Thursday, December 27, 2012

Trivial Things 2: Electric Boogaloo

Back in early September 2011, I posted an entry called "Trivial Things."  The idea was to give people a little background on myself.  Well, since that entry, my subscriber list and views have more than doubled (Thank you!!!), so I thought I'd revise and update the entry.  You can find the original HERE.

So here's the updated trivia and minutia. 


My original femme name was Lisa Anne. (I’m not counting Lois Lane, which was my Halloween costume that fateful Halloween night.) Under that name, I set up my Yahoo account, which is why my Yahoo addy still has that name. I have since changed that email address to reflect reality.  And my real name- Sophie.


I changed my name in December of 2008. I went to Femme Fever for my first ever makeover and photo session. Karen asked about my name, and I said it was open to discussion. She looked at me (I was blonde and dressed in a red dress) and said “You should be Sophie. I have a strong feeling about this. You are Sophie.” I never ignore strong feelings. I have been Sophie ever since. I added Lynne because I like the sound of it.

Picture from my first session



My first night at Renaissance was December 2008 as well. I didn’t wear makeup. I felt like a fool. At Laptop Lounge after, I wasn’t aware there was a cover. Jone payed it for me. I have bought her many drinks since.

My first time as Sophie in a “non-safe” place was at a rest stop in New York State in 2010. My friend Jen stopped and dragged me in. It was a rest stop/mall. I was nervous as hell!



Me at that rest stop

My first night out as a woman (Halloween 2008), my breasts were birdseed in cut pantyhose. I learned this trick from the internet. I have become a bit better at doing breasts.



Showing off


I had a MySpace page for quite some time as Sophie, but have since cancelled it. I wasn’t using it and I didn’t need it out there waiting to bite me.

Back then, I wrote that I always dreamed of going to a casino and sitting at the tables as Sophie. I have since done this!  At the last Keystone Conference I played and won, and looked great doing it!  ;) Someday…VEGAS!



At the Casino that night


Since the original post, so much has changed!

I told my wife about being transgendered.  She didn't throw me out as I feared.  Also, I recently started HRT.  I go out as much as I can, and while I'm still scared, I don't let it rule my life.  After all, if this is how I'm going to live...

For example, I went to a Phillies game.  I was so scared... but nothing happened.  Except that the Phillies lost in extra innings.  Sigh.

The other significant event in my life was being arrested for DUI.  As of this morning, that is all behind me.  I know the experience changed me... a LOT.  And I think I'm a better person for it. 

In the original post, I stated that it’s the little trivia that makes experiences. Moments and experiences build to make up a life. And it’s this life that I write about here in an effort to understand it all. I still maitain that as a Truth.  Writing here has helped me a lot, and I hope it's helped others as well.  If it has, I'd be deeply honored. 

I've also made some new and cherished friends- people whom I have known less than a year, but who I now couldn't live without.  Other there are friends with whom I have deepened my bonds.

Was my who/whom usage correct?  Screw it, I'm not going to look it up.

What does my future hold?  I wish I knew.  A year ago if you told me that by New Years 2013, I'd be on hormones with my wife's knowledge and approval, and still living under the same roof, I would've wondered what kind of drugs you were taking.  If you told me I'd be arrested for DUI, I would've nodded.  It was inevitable, after all. 

So where will I be next year? 

Oh, I think I'll write about that in another entry.

Yes, I'm a Tease.  Get over it.  ;)






 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Traditions

As I type this, the sun is setting on Christmas Day.  (Maybe I'll even finish this today as well.)

Christmas is THE holiday here in the US.  It's so big there are stores dedicated to it year 'round.  John Stewart once said (paraphrasing) that Christmas has already conquered Thanksgiving and Halloween is next!  And I think he's right.

As my loyal readers know (and welcome to number 53, whomever you are!), my favorite holiday is Halloween.  Christmas is near the bottom of my list.  Lots of reasons, most of which deal with family issues.

Family is one of the topics today but only as vehicle so to speak.

Tradition.

There are those who would say that liberals like myself are anti-Tradition, to which I say "you obviously don't know liberals."  And if all they watch is Fox News, they don't.

I am quite bound to many traditions.

There are so many Penn State traditions that I can't even count them all.  Then my own little related tradition of listening to Quadrophenia when going to Penn State.  And when I visit Penn State, there are a few places I go without fail.  To remember.

As a my mum is a Scot, my family had a couple of traditions we followed (not many, as my staunchly conservative dad thinks any and all such traditions are BS.)  Certain meals to celebrate certain days and all that.

Most families have traditions of some sort.  As do organizations.  Some are called rituals.

My wife and I started our own Christmas tradition when we lived in Baltimore.  This was back around 1998 when we bought our first (and only) house.  Most of the people that worked with me were also not from Maryland, and had no family in the area.  I forgot where the idea came from, but we decided that we'd invite these people over to join in our Christmas eve.

My wife's family had a couple of traditions for Christmas eve that I actually liked.  They would gather on Christmas Eve when they would make a bunch of munchies and appetizers and graze as they watched "A Christmas Story."

 It was quiet and fun.  And I love that movie.

So this is what we invited these "orphans" to attend.  And many said they would.  BYOB.

Christmas eve came, and it snowed.  Hard.  I forgot how much, but I want to say a foot before dawn of Christmas day.  But still, many of the people came.   I remember drinking wine by candlelight and looking out the door to the deck.  I turned on the deck light so we could watch the snow swirl and fall in the wind. 

It's one of the memories of Baltimore that I cherish.

At around midnight everyone went home, despite the drink and storm, and despite the invitation to stay the night. 

And Wife and I sat on our couch, finishing our wine while Frank Sinatra sang Christmas Carols and the tree light blinked in the darkened room. 

Every year since then, even after moving back to Pennsylvania, we have continued this tradition: the "Orphan's Christmas Eve."  We've had as many as ten, and as few as two. 

It's the only Christmas tradition I like and follow.

And this year it didn't happen. 

This year, five people were invited.  One, a pilot, was called into work for a flight to Tampa.  Another, a co-worker in the retail store where I work, was exhausted after the long day dealing with people, and begged off.  The last two, former co-workers, also decided not to come, as it was snowing and they'd heard from the current co-worker how absolutely exhausted I was.  And I really was!

So it was myself, Wife, her mother and my daughter who grazed on appetizers and watched the movie. 

I was a little upset that the tradition was broken, but I was bone tired and grumpy.  Besides, part of the tradition (for me) was getting very drunk, as I didn't have to drive.

I didn't drink this year.  God knows I wanted to, as the weeks running up the Christmas were HELL on Earth at the store.  But I'd promised my wife that I wouldn't until my full sentence was served for the DUI.  I keep my promises.

So this morning was the first Christmas in many years that I awoke without a hangover (an unfortunate Christmas tradition for me.)

