Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another day of "Zap, Zap, OUCH!", along with an evening in Marian Mode.

One of the reasons I drove home late last night was to make it easier for me to have a leisurely morning before my face zapping. And given when I woke up, this was a very good thing, as I was in my usual rush about an hour or two after waking up....

- - - - - -

One thing I don't like about the current laser technician who has been treating my face lately, is that she doesn't let the face get cold enough in areas she's about to zap.  As a result, I'm feeling much more pain than I'm accustomed to feeling - and it's enough to turn me off to the process of face zapping.

After today's session, I saw one of the other laser technicians I have met in the past - and we had a great conversation until the next client came in. And then it was off to fill up my car, as it was running on the same tank of gas that I used to drive to the North Country and back last night....

- - - - - -

When I got back home, I figured I'd rest for a few minutes before getting changed and out the door to see N from our board game nights.  Little did I know that I'd get called by Lili, and go to sleep for about an hour. As a result, I ended up getting dressed, getting made up, and getting out the door late - and I ended up at N's about 30 minutes late. But this was more than OK - N was still glad to see me.

N, her husband R, and I talked about her daughter O, and then talked about their family business.  Hopefully, they will figure out a solution to their problems, and get the business performing on all cylinders. I won't go into details here, but their choice of current location should have been a good one. But the people who patronize the businesses in that area are not the ideal demographic for a business like theirs.

Soon it was time to leave. I didn't have that much to say, and N had some volunteer work to take care of. So it was off to The Avenue (where I bought a pair of sandals for 70% off), and then to the Alamo Drafthouse, where I saw "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"  It's been years since I've seen that film, and it is just as captivating as when it was first released.

- - - - - -

Once I got out of the theater, GFJ called, and we were on the phone for our full rides home.  As one might expect, knowing me, she was about to pose me a trivia question about former President Ford's Vice President, and how he died. And I mentioned that Nelson Rockefeller "died in the saddle" and was with Megan Marshak when he died.  Good thing that I'm not on Jeopardy - I might have choked when called to say: "Who is Megan Marshak?"

Monday, June 29, 2015

Way up North ...for the first time in a while.

It's hard to believe that today is both the first day of Summer and Father's Day.  And, if I had given it much thought, I wouldn't have a trip to the North Country on my schedule.  But it is, and I do....

- - - - - -

But first....

My therapist has been pushing me to find out what GFJ's long term plans are regarding me. I mentioned this to GFJ last night, and noted that I was not going to push her for information now, as she has no clue about where she's going to live, how she's going to have enough money to live on, etc., until all the details of her divorce are worked out. It is an awkward condition for me, but one I am willing to live with, as it is much harder to find women to date who are willing to be with a transgender (or dual gender) person.

As I started writing this entry, GFJ will soon be going to her mom's to go to church and to have lunch. I will likely take care of packing things, so that I have the option to return home from the North Country in either Marian or Mario mode.  Before GFJ left, she said that it wasn't that warm yet, but it was very sticky outside.  You can guess that I'm glad that I found my swimsuit last night!

- - - - - -

Before I started getting ready to go out, I decided to polish my nails.  Although I never do that great a job when I do my nails myself, I still enjoy the feminine look it provides me. If I ever do go 24x7, I will make sure that I get a manicure on a regular basis, as I love the look of properly trimmed and polished nails.

After polishing my nails, I figured that I'd bring a change of clothes (both Mario and Marian), so that I could return home early in the morning once I've had a good night's sleep. So I ended up bringing more clothing than was necessary for what could be either a "day" trip, or for an "overnighter". (I hated how my nails looked when I went out, and can't wait until I can get a proper manicure.)

I usually stop by a local bakery in Peekskill to pick up a cheesecake for the gathering. However, I didn't bother with the usual place, as I didn't want to ruin the cheesecake by letting it sit inside the car while I went into Catherine's and a couple of other stores before picking up someone to be brought to the Poly group meeting in the North Country.

Now for a little background....

A and J1 are married, and have just bought a new house - where today's gathering was held. They are active members in the poly community, and have welcomed me with open arms. A while back, one member of this couple told me that a third member of the "family", a third leg of a triad would be coming to live with them this year.  J2 is the third leg of the triad.

- - - - - - 

I met J2 at the arranged pick up point - the Park and Ride in Kingston. And she proceeded to tell me her story - which I won't go into here. But I can say that she did not have a car or a license (yet), and needed someone to bring her from her parents' place to A and J1's place. She was very chatty, almost to a fault. But she was a little curious about what it was like to be transgender....

We arrived at A & J1's place about 30 minutes early, and was shown why I was told to bring a swimsuit. The next door neighbor could see into A & J1's property, and made it awkward for us to swim in the nude as we usually do. (The next door neighbors had their grandchildren over, and the last thing one would want is to expose the kids to our casual nudity.)  So I got into my swimsuit and finally had the chance to use it after a year in storage.

I may not have a feminine figure, but I think I look like a middle aged woman in this swimsuit. And for most of the evening, I was in this swimsuit....

People gradually came to the gathering, most arriving shortly after 6:00 pm. One lady arrived, and we had the type of glances at each other that one might wonder - does she have an interest in me?  If so, the "rules" for female mode interactions would indicate that she's interested in friendship. We ended up talking a bit, and she wasn't sure if I was transgender until I mentioned it to her. (Hopefully, we'll meet again - I'd like a friendship with someone like her.)

Others I haven't seen in a while were also there - and it was nice seeing them again.  One of them was a hostess of other gatherings of the Poly group - and she still expressed a possible interest in me. (As I've said elsewhere - she's one of the rare women who could put her hand up my skirts....)  And yet, all too soon, the gathering ended.  I chatted with A & J1, and F for a while, and then drove home.  (Both A and J1 realized that it made more sense for me to drive home on Sunday night, then to fight rush hour traffic, leaving on Monday morning.)

- - - - - -

On the ride home, I ended up chatting to GFJ for over 90 minutes. Although I called Lili first, she was busy with one of her TV shows, and didn't call back until I was in the middle of the call with GFJ - which I was not going to break off.  So I'll end up calling Lili in the morning.
Although I was wide awake when I got home, I could feel the tiredness creeping up on me. So I decided to leave the bags on the couch - and sort them out before I get my face zapped in the afternoon....

Sunday, June 28, 2015

An unexpected celebration of a man's life, and another Pixar classic

Late last night, I sent out an email to one of my late friend Tony's friends to find out when the date would be for the scattering of his ashes.  Little did I know how fortunate I'd be to write this email when I did, as I received an email early in the morning that the memorial brunch would be today, followed by a scattering in Long Island Sound in mid afternoon....

- - - - - -

Neither GFJ nor I got moving early in the morning, and neither of us had any idea of how rushed our schedule would be when we finally got moving. I decided to skim my emails from the tablet I usually leave near my bed - and noticed one from H (Tony's friend). Seeing it, I knew that I should open it right away - and found out that the memorial brunch was being held between 11 am and 3 pm. So GFJ and I rushed to get out of the house by 1 pm - so that we could be at the Yacht Club by 2 pm.  GFJ's only question was - Did Tony know me as Mario or as Marian?  And I said - as Mario - I never felt that he'd be comfortable with Marian. 

If we had only known....   Yes, H apologized profusely for forgetting about me.  But I was never as close to Tony as my late wife was.  By the time we arrived, the food was almost gone, and the weather was chilly and damp - something very unusual for mid June. I did not participate in telling stories about Tony - most of the good ones were already told, and I felt that my late wife shave been the one talking about Tony.  Since she could not be here, I felt it best not to say anything, as he never let me into his life the way that he let my late wife into his life. There were both enigmas, each in their own way....

