Sunday, January 22, 2017

Breast Forms - An essential set of items for a M2F Transgender person to have

Compare the two pictures above of the same lady.  She is a breast cancer survivor.  As a cisgender female, she has a luxury that none of us transgender folk will have - her whole body sends out cues to tell the world that she is a woman - even without the breasts that (sadly) had to be removed because of cancer.  (I hope she's a long term survivor.  I can easily say that no one deserves to die from cancer, having lost a wife to that dreaded disease.)

For many of us M2F transgender folk, we often do not have a clue about breast size, and what size prosthesis we need to use. I figure that one should use a little common sense.  First, you must find out what your band size would be,  (I'll let you look up how to measure that.)  And then the fun begins.  You should then find a few internet sites that sell women's clothes, and look to find an average cup size available for that band.  Once you determine the average cup size for someone with your band size, go up a cup size - and voila! you now know what size bra you need.  Yet, this is only a first step in the process. You must go to an outlet such as The Breast Form Store to start shopping - and there you will find charts to tell you the size of breast form needed to fill out that bra you'll likely be buying.

Today, I received a set of swim forms which I intend to use in the hot tub on my autumn cruise. They do not project as much as I'd like.  But they will do the job with I am cruising with Lili - filling out a woman's swimsuit in an appropriate way.  And given their size, I probably will be able to use them after I have lost some weight, as they seem a little small - which will be not be as much of a liability as I lose weight.

Soon, I will be buying replacements for the breast forms I use today.  After 3-4 years of use, it's time to replace them, and they do show their age. And yes, I'll likely go to the Breast Form Store again, as I don't want to pay the expenses of going to a nearby "mastectomy boutique" for items I can get by mail.

Hopefully, they will find a better "cure" for breast cancer - something better than removing a part of a woman's body that is a part of her identity.  Until they do this, I'll be glad that these forms are available for women, as every little bit more feminine a woman can see herself, the healthier she will feel about herself and about life. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lunch with one of the ladies

I had only one thing on the docket for today: Lunch with the lady who introduced me to Arts Westchester. And, of course, I'd be going in Marian Mode.

- - - - - -

Waking up this morning, I knew that it would be a day fully spent en-femme. GFJ wouldn't be coming here until tomorrow, and I'd have a full day to socialize as Marian.  So, when the alarms woke me this morning, I made it to the dresser and pulled out a bra and panties, then made my way to the bathroom to get myself ready for a day en-femme.

As usual, I was running a few minutes late, and made it to lunch shortly after 1:00 pm. Parking was horrendous, as this restaurant (Sam's of Gedney Way) was fully booked. But I got my proof that this restaurant was located over the path the former NYB&W railroad once ran. So when I got upstairs, I was pleased to find my friend sitting at a table across from the bar.  We talked of many things (as women will do), and time seemed to pass without us being aware of it. But all too soon, it was time to go - and both of us took our leave.

GFJ was preoccupied with her mom in the hospital.  Although they did some tests at 10:00 am, no one bothered to give her any results until after 3:00 pm.  It's amazing how hospitals and doctors can find ways to waste one's time.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to speak to GFJ until the evening, so all I could do is exchange text messages to get current status.

After lunch, I made it across the river, and drove down to Catherine's to again go bra shopping.  This time, I found an underwire bra in a style I liked.  I figure that I should get used to wearing underwire bras occasionally, as cisgender women do so all the time, and I want to be able to "complain" from my own experiences about as many headaches cisgender women have to put up with as a part of life.  (In short, why should I get a "hall pass" because I am transgender?)

Once done there, I drove home via the overland route and packed it in for the evening. I wasn't in the mood to see BXM (even if she was available), nor did I have the energy to do much of anything else. So, I called it a night a bit earlier than planned.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My monthly lunch with the ladies and more.

From the get-go, I knew that today was going to be a busy day.  Not only did I have a lunch meetup with the ladies, but I also had my Thursday volunteering session at the GLBT center and Game Night in Yonkers to go to.  And yet, there were some things that I couldn't have expected for the day.

