Thursday, March 23, 2017

Back to class

As I've previously mentioned, I'm taking a PMP exam prep course in NYC.  This is the entryway to the building where the class is held, and its exterior and lobby are well worth seeing if in the neighborhood.

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I find it amazing that GFJ wanted to talk with me the other day, after saying that she didn't want to talk for at least a couple of weeks. But I'm slowly getting used to not having her around (though I strongly miss her touch) on the weekend. I'm thinking of visiting people I normally wouldn't have the chance to visit because I now have my weekends free.

The other day, I had the pleasure of having a German dinner with the "Cat Lady" from Jersey. Yes, she runs on a little at the mouth, but I think the real deal breaker for me (at a very early moment) would be my allergy to long haired cats that developed after my last cat died. I am not yet ready to pursue a potential relationship, but the wisdom of not slamming doors may have worked for me.  This will be ill advised once I know someone is committed to me. But GFJ and I never stated what we wanted from our relationship, never stated what our long term goals were, and never dealt with the relationship as something other than one of convenience. So, unless GFJ and I have that long, hard conversation and come to an understanding agreeable to both of us, I have no guilt in seeing other women on a casual basis. With all of that being said, I am not yet ready to close the door on GFJ, because we get along so well. Sooner or later, we will need to have a hard conversation which will determine whether we are a real couple, or just friends.

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Getting my taxes done is always a headache for me, as I have to drive down to my tax preparer (a family friend) in Queens. If I had gotten out of the house early enough today, I'd have been able to drop off my paperwork AND still make it to my class on time.  Instead, I barely got to the train station on time to find a metered parking spot (not easy, when snow is plowed into many of them), pay for parking, and then my ticket before the train arrived. Luckily, the trains were running slow today, and it was several minutes late.

Patty and I had arranged to meet at Grand Central for a bite to eat. Unfortunately, she was caught on a delayed train, and got to the dining court as I was finishing my meal. (Given the choice, I'll skip Shake Shack's BBQ fries from now on - the melted cheese and BBQ sauce ruins the potatoes, and the only thing good I have to say for this dish was the crumbled bacon on top. But I digress....) Patty got her order, and we were able to chat for 45 minutes before walking over to class.

I should take good pictures of the lobby of the French Building while I attend class there, as it is a building I wouldn't mind working in if I had the chance.  As it stands, Patty and I will be there another 8 times - and I hope she is able to show pictures of this place to her husband.

After class, I walked her to the subway, and then got on the commuter train that would take me home. I then had a text exchange with GFJ, and one of the questions she asked was if Patty was with me on the train home. (I've mentioned that Patty lives in Queens several times over the past couple of years, so I expect that GFJ would remember this.)  And later on, she mentioned that we would have to have a conversation about staying over with me again. So I know that she hasn't ruled out a relationship yet. But what would her "must haves" be like?  I know I can't give up being Marian.  Therefore, to have a relationship, we'd have to find a happy medium - something which may or may not be possible.

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As I write this, I do not have anything booked for the weekend.  I have the option of going to the local GLBT Center's Spring Fling - and get in for free, as I am a volunteer. So I might do that on Saturday night. But I haven't seen YGM in ages, and may want to take a drive out to see her on Sunday.

Seeing YGM would be a treat. But I am thinking of coupling it with a night away from home, giving me the opportunity to use the hotel's pool (and wearing the swimsuit I bought for the cruise I never took), as well as going to the casino the next day. This is not a likely event, but one that is now possible given where I stand with GFJ.

I'll keep you informed on what I do.  For now, I'll be enjoying more time as Marian than I planned....

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Needing to get away - but with whom?

Note: This entry was written before some recent events with GFJ.  Now that things have changed in my life, I'm posting it just to illustrate my thought processes.

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Most of us need to get away now and then. But I have an unusual problem: Lili wants to get away - somewhere and anywhere, but I know that GFJ won't be happy unless I get away with her first. And things have been getting in the way of the two of us getting away together.

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In many ways, it is easier to get away with GFJ than it is with Lili.  GFJ is more flexible int he things she does, in part, because she is interested in more things in life. Lili is easier to vacation with, as once she is inside of a ship's casino, she is occupied for hours - and I can do what I please.

