Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's 22:22:22 and my mood has tanked . . .

I feel like crap. I think I did to much today, and I know I didn't get enough sleep last night despite my new meds. For some odd reason I woke up early after only six hours of sleep. So right now I'm very tired, and feeling blue. I'm sure part of it is being tired, part of it probably because I ran a bunch of errands, and part of it was sharing a really short version of what I've been through over the last couple of decades. Making things worse, the damn computer oobliated the post.

While I made progress this year, the sheer enormity of typing and then losing a cribnotes version of my life since high school is still hard to deal with.

So now I'm crying a bit. But it's a moment, a point, a pain in time. I'm reminding myself that "this too shall pass" but I know there is still more pain to come. In the next couple of weeks I'm going to have to have to start sharing this again with a new therapist and doctor.

Okay, not crying now. It's 22:58:46. I'm scared. It's part of the process. I know that in my head, they can't help me grow and heal if they don't know what I've been through. But telling people about it, going over it, recounting it in detail is something my heart can't deal with so easily. It's like ripping the scab off, tearing open the wound, bringing back all the agony again.

My life, just wow. When I look at it, the waste and destruction, the path of suffering I'm amazed I'm still here. But I can't look too closely, because it overwhelms me and tries to drag me dack into that agony and death. Yes, death. So many people died while I was going through hell. My blog has lots of references to the past, but not a whole bunch of detail for no other reason that it take so much out of me to recount this all.

They just had a news article about "Healing Touch Therapy" that some folks are doing here in Cincinnati. Why don't they call it Reiki, that's what it is, or are they not actual Reiki practitioners who are doing something else? It sure seemed like they were talking about Reiki? Why not call it that? Anyway, these folks are offering this healing touch to Veterans for free. I think that's awesome, but what I could of have done without is the news talking about what living with Post Traumatic Stress is like. I KNOW. I'm living with it, or trying to.

Why could I do without it? Becaue they are offering it to Vets, which is good, but battered women? What, we still don't exist? Really, the belief that only War Veteran's suffer from PTSD is so short sighted, and redonculous that it boggles the mind.

Okay, it's 23:45 and the day is just about done, taking with it the year. A whole year gone. May 2009 be much, much, better than 2008. Me I'm feeling better, but writing and giving myself permission to cry helped. I got some other news today that I'm not really ready to talk about. At least not right now, and that's weighing on my heart too.

Geeze, I feel like Donna Rose right now. So many times in reading her blog over the years she's mentioned something in that fashion, and for me it's a first time. Then again, this year I've put more posts on my blog than in the previous five YEARS combined. I have no idea what's come over me.

Okay, so I'm going to go pour myself a little wine, and wait for the ball to drop in just under ten minutes. I want to thank all the wonderful people who wander through here and listen to my ramblings. To be sure, my more frequent posting is because I found out people actually read this. So thank you everyone. I love all of you. And I'm feeling much better right now. The funk is gone and I'm smiling again. Thanks for putting up with me.

Happy New Year!

I'll see you all next year.

It's 23:55, and part of this blow by blow was inspired by Riese over at "this girl called automatic win"

Happy New Year indeed!

The Two Thousand Eight Wrap party has begun!

I feel safe in saying that this year has been without reservation, one for the books. When I started the year, I was focused on escaping the horrible living situation I'd been dealing with for the last four years. Fighting to get together my wits, and the money needed to escape an impossible and seriously unhealthy environment.

I was living with my brother Jon's widow at the begining of the year, and between my own issues, and the resource problems, it seemed like I was never going to get out of there, let alone Jersey. It was flately impossible to move to someplace nearby in Jersey as rents where nothing short of insane. The 600 sqaure feet one bedroom I'm living in now, would have been double or more what I'm paying in Jersey.

In an ideal world, I'd have continued living where I was and helping my sister-in-law deal with being a widow. When Ellie was having a good day, things would be fine, when she was keeping up with her meds, things would be fine, and I'd enjoy spending time around her. I had friends in the area I didn't want to leave as well as doctors and a therapist I trusted and could deal with.

Reality however was that most of the time Ellie was impossible to live with, because she wasn't keeping up with her meds, bills, or any of the other things that are all part of daily life. The house was so bad even rats wouldn't live there, only my room stayed clean and organized. The fridge, as well as the entire kitchen should be declared a toxic waste superfund site . . . well no, really the entire three bedroom townhouse with the exception of my bedroom and my bathroom that I was forced to share with Ellie because hers? Be it enough said that if the health department saw her bathroom, or most of the rest of the house, they'd put Ellie in the hospital and condem the house. Especially given that the last time she lived alone that's exactly what happened. I wish I was kidding.

Because of the sucktard economey (Thank you Zilla for that) and the greedtards that made it all possible, Ellie had been forced in the middle of 2007 to sell her house to an investor in a buy out, buy back deal that was supported to come to term June 1st of 2008. She'd done not one of the things she was supposed to do to buy it back, had no credit . . . no, she had negative credit. She wasn't keeping up with her bills (choosing instead to spend most of her money at bookstores) and so on a very regular basis someone from one or more of the utilities companies would come along to demand money she didn't have or they'd shut off the gas, heat, electric, or water and sewer. Jersey law says any essential services get shut off, and the dwelling is unihabitable. Meaning everyone leaves, or is removed from the dwelling. So while I'm fighting to be able to save the money to escape, I keep getting forced into loaning her money for food, utilities, and life in general above and beyond being a good roommate and doing my share. My share always became her share too, and I had no real legal standing in the house in the event of eviction. Plus, Ellie was, when not medicated, extremely confrontational and abusive.

I couldn't keep living there, but trying to escape was being impossible too. I'd have gone home to Colorado, where I can afford the rents, if I'd been able to afford to get there, and then find a place. I'd been planning to move back in with my sister for six months, long enough to find a place of my own after getting back out there. The problem there was with all the issues in and around my sisters life, I didn't feel like this was the greatest idea in the world, despite the fact that we both wanted me to move out there. Plus with gas prices, it was going to be a major expense just driving the two thousand miles out there. When push came to shove, I found out I couldn't count on help on the ground, nor a staging area to be able to apartment hunt from.

The stress on me was, well, doing me physical harm. After years of having perfect blood pressure and being largely immune to stress, post nervous breakdown, I wasn't quite so lucky. My blood pressure was rising, the stress was off the wall, and the constance crisis to crisis style of living because of my sister-in-law's madness, was not good for me at all. June was bearing down on me personally, I didn't want to be there when the owner wanted Ellie to buy it back or get out. I had family in New England pushing me to come home, in NY, NJ, CO and OH but I wasn't getting much help.

Actually that's not entirely accurate, My Brother and Sister-in-law here in OH wanted me to move here, but were the only ones NOT pushing, and offering to help in any way they can. Since Mark and I have lived togehter in the past quite successfully, and he's seem some of the terrible places I've lived, having him look at places here that I was interested in made a great deal of sense. I could, and did trust him not to blow sunshine up my skirt in an effort to get me out here.

So with May coming quickly to a close and my panic becoming terror, one of the places I'd considered here had an opening. I had Mark come over and take a look around and started a conversation with the landlord. I'd managed to save enough for first month, security and moving expenses to get this far, but wouldn't have been able to make it to Colorado. I also had grown extremely frustrated with my sister's ongoing issues impairing he ability to be objective and report what was instead of what she thought something or place might be.

So, I made the decision to move here, assuming I could get the apartment. I had no history of anykind really. Back past 2006 I didn't exist at all, and I explained the short version of this to my new landlord. She checked what information was available and said that yes, I could have the apartment but that I'd need to pay a deposit. That was the very end of May. June first I started the drive out here, I stopped over night in West Virginia, and finish the second leg of the trip rolling into town Monday night. I met with my new Landlord at my new building on the third and started moving in. I spent one more night in the hotel, and then started living the first place I've lived alone for decades.

From June until now, I've been getting settled in, used to the area, and dealing with life in a whole new part of the country. It's been really good for me, I feel like I've made a great deal of progress in the bottom half of the year. I still have a long ways to go, but for now it's nice to be living somewhere safe, clean and relatively peaceful. Not living from one crisis to another, in a constant state of terror is liberating.

So if I had to sum up the last half of the year in one word it would be progress. Slow, forward progress, which for me is amazing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Zilla's description of the economy is brilliant

Zilla has a great style, and as I was getting more familiar with it I found this post that had, what is easily one of the BEST descriptions of what's happenin here:

He went on to tout the Cafe's soups and sandwiches. Then he mentioned that the
owner is a local journalist who gave up her job at the paper to start her own
business, and she's, well, doing what owners of all new eateries do: struggling
to survive, especially in a tough market, especially-especially in a sucktard
economy (suck because it sucks, tard because it sucks because of baby boomer
greedtards).

