Sunday, July 29, 2012

Loki & Thor

I know ... you look at the title and think, "Oh no.  A rant about superheros or villains."

Nope.

Loki and Thor are the two feral kittens who have moved into our backyard.  Their mother, Midnight (named because of the time of day she first showed up, not because she is jet black), semi-abandoned them.  Midnight knows us and trusts us to an extent.  Her litter was bigger, but it is now down to the two ... I wonder if she knew that we would take care of her babies to the best of our abilities?  She still drops by for a bite to eat from time to time.

Over the past couple weeks the two kittens have grown and become playful.  They are so fun to watch.  Thor is very like his mother, a little tentative, but willing to get close for feedings.  He (at least we are guessing it's a he) has let me pet his back and behind his ears the last couple days.  Loki was much smaller than Thor at the beginning.  She (we think it's a she) started off coming up to me so Thor and Midnight wouldn't bully her away from the food.  She is much more trusting.  She is willing to climb up on my leg while I'm sitting and let's me pet her.

They have both added some joy to my stressful days of late.

I have watched, observed and studied women my entire life.  I've actually studied people my entire life, but women have always fascinated me.  Their mannerisms, their movements the way they speak.  I often feel depressed when I see women socializing ... I long to be amongst them, but I am not one.  I would be the awkward outsider ... I've always been the awkward outsider.

You can learn to do things through imitation and practice.

I learned to be more masculine by imitating the boys around me ... even then I wasn't very good at it.  The times that I was best at being a boy were the times I was most miserable ... miserable, irritable and disgusted with myself.

Now I am trying to un-learn those habits ... Trying to replace them with the feminine habits I long to have.

It's funny, really ... many of the mannerisms seem to come naturally.  All I needed to do was to not resist doing them ... The sexy (said with tongue firmly planted in cheek) hair flip, body language while talking and a couple others.  Other issues need a lot of work ... the graceful or elegant walk and the voice are just a couple on this list.

So yesterday I was in the pet store gathering a load of cat food.  As I enter the store a young man stood greeting the customers. "How are you tonight ma'am?  Can I help you find anything?" he said to the lady in front of me.  "Have a good evening, sir," he said to the gentleman leaving as I pushed the cart through the door.  He looked at me,  "How are you?"  Long pause accompanied by a indecisive expression.  "Can I help you find anything?"

Uncertainty ... I'll take that as a step in the right direction.

As I pushed the cart I realized that my hips were swaying a little.  Do they always sway when I walk?  I don't remember them doing this before.  I parked the cart for a moment and walked ... no hips.  I tried to move them, but likely looked more like I suffered from Parkinson's and forgot to take my meds.  I grabbed my cart and enjoyed my hip sway for the rest of the visit and all the way to the car.  Now I just have to figure out what I do differently while pushing a cart versus just walking.  Is it a posture thing?  I don't know.

I guess I actually need to develop hips and a nice butt, too ;-)

And just to see who really reads to the bottom of the page.  9 pounds down from the time I started focusing on weight loss.  No exercise yet, but my diet is better.






Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What am I thinking?!?!



I rarely go back and actually read what I blog ... I check certain posts to see what I've mentioned and whatnot, but I do not reread what I type. I don't want to rehash or second guess what I've said ... these are not planned or scripted entries and I want to keep the semi-spontaneous, derailed train of thought atmosphere.

Anyway ... I feel like I've been a bit negative lately. I've been negative in my posts and in person (but as far as I know, nobody who reads has ever met me in person). I woke up before the alarm this morning and was ruminating recent events. I decided that I need to go back to the practice of finding something positive about every day ... That's about the time my 20 pound cat (named Moose) jumped on my stomach and almost caused a major bladder eruption. This my my Moose kitty




So I eventually roll out of bed and begin to get ready. At the forefront of my mind is the consultation with the laser hair removal clinic ... I was actually considering canceling ... but that would not help anything and only delay the inevitable ... and the necessary. Then her come the what ifs ... the stupid nagging questions and doubts. Stupid things like, "What if they ask why I want my beard removed?" and "What if I don't like the people?" and other issues along the same line.

STOP IT!! All I'm doing is having a short consultation too see if I'm a good candidate for laser, then I'm bringing the information to my wife to discuss how we can afford it. And if they ask why I will be perfectly honest ... or make up some off the cuff excuse ... whichever I think of first.