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Getting up, I knew that I had only a limited amount of time to shower, shave, do my makeup, get dressed, and get out the door. And I squandered a little more time than I planned, getting out of the house a little after noon for a 12:30 pm lunch in White Plains.  When I finally got to the restaurant, I didn't think to look in the downstairs dining room - and wasted a couple more minutes. So, when I finally met the 5 other ladies, they were already placing their lunch orders - and I had to make mine on the fly.

There was a new lady there today, and it seems as if she'll become a regular.  When we gave our introductions, I found out that she lives 10 minutes away.  I wouldn't mind having her as another female friend of Marian's, being seen as just another woman interested in friendship.  As usual, we had a lively conversation, and it ended too soon - all because the parking meters were running out.

- - - - - - 

Sometime during the day, I got a call from GFJ, who told me that her 93 y/o mom had to be taken to the hospital.  The chambers of her heart were starting to beat out of sync.  So she'll be prescribed another type of pill, be told to watch her diet even more closely, and be observed to make sure that the palpitation doesn't happen again.  Of course, this means that our weekend plans may be totally screwed up because of her mom.  But this would give me the ability to catch up on other social engagements that require GFJ not be present.

- - - - - -

Around 3:00 pm, I arrived at the GLBT center, and there wasn't that much work to do. I was given the task of setting up a few calendar entries for their new web site, and was finished well before 4:00 pm. When I asked the director about the other GLBT organization in White Plains, he said that they broke away, in part, because of issues related to transgender people. Given that I never heard of this organization before, I'll bet that they are operating on a worn shoestring, and do not have many members.

When I left the GLBT center, I called Pat.  Unfortunately, she was still suffering with a cols and didn't want to pass it on.  So I decided to mosey to Yonkers via the "scenic route", stopping into the new Barnes and Noble in Eastchester.  Bit having in this building since Borders closed, I was curious to see how the store was remodeled. And I can surely say that this is a relatively unique store.  Not only did it appear to have a small restaurant in the area once used by Borders for a coffee shop, but it had a separate counter where various beers were available. I figure that Barnes and Noble is shifting from a bookstore that coincidentally had a coffee shop to a bar/restaurant that just happens to sell books.

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Once done at the book store, I drove to Panera Bread for dinner, and then to game night.  As usual, I didn't win any games, but I had a good time.  On the way home, I called GFJ to catch up on the day. Her mom was being kept by the hospital for observation, but was not being admitted. (This is another way of sucking even more money from the patient.)  So GFJ will be staying there on Friday, go back to the office on Saturday to catch up on some work, and possibly go back to Connecticut to see her mom again.  If this ends up being the case, I'm not sure of what I'll do to fill up the weekend - but I might end up calling either the "Cat Lady" or RO to see if they have last minute availability.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Now that GFJ's away, Marian comes out to play.

It's Wednesday, and GFJ has finally left to live her life. She has swimming to go to, followed by a massage, and then to work - where she'll be until late in the evening.  This gave me a free day to get out and about as Marian, and it's not something I usually intend to waste.

- - - - - -

Although the weather was nice for much of the day, there was a part of me that just wanted to stay inside snug and cozy under the covers of my blanket. And that is what I did until almost 4:30 pm, when the UPS driver came to deliver my new wig. When I heard his truck come, I quickly hopped into my trousers and a shirt so that I could sign for the package at the door.

Given that the weather was going to be bad later on, I decided not to take my new wig out of the box for tonight's outing.  Instead, I used my "current" good wig to complete my transformation into Marian, and out the door I went.  As I often do, I drove to Newburgh and decided to go shopping at The Avenue.  And this time, I found some Ponte knit jeans and a sweater that looked nice on me.  So I splurged and bought them, giving me something I could wear when the weather becomes too cold for me to wear either a skirt or a dress.

