Saturday, November 30, 2013

Anticipating Holiday Seasons and needing downtime.

When I first explored my transgendered nature, I read that the the two favorite holidays for the cross dresser was Christmas and Valentine's Day, as they gave the nervous man an excuse to be inside a woman's clothing store. As you can tell from pictures I've posted in this blog, I don't need that crutch anymore to shop for the clothes I want and need.

Yet, with the above being said, I still have a warm feeling for these holidays.  It's not just the "Gemutlischkeit" that surrounds the winter solstice holiday that makes me feel good. It's the season where it's comfortable for me to be in Marian Mode, where wearing a wig is an asset instead of a liability. And Valentine's Day is no longer an empty day for me.

From Thanksgiving until New Years Day, I expect to be very busy with seeing family (both GFL's family and mine), seeing friends (both local and in the North Country), shopping, and going to gaming meetups. I expect to be quite busy - and hope I can stave off exhaustion from my 5-to-9 activities.. 

Yes, I still need some down time - and I don't know where I'm going to get it. I don't expect to take another full week off until sometime next year - and I'm concerned about what will happen to my job then. Ideally, I'd be able to take at least 3 trips - one with GFL, one by myself (where I'd likely be en-femme), and at least a half week at Fantasia Fair.  And I'd love to take another long weekend or two, visiting DC again (maybe seeing Meg, if she's available) and Philadelphia (where I'd hope I could hook up with another couple of people I know).

Spending the week with Lili was fun. And if we cruised the same itinerary, I'd do it again - if GFL wasn't in the picture. For her next trip, Lili wants to go somewhere overseas - such as Southeast Asia. I couldn't go there in Marian Mode, so that trip would be out of the question. So the trip with Lili is likely to be one of those "one off" experiences that won't be repeated.

Back to GFL....

We are taking things slow and being very careful. There are good reasons why she never remarried after her divorce. (Those reasons I won't mention here.) After over 20 years of being on her own, she sleeps lightly. With my enthusiastic mode of sleeping (read: I snore), one of us has to get up and sleep in a different room at night. So I expect that going on vacation together may pose some problems for us.

I'll deal with problems as they come up.  There are important issues to be resolved, but my most important issue will be to keep my focus on the here and now, and not project into the future.

Black Friday & Black Saturday - Shop 'til You Drop

There is a large number of us who are still in the closet.  That's understandable - fear prevents most of us from being our true selves. But the next 24 days presents those of us still in the closet with an opportunity to fill our brick and mortar closets without outing ourselves.... It's gift giving season again!

When I was in the closet, I took advantage of this time of year to buy things I'd be embarrassed to buy at any other time of year. The only thing I didn't do was to try on clothes in the store - I researched sizes in catalogs, and later on-line. I've grown out of this stage - as I expect many others will eventually do so over time. But growth is a hard process. It's a metamorphosis of sorts.  We shed our old skins and become new beings - not necessarily in old forms.

The close of this season is not Christmas day, but New Year's day.  And it is so fitting.  Instead of the holiday season ending with the day gifts are exchanged, instead it ends with the new year - a day where things can begin anew. It is this cycle of rebirth that we should celebrate at this time of year....

Friday, November 29, 2013

Quickie: Planning a "Hen Party"

A while back, I mentioned that one of my co-op's board members, my co-op's managing agent, and I were planning a "Hen Party", where I will be attending en-femme.  Given our schedules, this never came off.  Well, now, the hen party looks like it will be taking place in January.

I'm looking forward to the hen party, and hope it comes off as planned. The more that I venture out en-femme with natal females, the more natural my feminine presentation will become. I am hoping, that over time, I will be able to perfect my presentation enough to blend in without anyone taking notice of other anomalies that might give me away as being born a male.

What will this mean for me as I develop my relationship with GFL?  We have not yet been in a situation where she would encounter me en-femme. But I have not pushed her to encounter me this way either. Right now, it's good enough that she is comfortable with me showing her pictures of myself en-femme *and* that she has offered me some of her old dresses (which sadly, do not fit my large frame). Sooner or later, she will have to confront the reality - I will be en-femme much of the time, and I will often socialize this way. How will she take it? Only time will tell.

So I'll leave you with this little ditty....

The Chicken Dance

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Quickie: Makeup Routines.

It is a given that every M2F transgendered person will likely need to learn how to use makeup. I am one of those people. And I'm still learning how to use makeup, as I only know how to make my face look tolerably feminine (with what I have), not experimenting far from what I know works for me.

Before I started going outside, I did a lot of reading. And I found out that I had to use beard cover and a foundation over it. Even so, I must have looked awful after a few hours. I had no contouring, and my beard stubble would be coming out. So I was pancaking my makeup, just to avoid the worst....  (Sorry - I don't have any pictures of me this way to show...)

When I got to Fantasia Fair, I learned a few basic tricks - contouring and the use of eye shadow being among them. The following is a good example of where I was at the time.

Sorry for the poor enlargement, but it's the best I have from that night.... Later on, I got into a routine.  But I could never trim the eyebrows enough to help create the illusion of no eyebrow ridge as well as illustrated by the above picture.

Now, I have a makeup routine that works for me. And it is not one that would work for all M2F transgendered people. But I do share it. And soon, I'll meet up with a person who is not passable, and needs all the help s/he can get. But I have to make sure that when I meet her/him, that it's in a place that's TG/CD friendly, as s/he is not anywhere near passable.  When s/he goes out, s/he looks like a man in a dress - and a very poor presentation at that. So I'll have to have my full set of resources with me, as I'll be sharing them with her/him.

My goal will be to teach this person the basics - how to minimize masculine facial features and how to play up feminine facial features. From there, I will supply the links to Kathe Perez's site and to Denae Doyle's site and hope for the best.  It takes a lot of work to present well, and even I fall prey to the temptations of laziness.

Quickie: Turkey Day! Some morsels for your enjoyment.

This post has nothing to do with being transgender. Instead, it's a lot more frivolous in nature, and involves links to things I find interesting on this day.

Alice's Restaurant - Need I say anything more about this holiday classic?

Presidential Turkey Pardon - Gobble Gobble

Plymouth Rock - Information on where the Pilgrims reached the mainland.

