Saturday, December 31, 2016

The week before New Year - the last gasp of 2016.

This is another multiple day posting.  But it'll be the last one of the year.  My next post will be a New Year's post, and I'll be glad that 2016 is finally over!

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Monday was my last day en-femme for a week.  GFJ said she'd be coming over on Tuesday, so I knew I was going out en-femme for one last time in 2016.

Lili was occupied by her new boyfriend.  It's a good thing, as I don't think she believed that she'd find anyone she could tolerate for more than a date or two.  But this got in the way of dropping over. And I wonder if it will get in the way in the future.  Only time will tell.

While driving around, I figured that I'd call BXM to see if she was available.  She said she'd be available after her karate lesson, so we arranged to have a late dinner at a local diner. So I killed a little time at home watching "The Green Mile" until it was time to go.  (This is a film I never grow tired of watching.  The pace is slow, and there are little subtle things that one sees anew each time the film is viewed.)  And then, it was off to see BXM....

BXM is rarely on time for any of our dinners.  So I prepared myself for her being 15-20 minutes late.  Amazingly, she was roughly on time, and we headed off to our usual diner.  The food leaves a bit to be desired, and I hope we find a new place to eat - with adequate parking.  But we are never rushed at this place, and it is 5 minutes from BXM's apartment, making it a go-to place by default.  Although we enjoy our chats, there isn't always a lot to talk about.  This was one of those nights.

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Tuesday came, and I stayed asleep long after the rooster crowed.  No, there are no farms near here. But, I did sleep until 10:00 am, when several alarms rousted me out of bed and got me up and moving. 

Although I don't bother to hide Marian's presence when GFJ comes here, I do try to straighten out the place a little. And since I wasn't going to be in Marian Mode for about a week, it only made sense for me to put everything away for a few days. (There will also be a part of me that will wish she'd leave, so that I can get back into a frock, but I'll suppress that desire for a few days....)

GFJ didn't get here until 5:00 pm, and we decided to take a walk at the track at the local school.  Neither of us wanted to walk a lot, just enough to get our blood moving before going out to dinner at the local diner.  Once done at the diner, it was off to Lili's.

I haven't seen Lili in a while, and her weight loss is obvious.  I'm not talking about the weight she lost since her surgery was performed.  Instead, I am talking about the weight she lost up to the surgery.  She's hoping to lose a lot of weight in a short number of months. But even if she does, she will have a lot of saggy skin and a body that she will not like looking at.  Right now, her breasts (as she puts it) are sagging past her waist.  I can only imagine how she'll feel when they are sacs no longer filled with fatty tissue.  Hopefully, she'll get skin reduction surgery before she gets upset at the results of her dieting and of her surgery.

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On Wednesday, both of us desired to sleep late - and we did.  For some reason, both of us wanted to stay in bed to sleep, both of us with our CPAP masks on trying to get a few extra winks in.  Of course, by the time we got up, this made today's plan to see the trains at the Bronx Botanical Garden unworkable. So, we ended up driving down to lower county to go food shopping, and returned home for a quiet evening.  (It's nice to be able to relax - especially when the two of us didn't have much energy to do much of anything.)

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This week, I decided to skip Thursday night gaming instead of leaving GFJ all by her lonesome. Of course, I could have had different priorities. But I want to make sure that she sees that I'll put her first.  If we were living together, things would likely be different. We'd both need our space as individuals, and this would be one of the places I'd go to recharge my batteries.

Our plans for the day were to get out of the house early, leaving the apartment vacant for the cleaning lady to do her job.  If one of us were here, things might be different.  But I have a picture of myself in Marian Mode sitting on top of the entertainment center in the living room, and I don't want my cleaning lady to get any questions in her head about whose clothes are in my closets.

Both of us got up early (compared to what we normally do) and got ready to go out.  We figured that we'd have a leisurely breakfast, and then see a movie (or do some other indoor activity). However, GI Tract issues ended up forcing me to go home before started on our way to White Plains to see a movie. (This also made it easier for the cleaning lady to do her work....)

On the way to the movies, both of us got very tired for some unknown reason, and took a short nap on the side of the road. At this point, we missed the 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm movies, and decided to have lunch before a 4:15 pm showing of "Fences".  (I highly recommend this movie. Everyone gives solid performances and it is one of the better renditions of a Broadway play on film.)  After a quick stop at a store on the way home, we decided to call it a night.

