Thursday, March 31, 2016

Whining and Dining ....again


Although this picture doesn't have all of the Whine and Dine regulars, it's representative of the camaraderie that the ladies of the Whine and Dine group have.  I was able to tell the ladies that I found a job, and guess what question came to mind....

Before you answer the question, remember that they know that I'm transgender and live my life on both sides of the gender aisle.....

"In what gender did you accept the job?"

When women are comfortable enough to accept me as a peer, and are comfortable enough with my "transness" to ask that question, I know one thing - I am an accepted and welcome part of the group.

Although I mentioned that I'd like to transition while on the job, I suspect that I'll delay any transition until I lose about 100 lbs., and work in a place with a better commute (or have retired from the place I work now).  This will give me the time to get all my ducks in a row, and fully prepare for a life lived as Marian instead of as Mario.

- - - - - -

Vicki feels that Marian is accepted much more than Mario as my female persona has not been crippled by events in my past.  This may be true.  But I feel that it is much more than that.  Yet, I can't be certain of anything until I've gone through therapy with a therapist specially qualified in gender related issues.

Once I go on hormones, there is no turning back.  I have to be ready for a second puberty, including the headaches of a rewiring of my brain, as well as the redistribution of fat cells, and the development of breasts.  Once I do that, I'll always need to wear a bra - and "suffer" like any other female.  I intend to get facial feminization surgery when the time is right, as I don't want a masculine looking face once I start on the final path to transition.

- - - - - -

One of these days, I'll have to check in on Fran to see how she's doing.  I'll want to see how hormones have affected her, as well as how she feels she has changed while under the influence of "E".  Unlike Fran, I have no intention of dressing to stand out.  Instead, I plan to continue dressing to blend in.  This, I feel, will be the key to my social transition to a female life.

There is so much to learn, and many things will get in the way - romance being one of them. But if all goes "sort of" right, I should be able to do a social transition by the time I retire, if not beforehand.



Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The hustle and bustle of NYC


Warm weather is coming very quickly to NYC. And with that, women are starting to wear skirts and dresses.  No, they never did stop completely. But more women seem to be wearing them - especially, younger ladies.

What is so special about a dress or a skirt?  I think they are the types of garments that exude femininity, and shout "WOMAN" when they are worn.  Cisgender women may not always realize this when they wear these garments, but they are making positive statements about themselves and their feminine nature.

Lately, several of the women in my office have chosen to wear these garments to work - in a place which people often where blue jeans, khakis, and chinos.  They are dressing up a little in a place where dressing down is allowed.  The women who have been doing so are American (we have Indian contractors working for us - and I'm excluding them for the sake of this discussion), and are reasonably good looking.  If I were a 30 year old male, and met them outside of the workplace, I'd consider asking them out for dinner.  But I'm old enough to be their mother, and this allows me to look at them from a very different perspective - sexual signaling.

I am a little envious of these women - they have the bulk of their lives ahead of them, and they revel in their femininity.  It is a gift that I know they appreciate - as cisgender males appreciate their masculinity. And I will have the pleasure of seeing more and more ladies on the NYC streets going about their day to day activities while they bask in the glow of being female.

Yes, it's one of the benefits of working in the big city.  And I intend to enjoy it for what it is -  all a part of being human....


 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Snow? In Mid March?


It's Mid March in the Hudson Valley, and we've just had what is likely to be the last snow fall of the season - all 1/2" of it.  It's Winter's last blast, and it comes at the beginning of Spring.

- - - - - -

When I left the house this morning, there was 1/2" of snow on my windshield.  I'm lucky that I left a scraper in my car, as I had the windshield clean in 2 minutes, and was at the station with more than enough time to spare.  It was a very pleasant ride in to NYC, and I was lucky enough to capture the above picture as the train reached the Bronx border.

Reaching the city, it was hard to believe that there was any snow - it was the storm that wasn't.  And if I had known how clean the streets would be (no slush in the gutters), I would have broken in a new pair of shoes.  Although I dawdled a little bit at Grand Central, I made it to work by 9:30 am, and was able to enjoy a relaxed commute to the office.

Once settled in, I sent out a message to my friends on the co-op board of directors, telling them that the growth on my dad's bladder was benign - and all sent me their sighs of relief. 4 people are being elected to the board this year, and 2 of them (myself included) are holdovers from the old board.  It looks like I'll be spending another couple of years with the board, and I hope I can continue to make a positive contribution.  Hopefully, no one will bring up any issue related to me being transgender - but I figure that others will "swat" down any troublemakers that pop up. And then WPB sent me a message - to assume that someone will drop out of Poker Night, and for me to come.  It's nice to know that one cisgender woman is very comfortable having me there for a women's group Poker night....

The day passed slowly due to two things.  First, my boss was in Taiwan, and unable to give us another lesson on the workings of the system we are supposed to support.  And then, the computer that was supposed to be replaced wasn't - and I couldn't explore the database tables I'm expected to know before being set loose on a client/project.  I didn't feel guilty for leaving a few minutes early, as they will get their pound of flesh when I perform my first deployment.

- - - - - -

I walked back to the subway station at Fulton and William Streets, and caught the following images:



As much as I hate the fact that the MTA spent many millions on making the Fulton Street subway complex a more pleasant place to be in, there is only so much that could be done. The subway lines were shoehorned into a tight, pre-automobile street layout, and they did not have the luxury of space that they had above Canal Street. So the platforms are narrow, and ventilation is poor. I can easily imagine how uncomfortable things will be when Summer comes.

- - - - - -

I reached Grand Central with a few minutes to spare before my train left the station.  It was off to Starbucks I went, and it seemed to take forever to get a large unsweetened iced tea. Yet, I made it to a window seat, and planted myself for the ride home.  Toward the end of my commute, I was able to catch the following photos of sunset over the Hudson River.