Fine ... I'm set. Then my wife's cell phone rings. She sounded very upset so I ran to the bedroom .... Shit ... Her uncle passed away. She's sitting in bed crying, saying, "I just can't deal with it all anymore." I was near tears, but tried to be strong for her.

After worrying about all the stupid little things I was given a punch to the gut reminder of what is truly important. Now I was ready to cancel my appointment and call off from work.

We hugged, we talked ... she would be alright.

I will skip the story of the drive where I was stuck behind the little truck towing a big boat which was not set properly on the trailer. Part of me wanted to see the boat fall off the trailer ... I had my camera ready just in case. The bigger part of me knew that would make me late. Such conflict.

So I am at the laser clinic. The receptionist was very nice ... the nurse (the laser tech) was very nice. No questions, no funny looks. She said that most men have trouble (aka a lot of pain) in the upper lip area, so that will be done last. She suggested a numbing cream to use before treatments and suggested doing below the jaw first then from the jaw to the cheek. I actually like this because the area under the jaw is where I loathe shaving the most and some of my densest hair is under my chin. She explained the prices ... not as bad as I feared. So now I have all the information to bring home ... so I can leave, right?

Nope!! Not me. I am suddenly so eager to get this done that I set up an appointment!

For everything that was going on in my head I had a pretty productive day at work ... but mostly I was worried about my wife. I would have left very early except we had a mandatory teleconference for all staff.

After the meeting I tried calling home, but my wife didn't answer. I tried her cell phone, no answer. I did a little paperwork to get ready for tomorrow and tried again. No answer. I was starting to get a little worried. Unfortunately my manager (who I get along with very well) chose this time to send me an email questioning my training schedule for the next few days ... I'm afraid I was a little rude in my reply, but I was approaching freak out mode because I did not know what was going on at home ... Had my wife done something to herself, was she sleeping ... My imagination is great for stories but horrible for trying to reason things out.

And oh my gawd!! remind me to tell you about the horrible dream I had just before I woke up this morning.

Anyway. I'm on my way home, trying to remain calm. My cell phone rings. I think it's likely my manager wanting to talk to me about my email. It wasn't ... It was my wife.

I actually teared up when I heard her voice. I was so relieved ... and felt even better when she sounded much less distressed than this morning.

After I heard from her I called my manager and apologized. I explained the entire situation and we will talk tomorrow.

Anyway - the dream. I will warn you that it is a bit graphic. I sometimes have very realistic dreams that sometimes do not make any sense. I will try to keep this short.

*** *** ***




The Dream




A feeling of excitement filled my veins as we parked in front of the bowling alley. Scott muttered something unintelligible as we hopped out of the car and headed to the door.




"She's been doing this as long as I can remember," I said as we scanned the lanes for familiar faces.




Scott laughed. "Your mom is something else. I hope I'm that active at 86."




We saw my wife behind lane 7 and 8. She was sitting with another lady and a man at a small table.




"Hey look," Scott said. "It's Karen."




This can't be right, I was thinking. Karen is dead.




We approached the group. My mom waved from the lanes. She looked tired, but not unusual for bowling 6 games in one day. There was an awkward silence as we stood by the table.




I kissed my wife.




"Hey! There it is." I pointed to a game near the end of the house. "You still owe me a game, dude."




Scott playfully nudged me. "I owe you? That's not how I remember it."




We headed toward the arcade. Karen, my wife and the man were close behind. As we walked the atmosphere changed. The lighting became dark and the mood became very somber.




We all walked outside. At this point I realize that I have long painted fingernails and I could feel earrigns dangling from my lobes.




"That's alright. You guys go and make sure everything is alright," the man said as we approached Scott's car. He was holding something in his right hand, but I could not tell what it was.




Make sure everything's alright, I thought. What's going on? My heart started racing.




Scott, Karen, my wife and I started to climb into the car. Karen stepped back. "Oh ... I guess I'm not going." She giggled and winked.




Why is she staying with him?




We backed out of the space and headed toward the street. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Karen walking with the man. He dropped a pace behind, but continued to walk. He took the object in his hand and jabbed it at her right ankle.




Karen staggered.




I tried to speak but couldn't.




The man jabbed the object into the back of her knee. A look of terror etched into her face. She fell to the ground.




