Sunday, May 31, 2015

Trans*forming the Dialogue

I am participating in Trans*forming the Dialogue, Simmons College’s Online MSW Program’s campaign to promote an educational conversation about the transgender community. By participating in this campaign, I will be offering my perspective on what TO ask and what NOT to ask trans*people.

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In my case, I am comfortable answering almost any question about being transgender. However, this doesn't mean that my openness is typical of transgender people. One of the questions that most transgenders dislike being asked of them is whether they have had bottom surgery. Being female may be more of a social construct than it is a physical construct. And from my experiences in the world of females, if I'm following the "written and unwritten rules of femininity", then I'll be accepted as a female - even when women in a group know that I wasn't born with female "plumbing".

Other bloggers have noted that they don't like being asked "Why do you do this?" and "When did you first know you are Trans?" For me, given that the public is only starting to gain an awareness of "Transness", I have no problems answering these questions. Yet, I consider them to be in as bad a taste as if one was asking the same of a Gay or Lesbian person.

Of course, many people wonder if and how our sexual preference is tied to our gender identities. And again, this is a touchy subject. There are very few conditions that one needs to know a person's sexual preference - and one of them is when a person is searching for love, where one wants to be sure that a proposition is made to a person who won't feel uncomfortable with that proposition.

An inevitable question comes up from curious people - "How does it feel to be a (wo)man?" Although this question may be in bad taste, the person may want to take advantage of a transgender person's unique experiences, and learn more about life than s/he would learn from her/his own experiences. I'm not yet comfortable answering this question, as I do not have enough experiences as a female to adequately contrast my male experiences with my female experiences.

- - - - - -

There are so many questions, and so many of them are wrong - only in how information is gathered. Instead of asking "How were you treated when you were a boy/girl?", you might ask about the expectations of his/her assigned gender, and how he/she dealt with them? Ask the transgender person how best to approach topics, such as which pronouns to use, how to refer to childhood, etc. - there is no "one size fits all" questions or answers.

Even though I am transgender, I am still learning things about myself, and the things I am comfortable talking about. What works for me does not work for everyone. But the most important thing is that we have a dialogue with people about being transgender. Only by dialogue, will people find out that we are not freaks - but are people born with (as I see it) a cerebral intersex condition....

The Calla Lilies are in bloom again....

Katherine Hepburn uttered this phrase in the movie "Stage Door", and though I've forgotten the movie, I've never forgotten how well she played her role.  And today, I finally saw Lili making the positive choice that she needs to start moving forward in her life....

- - - - - -

But first....

My original plans for the day had me taking advantage of the fact that it would be the one day this weekend that could totally be spent en-femme. Tomorrow would have me en-homme when I went to see family, and Monday would have me en-homme while GFJ was over. Do you think I took advantage of this?  Noooooooo!  I took it easy all day, and didn't get off my duff until dinnertime.

Around 6:00 pm, I decided to call Lili and see what she was doing for dinner. But she was on the road, coming home from Chatham, NY.  Her traveling store made its way upstate for a 2 day festival, and she said she wouldn't be home until 8:00 or so. This gave me some time to get showered and shaved, as I wanted to get out of the house en-femme for the last time this weekend. And I got out around 8:00 pm. Lili was already famished (and so were her dogs), so she didn't wait to have dinner.  This made things easier for me, as I was able to go to Panera Bread and have something I know I'd like. 

After I left Panera Bread, I called DCD to see how things were going with him.  His to be ex wife keeps jerking his chains, and there's not much he can do without a money stream of his own.  Since he's unwilling to give up custody of the kids, he may destroy himself as a result of the divorce process - leaving an extremely weak parent available to pick up the pieces when his to be ex crashes and burns. 

Finally, I made it to Lili's around 9:30. And we watched the last two episodes of "New Girls on the Block".  I find it pleasantly hard to believe, but she's actually giving up on desserts, and eating right.  (Now it's time for me to change my diet as well.)  I would never have believed that she'd do this - and I won't sabotage this effort, as I hope she keeps it up.  Even more important - she is actually in a better mood.  Hopefully, this improved attitude will help her find someone nice - when she is ready to meet that someone....

- - - - - -

On other matters....

By now, Vicki #2 is done with her activities in regard to a new Spencer Tunick installation. Part of me might have been interested in participating, but getting up early is not something I like doing - especially on weekends.  His 2 year residence at the Arts Center will be up, and I'm surprised that he worked in the same complex as my friend NM (from Artoberfest).  This will give me something to talk about the next time I get the chance to talk with her.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dinner with friends - old and new.

No, this is not a period picture from what I can tell. But it is as close to what this restaurant would look like if the parking spaces in front of it weren't always filled with cars. And it continues to be a go-to place for me, many years since I first became acquainted with the town of Cold Spring and the people in it.

- - - - - -

I first became acquainted with Cold Spring shortly after moving into my apartment.  Being a young man (or, should I say, presenting as one), my focus at the time was building a career and finding someone with whom I could start a family. Commuting home one day, I met an ambitious young woman (CSN) who didn't want to let me fall into the 45 minute coma I used to enjoy on the way home. Reluctantly, I had a good chat with her, and exchanged phone numbers before the end of the commute. Yet, I did not have any intention of calling her, as I had many more things on my mind than starting a new romantic relationship at the time. Several days later, I received a call from this lady, and she invited me to dinner at her place. (It's amazing how forward this woman was for that era.)  I ended up at her place, and it was the beginning of a whirlwind romance.  Within a few dates, we made the mistake of getting engaged.

There were many things that should have told me that CSN was the wrong woman for me. First, she was much more ambitious than I ever could be. Next, she didn't respect my middle class background. And lastly, she didn't have any long term intentions of being with me.  She gave off enough signals that I would only be a stepping stone for her on her path up the social ladder. But what caused me to want to end things is something I never had happen up to this point....

Shortly before Halloween, the two of us decided to spend a romantic weekend at a Bed and Breakfast in Vermont.  (The B&B is still there, and I wouldn't mind going there again one day.) Unfortunately, the weekend chosen by her was very bad for me, as I had to complete a paper for a grad school course due the following week.  The setting was beautiful, as there was a full moon lighting the snow on the ground outside, there were logs in the fireplace, and there was a comfortable bed in the room - with someone very willing to share it with me.  And while CSN was enjoying the view of a beautiful ceiling, all I could do was think of the paper I had to complete with one weekend less to work on it.  Something was very wrong, and I couldn't identify what it was. But I knew this unhappiness was related to CSN, and I knew that the relationship was not meant to last.  So I broke it off shortly after New Year's Day. Although she tried to reignite the relationship several times, I brushed her off, and eventually lost contact with her.

After my wife died, circumstances reacquainted me with CSN, and she had achieved much of what she dreamed of when I knew her.  However, she was still a status seeker, but no longer able to work herself up the ladder. We dated a few times, and she tried to play "can you top this" with my friend Barbara, who owned the local Bed and Breakfast - and lost. I was oblivious to the game being played, and Barbara clued me into what she and this lady were doing later on.  Again, I lost contact with CSN - but have done internet searches to see what she has been up to - and have found that I was very lucky to have dodged the bullet of being in a relationship with her.

