Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Keys - We all need them.

On Saturday, I misplaced "Mario's" house keys while cleaning up my bedroom.  This wasn't the problem it may have seemed (at first) because I was out and about as Marian from Friday evening until late Sunday afternoon.  So there was no way that I'd need Mario's keys until Monday morning....

Well... Monday morning came, I got dressed as Mario, and said "Holy S**T!!!!"  I couldn't find my keys, and I had no time to waste.  Of course, this meant that I missed the 7:35 train, and caught the 8:00 train instead. This set my whole schedule for the day a bit off, as well as put me in an ill mood.

Part of me worried all day about the loss of my keys.  Years ago, when I dated Patty, she kept losing sets of keys - and entrusted me with a set of her keys.  And she proceeded to lose the set she had, causing me to return my set to her.  Am I beginning to develop the same habit? I hope not.  But I have been under stress lately, and maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

When I got home, I started to look around, and didn't find anything.  But when I looked at the plastic container that contained my Styrofoam wig head, with the wig sitting on top of it, I noticed that the contents were a little askew - my keys were underneath my wig.  Maybe my subconscious is telling me that I'm not getting enough Marian time?  I'm certainly not going to get much until GFJ goes on vacation.  And as much as I want her around, I'll be glad to get a few days of Marian time in....  (Just don't tell her that.)


Monday, May 30, 2016

Thinking about the weekend...

Sometimes, I can get a lot of things started (or done) when GFJ is not around.  This was one of those weekends.

- - - - - -

On Friday, it was a late night with WDJ.  Saturday, it was an air conditioner delivery, followed by some time I used to sort out a lot of stuff - tossing a bit of it into the dumpster.  And Sunday was a day dedicated to me.

One of the things I want to do on a Sunday is go back to church.  This doesn't look like it will happen until after Labor Day, given the summer weather.  No, I don't intend to be a regular attendee. But I do intend to develop a connection to the community - in Marian mode.  Unless I intended to live my life (part time) as Mario (which would only happen if I were in a relationship with a woman), it doesn't make sense for me to spend that much time in Mario mode.  But 8:00 am came around this morning, and I didn't want to bother showering, shaving, doing make up, and getting out the door on time.  So I skipped out on this event.

I had a meetup I could go to.  WPB was hosting an event at 12:30 pm, and I skipped out on that one as well.  Yes, physical exhaustion did play a part in things - the housework I did the day before triggered a need for rest.  And these days, when my body says REST, I listen to it.  Eventually, I made it out the door, and went shopping.  Although I didn't find anything that shouted "Buy Me!", I had the pleasure of trying things on for a change.  It was a great day to go out en-femme!

By the end of the day, I didn't want to risk a case of indigestion.  So I begged off on another dinner date with a friend and went home to do laundry.  I couldn't believe how much laundry I needed to do.  Although I did 4 loads, I could easily have done one more - if I had the time to get the dryer started by 9:45 pm or so.  I didn't, so I carted everything up the stairs, hung the shirts up to dry, folded the trousers, and called it a night....

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Quickie: A strange encounter on the subway

Recently I encountered a bunch of young women (high school seniors with chaperones) on my way to work. They were in town for a few days, taking in New York on a whirlwind visit. (These are NOT the ladies.  I do not want to advertise their school or what they claim to believe in.  Let's call it "Smalltown Christian Academy", and note that I'm respecting the privacy of these ladies.)

I enjoyed seeing this group on the subway - they all had the better parts of their lives in front of them, and I doubt any of them had to worry about being gender variant.  But what if any one of them was a F2M Transgender waiting to come out of the cocoon?  I doubt that this person would get any support from this person's peers.

Schools like "Smalltown Christian Academy" are geared to indoctrinate people into mindless followers of the "authority du jour".  Questioning isn't allowed, and very little personal expression of individuality is tolerated.  Schools like this have been spoofed in movies such as "Saved" and "But I'm only a Cheerleader" - but satire runs too closely to the truth.

I wonder what will happen to these women as they grow up?  Hopefully, they will not grow up as prejudiced as their communities seem to be.  But I fear for the worse....

Air Conditioning ....AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

The modern air conditioner.  If it weren't for this device, it wouldn't make much sense for many of us to live near the "big city" in summer.  Yet, it wasn't that long ago that most of us had to endure the unbearable heat and humidity of summer in the city.  Can you imagine me switching from Mario mode to Marian mode while sweat poured from my body?  I certainly can't....

