Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Tree

"A tree jumped out in front of me and ate our RV mirror!"You might think I'm kidding, but that is what Angela said while I surveyed the damage - and the mirror on the ground. Now, if that had been David, the quote would NOT have been printable. Neither would anything about our extended weekend in Kings City, nor any outings attached to it. So, what's another Best Thing About Married to a Transsexual - attitude. Accidents happen. They are unplanned, and in most cases unavoidable. There is just no way to horse around a 39' motor home and not occasionally whack a tree branch. Angela does an OUTSTANDING job of driving, backing, parking, and otherwise maneuvering the RV in all variety of tight spots. It's always a blessing when the roads are good, the parks have good pull-through parking with all the branches cut to accommodate our RV, and there aren't lots of stuff for the dogs to pick up in their fur. However, more often than not: there are bad roads on our routes; there are no pull-throughs at RV parks; and the parking spaces that one gets are not always great for our sized rig, even though they are advertised as being "just right." So, a mirror got whacked this weekend. It'll cost a small fortune to get it replaced, no doubt, but we had a GREAT weekend! We made a passel of new friends, we had a couple of wonderful meals, we saw a good museum, and we just had a good time. I can absolutely guarantee that had the mirror - thing happened with David driving and not Angela, "he" would have pissed and moaned all weekend. He'd have been miserable with self blame, and I'd have been miserable listening to it all weekend. Not only that, but he'd probably have been a hermit the whole weekend. Not so Angela! She took it as an accident, put the mirror in the bin to deal with when we got home, and spent the rest of the weekend (Thurs-Sun) having a good time.

I can easily recommend Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum and the San Lorenzo Regional Park as a good place to go. It's a lovely park, a good museum, and it has good sites for campers and RVers (but watch out for low hanging branches in some of the pull-throughs). The park is well maintained and there is plenty to do. The museum is interesting. They also have fully restored a home, a 1-room school house, a train depot, a blacksmith shop and loads of farm equipment from the 1880s forward. They also have a museum on irrigation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Leaving and Returning: they are the best

I don't know about you, but for me, the best parts of most trips are leaving and returning.

Leaving is always filled with the anticipation of what the trip will end up being about. I also enjoy the hustle and bustle of getting packed up and ready almost as much. I even enjoy getting up a bit early on departure morning (trust me when I say that I usually hate early morning awakenings). There have been few occasions when my anticipation has not been well founded. I've found, on looking back, that even those trips that had problems, or sadness, involved proved to be good trips. Of course we always plan our trips well, make reservations early whether we're flying, driving or RVing. We generally know the itinerary planned at our destination(s), but we reserve the right to lay-over a day (or two), to take a side trip, to make a friend, to help another with a problem, or to just take a day off from planned activities. Let me use a recent trip with friends to Pacific Grove as an example. Who would have thought we'd have had an "Elvis sighting!" There we were, in our cabin by the sea, relaxing between activities, when Nancy said, "I think I just saw Elvis go by." Of course we all gave her the ole "raised eyebrow" look, and then rushed out to see for ourselves. Sure enough, there was an Elvis impersonator returning to his bungalow from a performance. He was all decked out in his white get up. We actually thought it might be an impersonator we all knew, but it turned out to be someone completely different. No, none of us are what one would call Elvis fans, but who could resist an encounter like that?! There will always be good memories attached to that trip - the expected, and the unexpected parts

Then there was the return. Ah what a relief to be back home, unpacked, and relaxed, petting my puppies and telling Angela of our adventures.

