Saturday, 30 May 2009

Pink Grapefruit Cake

Thanks to Sarcozona, FG got a recipe for a new cake: Pink Grapefruit.

She baked it and chatted with her sister on the phone while I worked on my bibliography and surfed the web.

When she took it out of the oven to cool, we started kissing, lying on the sunny floor near the window.

Eventually we made it into the bedroom for a proper tumble in the hay.

Then we ate the cake, which was delicious, a mixture of sweet, sour, and a little bit of bitter, just like grapefruit.

FG: It's pink grapefruit cake!
MacCool: It's not pink.
FG: But the grapefruit was.
MacCool: So was the girl.

Happy lazy Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Changes Ahead

It's been a big week. I got a one-year job offer which means that not only do I have a job but also that I will be graduating this summer. That'll be Dr. MacCool to y'all. I don't want to get too specific here (except to clarify I'm not fixing anyone's broken arm, ok? it's not that kind of dr.) but this is going to be a really major milestone in my life, no question about it.

Since I got the news I've been through so many different emotions. Relief that I'll be earning money--I also got part-time summer work, hurray--being able to support myself and, ideally, my family has always been intensely important to me. I've been working pretty steadily at one thing or another, or more than one, since I was 16. I got some rejections this spring and had a little moment of panic. Part of what induced the 'crazy' of my mid-20s was the feeling that I had to have a certain level of gender conformity in order to be hired and to earn money. (I got this as a pretty clear, if covert, message at my first real job after college, so it wasn't just delusion.) Anyway, I refuse to go back to that place of fear and fake conformity, but it's a big relief to find that that doesn't require a total reinvention of my professional path, at least not this year.

Then, I'm excited about the work I'll be doing, and apprehensive about doing a good job. I'm afraid of leaving my fellow-grad-students behind (though honestly, the changes in my personal life in the last year or so have already done a pretty good job of that already). And I'm on guard lest the lure of succeeding at this job screws with my head the way that the first job did. I have a post brewing about my new year's resolution to be an asshole as necessary. I better write that to remind myself not to let it fall by the wayside in a quest to please my new colleagues & bosses.

Getting this job is slightly melancholy, too, because it represents the culmination, in a sense, of all of the hard work that was done mostly by a person who I now only dimly recognize as myself. I feel a strange urge to reach into the past and thank her a little, but also warn her I'm going to do something different with all this, not what she had planned at all.

This is probably an impossibly cryptic post to read. The point is this: I've been moaning about jobs & school here & on Twitter. I've gotten some awesome news. And, being me, it's complicated and I have to process it and stand at an angle from it, too, in addition to drinking champagne & smoking cigars.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Settling into Myself

I wrote a few weeks back about springtime being the time of new beginnings for me. I've been thinking since then about what that means for me, this spring, one year after my universe exploded. It's not the second big bang (or third, or whatever) this time around. But as the new leaves have unfolded and the bees have started cruising around the neighborhood, and the flowers have been blooming and the MacCool household has been sneezing, I've felt a certain subtle shift, or set of shifts.

One shift is about gender. (Oh, I sense the shock. Try to contain yourselves.) When I started accepting & claiming masculinity last year I wondered what exactly that meant, when I'd want to get off the ride, as it were. If I just kept opening the next door, would I transition, in other words? And somehow, over the last few months, that's just been fading for me, and being replaced by the sense that, nope, that's not where I'm heading, at least not until or unless something pretty major changes for me. I've been thinking about this partly because of my good buddy Jess, who's being incredibly brave in sharing his own process in this connection. But also it's related to experiences and people in my non-bloggy life.

One thing I've heard from Jess & others is the sense of profound bodily wrongness. Jess mentioned looking in the mirror and not recognizing himself. And heaven knows I know that feeling. I spent years feeling that way. I was so out of touch I couldn't even picture myself in my head. But I don't feel that way now. There's plenty of things I'd like to change and I'm not trying to deny that there's some real body dysphoria going on at times, but mostly when I see myself, I look like myself. I feel like myself.

My point isn't really about not transitioning, but about settling into this person that I've become. I was trying this morning to explain to FG the feeling I've been having, of walking up the street, say, or buying a quart of milk, and just feeling... like myself. Like just another guy going about the daily business of living. I don't know. Maybe that's how most people always feel? Anyway it's new to me.

Another aspect of this is related to style. When I was trying to be a (good) girl, and yet not go completely bonkers, I developed a style centered on two themes: androgyny and invisibility. Plain jeans, not too tight. Endless black shoes of one boring variety or another. Button-up shirts from the Gap, from the women's side, but again, not too tight. Hair back in a plain ponytail (at the neck, like a boy). Brown wire-rim glasses. Little tweed or velvet blazers. Yep, I think that's it.

