Friday, February 28, 2014

Tomorrow's the big day

Tonight, we will begin the final steps in a project we started about 2 & 1/4 years ago - and though I am nervous, I can't wait for it to be all over. No matter what happens to me afterwards as repercussions from a very late delivery, I know the future will be better than the present. If they decide to find room for me to do new things, I will retain a position which has allowed me to afford the little necessities such as maintaining two wardrobes. And if not, I will have the time to live life en-femme while looking for a job that I will be at en-homme. (Yes, that is an issue, but one I've discussed in earlier entries in this blog.)

Tomorrow, I expect to be stuck at my desk (at home) all day while we validate the implementation. And then, if all goes as expected, I will be sending out messages telling everyone that all went OK - and then waiting for Monday to come, so that any straggler problems can get fixed.

So, I'll get dressed for a few hours en-femme, and then come back here to monitor the first night of this effort.  Wish me luck....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quickie: It's hard to believe after all this time - It's games night again!

For the past several weeks, I have not been able to get to the Yonkers Gaming meetup due to either the weather or my health. Tonight will be the first night in a long while that I'll be able to make it to Yonkers for a pleasant night of games.

Why is this important to me?  First, I enjoy getting out and being with people in Marian Mode. Second, I enjoy playing games. Third, doing things I like help keep me sane, given the stresses I deal with at work. Lastly, I need to get out of the house and get away from the computer. Given that it looks like we'll have another storm on Monday AND  that I will likely be very busy with work issues, I don't expect that Monday's games meetup in Beacon will come off as planned.


Building on what I mentioned in my previous post, what do you do to keep yourself sane and give your life some definition?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

We are not defined by being transgender alone.

A while ago, I asked one of the bloggers I read - What did she want out of life? And she responded - To be a WOMAN! To me, defining ourselves solely by the gender of the bodies in which we live seems very one dimensional. Many of us would sacrifice our identities if it meant our children would live happy and healthy lives. Wouldn't that make the role of being a parent more important than being in one's preferred gender? And if we were all to be instantaneously changed to have the bodies we most desire, then what would be next?

I thought about this question and asked myself - "Where do I want to go in life?" And I realized that I'm already on this path. For example, my career in information technology is gradually winding down. So I'm hoping to get a second wind by trying to shift into project management. But Americans tend to make the mistake of defining themselves by what they do for a living. If I couldn't work in the field I want, would this change who I am inside?

Realizing that I was alone, having been widowed for about 17 years, I started using the online dating services to help me meet people with whom I could form a romantic partnership. But does being married provide a full definition for a person with a full life? And the answer is a definite NO. 

So, I started to develop new hobbies, one of which was painting (something I intend to get back to when I have a convenient place to paint), and another was photography. You might be interested in some of the pictures I have shot over the years.

It's hard to believe that all of the above shots and more were taken in a gentleman's 40' x 100' back yard. But I do not define myself as just a photographer.

Yet there was something lacking. I didn't have much of a social network. So, I decided to do something about that - I went out to some meetup groups en-homme, and, last year, started going to gaming meetups en-femme. Now, I have places I can go (at least) once per week (when it isn't snowed out) to be with people, to do something mindless without someone hitting on me. And I found it fun being accepted as one of the gang, as evidenced in the picture below.

But I don't just define myself as a game player - there is much more to me than that. I have other interests, such as travel.

The beauty of the picture above is that Peggy's Cove looks much the same today as it did when I was there with my wife, and years earlier when I was there with my parents.

As you can see, there are so many things that contribute to the definition of who I am - and many more that are too numerous to note. So, would I want to be defined as just being a woman? No. But if you were to ask me if being a woman is one of the things that I'd want to contribute to my definition, then the answer would be Yes. Transition would not change much for me, save to make my body match (a little better) what I want to have as a body. There is much more to me than my gender - and I'm grateful for that....

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I forgot my text at work

When I started to write today's entry, I was at the office killing time between meetings.  Never mind that I was busy for an hour and a half after my normal quitting time, I often have time to kill during the day.  If I ever get the chance to run another project where I work, I promise that I will not allow myself to be made powerless by a coworker on the project.   

But enough about work. I may yet use that draft in another entry....

Right now, I am connected to a chat room where I used to go under my male identity. For the past few weeks, I have gone in the room in my female identity, and have become a sort of regular there. It keeps me a little busy when I want to be able to chat with people, but know that I have little to say at the moment, except for "hello".

There are a lot of times that I'd like to be with people, not to talk, but to be in the presence of other people. And lately, I find that I want to do more of this "being with people" en-femme. So, I go out to meetups to play games, as I don't expect that any man will want to hit on me. When I'm in the chat room, I'm avoiding saying things which will cause me to be invited to meet other people - as I know I'm not good enough to pass perfectly among people who might pay very close attention to me as they try to develop a real world friendship with another woman. 

Over time, I expect that I will be perfecting my female presentation enough that I'll be able to pass as female by close inspection of 98+ percent of the people I meet. And by being in the room, I am able to practice communicating in a style which I would not use as a man. There is a different phrasing that I'd use as a man than I'd use as a woman - but I can't describe it well yet. But I think it has to do with being a little flirtatious, yet knowing I'm in control at all times.

A nice thing about the online chat environment is that I can experiment with topics for communication without having to think about my voice. As much as I should practice, I don't. It's simply because I'm a little lazy, and have no pressing need to improve the voice yet. But one of these days, I'll motivate myself, and I will finally get back to voice training.

And on that incomplete note, I'll sign off for the night....

Monday, February 24, 2014

The problems of one are the concerns of many.

Our Transgender community has an assortment of high profile members.  Some members are very visible to the outside world, while others have high visibility only in our circles. Each of us deals with a unique set of problems, some of which are problems common to all of us.

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I am an active reader of several blogs – several of which are noted on this web site.  Recently, the lives of several bloggers (that I’ve become interested in due to their blogs) have hit some speed bumps. And one of my favorite bloggers has disabled the blog due to her undefined personal issues – which I hope are resolved soon.