He cut her head off. He looked up and saw I was looking.




"Go, go, go!" I yelled.




Scott floored the accelerator. We flew across the street and into a grassy area. The car fishtailed as he tried to maintain control. We approached a street.




"Turn right! Turn right," I hollered. My voice was sounding more feminine and very scared.




I woke up to a pretty major anxiety attack.






Sunday, July 22, 2012

So then why do I keep shooting myself in the foot?

You would think that I would know better than to do things that are counterproductive to reaching my goals. That's a no brainer, right?

Ultimate goal - be true to myself.  How can I expect others to accept me as Tiffanie when I cannot truly be myself in front of them?  I just love being Tiffanie here online ... I'm even being more Tiff-like at home, but at work it is harder to drop the walls and allow people to see in.

I still have not been completely honest with my wife about the direction everything is going.  She is very smart and has probably figured most everything out, but I cannot truly be true to myself when I am not being truthful to those around me.

Weight loss - I've been down this road before. In fact I've been up and down it many times.  I know what to do, and more importantly what not to do.  If I lose weight I can feel more comfortable with my body, relieve some of my medical issues and show my doctor I am serious about wanting to make changes ... which in turn will hopefully help him decide to put me on hormones.

So why then do I throw myself into the pool of potato chips and cookies when I start to think about the benefits of weight loss?  There is nothing but good that can come from this, but I shoot myself in the foot with my food choices and my lack of exercise regiment.

I just seem to have this recurring mental block that won't allow me to pursue goals beyond a certain point.  It is frustrating.

I know this sounds like just a bunch of bellyaching on my part ... well it is, but .... When I am online and I see  so many transwomen working so hard to reach their goal ... the sacrifices and troubles they've endured and the tremendous progress they have achieved and I am sitting at home, overweight and out of shape it just makes me realize I should be doing so much more.

Sorry for the horrible run-on sentence.

So today a wonderful lady took her time to answer some skin care and makeup questions I had (Thank you Zoe).  I am very excited about this and am looking forward to trying out her advice ... but will I?  I hope so.

Maybe I'm just a little down ... or just being down on myself today, but I feel like I desperately need to change the way I do things before I can change who I am.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Transition

According to dictionary.com:

transition  (trænˈzɪʃən) 
— n
1.change or passage from one state or stage to another
2.the period of time during which something changes from onestate or stage to another

Origin:
1545–55;  < Latin trānsitiōn-  (stem of trānsitiō a going across,


So really ... who exactly reads my blog?  I mean, seriously ... I am about as interesting as that giant tub of cafeteria pudding at the all you can eat joint in town.   


After many weeks of hectic, unpredictable, frustrating emotional upheaval I think I'm in for a few weeks of relative calm before the wind-sprint that is known as the school year start up.  My feet and knees are almost unbearable, but my shoe inserts should be here by the weekend ... hopefully the pain will be eased and I will be able to get back to something resembling exercise.


It's funny.  I feel like I have made no progress toward my transition ... and the truth is I am inching forward rather than taking confident strides ... I'm not confident.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing. Am I truly destined to be female?  Will I regret pursuing my true self so late in life?  Will I regret waiting so long? I want to make so much more progress, yet I am far too tentative.


So I looked at my driver's license the other day for the first time in a while ... I have changed some.  I've changed enough  for people to do a double or triple take when they check my ID ... but I still look way to masculine.  I hate my 5 o'clock shadow ... the stubble that is so blatantly obvious ... and I am so tired of shaving.


Solution - Electrolysis


Problem - I'm a wuss.  I'm scared.  But I saw the electrologist ... I like her.  She is honest, straight forward and suggested laser because I have dark hair and light skin.


OK ... So all I have to do is contact the laser center.


Problem - I'm a wuss.  I'm scared.  But I called the center today.  I am sure they are busy and can't see me for a few weeks ... "Tuesday?  This Tuesday?  Ummm ... Sure, I can do that."


Shit!  I'm actually doing this.  Or is it Yay!  I'm actually doing this.


I don't know, but I'm nervous.


So am I in transition?  I think I'm like the 2 feral kittens we have in our yard.  They start in their safe spot ... under a car, behind the shed, whatever ... they sneak out a bit at a time.  They want to get to the avocado tree half way across the yard, but they aren't brave enough to just run over there.  So they sneak, and sneak and soon they are well out in the open and unprotected.  They realize that they are in the open so they run back to the safe place ... they don't realize that they were half way there and they could have run to the tree just as easily.