The cloud formation looked a little stranger from the train than it does in the photos - as if it was raining/snowing somewhere off to the Northwest.  And this might explain why GFJ had some snow as the sun was going down.  

Are you sure this is Spring????? 




 



Monday, March 28, 2016

Exhaustion


Last night, it was "An Evening with Groucho".  For most of today, it was a matter of rest.  Although I was in bed by midnight, I probably slept about 12 hours - as I turned off my 8:00 am Sunday alarm, and didn't arise until after noon.  One benefit of this sleep - the little "bug" I had in the back of my throat was gone. Sleeping must have helped my body get rid of a bug before it made my life miserable.

One problem - by the time I got moving, I didn't have many choices in what to do.  If I went out (especially in Marian mode), I'd never have been able to do laundry. And if I stayed in (which I did), I'd lose the chance to go out in Marian mode until later this week.  At least, I am feeling very relaxed today....

- - - - - -

There is only so much I can do with my life these days.  And last night's conversation with Vicki was thought provoking, not because it covered any new ground, but because it made me look carefully at the choices I must make in the future.

One of the things Vicki and I discussed was presentation.  Unlike a cross dresser who gets an erotic thrill from wearing women's clothes, she noted that I want to look as authentic as possible, and to be taken for (and be treated as) a woman in all social settings where I an presenting myself as Marian. Fortunately, no one looks too closely at a fat person, so I have an advantage which will go away as I lose weight. This means that I will need to start voice training as soon as possible, so that I can prevent my voice from giving me away as being transgender.

Why is being "stealth" so important to me?  The less I look and sound like I was born a male, the more I am accepted among women.  If I'm out as Marian, this could be the difference between life and death in some areas of the country. This is something Vicki understands well - and she is a cisgender female.  And this is why she apologized profusely when she accidentally outed me last night.

- - - - - -

Lili, on the other hand, is blind to this.  She sees that there is a problem, but she wants to be in control of who and who not to tell about me.  This can be very dangerous, as she has no clue about things - and can get excessively defensive when brushing things off is the best course of action.  For example, she told her tenant about me before the three of us had dinner last month. This was not her right to do so.  I have no problem with outing myself. And I have a better read of people than she does. Most of the time, the best course of action is to act as if I am cisgender, and let other people ask questions if it "concerns them". It's much easier for me to explain things than to delegate this task to anyone else. And it is safer too....

When I mentioned Lili's outing of me in my conversation with Vicki, it was obvious to Vicki that Lili is a bit of a narcissist. And I think she's right about Lili.  So I'm glad that I never put the two women together, as Vicki would be very uncomfortable with Lili.... 








Sunday, March 27, 2016

A night with Jeffrey T. Spaulding


Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding - one of Groucho Marx's best roles.  From the play "Animal Crackers", comes the theme "Hooray for Captain Spaulding" which he used as his theme song for almost 50 years.  And I think this is a fitting opening for an entry that discusses a trip to the Ridgefield Playhouse to see "An Evening with Groucho".

GFJ has been feeling ill and decided to stay home, rather than infect me with what she has. Of course, this meant that I had an extra ticket for this evening's performance - and Vicki was willing to go with me.  One problem - I couldn't just pick up the ticket while presenting as Marian.  Mario had to visit the ticket office, as this would prevent any hiccups that could arise if Marian were to try to pick up the tickets and had to reveal herself as Mario.  (Note: It's often easier to talk about myself in the third person, as it's easier to keep track of my two persona that way. This is one of those times.) It was a good thing that I made the drive over to Ridgefield.  Not only did I find out where the playhouse was (not where I expected), but I also needed Mario's ID to pick up the tickets....

It was then time to go back home to change into Marian - and pick up Vicki on the return trip. This was the first time her husband had ever seen me as Marian, and I was very uncomfortable with that.  He buys the "conservative" party line, hook, line, and sinker - especially when it comes to the GLBT population.  But Vicki says that he will never act on those beliefs, as he is a good person at heart.

We got to Ridgefield way too early, so we hunted for a place where we could find a bite to eat. And we found a Thai place near the second home of one of my neighbors. The place was good enough that Vicki and I will try to remember it when we are in the neighborhood again.  Additionally, we got out of the place, after spending less than $40 on dinner for the two of us.

So we made it to the Playhouse with lots of time to spare - even though the posted opening time was 7:00 pm.  (We found out that the performance started at 7:30, and ended up standing around killing time.)  While waiting, Vicki took up a conversation with an older couple - and she accidentally slipped, using the wrong pronoun to refer to me.  I made it easier for her, acknowledging that I was Transgender with this couple - and the conversation continued as if nothing had happened.

A few minutes later, the performance started, and one could easily tell that Frank Ferrante  had a certain love and reverence for Groucho and his life work.  So it was a pleasure for both of us to see this man play Groucho, and to see someone remind us of why Groucho was one of America's treasures. After the performance, we took the long way home, and I got the chance to talk to Vicki about many things.  I'll leave most of what we discussed private for now, but in many ways she is the sister I never had - and I'm grateful to have her as a friend.













Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Whine and Dine may meet again....



GFJ went to the dermatologist today, and the second doctor did a better job of inspecting her body for signs of skin disease than the one that worked on her a couple of weeks ago.  This time, she found that the spot on her back needs a deeper evacuation than done by the first dermatologist, and that she will need to contact another doctor to deal with this problem.

You might ask - why do I mention GFJ's health?  Well, GFJ is feeling ill (she has a nasty, sick sounding cough coupled with laryngitis), and won't be able to make it to "An Evening with Groucho" this weekend. So I'm going to take Vicki to the production, and treat her to a night out. (She is on a dollar restricted "diet", as her husband's union will soon go on strike, so that they can use labor law to prevent the company from laying off large numbers of unionized staff in a highly regulated firm in the communications industry.) 