I enjoy cruising with Lili, in spite of her little quirks. When not gambling, she often needs constant attention. But when she's occupied, I can get around to doing things such as catching up on my reading, as there's not much else to do on a ship. But if I were land based in my travels, I prefer the company of GFJ, as she seems to have a wider interest in things.

This leaves me with a question: Who would I prefer to travel with?  The answer depends on whether I want to travel as Mario or Marian.  GFJ would only travel with Mario.  Lili would only travel with Marian. The focus of the question here does not involve a preference for my gender presentation as much as it determines which presentation I'll be making.

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GFJ and I have gone away for three weekends: two of them have been in Atlantic City, and the other was in Rochester.  Lili and I have gone on two cruises together. But now, being unable to eat to avoid her feelings, she might be a very different person with whom to go on a cruise.  I'd like to get away with GFJ before going anywhere with Lili. I have to put my relationship with her first. But, I've been putting off travel with Lili for too long - even though it has been for reasons outside of my control.

So I'm posed with a question or two: How do I convince GFJ that it is time to take a couple of days away somewhere? And then, where can Lili and I go that will be fun for both of us?

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As you can see, I tried to put GFJ first.  And now, Lili is having to deal with many of the same issues I dealt with in a relationship with GFJ. After Judy Duty ends, I figure that I will spend a couple of days away from home somewhere, and get out and about as Marian. I need to get away, and if I can afford to do so, I will do so.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monday, Monday.... and I wish it were Wednesday already.

Today was going to be a busy day. Not only did I have to reschedule an appointment with the Department of Labor due to a conflict with Jury Duty, but I had to pick up my second cell phone from the shop in Poughkeepsie.  If you think I was having a busy day, GFJ had to empty her car out of the stuff she knows she'll need, have her car towed to Kingston, and then get a rental - which will be sitting in her garage during tomorrow's snow storm.

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This was not an easy day to get moving.  I had fallen asleep the night before, as soon as I got home from Long Island. (I had visited the Museum of Food and Drink in Brooklyn, then visited both the family homestead and my father in his nursing home, and it was a long day.) After 3 hours of sleep, I was awake for another 4-5 before falling out again.  In short, I didn't sleep well, and I was feeling it.

Before getting moving, I called the department of labor and rescheduled what I expect to be my last appointment with them. Once I mentioned Jury Duty to the receptionist, the lady had to look at her "cookbook" to figure out what to do about me.  Hopefully, after she set my appointment to this Thursday that all will be right with my last 2 or 3 unemployment insurance payments.

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I got dressed (as Mario) and out the door I went.  It was off to Poughkeepsie for shopping (which I didn't find what I wanted - mail order will help me make do), and then to the repair shop.  For the life of this man, he (and his crew in California) coudn't fix the phone. He offered me a partial refund (I know I could have gotten more) which I accepted, and then I went to Walmart to pick up a new phone for my "Marian" line.

After a minor glitch in the sales process (which I found out when trying to activate the phone) that cause me to return to Walmart for a phone exchange, I was able to transfer service to the new phone - AND finally send messages and make phone calls to people who know me only as Marian.

At this point, I sent some messages to RO and YGWM to say that I was still alive and to see how they were doing.  Hopefully, we'll be able to catch up with each other soon.  But with tomorrow's storm coming, it'll be after shoveling out at least 18" of snow....

Monday, March 20, 2017

I could have sent in the form to have Jury Duty postponed

Most of you can guess how I feel about Jury Duty.  I could have bailed out on service for a few months, but I'd rather get it out of the way now - while commuting on the NYC Subway during rush hour isn't intolerable.

The problem with jury service is the location. The district court is in Lower Manhattan - the cesspool of NYC commutation on a busy day. What makes it worse is that I'd have to take the overcrowded Lexington Avenue line and be uncomfortable for the entire ride downtown. Sadly, this court is located near other court facilities (State and City), and like businesses of a kind tend to concentrate near each other.

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Jury service is going to cause problems for me in many ways.  I need more sleep than I usually get when I worked downtown, and have a hell of a hard time getting up in the morning. Trying to stay awake during any service will be hard for me, as it is designed to be a totally passive role. The only time jurors have any activity or control over their time is when the case is in the hands of the jurors. And this passivity can and will put me to sleep when I'm sleep deprived.