Now if that don't make it exactly clear, well, I'm afraid there might be no hope. Anyway, I digress, but I do that sometimes, okay, even, quite often, maybe even, well regularly . . . [Okay Brook, your point is?] that Zilla just has a great way of putting things, and this really tickled my fancy. That, and thinking about hotdogs . . .

Lookout Mountain view in Golden Colorado


Day, originally uploaded by greeneyedggirl.

Two years ago in a bit of a funk, wanting to upgrade my own gear, and make one of my sister's fondest dreams come true I ordered a brand new Canon EOS 20D to replace my workhorse the EOS D30 that was now six some odd years old. Because I baby my cameras, the D30 was still in mint condition, not a scratch on it at all. It had served me extremely well, and I'd flipped the internal counter over four times during it's life. Mind you the counter counts up to 9,999 images and the flips back to 0001. So that's around 40 thousand frames on one body. Anyway, I babied it, so it still has a whole bunch of life left in it. My Sister's birthday was the end of the month, so I picked out a decent starter lens for her, the portrait/extra battery grip and a handful of other accessoires and gave her a birthday present she'll never forget.

Like me, my sister has a great interest in photography, and was even at the time majoring in it in school. Her old film based SLR was, is still great, but not having a DSLR was giving her fits. She'd been drooling over my camera for a while, so as a birthday present it was a smash hit.

Of course for me it was an extra excuse to buy a new body. My choice was the Canon EOS 20D because I have an extensive collection of canon gear and glass that I wanted to be able to keep using. Obviously, I needed to break it in and see what it could do. So this picture was a "How do you do" kind of picture. I loved the quality of the light, and obviously we'd had some snow. This gave the whole shot an old silvertone feel to it, and I shot it anticipating the real test, a night shot of this location. I'm not even kidding. I had every intension of taking this shot again with nothing more than the full moon for light. That however is a post for another day.

For now, this is the first picture I've put into my flickr account. I promise, the first of many.

Yeah, I could get used to this and other musings.

So sleeping with the new meds is like one of the best Christmas presents I've ever had. I have more energy during the day, am up at reasonable hours, and can actually get things done that otherwise I'd not have managed. Today I took a look at my credit report, now that I actually have one, and found two items on it that didn't make any sense. I started making calls to find out what the story was or is. Kinda cool that. Better still is I actually have a credit history now, and it pleases me that I'm actually listed in the GOOD range. Never had that before really, because in the years before Earl (BE) I never had credit on purpose, and in the Earl years he made an unholy mess of things because I was never allowed to have anything to do with money. Because he and his parents were stalking me, I had to start over, quite literally, and in these days if you don't have credit you don't exist and pay more for stupid things like car insurance. So I've been working on actively managing my history so to speak. So there's that.

On an even better note in talking to both my sister and sister-in-law yesterday after my post they once again expressed interest in learning how to meditate but never having been able to "get it" which only left them frustrated. Over the years I've tried more than once to teach both of them and never had any success. Not because my skills as a teacher suck, but because they weren't in a time and place of real readiness to learn. So yesterday they once again asked, and having had some recent successes with a new method of teaching it, I worked with them again.

Miracle of miracles they finally get it! My sister-in-law was stunned at how it made her feel and swore she was going to start using that to manage her stress. My sister, you doesn't tend to have really big reactions to anything said "Wow, you've done something no-one else has ever been able to do, taught me to meditate in a way that makes sense, that I can do, and actually works." For her, this was a rave.

In other news as I was sitting at my desk getting things done I was a watching some Squirrels playing in the trees outside my window. At one point I almost grabbed my camera because the sunset playing on the trees and their fur made for some great images. I'm kinda glad my eye is starting to wake up, it's been a while since I've been taking any serious pictures.

I'm actually feeling pretty good for a change, so this is a really good day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

So it just came to me...

I'm sitting at Labcorp waiting to have my bloodwork drawn and doing what I do whenever I'm sitting waiting. I'm meditating. While meditating the realization came to me that Catholic Nuns sitting there deep in prayer are actually just meditating. I don't know why it took me so long to make that connection. Kinda cool thought when it comes down to it. They arn't as far from us Buddhists as they might like to believe.

It also cleared the way for me to understand why most people consider Buddhism a Religon. Because it is. If you abstract out all the conceptual elements and framework, you'll find everything in common. Mind you I studied comparative religion in school pretty well, but I only just made the connection to Nun's in prayer.

(Update) I posted that while [after] meditating at my Lab waiting for my bloods to be drawn. I signed in at 16:40 and didn't get out of there until 18:10. One of the women who came in right after I did looked over at me and said "Excuse me Ma'am, but I'm wondering where you went? We signed in, sat down, and then you froze and didn't move. I had to look closely at one point to see if you were actually breathing." I looked over and said "I didn't necessarily GO anywhere per se, I was meditating. Gave me something useful and healthy to do while I was waiting. I looked around and said wow, where did everyone go?" She laughed and said "Didn't go anywhere my eye. The place emptied out while you were doing the zen thing. Do you realize you've been doing that for an hour?"

I looked around the room again, smiled and said "Hey, cool, I'm next aren't I?" At which point I heard 'Samantha?' and smiled. She said "Well if your name is Samantha, and I don't see anyone else here who could be then yeah..." So as I got up I said "you know what this means right?"

She smiled and said "I'm next!"

Regrettably I wasn't in and out in two minutes because I'm what's known in the trade as a hard stick. Half the time I have to draw my own blood because the techs and nurses can't get in. The Nurse today when I warned her said "That's okay, I like a challenge, plus I've never met a hard stick I can't get blood from somewhere."

Yeah, that was fun. Went into the back of my right hand three times and dug around in one of the a bit. Spent a couple of minutes trying to get into my arms, and finally said "Okay if I can't get into your left hand you're going to have to do it." Thankfully she did get in which kept her record intact. She looked at me and said "Can you really do your own draws?" "Ah, let the Mistress of the Dark show you about blood..." I said. So I took the strap off my left arm, tied it on my right, grabbed a butterfly and went right in, blood came right out. She was suitably impressed.

Oh, so much fun.

The girl who was behind me looked up when I came out and said "Oh, done so soon? So much for me being next."

"Sorry" I said "She had trouble getting my blood out, it happens now and again, I should have let you go first... But hey, now you really are next, have a great . . . Night?" As I noticed it was now dark outside... It wasn't when I went in.

One more update . . . I don't normally edit a post after folks have started commenting on it, but this one dumb mistake of mine completely screwed up the post. So above where it now says [after] it had said while, which was completely wrong. While I was meditating I was doing only that, makes it kinda hard to write a post.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ah the power of...

...sleep! And I'll bet you thought I was going to say cheese.

Among the numerous issues I've been dealing with over the last god knows how many years, quality sleep has never really been something I could count on. Quite the opposite really, a good nights sleep for me has long been a fantasy in my life. Eight hours of sleep straight through? Yeah right, when pigs fly.

Well last night the ATC centers in the US must have been out of their skulls cause I'm telling you, pigs were flyin!

I met with my new PCP on Friday, as as we were going over the list of medications I take, including OTC stuff, she suggested I change what I was doing for sleep, since part of that involved an OTC sleep aid along with prescription meds. Saturday I slept well until my phone woke me in the morning when I wasn't ready, so that caused Saturday not to count. Last night into this morning was a very, very different story. I started off right, after having had a small glass of wine while blogging earlier, I took my meds and hour before I was going to go to sleep.

I got to bed early at 2:30 and having taken my meds an hour earlier I went right off to sleep for a change. No tossing, turning, trying to get to sleep, just wrapped my arms around Jesse and drifted off to sleep. Nine hours later, exactly nine, I woke up feeling so very strange and disoriented, I didn't feel bad per say, but just really odd and it was something I'd never experienced. I was awake, relaxed, refreshed, not in pain and ready to actually get the day started. Normally I wake up and need to take some pain killers, have a bowl of cereal or some cinnamon toast, and fight to go back to sleep.

It was the earliest I'd made it to bed - well no, it depends on how you look at time. For the past god knows how many years I'd get to bed between 4-8 in the morning, and then sleep (if you could call it that) in four to six hour spurts, tossing and turning, in pain, with horrific nightmares, popping pain killers every time I woke up and having a nosh because I couldn't get to sleep on an empty stomach. Mind you that's with the meds I was on at the time. It was a project, and the "sleep" I got was never enough, when I'd finally wake up for the "day" I was tired, hungry, in pain and sluggish from not enough sleep.

Before that, it was even worse. For the last four years of my marriage, I'd finally get to sleep around 4 or 5 in the morning and then have to be up a 7 or 8 to disconnect Earl from the Dialysis machine. Why? Because he wouldn't do it himself. I'd spend the long, hard, days holding down too many full time jobs at the same time. Housewife, Nurse, Doctor, Researcher, Therapist, Computer Programmer and Mom to a very demanding Tuxedo Cat and of course Earl himself. Not really what I'd dreamed of when I wanted to be a Wife and Mother. At the very end, when I started seeing a therapist without Earl's co-operation after giving her the highlights of what my life was like in the first session she looked at me at the end and said:

"Look Sam, I'm not going to lie to you here. You need to quit at least four or five of the full time jobs you have right now, and you must start getting at least six hours of sleep. If you don't, you are going to die. How you've lived this long is nothing short of a miracle. How you've stayed sane I just cannot begin to understand."

