Friday, March 31, 2017

My Gallery Opening

I have a fun event coming up in Virginia next week.  I have been avid photographer going back many years. My mother kept a cherished family album with her photography and I have always been interested in photography. A high end Polaroid camera was my first camera (not my best choice). In 1970 a Minolta SRT101 35mm film camera was my next before switching over to digital not long after it became widely available about 2000. Today I have a professional digital Nikon body and useful collection of Nikon lenses.

I have done some professional work and my works has graced both gallerias and magazines. Ten years ago, I had a gallery show in my childhood Virginia hometown. It was at a regional fine arts museum and was successful. I brought in about 15 mounted large prints for display and sale. Opening night I had a great turnout and many photos sold in spite a rainy nigh. 

This past fall when I was back in Virginia for my class reunion I asked if the museum would like to have another show. We scheduled one for the spring.  

Museum Installation 2007 

So on April 5, I will be returning. We have planned of that evening an opening night reception with invited guest. For the upcoming show I have been working to have a good representation of my new work and some old. The old is photos taken while living there and visiting back over the years. I already have about 25 photographs matted, mounted and cataloged. I am ready to go. 

What is different now? This time it is Rhonda's show. I have already alerted classmates and friends so let's see how the response is this time. My classmates were overwhelmingly supportive for the reunion so I am hoping for a nice turnout and fun evening. I have never been more proud to be associate with the group. The above fashion layout is my planned outfit. If you are going to be bold, wear red. 

After the evening opening I have a dinner planned at a local restaurant for invited guest. The next day I will lead a discussion at the museum on travel / digital photography. This is a small and conservative community, so I am really pushing the envelope. 
Many, especially including older family friends, likely have never known a transgender person. At least now they have a face and person to put with the concept. 

 A marvelous escape.  I promise to l keep you posted..   


One of the photograph that will be the show

If anyone is interested, I can send (e-mail) the complete catalog for the exhibition in PDF format.  None of the photographs are priced more than $100.00.  All prints will be signed and numbered suitable for framing.  A Rhonda original. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Beauty Contest

Beauty  Contest Poster - 1968

College 1968 - I thought this photo was lost forever.  I was cleaning out a box of old photos for my upcoming gallery event and found this. More tomorrow on that. Oh, what a find and great memory. I am the one standing, top left.  Here is a little of the history.  

My sophomore class decided to have dance/fundraiser and during one of the band's break, a male beauty contest. What a novel idea! We needed a promotional photo for the poster that was to be placed around campus and in dorms.  Being on the organization committee, actually the chairman, it fell to me to talk some of my dorm mates into posing. Thus the photo above. If I remember correctly, for this photo we had help from the girl's dorm across the street. 
Of course, I was in the contest but sorry there are not any photos of the event itself. My makeup was done by my girlfriend at the time and I wore her full length, pink, prom dress. I loved every minute. Thinking back, I remember the evening being a blur of excitement, nervousness, and fun. I was not the winner - I did not care. Many years passed before I got to get dressed again. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Rhonda 1986
Let’s try a hypothesis:

As we discussed yesterday “Transgender” is a term that describes a person who experiences their self-image or gender identity to be different from their assigned sex. 

Many females cross dress regularly. it is so much readily tolerated. Some do it for fashion/style others intentionally, thus being a transgender woman. My point is “intent or motive”. This is what make you transgender. Not the action. 

Further, on Halloween, Marti Gras and Carnaval, many cross dress. However, this does not make them transgender. It is a lark or done only or fun.

Definition - Motive is a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.

In going back to the old-school “crossdresser” concept, denial is paramount and prevents you from admitting you are transgender. Be honest - Do you have more than one cross-gender outfit? Does your feminine/masculine personas have different names? Do you have an expensive wig and breast forms? How many pair of shoes? Do you plan trips or execute time alone so you can “dress up”? 

Sure you do!  What is your motive? It is to look your best. If not passable you still want to be perceived as representing femininity; emulating femininity. Because being feminine or vice-versa is your motive.  

I have been there. I considered myself a plain vanilla “cross dresser” for many years. Early on during those years, I had an interesting experience one Halloween. Completely as Rhonda and after working a while on my nerve to get out of the car, I went into a club and sat down at the bar. The bartender took one look and said: “This is not your first time at doing this and likely will not be you last either. Right?” Busted! It was that obvious.

