Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Closing out the Old Year

Yes, another year has passed and many things have changed since the beginning of the year. Some of these things have been for the better, and some of these things have been for the worse. But change has been the key word that describes this year for me.

At the beginning of the year, I was worried about losing my job, concerned whether GFL was really interested in me, and hoping I was on the correct path. Most interestingly, I was hit on by a man, and I didn't even notice when this happened. Although I was seriously afraid of losing my job, the extra 5 years from the time my group were told, en-masse, that we were all losing our jobs, and the time I did lose my job made all the difference - I was able to prepare for the loss, and was desensitized to the loss when it finally occurred.

Over the past 5 years, and especially in 2013-2014 , I was able to develop a regular pattern of social events that I attended. On alternating Mondays, I attended a board game meetup in Beacon, where I was just one of the gang.

When this meetup broke up (the owner of the place having switched to a "Doctor Who" themed restaurant), I migrated to the "Whine and Dine" women's meetup held on Wednesday nights - and again, I was just one of the gang.

And of course, there is the Thursday night board game meetup that I religiously attend.

This group is special to me, as when they thought that I might not have a place to go on Thanksgiving, they invited me to spend the holiday with them - something I'll always be grateful for....

- - - - - -

Although the job search has not been going as well as I'd like, I realized that things won't be as bad for me as first feared. Yes, there is a lot of prejudice against older people in the work force - and it is a battle that has to be fought by all of us. But that's not a battle I can fight on my own, and it's not a battle that will be won in time for me to benefit from it.

- - - - - -

GFL ceased being very interested in me, and after the summer ended, so did our relationship. I miss her now and then, but it is not a strong feeling. Sadly, I would have liked for that relationship to work out, as I liked her 2 y/o grandson. (I could have gotten into spoiling that kid.) But this was not meant to be. Instead, new people started coming into my life, and I have had an interesting series of dates. Most recently, I've dated several ladies, C, M (of Artoberfest), and GFJ.  Will any of these ladies work out?  Who knows.  Only 2015 will tell....

- - - - - -

With all the talk about job and dating, I have to mention that things have gone well for my family.  My brother and sister in law are living under the same roof again, my niece finally is on the bottom rungs of a career ladder, and my nephew is doing well in the Army. And of course, my dad is happy....

- - - - - -

There are some things which will always keep me grounded, and one of them is Lili. I've talked about her a million times. But her problem is simple - she does not take control of her actions *and* she believes in the fantasy that one person can make her happy. Seeing her reminds me of how far I've come, and how far I have yet to go in life.

Another friend who keeps me grounded is Vicki, but in a very different way. She is the model of someone who is in control of her life, and I like that very much. Where Lili is emotional, Vicki is rational. And I need rational people in my life. Vicki is the kind of person who will give solid advice - even when it might hurt to receive it. But she has never steered me wrong. A friend like Vicki can be a godsend.

- - - - - -

I could go on and on about 2014. But 2015 will soon be here, and I hope things change for the better. Regardless of how I feel now, I know I'll be feeling very differently throughout the next year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Navigating a trip through the Lili Pond.

I have to be careful when I agree to meet with Lili - she is a very lonely person, whose very problem is that she's caught in a vicious cycle of being afraid of people, afraid of saying the wrong thing when with people, and retreating from people instead of challenging her fears. And today was a good example of why I need to be careful...

The best thing a hermit can do to improve social skills is to go out to meet people and exercise his/her social skills (with a little bit of coaching). Lili, like most addicts, is a person caught in circular reasoning, who is simply afraid of people. Today, she again asked me to be her "wingman", pleaded with me to be her "wingman" at a New Year's Eve dance.

As I've mentioned in a previous entry, she doesn't need me. Instead, she needs a cisgender female for the role. I'll admit, that if I were much more "passable" than I am, I might take the time to consider her request - I'd like the opportunity to get glammed up for the night, even if I'm coming home by myself. And there is a part of me that would at least once like to be held in a man's arms, and then dance backward across a dance floor in heels like Ginger Rogers. (Yes, I miss this part of being female.)

- - - - - -

The reason for today's encounter with Lili was another trip to her mom's place. And the trip down to Great Neck was uneventful, save for a minor traffic jam on the Cross Island Parkway. When we arrived at her mom's place, things were too calm. The caregiver, S, complimented me on my mode of dress, and then she slowly started to get into her usual shouting match with Lili. Luckily, most of this shouting was away from Lili's mom - and away from me.

Lili has what I think is a legitimate problem - a step father who will take Lili's family heirlooms as his own when his wife (Lili's mom) dies. It doesn't help that Lili also believes that S (the caregiver noted above) is taking things from the house as well. Her siblings don't seem to care, Lili is going nuts - and Lili has also started taking things, storing them with family for safekeeping. This is not a pleasant situation.

So today's shouting match revolved around whether Lili should be taking any of the stuff out of her mom's house, instead of the usual "how 'S' should be taking care of Lili's mom." When the shouting got loud, I went out to the car and waited. Although I didn't have to wait long, I could still head the shouting from inside the car.

- - - - - -

Eventually, we had to go home, but this was not the end of the bad news - her son's puppy had gotten loose, and was now at the animal shelter. Thankfully, the dog was unhurt - but Lili will need to make some phone calls to prove that the dog has been vaccinated AND is registered in its home state. (This will not be easy, with her son being halfway around the globe....)

I'm glad that I don't have to deal with these problems on a daily basis.

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Year's Eve Planning

Sometimes, the skills I've learned to deal with an emotionally abusive and needy mother can come in handy. Today was one of these times....

I already have two places I can go for New Year's Eve, both of them being board game meetups in Yonkers and in Fishkill. So I know I'll have a good time in Marian mode. So I wasn't surprised when Lili called me, trying to get Mario to accompany her to a New Year's Eve "BBW Dance", so that she could meet someone to ease her loneliness. If I were a natal female, I might have accompanied her just to get out of the house for the night, even though I might have changed my plans to play board games with other friends. But it becomes a very strange situation when a male is to be a "wingman" for a female who "needs" to get laid. There are some boundaries that even I won't cross - and this is one of them. When Lili projected on me her craving to have someone in her life (as if *I* needed a woman), I was easily able to say "NO" to her.... (But I did tell her that "Marian" would stop over and point out what she should wear, when she goes alone to the dance....)

