Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A woman's work is never done - especially when she doesn't do it.

After a very quiet weekend, GFJ left this morning and drove up to Albany for a doctor's appointment. So I had the whole day for myself to rest and relax. This is what I did for most of the day, until I decided to empty some of the storage boxes in my closet.

Over the years, I've stuffed lots of things into my closets.  Old photos that I'll never view again take up a bit of the space in one closet.  In my downstairs storage space, I'm storing over 600 vinyl albums, plus enough books to stock a small library. So cleaning out what I've stashed away will take up a lot of time, as I have to go through everything and ruthlessly purge what I don't ever plan to use again.

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I had several things on my docket for today for when GFJ left, and none of them got done.  One of the things I wanted to do was to get back to work on NPW's new web site.  However, since I've been preoccupied by other things, I've neglected this task.  Another thing I wanted to do was to put the new registration sticker on my car's windshield.  Given how the weather was when I finally got outside, this was a task best deferred to a sunny day. But I did take care of an important thing - finding out whether my niece would mind me seeing her this Wednesday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while I'm en-femme.  And she didn't mind one bit. YAY!

Late in the afternoon, I started to take rarely opened boxes out of the closet and inspected what I could toss in the garbage. One of the things I found was a bunch of old photos, many of which have copies in photo albums. So I sorted through the box, and tossed out 90% of the photos, keeping the negatives and a select subset of the prints. And the pictures below brought back some fun memories.

The above ex-girlfriend introduced me to shorty nighties, and we had great physical chemistry.  Too bad that she was a "ricochet romance".- she deserved someone who was in love with her first.

 The above gentleman was a DJ who my AOL Widows and Widowers group paid to travel from Pennsylvania to many of our gatherings, as he was that much fun to have with us.

And then there is Karen.  She was always good with a well meaning gag, but wondered why she wasn't attracting quality men.  One day, she asked me about this, wondering if she should lower her standards. I told her that I'd be looking to date her if we were geographically desirable to each other, and to wait for the right man.  She took my advice, and is living with a great fellow now.  (If I had lived anywhere near her, I would have at least asked her out on a date - she is a great lady, and a very sweet one as well.)

The bulk of the pictures that I sorted through were tossed out, as I know I'll never go through them again.  Many of the pictures were of people I met at W/W gatherings, and of whom I don't even remember their names.  It's a shame, but I was less concerned about preserving memories than I was of preserving images. So I doubt that I will miss these pictures the next time I want to revisit old memories.

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Eventually, I decided to go outside, not even having looked out the window.  So I checked the water to see if the hot water heater problem we experienced over the weekend was fixed. Finding that hot water was coming out of the tap, I decided to take a nice hot shower. After that, I got dressed and went outside as Marian.  

If I had known how bad the weather was, I'd have stayed indoors.  (Don't trust Microsoft's Weather forecasts, as they are much less accurate than you'll get from Google.)  When I got to my car, I had to brush off some sleet before going out.  The roads were slippery, and I decided to only go to the buffet instead of going window shopping.  I still want to pick up a couple of small items from the stores, and I'll do that when the weather is better for driving. 

Once I was done eating, I ended up going straight home.  And it was a good thing I did, as I didn't feel safe on the roads - even at a slower speed than usual.

Monday, January 30, 2017

And now for something different....

Years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing this musical way, way, way Off Broadway. The staging was hilarious, as the sex scenes were removed, musical numbers added, and the awful dialogue preserved.

You might be asking about the reasons I mention this old play.  Well, after the recent presidential inauguration and the changes signaled by this administration, I think that my audience might want to have a chuckle or two.  So I am starting out by suggesting that you view this set of amateur videos. (Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical - Part 1)

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Not all people are in the mood to see a sanitized porn film turned into a play. One might prefer to watch a short TV film made about a jewel robbery.  (The Incredible Jewel Robbery - Part 1)  Not a single word is spoken until the end of the story - and it might be the best gag in the film.

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Of course, I am known for my cynical sense of humor, and suggest that you watch this short musical number by Tom Lehrer before you ingest your favorite recreational substance. ("So Long Mom", a song for World War 3.)  His songs are as relevant today as they were 50+ years ago when they were recorded. And I wish that this man had recorded more stuff to both entertain and warn us about man's follies.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The day before and the worries afterward.

Trump's inauguration day came and went, and no one knows what to expect but the worst. For this T-Gal, I don't expect many important changes at first, save an attitude of caution - we don't know what is coming, but the lunatics are leaving the asylum without their medicine.

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I am not focusing on what is happening at the top levels of government today.  Instead, I'm focusing on the people who believe that things will change for the better. These are people who bought into the story that America's greatness had to be restored, even though it never stopped being great in the first place. They see Trump as a success, and do not care how he achieved his position in society.  He is a poor person's impression of how a rich person is supposed to be - self indulgent, misogynist, and surrounded by excessive opulence. And his supporters have drunk the Kool Aid.

I'll admit that I held my nose when I voted for Hillary.  She claimed to represent change, but this was the furthest thing from her mind.  Her critics were right in the fact that she was only looking out for her self interest. But they were wrong about the effect she would have had, as she was the true conservative candidate - the person who'd preserve the status quo. Change is good when it is well thought out, but the unknown nature of Trump's changes could be dangerous, and that's why I felt Hillary the safer choice for transgender people. We had rights, and I know that a Justice Department under her could continue to protect those rights.