My hypothesis - What differentiates someone that is just cross dressing from someone who is a transgender person.  It is the motive. 

My motive that Halloween was to be Rhonda and be out in the world. That represented being perceived differently and that was OK. I overcame my fear that evening and did it. Over the years I have become honest with myself – I am a transgender person. How about you? 

Please comment on my “motive” hypothesis.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A United Front

Transgender is an adjective.  As In transgender man, woman, person activist, author, etc. The definition: denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. Wikipedia goes a little further in stating that trangender (adjective) people are people who have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex, i.e. gender dysphoria. Again further defining the person. This could also be abbreviated as “trans” as in: “trans man, woman, person activist, author, etc.

Cross-dress is a verb or action and it's definition is, “wear clothing typical of the opposite sex.” I am not going to get into the definition of sex but it typically categories denoting someone reproductive function, as in female or male. 

So by proper word use, a transgender person can also cross dress; adjective adding clarity to the person denoting the action of cross dressing.  The action of cross dressing typically would be a male (person) dressed (verb) in designated female garments or the opposite.  

I just read the most disturbing Quora article “Have trans activists erased the existence of cross-dressers?” Jae Alex Lee in my opinion gave one of the most prejudicial answers I could imagine. In an effort to clarify that trans people aren’t cross dressers she basically said "trans" is what is all about and cross dressers are second class simply because they can put their “clothes back in a box”. Bull Shit! Sorry to be so un-ladylike.

It is thinking like this that will fracture progress and will be used against us. Any combatant knows that with a united front, much can be accomplished. If you do not believe we are under attack, you do not understand the republican conservative agenda. The bullies targeted gays and failed, now they are coming for us, the transgender. Denying humanity to some is to deny it to all. 

If we go off into factions, set against each other, then we give our enemies easy targets. "Cross dressers in the woman’s rest room" are not "men in the woman’s rest room". It is “gender dysphoria” plain and simple. To put forward this thinking, you provide license for discrimination, hate, bigotry and absurdity.  

Thankfully a little further down the Quora discussion, Lynn Oddy, stated this:
There is a tendency to try and split trans people into transsexuals and cross-dressers as if they are completely unrelated - they aren’t, gender dysphoria drives both. It’s a matter of how strong the dysphoria is and what obstructions the individual has to transitioning.
Let us be honest with ourselves.  Likley all that read this blog are either transgender males or females and if we do not recognize that, our enemies using intimidation, will drive all of us back to the closet, one by one.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Spring Time in Florida

And neither does my Lilly Pulitzer collection....

Hello Spring! 

There is a great collection of vintage Lilly fashion and personal photos at the "I Want Her Outfit" blog. Lilly, the - The Queen of Prep.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Political Cartoons - 3/26


I hope everyone is having a very nice weekend!

I have trips coming up.

 The week of April 2, southern Virginia.  I will write more later on a photo exhibit I have coming up while there. Everyone is invited to a public gallery opening and reception on April 5. E-mail me for details.  

I may be in Richmond Virginia, Saturday April 8 for my University (VCU) reunion. The next week I will be in Atlanta; April 10-13. 

Maybe someone out there would like to get coffee or have a glass of wine.     

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friend's Friday - Musical Memories

Rhonda and David Crohan
One of the catalysts for me finally getting out locally was becoming a member of the Palm Beach Piano Guild. It was also known as the International Society, because our artist came for all over the world.  I have written about the group before. Be sure to read my “You are pretty” story to get more insight and a good laugh. These were wonderful days, filled with incredible music, lifelong friends, and very satisfying escapes. 

A few evenings ago I attend a reception and a piano concert  to support the local “Lighthouse for The Blind”. The artist, local celebrity and my friend David Crohan. David's talent and unique piano style is still very much present. The evening's program describes him this way.

Without sight from infancy, David Crohan became a wizard at the piano. His uncanny talent, wit and versatility make him the consummate entertainer. As one of the most versatile pianists performing today, David crosses the traditional boundaries between classical and jazz music with ease and sophistication.

David still play every evening at the elegant Palm Beach restaurant, 
Cafe L'Europe

David was a regular artist at many of our Piano Guild Concerts.  Our concerts always started with a visiting artist playing classical music; Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin.... Our second part was usually contemporary and jazz. All of our artist enjoyed playing on our concert grand piano.

