Sunday, January 31, 2016

Blizzards - Most people prefer those from Dairy Queen

I wish Mother Nature would learn Dairy Queen's recipe for a Blizzard.  If she did, more people would like to have them in the Winter....

- - - - - -

This was a perfect day to stay in my jammies.  Given the snow outside, it didn't make any sense to drive anywhere.

The further North one lived, the less snow there would be on the ground.  GFJ reported no snow where she lives, and is working at her office today.  Whereas, the further South one lived, the more problems one had with the snow.  For example, Joanie (who works at a NYC based call center for a NYC based educational institution) was packed up to stay the night at a hotel local to the call center, and was doing a 12 hour stint, with another 12 hour stint to come later today.  But then, NYC already had over 12 inches of snow (at 12 noon) to deal with.  (Am I fixated on the number 12?  Nah.  But it looked good in print....<g>)

- - - - - -

Given this daytime picture, I'm not too worried about clearing the snow off my car tomorrow morning. But I feel sorry for people like Pat, who are not able to do this.  We have so many people in our community who are unable to take care of themselves.  I hope that they have close (read: local) friends who can help them out in times like these....

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Before the storm....

It's amazing.  People are stocking up on supplies, preparing for Armageddon - when all we're going to have is a "little" storm.  Little????  We still don't know how much snow we're going to get here, but the latest US Weather Service prediction for my area of the NYC Suburbs is between 4" to 8" of snow.  If the power goes out, one can place food such as eggs outside, and not worry about having to open the refrigerator or freezer door, letting the cold air out. For most of us, power would be restored within 24 hours, and we'd be back to normal for Monday's commute.

- - - - - -

Normally, I would have spent the day en-femme, and maybe met one of my woman friends for a quick bite to eat.  It seems like it's been a while since I've seen either Vicki, BXM, and YGM. But today was not a day to try to visit any of them.  Instead, it made sense to run last minute errands (such as picking up a rack of ribs to cook tomorrow, and buying a collapsible shovel to leave in the back of my car in case of emergency). And it was easier to run these errands en-homme, as it took me less time to get ready to go out (which is a serious factor when one didn't bother to shower until 3:00 pm).

Of course, I expect to stay inside the house tomorrow, and possibly capture a few pictures of the snow outside my windows.  However, on Sunday, I expect to be cleaning off my car, and that will mean being en-homme for the day.  And even when I get a chance to go out en-femme, I'll be wearing something other than dresses or skirts - such as a pair of jeans.  Hopefully, this snow will melt quickly, so that I can go back to my normal wardrobe....

Friday, January 29, 2016

Whining and Dining - first time this year.

The one question I get asked about my job search is whether I'm looking for work as Mario or as Marian.  And I always say the truth to those who know about both persona - I've only been looking for work as Mario, as that's where the money is.  And this morning, I sent in 6 references - each of which I feel will paint me in the most glowing light possible. But enough of the job search.  If I get the job, I'll go crazy because I don't have enough Marian time in my life.  If I don't get the job, I'll start making calls to try to find grunt work as Marian, and continue to apply for higher paying work as Mario.

- - - - - -

When I got up, I had two things on the docket: (1) Going to White Plains and playing Mah Jongg with the girls, and (2) Going to the Whine and Dine meetup for the first time this year. As usual, I got moving way too late, and got to the Mah Jongg venue at WPB's house about 20 minutes late.  (I'm glad I called her on the way down - she had all the tiles ready for me to start play when I got there.)  And then we got into the game. I found it interesting that everyone was locked out of winning by tiles being kept in others' hands - and in the last game, WPB and I were playing to win with the same "hand", albeit with tiles in two suits flip-floppped.  It was fun.  However, WPB made a mistake with pronouns, and I brushed it off.  I have no problem with the other two ladies knowing that I'm transgender. Yet, WPB didn't think that these ladies picked up on the use of the wrong pronoun....

- - - - - -

After I left WPB's, I drove to the Whine and Dine meetup.  I'm glad that I allocated 90 minutes for the drive, as it took a little longer than expected. However, once I got to Fishkill, I was early - and decided to kill 20 minutes at Starbucks, nursing a cup of coffee and reading a newspaper.  A little bit later, I met the gals at our venue, and had a nice time catching up with the ladies.  There's not much more I can say - I enjoy being treated as a peer by the women, and I enjoy the fact that my presence only contributes to the vibe of the group....

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I never thought I'd be in a position like this.

Yes, I am a little scared and a little ambivalent about the potential new job that I interviewed for on Tuesday.  Can I do the job?  I think so, but it won't be a slam dunk.  I'll have to bust my ass to do so.  This is the fear of failure rearing its ugly head.  And my ambivalence comes from the facts that I have gotten used to being Marian much of the time during the work week, and am not sure that I want to work 40+ hours each week in a location that requires a two hour commute each way. 

