make their assault on whatever unfortunate land masses lie in their path. A swirling tempest known as Danielle, is churning the waters east of Bermuda, and has fortunately been downgraded from a monstrous category 4 (131-155 MPH) on the Saffir-Simpson scale, to a category No. 2 (96-110 MPH). With all luck, this beast will have traveled all the way from Cape Verde to somewhere west of Iceland, without ever having touched land! Wouldn't that be lovely? Fortunately, modern day ships have plenty of advanced warning to get out of the way of approaching cyclones.

Quick on the heels of Danielle though, is tropical storm Earl, located about 520 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands. Earl is expected to just clip the northern Leewards, then turn north to threaten the US East coast as a category 3 storm, with winds from 111- 130 MPH. With all luck, a high pressure ridge coming off the east coast will keep it out to sea as well. Fingers crossed! I know that we here in Virginia, as well as our neighbors to the south in the Carolinas, want these storms stay as far away from shore as possible.

So.........with two storms predicted to stay off shore, do you think we can relax? Take a look at a yet another tropical wave coming off the cape Verde Islands, that will most likely also develop into a tropical cyclone. Who knows what that will do. I hate the Cape Verde hurricanes. Some have said they are Africa's revenge, for hundreds of years of African slavery in America, but of course that's nonsense. They were occurring long before Africans were ever taken to the Americas in slave ships, and indeed many Africans slaves died encountering hurricanes during those horrible voyages. What makes Cape Verde cyclones so formidable, is that they have thousand of miles of warm tropical waters to cross, and by the time they get to the Americas, they are some seriously angry storms. September is peak time for Atlantic Hurricanes. Time to batten down the hatches, and seriously consider getting that generator I saw in Lowe's last week!

Social Security

Speaking of September, I will turn 62 on September 21st. When I left my company, I took an early retirement. That meant leaving before I was 62 years old. When you do that, you have to agree to a pension plan known as income leveling, where for the years before you turn 62 the company pays you what Social Security would pay you at 62, in addition to your company pension, but when you reach 62, your pension is reduced by the Social Security equivalent they paid you, for those preceding years. That allows you to retire early, at a slightly reduced pension. Because I am single, and my best three years pay, combined with my 37 years of service provided me with an income equivalent to what I was making when I retired, minus the additional fuel and maintenance expenses of traveling 100 miles a day to work and back, plus breakfast, lunch and other miscellaneous expenses, I decided to take it. Now that my 62nd birthday is approaching, I have to get on the stick, and apply for Social Security. I should have done it two months ago, as I have heard it can take three months to get it, but being the procrastinator that I am, I haven't. About a week ago, I got a reminder from my company that beginning on Oct. 1st, my pension would be reduced by the amount of my Social Security. I'm not worried if my Social Security is delayed, since I have a pretty good cushion in my checking and savings accounts, and SS should give me back pay up to my 62 birthday.

I still remember getting my SS card when I graduated from high school in 1966. I was still just 17 years old. 62 seemed like such a long away off, that I couldn't even imagine what it would be like. Although deep down inside, I knew that genderwise, I was "different" way back then, I was still in serious denial about how deeply different I was, and would remain so for another 10 years. I thought I would retire as a normal husband to a woman, and a father to several children. I had no idea how far from that course, my eventual path would take me. After several disastrous romances, where to my surprise I found out that I was expected to provide stud service, rather than tender affection to the women I loved, I eventually gave up on romance altogether, and have lived the celibate life ever since.

I suppose that I could be considered some, a sort of equivalent to a spinster; an unmarried, childless, prissy, and repressed least according to the dictionary definition. That's a far cry from my own vision of what I would be today, back when I was an innocent 17 year old youth, still trying to figure out who I was, and the very weird hand that was dealt to me.

Melissa XX

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I thought about chronicling some of my earlier experiences, in coming out and exploring my gender variance, when I was still in my late twenties and early thirties. The following is one of those experiences.

It was 1979, and I had a two week vacation in late February. My gender identity dysphoria was hitting me very hard. I needed a release from the prison of my five day a week male oriented job, and I had just the ticket. There was something new and exciting happening in the world of beauty culture, and I wanted a piece of it. I'm talking about nail salons. That industry was in it's infancy back then, and as far as I knew there was only one in Richmond. It was called, Sculptured Nails by Roxanne. It was a franchise operation, started by the nail technician who used to do Cher's nails, back when she had her hit 1970's TV show.

I used to watch Sonny and Cher faithfully every week, and I was so envious of Cher's beauty and femininity. I loved her beautiful long nails. I thought they made her hands look so graceful, and when I saw an ad in the Women's section of the newspaper, saying that Roxanne, "nail tech to the the stars" had opened a salon in town, I couldn't resist. I had been using my annual vacations to get some much needed me time for a few years by then, and this was something I definitely wanted to explore.

I called them on the phone for an appointment, and told them right up front that I was a boy, but I preferred to dress as a girl. If I was going to be rejected, I wanted it to happen over the phone, and not in front of everyone at the receptionists desk. The woman I talked to on the phone couldn't have been nicer, and she accepted my request for an appointment with open arms. This gave my confidence a big boost, since I had only gone out in full femme a couple of times before.

My two week vacation started on a Friday, and my appointment at the nail salon was on the following Tuesday. I got up early on Tuesday, and depilated my hands, arms, and legs with Nair, then took a shower. While my beard was still soft from my shower, I shaved my face as smooth as a baby's bottom, and blew my longish hair dry. I dressed in a beige linen, mid calf length straight skirt, a black floral print polyester georgette blouse, with a ruffled neckline, and a pair of thin strapped, dark red snakeskin, quarter strap sandals, with three inch stacked heels. I had a make up lesson at a cosmetic studio the year before, so I had plenty of practice in applying tasteful make up. I was in the middle of doing my makeup when the phone rang. This posed me with a bit of a dilemma. No one that I was acquainted with, knew that I was on vacation. Who could possibly be calling me on a weekday morning? I thought it might possibly be the nail salon, since I gave them my number when I made the appointment. So the gamble was, do I answer the phone in my male voice, or my female voice. If it was someone I knew, how would I explain the female voice, which thanks to my youth was quite good at the time, but if I answered in my male voice, and it was the nail salon, they would be confused, because I made the appointment using my female voice. I decided to play it safe, and I answered in my male voice. It was the nail salon, and they were calling to confirm that I was coming in for my appointment. When they heard a male answer the phone, they asked to speak to Melissa. I said hold on for just a second, and I'll get her. Unfortunately when we are not completely out, a certain amount of subterfuge is necessary for self preservation. I put the phone down and walked into another room, then returned and answered in my female voice. They just wanted to make sure that I was coming as I had promised, and I assured them I would be there at the appointed time.

