Friday, June 30, 2017

Anxiousness is catching up with me.

I'm a little anxious about taking my upcoming cruise. We now live with a Federal Government which is not friendly to the GLBT community. Because of this, I must anticipate possible problems when I present my paperwork to go on the cruise, and when I return from my cruise.  Hopefully, my concerns will not turn themselves into unpleasant realities. Only when I return from the cruise, will I be proven right or wrong in regard to my fears.

Today's post is in two parts: Thursday and Friday.  I figure that I'll write a thought piece or two before going back to my usual diary format posts. This way, I can explore a few ideas related to my life, and be more interesting when I get back to daily diary entries.

- - - - - -

Thursday was a day that I should have gotten out earlier and taken care of business. Yet, I took care of much of the business at hand: getting money from the bank, paying bills, and (finally!) getting my first Mani-Pedi of the year.

When I paid my bills, I was close to a number that I didn't want to drop through until next month. One of the bills I paid was for co-op maintenance - a bill for which I had accumulated a 1 month over payment credit. Since I didn't realize that I had this credit when I made this payment, I decided to withdraw my weekly cash from another bank where I didn't yet hit my self-imposed limit for monthly withdrawals and/or checks. Unfortunately, this bank doesn't have branches near me. So I tried withdrawing money from a cash machine at the local CVS, only to find out that the machine temporarily couldn't dispense cash. AARGH!

Next, it was off to the nail salon in Croton to get my Mani-Pedi. The lady running the place noted that I hadn't been there for a while, and was glad to see me again. I noted that I was working in the city last Summer, and was getting home too late to get my hands and feet done. It was a fortunate thing that I got there when I did. Shortly after I arrived, they had a full house, and had to tell customers to come back later. It was a good feeling to finally have my Mani-Pedi, and if I can get a full week in Marian Mode in the Summer, I will try to get a Mani-Pedi to look nice during that Summer week.

Once done at the salon, it was off to Yonkers.  YGM was hemming and hawing about going to the meetup, saying she left as a crazy lady way back when.  I said not to worry, "no one there thinks you were crazy."  While eating at Panera, she worried again, making a comment about bruises on her kids that they got from playing ina Central Park, NY playground. I told her to say that she took the kids into NYC, and while waiting for her husband to get out of class, had her kids play in rush hour traffic.  Well, YGM went to game night, and she was welcomed warmly.  Some friendships can be suspended for years, and then switched back on without having to be warmed up. YGM and our game night hostess have one of those friendships.

It was a nice evening, and I had a small glass of Portuguese fortified cherry wine that was brought in by one of our regulars.  YUM!   Then, we got down to gaming.  There was so much us 4 ladies had to catch up on, that this one evening wasn't enough for any of us. Luckily, I had the time to mention to the hostess that her idea of looking at Vassar for employment was good, and that I would soon look at Sarah Lawrence because it fits a similar demographic. She mentioned that she has contacts there, so I asked her to put in a call or two.  Hopefully, this will lead to something - if only a phone call....

All too soon, the evening had to end. And I finally took care of my cash withdrawal on the way home.  Hopefully, I won't need to drain my bank account as fast as I've done over the last few months, as I want to stretch out my savings as long as possible....

- - - - - -

Friday came, and I was awakened early, but still didn't stir much until noon. I knew that the most important thing on my to-do list was to finish packing my bags. But I couldn't muster the energy to do this until I had my breakfast. Given that I expect things will be like tomorrow morning, it made sense to go out to the store and have something I can prepare quickly - just in case Lili wants to get on the ship before lunch.

Although I didn't do much during the day, I did get on with my packing. For the most part, I had completed my packing Wednesday night. But I needed to take the time to fill in the minor gaps of what I needed and could easily forget.

If curiosity killed the cat, then the Cat Lady is showing the signs of illness.  Over the past few days, I have received the following questions about me as Marian.

What did u (as Marian) end up buying?

Who goes to game night - Marian ?

Have a wonderful trip!! Do men ever flirt with Marian?

Does Marian do any gambling?
There are more things we have talked about - but I can't find them today.  I hope I can introduce her to my Marian presentation soon.

- - - - - -

All too soon, I'll be on my cruise.  And I'll be posting entries about it when I get home. There will be things I need to take care of when I get back. Until then, there is nothing that I can't defer unless there is an emergency with my family on Long Island.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

A last day as Mario for a while.

I'm one of the smaller group of Transgender folk that does not suffer from severe gender dysphoria. That means I can "comfortably" live as a male for a while - until my need to be female demands that I revert to a female presentation. This was a factor in the ambivalence I felt about going to my last job - I was not getting enough "Marian Time" to sate my needs.

Today was my last day of being Mario for a while. I had a PMI meeting that I planned to attend in the afternoon. However, I blew it off after doing laundry, as I really wasn't in the mood to schlep into NYC when I really needed to pack.

- - - - - -

One of the Co-Op issues came up today, when a board member wanted to find out more information about an issue which was not my right to supply. So I had to explain that saying anything would put me in an awkward situation - and she let things drop. But then we shifted to financial matters, and a second issue came up. Once done with that call, I made a call to the Co-Op's president and mentioned what this board member brought up. We discussed this board member's concerns in regard to finances, and I said that I'd discuss these concerns with my brother - a CPA (and now CFO of the firm he works for).

Later on, my brother called me to discuss the status of the family homestead, and I brought up the co-op's issue and asked him for suggestions.  Both of us were frustrated for different reasons. I am not always good at organizing my thoughts, and need time to paint a picture of what is happening and where I see the potential problems.  He's much more of a "get to the point" person, and intolerant of those who can't quickly describe a situation. Eventually, I had to tell him that I am not an accountant, can't be brief with an issue I don't grasp 100%, and needed the time without interruption to describe that situation that he could describe in 30 seconds. He then let me speak, and then gave me some suggestions we can use in dealing with that second issue of concern.

- - - - - -

I realize that I don't always think in the same way as an average person. Years ago, I must have been continually interrupted when trying to make my points and developed a problem in getting my points across. To whoever did this to me, all I can say (venting my anger) is that I hope they are burning in hell, as I can not forgive them for crippling me this way. Making someone insecure in one's ability to communicate is evil, and never should be tolerated. Anyone who says that "Children should be seen and not heard" is likely evil, as children need their voices too.

Am I angry? Yes. But I am angry at a class of people who would deny others their voices. I am angry at people who think children are chattel who have no rights. And I am angry at parents who do not put the needs of their children first, above all other needs.....

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

An afternoon with YGM, and a Co-Op Board Meeting

YUM!  I always seem to be saying that when I am in a Greek Restaurant.  It's either a choice between Gyros or Souvlaki. For a change, I had a "Small" Greek Salad with Chicken.

- - - - - -

But first....

Today was a day that I had two things on my calendar. The first was lunch with YGM, followed by a Co-Op board meeting where we had to take care of some potentially troublesome business.  So, when I got up, the first thing I did was to contact YGM to make sure we were still on for the day.

We decided to eat lunch at Leftris in Tarrytown. I wasn't sure if YGM had ever eaten there before, but I knew we'd have a good meal there.  As I expected, she was a little late, not traveling through Westchester that often since her move to Connecticut. Once she arrived, we took a seat inside (where it was air conditioned), and got down to our conversation and a good meal. She ordered the Souvlaki, while I ordered the Greek Salad. Anyone who has been to this place knows that the "Small" salad is more than enough to feed two people. And I couldn't finish it all.

Once done with lunch, it was off to White Plains to see if we could find a few inexpensive, small thumb drives that she could use to carry her resume and hand it off to people with whom she may interview for work. She doesn't need much - maybe 1 GB at most, and this was a size too small and too expensive for stores like Walmart or Target to carry. So I told her to check out Micro Center in Yonkers, and see what is the cheapest thumb drive they will sell.