- - - - - -

Today, I had to get my references in order so that the firm could get a read on who I really am.  Although my former boss (who was forced out as a result of the merger) will be able to give an honest and accurate read on my skills and attributes, I can't say that about the last boss I had - she was never available, rarely visited my office (she lived and worked over 300 miles away), and didn't value my contributions to the firm. She's one person I can't afford to have this new firm contact.  I have two more references lined up from the old firm, as well as two more references from my volunteer activities.  So I should be in good shape when I submit this information. However, it takes a little time to connect with former coworkers and again do the courteous thing and ask for them to give me a reference - especially after a year and a half of unemployment. And this required me to stall the new firm a little, so that I can get my my ducks in a row.  It's hard to believe that I'd be in this situation less than 2 weeks ago.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to NPW today - and I didn't reach NPWJ in time.  Even though I sent her an email, we got our signals crossed.  When I finally made it to the GLBT Center, it was already late afternoon, and I was tasked with cleaning up their press (publicity) contact list.  As expected, when I mentioned what had gone on the day before, same expected question that NPWJ had asked me the week before was asked - Did I apply for the job as Mario or Marian?  Sadly, I had to reply, I had to apply as Mario - none of my professional contacts know that I am Transgender, and this was not the time for me to tell them.

- - - - - -

When I left the GLBT Center, I ended up calling Pat.  Of course, she rehashed what went on this weekend, and noted that I was missed.  I wasn't going to tell her that at the church, I wasn't in a mingling mood so I left.  Nor was I going to tell her that I just wasn't up to having a free dinner the next day given by her chiropractor as a way of drumming up business.  So I told her a white lie to both situations, and had a nice, but quick chat while on my way to Stew Leonard's.

Although it's likely to snow this weekend, I'm not worried about how much of the white stuff I'll have to clear away from my car.  Pat, on the other hand, will have a big problem - and I feel sorry for her.  She is in her mid 70's, and at the point where she shouldn't be doing strenuous activity any more.  But I'm not going to volunteer to drive 45 minutes, clear out her car for an hour, then drive back home again.  Selfish?  Yes.  But not in the unreasonable range for an average person.

Hopefully, it won't snow too much on Saturday, and I'll be able to get out and about without many problems.  Will I go out en-femme?  The answer is: Only if I can deal with the slop outside. Otherwise, Mario, not Marian will be out and about for a while.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Going into NYC for an interview

Last night, I wasn't able to sleep well. Even though I went to bed earlier than usual, I didn't fall to sleep until after 4 am.  Normally, this wouldn't be a problem.  But, I had to be out the door by 8:30 am, so that I could catch a train into NYC for an 11 am interview in Lower Manhattan.  Luckily, sleeping with "the elephant" is even making such short sleep periods as I had last night much more effective in providing me the rejuvenation I need for my daily activities.

- - - - - -

When I got up, all the alarms I set were ringing - and I had to get moving enough to get myself out of drowsiness, and become fully awake.  From there, it was relatively easy for me to get out on time.  (Sadly, I had to go out as Mario.  Until I'm ready to go 24x7, Mario will always be a part of my life.)  Yet, I gambled on being able to have food in my stomach, as well as coffee in my caffeine stream.  Luckily, I got to the station while the coffee shop was still open, and while he had the food I needed to keep my stomach from growling.

Arriving in NYC, I had a few minutes to kill, and I stopped inside the NYC Transit Museum Annex, and looked at their yearly setup of Lionel trains.  (The above picture came from today's snapshots.)  Since I knew I didn't want a growling stomach during the interview, I picked up another bite to eat before going on the subway.

- - - - - -

I arrived downtown, finding that I had a few minutes to kill.  Luckily, there was a Starbucks across the street from where I was going.  This made it possible to stage my arrival for a few minutes before 11 am.  I was glad that I didn't have to show any id when I entered the building.  Instead, all I had to do is have the guard call upstairs - and then let me in.

Once upstairs, I had a very pleasant interview, lasting longer than I expected.   I was pleasantly surprised that the interview lasted about 90 minutes, and that my nervousness went away after a few minutes.  Is the job right for me?  I'm not sure.  Could I do the job?  It's a stretch, but I'd probably be OK - as long as I'm persistent.  Will they choose me?  I'm not sure yet, but I believe that I'm going to be one of their top choices - and that's about all I can expect for now....

- - - - - -

When I left the place, I walked back to the subway station with a stop for a "quality" burger at a no name joint serving Sirloin or Kobe steak burgers - YUM!  While on the way home, several people tried to contact me - GFJ, Lili, and Vicki.  GFJ is keeping her fingers crossed for me, Lili is on her way to Florida, and Vicki was just keeping touch.  I'll have to say more to these friends, as I wasn't able to say much while on the train home....

- - - - - -

I won't bore you with the co-op board meeting, as I can't say much about it anyway. But one thing I can say - I can't wait to get back to being Marian tomorrow....

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

But Baby, it's cold outside

I could easily tell by the temperature in my room that it is cold outside.  It's a day that I'll have to look for my "mom jeans" if I want to go out. Or, I could say to hell with it, and go out in guy mode.  Either way, there are pluses and minuses to what I have to do if I go out....