It seems to be a constant theme in our community that we have to deal with more than our share of problems.  Many of us are not able to earn a decent income, and some of us are even on public assistance.  We have made extreme sacrifices to be to the world to be the people that we really are inside of us. Some have lost relationships with members of their families (and in many cases, their whole families), most of us have lost friendships, and virtually all of us have experienced risk to our jobs and careers. (Many of us must remain in the closet, as we can’t afford to take the risk that excuses will be made to get rid of us during an already stressful period in our lives.)

I live in a relatively tolerant area – the Northern suburbs of New York City.  Going out and about has not been a problem for me – I am accepted in the persona in which I present myself. However, others are not so lucky. Their builds, their facial structures, their voices give them away as being “different”. And this can cause an unlimited number of problems.

How many of us are afraid to do some of the common, mundane things in life such as going to the bathroom? One error in presentation can create a very embarrassing situation, or worse – especially if one is in the wrong state or community. Something as simple as a common mishap, such as bumping into someone, can trigger a presentation error. So many of us get paralyzed with fear and never accept the most minimal of risks. And, as a result, we stay locked in our closets, afraid to come out.

One blogger that I read has problems with a bigoted, soon to be ex mother in law. This woman gets in the way this blogger when she wants to be with her wife and daughter.  Even though the marriage may not be able to last, the love should be able to last – at least for raising a child. Another blogger that I read lives in a “Red State”, and has had difficulties from all corners – the risk of exposure on the job, as well as having issues with exposure at home. People in this blogger’s local community would often be very prejudiced against our community. What would happen if one of the balls that this blogger is juggling drops? It could mean loss of job, loss of friends, and loss of family.

But if the problems in our community were limited to a small number of members, most of us could go about our lives in stealth mode and quietly work for acceptance. This is not the case. Many of our problems are shared by community members who pass and those who don’t pass. For example, One of our more passable, non-transitioned members has the same problem with an ex-wife that many transitioned members have – a former spouse who looks to poison a child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent out of spite. (This problem is not unique to our community, but it may be more likely to occur because of feelings of betrayal caused by a coming out process which doesn’t go well.) Even I have to be wary of this – I date a woman who knows about this part of me, but has not had to confront it directly after over a year of dating.

What I fear most is not the problems from friends, family, and coworkers. Instead, I fear the problems caused by outsiders who have no skin in our game. When I read about the people who tried to make it illegal for Coy Mathis to go to the girl’s room in her local school, it sickens me. What do they think Coy is going to do other than to relieve herself? Are they afraid of acknowledging that the world is not structured as binary as their reading of the Bible would have them believe? Are they afraid that they would have to adjust their faith to fit the facts? Should this uncertainty be that much of a threat that they would cause harm to a little girl?

Yet, it never ceases to amaze me that enlightenment can come from the most unexpected places. For example, one Iranian spoke to the Ayatollah Khomeini years ago, and discussed how being transgender was different from being homosexual. And as a result of this conversation, the Ayatollah proclaimed an acceptance of the transgendered person, and recognized the need for a healthy and safe transition for the transgendered. It saddens me that fundamentalist Christianity is not as flexible as Islam in this regard.

The path to social enlightenment is long and bumpy, and many individuals suffer as the greater society learns and grows in spirit. Must we continue to be the ones who suffer? Are there ways that we can help others down this path of spiritual growth and reduce suffering for all? I continue to hope that there are answers that can stop the vicious cycles of hatred and violence once and for all….

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another trip to see GFL, and some more questions....

This weekend's trip to see GFL was uneventful - if you don't dig too deep.... 

As usual, my trip took me through Times Square, and I saw this percussion performer while transferring from the Shuttle to the 7th Avenue/Broadway local to South Ferry.

This fellow had started his routine, and 5 seconds later this child asked him for his autograph. (If I were this fellow, this would have made my day - and I'd have done exactly that this gentleman did - chat with the child and give him an autograph.) So, I never had the chance to hear this fellow's performance.

It was onward to South Ferry, and then to GFL via the ferry. The day was warm and sunny, so I made sure to get a couple of pictures of the Lower Manhattan skyline....

You'll notice 1 World Trade Center to the right in the lower picture. Sooner or later, that will be a status address. But I'll bet that when the tower opens, it will suffer the same problems getting profitable tenants that the Twin Towers did - and it will be years before the glut in Lower Manhattan office space clears up enough to command the rents that a building of this stature should command.

As usual, then I got to Staten Island, GFL was late to pick me up at the ferry terminal, so I took some time to capture some of the ferries which were not in use that day.

The ferry in the bottom picture never seems to be in use.  I wonder what it is used for, if it is not carrying passengers on a regular basis?  (Or, has my visitation schedule prevented me from seeing this ferry in use?)

Eventually, GFL arrived, and she told me that her tenant was complaining that he couldn't open the front door. The two of them took apart the front door handle/lever/lock assembly and couldn't get it to work again. So, before going home, we had to stop by Home Depot and pick up a replacement unit.

The next morning, the man who has been working on her basement came over to install the replacement assembly. He mentioned that the welds that held part of the unit together failed, and suggested that GFL write to the company who manufactured the unit and ask for some sort of a rebate for the replacement of a defective unit.

Once he left (he was doing her a favor by installing the lock assembly before going onto a higher priority job), we ended up going shopping for furniture that will eventually go in GFL's basement. (And I, as usual, left her alone with the salesmen, so that they realize that she is the one buying for her "woman cave".) While she was shopping for furniture, I was looking at bedding - I need to replace my mattress. And I think I know what I'm going to buy.

On our way back to her home, I mentioned a spring trip to DC, and that I'd love to have her with me. However, I mentioned that I will spend some time there in Marian Mode, especially if I can arrange to meet with one blogger who I've mentioned in previous entries. She may be able to accept being with me for some time in en-femme, but I know she wants to see me most of the time en-homme. Although she'd have to return home to be with family after the weekend, I'd be heading on to Philadelphia for some more mini vacation time (and possible visits with two more people I'd like to see.)