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As I write this entry, none of Trump's cabinet picks has been approved by the Senate. Although I expect that they all will be confirmed, I still have hope that some will make fatal mistakes, and be rejected by enough Republicans to prevent them from taking office. The GOP appears to soon get everything it wants without checks and balances, and I'm not sure of what will happen to human rights in the process. Trump has already said that he believes in torture - something the military side of his cabinet rejects. But what about voting rights, health care rights, education rights, and all the other things we take for granted?  None of his cabinet picks for the civilian side of things gives me confidence. All of them have spoken against transgender rights, or are affiliated with organizations that oppose respecting our rights.

A lot of damage can be done in 4 years, and I can only worry about what we're likely to see. When I see "Religious Freedom Restoration Acts" being posed, I wonder what was taken away from people except the right to discriminate against others because of who and what they are. If it is wrong to say that a Black person can't go to a washroom because he/she is colored, then it is equally wrong to prevent a transgender person presenting in his/her gender from going to the bathroom because he/she was not identified at birth as belonging to that gender.  It's the same hatred, but a different group being targeted this time.

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Do I feel that all people voting for Trump were bad people?  No.  But I do think many of them are misguided.  Living in the New York City area, I've had the "pleasure" of being exposed to Trump from an early age. And I saw the man for what he really is - a self absorbed person who can't take responsibility for his actions, but will take credit for any success in his vicinity.  Those who haven't seen him this close might see him as a decent person who can manage all of his conflicts of interest. There is no way for me to do so, having been exposed to the underbelly of some of his businesses via news reporting. Many of his supporters called the mainstream media as the "Lugenpresse", a term used in Hitler's Germany to slander honest news reporting as lies. In 1930's Germany, say a lie enough times, and people will believe it to be the truth.  But Trump added to this by lying enough times that no one expected him to tell truths, and they stopped caring about the truth altogether.

Trump supporters have been seduced by the master of pitchmen, and I'm afraid that the cabinet members he picked will be out to harm us as part of their "bonus plan".  This man is NOT a detail oriented person, and he delegates everything to his trusted lieutenants. John Kasich was offered the job of Vice President under Trump. Kasich asked, what would be my responsibilities, and Trump responded that he'd delegate virtually all of the responsibilities to his VP, saying that Trump would be in charge of making America great again.  Kasich, the honorable man he is, declined the position, leaving the spot open for Pence to assume. And he, like all other Trump picks is a big risk to us.

Trump's team is out of touch with most of his supporters when it comes to transgender folk.  Most simply want to live and let live.  Don't rub things in our faces, and we'll show you the respect we'd give others. Yes, there are preachers that stir things up, and cause people to worry. But most people simply want to get on with their lives and be left alone.

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So where is the trouble coming from?  The masses are all too easily manipulated by fear. When one loses his/her job, and no replacement comes - people worry.  Most people are 3 paychecks from destitution. So it is easy to manipulate them by saying that illegal aliens are taking their jobs, that transgender people are an abomination to god, that human rights are a luxury.  Whatever line is fed to the masses, they will often respond out of being fearful of any change that could make things even worse. 

A while back, I read an article that explained why North Korea can not allow things to improve for its citizens. The article explained that as long as things keep getting worse, people will fear standing up for their rights, because they can be sacrificed for the interests of the state.  But if things get even slightly better, people may risk challenging the state, and the regime may fall.  A similar thing is being done the people in our Red States. For the most part, the rural areas are dying, and there is no effective safety net for the people who live there. They are expected to be self reliant, and if they suffer - it was God's will. Those that have jobs are afraid to stand up for their workplace rights, as they could easily be permanently unemployed the next day. So how can these people manage risk, when they often don't have a pot to piss in?

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I am worried.  The signs of history are all around us, and our society may be making the same mistakes that caused other free people to lose their freedoms.  We will be among the first if the worst happens.  So I hope you are now hunkering down, and figuring out more than one way to weather the coming storm....

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A day volunteering and a night with the gals.

The end of the week, and the last of a couple of days spent as Marian.  It'll be a long while until I get the chance to spend 5 days in a row in Marian mode, and I have to get used to Mario being out more than I'd like. If I get a job soon, it'll be even longer before I can spend 5 days in a row as Marian.  So I figure that I must enjoy this time while it lasts.

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Over the past couple of weeks, I have ordered both sets of prosthesis that I use, with extra items for use.  In both cases, I received my shipments in two parts: My new wig and wig stand were shipped separately, as well as my breast forms and two sided tapes.  Now, I can go out as Marian feeling "completely new".  I figure that I'll wait for a special day to start using these items.

Unlike most Fridays, I spent today doing a volunteer stint at the GLBT center.  The mood there was somber, as it appears that Trump is about to allow the ultra conservatives from the GOP to discriminate against our community based on what is now displayed on the White House's web site.  As has been said elsewhere, "Hold on to your hats, this is going to be a bumpy ride."

Once done there, it was off to a night with the ladies.  Dinner at the Diner was fine, and I know I won't have my ham and eggs in North Carolina anytime soon.  The lady who wished me a Happy Thanksgiving on OK Cupid was there, and we had a nice long chat - as ladies are wont to do. But she was not the only lady with whom I had a long chat - the lady across from me was very conversational too.  There was only one disadvantage to sitting at my end of the table - there were several other ladies I'd have liked to speak with who were at the wrong end of the table.

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It's very nice to be considered one of the ladies.  The more time I spend in Marian mode, the less I want to return to being Mario. Ideally, I'd get so relaxed using my female voice, that it would become more natural to me than my male voice. As it is, HWA noted that my female voice is at a higher pitch than hers.  And I "sort of" passed a "telephone test" when I went to Mickey D's recently and had a woman identify me as "Miss" without seeing me (as far as I can tell). So I know I'm a good distance along this road I travel, and I'm hoping that our nation's politics do not get in the way of me (and others like me) from becoming our authentic selves.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chatting with HWA before game night

I had to hunt for a while for a picture of a woman (in this case, Molly Picon) who reminds me of a young HWA, with all the spunk and optimism this woman had (and still has).  And the above picture seems to do just that.

