Normally one might that a diary entry posted on the last day of the standard calendar year would be a wrap-up for the year in total, but I actually have instead a list of things about which I'd intended to talk earlier, but never managed to dedicate the time to actually saying simply because of other events that occured along the way. So, instead of a summary of the past twelve months, instead this is a full review of, oh, the last two weeks or

The House

On December 19, we officially became members of the gentry. That is, landed homeowners. Well, I say we. The ugly truth is that I became gentry, because Jessie and I were both afraid that her credit rating and employment history, whatever they are right now, would negatively affect our chances. I do want her name on the mortgage paperwork, but that's something that'll probably have to wait until the re-fi, if we ever do one, which considering our interest rate we may not.

It feels very strange to own a house; it's there, and yet it's not really real yet. I know consciously "this house is mine" and yet because we don't live in it yet and don't see it every day, it hasn't really sunk into my head that this is a permanent thing for the next five to ten years. So I guess it's not really permanent, but it'll be longer than I've lived anywhere since my parents' houses.

The Car

On December 20, I bought a "new" car—a 1987 Volvo 240DL—for a really good deal, or at least what I felt like was a good deal. It was a thousand less than he was asking online for it, and he felt confident that he could've gotten his asking price, but he said he knew I had really bad luck with cars, so he offered to sell it to me for cheap so I'd finally have a good car to drive. He told me it was rock solid, and that I'd
have a real hard time breaking it, which I seem to do to all my vehicles.

I managed, of course, but that story follows shortly.

The Christmas Trip

We left for Jessie's parents' house last Wednesday, with the intent of arriving Thursday morning and sticking through to Saturday arvo, then heading back and returning to the apartment early Sunday afternoon, in time to head to work Monday morning and get the half-week for which we're scheduled

As always, visiting home was a blast. We arrived on Christmas day, which meant that we went pretty much into opening presents and such. Jessie arranged to get me something that... well... it's incredible. I've long wanted a "family portrait", and she had one commissioned for us. It made me cry looking at it. It still does. It's beautiful. Thank you, my love. And thank you, Sue, for the work itself.

The rest of the extended family arrived around 16h00, and we all chatted and opened more gifts. I do have to admit there's one member of the extended family that manages to unnerve me a bit when she's around. She's perfectly nice, but she's a shade too perky and too shades too animatronic, going from total passivity to lively conversion and back with a startling ease. I know she's had a rough life, and her ex is a rather nasty piece of work, so I don't blame her for the way she acts, but it still makes it difficult for me to interact with her. Jessie's grandmother was there, and she invited us to go out with her for dinner the following night, which was totally unexpected. Jessie's dad made way too much turkey and ham, and I indulged greedily in both.

We stayed at Jessie's brother's apartment with he and his wife Thursday night, then got up the next morning and had breakfast with Erick before heading back to Jessie's parents' place. That day is pretty much a blur, mostly because we spent the day talking with Mom, then went to dinner with Jessie's grandmother as invited the day before. That was weirdness and a half by itself, too. Until that trip, I had never heard her be positive and polite about anything in recollection, but over dinner she made light conversation about all of her dead friends and then we talked about playing bingo at the civic center on Tuesdays with people older than her. Very creepy.

After dinner, we returned to Erick's and Daisy's place and snacked on leftover Chinese food while we played Talisman, which is apparently one of Erick's all-time favorite board games. I haven't played a board game other than Scrabble in years, so it was quite refreshing to actually do so. I learned, however, a valuable lesson: never let one's spouse roll for the bad guy.

Saturday morning we ate at a Kip's Big Boy, of all places, for breakfast, and then at the traditional Bob Evans for lunch. I say traditional because we usually eat there just before heading home, and we did it again this year, so it's turning into a strange sort of tradition. At any rate, Jessie's mom didn't want us to leave, which she says every year and is its own tradition, and then we finally managed to start home. Normally we partition the drive back into two days, each of about five hours. I like to put in the bulk of
the driving on the first day, but rarely can I sit through the whole trip in a single shot, so we overnighted somewhere in Pennsylvania and then planned to finish up the trip Sunday morning and be home by about 15h00. 

Sunday at 11h00, the fuel pump on the car died on the interstate.

We didn't know it was the fuel pump when it died, of course. We just knew that the car engine suddenly quit and then refused to start, and we had no idea why. I frantically checked the oil and found it to be off the dipstick, so I had a good panic attack about burning out the Volvo engine a week after getting it, which Jessie managed to avert mostly by telling me to quit freaking out and relax. Some kind woman on her way to Allentown stopped and called 911 for us, and the state trooper called us a tow truck which took us to Kylertown, a small hole-in-the-wall at Exit 131 or thereabouts, notable only in that the town's entire purpose of being is to feed the truck stop. It has a motel, a truck wash, a truck garage, a post office, and four stores. Maybe you could count the pizza parlor.


Of course, the car died on Sunday, so the regular car garage up the road in the next town over wasn't open, and the mechanic at the truck garage tried to look at it but really couldn't tell us much; he did warn us that neither foreign models nor car engines were his specialty, so we didn't expect too much, but it did mean we were stuck at least until the next day when we could contact the local regular garage and have someone inspect the car. At least the roadhouse had good food.

Monday morning, they found out the fuel pump had died, but they didn't have the part it needed in stock, so they wouldn't have the car fixed until Tuesday morning, so that meant we'd be there until Tuesday morning, possibly longer if the part didn't arrive or anything else happened.

Now, to our credit, Jessie and I both packed overmuch for the trip. We had a full week's worth of medication each, and clothes for as many days just in case. However, Tuesday meant the absolute outside limit on our pills, and Jessie had therapy this morning, so it became imperative that nothing else died, I get very panic-prone when I become reliant on other people for things when I'm under a deadline, so I spent most of Monday and the better part of Tuesday morning trying not to have a fit.

We finally made it home last night around 16h40, two days later than we had planned to return. I missed two days of work to the car, but at least I was back in time to do some work before the New Years'

The Car Redux

So, now that we're back from the trip, the fuel pump on the car is fixed, but it's got a rash of other problems that I should have investigated. The overdrive light on the dash is constantly lit now, meaning it's not working, but I checked the fuse panel and the fuse marked "Overdrive" is still good, as far as I can tell, so something else in the overdrive system is wonky and should be repaired. It's annoying, but not crucial. More worrying, however, is the Volvo's new habit of sputtering when I first start it after it's been sitting a while. It'll start, then start to stall and suddenly rocket up in RPMs to twice its base idle, then slowly die again and repeat the cycle until I put on the gas. I've also had it stall out on me while trying to reverse or advance slowly in a parking lot, so the fuel pump may not be properly calibrated. It's worth investigating, definitely, but it's going to have to wait until after...

The Trip Redux

As soon as I get off of work, Jessie, Tanya and I are supposed to be heading down to Andi's for the New Year's Bash. It'll be good to see Shay, as well, 'cause she's staying down there and she didn't make the Bash in July. I just wish that Kelly could come with us, but she can't get the days off. We didn't tell her early enough, I guess. That and I know she's getting beaucoup overtime for the days.

Originally we had planned to take my car, but at the moment I'm still wavering somewhat on the wisdom of this plan and Tanya has insisted her car is more than roadworthy for the trip. It might also afford us more legroom which would be good for all involved. I would've thought the Volvo would get better gas mileage, but with the overdrive malfunctioning that's no longer a guarantee, plus I don't have cruise control which Tanya says she wants to have, so we'll probably ending up in her landyacht, which will be fine.

The Diet

I know I haven't talked much about this lately. It's been something of a sticking point for me mostly because I've been keeping steady but I'm not losing anything and it's been frustrating. However, I must gloat here briefly: I lost two pounds over the Christmas trip.

That's about it. Nothing else is happening.


