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Saturday, November 29, 2014

this years post and pictures

Well, it has been so busy this year that I "forgot" to post anything to this blog. It's been one thing after another for so long that we hardly let our feet touch the ground, much less let the grass grow around our feet.

After our surprised holidays celebrations with all of my family, we have gotten used to greeting each other when we meet somewhere. Kay and I still do a lot of traveling for fun and for getting away, but this year we got more involved with the mid-term elections and trying to raise capitol for our local candidates. While we live in the deep south, supporting the Democratic ticket has been like spitting in the wind, but we did make some progress in changing the people's attitude towards Democratic ideals of equality for everyone, we couldn't make people vote for those ideal and break with party lines.

As I had said, it's been my daughter who has brought everyone together in the past; well this year she is expecting her first child by the 16th of December and everyone is very excited.  This year we gathered at my ex's house to visit and catch the family up with lives, and we have been invited to spend Christmas Eve at her house with the family. We are very excited.

There is a trans women who posts frequently to Facebook, and it saddens me that her family is not accepting at this time and she feel herself in a quandary as to how she will resolve this fight with herself. If only we could reach across the miles and hug her, letting her know that most of us had the same fight and we 'bloodied and beaten' time and time again until one of us let the other identity win.

We continue to travel and explore place across the nation, and Gettysburg National Civil War Battlefield left a mark on my soul.  I wish that every Congressman should visit that battlefield before they vote on whether we go to war with someone, else; knowing that war on today's battlefield leaves terrible scars for those at home as well as those we send into battle.
The State Monument at Gettysburg

Independence Hall, Philadelphia 
Kay and I protesting Ben Carson's paid speech at the University.
Here I am with Democratic Candidate for Governor, Jason Carter
Kay at the PFLAG booth at a college event

Kay at the Georgia Integrity table at the Local Convention

Looking out a window at the Governor's Home at Colonial Williansburg

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Best Christmas Presents

  I have described a film in production about us which is being produced by a good friend and professor of Sociology. We tried to finish the story and view it before Christmas, but with his classes the schedule was too tight. I am sure he will schedule the viewing sometime in the first of the new year.  As this is a story about family that must be told my children hopes that others will find this and it will help their families cope with a child that is transitioning.




I have said that I have 3 children and my daughter graduated from Brandeis in 2004, but her brother graduated this semester after overcoming some personal medical difficulties to graduate this year with a degree in math. It has taken him a few more years than his sister, but I was extremely proud to watch him walk across that stage a few weeks ago. Seeing his determination and drive to finish his degree filled my heart with so much joy.

    It was the first opportunity to have the whole family together again for the first time since I transitioned. My daughter helped in so many ways to make sure the family was comfortable and cautioned me to take the first meeting slow.

After the family got together after the official ceremony, we all went out to lunch and was able to have great conversations with all of the family and with my grandchildren; they have grown so much. Then again everyone joined my son at a Graduation Party that night.

My daughter has been planning a surprise for her boyfriend who has always wanted a boat; well we had a pirate party and she managed to buy him a small sailing boat to work on and play. He has always had dreadlocks and she sent him on a scavenger hunt to get his coat and call for his last present; the boat.  What an awesome couple they make and now with the boat I see many happy days on the water. It was another opportunity to get the family together again.
We had a wonderful time helping my daughter celebrate her boyfriend's birthday surrounded by family again.



We had invited everyone over for lunch on Christmas eve and the weather was nice enough that we were able to eat outside on the porch as my ex-wife joined us for the day.

Everyone seemed so relaxed and happy as we dined on our holiday meal of soup and salad with a few deserts, like our version of the Alton Brown's free range fruit cake doused with a good helping of bourbon sprinkled over the top.


I am not sure if I can measure the joy and happiness I am feeling as this year comes to it's end. Having my family together again under one roof is a dream and vision I thought would never happen this soon or if ever. So much time has passed but I will not dwell on what could have been; what I have before me is so many opportunities to build on that Christmas Eve day, to make new memories with my family and with my grandchildren.

The new year shines as bright as the smiles on the faces of my son and my grandchildren and I will take every chance to be with them that I am given.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Letting Sarah Live, on screen and in words


For some years now a professor has been gathering sound bites and short videos of my transition and story. When we started it was going to be just about my transition and how I reacted about my betting breast cancer after 15 months on my HRT program.  However since he knows about my history from other friends and my children from other connections, he has morphed this project into something bigger. He is trying to get a story of how my grown children have reacted and dealt with watching their father fade away and finding Sarah.

Mark has set a date to finish this film for himself and for us, my family for the purpose of showing other families that how we managed. Both the good and the bad. His date of the premier, if you will, will be sometime in the middle of November. I am not quite sure just how it will be marketed or if my daughter and son will agree to let it be put on youtube. But we all agree this story, our stories must be told, not for us but for all families who might be struggling with coming to terms for a family member who might be transitioning.

For as many of the professors who we have talked to their classes, wherever we show this for the first time there might be a crowd. I have been on pins and needles about this, knowing he tells a good story, but my difficulty will be watching my story unfold in video form. Regardless of the fact that we have told our story to so many classes over the years, describing my life in words with slides is very different that watching a video of yourself and your families thoughts and feelings.