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As I start my blog entries, I often mention how many important things I had on my to-do list for the day.  Although I had a lot of free time I could use, I booked HWA for 2:00 pm, so that I'd have a lot time to chat and still be able to make game night. 

When I got up this morning, I really didn't want to get movingBut I knew I had to be ready in time to meet HWA. As usual, I was a little bit late, as I got distracted by a movie while getting ready to go outside as Marian.  This wasn't an issue, as HWA lives in the next building over to mine, and she had things she could do at home.

Arriving at HWA's place, the first thing I noticed was her haircut.  Her hair was shorter than Molly's above, and could almost be considered mannish had it not been on a cisgender female head and body.  HWA is an artist, and had her work exhibited in local galleries.  So if you were to look at her, you'll usually see her in denim - vest and jeans, with comfortable cotton shirts used for layering. I don't want you to think she's "Butch" - she has been with the same boyfriend for years, and they are truly part of each other's families.

HWA and I ended up chatting about many things over the 4 1/2 hours we were together. As usual, her boyfriend was "up North" being there for an ailing friend. So we had all the time in the world for ourselves to chat.  And, as expected, some of our chat involved our new president and the parallels with Central Europe in the 1930's.  Sadly, the Jewish Experience of her generation gives her good cause to worry, as she was raised to be hyper vigilant when it comes to bombastic politicians.

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Around 7:00 pm, I had to leave for Yonkers.  So I went back to my apartment and grabbed my heavy coat before trekking down South.  It was very nice playing a couple of games with the two other ladies there.  But the conversation afterwards was even more rewarding, as the three of us showed interest in visiting some of the restaurants and bars I've wanted to visit in NYC.  I can imagine a "Girl's Night Out" with these two ladies, and I hope it happens soon!

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On the way home, I chatted with both Lili and GFJ.  Nothing important was covered in our online chat.  Instead, it was nice to have someone to talk to on the way home. And it was a nice way to end a long day....      

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Back in the city again

Today, I had two things on the docket: (1) Visiting my dad on Long Island, and (2) Attending the monthly chapter meeting of the PMI-NYC in Manhattan. Although the weather was a little dreary, it was a perfect day to take care of both things.  I had no scheduling issues, save for getting out of the house on time.  So I expected to have a smooth time of it.

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As usual, I got out of the house a bit later than I planned on doing.  Since this was going to be a day completely spent en-homme, I figured that I might as well break out my blue blazer for the PMI meeting and go a little dressier than usual.

It was almost 1:00 pm by the time I left the apartment, and it was off to Long Island. This was the smoothest trip to see my dad in a long time, maybe it was because I hit traffic right. Who knows?  But I encountered a bit of a delay when trying to park at the nursing home, as the valet parking was way overtaxed by the people who were coming and going. So, I ended up parking a couple of short blocks away from the nursing home.

When I finally caught up with my dad, we had one of our longer chats, and I could have kept at it for another hour the way were going, save that I had to make it to Astoria by 4:45 pm in order to make it to the PMI meeting on time.  So, around 3:45 or so, I left my dad, and stopped by the family homestead to check on the progress of work going on there. My brother has been doing a good job in keeping track of the details, so I have no complaints right now.  I took the mail from the mailbox inside, and then called my brother to let him know where I left them before leaving the house.

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Getting to Astoria was much easier than usual, and I made it to a parking spot by 4:45 pm. My brother called me as I was about to get on the train, telling me that he might have a renter for the place as soon as it is ready.  I had to cut him short, as I had to get on the subway, but would make sure to call him when I got back to the car.

At this point, getting to the PMI meeting was more of an anticlimactic moment, as I felt that I already accomplished a lot for the day.  Yet, I had a few good chats during the networking session. Then, I enjoyed the presentation given by the keynote speaker. All too soon, it was time to go home, so I made my way back to my car and to make my calls when there.

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My brother and I chatted for the third time for the day when I called him.  It seems like the daughter of one of his coworkers is looking for a place to rent, and she is interested in renting our place.  I'm not completely happy with this, as she's the daughter of one of my brother's coworkers - even though he is not in my brother's chain of command. But, since there is no direct link between my brother and this lady's dad, I can live with this choice of tenant.

Next, it was a short call to Lili, and she now wants to have me meet her boyfriend. I'm not ready for that in either gender presentation. I plan to tell Lili that I will either meet with this man as Mario or Marian, but never switch around him.

Then came my phone call with GFJ. It seems as if she has another stress fracture in the bones of her right foot, and will be in a "boot" for another 5 weeks.  AARGH!  There goes any outdoor winter activities for her.  I feel for her, as she has been plagued with problems for over a  year now, and I know she misses all the things she's grown to love doing outdoors.  Hopefully, the boot will come off the next time she visits her foot doctor.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Catching up with things

I must have needed rest, as I forgot to make a post for Monday and Tuesday. (I wrote about something that happened on Monday. But I could have published it at any time, since it was related to how I responded to an upset reader.)  So I'll catch up with a single post, and take care of the rest later.

Both days were very quiet days.  Monday, I stayed in the house all day, save a trip to the supermarket to pick up some stuff. And on Tuesday, I did the same, except to get mail from my mailbox. Two Jammie days in a row!  YAY!  But I was very glad that GFJ was away, as I probably needed a good rest.