And then people started going to the launch, so that they could be on the flotilla that would make its way to the ash scattering site. As much as I'd have like to go there, I knew that neither GFJ nor I was dressed for it - so we decided to depart the party and go our own ways. I prefer to remember Tony as a healthy man, than to have my last memories of him being his ash scattering.

Although Tony was never at home with his "Confuser" as he called the computer in front of him, he did grow to depend on it for things - especially when he could no longer leave his house. Before I left the gathering, I was asked if I knew the password to the "Confuser" - and I was lucky to remember it. This will make it easier for the computer to be cleared and to be given to one of his friends....

- - - - - -

After we left City Island, we took the long way back home.  We lollygagged enough to have missed the 4:30 showings of most movies, so we went home for a few minutes before going out to see "Inside Out".  This film shows the inside workings of an 11 year old girl's brain, and is a very well done piece of fluff. Again, Pixar shows why it is the most important jewel in Disney's crown - and it is because it is the most un-Disney like of all of the Disney properties.

When the movie ended, we went home to eat. GFJ hasn't been eating or sleeping well, and I've recommended that she discuss this with her doctor when she gets the chance. As for me, I've been eating well (maybe too well), but have a pinched nerve in my back (from what I can tell) that is causing me mild discomfort.  We make a wonderful pair!

Once we were done with dinner, I decided to finish the job of looking for my swimsuit, so that I can go swimming up in the North Country. (Normally, the houses we'd partied at have enough privacy for nudity. But this house doesn't have it yet. So I'll finally get the chance to put on my woman's one piece suit if I go swimming.... 

- - - - - -

GFJ will be busy much of July, and I'm not sure of how much time we'll be able to spend together.  I have a wedding to go to in Marian Mode, and I'm not sure of how comfortable (or not) I'll be in the middle of the month. But I know that I'll want to wear as little as possible, and to look as good as possible in what I wear....

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's hard to believe that it's been a year already....

It's hard to believe that it's been a year already. Not only have I been unemployed for a little over a year, but it was a year ago that GFJ responded to my ad (in Mario Mode) on OK Cupid.  And GFJ noted this last night in a romantic way....

- - - - - -

I've gotten very comfortable not having to work, but this is an illusion - I am simply lucky enough to have enough savings to bridge me over until I find another job (assuming that I find on in a reasonable time period). This puts me far ahead of most people who are unemployed or are underemployed - the vast majority of Americans are only 3 paychecks away from financial disaster. And this is something I worry about, not because I am in this position, but because one should have compassion for those less fortunate than themselves....

But I don't intend to dwell on being unemployed. Unemployment has blessed me with the ability to go out on a regular basis in Marian Mode and develop the confidence to interact with the world as a woman and not as a man in a dress.  This is very important. One has to feel authentic in one's social role to be perceived as authentic in that role.

- - - - - -

As Marian, my social circle barely intersects with that of GFJ's circle. She goes to meetups where a member of the Whine and Dine will occasionally be found. She is a friend of a woman I once dated. And I (in Mario Mode) had once attended a meetup in a group where she would be found. Yet, our paths didn't cross until GFJ responded to my personal ad. I wonder what might have happened if she met me in Marian Mode before I told her about my transgender nature on our second date.

It probably hasn't been that easy for GFJ, dealing with a transgender person. In the back of her head, she may worry - "Will Mario always be there for me, when s/he prefers to be Marian?" And that's a legitimate question. I have already discussed what might happen if I find work that calls for me to be in Marian Mode - and she seems to have digested the situation that I could get dressed as a woman in the morning, and then strip off everything to be with her in the evening. But until she knows where she will be living and working in the future, there is no way she can commit to a long term future with me.

- - - - - -

I find it interesting that both of these events happened about one year ago. As much as empirical evidence tells me that there is no supernatural power, there is a part of me that senses that something must be out there directing things. And if there is something out there directing things, I hope I'm on the right path....

Friday, June 26, 2015

A day volunteering, and a job application submitted

The above picture illustrates how down I might feel if I couldn't find work when I absolutely needed it. But right now, I still have the luxury of living off a pension supplemented by savings I've accumulated over the years.

- - - - - -

When I got up this morning, I really didn't want to go to a concert being held at Bear Mountain, and then wait for GFJ to find me in the crowd. So I was a bit glad that the weathermen were predicting muggy weather with a 35% chance of rain. If I was lucky, I'd have a reasonable excuse for us not to go - and would not have to rush to switch back to Mario Mode after spending much of the day en-femme.

Before I go on too far, I have to mention that today was the scheduled visit of my cleaning lady. Because of this, I had to place many of the things I leave out in the open (such as the boxes in which I store my breast forms) back in the closet. Only a minimal presence of Marian could be left for her to see.  This is a pain in the neck, so I called my cleaning lady to make sure that she was going to come (she has missed the scheduled date more often than not) and found out that she might be earlier than usual. And then I rushed to get showered and dressed, making sure that everything was put away before I left to do my weekly volunteer stint.

- - - - - -

One of the purposes of a job searchers support group is to help people find work. I've been the nominal facilitator of this group since it started in March. When it started, we had 7 people looking for work. All but myself have found work, so no one showed up for yesterday's session. This is a sign of relative success, but it also showed why a group like this may not be the best thing for a GLBT Center to support unless it has a larger, more active membership base. (They are working on developing an active membership base, but that's a topic to be covered at another time.)

When I got to the GLBT Center, we didn't know that no one would show up for the support group. I asked for something to do while waiting for someone to show up - and went back to my usual duties of updating their web page, on-line calendar, and meetup announcements  to include several new activities. This was much better than if I did nothing while waiting around for no one to show up for the support group....

- - - - - -

Before I left the center, I checked in with GFJ and let her know that I didn't want to go to the concert at Bear Mountain in this weather. This was just as well, as she was very tired and could easily fall asleep before the concert ended. This gave me a bit of extra time to take care of errands, so I figured that I might as well drive to Newburgh and drop off my job application, and see my favorite sales lady (who I'll call DD - as WDJ calls her when shopping there).  Although this was a lot of extra mileage to put on the car, I figured that I wouldn't get the chance to do this on Sunday when I go to the North Country - and I did want to see DD for a quick "pick me up".

Arriving at the store at shift change (with lots of time to spare before having to be home), I found out that DD wasn't there due to plumbing problems at her house. However, I did see the daytime store manager in passing, and the two people who'd man the store until closing. And we chatted up a storm.  One of the ladies told me that she always had a laugh when I come by - and today, she almost wet herself due to something I said. She talked about men (as if I were a cisgendered woman), and we got into the topics of sex - including oral sex. It was fun hearing her talk about men (and for me to play the part of a cisgendered woman in this chat).  But then the conversation got serious, and we started talking about the quality and types of merchandise being sold in the store. 

I've been a regular shopper at The Avenue since I came out as a TG. However, I've seen less and less merchandise I'd want to own in the stores lately.  For example, there have been very few skirts found in the store - something which should be a staple in a women's store. Dresses?  Maxis in the summer, with an occasional knee length dress best used as a cover-up. And the tops leave a bit to be desired. The women selling the merchandise are unhappy with what are selling, and feel a little ashamed when a customer asks where they get what they are wearing, and whisper - "at 'such and such' a store".  I showed the salesladies some pictures from this blog, and said where I bought several items - and they were surprised that I found as many good items as I did from The Avenue's on-line offerings. 

