Saturday, June 30, 2012

Trick And Treat

I've posted a Borgman cartoon once before, as a "Sunday funny."  I really enjoy Zits, but this is the first Saturday-friendly one I've seen and I've been reading this strip since it came out.

For those unfamiliar, the blonde kid is Jeremy.  The older folks are his parents.  The kid with all the piercings is named, um Pierce.  He's one of Jeremy's friends and one weird kid.


Friday, June 29, 2012


I stopped at my "real" home to make dinner for my son and pick up a couple of things I needed ~ part of the "bills you have to pay for living yesterday."

I also picked up a big box of shoes.  My toe is deemed "cured."  I hope to make an appointment for next week to get my back waxed, brows waxed, a manicure, and, of course, a pedicure.  And I picked up the last box with clothing in it.  It is full of the rest of my skirts and the rest of my camis.  I still have dozens of dresses at the house.  I'm not sure if there's some meaning behind that.

I also saw my EAP therapist.  We talked relationship; I brought up dressing.  I explained the care-don't care continuum.  I told her a possible outcome would be I lose Meg and we all live happily ever after.  She seemed surprised that I would even consider that.  So I explained "purging" and how it's pretty common among crossdressers.  Except this would be more than just a purge.  And there's a problem: I certainly wouldn't be the first t-girl who said "I can live without her" and was wrong.  In fact, there's an incredibly slim possibility that I would be the first t-girl who said "I can live without her" and was right.

The therapist had an excellent idea: we (the wife and I) should sit down together and decide what we both want and how to get there.

Except I need to find myself first, I think.

Yes, I definitely need to do that.

I think.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Therapy the Fourteenth

The couples therapy was difficult.  There's a scene in High Anxiety (if you haven't seen it, see it!) where someone is being kept in the violent ward of a psychiatric hospital, not because he's sick but because the criminal owners want to drain his bank account.  In this scene Harvey Korman (the evil psychiatrist) is with Mel Brooks (the new head, here to clean it up) as he interviews the patient.  The patient seems sane and normal to Mel, but every time he'd have his back turned Harvey did something to make the patient seem crazy.

I'm starting to feel that way in couples.  We sit down as a family and things seem OK, even pleasant.  Then it's just the two of us, or the two of us and the therapist, and everything's not OK.

It's difficult, because I want to maintain contact but she makes it very hard.  As I mentioned yesterday, We spent some "us" time together after therapy, but I made sure that it was on a non-relationship level.  We have always at least spoken on the phone every day, and we agreed to continue to do that, but as a "catch up" and "this is interesting" kind of level.  I will delve into what's going on inside my mind only when it's positive.

I still expect positive.  My individual therapy is today.  After that, I will visit with my son while my wife is working and I will vanish before she comes home.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Settling In

I was hoping I'd start today's post with stories of how Meg is enjoying her freedom, experimenting with looks, trying on outfits, maybe making an important "girl" discovery or two.

Instead, here it is day two of about forty-two and, other than my nightgown and underdressing, I haven't done any Meg at all.

Sunday night, I did sleep through the night ~ something I haven't done in quite a long while.

Monday morning, I considered trying on a couple of tops, but I really need the proper foundation for that and I did want to get to work.  It took me some time to figure out where things are in the kitchen.  That, hopefully, will improve.  If not, sticky notes on cabinets and drawers will help.

Monday evening, I spent back at home.  My wife is working and I needed to pick up my son, make us dinner, and spend a little time together before heading back to my overnight gig.  The good part: I got to bring a couple of more boxes.  The bad part: I didn't do any of the ambitious things I have on my schedule.  Including Meg time.  Including reflect time.  The best part: my son and I played some chess and went for a walk.  The deer are out.

It seems this is a friendly sort of neighborhood, with a neighbor randomly ringing the doorbell Sunday evening and at least one neighbor having the garage combination.  That means people can randomly enter the house.

If they do, and poke around, I Am Out.  And by "out" I don't mean out of the house.  I mean out of the closet.  Meg is everywhere.

I decided in advance I didn't want to have to lock Meg away all the time and I don't plan to do that here.  Instead, I decided to not worry about it.  If it happens, it happens.  Care/don't care.

On the other hand, I will not force the issue: if I'm relaxing in a top and skirt I will NOT be answering the door!  Unless I peek out and see two young well-dressed men.  "Hi!  And what does your religion forbid?"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not Quite 27 Dresses ~ 22 Packages

As I mentioned I unpacked 22 boxes and bags.  Yes, that seems like a lot for six weeks, but I expect to bring even more.

Here's a partial list of what came with me on Sunday:

* nighties
* bras
* videotapes.  I have a lot and I'd like to see what I want to transfer to a more durable medium or buy anew.
* camisoles, socks, panties
* dresses (2 bags, 14 total)
* epilator and razors
* hose
* socks
* makeup (huge bag)
* tops (all items from freecycle or swaps)
* boy clothes.  Four pairs of slacks, five shirts.  I do plan to bring more.

* boobs
* wigs
* "drag bag" (2 boxes)
* assorted panties, jewelry, purses, etc
* shoes
* stuff to read/do

And my computer and other items that go with it.