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Sometimes, I find that I need quiet days for myself - and both Monday and Tuesday were perfect for being by myself. There was a part of me that wanted to be with people, and especially en-femme. And in a way, I indulged that a little when I went out to the supermarket. But I didn't have much social contact with anyone, so being en-femme was more to take the edge off than anything else.

I'll admit that I am not blessed with a classic female figure, nor do I look like anything other than an overweight female when I go out en-femme. And yet, I have issues with others who don't present as well as I do. This is especially true when I see or meet other trans women who do not pass the "at a quick glance" test. Go figure.  Even though I know in my mind that not all trans women are "passable" for cisgender women, my gut still reacts from the socialization many of us had as children.  So there is still a big part about being trans that I am still not 100% comfortable with yet, and it's something I have to work on.

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There's an old saying about being idle and being the devil's servant.  And in a way, that's true, because idleness rots the brain a little.  Hopefully, I'll soon be free of idleness and back to work....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Responding to a person filled with irrational ideas.

This year's political season was as if two people were shouting very loud, because both were deaf to the others' legitimate concerns.  We had the two most disliked candidates in recent memory, and (sadly) one of them had to lose.  In an ideal world, both would have lost, and we'd have another election if "none of the above" were to win.

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I'm not going to focus on the merits of either candidate.  Instead, I'm going to focus on what the following "hit and run" comment in a recent post means to transgender people like me.  The comment:

I am truly amazed at just how dangerous and subversive your ideas are. Just because we won't let you into our restrooms in your shabby wigs and ugly dresses. When was the last time you were beat up or even called out for being a man in a dress?

"Create cognitive dissonance"? This is exactly what the Nazis did in their campaign of extermination against the Jews. You are either completely selfish and self centered or just plain ignorant when advocating for the undermining and destruction of the most prosperous, open and tolerant society on earth.

This person has no clue about what he or she is talking about. First, I am not calling for undermining America.  I am calling for undermining the power of a potential tyrant. Everything that comes out of Trump's mouth is a lie, including the words "and" and "the". And he has used countless lies to gain power, manipulating people who do not care about lies, promises, or even personal ethics. All these people wanted was change, and they didn't care about what that change was.

I responded to this person with the following:

You ask when I was attacked. I have seen people attacked who are cisgender, for the crime" of looking butch. In one case in Detroit, a security guard hassled the "Butch" looking cisgender female while she was in her stall - resulting in a lawsuit against the establishment. Others have reported that there are people who peep through the cracks in lavatory stalls to determine whether a person is cisgender or trans. So don't give me your crap. You are part of the problem, defending a corrupt subgroup of the larger society.

If you don't think I'm right, look at one interview which had a right wing person and Jennifer Boylan. The host asked the right winger to say where Jenny could go pee (Jenny is a post-op transgender woman), and the right winger would not answer - as if he were talking about Blacks and Colored washrooms in the 1950's. Are you advocating a return to this era?

All I do when I go to the washroom is go potty, wash my hands and leave. Are you going to deny a person that? Or, are you afraid to defend your position with rational argument? But I'll fight for that right, using ALL of the tools that people who hate us use against us, when fighting for our rights.

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This is the type of problem that us transgenders will be confronting in the months to come. Trump has effectively given bullies permission to harass anyone not conforming to the 1950's  social order. And we are the low hanging fruit for now.

I suggested the following course of action:

We should present a message that takes advantage of Trump's flip flopping and lying.  If someone says that the president supports "this", then quote him as supporting "that". Create cognitive dissonance, so that people will want to question the status quo.  It won't be easy, but what else can we do while mobilizing for the 2018 congressional elections?

This is subversion at its' best. Once faith in a irrational leader has been destroyed, it becomes much easier to remove (by elections) the people who supported him.  But this window only will exist as long as we remain a democratically elected republic. But there is a fly in the ointment: State governments (especially in the South) are removing polling places and making it harder for many people to vote. And when they are not doing this, state and local governments are using gerrymandering and election rule changes (such as in Pasadena, TX) to limit the powers of minorities.

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Even if one is a Transgender who is also a Republican, this does not excuse the party as a whole for not cracking down on regional abuses of power.  The same applies for those of us who vote for Democrats.  The only way for us to conquer hate is to insure that we have honest political discussions and debates coupled with honest, meaningful elections.  The 2016 election has proven our system to be broken. And the longer it is broken, the more likely it is that we will be used as scapegoats by bullies who want to retain power.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A couple more days with GFJ

Dia: Beacon.  It's a place where large scale and repetitive art is on display. Virtually all of it is abstract, and (to me) much isn't that good.  But then, when I hear docents saying that the artists have democratized the meaning of their works, and are enabling the viewer to attach their own, it seems as if she is saying: "This work is shit, but we'll let you make it important, so that the artist can make a buck."

Not all modern art is shit.  I've seen some good stuff at Dia on a prior visit. I was just disappointed by some of the works in their permanent display (because of how they are presented), as well as others (because they are boring). There was one piece that looked interesting, but after a half mile of walking, I decided to skip.  So I could easily go again if they had another "Local Community visits for Free" day.

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On Saturday, as you might have guessed by now, GFJ and I decided to meet at Dia, and tour the museum with her friends. Well, I got there first, and found a convenient parking spot in the crowded lot. GFJ's friends got there after I was on a docent led tour, and we didn't stumble into each other for about an hour - which is when GFJ arrived at the museum.  By the time we were all together, I was ready to sit down in a comfortable chair for a while, since my knees were aching from standing in place in too many places.  (I like to keep moving, if I'm going to be on my two feet.) While the gals moseyed through the museum, I moseyed to the coffee shop, where I could find a seat and wait for the gals.

