Sunday, June 29, 2008

I took it, but still cannot believe the result...

"Hello, I am Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!"

"There will be blood tooonight!"

"That's a recipe for a whole bunch of unpleasantness"

"Hailing frequency's open sir..."

"Treat her like a lady and she'll always get you home..."

"Carter, my head!" <--People have actually said this one to me, more than once...

"They're a planet full of accountants in general General."

So, there, I've quoted a bunch of stuff, lines right out of different shows

I mean, really, I can quote lines with the best of them... I can even tell you who sings the song at the end of episode four, season one of Charmed, and actually have a collection of music that's been on Charmed. For years, family and friends have assured me I'm a geek or some such... But when I took the test I got...

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Joe Normal

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored less than half in all three, earning you the title of: Joe Normal.

This is not to say that you don't have some Nerd, Geek or Dork inside of you--we all do, and you can see the percentages you have right above. This is just to say that none of those qualities stand out so much as to define you. Sure, you enjoy an episode of Star Trek now and again, and yeah, you kinda enjoyed a few classes back in the day. And, once in a while, you stumble while walking down the street even though there was nothing there to cause you to trip. But, for the most part, you look and act fairly typically, and aren't much of an outcast.

I'd say there's a fair chance someone asked you to take this test. In any event, fairly normal.


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sam can cook!

I wanted a yummy, hot, simple and healthy breakfast.

Spanish omlet hit the spot!

2 "egg beaters" healthy eggs,
2 strips of bacon chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
1 small shallot chopped
1/8 of a green pepper chopped
1/8 of a red pepper chopped
1/8 of a tomato chopped
dash of cayenne pepper to test
dash of ground pepper to test
splash of EVOO
pat of "smart balance" butter
splash of water
Fine shredded Sharp Cheddar
Fine shredded Monterey Jack
Sprinkle of chopped parsley
splash of 100% pomegranate juice to taste.

I started by lightly cooking the bacon, putting it off to the side, and leaving part of the fat in the pan. Then threw in the garlic, shallot, red and green pepper lightly cooking those with the bacon drippings and peppers. Cooked those until hot and tasty, with the shallots lightly caramelized, and the red and green pepper still crunchy. Added chopped tomatoes and cooked to hot. Reserved this mix in a bowl.

Scrambled eggs, splash of EVOO, splash of water, pinch salt and pepper and a liberal splash of Pomegranate juice in a cup, poured them into the hot pan with some melted "smart balance" butter and cooked the first side until the eggs "set" and then gently flipped it. Added the mix of veggie to half the cooking eggs and then added the chopped bacon and cheese. Cooked until eggs where lightly browned and the cheese melted. Slipped it out of the pan onto the plate and flipped the other half of the eggs onto the first half, thus creating the fold. Sprinkled with some parsley and cheese and then ate the evidence!

Total time about 10-15 miuntes, serves 1.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Deep thoughts and a first...

So, I'll start with the first, well only because it's interesting and different for me.

My HRT regime has, for quite some time, consisted of a .5cc needle once a week. The joys of post op life is that there's so little to do in the way of meds. April 5th was my second anniversary on injectable estrogen and July 7th will be my second anniversary post-op. But, I'm not here to brag, just putting in some back story. Prior to injecting, I was on sublinguals for a couple of years, so it's not like estrogen is at all new to my body.

Now, pretty much every woman I know, or know of, who are injecting, have reported this "rush" when they get their weekly or biweekly injection. Over time, it fades away or you become so used to it, you don't notice anymore. That said, I didn't switch for the rush, but the convenience of only having to do it now and again instead of every day, three times a day. First shot however was so utterly uneventful, it was just another of those "oh, yeah, not a 'normal' transwoman" blues.