While at The Avenue, I mentioned that I just got a Jury Duty questionnaire. Considering that I hate the idea of trekking to Lower Manhattan because of the inconveniences of my commute and not getting paid enough to cover my commuting expenses, I am hoping that I am able to get out of service. But if I have to go, I don't want my service to interfere with my upcoming PMP prep course, my upcoming cruise, or my job search.  Yet, if I am called to serve when the weather is cool, DD says that I should go in Marian Mode and have some fun with it.  (It's nice to be able to be open with the gals about being transgender.  Mind you, they see enough "vanilla" cross dressers that they might get confused about my transgender nature.)

- - - - - -

I was the last customer of the day at the store, and the metal gates closed behind me as I left.  On my way home, I returned a call from Patty - and we caught up on what was going on in our lives.  Hopefully, we will find a way for the 4 of us to meet soon.  Next on the way home was a call with GFJ - she won't have to go to her family funeral, as her sister is saying that the in-laws aren't expecting GFJ to drive most of the way to Boston from the Catskills.

When I reached home, I found a message on my machine.  My cousin received a message from another relative that another cousin's wife (the one I wrote about in a prior entry) had finally passed away.  There will be no wake, no funeral, nor any other gathering to commemorate her life.  I can't imagine doing this myself, and I hope it's for reasons that I could understand.  So I picked up a sympathy card from the local store, addressed it, and sent it out post haste.

- - - - - -

On the whole, it was a good day.  But not one I'd want to repeat.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Several days with GFJ

This weekend, GFJ was scheduled to come over on Saturday. This allowed me to have a Chinese dinner with the gals, and a restful sleep.

You might be asking why did I mention "Restful Sleep?"  Well, after 20 years of (mostly) sleeping alone, I am still not used to the feeling of again having my body intertwined with someone else's body. It takes time to get used to again.

- - - - - -

Instead of coming over on Saturday, GFJ arrived on Sunday afternoon - after the worst of the snow storm had ended, and when the roads had been cleared. We caught up on lost time being together, and made plans to go to the Bronx Botanical Garden. The train show was about to end and we thought that after reading their website that Monday would be the best day to visit.  Wrong!  The mobile website did not mention that on Monday, the place would be closed....

- - - - - -

Monday came, and we trekked to the Bronx, and made our attempt to visit the garden, only to be brushed away by a parking lot attendant.  So, what did we end up doing instead?  Since Arthur Avenue was nearby, we decided to see what was going on there.  Neither of us know the area that well, nor did we know the good places to eat.  We ended up getting some pastries (yummy) to go, and stopped into a local pizza joint - which was a big mistake.  The pizza was mediocre, and I wonder if the place had another business going on that only locals would know about.

Before I go too far, I must mention that neither of us bothered to wear our carpal tunnel wrist supports.  Both of us injured ourselves in similar ways (at different times), and are in different stages of the healing process.  I avoided wearing mine, as I had used it all night and wanted a daytime break.  She avoided wearing hers during the day, as it was a major headache to go to the bathroom and clean herself properly.  Until you see a female take care of this mundane task, you'd never think that an injured paw could cause such inconvenience to a person. Before you get any thoughts about GFJ, this knowledge comes via a weekend spent in the Poconos 15+ years ago with an ex girlfriend and a bathroom that had a full sized hot tub, a toilet, and a bidet all in view of each other.

Later on in the day, it was off to see some of GFJ's friends at a coffee shop in Cornwall, NY.  The objective was to play a few games of Scrabble, but I bowed out after the first game. The ladies are more social players than I am at this game, and my style of play could have been disruptive had I not started to kibitz.  On the way home, I chatted with Lili, and she mentioned that her new boyfriend lost his job. We both told her NOT to let him move in with her before we lost the phone signal in the hills near West Point.

- - - - - -

It took forever for GFJ and I to get moving on Tuesday.  Neither of us wanted to get out of bed, since it was so warm and comfortable. But we eventually got moving, and left for the Bronx Botanical Garden and its yearly train show.

This time, there were people in the parking lot, and we paid our admission to get in.  The first thing I noticed was the three decorated trees we saw walking over to the conservatory building.

It was a nice way to begin our walk through the complex.  Once inside the conservatory building, we encountered the first exhibit.  Albeit, this was a plug for one of the sponsors of the show.

Then, it was off to the main exhibition.  And this is what most people come to see at this time of year.