- - - - - -

That opening paragraph was the thought on my mind when I woke up this morning - to my cell phone ringing at 8 am.  (Pat has no clue that some people who don't work prefer to wake up late.)  There was no way that I'd bother to answer the phone and get out from under a comfy blanket at that time of day, so I let the phone ring....  But she called me again later - and wanted me to accompany her to dinner.  (She has a knack for finding "free" things to attend.)  This time, it was a monthly shindig held by her chiropractor - and I did not have any interest in getting a sales spiel, so I'll claim that I had to be somewhere else when I see her next.

Afterwards, got back into bed and stayed cozy all day.  Yes, there is a pattern to that lately.  When I have nothing to do and don't want to spend any money to keep me from getting bored, why not let the cold weather encourage me to stay cozy?  And today, I did just that until I decided that I had to get around to refilling my prescription - then went out in the cold to do just that.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, I'll notice the cold less when I go on my interview tomorrow.  It's not where I want to work, as it is an awkward location for me to commute to (Lower Manhattan, near South Street Seaport).  But if the interview turns into an offer, then I'll have to make a very hard decision. Do I want a job that will prevent me from having enough time as Marian?  Or, do I wait a while to find something that pays less, but allows me to be Marian more often?

Wish me luck....

Monday, January 25, 2016

Going to a new church just to see what it's like.

This is a different church than I'd usually go to on a free Sunday morning.  It's the Unitarian church in White Plains. And I decided to go there today because of an invitation from Pat, my former hypnotist.

- - - - - -
Over the years, I've noticed a lot of commonality between religious services of all faiths. The details differ, but the structure tends to be the same:
  1. A ceremonial beginning to the service. 
  2. Often some singing or other congregational performance.
  3. Lessons of the day, with officiants delivering a message to help improve the spirit.
  4. In most Christian churches, the ceremonial act of consuming the wine and wafer.
  5. And, lastly, a ceremonial closing of the service.
Did I get all the details or nuances?  No.  But it's not important. What is important is the feeling that the congregants get for having gone to the service.    

Yet, upon entering this church, I noticed something different.  Unlike the Episcopalian church I infrequently attend, this church was reasonably well attended.  But what was the cause of this difference? As I see it, the Unitarians are not focused on dogma, but are focused on the underlying reasons that people go to a church - instead of being taught to "Fear the Lord thy God," they are taught to "Love thy Neighbor" and fight the evils of this world. This is a very healthy attitude, and the Unitarians are a church that I think will survive in an age where less people are going to churches.

Pat invited me to the church to meet with a minister who was also Transgender.  However, I didn't feel comfortable mingling on my own after the service and bailed.  (I was tired from the night before, and my soft voice wasn't there. It would be very hard for me to be comfortable en-femme if my feminine voice wasn't there for being in public.)  About 30 minutes after I left, Pat called me and was wondering where I was.  I told her a little fib, and said that I had to call GFJ - and once in the car, it was easier for me to leave - but maybe next time....

- - - - - -

Recently, I read an article about Dion DiMucci, and decided to surf his website.  I figure that I'll likely buy his next album, as I enjoy some of the music he has produced lately.  But I found it very interesting to read about his spiritual journey - where he is again a practicing Catholic. It's nice to know that he is giving back to his community as part of his spiritual journey. Too bad that we don't hear of more people trying to do good works.

Why does this matter?  Well, part of me recognizes that I feel more comfortable with the rituals of the religion of my youth. Whether or not I become a regular church goer again, I know what church I will likely belong to. But, unlike my childhood, I will be attending church as Marian, and not Mario. 


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Nothing much to do and I did it.....

This was my cat.  The feline species is expert at knowing when there is nothing to do, and then to do it well.  We can take lessons from them in how to be so productively unproductive....

- - - - - - 

Why, you might ask, do I mention productive unproductivity?  Cats know the value of resting in cozy places. And in the case above, my cat found a comfortable perch and enjoyed person watching (read: watching me).  I miss this cat, as she had charisma that few animals ever are lucky enough to have.

There are days like today that I had the pleasure of sleeping well (8 hours on the CPAP machine - a rarity for me), and then to stay cozily in bed for most of the day half paying attention to movies on the TV in the bedroom.  I had a choice between spending time in male mode then going to the Bronx botanical garden and joining a meetup group to see the train show there, and spending time in female mode then going to the North Country for the monthly polyamory group meeting. In the end, I almost chose the former, having gotten dressed for it - but wasn't able to get the ticket I wanted, as I went to the site too late. 

At least there was one thing about getting dressed in male mode for me - it allowed me to go to the local pharmacy and pick up the second prescription that was about to run out on me.  But I will need to switch back to female mode tomorrow - Pat has an event that she wants me to go to, and then I have an interest in going to church for the first time in ages.

- - - - - -

If GFJ were here, getting dressed in male mode would be a given for a weekend.  But not today.  She's still coughing, and like last year, she has something that is sticking around for the duration.  As for me, the semi numbness that has afflicted my right leg is gradually going away, as well as the tingling that bothers me late at night when I go to sleep.  (I think that my doctor will be pleased with that development, as we were monitoring this condition between appointments.)  It's fun getting older, isn't it?  But it is much better than the alternative....