It is, as of today, fifteen days to closing on our new house. I'm trying very hard not to freak out over this. It's an incredibly possitive thing, but I can't help but feel some nervousness about the whole affair. If an apartment sucks, you can move into a new one. If a house sucks, it's a lot harder to get rid of it. I don't think that's an issue with this place, but it's still a huge responsibility that I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to handle.

It doesn't help that this morning I turned in the sixty-day notice on our apartment. I meant to do it two or three days ago, but I could never remember to print out the letter and take it home. I asked Jessie to write one up for me last night, and that one turned out a lot better than any of the ones I had managed at the office. I'm not sure what the legal situation is regarding moving before the end of a lease, but if everything goes well then we'll be into our new place by February 1. We're kind of committed now.

Everything with the house itself has been going well. I've got a new phone number scheduled for installation, the broadband line is under order as soon as the new number goes into effect. The water and electric and sewer and
other bills are all set to switch to my name on the nineteenth. I haven't yet put in a mail forward but that's on the list for the beginning of next week. All I really have left is to get confirmation of the insurance policy to the mortgage company and to get the settlement check from the bank.

I worried for a while that I wouldn't have enough for the closing costs, but as it turns out we've got enough to cover it and have enough left over to buy the refrigerator we're going to have to replace when we move into the house. The current owners want to take their current one with them. They're leaving us their washer and dryer, though, which is good. It means I'll be able to get all my laundry done at once.

The one big sticking point with the house that still remains is, in fact, not at all attached to the house, in a literal sense of the word. The garage is a detached building that, when the inspectors examined it, showed heavy signs
of dry rot and age, and probably would need to be demolished at some point to make room for a new one. When the current owners offered to make repairs to the property to clean up the inspection report, neither they nor I suggested doing anything with the garage, as it's old and run-down and would eventually be handled in the manner described above.

A week ago, of course, the city of Pottstown said that the garage needed to be properly sided and wasn't up to the city building codes, and that there could be stiff fines for not following the codes and getting this work done.

This has created a bit of a jam. The current owners don't want to sink a thousand dollars into a house they're leaving in two weeks. I don't want to pay a thousand dollars to fix a problem that should have been handled by the previous owners. The realtor says the charge is bunk but can't suggest any method of resolving it short of either accepting the responsibility or telling the current owners they have to solve it. I've opted for the latter,
for now, but I don't want to lose the house, so if they flat-out refuse to take care of this, I may have to cover it on my credit card.

This does not make me happy.

As it is, I'm putting a lot on the cards that I didn't want to have to pay that way. I've got one of my cards to within a thousand dollars of its limit trying to make sure I've got the money in the bank to cover closing. I've got to replace the refrigerator before we can really live there comfortably. I'm buying Eric's Volvo the day after closing and that's going on an access check. I'm going to have to pay two months' worth of rent on the apartment as well as the mortgage because we won't be ready to move this weekend. I do not need this added expense.

The only thing to do, then, is make sure the current owners cover this.

I hope this resolves itself soon. I don't need this hanging over my head.

I never posted a report of my Thanksgiving, which is odd for me because normally I like to talk about it. It's the one holiday of the year that I celebrate actively, for reasons that I know I've covered before. Joanne, Kelly, Julia and Tanya all showed up for a visit, some staying longer than others, and I made homemade stuffing and mashed potatoes, as well as broccoli which hardly anyone touched. At least, I know I didn't have any. I went off the diet
during Thanksgiving so I could enjoy my third-generation stuffing: 

  • One pan cornbread
  • One loaf white bread, toasted
  • Two sticks butter
  • One bunch celery
  • Three medium red onions
  • Chicken broth

Dice toast and cornbread into a large container. Chop celery and onion, add to a pot with butter and saute for ten minutes, then add chicken broth to cover and simmer until the celery is soft to the teeth. Combine all in pot to bread mixture and stir, adding chicken broth until the bread and cornbread begin to combine into a slightly lumpy mixture. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes before serving.

The potatoes recipe I got from SusanDeer, who in turn got them from a website, but the website calls for too little extras in the potatoes, so Sue adjusted it and I've done a bit of tweaking myself: 

  • Five pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and de-eyed but not peeled
  • One cup heavy cream
  • Eight ounces sour cream
  • One bunch chives
  • Garlic to taste
  • Two sticks butter
  • Chicken broth

Dice potatoes and and put in a pot, adding chicken broth to cover. Bring to a boil and let boil for fifteen to twenty minutes or until desired texture. Remove from heat and drain, saving liquid. Combine potatoes, cream, sour cream, garlic and butter in a container and mash until slightly lumpy. Finely chop chives and add with two tablespoons of reserved broth, then stir until well-blended.

I also made egg nog again this year, the recipe for which can be found in last year's Thanksgiving entry, but I used rum instead of brandy and I didn't put any Splenda in it. This, in hindsight, was silly, because I went off the diet for everything else and ended up buying egg nog at the store so Joanne could have some of it, because she doesn't like alcohol.

Still, this means I have egg nog to drink.

To complement all these lovely sides, Joanne made an excellent brisket, which I didn't get to enjoy nearly as much as I would've liked, and Tanya brought a twenty-pound turkey, which I managed to undercook by not pushing the meat thermometer far enough within when checking for doneness. I also managed to screw up the gravy, which seems like a pretty silly thing to botch, but I managed. Now, however, I remember how to do it, so I should probably write it down as well but I'm going to be stubborn about this one and not do i, so I can mess up again next year. 

Call it a Thanksgiving tradition.


I just got back from watching Brother Bear. When it comes out on DVD, I intend to purchase it. I don't care what my financial situation is at that moment. I will have it as part of my permanent collection. I want to see it again, and yet I fear seeing it in the theater. I spent over half the film crying, and most of the drive home. I don't think I've ever had a movie, especially a Disney one, affect me so powerfully.

I don't think any ever hit quite so close to home, either.

Very early in the film, the main character, Kenai, has his rite of manhood. The shaman Tanana presents him with a rock carved to resemble his totem animal—a bear, naturally—and says to him, "Your totem is... love." Kenai is embarrassed by this, obviously, but the shaman smiles and encourages him, telling him that his is a powerful and honored spirit, and that he must learn to live by his totem if he is to become a man.

The bear of love... LoveBear.... I dont think I've ever had a film slap me in the face so strongly. From that moment, it felt as if I could no longer separate the actions of Kenai from the sense of self. Kenai's mistakes were
my mistakes, his anger my anger, his weakness and fear and sorrow mine. At his every mis-step, I felt myself cringing. When he ran from the salmon run, I knew his shame. When he turned to Kodai and tried to tell him the story of the monster, I cried his tears.

The film unfolded with inevitibility from Kenai's departure from his village, until the moment he faces the spirits. I felt pulled inexorably forward, dragged emotionally through Kenai's quest, until the moment at which he truly became a man. The choice he made... I wonder if I would have the same courage.

To say that the movie was "an answer" would be to miss the point entirely. The film did not explain how to follow Bear. It gave examples, to be sure, but in now way was it a guide along that road. More accurately, it served as a marker, an affirmation and a reminder of the path I claim to follow. It left me questioning my view of self as Hare even as I found myself retreating into Her mindset, away from responsibility and courage. It left me doubting my ability to follow Bear even as She lay Her paw on my shoulder, guiding me back to my path.

I only hope that, now that I no longer claim to bebear, I can follow in Her footsteps. I am not yet to the point of saying I am Bear. I may never reach that point. I know, though, that Hers is the path I follow, and I hope that I can do Her justice.


Oh, my. What to post, what to post. More to the point, where to begin. Once again, I've let things build up to the megapost stage, but that's mostly because I dislike making a number of small posts throughout the day. For whatever reason, I prefer the entries that I make into this diary to be fairly substantial, so I tend not to say when single events crop up that would make decent entries, simply because I feel like there's not enough to them. This leads me to put off posting for far longer than I should.