- - - - - -

But what does this have with Cold Spring and my other relationships?

Because of CSN, I have developed a fondness for the village, and have eaten at the Cold Spring Depot restaurant many a time.  I've taken dates there, I have taken friends there, and I've recommended the place to many other people over the years. In fact, it's the place where I first met GFJ. But I have yet to go there while en-femme.

Tonight, I had the chance to introduce GFJ to Patty and Steve for the first time. Before going there, GFJ asked me whether she'd be seeing Mario or Marian - and I said that the odds were 99% in favor of Mario.  GFJ needed to know that she could be part of a "normal" couple when with me. So we all met at the restaurant at 6:00 pm, and enjoyed dinner outdoors. (We all would regret this later on, as it started to get nippy as the sun was going down.) After introductions, conversation flowed freely, and we all had a good time.  When GFJ went to relieve herself, Patty mentioned that GFJ was a keeper (my words) - and approved of my choice of women. Unfortunately, it started to get a little chilly outside, and we had to go our separate ways.  But I'm sure that it won't be the last time all four of us get together....

- - - - - -

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I am a bi-gendered individual.  As much as I'd rather have been born with female "plumbing", I can be comfortable in male mode - and today was one of those times. Although Patty and Steve have both seen me in female mode, it was much more appropriate for me to be in male mode for the evening - and I was glad of it.

Tomorrow, I'll go back to a female presentation, and enjoy the day.  When GFJ comes here on Sunday night, I'll miss being in female mode for a day or two - but I'll enjoy being with her for the time she's here.  I can see a long term issue coming - she'll want to see me only as Mario, but I need a good amount of time spent as Marian to preserve my sanity. Hopefully, this will shake itself out in a way that satisfies both my needs....

Friday, May 29, 2015

Just another Thursday session at the Whine and Dine?

My normal routine for Thursdays is to head to the GLBT Center in White Plains to put in an afternoon of work, and then to go to the Yonkers Board Game meetup. However, as long as the Whine and Dine meetup is being scheduled for Thursdays, I'll alternate between playing games in Yonkers and a Hen Party in Beacon.  Nut based on what I heard tonight, I'm not sure of how long this will be happening....

- - - - - -

When the day began, I was still getting over a cold.  I was very lucky to be able to take a long hot shower, and help the sinuses drain.  (I'm hoping I'll be OK by the time I visit my family on Sunday - I don't want to be in a situation where I infect anyone - especially my dad....)  I was glad that I had this extra time, as I was moving slowly - and needed to double check things as I was getting dressed and made up, because I knew I might miss an important step. While I was getting dressed, a package came from The Avenue, and contained two dresses and two pairs of shoes that I ordered on clearance. So I decided to wear one of those dresses and pairs of shoes instead of what I had already laid out on the bed...

I made it out on time, and was at the GLBT Center more than early enough to prepare for the job searchers support group.  It seems like the fellow in charge wants to have one of his new hires (M) generate material to be covered in our meetings - and I am more than glad to piggyback off of his efforts. (They want to make this a draw for new people - so I am glad to help, as long as I feel I am needed.)  We started the support group meeting late, and we focused on two people's resumes. The first was from a fellow who had a very good set of skills, who I think will have no problems finding work once his resume gets polished. And the other was from K - the 31 year old who is going on 20....  Her resume was atrocious!  Not only was it poorly focused, but it was more of an elevator speech than a bulleted list of skills and accomplishments that is usually found on a resume.  Both M and I agreed - K's resume needed major work, and that she either got terrible advice on how to write a resume, or decided to wing it on her own. So I proceeded to tear it apart, but give K a way to redo the resume in a way that it could work much, much better than what she started with....

- - - - - -

After I was done with the GLBT Center, I drove home to take care of a couple of things before leaving for the Whine and Dine.  GFJ called and chatted for a bit, and we agreed that she would likely make it to dinner tomorrow night, but not stay over and risk getting reinfected with this cold.

So, it was off to the Whine and Dine, and shortly after I arrived, WDJ arrived.  She proceeded to tell an abbreviated version of her story about not being able to go into the hospital for a simple set of procedures - all due to an insurance company screw up.  More people came in over the next half hour, and one of the chat topics was the possible restaurant sale by the sponsor of the meetup. This will be a great shame.  First, we have no idea of whether this lady would be interested in promoting a hen party when she no longer needs to generate business for a restaurant she may not own anymore.  Second, I enjoy the food at this place, and would feel sad if a good restaurant were to fail.

By the time I finished dinner, WDJ and I were both getting tired of the loud noise coming from the other end of the table. So we both decided to leave the group and go for a cup of coffee at the coffeehouse down the street. Because of my transgender nature, she felt that she could discretely ask me a question regarding how a biological male might deal with a specific issue.  I gave her the answer she needed, and then we proceeded to our former board game venue, where we chatted with the owner of the place. And then it was back to the Whine and Dine....

When we got back, several people joked that we both went out to smoke a joint.  This is the furthest thing from what happened - I dare not smoke anything, as I don't want a theoretical job offer to be tripped up by a blood test that says I smoked some weed in the past 30 days. Both of us hung out for a while, and then WDJ had to leave. I hung out for another half hour, and left for home.

- - - - - -

On the way home, GFJ called and wanted to be prepped for tomorrow's dinner with Patty and Steve. So I told her about my former relationship with Patty, her relationship with Steve, and about her extended family.  This way, GFJ knows just enough to avoid a social faux pas.  Hopefully, this will be the start of many a set of dinners for four....

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A drab day ...and it was perfect outside.

It was a perfect day outside, save for the fact that one would likely want to wear a sweater. And all too soon, the heat of summer will make us travel to beaches like the one above, where we can cool off from the heat....

- - - - - -

There were 3 things on my to-do list today:
  1. Exercise (Not done - I have a summer cold)
  2. Laser Treatment on Upper and Lower Lips
  3. Laundry.
Although I could have gone out again, I would have felt a little guilty doing so if I didn't go to the health club. And I didn't have the energy for that. So I caught up on watching some of the TV shows I never get around to watching....

- - - - - -

While hanging out around the house, I decided to trim the frizz a worn out wig which has gotten a little long in the tooth. Although I do not intend to wear it on a regular basis anymore, I plan to use it during the winter, in order to preserve the newer wig that I own in the same color and style.

My favorite wig style does not lend itself to durability in the winter months. The fibers have a nasty habit of being tangled from contact with coats, scarfs, etc. - especially while driving, where the head is usually very close to the car's headrest. Any wig that I wear that is almost shoulder length will get frizzed during the cold weather. So it made sense for me to trim off some of the frizz, and to see what the wig looks like after the trim.  (Now, to find a time to visit Lili while wearing the good wig, and have the trimmed wig in tow for her inspection.)