Since GFJ isn't here, my plans are much more open than they would be otherwise.  I hope that she misses me as I miss having her around.  But I can't help but maintaining a bit of a protective shell around my heart, as I doubt she'd stay around if I found a way to work en-femme, living the bulk of my life in female mode. So I'm careful with my heart, and yet, I treat her as I'd want to be treated if someone wanted me to know I'm cherished....

The other day, I mentioned to a new friend that if (or when) things were to end between GFJ and I, that I'd give up on romance (as many widows do) and focus my efforts on living my life as a widowed woman, socializing as such and having the rewarding life a widowed woman can have with new friends.  I figure that after almost 20 years of widowhood, that I'm finally comfortable living on my own.  But I'll always miss the presence of my late wife, and the cat (in the top picture) that she brought into my place....

Saturday, January 23, 2016

I had a title for this entry, but it doesn't fit....

Actually, I had the perfect title for this entry.  But to use it, I'd have to reveal part of the identity of a person I write about in this blog - and I'm not going to do this without permission.  As a result, I had no title that would fit this entry, and I used the title above instead.

- - - - - -

There were several things on my "to-do" list this morning:
  1. Schedule interview with NYC firm.
  2. Contact Department of Labor about a specific jobs program.
  3. Deposit checks at bank.
  4. Visit WDJ and have lunch.
Of these, #4 was the first thing I thought about in the morning.  No, it's not because I wanted to think about it. Instead, it's because WDJ called me before 9 am - while I was still groggy, and not able to think.  However, she sent me an email with her address, and I confirmed our lunch.

Next was an attempt to contact GFJ.  We didn't get the chance to talk last night, and her cold has been knocking her out.  Not being able to sleep with the "elephant", her sleep quality has been shot to hell. (I know how that feels, having needed a CPAP unit for years and not bothering to get the sleep test needed to get an "elephant".)  As for me, I was still recovering from last night with BXM.  For some reason, I pulled my elephant off my face last night, and sleep wasn't as restful as usual.  At least I had the chin strap on, and this might have helped me get some useful rest.

- - - - - -

While reading my email, I stumbled onto a post from an ex-girlfriend I dated shortly after I lost my wife to cancer.  In the past, she'd pop up every few months or so and give me some passing details about her life, but nothing of any substance.  This was fine with me, but more than a decade and a half has passed since we've been in each others presence, and this message had a "php script" link that made me suspicious of the communication.  So I wrote her a quick email to ask what's up, and to warn her about being hacked.

It's strange.  When I knew her, she was the same age I am now.  She was right - I needed someone to grow with, and she needed someone to grow old with.  And she has done just that.  Is she happy?  Probably much more so than had she stayed with me.  And I'm happier than had I stayed with her.  She'd have never wanted to be with me after my Marian persona came out, and I'd could not suppress Marian any longer.

- - - - - -

I then called back for the interview, but again we played the game of "Telephone Tag".  At least, it looks like we'll be able to meet on Tuesday.  (I'll have to bone up on the company's products and issues before my visit, so that I can do well on the interview.)  As much as I have some ambivalence regarding this firm, beggars can't be choosers.  I like the idea of having a 6 figure income again, and I'm starting to get rusty at the edges.

The game of Telephone Tag continued through the day.  But I made it easy for this person - I left a message that I can meet at any time 11:00 am and after.  And this gentleman set up the appointment for 11:00 am, sending me all the information I'd need to see him on Tuesday.  (Now to get the railroad schedule and best subway route in hand before then.) It'll be nice to have another interview after about 6 months or so....

- - - - - -

Given how late I was to get moving today, I won't be able to get to the Department of Labor until Tuesday-Thursday at best.  So the next thing on my list I could do is make a deposit at the bank.  Sadly, the lady I saw the other day wasn't there, so I made a counter deposit of two small value checks. I'll make a point to visit the branch again soon - and say hello to the lady again.  Luckily, I have her card, so I can call to find out when she's there....

- - - - - -

Finally it was off to see WDJ.  It's been a long while since she was in Beacon, having moved out of state several months ago.  One of the choices we had to make is where to eat.  I had an interest of eating at the 84 Diner, where DD works when not at The Avenue.  Since another diner was closer to the bank (I had to get my weekly cash ration), we ate there instead.

When done with lunch, it was time to go shopping, and it was off to The Avenue - where we saw DD.  It seems like she had changed her schedule, and now works at the diner on a different day.  So it was a case of "Old Home Day" for DD and WDJ, and we chatted for about 30+ minutes before leaving for Catherine's in Poughkeepsie.  When done with Catherines, it was back home for WDJ - where we talked for a couple of hours.  While there, I took a picture of the cat above.  (I hope she's not about to raise her right paw as a salute....)

- - - - - -

As I was pulling out of WDJ's driveway, I got a call from WDJ.  After trying to reach her for about a day and a half, I finally got a call back.  (Don't read anything into this.  She's been feeling ill, and had been dealing with banking issues, real estate issues, and general business issues - all while under the weather.)  She told me the story of what happened to a business bank account, and the mysterious lack of records in regard to a change of address for that account. (I can't go into any more detail here. But I have a suspicion that a bank employee may have altered records improperly.)  As they say - If it's not one thing, then it's another....

