Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A missed connection with a newer friend.

Over the weekend, the Cat Lady thought she had sprained her knee.  Instead, it is likely that she has a Torn Meniscus and may need surgery. And this affected our plans for this week....

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Sunday came, and I didn't do much until GFJ arrived. If I had known how late she'd be coming from an afternoon bridal shower for a friend's daughter, I'd have gotten up early (though I was exhausted from Lili's son's shindig the day before) and gone to church as Marian before going back home and changing into Mario in anticipation of GFJ's arrival.

When GFJ arrived, she was wearing a dress, and looked good in it.  Too bad that she doesn't wear them more often - she has a nice set of legs, and it's nice to see them displayed. A little afterwards, we went out for dinner at the diner - and brought home leftovers we could eat sometime over the next couple of days.

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Monday was a day that we'd spend apart - GFJ had shoe shopping to keep her occupied while I (as Marian) attended the Arts Westchester (AW) meeting. So GFJ ended up going shopping in New Jersey while I spent my time at the AW meeting.  For once, I arrived on time.  Although I didn't get an assignment for the Summer, I did get to see the woman who introduced me to the group (T), as well as a new member - my friend, former hypnotist, Pat.

After the meeting ended, I chatted a little with T and then with Pat.  It seems as if Pat's daughter now has a date for an operation which may render her unable to walk.  And the daughter is very afraid, as she expressed her fears for the first time to Pat.  I'll be sure to keep in contact, if only because she may need a shoulder to cry on. When I went back to the car, I met a woman from AW doing her shopping at Shoprite. We chatted for a bit, but I don't expect to see her again for a long while. Coincidences seemed to be the order of the day, and would continue to be so until the end.

GFJ returned around 6, and we went out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  She didn't recognize the place until we got inside.  But we were able to have a nice, quiet, romantic dinner - which we couldn't have done if the place was busy.  Later on, we decided to have leftover dessert.  She noted that my air conditioning wasn't on, and I found out that the fates decided to give me a birthday present - a dead, 22 year old air conditioner.  You can guess what I planned to do the next day.

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Both GFJ and I had things to do today.  She had a yoga class to attend early in the afternoon, while I had to run to lower county to buy a new Air Conditioner.  Knowing that TCL was not up to having dinner tonight (and that I had a Co-Op board meeting), I texted TCL to let her know that I knew we weren't going out for dinner until her leg healed a bit.  She will likely need an operation in the near future, and if possible, I will be there to give a helping hand to a friend. So I volunteered to pick up some groceries sometime this week and deliver them, in order to keep her from having to go shopping in a wheelchair.  (She has no problems with me coming over as Marian for this kind of visit.)

On the way to lower county, I chatted with both TCL and Lili.  When I arrived at the store, I knew exactly what I wanted - a 14,500 BTU Friedrich AC with 220 volt circuitry that fits into a Fedders sleeve. All I needed to do was show my plastic and place the order.  It took me longer to get out of Croton than to buy the AC at the store.  There goes the rest of this month's money from the family homestead!

After taking a little rest at home, it was off to the Co-Op board meeting.  Although I can't discuss any details of what we discussed, I can discuss one thing that frustrated me.  HWV was trying to get the meeting over with in a timely manner, and HWA wanted to discuss something that wouldn't be done, by a vendor whose services we are highly unlikely to use. The best analogy to what happened would be a decision for me to drive to Albany using one of two routes: The Thruway or The Taconic State Parkway.  Once the decision to take the Taconic has been made, does it make sense to discuss the tolls on the Thruway? HWV and I discussed this after the meeting, and she told me of more "battles" we may have to fight in the near future.  I, for one, am very grateful that we have her services on the Co-Op's board of directors.

To close out the day, I took advantage of a coupon from Boston Market which gave me two meals for the price of one.  This was perfect, as I could finish up Sunday's leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and tonight's extra meal for lunch on Thursday.  I'm grateful to be able to avoid cooking anything in a room without AC this week.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Quickie: A missed connection with an old friend.

At this time of year, the NYC subway is a sweltering mess.  And yet, I might have endured it (as Mario) to see an old friend.  Brenda is a friend of my late wife who (with her husband and child) occasionally comes into NYC on business/pleasure trips.  And I try to connect with her on each of her visits, as it is a way of maintaining a healthy connection to good memories of the past without falling into the trap of living in the past.

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About a week ago, Brenda came to New York with her entourage, and we agreed to meet while she was here.  Unfortunately, both the holiday and the wedding got in the way of us getting together. And, there was no way for us to connect on her last couple of days here, as they had Broadway tickets for their last two nights in the city.

