Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Blessing of The Little Dog

DOG.  Great dog needs a good home.  Med. sized mixed breed, very playful, great personality, full of love.  We already have 3 dogs, our home is full.  Please open your hearts and home.  Call...

                                                      The Little Dog
                                                         I will always miss and love her

So this is how the story ends.  The dog that I have called the Imp here on the blog, and we called the Little Dog here at home finally found her forever home when someone called and responded to the newspaper ad above.  For all the problems she caused and the bad press I gave her here you think that I would be celebrating but its been an emotional couple of days since giving her away Monday, and a very hard time for me.  In spite of all the devastation she wreaked during her ~ month here at my home I have to admit that dog is a very special organism and she had wormed her way into a corner of my heart.  The fact is that that dog had more personality than almost any animal I have ever encountered and I realize that something like her does not come along every day.  I have beaten myself up mentally the last couple of days knowing that I let a very special being slip through my fingers but I am comforted by the fact that I found her a great home (I hope) and the knowledge that in reality it would have been very hard to keep her here.

The following an approximate tally of the items destroyed or damaged by what I was calling the Imp but whom I will remember forever as the "Little Dog".  I never wanted to give her a name, sometimes I would call her guest, because if I did name her I would likely get too attached to her.  That almost happened anyway and my heart is treating our parting as a death although I am sure it is the best thing for her, me, my wife and our dogs.

2 Levolor blinds (total value $75), one pair of high heels ($40), one canister of Make Up Forever foundation ($42 plus a trip to Raleigh to replace it), 4-5 seat cushions ($12 each), 4 dog pads ($10 each),  2 make up brushes ($30 total), 1 dog brush ($5), one comb ($1), 1 leash ($5), 2 pair reading glasses ($2), one broken window (yet to be replaced, value undetermined).  That's a basic list, just what pops into my head right now and I am sure I will remember more things that were chewed up or destroyed.  The window is the bottom half of a double pane window in my sunroom that was previously cracked when my lawnmower threw a rock into it.  All she did was break up the outer pane that was cracked when she would paw at it trying to get into the big house at night.  There was also blood on the window where she tried so hard to get in.  I honestly believe all her "tricks and pranks" were her way of communicating with me, trying to win me over, trying to get into my heart like she had tried to get into the house where I sleep.  A lot of it was harmless and not really destructive.  Every day for awhile she would turn over and go through the trash can, until I started locking it in the bathroom.  She got into the feed bin a couple of times and turned it over and I had to move it to the bathroom also.  She would also move things, like take a shoe and place it outside the door.  My Buddy dog did the same thing when he was a stray and just taking up with us.  An example is last Wednesday when I was getting ready to go to the doctor.  I was in the bathroom doing my makeup and I had a cooler ready with drinks for the day and on top of that a pair of tennis shoes.  I was wearing flip flops but I was bringing tennis shoes in case I wanted to do a lot of walking somewhere.  I came out of the bathroom and one of the tennis shoes was gone.  It was right outside the door where everything else moved had been deposited and she she was creeping away from me giving me that look.

After I dropped the Little Dog off at her new home I was driving and I barely made it out of the driveway before I started crying.  My wife was sort of surprised by my reaction, she reminded me that less than a couple weeks ago I was chasing her around the yard with a broom (the night she "ate" my makeup).  I made it down the road to a store and pulled over.  She was going to take over driving but she hadn't brought her glasses so I got my composure then drove home.  I thought I had put it behind me after that and just felt sort of numb the rest of the night.  I woke up early the next morning and couldn't go back to sleep, very sad with a sense of loss.  My heart was treating this like a death.  My mission that day was to reclaim the guest house and do a good clean up.  Everything had stayed a mess while she was here and it was impossible to keep clean.  Once I was sitting here on my computer and she came in literally black on all her legs and her normally white, brown face was black with soil where she had been digging.  Needless to say the floors stayed dirty but when she came back in again she was cleaned off.  She would actually wash off in the dog water bowls outside, whether that was intentional or not I will never know.  The fact is as much of a nuisance as she was to me and as hard as I tried not to, at least a part of me fell for her and I didn't realize it until she was gone.

A lady responded to my ad and it turns out she lives outside the city in a nice little brick home and had a fenced in yard.  She said she had a couple of dogs but her 14 year old son wanted a dog and this dog would be for him.  That seemed like a good fit because the history of the Little Dog is that my wife and her friend picked her up at lunch walking down the road.  I posted fliers in the area she was found and a boy had called me saying it was his dog.  We had the dog 2 days at that point and I was not attached at all to her yet so I was thrilled.  When I asked him to put his parents on the phone he gave the phone to his grandmother who told me they couldn't keep the dog.  Apparently the people living across the street had moved out and left the dog behind.  The little boy was trying to claim it but she said they couldn't keep the dog and that if they could this dog was too big.  I will say that we called her the Little Dog and she was small/medium when she arrived but she grew quite a bit in the month we had her.  I don't know how big she will get but I doubt she will retain the name Little Dog. 