- - - - - -

This conversation got me to thinking about New Year's Eve, and then about cravings in general. For the past few New Year's Eves, I've been with one girl friend or another, save 2012. And then, I still had a place to go for the holiday celebration. Even if GFJ comes back into the picture, I'm not counting on her being around for New Year's Eve. So I might as well hang out with friends who know and accept me as Marian.

It's a shame that I don't have a friend with whom I can go out for a special New Year's Eve shindig with me in Marian mode - it'd be fun to go out "dressed to the nines" on a holiday night. (I expect that when I have a girl friend, that she'll want to see Mario dressed to his nines, not Marian, when the clock strikes midnight and rings in the new year.)

If becoming Marian was merely a want, then it would be easy to sacrifice. But being transgender, the desire to be Marian is somewhere between a craving and a need. And I've learned that in any future relationship I have, that the woman in my life will have to accept both Marian and Mario - even if she doesn't wish to participate my social life as Marian.

- - - - - -

Most of us desire companions for our trips through life. If we are healthy, we see this desire as either a want or a craving and act accordingly. We learn to fill our lives with experiences with friends and families to make our lives less lonely. When we do not have large enough social networks, we go out and participate in activities designed to expand these networks. Eventually, if all goes right, each of us will find one (or more) acceptable partners for our trip. But if not, and we're healthy, we have enough other things in our lives to give them meaning.

Many of us transgenders have lost friends and family when we came out. We have experienced the need to build new social networks in a more intense way than most people do - unless either widowed or divorced. And when we eventually find new love, we realize that that we often pay an unusual "Price of Admission" - we accept things in our loves that frustrate the hell out of us, ignoring the obvious truths (the disturbing things) to see the ideal person (a falsity) we fell in love with.

- - - - - -

Transgenders can learn a lot from healthy divorced and widowed folk. (Note my stress on the word "Healthy".) A healthy person knows that no one person can complete his/her life. Instead, the healthy person wants someone else in his/her life because of the way the other person makes him/her feel. When a widow loses her husband, she grieves, and eventually finds people to help make her life whole (piece by piece). If she's lucky (and also wants someone), that person will be attracted to her, as she has filled in (with the help of friends) the gaps in her life. A divorcee, on the other hand, first lets go of an unhealthy relationship (as it makes her feel bad), and the like the widow, works to fill in the gaps in her life.

Although I lost my wife 18 years ago (and I still miss her), I do not feel lonely. I think this is because I have things to do and people to see. This takes the edge off many of the times that I'm alone. But I always keep looking for new people to be with, as I would go nuts if I didn't have a variety of friends for different purposes..... And this lesson is one I hope that Lili would learn soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Surviving Christmas - Again

By the time you read this entry, even the Christmas leftovers will likely be gone. Christmas is a time of renewal. And this year, Christmas is the first day after my illness that I even have an appetite for anything filling. I guess that I'm starting to feel healthy again, as my appetite is back - though my stomach capacity has not returned.

- - - - - -

Although I was en-homme all day, I noticed something which might interest my transgender readers - in a conversation my sister in law was having with a couple of females present at the yearly shindig, she commented that either her dress or her sweater was a particular brand, and that she got it at a specific well stocked thrift store (not Goodwill or Salvation Army) near her house. No "normal" male would have paid this conversation any notice, as the topic of clothing bargains would never come to mind. But I'd bet that any female overhearing this conversation would want to join in and find out more about this thrift store.

What was I doing while this conversation was going on? Acting like a typical male of course, and watching the movie on the TV. I'd have loved to have joined in with the women, asking if this store carried plus sizes - but I'm not out to my family.

- - - - - -

Of course, the big news for the day was that I was able to trust my GI tract not to act up while I was 50 miles from home. Although this most recent cause of GI tract problems was different, I've dealt with irritable bowel syndrome in the past (without medication) and it wasn't pleasant. Luckily, what triggered my past problems went away by itself, and I'm hoping I don't have to deal with something similar as the aftermath of this illness.

Since I don't have much more to say, I'll close out with a neo-classic Christmas tune....

John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Happy Xmas (War is over)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Quickie: Curiosity about a particular M2F Transgender

I don't think my friend J would mind me mentioning it here, but the issue of my being transgender finally came up at the Whine and Dine while I was out with the flu. People were very curious, and I'm very glad that J was my defender, having mentioned a relative with PCOS. Like her relative (who is a natal female), I do stand out as different. Her relative cried when called by the dreaded "S" word - I wish I could talk to her, just to support her, AND to mention how being misgendered feels from the other side. So it will be very interesting to see how people react to me the next time I'm there....

Although some of the ladies often there have already asked me these questions, they have had the good taste to treat our conversations as private - and let me control what information is shared. And what I still find amazing (and shouldn't) is the focus on genitalia, and not the focus on the social role.  (In short, yes - I still have my male plumbing, but would be glad if it were gone.)

In a group like this, I am like any other woman - I chit chat, eat a little, drink a little, and laugh a little. I do not attempt to pick up women - this is not a lesbian group, although there are some lesbians who are in it. (Yes, two of the ladies have mentioned it to me, feeling that their secrets were safe with a M2F transgender.)

Enough for now - this is a quickie.....

Being sick can get so tiresome

As I write this, it's Christmas Eve, and my GI tract has been purged on account of the flu. Although I'm feeling better, the GI tract is not back to snuff, and I'm afraid I'll miss Christmas with the family.

- - - - - -

What is the key difference between my normal level of inactivity and this level of inactivity? I have much less energy, and then I can't trust my GI tract to function normally. This means I can't go more than a few minutes away from home.