Of course, the pictures I shot could and would never do this show justice. But it is not meant for those who are fans of model railroading as much as it is a show meant to entertain people with what can be done with plant materials being the settings for model train layouts.

Once we were done with the train show, it was on to the rest of the conservatory building, where we looked at some interesting plants.  This is not a place where I'd visit more than once every few years, but I found the images very interesting.

There were a lot of beautiful plants there, but I could not photograph them well enough to do them justice, so I figured that I'd take the best of what I captured and post them for my readers to see.

After we were done at the conservatory, it was off to the library for an exhibition they had at that building.  Unlike our first stop, there wasn't much to see there.  At least, we got a mile or so worth of walking done at the Botanical Garden, and this was good for both of us....

- - - - - -

PS: I finally reached the Doctor's office, and I got good news.  No bones were broken, but it will take time for my strained muscles to heal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting ready to go out

One of the things I take for granted in my daily routine is makeup. As much as I have been told that I do a very good job at it, I am far from an expert. Instead, this T-Gal has had it lucky, as she got a simple formula from an expert, and has been able to use it religiously without change since then.

Shortly after I started going out as Marian, I had the opportunity to go to Fantasia Fair. This was a great learning opportunity for me, as I had the chance to meet with other transgender folk, both M2F and F2M. For the first time, I could see that I was far from alone in feeling that I should have been born as a cisgender female, and that I could learn the skills to socialize as a female.

At the Fair, I had the opportunity to have my face made up by Jim Bridges.  He was an expert at makeup, and gave me a simple guide to the makeup process I use today.

For the most part, I use this guide today, save that instead of using the liquid makeup that he sold me, I use creme makeup from Dermablend and from Ben Nye (Beard Cover). Since I'm lazy (or just afraid to make mistakes), I avoid doing anything "heavy duty" for evening looks. What I mean is that I don't do "date night" or other specialty applications. In short, I've perfected a routine, and don't change it much from day to day.

When one does something well, eventually someone will ask you for help with that something. And I still find it hard to believe that a couple of years ago (yes, it's been that long), GFJ asked me for help with her makeup.  Of course, there could have been something else going on that she never will talk about. But I have my secrets too. And a smart woman never tells too much....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Counting the days - and being worried for many reasons

We're counting down the days left until Trump's inauguration.  And a lot of people fear what will happen because of who he has nominated to his cabinet.  There is much to be worried about, and no amount of "calm down" messages can ease the worries of many transgender people.

Going "Stealth" is not an option for many of us, as certain physical characteristics give us away.  For example, I am a very heavy person, and my size triggers thoughts of me being a "man in a dress". Other TG's have other obvious male characteristics such as big noses, thick ankles/wrists, brow ridges, Adam's apples, etc. that give them away as M2F transgenders.  In many urban areas, we are relatively safe. But this doesn't apply to the rest of the country.

I am very concerned that after Trump's win, that many of the bathroom bills are coming back with a vengeance.  Trump's deal with the devil is creating an unacceptable new normal, a normal where it is OK to assault minority groups of all kinds.  We're seeing that his election was (in part) aided by election fraud and by foreign meddling with our process.  And yet, this man wants (needs?) to appear that he can do no wrong.

Like Keith Olbermann, I believe the GOP will need to remove Trump from power eventually. This will leave us with an equally offensive person in power, Mike Pence.  So, what can we do?  I'm lucky, as I live near New York City, and can count on it being hard for the right wing wingnuts to hurt us here. But what about the rest of us?  Right now, we much start building friendship networks, showing people that we are not sick - we are just different. We much teach people not to live in fear. It's easy where I live.  But what about areas where people have suffered because we have a rotten social safety net?  We can't take a direct tack - people who live in fear are often unable to challenge that fear head on.

So I suggest that we present a message that takes advantage of Trump's flip flopping and lying.  If someone says that the president supports "this", then quote him as supporting "that". Create cognitive dissonance, so that people will want to question the status quo.  It won't be easy, but what else can we do while mobilizing for the 2018 congressional elections?