Thursday, June 9, 2016

The World Has Gone Mad

I suppose I could just about stop there. Enough said. Got my point across! Thank you very much – have a nice day!

Trumps own advisors admit that he never expected to actually make it this far. More or less, he ran for office as a publicity stunt and now finds himself quite possibly headed for the White House.

Hillary Clinton I have mixed feelings about. People died under her watch that some people feel she had the ability to save. I’m not so sure about that myself, but what the hell do I know? As far as the “email scandal”? I quite honestly couldn’t care less. It barely rises above the cosmic noise level for me. Something of little to no significance that her opponents are desperately trying to build into something momentous. 

Bernie Sanders? Say what you will, but I think most people that are honest with themselves will admit that he is the one person running that actually cares about the average person like you or I. They can call him all of the names that they like, but he actually cares. You gotta respect that, no matter what you think of his ideology. It wont do him any good though, because he has been almost totally frozen out of the process. Honestly, when it comes to political office, being a nice guy is probably not an asset.

And with all of the worlds serious problems to consider, the American public is fixated on where the Transgender folks are peeing. In all of recorded history, there is not a single documented case of a TG assaulting someone in a bathroom, but suddenly the threat of having a transsexual peeing in the stall next to you is the most significant threat to our society and the welfare of our children. While the TGs are standing around with their legs crossed and their eyeballs floating because they are too scared to go to the bathroom, we have terrorists setting off bombs in Target bathrooms– a large corporation that came out in support of the transgender. Yes, I called them “Terrorists”. What do you call it when a Muslim blows up something because it doesn’t conform to his beliefs and it offends him? The American people would shout “Terrorism” at the top of their lungs so I figure the shoe fits.

So the other night I was talking to one of the most beautiful women that I have ever met. Not only is she exceptionally pretty, but she is also damned intelligent, and a caring person. Like I said – beautiful. Much to my surprise, she shared with me that she had felt ugly and awkward growing up and it just kind of floored me. Apparently these feelings are not reserved for the TG and this lovely bit of depression is not our sole domain. If even beautiful women feel ugly and awkward, I suppose that people like me can be forgiven for our own feelings of inadequacy.

I took a break from this long term project that I am working at and drove to the tippy top of Ohio to take care of another customer. Ashtabula Ohio to be exact. A real hot spot of social activity there boy, let me tell ya’!  You should have seen the look on the faces of the clerks behind the counter when I arrived at the Holiday Inn there. There were four young men talking behind the counter, and I’d swear you could have heard a pin drop when I walked in. Instantly, three of them vanished and the one remaining young man was left to deal with me. I guess that he drew the short straw. He got over his surprise and acted like a professional though, so it’s all good.

On the drive back down to Indiana I decided to wear something nice and subtle. OK, maybe not so subtle. Is orange subtle? Prolly not. I still can’t decide if it was a flattering or not? I wouldn’t have chosen the dark hose, but I have a huge, ugly, bruise on my left leg that needed to be hidden. It is what it is.

Oh, and on the 7 hour drive there, and again on the 7 hour drive back? No, I didn’t stop to pee. Just sayin . . .

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Corey Maison

Don't worry, I have no intention of turning my blog into a social commentary or anything of the sort. Let's face it, I'm not qualified nor am I terribly interested in joining the cacophony of people all trying to out shout each other these days. Still, I'm going to share this video along with a simple observation. I don't care where you stand on the concept of the transgender; anyone that can look at the sheer joy and happiness in young Corey Maison's eyes and feel that she does not have the right to exist, sucks.

I can remember going to bed at night when I was 6 and 7 and wishing and praying that I would wake up as a girl, but of course this was the real world and that doesn't happen. I grew up pretty much hating myself and feeling utterly "wrong" in ways that I can't even really describe. Never felt like one of the guys, and clearly wasn't one of the girls either, so I just settled for being seriously depressed for the vast majority of my life. So much has been learned since the 1960's and 1970's when I grew up, and we now know so much more about the topic. For young Corey and countless other children like her these days, they don't have to go through this painful incongruity. They can live normal and happy lives, where they feel like a complete and whole human being. That is, they don't have to suffer unless other people choose to make them suffer. So how about the human race just decides to act like grownups?