Of course, this means that transforming myself into Marian was out of the question. Even if I were to take the risk of GI tract problems, it's raining outside, and I just won't feel pretty given how I feel today. If I were living 24x7 as Marian, I'd have gone out as Marian and run the few errands I had to do. But having the option not transform myself into Marian, I chose the less energy intense presentation.

- - - - - -

I'm hoping that I will be feeling better in the morning. If all goes right, I will be able to see my family for the holiday. If not, I'll stay home and relax. Either way, I'll be trying to get back to a state of normalcy....

Friday, December 26, 2014

Laid up with the Flu

This past week, I have been letting some scheduled posts be published without my intervention. It is one of the benefits of writing blog posts several days ahead of time, being able to edit them as needed, and having them ready if I am not able to write new ones in case of illness. I've been down with the flu for the past couple of days. Not only has this gotten in the way of me going to the Whine and Dine, but it also may put a kibosh on visiting my family for Christmas - I don't want to infect my 87 y/o dad with a virus that could kill him.

It's amazing what several days away from shaving will do to a body. Looking at my arms and legs, it appears that a virtual forest has sprouted all over my body. So I'm glad that I'm feeling well enough to shower and shave, and finally get out of the house for a few minutes or so.

- - - - - -

I'm one of those people who get very sick very quickly, and fights off the bug as quickly as it came on to me. Although I feel well enough to go to the Whine and Dine tonight, I cancelled my RSVP, as I didn't want to infect anyone I knew. But this took away one of the few opportunities I'd have this week to go out en-femme.

As I've noted elsewhere, one is subject to the same problems whether one is en-femme or en-homme. One can't avoid getting sick, nor can one avoid disappointment and adversity.

- - - - - -

Luckily, the last traces of the bug I have should be gone by Christmas - and I'll be able to see my dad again. (I'll let you know what happens when I write the post that discusses Christmas day events....)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Advent - A church season and more

As I've mentioned in other entries, I usually write entries for this blog approximately 3-4 days in advance of them being made public. This entry will likely be the one you see on Christmas Morning    -   so   ....Merry Christmas!!!!  

Today (as I write this entry), I decided to get up and out of the house early enough to go to church. I'm not a zealot in regard to religion. (In fact, I despise religious zealotry, as it implies a certainty to the universe that doesn't exist.) Instead, I sometimes go to this church for the feelings of community that I experience. Whether or not anyone notices that I am transgender, no one seems to care. And I will be trying to go there on a semi-regular basis, depending on other things on my schedule.

- - - - - -

In many ways, I feel as I'm coming into my own as Marian. Could it be that I feel more free to express my emotions and show my true inner self? I don't know. But enough people have commented that I show a different personality when I'm in Marian mode than otherwise. And those who see me having a different personality prefer me in Marian mode - even when attracted to Mario.

I'd love to be "Out" to my family. But that's not going to happen soon. The only person I feel I might be able to trust would be my niece - and I don't get enough chances to talk with her to test the waters. So, I guess I'll have to stay in the closet a little bit longer.

- - - - - -

What I'm noticing most about life as Marian is that I have a drive to become more connected to people. I'm going to church every so often, I go to a board gaming meetup every week, and I go to a woman's "hen party" meetup group every week as well. I like how I feel as Marian, and I don't want to give that up.

Since I am a large T-Gal, as well as being a person whose female voice is not up to my usual levels of perfection, I have to be open about being transgender when someone asks about it. So far, this has not been a problem for me. But it could be if I'm in the wrong area of town or the country. Yet, having cruised to Nova Scotia and back, I keep getting emboldened by my successes - even if I hear the dreaded "S" word on occasion.

- - - - - -

I have a lot to be grateful for this Christmas season - even though I still do not have a job. There are people in much worse shape than I'm in, and I hope that they get some needed relief this season as well....

And on that note, I'll close out with a classic Christmas tune....

Various Artists - Have Yourself a Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Two Birthdays and Two Different Feelings

Around this time of year, I go through a phase of many mixed emotions. Yesterday, had she lived, my wife would have turned 60 - and be on the end run towards retirement. But she's no longer with us, and that will always make me a little sad - even if I'm with someone new. Today, my father turns 87 - and he's been retired for years. I'm grateful to have had these years with him, but I know that "Grimmy" (as Steven Colbert could call him) will eventually make a call for him, and I'll have a double dollop of sadness to deal with. Until then, I simply will say: "Happy Birthday!"

- - - - - -

Last night, I had a chat with my brother about job searches and age discrimination. And my brother brought up an incident with someone less qualified than he was applying for the same job at the Internal Revenue Service. She got the offer in a classic case of reverse discrimination - she was female and a member of a minority group - a "double dip" for quotas. So I said to my brother that instead of sending out a resume under the name of "Mario Johnson", that I should send out a resume under the name of "Marian Johnson" and see what happens. We both started joking around, and I said that what would happen if I got a call for an interview - should I take it?  He said: "No, you'd never be able to walk in heels." (Little does he know, given the picture below.....)

Strangely enough, females returning to the workforce may suffer less discrimination than equivalent males.  (But this isn't saying much when age discrimination is rampant.) So if I were to do a legal (but not physical) transition (now possible for me), and continue my work on developing a feminine voice, I could present quite convincingly as a matronly female - and have access to jobs I would not have as a male.

If you think I'm a little delusional, I'd like for you to view this video of Judge Victoria Kolakowski. She is the first elected Transgender Judge in the United States. Would you think her voice gives her away as a transgender person? If I wasn't told she was transgender, her voice wouldn't clue me in to this fact about her....

- - - - - -

On Monday, I plan to contact the volunteer agency and go for an interview sometime during the week. And I will mention that I am transgender - and am volunteering for a position in this mode. If they don't want me, it's not a big deal. And if they do - even better. It'll be one step further in the development of Marian and the social transition into a life as Marian....

I have mixed feelings - I want to live my life as Marian. Yet there are many advantages to remaining as Mario. I think I've figured out the trade off I'll need to have romance in my life. But I'm still working on what I'll need to give my life some meaning other than playing games with friends....

- - - - - -

On that note, I'll close out with a Christmas Tune, and note that I wish my wife were still here to enjoy it with me....