- - - - - -

A few days ago, I placed an order for two dresses and two pairs of shoes - all on clearance. If all goes right, I'll have them by the end of the week - and I can wear one of them the next time I got to church....

During the past year, I have been able to flesh out a feminine wardrobe, and build up the confidence to take on the world while en-femme.  Although I expect that my next full time job will be en-homme, I will be doing both volunteer work and part time gigs while en-femme. The past year has taught me that I have to take time out to nourish my soul - something I didn't do enough of while I was employed.

However, unemployment has brought one of my problems to the forefront. Some people are completely self motivated, others need an occasional base touching with someone to keep on track, and still others need a stern task master to keep them on track.  I am in the second group - if I have someone checking in with me now and then, I'll get things done.  But if not, things often get left undone. There are so many things I could have done with my free time during the year, but didn't - such as developing competencies in modern computer languages, studying for my PMP exam, and setting up a web server - developing skills in this area.  But I feel that the reason I didn't do any of these technical things is that technology interests me much less than it did 40 years ago - when I started my career.

- - - - - -

Even with a lack of movement in my career (of what could be left of it), I still feel like I've grown a lot.  It's hard to believe that it was a year ago that I was laid off.  And it's even harder to believe that I've become a better person because of it....  But I can't see the end of the tunnel yet - so please keep your fingers crossed for me....

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A hard to define day

When I started to write this entry, I had no clue about a theme I could use to tie things together. And then I realized that there was a little bit of everything in this day....

- - - - - -

As I got up this morning, I noticed that the cold I started feeling yesterday afternoon left me with a hoarse throat. This could be a big problem, as it negatively affects my ability to speak in a voice that somewhat seems feminine.  Normally, this would not be a problem, but I had an appointment with the second lady at the non profit organization where I want to do some volunteer work. So I took a longer hot steamy shower than usual, and ended up getting out of the house a little late for the appointment. (And if I had thought more of it, I'd have worn a different dress, as the dress with a dominant red theme clashed with my handbag which had a dominant blue theme.)  

I arrived at the building about 10 minutes late, but this wasn't much of a problem. My conversation with this lady was short, but pleasant. I feel that they realize that they need an extra pair of hands, but want to be very careful in who they select for this pair of hands as they ramp up the organization. Given that I had no other plans for the rest of the day, I figured that I'd take a drive and mosey back to my place to take care of some paperwork....

While I was in the White Plains area, I got a call from Lili - who had joined a new health club in the Valhalla area. Hopefully, she will be able to keep with her exercise routine, as I think that this discipline will be good for her in the long term.  So we decided to get together and have lunch at the Pleasantville Diner. Although Lili was unhappy with the first bowl of soup, its replacement was to her taste, along with the rest of her meal. And she was glad that I selected this place to eat...

Once I left Lili, I decided to go home and change into a dress that was more fitting with the handbag. Although I didn't get any paperwork done (this will cost me some money, as I missed a deadline), I did get a chance to rest.  But then, I contacted WDJ - and we ended up deciding to have dinner in Beacon.  

WDJ had an issue with a medical provider which prevented a procedure originally scheduled for tomorrow from being done. Normally, this would not be so big a deal, except that she had to fast before the procedure - and she was hungry! As we entered the diner, she picked up a pastry to calm an immediate hunger pang, and then we ordered dinner. She was famished, and still couldn't finish what was in front of her. (I'm hoping that she will soon provide me detailed information about what happened to her, as I think that my readers will find her story an interesting read.) Although she finally had the chance to eat, she was still weak and had to go home after dinner....

So now it was time for me to cross the river, and go to two places: The Avenue, and then Barnes and Noble. At the former, I wanted to chat with my favorite saleslady. And at the latter, I wanted to check on a "For Dummies" book that I might want to buy if the volunteer gig at the non profit comes through. And I accomplished both things.

By the time I got home, I was feeling the effects of my cold, and knew that I had to take it easy. So I decided to lie on my bed when GFJ called - and we chatted for about an hour. It was a nice way to spend the day.  Did I hear back from the headhunter that owed me a reply?  No.  But I really didn't care much, as I figure that he'll crawl out of the woodwork if his client wants to see me. And it was more important to me to enjoy this day en-femme, than to worry about a job that I do not have....



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Memorial day weekend schedule is firming up.

Memorial day weekend - a time originally set aside to remember those who sacrificed their lives for our country, and now a time set aside for "beginning of summer" sales and family barbeques. However, with Armistice Day having morphed into our modern Veteran's Day, I have no problems with this holiday being a joyful celebration of Summer, and not the solemn day it once was.

- - - - - - 

As I write this, it is the Monday before Memorial Day. A lot of things can happen between the time I write an entry and the time it gets posted to the public. But  I feel that it is easier to maintain a consistent lag between a day's events and the day the entry chronicling those events gets published.....

- - - - - -

This weekend, my dad called me to let me know that my uncle was taking the family out to dinner. Now that I know GFJ's schedule (or the parts of it that affect my schedule), I can flesh out what I'm doing - and that includes time spent en-femme....

One of the problems I have (that most of us have) in dating is scheduling one's life to be in sync with someone else's life. In my case, I have the additional issue of scheduling enough en-femme time during the week to keep me from going insane. So far, I've been able to do this without too many problems. However, I expect to be dealing with more complications in the near future, as I will either be working 2-3 days a week in a volunteer position, 2-3 days a week at a low salary part time position, or (which I doubt) 5 days a week in a full time position.  With my old job, I could easily set my schedule to accommodate my needs for enough en-femme time. But now, the balance of en-femme and en-homme time will likely be upset due to conflicting schedule needs.

- - - - - -

As I see it, my weekend schedule will look like this:
  • Friday:
    Mario Mode - GFJ is coming down to have dinner with me and a couple of friends.
  • Saturday:
    Marian Mode - GFJ leaves in the morning for a family function (I'm not invited), and I go to a board game meetup in Fishkill.
  • Sunday:
    Marian Mode - (optional - depends on wake up time) - Church
    Mario Mode - Dinner with family on Long Island.
  • Monday:
    Marian Mode - Board game meetup in Yonkers.
I'll be switching back and forth throughout - and this is a big pain.

- - - - - -

Last night, I got a message from Vicki#2, asking me whether I'd like to have lunch with her as a secret shopper. I said Yes, but noted that she'd be seeing Mario today, as I'd be coming directly from my therapist and wouldn't have the time to morph back into Marian.  Since Vicki knows me in both modes, this is not a problem - and we met in Nanuet to have lunch courtesy of the secret shopping firm. (Since I've posted her picture elsewhere in this blog, I don't want to supply too much information which would identify her to the restaurant. But I can say that I'll be back at this place in the future - even though I'll be paying for the meal!)
We discussed many things, but today was a day where my concerns dominated the chat. And the headache of switching between Mario and Marian came up, and I noted that I wished I could stay in one mode 24x7.

