Thursday, September 21, 2017

A visit with an Ex-Girlfriend.

When I broke up with Ex-GF-M, her apartment was filled with clutter. In many ways, it had much less usable space than mine because of all the clutter in the place. Well, I had the chance to visit her at her house, and saw that things had gotten worse since I dated her.

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My plans for the day were to take a trip into NYC by subway and see another inexpensive Off-Broadway play. By the time I got moving, it was rush hour, and I was losing time in traffic. So I called Ex-GF-M to say hello, as I'd be parking in her neighborhood. By the time I reached the subway station, I knew that I didn't have enough time to get to Times Square and then to the theater on time. Instead, I dropped in on my ex, and again received confirmation that I made the correct decision.

My ex once said that she'd never want an animal in her life, as she didn't want the responsibility to care for the animal when she went away for a weekend. The strong, musky odor of three dogs permeated the apartment when I arrived at her door, and it was all I could do to avoid gagging. The family that hosts game night in Yonkers has one dog, and I have never noticed any aroma caused by the dog or caring for that dog. With this comparison in mind, I wonder if she can handle the responsibilities of caring for her dogs. But that's another issue I do not want to tackle when I see three healthy dogs.

Both my ex and her mother in law share a house.  Even though my ex may have lost some weight since I dated her, she no longer goes to the upstairs apartment she once lived in. Instead, she lives in the downstairs apartment with her mother in law, where one of them sleeps on the couch while the other sleeps in the bedroom.  I can't see the two of them living in the sama apartment, but they do. It's probably a result of my ex having major swelling of her legs and ankles, as if she has an untreated disease attacking her lower limbs.

As much as I can still make my ex laugh, I see a certain sadness in her.  When she said that she was dating a visually impaired man (read "seeing eye dog" blind), I thought of a very nasty joke that I didn't use. Instead, I said that he sounds like the type of man who could read the story of your life in Braille. And she smiled when she heard that, as she liked the touch of his hands on her body.

It was a good, but unplanned, visit. She sees me as female now, and is comfortable with this side of me. Although I date women, I know that I will never date this woman again - and I'm glad. It's a chapter in my life that's over, and it's one that taught me that I need to process each breakup before moving on to the next relationship.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My schedule seems to be sorting itself out.

The above picture illustrates how I felt when I first started to look at my schedule for this week. The weekdays looked something like this:
  1. Monday: Lili- All Day
  2. Tuesday: Either an Off Broadway Play or a 7:00 Ballgame.
  3. Wednesday: Possible 1:00 Ballgame and/or PMI Networking meeting.
  4. Thursday: Volunteering, Dinner with RO, Game Night.
  5. Friday: Alternate date for Volunteering.  
The catch - Wednesday, Thursday or Friday would have to be preempted for dinner with my aunt and uncle who were coming in from the coast, and the whole family (including my dad) would be there. This would make it impossible for me to go to this month's PMI meeting OR to go to this week's game night, and would force me to reschedule dinner with RO and my weekly volunteering stint at the GLBT Center.

Well, this morning I received a call from my brother. My dad had fallen and fractured his hip while walking (with assistance) at the nursing home. He was rushed to the hospital, and was being operated on today. There goes our change to have everyone in the family sitting at the same dinner table. My uncle mentioned that he'd like to see us on Friday for dinner. This was the perfect day for me, as it allowed me the greatest flexibility for the other days in the week. So I could now go to the ballgame on Wednesday, see RO on Thursday, and take care of a lot of business on Long Island on Friday.

Yesterday, I showed Lili the house in which I grew up. On Friday, I will need to stop by the insurance agent who services my dad's homeowner's policy and see what has to be done to transfer the coverage to us. Although my dad retains a life interest in the family home, we do not want for him (read: the nursing home) to get the proceeds from insurance if anything were to happen to the house.

I still have to figure out what my weekend plans are going to look like. GFJ is going to want a piece of my time as well as the Cat Lady. Since GFJ hasn't been sleeping over, I can schedule each of these ladies for their own days. But what happens with the other women from POF that I've talked with?  I'd like to see the lady from Rye again, and see a lady from New Jersey and from White Plains, each for the first time.  I figure that New Jersey would be a day time date, so that could be scheduled for the middle of the week (she is retired). But Rye and White Plains would need to be evening or weekend dates. AARGH!  At least, I have an excuse to delay things a little.... 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Little Miss Piggy.... ME!

Before I go too far with the title of this post, I'd like to say that my irregular sleep patterns of late have influenced when and how much I have been eating. And I feel that breaking out of bad habits will take a little bit of thought and effort. Given that the one thing on my list of things to do today was to accompany Lili to consult with a plastic surgeon for a future facelift, I knew I had to get moving earlier than usual - and in Mario mode.

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I had my alarms set to wake me by 10 am, allowing me to be ready by noon. Around 9:30, Lili called, and she told me that she'd be picking me up at noon.  Normally, I might have taken a nap, knowing that I could quickly get ready as Mario. But I stayed awake. When I called Lili, SHE had fallen back to sleep, and she was grateful that I woke her up in time to make it to the surgeon.

When she picked me up, Lili thought that she had set her GPS to take her to Smithtown and to the surgeon. Well, she accidentally set the GPS to take her to her son's place, and we were lucky that I noticed this before we wasted a lot of time going the wrong way. (That's why I double check most of the planned route before trusting my phone's GPS and associated trip routing.) What I didn't mention so far is that Lili picked up way too much food eat herself, and way too much for me to snack on while she drove. And I made the mistake of eating the food, feeling bloated all the way to the surgeon's office.

We got to the surgeon's office early, and this allowed Lili enough time to fill out paperwork before being called in to see the surgeon. Once she was called in, the consult must have taken about an hour and a half, as I was ready to fall asleep sitting up in the chair. Lili came out and told me that the surgeon would be able to do her face, but work on her torso would be handled by a different surgeon. (Lili wants breast implants to refill the sacs depleted by her loss of fat, and some skin taken off her arms so that she can look nice in sleeveless outfits.) So I know who I'll be with some time in October....

After we were done with the surgeon's office, it was time to show Lili where I grew up. She liked the place, noting that it must have been a nice house to grow up in.  I didn't go into the bad memories. Instead, I directed her to the nearby diner, so that we could get something to eat. While in my old neighborhood, she kept getting calls from her brother regarding work being done on her family homestead to prepare it for sale. And she has more problems than my brother and I had getting our house ready for renting, as the house was in worse shape when she and her siblings got control of it.  This will likely cause her to miss the deadline for putting the house on the market.  Month-end is viable, but not mid-month.  Lili has not yet seen this reality. She will by the end of the week....

On the way home, Lili wondered why I didn't invite her out to do things that I do with other people. I mentioned that HWV and I are looking soon to go out dressed to the nines, noting that Lili doesn't like to do this. Lili mentioned that she likes to go to plays. I then noted that HWV and I are willing to take the chance that a 20@20 deal will not be available, something Lili wouldn't do. We are willing to take the money we save on tickets and apply it to a nice meal. (HWV and I can both eat and drink to our heart's content, something that Lili can no longer do.) At this point, Lili realized that she wouldn't have enjoyed an activity that I enjoy and pursued this line of conversation no longer.

As for me, I'm glad I am home. I have yet to decide whether I'm going to the ball game tomorrow. And it will likely be a last minute decision.....

Monday, September 18, 2017

A day with HWV and the Curvy Widow

The above picture is of the woman whose widowhood has been turned into a very enjoyable play, "The Curvy Widow." It's one of those plays that run Off-Broadway which more than justify the effort of going into NYC for the 20 @ 20 deal.

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Today's plans called for me to meet HWV at 12:30 (I was slightly late) and drive down to NYC for a 3:00 showing of The Curvy Widow.  My timing was almost perfect until we reached Manhattan, and then the West Side Drive fouled us up with a bumper to bumper traffic jam.  Luckily, I was able to bail out to Riverside Drive and slowly ooze my down to the theater district.