Friday, January 22, 2016

And what did I wake up to?

From the beginning, this day was going to be a bit different than the usual Thursday.  There was snow on the ground, and there would be no game night in Yonkers because the host family was ill with the flu.  So, I knew It would not be a routine day today....

- - - - - -

Although I had some ambivalence, I returned the call from the person who wanted to schedule an interview - and missed him.  He called back as I was leaving to play Mah Jongg, but I was closing the door and didn't want to be any later than I already was.  (I figure that I'll call him back in the morning, and make an appointment for next week.) In fact, I arrived at the venue as the hostess was leaving me a message, asking where I was.

Mah Jongg was interrupted several times due to calls received by the hostess - and the remaining 3 of us didn't feel comfortable playing on without her participation.  Eventually, she returned, and none of us could go out (win the game) because none of us had the right tiles on our racks.  Eventually, everyone had to leave, and we scheduled next week's game for a slightly later time than we played today.  But that wasn't the end of my visit.  The hostess asked me some questions about being transgender, and we had another long and pleasant conversation that lasted until 6 pm or so.  (She feels that I should bite the bullet and start living 24x7 - and deal with the potential consequences.  And I may do so a little sooner than I planned. But that's a story for another day - I'm not in a rush to do this.)

When I left, I contacted BXM, and suggested dinner.  She was OK with that, and we agreed to meet after her Karate lesson.  One problem - I had to kill a couple of hours, and I did so by shopping at Christmas Tree Shops and Trader Joe's.  When done with shopping, I made my way over to BXM's - and we went out to a local diner.  We chatted until after midnight, I dropped her off at her place, and then drove home.

When I got home, I found that the cleaning lady came for the first time in 2 months.  YAY!  But I'll have to call her and say that I can't afford to have her come more than once per month until I have a job.  She may not like that, but I don't have much of a choice.....

- - - - - -

In many ways, this was a true Marian mode kind of day, save the interruption of a Mario schedule issue.  Who knows - this may become less important as time goes on....

Thursday, January 21, 2016

But isn't that the way they say it goes?

In a sense, it seems like it was almost yesterday that I was listening to Jim Croce songs. There is something timeless in this man's work - that even 40 years after his death, his music still sounds as fresh as the day it was written.

- - - - - -

You might be asking why I open up today's post with the mention of Jim Croce.  Well, the title of this entry, like the song it comes from, hints of a life not going as planned. And in my case, as much as I was getting used to a life without work, I may have to confront the possibility that I might be working again - and sooner than expected.

A while back, I sent my resume to a firm on a lark.  This firm has been around longer than most financial services firms, but has only become a peripheral player in the industry in my lifetime. The other day, I was contacted by this firm's human resources department, and I passed the area's phone interview - and had my paperwork sent to the hiring manager.  Well, today, I was contacted by the hiring manager, and he wants to rush to have me see him for an interview by the end of the week.  Although tomorrow is a bad day to chat, I could do a phone interview with him at the end of the week, or see him at the beginning of next week.  Either way, I can't afford not to do my best, even though the job is in a geographically undesirable location.

- - - - - -

I've been getting used to living life on a fixed income.  It's amazing what a person can do if he/she needs to be frugal.  (No, I'm hardly that.)  Lili was impressed by the bargain I got on the coat I bought this Sunday at the consignment store. Given what I already have in my closet, I hardly need to buy anything except for a well fitting mastectomy swimsuit that I'll bring along on my next cruise.

With this being said, it'll be nice to have a decent income coming in again.  I won't have that much time to live life in Marian mode - and I'll sorely miss that.  If I were to get the job, I'll miss being able to play Mah Jongg with the ladies, and will find it hard to get to my Thursday night game venue in Yonkers.  Given that things are going well for me and GFJ, I may find myself going nuts waiting for the times I can live life as Marian.

- - - - - -

Of course, I'm reporting events again without a sequence.  Could I have mentioned that I never made it to the GLBT Center because I spent half a day at NPW?  Yes, but the entry wouldn't have had that much meaning. Could I have mentioned how rusty I've become on the system we're using for contact management?  Yes, but that's a minor issue. But all of this pales to the possibility that I might be gainfully employed again - after getting used to the slow pace of unemployment.

I brought up the issue of reentering the work force with NPWJ, and she noted that she was out of the workforce for 2 1/2 years because she had her children.  She told me that coming back to work, in any degree, could be a bit intimidating at first - but she quickly got up to speed.  This is likely what I'll be feeling once I'm back in the work force again.

But isn't that the way they say it goes?


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is this the party to who I am speaking?

Today started out early for me - I was up before 9:00 am, and was showered and dressed before a phone interview that was to take place at 11:00 am.  (This is very unusual for me these days, as I rarely have the need to be up and moving until the afternoon - save on days I do volunteer work, or when I know my cleaning lady is coming over.)

I was a little bit nervous about having a phone interview - it's been a while, and there is a part of me that is ambivalent about working again. Being gainfully unemployed has spoiled me.  I go out as Marian without much of a thought, and I'll miss that freedom if I go to work again.  However, the HR person put me at ease, doing most of the talking about what the company was all about. So all I had to do is ask a couple of questions that showed interest, and let her lead the rest of the way. At the end of the call, she mentioned that my paperwork was going to the hiring manager, and that I should expect a call in a couple of days to set up the next interview.  Wish me luck!

