Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The case of the continually cancelled meetup

My plans for the day were simple. Go to the health club and get some long needed exercise, and then change into Marian Mode and go to a Gal Pals Meetup (replacing one previously cancelled due to lack of attendance).  Of course, things never go exactly as expected, and today was no different....

- - - - - -

Not having a fixed schedule, I felt as it I had all the time in the world today. So I didn't get moving until early in the afternoon.  One of the things I've noticed is that my cell phone isn't charging when I use a car charger. So I figured that I'd try using a new cable, and connect it to my car's USB port - with no luck. This means that I will need to find some time to make it to Verizon this weekend, and ask some questions about the phone. I can't afford to have a phone that I can't recharge in the car - I depend on the phone too much.

Checking the phone, I find that there is a message waiting for me - the Gal Pals meetup has been cancelled. This is the second time a meetup at this Mt. Kisco venue has been cancelled. Maybe this is an omen about my participation in the group as Marian. Of course, I had a chuckle as I read my email - The organizer of the Whine and Dine meetup had setup for next Friday Evening a meetup where some ladies would learn how to Pole Dance. Could you imagine this T-Gal twisting herself on a pole as if she was a cisgendered 20 year old woman?  I can't!!!!

So I figured that I could now take my time at the health club - and I didn't rush things. And surprisingly, I didn't feel like I needed to take a hydration break during my exercise. Although I could have rushed home to get into Marian Mode, I asked myself "Why?" I had no place to go, and I'd be spending extra money to do so. Since I was in the area, I went to Home Depot, and found out what I'd need to spend on replacing two sets of closet doors, making it easier to access clothes in my "female closet."  As much as I'd like to do this, I'll hold of spending the $400 it will take to do this, and wait until I have a new job.

- - - - - -

Having mentioned jobs, I figure that there are two developments I should mention:
  1. A company (whose position I thought would be a stretch for me to get) sent me an email asking me when it would be most convenient to talk.  This is great news, and I hope to have further developments on this next week.
  2. A volunteer organization that I had written off finally contacted me, and I intend to call them back next week for the volunteer position I wanted. This would give me valuable experience working in Marian Mode, and could eventually be parlayed into a position somewhere else, working as Marian. 
If things come in "threes", then what's next?  One thing for certain, things are getting quite interesting!

- - - - - -

Then there is the situation between me and GFJ.  We started a chat with how she reacted when she knew she had to leave her husband for good....    (Edited conversation follows.)

If anyone was depressed and blindsided I think I was.  I got through all of this without medication.  In the very beginning I was drinking one or two glasses of wine or Vodka but that was a very short period of time.

Yes - after a short while, one grows up and picks up on the phrase from "The Shawshank Redemption" to "Get busy living, or get busy dying." I prefer to live - so I try to be with people as much as I can. It's when I have nothing to do, no place that needs me to be there, that causes me to veg out and burn time doing nothing....

The best for me was meetup.  But even before that I was going out with different groups AAUW and on day trips with the bank.  I was always the youngest but you know I can talk to a picket fence.   I had to go on with my life.   After I got over the shock I have come to realize it was the best thing that could happen to me.   It took me out of my grind.   I guess I am a lot like my mother and independent person who doesn't have to have people with them.  I can go anywhere by myself even snowshoeing in the woods.  I have even gone camping by myself.   I have learned so much in the past 3 years it is amazing.  By the way it is 3 yrs this month.   3 yrs ago Easter I couldn't stop crying.  I was at  my elder son's house and he didn't know what to do with me.  Luckily his girlfriends mother called to wish him Happy Easter and he talked with her .  She was a widow .  She said let her cry and go out and do things.  My elder son helped me write my resume that I had written already.

And it is precisely those characteristics in you that I cherish - your ability to live!

So things happen for a reason and at times we don't see the reason for it .  As I keep telling you the reason you are home is to allow you to pursue what you want and that is Marian.   You are rightfully proud of how you have worked on Marian. And I think if you pursue that it will make you very proud and happy.  I think you should work on your voice lessons so you feel more comfortable. Find groups of friends that you feel comfortable with being Marian.   If you notice you are happier when you are socializing as Marian in your wine group and game night, then you should find more people to be with that Marian is comfortable with - just like you have Lili to be friends with and she likes you as Marian. 

Yes - I want Marian very much. But not as much as I want a companion in life.  I need my time as Marian as much as I need companionship, and I am comfortable functioning as both Marian and Mario. I intend to get voice lessons - next year, if I am not working, later on if I am.

I too am in 2 different worlds.  I am still technically married - I fought to try to stay that way, but I found I am happier in my single world.  I don't need the security of a marriage to survive.  I can depend on myself with the help of my friends especially my good friend you - just as Lili has you as a good friend.   Things may be progressing that I may still be able to work but be homeless.

I hope you are never homeless.  You know how I feel about you - you'd have a home with me....  But the issues with dissolving your marriage must eventually be worked out. This woman has a similar situation to you, and is independent, though technically married because of health benefits.

It wasn't easy to get to this point.  I was roller coasting last Feb and had to go into therapy and found the therapist wasn't there when I really needed her and I realized I was the only one who could help myself to get where I wanted to be.  I had to rely on myself.  I have learned and many woman in my position to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps put on our big girl pants and move on. 
I keep saying that it's time to leave this therapist, and when I try to make the small moves - they are countered. But I have to make the break soon - I can't afford him anymore.

You and I may both be on a real budget but we have our health and mental ability to take care of ourselves.  Many people have a lot less so we should consider ourselves fortunate. 

I agree - and I do consider myself fortunate.

Somewhere in this conversation, I hope you noted something that I noted.....

I can depend on myself with the help of my friends especially my good friend you

To me, this means that she has not bonded romantically, but as a friend. Since she's in an unstable state (and I only mean that in the sense that too many things are up in the air for her these days), she may not be able to bond with anyone until she feels safe and secure. So I won't rush things, but take it on a day by day basis - something I've been doing since last year.....  And I'll also keep my options open.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A surprise, but not so much....

There are two Woodstocks. One is the legendary concert venue, where "if you remember it, you weren't there." And the other is the town that gave its name to the concert. Today, I'll talk about a trip to this town....

For a long while, I've been hemming and hawing about dropping in on an old acquaintance (at work) while in Marian mode. Both he and his wife knew that I cross dressed when my wife was alive, so I figured that it would be safe if I dropped by to see if he recognized me. So after my bi-weekly trip to the therapist (which will probably end soon), I decided to change into Marian Mode, and make the trip to Woodstock to see this friend.

By the time I started my drive, it was 2:30 or so. I figured that it would be a 50/50 shot at me actually seeing him, as I remembered him having the early shift where he works Even with these odds, It was a nice day for a long drive, and I would likely not be able to make it to the North Country for its monthly gathering this coming weekend due to Saturday afternoon being the only time available this weekend to be with GFJ, due to a wedding she had to go to.

When I arrived in Woodstock, it was raining - and there were no cars in the parking lot where V works. Knowing his office would be open until 5-6, I went to the counter and asked for him. V was surprised to see me, but he figured out who I was very quickly. We chatted for 15 minutes (I didn't tell him the whole story about being TG), exchanged emails, and I said that we (including his wife) should get together for dinner soon, now that the kids are on their own. And then it was time to leave.

Although this was a mild letdown for me (V figured out who I was too quickly), I was off to my next stop - The Avenue (in Newburgh). Unfortunately, none of my favorites were in the store, I saw nothing interesting, and it was time to move on towards home.