Now - about this video. Lots of people comment on how pretty she is. Yes, she is pretty, but the world is full of pretty girls, so that is not reason enough to love this video. What I adore about this video is the sheer joy in her eyes - the over whelming happiness. Instead of growing up all wound around the axle about who she is, and tied up in knots inside of herself, she is joyful and free. Fly Corey - fly for all of us that can not.

Oh, and just for the record, at 14 years old, no youngun, you can not wear high heels to the grocery store. . .

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Celtic Woman - Destiny Tour

Ok, so the other night I went to see “Celtic Women” live at the Murat Theater in Indianapolis! I’ve always loved them and so this was a really neat thing for me! I really sweated it out over what to wear, but in the end the high winds and relative cool sort of made the decision for me. I was going to wear a medium length kirt that was kind of fluffy, but with the really high winds that we had that night, I would have had my skirt up around my ears. I figured I was gonna be too busy trying to keep my hair from flying away to be properly dealing with my skirt, and so I chose a long sued skirt that the wind couldn’t mess with. All in all, I was reasonably happy with the look, though not exactly giddy.

The show was every bit as awesome as I’d hoped, with the young women being not only incredible singers, but of course also exceptionally beautiful. The beautiful blond woman that dances and leaps around the stage, all while playing violin beautifully, was absolutely heart stopping. She has piercing blue eyes that just reach out and grab you, and when you add that to her grace and talent, she is possibly one the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She is a teeny little thing too, barely coming up to even the shoulders of the other women. I’d be surprised if she was even five feet tall – it was like watching Tinker Bell flit around the stage!
Of course lots of  performers have created beautiful renditions of “Amazing Grace” through the years, but the one that they offered was just incredible.  It started with two bag pipes and ended with the full blown band and a choir, and it was so beautiful that it sent chills up and down your spine.
Of course lots of women were very well dressed, so I didn’t stand out for my attire. Maybe for my height, size, and bulk, but not for my outfit. The woman that sat next to me on my right side had brought her elderly mother with her, and for some reason mom was not happy with the seats. We were only four rows back from the stage, possibly the best seats in the house, but mom was not happy.  The woman kept leaning over and speaking softly to me about her unhappy mother.
“She doesn’t like the seats! I have no idea what is wrong with her!”
So as the concert is starting, with the beautiful violinist I mentioned above taking to the stage, the woman next to me leans over and says “Wow! That girl has some arms on her huh?!”
Looking down at my own masculine arms and chest, I almost choked . . .

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Long Term Assignment

It’s been a while huh? Sorry ‘bout that, but I’ve been a tad bit busy with my personal and professional life being a bit tossed about.
We have a service contract with a huge customer in Indiana that requires us to have an engineer onsite every week day. This was all well and fine until the guy that was filling that position for us decided to up and quit. Guess who the only other person in our field service group is that knows that product well enough to go in and pick up the pieces? Yup, ‘twas I! So, for the last six months I’ve been living in a hotel in Indiana.
It turns out that it is a good thing that the guy quit, because he apparently wasn’t devoting much effort to his job, and the customer was pissed off about it. Here our customer was mad as hell, but we had had no idea until this guy quit. Want to hear something funny? This guy turned around and started his own company, then tried to take the service business away from my company. Apparently he didn’t realize just how badly he had pissed off our customer and he had thought he could make his own personal fortune by coming right back in as his own contractor.  One of the managers I work with here flat out told me that if he saw that guy on the facility, he would personally escort him off of the premises.  Yeah, needless to say, he didn’t take the contract from us.  

Despite the fact that they're in a historically masculine industry where you would expect Good Ol' Boys and Red Necks to be in charge of things, this company is VERY accepting. I've met several openly gay people who are happily married here and are clearly accepted, and I've met three TG's that I know of who are open and out here. In fact, this company will actually pay for their GRS, and I don't know of any other company that will do that. Don't get me wrong, no one is running up to hug them all and say "You are SO welcome here!", but they do have good jobs, and are accepted. It is progress. I'd like to share their company's name because I am proud of them and they should be proud of themselves, but I can't risk breaking either their company's policies on social media, nor my own company's. Not worth the risk to me.

