Friday, November 17, 2017

Codenames and Lotus - a nice way to spend an evening.

Today was a day of volunteering followed by some games.  I won't go deep into volunteering today, as it was more of the same old thing - updating the GLBT Center's online presence. But I will go into everything else that happened during the day....

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Over the past week, I have been monitoring the price for an eleven day Eastern Caribbean Cruise that I could buy for under $50 per day. As of today, enough people have jumped on this deal, so that the price per day (before tax and tip) is close to $65 per day.  Since there is no single person supplement, this is still a very affordable cruise.  I've discussed this with several people, and I still may book the cruise tomorrow if the current price is still available to me.

After my late afternoon visit to the GLBT center, I made my way down to game night with a stop at Panera for dinner. It was a very small gathering today, as two of our regulars didn't show up. This allowed for more intimate gaming.  The first game of the night was San Juan, and I lost (as usual). But then my luck changed when we played Lotus, as all the cards kept falling my way. Eventually, we got to playing Codenames, and I did fairly well with clue giving and clue receiving. It's not my favorite game, but it is something which I can play for a little while and stay interested.

One thing I noticed during tonight's game play was that my subconscious was ready to make my play as soon as another player finished his/her turn.  It must be anxious for things to happen - as if hearing the right kinds of sounds triggers me to do things without thought.  This can be quite helpful when I've been thinking ahead and I can make my move based off of someone's action, but it's not useful when I have to pay attention to who is making that action. 

I was starting to get tired early, and left before 11 pm.  Even though I stopped into the White Plains Walmart to buy some things, they had changed their hours and closed at 11 sharp.  For the heck of it, I decided to fly up to Mohegan Lake to see if they had the storage containers I wanted. They did not.  But M, my favorite Walmart stocking clerk was there, and we chatted for a while.  Hopefully, she'll be able to make it to a late lunch next week, as it would be nice to see her outside of work.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

BBQ with RO

It's been a while since RO and I got together.  So unless she were to cancel, there was no way that I was going to miss a chance to socialize with a friend in Marian Mode....

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Although I got up earlier than usual this morning, it took me a while to get moving for the day. But once I was moving, I was up and running and out the door by 1 pm. Although I had clear sailing to Long Island, it took me forever to go the last miles to RO's house.

I had time to kill once I crossed the bridge, so I thought I'd be able to do some window shopping at Lane Bryant and have a cup of coffee nearby.  Unfortunately, traffic was still jammed to the bridges, and any route I'd take from the shopping center I rested at would be overcrowded. So I planned to take side roads out to Nassau County. Sadly, even the side roads were no relief, since I oozed Eastward on Northern Boulevard and encountered traffic jams on every route that would take me across both the Long Island Expressway and the Northern State Parkway.

Eventually, I made it to RO's place and we then made it out to Target and then to Walmart to do some shopping for things other than clothes. After this, we both were famished, so it was off to Famous Dave's for BBQ.  "YUM!" is all I can say when I think of BBQ. And RO was very glad that I chose this place.  While there, we talked about her relationship with her boyfriend and issues I have to deal with for the co-op.  Even though I enjoyed the food, I know I can't have it too often, as it is very salty and would do a number on my blood pressure readings.

Sadly, our evening had to come to an end. Hopefully, we'll be able to get together again before the holidays.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Election Day

It's Election Day, and things are going not as well as I'd like. Nothing really bad happened to me, but there are some sad things that I must note for the beginning of the day.  First, a long delayed meeting with M, an acquaintance from my night time visits to Walmart, got called in for an extra shift - and there went coffee or tea in Peekskill. Then, Vicki had to end the possibility of getting together for a second week in a row, as her brother in law is dying and her husband is helping to make end-of-life plans for his brother.  It's a sad start to the day, but not something earth shattering to me. If anything, it would prod me into seeing my dad, as I will already be in Mario mode for part of the day.

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After getting dressed as Mario, it was out the door and on to vote.  Luckily, the place is very close, and I also didn't have to wait long to vote.  If I were planning on going back to Marian mode for the day, I could have done so, and would have done so if I were going out later as Marian.  When I arrived, I found one of my neighbors was manning the polling place. Once I cast my ballot, I noted that she should have been at our public meeting with our lawyer, so that she could have her concerns about her upstairs neighbor addressed. Since she give the "it's the co-op's problem, why should I take any active interest in protecting my interests?" attitude, I've resolved to tell both her and her upstairs neighbor not to bother with me with their crap again. Neither of them were willing to talk to our lawyer at the public meeting for free. Why should I bother to help people who won't bother to help themselves?

Next, it was off to see my dad.  It's been a while since I've seen him, and I wanted to make sure that I see him before Thanksgiving in case I make other plans for the day. It was a pleasure crossing the bridge today, as I didn't need to slow down for toll booths anymore. Although there was a traffic slowdown on the bridge due to construction, it was much easier to tolerate than the traffic that once backed up at the toll booths.

When I reached my dad, I knew that I wouldn't have much time there. But it was about 45 minutes of really good time before I had to leave. Even then, I knew that I was going to hit the rush hour traffic jams on the way home. Again, I was very glad that the toll booths were not going to cause any problems for me on the way home.  By the time I made it to the Bronx, the rains began to come down hard, and I was glad that I didn't have to be "outside" on a day like this. It took me a little over an hour and a half to get home (excluding a stop for food), and once home, in for the night.

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If I were out to my family, I'd have gone shopping today.  Several of the stores I enjoy browsing through are a short drive from my dad's nursing home. Instead, since I voted and stayed as Mario, at least I can say that I was one of the voters who, by voting Democrat, helped nudge this country a little bit towards the left.  If I were in one Virginia district, I'd certainly have voted for Danica Roem, a Trans Woman whose victory I celebrate today.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Quickie: Politics (The run up to Election Day.)

