Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Trouble with Christmas

Christmas is a beautiful time, but it is full of all kinds of expectations. Many of these expectations are either unrealistic or are just never going to be fulfilled. I believe that it is always best to keep low expectations before hand and then things can be better than expected. This year has been nice. There has been nothing revolutionary, nothing super great and no great disappointments. Three years ago I was undergoing chemotherapy and was estranged from family (not my father and aunt, though.) Last year I was able to be with my sons and granddaughter for the first time since I transitioned. This year I was with them again and it was just delightful and it felt comfortable. I received several modest presents (some gift cards) which were very appropriate and nice. As I said it wasn't anything too remarkable. It was comfortable. I have pictures to download from my camera still, so no pictures yet.

One thing I can say about this Christmas is that I did not go out and break the bank account. I guess after all these years I am learning something. I did buy some nice presents, but they were things I could afford to buy and I didn't go overboard. I used to really over do things for the kids. This year I got my granddaughter some nice things, but I kept it reasonable. My sons and daughter in law got gift cards. I gave presents a while ago to Brenda and Tammi who have just been wonderful to me (I have lived with them three years now.)

One thing that hasn't seemed to change is that I came down with Laryngitis Christmas Eve. I actually lost my voice for a while! That's one way to shut old Shel up! I am getting better, but I am still rather hoarse and I wake up at night coughing. It's a good old fashioned cold, I guess. It's an old Christmas tradition for me (big, big smile.)

To sum up, I did not have high expectations, but this Christmas was quite good. I hope you had a good Christmas, filled with love and friendship.


Monday, December 24, 2007

A Pause

Just a pause now in the busy Holiday preparations, so I will take the chance to wish everyone a VERY BLESSED and MERRY CHRISTMAS! The event that we commemorate in this Holy Day has very little to do with feasting, Santa Claus, or presents. It has everything to do with the birth of Jesus. Jesus birth and Christmas is also called the Feast of the Incarnation (God becoming flesh.) In all the celebrating please remember that underneath all our festivities there is something very real to celebrate. God, the creator of the Universe, cares enough about us, God's creation, to become one of us. Not only did God become one of us, but God came into this world as a small and vulnerable child, just as we all do. This is the miracle of Christmas, that God cares!

Peace and Love,

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Turkey

I am waiting for the Turkey to finish cooking. I am preparing a turkey for our support group party tomorrow. It's a BIG turkey, so it is taking a long time to cook. This gives me some time to write this.

I have been sort of avoiding the most difficult part of my recent medical issues. I have over the past three years put on a lot of weight. I had lost a lot of weight about five years ago, but gradually it has returned. I am not as heavy as I had once been, but I am far too heavy. The really bad thing about this is that it is leading to additional physical issues, or at least contributing to them. I am having knee pain once again, my cholesterol was up (drugs now controlling the level), and now I am pre-diabetic. Add this to the fact that I really hate being fat and you have my current situation. Oh yes, I also have sleep apnea (that too is controlled with the use of a CPAP machine.) Many of these medical issues I know are absent or lessened when I weigh less. All the charts say I should weigh in the range of 135 to 160 lbs and I am not even close.

The ENT Doctor I saw recently really rocked my world in many ways. He immediately started to treat many issues aggressively. He is also the first Doctor to suggest to me that gastric bypass surgery might be a good thing. He suggested the Lap-Band version of the surgery which is minimally invasive surgically. At first I pretty much dismissed the idea. I have lost a lot of weight on my own before, but the truth of the matter is that I have not really been able to keep the weight off. When I was younger I was skinny. Tall and skinny, that was me. Well, those days are behind me. I would really like to be able to wear sizes that don't begin with W (for you guy's that is the symbol for women's sizes. Women's sizes are politically correct for heavy.)

I am now leaning at seriously considering the Lap_band surgery. Early in January there is a seminar on the surgery. I know my weight is high enough to warrant the surgery and the fact that it is affecting my health is another positive for the surgery. The question I have is will my insurance (Medicare and a supplement) pay for the surgery. There is so much to consider. I do though often think of the term "morbidly obese." It is a grim term and it describes my BMI. Yes, there is a lot to consider.(By the way if you follow the link to BMI, I am taller and heavier and do fit the morbidly obese category.)

By the way, in case I don't write again before the 25th, have a very Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 20, 2007


Well, I didn't go shopping yesterday after all. There is no excuse. I just stayed home and vegged. Therefore, I had to do the shopping this morning. What a drag it is going to the grocery store! Anyway that is done. I am all hot and sweaty from the experience so I am headed to the shower. I am going out to a cocktail party in Hartford this evening at Real Art Ways. It's a nice event that happens every third Thursday of the month.