Arriving at our (now) usual parking lot, we walked 8 blocks to the theater - arriving 5 minutes before the 20@20 deal was to begin. So we got on the line and waited for "our" box office to open. After a short wait, we were in the theater and in our seats. Then the play began. This is one of those rare times I enjoyed going to a musical - the songs advanced the plot (not too heavy), and had a humorous touch to them.  If you didn't know that this play was based on the above woman's dating as a widow, you might swear that it was fiction. But the New York Times validated her claim that she was dating 6 married men at once (1 for each day of the week, with a day off for rest). Although HWV wasn't originally interested in the "Talkback" with the author after the show, she found it interesting - especially when audience members were asking about this woman's experiences in real life.

After the show, we went to a nice restaurant to eat, ordering from the prix fixe menu with an extra appetizer and drink to give us sustenance. Over dinner, she noted that sooner of later, I'll have to fish or cut bait in regard to living as Marian or Mario (she thought I was happier as Marian) and only then look for romance.  She might be right, but I have to live my life my way, and make my own decisions with the rewards or consequences thereof.  Before we left the restaurant, we both ordered espresso with anisette.  Well, we got our espresso with with a shot of alcohol, but the fellow brought us shots of Hennesey and not Anisette.  Not a bad way to end our drinking for the day!

The drive home was uneventful, and I dropped her off around 9:30.  And then it was off to the local Shoprite for food.  If only I could gotten there earlier in the day to get some Lobster for dinner....

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quickie: I didn't do a darned thing I planned to, and I'm glad about it.

Lately, I've been relaxing at my computer, experimenting with this Gravity simulation put out my the MSTMF Lab. It doesn't take much thought, and it's fun to create binary systems with orbiting planets.  Now if I could only get to a third level of orbits, I'd have this simulation down pat.  There is no score involved. Instead, it's a meditative pleasure using someone else's serious work.

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I had set my alarm clock to go off early enough to have the option of going to Governor's Island to see Noah Diamond's Marx Brothers presentation. This is the same man who revived "I'll Say She Is" for the NYC Fringe festival. However, after a night of poor sleep, I decided to get back under the covers and relax for the rest of the day.

Later on, I had the option of seeing "Lili Marlene" as part of the 20 @ 20 Off-Broadway specials. And again, the option of not getting dressed felt so much more comfortable, especially when I didn't feel like spending money I didn't have enough of. So again, I stayed home for the day.

One thing of note. Since the Hurricane hitting Florida would make Tampa Bay's 3 game set against the Yankees unplayable at home, both teams have agreed to play this set at Citi Field. And, for $25 per seat, I suggested to my brother that he play hooky and come with me to the baseball game.  Alas, he has way too many responsibilities to do so.  So it looks like I might end up going alone to see a game.  (And you'll likely see this post after this 3 game set has been played.)

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Tomorrow's a day in NYC with HWV to see "The Curvy Widow".  This looks like fun, and I'll tell all about it after the show....

Saturday, September 16, 2017

"OM" is where the heart is.

There were several titles I was considering for today's post, and one of them was even more corny than the one I chose: "There is no place like 'OM'". And given one of the exhibits, it would have been equally appropriate.

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I had only one thing on my "to do" list today, and this was to see my niece in NYC, and visit the Rubin Museum. And this almost didn't happen, but I'm glad it did.

Waking up this morning, I had to repeat my usual Thursday procedure for when the cleaning lady is expected. If I'm going out as Marian, get myself shaved, showered, made up, dressed, and out the door before the cleaning lady's expected arrival. Unlike most "Cleaning Lady" days, I had to call her to see what her schedule would be, so that I could be dressed as Mario if she were to come early in the day.

Calling my cleaning lady, I found out that she would be over late in the afternoon if it were possible to come today, and if not, to expect her next Thursday. So I got myself ready, packed away key traces of Marian, and was out the door by 12:30 pm.  The first thing I did was to get a quick bite to eat. And then I tried to take a nap in my car.  Although I couldn't get completely unconscious, I was able to rest enough to be able to be fully awake for the remainder of the day.

To kill time, I decided to go window shopping at The Avenue in Co-Op City.  They had a couple of Autumnal dresses that I liked (not yet visible on their online site). However, I decided not to buy them, knowing that I'd have a $60+ bill for dinner with my niece tonight, a possible $40 outlay seeing the Cat Lady tomorrow, a $100 outlay seeing HWV on Sunday, and another $150 out of pocket when my Uncle comes in from California next week.  Ouch! Instead, I decided to kill a little more time by going to the Bagel Cafe next door. As I was about to leave the Bagel Cafe, I had a need to take a bio break. Unfortunately, the door was locked.  Given that I don't know how clean the loo was in this place, I gambled on holding my fluids until I got to the museum.

Luckily, I was able to find a parking spot about 2 short blocks from the subway station, and I hopped on the train. And it was then that I received a text from my niece to suggest that we meet next week because she was running late at work.  After about 15 minutes of texting back and forth, we agreed to meet at the museum even though she was going to be a little late.  This was the best decision either of us could have made, given the conversation we would have later on.

I arrived at the Rubin Museum shortly after 6, and proceeded to the Ladies' Room to take care of important business. Around 6:30, my niece arrived, and we proceeded to the top floor of the museum for an aural exhibit. One of the spaces had a recording of many people chanting "OM" and explained how that one sound related to Tibetan Buddhism. And that's where I got the above picture of my niece who had already been listening to the chant for about 5 minutes.  Both of us said that we could easily come to the museum just to listen to that chant for several hours.

We toured the museum, and stopped in the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room to listen to the docent talk about the exhibit. It was very informative, but we moved on before the talk was over. By the time we were done at the museum, it was after 8:30, and we ended up going to dinner at one of my favorite Szechwan restaurants, Legend.  And it was there, in spite of the noise around us, that we had the chat that made the trip worthwhile for both of us.

I won't go into many of the details about our conversation, but family sexual issues were discussed in a "matter of fact" way.  (All I will say is that we were NOT talking about the act itself, but talking about how sex and its ramifications has affected us for 3 generations.) We also found another common interest between the two of us - a love for movies. And she loves one of my favorite "it's so bad, it's good" flicks - Killer Klowns from Outer Space. This is when I told her about the Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers. You can bet that she'll be a regular there when worthwhile films are playing.

By the time we were done with dinner, it was close to 10:30, and we headed to the subway. She got off at Penn Station, while I took the line to the Bronx. Getting off at my stop, I saw that Ex-GF-M's lights were on. But there was no way I was going to say hello that late at night. So I ended up driving home to find an apartment which had not yet been visited by the cleaning lady.

Alas, I'll have to juggle my Mario/Marian schedule again next week....

Friday, September 15, 2017

Wednesday and Thursday - The need for sleep finally caught up with me.

Schedule changes are not uncommon for me these days, and I was able to squeeze in a few things over the course of a few texts with people I haven't seen in a while. In the most recent case, I was able to figure out a way to schedule an afternoon with HWA, a day with HWV in NYC, an evening with RO, an evening with Sherry, an evening at the museum with my niece, and dinner with BXM and her new boyfriend. Some of these dates are subject to change, as my uncle is coming in from the coast to visit friends and family late next week. So I expect that I'll be blowing off a networking dinner in NYC to fit the key elements of my social life into my schedule.

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Hump Day came, and it was time to see HWA. Part of me wanted to blow this off. But HWA is a good person, and someone who both enjoys my company and who accepts me both as Marian and as Mario. So I walked over to her place around 2:30, and we chatted until sometime after 6 pm.  I don't have too much to say about this chat, as the time went very quickly, and it was something I needed to do to keep myself from becoming a hermit.

Next, it was off to see BXM and her boyfriend. It was still raining on the way down, and I didn't know how tired I really was. (I've been living with 5 hours of good sleep for the past few nights, and though I've felt rested, I knew I needed to get to bed earlier for a better sleep.) It took me about 15 minutes to find a parking spot in Riverdale, but it could have been worse. The rain was just a drizzle by the time I found my spot, and I had a pleasant downhill walk to the restaurant.

