Saturday, May 31, 2014

People who respond to my personal ad


Not all of the people who respond to my cross-dressed personal ad are strange. But the majority of those who have responded stray far from the normal in many ways. Of these, most seem to be financial basket cases, but not all. There are the physically undesirable, as well as some who are just seem to be flakes. 

The other night, a new type of person decided to respond - a bisexual woman who desires a dominant female to "sub" under. And if that "female" had a little something extra in her panties, so much the better.... As much as I am not into being a "top" or "bottom", we had a really "hot" conversation, broken up by a dinner with new and old friends. Will I ever see this lady? Maybe. But she will be a hard person to keep up with, and I'm not sure if we have much more in common.

Earlier this year, I had a woman respond to my ad, and I chose not to pursue anything because I was comfortable with GFL. Now that GFL may be on her way out, I decided to write this lady, and see if she's still interested in meeting me. Well, we had a 2 hour chat, and will meet for coffee. Given what she has told me about herself, we have a bit in common, but there would be important risk factors (health, finances, etc....) that might scuttle this relationship before it could begin. (Of course, if GFL really is still interested in me, and not going through the motions of being in a relationship, then I'd prefer to keep the relationship with her alive.)

As much as I'd like someone to share my life with, it has to be a person who is "right enough" for me. I'm willing to make many trade offs, save one - I'm not giving up my ability to get into Marian Mode.  





Friday, May 30, 2014

Quickie: Another night playing games

Last night, I attended another games night in Yonkers. Two of us ladies who usually arrive late were early for a change - and it was nice to be there for the first round of games. Although I won the first game (Chrononauts), I had much more fun playing the second, Curses. One of the players had to do things while both speaking with a French accent and hiccuping at the same time. Another had to keep his arms from bending, while acting as he was being given an electrical shock when touched. And I could not use my fingers during most of the game. The time that being transgender was a handicap for me, was when I could not shout after one of the curses was placed on me. But I've never laughed so hard, as when people were barking like dogs, talking like pirates, and both doing and saying crazy things to keep from failing to meet the conditions of the curse. I'll rank this game right up there along with Cards Against Humanity for a fun factor.

When I was there last week, N and I were chatting about losing my job, and she offered her contacts to me. This week, she gave me more info on the firm she used to work for, and gave some ideas of where in the firm I might fit. (This will be a great help when I need to prove to NYS Unemployment that I am actually looking for work. So I'm holding off contacting this firm until after I'm on the unemployment rolls.) This week, the hostess of the meetup, A, offered me help in refining my resume. I may take her up on this. But the day is getting closer and closer that I will need to reveal myself as Transgender, and that I will need to explain that I still maintain my male identity for the workplace.

In a way, the game of curses is appropriate metaphor for me at this time of life. We all have a collection of baggage that we carry along with us, and mine is the male identity I keep around for family, career, and for dating. It is a constant effort to maintain my position in life, but I'm having a lot of fun while doing so....



  


All the time in the world, and yet not enough time...


All the time in the world, and not enough time....

I could look back on my former job and wonder what I could have done differently to have been more valuable on the job. But each time I do this I realize that I didn't have enough time to make my shift to be considered a seasoned project manager - and this is what put me at the greatest risk. So now, I have to work my contacts to find new work. And one of those contacts is a lady I met at my Thursday night games meetup....  

It appears that I will need to out myself to this lady, and hope that things don't change between us.  At our last games meetup, she said that she would forward me a set of contacts for the local PMI chapter - and I received that email tonight. In many ways, I am much more successful socializing as a woman than I have been as a male, and I am much more comfortable in the female role.

---

For us transgendered folk, the decision to be "Out" is usually not an easy one. Many of us fear the loss of friends, family, useful acquaintances, and careers. I am lucky - most of my long term friends know about my transgendered nature, and have seen me in my female persona. Even losing my job has an advantage - I don't have to hide things (such as getting my ears pierced) from coworkers. And I am building a new network of people who only know me as a female. But my fortune also implies a responsibility to the community. Someone has to be there for people who are starting their journey, to mentor them, and to be there as they take their first steps along this path. So I have offered my services to a GLBT center, and will interview with them sometime this week. (You can guess which day that I'll choose to get a mani-pedi, so that I can look my best before the interview.)

Volunteering will be a big step for me, as I will no longer be able to be anonymous. However, I will get the chance to be seen as Marian and not Mario. Pat says that I have a lot to offer the TG community, and I agree with her. I have no idea of how long I'll be a volunteer there, but as long as I can find the time, I'll help our community in whatever ways I can....

---

Now, we get back to the idea of time. And now that I'm unemployed, my crystal ball has become cloudy. I have no idea of how long it will take for me to find work. I have no idea of how long it will take for me to have the romantic relationship I deserve, and I have no idea of when I'll feel secure again.

So, I'll leave you with another Jim Croce song....








Thursday, May 29, 2014

Talking of Shoes, Ships, Sealing Wax, Cabbages and Kings



Working from home was like having a day off from work. There wasn't much left for me to do, but I tried to do what I can as best I can. So, I tried to reserve the days I work from home for the times I really need to be at home - such as on days I have doctor's visits, laser treatments, and getting work done on my apartment.

Several days ago, I was tempted to get pretty early in the day, and wait for the men to come and paint the door at my apartment's entrance. But with the humidity in the air, I did not want to start "Air Conditioning Season" this early in May, as I know the A/C will be running well into September. So I decided to leave the fans on, and hope I'd stay tolerably comfortable until I was ready to get into Marian Mode and go off to play games.

