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calling occupants...

Sorry Carpenters but Klaatu's version is the original and better one. Oh and any resemblance to the Beatles is purely accidental :)


transgender pilot

Confirmation

I know I post a lot of older music that I love here but here is a younger artist named Westerman with an atmospheric little pop tune called "Confirmation".

A little Sting mixed with Joni Mitchell maybe?...


for the coming year...

Personal insight comes in dribs and drabs and rare is the occasion where we have a sudden and huge discovery about ourselves or our place in the world. I have found over my lifetime that introspection combined with previous experience is what helps us shine a light on life and how to live better the further we navigate into it. If we are always in student mode, we can learn something about ourselves and others sometimes even on a daily basis.

Then one day, we can look back and realize the magnitude of our growth. The challenges we have been through have helped fashion a stronger person capable of appreciating the beauty contained in our existence with a greater gusto.

For the coming year I wish all of you the gifts of personal insight and of loving yourselves exactly as you were created. Let us practice the art of living in the moment and finding joy in the simpler pleasures that life has to offer.

Finding out who we are as trans people sometimes takes a little longer because we began…

Madeline talks candidly

more feedback

I received more feedback from Patricia today after that dinner. She told me her daughter didn't know I was trans which made me feel great. After Patricia told her, she was genuinely surprised because she said I look so natural.

Patricia also added that if I hadn't told her from the outset she wouldn't have known either.

Now if that isn't a confidence booster I don't know what is.


it all went fine

It was a very small group at this little dinner. Including Patricia's teenage daughter Iva, we were 4 ladies and 2 gentlemen. One couple had to cancel at the last minute due to illness.

I felt comfortable the entire evening and interacted as I have learned to hone by now; always aware of the potential conflict between my socialization and how I was presenting. I never felt talked over or ignored because there was no male bully in the room. It was just a group of people enjoying a meal and a discussion.

My mannerisms or voice don't need to be fretted over any longer, so things came out naturally but I am always aware that behaving as a lady takes on a certain form. There is a small surveillance on my part as someone who has not been taught to behave that way as a norm. You don't want to be a caricature either.

Never was there a trace of doubt on anyone's face (that I could detect) which made me feel very much at ease and it was always 'she' and 'her' alt…

It's all in our hands

For me, no one has defined gender dysphoria better than Anne Vitale. Describing it as "gender expression deprivation anxiety" is brilliant because that is exactly what it feels like. But in its definition also lies the solution; ie the reducing or eliminating of its power which, according to the WPATH standards, can take on a variety of forms up to and including a full medical gender role transition.

I feel that our aim should be to attack that discomfort by whatever methods work using a measured approach. This means that less is better at the outset until we have figured out what we really need. If a medical transition is what we require then that is exactly what we should do. However, many of us are already embroiled in lives we have built and, treating our dysphoria the way we would ultimately want to, may not be possible. This is where deft baby steps are called for.

Some wait until a dear spouse is deceased or children are grown while others find ways within the context…

approval

There's a search for approval period you go through. You look in the eyes of people you deal with for hints you are passing and the slightest trace of doubt betrayed by their expression sends you into disappointment.

Of course this works against you.

It wasnt until I relaxed and abandoned that search for validation that others relaxed around me. They drew energy from my behavior and, as a confident woman, I was able to blend in with ease. It turned out that my own doubts had been conspiring against me.

Make no mistake that this is normal because after being socialized for decades to suppress any trace of femininity, trying to bring it to the fore injects great trepidation and worry. You are disappointing everyone around you who expect better. This mindset can be pervasive and takes energy to defeat but, as you see the difference when you relax, you can't believe you didn't see this sooner. It is akin to an epiphany.

I eventually learned that the only person you need approv…

Las meninas

The masterpiece of Diego Velazquez.


exceptionalism

Once again Democrats will be playing it safe. Joe Biden is thinking of running, perhaps thinking his name recognition alone will be a boon to his candidacy. Maybe it will be Beto O'Rourke; who knows.

American politics is just a game and covers up the reality that the core problems which need tending to will stay on the back burner. So long as money runs the business, there will be nothing done about improving the lives of ordinary Americans who desperately need it. The citizens of Flint Michigan, for example, are dealing with drinking water laced with lead but that isn't a priority.

The sycophantic program Fox and Friends licks this president's backside as he prepares to face numerous investigations for multiple illegal offenses but none of that matters as long as his base believes he is a shrewd business man instead of a mean-spirited idiot. How some people can be so easily misled astounds me to no end.

Bernie Sanders will once again be sold as the man who is not electabl…

Angela

Angela was looking for a place to sit and I offered my table because the place was busy. She had her pastry and her coffee and sat down diagonally from me. At first we each kept to ourselves but at some point I said something I cannot recall which jumpstarted the conversation.

She is in her thirties, from China and works as a business analyst. She's been in Canada for seven years, is single and looking. Her traditional parents are already getting nervous that she is too picky and taking her sweet time about it.

