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Steampunk! Aug. 18th, 2017 @ 06:23 am
This past weekend was Steampunk Frederick – a local Steampunk themed arts festival, held in one of the community theaters in downtown Frederick. Ceri, Pidge and I have been fairly regular visitors to the nearby steampunk festivals, always enjoying the opportunity to put on a snazzy costume and get out. And with the unfortunate ending of Strasburg’s Steampunk Unlimited event, we weren’t sure if we’d get to go anywhere this year, until we stumbled upon Steampunk Frederick.

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But overall, it was a very fun trip. I’d like to make it out on Saturday next time – they had penny farthing races, and looking at the schedule of events there was a lot more going on. So I’m a little bummed that we seemed to hit the less crowded day, but it was still a lot of fun, especially as an excuse to get all dolled up for a day.

3d printing Aug. 8th, 2017 @ 06:24 am
Last Christmas, my big thing was a 3D printer. It’s one of those things that looked really cool and useful to me - there is a lot of hobby stuff that I could use it for - but it was something that could easily be a paper weight as far as Ceri was concerned. But I won out, and was the proud owner of a DaVinci Jr.

All and all, it isn’t a bad printer – it hit the right price point, and was an entry level plug and play type of thing – perfect for learning on. The only downside was that it used proprietary filament, but that wasn’t a deal breaker – the price wasn’t too outrageous on it, and I figured I wasn’t going to be printing enough for it to be an issue.

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So I’m kind of in a frustrated spot right now, but I have a mostly functioning printer and a plan of action. I think I’m going to go ahead and finish off all my old DaVinci filament before I worry about the Hatchbox, just so that I can keep the printing going. Then I’ll just focus on getting those settings right, doing a little online research and a little experimentation, and then trying to optimize it so that I have dialed in settings that give me quick and consistent prints. And then I’ll need to figure out what to do about my spool size issue – the Hatchbox spools are too big to fit on the old DaVinci holder - but that’s easily fixed.

It's been awhile Aug. 1st, 2017 @ 06:25 am
So it's been awhile since I've last posted, time to fix that.

So let's see. I guess part of why it's been awhile is that there has been much to post about. I feel like I need something momentous or it's not worth coming here and typing it down, especially since I don't have easy LJ access at work anymore. But just because it's not momentous doesn't mean nothing is happening.

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So I dunno, I 'm sure there is more I wanted to discuss in this brain dump of a post, but I can't quite remember it. So I'll end here, and come back later as my brain sees fit.

Theodore da Thumper Jul. 14th, 2017 @ 06:20 am
So yesterday, our poor Theo passed away. Pidge and I got home from work as usual, and when he went to let the pups out, Theo wasn't moving. Pidge yelled to me, I ran over, and pulled him out of the kennel. He had obviously passed at this point - his tongue was blue and he was stiff.

Apparently what had happened was at some point, the breaker for the A/C condenser had tripped. So we were still getting air moving through the house it just wasn't cooling anymore. So by the time I got home it was 83 degrees in the house, and that was just too much for our poor little guy. He never did well in heat (and by that I mean anything over about 70 degrees), and due to a narrow breathing passage, he'd get overheated extremely easily. But that's never been a huge problem, he was primarily an indoor dog anyway.

Aside from the fact that the three of us are now dealing with losing Theo - this is the first real pet that Pidge has lost - Ceri and I both are wracked with guilt over all the ways we could have prevented it. The night before it was warm in the house, but we both assumed it was just that our A/C couldn't handle the high heat we were having. I thought about coming home at lunch, and didn't. Ceri thought about coming home early, but didn't. It feels like there are so many little "what ifs" that would have meant that Theo would still be with us. Made worse by the fact that he passed away at home, without us there. He was probably suffering miserably in the heat. And we just can't help but know that this could have been avoided.

So this morning sucks. You never realize exactly how big a hole a pet will leave in your heart until they're gone. And he was only 7, still young for a pug, so this was completely unexpected. All the little things that you loved about him become all the little reminders that he's gone.