The conversation shifted a little, and we got to talking about the online store. And this is where much of the "good" merchandise offered by The Avenue can be found. (Sadly, it is not found in the Brick and Mortar stores). Then, I commented on the large number of jumpsuits found online.  It must have been a gay male picking out the on-line merchandise. No woman would have that many jumpsuits in a store - they don't look that good on heavy women, and they are a big pain when it comes to relieving one's self. By the time I realized it, I had shot 2 hours at the store.  So I handed off my application, and left for home. And I just made it home before GFJ arrived. When she showed up at the door, I had not yet even taken off my makeup - so I stalled a little, putting on the minimum of a male wardrobe and doing a basic makeup cleanup before running downstairs to meet her.

It was a very interesting day....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A day en-drab - it could have been much worse....

A day en-drab....  I feel like the gentleman above when not able to be in Marian Mode. Yet, today could have been much, much worse....

- - - - - -

My dad is 87 years old, and the wear and tear of age is showing on his body.  Yet, I can still see traces of the young man who enlisted in the Navy when he turned 17, and put himself at risk of serving in the PTO before Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed.  I am very grateful for the Manhattan Project - without it, I might not be around. But I don't want to focus on the morality of war.  As the hippies first put it - "War is not healthy for children or other living things."  And they were and are right.  Instead, I want to focus on a man who has seen life from the Great Depression through World War 2 (and several "police actions") to the present day.

One of the benefits I have had growing up with someone like my dad as a parent is that I learned a sense of responsibility from him. I learned how to "hustle" to earn money when I needed it. I learned how to keep my word, and value honesty and integrity. But most of all, I learned how to stand by people when the chips were down.  Since I intend to be in the North Country on Father's Day, I wanted to make sure that I had the chance to be with him and celebrate his presence in my life while I had the chance to do so.

Of course, I got out of the house a bit later than I wanted to today. So I was on the road around 1:00 pm, which would bring me to his house by 2:00 pm - barely in time for a late lunch. I rang him just before I got there, and he was waiting in front of the house for me. Although he had a little trouble getting into the car, I figured that he'd ask for help if he needed it. And once in the car, we went for a drive....

There was an Italian restaurant about 10 minutes away that we've eaten at before. So I aimed for the place, but its dining room entrance was closed. Instead of going in the front (pizzeria) door and ordering sandwiches, I decided to find something else worth eating. And I did so - stopping at a new Chinese/Japanese place (Chef Wang) which took over the building formerly occupied by a terrible Chinese Buffet. My dad is a "Meat and Potatoes" kind of guy, and not one to explore new cuisines, where I will try things like braised cow tongue with Szechuan spices. (No, that isn't what I ordered, but it should give you an idea to how far I will go with trying new ethnic foods.)  I suggested that he order the Shrimp in Lobster sauce (relatively bland, but something I know he could easily digest), while I ordered the Braised Sirloin in Cellophane Noodle Casserole.

When I placed my order, the waiter tried to tell me that this dish was spicy HOT!  Having enjoyed hot foods before, I told him that I will err on the side of heat - and have the dish with some peppercorns. (Better to risk a dish being too hot, than to have no flavor at all.) A few minutes later, another person (presumably one of the chefs, or an owner) came by and asked me again - do you really want this HOT!???  And again, I said YES!!!  (I can't blame them - they want their customers happy, and they do not want someone turning back a perfectly good dish of food.)  So when our food came, my dad asked for a little bite - and he said it was HOT!!!!  (No way he'd eat this dish!)  And I had trouble eating the dish when it was both temperature and spice hot.  But after the dish cooled down a little bit, it was wonderful!  And I made sure to tell the waiter this.  (I'd order this dish again - along with other true Chinese dishes, with friends who are comfortable sharing true Szechuan food.)

While we were eating, my dad and I got to talking about an ex girlfriend I dated for 8 years. And he told me that he couldn't blame me for leaving this woman when I did, knowing what she'd be going through in the future. He mentioned that he and other members of my family get phone calls from her, which are accepted because they all know that she has no one to lean on. In a way, my family is the only family she has (given how her siblings were not there to help her in her time of need). Yet, my dad cautioned me NOT to get involved with her as a friend, as it would destroy what I could have with anyone new I'd date.

- - - - - - -

All too soon, it was time to leave - and I dropped my dad off at his place.  I didn't have much time to make it to Astoria and get on the subway to make it on time for the last PMI meeting of the season. Once at the parking lot, I had a bit of trouble getting the parking meter to issue me a receipt. I may have been doing something wrong, but I wasted time I didn't have in getting that receipt to put on my dashboard. And I still had to find a place to relieve myself before getting on the subway.  Luckily, there was a McDonald's in front of the subway entrance. But there was one problem - this was the first restroom in the NYC area that I've seen in ages which has a pay toilet!  And again, I was in luck - someone was going out as I was going in. I didn't have to hunt for a quarter just to do what I needed to do....

Once I got on the train, I heard an announcement - due to a fire, N and Q trains were running as a shuttle to Queensboro plaza. This was not good. By the time the train reached Queensboro plaza, this problem was resolved, and I made it to the 49th street station, where I was able to walk to the venue. Too bad it was so humid - I almost broke into a heavy sweat, ruining my professional image.  And again I was lucky....

At the meeting, I met a few new people, and exchanged business cards. One of the old timers (who was trying to break in to the field) just got a job over in Jersey City - at a division of my old firm.  Although it was very unlikely that I'd get rehired (nor would I get my old benefit level, if this were the case), I told him that I'll send him my resume.  And then I spoke with another old timer - and I mentioned my situation to her.  (I wish I could remember her name....)  She made sure to take my business card, make a special notation - and see what she could do.  Even though it was a big headache to get to this meeting, I'm glad I did so....

- - - - - -

Again, it was time to leave, and the subway awaited me.  This time, I got on at Times Square, figuring that this would be the best place to get a seat - and I was right. On the ride to my car, I got messaged by both Lili and by Vicki #1.  Vicki broke down and bought a subsidized phone, losing her unlimited data plan. (Given her other expenses AND the data plan she got, she'll spend the same money, and likely never reach her data cap.)  Lili, on the other hand, triggered a touch of annoyance in me.  She dated a fellow, and he gave her anomalous indications of interest. Lili needed to explicitly find out what his level of interest was - and got annoyed when she found out that she was not on his radar. Until she gets it in her head that no healthy man will bond with her as quickly as she wants, she will continue getting disappointed by almost every man she meets.  (Thank god I have GFJ right now.  She's not perfect, and she may not be available as a long term choice. But we seem to make each other happy, and that's what counts.)

A while back, GFJ asked me why Lili and I never became BF/GF, and I had a hard time answering the question. Given today's conversation with her, I think I can articulate the answer a little better - she frustrates me way too much.  (Of course, her lack of curiosity about the world doesn't help.)  But I wonder - what would happen if I were to meet someone with whom I click as well as with GFJ and who actively enjoys me when en-femme?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Seeing a new friend (again), a co-op board meeting, and the death of a friend.

I wish all encounters with friends could be happy ones.  Sadly, my schedule for the day calls for one happy encounter with a new friend, and one possibly unhappy encounter with a friend on the co-op board who is experiencing financial troubles.  (There but for the grace of god, go I.)

- - - - - -

BXM and I met for the first time roughly two weeks ago.  (See entry: First day on the new volunteer gig, and meeting a new friend.)  She invited me (as Marian) to attend a wedding ceremony with her, and suggested that we look through the offerings of a local thrift shop to see if there isn't something funky we can wear to this wedding.  Assuming everything comes off as planned, I hope I'll be able to have fun.

Originally, Vicki #2and I agreed to have lunch today, and we ended up postponing our date twice - first to Thursday, and then to the following Tuesday. So I figured that I'd be able to get up late, get dressed late, and make it to a thrift shop where we could peruse the merchandise. Around 11:15, Vicki messaged me and says that we can meet for lunch. What do I do? I figured that it was hard enough to synchronize our schedules for a lunch next week, so it only made sense to catch Vicki while she had an opening for lunch.