So, we'll let things mull around for a while and see what happens....

When I went back home, I had time to kill, so I took the more comfortable, but slower way home via the 7th Avenue/Broadway local. Reaching Times Square, I saw the fellow below entertaining people on the Northbound platform.

I found him to be entertaining, so I threw him a few coins as a way of saying thanks for letting me take his picture.

Soon enough, I was back in Grand Central and had time to kill - so I figured that I'd go to the waiting room, and surf the web with some free wi-fi. No luck!  AT&T (the folk who maintain Metro North's free wi-fi) hasn't been able to get the wi-fi working for a couple of days - and I just happened to be there wanting wi-fi when it was not available. 

At least, when I got home, my internet connection was working....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I have found the perfect meetup group for me - just maybe.

I keep my eyes open for new meetup groups where i can attend in Marian Mode and be accepted for who I am.  I think I may have just found another one....

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Board Gaming is a meetup group for all those who identify as female to get together and play board/card games. Are you new to board gaming? Or maybe a seasoned pro? All levels of experience are welcome! Our meetups will be a chance for members to share their favorite games as well as learn some new ones. Join us in rolling dice, shuffling cards, and making new friends. 
All women are welcome. 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Board Gaming is a trans, cis, and genderfluid friendly meetup.

Yes, this group openly accepts those of us who are transgendered. And on the days that I am not otherwise engaged with GFL, I hope to be able to attend meetups with this group. Yet, given the choice, I'll chose being with GFL over playing games every time - for now. There are so many of us who don't have relationships, that it is important for me to nurture the one I have. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Doctor, Doctor, Give me the news....

Today, I worked from home so that I could go to the Doctor.  I was surprised to find out that I did not gain any weight since I last saw him - but I'd bet that this was a direct consequence of the bug that I'm slowly fighting off. The one consequence from this visit is that he's tweaking my meds a little, and that I'll have to visit him again two weeks from now.

My office situation is what's causing me a lot of stress - we are now targeting next weekend for our system upgrade, and there will be hell to pay if this doesn't come off smoothly. We only have 3 days next week to get a lot of little things done, and there's not much I can do to help it along. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

If things had gone off as originally planned, I'd be on the way to the North Country right now, and spending the bulk of my day in Marian Mode. But the weather looks very dreary outside, and it is very sloppy.  Why should I risk ruining anything nice in the slop outside?  I was lucky to be able to play games in Beacon this Monday, and I may yet go out tonight - if only to see a movie.

So I'll leave you with this little ditty - with a title appropriate for today's activities.

Robert Palmer - Doctor, Doctor, Give me the news....

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A little s--t goes a long way...

Today’s entry is about commuting and only commuting.

Over the past few years, I have had enough experiences with mass transit personnel to have developed a respect for how they handle what usually is a humdrum set of jobs. How can a person do the same thing every day, and still be ready for the unexpected? Also, how can a person do the same thing every day, and not develop contempt for someone asking what, to you, may seem like a dumb question?

In the past, I have seen conductors hold trains for passengers running down steps, as well as hold their door open so that a straggling passenger can hop on a train inching out of the station. (This is something that could get them in trouble, so it is a rare exception and not the rule.) More often than not, each transit employee I've met has been courteous, and more than willing to help a passenger in need.

Years ago, when I used to ride Amtrak at least once per month, I remember an eastbound train meeting up with a westbound train to help a passenger who missed his station, with a bridge set up between the two trains so the passenger could cross comfortably between the trains. That is going beyond the call of duty. Yesterday, was a case of a passenger making a complete ass of himself, and eventually paying the price for being an idiot….

The train I usually take into NYC only has one stop after I get on – Croton-Harmon. People getting on at Croton-Harmon have a choice of a local train or an express train (my train) on their way to NYC. This person either got on the wrong train or didn’t make the transfer at Croton-Harmon. In either case, he would normally have to ride into New York and then catch the next outbound train to where he needed to go. But he’d be late.

About 15-20 minutes after leaving Croton-Harmon, an irate man started to pester the motorman and other train personnel about not stopping at Yonkers to drop him off. (Apparently, he was talking to the train’s conductor in a different car, and got the belief that the train would stop in Yonkers.) This angry fellow walked back to his car, and there was no disturbance for the rest of the ride.
Today, I found out what happened….

From what I understand, this fellow was harassing the conductor, who would have asked the motorman to stop in Yonkers to let the man off the train.  But, being the victim of harassment (I wasn't there, and this is third hand knowledge), the conductor didn't bother helping this fellow.  After her returned to the car, the conductor told him that there would be several “Customer Service Representatives” to meet with this fellow on arrival at Grand Central. I guess this would explain the 6 uniformed Metro North Police Officers who were on the platform to greet this man’s arrival.


Years ago, my dad told me a joke involving two birds – as a lesson.

There were two birds on top of the Empire State Building.  The first bird (a larger species) had to relieve himself and his relief landed on a tourist’s head on the 86th floor observatory.  The other bird, of a smaller species, has to relieve himself too – and his relief lands on top of a bald man’s head at ground level. The first bird asks why his relief didn’t go as far as the second bird’s relief. And the second bird responds:

“A little shit goes a long way…..”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Feeling run down and wrung out.

Yes, I'm being bothered by a low grade bug - and I think I'll make a decision in the morning whether I am going to the Yonkers games meetup when I get up and look in the mirror for the first time of the day.

When I first started to draft this entry, I was thinking of describing some of the problems I'm dealing with with one particular person. But it was enough to find that my therapist was shocked when I told him about this person's behavior. So rather than go down this path, and bore the hell out of you, I'll head in a different direction.

It's been almost a week and a half since I've seen GFL. And it will be nice to see her again this weekend. It will also be nice to see some of the snow melt away - as it has become a nuisance, especially when the melt refreezes. Tonight, when I came home and went to my car in the parking lot at the railroad station, I almost slipped and fell several times because of the thin layer of ice melt. I'm going to be careful, as I don't want for my next visit to GFL to be with a cast on my arm or leg....