I guess the issue at hand most immediately is the dream I had last night. It's the first time in a long while that LoveBear played a central role, not me. That sentence still sounds quite ludicrous, but I'm sure anyone who knows me can understand what I mean by it, I hope. At any rate, the setting seemed antiquated, lots of wooden fixtures and what I would think these days of old-fashioned housing on narrow streets, lots of kids playing ball and such. The one thing that stuck out about the setting, though, was the fact that the Jewish community was very Mafia-esque. They really did run things behind the scenes, and everyone knew it but it was politically incorrect to
call them on it because they still publically played the "victims of the world's hatred" routine.

Bennie and I and someone we were visiting had been invited to go to someone's house for a meal, and it would've been a bad move to turn it down, but I tried anyway. The old man asking us if we wanted to eat with him asked me why I was being rude, and I asked in return if he'd be willing to join me for bacon cheeseburgers that I'd just made. He looked justifiably insulted and said that while he was under a prohibition to partake in my food, I was under no such restriction to eat his and so he had the right to expect me to take him up on his offer, while I had no such guarantee in response.

Then we were inside his house, and his kids are playing in the kitchen with a dog, and his wife—or maybe his daughter; he was pretty old—was at the sink, washing dishes. Between the sink with all the dirty dishes in it,
and the window over it where wind off of the street blew into the room to kepe it cool, sat a huge pile of raw hamburger. For whatever reason, the people in this brand of Judaism bought meat fresh at the store every morning, and they cooked it that evening, but it was against their religion to refrigerate it in the meantime, so it was just sitting there. I'd heard rumors about this, but I'd never seen anything to substantiate it until then.

I turned to the old man and pointed to the meat and told him that wasn't healthy. He sneered at me that it was tradition and if I was turning my nose up at it then I was probably incapable of understanding anything else about
his faith. I turned to the kids and asked them if they wanted to eat meat that had been sitting in dirty dishwater. They said no. I asked them if they wanted to eat meat that had been curing in the sun. They said no. I asked them why they ate the meat that was sitting on the countertop exposed without a cover. They shook their heads and shrugged.

The old man started to tell me that the countertop was scrubbed clean every night and I was making up stories to try to belittle his faith, when suddenly the dog jumped up on the counter and made a run for the pile of hamburger.
The woman at the counter swiped at it with a wooden spoon and it jumped back down to the floor, but I rounded on the old man and pointed at the dog and said, "You might as well have thrown that meat on the floor right then. You have to assume every meal you've ever eaten has been licked, bitten or pissed on by that dog."

At this, Bennie gave me this look that said, quite plainly, that however much he may have agreed with my sentiments, I had just gone way out of line in stating them publicly. Our friend—I never did figure out who it was—starts freaking out that I'm going to get all three of them killed. The kids start crying because they've been eating tainted meat. The mom's yelling at the kids to be quiet because they're having hysterics over nothing. The old man is yelling at me about how I'm one of those dirty stinking goyim. I'm yelling at the old man about his stupid religious rules don't mean a damn thing to be because I'm a Gentile. Someone puts a hand on my shoulder to spin me around, and—

Then I woke up. I have no idea what any of it means. I'm not even sure I want to explore it. It's too much of a treasure left unexplained.

I keep wanting to talk about the whole home-buying process, and yet I keep avoiding it. It's almost as if I feel like I'm going to jinx the whole thing by discussing it anywhere. It's weird. Though, I also don't like posting stories in the middle, and this one is clearly not done yet, though that seems a totally stupid reason not to post. I mean, no story is every truly finished, or even begun for that matter, and so at best one gets coherent snippets that stand on their own as meaningful. Clive Barker used this trick once to get out of writing the ending to a novel he didn't know how to finish—Weaveworld—and while it's a brilliant book, the lack-of-ending is truly obnoxious, so I don't like doing it. 

At any rate, the mortgage paperwork is now to the bank, and the home inspection happened last week. The inspector found a number of things wrong with the house, but most of them were trivial. The big on that concerns me is asbestos wrapping on the pipes in the basement that's starting to flake, but neither they nor we can afford to have it professionally removed, so it's going to stay there for a while. It should be harmless for the time being.
It's just annoying. The other big issue is the roof. It's not leaking 
yet, but it's probably going to start in the next year ago according to the inspector's estimates.

The nice thing is that the sellers have agreed to fix everything I considered important but those two things. The boiler flue is rusted, the drainage spouts are clogged, the shutoff valve to the washing machine is broken, and a
number of other minor things need to be fixed. The sellers have agreed to handle all of that, because they've got a house they want to buy and so they're willing to keep us happy with their deal so they can afford the house they want. I'm jazzed by this.

Hopefully Monday we'll get copies of the signed addendum and then the buying can proceed apace. I've gotten very good at initialing pieces of paper that have been placed before me without worrying about what they say. I get the impression that if I were to ask what every piece of paper I've been asked to initial or sign meant, someone along the way would have me killed as a threat to the bureaucracy. I value my life too much to question niggling details such as the ownership of my soul.

This whole housebuying thing really has my head tied up in knots. I'm consciously aware of going through the process, and yet the fact that in two months if all goes well I will be tied to a piece of land hasn't really sunk into my brain as of yet. I doubt it will until I actually hold the deed in my hands. It's very very strange. It's a huge commitment, one I'm not entirely sure is the right one, but that I know is better than any alternative.

Facing the nip'n'tuck was much the same.

In fact, it was almost exactly the same. I knew I needed to do it, but there was so much that could go wrong and so many problems I could end up having to face, and yet none of them were as bad as the idea of not doing it. It's a huge outlay of cash. It's got a lot of hidden costs that you can either accept without question or you can turn down in bulk, but you can't really avoid.

I just hope I'm as happy with this outcome as I have been with the other.

This being All Saints' Day, I suppose I should write up the results of last night's festivities, too. Jessie and I went to Bennie's for Halloween, which was nifty. Lots of people showed up, and it was good to see them all. The event was costume-required, for which everyone had something either well-done or at the very least creative.

Kage's costume was truly frightening to behold.

Jessie and I went as a pair of font-faces, Palatino and Garamond. If that sounds strange, it's because it is. Solid black outfit, with an iron-on on the back of the shirt giving a name and brief history, written in the appropriate face. Very post-modern and surreal. Very silly. We probably could've done better, but at the time I thought it sounded like a very cool idea. It didn't come off in execution nearly as well as I'd hoped.

The basis of Sue's costume had me mildly envious, admittedly. That style of suit, over which one could wear regular clothes if one wanted, is exactly the sort Jessie and I would both love to have. Personally, I would want the hood with ears attached, leaving the face open, but that's mostly because I dislike human hair on furries, myself included, so I'd rather have the complete package that way. However, that's a single trifling detail out of an
array of nifty ideas.

The big hitch is that hers was a gift, so I have no way of asking her how much it cost. I'd love to find out, though. I've seen sights that will do that sort of work, but none that do the quality of work I'd like or the price of work I can afford, at least right now. Maybe when we've got our debts paid, though.

The house is definitely a step in the right direction for that, though. No more rent into a black hole.

At any rate, much fun was to be had. Wolf made chili which turned out quite good, if a bit different from my usual style. Though, that's because I make chili-for-Frito-Pie which tends to be very thick, and this was thinner chili-for-eating-alone which was very juicy and flavorful. Sue made what I can only describe as country mashed potatoes which were slightly chunky and really tasty. I made broccoli and cheese, which I thought turned out alright, and Bennie picked up a cold cuts tray and some Atlanta Bread Company bread which was really good.