An hour later I arrived at the salon. I parked in the lot adjacent the salon, and got out of my car. As I was walking from my car to the front of the salon, a van passed on the road out front and I couldn't believe what happened! The driver actually gave me a very complimentary shout out! I can't remember his exact words, but I do remember it giving me a tremendous boost of confidence as I entered the salon. This had only happened to me once before a few years earlier, as I exited a beauty salon, and a guy at a gas station across the street gave me a wolf whistle! At first I thought he was whistling at someone else, but then I realized that I was the only one on the street. It felt weird being whistled at by a guy, since I have no interest in men at all, but the more I thought about it, the better it made me feel about my presentation. I've often wondered what those guy's reactions would have been, had they realized the girl they thought was so attractive, had the same equipment that they had? I don't think they would have been pleased!

Into the salon I went, where I was courteously greeted by the girl who would be doing my nails. Right away, I loved the atmosphere of the place. It was a small salon, with a small waiting area in front of the receptionists desk, furnished with a sofa, a coffee table well stocked with women's magazines, and a few cushioned arm chairs. Beyond the waiting area, there were four or five tables with lamps on them, and a chair on either side. My nail tech escorted me back to her table, where she asked me if I wanted my nails to be long, medium length, or short. I had always envied girls with pretty long nails, so my attitude was, in for penny, in for a pound, and I told her I wanted them long. Now mind you, this was in the days when one inch nails were considered very long. In some circles today, nails have gone to ridiculous lengths, like two inches. We are not talking about anything near that length. That would be truly bizarre! If you want to see weirdly long fingernails and toenails, just do a Google search. You will see some of the strangest sights you have ever seen.

I had no idea what was about to happen, or how long it would take, but she began by taking a very rough file, and scouring the surface of my nails with it. I was quite shocked at first, and she must have noticed the alarm in my eyes, because she explained that she needed to create a rough textured surface for the acrylic to adhere to. "Don't worry" , she said, "they will look beautiful." She then took a spray bottle filled with alcohol and sprayed my fingers until they were thoroughly saturated. She said that was to prevent any fungus or bacteria from growing under the acrylic, and infecting my nails. We waited for a few minutes for the alcohol to dry, and we talked....she and I.......and the nail tech and customer next to us. Just four girls, engaged in friendly casual conversation. It felt so right!

When the alcohol finally dried, she placed special paper forms under the tips of my natural nails. She then took a small artist's paint brush, and first dipped it into a solvent, then into an acrylic powder, until she had a ball of viscous acrylic on the tip of the brush. She then began to transfer that ball of acrylic onto the surface of my nail, artfully shaping it, and extending it out beyond my natural nail tip onto the paper form. She repeated this process over and over on each one of my nails. Within minutes of applying the acrylic to each nail, it hardened. When she had all ten nails done, she removed the paper forms, and began the long process of "sculpting" each nail with files, and an electric rotary tool with an emery head. When she was finished shaping and smoothing all ten of my nails, she told me I had to go and wash my hands, and that there was a ladies room just around the corner and down the hall that I could use. I followed her instructions, and found the ladies room. The building they were in, was apparently shared by several businesses, and so were the facilities. I had never been inside of a ladies room before, and it felt so validating to walk in there, and see my reflection in the mirror as I washed my hands in the sink and then dried them. Before I returned to the salon however, my confidence suffered a blow, when I noticed that in my haste to leave my apartment on time, I forgot to zip up the back of my skirt! I was horrified! I thought I had noticed an unusual cool draft on my lower back, as I was getting my nails worked on! I quickly zipped up, and hoped that no one had noticed. If they did, they were far too polite to say anything to me.

I returned to my nail tech's table and she asked me to pick out a shade of nail polish from the display next to her table. Since it was winter, I wanted a muted red, so I chose a pretty deep russet. She smiled at my selection, and agree that it was a pretty color. She put a clear base coat on them first, then she put three coats of the russet on them and followed that up with a clear top coat. Now this was in the days before quick dry top coats, that set all layers of polish within a minute or two. With five coats of wet polish on my nails, I knew it was going to be quite a while before I could leave the nail salon. The trouble was I didn't realize it was going to take so long, and I had scheduled an appointment at another salon to have my hair done that same day. It was obvious that I wasn't going to be able to make it to that appointment on time. I voiced my concern to the the girl who did my nails that I was going to be late for my hair appointment, and she was so nice about it. She asked me where it was, and I told her the name of the salon. She had a phone at her table, but because my nails were wet, she offered to dial the number of the salon, so I could tell them I was going to be late. She dialed the number, and then waring me to be careful of my wet nails, handed me the phone. I told them I was having my nails done, and would be late for my appointment. They thanked me for calling, and said to take my time , as they weren't very busy that day.

I thanked my nail tech, and because my nails were wet, I told her she could go into my purse and take the appropriate amount of cash, plus a 15% tip out of my wallet, as payment for her services. I then went out to the waiting area and took a seat on the sofa among several other women. No one gave me a second look, except for one woman standing by the receptionists desk. I don't know if it was my height, or if she detected a shadow under my foundation, but she gave me a disproving look. Since my experience with everyone else up to that point had been so good, I quickly dismissed her as a sour puss, and ignored her. I spent the next half hour sitting there with the other women, carefully thumbing through fashion magazines, while waiting for my nails to dry.

After about thirty minutes, even though they told me to take my time, I began to worry about being so late for my hair appointment. I figured that surely my nails must be dry enough to leave now. I tested them, by lightly touching the edge of one nail. It felt dry and no polish transferred to my finger, so I got up and got my long gray woolen coat, and started to put it on. Immediately after inserting my left arm through the sleeve, I knew I had made a horrible miscalculation. I looked at the nails on my left hand, and the polish that had seemed dry, was only dry on the surface, and I had smudged them something awful! I was so embarrassed when I walked back to my nail tech, and showed her what I had done. Of course there was no time for her to remove my polish and do them all over again, besides, she was working on another customer by then. I asked her if she could just let me have some cotton balls and polish remover, and I would take off my polish there and redo it when I got home. Very graciously, she gave me a bunch of cottons balls and a bottle of polish remover, and I took off all of the polish she so painstakingly applied just a half an hour earlier. I felt so humiliated. Other than my little "wardrobe malfunction", everything went perfectly right up to when I got ready to leave! I had planned to show up at my hair appointment, with ten pretty long red nails to justify being an hour late, and instead I showed up with ten long, but bare nails. Fortunately, the bottle of polish my nail tech used, was included in the price of the nails, so when I got home I was able to restore them to their beautiful russet splendor!