Right now, the apartment is a mess. I have shoes (both genders) across the floor, and not enough places to put them. When I started my journey, I never dreamed that I'd be looking for more storage space.... Yet, I keep finding ways to straighten out this place, so that when the cleaning lady comes, she can make a dent in this place. With this being said, I'll try to keep her on for monthly visits - but I don't know how long that will last.

The more I think about it, the more I hope I'll be taking another cruise this fall. I just don't know whether I'll be sailing with someone, or whether I'll be going alone. Either way, I'll have fun. I just don't know which wardrobe I'd be wearing....

One thing I know, I have to get all this mess cleaned up by the time my cleaning lady comes to clean. She's not a bad lady, but she is short. This means that she will not bother to take out the step stool to reach higher places in the apartment, and I know that she is leaving some woodwork unattended to, and not polished or waxed as I'd expect.

When I saw Vicki, we both agreed that we should get back to a particular Dim Sum place in White Plains, Aberdeen. I know that we'll be able to get some good pot stickers there - much better than the ones I've made with cabbage as one of the ingredients.  Years ago, I used to go to a Chinese restaurant in Flushing named "Kings". It was good, but I don't recall it as serving anything special. If I go to Flushing now, I go to a place called Asian Jewels - which has some of the best Dim Sum in NYC.

By now, if you didn't get the references, I've been trying to tie together some miscellaneous thoughts by use of "The Walrus and the Carpenter".  I hope you enjoyed this experiment.

And I'll leave you with a recitation of this poem....

Disney Animation - The Walrus and the Carpenter












Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I wish I could be going to San Francisco


San Francisco, land of fantasy since 1849.... It will always feel like a second home to me, no matter if I ever get there again - in part, because that's where I realized that I could live the life I wanted. Yet, this is what unemployment may do for me - provide me with the tools to make a fresh start in many things, and that's what I hope for with this period of uncertainty.  Thankfully, I have money in the bank. And that will help cushion the blow until I find something new from which I can earn a living. But what will I do for my encore?

"Fog City" is a special place, and it has special meaning to me. It is where my wife always wanted to live, and it's where her ashes are scattered. When I last was out there, I paid a visit to where her ashes were scattered - and said a little prayer, knowing that it would likely be my last chance for a while to do this at that site.

For now, I am stuck in New York, and have to deal with real-world problems. One of them is finding out what GFL really feels about our relationship. It'll hurt if we break up, but I already have one foot out the door anyway. And, given the ladies who have expressed an interest in meeting me, I'd surely be able to take the edge off of things with a woman who accepts me en-femme.

On other matters....

I recently noted in one of my posts that I met one of my neighbors while en-femme. Today, I topped that outing today.  One of the things I wanted to do while still officially employed was to open a checking account with a new bank, as I might need to do business with a bank with a low checking account minimum. So I proceeded to one bank that advertises a $100 minimum balance for free checking and opened an account. While there, I chatted with the branch officer - and showed her some of my en-femme pictures. She couldn't believe how good I looked, and wouldn't believe the pictures were of me, unless I told her so. (I guess I may have to drop in on her home branch to make a deposit one day while en-femme.) After opening the account, it was back home for an hour or so, and I chatted with another of my neighbors. And I outed myself to her, giving her useful information on how to get a bra that fits. (When was the last time that you know of a woman getting information on bra fitting from a natal male?) I'm sure that she'll welcome seeing me en-femme in the future.

It's amazing how good it feels to be "Out".  So I'll close with this novelty tune....

A. E. Newman - It's a Gas!       Potrzebie!!!



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day - Lili and the Poly Pond


Today, I didn't wake up until 10:00 am, having overslept 2 alarms from my cell phone conveniently stashed in my pocketbook. And I was loafing around until Lili called me at 11:00 am to suggest that we go into NYC today for some jewelry shopping. Since I had nothing better to do and wanted to get some earrings, I said "Yes" to the mess (in her car) and proceeded to go with her to NYC.

Even though the weather was in the 80's, I didn't find it as unbearable as expected. But this, I think, was because the Summer's humidity had not yet come up from the South. Yet, I felt uncomfortable in some stores, as the A/C had not yet been cranked up to handle 80+ degree weather. But it was nice to find some jewelry that I liked, as I needed a few more pieces to fill out my jewelry chest.

After I got home, I decided to rest a little, and I noticed that one lady answered my cross-dressed OK Cupid ad. She was intrigued by me and wanted to find out more. We've exchanged a few emails and have developed a n interest in each other. But our conversation ended for a while, so that I could go to a Polyamorous group dinner meetup in Newburgh.

I know the Newburgh area fairly well, so when I was looking for an address on Route 300, I was surprised at how wrong Google Maps/Directions could be. I was looking for a place that was just North of Route 84. Instead, it gave me directions as if I were going South of Route 84.  Then, when I figured out something was amiss, I proceeded North of route 84 - where Google told me that the restaurant was located where the NYS Thruway's toll booth was - a big mistake. So, I decided to ignore Google and look North of Route 84 - and I barely made it on time for dinner.

Sherry is a member of this local Poly group. And it was a mixed pleasure to see V (who lives in Kerhonkson, but attends the Albany Poly group's meetings) here. It forced me to be more open about myself than originally planned when I did my introduction to the group. But I'm glad I did so - it made things much more easy for me in the long term.



After our group discussion, I told Sherry about the OK Cupid conversation I was having (with this woman relating to me as a woman, and not as a male), and Sherry wished me the best, hoping that something comes up for me and this lady.  She knows that I love being en-femme, and wants for me to have a partner who cherishes this. Alas, Sherry had to leave, but I was invited up to see her on Friday, and maybe go for a swim....

