Monday, September 30, 2013

Quickie: Out and about at the dentist

I don't know why, but I felt like I'd have some fun when I saw my dental hygienist for my thrice yearly teeth cleaning. We have a good rapport, so I told her that I had some fun with the TSA agents while on my recent cruise, and there's nothing they could do about it.... Of course, she bit at the bait, and when I showed her pictures of me in Marian Mode, she couldn't believe it. But then, I showed her more pictures - and she enjoyed them.  

Normally, I would not have done this. But I wanted to have fun, and I wasn't worried about this lady - we've had a rapport since she started working with my dentist about 5+ years ago. Yet, she effectively confirmed that acceptance of the transgendered individual is a generational issue. When I spring this on younger adults, they think nothing of it. Older people have different reactions, in part, because they tend to couple "normalcy" with both gender presentation and gender preference.

So - my advice to other transgendered people is: When you out yourself for the first time, try to do so amongst the younger set. They are more "hip" than their parents....

It's just another day...

This weekend, I was scheduled to meet up with GFL, her daughter, and her grandson for some Apple Picking -OR- a trip to the Garlic Festival.  Since K (remember her) was going to be enjoying some "Vampire Repellent", it made sense for me to break the news that I wanted her as a friend, but was seeing GFL - if only to avoid a very awkward moment.  In the end, I didn't need to be that cautious. We ended up going apple picking - and were at least 50 miles away from the aroma of the stinking rose. But it was a good thing - as it finally put the issue of K as a girlfriend far behind me, and kept me able to speak honestly about things, being able to tell GFL that there is no one else in my life.

But what does this have to do with being Transgender, you may ask?  Well, in my case, as I've noted before, GFL will need to be able to accept me in Marian Mode (in person) in order for me to make a long term commitment to her.

Apple Picking was a comedy of errors, a traffic jam getting in and out of the orchard, and dinner that had GFL's grandson spill GFL's beer over my clothes. (Add to this, forgetting where we put the car in a 188 acre hilly orchard, and you get 3 adults being totally exhausted by the come of evening.)  GFL's grandson is a cute child, and like most 1+ year olds, is a terror.  (And I'm glad he is.... he's a normal, healthy boy!) By the time we ended up heading back to our homes, I mentioned to GFL that I didn't have my change of clothes with me.  Although that was true, I had no energy to do much of anything - GFL would have been very disappointed to have me reach her house, and then fall dead asleep.

The next day, I ended up going with Lili to her mother's place.  And, as usual, I went en-femme. Unlike other visits, my heart wasn't into being with Lili or her mother - I just wanted to go home. And this showed, as I was constantly looking at my watch.  This bothered Lili, as this was the first time in 3 weeks that she saw her mom.

On our way home, we ended up in Co-Op City, and stopped into the Plus Sized Women's stores there.  (I needed a black camisole, and at 2 for $20, they were bargains.)  And I am almost done setting the base of my second wardrobe. It'll be hard to give up much of the fun in hunting down clothes that I want. I guess I have more of a woman's mind than I'd have first thought. However, when we went to Panera Bread after shopping, I may have heard that one dreaded word..... "Sir".   It could have been worse.  As I've said in other posts, as long as I am treated with respect, I won't sweat the details. But it took some of the shine off the day.

So I'll close tonight's last entry with this little tune....

Another Day

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New Gaming Venue - and other items of note

As I've noted in earlier posts, I've started going to meetups en-femme, and introducing myself as Marian instead of my male name. So far, everyone I've met has been very accepting, and no one has made any comments about my soft voice. Tonight was the first meetup I've gone to in a private house, and the first I've gone to after my cruise en-femme.

Now, in order for me to have reached this meetup on time, I'd have to have gotten home by 5:45, and out the door by 6:30. This was not bound to happen.  I left my office later than I'd have liked, and caught the 5:13 out of Grand Central. When I arrived at home, I had to make several calls. First, it was to Lili, as she had a couple of dresses that she'd like to see me wearing. Then it was to my therapist, so I could reschedule my appointment, so that I could go to my co-op's board meeting. (Note: After this meeting, myself, the managing agent and one board member will arrange a hen party - where I will be one of the girls...) And only then, would I get the chance to morph into Marian for the evening.

By the time I got out of my apartment, I was over 30 minutes late. And I had to stop by the laundromat, so I would have linens for my cleaning lady to put on my bed. (Too bad that my dry cleaning isn't ready yet - I'd like to have my fancy dresses hanging safely in my closet.) Once I picked up my laundry, it was off to Yonkers and the gaming meetup.

Well, the meetup was in an easy to reach location. One problem - I forgot to bring my offering of soda and chips. So I searched for 15 minutes for a CVS, Grocery Store, or any store that would sell "goodies". As a result, I ended up 60 minutes late. But it was worth the effort - I had a great time, and no one commented on my appearance or my voice. It's truly nice being accepted as a woman.

As usual, I got involved in several games.  It seems like "Dixit" is one that many gamers have. And I'm glad - it's fun. Of the games so far that I've played with the two groups, Dixit, "Cards Against Humanity", and "Anomia" are my favorites so far. None of these games force you to think that much, yet they are challenging at the same time.

In one sense, I wish "my brother" had attended this meetup - there was one woman there who was my age and had no ring on her finger. (Don't tell GFL - "my brother" will always have roving eyes. But that's where it will stop.  "His" late wife always said - "you are married, but not blind.") But I wasn't there to meet anyone for dating. I was there to play games and maybe make a new friend or two. And I'm sure I will be welcomed back at the next meetup.

Being in Marian Mode has become almost a second nature to me. I've almost made my makeup routine into a habit.  Getting dressed as a woman is also a habit - I have my routine of how I get dressed from having nothing on, and it doesn't seem to be changing much. (Yes, there are minor changes which depend on whether I'm wearing a dress or skirt. But these changes are mostly related to the wearing (or not) of hosiery.) So, I keep improving my time for changing into Marian Mode, and as I do so, am also getting better in making the change.