So after a week my original "found dog" ad expired in the paper and we started thinking about keeping her.  At some point we decided we couldn't keep her, I don't know if it was all the havoc she reeked or just our realization that keeping a fourth animal was too much right now.  Also I had to take into consideration that everything is changing here mostly because of my transition.  I don't know where things will turn out as far as where I will be living in a year or two or if my wife and I will continue living together much longer.  We tried to find someone to take her in and I refused to take her to the pound where she would be killed if she didn't get adapted right away.  Finally I placed the "free to a good home" ad from above.  A lady called me Sunday evening expressing interest in the dog and I agreed to bring her out to her home the next afternoon.  Monday morning I held a meeting with my 2 dogs, Buddy and Night, and we all decided if the situation was right we should give her away.  Buddy has a big personality himself and requires a lot of attention.  The Little Dog always tried to get in between me and him when he was getting rubbed and he would growl at her.  Nightingale is much more quiet and introverted, mysterious and fragile like me.  She had bonded the most with the Little Dog but I could tell that my dogs had accepted her as more of a guest and not a new member of the pack.  So Monday afternoon we loaded the Little Dog in the car and drove out to the ladies house.  The yard is very well kept and there is a nice fenced in back yard.  The house is in the country but it sits on a busy 2 lane highway with cars speeding by so I was happy about the fence.  The boy was in the yard as well as 2 other kids, they are her grandkids and he is her son.  He smiled when I brought the dog out and I felt good about the situation.  The children took turns walking her on a leash and they decided that they would keep her and we decided it was a good home.  I should be very happy that I was able to match this great dog up with a good home. 

The next day when I was cleaning all the mess up, namely a string of Christmas tree lights that had been chewed up all over the storage room (add that to the list), I really lost it and I had maybe the hardest hour emotionally I can remember having.  Maybe that can be chalked up the hormones and changing dosage but I had the feeling that the dog had been sent to me for a reason and I had let her slip away.  She was an amazing animal, so full of personality and life and I really think with time and training I could have broken her of her destructive habits.  All she wanted was love and thanks to me she found it.  In retrospect I do think the Little Dog was sent to me for a reason.  I served as an intermediary between her lost home and her new forever home where she will be making children happy.  Perhaps the real lesson I need to take from this whole sorted experience is that I cannot hold on to everything that comes my way.  Sometimes I need to let go, sometimes that is best for all involved.  Maybe this is symbolic of my need to let my wife go who has been with me in some form over half my life even though we do not exist as husband and wife.  When I was having my meltdown crying on the couch Tuesday she asked me if I would react like that when she left and in my mind I thought no, I would be celebratory, but I am sure that will come with pain too.  I have always fixated on animals almost more than humans and sometimes I have felt they understand me more.  The fact is if left to my own I would be like Elly May Clampett from the old show the * Beverly Hillbillies and keep every critter that comes along.  Sometimes we have to let go, and maybe that is the lesson I need to take from this whole experience.


pictures of her

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Curse of The Imp

Last Saturday, July 14, was the Carolina Meeting Place party at the hotel in downtown Raleigh.  This is a yahoo based group and it bills itself as being open to cd/tv/ts/bi/swingers/straight/couples/gays/lesbians but it is mostly cd/tv/ts as well as spouses, admirers and supporters.  It is a special group to me personally because I met my boyfriend Mitchell through this group, as well as some other friends I hang out with outside the parties.  Also when I was new to being out everyone in this group was so friendly and encouraging to me, they really make you feel comfortable.  The parties themselves are just a big gathering in a hotel bar.  Some of the crowd is wild and will have their own wild parties in their hotel rooms but the party in the bar is just friends socializing and of course alcohol is served for those that want it.  There are always new people coming out and I don't get a chance to meet everyone each time anyway so I always meet new people and see people I haven't seen in awhile.  I have only been going a couple of years myself so I am relatively new compared to some of the "old timers", lol.  The group's de facto leader, the charismatic Candi, was celebrating her 50th birthday last weekend so there was a big turn out and they even had a "pre party" the night before.  Mitchell had us a room booked at the hotel for Saturday night.

We had 100 degree temperatures again last weekend so I wanted to wait until I got to the hotel, and close to the time of the party, to do my makeup and get ready.  I left mid afternoon for the hour's drive and Mitchell had already checked in and was waiting for me when I got there.  This was my first chance to use my new luggage and I love it, its so cute and such an upgrade from what I had been using.  We were able to hang out for awhile in the room talk and eat some subs for supper so we wouldn't have to eat at the crowded party that started at 7:30.  About 6 pm I started to get ready and I removed the light make up I had on and got ready to put on primer and liquid foundation.  I blend two shades of foundation to match my skin tone and  I am able to match almost anyone's shade perfectly by personalizing a blend just for them.  Anyway it looks like The Curse of The Imp had followed me to Raleigh because I only had one of my Make Up Forever foundation shades with me!  I had two bottles but they were both the same shade.  Three days prior I had to make a special trip to Raleigh just to get this foundation and now I was going to have to go back to Sephora at the mall and get more.  My only other options were to use the darker shade which would not have looked right or to use my powder foundation but it would have been to light for the night look I was going for.