We've eaten at this restaurant before, and I'll never be able to remember the name of the place.  (It's an Irish name that doesn't stick in my head.) BXM and her boyfriend were already at the table when I got there, and I proceeded to sit down and chat.  BXM told me that her boyfriend is a little WASPish, and very pleasant to be with.  If I were a cisgender female with an interest in men, I could go for someone like him.  Alas, I'm a transgal, with an interest in females. BXM mentioned all the problems she has been having with her dad and his dementia, and this made me thankful that my dad is in a good place of mind these days.

Normally, having one or two drinks doesn't get to me. But when one is tired, things can be quite different. In this case, I was feeling affected by the first glass of wine, and was starting to feel very tired by the second glass of wine. As much as I wanted to stay with BXM and her boyfriend, I wanted to go home and sleep. Driving home, I was feeling very tired, and considered pulling over for a nap. But I continued on, and was grateful to have made it home in one piece and without any interference from law enforcement.

Within 15 minutes of getting home, I passed out for 3 hours or so, and was wide awake afterward. So it was off to clean the apartment, as the cleaning lady was scheduled to come over the next day.

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Thursday can be a very busy day or a very lazy day. It's never somewhere in between these days. In this case, I rushed to clean up the apartment for an expected visit from the cleaning lady.  Unfortunately, she didn't come today, and I will have to call her tomorrow morning to check when her next visit will be.

Once I finished cleaning things up, I loaded my car with whatever I could take downstairs in a single trip and brought it to the GLBT center. It was nice to get another receipt for charitable donations. But the next donation will be for a box of clothes and some more books. I only wish that I started this task while I was employed and had a higher tax bracket, so that the tax deductions would be more valuable.

Work at the GLBT center didn't keep me that busy today, but it got in the way of me going to the Drafthouse theater to see a new movie for only $5.00. It's not a big deal. When I finally got out of the center, I took a slow drive down to The Avenue, and chatted with one of the salesladies for a few minutes.  She's always glad to see me, and I think it is more her personality than mine.

Eventually, I made it down to game night, and had the usual good time.  Unlike most nights, I was on the winning team for a change for one of the games. And we were going strong until shortly before midnight. Even though I was talking with GFJ all the way home, I have only a fuzzy recall of passing through the construction zone just North of route 287.  The need for sleep must still be there, even though I was much more alert than I was the night before.

After making it home, I brought a lot of stuff upstairs including distilled water, a new door handle/lock mechanism for my bathroom door, some single serve brownies in a cup mix, and some chain extenders for necklaces I wear. As I walked up the steps, I became more alert, and figured that I'd change the door handle while I was reasonably awake. Although I could have finished the job, I decided to hold off on one subtask which required the use of a hammer and could annoy my neighbors with a single loud noise.

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Next week, I have no definite idea of where I'll be on Thursday.  Will I be having dinner with my family on Long Island?  Will I be seeing RO?  Or, will I be at Game Night as usual?  I won't have an answer to this until the weekend at the earliest.  Life is sure interesting!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thoughts on Travel - and some advice

Before Trump's election, I didn't worry too much about taking a trip en-femme. Since Trump's election, I have started to worry a lot, as his administration has removed much of the information useful to the GLBT community from Federal government web sites, and that his Vice President (a religious zealot) is looking for the chance to cause us harm.

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Lili has been urging me to commit to taking another cruise with her. And if a Democrat was in the Oval Office, I wouldn't have any worries about it, as I've crossed the border en-femme before. Now, I wonder what other transgender folk will be going through if Pence becomes president (after a possible removal of Trump via the 25th amendment) and am a little antsy about planning for the next trip.  

Instead of staying worried about things, I decided to contact someone prominent in the GLBT community and ask her if she's noticed anything different lately. Not being sure of when (or if) a response might come, it makes sense to proceed with caution. One blogger I read regularly travels en-femme. Kim has done a lot of travel, and will occasionally post an entry about her travels. Now that she may be getting a job that reduces the number of trips she takes, I wonder whether she has a read on the current situation for transgender travel.

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If I had gone through both legal and medical transition, this would not be much of an issue for me, as all of my ID would be in sync with my gender presentation. But when I have to present my male id while in a female presentation, there is a concern in the back of my mind that I'll get hassled by someone with the power to interfere with my trip. This is not an idle concern, as I was singled out for secondary screening when I came home from my second cruise with Lili.

Assuming I (a non-op transgender) were to go through an airport scanner, I'd have to deal with the potential embarrassment of triggering an anomaly requiring further inspection. In my case, I'd be wearing breast forms and have a little extra "something" between my legs. The TSA doesn't make it easy for someone to request special, private screening, nor are the agents trained well enough to assume transgender people will be treated with appropriate respect.

Of course, once I get off the plane, I still will need to present government issued ID to rent a car, and (usually) to rent a hotel room. This is another problem area for some TG travelers. Each point where we must present male ID while in female presentation presents a possible risk. Yet, on the one trip I made to Washington DC totally en-femme, this was not a problem. And when I checked into a motel on a recent trip to Groton, CT, flashing a fake id also served me well. 

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So where does this leave a typical TG traveler?  

If one's papers are in sync with both one's gender presentation and one's anatomy, then I do not expect many problems right now - except some rube getting out of sorts by meeting a TG for the first time. However, if there is something out of sync, then I advise caution - especially when in less progressive areas of the world. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quickie: The day after the holiday - Sifting through boxes.

As you can see, I have a way to go with my clean out.  I've been able to toss at least a box worth of stuff, get rid of most of what was sitting on top of that dresser, and will soon start attacking what is in the corner between the dresser and the night stand.

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Getting up this morning, I had nothing important to do. So I did nothing until the afternoon, when I started going through the boxes on the dresser and on the storage containers. It takes time to go through everything, as I have a habit of storing paperwork to be filed in small boxes for later filing into a metal filing cabinet - then never getting around to doing so. And I was glad to take this time, as I found information regarding how to verify employment at a former employer that I will need at some future date. There was more important paperwork in these boxes, but nothing worth mentioning here.

Right now, I have a pile the side of 5 of the storage containers in the foreground sitting in the living room for donation.  This pile, along with two boxes of books in the downstairs storage area, and another two boxes of books in my car's trunk have all got to go to the donation bin.  The books will likely go to to the GLBT center, while everything else will go to the Salvation Army.  This way, I can start diversifying who receives my charitable donations.

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Next week, I am supposed to go with Lili when she visits her potential plastic surgeon. This is one time I don't want to go with her, as she will want to go to her family homestead where the fellow who worked on my homestead is now working. This means that I have to be in Mario Mode, and I hate losing a day as Marian.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A holiday weekend

When the day started Saturday morning, I had no commitments for the day, and a possible commitment to see the Cat Lady (TCL) on Sunday.  This changed relatively fast. TCL emailed me to tell me that her stomach is still causing her problems, and GFJ messaged me to suggest getting together to see a movie.  As much as a bit of the magic has worn off for me with GFJ, I still like seeing her in spite of how the situation is between us.

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I did a little bit of closet cleaning on Saturday, finding more stuff (such as school books) that I could toss or donate. And the cull freed up a bit more needed space in my closets. Around 3 pm, GFJ called me to let me know that she was leaving her mom's place, and I showered, dressed, and got out the door as Mario in time for a 4:30 pm arrival at the diner.

GFJ and I chatted over a nice dinner, and then took a drive to Walden to kill time between eating and the start of the movie.  I highly recommend The Glass Castle for those who want to see a good, serious acting performance by Woody Harrelson. It is a solid film, and one I'd recommend if you're in the mood for a drama.  But don't go in expecting to leave happy. The film can be a little draining, and no children should be treated the way the 4 kids were treated in the film. (This story is based on real life, and the real life people are shown with the closing credits.)  I'm glad that the four kids (all adults now) had the wisdom to count on themselves and not their parents to escape the world their parents would have put them in.

After the movie, GFJ and I realized that we needed to talk. So we went to the nearby ice cream shop to have something sweet and have a place to talk.  We talked about our "Relationship" and what we wanted.  I noted that I wasn't going to pressure to make any decision regarding whether she could accept both Mario and Marian in one package, also noting that I know that her life is much more up in the air than mine.  She understands how much Marian is part of me, and doesn't stand in the way of me developing Marian into a more acceptable and authentic person. But she has trouble with it.  No decision was made where we are going. But I wasn't going to say to her that I am open to dates, and have already been in contact with several women.

