Thursday, April 30, 2015

I took it easy today.

My plans for the day were to see my therapist, and then go and exercise. And I did just that while having a relaxing day.

- - - - - -

In several ways, I was very glad that GFJ did not come down last night. First, I didn't want to get sick. Second, I wouldn't have been able to go to dinner with the birthday gal from my co-op's board of directors. This gave me the freedom to be able to manage my own time today, making it possible for me to both see my therapist and get in my exercise, while still being able to focus on things that recharge me as an individual.  About the only thing that I regret not doing is to study certain technological skills when having nothing else to do. This is a problem I have being unemployed - I need a soft task master to make sure that I'm doing the little things I should be doing.

Being this kind of lazy isn't as bad as it may seem.  I did take care of some other things, such as getting the dish washing done, getting two loads ready to be laundered, and sending off my references for a volunteer position in which I'm interested. Could I be doing more?  Yes. But after almost 11 months of not having a job to go to on a regular basis, I've been thinking of how I'd keep my mind mentally active over a long term period of unemployment.

One of the things I realized is that I must be doing the kind of work, as a volunteer, that people would respect if I put it on a resume. This is why the prospective stint at the non-profit organization is so important. I could gain some important skills, as well as going to work in Marian Mode - both of which are things I'd find valuable. However, I need to earn some money, reducing the drain on my savings. I'm reasonably sure that I can get work at the clothing store - as long as I'm willing to work at least one weekend day and one night. And, like the volunteer position, the more opportunities I have to interact with the world in en-femme, the less I will want or need to interact with the world en-homme.

- - - - - -

On other matters....

Dating GFJ, dealing with her schedule (or lack of it) can be a little frustrating. I'd like to know enough in advance what her plans are for a weekend (she likes to go out hiking), so that I can plan things. Given that she has been sick this week, I'm not sure if she'll come down on Saturday. Normally, this would not be a problem, but I'd like to see a friend during the day, and then have a choice of two things: (1) visiting friends in the North Country, and (2) going to another acquaintance's birthday party in New Rochelle. (With the mileage I've put on my car, I'd choose option #2.) I figure that I'll sort this out with GFJ in the morning, noting that Marian has been invited to a birthday party....

Hopefully, I'll be able to check off the remaining items from my "Things to do this week" checklist sometime tomorrow....

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sometimes it's a pleasure to serve on a co-op board

This is a typical picture of a typical co-op board of directors. It may be a little larger than my co-op's board, but is responsible for the same functions as ours....

- - - - - -

When I awoke this morning, I had the following things on my calendar:
  1. Having lunch with my dad.
  2. Chatting with a headhunter.
  3. Co-Op board meeting (and outing myself).
  4. (Possible) Visit from GFJ.
The visit from GFJ dematerialized quickly due to her cough that seems to be getting worse. But I ended up shifting the call with the headhunter to the late afternoon, so that I could have an excuse to leave my dad after lunch.

Although I always enjoy seeing my dad, I don't always have a lot to say. My job search is going slowly, my relationship with GFJ is going slowly, and the only thing that's moving fast is the pages on the calendar. So, I figured that spending 1 &1/2 hours with him would be perfect - we could cover the necessary things, and still leave each other wanting more time together.  One thing of note from our lunch - my ex girlfriend of 8 years is now having problems dealing with her mother in law's health, at the same time she is fighting her brother and sister over the estate of their parents. Even my dad may be thinking that I did the wise thing by exiting that relationship when I did....

After seeing my dad, I rushed home to talk with the headhunter. Although he doesn't seem like he has anything for me right now, he may be interested in helping me - if only to help build up a network of people in firms he wants to recruit for. So I'll see him in person next week, and see what he has to offer....

And then it was time for the big event - Outing myself to the rest of the board members, and stating how I feel about my Nosy Neighbor downstairs.  Everything went well - and the president of the board supported my claim that what Nosy Neighbor said was harassment and should not be tolerated. But I didn't expect to go out with a couple of members of the board afterwards, to help celebrate one member's birthday.  Although I didn't need another big meal for the day, it was still nice to be with these two women - and chat as friends, letting our hair down a little....

During dinner, Lili called. She really needed some help with dying her hair, so I helped her with that, knowing that I owed her a favor or two. Even though I got there around 11 pm, she was very happy, as she knew the hair would be in good condition before her haircut tomorrow. Yet I was glad to be able to leave when I did - I have to see my therapist tomorrow, and I couldn't afford NOT to sleep in my own bed.

- - - - - -

I feel much better that everyone on the board knows about Marian. They are now much better prepared for any trouble that might be caused by some narrow minded people at the public board meeting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Co-Op living - It's not always the easiest thing to do.

The above picture is a typical two bedroom apartment plan. And, if all goes right, we'll have a new resident in our complex, after this apartment being vacant for a long time. 

- - - - - -

One of the problems with co-op apartments is that they can be less liquid than their condominium equivalents. With a Condo, one has a title to the apartment - it is considered real property. However, with a Co-Op, one does not have title to any property. Instead, one owns a given amount of shares in the co-operative, and one has a proprietary lease for the apartment.

There are advantages and disadvantages in each form of ownership. With Condos, the owner does not need to have an apartment sale approved by the condominium management - this can be a big advantage in certain complexes, as one can sublet to one's heart's content, or even sell the property without needing approval from building management. With Co-Ops, one has a board of directors who usually vets each sublet (if permitted) or sale, making sure that "the right kind of person" lives in the complex. Although boards are prohibited from discriminating because of race, color, creed, gender preference, etc., they are allowed to discriminate on the basis of income, profession, and factors not addressed in anti-discrimination laws. (One NYC co-op was known for refusing Richard Nixon's application to purchase an apartment, as they didn't want to put up with the headaches of having an ex-president living in the building.)

In my case, there is nothing that the board can do to me as a transgender person. When I bought this place, I was not "out". And now, I have friends on the board (and with the managing agent) who I would hope would run flak for me, in case a troublemaker wants to disrupt our yearly public meeting.

- - - - - -

Being on the co-op's board is not always an easy experience.  Years ago, in my first board stint, I was called on to manage the co-op's finances.  When I saw that the then managing agent was writing checks before the money hit the bank, I knew we had a problem. And then, when I had to raid the reserve fund to pay a bill that couldn't be delayed, I knew I was in over my head - and resigned. This must have pissed off the then president and vice president, as they wanted someone, some patsy to take over - as they were both trying to unload their apartments.  Luckily, they found a person who could run roughshod over the old managing agent, and then find a better qualified firm to take over - and clear things up for us.  In this round, I occasionally get stopped by some shareholders with complaints, called at midnight because of troubles with other shareholders, and also deal with shareholders who do not want to follow the rules when submitting complaints. 

At the beginning of the month, one of my neighbors called with a complaint. I told her that she must submit the complaint in writing to the co-op or its managing agent. She gt very upset, and I didn't want to deal with her rants on the phone - so I hung up. She left a message on my voice mail that she was going to "Out" me to my family. I made sure that I recorded this message and saves it in several places. I figure that if this person wants to harass me, then I can do what I can to cause this person some grief.

- - - - - -

Several years ago, when I started going out in the world en-femme, I worried about what my neighbors would think.  Now, I don't care what they think. It wasn't easy getting from a position of fear to a position of confidence, but I got there. My co-op board respects me, no matter what clothes I'm wearing, no matter whether I'm Mario or Marian. And for this, I'm grateful....

Monday, April 27, 2015

Seasonal clothes rotation and other things.

If only storing my winter clothes away were this simple....

- - - - - -

Years ago, some wit came up with this phrase:

"Though April showers may come your way,
 They bring the plumbers for floods in May...."

And, as I'm writing today's entry, a noisy thunderbolt has just hit, and the heavens have just opened up.