So, it was time to go home, and the conversation with my new OKC friend started up again. Who knows where it will lead.  But it comes at the right time for me, as I think GFL is on her way out. Today, I didn't bother to give her a call - I wanted to see if she'd call me. And she didn't. I'll likely give her a call during the week, but I don't expect much. It's time to start with the personal ads again - but to make sure that any initial first meetings are as economical as possible.

And now, I'll leave you with a little tune.

Chris Isaak - Wicked Game











Monday, May 26, 2014

Oh, how I hate to get up in the morning....


In case I haven't mentioned it often enough, I am a night owl. Even when I was in college, I wouldn't think twice about staying up after 2:00 am, knowing that I didn't have to be in school until 4:00 pm. No, this blissful state of affairs couldn't continue for long - in order to earn the money I needed for school, I had to be up in time to work - usually by 10:00 am or so. So it doesn't surprise me that today, without work, I am getting up later in the morning than I would have otherwise.

Last night, I couldn't get to sleep. So I switched the TV to receive a stream from my ROKU box, and then searched for a movie. The movie I found was a mindless family film, For Heaven's Sake, notable for only one thing - the presence of Florence Henderson. I'm reasonably certain that it went straight to video, or to the Hallmark Channel, as it was so hokey. (You can read the story line at the imdb.com link above - virtually everything is as predictable as an episode of The Love Boat.) And watching this movie did the trick - I fell asleep, and wasn't fully awake again until mid-morning, when GFL called to tell me how sick she continued to be.  (But enough said about her - if she's telling the truth, her doctors haven't been helping her much over the past few months. And if she's not telling the truth, it's only a matter of time before we can have the discussion that ends things.) If I had gotten up earlier, I may have finally gone to a church for the first time en-femme....



I've said that if I am home on Sunday mornings, that I will try to find a religious congregation that is open to and accepting of transgendered folk. And if I'm awake early enough next Sunday morning, I will do just this. The Gendersong blog has a post to help the transgendered find a congregation nearby, and to give an idea of what to expect. I'm not sure if I'll go to a congregation in my town, or whether I will go to one one town away. Nor am I sure whether I will go to an Episcopalian or a Unitarian church. But if I'm awake, I will make that decision, as my goal is to live as much of my life en-femme as possible.

Why should I go to a church? I'm not a person of any faith. The answer is simple - us humans have an innate need to connect with people, and churches are places where people do just this. Some churches tend to be stuck in dogma, and use hell-fire and brimstone to terrorize people into obeying the edicts of their leaders. Others believe in a voluntary following of the leadership, where the choice is made from a base of love and not one of fear. And there are very few churches I'd even go to, given the cover-ups of abuse in one of the denominations I am most familiar with....

By the time I bothered getting showered and dressed, it was dinner time. I called Lili, and asked her if she wanted to go to the local buffet. She said she was in for the day, but I was welcome to drop by and we could watch a film on TV. So I stopped into Walmart and picked up an inexpensive pair of white pants, panties and a bra - allowing me to have key items appropriate for a woman's summer wardrobe. Then it was off to Lili's. When I got there, she said - only modern movies tonight. Since neither of us had seen Philomena, this was our film of the evening. I'm glad it was - Judi Dench puts in a masterful performance as the title character, and it's all based on a true story....

After the film ended, it was time to go home. So I'll leave you with another old tune....










Sunday, May 25, 2014

Encountering a neighbor for the first time while en-femme


This is an aerial view of two buildings in my apartment complex. I live in the building on the left, and I have a friend who lives in the building on the right.

As befitting any place I'd live, we've had our share of crime (Peekskill teacher killed in apartmentJury finds man guilty of killing neighbor), but for the most part, this complex is a quiet Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC). And I have had no problems walking from my doorway in the building on the left to my car which you can see parked between the two buildings. But this time, something usual occurred which I thought would likely occur much earlier - seeing my friend from the building on the right while getting into my car en-femme.

This friend is not a close friend, even though I once had the keys to her apartment. She was very much affected my the crime noted in the previous paragraph, as the fellow who committed the crime then lived in the apartment next to her. (I have my own story about the night of that crime, but it's not germane to tonight's topic.

When she saw me, she could only see me through the window, and made a comment about how strange I looked. But then I got out of the car, and she saw me in all my feminine glory....


She didn't know what to say, but I mentioned that I've been doing this for a while, and even showed her the picture of Lili and me taken on the cruise we were on in September. But then the rain started, and she had an excuse to go.

I called Pat, but she was feeling under the weather - so I never found my way to her place. Instead, I found my way to both Stop & Shop and then Target, and afterwards to the Bronx, where for curiosity's sake, I passed by the house of an ex-girlfriend I was with for 8 years. Given what my dad told me about what's going on with this lady (they are still in occasional contact), both her mom and dad are suffering from the tyranny of old age - and she's been the designated caregiver. So I wasn't surprised to find that there were cars parked in front of her driveway, and no car in her driveway. (She worked remotely from her parents' place when I dated her, and it wouldn't surprise me that she is doing the same now.) Hopefully, her siblings have been able to offer more help this time around....

It was then was time for me to drive home, and again, I had to deal with feelings of loneliness. GFL has not been in touch, and she would not now be a reasonable choice for a person to start dating given my present situation. I'll continue to see her as long as there is a reasonable possibility that things could work out for us. But she will need to make her way up here now and then to show me that she's willing to make the investment in the relationship that a healthy relationship would deserve.

Since I'm in a sad mood, today's song selection is from a singer who we lost way too soon....

Jim Croce - Thursday






Saturday, May 24, 2014

Starting to look for a new normal....