Sadly, witching hour came too early for both of us, and we had to part. She had to make it to Yonkers, so that her husband could drive into NYC for night classes, while I had to go home and change into Mario for my Co-Op board meeting.  At least, she will be down here more often, as it will be nice for her to be with her husband more often than she has been as of late.

- - - - - -

When I got home, I quickly changed back into Mario - and was sad.  As much as I am comfortable as Mario, I am much more comfortable being Marian. But it was just as well that I changed, as they didn't turn the A/C on for the co-op board meeting. At the beginning, it wasn't that bad - just mildly uncomfortable for me as Mario. Marian would have insisted that the A/C be on until the room was cool. And then we got down to business.

There were two issues (that I can't discuss here) which I knew were going to cause us trouble. One of them could affect the co-op as a whole, while the other could affect the board alone.  Neither issue resulted in a happy ending. Instead, they were omens of potentially ill things to come.

- - - - - -

The board meeting ended late, as I expected, and HWV and I hung out in the parking lot discussing things unrelated to the board. I told her about the status of the family homestead, my cruise, and my relationships - and we will try to get together towards Mid-July. And then it was back to my apartment, where I had a phone call to make to someone who contacted me from Plenty of Fish. We talked for a while, exchanged information, and will likely meet after my cruise and her trip to Germany.

By the time I was done, GFJ was already trying to go to sleep - and I had things to take care of.  I exchanged some texts with RO, and she liked the dress I'll be wearing on the cruise. We will try to get together when I return.  It'll be nice to do so.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, I should be going to a PMI meeting. Assuming I do, I might have company on my trip in, as HWV may be going to a concert in the evening.  It should be an interesting trip in.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Though June showers may come your way....

Years ago, Mad Magazine had new lyrics for old songs.  One of them went,

"Though April Showers may come your way,
 They bring the Plumbers for Floods in May."

After 50+ years, I still remember that one line, and it came to mind for two reasons:

  1. A severe thunderstorm warning that lasted most of the day.
  2. A newly discovered need to replace the wax ring in my toilet.
I don't know which is more annoying - the thunderstorm or the need to replace the wax ring.

- - - - - -

When I got up, my plans called for me to meet with Ex-GF-M for lunch, and then to buy a bra or two at Catherine's in Paramus before (possibly) meeting the Cat Lady after work. But this changed when Ex-GF-M sent me a text, telling me that due to the severe weather, that she didn't feel safe in going out.  (I can't blame her, as the rain was coming down in buckets when I replied to her.) Although she wanted to reschedule lunch for later this week, I had no time available. The only time this week I could have considered having lunch with EX-GF-M was already penciled in for YGM (who was visiting Yonkers tomorrow). So we postponed again for sometime in the coming month.

I decided to relax a little, and then sorted out female clothing from my storage containers. Some garments, such as a two piece dress that BXM bought for me, went into the charity pile. Others, such as my cold weather gear, made their way into storage containers, while warm weather wear made it into my closet. This way, I have enough clothing available that I can use on my upcoming cruise.

This was the first time that I dressed en-femme for a couple of days, and I made sure that I was properly shaved and made up before leaving the house at 4 pm. The rain wasn't coming down hard, but I expected to hit rush hour traffic crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge - which I did. The traffic delayed me a bit, and I didn't reach Catherine's until 6 pm.  On the way there, I had a conversation (via texts) with the Cat Lady, and found out that she really wanted to go straight home after an exhausting 2 hour drive - and I couldn't blame her. Hopefully, she'll get the chance to meet me in Marian Mode soon, as I would like to know whether she can accept me this way, or merely tolerate me this way.

- - - - - -

Once in Catherine's, I changed my purchase decision. Instead of buying two bras from the clearance rack, I decided to splurge and buy 3 from the "full price" rack - and spent twice as much money doing so. I was surprised while there. This is only the second time that I've seen a male working at a women's clothing store. (If I wanted to work in retail, I probably could get hired as Marian. But I'd hate standing on my feet all day.)

After Catherine's, I decided to go to the Garden State Plaza mall - if only to walk around a little and get a bite to eat without getting rained on. I figure that I walked about a half hour, and if I continue doing this on the cruise, I could actually build up some stamina again. Next, it was off to Target, where I bought some makeup. Then, it was across the river and on my way home.

I figured that I'd take a detour to Mt. Kisco to see whether the dress below would look good on me.

Sadly, I didn't find the dress there, as it might have already sold out in the stores. (I'll try it on if I see it in my size on a future visit.) But I did find another dress that I liked, and though it might be a little too delicate (the fabric is thin, and would be very comfortable on a hot Summer's day), I'd wear it anyway, as I think it looked good on me.

What do you think? The one review I have read noted that the arm holes may be a little too big, and allow the bra one is wearing to show a little. This is true. But it is a minor faux pas that can be accepted on days where the weather is sweltering hot. I felt like I was wearing nothing but my underwear and shoes when I wore this dress. So it came home with me, and may make it into my suitcase for the cruise.

- - - - - -

At this point, I had to go home. And when I arrived there, I responded to messages from a couple of women from Plenty of Fish. One lives more than an hour away in Jersey, and will likely not be practical for me to date. The other is a chiropractor who lives nearby, and could be a good match.  Only one problem. If I hit it off with either lady, when (and how) do I reveal my TG nature safely?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Visiting Long Island for Father's Day

It's only fitting that when I saw my Dad today, that he was sitting in a chair.  He was never a man of great physical activity. And now that he's in the nursing home, he is being "forced" to walk, so that he preserves the practical use of his legs. As a benefit to us, strengthening his legs made it possible for my brother to take Dad out of the nursing home for the day and to celebrate the holiday with him in a non-sterile setting.

- - - - - -

As usual, I got up later than I would have liked. This meant that I got out the door at noon, giving me a 1:30 ETA on Long Island.  My brother called twice to find out where I was, and I told him that I hit nasty traffic going through the Bronx and later as I was on Long Island side roads. I didn't arrive at the family homestead until 2 pm.

I was surprised at my brother for taking Dad to the house. But my brother was proud of what we had accomplished, and wanted Dad to see the house one last time. While there, my brother mentioned that my niece and her boyfriend would be living there during the next 4 weeks, making sure that everything in the house worked properly before handing the house off to the new renters. It's obvious that my brother wanted to give the two "kids" their privacy. My niece and her boyfriend lived together for 6 months in London, and it wouldn't be right for them to have less privacy then they had in Europe. (I expect to meet the two kids as Marian in a little under 3 weeks, but that's my little secret with my niece.)

Next, it was off to my brother's place, where we took our time before eating dinner. My sister in law had hurt her back while opening a window, so she couldn't participate in the family festivities. Instead, my brother decided to order Italian takeout (we had already eaten some Pizza at the family homestead) in place of the dinner she wanted to cook. By the time we were done, it was 7 pm - and we didn't have enough time to eat the cheesecakes I bought before having to bring my Dad home. (I wasn't sure of how many of us there would be, so I erred on buying too much food than too little.  And I wish I could have taken one of those cheesecakes home.)  So, as my brother was bringing Dad to the car, I said my goodbyes and drove off to my home.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I hit the now usual excessive traffic. I've given up hope that I can make it home in the once usual 60 minutes, and girded myself for 45 minutes of traffic jams on a 2 hour ride from Long Island to Northern Westchester.  Shortly after I hit the highways, I called GFJ - and the line was busy. By the time I hit the Bronx, she called back - and found that she wasn't home yet.  On her way home from State College, PA (her stopping point last night), she decided to take a tour of some caves, and didn't get moving until 4 pm or so. By the time our chat ended, we were both close to our separate homes.

Arriving in town, I knew that I didn't have time to do any laundry. So I indulged myself at the local Carvel. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw at least 20 adults milling about on the parking lot's driveway as if it were not a place for cars. Why do I mention this? As Marian, I'd wonder what would I be wearing today, and most of the women were in skirts and dresses. And I would have been home in female presentation had I been out as such today. (And if I were out to my family, I know exactly the dress I would have been wearing.)