Last night, I mentioned this play to Lili, she got upset - as she wanted first dibs on my time.  The reality is - it's been a long time since I've seen Vicki, and she was the first person I thought of - because we used to go to Broadway plays several times each year.  So I made up a little story that I didn't think Lili would like the play (I lied and called it a drama), and invited a friend who loves dramas....  Of course, I did invite Lili to come to NYC with me the weekend before to see a play, and she couldn't make it.  You can guess that I don't feel guilty about this....

Now, I could invite Lili to next week's gathering of the Whine and Dine crew.  But I don't think she'll be able to hold her own in the group, as she doesn't have much of a life.  Most of the women in the Whine and Dine group have jobs, husbands, and things they enjoy doing.  Lili, on the other hand, doesn't have many interests. Since I don't want to risk my position (tenuous as it may be) with the Whine and Dine crew, I'll play it safe and leave Lili behind.

It's been almost 2 months since I was last with the Whine and Dine crew.  And it will feel strange to be with them, and yet, it will be like "old home week".  Yes, I want to be with the ladies again, as I need my time as Marian....



Friday, March 25, 2016

A typical Thursday, with a minor wrinkle or two.


Today was a typical Thursday - a little work, followed by a rush to get home, change from Mario to Marian, and then off to Yonkers to play games.  However, two things of note come to mind about the day: (1) I will find out more about my dad and his options for treatment sometime tomorrow, and (2) I may have just landed into a position where I get a lot of great bullets to put on my resume.


- - - - - -

When I got into the office this morning, I found out that I would not likely have a fully functioning computer on my desk until sometime tomorrow.  This is not a big issue, as I am not touching/modifying any production system yet.  But I do need for this problem to be fixed by the time my boss leaves on his vacation.

Shortly afterward, it was time for an "All Hands Meeting" held by one of our bigwigs, and I found out how profitable my division is compared to the rest of the company, as well as finding out that one of our problem areas was about to be addressed by management. Everything was good news, as it indicated that we have the money to deal with our problems, and that we are doing well in meeting the challenges that are coming our way. In short, it's nice to be working for an important area of a firm again, and to know that I have more reason to show up than to just collect a paycheck.

Around 4:00, my boss was hesitant to start a training session. But I figured that it made sense for me to hang out for a half hour or so, and get as much out of his presence as possible. (He'll be away for 3 weeks, and I like being able to pick his brain.) Even so, he ended our session at 4:30, and it was out the door for my chameleon like transformation into Marian.



Due to some GI Tract issues, I ended up being late to game night - but I had a good time while there.  I didn't win any games, but I enjoyed the conversation.  Hopefully, next week will be different - and I'll win for a change....




Thursday, March 24, 2016

Potentially meeting with two friends.


Yes, I am thinking of another 3 day trip to the DC area.  I just don't know whether I'll be traveling there in May, or whether I'll be traveling in September.  It all depends on how things are going at my job, and how stable things are with my dad.

Assuming I go to DC, it will be en-femme, of course.  The odds are that I'll try to see one former blogger who now has a good life with a good wife. And I'll also try to see one friend that I haven't seen since my first Fantasia Fair.  Hopefully, I'll be able to see both of them on different days.

Getting a day off so early in my tenure with the firm may be asking for a bit too much. But I won't know until I test the waters a little.  With this being said, I'll err on the side of caution, and do nothing unless I get a good read on my boss - our relationship is good, and I want to keep it that way.

Assuming that I go to DC, I have a choice - train or car.  I can still get good rates if I travel by train.  But this won't last long.  I've taken the train to DC while en-femme, and this isn't a problem for me.  And I've driven all over the place while en-femme, so I don't worry much about this either.  As long as I'm not pulled over by a cop for traffic infractions, my voice is good enough to make it through a drunk driver checkpoint.

So keep your fingers crossed....

- - - - - -

On other matters....  I went to a PMI meeting tonight, and met a couple of old friends.  One friend had just gotten laid off from her job the day she came back from vacation.  Boy, did she get screwed.  She was glad that I gave her a couple of pointers that I used for my resume to counter possible age discrimination before an interview.  Hopefully, she'll get her feet in the door, get a good interview, and get that job!

Why do I mention this lady?  Well, she saw a glow on my face, a happiness that she had never seen before.  She realized that her time off was just as much an opportunity for her as it was for me when I was out of work.  I told her of many of the things I did, such as learning Mah Jongg. But I did not feel comfortable telling her that I was Transgender while in this forum.  One day, we'll meet for coffee, and maybe I'll tell her then.  But first, I have to evaluate the risk factor before being open with her.  There is a lot of prejudice in this world, and I don't want to put my network at risk because of it.  More later on this topic.....





Wednesday, March 23, 2016

And now for some news from our sponsor....


When I started this entry, I could have used the phrase "Beware the Ides of March" for a title. But it didn't come to mind until too late, and when the theme was already in my mind.

- - - - - -

My dad has been having problems with his health for a while.  When he finally talked about blood in his urine, we knew to get him to a doctor quick.  Yesterday, the doctor removed a 6 cm tumor from his bladder, and things don't look that good.  Yes, at 88, he has lived more years than most men of his era had a right to expect to live. And I hope that he can live a healthy life for many more years.  But first, we have to find out whether he needs treatment, whether treatment will be useful, and whether he wants to take it.

I'm still in a mild state of shock while writing this. My parents were a mixed bag.  Mom tried to hold on to my brother and I (emotionally) way too closely - and as a result, squeezed us away from her choking embrace.  Neither my brother nor I have happy memories of her, and neither of us miss her.  My dad, however, was more distant - knowing that affection can not be forced.  As a result, I care for my dad, and will miss him terribly when he eventually passes away.  (No, I'm not counting him out.  But the thought of cancer bothers me a great deal, as I've seen my wife die of her cancer - and I'd rather commit suicide than die the way she did.)  One thing I know - I won't tell my dad that I'm transgender.  He doesn't need any more stress in his life.

