Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A weekend with GFJ - with car problems to boot!

A Honda Civic.  The car has proven itself to be very reliable, with none of the annoying minor or important flaws that plagued me on the last 3 American brand cars I've owned. And I had minor trouble this weekend that could have caused me great trouble if I didn't know what to do.

- - - - - -

Although I could have gone to see GFJ on Friday night, I decided to stay home and nestle under a warm blanket. With the weather expected to go into the single digits overnight, I wanted to stay warm in my own bad for one night this weekend.

Saturday came, and I packed up my bags to visit GFJ. But first, it was off to the movies to see "Murder on the Orient Express." I knew the basic plot line, but GFJ didn't. So I was able to focus on how they constructed the film instead of trying to figure out what was going on in the film. If I was to criticize anything in the film, I'd say that the railroad scenes seemed very fake to me. Most appeared to be generated via CGI graphics, and looked unrealistic - except when people were in the shots. Not wanting to spoil the story for people who haven't seen the movie yet, all I will say is that Professor Plum killed Mr. Boddy in the hall with the candlestick OR Mrs. Peacock killed the cook in the kitchen with the knife OR Colonel Mustard killed the motorist in the lounge with the wrench. (OOPS!  Those are solutions to the game/movie of Clue.)  To be serious, you will figure out who did the killing halfway through the film.

On the way to GFJ's from the theater, my car's display issued a warning: My engine was running hot!  The outside temperature was in the single digits. So I pulled the car over to the side of the road, let it idle for a few seconds until the message was no longer displayed, and then slowly made my way to GFJ's house. If the indicator would have come on again, I'd have turned the car off and called for a tow. But with prior experience with a water pump failure on a Datsun B-210, I knew that it was likely that my car's fluids weren't warm enough to flow properly or that an internal thermostat controlling coolant flow had failed in this weather. So I knew that I could slowly get the car into a safe space and have it towed either on Sunday or Monday if needed. When I reached GFJ's place, I decided to park the car for the rest of the weekend. And we didn't leave her house until Monday morning. But first, I made a call to my brother who gave me another idea to check out - did I have enough coolant in the car's radiator? 

I went to the car first thing Monday morning, and discovered that I probably didn't have enough coolant in the reservoir. So GFJ and I went to the Honda dealership in Kingston to pick up the correct coolant needed for the car. Unlike most of the Kingston area dealerships, the Honda dealership has its service department in in the original dealership's building, a few minutes away from its main sales area. So I was glad GFJ drove me there instead of me trying to drive my car and waiting for it to cool down before adding coolant. 

With coolant in hand, we went back to GFJ's place where I added coolant to the car's reservoir. And then I slowly drove off after giving GFJ a goodbye hug and kiss.  I was careful not to put a strain on the car for the first half hour of driving, and made it home safely home without incident. Do I have a radiator leak? Maybe. I wish I had a better clue to what happened with the car. But I'm glad the car has proven itself reliable in stressful circumstances. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Quickie: Thoughts about body image

Lately, when I go to look at myself in the mirror, I keep wishing that I had a woman's hips and fat development in the area.  There's not much that can be done about that right now. But when I lose weight, I will need to wear hip pads when in women's clothes to create the illusion that my body is better proportioned than it is at that time.

If I had gone on puberty blockers 50 years ago and then on estrogen, I would not have had to deal with a masculine developed body.  I also would not have developed many of the sexually dimorphic characteristics that identify my body as having been assigned male at birth.

Some of the things I wish I had would be a woman's hips, her narrow wrists, ankles, and neck, and of course, her breasts. Of all of these, the hips and breasts would be most important to me. Although I'd be tall for a woman, I'd still be in the normative range for females.

Even if I had the "Correct" body for a female, would I have the right internal image of myself?  All too many women are uncomfortable in their own skins.  They have been taught that they have to look young, and appear as if they never had a life. For example, many are embarrassed about having a post-pregnancy belly with stretch marks. I feel that these are the marks that a woman has had a full life. In this way, having been raised as a male has been an asset to me. But as I progress along the path to my feminine self, will I become insecure? Or, will I retain the typically masculine advantage of having a positive image of an imperfect body? Only time will tell.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quickie: NYC Subway work crew.