At least that's what I thought for two years. Until last night that is. Kinda freaked me out to be honest, enough I took my BP, Heart Rate, and so forth to make sure I wasn't having a problem. Heart was loping a long at 50 beats per minute, BP was fine, respirations deep and regular, so no problems. However I felt flushed, thought my heart had speed up, and had this "rush" I'd never run into before. Finally it hit me "Oh, this is what everyone has been talking about!" I just had no idea why finally after over two years it finally hit me like that. As I was taking a shower this morning it hit me. I've been living in a combat zone for years, between my own issues, and the crap that was being poured onto me daily, I never had a chance to really relax much.

I'm over 600 miles away from that madness and pain, and have been now for a good couple of weeks. The peace is starting to settle into me (reflected in my nice normal heart rate) and the little kick, that rush, finally was something I could feel. Kinda cool. Before moving, living where I did, my heart rate was usually around 110. Dig difference eh?

So finally I felt it...

Now on to the deep thought portion of our program for the night. As I was driving back from the grocery store it struck me, I might wind up being a lesbain after all. Not because my orientation has changed again, it hasn't, but because in my life I haven't dated all that many people. Out of the entire list, exactly ONE has been male, and I married him. Saying it didn't go so well would be like saying we dropped a firecracker on Hiroshima.

******* WARNING *******
It's about to get dark from here. I'm sorry. Didn't mean
for it to get dark, but it has... So you may not want
to read this.
******* WARNING *******

I have to apologize to Sara, I said there was back story, but looking at it, there isn't that much. So, sometime soon, I'm going to undertake documenting it. In the meantime, my one serious relationship with a guy, well it ended worse than any before. I was left seriously traumatized, and well he's dead. That's the super short version. I still feel a touch cheated by NOT getting my day in court, by having to run and seek witsec level of protections.

That one relationship not withstanding, all the rest of the serious relationships have been with women. I "get" women, can relate to them, mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually. Men are still (despite being with Earl for 11 years) really alien creatures to me. Miracle of miracles I'm no long utterly terrified of them, but I'm still wary. The biggest problem really is I know less about them than say a natal who's been dealing with them since her teens.

So I can stay with what I know, or can admit to myself that I'm a 43 year old virgin. That's just weirding me out some. It really doesn't help much to remain attracted to women, but now also be equally drawn to men. Frankly it's taking a great deal of getting used to. Shopping for groceries tonight really set it off, well set off this train of thought. I'm walking around the market, and there were, truth be told, some good looking boys about. So I don't have to look, I mean goodness knows I'm not ready for a relationship with anyone right now. It's been a while since Earl ripped out my still beating heart and tossed it in a wood chipper, since he taught me that being beaten and raped by a complete stranger is a blessing. I'm slowly healing I guess, well at least I'm trying to do that. It doesn't help that my heart, my soul, so violated, still has love in it. Worse yet, for him. Two years he's been dead now, gone, burried, no more. Cannot hurt me or anyone else ever again.

So there's this part of me that wishes he were still around so Inigo Montoya could walk up to him and say: "Hello, you kiillled my sister, prepare to die!" There's also this part of me that if he were to walk back into my life would... I don't know. That's what scares me. How can I still love someone who makes me want to die so that he could never touch me again, hurt me again. How can I still love someone so full of hate and loathing that he would treat me the way he did?

How? Because there in my heart with all the agony, are the good things I miss about us. The morning of our honeymoon, walking across the street, no, really gliding across the street basking in the glow of a life beginning, a love so deep... I mean realistically by the time we got to that first day, we'd known each other for more than a year, had lived together for a full year before getting married, but I was on cloud nine, I was Mrs. Earl.(lastname) and we were on our honeymoon.

It was Meridith, New Hampshire, a perfect fall day, right there on the lake, and I all bit skipped across the street from the Inn to get to breakfast...

Okay, so not where I was going with this. To be honest, I think my mood has gotten a bit darker tonight because I'm finally watching season two of the LWord. Bette and Tina in so much pain, and still obviously in love with each other. So much more. I can feel it all. I know how they are feeling and then some. Then there's IVAN. He's a great guy. A guy who hates his female body and doesn't want it seen. He's a good looking girl, but it's not who he is. You know, I get that. Wow, do I get that... Taken me years of work to go from the guy I appeared to be, to the woman I've always been. To bring the outside to a point where people see ME, not that guy...