I've talked about my friend Lili at length, and today is another installment in the "Saga of Lili". Several months ago, she saw an ad on OK Cupid from a cross dresser looking for a woman to date. Well, Lili isn't into cross dressers, per se, but she did file away this man's information for future reference. Recently, he contacted Lili - and she rushed to put us together as friends. Although I was not in a hurry to meet this person, Lili gave him my phone number - and insisted that I call him at the number she gave me. She was upset when I stalled - she focused more on me wanting a friend with a similar interest, and not my wants - I prefer to associate with people I can learn from, and not those I have to teach. And this fellow is one I'd have to teach a lot.

So today, Lili contacted me, as she wanted me to look at a couple of dresses in one on-line store. Although they look good, they are not at the top of my shopping list. And then the conversation turned to this cross dresser. Since he is nowhere near passable, hanging out with him will take me out of stealth mode - and I can't afford that in this area. (I will discuss my transgender nature with anyone who asks. But openly advertising it in some areas can get one in trouble. So I choose stealth mode, out in the open for now....) And yet, I want to pass along what I know. In short, I want to pay it forward. So I thought of a perfect place to meet - the BDSM club I've attended, on their monthly night dedicated to help cross dressers perfect their presentations.


Of course, going back to work was a big downer - especially after the great time I had on my cruise. With the low amount of work on my plate, I feel it's only a matter of time before I'm made redundant. So I've been applying to any and all positions available in my firm which I may be suited for. Well, I have had a small nibble - but can't do much about it until the recruiter returns from Short Term Disability Leave....

And then, I stumbled onto a listing from a major media firm which had an opening for a person with my skill set. Although the position was open before I went on vacation, I applied for the position after I got back. Keep your fingers crossed for me....


This weekend will be the first that I see GFL since before my vacation. If all goes right, she'll have her daughter and grandson in tow, going to the apple orchard for some fall apple picking. It should be a perfect weekend to do so. Sooner, or later, she'll have to meet Marian in person, instead of only being with my male persona. But I'm still not pushing it.  However, I have to carve out some time in October to get together with some of my other friends - and I wonder how I'm going to do so.

In November, I'll be getting together with one of my friends from the "North Country".  I've written about C, and her husband, A before. And I'll be meeting her at the BDSM club I went to with S, and with Vicki. This will be one Saturday that I'll be carving out way in advance....


On a final note....

If you think I have a busy life - Lili would agree with you.  As for me, it's not as busy as you'd think.  For now, work is giving me a place to go each day, but it is not making me feel good, in the way it once did. Instead, it's what I do outside of work that nourishes me. And this exploration of my feminine persona is a very important part of that nourishment.

The end of a vacation...

For the past two weeks, I have taken advantage of Blogger's scheduling mechanism to allow me to set up daily posts for the time I was away on vacation, as well as setting up the daily posts for the entries describing my vacation en-femme. After this entry, I will go back to writing my posts on a daily basis.

As I'm writing this, I'm still thinking about events of the past week, as well as things I did today. While on the cruise, I spent some money on cosmetics, buying both Smashbox face powder and blush. You may be asking - Why?  I have a good routine with my beard cover and Dermablend. The answer is relatively simple. When I no longer need beard cover (or only a hint of it) due to my laser treatments, I may be able to switch away from the pancake makeup I've been using. This will have many advantages, the least of which will be not having to apply setting powder on my face *and* dealing with makeup stains on my clothes. 

Today, I decided to use the thinnest amount of beard cover that I could, and then used both a liquid foundation combined with the Smashbox products to make my face look nice. And I think I looked OK. (Sorry, no pictures today.)  So off I went to the consignment store in Waterbury, CT whose specialty is clothes for plus sized women.  Although I didn't find any dresses, pants, or skirts I'd be interested in, I did find two tops (one a QVC product which was probably shopped out at very low cost), and a light jacket from Eileen FIsher. (Once I put it on and saw that it fit, I jumped on it - $20 for this garment was cheap, and it looked good....).  Then it was off to The Avenue, where I saw a bit of stuff I wanted and could use, but didn't want to over extend myself. (I have a lot of bills coming due this month.) But I did end up buying a couple of watches there - this store and Lane Bryant are the only two stores that carry inexpensive watches that fit my wrists. And afterward, it was off to the Danbury Mall, where I ended up picking up two pairs of slacks.  (I wish I found the knee-hi's I wanted from JC Penney - I'll have to mail order them.)

Right now, my apartment is still in a state of chaos, not having completed my unpacking, nor having done any laundry. Tomorrow will be a work day (from home), where I'll have to catch up on the events of the past week, as well as taking care of some errands. (I want to see about stretching a wig I bought at Fantasia Fair, bringing the two formal outfits I wore on the cruise to the cleaners, and picking up some laundry (male wardrobe) from the laundromat.) If I'm lucky, I'll also be seeing an old acquaintance for dinner (in male mode.)

Normally, I'd take two weeks off at once. But this is not a normal year. Also, in the past, I wouldn't be writing a blog about my journey into a world of femininity.  But now, I can't see myself repressing this side of me anymore - and I want to share what I learn on this journey with others, making it easier for people to follow their paths to femininity.

It's interesting, all of the long term female friends I've had have noted that I need to be with a woman who can accept this side of me. I agree - there's no turning back for me at this point, as I've committed too much of myself to developing my female persona. In fact, I find that I don't want to go to any meetups en-homme. Instead, I want to have my female persona attend these gatherings. If anyone says anything, I can talk about being transgender. But no one has asked anything yet, preferring to play games to satisfying a curiosity....

After a little more than a year, I've learned a lot - and still have much left to learn. Many of the transgendered people I've met do not blog, and may be uncomfortable sharing their stories with a random public. Whereas, for me, I enjoy sharing what I've learned, as well as sharing the thought processes behind this learning. And I hope that seeing how I follow my path helps others, as they follow their paths....

Acceptance? (a meditation on what our goals should be.)