Although it was a short lunch, Vicki and I had a great chat - and enjoyed some Dim Sum in the process.  We agreed that sometime this Summer, we will make it to Asian Jewels in Flushing for some fantastic Dim Sum. Too bad that GFJ can't eat seafood - this would be the perfect place to introduce her to Vicki....

- - - - - -

All too soon, it was time to leave. And I had less time than I thought to make it to the Thrift Store in the Bronx where I was to meet up with BXM. Luckily, there was little traffic on the road - and I made it there around 3:00 pm. BXM made it there shortly afterward, and we headed towards the section where dresses were hanging.  Both of us found 4 dresses each to try on. BXM found 2 dresses with sequins, one with a lot of ruffles, and one that just didn't look right on her.  Of the dresses, only 2 made it to the fitting room - the ones with sequins. Although both dresses fit her well, the simple blue sequined dress made her look hot - and I told her that she'd have every man standing at attention. <g>  (This will likely be the dress she wears to her cousin's wedding.) I found 1 designer dress (which I nixed, as I'd have to wear some shapewear every time I wore the dress), 1 fancy dress (also in blue - which looked great on me, but (a) needed alterations with the shoulder straps, and (b) would force me to buy a strapless bra), and 2 variants on a little black dress from The Avenue. I looked great in the latter 2 dresses, and was pleasantly surprised to be able to buy them for $25 total.

If I didn't have a co-op board meeting to go to, I'd have hung out a bit more. So I bid BXM a fond adieu, and it was Northward towards my home.  It's amazing that with the exception of a traffic slowdown in Yonkers caused by a broken down car, the only place I encountered any traffic was Northern Westchester. It was a pleasant surprise to me that I made it home in less than an hour. And that gave me the time I needed to change from Lois Lane into Clark Kent.

- - - - - -

Once I got home and changed back into Mario, I went to the board meeting, where a resident had delivered her proposal for resolving an outstanding issue. Although none of us like making hard decisions (we have a primary fiduciary duty to the co-op), the current economy provides with a unique opportunity to help someone AND be able to say we fulfilled our fiduciary duties, acting in the best interest of the co-op. I'm glad that this avenue was open to us, as we would hate to take actions that can't be undone.

Once we dealt with this issue, the regular board meeting started - and ended very quickly. I was involved in several conversations following the meeting - and didn't get back inside my apartment until 9:30 - about 2 hours after our board meeting ended.  It was nice to be able to chat with other board members informally - if all goes right, I won't be seeing them again in the board room until September.

- - - - - -

Eventually, I made it back to my apartment - and read my email.  A former coworker, a friend, someone I knew for over 30 years, had passed away at the beginning of the month. I feel very sad - he had an inoperable cancer, and was working through much of his cancer treatment. He was laid off at the same time that I was, and had company paid health insurance for all but the last day of his life. Hopefully, he filed to take his pension as a lump sum settlement, payable while he was still alive.  Otherwise, the company may pay his widow based on the value of his ESOP, and not the cash value of his pension had he lived to collect it.

I'll miss my friend.  I wish I had told him that I was transgender on the last time we met. At least he looked healthy, and I will always remember him the way he looked in the photo below, taken while he was in the prime of health....


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A boring day - but could have been worse....

Although I went to meet with my therapist today, for the most part, it was a very boring day. I didn't want to go out, I didn't have any places to go, and I didn't need to do much of anything but retrieve my mail from the mailbox downstairs.

- - - - - -

But first....

GFJ stayed overnight, as she had a doctor's appointment near Westchester Medical Center. (It's not easy to find specialists where she lives - it makes more sense for her to drive either South to the Northern NYC suburbs, or North to Albany and its suburbs.) So I left for my bi-weekly therapy session, while she got ready for a later visit with her doctor....

In therapy, I mentioned to my therapist that I often don't have much to say anymore. Part of me is looking to rebuild a pattern of life that I lost when I was laid off. Although I'm now volunteering at two organizations, I still don't feel that I'm making much of an impact. Yet, I feel better than I did when I was at the old job, as I was totally bored for much of my last few months there. (I won't go into the details again. It's past history, and I want to focus on the future, and what I need to do to enjoy that future.)

Shortly after I left my therapist, telling me that GFJ had made it to a pizzeria near her doctor's office. And I was about 15-20 minutes away.  Luckily, traffic was moving on Route 287, and I was able to make the drive in a little over 10 minutes without pushing it.  We had a nice lunch, and killed a little time before she left for her appointment.  And just before 1:30 pm, we went our ways, and I went home....

Now, I could have gone to the health club (and should have done so). But I wanted to do some work for one of the non profits I volunteer at, so I started codifying the questions I'll need to pose to the vendors we may use for a Membership Management System / Customer Management System. Once I had things written out, I forwarded this list to the person I report to, and hope to get her input before I start contacting the vendors.

Afterwards, I ended up vegging out - and staying in for the evening. I returned Lili's call, and said that I'm looking for meetups that she could attend.  (She still wants to attend one of "my" meetups - and I don't want her attached to me, risking my status in these groups.) So I gave her a little song and dance, and may have found one group she may like - people who like to "hike" with their dogs - and forwarded it to her.  There are other groups that she could have gone to with me, but if I'm going to develop my Marian persona as a full fledged woman, I don't need Lili slipping up at the wrong time - my voice is enough of a giveaway that I am transgender....

Monday, June 22, 2015

Another morning at Church

Sooner or later, I will need to find out what's causing my camera to not get enough resolution when capturing the image of my face as part of an overall picture taken by my doorway.  I've taken variants of this picture many times, and I don't understand why I'm having problems now.

- - - - - -

When I awoke, I had a choice - sleep in, or make the effort to get into Marian Mode for church, knowing that I'd have to strip off everything to be in Mario Mode when GFJ got here. And, knowing the extra effort this might take, I decided to go to church....

On days that I decide to go out as Marian, I have to make sure that I am properly shaved. For many TGs, they may do their faces every day, and the rest of their bodies on an alternating day basis. However, I find that the extra time I spend in the shower to remove all body hair (save my back) helps me present a proper feminine appearance - if I miss a spot one day, I usually get it the next, saving myself from potential grooming embarrassments. But today, I took advantage of the fact that I shaved my legs the day before to save time in my preparation, so I could make it to the church on time.

It was nice being at the church again. The congregation is small, and looks even more so during the Summer. If the weather is much warmer, I'll be very uncomfortable - which will remove the enjoyment from my attendance. But (as Chris Christie might say), I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

- - - - - - 

Without saying too much about GFJ, I can say that she has been in her office at unusual times as of late. There is paperwork that must be done, and she has been choosing to do it late in the night when there is no distraction from either other people associated with her business, or other occupants of the building in which her office is located. Please note that nothing illegal is going on - she is simply going through a messy divorce. 

Why do I mention this?

Given that I often am up very late, I find it interesting that I am again making and receiving calls to and from people at (what some might call) some ungodly hours.  It used to be that only Lili was on this list of late night people. But now, GFJ is on it, and I fully expect to find others getting on it as well. It seems like I'm again attracting a group of night owls into my circle of friends....


Sunday, June 21, 2015

A day with the poly folk, followed by some serious window shopping

Do you think this dress would look good on me?  That was the question that Lili answered yesterday, that I wasn't bothering to ask.

- - - - - -

My plans for the day were simple:
  1. Stop by The Avenue, and possibly submit an application for work.
  2. Go to the Hudson Valley Polyamory pot luck lunch, picking up a dessert along the way.
  3. Stop by Catherine's and see how this dress looks on me.
However, they were almost thwarted by me not wanting to get moving on time and getting interested in some silly action films with Sylvester Stallone as the lead.  By the time I got moving, it was 2:00 pm, and I knew that I'd get to the gathering about an hour before everyone was to leave.  Of course, I made it by 4:00, and I was able to enjoy some good conversation and some good apple pie that I picked up from a farm stand along the way.  YUM!!!     

