Saturday, October 31, 2015

Odds and Ends for an uneven month.

Sometimes, I feel like it's time to post a status on some of the people in my life....

So here goes again....

BXM - She's crying less now, but is dealing with other problems. She is being kept in limbo due to things outside of her control.

Cat Lady - She is curious as to why I never called her back.  Although was planning to answer her, there is no way I can date someone whose house I can't enter without taking allergy medications.

DCD - He's slowly testing the dating waters.  The issues related to the divorce are becoming more complicated, as his (to be) ex wife may have lost her job.

GFJ - Her divorce is becoming nastier every day.The "Wasband" is trying to intimidate her via methods which border on illegality, and may have crossed over the line.

GFL - No response to my email.  (And none was expected.)  I hope things are going well for her.  But I will not bother to find anything out.

Lili - Right now, she's being kept busy by a boyfriend.  I have no idea of how long she'll be seeing him. But I expect her to be temporarily devastated when he leaves her.

Maria - She is busy with issues regarding her daughter and grandson.  I've not been able to reach her, but would like to so that GFJ can have another person in her corner.

Pat (the former hypnotist) - The last time I talked with her, she is dating a man with whom she can not hold a political conversation, as his views are way too rigid to have a conversation without him blowing up in anger.  I've tried to reach her several times in the past few weeks, but her answering machine has been filled - and no one is clearing it out.  I may end up trying to contact her sister for status if I am not able to reach Pat this week.

Patty - She is recovering from the loss of her mom, and she has a few leads for getting herself a new job.  It'll be nice to see her get it.

WDJ - She has moved away, and seems happy in her new life.  I miss having her around.

Note: I have a new web page "Friends and Acquaintances" on this site that should help you know who these people are.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Back to fun and games

Evolution - not a theory, but a game....  I know it won't go over well in the Bible Belt, but the game combines a bit of luck and strategy to produce an outcome that's enjoyable for the 90 minutes the game was played.

- - - - - -

But first....

I had volunteered to watch DCD's house while he was in court - and he said "No" because he was afraid of what would happen if either the ex-wife (to be) and her mom recognized who I am from my feminine presentation.  Later on, he told me that he got his stepfather to watch the house for him.  Well....  The stepfather proved to be as worthless as used toilet paper, and never showed up.  So DCD locked the house, and made it impossible for the ex-wife to get inside.  He'll deal with the flak if/when it comes from her or her lawyer. (I found it surprising that he tried to call at the last minute to have me come over.  But my phone had discharged, and I didn't get the message until after he was done with the court and I had a chance to recharge the phone.)

When I finally got moving, I got a message from Vicki #2 inviting me for lunch.  Of course, I said "Yes", and it was off to the Indian joint in Tarrytown for their lunch buffet.  It's always good to see Vicki - and I feel like I've known her for ages - even though we've known each other for less than 2 years.

After lunch, I moseyed over to the GLBT center to do a volunteer stint, and found myself doing edits to a spreadsheet.  It's not challenging work, but I was getting frustrated by Kelly asking me to help her with everything and her talking for the sake of talking.  She's a nice girl, but she'd never make it a traditional office, as she doesn't understand how to tell when people aren't in talkative moods.

- - - - - -

I often drop Kelly off in White Plains after working together.  Today was no different.  But I decided to call Pat up, and she was safe at home.  Hopefully, we'll be able to get together next week. So it was on to Yonkers to kill a little time, and then play some games.

Arriving at the meetup, I made sure to drop off something at Melony's house that she had bought at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  I wasn't going to knock on the door and chat - she had an exhausting week, and needed some rest. Once done there, I went across the street for some game playing.

We played only one game tonight - Evolution.  Even though I was the lowest scorer, I had a lot of fun.  I realized one of the reasons I lose a lot of games - I play defense too well, and don't take the chances to excel in many games.  If this game had lasted longer, I might have done much better, as I was well prepared for rounds of attrition where other players were losing points.  After the game, I ended up chatting for a while with a woman who has started to be a regular at the meetup. I think I may suggest a cup of coffee soon, and develop a another Marian mode friendship - where I socialize as the woman I am....  (Yes, it still seems a little strange saying this - especially after 58 years in the male role....)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Another day, another changed schedule....

I figure that the picture above should give you a clue about where I'd rather be right now. However, due to many factors, I couldn't schedule this year's trip for this week.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get there next year, and see other friends in the Transgender community.

- - - - - -

Over the past few days, I've had my schedule up in the air.  Pat wanted a piece of my time, but it would take away from my ability to finally meet with someone I enjoyed dealing with when I owned my old car..  DCD wanted a piece of my time, but it conflicted with my evening plans to go to a PMI meeting in NYC.  Of course, I had to throw in a mid day meeting at NPW, and you can see that something would have to give.