We talked about each other's views on this topic because it interested her. She wanted to know my experience and opinion as a woman of Eurepean extraction who's been here most of her life. What I told her bristled against some of her pragmatism surrounding marriage which to me sounded a lot like a business transaction between two people. Her metric for knowing that someone loved you is that they paid for everything.

"What about when the woman makes more?"…

Vienna

This lovely little gem was the first Billy Joel tune I learned on the piano. It is from what is arguably his most famous and best album "The Stranger"...


a series of events

How a core gender identity is developed is not fully understood. Yes, the fetus is initially female until a wash of testosterone (in the case of males) changes the physical characteristics before birth. How that process completes itself and how the rearing of the child is conducted must both contribute towards the development of their core gender identification.

I was a first born who had two sisters follow in quick succession plus my father, who was a reserved intellectual, also did not necessarily provide me with a looming masculine presence. As a result, I remember thinking of myself as almost genderless as a child and did not have a strongly developed sense of being a male.

I eventually did learn to do all the things I was expected to but my core identity remained essentially female. I just kept quiet about it.

How much nature plays into the initial equation is hard to know, but there are many cases of the only boy born into a family of mostly girls who does not become transsexual…

the reverse

I can relate to much of what is expressed in this video but in reverse. Of course I couldn't be nearly as transparent as Moranda is here when I was his age...


duped

Quebec is not much different from the rest of North America. We have a homogeneous rural countryside pitted against increasingly diverse urban centers; a formula which only serves to entrench the cultural and political differences.

America is much the same, with blue cities surrounded by expanses of red in numerous states. The diverse populations of these cities contrast against the mostly white and conservative voters who increasingly cannot relate to communities who do not share their values.

I am not certain there is a simple solution for this, but if politicians were more interested in uniting rather playing division politics they would find more common ground issues to focus on. For example, everyone is interested in better health care, jobs, education and the environment but instead politicians are focusing on issues like immigration control and abortion which divide the voters and fan the flames of passionate opinions.

If this approach continues, America will be hopelessly divi…

river

unfair

Family gatherings are wonderful and at the same time they're not. They can be reminders of the spaces that time and experience creates between people who grew up in the same household. Their uniqueness is even further magnified by the pairings we produce with people who themselves bring a diverse background into a marriage.

I am present but am removed as well and reflect on how the years have shaped all our grown children; their diverse opinions and behavioural traits speak volumes about the reality that, at our root, we are all solitary creatures who mostly live inside our own heads.

Robert comes to me and asks me if he looks okay. The sadness in his eyes betrays his inability to hide that his schizophrenia greatly perturbs him. He wants to get off his meds and yet he cannot because the voices will return even stronger. At 24 there is still much hope that something will be found to solve this most virulent strain of his disease. He watches everyone for tell tale signs that they a…

things change

I displaced my father as the Christmas Eve pianist and now my nephew Jacob has displaced me. The younger set gathers around him to sing more modern fare that they like instead of traditional carols.

My children and I went to the 5 pm service and afterwards my son expressed his disinterest in the church; he must find his own spirituality which he professes he has. My daughter goes to her boyfriend's non-denominational service and she also prefers that to Catholic mass.

Time moves on and things change and maybe that's the way it should be.





dinner party

Joanna is attending her first dinner party on Saturday the 29th. Patricia is having people over and also presenting the sales pitch for the company. I am looking forward to it with the tiniest degree of degree of trepidation of course.

Every new experience is always like this.

I am going to be dressing semi casual and will wear boots there because it is winter. I will however bring a pair of black pumps to change into; likely the patent ones I just bought. My outfit will look something like the picture below.

Should be fun and interesting I hope.

I have also decided with Patricia that going forward any association I have with her company will be as Joanna.


fortunate

There are so many people in this world who have so little. We are exceedingly blessed where we live that we have access to clean water, a roof over our head and food in our stomachs. I think about this more during this season as I see the rampant materialism all around me.

While the best things in life in this world are free, there are certain basics whose absence reduces our ability to be content. The love of our spouses, family and friends and the ability to share of our lives with them are among those core things that are essential to our lives but we cannot truly enjoy those if we fall below the poverty line.

Hence, no matter how bad things might seem to you from where you sit, there is always someone who has it worse. Poverty has gone up in North America over the last 30 years and every metropolitan center has seen an increase in the number of people who live in the street. These are the people who have fallen off the grid and don't show up in those employment statistics tha…

my wish

I want to wish anyone who reads my blog peace during this holiday season. We run around, we entertain and then collapse into stupors trying to recover our energy while bracing for yet another year. Life is short and full of challenges and we lose ourselves in the routine. As I age, I try and focus more on the little things that bring joy to what is often the mundaneness of our existence.

Those of us who have searched for our identities for so long should relax in the knowledge that the world has never been this primed for us. Finding your center has never been more possible in a world that is being obliged, often kicking and screaming, to accept diversity in all its forms.