One of the good things about my relationship with GFL is that we don't have to be in daily contact. We have enough in our individual lives to keep us busy, and it is always nice when we get together. Mind you, there is a part of me that always wants the thrill of new experiences, new people - but who is immune from that siren's call? Conversely, I'm not sure from her actions on how far she wants to take the relationship. But that's OK for now, as she still has to get used to the idea that I will continue to go out in Marian Mode, and socialize this way without GFL. (I'm making trade-offs here for a romantic relationship, and I don't want to force social participation with me in Marian Mode on GFL.)

I figure that I'll find out what I need over time. And I'll address issues with GFL when I'm ready to address them. But until then, I'm not in a rush to have more changes come into my life, save for this bug to go away.

Quickie: Feeling under the weather may take away a third straight games night

Recently, the timing of the snow storms has gotten in the way of me going to games nights in both Yonkers and in Beacon. Although I've been to Beacon since the storms dumped the bulk of their 5' of snow, I haven't been to Yonkers in 2 weeks. I was hoping to have a double dip of games nights this week, but it looks like circumstances will get in the way of my favorite games night - when I'd enjoy going to it most.

I've been fighting off a "low grade something" since last Wednesday. So far, it hasn't gotten in the way of me doing that much, save that I have had much less energy to do things - and I have had to be very careful to be able to try to rest so I can get my work done.

Yesterday, I finally started to feel better, but spotted a problem which will likely keep me from going to games night on Thursday.  Towards the end of the day, I noticed that my left eye was a little irritated and looked for some eye drops. I then looked in the mirror, and saw that my left eye was pink - AARGH! From what I remember, this is not good - they send kids home from school when this is detected. So, this will get in my way of going to games night if it's still around on Thursday. (And if it is, I will not postpone my doctor's appointment on Friday to give me more time for my project at work, as I'll have to seek treatment for this condition....) 

If I don't go to games night, I may still go out en-femme. However, I won't have as much fun as I would playing games with the Yonkers crew. Instead, I may go and see my former hypnotist, P, and chat all night. Who knows?

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed....

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quickie: Working from home - a nice day to stay in my jammies.

Today, it snowed outside my place, and I have no idea yet about how much snow is on the ground. Why? Because I worked from home, and didn't even have a chance to look out my window. But I had the pleasure of staying in my jammies all day. Even if I were asked to o into the office today, I'd have begged out - my 4:00 pm meeting went past 5:00 pm - and I'd have never made it to my 7:00 pm appointment.

But I won't be able to do this tomorrow, nor will I be able to do this, for the remainder of the week without a good reason to do so. And this means I wouldn't be able to leave for the North Country on Friday until it was too late to bother going up there. At least there will be the March gathering that I can look forward to.

I know I'm going to have a very busy 2 weeks to come...

Monday, February 17, 2014

Meeting a new friend - en-femme.

Over the past few months, I have been corresponding with a lady who answered my personal ad with pictures of me en-femme. Although she's not into guys who do this, we developed an online friendship and finally decided to meet as "just friends" And today was that first meeting.

The hardest part of choosing a place to meet when two people live in different sections of the outlying suburbs is that they have to find a midway point to meet. Neither person is likely to know much about the restaurants, etc. in that area, and one can easily get lost getting to that area. And we had to deal with those problems today. But deal with them we did - and the two of us enjoyed a lunch which took the better part of 2 hours. To quote Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca: "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." It seemed like the two of us wanted to see each other as friends - and that she really enjoyed what I had to say about getting out and about en-femme.

Alas, it was time to part, and I had time to kill before games night in Beacon. So I decided to kill some time browsing the collections at the Avenue, and maybe chat with the one saleslady with whom I got along famously the other night. And chat we did for a while - until work (it's a disturbing word) got in the way. But I didn't find anything I wanted - so I decided to have a meal at Panera before games night.

Once I finished with my meal, it was off to games night. And for a change, I was there before the first game began. But there was lots of snow on the ground, and the city police had temporary restrictions that prohibited parking after 11 pm at night, so that they could clear the sidewalks of snow. Not knowing that the restrictions began at 11, I found a place in a lot near the venue and was still early when I entered the place.

None of the games we played tonight were spectacular. But they were amusing, and fun to play. However, one thing of note - when I was chatting with the hostess of the meetup, she noted that she loved cruising. And I said that I love to join her one time. She then said that that was a great idea.  (Could my presentation be good enough in close quarters that I'm perceived as a natal female by this woman?  Again, asking the question would only spoil the image I'm trying to create - so I won't ask the question.)

Now this leads back to a question my lunch date asked me - how many people can tell that I am not a natal female when I'm presenting as such? And I noted that the only time I could tell for certain that I might have been read was at Halloween. I noted that if I was not noticed by 95% of the people, then I am doing a great job - I'll have covered up enough of the flaws in my presentation to "pass" with a majority of the people I encounter. When I went to the Avenue, the saleslady remembered my comment about having a risk of being without a job, and she said that I could always work at the store. (I wouldn't do that the way my unemployment benefits are structured. But I'd consider doing that (for a while) after the benefits ended, if the store was closer. I think I'd get a kick out of working as a woman, servicing women in a store that caters to women - but only for a while. Retail is a big pain in the ass. )

If GFL weren't in the picture, I wonder how many of my weekends that I'd bother getting into male mode and going out in the world.  The way I feel today, not many.  Could I be trying to escape the problems I have to deal with in my everyday life, by living in a second persona? Maybe. But there is a strong part of me that feels that I was meant to be in this role - women are more comfortable around me, and I am developing the kinds of friendships I never could develop in male mode. I feel more at home this way, more accepted by people in general. 

Both Vicki and Patty have mentioned that they wish I could find in male mode what I have found in female mode when relating to people. The problem as I see it, is that women will not react positively  to a man using this communication style I have (unless he is obviously gay, and not a threat), but will will react positively to a female using the same style. So, for me, if the price of gaining new friendships and acquaintances is surrendering my masculinity, it is a small price to pay for having the emotional bonding with people that I want.