Melissa XX

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tonight I'm Taking The "A" Train

Duke Ellington

Count Basie

John Lee Hooker

I've got some really good old jazz and blues CD's, from a collection called Forever Gold. I picked them up for a steal one day at Best Buy.........yes, the same place I got my track ball mouse yesterday, and yes, one again I had to wait in one of the two ques out of a dozen, that were open. I don't mean to pick on Best Buy, but hey if the the shoe fits, wear it! All mega and big box stores seem to be guilty of the same crime. Why do they install so many registers, and then have only a small fraction of them open at any one time?

Anyway.........getting back to Forever Gold, it is a wonderful 3 CD collection, that includes some of the the works of legends, like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and the king of the Delta Blues, John Lee Hooker. This is legendary stuff! For someone like me, who is sort of post rock (although still loves it, and all of the other genres when in the right mood), some of the older classic stuff really appeals to me now. Ellington and Basie, along with their contemporary, Billy Holiday can put me in such a very peaceful, relaxed mood, especially after a couple of glasses of the grape. Now in my younger days, that would have meant, Thunderbird, Mad Dog, Night Train, or Red Rocket, and those choices may actually have been more authentic to the genre, but my tastes have become a bit more sophisticated in my old age, and now I prefer a nice velvety Zinfandel.

At any rate, here is a tune from each of these great legends, starting off with Ellington's Sophisticated Lady

Count Basie's One O'Clock Jump

John Lee Hooker's No Shoes

And John Lee Hooker's Dimples

And since I love you all so much, here's a sweet bonus number, from Billie Holiday! Miss Brown To You

This is very old stuff, so I hope you can enjoy it. Why hell, it was old even when I was young, but it's great stuff nevertheless!

Warmest regards to all,
Melissa XX

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Back On The Ball Again!

........the trackball, that is. If you have been following my blog, then you know that my trackball mouse bit the dust about a week ago, and I have been risking carpel tunnel syndrome, moving a wireless optical mouse all over hell's half acre, in an attempt to keep up with my 24"I-Mac screen. That's a lot of territory to cover with a standard mouse. A standard mouse pad is not anywhere large enough to get from one corner of the screen to the next, so you have to pick the mouse up a couple of times, and go back to the starting point to get the cursor to cover the the entire screen. It's so much easier with a trackball. You can keep your hand stationary, and just spin the ball in any direction with your thumb!

When I bought my mother's I-Mac for her, I bought her a Logitech TrackMan Wheel to go along with her's too, but as the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks. She was confounded by this simple little device. She kept trying to move it, to get the cursor to move. I said, "Mom, you don't have to move the mouse, you only need to glide your thumb over that little red ball. ", but she just couldn't get the gist of it. She was so used to a standard mouse, that it seemed counter intuitive to her, when it was just the opposite for me.

Now in defense of my mother, she is no spring chicken. The old girl will be 90 years old on January 1st. She bought her 1st computer, a bottom of the line Hewlett Packard around the turn of the century. No......not the one in 1900! She's not that old! Besides, if she bought a computer back in 1900, she would have had to buy it out of the back of a tricked up DeLorean!

It seems that all of her sisters and friends were getting computers, so she had to have one too! Never mind that when she got her first digital microwave, she didn't know how to set the timer on it, because it didn't have a rotary dial. She never really learned how to take full advantage of her computer. She had a slow dial-up connection, and with effort she learned how to access her email account, but that's about as far as it went. She read a whole lot more emails than she ever sent. I was flabbergasted one day, when I actually received an email from her. She couldn't contact me by phone, so she actually typed out a message, and sent it to me. My sister was there to help her. It was the one and only email she ever sent to me.

Eventually her HP PC died, and impulsively, she stopped by a nearby Radio Shack, and bought a cheap Toshiba laptop. She had absolutely no idea what she was buying, and didn't have a clue as to what to do with it! I said, "Mom, you will never be happy with that. It's totally different from what you had, and it's ergonomically incorrect for your computer desk, and it will make you back hurt to use it from the chair you sit in." I said, "Take it back to Radio Shack, and I will get you a very nice computer to set on your computer desk. " A week later I brought her a brand new I-Mac, and we got her hooked up with a cable connection, that gave her high speed internet, phone, and TV. But because her new email program had a slightly different configuration than what she was used to, it confused her. I told her that all email programs are virtually the same, with just a few slight differences, and I tried to give her lessons, but she would just get bored and would lose attention. One time she just got up and walked out of the room, as I was trying to explain something to her! I couldn't believe it! Was this the same woman, who grilled me with flash cards non-stop, in an effort to teach me math, when I was 8 years old, and refused to allow me to stop until I got them all right? I wondered if now, she finally realized how I felt way back then!

She never did learn how to access the internet, or her email account, and occasionally asks my sister or me to log into her account, so she can see pictures of great nieces an nephews sent to her. I did load a great CD with a lot of card games on it for her however, and she has learned to access that! She loves to play bridge with some of the virtual characters embedded in the game.

My! How I digress!

I drove into the west end of Richmond today. A suburban community called Short Pump, to be exact. I was running out of five gallon bottles of water. I usually buy four of them a month. I have a well, but in the past few years, I have been noticing tiny specs of some kind of an oily substance floating on top of the water, whenever I would fill a glass. Not a whole lot of oil, just a tiny speck or two. I have no idea what it is, but I don't trust drinking it. Sometimes I wonder if it's just a bit of vegetable oil, squirted into someone's well, by the folks who are always leaving fliers in our mailboxes, advertising well water sampling, in and effort to sell filtration systems. Since all of our wells are drilled down into the same aquifer, I would imagine putting a substance into one well would cause it to migrate to other wells down stream. Who knows? Am I just getting paranoid in my old age, or is my distrust of business justified, by the countless scams of snake oil salesmen over the years?

