Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finally! A another chance to Whine and Dine...

It's been a while since I've been able to meet the ladies at the Whine and Dine meetup. Both the weather and other prior commitments have gotten in the way of seeing these friendly faces - and I missed them.

- - - - - - 

When I started the day, I had a simple task list:
  1. (In Mario Mode) Get in the exercise I was too tired to do yesterday.
  2. (On Phone) Call my dad's financial planner, ask for advice.
  3. (On Phone) Call my tax preparer and schedule an appointment.
  4. (On-Line) Scan the job postings, and send out a few resumes.
  5. (In Marian Mode) See the ladies at the Whine and Dine.
  6. (In Marian Mode) Bring GFJ home from the Whine and Dine, so that she can be here tomorrow, when her car's windshield is scheduled to be replaced.
It is not a big task list, and there's nothing onerous on it. Yet, I knew I was likely to drop the call to the financial planner, as I have a certain ambivalence about this task because it may mean making some hard decisions about an important sum of money. I also knew that I'd have a certain lethargy about going outdoors, given that it's COLD outside.

- - - - - -

Just before I was to leave for the health club, I received an email from GFJ stating:

I registered for the W&D tonight. We will act as if we just met. I don't really  know Marian that well.  I was just talking to my son and he wants to leave at 7 so he can study longer so I won't  be there until 8.  You don't have to save a seat for me. I am good  at  squeezing in.

So this is going to be fun....  GFJ will see how I get along with the rest of the ladies, and will likely have some interesting comments of her own when we come back to my place for the evening.

- - - - - -

As expected, I did not call either my tax person or my dad's financial person. But I did get to the health club, even though I didn't have the emotional energy to do so. And I did get my routine in for the day - so at least one important accomplishment was taken care of for the day. Even though the job boards were slim pickings, I did manage to send out a couple of resumes. That left me with the evening items on the list - and that was going to be the more interesting part of the day.

Part of why I go to the Whine and Dine is because it enables me to be with people, and feel like I'm part of the human race. Men in our culture are often solitary people, socializing in competitive ways, but never sharing much of themselves. And this results in a form of loneliness that many men share, as they do not know how to connect with others the way that women do. By being transgender and socializing as a female, I pick up on a different vibe - a warmth that one gets by being one of the girls. Yes, being TG does get in the way a little, but not as much as one might think. Women do look at each other, and immediately try to establish a pecking order - but they also have to get along with each other. So even when competing with each other, they must also collaborate with each other. Not having been socialized as a female, I am not as sensitive to this pecking order as most women, and I get my self worth from something other than a rank in a pecking order. This allows me to enjoy being with the Whine and Dine group, as I bring something to the table without being affected by any competition at the table, for I know I would never be a "queen bee".

When I got to the meetup, the Whine and Diners were well underway with their wine and their food. I ended up sitting with the women who were eating, next to the women who were doing the drinking. No, no one was getting drunk. One woman, S, (the Queen Bee) had a second glass of wine, knowing that her friend would be the one driving them home. Sadly, I missed seeing J (who was busy with her own affairs, which will not get chronicled here). The Queen Bee asked about J, knowing that we are friends. All I could say is that she was busy, and that I haven't spoken with her in a while. (True statements, but I knew more than I was letting on...)

I was having a great time chatting with the ladies at my end of the table, which included two newcomers. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw GFJ come in (as expected) in her down coat. Neither of us acknowledged each other, save for a quick eye connection, and she proceeded to the noisy end of the table to sit down and have dinner. We didn't have a single word to say to each other for this part of the night, and it was just as well - it helped preserve the image that Marian was safe to have in the group. (Marian is likely perceived as almost asexual, and not a threat to anyone.) But this left the two of us with a two part problem. How do we signal each other that it is time to go? How do we leave in a way that we are not seen as leaving together? And the solution came with modern technology - cell phone messaging. I was able to tell GFJ to meet me in the parking lot behind a building, and she met me there a few minutes afterwards for the trip back to my place and to Mario Mode....

Yes - it's a little strange switching between Marian and Mario modes when GFJ is in the picture, but I find it worth the hassle, to have a relationship with someone nice. It's probably a little awkward for her as well, but as long as we can find our way through this maze together, it'll be good for both of us....

PS: Can you find me and GFJ in the above picture?

Friday, February 27, 2015

We're having a cold wave, a Sub-Arctic cold wave, The temperature's dropping....

This is the type of scene that would be common in the Northern NYC Suburbs today. The air was cold (single digits towards night time) and the snow was high. And this is what awaited me when I drove GFJ back home....

As I mentioned in my previous post, GFJ's car was hit by a goose flying way too close to the ground. And she needed to get home, so that she could get mandated end-of-month work out of the way at the office. But this posed some interesting problems - not only did I have to get up before dawn to pick her up at the hospital (having undergone a sleep study), but I had to see my therapist, then drive across the Shawangunks (part of the lower Catskills) to drive GFJ home. This was going to be a long day for me....

When I picked GFJ up at the hospital, I knew that I'd have some time to rest before seeing my therapist. Unfortunately, I did not get the rest I needed - and I knew it. So after the therapist, I went home, where GFJ was starting to roast the pork loin that we planned to eat yesterday, but didn't. By the time we finished with our delayed meal, it was about 4:30, and we still had to go to Orange County. And it would be 6:00-6:30 or so that I'd deliver her to her house.

Arriving at her place, I was surprised that she was inviting me in. (She had previously stated that she didn't want for me to meet her son yet, as he had issues with his mom dating before the divorce is final.) Her son was polite, having been told that she stayed the night with someone else, and that I was just one of her friends driving her home. (Little does he know....) I chatted for a while, then left - as my plans were to go to the health club after making a stop at Walmart to get a replacement gym bag.

Reaching Walmart, I bought more than expected (most of the stuff was needed), and realized that I had to drive home since I had stuff in the bags which should not be allowed to freeze. AARGH!  I knew that I'd not have the energy to go out again for my exercise routine. And I was right....  So it'll be off to the health club once I wake up, so I can get that task out of the way before spending the rest of the day en-femme....

PS: GFJ's view from her window is very similar to the picture at the beginning of this post....

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Goose, Duck, Duck!

Today's post has virtually nothing to do with being transgender, and everything to do with car safety.

- - - - - -

How many of you have hit an animal while driving?  If you're my age, I'll bet that you've run over your fair share of squirrels, chipmunks, and feral cats. But a smaller number of us have had animals hit our cars and require important repairs. In this league are the people who couldn't avoid deer, moose, or elk - and needed towing to get their cars to where they could be repaired. A small step down would be what happened to GFL and I tonight - a flock of geese were munching away at an exposed patch at the side of the road, got spooked, and at least one of them hit our car's windshield. Although we could drive the car home, we considered ourselves lucky to be alive, given that the inner glass of the windshield failed after the impact (but held together well enough to get us home). Thank god, that all American cars require safety glass for the windshield and all other windows.  Who knows what would have happened else wise?

Did we do the right thing according to law by driving her car back to my place?  Probably not. But she has a sleep test scheduled for tonight, where they will fit her with a CPAP (?) unit, so that she can sleep better. And she can not afford to miss this test. As a result, we needed to take the chance that the windshield would stay "intact" long enough to get home AND that we would not be stopped by law enforcement on the way home.

- - - - - -

Over the years, there have been a lot of safety enhancements mandated for American automobiles. Seat belts alone have saved a countless number of lives. Air bags have also saved a very large number of lives. And my current favorite is safety glass, as I was protected from blindness and disfigurement because glass shards weren't flying around the car immediately after impact. As it was, some tiny "shrapnel" from the inner glass flew into the passenger compartment - and we found small pieces on the seat and on the floor. (This is when I wished I was in Marian Mode, for the glasses I wear in Marian Mode would have protected me even more from this shrapnel.) I could only imagine if the windshield had been penetrated by the bird.