It's the end of the "work week" and I've started to search for a new normal. It's not going to be an easy task, but I know I have some friends who care.

Earlier in the week, I scheduled a Friday morning appointment with Maria, so that I could have a friend skim through the packet I received on Tuesday and give me an idea of what I needed to do - from a point of view that benefits me, and not my former firm. It was strange for me to wake up to my alarm clock, get prepared en-femme, and go out for an appointment - albeit, with a friend.

Maria reviewed my documents, and made me aware of certain key items that I need to be aware of (such as the contract becoming effective 8 days after the signature has been notarized and dated), and others that I need to be concerned with (such as stopping the automated ordering of commutation tickets). There is so much to be concerned with, and no 30 minute exit session can do what is needed to prepare you to move forward. That's why I'm glad that there was no way to sign the contract the day I left the bank.

After meeting with Maria, it was off to Catherine's to buy a couple of T-Shirts. Of course, I had to like the ones that were simple, and yet had a soft feminine touch.

I bought one in the royal blue, and another in a simple white. They should go well with almost anything I have in the closet. At this point, I was late for meeting up with Sherry - and I rushed over to the mall to meet her while she was having her car inspected. We killed a little time shopping, and I almost bought this wonderful blue maxi skirt on clearance at Lane Bryant that seemed very dressy, but could be toned down to something informal by wearing the right top.


If it is still on the clearance rack when I meet Maria again next week, I might just buy it if I have money left at the end of the week.

But Sherry wanted to take me out for lunch. So we ended up going to a place, Le Express Bistro and Bar, near Dutchess Airport which had excellent food, but terrible service for a late lunch. Would I go there again? Maybe, but I wouldn't want the waitress we had. So we got around to talking about many things, and she posed a question regarding my sexual identity. I noted that I socialize much better with females, and that if I could become a woman in body, I'd gladly do so. (It's not because I dislike my factory issued plumbing. Instead, it would pose many less barriers for me to be with women, being accepted by women in ways that only women are accepted.)

Normally, Sherry would have wanted something sweet after a nice lunch. However, she didn't want to have it there. So we ambled over to Cold Stone Creamery for a shake before Sherry had to go home for a rest. And then it was time for me to go home as well.

Later on, GFL and I caught up with each other - and she was feeling under the weather. As much as I enjoy spending time with her, I think the magic we might have had is dying, and I see no way to fix it. I know that she occasionally scans OK Cupid - but that's something I can't mention I know without saying I do the same thing. Given the death of my commutation ticket at the end of the month, it will become much more costly to date her. And if she isn't willing to go the extra mile for me in my time of need, I know it will soon be time to end the relationship.

And now for the tune of the day (pardon the video quality)....

The Coasters - Searchin'







Friday, May 23, 2014

Even if I'm "out", I may have to formally "out" myself to a new friend.


As I've written before, I am a regular participant in a Thursday night games meetup. This week, I casually noted that I was laid off (towards the end of the night), and a couple of the fellows noted that I wasn't showing much sadness about it. Little did they know how vulnerable I am. But yet, I'm much more secure than many others who who have gone through what I am/will be going through.

One of the regulars is a woman from Ukraine. She used to be a project manager in the corporate world before running a business with her husband. We often chat with each other after the last game is over, and tonight we were talking about our experiences in Corporate America. And she was a victim of what I call "H1-B Visa Slavery" - something that tops any employment story I can come up with from my own personal experiences.

For those who are not familiar with the H1-B visa process, businesses recruit employees with skills (in theory) not available in the USA, and provide them with work at what would be the going rate. The firm sponsors the worker, and while that worker is employed by that firm, he/she has the right to stay in the USA and earn a living. There are several major flaws to this process. First, the worker has no right to sell his/her skills to another firm using the first firm's H1-B sponsorship.  Thus, wages are kept down, because this person can not use the free market to extract more money from a potential new employer. Next, if that employer decides to terminate that employee's position, he/she is expected to leave the USA. The skill may still be in short supply, but the visa is tied to the sponsor, and not the employee's ability to find a use for that same skill with another employer. Lastly, corporations have developed a cottage industry of gaming the H1-B visa process to show that no Americans are available for a position when many Americans are ready and willing to work - even at the wages to be offered to a foreign national.

My friend worked in a technical area, and was told that her position was going to be terminated. She was told that she had only one month to find another position in the company, or her H1-B visa would be terminated, preventing her from working in the USA. (She had the right to live here, as her husband was already an American citizen from what I recall.)

My friend would have worked in the firm's cafeteria to maintain her visa - something that shows how stupid the laws are that define how the H1-B visa system is administered. Luckily, she eventually got her "Green Card", and didn't have to worry about this employer any longer. (And when she mentioned that, I said that Johnny Paycheck sang a song about leaving this kind of firm - "Take this job and shove it.") And now, she is the owner of a small business, and looking to move the business to a more profitable location.



She still attends PMI meetings in Westchester, and she offered to send me information regarding local chapter meetings. Of course, I'll be switching my membership to the local chapter in the near future. But this poses a potential issue - she sees me socially in female mode, and will see me professionally in male mode. I'll have to clue her into my little not-so-secret - that I'm transgendered, and am living my life somewhere between the two genders. 

I hope that formally outing myself does not affect my relationship with this lady. But I didn't want to say much about volunteering to help at the local GLBT center until I was accepted as a volunteer. At some point, I'll have to out myself - and hope for the best. Until then, I have to manage keeping my two persona separate. 




Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recovering from bad news


The first day after being laid off, and I can tell that I was seriously depressed - my food intake was minimal, and it showed when I got on the scale in the afternoon. And this is just as well - I could benefit by losing a couple of dress sizes.

Late on Tuesday night, I sent out an application to be a volunteer at a local GLBT center. I received a reply, and the gentleman there is eager to meet with me. However, I can't schedule anything for tomorrow without knowing when my cleaning lady is going to arrive. She may suspect something with the presence of "women's stuff" in the apartment, but I have never outed myself to her - and I don't think she'd be comfortable with that knowledge. Additionally, I will have to tell her that I am cutting back her hours to once per month, explaining that I have lost my job. (Next week, I'll have to do the same thing with my therapist - and I'll be just as uncomfortable doing the same then.)

When I schedule my interview at the GLBT center, I'll make sure that the fellow knows that I'm transgender, and that I'll be volunteering en-femme. Hopefully, that will be more of an asset instead of a liability at this place. It'd be nice to have a place to go to on a regular basis where my experiences would be valuable assets.

For the most part, this first day out of work was one of emotional exhaustion. Although a former coworker called me up to express his condolences and to commiserate, being lazy was the order of the day.  I didn't end up showering and shaving until dinnertime, and wanted to be with someone. So I called Pat and Lili - Pat wasn't reachable until too late, and Lili was in the mood to veg out and watch a movie in bed. Since I needed to be with someone, I ended up watching "Lover Come Back" - a mindless Doris Day/Rock Hudson comedy made in the early 1960's, that could easily be remade today.

It will take some time for me to find a new normal - in many ways. But I am taking this opportunity to spend more of my time en-femme, and to get out in the world - without spending money.

And now for a movie tune from Doris Day....

Doris Day - Lover Come Back



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Old Relics


Can anyone reading this blog identify the car above?  This car is almost as old as I am.  Like me, it still gets around with a little maintenance, and most of our expected lives are behind us. But that doesn't mean we can't be cherished.

As much as I like being with GFL, I'm not really sure if she's really interested in going any further with the relationship we have. Although I could live with this for a while, I don't think I'll be happy if I allow this relationship to become a rut for both of us. So, I intend to ask her about how she feels - and see what happens from there.

Now that I'm unemployed, I have many options on what to do with my time. One of those options will be volunteer work - something I can do and benefit the GLBT community. Each time I show a picture of myself (en-femme) who knows me as a male, they can't believe how good I look. They don't believe that the "he" they are talking to is the "she" in the picture. This can be a great asset for me in volunteering my services to this community/

As I write this, we have concluded our co-op's monthly board meeting in our new digs. (We bought a vacant apartment for use as a board room, rather than let its' sale depress property values in the complex.) For a change, we got a lot done in this meeting AND we were able to complete our tasks early. After the meeting, I opened up to the president of the board, as we were talking about things to do to occupy our time - and I noted my "en-femme" outings as being part of a hobby. (What harm can a little white lie do?) She loved it, and she wants in at our next hen party!

But my first priority has to be figuring out what my next steps will be. Finding work is not easy for a late-middle aged person as there is age discrimination in the marketplace. I will need to look for a position in my male persona, as there is an even greater amount of discrimination against transgendered folk who can not live in stealth mode. So it is likely that I will be volunteering - but en-femme. The more I can develop connections in both male and female modes, the more likely it will be for me to find something worth my time to do - and help others in the process.



This gal has room for as many friendships as she can make. What I always find interesting is that people like this old relic much more than her male alter-ego. I'm just not sure if it's for entertainment value or whether it is because of her personality. Either way, I feel good about life, and hope that the next chapter will be as good to me as the first....












Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sometimes you eat the bear, and....


Although I could have shown more gruesome pictures of bears eating, somehow, this picture of a bear eating a watermelon fit my mood today.

Yes, the ax finally fell, and I am no longer employed by the firm I've been at for a smidgen over 30 years. At least the Sword of Damocles that has been hanging over my head for the past 12 years or so has done its damage, and I am free to move on with the next chapter of my life.

I was lucky to have a couple of signs telling me to prepare for the worst. First was a conversation with a coworker who told me that the layoffs had started, and that anyone who survived Tuesday would likely be safe for now. Second was a problem they had with allowing my id card to open the entry gates that would allow me to reach my office. Of course, my previous boss was meeting me at the office for lunch - so he was there when I was called in for "the discussion". I'm grateful to him for many things - including finding out that he sacrificed his position to save a few of us (notably me) when we were being surplussed as a result of the merger several years back....

Since I sent the text/email out to my friends informing them of what happened, I've been getting calls from everyone, saying those things needed to show they care - and I appreciate that. Best of all was one from my brother, who said that he was finally making more than I am - and was sad for the reason this is so....  I guess that the world of sibling rivalry ends when one sibling suffers a blow of misfortune.

There are still people I need to contact and things I need to do. But that will have to wait. I need to relax a little and process my feelings.

So, I'll leave you with a little Johnny Paycheck.  It doesn't fit my mood, but I wish it did....

Johnny Paycheck - Take this job and shove it.






Playing games in Beacon, and hoping my number is not up....


One of these days, I'll have to find a better place in my apartment to get a shot of me wearing outfits I like. The sweater I'm wearing doesn't make the dress I'm wearing "pop". But it did hide my bare shoulders, and that's what I needed on a night that I expected to get a little chilly....

Tonight was the bi-monthly games night in Beacon, and it was a pleasure to be there. Unlike Yonkers, this games meetup tends to attract a higher proportion of females. Of course, it is hosted by a woman, and the little touches show in her store. So it was a great pleasure to be accepted as a woman by other ladies, and to be able to play a series of relaxed games without the competitive spirit found when many men are present.