Arriving home, I wanted to see how an outfit looks on me, so I took a dress off the hanger - and the following picture should give you an idea of how it looks on me....

I was wearing brown tights and boots in the picture. But you should be able to tell that the hem of the skirt falls above the knee. Is the dress too short on its own?  Take a look at the same dress without the tights and boots.

I feel the dress is a smidgen too short for a middle aged woman.  So I bought some leggings to go with the dress.

To me, this combination of dress and legging works best. What do you think?

As you can see, I'm developing a sense of style that seems to work for me. You'll note that the only jewelry I was wearing for these pictures was a watch. Normally, I'd wear something around the neck, so that it looks less naked. In any case, I can't wait to wear this combination outside when the weather gets warmer!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Planning to "Out" myself some more

Given the number of Zombie films that have been on Cable lately, I thought that the above picture would be an appropriate way to lead off this entry.

- - - - - -

The big thing on my calendar for the day was my monthly co-op board meeting. This month, it conflicted with the Tuesday "Whine and Dine" meetup - so I knew that I would have to bail on the meetup, and take part in interviewing two new potential residents.

But first....

Although it was a bright and clear day outside, for some reason I couldn't get myself out of bed in the morning. By the time I was up, I knew I wouldn't have the time to do much of anything before having to get back in time for my Co-Op board meeting. Instead of taking a nice, long drive in Marian Mode, I decided to stay at home and take care of little things - such as scanning the job boards. But this was only a way of killing time until the evening, when I'd go to the board meeting, and then go to the health club.

After the meeting, I mentioned that we should schedule another "hen party" sometime after our public meeting. And I hinted to the President of the board, that it would be a good time to "out" myself to the remaining board members - it is certainly inconvenient for me to switch back to Mario Mode after a full day in Marian Mode. But nothing will come of it right now. (But she wants to get together over pizza - and we'll do that after she gets back from a family member's funeral in another region of the country.)  Next was a chat with another board member. She's also a part of the GLBT community (she's not Trans), and we talked about having to hide our identities from family, as well as some of the differences between her life as a Lesbian, and mine as a Trans person.

Then it was home - where I'd drop off my note pad, etc. and pick up my gym bag for my overdue visit to the health club.  And D called, being extremely depressed over the headaches he's encountering in his divorce. He's 3 months away from having a salable skill (read: having a degree which will help him find work in education), and I can't see how he's going to make it through these months without putting a bullet through his head. (Luckily, we still share the same therapist, and I'll mention D's depression when I see my therapist in the morning. Maybe he'll know how to help my friend....)

And finally....  Yes, finally.... It's off to the health club.  I'll get there abut 11:30 pm, and leave around 1:00 am. It's not an optimal schedule for me, but it's better than not going at all.....

Saturday, March 28, 2015

An unplanned guest for lunch

Sometimes, seeing someone unexpected is a kind of a mild intellectual shock. When someone stands out, like this subway denizen, you don't know what to do, save sit as far away from that person as possible. Yet, I'll bet that this person would likely be a pleasant person to talk with, as I did not detect any unhealthy smells from this person before I shot this photo. But when we meet unexpected people in a "normal" social setting, we assume there has been an implied social vetting that has gone on to tell us that a person is "safe" before we encounter him/her at the meeting.

- - - - - -

I have wanted to meet A (a woman I know from Yonkers game nights) on the outside, and we never had the chance to do so. Today was the first chance we had to meet. However, A had to take her grandmother to the doctor (a cancelled appointment) - so her grandmother was in the car when we met for lunch.

Although A knows that I am transgender, she has only seen me in my female presentation (today, in the dress pictured above). That's how she knows me, and that's how she introduced me to her grandmother. A's grandmother is a woman who is almost 90 years old, who is having problems getting around without a little help. And from what little I know, she is one of the most accepting of A and the decisions she has made in her life. So without knowing much more and without thinking much more, I knew that her grandmother would be a very welcome addition to our table, and told A that her grandmother was more than welcome....After meeting at the container store, we drove a few minutes to a diner in Hartsdale which I've eaten at before. And we enjoyed a good meal there - as well as good conversation. Hopefully, I'll see A soon.  And if her grandmother is there, that'll be a bonus.

After lunch, I drove to The Avenue to buy a pair of leggings. Since they had one of those "false BOGO" deals (In the old days, BOGO = buy one, get one free. Now, BOGO = buy one, get "x" percent off), it made sense for me to buy two. Since I was tired of placing charges on credit cards, I had cash in hand. Yet, the new sales lady was making an overly assertive sales push for me to use their credit card - something I didn't like, and may complain about to corporate management. 

- - - - - -

Sadly, I couldn't stay in Marian Mode all day - I had to go home and change back into Mario for a trip to the dentist. As soon as I got home, I removed my jewelry, took off my makeup, slowly stripped off Marian's clothes and changed into Mario for the rest of the day. Luckily, the trip to the dentist was uneventful. But I made sure to tell the hygienist that it was time to take the x-rays and get whatever was needed taken care of now, as I likely wouldn't have dental insurance by the next time I was there. Before I left, the dentist and I chatted about sports a little, and I noted that there was a restaurant in Garrison (The Stadium) that has an impressive collection of sports memorabilia.

I noted that he'd have little occasion to go there, knowing that he keeps Kosher. He said that he could go there for a drink - and that would be the perfect thing to do there. The hygienist was totally bored by our sports chat. But when the dentist left, I noted to the hygienist (who knows that I cross dress, but doesn't know I am TG) that I "speak both languages" - I understand shoes - and that brought a big smile to her face....

And this moment was the most important one of the day. Men communicate with different goals in mind. More often than not, men exchange information for the purpose of accomplishing a goal. While in the process of achieving that goal (or, having just achieved that goal), men can achieve a form of closeness that some women envy. Yet, men are often solitary animals. Women tend to exchange information as a way of networking - social connections are much more valuable in the female world, as a woman's network is instrumental for her to complete tasks that help achieve her continuing goals. (e.g.: Finding a baby sitter, helping her towards the goal of raising children successfully.) As I noted to Pat last night (from a phrase, not my own): "Men use intimacy as a tool to have sex. Women use sex as a tool to have intimacy."

- - - - - -

But there was still something left for me to take care of - Laundry. And there were four loads in my collected laundry bags waiting to be washed. So, with this and my expected night at the health club, my time in Marian Mode was over for the day....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Making choices, but not sure if the right ones.

I knew at the beginning of the day that I'd have to make a hard choice. Do I take the chance to make this a Marian Mode day? Or, do I take care of other things on the to do list, such as exercise?

- - - - - -

If I had gotten up early enough, I might have decided to go to Church for the first time in months. I still want to go, but I have a hard time getting up early enough on Sunday mornings to do so - and my sleep schedule usually wins out. So this left me with a dilemma. Do I go out in Mario mode, get my exercise in, and then switch to Marian mode for the rest of the day? Or, do I try to get my exercise in later and possibly do another late night session at the health club? This decision was made more complex, when Pat called and invited me to meet her and her daughter at a music venue on City Island.

- - - - - -

As much as I should have gone to the health club, I went to see Pat and her daughter.  But I had problems finding the place because of incomplete directions - and couldn't reach Pat.  I left 6 messages, but eventually found the place.  Later, we found out that she had her phone in her bag - and couldn't hear it. The musicians playing at the venue were playing out of love for the music, and not for the money. Given that a tip jar is what they'd get at the end of the day, it's not much compensation for the effort they were putting into the music.