Once I got into Short Pump, I stopped first at Best Buy, to pick up a new trackball mouse. They must have moved their stock around, since the last Time I was there, because I searched high an low, before I finally found it on the very last shelf I looked at in the computer section! I took it up front to pay for it and as usual, out of 12 registers, only one was open! I was the sixth person in a line, that was going nowhere. It seems that the guy behind the counter was having difficulties. He had to call on the resources of another clerk, who also seemed to be having difficulties! One man in front of me was there to purchase gift card, and he got so fed up, he just tossed the card on top of a drink cooler at the back end of the checkout counter, and walked out of the store! About five minutes later with no progress, another clerk opened up another register, and immediately she had problems too! It seems the customer held up his I-Phone, and showed her an internet ad with a price below what she was trying to charge him. So I waited some more, until the clerk helping out the guy at the 1st register came by, looked at the guy's I-Phone, and said "Yeah, it's OK." When my turn came up, I just pulled out a wad of cash to make it simple. I wanted out of there as quickly as possible, and didn't want any silly fumbling over credit or debit cards, or ID's.

On from there to Lowe's, to get my five gallon jugs of water. While inside I spied a nifty little 2000 watt generator for a little over $500.00. I was tempted to get it. It would be all I need to run my lights, fridge, TV and computer, when a storm takes out my power. I decided to pass this time, but I am seriously considering going back and getting one, while they still have them. I saw it last year, and regretted not getting one, when my power was knocked out for several days during last winter's snow storms. Hurricane season is ramping up now, so who knows what will happen in the next couple of months? And if last winter is any indication of what's in store for us this year, a generator will surely be needed! I can just plug it into my outside receptacle, and back feed one side of my power panel. The use of extension cords may be necessary to power up the right appliances on the other side of the panel, but since it will only be temporary, that's OK.

Leaving Lowe's, it was onto the new mega Kroger store. At twice the size of the Kroger it replaced a half a mile down the road, it was huge! I only had a few things to get, but I seemed to find them relatively easily for a big new store, and I made my way through the self checkout with ease. The parking lot was quite full when I pulled in, so I was expecting a rush hour nightmare, but
the store was so huge, that it didn't seem crowded at all.

I found some lovely red wine while there, called Bota Box Malbec. I had never heard of Malbec before, but it is quite good! The label states: "With a violet color and floral aromas, our medium bodied Malbec has lush flavors of Blackberry, and Raspberry which develop throughout its long finish."..... I quite concur!

OK.......I know I am probably showing my age here, but I'm going to take you back to the days of Disco. Screw anyone who ever told you that the Disco era was crap. It was not! The Disco era produced a lot of very fun, soulful music. Boz Scaggs' album, Silk Degrees was one of my favorites, back then. I think it was released in 1976. The whole album is great, if you ever have a mind to listen to it, but here are just a few of numbers from that album: What Can I Say.......What Do You Want The Girl To Do? .....and........Lowdown.

A big hug to all!
Melissa XX


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Another Saturday Night & I Ain't got Nobody

Here I sit, on a boring Saturday night. What's a girl to do? At least tonight I have more than one intermittent TV channel to watch. It rained for two days earlier in the week, and for two days afterward, I had no digital broadcast TV. This is supposed to be an advancement in technology? I never had a problem receiving a picture on the old analogue frequencies, but now I'm very lucky to get a fraction of the channels I used to take for granted. One channel that was coming in and out, was carrying the Washington Redskins National Football League pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens.

I know that some think girls aren't supposed to like sports, but I have been a Washington Redskins football fan ever since the early 1970's, upon returning from Vietnam. I think that originally, it was part of my feeble attempt to be seen as male by the friends I made, when I was still deep in the closet. Even though I had been a manger on my high school football team, I really didn't know much about the game, when I fell in with some guys my sister had been working with, but as we gathered together week after week to watch the games, I quickly caught on.

The Redskins used to be perennial playoff contenders, under coach, George Allen, and were three time Super Bowl champions under coach Joe Gibbs, but that was a long time ago, and they have been struggling ever since. I still enjoy watching them though. Am I supposed to drop my interest in them, just because I have come out as trans? I never bought into the notion that girls can't possibly like sports. Plenty of girls like to watch all kinds of sports. My own mother called me late last Saturday night to tell me, she had been watching the Redskin's route of the Buffalo Bills. It surprised me to hear her say that, but she said that she has always liked to watch football. And what about all of those girls who love to play soccer, field hockey, softball, etc.? Are they to be dismissed as something less than female? Well, of course not!

I suppose I am not the typical football fan. I hate it when someone violates the rules to gain an advantage. Most guys I've known don't care about that, as long as they don't get caught. I especially hate it, when someone deliberately attempts to hurt an opposing player, in an attempt to take them out of a play, or even worse, out of the game. That was one of the things that made me quit playing sports, when I was younger. I almost became a cripple while playing a supposedly friendly amateur softball game, that meant absolutely nothing. I was playing 1st base, when the guy at the plate hit a ground ball to the shortstop. I placed my left foot against the inside of the bag, and stretched out to receive the shortstop's throw to put the guy out at 1st. The throw got there just before the runner did, but as he crossed the bag, he drove his knee into the outside of my out stretched knee, in a deliberate attempt to injure me. It hurt like hell, and walked off the field, cursing the SOB, and refused to play the rest of the game.

So.....the joy I get out of watching the Redskins' National Football League games, isn't about watching players get hurt. In fact I still cringe when I recall watching Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants, breaking Washington's quarterback, Joe Theismann's leg in half while tackling him decades ago. I'm not exaggerating here. Joe's leg was bent at a most unnatural 90° angle after that play, and even Lawrence Taylor himself, was visibly shaken when he realized what he had done.

Thankfully no broken bones in tonight's game, and unfortunately my beloved Redskins took a thumping, but it is just pre-season, and hopefully they weren't playing to win, but just trying out different schemes. At any rate, the pre-season games are one of the things I love most about late summer. They area a harbinger of my favorite time of year........autumn! After suffering the flames of the inferno called the summer of 2010, I'm ready for fall and maybe a little bit of football!

Here is a song by one of my favorite all time rockers, that best expresses how I feel about all of you!

Well.......unfortunately I just found out, that the evil corporate monolith, Sony, has placed a block on the very best Youtube video recording of Bruce Springsteen's, I Will Not Let You Down, so I will have to find an alternative. No guarantees though, since all of the substitutes are shit in comparison!

Here's one, but it pales in comparison to the Sony recording, as far as fidelity goes. Screw corporations like Sony, that try to take control of everything within their grasp. The evil m***** f******s!

Always yours,
Melissa XX

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hang On For The Ride Of Your Life

Stay with this video, its worth it. It's a video of the Space Shuttle booster rocket separation, and return to Earth. There is a point in the video where it blacks out for a short period, but the picture comes back and it's a spectacular ending.