Karen Carpenter - Merry Christmas Darling

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Believe it or not, my cleaning lady came today!

Before I lost my job, I had a cleaning lady come into my apartment on a bi-weekly schedule. Afterwards, I asked her to come every 4 weeks until I found another job. When November came around, she missed her scheduled appointment, and I've been trying to get her back here since then. Finally, she came out of the woodwork, and is back to cleaning my apartment on a regular basis.

When the cleaning lady comes, I hide almost all artifacts that indicate that Marian is a presence in this apartment. Obviously, there are things that I miss - but I guess she thinks that I have a lady who is a regular presence in my life. (One of these days, I'll have to get a Photoshopped picture of Marian and Mario together.) Since she has been coming on days I spend in Marian mode, I usually try to make it out of the house before she arrives. 

- - - - - - 

After leaving my apartment, I decided to go to Mt. Kisco for lunch, with the idea of window shopping in Target afterwards. Lunch was good, but I forgot about Target. Instead, I oozed my way to Lower Westchester, where I would eventually meet N (the pregnant lady of baby shower fame) and her husband R at their new wine store. (To preserve their privacy, I will not provide information on how to find the store.) We chatted for an hour, and then it was time for me to leave. I'm hoping that N and I will be able to maintain contact with each other after her baby is born. She is an intelligent woman, and someone I find very attractive as a person (in a very non-sexual way). 

When I left N & R, I walked around, and found a store that sells calendars and games.  I bought a game for myself (Quiddler) and one for my brother and his wife. (I can't remember the name of that game off hand....) I figure that my brother and his wife deserve an inexpensive gift for Xmas, and something in the $10 price range would be perfect. One depressing note - when I went to the Subway next door, I was addressed with the dreaded "S" word. (I've found that most of the time I'm misaddressed while en-femme, that it is usually a Middle-Easterner (read: Arab) who gets it wrong. So I take it in stride and ignore it....)

Once I left the game store, it was off to the Yonkers venue for board games. But tonight's agenda would be a little different than usual - we would be caroling first, and then playing games. So, when L (the newlywed) arrived, the guys, gals, and little ones went out the door and terrorized the neighborhood with our warbling. The little ones would run up to the doors and ring the bells - and the adults would wait in the street to crucify the Yuletide songs when someone came to the door.  Not all doors were answered, but we had a good time of it when they were.

And then we played games....

The first game was Telestrations (a fun game, similar to "Telephone"). After two rounds, I had to beg off and take a rest. I figured that I'd play my two favorite versions of "Baby Got Back" on YouTube to break the streak of reworded Christmas tunes, and then play a tune from each Pompolamoose, and Postmodern Jukebox. L (the newlywed) loved my selections, and will probably keep these two groups in mind when she next purchases some music....

Once I finished with my YouTube selections (I pushed the limits of what I could get away with, but I didn't want to hear Xmas tunes reworded to encourage people not to drink and drive - long story here), it was back to playing games - and this time it was Quirkle.  And I won. Then we chatted a bit - it was the last game night before Xmas, and it was nice to be just one of the girls....

- - - - - -

On that note, I'll close out with another Christmas Classic....

Straight No Chaser - 12 Days of Christmas

Monday, December 22, 2014

Quickie: A quick jump into the Lili Pond to get an Apple

(A gift from Lili... the sweater dress I'm wearing.)

As I've said before, and will say again - Lili is a basket case and today was no exception. However, this one time, she was like an average 60 year old lady having trouble with "new fangled technology" - in this case, an Apple iPhone 4 which needed to be replaced under warranty.

Our original plan for the day was to see her mom as soon as I got home from Church. However, she changed her plans, as she had less than a week to replace her phone under warranty before she'd be stuck with a dysfunctional phone. (Don't ask me what was wrong - but Apple agreed that the phone needed to be replaced.) So we had a quick lunch, then went to the Apple store in Danbury.

Arriving at the Apple store, Lili was told that she'd have to wait 2+1/2 hours for help. So we killed time by exploring some stores in the mall. Of course, Lili wanted me to try on some clothing while I was in the stores - and sadly, nothing fit. If Macy's had one grey sweater dress in my size (and if it fit well), I'd have snapped it up. But I knew better than to keep spending money on clothing for Marian, when Mario will likely need some new clothes for going to the gym.

After killing 1+1/2 hours, Lili had a good idea - check in with the Apple store to see if they could start on her phone's paperwork early. And we didn't know it yet, but we needed all the extra time we could get. The first thing Lili had to do was to reset her AOL password.  Of course, it was way too noisy for her to do that in the Apple store, as the voice commands to AOL weren't picked up by the automated system. So she lad to leave the store and find a "quiet" alcove, so that she could receive a new password.  One problem - she didn't have a pen and paper.  She used makeup and a receipt instead.  When she got back in the store, she encountered more problems - she was entering the letter Oh, when AOL was looking for the number Zero.  That cost us another 1/2 hour. Once things got going, it took 45 minutes to back up the contacts and pictures on her phone. At that point, it was safe for her to move her SIM card to the new phone and restore everything from the cloud.

Once done with the phone, I dropped Lili off at her car, where she gave me the dress in the above picture - and we parted.

- - - - - -

Sadly, even when companies try to make their technology easy to use, there are some people who are still flummoxed by that technology. Lili and Pat (the former hypnotist) are two of that kind of person. Even I get flummoxed by some things with modern technology, but I do pick them up after a while.

It's raining babies! (Or, my first Baby Shower)

Such a cute baby. And I hope that N's baby will appear just as cute when she is born in about 4 weeks.

Tonight was the night of the long awaited baby shower. N's belly is even bigger than it was last week, and she looks almost ready to have the bun leave its oven. I told her not to allow the baby to come out on January 8th, as that's Elvis's birthday. She said not to worry - the baby's due on the 22nd.  We all had fun watching N open her gifts - the hostess (who has had two children of her own) gave N a gift that I'd never have thought of - a tool which N could use to record when the last feeding and last diaper change took place. (I never knew how little women could track shortly after childbirth. But then, not having been born with the correct plumbing, I'd have had no chance to learn this first hand.)