First, I told Pat that I already had plans for the day, and I couldn't be in two places at once. (It was much easier for me to plan to stay in Northern Westchester until it was time for me to attend the PMI meeting.) Next, I found out that my friend from the old car dealership (BVR) would be unable to get together this week because her daughter was ill. And then DCD was not in a position to see me when I was available, as he was stuck in court for reasons related to his divorce.  From having a very busy and overbooked day, things changed so that I could have a leisurely evening trek into NYC - without having to switch back and forth between Marian and Mario modes before going into NYC.

- - - - - -

The more I think about it, the more I see a small need for my project management skills in helping other transgender folk go through their transitions. One of the problems that many transgender folk have in regard to their transitions is that they have no road map, no project plan as it may be, both to guide them and to pass along lessons learned to future people taking similar paths.  It is not enough to pay my bills, but it may be of help to others who need a gently guiding hand....

- - - - - -

Late in the afternoon, I finally made it outside and drove to Pelham where I'd catch the train into NYC for the PMI meeting.  However, I was cutting it way too close, and was lucky to find a metered spot less than a block away from the station - making it possible for me to buy a ticket with just enough time to catch the train. When I arrived in NYC, I was surprised to meet another one of the PMI members I've befriended - and we were discussing how hard it is to find work via networking. We also talked about dishonest bosses, etc. as a follow up to the first topic - her reason for looking for a new job so soon after finding one.

At PMI, we met another person who this woman had a working business friendship, and I was lucky to be included in their chat.  (I wasn't going to jump around the room when I could develop a good contact.)  In out chat, this woman told me that she had been offered a position in my old firm (probably 10-15 years ago) and decided not to accept it because of the reporting structure.  In response, I said that she did the right thing - especially considering the fact that they lost several years of market positioning by doing a merger with a competitor who was several years behind them in technology.  This woman suggested that I send her my resume (I did), and she'd see if she knows anyone who might be able to get me "back in the game...."

- - - - - -

In a way, it felt good to be back in the city again.  And, somehow, I'm a little bit more optimistic than I would be a couple of months ago.  Is this realistic?  Who knows.  But I do not feel that the Sword of Damocles is hanging over my head - and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sometimes Ambrose Bierce comes to mind....

To cite Ambrose Bierce:
Dentist: A prestidigitator who, putting metal into your mouth, pulls coin out of your pocket. 

This phrase should give you a good idea of the regard in which dentists were held in the 1800's through mid 1900's.  The technology they used was very limited.  They could either pull teeth or minimally repair them.  And repairs left a lot to be desired, due to the nature of "Mechanical Bonding", where the shape of a filling was expected to keep it in place - similar to the mechanisms that keep a cork in a Champagne bottle.

- - - - - -

Of course, today was my emergency visit to the dentist.  And the damage wasn't as bad as I expected.  The dentist told me that my tooth needed a "minor" repair - if the damage had gone to the root, I'd have been in severe pain and would have been calling the emergency line for help.

So I sat down in the chair and had my mouth numbed.  While waiting, I stuck up a conversation with the dentist's assistant - and showed her some of my pictures as Marian.  She was pleasantly surprised, and said that she had a friend that looked just like me.  (I'd love to meet this woman, for obvious reasons.)  While chatting, it was a shame that the reason for me being there had to come up again - and I had to be quiet for the next hour or so, while the doctor worked on my tooth.

About 1 & 1/2 hours and $500 after I entered the office, I was free.  It was hard to believe that I had the rest of the day to do what I wanted.

- - - - - -

I contacted DCD to find out if he was sure if he wanted Marian to be at his house while he was in court and his (to be) ex wife wanted to be in the family homestead.  He wasn't sure of things, as he felt that the misunderstood presence of Marian could cause him problems in dealing with the ex wife.  (Later on, I found out that he was very concerned that the ex would use my presence against him, as she was calling for him to get a psych exam.)

A little later, Pat called, asking if I could take her home from the hospital tomorrow morning.  Since this conflicted with other plans I made a while back, I figured that the best thing to do would be to tell her I couldn't help her this time - especially since I'd be driving all over the place on a day that I had prior engagements both as Marian and as Mario.

Later in the day, I found out that the job I had interviewed for went to someone else.  Such is life.  There was a part of me that didn't want to work there anyway, and I'm still hoping that something comes through soon....

- - - - - -

In the end, I decided to rest.  My funds for the week are lower than I want them to be, and I still have to live within my budget.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A schedule - subject to change

As I started this day, I had only one event on my calendar - lunch with my ex-boss from my old bank.  He's a good man, but one who has always been a pawn in someone else's game.  Now that he's retired, I have an idea that he is finally starting to enjoy the more subtle things in life - and I'm glad to be able to know him outside of work.  No, we'll never be close friends - our lives are way too different, and our main focus has been work. But it's nice to have healthy connections to the past....

