Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Two days, mostly en-femme.

If it weren't for a co-op board meeting on Tuesday, I wouldn't be getting into a pair of pants until this coming weekend. And given that I wanted to write about the loss of a parent yesterday, I figured that a two-day post made perfect sense for today.

- - - - - -

Monday was a relatively quiet day. But yet, I was disturbed by two very different things. The first disturbance was the ringing of the telephone around 11 am or so.  My cleaning lady was in Westchester for another client, and wanted to find out if she could come over today. Normally, I'd be a little unhappy with her coming on a Monday, but after 6 weeks, it was time to have her come over for her monthly visit. Of course, if I intend to go out as Marian on a day that the cleaning lady visits, I have to get everything out of the way before she comes. And that meant I would have to put away all of Marian's accessories, her makeup kit, etc. in the 2 hours between her call and her visit.

But this left me with the question. Where do I go?

Since I had nowhere I really needed to go, I figured that I'd do some window shopping. I could use a new bra, and I knew that Catherine's had to be among my destinations. But I also wanted to see DD at the Avenue, as I heard that she would become the grandmother of a second child in the Fall. Instead of driving to Paramus, I decided to drive to Poughkeepsie and Newburgh to accomplish my window shopping goals.

My first stop was Catherine's, where one of the sales ladies knew me by name. (I guess I must have made some impression on her on my last visit.) They did not have the bra I wanted at the price I wanted to spend. So it was off to the Avenue, where I finally connected with DD. The weather and her other job had gotten the best out of her before I arrived, but we had the chance to talk a bit. When I mentioned her grandchild to be, she perked up - and later invited me to a baby shower to be held in August.

At this point, it was getting late and it was time to go home. For some reason, I needed to rest, and I fell out for most of the evening, waking up around 11 pm. And then I read in a text about the second disturbing thing - Ex-GF-M just got laid off without warning. She had worked her ass off for the school, and was let go the week after being awarded her doctorate. As much as I think they held off dismissing her until she received the doctorate, I also think that they may have factored into their decision the days where she might have been working at home, taking care of the needs of an aged Mother in Law. Yet, for all I know, they could have gotten a little upset at the way she handled organizational property. She treated her department's laptop computer as if it were her own, and it rarely saw the sights found on campus. (I wonder if she was able to get her stuff off the computer and one to one of her own before she gave it back.)

I will admit that I would have liked to have had lunch with her, and then go into the office and see if one person would recognize me as Marian. But this will not happen. Yet, I will keep in touch with Ex-GF-M, even though she can not help me the way I wanted from her school's career services department.

- - - - - -

Tuesday was going to be a relatively busy day. First, I had scheduled a lunch time appointment over at NPW to touch base on the web site update (no progress). And, later on, I had a regularly scheduled co-op board meeting to attend.

By the time I got moving in the morning, I was already running late for a lunch time appointment at NPW. Yet, I was there early enough to say I was there for lunch hour. The new office is a very different environment from the former space. The old office space was dedicated to back office functions of the non-profit donating space to NPW and its work. The new office space was dedicated to front office functions - in this case, the treatment of patients. So NPW's office was sited behind a locked door guarded by a receptionist. It won't be as pleasant visiting the new site as it was for the old site, as I hate having "gate keepers" get in the way of me getting things done.

On the way home from NPW, Lili called and asked me if I wanted to go on her cruise. I gave her a tentative "Yes", but had to see if I could deal with missing one speech therapy session and finding a way to schedule it for another date. Arriving home, I found some paperwork from the center, and figured this would be the perfect time to discuss my single session problem. So I sent out an email before changing into Mario, and then walked next door for the official co-op board meeting with sublet applicants and the managing agent. Although I can't go into any details, I can say that we accomplished some things that have been needed for a while.

After the meeting, I made sure to have a chat with HWV to discuss my concerns about the meeting. She had similar views to mine, and appreciated me steering the direction of our board's conversation back to where she wanted it to head. HWA wasn't picking up on what we were trying to do. But this is what happens when someone isn't politically savvy. (Heck, I've been there often enough. As they say, it takes one to know one.) At least she won't be in a position to accidentally muck up what HWV is trying to do for the co-op.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I can't help but feel a little sad.

I can't help but feel a little sad.  

Over the weekend, I received a call from Vicki telling me that her dad was in the hospital. Knowing that Vicki's dad may not be long for this world has to be hard on her, as she lost her mother while she was a child. Although I will eventually go through a similar experience when my Dad is near the end of his life, it will be very different for me, as I had a very different life from hers.

What is it like to lose a parent?

Anyone who has lost a parent will likely have felt severe grief. Growing up, we feel that our parents will always be there for us, and that we will always be secure while they are around. This is not really true. But we learn this as we grow into adults. And yet, this subconscious illusion helps most of us feel secure until well into middle age.

GFJ's Mother is 92 years old, and is moving slowly on the path of that will lead to her demise. They have had to continually adjust her blood pressure medications, as well as protect her from potential falls in the nursing home. For a lady of her age, she's in decent health, and I hope that she can make it to 100.

Years ago, GFJ's dad died of diseases related to his smoking. I've never asked her how she felt at the time, but I must think that she was devastated by the loss. And this makes her concerns for her mother even more important than if her dad were alive. Once we have lost both parents (which is the usual sequence in life), we are alone. In short, we become orphans with no one to protect us but ourselves, our extended family (if any), and our friends (if any). It must be quite a disturbing experience.

When Lili lost her Mother, she was devastated. Her father died many years before. Her Mother suffered from dementia for several years before her passing. Although she had years of time to process the future loss of her Mother, nothing could prepare her for that loss. She received word that her Mother has passed away while on a cruise, and she came directly from the ship to the burial, not even having a chance to pick up clothes normally appropriate for the occasion. (All she had with her were clothes appropriate for a cruise to a tropical climate, as well as the clothes she wore to the ship.) When the time came for her to toss dirt on the casket, she couldn't do this because she was too upset. Roughly 60 years after her birth, Lili was an orphan, as well as her brother and sister.

Lili's feeling of loss was only magnified when her older sister died. This left her brother as the one other family member of her generation she could confide her fears to. Knowing that she and her brother are not that close only makes things worse. And yet, I think some good came out of it, as it caused Lili to realize that life is short and that she must live her life with that always in mind.

Like Lili, I reacted to the loss of my Mother in a constructive way. No longer was there a subconscious voice in my head that I had to fight against. I realized that I had to try to lose weight to find someone who filled my needs better than Patty did at the time. (This is nothing bad about Patty. It is simply that I wanted something more for myself.) And yet, I failed, as I met Ex-GF-M, and gained back all the weight I lost (and more) during my relationship with her.

Although Patty and I broke up, we did stay in contact with each other. And I made sure to be available to her while her Mom was ill, as well as be there for her and her husband when her Mom died.  (Steve had lost his dad shortly before Patty's loss, and he wasn't in a frame of mind to help as much as he 'normally' would if he weren't already in a state of grief.)  I was glad to be able to attend her Mom's wake, as it was good to be able to try and comfort her family with my being there for them.

Each person's grief is unique. And I wish that there was something that I could say or do that would make Vicki's future experiences easier for her to handle. But like Lili, Patty, GFJ and myself, losing a parent is an experience unique to each individual, and it is something that can't be prepared for emotionally.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Yet another day at the old homestead

Yes, it's another day at the old homestead, and my presence was needed more for moral support than for anything else. But I was glad to give it, as I want for the house to be done and rented out as soon as possible.

- - - - - -

Unlike the last time that I had to be on schedule, my brother was much more relaxed about things. So, when I called him around noon to tell him I was on my way, he wasn't that concerned. And when I called him around 1 pm to tell him that I was stuck approaching the bridge, again, he was relaxed when I called. So when I got to his place a little after 2 pm, he knew that I was fighting traffic and wasn't upset at me. (After a couple of bridge crossings of his own, I think he understands why I try to limit the number of times I visit Long Island.)