I feel the need to run back to safety.  I must resist because I know I am closer to my goal than I think, but I am out in the open and unprotected, and I'm scared




Monday, July 16, 2012

Not a lot to say

Short of bemoaning all the tiny things that plague my daily existence such as work, family, lack of money and a few other things, I don't feel I have a lot to say.


I still have not called for a consultation with the laser hair removal place because I'm just a chicken.  I mean, let's forget the pain and the finances for a moment ... if the beard goes away, if there is no more shadow or stubble then Tiffanie becomes much more apparent or visible to everyone.


But isn't that what I want?? ... ... ... Yes, but I'm scared to actually do it.  What if somebody guesses what I'm doing before I'm ready to tell them?  What if I actually pass as a female?  I've already been "ma'amed" and "missed" ... this might actually make more people see the female hiding behind my frightened eyes.  But it is what I want ... but not just yet ... I think ... or maybe the sooner the better ... I just don't know.


The conflict continues ...


I am a very amateur photographer by hobby as well as an extremely novice writer of poetry and short stories.  At one point both writing and photography were outlets for my imagination.  I still write from time to time ... and still love photography, but with my most recent emotional funk I have found it difficult to do either on a regular basis.  Rather than relive another flashback, I will post a story from my archives.  Most are very short stories (750 words or less) or poems.  I hope you enjoy it ...


*** *** ***


Carrots and a Class Reunion

Snap … crunch, crunch, crunch. Jen twisted the remaining chunk of the carrot stick between her fingers. Crunch, crunch. “I am totally sick of these things.” Shards of carrot shrapnel bounced about the table.

“So, why are you doing this?” Brianna drizzled ketchup over her basket of fries.

“Hello Bri,” Jen snapped. “Remember my five year class reunion?” She popped another vegetable morsel into her mouth. “I am so going to wear my skinny jeans.” Crunch, crunch.

“The ones in your closet?” The young friend glanced at Jennifer’s waist and hips. “Uh-huh … And when is this reunion?”

“Three days.” 

Bri rolled her eyes. “Fine. You eat your rabbit food.” She flicked a carrot splinter across the table at her roommate. “I’ll finish off the Haagen-Dazs.” A smirk spread across her face. “You know eating a lot of those things can turn your skin orange.”

Jen grasped her curly blond locks as she attempted to muffle a scream. 

“Have you even tried them on lately?”

Jen huffed, “No.” She tossed her remaining vegetable chunk onto her plate. “But I know they’ll fit.”

“Oh … this could be interesting.” Brianna rested her chin on her hand. “How sure are you?”

Jennifer sat in silence for a moment. “If they fit you’ll save the ice cream until after my get-together and we split it.” She grinned. “Deal?”

“And if they don’t?” Bri drummed her fingers on the tabletop.

Jen just stared.

“How ‘bout if they don’t fit, you give them to me?” Brianna laughed.

“Oh … no way,” Jen said. “You’re not getting my jeans.”

The two young ladies marched down the short corridor to Jennifer’s bedroom.

Jen sat on the edge of her bed, sliding her legs into the pants. She hopped onto the floor, tugging frantically as she inched the jeans over her hips. “See … no problem.” She smiled.

Brianna gawked for a moment. “Um, you haven’t zipped them up?”

“Well …” Jen squirmed, tugging at the zipper.

Brianna giggled.

“What’s so funny?” Jen grunted. She bounced around in a rhythmic manner, still yanking on the stubborn fastener. “I can get this…”

“Jen, don’t hurt yourself.”

Zzzzzip.

The zipper pulled up. Jen’s hand slipped off the tab, shooting up and smacking her in the forehead. “Oof.” She fell backward onto the bed, her legs nearly rigid from the tautness of the pants.

“Oh my gosh … Jen.”

“See, Bri?’’ Jen slid back to a standing position. “Told you they still fit.”

“Very nice, but you still haven’t fastened the waist.” Brianna snorted, trying not to laugh.

Jen grabbed the waistband and pulled the ends. “I’m telling you …” Her eyes bulged as she released a pathetic squeak.

“Maybe if you hold your breath …” Brianna chuckled.