Eventually, the gals reached the museum's coffee shop, and we decided to go to Max's on Main.  Being in Mario mode, I felt very strange being with a group of gals. I'd have preferred to be Marian - and this is the second time this has happened.  First, it was meeting GFJ's friends at a coffee shop in Cornwall. And now, it was meeting them at Dia, then having dinner with them at Max's.  Could you imagine what things have been like if GFJ were comfortable with Marian and  I were out to this group?  Nah, that's the kind of wishful thinking that could get you in trouble.

I had to leave the group a little early, using the excuse that I had to return a call to my brother.  Although I did so, I had another, more pressing reason - and barely made it to my apartment's bathroom on time. By the time I was done, GFJ was coming through the door. And both of us were feeling very tired at 9:00 pm - something that rarely happens to either of us.  So we called it a night, and packed it in for the day.

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Sunday came, and neither of us had much energy to do much of anything throughout much of the day.  (This could easily become a pattern, especially when GFJ has been busy on both Friday and Saturday.)  So we stayed indoors and relaxed until it was time for GFJ to go home. (She had to work on Monday, so there was no chance of staying a second night in a row.)  But we figured that we could see a movie (Hidden Figures) together in Newburgh. And we ended up rushing to the theater just in time to see the start of the film, after ALL of the trailers had finished.

GFJ made a comment upon leaving the theater, that Hidden Figures would soon be gone from theaters like most films.  I had to disagree with that for several reasons, two of them being most salient.  First, it was a movie focusing on blacks overcoming racism in 1960's America - a message that will bring a large number of Blacks to the movies during Black History Month. And second, it is one of those rare films that I've heard people applaud after the credits started to roll.  Couple these two reasons with solid performances and good attention to detail, and I'll bet that this film will pick up a few Oscars next year.

It started to get a little nippy as we approached our cars, and I hated to see GFJ go. But if all goes as expected, she will be here next Saturday, and we can have more time for ourselves.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Breast Forms - An essential set of items for a M2F Transgender person to have

Compare the two pictures above of the same lady.  She is a breast cancer survivor.  As a cisgender female, she has a luxury that none of us transgender folk will have - her whole body sends out cues to tell the world that she is a woman - even without the breasts that (sadly) had to be removed because of cancer.  (I hope she's a long term survivor.  I can easily say that no one deserves to die from cancer, having lost a wife to that dreaded disease.)

For many of us M2F transgender folk, we often do not have a clue about breast size, and what size prosthesis we need to use. I figure that one should use a little common sense.  First, you must find out what your band size would be,  (I'll let you look up how to measure that.)  And then the fun begins.  You should then find a few internet sites that sell women's clothes, and look to find an average cup size available for that band.  Once you determine the average cup size for someone with your band size, go up a cup size - and voila! you now know what size bra you need.  Yet, this is only a first step in the process. You must go to an outlet such as The Breast Form Store to start shopping - and there you will find charts to tell you the size of breast form needed to fill out that bra you'll likely be buying.

Today, I received a set of swim forms which I intend to use in the hot tub on my autumn cruise. They do not project as much as I'd like.  But they will do the job with I am cruising with Lili - filling out a woman's swimsuit in an appropriate way.  And given their size, I probably will be able to use them after I have lost some weight, as they seem a little small - which will be not be as much of a liability as I lose weight.

Soon, I will be buying replacements for the breast forms I use today.  After 3-4 years of use, it's time to replace them, and they do show their age. And yes, I'll likely go to the Breast Form Store again, as I don't want to pay the expenses of going to a nearby "mastectomy boutique" for items I can get by mail.

Hopefully, they will find a better "cure" for breast cancer - something better than removing a part of a woman's body that is a part of her identity.  Until they do this, I'll be glad that these forms are available for women, as every little bit more feminine a woman can see herself, the healthier she will feel about herself and about life. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lunch with one of the ladies

I had only one thing on the docket for today: Lunch with the lady who introduced me to Arts Westchester. And, of course, I'd be going in Marian Mode.

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Waking up this morning, I knew that it would be a day fully spent en-femme. GFJ wouldn't be coming here until tomorrow, and I'd have a full day to socialize as Marian.  So, when the alarms woke me this morning, I made it to the dresser and pulled out a bra and panties, then made my way to the bathroom to get myself ready for a day en-femme.

As usual, I was running a few minutes late, and made it to lunch shortly after 1:00 pm. Parking was horrendous, as this restaurant (Sam's of Gedney Way) was fully booked. But I got my proof that this restaurant was located over the path the former NYB&W railroad once ran. So when I got upstairs, I was pleased to find my friend sitting at a table across from the bar.  We talked of many things (as women will do), and time seemed to pass without us being aware of it. But all too soon, it was time to go - and both of us took our leave.

GFJ was preoccupied with her mom in the hospital.  Although they did some tests at 10:00 am, no one bothered to give her any results until after 3:00 pm.  It's amazing how hospitals and doctors can find ways to waste one's time.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to speak to GFJ until the evening, so all I could do is exchange text messages to get current status.

After lunch, I made it across the river, and drove down to Catherine's to again go bra shopping.  This time, I found an underwire bra in a style I liked.  I figure that I should get used to wearing underwire bras occasionally, as cisgender women do so all the time, and I want to be able to "complain" from my own experiences about as many headaches cisgender women have to put up with as a part of life.  (In short, why should I get a "hall pass" because I am transgender?)

Once done there, I drove home via the overland route and packed it in for the evening. I wasn't in the mood to see BXM (even if she was available), nor did I have the energy to do much of anything else. So, I called it a night a bit earlier than planned.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My monthly lunch with the ladies and more.