So I'll leave off with a tune you'll recognize, with a singer who "Out-Cockers" Joe Cocker....

John Belushi - With A Little Help From My Friends

Spending some time with Lili.

Shortly after what would be lunch, I decided to finally get off my butt and get to work on something I had to do for the office. And after 3-4 hours, it was done.  It was a pain in the ass, something I was afraid of doing because of the continued hectoring I get from one of my coworkers on this project, and something I know will be incomplete when we first start discussing it. But I'm glad I can show my management that I'm willing to put in the extra hours - even though I doubt that this will help me anymore.

But enough about work, except that it gives you an idea of where my head was at today....

Late in the afternoon, Lili called and suggested that we get together. Of course, this means that I meet her en-femme. So, around 6:30, I started off towards her place and from there, go out to see a movie. Well, her son and his girlfriend came home - and they got included on this trip. It was also the first time that I had anyone in the back seat of my car.

When we reached the theater, Lili decided to rush into Walmart to pick up sweet things to eat. Instead of asking us what types of sweets and sodas we'd want, she picked out stuff at random - pleasing no one at all. And yet, she stuffed herself with candy.  (I did too, as I couldn't get rid of the damned bag of candy that kept coming back to me. It was only when I put the bag in my purse that I stopped munching on the candies.) But I digress a little....

Lili is more in tune with mass market culture, while I couldn't give a hoot about it. I wanted to see The Monuments Men, and she wanted to see Robocop.  Guess what movie we saw?  This Robocop is a respectable reboot of the old theme. They kept a few of the names, but this movie is nothing like the old movie, and yet, very much the same. Lili mentioned that she preferred the old film. I thought that this was a more polished film, but didn't have the charisma of the old film. But the one thing that I'll bet that most people would agree on as standing out - Samuel L. Jackson playing a TV host who'd be perfect for the Fox News Network.

After we left the theater, her son and his girlfriend hinted that they'd need some time alone.  So we ended up going out for a bite at the local diner. When we got there, the waiter sat us down to the same table that I was there last time en-femme with a woman I saw on a first date. Someone remembered me. But what did he remember about me is my question, a question that I won't ask - for obvious reasons. What do you think he remembered?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Quickie: A weekend to recharge

In previous entries, I've noted how my job has ground me down lately. Today, I realized that one of the tasks that need doing can only be done by me, but I need assistance that I won't get from someone who is always too busy to step back and plan anything. So my plans for the way (which I've already squandered much of it) are to log into the office system, spend a few hours online, generate something for discussion, and get back to enjoying the weekend.

One of the things I noticed that I really could use in both my male or female wardrobes is a good pair of snow boots - something good for going through sloppy slush, as well as for the times I have to shovel snow. Unfortunately, I will not be able to get the boots this season. But I think I can make do for now. But I'll have to be careful of what I wear when en-femme until the snow goes away.

Way up North.... to Saratoga Springs

When I go to see friends in the North Country, our party is usually in a close in suburb of Albany. However, today's trip was to another member of the group's house - for a day of games just outside Saratoga Springs. 

Given what I've been dealing with lately, it was about time for me to do something in Marian Mode. And since I haven't had Games Night in a while, it was about time that I played some games - especially when they are playing "Cards Against Humanity: There was one wrinkle in the mix - I didn't want to get dressed up and have my cleaning lady see me en-femme. So I had to call her to find out what time she'd be coming over to clean the apartment.  Luckily, she'd be here after I was long gone from the house.

So, off I went to Saratoga Springs - and when I was halfway there, it began to snow. There was not as much snow on the thruway as they were expecting on Long Island - the Hudson Valley was spared the brunt of today's storm, most of which hit eastern Long Island and Coastal New England. Although I arrived later than planned, I still got in almost 5 hours of gaming.

Of course, every long trip carries the risk of having something waste a large amount of time - and today was the day that risk became a reality. When I got on the Northway to go home, there was a big traffic jam that I couldn't avoid once on the highway. (If I had known about this beforehand, I'd have taken Route 9 around the mess.) After about 45 minutes, I finally reached the source of the problem, and it was caused by what appeared to be emergency patching of the road. 

The rest of the trip home was uneventful. But I stopped along the way to catch up on my email AND to make sure my schedule was clean for the rest of the weekend. I found that I had double booked Monday's lunch - so I sent an email to one lady to let her know that I screwed up - and to ask her if tomorrow night would be OK.  The other lady would only be a friend, but wants to meet me in Marian Mode. Given how far each of us have to drive, it only makes sense to meet on a Monday holiday.

So, on Sunday, I expect to spend much of the day doing stuff associated with work. Hopefully, I'll get this stuff over with early and then get out while the sun is out.... Either way, I want to be available for a 6 pm dinner on the other side of the Hudson.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Quickie: When will it ever end?

Today's entry reflects a question that many of us in the Northeast have been asking - when will Winter ever end?

This Winter, the New York City metropolitan area has received over 3 times as much snow as it normally receives in single year - and more is on the way today. If one lives in the Boston area, one is preparing for yet another blizzard. And the South has not been exempt from bad weather - there was a 100 car pileup the other day, all caused by treacherous conditions that resulted from Winter weather.

Two things of note were in the news yesterday. First, this season, there was snow on the ground in 49 of the 50 states. (Since there is snow on top of an extinct volcano in Hawaii, I wonder which one of the continental 48 didn't get snow this season.) Second, the extreme cold we've had caused Great Lakes to freeze over - something which hasn't happened in 2 decades. And this is helping to restore the water level of the lakes AND kill off some non native species which have not adapted to the cold we can get in this region. (Even bad weather has some benefits.)

But this weather has gotten in the way of me going out in Marian Mode - and I feel a little depressed. (My depression is caused by other factors - diet, lack of exercise, etc.) I can't wait for Spring to come, when I can start putting on my frocks again and go out into the world....