And of course, it brings me right back around to Earl, Men, and where I'm going from here. I know that someday, someway, I'll be able to let someone get close to me, even touch me heart, mind, body and soul, but I don't know who, how, when or what gender. There's this part of me that wants, finally, to be loved for real, for who I am fully. That wants and needs to be loved well, and properly. A part that wants to be protected and cherished, to feel safe being held again, touched again.

A part that is utterly terrified too. A part of me that is still so freaked out that the thought of another man that close to me makes me want to lock myself into the bathroom and after I stop vomiting and screaming, because my skin is crawling with revulsion wants to climb into a bathtub full of warm water and blue food coloring and have history repeat itself.

Wow, this got dark fast. I'm sorry. I think I'm going to leave it at this. I think maybe, just maybe, it's time for me to find a survivor's group, and start going.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Can I ever do anything without being a girl?

Your result for The Which X-Man Are You Test...


Has some serious potential as a fighter, but is far too busy playing around and breaking hearts to care. I bet she's a slut, too. Oh, but she's also the Phoenix, and can ruin someone's shit at the drop of a hat. Once she learns to control it, that is.

Take The Which X-Man Are You Test at HelloQuizzy

I mean, sure, validation is always welcome, but sometimes balance is good too. I've never, ever, ever taken one of these online "which charater are you?" tests without being one of the women. Which super hero am I? Guess...

Wonder Woman! Of course. I mean doing get me wrong, I grew up watching Wonder Woman (and wanting to grow up to be her) and I'd be lying if I said she didn't help shape the woman I am today. I picked up attitudes, thinking, even the way she smiles (Lynda Carter that is) and the look in my eyes when I do.

But I mean really. Oddly enough, when I was taking the test I couldn't think of the name of my favorite X-Men character, but I really identified (still do) with her. Yeah, Jean Grey, that's her! It's so bad that the "Which West Wing Character are you?" Pegged me as C.J. Craig. Which id funny because out of all the West Wing crew, she's my favorite.

So yeah, I'm yet to find an online test that doesn't figure out that I'm a girl, most of the time the character I most identify with. Which Trek Character? Why Deanna Troi of course...

So, I just find it all funny.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Peace and quiet in a park.

So I'm exploring around the new place I live, and getting outside is important to me. I've found the local parks department website (I'll add a link later) and am in Winton Woods park. It's peace and quiet in a way never really available in Jersey. In fact, this part of Ohio is reminding me more and more of my beloved New England that I'm not quite missing it as much. With plenty of woods and trails, it reminds me so much of what I thought lost to me for a while. It's also not my mountains, but it will keep me from missing those too... More to follow...

Okay, it's later, so the link to the parks website is and will give you an idea of what I have to play with and explore... [Edited: 20 June, 2008 at 01:07]

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A day in my life...

Today was busy, perhaps even to the point of cluttered some might say, and caused me to say to my sister-in-law that I used up all my outside minutes.

If you just take the list:

Drove to and walked some trails in the woods.
When to my local grocery store picked up some groceries.
Went to and explored a mall I hadn't been to yet.
Went to and walked a replica of the Charte's Cathedral Labryinth.
Made myself a great healthy sandwich like my favorite Subway one and saved a bunch of money.

It seems like it isn't that much. But honestly, for me, it was a pretty good day. First of all the weather was perfect and I do mean perfect! 75 degrees, light breeze, low humidity, and clear, blue, sky. For me that's as close to perfect as I can get. Walking in the woods was refreshing, and slightly invigorating for while the trails were short, the change in elevation was as much as 100 feet in places. No, I'm not kidding, I took the GPS with me and it has an altimeter/elevation function to it. So I got more of a workout than I'd figured on, but it was so worth it! On the way back I stopped at Kroger's picked up the handful of things I needed, and some quarters to do laundry with and went back to the house. My house. A place that's safe and all my own that no-one can take from me by accident, or through neglect.

