Saturday, November 2, 2013

Living the dream....

Sorry about the long gap between posts. It has been a hectic month or so. So much going on!

I went to Edmonton at the end of September. I had another appointment with Dr. Warneke. Of course I stopped in Grande Prairie and spent the night with friends. New friends. K and J. I met them through Myrna. A couple of crazy newfies! But I love them anyway. If you remember, I was asked to speak with a young trans guy. That went well I think. He seems very well adjusted and informed on what is going on with himself. Oh how I wish I was that self aware at that age. I will keep tabs on him to make sure he is still doing OK.

While I was in Edmonton, I drove to my cousin's place. They were having a birthday party for their son. A pajama party. They did not know I was going to be there so it was a nice surprise. L looked at me and asked "What the f**k are you doing here?" It was awesome! Plus, that day was my actual birthday and I was very happy to spend it with family. My favorite cous was there as well and she brought me a piece of Guiness Ginger cake. OH EM GEE! It was SOOOOOO good! I also got to eat smoked bacon (Yes. I said smoked bacon. It was as yummy as you think it is.", snuggled with a cute blonde little sweetheart and had cuddles with a red headed little man. All in all, it was an awesome day.

I also met someone on PoF. Yes. There is Miss PoF. But we have had a very hard time connecting up again. And that is OK. We are friends and I am happy with that. The new woman I have met is amazing. Miss G is a little older then I am ( No. I am not going to tell you how old she is. ) She lives in Prince George. Our e mails and texts messages and Skype visits had been going so well, I decided to head down there on the long weekend.

It was an awesome visit! We had this immediate connection. We spent a lot of time talking and laughing. We had an Austin Powers marathon and she passed the test. She liked the movies. We also spent time in the hot tub. And playing with the dogs. All 5 of them. Yes. I said 5. 4 are hers and she is doggie sitting the 5th one. The dogs are very friendly and took to me right away. Except for 1. Miss Abby. She was very shy and stayed away for the first little while. After about a day and a half, Abby was almost crawling into my lap to get close to me. So I passed the puppy test.

Miss G also has 9 cats. Yes. I said 9. They all took to me. except 1. Mr Milo. He was a no show all weekend. But I am hoping he will come out of hiding so I can meet him too.

After I got home, I managed to stay for a few days, Then Tasha and I were off to Dawson Creek to see Loretta Lynn.


It was amazing! She put on a wonderful show. I really enjoyed it. When she walked out in a white sequined ball gown, I knew it was for real. It was everything you would expect from a an old time country music legend. Before the concert, I managed to amuse myself by watching people trip over the riser that was protecting the cables. Neon bright yellow tape all over it and a lot of people didn't see it. I admit, it probably wasn't very nice of me to laugh but I did. I couldn't help myself. The only part I didn't like was trying to get out of the parking lot afterwards. I think it took longer to get out of the lot then it did to drive home.

Then, a few nights later, Tasha and I were back in Dawson Creek to see the Dixie Chicks. Another amazing concert! Very high energy, lots of fun. I love the way they harmonize. Gives me chills. We were smart this time and left a little early. Before the big rush. Took no time at all to get out of the lot and get home.

Then the next night, I was off to Beaverlodge to spend the night with Myrna. I love Myrna. We talked and shared some laughs as we always do. In the morning, we had breakfast, she gave me a Mohawk haircut and I drove to Olds Alberta to see my Scuzzin.

So I have been here since Thursday night. And I am loving every minute of it! I so needed a Scuzzin hug. I need to see her and talk to her and just be with her. Yesterday, Scuz and Dave and I drove to Calgary for appointments. It was awesome they let me sit in on them. It reassured me a lot. To see her team and hear about the treatment plans. And to hear how well she is doing. I have always believed and known that Scuz
is a fighter and she will beat this stupid cancer. But it was still nice to hear it. Scuz and I then dropped Dave at the airport and went shopping. (Sorry Tasha. I know I usually go shopping with you.) We, well, Scuz, picked out a few shirts for me and I even picked up a vest I can wear with a few of my shirts. To you know, look a little dressier. We had dinner and drove home.

After a good night's sleep, we have been hanging out all day. We went to town real quick  and since we have been home, we have just been with each other. We talked about it once. Just being near each other is awesome, There is a comfort between us. No words are needed to fill the silence. I love her to the moon and back.

I have been watching it snow out the living room window and watching a little bird play in the snow filled branches. It does my soul good to be here.

A few hours later......

Scuz's parents are here. My aunt and uncle. We have had dinner and are now visiting. Though everyone is quite tired from the long drive. I thought I would pop downstairs real quick and finish my blog so I don't have to worry about it later.

I love my family. I really do. Even the other one. Who I will now refer to as A. We have started talking again. She sent me a text message on our birthday that said "Happy birthday Bro!" Totally amazed me. I called her briefly because I was on my to my cousin's place. Then I called her when i got home and we talked for 2 hours. I am very glad we have re connected. And to know she loves me and supports me. I think there was always a fear that she would reject me. I know I know. It might an unfounded fear but it was one I had anyway. We are taking it slow and not pushing it. Probably best after not speaking for 2 years or so. My niece is very happy we are talking again.

I guess that is about it. I, of course, forgot my bro codes at home so I will close out with a reminder that is it Movember. Though I am not able to grow a lot of facial hair, I am on the Change the Topic Movember team. You can find links to our team page and my own Movember page. Please visit and donate. The money is to promote mens health. It is for a good cause. I promise    Here is a link to my mo space. Check it out.

Cheers everyone.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Here I sit...

Good afternoon all. I hope you are having a great weekend. Mine is not too bad.

My week went pretty well. Birdman is here for a month to work. We had lunch on Friday. I missed that guy. It was awesome to see him and just sit and talk. I wish we had more then an hour together. Maybe when we will have a chance when he gets out of camp.

I was got toonswagged this week. What is toonswagged you ask? This is toonswagged.

Thank you to JC Little at The Animated Woman for making me look like I have biceps. She even got  my eyebrow ring! I love this! 