Everyone also brought lots of Halloween candy. I'm glad I went off the diet for a few days to enjoy it. Well, I say I'm glad I did. I actually can't even drink diet soda any more; it's too sweet. I can handle real sugar, but in very small amounts. I'm apparently better off sticking with bread and complex sugars. Anything more heavy than that and I start to feel nauseous. Being on the low-carb diet really has screwed with my body.

At least I'm losing weight, or I was.

The exercise I've been taking has helped, too, I'm sure. Even if it is just DDR on Workout Mode. It's still better than nothing, and I'm doing it three times a week these days 'cause I feel better about myself when I get some regular exercise. I thought that was just the health-nuts talking, but it turns out to be true. Lots of crazy stuff like that. Who'da thunk it? 

This started out as a Halloween thingi and turned into a ramble, so I'll finish by saying thank-you to Bennie and Gideon and Vulp for having us over, and to everyone that kicked in and made it such a good evening. Now I have to start prepping for Thanksgiving.


When I was younger, I used to think that the friendships I made in high school would last forever. I had moved from one city to another, and in so doing I had kept all of the friends I had made in Dallas and made a whole new
set in Austin, and some had even migrated with me. A lot of my high school friends went to the same college I did, and I ended up rooming with one of them. It seemed then as if the connections I had made in my life were

It's strange how people drift apart. I think part of what keeps people together is repetition of contact, and when that disappears people start to fade. Happy memories once so sharp and lcear become faded and greyed, leaving
only a positive sensation at the mention of an old name. Flames of friendship have grown cold by age and neglect, reduced to dimly glowing embers, some gone out entirely.

I remember with shock being in grad school at UNT, and running into a high school friend who'd gone to Baylor when I went down for an ACM programming competition. He'd risen from constantly having to ask me how to solve problems to helping proctor the region's hardest coding comp. It was only the passing shock of recognition, but we managed to exchange about a dozen words. I didn't know what to say. We were never close, but we had always been on good terms, and then one day he was gone, off to a different school. When we saw each other again, it was like a physical blow, a memory that begged for attention that I simply couldn't address because of the artificial constraints of time and protocol. It felt very disconcerting.

I remember ending my relationship with The Ex and trying to go back to pick up a friendship with one of my oldest and longest friends, the first to whom I ever extended the title of brother. Things never really did work out from that point; those six years I had been in the relationship we had hardly spoken with each other—such is the power of emotional abuse—and other issues came up in the meantime that tested our ability to rebuild what
we had lost. Seventeen years came to a close in 2001, and I still haven't really recovered.

I've been spending a lot of time lately missing the tabletop gaming days of college down in Austin, of my roommates then and the marathon sessions we would run. I found one of them some time ago; he's living in DC now, married and a permanent resident if not a citizen, if I remember right. I never managed to stay in touch. That one was my fault, and I still feel poorly about it. I keep saying "I should email him again," and then I never do.

All these things have been heavy in my mind lately. I had to let go of someone else in my mind recently. To reference That Damned Book, it had come to feel as if I had had to amputate a limb when the friendship went bad. I didn't want to do it, but it was watch it fester and pray it would heal, or admit I couldn't save it and get rid of it before it cost me anything else. The switch from one state to another always leaves me melancholy. I never
feel afterwards as if I've done enough to salvage my relationships, and yet looking back at them I can never figure out what I would've or should've done differently.

Letting go is never easy for me. There's something in my mind, and I can't tell what it is, that doesn't let me "pick up where we left off". Going through the routine of trying to salvage a dying friendship usually costs me whatever trust I had for a person, and that's something that once gone is even harder to get back than it was to build the first time; there's always the lingering memory of having been "betrayed" once before. Not every friendship I've lost has been because of that, mind you. Some I've just had to end because of moving or distance. The ones that I had to end for my own sanity's sake, though, are usually gone for good.

I don't like this in myself, but I think this is just another part of Hare to me. I must feel Safe. The people who have changed and become Unsafe in my mind, they must somehow show me that they are Safe again, and I must be able to believe it. I know from experience that it is possible to recapture it; I've managed with at least two people before. I absolutely had to have them away from me, and then when they were gone I found myself missing them and back. It's possible. It's just very hard.

If it were something so simple as assigning a value to each person, Safe or Unsafe, that would be easy. The truth is never so simple. There are degrees of Safety, and I can't say casually or with any certainty where someone stands on the rankings in my head. I only know when someone has transitioned to Unsafe, by which point it's almost certainly too late for me to fix. To bring someone back from Unsafe, I must actively try to be around that person, and doing that means Danger, which makes any honest evaluation of the person in question difficult.

The real problem with all this is that the people I've lost because they've become Unsafe in my head tend to be cast in a negative light when it's not warranted. I see the worst in people that I've written off in this fashion, as a justification for why I removed them from my life. "He was abusive." "She was crazy." "He was clingy." I end up
focusing on all the bad points, however negligible, and forgetting about the good ones no matter how great.

I'm not sure I had a point to all of this, really, but I've been in a heavily introspective mood of late. The backup node to our network vanished thanks to a burgeoning personality conflict, and a comment made at one point about being "just another person Kristy's left behind" has made me wonder about all the people no longer part of my life.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss them. I'd be lying if I said I wanted them all back.


I've been joking for a long time that this year's birthday was going to be my last. I remember hearing a lot of jokes growing up about women who just stopped counting their ages after 29 and started counting years of experience instead. It feels a bit weird, to be staring thirty in the face. I realized much to my horror that a third of my life was now officially behind me, and that thought scares me like few ideas can. The Moody Blues once lamented in a song, "It's not a lot / It's all you've got / Twenty-two Thousand Days." Have I really seen that many sunrises?

I think the fact that this is the first thought that comes to mind on having a birthday last Saturday shows just how afraid of death I really am. This is still a source of surreal amusement to me, even as I lay awake at night shivering and wishing for the dawn. In my past, when I professed to atheism and hated my life, death held no fear for me. Now that I'm not so sure what I believe, I find myself plagued with thoughts of what Death is, and what being dead is like, if anything. Now that I love my life, I'm afraid of its end.

Birthdays, however, should be a source of celebration, not of mourning. They should be a mark of rememberence and recognition for a person, honoring zim and reminding zim of the importance of that person in one's life. If Thanksgiving is my holiday of choice on a grand scale, then birthdays are the individual complement thereto.
They're a chance to give that kind of recognition to the individuals that are important in one's life.

Pity I couldn't stop panicking about mine.

Now, to be utterly fair, it's my own fault. I totally forgot Jessie's birthday this year. I even forgot the day I normally think is Jessie's birthday but isn't. It wasn't until two or three days after that that Jessie reminded me it had gone past, and I felt utterly horrible for days afterwards. It's still embarrassing to me, to not celebrate a day so important to me.

This, however, set me up to thinking that Jessie would forget mine. Zir memory is notoriously bad for things like dates and times, which is why zie has the Visor in the first place. I don't normally go out of my way to make a big deal of my own birthday 'cause I'm not good at making a fuss over myself, despite my ego. So, I had done nothing to really advertize that it was impending, and Jessie had also said nothing in the days before, so I really didn't know if zie knew or not.

The day before, when Bennie dropped me off at his place so I could pick up my car after work, I noticed a number of cars in his yard and asked if he had something going on over the weekend. He mentioned that a number of people were visiting, and so in my little mental ledger I struck his and Sue's names off of the list of available people, and since I knew Kelly was working and everyone else has headed out of state again, I got it into my head that anything birthday-related would be Jessie and I doing something special together.

Jessie gave absolutely no indication whatsoever of having remembered.

