Monday, January 16, 2017

Laska Story Challenge: Champagne!

My dear friend, author Paul Laska, gave me another writing challenge.  It took me far to long to complete it, but here it is!  500 word minimum.

"You're a bottle of champagne at a liquor store.  Someone purchases you for a celebration.  Listening to him, what's the occasion and how is he celebrating?"

Hello my friend!  I am the bottle you have been seeking!  Veuve Clicquot! “The Widow”  One of the finest champagnes ever made!
            Of course, the human couldn’t understand me.  Stupid Americans!  They don’t understand anything that is not English.  But, he bought me along with a California Red and a bottle of Absolut Vodka.  Neither of them spoke French either, but fortunately I speak English.  They didn’t speak much.  The vodka was bust trying to be mysterious, and I think the wine was meditating.
            Eventually, the human put me in the refrigerator, after showing me to a woman.  She was beautiful, with raven colored hair and grey eyes.  She seemed impressed by me- and who wouldn’t be? After all, I am Veuve Clicquot!

            I don’t know how long I spent in the refrigerator.  If the various other occupants that came and went are to be believed, it was several years.  After a year, I stopped seeing leftovers, and started seeing a lot of Chinese food and pre-prepared things from the market.  I saw many more bottles of beer though.  Most of them pretended to be German, but they were American.  They couldn’t even speak German! 
One day, the man removed me from the refrigerator.  He was dressed very well in a jacket and tie.  Worthy of an occasion that is worthy of Veuve Clicquot!  He wrapped me in a towel and put me in a cooler with ice and two champagne glasses.  I remember thinking “where are we going in the middle of the day?”  The two glasses said nothing. 
Ah!  A picnic!  It had to be!
Soon the chest opened, and he removed me.  He placed me on top of a stone.  My God- it’s a tombstone!  He placed the glasses net to me and opened me efficiently, yet with little flair.  He must’ve had some practice.  He then poured me into the two glasses, and lifted one.
“Happy five year anniversary, Angel!  I opened the champagne, just like we planned.”
He clinked his glass gently with the other, which sat next to me on the stone.  He then drank a sip. 
Tears started flowing from his eyes.  Water, condensed from the warming glasses and my bottle made us weep as well.
He knelt in front of the stone, where he cried and spoke quietly.  Occasionally he would sip from his glass.  When he finished his glass, he stood.  He took the full glass and poured it out on the ground where he had been kneeling in front of the stone.  He picked me up, looked at me for a long minute, and placed me on the ground in front of the stone.  Near me were some faded, warped pictures pinned my stones to the ground.  He then left a while picking up an old dead and withered one. 
He then packed up the glasses, and put them back in the cooler.  He also pocketed my cork.  He kissed the top of the stone and said “See you soon, Angel.”  And walked away, leaving me mostly full and weeping on the ground next to flowers and a tombstone.
And here I sit, now warm and flat.  Waiting.  Waiting. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Work Story

This happened maybe 9 or 10 years ago.  Long before my True Self re-emerged.

Back then, the bookstore had these positions called "Leads."  The leads were responsible for their area- they would curate the books that were there, ordering titles and trimming others to create a section that customers would enjoy.  They kept it clean, were responsible for stocking its shelves, etc.   This was THEIR area: they were the Experts.  The bookstore no longer has these positions, as I guess they don't want experts, or people really giving a damn about the areas of their responsibility. But I digress.  Hail the almighty dollar.

In any case, this takes place one late one Saturday night.  I was in the back of the store, near the restrooms at the time. I was checking stuck with the handheld device which is what we used to figure out what stays and what goes.  I was standing on a stool to reach the highest shelves, when out of the men's room come a huge younger guy (B) and a very powerful looking man (Aide.)  Right next to the restrooms is a fire door- it's still there, actually.   At the time we had been having problems with people opening that fire door- so many, in fact, that the fire department said that the next time they had to come for a false alarm on our fire doors, that the store would be fined.  So management made it VERY clear that we were to make sure to not let people open the fire doors.