During breaks in the performance, I showed Pat and her daughter some pictures I had on my phone, including the following:

Pat's daughter loved the pictures, and wanted to add me as one of her Facebook friends, as well as send me emails with things she finds interesting. Knowing what I had to do to clean Pat's email archive many moons ago, I knew that I didn't want to be electronically connected to her daughter in any way. And I'm glad that I was saved by Pat from having to do so....

Eventually, the music ended and we had to leave.  Pat had to drive her daughter back to the group home, so I accompanied her there - and then went back to Pat's place where we chatted for several hours about shoes and ships and sealing wax.... According to Pat, this was the first night that she laid back and listened - asking questions without filling in the answers, and she really enjoyed the evening. (So did I.) She realized that my positions were much more nuanced than she had given me credit for - and I appreciated the recognition. I responded that (for some unknown reason) I am listened to more in female mode than in male mode, and wish I could have worked en-femme for part of my career. Alas, I was nowhere near a point where I could change my legal identification, and am still nowhere near that hypothetical point.

- - - - - -

Around 11:00 pm, it was time for me to get home. Pat was exhausted from a long day with her daughter, and I was exhausted from a lack of sleep from the night before. So, I left Pat's place, drove home, and wrote this entry. (If I'm lucky, I'll fall asleep as soon as I get undressed and in my bed....)

Until next time....

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Up and out ...late!

Today was another day that I just couldn't get moving to save my life. There were so many things I could have done had I got up at a "reasonable hour", but my options were limited by my extreme lethargy....

- - - - - -

This weekend, GFJ wasn't feeling that well. So she decided to stay at home and rest. And in a way, this was good for me as well. I needed some time to myself - and also needed some time in Marian Mode.

One of the things I have on my list to do is visit an old acquaintance in Woodstock. He and his wife knew of my interest in women's clothes, but didn't know I was transgender. Part of me wants to surprise him where he works, but then that might be going too far. Another thing I want to do is try on a dress at Catherine's in a size larger than the one I tried on last time, while it it still in the stores. So I decided to try for the second of these choices tonight - and didn't get to the store in Paramus in time to give the dress a good try-on. (Instead of taking the Garden State Parkway, I took local roads - and lost extra time due to a commuter train blocking the road - twice.)  If I feel like putting some extra mileage on the car, I might decide to drive there again next week - or just skip it altogether, as I really don't need the dress.

After Catherine's, I went to the nearby mall, and saw the offerings at The Avenue. One of the things I'm looking for is a pair of grey leggings to go with a dress that just came in the mail.

On the model, this dress looks like it hits the knee just right. But on me, this dress hits enough above the knee that I will want a pair of grey leggings to make this dress look right on me. If I didn't have something else that needed grey leggings, I'd probably return the dress. But it is very feminine, very comfy and very casual - something I like in the clothes I wear while presenting as a female.

As much as Vicki told me this tunic would work with capri length white leggings, grey leggings will also work with it - and I can still look very presentable, yet very casual and comfortable.

I don't like trying on clothes in a store that's about to close, so I just window shopped at The Avenue, and made a note to go to this store again when I'm next in the area en-femme.

- - - - - -

At this point, it was time to start towards home, and I knew that I had to make it to either Walmart or Target, so that I could replace a frying pan whose handle cracked when I dropped it the other night. When I reached Nanuet, I knew that the Target store there was open until either 11 pm or Midnight - so I stopped there. After finding the fry pan and splatter guard I was looking for (with a couple of other things), I got on line.  Little did I know that this woman with a full shopping cart had one of her two daughters coming along with another full shopping cart of goods. (I'll let you guess which ethnic group this lady and her two daughters belonged to. But I'd bet that they were shopping for a large family that just had new grandchildren.  Don't ask me what they spent - I will simply say that they had a grand time shopping!)

- - - - - -

Eventually, it was time to make a decision - movie time, bed time, or blog time. And guess which won out - the blog, of course. Hopefully, I'll be able to get up early enough in the morning to have more options for what I'll do during the day. If not, I know that I'll make my way to the health club and get my every other day round on the treadmill in....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It's a "Snow Day" - Or something that passes for one at the beginning of Spring.

Who'd have expected that we'd get snow on the first day of Spring?  We did - and I used it as an excuse to stay in all day, send out job applications, cleaning out my closets, and mostly relax the day away.

- - - - - -

Originally, my intent for the day was to go out en-femme, take a long drive, and maybe see a friend (if in the neighborhood of one). With the snow, it made much more sense not to do so, and I stayed in - not bothering to get out of my jammies until I needed to get dressed to go to the health club.

If I were presenting 24x7 as a female, I would still probably have stayed at home all day, as it was not the nicest day to go outside. But, what if I had a health club membership? (This is just a thought experiment - I am still legally a male, and would never enter the "wrong" locker room.) There are M2F Transgenders who do go to health clubs - what do they do? I'll bet that many are like cis-gender females, and do not want to expose themselves in front of other females. And like many cis-gender females, virtually all M2F Transgenders prefer to shower and change clothes at home - because they want to expose as little of their bodies as possible. So what would I do?  Until I make the decision to transition or not, this is a moot question.

- - - - - -

Sometimes, I wonder how far down this path I'll proceed. One thing I will consider when I have the money is facial surgery. Alice Novic (in Alice in Genderland) notes that she had some facial surgery done to make her face look more feminine when presenting as female, but masculine enough for the time she spends in male presentation. (The bottom half of her face was worked on, while the top was left mostly untouched. I may end up doing the same thing one day.) Another TG blogger says that a good hairstyle can minimize the need for facial feminization surgery, and I agree with her. However, there are some faces that need surgery to look feminine, and this is something I have to take into account for the future.) 
But I know that I'll continue with body hair removal - I hate the feeling of stubble after a day or two without shaving....

- - - - - -

Back to the health club....

When I finally made it out, I knew that I had to get there by 8:30 pm or so to make it a worthwhile visit. And I got my half hour on the treadmill in, as well as my shower before leaving at 9:30 - as the staff started alerting the patrons that the facility was closing in 30 minutes. As the lady reached me, she began to tell me that the place was closing - then noticed I was dressed to go home.  I forgot what I said, but I left the lady with a smile - and that was the most important thing that happened this evening....

- - - - - -

So now I'm home, and I have to cook some chicken cutlets before they go bad. At least I now have enough room in the freezer to store them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Not all fun and games, but a chance to finally be en-femme!

I knew one thing about today's schedule - I was expected to be at the GLBT Center for its first job-seeker support group meeting, as I was one of the 2 scheduled leaders. And I made sure that I didn't disappoint anyone....

- - - - - -

When I got up this morning, I wasn't in the mood to go out. Instead, I really wanted to stay under the covers and continue vegging out. But I knew that if I couldn't muster the energy to make this afternoon meeting, I'd never be able to muster the energy to hold a job. So I got showered and dressed in Marian Mode, and off I went to the GLBT Center.

Arriving at the center, I was introduced to another new part time employee and then started to do what I could to prepare for the meeting. But we had a wrinkle - one of the two part timers had some background in helping job searchers (a good thing), but had a style that seemed as if he wanted to take over the meeting (a bad thing). Ideally, this meeting would be led by the intern, A, (as part of her degree program), with me adding points as needed. So I was very glad when this fellow left the room, and allowed us to proceed with our ice breaking exercise.