- - - - - -

Luckily, my boss knows that my dad is ill.  And I feel that I'll get the flex time to deal with family matters when I need it.  Thankfully, I'll have my time as Marian to take the edge off things.....


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Forgetful Me....


My morning commute.  It is usually a minor inconvenience due to its length. But today, I forgot something I needed - the ID card I use to get into my office.  Normally, this might not have been such a hassle. But not knowing the headaches I'd face through the day, I realized that today's commute would be a big headache....

- - - - - -

Normally, I set up things I need for the next day just before I go to sleep in the evening. However, I didn't wrap my ID card's lanyard around my wallet - and I was very groggy when I woke up this morning.  So, after getting dressed, I simply put my wallet in my pocket - and off I went to work.

As soon as I got on the train, I realized that I forgot the ID card, and realized that I'd have to bail at Croton-Harmon to catch a cab, pick up my ID card, and make it back to the train station on time to catch the next train to NYC.  (The train doors had just shut before I was able to get out - so I was stuck until the doors opened in Croton.)  When I got off the train, I rushed to the cab stand, and told the cabbie what I needed to do.  He talked to his dispatcher, and they gave me a discounted rate for a round trip to/from my apartment. I was glad, as this cost me only $15 after tip. Once I picked up my ID, we rushed back to Croton-Harmon, where I barely made it to the 8:06 am train. One benefit of all of this - It was much easier to get a seat for every step of my commute....

- - - - - -

Arriving at the office, my boss told me that they had temporary id cards that they usually hand out to contractors.  So all of this headache was not needed.  Now, I know!  But I was glad to have had this happen, as it told me something about the mettle of my boss - he uses a sense of judgement in what information to convey, as he was concerned that if I was already in the middle of a plan change, telling me about the contractor cards would have caused me to screw up my already screwed up commute even more....

Once I was at the office, I had a phone call to make.  My dad was being operated on today, as he had a tumor in his bladder.  6 cm - To some that's small. To me, it's 6 cm too big!  There was no way that I'd forget to call my brother for a status update.  (But I did forget to call my dad last night to wish him the best.)  Later on, my brother gave me the update, then told me that the doctor got everything out - and that we're waiting for the results of the biopsy.

- - - - - -

You can tell where my mind was at today.  So it is no surprise that I forgot that GFJ was feeling ill.  So when I asked her how her day was going, she reminded me where she was at.  At least I didn't forget to ask her about her day....



Monday, March 21, 2016

A time to rest


It's been three weeks on the new job, and today is the first day that I feel that I've had some downtime.  Although I could have gone out en-femme again, I didn'[t do much except for hanging out around the house and watching TV.

This is a tempting thing, but not a good thing to do.  Even though I need to recharge my emotional batteries, I must plan for the week ahead.  For example, I have to prepare for NOT being able to go to Thursday game night this week, so that my boss can get in as much training at the end of the day (when he normally gets the free time) for us before his upcoming trip to Asia.

Of course, I still have several loads of laundry to deal with, and then the usual things such as paying bills and ordering stuff online.  Before GFJ left today, we were joking about Marian being told to NOT order things online, so that Mario can afford the things he needs for work. The reality is that I could use a few little things in my feminine wardrobe, but need to refresh my masculine wardrobe even more.

So, I ended up NOT going out en-femme when I had the ability to do so, and rested instead. Maybe this unplanned rest is how I deal with things - I'm not sure.  But I do know that I have a much tighter schedule this year than I did at the same time as last year - and I want to make sure that I'm able to juggle schedules successfully for as long as I want to keep working.....



Sunday, March 20, 2016

Out of mind, out of sync....


This is Boeing's latest version of its iconic 747 aircraft.  And GFJ's son will be coming in tomorrow morning from a trip halfway around the world.  Sadly (for him), he missed his flight because it was overbooked. But as part of being bumped, they took care of all his expenses, made sure he had a seat assignment on the next flight, and gave him $800 to compensate him for his troubles.

But what does this have to today's post?

GFJ was working today, and had planned to pick up her son at 10:00 pm, making it impossible to see me until tomorrow.  This left me free to make other plans, and those plans involved spending the day in Marian mode.... 

Originally, I planned to see an Off Broadway play as part of the "20@20" special (which ends tomorrow), and then see Lili in the evening.  Well, by the time I made it to the Henry Hudson Bridge approach, I realized that I'd never make the play on time, and that it would make sense to make alternate plans.  So I called BXM - who was out in New Jersey visiting other stores belonging to the thrift shop chain she patronizes in her neighborhood. She could see me in the evening, but that would mean cancelling plans with Lili - and that would go over like a lead balloon. So I had to bail on that idea.  Then I turned around and thought of calling YGM - but she didn't pick up her phone during the day. So I ended up taking a long drive into Connecticut to visit my favorite plus size consignment store.

I got to the store with a half hour to spare, but saw nothing of interest.  While I was on my way back, I called DCD - and (supposedly) his problem with a (now) unwanted house guest will be going away.  Instead of this alcoholic causing DCD problems in his life (as she would have done if her child wasn't an outside issue), she will be following the advice of her lawyer, who told her to establish a residence of her own, so that she had a shot of getting custody of her infant child. DCD may have dodged a bullet.  At the end of the call, YGM called....

YGM has been having problems of her own, but they are getting better.  Her husband is getting the help he needs, and her children are taking well to their new place of residence. Don't read much more into this.  There are complications that I am not free to talk about, and she has a strong and loving relationship with her husband....