I had labelled boxes before I went.  I put a code on each and carried a sheet with what's inside.  I realised I had a lot of stuff so I peeked inside box B2 and saw skirts.  I thought it was my box of skirts and I decided I could get that in a few days.  Then, after I arrived, I looked at my sheet.  B2 has skirts, some jewelry and  all of my bathroom stuff.  Ah well.  I have learned that I'm very good at keeping organised, not so good at reviewing what I've done.  In some ways I expect it.  In fact, I except to do a lot of stream-of-consciousness writing while I'm here.  I do not expect to ever read any of it.

So, you may be wondering why I brought so much Meg stuff.  I expect to come home with a lot less.  I want to try on outerwear and shoes and bring home what fits/is appropriate/I think I'll wear out of the house and swap the rest.  I plan to have two bags for underwear and socks: to launder, to toss.

It's a tall order, and it's far from my primary mission.  Wish me luck.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Think This Is The Right Thing

After a false start Saturday (the owner's daughter decided to stay overnight), I left for my manager's (J) house Sunday around 4.  This worked out well, since my son was in from New York and I got to spend a little extra time with him.

It is now Sunday evening around 9pm and I am still in my civvies.  I had twenty-two boxes and bags in my car, and I forgot one important box anyway.

My goal for the rest of the evening is to hope the house cools off (it was 80 when I came in, and the thermostat was set to 79) before bedtime.  Shower, unpack, do a little "me" exploring ~ that's why I'm here, after all ~ and bed.

I trust Thalia, my muse.  As I've said before, I believe she watches over me.  I also have no idea why.  Maybe I'm still going to do something great.  Maybe I had a really bad life last time and she's making up by letting me see my kids grow up and outdo their dad.

Thalia teases.  For instance, there is a long light leading into my neighborhood, from the highway.  I miss it by a couple of seconds every time.  It can't be timing ~ it has to be her.  Now that I go a different way, to a different office, there's another key light that I miss by a second or two every time.  Now that I'm going to work from a different direction we'll see what she has planned for me.

But I believe she looks out for me and keeps me from serious harm.  This is in addition to her normal writing duties.  An example: I rear-ended a car in my old Corolla a few years ago.  The car in front pulled out and the car that was now in front of me was at a dead stop.  I could not pull on to the shoulder nor the adjacent lane.  I tried the brakes three times before I hit the car in front.  Not hard, but you know how cars crumble when the front hits something.  Mine was a mess.  Her tailpipe was dislodged; I grabbed a USB cable and re-connected it for her.  It turns out, when a mechanic replaced the brakes he didn't set them properly and they were an accident waiting to happen.  Until it did.  I might've been at an intersection where an 18 wheeler ran a light and my brakes failed.  Or worse: I awarded the car to my son when he started driving.  He might have been driving with failed brakes.  Either of these events could have caused me incredible pain.  So Thalia gave me a minor accident before something awful happened.

I do believe this.

This weekend, Thalia ensured the house was covered so I could spend time with my son.  She made my drive to my housesitting gig flawless ~ including a turn I hate because no-one seems to know what to do there.  On the way, I picked up brand new garters and four pairs of stockings as well as several scarves (all hail freecycle).  I got groceries after I settled in here.  I accidentally parked right by the elevator to the supermarket. One of Thalia's tricks is to ensure something critical happens to whatever line I get on.  I found a short self-service line and breezed through.  I needed a coaxial cable to hook up some equipment here.  I looked in various places without luck.  As I walked past the laundry room some sort of equipment came on.  I walked in to see what it was and in front of me was a box of cables... including a coaxial cable.  I shredded a fingernail and meant to get a clipper at the supermarket.  I had forgotten my box with toothbrush and clipper and tweezers and so on.  I remembered everything but the clippers.  I picked a room to make my own and it has an adjacent bath.  I looked in the cabinet: empty, except for a clipper and tweezers.

And finally, I mentioned that I hadn't changed.  Just as I sat down here, the doorbell rang.  I answer it.  It was a neighbor.  And I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.

I think Thalia is telling me I'm doing the right thing.

Funny thing about signs... you never really know what they mean, do you?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

If We Can't Laugh At Ourselves....

Well, this made me laugh.  But if I replied that way to that question, I might not be here now. :)

I posted some Arlo and Janis last February.  It's a great strip, one of the best IMO.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

And I Call Them "Civilians"

Housekeeping: tomorrow, I may have a Sunday funny, or I may have a real post because so much is going on here, or I may not have time to post anything at all.  Please stay tuned, ladies.

I irregularly label cartoons.  I'm pretty bad about keeping my collection under control, but I do try to label cartoons I can use here.  Generally, I'll name the file something like "luann1-cd" if it has a cryptic name.  The -cd tag is for the obvious.  I also have -cdish tagged onto the end of some cartoons.  They might fit a cd fantasy genre, or they might be fashion related, or have a suggestion of crossdressing.  So the cartoon with the dad saying to the little girl "how about I let you do my nails if we throw around a football later?" would go in the -cdish category.  Two women talking about a dress might get into the -cdish category.

I saw this cartoon the other day, and Sharon Rose was nice enough to send it to me as well.  I wasn't sure I'd call it "-cdish" until she sent it.  I figure, if we were both thinking that way....

click to enlarge

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Clue

I have absolutely no idea what the heck I'm doing.

Starting some time this weekend I will be housesitting for my manager.  I will also be getting a six week break so I can think and hopefully decide how I can get a derailed life back on track.

My wife doesn't think so.