One of the best parts of my latest evening concert, was seeing old friends from The Piano Guild days. Many have passed, but this evening there were still many to hug; Carolyn, Irma, Claudette and of course David.  We reminisced about all the fun we had.  

My challenge to you - Get out today and live your life. Make memories that will become part of your being. A smile always comes to my face when I think back on those wonderful concert evenings at this elegant downtown theater.

That is what life is all about - Memories! Make some today – ESCAPE.  

2004 - John Bryan Guild Director, Claudette and David Crohan
photo by Rhonda 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sunday's Art Show

Beatles Pillow Fight - Paris 1964
Sunday was a fun escape. South Florida is a mecca for winter art shows. Palm Beach has a new beautiful convention center and it has many fine art, jewelry, and antique shows during season. These are always fun and not the typical junk. Many vendors display their art in beautiful booths with museum quality surroundings and lighting. As the downtown fine art season concludes, the shows expand to other nearby locations and that was my Sunday excursion. 

Boca Raton is about 30 minutes to the south and had its version of a Fine Art Show this past sunday.  I am on a good mailing list and always receive free tickets so this seemed like a fun outing.  Wow - it was great. Many contemporary artist had booths and displayed their art in a beautiful sitting. There were many galleries with artist that were willing to describe their art and the the process.  

The photo above was take in a booth that represented the world famous photographer Harry Benson. He is a local to the Palm Beachs and I have attended several of his lectures in the past - Fascinating.  At the Art show, I enjoyed seeing many of his famous photographs, printed in a large format that showcased his work beautifully. 

Mr.  Benson's famous "Pillow Fight” picture of the Beatles was captured in Paris in 1964. It is described as the most intimate photos ever taken of the band. A piece of history. Mr. Benson's comment:

I knew at that moment that these images would become iconic. At the suggestion of a pillow fight John Lennon said, ‘No, we’ll all look childish and silly.’ They all turned and said, ‘Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, yeah…’

'Paul’s sitting there, drinking a brandy. I stretch out on the settee. John slips away and comes up behind him and hits Paul with a pillow and that was it. (it) Went on for about half an hour.”

I also took some additional photo of at the show and all total, spent about a hour and half wondering among the art and crowd. I love art and escapes.  

Art Boca Raton - March 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Pride and the Cringe Factor.

Ricky Rollick, West Palm Beach, leads a float sponsored by Roosters during the 2014 PrideFest Parade in Lake Worth, Florida on March 30, 2014
(Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

The gay pride season is starting again.  Palm Beach has it pride week and parade early before the summer heat kicks in. Question: Should we celibate gay pride? Better question - Why not celebrate with our fellow LGBT brothers and sisters?  

First pride - the second definition of pride goes like this:  Pleasure or satisfaction taken in an achievement, possession, or association.  The first definition is about self-respect. By definition, I take pride in my family, my professional accomplishments, and my trained ability to communicate.  These things I have worked to master.  About being transgender, this is the way I feel:

I had nothing to do with creating this gender incongruity and I accept the fact it is a permanent characteristic. My life is now ‘out to the world’ so I had no alternative but to own and accept it.

It has taken me many years to accept being transgender.  I do not think I ever disliked the characteristic, but it certainly has complicated my life like being dyslexic; something else I could not change.  Early on, I had to hide being transgender to ensure acceptance among those who would not understand.  How could I ask anyone else to understand, if I could not understand myself.   Denial was an early means of coping, thinking it was something I would outgrow or it would just go away.  I actually thought that if I finally saw myself all dressed up, I would be so disgusted that I would never need to do it again. Kind of the opposite of pride.  Obviously that did not work. 

We are the “T” part of the LGBT equation and do benefit from the visibility that this alphabetic soup provides.  Our early organizations like Tri-Ess did all it could to distance itself from the gay community denying membership to anyone not straight by their definition.  That was wrong on many levels and did much to hinder transgender progress.  We are now out.  The former attorney general of the United States came out in support of us, the transgender community. We have come a long way.  Whatever you may be along the spectrum; cross dresser, no-op, pre-op, post-op, entertainer, fully transitioned, androgynous, gender queer, M2F, or F2M we are all transgender.  