Do I really miss the chance of getting together?  Not really.  It would have been nice to see her again.  But GFJ and I have other things we want to do with the next couple of days.  Couple this with an appointment I must make in Marian Mode, and that leaves almost no time to meet up with Brenda.

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Over the years, the connections I have with my past are loosened but not severed.  A friendship with Brenda is one of these connections I'll always have, but one that will grow ever less important as the one link that binds us continues to fade away into our past. I've seen this happen with a former girlfriend, Eileen.  My wife and I were there at her wedding, then she and her husband were at our wedding.  We are linked on Facebook, but neither of us make the effort to contact each other when we are in each other's home towns.

One can view this type of change as a sad thing.  I don't.  If we're lucky, it's part of the process of renewal, as it makes it possible for us to keep the relationships that are important to us and to make room for new relationships that may yet become just as important to us.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Quickie: An accidental email I received.

The above picture was taken about 8 years ago, a reminder to me about why I was going to break up with Ex-GF-M. Her apartment was filled with clutter, and even the Living Room had way too much stuff in the way for it to be used without taking time to clear out the clutter. So I was very surprised today when I found an email coming from her account - even though she passed away several months ago.

Background for new readers of this blog:
  1. I dated Ex-GF-M from 2003-2011.
  2. Ex-GF-M was heavier than I am, and her health was deteriorating all the time I was dating her. As a food addict myself, I decided I had to leave her sometime in 2010, but didn't have the self esteem to do so until the next year.
  3. The steps in Ex-GF-M's upstairs apartment were dangerous in bad weather, and she needed to hire people to clean her steps to get out of the house.
  4. Sometime in 2012-2013, Ex-GF-M moved into the downstairs apartment with Mother in Law. (She was widowed in 2008 or 2009 and shared the building with her Mother in Law.)
  5. Ex-GF-M was injured while taking care of her parents in Florida.  This left her needing a cane to walk.
  6. During the next few years, she adopted 3 dogs.  (When we dated, she said that she would never have pets.  It's amazing how people change given new circumstances in life.)
  7. One year, I was there to pay respects at her mother's wake before going to a Widow/Widower gathering. We agreed to meet for dinner.
  8. When we finally met for dinner, I met her as Marian. And that was how I met her each time afterwards.
  9. On my last visit in 2017, her apartment reeked of dogs.  She was no longer able to take care of herself, her mother in law, or her pets. The building had started to show important signs of neglect, but Ex-GF-M was unable to live on her own anymore.
  10. Shortly after my last visit, her mother in law died. Ex-GF-M was truly alone, and was not allowing her family to visit.
  11. At the end of March, Ex-GF-M died. Her family felt that Ex-GF-M's death was preventable - but Ex-GF-M refused all help.  They also said that everything in the house would have to be put in the dumpster - the place was infested with vermin.

The messages:

I presume this ( is your email address. Just saw an
email come in from M's account, and wanted to know that this was

How are things going over there?  I was by M's house a couple of
times recently, taking the subway in from her station.  It looks like
you've started to do some rehab on the place, as the lower front window
has been replaced AND the laundry room door is new. How much have the
cleanup have you been able to do?  I'll bet that everything is taking
much longer than expected.

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Sorry am error- she hoarded emails too. Over 6200. 
Things moving along   We had to hire clean up crew. Only 1 piece of furniture left to go to L’s. Virtually everything had to be tossed. 13 truck loads. Now just working with the lawyers. 
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Hopefully, the clothes and handbags could go to a charity.  Books to a library, etc....

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Unfortunately severe rodent infestation. We were advised not to take anything for fear of contamination. Through out virtually everything. $$ wasted was staggering. 

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Rereading your first message, as soon as you said 14 truck loads, I realized that that had to have included both clothes, accessories, books, and other stuff.  I can't imagine how bad it had to be upstairs after years of not being used.  I know downstairs was extremely bad, as I visited it 6 months before she died.  The smell overpowered me.  I've only been in one other house where animal smell was that bad, and the worst of it is limited to one room.

Hopefully, the lawyers won't eat up the proceeds from the house. It's a simple textbook problem for a lawyer skilled in handling estates.  But you can never be sure of where a complication will pop up.

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In many ways, I'm glad to be able to say that I didn't get a picture of Ex-GF-M or her place at its worst.  I prefer to remember her with a smile on her face.  I'm also glad that her brother accidentally sent me a message, as I had the excuse to chat with him over some emails and see how far they've gotten.  It's doubtful he'll slip up and send any more messages. But it's nice to know that life is moving on for the family as well....

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Wedding Day.