I spent the time while she was at the beach trying to decide what to bring, Megwise, to the house.  On top of everything else, I do plan to be as Meggish as possible when in the house.

The first thing I noticed is, Meg has an awful lot of stuff.  I'm bring a lot, but not an awful lot.  I want to cull what I have.  I want to seriously assess every top, skirt, dress, and pair of shoes to see what works and what doesn't; what fits and what doesn't; what I feel comfortable wearing outside and what I don't.  I expect to bring back a lot less clothing than I'm bringing.  Goodwill, or the clothing swap will benefit.

I'm a bit concerned about my privacy as well.

This is a neighborhood where the neighbors all seem to know each other and what's going on.  They keep an eye on each other.  My manager said "if you hear the garage door open, don't worry.  It's probably my neighbor.  I keep his lawnmower in my garage and he comes in to borrow it back."  He also mentioned that his other daughter, who lives in Richmond, may come back for some reason or another.  He also said that neighborhood kids cut through his yard as a shortcut, and he's OK with that.

I am not ready to come out at work, so this may all be a problem.  Nonetheless, I'm bringing a lot of clothes and I'll be careful bordering on paranoia, and my trips out will be limited.  I don't expect to be doing yardwork or sitting on the rear deck in a top and skirt.

Oh... I also have a customer who lives two houses away.  I haven't been to her house in about three years, but still....

Maybe all of this is meant to encourage me to spend more time on my relationships and less time on playing dressup.  So to speak.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Therapy the Thirteenth

Someone is mistaken.  I'm getting a lot of mixed messages.

Monday, I saw an individual therapist, M.  Sorry.  I keep saying "therapist," as if she's her title.  Let me call  couples' therapist is A and my new sounding board is M.  

Pretty?  Wow.  March, 2008, one of my first solo outings
I gave M my background, what's troubling me and my marriage right now, and I told her about my wanting a six months "sabbatical" and getting six weeks poured into my lap.  Her comment: "yay!"

This is a little different than my wife's reaction.  My wife has also been heaping on the guilt by telling me how I am "abandoning" my son and this will ruin his life.  M said "well, if you just frame it as a six week housesitting trip, I don't think it'll do any damage."

(note: M suggested that my wife might be projecting the "abandoned" label on my son.  That's probably on the mark.  She feels each of her parents abandoned her, in different ways, at different times.)

That was my feeling as well, but I'm not very good at people so I try to rely on others for that.  The big problem is, I can't rely on my wife because she's a stakeholder here.  Mixed messages.

I think I understand what she feels.  I don't think she understands what I feel.  I think a break will be a literal lifesaver and a probable marriage saver.

The other interesting thing from Monday's session: after I told my tale, she asked if I was an introvert (admitted) and said maybe I can arrange some time alone inside the house, where I can recharge.  Then I said "there's one more thing you need to know" and I handed her five pictures of Meg from various venues that I brought along.  She looked at the pictures and said "I don't understand why you're showing me these."  I was thinking of how to phrase my response and she said "who is this woman?" and I said "me.  It's something I like to do."  She said "I can see why... you're gorgeous."

We talked a bit about how I have to hide at home and how I can be a bit more open while housesitting and how her time at the beach is often an outlet for me ~ for Meg ~ but not this time because of reasons I told you all yesterday.

Surprisingly, she didn't ask if I planned to transition.  Maybe she doesn't know enough to ask.  If so, that may be a problem.  She admitted to not knowing a lot about gender identity issues.  I'm hoping she'll know a bit more before my next visit (which is still about a week away).

She also said that talking about "this" (I don't think she knows what to call it) seemed to make me genuinely happy.  I didn't realise there was that big a difference in my demeanour, but I guess I'm not surprised.

One odd moment: I had told her that I have to hide all of this at home (which is why the in-house time-alone won't work well) and she said "how do you feel about hiding this?"  Well Duh.  But I put it down to therapist reflex.  "I bought $20,000 worth of cheese."  "How do you feel about spending $20,000 on cheese?"

On Tuesday I saw the couples therapist, A, alone.

I led the discussion.  I asked her point-blank what she thought of my six-week plan.  She said "I mentioned early on that maybe you need a separation to avoid a separation."  I don't remember her saying this; when I recapped with my wife, she did remember.  I told A how I felt my life and health were literally in jeopardy, and that I do understand the meaning of the word "literally."

A also agreed that framing this as "six weeks of housesitting" would be fine and not really bother our son.  She suggested a "date night" (with my wife, not her) which I had also suggested to my wife.  She was lukewarm, but she's also angry.  The thought of my behaviour angering someone make me furious [ha ha] but it's really reached a point where I have to move myself to the front of the "care" line and hope I'm forgiven when it all shakes out.

That assumes I'm also doing the right thing.  I'm not convinced.  I'm also out of ideas.

I also showed her my little stack of photos.  She knew who she was looking at; one picture was Meg and a friend and she asked who the friend was; I told her and gave her a bit of background.  I also told her that my wife got very upset when I told her I wanted to meet with Rachel for coffee last weekend.  I would not be dressed and Rachel is transitioning.  To her, I'm "having coffee with a woman" which is a big hooray! for Rachel, but kind of incomprehensible to me.

Oh... A also pronounced me "pretty" and mentioned a couple of pictures she really liked.  One accompanies this post.  Until I looked at the pictures myself, I didn't realise I was in four different states for those five photos!