Off to the shower.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The inflatable Santa across the street is totally deflated. It's a red blotch on the snow over there. The weather here has been just awful. We have had snow, ice, high wind and extreme cold. I guess you might expect this in the winter, but it isn't even officially winter yet. Usually we figure Winter to begin on the winter solstice which will be December 22nd this year. This is still several days away. In any case Christmas around here will be a dirty white.

I did some shopping for Christmas gifts, primarily for my granddaughter and have sort of laid low to keep warm. I have more shopping to do and may do some this evening. The one thing about the Christmas season is that it is so busy and chaotic. I think I used to have fun at Christmas. Now it seems that there is more anxiety than fun. I am sure I am not alone in this feeling.

I cooked yesterday and again today. It's becoming a trend. I kind of enjoy cooking. I just haven't done much of it in the past few years. Another one of my house companions generally does it. She has been busy so I have done some of it.

I know there is nothing very significant here, but I just wanted to write a brief life update. Stay unstressed and be happy.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Knowing but unknown

Seeing but unseen

Speaking but unheard

Touching but not touched

Feeling but unfelt

Hugging but not hugged

Kissing but not kissed

Loving but unloved

Living but not alive

Friday, December 14, 2007

Let it Snow .......

The snow fell yesterday! We are now covered with very clean white stuff. Soon I am sure it will be dirty white, but for a while it is pristine. One of the women I live with is out with the snow plow. We had guests who had planned to go home yesterday, but were caught by the storm which started earlier than predicted (fancy that!) Today is supposed to be a calm day weather wise, but tomorrow and Sunday may be terribly stormy. I need to do some shopping so today seems the best opportunity.

Across the way, the inflatable Santa is inflated and looks the best it has ever looked. Usually during the day it is a deflated puddle and at night is half inflated. It's really rather a sad Santa usually. Aside from the fact that I wouldn't have put one on my lawn, this one I would have removed long ago.

There is nothing real big going on. My back is bothering me for some reason today and I am really glad I am not out moving snow (thanks Cind!) From the calm between the storms I wish you a great day.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


This isn't all about voice, but it starts with voice. Yesterday I finished this go around of voice lessons. I am having voice therapy at a University and their sessions run with the semesters. I have a break now until some time in February. Though things with my voice are not still what I want, I do believe my voice is a bit better. I didn't expect instant changes when I started. I am sad that I will no longer have the same student therapist. She moves into a clinical situation and I really hope she has a great experience there. I will miss her. The faculty supervisor will be there next semester so there will be some continuity. The three of us have worked closely together.

I found out a little bit about the nodule on my vocal cords. The faculty supervisor got the report from the ENT Doctor. I guess the hope is that the nodule will gradually disappear with the treatment of the gastric reflux. I hope so. In the mean time she had a method to lessen the impact on my voice from the nodule.

On another topic, the epic of my car continues. The other day while returning home my car seriously overheated. I mean, seriously! I took it to the dealer this morning and as almost everyone said it was my thermostat. Of course nothing concerning cars is simple so there are a few other things wrong too, several regulators. The upshot is that it is expensive. I had just received a nice Christmas check from my pension fund. Say goodbye to that check! Ah well, sigh!

I am gradually catching up on blogging items. I'll end here for today. I hope you have a great day!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

On the State of the Church

One of the things I didn't blog yesterday is the developments in the Episcopal Church (TEC). If you missed this I am an Episcopal Priest and have been one for 36 years. TEC has been in the midst of controversy over the acceptance of Homosexuality. This controversy has been brewing in our Church for a long time and came to a head when an openly Gay Priest became a Bishop in TEC. Recently there have been highly irregular interferences in TEC's internal affairs by Bishops from other branches of the Anglican Communion. Some parishes have attempted to leave TEC and now a whole Diocese has voted to leave.

One might think that leaving a denomination might be a simple thing, but it really isn't. Leaving, whether its a parish or a diocese, is usually attempted after there has been a vote and a majority wish to leave. Wherever there is a majority, there is also a minority. What happens to that minority that wants to remain in TEC? Parishes and diocese have property. By Canon Law that property is the property of the Diocese if it is a Parish or property of TEC if it is a Diocese. This means that there is inevitably legal action.

The most recent action is the Diocese of San Joaquin in California voted for the second time to leave TEC. It seems to me that this situation will benefit only the lawyers. I know that a parish attempting to leave usually incurs great legal expense for all involved. Obviously one does not really want to attempt to force people to stay in a Church they don't want. These people, want to leave and take buildings and other property with them. Their "theological" difference now becomes a matter of property and litigation.

I can only wonder at all of this. First of all, Jesus was never the sort of person who condemned people directly. He never mentioned homosexuality. He was clear that no one was righteous in themselves. He also says that we cannot serve two masters. We have become too attached to Church buildings and other possessions. These are things and they consume far too much of the life of the Church.