Unfortunately, I may have to reschedule today's lunch due to an emergency dental situation that I mentioned in a prior entry.  For all I know, I may either need a new filling or a cap.  Hopefully, he'll be able to fix the problem with minimal expense.  Sadly, at the time I started this entry - I doubt it.   Of course, I have a strange coincidence here - GFJ also has a problem.  A cap came off of one of her teeth when she was eating some candy - and she was lucky enough NOT to swallow it.  (I had this happen about 30 years ago, and it is a very strange feeling.)  Given that she is in AC until Wednesday, I will likely have my tooth fixed before she does.... 

No matter what happens, I expect to be in male mode most of the day.  But if I can get things done early enough, I might change into Marian and do something in the evening.  Who knows?

- - - - - -

Hours later....

I realized that I had to postpone lunch with my ex boss. So I sent him an email, and we have lunch scheduled immediately after I pick up my CPAP machine in Elmsford.  (I'm glad that I tried to locate the place on my way home tonight - I'd have never found the public entrance quickly if I were to be in a rush this Friday.) This left me with an open day. So I called Lili and suggested that we meet for lunch.  Unfortunately for me, she's back on her diet (which is good news) and didn't want to go to the BBQ joint near her.

Pat had called me while waiting for the call from the dentist's office.  She wanted me to drive her home from the nursing home on Wednesday.  Normally, I wouldn't mind doing so, but I have several things scheduled for that day, and I don't want to break my schedule for her. One of those things is my weekly visit to NPW.  But the other was a visit to see my favorite employee of my former car dealership.  She knows I'm transgender, and doesn't think anyone would recognize me if I were to pick her up for lunch. Hopefully, Pat will be getting released on another day, so that I can avoid having to tell her NO.

By the time 12:00 noon came around, I was getting a little nervous about my dentist's availability when I got a call from his office.  Although he had no room to squeeze me in for today, I was given the 10:00 am slot for tomorrow - something I could live with. I'll be sure to be in Mario mode tomorrow morning - but I hope to be back in Marian mode by the early afternoon. 

- - - - - -

At this point, I had a truly free day for myself, and I figured that I'd see Pat soon enough. So I drove up to Newburgh, looking to see if my favorite saleslady has returned from a Middletown posting. This was not the case.  But I took the opportunity to buy 4 pairs of tights (2 regular, control top) and (2 fleece lined, for warmth).  Even though I didn't want to spend any money, I know they won't have my size when winter comes on.

When I left Newburgh, I decided to give DCD a call and tell him about my transgender nature.  Although he was having a hard time getting his mind wrapped around the idea, we both agreed that our former therapist was not the right person in whom I could trust with my gender issues. But then he surprised me - For a therapist who was saying that all currently illegal drugs should stay that way, his hypocrisy was evident in a photo DCD took at my therapist's house for a Craig's List sale. The therapist had a few "Roaches" evident on one of the tables which was for sale. DCD then mentioned that he had to be in court while his ex wife visited the marital homestead.  Guess who volunteered to be there.... Marian!   I wonder if the ex will recognize me.

I didn't have much better to do, so I took the long, circuitous route home via the Tappan Zee Bridge. But I figured that I'd stop by The Avenue in Nanuet - and found a dress there that I really liked.  I was going to use two $25 gift cards that I received, and found that one of these cards had been zeroed out.  Since it was in my possession all the time, all I can think of was that the card was hacked ahead of time. Instead of not buying the dress, I pulled out an extra $25 from my wallet - and the dress was mine.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I had to relieve myself - so I stopped at Starbucks to do so.  Bumping into a pleasant lady on her way out, I rushed in and noticed an important thing - almost no toilet paper was left.  So I made sure to stop by the cash register and tell the person manning it that the ladies' room needed TP.  And I bumped into the same lady again. (I'm surprised that she didn't say anything....)  Then it was off to my apartment, where I could unload everything and wind down.


Monday, October 26, 2015

A wake up phone call and some observations about life....

Today, I got a wake up call from a friend (someone who I will never identify in this blog), who talked about some very sensitive issues (which I also will not discuss here for purposes of privacy).  I was glad to be there for her, as us girls got to stick together no matter what!

Since I can't go into any of the details, I'll shift focus to what I did do most of the day - REST!

Often, if I am up very late, I will end up waking up very late as well, and throw my schedule off for the next day. And that happened to me today.  A a result, I couldn't go to the second day of OHNY, even if I wanted to.  At least, I still have the option of visiting Pat in the hospital this evening - if I want to put even more miles on my car....

