Monday, February 29, 2016

Scanning old photos and moving forward with life....

This is a picture of my late wife early in our marriage.  I don't think she'd mind that I give her a little credit for the important part she played in my life.  As you can see, there are two cats in the picture, and there would be up to four cats in our one bedroom apartment while she was alive.  I'll always miss this woman.  She accepted the fact that I crossdressed in private, and I have a feeling that she had an idea what I really was inside - even before I had any inkling of what it was.

- - - - - -

Tonight, I scanned a bunch of old photos, and it brought back old memories.  For example, the Coleman stove below, was occasionally used to cook indoors (with ALL WINDOWS WIDE OPEN, WITH FANS RUNNING) because we got tired of eating out so often.

It took the co-op over six weeks to fix the gas pipes to the apartments, and the area behind this stove caused some problems for me when the stove was reconnected.  Even though no one was going to see the shoddily patched wall behind the stove, my father wanted to fix it - and I had to suffer through having my parents here several hours longer than needed that day.  You can only imagine the mood my wife was in that evening, as neither of us really enjoyed being with my mom.

- - - - - -

And then there was the time that there were two raccoons having sex on our patio.  First, one of our cats started looking out the window.  And then I came over and took the photo below, which gives no indication as to what either was or wasn't going on.

However, the next time the raccoons came by to have their tryst, I made sure to have a pot of boiling water ready (we were going to cook some pasta) and found a way to give those vermin a nice hot shower.  (I'm pretty sure they didn't enjoy their soaking.)  But it was the last time those critters ever screwed on my patio - and it still gives me a good story to tell.

- - - - - -

Then, as now, we had a nasty habit of saving way too much stuff in way too small a space. Although I have more stuff in the apartment now, for the most part it is better organized than when my wife was alive.  It's too bad that I never could get back to my once "neat" ways....

 - - - - - -

As you can see, my life doesn't focus solely around being transgender.  Tomorrow, I start my new job, and I won't have as much "Marian time" as I've had for most of the past 21 months. Now, there are other things going on in my life that are important, and should be worth writing about.  Hopefully, I'll be able to have interesting things to report in this blog, while I get used to a new routine....



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Quickie: A comparison of two supermarkets that once belonged to A&P

Note to my readers: Today's reference to being transgender is a very minor part of this post.

- - - - - - 

I live up hill from a former A&P, and can drive 5 minutes to another former A&P in Peekskill.  And if you didn't know that these markets were once affiliated with each other, you wouldn't believe it because of how different they look now.

The former A&P in Croton is now affiliated with Foodtown, while the one in Peekskill is affiliated with Key Food.  (I'm not going to discuss the ones now affiliated with Stop & Shop or ACME, as they are part of larger organizations which have the money to immediately make the places look like they were always part of their new chains.)  I shop en-femme at the Foodtown down the hill from me, while I reserve my en-homme shopping for the Shoprite in Croton, or the Key Food in Peekskill, as I'm in the Foodtown too often to risk being seen en-homme.

The Foodtown is organized much like the old A&P, but has been cleaned up, purged of 99.9% of its former A&P heritage and is undergoing incremental, non-disruptive change. The new owners are trying to make their changes as comfortable to their customers, while preserving what made this store a profitable outlet.  Contrast this with the Key Food in Peekskill.  This store has about 1/3 of its space blocked off, and not available for use. They still do not have a beer license, and the areas of the store formerly dedicated to beer is now being used for dairy aisle products - in addition to the area which was once used for dairy. In fact, there are places which I found traces of the old A&P heritage in my most recent visit: (1) above the check out area, where the "welcome to A&P" was still present in the paint job, and (2) some straggler A&P merchandise still on the shelves.  This store seems run down, and ready to be closed again.

What is the difference here?  Could it be that the Croton clientele be profitable enough to have kept that store open, and the City of Peekskill having to give a hidden subsidy to Key Food to reopen the Peekskill outlet? I have no idea. But if I were a betting person, I figure that Key Food may not last the year in its new outlet....    