Four Freedoms - These illustrations endure the test of time.

Thanksgiving Day Football Games - I hated watching football on this holiday.

Black Friday - Shop 'til you drop.... Or not!

Butterball Turkey - For those more interested in cooking than reading blogs.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Preparing for Turkey Day - and thinking about many things

To say it a day early - I hope that all my readers have a Happy Thanksgiving this year. For me, this year has been one where many new things opened themselves up to me - and for that, I am grateful.

But this trip to GFL's is a little different than the others.  We haven't yet determined which day I will be back here AND I'll be carrying more than usual with me - specifically 3 cheesecake pies which should be covered with whipped cream before serving. Somehow, I'll have to keep them cool in transit, so that they will be edible the next day.


It's been over 17 years since my wife died, and I am still in contact with two friends I made as a result of her illness - BB and BN.  My wife met BB in class, and developed a close friendship with her.  When my wife took ill, BB went the extra mile in the friendship to help my wife in whatever way she could. BB worked for BN, and when my wife died, BN gave my family full access to her house, so that they wouldn't have to shlep back and forth to Long Island. I became a fixture at BN's place and became a good friend.

Recently, BB told me that BN took ill, and that there were complications in her medical treatment.  Although BB informs me that BN should come out of this all right, I am very concerned, and will consider making a 400 mile round trip over a weekend just to see my ailing friend when she's able to take visitors.  I wish there was more I could do for BN at this point, as I'd like to return some of the kindness she showed me in my time of need.


Yesterday, I had a conversation with one of my co-workers. F has been undergoing an experimental form of chemotherapy, and appears to be very healthy. We discussed finances (in very rough terms), and I found out that he has been saving way more than I have been for retirement. It's strange to think that the one person who has planned best for his future was at risk of not having one - save for being at the right place in the right time to take part in this experiment.  He certainly has something to be thankful for.


There are so many things going on in life these days, that it would be easy to get into a pity party. Although I may have resigned myself to go through some hard times, I will prevail somehow.  (And if I don't, I'll have given it my best try.) But seeing what others go through reminds me that my issues are almost inconsequential. Being transgender has not taken over my life as it has other people - I am comfortable living in this fuzzy gray area right now. And, I am still able to attract a well balanced woman who shares similar values. I have a lot to be thankful for - in spite of the bad things which may come my way soon.

Am I holding out false hope for the future? NO!!! I do hope that I'll be able to maintain a career where I now work. But I do not count on that.  Instead, I am trying to take advantage of each and every opportunity for training they can offer me (and that I can ask for and get). I have plans on how I will occupy my time while looking for a job, and plans on how to keep my mind occupied whether or not I do so.

The other day, I met a woman on the train who talked about one of her friends.  He had it made - a full pension, a paid off house, etc....  And yet, when he retired, he had nothing to keep his mind alert.  And he got into trouble. My new friend worried about that happening to her. So I told her what I would be looking to do - and how my transgender nature (and being widowed) would give me the tools to help others who are less fortunate than I am.


Of course, I could ramble on and on about things. But my wish for tomorrow's holiday is simple - that we get much of what we want and all of what we need. May you and your families be able to share in a bounty of good things, may there always be clothes on your back, food in your stomach, a roof over your head, money in your pocket, and work (or some other activity) to keep your mind healthy and alert....

PS: If you ever have the chance to visit the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, MA - go do it. He was a great illustrator who knew how to capture the America in the way most of us wish it could be.

And did you know there is a connection between the picture below and "Alice's Restaurant?"

The police chief of Stockbridge (Obanhein) is often misnamed as the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting called the Runaway. This same man, known as Officer Obie, arrested Arlo as noted in the "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" - a song best played around Thanksgiving time....

Extra points if you can tell me the one thing you CAN'T get at Alice's Restaurant.....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cheesecake - It's not just a pretty picture anymore.

Now that I have your attention, was it the thought of a pretty woman as a piece of art that you thought of? Or, was it the thought of a tasty delicacy from a local bake shop that first came to mind?

Tonight, I am baking a cheesecake for the first time in many years. I used to bake them regularly, and made a fantastic chocolate-amaretto cheesecake that was partially responsible for me wearing a size 26 dress today.  But, I am playing around with a new recipe - one without eggs, so that GFL's grandson can enjoy a little piece of it on Thanksgiving.  (I had extra batter, and put some in ramekins, so that I can have small ones to try tonight when they cool off. So, if the cheesecake tastes bad, I'll buy a cheesecake tomorrow - and tell GFL that her grandson is not to eat it.)  

Quickie: Sharing a wardrobe

Last night, I talked to Lili. That's nothing new - I talk with her all the time. But her request was unusual - she wanted to borrow one of my nightgowns, as she has a hot date scheduled for the weekend. Although I don't have much that she might be comfortable wearing, I might have something that will do the trick.

Hopefully, I'll hear something good from her when she gets back from her overnight date this weekend.  But one question comes to mind - who'd have thought that I'd be sharing part of my wardrobe with another woman a couple of years ago?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sushi: Nutritious dishes of little raw fishes

Tonight was sushi night with Vicki.

Lately, Vicki has had to be careful with her money.  (Before you get any ideas, I must note that she's gainfully employed, very responsible, and very rational with her actions. Holiday season can make people think twice before spending money frivolously.)  So it was a pleasure to be able to spend a couple of hours with her chatting at our favorite place for sushi.

One of the reasons why we eat at this place is the price. We had a plate of Shu Mai (steamed shrimp dumplings), hot and sour soup, and 4 sushi rolls - and got out the door for less than $17 per person.  It's always a pleasure to be with Vicki, and we caught up on the latest news going on in each others' life.

I miss the times Vicki was flush with extra cash - I have always enjoyed going to Broadway plays with her, and hope to do so again.  (Of course, GFL comes first on my list of priorities.) Sometime in January, the twice yearly "20 at 20" deal will come around for Off-Broadway plays. Hopefully, I'll get both Vicki and GFL to see a few of them.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Luck and the married woman

I'm a fan of old movies, and one of my favorite pieces of fluff is a flick called Sex and the Single GirlThis oldie took the book (of the same name), threw out everything but the title, and added a comic story where the lead writer for one magazine befriends "Dr." Helen Gurley Brown by having her treat his neighbors' marital problems. And it was that movie that inspired the title for this blog entry.