The good news is that my company is well aware of the sacrifice my family and I are making. I received a letter and a modest bonus from the Vice President of our company thanking me for going to extraordinary lengths to salvage the situation. The bad news is that I’m not sure their thanks and bonus is worth missing so much of my children’s growing. . . 

Welp, I have a brand new granddaughter, Gwenevere, and she is just a few months old now! Of course you would expect me to say this, but she is one of the cutest critters I’ve ever seen. Funny, but as a kid, I always hoped that someday I would find someone stupid enough to marry me, but somehow the idea of having children never crossed my mind. It really floors me that I have three children and two grandchildren now. How the hell did that happen?!
Where I am staying in Indiana is about half the distance to visit my son and his family in Virginia as it would be from my home in Texas, so I made it a point to go meet my new granddaughter one weekend. It might be a shorter drive from here than it would be from Texas, but it still wasn’t a short drive. It took me 12 hours of driving each way over one weekend to git ‘er done, but I did it! Just to make it that much harder, I even made the trip back to Indiana with a massive hangover, because I’m just that kind of stupid.

I don’t get out much as Kim these days for a few reasons. I’m afraid that my three years of laser treatments on my face failed to kill my beard. It helped a lot, but it’s still there. Since it has been a couple of years since my last treatment, you can now see beard shadow through my foundation, and so it is pretty quickly obvious that I am a guy in a dress. Strike one against my confidence. Just to make things worse, my 50 year old face is rapidly degrading and showing its age more and more each and every day. It surprising to me just how rapidly the wrinkles and the sagging eyes are getting worse. It’s as if my face held out as long as it could, but has now thrown in the towel and said “Screw it! Let that shit wrinkle and sag!”. So at a time when I have to wear heavier foundation to hide the beard, I now have deep wrinkles that are exaggerated by the heavy makeup. Strike two for my confidence. Last but not least, working at this customer site is a major change of physical activity for me. I am used to lots of walking through airports, busting my butt off to do a job, then lots more walking through airports on the way home. My job with this customer? Sit at a tiny cubicle all day long just in case one of their 160 instruments fails. I’ve gained over 10 pounds since being tied down to one customer. Strike three for my confidence.  Let me sum that up for you – fat, old, bearded dude in a dress. Sigh . . .

So I’ve been in Indiana for about six months now and this last weekend is the first time that I got out as Kim, and my confidence was destroyed right out of the gate. I’d decided to go see the latest installment in the “Divergent” series (a mediocre movie by the way) and was standing in line to buy my ticket. There was a mother with two teenage boys in line in front of me. I’d guess one of the buys was probably about 16 and the other 14.  The 16 year old looked at me as he turned around to talk to his brother, and then the whispering started. The 14 year old starts looking up, down, and all around as if he were watching a bee buzzing about his head, before he turns fully around to look at me with a huge grin on his face. That was hands down the worst job of looking while trying not to be obvious that I have ever seen. It was so pathetic that it actually made me laugh a bit, so I thought I’d make the best out of it.
“You know, you really need to work on your subtlety a little bit.” I told the kid with a smile. He looked a bit stunned, but his mother and big brother broke out into a full laugh. 

So I guess here is the way things are panning out. I’ve traveled all over the country as Kim for the last 10 years or so. Perhaps I was deluding myself, perhaps not, but during most of that travel, I have felt as if I were perceived as a woman.  This was gratifying and fulfilling for me. Now, for the reasons that I mentioned above, I am clearly not being perceived as female, not even by myself, and this I do not find fulfilling. Now when I go out, I am clearly being perceived simply as a cross dressed man, and this takes quite a bit more courage and a thicker skin. I’m not sure I have it, and even if I do have the courage, what is the point if it doesn’t make me happy? I’m still contemplating things, but I think that the odds are good that I’m just about done with it. I told my daughter the other day that I was thinking about just being a “normal” guy, and she laughed and informed me that “normal” doesn’t impress her much. Damn I love my kids . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Life is too short

Where to start? I have been busy for work, but for assorted reasons I've not been able to travel pretty on most of those trips. Yeah, I realize that I say that on more blogs than not these days, but hey; it is what it is.