I spent half and hour on meditation, another half on Reiki and then decided to see if there were any Labyrinths nearby. I was in luck! A local church had devoted some of it's parking lot to a replica of the labyrinth at Chartes Chathedral which is by far one of the largest and most "complex" ones in the world. So I had to go walk it! From there I realized one of the area malls I'd not yet explored was nearby so I went then and walked that too!

So for someone who spends so much time indoors because of lasting issues from my life with Earl, it was a big day.

The sandwich was just icing on a very big cake. I love going to Subway, and it scares me to admit that long, long, ago I was a regular customer of the first ever Subway that ever opened. Depending on what you get, the food there is amazingly healthy, and it tastes good for a reasonable price. I mean really a foot long sandwich that's healthy, tasty AND affordable? My signature sandwich is about as healthy as you can get. Grilled chicken, little bit of bacon and melted cheese, piled high with green peppers, tomatos, pickles and topped with a splash of red wine vinaigrette dressing on whole wheat bread! Heaven on a plate I say! Mind you this is what I prefer to have, it tastes great, and when I get a footlong I take half of it home.

But it's been bugging me, why can't I do something like this at home? Whenever I want? Much cheaper? Well heretofore it was because I didn't have a kitchen, but now? While small, the kitchen in my place is fully functional, clean and all mine! Rock on! So tonight as a reward for getting out, I took a nice healthy chicken breast marinated in Lemon, Herbs and Garlic then grilled to perfection, melted some munster cheese on it, sliced up pepper, tomato, and cucumber, put it on a couple of slices of really good Italian bread that was lightly toasted and liberally splashed it with a yummy Tuscan Italian dressing I've grown fond of recently. Then, after admiring my handiwork, I ate all the evidence it ever existed.

"Sorry Chief!" ;-o)

Was a really good day. Simple, clean, healthy and tasty! I enjoyed every second of it! Normally I don't go anywhere near a grocery store during the day, why? Too many people, noise, crowds, waiting on line and so forth. I normally like to grocery shopping at one or two in the morning when no-one else is there. Malls, well I don't go to the mall all that often, despite the fact that I love retail therapy. Same rules apply and I have yet to find a good one that's open 24x7. In fact it's only been the last year or so that I've even been able to go into a mall, so this is progress for me. To do it on the same day I went to the grocery store is wonderful!

So there you have it, a boring day in my life, but for me, it was great and indicative of progress!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lightening flashes, sparks shower, and in one blink of the eye... have missed seeing.

It's an old Zen Koan I'm fond of, and fairly well sums up my day yesterday.

On the face of it I spent the day loafing around drinking wine with family. Specifically my brother, my namesake and sister-in-law. Mark called me up early yesterday and said "Hey, wanna come down to the marina and hang on with me and Sam today?"

I couldn't see a single reason not to, so I threw on some clothes and off I went.

Wasn't a going out on the river sightseeing kind of day, the weather had promised to be flaky and no sooner than I'd made it over to the marina, the sky's opened up and let loose with a serious amount of rain, as well as a light show and concert of epic proportions.

To his credit, my namesake was simply awesome with it. Eight months old and thunder and lightening don't bother him at all.

We, I, had a wonderful time! We're sitting there in the slip, drinking lightly, listening to music, checking out Mark's boat, and of course playing with my namesake. It was the first time since he got it that I'd been down to see the boat. Thirty plus feet of cabin cruiser made for the big river all tricked out the way Mark likes things. Hasn't named her yet, but she is yar!

The day was blissful for me. I love thunder, lightening, getting wet, and relaxing. Had just enough wine to leave me ever so slightly relaxed and slightly tipsy, in fact Mark was stunned. He'd never, ever, seen me loosen up close to that much, and was glad I felt safe enough, and comfortable enough doing so. In the past I used to be the designated drinker when we'd go out drinking and hanging out. Used to be I could drink anything living or dead under the table and still pass a blood test. Alcohol of any kind, no matter how mixed, or how much I drank, had no effect on me. Like at all.