I was fortunate enough that human instinct automatically closed my eyes before the impact, yet was not strong enough to cause me to swerve off the road to avoid the birds (if that had been possible at all). As a result, this accident is considered non-chargable, due to it being unavoidable, and will likely be forgotten once GFJ's car is repaired.  Additionally, I was fortunate that the safety mechanisms developed over the years allowed me to keep control of the car after the impact and get it home safely....

- - - - - -

One of the problems with living in suburbia is that so many people think of wildlife as something desirable to have in their neighborhoods. I won't complain about migratory species such as the Canadian Goose that hit me. But when we feed them enough NOT to migrate, then we have problems. The building where I once worked in Westchester county, NY had a problem with geese. And they tried many things to chase them away - but to no avail. The only thing that works are trained marksmen and/or bow hunters - and people are afraid of sportsmen for understandable reasons. As a result, we're seeing migratory species stop migrating due to a surplus of food and a surfeit of predators. We're also seeing species that were almost hunted to extinction in the region come back with a vengeance. I never thought I'd see deer again in Lower Westchester - and I did, about 6 weeks ago.

When I moved to Northern Westchester, I'd see migratory geese AND I'd see deer on the back roads. Now, I'm often concerned about hitting the deer, as I am seeing them that often on the roads and in my parking lot.

- - - - - -

Is there a solution?  I'm not sure. But I know I may have to duck, the next time I see a large bird at eye level....

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meeting another member of Lili's family

It was another day with Lili, and another trip to see her ailing mom. But this time was different - we picked up her sister (staying with her daughter on Long Island) before the short drive back to their mom's place.

- - - - - -

When Lili and I planned out this day, she wanted to get on the move as early as possible, so that she could get as much "awake time" with her mom as possible. As usual, I was able to be up and moving before Lili called to make sure I was up and moving. (But I had to struggle to do so, as I was semi conscious for an hour before I finally made it off my bed.) She worries that I won't be ready for her, but I'm the one who is usually ready on time.... (And I'm the one who has to apply makeup, put on a wig, stick in one's falsies, etc. before being ready to face the world.)

Lili eventually made it to my place about 15 minutes late (for all practical purposes, she was on time). And we proceeded to the local deli for egg sandwiches before trekking to Long Island. Once we reached Great Neck, we picked up her sister, M, and drove the 5 minutes back to their mom's place. Unlike previous visits, her mom was much more alert than usual, even though she seemed like she soon was going to give up her body's fight to stay alive. Lili's mom looked much more frail than before, and her limbs had virtually no fat on them - as if she was slowly wasting away. It was interesting seeing the dynamic between Lili, M, and their mom, as both had different ways of caring for their mom, but they had common purpose.

In previous visits to Lili's mom, Lili was always arguing with the caretaker. This lady has retired, and has since moved to Florida to be with her daughter. So a new caregiver was on duty today - and there was peace and quiet. It was almost a joy to be there, save the obvious reason - a slowly dieing mother. In private, the caregiver gave me a heads up - she always checked her heart at the door when going to work, as it is so sad to see a frail helpless woman waste away in front of you.

Eventually we left, and Lili dropped her sister off. On our drive home, Lili voiced her feeling (for the first time) that it would be better off if her mom were to die. Even Lili is at the point where her mother's death would be a relief....

- - - - - -

When I got home, I had a choice of what to do. I could go to the health club - or continue in Marian Mode and do a little shopping. Guess what I did....  Go shopping, of course!!!!!!!  What would any sane woman do given the choice of exercise of shopping?  So I drove up to The Avenue, and tried on some things. Although I would have liked to buy the skirt and top I tried on, I didn't want to spend any more money that I didn't need to spend. So I left the store, and took the long way back home.

Getting home, I stopped at the A&P down the hill from me, and saw my favorite checkout clerk. (She was doing a night shift because someone else's mom passed away.) we chatted for a bit, and it was time to go home and change back into Mario, as GFJ was coming later on.  (If I had known how late GFJ would be, I'd have stayed in Marian Mode and gone to see a movie instead of going shopping - but that's another matter.)  So it was off with the wig, falsies, etc., and on with the trousers, etc...... And another day bit the dust.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Say it ain't so, Joe! Say it ain't so!

(Shoeless Joe) "Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning" - Connie Mack

It's hard to believe that both Spring and Baseball Season will be here soon.  And the calendar keeps turning its pages, while I have yet to find work. With my pension, and carefully managed savings, I should be able to get by for a while until I find some work. But until then, I intend to do as much in Marian Mode as possible - which may include going to a ball game before the weather gets too warm for me to be outside in my wig.

As much as I worry about not having enough money coming in to take care of my needs, I am still moving forward with feminizing my body. I've already said "yes" to a couple of touch-up visits to take care of my lower legs, as well as looking into getting my (full) arms zapped (with a 6 visit Groupon deal.) I find it worthwhile to continue removing the fur from my body for as long as possible - as future electrolysis sessions will be much more expensive than today's laser treatments.

- - - - - -

Today was the "warmest" day we've had for a while. So I was glad that I scheduled a lunch date with my dad before it got cold again. This time, I paid (he usually tries to pay for lunch or dinner) - and was glad that I'm still able to do this. What was most interesting is that my dad wanted to talk about his final arrangements - noting how he'll divvy up his monies between me, my brother, my brother's wife, and my brother's children. I was glad that he was comfortable in doing this, as it makes my life and my brother's life much easier for us. And when my dad noted that I would be getting a little less than my brother's side - I was very comfortable, as I understood that he wanted to see that the whole family would get a little something. (I noted that if my late wife had lived and we had kids, that dad would have used the same formula with them - and he agreed with me.) My dad is trying to be fair as possible, and I hope that he stays alive long enough to see his great grandchildren - and that means my niece has to find a good man first, marry him, and then have her babies. I am not worried about his money - I'd rather have him around....

- - - - - -

After leaving my dad, it was off to my networking meeting in NYC. Although I might have been able to park on the street, I figured it would be a better move to pay an off street parking meter and be sure that the spot was legal. Parking in Astoria can be iffy, but when one finds a good metered spot that allows one to attend a meeting in Manhattan and return before the meter runs out - one grabs it. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could reach 42nd St and 5th Av in less than 30 minutes - something much better than I achieve when I take the Subway in from the Pelham Parkway area of the Bronx. And I was even more surprised to find that I could do the same on the return trip. Although I won't be doing this trip often, I'll file the information away for future possible trips into NYC from Long Island.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, fortune will change soon. But if not, at least I know, that with baseball as in life, there is a season for everything - and that fortunes can and will change....

Monday, February 23, 2015

The final zap - at least for a while.

The above picture illustrates why there's no unsightly hair found on the Statue of Liberty - Large Scale Natural Electrolysis. For the rest of us, visits to a laser or electrolysis technician will have to do to clean the fur off our bodies....

- - - - - -

Today's first stop was to get my lower legs zapped for the last time. Although they will need further touch up visits, I can't afford to continue zapping them at the prices I've been paying to clear my body of its fur. So I may go this place for touch-ups, but use other places for 6 visit zapping deals.

Being transgender is a big headache if one wants to change one's presentation from male to female. One always has to minimize the things that have grown bigger (thicker wrists, ankles, necks, etc.), add to those things that didn't grow (butt padding, breasts, etc.), and hide things that aren't present at all. And, with the exception of my size, I think I now do a good job of it....

- - - - - -

Lili is always pushing me to buy a better class of wig. Ideally, I'd be able to do so. But to get a human hair wig that is perfect for my face, I'd need to spend much more money up front than I should afford. My fixed monthly expenses exceed what my pension would bring in to me, and I can't justify taking a lot of money from savings just to buy a new wig.

Right now, I've started to apply for jobs way down the food chain from the type of jobs I've had in the past. If I can double (or triple) what I will net from a pension, I'll be in acceptable shape. The frustrating this is that I will need to be extremely frugal for years - and that's something that's new to me.

