Sunday, July 31, 2016

Meditations on some issues involving work.

In a way, I wish that I could come out at work.  But for physical comfort alone, it isn't wise.  This is not the time nor the place to take chances - especially when I'm performing well.

- - - - - -

Ignoring the financial aspects of having a job, there's a part of me that wishes that I never found this job.  I miss my time out as Marian, and I hope I'm not subconsciously sabotaging myself to have that time back in my life.  If I am doing this, it is likely because I need to be Marian so much. Yet, I still feel that there is a part of me that is not suited for the type of work I want to do - and there is very little benefit in me to pay thousands of dollars, and many months to train for a job which I'll only keep for maybe 5-8 years at best.

What would happen if I were to lose my job?  I figure it would be the same as when I lost my job at the bank.  I'd be tied down to being near home for the period I'm on unemployment (as I'd be able to collect again after 6 months of full time employment), and then I'd be free to travel again.  One problem - the cruise that I planned to go on with Lili would be impossible to go on, unless I arranged for someone to impersonate me online.  And that's something I don't want to do - I like being 100% legal, unlike many people - including a former therapist.

- - - - - -

Each person I mention this problem to either wants to make reassuring noises (which I don't need, as I'm not a child anymore) or to over analyze things in an attempt to fix the problem.  I figure that if I need help, then I'll ask for it.  If help won't help, then I'll try to muddle through. Either way, I'll choose my path, instead of letting well meaning outsiders (read: people who are not me) choose it for me.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

I hate summer!

The day I wrote this, it was 95 degrees out in NYC, and I hated having to wait inside the subway station to go home.  If it was rush hour, I likely would have passed out due to the crowds and the heat they generate.  As it was, I was very uncomfortable, and knew the way to minimize my discomfort would be to move as little as possible.

 - - - - - -

Some people would tell me - go to the beach and get some sun.  I'd be burnt like this lady in no time.  I have some issues that I soon will go to the dermatologist for, and I don't want to make them worse by being in the sun any longer than I have to....  I prefer being in cool, dark places - a nice cavern would be perfect for me right now - a constant 50 degrees year round.  But I don't have a home in a cavern - my home is above ground, and on the top floor of my building.

Ever since I got my new air conditioner, I am comfortable getting dressed en-femme in warm weather.  The unit cranks out enough cool air (and blows it hard enough) to make me comfortable while still wearing my wig.  I couldn't say that last year, when I had my old air conditioner. So I'll get dressed quickly, and go from an air conditioned apartment to an air conditioned car, staying tolerably comfortable for my trip from point A to point B.

Soon, Summer will be gone, and I will be going with YGWM to do something on her birthday.  Right now, I'm looking at a performance by Tom Jones.  And I'll have fun telling her to bring extra underwear - as many women toss their undies at him while he is performing.  Why they do this, I'll never know.  But I will not be one of those doing so.  One catch - if she wants to get tickets in advance, she'll need to charge the tickets - so she can pick them up using her ID....


Friday, July 29, 2016

Game Night - and I had my distractions

Tonight, I was late (as usual) for game night - but it didn't matter much.  I was able to get a couple of games in before things started to break up.

- - - - - -

The routine at the office is exhausting, and I've resigned myself to do my best, but to be prepared for the worst.  So, when 4:00 pm came around, I took care of a little business with my boss - and left the office about 30 minutes late.

Although I got home early enough to be at games by 8:00 pm, I ended up taking much more time than expected.  Part of the problem was, that like most women, I had no clue about what I'd wear this evening. So, after a quick shower to rinse off the subway grime, I pulled a dress out of the closet and got ready for game night.

Arriving in Yonkers, there were saveral games in progress, but I was able to get into one relatively quickly. And then we played Guillotine - a simple game, and a nice way to pass the time.  After this, one of the ladies pulled out a game I like, Tokaido, and we proceeded to play that game as well.  Of course, I didn't win any games tonight - but I had fun while losing.

- - - - - -

While playing games, I was paying attention to two cell phones.  On one, I was having a conversation with YGWM.  And on the other, I was paying attention to Andrew Sullivan's live blogging of the GOP convention.  This is a bad habit that I'm letting form, and I have to break it soon.  (What did we ever do without cell phones?)  At least YGWM knows with whom she is spending her birthday.... 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

To blog, or not to blog - that is the question

Every night, I try to generate an entry for this blog.  Sometimes, I have a lot to write about.  And other times, I have nothing to write about.  Even so, I try to get even a small piece of writing in each night.

More often as of late, I find that I'm writing about things related to being transgender in passing - if at all.  But I do enjoy writing, as it is a healthy way of venting my frustrations at the end of the day.  But then, when one doesn't have much of a social life due to work, it's hard to go out en-femme and enjoy the world.

The other day, I outed myself to my niece. I'm very surprised (in a pleasant way) how well she  reacted when I showed her pictures of myself en-femme.  As I noted in another entry, it was the first time she saw a really happy smile on my face. And I think that it is this inner happiness that finally is coming out that propels me to keep exploring life more as Marian, and less as Mario.

Recently, I've been thinking of changing the frequency of this blog.  But I would lose contact with the people who really care about is going on with me.  So I keep plugging away, as I feel that this blog is worth the effort I put in to it.  Writing is a discipline, and doing a little bit of it each night helps a great deal.  I find I'm better able to express myself, in part, because I have to try and do so on a daily basis.

When I eventually go on my late Autumn cruise, I will have over two weeks' worth of blog entries ready to go.  Regular readers will easily sense when I'm away, and they will know how to tell when I've come back. And there will be stories to tell - virtually all of them being about spending time en-femme without any way of falling back to being Mario.