Then it was over to see Lili....

Lili is dog sitting for her son, and will be going to a joint therapy session with her son and his wife, to help sort out issues they have between them. So we couldn't go out to eat until after the dog was fed and walked.  While driving back from the diner, GFJ called.  She asked if I wanted to hear the bad news first or the good news.  I said the bad news, and GFJ told me the story of her son not making his flight and getting $800 in compensation for it.  As a result, this freed GFJ to come here (after spending a full day in Marian mode) and spend the evening, plus half the next day, with me - disrupting plans Lili had for me this evening. 

As you can see - nothing in my life was in sync today.  And yet, the day had a happy ending to it....




Saturday, March 19, 2016

The end of the week, and I'm too pooped to pop!

This is how I felt at work today.  I'll be glad when I finally fall asleep, and get my 40 winks.  But now, as I write this, I have to stay awake and get my laundry from the dryer....

- - - - - -

Last night, I had a great time with the ladies at a women's meetup.  But I knew I'd pay a price for it, when I stopped by Walmart to buy a desk fan to keep me cool at the office.  So I ended up not getting to sleep until 1:00 am.  This wouldn't be so bad, save that my office is kept way too warm.  And while my boss was giving us training, I was doing my best to maintain the correct level of blood in my caffeine stream.

It was one of those days - I wasn't able to leave the office until 6:30 pm, because I had a problem with one of the programs I'll need to use after my training is done. And the help desk wasn't of much help - so I'll have to get the attention of a coworker who has an idea of what to do when he's back on Monday....

In order to be able to go out en-femme tomorrow, I had to do laundry tonight. So I have clothes in the dryer while writing this entry.  Even if I fall asleep, I can always walk into the laundry room at 3:00 am and pick up my clothes.  It'll be nice to put on a dress again, after a full week of being in a typical male wardrobe...

Friday, March 18, 2016

No games tonight. Sometimes, it's nicer to dine with other ladies.


As much as I'd have gone to game night if it were held today, there are times that I'd rather hang out with women as a peer and be expected to maintain a "near perfect" feminine presentation.  Tonight was one of those nights, and I was fortunate that there was a women's meetup group getting together at a restaurant in Rye for dinner tonight....

- - - - - -

Recently, TV/Movie production is being filmed near the South Street Seaport.  Unlike my former work location (where there was a TV/Movie studio in a nearby building), I didn't expect to see any thing like the images below in walking distance of where I work.




The above production went on through the day, and they were still working when I left.

- - - - - -

I'm very grateful that I negotiated to leave the office early on Thursdays.  My boss gets to know that I follow a predictable schedule, and I know that I won't get any flak for leaving early to turn myself from Mario into Marian.  I think I'd go nuts without some Marian time every week, and I know that I need that special camaraderie that only women can share.

Since tonight's game night was cancelled, I looked for (and found) another meetup where I could go in Marian mode.  And tonight's meetup was with a group of women I've dined with before. As expected, I had a great time - as I was just another woman in a group of women.  If anyone has any suspicions about me, I'll be glad to say that I am a pre-op transgender. But no one has yet asked me any questions.

I miss the Whine and Dine group.  But I'm fortunate - I have other groups of women with whom I can associate, when GFJ is otherwise unavailable....



 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Taxes - a big headache, in more ways than one.


Today, I went to my accountant after work, so that I could get my taxes done.  I never realized that I had forgotten several things in regard to my charitable donations that could cause some eyebrows to be raised....

Over the past few years, I have accumulated a full closet of female clothes.  And I decided to give away clothing that I no longer use, and no longer want to keep.  One problem - My accountant read the receipts I received from the Salvation Army.  I'm glad that I could use the excuse of having a girlfriend to explain a receipt that listed 4 dresses and 20 sets of sheets.  Of course, she'll be doing a lot of thinking because of all the paperwork I gave her. But my deductions will all be legitimate - and that's what counts.

However, the process of visiting my accountant kills an entire evening.  Not only do we chat a lot (mostly her talking), but she spends a lot of time taking care of things while we chat.  Sooner or later, I'll likely call Fran and see what she charges to do taxes. At least Fran is very comfortable with GLBT issues, as she is transgender herself.

Until then, I'll bring my taxes to my old family friend.  But I'll never tell her that I'm transgender, knowing her loyalty to her political tribe....



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Luggage


Luggage - Something that usually takes up a lot of space, and yet is often rarely used.

- - - - - -

One of the problems I have with the luggage I have is that every large suitcase has at least one bad rolling wheel where the rubber has come off.  As a result, each of the three bags were of questionable value - especially when it will cost more to fix the suitcases than to replace them.  So I trashed them all, and bought a suitcase that I could afford to trash if the same thing happened again.

- - - - - -


The first time I went on a cruise with Lili, I splurged and bought a new suitcase.  By the time I returned from the cruise, the standing cushions (I don't know what to call the four rubber things seen at the side of the standing blue bag near the center of the photo) were broken, and one wheel no longer would turn.  Although I could have made a big stink about the suitcase's lack of durability to the manufacturer, I said the hell with it. 

Of course, newer suitcases are much lighter than the ones I bought nearly 20 years ago. So it made sense for me to buy at least one new suitcase, for the times I may consider travel by air.  The last time I decided to fly, my bag was overweight - and I had to shift a bit of the stuff I was carrying into my carry on at the last moment.  And it didn't help that I wasn't "flying pretty" like Kim does when she can get a chance.  (Breast forms take up a lot of space and they weigh a lot for a T-Gal of my size.)

One of these days, I'll have to rescue some of my late wife's luggage that's in storage at my dad's place.  I don't know if I'll ever use it.  But she had bought old fashioned, high quality American Tourister stuff (when it was top notch) in a shade of pink.  And if I'm ever going to travel pretty, it might make sense to use this luggage for these trips (if not traveling by air).