We asked participants to take a piece of paper on which they have written their biggest job search fears, and put it into a hat for someone else to pick out and discuss how the fear could be alleviated. As we got to discussing a common problem - how does one break into a field without experience - the other intern, K, (the daughter of a board member) started getting into a loop, and wasn't picking up on what was being said - volunteer in a related area, and use that experience as an entry to the field. (She has a big problem of talking, but not listening.) What saddens me is that I'd expect this questioning loop (how do I get the job to get experience without having any experience in the first place?) from someone who is 21 years old, and not someone who is 30 years old. As a result of this and other issues discussed, the exercise took up the entire hour, and we never started the Powerpoint presentation.

Shortly before the meeting broke up, the new employee came back, and asked people for their resumes, so that he could critique them and help them find work.  Of course, when someone says that he could help place 60% of the group in jobs within 3 weeks, I'm a little concerned about hyperbole. But if he can deliver - more power to him. Hopefully, he won't be stirring up false hope in people who need real help.

But I may have made a new friend, B, another M2F Transgender who is looking for work. In our environment, after the meeting, I felt it safe to ask this lady if she was Trans - and she was comfortable telling me what I wanted to know (and a little bit more as well). My Trans-dar told me she was trans from the moment she entered the room - I very rarely see a natal woman over 6' tall, and Sir Mixalot would be complaining about a lady who "got no back". (I also found out certain things related to her health and her son's health which I will not share here.) I'd like to see this lady find part time work - she's not able to work full time, but her skills are for the type of work that can be done part time....

- - - - - -

About an hour after the meeting broke up, I made my way to Yonkers, with a stop at Target. My reason for going there was to start looking for handbags. I could use a replacement for my everyday black bag, and I could use a new "summery" bag for use in the warm weather. Alas, I found nothing I liked - but I'm picky, and prefer to carry only "Crossbody" style bags.

After a stop for dinner, it was off to Yonkers - and we played another game of "Room 25", and a few rounds of "Telestrations". The latter game is like a version of "Telephone" played with both words and images. And when we closed out the last round, we picked ideas of our choice - which allowed for some vulgar ideas.  (You could only imagine what I thought would happen when I drew a couple of clams - would someone turn it into something "dirty"????) Well, we came close to interesting vulgarity, but we all broke up laughing several times with some of the clues being mangled and twisted in ways we could never dream of.....

- - - - - -

And then it was time to go home....

All in all, it was a productive day.  Part of me will miss days like this when I eventually go back to work. But I will be glad to have them in my memory bank.....

Monday, March 23, 2015

Moving forward with life

There is something about the original Ghostbusters film that is timeless - there is a certain innocence in their approach to the characters that makes you want to like them. Although the sequel was made about 25 years ago, the public has wanted more - something, which sadly will feel incomplete unless they can resurrect Howard Ramis from his grave. (Yes, it would be fitting for this film for them to do so, but an impossibility....)

But what do the Ghostbusters have to do with my life?

In the film, they were down to their last few dollars in petty cash before they got their first customer. And it seems like my job search may cut it that close before I find meaningful work. I'd love to be able to find it in Marian Mode, but the odds are that I'll be stuck in Mario Mode for the rest of whatever career I have.

- - - - - -

Even though I am a little scared about what the future will bring, I am grateful to have spent as much time in Marian Mode as I have done so far. I've been able to prefect my feminine presentation, so that I am simply seen as a large, heavy set middle aged woman, instead of a poorly dressed crossdresser. If I could expect more money to come in for an early retirement, I'd consider volunteering in Marian Mode 2-4 days per week.

With the assumption that I don't find work, I decided to look at the job board at the volunteer center. Nothing piqued my interest. I have a feeling that they cleaned up their database, as the position I originally volunteered for is not listed. And this is good, because it helps eliminate the impression  that the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing there.

- - - - - -

When Lili called, I knew it was time that I should go to see her. We originally planned to go for lunch. But with neither of us getting up early, we changed our plans to have lasagna at her place - something I was happy to do, as I didn't want to be spending any money I didn't need to spend.

Most of the day, I fiddled around and didn't do much. When Lili called at dinner time and I told her that I hadn't gotten dressed yet, she was upset. Upset, but not for long. She found out that no one turned on the oven, so the lasagna wasn't going to be ready for an hour and a half. That gave me time to pick up dessert before going to her place.

Her son and future daughter in law were still there, and the four of us ate dinner together. Lili found a documentary on TV that she thought I'd like "Trans" - and we watched it.  I think that she might have learned more of what being Trans is all about. And then she sprung a surprise on me - her cousin was Trans herself, and already linked to me on Facebook. (If I get her permission, I'll mention her name in future entries.) So I went home, and looked up her cousin and sent a message. From this quick message, the two of us were chatting for at least a half hour, and we will be trying to meet in NYC soon....  (It's nice to be able to develop a new friendship....)

- - - - - -

No matter what happens, I expect life to stay interesting.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Losing a friend...

Tonight, we held a memorial gathering for my friend of over 30 years.  For all but the last two or three years, I'll always remember him "holding court" over at the Yacht Club where he once was Commodore. Like a butterfly, he floated from table to table in the restaurant area, telling tall tales (many of them having their origins in facts), and generally keeping people well entertained. And tonight, we were sharing our memories of him with others who may or may not have heard them before.

I can only imagine what the remaining members of the yacht club will now do with the property. They do not have critical mass to maintain the club, and one can only imagine what this piece of oceanfront property is worth.  Too bad my friend is not around to help them figure out what to do next - they have a big problem on their hands, and my friend might have been able to steer them to a good resolution of that problem.

- - - - - -

My Friend was also an avid collector of model trains. And I decided to go into his basement to look at his train set one last time, and captured the following pictures:

His track layout took up most of the space in a 20' x 20' room, with O Scale freight cars and locomotives on 3 of the 4 walls of the room.  Assume that 2 rows of 10 cars that fit side by side on each shelf, and that there are at least 10 shelves on each wall, and one has a hell of an investment in model trains. You'll note that there was only trackage on the two level set. My friend was not one to bother building plaster mountains, using lichen greenery, or other items which would make the setting look like a miniature town set in an idyllic environment. He enjoyed the continual modification of track layouts and running his model trains on these tracks.

Before I went back upstairs, I remembered to take a snapshot of the traffic light that once was suspended in the heart of town.  You'll note that one doesn't often see lights like this anymore, as intersections needing traffic control (via lights) will usually get a full 3 color traffic light.

As you can guess, my friend was a very complex fellow - and had many stories to tell. I wonder what he would have said if he knew that I was transgender. But there's no way that I'd risk telling him - and now there is no way to do so.

When I went back upstairs, I got into several conversations. One of these conversations was with a lady who is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. And the subject of M from Artoberfest came up. It was nice to have something other than a dead friend connecting two people together. Hopefully, I'll see this woman and her husband again. But I'm not sure if I want to get into their hobby - it'd cost me even more money and take up even more closet space - something that neither Marian nor Mario persona could afford to give up....

- - - - - -

Just before I left the gathering, I found out that there will be another memorial gathering for my friend taking place later in the spring. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it. I told the woman organizing things, that if she needs any help with dealing with my friend's estate, to just give me a call. And then I was off to the health club to get a long delayed exercise session in.

This has been the longest time between exercise sessions I've had since I started my routine. The last day I was at the club was Friday, and today was Tuesday. I noticed the difference in how I felt with three idle days between exercise sessions. And I hope to make sure that I don't have this long a gap again, save for the time I go on vacation.

Thinking of vacation, GFJ is in Atlantic City with her son for a couple of days. There's a part of me that shouts "Danger, Will Robinson!  Danger, Will Robinson!" when I hear of someone spending a night or two in a gambling area.  So when I say that I don't know whether things will last between me and GFJ, I have to be on the alert for someone who might have another addiction type - as I can't afford to be with someone who is an active addict again. (I must deal with a food addiction if I want to look good in a very nice dress, and I can't do that if I'm with another addict.)