- - - - - -

I am very grateful that I have extra money in the bank for emergencies. A lifetime of relative under consumption, with a good income, and without kids made all the difference in the world. If I had led a normal life, I'd already be extremely worried because I didn't have adequate reserves.  And I realized this again over the weekend, where I could spend both an evening with BXM, followed by a full day with Melony just enjoying myself as Marian.

But spending good times as Marian is not enough. It still makes Marian a partial persona, not having had to struggle in her own right.  Her struggles need not be financial or health related to make her more authentic.  But they must test her as a woman, something that hasn't been done yet.... 

- - - - - -

Yesterday, when Melony and I were waiting at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, a couple asked Melony a question - which opened up the doors for the four of us to have a chat.  Melony realized what I was doing when I used phrases such as "when I was a little girl" in conversation - it helped cement the idea that I was nothing more than I seemed to be with this couple, so that it would make it easier to focus on a conversation, instead of who was in the conversation.  And I think I'll use this technique more often when with people who are not in the know.

Since Melony was in the know about my being Transgender, I had a conversation with GFJ in the car while each of us were driving to our respective destinations. I'm very glad that Melony didn't get bothered hearing my masculine voice.  But I'm also very glad that I have a friend who accepts me for who I am - no matter how I am presenting myself to the world at the time.

- - - - - -

Where do I go in the future?  I'm far from sure on this.  I want to spend some money on speech coaching, where I can learn to develop a more feminine voice.  To do this most efficiently, I will need a job to pay the bills.  My goal is to make my Marian persona as authentically feminine as possible - and that means that I (as Marian) must develop more of the traits in years that most women develop over decades.  Is this possible - Yes.  but it will come with effort....


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Open House New York - Brooklyn, 2015

In the past, I have referred to the woman above (Melony) as YGM.  As part of today's trip to Brooklyn, she has given me the OK to use her name in this blog. Even in comfy clothes, she's a doll - wouldn't you agree? 

- - - - - -

When I woke up this morning, I knew things weren't going to be normal.  For one thing, I got moving an hour later than planned, not having enough sleep the night before.  But more important than that, when I woke up, I found that a tooth filling done in the past year or so had failed, necessitating a trip to the dentist's office on Monday, spending money that I can ill afford to spend to fix the tooth.  Luckily, the tooth is in the back of my mouth, and I have to reach my tongue back to notice the problem.  (The only reason I noticed it was that this was a spot which usually gets food caught between the teeth, requiring flossing immediately after many meals.)  With my luck, I'll need a crown - and will wish that there were other ways to deal with this problem.

Eventually, I got to Melony's, and we were off to Brooklyn.  I had 3 places on my list of sights to see:
  1. The Brooklyn Army Terminal
  2. The Brooklyn Glass Company
  3. The Brooklyn Navy Yard
Of these, we missed being able to tour the Navy Yard because we were an hour later than planned.

- - - - - -

Traffic to Brooklyn was terrible - the BQE was jammed, so we bailed, taking the LIE to Woodhaven Boulevard to the Belt Parkway, and over to the Army Terminal.  It was a long drive, but much faster than if we took a more direct path via the BQE. 

The Brooklyn Army terminal is a massive complex.  When it was built, it handled a lot of goods coming in to / going out of the USA for military purposes.  During WW2, it handled a lot of troop movements from the USA to Europe - with staging camps in NY and NJ, from which troops were routed through NYC to ships docked at the slips behind the building. 

After WW2, the Terminal was host to one famous soldier on his way out to Europe - Elvis Presley.  Like many soldiers, his train went straight to a slip behind the building.  However, the press delayed him from getting on the ship for 2 hours.

The terminal was a victim of the modern age, where cargo became containerized, and needed less people and more space to process and warehouse it.  Although the Federal government closed this base in the 1960's, it took a while for NYC to get the money to buy and rehabilitate the space.  Now it is being used for many purposes, but with several related goals in mind - success is defined by the creation of as many high paid jobs as possible, maximizing both head count and worker income over profitability of the site.  

Artists have taken over part of the site, as shown by the exhibit above.  But there is more than enough space to go around, when you consider that there is a major biotech firm there, the city's 311 call center, and a large server farm for an unnamed company.

At the end of our tour, we could have stayed and looked around a little.  Instead, we bailed, with the idea of seeing our next site in Brooklyn - the Brooklyn Glass company.

- - - - - -

Brooklyn glass is a small operation, where artists are working "Hard" and "Soft" glass into works of art.  The pictures below can only give a small idea of what the artisans at this place can do....

Of course, when we were shown the ancient art of glass blowing, the tour got even more interesting - even though most of us were able to sit down for a half hour....