- - - - - -

I was chatting today with the laser technician about doing her kind of work. The thing I'd really like to know is - how much prejudice would I face, if it were Marian (an obvious TG) doing the work? I'd love to be in a job that allows me to be Marian full time, and I want to find out if this is possible, knowing that I'm going to be forced to take a drastic cut in my standard of living.

This seems to be a recurring theme in the blog - the ability to work in Marian Mode. For the most part, this is a pipe dream. Yet it could become a reality in the right situation.  But how could I make it happen?  The organization that advertised the volunteer position that I wanted has not bothered contacting me - as if they are even more poorly run than some other small organizations with whom I've been in contact.

- - - - - -

The reality is that change is now hitting me as it were a lightning strike - and I don't like it one bit. I am still much better off than I would have been had I been laid off 5 years ago. Yet, it is still a painful situation. And I still am not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Monday, a day of relative rest

Considering the cold weather today, I figured that a picture of George Washington at Valley Forge would be appropriate for Presidents' Day 2015.

- - - - - -

As I've mentioned before, I usually publish my blog entries several days after the events themselves. This gives me the time to edit anything that is incorrect, as well as delete things that should not be published in a public forum. So, I expect to see this entry published sometime towards the end of the week, or at the beginning of next week....

- - - - - -

If I were still working, I would have had today off. And I likely would have done nothing, as I'd have needed to recharge my emotional batteries. But doing "nothing" is just as draining when one is looking for a job. When a job search focuses on sending out resumes for positions posted in job boards, it means that one's network isn't that useful. And that's a problem I deal with. Couple this with being 1 hour from the largest job market in the country, over 50 years old, and having a skill set that's neither fish nor fowl, and I'll have to settle for a position way beneath my level - if one is offered. This is exhausting!

- - - - - -

So today was one day I decided to rest. Although I planned to go out en-homme, this didn't mean much - most of the day was spent in bed watching movies on TMC. Shortly after dinner time, I decided to do some laundry - and received a call from D before removing clothes from the dryer, and going out for a late night round at the health club. Although I could go to the health club at 1 am, I feel that it makes more sense to do so in the morning - as I still have to go and get my legs zapped for the last time around noon.

The big question I have to answer is - Will I go for more forest clearing? Possibly - but next comes my arms. I'm tired of having to shave my arms before I get into something pretty (while en-femme). Stubble is so unattractive on a T-Gal. And I want to look as attractive as possible....

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The day became more interesting as it went on....

Only one of the things I wanted to do was done today, and that was the most important - going to the health club and getting in my scheduled round of exercise. Anything accomplished after that would be gravy. And there was a lot of gravy....

- - - - - -

I took it easy until about 2:30, then packed the gym bag for my visit to the health club. Just as I was leaving, Lili called - and wanted to see her BFF - Marian. I told her that I was going to the health club, but would be available for dinner at Panera by 5:00 - in Mario Mode. She begrudgingly accepted this. So I did my thing at Planet Fitness, then went to Panera to dine with Lili.

As I got to Panera, I found that Lili had a gift for me - a top from Ulla Popken.

This was a long delayed Chanukah gift, and it was not one I'd have asked for - simply because she loves to buy things for her (few) friends. This top will look good on me when I get the chance to wear it this Spring.

Lili told me that she was getting bored, and was looking for something to do. I mentioned that she should consider joining a health club as I did, and that would be a good way to kill time. She wondered whether I was looking for a partner in crime, but I said NO.  I can't be expected to exercise on someone else's schedule, and that she'd need to build a routine of her own. Later on, we got to the issue of meetups.She wanted one where women would end up talking a lot, and not one playing board games or cooking food. I said that I'd find a meetup that I'd attend with her, but that she'd have to register for it.  And I found one - a group for women who do things during mid day. So I sent her the link, and will see if she does anything with it soon....

When I was leaving Lili at Panera, I got a call from D (my former therapy group member). It was a perfect time to meet him and discuss issues related to his divorce. So I suggested a Starbucks at a midpoint between us (Pleasantville), and we met there 30 minutes later. D related a lot of stuff related to his divorce, including a unsolicited statement from his daughter that her mom treated her dad badly AND that he shouldn't get back together with her if her mom asks....  We talked about many things, and I think his head is on a lot straighter than when we last chatted. (I also found out why he took a particular (oft abused) pain killer, and found out about his recent trip to the hospital for a stress related problem.) Before we left each other, I mentioned several things about our therapist and two possible interpretations of the data. D said in response - "Thanks, now, I might need a new therapist as well!" And I then said - if I leave our therapist, I won't go for therapy until I feel I need it again. But there is an issue that I already know 2 specialists that I'd use - and won't go into it further until both of us are no longer seeing our therapist. (I certainly didn't want him accidentally blurting out that I am transgender, and need a specialist who understands ALL the important issues, but not a hack who is learning about transgender issues on the fly.) I'll bet that he is very curious about what my issues are, but he can't cause me many problems without knowing much more....

And then it was time to go home. This was just as well - the temperature was already in the single digits, and I wanted to get home where it was nice and toasty.  It's a shame that D will be shuttling between 2 houses for the near future - this reminds me that I still have a lot to be grateful for....

Friday, February 20, 2015

The weather is there, whether you like it or not.

As I'm writing this entry, the sun is out (something unusual for me), and the bulk of the day is yet to come. I'll likely go to the health club to work out, and then veg out. If the weather were a little warmer, I'd find something to do that I'd be able to do en-femme. 

When I planned this day, one item on my list of things to do was to go to the local church that I sporadically attend. And again, I woke up early enough to go to the church, but thought of the wind and cold outside, then decided to stay warm inside my apartment. This was a good thing. I'd have hated to come up with an appropriate feminine outfit for the cold, transform myself into Marian, and then find out that services were cancelled because the priest couldn't make it to the church. So it was just as well that I was too lazy to get moving early in the morning.

It seems forever since Thursday night, when I was with the crew playing board games. And I still am looking for my next opportunity to be with people in Marian Mode. Now that my income stream is running out, and with no new replacement in sight, I have to start cutting back. Opportunities to be in Marian Mode will need to be less expensive than in the past, and I'll need to be careful with my consumables (e.g. Makeup). Although I know I can get by, I still fear the changes that will happen soon if I don't find work.

But I come back to the weather....

For the most part, New York City (and its close-in suburbs) seems to be missing the worst of the weather this year. The one blizzard that I expected to hit us dead on tracked 50 miles to the East, dumping most of its snow on Long Island and New England. I don't miss rushing out to shovel the snow off my car, so that I could make it to the station and commute to NYC. And I feel sad for those who are unable to telecommute to work, having to be on site to do their jobs.

Before I was married (over 30 years ago), I dated a woman, E, who was a registered nurse doing per-diem work at a hospital near her house. My wife and I were at her wedding, and she and her husband were at our wedding. We lost touch with each other over the years, but Facebook connected us again. Unlike me, who once could telecommute on snowy days, she has to be on site to work. And in this extraordinary snow season, she has had to stay close to where she works, instead of being with her husband. I'm glad she can do so, as she is a good nurse, and many lives have probably been saved due to her presence in hospitals during bad weather....

Hopefully, things will break soon in many ways. I'd like for the weather to get better, so that I can spend more time with people in Marian Mode. And I would also like to see some movement on the job search front, so that I am closer to finding work than I am now.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

At least I don't live in Boston....

At least the Massachusetts State Police department has a sense of humor.  With an accumulated snowfall greater than Buffalo's this season, they need that sense of humor to get through this season.