The transition from Winter to Spring is never a smooth one. Often there are unseasonably cold or warm days, which force a person to keep some winter clothing available, even though the trend is towards warmer weather. Over the weekend, we reached 80 degrees, and today, it was in the 50's. So I had to look for some of the few items in my closet that could be worn in cool weather - and settled on a muted wine red dress that I bought a couple of years ago from QVC.

Maintaining two wardrobes is a big headache. Maintaining two persona is a big headache. Maintaining my sanity (or what's left of it) is essential....  About 3 years ago, I had a lot of extra room in my dressers and my late wife's closet to store things. Today, none of this extra room exists any more, and my out-of-season clothes are stashed away in a corner, in large plastic containers.

- - - - - -

When I got moving today, I realized that this would be the last day that I'd have the chance to be en-femme until Thursday. Tomorrow, I'll be seeing my dad on Long Island, exercising, then going to my co-op board meeting. And Wednesday will be my bi-weekly appointment with my therapist. Thursday will be the next day that I get the chance to go out en-femme.

There are some interesting wrinkles which may cause this week's schedule to get fouled up. First, I have to find time to meet with another headhunter, as he will want to see the merchandise he'll be peddling to the firms he deals with. And that appointment must be done en-homme. Second is the new non-profit agency I'd like to work for. Assuming they want me, I'll have to be en-femme for that visit.  Hopefully, I'll find a way to manage these disruptions in an efficient manner.

- - - - - -

Back to wardrobes....

My male wardrobe is relatively simple - I wear long sleeved shirts most of the year round, and wear short sleeved shirts on the warmest days of the summer. You'll likely never see me in a pair of shorts, except at the health club.

Contrast this with my female wardrobe, where dressing is much more complicated. In the winter, I tend to wear a lot of heavier fabrics, and cover as much of my skin as possible. But in the summer, I like wearing dresses - maxis and midis. I've been told that I have nice legs, but that may be my best feature. I'm stuck finding things that minimize the broadness of my shoulders, as well as making sure that a minimal amount of cleavage is visible. (I don't want people being able to tell that my breasts are falsies.)  Lately, I've been trying to add brighter colors to my warm weather clothes, but there's only so much I can do with a financial crunch coming.

Luckily, I have enough clothes in both wardrobes to get by for a reasonably long while. And I'm glad, as I don't know how long it will be before I can splurge on myself again.

- - - - - -

As I've said before, if I don't have a job by the time my supplemental benefits end, I'm thinking of taking a miniature vacation. One of my widowed friends in Ohio extended an invite to me a while back, and I'm thinking of taking her up on it. I'm not sure if I want to drive the 500 miles (each way) to see her, or whether I want to take the train to see her.  Right now, I'm leaning towards the train, so that I can avoid putting unnecessary mileage on my car.

There are so many things that I've held in abeyance while searching for a job, that I don't know where best to restart living (with a lower income). I'd love to get back to DC, and hang out with Meg for a day as part of a longer sightseeing trip. This, I think, will need to wait for Autumn, or the following Spring. I want to get to Philadelphia and meet some of the trans friends I have there, and I might be able to do so as a stopover - especially if I'm doing the train to Ohio and back. I want to take another cruise - but I'll need a travel partner. And then, I want to get back to Fantasia Fair.  If I still had my old job, I could have done all of these things, as I'd have more than enough vacation time and money. Now, I'll be back in the typical American's boat - not enough money or vacation time to do the tings we want most.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, all of the headaches I've gone through this past year will be worthwhile. It'd be sad if they are harbingers of worse things to come.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Missed chances

Today was a day of missed opportunities.  And yet, none of them felt right at the time, and it made sense to pass on them as they came up....

- - - - - -

Since it was a possibility that GFJ would be coming over today, I had little interest in getting dressed en-femme, so that I could go to church - and then change back to my male presentation, so that I could go to the health club then be with GFJ. Given how tired I felt when the alarm clock rang this morning, I hit the snooze bar and allowed myself to sleep in for a while.

A couple of hours later, I checked my email, and found out that GFJ still wasn't feeling that well. She suggested a mid-week visit, and I said OK - and that removed any pressure to meet any deadlines for anything, save a late afternoon visit to the health club. And this was the only item on my schedule I made sure that I'd be able to check off....

Could I have used this day as another opportunity to be en-femme all day (and skip the health club)? Yes.  But I have to worry about my health. Instead, I decided to skip being en-femme, knowing that I could go out tomorrow without any major time restrictions.

- - - - - -

Even if I were to go en-femme 24x7, I'd still have problems.  I have male pattern alopecia. In words most of us use - I don't have that much hair on my head. Until they figure out better ways of regrowing hair, I'll always have problems in this regard - a wig will always be needed when I'm presenting as a female. And even if I were to transition, I could never feel comfortable showing my barren scalp to others....

All of us miss opportunities. As a M2F transgender person, I missed the opportunities that today's youth have by being born in the wrong era. If one was gender non-conforming in any way (gender preference, identity, presentation, etc.), then one would be forced to conform, or be at great risk of harm from the community. Yet, I'm glad to have the opportunities presented to me, because I live in a relatively progressive region of the country.

One thing I've learned is how to determine which opportunities are really important, and which ones are not. For example, having opportunities to socialize as a female, among females, following the rules of female socialization are very important to me as long as I want to continue down this road of femininity. So, taking advantage of these opportunities has to be given a very high priority. Likewise, finding work has to be given a high priority as well. However, both interfere with romance - most women want a man with a stable career, and a man who projects a strong image of masculinity.

- - - - - -

So I keep developing as Marian, living life as best I can.  Tonight, I had an IM chat with someone I haven't seen in over 18 months. The two of us have wanted to get together for ages, but life got in the way. As we chatted, she asked about me being TG, and I mentioned, "yes, I am TG" - and she noted that I seem much happier these days. And then she said that we must get together towards the beginning of Summer - and I hope we can do so.

As you can see, I'm taking advantage of any and all opportunities that I have to socialize as a female. Women friends are in the best position to tell me if I'm making mistakes with my presentation. And they have a better way of doing so as well...

Am I missing some opportunities?  Of course.  But I think I'm getting the most out of the ones of which I take advantage - and that's what I care about.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

It was a sunny day....

When I looked outside today, I was reminded of an old Paul Simon song....

"It was a sunny day.
 Not a cloud was in the sky.
 Not a negative word was heard
 From the people passing by...."

Although GFJ was not coming down today, it didn't bother me much, as I was not in the entertaining mood. But as sure as I think I have a day without a problem, I get hit with one - an overflowing toilet, whose liquids had to be sopped up quickly, lest they flow between the floors and damage the ceiling of the apartment downstairs.  And the now dirty towels I used changed my plans for the day.  Instead of putting on a nice dress (suitable for Spring weather) and meeting the world en-femme, I have to get dressed en-homme and take care of laundry.  (At least, this facilitates a trip to the health club, something I would likely have skipped if I went out the door en-femme.)

- - - - - -

In some ways, GFJ and I are a good fit. We enjoy each other's company, and we get along well. However, I always look at my relationship with her using a lens that takes into account the following items:
  1. GFJ got spooked by the existence of Marian late last year, and said she wanted only friendship because of that.
  2. GFJ is still legally married to her "Wasband", and depends on access to the business they jointly own.
  3. GFJ has yet to introduce me as a "Boyfriend" (remember, I still live in both male and female modes) to her family.
  4. GFJ and I both log on to the dating site at times. I do not respond to any ads, but I do know that she (at least) surfs profiles on the site. 
  5. GFJ and I do not have a regular schedule to get together. It's hard to plan weekends in advance, when her schedule is always up in the air.
  6. GFJ claims not to know what she really wants for the next chapter of her life. Given that she's in her own form of limbo, I wouldn't expect anything else from her.
It would be nice for these items to sort themselves out elegantly, but I doubt they will do so. There is no way that I'll ever give up experiencing life in Marian Mode - I enjoy it too much, and my Marian persona is better accepted by others as well. GFJ's "Wasband" could still come back into the picture, as well as GFJ finding someone else who better fits her needs, in part, because he is closer to her home.