There is balance to be found in escaping the artificiality that society thrives on and you will thank yourself for having the courage to redefine who you are on your own terms. Take a page from Jean Paul Sartre and look at things from a different angle and witness the ridiculous contained in our every day realities.…

conspiracy IS a crime

crossdresser Paul's first date

the sex of our brains

Sartre

attonement

beauty

There's no better compliment than being called a beautiful woman by other women and I don't take that lightly. I will admit that it is extremely affirming and goes to the root of any insecurities I may have had in the past about presenting as Joanna. I had nothing to do with my physical features but I hope these women were picking up a vibe about how I feel inside these days. I hope it is that which is radiating outwards because that is much more important to me. I want them to see the reflection of a woman who is sure of herself and proud to be who she is; someone who carries herself with confidence and a smile.

Everytime I am complimented I thank these ladies profusely and I think about the long journey to get to this junction of my life. I am not nearly as unhappy as I used to be to possess somewhat feminine features but I am much happier to be able to supplement them with a smile that heartily comes from my soul.

A little girl not older than 8 was staring at me yesterday a…

the tape loop

My brain tends to go into loop analysis, but this is not healthy when there is no additional information coming in. What you are then left with is an exercise akin to a cow chewing its cud; the mental equivalent of being stuck in neutral.

After my breakup I was stuck in this mode for a very long time. You play out scenarios in your head of who said what when; what should have been said haunts you and you play out sequences until you can do so no longer. This is not healthy, but it is unfortunately one of the pitfalls in the way my mind processes things; perhaps one of the developed habits of a scientific education.

Once a decision has been taken we need to move on and a repair process needs to happen but that means that you need to accept the result. When there are even small seeds of doubt you will play things in your mind like a tape; usually over and over. The human tendency to romanticize our lives with a former partner feed into this form of self flagellation. We remember some o…

why we're fated to be lonely

boring is good

It's fascinating to be in a crowded cafe or anywhere else and be completely ignored. You just fit in and the odd glance coming your way is routine because you are just another woman.

It took me a long time to get to a point which has now become anticlimactic; the point of almost being boring. But boring is also often good because it represents safety and comfort. I am the same person on the inside but the envelope has changed a bit. There are adjustments I make to voice, movement and to posture but that's about it. Yet it feels right. It is amazing how, the great majority of the time, there is little difference between the genders. I can really see that now.

I have given myself permission to change the wrapping and interact a little differently except that the tension that used to accompany all this is completely gone.

Yes, boring can be good.


strawman

I must admit that I am more perplexed than ever by today’s version of conservatism.

On the one hand there is the FOX News variety of xenophobic pablum fed to its increasingly geriatric audience which is easy to lampoon. FOX is a coalition of haters of all things different and scares its lower education viewers with visions of liberal radicals coming to destroy their traditional red state American values. This exists in other places of the world only that is more pronounced and bigger than life in the US.

In its simplest terms, conservatism is about keeping things the same and not being open to change. Today it encompasses under one umbrella: religious conservatives, racists, as well as the more traditional libertarian haters of government in an uneasy coalition. Those who are more fiscally minded don’t necessarily buy into the more extreme elements, but they have little choice because there is safety in numbers and conservatism isn’t handily picking up new converts.

Millennials overal…

grasping at straws

Dissenters keep painting themselves into corners. They want to use mental illness as the reason for our existence but then most trans people are extremely high functioning. We occupy just about every known profession including some of the most challenging intellectually. Then there is being trans as social contagion which doesn't sound quite right either since no one in their right mind would choose to have the complexity of their life increase exponentially. Add to that those who think we want to take over female privilege (in other words, go down a few notches in social stature) and you begin to see the cracks in their argumentation rather easily.

It's called grasping at straws.

Societal change is inevitable and trans people are the last set of humanity that stayed hidden as long as it possibly could. But we will no longer hide or be erased.

Over the last couple of years, models Geena Rocero and Teddy Quinlivan came out as transgender when they didn't have to. Both were …

Miss Spain makes history

we are not immune to stupidity in Canada

Canada is generally a progressive country but the election of a conservative provincial government in Ontario has ruffled the feathers of the transgender community. Here is the testimonial of one trans woman who won't stand for prejudice. Oh, and one of those so called expert dissenters she refers to is named Ray :)

"Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Rita OLink. I am a 64-year-old transgender woman with grandchildren. I am with TG Innerselves, a Sudbury-based transgender support group, and I work with transgender people, especially children, throughout northeastern Ontario. What I am is not a choice or a lifestyle. This is who I am.

On Nov. 17, the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party passed a resolution that contains the following: it states gender identity theory is “a highly controversial, unscientific liberal ideology; as such, an Ontario PC government will remove the teaching and promotion of gender identity theory from Ontario schools and its curriculum.”

if only...

I’d like the people of the world to try something particularly novel: mind their own business.

I know this is impossible because many people cannot help but vocalize their own fears and insecurities and try to bizarrely compensate for their own failings by weighing in on the lives of others. But just imagine the possibilities.

Right now, this is one of the biggest obstacles to world peace; whether it be cultural, racial, religious or sexual prejudice. It is the fuel that makes the world run. Just think what a change it would be to let your neighbors live in peace and allow them to lead an existence with the same rights, courtesies and considerations you would like extended to you. But that would take secure people which the world is not replete with.