All too soon, good things have to end - and I had to rush home.  Although I once had the option of going to a Paint Nite meetup with a new group of ladies, I didn't act soon enough - the venue was sold out for the evening. And in many ways, this was just as well, as I didn't have the energy to do much of anything when I got home.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, this coming weekend will be a good one - it has that potential....

Monday, May 25, 2015

An interesting email.....

I just received the following letter from someone citing an association with a US women’s college that accepts students who identify as transgender:

Dear Marian,

First and foremost I want to thank you for the incredible work you do for the transgender/gender non-conforming community. By sharing your story about embracing your femininity on Crossing T's and Dotting I's, you are helping inspire countless others to find their voice and embrace their true identity.

I’m the marketing coordinator for ***********, the third US women’s college to accept students who identify as transgender. I am reaching out because we are embarking on an exciting initiative that aims to educate the masses on trans*lives.

This spring, we are launching Trans*forming the Dialogue. A campaign designed to shift the conversation away from the problematic questions that are often asked of the members transgender community and foster a more progressive dialogue. We are inviting bloggers like yourself to be a featured voice in this campaign and provide their unique perspective in answering the following prompt:

What are the do’s and don'ts when asking a trans*person about their experiences?
  • What are 2 - 3 questions (or as many as you like) that one should NOT be asking a transgender person?
  • What are 2 - 3 questions (or as many as you like) that one SHOULD be asking a transgender person?

We invite you to share your perspective on our prompt in the form of a blogpost. If you are interested in being a featured voice in this campaign, we simply ask that you answer our prompt on your blog and include the attached blurb (that explains our campaign) as an introduction to your piece. Our campaign’s logo is also attached if you’d like to illustrate it.

Please let me know if you are interested in working with us! If you are able to publish your piece within the month of May, we will link to your post in our “First Voices” roundup going live in June. Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions at all. I truly look forward to hearing from you!


I have no problem helping them out, but I am a little concerned about the following:
  1. Although the school is based in Boston, the person contacting me is based in Maryland.
  2. The "Trans*forming the Dialogue" campaign is not yet reachable via Google.
  3. How do they think that they can educate the masses about the nature of Transgender, when the average person does not yet come into regular contact with people who openly identify as transgender?

In short, I'm a little suspicious....  My radar has been activated.  And yet, I don't mind writing about the things they ask about, as they are of concern to our community.

- - - - - -

To me, the big question that one should not ask of a Transgender person is:

"What type of genitals do you have?" 
(Read: "Has the transgender person had bottom surgery?")

It is no concern of anyone but me, my partner, and my doctor what is inside my pants. (I freely talk about it if asked, but it is in bad taste to ask this question.

More importantly, I feel that most Transgender people are bothered by phrases such as "when you were a boy/girl...." If anything, the phrasing of such statements should be "when you were presenting as a boy/girl...."  This recognizes that the Transgender person had a body configuration which differed from that person's internal core identity.

At the GLBT center where I volunteer, I've met several Transgender folk - some of whom have had bottom surgery, and others who have not had the surgery. Their body configurations are of no concern to me. However, I am concerned with things (such as preferred pronouns) to be used when referring to a person's past life, current life, and future life.  In the case of Fran (whose birthday party I wrote about in a prior entry), her daughter still uses the masculine pronouns.  With others at the center, most of us prefer the traditional pronouns used for our male/female presentations, while a growing number prefer new pronouns that reflect something other than the traditional gender binary.

And yet, people want to know about the Transgender person's birth name, instead of that chosen by that person.  In my case, I use a feminized version of my birth name, and not a completely different name as many transgenders need to use.If I were to suggest a question to ask of a transgender person it would be: "What pronouns do you prefer to have used when referring to you?"  Yes, I feel very awkward trying to remember all of these new-fangled pronouns. But eventually, I think that we'll evolve a standard set of gender-free pronouns (other than "it") that can be used when gender identity is not needed.

- - - - - -

I am more than comfortable if this institution cites my blog in its campaign. There are more than enough of us transgenders out there, and it is time that we demand that our rights be respected.....

And then, she's gone until next weekend....

GFJ and I never discussed how long she was going to stay this weekend. And every time she leaves, I find that I miss her a little bit more....

- - - - - -

Today was reserved for relaxing.  The weather forecasts said it was going to be a warm day, and not one suited for outside activity given the humidity. So we enjoyed air conditioned comfort and watched a movie together.  It's hard to believe that she had never seen Casablanca from start to finish before.

Once the movie was over, it was time for GFJ to leave, so that she could get in a few laps of swimming before the pool closed for the night.  And that left my options open not just for tonight, but for tomorrow as well.  There's a lot of stuff that I must catch up on - laundry being only one of them.  I must also pay some bills, send out some resumes, and fill in paperwork for my corporate pension.  But I now have the opportunity to go to a new women's meetup with people I've never met before - and maybe develop some new friends as Marian.

- - - - - -

Having GFJ out of the house leaves me with a lot of options about things I can do.  For example, I can catch up with my friend (DCD) in Connecticut who is going through a painful divorce process, or I can catch up with Lili. During the week, her absence makes it much easier for me to go out en-femme.

GFJ's absence also gives me more time to take care of things en-homme as well.  I don't have to be concerned about what she'll be doing if I were to go to the health club while she's here. I don't mind going on the occasional hike with her, but I prefer to get my exercise in quickly, and then being able to do something else in air conditioned comfort.

- - - - - -

Thinking about exercise - I have to get back into the routine. When I got my nails done with Lili, I ended up breaking the routine I had developed where I'd get in 3-4 days of exercise each week. Now, I have to get back into it - and I'll probably pay the price for my relatively stationary pursuits over the past 2 weeks.

On that note, I'll close out this quick entry - it's time to get off my duff. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Posting an entry

Much of the time, I tend to write things that journal my life as it relates to my transgender identity. Sometimes, I feel the need to post an entry or two that has nothing to do with being transgender, but has a lot to do with who and what I am. This often results in my blog having several entries stacked up and ready to go, whose reporting on the daily events having been delayed by other, more important, postings. Yet, I try to keep a few "generic posts" ready for those times when I am unable to post anything new, or am otherwise unable work on this blog. (Vacations are good examples of both situations, as I certainly don't want to provide troublemakers with details of when I will be away from home for more than a day....)

This short entry is an example of one which has been prepared in advance, and scheduled when a "generic entry" is needed. It doesn't mean that I have nothing to say. Instead, it means that I've said it in advance, and scheduled it for now....

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Years ago, Vicki and I went to see the play "ART", whose bill was posted in the top right corner of the photo above. It was an interesting show with critics commenting on a "white on white" painting, and whether it is really art. In many ways, this is a conversation we all have in our heads - "if it walks like a duck, flies like a duck, and quacks like a duck - is it really a duck, or an impostor?"  These days, this is a meaningful question because of how many things that are fake that we accept as real.