- - - - - -

GFJ was here to celebrate the beginning of Valentine's day, but had to run home before the snowstorm hit. So I spent the latter part of the afternoon on the line with Motorola tech support for a software glitch with my cell phone. I have a Moto X (v2) cell phone, it runs as vanilla a version of Android v5 (Lollipop) as one can get these days. One of the features of this phone is Moto Voice (a program which facilitates hands free voice launch of other programs). This program is so useful, that I missed it very much when it stopped working recently. Having to use my hands to use the phone while in Marian Mode could have caused me a lot of embarrassment if a cop had seen me do this, and pulled me over to issue a ticket.

The problem with Motorola tech support is that it is very hard to find anyone who could answer a question regarding cell phone software. (And I mentioned this on the feedback survey.) But I persisted, and was on the line with someone for an hour and a half while I rebooted the phone into recovery mode, cleared the cache, and then reset the phrase I use to launch voice commands. (And no, it's not "OK Google Now", as many people might use.) But the gentleman at the other end of the connection was very professional - and put up with a person with very slow, fat, and clumsy fingers working a phone's recovery boot sequence.

- - - - - -

By the time I was done with my phone, it was too late for me to go to the health club, and the weather was about to get too nasty for me to go out in Marian Mode. So I decided to stay inside and veg out. If all goes right, I'll get some much needed sleep tonight, and wake up very early in the morning. Then, if all is right with the world and the snow is not too high, I'll go for an early morning exercise session, and then change into Marian Mode for a visit to church. (Although, I may reverse the order of things if I wake up a little later than I'd like....)

If I lived in Boston, I doubt that I'd have had any significant Marian Mode time this Winter. So I'm very grateful that I live in the New York suburbs....

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Exercise and BBQ - an unnatural pairing

My combination was nowhere as healthy as this group of fine blokes and sheilas and their meal. But I'll bet it was much more tasty....

- - - - - -

As I mentioned in another entry, GFJ came over last night, and went to a couple of doctor appointments today. While she was out, I ended up taking care of a few errands, and then going to the health club for my every other day routine. After finishing my routine, I talked with D for a few minutes, and he told me that he has gotten resigned to the clusterfuck his life is becoming. I feel sorry for the fellow - he has few resources, and he is suffering in the same way many a stay-at-home wife would when her spouse leaves her.

When I got home, I decided to call my old firm's human resources department to find out what I'd need to do to turn on my pension AND find out what health care would cost. This was a major wake-up call for me - I could get affordable coverage under COBRA, but retiree healthcare costs almost 90% more! If I don't find work (with benefits) by the end of next year, I'll have to go on the Obamacare exchanges - as I'll likely get a better rate than what my company claims to have negotiated for its retirees.

After I was finished with this call, GFJ and I went out for BBQ. On the way there, I called Lili to see what is going on. Lili asked about GFJ, and GFJ then joined in the conversation. There was friendly banter about Lili preferring me en-femme, while GFJ prefers me me en-homme. But we were both careful NOT to let Lili know we were eating 5 minutes away from her home.The Holy Smoke BBQ is a great place for both BBQ and Beer - and GFJ is a convert!  I ordered the "Dino Rib", a dish that is called "Steak on a Stick" - and for good reason. GFJ and I both left with leftovers enough for another full meal. And for 2 plus sized people, this is saying a lot about the amount of food they serve at the restaurant.

- - - - - -

I'm pretty sure, that over time, GFJ will be as used to having Marian around as she is having Mario around. The only rule will likely be - switch to Mario mode before any intimacies or shows of "erotic affection" are shown.....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Volunteering, Fun and Games

Sometimes, I feel like life is one big gamble. One plays to win, but in the end, most of us just break even in the game of life. Few of us ever rise further in stature than our parents, and none of us have ever come out of this world alive. And today illustrated that idea....

My plan for the day was relatively simple - clean all traces of Marian in my apartment from public view, so that the cleaning lady would not ask too many questions when I next see her. After that, I'd shower, shave, and get dressed en-femme, so that I could do my weekly stint at the volunteer center, possibly see Pat, and then go for my weekly game night in Yonkers. And for the most part, this is just what I did.

Although I woke up late, I was able to clean up my place, and get to the volunteer center on time. While there, I put the final touches on a blurb that will be sent out to our members, telling them that we are forming a job-search support group. And guess who was elected to get the group started.... Unlike other activities of the center, this one will be more accessible to the general public, as a way to build bridges between the center and the largely straight community served by other organizations. Hopefully, it will take off, and these social bridges will be built.

Once I left the GLBT center, it was off to Pat's to kill some time before going to game night. She had some good news for me - her daughter is helping her finance a "new" car!  In addition, this daughter may be getting married.  I reminded Pat that I'd love to accompany her to the wedding (while en-femme), if only to see the look on her ex husband's face. She may take me up on this - even if we have to fly to LA for the wedding.

Over at the board game meetup, I had the pleasure of talking to the hostess. She noted that they had a position wrong for me that she had to fill - paying less than half what I was making, and in an awkward area of Manhattan to reach from my neck of the woods. I said that it was too bad it was so far away for me, as I'd have considered a local job in this salary range in 3 months. Then she noted that she wouldn't have had a problem with hiring me to work en-femme if I had been the good fit.  (I can only dream, can't I?) But the games were fun, and we played games we had already played before. 

On my way home, my phone was as busy as the information desk at Grand Central.  Not only was I talking with GFJ on the road, but I ended up talking to Patty after I left the supermarket. (While in the supermarket, my friend D (from my former therapy group) called, and he was wondering why my voice sounded so weird. (I wasn't going to give him the visual image of what I looked like at the time, so I told him that we'd speak tomorrow.) I wish he'd call at more "civilized" hours AND try the home phone first - but he's the kind of fellow that doesn't listen well when he's caught in a rut...

What I haven't said so far, is that GFJ was coming to meet me for the evening, after seeing "50 Shades" with friends. I'm glad I didn't bother with this movie, as "Secretary" is a much better film. However, next week, the Whine and Dine group is going to see this film on a Thursday - you can be sure that I'll be in Yonkers THAT evening....

Monday, February 16, 2015

Marian and Mario - What a pair!

Today was a day I wish I could have stayed in Marian mode until late at night. But having a co-op board meeting got in the way, and I had to switch to Mario mode for the rest of the evening.

- - - - - -

When I got up in the morning, I relaxed a little before an expected call with a headhunter. Hopefully, she'll be able to help me find a new position. Later on, I received another email from another search firm. Although their client wanted someone already in their industry, the headhunter took the time to tell me that he is keeping my resume around for those cases a client needs someone like me.  (At least he wrote back....  that's a better result than I get with many resume submissions.) At a result, I'm feeling a little bit more hopeful - even though I have little reason to do so.

After I was done with the headhunter, it was time to get dressed - and I was in modified foul weather mode for Marian. This was a mistake, as I later realized, as there wasn't enough slop on the ground to justify wearing ugly trousers and snow boots. I could have worn something pretty, and something that made me look and feel more feminine.

Lili came over after her visit to her doctor, and it was off to Lane Bryant to go bra shopping. (At least, she can buy a bra "off the rack" at a large gals' store.  I have to special order then because of my size.) In many ways, she's just like a man in the middle of nowhere who is lost - she won't ask for help when she needs it. So it took her a while before she was willing to accept help from the saleslady - who found her several bras in her size - 46DDD.  (I could only imagine her frustration determining her bra size if she was buying bras from Jockey.)

By the time Lili was ready to try on her bras, she had about 8 of them to check out. So it was off to the fitting room for the two of us. At first, Lili was asking me to turn away, as if Mario was there. But after the 4th or 5th bra, she stopped caring whether I saw her breasts or not, and was treating me as a woman. (I was not getting any erotic pleasure seeing her breasts. They were just parts of her body to be fitted into a bra and nothing more.) And by the time she tried on a corset, she was comfortable with me having my hands all over her chest, just to get the corset on and to get her breasts sitting "just right".

We were both getting hungry around 4:30, so it was off to Johnny Rockets for burgers. She had never had one of their burgers before, but she was pleasantly surprised by the food, yet unpleasantly surprised by the slow service. When we were done with our burgers, it was time to go home - as I had my co-op board meeting to attend.