The most important thing I miss due to work is the time I used to spend en-femme.  I had developed new friendships, and started to enjoy life for the first time.  It was much easier to bond with people, especially women, as I was allowed by social convention to have a wider range of friendships....

Alas, it's getting late and I have to get to work early in the morning.  So I'll sign off until tomorrow, and hope that your life is doing well....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


There are many people who have never met me as Mario who know that I was assigned male at birth.  This is not a problem for me, as long as I know that they know - so I can feel free to speak openly about life.  Otherwise, I talk about my life as if I had been assigned female at birth.

Do people immediately sense there is something "Off" about me when we meet?  Like the physicist who says that you can't determine the speed or location of an electron without altering it, the same thing goes for me and whether I am perceived as female or not.  The minute the question is asked, it puts doubt into a person's mind.

When in doubt, I assume that my presentation is working.  And this has likely saved me from a lot of grief over the months I've felt confident enough to go out as Marian for days at a time.  Having confidence in one's self is very important.  If you can take for granted that your identity will be perceived as you perceive it, you have a much easier time in the world.

- - - - - -

However, what happens for those people who are genderqueer, or who are just not conforming in their gender presentation?  One fellow whose Facebook postings I follow is a heterosexual male living in the LA area who crossdresses all the time.  And he looks good in his dresses!  I wonder how many people have hassled him for his non standard presentation.  But his is a simple situation.  One of the genderqueer people who appeared with me at a recent transgender forum appears neither male or female - only the voice gives this person away as having been assigned female at birth.  And this person insists on the use of gender neutral pronouns when being referred to.  (You'll note that I hate the use of the word "they" for a singular use, as it irritates me due to my childhood training on what good grammar is supposed to be.  I would prefer to adopt a word from Swedish, "Hen" to refer to a singular person of undefined gender.)

- - - - - -

Gender comes up at so many points in our lives that we don't even think about it.  Try to talk for a while without referring to that person's gender.  I think you'll find it very awkward at best.  So what should you do?  I don't know about you, but I'm advocating that the "T" community (inclusive of the genderqueers and intersex folk) start advocating for the use of a new word - either using the Swedish word "Hen", or an more Anglicized version, "Hem", that reduces the cognitive load for all people.  Our solution can benefit society as a whole, as businesses need ways to refer to a person without reference to gender - and if gender neutral singular pronouns exist, they will be used instead of the gender specific ones for general, non specific uses....

Your comments?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dinner with my niece

Before I talk about my niece, I have to set the stage by saying that my job is in danger.  I had my periodic review today, and I did not meet any of the goals I set for myself, nor did I pass muster. The project that I was assigned to bring a new client online is a make or break assignment - and I pray that I can do what I need to do to keep the job.  I won't go into the details right now, but it is very unlikely that my way of thinking is what is needed for the job - and I will be putting my resume out on the market again once I polish it up a little....

- - - - - -

Now that I got that off my chest, I will talk about dinner with my niece.  When we met, Manhattan had just gone through a quick moving torrential rain storm, and there were puddles all over the streets.  So the city's appearance fit the mood I was in.

When my niece arrived at the restaurant, I told her what happened at the office, and she showed appropriate concern.  And then I figured that I'd take the risk and tell her about my transgender nature.  Showing her the photo below, she said "Uncle Mario, you look fabulous!".

She noted that it was one of the rare times that she saw me with a smile on my face.  In short, I appeared happy to her for the first time!  And then I showed her a few more of my pictures, telling her a few of my stories from my cruises and from my shopping expeditions.  She seemed genuinely entertained....

We talked politics, and noted how much we are disgusted with GOP politics.  Even though both of us dislike Hillary Clinton, we loath Trump and the rest of the GOP just as much.  Her feelings are of someone who has a lot of stake with this coming election.  Being a cisgender female, she doesn't want to let government have any say in what she does with her body.  She is upset with a party who will accept wingnuts who say that women deserve to be beaten because they disobey their husbands' will. When you alienate someone like my niece, you alienate her for life.  And my niece will likely never consider a GOP candidate for any office in the future.

Eventually, witching hour came, and we both had to take our trains home.  I dropped her off at Penn Station, and continued on my way to Grand Central.  Reaching my platform, I saw a lady conductor that I hadn't seen in years - someone who I was almost ready to out myself to.  (No, I diidn't do so this time.)  When she noted that it was a long time since she saw me, I mentioned that -  Yes, the last time I saw her, I was about to reach the station and couldn't show her a picture and tell her a story. She didn't remember this, and I let things drop.  If was far from the time and the place to say anything, and I needed to focus on relaxing instead of talking.....

Was tonight a big risk?  Yes. But I took the time over the years to get to know my niece enough that we could trust each other, and I have faith that she won't tell anyone else in her family. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Quickie: Lili and the Raccoons

No, this is not a picture of Lili's raccoons.  But it could be.  And I am not enamored of visiting her, because she believes this four pawed vermin can ever be pets.  Nor will I send her this article describing how to make a raccoon a pet.

Why do I write this entry?

Lili has been away visiting her sister in the hospital.  Although her sister stands a good chance of reasonable recovery (the aneurysm affected the part of her brain controlling balance) for most purposes, she will never be the same woman as she once was.  But will Lili's house ever be the same?

The other day, while Lili was waiting for her return flight, she mentioned that the raccoons she had been feeding got through her "doggy door" and ransacked the kitchen.  Her tenant (who has been feeding her pets) found that flour was scattered all over the kitchen - and figured out the raccoons that Lili had been feeding must have gotten inside the house and looked for something to eat while Lili was away.

Considering how intelligent these animals are, and that they breached the boundary of the door to the house, would you feel comfortable being in that house?  I certainly don't....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Quickie: What would it be like to have real hair, instead of wearing wigs?