Back to the question – “Why not celebrate with our fellow LGBT brothers and sisters?”  Let us not underplay the fact we have much to celebrate. Progress has been made. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land. The whole of the LGBT community have stepped up to defend us in the absurd bathroom bills. Thank you. Discrimination is not gone but it is recognized for what it is - hate and bigotry.  These are uncertain times and many would like to push all of us back to the closet.  Never!

We the transgender, are the most visible “day-to-day” part of LGBT equation and the most vulnerable. We do not wear a one-day costume. Outrageous behavior tolerated for one day, reflect in a negative way on us year round.  I look forward to a day when that will not be part of the pride experience.  

Until then it does not matter if you celebrate privately or publicly - Never let anyone make you be ashamed of being transgender.  Accept that being transgender is our cherished gift. 

Whether we march or not, It would be disingenuous on our part to not support our gay brothers and sisters.  They support us.  

What is your opinion? 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Chuck Berry Tribute

Chuck Berry, Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 90

After Elvis Presley, only Chuck Berry had more influence on the formation and development of rock & roll. The St. Louis native internalized country, blues and R&B influences to create a singular guitar technique. Berry paired these skills with dashing charisma, magnetic stage moves and an expressive voice that resonated with both teenagers and anyone young at heart—ensuring his status as one of rock & roll's first great hit makers.  Source:Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  

My favorite Chuck Berry songs is listed below.  I will make you laugh and think about his amazing stage presence.  And yes, the dance done my Chuck Berry immortalized in the movie Back to the Future.    

We miss you Chuck and thank you!

"A sophomoric, double-entendre-laden ode."

Monday, March 20, 2017

Leather's Sexy History

My Leather Collection 

Other than my transgender nature, I am rather conventional; as many would say vanilla. One of my favorite cookies, vanilla wafer and my ice cream of choice is vanilla (with chocolate sauce). But I digress and this is not about food. This is about the sensual material, leather which I adore. Not in a kinky way. It is not a fabric that is a turn-on or raises my Sexual Imagination Quotient. I honestly do not see it as something erotic but do enjoy how it's feels, the way it clings to my body and moves. I love wearing leather skirts during my South Florida cool season.

Here is what one web site say about the kinky nature of leather:
Leather has a pretty broad appeal, and has long been seen as sensual, fashionable, even dangerous. It isn't hard to make the leap to seeing it as a sex object.  

My leather items are confined to skirts and quality shoes.  Leather shoes are a matter of practicality. They wear better, last longer and conform to the foot better than other materials. Leather skirts are a different matter. Style and wearability can be achieved just as well with quality, wool blends, cottons, and silks.  So why do I like leather skirts? 

Maybe it is because they convey just a little bad girl suggestion.  Maybe it is a carry back to when our only material was the skin of the beast we had just hunted and had for dinner. The decisive victor. Enough Dr. Frued and Mr Lecter-  I just find the style and sensual nature fun.  

Enjoy my leather fashion layouts.  And yes, I do have more than one black leather skirt - Why I am not sure.  In the next few weeks I will start moving my leather skirts to the side of my closet and wait for fall.  Oh well, season change and return. Leather, is always in style. 

Also enjoy these leather pencil skirt on Pinterest.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Political Cartoons 3-18

I hope everyone is having a very nice pre-spring weekend!


I have trips coming up.
 The week of April 2 to southern Virginia.  I will write more later on a photo exhibit I have coming up while there.

I will likely be in Richmond Virginia, Saturday April 8 for my University (VCU) reunion and will be in Atlanta April 10-13. 

Maybe someone out there would like to get coffee or have a glass of wine.     

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friend's Friday - Reactions, Ballet Flats - Part 2

Brian, our "I love Ballet Flats champion" sent me a beautiful guest post and I posted part one last Friday. His experiences are priceless and had so may that I broke them up into two parts. Part 1 contains some background information so be sure to read that one also.  Below is part 2: Enjoy:

From Brian: (part 2) 

During a trip to do some banking I was wearing my violet colored Tory Burch flats. I was the only person in line and there were two people being helped by the female tellers behind the counter.  The lady at the customer service desk spotted my flats.  I could tell she "needed" to tell the two women working behind the counter. She walked over to the counter and called the two over even thought they were with customers. The three of them were huddled together and glancing over at me every few seconds.  After they a finished glancing over they all returned to their work stations.  As I walk up to the counter I could see the girl staring down at my flats.  She was very polite and started working on my banking request.  Out of nowhere she yells over to the customer service girl and says, "the code for what we were just talking about is O I C."  I took that as meaning "OH I SEE, his flats.  Very creative.