Once he got the glass into the shape he wanted, it was off to the kiln for the glass to slowly cool down - a process that often takes at least a day or so to complete.

- - - - - -

When we were done, it was off to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  We didn't know it, but we were there too late for a tour - but found out that we can take a tour most Wednesdays through Sundays.  So I decided to take a few shots while I was there with Melony....

There is so much to see - I'm glad that I now know where this place is, so that we can visit again at our leisure.  But before we left, I asked someone to get a picture of the two of us.

- - - - - -

Since Melony expressed an interest in riding the Staten Island Ferry, I figured that I'd drive into Lower Manhattan and see if I could find a (rare) free (or cheap) parking spot, so that we could ride the ferry.  Sure enough, we got very lucky, and found a spot a block away from the ferry.  Even better, someone wearing a parking enforcement uniform confirmed that the spot I was in was legal and free to park in on Saturdays and Sundays.  So I parked the car, and off to the ferry we went.

Unlike many previous trips, I did not bother to catch any pictures of the Statue of Liberty, nor did I bother to play with my camera - it was more fun talking with Melony while she played tourist and took all the pictures on this ferry ride.  I alerted Melony that we had to move to the front of the ferry before it docked, so that we could high tail it to the gate where the return ferry would soon be leaving - or we'd have to wait another 30 minutes before being able to get back to Manhattan.

We made it to the gangway just as they were closing the doors, and Melony was surprised to find out how fast this gal could move.  My only comment was that I was thankful NOT to be wearing heels.  On the way back, we talked of many things - some of which were related to my transgender nature.

Arriving in Manhattan, we made sure we had enough money on our Metrocards, and then took the bus to Chinatown.  Knowing that I wanted something special, so that Melony would remember this trip, I went to a place which specializes in Soup Dumplings - Joe's Ginger. (If you ever want to find out what a good soup dumpling tastes like - just go to Joe's.


Afterward, we stopped into a store specializing in Chopsticks.  For Westerners, it's hard to believe that a pair of Chopsticks can run over $75 - but this store had them, and some even more expensive....

When we left this place, I suggested that we take a little walk and go to a place which should have been fun - The Maid Cafe.  When we got to the storefront, it seemed like this store never existed.  So we went next door, and found out that it closed over a year ago.  This is very sad - it was supposed to have been fun while it lasted.

So what do you do when you can't find an acceptable dessert in Chinatown?  Go to Little Italy, of course.  And we walked another 5-10 minutes to Ferrara's on Grand street. After waiting (what seemed like) forever, we sat down for dessert and coffee. The dessert did not disappoint - but the espresso did.   Although we could have gotten a fresh cup or two, we figured that it was getting late, so it was time to go home.

- - - - - -

By the time we got to Melony's it was around 11:00 pm.  We gabbed quite a bit, as two women would do, and then it was time to say goodbye.  Hopefully, we'll be able to do something like this again soon....

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Getting checked up - in more ways than one

Today, I had two things on my list which required me to be en-homme.  The first was a visit to my doctor, and the other was to bring my car in for its yearly NYS inspection.  So both my car and I were getting checked up on the same day.  (And as usual, my car is in better health than I am...)

- - - - - -

I often dread going to the doctor, as I know I have not been successful in any of my recent attempts to lose weight.  It doesn't help that I socialize a lot, and that most socialization done in this culture (and in most cultures) is done over food. So I have to figure out better ways that I can still socialize, and yet not consume too much food.  Today's visit was no different than usual, save that it was more of a complete physical, instead of the usual monitoring of blood pressure.  At least, I didn't get the usual lecture this time....

After a brief stop for lunch, it was off to the dealership to get my car inspected. As expected, there was nothing wrong with the car - I treat my cars better than I treat my body.  But I tend to wear them out quicker than the average person, as I do much more driving than that average person. So it's a small blessing when the car doesn't cost me anything more than I expected.

Next on my agenda for the day was to pick up the suit I dropped off at the tailor last week. Although I could have tried on the suit at the tailor's place, I figured that I could try it on at home - as I was already wearing some female garb under my male clothing because of a GI tract issue I had to deal with immediately after leaving the car dealership.

- - - - - - 

Later in the day, I completed the switch from male to female mode.   And then it was off to see BXM for a late dinner.  She is unable to drive far at night - so I ended up driving to her place for dinner.  (If I had planned things better, tomorrow would have been a day spent with YGM at Open House NY, followed by an hour with Pat at the nursing home, then completing the day with a dinner accompanied by BXM.)  I needed to get back into female mode - there is something about it that makes me feel better, and I think it's because I have a predominantly feminine soul.

- - - - - -

When I got back home, I noticed that GFJ had sent me a link to another meetup - and I investigated the link from Mario's account.  It looks good, so I think I'll go with GFJ to this event early next month....