In a way, the above question also applies to the meaning of "Transgender" - how do we define it, and can we give it an objective definition? And this is the question that has to be explored by us, so that we can answer those "civilians" who do not have a clue about our nature....

What to do? What to do?

I think we've all had to answer this question now and then - What do we want to do, when we have no ideas of interesting things we can do locally on a shoestring?  That's the question that perplexed GFJ and I today....

When GFJ is over, I am virtually always en-homme, except for the time I get home and change from Marian into Mario - a short period in which I am in between modes. So today was a day where Mario was outdoors and Marian was in the closet. I have gotten used to the routine, and so has she. But she tolerates me taking the time out to maintain this blog late at night, and I am grateful to her for that. But what happens when she stays for the whole weekend?  This weekend is a perfect example of that type of situation.

- - - - - -

By the time we both got up, it was almost noon.  After a quick, but filling breakfast, the question was on our minds - "what do we want to do today?" Since I really wasn't into driving to Coney Island to see the Sideshow and the Burlesque show (which started late in the evening), I figured that it was time to do something locally. So I Googled "Things to do in Westchester County this weekend" and got a reasonable long list of articles. And from there, I picked a place to go - the Katonah Museum of Art.

I've never been to this museum before, and I didn't know what to expect. There were two main exhibits - one of Chris Larson's work, and the other of Edward Larabee Barnes (the architect of the museum). For a small museum, they did a good job. But I was expecting more. Maybe I "just didn't get it." But that's OK. The two of us were occupied for a while, and then enjoyed a walk along the main drag of Katonah.

- - - - - -

After this, it was back to the house, where we would eat dinner and later sleep.  Tomorrow will be another day with another attempt to find things to do. GFJ thought there would be a hike that we could take - but I noticed that it is next weekend. So we'll have to figure out something else to occupy our time.

While I'm at it - our weekend schedule for the next 2-3 weeks will be interesting. She has a bridal shower to go to, I have a dinner to go to with my uncle (who is moving back to Los Angeles), throw in a couple of Friday commitments, and we won't have as much time as we'd like to be with each other. But that's the price I pay for having a relationship right now, and I'm willing to pay it for the foreseeable future. Neither of our financial situations are stable enough to make long term commitments to each other - and I'm OK with that for now....

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The start of a long holiday weekend....

I remember when I was young and things were simple.  Young men would go off to war, and society would recognize their sacrifices. We trusted that our government would act honorably, and not put these young men into harm's way - except when the security of our nation was at stake. God, I miss that simplicity....

- - - - - -

Last night, I had a conversation with my brother - and the talk went to politics.  My brother considers Obama one of the worst presidents, while I consider Bush one of the worst presidents. Our differences, I think, derive from how we see the role of authority and how it should be checked and balanced.

In 2001, we were attacked by terrorists, and were totally unprepared for it.  Our infrastructure was wide open, as you'd expect in a free society, and our people were relatively trusting of others. After the attacks, we had an administration in Washington that knew that it could not afford another successful attack on American soil - and Americans were more than willing to trade their freedoms and rights for security.  Two wars were started without the taxes or borrowing needed to finance them.

Several years later, our government was illegally torturing people at Guantanamo Bay, the Supreme Court had ruled that the prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay had rights under the Geneva Conventions of War, and we had an administration that managed to give all involved in these crimes total immunity from prosecution. In short, America failed a stress test - we considered any and all actions acceptable in order to get revenge on our enemies.

Why is this important?

In the military academies, there is an honor code that our nation's military elite is expected to live by.  They must not lie, cheat, or otherwise act in unfair ways in order to gain advantage over other cadets. Those violating this code are either shunned or expelled from the academies.  When they go off to war, they are expected to obey the Geneva Conventions on how war is made. One of these things is that soldiers will not torture enemy combatants.

If we have a civilian culture that has decided that the rules mean nothing when we are suffering pain, what will happen to the military?  Can we expect it to act honorably?  Can we expect that it will obey civilian authority?  Can we expect the military to be accountable to a civilian government that does not hold itself accountable for its actions?

It all goes back to the question posed by the Romans:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who will guard the guards themselves?

This is the root of the differences I have with my brother, and with the conservative movement in this country.

- - - - - -

A while back, the people at OK Cupid did some analysis and came up with a few simple questions one could ask to get a good idea of what a potential mate was all about.  One of those questions was:

Do you prefer simple or complex things?

Conservative people tend to prefer simplicity, overusing Occam's Razor to find explanations for things. Liberals tend to prefer complexity, accepting that Occam's Razor isn't appropriate for all explanations. This seemingly small difference explains why an educated elite tends to be more liberal than conservative - it knows that not every question can be answered, and does not need to fill in answers for the sake of having answers.

- - - - - -

Why is all of this important to the transgender community?

Lately, we have seen attacks on us from religious fundamentalists. One of those comes from Michelle Duggar, claiming that transgenders want to prey on women in restrooms. What people like her are really afraid of is that a pillar of their world view may crumble - that "God created the world, male and female" - that there is a gender binary for all things. Show that one pillar of their world view is flawed, and it opens up the possibility that the whole world view is wrong.  There is no possibility of further growth and no possibility of transformative learning.  Compared to us, Gays and Lesbians have it "easier" with religious zealots in the USA, as they are "only" seen as breaking God's law, and possibly worthy of forgiveness if they "sin" no more.

About 100 years ago, this kind of world view would have been held by the majority of people in America. The Gender Binary was the default assumption, and very few people knew about asexual reproduction or had encountered intersex people.  Bearded women were considered freaks, and most often seen in circus sideshows. At least, they were tolerated as anomalies that posed no threat to the default world view.

Today, there are enough of us that are out of the closet to frighten those with unchanging and inflexible world views. We are most at risk during this phase of society's evolution. Gays and Lesbians can go stealth (for the most part), but most of us TG's can't - if we are experiencing the world in our preferred gender identity.  Seemingly, all we can do is mobilize and petition the "sane" people in society to keep the hateful people in check. But in reality, that's not all we can do....If we look at the Duggar family, they have come to fame as the result of a show documenting their lives - "19 kids and counting." The network, TLC, that carries this show, must be pressured to drop it as soon as possible.  

We have financial power.  We have allies with financial power.  We must find ways to leverage this power, so that the people who hate us can be put back at the margins of society, instead of being given mainstream pulpits to spew their venom. Hopefully, we will do so, so that on the next TGDOR, that there will be fewer new transgender people who paid the ultimate price to be who they were, that are to be remembered on that day.....

PS: Shortly after this entry was written, TLC Pulled "19 Kids and Counting" from the schedule....

A long drive, and recognition....

This is what Basil looks like when it is grown from seedling and ready to be planted in a home garden.  And I saw a lot of Basil today (and other herbs) when dropping on a garden sale, to see if a woman I dated for 6 weeks still remembered me....