In any case I suspect that the people involved in the issue aren't really concerned with my view. And my view? It's all really sad. I am kind of glad I am retired. When I was young and idealistic there was a movement toward Christian unity. There were talks with Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox bodies with the hope that there could be more agreement. Now we seem to be on the verge of making more disunity. As I said, SAD!


Sunday, December 09, 2007

On the State of Things

Today I am providing random ravings. Please forgive me if some things just don't seem to fit. I was just sitting here ant reading my email. I cleared my junk mail folder after checking that everything in it was really junk. Ah, junk mail gone! Wrong! As soon as I deleted the junk more started to come in. There wasn't even a short pause. I watched the counter as they came in. I was in total amazement. Who sends this crap? There must be money in it somehow. Do people actually read those messages and then attempt to buy stuff? So many questions! I do have a message I wish I could send back to the Spammers, "I really am not interested in increasing the size of ANY part of my body and by the way what makes you think I have that body part anyway?" Seriously, I can only envision that some people respond to these emails and that is the reason they keep get sent out. I don't even open them, much less respond to them. If everyone just deleted them and didn't read them or respond I wonder if they might start to disappear. Imagine a world without Junk Mail!

Last post I recounted some of the medical issues from my visit to the ENT Doctor. I forgot one issue. Maybe, I conveniently forgot. I know that I need to loose weight and I have lost a lot of weight before on my own. This Doctor though has a very pessimistic view of being able to loose weight and keep it off. He thinks I shoud have one of those Gastric procedures, specifically Lap-Banding.I am usually very open to what Doctors say and I am also generally cooperative. In other words I am a good girl and do what the Doctor says. This may be just a little too much though. I know some people who have had gastric procedures. They indeed have lost weight, but eating is never the same afterwards. The restricted quantity does not bother me, but the restrictions in the types of food you CAN eat afterward alarms me. I am open, but I am going to do my research on this one and make a real serious effort to loose weight on my own again. Wish me luck.

Have you driven on the highway recently? I cannot believe how reckless people are on the road! Traffic has never been worse around here. The speed limits are 55 to 65 on the interstate highways, average actual speed is more like 75 to 85. I kid you not! I have been driving with the traffic at 65 to 70 and people pass me like I am standing still. Recently I have witnessed some really outrageous stop light running. The other day I came up to a light and stopped because it had turned red and the car behind me pulled around me and ran the light! In the last week I witnessed this and another two instances just as bad. Someone is surely going to get themselves (or me) killed this way. Trucks are always a challenge to deal with on the highway. I suspect they are a necessary evil in our current society. Is it me or are there suddenly more trucks? It really seams like it. I say a prayer of thanks any time I arrive safely when I drive.

I could rant on, but I will spare you for now. Be forewarned, there may be more ranting in the future!

Friday, December 07, 2007

So Much .....

There is so much to Blog that I almost don't know where to begin or what to share and what to let go. I guess I will start with myself and see where things go from there. As I have written before I have been taking Voice Lessons. These aren't the singing kind but the spoken kind. Before transitioning from the previous life I had a very deep voice. I managed to do some modifications on my own and I got by. I had difficulty on the phone, but everywhere else I was ok. I just wanted to go the next step and make my voice better.

I have been making progress, but I always seem to have nasal congestion and eventually raspyness in my voice develops. My voice therapist thought there might be a physical issue with my vocal cords. Yesterday I went to the Ear Nose and Throat Dr that she recommended. It turned into a two hour appointment! First of all let me say that there isn't anything seriously (life threatening) wrong with my throat. That said, there ARE some problems. I have a condition called GERD. You may have heard of Gastric or Acid Reflux, well I have that. Some people have heart burn, but I had no noticeable symptoms except in my vocal cords. The situation is more common than one would believe. What goes with all this is a nodule on one of my vocal folds. The picture of the voice box isn't mine and it has two nodules or lesions, but mine is similar. I am now taking medicine to treat the Acid Reflux, more pills. Sigh! And, oh yes, I might have to have surgery to remove the nodule.

That, in it self, is bad enough, but the fun continues. I have to go for a new sleep study. I have been treated for Sleep Apnea for 18 years. My original sleep study was 18 years ago and my CPAP machine is that old. Since my post nasal drip is also involved and the CPAP pushes air down my throat to keep it open while I sleep, he feels that I may need to have new adjustments to the CPAP equipment and settings. Once again, Sigh!

And the fun continues! Allergies were also suspected. I had a bank of allergy sensitivity test. Spots of various substances that are common allergens were placed on my forearms. I waited twenty minutes to see if redness and itchiness developed. Food allergies were tested on my left arm and air-born substances on the right arm. The good news is that I am not allergic to any of the tested foods! I am allergic to several air-born substances, grass pollens, rag weed, lambs quarters and another weed who's name I don't remember. I am also allergic to DUST and dust mites. Dust is everywhere! It's no wonder that I sneeze all the time. I don't know what the Doctor plans for me on the allergies since the allergy testing was the last thing done. He did give me some nasal sprays to use, suspecting I had a problem.