No, I'd never want hair this long.  But there is a part of me that is very envious of her - she CAN grow hair on ALL of her head.  No alopecia for her!

- - - - - -

What would it be like for me if I had long hair?  Well, in Mario Mode, I'd have to wear it in a pony tail, like Willie Nelson.  But when in Marian Mode, I could style it accordingly.  This could be a great advantage for me, as I'd be able to take a good soaking dip in a pool while presenting as female.  (Mind you, there would be other issues that get in the way.  So I'm thinking more about what I could do post-transition.)

Many of us, myself included, can not ever go outside en-femme without a wig.  And this makes it a real pain when the weather gets hot.  Cisgender women can pull their hair back, so that they can feel more comfortable.  People like me have to suffer in silence, as we must keep our wigs on.

- - - - - -

Given the choice, would you choose to have long hair?


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Quickie: Today, I won't talk about work.

Do people want to hear about what's going on at work when I can't talk about who my employer is, or about our clients?  Sometimes, they do. And sometimes, they don't.  But I'm not always in the mood to talk about work - even when my social life is almost nil these days.

Today, GFJ and I finally are in the same place after about a month of being apart.  It's a nice feeling - especially when she's cooking dinner for us while I write this post.  But what is interesting about the day is that I mentioned that "Marian" had her eyes on a dress, and that "Mario" had to tell her "NO", as she'd never have a chance to wear it.  Well, GFJ gave me an idea of how and when I could wear it - so, for the discounted price of $34 (+ shipping/tax), it's making a jump into a USPS delivery truck and coming to my door in the near future.  It'll be perfect to wear when I go out with YGWM for her birthday.  (Now, to get the right shoes and handbag to go with it.)

Now I understand how my late wife got addicted to shopping.....  The more I absorb a woman's frame of mind, the more it all makes a strange kind of sense.  (But if she could come back to life, I'd never admit it to her. <g>)


Friday, July 22, 2016

Work - I'm glad I have a job, but on days like this....

This entry is more of a quick comment on how my life is going as of late.  Even though my job can be frustrating because I'm picking things up slowly, I do enjoy it.  And I am very thankful to have a job that pays me well enough to save what I was taking out of the bank when not working. But on days like this....

New York in the summer is often Hazy, Hot, and Humid.  Today was no exception, as the temperature was in the high 80's (or low 90's), and the humidity was so thick that could cut the air before breathing it with a knife and fork.  Tomorrow is going to be worse, with the temperature breaking 90 degrees.  If I had a reasonable choice, I'd have stayed in my apartment until the sun went down.

This is the time of year where women have it much easier than men - at least when it comes to how much they can wear at the office and still look "professional". They can keep themselves cool by exposing their decolletage, as long as they don't show off "too much" skin.  Of course, they can always wear a nice skirt (or dress), allowing the lower half of their bodies to be well ventilated. Yet, they can only do so much to deal with being outside in this weather.

No, women do not have it easier than men.  With this freedom of dress comes many a problem.  How do they send signals of commanding respect while looking feminine?  Often the two objectives are mutually exclusive.  A man can command power and look sexy while dressed formally.  Sadly, a woman can't command power if she looks sexy - excepting, maybe, power in the bedroom.  And therein lies the unsolvable problem. Women like Hillary Clinton (whatever you think of her) can't be seen as being sexy, as they lose the power to command. And they are also held to a higher standard than the men they must deal with.

So, given levels of personal comfort and personal power, it makes sense for me to defer 24x7 transition until after I have retired.  I'm at that point in life where it makes sense to squeeze out the last benefits of my male privilege (and male liabilities, of which there are many) before transition - simply because I do not perceive that I could command the same authority at work, when I need it most. What can I say?  The choices of both how and when to transition are hard, and not ones to be rushed....


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cleaning up before the cleaning lady comes.

By now, loyal readers of this blog know that for the past few months, I have had only a small fraction of my time available for me to go out in Marian Mode.  I truly miss the opportunities I had to experience the world en-femme, and now can only count on Thursday evenings to experience the world as the authentic me.

But what about Thursdays in the daytime?

As you are aware, I've had a full time job since the end of February.  The commute wears away at me, and I don't have the time (or energy) to keep my place as clean as I'd like.  I've been unable to eliminate much of the clutter around my place, as my time and energy is taken up between work and dating GFJ, and now with dealing with issues with my dad becoming old and frail.  And I am thankful to have a cleaning lady that I can trust come into the apartment and do a little magic to make my place presentable.

One problem with having a cleaning lady is that I have to do some cleaning before she gets here.  Usually, I do this on a Tuesday or Wednesday night when I get home.  Most recently, this included folding laundry which was sitting around in baskets, stashing my feminine goods back into the closets, and then getting clutter off the floor - so that more of the place can be properly vacuumed.

Is my place really clean?

Probably not.  Unless I get my clutter under control, all this lady does is to shift deck chairs on the Titanic.  Yes, I make things sound worse than they are.  But this T-Gal is very glad that someone else is doing this work, so that she can go out and earn a good living - which is more than many T-Gals can say.

Why is this important?

I'm one of the lucky people.  I go about and about without people bothering me (so far) while en-femme.  Do I notice anyone wondering or commenting about me?  No, and I hope it stays that way.  But I think it's because of many factors.  First, I'm technically obese.  Since no one likes looking at a fat lady too much, I have a degree of invisibility.  Second, I do my darnedest to present myself in the same way a cisgender woman of my age would present herself. And third, although my voice will likely fail a "telephone test", it is good enough for being with people.  So I have had many chances to perfect my feminine mannerisms, and to develop confidence in my female role.