Now Angela and I are off on a long weekend RVing with a new group we've never met. We've got an agenda, but who knows what all will happen? I do know we'll leave with lots of anticipation, and we'll be happy to be home when we return.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

First Steps! A Red Letter Day

We've passed a milestone - Brooke, our granddaughter, is walking! She turned 10 months old on the 17th. Her mother also walked at 10 months, so, true confession time, we figured she'd be an early walker too. Oh yes, she almost skipped crawling because she preferred to be up on those little feet. Of course, crawling did happen, and it is her primary source of moving at present - and always at top speed. She began letting go and standing alone for a few second a little over a month ago, but she wasn't ready to take the first step unassisted. Last night she began with 2 steps, then 3, and then 5. Now we're trying to get all that motion on video, and naturally, she takes off before we can get the camera going. We'll keep at it. Wouldn't you?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Little Things - Like Toilet Paper IS One of the Best Things About Being Married to a Transsexual

Little Things are important. I'm not good at little things. I've been told that I am "dangerously unobservant" because I don't notice incidentals. Angela does, and that's great. She makes up for my short comings in that area. Toilet Paper is a good example. There is always a second roll handily placed when an old roll gets short. If it were left to me, someone would always have to yell for back up! She always remembers napkins too - well, she remembers to bring them to the table, although they seldom get passed out until someone (me) asks - unless we're having guests, of course. If something is "lost," she is the one who usually (note I said usually) finds it. She's the one who always checks that doors are locked, garage doors are down, security alarm is on and lights are out, or on, as appropriate. She's the detail person, and that's a good thing. So you see, toilet paper can be a good thing - at least as an indication of one of the Best Things About Being Married to a T.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ladders are NOT One of the Best Things About Being Married to a Transsexual

Ladders. I'm getting to where I hate them. Oh, I still love my step ladder, and I'm mostly okay with my 6 foot ladder, but anything over that - well, let's just say I'm considering putting a lock on them. You see Ladders are NOT one of the best things about being married to a transsexual. You might ask "Why?" If you should ask that - here's why: Angela can't seem to stop falling off them. You see, hormones don't change that 'I Can Do Anything' attitude - and Especially not the 'I Can Do Anything I Put My Mind To' attitude. So, this morning we climbed into bed at 5:30 a.m. because we had been at the emergency room - AGAIN! - from 6:30 p.m. yesterday evening until 4:30 a.m. today. This was trip number 3 for the emergency room due to falls from ladders by Angela. None of those falls have been from step ladders:

The first one happened while she was still David. That fall resulted in a broken wrist. That fall was from the 6' ladder. Even though he knew better, he stepped on the top step to change a light bulb in a spotlight located near the top of a 20' ceiling (no, it was not at the very top - it was about 3/4 of the way up - on a steeply angled area). He lost his balance as he stretched to reach the socket. I was at work. He called me to come take him to the emergency room, which I did. The result: He was in a cast for 6 weeks, and he was lucky I didn't brain him one right then. I laid down the law about NOT BEING ON A LADDER WITHOUT SOMEONE BEING AROUND TO HOLD IT!! though. Obviously, it didn't stick - at least not for very long.

Our next rush to the hospital was when s/he fell off the BIG ladder that makes all sorts of contraptions and reaches some 22+ feet when it's all the way extended. She was transitioning then, dressing as Angela at home, after work, except when s/he was outside working in the yard. Sometimes s/he wore a wig when outside, but usually not. Anyway, a limb gave way when the ladder was extended about 15', and she fell. That resulted in her wrist being broken again. In fact, it was broken so badly that it required a plate to hold it together. Oh yeah, there was also a small chip in her elbow. All that healed up fine with only a not-too-obvious scar. I was home for that episode, and we got her to the emergency room immediately. I couldn't complain too much, because I was there picking up branches at the time of the fall. She was supposed to be coming down the ladder, not continuing to cut things. But, at least I'd held it for MOST of the work she was doing. (If you do this for your spouse, make sure you are not under the area being trimmed or where the chain saw is likely to land should a disaster occur: at least one death, and several serious injuries, has happened when a falling chainsaw decapitated - or otherwise injured - someone holding a ladder.

This time, No 3 for those who are counting, I was again away from home. We bought a big screen TV that is to be delivered in a couple weeks. BUT - she HAD to take down the projector to our projection TV set up - right?

"I just Had to," she said.