Friday, we meet with A again, ostensibly to discuss telling my son about my time out.  No, I haven't told him yet, at my wife's request/demand.  She said "not before school ends so he can focus on his work" and "not before vacation so he can enjoy it" and then her plan was to keep him away until I was out of the house.  When was I supposed to tell him?  Beats me.  But she also said she's not going to do it ~ it's up to me.

Yes, she makes this easier and easier.  Yes, I am being sarcastic.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lots Going On Here

As I mentioned yesterday, two things are happening:
* my wife and son are at the beach until Thursday, and
* I'll be housesitting for six weeks starting this weekend.

There's also a third thing: I decided I needed to talk to someone on my own so for the first time ever I took advantage of our company EAP and contacted a therapist.  (EAP is "employee assistance program" and they supply limited visits with therapists or lawyers, depending on what sort of problems you have).  Our first meeting was Monday; my regular "couples" session was just me, on Tuesday.  Yes, I feel like I should be in a lot worse shape to have two therapists in back-to-back sessions.

I'll focus on my current "free days" and a bit of t-packing today. I'll cover both therapy sessions tomorrow, and talk more about the housesitting and prep on Friday.

The beach
As I also mentioned, this is usually a Meg event.  My wife takes our son(s) to the beach a couple of times each summer.  This is her vacation; she takes a friend and her son(s) and the boys entertain each other while the moms have some girl time.

I usually take one or two days off and Meg goes out.  It's usually a shopping day.  Lately, I've been less interested in shopping and more interested in doing something or meeting someone.... Someone from the community, I mean.  I'm not stepping out on my wife as Meg.

But I'm still in I-can't-wear-most-shoes mode.  I'm wearing sandals to work.  With socks, to make them a tad less noticeable (note: girl socks are thinner than boy socks.  It's kind of noticeable in sandals).  For the record, my sandals are girl sandals.

And I have nowhere special to go.  And I don't have vacation time built up.  And I need to suck my manager's brain dry before he heads to Colorado.

So my evenings are spent getting ready.

I've ripped my closet apart.  My initial thought was, bring everything Meg, but now I'm not so sure.  There's a lot of stuff, and I do have other things to do while away, in addition to playing with clothes!  First and foremost, figure out how to bring myself back to life so when I get home I'll be a better and happier spouse and father and human.

So I'm thinking, I probably have almost 50 EACH of dresses, tops, skirts.  I'll be gone for 42 days.

Should I limit myself to "likely outfits?"  Should I bring some things I know won't work or won't fit, with plans to get rid of them (a clothing swap is coming up)?  Should I bring all in the expectation that I'll shave everything well enough/close enough to wear even sleeveless outfits?

I have to choose among panties, socks, hose, shoes, tops, skirts, dresses, camis, bras....  I think for makeup and jewelry I'll bring all and have a "sorting night" when I decide what to keep/what to toss.  My jewelry is mostly junk; I don't spend a lot of money on myself.  Some of my makeup is rather old.

Here's what I'm thinking, and I'd love your input on each:
* panties: bring all.  I generally change at night, after my shower.  I can put on a "questionable" pair and if I don't like them in the morning, change and toss
* socks: bring all.  I can toss what doesn't feel right or is torn either before or after work
hose: bring nude/taupe.  No black hose or tights for the summer.  I may bring a pair of suspenders and stockings
* shoes: bring all.  Try a pair a day, for at least an hour of standing a day, and get rid (swap) of the ones that are too uncomfortable
* bras: I'm really of three minds: (a) bring 3-4 I really like only, (b) add 3-4 that are iffy, (c) bring all?
* camis: bring all.  I need to sort by "good for girl" and "good for boy" and "good for either."  Higher neck = * girl, lower neck = boy
* tops, skirts, dresses: I'm really not sure.

HELP ME!  I want to pack everything into boxes later today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Two song titles in a row, plus a reference yesterday.

But this has nothing to do with music.  It has to do with opportunity.

In my series of therapy posts, I've mentioned my need for a sabbatical.  I can't focus on what needs to be fixed when I can't sit back and see what's going on.  Lately, my wife has been trying different things and then she comes back with "I've been doing *****.  I hope you've noticed."  Well, yeah, I've noticed and it makes me more confused and that makes my anxiety worse.  It might be better if she said "Would it help if I *****?  I'm going to try that and let's see if that makes a difference."  This way isn't useful.  Yes, I've mentioned this.

A few years ago, I took six months off from my job.  I came back refreshed and with a new way of looking at my job.  I offered a possible six month "marriage sabbatical" because six months worked before and it's probably hard to get a place for a shorter timeframe.

This was not received well.  I do understand, but I am out of ideas right now.  I need time to figure out how to get my head back where it once was and, I hope, revitalise my relationship with my wife.

It is possible I'm off on a completely wrong track.  Most of the scenarios I run through in my mind do not end well.  Short term, they involved a huge drain on my savings account.  Long term, they involve me old and dying alone.

But there are a few possibly good outcomes, and, as I said, I'm out of ideas.

Then the opportunity happened.

My manager is leaving.  He is moving across the country and said he's going to take a six-week vacation there to check out the area and househunt.  He asked if I was interested in housesitting  while he was gone.