But not all people are so lucky.  They live in fear.  I chose to live in confidence.   There are good reasons to fear - especially when one isn't completely out to the world.  And in my case, I've never been open about this side of me with my cleaning lady.  So, once every two weeks, Marian's stuff gets put away, and taken out again when I come home at the end of the day.  Is it an optimal way to live life?  No.  But it is the way I'll have to live until I can afford to be "out" 24x7.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Another "I had no idea what to write about" until the story came to me on its own.

My friend Vicki.  A typical cisgender female with all the problems that a typical American female has - including that of being taken advantage of because she's female.  The high point of my day was a phone call which was awkward for me to take (only because I was cooking dinner, and had nowhere to sit), but well worth the discomfort of standing for a good part of an hour long call.

- - - - - -

Women often get financially abused in business because they have been trained not to take chances.  Being risk averse is part of a woman's lot.  Women are often afraid to ask for what they want in a business negotiation, as they are often afraid that they will lose what has been offered.  In short, they will accept third best, only because they aren't demanding the best as part of their negotiation strategy. I saw this first hand when my job's offer was made to me. None of the things I wanted would cost my firm any money.  Yet, the ladies with whom I played Mah Jongg all thought I was too demanding, and that I could spook away my job offer.  This is where being Transgender has been an asset to me.  I did not get overly programmed to avoid risk.

Vicki has worked for the technology division of her hospital (partially owned by the hospital, so that they could retain profits in the division) for decades.  She complained that even though her bosses were trying to get her pay somewhere near market levels, upper management didn't give a damn.  In order to get more money from the hospital, one had to leave it, get market rate on the outside, and then come back to a competitive offer.  Over the years, she accepted this because the benefits were good. But the problems of being underpaid got bigger and bigger.

Recently, Vicki put her resume out in the field.  She wasn't looking hard for a job, as one doesn't throw away experience in a place where one has grown comfortable. But when someone made an offer that gave her a raise that put her on a par with my salary, she'd have been a fool not to take the job.  (And she took it!)  Now, she sees how the old place took advantage of long time employees, seeing things in a light that  she had never seen before.

- - - - - -

Of course, I am very happy for Vicki.  She deserves only the best.  But I feel a little bit sorry for the people who will be taking over for her.  She was doing the work of 3 or 4 people without seeing it as such, and now she'll have an easier job with more pay, while her former coworkers will be forced to take up the "slack".  Sooner or later, things reach the breaking point, and I'm glad that Vicki got out while she can still feel good about her experience at the hospital....

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A commuter's exhaustion

As you can guess, the grind of getting up at 6:00 am, and not getting home until 7:30 pm takes its toll on me.  Marian Mode is a dream I save for Thursday nights and for an occasional weekend.  If the job weren't such a good experience for me, I wouldn't have taken it, and would have worked for half the pay to have a shorter commute.

For the past few commutes, I have fallen asleep on the way home while traveling along the Hudson River. And with 15-30 minutes of rest, I am totally refreshed.  But the commute is taking its toll on me, as I don't have the time or desire to cook good food.  Therefore, I'm not eating well.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow night, I'll see my niece for dinner - one last chance to see her before she flies off to London.  And if I feel the time is right, I'll tell her about being transgender.  Of course, it is the last thing anyone would expect from Mario. Then again, it makes perfect sense if one has known me long enough and have seen all the signs. 

But tonight was laundry night.  And when I got home, I put in a load of whites and a load of colors.  Once I had the chance to put the loads into the dryers, it was time for me to go out to eat.  Along the way, I took the time to talk to my brother about my dad - and it isn't good.  Later, I talked to Lili. And she is going to visit her sister in Florida.  But she wanted to tell me what to do to ease my dad's pain and make him want to live.  The way I see it, "you can lead a horse to water...."

- - - - - -

On other matters:

I'm hoping I can get the chance to see the gals from the Whine and Dine again. One problem - they keep having meetings too far away for me to get to on a work night.  Sooner or later, things will change.  But until then, they are a pleasant memory. The folks from the Hudson Valley Polyamory group have held several meetings this year, and I've not been able to attend.  This is another group of people I'd like to get back in touch with.  And then, the women's group in White Plains I like to hang out with is also hard to meet with.  So I think it'll be a while before I see any of these groups again.

Exhaustiing?  Of course.  But it's better to be putting money in the bank than to be draining it.  And once I'm retired, I'm sure that Marian will again become the dominant force in my life....


Monday, July 18, 2016

Home and Home. ...If only this were baseball.

Home and Home....  If only this were baseball, it would be a pleasant dream.  In real life, people did come from all around to see something that no longer exists in this country, but still exists in our dreams....

- - - - - -

Today, I went to Long Island to visit the family homestead, and clean out a lot of stuff inside the house.  I was surprised to find out how much my work my brother has already done in organizing stuff to be sorted through and to be tossed.  Even so, I still had to go through books looking for hidden money (long story about a step nephew who stole everything he could from ALL of his family and friends).  In fact, I decided to look inside my grandmother's spinet piano looking for valuables, as I once learned that valuable things can be hidden there - such as letters of transit.

Mind you, we were not looking for anything remotely resembling letters of transit.  Instead, we were looking for government issues pictures of dead presidents and other government officers.  As much as we try to collect them, we know we'll never collect the whole set....

We ended up bringing the equivalent of 6 large garbage pails of trash to the curb, plus some vacuum cleaners, cassettes, CDs, and other miscellaneous stuff.  Hopefully, the garbage men will pick everything up, and be ready for next week's even larger load.

- - - - - -

When we were done there, we went out for dinner, and then went to see dad.  Dad is now afraid of leaving the nursing home - as he feels safe, and knows that he will be taken care of.  Of course, this means that my brother and I will need to empty his safe deposit box via a power of attorney and the help of his bank. Our work is cut out for us. I'm figuring that we have to clean out the house and then refurbish it, so that it could be rented out.  And this means that my brother and I will put in a bit of sweat equity over the next few months.