- - - - - -

At this point, I really didn't want to get changed. Yet, it was off with the wig, off with the falsies, and off with the makeup, while the rest of what I was wearing made its way to the closet or to the hamper. And then, it was back to Mario mode.

Although I was a few minutes late for the board meeting, I didn't miss much. We had a lot to discuss, and when there are 6 cis-gendered women in the room, you'll get a lot of people talking and interrupting each other, and one needs an alpha leader to keep them in line. (No wonder why our species evolved to have a tendency for females to defer to the first male that comes into a group - someone had to be "more equal than others" to help give groups focus.) But we did get our job done for the evening, and we completed a draft of a document being sent to our co-op's lawyer for review. (And I won't say anything more than that, as I'd be revealing internal matters of the board.)

And when the co-op board meeting broke up, I killed a couple of hours before going to the health club. Even though I did an abbreviated workout tonight, I feel like I got a lot done for the day....

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another "half and half" day - and I expect a lot more of them now

They never should have taken Ben Franklin off the Half Dollar. The rush to turn JFK into another American "Saint" was too quick, and all too many things lost their names to be named after a slightly better than average president. But this is not the kind of "half" I want to talk about today. Instead, it's a form of life I expect to be living for a while - and something I expect to limit some of the things I can enjoy in Marian Mode.

- - - - - -

This morning, I got up and out the door (en-femme) to see Vicki#2 for lunch in Hartsdale for some Soup Dumplings. And, as usual, we had a great chat - but she had to run out early, as she had an appointment nearby. So, I decided to make a run to Lane Bryant, to see if they had a pair of patterned tights in my size to go with a dress I bought before the New Year.

Given the pattern of lace, I decided to go with these tights:

Could I be overdoing it with the lace?  Maybe. But I'm looking for something I can wear for a night on the town and make a statement...

After buying the tights, I took the car out for a spin, and dropped into The Avenue in a Rockland County location. Nothing really looked interesting, so I decided to drive home. I figured that I'd get a quick car wash, and then change back to Mario for a night time networking meeting. However, I spent more time than I planned at home, and barely had enough time to change back to Mario before running out to the meeting.

Originally, this networking meeting was supposed to be held in North White Plains. Instead, it was moved at the last minute back to its usual site in Greenburgh. Unfortunately, I went to North White Plains first, and lost some useful networking time. At least I was able to chat with a few people before the main meeting began.

- - - - - -

Should I have bothered with the networking meeting?  Yes, but with a caveat - I should have paid more attention to my emails, as the mail blast may have been detected as unimportant by Gmail. (It wasn't. It was marked as Spam.)  If I had known that I'd be rushing all over the I-287 corridor at 6:00 pm, I may have skipped things, and gone to the Wine and Dine meetup instead. But I'll do that next week.

Until then, I'll try to relax a little....

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ice - The only good place for it is in a drink, or maybe a skating rink

This is one of the better places for ice. It doesn't get in the way of people, and its use makes them feel better than they were before its use. However, I couldn't describe the ice that came in today's weather of having any use - save for the tow trucks that pulled cars away after road accidents caused by slippery roads.

- - - - - -

My plans for the day were to visit my therapist, and then go to the health club for my scheduled exercise. I should have known this would be a terrible day for driving when I saw ice on the windshield AND had a hard time scraping enough of it off so I could make it to my therapist on time. (Which I didn't...)  So I ended up scraping enough ice off the windshield to see in front of me, then trekked down to White Plains for my bi-weekly visit.

When I arrived, the therapist commented that this is the first time I've been late. And I told him that if I had known how treacherous the roads would be, that I'd have called him and postponed things until Wednesday. As it was, our session ran a little late, and I decided to go straight home, instead of to the health club, as there were too many people losing control on the roads. I figured that I'd wait a while, then go to the health club later on in the day....


I made it to the health club much later than I had planned. Instead of going around 3-4 pm, I took it very easy at home, and hung out until 9 pm. Only then did I have the energy to go out to exercise. But I'm glad I did. The more I get into this routine, the easier it will be for me to plan for it. So far, I have forgotten one thing (to wear home) each time I've gone there - an undershirt here, boxers there, and socks whenever I wanted them. No, it's nothing major - it's getting used to packing needed stuff on a regular basis.

- - - - - -

As you can guess, today was not a day where I spent any time en-femme. And maybe that was a good thing, as it was sloppy outside, and I would not have felt pretty - because the winter slop outside would have gotten in the way of doing so. Yet, if I were 24x7, I'd have gone out this way.  In bad weather, cis-gendered women tend to take a very practical approach to their clothing - roughly mirroring what cis-gendered males are wearing, but with more color and trim.

You can be sure of one thing - even if tomorrow is a "half and half" day, I'll spend some time en-femme....

Friday, February 13, 2015

I hate weekend subway construction / maintenence!

Today ended up being a wasted en-femme day.... Not only did I miss going to the theater, but I also missed going to a movie as my backup plan.

- - - - - -

Not having gotten enough sleep last night, I opted to stay in late and skip my sporadic visit to the church I occasionally attend. (Not having GFJ around should have made it easier, but I was out later than expected last night and I didn't finish the blog entry for yesterday until way after midnight.) So I didn't make it out of the house until 12:30 - and that was way too late to make the play, based on what I was to encounter....

On the way to the subway station I usually go to, I picked up some soda and lunch to eat on the run. Although this cost me some time, it wasn't the deciding factor for me to abandon my trip to the theater. When I reached the area around the subway station, parking was slightly harder to find than usual - many people were leaving their cars untouched and unmoved until they are needed, and the remaining cars were shoveled out only enough to get them in/out of their parking spaces. It took me about 5 minutes to find one of those vacant spaces. And even this loss of time didn't cause me to abandon my trip. I walked past my ex girlfriend's house (noting that she still hasn't sold off her parents' car (or remove its' Florida plates) since October), and into the subway station. And this is where I found out the depressing news -I'd have to make a transfer at 180th street (expected), and then a transfer at 139th street to a bus that would then connect with another portion of the line at 96th street (unexpected) before going to Times Square, where I'd have to walk over to 50th street and 8th avenue to reach the theater. It might have been possible with a 3:00 pm performance, but not with a 2:30 pm performance. So I bailed out of trying for the theater, and decided to do other things.

I called Pat, but she was unable to get together as she was running errands and I couldn't kill enough time in Lower Westchester waiting for her to be available. So it was off to Yonkers, where I browsed the offerings at The Avenue (nothing interesting) and then trekked home. Although I stopped along the way at a Christmas Tree Shop, then the A&P, I was home as the sloppy snow started to come down.

Since tomorrow will be both an exercise day and a visit to my therapist, I'll miss being en-femme until Tuesday. I figure that while unemployed, I'll have to get my exercise in early enough, so that I can have meaningful time en-femme for the foreseeable future....

And now I'll close out with a song rendition that almost makes me forget Patsy Cline....
(Trust me, no one will ever take the place of Patsy Cline!)

Rhiannon Giddens - She's Got You

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Another half and half day

Saturday was another half and half day.  The plan was to go to the gym en-homme, get my routine done. And afterwards, I'd switch to en-femme mode, then go into NYC to see an off-Broadway play. This was made was made easier by GFJ leaving early in the morning, leaving the full day available to me to do whatever I planned....

- - - - - -

As usual, things never go as expected.  I ended up going to my health club late, then forgot to do one of the exercises planned for the day.  (No great loss, but skipping one 10 minute exercise pales to what I'd lose if I skipped one 30 minute treadmill session.) By the time I would have been ready to go to NYC, it was too late to do so and be sure that I could see a play. So I decided to stay home and relax....

