"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Sunday 28 October 2018

Dear Haters

I am proud to say that my grandmother on my dad's side was born in Scotland. 

I've been on visits there twice and if I had my way, I would love to live there. 

All of these connections are only strengthened by finding out that the government and police in Scotland are taking an active part in letting haters know that they are not welcome. 

Perhaps all civilized countries might adopt this approach to haters. 

Dear homophobes, racists, bigots, transphobes, and disablers. 

There are things this country doesn't welcome. 

We don't welcome you attacking people because of their religion, where they're from, or the colour of their skin.

We don't welcome you abusing and bullying disabled people.

We don't welcome threatening gay, lesbian, or transgender people, with verbal or physical abuse. 

Haters are not going to hate here. 

That's why if we see anything, we're calling the police.

We believe in acceptance and it's time you accept that.

Yours, Scotland

Thursday 25 October 2018

It Started Out As a Good Idea ...

I remember watching Monty Python's Flying Circus way back. As a skit was going along and running out of gas (or petrol I suppose, since it was very English) an army officer, played by Graham Chapman, would interrupt saying, "Stop that! It's getting silly!" I feel that way quite often and wish some groups could have a do-over. Sadly, more often than not, things just keep getting more and more silly. 

Around the same time, a political party evolved from a discussion over dinner at our lawyer's house. We were all concerned about overspending in the Canadian government of the day. The conservative ideas we proposed were very pro-business, and yet they included ideas about making sure that the average person would make a decent wage, too. After all, how can businesses thrive when people haven't enough money to purchase their products? 

We decided it was time to expand the party membership by having an open meeting. That is where things went very wrong. A few highly vocal and persuasive extremists and bigots exercised their democratic rights and the original platform was replaced by something quite hideous. Those of us who had started the party simply walked away, depriving the group of our organizational skills. Thankfully, the party died. 

I sometimes think of that adventure into politics, and subsequent adventures in church-going, and wonder how often that sort of thing has happened; when a wonderful idea has been germinated, but gets twisted and changed into something else as it becomes organized into a religion or a political party.

Ideas and beliefs are good. Institutions with members and rules become extreme. They tend to polarize a population into we and they, good and evil.

Perhaps, we all need a do-over. I know it has done me a world of good personally!

And now, for something completely different: 

The Galaxy Song
Monty Python: John Du Prez / Eric Idle

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown,
And things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft,
And you feel that you've had quite eno-o-o-o-o-ough,

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
Now the sun, and you and me, and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day,
In an outer spiral arm, at 40, 000 miles an hour,
Of a galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars;
It's a hundred thousand light-years side to side;
It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick,
But out by us it's just three thousand light-years wide.
We're thirty thousand light-years from Galactic Central Point,
We go 'round every two hundred million years;
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe.

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding,
In all of the directions it can whiz;
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light, you know,
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is.
So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!

Sunday 21 October 2018

What is the Worst That Can Happen?

A few days ago, K had the car, so I decided to take advantage of the good weather and walk to the store, only about four kilometers round trip. It really doesn't seem so very long ago that such a walk dressed casually, as myself, would have frightened me. These days, I give it almost no thought, and on this day that was a bit too brave as it turned out. I mentioned good weather. There had been a storm the night before, and it was brilliantly sunny, but a bit breezy as I left the house. By the time I was half-way to my destination, the wind had freshened a lot and it felt good, until I realized that my hair was blowing about. As Grandma used to say, I felt like the wreck of the Hesperus. Reaching the store, looking in the window, I could see that my hair was all over the place. That isn't good when you have only so much of it and usually fix it strategically, shall I say.

I could have abandoned the shopping (it wasn't essential) and gone home. Instead, I pushed the nest on top of my head around a bit with my fingers and did my shopping. Yes, folks looked at me in my dishevelment, but then everyone who came in looked disheveled. As far as I know, the fashion police were not called, and no harm came to me or anyone else as a result. 

Under the heading of the worst that can happen, the New York Times has reported that the Trump administration has draft legislation that will roll back protections for transgendered individuals which the previous administration passed. If passed, the new legislation would define "the sex listed on a person's birth certificate, as originally issued" as their definitive sex "unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence." Now, the legislators might say, "Oh, this definition is only for specific, limited situations." And I say, this is another step along the way to fulfilling an ultra-conservative (religious right) agenda. I feel so awful for all my brothers and sisters (over 1.4 million of them) in that country. I'm lucky; I can just stay away. 

One can only hope, fervently, that these elections in a couple of weeks there put an end to Trump's ability to push legislation through Congress. 

This election is going to have a lot to say about the American people. Do they realize that giving this person control of their country was a mistake that they will put right as quickly as possible, or do they really want to continue along the path that leads to isolation from the rest of the world?

I can walk out my door, as myself, every day, without fear. How can it be that in the 'land of the free', they seem to be intent upon removing that right from a large percentage of their population? 

Nobody should have to live a worst case scenario every day of their life. 

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Somewhat Speechless

No, not quite speechless, but so close.

Last night K treated me to a lovely night out and what a treat! After a splendid dinner together, we attended a recital by Renée Fleming, accompanied, beautifully, on the piano, by Richard Bado.

At the end of her recital, she was called back over and over, and gave several encores. As a last, she asked for a request from the audience, and, thanks to an enthusiastic woman near us, sang Song to the Moon, from Dvorak's opera, Rusalka

As someone commented on this video, “She puts the magic in between the notes like no other singer”. Every part was magic. 