- - - - - -

When I finally got home, I read the following message from the Cat Lady:

Hope you enjoyed your day with your dad and traffic wasn't too bad. What dessert did you end up buying/making?

I was very tired and lazy today - no laundry at all this weekend! I just went to the grocery store and Ulta Beauty to get nail polish to paint the three toes the doctor's assistant removed varnish from. Talked to my U.K. friend for over an hour. My friend from work I hadn't heard from (whom I sent a card to) called to thank me for the cool, pop up card and apologize for being out of touch so long. I had the rest of the Chinese for dinner except for a few pieces Walter (her ailing cat) enjoyed. He and I had leftover pizza (warmed in oven) for lunch but he didn't eat much. Off to vet Friday.

When do you think you'll be in Paramus?

She knows that I live in both genders, and she has heard Lili say that Marian is much more fun to be with than Mario. I will likely be in Paramus tomorrow shopping for a new bra or two that will be with me on the cruise. Wouldn't you agree that she may be interested in meeting Marian for at least a cup of coffee or a bite to eat?

Sunday, June 25, 2017

There are Plenty of Fish in the Ocean, but....

Other than seeing the Cat Lady and RO, I have not bothered to go out looking for anyone new. Yet, I was recently surprised when someone responded to an out of date personal ad I had on Plenty of Fish - and made arrangements to see her for lunch today.

- - - - - -

This weekend was one that I planned to stay as far away from Croton as possible, as the yearly Clearwater festival was in town. Years ago, I used to enjoy going there. But now that I've been living here for almost 35 years, the festival is more of a bother than anything else.

Lunch was scheduled for 11:30 at Table 9, and I arrived before my date. She is a nurse with 3 young adult children, and I don't think we hit it off that well.  Was it my weight?  Was it my style?  Was it because she thought I might be a financial drain?  Who knows? But there are many other women I could date, and I am not in any hurry to go out looking for them.

Once done with lunch, I returned home to relax before seeing the Cat Lady. I figure that I'd try to take care of at least one unpleasant task (or task that I'm ambivalent about) each day. And today's task was to clean up all of the outstanding papers piled upon my desk, and filing them in appropriate folders where I can find them if I need them. Although I didn't bother to sort many of the bank statements by date. the paperwork can be easily sorted by date within each folder when I have the time and inclination.

Around 5 pm, I drove to New Jersey. The Cat Lady and I drove to a nearby Chinese Restaurant, and had to wait for 30 minutes before getting a table. The food was good, and it was a place that I'd visit again. Both of us left room in our stomachs for dessert - and proceeded to go down the street to a local ice cream shop. It was nice to get Amaretto ice cream in soft serve, and I had more than my share before we left.

I drove the Cat Lady back to her place, and we talked for about an hour in the car. Lili called, and I introduced the two women to each other, and then Lili went on and chatted about pets, an ex boyfriend, and people in general. Lili talked about me as Marian and me as Mario, noting that she preferred the company of Marian to Mario.  When Lili got off the phone, the Cat Lady mentioned that Lili fit a certain ethnic stereotype - and I agreed with her.

- - - - - -

Eventually, we had to part ways. Once safely on the road, I called GFJ - and we chatted on my way home. She had stopped halfway between Cleveland and home, as she was starting to get tired. Just before she got to the hotel, a cop pulled her over. She explained that she was lost, and looking for the hotel. The cop noted that her lights weren't on (the car was a rental) and figured out how to get them on for the one block ride back to the hotel.  (Strike another one against Ford - I couldn't figure out how to get the radio tuned on a test drive. She got mixed up thinking her headlights were on when only the running lights were on.) I'm glad she was near the hotel. I doubt she would have been able to make the rest of the drive safely during the evening.

GFJ will arrive home tomorrow, while I go down to celebrate Father's day with family on Long Island. Part of me wishes I could go to the FFGoW diner dinner. But I feel that family will always come first - and I'll be glad to see everyone in the afternoon....

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Diner Dinner with the FFGoW's

This was not the best of days.  It was wet outside, and I didn't feel much like doing anything. So I relaxed most of the day, and got out the door just in time to make the meetup in Yonkers.

- - - - - -

When I left my house, I knew that I didn't have enough gas to make it home. But being a few minutes late, I figured I'd chance it (the gas level not yet a risk factor) and drive to Yonkers, knowing that I'd have to get gas for the return trip. With the rain falling down, I made it to the meetup a few minutes late, but not late enough to cause much of a disturbance.

There were two new ladies there tonight, and I got to know both of them a little in our chats. One of them works in a hospital (if I recall correctly), and the other works in a school. When I mentioned that I was looking for a job, the second lady passed me information I might be able to use to make the connection I need to find work.  Of course, I thanked her for it, and will likely make the phone call next week.

It was loud in the dining room this week, so it was very hard to hear what was being said at the other end of the table. However, I had no problems with the ladies at my end of the table. And when I found out that one of them needed a ride back home, I figured that I'd give her a lift. I almost forgot that I had offered her a ride as we were leaving. But I'm glad I remembered before I royally screwed up.  On the drive back to her place, I found out that she did not see me as transgender, but saw me as cisgender. And that's exactly what I want other women to see when they see me - just another woman who likes to get together on a regular basis.

- - - - - -

Afterwards, I exchanged some texts with GFJ and found out that she went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From what I can tell from her texts, she was impressed only by the first floor of the museum.  I can only imagine what she'd feel if she went to the Paley Center - they have virtually no artifacts other than the TV and Radio shows they play for their visitors.  At least, she'll be coming home soon....

Friday, June 23, 2017

Minor changes in plans

Every 4th Thursday, I have to get my apartment cleaned up, so that the cleaning lady can do her magic. And today was the 28th day since her last appearance. So I ended up staying up late last night in order to make sure that all traces of Marian were back in their closets before she came.

- - - - - - 

Waking up around 8-9 am, I knew that I didn't have enough sleep. But I didn't have the luxury of taking a nap. Instead, I cleaned up the remaining flotsam and jetsam around the apartment before getting showered, made up, and dressed before leaving the house.

While out, I checked with Ex-GF-M to see if we were still on for lunch. Unfortunately, she had to postpone until tomorrow. So I made it to the GLBT center to do a volunteer stint. Today's work was relatively easy - setting up a couple of petitions, so that they could be printed later today and signatures collected at the upcoming Clearwater festival being held this weekend. When 3 pm came around, it was time to leave - and I checked to see how I could kill time until the start of game night.

After looking at the movie schedules, I decided on seeing Wonder Woman. It was enjoyable action movie fluff, and a film that I think every young girl should see. Young girls need to see that women can "kick ass" with the best of them, so that they can grow up to be self actualized women. Including the trailers, the film ran over 2 hours, and it was 6:30 pm when the movie ended. At this point, I didn't want to spend a lot of money for dinner. So I had a couple of slices before heading down to game night.

- - - - - -

When I arrived at the meetup, I was the first person there. The hostess was working with her daughter to perform some eye exercises. (Her eyes will scan a page, then all of a sudden, jump to something outside the field of focus, causing her to have troubles in reading.) The hostess was a little surprised that I was there early, but once I mentioned seeing a movie, she understood.

I enjoyed playing tonight's games, although I had to bail out of one game that I couldn't comprehend.  At this time of night, without adequate sleep, there was no way I'd do well with a complex game of moving tiles based on cards in hand. And I'm thankful that they changed the game, so that I could have fun on a second game - which I also lost.

As people left, I got into a chat with the hostess, and she suggested that I try to get employment at a local college. She noted that given their student base, that it might be an advantage for me to seek employment as Marian.  Who knows - I might just do that....