Step Up! - a Midsummer update Jun. 30th, 2017 @ 04:25 pm
So here it is, going into July and Step Up is still going strong. 5 months down. I'm happy to say that things are still going well at this point. I haven't kept up with the exercise quite as I'd like, but despite that I've managed to keep the weight off, and even lose a little more.

So at this point, my morning exercise routine is shot. We started summer hours at work, which means that my work day starts an hour earlier in exchange for only working a half day on Friday. I love the half day on Friday, but getting up that hour earlier means that morning exercise is out. I still walk at lunch when possible, so I haven't completely abandoned exercise.

I have definitely kept my focus on food and portion size. I actually think I've stuck with this long enough that I can call this a win, a more permanent change in habit. Don't get me wrong, I still love me some junk food, but I've honestly found that I don't crave it like I used to. We went camping this past weekend - a traditional time of eating junk, and for the most part I just didn't do it. I didn't do all the snacking that I'd usually do, it just didn't have the same appeal that it otherwise would have. So in that regard I feel like I've really hit a success - I've made the habit change that I just never did before.

And even without the the exercise, I've not only managed to keep the weight off, I've managed to lose some more. I've lost about another 10 pounds since May. My pants are stupid baggy at the waist, and I've had to punch three extra holes in my belt. I've been trying to hold out on buying new pants, as I still have more weight I want to lose, but I think I'm reaching a point where I won't be able to hold out much longer. Not a bad problem to have, all things considered.

But with the success I have had, I've opted to tweak my goals. For the longest time I just wanted to get below 200. When that started to seem realistic, I figured 185. But now that I'm closing in on that, I want to get down to 175 - which would put my BMI down and out of the "overweight" range. If I can do that and maintain that, then I'll call "Step Up" an unmitigated sucess.
Other entries
» A day as Phoenix
This past Sunday turned into a big day for Phoenix. I’ve spent small amounts of time as Phoenix – usually an evening after Pigeon has gone to sleep, with the occasional special night out. But Sunday morning I was definitely feeling it, Ceri picked up on it, and the plans for the day were amenable to it. So while eating breakfast, we talked a bit and decided to bring it up to Pigeon – how would he feel if I dressed like a girl all day? He was very chill about it, and didn’t see an issue with it. His response was actually fairly classic – if Daddy can dress up, can I wear a costume too? I want to be Captain America.

So I went ahead and got dressed – basic makeup, a black, blue and red floral dress, gold hoop earrings and necklace and blue sandals. Pigeon was amusingly shocked – you have boobies!?!? – but I’d do my best to truthfully explain what I was doing.

And once dressed, I spent the day as Phoenix. I went to pick up Blindfury and his lady for a day at our place, I had to run out and get ice, and after taking Blindfury and his honey home, I ran out to the grocery store to pick up a few things. And the day was as uneventful as you’d expect from a Sunday – Blindfury’s dice luck still sucked, Ceri’s dinner was still fantastic – it was a very good day. I know I had some voice consistency issues, and there were definitely some pronoun/name mistakes, but that’s all going to be expected – this is going to be a process that I’m going to need to be patient through.

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But all said and done, it was a very positive experience for me. I feel like I was able to stick with it through the entire day, and was 100% comfortable with being in front of Pigeon, and with going out. I know that Ceri still has her concerns – and I’d be a fool if I thought life as non-binary didn’t have it’s safety concerns. But I think that every day as Phoenix provides her with a bit more comfort, and as her comfort increases I can make more dramatic changes. Her comfort level has already increased notably, which gives me a lot of hope.

I also have a therapist appointment coming up, which should be interesting. The appointment is primarily to discuss the issues Ceri had had lately, but I also know that it’ll be important to bring up my life changes, especially since they are interrelated. I’ll be curious to hear what she has to say, to get an entirely independent view on what I am doing and what I should do. But that’s another two weeks, so we’ll see.
» D-Day, and World War Two Weekend
Today marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, and comes just a couple days after our trip to World War Two Weekend at the Reading Airfield. As seems to be the case lately, this got my mind wandering.

I’ve always loved World War Two history. In middle school and high school, it was a staple of my gaming and hobby interests – building model tanks and playing Axis and Allies, I was fascinated by the metal beasts of war. I still have that love, but now at 42, and with a son, it takes on a significantly different tone.