I've had lots of various reactions when riding in elevators.  People often get on, look to see who's on the elevator then either look up or look down.  Once it was just me and another women.  As she looked down she spotted my flats and got an instant case of the giggles, she could hardly contain herself.  I think I know what she was giggling at.

One day while shopping I was wearing my black leather with silver medallion Tory Burch Reva flats. I decided to take a break so I had a seat in the comfy chairs and started people watching.  I noticed a guy and girl walking towards me, she seemed fixated on the shiny Tory medallion on my flats.  I could see she was staring at them so I looked the other way.  Next thing I know she stops her boyfriend or husband and is standing directly in front of me about 4 feet away.  She stands on her tip toes, gives him a big kiss and says to him (loud enough for me to hear) "sweetie, promise me you'll never buy yourself a pair of shoes like the ones he's wearing."  The poor guy looked baffled and wasn't sure where he should be looking.  The girl looked me in the eye and giggled.  Her comment was said to her guy but directed at me.  I appreciated the way she confirmed that she knew I was wearing a pair of Tory Burch flats.

I was in a Starbucks lineup while wearing my black leather with gold medallion Tory Burch Revas.  From behind I heard a couple of bubbly young ladies chatting away as they join in line behind me.  As the line moved forward I made the 180 turn and they were now directly beside me.  All of a sudden, silence.  One girl spotted my flats and started whispering to the other.  I did overhear her say something about "big gold coins on the toes," likely referring to the gold Tory medallion on my flats. The line moved forward and again they were behind me.  The one girl was no longer whispering and I heard her say to her friend, "what are you doing?"  Next I heard, "oh my god you are cruel."  A split second after that I heard the sound of coins hitting the tile floor.  The one girl had dropped several pennies and was now bending down to pick them up, or should I say get a better look at the women's flats I was wearing.  I thought that was a creative way to let me know that they know I'm wearing women's flats. 

I've never got angry with anyone's reaction.  It's a free world and these various reactions are a spur of the moment expression of what people feel. It's the same free world that allows me to wear cute women's flat.


Brian we all applaud your sense of style, great taste in shoes,your courage to escape and be your self. The view response to your first post has been terrific and I personally want to thank you for sharing. We look forward to more of your escape experiences and fun.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Jessica Rabbit and Acceptance

Jessica Rabbit 
My escapes in years past were different.  Precious hours stolen while on business trips, once a year gender conventions or a few breathless hours alone at home. We have all been there.  

I had much pride in my shopping skills and for my precious escape interludes, I always wanted to project the most feminine image possible. Many times that involved high heels, short skirts, and big hair. I had gone to all the trouble to get the outfit and be damned; I was going to wear it all.  Anything that had carryover, was not to be considered.  Slacks – no way.  Flats – no way. Only the ultra-feminine.  Think - Jessica Rabbit.  

My role model was a caricature and impossibly represented what I wanted to become.  I remember the 1988 movie “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver. They had beautiful female business suits and being in business, that is what I wanted to emulate. Whenever I attended a business meeting where there were well-dressed women, I immediately had my next outfit picked out. 

Undermining all of these escapes was a subtle guilt. The "I should not be doing this." feeling. 

Business Rhonda - 1988
Fast forward and my escapes have changed or evolved. Acceptance has erased the past regrets and guilt. The pleasure now comes from within. I am not trying to emulate something that is impossible but I have accepted that I am being myself. I have grown into the person I want to be. Much like a girl growing up and becoming a woman. My goals are different. My perceptions are different. My needs are different. See me not for what I represent, but for what I am.  

The term “Social Transition” is used to describe what many of us grow into. Rhonda has many friends, that know her to be transgender. I am proud of how I represent myself. If someone knows, then there is one less life sub-detail to clarify. Let us move on to more relevant issues; i.e. - Liberal or conservative?  Do you watch things happen or make things happen? 