- - - - - -

Last night, I was instructed to call an automated response line after 9:00 pm to find out the time window in which my air conditioner would be delivered.  And the machine on the other end of the line informed me that I would be in the 8:30 am - 12:30 pm block.  No problem. When I went to sleep, I made sure that my alarms were set for 7:00 am and 7:30 am.  This way, I'd be able to put on some clothes (sadly, Mario's) before the delivery men came.  So, it was no surprise to find out that I was the first person on the list, when the delivery man called to tell me that he'd be here at 8:00 am.

Sure enough, the two gentlemen were here at 8:00 am, air conditioner "in hand".  It took a small amount of effort to remove the A/C unit.  But the fellow noticed a wasp nest inside the sleeve.  So he wanted me to see if I had some bug spray - which I couldn't find.  (He then told me to get some wasp spray and apply it inside the sleeve - which I'll do some other day, and the unit will keep those pests outside of the apartment.)  Before the wasps had enough time to do their thing (read: escape and sting), the two men slid the new unit in, secured it, and got out the door.  I didn't even have time to hand them any money for a tip....

- - - - - -

Of course, this gave me the chance to spend the rest of my day in Marian mode.  And that, is an unexpected blessing....

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Another night with WDJ

WDJ is a cisgender woman, and for as long as I've known her, I have only seen her without a wig only once.  She's an attractive woman who has lost a lot of weight (due to stomach surgery), and still works hard to look as good as possible.

During the day, I wasn't sure of whether GFJ would be coming down this weekend.  She has had some stomach issues herself, and has been unable to eat - even out of need.  Part of me wanted her to stay home, so that I could go out in Marian mode.  And part of me wanted her here, as I missed her. Unfortunately for her, she ended up driving herself to the ER after work, where they did some emergency hydration, fed her some strong antibiotics, did a CAT scan, and sent her on her way - after diagnosing her with diverticulitis.  OUCH!!!!

Although I would have gone up to be with her, I would have to return in the evening, because my A/C was being delivered in the morning.  So, in many ways I was glad when she reminded me of the A/C, and freed me of the responsibility to go there to be with her.  This gave me the chance to call WDJ, and see her one last time before she goes back "home".

If GFJ had been able to tell me earlier that she wasn't coming, I'd have been able to go to another women's meetup being held in my town. But to go to a meetup with a new group, especially in the town in which I live, I'd be a bit nervous - and I didn't need that today.  So I was very glad that WDJ was available, and had no problems with eating relatively late in the evening. We had a very nice chat, and the night ended too quickly.  Hopefully, she has a safe trip home.

On my way home, I had the chance to chat with GFJ, and she told me about her trip to the ER.  She mentioned that if her doctor thinks it worth doing, that the section of her intestine that keeps getting inflamed be removed.  What a pleasant thought.  I can only imagine the prep for that operation!  But this is nowhere near where she's at right now.  She is only trying to get rid of the pain, rehydrate herself, and simply start feeling more like "normal" again....

But I can't write much now.  The delivery people for the A/C are coming at 8:30 am, and I must be back in Mario mode for them - before spending the rest of the day in Marian mode.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Getting back to normal....

"What, Me Worry?"

This has been the attitude I've had in regard to my commute for the past two days.  When I get in, I get in to work.  When it's time to leave, I leave - and I leave the office behind me.  This is important when one hasn't developed a sense of security at work, and one needs to feel secure in life.  As my therapist once advised me - "Fake it until you make it."  And in this case, he's right.  Try to do the right thing, act like you are confident in what you're doing, and hopefully, all will turn out right.

Today, I was in to the office only 30 minutes late - instead of the 90 minutes I was late the day before.  Since it was Thursday, I made sure that I was going to leave early - and I still hung out a little late to get some of the things that I'm behind on done.  This is just as well. It didn't make sense for me to catch an overcrowded train after all the seats have been taken. Instead, it made sense for me to be on the platform as the doors opened for the train, so that I could take the seat of my choice.  I was lucky to do so, as there were standees on the trainand I was glad not to be one of them.

On my way down to game night, I made several calls.  Lili was with her tenant - and I'm a little annoyed at her, as she used the wrong pronoun.  (I don't care if he knows that I'm transgender and live in both male and female modes, use the correct bloody pronoun when referring to me, when I have never appeared as Mario in front of him.)  Next, I called DCD - and found out that he got his divorce, but got screwed in the alimony settlement.  And then, I tried to reach GFJ - who was out having dinner with one of her friends.
Game night was uneventful, and I lost every game I played. But I had fun doing so.  On the way home, I was finally able to speak with GFJ - and she told me about one of her crazy girlfriends.  This female friend is crying out for attention, and she has been losing her friends quickly - GFJ soon to be one of them.  I suggested to GFJ that she do this friend a "solid" and tell the friend why people are abandoning their friendships, along with a strong suggestion that the friend get psychiatric help.