Last night, I had showered, gotten into Marian Mode, and planned to go for some shopping therapy at the plus size stores. (I had no plans to buy anything, but if I saw something that would work with my wardrobe, I'd add it to my closet.)  Just as I was about to go for dinner and for shopping, I got a call from my ex-girlfriend of 11 years ago, Patty. (I do not have a newer photo available.  The following photo from 11 years ago should give a good idea of what patty looks like.)

Earlier in the day, Patty mentioned that her retirement from her firm of 30+ years affected her much more than she thought, and included some other things I won't go into here. I mentioned that her loss was that of a membership in a tribe, a second family - and she agreed. So I was surprised to receive her call - especially on a Saturday night, when I could have been with GFL (but wasn't due to issues I've mentioned in another entry).  We chatted, and I suggested we meet in Fishkill - where we could chat, and I could have dinner before going for some shopping therapy.

Well, we talked about her retirement, her family (in particular, her 95 y/o mother and her ordeal with the hospital, nursing home, etc.), and her friends.  In short, we were catching up with each other after months of trying to get together and failing to do so. Patty mentioned that my feminine presentation has improved greatly in the months since she had seen me this way - especially with the wig I now wear.  (Thank you Lili!!!!)  And she mentioned that my personality is different when I'm en-homme then when I'm en-femme.  My male personality is much more intellectual, while my female personality is much more from the heart.  (Then she wished that both could coalesce when I'm en-homme.)

Of course, we talked of " and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings - and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings."  I was glad to be there for her, as she dominated the conversation with me doing most of the listening.(This is where she mentioned that I was showing a different personality while presenting as a female.) I mentioned that I like the person I am when en-femme, and would gladly put up with all the headaches of being female for what I've gained from my experiences en-femme. 

One of these days, I hope to introduce Patty to GFL.  In certain ways, Patty is the one that got away - even though I was the one to let her go. And I am truly glad that Patty is married to her husband, S - as she considers him a blessing, perfect for her in many ways. (This is the part of me that will always care for Patty that is writing this.) Hopefully, they will have a long and happy life together, as I know that they share something very special. 

As for me, meeting GFL has been a blessing, and she's worth the effort of going the extra mile (so to speak). I may not tell her all the details of my life, but not because I want to hide anything. I've learned a lot about people, through loves like Patty, to know that I have someone special in GFL.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Unplanned Marian Time - a gift, but not one I was looking for.

Reading this morning's email, I found that my ex-girlfriend, P, had an unexpected strong reaction to retiring after a long career with her old firm. Couple this with problems still going on with her mom, and an argument she had with her husband, and she's not in the best of moods today. I wish I could help her, but convention and personal history says not to do so. This is a time where I wish I was not the ex-boyfriend, but a casual female friend who could be there to help.

My original plans for today involved waking up late, rustling up a leisurely breakfast, and then making my way to GFL's to spend some time with her.  Well, this plan got changed because her daughter is ill, and she needs to be at her daughter's side if needed. (Given last weekend, I have my fears for her daughter, but I won't voice them too loudly.) So now, our weekend plans involve meeting up for dinner and/or a movie over in New Jersey tomorrow.

So now, I have the late afternoon and evening to myself. And I figure that once I get showered, I'll go out in Marian Mode, as I don't expect to be doing so next week. My big question is - where do I go? I could drive up to Woodstock, but I'd get there too late to do any interesting shopping. What do I want to do? I'm thinking of going into NYC and going to see a discounted Off-Broadway play. But that costs money, and I've been spending too much lately. Even if I go into NYC and do something inexpensive, I'm not sure if it's worth the effort today. But the way I feel - anything that keeps me busy is good.

It's too late now to get showered and out the door in time to catch a view from the train like the one above - sunset comes way too early these days. So I'll figure out what I want to do, and write about it later...

Commutation and BIrthday Celebrations

For the third day in a row, I had the pleasure of seeing my new friend, E, on the train. And we had another nice chat - and we exchanged business cards. E told me that she'd be on vacation next week, but that the can't wait until the next Games night in Beacon. That gave me the perfect opportunity to play my variant of "Where's Waldo?" with her - and showed her the picture of me in Marian Mode at the meetup.

E is so comfortable with me, that she said that she'd love to bring me home to her mother - and see if she detects anything special with me in Marian Mode.  So who knows?  We might just meet for a quick drink in her neck of the woods, and then have a small hen party with her mom. I just love making new friends - especially those that accept me in Marian Mode.

Unfortunately, my sleep deprivation is affecting my performance in the few meetings i have each day. I'll have to figure out how to squeeze a little nap time in at the office, or sleep more each night. The extra hours I spend commuting are what I would have used for sleep - and I miss that sleep. Tonight, I was dead tired when I came home. But I was very lucky to relax much more in 45 minutes on the train than I could have done with an hour in some quiet nook at the office. And this refreshed me much more than I needed to spend the evening with Lili.

When I got home, I was wide awake again, and ready to run to Lili's. So it was off with my boy clothes, and on with my girl clothes, my wig, etc., and off to Lili's. She wanted to go to a Chinese restaurant where they had lobsters on sale at a nice discount.  One problem - they were sold out (or the waiter thought they were) by the time we got there. So I took the opportunity to take picture of the birthday girl and her lady friend sitting ext to her.

You'll note on my picture that I've done some horrible editing on the top/left corner of the photo. There was a TV in that area of the shot, and I edited it out (albeit very poorly) to make this picture worth posting.

After dinner, we decided to see a movie - and "Last Vegas" was an enjoyable piece of fluff, which was perfect for most baby boomers. (eware of the large number of product placements - they get tiresome after a short while.)  But all too soon, it was time to go home - so I dropped Lili off (after a quick stop for tea) and went home to write this blog entry.

It's time for me to sign off.  So I'll leave you with this little tune....

Viva Las Vegas

Friday, November 22, 2013

Quickie: Birthday dinner with Lili.