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Today started out with me not knowing whether I'd see my cleaning lady (or not). So I had to stash much of my female accoutrements in the closet after preparing myself to go out in the world in Marian Mode, just in case she came. (Which she did - more later.)

By the time I made it out of the apartment, it was a little bit before 12 noon. I figured that it would take about 45-60 minutes to get up to the site where the master gardener plant sale was going on. This was a mistake - it took me more like 75 minutes at best. But the drive was worth it....  However, meeting this former flame was a little bit of a let down, in part because she recognized me, but also because I had the feeling of "is that all there is?"  We chatted for a minute, then it was time to leave.

My next stop was Catherine's, where I found nothing worth buying. And then it was across the river to The Avenue, where nothing tempted me enough to spend any money. However, I started chatting with another woman who was looking for help. And though I don't work at the store, I gave her the answer she was looking for (and not what the sales lady, a "thin" woman, would have us believe.) We kept chatting and shopping together. She told me the story about losing her son, and not having closure in how he died. I certainly was not going to give her meaningless drivel. So I told her about my husband having died of cancer, in order to have some credibility when I said that that the pain of grief becomes easier to bear over time.  As I departed, I found out that we shared the same name - what a big coincidence....  When I was about to get in my car, a lady passed by and "shouted" at me.  It was my favorite saleslady.  And we chatted for a few minutes before she had to go inside for her shift.

On the way home, Patty texted me. She wanted to get together tonight.  If I didn't make plans to go with GFJ to a comedy outing, I'd have said Yes.  And, since I was already in Marian Mode when passing by Patty's area, I'd have had the excuse to stay in Marian Mode if we had an early dinner.  Alas, this was not to be - I had to switch back to Mario Mode, and meet GFJ at the comedy venue for dinner and some laughs. As I got home, I saw my cleaning lady and her assistant getting in their car.  There was no way that I was going to show them any recognition while in Marian Mode - I want to preserve the illusion that any female garment or artifact they find in my place is someone else's stuff. I could only imagine what Patty would have said to me, had she known what would happen at the end of my drive.

Normally, the GPS and Google Maps gives me a good address when I go somewhere. Today, it gave me a bad location, and I took the wrong turn when going to the venue. Instead of going to one of the two freestanding restaurants near the local Walmart, the GPS placed me about a mile away - where the venue obviously wasn't. So I looped back around (the long way) and made my way to the restaurant.  GFJ wasn't far behind me.  Before we went in, she noted - no PDA's, this is a singles' group. This wouldn't be a problem for me - we had the same situation at the Whine and Dine earlier in the year. But what would be a problem is whether one of the people at this meetup would recognize me in Mario Mode and me in Marian Mode (from the Beacon Meetup) as the same person.  I know I'll eventually find out....

The dinner was a buffet - and I ate too much.  But the comedy was good - even though I was semiconscious for part of it.  (Good thing I learned to semi sleep sitting up at the old job. <g>)  There were 3 comics - the assortment could make for a good setting for a joke: a Jew, an Italian, and a Black fellow.... All were good, but I felt that the Italian fellow was the best.  And no, I can't remember any of their names or any of their jokes.  But what do you expect from a place that is not yet on the comedy circuit?

All and all, it was a good day that could have gone very bad.  Let's hope the rest of the weekend stays like this....

Friday, May 22, 2015

Back in Yonkers for a night of fun and games.

It's been two weeks since I've played board games with the Yonkers crew, but once I arrived, it felt as if it were only yesterday.....

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When I got up today, I had only two things on my calendar. First, was a visit to the GLBT center to do my weekly volunteer stint. And then there was my visit to Thursday Night Games.  Strangely enough, I felt as if I had absolutely no energy this morning, and when I saw 11:00 am come up on the clock, I knew that I had to start the process of shaving and showering, so that I could prepare myself for a day out in Marian Mode.

Just before I left for White Plains, I received a message from a headhunter that he'd like to talk with me later in the day (via Skype). Since there was no way of knowing when my cleaning lady would come (she didn't - and I have to call her about this), I couldn't schedule this talk for today. Instead, I mentioned that I'd be out in the afternoon, and that I'd want to talk with him tomorrow, if that was good with him.  (I haven't heard back on a scheduled time, so I suggested one for late in the afternoon - which will give me the chance to see someone I haven't seen in several years in the morning.)

- - - - - -

Arriving at the GLBT center, I found that things were relatively quiet. The fellow I work with over there had a few ideas of things I could take care of, and I took care of things. However, I kept being interrupted by Kelly, as she was having too many problems "gilding the lily" when trying to add an event to the center's web page. It was very hard to focus on what I was doing, as she kept asking me for help that I couldn't give her. I was very glad that she had to leave early, as this gave me a chance to finish up things of my own.

After I was done at the center, I called Pat upon leaving the parking lot. It looks like things are going well for her and the new man she's dated. But she hasn't closed off things with the philosophically rigid man that she'd dated (loosely) since the new year. I'm glad for her that she is no longer bothering to open email attachments from her developmentally disabled daughter - this is helping her (Pat) keep her current computer free of computer viruses and malware.

Since I still had time to kill, I decided to have dinner at Panera. While there, Lili called. Of course, I wasn't going to answer her call while in public. So I waited until I was back in the car. During dinner, I noticed a woman go to the washroom, and then to the front of the store, all while leaving her handbag in a place where it was easy to steal. So I kept my eyes on it, figuring that if she didn't return for the bag, I'd bring it to the attention of the staff.  Luckily, she returned - and my concerns about the bag were alleviated.  But this still leaves me with one question - what kind of woman leaves her pocketbook unprotected, in the open, while she does things elsewhere in the store?

- - - - - -

Leaving Panera, I knew I still had more time to kill. So, I called Lili on my way to The Avenue, and then to Sears to see how she was doing. And I was glad to find out that her not calling me was likely caused by her son (and future daughter in law) visiting from Connecticut, leaving her with little time to chat. During our chat, she told me that she had a disagreement with the gym she was going to, and now is exercising at another place. (Hopefully, she'll be satisfied there - but I think she won't be, if history is any guide.)  The phone call was quick, and it was over before I reached The Avenue (where I saw nothing I wannted to buy) and then Sears (where I tried on some garments in the fitting room).

While in Sears' fitting room, I had the chance to comfortably take off the tights I had been wearing since morning.  The weather was warmer than I thought, and this was the first time I had a chance to strip and take off an inner layer of clothing that I didn't need.  (Tomorrow, I'll wear something more in line with Summer when I drive up to La Grange and back to see a woman I dated shortly 3 years ago.)  If I really wanted to, I could have bought the two dresses I was interested in.  But common sense told me to hold off - I didn't need them.

- - - - - -

Finally, it was time to drive to the meetup - where I was the first person there.  I was told that there would be a much smaller number of people there this evening - and that suited me just fine. Although I lost all but the last game we played, I had a great time - and look forward to being there next week (assuming there is no conflict with the Whine and Dine group).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A note on dating as a transgender person

Isn't this the kind of affectionate kiss we all like giving and getting? Compared to the transgender community, cis-gendered people have it easy. The "defaults" of heterosexual binary gender preference greatly simplifies the process of dating and finding love. We, on the other hand, have a rough time in dating....