We got to the family homestead around 2:30, and started moving things into the basement, into the eaves, and into the North side bedroom (for staging). Once the South side bedroom was clear, my brother and I started to paint the room. There was not as much paint in the barrel as we thought, and we ended packing up things around 5:00. At this point, we went back to his house where I stayed until the end of "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

- - - - - -

Once I was done with my brother, I contacted RO - and met her at her place.  We went to a nearby restaurant that we both enjoyed, TR's, and had a good meal together. I told her about Lili and Kleinfeld's, with the formal ceremony next year, and RO said she'd gladly accompany me to the proceedings.  She doesn't care how I present, as she enjoys me as both Mario and as Marian.

After dinner, the two of us hung out in front of her house, and were having fun BSing, and playing videos from sites such as Improv Everywhere". She almost wet herself when watching "Movies in real life - When Harry Met Sally." And if I didn't see this video many times before, I'd have died laughing right there.

All too soon, it was time to go home. And again, I had to deal with horrible traffic getting to the Bronx. At least, once I got there, I had clear sailing all the way home.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pot luck dinner with the girls

Tonight is Pot Luck Dinner, Chapter 2.  The pot stickers I made the other day are ready to be nuked, and because they are pork filled, should be nuked until hot as hell. Pork is something that I learned has to be overcooked to be safe, and I should have chosen a safer meat to put in my pot stickers.

- - - - - -

Shortly after getting up, I was awakened by Lili, asking me to meet her for lunch so she could vent about her boyfriend. I told her that I could make it to the diner by 2:30 or so, but she needed to meet me at 2, because she expected her small stomach to be growling loudly by then. Right after taking my shower, I knew that I was going to be on a tight schedule, but wasn't worried about being there on time until...    Until, that is, Vicki called.

Vicki's dad has been living on his own, and is almost as old as my dad. He was in failing health, so Vicki and her husband have been doing things for him that he would have done when he was younger - such as food shopping. Recently, due to a combination of events, he is in the hospital, one step away from getting a tracheotomy. His lungs are filled with crap, and his breathing is being assisted by machine. Vicki doesn't feel that her dad's long for this world, and her brother feels the same way. So he and his wife are coming up to see their dad while he still can recognize them.

When Vicki called, she apologized for being out of touch, and I told her not to worry. I've known her long enough to know that she had to have had other more pressing matters to be concerned with. (That put her at ease.) What I didn't say is that I was preoccupied by a bunch of little things, and that she was furthest from my mind. (Nothing bad about her. It's just that I was focused elsewhere.) We talked for about 30 minutes, and this made me late for lunch with Lili - or so I thought. I was able to get made up, dressed, and out the door in time to make it to the diner a few minutes before Lili arrived.

- - - - - -

Meeting Lili at the diner, she proceeded to talk about her boyfriend. She has a hard decision to make. He accepts her with all of her faults, and makes her feel good whenever he's with her - except in bed. And that's where the trouble lies. I won't go into any details here, but extreme discomfort is part of the problem. She is not sure if she should leave him, and I can only listen to her, and feed her with an idea or two to think about.

I double checked that the trip to Kleinfeld's is next Friday, and found out when she has to be there.  She will encounter a lot of traffic, knowing that it is Memorial Day weekend. But it should be worth it for me to go with them, if only to have the privilege of being with a woman as she chooses her bridal gown.

- - - - - -

After I was done with Lili, I went back home and used my Silk'n Flash & Go on my arms, legs, and chest. I'm not sure if I'm able to see any results yet. But if I see some by the end of the Summer, I'll be happy that I purchased this device for laser hair removal. Hopefully, this investment will pay off, as I don't want to go back for expensive laser treatments when some of my hair is starting to turn gray.

Once done with my hair removal routine, I nuked the pot stickers, and made ready for dinner with the FFGoW's. I got there "on-time" which for me meant about 5 minutes late. And yet, everyone had already started to eat. (One thing I can say about WPB - she must have been a stickler about clock watching.) We nuked the pot stickers some more, and served them to to the gals at the table.

We gabbed quite a bit, and I had to make sure that I backed off when the chat came to politics. WPB and I look at this GOP mess very differently, and I didn't want to go too far in voicing the nuances of how I feel, as it could be disruptive. But the conversation was not all about politics, and I can say that I feel that all of the ladies were having a good time.

- - - - - - 

When I left, I called my brother. He will need a little help tomorrow in regard to moving stuff to the basement. But he realizes that I don't need to be there to get the rental permit application in to the town hall - he can and will send it by mail. (Yay - One more trip I don't have to make!!!)

Who knows? I might get to spend 5 days in a row as Marian next week.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I wish I could get my Mani-Pedi

Now that the weather is getting warm, it time for me to get a Mani-Pedi. Wearing sandals will be the order of the day, and I want my feet to look good while wearing those sandals this Summer. There is only one problem that now gets in the way of doing this - I have 3 dates for which I'm scheduled to present as Mario in the next week that make it cost-defective to get the Mani-Pedi until month end.

- - - - - -

Normally, I schedule activities so that I would not flip flop between Mario and Marian in a single day. If I  had anything that required my presence as Mario (such as a doctor's appointment), that item would appear on my schedule first with enough lead time for me to change into Marian. Luckily, I only had the following 3 things on my calendar for today:
  1. Volunteer work at the GLBT Center
  2. Getting together with YGN (Finally!)
  3. Diner Dinner with the FFGoW's
It was a typical schedule for me when presenting as Marian. First, I'd go to the GLBT Center and do 2-3 hours of volunteer work, then I'd call YGN and drop over for a chat, and finally go to dinner with the gals of the FFGoW meetup group.

There was a potential complication. My cleaning lady did not come yesterday, and there was the possibility that she would come today. This forced me to get up and out as Marian before her possible arrival - all while making sure that the important traces of Marian were put away in the closet for when I got home later in the day.

- - - - - -

I ended up getting out of the house a little before 11 am, and reached the GLBT center at 11:30. I've found that it's much easier for me to go out as Marian when I know I can leave my make up case (and other things) out in view, and I think I'll soon change my scheduled volunteer day at the center accordingly. I mentioned this to one of the directors, and will let him know which day I choose in the future.

Today's volunteer stint had me updating the calendar and "opportunities" postings on their web site, and it kept me busy for the better part of 3 hours. My eyes were beginning to cross by the time I was getting this task done, and I was glad to leave around 3:00.  When I got to my car, I called (and texted) YGN, only to find out that she was in Garrison doing a photo shoot. (I'd love to see her pictures one day.) So I had several hours to kill before going to the diner to see the FFGoW's.

- - - - - -

One of the places I can visit to kill time is a book store. And I decided to visit the Barnes and Noble store that took over the former Borders location in Eastchester. Whenever I want to kill time at a book store, I look for an interesting book, try to find a place where I can sit down with that book and some coffee (they have a right to get some money from my pocket), then enjoy reading for a while. And the book that I picked up, "The Orphan's Tale" was perfect for the day. If I had the time, I'd have finished the book in one sitting. Instead, I only got a third of the way through the book.

Next, I decided to walk over to Starbucks. Unlike most B&N's, the Eastchester store has gone upscale and its "coffee shop" is more of a miniature restaurant and bar than a coffee shop. While there, I met (in passing) one of the people who I encountered earlier in the day at the GLBT center. This kept me busy for a while, until I decided to drive over to Yonkers.

Since I still had about 45 minutes to kill, I did some window shopping at The Avenue, where I found out that they were working with a short staff. (Read: If I wanted a grunt job that would keep me on my feet, I could get one here.) The lady I gabbed with reminded me that I should not buy anything until tomorrow, as they had a bonus point promotion that would give me 5x the usual credits for my spending. However, I may end up paying cash for the one purchase I plan to make, so I doubt this will help me with much.

- - - - - -

Once done with The Avenue, it was over to the diner where I met the rest of the FFGoW's. WPB made a comment that this was the first time that I was early - and I think it might have been a nice way of saying that I'm "on time" for a change. We had some interesting  conversations over dinner, but I could tell that something was missing - one of the ladies who added a certain irreverent spark to the topics that come up. (This lady doesn't look her age, and she often ends up with younger men around her - and she has fun with this with us.)  Hopefully, she'll be around next time. 