- - - - - -

With all this being said, excepting a minor excursion to Peekskill for lunch, I never got outside today. Unfortunately, I ended up lollygagging, and as a result, laundered the towels I used to dry out the bathroom too late for me to get to the health club. Instead, I decided to start rotating my female summer/winter clothes out of/in to storage containers. Given that the weather hit the 80's today (or felt like it), I needed to start moving most of the lighter weight clothes in to my closet.  I'm going to enjoy going to the Whine and Dine group in some of my pretty things - especially the dress I bought on sale at J.C.Penney on Friday.

Would I have bought all the women's clothes I have done in the past couple of years, had I known I was going to be laid off?  Probably, Yes.  I needed to explore being Marian and seeing where this path would take me, and so far, I've enjoyed my travel on this path. Yes, there have been big bumps in the road, but none that would stop me from going further along this path.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Maria, I'm meeting a girl named Maria....

This gentleman may have been in love with his Maria. In my case, Maria is a long time friend that I worked with many years ago, and with whom I've had a good friendship for many years.

- - - - - -

Lately, I've found it almost impossible to chat, much less meet, Maria since all hell broke loose in her life. Not only is she working, but she is a grandmother taking care of many of the child raising chores that her daughter should be doing - but I won't go into that right topic right now. Instead, I'll mention that when her ex-husband cleaned out the family homestead, there was no furniture left in the house for her to sleep on. As a result, I lent Maria a collapsible bed that she used for 6 months, until she could afford to start replacing the furniture that was taken by the ex.

Maria knows me in both Mario and Marian modes, and I knew that she wouldn't mind me being in Marian Mode if I told her I was going shopping. So we agreed to meet at the 84 Diner for lunch, and then both of us would go our merry ways from there. (I was also motivated by having just received a dress from The Avenue that I got for a little over $32, including tax and shipping - and wanting to wear it now!)  I had a second reason for being in Marian Mode at the 84 Diner - One of the waitresses on the day shift also works at The Avenue at night, and it would be safer for me to be in Marian Mode if she saw me there.  As they say, "the best laid plans of mice and men...." - and in this case, Maria was held up for an extra hour by one of her clients. So we agreed to meet at the Hibachi joint in the same strip mall that Catherine's is in. And this time, she made it as replanned.

Over a Japanese lunch, we talked of many things, her grandson, her husband (and his ex-family), her dad, as well as what's going on in my life. (I won't go into detail about most of her issues, except to say that she had some success in a legal matter - and will eventually be able to recoup some of the funds she laid out for some property.) She then asked for some financial advice - which I gave, noting that I am not a certified professional. But then the alarm on her phone buzzed - and she had to be off to pick up her grandson.

- - - - - -

At this point, it was time to go shopping. Driving to the other side of the strip mall (it looked like it could rain), I went into Catherine's and tried on a couple of dresses - but nothing said "Buy Me!" - so I didn't. Although I enjoyed small talk with one of the staff, it was time for me to go - and I left for the Poughkeepsie Galleria down the road a piece.  I led myself into temptation when I entered J.C.Penney's, as I proceeded to the Women's department where I tried on a couple of dresses.  One of these dresses was a left over from the fall season. And though it was marked down to $13.00, I decided not to buy it, as I have enough clothes for that season. Instead, I took advantage of one of their "blockbuster" sales, and got a spring dress on a 50% markdown, and then using a scanned coupon, got another 15% off. So, a dress originally marked at $80 ended up jumping into my car for $31 and change.

I was still a little bit in need of some shopping therapy, so I drove to Newburgh where I saw my favorite saleslady - and told her of being at the 84 Diner, then going elsewhere to eat. However, there was nothing that said "Buy Me!" there today - so I left before I did any more damage to my wallet. And then it was off to Barnes and Noble - where my intentions were to pick up a book on one programming language, Python, that might be of use in my job search. But I wasn't going to spend $40+ on a book today - so again, I left a store without buying anything.

- - - - - -

Now, it was off to Lili's. On the way, I called GFJ, and we talked about many things - many of which were hard to hear, due to her cell phone's poor microphone. But that kept my mind alert until reaching Lili's.

Lili's original plan for the night was to have me dye her hair.  Instead, we watched "New Girls on the Block" (a series not carried by my cable provider), followed by "Boy meets Girl" (a warm love story involving a transgender girl - who is TG in real life), and then "Carnage" (an adaption of the play "God of Carnage" - which I had the pleasure of seeing on Broadway twice). Although Lili found the first two items enjoyable, she couldn't help watching "Carnage" and the "Train Wreck" involving social conventions and people who do not know how to escape a problem caused by those conventions.

- - - - - -

I'm hoping that GFJ will be able to make it here this weekend.  If not, I have other things I can do - and I intend to do them while the weather is comfortable enough for me to use mass transit while in Marian Mode.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Supporting our unemployed

If I had other options today that I could ethically exercise, I wouldn't have bothered going to the GLBT Center for my weekly volunteer stint, as my mind was somewhere else and I wanted it to stay there....

- - - - - -

When the day started, I knew that I had to make it to the health club to catch up on my exercise. Over the past two weeks, I've gotten sloppy with visits - and I wanted to get back on an every other day schedule of visits. So I made sure that I got there in the morning, and returned home early enough to change into Marian for the rest of the day....

Arriving home, I saw a couple of neighbors (and their family) walking along the parking lot from the apartment these neighbors live in to the apartment one of them uses as an art studio. I didn't think much of it, save that I had to drive carefully while the kiddies were walking. Once I parked my car, I went upstairs to my apartment - where GFJ called me to say hello, just as I was planning on changing into Marian Mode for the day. We were on the phone for 30 minutes, and I said goodbye - and changed. However, my neighbors stopped in front of my doorway - and began chatting with our superintendent. Since I'm not "out" to them, I figured that I'd hang out a little bit and wait them out. Well, this took over 30 minutes - and I was now running late for my weekly visit to the GLBT center.

Normally, being late isn't a problem. But since I'm one of two co-leaders of the job seekers support group, I should be there on time. At least I was on time for the bi-weekly meeting. It seems like this group may not have critical mass - we had half as many people as we did last session, and I can't see it surviving without at least a dozen people who attend on a regular basis.  Even if this group dies, I'll be able to say that I facilitated this group....

- - - - - -

After the meeting ended, I drove to Pat's, where she was having problems with her phone and voice mail. Based on what she was reading (and the questions she was asking), she needed to find out the access code that had to be dialed from her home phone to retrieve her voice mail. She was getting the run around from both the cable company and the manufacturer of the phone. So I decided to read the cable company's FAQ's, looking for what needed to be done to retrieve voice mail from one's home phone. While doing this, I told Pat what I have to do to retrieve voice mail from the phone company's voice mail system. And I figured that the phone was looking to do something similar, dialing a secondary phone number used only to fetch voice mail. I had a good idea of what needed fixing, and when I found that I didn't need a second phone number (as I need for Verizon), but a simple *86 for an access code - we were in great shape.

Pat checked the phone and her voice mail, and then we got involved in a chat regarding relationships, and the problems one can have in a relationship with a person who is very religious. (I won't go into details here, but I will say that rigidity is getting in the way of someone being happy with life.) Hopefully, Pat won't get burnt....

- - - - - -

And then it was off to games....

Arriving late, I ended up missing the first round of games.  However, I was able to get involved in a game called "San Juan" - a game that involves a little bit of luck and strategy.

This was the second time I played the game, and this time, I almost won. Would I play it again?  Yes. But I probably won't buy it if it is still available.