- - - - - -

There is another wrinkle - the airlines may be changing the size of allowed carry-on bags.  I'll hate having to buy a new, smaller carry-on in the future.  But I'll deal with that problem when I need to do so....




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Broadway and the Bard


Yesterday, GFJ and I went to see the last performance of "Broadway and the Bard" as part of NYC Off Broadway's 20@20 theater special.  The play was not what I expected, and yet it was fitting for an actor who was classically trained to play Shakespeare and who cut his teeth on Broadway musicals.

- - - - - -

But first....

My dad was recently diagnosed as having a small tumor in his bladder.  The doctor said it was operable, and that my dad should be OK once it is removed.  Considering that my late wife died of cancer, I have my concerns.  So I decided to drive to Long Island to see him -  just in case the worst happens between bow and the time of his scheduled procedure.  Of course, this meant that I had to tell GFJ to start her drive to my place after I was on my way home.

GFJ, on her end, had to work on Saturday morning.  She also had to do some chores around her place, and only then get on the road to my place.  There was a wrinkle - she was totally exhausted, and took a nap.  This resulted in her missing my call, and not getting on the road until 9:00 pm.  Yes, I was upset - but I wasn't going to say anything, because I knew I'd say it wrong.  By the time she finally made it to my place, I had a chance to do my laundry, but I was famished.  So after we brought her stuff into my apartment, we went off to the local diner to have a late night dinner.

- - - - - -

Sunday morning, we made sure to get up earlier than usual, and drove to the city to see the play.  There was no way I was going to say "let's take the train in", when we'd have to pony up another $25.00 for a ticket, when I could easily find parking by a subway station. We ended up cutting it close due to a train being taken out of service in front of us. But we made it to the theater on time, and were able to get good tickets to the play.

The play, "Broadway and the Bard", was very different from what I expected - yet it was very entertaining.  Len Cariou had an idea where he'd pick some of his favorite Shakespearean quotes and pair them with appropriate music.  And he did an excellent job - as if he found the perfect wine to pair with a perfect meal.  Too bad that this was the last performance - I would have loved to recommend it to my readers in the NYC area.. 

After the play, we walked back to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where the audio-kinetic sculpture, "42nd Street Ballroom" was installed. 


I'm pretty sure that GFJ found it mildly interesting, as I'm pretty sure that she had never seen (or heard) anything like this before.  And then it was off to the 7th avenue line for a trip to one of my favorite Chinese restaurants....

When we reached the restaurant, we were seated next to two ladies.  They asked me for advice on the food there, and I suggested some interesting, but more "mainstream" Szechwan dishes than I might try on my own. (I wanted to talk more, but I didn't want to make GFJ uncomfortable.)  A little bit later, we all ended up talking, and I started to chat about my cruise experiences.  But GFJ cued me into NOT revealing Marian to ladies who were seeing me as Mario.  So I dropped the topic before we got to the point of no return, and the four of us got into a more traditional set of topics. 

Based on what these ladies were saying, I have a feeling that they lived together.  Do they "swing for the other team?"  Who knows, and who cares?  They were a pair of pleasant conversationalists.  But off to the side, an older lady was seated.  This woman had a British accent, but talked with a deep voice - as if she was transgender.  Was she?  I'll never know. But it made for an interesting comment as GFJ and I made it through the subway to make the connections that would bring us to my car in the Bronx.


As usual, the subway was a cacophony of noise, from the Hare Krishnas above to the paint can drummer below.


Even the train going to the Bronx had a vendor or two hawking food and candy, so the assault on our senses was reasonably constant until we got off the train.  Luckily, we were both too tired to say much on the way home - exhaustion finally getting the better of us after a day in the city.

- - - - - -

Today, I had to go to work.  So I let GFJ stay asleep and leave when she wanted.  I got in much more walking than usual, as I accompanied my boss for lunch, and later, for coffee. And he told the two of us new hires something that made me feel good.  We were not selected for our technical abilities, but for our personality traits.  Given that there is so much to learn, in order to do the job well, he needed to find people who had a desire to learn, instead of having knowledge spoon fed to them. So I may have just found the right home for me - albeit in the wrong neighborhood....

  


Monday, March 14, 2016

Quickie: Game Night


It looks like our Thursday night game meetup may just get interested in playing Mah Jongg. So I decided to print off a simplified rule set for Chinese Mah Jongg for use next week.  This could be a nice contribution to our group, as it is an easy to learn game (without the special hands) and something that is part of an older tradition of games.

Over time, I've learned that things in my life are neither fish nor fowl.  This uncertainty and ambiguity is more of a blessing than a curse - but it took time to realize it.  There are people who are certain about everything - and they are often inflexible. My uncertainty has forced me to become flexible - including my basic identity.  It just may be this flexibility that has allowed me to survive, and prosper - in my own little way.

For now, I plan to maintain the routine of work - but not because I want to be there.  Instead, it's because I want to save up as much money as I can, and add it to my retirement funds, so that I can enjoy my life as Marian as soon as possible....

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Missing Things....


It's been two weeks that I've been on the job, and I've started to get into a new routine.  Once it has set, I figure that I'll be able to get simple things done without having to think about them, saving my energy for the more important activities in life.  But there is a problem.  I've become used to spending more of my time as Marian as I do now, and I miss that release.  (Maybe there's a touch of something else going on in my head that I don't yet understand.) 

When I get home at night, I find that I have virtually no energy, save to surf the web a little before sleep.  That's OK in itself, but I don't have the energy to devote to writing a more interesting blog entry. Couple this with a lack of Marian time, and I have much fewer incidents of being Marian to report on. And I miss that.