All too soon, it was time to go. On the way home, I called Lili to confirm our trip to Kleinfeld's next week. It'll be interesting to be in the same setting where the original version of the "Say Yes to the Dress" show was filmed. It'll be very interesting to be with a small group of women as Lili's daughter in law chooses the dress she'll use for one of her formal wedding ceremonies. Too bad that I won't be able to go to Vietnam for the ceremony being done for her Vietnamese relatives. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

It's too damned hot!

Years ago, Cole Porter wrote a song with this lyric:

According to the Kinsey Report, ev'ry average man you know
Much prefers his lovey-dovey to court
When the temperature is low
But when the thermometer goes 'way up
And the weather is sizzling hot
Mister pants for romance is not

'Cause it's too, too, too darn hot

When I went outside this morning, it was already over 80 degrees, and ready to climb into the 90's. There is no way that I'd go do my volunteer stint today in this weather, and there is no way that I would go to game night unless the air conditioner was blasting cool air directly onto me. So I made alternate plans, with the objective of staying cool.

- - - - - -

Knowing that my cleaning lady was supposed to visit today, I cleared out all easily visible traces of Marian from the apartment, got dressed, and then relaxed. There was no reason to start anything which would again mess up the apartment.  My plan over time will be to go through ALL of my storage in the apartment, and give away the things that I don't need and no longer expect that I will need. It'll be nice to see less clutter in this place and to have more room for things such as a nice wardrobe.

I'll readily admit that I have a full wardrobe for both genders. It makes sense for me to prune out those items I no longer wear, and make room for those things that I do wear (and will wear).  Given my large size, I have an over supply of hosiery.  My hosiery wears out too quickly, or it develops runs too easily. In either case, it's hard to find stuff in my size when I need it, so I stock up when I can find it. This takes up more space than I'd like. And it's one issue I'll address when I look for ways to do more with less space in the apartment, while using my storage compartment in the basement more actively.

I'll bet that the heat was a factor for my cleaning lady today. Normally, she'd have been in and out of my apartment around 3 pm, and she hadn't shown up. I don't mind it if she has to postpone things - especially when the weather is hot. But it would be nice to receive a call to let me know her status.

- - - - - -

For the past few Saturdays, I have been trekking to Long Island to help my brother with work on the family homestead. This coming Saturday will be the first day in a while where I will not be expected to go to Long Island. And given the weather over the past couple of days, I'm glad that we got as much work done as we have. It'd be too hot to do much as the weather gets warmer.

There is still a little bit of work that needs to be done, and my brother will be taking care of it. One of the things that has to be done is carpeting a room that we didn't originally plan to rent out. We will likely go to the same people who sold us the carpet for the upstairs room we originally planned to rent and ask for the same carpet type in the "new" room. Another thing to be done is a window repair. One of the wood pieces that frame the glass separates from the other three. This likely can be fixed with both a carefully placed screw and some adhesive. (Famous last words....) And then, we must make sure that all of the radiators (we have steam heat) have radiator covers. There are enough little things that may force us to drop in some more investment money. Yet, we're seeing daylight at the end of the tunnel.

Once the place is rented, the tenant will need to install a window air conditioner for the upstairs rooms. Unfortunately, we don't have electrical service for an air conditioner in the South facing window. The family renting the place will need to figure out how to deal with that issue on their own.  (I'm glad that we're renting out the place - I'd hate to live in that  room in the Summer.)

- - - - - -

For the most part, I've been filling up my weekends without planning for GFJ being around. Although we are on the phone with each other almost every day, I've stopped hinting that I'd like her to come down on a free weekend. I think that over time we'll drift apart, as we are no longer making the investments in each other to maintain or grow what we once had. It's sad, but it's something I knew could happen from the beginning.

There are a few people I'd like to get in contact with soon.  It's been a while since I've seen WDJ. Life has not been idyllic for her as of late. But I won't go into what little I know of her situation here. Instead, I'm hoping that she comes out of her shell, so that we can catch up on things. It seems like forever since I've seen Vicki, and I'll have to give her a call to see what is doing. Vicki#2 has just had a wedding ceremony with her wife (remember, she is polyamorous and is already married to a nice fellow), and finally has some free time.

As it always has been for Mario, Marian seems to be the person always having to initiate contact with someone to arrange a get together. Although I am used to this, I really wish that more people would call me because they wanted to be with me. This might be the one thing I might ask for (within limits) if I already got my wish to be healthy, wealthy, wise, secure and happy.

- - - - - -

Lili has made a decision to go on a cruise towards the end of June. As much as I might want to go with her, I can't afford dropping $1,500+ for a balcony room when I don't have enough money coming in to keep from draining my savings account. I may just have to plan an inexpensive vacation cruise without her. I hear from Lili almost every day. But today's heat made it impractical for us to meet. She had gone out earlier and suffered through the hottest part of the day. Whereas, I was smart and stayed in air conditioned comfort. When I finally made it out today, the sun was about to go down, and even 88 degrees in the shade seemed much more bearable than 90 degrees in the sun. Too bad Lili was no longer in the mood to go out, as I would have liked to tell her about my cruise decision in person.

- - - - - -

When I finally made it out, I was in a summer dress that I hadn't yet had much opportunity to wear. So I drove to Newburgh and went to my favorite store, hoping that DD would be there. (She used to have a Monday, Thursday, Saturday schedule.)  Unfortunately, with a new grandchild on the way, she has changed her fixed days so that she can take care of family matters. While there, a woman came in with her daughter and was looking for a white summery dress for her bridal shower. (It could have been a rehearsal dinner, but I couldn't be sure of anything.) The daughter went into the dressing room to try on two dresses, and I struck up a chat with the mother about typical female things - such as not being able to lose weight. Everyone liked the daughter in the first dress (the one the daughter chose), and we thought that the second dress didn't quite work as well as the first. (If the overlay fabric didn't create hi-lo hem line, then the second dress would have been much better.) After the daughter bought the first dress, the mother made it a point to say goodbye to me - as if I were just another woman shopping for clothes.

My trip home was via the "overland route", going to Woodbury to first shop at Target and Walmart, and then cross over the hills, then the Bear Mountain Bridge on my way home. This is much longer than the way I'd normally go home from Newburgh. But it was a much needed change of pace. Although I tried on 3 dresses at Target, I had interest in only one - and again said "No" to the dress. There was nothing worth buying at Walmart save some tissues, so I got out of both stores with little damage to my wallet.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The last day of class. and I'm uncomfortable taking the next step.

Today, I'm finishing up a class that I should have taken 3 years ago when my work experience was fresh. I had much more energy then to keep up with things in class, and I had the self confidence I needed to push forward on my path towards getting my PMP certification. However, it is 3 years since I've been anything resembling a success at work, and I'm no longer sure if I really want to proceed down this path.

- - - - - -

But first....

Last night was a special co-op board meeting. And we discussed business matters that we would normally delegate to others. What I found interesting about the event was that some of the things I've been learning in project management classes has a use in this setting. After the meeting, I made it a point to chat with the president of the co-op to discuss my job search, and ask for whatever help she could give. I mentioned that I could easily work as simple office help, but would prefer to work as Marian if possible.

The meeting took much longer than planned, and I was starving by the time I got back to my apartment. For the second night in a row, I was eating a pork chop at the midnight hour. My circadian rhythms must be totally shot. This is an issue that I will need to take care of soon, as I'd like to have more time in my day where I can comfortably interact with others in real time.

- - - - - -

Waking up at 9 am, I found my apartment in a total mess. Although messy, I can get much of the place clean in 30 minutes. Over the past few days, I have attacked spaces in back of my dining room table to find things to either throw away or give to charity. Since I no longer need 20 year old luggage that weighs a ton, I can give these items to charity and not worry too much. There is an old computer on which I've loaded Linux that I'll dispose of, as it is slow and of not much use anymore. For the next day or so, these items will reside in my car, so that I can deliver these donations to either the GLBT center or the Salvation Army.