That kinda chilled me.

Before that, I wasn't exactly Olympic gold material when it came to sleeping. If anything, I could have taken silver in NOT sleeping.

So obviously waking up this morning after a nice, solid, uninterrupted, qaulity nine hour sleep I was startled and concerned because it was a strange feeling. To give you an idea of how soundly I slept, I woke up holding Jesse right where I went to sleep. Normally the sheets are a horrific mess, and even the bed itself has moved closer to the wall. Tossing and turning so much the whole bed shifts. Mind that's not as strange as it sounds. I haven't finished moving everything yet, and that includes my bed in a storage locker 9 hundred miles away. So right now I'm sleeping on one of those comfy elevated aerobeds that you just inflate. Which makes it really easy to go slipping and sliding around on the carpet as I toss and turn.

Not this morning. The bed was exactly where I left it with me in it. I'm not going to get my hopes up that this will become the norm on these new meds, but hey, at this point I'll be overjoyed if I get sleep like that every other day or so. If I manage to sleep like that everynight consistently for a while, well, I'll be so thrilled I won't know what to do with myself.

In other news I had a serious blonde moment tonight. I was making more of my favorite iced tea drink and knew I had a pinch left in the gallon jug I keep it in. So I poured it out to drink after I washed out my jug and refilled it. So I get a gresh batch in the fridge and sit down with my mug of tea ready to finish this entry. Took a long pull and savored the flavor going down. It tasted sweeter than I thought I'd made it, but was enjoying it so much I just kept going. Still I couldn't shake the feeling it was somehow different in taste and much sweeter.

I finished drinking and went to get some more out of the fridge when it struck me. The little bit I had left in the jug? Well it was the wrong jug I'd emptied, washed, and refilled. 100% natural Apple Juice straight up. No small wonder it seemd so sweet. I drink a lot of apple juice, something on the order of probably just over 100 gallons this year. Typically I drink about two gallons a week when I'm not making tea, which I've only just started doing again recently. Mind you I drink even the 100% natural stuff in the healiest way possible, I usually cut it at least half and half with clean, pure, filtered water. Cuts down on the amount of carbs, and gets that much more water into me. I reuse the empty bottles for ice tea, cycling them out periodically as I drink more juice. Well, that was the last of the Apple Juice, behind it, in the OTHER 100 Apple Juice container was the rest of the last batch of tea... My brother has often said I'm the worlds first naturally occuring example of artificial intelligence. Which of course is a reference to an old blonde joke:

"What do you call a blonde who dye her hair brown? Artificial Intelligence!"

While I don't usually suffer blonde jokes lightly, unfortunately his use of this one for me is often all too true. I can be a classic ditz. I mean giggle and a squeak ditzy kind of ditz. Worse yet, much of my hair is slowly going blonde instead of grey or white as I get older. It's so weird, but as my family says, well you know, it's weird yes, but for you it's perfectly normal.

Otherwise the day was light, puttering around the house, cleaning, putting stuff away nothing to really write about. Speaking of my brother, I'm trying to figure out what to get for the geek who has everything. Especially since he went out and bought the two things I was planning on getting him for his birthday. It's the seventh and I'm at a loss. All though, come to think of it, I could get him a gift certificate to his favorite pizza place, the one he doesn't go to often because it's about fourty miles away. So we'll see...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

People say the nicest things sometimes...

My Sister-in-law, the mother of my namesake just said the nicest thing to me while we were talking. Back a whole bunch of years ago... Three now I'd guess come to think of it, when she and My bro were first dating, Mark was talking about me at one point. He showed Val an old (To the right from 2005) picture of me and tonight she said her first thought when she saw my picture was:

"Wow, I really want to get to know her, she's cool, and just gets it."

She said that even through the picture she could sense what a deep, old river I am.

You know, I really like that.

She was afraid I was going to think she was nuts which is why she's waited this long to say that. She said she knew before we'd met that first time two years ago that I was going to be special and a much needed and welcome addition to her life. That when we then actually met in person, she was even more certain.

She's an empath herself, and can read energy across long distances and from objects and pictures like I can. She's just been conditioned by the world, like so many of us have been, to lock that part of herself away and not share it with other people, let alone really acknowledge it herself.

So we spent a couple of hours on the phone talking about such things, and having a generally good time. Not the first time that's happened. But yeah, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy now, cause she didn't have to say that, but it was nice to hear.

Life in the Twilight Zone

It's official, I'm living in the Twilight Zone. My downstairs neighbor, the one who'd been doing all the loud music and deep base, making my life miserable when I first moved in, knocked on my door tonight. That's not the weird part.

Me: "Is everything okay? I'm not being too loud or anything am I?"

Him: "No, no, not at all, your fine. I never know there's anyone living above me you're so quiet."

Me: "Oh, okay, are you okay?"

Him: "I'm fine, I just have this question I want to ask you without you know, like offending you or anything"

Me: "I'm pretty hard to offend, so go ahead and ask."

Him: "Well, uh, do you like men?"

Me: Laughing "Uh yeah, I'm a pretty normal girl, I like guys, though ever now and then girls can be good too."

Him: "Oh, you're a girl? Like with a thing down there and everything? I wasn't sure if you were a gay guy or a girl cause I only see you in t-shirts and jeans and stuff. So like are you seeing anyone? Do you have a boyfriend?"

Me: [Not one to volunteer personal information to a complete stranger] "Well I used to be married, but my husband died two years ago and I'm still dealing with that."

Him: "Oh. I'm sorry, that must be hard."

Me: "Well, yeah, I'm to young to be a widow. Anything else I can help you with?"

Him: "Uh, no, um thanks. I'm sorry to have bothered you."

Me: "It's okay, have a good night."

Him: "Yeah, you too, and thanks for not being bitchy about my questions. I might be back later..." as he starts walking down the hall to the stairs...

So I'm left here wondering exactly how I went from the strange person living upstairs who complains about his music to being someone he feels like he can ask inappropriate questions of. So I went back to what I was reading and tried to put the whole thing out of my mind.

About fifteen minutes later there's another soft knock on my door. Oh crap, he's back.

Me: "Hi."

Him: "Can I ask you for some advice? Get a woman's perspective on something?"

Me: [Thinking WTFOver?] "Sure, don't know if I can help, but I'll try."

Him: "What do I do if I think my wife is cheating on me? Do I confront her and just come right out and say something or what? I mean why would she? Would she freak if I asked her? How would you uh, like react if your man did that?"

Me: [So totally not what I was expecting] "Well uh, I don't know. First thing you need to do is figure out how you feel about the whole thing, and where you want to go with the relationship. Then I can give you some ideas about what to do next if you'd like. Usually I do couple's counseling with both people in the couple. But I can help you with some ideas of what to do next depending on what you want to do."

Him: "Should I read some books like that Mars and Venus stuff people always talk about?"

Me: "NO!!! John Gray is a hack, he tries to do all the right things for the wrong reason, the wrong ways. In the long run, he'd do more harm than good in my opinion."

So I won't bore y'all with the blow by blow details, but we wound up having about a half hour conversation about it. I'm kinda surprised, amazed, and bemused. Of course when we're finished he had one more question.

Him: "So can I see it? You down there?"

Me: [My first thought was to slap him, instead I said:] "Ah, no, I'm sorry, but I'm not in the habit of showing off my body parts to complete strangers. I mean, if someone else in the building knocked on your door and wanted to see your crotch, would you let them?"

So yeah, it was a night right out of the twilight zone here in Cincinnati. So very, very surreal. I'm just so lucky. I didn't feel any pressing need to complicate things with sharing all the little details of my journey to womanhood, especially since he wasn't asking the right questions. Now if he'd been honestly interested, and seemed like he wanted to learn, and asked the right questions, that would be something else. I'd give him the trans for beginners talk.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

So on the other side of the pond, a friend of mine is taking a slow gentle ride to her dreams, and this part of my post is a shameless plug and shout-out to Emma! So Happy Boxing day yerself! :)

Here on this side of the pond I had my first visit today with my new Primary Care Physician. My sister-in-law recommended her as someone who really listens and cares about her patients, and you know, I can see why she says that. She does. I was nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs, so much so that why her nurse took my BP it was way, way high. After talking to my new doctor for a few minutes it had dropped fifty points into something much better. So that was a net positive right there.

She was a big backed up today, so the girls apologized when I got there that I might have a bit of a wait. Wasn't a problem for me, I had nothing else planned, so I sat down and proceeded to drop myself into a light trance and spent the time meditating. Susan had to call my name twice when it was time for me to go in and I looked up and smiled. She joked "Did I wake you?"