So I threw on a little make up and ran off to the mall (en femme but no wig) for the second time in three days to get this one foundation for the party.  If the "Imp" dog had not chewed up my original bottle it would still have been in my makeup case and there would be problem.  But, oh well, it was my mistake so Mitchell gave me some money to go the store and I took off for the mall.  Saturday evening and the big mall was crowded of course so it took a bit of time to get a park. Once inside  I headed straight to Sephora and got my HD make up and went to check out.  This is an awesome and Fun store but I was on a mission so no lingering tonight.  The girl at the checkout actually recognized me from previous visits right away even though she had never seen me without my wig and I was impressed with that, she said I looked great.   She was sporting some really glamorous eye makeup and if I had known I had to do all this I would have budgeted enough time for her to do my eyes for the party.  I got back to the room about 7 and it was close to 9 before we got up to the 19th floor bar where the parties are held.  It was stressful getting ready and running around but at least I didn't have to compromise my look and it feels great to walk into a room with my man on my arm:)

The party itself is almost a blur but it was a great time.  Its not a blur because I drank some beer but its just moving around a lot and talking to a lot of different people and it blurs together and goes by fast.  I don't know what the count was but we had close to 40 girls there and a good crowd overall.  I never liked this kind of social situations as a guy.  Not being comfortable with myself I was even less comfortable around other people.  I am still not the social animal that someone like like Candi is, as she will befriend everyone in the room and parking lot also :) , but I am at least functioning in a social situation and that is fairly new to me so I am learning.  Its weird to be my age and having to learn basic social skills but they never mattered before so I never cared to pick them up.  This group does a good job of getting new girls of all ages to come out, sometimes for the first time, so I would like to give them some credit for my development as well as being there myself to be encouraging to others.  We have some very part time girls there, some of whom even bring bring wives, some full time girls and a lot in various stages of transition.  Its a mix that works very well there and the only real divide seems to be in the younger versus older crowd and that's to be expected everywhere I guess.  I will say all the girls that come out try to give their best presentation and they a great looking and fun group of girlfriends.

After the parties a lot of the girls will break into smaller groups and head out to the other clubs, restaurants and bars downtown.  This party ran a little later than most, until almost 1am I believe, so we went back to the room and retired for the night but didn't really stay up late.  The next morning we woke up about 8:15 and we had a late check out time of 2 pm so we stayed in bed until almost noon, a great Sunday morning:)  When we got up to take a shower I noticed one of my stud ear rings was not in my ear.  Had The Curse of The Imp returned?  I have been a fanatic about keeping something in my ears since  I had them pierced and I had only been 3 or 4 hours without ear rings a few times in the 6 months since they were pierced.  I was nervous that the hole had grown back together but maybe they have healed good enough by now because I was able to get one of my larger rings in the hole and everything was ok.  We looked and looked and found the backing to the ear ring but not the post so here was something else I had buy.  Its hard to blame this one on the dog (Imp) but I will anyway.   The Curse of The Imp got in its last laugh when we got out to the cars after checking out and I could not find my cell phone.  We went back up to the room which was open so we looked there and walked the halls looking for the maid. The front desk was no help but I went back through my luggage one more time and there it was!  If I hadn't cut the sound off in the morning when Facebook posts were making the beeping sounds it would have been found earlier.  If it wasn't for the run of bad luck since acquiring The Imp...Oh well it was an awesome weekend and thanks for stopping by to hear about it.  I wouldn't trade it for the world and looking back I wouldn't change a thing.  I just take life as it comes now and its beautiful here in Tammy World.  Storm clouds may be gathering on the horizon but I am taking the time to enjoy the sunny weather.  :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Double Down

In blackjack when you are dealt an 11 you always double down.  Eleven is a lucky number, I feel lucky.

I went back to the doctor yesterday for a follow up on my tests from last week and to get refills for my prescriptions.  I got to the office on time at 11 AM.  The doctor was standing right there at the front desk where the receptionist was sitting and I saw no other patients in the waiting room.  He has a small downstairs office suite in the smallish 2 story building and there is one doctor, usually one nurse and only 2 examination rooms.  When I walked in the doctor spoke to me for a minute.  He is a very laid back older gentleman and he was looking me over as if he could tell something was different about me and he asked me if I had longer hair last time.  I thought it would be obvious but I told him I was wearing my wig last time.  He asked me if this was my real hair and when I said yes he said that it looked more natural.  I think that's obvious too but I did tell him I was more confident in my wig but that this was where I was going with it and I am working on it.