It is very simple really: if you cannot relate to the life of another person, you have not earned the right to comment on it. You have not grown up like them and hence you cannot possibly understand their own unique set of challenges.

I …

those shoes I just bought

scenes from an italian restaurant

A bottle of white, a bottle of red
Perhaps a bottle of rose instead
We'll get a table near the street
In our old familiar place
You and I, face to face

A bottle of red, a bottle of white
It all depends upon your appetite
I'll meet you any time you want
In our Italian Restaurant

Things are okay with me these days
Got a good job, got a good office
Got a new wife, got a new life
And the family's fine
We lost touch long ago
You lost weight I did not know
You could ever look so nice after
So much time

Do you remember those days hanging out
At the village green
Engineer boots, leather jackets
And tight blue jeans
Drop a dime in the box play the
Song about New Orleans
Cold beer, hot lights
My sweet romantic teenage nights

Brenda and Eddie were the
Popular steadys
And the king and the queen
Of the prom
Riding around with the car top
Down and the radio on
Nobody looked any finer
Or was more of a hit at the
Parkway Diner
We never knew we could want more
Than that out of life
Surely …

getting off the conventionality grid

Learning to get off the grid of conventionality takes time.

The reality is that we as transgender people are far from being conventional and, as even the possibility of stealth transitions disappears for those who counted on this in the past, we must get used to living in glass houses.

This was my biggest challenge: to accept that I wasn’t going to ever be able to lead a life like everyone else. Now this reality is by no means a terrible thing, but it is a hard pill to swallow when you desperately want to fit in which is what I thought I wanted for so long. Fitting into the mainstream is not something I desire today but instead I want to feel like I am an accepted part of our cultural diversity which is a very different thing. Many trans people stand out and that shouldn’t matter; what matters is that we are respected despite our difference.

Many of us don't pass and that shouldn't necessarily be the main target to aim for. Living in peace alongside the rest of society is what…

no shortcuts

I am a fairly good case study in what many transsexuals go through:

- I have had gender dysphoria ever since I can remember and began dressing quite young and in private by using my mother's things.

- By puberty, arousal patterns began to show up, prompting me to begin a cycle of dress, orgasm and purge which lasted many years.

- Now with full acceptance achieved and in my fifties, the arousal is all but gone with a strong transgender identification remaining completely intact. I must now put more effort into fantasizing so that I can achieve orgasm. In parallel, my comfort as a female cements itself the longer I spend time in the real world.

The things I read about all happened to me in the similar pattern. The older we get, the stronger that bond becomes. I needed to experience it for myself to finally understand the testimonials.

The dampening of the arousal has helped immeasurably because I am more able to focus on the core identification which is distinctly female. Despite m…

how to shoot yourself in the foot

buying time

Geo engineering may be upon us because we may not have a choice. As countries try to keep the earth's warming below 2 degrees celcius, we need to buy time. This technique would be like exploding mini volcanoes of sulphate particles into the atmosphere to counteract the warming effects of carbon and attempt to cool the planet. However, this would not help oceans which would still be acidic and the danger of affecting weather patterns would be a factor.

I heard it explained as spreading these chemicals via the use of planes which would discharge them and delay the warming hopefully long enough to buy us time to eliminate our use of fossil fuels altogether. There are considerable risks to this method in unbalancing climates throughout the world but if we do nothing the consequences could be catastrophic. Scientists are studying the feasibility of this approach as we speak.

Of course Drumpf thinks that climate change is a Chinese conspiracy so, while we wait for the Republicans and in…

this may be it

It's fascinating to interact as a woman in the world and I am learning so much. I couldn't do that in the past when I was so busy feeling self concious.

Now I have the same level of confidence no matter what garb I am wearing and I can observe the differences so markedly between how each gender is perceived and treated. The greatest gift to myself has been relaxing into the female role and basking in the sheer pleasure of it. I don't delude myself however; no matter what gender we are, each has its unique problems and challenges.

I now know that I could live as a woman and adapt and take whatever negatives come with that role. I have lived a more difficult life so far by withstanding the gender dysphoria which makes everything else pale by comparison.

What remains to be seen is where the comfort level peaks and where I stop in my transition journey. What I can state with some level of certainty is that even if this were to be my final resting point, I could live like this …

what it means to be intersex

Emily Quinn is so open and shows us how honesty is always the best policy. Watching the video makes me think about the parallels in being trans: the shame and the secrecy and getting rid of them...


paydirt at Payless

I couldn't believe my luck. I walk into Payless on a whim and scan the tracks. Not only was it 40% off everything in store that day, but I saw these cute and feminine pointy toe pumps in my size and in a black patent finish to boot.

The young salesgirl was watching me walk up and down the aisle and told me they looked so good on me and they are really comfy too.

Only $30 including tax; how's that for good fortune.



bucket list

Becoming who you really are is about as basic a bucket list item as you can get. Don't get to the end of your life wondering "what if".