What I haven't mentioned so far is that I've also straightened out some of the boxes in my bedroom, tossing out things that I no longer need. This is a continuous process at this point, as I have accumulated so much stuff that I need to work in the downstairs storage compartment to make room for things I plan to keep, store, and use again.  Although I will likely have the time to work on the storage compartment, it will be limited by the weather. I don't do well when it is hot and humid.

In short, slowly, but surely, I am getting the overall mess in this apartment straightened up. It will be nice to have it in a shape which I can invite people here for a change.

- - - - - -

I left for class around 3 pm, and made it to Pelham in time to catch the 4:04 train with a couple of minutes to spare. After buying my ticket from the machine, I walked towards the soda machine and saw T from Arts Westchester. Did she recognize me as Mario? I don't know. But we both had a clear view of each other, and I acted as if I didn't know her. (We'll see if she has something to say at the next Arts Westchester meeting. If so, I'll talk about being transgender, and not wanting to open up a can of worms at the train station.)

When I got into NYC, Patty left me a message - she was leaving late, and wouldn't be able to meet me for dinner. So I picked up a very tasty burrito at the Mexican establishment, and then ambled over to class slowly. (There was no way I wanted to break a sweat on a day that broke 90 degrees. So, the slower I walked, the better it would be for me.)  Class started late again, as we had more problems with overhead projectors. Because of this, we moved to a third classroom for this last class. We are expected to finish up all of the remaining quizzes, the "post test" (an assessment to see how much we improved because of the class), and a simulated exam which will take 4 hours to complete - all within the next 2 weeks. I'm not in bad shape, but I think others will continue to play catch up until the last minute.

After class, Patty, another classmate, and I chatted about when we'll take the PMP exam. We all agreed that we will need to study until we know everything cold. This will take a lot of work. So I think we may end up doing a small study group during the summer, and take the PMP exam towards the fall. I hope this comes off. If not, I'll have to go it alone.

- - - - - -

When I got home, I decided to make the "Chinese" dumplings for this Saturday's FFGoW pot luck meetup. I am way out of practice for this. But I hope the gals find these dumplings both healthy and tasty. (These are pork pot stickers, so I'll want to make sure these dumplings are nuked well before serving on Saturday - just to be safe.) It took me almost 2 hours to get enough done so that everyone at the pot luck dinner has 2 or 3 of them. Of course, I ate a few while they were fresh. So this makes me the guinea pig for my own cooking....

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quickie: Politics - It's amazing what is going on.

One thing I know about political surveys - they can be error prone, especially when predicting the results of a presidential election. Sometimes, it can be of value to participate in one, even when you know you are one voice of many - you might be able to affect the views of people paying for the survey.

Recently, our lowly esteemed president fired the head of the FBI. This is the very government agency that is doing an investigation on the "possible" coordination of the Trump 2016 campaign's actions with the wishes of the Russian government.  Does anyone seriously believe that Comey's replacement will not have pledged loyalty to Trump over that to his country?

The above and many other issues that arose during the Trump presidency so far affected my responses to a robotic political survey. Although I am a registered Republican, I haven't voted for any member of the GOP in ages, as they have let the wing nuts gain control of the party. Since I didn't know who was paying for this survey, I made sure to answer as I were a Republican who holds Richard Nixon and Benedict Arnold in higher esteem than the current president.

This survey was relatively thorough. It wanted to find out whether one had any "buyer's remorse" for voting Trump over Hillary. It also tested to find out whether one felt that Richard Nixon was more honorable than Trump. And it even tested whether Trump (and his administration) could be counted on to tell the truth. From what I can tell, the survey was designed to collect information needed to determine whether the GOP will win or lose seats in the 2018 election due to Trump's presidency.

The one question that bothered me was related to VP Pence, as the survey asked whether I thought he'd make a better president than Trump. So far, Trump has mouthed a lot of things that could hurt the GLBT community. But he has had little effect on things so far, having not repealed Obama's executive order preventing discrimination against Gays in the federal workforce. Trump is smart enough to know that being Gay should not be a reason to discriminate against anyone. Pence, on the other hand, would pass laws that restore anti-Gay discrimination, as well as continue with the GOP's march to the 1950's.

Which person would be worse for the country as President?  To me, as a transgender person, Pence would do more damage to things I want to preserve. Yet, Trump would do more damage to this country as a whole. This is not a choice I want to make.

All I can hope is that the Democrats can hold off the worst until 2019, when (I hope) that they retake control of one of the legislative chambers of our government. This will allow for some checking and balancing of power - something urgently needed today. Keep your fingers crossed.

PS: You might like this article on how to use the word "Fuck".  We'll need to use this word quite a bit in the next few months.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

An unplanned visit to Pat

Computer malware. Sometimes, it can provide something of minimal value like a screen saver in exchange for "enhanced" user experiences. (Read: More ads from unwanted sources.) And sometimes it can be downright nasty, as in the "WannaCry" Ransomware spreading around the world as I write this entry. This was one of the things that worried Pat this morning, and caused her to ask me for help.

I told Pat that I'd be there late in the afternoon. She asked me to pick up a memory stick, so that I could back up her computer before trying to fetch the latest Windows Update for her computer. By the time I got there, it was close to 7 pm, as I got stuck in Target for 30 minutes due to the lack of check out lines.

It was nice to see Pat again, and I promptly got down to the basic job of the day - backing up her computer. Although I did a half-assed job of it, a better job of it will have to wait until I find a safe tool to manage her backups. Once I was done, I applied the Windows Update, and she was good to go.

However, one of her friends came over, and we were gabbing much longer than planned.   We talked about many things - including me being transgender. Her friend knew that I live in both genders, because he picked up my old PT Cruiser. Yet, he knew little about the nature of being transgender until meeting me again. It was a very informative chat - and well worth my time to pass on a little knowledge to someone new. Pat asked me to use my male voice for a second, and I did. After that, she made several misgendering errors that I think were caused by my mixing male and female modes while I was there. She usually is flawless in this area.

All too soon, witching hour came and I had to leave.  It was a good evening, and I'm glad I made the time to have it....

Monday, May 22, 2017

Mother's Day

By the time you read this, Mother's day will be long gone. Yet, becoming a mother (via childbirth) is the one major experience that truly can separate the cisgender female from the transgender female. And many cisgender females use this experience (and all the related problems related to is) as their excuses to say that transgenders are not female enough to socialize as women. To some degree, I can't blame them. But not for reasons these women will articulate well. Unless a transgender woman comes into a group and acts ONLY as a cisgender woman will, she can disrupt a women's group by introducing some of the problems related to her former male privilege.

- - - - - -

With the above being said, I am not interested in a social discussion today.

There is a part of me that misses my mother, having lost her over a decade and a half ago. Yet, I still feel more of a sense of freedom because she's gone. This is probably related to the fact that she tainted the bonding between mother and child with her narcissism. As a result of her child raising, my ability to empathize with others was damaged, and I did not develop enough of the needed "people skills" needed to prosper in life.

My brother and I both developed into adults, not wanting to be anything like her. (Please, no comments from the Peanut Gallery regarding my gender.) I took on mental traits that allowed me to play a great defense at the expense of taking the chances I needed to grow. My brother went in the opposite direction, taking all of those chances and more, forcing himself into being an Alpha Male instead of a person who would be introspective.

My late wife and I never had children, so I never had the opportunity to find out what it would be like to become a Dad (or Mom). Whereas, my brother had two children of his own, and never had the relationship with them as he should have had, as he married a woman who would become an alcoholic and would have to change careers while dealing with the worst of her problems. His children have been scarred by their childhoods, something I'm glad I could not have done.

- - - - - - 

Being a mother can be a wonderful thing. But having a mother who can show her love is even more beautiful. I didn't have that. My mom herself was scarred during her formative years. Her father would be considered a child abuser by today's standards. As a result, she probably became self involved as a protective shield. In a way, I feel sorry for her. But I can not excuse her. She is a woman who should not have had children - even though my brother and I would not have come into being. She would likely have been happier not have having the responsibilities of having children, and she would have been freed up to enjoy the life she wanted to live herself.