Saturday morning, I get up and say "I need to go to the bank" and there's some discussion as to whether or not Jessie wants to come with or stay home and do laundry. The only catch is that we have no quarters to do laundry, and Jessie says zie wants to go to the laundromat. I say we can go to the bank and get quarters there, and Jessie half-heartedly agrees and then plots down on the couch in typical cat-fashion and lazes about online while I spod in front of .hack for a few hours. Jessie makes no suggestion of later plans.

At 15h00, I make Jessie get dressed and come with me to the bank. I bank with Navy Federal Credit Union, so
my branch is on a naval base, and the new CO has decided to confiscate all the standing base passes and require everyone who doesn't live on base to get day passes every time. This eats up an extra fifteen minutes while I rummage in the glove box for my registration and fill out the added paperwork to get
onto the base so I can deposit my paycheck. The base pass has, in bright green numbers and letters, the date, which is of course my
birthday. Jessie says nothing about this, but I don't ask because I'm not going to push the matter.

We get the quarters, but on the way home I realize we have nothing in the house to cook and so I say we need to divert to Sam's Club on the way to get supplies for the week, and Jessie looks a bit irritated and says we really need to get home to do laundry 'cause zie's got no clothes for work tomorrow, but I persevere and get what I need, then start heading home. Jessie says in the car that zie should call Mom when we get in, but that's
about it.

On the way home, I ask if we have any plans for dinner. Jessie shrugs non-committally and suggests we wait a while adn asks me if I'm hungry. I say that I'm starting to get there and suggest that if Jessie can't think of anything to do I'm going to cook alfredo. Jessie asks me to hold off for a while 'cause it's not dinnertime yet.

Finally, I can't stand it and I say, "You know, today was my birthday." All day I've been growing antsier by the moment 'cause the only people that remembered were my parents who sent me an e-mail (Thanks, Dad!). I was afraid if I waited until the day after to say anything I would be too upset to say it reasonably, but I also felt miserable at bringing it up in the first place 'cause it didn't seem like my place to remind other people of that kind of thing. If they remembered and wanted to do something for it, great. If they didn't, it wasn't my place to ask
or demand it.

Jessie's reponse was, "You broke a lot faster than I thought you would."

As it turned out, Jessie had in fact been setting something up for the last two weeks and had been trying to out-laze me and get me to go off on these errands by myself so that zie could pick up my birthday present, but I had been supremely uncooperative and refused to go alone. Further, I had not given Jessie the time to call Bennie and Sue and let them know when we would be going to dinner, 'cause Jessie had invited them to join us and they had accepted. So, Jessie let the whole charade drop, making me feel like a total doofus for all of about thirty seconds until I could laugh at the whole affair.

Dinner was wonderful. It's always good to go to the Outback, but this time was special: Bennie told the waitress it was my birthday, and they served me a twelve-ounce prime rib with a candle in it. I got really embarrassed and flustered, but I really did enjoy it. Then we went to Borders and Jessie got me my gift, a copy of Alice in Wonderland to read to me at night so zie can practice zir voice at home and not feel silly talking to zirself like I
do. *grin*

Thank you all again.


Today, I spent the day refactoring FormBot. I actually started analyzing what I would need to do yesterday, but I didn't touch any of the code yesterday. I started this morning shortly after I got to work, and I finished some time around 15h00. In the middle, I finished up a project at work and got a second out the door that evening (after 21h00, three hours after I wanted to leave), so I don't feel so bad about working on it while in the office.

It's strange just how jazzed I am about this. Normally, code is a living for me, but rarely is it a hobby. This, though, really has me psyched. I've been able to take what I've learned in the last few months working at HMS and I've successfully applied them to my own code base. I refactored out huge swatches of code into two modules, moved a third, shrunk the main program down to a driver, added some spiffies to shrink out some wasted code, and generally rearched over half the program. In a day. And it works.

That's the part that really gets to me about this whole affair. It works. I half feared that I would change around something at one point and break the whole mess, so I didn't even edit the code in place. I made backup copies
of everything, then edited those instead. As it turned out, I had no need of them. As soon as I got all of the syntax errors out of the way, the code ran without a hitch. I'm actually getting better at what I do.

I've even helped Bennie at work modify and improve one of the modules he's planning to check into CPAN. It doesn't sound like much, but it's the sort of little step that really has me excited. I've contributed to source that may well be used by more people than just me. I've made improvements to code bases at work that have become part of the generally accepted toolset and part of the development cycle.

I guess I always felt at my previous jobs that whatever code I contributed lasted the length of whatever project I had, and never seemed to go anywhere. Now I'm actually improving my skills, adding new features to useful things that people are actively using. I've gotten to the point that a massive rearchitecture and reeingineering takes me six hours, and the whole time I'm enjoying the rewrite and ultimately coming away with better, more elegant
code that functions just as well as, if not better than, before. 

Competency is a good feeling.

I feel about a thousand percent better now from three weeks or a month ago. I think my hormones were off. In fact, I'm absolutely sure that my hormones were off, but it had been over a year, maybe even eighteen months, since I'd gone to an endocrinologist.

That itself was a game and a half. Down in Texas, as long as one called one's endocrinologist and reported nothing new or no reason to change things, getting a new set of refills was simple. In Pennsylvania, however, one has to see one's prescribing physician at least once every twelve months to keep one's prescription current. This means more than a phone call.

Nobody informed me of this when I got here.

I used to see one endocrinologist, and he did a good job, don't get me wrong. However, after the first time I saw him, I ended up getting my surgery, and then I was off of my prescriptions for a while, and I had a huge backstock along with more refills, so I just didn't go back to see him regularly. Not knowing I needed to do so regularly, I just figured that when I needed more drugs, I could call him and he'd give me a new prescription.

Imagine my horror to discover that not only could he not refill my scrip but that because it had been over a year since I had last been in his office, he had to see me as a new patient all over again.

Now, I don't know what being a new patient is like in most fields, but in endocrinology being a new patient is jusy shy of going through the Spanish Inquisition. A special office visit taking upwards of an hour is not unusual, and endocrinologists are the type that can pick and choose their patients and set their own hours, and so they often do. When I called to get an appointment, I found out that I couldn't get one until the end of June.

This was in March.

I took the appointment, of course; to turn it down would have been foolish. I had plenty of pills left, so I wasn't too concerned. However, it was not to be. The endo called me back about a week prior to the appointment and
said he wouldn't be able to be in the office that day and he asked me if I could reschedule. I said yes, because saying no would have gotten me nothing. I was shy about a week on my prescription to get me to the rescheduled date, but I called my general practitioner and he gave me an emergency cover dose for ninety days which would neatly hold me through to my date.

I missed that one because of work.

I called the doctor the next morning, frantic and begging for a reschedule. The first date he had was December. That was far past the end of my drugs. I nearly flipped. However, Jessie was seeing a different endocrinologist, so I went out on a limb and called him. Lo and behold, he had an opening! In September! I took it, eagerly, and scheduled the day off of work.

My prescription ran out a week short of the day I could get in to see the new endo.

I wasn't about to ask my GP for another extension, so instead I hatched a clever plan to cut back my dosage by a quarter every day, so that I could over the time save enough enough extra pills for a three-quarter dose all the way to the date of the appointment, at which point I could go back on my full strength. This was a great idea, except for one tiny factor: I was going crazy.

There's this thing that happens to post-ops, that I inadvertantly discovered the hard way: after surgery, the body doesn't have to fight against all of the testosterone and so it takes a smaller dosage of estrogen to keep things on an even keel. Consequently, the extra dosage above and beyond can cause unexpected side effects, like crazy-bitch syndrome.

Jessie, I'm sure, would be willing to attest to my slow mental demise over that time period. It was nothing clear-cut, to be sure, and I had plenty of lucid days, but the frequency, intensity and duration of my freakings-out were all on the rise, slowly but surely, and at one point Jessie did indeed suggest that I go back into therapy 'cause I was wigging out like mad. 