After N opened all her presents, it was back to the normal activity for a Thursday night - Board Games. And I lost a LONG round of "Settlers of Catan" - but had fun doing so. Even though there was more time to play games, we ended up going back to talking - and planning for tomorrow night's round of Christmas Caroling and Board Games....

- - - - - - 

Since I don't have that much more to say, I'll close out with another novelty tune.

Stan Freberg - Christmas Dragnet (1953) / Yulenet (1954)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Juggling days en-femme and days en-homme

This holiday season, I have to juggle a few days where I must be en-homme with the rest of the days where I can be en-femme. Normally, this is not an issue, but this year, my dad's birthday falls on the weekend - and I will be expected to be there.

I was hoping that I'd be able to get my ears pierced before Christmas, so that I'd have at least 3 weeks for the holes to set before I took out the studs when I visited my therapist again. This does not look like it will happen. But it is just as well - I can only imagine how many earrings I'd be buying if I had pierced ears.

- - - - - -

For the past couple of days, I've had to be en-homme due to appointments with my therapist and a yearly shindig held by a professional society I belong to. However, I'll be en-femme for the following 2 days, as I have the baby shower and a special Friday night game night. And then, back to male mode for my dad's 87th birthday, followed by female mode until Christmas. It can get confusing without a good calendar marked up for days I have to be in male mode, and for days I have to be in female mode. Luckily, I've developed a good system to keep things straight.

I've decided to volunteer for the position mentioned in an earlier post. Even though it is not anything related to project management, it will give me the skills I may need if I wanted to transition and resume work as a woman. Of course, I'd have to tell the person with whom I'd be working at the non-profit that I'm transgender (if only because they might want to do a background check on me.) Since non-profits are always looking for free labor, I doubt that being transgender will get in my way of volunteering for this position.

- - - - - -

Whenever I have to take the subway into Manhattan, I usually drive to my Ex-GF-M's neighborhood. Tonight, when I drove there, I was very glad that I was en-homme as I was stopped by a cop (most likely a "revenue stop") and issued a ticket.  I'll pay the fine - and forget about it. But I'll remember to avoid this intersection in the future, and go via a different route. 

A while back, when I first started going out en-femme, I visited the girl at the laundromat who washed my male clothes. She had just been told she was pregnant, and needed a laugh. Being there en-femme gave her the laugh she needed. Whenever I'm in my ex's old neighborhood, I think of this woman (who used to live there as well) and wonder how things are going for her. 

- - - - - -

Of course, I will need to juggle time en-femme and en-homme for times I see GFJ. For now, I plan to let her decide which of my persona she wants to see when she sees me. Yes, I'll clue her into the way I'm scheduled to dress for the day (if something is scheduled for the day), but I'll try to let her make the choice - just so she is comfortable....

Since I'm starting to get tired, here's another Christmas novelty tune....
(And I wonder what Debbie Reynolds would think of this song now. <g>)

Spike Jones & His City Slickers - I Want Eddie Fisher For Christmas

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Truth is stranger than fiction - but it needs a good author.

Normally, on days I visit my therapist, I go en-homme. So, when I went to see him for the last time this year, I went en-homme. 

In my therapy session, I discussed the conversation I had with D (see prior post) the night before, where I listened to him discuss how screwed up his life became in the past year. I learned a few things more from my therapist regarding D's situation (he came very close to the line in regard to patient-therapist privacy issues), as he (the therapist) was glad that I reached out to D. I mentioned that I wasn't going to introduce him to some of the groups I associate with - especially, the polyamorous ones. Until he learns how to communicate well, negotiate well, and be honest with himself and others, it doesn't make sense for me to connect him with people way beyond his league. What I didn't tell my therapist was that D and I were supposed to get together today, but that I was so exhausted emotionally from the prior night's call, that I wasn't going to bother having a late lunch with him. This didn't mean that I didn't have a partner for lunch.  GFJ and I had exchanged a few emails the night before, and we agreed to meet after my visit to the therapist. So, instead of killing time before meeting with D, I drove to the Panera Bread in White Plains to meet with GFJ. 

Now, when one has a street address for a business, one expects to see the storefront on that street. This is not the case with this outlet of Panera Bread. The White Plains outlet is at 1 North Broadway. However, when one drives along North Broadway, this outlet is not visible. The question "what gives?" comes to mind. And the answer is one of those quirks of assigning addresses to buildings and the businesses in them. Panera Bread (like some other businesses) has its entrance on a courtyard facing Main Street. So if you don't know the store faces Main Street, you will never find the store.

I arrived at Panera Bread first, and ordered lunch. Although GFJ was in the area shortly afterward, she had a hard time finding where I was. By the time I finished my lunch, she still had not arrived, and I didn't want to abandon my seat, as I wanted to make sure that I saw her when she arrived. Eventually, she did arrive, and we chatted for a while before having to walk back to her car parked on street. Since I had to do some shopping at the Walmart next door, GFJ and I parked her car in their lot, and proceeded to do the shopping we needed to do. GFJ seems comfortable with both Marian and Mario in her life. And I think she was glad that I could be comfortable in Mario mode, even though I'd prefer to be in Marian mode. 

GFJ had an 8:30 pm class, and she needed to nap. So I invited her back to my apartment, in order to allow her to nap in a safe place. And she accepted. When we arrived at my apartment, we went upstairs and wished that both of us didn't have other things to do in the evening. In my case, it was a visit to Lili's rental house, so she could prepare the upstairs and downstairs apartments to be rented out. And in GFJ's case, she had her class. After about an hour together, I left and let her nap - allowing GFJ to lock the door behind her as she left for class. 

Arriving at Lili's income property, I helped her prep the place. But when she invited me back to her place, I decided not to go. I wanted to be able to go to sleep early, and if I went to Lili's house, we'd likely watch a movie, and I'd be back on my "out of sync" sleep schedule again. Lili had a gift (a sweater dress) she wanted to give me, but I told her that I'd see her before Christmas and pick up the gift. 