Now, two glasses of wine on an empty stomach and I'm not safe to drive (and won't) three on a full stomach and I'm totally relaxed.

So yeah, amazing light show, sitting there in the marina on a boat with no name, just relaxing. Just being. No stress, pressure, nothin! A perfect day!

I was fully there, present, relaxed in a way Mark had never really seen. At one point later in the evening at his house he stopped, got all serious and said:

"You know, you should have done this years ago."

"Yeah, but you know full well I couldn't and why..." I replied "...took courage I didn't know I had to deal with the woogieman, let alone give myself permission to be happy, relaxed and at peace with me."

Even my sister-in-law who never met that "guy" I was supposed to be looked at me and said: "You know I have more and more trouble imagining you were ever that guy of epic proportions Mark told me about. You're just this cool laid back chick that knows how to relax and just be yourself with people. I'd have to imagine this is so much better than being a super hero?"

Oh yeah, so much better!!!

So the only thing I missed seeing was the ghost of the person I used to pretend to be. He's long since just a funny memory now. And I get to relax, let my hair, and my guard down, and just BE!

As I said to Mark when we were sitting there in the Marina: "A friend of mine and her SO were on a boat at one point and long story short they came out with 'Tis a good life, the life at sea! I couldn't help but think of that...

It was a Friday the 13th I'll long remember, simply because it was a perfect day... It also would have been "his" old birthday, but one I don't "celebrate" simply because it was so often so painful to do so. He can keep his old birthday. I'll remember it in some fashion now and again, acknowledge the profound sacrifices he made to keep me alive long enough for me to realize that I have a fundamental right to exist, that being me, being present, being authentic is more important than anything else. He enabled me to see that the single greatest gift I could give to the folks in my life was me. That nothing else I could do for them was near as precious and real as being me. To me, to them, to the universe.

Ah, the life at sea, 'tis a good life! (Thanks Jenny and Grace!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A day, a meal, four years in the making.

Back in June of '04 HRT was really starting to take hold of me and my views on food and life changed somewhat dramatically. Radically even, to the point that things "He" would never have eaten, I love.

Growing up in farm country, and living on a farm for a good portion of my life, food was a different experience. There were always plenty of fresh grown vegetables of all kinds, and salads were plentiful. So much so that they just kinda got taken for granted, and worse, because "He" was so different in so many ways, there were only certain things "He" would and would not eat. For years the only Chinese food he'd eat was the white sticky rice. The only part of the pizza he'd eat was the crust, and the list of weirdness could go on and on...

Salads however were something I've always loved. They bring back good memories, are healthy (when done right) and can be amazingly tasty.

Four years ago I'd gotten quickly in the habit of having a handmade salad every night for dinner after a day of walking to lose weight. That was in a brief blissful period when it was okay to eat whatever I want, and go walking in the woods when I wanted. Earl was at his parents house, and I'd only just filed for divorce, so the excrement hadn't fully hit the occilator yet. I was still in the townhouse we'd been living in, and was under the mistaken belief that the law was on my side and I was safe. So, I'd started taking much better care of myself, and eating lots of salads.

Salad was, is, fun food for me, all different ways of making it, all different healthy things that could go in it. Never the same way if I didn't want it to be, and pretty much always super good for me. Then the legal system failed me in a complete and utter way, and Earl and his parents, finding out I'd filed on grounds of cruel and abusive treatment decided it was time to really start playing dirty. They flagrantly violated the restraining orders and did everything they could to make me suffer and surrender. I was forced to flee New England in fear for my life, and because they took EVERYTHING from me.

I wound up at my brother's house in Jersey. He'd died the November before, and I wasn't able to include him when I came out to everyone in my family. His widow, my sister-in-law, was actually the first human being since my parents that I actually came out to when I started my journey. I sought refuge there, and she took me in. We'd become pretty good friends since he and my brother married in 2000. In fact the photo of me in the before and after a few posts back was taken at their wedding. I was grateful for the shelter, but by then after having been utterly betrayed by so many people I had no strength and in fact was just fighting not to give into the pain and die. Then again, that's what Earl folks wanted, was for me to be dead.