Gratuitous Sophie Picture

So turns out that B was somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.  He was one of the special needs people who were there for the for their weekly outing at the bookstore.  At the time, there were two different groups that enjoyed the store.  One would come Friday, and the other on Saturday.  The Friday night group still comes.  The Saturday night group included this guy.  Usually the groups are about ten of the residents of these assisted living homes, and their Aides.

B decides he wants to go out the fire door. I say "you can't do that," and his Aide,  a very powerfully built but shorter man, is trying to steer him away from the door.  Now B was very strong, and this guy was doing his best to get through his Aide.  He got to the point where they started wrestling on the ground, right next to my step stool.

I looked down and said "you want me to call for help?" and he tossed his phone to the side.

He said "Call my colleagues! They'll come back and help me!"  So I did- I picked up the phone.  He said dial whatever.

Well, it turns out that his colleagues had gathered their flock and left these two behind.  They were gone.  They left this guy and his charge there wrestling on the floor.

The Aide managed to push his charge away for a little bit, and B started to smash his forehead against the wall until he started to bleed!  And then he ran toward the front of the store.  There was a large blood stain on the wall!

The Aide chased after B. I dialed my little portable phone, and call the manager and and said "Call 911- there's a guy assaulting someone!"

However, the manager on duty at the time was someone who absolutely did not like me.  Anyway, she didn't believe the urgency in my voice she said "No, it can't be that bad."  I tried to explain it to her.  She wouldn't listen.

Meanwhile, B was going through the entire store bashing his head on things, throwing books aside- getting blood everywhere.

I decided I would stand by the fire door in case he came back.  So there I was standing, trying to get a call out to 911 because my manager sure as hell wasn't going to do it.

At this point, a fellow employee came along.  I'll call him "Dolt."  Dolt was maybe six foot five and very thin, with a very deep voice.  He was in his early sixties.  I shouted at him to "Get away from this area!  It's dangerous!"  I pointed at the bloodstain on the wall.

He said "I'll go check the displays over here," pointing to a wall out of sight.  I didn't see him again until after it was all over.

So I stood waiting for whatever to happen. Suddenly B was there- maybe 15 feet in front of me.  He had blood flowing down his face and staining his shirt from the cuts in his forehead.  He was standing looking like a bull ready to charge.  He was coming through that door no matter what!  I was the only thing between him and it.  Now, I have run into burning buildings, and I've been in more fights than I can count, but this is the first time that in a fight situation that I was scared.  My knees were shaking! This guy was no doubt MUCH stronger than me.  And I couldn't fight him- if I defended myself and hurt him, I would be sued for hurting someone who is special needs.  This was a lose-lose situation, and I knew it.

At this point, the manager came around saying "what is going on?" B turned, and swung at her she ducked a little bit.  He still connected with her shoulder- barely grazing her. She's said something like "ohmyGodIcan'tbelievethisI'mgoingtocallthepolice!" I shouted at her "Now what the hell do you think I've been telling you to do!"

Of course she ran away.  B looked at me again and ran right at me, shouting.

I used to be on the wrestling team long ago, and, aside from my other fighting experience and training, I remembered a few things.  I charged at him- going low to attempt a "take down."  I succeeded, and had him on the floor.

Did I mention he was MUCH stronger than me?

I did my best to pin down his limbs, but he easily threw me off, and started hitting me in the head and chest.  His Aide returned, and the two of us managed to push him into the nearby Men's Room.  We held the door shut.  He pulled from his side once or twice, then gave up.

All was Quiet.

After an eternal few minutes, the police arrived.  Three officers- all them tall and burly.  I told the officers that the person in the men's room was very violent, and pointed out the bloodstains.  I was bloody too, as was the Aide, but that was mostly B's blood.  Mostly.  Two officers drew their weapons and knocked on the door.  The third had myself and the Aide step back.  When there was no answer to the knocking, the police went in.

All was quiet.

We heard some speaking.  The officer with me asked what happened.  At that moment, a gaggle of blondes came running toward the restrooms, wringing their hands and shouting.