When the gathering broke up, it felt as if it was a Sunday (our usual gathering day), so I decided to rush over to Newburgh to see if I could drop off my paperwork. My favorite saleslady was there, but she was very busy training new sales help. So I bid her a fond adieu without submitting paperwork, knowing that they will likely still be in a position to hire me part time in a week's time. (There was a big stack of application forms on a table in front of the store. And with the high turnover they've had lately, I don't mind taking the risk that I won't be able to work in Marian Mode for a short term part time job.)

Since there was nothing on my schedule for the rest of the day, I decided to make some phone calls, send some messages, and see if I could cobble something together for the rest of the day. Returning DCD's earlier call, I found out that he wanted to get together on his free weekend day. If I were in Mario Mode, I'd have said yes. But I was comfortable in the dress I was wearing, much more comfortable than any trousers Mario would have worn, so I passed on it. Then I messaged NM, and she wasn't able to respond immediately.  (I'd have liked to meet her at Starbucks for coffee, but couldn't pull that off today.) That left me with a decision: Do I go home? Or, do I go to Paramus to check out the dress that Lili liked for me. The long drive to/from Paramus won out....

When I got to Catherine's, I found out that they did not yet have the dress in stock. Being a good little girl, I decided to make sure I didn't spend money on anything that wasn't a disgustingly good buy for me. Since I found no great buys there, it was off to the Paramus Park mall and The Avenue again - where I found nothing of interest. And finally, I had no excuses - it was time to go home.

Although GFJ will be coming over tomorrow, it will likely be in the afternoon. So, if I'm lucky, I'll have the chance to go to church. (If not, it's not a big deal. But I like going places where I can socialize as Marian.)  


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lunch with Lili, and Drinks at a new Womens' Meetup

I had nothing better to do today.  I had no appointments with friends.  I had no interviews set up. And I had no doctors' visits to worry about. So when Lili suggested that we meet for lunch, I tentatively accepted - knowing that it would all depend on when I got up in the morning.

- - - - - -

Compared with another night this week, getting 6 hours of straight, restful sleep was like not getting much sleep at all.  So when I woke up around 9:00, I remembered Lili and started my process of turning into Marian (in a very slow motion process). Lili called, and we negotiated a place to meet - she mentioned that she and her therapist alternate in bringing coffee to the office, and this time was her turn. (A needless complication - but one typical of Lili.)  Instead of lunching near her therapist (which would have been easy for me), she wanted me to pick up tarps on hold for her at Big Lots and then meet her close to her house (where she could make the coffee run).  I said that going for the tarps would be going out of my way (it was), but could still meet her at the Chinese restaurant. And that was the original plan for lunch....

Of course, things always change when dealing with Lili, and today was no different.  While I was killing time in the Yorktown Heights' Starbucks, she decided to change our venue to Panera Bread - which meant for me to drive another 15 minutes to meet her. But I wa lucky - she had already gotten on line when I was parking, and as I got there, her order was being taken. So I didn't have to stand on line to place my order - leaving more time with Lili. I won't go into the conversation I had with Lili - nothing much was said, but she had to vent on something before tomorrow's day in the sun (or rain) as she runs her traveling jewelry show....

- - - - - -

After Lili, I had some time to kill before my next appointment for the day - a "Gal Pals" meetup.  I figured that driving up Route 22 to view the scenery would be a nice thing - and it was. For the most part, this is a relatively rural drive - even though people can and do commute to NYC using the railroad line that parallels Route 22. Part of me wanted to call on one of my widowed friends from the old AOL W&W chat room - but there was no way that was going to happen while I was in Marian Mode.  (BTW: There is another friend from the W&W Room who will soon meet me in Marian Mode - especially, now that she knows I'm not a threat, and do not want to get into her pants....) Even after killing an hour this way, I had nothing better to do, so I figured that I'd head over to the Barnes and Noble in Danbury.  Big Mistake!!!!

Route 84 from the New York State line to Danbury had a jam the last time I took the road. However, I didn't realize how bad the jam was, or whether it was a regular occurrence. It was worse than I thought, and it is a regular occurrence. So the next time I plan to go to Danbury from the West, I'll either overshoot Route 84 and come down from the North, or undershoot it, and come in from the South.  Either way, I'll probably take much less time to travel the Eastbound distance to Route 7, than I would if I took Route 84.  By the time I made it to Barnes and Noble, I had only 15-20 minutes for browsing before having to return to Mt. Kisco.  And this was more than enough time in Danbury, save that I could not take the time to window shop the new Lane Bryant that took over the storefront which once held The Avenue.

I was lucky in my drive to Mt. Kisco - all the traffic was going in the other direction. So I made the meetup with about 10 minutes to spare. As it was, I didn't need to rush - the hostess couldn't make it, and all but one of the other ladies did not show up. I waited around for 30 minutes before the one lady made it - and she was a stunning English Blonde. (If I were in Mario mode, I could have gotten the hots for her. But in Marian mode, we were peers.) The two of us chatted about many things in the 90 minutes we were together - including the culture shock she was enjoying, having moved to the United States about 2 weeks ago.

Sadly, no one else showed up, and it was eventually time to leave....  When I got my bar bill, I was shocked - $15 for a simple drink!  This place was pricey.  Although the atmosphere was nice, I think that outside NYC (and other major cities) $15 is pushing it for a drink - and as I said to GFJ on my ride home: "I could buy the whole bottle for that, along with crackers and cheese."  Hopefully, this group will meet up at another, less expensive place soon. It'll be nice to develop a second group of women to hang out with.

PS: Later, I found out that another group of 3 ladies was at the other side of the upstairs lounge....  What a shame we didn't all get the chance to meet.

Friday, June 19, 2015

I'll miss her posts....

The above picture was taken on my first visit to Washington, DC - and Meg wanted to go in the Ladies' Room to see if the tiles were the same as in the Men's room. I always loved to call this series of pictures our "Star Trek" shots, as we "boldly went where no man has gone before...."  (It's a corny joke, but it works here....)

Meg was one of the people whose influence helped me get the courage to go out in the world as Marian, and have the confidence to conduct my affairs (when en-femme) as if I were a natal female. Her blog has inspired me, and now it will go dormant until Meg's muse causes her to write again.  I'll miss her posts - especially when she has something important to say. But I can't blame her for giving up posting entries on a regular schedule. She now has a life, she is happily married, and is able to move forward.

Hopefully, I'll be able to see Meg on my visits to the DC area. She is great company, and well worth the effort to see.  (It's hard to believe that, many years ago, in male mode, that we were in the same computer science classes.  Could you imagine the friendship that might have developed if we talked more about the nature of programming languages, databases, and computer architectures, than dresses, shoes, and lingerie?

Alas, all good things have their time - and I'm glad for Meg that she has chosen to do the things she enjoys most in life. I'll miss hearing about how she tries to blend her male and female wardrobes (something I'll never do), and what happens when she does so. But I'm sure that she'll be OK - and I hope she keeps in touch....

San Andreas - a fault in more ways than one!

To start with - I'm in love with San Francisco, and know that disaster pictures rarely reflect a true reality of a potential disaster. And the movie "San Andreas" is so totally over the top, that it's easy to notice where they said "to hell with plausibility" to come up with a series of action scenes that laid my favorite city to waste....

But that's not the focus of today's entry.....