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, I'll be able to spend the entire day in Marian mode - and I can't wait!  It'll be cooler than usual, but I'll be able to enjoy going outside. Lili wants to meet me for lunch, and I may be able to do that. But I really need to go out and about - and it'll be nice to do so again.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A late lunch / early dinner with a good friend

Most of us M2F Transgenders feel  like the picture on the other side of the mirror is the real one of us. We see our male bodies, and project the female bodies we want to have on top of those images. Sadly, puberty gets in the way, and makes it impossible to have the exact bodies we want to have - and we are forced to deal with reality, as we find that bracelets won't fit, we can't find shoes in our sizes, we have to wear styles that minimize our shoulders, etc....

- - - - - -

It's been a while since J and I have gotten together. J has had things going on in her life which have interfered with her going to the Whine and Dine meetup. We decided to meet for a late lunch / early dinner at a local diner - which I was late for, as I had to send the color samples back to the on-line wig store before my 30 days were up. J didn't mind - she was just about to order something to drink when I arrived....

If I didn't mention this before, J is a cisgendered woman who has similar problems shopping for wigs and for clothes that I have. We talked about these problems and other things at dinner and then decided to do some clothes shopping - so it was off to The Avenue - where the sales ladies remember me, and my "favorite" also remembered J. Neither of us found much at The Avenue worth buying, so we moseyed up to Catherines for another round of shopping. And it was there that I stumbled into a dress that I had not planned on buying, but found that I just had to buy it after seeing how good it looked on me with a turquoise shrug.....

J and both sales ladies said that I had to buy this dress, as it made me look like I lost 20 pounds!  If I didn't have a turquoise shrug from another dress I bought at Catherine's, I would still not have bought the dress, given my shoulders. But looking at my reflection in the mirror, with this dress and the shrug over my shoulders, I knew they were right. I had to buy this dress!  Now to buy a neutral pair of pumps to complete the look, though basic black also will work....

A late lunch turned into an unplanned shopping expedition - and I'm glad it did. But I won't be able to do more than window shop soon. So I'd better be sure that the things I'm buying reflect my taste for a while to come....

Friday, March 20, 2015

The end of a long weekend en-homme

I'll start today's post by stating that the weekend ended in a very bad way. No, everything is still going well with GFJ. But someone who showed me and my late wife great kindness passed away after a long illness, and I'm left with sadness in my heart.  Many people will miss the gentleman in the above photo, and I'll be one of them....

- - - - - -

Before the weekend began, GFJ was supposed to come over for dinner on Saturday, and then be gone sometime on Sunday morning. This would have given me the opportunity to go to church again (as Marian), and then meetup with a new women's group in the evening. However, this schedule was not meant to be. GFJ's mom was not able to have guests, and that left GFJ's schedule open to be with me.

Instead of GFJ meeting me at my place (as usual), we ended up meeting at a diner in Carmel, NY, as GFJ wanted to go to the mall and do some window shopping. Given that the weather was foggy with mild rain, I was wishing that I didn't have to go out. But I figured that I'd show GFJ that I'd go a little out of the way to meet her, and make it easier to get together for a shopping trip in Danbury, CT. Normally, I'd have gotten there in 45 minutes or so, but the potholes I encountered probably aded about 15-30 minutes to the trip, as the side roads have not yet been patched fully. So I was surprised to find that GFJ actually reached the diner before I did.Of course, we ended up in my car for the trip to Danbury, and we killed 2-3 hours at the mall and at a nearby pizzeria. By the time we were ready to leave, it had gotten dark, and the fog hadn't lifted. So I told GFJ that when we reached her car, that she was to follow me along the highway - as I wanted to take the least potholed route possible on our trip home.

When we got home, we relaxed and cuddled a bit. Around midnight, I did my usual routine of posting the daily blog entry to Facebook, and then cancelled Sunday's meetup with "the girls". I figured that telling them I was stuck on Long Island with a convalescing father was a more forgivable reason to bail on a dinner reservation than to say that I had a date that was going to last well into the next evening.

On Sunday, neither of us had the energy to go out. We polished off the leftover pizza for lunch, then polished off some stuffed pock chops for dinner. Sometime during the afternoon, I received a call from a friend of the sailor in the picture above. She told me that our friend died, after 3 months in hospice care. Although I had no plans to be en-homme on Tuesday (save for exercise), I will be in Mario mode out of respect to this friend.

All too soon, GFJ had to leave, as she had to bring her car back to the dealership for service.  So we packed things up, and said our farewells before she drove back home. After she left, I had the choice of killing some time before going to the health club when it opened at midnight, or doing some shopping - and exercising tomorrow. As much as I should have made more time available for exercise, I postponed it for tomorrow - I expect to have a busy morning, and want to be wide awake to deal with what's on my plate....

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It looks like it will be a long weekend, and I'm looking forward to Monday.

At least, my weekend won't be as chaotic as the characters in the above photo. Nor will it be much of an effort to stay alive. But it will keep me en-homme for another couple of days, and I'll be yearning for the time I can get back into being Marian and not Mario.

- - - - - -

Today, I had virtually no energy to get up and go.  And I was supposed to both go to the health club and (later) spend some time with Lili. But first on my task list was a phone call to the managing agent of my co-op, where she advised me to get as far away from the pissing match that two of my neighbors are about to have.

By the time I got moving to go out, I realized that I was going to have no time en-femme today, as it was 6:30 pm when I reached the health club. At this point, I knew that I had forgotten all about Lili - and returned a phone call from a very depressed Lili. To make it up to her, I said that I might try to drop by over the weekend with GFJ in tow, and maybe do lunch together. But I know that GFJ and I will likely be occupied - and any visit to Lili will be because GFJ realizes how depressed Lili is, having just lost her mother.

- - - - - -

Once done with the health club, I went home and played a message waiting for me. It seems like my current resume is attracting some interest - and I'll be returning the call sometime on Monday morning. (Hopefully, my ex boss of several years ago gets the chance to review the position requirements (from the email I sent him), and gives me some hints on how best to market myself to this firm.)

On Monday, I have a couple of people to contact:
  1. A recruiter from one organization who said I should call her back in 10 days.
  2. Today's recruiter, who thought I'd be a good fit for one of their positions.
Hopefully, both will result in in-person interviews, as I need to be seen as more than a name on a resume and because only through interviewing will one have a chance of landing a job.

- - - - - -

Since GFJ will be coming down, I expect that I will be spending the whole weekend en-homme. Originally, she was supposed to go to her mother's place on Sunday, and that would allow me to go to another women's group meetup in mid-county. However, given that her mom's care center is on "lock down" due to a virus contracted by some members, GFJ's visit may be off.  (Right now, her mom is well, but all meals at the center are being delivered to the residents' rooms, so that the GI tract bug that's going around does not hit the most vulnerable population at the center.)  Since GFJ was supposed to deliver her mom to the doctor on Monday, she still may be going to the center - but I have no idea of what time she'd leave, and I can't be certain that I can make the meetup....

- - - - - -

As you can see, this will be an enjoyable weekend. But I have things to do on Monday - and I want to get them started now.....

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finally, a day en-femme! But trouble lurks....

I had the chance to wear this dress again today. And I received several positive comments about it, as I was wearing it without the sweater and with a pair of black tights.  In short, I felt pretty - and that was just what I needed to get through the day....

- - - - - -

But first....