Friday, October 23, 2015

Learning how to speak again

I had a choice between three things to do this evening:
  1. Whine and Dine - Pot Luck Supper
  2. Yonkers Board Game Meetup
  3. Transgender voice exercises for loudness
Guess which one I chose....

If you chose either of the first two selections, you'd have been wrong - I ended up trekking into Lower Manhattan, so that I could attend Christie Block's group session geared towards improving a transgender adult's ability to project his/her voice. To cite her CV:

Christie Block, MA, MS, CCC-SLP is a licensed and board-certified Speech-Language Pathologist who specializes in voice, speech, and swallowing disorders, including professional voice, neurological disorders, transgender voice, and upper airway disorders. She has more than 20 years of experience as a clinical specialist, teacher, and trainer of speech-language pathology, ESL, public speaking, and linguistics.

Would you believe that she also has studied Mandarin Chinese!!!

- - - - - - 

Why am I making such a big deal of this?  There are very few Speech Pathologists who have a specialty in Transgender voice training.  She is one of ten people in the country who can make a living dealing with transgender adults - and is affordable.  (I am not at liberty to discuss her rates - I overheard it in a discussion with someone else who attended the session. But it is much less than my therapist (a CSW) was charging the insurance companies for his services.)  If you are in the NYC area, you might want to consider using her services....

In this session, there were seven adults - two F2M transgenders, and 5 M2F transgenders. All of them had varying levels of proficiency with voices of their preferred genders, andwe all felt very comfortable with Christie's direction.  The two hours allotted for this session flew by very quickly - and I learned a few things that will help me project my voice - assuming I practice a bit....

- - - - - -

When I finally got back to my car, I paired my new phone with the car's Bluetooth system.  Now, I can answer phone calls on either phone, and be able to know which voice to use when answering the phone. Although I've mentioned the importance of this a while back, I'm now able to share Marian's phone number with selected people. There is a list of people with whom I want to hand out the new number, including friends in the Whine and Dine crew.  Over time, with the help of transgender speech lessons, I hope to have a female voice which sounds good over the phone....

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A new cell phone for Marian - and ONLY Marian

I've been thinking about buying a new cell phone for "Marian Only" use for a while now.  The incremental cost of buying and maintaining a second cell phone for only Marian Mode use made me concerned that this was a frivolous expense.  But the more I live my life en-femme, the more I realize that I need this phone - if only to be able to respond in the correct voice patterns when I answer the phone.

- - - - - -

When I got up and out today, I had only one appointment in front of me.  And that was to go to NPW and figure out what we'd take care of next.  NPWJ is very happy with what I've delivered so far, and she's looking forward to integrating the features of the new system with the old website - that is, until a new site has been set up to her liking.  And this is probably the right way to go, given that this non-profit agency is NPWJ's baby, and that it reflects her way of seeing what this agency can do for its members.

Once I was done with NPW, I figured that I'd visit Catherine's in Paramus, followed by a visit to The Avenue.  Neither store had anything that I'd be interested in.  While window shopping, I had a text exchange with Kelly - it seems that the fellow who wanted to run the job seeker support group was leaving the GLBT Center.  Neither of us mourned - this fellow didn't do much, and he was more of a distraction than a help.  Heck, I could have done his part time job, and I have no background in the area.  (I may end up asking what he was supposed to do, and see if I could fill in (for money) until they have a permanent replacement.)  But Kelly and I both noted that we were asked not to come in tomorrow, as no one would be around to give us assignments.

Next, it was off to Walmart, where I planned to take a look at the cell phone and the plans I could use for service.  And I decided to finally spring for the phone, knowing that it would be a cheap way to have voice and text service for my Marian persona while en-femme.  The reason that the service (Total Wireless) is so cheap ($25 - unlimited talk and text) is that any data you consume (an extra $10) is on Verizon's 3G network.  (No 4G phones need apply.)   So I bought a disposable phone (Moto E - $60), and signed up for the service.

- - - - - -

Now it's time to give anyone who knows me as Marian (and not Mario) my new cell phone number.  There are people who I've wanted to communicate with, that I didn't want to give out my old cell phone number, lest they reach Mario and not Marian.  Is this the best way for me to handle this problem?  I don't know.  But this is the solution I've chosen, and I hope it works as expected....

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Mad Magazine, like this blog, has always been cheap.  In the case of the issue depicted above, it sold for $0.25 - Cheap!  And issues like this were among the few things that brought a smile to my lips during childhood.

- - - - - -

Growing up, I always felt more comfortable playing with the girls in my neighborhood. How many boys do you know growing up knew how to play a game of Hopscotch?  This, of course, changed when puberty hit. Then the rules changed forever in regard to who we were expected to have as friends.