Because things at Jon's house were less than optimal, I'd been forced to give up salads for dinner, and because I was actively being stalked I didn't feel safe anywhere. So the walking pretty much stopped too. That was November of '04.

My journey was vital to helping me save my own life, and the next more important thing I needed but couldn't have was a place I felt safe in, and that was clean enough to prepare and eat my own meals. Let's just say that my sister-in-law makes Oscar Madison look like Felix Unger and I didn't feel safe making much food in her house, let alone eating it. Salads were out.

I'm moved several times and taken other frankly amazing steps to protect myself between then and now. Steps most transitioning women never need to do, I was forced to. Ever see the movie "Eraser" with the Govenator? You know where he works for witness protection and finds out witsec has been compromised? When he then has to Erase a witsec witness to protect her? That was my life for a while. Running, frightened, terrified and wanting to die.

Today, oh today was simply wonderful. I'm living somewhere my in-laws would never think to look with a totally new identity down to the last detail. Everything signed, sealed and protected by court orders and steps that don't normally happen to people unless of course they were targeted by really amazingly bad people. Today, wow, I walked a little bit, and then made myself a salad in my own home.

Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber, Red Pepper, Hot chopped up chicken, some sharp Cheddar cheese and a new Tuscan style Italian dressing. Oh dear, a girl could get used to this! Put in a movie, poured myself a glass of wine, and sat down with my salad! Woot!!!

It's only taken me four years to get here, and for at least two of them I was quite certain death would have been easier.

For a good portion, well really the entire portion of that time my journey was keeping me alive. Finally, FINALLY able to live as me? It was for a time the only thing in my life that was actually working. One step, then another, and so forth, determined and controlled by me and me alone.

Now, well I'm finally, after a lifetime of waiting, working hard, and fighting to stay alive able to eat a salad, drink a glass of wine in the comfort and safety of my own home. May sound strange to most people, but it is in ways almost as heady an experience as finally being ME.

Yeah, pathetic, salad, wine and walking. It's all very Maslow in nature, and means I'm finally building a foundation onto which I can build a new life. It's been hard won. I didn't lose everything because I transitioned... ...instead I transitioned because I had at that point NOTHING left to lose. Earl and his folks had taken everything from me, or was well on their way. That's why I'd filed for divorce despite having sworn I'd never, ever do that. Broke my heart, threatened to destroy my soul.

So what I did today may not seem like much, but for me it was a real milestone, and a huge step toward life. So I thought I'd share...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The girl next door meets the neighbors...

Today as I was working on unloading more stuff out of my car, one of the other folks who live in my building pulled into the parking lot. He was being friendly and said "Hi, how's it going?" We got to talking and he's a nice enough guy even if his name struck a chord of sheer terror and some longing in my heart. Turns out his name is Earl.

During the conversation when he said his name was Earl, he said, "Wait, don't tell me your's, I'm usually pretty good at guessing." I figured okay, let's take this horse for a ride, let's just see what he comes up with. He took a step back, looked me up and down, head to toe and said:

"Folks probably call you Sandy for short, but I'm guessing your name is something pretty and a bit longer than Sandy, maybe Sandra?"

I had to laugh, but I cut oh so lovely a picture of humanity standing there in baggy, comfortable jeans, an even bigger t-shirt that has a picture of two cows, bulls in fact, standing in a veritable sea of sheep and the caption reads "Man are we in deep sheep!" Finish that striking ensemble with some Teva sandals, and my hair pulled back into a scrunchy, somewhat moist from the summer sun and I'm just the girl next door. Yeah, the one next door who's a mess and hadn't had a shower, no bra, nothing. Oh yeah, the very same girl next door who's still doing some hair removal and hadn't shaved this morning.

Yeah, just "reeking of feminine beauty" as Donkey said in the first Shrek movie.