About the time I sat down in the waiting room the nurse called me back and weighed me.  I was one pound heavier than I was 9 weeks ago when I was last weighed there so I have gained one pound net during my first nine weeks of HRT treatment.  I guess that's ok but I feel I need to be going down not up but at least its only a slight change.  I also asked her to measure my height.  She did not measure this last time for some reason but said that she would.  My last reported measurement was in high school when I was read at 5'10" but I have been under the assumption that I am 5'9" because I knew I wasn't 5'10" anymore if I ever was.  My parents had always wanted me to be taller, in fact they would tell people I was 5'11".  I guess they did that in the fashion that a basketball team will "add" height to a player.  The measurement this day was 5'8" so I am relieved to know my true height and now I won't feel quite as bad wearing 4" heels, lol.  Actually this is quite good and not as much difference from average female height as I thought I was.  The only negative is I will have to rethink my ideal weight and adjust that down so that's another reason to get more serious about my diet and exercise.  I have been exercising more since going on hormones but also eating more and it seems I am hungry all the time.  Maybe that's just a symptom of going through a second puberty but people are still asking me if I have lost weight so I think I am on the right track, just need to work harder.

Next she took me in the examination room and took my blood pressure.  I have some degree of "white coat syndrome" and my blood pressure always tests high in doctor's offices.  I told the nurse I had an energy drink on the way up and it dawned on me that this was not a good idea before a blood pressure test.  The reading was 150/90 which is like borderline hypertension if not worse and she mentioned to the doctor as he walked in that I had an energy drink and they didn't seem overly concerned about it.  There was no waiting time, he was in before she had taken my pulse and he sat right down, asked me a couple of questions then handed me a gown and told me to take my top off and put the gown on, he was going to do a breast exam when he returned.  He came back in with the nurse to observe.  After he did a quick check I put the gown back on and sat up.  I had a feeling I was going to have to have to take some clothes off this day and that was the main reason for not wearing a wig, as well as the fact that the temperature was over 100 degrees.  He told me my blood tests last week (liver, kidney etc.) were normal and he was going to refill all my prescriptions.  I also asked him about some lidocaine cream to numb my face for my electrolysis treatments and he looked one up in the book and wrote me a prescription for that.  Its about the same thing I had gotten from another doctor but I needed more anyway.

Next he started to write me refills for my HRT and I asked him if he could increase the dosage.  He looked at me and told me he would increase the Spironolactone but not the estrogen.  I was prepared for this because 2 months ago when we set this appointment up I asked him if we would increase the dose then and he told me this was probably the dose I would be on while being treated by him.  That had concerned me because I know its typical to increase the dosages after an initial trial period.  My initial dose was good, right where I wanted it to be and I had seen results and knew the meds were working but I had also done my homework, talked to a lot of people and had information prepared.  I can be pretty persuasive if I need to be but I really didn't have to use that with him.  I pulled the information I had printed out of my purse and walked over to where he was sitting and told him I wanted to review some material with him while telling him it was my plan to increase both Spiro and Estrogen dosages after the first month or two.  I showed him the dosage table from the Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons manual, a table from a Transgender Care manual for doctor's from British Columbia, an article from The journal of Family Medicine and the table for transition HRT doses from Ann Lawrence MD.  He didn't study the material much but I guess he was impressed by my knowledge, preparation and determination because he agreed to double my estrogen as well as the Spiro.  Yayy, this new dose is the recommended amount from my sources and I got exactly what I wanted so I was satisfied.  The new dose is two 0.1 estrogen patches changed twice weekly and 200mg Spirononlactone daily taken orally.  Hopefully that is the dose I will have to carry me through transition and the only reason I see now to adjust it up or down would be based on future blood tests.

He did say the medicine would be more expensive and there was a generic form but he did not like those patches as much.  I told him I had not had the problems I was worried about with patches which would be getting them to stay stuck to the skin or irritating the skin underneath.  Perhaps the bad reports I hear about patches come from the cheaper generic models.  He seemed surprised and a little concerned when I told him that insurance had picked the prescriptions up and all I was paying was a copay.  I have been paying $45/month at Wal Mart and I assume that will now be $90.  That will be a little high but I can budget for it and without insurance it would be over $200 now for the patches alone.  The doctor asked me if the insurance company contacted him if it was ok to release my medical records and I said sure.  I have talked to a lot of people online about this also and a lot of girls do use insurance to get their meds and I haven't found anyone yet who has had a problem.  I don't need to lose my insurance now but I have my fingers crossed and I'm not worried.  I had heard he was the most cautious doctor as far as insurance and I am paying all transition related bills with him with cash so he is happy.  The other doctor here that deals with hormones is an endocrinologist and I am told she is more creative when billing through insurance but I also know for a fact she will keep people on a low dose for a very long time and I know at least one friend who went to a doctor outside the area for that reason.  I am happy with my doctor.  Like he says he is not an expert he is a family doctor but I can communicate with him and he listens to me and when the time comes I will listen to him.  I like the small practice and the friendliness and I am treated very well there so all is good on the medical front:)

The Curse of The Imp continued here this past weekend but despite some setbacks  I had an Awesome weekend with my boyfriend and spent the night in downtown Raleigh with him at a hotel where we attended the Carolina Meeting Place party there in the hotel bar.  This weekend I will be home all weekend and he is working out of state.  So y'all come back to Tammy World this weekend for another new post on last weekend, the party and the curse. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Doctor, Shopaholism and the Imp

6 AM Tuesday 7/10/2012; another day waking up in Tammy World.  This week's post will follow my complete day (yesterday) from beginning to end.  Yesterday was not a typical day but it wasn't extremely atypical either.  This begs the question, "what is a typical day?" and in Tammy World there are no typical days but some are more interesting than others.

