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! 



 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day at the Mazzoni: HRT

Wednesday, November 7 dawned gloomy and rainy.  A Nor'easter was beginning to hit the Philly area where I live.

The night before was the Election.  I'll discuss that another time.  I stayed up late to get results, though, so I was tired.

Side note: with the election, I'm now behind three blog topics.  And still working on a short story.  Eventually I'll inflict them all on you.  ;)

Anyway, on the dreary wintery mixey type of day, I drove into Philadelphia.  I had an appointment at the Mazzoni Center.  I'd never been there before, but I'd heard a LOT about it.  Many good people recommended it. 

So why was I hauling my ass into Philly on a crummy day?  What could be THAT important?   HRT.

Hormone Replacement Therapy.

It's my Biggest step towards Womanhood since telling my wife.  And once I start, there's really no going back. 

Here's a quick timeline review of my Sophie life, really more for keeping it clear in my head.  While I've known since I was very young, and dressed when I was a teen, I'll pick this up when I finally realized who I am (and why I hurt so much.)  Dates are approximate.

Oct 2008:  Dressed as Lois Lane for Halloween.  All the repressed feelings come flooding back.
Dec 2008: Go to Femme Fever in NY for first makeover.  I see that I CAN look feminine.


First Femme Fever shoot

Dec 21, 2008: First Renaissance meeting (and Laptop Lounge.)  I met people who would become dear friends.
Dec 2008:  Start my first Sophie blog, over on myspace.
Jan 2009: First makeover with Amanda Richards.  Second Renaissance and Laptop- first with makeup.


Second Laptop Lounge

Feb 2009:  Meet Kimberly Huddle when she comes to town for work.
March 2009: First Keystone Conference
May 2009:  Get ears pierced.
Jan 2009: Switch therapists to Dr. Osborne, who is an expert in GID.

July 2009:  Meet Lorraine Anderson of "Occasional Woman." 
Oct 2009: Get eyebrows shaved down for Halloween.  Never let them regrow to previous dimensions
Nov 2009:  First story published on Fictionmania
May 2010: Empire Conference.  First time shopping as Sophie

Shopping in NY with Jen

Nov 2010; Start Blog here on Blogspot
March 2011: Present a class at Keystone Conference
Spring 2011: Start laser hair removal on face.
May 2012: Come out to my wife

So there you have it.  The major stuff.  And there I was, sitting in an examining room, waiting for the doctor.  And waiting.  He was forty minutes behind.

I texted some people.  I thought of all the encouraging messages my Sisters left me on Facebook.  That gave me strength.  Thanks to all of you who sent them!  And thanks to Donna Rose for the mention on her blog.

Soon the doctor arrived.  he took a medical history, and asked me lots of questions.  He then said he'd need a blood test.  I'd heard what HRT can do to the liver, and I wondered how my battered liver would be affected.  He didn't seem too concerned. 

So they did the blood test and while they were at it checked for various other things (I can say with certainty that I am HIV negative.)

So now I wait for the results.  No prescription in hand.  So that Day is yet to come. 

My next appointment is December 10.  9:15 AM.  I've asked my "Big Sister" for a ride if she can, as at that time my license will be suspended.  If she can't, then I wait until January.

I've waited four years.

I can wait another month.

Can't I?

*Grits teeth*



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Makes a Pumpkin Patch Sincere?

Halloween!

I don't have to tell my grizzled veteran readers what this holiday means to me!

For newbies, Halloween is my fave holiday and my "birthday."  It's the anniversary of the night I "re-discovered" myself after over twenty years of denial.



As you can see in the above picture, I've changed a bit over the past years.


So, how did I spend my fourth Birthday?  Same way I celebrated my first and second- I went to the Henri David Ball.



This was the second time I wore my Vampire gown.  I changed a couple things.  I wore different earrings that didn't get tangled in my hair.  I also distributed my hip pads differently.  I chose... poorly.  (They really hurt by the end of the night.)


I wrote a TG Forum column about the party that gives the particulars.   Find that here.  (Registration required, but it's free.)

So.  How did the day play out?  I worked from 7-2:30 at my one job.  Then went to get the room at Motel 6.  Then up to Amanda Richards for makeup.  I was a little late, but not too bad.  Amanda did her usual amazing job, and soon I was Out and About as a Sexy Vampire!  And I FELT sexy!