Years ago, my Dad said that my mother should have born a man. And in many ways, I think he was right. I wonder if she felt that she was born into the wrong body, or had the correct plumbing configuration, but will never have the chance to know this. Certainly my Dad picked up on this a little, but it's not a discussion I want to have with my dad while he spends the last days of his life at the nursing home. There are some questions that will always go unanswered, and I think these are among the many that can not be answered.


Note: Recently, I have had a spammer continuously leaving spam comments that advertise bogus services and products. I have deleted them. Since I am unable to filter out this jerk's crap from immediately being viewable without restricting people truly interested in the blog, I have just changed this blog's settings that all comments are subject to review before being viewable by others. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Another day at the family homestead

You might be getting tired of this picture. And I am getting tired of driving there to take care of things. But there may be a break - we finally got the sheetrock done over the burner in the basement. It was a big pain in the ass, but yet, not as bad as it could have been.

- - - - - -

My alarms got me moving at 8 am, knowing that my brother would be calling to wake me up. When he called, he asked if I could make it down at 1 pm, as he was going to spend a couple of hours at his office. This was a blessing for me, as I was able to take care of a few things around the house before trekking to Long Island.

It's taking longer and longer to get to and from Long Island these days. It seems as if the construction they're doing for cashless toll collection is a major problem for those trying to cross the East River. Instead of a quick ride across the bridge, it took about a half hour to cross the bridge in bumper to bumper traffic. Once the bridge was crossed, the usual Long Island or Bronx traffic jams applied.

I made it to Long Island at 1:30, and we started work on the basement a little after 2 pm. Although we had to disconnect electrical boxes to slide the sheetrock into place, it wasn't as hard a job as it could have been. Instead, it was more of an annoyance trying to fit the sheetrock where we wanted, as there was barely enough room to fit the sheetrock between the pipes and the joists. It's hard to believe, but we were done before 4 pm - and this made it possible for us to visit my Dad in the nursing home.

- - - - - -

My dad was glad to see us. And he had a task for me - something I'd rather not have tackled. He wanted me to set up a voice control system, so that he could write emails just by speaking into the tablet. One problem - the tablet was configured wrong, as it was set up as if it were my Brother's tablet. Once I figured that out, I found an even more annoying problem - the Dragon software may be incompatible with the Gmail app.  I was getting a little annoyed by my brother, as I was taking a step by step approach to my experiments, and he didn't know what I was doing.  Once I told him what I was trying to do, he let me alone. So this was a blessing for me....

All too soon it was time to go.  My Dad was moved into a new room, as his former roommate was moaning in pain all day long.  My dad didn't want to hear that. So he ended up with a more alert and friendly roommate, and I hope things work out for him. As for me, I started my drive home, and got stuck in the usual traffic jams. Strangely enough, the rain didn't slow me down much.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A day with the Doctor and a night with the Cat Lady.

My doctor is not female. But I want to see young girls aspire to the same things as young boys do.

- - - - - -

When I got up this morning, I was tired. And I was dreading the usual lecture from my doctor telling me to eat better, exercise more, and to lose weight. So when I got to his office this morning, I was very surprised that there was virtually no one in his office. He seems to have gotten a new physician's assistant, but she was not around for me when I arrived. 

I ended up waiting for the doctor for a while, and he was busy even though there was one other patient in the office. It seems like he was getting a lot of calls today, and only had the time to check my blood pressure. Luckily, it was a little lower than in the past, and he mentioned that I could halfsies on one of my medicines. But I now have to watch out for the early stages of a fatty liver. AARGH.

After leaving the doctor's office, I went home and did some laundry. Someone was using one of the machines, so I had to sequence my loads to get everything done before my planned visit to have dinner with the Cat Lady.

- - - - - -

Once done with laundry, I took care of a few things around the apartment, and started driving to New Jersey. Once safely back in cell phone land (taking the Bear Mountain Bridge leads me through several dead spots), I called GFJ to see what she was doing. And I found out that she was heading to her massage guy because she was having trouble with her back, and this was causing her problems walking up and down the stairs. (I'm also having stair problems, and it's because my knees are bothering me. I really need to lose weight.) Luckily, she ended the call before reaching the masseuse, as I didn't have that much to say after that.

Reaching the Cat Lady, we were off to the same restaurant we went to last time. This time, she picked out the wine. After being seated, she asked to be reseated, as the lady behind her was wearing too strong a perfume. We had a long conversation (she did 80% of the talking), and both of us noticed the salt in the food.  This time, I was unimpressed with the service, as they weren't attentive enough. (Last time, they were over attentive.) I'm not sure if the owner has her staffing right between the two rooms of the restaurant. However, it was much more quiet, and we didn't have to shout over the noise (once the place got busy) to hear each other speak. Eventually the Cat Lady had to go to bed, so I took her home to rest. This was not a night where she had much energy after 9:30 - 10 pm or so. I made sure that she could see her way into her house, and then left for home. 

All in all it was a good day. But I know one thing - if the Cat Lady wants to take things to the next level, I will tell her about being transgender up front and see how she reacts.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Game night, and all went well today.

No, I am not getting married. But I will soon be with Lili's daughter in law as she shops for the formal wedding dress that she will wear to a public ceremony being held to please the relatives. And Lili has invited me to go with her as her daughter in law shops for a gown at Kleinfeld's.

- - - - - -

Last night was another night that I didn't put my CPAP mask on. However, when I woke up after a couple of hours of sleep, I put the mask on and fell back to sleep for another two or three hours. And I felt much better than the day before, as restful sleep did recharge me for another busy day.

When I finally got moving, I sent a note off to the GLBT Center telling them I wouldn't be in today. Since key people wouldn't be there due to an off site conference, it didn't make sense for me to go in. And then, I realized that I was supposed to see YGN. So I postponed that in order to drop in on Lili at the Mall. Lili had some jewelry for me, and she made a big deal about gift exchanges. Unlike Lili, I'm not really into the exchange of gifts, as I have almost all the possessions I could reasonably want. I'd rather spend my time with a friend, helping out that friend when he/she needs help, and not waste our monies on gift exchanges that only serve to make other people a profit.

Lili realizes that we look at the world differently. She still hopes that I will find someone who wants me as Marian, and I keep telling her that being part of a couple isn't as important to me as it is for her. I've enjoyed having my weekends for myself - even though I would have probably enjoyed them as much had GFJ been around.  Towards the end of my visit, Lili mentioned that at the end of the month that she and her daughter in law are going to Kleinfeld's for wedding dress shopping - and I got invited to go with them. This is going to be fun! I only wish it were me shopping for that special dress.

- - - - - -

When I was done with Lili, I made my way to lower county. First was a stop at Panera Bread. GFJ called me while I was eating, and I returned the call when I was done. Strangely enough, she was at another Panera location eating her dinner at the same time. Next, it was a quick call to my brother, and it looks like we only have the last two panels of Sheetrock to take care of before we can get a signoff on the building inspection.

Once done with my phone calls, I walked into game night, and everyone was surprised that I was there early. We played some games, but I lost every one I played. However, I was able to avoid playing with "N", as there was no one who wanted to play "King of Tokyo" with him. I was glad he left early, as he tends to spook me out. However, the new girl in the group was here for the third time, and she brings a needed female face to the gathering.  She's young enough to be my daughter, but I like her as a person, not as a potential partner. So I think she'll always bring a smile to my face when I see her there.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Politics, then my second to last PMP class

I'll open up with something not related to the main topic of this entry: The firing of the FBI Director by our president.

We have entered a period of constitutional crisis. Our president has attempted to kill off an investigation of his campaign's links to a foreign power. He has fired Preet Bharara, Sally Yates, and Jim Comey at times where the "continuing government" threatened to expose his links to Russia and other potential acts of treason committed by Trump.

Trump believes in authoritarian regimes, and wants to lead one himself. We now have evidence that the vice president may also be tainted in the investigations which have been going on. And the GOP, to this point, has stood to the side and let this clown put America into a position where we are losing "soft power', the ability to influence other countries' actions using tools other than our military. They have also allowed him to threaten the Bill of Rights by saying that the 1st amendment must be changed to limit freedoms of speech.