Yet, I've always seemed to have a few female friends around when I needed them.  Maybe it was my transgender nature that allowed them to enter my life - who knows?  But I have a feeling that most men would never put up with the drama which women deal with in their friendships.  GFJ made the following comments in an email she sent to me today....
  1. You need to get happy friends (me included) who don't dump on you.
  2. You need to start bitching like we all do.
  3. You can bitch tomorrow about how long does it take to give birth to an elephant.

I find her comments interesting, as she doesn't dump on me that often.  Yet, I recognize that encouraging her to vent is part of the price I pay for dating a woman who is in the middle of a divorce. If I became the bitching type, I'd attract only those people who enjoy bitching - there are too many people of this type, as all they seem to enjoy doing is bitching, and not fixing the problems that they bitch about. Then, I chuckled at her mention of an Elephant, as it's taking forever for me to get a CPAP machine - even though the script has been received by the providing firm.

- - - - - - 

There is a kernel of truth in what GFJ said - I need to get happy friends.  But what is it about me that tends to attract those people with problems they can't solve?  Could it be because I like to solve problems professionally, and that this carries in to my private life?  If so, how do I wall off this side of me, so that I can attract healthy people?

So far, I seem to be finding that when I'm out as Marian, that I attract a better type of people. Because I live in between two genders, I am not always free to do things that a cisgender female might do - in part, because I still want the opportunities for romance that will likely elude me if I were to transition.  Yes, there is a part of me that is a little jealous of one M2F transgender person I know who has a strong romantic relationship with her wife. But, knowing what this person has gone through with an ex-wife and her estranged offspring, I would not want to be walking in her shoes.

Right now, I only have one word I say about life....

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Some thoughts from a long weekend....

Although I had virtually no en-femme time this weekend, I still had encountered things that touched on femininity.  One of those things was a server at Panera Bread who thought I looked familiar, noting where I was sitting on a recent time I was there with Lili.  I have no idea whether I was in Mario or Marian mode that day, but it underscores the need to be ultra careful in the places one visits, and, ideally, to patronize one set of shops while en-homme, and another set of shops while en-femme.

- - - - - -

It seems like Lili will soon be needing a lot more of my time.  Over the weekend, she had to put one of her dogs to sleep - something very hard for her to do, *and* break up with her "boyfriend" (again).  As I was chatting with GFJ, I fully expect that she will now push to go away somewhere - when I can afford least to do so, as I'm waiting for a call back from an employer at which I've already had 2 interviews (1 in-person, 1 on-phone).  I do not want to have any impediment in front of me that would prevent me from getting this position.

- - - - - -

Now that there's nothing in the way, I can get back to work on the project I'm doing for NPW. Hopefully, I'll be able to do more for them - but not if it prevents me from getting the job in NYC that I mentioned in the above paragraph.  There's a part of me that enjoys having this free time to do a lot of things.  But I don't like being as idle as I've been over the past year and a half.

- - - - - -

The next 2 weeks will have me flipping back and forth between Mario and Marian mode, almost on a daily basis.  I'll be attending 2 networking meetings, a co-op board meeting, having lunches with my ex-boss and with someone from my former car dealership, in some cases switching into either Mario or Marian mode with no time to spare.  This can and will get confusing without a good schedule in hand!  Imagine what I may need to do if another job interview comes my way!

- - - - - -

Since GFJ will be away this coming weekend, I'll get some extra time in Marian Mode.  I'm sure that I'll need it badly by then.....

Monday, October 19, 2015

The advantages of getting older.

As I go through this journey called life, there are many things that can only be done when young.  I'm pretty sure if I had been born with the standard body configuration of a typical American female, I'd have visited Bourbon Street during the weeks that led up to Mardi Gras to "go wild" for a while.  Youth has the benefit of exploiting healthy sexuality.  Otherwise, how would our species continue to populate this earth?

But there are many advantages in getting older.  As I move forward towards a personal balance between the masculine and feminine in my life, I find that my 50+ years of life experiences solely as a male, and the rest in both genders, allows me a unique perspective on life that is invaluable.  Recently, I had the privilege of being on a panel of transgender people, and was able to impart some of my knowledge to interested "civilians".  As a result of this forum, I received the following email from a person I work with at the GLBT Center:

Thank you all for participating in our Westchester Transgender Forum. As I am reviewing the evaluations from the event, your panel was a highlight of the day. Folks really connected with hearing your personal stories. 

One of the attendees at the event was Dr. SM who is a staff psychologist at the Purchase College Counseling Center. She has asked me if she can contact you to see if you would be willing to come and speak to a group made up of members from the student body, faculty and staff at Purchase College. 

