Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Sunday Cemetery Stroll

Ok, so it wasn't one of my best alliterations.

I haven't been out as me since Lisa's party.  I had a chance to do so last Saturday night.  After all, there was one of Jen Bryant's amazing parties at the Raven that night.  But I had to pass. 

Why?  Several reasons.

First was that the Poison Ivy I contracted a couple weeks before got worse.  FAR worse. It covered my entire lower left leg and entire left forearm.  I also had some on my face.  I ended up going to a clinic for a prescription.  But they couldn't give me an oral steroid as it would interact with the Wellbutrin (for depression) and cause seizures.  That might ruin my day.  So topical only.

Isn't it purty?

It is improving.

The other reason was that I was in Baltimore the weekend before, and next weekend is Renaissance and Laptop Lounge.  And my Mother in Law (MIL) was away for the weekend.  So I figured going out all day and night wasn't a good idea.  After all, maybe Wife and I could talk some things out.

BUT... Saturday wasn't the only event to write about.  No, there was Thursday first (as it usually is, calendar-wise.)

Thursday I went to dinner at Bahama Breeze with M and Jamie.  This was my first time seeing Jamie since revealing my truth to her.  We went to Bahama Breeze as it's M's favorite restaurant... and it was also where I first told M about Sophie.

I met Jamie outside and she gave me a huge hug.  I needed that after the day I had.  Her smile immediately lifted my mood.  She told me how happy she was that I told her, and how proud she was of me.

We were seated, and I pulled one of my Sophie business cards from my pocket, and slid it across the table to Jamie, face down... just like I had to Dave and R.  She laughed and said "Oh I get a Sophie card?!?!" and flipped it over.  She thanked me and put it in her purse.

Then M arrived and we all chatted.  Jamie had a few questions about being TG, but for the most part we discussed people we knew and plans for a party this fall at M's place.

The night was very nice and we all hugged as we left for our various homes.  I chose well by including her in the "Circle of knowledge."  I was going to tell my "best man" this month when he visits from Arizona, but he had to postpone his trip until November. 

Hmmm I wonder where I'll be by then?  And what will I look like?

He is a hard core libertarian.  We don't discuss politics.  And I've known him since first grade.  41 years.  We went to school together and Penn State as well.  And I have no idea how he'll react.

I told Wife that I wasn't going out Saturday night and why.  And I told her I'd received a dinner invitation from my "Big Sis" Mel and my friend Victoria.  They were going to a Mexican restaurant called El Sarape, which Victoria loves. 

Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) Tequila Bottles at El Sarape

To my surprise, Wife said I should go.  She knew I wouldn't be going as Sophie. 

Saturday arrived and the poison ivy was still worse, so I went to the clinic (as I said above.)  After all that, I went home and spent the afternoon with Wife and my daughter.  Then I put on a long sleeved shirt, and went to dinner. 

The food was amazing.  I was the only "guy" at the table. so I made sure to pull chairs out for the ladies, etc.  We had a wonderful dinner, and afterward we went to Shangri-La for a drink or two.  After all, it was still early.

While we sat at the bar, a man came out of the back "party room."  He was in his 50s or 60s, but he wore the badge of the Imperial Chinese Air force from WWII.  I asked him about it.  Turns out he was there with his grandfather- who was one of Chennault's American Volunteer Group from 1941-42:  the "Flying Tigers."  There were three of them there having a reunion.  And it was my honor to meet all three, shake their hands, and thank them for their service.  One was 106, the other two were in their 90s.  All were really nice.

After a couple of drinks, it was time to head home, which I did.  When I arrived, I sat with Wife and watched TV for a little while.  We didn't talk.

The next morning was absolutely beautiful.  I decided to go for a drive.  My friend Jane texted me that she was in Valley Forge park with her wife, and asked if I wished to join her.  I suggested we meet at the chapel, where I could show her a trail she hadn't been on.

We met there.  Jane had been to the Raven party the night before, and was enfemme.  I was in drab. I showed them one of my favorite places to walk:  The churchyard behind the chapel.

Odd?  Maybe.  I'm one of those weird people that loves cemeteries.  Ever since the first "modern" cemetery was opened outside of Paris in 1804, people have had a fascination.  Before then, the primary disposal for the non-noble dead were large pits usually on the edge of town.  Noble and rich dead were entombed inside or under places of worship.  Eventually, the decaying bodies affected local water supplies, so the idea of dedicated cemeteries outside of town began.

And they became landscaped as places to relax.  The Victorians especially had a fascination with cemeteries.  And I've been to many cemeteries on several continents.  Why?

I always find I think better in a graveyard, where I am reminded that life is Short. 

The three of us walked around for a bit.  I took a few pictures.  I showed them my favorite "hidden treasure:"  The abandoned keystone to the aborted National Cathedral in Valley Forge.

The Keystone, Fall 2012

It was a pleasant afternoon walk.  After I left, I went to a different part of the park and thought for a while.

After all, I have lots of changes coming.

I need to think it all through.

Life IS short, and I'm probably over halfway done my time on this planet.  I've wasted so much of my life as a Male.  As my cousin Anne has said, "it's Sophie's turn."

Next up is putting together a transition plan.  And writing a letter to my parents, telling them my truth.

I think of these things often.  And tonight I visited that graveyard again after work.  I walked among the graves as the late summer sun set behind the hills.  The breeze was cool- perhaps the first bare hint of the coming autumn.  As I walked among the bodies and memorials to those who have passed, I pondered my death... and the end of my male self.  What will I regret? 

Life is short.  Regret is eternal.

I will live my life as a woman- and end that regret.

Let my feminine smile be my epitaph.

And my ending be better than that last line!  :D



  1. Oh wow, I feel so bad for you regarding your poison ivy reaction. When I was a young, my brother and I went camping with some other kids. We pitched our tent in the dark, had laid on the ground near it, looking up at the stars. The next morning, we found that we had made our camp right smack in the middle of a big patch of poison ivy. Amazingly, neither he nor I suffered any sort of reaction. Another kid was not so lucky... in fact he was VERY unlucky... and he barely touched it. I really love the skin I live in, because I have never suffered a reaction to poison ivy or poison oak, though I do sometimes get a rash from lying in the grass.

    I hope that you get better soon.


  2. my heart goes out to you after my facial bee sting episode this summer i can relate and the prednasone really helped. i had protested the use of prednasone but the allergist was correct. but as my eye dr said not every dr will prescribe it if they don't know the patients history.
    in college i had taken a summer science class at sandy hook nj one day as the tide came in on the bay we had to walk through poison ivy to get back and the instructor told us to walk right into the bay immediately to flush off any of the oils from the poison ivy. non of the group ended up being effected but since i have exema i am always in a panic to avoid poison ivy. as a GG friend jokingly has said "take care of your skin for were else are you going to live" LOL
    thanks for sharing Sophie