Friday, February 14, 2014

Waking up the undead

In August,  I had dated a woman who never saw me en-homme. All 3 of our dates were with me en-femme. And this was a very pleasant experience.  I wanted to see her more, but things got in the way. Although I tried to reach this woman, I was left with only one message - her health issues had come back, and after that - nothing.  I'd have been glad to keep in touch, but I had no further communications with her. For all I know, she may have passed away. So I was a little shocked today when I received a simple message from her - "I'm alive".

At this stage, this woman will likely end up as a friend. But if things go sour with GFL, I'll explore my options again. With this being said, this woman would be on my short list, as she is comfortable with me in Marian Mode, and would likely be more compatible with our bedroom styles....

Why is this so important?

Ideally, I want to be with a woman who enjoys being with me - no matter how I am dressed. But I am willing to make a trade off, in order to have a stable relationship - less time en-femme to have more companionship time. But what if I had met a stable woman who also enjoys me en-femme and that the woman has similar bedroom interests? I will not be in a relationship with an unstable woman - I've been there and have done that.

This past September, I was lucky enough to go on a cruise with Lili, spending an entire 7 days en-femme, with no masculine identity to fall back upon. What would it be like to live with a woman who could accept me living en-femme 24x7? Would I merely be indulging a mere erotic fantasy, or would I finally become the person I was meant to be since early childhood? That is an important question to which I want an answer, as this could determine how far I will go down this road of femininity.

Right now, the only "permanent" bodily change I have made is to get my face lasered, so that I no longer need to worry about dark beard stubble. This process should be complete soon. Any future hair removal will need to be done via electrolysis - and it will hurt in more ways than one. All other changes have been cosmetic, using makeup and prosthesis. There is not much more I can do without doing something that people may notice. Getting my ears pierced will likely be a low risk event. And getting further permanent hair removal will also be a low risk event - save, if I were to regularly go to the gym. Beyond that, I'll likely be heading down the road to living en-femme 24x7 - and that will be a major change with major implications.

Am I ready for major change?

Years ago, when I lost my wife, a wise woman told me not to change jobs, change residences, or enter into a permanent relationship with a new person within a year of being widowed. Something similar should be in place when one's job is at risk - don't move, don't go seeking new romance, and don't make any changes that affect one's identity. And the thought of living en-femme 24x7 would be in the class of a major change that I should be careful when making.

So, I'm playing careful right now. But I will keep my readers informed of the things I do and the choices I make....

Cleaning up 12+ inches and more.

Yes, today was another work at home day. And it was just as much of a headache as yesterday, as I had to shovel out my car again, and move my car twice. But it is amazing the difference a day makes.  Last night, the parking lot looked like this.

Less than 24 hours, the same lot looked like this.

By the time they are finished plowing, the lot will be squeaky clean, save for a couple of cars whose owners may be on vacation, or otherwise unable to move their cars.

Later today, I plan to go outside with my camera and try to get some pictures before the snow turns dirty and before the melting slop again takes over the paved areas...  Hopefully, I'll have enough for another "only in winter" posting.

12+ inches.... then more

As I start this post, I'm thinking it's going to be like a short diary entry. The snow outside, however, seems like it will be here forever.

The part of the forecast for this storm was that we'd have 10-16 inches of snow, followed by a light rain, making the snow very heavy and hard to shovel out of the way. This part of the forecast was very accurate. The second part noted that overnight the rain would change back to snow for another 2-4 inches of wet, sloppy stuff on top of what was already on the ground. And this part of the forecast has been very accurate as well - I had to go outside in the slop.

But first....

Around 5:00 pm, I cleaned off my car and went out for a drive, hoping that the plow cleaning the lot would also clean out my parking area by the time I got back. While out, I went to the supermarket, and noticed that the store that was plucked clean by people stocking up before the storm had already been resupplied during the storm - and I was able to get what I needed without problem. Unfortunately, my parking area was not cleaned up by the time I got back. Even worse, there was a big truck parked next to my spot, and I had a hard time getting back in to the spot I had shoveled out earlier. 

Over the past couple of days, I've been fighting off a low grade bug, and I don't have the energy to do anything strenuous. In fact, even doing a lot of speaking (such as leading a meeting) is hard for me right now, and this is not good when I have to run the tasks that will close out my project. So I've been careful, and have avoided anything that would tax me too much.  So I figured that when I got home from the supermarket, I'd carry the goods upstairs, refill the refrigerator, and then cook dinner. I'd already given up on games night in Yonkers, and figured that I'd take the opportunity to relax, and fall to sleep early.

Although I was having tortellini, I decided to cook a large package of sausage and add some of the sausage to some sauce I had - and have more pasta tomorrow. So I put the sausage in the oven at low heat, and had dinner. I totally forgot about the sausage when I went to my bedroom and fell asleep for 3 hours....

Waking up, I noticed that my cell phone was not in the house. I knew I'd need the phone as my alarm clock later in the morning. So I got dressed to go outside - and remembered the sausage in the oven.  At this point, I thought that the sausage had been ruined and was prepared to toss them out. But I was very lucky - they were covered in foil, and had not been overcooked by being too hot for too long. 

Once the sausage were taken care of, it was time to rush outside for my phone. There was another 4 inches of wet slop on the ground, and I did not enjoy stepping through the slush to get to my car. I grabbed my phone, and rushed back upstairs - and felt totally exhausted when I got back inside my apartment. The bug I've been fighting has affected my lungs, and I probably did not have enough oxygen in my blood after my hurried return. 

What will this mean for the weekend?  I certainly won't be seeing my dad until this bug has gone away....

Thursday, February 13, 2014

12+ inches

Today was the worst snow day we've had this season. When I first went outside at lunch time, there was about 10 inches of snow on the ground. However, when I went out around 3:30 pm, there was another 2 inches, but it had absorbed a lot of water from the snow/sleet mixture that had come down. So it was a chore to both clear off my car AND to clear out enough space around my car, so that I can get out after the plows come again.

You'll note from the above picture, that this was taken around sunset - and there are people who still haven't started the process of cleaning off their cars.