Explore.


this weekend

Since my son is busy with his exams and my daughter with her animation, this weekend is a rare one which will be spent entirely as Joanna. Not sure what I will do yet but maybe just some bumming around. The hustle and bustle of the holidays is not something I need to stress about this year, so I will see.

I am getting used to spending a lot of time on my own, but I am also spending the right amount with friends when I feel I need the interaction. New friends like Patricia and Christine have been welcome additions to my life. Also, working alongside Patricia as Joanna is more than a distinct possibility in the future. It’s nice to have options to weight and consider without reservation or fear.

So tonight on comes the nail polish which is only going to be removed this Sunday night.

an analogy

Here is an analogy for you:

You play a sport expertly well but then one day along comes someone who has never played it and proceeds to explain to you and to everyone else who's not familiar with it, the rules and techniques of how it should be done. From the very moment you listen to their explanation you know it is completely wrong. To add insult to injury, there isn't enough technical info at their disposal for them to weigh in so conclusively.

This is what it feels for a trans person to read the theories that were going around (and still are) about what causes us to be the way we are. It seems at times that there is no shortage of so-called "experts" pronouncing themselves on something they have no personal experience in and nothing particularly solid to back them up.

Despite the amount of published literature, the science on this subject is still woefully lacking, so the most intelligent thing one could do is refrain from making any type of definitive conclusions…

what true love really is

typology difference?

On the Silly Ol You website there is an interesting piece on post transition satisfaction between man-loving and woman-loving transgender women. It focuses on a 2016 Chinese study which found that there are ostensibly no satisfaction differences between the two supposed typologies (don’t even get me started on that topic).

If there is no difference in this area, then why even make any distinction at all. Furthermore, the fact that some transsexuals change sexual orientation post-transition or become somewhat bi-sexual, makes the old Blanchard two typology model look even more dubious than ever....
https://sillyolyou.wordpress.com/2018/11/16/why-does-typology-matter-to-medical-professionals/


solving a puzzle

My life as a woman is more successful than I ever could have imagined. With rare exception, people who know Joanna don't know that she lives a different life at work.

I am able to communicate openly with everyone and feel free and happy to express myself as I see fit. This is probably the most liberated I have ever felt in terms of embodying a feminine being with her own increasingly independent existence.

At times it feels like I am crossdressing to go to work and then become myself in the evenings and weekends and perhaps that isn't far from the truth. You have to make your life work for you in whatever form will fit and that's what I have succeeded in doing. I have built myself an existence that honors who I am while balancing choices I have made in my life.

Life isn't perfect for anyone but we do our best to piece together a puzzle that works for us at each stage. In the meantime, things can change over time and we readjust sometimes surprising even ourselves with …

the church of England finds tolerance

The church of England, while stopping short of actively promoting gender transitions, has opened itself to fully welcoming trans people and addressing them by their chosen names. In a 284 to 78 vote in favor of these changes, the church is saying that all people are made in the spirit of God and should be welcomed. Some traditionalists opposed the move but they were in the minority.

This is yet another step towards the kind of tolerance that the world so desperately needs...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/11/church-of-england-to-issue-transgender-advice-for-clergy






optional

Something’s been lost in the way of public civility.

It still shows up in spots here and there but in general there has been a loss in the way society sees and measures the value of its behavior. Part of it stems from the rapid pace of our lives and part of it is cultural. I heard recently on a radio program of how Chinese tourists scramble to take pictures in Canadian sites and saw no issue with blocking the right of way of others. This is reality in their country because the sheer number of people in China necessitates that you make your way in whatever method possible.

The world is a mixture of cultures and each has its own set of public standards for what is acceptable. Once a family moves to a new country those sets of behavior aren’t always adjusted to suit which is why some immigrants are sometimes testing the patience of some nationalist protectionist interests. If they look different it is even more appealing to single them out for attack.

I remember being in Hanoi a few yea…

First Circle

objective

The search for objectivity is important but almost futile. We cannot use a mind, most especially in matters of our personal lives, that is devoid of prejudice or emotional turmoil left over from our respective childhoods.

That coloring is permanent and hard to separate from true reality because the story we have sold ourselves about our lives is in a way a form of self-protection. To look in the mirror honestly is a demanding thing but if we are to grow as human beings it must be attempted.

Imagine trying to love someone else through the fog of a prism that bends the light in a way that we have preset. Anything that tries to enter at a different angle is rejected because we are not primed to handle it. This is how turmoil begins as each lover only sees things through a lens that has been built over their lifetime.

I think this is one reason why partnering later in life becomes more arduous. Yes, there is baggage but also an expectation that the other person will fit into a vision tha…

"by Jove I think she's got it!"

The second born in the family is the sister who has, for many years, been in a Catholic religious order.

When she first found out about me she tried desperately to have me see the light and railed against this choice I had made. At that time she had no concept of what any of this was about. So, after sending me email upon email she finally began to realize that this was not something I was going to budge on because I couldn't. It hadn't been my choice to be born this way.