Now the sun has set on another Christmas.  My daughter is in bed after a long, hard day of playing.  As it should be.

And I am here trying to put everything into perspective.

Perhaps next year we'll restart the tradition of "Orphan's Christmas Eve."  Or maybe it'll wait until we move into our own place.  Or maybe we'll start a new tradition.

After all, traditions, new and old, bind us to all which has come before us and are a way of passing these things to those that come after us. 

For example, wouldn't it be wonderful if more people passed a tradition of Tolerance onto their children? 

Sounds like a Christmas Wish come true.


We can hope, can't we?

After all, when you strip it to its core- this IS the season of Hope.

And Peace.


 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Thoughts on a Solstice Night

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice.  That's when I started typing this.  And I was so happy that the Doctor saved us all from the Mayan Threat that I celebrated and didn't finish this last night.

In any case, it's now winter in Pennsylvania.  And the world didn't end.  Unless you're a parent of one of twenty children in Connecticut.  But that's not my point tonight.


I used to celebrate the Solstice, especially the summer one.  I would go to Valley Forge Park with a bottle of wine and a Grateful Dead CD on a small boom box, and enjoy watching the sun set.  It was peaceful and a moment just for me to enjoy and to realize the beauty and majesty of our world.  I haven't done that in years though.  Not since my daughter was born.

Some people believe that the Solstice has power.  The winter solstice is the Longest Night of the year, and was thought to bring rejuvenation.

Who am I to say otherwise? 

In any case, winter is here, and Christmas is almost upon us.  At my retail job, we've been busy as hell.  Go figure.  People get ruder every year.  Today alone, two of my coworkers were reduced to tears by the rudeness of customers.

Our store is near the Main Line.  We get lots of really rich folks.  Old money.  Furs and diamonds bigger than my head.  I have come to the conclusion that they don't see retail workers as human.  We live to serve them, and that is all.  We are tools to bend to their wishes.

Anyway.

The HRT is going well.  I've had a couple mood swings, but nothing major.  No boobs yet.  ;)

I get my drivers license back in five days.  First thing I'm going to do is go visit my friend Kalina, who just had GCS.  I'm so happy for her, and not a little jealous.

A little Photoshop fun from last week


So I have a lot on my mind.  I could go into the whole fiscal cliff or gun control topics, but I'm just too damn tired.  I worked over 70 hours this week, and I'm worn out.

I have Christmas day off.  That's my next time I can rest.  If my wife's whole family allow this, as they're all visiting.

May that day bring you happiness, peace, and fun, whether you celebrate it or not.

Be well.




 

Monday, December 17, 2012

How do you make a Hormone?

Last Monday, December 10, was another rainy, cold day in Philly.

But, in my life, a Great one.  A significant one.

 On December 10, I started HRT.

Me- on Estrogen.  Becoming a woman in body as well as mind.

A dream come true.

Gratuitous Sophie Pic


That morning, my "big sister" Mel picked me up extra early, as my appointment was at 9 am, and traffic into Philly is always brutal.  She drove because my license is still suspended.  We arrived down at the Mazzoni center area at 7:30.  As Mel knows the area well, she led me to a really nice coffee shop she likes.  I had diet coke.  We sat and talked for a bit about current events, and about the future.

At 9 AM, I checked in at the Mazzoni Center for my 9:15 appointment.  Within minutes, I was in a small examination room, waiting for Dr. Goodman.  They are quite efficient there.

Dr. Goodman came in, and asked me a few questions.  He went over the possible risks of HRT and asked if I understood them.  I signed consent forms.  He emailed my prescription to the Walgreens next door.  I normally don't use Walgreens, but this one gets all drugs at a discount, and by Me paying normal price, the difference goes to help pay for others who don't have insurance.

So by paying normal price, I get to help others.  Win-win.

After picking up the drugs, Mel drove us out of the city.  The deal was that she drives, I pay for parking and lunch.  As it was still too early for lunch, we decided to head toward our home area and eat at the King of Prussia mall.  We walked around for a while, then went to California Pizza Kitchen.

She then drove me home, where I read the information that came with the drugs.  Estrodiol and an androgen blocker: Spiro.

I sat at my computer, and, after doing a little online research into the drugs as well, I opened the bottles and put the prescribed dose in my hand.  The pills are tiny.  One blue, one white.

Blue and White.  How appropriate for a Penn State gal.  :)

Then, I downed the pills with water.  And like that, my future quietly began.

I haven't felt any effects yet, nor did I expect to.  The dosage is low.  This is just to see if my body can handle it.  But I've started. 

So it was third weekend this weekend.  That means Renaissance and Laptop Lounge.  My wife made it clear that she didn't want me out late.  But I NEED my Sophie time.

Once again, thanks to Mel, we reached a solution.

Mel invited me over for dinner.  Wife dropped me off.  Once inside Mel's place, I changed to Sophie clothes.  I wore my purple sweater and a long denim skirt- an outfit I've worn before.

Conservative, Feminine, and Warm!


Mel made lasagna and we watched Blood Simple.  Both were great!

After dinner, I changed back to drab, and Mel drove me to the King of Prussia mall.  We went to Blue Pacific and hung out there for a while.  Then, at 10 PM as arraigned, my wife picked me up from the mall.  We then watched TV for a little while.  So I got a LITTLE Sophie time, and was out and briefly saw some of my friends. 


Then the next day it was back to the hell of retail during the holidays.

As of this writing- 10 days left until I can drive again.  I can't wait!

And now a full week into HRT.  A new dawn. 

Oh, and the answer to the question posed in the title?  "Don't pay her."

Don't forget to tip your waitress!


 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Who?

I've always said that you can tell a lot about a person by the books they read and the music to which they listen.  Same goes for a generation, but not so much.  I mean, the generation that gave us Get Together and All you need is Love also gave us George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.  And they aren't outliers.

My generation came of age in the 1980s.  The Decade of Greed.  So for us it's no wonder we got a Paul Ryan.  After all, we're the generation of Material Girl and Money Changes Everything.

That said, we're kind of lucky as many great groups from the 50s and 60s were still producing new work. 

Three of my all time favorites were from the 60s.  The Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, and the Who.

I'm going to focus on the Who.  Their music spoke to me like none before or since.

The Who circa 1970s: Pete, Roger, Keith, John


The principal songwriter for the Who is their guitar player, Pete Townshend.  His lyrics spoke to the insecure teen inside of me, and still do.

I feel I'm being followed, 
My head is empty,
Yet every word I say turns out a sentence.
"Is it in My head?" Quadrophenia

I've always maintained that there are two great meditations in Rock music on adolescence.  The first is Pink Floyd's the Wall, but even more so is the Who's Quadrophenia

Funny how they're both about insanity.



In any case, Quadrophenia is my favorite Who record, and one of my top 3 records of all time.  (Don't ask about the other two as they tend to change.)  Why?  It may as well have been written about me instead of a pill-popping Mod in 1962.  The themes of isolation and disillusionment are universal, and still connect with people today.