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I think that love of military history is just stuck in my blood, and I’m fortunate that this is something that Ceri and Pidge also enjoy. I very much look forward to going back to Reading next year.
» Memorial Day
So, I’ve been feeling a little reflective after this weekend.

For Memorial Day, we all went up to visit R – a long time friend of Ceri’s – up in PA. She lives in Beaver, a small town about 45 minutes past Pittsburgh, the sort of small town America that you find in a Norman Rockwell painting. R’s house is two blocks off of the main street, which has the usual assortment of little shops, churches, banks, and municipal buildings. We had an absolutely fantastic weekend – Pidge enjoyed playing with R’s children E and A, we spent a lot of time chatting with R, and caught the local Memorial Day parade. A lovely weekend in every aspect.

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So I dunno. I really did have a great weekend, and I don’t want my mini ramble to imply otherwise. But I can’t help but think that we’re increasingly becoming two countries, and we really need to remedy that.
» Phoenix photo shoot
As a Christmas present, Ceri had bought me a gift of a photo shoot with a friend of ours that is a photographer. The idea was to ditch the kids, Ceri would make dinner, and we'd have a fun evening of doing a photo shoot of Phoenix. I've been really excited about this - an evening to just be fun as Phoenix. It was actually a big drive to lose a lot of the weight - I didn't want a beer gut to get in the way. Even though I'd definitely be wearing shapers, the less work they have to do the better. :)

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I can't say enough how much fun I had. I always appreciate the chance to be Phoenix outside of the sanitized "night at home", and even though we never left the house, this was still a night with friends, being Phoenix. It gave me another good night of practicing my voice, and I don't know how it sounded to everyone else, but it felt very natural to me - I didn't feel like I had to put as much strain or focus in to it.
» Step Up! - Three months down.
So, three months in, and things are still moving in the right direction. I didn't push the tension on the exerciser to 5 yet - I tried it for a couple days, and it was just more resistance than I was looking for. Since I'm still doing all my exercise in the mornings, I don't want to try and do something that becomes "too hard", and easy to stop.

But other than that, things have been doing good. I've been able to keep my snacking to a minimum, and I've been able to stick to reduced portion sizes. Again, it's not in a strict "diet" sense, but more of a lifestyle change. Not to say that I won't have the occasional big meal, but I need to keep it occasional.

The only fubar with the whole thing is that I had to reset my phone, and the app I was using to track my weight hadn't synchronized since November of 2015. So I've lost record and tracking of the weight loss I've made since I started this wound of Step Up!, but I still have the results and this blog.

Going in to May, I'm now just a few pounds over 200. This means I'm officially 30 pounds less than my heaviest, and about 20 down from where I started. I'm really hoping to make a push to get below 200 this week - it'll be the first time in literal decades, and I have a physical coming up and I'd like to see that milestone before then. I'm thinking it may actually happen this week - Ceri is in Vegas for work, and I'm pushing myself a little with portion size and cutting out snacks in an atempt to push me over the mark.

And I've continued to notice changes. My arms and abs are still getting more defined, and I think I'm going to need another belt hole soon. I've also been able to wear dresses without any major shapewear underneath, and not have that "beer gut". Don't get me wrong, a good shaper still helps a lot, but at this point it isn't a necessity.

So we'll see. I'm hoping for some good results this week - 200 is a big milestone, not just in weight lost, but also in the ability to stick this out and have consistent results. This is easily the best I've done, ever, at making dietary and fitness goals, and sticking with it. Even if things peter out soon, I've still accomplished something that I hadn't been able to do in over 15 years.
» Step Up! - now just overweight
Today marks two months done in the new life of Step Up. I feel that I've been fairly successful at keeping to the lifestyle changes that I've made, and I have results to match.

As the title says, I've managed to lose enough to where my BMI is no longer 'obese', I've just slipped down into the realm of 'overweight'. Now, I know BMI has its issues, and isn't necessarily a good measure, but I still found the change noteworthy.