I hope that GFJ does the right thing before she abandons the friendship....


Thursday, May 26, 2016

If Wednesday can be Sundae, can it also be Saturday?

For many years, I remember Tom Carvel's gravelly voice saying "Wednesday is Sundae" at his eponymous stores. Of course, that meant (and still means) that one can get two ice cream sundaes for the price of one at his franchises.  Today, Metro North operated its trains on a Saturday schedule because of a fire beneath the tracks of its Park Avenue viaduct.

- - - - - -

My original plans for the day had me getting into the office, and leaving a little bit early so that I could make it to a gathering of the Whine and Dine crew in Beacon.  This was not to be.  I didn't know it when I left the office last night, that I'd be on one of the last trains to make it through the tunnel and past 125th street before the fire shut down the railroad.

This would have been the second day I'd leave the office early, as my Tuesday plans were to attend my co-op board meeting, take care of business, and have a light dinner with HWV. (As much as I'd like to talk about one of the things that went on in the meeting, I can't do so. But I can say that I have several concerns that I later addressed in private with HWV.) After the meeting, one disgruntled shareholder pestered us in the parking lot, and we told her to contact our managing agent.  (My non-official/personal opinion about this woman is that I'm glad that she never ran for the board again after being defeated once, as I feel she'd be a disruptive influence on the board, in pursuit of her interests over that of the co-op as a whole.)

We then went to dinner, and had another enjoyable and productive conversation.  When I finally got home, I found an email from a fellow board member.  She sent me a link to news about the fire, and I felt that I was very lucky to make it home that night.

- - - - - -

This morning, I dreaded the trip into work, as Metro North was operating on a Saturday schedule.  And I was right - the train was overcrowded, and there was almost no room to squeeze on to the train.

As you can see by the scene above, the train was packed.  This picture was taken when I changed trains for the local at Croton - where I could get a seat for the ride into NYC.  It's hard to believe that more people didn't switch to the local, as there was no way to know how long they'd be standing.  I had no way of knowing how long the trip would be, as the newscasters were informing people that they could transfer at Yankee Stadium for the subway - which likely would also be standing room only.  And I knew that a one-seat ride for the rest of my trip to NYC would be better than to stand all the way in.

Given a choice between standing for 45 minutes (plus another 45 minutes on the subway), and sitting - what would you do?  So I got on this unscheduled extra train which was supposed to run express to Tarrytown, and make every stop afterward.  Again, Metro North had no clue about what it could do.  By the time we reached Dobbs Ferry, our train was packed to standing room capacity, and was switched to an express for the rest of the ride into NYC.

All in all, my commute took 3 hours, but no one complained about me being late.  I did have a bit of work to do, and was constantly being interrupted - and was getting frustrated because of a lack of positive results.  Later on, I had a conversation with my boss, and we both looked for ways that I can improve performance.  Both of us knew that we communicated in different ways, so it was a good thing that we addressed some  issues early on, to keep things from souring.  (I don't want to go into details here. Sometimes, one needs to hear uncomfortable news - as long as it comes with ways to resolve problems.)

Later in the afternoon, I paid heed to our conversation and tried to find several ways to get a problem fixed before coming to my boss - and he took an hour out of his late afternoon time to get it fixed enough so that I could do the rest on my own - which I did.  I knew that I'd never make it to the Whine and Dine. One good thing - Metro North was treating today as if it were Saturday, and honoring off-peak tickets for a mid-week peak hour commute.

There was no way for me to know how tired I'd feel on the way home. If I didn't fear sleeping past my station, I would have let myself nap a little.  It was close to 9:00 pm by the time I got home, and there was almost no energy left for me to connect with GFJ.  I won't go into our conversation - there's no way I can remember anything in the state I'm in.  So I'll sign off for now, and hope that tomorrow's commute will allow for me to get to game night in Yonkers....

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Danish Dogs

I don't know how many of you have had the chance to visit Grand Central Terminal lately.  The place is a mess, with various pieces of the construction puzzle supporting East Side Access for the LIRR.  It's a pain to transfer between commuter trains and the NYC subway, as construction is blocking both egress and ingress to the system.  Sadly, there is no end in sight.

Recently, one of the areas which was blocked off for a week or two (for floor resurfacing) has reopened for use and now has a specialty deli and specialty hot dog stand where two coffee and bagel shops once stood.  And I'm not sure we are better off.

In the morning, the deli part of this enterprise sells tasty, but very pricey baked morning nibbles, while the grill area sells expensive gourmet egg sandwiches. How expensive?  The average breakfast sandwich is over $7.50.  In the evening, the same stand sells expensive hot dogs, and each costs an average of $7.50 - twice as much as the dogs sold at Zaro's downstairs.