"Not at all, I was meditating" I replied, it's a good way to use time that might otherwise be wasted. She was intrigued and wanted to know more, so we talked about that for a moment. Hey, I don't mind, it gives me a chance to share the wealth so to speak. So I gave her a crash course in a great way to start meditating and had her try it. She was amazed at how it felt and how easy it was to start. So that was my girl scout good deed for the day.

Aside from the BP being slightly high, and have a few more pounds on me than I should, I'm in otherwise good shape. Never a bad thing to hear I say. The BP will come down when I lose the weight, and in the meantime, she's started me on a low dose of BP meds. Being a new patient she had all the questions for me, and started to do the usual Doctor warning of things to avoid.

I said, "If it helps, I can save you some trouble there. 20 plus years ago I decided smoking was bad for me and quit that. 8 or so years ago I decided caffene was bad for me and quit that, two years later I decided sugar was bad for me and just most of that out, a year after that I decided Soda in general was back for me and cut that out. 9 years ago I had a brief bought of my Cholesteral and Trigylerides being too high and cut them down to nice healthy numbers and have increased healthy fats to be sure my good cholesteral is high, and last but not least, decided I didn't want to have a problem with C-Reactive Protein and have pretty much removed red meat from my diet. I have a bowl of Fider-one ever morning to get fiber into my diet, plus eat lots of other stuff that keeps the fiber up, and I try to walk at least ten minutes twice a day, but have been moving up to where I can start getting in two miles a day."

She just kind blinked a few times and caught up with that and said "Well, I can see you're going to be one problem child arn't you? Gonna have to keep on you about . . . Do you drink enough water?" with a smile.

"Yeah, plus lots iced green tea with honey and lemon! And I eat a little bit of Dark Chocolate every day."

So it went well, even if I did deprive her of anything to really scold me about.

So I guess that's the utterly boring and mundane news in my life at the moment. So again, a big shout-out to Emma over in the Shire, I'm hoping maybe I can get her to start a blog... It's free, easy, and really good for seeing how far one has come over time. Plus there are so many cool people she can meet because of blogging. 'Ello Luv! Gotta run, Cheers!

One small side note as I wander off to other things for the night, I just noticed I've written as many posts this month as I did for the entire year last year. Wow, that's kinda scary. Not that I'm keeping score, I just find it amusing. I think I've written as many posts this year, as I have in all the previous years of this blog combined. Hum, I guess I've got something to say after all.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Happy Yule, and so much more!

Sorry I didn't write sooner, I spent Christmas eve, and today with family, and I didn't have a chance to get to my blog sooner.

Here's hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday, which ever one you celebrate! I'm going to go out an catch-up on what I missed in terms of reading, and I'll come back and visit my day later.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Sam

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Samantha For The Win!

Okay, it's just after midnight, technically it's Christmas Eve now and I've got the day clinched. Wash is in the machine, and a fresh batch of my favorite drink is on the stove cooling. In a strange flashback to a life long in the past, I realized what I'm drinking now reminds me of a Long Island Ice Tea, just without the alcohol.

It's a simple drink and pretty healthy. I created it because of something I bought from Lipton a whole back and really enjoyed. Decaf Green Tea, Honey, Lemon, a pinch of sugar in the raw and for fun now and again Cinnamon. I make it up a gallon at time, and often, I'll cheat, and use instant lemonade. It's mostly water, and really healthy. Two quarts are nice normal decaf green tea with two and a half tablespoons of pure honey, the other two are just water, with two tablespoons of instant Lemonade if I'm doing it quick. Gives it a great taste, plus it's really good for me. Get lots of water into, plus all the benefits of green tea and no caffene, very little sugar, and a sparkle of lemon.

So now I'm going to run down to the dryier, fold my clothes, have a snack, read some and than get some sleep.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Music, Lyrics and Life

Well so far today has been more productive than I'd planned, but way less traumatic than three years ago. Earlier today I was thinking of Alan, while I ate a quick dinner. I had a yen for a bacon cheeseburger from Burger King, and on the way there I stopped to fill up the car so that I wouldn't need to do it on the morrow. So, with the air cold, heavy and a big of icy rain falling, the gas smell lingered in the air, and in the main cabin on Jumper One. So the smell of of gas, and food mixed some which of course made me think of Alan and the Kittyhawk. There are worse ways to spend a quiet dinner on Christmas Eve, Eve.

Back a the house, dinner and some brief last minute shopping for some wine done, I pointed the nose east and took her back to the barn. Nice smooth return leg, and I brought her in with nary a scratch. Icy roads, freezing temps, and darkness did nothing to mar the trip. I grew up in New England, what we're having now doesn't even count as weather.

Back in the barn, I caught the tail end of the Faith Hill Christmas special. During it, I heard, I felt, Gavin Rossdale singing "Love Remains The Same" and was just swept away.

"A thousand times I've seen you standing
Gravity like lunar landing
You make me want to run till' I find you
I shut the world away from here
I drift to you, you're all I hear
As everything we know fades to black

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But love remains the same

I find a place where we escape
Take you with me for the space
The city buzz sounds just like a fridge
I walk the streets through seven bars
I have to find just where you are
The faces seem to blur
They're all the same

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But love remains the same

So much more to say
So much to be done
Don't you trick me out
We shall overcome
It's all left still to play

We should've had the sun
Could have been inside
Instead we're over here

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending
Too much time too long defending
You and I are done pretending

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
Everything will change

I, oh I,
I wish this could last forever
I, oh I,
As if we could last forever

Love remains the same
Love remains the same"

Wow, just wow. I felt like he was speaking to me, to that choice I had to make five years ago this month. The choice to finally live an honest, true, authentic life instead of the ongoing attempt to be the person the world expected.

So now down to the basement to run a quick wash, and I'll be good to go on the day!

I have come a long way in three years.

Now admittedly the day is only 4 some odd hours old so far, and anything could happen from here. Personally I'm hoping nothing happens other than what I have planned. What might that be? Laundry and packing for a short trip to spend a couple of days with family for the holiday.

Three years ago today had the folks at the Social Security Administration calling the local police and taking me into the local hospital because they thought I was going to hurt myself or something. It wasn't fun, and not something I would recommend to anyone. So today, well today is going to be a better day. Assuming I don't have any run ins with folks who are supposed to be helping me, but instead feel like traumatizing me.

So I'm going to think on the positive side, and plan on a boring day of laundry and packing. I'll check back in and let all y'all know who it goes!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Come play with me...

When out in the world, in the wild, in the timeless, place less spaces that man has not tried to control, if you disconnect from all the boundaries, and embrace life you will find yourself so free and more connected than you could ever imagine.

Life calls to life, not to control, not to define, not to limit but with infinite love and acceptance.

A tree doesn't care if you sit beneath it. But it does care if you touch it with love, life, joy and nourishment. It will reach back, touch back, give as good as it gets, love, life, joy so much more will flow between you and it.

Quantum Entanglement will let you hear, feel, embrace the silent, subtle, none judgmental connection to everything that beckons to the soul:

"Come Play with me . . ."

It's not that everything is so totally connected, one to another, tree ending, ground beginning, it is one endless, loving, expression of life, love, peace and limitless possibilities.

We are not connected to each other and everything, seeking to find the lines, the shape, the grain, finding the outlines so things will tell us their names, instead we are everything, part of, connected, one. The problem becomes one of creating distance, distinction, lines, boundaries, and it becomes a lifetime battle. Our innocent, all knowing selves know only unconditional love or connection to everything and it is against our fundamental, innate being to push it all away.

The call "Come play with me . . ." becomes in the lost in the noise created inside ourselves pushing everything and everyone away.

We become all hard edges, walls, lines, shapes, boundaries.

It becomes an epic battle to head back to ourselves, our Buddha nature, and see, feel and embrace everything.

Tree cares not what you do, but doesn't understand you either. How can you live so far away, so alone while sitting there with you back to the tree. So alone, far away, separate, disconnected and not alive. Tree cares not, for the tree can only surround you with the what already encompass you, the hard edges lines of what is not.

Even rocks are but sand and water, and a million years of time. Life, love, light, flows through them, the call clear and pure.

But you, sitting alone beneath that tree, so alone, so far yet so near...

"Put no distance between you and where you are..."

Then the call will comes through loud and clear, a whisper in your soul as you own Buddha nature awakes from as a long sleep...

Thanks to Monica at Buddhist in Nebraska for inspiring this post in her's about Connecting Fenceposts tonight.

On a different note, this is my hundredth post for this year, I've been a chatty Cathy this year. It's also my 13th for this month, and I love that number. So it's somehow poetic that this post is about leaving behind limits and fence posts in favor of the all . . .

Friday, December 19, 2008

I actually shocked my brother last night...

...wasn't even something intentional.