I will write more on "social transition" later, however, ESCAPE also involves moving away from old constraining ideals. Age adds clarity. Self-acceptance and moving away from guilt is a transition. Self acceptance is an important step so the most important question is, “If not now, then when?"   

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Two Spirits, One Heart, Five Genders


We'wha (1849-1896),
 of the Zuni nation
BY: Duane Brayboy

"The New World." This romanticized term inspired legions of Europeans to race to the places we live in search of freedoms from oppressive regimes or treasures that would be claimed in the name of some European nation.

Perhaps one of the most famous Two Spirits of the past was We'wha (1849-1896), of the Zuni nation. We'wha was biologically a male and engendered with a female spirit. By all accounts, she was a very intelligent person who became the Zuni Ambassador in Washington, D.C. and was celebrated by the Washington elite as "The Zuni man-woman." This photo depicts We’wha in traditional Zuni female clothe.

Those who arrived in the Native American Garden of Eden had never seen a land so uncorrupted. The Europeans saw new geography, new plants, new animals, but the most perplexing curiosity to these people were the Original Peoples and our ways of life. Of all of the foreign life ways Indians held, one of the first the Europeans targeted for elimination was the Two Spirit tradition among Native American cultures. At the point of contact, all Native American societies acknowledged three to five gender roles: Female, male, Two Spirit female, Two Spirit male and transgendered. LGBT Native Americans wanting to be identified within their respective tribes and not grouped with other races officially adopted the term "Two Spirit" from the Ojibwe language in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1989. Each tribe has their own specific term, but there was a need for a universal term that the general population could understand. The Navajo refer to Two Spirits as Nádleehí (one who is transformed), among the Lakota is Winkté (indicative of a male who has a compulsion to behave as a female), Niizh Manidoowag (two spirit) in Ojibwe, Hemaneh (half man, half woman) in Cheyenne, to name a few. As the purpose of "Two Spirit" is to be used as a universal term in the English language, it is not always translatable with the same meaning in Native languages. For example, in the Iroquois Cherokee language, there is no way to translate the term, but the Cherokee do have gender variance terms for "women who feel like men" and vice versa.

“The Two Spirit people in pre-contact Native America were highly revered and families that included them were considered lucky. Indians believed that a person who was able to see the world through the eyes of both genders at the same time was a gift from The Creator.”

Old Prejudices In The New World

The Native American belief is that some people are born with the spirits of both genders and express them so perfectly. It is if they have two spirits in one body. Some Siouan tribes believed that before a child is born its soul stands before The Creator, to either reach for the bow and arrows that would indicate the role of a man or the basket that would determine the role of a female. When the child would reach for the gender-corresponding hand, sometimes The Creator would switch hands and the child would have chosen the opposite gender's role and therefore casting its lot in life.

Native Americans traditionally assign no moral gradient to love or sexuality; a person was judged for their contributions to their tribe and for their character. It was also a custom for parents to not interfere with nature and so among some tribes, children wore gender-neutral clothes until they reached an age where they decided for themselves which path they would walk and the appropriate ceremonies followed. The Two Spirit people in pre-contact Native America were highly revered and families that included them were considered lucky. Indians believed that a person who was able to see the world through the eyes of both genders at the same time was a gift from The Creator. Traditionally, Two Spirit people held positions within their tribes that earned them great respect, such as Medicine Men/Women/shamans/visionaries/mystics/conjurers, keepers of the tribe's oral traditions, conferrers of lucky names for children and adults (it has been said that Crazy Horse received his name from a Winkte), nurses during war expeditions, cooks, matchmakers and marriage counselors, jewelry/feather regalia makers, potters, weavers, singers/artists in addition to adopting orphaned children and tending to the elderly.

Female-bodied Two Spirits were hunters, warriors, engaged in what was typically men’s work and by all accounts, were always fearless. Traditional Native Americans closely associate Two Spirited people with having a high functioning intellect (possibly from a life of self-questioning), keen artistic skills and an exceptional capacity for compassion. Rather than being social dead-enders as within Euro-American culture today, they were allowed to fully participate within traditional tribal social structures. Two Spirit people, specifically male-bodied (biologically male, gender female) could go to war and have access to male activities such as the sweat lodge. However, they also took on female roles such as cooking, cleaning and other domestic responsibilities. Female bodied (biologically female, gender male) Two Spirits usually only had relationships or marriages with females and among the Lakota, they would sometimes enter into a relationship with a female whose husband had died. As male-bodied Two Spirits regarded each other as “sisters,” it is speculated that it may have been seen as incestuous for Two Spirits to have a relationship with each other. Within this culture it was considered highly offensive to approach a Two Spirit for the purpose of them performing the traditional role of their biological gender.