Confidence can be a good thing!  :)


I drove to Philly, and had to drive around the one way streets a bit until I found the Sheraton parking garage.  I parked next to a huge blue pickup truck from which four guys were exiting.  Faded caps, ratty jeans, ratty moustaches... exactly the people I would expect to harass a TG.  I was a little nervous, but walked to the elevator head held high, heels clacking all the way.  And while they all looked, none said a word while I was in earshot.  Besides, it was Halloween!

I found my friends Jone and Kristyn in the bar after a brief search.  I bought them a round and ordered water for myself.  The barmaid was kind enough to take a picture for me.


Don't I look like a lush with all those glasses?


Hanging out in the bar I managed to reconnect with a few people I hadn't seen in a while, like Tammi and Kalina.  Some people in the bar (not in costume) were taking pictures and videos of everyone coming in.  And sitting at a table right in front of the bar?  The guys from the truck- with friends.  They were drinking Bud and taking it all in, as other "civilians" were.  There was plenty of laughs in the bar and many great costumes. 


The Bar from Above


Soon enough, I headed upstairs to the Main Event.  I'd learned my lesson and lifted my lace skirt as I sashayed about the place.  Up, up two escalators to the Ballroom, where Henri David waited, greeting visitors in the first of many costumes he'd wear that night.



Henri David


Inside I had a "studio" picture taken.  I've had one taken each year, and I give a copy to Lorraine of "Occasional Woman" as a thank you for her work on the outfit.  As can be imagined, there were many, many people taking pictures that night, and I not only took my share, but posed for a lot as well. 

Eventually came the promenade for prizes.  There were many categories, and two of the last were "Most Beautiful Female Impersonator" and "Most Believable Female Impersonator."  We all paraded at the same time and the judges would choose from among us.  In front of me was a girl in a Madonna outfit circa the "True Blue" video.  We'd spoken off and on during the night.  She was a genetic girl, but was going to parade with us.  And so she did.  (She told the judges she was a GG.)  The funny bit is that on the PhillyChitchat site there's a prominent picture of her with the caption "These are all men."  I'm also in that picture.

I didn't win, and I didn't expect to win.  There were many beautiful T-Girls at the party.  That said, it seems the same two people win every year in this category.  That's ok- they are both beautiful.  I think they're professional drag queens.

Eventually the night wound down.  I went up to Jone and Kristyn's room, where they'd graciously allowed me to clean up.  Back to drab.  Then back home.

Halloween was over, but this year I didn't wait in the Pumpkin Patch with Linus just to see a stupid beagle.  I was out celebrating my fourth of hopefully many years as My True Self:

A Woman Named Sophie Lynne.


Henri David Ball 2009, 2010, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Night of Sophie Vamping

What a week it's been already!

Hurricane Sandy blew through here earlier this week.  We were blessed to have very minor damage at this house.  Very blessed.  My thoughts are with those not so fortunate.

Last weekend was a weekend of firsts.

Saturday October 27.  I signed off from work two months in advance.  I knew I'd be doing SOMETHING, be it a work party or a Laptop Lounge or whatever.

For the past couple weeks, my dear friend Lorraine of Occasional Woman has been working on tailoring a dress I bought on the Pyramid Collection website.  After a couple fittings and some ebay scavenging for appropriate shoes and a choker, I was ready. 

Of course, as we all know, the best laid plans of mice and women...

My wife's birthday and my daughter's birthday are back to back.  And my wife wanted to give my daughter a party as she is now five.  We agreed to make that party on Sunday the 28th.  Fair enough.

What I should've anticipated was that she wasn't going to let me go so easily.  Friday night she handed me a list of things that NEEDED to be done for the party. She wanted all this done on Saturday.

Well, my Saturday looked like this:  Alcohol class at 10, work from 11-2, appointment with Amanda Richards at 3.  Out the rest of the night.

So.  When was I going to do it all?  Something had to give!

I did something I never, ever do:  I called out of work when not sick.  I hate doing that.  Not only do I need the money, but I feel that if I'm scheduled, then other people are counting on me to be there, and I usually like my co-workers enough that I don't want to let them down. 

So I called out, and spent that time scrubbing the one bathroom and vacuuming.  Then I jumped in the car and headed north to True Colors where Amanda would work her magic!

And Magic it was, as she transformed me from Drab to a Vampiress Worthy of a Bitten neck!  (If I do say so myself!)