This stand sells 4 different types of dogs - each with different meat ground into the sausage mix.  It took about 5-10 minutes for me to get a single dog, as the fellow preparing it had to take his time making a gourmet presentation with "specialty" dressings and toppings.  With the time it took for me to get one dog (albeit very, very tasty, and almost worth the price and time I spent there), I could have gone to Mendy's downstairs and bought two kosher pups with time and money to spare.

Will this place survive?  Who knows.  But if I have an extra few dollars at the end of my week, I might be tempted to buy another Danish Dog - if I have the time to spare.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Playing Catch-Up

Sometimes in life, one has to play catch-up.  Lately, for me, it has meant that I have to find ways of catching up with long delayed errands and chores.  But the one that keeps coming back for more is laundry.  I have just enough clothes in Mario's wardrobe to go to work for a week without wearing the same garment twice.

- - - - - -

Recently, I did some minor, but urgent maintenance on the tile work in my bathroom. Then, I've been playing catch up with more loads of laundry than I have the time to do during a normal week.  And the latest thing I needed to do was buy a new air conditioner.   

At work, it's taking me much longer than I want to get tasks done, and we're in danger of running late because of diluted efforts from myself and a coworker in performing the setup tasks for a new client.  Years ago, I'd have had the energy to maintain my focus for another couple of hours and get some of the setups out the door. But this was not the case for me today.  I was fried by the time 6:30 pm came around.

Of course, I have to play catch up when it comes to maintaining contact with my friends.  Joanie has been trying to contact me, and whenever I return her call, she's unavailable.  WDJ was here for a short stay, and if it wasn't for me saying that we should meet for a late bite to eat, that we'd have missed each other this visit.  No longer do I have the convenience of metting many of my friends in the day time.

Even when it comes to family, I'm behind the 8-Ball.  It's not easy for me to see my dad on weekends, as GFJ is over here - and I don't want to make her a regular companion when I visit family until she does the same with her family.  So, when my dad was in the hospital lately, I made sure that I could get out to see him via commuter railroad. This way, I didn't have to sacrifice a day with GFJ.

- - - - - -

Getting out and about as Marian has taken a distant second place to me going to work. So, when I go to my games meetup on Thursday night, I always seem to be running late - simply because I have too much to take care of in the short time I'm at home.  As a result, I've been getting to the meetup venue about 30-45 minutes late.  This is not good, as I still like to be punctual....

Sooner or later, I'll be caught up on life.  Until then....


Monday, May 23, 2016

The Big Chill....

As you can guess, I'm not talking about the movie.  Instead, I am talking about the experience of buying a new air conditioner, replacing one that has been in my bedroom for roughly 20 years - since the time my wife died.

- - - - - -

So I'll start off with some bullets I gleaned from Popular Mechanics regarding A/C in the home:

1914 Air conditioning comes home for the first time. The unit in the Minneapolis mansion of Charles Gates is approximately 7 feet high, 6 feet wide, 20 feet long and possibly never used because no one ever lived in the house.

1931 H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman invent an individual room air conditioner that sits on a window ledge—a design that's been ubiquitous in apartment buildings ever since. The units are available for purchase a year later and are only enjoyed by the people least likely to work up a sweat—the wealthy. (The large cooling systems cost between $10,000 and $50,000. That's equivalent to $120,000 to $600,000 today.)

1942 The United States builds its first "summer peaking" power plant made to handle the growing electrical load of air conditioning.

1947 British scholar S.F. Markham writes, "The greatest contribution to civilization in this century may well be air-conditioning—and America leads the way." Yet somehow people still say a brilliant new idea is "the best thing since sliced bread."

1950s In the post-World War II economic boom, residential air conditioning becomes just another way to keep up with the Joneses. More than 1 million units are sold in 1953 alone.

1970s Window units lose cool points as central air comes along. The units consist of a condenser, coils, and a fan. Air gets drawn, passed over coils, and blasted through a home's ventilation system. R-12, commonly known as Freon-12, is used as the refrigerant.

1994 Freon is linked to ozone depletion and banned in several countries. Auto manufacturers are required to switch to the less harmful refrigerant R134a by 1996. Brands like Honeywell and Carrier develop coolants that are more environmentally friendly.

When I was young, my parents couldn't justify spending money on air conditioning.  As a result, I spend many a hot summer day being totally uncomfortable. I never realized how much I'd need air conditioning until I bought my own top floor apartment, and found out that there was no air conditioning unit in the bedroom wall sleeve. The day that I bought and installed the unit (all by myself), I fell to an extremely deep sleep afterward, and didn't hear the calls from work alerting me to a problem that a software change I made was responsible for causing.  (That was the first nail in my coffin of having a career with that firm - a lucky thing for me in retrospect.)