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Friday was a day where both of us tried to stay in bed all day. What I really mean by this is that I had the window ajar and it was cool in the room - and we wanted to stay in each others' arms, comfortably warm under the blanket.  This was a day that both of us had to make sure that we had everything needed to go to tomorrow's New Year's Eve party - and that we did.

The most important thing about the day was that we both needed sleep.  And even though I clocked 7 hours on my CPAP machine, I was still tired enough during the day to need a nap - and took it.  Could I be fighting off a cold or some other kind of infection?  I don't know.  But GFJ was feeling the same way, and also needed a nap.  I'm glad that neither of us had any place important to go today.

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One thing I've learned about trying to make my posts in "almost real time" for  Christmas and New Year's Day is that it is a pain to write things when GFJ is around and stay current. Another thing I've learned is that entries become unwieldy, and lose a certain rhythm - as each day has its unique pace that has to be followed.  It is hard to keep things interesting when there is a lot to say without a single focus.  So I doubt that I'll be using this style of blog entry too often....

Friday, December 30, 2016

And what did Santa Bring?

Twas the day after Christmas, and....

Being that I was at my brother's place for Christmas, I should mention Christmas gifts.  Normally, I don't have the foggiest clue about what gift to buy for anyone.  But this year, I was given a clue by my sister in law - COFFEE!  So I made sure to provide an adequate supply of caffeine to replenish their caffeine streams when there is too much blood in them.

On my end, I received a couple of books.  One book was on project management, and the other was on managing rental properties.  Both books will be useful in the near future. And I can see myself finding the time to read them within the next month or so.

- - - - - -

Since GFJ wasn't scheduled to come here until the end of the week, I have no ideas of what she's giving me.  But I bought her a sweater, a necklace, and a pair of gloves.  Hopefully, she'll find all of these items useful.  Mind you, it was easier for me to shop for these gifts than it would have been a few years ago - I went to buy these gifts while in Marian mode, and didn't look or feel out of place while doing so.

Many men feel very uncomfortable shopping for women.  I think it has to do with the way many of us are brought up. Many boys act as if all girls "have cooties" and never get comfortable handling things feminine.  About the only time men are comfortable touching women's clothes is when they are holding a woman in their arms, or when they are trying to take the clothes off that woman.  And it is not surprising that most men have no clue about what would look good on their wives/girlfriends, no clue about what size(s) she wears, and no clue about what she could use most.  So I'll bet that women are disappointed more often than not, except when they buy the women in their lives some fancy jewelry.

Late Christmas night, GFJ sent me a message to tell me that her son was leaving on Monday, and that I should expect her to come down on Tuesday.  This means that I will not get in as much Marian time during the week as expected.  As much as I'm glad about this, it does get in my way.  For example, I'd have liked to see the Cat Lady for dinner. But this won't happen for at least a week. And then, I'd have liked to figure out a way to connect with RO. This will not happen either.  At least, I will get my Christmas gift earlier than expected. But I'm not yet sure about what it will do to my scheduled Thursday night game night.

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I could use that bottle of Jack Daniel's that Santa is drinking in the above picture.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas - A post a little ahead of my usual schedule.

Christmas. A great holiday for many of us.  And I'm posting this entry about Christmas a little ahead of time, so that my New Year's post can come out on New Year's.  Don't worry, I'll play catch up on the days between Christmas and New Years Day, as well as cover some events in posts published in the new year.

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My plans for the day were simple - get down to Long Island, have dinner with my brother (and family), then take food over to my Dad in the Nursing Home, so that he could celebrate the holiday with us.  GFJ would be celebrating the holiday with her family, so I wasn't concerned about her schedule until her son returned home later in the week.

It's hard to believe that the first email I received today was from the Cat Lady.  Wouldn't you say that this note said nothing:

Survived present unwrapping with a two year old 😁

But it said a lot in its own way, given that it was sent on Christmas day

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As usual, I didn't get moving when I planned to.  Instead of getting out of the house by noon, I didn't leave the house until 1:45 PM.  At least, I was on the road when my brother called to figure out where I was. And I was glad to tell him that I was at the Throggs Neck Bridge - even though I hadn't yet reached the toll plaza.