Tonight, I'm taking Lili out for a delayed birthday dinner. Of course, I'll be in Marian Mode for the dinner. And, I'll try to have someone take a picture of the two of us.

But until then....

Here's a little ditty to amuse you....

Funny Happy Birthday Tune

Gaming in Yonkers - Fun and Frustration

Fun and Frustration....  How could that be when everyone is playing a relaxed game?  Well, the people hosting the meetup have two children, and one of them is allowed to join in for the first game of the evening - after which, he is sent to bed.  Tonight, the first game, which is used to kill time until everyone has arrived, took several times longer than usual - and their hyperactive son was at my table.

My late wife and I were never lucky (?) enough to have children, and I don't miss their hyperactivity. This child illustrated why not having kids before I entered therapy was the best decision I could have made. He couldn't sit down without fidgeting, nor could he restrain himself from disrupting things. It was not a pleasure to have him at the table. Yet, I support his parents' decision to allow him to play with grownups. Children deserve attention and acceptance. And the attitude spewed by my mom's siblings ("children are meant to be seen and not heard") is cruel to children, as it implies children are property, are to be treated as pets to be trained, instead of future adults to be educated for their future roles in society.

Tonight's game, King of Tokyo, usually takes about 1/2 hour to play.  However, tonight's play was very unusual, as the game took almost 2 hours to complete.  Normally, we play one short game, waiting for people to arrive. Then we break out into two groups, and play another game that takes about 60-90 minutes. And, finally, we play another short game like Fluxx for another 30 minutes.  On this occasion, we didn't play the other games.

This will be the last meetup I attend until after Thanksgiving.  I'll miss getting together with these people.  Would it because I go en-femme and no one asks me questions? Maybe. But I think I'd be going to this group even if I were dressing as a male.


When I got home from the meetup, I looked at my female Facebook page, and noticed that one of my acquaintances (the title lady from my old car's dealership) wants to get together for a hen party, and will bringing her sister. So I emailed her, saying yes - I'll be there en-femme, but don't call what I do "drag".  Call what I do an emulation - and hopefully, a good one at that.

So I'll see what this lady has to say about scheduling a hen party.  If all goes right, I'll be developing a circle of female friends who treat me as another female. And over time, I'd like to be accepted more and more into "the sorority" - as the transgendered person I am, asking for no special rights or privileges.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quickie: Commutation and Conversation

Yesterday, I opened up to a woman I met on the train about going out in female mode. Well, I saw her again today, but neither of us were too talkative, given that we were both tired and didn't get that much sleep the night before. But I did find out something before we left the train - she will likely be attending the next meetup in Beacon.  And assuming she does, she'll get to see me in Marian Mode.

But it's off to games night in Yonkers.  So I'll have something more to say later....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Out, Out, Damned Spot!

No...  I'm not talking about spots today.  Instead, I'm talking about outing myself in casual conversation and two people having a great conversation on account of it.

This morning, I get on the train to NYC at my usual time, and I find a seat towards the front of the car. Normally, once I sit down, I stay in my seat. However, sitting on the left side of the aisle means I have someone sitting next to me with no room between us. So I'm always on the lookout for a seat opening up on the other side of the aisle, where there are three seats across, but the middle one usually being left vacant. Today was one of those days that a seat on the right opened up, and the lady at the window beckoned me to come in and take the seat, rather than risk having two more people take up the remaining seats and make her feel uncomfortable. Given that I like to stretch out a little on my ride, I took her up on the offer before the train reached Croton, where more people would get on the train.

The two of us started chatting, and we talked about retirement. She had concerns that she would have nothing to do, and mental inactivity would destroy her - as it did with one of her friends once he retired. I noted that I go to games meetups to give me something to do, and that I attend meetups in Beacon and Yonkers.  She was curious where the meetup was, and I mentioned it to her.  Who knows? There may be another person playing games every other Monday night. 

That's when I said that I'd probably take up volunteering for a cause if/when I am laid off. Then the conversation took a track where I felt comfortable talking about my transgendered nature as if it were a hobby. (Yes, a little white lie - but I wanted the opportunity ro back track if I needed to.) I noted that setup costs were an arm and a leg, but once the money was spent, what I had could last a long time.  She was curious, and I showed her a picture of me taken in Provincetown last year.

She was surprised to find out this was a picture of me, and would never have thought this unless I not told her so. Me being dressed in women's clothes was the furthest thing from her mind. I mentioned that I have improved my look since then, and showed her some of the pictures taken of me on the cruise. And then she said - WOW, you look good!!!

So, I told her about having a couple of friends that preferred seeing me in this mode, and went serious, saying that my volunteering would probably be for a GLBT group - as they have very high rates of addictions and suicides, and need help. Then, I related a story about a former girlfriend's neighbor (girlfriend of 30 years ago) and the neighbor's very poor feminine presentation, noting that this person needed help that wasn't available, so that she could make it in the world as a M2F transgendered woman.  Given my unusual background, I feel that I can provide a type of help that the average cis-gendered person couldn't provide a transgendered person.

Hopefully, I will see this lady again. It's nice to know that I reached out AND that she didn't retreat.  It'd be nice to have another friend that I met while commuting....

Some more random thoughts for your amusement

Last night, as I mentioned in a previous post, I went to the Games meetup in Beacon. What I didn't mention was that my ex-girlfriend, P, was thinking of going there. Sadly, her 95 y/o mother is not doing so well, and she wants to be at her mom's side while she's in the hospital. Hopefully, her mom will soon have recovered enough to go home, so that P can enjoy the few weeks between her retirement and her next job.  (And, hopefully, we'll finally be able to connect with each other again - it has been ages!)

Here's a picture of the group at last night's meetup.  Can you find me in the picture?

I'll give you one clue - I'm not the person standing in the rear....


Tonight, I was chatting with my therapist, and the topic of GFL came up - finding out where I stand with her.  He's been prodding me to ask her directly - where are we going with our relationship?  Well, I think he got his answer - I showed him the key I used to lock the door to her house when I left for work on Monday morning.


Sometime in the next 24 hours, I have to straighten out my apartment enough for the cleaning lady to do her magic.  Over the past week, I have left my "en-femme toolkit" out, as well as leaving clean laundry out to be placed in the closet and in my dressers. One problem - there are not enough hours in the day for me any more.