I also had my date with Ms.PoF. I was so terribly nervous. I haven't had a whole lot of dates so I am not very good at them. We met at the Lookout. For those of you in the Fort St.John area, you will know what I am talking about. I am very familiar with the area. I used to drive out there and have phone sex with an ex girl friend. Got caught by the cops one night too. He was very polite. Anyway, I bought us coffees from Timmie's and a small fruit tray since she was coming straight from work. I thought she might like something to eat. Before the date, I quickly cleaned my place. Including clean sheets on the bed and a bottle of wine. Because you just never know. So she met me out there. First thing she said was , "Oh you are cute! " For some reason, that relaxed me a lot. We ended up sitting in my truck and talking for a couple of hours. I enjoyed it a lot. I told her I would like to see her again and she was agreeable to that. At the end of the date, I even got a few kisses Now the struggle is trying to find a time with our schedules and her kids. One has been sick so that comes first. 

That was my first date as a man. I think I did all right. I had much advice from women friends. Mostly on how to calm myself down. They are so awesome. My friends. I love them to death! 

It's funny. I have chatted with a few friends on the phone this past couple of weeks. Including Tracy my love. The first thing they have all said is "Holy shit! Your voice has changed!" And has it ever! Whiskey voice is how one friend put it. I think it is just going to get deeper as well. I am told it sounds very sexy. And that has to be a good thing. The facial hair is coming along slowly. I am told the long black belly hairs are part of being a man and to just deal with it. I just find it very disturbing. If I get chest hair before my top surgery, I am going to wax that shit off. Once I have surgery, I will let it grow in. I have to cross the line somewhere on body hair. 

I have been asked to talk to a young trans man. He is still in high school. There are no support groups here or where he lives. I don't think the local Pride group where he lives has any transgender people so he is alone. I know that feeling. A lot. Thank goodness I managed to find a few friends who I can talk with. So M is trying to set up a meeting between the two of us. Hopefully I can help him. Even of it is just listening to him. Sometimes that is all it takes. 

I guess that is about it. I have to go finish my chores now. Blah. 

The Bro Code Article # 123

Two Bros shall maintain at least a three-foot radius between them while dancing on the same floor, even when reenacting the knife fight from "Beat It", which I guess, two Bros shouldn't do anyway, or at least not very often. 


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Mind F**ks

This post has been a couple of weeks in the works. Seems that whenever I feel it is time to write, something else comes along to make me re write it. At least in my head. I never seem to get to the computer to start something. Mainly because this stupid blog wakes me up at 3:30 AM, with brilliant insight into my thoughts and feelings.

I love my blog. But I am not getting out of bed at 3:30 AM to write it.

So here I am at 10:30 PM on a Saturday night. I just got home from a BBQ at Tasha's house. I almost backed out. I have been having anxiety about it since Thursday. Mainly because there were going to be people there I didn't know. I don't do well with strangers sometimes.

But I went. There was an friend from years ago that I re connected with. Plus Tasha's mom and sister in law. So it was cool. I managed to make a good appearance. I may have seemed calm and collected, but on the inside, I was fighting the urge to run home. I even managed to have a conversation with a guy I had just met tonight.  It was a tough thing to do but I am glad I went. I am glad I was out and about. I spend too much time at home in my head.

Tomorrow I am going fishing with A and another new friend, K. She is another crush for me. Very cute. Funny, smart, outgoing. Someone I could see drawing me out of my shell. She has not expressed any interest in me. Besides acknowledging my flirtatious side. I guess all I can do is ride the wave and see where it goes. You never know. Maybe she will find me charming and irresistible. (You can stop laughing now.)

I wonder why I have no problem hanging out with this woman, K yet I have an issue hanging out with friends of Tasha's? I know she would not hang out with people who objected to me. Or expressed any negative opinions about gays or transgender people. And it's not like Tasha's house is outside my comfort zone. If I can fall asleep on her couch, it a safe zone for me. So why? Why did I feel so anxious? Really. I want to know. Anyone have any ideas?

The head shaving has been going well. I shave it every other day. I use an after shave lotion for sensitive skin. It gets all tingly afterwards. I kinda like it. I love having it shaved. I love that I am called "sir" so much more. I get "dude" a lot too. I don't even mind the fact my head gets cold at night when I am trying to sleep. I admit, I find great pleasure in running my fingers over my bald head. I always seem to find the spots I missed. I hate stubble though. It's like fucking Velcro. Yes I know winter is coming. I have lots of hats and toques I can wear. It is almost time to take the air conditioner out of the window. But not quite time to turn the heat up. With all the layers I wear everyday, it is a good time of the year. I think I have even found a scent for me. I thought about it a lot. And I decided to go with the classic Old Spice after shave. I put some on tonight for the BBQ and was complimented on how good I smelled. So that is that. I am an Old Spice man.

Speaking of things heating up, I have been texting with a woman I met on line. She is 37, has 2 kids and even lives in town. We are trying to figure out a good time to meet for a coffee. Maybe next weekend. She had family obligations this weekend. She seems pretty interested.  Of course, there has been full disclosure on my part. I feel it is best. Actually, to do anything less would be lying and I am not going to do that. She asked me a great deal of questions. Which is a good thing. It means she is curious. And curiosity leads to learning and learning opens your mind. I am hopeful she will continue to be interested. I look forward to meeting her in person and being able to have a real conversation with her. I will update you as to the results.

I am FINALLY going to go see my Scuzzin! After checking with her, I booked a few days off at the end of October/ beginning of November. I am so excited! It has been way too long. Not only am I looking forward to seeing her, I am looking forward to the long road trip. Even though I go to Edmonton at the end of the month, I feel the need for a longer trip. I look forward to sitting, drinking tea and talking to her. About what she is going through, About what I am going through. Getting to know her thoughts and feelings. And to let her know how I feel. I know she reads my blog. She knows I love her to the moon and back. But I want to tell her face to face. Hear me Scuz? You are going to hear a lot of that while I am there. Deal with it!!!

Something else has happened that has made me re think a few things.

There is woman I have been friends with since high school. In fact, I had a crush on her back then. We stayed in casual contact. Lunch once in a while. Or coffee if we had the time. Our lives never seemed to sync to spend more time together. Her life went one way and mine went another. She has been a cheerleader for me and I have always appreciated it. She is smart and insightful and very spiritual in a way I have never been. Talking with her leaves me re thinking and questioning things I might not have thought about before. And I like that. Remember, curious leads to learning, learning leads to an open mind.