I got to my brother's place a little before 3:00 pm, and we went to see my dad a little before 4:30 pm.  It's strange seeing a nursing home at Christmas.  Everyone was there to see their family members on the holiday, and the place was crowded enough to have all available seats occupied. Of course, I could have used one of these seats when I got there, as my dad needed to be helped to the bathroom as soon as we arrived and it took about a half hour before he was ready to be seen in public.  We talked longer than planned, and I couldn't wait to get out of the nursing home and get back to my brother's place to relax before going home.

Eventually, we got back to my brother's place and watched some TV before I left for home.  Since RO said to call her on my way home, I tried doing so - but she wasn't home.  I guess her plans kept her away from home longer than she had expected.  Just as well - I'd rather see her in Marian mode than in Mario mode.

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One thing of note: This was the first year that my father didn't have a gift to give us - and I didn't miss it.  He lived on a fixed income, and I know it was hard for him to save the money he gave to both me and my brother. Now that he has no income of his own, I am actually more comfortable with things (in this one way), as I know that I can give him things he really needs instead of things I only think he may want (and would eventually end up in my home).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Twas the week before Christmas

The last few days before Christmas.  They are always a pain in the ass for most of us.  One can't get any normal shopping done, as the stores are filled with people trying to buy their last minute gifts.  At least the tree in the above photo arrived on time, and was perfectly set up for the holiday.

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This entry will be a long one, as my plans call for getting everything up to date for a New Year's Day posting. Afterwards, I will go back to my usual one week lag time between when I write an entry and the time it is published.
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On Monday, I received an email from a headhunter to discuss a potential assignment as a project manager.  Although the job was within my commuting range, I'm not really sure that I can do the job anymore.  And part of me also wants to get the PMP certification before really trying hard to find work with my project management skills, as I don't want to fail like I did on the last job.  So I made sure to schedule the phone call for Wednesday at 11, in order to both be awake, and in gear to be able to do my weekly shift at the GLBT Center.  (The rest of the day is covered in another post.)

- - - - - -

Tuesday was my dad's birthday.  Because I had to be en-homme all day, it made sense for me to schedule my regular visit to the doctor for today. Since Lili is in the hospital recovering from her Bariatric surgery (I forgot which procedure she had), I told her that I'd be visiting her in the hospital en-homme.  (I usually see her en-femme.) Afterwards, my plans were to drive to Long Island, and kill some time before getting to my brother's place at 5:30 pm. In a way, this would be a busy day.  And yet, I'd be doing everything at a leisurely pace.  So as long as I kept up the pace I planned to set by the time I left the doctor's office, all would go according to schedule.  

In order to make sure I get upon time, I've found it useful to set alarms on several devices in my bedroom.  Not all of the sounds are pleasant to hear.  So if I get up a little early, I will usually turn off most of the alarms once I know I am fully conscious.  This was the case today.

Going to the Doctor's for my periodic blood pressure monitoring is routine for me.  But I made it a point to tell him about my GI Tract issue, and he noted that I should be getting much more fiber in my diet.  (What's a green, leafy vegetable supposed to do on MY plate? 😏)  That's another change that I'll add to my 2017 resolution list.  Both of us were concerned about Trump, but for very different reasons.  At least, I know I'm not the only one who will be concerned for the next 4 years about Trump's childish way of thinking.

Next, it was off to see Lili after a stop back at the apartment.  On my way down, I made a couple of attempts to reach her, to make sure that she was awake enough to see me.  She didn't answer her cell phone, so I figured that I'd try to reach her via the hospital's phone. Well, it took about 10 minutes to go through the hospital's IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system to get to a human being who could connect me to her room.  (I'd love to strangle the asshole who designed the menu system for their site.)  It took about a minute to tell me that the hospital and grounds is a "No Smoking" zone, when one sentence could do the job: "Smoking is prohibited in the hospital and its grounds."  And there were other time wasters that annoyed me just as much, as I didn't need to hear all the informational announcements that they made me endure. By the time I reached Lili's phone, it rang for a minute, then hung up without being passed back to an operator.  So I decided to skip visiting Lili and go straight to Long Island and see my Dad.  (Later, Lili called me back and told me the story of not being able to recharge her phone, and her son having to bring a charger to her that afternoon.)