Why am I concerned?

When countries become authoritarian, they scoop up the GLBT population as a class of undesirables and perform a sort of "social cleansing". We are now at risk. What congress does in the next few weeks will affect all of us, and may be the signal that we need to "Get out of Dodge by Sundown."

- - - - - -   - - - - - -

Now, on to the topic I planned to talk about....

Although I felt rested when I got up, I realized that I wasn't wearing the CPAP mask when I went to sleep. I was doubtful that I'd get through the day without a nap before class, so I tried to fall back to sleep with the CPAP mask on - and couldn't. After an hour or so, I decided to turn the TV on, and all Morning Joe's "Talking Heads" could discuss was the threat to the country that Comey's firing posed. As a result, I decided to open this entry with the above political note of alarm.

Once I ate breakfast, I decided to get back on the bed - and I fell asleep for a couple of hours without my CPAP mask. This time, I know I was breathing through my mouth, as I woke up needing a glass of water. I guess that I'll need to put my chin strap on if I may be in a position to take a nap.

I'm glad that I busted my butt to catch up with the quizzes for class on Monday. This made it possible for me to be able to do the homework that was assigned, and be up to date by the time I attend the last class for this course. My next big headache will be registering for the PMP exam and scheduling when I'll take it. I'm not looking forward to it, but it's something I must do whether I like it or not. So I will soon go through my old resumes, collect project information and use it in my exam application process.

- - - - - -

When I finally got moving, I was running late. Instead of being able to park near the Pelham train station, I knew that I had to drive to the subway station near Ex-GF-M's house. (It's a little hard to contact her these days, so I'm going to give up the idea of using my old school's resources to fine tune my job search. But that's an item for another entry.) Although I made it to the subway with time to spare in reaching Grand Central, congestion on the tracks delayed my arrival by 20 minutes. Luckily, Patty had already picked up her food and was waiting for me to arrive.

Patty told me that she had called Habitat for Humanity to pick up furniture donations from her mom's apartment. (They have to clear out the place by month-end, as the new owners will be coming in shortly.) Patty was given an arrival time for Tuesday between 10 am and 4 pm, but no one called. By the time 4 pm came, Patty was a little upset, and she made this known to H4H. H4H said that the truck came around 3 pm, and there was no answer on the phone. Something was very wrong here, and some investigation was in order. It seems that the volunteer made a big mistake and did not dial the the area code part of Patty's phone number. Instead of reaching 917-pat-fone, the volunteer called 845-pat-fone, and didn't get an answer. The fellow at H4H said that this will be the last time that he lets a volunteer make the phone call. (Yeah, right!  I'll bet this has happened before, and he has had this canned excuse ready for "emergencies.")

As I finished my meal, Patty and I made it to the Fed-Ex office where she made copies of today's class assignment. Then we made it to class with a couple of minutes to spare. If it weren't for the caffeine I was drinking in sodas, I would likely have fallen asleep in class. Instead, I made it home fully awake. And I was able to write this entry before packing it in for the night.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Back to "reality"

Back to reality, or what passes for it.

When I arrived home, I found the mess on my bed where I left it, and 3 loads of laundry that I had to do.  Instead, I spent my time taking care of other matters until 7 pm. At that time, I decided to take care of the backlog of work I had to do for my PMP certification class. Expecting to take about 30 minutes for each quiz, I decided to stay at my desk until I caught up with the work. And I was still working on these quizzes until after midnight. AARGH!  I was so preoccupied with this work, that I didn't even take a break to do laundry. So, I had at least 3 loads to take care of today before meeting GFJ for an early dinner.

- - - - - -

Getting up, one of the first things on my mind was doing the laundry. But more important was how I would deal with GFJ. Do we finally say it's over? I could live with that, but I really don't like this scenario. We could renew things, but after 2 1/2 months of being apart, I've gotten used to having weekends for myself and for getting out and about as Marian. I really didn't want to have the conversation we needed to have, and dreaded what it could mean.

Eventually, the two of us had dinner at the local Japanese restaurant in town, and had a chat. The elephant in the room was not even mentioned. And this was just as well. We lingered after dinner, then went to the riverside park to take a walk and then to chat. Again, the elephant in the room was not mentioned.

Around 9:30, GFJ had to leave for her mom's place, as they had an appointment with her mom's caregivers in the morning. I felt better about things, as nothing final from either of us was said. And yet, I could also use some certainty to get moving with this part of my life again. This sounds crazy, as I'll be seeing the Cat Lady on Friday, and possibly seeing RO after I'm done with my brother on Saturday.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow morning, I have to do the homework for my 2nd to last class for my PMP certification. I'm behind on some things, and I know that I'll have to do some serious practice tests before being confident enough to schedule the PMP exam. Could you imagine me passing this exam, but not wanting to follow this path anymore?  Don't laugh. This was the case with my Masters in Education, and I have no regrets for the time and money spent to get this degree....

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Visiting YGM for an overnight stay

YGM. If you believe in reincarnation, the two of us must have been very close to each other in a prior life. The two of us have been trying to get together for ages. But with various illnesses, holidays, and other events, we never could seem to find a day where I could drive up to see her. This weekend, the stars were finally in alignment, and we finally got together for an afternoon and evening together.

- - - - - -

Sunday morning, I made sure that all of my alarms sounded loudly - and I was moving by 10:00 am.  Yet, by the time I finally got my butt out the door, it was already noon, and I had to book it to make it to the hotel by 2 pm. One would think that one can't drive the 121 miles from my place to Groton, CT in a little over 2 hours flat. But when I reached the Connecticut Turnpike, I was able to cruise at an average speed that would have gotten me a ticket had a cop been around. (And I was driving at or below the rate of traffic.) This allowed me to make it to the hotel shortly after 2 pm, with about 15-20 minutes to spare before YGM picked me up.

When I reached the hotel (Motel 6), I was greeted by a pleasant lady of Irish background who needed an oxygen feed. (I could see the tubes leading to a "nasal pillow".) She asked me for my id, and I showed her the Marian Johnson NYS License that I use for simple, non official ID checks. (I photoshopped Mario's license, so that I have something in the right place in my wallet.) It was nice to be greeted as "Ms. Johnson" for a change.  However, things were not perfect. The card keys this lady game me didn't work for the original room I was given. After 2 tries, she gave me a new room - and the key cards worked perfectly there.

You'll note that the doors to each room face the outside world. So one can get very cold before one gets to the room. There are no elevators - just stairs. As a result, bringing luggage upstairs can be a big pain and going to the indoor pool afterward might not be worth it. (More on this later.)

Once I finally settled into my room, YGM arrived, and it was off to the USS Nautilus Submarine Museum. It was a perfect day for a visit, and again, there was a problem. Because a circuit breaker failed on the ship, the main attraction was not open for tours. YGM and I then sat through an interesting film about the history of the Submarine Service before leaving the place.

At this point, it was too late to visit any other nearby museums. We headed over to a local shopping mall, where I picked up another "tin" of my Dermablend foundation. Then, we went to Catherine's, where we got into a nice conversation with the two ladies working there. YGM was impressed with the store, as she found a place where she could find nice things in her size that she could wear on interviews. As for me, it was nice to browse through the racks again.

When we left Catherine's, both of our stomachs were growling. This prioritized the next stop in our journey - her house, where we could feast on some chicken before going back to the hotel. There was a second reason for stopping at her place - she had to pick up a swimsuit (or, what would pass for one).  On the way back to the hotel, we talked about her family life, including issues I won't discuss here. Given what YGM said, it's nice to know that I was one of a couple of people she could trust with this information, even though her husband was uncomfortable with her sharing it with us.