That classification aside, I've noticed big changes. I've officially lost 12 pounds, but that puts me about 25 down from my heaviest, and easily the lightest I've been in 15+ years. I've maintained a fairly steady pace over the past two months, and on this track I should be below 200 by mid May.

Exercise has been going well - I'm still doing 20 minutes each morning, and have gone from resistance level 2 to 4, and I'll probably bump that to 5 starting next week. Lunch time walks haven't been as consistent, but I feel that the burst in the morning is what's really having the most impact.

I've also been able to maintain the changes in my eating, which has been huge. Some days are harder than others, but I've generally been able to stick to it at work, and focus on reducing portion sizes other times. I find that I'm able to eat less than half of what I would, and while I'm not full, I'm satisfied, and that's enough to carry me on until next meal.

I've also noticed definite changes in my physique - my pants don't fit right, my dresses fit better, and I just don't feel as flabby. If I twist myself just right and suck in my stomach a little, I can even see abs. No six pack - just two at this point - but it's visible proof that I'm losing some of that fat.

So next up is April. I'll increase the resistance on the exerciser, and keep on top of my diet, avoiding the excess of how I used to eat, and we'll see where I end up.
» A conversation with Ceri
So, things with Phoenix have been moving along - Ceri has noticibly become more comfortable with her, and I've been pushing my limits as to when and how often I'll be Phoenix. But a lot has been kind of left unsaid, until last night. I think part of it is things with my parents going to shit again, and it leaves her feeling like she needs to remind me that she supports me, but it was a conversation that was coming due.

Like I've said - I've noticed a few things changing. It's been little things - she'll seem more at ease talking about Phoenix with her co-workers, or online. I made a joke about doing a girl's night out, and her response was that we don't need a group to go out. She's also been more willing to talk about getting me more women's clothes, and we've chatted about clothes and shoes for Phoenix, even when I'm still WMTG.

But the little things aside, it was still something worth talking about. Part of what we talked about was in relation to Ceri's introvertedness. She is extremely introverted, something we've talked a lot about since Pidge has come home. She desperately needs recharge time after dealing with people all day, so once Pidge is in bed it's all about winding down. I don't count as "people", but at first Phoenix did. But Ceri had said last night that she's reaching a point where Phoenix is no longer "people" - that having Phoenix on the other end of the couch is really no different than having WMTG sitting there, from a standpoint of being able to relax and recharge. She even said that she is about at that point where she gets the same comfort snuggling next to Phoenix that she does next to WMTG.

She also admitted to wanting to see more of "sexy Phoenix". When we went out for dinner that one night, the evening ended with us in the bedroom, and me sliding off the shoulder straps and dropping my dress, revealing me there in my heels and a red and black corset. She audibly gasped that night, and when talking last night she admitted that she hoped to see that again. For me that's huge - there are a lot of roles that WMTG fills, and every role that she can see Phoenix filling makes me feel more complete - one of my biggest fears is that her relation with Phoenix will be somehow incomplete.

Although she did say last night, there are still times where she misses WMTG. I totally get that - we've been together for over 20 years at this point, and there's always going to be differences between WMTG and Phoenix. And part of it also relates to the kind of fluidity of it - this isn't a complete transition, but there are going to be times where we are going in opposite directions. But then she also said that she felt guilty - like she wasn't being supportive enough, and that this wouldn't be an issue if she was a better wife and person. I keep telling her that's silly - this is a major change, well into our long relationship - and that I've been thrilled with the support she given me. I'm well aware that this sort of thing is just as likely to result in divorce, and I can't even fault that necessarily, because it is a huge change for Ceri, just as it is for me, and it's a lot to ask someone to go through. I don't think she believes me yet, but I mean it when I say that she's been wonderful to me.

The last thing we talked about was terminology - exactly what is it I'm going through? Trans or transgender doesn't exactly fit, but I'm also not a crossdresser. I've generally used "trans" as it kinda falls between transgender and transvestite, but Ceri feels it's to associated with transgender. She's used "queer", which fits, but also carries a negative connotation - almost the LGBT version of the N word. She laughed - saying that bigender really needs to be a term, because it more accurately describes where I'm at, and I think she's on to something. Because at this point I'm not transitioning, but it's also more than just wearing clothes.

