This feels a little naughty…”
— Annie, as we laid down for a late-morning nap after coffee and a camping breakfast of bacon/egg/cheese breakfast burritos. This has the makings of being a perfect day.
JudySchu Won’t Be Posting To Tumblr Anymore
It was all going so well.
Judy visited us at our campsite and we feasted on bacon, egg and cheese burritos. It was the perfect start to a wonderful day.
Then we went for a bike ride along the Kankakee River and it was beautiful.
Annie and I both have beach bikes, though. You know the ones I’m talking about— with big, wide, studded snow tires— and only one gear ratio.
Basically they’re Pee-Wee Herman bikes.
Judy is very serious about biking, however, and was riding “Lance”— her 21-speed bicycle that has tires so skinny that they look like record albums.
I finally got tired of trying to keep up with her and, when we got to this scenic overlook, a momentary impulse took over.
And it was done.
She looked oddly graceful as she flailed her way down to the river.
I suppose I’ll miss her…
…but I won’t miss Lance!
He’s mine, now, and together we ride like the wind.
Yes, it’s been a good day.
My New Washtub Bass
I had always thought that washtub basses were props— not legitimate instruments— until we were at a bluegrass festival, last month, and I heard a guy play the ever-lovin’ heck out of one.
I play bass and own a stand-up model, an electric, and an acoustic-electric. It never occured to me, however, that I needed a washtub bass to complete my collection.
The man at the bluegrass festival told me what I needed to do and what not to do when I made my own— and this is what I ended up with.
And it sounds awesome.
It has a rich, deep, loud sound and, despite its humble pedigree, is truly a legitimate instrument.
We’re going to another festival, in October, and I hope to be skilled enough to play with some of the pick-up groups. After just an hour, yesterday, I was able to play it reasonably well but I clearly have more practicing to do.
To play it you sit on a bar stool, straddle the neck (handle) and place each foot on the rim. You then tension the neck to get the desired pitch.
It’s pretty tricky to play well— but it’s not hard to get the technique down with a little practice.
I’m going to brand it as a “Straddle-varius.”
If you decide to make one of your own be sure to use a hardwood handle. I used a shovel handle made out of ash. (We sell them at our hardware store.)
The “string” needs to be braided rope (not twisted). I used a length of starter rope like you’d use for a lawnmower or chainsaw. You could also use the rope from an old set of miniblinds.
Since I got everything wholesale, through my store, it only cost me around $20 to make it. At retail prices it would be closer to $35.
I’ve been playing along with Pandora and having a blast.
Does that make me weird?
A Few Hardware Store Frustrations
• The construction on our street started in April of 2013 and was supposed to be done by August of 2013. Now they’re HOPING it’ll be done by November of 2014. It’s really hurt our business.
• A woman was so angry yesterday about having to buy a two-pack of chandelier lightbulbs (for $2.99) when she only needed one bulb that she pushed me into being slightly snippy, which I almost never do.
After giving me tons of grief she then said (as I put her money in the register) “Aren’t you going to put my bulbs in a bag???”
"I will as soon as I finish putting your money in the register."
"Are you being smart with me?"
"I don’t know why you’re giving me such a hard time when I’ve bent over backward to try to make you happy."
She then snatched her package off the counter and huffed out the door.
• A man came in and said, “I’m new in town and asked several people if there was a hardware store, here, and they said that they didn’t think so.”
What makes this so stunning is that we live in a small town of 8,000 and the downtown area consists of two streets that intersect.
Oh— and our store has been here for 85 years.
Yes, you read that right.
That one is certainly a head-scratcher for me.
In about 20 hours Annie and I will begin a two week road trip out west.
Our friends, Mitch and Seth, are getting married in Salt Lake City and, since most of Annie’s family is out that way, we’ll be visiting the in-laws and outlaws while we’re there.
We’ll be heading to Idaho, first, and hope to make it from Georgia to Iowa on our first day. (20 hours)
Next, we’ll camp in Montana and then arrive at Annie’s sister’s house in Idaho.
After a few days we’ll head down to SLC and take the grandkids camping high up in the mountains where it’ll be 65°. Last time I camped there the water tasted so good that I filled every jug I had before I left.
A few of the SLUTs (Salt Lake Utah Tumblrs) are threatening to join us for a night or two and we’re hoping that that works out. (It’s Mindy and Rick.)
Annie and I have done mostly local camping, lately, so we haven’t been on the road in ages. We’re chomping at the bit and are ready to get those wheels rolling!
Whole Wheat Cheddar Artisan Bread
I know that I can’t keep posting pics of bread on FB and here, but I’ve got no-knead bread down to— literally— five minutes of working time per day.
Each loaf is a delicious work of art that takes almost no effort or time— and they keep getting even better.
If I had known that you could make bread this good without even getting your hands dirty I would have started making it years ago.