When a transgender dates, he/she has to take into account his/her current (and future) genital configuration, his/her gender presentation, his/her gender preference, and his/her potential partner's characteristics as well. In my case, many women have found me very interesting until they find out that I am gender variant (or transgender) and run the other way.

I recently was in communication with someone from Long Island that I found interesting, but didn't have a strong interest in pursuing due to her location. When she found out that I was gender variant (her friend knew I cross dressed - she didn't know I am TG), she bailed out, as this was a deal breaker for her. Luckily, this was a low investment communication, a low risk exchange of pleasantries, and someone I could easily afford to lose with GFJ in the picture.

Why is this important?

There is a smaller pool of people of people who would consider us dating material that is available to us. The author of one blog I read recently got married - and his/her wife was a widow whose late husband was also gender variant. (That's as far as I'll go in describing the happy couple - I wish them the best, and I will preserve their privacy, ensuring things I know that are not in the blog stay out of public knowledge.) But she is a rarity, and that's my point. If we want to find love, many of us will need to make tougher choices than we would have if we were "normative" straight men and women.

I am lucky right now to be dating someone who can accept (so far) the fact that I am both Marian and Mario. There are not that many people like her, so I am being careful not to scare her away. (Yes, I have a couple of other options I can pursue, but.... a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.) Will this relationship work in the long term? I don't know. But even if it ended tomorrow, I'll have had a good time and some pleasant memories to treasure....

Honesty is critical....

We have a responsibility to the women we date (I'm assuming here, that most of us transgenders have a gender preference for females) to be honest about ourselves. Do we want to transition or to live part time as women? It's probably wrong to date a woman without letting her know what kind of life she's in for, if she continues to date one of us. What are her needs? How much (as in the amount of time) of a man does she need in her life? What does she think of gender blending? Can you wear female clothes when around her?  Can she tolerate even seeing you en-femme? There are so many questions both of you will need to ask and answer that I can't even begin to list them all.

Please note that we can find romance. We just have to work harder to find it. And to me, that romance is even sweeter when it works.....

The discipline of blogging

With an infinite number of primates and an infinite amount of time, one can get Shakespeare from a group of primates trained to use a typewriter. Sometimes, it feels like I'm one of those primates....

Most of the time, I try to chronicle experiences in my life as they relate to being transgender. However, I've included information from my "civilian life" that might be of interest, which has included things such as my job search. I've also included information from my friendship with Lili, as I find her to be an interesting, but tragic character. And rarely, do I dwell on political topics, as there's not much to be gained from political rants.

Slowly, but surely, this blog seems to be gaining readers. What do they find interesting? I'm not sure, but one reader has told me that she enjoys reading about Lili. Another reader skips over the things I write about Lili. Others enjoy reading about how I, a transgendered person, go about my business in the everyday world, dealing with the same issues many of them face. Whatever reason makes you want to read this blog - I thank you for being my audience and for being interested in what I have to say.

Blogging is not always easy. Sometimes, I have nothing to say - and have to figure out something that I'd want to read if I were someone else scanning this blog on a daily basis. One blogger I read makes weekday postings in text and weekend postings in images. Others may skip a day or two between posts. But each of us has a strong desire that our words and ideas have an audience. When I find people having something interesting to say, I try to write them - so that they know that their work is appreciated. Most of the time, it is a simple comment left on the blog. But at other times, it is an email to discuss things I don't think should be discussed in the blog.

For now, I intend to keep on blogging and developing my skill as a writer. It's not an easy thing to do on a daily basis, but it is something that I find enjoyable and worth my efforts....

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Parting is such sweet sorrow....

Today was going to be a very busy day.  First, I had to take my car to the dealership for some expensive planned maintenance. And then, I had a networking meeting in the evening.  Of course, GFJ was with me until late afternoon, until both of us had to go our separate ways for a couple of days....

- - - - - -

One of the problems with having GFJ around is that I don't get any time en-femme. This is normally not a big issue, as she may be around for 1 or 2 days at a time.  This week, she came over on Sunday, and stayed until Tuesday afternoon. And she will arrive here again on Friday night, and likely stay until Sunday night. So I'll have a larger than normal number of days that Mario will be out to the world, and Marian will be in the closet. This saddens me a little, but it's part of the tradeoff I make to have romance in my life.

I have to assume that Lili is still a little upset with me.  Normally, she'd call by 11:00 am or so on a daily basis, so that she can check out my availability for the day. Since the middle of last week, she hasn't made an attempt to call - and I may soon call her to see what's going on. GFJ once asked me why Lili and I never had a relationship. And I had a hard time articulating an answer. But the answer is very simple - Lili is a needy person who offloads much of her problem solving to others, and then ignores advice when it conflicts with what she wants to hear.

Compared with Lili, GFJ has a good head on her shoulders. Although she has made many mistakes in her life (some of which may make it impossible for her to retire), she has an optimistic attitude about her.  She has likened her separation from her "wasband" as having been freed from slavery. And given how she describes her pre-separation relationship, GFJ really is in a better place in life than Lili is now.

- - - - - -

Although my car's 30k mile maintenance was expensive, it gave me some good information - I probably will be able to avoid doing a brake job for at least a year, and should be able to avoid buying new tires until the winter. Given that I now have to watch my money, I'm glad that I don't have to rush to take care of these expenses.

I fear large expenses.  Once money is spent, it is harder to replace it in savings. Talking with a former coworker at the networking meeting, she noted that money can go very quickly - even if one has turned on one's pension. It was a mild warning to be careful, and I'm glad she gave it.  But then she shocked me - one of her friends has inoperable throat cancer. Since this may be the exact type of cancer another coworker has (and has had some success with an experimental protocol), she asked me to ask this fellow for information. So I emailed him to set up a lunch date - and will talk with him about the protocol when I see him in person....

- - - - - -

Did I go to the health club?  No.  But I will do so tomorrow after my co-op board meeting.  After a day like today, I need to chill out and take some time out for myself.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A lot of nibbles, but not one solid bite

It's hard to believe that after 11 months of unemployment, that I'm starting to get the nibbles that I expected last year. But then, when we have an official national unemployment rate of 5.6%, the real rate is likely to be about 12% when you factor in the underemployed and those that the government claims to have given up on finding work. (The latter being a nice fudge which made the great depression seem less horrible than it really was....)

- - - - - -

Today, I called two headhunters who had left messages on my machine in regard to jobs I might be qualified for. The first headhunter's position was something I wouldn't bother with, as it was at a level of responsibility way below what I'm capable of. However, the second headhunter's position seems like a golden opportunity - as long as my age doesn't get in the way.  We'll see how that goes - I have most of what they need, save one key project management skill - Agile.