When I got home, I received the following message:

It was good seeing you tonight and I'm glad we got to talk a little bit. I was thinking about other things on the way home. You were saying that you wanted to give me time and that you wouldn't pressure me but I don't know if that's being fair to you if you wanna find someone who is more accepting of Marian. We aren't getting any younger. But on the other hand I enjoy being with you and talking and smuggling. It was very nice in the movies and you gently rubbing my thigh, it felt good. Even though my divorce is not final I definitely don't feel married for a long time. It is just a business transaction. 

Part of why I am not pressuring her is that I have other options that I am exploring, but have not reached the go/no-go point yet. If she eventually comes around, I'll have to make a hard decision. But it is more likely that I'll meet someone nice, and then make the go/no-go decision on that relationship. Until then, it doesn't cost me much emotionally to maintain what we have....

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Sunday came, and I didn't wake up until noon.  (Note to self: Start turning off the TV and all other electrical diversions before midnight.)  GFJ was originally thinking of going to West Point for the Labor Day Weekend concert. But with it raining most of the day, this would not have been that great a day for that. So she was suggesting we get together and do something else. I had to pass on that.  I was all talked out, and had little emotional energy to be with anyone today.

After having what passed for breakfast/lunch (2 hamburgers), I went back to bed and rested again.  By the time I was up and moving, the sun was out with some clouds in the sky. If I had not been in the mood to rest, I could have spent the day out as Marian.  But the question still would be: What can I do that doesn't cost much money?

In my email came a note from the Cat Lady.  She had to go to the "doc in the box" clinic because her stomach ailment was getting worse. Hopefully, what he prescribed for her will help, as she's been unable to eat anything that doesn't cause her pain for 2 weeks. There is not much I can do for her but to be available. And having been in a similar situation with GFJ, I know what she's going through is hard to deal with. She asked me what I was doing, and I mentioned that I wasn't doing much other than continuing my work on cleaning the apartment.

Part of why I started removing clutter from the apartment was that it needed to be done and it didn't cost me anything to do so. (Actually, it does force me to part with stuff that I "might" need, but has a low likelihood of need with a high cost of retention.)  It's something that I can do over a period of days, and that is a little meditative while doing so. And yet, I have a self imposed time limit, as it must be done before the cleaning lady comes on Thursday.

Although I could have done something with others had I wanted to today, I realize that I have only so much emotional energy to go around, and I need to find better ways of refilling my "batteries" in the future.

- - - - - -            - - - - - -            - - - - - - 

Labor Day was originally supposed to be a day playing games.  But things changed. Instead, GFJ was coming over, and we planned to go to West Point for the last of their Summer concert series. And this meant that I had to do a little more cleanup in the apartment as well as getting up earlier than "normal".

As usual, GFJ got to my place late - and we went out for an early dinner at the local diner. Afterwards, we went back to my place for an hour and watched Madea's Family Reunion. It's a very predictable film, but Tyler Perry's "Madea" character is a stroke of genius - in many ways, she's the fearless woman that many cisgender women want to be. (Please, no comments about Madea's lack of elegance. I'm focusing on her being a strong willed woman who won't put up with shit from anyone.) Once the movie was over, it was time to go to West Point for a Labor Day outdoor concert.

Arriving at West Point, we didn't know where to park. So we ended up parking about a mile away from the performance area, and awkwardly carted our chairs to Trophy Point, where we set up camp.  The place was packed, and yet I could see how it could be even more packed if it were another night.  GFJ received a phone call telling her that her friends had just arrived, and she walked down to meet them.  When everyone was in place, I took several pictures of the group with the Hudson River in the background.

What a nice place to sit.  The weather was perfect.  We were warm enough not to need jackets (if wearing a long sleeved shirt), and cool enough to feel refreshed by the air. As the sun slowly set, the river got even prettier.

The above picture doesn't do the scene justice. But this was a perfect setting for an end-of-summer concert.  After a couple of hours, the fireworks show began.

No picture can do justice to a good fireworks display, and this was one of the better ones I've seen in person.  But I'm including a link to a short clip which should give an idea of what this display looked like.

When the show ended, GFJ walked back to the car while I tended the chairs and other goodies. It took her much less time to walk to her car unencumbered while I safeguarded our property.  While she was on her 1 mile walk to the car, I chatted with Lili for a little bit and then replied to an inquiry on my POF ad. By the time GFJ got back, I was done with my communication with the outside world, and we proceeded back to my place before GFJ took the long drive home.

After GFJ was gone, I decided to assemble a 3 cube organizer that I bought from Walmart the night before. Although I made a little bit of noise, I don't think my downstairs neighbor heard much of anything. Once assembled, I put the organizer in my closet and dealt with a problem I've been having with my shoe boxes. With a hanging shoe organizer, boxes would slide out because the fabric rarely provides a level surface. A tilt the wrong way, and the boxes fall out of the closet. Now, they will stay in place.  Only one problem - I lose a little storage space because of the placement of the shelves. I'll accept that to keep everything in place in the closet.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Quickie: Dating - Slowly wading into the pool

Recently, I have decided to test the waters a little bit and respond to women who have sent messages to me via Plenty of Fish.  So far (at the time I wrote this entry), I have seen one woman, and have chatted with three more.

Since I'm not working, I don't want to get into a routine where I'm forced to spend a bit of money on dates that won't work out. As it stands, two of the women I'm interested in live in New Jersey, and I could arrange to meet them in Mahwah/Suffern or in Nanuet/Spring Valley - depending on which highway (Garden State or Route 17) they are closest to.

Does this mean that I'm giving up on anyone right now?  No.  I'm waiting to see how things go with the Cat Lady, specifically which direction that she wants to take things. And I'm waiting to see whether GFJ backs away or gets closer. Neither woman is a drain on my resources.  So I have no problem outside of scheduling in seeing both ladies. But adding someone who is seriously interested in me will eventually cause me to cut back in the frequency I see the others.

If something were to start getting serious with a new lady, I'll break the news about Marian relatively early.  This will prevent them from feeling betrayed AND make it possible for us to cut our losses early if this is a deal breaker.  However, if I am lucky, I may just find someone who enjoys someone like me.  I'll keep you informed....

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Anger.  As I learned in therapy, it is a secondary emotion.  It is the aftermath of primary feelings of frustration, sadness, disappointment, etc. which have never been recognized or addressed.  To deal with anger, one has to learn how to sense when anger is bubbling up, and to learn how to quickly identify the associated primary feelings so that they can be addressed.

- - - - - -

This past political season, we saw anger bubble up to the surface.  Angry white voters helped put Trump into office. They see the "White America" of the 1950's as an ideal, but misidentified why this era was good to people of their kind. American prosperity was linked to people of color and gender variant people being out of sight and out of mind, instead of being because half of the industrialized world having destroyed itself in war. They see the decline of "White America" being caused by including minorities in schools and in the workplace, instead as a result of structural conditions that our political elites have failed to address.

The election of Trump has enabled many outcasts in "White America" to stop repressing their feelings, and let this festering anger bubble to the surface.  They do not understand why they are angry, and they are lashing out at anyone perceived as different from them. These people are dangerous to be around, as innocent bystanders can get harmed when someone goes into a rage.  For example, there was one airplane that had to make an emergency landing because one Trump supporter was making a disturbance in the air. (He was later banned from the airline for life.) Afterward, someone posed a question: "Why didn't anyone stop this person?" And the answer is simple - who wants to put him/herself at risk in a confined space, and also be at legal risk for doing so?  Let some other person deal with the problem. And the crew did so.