“I am.” Jen’s squeaking words were barely audible. She fell back on the bed again.

Brianna burst into outright laughter.

Her roommate groaned as she sucked in her stomach. “I think I got it.”

Snap.

“See … I told you they would fit.” 

“How could I have doubted you?” Brianna rolled her eyes. “And you look absolutely fabulous.” She turned and walked out of the room, snickering all the way down the hall.

“I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces.” Jen smiled. “Hey, um … Bri,” she called to her friend. “Can you help me stand up now?”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Learning to appreciate my elders

My wife and I went for an early dinner last night.  While paying to enter the salad bar (part of my commitment to eat more healthy ... of course as I type this I have a small container of candy corn within my reach) ... anyway, we were paying to get in when an elderly man walked back toward the register.  "Excuse me girls, I forgot to grab some napkins."


I grinned.  I love cataracts ;-)


My hair was down and I was wearing a purple zebra striped top, but my 5 o'clock shadow was horribly obvious.


A little later I was in the soup, pasta and bread area ... also know as the gathering for the rude and oblivious, but it wasn't too crowded yesterday.  I was standing back waiting for an employee to wipe the counter ... the kid was trying to clean up somebody's mess and didn't look too happy.  As I waited another older man almost bumped into me.  "Oh .. excuse me miss."


The employee looked at me then at the old man then back to me.  I smiled and winked at the kid ... he hurriedly finished his job and walked off.


Even though I haven't done anything specific or intentional to move toward my goal, I've managed to lose about 5 pounds in the last week ... still way too many to go, but it's a start.  Many of my issues intertwine, but my weight seems to be connected to about all of them.  I do not want to focus on being fat and say it is the root of all evils, but if I could just drop a few pounds I think it would have a positive impact on many things ... even my wardrobe :-)


I had a consult with an electrologist ... she recommends doing laser to thin and eliminate most of the hair the using electrolysis to finish the job.  I like her and trust her ... the fact that she does not offer laser and is not affiliated with the laser center makes me feel better.  I don't have the money right now, but hopefully soon ... I will still call for a consultation with the laser clinic ... just ... well ... I'm a wimp.  I'm afraid it will hurt.


On a totally different note, my manager told me yesterday that she wants to groom me to take her place when she retires in a couple years.  I need to learn the budget and learn better time management and prioritize things and ... and ... and I am honored to even be considered for the spot.  I think it adds a bit of pressure that I will be transitioning to female at the same time I'm preparing for a manager spot.


Here are the feral kitties who have been hanging around the house the past few weeks



Sunday, July 8, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly.

I truly believe that much of life is what you make of it.  I am not going to recite the serenity prayer, nor will I discuss Zen philosophies involving flowing water and a rock, the lemons to lemonade thoughts or any other sentimental bull crap that suggests we must always make something good out of a bad situation.

The truth of the matter is some situations suck and there isn't anything you can do.

This weekend had all the potential of dynamite keg on an open flame ...

In the long run everything went pretty well.

I was able to avoid most of the stresses and whining by removing myself to my room and either listening to music or playing on the computer ... so I was not a part of the majority of the conversations.

I think maybe my biggest disappointment of the weekend was having nobody tell me "thank you" for barbecuing the dinner last night.  I had 1 compliment because the pork was good last night and another one today, but no thank yous.

The weekend did turn out to be very nice.  My nephew and niece announced they are expecting a baby.  My other nephew got his new car.  I was able to watch my UFC event without being disturbed too much. My brother actually talked to me like I am human rather than some sort of lesser being (although I still think he is trying to gather information on my clothing choices, he just doesn't have the guts to ask).

I did not dress overly feminine, but I was a bit past unisex with my clothing choices ... nobody seemed to notice or care.  I was not the care-free joking person I was at my company meeting ... I was a bit more guarded, but I was also a bit more stressed.  I think I did alright.

I am happy the weekend went well, but even happier that everyone is gone.  Tomorrow is back to work ... bummer.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Go ahead ... make my day

Date - June 2011

One beautiful thing about running, walking, cycling or other activity is you have a lot of time to yourself ... time to think.