And now of course I can buy the clothes and shoes and glasses that I want, and it's slowly dawning on me that I don't have to opt for plain conservatism any more. (LL Cool Joe, I know, I'm a slow learner.) I went shopping with a friend recently and started to wonder, what do I really like, in the most superficial and entertaining of senses, now that I've gotten past the simple point of insisting that I shop on the men's side and not the women's? I think I'm going to have some fun figuring this one out.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Things I'm Happy About

Not an exhaustive list, just an immediate one.

1. New battery & power cord = being able to work on the computer outside.
2. Just ordered new glasses. So much sexier than the apologetic I'm-just-a-shy-girl-please-don't-mind-me glasses I've been wearing for the last 2.5 years. My tentative motto for the new glasses: oh-yes-I-am-all-that, I'll-quote-you-Foucault-then-fuck-you-silly.
3. The frames are new but the prescription isn't. My eyesight hasn't gotten worse! Hurray!
4. Got an interview. For a very part-time casual thing but another company in this same field has been blowing me off, and these folks were very professional, so I have new hope for my ability to generate some cash this summer. Thank heavens. Unlike Rachel Maddow, I haven't found any good yard boy openings to tide me over while I finish my dissertation...
5. Friends. I haz them. And I love them. (One of the funny things about this blog is that I started it at a moment of intense, severe isolation. And through the changes I've made & documented here, I've mostly escaped from that. But I'm entirely opposed to writing about my IRL peeps here in any but the most general of terms, which means that in a sense the end of that story is missing. Well. There are worse things.)

Five seems good for now. Happy Friday, all.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Meme of Eights

I'm stealing this from Vic over at Dykes & Guitars. I've been lurking there for-freakin'-ever. Check out the post on the linkfest--classic D&G humor, had me LOLing all over the place.

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:

1. Going to kung fu in half an hour.

2. Hearing back from job applications large & small. (And some "yes" answers would sure be nice...)

3. Dancing with FG again.

4. Moving closer to friends. (This is just a neighborhood shift, nothing major.)

5. Fresh tomato & mozzarella salads

6. Changing the oil again

7. Beer. Always. <---- me too

8. An ever improving wardrobe

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Had dinner with new & less-new friends.

2. Talked to my advisor and got good advice. How about that. Talking to hir is generally an uplifting experience and yesterday was no exception.

3. Failed to get any despite numerous advances. Damn final papers, let go of your grip on the sexy woman who shares my bed.

4. Cleaned the apartment for the first time in so long I can't even remember. We do OK with straightening, dishes, that sort of thing. But it was well past the time for the vacuum and I to get reacquainted.

5. Ate proper crisps sent by an English angel. (I finished them today and actually licked the inside of the bag.) (That's potato chips, yanks.)

6. Read bits of Jennifer Finney Boylan's "She's Not There" out loud to FG. Brilliant, funny book written by a transwoman; it has moved me almost to tears several times.

7. Worked on the Giant Dissertation of Doom.

8. I don't know, I'm sure I did something else. Um, looked at the lettuce plants on the porch? I probably did that.


8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. Fly airplanes.

2. Sleep with anyone I want with no adverse consequences. (Final papers!! I hate them!!!)

3. Expand the overall size of my skeleton esp. shoulders & hands.

4. Find size 36 suitjackets regularly stocked.

5. Get a job.

6. Go swimming in the ocean regularly.

7. Go back to England.

8. Be a more compelling blogger who doesn't rely on ripped-off memes.


8 Shows I Watch:

I subscribe to the Rachel Maddow podcast. Even that though I usually never get around to watching. We don't got no TV round here.

[Vic called it a stupid, stupid question & changed it. Good man.]

8 albums I'm granting listening time to lately:

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
I don't care what anyone says, I love it like crazy and thank God it exists.

2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Just started listening to them. They're not half bad.

3. Arcade Fire - Funeral
See above. I like Neon Bible better though.

4. Joy Division - Best of Joy Division
This band rocks my world. "Atmosphere" is my favorite these days. "People like you find it easy..."

5. Kills - Midnight Boom
My album of the year. I don't know what year. But it wins.

6. k.d. lang - Hymns of the 49th Parallel
Always what I turn to when I need to regain calm, perspective, and maybe a little joy. It's damn near perfect.

7. Delta 5 - Sessions & Singles
Trying to get into the other stuff besides "Mind Your Own Business".

8. Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
I'm starting to expand my electronica range of interests. This is pretty cool stuff. It's not good sex music, though. We tried. We felt like we were in truly bad porn. Consider yourself warned.

8 People I Tag:

I'm gonna be late for kung fu, folks. No tagging eight over here. Steal it from me, let me know you're still reading. But I will tag Jess. He can change pronouns, he can transition from Blogger to Wordpress, but he can't escape my tagging.