Today was the monthly scheduled visit of my cleaning lady. So, late last night, I spent some time cleaning up the apartment enough to make today's visit worthwhile. My extra wigs went back in the closet, as well as the makeup and feminine accessories. This allows her to see a mostly masculine presence, yet believe that I have a girlfriend who stays over now and then. (Whether she really believes this, I don't know - and don't care much, as long as she does the job I pay her for.)

- - - - - -

In prior entries, I mentioned my occasional dealings with a nosy neighbor. Both yesterday and today was another headache from my downstairs neighbor - as she had complaints about the neighbor below her (a young woman, living in an apartment complex for the first time). The complaint, about a car parked poorly, was legitimate.

You'll see that the rear of the car was 4 feet away from the snow bank and the stone wall. But was this enough for my nosy neighbor to stir up trouble? The nosy neighbor tried to shop her complaint to the two members of the co-op board that live in this building. And when she didn't get the response she wanted from the first member, she then contacted me, almost ordering me to walk downstairs and talk to this lady.

If I didn't make a mistake of going to the board's meeting room for a rescheduled meeting, I never would have ventured out of the apartment. But since I did, I decided to touch base with this young neighbor and tell her what's up....  At this point, I was done with things, and figured I helped keep things calm. But old man Murphy had something waiting for me today....

- - - - - -

When I finally escaped my apartment while en-femme, leaving it vacant for my cleaning lady to work without interference, I bumped into my nosy neighbor. And I told her that I talked with her neighbor later on in the evening (I wasn't going to delay a restroom visit to make my nosy neighbor happy), and then I got stuck in a conversation. The nosy neighbor stated that another neighbor was complaining about my cleaning lady throwing garbage in the wrong dumpster, and that emailed complaints to the managing agent were being ignored. (I doubt this very much - the managing agent would give me a call if this were the case, and I'd have first talked to the cleaning lady, then fired the cleaning lady if this continued.) And then, the neighbor implied another breach in co-op board privacy - and I know she was full of s**t, but knew one couldn't win with this person - and backed away from an unwinnable battle.

I called the managing agent, and missed her - she was out inspecting an apartment complex. (It very well could have been ours - she usually visits on Thursdays.) So I said I'd call her back - but wasn't able to do so.  Later on, after I got home from board games in Yonkers, I found a message on my machine - she thought there would be problems, and she mentioned that V (the young lady) had a complaint of her own. (I hope not regarding me - I'll find out tomorrow.) So the managing agent wants me to call in the morning - and I'll be glad to do so....

- - - - - -

Once I left the apartment complex, I proceeded to the GLBT Center and did my weekly volunteer stint. Next week, we will do our first Job Search support group meeting, and I hope we get more than one person showing up for the event. So we spent a little time preparing for the event, and hope to do well next week. After taking care of that, I ended up watching some videos, to extract visual sequences which contain images of an important Gay artist. His importance has nothing to do with being an artist, and only indirectly with him being Gay. Instead, it has everything to do with being a person exposed to the AIDS virus in the early days and not getting infected. The GLBT Center (with the cooperation of his family) is doing a retrospective of this man's work and his life. I found one sequence that was perfect - one saw his art, but one saw the person who he loved, who was the 6th person known to die of AIDS, in intimate (not erotic) pictures with this man. This was the great loss in his life, and the reason why we must never forget where we came from in the fight against AIDS - not only were lives lost to the disease, but survivor lives were irrepairably damaged because of it as well.

I got to the board game venue about 30 minutes late, but I didn't miss anything. Shortly after I got there, we played a RPG (Role Player Game) that took a couple of hours to play - The Quiet Year. This is an OK game, but not the kind of game I'd want to play often.  We had fun going "gonzo", having mixed species fall in love with each other, instead of battling each other - so we had a very unusual round for the first time we played the game ...a happy ending. But it was not the best of game nights - I was the token female in the place, and the other table was where the loud fun was being had.

So part of me was glad when it was time to go home.  But I realized that I missed going to the health club today, so I'll have to make up for it by going both tomorrow morning (after my phone calls) and on Saturday.

Life is interesting......

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Quickie: Shopping at the local A&P

This post is a "Quickie" - nothing special, but something I can get out quickly, that you, my readers, may find interesting....

Last night, I stopped by the A&P at the bottom of my hill for a quick shopping trip. I was going to pick up some meat I could cook, but ended up picking up some sweets to have after dinner.  And I ended up seeing my favorite sales clerk....

Now I know what her schedule is likely to be - and I know when I can drop in and say hello for a few minutes.

- - - - - -

Why might this be of interest?

I have a feeling that this woman is not sure of "what" I am.  Twice, she has put her hand on my cheek (in a way that could signal simple human affection) - and I'll bet that she's noticed a rough face. If she says something, I'll explain what being transgender is.  If not, I won't bring anything up.

Either way - I'm being treated with respect, and no one is being harmed. So, I'll keep you informed as time goes on....

It's amazing how things change after a long period of unemployment.

When I was laid off, I felt relieved that I didn't have to wake up by 6:00 am, so that I'd have a chance of being at work by 9:00 am. I'd still be up around 8:00 am, and I felt good having the extra 2 hours to catch up on my sleep. But I've noticed many subtle changes in myself, where I've become dull in some areas, and sharper in others.

- - - - - -

One thing I've noticed is that the clock doesn't matter as much to me anymore. If I have to make an appointment, I usually get there in time. But if there is no fixed time for an event (such as my exercise), I can do it anytime during the day to feel that I've accomplished that task for the day. I've also noticed that I am a little more depressed than before. This, I attribute to a lower level of activity. And it is this low activity level that finally got me off my duff and to the health club every other day.

Not everything is bad. I have made socialization in Marian Mode a high priority for me, and this brings me a form of peace I've never had while in Mario Mode. I have new friendships from socializing as Marian, and I feel much more relaxed while in this mode. This relaxed feeling has translated into me being accepted as Marian - even when people know I am transgender.

Before I lost my job, I was making a lot of mistakes as I rushed to switch from Mario Mode to Marian Mode. After a few months, I still make an occasional mistake. But I don't make the kind of mistakes that could totally ruin my presentation and make me look silly. I have developed a routine to switch key items from my male wallet to my female wallet. And now, I feel even more natural carrying a handbag, than putting a wallet in my back pocket.

- - - - - -

I fear that I've lost my edge in regard to work. After 9 months of unemployment, the principles of project management are a little bit fuzzy to me, as I haven't had to use them in a little under a year. Will these skills come back to me quickly enough, so that I can hit the ground running in a new job?  Only that opportunity will give me the answer to that question, and it hasn't come to me yet.

- - - - - -

Over the past 9 months, I have taken the time to perfect my skills in presenting myself as Marian.  I am now very comfortable going out and about, and will often take the time to chat with people while en-femme. My voice, though far from perfect, is good enough to allow me to blend in with other females. Because I've had the chance to turn myself into Marian as often as I have, I now have my makeup routine down to under 30 minutes. And I feel a little proud that I can look presentable in so short a time.

Often, when I am preparing to go out, I have become to feel much more natural dressed en-femme than I feel en-homme. Of course, I could never go to the health club this way. So I am forced to be en-homme every other day, whether I want to be that way or not. Yes, there is at least one no-op TG out there that has used the women's locker room to dress, but I wouldn't want to cause anyone discomfort unless I transitioned fully - unlike the M2F TG that went to Planet Fitness. (The woman who was kicked out of PF noted that this person was not dressed as a female. So there is a legitimate issue of a perceived social taboo being violated. I'll let my readers decide about the issue for themselves.)