The next thing I took care of was an issue I have with one of my banks.  It seems like they've changed the minimums again for free checking, and I'm tired of paying fees for an account I rarely use and have more than enough money in savings (earning nothing for me) that should cover their expenses to keep me as a customer.  While at the bank, I started a chat with the customer service agent, and I brought up being transgender. She loved the pictures of me on the cruise with Lili.  I told her about our TG community, and mentioned some of the incidents I found most interesting....  She wants to meet again for coffee, with me in Marian mode.  (Looks like I have a new friend!)

After the bank, I went home to rest for a while.  Of course, phone calls from GFJ and Lili interrupted my rest.  And Lili finally realized that I'm living on half my old take-home after taxes, retirement and other savings were taken out.  Now, she understands why I can't cruise with her as often as she'd like.  (This came after me declining yet another offer to cruise with her in February.)  Hopefully, she will remember this the next time she'd like for me to go on a cruise.

Then, it was off to my PMI meeting - it was interesting, as it covered problems with program management failure. (I won't bother to go into details of project, program, and portfolio management here. This is not a project management blog.)  But one thing of note - I won a year's subscription to a PMI webinar service - a nice deal, that would normally cost me $150.)  It looks like I'm starting off the year on a good note!

Tomorrow, I'll be back in Marian mode - and I can't wait!  Hopefully, the weather will accommodate me....

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a brush across my wig. And looking up, I noticed I was late....

As I write this, the media is focused on the death of David Bowie. And he was one of the few people who worked with both John Lennon (pictured above, with George Harrison) and Mick Jagger, that was also in their league as composers and performers. Bowie triggered a chain of memories that ended with the song "A Day in the Life" - and the above picture is from that recording session....

You must be wondering - why does "A Day in the Life" have anything to do with this blog entry?  Well, like the character in the middle of the song, I didn't notice that it was getting late until I realized that I had a limited choice of things to do.  

- - - - - -

Today, I expected to hear from one firm and schedule a phone interview with its HR department. Depending on the success of the phone interview, I could make it to the next step of the process and talk to the hiring manager about the opening.  But first, I had to get this interview scheduled.  And this didn't happen until after most people's dinner time.

But first....

Lili called me several times today to try to get me to go with her to get a pedicure.  One problem - after this weekend, I already was down to half my weekly allotment of cash and didn't want to spend a good part of the rest on a pedicure with 4 1/2 days to go in my budget week. She was disappointed, but this is not my problem.  She can always go by herself.

Around 4:00 pm, I got showered and dressed, and got myself ready to go outside.  However, I decided to fill out a survey for a job training program offered by New York State, to help place the long term unemployed into the health care industry.  So I fully expect that I'll end up visiting one of the local NYS board of labor offices to find out more about the program.  

Once done with this survey, I figured that I'd try to call Pat to see if we could get together. She was not available, so I figured that I'd go to The Avenue in Newburgh and see if I could find a long sleeve shirt I wanted.  And I did so, getting the shirt at a clearance price.  After chatting for a while, I decided to head to Walmart to do some shopping.  On the way there, I had the chance to speak with GFJ and see how she's getting along with her cold - and I found out that she stayed home from work today.  

At Walmart, a woman approached me.  I was pegged as being transgender, and she wanted a picture with me.  ("Am I that much of a freak?"  "Do I stand out that much as a trans person?" Both harsh and soft questions came to mind, but my overall attitude was upbeat and positive - as well as the look on my face in the picture taken of the two of us.)  I then completed my shopping, feeling good that I was able to do a little bit of outreach - even though I might have been just a curiosity to her.
Then I went to buy gas.  Although I was running on fumes, it was a mistake to go to this station - the station's tank was almost empty, and pumping out liquid slower than soda fountains.  It took 5 minutes to pump out $5.00 of gas.  But that was just enough for me to feel comfortable driving from Woodbury Common to Peekskill. (I might not have made it on what was in the tank prior to the gas station visit.)  

Since many of my readers are not familiar with the region, I have to describe the drive a little to explain why having enough gas in my tank was very important. This 20 mile route takes me over a mountain, through a state park where there are no services, and where there are cell phone dead spots galore. Even though the idiot light had not yet come on, I know not to take chances when my fuel level is that low.  And I was glad I got that extra 2 gallons of gas.  Just outside of Peekskill, the police were setting up a caution zone, with flares alight. It seems like ice melt had covered part of the road making a hairpin curve a very dangerous place, and could have forced another 20 mile drive to the nearest filling station....

- - - - -

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's phone interview. Am I concerned that I won't get the job?  Just a little. But I realize that I can get by, if I carefully watch my money until I can collect Social Security.  And this makes things much easier to deal with....


Monday, January 18, 2016

Meeting up with a new friend

Although I could have gotten up early enough to go to church today, I decided to skip that and go to a "Gal Pals" women's meetup as planned, and then go and see a sister transgender woman in the Northern NYC suburbs. 