Over the past week or so, I have been seeing quite a few Facebook posts regarding the death of a beloved member of our community. And one person's posts affected me, not only because they illustrated how loved this person was, but because they illustrated why in life and in death, that being accepted as who we are is so important....

I won't go into details here - Sophie knew this woman, and speaks from her heart when she writes her blog. And Lisa was accepted and loved by her family. This is important, as at the funeral service, the minister kept referring to Lisa's male identity. He is one of all too many people who need to learn what being transgender is all about, so that family and friends aren't hurt again by the ignorance of the general population....

A week ago, I returned from a cruise where I was en-femme 24x7. I had no male identity to fall back on when socializing with strangers. And I felt accepted in the role I was in. But I was fortunate. I was in a relatively safe environment, traveling to relatively safe destinations. What would it have been like, had I traveled to less tolerant climes?

So the following questions come to mind:

  1. Was I accepted because I blended in well?
  2. Was I accepted because people were being polite?
  3. Was I accepted because people did not have enough clues to my natal gender?
In short, why did I feel accepted? Was I blind to what others consider obvious? Was this a fluke that applies only to my unique presentation?

As I see things, we must feel accepted to feel whole. Accepted by whom? To me the answer is obvious - the people who have the most meaning in our lives. If we are accepted by both friends and family, we are blessed.

So, should passing be our goal? Or, should acceptance be our goal?  Maybe, this is best answered by saying - "a little bit of both...."   We need to be reasonably passable, so that we won't be hassled because we are transgender, but instead be hassled because of the gender in which we are presenting. (Sounds strange, doesn't it?) And we must be accepted by people, otherwise we are likely to be sad and lonely.

Hopefully, we will all be accepted by those we care about most. But if not, I hope we're accepted by those people who are most important in our lives....

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Quickie: Looking forward to meetups

Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm looking forward to going to meetups en-femme. Having gone to a couple of gaming meetups before my cruise, I want to continue along this path towards developing new friendships. 

Since I've gone to these meetups en-femme, it's obvious that I'll be making these friendships in Marian Mode. And it's likely that I'll keep them separate from my male mode friendships. Why the separation, you may ask? Well, the friends who know me in both modes have a nasty habit of mixing pronouns when least expected. They get relaxed, and forget which mode I'm in. If in male mode, the wrong pronoun is used, there is less of a problem. But if in female mode, there can be major moments of awkwardness at best.

So, I'm looking forward to the future - and the potential relationships I'll build.  Even if I don't develop more than situational friendly acquaintances, it will still be a success for me. I'll be accepted for who I am, where I am, without questions....

Cruising - Day 8: Disembarkation

Day 8: Disembarkation.

Lili rose late as usual, while I showered, made up my face, and packed the remainder of my things into a small bag. She wanted to stay in bad until our disembarkation time, and I wanted to get breakfast before 9:00 am. My goal - clear out the room, and be considerate of the stewards, who must make ready all the rooms before the next group of passengers embark at 1:00 pm. Lili, on the other hand, doesn't care what trouble she causes for others - and if the stewards have more work to do in a shorter time, so be it.  I'm glad I don't have to live with her or work with her.

Lili finally got up around 9:00, and I was surprised to find out that she was sipping coffee while I was bringing her a cup to the now vacant stateroom. By the time my disembarkation time came at 10:30, I found the process amazingly quick, even though they did not properly identify where my bags were to be found. And, for one last time, I did my "It's Really Me!!!" line - and may have given the customs agent something to talk about.

We were out of the building by 11:00. But our ride didn't make it to the dock until 12:15 or so. This was frustrating to say the least. But I was home by 1:30, and was very glad....


I had planned something with Vicki for the evening.  We didn't make it because I got a little lost, and we didn't find a parking spot. So, instead, we decided to go to Arthur Avenue for dinner, and when that didn't pan out, to City Island. Vicki noted that my makeup skills have gotten much, much better, and that with the new wig, I now present very well.  She wants me to work on the voice, as with a longer conversation, the voice will start sounding inauthentic.

After describing this trip to Vicki, she mentioned that she doesn't want someone like Lili in her life.  So I won't arrange a meeting between these two friends of mine. Given the two friends, I cherish my friendship with Vicki more. She's well balanced, and is working on improving herself, while Lili is letting things destroy her. And, given that Vicki and I are reasonably healthy (of mind) individuals, neither of us needs to allow someone to suck the energy out of us....

So it's back to the old routine.  Will I explore my feminine side even more?  I hope I get the chance, time and money to do so. Until then, I plan to keep doing what has worked so well for me so far - being en-femme at least once each week, and continue the development of my feminine skills and my feminine persona.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cruising - Day 7: At Sea.

Day 7: At Sea.

Today is a day to prepare to leave the ship. This has been a very enjoyable week, living life en-femme, with no one making any snide comments within my earshot.

I've found that living en-femme has been a pain in some areas (e.g.: the usual lines at the woman's loo), but rewarding in others (e.g.: having the option of wearing pretty things, and not being treated as a freak for doing so.)  

Given my conversations with Lili, this will likely be my only cruise with her. She wants to go to places where I can't safely go en-femme. And I will likely have a girlfriend who will want me to share my vacation time with her. Assuming it is GFL, she will want me en-homme, as it facilitates her having romantic feelings. This will likely leave me with limits on my en-femme time - with Gender Conferences, Day Trips, and Occasional Weekends, all en-femme to take the edge off of things.

Packing is a big pain in the ass - especially, when I packed too much. But if I can get clothes into a bag once, I can do it again - and I did so....

Items of note on this cruise:
  1. GLBT is no longer that big a deal for people to meet at an unorganized meeting.
  2. AA/NA members have a tasteful way of attending daily meetings held on the ship. 
  3. Products for sale are relentlessly marketed on the cruise - some of them are good buys.
  4. Kitchen staff knew how to use leftover "raw" goods to make interesting food items on day 2 and day 3 of serving..
  5. Service was always attentive - and I felt like the staff really cared about doing their jobs well. 