- - - - - - 

When I got up this morning, I had to make sure that most evidence of Marian was behind closed doors, as I expected my cleaning lady to come for her monthly visit. So, it was a rush to clean up things, tossing clothes in the hamper, cleaning dishes in the sink, putting dresses back in the closet, stowing shoes under the desk, and many other little things that I need to do to prepare for "Cleaning Day".  (As I would find out when I got home later in the evening, I could have deferred these tasks 24 hours without incident.  Again, my cleaning lady has missed the 1 out of 4 Thursday rule, and may come on Friday as an agreed on fallback.)

Once I had straightened up things, it was time to get showered and dressed, and out the house as Marian.  When I got to the GLBT center, my usual contact was off for the day, and I was to get my directions for the day from the director of the center. So I ended up spending a couple of hours stuffing fliers, and getting them ready to be sent out to the membership base.  (Sometimes, I'm in the mood for a mindless task - and I'm glad that the task suited my mood.)

When I was done with stuffing fliers, I chatted with the director of the GLBT center, and she said she'd be a reference for me. (I don't want to give a reference from my old firm on the form I'm filling out to work in a retail store.  The last thing I want is someone slipping up and using the wrong pronoun at the wrong time. I'll save the work reference for a job in project management, as I'm still looking for work as a male in that field.) So, next time I'm up in Newburgh, I'll hand in the paperwork and see what happens....  It'll be interesting if I end up being paid to work as Marian, living and working as a female.  (How will GFJ react if this becomes reality?  We'll find out if it happens....)

Leaving the GLBT center, I had 3 & 1/2 hours to kill. I could do a little window shopping, but that wouldn't burn off the time I needed to burn, and I didn't want to do a round trip to my apartment as a way of killing time, as I didn't want to stumble into my cleaning lady like I almost did the month before. So I ended up going to the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers, where I saw "San Andreas".  I highly recommend this theater - especially when one can be drinking a good beer, eating some good pizza (fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella on it), and enjoying a movie.  Too bad that the movie wasn't as good as the venue.  Once the film got up to speed, it was one unbelievable disaster after another.  (I'd bet that the role played by Dwayne Johnson was offered first to Vin Diesel, given that one of the characters was named "Riddick".) With this being said, it was a good way to kill a couple of hours before game night.

Leaving the theater, I noticed that the temperature had peaked around 94 degrees (according to my car).  So I took off my shrug (I was only wearing it in air conditioned spaces to avoid exposing bare shoulders), and drove to the meetup.  Although we played one board game this evening, I had a great time.  Too bad next weeks meetup has been cancelled to allow the host and hostess to attend a grandmother's 94th birthday party.

Towards the end of the night, GFJ tried to reach me. By the time I was able to call her back, she was asleep.  I'll try to reach her in the morning....

And on that note, I'll close out the entry. More of note happened today - and I'll cover it in another post....

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The "Day After"

This was the site of the Whine and Dine in Beacon.  Sadly, it is no more. When I walked by the place this afternoon, it was closed. Yet, it had one of the biggest gatherings of the Whine and Dine crew the night before.

- - - - - -

Last night, I fell asleep shortly after I started writing my nightly post - sometime in the 10:00 pm time frame.  About 8 hours later, I woke up much earlier than expected - and started to straighten up my apartment for tomorrow's visit from the cleaning lady.  (No, I didn't do a lot of work.  I only scratched the surface, with more to do in the evening.).

After exchanging a few emails, I started doing some work for the mainstream non-profit (NPW) I now volunteer for. Unlike the GLBT Center, this place is using some of my analysis skills, and has me doing the research to determine which Customer Management System (or Membership Management System) that they will be using.  During the day, the NPW staff and I exchanged a few more emails, and I now have to authorization to say I represent them when I call various vendors for information. So I'll be doing a bit of research over the next few days in order to determine which system I will recommend to NPW.

Eventually, I got showered and dressed - and then contacted WDJ to determine whether she'd like to go out for some coffee.  WDJ was more than glad to get together and talk - but she'd be very upset if we met at the diner as we usually would at dinner time.  Instead, we met at the coffee shop at the other end of town - and I ate a simple wrap instead of a full meal.

WDJ and I talked about many things, including how successful (or unsuccessful) our former board game venue has become since it became a Science Fiction themed restaurant. And I mentioned that I stopped in to chat with the owner of the place, and how she was bragging that business was good. (I doubt it was that great - I never see people there when I pass by. But I admit that I don't pass by at times the place is likely to be packed.)  We then talked about the last night at the Culture Cafe - and how busy the place was on its last night open. Many of the Whine and Diners came out of the woodwork for this one last hurrah - and part of me wishes I had been there instead of my PMI meeting. Then, WDJ gave me a few suggestions on how I could save money on wigs, as well as adapting a medium cap wig to fit a large size head. Hopefully, she'll send me a few links, as I may want to buy a "clearance" wig to practice on. As I said, we talked of many things - and we didn't even get to shoes, ships, or sealing wax....

All too soon, it was time to leave. WDJ was very tired (in part, as a result derived from a recent medical procedure).  She expressed an interest in going across the river for a pedicure, but was too tired to do so.  If I had the extra cash to spend on a mani-pedi, I'd have volunteered to drive her there and get pedicures together.  So we went our own ways, and I headed home the long way - via Walmart and the local supermarket.

At least, I now have enough food in the house to get me to the weekend. And then I'll figure out what to buy when GFJ finally gets here on Saturday.  (She made the mistake of thinking that this coming weekend was my next visit to the North Country, and planned a day Kayaking with friends. Hmmm... Does this mean I'll be able to spend the better part of the day in Marian Mode? We'll see....) Hopefully, she'll be able to get here in time for dinner.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Half and Half - not the usual sequence

This morning, GFJ went to her doctor's appointment, leaving me alone until the weekend. However, I had things to do related to medical insurance that had to be taken care of early - such as postponing my appointments with my GP and with my therapist.  My GP has been postponed until my insurance is straightened out, and I'll take care of my therapist tomorrow....

- - - - - -

My original plans for the day were to go to the non profit where I volunteer, and give them a status on my analysis of several software packages for use as their membership management system.  I figure that I already know which package will end up on top - as long as the $0 cost holds up throughout the analysis phase of the project.  However, I have to go through the analysis of each package to determine how well each package meets our needs, and allow my stakeholders to make the final decision. Given that I'd have been there for only 15 minutes, it made more sense to send them my early results via email.

At this point, I was already in Marian Mode. So I went out for a local drive, and then called a neighbor to see if she wanted to go out for a cup of coffee - and she did. We talked about many things - and then went outside because both the wi-fi and 3g/4g connections were terrible in the building. Although it was warm outside, we were in the shade and it was quite comfortable wearing a dress when a soft breeze was blowing.  Given how comfortable it was, I didn't want to change back into Mario Mode. I'd have rather gone to the last session of the Whine and Dine group at the Culture Cafe, instead of my PMI meeting (as Mario) in Westchester.  But I knew that the latter was the better thing to do - so I left my neighbor, and went home to change into Mario for the night....

- - - - - -

After changing into Mario Mode, it was back out the door and off to the PMI meeting.  I'm glad I did so, as I saw a former coworker (M) - and found out that she finally found work!  YAY!!!!  She gave me some information on both a networking event AND a headhunter, while I forwarded a question she had about cancer treatment to another former coworker who seems to have been successfully been treated for his cancer - so that her (M's) friend with a similar cancer might find a way into this medicinal protocol test.

And then it was time to go home...  While on the road, my brother called me to say that my dad needs a house cleaner - and to ask me to chip in for it. He has finally started to realize that my dad needs assistance in taking care of himself, and that cleaning the house is a first step.  As much as I can't afford to pay for this right now, I've got enough savings to help out with this for now - and it's worth the expense to make things better for my dad.  When I got home, I saw my neighbor again - and we chatted again, until her boyfriend came with Chinese food.  We chatted for a minute more, as I mentioned 3 Dim Sum joints where I knew they could get good meals - and then went our own ways....