I knew about the Who growing up.  I remember I was in 5th grade when the rumor went around that Peter Criss of Kiss had died, but it wasn't him- it was Keith Moon of the Who.  Drug overdose.  But my first REAL exposure to the Who came while riding in a friend's car when I was 15 and "My Generation" came on WMMR.  I was blown away by the power and the self righteous anger.  After a bit I figured out that Pete wasn't writing about age as a number, but as an attitude (which he was nice enough to confirm for me in his recent book.)

Not long after that, I discovered Tommy and Who's Next.  It wasn't until college that I discovered Quadrophenia.  It was the perfect time.  I was questioning so many things about my life, and feeling extremely isolated.  Then there was that whole "trying to submerge my feminine side" thing.  The first time I listened to it end to end was the first time I drove to Penn State. 

I was hooked!

Every year is the same
And I feel it again,
I'm a loser - no chance to win.
Leaves start falling,
Come down is calling,
Loneliness starts sinking in.

"I'm the One"

Ever since then, whenever I drive up to Penn State, I always listen to Quadrophenia.  It's tradition.  And if no one is in the car with me, I listen to it very loud.  ;)

I remember when a high school friend of mine, who is also a HUGE Who fan, figured out how to play "I'm the One" on her guitar.  She played it for me beautifully.  It's not an easy song!  It's one of my favorite memories from way back when.

And so the album has been part of life since almost thirty years. 

In that time, I've seen the Who twice (1989, 2000), Roger Daltrey solo twice (1985, 1994) and Pete solo once (1993).  Both times the Who played 5:15 and Love Reign O'er me.  Roger did those songs on his solo tours as well.  Pete didn't.  He played "Drowned."

 Then I heard that the Who were coming around one last time, and this time they were going to play Quadrophenia in it's entirety.  They did this before, back in 1996/7 with a full orchestra.  I wasn't able to see that tour for various reasons, the biggest being money.

I mentioned to my Wife that they were coming and she bought us both tickets as a combination birthday/Christmas gift to me.  Yay!

The concert was Saturday, December 8 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philly. 



I worked that morning, which was a cold and rainy day.  After my wife picked me up from work (I'm still on my driver license suspension) I had a few hours to kill, so i did some work around the house and took a nap.  I went to the concert in drab (sigh) , wearing a Who shirt sent to me by a cousin in Scotland.

And when a man is trying to change
But only causes further pain
You realize that all along
Something in us going wrong

You stop dancing.
"Helpless Dancer"

We left at 6 to go to the show, which was to start at 8.  Philly is normally a 45 minute drive with traffic. 

Well, at the same sports complex on the same day was the Army Navy game.    That, combined with the rain, meant massive traffic tie ups.  We eventually arrived and headed in at pretty much 8 on the dot.  We heard music.  As I hadn't heard of any warm up band, I was a little worried.  On our way in, we passed WMMR DJ Pierre Robert interviewing people, which meant there was a huge knot of people standing around.



Both Wife and I had to use the bathroom, so that wasn't a welcome sight.

Eventually we got through and found restrooms.  We then had to circle the arena to find our section.  That's when we learned that the music we heard WAS an opening act:  Vintage Trouble.

They were a blues/soul fusion, and they were Great!  Lots of fun to watch as well as hear.



There was a little time between acts, and the lights came on.  I looked around at the crowd.

I won't say the crowd was old, but instead of passing around joints, they were passing around Geritol.  *rimshot*

I've seen less bald heads in a cancer ward. *rimshot*  *groans from audience*

Thank you!  I'm here all week!  Tip your waitresses!

Look at all the rich folks!

The stage was set up with a screen behind it, and five video screens above.  The middle three were round, and either end was rectangular.  The rectangular ones always showed closeups of the band.  The others didn't. 

At about 9, the lights dimmed, all five screens lit up, and the opening strains of "The Real Me" fought the cheers of the crowd.  On the three middle and one back screen were scenes of the mod era, vintage photos of the band, and other symbols from the music.  During the two instrumental parts the video showed a history of the world from the end of World war II until the present day from the lens of the band.

Pete and Roger wore white.  The rest of the band wore black (except the drummer, Zack Starkey, wore blue.)  I'm guessing there was a symbolism there, as those two were the survivng original members of the group.

Everyone sang along to all of the songs.  I did as well.   I knew all the words, as I'd lived them all.



Halfway through that part of the show came the song 5:15.  At the other end of my row was an older guy, in his 60s I think, and his much younger date.  I have no idea how old she was, as her body said "twenty" and her face showed LOTS of mileage.  Her body was amazing!  Meow.  Anyway, she stood and started dancing in such a way that no one could mistake her profession.  She was an "exotic dancer" and she had the moves!  She made it quite clear whom she was with by the way she waved her butt at his face.  When the song ended, she sat, and all the guys in the section behind her cheered.

After Quadrophenia, the band stopped for a few minutes to soak in the standing ovation and introduce the players.  Both Pete and Roger made a few comments, the started in on some of the greatest hits.  Roger's voice sounded strained the entire concert and instead of going for many of the high notes, he "flattened" them blues style.  Some of the songs were also played in different keys to accommodate him.  During the second part, Roger sometimes held the microphone to the audience and let them sing.

I'll admit, it was an odd moment watching a bunch of rich 50-60 years olds singing "TEENAGE WASTELAND" at the top of their lungs.  But I was as well.  After all, we'd all survived our teens and understood the message.


The main set concluded with the traditional "Won't Get Fooled Again."  At the end of the song, Roger is supposed to let loose a soul curdling scream.  I think that this night, it was pre-recorded.  No shame in that- his voice is in tatters.

After that, the band left the stage, leaving Roger and Pete.  Pete grabbed an acoustic guitar, and he and Roger played the song that closed their final album Endless Wire.  It was the only song in which few sang along:  Tea and Theater.   It was quiet and intimate and a wonderful farewell.

At the end of the show, I was absolutely thrilled.  I'd seen the Who again, this time with my wife, and it was a great show.

I guess the image that I'll always remember from this show was one during the song "Is it in My head?"  I looked to my right, and a in the aisle a couple rows ahead of me was a man in his late 50s/ early 60s.  He was balding and way overweight.  There he was, back arched, eyes closed, bellowing the words to the song as if he were alone in the shower.  Lost in the music that means so much to him.

As was I.








 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chi Omega Penn State Controversy


I promised my next post would be more fun, but life intervened.  My next post was going to be about the Who.  I'm still writing that.  Really.
BUT...
Several people have asked my opinion, as a Proud alum of Penn State and as an alum of the Greek system, what I think of the recent photo of the Chi Omega sisters wearing stereotypical Mexican gear at a party. 
 
The Picture in Question
 

I’ll admit that the first thing I thought was “after 25 years, they (Chi O’s) haven’t changed a bit.”