What I have learned on this cruise:

  1. I'm reasonably presentable en-femme, and "pass" reasonably well.
  2. My "soft" voice is feminine enough for simple conversations, where I don't have to expound much on any subject. The longer someone else speaks, the easier it is for me to maintain the illusion I am female.
  3. I'd seriously consider going 24x7 if all things were in alignment.
  4. People who know me in both modes can't help but make pronoun mistakes when relaxed or when under stress.

Believe it or not, there was another ship trailing us off at the horizon.  I'll bet that it was the other ship that departed New York the day we left on this cruise.... 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cruising - Day 6: Halifax, NS

Day 6: Halifax, NS.

My one goal for my visit to Halifax was an excursion to Peggy's Cove. I was lucky in my previous two visits to be there before the media heard about this tiny, picturesque village and made it the tourist trap that it is now....

Bunking with Lili makes doing anything in the morning problematic. She hates getting up before noon, and was upset that I was trying to get dressed in time to have a morning breakfast. And though I was up early enough to get ready for a morning tour of Peggy's Cove, things conspired to prevent me from getting there until the afternoon tour.

As usual, I am meeting up with people, and I have to find ways to chat about the little things. So I've developed a new tool - flip flop my gender with my late wife's gender, and use a back story line based on me being female.  So when I say I was married, I talk about having a husband. When I talk about her death from uterine cancer, I reference my husband's aggressive prostrate cancer. When chatting with two ladies I met before, I used this technique (as it's easier to remember things with a "real" back story) and found it to be a success.  However, I have to be careful - I almost slipped and used the wrong pronoun, which would have spoiled everything....

I was able to make it to Peggy's Cove on an afternoon tour - on a bus with faulty air conditioning. So it was an even greater relief to get out at the cove and take the following pictures.

Many of these buildings have been here since I was a child.  In fact, some of the photos I took were replicas of pictures that my dad and my late wife shot.

Today is our last stop at a port.  Tomorrow, we'll be at sea, and then we disembark on Saturday....

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cruising - Day 5: St. John, NB

Day 5: St. John, NB.

Nothing much to say about St. John - it's a sleepy little city one might drive though on the way to Nova Scotia. And it seems that way when cruising too. There are a few sights there, one of which is the "Reversing Falls" - something I saw in childhood, and promptly forgot. However, the sight I did try to see is the town market - something like the Essex Street market in New York.

Of course, going anywhere with Lili has its problems. She'd get lost on her way to the bathroom without a map.  (No, she's not THAT bad. She just has no directional skills ot talents, and is always asking inexact questions and getting inexact answers.)  And this time, it was going to the market. We had gotten directions like: "Go down two blocks and hang a right, then walk up the hill." By the time we walked the first block (following a lot of fellow cruisers), she was asking questions of where the market was - again. This can get quite annoying with her ethnic style. So I wanted to keep my distance, so that I could keep the peace....

We eventually reached the market, and I found it boring. At least, I didn't waste any money on a tour of this town. (Halifax would be worth it, if we had the time to explore. But that's a story for tomorrow's entry.) After running around the market, we walked back to the ship, through another hall of dockside market stalls. And again, I had to prove I was the fellow pictured on the passport photo....

Tonight was the second of our formal nights. And I had a choice of the LBD I bought in Sacramento last year (and wore at Fantasia Fair) or the velvet LBD I got from Vicki. I ended up choosing the velvet dress for one reason - I wanted to show Vicki a picture of myself in it. And the following photo is what I sent to Vicki after returning from the cruise.

Speaking with Vicki upon my return from the cruise, she liked how that dress looked on me. Although this was not a professional photo, it does a better job of showing how the dress looked on me than the professional photo below.  (Don't you agree?)

Of course, I prefer to wear a shrug to cover my bare shoulders..But I look like a mature lady - and that's how I want to be perceived and treated...

And this brings me to an event in my stateroom....

Lili has no problem with her son, J, or myself seeing her in various states of undress, and that's all right with me.  However, I have trouble (while en-femme) with any man seeing me in a state of undress. Lili invited the clan into the room while I was dressing, and I was seen in my "all in one" before they left - and this bothered me. (Am I responding more like a lady without realizing it?) Out of this incident, there was one comment - with the all in one on, I looked like a typical woman in a swimsuit. I guess I may end up buying special swimming breast forms and a mastectomy swimsuit for wear on a future trip.  Although I can not put my head in the water, lest the wig get wet with chlorinated water, I can take a dip in the pool if I'm careful to keep my hair dry.

But a closing thought....

As I wrote my notes for this entry, I wondered - Has Kim ever traveled across any national boundaries while en-femme? 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cruising - Day 4: Bar Harbor, ME

Day 4: Bar Harbor, ME.

Unlike the other stops on this trip, I am most familiar with Bar Harbor, having been here as a child, as a married adult (if I remember right), as a single, widowed adult, and now as a cross dressed adult. This town is a simple tourist trap near a beautiful National Park - and it's worth the visit, if you're in the area.

By now, I must have gained several pounds due to the unlimited food available on the ship. Being with Lili is not conducive to being on a diet. Two food addicts should never be together on the same trip - each will prod the other into eating too much. But tonight is "Lobster Night" in the dining rooms, and I never feel guilty when I overindulge in crustaceans....  (I'll deal with my new dress size when I return to port.)

Lili pointed out that my original choice for a dress to wear into town was a little too "formal" for town, so it was another wearing of the lavender dress I wore in Newport. (I'll have to look for similar dresses to wear in the future.) I'll trust a natal woman's intuition to help me develop my sense of what to and what not to wear in a given situation. And then it was off to town.

As you can see, it's an easy town to get around in, and it was a pleasure visiting many of the shops there.  In fact, it was in two of these shops that I picked up gifts for GFL....

Not much else to note for this day, save that Lili gambled again, and I went to the lounge again. I prefer good music in a smoke free room to rolling the dice at the craps table any day....

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cruising - Day 3: Boston, MA

Day 3: Boston, MA.

I expected this to be a boring day. Instead, it was another disagreement with Lili in regard to where she expected me to be, and what I would be doing for the day. Of course, it didn't help that I allowed myself to be distracted by three separate conversions with people who recognized me from other encounters on the ship and found me to be an interesting woman to talk with....