I had bought that air conditioner (a similar one appears above) shortly before I met my wife, and replaced it around the time she died.  (In fact, I replaced it with the same brand and updated model - and it was one of the last Freon-R12 models sold.)  Although the A/C has been relatively reliable, it has been expensive to run, and doesn't circulate enough cold air due to its design. Recently, I stated that the year that I find a new job, that I would buy a replacement unit.  So I started shopping for the replacement before the heat became totally unbearable.

Having done a bit of research before, I knew that Friedrich made air conditioners which fit Fedders sleeves.  Were the two companies ever directly associated with each other?  Who knows?  But the fellow I met at one big box store told me a story that could almost make sense - save that my research on the corporate histories of the firms do not indicate any connection to each other.  Instead, I see the possible use of a competitor's specs for use in making "plug compatible" units - where one could slide one manufacturer's unit in place of the other, and not notice any differences save a different brand on the front plate, and a different vent arrangement.

- - - - - -

On Saturday, GFJ and I went down to Yonkers to see how much a replacement unit would cost me.  The price after everything was in the range of what I expected, but I realized that I'd be dealing with a little bit of sticker shock, knowing that inflation (and technology) would have their impact on the price of the unit.

The next day, GFJ and I went on a walk with a low energy hiking group.  I realized that after the walk (and lunch afterward) that we had enough time to make it to the store to buy the unit.  Unfortunately, the salesman who helped us the day before wasn't around (he was paged twice), and another man (probably the supervisor) helped us - and earned the commission.  But they will lug the unit up the steps, install the new unit, AND take the old unit away.  What more can I want?

I still hope that we will have a comfortable Summer. But if we don't, I'll have a unit that should be able to crank out enough cold air to let me sleep - something I'll need, if I want to hold on to the new job.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Some thoughts about women and the work force.

A woman's work is never done....  And now that I'm back in the workforce, I have a greater appreciation for what a working woman, especially a working mother, has to deal with in life.

- - - - - -

My boss's boss is a nice lady who has a 4 year old child.  She is lucky to be able to schedule her work around her child's needs - as she can work from home as needed.  In the past 3 months that I have worked there, she has had to work from home at least 4 days I know of - simply because of the needs of her child. She appreciates her position.  There are quite a few women who have to trade money for flexible work.  Men don't usually have to do this - they delegate the tasks of child raising to their wives. 

I'm thinking about my ex-girlfriend Patty.  What would have happened if she had to raise a child?  Could she have been "Superwoman" and kept her good paying career AND raise a child on her own?  This question can no longer be answered - as she is no longer able to bear children, and she is now retired. But is anyone could do it, it would have been Patty.

- - - - - -

In a recent conversation with an ex coworker, the topic of the millennial generation came up.  And we both agreed that the younger generation is no longer making the same trade-offs that my generation made. "Middle Class" females are no longer leaving the work force to raise children.  They are demanding that their husbands take on some of the tasks of raising kids.  My boss is one example of this - I've seen him run out to take care of his daughter's needs while his wife is out taking care of business.

As women start to come into their own in regards to money and power, I expect that we'll see seismic social shifts that we can't even begin to fathom.  Dollars to doughnuts, that Abortion will become less of an issue, as women will begin using much more safe and reliable birth control methods - and that "abortions" will be able to be performed with drugs one can get via mail order sources.  It will only be something women talk of amongst themselves, as it will be the unspoken secret that many women will use to preserve their independence from excessively controlling men.

- - - - - -

With pregnancy under a woman's full control, I expect that women will be staying longer in their careers, and that they will gain more power in the work place because of that.  As Al Jolson (and others) have said: "You ain't seen nothing yet!"



Saturday, May 21, 2016

Two former coworkers talking

I've said that one of the best things that happened to me was being let go by my old firm.  Today, I had the chance to talk with a former coworker who was also let go by the firm, and we both had the same feeling about the firm - it's going down the tubes because it grew too big.

When I started with my old firm, it was one of the top 25 banks in the USA.  It had a solid branch network in the NYC area, but didn't invest in the branches.  Instead, it made the decision to invest in businesses that serve the "Fortune 100" customer and High Value Individuals (read: People who have more than $5,000,000 to invest). At the time of my departure, it had traded away the branches for another bank's trust business, and then merged with one of the top three competitors in the markets it chose to be in.  Not only should you be able to identify this bank with a small amount of research, but you should be able to identify who we merged with....