Two days after cutting back my dosage to seventy-five percent, I felt human again. No more—or at least no more crippling—breakdowns. No more screaming. No more tears. I've been sane. Mostly. Almost. Some approximation thereof.

My new endocrinologist has officially dropped my dosage to the new level and suggested I keep it there. He's also suggested some other tweaks to my dosages to perhaps help me with breast growth, since I didn't wind up with as much there as I'd like. That, though, will have to wait until my November check-up.

Now I just have to remember to go get my pills from the pharmacy tomorrow. I'm out.


What memes around, memes around, they always say. All of them. Always. Tell your friends. More interviews with the Martian, this time from Joanne.

The rules of the game, as conveyed to me:

  1. Leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
  2. I'll reply and give you five questions to answer.
  3. You'll update your diary with the five questions answered.
  4. You'll include this explanation.
  5. You ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

I know (or can reasonably guess) where your chosen first name and middle name came from, but where did your (recently replaced) surname come from?

Here, actually. This and the character of Theresa Davis from my old Hayden Heath stories. Mostly the latter, but I don't have a convenient link to post. Theresa actually came into sharp focus when Jessie and I were working on Larkin '06, and while we have extensive notes for the setting and characters, we have very little actually done. However, we do have enough for me to say that Theresa turned out to basically be where I was when I was eighteen, a fact I only aceepted in far hindsight, so when it came time to pick a new name for myself, I took the one I had already basically been given.

What influences would you primarily blame for your having gotten into (for lack of a better descriptor) fringe things like RHPS and jello wrestling?

Saying I "blame" some outside influence for these things implies that I wouldn't have picked them on my own. For the former, that's not true, though the person who introduced me to the movie (and took my RHPS cherry) would actually be the same person that asked me at one point to remove all mention of him from my webpage, so even though I want to say who he is, I really can't in good conscience. I wish I could.

The latter... is harder to explain. There was a day and age when I flaunted my morbid obesity against the world as a defense mechanism against my own self-loathing. I fueled my emotional shields on the repulsion of others and laughed at their discomfort to hide from my own. The Ex and I got invited to an end-of-the-school-year party for some college friends, and they had decided the theme of the night would be jello wrestling, and so we joined in the fray. Wearing only an electric blue speedo and rolling around in a hundred litres of flavored jello didn't seem that strange at the time. In all honesty, everyone else was doing it too.

Has this special ability of yours to attract weirdos and freaks come about "recently" (like, when getting on the net), or have you had it all your life?

Rather than ask when I developed this ability, why not ask instead what is it about the people with whom I associate that makes them weirdos and freaks? I don't really see them in that light. The term "freak" is almost always a positive one from me, indicating a train of thought that had eluded me or that would not have come naturally to me but whose beauty I can appreciate even if I disagree with it. In this way, everyone is a freak in some fashion; the secret is in figuring out that one card on the bottom of the stack that makes the whole house come crashing to the ground, and then tapping on it with a tuning fork to make the house of cards vibrate.  

What is it that keeps you putting your paws into burning? (of any kind - it just seems a little more foward/aggressive than I would expect of a bunny)

For this, I must dip into the Pink.

I have often spoken in the past of totems, and I have been known to say that Bear is my totem while Hare is my companion. Bear is that to which I aspire while Hare is that which I am. As I have explained many times in the past, Bear is the teacher, the healer, the guardian and the protector. I have no need to re-explain Bear. Hare, on the other hand, I don't think I have ever really explained.

To the Greeks, Hare is the spirit of sensuality and hedonism. To the Japanese, Hare is the face of the Moon. To some Amerind traditions, Hare is the spirit of fear and of safety. To others, Hare is Coyote's little sister. She is the trickster that is caught in her own traps. Hare gets caught by the Tar Baby. Hare throws rocks at hornets' nests, and often as not gets stung because of it.

Of course, to say that this is why I enjoy sticking my paws into burning would be to put the cart before the horse. I don't believe in playing ex post facto with my logic, so instead I'll divert into a different religion all-together: SubGenius. The SubGenius must dip into the Pink to come out Slack. This is a very trite saying, but in essense, or at least to my understanding of it, the SubGenius must constantly retest and reevaluate damaged ideas to ensure that they are indeed broken. It's not enough to say "I know the sun will rise" the SubGenius must get out there and see it happen.

This doesn't really explain it any better either, though, but it's about as close as the first. So, perhaps with these two ideas as background, I can at least wend my way around to an actual answer. The truth is that I stick my paws into burning because I believe in challenging mistaken ideas in the hope that those who hold them will see that they are mistaken and correct them. I challenge my own ideas or at least I try to do so because the only way I fix problems is by constantly testing them to ensure that I'm not mistaken in my understanding. I also have an intense dislike of what I believe is internal inconsistency, in myself and in others. When I see things that look like they're misaligned in that fashion, I find myself poking at them kind of like picking at a mental scab. Either they heal, or they fester into something gangrenous that requires the whole mess be lanced and regrown from bank tissue. Either way, the offending scab is gone. =n.n=

You keep talking about redesigning your website, but I've yet to see it happen - why is that? And what are you considering doing as a theme? ( or did I just hit on the reason why it's not happening? :) )

Pretty much, yeah. The theme I have in mind is one that I would like some help from Jessie in designing the visuals (shock horror; I'm thinking about graphics on a webpage), but there just hasn't been the time to sit down and do any sort of real design work on it. I know what I want, but I have yet to see how practical it will be in an actual implementation.


Whenever I entered a new phase of my life, I would always spend a few days or weeks wandering around in a sort of semi-daze. I wanted people to treat the changes I had made as if they were normal, and yet at the same time I wanted to celebrate them and revel in how they made me feel. When I came out the first time as gay, when I came out later as transexual, when I left my ex, when I found Hare and rediscovered Bear, all of these things I wanted to just be normal and yet I myself have been guilty of calling too much attention to them.

So it is now, again.

Jessie and I got married last night. I am now legally "Kristina Robin Tracer" should I choose to be, and I do. I find myself wanting to talk about this with people, to celebrate my legal commitment to my mate, and to have people know how happy i am that our relationship how has the proper recognition that it should have had so long ago.

What, though, has really changed?

I still have work on Monday. Jessie has work this afternoon. I ordered a pizza for breakfast, and tomorrow I'm going to sleep late and then bake cookies. Maybe I'll bake cookies today, or play Silent Hill 3 some more. Really, nothing at ay day-to-day level has changed, and yet I feel this urge to make things different, even though there's no need.

I do have to say here, though, that the ceremony was TEH COOLEST EVAR. Our friend Bennie ministered, while SusanDeer served as maid of honor and witness. Bennie noted that nothing in our relationship had ever come easy, and so we had to work for our wedding, too. We were then handed the dice and made to fill in the bottom half of Yahtzee score sheet (except the Yahtzee and Chance bits) in order to earn the bits of the ceremony.

I beat Jessie by forty points, too, which figures. I end up doing most of the work in the relationship anyway. =n.n=

It occurs to me that I said while I was in Thailand that I will have "burned the bridge" when I had my surgery. In truth, that was an erroneous statement. I'm the same person that I was before then as after, at least in terms of continuity of existence and memory. To say that a singular event, even one as dramatic as that, would change my life is silly. It didn't even effect which bathroom I used, even if one of my old companies wanted to work things that way. 

A lot has changed since then, though. I've changed jobs twice, been unemployed for four months, gotten married, served as a staff member of a major furry con twice, and started making plans for a permanent future that I never thought I would make when I was younger. I've become someone that I'm happy to be, even if some of the details still aren't right and others can never be fixed. I may forever be on the bridge, crossing from one truth to another, one vision to another, but I think there are far more apt metaphors for my life than one of transition.