Of course, those were different times, and my assessment may not be a fair one.

Now the University is FAR more image conscious in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, and people are more tolerant of each other and therefore Intolerant of negative stereotypes.

If I had to guess, the occasion here is a themed social.  While I THINK I know in which fraternity house this was taken, I’m not going to say.  A social is when a sorority is invited to a fraternity for a private party, usually with some sort of theme, and usually early on a Friday night.

Did we have themed socials like this in my time?  Yes, my house had themed socials and many with Chi Omega, but I don’t remember ANY that intentionally used a cultural stereotype as a theme.  Perhaps my memory is selective.  It was long ago, and many drinks ago.

What?  yes, I was in a fraternity.  Many TG people were.  In my case, joining was a way to bury the female part of myself even deeper so it would never ever emerge.  As you can see, it worked.  (heehee)

The question I keep getting asked is “What were they thinking?”  The answer is simple.  They weren’t.  If they WERE thinking, they wouldn’t have posted the picture and tagged themselves on it.  That’s out there now- forever.  Think that may affect them getting jobs after graduation?  Absolutely: with anyone except a GOP politician.  (Zing!)  A hiring manager googles their name and finds this?  It’s over.  And you’d think that being members of the social media generation, they’d understand that. 

The fact is that these are young women in their late teens, early twenties tops.  If I wanted to let my bitter flag fly, I’d postulate that they probably aren’t used to being told “no” about anything, never mind experience the negative consequences of their actions, as they are attractive girls from probably affluent families and therefore get what they want, when they want it.  But then I’d be guilty of the same stereotyping that they are.  But being that age, in college and all, they’re not always going to make good decisions.  It’s part of the learning process at any university.

I would have only one question, which I saw in one of the articles I read on this.  This would be directed at the Asian American girl on the left side of the picture.  What if they dressed as Asian racial stereotypes, with comically slanted eyes and bucked teeth and speaking Pidgin English?  Perhaps holding up signs that were derogatory of HER heritage?  Her answer may be “Yes, it was a JOKE- all in good fun!  Chill out!” 

And that would be even more chilling.  That she WOULDN’T care.

I know many Chi Os from my time.  They were one of the top sororities on campus, and partied at my fraternity a LOT.  Many of our Little Sisters were Chi Os.  Most Chi Os ignored me, as I wasn’t one of the “popular guys” and I really didn’t go out of my way to pursue them. 

That said I know some DAMN intelligent, good women who are Chi Omega alumnae from PSU.  And I wonder what they think of this.  I know their National Office isn’t amused.

So, what would I think if it were MY fraternity actives in a picture like this?  What direction would I pursue as a concerned alumnus?  Well, my reaction wouldn’t be a popular one.  But I know our history on matters such as this.  I’d do exactly what we did before: Throw them out.  All of them that appear in the picture.  They’ve disgraced themselves and the letters, and have no place in the organization.

 But as I said before, my day was long ago, and these are different times.  And maybe we took our reputation more seriously back then these girls do with their letters.  I would start by asking my Brothers their thoughts.  You know, the ones who built outstanding professional careers and brought nothing but glory to the Fraternity- the men my age who are CEOs, managers, restaurateurs, educators, husbands and fathers.  What would THEY do? (Yes, looking at them, I’m once again not measuring up, but c’est la vie.  And how would they react to me being transgendered?  Not well, I'd guess.) 

What would I do if MY daughter were in that picture?  Wow.  I really hope and pray that I raise my daughter better than this- that she will respect people as people and not feel the need to degrade others for a laugh.  But if she were in that picture?  There would be a SERIOUS discussion of her future at the University, as she obviously wasn’t mature enough to be out on her own yet.

In the end, these girls will have to live with the consequences of this drunken night of fun, as will the Greek system as a whole, and even the University.  It’s not like Penn State needs more bad publicity, especially now that the media sharks are circling. 

The news today is that the Chi Omega national has put the chapter on probation (double secret?), whatever that means, and that they are working on “educational directives” for the chapter.  The University has said in an open letter:

 These disturbing behaviors involved expressive rights protected under various federal and state laws--rights which we strongly support, and which we honor by not vainly pursuing unlawful disciplinary action against the students involved. But we also cannot refrain from expressing our own feelings of deep disappointment and dismay.”

Maybe this will go away now.  Maybe not.  Probably not for the girls in the picture, or the Penn State Greek system in general.  I’m sure they’ll be catching hell for this for years to come.

So, those of you who asked, there’s my answer.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Arrested V: Judged

So, the Saga continues.

Tuesday, November 29 was a snowy, cold, miserable day here in PA.  I awoke early, before dawn, as the dog stuck her paw in my face to indicate she wanted to go out.  (She's more efficient than an alarm clock.)

By the time I finished showering, my wife was awake.  She was coming with me.  As she went through her morning routine, I put on my suit.  My drab suit, not my beloved skirt suit. 

Yes, your Honor?


I drove down to West Chester, the county seat where I live.  It was Judgement Day

the first order of business was finding parking, which wasn't easy.  After circling for a bit, I found a small parking lot that had a couple spaces left.  By then, the snow had become a driving cold rain.  Cold rain and snow.  (Or was it a Cold November Rain?)

In any case, we shared an umbrella and went to the courthouse.  First was checking in with the ARD coordinator.  I signed a pile of papers, and *sigh* turned in my driver's license.  I won't see it again until after Christmas.

Then I had to go to another room and pay my fine and fees. 

Then, I met my Parole officer.

That's right- parole officer.  Technically I was on parole.  She was a stout woman, and no nonsense.  I was not about to mess with her!  I was "Yes ma'am" and "No ma'am."

After that, it was a matter of waiting until my time in court.  Both my wife and I were hungry and one of my favorite pubs was nearby- Kildares.  So we walked through the rain to have lunch there.  My lawyer met us there.

At 1:30, I was in courtroom 16 along with thirty others with the same offense.  First the baliff arrainged us into three groups.  The first group, of which I was part, were the ones who had paid their fees and fines in full.  The second were those who hadn't paid in full, be it a payment plan or whatever.  The third were those who were looking for "continuances"- to have their trial date moved until later, usually so they could raise the money necessary for their fines.

The the judge entered.  It would've been funny if she said "I am the LAW!" or something, but that wasn't likely. 

The judge did the continuances first.  One person didn't show...for the third time.  They issued a bench warrant for her arrest.  Sucks to be her. 

Then it my groups turn.  One by one we stood in front of the judge with our lawyers, and stated our names.  The assistant DA read the charges, the person's BAC number, and that we had applied for ARD.  The judge read the conditions of ARD, and the penalties for messing up.  She then asked if we understood what she's read.  I answered "yes your honor" to all her questions.  Then she said I was admitted to the ARD program and "Good luck."