Simple relaxation was not in the cards for me. I was called by J (from the Whine and Dine), and we agreed to meet in Fishkill for coffee. Since J only knows me as Marian (she knows Mario exists, and is comfortable with Mario answering the phone for Marian), I got dressed as Marian - and it was off to the 84 Diner.

I've always enjoyed the 84 Diner. Years ago, my late wife and I ordered Duck (they used to make a great duck, for a diner) - and we got Chicken. The following week, we went there again and had that Duck.  I guess the cook got things right, as the waitress had a rubber duck to she the non-english-speaking cook to illustrate what we wanted. (No, there was no rubber duck, but it makes for a great story.) So when J suggested we go there, I said "Yes" without questions.

J and I met around 9:00 pm, and chatted until midnight. We talked about the Whine and Dine group, and all topics normally talked about by women in our situation. For reasons I won't discuss here, J won't be at the Whine and Dine for a while. But I agree with her for those reasons, and will miss her there until she returns at some later date.

All too quickly, the night had to end. I never made it to NYC, but still enjoyed myself anyway. Hopefully, tomorrow, I'll make it to see a play before the 20 at 20 deal ends. But if not, I'll know that I tried....

So I'll close out with a classic tune from a modern singer - Enjoy!

Rhiannon Giddens - Mercedes Benz

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A birthday celebration (not mine)

This weekend is GFJ's birthday, and I wish I had thought of candles to put on the cake we had for dessert tonight....

- - - - - -

I had a choice today - take care of some errands while en-femme, then switch back to en-homme for when GFJ arrived -or- be lazy, and get dressed en-homme and be ready to go out for dinner when she arrived.  I chose the latter, as I didn't have any energy during the day to do much of anything.  (And one of the things I need to do is tear apart my bedroom to find the box my wig came in, so that I can order a new one on-line and save about $100.) But that task can wait a day or do, as I have other things to do first....

GFJ arrived around 5:30, and she came loaded with less stuff than usual, since she is driving to her mom's place in Connecticut to celebrate her birthday. (You can see why I am a little cautious in regard to this relationship, as by now, I would normally be introduced to select friends and family members.) So our plans were to celebrate her birthday tonight....

After relaxing a while, it was time to go to a local restaurant for dinner. Although I can't remember the name of the place, it is the only Italian restaurant in Verplank, NY - and the food is reasonably priced. (Some of you may know the name of the town from the movie "Drowning Mona". The real Verplanck, NY is nowhere near as crazy as the fictional version of it is.) The neighborhood is quiet, and parking is easy to find - something nice when you are going outside in cold weather.

When we finished dinner, we drove around a little bit, and then went home. Both of us were very tired, and fell asleep on the couch. However, when my clock struck midnight, I was able to give her a birthday kiss - and hand her a present....

- - - - - -

Since GFJ will be out of the house by 11:00 am tomorrow, I will be able to get some en-femme time in this weekend - once I finish my workout at the health club. I figure that I can get my exercise in by 2:00 pm, switch into Marian mode, and then off to NYC to see Churchill as part of the 20 at 20 deal on its last weekend. If I had known what my schedule would be like, I'd have arranged for my friend/activity partner, L, to come in from New Jersey as we both originally planned - to see this play. Unfortunately, it is too late to schedule this - so I'm going in alone.

- - - - - -

Will things work out as planned?  I have no idea. Life keeps happening to me, even though I'm not making that many plans. But it will be an interesting ride.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Game night with Snake Oil

Snake oil is an expression that refers to any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit.  And I feel that most of the Weight Loss and "Male Enhancement" pills are just placebos. The game of Snake Oil turns the idea on its head - someone selects a type of person from one deck of cards, and then you select two cards from your hand which describes a product to fill that person's needs. The object of the game is to create as many successful marketing pitches for as many dubious products as possible.

But first....

Today, I blew off my volunteer stint, so that I could get in my every-other-day exercise at the health club. (I'll try to make up the volunteer stint tomorrow....)  And even then, I forgot which extra exercises I needed to do - so I only ended up doing a 30 minute stint on the treadmill.
After that, I took a short nap, then got ready for game night. On my way down, I stopped at Bath and Body Works, so that I could give GFJ her birthday gift when she comes over in the evening. And then it was off to play games.

When I arrived at the weekly meetup, I was surprised - I expected to see no available parking on the block, and I saw plenty of open spaces instead. (Snow was piled all over, but people cleared enough parking spaces to make our lives easier.) Opening the door, I found that a game was about to be started - and I joined in. Dixit is a fun game, and known for its artwork. (I've described Dixit in another entry, so I won't bother doing so here.) When we were done with Dixit, most of us played Ticket to Ride - and I again did well. But the real fun didn't start until I joined in (late) on a game of Snake Oil. Several times, I had good enough cards, from which I could generate an interesting product, with an interesting sales pitch for the product.

I've gotten comfortable enough with these people to take chances with my humor, and Snake Oil gave me good opportunities to do so. One of the cards chosen from the people deck was "Mob Hitman". And I came up with a product called "Murder Hormone" - perfect for turning a calm person into a cold blooded murderer on a hormone fueled rampage. And I think that my female personality is fleshing itself out to be comfortable with most matters involving sexuality - even when it doesn't directly refer to sex (such as PMS). This is the part of me that bothers Pat most - I think she's more of a prude than she realizes, and I am more comfortable with the whole of human existence than she is.

Enough about Pat....

My shoulder is bothering me, and it's time for me to sleep.   More next time!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Scheduling and its complications.

Starting an exercise routine has interfered with my time en-femme AND the little things I can do to improve my presentation. Since I need to exercise AND to lose weight, this is a reasonable sacrifice. But it does get in the way, as I have to manage my time en-femme much more carefully than before.

- - - - - -

One of the things that are affected by this new imposition on my schedule is my choice of nail color when getting manicures and pedicures - I now must choose clear coat. In addition, on alternating weeks, I expect that my exercise schedule will cause me a problem with my volunteer stint at the GLBT center - as I don't want to shower in the morning just to shave my chest, arms and legs, then take another shower within 3 to 4 hours during the coldest part of the winter.

I expect that my dating GFJ will also be affected - until we have a "normal" schedule, I will likely juggle my schedule to make time available for her to visit. This may mean that I postpone a visit to the health club. But then, I haven't been going to the health club long enough to see if this happens, or if it will be a common event.

- - - - - -

Thinking of GFJ, I must always keep one thing in mind - she is separated from her husband and not divorced from him. She has not yet introduced me to her family, and she still goes to some meetups which are geared to mix the genders. Right now, I don't have a problem with that - I can see reasons that she may not be able to be in a committed relationship. But over time, things will need to change.

It feels good to have someone who seems to be comfortable with me en-femme and en-homme, as I need someone who accepts me both as Marian and as Mario. But I have to be sure that I'm "Number 1" in her life. Given that I'm taking a known risk based on her marital status, it's only fair that she takes a risk based on my being transgender and a possible transition in the future.

- - - - - -

John Lennon said "Life is something that happens while you're making other plans."  This is so true. Who'd have thought at this time last year, that I'd have had this many experiences as both Marian and as Mario. And I'm not sure if I'd have had it any other way.....

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy Hour and a new Meetup Group

Tonight was my first chance to attend a gathering with a new women's meetup group. One of the things I've said to GFJ is that the safest place for me to be would be with a group of women - the heterosexual women would not be interested in me, and I wouldn't be able to do anything with the others because of my non-feminine plumbing. So my plans for the night would be to meet the group for happy hour, and then leave - taking care of other things.

This meetup would be the first one where I have no introduction into the group from another woman. So I'd be flying solo - and be a little scared, especially since we'd be meeting where alcohol is served. However, if I want to develop my feminine side, I have to be expand the number of situations I experience as a female, and get used to all the little (and not so little) things that women experience on a daily basis.