Today, it looks like the bank wants to spin off at least one of its remaining businesses (from a conversation I had with someone once part of the food chain, but has no current knowledge of management's intentions), and it is one of 5 commercial bank holding companies that failed its requirement to have a plan to shut down their organizations in an orderly fashion in case of failure.

I know this fellow would be shocked to find out that I'm transgender, so I left this out of our conversation.  But I did say that the 21 months that  I was unemployed was some of the best times I had in my life, as I was free to be Marian where and when I wanted.  He is also glad to be gone, and he finds it humorous that he is a consultant at the old firm.  Of course, he can't wait for a job offer to become final, so that he can leave the place once and for all. 

The firm had just installed a "living wall" in the building when I was there.  Now, they don't want anyone taking pictures, as the wall has turned brown due to a lack of proper maintenance.  This is a good symbol for what has happened to the old firm - they got involved in doing things for the image, and then let things turn brown because they didn't take care of essentials.

Part of me wants to go back to see some of my old coworkers.  But I realize that I have nothing worthwhile to say to them - and not many are left anymore.  It's sad.  It was once a great place to work, but the camaraderie is gone - no one there is working out of pride, they are only working for paychecks.  At least my new job has people who work there because it excites them to come in to work in the morning.  And this is a blessing.....

Friday, May 20, 2016

Playing even more games

As much as I don't want to give any details that would identify the company I work for, sometimes it's worth mentioning the behaviors of people to illustrate the environment I work in.  But in doing so, I must be extra careful, as the last thing I want to do is to give any person in the company, or the company itself a bad name.

- - - - - -

I knew from the get-go that today would be a long day at work.  Instead of leaving an hour or two early (as I usually do on Thursdays), I left at 5:00 sharp.  Like the other Project Managers in the division, I was called in for an "all hands" meeting to listen to a presentation of the firm's financial position.  And we were doing quite well in relation to the rest of the firm.

What bothered me is that the two highest ranking people on site were drinking (not too much), and offering glasses of wine from the boxes of red and white that they brought to the conference room.  No one had to drink, but it would have been a little impolite not to take a glass - especially when one had to listen to people 2,000 miles away discuss the measure of a business that has yet to reach double digit growth.  And when these two hot shots were making jokes and wisecracks while the line was muted, why bother attending the meeting in the first place?

No, I was totally bored by the presentation.  But if I were the people involved in leading the call, I'd have been awfully pissed off.  So I have to agree with my boss on one thing - don't get either of these two people pissed off!

- - - - - -

After the meeting, I rushed out the door - and made it home an hour late.  Given that I needed to clean myself (I was sweaty, and still had to deal with hemorrhoid issues), I rinsed myself off in a shower, and then got ready to go out in Marian Mode.  By the time I made it to Yonkers, it was after 8:30 pm, and in other circumstances, I'd say - "Why Bother?"  But I had a good time playing the game "Masquerade" - even though I lost.

Unfortunately, I had to leave early - 6:00 am comes way too quickly these days, and I still needed to get my place ready for the cleaning lady to come.  So out the door I went, and I made it home shortly after 11:15 pm....

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Where is the "Fat Lady" when I need her?

The other day, I saw this gentleman singing opera at Times Square.  As usual, I walked quickly through the station, so that I would hear as little opera as possible.  Where is that fat lady when I want her to start singing?

- - - - - -

If I were into opera, I'd be saying that this fellow was halfway decent.  But my taste is more into symphonic music, "modern" pop (from the 1930's to 1970's), some jazz, and rock & roll.  "Jumping Jack Flash" really is a gas, gas gas....

It seems like the only 3 stations on my route that regularly have music is Grand Central, Times Square and Penn Station. I don't pay much attention to what's going on at Grand Central, as it is usually my entry point or exit point from the subway system.  But I have heard music elsewhere - not nearly as often as in these three stations.  (I expect that there are several other points that have regular "performances" - 14th Street, Herald Square (34th Street), and several in Brooklyn.  I never reach these places on a normal weekday, so I never see other performers.) 

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If I still had six weeks of vacation, I'd likely be taking a day off soon.  (Of course, if I still had the old job, I'd have already spent some time in the DC area, visited Meg (and wife), and then gone to Baltimore to see two more people I know.)  One of the people I connect to on Facebook is doing some modeling as part of a clothing store's promotion. She'll get to buy the clothes at a good discount, and they get some free models.  As for me, I'm just outside the range of sizes they carry.  So there would be little chance of me spending money there that day.