Next up was another round of Room-25. Every time we play it, we learn new things about the game - such as rules that apply which make the game more challenging.  This time, I both won and lost.  One of the players was reading the rules and noted that because one card was exposed early, the number of rounds needed to complete the game had to be shortened to prevent a win solely based on luck. If we played with this rule, I'd have won.  Instead, we played without the rule - and I lost. Either way, I had fun....

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seeing a woman about a volunteer position

As I started writing this entry, I realized that having a resume may not always be a good thing. Don't take this as any form of advice not to have a resume. Instead, take this in the way I'm presenting it - as a way to look at the uniqueness of a situation....

- - - - - -

Last night, I went to a PMI meeting to network, and met up with a former coworker. Like me, she is looking for work, and she has met up with one of the headhunters I had contacted - and both of us think that this man is worthless to us. (No, we are not talking of his worth as a person - just his value to us.)  However, I told her about a couple of positions that I was screened for. And then, I told her about the one position I applied for, that getting it will be harder than winning the lotto - in part, because of the employer and its reputation.

I have one problem with this meeting's venue - the food is very good, but it ends up making me drowsy.  There was a speaker that I wanted to hear, and I don't remember a darned thing that was said in the first half of her presentation because of this drowsiness. But I had a second reason for being there - she had the same last name of a woman I dated over 30 years ago, and I wondered if she was related.  (I never asked that question, but I did find out that she had a relative who was on the USS Arizona on 12/07/41....)

- - - - - -

Months ago, I visited the folks at the Volunteer Center to talk about a position I wanted at a specific small non profit organization. When I chatted with the ladies at the center, I let them know I was trans, and that I was looking to volunteer in my female presentation. They asked me to bring along a resume, and this resume had my LinkedIn information on it (something I forgot at the time) and I didn't think much about the resume, as they weren't that helpful in finding me a volunteer position.

The other day, I got an email from the small non profit organization, and they asked me whether I was still interested in working with them, and I said yes. We arranged a date for me to show up, and I didn't think much about how I found out about the position. However, I looked at my LinkedIn account, and it appears that the lady saw a picture of my male presentation - and I'll bet that she's wondering what's going on.  So I sent her the following text in an email:

I just want to prep you for our meeting - the picture you saw of me is far from current (for reasons that will be obvious when we meet), and I will discuss this up front....  (The people at the Volunteer Center were aware of this, and comfortable with me when I met them.)

Hopefully, she'll read this email before we meet, as I will be going there en-femme later in the day. (The latter part of this entry will likely have the result of this meeting - it will likely be an interesting experience....)

- - - - - -

Later on....

I met with the lady from the non profit, and she guessed what I was, having read my email and seeing my picture on the LinkedIn page. We had a very pleasant conversation, and it's likely that I'll be working with them - as their computer guru. (I should be able to find a way to use this experience on my resume.) Although I could have opted to do my stuff from home, the lady (who I'll call VCJ for now) understood why I wanted to get out of the house and be with people.

This non profit is truly a shoestring operation, and doesn't even have its own office space. So every decision it makes to spend money has to be a careful one.  Given my experience at the bank, I'm pretty sure that I can help them - and get a few new skills at the same time. I'm comfortable with them knowing I'm trans - and I'm hoping that VCJ and her assistant will be comfortable with me as well....

- - - - - -

Immediately after leaving the non profit, I decided to rive to the Salvation Army in Mount Vernon, so that I could donate two boxes of goods (shirts, pants, jackets, etc.) AND get this stuff out of my house for good. It's been a very long time since I was there - but can still remember my ex girlfriend carting stuff there, cleaning out her place. (I wonder if her place has regained the over stuffed mess it had when I dated her.) Unlike the donation center in Staten Island, the one in Mount Vernon does not give a price estimate of what one's donations are worth. So I'm hoping that I'll still get a good value for the donation when tax time comes around again.

And then Lili called....

Lili wanted to dye her hair today, as she was going out to work for the first time in months. Telling her that it was a 75% chance that I'd be going into NYC for a different PMI networking meeting, I told her not to count on me for the evening.  With that being said, I made it home and took a nap, which screwed up my chances of making it to the meeting. Although I could now go to Lili's, I chose not to for one reason - I don't want her to depend on me for too much, as we'd get into a nasty cycle of co-dependence.

Later on, I saw an email from WDJ - she lost my phone number, and wanted me to call her, so that we could catch up on things. Since I haven't seen her in ages, I suggested that we meet at the 84 Diner - and both of us put our wigs on (she doesn't need one, being a cisgender female), then proceeded to the diner. The two of us talked about relationships, friendships, and acquaintanceships - and we wished we had more time to chat. But WDJ was getting tired, and I had to go home as well.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, GFJ is returning from Atlantic City. She's going to be busy until Saturday evening. But I can't plan much unless I know what time she'd be done with her hike and early dinner in Ellenville. I have friends I want to see, options I want to keep open, and precious time in Marian Mode that I want to have - and this requires that I know what her schedule is for the day....  Hopefully, I'll have an idea within the next 24 hours....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

An Ex Boss and Lili - A strange combination for a day

This is a deer I could have hit on my way home.  They have no fear, because: (1) There is a nature preserve behind the apartments and townhouses on my hill, (2) The area is too populated to allow any hunting, and (3) There are too many "Bambi Lovers" who moved up from the city that see these animals as cute, and not as food or as four legged vermin. So we're stuck having to worry about hitting one of these animals around sunset each night....

But what does an animal (whose only positive value is its meat) like this have to do with the rest of my life?

Like many people, this animal is easily spooked, and can cause great damage in the condition. So I knew that I had to be careful when turning into my driveway coming home from Lili and the Health Club.

- - - - - -

When I woke up this morning, I knew that I was going to have a tough time of making a lunch date with my ex-boss. Somehow, I knew I was going to hit traffic on the way over, and that I'd likely be a few minutes late.  However, this was not a problem - we both got to the restaurant at the same time.

Over lunch we discussed unemployment, and things both of us had done to get by after the supplemental benefits ran out. And my ex boss was able to last 2 years on the money he was able to save during his last year of paid benefits. (I'm not as good a saver - I'll probably last about a year.) But he mentioned that he was given the option of staying on, but that would have meant a step down for him AND that others, less prepared for forced retirement (like me) would be let go early. Assuming that I was one of the people he protected by falling on his sword, I have no way of letting him know how grateful I am that he did this. And I do not yet have a way of paying this forward.

All too soon, it was time to go home - and I ended up talking with a neighbor who was calling me during lunch. (This is the same one that had the problem with her upstairs neighbor the other day - and she was simply calling to tell me that she was laid off from the energy firm she worked for.  I told her that I'd like to visit her Connecticut condo when the weather gets warmer. (I'd like to take a dip wearing the swimsuit I bought last year.)  Who knows if that will happen?

Next, Lili called.  She was unhappy that she didn't have a playmate, and I caved into her needs. She complained that she wanted to be my closest friend - and I didn't feel like arguing two things with her. First, I am not the type of person that wants another addictive type as a "closest friend". Instead, I want my closest friend to be mentally healthy and stable. Other friends can have some forms of dysfunction, if they don't trigger my problems. Second, if she were to look at my schedule, she'd see that I visit her more often than I see my other friends.

Lili and I ended up meeting at a pizzeria halfway between our places, and she noted that I should be using some "age spot" remover cream. My feeling is that many of the creams, potions, oils, waxes, and powders sold to women are basically placebos - if one tells a woman that "beauty in a jar" will make her more attractive often enough, she will gradually believe it.  She wanted to go to Walmart (across the street) and buy me one of these creams to try. Begrudgingly, I accepted, knowing that nothing was likely to happen. In this area, I'm more like a man than I am a woman - but the beauty industry has not yet figured out how to market "handsomeness" to men, as they have marketed "beauty" to women.

- - - - - -

Compare my ex-boss with Lili and you'll see a great contrast in people.  My ex-boss is one of the most stable people I know, while Lili is moderately unstable. I find it amazing that I find both types of people interesting - but for very different reasons.  I just wonder what my ex-boss would say if I were to tell him that I'm transgender....