From the get-go, I knew that today was going to be a busy day.  Not only did I have a lunch meetup with the ladies, but I also had my Thursday volunteering session at the GLBT center and Game Night in Yonkers to go to.  And yet, there were some things that I couldn't have expected for the day.

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Getting up, I knew that I had only a limited amount of time to shower, shave, do my makeup, get dressed, and get out the door. And I squandered a little more time than I planned, getting out of the house a little after noon for a 12:30 pm lunch in White Plains.  When I finally got to the restaurant, I didn't think to look in the downstairs dining room - and wasted a couple more minutes. So, when I finally met the 5 other ladies, they were already placing their lunch orders - and I had to make mine on the fly.

There was a new lady there today, and it seems as if she'll become a regular.  When we gave our introductions, I found out that she lives 10 minutes away.  I wouldn't mind having her as another female friend of Marian's, being seen as just another woman interested in friendship.  As usual, we had a lively conversation, and it ended too soon - all because the parking meters were running out.

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Sometime during the day, I got a call from GFJ, who told me that her 93 y/o mom had to be taken to the hospital.  The chambers of her heart were starting to beat out of sync.  So she'll be prescribed another type of pill, be told to watch her diet even more closely, and be observed to make sure that the palpitation doesn't happen again.  Of course, this means that our weekend plans may be totally screwed up because of her mom.  But this would give me the ability to catch up on other social engagements that require GFJ not be present.

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Around 3:00 pm, I arrived at the GLBT center, and there wasn't that much work to do. I was given the task of setting up a few calendar entries for their new web site, and was finished well before 4:00 pm. When I asked the director about the other GLBT organization in White Plains, he said that they broke away, in part, because of issues related to transgender people. Given that I never heard of this organization before, I'll bet that they are operating on a worn shoestring, and do not have many members.

When I left the GLBT center, I called Pat.  Unfortunately, she was still suffering with a cols and didn't want to pass it on.  So I decided to mosey to Yonkers via the "scenic route", stopping into the new Barnes and Noble in Eastchester.  Bit having in this building since Borders closed, I was curious to see how the store was remodeled. And I can surely say that this is a relatively unique store.  Not only did it appear to have a small restaurant in the area once used by Borders for a coffee shop, but it had a separate counter where various beers were available. I figure that Barnes and Noble is shifting from a bookstore that coincidentally had a coffee shop to a bar/restaurant that just happens to sell books.

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Once done at the book store, I drove to Panera Bread for dinner, and then to game night.  As usual, I didn't win any games, but I had a good time.  On the way home, I called GFJ to catch up on the day. Her mom was being kept by the hospital for observation, but was not being admitted. (This is another way of sucking even more money from the patient.)  So GFJ will be staying there on Friday, go back to the office on Saturday to catch up on some work, and possibly go back to Connecticut to see her mom again.  If this ends up being the case, I'm not sure of what I'll do to fill up the weekend - but I might end up calling either the "Cat Lady" or RO to see if they have last minute availability.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Now that GFJ's away, Marian comes out to play.

It's Wednesday, and GFJ has finally left to live her life. She has swimming to go to, followed by a massage, and then to work - where she'll be until late in the evening.  This gave me a free day to get out and about as Marian, and it's not something I usually intend to waste.

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Although the weather was nice for much of the day, there was a part of me that just wanted to stay inside snug and cozy under the covers of my blanket. And that is what I did until almost 4:30 pm, when the UPS driver came to deliver my new wig. When I heard his truck come, I quickly hopped into my trousers and a shirt so that I could sign for the package at the door.

Given that the weather was going to be bad later on, I decided not to take my new wig out of the box for tonight's outing.  Instead, I used my "current" good wig to complete my transformation into Marian, and out the door I went.  As I often do, I drove to Newburgh and decided to go shopping at The Avenue.  And this time, I found some Ponte knit jeans and a sweater that looked nice on me.  So I splurged and bought them, giving me something I could wear when the weather becomes too cold for me to wear either a skirt or a dress.

While at The Avenue, I mentioned that I just got a Jury Duty questionnaire. Considering that I hate the idea of trekking to Lower Manhattan because of the inconveniences of my commute and not getting paid enough to cover my commuting expenses, I am hoping that I am able to get out of service. But if I have to go, I don't want my service to interfere with my upcoming PMP prep course, my upcoming cruise, or my job search.  Yet, if I am called to serve when the weather is cool, DD says that I should go in Marian Mode and have some fun with it.  (It's nice to be able to be open with the gals about being transgender.  Mind you, they see enough "vanilla" cross dressers that they might get confused about my transgender nature.)

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I was the last customer of the day at the store, and the metal gates closed behind me as I left.  On my way home, I returned a call from Patty - and we caught up on what was going on in our lives.  Hopefully, we will find a way for the 4 of us to meet soon.  Next on the way home was a call with GFJ - she won't have to go to her family funeral, as her sister is saying that the in-laws aren't expecting GFJ to drive most of the way to Boston from the Catskills.

When I reached home, I found a message on my machine.  My cousin received a message from another relative that another cousin's wife (the one I wrote about in a prior entry) had finally passed away.  There will be no wake, no funeral, nor any other gathering to commemorate her life.  I can't imagine doing this myself, and I hope it's for reasons that I could understand.  So I picked up a sympathy card from the local store, addressed it, and sent it out post haste.

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On the whole, it was a good day.  But not one I'd want to repeat.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Several days with GFJ

This weekend, GFJ was scheduled to come over on Saturday. This allowed me to have a Chinese dinner with the gals, and a restful sleep.

