Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tuesday and Wednesday - A need for sleep ruled each day

Lili at her mother's house.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quickie: I keep getting hamstrung by conflicting needs

Lately, I have wanted to get away for a while and be myself.  That is, I want to go away as Marian for a little while, and leave my cares and woes behind.  There is only one problem: At the time I started writing this entry, I had a weekly class that runs until Mid-May - and I hadn't taken my cruise yet.

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I've had other conflicts in the past year.  I couldn't go away for a week early last year, as I started a job that wasn't right for me. I couldn't go away on my cruise last year, as I had to be in town conducting a job search to collect unemployment insurance payments. 

It seems like that even while unemployed, I've had a lot of things putting demands on my time. Last Summer, it was the need to get the family homestead cleaned out. And now, it is a need to study for my PMP Certification class. Who knows what it will be next?

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There is a part of me that wants to retire.  It's been a relatively relaxing way of life that I've experienced over the past 3 years, and it has been easy to become accustomed to it. Unfortunately, I don't really have enough money to retire in the manner I want, so I reluctantly have to go and find work. As a result, I have to put in the effort to take the PMP exam after the class ends.  But if I can network and find a job as Marian, I will do so.

Right now, I am taking a breather from my job search.  I feel that I don't have the skills to be a project manager, and I'm starting to lose interest in pursuing this path. Getting my PMP may help a little, but without enough real world experience, it will be a certificate similar to my Master's Degree - something that says I've accomplished a lot, but can't be used for much.

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So, what do I do?  I keep plugging away, hoping that things will change. But I'm starting to get accustomed to the idea that I may have been forced into an early retirement - and I'm not so upset about that....


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Quickie: Day Trips, and then some.

Day Trips and Overnights.  Something perfect for someone like me in the Summer, but have yet to take.

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At the time I write this, it is a little more than halfway through Summer, and I haven't taken any meaningful day trips yet. The Cat Lady and I want to spend a day somewhere, but still haven't done so.  Lili and I wouldn't mind spending a night somewhere, but it has to be a place and an activity that is both inexpensive and interesting to both of us.

Lili likes the idea of going to Mystic for an overnight. It has two things of interest for her - the aquarium and the nearby casinos.  As for me, I could enjoy the aquarium, but would get bored after a short while in the casinos. Yet, I might just do this trip with her soon.

The Cat Lady doesn't project many of her interests. So I have to figure her out.  She may be much more flexible and depend on me for ideas.  Who knows?  But I'd like to try out a day trip with her soon.

And then there is RO.  She will be coming up here soon, to enjoy some of the things in the Hudson Valley.  I know where I stand with her now, so I can simply relax and be a friend.  In a way, she might be the most interesting person to hang out with. 

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Even though I'm out of work, I still never find the time to do half the things I want to do.  Am I lazy?  Yes!  But it's more than that. I have had my weekends booked for a long while, and many of my weekdays have regular commitments that preclude me from using those days for mini vacations.

Yet, I recently was able to make the time to be with YGM. And I'm hoping to visit her again soon, maybe taking a long drive with her for the day.  At least, I know where I stand with her - she's happily married (for the most part), and sees me as a gal pal. And this is the way I like it.  But I readily admit, if I had the opportunity to have a "three way" with her and her husband, I'd do so.

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There's a part of me which keeps up with a subtle reminder.  Appreciate this time while I have it, as employment will suddenly come when not expected, and I will no longer have the free time to do the things I love doing.  This happened when I got the job with the payments firm, and will likely do so again when the next job pops up.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lawrence of Arabia at the Drafthouse.

As you can guess by now, I love watching classic movies again and again. There are certain classics that get better each time you watch them, as you notice the details that you missed on earlier viewings of the film.  Lawrence of Arabia is one of those films.

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Last night I ended up going to sleep late (as usual). This time, it was because I ended up having a late night phone chat with GFJ while having a text chat with DCD. GFJ and I were talking of her upcoming trip to Baltimore next weekend, while DCD was talking about the disintegration of his relationship with his latest girlfriend.

DCD tends to reach out to me only when he's in trouble or needs a favor. So I generally give him time on an "as available" basis. But when he reached out late in the evening, I knew I should respond.

First, DCD mentions that he is having a hard time with his girlfriend, someone who he has been sharing an apartment since July. He then acknowledges a concern of hers regarding finances, as he hasn't been able to contribute his fair share to the household kitty since he lost his job. So he noted a concern that the relationship was about to fail, and that he was going to ask his mom for help. He is trying to ride out this rough patch to see where the relationship would go. But "tough" is also ugly, given issues his girlfriend has with men in general.  In an argument, she was pointing her finger at him aggressively, and was throwing his clothes on the floor. She is blaming DCD for everything being FUBAR in her life.