As you can guess, I started to write this entry before the wedding.  I figured that by the time the wedding was over and we returned to my apartment, that I might not have enough time to finish this entry and post it between the time YGM left and the time GFJ arrived.  Not only do I want YGM to linger a bit before she leaves, but I have to change back to Mario before GFJ arrives.  So I expect that time will be an important theme in today's entry.

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If it weren't for a pressing need to go to the bathroom this morning, I might have stalled getting up from my bed. The bedroom was a mess that I'd have to straighten out, and the TV was on from the night before.  As you might expect, it was tuned to a channel playing 1950's and 1960's TV shows, and the Saturday Morning Westerns were on. It's a little comforting to me to see some of these shows from my youth, as they remind me of a time of certainty in life, a time where I felt more secure in my future.  In reality, there is little certainty in life other than death and taxes, so it's a good thing when the only problem I face when getting up is making it to the bathroom on time.

Once done with my business, I had a decision to make.  How much should I straighten out my apartment before YGM arrives?  But this decision was made for me when YGM said that she was arriving even earlier than planned.  So I had to rush to get ready for her arrival, showering, shaving, etc., in order for her NOT to see any traces of Mario when she arrived.

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When YGM arrived, she brought several dresses with her.  Most of them were party dresses that I wouldn't wear to a wedding.  One of them would give her visible bra straps.  So I suggested that she try on a dress given to me by Vicki which served her aunt well, but wasn't in Vicki's style palette.  Although it was not in YGM's style palette either (it made her look older), she agreed to wear it so that we could attend the wedding in similarly structured outfits.  Although very different in style, we looked like we could be mother and daughter - a comment several people made when seeing us together.

We chatted in my apartment for a while, and a couple of hours later, left for the wedding.  Appetizers were already being served when we arrived, and we were greeted with cold glasses of water when we entered the outdoors wedding area.  After roughly 30 minutes or so, everyone was instructed to find a seat for the wedding ceremony.

Shortly afterward, the ceremony began, and the "youngsters" said their vows.

Lili's son looked much more like an adult than I remembered him being.  I guess that, in part, this was related to his haircut and his slightly receding hairline. The newlyweds were now "formally" married in the eyes of their families, and it was time to go inside for the indoor festivities.

Lili looked stunning in her dress, but my photograph does not do her or the dress justice. You can easily see that if one stood the wrong way when a picture was taken, one would get terrible results, as in the picture below:

Hopefully, I'll be able to get a better picture of the two of us together when Lili gets to view the wedding album.

Now that we were indoors, I began to meet other people in Lili's life that I met before - most of whom remembered me, but not me them.  So after an embarrassing moment or two, I was able to catch up on things with them, and enjoy the dinner to come.  I won't bore you with the details of the reception dinner.  It was tasty, filling, and probably worth every cent of what Lili paid for this banquet. But I will note that I got out on the dance floor for a while, something I never liked doing as Mario.

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Eventually, it was time to leave.  So I drove around town chatting with YGM. Then as she was getting tired, I brought her home and we chatted some more.  In another time and in another life, we would fit well with each other. But in this life, we can only be the best of girlfriends. And that's good enough for me.  So after another round of chat, YGM took off for home.  Hopefully, I'll be able to visit her one last time before she goes to Florida.  If not, this was a good last visit between two "besties".

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The day before the wedding....

Today is the last day before the wedding of Lili's son.  And I'm looking forward to wearing my formal dress tomorrow.  But first, I'll have to get a mani-pedi. And I wasn't sure of what color polish that I'd be putting on my nails when I started drafting this entry.

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Lately, I find that when I don't get enough sleep the night before, it takes me forever to wake up and get moving the morning after. When I note that I don't get moving until the afternoon, it's usually because I didn't sleep well the previous evening. Yet, last night, I got to sleep in the 3 am range, was semi-conscious by 7:30 am, and up to cook breakfast by 8 am. On my list of things to do for the day was to take care of 2-3 loads of laundry, withdrawing some cash from the bank, paying a bill or two, and getting a mani-pedi to prepare for the wedding. For a change, I had the energy to start taking care of this list early enough to have a chance of getting everything done.

Although I could have started the day by doing some laundry, I decided to pay some bills - including a bill that has gone unpaid since April.  Normally, my tax preparer would send a bill reminder in May or June. By then, I'd have the refund in the bank - so I'd pay on this notice.  However, I never received my normal reminder - and decided to pay before this bill grows even more stale.

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Around 1 pm, Lili and I went to her nail salon.  She got a French Mani Pedi, while I just got the French on my fingers while getting my toes in a solid pink. As much as I like the look of my fingers, I like the look of my toes more.  So I'll go with this shade of pink for my next mani-pedi.  After the salon, we went out to eat at an Italian joint.  The food was good, but I'm not sure that I'd eat there again.  Nothing really stood out as special, and I want that in a place I might want to add to my "go to" list.