Monday, April 20, 2015

To Church, the movies, and to supper

Radio City Music Hall - a great place to watch a movie.  Sadly, the age of the great single screen movie theater is gone, as it has been replaced by soulless multiplexes.  In many ways, these palaces are much like many of the churches who repurposed these old theaters - the people who built them wanted to make sure that the people in the seats had a special experience, and wanted to come back for more. In the case of a movie theater, the public wanted to see a new story told to them in pictures every week. In the case of a church, the public wanted to be part of an eternal story repeated every week for the comfort of the parishioners.

- - - - - -

Before the day started, I set my alarms, so that I could get moving early enough to finally get to church. As I've mentioned before, I'm not an active church goer, nor am I a devout believer. But I do get some comfort from the rituals I grew up with as a child. So, I was able to get dressed and out the door to get to the church a few minutes after the service started. The service was exactly what I expected (there should be no surprises in church), and I chatted with several people afterwards. Klutz that I am, I spilled some coffee on the floor, and may have gotten some on my dress - but I couldn't find the stains.  (They should come out in the wash later.) One of the people I talked with was a nice woman. If I were in male mode, I'd be thinking that she was interested in me. But in female mode, I feel that she was just being a good listener.  (I'd have a big laugh if I were totally wrong here, as there is nothing I could do in female mode to reciprocate interest.) On the way out, I talked to one of my co-op board members (who goes to the church - I've written about her elsewhere) and told her of the incident with the nosy neighbor. And now, she's prepared for me to tell the rest of the board that I'm transgender at the next private board meeting....

 - - - - - -

When I got home, I chatted with the same neighbor (from the co-op board) again for a minute, and then get in contact with Vicki. We decided to see "Woman of Gold" - so I rushed out to meet her at the theater. Both of us were late, but still early enough to take our seats before the trailers ended. I highly recommend this film - Helen Mirren's performance will likely put her in contention for an Oscar next year.. And then we went across the street for Chinese food - where we chatted of shoes and ships and sealing wax....

Any time I get together with Vicki, it seems as if time passes too quickly. Then, being a biological male does put some limits on things we can do. Yet, most of the limits stem from the fact that we are at two different stages of life.  But I'll always be glad for the time we do spend together....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Gaming in many places

While GFJ is in Atlantic City, for the weekend, I have the chance to meet with friends and play board games up in Fishkill.  Three guesses as to who will have more money at the end of the weekend - first two guesses don't count.

- - - - - -

For the most part, I can walk away from gambling games, as they are meant to suck money from those who play them.  I'm not a good poker player (not enough practice), I can't remember the rules that maximize my time/money at the blackjack tables, and I usually refuse to put money in the one armed bandits. So the only game that I'm remotely interested in playing is at the dice table - and only then, if the table minimum is low enough for me to enjoy a long run of play.

Last year, when GFL and I were in Atlantic City, I found myself bored in the casinos. The table stakes at the craps tables were all above my limits, so I found myself playing the bandits - only because GFL wanted to play them a little. But I never had a sneaking suspicion of GFL being a gambling addict, as she only visited the casinos once or twice every year.

Since I've been dating GFJ, she has been to Atlantic City 2 or 3 times. Any time someone is getting comped rooms, I wonder how much money is being gambled. (Usually, this means how much money is being lost.) So I know that I'll have to keep an eye on this if we get closer to each other. I have already had to deal with someone with an addiction (my late wife), and the uncontrolled outflow of money was a big cause of some of the unhappiness in our relationship.

- - - - - -

But enough of gambling for now....

Today's plan had me visiting friends in Fishkill and playing board games for the better part of the day.  I left late in the afternoon, and figured that I'd get there around dinner time instead of at lunch time. This way, I'd be able to do some shopping at The Avenue before going to a game session that would last well into the evening. So I crossed the river, and saw one of my favorite salesladies - and bought a new handbag and a new nightie. Afterwards, it was over to my friends' place for games - where I met the family that hosts the Thursday night group in Yonkers.  One of the games we played was Cards Against Humanity, where someone played the following cards:

I'm sure that many of my Liberal friends would appreciate these cards....

I ended up leaving around 11:00 pm, and after a quick stop at Walmart to pick up some miscellaneous sundries, I headed home for the night.  Hopefully, I'll get a good night's sleep, as I'd like to finally get out of the house early on a Sunday morning....

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A doctor, a phone interview, and dinner with Vicki

When I got up this morning (under duress - I had not slept well last night, and needed the cacophony of multiple alarms to get me up) I had 3 things on my schedule: (1) A consult with a GI doctor for a Colonoscopy, (2) A phone interview for a position I was under qualified for, and (3) Dinner with Vicki. The timing of all of these would waste a large part of my day.  And the first of these things required that I be en-homme. The rest of the day could be spent en-femme.

- - - - - -

Going to the GI Doc was hurried - I saw a couple of people I've wanted to contact in my complex (to go out for coffee or something), and chatted with them for a minute. Although I shouldn't have lost much time, this minute caused me to get stuck in traffic behind a bus, then a series of slow moving cars on a 2 lane road. Luckily, I made it to the doctor's office on time - but them forgot that I placed my insurance card in my wallet. But I was still lucky, as the staff had me read the information off the card when I scheduled the appointment several weeks earlier.

The world runs on paperwork, and this doctor's office was no exception. I got there a minute late, and was filling out paperwork when a nurse asked for me. (I wish I had gotten there 5 minutes earlier.) After the routine of taking my pulse, blood pressure, and medical history, I finally made it to the doctor.  I had no idea what this man looked like. But I can say that when I saw him, my first thought was that virtually all straight women would consider this man extremely handsome.  (And if I had gone through full transition, I'd want someone like him to be the first to use the new plumbing configuration.) We had a pleasant chat, and scheduled my procedure. GFJ is fine with the date chosen, and she'll be here late the night before, so that she can be the designated driver that day.

As an aside....

I haven't been on the grounds of the local hospital since the night my wife died. They have done a lot of construction since I was last there, and I was very surprised to find that parking was not easy to find. Hopefully, when GFJ does the driving that day, that parking will be much easier to find than it was today.

- - - - - -

Next was the phone interview. I knew I was not going to be up to form, when I needed to nap a little before the call.  What made things worse is that across the street from my building, they were running a wood chipper to turn a large number of trimmed tree limbs into mulch (or sawdust). I ended up being awakened from my nap when I got the call, and (in my opinion) did poorly on some of the questions I was asked. (Although I hate the thought of working in Lower Manhattan again, "beggars can't be choosers" anymore.) I mentioned the wood chipping that aggravated my headache, and was obviously "off" during the call. So if I'm called back, it will be a great surprise to me.

- - - - - -

And finally, we get to Vicki. She's been "hip deep in alligators" this week, and had to bail out on tonight's dinner. However, she will be available on Sunday - and it'll be nice to catch up on things without worrying how late it is. In our short call, Vicki mentioned that she was going to a "baby shower diaper drop" on Saturday. She then discussed how she didn't like these types of gatherings, and that the only reason that she had a wedding shower was that friends who couldn't be invited to the wedding (size constraints) still wanted to do something nice for her. Vicki is not a person who is into games, and she said: "Marian, you're more of a chick than I am." And I took that to be a compliment.

- - - - - -

Back to the job search....

I figure that if I don't find work as an IT Project Manager by the end of the year, I'll give up on this path and try something else. Given the economy, we've been climbing out of one hell of a pit since 2009, and it is likely that 2017 will not be a good year given typical economic and political cycles. There is a part of me that very much wants to retire, but I know that is not practical. But there is nothing that says Marian can't be the person who gets that job.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Grim Reaper was hard at work before the day began.

This is a somber picture, isn't it?  But when I started to write this entry, I had just gotten home from NM's mom's funeral mass.