I cannot release any contact information without your permission. If this is something any of you would be interested in, let me know and I will share with Dr. SM your contact e-mail.

Of course, I answered "Yes".  If I had been younger, I might have cared what others might think of me.  Being older, I realize that I can have one foot out the door and be openly transgender in one community, and yet not have this out in the open while interviewing for work in the business community.  What would happen if the firm were to find out that I'm transgender?  In my case, if they were to hold my nature against me, I wouldn't want to work for that firm.  My savings and pension give me options that a younger person doesn't have in regard to a job search.

- - - - - -

Being older does come with a unique set of problems.  After a certain point in life, fewer opportunities are being presented to us.  It's harder to develop new friendships with peers, as people are both more set in their ways, and are more likely to be departing from this mortal realm.  Our bodies are wearing out in one degree or another, and our culture is geared to honor youth, and not the elderly.

Tonight, I went with GFJ to see the movie, "The Intern".  It was an enjoyable flick which telegraphed some of its messages - one of which was that youth has a lot to learn from its elders. The basic plot has a 70 year old gentleman looking to participate in a senior internship program at a young internet firm.  He is assigned to work with the firm's young, female CEO, who (at first) resists his help, but who warms up to him in a very short period of time.  There are the normal amount of plot twists and challenges within the plot to keep the story interesting. But the key message of the movie is not to discount the contributions older people can make.

Why do I bring up this movie?  Well, the baby boomers are getting older.  Transgenders in my age group are starting to die off, and we have a lot of knowledge to impart to the younger generation.  Some of this knowledge is that of self discovery.  Some of it is the joy of being one's true self.  But a lot of this knowledge is related to the costs of not being able to be that true self.  In an age where being Trans is becoming reasonably commonplace in the population as a whole, I fear that not sharing our experiences could allow today's Trans folk to get hurt - as there could be a social backlash against newly outed  transgenders.

Look at the mail that Jazz Jennings receives.  At the age of 15 (?), she is receiving hate male from people who don't even know her, except as a M2F transgender female.  And they consider her to be an abomination that must be destroyed because of this.  Why do they hate someone who does them no harm?  It's because that she doesn't fit into their fragile world view, and threatens much more than they can ever accept - that the world isn't as certain as they need it to be.

If I were younger, I'd never be able to have this understanding.  When one is young, one learns about the world.  One learns patterns that repeat themselves over and over again, creating new echoes of beauty and ugliness.  In music, it is the repetitions of pattern that make a piece beautiful or ugly.  In other arts, it may be either the simplicity or complexity of patterns, each echoing a common theme. But in life, I'm seeing patterns of human behavior that have repeated themselves from time immemorial.  This is why we study history in both secular and religious texts - the past has a lot to teach us, if we'd only look at it.  And in the case of tolerance (and acceptance) of transgender folk, we must remember our past, to preserve our rights in the present and in the future.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A quiet day... Meditations on the telephone

Not much to report today - about the only thing that got either of us moving was the ring of a telephone.  It's amazing that in a little more than a century, that most of the people in the "civilized" world has been trained to respond to the sound of a telephone....

In the morning, we were awakened by the announcement that we have won a prize, a trip to Bermuda.  Yeah, right!   Another sales pitch for another time share firm - and another call I could have safely ignored.  Later on, it was my pharmacy calling to tell me that I had a prescription ready to be picked up. (Which we did later on.) And towards late evening, yet another call - this time, a wrong number.

Over the years, the telephone allowed me to talk with the woman who'd eventually become my wife for hours at a time.  After she passed away, it allowed me to maintain a long distance romance for 2 1/2 years. But it has always been by my side....

- - - - - - 

Recently, I've been thinking of having a second cell phone.  My main cell phone will be used for people who know me as Mario, and for those people who know me both as Mario and Marian.  Anyone calling me on this line will know that the phone will be answered with Mario's voice. The other cell phone would be answered in Marian's voice, and only in Marian's voice. This way, for friends who know me only as Marian, they get a way of contacting me without having to hear Mario's voice.  I have a feeling that the second cell phone will eventually get much more use than my first phone....

- - - - - -

A little over 100 years ago, most people did not have private telephones.  The idea of a portable phone was only a dream for most people, even though they were familiar with the idea by the 1940's due to the Dick Tracy comic strip. The idea that people could have "instantaneous" contact with each other over long distances was a radical change for society.  People were associated with a location, and as a result became easier to reach. Not only was it easier to conduct business, but families to have more intimate contact with each other - even when separated by distance. With the cell phone, people no longer needed to be associated with a location, but only with a phone number. Again, it was now much easier for business to be conducted, and individuals could reach each other at will - without being concerned about where either individual was at the time.

How many devices can you say have made as much change in how our species lives as the humble telephone?