First, a bit of history. One of his nicknames for me years ago was Mr. Acronym. He wasn't being mean with that, if anything it was a compliment. Back in the day there wasn't an acronym I didn't know, and was forever making everything else into acronym. So it was well deserved. I was the UDA (Universal Dictionary of Acronyms) hand me one and I'd tell you what it meant. When many people in the business in those days spoke in jargon, I spoke in acronyms. I wish I was kidding, regrettably, not so much.

So last night we were having a great time, and he said something about acronyms, and mentioned one and I shrugged. "Oh come on Sam, you must know what that means..." For the life of me I didn't, and I looked at him and said you should probably sit down, I need to tell you something important. "What? You can tell me anything you know that." "No, really, I think you should sit down for this" I said with all seriousness "you'll be glad you did."

So he sat down and I said "I'm not really all that into the itty bitty details of what every acronym means. At this point in my life all those letters just don't mean anything to me and clutter up life with tiny details to pack my head full of trivia that doesn't do anything for me. I'm more into how things feel, how they make me and everyone else feel." The look on his face was priceless, the shock written there, and for a moment he was speachless. Finally he said "Who. Are. You?" and after a moment I said aren't you glad you were sitting down?

To be honest I really think that shocked him more than when I told him I was fixing my gender issues.

Three years doesn't seem like it should be that much time . . .

but it sure feels like a lifetime ago.

Three years ago today after more than a year of mucking about with it, and having to literally write my own legal motion because my lawyer couldn't quite manage it, my name change was final. I was finally, legally me, despite the fact that I'd already been using my name "legally" for more than a year. It was one heck of a trip, and while I still had some serious hard times before me, this was one step I never really thought I'd have managed then because of my lawyer dragging his feet.

It was a great relief, and only the beginning of the road out of hell for me.

I have a tree...

I find this amazing. An actual Christmas tree. I have to put it up, but it's in my house right now. This is the first time in more years than I care to count, I'd have to guess at least twenty though, that I have a Christmas Tree. This feels like progress to me, like something of a return to something like a "normal life" and I'm going to enjoy it. Once I get it up, I'll put a picture up here, for no other reason than I can, and I wish to!

Tonight was dinner and a movie night with family. As usual we had a great time. Quiet, relaxing, peaceful and fun. Well expect for the one point when my namesake was unhappy about something, but come on, he's just one. I think he's entitled. 99% of the time he's a prince. Though watching him eat Cappelini is always fun. Val picked him up after dinner, stood him in the sink, and hosed him off. It was a smart move on her part.

I don't know why, but with the progress I've made in the last several years, I was thinking about having a home of my own, and maybe someone to share it with on the way home. Which is when my brain kinda locked up again. Regardless of who, or what kind of plumbing they have, my heart and soul yearns to have someone to call my own close to me. By the same token my heart, mind, body and soul recoil in horror at the thought. Let someone that close ever again? Aloow someone to touch me? Regrettably the consensus is still a line right out of the movie "Princes Bride" from a while back. Wesley and Buttercup have made it out of the forest and are surrounded by Humperdink, Count Rogan (the six fingered man) and his men. Humperdink gives Wesley the choice, "Surrender or Die." His responce:

"Death First!"

Yeah that still pretty much sums up my overall feelings about letting someone that close to me. Which is why I'm thrilled to have family and friends that love me, care about my happiness and health, but otherwise don't hurt me.

So that has me concerned. The good news however is I have a Christmas Tree. It's even upright, with some lights on it right this moment glowing softly saying "You've come a long way baby..."

Long indeed. This is the first Christmas tree I've had since I lived at home with my folks now that I think of it, and that was back in the late seventies.

So the world may not be perfect, and I'm still far from it, but I have a tree that stands for me right now as a symbol of hope. Of Hope, and survival, because I've held on and made it here.

My life is right with family and friends, both here and in the "real world" whatever, where ever that is. So I'm going to count this as such a win, something of a miracle in my life given where I've been. This my friends is the first Christmas of the rest of my life. And I'm going to tell you it's going to be a much better life than I have lived before.

Wow, Jenny Boylan said we need to write our stories. You know, I think I can start now. I really think I can. So, my first, perhaps my only new years resolution is to start on a memoir. Not an autobiography, just a memoir, ironically enough that's just what this months Reader's Digest suggested doing. I've already got a title picked out, and I have a good idea of what I'm going to talk about.

So, couple days early, but Merry Christmas everyone, and good night America, where ever you are! This is crazy Aunt Sam, filling in tonight for Jack Killian at KJCM in San Fransisco.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dreams...

Most of the time, mine consist of nightmares that make Freddy Kruger and that dude with a hockey mask look like rank amateurs. Of late, I've been having occasional good dreams, and when they are really good, I enjoy them all day. Last night/this morning I had one such dream. It started off kinda sucky, but not nightmare level. My selfish, self centered, it's all about me little brother kept taking my laptop, surfing porn, getting it all infected, and then hiding it so I couldn't use it. I got kinda tired of it and slapped him silly. My Mom, tired of the same cycle of madness, decided it was time to get the whole thing resolved and as needed punish the guilty. She said "Okay, we're going to sit down, talk about this and make some sense of it all."

So we go walking into the dinning room and who should be sitting there but two of my uncles. "Uncle Jack!" I exclaimed with joy and ran up to give him a hug. "Well my dear you get bigger every time I see you! Think fast, here's a question you probably don't know the answer to: He played Hawkeye in the original movie version of M*A*S*H?" Without stopped to catch my breath I said "Oh, come on Uncle Jack, that's easy. Who is Elliot Gould?" Looking slightly crest fallen he said "So Uncle Jack now eh? Too big to call me Uncle Quince? You used to call me Uncle Quince. I kinda liked that, makes me feel old now that you're calling me uncle Jack all the time."

Not to be the type to let that slide, I promptly left the room and came back in, looked all excited again and exclaimed "Uncle Quince!!! I didn't know you were here!" and jumped into his arms.

From the other side of the room my other Uncle grumbled to no one in particular "Right, her favorite uncle, and I'm still the only invisible uncle in the room..." So I winked at Uncle Quince and walked around the table with a big smile and said "Uncle Felix, I'm so glad your here, don't get up, I wouldn't want you to pull out your back in the rush to hug me and bent down to hug him." At which point the entire room broke out laughing. Well except for poor Uncle Felix, who was actually my Uncle Tony, but he played Felix in the Odd Couple. Of course this was met by more grumbling from Uncle Tony, who was obsessing over the fact that Uncle Jack got to be Uncle Quince, and he was still known as Felix and made fun of.

I hugged him extra tight and whispered in his ear, "Oh come on Uncle Tony, you know I love you, but we all pick on you because you respond to it so well. I get the same thing for the same reason. You know I got that from you. People pick on ME because I respond so well too. I love you Uncle Tony." Which of course got his face glowing and him chattering about his favorite Deice. Not to be outdone I said "And from Uncle Quince I got my razor sharp witty repartee! So I don't hesitate to use it when I can."

It was a great dream, I had fun hanging out with them. I have some cool relatives no?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm a Stargate SG1 fan, I'm not going to deny it.

'I'm also bemused by the fact that no-one has put together what the real purpose of Anubis' "weapon" in Redemption Part I and Part II.

Real short synposis. Anubis is using a "weapon" to attempt to destroy the Gate at the SGC on Earth. Gate opens, stays open, and it first seems like nothing is going on. Then the tech notices a slight anomaly in the Gate Diagnostics Screen. Seems there is a tiny charge being retained by the gate. Very tiny. Problem is it's building up over time.

The Stargate is, amoung other things, a giant super conductor. It retains energy. It's made up of a quartz like substance that when used as such, can generate incredible amounts of energy.

So here we have the Gate soaking up energy, no way to shut it down and the 38 minute has come and gone. "Now we have a problem" Carter says.

In roughly 54 hours the gate is going to explode, and because of the amount of this mineral it's made up of, the blast is going to be on the order of 2 or 3 THOUSAND Megatons. It will destroy MOST of Colorado, and the resulting environmental damage will end all life on Earth. Bad thing, really bad.

So they fight their way through part one trying to figure out what to do, then there's part two. We find out about the planet and the weapon Anubis is using, but are "powerless to stop the destruction" yada, yada, yada. Anbuis has his yuks, he's got a big bad weapon.

Obviously since there IS more of season six, and four more full seasons and two feature films after this, we know Anubis doesn't destroy earth.

Now this has been talked to death all over the place, but before I finish the fan fic I'm writing, or tell anyone at Gateworld, I'm going to share it here. Why? Because I'm just slightly please with myself that 30 seconds after I saw it, I knew what it's actual purpose was. Why the Ancients (not Anubis) built it in the first place.

We've seen time and again that the gate uses great amounts of power to run. We've seen that the dialing device (DHD) has a "limited" amount of energy. The one Carter found in Antarctica ran out of energy after a couple of uses. They couldn't figure out how to get it powered up again.