- - - - - -

Last night, I knew that I would be unable to attend the wake, so I made sure that there would be no impediments for me to go to the funeral mass.  My alarms were set, my clothes were laid out, and all I had to do was get moving and out the door in the morning on time. And that's exactly what I did.

Arriving at the church a few minutes before the service, I saw NM, but wasn't sure if she recognized me. A minute or two later, she walked down the aisle, saying hello to her friends - and she did a slight double take when she got to me. NM has seen me more en-femme, and was surprised to see that I showed up en-homme for the mass. When we last were able to meet, I told NM that the next time I'd see her, it would be en-homme - but she said that didn't care which way I came to see her.  Little did I know that I'd be right, but for reasons I didn't forsee at the time.  (She had once said that one of her family members would likely be upset by a TG - so I showed up en-homme, just to make sure that there was no awkwardness.)

After the mass, I called my dad and he gave me a surprise - my uncle is moving back to California.  Amazing!  After all the effort he made to come to New York, he finds that Los Angeles is his real home now.  (I wonder if there is more to it than having better weather in LA, and having more friends there.... And I guess that I'll now have to hope that my uncle outlasts my aunt by 32 days - California inheritance law. <g>) At least, he will be living in a nice condo, where all the maintenance is taken care of by someone else - a very important consideration for an 80+ year old man.

Once I was done with my dad, Lili called. I told her about NM, and she wanted me to drop GFJ for the sake of NM.  Dropping GFJ is not my style - she may be using me as a relationship of convenience. But I'm not going to drop her while I'm enjoying being with her. Instead, I'm going to develop a friendship with NM that could be turned to something more, if GFJ were to be a temporary fling.  Lili's the type of person who believes in "Soul Mates", and she thinks that I should be looking for one as well. I noted that I'm too tired to look for a soul mate, and would prefer to be with someone who could my best pal....

- - - - - -

When I finally reached home, I knew I didn't have the time to change from Mario to Marian before my cleaning lady came. So I figured that I'd stay as Mario for a while, say hi to my cleaning lady, and touch base with her for a change. I'll probably keep her on a monthly schedule - even if I'm spending money from savings to pay for her.  I find that I need the soft discipline of having her visits enough to keep this place from becoming a total mess.

After the cleaning lady left, I noticed that her companion had left her coat.  I called her back, and she said to leave it "around" and she'll pick it up next time she's here.  (Of course, she will likely not need the coat again until late in Autumn, as it is a Winter coat.)

- - - - - -

The cleaning lady's departure left me free to contact J, my friend from the Whine and Dine. (I'll refer to her as WDJ for now.) Unfortunately, she was not able to meet today (for reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss here). She's got my interest piqued, as she mentioned that:

"I have a huge update on my personal life. It may prove blog worthy."

Since I know she's a regular reader of this blog, I wonder what the story is - could it have something to do with me being transgender (or about the transgender community in general)?  I have no idea.  Yet, in another email, she notes that she wants to tell me the story in person.  So, I can't wait to hear the story - but it'll be next week (at best) before we can get together.  And if it is blog worthy AND if she gives me permission to tell it, I will repeat the story here.

- - - - - -

So I ended up killing a little time before going to the Whine and Dine. Ideally, I'd have gotten out early enough to cross the river, picked up a few pairs of stockings at The Avenue, and back in time to place my food order.  That didn't happen.  Instead, I was stuck behind a few cars, and got to the venue just in time to place a food order. And then it was conversation time...

I was at the "Quiet" end of the table, and enjoying myself with 3 other ladies. One of the ladies wanted to find out more about my job search, and was wondering which mode (Marian or Mario) in which I was conducting the job search - and I answered, while the other 2 were distracted by something else going on. And when the other two came back to the conversation, the chat changed to a subject of which (as a transgender) I could have no direct personal knowledge - issues with female plumbing. When women are talking about their bodies in an intimate manner (such as IUD use, determining when menopause starts in a woman without a uterine lining, etc.) around me, I know that I have been accepted as one of the sorority - as very few women will talk about specifics of their plumbing with men other than their OB/Gyn's....

And then it was time for the Wine infused ice cream.  This week, it was Cherry Merlot, and Lemon Champagne.  Both ice creams were yummy! But they weren't as yummy as the Raspberry Chardonnay we had last week.  I'm hoping we do this again soon (when I can make it.) I can't wait to try more of these flavors.

- - - - - -

All too soon, it was time to go home.  Our hostess at the Whine and Dine never made it there, as she was stuck at her "9 to 5" job. But we saved a few pictures of the event, and I hope to be able to post them here soon....

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A walk in the mist

Imagine how this member of the Wallenda family must have been feeling, being required to tether himself to the cable for safety reasons. Although the man made it safely across the chasm without incident, he must have been a little bit bothered by others telling him what and what not to do.

- - - - - -

Most of us Transgenders have only a clue about where we're going, and how we're going to get there.  Somehow, I have just a little more than a clue - I've accumulated a lot of information over the past few years, and have had a chance to digest it. I've developed an informal IF-THEN-ELSE flowchart of events that may happen in my life, and have accordingly prioritized my responses to these events.

I had a pleasant time with GFJ today, and one of the things we did was to walk the Putnam Line rail trail in the mist. (We didn't go far from our starting point, as neither of us wanted to get caught in the rain.) Once we were done, I gave Lili the chance to meet GFJ, but her cleaning lady was about to come and do her magic.  So GFJ and I went back to my place, relaxed a while (watching movies, cooking, etc.) before she left around 11:00 pm. This prevented me from going to NM's mom's wake, forcing me to attend the 11:00 am funeral service (en-homme) in the morning. Of course, this affects my ability to do my Thursday volunteer stint. (I'll try to get in the time on Tuesday, as I want to work with the intern one last time before she's gone.) Once I'm done with the funeral, I should be able to donate some stuff to the Salvation Army before switching to Marian Mode for Whining and Dining in Beacon.  My "If-Then-Else" decision tree for mid-week worked as expected, as I gave thought ahead of time to what needed to be done and what trade-offs I could make to get those things done.

- - - - - -

In the long term, I have internalized another decision tree. This decision tree focuses on the conditions which will allow me to move forward on my journey towards femininity, as well as the conditions that will cause me to stay put. For example, no matter what, I would not entertain thoughts of transition until my father passes away. But I can (and likely will) get my ears pierced within the next few months. (Yes, I keep putting this off - but I don't want to do this until I'm done with my current therapist.)  Each change I make to my body involves a set of precursor conditions, and I am comfortable not making many of them until some future date.

- - - - - -

My path through life could be described as if I were walking through a mist. I can see where I'm going for a short distance, but the mist prevents me from seeing things far away. Do I wish that things would be clearer? Maybe. But there's a part of me that doesn't want to know what the future will bring. So I'm grateful for the perspective I have....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Running errands on a rainy day

Yesterday, I wrote a task list for the week that had over 15 items, with room for more additions. If things prove true to form, I may be able to attack most of them, but some will remain undone. But I think this is what a task list is for - to focus a person on a list of things that need doing, and to identify those things that need prioritization.

- - - - - -

There are two factors influencing what I do today - The Weather and GFJ's overnight visit. A change to either would make today and tomorrow look very different in the tasks I will address each day. GFJ signed the two of us up for a nearby hike that would take place before sunset. However, the weather forecast called for rain. This means that GFJ and I would likely be at home in the evening, as neither of us wants to hike in the rain. Change the weather, and we'd be on a hike (with a potential dinner at the diner). Change GFJ's plans, having her stay home, and I'd do something in Marian Mode tonight, with attendance at a wake for M's mother (M from Artoberfest - let's call her NM for now) in the evening.

NM and I have dated, but we never got to the point where we got romantic. Part of the reason for this was her busy schedule, working 3 part time jobs. And part of the reason for this was her mother's illness getting in her way of us getting together. But I like the woman as a friend and want to keep the romantic option open if we're both free to explore it. So I don't want to bring GFJ over if I'm going to the wake.