- - - - - -

I've been trying to attend a meeting of this meetup group for a while. The past 2 times that I registered for a meetup, it was cancelled by the organizer, as she had too many members cancelling out at the last moment. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the lady organizing this meetup didn't cancel when only 3 people were scheduled to attend. So, just before 5:00 pm, I moseyed over to the Peekskill Brewery to meet the organizer, A, at the bar. A is a lady who is young enough to be my daughter, and we got along famously, nursing our pints for about 2 1/2 hours while chatting about shoes, ships, and sealing wax. (Especially SHOES!) Sadly, the other lady who was supposed to show up didn't make it, but that was OK - I was being accepted as a woman by another woman, and that was what I wanted most from this meetup.

Hopefully, I'll see this lady again at another meetup - it's always nice to see a friendly face. And I hope that I'll be as warmly accepted by other members of this group as I have been by this woman....

Saturday, February 7, 2015

There are much, much better places to have one's car get stuck.

As I write this, it is Wednesday, and I've just passed by the site of last night's train/car collision. Right now, the death count is 6 people, and none of these people needed to die. 

If you look at the red location marker on the above map, you'll see that it is on the Valhalla section of Commerce Street. Many mornings. traffic backs up on the Taconic State Parkway, and people often divert off the parkway, cross Metro North railroad tracks that parallel the parkway, and use Commerce Street as a way to bypass the traffic jam and reach Valhalla proper.

Most of the land on the left side of the train tracks is owned by a group of cemeteries. (Babe Ruth and Ayn Rand are only two of the notables buried here.) Other than the occasional burial, there is not much traffic on the Southern section of Commercial street - except when people are bypassing traffic jams on the Taconic. It is very easy to get back on the Taconic, as there are 3 traffic lights which control traffic flow between the local roads and the parkway. Making things more interesting is the fact that these lights are geared to allow traffic to be bled from the roads crossing both the Taconic and the train tracks, so that no car need get stuck on the tracks when a train is approaching. (The above photo is another image of the train, with the intersection with the Taconic less than 3 car lengths away. However, there is always some risk - these are "at level" grade crossings of railroad tracks. And in this case, a car (a Jeep) got stuck on the railroad tracks just as the train was reaching full speed.

From what I understand, the woman driving the Jeep was tapped from behind, and she got out of the car to inspect the possible damage. (Why anyone would stop in the middle of a railroad crossing befuddles me.) She got back into the car, and was unable to get off the tracks by the time the train reached the intersection - and she, along with 5 other people was killed as a result of the impact, as the train pushed the Jeep over 400 feet from the Commerce Street intersection.

Today, my plans were to meet another transgender friend for coffee - and I would normally travel through this area on my way to White Plains. And I was not able to do so, as they were still investigating the accident as of 10:00 am this morning. So, I took alternate routes into White Plains, and met my friend, R. He is a F2M transgender who has been on medical leave, and we figured that we'd meet up before he returns to work this week. Our discussion covered many things, but I will not mention any of the things we said about the center where we both volunteer. However, we did discuss issues related to being transgender - and it was very interesting to get his perspective on things.

All too soon, it was time to go - and I picked up some stuff at Walmart before driving home. And I ended up taking a Northbound route that would bring me past the scene of the accident. None of the pictures one sees on TV does this accident justice.  When you see about 30 automobiles lined up on the side of the highway, 6 railroad cars stuck on the train tracks, with one of them being burnt out, and 12+ TV crews on the other side of the parkway, all along Commerce Street (away from the train tracks), only then does the enormity of the event hit you.... It is just as well that I could not take pictures of this - I don't want to be a spectator that causes another accident along the Taconic.

Hopefully, none of my readers will have an accident near a railroad crossing. But if this happens, get the car off the tracks first. And if this can't be done - get out of the car and walk away from the tracks,

Friday, February 6, 2015

Thespian, THESPIAN! Your daughter is a WHAT??????

"It" : A word that has many meanings, especially to a former president from Arkansas. But when this lady was on screen, people said she had "it" - and almost all were in agreement.

Sadly, not all actresses are stars like Clara Bow. Suzanne Pleschette once said that there is a difference between a star and an actor. The star lands big roles and only works intermittently, while the successful actor/actress works relatively often.   Most successful actors/actresses work in relative obscurity, and have to hustle for each new job that comes along.

- - - - - -

But first....

I had scheduled my first in-person interview since last summer for this morning.  Of course, it meant getting up early, after not having enough sleep the night before, so that I could make the 9:18 to NYC for an 11:00 am appointment. Although I think the interview went well (I was with HR for over 30 minutes), I do not believe that I'm qualified for the position. So, if I get another interview from this place, I'll jump on it - but not expect much from it.

After the interview was over, I walked back to Grand Central - and missed the 11:43, watching the train as it started pulling away from the platform. So I ended up having lunch there, and killed time until the next train was ready to leave. While on the platform, I struck up a conversation with a woman who was also in the city for a job interview (if that's the word I should use - I prefer the word "audition" myself, as both she and her husband are actors.) We sat next to each other on the train, and I felt safe bringing up the topic of my alternate persona - Marian.

Being an actress, I figured that she'd be open to a picture of me in Marian mode, and I took the gamble, mentioning I had a "hobby" and that I had a picture to show her. She couldn't believe it was me in the picture. But then, I started relating stories about the cruise, the Whine and Dine ladies, as well as others - and she was hooked.  For the first half of my ride, it was a very interesting question and answer session about being transgender. And then, the second part of the ride was telling tales about one famous comedian that had her quietly laughing - one of those tales being related to a "marriage proposal" being given while one woman was sitting Shiva.

All too soon, the ride had to end, and I had to get off at my station. I hope to see this woman again (not very likely) and exchange more tales. It's nice being able to leave someone smiling at the end of her long day....

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Should I have bought a larger apartment?

No, my apartment isn't THIS tiny.  But sometimes, it feels this way when two people are in it for more than a few hours. And GFJ was here for two days this weekend. As I've noted before, when GFJ is here, my female wardrobe doesn't come out of the closet. Marian is only someone who is referenced in passing, and Mario is out and about with GFJ. But this isn't the focus of today's entry. Instead, the focus is on two people getting used to having someone around them, both trying to build up social networks, and becoming acquainted with the headaches of sharing space.

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Friday was a day scheduled to be en-homme. I had a visit to the doctor scheduled, and then another visit to a friend which I canceled. So my evening was free for GFJ to come over and spend time with me at my place.

GFJ seems to be bring over more and more stuff when she comes over for the weekend. This could mean many things. But I know that she keeps a lot of her clothing in the car on clothes rods (as many female divorcees do), and that she may be laying grounds for me to make space available for her in this place. There is one problem - I don't have enough closet or dresser space in my one bedroom apartment for a third wardrobe without putting a lot of my two wardrobes into storage.

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Saturday was a trip to NYC to see an off-Broadway play as part of the 20 at 20 deal. One problem - I screwed up. The theater company that was putting on the play I wanted to see was located in temporary quarters about a mile away to accommodate renovations taking place in their normal location. Unfortunately, I went to the wrong address, and we never got to see the play. However, the trip was not a great loss - we ended up going to McSorley's Old Ale House, and enjoyed some burgers and brews....

The evening was spent watching movies on cable. Both of us were tired after a long day (and a big home cooked dinner), and fell asleep easily. We're both getting used to letting the other sleep while doing things that could be done alone - such as me writing entries for this blog.

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Sunday was another day where both of us got up late - and it was nice to relax until noon.  By the time we got around to making breakfast, it was late for lunch - and I started making a hearty omelet for the two of us. One problem - when I walked away, and she came near - she knocked the pan with the uncooked omelet onto the floor  I was not upset - I know this apartment of mine has an awkward kitchen, and that accidents can and will happen.

Eventually, we both ate - and prepared to go our own ways for the evening. She was having dinner and drinks with some female friends at a sports bar, and I had my third round at the health club. When I got home from the health club, I noticed 4 of her tops hanging from the doorknob. So I know she'll be back....