Lili was scheduled to meet a person that she knew as a next door neighbor when growing up. This acquaintance had decided to "double down" on his religious faith, and had to get his tattoos removed.  OUCH!!!  That much have hurt much more than the laser treatments I've been going through. 

Not knowing where I was, Lili left the ship with "the kids" and proceeded to Quincy Market where she met her old friend. She was expecting me to keep the kids company while they went to the aquarium (which I eventually did), while my original plans were to see "Old Ironsides" and have some chowder at the Old Union Oyster House. Once I found out that it would be a pain to get to "Old Ironsides". I decided to join B and J for a visit to the aquarium.  And I was glad I did. The following are some of the interesting things on display there:

You'll note that the last fish is a chiclid. Although the Piranha is in the same family as Angel Fish and Discus, they have a much more vicious reputation.  If you're ever in Boston, I highly recommend seeing this fish, and the many others they have on exhibit there.

After the aquarium, I called GFL (remember her?) to say hello and keep in touch. It was good talking with her, and I wish she could have been with me on the cruise.  But this leads to a conversation I had with Lili....

When we got back to the ship, I did the "It's really me" bit again, and then bought a copy of the picture of Lili and myself taken the previous evening in formal wear. Although Lili has a problem with looking at herself and seeing the beauty within, I don't have that problem - and am glad I have the following photograph of the two of us.

As usual, Lili went off to gamble that evening, and I went to the lounge for a drink and some nice music. When Lili and I got back to our stateroom, we had an interesting chat. She thinks that I'll eventually go en-femme 24x7, and I can't argue against that. I countered Lili, mentioning my situation with GFL, my family, and my job. Yet, take away potential problems with these three factors, and I think Lili would be correct.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cruising - Day 2: Newport, RI

Day 2: Newport, RI.

In all my travels through the Northeast areas of North America, there were two cities of note which I have traveled through, but never stopped in to see any of the tourist sites. Newport was one of these two cities.

Since I'm not a fan of Tennis, I certainly wouldn't have disembarked to see its hall of fame. However, I am interested in seeing how "the Lords of the Manor" lived, and Newport has some of the most upscale "Summer Cottages" in the United States. So, it was Lili's plan to get her son, B, and his girlfriend, J, to come with us to see one of the mansions. The youngsters had other things in mind (such as touring a brewery - always a worthwhile destination and tour), but were convinced to join us old fogeys in seeing an even older mansion - The Elms. 

So, it was a quick hop on the bus, and a 10 minute ride to the mansion....  Since I couldn't take pictures inside the mansion, the earlier link will have to suffice to give my readers a flavor of what this "palace" was like.  But this picture of the three of us gals was taken outdoors after finishing the tour....

(Note: No matter how hard I try, I have a hard time keeping my legs closed.  Does that make me an "easy" woman? <g>)

Afterwards, we decided to walk back to the dock, and I think this was a mistake. Although the "kids" could keep up with me, Lili is woefully out of shape. (This would later be a big problem as we returned to the dock.) Now, Lili is always trying to get things as cheaply as possible, and she wanted to stop into a supermarket on the way back to pick up some sodas, as they are cheaper in the supermarket than they are on board ship. By the time we got out of the supermarket, we didn't have much time to spare - and I was willing to wait for a bus. Of course, this is where trouble comes in....

I don't always walk fast, but when I'm afraid of missing the last tender to the ship, I forget I'm with people and protect my interests first. That is, I lead, not worrying if anyone is following me - until I notice that they have fallen too far behind for any of us to see each other. So, I got to the second to last tender, called Lili, and finally reached her son. They were a few minutes behind me, but would make that last tender. (Later on, Lili and I would have a discussion on this issue....)

When I got to the security checkpoint, I was called on to present a photo id.  Of course, I had to do the "It's really me!" bit again - but I was having a little fun with it. Once the fear of being detected as being cross dressed has passed, one can have fun in springing it on unsuspecting security personnel who have no choice (according to TSA rules) to accept one's non-standard gender presentation, and letting you move on, if one's paperwork is in order....

Once back on board ship, it was time to get ready for formal night. So it was off with my very informal dress and on with my special outfit from Vicki. After seeing the reflection of myself in the outfit, I thought - I was meant to wear this dress - even if I don't have all the standard equipment to wear it....

And it looked much better in person than it looks in this picture.  Later on, we had formal shots taken, and there were several of me, alone, in this outfit.  Sadly, the photographer did not bother to print them - I'd have loved to get a good formal shot in my "new" favorite dress....

So for Lili, it was off to the blackjack and 3 card poker tables, and for me to the dice table. Where she was losing money, I was playing to break even, and maybe make a buck or two. It was pleasantly very strange for me to be seen as a woman at a dice table, but there I was. (Too bad, I didn't/couldn't get pictures of me shooting dice this way - I must have been a pleasant sight.)  But I couldn't stand the smoke for long, and it was off to the lounge for some music....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cruising - Day 1: Embarkation

As you might have guessed by my 7 straight "Quickie" postings, I have been away on vacation for the past week. So I'll be referencing my notes, writing blog entries based on those notes I took during the cruise.

Day 1: Embarkation....

Going on a cruise these days is not much different than going on an airplane. One has to go through security, show one's ID, and then have one's bags go through an x-ray to make sure you're not carrying any contraband. But, unlike most airplane trips these days, one will usually make a border crossing while on the cruise. (This is a convention that allows cruise lines to say that they are involved in international transportation and avoid Jones Act rules which mandate "Owned American, Built American, and Staffed American" on all transport within the United States.) So, it was with a little concern that I shed my male persona and stayed en-femme for the whole week.

In earlier posts, I've mentioned that I was going on this cruise with my friend Lili (L, the jewelry lady), her son, and his girlfriend. So I made sure I was ready at 10 am for my ride to the dock. However, Lili was late (as usual), and didn't get to my place until 11 am for our trip to Brooklyn. 