I take this as a sign.  There is a problem with signs: they're all written in a language I don't understand, or they have those universal symbols I've never seen before.  Is this the universe doing something nice for me because I had a lousy life last time around?  Or is the universe saying "I'm going to have fun with this poor schmuck."

I don't know.  But I've taken jobs that just fell into my lap and they've worked out well in general.  I've discussed this with my wife, and I explained my need tearfully last week:

I'm not in the 1%, but I'm in the top 10% in this country.  I work in a building with 5000 pretty smart people, and I'd place myself at least in the top quarter.  I have two kids who have never given me a day of trouble and none of us have ever had a serious illness.

So why am I sad all the time?

I know taking a break, even for a few weeks, will have a negative effect on my wife and my sons.  It very well may have a negative effect on me, short term and long.

But I need to try to turn off the sad.  It's becoming painful and getting to the point where I don't really care if I get up in the morning or not.

I don't know a lot about people, psychology, and such, but I do know that's not good.

This is kind of an introduction to what's going to be happening starting next week.  My wife and son are at the beach until Thursday.  In spite of the quiet here, I do not plan any Meg outings.  I expect Meg outings at the manager's house to be limited ~ I'm not really ready to come out to my manager and that's a distinct possibility.

I do expect Meg to be more out-and-about than in the past though, even if it just means I'll have my toenails painted for the next six weeks and I'll be dressed from arriving-after-work time until going-to-work time.

Stay tuned.  The adventure continues.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Gypsies In The Palace

(explanation of this little trip "on a siding" tomorrow)

Gypsies In The Palace
By Jimmy Buffett

"In days of old, when knights were bold,
And journeyed from their castles,
Trusty men were left behind,
Knights needed not the hassles.
They helped themselves to pig and peach,
And drank from King's own chalice.
Oh, it was a stirring sight
These gypsies in the palace."
"And as I told my friend Zachary Richard, when you leave home, some things never change."

"Hit it!"

So long boss, knock 'em dead, don't you worry 'bout a thing
I wish that we could come along, we'd love to hear you sing
The limo's here, your bags are packed
The list is by the phone
Me and Snake will watch your place, treat it like our own

Look at all this liquor
Look at all this food
It's only gonna go to waste
We're not really being rude
But the good stuff's in his closet, I swear he wouldn't mind
Hell we'll just shoot the lock off, I do it all the time

We're gypsies in the palace, He's left us here alone
The Order of the Sleepless Knights
Will now assume the throne
We ain't got no money, we ain't got no right
But we're gypsies in the palace, we got it all tonight

There's damsels in distress up there
And we got all this beer
We'll free them from their condos
Bring 'em over here
We'll show them his gold records
Play his music loud
We'll party just like Bubba does
We'll do the old man proud

We're gypsies in the palace, there ain't no wrong or right
We're gypsies in the palace, and a' goin' wild tonight

He's the greatest guy to work for, man he's really cool
Hey Snake this party's gettin' dull
Throw someone in the pool
Let's all take our clothes off and form a conga line
Watch out for that broken glass, hey Snake we need more wine

We're gypsies in the palace, there ain't no wrong or right
We're gypsies in the palace, and we're raisin' hell tonight

Hi there boss, what's goin' on
You say you're coming WHEN?
I'll send Snake out to pick you up tomorrow night at ten,
Everybody outta here, this joint is closin' down
We gotta find someone to clean this up
He's comin' back to town

Hi there boss we waxed your car
We raked and mowed your lawn
We couldn't find enough to do
In the short time you were gone
Man it sure is peaceful here, you've really got it all
And if we ever hit the road again, give me and Snake a call

We're gypsies in the palace, he's left us here alone
The Order of the Sleepless Knights
Will now assume the throne
We ain't got no money, we ain't got no right
But we're gypsies in the palace, we got it all tonight

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Agnes is another one of those strips that was funnier when it wasn't in the Washington Post.  I don't know what it is ~ Lio was funnier before the Post picked it up.  Brewster Rockit is good, but it was better before the Post grabbed it.  The Fusco Brothers is funnier now that the Post doesn't carry it.

I've been disappointed by Agnes for a while.  The whole premise is kind of sad ~ poverty is an overwhelming feature of the strip.

But I enjoyed this week.  Agnes decided she was going to overcome her fear of diving off the high board.  This is a recurring scenario.  This year it made me LOL.  Clicking each will enlarge them so you can laugh too.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

As Do I

Monty and the professor (the time traveling old guy) went back in time to visit the Titanic.  They tried to return to the present without changing anything but when they lost their time travel device, they decided changing history isn't as bad as they thought.

Despite their best efforts, they could not stop the Titanic from hitting the iceberg and what happened next is both predictable and well executed.  Please click to enlarge.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Toe Foo

I'm having trouble with toe puns.  Thalia obviously disapproves.

I was going to call the post "Major Surgery" except (a) it's pretty minor and (b) you might think I had something done to my major. :)

You all might have noticed that, if I can't be all Meg, I don't go out.  I have some readers and other friends who will go out partially dressed, or sans makeup or wig ~ that's not for me.  My goal is for people to look at me and (at least at first glance) see a woman.
Whether I succeed or not is a minor concern.  But I make my best effort every time.

And I like to dress up, not down.  I know I can wear jeans and a shell, but I can do that anytime.  I want to wear clothes and accessories I can't wear normally.  I could wear my everyday necklace, but I don't.