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Some random thoughts on going out in the world en-femme

I find it hard to believe that I took my first steps out en-femme in 2012.

If you look at the picture on the right and compare it with one on the left taken roughly 4 years earlier, you'll see a person much more confident in her femininity.

There will always be incidents that disturb me a little. But I am not too concerned about them as long as no one treats me nasty or means me any harm.  I am open about being transgender, but try to blend in as much as possible and would like to "pass" as a cisgender woman whenever possible.  Sometimes, I'm successful.  And other times, I'm not so successful..  But, for the most part, I have always been treated with respect.

Unfortunately, not all people get the same respect that I do. And I think that this is, in part, in the way they treat others.  For example, DD (at The Avenue) related several separate Christmastime incidents about males asking for bra fittings.  In none of these cases, did the men show her (or any of her coworkers) proper respect. And in one case, the male did a chest bump (like a football player), getting DD very, very mad.  In her position, I'd be pissed. And I told her so when she told me this story. No wonder why people look at transgenders like me a little strangely - until we are vouched for by other, cisgender females.

- - - - - -

A while back, when I used to travel up to Albany to see my polyamorous friends, I used to stop at one of the rest areas to relieve myself and get a needed refreshment.  At this stop was a widowed lady who often had nothing better to do at 2:00 am than talk with an occasional customer.  The two of us chatted as if I were a cisgender female, and we always had a great time for the 5-10 minutes that I'd be picking up my beverage.  As much as I no longer need to go up to the North Country to feel that no one recognizes me while out en-femme, I do miss the people I know up there, including this lady who I'd only meet in passing.

It's interesting how people react differently to the presence of a woman than to the presence of a man.  This woman would have never opened up to me if she thought I was not a cisgender female.  I find that women open up much more when men are not present, and it's related to both how and why men and women communicate. Women look for excuses to network with other women, in part, because many of the tasks society delegates to females in our culture rely on collaborative behavior. Men, on the other hand, tend to be loners, as many traditional male tasks did not require help from other males.

- - - - - -

Sadly, our culture does not treat sexuality in an adult way.  Traditional male sexuality is very fragile.  Males tend to be homophobic, and very afraid to be seen as anything "less" than a cisgender, straight male. Proving one's masculinity is very important, and that often means that signs of tenderness are discouraged. But this poses a problem for many transwomen who want romantic partners. Our prior status as males work against us.  The "ewwww" factor gets in the way for many of us risking a relationship with a cisgender male.  If they see our former masculinity as still defining us, then they get turned off by the potential of having a gay relationship.  And it can be worse.  We're in a no-win situation about telling males about our past status, as we can either be dumped, beaten, or worse. 

It isn't much better for transwomen who are interested in women.  Women also have to deal with the "ewwww" factor when it comes to their own sexuality.  We are neither fish nor fowl, and we don't register to them as potential sexual partners in many cases.  So, once we are out, many of us realize that we have self selected ourselves out of the dating pool.  Since this is the case, many transwomen turn to each other for romance - and have to deal with all the same problems that their cisgender counterparts deal with and more.

- - - - - -

I could go on and on. But I'd rather let other thoughts take their time to percolate and write another blog entry at another time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Another "Hot as Hell" day in NYC

As the expression goes, it feels hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk.  And in this weather, part of me wanted to ditch afternoon plans to meet my niece and visit the Neue Gallerie to see a Klimt painting.

- - - - - -

As I was going to NYC, I received a text from my niece.  She read the website for the Neue Gallerie, and it said that the museum was closed today.  Given that it was already 97 degrees, hot and humid, in NYC, this bit of news gave us the excuse to postpone our museum visit yet again.  (The Museum Mile Festival website was down, so there was no way we could double check things today.  And I wasn't going to risk an extremely uncomfortable trip to NYC just to see a painting.)

- - - - - -

This gave me a free evening to play with. So I looked up the FFGoW meetup calendar and found a get together at a Larchmont Mexican restaurant. Unlike WPB's meetups, the hostess of this gathering wasn't there on time. So I ended up waiting at the bar for 30 minutes before the rest of the ladies started trickling in.

The first of these ladies, R, sat with me at the bar and the newly arriving ladies joined us there. Once we hit about 9 people, we moved over to the "high" tables (seat height was appropriate for bar stool seating) and continued our conversations.  Two sisters came in (one also named Marian), and I made chit-chat with 1 of the 2 sisters.  I was having a great time with the ladies, as I was able to chat with 3 separate groups of people during the meetup.

Sadly, the night had to end. And I took the long way home, stopping off in Yonkers, and then White Plains for "harmless" shopping at Christmas Tree shops.  Eventually, I made it home, and finally had the chance to remove my makeup....

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Shopping with Lili

Lili is a wonderful person, but she can sure drive me crazy. Today was one of those days...

I had nothing else planned for the day, save for a shopping trip with Lili. I figured that it would take no longer than a couple of hours of active shopping to find a summer weight pair of trousers in white. However, it stretched past the three hour mark because of her lack of focus....

- - - - - -

Sometime around lunch time, Lili called to see what I was doing. Both of us were staying inside because of the heat, but I knew that she had to do some shopping before the cruise. I tried to get her to come to my house and then I'd drive to Jersey. (This would allow me to see if Catherine's still had a pretty bra I'd seen on clearance, and be able to buy it on this trip.) Lili considered this too much effort for her, so I humored her and said I'd come over later in the afternoon.

Once I got moving, I made it to her house between 4:30 and 5:00. From there, it was off to Danbury to pick her up. When I looked inside her car, I could see that it was in no shape to have passengers in it - she had not emptied out the car from her weekend selling costume jewelry. So I didn't mind much putting extra miles on my car that I didn't need to add to the odometer.

Compared to offerings in Newburgh, the Danbury branch of the Avenue had virtually no dresses that would fit Lili in her new, shrunken side. And the same could be said for Lane Bryant across the street. About the only thing she found in her visit to these two stores was a pair of white linen trousers which didn't fit "just right". However, I found two dresses that I might have liked to buy if I had holes in my wardrobe that they could fill.  But I couldn't justify buying the two dresses below to replace those I already had in my closet.

Of course, I think the violet patterned dress looked good on me, while Lili thought neither looked good on me. But then, Lili has a very different sense of style than I do, and if I had the money, I'd gravitate towards the Eileen Fisher look.

After we left the strip malls, we went to the Danbury Fair mall. And Lili wanted to see everything in Macy's, even though it was distracting her from her mission - the white trousers. We spent an hour in Macy's, and Lili started looking at every color pattern that remotely interested her - even though she was not going to buy much of anything that she'd shrink out of. She tried on a maxi dress that looked good on her, save for the unsightly lump on her back. Lili is developing a humped back, and needs to talk to her doctor about it ASAP. I made the mistake of mentioning the humped back, and she didn't end up buying the dress that she later said she liked. 

Sadly, I couldn't keep Lili focused on her task of buying the white trousers, so we wasted a lot of time while she got me wishing I were somewhere else. (It didn't help that I was getting hungry, and she ignored this the several times I mentioned this to her.)  Eventually, after stopping into the Loft, I let her wander through J.Jill while I exchanged a few texts with GFJ. And it was there, where Lili found her white trousers for $80.

I won't go into talking about a 9 pm dinner, and I won't go into our drive home - nothing noteworthy happened and nothing of note was said.  Lili was feeling a little better, and retail therapy helped her into a better mood.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A long weekend.

You'll note something different in the above photograph - the porch steps are finally fixed!  That and more made this weekend a good one....

- - - - - -

Friday was the first of two days I expect to be en-homme. My plans were to take care of any errands I needed to do as Mario, and then drive to Rosendale to see GFJ for dinner and a movie.

I scheduled an appointment for an oil change for the afternoon, and found out that I needed more intense periodic service and a brake job. (Sooner or later, I'd need that brake job - I was still running on original brake pads after 75,000 miles, and wondered why they were lasting as long as they had, as I usually needed brake jobs after 30,000 miles or so.  $700 and 3 hours later, I was out of the dealership and off to see GFJ.