I needed this night of games. After chatting with one of my co-workers, I got a strong feeling that I might not survive this next round of layoffs. It doesn't help that my boss hasn't been able (or want) to find enough work to keep me busy. So in times of tight money, it pays to be overworked - as this indicates that it will be harder to replace you than the person who is under worked like me. Having games to occupy my mind helped me get through the evening, and make it possible for me to relax a little before going to work the next day....

Will I still be employed by the time I leave work?  Who knows?  But I see benefits of being unemployed for a while - one of them being the chance to live more of my life en-femme when my schedule permits. However, given the choice of employment and unemployment, I'd rather go to work as long as possible.

It seems that I'm worrying a bit more than usual these days. It's not a dwelling kind of worry. Instead, it's a feeling of insecurity that comes around that I fight by reminding myself that I have the assets to weather this storm. But many of us are in worse shape than I am. I've earned a good salary, and have some savings to fall back on. Yet, I am concerned for the future. My plans may be shot to hell at any moment, and my fallback plans aren't doing that well either.

A while back, I said that the politicians are cooking the books to avoid saying that the economic downturn that started in 2008 is in the same league as the depression of 1929. There are too many similarities - especially when it came to under regulated financial systems running amok then crashing and burning. Governments are trying to cushion the blows, sopping up excess economic capacity in strange ways. I'd never have believed this without the photographic evidence, but it seems that many auto makers are over producing cars, warehousing them on unused airport runways, auto testing tracks, and other facilities, just to keep their employees on staff. GAAP rules for accounting will eventually make things worse over time - unsold cars are still assets, but they effectively depreciate over time when unused and unsold. They can't shred the older cars, so they have an accounting time bomb ready to explode. How will the auto makers write off all this excess production without destroying their balance sheets?

This slump we're in is much less painful than the one my father was born into. But it is painful. Most of the people in my circles of friends and acquaintances are underemployed at best. This is the time that it pays to have a diverse set of skills - so to be able to rearrange one's skill-set at will to match what an employer is looking for in a new hire. Hopefully, the younger generation will have this more well rounded set of skills than I did at their age....

So I'll leave you with a tune from one of my favorite artists....

Jim Croce - Working at the Car Wash Blues








Monday, May 19, 2014

The natives are restless.... befitting a city that doesn't sleep (and its suburbs).


Not everything I write has to do with my transgender identity, and today's entry is one of those posts. Instead, it has to do with my latest visit to GFL's place, consumer electronics technology, and the crazy people that populate NYC and its environs.

This weekend's visit to GFL started out in a quiet way. If I had known how nice a day Saturday was going to be, I'd have tried to get out much earlier than I did, so GFL and I could take a pleasant drive somewhere. Instead, I was able to have a very pleasant ride on the ferry, and get a view of the cruise ship docked in Bayonne, NJ. 


As much as I enjoy taking a cruise, I will likely NOT take any cruises departing from Bayonne, as it is a pain to get to and from Bayonne if one lives in the Northern Suburbs of NYC. (Don't tell GFL, but getting to and from Staten Island isn't much better.)

Eventually I reached Staten Island and GFL. Now that the "Unfinished finished basement" is complete, it was time to start making the basement into a place where we can spend some time. So we ran a few errands, then proceeded to finish the set up of her new TV, DVD player, and Cable "set top box". Connecting everything together wasn't so hard, but we had some problems making sure that the coax cable behind the wall was properly hooked up. It seemed as if the TV was getting no signal from the set top box, and we ended up switching it with the one from upstairs. It wasn't until I changed which HDMI socket the cable was in did we get a TV signal. (The software on the TV didn't test for HDMI 3 in its initialization sequence.) At this point, we had a working TV. Then, I decided to connect GFL's old DVD player to the TV. Although it worked, GFL had lost the remote to the player. We could not pause, stop, change scenes on the DVD being played. So after dinner, we went out to buy a modern Blu-Ray player.

Before I go much further, I have to note that most of the value added in consumer electronics is the software infrastructure built around a manufacturer's products. Apple is known for this, having made its products easy to use. And Samsung is close behind. GFL's new TV is made by Samsung. And her Blu-Ray player is also from Samsung. It surprised me that her TV's remote also controlled her Blu-Ray player - seamlessly. GFL could also control her entertainment system from her Samsung tablet, via software that comes standard with the product. No wonder why Apple is worried about Samsung - they seem to be the only other company with the depth and breath to be prepared to challenge Apple in the consumer electronics arena.

As much as we wanted to get out early the next morning and go for a drive, this was not meant to be. GFL was a little sick overnight, and was feeling very tired. So we ended up trying to find out whether her 5 year old Sony speaker system could be connected to her new TV. (GFL had been frustrated because her speakers only worked when her Sony DVD player was in use, and wanted to find a way to use them more effectively.) Going to the nearest Radio Shack, we found out that there was no convenient way to do this - system connections have changed a lot in 5 years, and Sony's connections were non-standard even then. GFL was told that it made more sense to buy a new speaker bar, instead of trying to find something that may or may not work on the internet.

After Radio Shack, we ran a few more errands, then picked up some food to put on the grill later in the afternoon. We had a leisurely meal, and then it was off to the ferry. This was a time where I wish I had a better camera with me, as there were the right amount of clouds in the sky for some interesting pictures like the one below.



When I reached Grand Central, I had a little time to kill, so I decided to sit down in the waiting room. A little while after I sat down, I noticed something strange - a Metro-North policeman at the entrance to the women's room. Looking at what was going on, there was a crazy lady causing trouble in the ladies' loo. And it took some coaxing to get her out of the loo, and then out of the waiting area. This crazy lady was restless, and even I had some concerns about going around her and walking to my train's platform.