And it was done.  I was in court maybe fifteen minutes.  Wife, lawyer and I left the court house and parted ways.  Wife drove me home. 

And so it was over.  That fast.  Now I'm a week into my thirty day suspension.  Just 23 days left.  It's been a long week- a week of taxis and waiting for my wife to be ready to take me to work.  Today was a day off my first job, and, as no taxis operate where I live, I'm "telecommuting" for my second job.

I've been conversing with people via text, phone and Facialbook.  I summarized this experience for my TG Forum column. 

Tomorrow will be FOUR months sober.  No problem.  That said, I've determined when and why my first drink will be.  My friend who moved to China will be back for a couple weeks.  On December 29, all my old friends will gather for a long belated wake for my other friend who died a year ago and whose funeral the China friend couldn't attend.  My first drink will be Glenmorangie Scotch, the last of my late friend's bottle, and it will be toasted to his memory.  This gathering will happen at a hotel, and yes, I will be getting a room.

Drinking OR driving, remember?

And so this little drama plays itself out. 

Nearly four months ago it began, no that's not true.  It started so much earlier.  You could say that I've heading for this moment of time.  Ever since i started drinking heavily in college. 

It's all fun and games until there are consequences. 

After my month suspension, I will be on probation for six months.  After that, I have to not get caught drinking or driving for ten years or I'm in deep trouble.

I managed to NOT get caught for over twenty five years before that.

That was then.  This is now.

I'm getting a little too old for that sort of fun and games.

I have too much to lose.

I promise- my next entry will be happier.  After all, in less than a week, I will start HRT.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanks?

This is the inevitable post-Thanksgiving post.  Being me, I am going to do the Thanksgiving post thang differently.

Yes, I was born a rebel.

(Not Barney Rubble.)

Thanksgiving and I agreed to disagree long ago.  Of all the major holidays here in the US, it's by far my least favorite.  Why?  Family.

My family and I never got along when I was growing up.  I'll spare you the full sob story, so I'll just say I was the "Black sheep" of the family.  By that, I mean I tried hard in school, got good grades, etc, but I sucked at sports.  I was undersized growing up.  Unforgivable sin.  I was also told many, many times that I was a "mistake" and that they didn't intend to have me. 

Great for a kid's self esteem.  Especially when that kid KNOWS she's different.

Anyway, Thanksgiving meant being stuck with my family.  I couldn't go visit friends as they were with THEIR families.  And late November in SE PA tends to be cloudy and cold so even going outside sucked.

Dinner would turn into an inevitable argument between relatives fueled by beer.  Also my older brother would be bored so he'd pick on me, which meant I got in trouble and usually grounded.  Not him- just me.

Yeah, it was like that.

Wonder why I'm so passionate about justice?

Right.  So this past Thanksgiving Thursday, I was informed that I'd be going out to my brother in law's for dinner.  He and his wife are both doctors (two different specialties) and live in a huge McMansion in central Pennsylvania.  Of my wife's brothers, he is the one I sorta like.  Someday I'll tell the story of how my racist mother in law (MIL) offended his Filipino wife.  Wife made me promise not to discuss politics, as everyone I've mentioned is a republican to varying degree.

They have three kids, the oldest of whom is five.  And one on the way.  Wife's other brother and his wife (I'll call her "C") were also coming.  They have five kids, the oldest of whom is ten.  So that's nine kids (counting my five year old), and seven adults (MIL was there as well.)

Can you see this headache a brewing?


But it wasn't the headache I expected.  The house was big enough that the kids diffused through it and also played outside.  No, the headache came from C.

I don't see her often and that's on purpose.  I don't like her, and I'm not alone.  As much as my MIL hates me, she hates C more. 

C speaks several languages.  Has a degree in business.  She's also VERY conservative.  So conservative that she home schools her children as she thinks even catholic schools are too liberal.  So you'd think MIL would love her, right?  Well, C is from South America- an olive skinned Latina.  See the problem?  Also she doesn't bother hiding her contempt for people she doesn't like.  MIL likes being worshipped.

So C sees me and asks me why I look different.  I tell her it's probably because I got a hair cut and have lost weight since I saw her- both facts.  She disagreed.  Obviously that wasn't true as she would've "noticed that."

So then she launches into how she hopes I'm happy as the entire country is going to hell because we're allowing gays to marry. 

I replied that "why shouldn't they be allowed to be married?  Can't they be as miserable as the rest of us?" 

Cue elbow from wife.

She ranted further.  I walked away.  Should I have told her I was Trans and watched her head explode?

Hi "C"!  BOOM!



Ok, so I took a walk to cool off.  It's a beautiful area around there, and I took some pictures.  Then I returned back to the house.  A football game was on, so I watched that for a while with a couple of the older nephews.

Isn't it perty?


Then dinner was served.

The host and hostess are not religious at all.  The middle brother and C are members of Opus Dei.  Really.  So C, seated next to me, offered to say grace.  That's fine.  I bowed my head.

As part of the prayer, she said "Lord, please protect our country from the gays and liberals who would destroy it."

I'm not kidding.

I looked at her, stunned.  She ended the prayer and started eating.  Like she hadn't just spewed hate.

Call me crazy, dear readers, but I was under the impression, from actually READING the Bible, that God was about Love, not Hate.

Just goes to show that there are two things that far right people in the US love to reference but have never read:  The Bible and the Constitution.


The rest of the night I avoided all contact with people as much as possible.  I watched football, and eventually, we left.


So that was my Thanksgiving.


Many of my friends on Facebook posted that day listing things for which they are thankful.  I enjoyed reading them.  I didn't post one.

So am I thankful? 

Yes, very much so.

I am thankful for my health.  I've been sick in my life, and I'm happy when I'm not. 

I'm thankful for my Friends.  As you read above, my biological family and I are not close.  My friends ARE my family.  They mean the world to me.  Since my re-awakening four years ago, I've met some of the most amazing people and I'm proud to call many of them friends.  I'm thankful they include me in their lives and for helping me along this road. Jen, JJ, Jone, Lisa, Kimberly, Krysten, Mechelle, Lorraine, Vanessa, Angela, Charlotte and So Many others that I couldn't live without.  Don't feel slighted if I didn't mention you- you know who you are, and how I feel. 

In particular, I'm thankful for my "Big Sis" Mel.  She has been a source of wisdom, laughter, and great conversation.  She doesn't sugar coat things, ever.  She's very clear about what this road is that I'm on, and the possibilities for failure.  And for pain.  She is a genius, and amazing person.

With Dr. Osborne at the 2012 Keystone Conference


I am thankful for my therapist, Dr. Osborne.  My friend Vanessa recommended her to me (for which I'm eternally grateful) and she has helped me on this road of discovery.  Dr. Osborne has patiently endured my ups and downs and whining.  She's even seen me cry.  I wouldn't be the person I am today without her help.  Oh- and she's the one who introduced me to Mel.