Now, DCD tends to lie instead of telling truths that might hurt someone. He doesn't know when to say that he is uncomfortable speaking about things and needs a little time to process his feelings so that he can be comfortable talking about an issue that involves him and his girlfriend.  Men in her past have lied to her, raped her, and robbed her. DCD, by lying, triggers her feelings of worry and she starts defending herself from all around her. I then mentioned that his girlfriend needs a therapist, and he responded that she is seeing one. And the therapist said that the girlfriend should dump DCD. (Would a good therapist be this blunt?  I'm not sure, but I'd hope so.)

In the middle of our chat, DCD deleted our texts.  Seems like he's afraid of the girlfriend accessing his phone and finding out what he's been saying to her. About an hour and a half into our text chat, he noted that the girlfriend had cooled down, and that he was going to try and get some sleep.  As for me, I was wired, and knew I wasn't going to get to sleep for a while. 

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I originally wanted to try and go to church this morning, but I was so tired that I ended up sleeping until late in the morning and was semi-conscious until roughly 1:30 pm.  There is only so much you can do in the morning when you're not able to get to sleep until most people are starting to wake up.

When I eventually got moving, I realized that I soon had to start getting ready to go out and see this week's movie. And it the usual routine of getting ready to go out as Marian for the day. Luckily, I remembered that I had to get some money out of the bank, so I took the correct bank card with me to do this.

30 minutes later, I got to the theater and settled into my seat. According to the calendar entry from the theater, I expected to get out at 9:45.  Well, toss in a bunch of trailers and an intermission, and I didn't get out of the theater until 10:10 or so. It was worth it to see a 4K restoration on the big screen. This movie appears as if it were filmed "yesterday" with the classic style that was popular 60 years ago.  The expression, "They don't make 'em like this anymore" is so true for films like this.  To do anything of this caliber today, the film would either have to be a mini series for TV (as was considered for Spielberg's Lincoln) or split into two separate films (as was done by Tarrantino for Kill Bill #1 and #2.).  I'd rather pay more and see a "whole" film. But I'd be in the minority for a film like this.

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On the way home, I chatted with GFJ for a while, ending up at Walmart to do a little bit of late Sunday shopping. At least, I didn't lose my keys this time. Then, it was over to Shoprite to do some grocery shopping.  While there, I chatted with a fellow who used to work at the A&P down the hill from me. And he has the same opinion of the prices - a little steep for what you get. But we both noticed the condition of the vegetables at the Shoprite, and he had to photograph the string beans then text his boss to show him/her the poor condition (some of the beans had mold) to justify dumping the whole bunch.  (I know where I'm not buying vegetables next time....)

Outside Shoprite, I received a callback from Lili.  She was down at her mom's place, cleaning everything out with the help of her niece, her cleaning lady and the cleaning lady's friend. While her niece was in one of the walk-in closets, the cleaning lady had just emptied out the niece's pocket book and Lili caught her in the act. The cleaning lady gave a lame excuse, and Lili temporarily let it slide until she got home and could get rid of the cleaning lady and her friend. Then she called her boyfriend, and later me, to find out what we'd do if this happened to them.  Both of us agreed without hesitation - never let her anywhere near Lili's house ever again, and find an honest house cleaner ASAP.

I wish that Lili wouldn't be so quick to bring people into her life. She gets burnt way too often, and she ends up suffering.  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Passport Cards

The United States Passport card. Why is this needed, when one already has a passport?

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Today, I received the second of three shipments related to my passport renewal.  The first, received two days ago, was the renewed passport. The second, received today, is the US Passport card, good only for land and sea travel, but not for international flights.  Why is this?

Inside the envelope with my card is an insert that tells the holder how to use the card at official land border crossings. The objective, as I see it, is to make this card as usable for crossing borders as an EZ-Pass is for paying tolls. Given the large number of people who commute across the border for work in Canada or Mexico, it makes sense to provide these citizens with a "passport" that can be used by people who cross the border often. But what about air travel?  I'd bet that air travel conventions require the presentation of a standard format passport book, and nothing more than that.

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Although this card cost me a few dollars more, I'll find it much easier to carry this card with me on the rare times I drive into Canada and back. There are at least two places I want to visit again in Canada: Toronto and Niagara Falls.  Both are great places to visit, and I can do them both by train.