Not a bad day for a "Half and Half" day. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A long weekend with GFJ, punctuated by a colonoscopy

I promise that I won't get too graphic with today's entry - especially since it covers events which have gone on over a period of multiple days....

- - - - - -

This weekend's visit with GFJ had very little romance attached to it.  But that couldn't be helped, given that most of Sunday would be spent in preparation for a colonoscopy. And that during this visit, much of my time would be taken up by the process of cleaning out my GI tract.  So it was no surprise that Saturday evening, after the switch back to Mario Mode from Marian Mode, that this would be our best chance for a touch of romance until Monday night.

When we woke up on Sunday, we had what I jokingly called "the last supper" - simple omelets that I hoped would be filling enough to keep me from feeling overly hungry until after Monday's procedure. Once done with this meal, we went out for a short walk, and then we parted for a while.  I started with the prep procedure (taking the laxative pills), while she went out to get a headlight lamp replaced and then have an early dinner.

By the time GFJ returned, I was at the next stage of the process - the dreaded drink that would trigger my system cleaning itself out.  I mixed it, and then slowly drank it over a period of 2 & 1/2 hours. And when I was almost finished with this foul tasting liquid, the expected happened - but it was not as bad as it could have been.  (My prior experience with my GI tract cleaning itself out was when I had the flu - and that was far from comfortable.)

Throughout much of the evening, I was unable to risk lying down on the bed, as I wasn't sure that I'd get up on time. However, by the time the news came on, I felt safe to do so - and fell out for an hour or so.  At least, I was able to get some sleep later on....

- - - - - -

Getting up in the morning, the thing I missed most was being able to have a glass of water to refresh my mouth. And all too soon, it was off to the hospital for the procedure.  Like last time, it was almost impossible to find a parking spot - but that was not my problem, as GFJ dropped me off at the main entrance. Everything went smoothly from admittance to discharge, with 2 polyps being removed in between.  It's hard to believe how quickly the sedative acted, and then how quickly I came out of induced sleep. But I now know that I must get the sleep study going - once issues with my insurance are straightened up.

Did I mention insurance?  Yup!  It seems like I should have postponed this procedure, as I need to use a new insurance card issued to people on COBRA. So I now expect a lot of bounce backs from the hospital and from the doctors involved, until I have the new insurance card in hand, and have straightened up things with my old firm and the insurance company.  At least, coverage will be retroactive.  (And now to postpone both a visit to my GP and to my therapist....)

- - - - - -

Once GFJ and I were out of the hospital, the first place we visited was the local diner - where I had my first food in 24 hours.  It was good to get some solid food back in my stomach. (GFJ is now having problems with eating a full meal - she could have an ulcer, and will soon be asking her GP some questions.)

After the diner, we stopped back at my place, so that I could drop off some stuff. And then it was off to Danbury to walk around the mall.  It was a nice way to kill part of the day when we wanted to stay cool, out of the sun, and near a restroom....

And then it was home for the night.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Thoughts on the hunt for clothing bargains

The thrift and consignment stores I've visited have been a mixed bag. Some, like my favorite plus size consignment store in Waterbury, CT, organize their merchandise by clothing type and size, making it easy for one to quickly browse through their offerings. Others, like a Goodwill thrift store in San Francisco, have disorganized racks which make it hard for people to zero in on only the merchandise that "fits". Yet, for the most part, these stores are where someone can scoop up some bargains - and experiment with clothing styles without breaking the budget.

- - - - - -

I've gotten some of my favorite articles of clothing from thrift stores - one of which is a sweater I picked up in San Francisco...

It works very well (IMHO) with the dress I was wearing, and didn't cost me that much money to buy it.  

Another article of clothing I picked up was this top....

Although its uses are limited, it does work well when I need the appearance of a sweater and shell, but don't want the inconvenience of wearing two separate articles of clothing. 

I've been fortunate to have been able to find this dress - even though I haven't yet had a proper occasion to wear it....

Do you agree with me - this is the type of dress one could wear to a wedding reception or other formal gathering?

- - - - - -

Given my clothing size (usually a 3x or 28w), I have not been able to take advantage of clothing swaps, as Meg has done. But that is another route that a TG on a budget might use to get some bargains and conserve needed cash.

There is a clothing swap near me that I could go to, but given the small size of participants, I'm not sure if going would be a waste of my time.  Until I have the opportunity to go to a swap that has enough clothing in my size to browse through, I will not be able to give a first hand account on how clothing swaps work for me.

- - - - - -

The hunt for bargains should not be limited to the used clothing marts. I have scooped up some major league bargains in the clearance/outlet sections of some sites' web pages. Recently, I picked up two pairs of shoes from The Avenue's online closeout sale, and paid under $7 for each pair!

- - - - - -

One of the things I've learned about women as part of being a transgender in the midst of cisgenders, is that most women love the thrill of the hunt for bargains. Lili starts salivating at signs which say "60% off!" - as many women might do.  To Lili (and others), the sign means that an occasional bargain may be hiding amidst all of the "leftovers" - and it is their duty to find them.

Not growing up as a female, there is no thrill for me in getting an illusory bargain. I see a bigger picture - items which have been marked down from an excessively high price so that they can be sold at a "normal" xx% discount. And I base my purchasing decisions on how much a price has dropped from that "normal" xx% discount, and not the artificial original price.

The most important thing about bargains I've learned is how to determine value.  If you love a garment, you will wear it often and get a lot of value from it.  If a garment looks great on you, and you wear it once to a fancy occasion, it can still be a bargain at the right price.  But no garment is worth it, if it doesn't look good on you - and it sits in the closet unworn....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I bought the dress, then saw GFJ en-femme

This is as close as you're going to get to seeing what GFJ looks like. She has a very attractive face (to me), and I don't want to do anything that could cause her problems. So, unless she lets me post an occasional picture in this blog, all I'll post are edited versions of certain pictures....

- - - - - -

Normally, on a Saturday morning, I get moving before noon.  Not today.  Although I may have entered semi-consciousness earlier in the morning, I didn't even realize what time it was until shortly after noon - and then I stayed in bed for a while.  But several things got me moving - one of which was a text from Kelly. asking me if I was going to the GLBT Center's Pridefest.  Usually, I would have had GFJ here, and I would have stayed in Mario Mode for her. But she was out, going to a bridal shower in Connecticut. So, after a couple more hours of dawdling, I got showered and dressed - and made it to the GLBT center 30 minutes before activities ended.

When I arrived at the center, I met both Kelly and Fran.  Kelly told me that she had totally rewritten her resume, while her father (Fran) thanked me for giving her solid advice.  It's amazing how this family is inviting me into it - while I move slowly, given my own place in the world. (Both Fran and Kelly are great people, it's just my reactions which result from my conservative upbringing that are causing me to be slow.)  I met a few others that I knew, and bought a few CDs before I left. One of those CDs contains easy listening music from Bert Kaempfert - a musician whose easy listening work is no longer popular, and is better known for a historical connection to Tony Sheridan and The Beatles.  I'm pretty sure that my dad will like this 50+ year old music - and I'll give him the CDs at the same time I give him his Father's Day present....

Next, it was off to Kohl's in Nanuet, where I did buy that dress that Lili didn't like.  Yes, I agree with Lili - the dress is a smidgen too short.  But the pattern and shape make up for it on me. By now, it was getting near time that I either dash up to Newburgh and say "Hi!" to my friends at The Avenue, or to run back across the river and wait until GFJ arrived at my place.  I played it conservatively, and headed home.