Arriving at the pier, we were confronted by a long line of cars looking to drop off their passengers, and we didn't get to the cruise terminal until 1:00 pm. So we queued up and prepared to go through TSA security, waiting on the long line.... When I got to the person who was inspecting identification, the fellow did a double take, and didn't believe I was the person on the passport photo. (Note: My passport photo shows a balding man with a dark beard.) When I said - "Yes, it's me, believe it or not!" he let me through. Of course, he made a statement to Lili, who was right behind me, and she protested, noting that she was my friend.

Of course, we had to wait on another line, this time to present our boarding passes and get our cruise cards. (These cards get linked with a photograph upon boarding the ship for the first time, a way of facilitating all financial transactions while on board, as well as a tool to make sure that the correct person is boarding the ship.) There were some minor complications which weren't corrected until the next day on the ship, but most notable about this interaction with people is that the woman processing our paperwork was impressed by my presentation - especially, when I said: "Yes, it's me" in my male voice.

So, again, it was off to wait to board the ship. This time we started chatting with two sisters from Missouri and Maryland, and I don't think they had a clue as to my natal gender. As they left, Lili noted that I passed reasonably well. Then it was our turn to board. My picture was taken, and with the exception of the "Mr." in front of my name, no one would have much of a clue about my plumbing....

At this point, Lili was famished, and we went up to the buffet - where we ate too much. Below is a picture of the two travelers - not a good one, but it will give you an idea of what Lili looks like.

(I'll have better pictures of Lili later on....)

On a cruise ship, there is not much to do but eat, drink, watch shows or movies, and gamble. And Lili's pleasures were eating and gambling. Although I also overate on this cruise, I enjoyed spending my time at the lounge, where over a glass of wine that would last me a couple of hours, I could listen to a lounge singer who sounded like a young Barry Manilow. 

But before I could go to the lounge, I had to change into something comfortable. And the dress below felt much more comfortable than the women's slacks I was wearing all day.

(This is one of the few tolerable shots I could get with my dad's camera - the color was off for most shots, and it had a habit of overexposure.)

Although this singer will never make the big time, he was good enough to keep the lounge overfilled, and I was sitting on a chair outside the formally defined lounge area.  And the singer loved my suggestion for a song to sing - "Streets of London".  All too soon, his sets ended, and I had to go to bed. This time, I was the one asking for help with a bra....

More soon....

How does one learn how to be a woman?

The answer to this question could be a simple or complex one, depending on how it it interpreted. For me, I'm thinking along the lines of how does one compress many of the needed experiences, the fine tuning that usually takes place over time, into a much shorter time frame?

First, no person who transitions ever becomes fully female. The life experiences of someone who transitions from male to female, by definition, will have some male elements. This does not mean that the transgendered person won't fully function as a female in our society. It means that transition can only be a path with no end state - one is forever learning and refining one's self over time.

I think the process of learning how to be a woman involves quite a bit of feedback from friends and other interested people.We have to learn body language. We have to learn a new way of speaking. We have to learn new ways of interacting with others. And for all these things (and more) we require honest feedback - regarding the things we are doing wrong, the things we are doing right, and the things we can do better.

Are support groups useful? Yes, but only to a point. As I see it, once a person reaches a certain point of personal growth, that person will only be able to contribute to a group, and got gain new ideas from the group. So the groups will (by definition) have people growing out of them. At that point, the transgendered person must actively socialize with women as often as possible, and solicit feedback from a small number of trusted members. Even then, there will be limits. There is no perfect woman. Even natal women aren't always perceived as such - and that's a good thing for us. That shadow of doubt allows us to fit into the gaps, and be functionally accepted as women in many groups, as most of us can appear as normative women to these groups as long as we learn enough appropriate behaviors, body language, etc....

But does this mean we have learned how to be women? I'm not sure, but it's like acting. Once one has mastered a role, one becomes it - and the actor/actress inside is no longer noticed. And if the role is being a woman, the answer has to be yes - one can learn how to be a woman over time, with practice and feedback - within understandable limits....

Quickie: What do I regret most?

The answer to the question posed by this entry's title has only an indirect relationship to outing myself.  But to be brutally honest here, my biggest regret was not showing my late wife that I loved her when i could.  Over time, the thought made me realize that we must live for the now, and not wait for the future to do the important things.

So what did I gain from experiencing the regret?  One thing, it helped me realize that I had to express my transgendered nature - and finally get out and about in the world en-femme.  And I did that.  Sadly, my wife is no longer around to see how I've grown.  But if there is something after death, I hope she's had a few laughs watching over me...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Quickie: Secrets - we all have them

Why would I want to keep my transgendered nature a secret from family and some friends?

Well, in the case of family, I wouldn't want to upset an 85 year old father.  And I certainly don't want to risk the fragile relationship I have with my brother - a person who I once didn't speak to for three years. I do hope that I can tell my niece one day about my nature.  She is the one person in my family who I think will understand.

In the case of friends, things are very different.  My female friends generally know about my nature.  But my male friends do not know.  Mind you, I don't see much of them these days.  And with one, he gets a strange reaction whenever we come near gender issues in a conversation....  

Who knows, maybe someday I'll reveal these secrets to all.  But until then, I'll err on the side of caution....

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Quickie: People I've met

One of the things I occasionally do is to show pictures of me (en-femme) to select strangers as part of a light conversation.  One time, I met a lady traveling back to her home in Maine.  In the middle of our long conversation, I mentioned that I have an unusual pastime - and showed her my pictures en-femme.  She went - WOW!!!!!    This tends to be a typical reaction.

Several times, I have chatted up tourists (and they me) regarding things about New York City.  If I feel that they would enjoy the pictures, I steer the chat and mention my "hobby" - then pull out my cell phone and show a few pictures.  I have yet to get a negative response.  Do I mention being transgendered?  No.  Instead, I say I'm a female emulator (and let them think - female impersonator).  And on those terms, even the most conservative of people is comfortable with this kind of exposure.