While at the nursing home, I told my brother that I didn't want him going through my apartment if anything happened to me.  Instead, I want my niece (his daughter) or my friend Vicki to do a first pass on my place before he gets to it.  (This will change when I am "out" to family.)  But our conversation went a little awry when my brother mentioned my dad's DNR order if he is ill. My brother suggested that my dad will change this order when he is comfortable in the home.  But I mentioned that it is a more personal matter, and that GFJ's mother also has a DNR order for the same conditions.  I mentioned WDS and his wife, and realized that I was going along the wrong path - and shifted the topic.  I will respect my dad's wishes, but I will not try to sway him into changing his directives.

Eventually, it was time to leave.  And we made it back to my car - but not in time for me to do any laundry.  In order to insure that I had clean sheets for this week's visit from the cleaning lady, I went to Walmart to buy some inexpensive sheets.  (I can't count on being able to do laundry this week.)  But of course, any visit to Walmart will have me buying extra items - and that I did.  You know it's bad that I didn't look at the final total.  Yet, I'm not worried about that, as I didn't buy anything I wouldn't need in the near future.

- - - - - -

One of the problems we had today was sharing a recording of my dad made on my brother's phone.  Depending on each phone's vendor/carrier and manufacturer, a modern phone may or may not be able to exchange data wirelessly.  (I found this to be the case with sending pictures from my phone to my iPad, as Apple put some "Gotchas" in the way in the name of "security".  They want to make sure that only people fully in the Apple food chain have their products work seamlessly.) In this case, neither my brother's phone or my phone could see each other when attempting a Bluetooth connection.  Thank god for Dropbox.  I am now able to access a 20 minute "MP4" recording of my dad talking with my dad about his wishes.

I expect that we will be dealing with many a problem in the near future.  Hopefully, my dad will regain a will to live, and not wish to die quickly as to preserve money for his offspring.  The money is not important - my dad is....

Sunday, July 17, 2016

As soon as I saw this sight, I knew what would be in tonight's entry.

I had to get a picture of the bus before it went by.... Need I say much more...?

But let me start from the beginning....

Since GFJ was out of town, Marian had a chance to come out and play on a cool, but very humid Summer's day.. I made arrangements with YGWM to go into NYC for dinner and then see "Shear Madness". It took us a while to figure out where we would eat, as the Mexican joint we first wanted to go to was fully booked. So I hunted around and made reservations at Cielo at the Mayfair. Although I never heard of this place before, I figured that a decent rating on Yelp was enough to justify making reservations.

My original plans included doing two loads of laundry before going into NYC.  I had a case of the lazies, and decided to stay undressed as long as possible.  But 3:00 pm came up awful quickly, and I was freshly shaved (my legs were silky smooth with the help of Nair) and ready to attach the world as Marian.  But I still didn't have plans on how I'd go into NYC.  Would I drive in?  Would I take the commuter train in?  Or, would I drive to a subway station, and meet YGWM at the restaurant?  The combination of the weather and the subway maintenance schedule caused me to select a train ride in from Pelham.

Pelham is the train station I use when I don't want to pay for parking and when I don't want to pay a lot for the ride into NYC. But it is on the same route that YGWM uses to get into NYC.  So, when I got to NYC, she got in at the same time.  Unbeknownst to us, we were on the same train.  But, because I was in the lead car, I had the time to get a Metrocard with 3 fares (I didn't want to take my monthly pass that identified my gender as Male) and still meet her at the information kiosk.

Once we met, we walked towards Times Square, and saw two buses with painted people.  Although I missed being able to take pictures of the first bus, I did get the above pictures of the second bus before it passed me by. And then it was a short walk to the TKTS booth, where we got on the line for 1/2 price tickets.  We were lucky that someone was promoting "Shear Madness" and told us we could skip most of the line (filled with people looking to buy tickets for musicals).  By the time we picked up our tickets, we still had time enough to make it to the restaurant without being late for our reservation.

The reservation was made in Marian's name, not Mario's name - and I was glad that I made the reservation, as this place should be more fully packed than it was.  The restaurant is in the basement of the hotel (for lack of better terms) and is very small.  But it was very comfortable and the two of us could hear each other speak.  This is a blessing for a TG who can not speak loudly in a "sort of" feminine voice.  We had a very enjoyable dinner, and she surprised me by deciding to treat me to dinner for my birthday.  However, she started to have an allergic reaction to dessert, so I was very glad that she had allergy pills (and an arsenal of other medications) to stop things before they incapacitated her. If I were presenting as Mario, I'd be reading her as being very interested in me for more than friendship reasons.  But as Marian, I know to read a woman giving me the same facial  and body language as someone who feels relaxed enough around me to trust in our friendship.

Then it was off to the theater.  "Shear Madness" is leaving the New World Stages (where the theater is half filled) to a smaller venue, the Davenport.  I expect that they will do well here, and as ticket demand grows, that they will be able to find venues befitting the tickets they can sell.  But I should be focusing on the fun YGWM was having - she appeared to almost wet herself when she laughed at some of the jokes.  And I can't blame her - the gags were topical and localized, and most of all - FUNNY!

I highly recommend that people see this play - it is funny, lighthearted, and never performed the same way twice.  This was the second time I saw it, and I can see seeing it one more time with GFJ.

All too soon, it was time to go home.  YGWM and I ended up taking the subway back to Grand Central, and had just enough time to make our train home.  I left her in Pelham, but not without thanking her for a wonderful evening. Hopefully, we'll be able to do something like this again soon. But I fully intend to see that I return the favor of friendship on her birthday - in September.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dining at the Diner

Lower Manhattan is known for its skyscrapers.  But it also the home of an old diner (vintage 1966 or so) which is still going strong in the Financial District.  Strip away the facade, and you'll see the guts of a building which has seen its better days.  Yet, the building is clean and the food is good.  What more can one ask of a diner?