I won't go into what "Agile" means here, save that it is a more flexible method of project management geared to rapid product development - such as getting a toy to market , and not large scale, complex systems development - like that needed for an airplane or automobile. But I know I'll need to acquire that skill, and quickly, to have much of a future in this business....

- - - - - -

On other matters....

GFJ was here today, and we took it easy for the most part.  She seems to be comfortable with the idea that I am both Marian and Mario, even though she prefers to see Mario around.  Of course, there will be days that I can't avoid being Marian - such as when I go to board game nights, and when I go to the Whine and Dine meetups.

On Friday, I'm supposed to meet her at another meetup as Mario - having dinner with some singles, and then watching a comedy routine. So this will likely be the start of a long weekend in Mario mode.  What I'm not mentioning to her is that I'm going to surprise an old ex-girlfriend earlier in the day, one who I had no future with, but with whom I had a heck of a lot of physical chemistry.  No, there is nothing between us anymore, nor do I want it.  And when I drive to see her - I'll be in Marian Mode, and I'm hoping she doesn't recognize me when she sees me.  It'll be interesting to see this woman's reaction!

- - - - - -

As you can guess, I'm likely to not get as much Marian Mode time in as I'd like this summer. But I intend to have a lot of fun when I'm in it....

Monday, May 18, 2015

With another background, it'd be called "Go to Meeting" Sunday.

This is how I went to church today. My knees may look terrible, but I got unsolicited compliments on the dress from several people.  I guess that this dress was a good investment - even if the best parts of it aren't showing up in the photo....

- - - - - -

Of course, I should mention that today is Mother's Day.  My mom died about 14 years ago (around this time of year), and I wonder what she'd be thinking if she knew I was an "Out" transgender person. Hopefully, she'd say that she liked my taste in clothes....

As I write this, GFJ is driving here from her mom's in Connecticut.  She spent Mother's Day with her mom, taking her to dinner last night, to Church and then Brunch this morning.  When she said she was on her way, I sent her a copy of the picture above - and she liked what she saw....

- - - - - -

Before I go too far into the day, I should mention that I got stuck behind an annoyingly slow driver on my way to church this morning. She looked as if she could barely see over the dashboard and through her windshield. When I made the series of turns I needed to take to park at the church, she was doing the same thing - and almost caused me to miss a light because of her slowness. And, of course, she was going to the same place as I was.

You may wonder why I bring up this event. As some drivers get older, they lose their ability to drive safely.  Some drivers know enough to drive only in day time. Others know enough to hand in their licenses, knowing that they no longer have the reaction speed to be on the road. But this person was driving at a speed more appropriate to a golf cart in a retirement village - and this kind of driver is often a big frustration to those who are still capable of driving safely.

I was surprised to find this lady pulling into a space in the Church's parking lot. When I pulled into my space (not near her), she was still moving, and her car went into another spot - as if she'd have problems getting out of her original spot. By the time she got into church, it was at least 5 minutes after I sat down in the pew....

After services, I chatted with several people over coffee. One of the people was the woman I mentioned in a previous post (To Church, the Movies, and to Supper), and noted the difference between male and female perceptions when a women is interested in what you have to say.  Today, I made a quick comment, in passing, about romance and finding a good man, and her reaction was as if she was not interested in either men or in romance. (I'd have a big laugh if I stumbled into a woman who'd be interested in me if I were a woman....) But I was not going to dwell on that topic - I'm there to become part of a community, and not to do anything else, save build up a platonic friendship or two.

- - - - - -

After church, I decided to take a little drive before going to the diner for breakfast. And again, I saw that lady from before - and again, she was driving at a snail's pace.  Luckily, I was able to pass her on the side (that stretch of road has 2 lanes in each direction), and saw her hold up people while looking at my rear view mirror....

When I got to the diner, I was told I had to wait for a while.  Luckily, my wait was short - only 5 minutes. If it were any other day than Mother's Day, I wouldn't have even needed to wait. And the same could be said about how busy the local A&P was when I picked up stuff for dinner.  (I'm glad that I didn't have to follow that slow lady into the diner or supermarket - I was glad to be back on my pace again.)

So now, GFJ is coming over - and I have to complete my metamorphosis from Marian into Mario....  I hope I'll be done by the time she gets here....

Sunday, May 17, 2015

In search of a new handbag....

The search for a handbag - one of the most personal things a woman can carry.  This was the most important thing on my docket for today, given that GFJ is in Connecticut with her mother, and that I didn't want to switch back to Mario Mode to do other things....

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Today began with phone calls waking me up. Often, there are organizations who want to sell me things that ignore the "Do Not Call" Registry when calling me.  So I usually hang up on them impolitely.  When someone calls just giving me a name when he starts into his spiel, I say I'm waiting for an important call - and then hang up impolitely without giving them a chance to respond. There is no need or desire for me to be polite - the ruder we are to these people, the less of them there will be to annoy us with their calls. (It may take a lot of time for this to happen. But in the end, even overseas telemarketers will get the hint - don't call people on "don't call" lists.)

One of the things I've been trying to get around to doing is buying a couple of wig styling brushes from a local wig store. Of course, by the time I got out of the house, this wasn't going to happen today. Instead, I decided to take a drive to the Vera Bradley outlet store in Woodbury and look for a "summery" bag - and I think I found one.  Although the pattern is not listed in their on-line offerings, it is similar to, and even nicer than the pattern in the picture above.

It was in Woodbury that I first noticed how warm and humid it was - even with the temperature in the 70's.  I was perspiring a lot, and I wished I could take off my wig. But that was never going to happen. This is why I have to stay in air conditioned comfort during the summer - or stay home. Luckily, I was comfortable when there was a breeze, or when I entered an air conditioned space.

After Woodbury, it was off to Newburgh, and to see my favorite saleslady at the Avenue. We talked about the recent closing of Route 84, and her luck to have left her other job waitressing at the 84 Diner early enough to have missed all the problems. If she had stayed on to 5 pm as she was originally supposed to do, she'd have never made it to her second job in Newburgh. And I finally found some jewelry that I wanted, even though I will need necklace extenders to wear these pieces. Again, I suffered with air conditioning being set to too warm a temperature - I couldn't wait to get out of the mall, and into open air for the relief of a nice breeze....

It was finally time to go home. I tried to call Lili - but no response.  I'll bet that she has a bug up her ass regarding my inability to help her with the NYS Sales Tax web site.  In the past, she had stopped all contact with her son for 2-3 weeks while she processed her anger. (The son is right - he focuses on his grades, and doesn't pander to his mom's insecurities, and her unwillingness to take care of issues that she doesn't like to take care of.) I'll bet that she's doing the same with me - and I'm not worried about this....

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So, my nail polish has been on for several days - and I'll miss it when I take it off shortly after church tomorrow (assuming that I get out on time for church). GFJ will be coming over, and then I have a busy week in front of me that requires me to be en-homme for at least 2.5 days.