Of course, in my dating, I have met several women that have become friends - and we have gone out as girl friends.  This has been fun to say the least.  In fact, I wouldn't have met some of these women, had it not been for the "twisted" personal ad I placed with me in "Marian Mode".

Maybe I am meant to socialize as a woman as much as possible...?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quickie: Dating en-femme - the real deal

Now this is a strange thing to talk about.  Why would a normal heterosexual date a person who looks like an overweight natal female?   And yet, I have had dates where I was dressed totally en-femme and had a good time.  Unlike some people, I will emulate a female totally while en-femme, with no attraction to  women I'm with, except as friends.  Of course, there will be exceptions to the rule - I am attracted to women after all, and will only have sexual contact with women.....

Does having a female persona get in the way of dating?  Yes.  But not as much as you'd think. My female friend L has a lot more problems finding partners than I do.  But I think it's only a matter of attitude...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Quickie: My least favorite experiences en-femme

This can be boiled up into a short phrase - "My cover is blown."

With both Vicki and my friend L, I have been accidentally outed when shopping at one store. Whether or not the sales ladies read me or not (and I assume they did), I still dislike being given away by accident.

Does this mean that I should be embarrassed?  Absolutely not.   But it did feel awkward.  Over time, I realized that once I got over the awkwardness of things, I'd have fun being out and about. So, even if I am read, who cares?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quickie: My favorite experiences en-femme

This is a topic that should be easy for me to talk about.  Yet it isn't.  There have been so many pleasant experiences since I've been out, that it's hard to think of just one.  So if I blur two experiences together because they are similar, you'll have to pardon me.

A while back, I went into NYC with my friend Vicki to see a couple of the "20 at 20" Off-Broadway plays. Of course, I went en-femme.  We went to a Chinese restaurant before seeing a matinee.  Since we were still early, we stopped into Times Scare (a horror themed restaurant) to kill time, and to share a dessert.  While there, we met a couple of out of town visitors, and had a great time with them until just before show time.  And then we saw Silence - a spoof on the Silence of the Lambs.

Another time, Vicki and I decided to kill two birds with one stone.  First, we went to a Chinese restaurant just outside the town of Woodstock, NY.  And then, we went to Kingston, NY to visit a BDSM club that I was introduced to by my friend S.  We had a great time - at the Chinese restaurant, where Vicki understood why I make excuses to eat there, and then at the dungeon, where Vicki was able to satisfy her curiosity.

It has gotten to the point that going around town en-femme is second nature to me.  But it always feels good - as if I was meant to be this way.  And having great experiences with friends only reinforces this belief....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Quickie: Ask Me Anything

I've chosen the topics that I wanted to discuss since the beginning of writing this blog. Now, it's your turn to suggest a topic.  What would you like to know about me?  What would you like for me to discuss?

It's your chance to find out things I wouldn't normally talk about here....

Friday, September 13, 2013

Quickie: Mani-Pedi

I could easily get used to having manicures and pedicures, especially the pedicures! This afternoon, I decided to treat myself to a mani-pedi. (The polish can easily be removed before I go back to work, so why not?) So, I hopped into a dress and drove over to one of the "many" nail spas in town.

Even though there are men who get this treatment, they are few and far between. This place oozed estrogen - the only two males in the place were masseuses, one of them giving me a sample of his work while I was getting my hands worked on. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Not having been raised as a female, I did not know the etiquette of the place - so I asked for someone who could take care of me. This lady was a foreigner (by background, and only that) who didn't talk much. (None of these people talked much, but the patrons were something else.) The pedicure was a wonderful indulgence - even though I was not comfortable in a chair meant for women 5" or more shorter in height. Even the chair had a vibrator in the back for a chair massage! After my feet were done, I was scooted over to the manicure area, where the same lady took care of my hands. My nails are now a wonderful shade of blood red (ahhhh.... what a wonderful color - Mortitia Addams would certainly approve of that shade. <g>) And, when I looked at my nails, I noticed that I put them in front of my face as a female would without thought - with the fingers extended, not curled as a male would do....

By the time I got to the manicure area, the chatty women were leaving. It was a shame, as I'd have liked to get involved in some minor pleasantries. But I know one thing - I'll find ways to enjoy a mani-pedi in the future - they are wonderful indulgences!

Dum de dum dum. Dum de dum dum DUMB!!!

The joke in this entry's title would have been much better if I had been musical. How many of you remember the series, "Dragnet"? Those opening sounds are just as memorable as today's "Law and Order's" "Cha Chink" (or, whatever they call it....)

Lately, I have been juggling many things, none of them major, trying to compress 8 days of living into a 7 day week. Today, I found out that I brought the wrong bag into the laundry, and had clean clothes washed and folded twice!  So, when I got home, I opened up the bag that I previously thought had clean clothes in it, and guess what? DIRTY, DIRTY, DIRTY!!!!

So... I put those dirty clothes into the bag, added some more that were in the hamper, and brought them back to the cleaners. This bag now weighs twice as much as the bag I had washed twice. But I'm very grateful - the owner of the place gave me a free wash and fold, and it is worth more than I paid for the original bag.  

In the end, I made out by being a dummy....  Hmmm - there might be hope for me yet. <g>

So I'll leave you with a tune befitting my going on holiday soon....

Holiday for Strings

A night without cable....

We had severe thunderstorms last night, and for the first time in a while, the cable was out. For many who subscribe to the all in one provider services, it would mean that they would have lost two means to communicate with the outside world - cable and phone service. For me, I lost my internet and my cable TV. The latter was the more bothersome - but not by much.

Of course, this shows how addicted I am (like many of us) to 24x7 connections to the outside world. It's going to be very strange not having this access when I'm on my cruise. And in many ways, having this access would have me focus on my internet and media connections, instead of enjoying a week totally en-femme.

So the most connectivity I intend to have will be my cell phone (which I will use to call GFL while in American ports), and my old Nook Color (which has minimal internet usability). Do I intend to get online?  Maybe - I'm leaving myself that option.  But it'll be nice to break the habit for a week.