(Two maintenance cars which may never have been in revenue service)

The New York City Subway system.  It is essential to the functioning of a metropolis of 8 million residents, and the businesses that double the population of Manhattan Island on a typical weekday.

If one travels at odd hours of the day (or on weekends), one will often see unusual pieces of equipment never seen during a normal commuter's trip. This post is a quick posting of some of the more unusual shots I've taken of the subway, its denizens, and the work that goes into making this system work.

("Dumpsters" for use in hauling away construction debris.) 

(A work car similar to that carrying the dumpsters in the previous photo)
(You can see that they really wanted this engine to be seen.)

 (This is a view of a typical NYCTA engine used in the subway system.)
(Times Square below ground)

(More of Times Square below ground)

Years ago, a close friend of my family worked in subway maintenance.  He was a hard drinking person, but I never saw him out of control of his liquor.  When he was drinking, he and his wife were home enjoying their highballs. When he was working, he was cold sober. Over the years, he damaged the nerves in his hands by holding a jackhammer, and his fingers were always bent from the damage caused by jackhammers. Yet, I'd love to talk to him a little about the things he saw in the system, and to ask him to get pictures of the more interesting parts of his work.  Since I can't do that, I'll have to take photos when I can, then post them when I have enough to make an interesting entry from them.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Quickie: A frigid day, not good for doing much.


- - - - - -

Last night, I cleared the snow away from my car, assuming that I'd have to move it out of my spot for the plows to clear the area. This morning, my car started (YAY!!!) in the brutal cold, and I took it for a spin to charge the battery a little.

Returning home, I had very little energy.  Although it was a perfect day in many respects to have gone out as Marian, the cold kept me from doing so. Instead, a warm apartment, a cozy bed, and a working TV kept me comfortable throughout the day.  By the time evening came, I had little desire to go out in below zero weather (with wind chill factored in), and stayed inside.

Around dinner time, GFJ called and we had a long talk about nothing in particular, save for when I should arrive at her place tomorrow. Given the weather forecast, it might just be too cold for us to go to a movie. So it looks like it will be a night or two snuggling with each other. However, one thing of note was mentioned - she was doing something with the girls next weekend, and we would not be getting together on Saturday. (Yes, there's a part of me that's a little concerned about this. But this may give me the freedom to spend a weekend as Marian, so I'll deal with my concerns and take advantage of the free time given to me.)

- - - - - -

But back to the cold weather....

Saturday and Sunday look like they will be frigid days.  So I'll be sure to dress very warmly this weekend.  Even if my car gets stuck at GFJ's place Sunday night, I can always wait for the late Monday morning "thaw" that is expected.

I'm very glad that this cold spell will soon break, as my niece is returning home from Britain this coming Tuesday. I'm looking forward to seeing her again, and maybe going to another museum soon.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Quickie: Snow Day

Should I talk politics, or should I talk about the snow?  That is the question I have in front of me today, given the storm which is blanketing the Northeast with snow and the revelations coming from a soon to be released book on the first year of Trump's presidency.  Given how clean the snow looks outside, I do not want to deal with the ugliness of politics right now.

- - - - - -

Last night, around 2 am, I responded to an email from the Cat Lady (TCL) and said that I hadn't seen any snow yet.  She commented that she wasn't going to bother getting up until 7 am, and would likely call in sick if they were expecting school to be open today.  From what I can tell from the timing of her emails, she was able to stay home. 

As much as the snow hasn't accumulated that much at the time I started this entry, I hope that the final total will be around 3"-4" of snow in my area. (I'll add a postscript to this entry later on with more information about the total.) But due to the low temperature, the snow texture will be light and fluffy, making it easier to shovel when things clear up.

The further North and West of New York one is, the less snow will fall on the ground. The worst of the storm was expected to hit to the South and East.  So my brother will need to deal with more snow than I will be dealing with. Thankfully, I'm not in Boston, where they expect that a foot or more of the white stuff will be dumped up there.

- - - - - -

What makes this storm worse than normal is that the barometric pressure readings are similar to a Summer hurricane. And once the storm passes, we will see the daytime temperature drop into the teens and the single digits, making it worse for anyone who has to go outside.

Although I intend to clean my car off tomorrow morning, I am not sure if the car will start in the cold weather. Assuming it does, I will go out for breakfast at Mickey D's, and give the car a chance to warm up and recharge the battery before returning home. There will be a lot of people with similar ideas out there, and I'll hope that my parking spot has been plowed out before I return home.