I am in serious need of a site redesign.


I should know better than to play with memes. I really should. However, this one seems relatively harmless, and there's something quirkily amusing to me in the act of being asked potentially intimate questions by someone I don't know well. It's kind of like a cross between Catholic confession and Craig Kilborn's Five Questions, with a dose of "Jeopardy Home Edition" thrown into the mix.

I prefer to think of it as Interviewing the Martian.

The rules of the game, as conveyed to me:

  1. Leave a comment saying you want to be interviewed.
  2. I'll reply and give you five questions to answer.
  3. You'll update your diary with the five questions answered.
  4. You'll include this explanation.
  5. You ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

You and I have met a handful of times and talked a bit more than that on IRC. What is something I wouldn't know about you, either from our conversations or those I've had with [Jessie]?

I have a secret passion for swing and gangster chic.

I can't even call it an interest in swing music. I mean the whole thing. From Big Band up to ska, I love the sound. I love the clothes. I miss the Rat Pack, even if I was never a fan of the movies. "Some Like It Hot" is still one of my favorite films. Long before my transition, I had a group of friends with whom I would regularly meet for martinis, coffee, cigars and poker. We would put on CDs, records, tapes, whatever media we had of the music of the day, loosen our ties from work, and kick back a few drinks and deal away the night.

At one time, we had plans to start the Gangster Swing Bowling Team. There would be five of us, in matching custom tailored zoots and clear acrylic bowling balls with our personal emblems inside. Mitch was The Knife, with a pair of shivs in his ball and a blood red zoot. Joe was The Dealer, with a bright purple zoot and the Ace and Jack of spades flashing blackjack on the lanes. Ben, in white, was The Crack and had a spare derringer in his bag as well as his ball. Bobby got green, and played The Fish, our resident
wiseguy. I, of course, was The Lug, with a leather sap and a black zoot as the enforcer.

We were even pricing out embroidered shirts at one point.

I look back at the antics of my youth now and I laugh. I can't fit that image into my head as "me" any more, but at the same time I quietly miss the character that I played at that time in my life. Trying to do now what I did then just feels alien, and yet I still miss the part. It feels a bit like I've lost the ability to play a favored role in a play, and I'll forever envy the person who's stepped in to fill the part, even though I can't or won't.

What has been the most unexpectedly rewarding part of your transition?

The first time I passed without effort, without dressing, without trying. The moment at which someone says "ma'am" while you're sporting three days' of facial growth and wearing a button-down shirt with a tie and a pair of ill-fitting jeans, because you're carrying a purse and you have the body language and mannerisms of a woman. The moment you realize you can Be Anything, if only you allow yourself to be.

There is no gender anywhere. We are all absolutely free.

How did you come to choose your current name?

My mother loves Winnie the Pooh.

She loves the stories so much, in fact, that when I was originally born she wanted to name me Christopher Robin. She sold my father on the Christopher part, but Robin he just couldn't handle.

His exact response was, according to Mom, "That's a fag's name."

When it came time for me to pick my new name, I went back to this. Robin makes a perfectly good female name as well as a male one, and so I used it. I consider it the same sort of nod that other trannies who use their mother's maiden names make.

Far more interesting than my first name, though, is my last. Davis wasn't the surname with which I came into the world, but I knew that I wanted to get rid of the one I got from my parents. Both of my parents have systematically broken every tie to their extended families that they could, and so in truth I really had no heritage on which to draw. I barely know any of my cousins or anyone else past my parents, and so there was no reason to keep my last name as proof of any sort of connection. For all of thirty seconds I considered the last name of Taggart before dismissing it out of hand. I didn't want to forever be known as someone trying to copy someone else.

At one point, I wrote a story as a sign of solidarity between myself and someone now somewhat estranged from me. When she transitioned, she took her middle name from the character in the story that represented her. A bit later, I wrote another story, not currently available, with a character named Theresa Davis, a wisecracking wannabe Objectivist and architecture student with a chip on her shoulder from being raised in an excessively Southern antebellum family, the sort of people who would make a public show of solidarity with their wayward daughter, then pack her off to the remotest end of the planet with a hefty stipend on the
condition that she not come home to embarrass them further.

Her last name became mine when I realized just how much of her was my own past, or what I felt my past had been. I can now only hope that her future is as bright as my present.

Where do you see yourself in seven years?

Gawrsh. I have a hard enough time seeing myself in a year. I'd like to think that by then Jessie will have made an honest woman of me, but only in the sense that I'll be writing kiss-and-tell columns for weekly tabloids. A house, a nicer car, a raise, out of credit card debt hell, a good start towards a retirement fund. The little things in life that make worrying about the future not such a whitefaced terror. 

You and [Jessie] run off like bandits into the night. Who takes care of your server(s)?

Positing that I could afford to run off like a bandit into the night suggests having enough money to afford a cellular modem or satellite uplink for the penguin, or else transferring it to a colo station and monitoring it from the open road via the same means. More practically, I'd need to find a good home for it, preferably with one person to handle server admin and another to do the actual schmoozing with the users, 'cause Crom knows I can't do it worth a damn. Joanne would make a passable stand-in for me, but Kelly would have to be Jessie's replacement. She has the right blend of apathy, sadism and optimistic innocence.


Names hold an awesome power.

I have this borderline-unhealthy fascination with names. "The name in itself is the thing in itself." Knowing the true name of someone or something, especially if it's important or meaningful in my life, gives me an emotional boost I can't define or explain in any logical capacity. To know the birthnames of my friends, to be able to say Yoshua ben Yosef instead of Jesus Christ, to refer to Samuel Clemens and Marion Morrison, these are
my weapons.

There is an intimacy in knowing the true name of a person. It's a level of assumed familiarity that can't be had in any other way. It's an unnatural one, too, for all that I hate that word. It doesn't actually guarantee any knowledge about a person, or any understanding, but it implies a great deal of both to the casual listener and it's almost always either an off-putting insult or a self-written invitation to company for those who do. Either way, though, it throws the other person just a little off balance. 

Almost everyone I know ends up with some kind of nickname. That may just be human nature, but I almost never use anyone's full name unless I'm feeling passionate about something. Angry, scared or intimate, but there's a level
of emotion I have to feel before I'll use someone's full name. If I'm really put out, I'll use an older variant of someone's name. If I want someone's attention, I'll use a middle name. My safeword in scene is almost always
my top's middle name.

Someone once very dear to me once threatened to call me Robin as my given name. I jokingly said I would call her by her middle name in response. In truth, I was secretly thrilled at the intimacy implied by the casual use
of my middle name like that. I took to calling her not just Angela but Anji, spelled like the Simon and Garfunkel song. I gave her the name, after all. At least, she took it from something I wrote.

I call her by her first name now. Maybe one day I'll call her Anji again.

Today started off as TEH SU><0r, but over the course of the day it's actually become rather decent. Last night I had another one of those grand emotionally purgative events that happens when some painful truth about oneself comes to light in a way that one isn't really prepared to except but can no longer avoid. Relaying the whole story doesn't seem productive in hindsight, but the nuts and bolts of it is that I still have a lot of outstanding issues with my appearance, and so I end up spending a lot of time befriending people who're transitioning and unsure of themselves so that we all become a sort of mutual-support society, nobody really believing that zie's okay, but everyone believing everyone else is doing good and gaining confidence in zirself by belonging. It sounds very shallow, and it probably is, but I still do it and I think I've known I've done it for ages even if I haven't really been aware of why I did it. Last night, I admitted the why to myself and to Jessie, and it really upset me.