I have set some pretty lofty goals for myself over the years ... I don't consider finishing a century (100 mile bike ride) or a marathon (26.2 miles of running or walking) to be terribly out of my capabilities.  I completed the century in 2005.  Then I started training for a marathon ... I was building distance and speed at a rate that would put me in the 5+ hour range for a full marathon ... ... Then I tweaked my Achilles tendon ... No Marathon.  It took almost 9 months to get back to walking without pain let alone running.

Last year I was finally to do some distance again ... so I started training again.  About 8 weeks before the event I hurt my right knee ... no serious injury, just chondromlalacia ... I was too close. I kept training ... then I hurt my left knee.  This was a little more severe, but I wouldn't know it for 3 months ... I tore my meniscus.

I decided to drop to the half marathon and walk the uphill portions.  I also wore some pretty heavy duty knee supports and kept a couple vicodine, advil and other pain related accessories just in case things went horribly wrong.

As I approached the finish line the crowd was cheering me on.  There were thousands of entrants, but I seemed to be pretty much alone as I entered the finish chute ... over the loud speakers they started playing Aerosmith "Dude looks like a lady."  I laughed ... what a horrible coincidence.  I grabbed the finisher's medal and wanted to kiss it ... at the same time I wanted to throw it as far as I could.  On the one hand it represents a level of toughness and inner determination that many do not have ... on the other hand it represents yet another goal in my life I was not able achieve.

I think this may have been the recent event that makes transitioning suddenly so important.  I know I want to ... I know it is what I am supposed to do ... and if I don't act now I may not have a chance later in life.

I will lose weight ... I will get back in shape ... I will transition ... and I will finish a full marathon ... I just don't know if Tiffanie will cross the line or if my alter ego will.

*** *** ***

Emotionally, mentally and spiritually I am having a bit of a rough road lately.  There are so many things going on in my life, at work, at home ... just no escape.  I know these situations will pass and there will eventually be an upside to this downside.

Very recently, feeling down I was posting many funny pics on my other Facebook page.  First off I was disappointed because almost nobody commented on any of the pictures.  After one of the posts a Christian friend felt it necessary to send me a private message and reprimand me because the page from which the picture came from contained an offensive word ... Really?  You can't enjoy the humor because the idiot that runs the page used an offensive word?  How about this ... hide the story and leave me alone.

One of the upcoming issues is the annual invasion of family members to celebrate the 4th of July ... This actually started as a family reunion of sorts where my siblings would get together and the young cousins would play.  Everybody would chip in what they could for food, and we all had fun playing with the kids ... Of course recent versions of this tradition are a bit different.

I am just tired of the same complaining, the same stories, the same not so discrete "I am worth more ... I have accomplished more ..." comments.  I will likely stay in my bedroom except the time that is necessary to cook the pork ... which is a tradition I accidentally started years ago.  Probably 10 or more years ago my wife and I bought a pork butt (pork shoulder, but the label says "pork butt") because it was a huge piece of meat for very little money.  Now every year I cook the pork and everyone looks forward to my butt.

Today my wife and I went to a local big warehouse store to pick my butt.  I hate these stores.  The people are rude and everyone seems to be in the way at all times.  We picked up the essentials, including the pork butt and headed to the front to wait in line ... and it was a long line.

After a few minutes a manager saw that we only had a few items and asked us to head to the photo department to check out.  The people in line behind us only had a few items as well and the manager to them to "follow the ladies to the photo department."

Boy, talk about turning a day around.  Somebody standing within 4 feet of me called me a lady.  I giggled and grinned until we were out of the store.  My wife and I celebrated with a vanilla shake ... I'll start losing weight tomorrow.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And on different note ...

Not a lot to say today.  Some of this I've mentioned on Facebook ... I'll just give a little more detail here.

Friday - I stay home from work to take care of a few issues, go to a podiatrist appointment and spend an extra day with my wife :-)  My niece decided to tag along for the ride, which was perfectly alright with me ... another girls' day out.

I was wearing a mint green, v-neck top with matching stud earrings.  I shaved in the morning, but I have such dark facial hair the shadow is always visible ... or to put it differently, I don't look feminine :-(

The doctor's appointment was a bit frustrating.  A $40 co-pay to hear him say there isn't anything we can do to stop my foot from hurting, but if I come back in 6 weeks we'll talk about making orthotics which my insurance doesn't cover.

To make the day more stressful, my wife received a text message stating that my brother and three sons were going to camp out in our back yard.

Shit!