When I got to Long Island, I ended up killing time near my brother's house - at a local Taqueria.  This place does not serve large hard tacos.  It serves, small, fresh, soft tacos which are very flavorful.  But I won't wax poetic on a taco - I save that effort for authentic Chinese food, and a Maine Lobster or two.  I got a call from my brother that he was on his way home, I then moseyed over to his house.  Once my brother got home, we visited my dad - and then returned to my brother's place before going home.  

It was a long day, and I was glad to get home when I did.  Yet, I was surprised that my phone's answering machine was beeping - I got another nibble from this week's batch of resumes.  This meant that I'd be busy in the morning returning phone calls.

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Wednesday started off with two phone calls I had to be on - both of them with headhunters who wanted to place me in one of their open spots.  And afterwards, my plans called for me to go to the GLBT Center and get this week's volunteering out of the way.

The first headhunter was supposed to call me around 11:00 am.  After giving her 15 minuter to reach me, I figured that she either was busy, or no longer had any interest in me.  So I wrote her off, knowing that if she still wanted to speak with me, she could easily do so with a phone call.  (Later, I exchanged an email with her, and we agreed to chat on Thursday.)  However, I never got around to calling the second headhunter, and would do so on Thursday.

It took me forever to get moving. But I was on the road in time to get to the GLBT Center at 3:00 pm, and do a couple of hours there. And I was kept busy doing little things.  Nothing was taxing, but I didn't need anything to tax my mind.  Afterwards, I killed a little time doing some shopping before going to another FFGoW meetup in White Plains.

The FFGoW meetup had a lot of cancellations, and there were only 3 of us there.  Before the 3rd person came, WPB and I chatted about where things stand with me, talking a little about GFJ, and a desire to go to work as my authentic self, instead of as Mario. 

One of the things we did discuss is whether I prefer being in a female role or in a male role.  I said: "Definitely the female role - there is something about how females communicate that feels right for me." And she noted that it is the collaborative nature of women's social interactions, in contrast with the male competitive nature that doesn't fit me (Marian) well.  Once our 3rd person came, the topic changed quickly - WPB has no incentive to out me to people who haven't picked up that I am transgender.  

When the noise in the restaurant got too loud, it was time to leave.  And I proceeded on the slow road to the local Walmart in my area.  On the way there, I chatted with GFJ, and we both discussed our days. Then I reached Walmart.  Inside the store, I met one of the regulars with whom I've chatted before and had a short, but pleasant chat. (I found out that this Walmart was going to be open 24x7.)  But the most notable thing was a woman I met in the electronics department, with whom I stuck up a conversation.  Along the way, we talked about Jazz Jennings (I was still looking for the magazine with "AJ" on the cover), and she asked me if I was trans.  Of course, I said yes.  And she said that she couldn't tell - my voice was good, and I was dressed well.  (I was wearing the same dress that I was wearing in this picture.) She wants to meet again, and I think I'll do so.  The more friendships I can build in Marian mode means the more quickly that I can leave Mario mode behind.

- - - - - - 

Thursday came, and I had to present myself as Mario, because I wanted to meet my cleaning lady and give her a Christmas Gift to recognize another year of good service. To make sure that nothing was amiss when she got here, I removed most of the traces of Marian from "public" view, and cleaned up the place a little, so that she could work her magic.

Once I was (mostly) done with the cleanup, I made a phone call to the headhunter I missed on Wednesday.  We had a nice chat, and would be reaching out to her boss, so that we could arrange an in-person interview in the near future.  Given that I haven't used my project management skills in almost 3 years, I am more than a little nervous about getting back in the game again.

Since the cleaning lady said that she was coming this week, I took the time out to call and confirm this.  Well, she told me that she was coming next week, and this meant I needn't have bothered straightening out the mess.  But I'm glad I did, as I can make a little bit more of a dent in the mess before she comes next.

This ended up being a day fully spent en-homme, as I needed to deposit some checks with a bad MICR line into my bank account, and I had to use a teller to make this deposit.  At this time, I knew that I wouldn't be going to game night, as the whole family was sick, save the host - and he'd be bushed when he got home.  So, I figured that I'd take some time to relax, and get back to going out en-femme on Friday.