I mean we only had 2 weeks until the new set up was going to show up. Why should she wait til someone was home to help? You see what I mean when I say hormones DON'T change EVERYTHING! So, as you might guess, while on the fully extended ladder (22') taking down the braces for the already down projector, the ladder began to slide on the hardwood floor. Now, this would not have happened had someone (me) been home to hold it in place, of course. So, she tried to back down as ladder began to slide - she only got down 1 step before the fall began. She landed on her butt (fortunately?), without hitting anything else - bookcases, large glass coffee table, fireplace hearth or step, couch, etc. (not to mention that either she or the ladder might have also landed on one of the 3 dogs). Lucky! - again.! So, she called me. I was on my way home, but I was about 2 miles away.

"No hurry," she said, "but I could use your help."

Knowing this was code, for 'I've hurt myself.' I asked, "what happened?"

"I fell off a ladder."

"Okay, quit kidding, what happened/" I asked.

"I mean I really fell off a ladder."

"You aren't supposed to be on a ladder without someone at home with you to help, you know," I reminded her.


She was picking up, putting away, and acting like nothing had happened when I came in the family room door . It was obvious it had been a bad fall because the long ladder was stretch all the way across the family room, and it was catawampus (not laying flat, but twisted in a couple different directions). I gave her a disgusted look and asked for a once-over view of what had happened and a look see of probable injury sites. Nothing was obvious as for injuries, so we finished the pick-up and reset the furniture. Then we carried the ladder out to the shop building. While putting it up in its overhead catches, I noticed her left elbow was seriously out of whack - a large lump was rapidly growing on one side. I was sure she'd dislocated the elbow. So, off to the emergency room we went.

It's a big emergency room - supposedly the second largest in California. It's also one of the busiest. The check-in and X-ray went fast, but since she wasn't bleeding, having a heart attack, brought in by ambulance, or been shot, she was Low Priority. We saw the doctor at 4:20 a.m. No, there were no broken bones; and NO, the elbow was not dislocated. We'd iced it down on the way to the emergency room, and in Triage they had put it in a sling. So, the swelling was going down, and it wasn't hurting much since it was being well supported.

Lucky! She's very lucky - mostly that I didn't take her and drop her off and leave her there as I'd threatened to do once before - when He crushed his foot! But that's another story! No, it didn't involve a ladder.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Ah doggies. They are pretty special aren't they? Well, mine are, and if you are a dog lover, or a pet lover of any kind, you already know how special they are. Kathryn the Great is the greatest, so her name is certainly a perfect fit; even if I do call her Stink as often as not - because she's a little stinker - always into everything. She wants to know what is going on, and she must see to it that whatever it is that is going on is going the way she thinks it should. I'm sure you know the type. Her back knees are starting to give out, but it isn't slowing her down much. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make them perfect for her again though. Snowball's Chance is our largest dog, and we call her Little. Now, that makes sense, doesn't it? She WAS little once. Besides, she always acts as if she is the smallest - always giving way to the others. She's happy to let Kathryn be the dominant, and to let the baby think she is the dominant. Snowball is also my proof positive that Angela's transition was the right thing to do. Angela brought her home, you see, when I thought Kathryn the Great had a Snowball's chance of ever having a second dog to play with. Before that, dogs had always been "mine," not ours, and I knew it was unlikely I'd ever convince David to have a second dog. Oh, he was nice to them, but not exactly a dog lover. Then he began to transition to Angela, and when she brought home a second dog, that was my proof of how much Angela had changed. That was Angela's first Best Thing About Being Married to a Transsexual. It will always be the First, and the Best "Best Thing." So we come to our third doggie: Cassandra. She is Angela's baby girl. They are a twosome for sure. Dogs are special around here. I can't imagine our house without a dog - or two - or three. We love them so. We also treasure the memory of all our doggies that are gone from us - all well loved, and all treasured in our memories.

This post is in memory of a special pet that belonged - and will always belong - to a friend of mine. For Maxi - with our love.