It ended up as a fantastic conversation, one that I'm sure she was nervous about but I think made us both feel a lot better. I know I get into my own head sometimes and worry about things, and she does the same, so sitting and talking about it is really important.
» Step Up! - first update
So, it's only been three weeks since I've started with the new motivation. I really wanted to wait a month before I posted anything, but today coincides with the beginning of March, so it's a good marker to use for progress.

And so far, progress has been good. I've managed to be very consistent with all the changes I've made - 20 minutes on the bike in the morning, a half hour walk at lunch when possible, snacks are now just a small handful of almonds, I'm drinking mostly water, I'm eating salads instead of sandwiches, and I've reduced my portions. I've also had some help from Ceri - she's been trying to make healthier choices when shopping for groceries for the week.

So, the results are in - my weight this morning came in at 215.6. That's down about 5 pounds from where I started, and about 15 pounds down from my heaviest. I still have a ways to go, but this is encouraging progress, and I'm excited to see the results of another month. If I can keep up the 5 pounds a month, I'll be below 200 by June, and that's something I haven't done in probably 15+ years.

Now, I'm trying to keep my head on straight and keep focus. As excited as I am about getting below 200, I also know the body is a fickle thing, and I may not reach that with what I'm doing. The unfortunate side effect of making health changes is that you don't get any sort of gauge for what the results will be. I can't just plug in the changes to a computer, and have it tell me "your weight will balance at 198". All I can do is make the changes and see where I end up.

Granted, I feel like the changes I've made are changes that can be permanent, which is a huge thing. In the past, I'd make a couple changes, lose some weight, so what I had changed, and put the weight right back. This is the first time I'm really going in with a "lifestyle change" mentality - this isn't a quick fix.

So we'll see. I'll continue on with what I'm doing, and we'll see where my body decides to find equilibrium, and we'll go from there.
» A day for Phoenix
This past weekend, Ceri and I managed to get a day to ourselves - a belated anniversary present from Ceri's parents. They had given us some gift cards to the restaurant on top of the Kennedy Center, and agreed to watch Pidge so we could have a nice dinner.

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So, Ceri and Phoenix got to have a nice dinner out. We posted about it on Facebook, which always makes me smile when we get the "you're both beautiful" comments. It also makes me laugh - I spent so long hiding Phoenix, it feels good to be so public about it. And while we're not ready for daily Phoenix, it's still a step in the right direction - I felt 100% comfortable, and if Ceri was uncomfortable, it didn't show.

So, one more step taken.
» Step Up! - reboot - this time will be different!
So it seems to be a regular occurrence - I decide to get in shape, I post about it, I stick with it briefly, and I slack off. Well, my last attempt was in May, so it's about time I get back to it!

I'm actually a bit late in coming to LJ about this, as I half started in November, with the new job. But knowing full well that anything new I started wouldn't survive the holidays and vacation, I put things on a slow burn, and now that February is here it's time to get things moving.

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The one thing I did forget to do was set a reference weight before I started everything. I did hop on the scale this morning and it registered 220.2 - slightly under where I left off last May - so I'll take that as a positive. I still have a lot more I'd like to lose, but I'm really trying to focus on fitness rather than weight.

So we'll see. This may be another failed attempt, something that peters out in a few months. I have a cautious optimism this time though, as there are outside factors that haven't been there in the past, and I'm really trying to approach this as a life change, not a temporary push to fix a problem. Hopefully it'll all come together.
» Why I hate family vacations
This past week was the long awaited "big trip to Disney". Part of me had been dreading this trip from the day we planned it, considering all the drama there was in my family about going to Disney last year. That still hasn't recovered, and I just had a feeling that even with my family drama out of the picture, this want going to be a stress free trip.

And sadly, I was right. There is a long history of drama and arguments in any extended vacation with Ceri's family, and this one was true to form - right down to the fact that no one was really speaking to each other by the end. I think Ceri is still mad at me, and we've been home for 4 days.

The biggest issue is that Ceri and her mom are like oil and water - they just don't mix. Ceri's mom has a lot of habits that drive Ceri crazy, and that drives her stress through the roof. I end up reacting to that, which only makes things worse, until finally something blows.