Saturday, February 27, 2016

I know I'm getting bad - I'm forgetting things all over the place!

Yesterday, it was my Mah Jongg set at game night.  Today, it was my reading glasses at NPW.  What f\will I forget next?  Is my forgetful behavior a touch of nervousness about working for the first time in 21 months?  Who knows?

- - - - - -

As much as I wanted to stay in bed today, I realized that I made a commitment to go to NPW one last time before I start work. So I showered, did my makeup, found something to wear, then went off to spend a last couple of hours at NPW.

At NPW, things were as expected.  NPWJ was busy, and her assistant was trying to make headway with a problem she was having with the new contact management software.  It seems she hadn't had a chance to work on the system since I was last there, and nothing much got done while I was away.  It pleased me to help them start loading the non-member contact list into the system, as I knew that once they got that part of the project started, they wouldn't stop until they have moved everything off of their old email manager and onto the new system. 

It was a little bittersweet saying goodbye.  I'll miss these ladies, as this place was a good place to stay a little active while looking for work.  But when I left, I forgot my reading glasses there - and had to ask NPWJ (via email) if she can drop the glasses over to my place one night next week, as she lives 5 minutes away from me....

Then it was off to Lili's place.  She made reservations for a nice restaurant in her area, Char, and we had to be there by 6:00 pm.  Lili invited her tenant (she owns a second house on her property) to dine with us - and it was a pleasure to have him come along.  Although Lili told him a little bit about me (specifically about being TG), it didn't get in the way of us having a great time.  One problem - this place was a little over priced for the quality of food they served, and Lili had to return her plate to get a dish that satisfied her.  None of us were really satisfied with our meals, and though both the service and atmosphere were good, the price/value point we'd want in a place we'd visit again wasn't met.  So we'll look for another place to go the next time we go out....

Once done with dinner, I rushed home.  It was amazing how tired I was, as I fell out as soon as I put my head on the pillow for a nap.  Hopefully, this isn't a sign of things to start coming next week....

Friday, February 26, 2016

A last daytime game of Mah Jongg and other stuff

There are no more Thursdays before I start work.  And this was the last of my days where I could get dressed at leisure, go out in the world as Marian, and enjoy a full day playing games of all types.

- - - - - -

When I got up, I received the following message from GFJ:

I am just crashing. He can only do the pressure at 9 am. You will have to text me. The Wasband unplugged the WiFi to plug in the TV downstairs and I can't get the little point in the hole. I have to use data now.

It seems that the Wasband had to stay over to repair the water system she has in the house. They are tied together in ways not healthy for her, but this is to be expected in a divorce where both parties are fighting to keep their claims on the joint property.

My response was:

Make sure that he plugs the wi-fi back in later on; But why did he need to plug in a TV there?

I'd love to strangle that man. Don't worry - my fictitious aunt said she'll buy him a newly furnished home in Flint, MI...

The reference to an aunt is a joke which refers to my real last name.  If I had thought better, I'd have said something like: "Too bad this is 2016, and not approximately120 years ago.  I'd have asked Lizzie Borden to put him up for the night."  With my morbid sense of humor, I still enjoy reciting the famous verse:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Again, there is something off...  GFJ lives in the Catskills, and Borden lived in Fall River, Massachusetts.  Too bad.

- - - - - -

Given that I've been putting off making Drunken Oreos for a while because of my last disaster, I broke down and started the process of making the filling before I went out to play Mah Jongg.  Just before I left, I tasted a spoonful of the filling, and realized that it was SWEET!  (And I didn't add any sugar!)  But considering the last disaster, this was a very positive development, as I couldn't taste the 4 shots of booze I added to the filling.