Anyway, our casual conversations took an interesting turn recently. She knows about my crush on her. And my casual flirting. She has flirted back and we started a conversation about it. The messages took on a clearly sexual overtone. Which turned into text messages then into a phone call. That phone call was pretty fucking hot. I replay it in my head. Makes me sweat. I never thought things would ever go there. I am glad they did. I feel closer to this woman. Closer as a friend. Almost like a new found respect. Not because of the phone sex. Because of the conversation afterwards. She admits she is curious about sex with a woman. and yes, I identify as a man but all my parts are still female. There is nothing I can do about it right now so let's move on shall we? Anyway, she has said that she would like her first time with a woman to be with someone she knows and trusts. And she also admits there in an attraction to me as well. Which is a good thing. The opportunity to spend some time together is a definite possibility. I admit I am excited about this possibility. Not because I am expecting a relationship to form. We already have that. We have a friendship. I am talking about the possibility of having sex with her. I think she would be a blast in bed. And lets' be honest, it has been a while for me. And I have hit the horny part of my treatment. I really want to get laid. And to have a dream come true by having sex with this beautiful creature? Why wouldn't I? I am confident enough in our friendship and the level of honesty we have with each other that we can continue to be friends afterwards. We will just have an amazing memory to share.

And then there is another dear friend of mine. She had a dream we were kissing.

Excuse me? Kissing?

Then she had the nerve to say I was bad kisser in the dream. For the record. I am NOT a bad kisser.

I told her she had no right to judge me from her dream since she has never kissed me for real.

The point to this story, or at least one point, is that she is thinking about it. That threw me for a loop. What the fuck? What are you thinking? Really. I want to know. Because I feel confused.

The other point is what the hell am I throwing out into the universe all of a sudden that I have got three different women thinking about me at once? I realize I am nice guy. Maybe a little edgy because of my transition in the small city. Oh and I smell good. Am I being rewarded for a good deed? Or am I being tested? To see if I make the right choices? Should I just let things unfold as they do? Am I over thinking things? Should I just be grateful for the gifts I have been given?

These are the thoughts waking me up at 3:30 AM.

The Bro Code Article # 19

A Bro shall not sleep with another Bro's hot sister. However, a Bro shall not get angry if another Bro says, "Dude, your sister is hot!"


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lazy Sundays

My favorite kind of days.

Though I should be doing my laundry. But I am not out of socks and underwear yet so I am good.

I spent part of my day updating my I tunes. Somehow, songs got doubled and tripled up. So I had to delete stuff, download more and then up date my I pod. I need a new one with more memory though. I am quickly running out of room.

Work is, well, work. Enough said.

I shaved my head this week. To support my scuz in her fight against breast cancer. She is rockin' the bald and so am I. I will keep it shaved as long as she has no hair. When she starts growing it back, I will grow mine back.

I have to admit, I love being bald. I get "Sir" a lot more often. Less wondering looks. Plus, it is REALLY easy to get ready in the morning. Though my head gets cold at night. I have worn a toque to bed to keep it warm.

I have an orange tabby hanging around my place. No. Not Monty. A different one. Rumor has it, his people moved and left him behind to fend for himself. I have caught him in my place a few times. Chowing down in the food dish. My three seem to have no objection to him. He is inside right now, sitting at the bottom of the stairs. He looks so tired and beat down. He let me pet him and even gave me head nuzzles. He needs to see a vet I think. Looks like he has ear mites. And his eyes look funny. But that could be because he has been on his own for a while and not getting enough to eat everyday. I am going to let him stay as long as he wants. If he keeps coming around, I will take him to the doctor. Tell them his story. Maybe they will give me a break on the bill.

Why are people so cruel? Pisses me off to see pets abandoned like this. What did this guy do to be left behind? Nothing. Someone just decided to adopt him them throw him away when they didn't want him anymore. He is not an object. He is a living, breathing creature that deserves to be looked after and loved. And if he will let me, I will love him.

As I was out doing some running around today, I seen a young lady and her dog standing by the big department store. Her sign said, "Travelling through. Broke and hungry." So while I was picking up some kitty litter, I bought them a few cans of soup, some juice and a small bag of dog food. It was no skin off my nose to do something nice for someone. I might be broke and hungry one day. I believe in karma. It will all come back to me one day. And for a more selfish reason, it make me feel good to do nice things for someone. It can be as small as holding a door open for someone. It makes me feel good. I was raised to be a gentleman.

My shots are still going well. I am noticing a lot more hair. On my belly. My shoulders. My thighs. My upper and lower lip as well as my chin. I may actually get to shave soon. There are also some other physical changes I am noticing. My shoulders are getting broader. Even my chiropractor commented on it.  That makes me happy. I have always enjoyed my broad shoulders. My biceps seem to be getting bigger as well. No. I am not working out though I should be. There are also other parts of me getting bigger. Private parts. I was told this could happen. And it seems to be. I wonder just how big this part is going to get. That is all I am going to say about that.

I think I have mentioned I am 6 months into my 1 year real life experience. I still can't believe it. I can remember be so upset that I would have to wait so long for anything to happen. But now, it feels like time is flying by. I know I still have a long wait ahead but I am hoping it will go as quickly as the last 6 months has.

Just to be clear, I have been going by Dustin for well over a year but the official name change didn't go through till 6 months ago. It had to be official in order for it to count. I also need to see if my appointments Dr. Warneke count towards seeing a gender a specialist for surgery. See, he is in Edmonton. I am not sure if MSP will recognize him. I hope so. Then I don't have to start over. And it will be one more step towards my end goal of surgery.

Wish me luck.

The Bro Code Article # 44

A bro never applies sunscreen to another Bro. ( Exception:  If the Bros are within 7 degrees latitude of the equator)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Bitter pill to swallow.

I worked my second Saturday in a row. And I am now into my second week on call. As much as I hate call outs, I am hoping for a few more. I only get paid if I get called out. So instead of maybe heading to the river to enjoy the sunshine, I am stuck in town, waiting for the damn phone to ring.

I am still waiting to hear on the other job. They are not hiring at the moment. I have been in touch with the H.R and she knows I really want to go to work there. I can hardly wait. I am getting terribly frustrated at my current job. It is not that I think I can run the company better. I know I can't. I don't suggest things to my boss because he has been in business for a long time and knows what he is doing. I am just a tech. If he asks me a question about my job, I can answer it with confidence. Why? Because I know my job. I know my place in the pecking order. I am not quite low man on the totem pole but I am close to it. I have no say and no authority to do anything but my job. Does that stop the management from expecting me to do more then I am paid for? No. Apparently, I am not only expected to do my job, but know all about everyone else's job is. Even if I don't work in that department or spend a limited amount of time in a certain department. Even when the douche bag makes a mistake, it is my fault. Even if I wasn't even in the building at the time.