And here my dear friends is the point of this post. The "weapon" Anubis was using? Not a weapon at all. It was the trickle charger for the gate system. DHD is running out of power? No porblem. Dial in from the planet with this device, it pumps power through the gate, the main power crystal in the DHD soaks it up, and then sends a signal to the otherside that it's fully charged, and it suts off.

It's not a weapon, it's a charger. Simple, easy, problem solved, not a weapon at all.

Why then is it going to destroy Earth? Because it took Carter and a team 2 years to McGyver a dialing device. One that ignores gate commands, handshaking protocals, and even maintenance data swaps with the rest of the Gate network. It didn't know how to say "Thanks, we've got it from here" and have the charger shut off.

Now I know, this post doesn't make much sense unless you've seen SG-1 and understand the references I'm making here. However, for those who do, well now you know the secret of Anubis' weapon.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Now for something lighter...

So if anyone is hosting a Wookie party, please send them over to Ange?!?!? We don't want to have her wind up like this poor girl:

And for those Foxworthy fans out there, this next picture, also from Punchline Not Included is just a redneck joke that proves life is WAY stranger than fiction. I can just hear Jeff intoning;

"If your trailer park is more than one story high,
You might be a redneck!"

To boldy go...

...in the direction of having the courage of my convictions:

It's 17:01 as I write this, for those who wonder what she's babbling about, that would be 5:01, but for a Trek fan, it's not as much fun. So I kid you not, all the clocks in the house as set to 24 hour notation, not 12 hour. I lose one BOB o'clock a day, what with it being 20:08 and all, but I get a map of the day that isn't daylight dependent. Having spent to many years in situations where there was no way to look out a window and figure out if it was 5:01 in the morning or night, I just use 24 hour time. Makes my life easier and less confusing. Plus some of the career choices I had in the past required all paperwork to be annotated in 24 hour time. Live that way long enough, and a clock that say 5:01 twice a day is a confusing experience.

So I wrote something in reply to one of Alan's comments that I wanted to share here, simply because I like what and how I wrote it, and what it said about me:

Well, you and I have discussed privately my penchant for talking to complete strangers (and often the stranger the better) while out and about. For me, it helps lessen the interminable wait on line, and it spreads just a little bit of Dharma wherever I go. Someone envies something they see or sense in me, I do everything in my power to share it with them in a way that turns the envy, and the willingness to talk to me about it, into a blessing.

My path, my journey through life, is about lessening suffering in any shape or size it may present itself. Mine, someone else's, doesn't matter to me. I live my path, and practice what I don't preach. To borrow a line from a M*A*S*H episode I once saw;

"I am Buddhist person"

And for me, that means spreading sunshine and joy in every direction from me, whenever I can. Not in a bible thumping "my way or it's the highway to hell with you" kind of proselytizing that is so favored by so many, but in a "what would Buddha do" way.

So I spread joy when and where I can, and am as open, honest, available, and approachable to people in a religion not included fashion as possible. I like to think of it as living my faith rather than preaching it while doing something else. I like the middle way best myself, being a positive, real, live, example of what's good about it without making it into a federal case, or coming off like some mindless, hypocritical rube who harangues people because it's about control, not faith.

I like to think of it as the Tao of Sam... But really it's Buddha who showed me how to get here. So the Tao of Buddha then no?


So that made me think of Trek, and what I loved about it. The whole go out, wander about, doing the RIGHT thing, and then leaving. Right as in the 8 fold path, not in "might makes Right," or the religious right. So in a way, this post could even be considered a "What I learned from Star Trek kind of thing, but not really." I mean don't get me wrong, there was this whole neo-buddhist attitude that I can see now through the whole franchise that warms the cockles of my heart, but does so without coming off as preachy. I kinda like that.

I suppose that's why so many Judeo-Christian types don't really consider Buddhism a real religion, despite the fact that we were around more than a thousand years before they were. So I always find it kinda funny.

I also find some comfort in the fact that I can, and do now say, with a certain sence of peace, and pleasure, "I am a Buddhist person" and really feel that it's true. So, I thought I'd share that with you who might not read the coments.

Namaste!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Movie Star Lips and Unreal ID

Today I had a busy day, and for some odd reason, I really early one. I was up and out the door before 9. My first stop was the post office, since they'd left me a note saying there was a package for me. It was, quite unexpectedly, a madhouse. So I'm standing online and the girl in front of me happens to look back and says;

"Damn, I wish I had lips like yours!"

Being a bit confused by this I said the first thing that came to mind;

"But you do, yours are basically the same as mine, so why the lip envy?"

She proceeded to explain that her lips were this dull pinkish pale lips looking for color and that mine where like a movies stars lips, all curvy and bright, a perfect color that goes so well with the top I was wearing... "You just look so amazing, and I look bland and like a wannabe." What made it funny is I was wearing a red/fuchsia 10 dollar deep vneck blouse from Old Navy with a white cammie underneath, so there would be just this little pop of white. I had some matching lip gloss on so that it looked like I bought the blouse to go with the lips. That was it. No other makeup on whatsoever. Admittedly, I inherited my light skin, naturally rosy cheeks and winter complexion from my Mom (Thanks Mom!) so I normally go without makeup most of the time. Lip gloss for me is looking all made up spending hours on makeup. So I said to her she could easily do the same thing, because as far as coloring and such go, we could have been sisters. Told her I got the blouse for ten bucks at ON and the gloss was maybiline. She still seemed terribly skeptical so I did my favorite trick with makeup I said hang on a sec. Grabbed a tissue out of my purse, turned around, wiped off the gloss and turned back.

She was stunned, then again everyone is when I do that trick, and watched eyes wide as I proceeded to reapply the gloss. At which point I took out an alcohol swab, cleaned the tip and handed it to her and said here, now you try. Just remember to apply from the bottom of the top lip into the point, so that you get the definition of the lip line instead of just going across and you'll be fine. Like magic her face lit up, the color worked on her as well as me (I knew it would) and I said I guess you're going to go shopping after this eh? She was thrilled, and to be honest, so was I, I'd done my girl scout good deed for the day.

From there, it was off to DMV to trade in my Colorado License for a new Ohio one. I went prepared, with everything from stem to stern, including my surgical letter because I still haven't had my BC fixed. Ohio's website and drivers manual claimed I wasn't going to need all the "Real ID" compliant foolishness because all they want is the OLD DL and my Social Security card. Now my old DL had the right gender on it, but I had to show Colorado my letter to have it that way. Ohio has been reported as having issues by some women who've changed their gender here, so I had even written down the P&P from the Ohio website. Kinda ticked me off that two years after surgery I was still going to have to get into the whole thing, but such was life right?

Wrong. I walked up to the window, they collected my old DL, checked my Social Security card, asked if I wanted my middle name as an initial or spelled out, took my money, shot my picture, and then handed me my new drivers license. No questions, no confusion, no six million forms of proof I was me and actually a girl, nothing. Just a wham, bam, that'll be 23 dollars ma'am and off I went. Gotta say I loved it. Quick, simple, easy, in and out in fifteen minutes and not so much as a funny look. We spent more time on my middle name than anything else, because at first I was going to have them spell it out, then it dawned on my that it would be harder to steal my identity if it was just an initial. God if going to DMV could be a pleasant experience, this would be it. The picture even came out decent for a DMV mug shot, but it was kinda eerie as I looked at it walking to the car. I look just like my Mom, I mean like we could be twins. So I just stopped and looked at it a moment, smiled and shed a happy tear.

My Mom was a couple years younger than I am now... Wow, actually more than a couple, she was five years younger than I am now when she died. To have her looking up at my from my driver's license was kinda cool. Especially since she'd never had one. She had grand maul epilepsy so she couldn't have a DL back in the day. So this was kinda cool. Brought back memories of her, which is never a bad thing.

So those were the two big highlights of my otherwise boring day.

Honestly it was cool in so many ways because dmv was just some random woman going in and getting a new DL. The baggage from the past, far behind me, no longer at all someone who'd moved from somewhere else in a way folks aren't used to, just another state. Not a move from another state of being. Overall, boring and uneventful, and you know that's just how it should be.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

And we're walking...

So I like walking, it's something I actually enjoy, and a bunch of years back when I needed to lose a bunch of weight all I did was walk. Lost 80 pounds that way in a mall in NH. Everyday I walked a couple laps. I'm not certain what the distance was, but I'm guessing it was about three quarters a mile per lap.

So here in Ohio there is a wonderful, rich park system that allows me to walk to my hearts content. But it's winter. Cold and I don't get along so well. So walking in the woods, in the park, is out of the question. But I need to lose weight and take better care of myself. My body doesn't care what time of year it is, it needs more from me than I was otherwise going to give it at this time of year.