The van that had left B and Aide had returned!  These were the other staff- the ones who had left without taking roll call.  And they were nigh hysterical as they swarmed into the men's room.

The Aide, Officer, and I looked at each other- stunned.  The Officer asked what I wanted done.  I said I wanted him in shackles and full restraints, as he was a danger to himself and others.

At this point, the manager returned.  She stood with Aide and me as the two police officers led B out of the men's room.  One was on either side of him, and he was fully restrained in cuffs and shackles.  Behind them were the wailing mass of blondes, crying and wringing their hands.

Officer Three explained to me and the manager that there was an ambulance waiting outside the receiving door, and they would take B there.  We just had to walk him across the store as quietly as possible.  The Aide?  He was as calmly as possible explaining exactly what happened to the teary eyed blondes.  He was extremely angry, yet in full control.  I envied him that control, as, at that time, my anger was consuming me.

I led the group to receiving, where the manager had unlocked the door.  The paramedics were waiting with a gurney that had been prepared with leather straps.  The police loaded B onto the gurney, and the paramedics fastened B with the straps.  At this point, B starting thrashing and yelling, but it was too late.  He was restrained.

I went back to the restroom, where Officer Three was waiting.  He motioned me to go into the restroom with him.  I went to the back stall, which had a couple of bloodstains on the wall, but also...

B had unscrewed the toilet from the floor.  With his bare hands.  There it sat, unmoored from the floor.  THAT took some strength!

By the time I went back to the sales floor, the two other officers were speaking to the Aide and the Gaggle of blondes.  Nearby was the manager.  And Dolt.  Manager was listening to the questions and waiting her turn.

I went back into the men's room and washed off the best I could.  When I came out, one of the Officers took my statement, and the manager asked me about what happened.  I doubt that the final report was anywhere near the truth.

In the years to come that Dolt still worked at the bookstore, he would brag about he and I BOTH were wrestling B.  Even though Dolt was nowhere in sight during the melee.  I corrected him at first, but stopped after a while.  No one cared what I had to say.

I insisted to management that this group be banned.  As I never saw them again, I assume they were.  I would hope that the people responsible for leaving B and his Aide behind were fired.  At least I hope so.

The manager at the time is no longer employed by the bookstore.

That, to this day, is till one of the Worst days I've ever had at work.  Not THE worst, but top 3.

But now, it makes for a good story.  That's something I guess.

Be Well.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Thoughts in the Night

When I turn out the light, I lay in a bed that is mine through charity.  It is a single bed, but plenty for just me.

In the night, across the room, my roomie and bestie sleeps in her bed, which is the same type as mine.  She sleeps quietly.  She does not snore.

It is after I turn out the light that the thoughts come.  My eyes adjust to the Darkness and I think of my Wife.

I think of how we will never again sleep in the same bed.  About how much I miss the scent of her hair as we lay together through the night; my arm around her.  How I will never feel the softness of her skin as she sleeps in my embrace.

I will never again here her murmur quietly in her sleep.

It has been over forty months since I was thrown out of the rooms we shared.  Thrown out because of who and what I am.  For my Truth.

True Pain is remembering every little detail of what you have lost.

And, in the Darkness, in the Night, I remember




Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bags of Dice

Somewhere, perhaps in storage, are two bags of dice.

One is larger.  The bag is tan suede and it's about ten inches long.  It holds a lot of dice.

The other is smaller.  It is black leather.  It doesn't hold as much.

These were my gaming dice, collected over decades.  They are dice of many shapes and sizes- four sided, six sided, eight sided, ten sided, twelve sided, twenty sided, thirty sided, and even 100 sided.

In that bag are two of the surviving dice from my original Dungeons and Dragons blue boxed set.  Their corners are rounded with use, all those years ago.  In fact, they've been rarely used since before high school.  I bought other dice with sharper edges and different colors.  But I saved these two.  My dear friend Dr. Dave has two others from this set.  Or at he did.  I don't know if he still does.