I feel that the days of this diner may be numbered.  It is a needed place, as many offices no longer have in-house cafeterias.  Yet, the value of this real estate alone may be more than the building that sits on the land.  When I used to work in this area almost 35 (or so) years ago, this part of town wasn't as built up as it is now.  But I could say this about many of the properties near Water Street and the South Street Seaport. Now, it's hard to find buildings less than 10 stories high.

Like many areas in NYC, it's a fine place for looking at the ladies in Summer, as more and more of them have shifted into their Summer wear of dresses and skirts.  (And as I've said before, I envy them!)  There is something about this area of the city that makes me feel comfortable here, and I think it is the fact that people have colonized buildings once occupied by businesses, and we're starting to see a neighborhood that again has character.

- - - - - -

Today was my boss's last day in the office before his trip to our firm's main office for a week long training session.  And I made sure to take care of things before he left.  I made a few mistakes when making a presentation, but nothing anything to worry about.  Most importantly, they are now trusting me to take a new client (albeit, a low value one) and bring it up on our system.  I hope I don't screw it up!

Normally, I might have tried to call Lili, but I didn't have much time.  GFJ is safely ensconced in upper New England for a short vacation (or a long, long weekend) with her sister.  She is in a dead zone for cell phones, so all we can do is email each other.  Sooner or later, I have to chat with Lili.  And I know that she will soon go to see her sister in Florida.  She will then be out of touch in more ways than one....

This may be my last weekend for a while where I will get to spend one day in Marian Mode. And, I'm glad that day is tomorrow - I need the break from it all.  Having a taste of what my brother is going through with my dad, dealing with the stresses of the office, and getting a little sick have all taken a toll on me.

Yes, I am a little repetitive as of late.  But that's because I don't have lots of new experiences to write about.  Work takes up 5 days of my week, GDJ and my family are taking up the remaining 2 days.  Even Lili is getting shut out.  This is what I signed on for when I accepted the job offer, and yet, it is not what I expected.

As John Lennon said: "Life is what happens while you are making other plans."

Friday, July 15, 2016


Between running out to Long Island to see my dad, to see an elder care lawyer (with my brother), being ill, and taking care of normal business, it's easy to understand why I was falling asleep on the train two nights in a row.

I haven't felt this exhausted in a while, and I know that my brother has it worse than I do, as he has both my dad's house to take care of and his mother in law's house to take care of. This weekend, I plan to spend Saturday with one of my friends, and then spend Sunday working at the family homestead. Hopefully, my friend will have free time.  I need a break, and I need some quality time as Marian.  For all I care, we could go into NYC and see a discounted play.  But I need to get away from it all.

- - - - - - 

Tonight, I had to monitor a client deployment.  This was my first, and I had made the mistake of not arranging support procedures beforehand.  I'm sure that my boss will have a whole litany of things to criticize about my performance tomorrow.  But I'm doing my best, and it's taking time to get back to 100% - in spite of the chaos all around me.  Thankfully, everything went OK, but I'm making more than my share of mistakes - and trying to learn as much as possible from them.

Tomorrow, I'm supposed to see my niece and visit a museum again.  I may have to tell her that I'm not up to it, and see her for a going away dinner next week.  I'm hoping that she has a great visit with her beau in London, even though I don't want her to pull the rip cord and decide to live there. (This is especially true now, given the anti-immigrant feelings in the UK, and the need of myself and her father to have a tenant in the family homestead paying us a minimal rent to keep the house from being a financial drain.)

When I do see my niece, I think I will tell her about being TG. I'll make that decision carefully, as right now, I am not in a condition to make the best of decisions.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Trains, Trains, and Automobiles

The Long Island Railroad.  If I never have to ride it again, it'll be too soon.  

No, I am not complaining about the railroad.  Instead, I'm complaining about the headache of getting to Mineola in a reasonable amount of time from New York City, knowing there is nothing that can be done about it.

- - - - - -

Now that we're seeing 90+ degree days in NYC, there is no way that I'll travel underground in Marian mode. Even in Boy Mode, I am dripping sweat like Niagara Falls, and I need a shower as soon as I get home.  This is not the way for anyone to live - and I have no intentions of spending my "golden years" in this region if I can afford to spend them elsewhere.

When I went to work this morning, my boss knew that I'd be leaving a bit early today.  So when 3:30 pm came, it was out the door I rushed, and out to the Brooklyn LIRR terminal.  By the time I reached Mineola, it was 5:00 pm - a long time to be in transit for a stop so close to NYC.  (At least I was able to get a reasonably priced cold brew before getting on the train.  Too bad that I didn't enjoy the taste anymore.)

My brother met me at the station, and we went to the elder care attorney.  He told us a lot of things that would trip us up when filing financial paperwork for my dad, and his fee  (OUCH!) will be well worth it for the savings we get from his services.  (Savings in time, effort, and grief - as there isn't much money left to protect.)  As we got there, my brother's car wouldn't start back up - and his car was far enough away from the curb to have gotten a hefty ticket.  We were lucky - the cops were elsewhere, and when we came back, the car started with no trouble.

After a few minutes to refresh ourselves, it was off to the Garden City Hotel to meet my uncle.  He flew in from the coast for an overnight just to see my dad - and he invited us to have dinner with him after we were done with the lawyer.  Usually, my uncle is a showman.  Given his line of work, one can understand that, as being in the entertainment industry, he had to pitch ideas that would turn themselves into successful TV work.  But this time, his guard was down, and we got to share things with each other that we never had the chance to do so before. 