After an extended period of intermittant crying, I crashed in Jessie's arms and had a dream wherein there was a bunny, and a scientist. The scientist would show the bunny pictures of things like clouds and rainbows and stars
with smiley faces on them and ice cream cones and other happy things, and then whenever the bunny would hop up and down and lift her ears to show she was happy, the scientist would stick the bunny with a needle. After some amount of time doing this, whenever the scientist held up any picture at all, the bunny would go hide in the corner of her cage and whine and shake and shiver, no matter what was in the picture.

This did not leave me in a good mood this morning.

I started the dey with a phone call from the guy whose car I rear-ended, and he wants me to pay $700 for the repairs to his Acura. Now, I said when I left the scene that I would pay for any repairs, but I don't consider fixing
cosmetic damage to be "repairs", no matter how expensive the car may be. He admitted on the phone that there was nothing keeping his car from being roadworthy, but apparently he's also had the repair work done and now
he expects me to pay for it. I told him on the phone that if sent me a bill I'd reimburse him, but now I'm having second thoughts. He was the second driver named in the accident report, but he wasn't the one who was driving
when the accident occured. He wants me to pay for what amounts to a cosmetic patch on his bumper and a fresh coat of paint, and while I probably would be willing to drop $200 on the matter, $700 is a little much in my opinion for what he himself says is nothing but a matter of appearance.

After that literal rude awakening, I got a healthy dose of crow and humble pie from the events of the night before, and the dream really left me shaken. So, it took me a while to even want to get out of bed and figure out what I wanted to do with myself during the day. Jessie had to work, and we're both tired of spending ridiculous amounts of money going out to eat when I know how to cook and I have all this time on the weekend when Jessie's not home to do so, so I finally said I'd go to the store and pick up supplies for a few things to cook over the weekend that would last Jessie through lunch and both of us for dinner through the rest of the week, with the plan to go next Saturday to the store again for more groceries.

I wish I could've walked over to the Clemens near the apartment complex, but it was just too damn hot, so I ended up driving over there after taking Jessie to work. I bought another three canvas bags, which ran me just over twelve dollars but which will save me fifteen cents per purchase more every time I go shopping there. I'll have to inquire at Giant and Redner's how much they give for their bag reuse policy, too. It might benefit me to keep one in the car at all times just in case.

I picked up the ingredients for jambalaya, steak cobbler, chili and almond toffee cookies, then came back to the house, whereupon I discovered a dilemma: what's the best method of properly organizing these recipes in the database I decided I wanted to build.

Yes, sadly I cannot escape my geekery even on the weekends.

Putting all of the ingredients in one table along with the customary measurements is easy enough, but when it comes to building the actual recipes, I suddenly have an issue. I know how to make a number of varieties of certain dishes, depending on what meats and veggies I use. Meat Cobbler is the best example of this. I can make it with steak, mushrooms and onions. I can make it with chicken, mushrooms and peas. I can make it with beef
gravy. I can make it with chicken gravy. I can make it with cream gravy. Basically, I have a "meat and veggies" "super-ingredient," a "gravy" "super-ingredient", and then the crust. So, do I make a third table of "super-ingredients" for things that get reused regularly, or do I just make multiple versions of the main recipe with an
excess of redundant information?

It's hard to believe, but worrying about this has actually lightened my mood considerably, as well as made me concerned at just how much of a geek I really am. =n.n=


It always happens that right after I throw a McMassive Hissy FitTM over something that's horribly broken or frustrating, I find a fix to my problem that works out so well that my previous temper tantrum looks like just that.
I suspect that this is either a conspiracy to make me look even more childish than I actually am, or else it's the Cosmic 2x4's way of saying "You're my Special Friend."

Today I called the Philadelphia County courthouse, laid bare the situation and asked them if they could issue me a license. She said that as long as my driver's license said female on it, there was no issue. They'd mark the paperwork as "legal name change" and be done with the matter. No need for birth certificates or other certifications.

I was aghast. I told the clerk there what the Montgomery County court had required. Her response was, and I quote, "Oh, the people up in Montgomery County are a bunch of assholes."

I love Philadelphia. And Philadelphia loves me back.

Parallel to this, Jessie is now legally Jessie, which I know has been a huge morale boost at home. I only wish yesterday that I had been in as good a mood as Jessie was. Knowing that Jessie wanted to celebrate and that I was being such a downer over the whole marriage thing only made my depression seem that much worse.

I don't think I'll have any trouble celebrating tonight, though the real party will be next Wednesday, once we've got the license in hand. I'm trying not to get my hopes up unnaturally high, but things are really looking good
right now.


One of these days, I'm going to meet God. I intend to kick Him in the nuts, if he has them. Or tits, if She doesn't. Or ass, if Zie lacks those as well. Maybe all of them.

I am now two years post-operative. I have been living as a woman full-time for over three years. I have a passport and drivers' license that both identify me as female. I haven't received mail, electronic or otherwise, addressed to my old identity in nearly a year. My past life should at this point well and truly be behind me.

However, when applying for a marriage license in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the clerk of the court is required to ask for parents' full names as part of the process. I dutifully supplied both of my parents' full names without question. My father's last name is Hughes. My mother's maiden name is Blysard.

My last name, of course, is Davis.

The clerk looked me strangely for a moment, then asked me for proof of my change of name. I blinked, blinked again and asked why she needed it. She said that normally she wouldn't but because my name didn't match either of my parents', that she had to have proof of continuity of lineage. I said I could probably find that paperwork, did so and returned to the office.

She looked at that paperwork and asked me for proof of my sex change. My drivers' license obviously wasn't good enough. Neither was my passport. I eventually had to find the letter from my surgeon saying that I had indeed been through the sex-change operation and that I was now a functional female in every regard. I promptly faxed this document to the clerk's office and called to confirm they had received it, whereupon they notified me that I would have to call back in a few days after the friend-of-the-court lawyer that reviewed all their strange cases had looked over my documents.

I waited the requisite two days, then called back to confirm earlier today to ask if they had finally gottem my license ready. The clerk's supervisor then informed me that I would need to submit an amended birth certificate
and that the letter from my surgeon wasn't sufficient as it wasn't from a recognized United States agency.

Santa Clara County, California—the county in which I was born—does not list sex on their amendments. All they amend is name.

I explained this no less than four times to the supervisor. Every time, all she said was, "Then I can't issue you a marriage license." She even managed to say it four different ways, I think. I was so livid at the moment that I didn't hear her too clearly.

"Livid" does not begin to describe my mood. Every person in the legal system along the way has openly admitted that had I not changed my last name, none of this would have ever happened. They would never have asked
and thus never have known that my name had been different. If I had, in fact, changed my last name to my mother's maiden name, they would have simply assumed that my mother had later remarried and never thought twice about it. However, since I
did change my name, they inquired and thus found out about everything else that they claim is sufficient grounds to deny me a marriage license.

The state of Pennsylvania recognizes me as female on my drivers' license. The Social Security Administration recognizes me as female in their paperwork. The Passport Authority recognizes me as female on my travel papers. However, because the county of Santa Clara does not list sex on their birth certificate amendments, the county of Montgomery claims the right to deny me the right to marry.

Now, of course, the thing I want to do is call them back and ask them if I can marry a woman. The supreme irony of being the groom at my wedding might offend, shock or otherwise horrify people, but at this point the people at the Montgomery County Courthouse have ruled that I'm not a chick, and in their two-sex world, that makes me a guy for the purposes of gettin' hitched.

What I'm probably going to do is find the closest county to Montgomery that doesn't ask all these stupid questions and doesn't have a residency requirement, then go there and get the marriage license and ceremony performed over some weekend in the near future. Barring that, I'm calling Santa Clara County and asking the clerk there if the amendment on my birth certificate can be... well... amended.

I am angry beyond words, and yet I feel strangely as if I have been given exactly what I should've expected. I allowed myself to hope that the people who could have made this happen would be better than they were, and I have paid dearly for my assumptions.

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