I turned 50 years old a few days ago and I'm less than thrilled about it. My daughter asked me why I was unhappy that it was my birthday.
All ready.
Damn it, didn't I just have one of these?!
I tried to explain it as best as I could to a 12 year old.
"Well let's see. You look forward to turning thirteen because, hey, now you're a teenager. Girls look forward to their 16th birthday though I'm not entirely certain what that is all about. You look forward to 18 because you are now legally an adult. You look forward to 21 because you can now buy alcohol. After that, you don't look forward to your birthdays so much. At 30 you sort of lose the claim to being young, though you aren't considered old yet. At 40, all doubt is now removed; you are not young any more. This is when a lot of people have mid-life crises and do stupid things like buying little red mustangs when they have two children that can’t possibly ride in it comfortably. 50? Yeah, 50 sucks. You are no longer just 'not young'; you are now officially old."
So. Yeah, I just turned 50. Shit.

You saw the comment I made earlier about doing stupid things like buying a little mustang when you have a family that needs to fit into the car from time to time? Yeah, we fixed that a couple of weeks ago and went out and bought a lightly used Buick LaCrosse. Never had a Buick before but it is a darn fine car - probably the finest car we have ever owned. We once had a Chrysler 300M and loved the hell out of it, and I think that I would put this Buick into the same league with that car. I haven't had the chance to drive it much though, because I have been leaving it with my wife so that she can drive something nice while I'm on the road.

About a week ago, my daughter and her best friend had been out riding their bikes, and they came inside to cool off for a while. After about ten minutes, they went back outside, then came running right back in the door. In the brief period that they had been inside, someone walked through our yard and up alongside our house and stole both bikes. Broad daylight, people in the house, and they walked right up into our yard and broke the hearts of two little girls. I've had bikes stolen before and it has been my experience that you never get them back, so I didn't bother getting all worked up, or go running around the neighborhood looking for them. The other little girl’s father wasn't so fatalistic though, and he spent the next couple of days looking for the bikes. A few days later, we were all sitting around the table talking while we waited for pizza to be delivered, when there was a frantic knock on the door. It was my daughters best friend, and in between gasps for breath, she managed to explain that she and her father had been out looking for the bikes when someone rode right past them on hers. They followed the kid home where her father, a pretty big guy, confronted the kid with her bike. That's where I stopped her.
"Hold on. Your father is there right now by himself?!" I asked her. She gulped before replying.
"Ok, we can get the details later, but let's go. Show me the way!"
She took off in a flash, and I all but ran after her, relieved to see my father in law jump up and head out the door right behind me. I was active duty army for over a decade, but I was a technician and so don't know squat about self-defense. My father in law is over 70, but he does know how to take care of himself so I was happy to have him behind me. As we quickly walked up the block behind the girls, I found myself getting madder and madder and was fully prepared to make sure that the thief went to jail today. They had hurt two little girls, one of which is my little princess, and that is a no-no in my book. Much to my own surprise though, my anger all but vanished as I turned the corner and found four cop cars parked up and down the street and saw two scared little boys sitting in the curb, looking utterly terrified. I remember when my brother and I were about that age and we had broken into a community center and were running up and down the hallways sliding on the floor. We broke nothing, and we stole nothing, but there was no doubt that we were doing wrong. We went slamming though one door too many and suddenly had a sheriff grabbing us by the collar. Right then and there we could have entered the legal system and our lives could have been so different. No charges were pressed though, and we received a second chance. Don't get me wrong, we got our butts blistered by our parents, but we didn't have to tangle with the legal system.
Seeing these two boys sitting there on the curb, all I could see was my brother and I in the back of that sheriffs car. . .
While we waited for the two boys parents to arrive, I spoke at length with several of the officers there and confirmed that the boys had never been in trouble before. As I stood there, i found myself imagining the immediate future of the boys and their families. Getting the kids out of jail today. Tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers and legal fees. Possibly the start of a downhill slide for the kids and their families as these things have a way of snowballing. As mad as I was, I didn't want that, but I wasn't sure that letting the kids off with no consequences was going to be in their long term best interests either. If they learned nothing, then they might continue to do this sort of thing. Since I figured that he saw this sort of thing more often than I did, I asked the officer I was talking to what he thought was in the long term best interests of the boys. He just told me that he wasn't allowed to advise me on that, but he did repeat that the boys had never been in trouble before, so I considered that a hint.
"All right," I said with a deep sigh, "I don't feel the need to press charges. We'll let their parents take care of it, but I do want to see them both apologize to the young ladies that they hurt."
"Oh yeah, we can definitely make that happen!" The officer said with a huge grin that told me that he thought that I was doing the right thing.
I hope that I did the right thing but I'm not sure. With any luck, their parents handled the situation in such a way that the boys didn't get off Scott free. . .