Friday, April 11, 2008


FRIENDS. If ever there was a word that should be all caps, this is the word. These folks are special. All friends are special, I suppose, but some are more special than others. Everyone has neighborhood friends, work friends, family friends, and associate friends. The ones I'm talking about are the ones you may first make in one of those places, but they become something more - they become Best Friends. They become the folks you share stories, joys and tears with. Mine are friends that when I told them about Angela's transition, I got none of the "What are you going to do? Do you need a place to stay? When are you filing for divorce?" type questions. Instead I got, "Are you okay? We're here for you. We're your buds, and if anyone gives you any guff, we'll stand beside you. We'll help you in anyway we can." type friends. (Yes, there are some other best friends that have also come along after Angela's transition, but right now, I'm talking about the ones I'm going to the coast with this weekend.) You see, when I went to work at the newspaper, they had all already been friends for years (and years - - ). I was the first person from out-of-town to come to work on the sales force. I was the first one that hadn't come up through the ranks of that particular newspaper. Yet, they welcomed me, took me for coffee breaks, showed me the ropes and made me feel welcome. Before long, we were doing lunch and shopping together. Then they invited me along on a trip. I was pretty unsure about that, but I went along - and bless Angela's heart, she said, "Go! They're your friends." (Yep, that's another Best thing about being married to a Transsexual) So, we took off for a weekend. We had a great time, and I got to know them even better. Years went by and we became closer, and closer. Then it was time to tell them my husband was going to become a woman. They'd all been with us both; they'd sat with us at parties, they'd opened their homes to us, and they'd come to dinners and gatherings at our home. I was still afraid I'd lose them when I told them, but I knew I had to. I arranged a lunch and told them, "I have something I have to talk to you guys about," but I didn't tell them what it was. Of course they tried to guess what it might be: I was quitting my job, we were moving, I was ill, and who knows what else. I wouldn't tell. So, the day arrived and we had a nice lunch at a favorite restaurant. It had booths were you could draw a curtain for a little privacy. We got to the restaurant and I began by telling them, "I will understand if you need to leave when I tell you this. I will understand if you tell me we can no longer be friends. Then I told them. Yes, there was stunned silence for about 30 seconds, and then one after the other I heard words of caring, support, and willingness to face the world with me, regardless of what others thought. They are what being a friend is all about. When I say that I/we have been lucky through Angela's transition, I should say that we have been extraordinarily lucky! I have been blessed with many great friends, but these six stand out! I can wish you nothing greater than that you have such friends in your life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Speaking to university classes & professionals

Wow! What an opportunity we have each time we speak to a university class!
It's always surprising to find that so few people have interacted with anyone in the Transgender world. Many have friends that are gays or lesbians, but they (lesbians and gays) are NOT Transgendered.
Here are two brief explanations: Transgendered folks have GENDER issues, not sex issues. Gays and Lesbians are generally happy with their gender; people who fall into the Transgender side are not: they include the TQI+ area (Transsexuals, Questioning individuals, Inter-sexed folks [who used to be known as hermaphrodites] and the plus refers to a plethora of other initials now being used by those who have not found their place within their gender.

There is a difference between sex and gender: Your sex is between your legs - most folks were born either male or female . Your gender is in your brain. With most folks, the two match; with those in the Transgender world, their bodies tell them one thing, and their brain tells them another. Many Ts and Is are still closeted/stealth, and so it is that few people know that a relative or friend may fall into the Transgender categories. That being said, there are some of us who are willing to speak to classes, social service forums and other gatherings to make certain that professionals are aware and knowledgeable on the subject of the Transgender community.

Because we, Angela and I, are fortunate to still be happily married, we are unusual within the Transsexual community since most couples end up divorced when someone changes sexes. Most Ts lose jobs and their entire family: spouses, parents, children, extended family and their closest friends - Not all, but most. It's unfortunate. Here's my view: if you love the person, it doesn't matter. In fact, if you were to look at it another way: society would expect one to stay with a spouse who was paralyzed by an accident or stroke. They'd say, unequivocally - "they're the same person." But, tell "society" that your spouse is going to change gender, and the usual first question is, "how could you even consider staying with them?!" Isn't that strange? It is to me.