I Think I’m Flattered (But I’m Not Sure)
A customer waited until the store cleared and then said, “I’d like to ask you a very personal question.”
Tentatively I said, “Okay…”
"Are you MTF?"
"Why on earth would you ask that?"
"Ummm… I just needed to."
"I am. Are you going the other way— from F to M?"
"Yes, but I’m pre-hormones. Very early in the process."
"I know quite a few guys who have gone through that. In fact, one got his wood just last week." (Then we talked about the details of the 5 surgeries for a little while.)
He said, “Well I’m glad to know you. I really am.”
"So how did you know? I thought I was more stealth than that."
"You are. I had heard that there was a beautiful woman who worked here who was MTF and I was hoping it was you because I’ve wanted to meet you."
"Well that makes me feel a little bit better. If you ever need to talk you know where to find me."
No-Knead Rosemary Artisan Bread That I Made, Tonight
It turned out absolutely perfect.
Truthful Tuesday: The Absence Of Torment
I always assumed that once I had gender reassignment surgery that my brain would quit running at 100 mph, all the time, and would finally relax and do some coasting, for a change.
Instead, the opposite happened— my mind races even faster, now.
Removing the lifelong torment of living in the wrong body seems to have removed the mental obstacles that I constantly dealt with and now my mind gets to race freely on a wide open road.
It’s quite liberating.
Annie says that I’m much more easy going than I used to be— and nicer to live with. Who wouldn’t be?
Sometimes I remember that I used to have a different body (it really has become a foreign thought, at this point) and I suddenly feel a thankful, peaceful wave come over me.
And I’m uplifted.
It feels like squeezing an hour of meditation into fifteen seconds.
I’m struck by the fact that I can no longer remember what my old body felt like.
Years ago my friend Amy made the comment, “I would love to be a guy, for a day, just so that I could see what it felt like to ‘enter someone’ instead of ‘being entered.’”
If I could go back in time I would tell her, “You wouldn’t remember it for very long so it would be a futile exercise.”
At this point I’m well acquainted with being on the business end of phallic objects and devices— and I would honestly have to strain to remember anything about what it felt like to be on the other end.
Isn’t that odd?
Not that that makes any difference— all that matters is that I’m free of the torment that burdened me for so long.
I haven’t written about this, in awhile, and the new folks might not know what I’m talking about— so here’s a quick catch-up:
After gender reassignment surgery you’re supposed to dilate your new hoo-ha with a big, plastic “man.” It’s very intimidating, at first.
Gradually you progress from having to dilate four times per day, with a little man, to once per week with a giant man.
During the healing process it helps ensure that your aftermarket vajinglejangle is dimensionally comparable to a factory installed model.
By the time you get to once-per-week, however, you’re mostly using it as a diagnostic to make sure that nothing has unexpectedly changed. If you’re in a sexually active relationship with a man you probably wouldn’t bother doing it.
I’m 17 months post-op and I only do it for a few minutes, twice per month. It’s a piece of cake— nothing to it— as long as you’re relaxed.
I’ve found that if I’m stressed or up tight for any reason then it can be a little uncomfortable. If I’m nice and relaxed, however, it’s a breeze.
I’ve read concerns from transwomen who worry about the dilation process, after surgery. While it seems like it completely takes over your life, for the first six months, it eventually becomes a non-issue. I don’t even think about it, anymore. When it crosses my mind I just take a few minutes— literally two or three minutes— and git ‘er done.
It’s easy to do in the shower, too, so if you don’t live in a very private situation there’s no need to worry.
Truthful Tuesday: Pet Peeves
• People who announce, on Facebook, that they’re going to clean up their friends list so don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly not friends anymore. (Ooooh, I’m on pins and needles.)
• People who post a hard line political statement and say, “If anyone even thinks about commenting with a different view I will immediately unfriend you.” (That’s like hanging red meat in front of my face. Even if I agree with it I’ll fabricate a dissenting view just for the fun of it.)
• Makeup companies that discontinue products as soon as I discover how perfect they are. (It happens every single time. Every durn time. Grrr…)
• Women who don’t wash their hands and don’t flush. (Sorry, ladies, but that’s one place where we don’t need equality between the sexes.)
• Stores that raise prices so that they can put something “on sale” at its regular price. (Do you really think we’re that stupid?)
• When Bentley constantly pretends to be stupid— then does something diabolically devious. (I’m onto you, dog.)
A Guy Just Passed Us…
…in a late model Mustang with an aftermarket exhaust that made it sound like a farting gnat making love to a constipated mosquito.
Why do people do these things?
Homemade Caprese Salad
I whipped up a fresh batch of homemade mozzarella and, while it was still warm, Annie sliced up some vine ripened tomatoes to go with it.
Then she went out in the yard and cut some red basil and onion chives to top it with.
A drizzle of olive oil later we were eating supper. Yum!
It tasted as good as it looked.
Planning a wedding or bar mitzvah? Give me a call.