By the time we got back to the hotel, the sun had set, and we still had to change for our dip in the pool. I knew we were going to be a little bit chilly walking over to the pool, and even more so when we returned from the pool. So I made sure that I could wear the short dress I was wearing during the day over my swimsuit for the trips between my door and the pool. While changing, I found out how much YGM thinks of me as a woman, as she came out of the bathroom (where she was changing) without thinking whether I was done or not. (Most of me was already in the swimsuit, and needed minor assistance with one strap not fitting right.) It was nice to be able to wear this swimsuit in public for the first time.

The pool was a little cooler than expected. YGM would only dip her legs in the pool, while I was sitting with my breast forms under water. If I had been moving around, I might not have noticed the chill. But I wasn't going to go in any deeper than I had done, as I wouldn't have company in the water. We continued the conversation we were having earlier, and she was surprised by some observations I had regarding conversations between women and women, and between men and women. I mentioned a conversation I had at church, where if I were in Mario mode, that I'd be able to assume the woman across from me might be interested in dating. But, in Marian mode, the woman and I would not likely have that potential sexual element, and the conversation would be seen as having no additional subtexts. Since I prefer socializing with women, it's a blessing to be able to do so as a peer.

We then moved on to issues of sexuality, and we talked about fantasies, as well as our relationships. Again, I won't go into YGM's relationships here, save that she loves her husband very much and noted that if we were closer in age and met before she were married, that she'd be interested in me as a partner. In response, I said that not many women of my generation are comfortable with gender fluidity, and that when/if I decide to medically transition, that I would likely not have any more romantic partnerships.

From there, we discussed our bodies and what gradual medical transition would do to mine. She offered me the HRT pills she would soon be getting, as she wasn't feeling any hot flashes or any hormone related discomfort related to her hysterectomy. I said it was a nice gesture, but I shouldn't be taking any hormones, except under a doctor's supervision. There is an increased risk of stroke and heart attack for transpeople on HRT, and that I would likely need to lose over 100 pounds before a doctor would consider putting me on Estrogen. (It is tempting though. I'd love to have a pair of breasts that are part of my body and can fill out a bra properly.)  But all too soon the clock interrupted our chat, and we repaired to my room to change.

Shortly after YGM was dressed, we hugged like old friends who wouldn't see each other for a long, long time - and she was gone. At this point, I started to take out my stuff and prepared my CPAP unit for the night. Around 10 pm, GFJ called on her way home from Pennsylvania, and we talked for a while. I started falling out, and told her to text me when she got home. (She did, after taking a short nap along the way.) At this point, I started to try and study, and got through half of a chapter in my PMP book before I could no longer concentrate. There was no way I was going to set up my laptop to do some of the quizzes. (I'd put that off for another day.)  In the background, I had on the Yankee/Cub game - and I couldn't even watch the game past the 14th inning. And it's just as well, as I wouldn't have wanted to stay up to see all 18 innings of that game!

- - - - - -

The next  morning, I had to pack everything up and leave. Although I was semi-conscious by 7:15 am, I didn't bother moving until 8:30 or so. Yet, even including a long, hot shower, I was out the door by 9:30 - and looking for a McDonald's for breakfast. Although I didn't find a Mickey D's nearby, I was able to grab a soda and a snack to tide me over for a while.

Shortly afterward, I spotted the above disaster on the other side of the road. It was very fortunate that I was traveling on my side of the road, as the backup went on for several miles.  Shortly after I passed this point, GFJ texted me, and asked if we could have dinner tomorrow.  I said yes, not knowing if she has any other message she wants to communicate in person or not. But it will mean that I spend one less day as Marian this week, and I will miss the freedom I have as Marian.

Driving West along Route 95, I remembered that there were 2 outlet malls that were near each other. I stopped into one of them, where there was a Lane Bryant Outlet. Entering the store, I was greeted by a lady wearing a maxi dress. What was special about her was not the dress, but a certain "glow" about her. We chatted a bit, and she told me that she had just come home from school in Utah. If you put 2+2 together, you can probably guess what church she attends on Sundays. I proceeded to search the clearance rack for a dress that I might like, and I found a LBD that had been marked down from $70 to $10. So I had to try this dress on for size. It fit, and well!  The saleslady had just come to the back and asked me if I needed any help. So I came out of the changing stall, and she said that the dress was a knockout on me. (I forgot her exact words.)  It was obvious that I had to buy the dress. I put the dress on the counter, then found another dress (at $40) that I wanted. Sadly, I couldn't justify buying that second dress, as it would be a great "tunic" that I could wear with leggings of all types. Without a job or reasonable income, I had to just say no. If I'm in the area in a month from now and I have a few extra bucks, I will look for the dress and buy it if I can.

Eventually, I made it to New York, and stopped off at the GLBT center to make a donation of some old business shirts. The fellow manning the thrift shop was too busy to do much of anything, so I dropped the shirts off in another room, along with some serving plates I'll never have need to use. (After 20+ years, I'm still getting rid of things that came here with my late wife.) This receipt will be quite useful, even though not as valuable to me as it would have been if I were still working.

And then... I was finally home.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quickie: Former Friend

Have you ever received a "Dear Jane" letter from someone with whom you do not have a relationship, save for a casual acquaintanceship? Today, I received one.

Marian, I hope my email finds you doing well. Just wanted to let you know that I received each and every one of your texts and of course your email all of which I had no imminent intention in providing excuses, explanations, or pending updates for since the implications the last time we exchanged communications was that I would be extremely busy studying for my state exams. If not mistaken, you expressed acknowledgment of the imperativeness that I remain focused in order to be certified within the already planned time frame. I have made sacrifices with friends and family all of whom clearly understood and accepted my current situation and the reasons why I would not be unavailable. Now that you have finally succeeded in refocusing my attention, I took the opportunity to honestly reevaluate our friendship and have determined that I cannot foresee it moving forward as I feel we are incompatible and that I simply cannot offer you the type of friendship I believe you are seeking. I will thank you advance for respecting my final decision and for not pursuing this matter any further.


YGWM had failed one of the state exams for teaching certification. And I occasionally contacted her (truly, not often - maybe once every couple of months, if not less often) to say hi and to see how she was doing.  Is that overdoing things?  I doubt it.

When we last talked in person, YGWM said that she was glad that her husband had found our group, as it gave him a needed place to go and relax. Sometime towards the middle of Winter, her husband ceased coming to the group. I'm open about being transgender in the group, so it should have been obvious to him that I am TG. But who knows? Could this have been a factor? I'll never know.

To me, someone who goes into deep isolation and doesn't reply to even casual contacts by saying something like "I'm fine, but very busy" probably has more problems than I can imagine. So In response, I replied with the following short statement:

No Problem.  I wish you good luck.

Short and sweet. But I'll miss the possibility of having another friend who knows me only as Marian.  I guess I'll talk to YGM when I see her next....

PS: I did talk with YGM the following Sunday, and she thinks that YGWM has bigger problems than she's letting on and that I shouldn't let YGWM's actions bother me. Given YGM's experiences with me, she feels that I wasn't unreasonable or excessive in my attempts to be in contact.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quickie: Sheetrock Saturday

We had two areas of the family homestead that needed sheetrock before we could get the final permit needed to rent out the house. The first was an unfinished room upstairs, and the second was the space above the furnace. This week, we tackled the upstairs zone.

My brother had already bought extra sheetrock, figuring that he'd gussy up part of the basement area (near the washing machine and dryer, and on a divider separating one side of the basement from the other.) So, we had enough extra pieces lying around to take care of the upstairs zone - as soon as I arrived.  This time down, the trip was relatively pleasant.  I hit no traffic jams, and I was able to be in the area about 30 minutes earlier than usual. However, I didn't want to rush my brother, so I killed time at a nearby book store. 

When I finally reached the family home, my brother got delayed a few minutes by a fire call. (He is a volunteer fireman.) But once he arrived, we got to work, and were able to get 90% of the upstairs sheetrock done by 3:30 pm. After a break for food, we went back to the house and took care of one small unfinished wall before calling it a day around 5:00 pm.

Driving home was a big pain. The Cross Island Parkway was down to one Northbound lane going to the bridges, and the bridges weren't any better. It seems that on the Whitestone (and possibly the Throggs Neck), they took several lanes of the toll collection approach out of service to prepare for cashless toll collection. One problem - This fouls up all traffic trying to leave Long Island for the mainland.