When we started playing D&D, Dave and I scavenged dice from all of our other games for use with D&D.  After all, one can have too many dice!  They are now in the dice bag.  There are dice from the games of my childhood there, the rest of the games long gone.

When I attended gaming conventions, I always bought at least one new die.  A memento.  One of the six siders is a special Gen Con Commemorative die, which has a dragon for a "one."  It is large and red.  It is in the tan dice bag.

I bought the black dice bag at Origins '91 in Baltimore, Maryland.  It was Wife and I's first overnight trip together.  The trip was July 4th weekend, and we watched the fireworks over the harbor while holding hands.  While at Origins, I met the people from Chessex game distributors.  A month and a half later, I had a job there, which I held until 1994.

The black bag holds my Gaming dice- the ones I used all the time.  There are two sets of dice in that bag, both sets a gaudy orange.  I figured no one would steal ugly dice.  I used to use those weekly at least.  Now, I haven't laid eyes on them in years.

Not all of the dice I own are in those bags.  The dice I used while playing at Penn State are glued into a display along with the miniatures used by the gaming group there.  I was the only one with miniatures, so we all used mine.  They are all in a small display: frozen in time.  In storage.

I have a couple of large dice in the apartment sitting on shelves as dust collectors.  One is a very large translucent yellow six sider that I bought at my first Gen Con, also in 1991.  The other is a large 20 sider that I bought at the local comic store.

I have a few dice in my car.  They belonged to my late friend Big Al, dead now these four years.  I keep them there in his memory.

All those dice- engines of imagination.  Random generators that determined the course of mighty stories.  Polyhedral memories.

I have no idea where they are now.  Somewhere in storage I think, in one of the many boxes.  I hope so anyway.  Haven't seen them since before I was thrown out.

Part of my life lost.  Missing.

I can't think of a better metaphor to close out a year that has been so horrific.

Be Well.

December 30, 2016- before work

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Why no posts?

Sorry I haven't posted.

Christmas in retail.

And besides

"If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all."

So I'm not saying anything.

"Give the people what they want."

Gratuitous Sophie Pic

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Happy Hair!

A week or so ago, I decided to try something different with my hair.  Because wow I felt it looked sooo flat, and some people claimed that my hairstyle was one of the reasons I get misgendered so often.  Really!

I haven't seen my Hair Miracle Worker (Donna Miller) in months.  There are sooo many reasons, but y'know I'm not going to dwell on them!

Anyway, one morning, I decided I'd get out my curling iron and do some damage!

Many people commented that they liked my old wig look, with the swept bangs.  Well, so did I, but my natural hair hasn't grown in enough yet to even attempt that!  I wish it were- it was sooo pretty!

Wig by Henry Margu, styled by Amanda Richards

I guess I'm just stubborn, but I WANT to wear my real hair. (Add to that the fact that wigs make me sweat like crazy!)  That's why I take Finasteride, which has helped tremendously in filling in some thin spots.  I still have a way to go around the stupid widow's peak though, which makes some of the styles just impossible.

When I went full time in March 2014, Donna styled my hair with bangs.  But I just sucked at doing that, and I thought it looked too thin.   I mean really!

Comb over

For a while, I parted to the side, but the whole widow's peak thing bothered me.  Seriously!

Look how short my hair was!

So then I parted in the middle for a long time.  It was sooo much easier and covered up the thin areas.

I really like this picture.

My problem is that I have a continental shelf forehead (to go with my aircraft carrier shoulders!)

Anyway, I decided to see if I had enough hair to attempt the swept bangs.

Not Really

So I goofed and I curled and I sprayed... and ended up with this:

Ta Daaaa!

I've been trying slightly different things, but I'm happy with this look.  It requires a LOT of hairspray to keep the bangs in place though.  Like tons!

Going to work last Saturday

I have to admit, when I look in the mirror now, I FEEL more feminine!  That's MY hair, long and styled.

It was a matter of practice and patience.  I'm so excited to try new things!