Sure, there are malls here, but I'm not used to them, and the energy is so weird, so strange. Everyone worrying, people who can't afford to shop, but feel compelled to, retailers and even the Mall management afraid of going out of business. There is this paild feel to the malls I cannot quite cope with right now. So walking there is out.

Over the years I've heard about Walk at home programs that let you walk without leaving the house. I kept meaning to go online and find one that was reasonable in price and order that. In the meantime I went to Target looking for a step, so that I could start doing step aerobics at home figuring that could work. Well they didn't have any Steps in stock they did have Leslie Sansone's "Walk Away the Pounds" DVDs. So I got three of them.

In the last 12 hours I've walked three miles and haven't left my house. That makes me happy, and it feels really good. I mean really good, great even!

Leslie does a great job, it's a bit more than walking, but it's so doable and works more than just the muscles used for walking, and I'm enjoying this. It makes it easy and much more likely that I'm going to keep doing it. It's fun, the pace starts slow, works up, and then cools to make the whole thin pleasant.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Okay, it's official, I'm off my nut...

...I just spent the day reading Suzanne's blog and adding comments where I felt I might have something helpful to add. I think however she's going to hate me, since in 34 posts I just basically wrote a small novel. But she's funy, and having found her over on Veronique's blog, I thought I'd get to know her some so I'd be caught up.

Now, I think I'm going to go pass out and hope Suzanne doesn't hate me in the morning... I'm gonna hope I don't hate me in the morning. I gave myself a headache smacking myself in the face with my pony tail, and now I'm kinda sorry I did. At the time it was fun though...

I've got other things to catch up on come the morrow, like comments folks made here. Plus I need to send Alan and email. Long overdue on my part. Sorry Alan. I'll explain later.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Mailing List...

Okay, this is an idea I god from Donna Rose in her recent post "Back to Washington DC. Again." She writes"

One thing I’m working on is to establish a ”Happy Holidays” Card list. If you
send me a mailing address and a name I’ll send you a card. It’s that simple. You
can even send one back, if you’d like. It makes me smile that my first Christmas
card of the year came from my insurance company. Anyway, feel free to email me
an address and let’s see if there’s any interest. I have no idea how many cards
to buy so we’ll just have to see how this goes.

I like the idea so much I'm making the same offer here. Drop me an e-mail either by clicking contact me in the left sidebar, or use the address that's flashing below. Just remember to take out the space between the SamanthaChristmas and the at sign and the other one between the at sign and the domain name.

Send me an email with a name and address, and I'll send you back a Christmas card. If you feel like sending one back, even better, but it's not a requirement. Mine, I'm going to hang on the wal here, if I get enough, I'll take a picture of the wall and put it up here after Christmas.

All information will of course be kept strictly confidential, and your name and address will NOT leave my hands. Happy Holidays everyone...








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Friday, December 05, 2008

Gender Analyzer

Not that it really means anything in the grand scheme of things, but the Gender Analyser has decided my blog is 97% female...
Results
We have strong indicators that
http://samstrip.blogspot.com is written by a woman (97%).

Monday, December 01, 2008

I'm not going to lie here...

...I'm thrilled that President Obama has picked Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State. I think that's awesome! She's worked hard, and while she may not be perfect, I think she's great for the job. We need strong leadership with a legacy of being involved, and we got that with Hillary Clinton.

Me, I'm thrilled. Please don't hold it against me?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

What happens when you watch late night TV.

So I had the TV on really late, and I saw an infomercial that I actually watched, and I think I'm going to respond to it next week. I have some weight to lose, and with winter coming, walking in the park isn't really a good idea. I can go to the gym, which I'm going to start doing more often, but I wanted something I could do at two in the morning when I can't sleep.

Core Rhythms looks like so much darn fun, I'm going to get it just for the fun. Looking at it from working muscle groups, well, it's going to put all the muscles in the core to good use, so weight loss will have to come. Plus, I love dancing, and Latin Rhythms, so this is like perfect... Picture me doing the Samba around my living room!

So, anyway, at some point in the near future, I'm going to get that and start using it. I'm confident it will be fun, and having followed some of the moves from the infomercial, I know it will work out my core, since I stood there doing one of the moves time I got bored, and felt the burn afterwards...

Hard to believe November is nearly gone.

It's also hard for me to believe that I've added more posts to this blog this years than in the last two combined. The year isn't even over yet. I stand a decent chance at the rate I'm going to get to 100 posts this year, and you know, that would be so cool. Though to be honest, I don't know why it would be. But I'll figure that out later.

I had a number of things to talk about tonight (well this morning really) but I'm going to leave them for the morrow. Right now I want to express a certain indignation. Black Friday has left me once again annoyed with the vultures at big oil. Thursday night on the way home from Thanksgiving I paid 1.48 a gallon for gas. I'm glad I got gas then, because Friday when I went out I noticed the price had jumped up to 1.65. Why? Because it was Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, and they HAD to take advantage of that...

So, that said I'm going to mention three books I more or less read. I'll get into details in the next handful of posts, but I want to mention them here briefly. "My Husband Betty," "She's Not The Man I Married," and "Whipping Girl" were all on my list for a while to read, and I'm feeling somewhat disappointed in all three to be honest.

The first two are excellent arguments with someone, I'm just not sure who, more like technical manuals, with a certain undercurrent of anger and disappointment, that short of the wives of Cross dressers, these two books have left me wanting. They are technical to the point of near obfuscation, and I wonder who exactly the target audience is. Helen's writing on her blog is of much better quality, and less technical and more feeling than the first book by miles, and a good distance from the second.

The books are lonely, lost, and searching in their tone, with like I say equal helpings of anger and disappointment that I'm not even sure Helen is sure she meant to include. Frankly these books, while I doubt seriously they were intended to o this, play to the sensationalism of modern media, and frankly send the wrong message in many ways. In ways, the arguments Julia makes in "Whipping Girl" are what's so wrong with the first two.

Now, that said, I'll be the first to admit what little I know about Cross Dressing and the people who do it is somewhat colored by the limited contact I had with that community early on. Simply put, it was less than positive, full of anger, hatred, and demands for things they (the CD community) don't quite understand. There is this latent negative energy that pervades things, poisons things, and does nothing toward unity, understanding, tolerance or growth. It seems like this has made it into Helen's books, just from the other side of that community, the wives.

There is a great deal of detail in there, but what's odd is I'm not sure who it is for. CD folk who want to feel less alone? Wives of CD folk? Both? The rest of the world? Well short of CD folk, Academics and Talk Shows, I don't know who'd want to read them? Putting myself in the shoes of a possible CD, there's a subtext of anger there, something they get enough already, plus massive amounts of whats wrong all the way around. So, misery loves company maybe? Wives? Wow, I don't know. Putting myself in the shoes of a wife, there's so much I'd have already been dealing with, and the prose is hard edged, technical, arguments opened, rehashed, and of course the anger and disappointment. I get that, and maybe some women could relate to it, but it's delivery is cold, distant, hard edged, nearly impossible for me to connect with, develop any sympathy for it, or the person who wrong it.

So I hate to be negative, but I better understand the couple of interviews and confusion in them. It honestly comes off as someone arguing why they shouldn't be so distant, and why other human beings should be more understanding, without showing that either. Honestly, in simplest tens, both tomes have the feel of airing dirty laundry in public.

That is however my opinion, and mine alone. I could easily be wrong. I write this not to offend Helen, but more to ask "What were you thinking? You ARE smarter than this, and a better writer than this." Might I suggest your next book be "What I meant to say, a mile in my shoes" and let your heart guide you pen.

I will say if your are transitioning, and have never been involved in Cross Dressing, there is left than no point in reading either book. In fact I would strongly advise against reading either. Seriously, don't read them. Sorry Helen. I'm not trying to be mean, really.

Tomorrow I'll look at "Whipping Girl" and how that felt to me. I'll warn you up ahead, I wasn't much thrilled with that tome either.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Not the usual Thanksgiving conversation...

So we're sitting around after dinner, talking, having a great time, and My brother looked at my sister-in-law and said "Mom looked at me earlier and said 'Be you never imagined you'd be here did you?'"

She never imagined him to be the guy he is, the kind of Dad he is, and thinks it's cool. Which honestly it is. He's very involved in Sam's life, I mean he basically works at home and is a stay at home Dad, which is so awesome. But more than just taking care of Sam, he's engaged, and involved, he and Sam horse around together, and they have a whole lot of fun. I know I have as much fun watching the two of them play as I enjoy playing with my namesake. My brother is open, and available, and emotionally connected. So of course Mom mentioned that, and he wasn't certain what that meant, so we explaining to him about how he's exceptional for a guy, emotionally accessible, engaged in his relationships, connected. Of course we added in the appropriate disclaimers and said not like your "femmy" or anything, not emotional like a girl, so there's no reason to worry. He said good, cause I just can't imagine myself as a girl. I couldn't resist and said;

"Well that's good, because you know I'd fully support you if you did, but I'd have a hard time wrapping my mind around you being a girl!"