This was not the only place I was to find insanity....  When I boarded my train, there was a woman in a position near a man, that in any other context would imply that the man was about to enjoy some fellatio. Sadly, the woman was sick from ingesting too much alcohol or some other drug. She was very embarrassed about her predicament, having vomited on the floor (less than 10 feet away from the on-board restroom), and the man she was with was treating her very badly. By the time we reached Tarrytown, many of us in the rail car were feeling disgusted. This man was shouting at the lady, making her feel worse than she already was. The conductor became aware of this way too late to eject this couple at Croton-Harmon, but ejected them at the next station - where I was getting off as well.  

As usual, I took the elevator up to the station's main level. Unfortunately, I found the man shouting at the lady. Luckily, they went in the direction of the new parking lot, while I went to the old parking lot with another passenger. We shot the breeze for a little while, and it was time to go home. For curiosity's sake, I decided to drive over to the new lot, just to see what may (or may not) be going on. And what did I see? Two police cars, with policemen keeping the man and woman separated by over 30 feet. I wish there was a practical way to find out what happened after that, but it wasn't wise to do so. Instead it was homeward bound, and a chance to finally get comfortable after 3 hours....

And now for a tune that fits the mood of the weekend....

Sammy Davis Jr. - Mr. Bojangles











Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ennui


Ennui (änˈwē/)

noun: ennui

a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement

- - - - - -

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the latter stage of a 30 year career with a major financial services firm. And ennui is an apt description of how I feel when I go to work each day. This is the big issue I deal with on a regular basis, as there is a limit to how many in-house pre-recorded courses I can take to occupy my time before I get tired and lack the emotional energy to maintain my focus.

I feel much more alive when I can switch out of my “9 to 5” mode and get into my “5 to Midnight” mode that I discuss in this blog. This can be attributed to two things – I am much more connected to people in the latter mode, and I am able to do more things that nurture my soul. When I was part of the hen party, I functioned seamlessly as part of the group – something which would not be possible in my other persona.

But ennui seems to permeate a large part of my life lately. Although I feel good when I’m with GFL, there’s a lack of excitement in each of us. And that’s what I think will be the main reason why our relationship will eventually end. In one sense, I’m in a better place than where I was in the past – I am no longer an excitement junkie, and I no longer associate (on a regular basis) with people who lurch from one crisis to another. Even the semi-functional people in my life (like Lili) drain me much less than my ex-GF of 8 years did.

Is there a happy middle ground for me? This is a question that I pose of myself occasionally. And I still feel that the answer is “Yes!” Part of the key to finding that middle ground is the continued exploration of my preferred persona. Another part will likely be in the building of more links between me (in either persona) and the world as a whole. This will likely mean some volunteer work and participating in some other communal activities. Yet, my therapist keeps focusing on the idea of “recovery”, where losing the weight, etc. will put all the pieces together in my life. (I have to note his focus on my food addiction and how it distorted my behaviors. His lens is one of addiction, and is limited to that.) I focus on building a life, however I do so, one that emphasizes moderation and not seeking out the extremes.

There are risks in everything, and in my case it may be the pursuit of the middle ground. There is a part of me that is envious of some of the bloggers I read, and some of the people I’ve met in my travels – and that involves having a passion for life. Passion is hard to constrain, and doesn’t want to be limited. Yet, there is a difference between a healthy passion for things, and an unhealthy compulsion. One of my former coworkers, Maria, works with a men’s rights group, motivated by having seen how her husband’s ex-wife has abused her rights from the dissolved relationship, harming his relationship with Maria. This is a healthy response to a negative situation. Lili craves having a man in her life, has no idea of how someone can enjoy life without being partnered, and filters everything through that lens. This is an unhealthy response to a negative situation. In short, I lack a certain healthy passion, but am lucky to be avoiding unhealthy compulsions.

There is an old phrase, “I could have been a contender.” Most people believe this deep in their souls. Their dreams would be lofty, but their achievements would be modest. I am one of those rare people who had both the intelligence and aptitude to accomplish greatness, and underachieved because I didn’t have a mentor to help guide me through the challenges of youth, set appropriate goals, and develop the self-discipline I needed to achieve my full potential. (How many people can document that they graduated high School 3 years early, and could have done so even earlier had not behavioral issues been in the way? How many people could say that they were earning more than their parents combined by the age of 20?) Yet, I’m not complaining here. I’ve done very well in spite of things, and I’ve done much more with my life than anyone in my family would have dreamed.

“The second worst thing that can happen to a person is not achieving one’s goals in life. The worst thing that can happen is to achieve those goals, and not be able to set new ones.“ Passion can help you achieve life goals. But what happens next, after those goals are achieved? That's the question I've been trying to answer, and I think I'm coming close to finding it....

So, I'll leave you with a tune that always strikes a chord of sadness in me...





Saturday, May 17, 2014

21st Century Consumer Society


For those who don't recognize him, this is Cary Grant - just before the excitement begins in North by Northwest. Doesn't he look like a typical Madison Avenue Advertising Executive of the 1960's? Many things have changed in society since then. Liquid lunches are frowned upon, dress has become much more casual, and long distance trains no longer depart from Grand Central on a regular basis. Cary Grant would not feel at home in today's world, although much of the underlying substance is still the same as it was 50+ years ago.