But the ascendance of the "Angry White" is dangerous to all.  We are not looking at the vast majority of people who have suffered because of our elites not doing their jobs.  We have globalization without shock absorbers for those being displaced by foreign competition. Most of those who have been displaced are poorly educated, and live in communities where introspection is not encouraged. As a result, they blame "the others" for their problems, and look for opportunities to "get back" at anyone seen as outside their insular communities.
- - - - - -

For many of us transgenders, anger has been a part of our lives. Many of us have been told that who we are on the outside must indicate who we are on the inside.  We have often repressed a lot of anger of our own. But most of us have gotten to the point where we have had to look inside of ourselves and see a common reality. Who we are inside is not defined by the external bodies we live in.

Unfortunately, acting on this incongruity puts many of us at risk. Angry folk have now been granted a social "hall pass" to act foolishly. Their false messiah has shown with his style that being a bully is all that is needed to be a success, and they yearn to follow in all of his steps. So they take it out on both people of color and the gender variant. And sometimes, they take it out in a violent manner - and we suffer physical harm without doing anything to provoke anyone except by being our true selves.

I have had to consider changing my plans for my next cruise. Do I want to risk coming through Customs, and have my gender variance held against me by rogue Customs Agents? This is a question I must answer before booking my next cruise with Lili. As much as I don't expect to have many problems in the New York City region, I now expect potential problems the farther into the hinterlands I may travel as Marian. Up to Election Day 2016, I would feel no compulsion against traveling en-femme to see a friend in Ohio. Now, I'm not so sure about making a long distance drive unless I am en-homme.

- - - - - -

It doesn't pay to be an idealist any more.  Pragmatism is the order of the day.  We are the people who will be first at risk if society goes insane. Please note that I am not saying that we must go back into the closet.  Instead, if we are already "out", we must do as much as we can to appear "normative" and not be cartoonish characters doing impersonations. This means that people should dress appropriately for people of their ages. M2F transgenders should consider working with voice coaches, so that their voices don't immediately give them away as being transgender. If living en-femme 24x7, then facial feminization surgeries should be considered to soften faces, so that people are not tagged as being transgender at first glance.

Although I am not advocating going "stealth" at the moment, it's important for M2F transgenders to be close enough to normative female presentations so they don't stand out in a crowd.  If asked politely, we should be open about ourselves.  Other times, if we feel we are at risk, have an appropriate lie on hand to use as a cover story - such as having to have use steroids to deal with a disease, or to have had PCOS.  These are uncertain times, and all transgender people should work to minimize potential risk factors now, while we have the time and money to do so.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Quickie: A long weekend, and some of my plans are shot for now.

I had simple plans for this weekend.  See RO tomorrow, leave Sunday open for the Cat Lady, and then play games with the folk from Yonkers on Monday. As of now, Saturday and Sunday look like I'll have to fill them in with something other than planned.

- - - - - -

Lili called around 1 pm, and suggested that we get together for lunch.  I told her that I could make it at 3 pm, and I was only 5 minutes late. We caught up on what's been going on in our lives, and she kept trying to have me eat the food she could no longer eat. (I can't blame her for not wanting to let half of a Lobster Roll go to waste.) If I had wanted lobster, I'd have ordered it, as I will likely buy a couple of these critters (at $5.99/lb.) tomorrow to cook at home.

After seeing Lili, I took a long drive. While in the car, I made arrangements to see three people: BXM (with a possible Wednesday night dinner), RO (with a possible midweek meeting), and HWA (for a Tuesday afternoon chat). BXM has a new boyfriend, and has less time in her life for people like me. (This is natural.) So, I'll know that to see her, it will be easier to schedule something in the middle of the week when her boyfriend is at his house. RO seems to have unpredictable weekends, so I'm thinking of seeing her on a Thursday - just to be able to stay in touch. Next week, we have game night on Labor Day, I figure that I can get my dose of gaming in on Monday, and use Thursday to see RO.  If she's not available, I can still go to Thursday's game night, or go to one of the 20@20 deals Off Broadway. And then, there is HWA. I haven't seen her since the last co-op board meeting, and it's nice to be able to catch up with her again.

When I got home, I tried to rest a little before going out again. I couldn't rest the way I wanted to do. After I laid down in my bed, I got a call from GFJ and we chatted for a couple of hours.  There went my chance of going out to see a late night movie. So I made an omelette, completed this entry, and figured that I will be spending at least one more day as Marian before changing back to Mario.,

Friday, September 8, 2017

An Interesting Thursday

I am very grateful that my cleaning lady is coming over next Thursday.  If she had come today, she'd have found me in Marian Mode (actually a comfy set of feminine PJ's) while organizing my closet.  There already is 3 bags of trash that has to go out, two storage canisters worth of goods to be donated to charity, and lots of underwear (both Mario's and Marian's) that had to be folded and put away.

- - - - - -

Getting up earlier than usual today, I continued tackling the mess I created by emptying the hallway closet. Some stuff (such as Marian's shoes) was temporarily stored there until a better home is found for it, while other stiff migrated to the living room for eventual donation to charity. Among the charitable donations are a lot of books.  In addition to the two boxes already in the car, I have another two boxes in my storage compartment in the basement. This will likely go with me on my next weekly visit to the GLBT center, along with other stuff that I want to get out of the house in one trip.

- - - - - -

When I finally got showered, shaved, made up, dressed and out the door, I was running a few minutes late. And I made one big mistake in regard to time - I stopped by the deli in a North White Plains strip mall.  The fellow running the place was in the back on a phone call with one of his family members. He didn't hear me come in, nor was I going to shout in Mario's voice to get attention. While I was walking out the door, I saw him motioning me to come back, and I decided to try to get a sandwich in a reasonable amount of time.

The fellow behind the counter began to tell me about his family having troubles with his wife. He's of undetermined "American" background, while his wife comes from the Dominican Republic.  I'm not sure of his religion, but the rest of his family are Jehovah's Witnesses. So they have problems with her being Catholic. So I opened up with one of my favorite religious and ethnic jokes:

Q: Why are there no Italian Jehovah's Witnesses?
A: When was the last time you saw an Italian witness anything?

Once I got him smiling, I told him an Irish joke:

Q: Did you hear the one about the Irishman who came out of a bar?
A: It could happen....

At this point, he said that he was putting extra meat on my sandwich. We were having a good chat when another patron (a female) came in. She heard my last joke (which was slightly risque, but not vulgar) and laughed at as well.  It was nice to leave someone who was having a hard day with a smile on his face.

- - - - - -

The GLBT center is about 5-10 minutes from the deli, and I got there shortly before 3:30. And I was tasked (with 3 other people) to enter information about 12 boxes of books into a local library catalog. As I looked at the titles and subjects, one thing was very clear - each and every one of the books was related to the Gay and Lesbian community, save one or two transgender books.  If I could have done so, I might have borrowed one book by Mariette Pathy Allen. This was not possible, nor did I think of it at the time.

Once done at the GLBT center, it was off to Panera Bread, where I met the same lady I met on a previous visit.  We had a nice, but short chat. But I doubt I'll be seeing her there again until after the Jewish holidays. That's not a big deal to me, but it would be nice to have a chance to develop another friendship with a cisgender female.

Next, it was off to The Avenue. I had no intention of buying anything there today, but it is always nice to look around.  One of the ladies greeted me as if I were one of her best friends, and we chatted for a few minutes. Again, I was being treated as a cisgender female, and it was nice to be treated as a peer, and not as a male invading female space.

- - - - - -

Around 7:30 pm, I drove over to Game Night, and I was the first person there. It was strange being "early", as I had to wait for at least a half hour before enough people were there to start a game. But we had enough time for 3 games, the last one being "Ra". And, for a change, I won this last game of the night.

While playing games, RO texted me to tell me that her Saturday was open. As much as I don't like the idea of crossing an East River bridge on Labor Day weekend, I might do so to see her. And then I'll leave the driving to her. Letting her drive to wine country sounds like fun - especially if I can go as Marian. Assuming that I go to see RO, the only day I have open this weekend will be Sunday. If the Cat Lady is available, I might suggest seeing her that day. If not, I'll consider a get together with GFJ. And then, on Monday, I'll go back to Yonkers for a daytime gaming session.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lili doesn't realize how long it takes for me to get ready.