So, I just keep my mouth shut, do MY job the best I can and try to let the rest roll off my shoulders. I know it will only be for a short time.

Onto other things.

I got a text message from the other one this week. Out of the blue. She sent a picture of the two of us on her wedding day. I stood up with her. I don't object to the picture. Not much anyway. She said "A couple of good looking ladies!" I replied with "Since I am not a lady, I guess so."  She says, "You were still a female back then blah blah blah."

Excuse me?


She was trying to acknowledge what I am doing. I get that part. But sending me a picture of me in dress after months of not talking is really not the way to go about it. All that does is remind me of very unhappy times for me. Maybe she was trying to open a conversation with me about what I am doing. And that is cool. Open the conversation. Ask me questions. Let's talk. But YOU are the one who has to ask. I know what I am doing. I understand it and am comfortable with it. I know what my future holds. I know what I want. YOU are the one who needs answers from me. ME. Not the older one. Not Mom and Dad. From me. So ask me. Don't talk about me to each other. Talk to ME! Who better to tell you what is happening with me then me? You know my number. You know where to find me. Pick up the phone and call. Or text. What ever. You know where to find me. I will talk to you about what I am doing. And why. But I will not talk to you about each other or Mom and Dad. The only conversation I will have with you is about me. Sending a picture of me in a dress feels like an insult. Not an acknowledgement of my life.

Does that sound selfish? It is not meant to be. I can only answer questions about what I am thinking and feeling. I can't answer for someone else. I will not discuss how Mom and Dad feel about it. They have to deal with it on their own. And same as you, they know where to find me if they have any questions. I can not be responsible for anyone else's emotional health. I have a hard enough time with my own emotional health.

I am sorry if this sounds like an open letter to the other one and the older one. I am told they read my blog so I figured I would write it down here for them to see. Or maybe someone in the family will see this and tell them to read it.

I seen the older one this weekend as well. She made a point to call me by my old name numerous times. I tried really hard not to let it bother me. But it did a little. Maybe I was just being over sensitive about it but it felt like she was deliberately doing it to see if I would correct her. If it wasn't my nephew's first birthday party, I might have. But the time and place wasn't right.To be honest, seeing her reminded me why I do not have a relationship with her.And also strengthened my resolve to look after myself. To support myself. I don't need my parents to give me things or money. I can pay for it on my own. When I decide it is time for a new vehicle, I will do it on my own. I will not ask my parents for the money. I have long expected nothing financially from my folks. After getting my ass chewed by my Dad years ago. Yes. I have borrowed small amounts over the years. Not much compared to the other two. I was never given a vehicle that was going to be sold for $1500 by my Dad. Do I sound bitter? Damn rights I do! Why? Because the co dependence between the older one and parents is getting really old.  Enough already! She is 47 years old! She has to stand on her own two feet. Just like I do. When I bought my truck, I showed it off like any proud owner of their first new vehicle. I received a call from my Mom later that day and was told to say sorry to the older one for rubbing it in her face. That I had worked hard to be able to buy a new vehicle and was proud of myself for doing it. Did Mom make the older one call me and apologize for rubbing it in that Dad GAVE her a truck? No.

Damn rights I am bitter.

The shots are going well. Although I hit a vein a couple of weeks ago. Or at least went through a vein. I pulled the needle out and blood went "squirt". I just applied pressure and the bleeding stopped. No biggie. It was going to happen sooner or later. I feel like a junkie sometimes. When I get my "fixings" together for my shots. The needles and syringe. The wipes and band-aid. The sharps container. There is a whole ritual around shot time. My countdown through the week is not for the weekend. It is for when I give myself my shot.

I am noticing more hair growth. On my legs and arms. Not so much on my face but it is coming in slowly. I am slowly getting side burns. It feel like my shoulders are getting broader.  When I have my binders on, wearing a t shirt, I can "see" what I will look like after surgery. I have also come to the conclusion I will be a short and stocky man. And I am good with that. I know lots of short stocky guys and they are wonderful guys. I am proud to be one.

OK. I think I have vented enough for today.

Thanks for listening.

Bro code article # 127

A Bro will always help another Bro reconstruct the events from the previous night, unless those events entail hooking up with an ugly chick or the Bro repeatedly saying "I love you, man" to all his Bros.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Revelations of trans-man.

Yes. Revelations.

I was reminded recently how precious life can be.

My "scuzzin" was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has opted for surgery and chemo. I truly believe she will beat it because she is a true fighter.  That woman went through a tragic accident where she lost her beautiful girls and still manages to find some joy in everyday. She is truly one of my heroes. I love ya Scuz!

My revelation wasn't about life. And how you should enjoy each day. My revelation was that regardless of the path I am on right now and where I plan on ending up, I still have breasts. I still need to look after them. I really want them gone but not because of cancer. If there was some way I could donate them to my scuz, I would.

I tend to ignore my body between my neck and waist. I have these lumps that are a glaring reminder of something I don't want to have and someone I don't want to be. But because they are still there, and because I was scared to death, I went to the doctor and had a breast exam.

I have a hard enough time being outside my comfort zone without my binder on and here I was letting my doctor feel me up. I just kept thinking about Scuz. I needed to do this for her. I needed to do this for me. I needed to know these unwanted lumps of fat and skin weren't going to kill me.

They aren't. The breast exam was fine. I still have to go for a mammogram. (Yes Tasha. I know. You have told me for years to go.) But unless it shows something, I am lump free. He gave me advice on what to look for in the way of suspicious skin or sores. Advice on how to do a self exam. And until I have surgery, I have to look after these things.

Now, I know some women might be upset about me talking about my breasts this way. But you must realize that they are the biggest reminder of someone I don't want to be. Don't get me wrong. I love breasts. On another woman. Not on me. They don't fit the image I have of myself in my head. And I am really looking forward to getting rid of them.

Another revelations I had was my voice. It has gotten deeper. I can feel it in my vocal chords. It's like losing your voice and trying to talk anyway. I can feel then straining. And I have had people mention I sound different. I sound different to myself too. I kinda like it. I think I sound sexier. I have been getting called "Sir" on the phone too. Gives me a thrill when I hear it.