With Amanda, Nov 2012.  Pic courtesy: Angela's Laptop Lounge


I am thankful to the amazing Amanda Richards.  She has taught me so much about finding my inner beauty and helped me establish a feminine look.  She's been generous with her time, advice and friendship.  I can't recommend her services at True Colors enough.  She's an amazing person, even if she went to Iowa.  ;)

I am thankful for my Wife.  She could've thrown my ass out in May when I told her about being Sophie, but she didn't.  We don't have a perfect marriage, but she's stuck with me for 19 years.  I'd say we're getting along better than we have in years since May. 

Last and FAR from least, I'm thankful for YOU. You read this blog. You take the time to digest these ramblings. Sometimes you even comment. This blog would exist without you, but WITH you it's so much better. I have 51 subscribers now, far more than I ever dreamed. I hope my journey helps yours in some small way.

I could keep going.  But that's dull reading.

I don't need a special day to be thankful for the blessings and people in my life.  I thank God for them everyday.  Because they deserve it every day.

I'm a hard person to live with.  And they do so. 

Thanks.








 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Gender Bender Vendor" Night

Saturday night, November 17 was a Night out!

As always on the third Saturday, it was time for a Renaissance meeting and for Angela's Laptop Lounge.

This time would be a little different.  Amanda Richards wasn't available, so I did my own makeup.  More on that later.  I also crossed a major milestone.  I'll get to that as well.

So the November meeting at Ren was "Vendor night," which means we invited people/businesses who cater to the transgender community to come to the meeting.  Three were kind enough to attend.

Amanda Richards from True Colors Makeup Artistry was there (which is why she was unavailable to do my makeup.) 

Lorraine Anderson of Occasional Woman was there.  She is a seamstress extraordinaire, who works with theater clients as well as transgendered clients.  It was she who dubbed the night "Gender bender vendor night." 

There was an author as well.  I'll find out who it was.  She was signing books.

There were many people there and the Vendors happily answered questions and (hopefully) made some sales.

After this, many of us went over to Laptop.  It was there that I realized the Major Milestone.


My Outfit for the Night

You see, before Renaissance, I dressed as always.  I wore a new skirt and top, both from ebay.  I did my makeup and hair.  (My hair was being very unruly, btw.)  Lorraine didn't know where Ren was, so I offered to meet her at a place she DOES know: Shangrila.  Those who have been following along for a while know that this is where Laptop USED to be held some time ago.

So I drove over to Shangrila, parked, and walked in.  I sat at the bar and waited.  I ordered food and a diet coke. 

After maybe thirty minutes, Lorraine arrived.  She had a drink, and we went to Renaissance.

No big deal, right?

So what's the milestone?

I got out of my car, walked into the bar, sat, ordered...alone.  No one I knew was in there.  I walked in confidently as a Woman, ordered and waited.  No one raised an eyebrow.  I didn't think twice about it.

Being a Woman in that situation was completely natural.

In retrospect, that was a major, Major step.  I'm becoming comfortable and more confident as a Woman.  It felt totally natural being out and about in a skirt.  A year ago, I may not have gone into a place alone.  Two years ago, definitely not. 

So many of us went to Laptop.  There were several new girls again.  That's always good to see.  I also saw a couple new admirers.  Amanda arrived and was immediately mobbed by fans.  Lorraine stayed at the area where Nikki sat (she is the one who collects admission fees- a job I do occasionally as well.)  Turns out that Nikki is Lorraine's daughter's best friend.  Small world.

I stayed a while.  I enjoyed reconnecting with my sisters and making the rounds.  Seeing who was wearing what. 

But I wasn't feeling it.  I tried a different lingerie set- a one piece and it provided no breast support.  So my boobs kept migrating south.  And I was coming down with a cold (which I now have full bore.)  And my contacts were killing me.  Whine whine.

Most of all, I was just a little depressed that this was it for me going out for the year.  Next Tuesday, I lose my license for thirty days.  No Sophie time until December 28 at the earliest.  So I wanted this to be slam bang wow special.  And it was just a night out.  A Fun night, and an important night to be sure. 

I left a little early to change, clean up and go home.


Coda:  Monday I went to dinner with my dear friend Jen Johns.  While there, one of my teeth broke in half. 

Not a good omen.

It was fixed today.

I will start to be fixed December 10.  HRT.

For all of my readers in the USA, have a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving!



 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Are you really a TG? Or do you just Play one on TV?

Ok, so this morning was my Transgender Intake Interview at the Mazzoni Center.

That's a fancy way of saying "Are you really a TG?  Seriously?  You're not just kidding?"

Joking.

I left extra early, anticipating lots of traffic inbound into Philly.  There's really only one major road into the city, and it was obsolete the minute it opened in the 1950s.  It's called the Schuylkill Expressway.  Locals call it the "Surekill Distressway." 

The expressway is named for the river it parallels.  The river was named by Henry Hudson, who was the first European to map it.  Schuylkill is a Dutch word for "Hard to find."  It should be "Hard to Spell." 

So now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Anyway, I was issued into a small room by their TG specialist, Elaine.  (She said she's going to read this blog, so if you are reading this, HI! and thanks!)  Elaine is far younger than me and was fairly cheerful.  She had a great outfit and was quite cute.  Meow.

I'm going to ruin the surprise if you're going to get one of these interviews.  She asked me a lot of questions about my psychological profile.  And she didn't run away screaming.  I told her about my friends, and how they've helped me so much.  And about how they've been there to keep me going on this journey.

She was very warm and open.  I liked her immediately.  (And I'd say that even if she weren't reading this.  Which she might be.  Or not.)  She told me what to expect from this process.  Of particular help was her suggestions on what to do when my breasts started to grow.

I can hope!


Would You be alone in a room with THIS?


It lasted maybe a half an hour.  I told her that this Saturday is the Renaissance Vendor night.  Elaine gave me a bunch of information to hand out to the people there.  She didn't have to do that, but she did.  And that really impressed me.  She's all about helping people. 

Knew I liked her for a reason.

Anyway, soon it was over.  She had a full case load today, so for her it was on to the next person.  For me, it was a cold walk to the car, then a drive to work.  I'll be down there next on December 10.  That's when I'll get my script.  For Hormones.

May God have Mercy on me- I'm getting my dream. 







Tuesday, November 13, 2012

ELection. That's with an "L" Not an "R"

It's been around a week since Historic Day.

I refer to the Election Day here in the US. 

Yes, this post is POLITICAL in nature.  Those who are my Facebook friends, or know me in RL, or read this Blog... let's face it, if you know anything about me, you know I'm a political junkie.  Furthermore, I'm a Liberal.  "I wasn't born Republican, Democrat, or yesterday" as the button says.  And I'm a Liberal who does research, knows how to debate and spot logic flaws.

In other words, a Dittohead and Fox "News" viewer's worst nightmare.