Continue this enlightening article at Indiancountry.com 

American Indian Activist Russell Means

I will leave the last words to the late Lakota actor, Native rights activist and American Indian Movement co-founder Russell Means: “In my culture we have people who dress half-man, half-woman. Winkte, we call them in our language. If you are Winkte, that is an honorable term and you are a special human being and among my nation and all Plains people, we consider you a teacher of our children and are proud of what and who you are.”


Imagine a world where people allowed others to live freely as the people nature intended them to be..without harm..without persecution..without shame. Imagine a world where we are truly free.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Look '17- Off The Shoulder

This blast from the (more recent) past, last summer's rage is a little more feminine and the perfect accompaniment to spring denim. - shorts or pants. Here’s how to wear off-the-shoulder tops from beginner to advanced—all spring and summer long.  

For us the big question is, should we?  As in, many of us have larger than typical female shoulder described as the inverted "V" figure. However in fact women with broad shoulders look nice, elegant and attractive in the right choice of clothing. Because the clothes hang on to the body beautifully. Actually broad shoulders, women appear to have a classic body style.  Also anything that is full hides a less than perfect middle when draped and falls below the waist line.

First things first - Stylist Tip: invest in a good quality comfortable strapless or convertible bra if you’re going to go one-shoulder for spring. One that will stay up.  Nothing look more tacky that wearing a conventional bra with strips showing with a top that is off the shoulder.  Mutually exclusive.

Here are other suggestions to make this look work for you:

Knockout in a Necklace

Adding the right necklace will break up space across the shoulders and chest, cancelling the potentially widening effect of an off-the-shoulder neckline. Broad shoulders will benefit most from a long chunky necklace, or multiple long necklaces. A thin necklace will not break up the width along the shoulders, and a short one will keep the focus on that width, rather than drawing the eye downward for a lengthy look.

Color Code

Wearing the right hue can help to soften your shoulders. Shades that are too dark, bright or otherwise harsh, play up the wide lines of your shoulders. Choose soft hues rather than harsh shades; gray is more softening than black, while a muted rosy pink is a better choice than magenta.  Pair a pink top with white pants.  Pair a light blue, like above, with dark denim, wide leg jeans.  

Never Slouch

This only make you look out of place. Slouch in your posture is bad for the shoulders.  Be proud.  It's also wise to choose volume below the waist; this will de-emphasize the top half's width,  Go for the total look rather than drawing attention to one place.  Look put together.  Wide pants, A-line skirt all work with this summer casual look.  Also a monochrome look - all one color.

How to keep the off shoulder in place - see my suggestion here.

Enjoy this super feminine look for spring.  

Monday, March 13, 2017

Flagler Concert - '17 Finally

Friends at the Concert
A few evening ago was the last of the 2017 "Flagler Museum Music Series".  I have written about these in several post and find them to be a wonderful escape.  Plus I enjoy the music.  I have been attending these since the series inception in 1999. I introduced a friend to the venue and music and she liked it so much she became the series underwriter.  I love attending as her guest and we are always treated special. One of the benefits is the event photographer is always around. "Oh darn - I just hate having my photo taken".  "Not".   

The performance was by the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet.  Billed as one of the world's most esteemed ensembles.  A Grammy nomination is one of their accomplishments as well as "Best Record" in both Stereo Review and Gramophone

The program consisted of Quartet for Piano and Strings No.2 by Mozart and Piano Quartet No. 1 by Brahms. Both pieces lovely.  The Brahma was anything but an lullaby - spited and exciting. After the music there is always champagne and deserts. A beautiful evening.  

I look forward to next year's Series. Thank you Roe for sponsoring such worthwhile music and having me as your guest.  A good friend.  

St. Petersburg Piano Quartet and The Flagler Museum

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Cartoons 3-12

Pandora's Box is open. Let the investigations begin.  The tweet that brought down Trump?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A little Problem....