I need to speak with the folks at work. And ask them to refer to me as "he". I haven't really pushed it before now. But being called "she" makes me cringe now. I will talk to everyone on a one to one basis. I think it make it a little easier.

I was recently in Edmonton for yet another doctor's appointment. I was seeing an endocrinologist. I was asked all sorts of medical questions and had some basic tests done. I was able to sit and talk to the nurses and the doctor. He reviewed my blood work and was impressed with how my numbers were for my cholesterol and my sugars. I am surprisingly healthy. We talked about testosterone and it's affects. I felt very reassured with my conversation with him. He increased my dose from 50 mg every two weeks to 100 mg every week. I have to tell you, it feels great! I am starting to feel normal in my skin. Finally! The changes are going to start happening quicker now. That makes me happy.

As for surgery, after doing a lot of research and e mailing a lot of doctors, it appears the easiest way to have top surgery is to through MSP. It may take a little longer, but then everything is covered. I only have to do 1 year of real life experience.. I am already officially 5 to 6 months into my one year. So that means in a few months, I can talk to my doctor about starting the process for surgery. There will be more psychiatrist appointments. There will be letters written. It will be a long process. But I am willing to go through it. I have to go through it. I can only hope that it moves quickly.

I think that is about it for now. I am sure there will be more later. I should really start writing down stuff I want to write about.

The Bro Code Article # 69 : Duh


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Got a few things on my mind.

First off, Mothers Day.

Happy Mothers Day to my wonderful mom. I have no idea how I would have made to now without her. I love her so much and with all my heart. She is my hero.

No. It has no always been easy. The last few months have been a great example of that. Some would think I broke my mother's heart with my decision to transition. But I think it would have broken her heart more to lose me to the deep depression I was headed for. Because who know where that would have taken me. I was headed for a dark place. I had to tell my parents. I had to tell them what was going on with me. Simply because they are a part of my life. The last thing I wanted was to hid what I was doing from them, then to show up looking totally different.

I have been watching videos and reading articles about trans men  And how they grew up and the feelings they had. It sounds so familiar. I felt the same thing. I thought the same thing. I sent a video to Mom. I hope she watches it. And it helps her understand that this is something I have to do. That the feelings I have are nothing new and I am not the only who feels this way. And it also showed his Mom coming to terms with it. All I can do is hope it helps her. That it helps her accept me a little more.

Another thing on my mind.

The discrimination I feel from some members of the LGBT community.  Not any of my friends. Those people of been more the accepting and understanding and very very supportive. I am talking about some "family" I have met since. The looks, the questions, the exclusion I feel. From the butch lesbians, it is like "How dare you desert us?!?" And from the femmes out there, it more of "Another one bites the dust.". I didn't realize that the gay world was just as closed minded as the straight world. And I feel very disappointed about it. Heart broken really. I spent most of my life being discriminated against because I was a tom boy growing up. "Why can't you be more like a girl?" Then coming out as a lesbian, "Why can't you be straight?" and, "Why would you chose to be gay?" Now as a trans gender man, and being a straight man at that, I feel that the struggle to fit in and belong to a community is starting all over again. I feel like an outsider in the community that is supposed to be about acceptance and tolerance. LGBT does stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual AND Transgender.

It makes me wonder if I will ever find my place. Find my community. Or will I always be looking and searching for the acceptance I am desperately seeking?  I don't announce myself to new people as trans gender. I just introduce myself as Dustin. Since that is my name after all. I see the looks I get from people. I "see"the questions. The standoffishness. (Is that a word?)  Of course, it doesn't help that some at my place of employment, say "she" with obvious emphasis. Just to make sure the confusion goes deeper.  I think I have to insist on being called "he". I honestly thought it wouldn't bother me that much but it does. I can live with being called my old name. I am treating it more like a nick name at this point. Most people are doing pretty good with correcting themselves so it's good. I don't want to be an asshole about it all but I do want that level of respect that everyone deserves. I really feel that once I have surgery, the looks will change. Plus, I want to up my dose of testosterone. I need to see my doctor about it. In between my shots, I start feeling off. Like something is wrong. Almost like a PMS feeling. I feel angry and aggressive. I am ready to take the next step and up my treatments. I want, no. Need to take the next step.

I also have an opportunity to get a new job. I know I know. I love my job. But the new job pays way more money. It would still be Monday to Friday. 6 to 2:30. So an awesome shift. It would ease my mind about bills. And allow me to save more money towards surgery. The benefits are great. The people are pretty cool. I would get to work with my BFF again. I guess the only real problem would be asking my boss for a letter of reference for the potential new job. My boss has been so good to me. With dealing with my name change and my transition. As we are all aware, the only one I have really ever had a problem with is the douche. I admit, I won't miss him at all. I really don't know what I am going to do at this point.

It has taken me all day to write this post. I keep getting distracted by Facebook, T.V and sick cats. Bean and Fidget are sick. They are on the mend now. Thank goodness. We went to the doctor yesterday. He spouted a bunch of medical jargon I couldn't understand. They got some fluid under the skin to help with dehydration. And I was prescribed pills to give them. Problem is, the pills make the cats throw up. It s very hard to keep them hydrated if they are throwing up twice a day. So no more pills. I have a bowl of water outside of Bean's new little house (Thank you Auntie Tasha! ) and a bowl of high calorie dry food as well. She will eat when she feels like it and drink as well. Holding her down and forcing water down her throat is stressing her out more then being sick right now. The girls did get a steam bath today to help with congestion. Bean even sat outside in the sunshine for a while. I think she will be OK.

The doctor also gave me hell for Fidget's weight. Not sure what else I can do. She is already on diet food. And I moved to a place with stairs so she would have to go up and down.  It is not my fault she is lazy. Same with Bean. She has always been a tiny little thing. Granted. She is too skinny right now. But even when she is healthy, she is a light eater. I can't force feed her. She is not a big fan of wet food on good days. So. all I can do is try and maintain a good balance between my skinny Bean and my tumba wumba Fidget. Wish me luck.

The Bro Code Article # 23

When flipping through TV channels with his Bros, a Bro is not allowed to skip past a program featuring boobs. This includes, but is not limited to, exercise shows, women's athletics and on some occasions, surgery programs.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

And the beat goes on,,,,

I have moved.