For the past six year or so I have been trying to put my memoirs into some sort of book form. It has grown from 150 pages with my first edition, to a manuscript of 320 pages in it's seventh edition or such. After finally getting a finished book, I got the nerve to let someone else read it and make suggestion and comments about content and construction. I included all my trans poetry and parts of my Life Journal that I kept during the early years of my transition. This is a telling of my gender variant journey mixed in with my military years and my adventures as I tried to find myself.

  When I got the manuscript back, I couldn't believe my emotional and physical reaction to someone actually reading my book. I got a sick feeling in my gut and felt like I did when I got caught dressed full of fear and nerves on edge. I was walking around in a fog, and could not grasp all the emotions I was feeling now that someone had actually read my book and was giving me her opinions. Several people have read this final version and now that I am satisfied I will begin to figure the best was to get it published because everyone agrees that this must be told, just as the film must be shown.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can you explain what you said.

I had a comment from this person called, "George Waite" which I immediately deleted; but the more I thought about his comment; the more I needed to say something in reply.

George Waite has left a new comment on your post "Reflections and Chelsea Manning": 

That picture of the freak in the dress and lipstick will haunt my dreams.
Church is a joke. So glad to be an atheist and not have to pay for this. 

So I checked his name and there was no photo or any information except that this person identifies as 'male'.  Strange, is it that someone can blast you and remain anonymous.

If someone's picture will haunt his dreams, then he is a 'shallow' person. For someone to have such 'strong' opinions, I can think of other 'pictures' that should haunt his dreams more vividly than someone in a dress.  Say pictures of children murdered and defiled; of towns that are torn from the map by disasters, pictures of war and killing of the innocence mothers and fathers by crazed men.

Oh, another thing even if you are an atheist Mr. Waite, and think Church is a joke, you are somehow paying for it.  Your tax dollars are paying for all the medical treatments retired military receive for their transgender medical needs, did you realize that, Mr. Waite?

I hope all of us freaks keep you awake for the rest of your life, Mr. Waite!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Reflections and Chelsea Manning

No one who surfs the news reports can turn a blind eye to all the comments published about Chelsea Manning and I can imagine a whole series of question about her timings to tell the world she will now live her life as Chelsea.  I do not believe that her timing to 'come out' now, now that she will be living the rest of her life in prison, was an attempt to elicit sympathy.

I too am a combat veteran having served in Vietnam from June 67 to June 68 and decided to get out after my first 3 years in December of 68.  It was seven years later that I decided to re-enlist and complete my 20 years and get out.  All I wanted to do was to play music but the Army promoted me to E-8 and I was appointed as First Sergeant of the post band at Fort Bliss, Tx.  As the First Sergeant one must follow and enforce Army Regulations even if you don't like what you have to do.

So when a soldier who served under me was charged by his wife of dressing and demanding sex, which was considered "Conduct Unbecoming", the Commander proceeded to court-martial the young man and kick him out of the service. He was a great clarinet player and an otherwise outstanding soldier who served as a Marine before he changed services; but I had to stand with the Commander and process this good soldier out of the Army.  My moral integrity began to crumble that day. I was dressing in my own home at the time, feeling my own feminine pull and I resented what I did that day. That was the day my moral ethics collided with Army Regulation and Standards of Conduct I swore an Oath to protect and enforce.
Wedding Day

It was only after I was selected as a student for the next Sergeant's Major Class and I was tasked to teach the "Military Ethics" Class that I realized that; 1) I did not want to be in that class, 2) I just wanted to play music and encourage those around me to be better musicians, 3) the Army wanted me to continue to violate and ignore my ethics and principles to enforce their policies and 4) that I was not a very "good" First Sergeant and could not serve as a Sergeant Major with my set of ethical values.

And so events unfolded which resulted in my be summarily discharged from the Academy and 'Retired' with less then 20 year active federal military service.  It was years later, that my wife divorced me and I took the opportunity to complete my transition from male to female.

I kind of understand the moral angst to "right" some thing's that we see and feel to be wrong, but it would be a difficult decision for me to release information that might compromise lives and the National Security not knowing all the information and facts.  And being outed by the Army, forced her hand, as it were, to come clean and live a life without secrets.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Butterfly update

Good news, both butterflies have hatched, sad new is that I was not home when they flew away and don't have pictures.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The butterfly who came to call

Around the first of summer, I watched a butterfly flutter around the new leaves of my small orange tree and deposit two very small eggs.  She stayed around for another few minutes and then flew away.  I examined the eggs carefully as they were on the tips of two different orange leave, and then I didn't think anything more about them and left them alone.  I figured that some birds or other insects would eat them.  Photo taken from a webpage for caterpillars and moths.



About a month or so later I noticed that a lot of the leaves of the orange tree (which they seem to prefer) had been eaten by something, and as I was searching among the leaves I found two caterpillars of the Giant Swallowtail.  The caterpillar looked a twig with droppings of white and the head of a snake, so I left them alone to eat as they pleased.  I would find them on the leaves in the morning and during the hot part of the day have moved into the shade of the stem or branches.



I wondered what would happen if they were disturbed and when I touched them with a small twig the larger one responded by protruding these two tongue-like things as the defense mechanism, that quickly withdrew into the mouth area.

It was but a week ago that I noticed that one of the caterpillars had found himself a place under a large stem and began to attache and change.

This week I found that both of them had transformed and begun the next cycle of change.  I am not sure just how long this process will take but I will keep my eye on them and hope I can get some good shots as the emerge.