I'll be darned if I can break my late night sleep patterns.  I seem most energized at night, and I easily keep moving until well after 3 am.  What this does for me is make me a perfect candidate for an overnight job when the rest of the world is geared to work during the day.

- - - - - -

Today, I greeted the ringing of my alarms by turning them off and finding myself becoming conscious well after normal people would be getting up. As I was starting to read my morning emails, I received a call from Lili - who was surprised that I wasn't already up and ready to go out.  I told her that it would take about 90 minutes to get ready to see her, and she was a little disappointed about that.  But I said that I could meet her after her therapy session, and she was happy about that.

In a rush, I could be ready in 45 minutes, but I know that things would be overlooked.  For example, I've missed applying blush one day, lipstick another, and even contouring makeup on another day. But this preparation time also includes a shower in which I shave off my visible bodily hair, so that I cal wear a nice dress.

Soon, I'll be able to retire my summer wardrobe for the season. But I've been dealing with an early interseason wardrobe need, as the weather has been cooler than expected for the end of a Summer. Do I retire my Summer wardrobe early?  Or, do I keep things ready for one last blast of hot weather?  It's easy to get dressed when one knows that it will be cold or hot outside. But when the weather is somewhere outside the extremes, it's hard to tell what to wear until you are outside - and then, you are already dressed and outside.

- - - - - -

Luckily, I chose something that would be perfect for the day, and went out to see Lili after her therapy appointment. She told me that her therapist thinks that having her boyfriend move in is a good thing. But I'm not sure about that, given the on again/off again nature of her relationship with him. Since it's not my place to say anything, I let things slide, and hope that she is doing the right thing.

After I was done with Lili, I took a long drive up to Catherine's in Poughkeepsie where I found a nice bra on clearance. And then, it was off to the Avenue in Newburgh where I replaced one of my nighties which fell apart last night. More shopping than I should have done, but worth it for now.  Once I pay off my bills, I'll take care of purchasing another pair of trousers for the cooler weather.

- - - - - -

What I didn't mention so far is that I was within 5 minutes of GFJ without telling her this. She was walking across the Mid-Hudson (former railroad) bridge, and I was leaving Poughkeepsie. Given how she feels about Marian, there was no way that I was going to suggest meeting her.  I'm glad that we cut the cord that bound us, as I don't have to plan my life around her schedule anymore. Mind you, there is a part of me that would have liked for things to work out. But in the end, I don't have to worry about taking care of someone who is a fiscal wreck in my old age. And this may have been a blessing in disguise....


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The beginning of another week.

I love the feel of this dress.  By the time you read this it will likely be gone from the store, as Land's End is clearing Summer stuff out and replacing it with Autumn goods.  Should I have bought the dress?  For $29, I think it would be a good buy. But I can't justify buying any more Summer dresses when I have to prepare for cooler weather ahead.

- - - - - -

Monday came, and I was greeted by an exchange of emails from the Cat Lady (TCL).  Her stomach was still bothering her, and she decided to eat some toast. Normally, I wouldn't report on what she ate, save for the fact that she is Lactose intolerant.  However, I've felt that what she's been eating lately is causing her problems, and like GFJ, some serious rejiggering of her diet is needed.  Luckily, she is going to the doctor tomorrow (one day early) for her yearly physical, and will discuss her stomach ailments with the doctor.

On my end, I decided to do some laundry, and I put out several of my Summer dresses to air dry. While everything was in the washer, I decided to get some practice replacing the door lock for my downstairs storage compartment. And I completed this task with an extra lock I had lying around that I never got the chance to use.  (I was originally planning to replace both door locks on my main entrance, and never got the chance to do so.)  Once I was done, I took the rest of my laundry (other colored stuff and whites) upstairs, then prepared to go out in Marian Mode.

Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to go over to Paramus and do some damage to my credit card.  It was time for me to get some female trousers I could wear in the cooler weather that fit me at my current size. So it was off to Catherine's I went, with a trip across the westbound span of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. I bought a pair in black, but will go back in a few weeks to buy a pair in gray, navy, and tan colors.  This will allow me to wear some of my tops and not stand out as much by wearing a dress when cisgender women wouldn't be doing so.

On the way home, I stopped by Walmart to find the automated key cutting machine. The lock I had only had a single key.  (I obviously took out the other key to get duplicates made, but couldn't bother to find them to save myself some effort and money.) While in the parking lot, I read another message from TCL.  She went to the allergist for a shot, and he checked his records.  TCL did not have Celiac disease as I suspected. But she might as well have had it, as she was allergic to wheat.  Now, TCL has another group of foods to take out of her diet.

- - - - - -

Tuesday was a day that I had to get up earlier than usual.  I had made a brunch date with a lady I "met" from Plenty of Fish. She may be an early bird because of her teenage daughter, but I am not.  So I had to set my alarms to get me moving before 9 am. Although I needed the first of these alarms to bring me into consciousness, the other ones were turned off as I was up and moving.

I shudder a little each time I tell Lili that I'm seeing a woman for a casual cup of coffee. She wants me to find someone with which I can be codependent. I simply want a friend I can be intimate with. There is a big difference between our goals. Yes, the almost daily phone call with GFJ does take the edge off of things. But it still doesn't change one of my goals - to find a woman who'd accept me for who I am, and me for who she is. I will make a compromise or two. But I am too old to think that I can give up the things I really need in life to be with someone who I can live with.

After meeting this lady, SS, I felt like to see her again. (And she felt the same way.) The two of us were at Panera Bread in White Plains for 3 hours, eating and playing Scrabble.  It's a nice feeling, but I shudder when I think of having to reveal Marian to her - especially when she has a teenage daughter. This is a bridge I'll cross when/if I come to it.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Current affairs of the non-romantic kind

The above painting was done in 1869. The Civil War was over for 4 years, and the wounds of the war had yet to start healing. The South was clinging to a pre-war image of an ideal society, and they had no qualms about trying to reconstruct a society based on the superiority of the White race and the subjugation of all other peoples. Before the war, as I understand it, there were an equal number of Jews in both North and South. After the war, if you weren't a "God fearing Christian", you were made to feel unwelcome enough to leave the land your family may have been a part of for generations. People of color had it much, much worse.

Why am I thinking of this today?  Well, the rights of all of us (TG, Cisgender, etc.) are under attack from an unholy populist coalition.

- - - - - -

It took almost 100 years for the rights of Blacks to be recognized by the Federal court system. But this didn't mean that Blacks became fully enabled citizens of our republic. 60+ years after "Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka", we have a resurgence of the KKK and other White Nationalist groups. It is a sickness that took generations to take hold in America, and will take generations to fade away.

Years ago, the Democratic party had two factions.  The Southern faction wanted a KKK member to be the party's nominee, while the Northern faction wanted a Catholic for the nominee. It took the convention over 100 separate votes to choose a presidential nominee and neither of the 2 front runners was chosen. Neither side could afford to cede any ground to the other, and the party chose a nominee who was doomed to fail.

Sadly, today's GOP selected the most odious candidate simply because the party leaders did not want to lose the racist part of the party base - and they sold their souls to populists to win the general election. Now, we're seeing what a minimally competent racist can do if given power. And we transgenders are one of the groups in the sights of people who hate.

Our current president truly believes that the "Alt-Right" groups are not completely evil in nature. But when these groups fly the Nazi flag, then they lose the right to be respected. Senator Orrin Hatch came out against the Alt-Right when he saw these punks carrying the swastika in their march. He had a brother who died fighting Nazis, and was disgusted by those who claim that "White Power" doesn't mean the subjugation of people of color. He believes that America's promises should be for all people, not just those who have the right skin color.

Recently, the president issued an edict against transgenders in the military. He claimed that it costs too much to provide medical services for this small fragment of the nation's service personnel. The truth proves him wrong (as usual). The money spent on transgender health care is much less than the total monies spent on erectile dysfunction medicines for all service personnel.

Frankly, I would not want to serve in a military who might be used to suppress the rights of American citizens. We have seen the military used to harm law abiding Americans before, and it can happen again. If I were young enough to be serving in today's military, I'd strongly consider waiting until my hitch was up, then figure out a way to emigrate to Canada before the shit hits the fan. But, being in my 60's, it pays for me to play out my hand in life, and hope that I can avoid the worst of things that might come.