- - - - - -

As I've mentioned before, I still keep a cleaning lady employed, coming in once per month to take care of things. This forces me to keep my apartment in a form of "cleanliness" that allows me to get it up to form enough to get value out of the cleaning lady.  Today, the first thing on my list is cleaning up the apartment, so that the cleaning lady can do her magic later on in the week.

One of the things I have to do in this cleanup is to get rid of boxes destined for the Salvation Army and for the Library. In the Salvation Army's boxes are clothes that either no longer fit, or do not look good on me any longer. This includes some of the mistakes I've made in shopping for Marian, as a couple of dresses I wore last in San Francisco three years ago no longer fit my style, but may be of some use to someone else.

Since I did some laundry the other day, I figured that it would be time to put some of my winter clothes in storage. Although I had some room in the storage containers for two skirts and a sweater, I didn't do much reorganizing here. I figure that once the weekend comes, I will look at these containers, take out the things I didn't wear this winter, and put them in boxes for a second run to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

- - - - - -

Of course, there are the typical errands to take care of: shopping, more laundry, throwing out garbage, etc. that must be taken care of. And these can be taken care of in either Marian or Mario mode. If GFJ weren't coming, I'd have gone out to exercise once I got moving, and then switched into Marian mode for the rest of the day. With GFJ coming, I don't have that option. And I miss it....

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The beginning of another week, and headaches abound

It's the beginning of another week, and I have a lot of headaches in front of me, many of them must be handled en-homme, and not en-femme. And, if things go as expected, I'll be spending much of the week en-homme, as there will be social necessities that require a masculine appearance.

- - - - - -

Today, I had to pick up my prescription at the pharmacy, do laundry, and eventually go to the health club - it didn't make any sense for me to consider doing any of this en-femme, so Monday was blocked for Mario Mode.

Assuming that GFJ comes down on Tuesday for an overnight, I doubt I'll be able to spend any time in Marian Mode until Thursday morning. But her presence introduces a second complication - I intend to go to the wake of M's (from Artoberfest) mother on Wednesday night, or go to the funeral the next day, and I can't be with GFJ or be in Marian Mode when I pay my respects. (If things don't work out with GFJ, I want the ability to reopen things with M - something I think she'd be interested in doing.) If I ended up going to the Funeral on Thursday, I'd likely be unable to do a Thursday shift at the GLBT center - and my week would be totally fouled up, as I have a GI Doctor's appointment on Friday, to do the consult for a long delayed colonoscopy.

Although I know that I'll get in some Marian Mode time on Thursday night, it seems like Thursday night is such a long way away right now.

- - - - - -

As I've said before, I've been living off of supplemental benefits for the past 10 months.  In less than 2 months, I'll have to turn on my pension, and hope I can find something worthwhile to work at before my savings runs out. I've gotten to the point where I'm able to identify the firms who advertise their own job opportunities from the headhunters who want to fill those opportunities. And I'm seeing a lot of firms advertising for the same positions. Although the market has gotten better, it is not as good as it would appear if one bases his/her conclusions from the job boards.

What I'm not seeing that much anymore are the short term contract positions I was seeing a year ago.  I wonder what happened - have these positions transformed themselves into full time, long term positions? Or, were these openings just an aberration in the market? I'd be happy now to jump at one of these short term slots, now that my benefits are almost exhausted.

- - - - - -

Do I repeat myself?  In theme, yes. But I have certain goals other than just finding work. One of those goals is to eventually be living in Marian Mode 24x7 if (and only if) I don't find a long term romance in the next few years. The other day, I did some photo editing to see what my face would look like if some of my features were softened, and sculpted into a more feminine look. Given the current cost of plastic surgery, this is doable. But I have to ask myself - are the changes worth the price I'll pay?  Until I have that answer, I don't think I'll take that next step....

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another day at the Lili Pond - and I needed it.

Although this was Easter Sunday, I couldn't get myself moving enough to go to church. I needed to be with people while en-femme, and I've missed too many opportunities to go out en-femme, and I'm likely to miss even more during the early part of the week. So I was very glad to be able to go out with Lili today....

- - - - - -

Lili and I planned to get together around noon. Neither of us were moving by then - we both were too tired to get out of bed, save to relive ourselves in the "room next door". So it was roughly 3:00 pm by the time we met AND we had to run out, so that Lili could show an apartment to a potential renter at 4:00 pm.

We got to the house early, and Lili found that the upstairs tenant had dumped a recliner in the back and did not make sure that their dog did not poop in the back yard. Lili was livid!  But she didn't have much time to complain to the tenant, as (who I hope will be) her next tenant came to the door for a second viewing of the apartment. Although this likely tenant is getting a section 8 rent subsidy, my gut instinct says that this lady (and her family) will prove to be OK as tenants.

By the time this tenant left, Lili wanted to show me her mother's jewelry and then go to eat. (Why we couldn't eat first is another issue.)  So she showed me the jewelry, and then we went to eat. Over a late lunch, Lili asked me what she should say to her current tenant. And I told her NOT to threaten the tenant, but to give a reason for the tenant to behave - the health of the expected new tenant's children. This way, there is no finger pointing, and a "demand" is turned into an important priority request. Lili took my advice, and avoided making anything worse between her and the troublesome tenant.

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Hopefully, Lili will begin to have an easier time of things.  As for me, I simply hope to be able to stay healthy and maintain my friendships and standard of living....

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is like "Super Bowl Sunday" for many Christians - the day symbolizes the resurrection of Christ, and the redemption of mankind from sin.  In many ways, it is a day suited for optimism, as it is one of the most cheerful on the church calendar.

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But what does this mean for someone who is transgender?

I could write a lot about symbolism and use words like "renewal", "forgiveness", "new life", "redemption". etc.... Instead I prefer to talk about having places to go as Marian, being able to socialize as my feminine self.

Friday's incident with my nosy neighbor showed me how much I've grown. In the past, I'd get very worried and go into extreme defense mode. Now, I'll deal with the problem if she causes one - and figure out a way to insulate me from any further attack.  I find it amazing that often, the people who call themselves "Christian" are the very ones who would ignore Christ's teachings and use repressive tactics in order to enforce their tribal behavior norms.

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Last night, M's mother (from Artoberfest) passed away. Sadly, M will likely always connect Easter with her mom's death. Even though Easter is a church holiday (and I believe she's Catholic), M will be meeting with the funeral director during the day to discuss arrangements.  I told her what my friend Barbara told me when I lost my wife, but said to use this, not as a directive, but as an influence to remind her that it mattered what happened while her mom was alive, nothing can be made up after death....

What I didn't say (and don't think I needed to say) is that when I attend the wake, that I'll do so as Mario, and not as Marian - her father is still alive, and might take offense if he sensed that I was a non-op transgender.

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So what does Easter mean to me? Let's say that it is a holiday that reminds me of the importance of living life in the moment, the need to make sure to live for today - even though one must keep tomorrow in mind.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday in the doldrums

How many of you stumbled onto one of the meanings of the phrase "The Doldrums"?  "The Doldrums" is a belt, about 5 degrees on either side of the equator known for the slack breeze in the middle of the tropics.  Bored, dispirited and overheated, sailors stuck in the doldrums could face illness and starvation. 

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With my job search in the doldrums, even an email reading like the one below can be cause for optimism:

I apologize for the delay but we have been working against a state deadline of April 1 and have been completely swamped. In addition, the State has released some new information related to IT systems and we are trying to integrate these developments into our planning as these changes impact our resource needs. 

I expect to refocus on our IT management needs in the next few weeks. 

Thank you very much for your continued interest in ********* and again, I apologize for the slow pace of this effort.

In short, the two things it doesn't say is (1) that the position has been filled by someone else, and (2) that the position no longer is open. So for a phone interview that took place a month ago, it still pays to keep in touch with this lady.