The Doctor:  I have to get up a little earlier than usual to get ready for my doctor's appointment.  Actually it was not truly a doctor appointment because I was just there for a blood test and I will meet with the doctor on another appointment next week.  I thought I would talk about going to the doctor because it is So refreshing to go into a professional office like that and be referred to as Tammy and be treated like a lady the entire time.  My doctor is not a specialist, not an endocrinologist like many girls see for hormones, but a good GP with a small office that treats transgender patients as well as all types of other patients.  I chose to see him instead of the endocrinologist mainly because I needed a good "regular doctor" to serve all my medical needs and the fact that he is experienced in dealing with trans patients and HRT is a real plus.

My appointment is at 9:15 and its a little over an hour drive so I am up at 6 to have time to get a shower and do my makeup plus tend to the pack of dogs here.  I planned to stay in Raleigh all day shopping so I had to plan for long lasting makeup but at least it is not supposed to be 100 degrees today like it was for over a week.  When I was in Cary Sunday I wore a new outfit my boyfriend had gotten me with white capris, a nice top and white sandals.  I thought this would be good to wear to the doctor and I thought it would fit in well with the upscale clientele at the Cary office.  My previous two visits I wore jeans and a tshirt so this is a neat look and I like it.  The top is kind of fluffy and I decided to not wear any breast enhancers just myself in my A cup bra and with that top you can't really tell the size but can tell there is something there.

The waiting room was not crowded but I had to wait almost an hour to get called back because the office is so small with one doctor and 2 waiting rooms.  I got to talk to the receptionist a little bit and even one of the patients as she was checking out.  This type of social interaction is very good for me especially in working on my voice and just being comfortable in everday situations.  Female mannerisms have always come very natural and its really the default for me so that is rarely a problem.  In fact its so refreshing to be able to act like myself and not watch out for myself like I have always had to do as a male so that people won't think there is something different about me.  For awhile I was the only one waiting and I managed to snap a couple of pics with my little camera and self timer.
I don't know what the policy is on pictures there but if anybody had asked I was going to tell them I am taking a couple of pictures for my blog which is the truth.  At one point I was watching the receptionist and tried to picture myself doing her job.  The only time I have ever felt comfortable on any job was when working alone, I usually did work with people but was never comfortable and always hated it.  Maybe after I transition I will enjoy working with people and I really think the possibilities are endless for me.  I know it won't be so easy but the fact that I have a positive attitude about starting a new career and am looking forward to it rather than dreading it is a refreshing change in my life.

The nurse took my blood sample and was very nice and talkative also.  I snapped a couple more quick pictures when she went to make some copies for me of my last tests.
She did explain to me that my tests were having to be sent off with my male name and I told her I understood, no problem.  She was almost apologetic about it but I am not too worried about it because that will be taken care of soon enough when I change my name, hopefully the first of next year.  After leaving the doctor's office I made a short drive to Whole Foods to pick up a supplement I take that I get from there and have a healthy early lunch.  It turns out I did Not have to skip breakfast for the blood test but I didn't know that beforehand. It also turns out this test is not looking at hormone levels but only at basic body systems like kidney and liver function.  I will have to discuss all this with the doctor next week but I feel they are just making sure the meds are reacting well in my system.

Shopaholism:  Is this a word?  I am deriving it from "shopaholic" which a couple of friends on Facebook accused me of as I have been posting "check ins" at all the stores and malls I have been going to lately.  I don't think I am a shopaholic but I have been on a roll of late.  There is a party this weekend that I need a new outfit and possibly shoes for as well as a general update/upgrade of my wardrobe.  Also last week I went to mall twice to shop with friends who were on vacation and cannot usually go with me during the week and was in Cary with my boyfriend Sunday shoe shopping.  So I have been in the Raleigh area shopping 4 out of the last 8 days but I am not a shopoholic. 

I have very few "male" clothes left and I hardly wear them but most of my everyday wardrobe is jeans and now shorts with tshirts or casual tops.  Its comfortable and I think I blend into the environment better with a casual wardrobe.  I hate people looking at me and everyone always notices a well dressed lady.  When you dress up you get noticed more and that increases the chances of getting read or "clocked".  Anyway there was much shopping to do and I had no intention of going home before the evening so I first went to the Cary Town Center mall.  I spent a couple of hours there walking, browsing and walking some more.  All this walking is really good for me and that's why I really love malls better than freestanding stores.  I bought a necklace and a couple of bracelets from a little gift store, a cool summer dress for $15 bucks from another small store and a bracelet and 2 pair of ear rings from Belk's.  Hopefully it is ok to mention store or brand names here and maybe I can get advertising revenue one day by doing so:)