Melissa XX

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


My trackball mouse is on it's last legs. It seems that nothing lasts forever anymore. Fragile things, those trackballs. Much as I like them, they seem to have a pathological aversion to being repeatedly dropped to the floor. Drop them enough, and they refuse to function. Although this is my third Logitech trackball to sufferer this same fate (Could it be, that I'm a serial trackball killer?), I still love them, and will probably get another.

I sit at a right angle to my I-Mac, with my feet propped up, and my keyboard on my lap. The mouse simply rests on my right thigh, just in front of the keyboard. With a trackball mouse, there is no shuffling the mouse around. The mouse sits in a stationary position, and your thumb, index, and middle fingers do all the work. Track ball mice (mouses?) are great, until the rubber pads on their underside begin to come off. They are mere slivers of rubber, affixed with a contact cement. They are there to provide traction. Once they come off, the mouse easily slips off of your thigh, and falls to the floor. Thud! Enough of these falls, and eventually the poor thing becomes addled, much like the brain of a boxer, after taking too many punches to the head. The cursor then begins to freeze up, and you constantly have to give the mouse a shake to wake it back up. It's all down hill from there. You have a mouse with Alzheimer's disease. There with you one moment, and the next, it doesn't know who you are.

Currently I have my I-Mouse plugged into the USB port on my I-Keyboard, and compared to my trackball, it feels more like an I-Pain. Since you are all mature, and exceptionally perceptive readers, I'm sure it isn't necessary to mention exactly where that I-Pain is located.

For one thing, the cord is only about a third as long as the extra long Logitech cord, and because my bare thigh, or the shorts or Capri pants covering it, are apparently a weak reflector of light, it's optical nerve, has difficulty sensing my commands. Additionally, I just found out that my I-Mouse's right click function, does not initiate spell check, when you need it. In fact, the difference between the two mice (mouses?) is do glaring, that I just plugged the trackball back in. Better to have the mobility and functionality of a crippled trackball, than have to deal with an inferior It's kind of a shame really, because I love my I-Mac, but I am less than pleased it's peripherals. The optical mouse is sluggish and cumbersome, and the keyboard is notorious for requiring consistently heavy keystrokes to avoid dropped characters. Words with double letters, such as........well.......letters..........Blogger.........etc., often have the second double letter dropped, unless you really hammer the keys.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I think the searing heat may finally be winding down. For the past few days, it has struggled to reach 90°F. Under normal circumstances, 90° would be considered hot, but not this year or last, with temperatures soaring up to, and above the 100° mark. Now we are experiencing a stationary front, that is bringing much needed cooling rain showers. In fact, it's 75°, and pouring down rain at this very moment. Very pleasant indeed!

Have you ever seen the lovely Christina Hendricks, who plays Joan Harris, the office manager on the hit AMC TV series Mad Men? She is on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon right now. I would love to be as beautiful and confident as she is, yet at the same time, I would die to be possessed by her! Does that make me wacky? I don't care! All that I know, is that I love strong beautiful confident women!

Speaking of beautiful confident women, how about a soothing song from the lovely Diana Krall?

Melissa XX

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Under normal circumstances, I absolutely despise TV commercials. I'm especially disgusted with the blatant fear mongering of the pharmaceutical companies, and their hard sell approach to pushing their drugs to people who don't really need them, and most likely never will if they live a reasonably healthy lifestyle. One of the best advancements in TV technology, has been the "Mute" button on the remote control. Needless to say, mine gets used a lot.

Every now and then however, some company puts puts out a truly entertaining commercial, that I really enjoy watching. The following commercial for America's Directv is a good example. This one really cracks me up!

Melissa XX

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dirt Roads, Free Car Washes & Playing People For Suckers

Dirt Roads

The rural subdivision that I live in, does not have paved roads. Our roads are hard packed clay, with a layer of crushed granite gravel on top. The road had not been properly maintained for several years. When it rains, the clay gets soft, and the weight of the vehicles traveling over it, pushes the gravel down into the clay. After several years of this, we essentially had a mud road every time it rained. Then last winter when the snows came, my good and industrious neighbor to the east, used his John Deer tractor with a blade attached, to clear the road so we could all drive out to the highway, which is kept clear by the state Department Of Transportation. This scraping of the road, pushed what little gravel that was left on the surface, onto the grass at the sides of the road. This had to be done for three heavy snows last winter. The first two snow storms were bad, but they were just snow. The third storm was a bear, dumping copious amounts of extremely wet heavy snow, that broke down trees, knocked out power and generally made the neighborhood look like a disaster area.

The scene in the picture above was repeated throughout the neighborhood, with trees downed across roads and power lines. Naturally, the power company had to send in men in trucks to clear the fallen trees. They would drive to a fallen tree, then stop and get out to cut up the tree. Then they they would get back in their truck, gun their engines and spin their wheels, taking off to the next downed tree. Each time they did this of course, their spinning wheels left a small pot hole in the wet clay road. If you are familiar with the anatomy and life of a pot holes, you know that they never get smaller. Every time a tire sinks down into one, it scours out more material. By spring, our road looked like it had been cluster bombed. Trying to drive out to the highway without jarring your fillings loose, was like trying to negotiate the gates of a slalom. It took real skill, and even the best of slalom drivers couldn't avoid them all. Additionally, if had rained for a day or two, just driving the quarter mile out to the highway, would leave your tires, undercarriage, and fenders coated in an unsightly splattering of gray mud. Obviously something had to be done.

We contracted the services of a road grader to come in and fix our roads. He had to wait until we had at least two consecutive days of rain, to make sure the road was soft enough, so his blade could dig deep enough to not leave a washboard effect. In the past, my neighbor tried to grade the road with his tractor blade when the road was merely damp, and it didn't have the requisite weight, so it bounced and left a washboard surface, that was worse than negotiating the potholes. After a few days of rain, our contracted help came in with his massive yellow industrial size road grader, just like the type you see on new highway construction, and in a days time he had plowed up decades of gravel that had been compressed down into the clay. When he was done, our roads looked better than they have at anytime since I moved here over 17 years ago. Still, it's a clay and gravel road, and when it gets dry, it gets dusty. If it hasn't rained in a few days, driving over 10 MPH will raise a rooster tail of dust behind your vehicle.

Free Car Wash

Keeping a car clean when living on a dirt and gravel road, is virtually impossible, unless you wash it every day, so imagine my delight, when on the way to my mother's in Richmond for Monday night supper, I ran through not one, but two very heavy downpours! I'm talking about the kind of rain that requires you to turn your wipers up on high, and slow down to 45 MPH, lest you slam into the invisible car ahead, who's driver hasn't thought to turn on his lights.