In the end, this is one of those rare days that I was glad to be en-homme instead of en-femme. And it was nice to find out that GFJ has not permanently ruled out having a relationship....   

Truth is still stranger than fiction in my life!!!!!

So I'll close out with another novelty Christmas tune....

Joe Diffie - Leroy, The Redneck Reindeer

Friday, December 19, 2014

A search for some tights, a troubled friend and a possible divorce

I'm a T-gal who loves wearing dresses and skirts. And in the winter, it makes sense to wear the warmest possible tights one can find. Unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to buy fleece lined tights in my size - and now am looking at several stores (all, The Avenue) which carry this item which was not available on their on-line site. 

I got out of the house late (as usual), and headed to stores in Yonkers and in The Bronx. Only one had a pair of these tights, but I wasn't going to pay the same price for one pair that they normally would charge had I found a second pair in the store. So I passed on this pair, and hope that I will find another 2 pairs in my travels this week. 

- - - - - -

On my way home, I decided to talk with my friend who will likely be divorcing his wife. He has no idea of my transgender nature, nor do I want to discuss this with him until neither of us are dealing with my current therapist. (I don't want to open up gender issues with this therapist - I prefer to have someone who I can trust with gender issues, as I may eventually need someone to write certain letters for me.) While talking with him, I realized that he keeps adding in way too many factors, making his process much more complex than it needs to be. His problems boil down to the following:

  • Will they stay in the North, or will they move to the South?
  • Will they break up?
  • (If there is a breakup) Will they break up in the North, or in the South?
Children, jobs, etc. end up being secondary to these questions. As we discussed things even further, he said that he doesn't want to be at blame for the breakup. I had to tell him that "Blame" and "Fault" should never be a focus if you are trying to preserve a marriage, nor should he be trying to keep score.  (I'm phrasing things poorly, but if he stays worried about being right, he will destroy what's left of the marriage.) 

Ideally, he'd come to a working arrangement with his wife - they'd have their dalliances outside the marriage, and would present an image of harmony in front of their children. Previously, I mentioned that I learned from polyamorous people the secret to any marriage (as these same principles are even more important to the polyamorous) is: Honesty, Communication, and Negotiation - something both he and his wife have done poorly. He got a little defensive when I told him that he did none of these things well, but admitted it after a few minutes. Sadly, I doubt that he will be able to rescue the relationship - but I don't intend to be the one he turns to for solace.  (My hands are filled dealing with Lili.)

- - - - - -

Am I ready for a serious relationship?  I hope so.  I've learned to be reasonably honest, and I think I can negotiate things pretty well now. But I still have my doubts on communication skills - and feel that only a real world experience will tell me that I'm where I need to be. Until then, I'll have to wait and see....

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Does Polly want a cracker?

After approximately 300 miles of driving, one would think that I had enough time behind the wheel this weekend. But I decided to go to the Hudson Valley Polyamory group's pot luck supper anyway, adding another 100 miles of driving to my weekend total....

Having come home at 4:00 am yesterday, it made no sense to get up early and try to go to church as I once intended. Instead, I let the alarm ring until it was exhausted, and eventually made it out of the bed sometime before noon. Of course, this meant that I didn't even bother to try to attend church, and that I was going to be late for the HV Poly group's pot luck supper. So I got showered and dressed, and I was out the door by 1:00 pm.

Arriving at Sherry's place, the small group in attendance had already finished their meal, and was ready for dessert. Luckily, the chicken was still on the table, and I was able to have some real food before having dessert. And then it was back to the living room to gab for another hour or two. Part of the discussion involved my preference for the female gender, and the myth that all transgendered people need to progress to full transition. In my case, I'll be happy with a social transition - which means that I stop short of GCS, but do almost everything but that last major and irreversible step. 

All too soon, it was time to leave, and I figured that I'd do some window shopping at The Avenue. And, as usual, I bought nothing. (But I wanted some fleece lined tights which were not in the store anymore....) So, I decided to try out the new buffet on the other side of the mall.  Big Mistake - The food was too good to only have one plate. And I'll hate myself when I next get on the scale.

- - - - - -

When I got home, I chatted with M (from Artoberfest). She's in bad economic shape, having a very hard time piecing together the work needed to pay her bills - and is in worse shape than I will likely be in next year. We rambled on a little, and agreed to try to get together once school breaks for vacation. I only wish that we lived in better times, where she'd have a better chance to find a good job.... When we get together next, she doesn't care whether I come as Mario or Marian. I just wonder whether she is interested in me as a friend, or potentially something more....

- - - - - -

And on that note, I'll close out the entry with a tune befitting this weekend....

Eddie Rabbit - Driving my Life Away

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's been a while, but it's time for another visit to the North Country

As I started writing this entry, I had yet bothered to shower and start getting dressed, so that I can attend the monthly poly gathering being held in its Albany location. And I have been thinking about several things since I've awakened for the 3rd/4th day in a row on a "normal person's" schedule (read: sometime before 9 am), being fully awake....

- - - - - -

GFJ sent me an email, saying she was glad to see me yesterday, and noted that the difference she saw when I was in Marian mode was why she didn't want to crimp my style by making me be in Mario mode. Sadly, she never understood why I had no problems making the trade-off to be Mario - no one should be alone, if a small trade off could be made to have love in one's life.

This morning, I received a short email from someone else I dated via OK Cupid, and she said: "I celebrate Christmas, not Xmas." To me, this is a red flag in regard to this person - being this sensitive to writing the shorthand for Christmas could be a big problem when it comes to conversations regarding faith....

It's amazing how little and big things can get in the way of romance. But they do. My therapist thinks the big issue that keeps me from having healthy romantic relationships is my weight. (He has stated a prejudice against heavy people in his private life.) Others have told me that I have an active dating life. So I think the key issue is being transgendered, and only a large dating pool will result in an eventual healthy match for me....