Finally after visiting Criss Pagani's site on her own and reading everything there, she finally saw the light and never bothered me again regarding this issue.

She was in town this week and we had lunch yesterday. When the subject came up near the end of our meal she saw how at ease I am about it all and how my friends, family and my children don't care that I am trans and she said:

"After all, you're still the same person"

Now she's really got it I thought to myself.

the walls are closing in

spiritual

I still go to Mass every week, but I have trouble focusing and many times I don’t bother even trying. The simple fact of sitting in an ornate and cavernous cathedral and that I have made the effort to get up and attend is good enough. I have heard the same homilies for decades until I can bear them no longer. The priests themselves must tire of dusting them off and frankly not every one of them is going to be an inspired orator with his own fresh and philosophical angle.

You can find spirituality just as well in a beautiful field of grass and trees or in a sunset and perhaps my childhood education has me behaving in Pavlovian fashion, but it doesn’t matter: I go regardless. There is some sanctity in the quiet before the service begins and I stare at the details of the woodwork and the art as my mind reflects on many things all at once as it is apt to do.

I don’t favor repetitive prayer which makes the service even more routine but, yet it is my way of finding time in my week for a mor…

what's in a name

Jordan Peterson's worst fear could come to fruition: being forced to use the correct pronouns and there are several cases around the world that are currently testing these legal waters. Recently there was another teacher fired from a school for deliberately refusing to use the correct pronouns on a transgender student.

All of this is so very simple of course and a dose of respect for human dignity would be enough to settle things but then there will always be jackasses like Ben Shapiro or stubborn right leaning academics like Peterson to make sure you understand how the rules of the world should work. The former is stuck on biology and the latter on political correctness gone astray. Neither is right in the sense that our community is so marginalized that any little bit of help would do so much good. Hence, extending the argument that by giving in to trans people we are opening up Pandora's box for everyone else, is a silly argument.

There are also pragmatic issues at play tha…

mixing it up

Lunch with Christine was really nice and we spent about an hour and a half together.

I decided to go with a red sweater and dangly earrings. I am starting to mix it up more in that department because that style seem to work well on me and I get compliments on them (including yesterday from Christine). The photo below was taken before I left home.

Next meet up will hopefully be with Halle which may need to get pushed back until after the holidays; unless she tells me otherwise :-)



plastic

Today I am lunching with a young woman of 30 named Christine. We met by frequenting the same establishment and after bantering each time it eventually led to a lunch. This will be our second one.

She doesn't know I am transgender and I am old enough to be her mother which is how I think she sees me. This works perfectly well for me and we seem to have no trouble talking.

My second life is beginning to expand itself and I am not fighting it. By virtue of the fact I live part time, it is natural to expect that things will change and with it my comfort level being a woman in these social settings. What used to involve hesitation is now routine and comfortable which I was unsure would ever happen.

The last remaining decision is work and then I would effectively be living full time. This will need to wait a while but at least all of this immersion is making things so much easier should I decide to go that route.

It's interesting how something so utterly scary and far fetched has be…

this Orwellian age

A young colleague of mine and his wife are new parents to a baby boy of 4 months. I estimate that he has already been photographed thousands of times in all kinds of outfits. His every move is carefully tracked and the wife texts her husband constantly; at times, much to my chagrin, during meetings. This child has a crib camera pointed at him 24/7 which both parents can access via their cell phones.

These new babies will be the most social media savvy in the history of the world. Their every move will be tracked, their preferences catalogued and every vacation posted on some platform. By the time they are out of school, an employer will potentially have digital access to every move they have made since their birth.

I worried about my own children born in the late 1990's and how they would fare. Back then the internet was in its infancy and still finding its sea legs. Our children had play dates and their movements were heavily monitored. I had to at times fight with my then spouse…

The Mission

The main theme from Ennio Morriconne's brilliant score to the 1985 film...


of Christmas present and past

The holidays now seem more cacophonous to me than ever. The hustle and bustle jangles against the nerves as the commercialism ramps up to a fever pitch. People frantically look for things their families and friends don't really need but that doesn't matter. One cannot show up empty handed.

My grown children will get money they will use more pragmatically than they ever have because their childhood is over. I marvel at their practicality as the three of us talk over the weekend coffee that they humor me with before going back to their lives. I don't tell them, but I still see those little versions of themselves gleefully opening presents on a Christmas morning; their mother and I both smiling ear to ear like Cheshire cats.

I am secretly glad that period of life is over as I no longer need to bask among the panicky holiday crowds. It allows me to sit back and remember when my parents (both young and healthy) indulged in that same age old ritual and beamed as we tore through …

dress rehearsal

There comes a time when you are certain it's not play acting but you are not quite sure when the change occurred.

When I was little and going into my mother's closet it was experimentation and practice but I had no concept of what transgender meant. Even as I grew older I couldn't bear to fool myself into thinking that this was something remotely legitimate. It was more like a disease.

But once you have accepted yourself strange things start to happen. You begin to be comfortable and appreciate how much of your internal identity this occupies. What you had convinced yourself was only play acting reveals it's true spectrum to you and how much it signifies.