My truck had been covered in dust, and the windshield was splattered with the aftermath of hundreds of head on collisions with flying insects. It really was a disgrace, but by the time I pulled into the parking lot of my mother's high rise apartment building in Richmond, save for it's interior which could stand a good vacuuming, it was spic-and-span! So much easier than spending an hour with a bucket, rag, garden hose and chamois.

Playing People For Suckers

My mother baked salmon fillets tonight, accompanied by Lima beans, baked potatoes, and a tossed green salad of Romaine, cucumbers, baby carrots, sliced purple onion, grape tomatoes, and crumbled Feta cheese. Butter pecan ice cream topped it all off. Living by myself, I tend to do quick and easy microwave meals, so it's nice to get a meal outside of my normal routine once a week.

My beloved sister and niece arrived after me, so until they got there, I had to try and make pleasant small talk with my bro-in-law. Imagine trying to have a pleasant discussion with a surly troll. Ask him a question about any subject that he hasn't brought up, and all you get are indifferent one syllable answers. He is a sexist pig, who only comes to supper for a free meal, and to try and impress my sister and niece with what a man he thinks he is.

Tonight, he bragged about how he set up a professor of business administration, who happens to frequent a local eatery that he goes to a lot. He hates the guy, because he thinks he's a pedant. The irony of him thinking the proffesor is bag of wind, is totally lost on this consummate braggart.

It just happens that his daughter-in-law's brother is living with him, and he happens to be a young executive and rising star, in a large energy company. The young exec is taking a non-resident course in business administration to advance his career, so my bro-in-law decides to use him to set up the professor of business admin, by goading him into pontificating about getting a degree in business administration. He tells him his daughter-in-law's brother is working on his degree in business admin, so the prof asks the young man where, and what course he's taking, and the young exec replies that he's in a non-resident program at X University. The prof, who doesn't know the young guy is highly paid business executive, takes the bait and says, he shouldn't be wasting his time on the non-resident course, since the better programs are the resident ones. The young exec then says he doesn't have the time to do that, because he has a job and can't take too much time away from it, and the prof says, well most people quit their jobs to attend the resident program if they want to succeed. So then the my bro-in-law's roommate delivers the coup de grâce by saying, "Yes, well I don't want to sacrifice a quarter of a million dollar a year executive job with XXXXXX Energy, to get my degree."

Of course my bro-in-law is just gloating over this great coup he pulled on the hated professor.

I looked across the table at my brother-in law, and I was actually ashamed of him. Believe it or not, he is a retired Lt. Col. in the US Army Reserves. You would think he would have more class than that. I said, why in the world would you ever want to do something that mean to someone? He said, because he didn't like the guy. I said I don't care how much you don't like him. Not liking someone, is not a justification to deliberately set them up to demean them. He just didn't get it. I've know him for thirty years, and the more I see of him, less I respect him.

I know women can be catty when they don't like someone, but this level of meanness seems to be a guy thing. I don't like it. I don't like it at all.

Melissa XX

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tonight's The Night!

Are you a fan of meteor showers? Did you know that tonight is the peak of the annual Perseids Meteor Shower? A look at my local infrared radar is not very promising. Lots of cloud cover descending from the north, that probably won't clear until four or five hours from now. What a shame! I love the Pereids!

My very first encounter with the debris of the comet Swift-Tuttle, was in 1959, when I camped out in the back yard of my very best friend at the time. MK and me set up our WWII US Army surplus shelter halves, to form our pup tent, but we didn't sleep in the tent, because that would have defeated the purpose of our nighttime adventure. Instead we laid our sleeping bags out under the stars, and laid on our backs to gaze up at the wonders of the universe. This was 1959, in the days before sodium vapor and metal halide street lamps, so the insignificant amount of light emitted from the incandescent street lamps in front of the houses of our neighborhood, had little if any affect on our viewing of the stars in our back yards. Would that it were so today in suburban neighborhoods, basked in the glow of sodium and mercury vapor!

It was an absolutely wonderful night back in 1959, lying their on our backs on our sleeping bags, into the early morning hours. Not once, did MK's parents come outside to check on us, or even look out the window at us for the entire night! Imagine that happening with today's obsessively overprotective parents!

So there we laid, watching the heavenly show! It must have been a particularly heavy shower that year, or maybe my memory is simply trying to embellish the reality of the situation, but it seems that we were witnessing two or three shooting stars, every 60 seconds. Whether it was one, or three a minute way back then, is unimportant. What is important, is that I got to see the Perseid, while lying flat on my back, when I was just just 10 years old! At the time, I thought it was one of the most wonderful things I had ever seen!

Well..........I stepped out onto the rear deck about 30 minutes ago, just to see what I could see in the clearing above my house. It had rained earlier, and I had forgotten all about it. A rain soaked wooden deck, combined with the inevitable mildew that you get in Virginia's hot humid summers, made for a slick surface, and as soon as the sole of my red snakeskin flat hit the deck, my foot went sliding out from under me, and down I went! Being a month shy of 62, I always panic when I go down. Is this the fall that breaks my hip, I wonder? So far I have been lucky. Tonight I just got back up, brushed myself off, and resumed my star gazing. Thankfully all is OK!

Living 40 miles outside of town has it's advantages if you are a stargazer. The awful light pollution of city street lamps is not a problem out here. Still, you have to acclimate your vision to the night sky, so it takes 20-30 minutes outside, before your eyes are able to take in the wonder of the beautiful blanket of stars, that surrounds our globe. The Milky Way is clearly visible, once you get your eyes adapted to the low light. Unfortunately for the 20-30 minutes that I stayed out on the deck, I only saw one lousy little meteor! I'm not blaming this year's Perseids, so much as my own difficulty in adapting my eyesight, from the light of my I-Mac screen, to the pitch black of the night sky, and the fact that I have but one little patch of sky over my house, thanks to all of the surrounding trees.

I suppose I could walk down by the pond, where the sky is wider, but then I would surely be eaten by mosquitoes! I don't know about you, but I don't particularly relish the idea of contracting West Nile Virus, or Equine encephalitis, just to get a glimpse of the stars!

As you all know, I love Gustav Mahler. Last night I made a horrible mistake, when I attributed his third symphony, movements I-III to what I had actually been listening too. In reality, what I had been listening to, was Malher's first symphony! Equally as good as anything else he has ever done, and maybe even better, but I won' t quibble, since all that he has done has been exceptional!

All my love!

Melissa XX

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What Is Wrong With Blogger?