Lili and I chatted some more on the way back to her place. She still had some cleanup to do, as she was hosting one of her daughter in law's friends for the wedding night. Unfortunately, she screwed up her nails (I also have a smudge I have to fix), and things went wrong at one of the rental houses she owns.  So I told her NOT to do anything about fixing the house until next week, and hoped that she will be able to enjoy the wedding tomorrow.

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After I dropped Lili off, it was home for the night.  I didn't know that I was going to take an overly long nap.  But it was just as well, because I didn't have anything else to do as Marian.  When home, I arranged to get together with BXM next week.  In addition to her father being in in-home hospice care, she is having health problems of her own.  As much as losing her Dad will be a sorrowful event, it will free her of a lot of responsibilities no one person should have to take on.

Once I realized I was home for the night, the Cat Lady started up another online conversation.  It involved my choices of nail polish and shifted to asking why I don't live as Marian 24x7, save for the time with my family. Right now, if I'm going to shift to living as Marian as my legal identity, I want to do so openly - and that won't happen while my dad is alive.  I'd have to drop a lot of weight before I could go on hormones. Once on them, I'd have to deal with the physical changes to my body.  Since I have good reason to believe that my brother's family would not be supportive, it doesn't make sense to do this until I can sever the financial links between myself and my brother.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Digging out a backup wig for tonight

Lili's son's wedding is coming up this weekend, and I don't want to break out the new wig I have in my closet for the occasion. Instead, I wanted to wash this wig and wear a freshly cleaned wig this weekend, since I don't want to break in a new wig over the summer.

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It took me a while to get moving today.  But once I did, I started to take care of little things before deciding to get showered, made up, dressed and out the door. And I found that the Cat Lady (TCL) wanted to chat about taking her social security benefits.  She wanted to figure out an optimal strategy for taking benefits, as she doesn't want to leave any money on the table for the government if possible.  (She can get more money if she waits before claiming. But there are risks involved in this strategy that she has to be aware of.)  So we chatted for way too long, and I closed the phone call saying that I had to make another phone call by the end of the day. GFJ also tried to call.  For some reason, the phone didn't ring.  Why, I do not know.  But I wasn't able to call her "right back" as she was going to have dinner with a friend. Instead, we chatted while I was on the road to Yonkers.

I arrived in Yonkers with more than an hour to spare before game night.  So I ended up eating at Panera Bread.  And I exchanged pleasantries with one lady who is a regular there on Thursday nights before and after my meal.  It was nice to have someone say hello to me for a change....

Once done with my meal, it was over to game night where we played the usual games and had a good time.  When the hostess arrived home, I was pleasantly stunned by her appearance - she was wearing a nice black and white polka dot dress (large dots) and showing an appropriate amount of cleavage.  As much as I was finding her breasts attractive because of their perfect shape, I also felt a little envious, as I'd love to be able to have a dress like hers look that good on me.  Who knows?  Someday, I may be lucky enough to have a pair as attractive as hers.

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Throughout the day, I had an ongoing conversation with the Cat Lady about the shoes I was going to wear to the upcoming wedding.  She didn't care for the gold sandals I planned to wear. But given a choice between white flats (with gold trim) and these sandals, the sandals won out.  So expect to see a few pictures of me in these shoes from the wedding....

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Quickie: Independance Day with GFJ

I grew up on Warner Brothers' cartoons, and not the type of Television that Fred Rogers would endorse.  But I think we'd both agree that what I watched was still much better than the mindless action loaded crap shown to kids today to brainwash them to be thoughtless participants in a valueless consumer economy.

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Tuesday night, GFJ returned to the house after a night out with her friend. And then we spent much of the next day doing nothing but taking a needed nap.  So it wasn't until 4 pm or so that we considered getting ready to go out and seeing the documentary about Fred Rogers' career, "Won't you be my neighbor?"

By the time we were dressed and ready to go out, it was 7 pm.  So we took the long way down to the Drafthouse, stopping for ice cream along the way.  When we finally arrived at the Drafthouse, I found that I had a free snack credited to my account which had to be ordered on this visit, unless I wanted to lose it.  This meant that GFJ and I were going to enjoy some popcorn with our movie.

As usual, GFJ was having a hard time keeping her eyes open during the movie. Whereas, I found it easy to stay awake enough to enjoy this modest documentary about a truly quiet, humble, and truly Christian fellow (in all of the best senses of the phrase). The world lost a lot when this man passed away, and I wonder what he'd be saying if he saw what mess we've gotten ourselves into these days....