Last year, when I went to California, I was a semi regular poster, going a little stir crazy when I couldn't do much from the train from the coast. So I know what to expect from not having an internet or cell phone connection. However, I don't know if my friend L (the jewelry lady) knows what to expect. She called me the other night, asking for help with her computer. The problem - somehow, she started the windows recovery process, where it attempts to back out updates made after a saved safe point. Of course, she didn't know what to expect (who does, when they are running something most people never need to run), and was afraid of not being on the internet for a while. She was even thinking of calling an ex-boyfriend to fix the computer for her - someone she'd rather not even see again. 

As I write this, the cable has been back for less than a half hour. And I feel much more relaxed now. It's obvious to me that I need to get away from it all, and doing it en-femme is the icing on the cake.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quickie: Picked up the wig.... and forgot a wig.

Before you get the idea that I forgot a wig at the store, I didn't.  Instead, I forgot to bring a wig TO the store. But first, some background....

Last year, at Fantasia Fair, Jim Bridges was liquidating his salon's inventory of makeup, accessories and wigs. I had the pleasure of having him do a makeover on my face, as well as having the chance to purchase some supplies, and the wig I wore to the gala that evening. It is this wig I'm talking about.

One of the things I learned about buying an off the shelf wig from a store is that they tend to stock only "average" sizes. To deal with head sizes like mine, the store has to stretch the wig a little to fit the customer. That was done for my new wig - and it fits better than the wig I bought from Jim Bridges. So, I chatted with the lady, and she said that she'd size my old wig for a reasonable cost.  One problem - I forgot the wig.  

If I have the free time available tomorrow, I'll try to drive over to the store and see if she can take it in - for me to pick up a week or two later. If not, then I'll wait a week or two before bringing in the wig. Looking at the wig, I know that it is a good wig - and will be worth spending a few dollars on.  (And I can also ask the lady about how to best care for the wigs.)

Well...  I have to run - Laser awaits me.....

Quickie: Juggling time slots

I'm lucky to be able to work from home when I need to. However, I haven't often decided to take advantage of this until I decided to go for laser on my face. Since I started laser, I've taken the opportunity to work from home (almost) for the slightest reasons. (Maybe that's an exaggeration.)

My cleaning lady comes over every other Thursday to do her thing. This Summer, I've had to vacate my apartment while she works. And that means going on an extended coffee break. Normally, this is not a problem for me. But when I have to be en-femme for part of the day (picking up my wig), this becomes tricky. So I asked my cleaning lady, N, if she could come in on another day. Last night, I received the call that she was able to switch her visit to tomorrow.

Now, I had planned to change into Marian Mode tomorrow, shortly after I left my GP's office for my periodic visit. This will be changed - I'll wait until after N leaves. But that delays the Mani-Pedi I planned to get. There is no way for me to get it today - I don't want to go to the GP's en-femme, or having traces of being en-femme when I visit him. So, I'll have a more hectic schedule tomorrow....

Back to today.... 

I have to squeeze in a visit to the wig store with several meetings I have to be in on during the day. And then, I have to switch back into male mode before I go for laser. Although the laser technician knows I cross dress (and has seen me that way), I look terrible without my makeup, and want a clean face for her to do her thing.

So I'm juggling a lot into a small number of time slots today an tomorrow.  Will I drop anything?  I hope not. But one never knows.....

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quickie: Picking up a wig

Tomorrow, I pick up the wig I'll be wearing on my cruise.  I can't wait to wear it.  If I like how I feel wearing it after a week, I'll start saving up to have a second one (in a similar style) in my possession before Christmas.

Some people are addicted to piercings. Others are addicted to getting tattoos. If I have to have an addiction, there could be many worse addictions to have, than trying to perfect a feminine image (when en-femme). 

9/11 - Someone said it better than I ever could...

I am one of the few New Yorkers who did not know anyone who was directly harmed by the disaster of 9/11. (Most of my then acquaintances lived and worked outside New York City, so my experience was a statistical fluke.)  But it affected all of us in ways that we could never have dreamed of. So instead of me pontificating about events of this day, I'd like to leave off with this tune - from someone who deserves to have more of his music heard on this side of the pond.

All they wanted to say

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

And now for something less serious....

Often, I like to expound on a topic near and dear to me. Other times, I simply toss off a quickie, especially when I don't have the time to deal properly with the topic. But one way or another, I try to post at least one entry each day.

Over the past year, I have gotten much more comfortable with being outside en-femme. And (though I repeat myself from prior entries) this trip will be the first where I will not be able to escape into a masculine identity - I can not chicken out once I'm on the ship. Looking at the itinerary, there will be 5 "smart casual" nights and 2 formal nights on the cruise. And I expect to be dressed to the nines for those two formal nights. (It may be my hubris, but I think I'll outshine my friend L on those nights, as Vicki gave me something much better to wear.)

This cruise will be stopping at the following ports: Newport (RI), Boston (MA), Bar Harbor (ME), St. John (NB), and Halifax (NS). I already know what my plans are for Newport and for Halifax. But I have little idea of what I want to do in the other 3 ports. Boston is a place in which one can easily spend a couple of long weekends. (And I'll bet that's how the boys from "Da Bronx" felt earlier this year....) Choosing what to do during one day in Boston is something else. Bar Harbor is Acadia National Park. One problem - I'm not in the mood to take the tour bus through the park yet again. And St. John doesn't have that much to say for it, save the reversing falls. Since I have to factor in L's interests (and the two younger lovebirds who are cruising with us), these three ports will be potential trouble. Boston will be most trying of these, as L will spirit herself off for a couple of hours to have lunch with a childhood friend - and will expect company for the rest of her time there.

The highlight of L's time on board ship will be the food and the casino, with an occasional touch of ship's entertainment. For me, it'll be the chance to veg out, not having to worry about anything other than deciding which of the ship's activities to enjoy next. It's been a long time since I've cruised, and there are more things to do on today's cruise ships than when I last cruised.

So I'll leave off with this little ditty that references my favorite bay....

Pearl Jam covers Otis Redding