Renée Fleming transported me to heaven.

She did sing some popular pieces, but no Cole Porter. I wish we could have sung this one to her, because Renée is the absolute top.

You're The Top
Cole Porter

At words poetic I'm so pathetic
That I always have found it best
Instead of getting 'em off my chest,
To let 'em rest - unexpressed.
I hate parading my serenading,
As I’ll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty,
At least it'll tell you how great you are.

You're the top! you're the colosseum,
You're the top! You're the Louvre museum,
You're the melody from a symphony by Strauss,
You're a Bendel bonnet,
A Shakespeare sonnet,
You're Mickey Mouse!

You're the Nile! You're the tow'r of Pisa,
You're the smile, on the Mona Lisa!
I'm a worthless cheque, a total wreck, a flop!
But if baby I’m the bottom,
You're the top!

You're the top, you're Mahatma Gandhi,
You're the top! You're Napoleon brandy,
You're the purple light, of a summer night in Spain,
You're the National Gallery, you're Garbo's salary,
You're cellophane!

You're sublime, you're a turkey dinner,
You're the time, of the Derby winner,
I'm a toy balloon that's fated soon to pop;
But if baby I’m the bottom you're the top!

You're the top, you're a Waldorf salad
You're the top, you're a Berlin ballad
You're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire
You're an O’Neal drama, you're Whistler's mama, you're camembert

You're a rose, you're inferno's Dante
You're the nose, on the great Durante
I'm a lazy lout who's just about to stop
But if baby I’m the bottom,
You're the top!

p.s.  I just realized, this is the second time I have featured Song to the Moon with Ms Fleming as the artist. Must be getting old!

Thank you Lindsay! I checked and here is Ms. Fleming singing Cole Porter. So In Love from Kiss Me Kate. You need to listen to the introduction, so don't be put off.

Saturday 6 October 2018

Ready for My Life ~ All of It

Just when I think there is not likely to be another post worth writing, something happens to change it. Often, I read something someone else has written and it gets the creative juices flowing. I like that feeling.

My friend Joanna writes Musings From My Everyday Life. Her posts don't stay up very long and you have to be quick, or lucky sometimes to read each of them; she is a very good blogger! Yesterday's post is a good example. Entitled "headed in the right direction", it is about the search for companionship. As she points out, I am one of the lucky few transsexuals who have blogged about keeping or finding love either during or after transition. The interesting thing is that I was certain I would live alone, and was fine with that. Somehow, it seems, life wasn't going to let that happen.

It occurs to me that there are other sorts of transition other than my own. Some finally come out as homosexual. Some decide, for whatever reason, that they have to leave the work they have done to pursue another path. There are many reasons to be fearful of loss of family or friends.

No matter what the crisis of conscience might happen to be, the ability to leap off that cliff finally into an unknown future can freeze us into inaction, and that inaction will likely drive a person quite crazy when they are certain that they know what is right for them. Whatever it means for each of us, we need to take the risk of being comfortable in our own skin. 

I can recall very clearly what cleared away the hesitation for me. It was a certainty that no matter what else happened, I was better off losing everything. Nothing (not money, family, or people in my life) was worth self-destruction.

So many folk think that living a long life is very desirable. I am likely to be one of those "lucky ones" given medical advancements, and the great age my parents and grandparents have achieved. What I noticed is that as they get or got older, they found themselves alone; friends and family dead, children and grandchildren living their own lives. If they were not happy in their own skin and able to accept that solitary life, they would not have lasted very long.

I hated the idea that my last thought would be one of regret.

There is more. The lucky part. 

I don't know about you, but it annoys me when I hear people talk about how God has blessed them, as though they did something special to deserve favour. Yes, K and I are so very happy together, and that is a miracle. 

How did that amazing reconnection come to pass? Actually, it is in the blog from three years back. In that post, The Drive to Be, Simply Be. There I wrote: "Can I live with the risks of being true to myself even though the remnants of a life projecting a façade are still all around? If I don't, what other risks will I be unable to face?"

Real connection requires risk. When we take the leap, if we are very lucky, there is someone there who will leap with us. 

My Life
Billy Joel

Got a call from an old friend we used to be real close
Said he couldn't go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house, bought a ticket to the west coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

I don't need you to worry for me 'cause I'm alright
I don't want you to tell me it's time to come home
I don't care what you say anymore this is my life
Go ahead with your own life leave me alone

I never said you had to offer me a second chance
I never said I was a victim of circumstance
I still belong
Don't get me wrong
And you can speak your mind
But not on my time

They will tell you you can't sleep alone in a strange place
Then they'll tell you can't sleep with somebody else
Ah but sooner or later you sleep in your own space
Either way it's O.K. you wake up with yourself

Your Wildest Dreams
The Moody Blues

Once upon a time
Once when you were mine
I remember skies
Reflected in your eyes
I wonder where you are
I wonder if you think about me
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

Once the world was new
Our bodies felt the morning dew
That greets the brand new day
We couldn't tear ourselves away
I wonder if you care
I wonder if you still remember
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams

And when the music plays
And when the words are touched with sorrow
When the music plays
I hear the sound I had to follow
Once upon a time

Once beneath the stars
The universe was ours
Love was all we knew
And all I knew was you
I wonder if you know
I wonder if you think about it
Once upon a time
In your wildest dreams