So when I realised I couldn't wear any of my girl shoes because of my unhappy toe, I skipped a once-every-four-years event.

My normal male footwear is women's New Balance sneakers.  I could have gone with maybe a long skirt and low socks and those shoes, but that's not Meg.

As I mentioned, I think Thalia did not want Meg to attend.
About that unhappy toe: last summer the foot doctor saw that one side of my big toe (the port side of the starboard foot) was ingrown.  He removed that third or so of the nail and assured me it would grow back together and I'd live happily ever after, although there was a chance the two parts would go their own separate ways.  That didn't exactly happen.
It seemed the part that's growing back is kind of still under the skin, making a hard lump.  And part of it is growing straight up, like a tooth that's growing into a tusk.  It has become painful and it has limited what I can wear.  So back to the foot doctor.
He instantly decided it was infected and gave me top of the line antibiotics and decided he'd have to go back in and "clean it up."
That was Wednesday.  Today is Friday. It is "all cleaned up" and I reluctantly took Percosets.  It hurt quite a bit.

And Meg will be cooling her heels (so to speak) for two weeks.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Therapy the Twelfth

These posts are really getting harder to write.  I know what I want to say but Thalia isn't helping me put what's inside into words.
When I started therapy, I came to realise that there are problems at home, and I observed that they're not T-related.  I wondered, if things got worse, if this would be a rare T-relationship that failed but not because of T-issues.
I also noted that there is no "not T-related."  It's always there and always big.
I just bounce from wrong to wrong to wrong.
There are problems that have nothing to do with crossdressing.  They have nothing to do with unrealised transsexualism, or unremembered sexual abuse, or my narcissism, or my being ignored by my parents as a child, any of the other nonexistant issues my wife brought up during various sessions.
I think it's really quite simple.  This could be my next wrong.  I don't know yet.
I'm doing quite well, thank you.  I'm not rich, but I make a living.  There is no serious illness in my family; never has been.  My boys are doing fine and have never been in serious trouble (I emphasise "serious").  My job is sort of stable, but even if it wasn't I probably have other opportunities waiting in the wings.
I regularly count my blessings, as corny as that sounds.
I should be happy.
And here's my problem: I'm not.  I'm sad.  I'm sad pretty much all the time.  And I don't want to be sad.
It is, as I said, simple.  I wish I knew the solution.  I think time to think would help.  I know I wrote about this a few weeks ago.  My wife still thinks that's a bad idea.
I really need time to figure this out.  Maybe a year at the top of a mountain in Tibet or somewhere would help.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sharon at Keystone ~ Part IV

The fourth and final part of what sounds like a fantastic four days in Pennsylvania.  I plan to be there next year!  See parts one, two, and three, if you missed them.

December 2009 ~ sans corset
After the shopping trip, I went back to my room to change for the evening Gala.  I wore a brown dress with a rounded, low cut neckline and shoulder straps, with side gathers (at least, I think that's what they are).  I had worn it to the TGEA Holiday Gala, but this time I had the corset on underneath.  Let me tell you, there is quite a difference.  I have sent photos of both to Meg.  Hopefully she is able to post them here for comparison.  I was wearing my long red wig, which I seem to enjoy wearing to more formal events.  And I paired the dress with some 3 1/2 inch strappy sandals by Chinese Laundry, which are more of a rust color, but close enough.  The heels are not the most comfortable to wear, but they look great and make me taller.  The things we girls do for fashion. 
Many photos were taken at the cocktail party.  I chatted briefly with Mike, who I had met at the karaoke and on the busy ride the night before.  I asked him to save a dance for me later.  We had a nice dinner.  The Burning House Band was back (they played at the last two Keystone Conferences), albeit without two of their best singers.  They were good but not as good as in the past years.  I did dance with Mike a few times.  It was just regular dancing, although I did let him twirl me around a few times.  There were only a few slow songs, and during one of them he asked me to dance again.  I politely declined.  I think it was just the song, not the company. In any event, I haven't shared this little tidbit with my wife. I don't think I crossed any inappropriate lines, and I think telling her would make more out of this than what it was, just two people having fun.  I definitely felt more feminine dancing with a straight guy.  I have danced with other guys before who were gay.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it didn't make me feel the same knowing the guy wasn't attracted to me (as a woman).  Mike clearly was, but he was a true gentleman.
2012 ~ with
Also at the Gala, I ran into Stacey from Baltimore , who I had met at a prior year's Keystone Conference.  She told me she recently started living as a woman full time.  We have some things in common, like the fact that we are both Jewish.  She says she usually wears her Star of David when she is en femme.  We both agreed that just because we are TG, that does not mean we cannot embrace our religion.  I resolved to wear my religious jewelry while out en femme.  She also wanted to get in touch with me on Facebook.  I don't have an account there as Sharon, only in my male persona.  I am concerned that Facebook is data mining and that if I create a Sharon account, one of my male friends will get a suggestion that they friend Sharon, since Sharon's email address is in my male email account's address book.  Then, if they read my posts, they could put two and two together and . . . well, lets just say I am not ready to come out to everyone just yet.  I still need to figure out how I can safely create a Facebook account for Sharon. If anyone has good advice about this, please let me know.
One last thing about the conference, and perhaps the most uplifting, is the presence of the youngest TG person I have ever seen in person. Jaden is 7 years old.  She was born male but told her parents she wants to be a girl. Her mother is letting her dress and live full time for now.  I met her mother and told her how much I admired her for allowing her child to make this choice and supporting her.  I didn't speak directly with Jaden, but I saw her getting her photos taken by the conference photographers.  She looked soooooooo cute!
The Gala ended soon after midnight.  I changed into a casual outfit and hung out in the hotel bar, not wanting the evening to end.  But it had to. I was exhausted after staying up late every night. So I turned in.  On Sunday I had brunch with Amy and some friends from TGEA before driving home.
One thing I forgot was how much wearing clip-on earrings can hurt and damage your earlobes.  I have considered having mine pierced, but haven't done so yet. My earlobes are sore and red in spots.  I have been covering this up with makeup.  I hope nobody at work notices.  No one has said anything so far, but I had long fingernails last week at work (no polish) and it would be awfully hard to miss that . . .
So, how has attending the conference changed me?  I feel more confident being out while en femme.  I have been going out for almost 10 years, but I haven't really embraced my feminine side yet.  I have made new friends, both locally here in Northern Virginia, as well as around the region.  I want to practice my female voice so that I can use it with confidence to meet new people and have interesting conversations when I am out and about.  I want to be more visible, so that the rest of society, the non-gender gifted (or, if you will, the muggles, for the Harry Potter fans among us) will realize that we are not freaks and perverts.  We are just people trying to express ourselves in accordance with how we identify ourselves on the inside.  Jeanine and the folks from Transcentral PA have established a strong presence in Harrisburg, and I think I and the other TG people in Northern Virginia, D.C. and Maryland can do the same.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sharon at Keystone ~ Part III