So, I have to sign off for the night - 6:00 am comes awfully early, and I know that my lack of restful sleep is catching up with me.

Here's a little ditty you might enjoy - especially if you have the munchies at 3:00 am.

The Taco Bell Canon

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Quickie: Connecting with an old friend - but not connecting completely.

Today, I finally was able to reach a friend, D, that I met in therapy group years ago. When things go wrong in his life, he retreats into his shell. Until he got around to responding to my messages (left several weeks ago), I thought that he wasn't interested in getting back to me.  We have tentatively set a date for getting together - the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. But I know that there will be one thing I won't be sharing with him.....

More later....

Another game night in Beacon - and a slip of the tongue.

Last night, I slept over at GFL's, and commuted to work from Staten Island. It was a strange feeling taking the bus to the ferry, strange in the sense that it was unusual, and not that it was weird.  One can tell that our relationship is developing well - I now have one of the keys to her house.  I doubt that she would have given me the key if she was planning on letting go of me any time soon.

I got to work about an hour early, and spent much of the day killing time. It didn't help that I didn't get enough sleep over the weekend, and I needed double strength coffee to keep me alert enough to monitor my email. But getting in early has its benefits - it made it easier for me to leave earlier and get home early enough to change into Marian Mode for the Games meetup.

You'd never think, looking at the above picture that this was not what I originally planned to wear to the meetup. I was looking for something long enough to wear over a pair of leggings, but nothing seemed to work out right. (I guess I'll have to look for some long tunic type tops, or for a certain type of sweater dress to get the look I want.) Finally, I decided to go with what I know works well on me - a simple sweater over a black skirt.  This, I consider one of my best looks - what do you think?

So I ended up being about 30 minutes late for the meetup, and games had already started. However, I brought my copies of Flexx and Anomia with me, and played a game while waiting for Scrabble to free up. Of course, I didn't win tonight, but I had fun. In the last game, Werewolf, I skipped (being very relaxed) into my male voice for a second, and then caught myself, quickly switching back to my imperfect female voice. But it didn't matter much - I am accepted by this crew - and we have fun twice each month.

One thing I know.... These meetups provide good practice for me to perfect my feminine persona. Over time, I have become much more comfortable in this role, and know I have a lot further to go.  I like what I'm seeing when I document what I'm wearing, as it's showing that I'm developing my own style. 

I can't help but wonder though.... If GFL wasn't in the picture, and I didn't have to worry about family or career, how far would I go with this?  This is not an erotic thrill, as it is for some cross dressers. Instead, this is a feeling of normalcy I'm experiencing. I'm confident in who I am, and like the person I see in these photos. Could I go 24x7 for a full year?  Could I go where I wanted, when I wanted? I feel I could for the most part. But, unlike other bloggers I read, I'm not driven to do that yet....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Juggling schedules, managing friendships and dodging bullets.

We've all had to reschedule get-togethers with our friends. This is normal. And I do a relatively normal amount of this as well. But I decided to reread an email that K (a former potential girlfriend) sent to me a week ago, as I wanted to send a response, and arrange a get-together for some time in December. And the more I think about things, the more I believe that I might have dodged a bullet.

Readers of this blog will note that I prioritize my social contacts, putting people like Vicki, Lili, GFL into high priority status. (K was also in this status when I dated her.) People like P (the hypnotist), M (my former coworker), P (my former girlfriend from 11 years ago), and D (a person who I met in therapy group) get a lower priority. None of this is conscious, there is a subtle ordering of available dates, people who I could meet on those dates, and who I'd like to catch up with most going on. And I think this is a common process that goes on with most people.

Most people crave a routine in their lives. I certainly do. But as part of me trying to get out in the world, I have to schedule more things and deal with more scheduling conflicts. For example, next month, my Yonkers games night conflicts with both regularly scheduled year end parties I normally go to - my office's holiday dinner, and my professional organization's December chapter meeting. Given that I doubt I'll be around the office at this time next year, attending the office party is a low priority, while the organization's chapter meeting is a high priority. So I'll go to the latter one night, and miss games for that week. 

I'm pretty sure that I may have gotten my bi-weekly therapy appointment mixed up once with K, and there may have been something else that got in the way of another dinner. But, I don't think I gave her a low priority or treated her with a low priority - especially when she was prioritized at the same level as Vicki and Lili. Her breakup email gave the most important reason - she couldn't deal with a boyfriend who also could present himself as a convincing female. There was nothing mentioned about excessive rescheduling.

What do I think is going on with K? First, I'll assume that her breakup email had the greatest amount of truth in it. She stated that she wanted to be friends, and made the effort to get together for a Broadway play as a mutual birthday celebration. Second, her ID was deactivated on the dating site we used. Third, she didn't stay in contact that much afterwards. Fourth, I told her about developing a relationship with GFL. And now, she's made a comment about my scheduling conflicts. Given these facts, I'll assume that she was truly a little spooked about me and my feminine persona. But, seeing her ID go down from the dating site AND not contacting me that much means she probably met someone nice (and normal) and started dating him. And now, being upset that I had to give Lili a higher priority may mean that she wanted a little more from this meeting than she let on, and in the back of her mind, would want for me to leave GFL for her.  (Yes, that's wild conjecture, but it's not unreasonable, given that she doesn't know how long I've dated GFL, nor when we were nearing intimacy.)  I always sensed from the beginning that there was something else going on in K's mind when dealing with me, and I'm not sure of what it is.

There are many ways one can analyze the evidence. I don't think K's reactions are normative given how we've mutually defined our relationship. Instead, from what I know about her, I'll throw out a few items of note - a divorce after 20 years of marriage, a fiancĂ©e dieing on her, and a civil service job as an administrative assistant. Could she be shopping for someone with greater resources than I have, and have used me as her fall back after the breakup email? If so, her game was poorly played. 