I think I look so cute and sassy!  Maybe I should try a pretty bow!


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Creating Pain

Ok so I've gotten comments on my last entry; here, on facialbook, and privately.

I figured I'd answer publicly.

Why Not?  After all, I posted the beginning publicly.

Several people have taken issue with my posts.  They say I'm too negative.  That I create my own pain.  In the person's words of a person I greatly admire, but haven't met yet:

"Look, you honestly seem to delight in your own suffering...  You create your own circumstances and control your choices.  You make your own bed, then complain it's on fire... Just don't expect sympathy when you make it clear you are deeply and passionately in love with your own self-inflicted suffering."  

(That bit is from a private communication and is used WITHOUT her permission.  I will remove it if she desires.)

And the worst part is- I can't say she's Wrong.

What does that say about me?

Two People said I looked like a guy the day I took this.

I mean after all, it's all MY fault. That's what I get for transitioning, not taking voice lessons, hair lessons, dressing the way I prefer, living here, keeping this job, and drawing breath.


Anger is all I've known all my life.  I don't know anything else.  I know I hurt.  I know my hurt affects others, and that makes me hurt more.  So I want to eliminate that hurt.

My dear friend Jenny North wrote me and said:

"... Change is always scary...letting go of your pain isn't easy sometimes!  {break]  Owning your pain is one thing, but getting mired in it because you're worried about the alternative is something else."

To which I replied:

"I'm not worried about the alternative.  I WANT the alternative.  But some people who I care about deeply don't.  And I'd rather suffer than hurt them."

(I can hear it now:  "you're such a pathetic martyr!")

If you're keeping score at home, that's one person who I greatly admire pissed off at me, several readers pissed off, and a couple who have dropped away...

Pissing people off is my mutant power.


So my next entry won't be so negative.

Give the people what they want.

Be well.

Friday, December 9, 2016


For those of you unlucky enough to be on my Facialbook, you've probably saw that I measure a good or bad shift at work by how many times I get misgendered.  Why?  Because it happens pretty much every day.

Many people have sent me ideas as to how I can improve my presentation, like to check my voice, change my hair, get big implants, or something.  I don't know.

However, many people don't understand what the big deal is; just shrug it off and keep going.  Walk It Off.  Put on your big girl panties.

It simply is not that easy.  You see, every single time someone does this, it feels like they are punching me hard in the stomach while simultaneously slapping me in the face.  They usually do this as they are leaving.

"Thank you, SIR."

In fact, the pervasiveness of it makes me wonder if it's an organized thing.  Am I being paranoid? Probably.  However, there is a church nearby that has sponsored speakers in favor of conversion therapy, especially for Trans people.  One of them has already been told they can't speak to me.  I wrote about her previously.

I don't know, and I frankly don't care at this point.

The fact is that it happens every Goddamn day for the most part.

Let's face it dear reader I am 6'1" tall, and I weigh approximately 250 pounds now.  I have aircraft carrier shoulders, and a face that belongs on a Neanderthal.  There's no way in hell I pass as a woman, even a grotesquely ugly one.


It is currently the Christmas season, and the rich people who patronize our store are getting more and more feral.  And in their "holiday spirit," they make it a point to insult me on their way out.  The management of the store says I should just report these people to them as they come through, but these people always do it when they're leaving, so that by the time I can get a manager to the front, that person is long gone, and, in fact, this time of year as soon as that person goes that I have another grumpy face in front of me.

So in other words, I'm on my own.

And my hands are tied- I can say Nothing. I can do Nothing.

And They know it.

So, dear reader, if you want to come around and punch me in the stomach and slap me in the face, know that I will have to smile at you as you do so, and wish you a good day, because that is my life.

And people wonder why the Darkness has me.

Be Well.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Insomniac Eyes.

It's midnight, and I'm still awake after having gone to bed an hour ago. I just took some melatonin, as I don't think I'll be able to sleep without it.  Tonight, as always on nights when I can't sleep, my mind is racing.