Of course, with this snow, it makes much more sense to stay in boy mode for the evening. My Yonkers games meetup hosts have not yet cancelled the gathering - but I doubt that anyone will be there tonight. Yet, if the plow were to come and clean out our parking lot, I'd be tempted to get dressed and go out en-femme. But the odds are that I would not yield to that temptation.

What's nice about the snow is that it is clean. But that won't last for long. I wish that I were still able to go cross country skiing, and enjoy some of the vistas on the nearby rail trail. At least I'll be able to get a nice photo or two on my next trip up North...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

We'll have a lot of water in the reservoirs this summer.

It looks like the upcoming snow storm is about to take away another night of Marian time. 

On Thursday nights, I usually go to Yonkers for games night - and have fun playing a variety of board games.  This week, it looks like my only opportunity for some Marian time will be with my friends in the North Country. 

Earlier this week, one of the people who usually attend our monthly gatherings announced that he was going to have a gaming night this weekend. And I said that I might be able to make it. (My reasons are simple - if we are going live with my project next weekend, I will not be able to go North. So this is my chance to get away for a day, and perhaps, interact with civilians.) If my car is able to move out of my driveway, I intend to go and have some fun.

So far this season, we have had twice the normal amount of snow - and we expect another 10 inches tomorrow.  For many of us, April can't come soon enough. It's the same with me, but for very different reasons - I want to go to Washington DC, and possibly get together with one blogger I've mentioned in other entries, and then to Philadelphia to visit someone I met at 2012's Fantasia Fair, and possibly one of the bloggers I read who lives in that region. (If she's working, there will be no way to meet her, but I can hope....)

One of the things I have to be concerned about is my office project. Our key technical person (and it isn't me) has to drive over 300 miles to be on site for the implementation. We have no room for error in the schedule, and some people still want to target next weekend for the implementation. Me, I'd rather put it off for a total of 2 weeks, and be sure that all our issues are addressed before announcing a new implementation date. I think I'll be able to use the risk of severe snow as one reason to allow some slack in the schedule - if the storm hits on her day of transit, we're screwed! (When we hold our meetings tomorrow, I'll be sure to have a copy of the 10 day forecast in hand.)

A good thing about how things are working out for this weekend is that I might get a good 2 or 3 days worth of time in Marian Mode. Saturday will be dedicated to driving to Albany and back. Monday will be dedicated to a games meetup. And this leaves Sunday as the only day that I might be in boy mode. (If it weren't for my dad being injured the other day, I might have waited another week or so to see him....)

At least, we'll have a lot of water in our reservoirs around here this summer....

So I'll leave you with another ditty - nothing serious, just some clean fun....

Bobby Darin - Splish Splash

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A good commute - interrupted.

Once I saw the person below, I knew what I would be writing about today.

Such a handsome gentleman, and such a subtle kilt. Why is it that it is normally acceptable in our society for women to wear "skirted" bottoms, while men are usually limited to some form of trouser?  

Clothing reflects history, but not in the way most historians would notice at first glance. When men rode horses, skirt like garments became very impractical. It made more sense for cavalry to wear garments which covered each leg separately, so that when a man put his legs around the horse, he could still be properly garbed while in the heat of battle. Gradually, most men came to prefer trouser like garments because of their practicality.

In the age of horse powered transportation, women tended to ride side saddle or in coaches - there was no benefit to wearing trouser like garments.  In fact, given the way women relieve themselves, it made more sense to have extra fabric surrounding a woman - in case she had to relieve herself in areas without a privy.  

Now that public and private lavatories are common and no longer rare, women are finding trouser like garments to be very practical. No wind will cause a woman to have a clothing failure and be exposed if she is wearing trousers. She is more protected from the cold when she wears slacks. In short, now that it is easier for a woman to relieve herself when she needs to do so, the vestigial reason for wearing skirt like garments is no longer there.

Let's look at another aspect of clothing - buttons on the placket of a garment. How many of you have noticed that on men's clothing, the buttons are on the right side, while on women's clothing they are on the left? Many years ago, when the wealthy had servants who could dress them, a gentleman had his clothes laid out by his valet, but dressed himself, whereas the lady of the manor had chambermaids helping her get dressed. Approximately 84% of the population is right handed. So it made sense for men's clothing to have buttons on the right - where it would be easiest for a man to get dressed by himself. Of course, this meant that the lady's chambermaids had to have buttons on milady's left - where it would be easier for her servants to button....

My question - what do you think the next step will be in the evolution of clothing in our society will be?

Monday, February 10, 2014

A funeral march for a marionette

Many of my readers might recognize that my title references the theme music used for "Alfred Hitchcock Presents". And sometimes I wonder what is the next twist is in my life's story.

Today, I realized how much I screwed up on my job (through some fault of my own, and through some fault of others), and it feels like crap. Although I will not go into the details, let's say that my mistake of trusting someone I had to rely on may have cost me the chance to migrate to a new career within my firm.

So I'm sitting back and thinking - what will I do for my next act? If worse comes to worse, I plan to volunteer my services at a local GLBT center, helping other Transgender folk AND gaining more skills in my feminine presentation. Of course, I still plan to look for work en-homme, as that will be the easy way out for me. (And, when dating a woman who wants to date a man, it only makes sense to preserve the masculine persona.)  Sometimes, the easy out is the right way out. With that being said, I am still looking forward to the end of my project. I am very tired of it, and can't wait to start something new - even if I have to take a few steps backward and to the side to begin moving forward again. 

But on to other topics....

On Thursday, my brother called me to let me know that my dad fell down entering the family homestead, and broke both his nose and his neck. He was very lucky to have fell in a way to have minimized the damage from this type of incident. Although breaking a nose and a neck is bad, but he could have severed his spinal cord or have bled to death.

I'm very grateful that my brother lives nearby - he ended up looking after my dad, and made sure that he was safe at home later on. But now, I have to find the time to visit my dad (something I do not do often enough) over this coming weekend. (In a way, I'm grateful that the office project has been delayed at least a week - I would not be able to make it down to my dad's place for another week.) But this is another reminder that my father may not see his 87th birthday - he's barely able to live on his own, and my brother would not support finding an assisted living facility that would be appropriate for my dad.