This time it was two prime things. The first is the issue of Pidge's behavior. Ceri's mom wants to go easy on him, but Ceri and I refuse to let him get away with things just because it's vacation. So Ceri's mom harps because we're too hard on him, but then complains if he misbehaves when we aren't there. Ceri and I had two days where we went to swim with the manatees, which meant that Pidge was with Ceri's mom. We get back to hear about how Pidge and K never listened, and that she just couldn't handle it, but she then proceedef to undermine us through the rest of the week when Pidge would get in trouble.

The second part is a long running issue. Ceri's mom is a plan freak, but she's the worst kind in that she doesn't want to do the planning. So she harps on Ceri to plan everything, and then complains when everything didn't go the way she wants it. She piles on top of that in that she is constantly asking questions and adding in little critiques, and it just drives Ceri nuts.

I'm not exactly guilt free with everything that went wrong this trip, but the fact that Ceri and I can vacation for two weeks with everything going smoothly, yet we can't go three days without an argument when Ceri's parents are involved leads me to believe I'm not the main issue.

So there it is - Pidge's first vacation to Disney, and all I have to say is that I hate traveling with Ceri's parents. Which only reinforces why I hate traveling with Ceri's parents.
» Becoming Phoenix to Pidge
I know I've talked on a lot here about being Phoenix - sometimes I feel like it's all I talk about. I swear - there's more to my life than that! But I think part of it is that LJ is a place where I can come and talk about it more easily, because let's face it - I can't exactly talk to my parents or the people at work about the difficulties in coming out as trans to my son, and while I can certainly talk to my friends, I sometimes feel like a broken record.

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So I dunno. Honestly, a lot of this is probably just in my own head, and won't be a thing. But I guess only time will tell.
» F'nerf.
So yeah, f'nerf - just having one of those days where I want to whine a little.

As sometimes happens, I woke up this morning really feeling my Phoenix. So I got up, let the dogs out, and threw on some leggings, a sweater dress and heeled boots. Wig and jewelry but no make up - I didn't want to deal with washing it off before work. This isn't actually anything all that out of the ordinary, I get dressed in the morning maybe 2 or 3 times a week, and I just change before I have to go to work. But for some reason, that feeling had really stuck with me, and I've found myself dwelling on Phoenix today.

I know part of it is slow work. That lets my mind wander around, and it's no surprise that it'd linger on Phoenix when I woke up feeling that way, but it's still lingering a little longer than usual. And I can't help but think how much I'd love to be able to come to work dressed.

I know that's a long way off, if at all, and that that's a process that is moving along. We've introduced Pidge to Phoenix in photos, so he's seen me, just not in person. That step is coming soon, and from there is just easing into it - slowly increasing the time and places I'll go as Phoenix. I know Ceri is still very nervous there, but she's slowly coming around to the idea of Phoenix as someone that exists outside of the occasional evening in.

But, even knowing that change is coming, I still have a sense of loss for the change that hasn't happened yet, and the change that may never happen.

So yeah. F'nerf.
» My LJ has been lacking
So, I've been at the new job for about 2 months now. It's still a bit slow - the big Revit project I was brought on for has stalled, and likely won't start until after the holidays. But aside from that, things have been okay. A bit of an adjustment, but okay. The two big things have been the personal relationships, and the difference in office policies.

Probably the hardest part was getting used to a new group of people. I liked the people I worked with - and after working with them for over 6 years, I was closer to some of them than I am to my own family. And on top of losing that, I'm now in a new office, with new people, needing to overcome my general introvert and adjust to new names, faces and personalities. It's been an okay transition, but it still leaves me a little worn out and a little lonely during the day. I know time will fix it, but until then - f'nerf.

The new office has also brought some other differences - because every firm handles different things differently. The first is that I'll be getting paid hourlyish, which is a big difference. The big thing is that it means I'll get overtime pay again, which could be quite lucrative if these Revit jobs kick up. The downside is that they're more attentive to time spent, and there's a bigger push to make time productive. No big deal if I had tons of work, but since the Revit projects haven't hit yet, I'm a bit nervous about having to do non-billable work. There's a certain understanding for now, but that'll only last so long.