The ride up to Rosendale was a busy one. I had never seen traffic so slow on the Taconic through Putnam county, Nor had I seen bumper to bumper traffic on Route 84 from the Beacon-Newburgh bridge to the NYS Thruway. I was glad that I knew the side roads to go North, as this allowed me to bypass traffic without losing that much time.

Arriving in Rosendale, I proceed to wait for GFJ by playing another game of Candy Crush on my cell phone. When she arrived, it was the second time I was disturbed while playing Candy Crush that kept me from completing a super hard level with a good chance of successful completion. (The first was when my car was ready at the dealership.) It didn't bother me much, as I knew that, once I completed this level, I'd have 72 hours to go before I could go on to the next. And I do put people first, not my games....

We had a good dinner at the Red Brick cafe, but it was hard to hear each other over the background noise. Then, we walked down the street to the movie theater, where we saw "Gifted".  I highly recommend this movie, as it echoes themes from my life that weren't handled well. (Don't read too much into this.  You'd have to understand the people in my life to pick up on my reference.)

All too soon, it was time to leave.  Given both of our schedules, I don't know when we will meet again. Hopefully soon, but you never know.

- - - - - -

When I woke up the next morning, I knew that I'd have to deal with weekend traffic on Long Island.  Each time I go to work on the house, things get worse and worse on the roads. What used to be a 60-75 minute drive often takes me 2 hours. But I blame this on the work they are doing to prepare the bridges for cashless toll collection.

Getting to Long Island is easier than coming back, as all the toll collection points are on the Bronx side of the East River. And this was true on Saturday, when I made my trip to Long Island.  My brother was already off and running to Home Depot when I got to the family homestead, so I started to touch up the ceiling paint in one room while waiting for him. He returned with the paint in the color we used for the walls, so I started that task next.  It was far from the job I'd have liked to have done, as I could neither get to the edge of the ceiling to complete the wall paint in that area, nor was I comfortable bending down to do the part of the wall touching the floor. It'll be up to my brother to finish up the job properly.

While I was doing a mediocre paint job, my brother was taking care of repairing the porch. This was a big pain, as he had to remove all the brick and mortar, clean the bricks of old mortar, and then put everything back in place.  This was exhausting for him.  I'm glad I had the presence to have picked up a 6 pack of Coronas to quench his thirst.

We never got to move the radiator as we planned, and that was just as well. Instead, we talked about things in general, including some of his disappointments in life. Next weekend, he plans to take my dad out of the nursing home for the day for Father's Day and have a barbecue in the back yard. That'll be a nice thing to do. And hopefully, it'll bring a smile to his face.  (This changes my plans a little, and for the best. It makes it possible for me to see the Cat Lady next Saturday without any scheduling issues.)

Work on the family home wasn't done until 7:30 or so, and it took me forever to drive home. As I finally was able to relax after a long day, my brother called as I was starting to go semi conscious. The realtor had called him, and let us know of a rental offer for the price we wanted. We talked for a bit, and then agreed to the tenants.  So, my brother will need to call a lawyer and get a rental agreement that covers our needs. It'll cost us more than a typical set of standard forms. But when two of the tenants are attorneys, we know we must dot the I's and cross the T's....

- - - - - -

If I were to wake up early on a normal Sunday, I'd have considered going to church again. But with temperatures already in the 80's and going to the 90's, I want to limit my exposure to non-air-conditioned areas. As a result, the morning and early afternoon was spent in air conditioned comfort inside my apartment. But when 1:30 came along, I started getting ready for my day out with HWV, by showering, shaving, and getting made up for a day as Marian.

A little before 3 pm, I picked up HWV. And the two of us proceeded to the city from there. Normally, we would have expected to be in the city by 4 pm. But with traffic on the roads, I ended up taking a detour well around the Henry Hudson Bridge on local roads, placing me back on the parkway in upper Manhattan. From there it was an easy drive to some very expensive parking.

HWV and I realized that the less we walked in 90 degree weather, the more comfortable we would be. We figured that $52 for 12 hours was well worth the price of not breaking a sweat in this weather. So we proceeded to walk around the block to the theater, then across the street for a quick bite to eat.

When we were done, it was back to the theater - just in time for the play. This was a "low rent" production of "Twelve Angry Women" based on the movie with a male cast. The story still holds up, but I couldn't help comparing the female characters with the men who played similar roles in the movie. And in comparison, this production didn't hold up as well, as both the performances and the production needed to be tightened up.

After the play, we went for a drink at the same place we went to in our last trip to NYC. And, we had the same waitress to boot!  We were enjoying our libations until almost 10 pm, when we left for the parking lot where my car was being held. I figured that I'd try to show HWV some of the spots I liked in NYC before driving home. (I couldn't find a couple of the locations, and I wasn't going to look them up. The conversation we were having was well worth slowing the return home.

Eventually, we left Manhattan and started homewards. Unlike my previous trips home as of late, this was a pleasant drive - and I enjoyed having HWV as a conversation partner.  Hopefully, we'll be doing more of these trips, as I think we both enjoy the same type of diversions....

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Quickie: Spam

SPAM - I like the product from Hormel.  It is tasty, and it goes well with eggs in the morning. However, I hate the kind of spam I receive on the internet.  Luckily, most internet providers are doing a decent job of filtering out the worst of these unwanted messages.

Occasionally, some of these messages get through the filters and get to my machine, where I manually delete them.  Never do I click on any of the links, as there is too much malware in circulation these days.  One spammer's email pretends to be from a group that you signed up for, and the unsubscribe links do not work. However, this spammer made a very big mistake - he uses the same physical address in every message. So I set my filters to search the message text for that address and delete the message if found.

Even this critter doesn't bother me as much as one spammer who has found my blog. Every so often, this person (using the screen name of "Blogger") uploads comments to this blog. I had to change the settings on this blog to prevent them from automatically being seen by my readers. However, this means that my readers have to wait for me to moderate comments before they can be read by the general public. This is annoying to say the least.

Considering the simple rules of computer hygiene that most people should follow, I wonder how these spammers stay in business. Distributors of malware know how to affect many of us - even if we follow common sense rules regarding computer use. But plain vanilla spammers are something else. They are the bottom link on the advertising food chain. And it's hard to respect anyone who has to use deceit to gain anyone's attention....

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Odds and ends - the things I couldn't fit into a normal post.

Today's post is an assortment of things I couldn't easily fit into a daily narrative. I don't expect that everything will fit as well as they normally do, but I think this will give you a better insight to what goes on in my life.

- - - - - -

The other day, I was in Walmart doing some shopping in advance of my cruise. Sometimes, I get the urge to try on some clothing that I don't think would look good on me, as it is an article of clothing that only a woman would wear.

- - - - - - 

On this trip, I decided to try on a romper, just to see how it feels and how it would look on me.  As you can see, it exaggerates the fact that I do not have a feminine waist, and hits every part of my body in the wrong way.

There was no way in hell that I would have bought this outfit, as it was poorly constructed and awkward to get in and out of.  Yet, there was a part of me that wishes that I could successfully pull off an outfit like this if I weren't so heavy.

- - - - - -

One of the things about living in an apartment complex is that no one person controls when building maintenance is done. Being at home in the daytime means that I will be assaulted by the sounds of our landscapers doing work around the place. The thing I find most annoying is the noise from gas powered blowers, as I have no way to muffle their sounds enough so that I can sleep late on days where I don't have to get up early in the morning.

- - - - - -

Sometime soon, I will be scheduling my PMP exam. I'm a little scared of taking this test, as I feel I won't do well enough to pass.

I get one shot at this exam for free, and if I pass, I still have to find work in the field. But I am no longer certain of whether I really want the headaches of trying to lead people. It's not where my natural strengths lie, and I'm not sure of it's worth my effort.