We decided to go to a salad bar place for lunch.  I was stacking the empty trays when an employee walked by and said, "I'll take those ma'am."

Did she call me ma'am?  OK, she didn't see my face too well ... the ponytail threw her off a bit ... it was a fluke

We all went to a department store.  My foot was really starting to hurt so I wasn't in the mood for a lot of shopping, but we were looking for a few specific things.  After we checked out with our 4 or 5 things I was returning the cart to its proper spot.  I heard a voice say, "I'll take that ma'am."  I didn't pay any attention and kept walking.  Now a bit closer I hear the same voice, "I'll take that cart, ma'am."

I stopped and was surprised to see a hand grabbing the cart I was pushing ... but she saw my face and was pretty close to me.  I was baffled ... I don't think I look female, feminine or anything close ... do I?

I was sooo happy.  It really made my day.

Friday night my wife, my niece and I went to see The Avengers.  It was fun ... it was a valid reason to get out of the house after my brother and one nephew arrived.  We have had way too many visitors over too short of a period.  I need a vacation from my family.

Saturday I wake up.  I'm still debating how I should dress and what earrings I should wear.  It didn't take me long to decide to go as fem as I've been (other than a couple Halloween costumes).  Nothing flamboyant ... nothing flowery or frilly ... just a black top with some texture or design and a pair of small dangling earrings.  I added a spray of my wife's body spray for a hint of fragrance.

My brother and nephew glanced, looked away then looked again ... no comments, though it seemed my brother was not horribly happy.

Mission Accomplished.

Really, the only downside to Saturday was my brother and his son wanting to shoot air-soft guns ... I'll keep the 7 page rant to a minimum, but I must give a little background.  My brother's family over the years have broken 2 of our weed whackers, a hedge trimmer and damaged a $400 lawn mower while "helping out."  The help is appreciated, but ... They have damaged many other smaller items while just messing around.  Have we asked them to repay for any of these items?  No, because we understand shit happens.

After my brother damaged my CO2 pellet gun (which we were able to fix), my wife went to look for some targets so they would have something to shoot at.  while doing this she bumped a table causing one of my nephew's friend's guns to fall on the floor and a piece to break off ...  but don't worry ... My brother found one on Amazon that we could buy.

Did I mention that I need a vacation from my family?

In the long run my son, my wife and I went to lunch and had a great time ... sushi ... mmmm.  I can't say "I felt comfortable" wearing what I wore because the truth is I didn't even think about it.  I don't think I got any strange looks, or if I did I didn't notice them.

After lunch my wife and I went shopping.  We went to a less crowded where the staff actually greets you.  As we walked through the door the salesman walked up and asked, "How can I help you ladies?"

I grinned ear to ear.

I don't think the poor guy realized anything until we were right beside him ... then my wife started laughing.  It was really funny to watch the confusion slowly consume his expression.

At the next store I told her that I couldn't believe he made the mistake.  I said, "If the femininity scale were rated from 0 to 10 I'm probably about a 2."

She shook her head and said, "Your higher on that scae than you think.  Especially with dangly earrings."

I was dumbfounded.

Women have this natural elegance ... this simple grace and flow to everything they do.  I sorely lack these attributes.

So, if you've read this far you're probably saying, "How is this different than other posts?"

Well ... It hasn't been.

About a year ago I was in much better shape ... overweight but in shape.  I completed a half marathon.  In the process I overly tweaked my knees ... and this is likely the beginning of my current foot problems.  Since then I cannot seem to be able to work out ... no walking, definitely no running, no spin class or biking.  Everything seems to aggravate my foot and knees.

Over the past year I've gained almost 60 pounds.  This has affected my blood pressure, my depression, my insomnia ... and the list goes on.  I know I must get my weight and health issues under control before I can even consider discussing hormones with my doctor.

I could go swimming, but that would require going to the gym (yes lame excuse).  Swimming is mainly an arm exercise, but I have never been comfortable wearing swimming trunks (and never speedos) in front of other people ... I'm tempted to find a lady's one piece bathing suit, but ... ... I don't think it will fit properly ... and I will feel horribly self conscious.

I am planning on setting up my total gym and working on toning and strengthening what muscle groups I can without hurting my knees and feet.

Maybe every week or two I will update on my weight loss progress.  Being a lady, I will not admit to my actual weight, but I will tell you if I am making progress :-)