By the time I got to the Mah Jongg venue, I was only 5 minutes late - and we had a good time playing 3 handed Mah Jongg.  After one person left, WPB and I talked about many things - especially my issue of straddling the line between male and female, and having my reticence to commit myself to life in one gender or another. She focused on my romance with GFJ -  and noted that it was illogical to stay in a relationship with a woman who wants me as Mario, who may not be able to live with Marian.  Yes, this is an issue, but one I intend to let play out, as I enjoy GFJ's company for now.  I also noted that as Marian, I am accepted by most women as a peer, even though they see I'm transgender.  If I tried to socialize with the same women as Mario, I wouldn't be able to do so, as sexuality rules in our culture would get in the way of this.  It's frustrating that being transgender can get so complicated - but it's part of the world we live in, and there's not much I can do, except to move forward one careful step at a time.

- - - - - -

Our after game chat lasted much longer than expected.  And I had to rush back home to fill the Drunken Oreos, and then bring them down to Yonkers for game night.  No one complained of the taste, but I could tell that they were too sweet to have more than one or two.  There was no way that I wanted them back in the house, so I left them with the hostess.  Unfortunately, I also left my Mah Jongg tiles there, so I dropped a note to the hostess and asked her to hold them for me for next Thursday....

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A board meeting that lasted way too long....

Today was a day totally spent en-homme.  But that was because I had to pick up my blazer from the tailor, and then attend a board meeting that lasted way too long.  Thankfully, I didn't have to go far to take care of either task.

The clock is ticking away, and the reality of going to a new job looms much larger every day. Sometime in early afternoon, my future boss emailed me to give me a choice of meeting time for a class they were giving next Wednesday. (I think I'm going to work well with this fellow - he's asking me about the use of my time before I even join the firm, instead of just dropping me into a class.) 

Once I took care of this minor task, it was time to get showered and dressed, then pick up the new blazer I bought last week.  I was surprised when the charge for altering the blazer came in less than expected, as this is the same tailor I used to alter the suit I wore on the interview for this job.  By the time I picked up the blazer, it was time for a late lunch, and off I went to the local pizzeria - for a decent, but not completely satisfying sandwich.  (It's amazing how we get used to salt in our foods - I guess the lack of a strong taste came from the lack of salt in the food, and that's a good thing for a person like me.) 

When I looked at my watch, I noticed that it was almost time for my co-op board meeting.  So I went home, picked up my notepad, and went to the meeting.  Normally, these meetings last a couple of hours, but today's meeting lasted almost 3 1/2 - 4 hours.  OUCH!  I'm glad that our next meeting will be later and more time constrained.

Once done with the meeting, HWV and I went to Memphis Mae's BBQ for dinner.  YUM!   But it is not as good as Holy Smoke BBQ, so I'm concerned that a decent place to eat will be eclipsed by a much better place serving similar food.  (I hate seeing good places go out of business.) As usual, we had a long, but very enjoyable conversation - and I'm sure we'll be doing this again soon. 

During our chat, HWV and I discussed a deal that I wish I could take advantage of - an Amtrak special that provided for travel anywhere in the system for $99 - a great bargain, if one has the time and money.  Sadly, HWV has the time and money and I don't. Otherwise, the two of us (me as Marian) would be trekking somewhere for enjoyment.  It's just as well, because I wonder if I'm stretching things thin with traveling on vacation with Lili and not with her....

Alas, the day ended too soon - and both of us were tired after dinner.  But HWV and I will meet again soon - and we will have a great time as friends....

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Seeing a friend from Yonkers Game Night

Today was not a day for games.  But it was a day to see a friend from Thursday night games, who no longer attends regularly because she has a 1 year old daughter to take care of.  And, as usual, I was running very late....

- - - - - -

It's been several months since I've seen YGN, as I have been very busy as of late.  Given a schedule which will leave much less time for socializing as Marian, I wanted to make sure that I got around to seeing her today.  Instead of leaving the house at 12:30 pm (as planned), so that I could see her at 1:00 pm, I ended up taking an extra hour or so to get out of the house and get to her place.  Luckily, she had nothing else planned for the day, and the bad weather helped keep her (and daughter) inside where it was warm and cozy.