- - - - - -  

Friday started with a checklist of things to do.  One of these things was taking care of a bill that resulted from my doctor's office sending out a lab test, without coding the correct insurance company for bill payment.  As a result, the bill was sent to my former insurance company, which rightfully refused to pay the bill. So guess who has to get things corrected? And, guess who was not in his office today, the last business day before the holiday?  Either this will get corrected next week, or I will pay the bill and tell the doctor's office about it when I see them next.

One of the things I wanted to do today was to see Lili and give her a Christmas gift.  She told me not to come over, as she was still feeling very sick as a result from her operation.  When we talked a little later, I found out that she had been dealing with both vomiting and diarrhea at the same time.  She was worried enough to call her surgeon's office, and they told her that this is a known problem and not to worry (for now).  But this killed the idea of dropping over for a quick visit.  So the gift still sits in the back of my car.

Since I was already out, I decided to take a drive.  Traffic along the Route 6 corridor was terrible - especially in the areas near the malls.  I'm glad that I didn't have anything I needed to buy, as I'd have hated to fight the foot traffic in the malls.  Yet, it could have been so easy for me to stop and do some people watching.

As I've mentioned before, I've had regular email contact with the Cat Lady.  Right now, she's visiting one of her offspring down in Virginia, and she's going to be dealing with a 2 year old grandson.  For her, I think this is an improvement, as she has to deal with a handful of special needs (behavior and learning issues) children every day at work. It's much easier to say that "the child is only 2, and this is what's expected from him" instead of "the child is 13, and he has serious problems that will never go away."  You may ask, why do I bring her up today?  Well, I think she's trying to get me to go away with her for a weekend, based on this section of chat:

Any place you'd like to go for a weekend?

Not sure. I've done DC several times, and would love to go back. And also to Boston - if only to become familiar with the city. Now, if I had a few bucks and the time, it's Chicago for a LONG weekend.

Lived in Boston two years. Last time I visited my son must have been over five years ago as he tends to come here. I'd go to Boston for a 3-4 day weekend. Or DC although I go there every few years to see my pal whose dad has condo there (she and sisters will sell it at some point and we won't have free room)

Nothing is really explicit here, but I think she's looking to set a hook.  What do you think?

Before we leave Friday, I will mention that I went to see "Passengers".  It's a good movie, but not a great one.  It's a science fiction romance set on a spacecraft whose malfunctions are about to destroy the ship and its hibernating inhabitants.  Although one can predict the ending, it is a pleasant way to kill an hour or two.

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Saturday was my last day en-femme before the holiday. And I woke up later than usual. I guess I must have been very tired, as my body made sure it got the rest it needed before I got moving.  But I made sure I got out the door to get to New Jersey before the malls closed for Christmas Eve.

When I got to Paramus, I headed over to Catherine's and browsed.  They had one of the closeout bras I wanted, but it was not in my size in the store.

However, I may still buy this one online and have it shipped to me. It looked beautiful in the store, and I would like to have it for my own.  A few minutes later, I did find a bra that I liked.  Sadly, I could not find a good image of it on Catherine's web site.  Next, I figured that I'd see if there was anything interesting at The Avenue, so I drove to the local mall to make one last minute browsing mission before Christmas. Unfortunately (or, fortunately for my wallet), I didn't find anything I wanted. So I started for home.

On the way back, the traffic jam at the Tappan Zee bridge had not eased off.  Instead, it was even worse than when I crossed the river into Rockland county. So I went home via the Bear Mountain Bridge, and probably got back at the same time I would have if I took the Tappan Zee Bridge.

After about an hour and a half, I decided to go to Christmas Eve Mass at the local church I have occasionally visited in the past.  (Too bad I didn't take a picture of this church decked out in Christmas trappings - it was beautiful.)  It's amazing how those familiar rituals and sounds strike a chord in someone who was made to go to church every Sunday.  And for the first time, I saw this church almost packed - even though it took a while for everyone to come to the service.  There was one item of note.  In the pew ahead of me was a 2 year old child, and he was making noises during the service.  His parents were a little embarrassed about his behavior.  But I viewed his noise making as new life entering the church.  Hopefully, his parents will bring him back soon.

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It's rare that I compress almost a full week's worth of writing into a single post.  But I hope you've gotten to this point and have enjoyed your read.

Merry Christmas!!!  (Albeit, belated by a few days....)