Once again, straight from Sharon. This post was supposed to be the last, but I decided to split it due to length. If continuity suffers, blame me.  Parts 1 and 2 are here and here.

On Saturday, I decided to schedule some "down time".  Most of the seminars were about facial feminization surgery, gender reassignment surgery, and other issue related to transition.  Instead, I had a late breakfast with my friend Amy.  I wore a casual top, jeans, and black boots.  I tucked my jeans into the boots for a different look, and I wore a different wig (sort of in between dark blond and red).  I had another friend, Natalie, help me with the pose for this photo.  What do you think of it?
Amy needed a dress for the Gala.  She had left hers at home in NJ.  Her wife was supposed to attend and bring the dress, but had to cancel at the last minute.   The saleswoman at Macy’s was friendly and helpful.  Amy found a dress she liked.  I was looking for a casual belt to pair with my jeans, because I had forgotten to pack one.  I didn't find it a Macy's, but I did find a black one that I liked at a J.C. Penney's near the hotel.  I was hoping the Macy's would have a MAC counter, but strangely it did not.  And the Sephora store at Penney's wasn't going to open until June.  Penney's started upgrading all their stores to include a Sephora in 2006, but apparently this location was one of the last to be upgraded.
I had to postpone my makeup search until the afternoon.
Back at the conference, Jeanine Ruhsam, the President of TransCentral PA, gave a seminar titled “The Quest:  Balancing the Gift of Both Genders.”  In one of my earlier posts, I alluded to the difference between crossdressers and transgender persons.  Transgender is an umbrella term which refers to a state of being in which the apparent or biological gender (usually determined at birth) does not match the person's subjective gender -- that is, the gender the person identifies as. Crossdressing is the act of wearing clothing typically associated with members of the opposite sex.

Read more: How to Understand the Difference Between Transgender, Cross-Dresser and Drag Queen
Jeanine noted that in our society, there are only two accepted genders, and there is societal pressure to force us to choose one or the other. In the past, other societies such as Native Americans, had a third gender, in this case the Berdache, which was revered for having the "gift" of being two-spirited.  Jeanine noted that many TGs feel that the only way to be happy is to have surgery and transition.  However, she suggested that there are risks associated with doing this, such as losing your job, losing a spouse, and rejection by other family and friends.  She suggested that not all TGs need to have surgery and transition to be happy. Why not embrace the gift and be both a man and a woman, by take the best qualities of both.  You can dress as man or woman on outside as needed, for example, you can be a man at work to support your family, and be a father figure at home around the kids, while dressing as a woman at other times.  At the same time, you can be both (as opposed to either/or) on the inside, thus balancing the gift of both genders.

Jeanine gave a similar presentation at last year's conference. It resonated with me then, and it still does.  I do not think I would want to transition.  It may be the right choice for some people, but not me.  I am still trying to find the right balance in my own life.  While I agree with what she said, I don't think I am able to dress as a woman (on the outside) as much as I would like.  I usually go out only once or twice a month.  What I do need to work on is to embrace the woman inside, and draw on my feminine qualities more often.
Later in the afternoon, I was joined by Steffi and Natalie for another shopping trip.  We walked from the hotel to the shopping center nearby, where they had a Target, Penney's and several other stores.  Our first stop was at Sally Beauty.  A TG person at the conference had recommended that we buy these rice paper makeup papers, which you can use to blot moisture off your face without removing too much makeup.  At the store, I noticed that they came in difference colors (Translucent, Warm Beige, and Dark Beige).  I asked the sales associate why they came in different colors.  She said it was because they deposit a small amount of color back on your face so you need to match it to your skin tone.  I bought some of those papers, some lip gloss, and nail polish.  We also browsed the Target but didn't find anything we liked.
Back at the conference I shared this story with some other people. Pebbles, a GG from Northern Virginia who was attending the conference as a friend of a TG gal, Cindy, said we didn’t need to buy that, we could just use the paper toilet seat covers from the restroom because they are free and made of the same stuff.  I will have to test out both products and report back.  The lesson I learned here is that when you ask a TG, you can get some useful advice, but when you ask a GG, you get even better advice J
We all could use a friend like Pebbles.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sharon at Keystone ~ Part II