- - - - - -

I ended up leaving a little later than expected, and this dashed the plans I originally had of seeing someone's collection of Americana in Duanesburg. (When a person has a diner, a general store, and a locomotive engine (and more) on his "main street" property, it is worth a look-see, if only for photographic opportunities.) But I was able to get to our gathering a little early - and that was OK.

Unlike some previous gatherings, this one seemed small, and many of the "usual suspects" did not show up. It seems as if the integrity of the group is slowly fading away, and it's in a state of slow decay. Even so, I always enjoy getting together at F's house - especially, since she's a great woman to know.

Gradually, the group arrived, leaving F and I to be the only females in a group of 8 people. And there was more dessert for our pot luck than there were main course or side dish offerings. That was still OK, as I didn't notice anyone rushing to eat everything on the table - in fact, when F noted that there was food on the table, the rest of us were very comfortable on the chairs in the living room - and I ended up being the first to eat - 15 minutes later. (I felt that if I started eating, others would follow, and F would feel a little more comfortable.) A little bit later, A and J came in, and now it was 3 women in a room full of men. (This was a time I really wished I had different "plumbing".)

After our usual group discussion, some of the group broke away to enjoy the hot tub in F's back yard. (She keeps it running all year long.) The rest of us stayed inside. Eventually, everyone left, save 2 men, F and myself - and we got into a discussion of being transgender, and then of female sexuality - which included the topic of "squirting" (a.k.a. Female Ejaculation) and how women deal with it. F was a little embarrassed, but she was comfortable with the topic, mentioning that she squirted. I then told the story of 3 women - the first, Sherry, the woman who introduced me to this group, the second, Patty, who started squirting when she met Steve, and the third, J, a woman I dated for a short while and is now living with her long term partner. To me, I find it amazing how many women squirt - and how they deal with it. It's a natural function, and one that is an external indication that they likely have had a good time with a partner. 

All too soon, the night had to end.  Unlike past events, I knew that tonight's drive home at 12:30 am would be a problem when I've been falling out early. And I ended up pulling over at a rest area to sleep for an hour before moving on home. For the rest of the drive, I knew that I had to be careful - and I became more and more awake as the drive went on. 

As you can tell, I arrived home safely, and hope that drowsiness will again set in soon....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A lunch with GFJ en-femme, and more....

Do you notice anything missing from this picture?  If you guessed that it's the outline of GFJ, you're correct. However, I met her today in Marian mode, as she was in the area, and wanted to remain friends.

Knowing that I'd be seeing GFJ in Marian Mode, I made sure that my presentation was up to my highest standards without going overboard. So I was ready for her call when she left her doctor's office to meet me for lunch in Croton. Although I had more than enough time to get to the restaurant before her, I ended up being a few minutes late because I had to get some cash from the ATM.

When I parked next to her, I didn't know how she'd react to me in Marian Mode - I always thought that this could be an issue for us. But she related to me as an old female friend, and we walked into the restaurant around noon. There was much to talk about, but not necessarily what one would expect. In the course of our conversation, GFJ said that Marian has a very different personality from Mario, and that Marian is much more at ease than Mario. We talked about her "Wasband's" infidelities and failed extramarital relationships, as well as issues related to the equitable division of marital properties. I could almost feel sorry for the man, as he has destroyed his relationships with his (soon to be former) wife, his sons, and many of his business's customers. The key word is ALMOST. He didn't learn from past mistakes, and is on a downward spiral.

As our chat progressed, I mentioned that Mario would still love to have a relationship, and that my other half realizes that enough of a masculine presence would be need to be preserved for me to have a romantic partner. I mentioned that Mario and Marian could easily share their time 50/50, and GFJ said something that caught my ear - she would have a hard time seeing my transition to/from Marian from/to Mario. But that would only be an issue of logistics. She seemed to enjoy meeting Marian, and would enjoy getting together again. So who knows what could happen?  (I won't bet on it, but I'll leave the door open for that possibility if nothing better comes up first.)

We must have chatted a long while, as it must have been 2+ hours later that we left the restaurant. The way we were going, I know we'll see each other again - but I don't know when. We both want to get together to have Chinese at The Little Bear - and I think it's not a matter of "IF", but "WHEN". Yet, I've been wrong with my instincts before. And, I'm likely to be wrong again. Hopefully, this time I'm right.... It'd be nice to have another friend to be with.

- - - - - -

While lunching with GFJ, I received a call from "D", the friend I mentioned in an earlier post. He had sent a text broadcast, letting his (few) friends know that he would likely be divorcing his wife. During our conversation, I found that was absolutely clueless, and had no idea of what to prepare for. Even though he has a 90 day reprieve, where he and the wife will try to work things out, the net result of this (as he believes) will be to avoid having the kids think of Christmas time being a season best known for their patents' breakup. 

This fellow has been playing "Mr Mom" for years, and he doesn't realize that he could be awarded alimony. But I see this being a small issue. Their big problem will be to liquidate their house in today's market. Ideally, he'd come to a working arrangement with the wife that allows both of them their extramarital flings and companionship, while providing a stable home for the kids in their current residence. Sadly, neither of them is likely to be thinking far ahead. If they go bankrupt, as I expect that they will, the house might remain an albatross around their necks, as they may be able to retain it (heaven forbid) and be stuck with a Zombie Title (as was done to M of Artoberfest). 

D wanted me to introduce him to groups I belong to so that he could network. I have two key reasons why I won't do so. First, most of the meetup groups that I have joined, I attend their meetings in Marian Mode. (As I've noted before - I don't want him knowing I'm transgender.) Secondly, he wanted an introduction to my polyamorous friends - and again, I said no. This time, it is for his own good - he does not have the skills to be successful in polyamorous love, and he would only hurt people I'e grown to know as friends. I gave him the same advice I gave to Lili - find an interesting meetup group - and attend a few meetings.....

- - - - - -

And back to dating....

I received a message from a woman I dated, and tonight she asked why I didn't call her back. Here's where I don't want to tell the truth, but I don't want to lie either - I just want to tactfully say that I had too many people coming into my life at once.  Obviously, she's still interested, but I don't want to string her along either. If she could deal with me in Marian Mode, then I'd elevate her to a higher priority. If not, then it isn't worth it.