So why am I exposing my method of thinking to my readers?  I don't feel that any projections, any hypothesis I can make, or any suggestions people have can change things. Nor, do I want to change anything with K - she is in the past, and I only want her as a friend. (I have something that seems very good in GFL, and I don't want to ruin that for an unknown.) Instead, I wish to illustrate the subtleties in how being transgender can affect a potential relationship, and how it adds an extra complication to the already complex process of trying to date and mate. To date better, we must examine our dating failures and examine all the evidence. Some of the failures are directly related to being transgendered. In others, being transgendered is at the periphery of the problems leading up to a breakup. We can't assume much other than the fact that being transgendered will always be a factor we must consider in our relationships. Some people handle this easily, and others do not. And we must strive to become aware of this...

As I often supply, a link to some interesting music (pardon the quality)....

Mama Cass and Julie Andrews singing Simon and Garfunkel

My first visit to the North Country in ages.

It's so nice to see old faces again. It's hard to believe how much the weather has changed in 3 months, as it feels like only yesterday that I've seen my friends up North.

As usual, I woke up late on a Saturday, barely making out of my bed to relieve myself before noon. By the time I got up and dressed, it was already 2:30 or so, and I still needed to run errands here (dropping off my weekly laundry, and picking up cheesecake for my friends in Albany). So, I didn't really get moving until 4:00 pm - which meant that I missed seeing Lili for her birthday, and couldn't go shopping on the way up North for something pretty. At least, I was able to do something for myself that I wouldn't normally do - apply my own nail polish  (As I write this entry, I'm already getting ready to stip off the polish, so that none of GFL's family will notice anything tomorrow evening.)  The following picture illustrates how I was dressed today - a nice textured, knit purple top, with a silky liner to provide some modesty, with a black skirt that I've owned for the past couple of years.....

I may have been a little overdressed for the gathering, but one woman told me that I'm always well dressed in female mode. (I might have substituted the boots I was wearing for a comfortable pair of Mary Janes, but I thought of that after seeing the picture.) And I take this as a big compliment. Another woman noted that I have improved my presentation quite a bit over the past few months. Even the lady at the laundromat noted that my nails were better than hers. So I must be doing something right.

As usual, one of my female friends from up North let me know that she finds me attractive in female mode. In the past, she has run her hands up my leg while sitting next to her. (Not too far - just enough to let me know she might be interested.) And tonight, she made sure to kiss me in a way to indicate serious interest. Although GFL is welcome, I'm now grateful for her reticence in seeing this group of people - the last thing I want for her to see is another woman tongue kissing me. (And there is no way I would have gone any further - I value what I have with GFL, and would not take on multiple relationships with women unless GFL was comfortable with the "Polyamorous scene.")

Alas, too soon, it was time to go, and I made my 2 hour drive home, with an extra hour spent in WalMart shopping for food and other sundries. So now, it's a little after 3:00 am, and I still have to remove both nail polish and makeup before going to bed.

Given how many places I will have been this weekend, here's another ditty to enjoy....

.I've been everywhere

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tradeoffs - There is no one "Right" answer.

As I've mentioned in other entries, I'm at the tail end of one career, trying to make a transition into another career while in the same firm.  If I get laid off from my job, I will not likely be able to make the transition, and will need to execute my plans B, C, D, E, and F - none of them pleasant thoughts.  With that in mind, there is a part of me that would relish a layoff - if only to be able to experiment with life (mostly) 24 x 7 en-femme.

Obviously, the trade-offs of life en-femme would be hard ones.  The odds would be that I would not find a female lover with whom to settle down.  (A full transition could make it possible again, but that's another story.)  Entry to a new career would be much more difficult at best, if not impossible.  And, of course, one would have to consider the social elements at play - family and friends who don't know about this side of me. Does the value of what I gain from living en-femme counter balance what I could/would be losing?  In my case (right now), it does not.

My desire/need to live en-femme is not as strong as many in the transgender spectrum.  In this way, I am lucky.  Cross dressing may be enough to sate my need to present myself and experience life en-femme.  But for others, it is more than just a desire.  Instead, it is a deep seated craving.  It is the major part of the M2F transgendered person's core identity. And this need, once it erupts from dormancy, becomes stronger than that to preserve a family, stronger than the need to maintain one's career, and stronger than any influence that would keep that person in a male identity.

But where does being transgendered come from?

Recently, I've read that researchers have performed autopsies on M2F transgendered women, and compared their brains with those from natal males and natal females.  In the comparisons, they found that the hypothalami of natal women and M2F transgendered women have a similar growth pattern.  So there may be a direct, detectable physical component in the nature of being transgendered.  Could this be detected while a person is still alive?  Could we make an empirical diagnosis of being transgendered while a child is young?  If so, this would be a blessing for the untold number of children who identify as being transgendered from early childhood, as appropriate medical intervention could start earlier in a person's life.  This would prevent the body's development of the "wrong" sexually dimorphic  characteristics, so that when the child becomes an adult, the final medical interventions (surgeries) would be simpler and more effective.

We've seen TV shows which focus on children who are living in the gender opposite to their birth sex.  I can only imagine how hard it is for the parents of these children.  A father sees a son at birth, a "junior".  And then his heart gets pulled apart when that "son" says "I am a girl". He has bonded with a son, and now has to bond with a daughter.  This must be hard.   But this is an example of a lucky child who can express him/herself.  (I use the "him/her" representation here, as the child may not be forceful enough to have his/her voice heard by the parents.)

However, one has to ask - what happens to transgendered children (M2F or F2M) who grow up in families or communities where the gender binary is rigid?  I can see that child's voice being stifled or repressed well into adulthood, and the needed medical intervention not taking place. Imagine a M2F transgendered child being born in an ultra-orthodox community (religion not specified on purpose).  The odds are that the child would be raised as a boy and would be extremely unhappy and feel out of place.  There would be no place for the child (or future adult) to turn - society's demands outweigh the needs of the individual.  (Strangely enough, in Iran, the Ayatollah was approached by a transgendered person and he had enough foresight and compassion to realize that being transgendered was a legitimate medical condition and provided for transition. M2F transgendered women are not considered homosexuals - they are considered women after surgery.)  In the case of one orthodox community (as reported in the NY Times), gender variant "males" are given large doses of medicines (antidepressants, etc.) to take the edge off of having to live a lifestyle or in a body not appropriate for that person's inner being.  This is very sad.

So, how does one cope with conflicting needs?