When I arrived at YGN's place, she brought out some food.  (I didn't want to say anything, but I had already scarfed down a couple of Mickey D's finest pieces of cardboard.)  It was interesting seeing her daughter want to play with what was on the table - and the daughter is a cutie!  We had a long chat, and she mentioned what was going on with her business, as well as what she might do to earn some extra money. But most of our conversation had nothing to do with business - it was the typical chat of two women, one of which was caring for a toddler.

After a few hours, it was time to leave - and I called Lili.  Although we wanted to meet tonight for dinner, she was so famished after her therapy session, that she ate early.  Of course, this meant that our dinner will need to be rescheduled - and there is not much room in the schedule for that....

- - - - - -

At this point, I decided to cross the river and see if there was anything interesting at The Avenue in Nanuet.  Nothing held my interest, save that another freestanding store (in an outdoor strip mall) is now closing at 8:00 pm instead of 9:00 pm. I guess they aren't doing enough business to keep staff there for that last hour.  So, I trekked down the road to Fairway, and enjoyed what I call "food pornography" - a store stocked with an excess variety of teas, coffees, butchered meats, fish, etc....  And, as you would expect, I ended up spending some money on food that will be gone by the weekend,

As an aside, I should mention that GFJ might be coming down with a cold.  Although she wants to go to a meetup in Hyde Park this weekend, I'm hoping she changes her mind for two reasons: (1) I don't want to schlep up to the FDR mansion from here, and (2) I want a free Friday night to see Lili and get our dinner out of the way....

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A last long weekend with GFJ

As I write this, it's Presidents' Day, and I've been enjoying one of my last days of solitude between a long weekend with GFJ, and the job I'll be starting by the time you read this entry.

- - - - - -

This weekend, it was too cold to do anything but stay inside.  I used one of my late friend Tony's lines: "We don't have any Temperature anymore!" as the thermometer reached zero degrees at GFJ's house.  It was nice to be with GFJ, but I was getting a little antsy - even though it was Valentine's Day weekend, I simply wanted to get outside and see sunshine through a car window.

Of course, I wasn't going to make a big deal about this. First, it was very cold outside. And second, I wanted to make sure that GFJ knew that I'd give her happiness at a high priority. With GFJ starting to come down with a possible cold, I made sure to stay overnight, and leave her place this morning - making her feel a lot better.

- - - - - -

Over the weekend, my friend WDS (who doesn't know I'm trans) said that he was going to send me a gift - an iPad Air 2.  I really don't need more electronic gizmos, and like my dad, I don't like accepting big gifts from friends or family.  Part of the reason is that I like choosing what I feel I need using the funds I've earned. But a bigger part of the reason for not liking big gifts is that I am rarely comfortable giving them - and do not want to accept something that I'd feel uncomfortable giving in similar circumstances. He noted that he was going to send me this gift no matter what I said, so he asked - "What do I want inscribed on the case?"  And here was where my second dilemma came in.  If I decide to socially transition in the near future, I don't want my male name on the tablet. So I thought about it for a few minutes, and responded with "M. A. Johnson".  I figure that my post-transition name will use the same initials, so that this is a safe inscription for the tablet.

- - - - - -

My original plans for the afternoon were to go out in Marian mode and enjoy one of my last days I can be en-femme during the day.  Of course, with the snow that came this afternoon, that squelched this idea.  And tomorrow's likely rain will also put a damper on things - even though the weather will be warmer.  Hopefully, I'll be able to connect with one of our former game night denizens, and see her and her baby again before I go back to work.

Monday, February 22, 2016

This place once was a home for a joyful family.

As you can tell, I shot this picture through a screened window.  If you look carefully, you'll see Christmas Trees which have been denuded of branches and needles below the 5 foot line.  This is the effect of deer feeding on trees which have been neglected and unprotected for several years.

Without saying too much about GFJ, one can see that her home was once a place with a joyful family living there. She is now in sole possession of the family homestead, and would not be able to maintain the acreage as a profitable farm or a simple residential property. Sooner or later, she will need to leave this place - but not until marital assets have been divided between the two parties.