So let's see. Last year my father in laws truck was stolen from my front yard while he and I were working in the back yard. Now my daughters bike was stolen from alongside our home, in broad daylight, and with us all in the house. Yeah, I bought a security camera system with 8 cameras that have night vision and I will be installing them this week.

So I finally got around to making a trip pretty. It had been so long that I'd have to admit that I was fairly nervous about it, but I did it anyway. I wore a pair of heels that I hadn't worn in probably three years or more. They have either 4 or 5 inch heels. I dunno because I've never bothered to measure them. They felt fine the entire day that I wore them, but I'll tell you what - my legs were killing me the next day! I don't recall ever having my legs hurt from wearing heels before, but there you have it. I started to think that maybe it was time to start wearing flats, but then the right answer occurred to me; clearly I need to wear my heels more often to get my legs in shape!

I was impressed when the Avis shuttle bus arrived to take me to the lot. These drivers rarely offer to help these days, but this gentleman insisted and wouldn't take no for an answer. When we arrived at the lot, he again insisted on getting my bags and even loading them into the car for me, despite my repeatedly telling him that I could take care of them myself. Cool!
There I was, riding high and feeling good when the lady at the hotel called me "sir" while I was checking in and almost ruined my good mood.

I was working at Ford on this trip, and almost felt guilty that I had sold my new mustang to buy a Buick. We will let that be our little secret while working at Ford though.

At lunch one afternoon, we got to talking about staying in shape while getting older. The man I was working with is ten years older than I am and looks ten years younger than I do. That just doesn't strike me as fair, but what can you do? Anyway, at some point in this conversation his colleague said something about how you could tell some actors had gotten face lifts, and then he almost spit his food out on the table from laughing at what he was about to say.
"Yeah, like Caitlyn Jenner. Now that's a hell of a face lift!" Hard to argue with that, so I let it slide, but this did move the conversation onto the category of transgender.
"Yeah, I actually know one or two transgender people." I told them, trying not to choke on the major understatement. "All I can say is that life is short, so if that is how you're happy, I'd say go for it!"
Much to my relief and surprise, both men nodded in agreement.
"I know a couple myself," replied Bob, the man I was working with there. "We had one guy that started living as a woman just a couple of months after graduation. I've seen him, well, her, several times since then and you would never know that she used to be a guy. I've got to say though, that I've heard some E.R. stories from my wife that make me shudder. They had a transgender in there just little while ago. She was just walking along when someone decided to get offended about her and just slugged her in the kidneys."
Awesome, just what I wanted to hear. NOT.

I rarely fly home pretty as it is a pain in the butt to change back into boy mode at the airport, but I decided I'd give it a whirl today. I’m writing this blog while flying from Detroit to Chicago where I have a three hour layover, and so far the worst thing that has happened is that a guy in first class kept glaring at me as I was walking past to get into the coach section. Like I said though, life is short. He can spend it glaring, and I'll spend it making the best of it.