Anyone else with that problem?

Our next meeting will be at Nordstrom.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friend's Friday - Reactions, Ballet Flats

Purse too....
Brian, our "I love Ballet Flats champion" sent me a beautiful post. I ask Brian "What have been some of the reactions?" These are priceless and he has so may I will break it up over the this Friday and next.  Enjoy: 

For the past 5 1/2 years I've only boughten my Tory Burch flats collection and I could write a lot more about just boutique experiences with the sales girl and interaction with Tory Burch customer service but for now I'll leave the sales girl stories out. As I'm sure you're aware if you google man wearing flats you will find my picture everywhere.  Some posts I authorized and some were created without my permission.  So photo's abound.  

This is my definition of the word reaction:
The way someone acts or responds to something they see or a situation they're in.
When Rhonda asked me to do a guest post about wearing ballet flats she was also curious about the reactions I receive since it's not everyday you see a male wearing a pair of ballet flats. When I accepted my desire to wear ballet flats, specifically Tory Burch (TB) flats, I also accepted that some people might react. And react they have, I could write a book about the various positive and negative reactions over the past several years.

Now day's most people are so busy on their phones or life in general they don't notice I'm wearing ballet flats.  The most common reaction from people (usually girls or women) that do notice my flats is first off, telling the person or group of people they're with.  They say something like, "did you see that guys shoes," or "that guy is wearing ballet flats," often creates instant shock and everyone in the group wants to see.  Once they've confirmed what they saw there's often giggling, laughter, comments and occasionally some use their camera phone to capture the Kodak moment.  All pretty harmless reactions that I easily accept. 

There have been very few instances where someone's negative reaction or comments have made me feel uncomfortable. Most positive reactions have come from women that share a passion for shoes or ballet flats and don't really care I'm a guy.  For instances, I was wearing my black patent Tory Burch Reva flats (my first pair of Tory's) while looking at a Tory Burch display at Nordstroms.  There was a young women beside me that was wear the classic black with gold medallion TB Reva flats, the same style as I was looking to buy that day. I asked her how she liked her flats but she seemed confused why a guy was asking such a question.  Once I pointed out I was also wearing a pair of Tory's she opened up and we chatted for a few minutes about our flats then we parted way.  

A while later at the Tory Burch boutique I had just finished paying for my new classic TB Revas when that same girl entered the boutique, she saw I had a bag in my hand and asked which ones I bought.  After I told her she said, "good choice, I think you'll love them."   It's nice when women think guys should own and wear cute flats. Very positive.

Another day while wearing a pair of TB Reva flats at the mall I saw an attractive young women wearing a snake print pair of Tory flats. She appeared to be kind so I mentioned that I liked here flats.  Again I pointed out I was also wearing a pair of Tory's and we chatted for several minutes.  She said she had lots of shopping to do before her Spa appointment later that day and off she went.  Again we had just shared our passion for ballet flats and I sensed that she didn't care I was a guy.  A couple hours later, out of nowhere, there she was with an armful of bags.  She said to me, "I have to show you the Tory flats I bought."  She showed me her new Tory's and off she went to her Spa appointment.  A positive experience because we both shared a passion for cute flats.

Now onto the fun part.  These are a few of the more memorable and certainly creative reactions but they all send the same basic message.  That being, they know I'm a male and they know I'm wearing women's ballet flats. 

I'm a regular at the Tory Burch boutiques and feel very comfortable trying on and buying my flats there.  The boutiques are often busy but my amazing TB sales girls treat me the same or better than their female clients.  There have been several occasions where other customer comment or share thoughts about the flats I'm trying on.  One day while trying on a pair of patent sand color TB bow flats the lady sitting opposite to me started to comment about the flats I was trying on.  It was like one big run on sentence.  I don't think she even stopped to breath.  It went something like this: 

"Sir, I love those flats, I mean I love those flats on you, those flats are so cute, you gotta get those flats, they look so good on you, I'm not just sayin' that I mean it, I don't work here but I think you need those flats, I'm just sayin' you need those flats.

I turned and looked at my TB sales girl and she just shrugged her shoulders and smiled.  I got the flats on sale but that ladies speech was priceless.

Brian, thanks for sharing these!!!

--- To be continued ---