I just spent 30 minutes composing a heartfelt post, and when I hit the return key to finish the last sentence, absolutely everything I had written, just vanished into cyberspace! Thanks so much Blogger, for stealing my valuable time yet once gain, and treating my creativity like so many pigeon droppings!

Now that I've become upset and lost my train of thought, I dont know what I was posting about.

.........I think it had something to do with Gustav Mahler..............oh yes! Now I remember! It was about one of the insistent insects of the woods, trying desperately to gain access to my my little room. And there it is again!......flapping its wings, in a desperate attempt to come inside.

Could it be that like me, it too loves Mahler, and just wants to come in and sit next to me on the arm of my chair, and share in my joy with this most magnificent composer? Given the beauty of Mahler's Symphony #3 movments I-III, I can hardly blame the poor creature for wanting to come inside.

I remain skeptical however! What if it only wants to come in to annoy me, by flying in ever smaller circles around my torchère lamp, until it eventually succumbs to the heat of the bulb?...........or even worse..........wants to feed on my my blood? Considering that the woods surrounding me, are filled with all manner of little blood sucking carnivores, that is not an unrealistic consideration.

No......I think I would prefer that all insects stay outside, even if their only aim is to listen to Gustav Mahler with me. They will have to be content with what their little auditory receptors can pickup through the glass, while lighting on my window frame!

It's been about a month and a half now, since I broke the little toe on my left foot. I just took the adhesive tape binding it to the rest of my foot off yesterday, and it seems to be doing great! No pain at all! It still appears to be just a little bit fatter than the toe on the opposite foot, but my left foot has always been a little bit fatter than my right foot under normal circumstances anyway. That's odd, because my right hand is fatter than my left hand..........probably from years of handling tools in that hand, because I am right handed.

We are still battling insufferable heat here in central Virginia, but thanks to the new window unit that replace the one that crapped on me, it's been relatively comfortable inside. The forecast is calling for temperatures to finally dip back down into the upper 80's this weekend and next week, so maybe I can get out one morning if the humidity isn't too high, and cut the grass down by the pond again. It's been at least a month, if not longer since it was cool enough to cut it the last time.

This past month I wrote an essay that Calie asked me to write for T-Central, and apparently I upset the sensibilities of a few dear sisters with some of the things I said. It's so hard to be truthful about our individual feelings, without stepping on the toes of another sister and her unique journey. If I in anyway offended any of you with anything at all that I said, please be assured that it was in no way a reflection upon you as an individual, or the path you have chosen. We all have to follow the beat of our own drummer. I have nothing but the highest respect for all that you have gone through, or will go through. I love you all dearly!

With all my heart,
Melissa XX

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Has A Singer Ever Made You Cry?

The late Luciano Pavarotti used to open up my flood gates, whenever I heard him sing. His voice was like that of an angel. It just pierced through my heart, whenever I heard him. Imagine a little 10 year old girl singing so far beyond her years, that she would bring tears to your eyes. Last night, while watching America's Got Talent, I saw and heard a little girl, who must have been taught to sing by angels, because she certainly sounds like one. If you haven't heard Jackie Evanko sing, please take a few moments of your time to watch this video. If you are anything like me, you will first be flabbergasted at the voice on this little girl, then quickly after, your heart will melt.

Melissa XX

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dressing Preppie

Maybe it was just just an American thing, but has anyone ever dressed Preppie, when you were in boy mode? Some may know this style as Ivy League.

The look seems to have faded in recent years, but I used to do it all the time, back in the 70's and early eighties. Why? Well......because it was the closest thing to a unisex style that I could come up with, once the early 70's hippie unisex styles went out of fashion. As a preppie, I could get away with wearing essentially the same things the preppie girls were wearing, including smart looking pink shirts. Nearly everything of the preppie style, save for the skirts, dresses, and some select sweaters, had a duplicate item in men's wear. Whether it be loafers, crisp looking twill pants, wool sweaters, tweed blazers, and yes, even clogs! Both boys and girls could wear all these things. The only difference was that the girls clothes were a bit more tailored, giving them an even smarter look.

The preppie style still exists, but it seems that only mostly older middle aged suburban types wear it now, and god love them, but a pot bellied, balding fifty plus year old man in khakis and a pink polo shirt, just doesn't inspire a sense of gender liberation.

What sort of things do any of you wear now, when you don't particularly want to be identified as a male, but still cannot present openly as a female? What exactly is the current unisex style, or has the concept of unisex become an anachronism?

Melissa XX

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Verdict Was Read & The Sentence Pronounced

Three hours in the chair!

The electric kind? Oh no, dear readers! That would have been far too quick and merciful. No.....the chair I had to endure, was a far more medieval device than "old sparky". Relatively comfortable at first, it lulled me into a false sense of security. Then very gradually, as the clock slowly ticked away, it began to work it's evil intent on sinew and bone, becoming ever more uncomfortable, until no amount of shifting my weight around, or repositioning my legs could alleviate its torturous effects. If the person who invented the steel folding chair hasn't been inducted into the Torturer's Hall Of Fame, then he certainly deserves to be!

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Well......I guess it's unfair of me to compare myself with the widow, Mrs. Lincoln, but my three and a half hours at my monthly support group meeting tonight, was a tortuous affair for this almost 62 year old arthritic frame. I had already spent about forty minutes on my Trek mountain bike after lunch this afternoon, and that took it's toll on my lower back, but more importantly on my poor derrière. Well.........derrière is actually putting it politely. Anyone who has ever ridden a multi-speed bike, knows that your derrière is not exactly what makes contact with the hard (albeit slightly padded) narrow little excuse for a seat. At about the forty minute mark, I felt an uncomfortable sensation coming on right between my.......ahem......cheeks. I knew what was happening, but being the fool that I am, I tried to tough it out. No pain, no gain, right? Big mistake! A minute later I was off the bike, and lying flat on my back on my bed, taking deep breaths and slowly exhaling, trying to relax the death grip that the cramp was putting on my nether regions. If you have never experienced this exciting sensation, then imagine some horrible brute grabbing the end of your colon, giving it a nice tight twist, then refusing to let go, even when you cry uncle! When I was in Army basic training 42 years ago, I remember my drill sergeant telling some miscreant, that he was going to jerk a knot in his ass. I laughed when I heard that, but now I know exactly what it feels like! It took about fifteen minutes of biofeedback through relaxation techniques, to relax the cramp. Then, just as quickly as it came on, it was gone. That marked the first assault on my rear end today, then came the evil chair!