This coming weekend, GFL will be flying away for a vacation for a quick getaway. I wish I could get away with her. But I said the same thing about cruising with Lili. I need a break from this rat race. So I've started to plan my next trip - NYC to DC, then DC to Philadelphia, and then back to NYC. I'll arrive in DC on a Saturday, head for Philadelphia on Tuesday, and then head home on Thursday. I'll do the usual tourist things in DC (and hopefully connect with a few people I know), and then go to Philadelphia to see the Mutter Museum and the US Mint (and maybe a few other things), as well as try to connect with a few more people I know. Although GFL would be welcome on this trip, she might find it awkward traveling with me en-femme.

And yet, another segue....

The thought of playing "Tourist" again reminds me of something that Vicki once wanted to do - enjoy New York City as a tourist.  Hopefully, I may get the chance to play tourist while I have some funds to splurge on something like this. Yes, I have gone to the top of the Empire State Building. Yes, I have visited Ellis Island. And yes, I have gone to most of the typical places a visitor to New York would go. But this would be fun - I might learn something about my city that an average New Yorker would overlook.

Now, people who know me know that my taste leans to the more obscure and unusual things in life. I'll gladly go on an Gangster (read: Mafia) tour of my city, as well as visiting other places that typical tourists wouldn't think of taking, such as the Museum of Sex (Yes, there is such a museum, and it is well worth the visit.) or a Valentine's Day Sewage Tour (the latter is not a tour I'd go on with a date) or even a Brewery, Winery, and Distillery tour (this is one I'd gladly enjoy with a date!) There are so many things to do in New York, why do what typical tourists would do?

But it's now time to sign off. So I'll leave you with another tune - but not the one you might expect from this entry's title....

Peter Malick & Norah Jones - New York City

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Returning from Staten Island

As I mentioned in my last post, our trip to Beatlefest was quite enjoyable. But I would have liked to spend a little more time in Manhattan, so that we could have eaten at a normal time. Instead of dining at a couple of nice places I know, we had to return home to both feed and then walk the dog.

Today was a more relaxed day - neither of us got moving until late morning, and we had only one errand to run before I was on my return trip to Northern Westchester - replacing the lock set on GFL's mother's side door.  However, this was a big pain in the butt - as we had to play games with the lower lock so that it would catch. What made things worse was GFL's mother - and I won't say anything further, save that she was getting in our hair, causing us grief.

Sadly, the weekend ended all too soon. GFL dropped me off at the ferry, and I proceeded to go home. While on the ferry, I turned on my call phone, and noticed that there were two messages from a woman responding to my personal ad. The first gave me her cell phone number for texting, and the second said to ignore the first message. The reaction of women to my personal ad (en-femme) will never cease to amaze me....

Before I went to GFL's, Lili invited me over to spend some time after I got back from Staten Island. This was not to be.  When I finally made it home, it was 7:00 pm or so, and it was snowing. So I decided to go straight home, and get comfortable....  Lili can wait.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Yes, this weekend wad Beatlefest, and GFL and I went there today.  I had no idea of what to expect going in. So, when I got there, I was prepared to drop a C-Note or two (this being a Valentines' Day gift to her) on tickets and risk being totally bored and having a lighter wallet to show for it.

First, we had to get there.  GFL does not like taking the ferry, nor does she like the subway. So I had to show her that it was the smartest way to get to Grand Central from Staten Island before leaving for Manhattan.  But once we were underway, it was obvious that this was the best way to get there.

Once we got to Grand Central,  I spotted something unusual on the way to the hotel - a young Mennonite tourist group who had to be in the city for some function. We had to walk around them on the way to the hotel, as they didn't know their way on NYC sidewalks....  

Getting to the hotel, the first thing I noticed was the crowd. People were bringing their guitars to the fest, taking them out and playing Beatle standards. (I was secretly hoping that someone would sing "You know my name, look up the number.") I'd have been totally bored if all there was to Beatlefest was a bunch of people standing around singing Beatle tunes.  But things still surprised me.

We made it to the main floor, and the first place we went to was one room where vendors were selling Beatle memorabilia. Again, if this was all there was, I'd have been bored and feeling ripped off. But we made it to the main theater, where Peter Asher was speaking - and this may have been worth the price of admission.  Add to this, Chad and Jeremy, then Donovan, and it became worth the price of admission. 

Eventually, we had to leave, and we saw the same Mennonites at Grand Central, probably on their way home. GFL and I got a quick bite to eat, and made our way downtown to the ferry.  

On the ferry, people never cease to amaze me.  This trip, one lady in a skirt was putting on a pair of leggings in the public area of the ferry. Although there was nothing exposed that wouldn't normally be exposed in public,  it still was strange (even more so, knowing that if I were en-femme, I'd have gone to the loo and done the same thing to stay warm.)

Sadly,  the day had to end too soon, as we had to take care of a dog who hadn't had the chance to relieve himself in hours. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Quickie: A question for those in the closet

As I noted in yesterday's quickie - I remember how I used to lie when shopping, claiming I was shopping for a gift for my girlfriend.  My question is: What excuses are you giving, and do you think that the salespeople either believe or care about what you say?  I'd love to know what others are doing....

Friday, February 7, 2014

Quickie: Valentine's Day is coming!

In today's blog entry, Meg reminds those "in the closet" that they have a week left to buy women's clothes for themselves under the guise of buying them for their significant others. I remember those days, and they are not half as much fun as when you can try clothes on in the store - as I did last night.

Instead of reminding you that Valentine's Day is an excuse to buy women's clothes for yourself, I wish to remind those of you who have significant others that you now have no excuse - you can figure out what size clothes she wears and you can go buy her some things at the same time you buy for yourselves. This is the time you can make that special person in your life a little happier - so why not do it?

And here's a little ditty to remind you that Valentine's Day is coming quickly.

Sam Cooke - Cupid