- - - - - -

Now that I'm going on my cruise, I'm a little uncomfortable with dealing with US Customs while en-femme. Although the laws, as written, should protect me, there are ominous signs that I could have trouble.

Sadly, the TSA's website (and other Federal government sites) have taken down advice for transgender people. Today's political climate doesn't bode well for TG's, and I expect that some customs agents will want to give me a hard time just for the hell of it.

- - - - - -

Work on the family homestead seems to be taking forever. As I write this, my brother plans to move a radiator from his house to the top floor of the family home. There are several problems that have to be dealt with. First is finding a way to move the radiator from one house to the next. Next, is trying to get the 300 pound beast up the staircase without harming ourselves. And finally, we will need to have to install it for a rental inspection, then disconnect it so that carpeting can be installed.

- - - - - -

We have lost a lot of time on this project. And this has cost us money that we can't recover. Right now, we have to make a payment to the town to pay off some taxes. We don't expect to pay everything until we have a tenant in place. Yet, the clock keeps ticking away, and we still are pouring money into this pit.

- - - - - -

Lili looks at me and thinks that it is easy for me to find someone to date. This is wrong. But she continues to try and push me into actively searching for a new romantic partner.  At this stage of life, being TG, I do not feel that it is wise to actively seek out new ladies to date, as most will be upset with having to deal with a person who lives life in two genders. It is frustrating to say the least!

- - - - - -

And this leads me to talking about GFJ. She is a good woman who flinched when it came to making a decision about me. I have come to realize why men and women tend to totally sever contact with each other after breaking up - it's hard to go back to an earlier pre-intimate level once a couple has developed deep bonds with each other.

Right now, our relationship can be described as neither fish nor fowl. It's probably not good for either of us, but I will tolerate things for now because I have someone to talk with late at night. Yet, if things were to take off with someone new, I'd be more than willing to let the traces of this relationship fall by the wayside.

Dating is a pain in the ass. For someone who is transgender, it is even more complicated. At this point, I am tired of most of the complications, and am almost ready to give up on romance.

- - - - - -

To close things up, there are a lot of things that are going on in my life. Not everything is where I'd like it to be. I am a work in progress.  I'm still not sure of how things will turn out. Will I have enough money to retire? Will I have family around to see that I am taken care of when I'm infirm?  In spite of the precarious financial position of GFJ and the Cat Lady, I am a little envious of them, as they have kids who will likely get actively involved to make sure things won't go too bad for their mothers. Not having children, I have to hope that I go quickly, quietly in my sleep while I am otherwise healthy....

Friday, June 16, 2017

Game Night, Window Shopping, and Weekend Planning

My plans for the next few days were already set in stone when I woke up this morning. Today, I had to go to the GLBT center and do some volunteer work. After having dinner, I'd go over to game night. Tomorrow, the car will be getting an oil change. Then I'll be driving up past New Paltz to see GFJ for dinner. Saturday is work on the family homestead with my brother. And finally, on Sunday, I'll be going into NYC with HWV to see "Twelve Angry Women". I won't have a break until Monday - and then I probably have other things that need to be taken care of promptly.

- - - - - -

I knew I couldn't dawdle much after I got moving. So I got showered, made up and dressed - and out the door I went.  Yes, I didn't make it to the GLBT Center until 3. But that was OK with me, as I knew that I'd put in a couple of hours and then be gone. This time went slowly for me, as I really wasn't in the mood to do much of anything. But I did what I was tasked to do before leaving for the day.

One of the things I had to take care of saddened me.  The church that owns the building that the GLBT center is in has a very good relationship with the GLBT center and shares a thrift shop with the GLBT center.  You couldn't ask for a better relationship between organizations. Recently, the church rented out space in a meeting hall in another side of the building to a small fundamentalist congregation. The GLBT center has a clause in the lease that prohibits anyone from the congregation from putting pamphlets on cars in the parking lot. Last week, at the end of the Pride festival, many people found pamphlets with hate propaganda stuck under their windshield wipers. This is disturbing to say the least!  The police were called, and people are looking for the person(s) who did this.

- - - - - -

When I was done with the GLBT center, it was off to Panera Bread for dinner. While in the area, I stopped by The Avenue and picked up several pairs of Size EE Control Top hosiery. (Yes, I am a large gal!)  I mentioned to the sales woman that this size is hard to find, and I could only find two pair in my size in Newburgh. She told me that there is a large demand for this size (no pun intended) and that they run out of stock quickly. The fact that I could only find four pairs of beige stockings in this size immediately after a shipment was proof of her statement.

Next, it was off to game night. For a change, I got there early, and only played one game. It was a little depressing not to have a full complement of people, as it would have been nice to have three or four people playing the game, instead of the two of us. When the game ended around 10 pm, I figured that I'd leave for home a little bit earlier than usual.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I firmed up plans to see GFJ tomorrow. I'll be driving up to Rosendale to see her for dinner, and then (possibly) see a movie. But I doubt she'll be asking me to stay the night. (I'm glad that I've opened things up for the Cat Lady. Although I'm not in a rush to have a new relationship, dating does take the edge off things a little.)  And even if she were to do so, I would not unless I could plan for it in advance. This is one weekend that even if I could have done this with GFJ, it would have been impossible because of plans on Long Island the following day.

Given our schedules, I doubt that GFJ and I will be able to get together again until July at best. And I am not planning my weekends around her anymore.  Why do I keep contact with her?  Maybe it's because I want someone I can talk with, someone who cares that I exist.  Who knows?  But I haven't had anything like what I want since my wife died - and I miss much of what I had with her.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A day at home

This is only one of the bookcases in my apartment. If you were to look closer, you'd find books on many topics, including "Sex Lives of the Roman Emperors". (Caligula and Nero sure knew how to party! 😈)  But most of the books you'd find are on non-controversial topics, including the construction of the NYC Water Tunnels.  The apartment is a cluttered mess, and this might be one of the few shots that disguise the extent of that mess.

- - - - - - 

As of late, I've found that I have little energy when I wake up. But I think that is related to poor habits, as I'm doing nothing to live within a set of normal circadian rhythms. I keep doing things (such as eating late at night) that confuses my body clock, and reinforcing my disrupted cycles. Sooner or later, I'll have to deal with the messes in my life. But for now, I'm attacking things one at a time, to make the little improvements that will make my life a lit better.

- - - - - -

Today, I didn't bother getting dressed or going out of the house. It was a jammie day. And the only person I had contact with was Lili - who wanted to tell me about the following goodies we'll get on the upcoming cruise:
  1. We get one free laundry service. (I just don't want to mix our things.) 
  2. Two bottles of water (I'll still need to ask for my distilled water.) 
  3. Two meals in specialty restaurants. (Too bad Lili can't enjoy a full meal these days.) 
  4. 25% off photos. (That works for me.) 
  5. 25% off spa treatments while in port.  (They are overpriced anyway) 
  6. 100 internet minutes. (That helps a little.) 
  7. Chocolate covered strawberries. (Yum!)
  8. A few other things not worthy of mentioning. (Nice touches, but minor.)
She also noted that we are on the 8th floor but over the theater .  I can live with this, as the theater is only busy until 11 pm. And I have no problems putting headphones on and listening to music until the shows are over.

- - - - - -

The cruise will be a much needed break from routine. And today's day at home told me that I need to develop new and healthy routines - both as Marian and as Mario. It's nice to go window shopping as Marian, but I can't afford not to be out as Mario. Looking at Lili, she is still unhappy, now that she has dumped her latest boyfriend - again. She has little in her life to make her happy. As for me, I enjoy socialization, but have found that I have become too inactive sitting around the house. This is where I give GFJ a lot of credit - she found many new things to do when she broke up with her Wasband. And hers is the model I need to follow and improve upon - no matter which woman I end up with (or not end up with).