But I'm not going to think too much about tomorrow right now.  Instead, I'm going to watch the news and see what's going on from the comfort of a warm apartment....

- - - - - -

PS: We got the 3"-4" around here. But other areas, such as Long Island, got 8"-12" of snow.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Stocking up before the big snowstorm

This is how my parking lot looked during the last big storm.  It was pretty for a while, and then the cleanup began.  Everything I did today was with this coming headache in mind.

- - - - - -

When I got up this morning, I had the following things on my docket:
  1. Volunteering at the GLBT Center
  2. Lunch with Lili

    Realistically, I should have included a third item in the list:
  3. Food shopping to get me through the next few days.
Although I have more than enough food in my freezer, I prefer eating fresh food to thawed food. And this meant that I'd make a run down to Stew Leonard's for some tasty grub.

By the time I made it out of my house, it was nearing 2 pm, and Lili hadn't yet called in regard to lunch.  I figured that she forgot about it (which she did), and that my day would be made less complex because I didn't have to exchange Xmas gifts today.  On the way down to the GLBT Center, the weathermen were predicting 1"-3" North and West of NYC, and up to 6" South and East of NYC.  This was going to change for the worse, and I'm glad that I was well prepared for the storm.

Once at the GLBT Center, I was given a couple of mindless tasks - both of which kept me occupied for the almost 2 hours I was there.  When I left, I was finally able to reach Pat (my former hypnotist) and catch up a little.  She had been away from Mid-December, seeing her daughter in LA, and then her sister in Denver. This was a big treat for her, as she is getting old, doesn't have any money, and may not have the chance to take a trip like this again.  We agreed that we'd try to meet next week, so that we can catch up on what has gone on in our lives since we last met.

- - - - - -

After talking with Pat, I decided to drive home.  So I called GFJ, and talked about her movie night with the gals, and I realized that it was in my best interest to avoid the Fishkill area while presenting as Marian.  So, instead of driving to Fishkill and walking through Walmart, and then seeing DD at The Avenue, I decided to drive back to Yonkers to window shop there and then go to Stew Leonard's.

As I expected, there was nothing new in the Yonkers store, especially since they were preparing for inventory inspection. My favorite worker there was too busy to even chat, and the sweater I bought for GFJ wasn't available there in my size. So it was off to Stew's for some food shopping and some damage to my bank account.  And damage, I did.... One thing about Stew's meats, they are not cheap. But they are good.  Today, I didn't see any bargains in the store. As a result, I ended up buying items from my typical Stew's shopping list - Pastrami, Lobster Rolls, Ready to bake Pizza, and fresh fruit. And yet, I still didn't get out of there with less than a few double sawbucks worth of wallet damage.

- - - - - -

I expect that tomorrow's game night will be cancelled. And this means I'll likely be doing laundry.  My late wife saying that word still rings in my ear, as she was so pleasantly childish how the spoke it.  No matter how old I get, how involved I am in a new relationship I become, my memories of the past will always come back when the snow falls and I'm alone in my thoughts. Luckily, these are pleasant memories for the most part, and I can enjoy that brief glimpse back in time through my memories.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Quickie: My first time en-femme in a week.

As you can see, I have a messy bedroom.  But I finally had a chance to go out as Marian after a week of going out as Mario.

- - - - - -

When I started this entry, the NYC area was in the middle of a cold spell.  The overnight temperatures were expected to hit the single digits in this suburb, and I wanted to go out dressed as a cisgender female would do.  So, instead of wearing a dress, as I usually would wear, I put on a pair of fleece lined tights and wore some women's trousers over them.  It's not as comfortable as what I normally would wear. But most women tend to avoid dresses and skirts in cooler weather, and I didn't want to stand out.

Given that I had a relatively empty refrigerator, I decided to go to the local buffet for a bite to eat. And I enjoyed the change of pace, knowing that I rarely go to buffets these days.  It was also nice to be addressed as "Miss" and not the dreaded masculine word.  Although I could have gone elsewhere afterwards, I decided to go home.  There wasn't much I needed to do outside the house, and I figured that I could get much more comfortable than if I had gone window shopping.