One of my internet friends (who I have met in person at Fantasia Fair) has talked about leaving this country if things get too bad under the current GOP regime. She contacted me in regard to a post I made in Facebook, and I gave her the publicly available information regarding a way to enter Canada and apply for asylum. (I already know other routes, and I expect that they will stay open for now.) Hopefully, she will never need to use this escape route. But it is there for now if we need it.

Why should we be thinking about leaving the country we love?  Currently, we have a republic whose norms are being trashed by a despot wannabe. The rule of law is being subverted by abuses of power. Human rights are being ignored in the name of preserving social order. We have a large segment of the citizenry who accepts this leader's lies without challenge, and will consider anyone to be a traitor who attempts to call this leader out for lying.  We've seen this happen in Central Europe, and we've seen the results.  We're getting to the point where our elected leadership will be powerless to stop this leader - and it frightens me.  It took only a year for the Central European country to change from a democratic republic to a despotic authoritarian land - and it can happen here just as quickly.

There are still some transgenders who do not want to see the truth.  We as a class are at serious risk.  Other classes are at risk as well. In an age of internet monitoring, the metadata attached to our encrypted communications is enough for a willing government to subjugate us. There are already programs in use in many lands to suppress what could have become another "Arab Spring". Once a person is identified in these lands, there is no telling how much suffering that person may face - if he/she is allowed to live at all.  Can you imagine what would happen if our government's relatively benign use of these technologies were to change into something more sinister?

My advice is to keep an eye on what is happening with both left and right wing activists.  Who is getting labeled by "the powers that be" as being good and being bad will be important for us to tell whether we now are in immediate danger. Sadly, the people in the middle will be the slowest to respond to this danger, as they see it affecting others. Somehow, we have to sensitize them to the danger while there is still time to do so. If we can't, then it's time to plan for the worst....

Monday, September 4, 2017

Making room in an apartment

If I had known that the Cat Lady's (TCL) ailment would last through the weekend, I'd have reapplied polish to my nails and gone out in Marian Mode all weekend.  However, I made the most of yesterday by starting to clean out a closet, so that I can finally make room for all the things I need to keep.

My building was erected sometime in the 1960's. Unlike my parents' home, it has a lot of closet space.  The bedroom has two closets, the hallway one, with a half closet for linens. In addition, I also have a storage compartment in the basement which is the side of two closets. Used well, there is more than enough storage space for two people. Given that I have accumulated a lot of stuff in almost 35 years of living here, one can see how I would need to do a purge now and then to keep things under control. 

When TCL told me that she wanted to postpone Saturday's dinner date due to a stomach tied up in knots, I wasn't in the mood to get dressed, and I knew I needed to do something other than go outside and spend money that I don't have. So, I decided to tackle cleaning out the closet in the hallway.

So far, I have a large size storage tub filled with clothes to be donated to charity. The bulk of this donation is nightwear that I don't use anymore. Being transgender, and once having an excess of funds to spend on feminine finery, I bought a lot of silky garments that weren't practical for use on a nightly basis. Now, I wear more practical nightwear, and have kept only a few of the silky things I used to enjoy.

Of course, I have other things worth donating such as a once used bathroom scale (it can't handle someone of my weight), an old rarely worn wig (it was my late wife's), more books, and other stuff not worth itemizing here. I'm hoping that I can put everything into the car and drop it all off at appropriate facilities sometime this week.

Decluttering an apartment has to be an ongoing activity for me. It's not the thing one does when one is busy. It is something one does when one has idle time. Now that the idleness that came my way is a constant presence, I might as well tackle this task when I have nothing better to do.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

And a little about the Cat Lady

Today's plans had me going to see the Cat Lady for dinner.  However, something threw her stomach into reverse, and at the time I started writing this entry, she was unsure of whether she'd be able to make it for dinner.

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The way I see things, I feel that TCL (as I'll call her for now) sees me as a dinner companion, and not much more than that. And that's OK with me.  I'm happy to have someone to do things with, as I don't have enough other outlets to keep me busy.

Recently, TCL lost one of her 3 cats, after a long illness that had TCL taking the cat back and forth to the vet on a biweekly basis. The cat avoided eating for a long time, and wasn't able to hold down its food near the end of its life. One of the two other cats has changed its behavior a little. But the greatest effect of this change was on TCL, as she was feeling grief stronger than I would have expected.

TCL has been divorced for years, and receives a minimal amount of alimony from her ex-husband. Years ago, her husband wasn't paying child support on time, and there wasn't much TCL could do but to take care of her kids with what little money she was earning. The alimony she now collects doesn't even pay for the taxes on her house, and the ex is playing games to have the effective value of that alimony reduced.  Of her 3 kids, 2 of them live within a day's drive of her house. The other one lives halfway across the continent in a small Nebraska town.  So it is a rare thing for the family to get together in one place at any one time.

The last time her family was all together was when her son got married. This is when I envied her a little bit (as much as she disliked the chore), as she went shopping for a new frock to wear at her son's wedding. (Too bad that I hadn't revealed to her my TG nature, and volunteered to go shopping with her as Marian.) She saw her ex there, and was sensitized to how her children seem closer to her ex than to her.  This is sad, but I can understand this given her way of speaking around me.

TCL is close to retirement age, but doesn't have enough money to fully retire. (We are in very similar situations.) As a special ed teacher, she has to deal with a lot of children who have learning issues. However, she no longer works in a traditional school setting. Instead, she works in a hospital setting. And this produces its own set of headaches, one of which is that the students rotate in and out of the place, often unexpectedly. She has to be able to deal with any child at any level of ability, with whatever problems the child brings in from the outside world.  I don't envy her one bit.

Not being able to fully retire is making TCL think about moving to a lower cost place of living.  But once she leaves the NYC suburbs, she knows she will be locked into her new area for life. And she doesn't like her options so far.  Like GFJ, TCL's smartest move would be to find a man who is in a similar situation, and pool resources to live out a more comfortable retirement.

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Sadly, TCL's situation is all too common. Hopefully, society will gradually evolve processes to protect people like TCL and GFJ in their old age. But I don't see it happening in our lifetimes....

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A quiet end to the week.

I haven't worn the above dress in a while.  It's not because I don't like the dress.  Instead, it's because I haven't had the right occasions to be wearing the dress.  It's not too fancy, but I can't dress it down the way I can dress down other dresses in my wardrobe.

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It usually takes me about an hour from the point I decide to go into the shower to the point I am shaved, showered, made up and dressed. So I budget at least this hour to get ready for the day, as I don't want to rush too much and make mistakes of omission.  Given how late I got up today, I made sure that I had a two hour buffer between the time I had to get moving and the time I was expected at the GLBT center.

As usual as of late, I arrived at the GLBT center about 5 minutes late. But this didn't matter much, as the director had to organize things a little so that I could do some work. After a couple of hours, I was starting to fall out - and I realized that it was likely caused by a low sugar level (it was already after 5 pm) with too much blood flowing through my caffeine stream. A sinus headache was starting to get to me as well. These symptoms told me that it was time to go out and get something to eat.

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I rarely go to the Chinese Buffet near my house, as I am always tempted to eat too much. Given how little I had to eat, I could afford to indulge a little - and did. By the time I left, my sinus headache was starting to kill me, so I decided to go home and rest. Shortly after getting home, I put my head on the pillow and nodded off.  Bill Maher couldn't keep me awake, as I fell asleep shortly after the monologue.

Shortly after midnight, I woke up again. Finally, after an allergy pill, my sinuses started to drain, and my headache eased off....

Friday, September 1, 2017

Thursday - A blunder that could cost me.

When I got up this morning, I had two things on my list of things to do: (1) Seeing Joanie at her mom's nursing home, and (2) Game Night.  Since I didn't feel like driving home and changing clothes just to go play games, I figured that I'd visit as Marian.  However, she was expecting Mario - in part, because she was there when I started to go out as Marian, and remembered the poor presentation I was making.