With the help of an all girl moving crew, the move went quick and smooth. My heartfelt thanks go to all girls who moved me.

The cats are settling in nicely. Bean is finally not being quite so twitchy. She did not do well with the move at all. Monty, on the other hand, is loving the new place. He sits at the top of the stairs and stares down on us mere mortals in the living room. He also likes to race me up the stairs. Probably because the food dish is up there and he thinks he is STARVING to death. It will be nice when I can finally let them out. I do have to wait a while yet. I don't want them going back to the old place. Fidget is still fat. She runs about 3/4 of the way up the stairs then stops. Gives a big sigh then slowly continues on. Poor fat little Fidget.

Ah yes. The old place. The place flooded the week before I moved out. From the spring run off. Thank goodness I had my stuff in the closet up on pallets. That was because of the flood in January. When I did my walk through after I moved out, the smell was awful! They said I was going to be charged for not cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. I got a little mad about that. I told her that the whole apartment needed to be re done because of the various floods over the years. I don't even want to think about how much mold is in that place.  As I posted on Facebook, I didn't realize how much I hated it there until I moved. There is so much light now! And I have my own door!! I don't feel ashamed to have friends over. Though I have been told it is a bachelor pad. But then, that is what I am. The final furniture placement is not yet complete. I may move things around to try and open it up a bit more. I am really looking forward buying a BBQ and grilling me some steak!

My shots.

They are going really well. I have given myself 3 shots. The first, I just stabbed myself with no hesitation. The next two, I had a hard time. I am not sure why. I still did it but I held back. Maybe, for the next one, I will go and see H and see if I am doing something wrong. Besides, it will be a good excuse to visit with them and baby E.  I did ask H if it was OK that I didn't bleed very much when I injected myself. She said it was good thing. Ideally, there should be no blood. So the fact that there is very little, is a good thing. I am injecting into the right spot. I really want to up my dose though. I need to make a doctor's appointment and find out when I can do that. Plus, I need to go and get blood work done before I go to Edmonton in June. I am really looking forward to that trip. For many reasons. One of which might be the chance to see my Rough Riders play!

I don't really feel any different. I have been watching myself and paying attention to what my body is telling me. I haven't really noticed anything beside my breasts losing some firmness. It could be from the testosterone. It could be from the binding everyday. Yes. Everyday. For at least 8 hours a day. I have found a binder that really works for me. It is actually a belly binder. But it is all elastic. I can tighten up pretty good. Flattens those puppies down pretty good. I pack almost everyday. I like the looks I get. The confusion. The questioning looks. I have been called Sir and Maam all in the same day. Like they have to call me something. And rather then not assign me a label, they pick one. Same with gender pro nouns. Is it a "he" or a "she"? I just don't know! Like the guy at the laundry mat I was talking to while folding my clothes. We were chatting away about different things. And in the conversation, I mentioned being called Uncle. He looked at me a little funny then took off. I smiled as he walked away. One day, soon I hope, other men will look at me as one of there own.

There have been a few minor mood swings. But that could just be me.

See, here's the thing. I am passing as a male. I look male. I feel male. But my body is still female. So I have the same crap a woman deals with. It fucks with my head. There is a procedure I can have done that will stop that annoying little problem. I think it will make me feel better. It sounds awful but I think it will be worth it.

I watched a video on You tube last night. I know. Surprise surprise. This one was on female to male chest surgery. It was very graphic. It gives me an idea on what I am in for. I have heard about the surgery from others. I have read about the surgery and seen pictures but this was the first video that showed it in detail. It doesn't scare me. In fact, it made me want to do it now. I know that seems weird. I want to see what my chest will look like with these things gone. I want to be able to walk around with no shirt on in public. I want to show off my scars proudly. I want to shower and soap my bare, breast-less chest.

No. That is not a sexual thing. It is a human thing. I want to be happy with my body. I want to be proud of it. I want it to match the vision I have in my head. I need it to match. I can wait for MSP to cover the surgery. But it will take a long time. I can pay for it on my own but it will cost a few thousand dollars. So what do I do? Do I wait? Do I save my money? Right now, I am doing both. I am trying to save my pennies( and nickels and dimes and quarters and loonies etc) to pay for my surgery. At the pace the government works, I will end up paying for my surgery myself. And I am OK with that. It means I have better control over who does my surgery. I haven't really done any research into surgeons yet. I have time. But I will take any advice available.

The Bro Code Article #  51

A Bro checks out another Bro's blind date and reports back with a thumbs up or thumbs down.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

And the journey truly begins

It has been an interesting week or so.

I went to see a new Doctor this past week. Dr.P is amazing and awesome. She treats a couple of other trans guys in town and is not afraid to take charge and take action. We talked about what I am doing and the steps I have taken so far. I told her about visiting Dr. Warneke in Edmonton and my referral to the endocrinologist. And also how my period has been very painful over the years. And how I would like to start  on my testosterone shots before I see the specialist in July.

She agreed. And gave me a prescription for Testosterone.


To begin with, I will be taking .25 ml every 2 weeks. After a few months, we will increase that. Eventually, working my way up from there.

I went to the nurse on Friday and she gave me my first shot. And showed me how to do it myself. She also recommended I watch some YouTube videos on how to do the shots. It is all in the prep really. Get the needles ready, get the man juice ready then prep the leg and straight in. Like a dart. In the meaty part of the thigh. She gave me some extra syringes, needles and a vial of saline to practice with. I bought a grapefruit so I can get comfortable with the grip of the needle and shoving it into my leg.

I am just a little excited about it. Can you tell?

(Here we are about 3 weeks later)

Sorry folks. I had total brain drain. I got sick with a head cold. Then some sort of black plague struck me down. And there has been a lot of other things going on.

First, my official name change paperwork came in. So I have been busy running around and getting EVERYTHING changed into my new name. It has been exhausting and expensive. But I think I have it all done now.

And, I am moving. Yup. Had enough of this dark, stinky and wet basement apartment. With the help of my buddy K, I have a new place just down the block. It works for me because it is still close to work so I can walk. It is a small town house with a loft style bedroom. It will be awesome. Fat little Fidget will be getting way more exercise. The food dish will be upstairs. And the littler box will be downstairs. Hee hee! I move at the end of the month and finally got around to packing. In the past two days, I have managed to pack the majority of my crap. I have 4 big boxes so far for donation and I have thrown out quite a bit. The cats are getting a little nervous. Especially Bean. Poor thing is acting nervous and anxious. I know she will be OK once we get into the new place. It is just this in between part that is messing her up.