About 1:30 I left the mall and went by Starbuck's to get a Frapicinno and I decided to hit the road for downtown Raleigh.  There is supposed to be a great thrift shop in Cameron Village with a lot of good upscale things but when I got down there it started pouring rain and I rode around and could not find it.  I looked it up on my phone and it did have an address and phone number but the numbers were disconnected so maybe the store is out of business.  All the other stores there looked too expensive and this is an older "walking around" shopping center so with the rain I decided to move on.  I was calling my friend Beverly to see if she wanted to have dinner but she had not called me back.  She lives out near Triangle Town Center mall and so I decided to head there next.  Around the mall there are a lot of stores and first i went to Plato's Closet which is another upscale consignment/thrift store.  I bought 2 dresses for $10 each and a belt for $3.  I went to Ross where I didn't buy anything and on to the mall for dinner (never heard back from my friend who is probably still at the beach), walking, browsing and more walking.  One cool thing about that mall is they have a Saks Fifth Avenue where I love to go and look but Never buy anything.  The dresses I did price yesterday there were over $300 and that was on sale! 

After leaving the mall I went across the street to DSW.  I had just been to the Cary DSW Sunday but thought I would check out the Raleigh store and I did find a nice pair of heels I might wear to the party and bought them.  It was after 7 when I left that store and nice upscale Raleigh and I got on the highway and pointed the van toward Rock Bottom where I live.  I passed one more suburb of Raleigh on the way home, Knighdale, and I decided to stop in and check out the Ross there and maybe Kohl's.  It was almost 7:30 and I had more shopping available and didn't want to go home just yet.  I am not a shopaholic, I just wanted to go to a couple more stores.  The last hour and the last store is sometimes where the deals are found and at Ross I found a Jones New York dress for only $27 and another black dress for $17 that fit me nicely and showed off my now rounder behind:)  I bought both of those and a cute pink bolero sweater. Then got in the van having a feeling of accomplishment and truly glad I went to one more store.  Kohl's is right across the street and they were still open so I decided to stop in at Kohl's.  I am not a shopaholic but I just wanted to shop a little more:) 

I didn't find anything special and finally headed for home about 8:30.  I am always looking to advance and improve myself and in the last couple of weeks the biggest advancement I think is conquering my apprehension about trying on dresses and blouses in the stores.  I don't mind doing this but when  wearing my wig it is a hassle to have to take it off in the dressing room, try on the stuff then get the wig back on and looking right.  I did that so much in the last couple of weeks it is now routine and I am no longer worried about it.  In the last Ross dressing room I realized I had been in makeup for 12 hours and in some rain and a lot of humidity and so I touched up my foundation as well as lips and got my hair back right and headed for the checkout.  The MAC Studio Fix foundation and powder in one in a compact proves perfect for this kind of refresher.

The Imp:  For this segment let's suspend our belief system for a bit shall we, and allow our minds to explore the what ifs and be open to the possibility that the spiritual world can interact with our own.  Wikipedia mentions the following about Imps, taken from old English folklore.

"Imps were often portrayed as lonely little creatures always in search of human attention. They often used jokes and pranks as a means of attracting human friendship, which often backfired when people became tired or annoyed of the imp's endeavors, usually driving it away.
Even if the imp was successful in getting the friendship it sought, it often still played pranks and jokes on its friend, either out of boredom or simply because this was the nature of the imp."

I got home at 9:15 and it was dark and still raining a little bit.  I came home to complete devastation and it looked like there had been a tornado in the yard.  I already knew from talking to Jo Anne on the phone that I had left the batrhroom door open and the little "guest" dog had gotten into the trash can and strewn the contents everywhere.  I was worried about my makeup I may have left out on the vanity.  When I saw a chewed up bottle of my good foundation on the floor I almost lost it.  I have been very tolerant of that dog but this was a last straw of sorts.  She has now lost all inside privilages when I am not here.  I have considered the possibility that she is an Imp sent here to foil and frustrate me at every turn.  If so who sent her and why do they want to confound me like this.  Its like she toys with me, trying to prod me into anger or negative emotions.  She is so sweet and lovable when I am around but when I am gone its like something possessed has come through.  She has already cost us hundreds of dollars in things destroyed and the foundation and primer will have to be replaced asap.  The worst part of that this will necessitate another trip to Crabtree Mall in Raleigh tomorrow to go to Sephora's.  Since I am not a shopaholic going back to the mall will be a real chore:)

Also when I got home I discovered my black dog, Nightingale had done more damage to the back screen door attempting to get out during a thunderstorm.  When I was living in the country about 5 years ago she showed up on my back porch during a night of bad storms and rain.  I did not let her in that night but fed her and she ended up sticking around and to the dismay of my wife became another member of the family.  I have fancied that she was sent to me to give me her female spirit and that she would bring change to my life.  Now that change is finally happening I am wondering if I was right but I also wonder if in giving me her female spirit she is absorbing all of my anxiety and pain that have plagued me for so long.  We have lived here 4 years but only this year did she start freaking out and trying to escape the yard during storms.  There is change for her too and I wonder how she will get better and what kind of fence/door do I need to hold her inside.  Where does she want to go and why does she want to leave?  As I grow stronger she grows weaker and are they related?