Arriving at the nursing home, I was a little surprised to find the place was a gated community. I guess that this would keep the residents inside the grounds (under the control of the facility) while giving them the freedom to explore the place. I announced who I was there to see, and was buzzed in with no problem. So far, so good. Signing in at the desk was no problem. But when Joanie looked at me she was very upset.  I told her that I would leave, and she said no - but continued being upset.  So again, I said that I'd go. But she said to stay.  So stay I did.

There was a little tension in the air at first. But when I saw her mother, I knew that Joanie had a hell of a lot to deal with - and that I made a mistake by not confirming things before driving to see her.  Her mom has a private apartment in this facility, but will soon be likely need to be transferred to a "memory care" facility.  Joanie was sad, as she noticed that her mom could no longer remember her (Joanie's) name.  We eventually went downstairs to the weekly "happy hour", where they give everyone appetizers and mixed drinks while a singer entertains the residents of the facility.  By the time the performance was done, Joanie was in a better mood, and we went back upstairs to chat a little bit longer before they went for dinner.

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As I was leaving the nursing home, I got a call from my brother. He told me to expect to put one last dollop of money into the kitty for the house. If I had known the game he was playing with the town tax collector, I'd have fronted the money to keep our taxes up to date. Instead, we'll have to play catch up with the monies we will be receiving for the rest of this year. While on the phone with my brother, GFJ called. So I called her back as she was going to the Dutchess County Fair for a musical performance and to have a good time with her friends. As for me, I was going to Panera Bread for dinner, and then to game night.

Game night was uneventful. But the drive home could have been something else. There is a new traffic pattern on the Sprain Brook Parkway between Routes 287 and 100-C.  This new pattern facilitates the reconstruction of the bridges over a local road. But, being tired, I noticed that I was making a mistake that could have cost me big time. The road may have shifted, but they did not yet paint over the old lane markings.  So if I didn't get alert at the last moment, I could have crashed into a divider. Instead, I shifted to the new path of the lane (and to the next lane as the traffic was funneled into one lane) and just felt a little embarrassed for not being as careful as I should have been when entering the construction zone.

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One blunder happened and one blunder was mitigated.  Things could be much worse. Right now, I'm thankful that I didn't get into an accident, and grateful that I am safe....

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tuesday and Wednesday - A need for sleep ruled each day

Lili at her mother's house.  

As much as I've complained about my brother, he has been a blessing over the past couple of years. And the stresses of having to deal with my dad and the family homestead has forced us to learn ways of talking to each other.  Lili has not been so lucky. She ended up the main family member looking after her mom as her mom's dementia stole her mom's mind away from her. And afterwards, she is the person leading the efforts to fix up this house for sale.  Lili is all alone in her effort, and yet, she has the support of her friends to get this job done.

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I had promised to Lili that I'd be there for her to help with cleaning out this house.  Her mother's husband refused to let any of the family members into the place for two years - until they (as I understand it) paid him to leave the house a year early. So when Lili told me that the place was a mess, I didn't realize how much of a mess that I'd be walking into on Tuesday.

Morning came, and I knew that I'd need coffee to get through the day.  I got dressed as Marian, and waited for Lili to pick me up at 10 am. By the time we got to her mom's house, it was 11:30, and the day workers were well into their task of ripping up the carpets and tossing them into the heavy duty roll-away dumpster taking up the whole of the house's driveway. (They were doing some minor demolition work as well.) I had looked into the dumpster, and it was approximately 40% full. Little did I know that we'd double that by the end of the day.

Unfortunately, the air conditioning wasn't working and I was starting to get extremely uncomfortable in Marian mode. (The wig alone adds 10-15 degrees to the temperature I have to deal with.)  So when Lili started to be finicky in regard to dumping her mom's clothes into bags for Goodwill, I was in fine form. If I couldn't find a way to be comfortable, I'd be asking her to take me to the train station so that I could go home.  Lucking, I found a small fan downstairs, and I was able to start packing the dishes we would be donating to charity.

Shortly afterward, Lili's friends came, and we were able to get things done.  While I finished up packing the dishes, they worked with Lili to clear out a bedroom which was densely packed with clothes (and other stuff) to the point that one could barely enter the room from a side entrance. And this is where they started to bag up the clothes headed for Goodwill, while I started to empty several bookcases of old encyclopedias, Readers Digest condensed books, and other disposable stuff.

By the time we were done for the day at 6:30, we had at least 25 bags of clothes destined for Goodwill (see above photo), with much more work left to be done (see below photo).

You'll note that this room is relatively "empty" in relation to the bedroom I described earlier. Imagine a garage this size filled to the brim with stuff from other day's cleaning efforts, and you'll wonder how the husband of Lili's mom could have lived in this house for the past two years.  If you look closer at this photo, you'll see the back of a semi-circular couch which has been eaten away by an animal of some kind. There is a space in the adjoining room where this animal had ruined the wall and exposed the outside brickwork, as well as a hole in the floor which the animal may have used for an escape. How could this fellow live in such a disaster zone?  I'll never have the answer to this question.

At 6:30, we left the house and went out for dinner.  I stuffed myself silly as well as sucking down enough liquid to drown a horse.  (The food was good, I was hungry, and I was  dehydrated from not having a drop to drink since lunch time.)  And then it was time to go home.  Lili dropped me off around 10 pm, and again, I was unable to get to sleep until after 3 am.

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I paid for my lack of sleep on Tuesday night by again not moving until late Wednesday morning. It wasn't until my brother called me to give a status update on our house that I decided to get up for the day. From what I understand, our handyman would fix a problem wit the toilet during the day, my brother would connect the upstairs radiator in the evening, and my brother's friend would complete the trim work in the upstairs bedroom tomorrow.

As usual, I didn't do much during the day except watch the talking heads on the news channel. While I was resting, Lili was on the phone all day - including a chat with the handyman who worked on my family's homestead. And tomorrow, he will be going over to Lili's mom's place to inspect the house so that he can give Lili an estimate for work she wants done. 

Late in the afternoon, I got shaved, showered, made up and dressed, and readied myself to go out in Marian mode. I figured that I'd drive up to The Avenue in Newburgh and see if two pairs of shoes were still available for sale on clearance. One was a heeled sandal without a back strap, and the other was a slip on pair of sneakers with bungee cord like laces. I figure that I could break in this pair of sandals in what remains of summer, while the sneakers could be used year round.  Well, I figured that I couldn't go wrong for $12 on the sandals, and for $19, the sneakers were a bargain!

While shopping, DD told me about how things have been going in her life. Her husband had just lost his job, as his firm is outsourcing delivery services to another firm. She is working extra time at both the diner and at the store, as well as doing house cleaning for two clients. DD is one of those women Donna Summer sang about when she performed "She works hard for the money."  But this was not all.  Her daughter took the family car, and got into an accident with DD's grandchild inside. Someone rear ended the daughter's car, and pinned the daughter inside the car. Her child called 911 for her, repeating the mother's words: "The Bitch hit me!" (If I heard that phrase without any context, I'd think child abuse was going on. However, DD's grandchild repeats phrases as a parrot would. And this is common for a child of that age.) Emergency services then asked this young child for information, and she said that her grandmother (DD) worked at the diner across the river and at a clothing store nearby. She also mentioned the type of store where her daddy worked (the kid was saying something like "mid... town" and Emergency Services wasn't sure if the kid said "Midtown" or "Middletown". Nor could the child identify where Grandpa worked. Eventually, Emergency Services called DD and told her to get over to her daughter and grandchild ASAP.  But there is more.  When the fire department got to the car, they had to use the "Jaws of Life" to get the mother out of the car. So the child was talking about an alligator taking a bite out of the car to get the mother out.  No, I'm not doing justice to DD and what's been going on in her life. I'm just glad my life is going better than hers....

On the way home, I talked to both Lili and GFJ. Lili told me that her brother is reluctantly helping with the house, showing people the house and explaining what needs to be done from information prepared by Lili. After I was done with Lili, I called GFJ, and we chatted about the day's events.  This is not unusual for us. But it is unusual for two people who are not "officially" in a relationship any more.