I am pretty down about all this. To cheer myself up I went and had my hair done. I tried calling a friend just to talk, but only got her voice mail. I then had back pain all evening. I am guessing it was stress.

This had turned into more than I had thought so I am going to end here. I will blog again soon with some of the other things on my mind (not really so personal.)

You have a great day and keep warm.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Balance- or to be more correct the lack of balance should be the title today. For some time I have been experiencing what I now understand is a kind of loss of center or balance. This loss of center I am sure is part of the complete disruption and change of my life. Some people are able to cross the gender boundary without the disruption of all aspects of their life. Some are able to keep their previous relations and job and living situation. I, on the other hand, had a much more complete disruption of my life. Most things changed. It wasn't all from the gender switch. Having Cancer and the following physical problems did a lot also.

One thing I was able to keep was a relationship with my family. I did get divorced, but we are still friendly and I get along mostly with my children. A steady foundation has been my father, my mother died some time ago. My father has been great and I visit him frequently. He is 96 and is still self sufficient. I visited today and he started talking about what should happen after he dies (his funeral, property, etc.) I know that he won't live forever, but it was upsetting. I am still upset just thinking about it. I am an only child and he is my remaining parent.

As I said I am not feeling very centered as a person and this kind of conversation just makes it worse. Add this to several other things that I am upset about and I am about to erupt. I probably won't really erupt, but some crying might be in order.

Any way, just getting this out helps a bit. I am not really sure how to restore balance or centering, but realization is important. I have been feeling strange without really knowing why for a while now. Knowing means I might actually be able to do something about it.

I am sorry for the strange post. I hope things are clear in your life.


Sunday, December 02, 2007


I have been cooking this afternoon. This is a job that another one of our troupe usually does, but she had a chore today. The chickens they are a'roastin. Umm, they smell gooood. I am still mulling over the crap going through my head and some of it will clearly burst forth pretty soon. Ok, got to go and do some basting. Bye for now.



I have been avoiding everything significant, at least writing about it. I guess I am going to avoid it again this time. It's snowing! The leaves just turned and fell off in what seems like a day last week. Now it's snowing - god I hate winter weather!I did buy a new pair of winter boots from Land's end. I guess I'll get to use them sooner than later.

I am not sure I am ready for Christmas this year. I certainly am not in a joyous frame of mind, though not in a sour one either. I really seem to want to avoid everything, including Christmas. The family across the street has some of those blow-up Christmas ornaments. Aside from the fact that they are very tacky, they spend the day deflated in little piles of stuff. They really are in such poor taste. They at least have cleaned the leaves from their lawn, which is more than what we have done.

I just wanted to say hi to you all and let you know I am still alive and kicking. I know I have done the Friday Five things, but they are diversion (fun though.) Have a good day and week and maybe I will write more soon. I have some ideas brewing.

Until then Love,

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Don't Call It a Comeback Edition

Revgalblogpal Friday Five: Don't Call It a Comeback Edition

Will Smama says,

Alright, so I'm dropping by for a brief return stint as contributer. Please, hold down the applause (also please don't forget NOT to cut and paste this part)....

Parishioners pushing for carols before you digested your turkey?

Organist refusing to play Advent hymns because he/she already has them planned for Lessons & Carols?

Find yourself reading Luke and thinking of a variety of ways to tell Linus where to stick it? (Lights please.)

Then this quick and easy Friday Five is for you! And for those of you with a more positive attitude, have no fear. I am sure more sacred and reverent Friday Fives will follow.

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food

It's not a particular food (I even love fruit cake), but the quantity of food. Who should eat as much as we do at Christmas?

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)

Wassail. What is wassail any way? It might be great, but I have never had any and have never been anywhere where it was served, but we sing about wassailing. "Here we come a Wassailing...."

3) tradition (church, family, other)

I really get upset that almost everyone celebrates their brains out BEFORE Christmas and not during Christmas. Christmas is almost anti-climactic with all the parties and shopping done before. It just has always seemed backwards to me.

4) decoration

Blow-up Santa's. The family across the street has one there now. It appeared Thanksgiving Day and I am sure will go down the day after Christmas. Every once in a while it spontaneously deflates. :)

5) gift (received or given)

I really can't find fault with gift giving or receiving. Giving is a really nice thing to do and being able to receive is special also.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.

The chipmunks, and that includes the movie that is coming out.

I know, I know.... pretty grumpy for November but why not get it out of our systems now so we are free to enjoy the rest of the festivities.