Remember, as Colbert said, "Reality has a liberal bias."


Red, White and Blue Sophie!


In any case, there was an election here.  You may have heard that.  Unless you've been on Mars.  And if so, how's Marvin?

President Barack Obama vs. Former Governor Mitt Romney.  Notice I didn't use the president's middle name in an effort to paint him as "Unamerican" or "foreign" as many right wingers do.  Can't have a Black man in the White House, can we?

Before going into my thoughts and analysis, bear with me as I do a little history, and even speculative history. 

In the year 2000, the Supreme Court awarded the presidency to George W. Bush over Al Gore.  I'm not going to play out that whole argument here, as I'm not going to change your mind on this, and you're not going to change mine.  That said, I remember feeling a PROFOUND sense of loss.  I remember dreading what Bush and his cronies would do to our great country. 

And I hated that I was not only right, but they exceeded my worst fears.

That said, imagine if Gore were president instead.  It's conceivable to believe that his administration would've taken the security briefings from Clinton seriously, and wouldn't have ignored the "Bin Laden determined to attack US" briefing.  So conceivably, the 9/11 attacks may have been foiled.  A national tragedy averted.  3000+ Americans still alive. 

No Bush means no wars in Afghanistan and especially not in Iraq.  That's one million people not killed in an illegal war.  It then follows that we would still have a budget surplus, as we didn't blow it on two unfunded wars. 

And that money?  Spent on schools, infrastructure and green energy sources... Imagine.

All that possibility thrown away.

All because of the GOP and their supreme court.

So.  Now the Republicans are in mourning.  They say our country "committed suicide."  Many republicans are downright vicious that Obama was re-elected and by a LOT.

How hard core crazy are they acting?  People have been SO filled with hatred that they want to secede from the US.  Yes, after twenty plus years of the GOP noise machine and GOP politicians telling them that any rule by a democrat is "illegitimate," after all the racist code words, it's reached this point.

Why?  BBC says the only reason cited was searches by the TSA... which were instituted by the Bush administration (link above).  Oh wait- can't mention them because even the mention of that junta's amazing incompetence sends republicans into apoplexy.  "Take responsibility yourself!" they scream.  Yes, scream.  But why should POTUS take responsibility for the cataclysmic failures of his predecessor?  Especially when the GOP did their best to block any attempt at fixing the problems?

And what does the house organ (Fox News) of the GOP have to say of this on their website?  Nothing.  Not a single mention (search conducted 11/12/12 at 8:15-8:30pm)

Strange.

I mean really.  You'd think they'd be carrying the banner for it.  Rabble rousing for it, like they did the Koch brothers' Tea party.  Maybe Karl Rove's on-air meltdown sobered them a little?  Doubtful.

Then there's the topic of gloating.  Lots of articles on that.  Here's one, and another.

So why would the Left gloat.  Oh I don't know.  Maybe because the GOP makes it an art form?  Almost as good at it as they are about whining about being victimized by the "liberal media."  I remember right wingers shoving their fingers in my face and shouting how liberals like me all "oughtta be chucked in Gitmo" or "lined up and shot" after the 2004 election was stolen.  (Don't get me started- I read the Conyers report- did you?)

And after all that bullying, am I not entitled to a little satisfaction, especially knowing that the country WASN'T bought by the Koch brothers?  I know I should be the bigger person.  But in this case I NEED this closure.  I need for them to know how I felt.

Speaking of Karl Rove, what now?  I mean, when you spend $600 million and get nothing for it?  That's a LOT of unhappy big donors:  People who expected juice with the administration they bought and paid for. Now they get nothing but the tax write off, which doesn't matter as they don't pay taxes anyway.  I mean, Rove bought and paid for Ohio, and probably knew where the fraud was supposed to hit, hence the objections.  I hope he saved his receipts.  ;)

What happens when you piss off big money GOP in this country? 

Well, call me a conspiracy theorist... call me crazy... Will Rove meet with an "accident?"  "Heart attack?"

Actions have consequences.

Never happen?  Remember William Casey?  No?  CIA director under Reagan?  Stole Carter's debate notes so Reagan had an advantage in their only debate.  Suddenly needed brain surgery and died, and then had ALL of Iran/Contra blamed on him.  Convenient, wouldn't you say?

How about Michael Connell?  Never heard of him?  He was Rove's go-to IT guy who testified that he fixed the voting machines in Ohio in 2004.  Yes, really.  Died very soon after in a plane crash.  Rove had threatened him.  Funny that.

So here it is a week out.  Some republicans are still grousing and crying unfair.  Alan West still hasn't conceded his race, even though it isn't even close.  He's already sued.  But the news cycle has moved on to something new... infidelity in the CIA!  Oooo!  Sex and power!

Some republicans think that the reason they got whipped was that the candidates weren't conservative enough.  Others  recognize that the party has gone far to the extreme right.  It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.  That said, the GOP propaganda machine heavily favors the extreme.  Let's face it- Hate sells.  And make no mistake, Hate is what they're dealing in.

So here we are.  There ARE reasonable, moderate Republicans out there.  they're the ones who don't watch Fox.  They don't vote republican.  Their party left them behind.

Maybe they'll reclaim it.  Maybe Boehner will recognize that he's working for the US, not the GOP and start negotiating in good faith.  Maybe plaid pigs will fly in standard formation over the next Eagles game.

What the GOP as a party need to remember is something most on the left never forgot- that we're all Americans.  We on the left aren't (in general) Socialists, Communists, and every other thing we're accussed of being.  We love our country, and we don't want to see it sold to the highest bidder.  We don't want the least of us to be left behind to rot so the ultra-rich can make ever more money.  Job creators?  After ten years of tax cuts, where are the jobs?

So what now?  That's really up to the GOP.  They can do the work of the people, or they can keep careening to extremeism and become a memory.  Most people are moderate.  THAT is why the GOP lost, despite sprending $600 million.  Moderates don't want extremeists of either side in charge.


Now we face at least two years of where we are now.  I hope that we can continue moving forward.  It will take more than four more years or even ten more years to repair the damage the Bush junta inflicted on the economy.  President Obama has already begun repairing our international reputation.  Not with an "apology tour" as the Propaganda machine would have you believe, but by pursuing sane policies.

By the way, this analysis doesn't even take into account what the Obama presidency means to TG people.  Under the GOP, we would have been marginalized far more.  Reforms may have been thrown out in the name of Hate.  Under Obama, we have a chance of moving more toward having human rights.  Perhaps I'll address that bit later.

So there you have it.  My thoughts on this major historical event.  One thing that both sides agree upon- this WAS an important election.  And America won, not the plutocracy.






Monday, November 12, 2012

HRT at Mazzoni: Coda

I was reflecting on my Day at Mazzoni this weekend.

And i was thinking of sitting in that examination room, all nervous and a bit excited.