Just after I crossed the river, I got a call from GFJ.  The long and short of it was that she was at least 90 minutes away in Connecticut, and I suggested that we eat out.  She was more than amenable, but was glad when I told her that I'd be in Marian Mode when we met.  That was OK with her, so we agreed to meet at The Roundhouse in Beacon.  But I had time to kill, so it was off to The Avenue to see my favorite saleslady. And she suggested that I apply for the open store manager's position.  I took the application, knowing I did not yet know enough to manage a store - but would likely get accepted for a part time slot....  And then GFJ called to let me know that she was nearing Beacon - and it was time to leave - again, all too soon.

When I meet GFJ in Marian Mode, there are no PDA's, save for what normal girlfriends would do with each other - as if they were brought up as "Good Catholics". And this time was the same. Each of us had a simple, light dinner - and followed it up by splitting a dessert. Yes, the place is a little pricey - but the food and atmosphere is worth it.  (I'll have to go there with her again - but in Mario Mode, where we'd both be comfortable with PDA's.) After dinner, we took a walk towards the waterfall, and it was a romantic setting at night, as illustrated by the pictures below.

Towards the end of the path we were on was a reception hall, where a wedding reception was going on.  It was nice to see two young people enjoying each other on their special day. And it was nice to see this couple have some of their photos shot with the waterfall in the background. But all too soon, it was time to leave. Driving home, I noticed that one of GFJ's headlights was out.  So both of us drove carefully back to my place - where I could change back into Mario and be the person she wanted to be with for the rest of the evening....

As a side note....

GFJ liked how the dress from Kohl's looked on me. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

I hope she doesn't get audited....

One of these days, the long arm of the tax man will come for Lili.  And I'll likely be the one getting the phone call when the paper pushers detect a problem and tell Lili that they want proper documentation for her taxes paid.

- - - - - -

When the day started, I knew I was going over to Lili's to help her dye her hair. However, I didn't know that she was going to ask me to help her figure out what she owes to both New York and Connecticut for sales taxes collected AND penalties for not paying this money on time.  So I was not in any rush to see her.

I took my time getting up and getting dressed, as I expected that this would be the last day I'd spend in Marian Mode until next week.  So I decided to wear something bright and comfortable, and chose the outfit below.

The only difference was in my necklace and in my shoes - I chose the shoes for comfort, and not for Lili's sense of style.

Around 3:00 pm, I drove over to Lili's. And on the way, I realized that I forgot to confirm the colonoscopy that is supposed to be performed on Monday.  This means that I have to try and find out if I'm on the schedule for Monday, as I received no confirmation calls this week.  AARGH!  So by the time I got to Lili's I was frustrated and hungry.  And I was lucky that Lili was just as hungry, because the first stop was the Ever Ready Diner in Carmel. 

Lili wasn't happy with her lunch, but I was tolerably satisfied with mine.  She would have returned my meal because of how the potatoes tasted - where I didn't notice anything wrong.  If I wasn't happy, I'd complain.  But she's the type of person who'd eat half a dessert that she didn't like, so that she'd be able to complain and take home one that she did like. (I'm probably painting her much more harshly than I should, as I'm probably reacting to her telling me what she'd do when I was perfectly comfortable with what was served.)

After our late lunch, it was off to Kohl's (which just happened to be next door) to see if they had that dress I like in the blue pattern I like.  They had the black floral pattern in my size, but Lili didn't like it because my knees showed.  I'll have to think about this before I go back to Nanuet to see if the blue floral is still there in my size.  But I have to be careful - if I take Lili shopping, she wants to have me buy clothes as her entertainment.  Her style is very different than mine, and I don't want too much influence from her.

Once done with Kohl's, it was back to her house for the night's chores.  First, it was dying Lili's hair - this went well, save that the hair color was lighter than expected. And then it was time for the worst - Lili's taxes.  She could only produce her bank statements - as she didn't segregate her business's income by state/county/city it was received. So everything she did was wild assed guessing of what she owed.  I'm glad that I can't put my name on her forms!

Sadly, all I could do is help her (as best I can) figure out what she owed New York.  Connecticut is an issue way beyond my means, as they are asking her to submit forms for the past 7 years.  (I asked her about paying Connecticut before, and she said she did - but kept no records.  There was no way I'd even consider trying to deal with Connecticut's paperwork.)  As you can see, Lili is a person who keeps very poor records, when tools such as Quick Books would have saved her ass many a time.  So it's only a matter of time before some governmental authority comes after her. You may wonder - why am I talking about this here?  Well, I wanted to help her pay her FULL taxes including any penalties she may have incurred - so that she has a chance of staying out of trouble.

A while back, Lili told me that she would teach me what is needed to sell things the way she does at these open-air markets. Given the way she does business, that's the last thing I want to learn from her.  I certainly don't want to risk ending up like the woman in the above photo.  I've played by the rules, dotting the I's and crossing the T's.  And I will try to help others do the same if possible....

Friday, June 12, 2015

An afternoon on the High Line with Mandy

This was a meeting we were planning on doing for years - and it could have easily not come off if the weather had been bad.  Mandy (from the blog "From 'Me' to 'Mandy'") and I finally met, and spent a few hours walking around the High Line park, then Times Square, and back to Penn Station.

- - - - - -

Last night, I had my usual disrupted sleep. So I needed the alarm clock to get me moving early enough to meet Mandy at 10:30.  Begrudgingly, I got out of my bed, got showered and dressed, and out the door by 9:15 am.  Although this was not early enough for me to be on-time, it was on-time enough to be "fashionably late". But I had one task to take care of that was more important than Mandy - mailing off my pension paperwork, so that I can start receiving monthly payments as of July 1st.

Once I got moving out of my neighborhood, it was smooth sailing to where I usually get on the subway - diagonally across the street from an ex-GF's house. Two things have changed since my last visit there - Her parents' car is now registered with New York plates, and the property's front gates have been removed. (I guess the ex-GF just got tired of opening and closing them in inclement weather - but that's another story.) There was no way that I was going to say hello, especially in Marian mode - so it was onto the subway and off to Penn Station.

- - - - - -

I never timed a trip into midtown from this station before, but I figured that the local train would take about an hour. So I texted Mandy, and told her that I'd be arriving at 11:00-11:15 am - which was not a problem, as her Amtrak train was also delayed.  But being late has its disadvantages - and Mandy was trying to reach me when I met her at 11:15....

Once our hellos were done, we started walking towards one of the entrances to the high line.  My knees were feeling the walk, as I haven't been on the treadmill in a while. However, once I'd been moving for a while, I was comfortable.  Once we got on the High Line, I spotted the fellow below taking a picture of a lady....

I guess even Buddhist monks enjoy this park.....

We walked towards the Northern end of the park, where I captured this image of the Hudson River.....

Although I was feeling a little warm from the walk, I was glad to have my denim jacket with me as it was very breezy this close to the river.  

Eventually, both of us were getting hungry. So it was off to a nearby place for a couple of burgers. Although I didn't notice it, Mandy spotted two women checking us out - "are they....?"  I guess with her masculine voice, it's inevitable that someone tags Mandy as being a man in a dress (she was wearing a skirt....) when in small places.  

After lunch, we walked up to 42nd street, where we had some gelato at the Port Authority Bus Terminal - and then walked over to Times Square before returning to Penn Station for Mandy's outgoing train. And I caught this picture of Mandy before we both went our separate ways.

It was time for me to go home, and I was glad to be on the subway before rush hour.  By the time I reached my stop, I was glad to be walking outside while my ex-GF was likely to be at work. The last person I wanted to see would be her. And luckily, neither she or her Mother in Law were outside when I walked past her place....