WPB once noted that I should take advantage of this period that I have to live mostly as Mario as a chance to understand more of what being Mario and Marian is all about. And she may be right. This is a chance to discover more about what I really feel about being Marian - am I willing to really be out to everyone?  Not yet.  So there could still be some major ambivalence about transition - social or medical.  WPB noted that I still wanted a traditional relationship with a woman.  I'd take out the word "traditional" from that sentence.  Given my experience in dating, I've found that there is something about me that women subconsciously see that takes me off of their "dateable" radar. (And it's not just my weight.  It is more likely to be body language, the shape of my face, and other things that are too subtle to be noticed consciously without training.) And I know that it would be much harder to find companionship post transition.So I think I'm being rational.

I also miss the blinders that I once had on when I started going out as Marian.  I'm noticing more of the little micro aggressions that people not comfortable with trans folk often do - and even with people who are friendly with me.  No, I'm not going into a discussion about this right now - but I will cover this topic sometime in the future.

But most importantly, I miss having the flexibility I needed in life.  During my period of unemployment, I could juggle my time and find enough of it to be both Mario and Marian. I could go where I wanted, when I wanted, and be who I wanted.  Not anymore.  But in a way, this is a blessing.  I now know how I want to live my life when I'm retired - and that's a good thing.  Mario would have retired from the world and waited until the sunset of his life. Marian would (and will) take a different path, as she will engage the world as who she is, and find new friends, and has exciting experiences until the time the grim reaper comes....








Saturday, March 12, 2016

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....






I figured that I'd open today's entry with a pleasant picture of someone who "has enough".  Yes, we're looking at a squirrel.  But we're looking at a creature that makes it feel good to be human, a creature whose image can only please us.  And this leads me to today's unusual entry....

Last night (as I write this), the GOP held another debate.  Although 3 of the surviving GOP presidential candidates were out to destroy the front runner's chance of winning the nomination, the debate turned into an embarrassment for the United States. Instead of Monica Lewinsky's cum stained dress being the center of a presidential scandal, we now have presidential candidates talking about Penis size in a national broadcast.  This is disgusting!


These clowns have no sense of decency. And the three candidates with the best records in the primaries and caucuses are completely berserk and unfit to serve in the office of President of the United States.  They have no solutions to the problem of poverty in this country, and one of them could become president, and be a total disaster in the making....



Then, there is the lady in the picture above.  I had to show a picture to make her look better off than she was.  If her hand wasn't on the cell phone and blocking a view of her chest, you would have seen a woman with a spaghetti strapped tank, wearing no bra, whose breasts were sagging to her waist and ready to pop out of her top.  None of the men in the GOP debate have a clue of what to do about people like her.  They'd focus on the phone, and say that she's abusing the system.  But others might realize that poor people are often given inexpensive phones and phone plans to keep them connected to the world - as a way that helps locate people who need help the most.

 
And then we come to Caitlyn Jenner.  She thinks that Ted Cruz would pay attention to the needs of transgenders if someone like Caitlyn were to be our representative.  What in the hell is she smoking?  GOP programs do not properly address the needs of rural poor, much less the needs of the "needy" woman in the subway.  This is not the voice of a serious person.  It is the voice of a delusional clown who must be disowned by our community.

It's a damned shame that people like Ted Cruz are running for the office of President of the United States. But can we risk letting any of these clowns get close to the levers of power?  I doubt it.  Luckily, we have a way to crush the GOP, but it means taking a big risk, a risk that something can go terribly wrong.  And that is, that I want to see Trump get the GOP nomination, in spite of all the "mainstream" people trying to defang him.  At that point, he will lose the general election (if we mobilize support for the Democrats) and the corrupt GOP elite will collapse.  We haven't seen something like this since either 1858 (with the collapse of the Whigs) or 1912 (with Teddy Roosevelt running for the Bull Moose party), and it's time to see if this country has enough common sense left to do the right thing.  If not, god help us.....



 






Friday, March 11, 2016

I'm so tired....


Getting up at 5:45 am isn't good for me - especially when I'm usually awake after midnight.  And today was no exception, as I also had a long day at the office.  It could have easily continued after my scheduled quitting time, save that I had game night - and this was my one chance for the week to go out en-femme....

If I leave during rush hour, I can usually make a train with minutes to spare, and that's what I did today.  But once I put my head in the right position, I fell into a state of light sleep, having an occasional snore to wake me up.  Yet, when I got home, I was wide awake again, and ready to run back to Yonkers for game night.

When I got home, I changed into Marian mode and took care of a couple of computer errands before heading out.  Of course, I got there a little late, and was barely in time to take part in the first game of the evening.  As usual, I lost both games, but enjoyed myself. But I should have left early - I was losing steam quickly on the drive home, and was lucky to be awake enough to drive home safely.

Luckily, I got home safely, and had enough energy to write this entry before going to sleep...





Thursday, March 10, 2016

There are some advantages to working in Lower Manhattan


Food Carts - the purveyors of some of the best meals in NYC.  And today, four of us at the office went to the nearby food carts in Hanover Square....

- - - - - -

Over the past week and a half, I've found that I'm getting in a bit more walking now that I have to walk from my car to the train station, walk from the train platform at Grand Central to the Subway, walk from one Subway platform to another, and then walk from the Subway station to my office - and do the same in reverse when I go home.  According to the movement tracker on my cell phone, I'm getting in an hour of walking every day (as Mario), compared with (maybe) 10 minutes per day when I was out and about (as Marian) when I was unemployed.  And lately, I've also been walking around Lower Manhattan with my new coworker, and finding good places to eat - one of which is a food cart from which my boss likes to do a grab and go for a good Vietnamese sandwich.

As much as I miss spending my days as Marian (and plan to do so when I retire), I feel that I am slowly getting into better shape - except when I have to climb stairs to get out of the subway.  Hopefully, by the time my scheduled cruise with Lili comes around in late Autumn, this daily walking will have helped me lose enough weight to make a new swimsuit look good on me for the cruise.