Without missing a beat he came back with "Now you know MY pain!" and of course we all started laughing. My sister-in-law paused and looked at him and said, "Well no, not really." and then to me "You know I know about your past, but I just can't imagine you as a guy." Which isn't really surprising, since she never new me all those years ago. My brother chuckled and said "Yeah, at this point, even I have trouble imagining you as a guy, and I knew you then."

I'm kinda looking forward to getting into the storage locker and digging out the wedding video... MY wedding video from well over a decade ago. I figure I'll bring it up for one of our movie nights and embarrass my Bro a bit. Why? Cause toward the end of my wedding he's obviously feeling no pain. At this point, I have trouble imagining me as that Starfleet Officer and a Gentleman kind of thing. Playing that part, the wrong part, at my own wedding. Plus it'll give my sister-in-law some idea of the guy she never knew.

Otherwise, we had a great time tonight, then again we usually do when we get together. My namesake, he's growing like a weed, and is smart as a whip. At one point he was sitting on my lap, and I started massing the top of his head and messing up his hair. I was really amazed when I stopped, and he took my hand, put it back on the top of his head, making it clear he didn't want me to stop. He's like the smartest one year old ever, and gets bigger every time I'm up there. Might now sound like much, but Thursday night is dinner and a movie night. We hang out, telling jokes, eating, and watching movies. So I'm there pretty much one a week at least.

My brother says I'm just biased.

I hope your Turkey Day was great too.

Now in the immortal words of Jack Killian at KJCM in San Fransisco;

"Good night America (and the rest of the world) where ever you are!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in the states...

I have a whole bunch to be thankful for this year, and am reminded of a Thanksgiving a bunch of years back at my sister Lynn's house. It was a whole bunch of us, packed into her house, and we had a great time. The newest edition to the family had just been born a few short days before hand, and we were all so thrilled to have everyone there. It was that last "decent" Thanksgiving I had with Earl. Mind you he was sick, in serious trouble health wise, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt even then, that it would be our last. I didn't spend the day then wrapped up in it being the end, and I choose not to remember it as a last, but a best.

Today too I choose not to dwell on that ending, but to focus on what was good, happiness, time with family and love in my sister's full house. It was a great day. Too much food, wine, laughter, fun, and people I treasure, then and now. It was a day to just let my hair down, or at least as much as I could then, and relax. It has left an everlasting bright spot in my heart that I'm thinking about today. That to this day many years later, I'm still Thankful for just as it was.

I'm just about to get cleaned up and head over to my namesake's house to have Thanksgiving dinner with family there and very much looking forward to it. I'm lucky and I know it. In stark contrast with many women in our community, I have friends and family to share the day with, and for this I'm thankful.

I'm also thankful for the community I've come to know somewhat, for the women in my life who've made it possible for me to have had, and continue to have, Thanksgivings where I really do let my hair down. So many people have touched my life, directly and indirectly, and I just wanted to say thanks to all of you for helping to make this day possible. It's going to be my fourth thanksgiving that I'm me, not a role I'm playing, and that means so much to me!

So, before I run, I want to say thanks to my family, far and near, for a great day. For being part of my life, making it richer, happier, and more fulfilled than I'd ever dreamed possible. It may not be a perfect life, but it is mine, and that means so much.

So thanks everyone! I love you all.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What "generation" is one actually a part of?

This question has perplexed me for a goodly number of years, especially given the great disparity in answers I've been given by so called authorities on the subject. This evening while reading other blogs for recreation purposes, I came across an interesting "test" to determine what generation I am a part of based on media usage.

First, I'll back up a bit by sharing that depending on who ones asks, and when, I'm either a Boomer, Gen Jones (Post Boom but not X) or Gen X. This is based purely on the number of the year this shell was born in. 1964 technically puts me at the tail end of the boomers, but I've NEVER felt like part of that group. Similarly Gen Jones, and Gen X have left me wanting. Never really felt like part of them either.

The test I took tonight, places me squarely in the Gen Y group, which I find amusing, and not at all surprising. Find out for yourself at Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist blog. She has a post about this very subject with a test attached. Plus I just enjoy reading her blog now and again because I really appreciate her view of the universe...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Automaker's Bailout and blame.

Okay, I just have to say this, but I'm kinda on the fence about the talks about 25 Million dollar bailout of Automakers. So on one hand, I don't want to see all those people lose their jobs and further hurt the economy. On the other, people are not buying car for a whole bunch of reasons, not the least of which was the price of gas. Cars that get crappy mileage aren't going to sell, and since the average new car gets LOWER gas mileage than my ten year old Kia, I don't see them having much success. There's also the simple fact that new cars cost way, way too much. Then let's try the fact that they pump out new cars at an enormous, scary rate.

They NEED to re-tool and re-design for alternative energy, and producing a high quality LOW price, affordable car that people want. Making an alternative fuel car that's too expensive is crazy, no one is going to buy them.

Okay people, her is an official notification: The economy IS ALREADY TOAST. It's done, gone, Rome is burning, stop trying to blame President Obama!!! For pity sake, he just got elected, hasn't had his first day on the job and people are already blaming him? Especially the frickin GOP, they are already spinning this as HIS fault.

"Dear stupid politicians,

At the end of the Clinton Administration, the economy wasn't terrible and the budget was more or less balanced for the first time in years. The DOTCOM bubble had broken and yet, you all wanted to ease regulations on trading and speculation, loans and banking, and let the banks and big business go nuts.

It's now 2008, President Obama has just been elected, and has not even taken office. He's going to be stepping into hell, forced to clean up the mess you all made. He's in way deep and he hasn't even started. It's going to take a huge amount of work and time to reverse the damage, and work from you jokers to help him get the job done. Don't blame him."

That's all I'm going to say about that, but you heard it here first. I'm not going to blame it on a specific party, because it's simpler than that. Either you're part of the solution, or part of the problem. Drop the titles and posturing and get to work!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keith Olberman on Marriage



Wow. This is just amazing, and beautiful. It's obvious he's passionate about this, and I think that's fabulous. (Thanks Helen from sharing this!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Amazing how many people are narrow minded bigots...

...in the 21st century.

Short of a miracle it looks like Prop 8 passed in California, with similar stupidity passing in Arizona and Florida.

It's a sad, sad day in America despite the miracle last night of getting a good man into the White House.

There is some Jewish heritage in my family, my history, and in the Jewish Culture when someone is really, really, horrible for some reason, parents, family members can say, you are dead to me.

Just over 50% of three states population are now dead to me.

I don't care WHY someone voted in favor of Prop 8 or the similar measures in two other stats, because there is NO excuse. That's it, done, buy a shovel, dig a hole, climb in because your are dead to me. If your a regular reader here and would have, or did vote yes on Prop 8, get lost. Don't comment, don't argue why it's okay to be a hateful, narrow minded bigot, just leave and don't come back because you are dead to me.

This is most certainly not right speak, and I'm not being a good Buddhist with this post then again all the religious WACKOS in California, Florida, and Arizona are going straight to hell when they die, so they've already decided on an eternity of suffering. It's not my job to be compassionate for hateful, evil people and right now, I cannot, and will not find the perspective to see their side of this. Frankly, I have the gift/curse of empathy, intuition, and perspective that could make me an excellent profiler. I can "get into" other peoples heads and hearts, but on this one, NO WAY... I'd rather take my chances with a school of hungry sharks or something, these people are just wrong... As in broken wrong...

So, they are dead to me.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I can't believe this...

I'm more concerned about Prop 8 in California right now than the presidential race. I'm sitting here, for the first time in several lifetimes, really watching the news and the race. Right now, President Obama is up by a bunch right now, 200 to 90. I'm going to be up watching the race all night, and on the edge of my seat waiting for word about Prop 8. Everyone I know who lives there has either already voted NO, or is the process of doing it, but I'm still kinda focused on that.

To say that it has no impact on me because I live a bit more that two thousand miles would just be short sighted. It has an impact on everyone in the United States regardless of what they may think, and says a lot about the overall direction of people, and the country.

We need Prop 8 to be voted down. All of us, every last person in the country.

So I'm waiting with baited breath...

Regardless of who or what you vote for, please, if you haven't done it yet and you can, PLEASE VOTE!!!

History will be made tonight regardless of who wins. Record numbers of people are voting all across the country and I hope it is the beginning of a whole new level of participation by people of all ages...

In other news, I found, and read a wonderful book last night. Yeah, just last night. I was wondering the shelves of the local library and found a new "Star Trek" book ostensibly by Shatner, but in reality, ghosted by two of the oldest names in the franchise Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stephens. I've got to say, this was one of the best I've read yet. It was the story of Kirk and Spock meeting back when they were Teenagers. Literally. Kirk was 17 and Spock was 19, and it was an amazing and fun read. It's full title is "Star Trek Academy Collision" and a great read. About the only problem I had with it is it went really fast...