- - - - - -

But the thing I find most important is that I let go of a relationship that was going nowhere (with GFL), and took the chance on a relationship that could eventually go somewhere (with GFJ). She's not in a position to move too far forward - her divorce needs to be finalized. Usually, when my therapist and I talk about my relationships, he pressures me to get an answer about what the woman is looking for. But this time he sensed a change in me - I am no longer looking for a long term relationship. If it happens, I'd be happy. If not, I'll enjoy it for as long as it lasts. But if the relationship with GFJ doesn't work out, I will then pursue other options - such as M from Artoberfest. Hopefully, I won't need to do this - I enjoy being with GFJ.

Monday, March 16, 2015

On-Line Shopping: The second most most important thing you can do on the internet.

One of the most important things the internet has done for us in the Transgender community has been to make it possible for us to buy our first articles of feminine clothing without feeling embarrassed. It may not sound like much. But until each of us gives ourselves permission to go shopping in-person for ourselves, we remain stuck in our individual closets.

- - - - - -

Although I go out and about en-femme, I still do a bit of my shopping on-line, as not everything can be found in a brick-and-mortar store. For example, I've had my eyes on the dress below for a while, and I know I'll never see it in any store....

This dress looks very comfortable, and would be perfect for the upcoming Spring season.  Sometimes, when a combination works for me, I buy it, knowing that I can use the pieces separately, as in the pictures below....

In the print ad, The dress was black with a white pattern, and the shrug was white. Together, the individual pieces "popped", and even GFJ said that they looked good together when I hanged them up in my closet.

Sometimes, I see a dress on-line that I have to try on in a store. Even after I see it and try it on, I wait a bit to determine whether I really have to have it, such as in the dress below.

If I were living with someone who was comfortable with going out with me in Marian Mode, I'd have bought this dress in the size I tried on - It really "popped" on me. However, if I buy it, I'll need to buy it one size larger, so that I can deal with the zipper in back.

- - - - - -

I used to be very frustrated having a wife who had a spending addiction, who used clothes shopping as a way to sate her needs. And now I can easily understand the fun shopping can be for a woman. It's something very basic to the essence of the evolution of a hunter-gather species. Combine gathering with a mammalian female's need to show that she's a viable mating partner, and one will get women using makeup to hide their flaws and enhance their assets, wearing clothing that makes them as attractive as possible to potential mates.  Now that I live on both sides of the gender line, I have started to develop a deeper understanding, a more personal understanding of why these things (and others) are so important to the female of our species.

Even though I haven't seen Vicki#1 in a while, we had an exchange of email today. And what did we talk about?  Clothes!  Occasionally, I ask Vicki for idea of what would look good on me and she comes up with good suggestions. Today, she came up with a good number of suggestions, from a store I would not usually shop at - Macy's. But when I think of it, their plus sizes run small - and it was just as well that I wasn't tempted to buy anything.

- - - - - -

How did I feel when I first placed an on-line order for goods that would only be appropriate for a woman to use?  And I have to answer - I was a little scared. I worried about what people might think. But I soon got over it, and started having fun shopping on-line. Every so often, I'd receive a little treat in the mail - and it could have developed into an addiction if I didn't watch out.

Hopefully, for any "in the closet" readers of this blog, this post will make you feel more comfortable buying your first new item of female clothing in a new venue. It takes a lot of courage to step over an imaginary line. But once crossed, you are free, and you have given yourself permission to explore your own femininity.....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

No time for femininity

In the past, I'd have been able to block several days together where I could be in Marian Mode, and others where I'd be in Mario mode. Since I've started exercising, I've been stuck having to be in Mario Mode (at a minimum) every other day, so that I can get my scheduled routine in for the day.  Needless to say, this has been frustrating!

- - - - - -

Over the next two days, there is no time in my schedule where I have enough time to switch into Marian Mode and enjoy things. One day, I have to trek to Long Island and get my taxes taken care of, then go to a professional society meeting. The next day, I have my bi-weekly therapy session, followed by a co-op board meeting. I won't be able to be en-femme until Thursday, when I do my weekly shift at the GLBT center.

I am reminded of an accountant who was living life in both male and female modes. His/Her schedule got all fouled up, to the point that he/she went to a meeting with a client in the wrong gender presentation - and then knew that he/she hat to be out as a "She" to everyone. Did she lose clients? I do not know - I am not more than a distant acquaintance.  But she has paid a price for becoming a female - her wife is leaving, and she is somewhere in the middle of transition - "neither fish nor fowl."  I hope that the hormones that she takes now do exactly what she wants, and that she has as smooth a transition path as possible.

Do I worry about someone catching me in the wrong presentation?  No. But it could happen. If I socialize as a woman long enough there will be a sizable number of women who know me as Marian who would be shocked to see Mario - and this is something to watch out for....

- - - - - -

Strangely enough, not being able to dress in Marian Mode does not get in the way of discussing what would look good on me in Marian Mode.  Occasionally, Vicki#1 and I get to chatting in email exchanges, and what do we talk about?  Clothes!  Somehow, I have a feeling that Vicki knows when I need a dose of femininity - and she's always there when I need it....

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Staten Island - The most awkward part of the NYC region to get to and from.

If I could avoid it, I'd never see Staten Island again.  No, it's not because of any animosity towards the place or the people that live there. Instead, it's due to the expenses I incur each time I go there.

- - - - - -

The last time I drove to Staten Island was last August, just before I let my relationship with GFL fade away. Not having a job and not having an unlimited commutation ticket made a unenthusiastic relationship not worth maintaining. (And in retrospect, I'm glad to have done this, as I'd have never met GFJ.) Each time I would drive to GFL's, I figure that it was another $60 worth of tolls, gas, and wear & tear on the car - a car that I want to last much longer than usual. So it made a lot of sense to let go when I did. And I never expected that I'd be driving there again anytime soon....

When I received the call telling me that Lili's mom had died, I was not shocked. But I was very surprised to find out that the burial would be on Staten Island. And due to both distance and cost, I really wanted to avoid driving there. But not every unpleasant trip can be avoided, and this is one I could not avoid.

If you look at the above map, you'll see 4 bridges connecting Staten Island to the rest of the world. The bulk of the traffic flowing through the island flows between the Goethals Bridge on the top left to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge on the right. If there is a problem on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn, there will be a major traffic jam running the width of Staten Island. Going West is little better, as Jersey traffic problems trigger jams in this direction.

This is one time where experience in a failed relationship pays off in unexpected ways. Given that the cemetery is located on Richmond Avenue, I know enough tricks (thanks to GFL) on how to bypass the traffic jam and reach the cemetery on time.

- - - - - -

As I started writing this entry, GFJ was sleeping on the couch. Both of us love being able to relax completely in each other's arms - but can't fall and stay asleep this way. So, I have a degree of privacy in writing this entry that I wouldn't have if we could sleep the way we want.

Why is this important?

GFJ has never seen me change into Marian Mode while at my place. Previously, we either met here, or I drove her back here, where I then changed back to Mario in private. This is the first time I've had to reverse the process - and I would have preferred this not to have happened right now.  And this time, GFJ made sure that she got out of the house before I started my change, ducking the issue for now.