I showed up on time tonight with a big bowl of salad, and a chicken broccoli and noodle casserole for our pot luck supper. I added them to the veg and dip platter, sushi platter, baked bean casserole, whole roast chicken, and pepperoni and anchovy pizza already sitting on the kitchenette counter. I didn't sample the pepperoni & anchovy pizza, or the roast chicken, and I'm sorry I didn't, as I was still hungry after a bit of salad, a small portion of the casserole that I brought, and a few spoonfuls of the baked beans. By the time I had finished those, the pizza and chicken had been devoured. Small wonder that I went straight to the fridge when I got home, for a snack of some sliced Virginia ham, cheddar cheese, and my favorite whole grain standby, Triscuits!

The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.

T, our events coordinator, had scheduled a therapist to come to our meeting tonight, to be our guest speaker, but apparently said therapist forgot to come. Poor T didn't have an answer, because this therapist never called to cancel, and didn't return any calls. I'm willing to put it down to a poor memory, but all the same, I hope that if I ever need a therapist, I don't encounter this one.

Lacking a guest speaker, we did another round robin, where everyone got to speak their mind on the insecurities that haunted them when they first came out, or when they first transitioned. As is the case with most of these types of discussions, it quickly morphed into a much less structured conversation. At the start, a few stuck to the format and gave a brief succinct description of actual insecurities they had experienced, then other's began to digress, delving into their psyches and delivering long soliloquies, ranging far from the topic of discussion. Not to dismiss the heart felt and intellectual concerns of sisters, but some went on so long that when my turn came, I had been lulled into a semi-conscious state, and I had completely forgotten what I planned to say, so I simply told everyone that I couldn't care less less what strangers thought about me when I was out and about. I told them that I was about to turn 62 next month, so why should I be bothered with what total strangers thought about me?

It was nice to see everyone again, but by nearly 10:00 PM, my hind parts had had it with the folding steel torture device. I was also feeling a bit ragged, having been up since 7:00 AM, so I was happy that the meeting had finally come to an end. I stood up, for the first time in three hours. Ahhhh......blessed relief! I walked back to the kitchenette, looking for something to drink that contained caffeine. I found some Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, and poured a cup, since no one had thought to make some coffee. Funny, no one ever does. I wonder if I take on that responsibility, if anyone besides myself will drink any? Sounds like an experiment for next month's meeting.

I drank my Dr. Pepper, then collected my salad bowl, which was still about a third full. The casserole had been completely devoured, so it's disposable container went straight into the trash. I then bid my farewell and retreated to my Dakota, parked out back. I made my way out of the free clinic's parking lot, and through Richmond's west end streets to the parkway that led to I-64 West. It was after 10:00PM/ 22:00 on a Friday night, but the traffic was still fairly heavy heading west of Richmond and as has been the case for the last year, three lanes of traffic leaving Richmond, were narrowed down to one lane at times, so road crews could make long needed night repairs. Once past the far west end of the Richmond metropolitan area, the repairs ceased and the road opened up again, but traffic was still relatively heavy all the way out to where I live.

Finally arriving at home, I checked my mail box on the highway out in front of our neighborhood. Nothing but catalogs. One from Beauty Boutique, one from Essentials by Anthony Richards, featuring 15% off on their entire stock of intimates, One from Duluth Trading Co., featuring their Longtail T, The Perfect Solution To Plumber's Butt, and one from Silhouettes, featuring their final summer clearance sale on tops, pants, dresses, shoes and swimsuits. Only one of these catalogs (Silhouettes) had the decency to address themselves to Melissa! Duluth Trading Co. can be forgiven, since they sell mainly manly things, but I think I need to have a serious word with Beauty Boutique, and Essentials.

Melissa XX

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sweat! Sweat! Pant! Pant!

The jungles of Panama couldn't have been any steamier, than it was here today. It was cool and dry in the house when I got up this morning, but I knew it was very humid outdoors, because all of my windows were fogged up on the outside.

The trash was piling up, so I had to make a trip to the dump after lunch. Stepping out the door, was like walking into a steam bath! I looked at the weather data on the computer and realized why. It was 86 °F/30 °C, and the humidity was 74%. In the few minutes it took to load the trash into the back of the truck, I was ringing wet. Thankfully my Dakota has an excellent air conditioner.

With the temperature eventually rising into the 90's, and with all of that humidity, I knew there would be late afternoon thundershowers. Looking at the Doppler radar map at about 6:00 PM, I expected to see thunderstorms brewing over the Blue Ridge, but there were none. However there was a large formation of storms west of the Shenandoah Valley, over the Alleghenies in West Virginia. By 8:30 PM, they had crossed the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge, and were blowing through Charlottesville, 29 miles west of here. Fifteen minutes later, I began to hear thunder, and then drops of rain hitting the skylights. A few minutes later all hell broke loose, as lightning bolts began to strike all around. It was too dark outside to see anything, so I will have to wait until tomorrow to survey the property for any broken limbs or toppled trees. The thunderstorms have been particularly destructive this summer, because of the extreme heat.

I've noticed several posts from several blogs show up on my reading list in the last few days, but when you click on them, there is no post. Later a post under the same title shows up, and when you click on that one, the post is there. The same thing happened to this post. It accidentally posted, while I was still typing it, so I had to delete it, and redo it. I don't know how it got posted,
because I never clicked on the "publish" button. It just happened while I was typing. I wonder if Blogger has some kind of a bug?

Melissa XX

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Spent The Day In A Dress

I don't often do that, preferring to wear jeans, shorts, capris or skirts most of the time, but as soon as I got out of bed today, I instantly knew that I wanted to wear my red plaid, button front, sleeveless dress, with the empire waist and scoop neck.

I love the the way a dress feels! I feel so free when wearing one!

I've got the TV on, but I really wasn't paying attention to it. Instead I was surfing the web, but suddenly while writing this post, I looked up to find two men brawling inside of a cage! One looked like a Hispanic fellow, while the other looked like a pasty white guy, who resembled Carrot Top! They rolled around and pummeled each other for a while, and I think the Hispanic guy won, but I'm not sure, since I really wasn't paying much attention.

Well..........actually the Hispanic guy didn't win after all. They just went to commercial, so I thought the match was over. Turns out that Carrot Top is actually dominating the Hispanic Guy, maintaining a position over him, and pounding him in the head! What sort of men actually want to get inside of a cage, and beat the hell out each other? I certainly wouldn't want to do it! While I find it somewhat fascinating to watch, I could never imagine myself doing that in a million years!

How about a little bit of Babs tonight? Especially for those of you who are feeling a bit down:

Melissa XX