When I visit GFJ, I'm always glad to be with her. Yet, there is a part of me that is sad when I'm at her place - and I think it's related to the lack of finality surrounding this chapter of her life.  Maybe it's because that I finished (if we ever do) grieving for my late wife years ago. In her case, she's unable to move too far forward while there are chains holding her back.

- - - - - -

I'm grateful that GFJ accepts the fact that I am both Mario and Marian. But I wonder how she'd deal with things, if she were living with me and I were coming and going as Marian much of the time. Recently, I've been finding meetups that I'd love to go to as Marian on weekends - if GFJ were otherwise occupied.  If we were living together, how comfortable would she be if I was out and about as Marian and had to change back to being Mario when I got home?  Yes, I've asked this question before in this forum, and I'll ask it again.  Unfortunately, I can't move forward until I have that answer.

GGJ accepts (for now) that I vacation with Lili in Marian Mode.  This is a lot to ask of any woman in our culture. It is the one time every year that I can get out and about as Marian, with no escape to being Mario.  And Marian has developed into a core part of my being, as Mario and Marian are full fledged manifestations of my core personality. I can't imagine life anymore without being able to express myself in my Marian persona. 

- - - - - -

I consider myself lucky to have learned a lot while I was unemployed.  I'm able to go out and about as Marian, and be accepted as the woman I've become.  And I'm lucky to be able to go out in the world as Mario - as I'm able to understand life from both sides of the gender coin.  Although this understanding is very different than if I could have lived life concurrently in two separate bodies, it is valuable to me - and that's what is important to me....

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Some random thoughts for the day

I haven't been in this room for years.  When I met my ex girlfriend (Ex-GF-M) years ago, one couldn't even enter this room, as it had become a dumping ground for anything and everything. Yet, I'll give her credit, as she did clean up the room a bit so that both the TV in the other unseen corner and the chair I sat on when taking this picture were both accessible when I was dating her.  But my memories of her will always tell me one thing - life can be messy and disorganized, like the kitchen below:

Could you imagine trying to get anywhere a stove in this place?  Yet, she was doing so for every meal consumed at home during the week. But I'm not out to rag on this lady. She's out of my life, and I learned a big lesson from being with her.

- - - - - -

A potential problem exists between me and GFJ - and it is the collection of ties that still bind GFJ and her "Wasband" together.  Recently, she had a problem with the water system in her house. Instead of calling an independent plumber to fix the problem, she ended up calling her to-be ex for help.  (I can't blame her for this - he installs systems like this in other houses and commercial establishments, and his labor is dirt cheap.) Sadly, until these ties are totally severed, I expect that GFJ will not be totally free to open herself up to anyone.  This doesn't mean that we're on a verge of a breakup.  Instead, it only indicates my prudence in not investing all of my heart in her until she is totally free.

- - - - - -

The first time I went to NPW after being given the verbal job offer, I made sure that I had extra time to spend there.  Although we didn't get a lot done, it was important that I was there to help them with a handover of the system to their care.  (I intend to have a role in helping them after I begin work.  But it will be very different than the role I have now.)  It was good to hear NPWJ say that if I had found work 6 weeks ago, that she'd be totally lost with the new system.  Now, she feels very comfortable in her ability to maintain what she has.  In short, I did a good job of getting her basic needs met - and it's something I can be proud of.

Contrast this with the GLBT Center.  Although I am well liked, I feel like I've accomplished virtually nothing there.  I'm glad that I do not include this place on my resume for much of anything. However, I have gotten much from the place.  I gained greater confidence in my female presentation, and have learned how to break out of my shell.  Not being expected to have a perfect presentation freed me to be relaxed when presenting as a female, which served to make my presentation much more effective.

- - - - - -

WGM has moved all her stuff to her mom's home in Connecticut, and she has been released from her lease several months early.  I miss seeing her at Thursday game nights, but we will try to get together at least once before I start work.  Assuming that I have to drive to Connecticut, I may end up driving to a boutique that sells mastectomy swimsuits on the way there.  I figure that I will always be able to use this swimsuit on any cruise that I take with Lili (or female friend other than GFJ).