We have been very blessed: Our family is in tact. Our parents and extended families are supportive and accepting. My friends have remained steadfast. However, very few of Angela's friends remained with us. We have since made fast friends with many who know Angela as a Transsexual. Our son-in-law and his family are accepting as well. Again, that is not the case for most in the Transgender world, particularly not for those who are Transsexual.

Back to the speaking subject: The students, often masters level or above, and professionals have excellent questions. They are interested and inquisitive. We always applaud those who ask questions! We find that most are happy to learn those in the Transgender community are not freaks and weirdos, just normal folks with families who happen to have an issue with their gender. They are just like us - you and me. You'll be surprised by how many folks that you now know that will come out of the closet one of these days and tell you they are Transgendered. It will be great if you can remain part of their lives, as family or friend. You'll find they are delightful to know. I promise, because I'm married to one - and it was the best thing that could have happened. Angela's transition freed her to be her delightful self, free from a life of hiding who she really was.

If you are in the Transgender community, please follow the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care. Make your transition easier and healthier for you and for those around you.

Read a bit more about us in the San Francisco On the Couch feature:

Send a comment, ask a question (or 2, or 3 - or more!), give me your email address, and I'll email you back!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another day saved by my T

It was a beautiful day in gold country as we awoke to prepare for our departure. We'd spent a full day Saturday seeing the local sights with another couple from our new RV club. We descended into a gold mine (Sutter), had the best hamburger I've had in years (at Buffalo Chips in Amador!), toured a flower farm before any flowers were in bloom (dumb), and generally just had a good time with new friends. Everything was going smoothly until it was time to put the tow dolly on the coach. It just wouldn't fit. Well, you know the old saying - if it doesn't fit - get a hammer. We tried that, well - sort of - does jumping on it count? Anyway, it wasn't going to work, so Angela to the rescue - again - of course! First off, one must fiddle with it to understand just what is happening, right? Natch. Does she change from her nice top? No. Does she get a rag for dirty hands? No. Does she get something to lay on the ground? No. Well, she did after I began suggesting things like, "Get a rag, change your blouse, take off your jewelry and bring something to lay down on. I got the rag, but it was too late, she'd already used a towel, which is now a rag. I also got paper towels. She did get something to put on the ground, but the blue jeans were already a mess, but at least it saved the blouse (and hair). We keep a tool kit on the RV. It's more than most folks have, but, as you might expect, it did not have the correct sized socket wrench. So, we began to ask around. Most of our 50-coach group was at breakfast and unavailable. Miss Inventive used a crescent wrench and "made do." By the time several folks had returned from breakfast and offered aid, we were fixed and the car was loaded onto the dolly. Oh yes, she'd also helped another couple take care of a propane problem, and another with a refrigeration problem the evening before. Did I mention how luck I (and others) were to have my transsexual (who still knows all her guy things too) in my life. Now, least you think I love her only because of all her abilities - think again. We have a deep and abiding love. I mean 41 years married is nothing to sneeze at. We didn't get there because I can cook and she can fix things!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sleeping Ts, grandchildren, and dogs

You know what they say about sleeping dogs? Well, it applies to Ts (transsexuals) and grandchildren as well. When they are asleep, especially when they are asleep in a pile (which is what you have when you have three dogs piled up against anyone or anything!). One should automatically hang a Do Not Disturb sign on the whole kit and caboodle! Why? Because all of them are currently quiet! There are no barking doggies, no babbling kiddos (or whining, or crying either), and no questions from our adorable T. In fact, I'm not sure who is the most adorable when it comes to such a grouping. There is no question that the puppies get themselves into what would appear to be most uncomfortable positions, which just makes them look cute. The baby is just plain darling snuggled against her snoozing Grammy. And as for the Grammy - well - there is nothing more content than a grandmother with a granddaughter asleep on her chest. They are quite a cute, adorable, darling little pile. GET THE CAMERA! No - wait. The flash will wake up at least half of them - damn! No, I am NOT going to stand by, at-the-ready, for half an hour. In fact, I think I'll just snuggle up to the whole bunch and take a nap myself. Didn't I tell you were lots of "Bests" when you have a T around? Well, here's another.