But, he got the gender right. I had to laugh, I said "So close, but not quite. Actually my sister's name is Sandra. My name is Sam, short for Samantha."

He was so pleased with himself. "See" he said "I was right, short name that hides a really pretty one. I'm not usually good with remembering names, but yours should be easy, especially since that was the name of that witch on the TV show all those years ago. Ah, but you are probably way to young to have any idea what I'm talking about."

When he came up for air I said "Actually, I know exactly the show you're talking about. Bewitched starting Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York, I spent my childhood wanting to grow up to be just like Samantha Stevens! I used to dream my parent's named me Samantha after the character on the show, until of course I found out I was born a whole bunch of years for the show ever aired. But thank you for the compliment! You sure know how to make a girl feel good!"

He seemed seriously shocked and said "Oh, come on, no way you're that old!" Wouldn't be the last time in the conversation he'd be shocked either. We were talking and I mentioned I was getting the car ready to take over to the shop to have the rear breaks done because I wasn't in the mood to futz with rears right now. The front's I'll do when I get it back from the shop, only take me about a half hour.

This time his face said "Oh, come on, what would a girl know about brake jobs" instead he said "You can do your own brakes?" with a similar tone of disbelief. "Let me see your hands? I find it hard to believe..." I stuck out my hand's and he studied them and said "Well don't take this the wrong way, but these do not look like the hands of a woman who's ever been near a wrench, let alone brakes or anything complex like that.

I took my hands back and put them on my hips and said simply "Well, I don't know much from stereos, be they stereotypes or any other kind but I can put my baby up on jack stands, pull the wheels, and the calipers in fifteen minutes. Then I'll pull off the old shoes, compress the calipers, install the new shoes and put it all back together in another 15 minutes. Piece of cake, though I try to stay away from that because I just look at cake and the calories go right to my hips."

"Wow, I'm impressed, you really sound like you know what you're doing there. Where'd you learn so much about cars? Forgive me, but you don't really look like a rough and tumble, tomboy type of gal. Now my sister, she can still beat the crap out of me, and probably do her share of damage in a bar brawl, but you just don't have the look you know."

Well, damn, warm my little heart there Earl you sweet talkin' devil you!

So here I am at possibly my worst, hair all wet and the rest of me kinda dirty, rumpled and frumpy, what my Dad used to say was the look of an unmade bed. I just smiled coyly and said "Well you are too kind Earl..."

We talked for about another 10 minutes or so before he went into the building and I went on with unloading the car.

But I have to be honest, it did all tickle my heart just a bit when I stopped and thought about it.

So, I haven't put much in here in the last couple days, or week really as I've been busy with my move. While I'm far from settled in or even completely unpacked, I am without question doing far better than I'd even hoped I would at this point. For the first time in almost twenty years I'm living alone, and have no-one else to answer to, or fight to keep happy. My own kitchen, fridge, bathroom, living room, bedroom and plenty of closet space. One of the closets is just a bit smaller than one of my college apartments an eternity ago, meaning of course it's a nice, big, roomy walk in closet.

It's so cool! I started moving in on the fourth and this is just a whole new life for me. I've even survived my first big crisis, that being of course that my car is out of service and it's going to be something like 600 dollars to fix it. Mind, that will still leave me to do my front brakes, but heck, that's easy.

So, I'm actually, finally living in a place of my own and frankly it's wonderful! I can decorate it the way I want, and don't have anyone to tell me what I can or cannot have, do, eat, or whatever.

Wasn't my plan, in fact it really doesn't mean anything to me, but I've once again found my way to "stealth." I really don't care who does or doesn't know about my past, after all, that is what it is, the past. But short of going door to door and outing myself and making a big deal about it, no-one is going to know. I have too many other things to do than make my past a huge issue. Far as anyone within miles knows, I'm just the widow who went through a horrible divorce. That only really came up with the landlord because I have no credit history. That's as far as it ever went. I know Cincinnati has laws against discrimination that include "trans" folk, but it never mattered in terms of my move.

So, I'm doing good...


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