I never knew it, but when he received his first major industry award, my grandmother didn't think much of the award, but only wanted money to take care of the household. (I'll let you figure out which industry he was in....)    One could write some interesting stories based on the information my uncle shared with us tonight.   

Sadly, I had to get moving back home, and I started the two hour trek from Long Island back to Northern Westchester.  Everything conspired to give me barely enough time to make my connections, and not a second more.  When I reached Grand Central, I'd never have made my train had I been 15 seconds later, as I got to the car door just as it was closing.

- - - - - -

You'll note that I haven't said anything about GFJ?  She had a lot of things on her plate today, and I didn't have the chance to speak with her.  She's supposed to go up to spend some vacation time with her sister.  But she didn't respond to me when I tried to reach her on my train ride home.  (She should be packing for her long weekend trip. But if something else is going on, there is no way I can stop her, and no way I'd want to at this point.  I'm not upset, as much as I don't have any energy for much anymore - and that can, at times, include a relationship.)  Hopefully, she'll call before she's on her way to Vermont.  

One good thing - this frees up my weekend to have a replacement day in Marian Mode....



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The ride on the train is often the best part of my day

Although I rarely ride the train en-femme, I always find it a pleasant ride.  Who can argue with sunset scenes like this?  And I needed the relaxation that only the Hudson Line can offer, given the week I've already had.

- - - - - -

When I got to work this morning, I knew I had a lot of things in front of me. And I was lucky to get some of them done. I was interrupted by 2 junk calls to my cell phone while I was in the middle of a meeting, and then ended up being called by my brother while still in a meeting with my boss after hours.  So, when I got to Grand Central this evening, I was lucky to barely make the last daylight train home, and to get photos like the one above. 

While on the train, I read some of the emails that came in to me during the day.  One was about a resident of my co-op, and I had to stay aware of any developments on this topic.  Next was a series of emails from the "Cat Lady", where I've been chatting about getting sick, and chatting about family problems.  And then there was my ex-girlfriend from almost 20 years ago.  No, she didn't come out of the blue. We are Facebook friends, and I made a pleasant comment about a concert she went to upstate.  It was nice to open up a conversation and bring each other up to date with things.  

Getting home, I took care of dinner before calling my brother.  He realized how frustrated I had to be, given that I was still at the office at 7:00 pm when he called.  (I think his wife calmed him down, and told him that I'm doing a lot of things on my own that he has help in doing.)  So I'll see him tomorrow, and try to get things done that need doing....

- - - - - -
The train ride home was the best part of my day.  And you can easily understand why.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Quickie: Independence Day

July 4th, and it was the 3rd weekend in a row without GFJ.  If it weren't for me being a little under the weather this weekend, she'd have been here.  But I'm a little frustrated to learn that she's going to spend some time with her sister, and I'll have another free weekend next week.  That will make it 4 weeks in a row that we haven't been together.

I'm not that worried.  If GFJ were to leave me, it will have been a nice ride while it lasted.  But I'd be very upset if she were to get back with her husband, as he doesn't have much to offer her but memories of betrayal.  As for me, I'd get that Marian Time that I've been lacking and need so much.

- - - - - -

By the time I finally got moving, it was late in the afternoon.  So I decided to make a stop at ULTA Cosmetics to pick up a container of Dermablend creme.  I'm not thrilled by the shade I'm using, and feel like I need to use a warmer shade to look my best. So it was off to the Woodbury Commons area to go makeup shopping, and I saw long lines of people trying to make their way home to NYC and the nearby suburbs.

Next, it was up to Newburgh - but the mall closed earlier than usual.  Only Sears and The Bon Ton was open. I didn't even bother to try going in.  Instead, I headed back across the river rather than participate in miles long traffic jams on the Thruway and on the approaches to the Bear Mountain Bridge.

Driving home, I noticed that Peekskill had closed off an exit from Route 9.  From what I can tell, they were having a Fireworks celebration. As for me, it was time to get home and have something passing for dinner. 

- - - - - -

One nice thing about the day - it was nice to have another unexpected day out in Marian Mode again.  I don't get them enough, and I need them more than ever to preserve my sanity.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Finally getting out and about.

Summer is like Winter in many ways - the weather affects how you dress, and can keep you cooped inside for reasons of comfort.  In my case, the heat and humidity of a Summer in the Northeastern USA makes me want to stay indoors as much as possible because of the discomfort caused by having to wear a wig in Marian Mode.

Today is one of the rare days in July where I can get outside for short periods of time and actually enjoy the sun while in Marian Mode.  And, with GFJ doing other things due to my Summer bug, I had the rare weekend opportunity to get out en-femme.

- - - - - -

I ended up taking a drive to Catherine's in Poughkeepsie and tried on several dresses.  As much as I liked the dresses, there was just enough bling around the neck on one style (one in Blue and the other in Red) that I would not have been able to wear them in a casual, weekend setting.

The third dress was a very comfortable outfit, but would feel a little too dressy for casual wear.

In the end, I passed on these dresses, and drove back home with a stop at Curvy Consignment Plus on Route 9.  And this was where I broke down and had some fun.  Once I mentioned that I was looking for a dress, the salesladies there were showing me everything they had in the store.  They were out to make a sale, and I was having fun trying on things.  Although I could have bought more, I ended up buying two items - one was a black skirt with a kick back pleat, and the other was a dress I've been interested in from Woman Within. (Sadly, the picture is no longer available on their site.)    I figure that if I only spent $30, it's much less than I would have spent if I had opened up my wallet at Catherine's.

- - - - - -

On my way home, I picked up a couple of lobsters at Shoprite.  I haven't had a decent Lobster Roll or Lobster Salad in a couple of years (the fates were against me, not the money aspect of things), so I decided to take advantage of a July 4th sale that was going on.  Once I cooked these lobsters, I decided to go out again and see if I could find any fireworks displays.  Sadly, I missed them, and ended up going to the diner for a chef salad.  There were things I needed to pick up at Walmart, so I drove to White Plains for a small scale shopping run.