- - - - - -

Soon, I will have to do my taxes.  This year, will be a strange year for me, as I will have five months of the year where I was paid my old yearly salary and 6 months where I received my pension, at roughly 30% of that salary.  Will I be over or under withheld?  And next year will be just as strange in the same way, as I will have a full salary (god willing) coming in for ten months, while I have my pension coming in for the full year.

What's most interesting about everything tax related is a form I received for the first time - a tax form related to Obamacare, stating the months for which I had insurance coverage. I knew that would be part of the law, but I never expected a new form to be filed.  It's not a big deal, but it is something that I have to remember from now on.

- - - - - -

Thinking about Obamacare, GFJ was told at year end that she had to find a new insurance provider, as the old provider wouldn't be servicing organizations like her and her "wasband's" (sole proprietor businesses) any longer. Her problem - she had no time to take care of buying this insurance after receiving this notification on December 15th, in order to have coverage in force on January 1st.  I wonder what will happen next year at tax time for her.  But she is saving enough money on Obamacare with the subsidies, that she can afford to pay some of the other bills that have piled up.  This is one of those times that I'm very glad that I live in a "Blue State".  Yes, we have some of the highest taxes in the nation. But it is because of these taxes we can pay for needed things like adequate medical care.  (Your mileage will vary.)

- - - - - -

When I went to Pat's place the other night, we talked about many things.  I mentioned that GFJ said that I should be proud of what I did to develop my Marian persona. And Pat responded - GFJ may be in love with me.  Even if true, neither of us have mentioned that word directly to each other, although we have joked around it a little bit.  Since (at the time I started writing this entry) Valentine's day is coming up soon, I wonder whether either of us will break down and say a certain three word sentence first....

- - - - - -

Pat and I have done some volunteer work for the GLBT center.  I left the center under my own terms, in a very respectable way - I found a job. Pat volunteers when she feels like it, and the center always appreciates what she does for them. However, Kelly was recently told to find other things to do with her life.  (It was put differently, but the meaning is the same.)  She took it hard, not understanding what was happening. Kelly thought that her efforts on maintaining the "events slide show" would be enough for the center to want to keep her around. But this was not enough to keep the center from firing her as a volunteer - Kelly was disruptive, she needed to talk while others needed to get things done. (I was very glad that the director of the center clued Fran into what was going on, so that Fran could respond accordingly.)

The one thing I wish I could have done before I left the center was to get the center onto a new contact management system. That's no longer my concern, but I wish them well whenever they get around to dealing with this task. I was able to accomplish this with NPW, and I know that this accomplishment was worth the effort I spent on this project....

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The possible disintegration of the Whine and Dine Group

Recently, I contacted one of the semi-regular members of the Whine and Dine group to see whether any of the group has tried to meet lately.  And she said:

I know our hostess hasn't been working a lot. I haven't seen her in a long time. Some of us do text each other to see if the other wants to grab something to eat and have wine, but that's it. Its sad to see that meetup be inactive, but what can you do?

I feel that most of the others in this group feel the same way.  It was a great group while it lasted, but I'll have to start looking for another women's group to hang out with.  My continued growth as Marian depends on being with women as a peer, and not as Mario.

- - - - - -

The Whine and Dine group was my first group connection to women as a peer.  It's not easy for most (newly out) transgender folk to get out and about and be accepted as female.  But this group did - and for that, I'll always be thankful.  Was there talking behind my back.  WDJ would say - Yes, there was once.  But after that one incident (where they wanted simply to find out whether I had "the operation" or not), it was smooth sailing.

I'm far from 100% passable because of my size.  But I've found that there are several keys for a transgender female to be accepted as a female with other women - confidence, appropriate presentation, and a conscious effort NOT to use any trace of male privilege. All transgender women must learn how to behave as a woman would in social situations, and this takes time. And groups like the Whine and Dine are perfect places to hone one's skills in feminine presentation.