So after some pics, it was off to the King of Prussia area, where I had two parties to attend. 

Now, my "big sister" Mel counseled against me going to these parties enfemme.  She said people may talk, put two and two together, and in any case, start treating me "differently."  Very wise words from someone who's been there.  But I did it anyway.  They will all know eventually anyway, and since my Wife knows, my level of "Oh My God I may be discovered" has dramatically decreased.

For the first party, I thought I'd bring some food, but I also wanted some Lip glass for my lips.  (I'm such a girl sometimes!)  So that meant stopping in the mall for the MAC counter. 

After parking, I went into Nordstroms as they are trans friendly.  MAC is as well, but that would require going into the mall.  This was faster.  I received some looks and smiles, and the salesperson was very friendly.

While pulling out of the lot, I turned my head and the chain on my choker snapped in two places.  Eep!  So I went over to Hooters (very close by) and tried to reassemble the bits, but part was missing.  Sh*t!

I went in to Hooters and picked up my order (20 wings, naked hot) and that's the only place I received a death stare.  Redneck at the bar, drinking Miller from a bottle and wearing an NRA hat.  Everyone else smiled and went along.


I couldn't go without getting the choker fixed.  And I had to answer the call of nature.  Hmmm...  Back to the mall (maybe 500 yards) to Blue Pacific (where Laptop Lounge is held.)  There I answered the call, and said "hi" to the manager.  I stopped at a jewelry store looking for a necklace extender, but no dice.  However, next to that was a watch repair place, Fast-Fix.  They didn't have extenders either but they DID have chain and the ability to fix it!  Three minutes and ten dollars later, the choker was back on, and I was in business!  Fast, friendly, and efficient!  The one worker asked "Are you ladies are at Blue Pacific tonight."  "No, next week," I said, smiling. I walked through the mall and got a lot of stares and smiles.  Lots of "Happy Halloween" wishes as well.

Now sorted out, I went to the first of two parties.  The first was held by a former co-worker and fantastic woman.  last year, I went in my Mary Marvel costume and won a game of beer pong.  This year, no one was surprised by my costume, but I was asked if I was in transition, as my boobs were very much on display.  This from a beautiful woman dressed as Alice.


The Purple Guy was Unstoppable!  And yes, he played in costume.


I stayed maybe an hour, and had a blast!  I didn't play Beer Pong (still sober- now almost 3 months!)  and it's good I didn't, as this one guy was crushing all comers... while in a huge costume.

I was expected at the other party so back into the car.  While at this first party, I discovered an an annoying little trait of this costume: the lace skirt kept getting caught on my heels!  What a pain in the butt!  And did I learn my lesson and lift the skirt a little while walking?  Of course not!

Off to the second party.  This was a work party.  Same one as the year before where I won best costume during a snow storm.  No snow this year, just a massive "Frankenstorm" bearing down on us.  That storm wouldn't be here until late Sunday night, so this was a chance to party before everyone lost power.
There were more people than last time around, but no new faces.  In retail, there is always turnover, and our store is no exception.  Whenever I help host a "work"party, there's an open invite posted.  That said, very few if any new people ever come, so as time goes on the familiar faces stop coming.  So attendance drops.  (Kinda like the GOP as the old white people die off and they alienate everyone who ISN'T old and white.)

So while we had more people than last year, it was still a small gathering.  Most people loved the costume.  A couple of the women even gave me supportive comments about how to walk in heels, etc.  A picture was sent to a non-employee mutual friend, who freaked out.  "We have to talk about this crossdressing" she texted me. 



Apparently, this picture is an Issue


As if my life requires her permission.

I spent several relaxing hours there before cleaning up and changing back to drab.  (I found the missing chain piece in my cleavage while changing.)  I drank water and Sprite.  None of the people at the party know about my DUI yet, but all were supportive of my "going dry."

I left when most of the others left and was home around 2:30.  Sober.



The next morning I didn't really sleep in, as there was more party prep.  My legs ached from wearing heels the night before.  I looked in the mirror and saw the drab person staring back.  Three days from Halloween, when I would be out again, in the same costume with some tweaks (different earrings.)

Halloween found me at the Henri David Ball in Philly.  But that's another story, and I'll tell it soon.

The drab person in the mirror looked sad and tired.  Waiting for the Woman to return.  And Stay.


Someday.


Happy Halloween!