The next problem is the length of the commute.  In my last job, it took me about 2 hours to get from my door to my desk. Given the walking I expect to be doing, I expect the commute length will be the same (give or take a few minutes). I will not be able to have a social life for the life of service. And this sucks.

Now, I am addicted to my cell phone for information. I don't mind turning it off. But I do mind being told not to bring it with me, so that I can use it when not in active jury service. This is a great imposition for many people, as they need to be able to be in touch with others on an asynchronous basis.

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Being unemployed with no nibbles, I have no problems about serving. It's just the inconvenience of service that is the problem for me. I am taking a PMP Prep class, and I know that my study time will be affected. But if I were to be called for a case that could go on for months and could result in sequestration (as my father almost had to deal with when they tried a notorious "Dapper Don"), I'd make myself out to be the most biased person in the world, just to get off the jury.  (There is a limit to how much of my life I'll let the government take from me.) Hopefully, my upcoming service will not pose unreasonable demands on my life...

What I find interesting is that my service is supposed to start on a Thursday.  When I was called for a local court, they brought in 50+ of us and selected 6 (with 2 alternates) before dismissing the rest of us.  And this took place on a Monday morning. I wonder whether this seemingly unusual schedule is to find out things about the jurors before assigning them to cases.

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A while back, one attorney who reads this blog made soft criticism in regard to me wanting to get out of jury service. It's not that I mind serving on a jury. It's because of all the headaches they put people through when they are called upon to serve.

Years ago, I dated a woman who made me look thin. (I never should have dated her, but that's another story.)  She hated the idea of jury duty, and would do whatever she could do to bail out on her duty to society. (My ex girlfriend was of Italian background, and she was prejudiced against almost anyone of color.) She was called to serve in the Bronx (near Yankee Stadium) and figured that she'd ask for a postponement, then get lost in the system. Well, the friendly clerk helped her records get lost in the system, and she was never called again. With the exception of prejudice, we share a common problem - transportation issues make it difficult for us to get to the courts. She could never commute on the subway because of her health. Whereas, I dread being packed like a sardine for any amount of time, and dread the lethargy that comes when I can't be active.

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In the end, I support Jury Trials.  Unlike my ex girlfriend, I do not think that jurors are people too stupid to be doing anything else. I just think it's a necessary evil we must endure. I only wish that it was designed more with the comfort and convenience of the juror in mind, instead of the legal process being conducted by judges, lawyers, and other court personnel.

PS: I had a complication to take care of - Unemployment wants to meet with me on one of the days I'll be at Jury Duty.  I guess I'll have to deal with this paperwork headache as well.

PPS: I looked at NYS's guide for Unemployment Insurance claimants, and found out that I'm still eligible to collect UI while on Judy Duty.  Now to see if I can get the appointment rescheduled....

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Quickie: The bonds of friendship

I spoke with GFJ last night, and found out a little more about things.  It seems like her friend did start to talk, and things got back to GFJ about the OKC ads. It doesn't pay to go into our conversation, save that I did an honest "Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa." And we kept talking for a long while afterwards about the topics we usually talk about. But it goes to show that after a point, one should make sure disconnect with one's fears and march into the future without a safety net.

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We all have close friends who want to look out for us. It's important to have them, as no person can live in isolation. I've talked about Lili's issues, but I accept her with all her flaws because she's a friend, as Vicki accepts me because I'm her friend.

Unlike family, we get to pick and choose our friends. Many of the friendships we have are with people who we've known for years.  We feel an intimacy with them that allows to pick up and resume - even after years have gone by. Some of our friendships are born in the heat of battle.  Men might bond with other men with whom they ave been partnered with, such as policemen, firemen, and the military. Women may bond with other women to deal with stressors in their lives, such as raising children, divorce and widowhood. And these bonds are often stronger than that between spouses.

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It only makes sense that I, as Marian, develop friendships. As the old phrase goes: "No Man is an Island."  And that's an important thing for all of us to be aware of these days.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Some thoughts on GFJ, then Mexican dinner with the gals

Last night I got a message from GFJ saying that I could call her late in the evening.  Given that I was tired and not wanting to say anything rash, I decided not to call her. This morning. I sent her an email saying that I had a splitting sinus headache the night before and asked how she was doing. I figured that this would be enough of an opening for her to contact me, and yet not make it sound that I was desperate.