Arriving home, I might have been worried if I had been born a cisgender female. There was a fellow in a BMW (with one headlight out) who was making a U-Turn next to my parking spot as I was getting ready to unload my car.  He left quickly, and I proceeded to walk to my doorway, packages in hand.  And guess who was looking out their window?  It was my nosy neighbor and her mother!  I waved at them, and walked up the stairs to my apartment for the night.  (I guess they have their topic of conversation for the evening - the crossdresser upstairs who is more comfortable in a dress than a pair of trousers and a shirt.) 

Do I care what this neighbor (and mother) think?  Not really.  If I cared, they'd have power over me.  I am "Out" and I'm proud of myself.  It is rare that anyone uses the dreaded "S" word when I present as female.  And I am very comfortable now exploring the world as a female.  If only I had been born with XX chromosomes.....

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Feeling Ill

Yesterday, I used one of my pre-written entries because I was under the weather.  But when I woke up, I started to write a replacement entry, as well as start this one for today.  Although I didn't complete either entry, I figure that I need to keep writing something to be published on a daily basis.

- - - - - -

When I got up yesterday, I didn't feel too bad.  I could function, and get what little work I had assigned to me done.  But I was very glad to be working from home and to be told that we could bug out after lunch, because I could feel that this bug was going to get worse very quickly.  This allowed me to make a trip to the bank - to get an ATM card replaced, as well as get money out of another bank's ATM for my weekly cash expenditures. And then, it was off to Staples, so that I could pick up a chair to replace the one I had been using for several years by my desk. By the time I made it home, all I wanted to do was get into bed, pull the covers over me, and sleep this bug out.

Sleep?  Yeah, right.  Each time I started to get comfortable in my bed, someone rang my phone - and I went up to see who it was. Lili called with an update on her sister - they are deliberately keeping her in a coma, so that however they are treating the aneurysm could have the greatest chance of success. There was a call from the Police Benevolent Association which I hung up on. And then there was my brother.  Even he was part of the problem - there was no way I could have an intelligent discussion about what we have to do with dad's house the way I was feeling.  And he didn't pick up on it until he realized that I didn't have any energy to speak, much less think. So he will be a person I must speak with when I have the energy to do so.

I can see what's coming, and my brother will have every right to ask me to come down on weekends to purge the mess from the house. He once thought that it might be easier for me to commute from Long Island for one day, so that we'd have time to talk.  Given the state of repair in that place, there was no way I was going to do so.  Even more important - I'd have to take a cab from my dad's place, and this would screw up my commute even more the next morning.  So you can see that going to Long Island will be an unpleasant experience this summer.

- - - - - -

Back to the communications of the sick.... The cat lady I once dated has been chatting with me via email.  She told me that her son, daughter in law, and grandkids came over for a short vacation. They drove to New Jersey from 1500 miles away, only to be felled by a summer bug far away from home. Shortly after everyone left, the cat lady got violently ill - and we've chatted on an "as energy is available" basis.  Not much to say there, other than two friends keeping in touch.

You might be asking - What about GFJ?  She has had her own issues regarding her divorce. The "Wasband" is trying to get her back (apparently, the mistress can't/won't leave her husband) to be a caregiver. GFJ wants out, and is asking: "What's in it for me?"  And the answer always is - not much at all. So she shows only a poker face when he tries to set the hook, and says to herself that she'll give him half of a point for thinking he could convince her to come back by selling everything and retiring early. But her heart is already out the door.  And if she doesn't want to be with me for the long term, I feel she'll be more than OK. Before you say that the "Wasband" has that great a chance, I'll close out my mention of GFJ with one note - she mentioned Love for the first time in one of her emails today....

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New York Underground - The performing arts.

Over the years, I've seen many a strange person in the NYC Subway.  And I expect to continue seeing these strange people while I commute to my job in Lower Manhattan on a regular basis. 

I spotter the lady above singing opera on one of my first commutes to the new job. It felt like I never left the city - the people performing for money have taken over every nook and cranny of the subway system.  (Or, at least, those routes and stations I see on a regular basis.)  But she's an exception.  Many of the people performing in the subway have no talent, nor have they been vetted by NYC Subway's "Music Underground" judges.

Many of these people play until they can get better paying gigs elsewhere.  I'm not sure if the above gentleman has a better playing gig, but he did enjoy playing his instrument.

Not all things that go on underground are unscripted.  The above photo was taken at Grand Central Station, where a film crew made a shuttle train look like it was stopping at Union Square.  I have not seen this photo shoot in any show or movie made with NYC as its locale.  So, it is likely that the shoot was done for a commercial which never made it any of the stations I watch on a regular basis.

Every so often, I see this lady in Times Square.  She's a joy to listen to, but I never have time enough to stay and linger for a while.  Yet, I wouldn't bother buying any of her records, as she's good - but not that good.....

Now, here's a person I used to see on the subway a few years ago.  He must have gotten a more reliable gig, as I haven't seen him in years.  Who is he, and what did he do?  I have no answers, and will never have them.

Not all performers are musicians.  The troupe in the above photo were often dancing - and were quite entertaining.  But they also are likely to have found better gigs.

Last, but not least, are the Xylopholks.  This was the one group of subway performers who actually got me to buy one of their records.  From what I understand, this was a gig they did while not teaching music at a local university.  I haven't seen them in a couple of years, so I hope that getting tenure was the reason they no longer perform underground.

As you can see, New York is a very interesting place - whether you are above or under ground. No other city I've visited has the same quality of buskers as we have here. And for that, I'm grateful....