I mean, I never thought this day would come.  Me- moving forward to my never even whispered dream of Womanhood.

So there I sat, scared, my mind racing about the consequences of this action. 

But one thought Never crossed my mind, and I realized it this weekend.

At no time did I think I was doing the Wrong Thing.


That's comforting.




 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Arrested IV: Alcohol Highway Safety School

Saturday November 3, 2012.  Cold, windy, cloudy.  A perfect day to stay inside. 

Not that I had a choice.

That weekend would be spent indoors.  From 9 til 4, I'd be sitting in a building outside West Chester, PA, in a classroom with 29 others in the same trouble as me.  Or worse.

It was time for my court mandated Alcohol Highway Safety School.

AHSS is a two day class for those who have been pulled over for DUI.  In their words:

"The objectives of the AHSS are to provide students with a basic knowledge and understanding of alcohol and controlled substances and their effects on metabolism and judgment, alcoholism and drug addiction, as well as highway safety, to encourage a positive change in student’s attitude concerning driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance." (see link above for reference.)


So there we all were.  23 men, 7 women.  Only one person a known TG (me).  Not that they knew, as I was in drab.  Sitting in a room on a Saturday morning wishing we were anywhere else.  Six of these people were on their second offense, and two wore their House Arrest ankle bracelets.

The instructor was a parole officer and she understood how we felt.  So she did her best to keep us engaged in the class.  I'll call her "P."

We did a couple group exercises, the had a "victim panel" come in and speak.  In this case, it was a mother, father, and sister of a drunk driving victim.  Rather then recount their truly horrible tale, I'll refer you to their website.  Yes, website.

http://www.trooperiwaniec.org/Welcome.html

The father spoke first, then the sister, then the mother.  You could see it in the parents' eyes- they were broken people.  Absolutely shattered.  So sad.

At the end of their talk, P went to the front of the silent class to get some feedback, or so it seemed.  Nope- stalling tactic, and a brilliant one at that.  While she did that, the family of the victim walked to the back of the room to stand by the only door.  Then P dismissed us for lunch.  And to leave, we couldn't help but see that family by the door.  I expressed my condolences to them.  Inadequately. 

But what could I say? 

We had homework that night.  It was going to be tough, as I was going to Laptop that night.  Directly after class, I drove up to Amanda Richards' studio and once again put on my Halloween finery.  I went to Laptop Lounge (where I briefly worked the door) and had a good time.  My "Big sister" was there, as were many others including some people I didn't know.  I had fun, but left early.  After all, I had class the next day.


Class?  Not here!


As it stood, I got only about six hours sleep.

The next day, P checked our homework.  If we didn't do it she said there would be "dire consequences."  We all had it finished.  I did mine while waiting for Amanda to finish working on Antoinette who was ahead of me.

The first part was "who, aside from you, is affected by your DUI."  For me it was my wife, both my jobs, my friends (one in particular), and my daughter.  Mostly for the time and money this whole thing is taking up.

The second worksheet was calculating how much this whole thing is costing me.  My estimate was $4,104.50.  And that's with getting a good deal from my lawyer!  Then was the last two boxes on that sheet; "Number of Drinks" and "Cost per drink." 

For me, my cost for each of my seven drinks that night came to $586.36.  Each.

NO, repeat NO drink was worth $586.36. 

The person with the highest number was over $30K.  He was arrested twice in a week in two different counties.  His first stop was after sideswiping five cars, running through a chain link fence and hitting a house.  He doesn't remember any of this.  A few days, later he was pulled over again after some drinks at a bar.  Am i the only one who thinks this kid MAY have a problem?

We then went around the room and discussed How we were stopped.  I was in the middle of the pack on this.  Thirty people, thirty different stories.  I felt bad for only one of the people, "G."  He had been out for his 40th the night before with his friends.  There was a designated driver, and G got Ripped.  They took him home, dropped him off safe and sound, and he went to bed.  Next morning, his wife asked him to go to Wawa for a couple things.  he went to his car, and his young daughter jumped in for the ride.  he was stopped for not coming to a complete stop at a Stop sign.  They did a Breathalyzer, and then arrested him in front of his daughter.  0.08 is the legal limit.  He was .082.  From the night before!  And as his daughter was in the car, he isn't eligible for ARD.  So he gets a year suspension, etc.  The whole thing.  Ouch.

There was also a sixteen year old who was stopped for driving while stoned on pot.  I got the vibe that this kid was an FtoM. 

After that, we had a demonstration using special glasses of what impairment looks like and also watched a video. 

Soon it was over, and I went to work for my Sunday night shift.

Did I learn anything?

Yes, lots.  Some I already knew, like coffee doesn't sober you up- it makes you a wired drunk.  Only time sobers you.  Also that at ANY given time, 1 in 6 people on the road are drunk.  On a given weekend night, that's 1 in 3.  Think of that next time you're out.

Ok, Soapbox time, folks.

Why am I telling you all of this? 

I'll be blunt.

This entire process sucks MAJOR league donkey dick.  Big style. 

I'm pissing away $4,000 and for what?  NOTHING.  Zero.  That's a LOT of money.  And thank God I hadn't hurt anyone- I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I had.

If I get caught again, it's 60-90 days in jail, $15,000 fine, loss of license for two years, and a breathalyzer installer in my car, which costs $1,700 to install.  $15K is more than the best breast implants.  And I want those far more than I want a drink!

I'm taking my punishment.  I did what I am accused of many times, and was caught.  It was just a matter of time.  The average drunk driver has driven drunk 380 times before their first arrest.  Sounds about right.

I was lucky.  A drunk driving death occurs approximately every ten minutes in the US.  I never crashed.  No one was ever hurt.

Here's my point- We in the trans community are Serious drinkers.  At every conference I attend, the bar is where all the action is, and that isn't because we all love pub food.  Alcohol masks pain, and we are Creatures of Pain.  We live with it most of our lives, until (and often after) we transition as well. 

And sometimes we pay the price.  I have.  Can you imagine if one of us (non full time) is caught while en femme?  Especially in a place where we aren't exactly tolerated?  Which is most places.  Consequences.

I'm writing this so you can Learn from MY pain. 

I'm living it, and as I said, it SUCKS.  Learn from my mistake.  It's a simple matter of a conjunction.  Remember conjunctions?  And, But, Or? 

Instead of Drinking AND driving, make it Drinking OR Driving.  That simple.  One or the other.  Never the twain shall meet.

That way, you don't suffer.  And no one gets hurt.

I'm NOT saying don't drink.  Far from it.  Enjoy!  Just don't drive.  I'll be at the bar at the Keystone Conference, making an ass of myself as always, because I won't be driving. 

*Gets off soapbox*

So now I'm finished AHSS.  And I'm finished 5 of the mandatory 8 Alcohol classes.  And on November 27, I'll hand in my license for thirty days.

On December 28, this will all be behind me.  As will be Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

All good!