People who aren't trans will dress up for a lark but this is deeply serious for us because it goes to the roots of our personhood. That dress rehearsal of our childhood morphs into the everyday necessity of just being.


the river bend

Nothing and everything is inconsequential. We can hardly predict patterns in the sequence of events that get us somewhere and it's only when we look back that we are amazed at how things happen. Change a sequence by one minute and that person we met who ended up offering us that job would never have known we existed.

Some of us believe in fate or providence or the guiding hand of a God who leads us through the darkness of life. We don't get what we want but what we need we are told which reassures us that his presence will be felt in due time.

We have all had what seemed like fluke encounters that led us somewhere and then reconstructed the events in our minds. How much we marvelled at the fact that without a perfect orchestration, things would not have developed without such astounding good fortune. Of course, sometimes it's in reverse and we curse our bad luck.

I can look back in hindsight and recognize traces of guidance which is why I prefer to live day by day and not …

"Pour Un Instant"

"Pour un instant, j'ai oublié mon nom
Ça m'a permis enfin d'écrire cette chanson

Pour un instant, j'ai retourné mon miroir
Ça m'a permis enfin de mieux me voir
Sans m'arrêter, j'ai foncé dans le noir
Pris comme un loup qui n'a plus d'espoir
J'ai perdu mon temps, à gagner du temps
J'ai besoin de me trouver, une histoire à me conter

Pour un instant, j'ai respiré très fort
Ça m'a permis de visiter mon corps
Des inconnus vivent en roi chez moi
Moi qui avait accepté leurs lois
J'ai perdu mon temps, à gagner du temps
J'ai besoin de me trouver, une histoire à me conter

Pour un instant j'ai oublié mon nom
Ça m'a permis enfin d'écrire cette chanson"



leaving the cynic behind

I observe people differently at my age and I can't help but introduce a kind of jadedness into the exercise. As we live longer we recognize certain patterns in people. Their insecurities are more easy to detect and their weaknesses almost worn like a badge.

This is not meant to be as much a putdown as it sounds. Perhaps it is fatigue of dealing with so many characters over the years; I dont know.

When I was younger there were less discernible patterns to human behavior because I hadn't yet absorbed enough of the world. Now it appears that abundant familiarity with personality types has me feeling that I have almost seen too much. There is a commonality to people which binds us together but then the branches which grow from that root in terms of life experience, separate us.

I am trying to stay patient with the archetypes I do not favor because I know there are redeeming qualities in all of us, but then those similar patterns show their face and threaten to unravel that patienc…

the pink dress

we all fall in love sometimes

It was 1975, I was 13 years old and in a small hardware store with my parents when I first heard this album playing over the loudspeakers. I was instantly captivated. Elton is one of the reasons I play piano today along with some other artists who inspired me. These two tracks fused into one little suite, ended this magnificent album...

"Wise men say
It looks like rain today
It crackled on the speakers
And trickled down the sleepy subway trains
For heavy eyes could hardly hold us
Aching legs that often told us
It's all worth it
We all fall in love sometimes

The full moon's bright
And starlight filled the evening
We wrote it and I played it
Something happened it's so strange this feeling
Naive notions that were childish
Simple tunes that tried to hide it
But when it comes
We all fall in love sometimes

Did we, didn't we, should we, couldn't we
I'm not sure 'cause sometimes we're so blind
Struggling through the day
When even your best friend says
Don&#…

Merry Christmas Bedford Falls

George Bailey is foiled at every turn and his attempts to leave the town of Bedford Falls go unfulfilled. His father's old Savings and Loan has been helping people for decades to keep their heads above water and hold on to their modest homes. When his father passes away he reluctantly takes over the little institution, setting the tone for a tale of Dickensian inspiration.

George Bailey is given the rare gift of seeing what his life would have been like if he had never been born and the experience does not disappoint. In the end, he turns out to be the common man with the heart of gold who, through little acts of kindness, transforms the lives of those around him with his well timed interventions. He proves that you don't need to have money to be happy and spreads that same message to all around him.

"It's a Wonderful Life" was not director Frank Capra's biggest or most successful collaboration with Jimmy Stewart but it should have been because, devoid of sch…

of marriage and men

I was watching a video recently made by a sociologist commenting on the state of men and marriage. The conclusion she reached was that men are not getting what they desire from the formula any longer because women are being excessively choosy and deciding they want to upgrade.

A recent survey of women who use Tinder showed that most of them thought that 80% of the men who used the app were not suitable material. This is a very telling statistic because even if you were to make the argument that many people who use the internet to pair up are desperate, it is doubtful that such a lopsided assessment is realistic.

Today, women have more choices than ever, and their level of education and career possibilities have increased to an extent that they feel more empowered. I am not certain that men have undergone the adjustment that this new reality brings with it. In other words, their role in society and within the context of marriage has necessarily shifted.

The role of stoic protector and …

moods

Our moods vary daily and at times hourly. Sometimes one will descend like a dark cloud and sour our disposition only to see a return to form the next day after a good night sleep.