The shots are going well so far. I gave myself the second shot. It wasn't near as bad as what I thought it was going to be. It is all in the prep work. If you are all prepped, then it is just a matter of shoving the needle into your leg. Next week is my third shot and I am really looking forward to it. I have not noticed any changes yet but then it has only been 2 shots at a very low dose. he amazing thing is how I feel. I feel normal. Like I have finally found what I was missing. I also have gotten my appointment with the endocrinologist in Edmonton for the middle of June. With it could be in July when I have to go back and see Dr. Warneke but oh well. There is an up point to going in June. The pre season for the CFL starts and the Riders are playing the Eskimos in Edmonton while I will be there. I think I may have to talk my aunt and uncle to going to the game. Hear me Auntie E and Uncle E?

Work is going well. I am now going to be working the early shift. 7 to 4. Think I am going to like it. In fact, I know I am going to like it. Off t 4 PM everyday? Woo Hoo! The boss is also talking about sending me out for more training. And I am all about more training. I like learning new things.

MMM. What else?

That's about it. Like I said, I have been busy trying to get shit organized for moving and getting my name changed on everything.

I will keep you all updated.

The Bro Code Article # 44

A Bro never applies sunscreen to another Bro.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Domestic Sundays

Well. Here we are. The second last day of "K" being here. She made french toast this morning for breakfast and I just finished making meat sauce to put in the lasagna she is going to make for dinner. Dessert will be Blizzards from DQ.

It has been an amazing visit. There has been a lot of laughter. And a few tears. We have been out together and have also spent a lot of time at home.

We went to my staff party. Sat with my buddy "M". And her boyfriend "D". Awesome folks! I actually had a good time! And "K" was the hottest chick there. I was very proud to show up with her on my arm. We did get a few looks but that is totally OK. I like making people look. I like making them feel slightly uncomfortable. Shake up their world a bit.  Make them think outside the box.

I think the big thing was the talk we had about me transitioning. It is after all, a huge thing. It is not that she isn't  OK with it. She is. But she is still unsure if she wants to be in a relationship with someone who is transitioning. She is scared of who I might become. Afraid of the physical changes I will be going through. But she is willing to try. And willing to see where the future takes us. Be that together as a couple or as just friends. I guess that is all I can really hope for right now. I care enough about her that I want to see where this goes.

And to be honest, I don't see my transitioning as the biggest roadblock right now. I see the distance between us being the problem. It is an awful long commute for the two of us. One of us could move. But it would mean sacrificing  good jobs and comfort levels. I don't want to live on the lower mainland. Too crowed. Too many people. Too much traffic. I know that bothers a lot of you. It is a nice place to visit but I can't see myself living there. She feels the same way about here. Only it is too small. Plus it is too cold for her. Though, we have had spring like weather this week.  I know I can't make the money I am making now if I move there and she can't make a living here. It is going to be a tough road ahead. I guess all we can do is wait and see.

This is not a very long blog. I just needed to get a few thoughts out.

Bro code Article # 31

When on the prowl, a Bro hits on the hottest chick first because you just never know.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Let me introduce myself,,,,

My name is Dustin Tanner Carnell.

And in a few weeks, I will have the paperwork to prove it.


I don't care if men do or don't do happy dances. I am doing one anyway.

I have worked long and hard to get my name changed. First, I had to figure out my name. For those of you who don't know and are wondering, here is a brief story for you.

I had a dream over a year ago and all I can remember is the name Dustin was being used in it. And I seem to remember me answering to it. When I woke up and said the name out loud, I liked the way it sounded. And it just felt right. Every time my mind drifted, the name would pop into my head. So I figured it was destined to be my name.

My second name is a family name that has a lot of meaning to one of my cousin's and his family. Plus, Dustin Tanner just sounds good together.

It was quite the process getting everything done to change my name. First, I had to get a money order to pay for the name change and criminal check.  Yes. Criminal check. They need to be sure I am not hiding from a crime or debt and shit like that. Next, I had to go to City Hall to pay the fingerprint fee. Then to The Government building to get a statement notarized  To make sure I knew what I was doing. THEN, I finally got to go to the RCMP and get my fingerprints done. They only do them for these things on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons. So I had to re schedule a couple of times before I finally got it all done.

When I get my paperwork  and my new birth certificate  I get to run around and spend more money getting my drivers license changed. And my bank accounts. And payroll at work. And my investment account. And the paperwork for my new apartment. Though I think that will be filled in as Dustin from the beginning.

Oh yes. I have decided to move. Not out of Fort St John. Because believe it or not, I like it here. It is home for me. I am moving apartments. I have had enough of this place. The twice yearly floods of my closet, the dirty yard and parking lot, the dirty laundry room with machines that don't work, the dirty hallways. Enough is enough. If they want to raise my rent, I might as well move someplace cleaner and better maintained. I am only moving about half a block away but it feels like the side of the city. They are loft style apartments, with a downstairs and an upstairs. I may not have a bedroom door but at least I won't feel like my guests are sitting in my bedroom. Not sure if I will be able to fit all my stuff in there. I guess it will another purge for me. I need to go through my store room and closet here before I move. I am sure there will be a lot of stuff I can get rid of. I know I have clothes to get rid of. and boxes of paperwork I can shred.

The new place will also be good for the cats. The food will be upstairs. The litter box will be downstairs. So Fidget will have to go up and down to eat and,, well,, you know. She may hate me at first but in the end it will good for her.

So the cute nugget I met a while back. "K". We have been in almost constant contact. Texts. Calls. Skype. And it has paid off. She will be here in 3 more sleeps for our first face to face visit. I am so excited! It has been a long time since,,,,well,,,,you know. I hope it goes well. I promise to let you know.

Work has been really good. I have been called Dustin all week and it makes me so very happy. Even customers are asking for Dustin now. It is so great! I even got an apology from you know who. A true, heartfelt one. I was quite surprised. But I took it. And I appreciate it. And I think it has really helped the work environment a lot.

I have also had the pleasure of spending sometime with "H" and "L" and baby "E". I love that kid!! And apparently, she loves Uncle Dustin. Loves falling asleep in my arms. And I love holding her. It calms me down and makes me relax. I guess it is the same thing I do for her.