Unfortunately, I'll have to make this trip again next weekend. Hopefully, it'll be the last time I do so while construction is going on.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Chinese Dinner with the FFGoW's

I couldn't find a good enough picture online to give you an idea what Tasty House was like. But I can say that their food can be very delicate, and their decor is fitting for a place in which one would casually gather with friends.

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As usual, I needed multiple alarms to rouse me from blissful slumber this morning. I must have a mild bug, as I've had a nasty back drip that is causing me me to cough and my nose feels like it wants to run the 4 minute mile. So I had little energy to spend on things like study for class.

Once fully awake, I reached out to my niece and postponed our trip into NYC to the Neue Gallerie. We have postponed this meeting for another month, and I hope the weather will be cool enough then for me to meet her in Marian mode. And then, I proceeded to spend time in my bed until I was about to get ready to meet the FFGoW's at Tasty House.  (I won't discuss the call I had with WDJ here. She's a little frustrated by things going on in her life, and I had no idea of how to help her other than to listen to her for a while.)

I'm glad I allowed extra time to get ready. DCD called me just as I was about to take my shower, and we were on the phone while he told me about the games his ex has been playing post divorce, such as having her brother in law (a NYC cop) trigger "wellness" inspections (by the Danbury police) in order to make it impossible to maintain joint custody of their children. (According to DCD, the Danbury police are getting tired of this, as they have been finding nothing is amiss with DCD.) Of course, DCD, being the obsessive person that he is, was able to reach the NYPD's internal affairs division to inform them that the former brother in law was abusing his authority as a cop - and this caused the ex brother in law a couple of problems....

After my call with DCD ended, I was able to get showered, made up, and dressed - and was able to get to the restaurant by 6:30 pm.  Half of the ladies didn't make it, as much of Westchester was under a flash flood warning - and they didn't want to risk driving in bad weather. One of the ladies I really enjoy was there, as well as two new members.  Hopefully, the newcomers will be back again soon.

On the way home, I stopped off at Walmart to pick up a couple of things. After leaving the store, I returned GFJ's call and chatted for about 45 minutes. She'll be driving out to Pennsylvania tomorrow while I'll be going out to Long Island. The following day, she'll be heading home while I'm driving to Groton to see YGM. Both of us are going to be busy beavers, and for very different reasons excepting both of us will have long drives this weekend.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Game night - And I won two games!

Thursday again. Not only did I have to think about the cleaning lady, but I also had to think about making hotel reservations to see YGM, and to go to Game Night in Yonkers. Nothing earth shattering here, but with depleted energy, I really needed to veg out instead of doing anything that called for me to put in effort - such as studying or making the place ready for the cleaning lady.

When I awoke this morning, I made a call to the cleaning lady asking her if this was the week she was scheduled to come. It was. So I asked her to come in 2 weeks, as I wasn't feeling well today. Next was a call between me and my doctor's office. They called to confirm an appointment for tomorrow, and I asked to postpone it for 1 week. Given that it is supposed to rain a lot, the last thing I need to do is get drenched early in the day. And then, it was a call from my brother, asking me to check in with the electrician to find out about the underwriter's certificate. (The certificate, unbeknownst to us, arrived in the afternoon mail.)

Once done with the phone calls, it was a slow day until I started getting ready for game night. After I had showered and started the process to go out as Marian, GFJ called. And I was doing my makeup while chatting with her on the phone. Once done with her, I decided to confirm Sunday with YGM and make the reservation for a hotel in Groton. Since Sunday evening is not prime time, it was easy to get a room for $55 (incl. tax).  You might ask, if Marian will drive a couple of hours to see a friend, why isn't she driving home the same evening?  Well, I want to take advantage of the indoor pool at the hotel, as I've never gotten any mileage out of the swimsuit I bought last year.

Eventually, I made it down to Yonkers with a stop at Mickey D's. They are promoting several "Signature Crafted" burgers, and I wanted to see if they were any good. Given that BBQ burgers all seem to taste alike due to the type of BBQ Sauces that seem to be popular nationwide, I figured that I'd try the Maple Bacon Dijon burger they were promoting.

The burger wasn't bad. But there was one problem. The "Broiled" flavor (which is more likely to come from Burger King's way of making burgers) seems to be from an additive, and not from the way the burger was cooked. This flavor overpowered the other flavors in the burger, leaving something to be desired.

I didn't get to the meetup until 8:30 pm, but this wasn't an issue. I was able to get into several games. One of these names (whose name I can't remember) was like a game of Charades played as a board game, where icons are places on symbols that are supposed to clue others into guessing the desired answer. Well, I won that game, and the next game we played - Kingdom Builder.  This was the first time I remember winning this game in all the times I've played it. However, shortly after this game, I wasn't up to playing any more games because I was tired and had no energy.

It's nice to be able to get into my jammies (or not) without worrying what GFJ would think....

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Back in the classroom again.

I have to admit, I've fallen behind in my classwork and must catch up. I'm not worried, as I should be able to find the time to do so before the next class.

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When I got up this morning, I started to do the on-line quizzes for my class. And I only got through one and a half of them, as the second unit was much more intensive than the first. This means that I'll have to prepare to allocate more time for the next unit, as it is calculation intensive.

Patty texted me to let me know that she was going to be in Westchester today, and wanted to know if I'd like to be a passenger on her ride to NYC. Of course, I said yes, as I wouldn't have to deal with finding a spot near the subway station and then taking the slow ride into the city. So when I reached the train station (having parked my car for my return ride home), Patty was running late. After 15 years of not being together, she no longer had information about my neighborhood in implicit memory. This resulted in her taking an extra 15+ minutes to reach me, and also resulted in us not having much time to eat before class due to NYC traffic.

One thing of note about the drive into NYC: Steve kept "butt dialing" his phone and ringing Patty. She was getting quite annoyed, as she'd rather have kept focusing on our conversation instead of trying to speak with someone who could  not hear his phone. I can only imagine how she feels, knowing that Steve does this all the time while walking the dogs.

Class went smoothly, after a minor headache. The teacher couldn't get the classroom projector to work. So we ended up in the vacant classroom next door. I'm not looking forward to the catch up homework I have to do this weekend. But at least I'll have time to do this on Sunday evening.

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On the way home, I noticed that I may have come down with a mild cold. As long as it doesn't get worse, I'll keep on with my plans to see YGM on Sunday and come home the following day. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Another day en-femme, and wishing I had more.

It's been months since I've seen YGM, and I'm looking forward to seeing her again. We confirmed that we will be meeting this Sunday, and I'm about to make reservations at a hotel nearby to her, so that I can see her, perhaps go for a swim, and drive home at a leisurely pace the next morning.

But first, I'll talk about today's events.

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As usual, I didn't get moving until the afternoon came. I did a little studying for class, knowing that I am a little behind in my work. There was some homework, and I wasn't getting the hang of one question. So I'll have to ask about this in tomorrow's class.

Towards mid afternoon, I decided to get shaved, showered, dressed and out the door. I wanted to find an inexpensive cover up that I can use this weekend when I walk from my room to the indoor pool. It'll be nice to take a dip in my "new" swimsuit and stay en-femme for my entire stay at the hotel. So I drove up to Newburgh and scanned what they had at The Avenue - and didn't like the price of their offerings.

Next, it was off to Walmart, where I picked up an inexpensive denim dress which might serve the purpose. There is a drawback - buttons, buttons, and more buttons.

What made it worse is that one of those buttons had top be resewn. But what do you expect out of Walmart? Although the dress is a little snug around the waist, I can't complain much for only $16.

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This was the kind of day where it could have started raining at any time after rush hour. And it was windy all day. So I almost regretted made the decision to wear a dress. Since I'll soon be putting away my sweater dresses, I might as well get some mileage out of them while it is cool enough to wear them. If this were summer, I'd have already broken out the summer weight dresses. But I think I'll pack a couple of tunics and leggings in my weekend bag, just in case we have a day like today.