One more bizarre thing happened last night and sometimes I really think Tammy World has entered the Twilight Zone.  After having a really good day and coming home to that destruction and mess I realized that I had received a large package in the mail while I was gone and I had to go to the front porch to bring it inside.  My new luggage set was here, an early birthday present from my boyfriend and it arrived just in time for me to use it for my overnight trip to Raleigh Saturday:)!/photo.php?fbid=416618251722110&set=a.373546876029248.204680.100001218163185&type=1&notif_t=like 
I was texting my boyfriend about it and he says he just received a text from me saying I hoped he had a good day, better day than the last and that I had not taken my pill for three nights and had not slept good.  I absolutely did not type or send any such text yesterday.  It did seem like something I would text him but the part about my anxiety pill had to be old, I have not taken one in months.  Also I never went three days without it except when I stopped it, I took it every day as prescribed and it was only when I was first stopping the pill that I experienced any sleep loss.  Plus this would have been something I sent him in the morning not 10:15 at night.  Was this an old text coming out of cyberspace to resend itself???  Its too weird and that is the Only explanation I can think of.

Let's leave the Twilgiht Zone and unsuspend our beliefs and come back to the reality of Tammy World.   This morning I found my electric drill on the grass on the grass having been out in the rain all night.  More destruction from the Imp but the drill does seem to be working.  I had breakfast with my parents then was around the house most of the day where I can be myself and relax, work out etc.  When I was doing my crunches and leg lifts the little Imp came over and we started playing and she has such a vivid personality when I allow myself to get close to her I feel her pull.  She wants me to keep her but all signs point to the fact she must go.  Has she been sent to me also and if so why?  No way, we are back in reality and she has to go.  I have to find her a good home, preferably with kids and somewhere where she can get a lot of attention and be the center of attention.  Right now when I try to pet my other dogs she likes to try to get between us and they are not happy about that.  They are tolerant for now but they recognize that she is an Imp and they want her gone.  I am hoping for a solution soon and thanks for spending a day in Tammy World.  Y'all come back now ya hear? :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ascending Mt. Everest

Something happened this morning that caused me to put aside the other topic I was working on for this week and talk a little bit about one of my upcoming goals for the summer, ascending Mt. Everest.  I am trying not to write much about my goals here until I complete them, maybe I do speak of the broad general goals like transition but not so much the specific goals I am setting for myself each season this year.  Maybe I don't want to jinx anything by listing my goals ahead of time, but I do plan to share my struggles as well as my accomplishments.  It just so happens though that one of my goals for the summer season is climbing to the summit of Mount Everest and seeing what is on the other side.  I will admit that I live in the coastal plain and a long way from any mountain and I am half a world away from the Himalayans so this is a figurative goal of course.  My personal Mt. Everest is telling my parents that I am transsexual and transitioning and that I am going to become a woman.  I do not look forward to that at all and its something I have been dealing with all my life with them, trying to conform to their image of how they want me to be instead of being myself.  That has not worked out well for me at all and basically its ruined my life up until this point.

Maybe writing this blog is a form of therapy for me because in the course of writing that first paragraph I have come to the realization that I am right here and they are wrong.  Suppressing my personality all these years has really been destructive to me.  It has caused a lot of pain and led to a lot of self destructive behavior to hide from/escape from the pain.  It has taken over 40 years for me to figure out that their way is not the right way, at least for me.  You cannot fit a square peg into a round hole (or is it round peg into a square hole) and if you try long enough you destroy the peg.  I am finally going to allow myself to be myself and they are just going to have to live with it.

So let's back up a little bit and I will tell you how my week has gone so far, leading up to the events of this morning.  Jo Anne (legal wife) left to visit family out of town on Friday leaving me here to tend to my 3 dogs and this rambunctious "guest" dog we are keeping for the time being.  I drove up to Raleigh Friday afternoon to get my hair trimmed like I am doing every 2 months or so now and also had it colored in the salon for the first time.  It was a neat experience, expensive but worth it I believe and I was at the salon almost 2 hours.  This was my second time going to this hairdresser and she is a very cool lesbian and a bit trans herself, she describes herself as gender fluid.  I was wearing light makeup, basically casual femme without my wig and when I left her salon I went out to eat then stopped by to see my tg friend Beverly on my way home.  It was a good day but I am trying not to stay out too long at the time with all these dogs here because I don't know who is going to tear up what or get out and cause trouble while I am gone.