Feminine presentation consists of many things, not just makeup and clothes.  Both verbal and non verbal communication also plays a part in a successful feminine presentation.  For example, in the on-line article "13 things that men and women do differently", the author cites the following actions:
  1. Undress
  2. Show their hands
  3. Throw Balls
  4. Yawn
  5. Hear Sounds
  6. Sit
  7. Distinguish between left and right
  8. See
  9. Tie Bathrobes
  10. Interpret feelings
  11. Deal with tasks
  12. Cope with problems
  13. Remember information
Of these, the items I've noted in RED are not likely a factor of the differences between the male and female brain. (Male brains tend to be wired for more front to back communication, while Female brains tend to be wired for more side to side communication.  This has an important effect on how men and women interpret the world around them, as well as how that information is processed in their respective brains.) Instead, they are a small subset of actions, that for whatever reasons, men and women have evolved different ways of doing things.  And successful M2F transgenders will learn many of these ways, and incorporate them into their routines until it becomes implicit knowledge and second nature to them....

- - - - - -

But back to the Whine and Dine....

Not being a cisgender female, I won't even consider taking over organization for the Whine and Dine group.  My role is to blend in as a woman, and not to lead - as a male might do in this situation.  And here is where wisdom comes in.  Many M2F transgenders forget that they have to surrender male privilege at the door if they want to be accepted as female. As transgenders, we must err on the side of caution regarding our behavior.  A cisgender female can be assertive without having her femininity put in serious doubt. We do not have that luxury. For me, this means that if there are no more meetings called, then I must let this group fall apart, no matter how much this group may have meant to me.  If another woman wants to resurrect the group, I'll be there in a heartbeat. Until then, I'll keep my pleasant memories, and try to build new ones elsewhere....

Friday, February 19, 2016

A new meetup group, and a game won by accident.

There were only 3 things on my calendar for today:
  1. A visit to my doctor.
  2. Meeting a new women's meetup group in Bronxville.
  3. Thursday night games in Yonkers.
And each of them went off as planned, even though I had another minor glitch with the new firm (which got resolved).

- - - - - -

I always dread my periodic visits to my GP, as I'll get the appropriate nag about my weight, diet, and exercise regimen.  This visit was little different, save one thing - the doctor was happy about where my blood pressure was, and only instructed me to get rid of the carbs in my diet.  (This is always hard for me to do these days, though I had no trouble doing this years ago.)  

When I left the doctor's office, I found that the new firm had a problem with the picture I sent in for my badge, via the following message in my inbox:

Unfortunately, our Badge Administration team is unable to use the photo you submitted. Could you please send me a photo on a solid background?

I let my future boss know that I'd have to wait until someone came home, so that I could have my picture taken against one of the walls of the communal stairway. While waiting, I figured that I'd dig out my old DSLR camera and put it on a tripod and see what I could do.

One problem.  The battery (and my backup) hadn't been used in over a year, and were totally discharged.  I had problems with getting enough of a charge to take a picture or two, and using the self timer so that I could take my own picture.

It's amazing how little I've used this camera. The original "Alpha" line from Sony used technology bought from Minolta when it exited the consumer camera business. Instead of taking SD memory cards like most cameras do these days, it uses the larger CF cards. And my model didn't offer the option of using the Sony memory sticks.  So if I want to get more memory cards, I either have to find CF cards or use a SD to CF card adapter. At least, I was able to use an "all purpose" lens that I bought for the old Minolta camera that I inherited from my late wife.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get this camera to work right, and was finally able to find a cheap pocket camera I could use to get an appropriate selfie. Although I'm not going to show you my whole face, I will show you something I've shown here before - my double chin.

There was no way I wanted to have this picture on my ID card, so I Photoshopped the original picture I sent my future boss and asked him to find out whether the updated plain background was acceptable.  Luckily, it was....