In the evening, I texted M (of Artoberfest), and said hello. It looks like she might want to get together again. We exchanged a few texts before I got back on the road, but I intend to call her over the weekend and see if we can meet up sometime. (And I'll go in Mario Mode, if only to make her a little more comfortable.) With that being said, she posted what I'd want to know on Facebook - and I might forward the salient information to someone in the press to see if they can put the heat on the bank and the Zombie Title....

To update you all who follow the saga of the lands and estates of Lord Zachary Wolfhunter against the evil Barons of Megabank. In short.... Judge ruled in July 2013 that Megabank was at fault... with bad foreclosure practices. Spent the next 6 months testifying in Court so Judge could determine amount of monetary compensation. Megabank appealed his decision. County. Judge decision upheld. After 2 appeals we were suposed to go to Southern District in Brooklyn this Dec. The lawyers asked for.....yet another extension. So.... 5 years and 5 months AFTER my husband died.... Megabank is STILL dragging me through Hell. Every month they REFUSE to foreclose on the condo adds $1000 to MY DEBT. My wages are STILL being garnished...... And I am still no closer to being able to move forward with MY life.
To Megabank I am a way to fix their books. A property that they technically own... but don't pay for is cream to them. My name is NOWHERE on that mortgage but...... still I am the one dealing.
Got my first letter from Megabank that they were accelerating the process in Oct 2009. Settltment Conferences Oct 2010-Feb 2011. I moved out in June 2011 because they TOLD ME TOO.
Check the date. Dec 2014. Over 3 years of being responsible for a mortgage that wasn't mine.......a home I couldn't or sign a quit claim for.
So.....the saga continues...... my beloved Husband's name scraped through mud and gook for a few more months.
It seems that I should be called a weeble. I wobble but dont fall down.
Collateral damage of losing husband..... losing home.... loosing HIS family.... top of that... being unwelcomed by his SCA friends. Losing HIS friends. Losing his things, all of our wedding memories, cards, photos, my bouquet, our knives and most of his personal collections (acquired before me) to Hurricane Sandy. Having the homeowners association and management THROW IT ALL AWAY before I could even LOOK through it.
And our dog. Gone.
I just want all this STUFF to be OVER.
Now I've vented.

Still wish a features story writer would pick me. I would make a GREAT human interest story.
And on that note...happy holidays.... i am well...i am family is relatively well.... and soon...I shall bake cookies!

Although I've made minor edits to strip away the bank name and to preserve her privacy, one can easily see how frustrated this woman is. And she IS an educated woman. You can easily see from this one incident why I support Elizabeth Warren's position that the banking industry needs to be more regulated and not less. And yet, the "Cromnibus" bill being rushed through congress does the exact opposite - and gives money to the banks for the same types of risky behavior that got them into trouble in 2008.

I hope that M can find a way out of her mess. This is worse than anything I could have imagined....

- - - - - -

And now to leave off with another Christmas Novelty Tune (or two)...

Monster Christmas (Godzilla Vocal Collection - In Japanese)

Candye Kane and Country Dick Montana - Let's Put the "X" Back in Christmas

Monday, December 15, 2014

Quickie: How do you deal with spoiled children --- of any species?

A puppy - so cute, and potentially so destructive.  Owning a dog should be a way to either teach a child responsibility for others, or a way for an adult to enjoy caring for someone who is hopelessly loyal.... Don't get me wrong. I love dogs, and sometimes wish we could have them as pets in my apartment complex. But this is not the case.

This post involves a puppy, two adult children, and the mothers of these two children, and has nothing to do with being transgender. (So, if you're interested only in things related to being transgender - wait until the next post.) But this post has everything to do with setting limits for family love and with children learning to think ahead when it involves their personal responsibility for others in their care.

- - - - - -

There has been an ongoing issue with Mother #1 and her son regarding the boarding of his pets while he and his fiancee go and visit her ancestral homeland. Son never thought about how his pets would be taken care of, except to board them with Mother #1. Mother #1 did not want the dog in her house, as (1) it disturbed her pets, (2) defecated on one of the beds, and (3) urinated on one of her dogs' beds. In short, this puppy is not trained, and should not be in the same home with Mother #1's pets. Yet, Mother #1 caved due to pressure from her son, and was willing to allow his pets to stay in the basement of the house, keeping the two groups of pets separate.

When Fiancee heard of this arrangement, she went ballistic!  She started screaming about what would happen if the basement flooded (the animals would retreat to high ground) and other potential calamities. She was trying to manipulate Mother #1.  Fiancee then mentioned that her mother (Mother #2) would be willing to take care of the pets, even though she had no experience with pets. 

Mother #1 started feeling that it was her fault that this mess had happened, when it was her son's problem.  Son had a responsibility for making sure that there was a WILLING person available to take care of his pets before booking a vacation. But he plays a game with his mom (Mother #1) who is not willing to set limits, and who wants to be a friend to her son more than she wants to be the adult parent who can say NO!

I told Mother #1 that she should stand her ground, and she didn't want to do so.  What would happen if Mother #2 screws up caring for the Son and Fiancee's pets? She felt that this would be her fault. I said no, this would be your son's fault - and it would be time that he learned some hard lessons. Of course, Son and Fiancee are already on their way overseas, and this decision can't be changed.

- - - - - -

Sadly, Mother #1's Son has been spoiled all his life, and Mother #1 has expected him to show her the love that her mother didn't show her. This is similar to the feeling many adolescent females feel before they have their first child - and then both suffer because the females don't know how to express the love their offspring needs.  In the case of Mother #1, she should have occasionally shown some "tough love" - if only to help him develop some backbone and some feeling of responsibility for those whose care has been entrusted to him.

I consider myself lucky. Although I have one family member who is well off, I have learned to deal with my own problems. Yes, I've had to call in favors and occasionally ask a family member for help. But as an emancipated adult, I've always found a way to take care of my responsibilities by planning in advance and having others volunteer to help. And I try to be there to help others - just not too much....

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / With a little help from my friends