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Since GFJ is down in Baltimore with her two sons, I have the next two weekends free to take care of other social engagements, seeing friends I wouldn't get the chance to meet when GFJ is here.  Originally, I had planned to go to a Passover dinner with Lili and her family, but because of the divvying up of her mother's jewelry being planned, it was not a time or place to have outsiders with them. (Could there be another reason?  I doubt that Lili would tell me, if it was because of family disapproval.)

This left me free to pursue other interests.... Do I see L, a woman I once dated, only to have a supper companion?  Do I trek to the GLBT Center for their every other week board game night (where I would expect to see A, from the Thursday board game meetup). Do I do something else to keep me busy?  Or, do I stay at home and just take care of a few loads of laundry?  As fate would have it, L was good to go until she made her visit to the podiatrist - she's unable to walk, so we'll catch up on things in the future. This freed me to do a late Saturday afternoon outing at the health club, and then do 3 loads of laundry. 

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And then there is M (from Artoberfest). Her mother is gravely ill, and is not likely to last long. Cancer is a nasty disease, and when someone is on a death watch it is even more gruesome.  There are no words to describe the feelings one has when one is waiting for a loved one to die, wanting that death to come quickly so that the suffering ends for that person and for one's self....  I told her that I'd like to get together with her as friends (it's not the time to spark a romance) so that she can talk, vent, and maybe cry a little.

These are tough times for M, and her financial situation may be worse than GFJ's.  Until the battle with "Megabank" ends, there will be no light at the end of her tunnel. With her mom being ill, she has had to take off a lot of time from work, and I doubt that she has anything left in savings - and hope that she has been able to pay the bills to keep the roof over her head.

Towards the end of the evening, M messaged me to tell me that her mom had just passed away.  This is very sad, and I told her so - and I wish I could have gotten to have known her mom. But that will never be the case. As soon as I know what the wake/funeral arrangements are, I'll put a trip out to see her on my schedule - as long as GFJ is not around. (Hopefully, the first day of the wake will be Monday, as I know I'll be able to make it without GFJ's presence to inhibit me.

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Of course, there was another voice mail on my phone from my Nosy Neighbor. This time, it was a friendly message, as she had seen a job opening I might be able to fill. (I wonder how she can flip flop so quickly after the angry message from last night.)  Even though this is a friendly gesture, I know not to trust her. As my co-op's managing agent has warned me, she uses friendship like a weapon - you can't count on it when you need it most.

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As you can see, "The Doldrums" is an expression that describes what has been going on around me as of late. And I hope I get out of them soon.....

Friday, April 10, 2015

Freaky Friday

Sometimes, being "Out" seems like being an "Illustrated Woman" on display to the world. Some people look at us as if we're freaks, and others look at us simply as people who live a little differently than others. Today, I've had my first instance of someone trying to use my being trans against me....

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As I've mentioned before, I'm on my co-op's board of directors. Over half of the board knows that I am trans AND has no problem with it. However, I can't say this for the rest of the shareholders in my complex - I do not interact with them on a regular basis, and have no way of knowing how they feel.

My immediate downstairs neighbor (the "nosy neighbor", as I've called her here in the past), called me to complain about another neighbor who has been throwing his cigarette butts off of his porch. (This neighbor has a series of complaints against him, but there is a limit to what we can do about him.)  I told her that she should submit her complaints in writing, emailing the board or our managing agent. And she got huffy, complaining that this is a new policy. There was no way that she was going to listen to reason, as she complained that she doesn't write letters or sends email. And after a little bit more of exasperating talk, I hung up on her, knowing that it is better to be rude than to be uncontrolled....

One of the more important reasons for a policy that insists on having written complaints is that it forces a person to take responsibility for an accusation. If I were to say that neighbor "so and so" was doing something, the managing agent and our board needs to be sure that the complaint is legitimate and not based on hearsay. However, Nosy neighbor didn't like me hanging up on her, and she left me a message on my voice mail saying that she would be sending a picture of me in Marian Mode to my brother. Whether or not she does so, technically, this is harassment. (If she able to and then does so, I'll have to have a talk with my brother that I've wanted to avoid for a long while....) As a result, I had to send an email to my co-op's managing agent and to the president of the co-op board - to document what was going on, and to ask for advice.

We have a public co-op board meeting towards the end of the month, and I will need to prepare the board for some potential trouble from this resident. I'm hoping that the president of the board will address this issue if it is brought up, as this is a time I need allies. (It's not that this troublemaker can cause me much immediate trouble. Instead, I need support, simply to show this bully that we are not afraid of her.) If, in a year's time, I am voted off the board - I'll be fine. But it will be a sad day for the co-op if one troublemaker breaks up a well functioning board for its own gain.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Current notes on a job search

Things must be picking up a little. Although things didn't go as I'd have liked with the e-commerce firm in NYC, another firm (a headhunter) has expressed interest in me. Although the position is a 12 month slot, it is long enough to carry me through another year, and would allow me to put away some more emergency money.

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When people send the "thank you, but no thank you" emails with phrases like this, it makes one wonder....

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me earlier. It was a difficult decision, but, unfortunately, I won’t be asking you in for an interview. I know that with your qualifications, you’ll find a job soon.

Wonder, "What could I be doing wrong?" that is....   Why was the decision difficult? Was I qualified, but deemed to be a little too old or too inflexible? The last phrase is pleasant, but almost galling - simply because I've been searching for over 10 months.  One thing I've just done to help was to change two things on my LinkedIn profile - change my college graduation date to 1990 (from 1980), and to drop the first 12 years of experience (this, to sync up with what shows on my resume). So we'll see what happens over time.

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Of course, there was another nibble that caused me some indigestion.  One headhunting firm (based in Georgia, as I later found out) wanted to present me to one of their clients based in Connecticut. The headhunter wanted to change the end date of my last employment to 2015, so that I would be an easier sell to the client.  I had a minor problem with that, but could live with it, given discrimination against the long term unemployed. But when I was asked to sign a "Right to Represent" document before forwarding my paperwork to their client, I had to examine it before going further, and I found two clauses I didn't like - one of them (regarding showing up for a job) because it had no time limit. (If there was misrepresentation of the job and I were to quit, I could still be held liable for some of the monies lost by the firm). The other clause was to have this document governed by the laws of the state of Georgia - making it almost impossible for me to defend my rights from New York. Given my discomfort with this firm, I'm thinking of letting the opportunity slip - simply because the first impression their client would have of me would be based on an untruth. 

I wish I had a convenient and inexpensive access to a lawyer to answer simple questions like those I had regarding this document.  I also wonder if any of my readers has come across this kind of document before, and what did they think of it.

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There were two more nibbles - one with an insurance company, whose position I am unqualified for (who wants to do a phone screening), and the other with a local headhunter for a position for which I can't find the paperwork that describes it. (It didn't help that the headhunter was another Indian (from the subcontinent) who had a thick enough accent that made it hard to understand his message.)  Hopefully, I'll be able to get a bite on one of these positions.

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And then, there was the volunteer position that I applied for several months ago. I finally had the opportunity to speak with one of the principals (in my best Marian Mode voice) and arrange to meet with her.  When we meet, I'll casually mention that I'm transgender (which will answer the question "why does her face look so unfeminine?") and take it from there. I figure that given my lack of success (so far) in finding paid work, I might as well work for this small start up agency and develop contacts who know me as Marian and not as Mario.
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Could you imagine the prejudice I'd be facing if I tried to interview for a paid position in a post-transition (or in a RLT) mode?  Having experience that is "neither fish nor fowl" doesn't help me much. But the extra prejudice many have against Transgender people would kill off the remaining chances I'd have to find work. At least, I know that I can still do something valuable in the non-profit sector and enjoy my time as Marian....

One thing I know - I'll come out of this situation with a new perspective on life. And I'll probably be more grateful for the things I really need to have....