Marketing has evolved since the days of the "Three Martini Lunch." Now, they can measure how well any inducement works with the targeted customer. One thing that has gotten very popular if the BOGO (Buy One, Get One) sale.  When I was young, it meant - Buy One, Get One Free. Today, it means, buy one, and get the second at a discounted price. Computers slice and dice your profile, and they are better able to target their firm's best customers and address their needs.




Since I started to build a complete female wardrobe, I've noticed that I now have paper catalogs in my mailbox almost every day of the week.  For wigs, I get mailings from Paula Young and Beauty Trends. For women's clothing, I get catalogs from Woman Within, Roamans, Ulla Popken, Serengeti, L.L.Bean, Lands End, Blair, Bedford Fair, and others. Once you buy products in some categories, you'll be inundated with catalogs that are being sent with one thing in mind - to get you to spend your money.




Of course, if you buy something (or even browse something) online, today's technology allows for the advertisers to custom tailor on-screen ads for your viewing.  Often, what you browse are the things you'd be interested in buying. But this is not true in all cases - I could be doing a "one-off" purchase for a friend, and this sale triggers product ad displays that I would not be interested in 99% of the time.



On the whole, things have changed quite a bit. And yet, nothing has changed at all. Marketers try to reach that weak spot in our brains that tells us to buy their products, and we ignore most of their messages. Can you tell me what "proprietary ingredient" BP uses in its gasoline to give you a better quality product?  I can't. But the idea of proprietary ingredients is not new - 50 years ago, Shell was advertising their proprietary ingredient, Platformate, as one of the reasons their gasoline was a better product.




When M2F transgendered begin to wear female clothing, we want to look our best as women. We start noticing the advertisements for lotions, potions, waxes, oils, powders, and scents in new ways. However, unlike natal women of our age, we don't have a lifetime of experience in ignoring these messages. So, many of us have overflowing makeup chests, etc., all experiments in making ourselves as beautiful as possible.



In the end, we learn how to ignore most of the messages, and buy what we need. Yes, we are subconsciously affected by the messages. But the products we buy still must meet both our stated needs and our subconscious needs to stay on our shopping lists. And as M2F transgendered, we are often learning the lessons in middle age that most women learn in their young adult-hoods....

And now for an appropriate little tune.

Allan Sherman - Chim Chim Cheree




Friday, May 16, 2014

Gaming in Yonkers - No Spades Allowed!


It seems like it was more than a week ago that I ended up in a game of spades that I didn't want to play. Yet, it was the first time back to Yonkers, and the other lady in the game, N, had the same feelings I had about this fellow - we were repulsed by his style, as he was almost commanding us to play his games, rather than have us choose to play with him. 

I was lucky this evening. First, the fellow who commandeered us to play Spades was missing. Second, a game of "Village" was being set up, and I was able to take over a spot at the table from someone who didn't think he'd like playing the game after many of the rules were explained. Third, I won....  But what happened during the game was more fun to relate.




During the evening, we joked about playing Spades several times, with N bringing up salient points about this fellow's statements that helped us vent our frustrations. But we were getting the group at our table to laugh, when we said that we'd tell this fellow that we all decided to play Spades or Pinochle, and were sorry that he couldn't make it. 

Hopefully, this fellow will not be there next time.  One of the people, C, said that he was thinking of bringing Tokaido (a board game)  next week - and I hope he does so.



As I've mentioned in a prior entry, this is a low keyed game with a little strategy, but not one which can be played in a cut-throat manner, as is done with many card games.

-------

Before I go on, I must state that I feel that this group actively welcomes people of all backgrounds, races, creeds, etc. - I wouldn't participate or attend if this were not the case. Yet, for the first time, the issue of race came up in one of our conversations - as we wondered why a couple of people came once or twice, and never showed up again. However, I think I know why this is the case. When one uses the Meetup.com system to reserve spaces at a meetup, there is a limit set by the organizer of the event. The Yonkers meetup is held in a small house, and only 10 people can register for the event. So, if people who are not yet regulars take their time in trying to make reservations, they will never get an open spot - and will not be able to come to our regularly scheduled gatherings....

Why do I touch on the subject of race?

The gathering in Yonkers is held in someone's residence - a private location. Contrast this with the Beacon meetup, which is held in the organizer's place of business. There are several minorities who regularly attend this gathering. Yet, I feel that both places are equally welcoming to people of all races, creeds, etc. - and this got me to think a little - why does Beacon have a regular contingent of minorities, and Yonkers doesn't?

I think I know the answer for Yonkers, and it has to do with how the races were steered to different sections of the city.  Blacks were steered to the West side of town, while Whites were steered to the East. Yonkers was legally one city, but with two populations that didn't mix and that were uncomfortable associating with each other. When my late wife drove to work, she had to travel through the "low rent district" of Yonkers, and she felt very uncomfortable doing so. (And if you saw the neighborhood as it was, you wouldn't have blamed her either.) There was no way to reach her office on the river without driving through some "iffy" neighborhood - and she was glad whenever she was able to leave for home while the sun was still out.

What would this mean if you were Black, and not White?

As I see it, you'd learn that there were certain sections of Yonkers where you wouldn't feel safe. Over time, you would avoid these areas, save the commercial strips (which are defacto neutral zones), and associate with people in more diverse neighborhoods. You'd visit an area once or twice, but your "safety radar" would be sensing potential danger, and you'd be very attentive to what it'd be telling you....

Where am I going with all of this?

As much as many people in the younger generation have less of a hangup with race than their parents and grandparents did, we have a heck of a lot further to go. There is fear on both sides, and it will take a lot of work to talk about this fear. The issues are much more subtle than they used to be, and much harder to articulate, and even more so to resolve.

So, I'll leave you with a song which is a little heavy handed, but sung by a master....