The big question for the day (which I would have liked answered 32 years ago) is:

Should I have bought a larger apartment?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Of shoes, and ships, and sealing wax. (Just what is sealing wax anyway?)

Sealing Wax - something which was very, very useful for generations, but in an age of modern message delivery, is wonderfully archaic. And that's how I feel at times when doing this job search of mine....

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As I started to write this entry, it is Friday, and I had an appointment with my doctor for the first time in 2 months. Normally, it would take me 5-10 minutes to make it to his office, but I was stuck behind a slow moving car most of the way, and then an 18-wheeler making its way on roads too narrow for safe transit. 

If you look at the map above, you'll see a road (Grand St.) with a sharp curve in the lower left hand corner. Imagine taking an 18-wheeler up that hill, making the next two right turns (following Grand St., then onto Old Post Road), and then effectively block traffic between two intersections (Grand St./Old Post Road, and  Maple St./Old Post Road) for 5 minutes, while the 18-wheeler tried to make a left turn onto Maple St. (Route 129). Luckily, I was able to park my car on Old Post Road, and crossed the street before the 18-wheeler made its left turn.

I arrived at the office for my appointment before the doctor, and I knew that he would likely give me another lecture. His assistant checked my weight, and sadly, it did go up over the past couple of months - holidays are dangerous to one's health.  And, as expected, the doctor hectored me about my weight and my inactivity - and I mentioned that I finally started going to a health club. He was glad, but hammered home the point that I must actually use their facilities....

Afterwards, it was time for breakfast, and then home to rest. There was a part of me that wanted to lay down for a couple of hours - and got its way.  Shortly before leaving for the health club, I decided to browse the job boards - and was glad I did so. There were several positions I was reasonably capable of filling. So I sent out electronic applications, before going to the health club for another round of exhaustion.

It'll take about a month or two to have fully included the health club into part of my regular routine. However, I am willing to do so, as I'm close to retirement age, and do not want to end up like my father - a couch potato who has issues with personal mobility. Yet, this poses some minor issues for me. If I have a week or two that I'm living in Marian Mode, I'll have to switch back to being Mario for the time I'm at the health club. That means that I will likely need to request "clear coat" when I eventually get my next mani-pedi.

Since GFJ was coming over, I was concerned that I'd have to rush my session at the health club.  There was no such need - she was leaving her home when I was leaving the health club. So I had a little time to get home and clean up the place before she arrived....

I doubt that I'll get in any Marian Mode time this weekend - but who knows?


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Volunteering, Job Searching, and Game Playing

I wish I looked as good as the lady in this picture - even the woman she is today. In the film that this image is from, the heroine is a private investigator with one key phrase: "Follow the Money!" And I guess that's what I've been trying to do for the past 8 months. Now, if only I could catch up with it, and grab it!

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Today, I went to the GLBT Center for my weekly Thursday stint, and it looks like I'll soon be leading a support group for unemployed people that specialized in the needs of the GLBT community, but is open to the community at large. Hopefully, I'll be able to set it up in a way, so that if I'm no longer around, that its members would be able to keep it alive in my absence.

After my stint, I oozed over to my Yonkers board game venue. On the way there, I found out that, N, my now formerly pregnant friend, had her baby - and crossed two measurement systems in describing her size: 19 inches tall, and a few grams short of 3 kilos. I find this very interesting, as both N and her husband R are immigrants from completely different regions of the planet - and may just be a perfect match (if I read them correctly).

However, I was too early to go directly to the board game venue. Instead, I moseyed down to Lane Bryant to see if they had the tights in my size that I saw up North with GFJ. (They didn't have them.) And then, over to The Avenue, just to browse. Since I had some more time to kill, it was over to Barnes and Noble - where I could also freshen up.

- - - - - -

I eventually made it to Yonkers, but the first round of games started without me. This didn't bother me, as I was happy just to watch the newest game, Room-25, being played. Although there are 5 different modes of play, from what I understand, we played the game where there were 4 people trying to escape, with 2 additional traitors trying to betray them.

The group in the first round lost, as the traitors did a good job of hiding who they were. But, in the round I played, one of the traitors sacrificed himself early (a foolish move), so that the other traitor could act unmolested. This resulted in a victory for the side I was able to play on.

We played a couple of other games after that, but I was one of 3 ladies left at the table to talk about work, the lack of it, and job searching. Eventually, things broke up around 11:30 pm, and I started my drive home.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I returned the call from D, my friend getting divorced. Things have turned life into a kind of private hell, and he took a pill to take the edge off his life for a while.

So I had the "pleasure" of talking with him while he was enjoying the relief that only the finest pharmaceuticals could provide. And, as usual, he got himself locked into a specific course of action, while I was trying to make sure that he didn't lock himself into anything until after he talked with both a lawyer and an accountant. In this conversation, D told me something new - he thinks that his ex may have someone new in the wings, and may have some evidence to support this. Although this will not likely affect alimony or child support, it is an interesting wrinkle to this ongoing story.

You can guess that with all the hell I went through being widowed, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with his mess - when my wife died, things were simple and uncomplicated. I knew where I was at, and it could only get better from there. In D's case, even with a divorce, he still needs to deal with an ex wife for 12 years or so, and still has to find a way to earn a living without any emergency savings to fall back on.

- - - - - -

And now for a little ditty to close out the entry....

Sum 41 - Mother's Little Helper (Cover of Rolling Stones' Tune)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Old Man Winter aimed 50 miles to the East

As I awakened on Tuesday, I realized that we dodged a very nasty bullet in regard to the blizzard. Instead of dropping over 2 feet of snow on my hill, we may have had 6 inches at most. This is a blessing, as I know I can make it to all the appointments I rescheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday).

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At the time I started to write this entry, the early morning TV show hosts were announcing an extended show, covering the fallout from the blizzard. It was very interesting to see normally crowded places (such as the George Washington Bridge) totally devoid of cars. And I was very grateful to NOT have any important appointments scheduled for today.

This will be another day likely spent en-homme. Since the Whine and Dine has been rescheduled for Thursday, I may not make it there this week, as this meeting conflicts with my Thursday night board game meetup. The snow has interfered with my routine, and I am a little frustrated. Both my therapist and trainer appointments had to be shifted to Wednesday, and this interfered with a day I would have liked to spend en-femme. If I weren't transgender, how I appear to the world wouldn't matter. But I want my appearance to match the person I feel I am inside my soul.

- - - - - -

Later today, I'll have to call my dad and see how he's doing. I'm pretty sure that he stayed inside his house, and let the dog out to relieve himself (begrudgingly, as I remember that the dog dislikes the snow). My dad has a good neighbor next door. If I recall correctly, the man comes from the Dominican Republic, and is a perfect gentleman in the classic sense. Since my dad lives alone, he sees that my dad's sidewalk is shoveled - doing his good deed for the day.

Having a good neighbor or two is very different from the state of affairs from when I was growing up. To our right was a hard drinking German fellow who also had a wife who drank heavily. If memory serves me correctly, he was widowed and remarried while I lived there. Sadly, he lived long enough to see his son die - but I don't remember from what. To our left was a fellow (and wife) who always had a bug up his ass. He never liked us, and I can still recall a day that I did a brake job on a VW Beetle. His wife slammed their screen door repeatedly to show their disapproval of me working on my car on our driveway. I said to them some thing to the effect - it's only your door you're breaking, and they got angry. I finished up work on the car and went to my room, and the fellow started shouting at me from his property. So I put my speakers in the window and turned on Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor - and blasted him away....  I'm glad my dad has neither of these people for neighbors anymore, and I'm even more glad that he has his current neighbor as a friend.

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Soon, I'll get dressed, and shovel out my car. Then, I'll take a quick drive, and maybe get a few pictures of the fresh snow before it gets dirty. Even if I'm en-femme for part of the day, I'll still be wearing pants, as this would be the only practical thing to wear on a day like this....