This office also had a much stricter internet policy - they've really locked things down. It's a big part of why I haven't been on LJ as frequently - I can't access it at work, and accessing it on the phone is sub par. But aside from LJ, it detracts a bit from the "we're all professionals" feeling, it's a bit more "we need to watch what you do", which is kind of draining. Granted, I do have my phone, so it's not like I'm cut off from the outside world, but still - f'nerf.

And frankly, 2016 hasn't helped. Too many people from my childhood have passed away, and our country has elected someone that ran on a platform of hate and bigotry. In my almost 41 years, I've always been the stupid optimist, and yet I just don't have that right now. So yeah, f'nerf.
» Trump and Phoenix
So, at this point everyone knows that Trump won the election. There's still the "impeach him" and "change the electoral college" hopeful, but realistically it is what it is. I have a long list of reasons why I think he'll be bad for the country - starting with the Nazis - and I could rant for days about him. But the truth is that while I generally don't agree with him, most of the stuff he does the country will weather. But on one topic - the topic of the LGBT community - I can't sit by.

Being trans is something that I've always kind of known. As far back as middle school, I liked borrowing clothes from my mom's closet and pretending I was a woman. Granted, back in the late 80s in Nowheresville CT, I had no idea that this could even be a thing. I knew what I felt, but from what I could tell no one else felt this way. So I hid it. It's always been my dirty little secret - something that some people knew, but most didn't, and I was scared to death of how people, especially my parents, would react if they found out. But even though I rarely admitted it, I always dreamed about being able to publicly be female. Once my parents found out, it became a lot easier for me to act on it, but it was still something that I tried to keep as secondary in my life - I hate confrontation, and I didn't want to be in people's faces about it.

But especially now with a looming Trump presidency, and the apparent push against LGBT rights that's sure to follow, I've really decided that this isn't something that I can leave on the back burner. Honestly, I know too many Trump supporters that don't see the harm in some of what he's proposing, so I intend to make it very personal - I want to make them understand that they know someone that may be drastically affected by their vote. I want them to see that this isn't just something that affects some "other people".

Now certainly, a lot of people have said that this won't be an issue - Trump held a rainbow flag, everything will be okay! Thing is, I don't believe it. And this isn't just a "head in the sand" denial - I'm basing it on a lot of what he's done, as far as campaign promises and cabinet choices. His VP funneled federal dollars to support gay conversion therapy. His health secretary has a long history of opposing LGBT rights. His attorney general opposes gay marriage and LGBT job protections. Trump himself has said that he favors so called "religious freedom" laws that are usually used to allow discrimination, and he's said that he feels that a lot of it should be up to the state, which means that the next state to pass an HB2 - the federal government won't step in and say "hey, that's discriminatory". So has Trump technically said that he's going to take away LGBT rights? Not yet. But he's stacked the deck in that favor.

So with that being said, there's very much a "the time is now" feeling. So I came out loud and clear on facebook and to the parts of my family that may not have known. I directly confronted my parents, who only knew in a vague sense. And I've decided that I'm just not going to sit by and let comments go - I'm not going to sit in the shadows anymore. Now's the time to embrace Phoenix, rather than leaving her as a side note.

It's also led to an interesting shift in Ceri. She's always been extremely supportive of LGBT rights, but was struggling a little with Phoenix - as she represents major changes in Ceri's life as well. But one thing about Ceri is that she has a big mama bear side, and she does not take kindly to things that may hurt her family. So seeing me step forward really gave her a push to step up behind me, and as she put it - "get her head out of her ass and really support Phoenix". She bought me a ring that is a silver band, with a small rainbow of stones set in it, and she's been far more encouraging of me being Phoenix at night. She's even approached the idea with Pidge - something we've been cautious about - realizing that we need to be fully honest with him, and make sure that we raise him in such a way that he is loving and tolerant. His reaction was funny - why does daddy look like a girl? - and we just explained to him that it's something that I like doing, it's part of who I am, and he was just okay with that.

So from here on out, hiding Phoenix is just done.
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