The brain works in circadian rhythms and we slip into melancholy without always understanding why. What we know from experience is that there will be a return to form if we don't despair and we are patient. In time, the tide will return and replenish our mood with newly gained perspective; or so we hope. Our wallowing in self pity is sometimes tempting but then it only counteracts our ability to rebound.

Our lives are far from perfect and we know it and it is at times that very thing which spirals us into moroseness. But then we remember everything we should be thankful for and we come back to a place of normalcy; one in which we know there is no perfection but instead a calm resignation about the fact that we are human and subject to frailty.

Aging hopefully brings us that perspective which aids in com…

Les Montgolfiers

One of my instrumentals...


weird

Probably the hardest thing I had to learn was to stop thinking of myself as weird. This is such an easy trap to fall into in this world because we are brought up to fit in. It takes more than a bit of courage to look at yourself honestly and accept what you see in the mirror.

That journey was particularly hard as a first born pleaser but it had to happen because my being trans wasn't going to go away. Removing layers of old paint from the psyche was an exercise that was long overdue when I began it.

Human beings are intrinsically weird creatures to begin with and we as trans people represent just another branch in the human story. I had to reflect on that plus think in terms of my individuality if I was going to accept myself. You are not someone else, you are you and, as simple and quaint as that sounds, it is the most fundamental building block in coming to terms with who you are.

Every once in a while I stumble and think about how weird my behaviour is compared to what I see ar…

sartorial machinations

I took much of my feminine inspiration from my mother so growing up in the 1960's and 70's meant seeing a lot of well groomed women wearing dresses and pumps. My mother also wore (and still does) her pearl earrings which I tend to favor to this day.

My own style has evolved from there of course and these days I am wearing more pendant type earrings as well as more flats because I need to get around in comfort. My life as a woman has taken on a decidedly pragmatic side that didn't need to exist when I first entered my mother's closet about 50 years ago.

One finds their own preferences but it is all punctuated by a decidedly mental attitude which is more relevant. Over time, the comprehension of our own identity seeps slowly into the conciousness and begins to be the guiding force irrespective of what one wears.

No matter how one chooses to present, our internal sense of self should remain unchanged; which is the way it should be. You are still trans in any garb which is…

Jesus saves

Jesus might save your life from misdirection but he's not going to repair your being transgender.

My friend Sherry was deeply offended by that video I posted a while back featuring Walt Heyer in which he and one other sex change regretter turned to the Lord to repair their psyches and embark on the highly personal journey to detransition.

However, real life doesn't work that way for all of us especially those who are truly trans.

Being transgender is the way one is born and has very little to do with acquired behavior. It is neither a vice or sexual perversion no matter how much naysayers insist. Therefore, those who have erred in their own introspective evaluation cannot deny others their right to lead lives which honour their identities.

If you are truly trans, turning to Jesus is probably more likely to help you to accept yourself if you really listen. If you are of sound mind you will be able to process your thoughts and come up with the right answer.

Now in her mid 40…

reminder

She deftly positions herself on the subway platform so she is square with the stairs. Her cane pokes at the first step and then she begins her ascent marking each one with a firm tap against the next riser. I cannot help but admire the way she navigates her way past the set of turnstiles and finally make her way out of the station.

Every time I have seen a blind person in my life they remind me that I don't really have challenges in mine. I think how hard it must have been to either be born that way or lose your sight and then need to adapt.

This young woman was a direct reminder to keep life in perspective and realize how fortunate most of us truly are.

love in the 21st century

A male friend called me last night to inform me that after a second attempt to make a relationship work, she decided to pull the plug.

It was breakup by attrition where the space between rendez-vous became increasingly wide and finally she stopped answering his texts.
Suddenly one came one day saying they had made a valiant go of it but it wasn't going to work. She strangely ended the text with an "I love you".

Perhaps it was asking too much to expect that 2 divorced people each with a child could make things work.

As bizarre as this breakup method was it didn't surprise me because love in the 21st century is increasingly spastic and erratic as well as frought with the kind of uncertainty that one had better brace for. People are strange creatures who are victims to their own baggage and the fickleness of today's world makes any commitment not worth the paper it's written on.

I told him that this was a best case scenario because he could, in his late fifties…

exposed

This presidency is deservedly going to go down in flames. Trump's history of shady dealings has finally caught up with him and the audacity to continue these backroom deals with Russian interests right before entering public office speaks to his sense of entitlement. No one with any kind of judiciouness would have attempted such a flagrant move unless endowed with that unique combination of arrogant and stupid.

Cohen and Manafort have given Mueller much more than he needs and connecting back the dots to Russia is likely already very well established. To what extent Julian Assange was involved beyond the Clinton emails remains to be seen but it is clear there were multiple players involved in this conspiracy of deceit.

The backroom workings of politicians are rarely exposed to this extent but then few of them as are audacious and moronic as Trump. When you are accustomed to get what you want you let nothing get in your way; not even common sense.

The next two years will be particul…