You might be asking why did I mention "Restful Sleep?"  Well, after 20 years of (mostly) sleeping alone, I am still not used to the feeling of again having my body intertwined with someone else's body. It takes time to get used to again.

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Instead of coming over on Saturday, GFJ arrived on Sunday afternoon - after the worst of the snow storm had ended, and when the roads had been cleared. We caught up on lost time being together, and made plans to go to the Bronx Botanical Garden. The train show was about to end and we thought that after reading their website that Monday would be the best day to visit.  Wrong!  The mobile website did not mention that on Monday, the place would be closed....

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Monday came, and we trekked to the Bronx, and made our attempt to visit the garden, only to be brushed away by a parking lot attendant.  So, what did we end up doing instead?  Since Arthur Avenue was nearby, we decided to see what was going on there.  Neither of us know the area that well, nor did we know the good places to eat.  We ended up getting some pastries (yummy) to go, and stopped into a local pizza joint - which was a big mistake.  The pizza was mediocre, and I wonder if the place had another business going on that only locals would know about.

Before I go too far, I must mention that neither of us bothered to wear our carpal tunnel wrist supports.  Both of us injured ourselves in similar ways (at different times), and are in different stages of the healing process.  I avoided wearing mine, as I had used it all night and wanted a daytime break.  She avoided wearing hers during the day, as it was a major headache to go to the bathroom and clean herself properly.  Until you see a female take care of this mundane task, you'd never think that an injured paw could cause such inconvenience to a person. Before you get any thoughts about GFJ, this knowledge comes via a weekend spent in the Poconos 15+ years ago with an ex girlfriend and a bathroom that had a full sized hot tub, a toilet, and a bidet all in view of each other.

Later on in the day, it was off to see some of GFJ's friends at a coffee shop in Cornwall, NY.  The objective was to play a few games of Scrabble, but I bowed out after the first game. The ladies are more social players than I am at this game, and my style of play could have been disruptive had I not started to kibitz.  On the way home, I chatted with Lili, and she mentioned that her new boyfriend lost his job. We both told her NOT to let him move in with her before we lost the phone signal in the hills near West Point.

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It took forever for GFJ and I to get moving on Tuesday.  Neither of us wanted to get out of bed, since it was so warm and comfortable. But we eventually got moving, and left for the Bronx Botanical Garden and its yearly train show.

This time, there were people in the parking lot, and we paid our admission to get in.  The first thing I noticed was the three decorated trees we saw walking over to the conservatory building.

It was a nice way to begin our walk through the complex.  Once inside the conservatory building, we encountered the first exhibit.  Albeit, this was a plug for one of the sponsors of the show.

Then, it was off to the main exhibition.  And this is what most people come to see at this time of year.

Of course, the pictures I shot could and would never do this show justice. But it is not meant for those who are fans of model railroading as much as it is a show meant to entertain people with what can be done with plant materials being the settings for model train layouts.

Once we were done with the train show, it was on to the rest of the conservatory building, where we looked at some interesting plants.  This is not a place where I'd visit more than once every few years, but I found the images very interesting.

There were a lot of beautiful plants there, but I could not photograph them well enough to do them justice, so I figured that I'd take the best of what I captured and post them for my readers to see.

After we were done at the conservatory, it was off to the library for an exhibition they had at that building.  Unlike our first stop, there wasn't much to see there.  At least, we got a mile or so worth of walking done at the Botanical Garden, and this was good for both of us....

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PS: I finally reached the Doctor's office, and I got good news.  No bones were broken, but it will take time for my strained muscles to heal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting ready to go out

One of the things I take for granted in my daily routine is makeup. As much as I have been told that I do a very good job at it, I am far from an expert. Instead, this T-Gal has had it lucky, as she got a simple formula from an expert, and has been able to use it religiously without change since then.

Shortly after I started going out as Marian, I had the opportunity to go to Fantasia Fair. This was a great learning opportunity for me, as I had the chance to meet with other transgender folk, both M2F and F2M. For the first time, I could see that I was far from alone in feeling that I should have been born as a cisgender female, and that I could learn the skills to socialize as a female.

At the Fair, I had the opportunity to have my face made up by Jim Bridges.  He was an expert at makeup, and gave me a simple guide to the makeup process I use today.

For the most part, I use this guide today, save that instead of using the liquid makeup that he sold me, I use creme makeup from Dermablend and from Ben Nye (Beard Cover). Since I'm lazy (or just afraid to make mistakes), I avoid doing anything "heavy duty" for evening looks. What I mean is that I don't do "date night" or other specialty applications. In short, I've perfected a routine, and don't change it much from day to day.

When one does something well, eventually someone will ask you for help with that something. And I still find it hard to believe that a couple of years ago (yes, it's been that long), GFJ asked me for help with her makeup.  Of course, there could have been something else going on that she never will talk about. But I have my secrets too. And a smart woman never tells too much....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Counting the days - and being worried for many reasons

We're counting down the days left until Trump's inauguration.  And a lot of people fear what will happen because of who he has nominated to his cabinet.  There is much to be worried about, and no amount of "calm down" messages can ease the worries of many transgender people.

Going "Stealth" is not an option for many of us, as certain physical characteristics give us away.  For example, I am a very heavy person, and my size triggers thoughts of me being a "man in a dress". Other TG's have other obvious male characteristics such as big noses, thick ankles/wrists, brow ridges, Adam's apples, etc. that give them away as M2F transgenders.  In many urban areas, we are relatively safe. But this doesn't apply to the rest of the country.

I am very concerned that after Trump's win, that many of the bathroom bills are coming back with a vengeance.  Trump's deal with the devil is creating an unacceptable new normal, a normal where it is OK to assault minority groups of all kinds.  We're seeing that his election was (in part) aided by election fraud and by foreign meddling with our process.  And yet, this man wants (needs?) to appear that he can do no wrong.