- - - - - -

It feels good to see my bank account balance creeping up again. This past weekend (as I write this), the end-of month paycheck came in from my new employer, and then my pension check came in the next day. Even with half a paycheck, what I got from the new employer was enough to make it possible to break even for the month.  And with two full paychecks scheduled for March, I'll be able to save up for things again - such as two sets of breast forms (regular and swim) that I'll be able to use later in the year.

But first, I have to keep walking.  If all goes right, I'll be buying a new swimsuit for the cruise as well....







Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I wish I could be more open about being TG


I've lunched with my new coworker twice, and I only wish I could tell her how I have a certain understanding of things.  Unfortunately, one does not reveal too much about one's self when one needs to keep a TG persona from being known at the office.

Why do I mention this?

Well, one of the things many of us TG's deal with is the question: "Who can we trust?"  This is very important, as eventually, we must out ourselves to the world to live as our authentic selves.

Yet, I have to ask the question: "How authentic can we afford to be in a world that would often harm us because of our very nature?  Each of us has to answer that question for ourselves. Yet, the answer comes with risk. Today, we have politicians who'd turn this country into a theocracy. Can we afford that?  Absolutely not! 

Right now, I have to hide my real self, so that I can find and continue to work.  In an ideal world, this would not be needed. But as long as people consider blowhards like Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and others viable candidates for the presidency, we are at risk. 

A while back, Muslim extremists killed people at the French humor magazine "Charlie Hebdo." The humorists at the magazine understood that the way to keep religious zealots under control is to poke fun at them, and to make sure that they get no respect for their dysfunctional "utopias". We must do the same.  All TG's should try to find the most viral pieces of humor and use them to defang the religious right.  Humor is our best weapon - and it is a peaceful one.

Hopefully, we will win the social war that is going on now.  But until that war is won, we must fight our enemies by making them look bad among their peers.  Only then, will they become embarrassed, and go back into the shadows from where they came....




Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The beginning of the second week


It was the start of my second week at work, and the new gal (the other project manager) started today.  She's a nice lady, and it's good that I have someone learning the system at the same time as I'm learning the system.

- - - - - -

There is a certain camaraderie among coworkers, and it was nice to have someone with whom to go to lunch.  I'm not sure of how often we'll be doing so, but I think it'd be nice for us to make this a regular event.  Over lunch, she noted - there doesn't seem to be that many women in the office.  Both my boss (later on) and I (over lunch) noted that a lot of people don't bother to come into the office on Mondays, and that she'll likely meet more women tomorrow.  (If she only could know about me being TG - but I doubt that I'll ever come out on the job.)

After lunch, I got a message on LinkedIn. It seems like another former coworker (not in my area) at my old bank got laid off.  And I was just thinking of him on the way into the office - what a strange coincidence!  I'll try to give him a few of my contacts (what few they are), and hope that he can find something.  It's a shame that they are cleaning house at the old place, but I hold no grudge against them - I was treated well while I was there, and I was treated well on leaving.  Hopefully, the people I used to work with will be able to keep their jobs until retirement.

- - - - - -

The more I commute to Lower Manhattan, the more I meet people I haven't seen in months. The more things change, the more they stay the same - and I can say that about the regulars I used to see on the train.  About the only thing that changed has been Grand Central Terminal, and most of the little places I used to stumble into have been affected by the East Side Access project which will bring the LIRR into a new concourse below the original Grand Central complex.

Will LIRR access be available before I retire?  Who knows?  But I do know that this access will make it much easier to reach one of the airports from the Northern suburbs.  And maybe by then, I'll be flying en-femme for all my vacations....


   




 

Monday, March 7, 2016

The end of a weekend


WDS has always been a good friend.  I first met him in 1973, and we've been friends ever since, with a minor gap due to a bad marriage for him.  Today, I started to set up print services on the iPad he gave me for (as he puts it) my "unbirthday", and it took much more time than expected, and led to me having to buy new ink for my ink jet printer - as the black ink nozzles weren't working right.

Of course, this took some time away from GFJ, but she didn't mind that much (from what I can tell), as she was able to take a short and needed nap.  (She hasn't been able to use her "elephant" since she had a growth on her nose removed, and has been suffering with bad sleep since then.)  By the time we made it outside, it was starting to get dark - so we made it to the diner to sate our growling stomachs.

After dinner, we went to BJ's, where I bought some new ink cartridges (which I hope solves the problem), and spent way too much money. And then it was off to the train station, so that I could pick up my March monthly pass.  (I could have also picked up an unlimited Metrocard as well, but I intend to refresh and use up the money I have on my current card before it expires in April.)

As you can guess, this was a very quiet day for me.  Nothing related to me being transgender occurred, but if Marian had been able to go out, she'd have been in an airy dress to catch a comfortable breeze on this mild February day.

BTW - Lili is now away on a 7 day cruise.  It'll be nice to see her when she returns....




Sunday, March 6, 2016

Quickie: I've been in quite a rush lately


I've been quite a rush this week, and it showed when GFJ came to visit last night, as I was not my normal affectionate self when we retired for the evening.  I was totally pooped, and had no energy to do anything other than sleep. This wouldn't have been so bad, except that I found enough energy to write a blog entry, but not enough to think of affection.

No, it's not as bad as one might read into the opening paragraph. But it shows how little energy I have at the end of the week, after getting up before 6:00 am, and getting 5 hours of sleep on average. And it's something I'll have to be aware of going forward in the job and in life.

Of course, GFJ had a few suggestions - such as writing a few entries in advance, so that we have more of our weekends together.  And I might do this now and then. But I'd rather cut down on frequency of writing than to cut down on the quality of what I write.

What do you think?