Things are coming up roses.

Bro Code Article # 2

A Bro is always entitled to do something stupid, as long as the rest of his Bros are all doing it.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

What's going on?

I will tell you what's going on.

I am "out" at work.

My boss told my co workers about my transitioning this week.

And I am OK with that. It needs to happen in order to complete my Real Life Experience.  So far, the reaction has been.....well, minimal. Of course, it is only the first week. They are still thinking about it and absorbing it. As time goes on, who knows what will happen. But because the BOSS told them, it shows his support of me and will keep the bullshit down. They are not calling me Dustin yet. And that is OK. It will happen. I want to let the whole thing sink in for now. So maybe in a month or so I will start asking to be called by my chosen name. I think that is fair.

Also, someone passed on a link to my blog to the powers that be. Just let me say, HI!! Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, you know where to find me and I will be more then happy to answer your questions. After all, this is my blog and my life. Who else is more qualified to answer then me?

I have spent sometime with my new buddy, "M" yesterday and today. He gave me some great advice on how to go about the name change. Not near as hard as I thought. Which is nice. He also gave me advice on how to change my drivers license and how to change the gender on my license.  I will have to wait until after surgery to change the gender on my birth certificate. I am very excited! Of course, once all that is done, I will have to change my name on everything. Bank accounts, credit cards, apartment, insurance. The list seems endless!  I also met another trans guy today. "J" is a friend of "M" and a little closer to my age. So his input and advice is valuable. They gave me advice on testosterone shots versus gel. The effects of testosterone on an older person. As much as it pains me to say it, I am older. I have an appointment with the doctor they see so I won't have to explain anything to her. She can actually help answer my questions. I feel comforted by that. Oh and "J" has a beard I am so envious of! I know it will take a while to grow some facial hair but I am so looking forward to it! Thought I would start with a 5 O'clock shadow and go from there.


The more I think about it, the more I realize this is something I have to do. I was willing to settle before but now, I can't. I have to follow through. If this is the only thing I follow through in this life, then I can be proud of that. I finally have the courage to be who I was meant to be. And regardless of what others think or say, I am going to do this. I have to do this.  Almost like my life depends on it.

I happen to be watching a show on a transgender teen. Amazing. I wish I had the same opportunities at that age. She started living as a girl at the age of 6. 6! The self confidence! The strength! Her parents and siblings fully support her. So very cool.

So. The answer to what is going on is.... Life. My life. That is what is going on. And it seems to be going just fine.

Bro code article # 35

A bro never rents a chick flick.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Good friends and family

So here I sit at Chrissie's house. At the dining room table. Chris is beside me, playing on her computer. Gary, the hubby, is in the living room playing World of Warcraft. The kids are still sleeping I think. Though they could be awake and in their rooms playing on their computers. Such as it is in a household full of computers geeks.  The dog is napping somewhere and the kitten has now disappeared. Probably on some adventure where she is chasing dragons and leaping tall building in a single bound.

I am finding myself very comfortable here. I have only been to Chrissie's twice before but her house feels like home. I think it is because Chris and I have been friends for 34 years.

Yup. I said it. 34 years.

We were 10 years old when we met. I didn't like her at first. She was friends with "the other one" first. Then Chris and the "other" one had a fight and Chris and I became friends. The rest is history. I spent so much time in her house across the street. It felt a lot more welcoming then my house. Dad was still drinking back then and I always felt on edge at home. And even at 10 years old, I felt different then my sisters. Like an outsider. But at Chris's house, I felt accepted for who I was. I think all of us kids that hung out at her house felt the same way. That's why we hung out there. It was a safe haven for kids.

An hour or so later......

She is downstairs right now. Singing. She plays that "Second Life" online game thing. And she sings in different clubs in there. She has a great voice. I love listening to her sing. Her voice reminds me of her Mom. Makes my heart happy. To know that Chris is still singing. She even gave me a shout out and sang me a song. I love my friend. A geek in the best sense of the word.

And family. I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Sherwood Park for the night. My Aunt is the Queen of  subtlety tell ya.  Asked me what I thought of the trans gender woman in the Miss Universe pageant. Nice one Auntie E. Real smooth.  But it did open the dialogue about what I am doing.

The response was great! Though they said they would have a really hard time calling me Dustin, I would always be welcome and they love me no matter what. and to be honest, that is enough for now. Maybe my thoughts will change and I will insist on being called by my chosen name. Maybe they will come around and do it on their own. But for now, it is enough.

The trip to the hospital was an adventure. See. I have GPS on my phone. And normally, it works really well. Getting me right where I want to go. This time though, it had a brain fart. I was close to the hospital. I knew that. But it sent me in the wrong direction. When I tried re routing, it still sent me in the wrong direction. I stopped. Turned off my phone. Turned it back on. Got back into the GPS and the fucking thing still didn't know where it was. So I stopped and asked directions. I knew I was close. Sure enough, I found it the old fashioned way. The guy on the street.  I made it just in time for my appointment. Stupid phone GPS.

The appointment went so well. I am so stoked that the journey is finally on it's way. The first and second steps are finished. Now it is all forward motion. so excited!! I do need to get on the legal name change asap. I also need to make an appointment with my doctor to find out what BC Medical Services requires for surgeries etc. it sounds like it will be a lot of paperwork and trips to Edmonton. It is so worth it though.

I talked with an associate of Dr. Warneke first. He asked me all sorts of questions. About my childhood. What I was like as a teenager. What school was like for me. Who I get along with better, men or women. What my relationship with my parents and siblings was like. The rest of my family. work. All sorts of stuff. It felt good to talk to someone who was really there to help me. And Dr. Warneke was awesome too. Just a little old guy. But so understanding. and thoughtful. I felt safe talking to them. Like I wasn't going to be judged.

So after the appointment, as I was leaving the hospital grounds, I tried the GPS again. all I needed to do was get out of the city. I knew I could get to Edson and Chrissie's house no problem. This time, the thing did great! Even when I missed a turn, it re routed itself and got me back on track. So I am thinking it doesn't like the address of the hospital. Who knows. We will see what happens next time I have to come.

I forgot my Bro Codes at home. So I will have to leave you with this little gem.

You're a real tough cookie with a long history, of breaking little hearts like the one in me.