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

WDJ and Lili - A tale of two women

The above movie is on my bucket list of films to see when I am in the mood. Sophia Loren did a string of great performances in the early part of her career, and is still among the great actresses of our age. But this post has nothing to do with the above movie, save that my day involved two women who dealt with a health issue in similar ways, and couldn't be more different than nght and day.

- - - - - -

My day started with a phone call from Lili, asking about when we'd meet.  She had a therapy session around 2 pm, and wanted to see me for lunch.  I told her that she must be mistaken, but she said she had written the date down.  Since I had a lunch date with WDJ, I couldn't very well meet with Lili. So I apologized to Lili and said that I double booked the day. Surprisingly, Lili didn't mind too much - and we said we'd meet later in the week.

I was now free to meet with WDJ, so I got showered and dressed - and out the door about 1/2 hour late. The heavens started to close as I got to the diner, and saw WDJ waiting for me at the rear entrance. We went inside and enjoyed a nice meal. Then we decided to go to The Avenue to do some window shopping. There was nothing interesting to buy there, so it was off to our next stop - Catherine's. 

So, instead of crossing at the Beacon-Newburgh bridge, I figured that we could enjoy a nice drive up to the Mid-Hudson Bridge and come back along the East side of the Hudson. On the way up, we talked about some people in the Whine and Dine group, and how she doesn't want to hear about them again. Although I have different feelings about the group than she has, I can see how a slight from one person could cause her so much discomfort. And I agree with her to some extent about the Queen Bee of the group - she, and not the moderator of the group seems to be in charge. When we reached the bridge, there was a problem. There was an accident on the bridge, and traffic wasn't moving. So I made a command decision, and drove to Kingston to take a more Northerly crossing.

I haven't been on the stretch of Route 9W North of Poughkeepsie in months, so it was interesting to see the little things that have changed since my last visit. And it was even more interesting to come down the East side of the river on a road I've never driven before. River road may not have been the quickest way down to Poughkeepsie. But it was a very interesting change of pace from my usual route. Once in Poughkeepsie, we went into Catherine's, and I found a beautiful plum colored bra on clearance in my size. That garment jumped into my car after $25 being charged to my account. And then it was to Wappinger to visit Curvy Consignment Plus. 

Curvy Consignment Plus is getting a new name. They were not the first business to do business with this name, so they decided to change their name (albeit slowly) once they had no other reasonable choice. But nothing else had changed. In fact, there was a dress there that I could swear was there on my last visit some months ago. WDJ and the sales lady both said it looked good on me - so I bought it.  At this point, I knew my budget was shot. But I also knew that I had the proper clothes for my upcoming cruise.

- - - - - -

As I exited the place, I realized that I had totally forgotten the co-op board meeting we were having. So I texted HWV to let her know that I'd miss the meeting, and then dropped WDJ off at her car. At this point, I called Lili - and we arranged to meet for a Chinese dinner. While on the phone, Lili mentioned that she got the date for her therapy appointment wrong - and that meant that I got the date right earlier in the morning, and that she had made a mistake on her calendar.

Arriving at the restaurant, I found Lili waiting inside. Unlike our past visits, service was mediocre at best. What made things worse, I was misgendered three times - twice by the waiter and once (accidentally) by Lili. The only reason I might want to go back to the place is that good and tasty food is served at a reasonable price. But it is one of Lili's go-to places, so I will likely be there again in the future.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I chatted with GFJ - and she had a very busy day. I won't go into her affairs, but we are looking forward to getting together later in the week. It might be the last time we can get together this month, as she'll be going to Cleveland to help her son move into his new place, and I will be busy with other planned events.

Let's see what happens. I still want to see both RO and the Cat Lady before month end as well....

mediocre at best and I

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Half and Half - A Day with two Vickies

I had two things planned for the day, and they required that I be in Marian mode for part of the day. First was a meeting at Arts Westchester that I totally forgot about, and then after a change of presentation, visiting Vicki's family as they sat Shiva for a day.

- - - - - -

When I got up, I forgot what day it was, and took my time getting ready for the day. I knew that I was going to go out en-femme for much of the day. And then I'd have to turn into Mario for the second half of the day. So it was a pleasant realization that Vicki #2 was free and that we could have lunch today.

It's been a while since I've seen Vicki, and we planned to meet at Aberdeen for Dim Sum. Unfortunately, she was having some work done in the house. So I ended up driving to her place for some Chinese Take-Out (which had just been delivered when I got there). We had a good chat, and I tried on a dress from Modcloth for which her wife was looking to place in a new home.  Vicki's wife has Amazonian proportions that make me look short. So the two dresses she had bought were a little too small on her. Unfortunately, the dresses were a size and a half too small for me, otherwise they'd have found a place in my closet.

Sadly, our time together was too short, and we both had to leave as things were warming up. (I'm a little bit "off" these days, and it's harder for me to be "in sync" with people - including my closest friends and family.) So Vicki went to pick up her son, while I went home to change.

- - - - - -

After a trip home to change into Mario mode, it was off to Hartsdale to pay my respects to Vicki's dad and the family.  Her dad lived in a nice condo development that one would never find by accident, as it was off the beaten path - even though it was very close to the main road. It took me a while to find parking, and I made it to the crowded top floor apartment. 

None in Vicki's family are orthodox. Although I recognized several unused Shiva boxes around the living room, this would be one of the very few clues around that indicated that this was a Jewish family. I said hello to Vicki, her husband, brother, nephew, and her dad's girlfriend. And then I got down to having an informal dinner of cold cut sandwiches. (I was hungry!)

With sandwich in hand, I got down to chatting with the people there, and had several extended conversations that made me wish I had met these people under other circumstances. Later in the evening, Vicki showed me around the apartment (which had not been remodeled or refurbished since her dad bought the place), and told me what the realtor said about what would be needed to sell the apartment:
  1. Do not renovate the Kitchen or Bathroom. Instead, clean these rooms up and repair all signs of water damage.
  2. Do not replace the carpet or linoleum. Instead, cover any worn out or stained spots with area rugs or furniture.
  3. Do not leave things of personal value in the apartment when it is being shown to prospective buyers. Instead, leave furniture in place, so that the place has a "lived in" feeling.
  4. Get the place clean, and keep it that way.
In short, the realtor was telling Vicki that they would not get any money out of renovating or rehabilitating the place. The next resident would very likely gut the kitchen and bathroom before living there, as the style of all the furnishings was very dated - and not very practical. Imagine complex kitchen cabinet handles affixed to the center of the doors, instead of the edge, and you'll get what I mean. Thinking of it, save for the color scheme, the place could have been decorated by Monte Hall.

When we got back to the living room from her apartment tour, Vicki offered me some of her father's books. I mentioned that I have a home for any books she has to give away - the GLBT center I volunteer at. Someone mentioned giving away her dad's clothes, and I said not my size. Then, Vicki made a comment that only she or her husband would get, recognizing that I'd have rather been there as Marian. (This is one of the times I didn't mind changing back to Mario for someone, as my presence was to support my friend in need, and not make a big thing about my presentation.)  I wish that I mentioned that the center would take almost anything (save furniture) as a donation. But I will do so the next time we're in contact.

It's going to be a hard time for Vicki, now that her father is gone.  Hopefully, the memories she has of him will always bring her comfort....

Monday, June 12, 2017

The day started with a reminder of death, and got better from there.

I started the day by driving the funeral of Vicki's dad. Although I've driven the road many times before, It's been a while since I've took note of the temple. So I ended up using the GPS on my phone to find the place.  Funerals being what they are tend to be sad events, and I could tell that Vicki was affected very much by the finality of things. Her dad would have to live on in her memories, as those memories are there for her to cherish. Hearing Vicki speak about her dad made me wish I had gotten to know the man better. That can not happen anymore. And that is sad.