As I see it, each one of us has to follow a unique path, and determine what trade-offs that he/she can live with.  None of these choices are likely to be pleasant.  In the case of one blogger whose blog I read, she has decided to make a full transition and is in the progress of separating from her wife.  With others, they live one life while away from home, and another at home, never fully in either gender role, never fully being able to be at ease in either role. Their careers, friendships, and families are always at risk.  I fall into this latter group.  But I am lucky. I am out to most of my friends.  I will get a pension if I'm laid off.  My domicile is paid off.  I will survive, no matter which choices I make. Yet, I am always concerned about those who are not as lucky.  This path can be costly - not just in money, but the hidden prices we pay for being at peace with our bodies, our self images, and our souls.  And I wish for those paying a high price that they get the peace they crave....

Quickie: Another visit to the North Country and some early Xmas shopping

I've been looking forward to this day for a while - a cool enough day to visit my friends up North while en-femme. (The last time I went, I went en-homme due to the hot and humid weather.)

GFL is someone who likes "Earthy" and "Natural" things - she's a step away from being an earth mother, and would enjoy something handcrafted for an Xmas present. Since Woodstock, NY is on the way, I might as well pass by, do some quick shopping before meeting up with my friends. It'll be nice to see this group again. But I dread driving home tonight, as I'll have to get up and out in time to connect with GFL before a party being held tomorrow evening that I'll be attending.

But....  More later....

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quickie: Sayonara to an old car.

Well, my old car is gone. And I'll miss it for some strange reason. It's an inanimate object with no real personality of its own. Yet, a car is something that many people become attached to over the years.

Today, when P's friends came to tow the car, they were later than I expected. They said to expect them at 1:00 pm, P said to expect them around 3:30, and they came when the sun was setting - around 4:15 or so. Instead of a tow truck, they had a van with a trailer hitch on it, and they were towing a U-Haul rig meant for towing cars. This meant that we would need to push the car onto the rig (a 3 1/2 person job) as well as secure it to the rig. By the time things were over with, it was almost 5:00 pm.

So, now I have one car and two parking spaces - which guarantees GFL room to park whenever she drives up here. And P (the hypnotist) will soon have a "new" car.

More later....

But first, another ditty - perfect for a 73 y/o woman who will get my old car.

The Little Old Lady from Pasadena

Quickie: Another Games night... Marian loses again.

Okay, so I lost at all the games I played last night. But I had fun playing each game - including the game I brought along - Anomia.

Losing games may be a great teaser for a title, but it is not what I really wanted to write about. Instead, as I get to know the family hosting the meetup, I will eventually need to share more of myself in general conversation. I have been careful to use gender neutral words when describing my life. But I know I'll have to mention that I am transgender. At least, the female half of the couple hosting the meetup has no problems with transgendered folk - she described someone she worked with in a prior life (read: when she was single and living in another state), and was very comfortable with this woman.  (Yet, she had trouble getting a handle on how this woman looked before transition, as she would have dated the (then) him because (then) he was HOT!)

I figure that being transgender in this crowd will not be a problem. The couple holding the meetup has warmly accepted me into the group of gamers, and has invited me for their New Year's Eve gathering.  (I doubt I'll be able to attend, with GFL taking a higher priority in my life. But I feel honored to have been invited.) 

It's amazing that so much stuff that is good is going on in my life outside the office, and at the office I am totally bored. It could be much worse, and I am grateful that it is as good as it is. The logistical headache of developing my Marian persona and its conflict with developing a relationship with GFL is manageable. Couple this with maintaining meaningful contact with Lili, P (the hypnotist), P (my ex-girlfriend) and her husband S, M (my former coworker) and others, and one can get overwhelmed with social juggling. Luckily, I've learned to be flexible. (Too bad that K (who I dated earlier this year) doesn't understand the method to my madness. - it would be easier for us to maintain a friendship.)

Thinking about the logical progression of things, if my relationship with GFL doesn't get in the way, I wonder when I'll be in a situation where I'll be invited to a predominantly female gathering as if I'm a natal member of the sorority. And I wonder how I'll respond when it happens.  As I see it, it's only a matter of time.  What would you do in my position?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quickie: Preparing to say "Sayonara" to my old car.

Supposedly, I will finally be rid of my old car sometime tomorrow afternoon. (I'll believe it when I see the second vacant space in my parking zone again.) And this means that I spent part of the day doing a last minute clean out of the car, and to re-inflate a tire that has a slow leak. This is the same car that died on me on the Saw Mill River Parkway while I was driving home from Yonkers while en-femme. And it has served me well. However, the car has become less reliable over time, and it was not anything I could count on living by myself. (especially, when I drive around en-femme, on average, at least one day per week...) 

If I had to do this all over again, I would not have promised this car to P (the hypnotist), but have given it away to a charity such as "Kars 4 Kids". (I hate their jingle, but it is one most of my readers may recognize.) At least, if anything happened with the car after it was out of my hands, no one would come back to me. I'm pretty sure that P will be leaning on me no matter how well the car treats her.

So today, I cleaned out a lot of the flotsam and jetsam which has accumulated in the car. Did I get rid of everything? No. But I tossed out the worst of the trash, and I moved the windshield washer fluid and ice scrapers that I had in the back of one car to the trunk of the other. Re-inflating the tire was easier than I thought, as the inexpensive compressor I bought took less than 5 minutes to bring the air pressure from 10 psi to 30 psi. (I was in no hurry, and the $20 compressor was perfect for my needs.)  Now, the car is ready to be towed away.

Tomorrow, the gentleman who'll be coming over to take the car away is expected to be here at approximately 3:00 pm "Caribbean Time".  (What I mean by this is that 3:00 pm is more of a guideline - if he comes late, he's still on time.  Clocks don't mean much to those from "The Islands".)  The only thing that bothers me about this is that I can't switch into Marian Mode until he has gone....

I can't wait!!!!

Quickie: Working from home - Laser in the afternoon and Games at night

It's another day of working from home.  This is one of the benefits of working for a boss who doesn't care much about what we do, save to make sure that none of the little "problems" we have on a regular basis don't turn into big ones that her management notices.  