Assuming all goes right, I will likely be able to hold my own and keep my new job.  This will keep me in money to buy new frocks like the one below:

Both Lili and Vicki liked this dress.  But all of us agreed - it must be worn with a pair of leggings.  Vicki thought the black version looked a little too matronly, but the red version also looks good - just not as good as the blue.  So I will likely place the order for the dress in a couple of days, and be wearing it the first chance I get....

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The way things are going, I'll try to get to DC again in the Fall.  Unlike my past trips, they will likely be doing emergency work on the entire Metro system - only to bring it back into a state of good repair.  (If only NYC could catch up with the subways here!)  I also want to spend some time in Philly, and there is one blogger I'd like to meet - if she has the time between her two jobs.

Yet, I still have a short distance travel itch that much be sated.  I'm thinking of saying to GFJ that we should take a long drive to the Rochester area and see the exhibits at the Eastman Museum.  I am in love with film, and the museum is a great place to visit.  (It's strange, that in the 2 1/2 years that I traveled to Rochester on a regular basis, that I never had the chance to visit this place.)  Afterwards, it would be a trip to another Upstate NY town (such as Cooperstown) and seeing something of interest there.  (Last time at the Baseball Hall of Fame, I told people I went there to see Roy Hobbs' uniform.  And no one picked up on what I was saying.)  Again, my interest in both baseball and movies easily intersect with each other.  So I'm looking to do this on a 3 day weekend, as GFJ and I have things to do during the week....

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So where was the "Fat Lady"?   God only knows, but I want her nearby whenever someone starts to sing opera.  Now, if they start singing "Take me out to the Ball Game", then count me in!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The tensions in my life

Everyone has to make tradeoffs in life.  I am not an exception to this rule.  But some people wonder how I can do this without falling off the high wire - and I wonder why I haven't fallen earlier.

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Lately, the biggest tradeoff in my life has been a terrible commute in exchange for the money I need to live a comfortable life.  The problem is that I don't have the time to live that life (en-femme) as I'd like to do.  And I worry that this stress is taking its toll on me, as I've been having a lot of unexplained "Brain Farts" lately - something I never used to have.  Could my subconscious be working against me?  I have no idea.  But I am afraid.

Let's say that I find a comfortable compromise between work and having time in my life to go out as Marian.  I still have problems with GFJ, as she isn't comfortable with me in Marian mode.  I'd still need to find a way to get enough Marian time in while she is in my life.

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I could go on and on about finding time to be in Marian mode.  But there is a financial tension at work too.  I'm in my late 50's, and I only have so much time left in the workforce, and only so much time I can earn decent money for my efforts.  It frightens me that I may have to leave the workforce long before I'm financially ready to do so.

If I were to retire today, I'd have to live on half as much money as I'd have 10 years from now.  The 401K is not as large as I need it to be, and I can ill afford to pay for the health care I might need on my own.  (That $6,000+ each year that I'd have to pay puts a big dent in my pocketbook.)  So I'm forced to keep working.  So far, I've been very lucky, but things could change quickly.

One thing I'm concerned about is a possible incidence of dementia.  My grandmother (on my dad's side) had it, and it was a nasty experience. When she fell and bruised herself, the authorities investigated my parents for elder abuse after my parents brought her to the doctor. This is an experience I feel I have no right to impose on others, and I also feel that no one has the right to ask (much less compel) me to do so. 

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One of the things I enjoy about my current life is that I have a very affordable place to live. The weather is not perfect, as we tend to have cold winters and hot summers. Yet, I will not move to the South where I could own a house for what I'm paying for my apartment - I do not feel safe living in any area that would tell transgenders that they can not go to a public washroom. I doubt that I'll move to California, where the weather and society better suits a transgender person, as real estate is outrageously priced - and I could only afford a broom closet of an apartment there.

Yes, there is a tension between the price I want to pay for real estate and the places I'd want to live.  If all things were equal, I'd already be in San Francisco.  But when I'd have to pay over $3000/month for an apartment like mine in the suburbs, would it really make any sense to go there, save on vacation?

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There are so many tradeoffs we must make in life, and I deal with mine as best I can.  Hopefully, when I retire, I'll be better able to get what I want from life. Until then, I'll keep making tradeoffs....   


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A new week, and an old feeling

There is always something nice to look at whenever I'm near my office.  However, the same old feelings of inadequacy came over me again, as well as the "brain fart" which makes me look stupid in my boss's eye - something I can ill afford.

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One of the things I was thinking of doing after work was to change into Marian mode and to visit my "friends" up in Newburgh.  (I could have used some more Marian time, but knew it would be fleeting at best.)  But I decided to finish off something at work, and stay a little late again.

During the day, I asked my boss a stupid question, based on an old understanding of a client's needs. When I realized what I did, the feelings of inadequacy came in like a freight train, and BAM!  Although I keep telling myself that someday I'll get the hang of things, this is not enough to make me feel better. 