- - - - - -

Once I made the decision to skip church, I had more than enough time to get ready for the meetup at leisure. Virtually all of us going to the meetup were a little "down" because of the torrents of rain that came down today. But we had a great time chatting about many things, but a major topic was the difference in social styles between men and women.  Most of the ladies noted that they encountered women who were back stabbers, and appreciated the directness of men.  When a man doesn't like someone, he'll generally be direct and honest about his dislike.  However, when a woman doesn't like someone, she'll try to betray the object of her dislike.

When we were ready to leave the restaurant, it took a while to figure out what the bill should be. The problem - we didn't receive separate checks, and it took a lot of discussion to determine what each person's share of the bill (plus tax and tip) should be. This was extremely frustrating, as I'd have dropped in $30 because I could easily compute what I should be paying.  But it wouldn't be right for me to pay and go while the meetup leader tried to make sure that none of us, nor the restaurant was being gypped. So I waited, paid my $30 when the calculations said this was my share, and left with the rest of the ladies.

- - - - - -

Since I wasn't expected at this other TG's place until 4:30, I figured that I'd stop by Curvy Consignment Plus (a new consignment outlet in Fishkill, NY) and see what they might have in my size.  The saleslady showed me around the place, and I saw several interesting dresses.  But none of them said "Buy Me".  Seeing some of these dresses in person confirmed my decision NOT to buy them when I saw them online.  Yet, there was something in the store that I was interested in - a wool coat.  Although it is not a "perfect" fit, it is loose and comfortable on me - and looks nice.  So, at the price of $33, I couldn't go wrong.  However, there was one thing that could go wrong, and it did....  When I paid for the coat, the skies looked like they were about to open up.  As I finished paying for the coat, the rain had just started - and I knew I had to get into the car quickly.  Unfortunately, I didn't make it quickly enough.  Even though the car's doors were less than 30 feet from the door of the store, I couldn't get the coat into the back AND get myself in the car before the torrential downpour started.  I barely got into the car quickly enough not to get a complete soaking! (As it was, I was moderately wet because I didn't have my raincoat on, and wasn't sure what the weather would be like when I crossed the river....)

- - - - - -

I crossed the river, and went to my new friend's place.  (Another blogger gave me the introduction, but I can't say much more about her here without permission.)  She greeted me in front of her building as I arrived, and I was there for 3 1/2 hours with OCJ discussing many things.  It was interesting that this transwoman had many interests which would be typical for a male, and had the political (and social) focus of a person who lived far from a cosmopolitan area.  Yet, with the understanding of where this woman was coming from, coupled with a non judgmental attitude and respect for each other's views, we had a great chat - and I hope to see this lady again.  (This might be after she moves upstate - she is selling her property, and will likely move to her upstate home once the closing occurs.)

After I left, I called GFJ.  Just as I was about to cross the Beacon-Newburgh bridge, I noticed that my necklace had fallen off.  I told GFJ that I was going to stop (on the other side of the bridge) and see if the necklace was in the car.  If not, I'd write it off as lost.  But if I found it (which I did), I'd see what happened.  (There was a failure which caused the decorative part of the necklace to fall away from the clasp and chain - something I'd try to fix with Krazy Glue when I got home.)  I then drove home and finished my chat with GFJ....

- - - - - -

All in all - not a bad day after all....

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The slow start to a weekend.

This morning, I found out that GFJ wasn't feeling well enough to drive here to spend the day.  Last year, GFJ had trouble with a cold that wouldn't go away.  And she's afraid that a similar cold will cause her problems this year.

Of course, I stayed inside all day, and did a little bit of straightening up around my desk. There was enough of a mess that I hardly made a dent in things.  But it was good to start doing a little something, even though it was only a scratch on the surface of things.  While sorting things out, I had episodes of "In Treatment" playing on the TV - something I haven't had the chance to watch in a while.

By the time I finally made it out the door, it was too late to do much of anything, save locating the site of tomorrow's "Gal Pals" meetup, catch a quick bite to eat, buy a Powerball ticket and then go to Walmart to pick up some miscellaneous items.  Half of these items are for personal grooming and care, including a new hair trimmer, a makeup brush, some exfoliating sugar scrub, and a bath brush.  Although there is no one right way to be a woman, it's time for me to start enjoying more of the rituals that cisgender women take for granted.  (Yes, many cisgender women envy cisgender males, and their ability to be ready to go in a short time.  Obviously, I am not a cisgender woman....)

While on the way to Walmart, I had a nice chat with BXM, and then another chat with GFJ. She's still a little bit under the weather, and I hope that she doesn't infect her son (flying into LGA tonight) with this bug....  Both of us made sure that in our travels, that we picked up Powerball tickets.  If I were to win (very highly doubtful), I'd pack my bags and move to the SF Bay area - where I'd live as Marian 24x7, and keep one of my cell phones for Mario mode calls to my family....

