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


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.


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.


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


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.
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!