Saturday and Sunday were awesome days and my boyfriend came down to visit me for over 24 hours.  The really nice part of that is my wife now knows he comes over when she is gone and she is supportive of it but still does not yet want to meet him.  Saturday I cooked dinner for him and the temperature here was like 107 degrees so I know he was glad I didn't ask him to work on anything outside for us.  Sunday we slept in and ate a light breakfast here then got dressed and went to the mall here in my town then out to eat.  It hardly seems like it but a year ago I was still timid when going out in my town.  Some people would refer to this as "going out dressed" but honey I never go anywhere naked, I am always dressed.  Some people would refer to this as "going out as Tammy" but I am always Tammy (even though I am not full time yet) so this doesn't make sense either.  Let's just say I am going out as myself and not attempting to hide who I am or conform to society's expectations.  So 2 years ago I would not have gone anywhere in this town as myself and one year ago I did but only alone and cautiously and now I am walking around the mall here holding my boyfriend's hand and feeling very good about it and very comfortable.  That's progress and that makes me happy.

Monday I had to take my dad to the doctor and ate dinner with my parents so on those days I am not fully myself until I get home.  I try to conform to what they expect from me but I am getting to be not so good at it as you will soon see.  Tuesday was another good day.  I got up at 7, walked the dogs and got ready for a day of shopping in Raleigh.  I had been talking to a cd friend from my Yahoo group for months about going shopping in Raleigh (she lives in another city but is about the same distance from the mall there as I am) and she had off this week so we met at the big Crabtree mall at noon.  We walked around a little bit and decided it was time for lunch and rather than eat at the food court like I usually do (for about 5 bucks) we decided to splurge and try a more expensive restaurant called the Cheesecake Factory.  It was a very good meal though a tad expensive and of course we both finished the meal off with a slice of their signature cheesecake which I discovered was about 700 calories!  Another friend from my trans group was in town to play tennis and see her doctor (she sees the same doctor I do for hormones) and she met us there when we were finishing dessert.  She ordered a Bloody Mary which was tempting to me, but I don't drink liquor anymore and drinking anything that early in the day is not good for me.  After lunch we did a lot of walking in the expansive mall, some looking, some serious shopping and a lot more walking.  Maybe flip flops were not the best shoe choice for all that walking but it was 97 degrees outside and at least a third of the girls there were wearing flip flops and over half were wearing some form of sandals.  Seven hours after arriving at the mall I was back in my car heading home.  Fun day but quite tiring and I relaxed a bit at home after tending to the dogs, only drank one beer and was in bed by 11:30, an early time for me.

This brings us to this morning (Wednesday July 4th, 2012) and I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July.  I slept in until 10 am, a couple hours later than usual, so yesterday must have worn me out more than I realized.  I think all the walking did burn the calories from the cheesecake though, lol.  I got up and let the dogs outside (all slept inside with me except the "guest" dog who finally stopped trying to break through the back door to get in with us right before I went to sleep) and as I shut the door I realized I had locked myself out of the house.  Oops!  I had slept in my boyfriend's tshirt last night and this morning I threw on the pinkish orange shorts I had on yesterday and pink athletic t shirt that is a little tight and my pink flip flops.  I had no way to get in the house without breaking a window but I could get into my little guest house where one of my phones was charging overnight.  The only way I could think to get in the house was to get my Mom or Dad to run me a key down or either walk the couple blocks to their house and get it.  I didn't have any clothes I could get to that were more gender neutral and what I usually wear around them is female clothes (jeans, polo shirts and tennis shoes) that are in neutral colors and more androgynous looking.  I would have to have to hide my painted toes and I did have an old pair of tennis shoes available I use to do yard work in.  I had painted a couple of my fingernails at Sephora the day before just playing around waiting for my friend to check out but I did have polish remover available to me.

So I called my mother and she said she would come over and let me in.  I am trying to postpone telling them about me until after my birthday in August but she has been noticing more and more things.  Monday she asked me if I had a manicure and I was honest and said no but I did have some clear polish (hardener) on my fingernails and she did not comment further.  This morning when she pulled up to give me the key she was still in her housecoat and didn't get out of the car when I used her key to go unlock my house.  When I came back to the car she told me that I shouldn't appear so feminine and that I was starting to look too feminine.  I don't know if she noticed my boobs showing through the tight shirt but she didn't mention them.  She did mention the ear rings again and she reminded me that I told her when I got them pierced I would not always wear them.  She also mentioned my hair and that I should keep it combed back like I usually do around them.  In my mind I was like "Good Lord Mama are we back in high school again???"  Also in my mind I am thinking "Why in the hell am I letting this woman run my life like she has for 40+ years?!"  I am grown now, or should be at my age but truth is I have never fully grown up.  I should have but I have let my parents, specifically my Mom, treat like a child my entire life.  The time has finally come for me to take my life back but I am going to choose my battles and my battlefield and today was not the day.  Tonight when I go visit them for supper I will have my hair combed back, wear more "acceptable" looking clothes and perhaps even take my ear rings out until I can come home and get more comfortable.

Now I am on the slopes of Mt. Everest, having travelled far from the base and preparing my assault on the summit.  The winds are kicking my ass and the lack of oxygen is weakening me.  I have to be strong even though a storm is building on the horizon.  I did not come this far to turn back and I will reach the peak this summer.  I will descend and spend the rest of my life on the other side of the mountain, as I have had quite enough of this side.  There will be no turning back and no regrets!