As most of you know, I wear glasses most of the time. I need them to see. I rarely wear contacts, because they bother my eyes, and, besides, their prescription is two prescriptions old.

I wear bifocals, even though I'm only fifty.

Sometimes, late at night, I walk into the bathroom, turn on the light, and see myself in the mirror without my glasses.  When I do, I see a blur.

These days, I see a blur of long hair and breasts, and I could be mistaken- without having my glasses on- that this blur is a Woman- maybe even a pretty one.

It's amazing the way that bad eyes can fool you.

I have often been told that I have my father's eyes. They are blue with maybe just a touch of green, and I've always considered them my best feature. They are deep-set, which, when I pretended I was a guy, wasn't a problem.  However, now it's an extreme impediment.

But still they are Blue, and still they are my best feature- not that anyone looks at them anymore.  Not in a long time.

I see them all the time.  Every time I look into the mirror.  And when they're made up; with mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow, I could almost be fooled into thinking that these are the eyes of a Woman.  What is the difference between a man's and a woman's eyes?  The funny thing is that my daughter has my eyes, so in a way she has her grandfather's eyes, yet her eyes are not deep set.  And her eyes are feminine.

See Me

I think the difference between men's and women's eyes is that a woman's eyes tend not to be as guarded- you can see more of their soul.  You can see kindness, or happiness.  Or Pain.  Men guard their souls- they guard their eyes.  Their eyes tend to be colder.  However, a rare man allows you to see his eyes- allows you to see their soul.  These are the ones who, for whatever reason, women don't want to date.  These are the ones who've been hurt so many times that they can't hide the pain anymore.  Perhaps, emotion in a man's eyes is seen as a weakness.

I don't know.

So what is it I see when my blurred eyes look into the mirror?  At the distorted reflection?  Is that truly a woman who stares back at me, or is that blur the truth of my soul?  Perhaps my entire life is simply


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Strange Difference

I was thinking of this today at work.  Yes, sometimes my mind wanders.

Between my "re-awakening" in 2008 and when I understood who I truly was, I wore a HELL of a lot more stuff when dressed in feminine attire.

Here's an example:

Makeup by Amanda Richards of True Colors Makeup Artistry

In the above picture, I am wearing panties, a corset, the corset liner, Hip pads (a Veronica 5 from Classic Curves Intl- HIGHLY recommended!), high waisted panty over that to cover seams and corset laces, breast prosthetic (Proactive Prosthetics- amazing if you can afford the best), bra, pantyhose, skirt, top, boots, wig, Lee Stick on nails, jewelry, contact lenses, and had a professional makeover.  15 items.

I felt armored head to foot.  If I were wearing a skirt that moved as I walked, I couldn't feel it swishing for everything else I was wearing!

In the end, it really wasn't that comfortable either.

Now, compare to this:

November 2016

In the above, I am wearing panties, bra, pantyhose, skirt, top, jewelry, glasses, and heels.  I did my own makeup and that's my natural hair and nails.  8 items.  About half.

And THAT was far more comfortable.   And, I think, far more feminine.

Now granted, a MAJOR difference between then and now is that I've been on HRT for several years, and living my Truth full time for nearly three years.

I thought about how physically uncomfortable all that was- confining and tight.  And yet, if I wanted to be Sophie back then, that is what I did.  I had a definite idea of what I wanted to look like and worked toward that "ideal."  And that meant feminine hips, big boobs, long hair and an hourglass figure.  Yet, that one night a month, I felt so Free.  I was shedding the weight of my male skin and becoming who I really was.

These days, of all of the Sophie "ideals" I had, I only managed to get two:  Long hair (almost five years of growth) and generous boobs (yes, I KNOW how lucky I am.)  Maybe If I lost weight, I'd achieve a better figure.  Someday...

Obviously, the biggest change is that my male self is gone.  I move FAR more confidently as a woman.  Now I do everyday things as Sophie, and, while I think of how I walk, etc, I don't think twice about appearing in public in feminine attire.  Why should I?  After all...

... I'm a Woman!

Be well!