Once the funeral ended, I high tailed it to Long Island. Listening to the radio, I found out that the Northbound Hutchinson Parkway wasn't moving because of a truck that shouldn't have been on the road. However, the Southbound parkway was also jammed up by rubberneckers trying to get a glimpse of things. And I was able to get the above pictures as I passed the accident.

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What surprised me most about today's driving was how relatively easy things were going for me. The Southbound trip was uneventful, and I made it to the house before I expected - even including time I took to pick up a T-Shirt I could sacrifice to paint, joint compound, or some other messy substance.

When I reached the house, I changed out of what I wore to the funeral, and got ready to get to work.  My brother came by, picked me up, and drove off to Home Depot for ceiling paint, door knobs, porcelain light fixtures, stair carpet treads, and a fire extinguisher. Our goal was to make the house ready to be rented, and this involved many safety related functions that the realtor told us to be concerned about.  And today, it was our time to make the house ready for an inspection coming up in a little over a week.

Returning from Home Depot, we began to work. While I sifted through a pile of mail addressed to my dad, my brother installed the stair carpet treads. I found a couple of bills that my brother had not counted on, and I made sure that he'd take the mail home and deal with issues I found in the pile. Once done with the mail, I went upstairs and replaced the locking door knobs with ones appropriate for bedrooms that wouldn't lock with a key. This way, one could get inside in case of an emergency without having to break down the door. And then we started painting.  Having just bought a gallon of paint, we were able to complete ceiling painting. But we didn't have enough paint for the walls - and that will cause us to spend another day painting the room.

- - - - - -

By the time 6 pm came, we were exhausted. So we went to pay a quick visit to my Dad before his dinner time.  While there, my brother started telling us about his plans to hike part of the Appalachian Trail. So I volunteered to bring one of the cars to the ending part of the hike - which just happens to be the Bear Mountain Inn.  I know this area well - but from the perspective of a driver.  My brother will gain the perspective of a hiker - something I once had over 35 years ago.

Sadly, the day had to end. And the traffic going home flowed as well as it did in the morning. So, instead of taking almost 2 hours to get home, I made it home in a little under 75 minutes. Not bad for a "Almost Summer" Sunday evening!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Nothing went as originally planned, but nothing was really bad.

When I woke up this morning, I had three places to go to.  First was a GGoW meetup in Pleasantville. Then there was the GLBT Center's Pride Day Celebration. And finally, there was the FFGoW meetup in Yonkers for dinner and dancing.  None of these things went as planned.

I had no energy when I awoke this morning. The warmth in my room kept triggering the sleep response in me. So I canceled my attendance at the first meetup and went back to sleep. By the time I got moving, it was close to noon. And I had to find something to wear for Pride Day at the GLBT center. This wasn't as easy as it sounds, as I wasn't sure how many cisgender women would have taken out their dresses for summer. So I wore a tunic dress over leggings to make sure I wouldn't stand out too much.

When I arrived at the GLBT center, it was around 3:30. The only person I really wanted to see was Pat. However, I either missed her because I didn't look in the right place, or missed her because she got tied up elsewhere. Either way, I walked around for a while, soaked up the atmosphere, and skedaddled before I got too bored with things.

At this point, I had a choice. Do I go to the next meetup or not?  Here is the only description of it:

Dinner and Dancing along with a special guest
I have reserved their private party room for us. Admission is free. It's an open menu with no minimum. Come join us for dancing along with a special guest. Hope to see you there.

This gathering is being held at a diner on Central Avenue whose building was once occupied by a Brazilian Churrascuria. So I know that the place has the room for a small dance floor. But do I really want to be in a place where the other women may be trying to meet men? I didn't think I was ready for this kind of situation, so I passed on it and went home.

Even with nothing occurring to plan, I think I had a good day after all. Tomorrow, after Vicki's Dad's funeral, I have to be in Mario Mode for work on the family homestead. But this shouldn't be much more than painting one room, attaching carpet/stair runners to the steps leading upstairs, fixing the electrical outlets (some are upside down), and finally repairing the brickwork on the steps leading to the front porch. It'll be a lot of work, but....

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The end of the week and the beginning of a weekend.

It's been a while since I visited Washington, DC. And if I weren't going on the cruise in a few weeks, I'd be scheduling a trip down there in the Fall. However, I'm looking forward to my cruise. And I'm looking forward to getting away from the humdrum routine I've been living for a while.

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Last night, game night was cancelled, and I stayed home to do some laundry. There was a conflict in the use of the machines, and I had to make do with slightly under drying one load, so that I could get the other load in (and paid for) before 9:30. If I hadn't done so, the machines are programmed not to accept payments until 8 am, and I would have been forced to get up early to dry a damp lump of clothes that I would have stashed in my storage compartment.

While the laundry was going, I had an online chat with GFJ. She was surprised to find me at home on a Thursday night, and I explained that game night was cancelled for this week. She noted that if she had known this, she wouldn't have scheduled dinner with her friend for the evening. As for me, I didn't say that I preferred what we did, as I had to do laundry and  wasn't sure that I wanted an evening date without her sleeping over.

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This morning, I finally got up early enough to cook myself a totally forgettable breakfast. And if I don't forget it, it will be because it was that bad!  To be serious, it was a day that I didn't want to get out of bed - except that I had my weekly volunteer stint to take care of at the GLBT center.  And my cooking efforts reflected this lack of interest in being awake.

I left for the GLBT center around 2 pm, and arrived around 2:30. They were busy preparing for the Pride Festival being held tomorrow afternoon, so I was kept busy making sure that the calendar entries were correct. The center maintains 2 calendars: the first for the activities of the GLBT Center, and the other for all GLBT related activities in the local area. Given that there was so much to do, all I could do before I left for the day was making sure that the GLBT center's calendar was correct.

After I left the GLBT center, I went over to YGN's place where I spent a couple of hours with her and her daughter. We don't get together enough, and she is always glad when I can visit her. She is also looking for project management positions, so we agreed to critique each other's resumes to have an idea of what we're doing wrong.

Next, it was off to the FFGoW meetup in Yonkers. Although I expected to be later than I was, use of the Bronx River Parkway and the correct side roads made it possible for me to be at the restaurant only 10 minutes late. Luckily, there was still another woman to come to this meeting, so I had more than enough time to look at the menu and place my order.

Tonight's dinner had 2 new attendees. Both of them seem to be nice ladies, and I hope to see them again at the next meetup. However, I won't be able to be at the next Chinese Dinner meetup, as I will be on my Canadian cruise that week. It's nice to simply be considered one of the gals. I've found that the only trace of my masculinity that comes up is that I look at a woman's hand to find out whether she is wearing a wedding ring or not. No, I don't feel any sexual interest in any of these ladies. But whatever interest I find I have is purely non-sexual, the attraction that I'd have with a friend of my own gender.

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On the way home, Vicki passed on information regarding her father's funeral arrangements. This morning, she texted me to inform me of the bad news. And tonight, I found out where I have to go on Sunday for the funeral service. Unfortunately, I have to be on Long Island that afternoon. So I will only be able to attend the funeral service and not the burial. Although they are sitting Shiva for only one day, I'm not sure if I will make it there. (I'm not sure if I want to sacrifice another en-femme day for the week. But don't say this too loudly....) The odds are that I'll be there. Yet, I find that there are just some times I need to be Marian - and I need it more than ever these days.

Now that I had this information, I had 3 people I wanted/needed to contact: GFJ, the Cat Lady, and my Brother.  GFJ has met Vicki, and I felt she should know about this even though she wouldn't be able to make it to the funeral, burial, or the sitting shiva. The Cat Lady was informed, so that she has an idea of what took up my time this weekend. And my brother had to be told, so that he understands why I'll be later than planned.

There is no good time to die. But if one must die, I hope that one has lived a long life like Vicki's Dad, and that one dies without pain or suffering.