- - - - - -

I ended up leaving for the funeral around 11:30 am, knowing that I had to be at the cemetery by 1:30 pm. And as soon as I left home, I realized I forgot to take care of something minor - I never spritzed myself with one of the two perfumes I usually use. I also realized that I didn't have lunch, and would likely not get the chance to eat until late afternoon at best - so I picked up a pre-made sandwich  along the way, and the best I could say for the sandwich was that it was easily eaten and easily forgotten. Traffic was heavy most of the way to Staten Island - and I was plagued by vehicles who wouldn't get up to highway speed when there were no obstacles in front of them (such as an 18-wheeler or two on the GW Bridge that even other 18-wheelers were trying to get around). I was lucky to have made it to the cemetery with 15 minutes to spare.

- - - - - -

Unlike me, Lili didn't have the luxury of dressing for the funeral at home. G, the friend that Lili cruised with, brought a black dress for Lili - "just in case" - which Lili didn't wear on the ship, and Lili didn't wear to the funeral. So both G and Lili came in casual clothes, while Lili's son came in a brand new suit because his cat ruined the one he usually wore to functions of this type. As they arrived, I noticed that G was known by Lili's family - as if G had attended many family functions with Lili in the past. (One day, I'll get more information on this - but it doesn't matter now.) And I was glad to know that Lili had another good friend who could help her in time of her need.

At the cemetery, Lili was introducing me as Marian - and people accepting me as such. I'm not so sure how many people may have picked up on the fact that I am TG, but I don't care - with one or two exceptions, I won't see any of them again anyway. My problem was that I had to stand for about a couple of hours while the proceedings took place - I have no problems staying upright if I am moving, but it hurts when I stand in place.

Lili was the most affected of all her family members. Several times, she had to get away from the proceedings, as she was falling to pieces. G tried to help her. But by the time they got to the part where people shovel dirt on the coffin, Lili just couldn't bear to do so. (I wasn't going to do so, as I didn't want to get mud on my shoes.) Shortly afterward, the gathering broke up, and many in the family headed back to Great Neck where some food was being laid out for the family to eat. Lili, however, needed to go home and get in familiar surroundings - and at this point, I went on my own way home.

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Driving in New Jersey, I was surprised by the large number of potholes that I encountered. One would think that they could keep up with them on the Jersey Turnpike, but that was not the case. There were several places that I saw traffic slow to a crawl because the DOT hadn't had the chance to spot repair the road. (Maybe Governor Christie will have to cross that bridge when he comes to it as well.) But it wasn't only the Jersey Turnpike that had problems, and in fairness, when the temperature reached the mid 50's after weeks below freezing, I'd expect to see the number of dangerous potholes grow very quickly.

The first place I stopped on my way home was Catherine's, where the saleslady remembered me from previous shopping trips. (I guess it's easy to spot and remember a whale sized woman when she enters a store. <g>) While she was busy, I tried on a couple of dresses.

The dress on the left was the easiest to get on, and was the most comfortable. But if I had tried on the dress on the right in a slightly larger size, I might have blown the wad to buy that one - it looked that good on me!

Luckily, I didn't spurge on either dress. Instead, I picked up a couple of bras at a price I couldn't refuse. That same saleslady told me that I could get $25 off a purchase of $50 or more, so I ended up with 2 nice bras for only $31.  Not bad for a shopping trip.

Next, it was off to The Avenue - and I bought a comfy nightie to wear, as I had to throw away one that is falling apart. Again, it was on sale - and I got out of the store spending much less money than I could have, had something really worth buying had been there for me.

- - - - - -

Although my plans were to change back to Mario when I got home and get in a round of exercise at the health club, I passed out on the bed. It was a long day, and I didn't feel any guilt in postponing my workout until tomorrow.....

Friday, March 13, 2015

Where did that missing hour go?

I was up watching TV last night, and one second it was 2:00 am, and the next, it was 3:00 am. Did I miss something?  What happened to an hour of my time?  I don't think I could have misplaced it.  Yet, my computers, cell phone, and cable boxes all tell me that I lost an hour of my life.

Yes, this weekend was the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. And I find it a needless exercise in futility we make every year. It would be so much simpler if we advanced the clocks once - and kept them this way. But I'm not the one making the decisions for America, so I'm stuck (with the rest of us) with this useless routine we share twice each year.

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This past Friday, I spent the evening with Vicki, Lisa, and Dan, enjoying their company at a good Japanese restaurant. As a result, GFJ and I agreed that she would come down after work on Saturday and spend Saturday night, Sunday, and a good chunk of Monday with me. But things don't always work out as expected - GFJ got here late on Saturday....

Since GFJ arrived late, I was not in the mood to cook. So we went to a restaurant that I've passed on the road to the Rail Trail many times, but never bothered to stop and eat there in the 30+ years I've lived in the area. Jennifer's Restaurant is a wonderfully small place which serves some of the best German food for miles around. Although I prefer Zum Stammtisch in Glendale (Queens), Jennifer's is a great place for real German food - and I will definitely be back when I have a hankering for some Sauerbraten.

Both GFJ and I were impressed by Jennifer's - the female wait staff was decked out in authentic German costume, the beer on tap was German, and the portions could have fed Rommel's Afrika Korps. We were both surprised when we saw our bill was as low as it was for such good food. So we will recommend it to our friends when they want a good plate of Bratwurst when in this area.

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Sunday was a day we had to ourselves - and we spent it by taking a drive, trying to find a nice place to go for a walk that wasn't either covered in snow or covered in snow melt (water). Although it took us a while to find one, it was a nice day to have gone out for a drive, and a nicer day to be with GFJ.

But things took a strange turn when we got home. Just as I was about to defer lunch with my former boss for 2 weeks, I got a phone call from Lili's friend G. She told me that Lili's mom had died, and that I should go to the funeral as Marian, as that's how people know me. This fouled up a lot of my plans, as GFJ and I planned to spend most of the day together (save the time I was at the therapist), and now I'd be spending it on a drive to Staten Island for a funeral. So I called my therapist, and got Monday's appointment rescheduled - and I was now finally clear to drive to Staten Island for the funeral.

Calling Lili's brother (her son never picks up the house phone - something that pisses off Lili), I had to use my male voice to talk with him. And told him that either my "wife" or I will be attending the funeral. (Of course, it will be Marian. I just had to say something to explain my presence in Marian Mode.) I'm upset at Lili's son - but there's not much I can say that will change him. Hopefully, some day, he'll understand the angst he can cause people.

But what about GFJ?

I told GFJ that she can join me on Monday, but she declined....  Who knows, maybe she;ll change her mind in the morning. But if not, I'll have lost a day with her - and next weekend looks a little iffy for now.

- - - - - -

It's a good thing that Lili was able to take her cruise and get back the day of her mom's funeral. Unlike Christian burials which can be delayed as a matter of convenience to allow family members to attend a funeral, a Jew is supposed to be buried within 24 hours of death, except when it occurs on the Sabbath or other religious holidays. (Even the grave diggers have a right to a day off according to Jewish custom.)  This is a good thing - the sting of death is not drawn out on the grieving. The pain is sharp, but the focus is always on the present and not the past.

Having been enough times with Lili to see her mother, I for one, am glad she's gone. No, I didn't wish her dead. Instead, I'm glad that her body's lingering on this planet (after her mind checked out) is over, and that the suffering her family had to deal with is over as well. Yes, Lili will need to deal with unresolved issues without her mother's help - but she never would have had that help anyway. She can now move forward in her life - something she hasn't been able to do with the shell that once held her mother's spirit being present in her life....

- - - - - -

So tomorrow, I'll get dressed as Marian for the first time in GFJ's presence. Hopefully, GFJ will be able to deal with it and accept Marian as part of who I am. If not, I'll know pretty soon. Either way, this will be a good thing for me - something good that comes from an unfortunate circumstance in life....