Like Keith Olbermann, I believe the GOP will need to remove Trump from power eventually. This will leave us with an equally offensive person in power, Mike Pence.  So, what can we do?  I'm lucky, as I live near New York City, and can count on it being hard for the right wing wingnuts to hurt us here. But what about the rest of us?  Right now, we much start building friendship networks, showing people that we are not sick - we are just different. We much teach people not to live in fear. It's easy where I live.  But what about areas where people have suffered because we have a rotten social safety net?  We can't take a direct tack - people who live in fear are often unable to challenge that fear head on.

So I suggest that we present a message that takes advantage of Trump's flip flopping and lying.  If someone says that the president supports "this", then quote him as supporting "that". Create cognitive dissonance, so that people will want to question the status quo.  It won't be easy, but what else can we do while mobilizing for the 2018 congressional elections? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Grimmy wants you!

When I started the day, I was not thinking about death.  Instead, I was thinking of a snowstorm, and how it would affect me on my drive to see my Dad in the nursing home.

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There were two things on the docket for me today: (1) Seeing my Dad in the nursing home, and (2) Seeing RO for a cup of coffee.  So when I got up, I knew that I'd have to get moving as quickly as possible, in order to avoid the worst of the snow storm that was about to hit the NYC area. Instead of getting out of the house at 10:00 am as I expected, I got out an hour later and paid the price in travel time.  Instead of hitting 60 mph on most of the highways, I was stuck (for good reason) traveling at 30 mph or less. This meant that I reached the nursing home at 1:00 pm, instead of before noon.

My dad was very glad to see me, especially since my brother has avoided the nursing home due to a bad cold, avoiding the chance of infecting my Dad.  Dad and I chatted for the better part of an hour before he asked me to wheel him up to the activities room where Bingo was being played. Since I had no interest in hanging around to play bingo AND wanting to get moving while it was daytime, I bid my Dad farewell, and slowly made it to RO's house.

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RO had slipped and fell earlier in the day. So she invited me up for coffee, where we chatted for the better part of two hours. We talked about many things, including toilet procedures. (Unlike what many women think, there are some disadvantages about needing to aim when going to the bathroom.) She mentioned that when we last met, she was relating to me as another female, in part, because of the cues I was sending. And she picked up on some cognitive dissonance, as she knew what was under my skirt. Her comment on my voice was very positive, as she found it amazing that I could stay in female pitch for the entire afternoon we were last together.  Hopefully, our next get together won't be 4 months from now....

By the time I made it out of RO's house, there was 3"-4" of snow on my car which had to be cleaned off before I could visit the family homestead. My brother had reported that the plumber had done a lot of work, and our contractor had also done a lot of work.  But we had a few choices to make, one of was confirming the decision we made regarding bathroom tiling.I told him what I thought (over the phone - I didn't expect him to go out again), and I was on my way home.

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Arriving home, I found a message on my machine.  It appears that my cousin's wife has pancreatic cancer, and will not last the weekend.  (Damn, not another funeral!)  My cousin was called by another cousin (who I haven't seen in almost 20 years) who got the news from my aunt once removed.  (It's amazing how news gets passed in families, when most family emails are unknown.)  My aunt's husband, himself, is suffering with a lung problem caused by years of smoking.  Like my wife's friend Tony (now deceased), her husband has to have his lungs drained on a daily basis, and is on his last legs.  Since bad things often come in threes, I home that "Grimmy" stays as far away from my dad as possible.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A night with the ladies.

Strangely enough, I don't have a lot to say about today. And yet, it is likely that this will be the last day for me en-femme until next Wednesday.  It seems as if GFJ has a way of screwing up my schedule - but it doesn't bother me that much.

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This morning, I planned to allow myself to sleep until 11:00 am, as I didn't get to sleep until 4:00 am. However, I was awake before 9:00 am, and got out of bed with little of the problems I noted the day before.  If things keep going this way, I won't bother thinking about it when I next speak with my doctor.

Getting up early doesn't mean that I got moving early.  Although I called the school to see what the next step in the process is, that didn't get me ready to put the WIA Grant certification in the mail in time for the mailman to send it on its way before Saturday. This is not a problem, as I was told that I am admitted - and that the school will figure out how to get the money from the government.  (I'll bet we still have problems - I'll touch base on this towards the end of next week.)

Around 4:00 pm, I started getting ready for dinner with the ladies.  Originally, 11 people signed up for the meetup.  But there were only 5 of us who met at the buffet.  The buffet has been there for a while, but it is not my favorite place to chow down in Westchester. I'd rather go for Dim Sum at Aberdeen, and know that I'm getting authentic Chinese food. Although I was a few minutes late, it didn't matter much. Dinner was way too short, and I wanted to stay out as long as possible.

Driving home, I chatted with GFJ, and she told me about some business problems with the "Wasband". And then she said that some of the gals were getting together for a movie tomorrow, and suggested that we be together Sunday thru Tuesday.  This isn't a problem for me, as I would enjoy going to the Bronx Botanical Garden as we wanted to do during Christmas week. But there is one minor glitch - I am scheduled to go to the Arts Westchester meeting on Monday, and this will require my presence as Marian.  I was surprised to find out that GFJ was OK with that, and would take care of some of her errands for the time I'd be out and about in Marian mode.

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PS: Tomorrow, I'm supposed to drive to Long Island and visit my dad in the nursing home.  Hopefully, the snow won't cause me to postpone my visit.  Only the weatherman knows for sure....