I have no idea of what she wanted to talk about.  Was she lonely?  Did she want to shut down all communications? Did she want to say that she thought about things I said and wanted to talk about them?  At this time, I do not know, and am not sure if I care. I'm not the type of person who falls in love easily, and I think I have done so maybe three times in my life. So I don't want to be in a position where this woman could break my heart again.

With the above being said, I think my readers may begin to understand why I am not looking for new relationships - as Lili would have me do.  In a conversation WDJ and I recently had, she noted that companionship was much more important than sex. (What else does a couple do in the other 23 1/2 hours in the day? 😀) And I am of a similar mind, as I enjoy a person's touch more than the sexual act.

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Like many widows, I'm finding that I enjoy the company of women more as friends. And unlike a typical cisgender man, I think if given the choice, would rather be with a good group of female friends on a regular basis, than to have mediocre sex on a regular basis. (Don't read anything into GFJ's sexual capabilities or skills here. I should get a prescription for the "little blue pill" to have a better sex life.)

So it's not surprising for me, as a transgender female, to try and go to as many women's meetups as possible. And tonight, I went to one of those meetups....

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With the snow that was expected today, I wasn't sure if tonight's meetup was being held.  Like Croton, White Plains didn't get that much snow and the roads were safe to drive on. So the meetup was on for this evening.

I was one of 10 ladies who met at Mariachi Loco, and got there a smidgen late - as usual.  But I wasn't the last person to arrive. This restaurant, located in a strip mall off to the side of a larger strip mall, was very comfortable, save for one thing - the cold air kept coming in whenever someone entered or left the restaurant.

As you can tell, the portions are reasonably large, and well priced.  I had the Chicken Mole Poblano (pictured above) with a large glass of Sangria, and got out of the restaurant with a bill of $34 (incl. Tax and Tip).  The woman sitting next to me had the Chicken Quesadilla, and she was surprised how large it was - and ended up taking more than half of this dish home with her.

The one thing I had a problem with in this restaurant was one thing that most people would have liked - the strolling guitar singer.  He sang all the typical "classics", and was good.  But his voice carried so much, that it was hard to talk with the women sitting at the table with me. So this is not a joint to go to when one wants a subdued romantic evening with someone special. Instead, it is a place to go to with friends, when one wants to have a good Mexican dinner.

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As much as I'd have liked to be chatting at the other end of the table, I know that the two regulars there will be back on a regular basis.  So I'll catch up with them next time.  Yes, the evening ended up too quickly. But it allowed me to pick up some sour cream at the store down the hill, and will allow me to enjoy some quesadillas of my own soon....

Friday, March 17, 2017

Alone again, naturally

Gilbert O'Sullivan - Remember him?  He is noted for having one of the saddest songs to come to the top of the American charts.  And it was his most famous hit that came to mind today, as I no longer had GFJ to talk with.

The last time I felt this way was a little while after my wife died.  It was not the presence of her in my life that was important, it was the knowing that she was there for me when needed that was important.  As Neil Sedaka sang: "Breaking up is hard to do."

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Right now, Lili is a little pissed off at me.  I couldn't just drop everything to go away with her. When I mentioned that the following weekend was available, she said she couldn't - her boyfriend would be over.  And I don't think she understands why I didn't drop everything to be with her when GFJ was in my life.

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I had arranged to meet Vicki #2 a few days ago, and I was glad to see her today.  It seems that her polyamorous marriage to her girlfriend is going to happen soon, and it's going to be a very nice event.  I only wish I could attend.  I'd love the excuse to get dressed up for that event!

We discussed many things including my relationships, Lili, and other friends, and then discussed her family life in limited detail.  Given what they are going through, Vicki may need to get a more traditional job soon. Hopefully, this will not need to be the case for a long while, as I know she enjoys what she does for work.

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When I got home, I was "assaulted" by a call from an irate neighbor.  It seems that her neighbor is disturbing her.  She has no proof of his alleged actions, and won't bother reporting this disturbing activity to the police.  If she won't do this, there is nothing that can be done - the other neighbor is also a co-op shareholder and also has rights that we must respect.

Ah, the joys of being a co-op board member....

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PS: Around midnight, GFJ sent me a text saying that if I was still awake and wanted to call her, that I could. I was too tired at the moment to talk with her.  But I might do so tomorrow.