Part 1 appeared here.  Without further ado, Sharon Rose:

Click each for full size
On Friday morning I attended a seminar about corsets which was preseted by John Warrener, the former owner of the Glamour Boutique [love Glamour Boutique ~ Meg], a store which caters to transgender persons. Up until now I have worn a waist cincher when I wanted to achieve a more feminine waistline, with only modest success.  A GG friend of mine who is a member of TGEA, the local support group in the Washington D.C. area., to which I belong, suggested that I try a corset. The seminar was helpful.  Later in the day I stopped by the merchant's room.  I browsed several tables of jewelry before trying on one of Mr. Warrener's corsets.  Luckily, he had one in my size.  I tried it on over my clothing (I was wearing a black pinstripe suit with a gold camisole) and was quite pleased with how it looked.  So I bought it, and I wore it Friday evening and Saturday evening. I think you can tell from the photo Meg has posted that it had a noticeable effect on my waistline.  Mr. Warrener also styled my dark brown wig.  I had been wearing it with the hair swept across my forehead, as the photo shows.  He suggested brushing the hair down to create bangs, and when I agreed he trimmed the hair.  This covered up my cranial ridge, which is more pronounced in a male than in a person who is born female.  Meg has posted a closeup photo showing how it looked afterwards.
Learning how to properly tighten and loosen the laces is the hard part, especially when you don't have anyone around to help you.  I had trouble with this and called Jude, one of my TG friends, who was nice enough to come up to my room to help me.
IMO, Bangs are always hot
On Friday afternoon I attended two presentations by Kathe Perez:  The Fundamentals of Your Feminine Voice:  From He to She, and Beyond the Fundamentals:  From Passable to Beautiful.  Ms. Perez is a speech-language pathologist who, as part of her practice, works with transgender persons to help feminize their voice.  She taught us about the different voice and speech characteristics, taught us some basic exercises and techniques to begin to feminize our voices, and worked to help us build our confidence.  I was quite impressed by her presentation. The two most important things I learned from her presentation were that feminizing your voice would take lots of hard work and practice, but that it is quite possible for someone born male to speak in a feminine voice.  She told us we could use musical notes to cue us to the right pitch.  Also, that it is not just a matter of pitch, but also resonance, articulation, and melodic intonation.  She demonstrated how a female voice could be so more more interesting and full of personality.  She reminded me of some other women I have known, who I have tried to model myself after.  In my male persona I can be somewhat shy and reserved at times, but with some of these tips I hope I can use my female voice to better express the woman within me.
Kathe has some useful videos on YouTube ( and has free tips on her Web site at  I haven't decided yet whether to order any of her CDs or MP3 downloads.  I definitely plan on checking out her free stuff and practicing whenever I can. If you are interested in working on your voice I would suggest that you check out her videos and Web site. There is a ton of useful information there.
After the seminars were over, I changed to my evening outfit and rode the bus into town for dinner.  I sat next to Mike, a gentleman who is a long-time friend of Janine (the President of Transcentral PA and one of the organizers of the conference).  I had met Mike briefly at the Karaoke thursday night, and I complimented him on his singing voice.  He was attending the conference as an "ally", a friend of the TG community.
There were several different restaurants to choose from.  I had a nice meal at Passage to India.  I was feeling quite stuffed due to the corset and was looking forward to some dancing.  After dinner the bus dropped us off at Stocks on Second, a restaurant and bar which had a DJ and a dance floor.  I had been to Stocks in prior years and knew it was a hip place.  There were 20 or 30 attendees from the conference there, and we pretty much took over the place.  I danced for over two hours, most of it with three attractive GGs who appeared to be in their 20s.  In drab mode I would have just stood in one spot and danced, making little eye contact, and not interacting much in a physical way with other people on the dance floor.  As Sharon, by the second day of the conference I was fully immersed in my persona, and I was feeling a bit more . . . playful.  I introduced myself to one of the ladies.  She said her name was Maria and she and her two friends had come there after work to hang out.  We smiled at each other, danced together, sang together, bumped hips, and did other stuff that girls do.  I said: "You are going to have quite a story to tell your other friends after tonight."  She said she was cool with us hanging out and all, and she and her friends were having a great time.  Maria was kind enough to take a picture of me, which Meg has posted here.  The conference also had photographers who accompanied us out for the evening, and they took several photos of us at Stocks, but I haven't had a chance to order them yet. Perhaps the high point was when the DJ played a song by the Pussycat Dolls called "Don't cha", and we all sang the refrain together: "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?"
Eventually, Maria and her friends left.  They hugged me (and some of the other TGs who had danced with them) goodbye and left, leaving me with an indelible memory of a great evening. I headed back to the hotel shortly after that.  I snapped some photos in my room using the autotimer on my camera, which I had placed strategically on the top of the flatscreen television, before eventually drifting off to sleep.