Being able to choose to work from home on days that I have personal stuff to take care of (doctor's visits, car service, laser, etc.) is a great asset for me. I don't abuse it. But, sometimes, I feel I should take advantage of this opportunity more often - especially on nights that I go to games meetups.

After work today, I go to get my face zapped.  ZAP, ZAP, OUCH!!!!  I believe that I have had 10 sessions so far out of the 20 I was told I would need to clear my face. The dark hairs left on my face seem to be much thinner than before, but they are still there. But I've noticed, in the harsh light of someone's vanity, that I do have gray hairs in my beard - and these are not affected by the laser. So, sooner or later, I'll end up going for electrolysis to finish the job - finances willing.

Once I'm done with laser, I have to rush home and change into Marian Mode - it's games night in Yonkers. And I'm looking forward to a fun evening....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Quickie: The NYC Subway - This way to the Egress

One of my pet peeves regarding my daily commute is the fact that many people do not bother to get out of the way of those exiting a subway car. Or, when entering the car, they do not bother to quickly go to the center of the car to make ingress and egress easier for all. Today was no exception to my frustration with the average NYC commuter.

As I've mentioned before, my career with the firm where I work is likely to end within the year. There is much down time matched with an equal measure of boredom. It is exhausting to go into work, and be bored for much of the day.  There are some on-line classes I can take to kill time, but that doesn't address the real problem - my group will soon be made redundant. So I deal with this fact each time I go into the office, and am relieved of this hidden stress when I leave for home at the end of the day.

Over the past two days, it's been more boring than usual, and I have been more sensitive than usual to the mindlessness of the average commuter. Yesterday, arriving at Times Square, I noticed one commuter who had to make a lot of noise to get people to make way for him to exit the subway car - everyone wanted to stand in front of the door instead of making way for people to leave or enter the car. Today was my turn - I had to push my way out of the car, as people where simply standing in front of the doorway. And I felt no guilt in pushing my way out - even when one person was upset about my actions and made his displeasure known.

When the eventual redundancy notice comes, I will not miss the time I spend on the subways. This will be one thing I will be grateful to have out of my life on a daily basis.  (I'll still need to use the subway to see GFL, but that's another story....)

On a more pleasant note - my former girlfriend from 11 years ago will be retiring at the end of next week. And she (and her husband) may be meeting me at Monday's Games meetup.  Since I'll be en-femme, I warned her of this, but I don't think that will be an issue for her - now that she's married to a nice man.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sometimes, the world of "South Park" makes more sense.

Tonight, I'm going to run down to P's (the hypnotist) and try to figure out went wrong when I set up her computer. Sadly, I have to run down there in boy mode, as I might need to take her computer back to the store and have them reset the operating system (losing everything I loaded on Friday), so she could have a running computer.  AARGH!!!

As I've said before - no good deed goes unpunished. And this deed is punishing me already. Of course, she's the same person to whom I'm giving away my old car. So I have to make sure that everything is OK on that front as well. Currently, we're scheduled to have her mechanic come over with his tow truck on Saturday. I'm hoping to get this shifted to Friday, so that I can have the whole of Saturday free to (1) drive to the "North Country" and see my friends there, and (2) drive to Woodstock, NY to buy GFL a little handmade gift (in addition to the gift I already planned to give her) that she'll see as special....  (While I'm at it, I might drop by the Post Office there and pick up a book of stamps - and see if someone recognizes me after 15-20 years. It's a low risk event, and I have no plans to tell him who I am if he doesn't recognize me.)

But back to P....

No matter how lucky I am with her computer tonight, I am still going to be corralled into helping her organize her email, and move the saved stuff from one machine to another. Too bad that I can't afford to have a six-pack of Beck's nearby for refreshment.  (I'm not one to drink and drive, as I might hit a bump and spill some.) And I have enough problems of my own to take care of....

So I'll leave you with this little confection....

Chocolate Salty Balls

PS: I drove down to P's place and found out that she was entering the wrong password to log on to her computer. (She can be so frustrating at times....)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spending time with GFL

This weekend, I spent a couple of nights with GFL.  We're at the stage of a relationship where getting together doesn't mean that we go out for dinner every night. Instead, we're doing the more mundane things such as running errands, and taking care of tasks (such as pruning a couple of "junk" trees) in her backyard. So, given the option of NOT going to GFL's on Saturday, and spending the evening with her, it was much more worth my time to be with her, than to spend the evening by myself.

As usual, my trek to GFL's was via commuter train, subway, and ferry. The subway section of the trip was made interesting by the following musicians I encountered on the platforms:

I'm a sucker for steel drums, and it was nice to hear the first fellow's music waft across the tracks while waiting for the train. But I decided to move to the far end of the platform, so that I could easily get off the local train running to South Ferry and get to the ferry quickly. And then I saw this fellow - a truly unique player for the subways.

As usual, my commuter train and subway schedule didn't sync well with the ferry schedule, having missed the ferry by 150 feet - the doors to the ferry gangway were closing as I reached the terminal. So I cooled my heels and relaxed until the ferry came. Once I reached Staten Island, GFL and I went to dinner, and then spent a quiet night at home.

The next day was dedicated to running errands. And when a Staten Islander goes shopping, one crosses the bridge and goes to New Jersey - especially when buying clothes. Both of us were tired, and fell out early. (Actually, she did - I had to wait until drowsiness set in, and I fell asleep on the couch while watching a quiet movie.)  

Today was a day we were stuck around the house. She had HVAC people coming over to make quotes for the replacement of her HVAC system - which might have another year or two left on it. And then she also had a backup in her line to the sewer - which had to be taken care of as well. As much as the two of us would have liked to be doing something else, it was another day spent taking care of chores - which included pruning the "Junk Trees" I mentioned earlier.

Sadly, the weekend was over too soon.  And I had to get on the ferry. Again, I missed the ferry by 100 feet - and had to wait a half hour for the next one. Luckily, I'm always rewarded by sights like these on every trip....

I still wonder how she will react to seeing me (in person) en-femme.  Since next weekend will be my trip to the North Country, I doubt she'll get the chance to see my female persona. But sooner or later, she'll get the chance to see the persona up close - and then she'll have to process her feelings. Hopefully, she'll be able to accept both of my persona as equal parts of me....