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This effort took up the time I planned to spend getting a new navy blue blazer for use at the new job.  (I planned to be en-homme until 4:00 pm or so, and then change into Marian mode for the 6:00 pm meetup.)  However, by the time I was done, I didn't have the time to buy the blazer, run home, change into Marian, and then drive to the meetup in Bronxville. So I decided to change into Marian mode, when GFJ called to chat a bit.  

Once I was done with GFJ, it was a quick half hour trip to Bronxville, where I met about 12 women at the bar.  (Another 10 people would come to the meetup while I was there.)  And all accepted me as Marian, and we all had a great time.  (Damn!  I wish this meetup group had been formed earlier, as "Westchester Ladies" seems to be much better organized than "Gal Pals".)  Hopefully, I'll be able to meet up with these ladies when GFJ is off doing her high intensity hikes in the Spring.

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Sadly, 7:30 pm came way too quickly, and it was time for me to go to the Yonkers game venue 15 minutes away. But I really enjoy playing games with the group, and would hate to miss a single week.  So I trekked across town (I was next door to Yonkers) and grabbed a quick bite to eat on the way over to the venue.  Although I lost the first game we played, I won the second because of an accidental misplay by the person who should have won the game.

It was nice to see a new person at the venue, and I hope he comes again.  But the most important thing was that one of the ladies was planning on staying at the local B&B in Croton, and I was able to tell her quite a bit about it after our games were over.  Unfortunately, she has a health problem that has been causing her pain, and she (with husband) may not be able to go there for Valentine's Day weekend.  Hopefully, they will soon be able to treat her successfully, and she will get back to her normal vivacious self.





Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mah Jongg and Sushi.

Here are some of the wooden Mah Jongg tiles I received as a gift last week, when I ended my stint at the GLBT Center.  Given the faded colors on the tiles and the style of the box that contained them, I'd venture to guess that these tiles are at least 70 years old. I have no good way of finding out their age, and have little intentions of doing anything else other than playing with them.  (Maybe when the 2016 card comes out, I can train the folks at my Thursday night game venue to play - if they show an interest in including Mah Jongg as one of the regular games.)

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When I got up this morning, I had several minor things to take care of....  I had to arrange for a March parking permit at the local train station, order a pair of dress shirts to wear on the new job, and to send a "Head and Shoulders" photo of Mario to my new firm for my Photo ID.  The only thing I completed was the photo - the other two items I could put off until the evening.  Yet, I still ended running out the door a little late, and I forgot to bring these tiles to WPB for her inspection. (Later on, I found out that these were "Asian" tiles, and not the typical "American" set we usually play with. I'll have to do more research about Asian tiles before playing with them....)

For a change, I arrived at WPB's on time, and we proceeded to play 3 games of Mah Jongg - all of which I lost, needing one last tile to go out.  AARGH!  At least I'm playing a decent game for a beginner. I'll miss this group of ladies after next week, but I have an open invite to come to WPB's other beginner's Mah Jongg group.

At about 4:30, I left WPB's and killed time by driving to The Avenue in Yonkers.  I saw a pair of shoes I liked, but in the wrong color.  Hopefully, they will be available online.  After I was done shopping, I drove to the "Gal Pals" scheduled meetup - and it was cancelled.  It seems like the lady who runs the group will bail out unless she gets more than a handful of attendees.  So I ended up calling Vicki, and we agreed to eat for an unplanned Sushi dinner.

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I had time to kill when I reached Yorktown Heights, so I dropped into K Mart to see if I could find a new car charger for my phone.  It seems like the contact on my old charger is a little loose and fails to properly connect for charging - a good reason to drop a few bucks and buy the needed item.

Once at the restaurant, I didn't have to wait long for Vicki - she was behind me by only 5 minutes or so.  She loved the coat I bought at the consignment store, saying it looked much, much better than the coat she gave me.  Then we discussed her upcoming trip to North Carolina, and the dress (above picture) she was buying from Nordstroms (on sale) for the shindig.  Alas, our get-togethers are always way too short - and it was time to go home and write this entry.....