I started writing this entry on the day before Election day.  Normally, I often have events that cause me to miss non-presidential elections. But this year, I've made it a point to vote.  One problem - I have gotten very annoyed by the sheer number of "get out the vote" calls that have been making it to my phone.

Years ago, congress exempted itself and other political entities from having to refer to "Do not call" lists to determine whether to call a potential contributor or a potential voter. This means that every year around election day, many of us are subject to a countless number of calls imploring us to vote for their candidates.  Promises are made, and relatively few are kept.  Sadly, campaign promises are just as worthless as a statement coming from Sarah Sanders (Trump's current press secretary). And I've learned not to believe any of them. Instead, I look at the results a leader has achieved over the years, and vote for that person if I feel s/he has gotten the job done (or has tried to do an impossible job).

So far, I've received 3-4 campaign calls today. And I'll be glad when the election season ends tomorrow. Maybe then, my phone can return to its usual set of scam messages from overseas scammers.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Quickie: Before and After

Before After

Let's ignore some of the imperfections in the process which adjusted the image on the left to that on the right. I have stumbled into a site which can help give you an idea of how one's face might look with a little plastic surgery.  No, this site ( is not meant for transgenders as much as it is geared for cisgender folk to have their faces photoshopped a little and to look good in a retouched photo.

I'll admit that I wouldn't use this photo when going to a plastic surgeon. But it does give me an idea of what I'd ask him to do and to be better able to visualize my future look.  Alice Novic (of Alice in Genderland) notes that the shape of one's face and one's hairstyle is very important to having a good female presentation.  If one has to live both as a male and a female, the way I read Dr. Novic's writing is that the lower part of the face is key to being seen as a woman, and that a good hairstyle can do wonders.

Given what Lili's plastic surgery is going to cost, I know I'll have to go back to work before committing to surgery of my own. But if I can finally lose some weight, I hope to be able to treat myself to a much more androgynous face to go with the feminine voice I'm working on with the help of the folks at Mercy College.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A voice for Marian and a dinner with Vicki

This morning, I woke up early to go to speech therapy.  Even though I didn't have enough sleep the night before (a constant problem for me), I got to Mercy College awake and alert for the session.  I'm going to be a little sad when this semester ends, as I've grown to like these two women - both of whom are less than half my age.

When I arrived, they were ready for me. (it's usually a flip of the coin whether one of us will be 5 minutes late.)  So, I went to the session room and the ladies showed me 3 books which we could use for phrases to help improve my vocal inflections. One of them I've had the pleasure of reading before: "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves."  This gave me the opening to tell the following old and slightly ribald joke:

An American woman meets a Koala in an Australian pub. He wines and dines her, then they go back to her hotel room.  They make mad, passionate love. And all too early, he climaxes. At that point, he starts getting dressed and makes his way to the door. She asks:

"Why are you going so soon?"

He responds,

"I'm a Koala."

She says,

"What does that mean?"

And he replies,

"Look at the definition of a Koala in your dictionary."

She opens the dictionary and reads:

"Koala, n.: An Australian mammal that eats shoots and leaves."

Yes, it's an old joke.  But it illustrates the importance of using correct punctuation in modern writing.

After the session, I drove out to New Jersey and picked up a nice casual shirt that I can wear with the feminine jeans I picked up the other day. And then, I made it back to New York to rest before getting together with Vicki.

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At home, I rested a little while. Then, I changed from the feminine shirt and trouser combination I wore in the morning into a little black dress that I'd be wearing this evening.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and then it was time to share our desserts. As you can see, I look terrible in pictures these days, and may consider facial plastic surgery once I can lose some weight.

Sadly, Vicki will soon go in for surgery herself. But in her case, it will be to prevent a problem she has from getting worse and crippling her.  One of her 3 medical problems is related to her ligaments compressing her spinal column.  With the damage already done to her vertebrae, she will always be in pain. But with the operation, she will likely not become a cripple.

All too soon, our dinner had to end.  We may end up going to another restaurant for the end of Restaurant Week.  If so, I'll have to change museum plans with my niece.  I'll deal with that problem if it comes up.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A postponed visit to the doctor

The yearly physical.  A day in which the doctor tells me I'm too fat (something I already know), too inactive (that's obvious), and have too many unhealthy habits (chocolate, liquor and sex - are there any better pastimes in this world? 😁)  But to be serious, I'm going to miss this doctor when he retires, as he has been around since my wife and I had our mandated blood test many years ago....

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Whenever I go to my doctor, I try to schedule as many activities as Mario as possible. Today, this meant trying to schedule an evening with the Cat Lady, as well as dropping off a coin deposit at the local bank. If I had known that there would be difficulties at the doctor's office, this would likely have been a day spent as Marian, with no tentative plans for the Cat Lady.

Normally, I schedule my doctor's appointments for 10 am on a Friday.  This is when his office is least busy.  Today, it was quieter than usual.  There was a sign posted on the front door of the office warning people that there was no parking on his side of the street on the first Friday of the month. So I had to rush outside and move my car across the street before coming back to the office. And then I had to wait and wait.  Talking with the receptionist, she noted that they have had 2 nurses in a 2 month span. One of them was fired, and the other quit. So they were without a nurse, and had to send patients out for blood work. Then, the EKG machine they use was broken. So that part of the appointment would have to be covered in another visit. AARGH!  Since they likely wouldn't have a new nurse around for 2 weeks, we rescheduled this appointment for 3 weeks from now, in hope that all of these little issues would be resolved by then.

Sadly, I found out that the doctor is not participating in any Obamacare plan coverage. As a result, this next visit may end up being my last visit to this doctor.  At least, I'll have had a yearly physical before coverage changes....