Hopefully, my boss is willing to be tolerant of my slow learning (something rare for me) as long as he sees progress.  And I hope to be able to prove I can do good work soon, as I really want to keep this job.  Yet, if I can't do it, I have other things in my life that can nourish me (except in my wallet).

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When I finally finished with work, I knew what I was going to do for the evening - a couple of loads of laundry.  Yes, I still have 2 or 3 loads ready to go after this. But I now have clean underwear and clean towels to get through the week.  Next, is a load of sheets, and a load of outerwear (shirts, trousers, etc.) which I plan to take care of tomorrow. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to visit my friends in Newburgh on Wednesday, as I'll be caught up on my laundry. 

On other matters, I'll likely miss the next meeting of the Whine and Dine crew next week.  Not only are they getting together in a new place at an earlier time than usual, but this is the night for my co-op's board meeting.  And it'd look bad for me if I were to bug out just to go out in Marian mode.

Hopefully, HWV, our co-op's president, will have had a great time on her vacation.  This will be the second year that I know she has been where she's been.  (No, I won't say much about where she was, but it is very crowded for one day each year.)  If I'm lucky, we'll be able to go for dinner after the meeting - we always have great conversations.  (I also have a board issue I want to discuss with her in private - an unpleasant issue that I can't discuss here.) For the most part, our get-togethers have been very pleasant, and I know she'll have great stories to tell about where she spent her time.

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One thing I know - I don't have enough time out as Marian, and I need to maximize the value of the time I can spend this way....

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mother's Day with Lili

As much as my relationship with my mother was terrible, it was not as bad as the relationship between Joan Crawford and her daughter.  And for that, I'm grateful....

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I had virtually no energy to get up in the morning - I was totally exhausted from all of the week's activities, and I never took the chance to get enough rest.  Today, my body told me that I had to get that much needed rest.

By the time I got moving, it was very late in the afternoon.  I showered for the first time in the newly caulked and grouted shower area, and was glad that I took the time out to do this job on Saturday.  Although I have more to do in one area, it is not critical as it is more of a cosmetic touch up.

Lili was not able to get moving either, and we ended up meeting at the local Chinese buffet at 6:00 pm.  As expected, it was very crowded, and we ended up waiting for an hour before we got our seats.  It was nice to see her son and daughter in law again.  But it was not nice to know that I'd have every temptation to overeat - and ended up doing so.

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Although I don't yet have photos of the outfit I was wearing, I noticed a faux-pas in how I dressed.  The way I put my leggings and underwear on (to both keep me properly tucked in, and to prevent my leggings from sliding down) may have resulted in accidental exposure of the underwear due to the slits on the side of my tunic dress.  (I treat the garment as a long tunic and not a dress.  This way, I have a top that fits me well....)

Lili liked this outfit, and liked one of the choices I plan to buy soon.  Hopefully, I'll have developed a comfortable, and casual style which is easy to dress up as needed.  But until I am comfortable with things, I will continue to experiment with my clothes.  By the time I am able to retire, I want to look like a classy woman of retirement age - and blend in with my female peers. It'll be nice to be able to do this on a planned time frame.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A post started ahead of the task at hand....

Trust me, the tiles and grout in my bathtub area look much worse than this.  And noticing that the grout between the tiles has failed after taking sitz baths for the better part of the week, I realized that this task had to be taken off the back burner, and made a high priority for today.

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As I mentioned last night, I went to Walmart, and found out that they did not have tile grout or grout scraping tools.  So it means that once I finish getting dressed as Mario, I'll have to make a run to the hardware store and pick up what I need for the task, then run home to make a mess of my bathroom.  I shouldn't be saying that I'll make a mess.  But I know that I don't do this every day, and that my work will only be serviceable.  

Once I'm done, I intend to change into Marian and go out.

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Well, things didn't work out as planned.  I had to think of a quick way to stabilize the tiles underneath my soap dish, and that involved me going out yet another time to the hardware store and picking up some adhesive - and attaching a couple of tile segments to part of the baseboard behind it that was starting to fail.  I figure that if I have a watertight seal (caulk and grout around those tiles, the baseboard will stop deteriorating, and I'll have time before I need to contract out a bathroom remodel job to Bath Fitters for about $5k-$8k. (At least this would add to my minimal cost basis on the apartment.)

Now that the caulk is starting to dry, I have to figure out when I start with the grout.  If possible, I want this whole job done by the time I need to shower tomorrow morning, as I'd like to be able to go to church again - I'm not sure of which one....
 PS: I grouted the bathroom shortly before I went to bed, and slept well....