During all of this, I was having an email exchange with another transgender woman I've wanted to meet for a while. A sister blogger mentioned that she ran into this woman at one of her conventions, and this woman (I'll call her OCJ) pegged her as having transitioned. (This blogger has not yet transitioned, but tries to find as much en-femme time as possible when the wife's away.  And she put me in contact with OCJ.)  OCJ and I have had scheduling problems, and we will finally meet tomorrow (after my "Gal Pals" meetup) if all goes according to schedule.  It'll be nice to meet another person who has been able to socially transition to being female, and yet kept her romantic interest (her wife) throughout the process.  (Hopefully, I'll be able to do the same thing....)

Yes, the day started slowly. But things started speeding up as the day went along.  If only all days could leave me feeling this good....

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Quickie: Let's get President Obama on Real Time with Bill Maher!

Given that every major politician is doing the round of talk shows, it is time to get our president to appear on Real Time with Bill Maher. 

One might think it unseemly for a president to appear in forums such as this.  But it makes perfect sense for Obama to appear here.  "Real Questions" can get asked, and get answered in a less than political way.  Comedians do not adhere to the political script, and we can get a glimpse of the man "behind the green curtain".

As I started this quickie entry, roughly 45% of the signatures needed were submitted online. The White House petitions site for this issue had over 30,000 people putting their names on the petition within 6 hours of initial broadcast.  I'm hoping to see this count hit the 100,000 number by the end of the weekend - a fitting way to celebrate Martin Luther King day weekend, by pressuring the president to answer to the people without a safety net.

Do I think this is a realistic request?  Hell, yes!  If our president could appear on The Colbert Report, then I think this would also be just as good a guest appearance.  Ideally, he'd be there for most of the show - and we could get an honest give and take between him and an equally qualified "honest" Republican.  I can dream, can't I?

So if you agree with me, please visit White House petitions site and put your name on the petition ASAP!


Thank God It's Friday!

Today was a day that I avoided getting out of bed. I felt a little chilled, and the blankets felt a lot warm. So, I stayed in the bed until afternoon came.  Luckily, I had nothing to do but "chill".

When I made it out of bed, I knew that this was going to be a "Mario" day, as GFJ was supposed to come down after work.  One problem - she wasn't feeling well, and she was afraid that a cold similar to last year's cold would catch her, and not release her from its grips for a couple of months. If I had known this would happen, I'd have considered going out in Marian mode, save for one thing - I had to pick up a prescription at the local pharmacy.

On the way down to the pharmacy, I got a call from the co-op president. Other than telling her when the next co-op board meeting would be, I can't say much other than that we discussed how board members must be contacted to respond to problems of any sort, and what to do in exceptional conditions.  All boards have issues like this, and each decides what is best for its co-op. So I think we're on the right track - and I'll be supporting the president when she brings up some of what we discussed at our next meeting.

After this call, I contacted GFJ - and we were on the phone for an hour.  I had driven across the county, and was on my way back home when I ended the call to respond to DCD. He's dealing with a mess of crap in his divorce, so I was lucky to be in Mario mode when I decided to turn around and visit him.  (I'm glad I did so - he needed a friend to talk with.)  There's no way I can do justice to what he's been dealing with in his divorce, and I won't try to do so.  But I can say that Sam Kinison's routine about being divorced twice, then  going to Hell would be appropriate to describe what DCD has been dealing with....

Strangely enough, in retrospect, this is one day that I was in Mario mode.  Very strange, wouldn't you agree???

Friday, January 15, 2016

First game night of the new year

Yes, it was the first Thursday of the new year, and that meant two things - volunteering at the GLBT center (which will soon shift to Wednesdays) and Board games. And I was looking forward to both today....

- - - - - -

When I woke up, I knew I was going to have a busy day - Volunteering and Games.  And yet, I couldn't get moving when I expected to do so.  After a long sleep (based on my sleep history), I was awakened by an automated call whose intent was to tell me that I had a prescription to pick up at the local pharmacy.  Almost immediately after that call ended (and before I had a chance to make it to the bathroom), YGJ called to catch up on things - taking up over another hour of my time.  By the time I made it to the bathroom, it was almost 11:30 am, and I was lucky not to burst.

At this point, I had to catch up on a few things, and I ended up spending another couple of hours at home before driving to the GLBT center.  Of course, Kelly was there - and would have ruined my day had a woman not come into the our area.  This woman had a very sheltered experience, and was finally realizing that she was bisexual in her early 50's. So she turned to our center for information.  And guess who was there to talk....   

The two of us talked on and off for a while, and I may have made a new friend.  We got along well, and we may meet outside the center one day.  (It was nice not to be speaking with Kelly for a change - having someone not ADHD to speak with can be a big pleasure at times after being with Kelly. 

- - - - - -

Although I could have done more at the center, it was time to leave at 5:00 pm.  And I moseyed my way to Yonkers, killing time on my way down to lower county. When done with dinner, I made my way over to our gaming venue - and played several games, the last one being a variant of Fluxx (which I won).  By the time I left, it was after midnight (a rarity for this venue, as the host and hostess have 2 school age children), and I didn't make it home until almost 1:00 am.  Since I left so late, there was no way I was going to call either GFJ or Lili to chat with on the way home.  And I think that was just as well, as I want GFJ to rest, and get over her cold quickly....