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By now you're wondering - what did I do today?  First, this was a Mario mode day. I had to go to Long Island to help my brother clean out a few remaining items from the family homestead before the new tenants move in. Crossing the bridges was much worse than usual on the way down. But traffic on the way back was worse than usual - and I might have gotten nailed by a red light camera.  There goes more money I can't afford to spend....

Saturday, August 26, 2017

An apple a day....

Most of us remember the old saying: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."  But what if you are a doctor who owns a Macintosh computer?  Do you shun yourself? Being serious, I dislike going to doctors, but tolerate making the visits to their offices.  My late wife avoided them like the plague. And as a result, she missed out on the best chances she had of avoiding (or killing) the cancer that would eventually take her life.

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Although I didn't get to sleep until 4 am this morning, I knew I had to be up and running by 9 am to make it to the doctor's office for a 10 am appointment. So I got showered and dressed when the 9 am alarm rang, then got to the doctor's office within a minute or two of the scheduled appointment. (The doctor is rarely on time, so this was not a problem.)

Entering the doctor's office, I notice that things had changed. He had a new receptionist, as well as a new medical assistant. Making things even more strange is the fact that the doctor said nothing about my weight. This is just as well, as I was very tired and simply wanted to go home and back to sleep.

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When done with the doctor, I stopped off to pick up an egg sandwich, then went home to go back to sleep.I made sure to set a timer to wake me up around 3-4 pm, as I had dinner plans with GFJ for the evening.  Around 5 pm, I left for Newburgh, and the heavens opened up as I got to the diner at 6:15.

Today, I decided to have a drink with dinner (a rarity when with GFJ) as I wanted to relax a little.  In the 6 months since she's been here, in-person chatting has not been as natural as it had been for the past couple of years. She might have sensed this with me today.  I don't know for sure.  But the less we are together, the less we have things to talk about.  And I felt very awkward sitting across the table from her today.  I guess that my body has gotten used to not having her in my life anymore.

Around 8:30, we left the diner. But before we parted, she gave me a couple of 12-Packs of Moxie.  YUM!   It's truly an acquired taste.  One either likes the drink or hates the drink. There is no middle ground.  (Click here for more about Moxie.)

It's hard to believe that this beverage outsold Coke at one time, but it did.  What I feel killed the drink in much of the country was the post WW2 love for sweet drinks. When someone went to the soda fountain, the soda jerk would pump an extra shot of concentrate into the seltzer and mix it.  Well, this works well with Coke and Pepsi, as their basic flavors focuses on sugar sweetness. But it doesn't work with Moxie, as its basic taste has bitter overtones. So an entire generation got turned off to Moxie, and it can only be found in parts of Maine and Pennsylvania.  (Click here to find out about one Southerner's attempts to get a taste of Moxie.)  I only wish I had a regular source for the beverage in the New York suburbs.

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On the way home from dinner, I chatted with Lili.  Now I have a date for the wedding reception which will be held in Garrison next summer.  And I figure that I'll need a new, comfortable frock for that day.  Sometime next Spring, I'll have to go looking for a comfortable and appropriate little number that will make me stand out from among the crowd.  This will not be a day for a little black dress.  Instead, it will have to be something appropriate for the Summer - and I will need both heels and a clutch to match.


Friday, August 25, 2017

An unexpected conversation at Panera Bread.

Today was another uneventful Thursday.  Volunteering at the GLBT center was a pleasure, and so was game night in Yonkers.  But this is not what I want to talk about today.

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When I left the GLBT center, I had a couple of hours to kill. So, I decided to have dinner (in today's case, a chicken sandwich) at Panera Bread.  I should have known things would be a little different than usual when the woman behind me started talking to herself (not in a strange way, just not realizing that she was vocalizing her thoughts about the food) and I responded to her.  While waiting for an open cashier to take our orders, we had a nice short chat - as two women would do if provenance gave them an excuse to chat with each other.

Once our orders were taken, each of us sat in different areas of the restaurant.  Across from me was a middle aged woman who had the body of a young adult, and could wear her daughter's mini skirt without it looking ridiculous on her. (It looked quite nice, albeit a fraction of an inch shorter than I'd wear that skirt had I been in her body.) Shortly after I sat down, she asked me to look after her computer while she ran to her car to pick up a sweater. (It was a little cool inside.) When she returned, the two of us got into talking, and she started describing what she was going through with home health care aides. Although I couldn't get much in edgewise, it was nice that she was treating me like the woman I appeared to be and to be comfortable with having me sit with her (I moved my food to her table to make it easier for us to chat) while she waited for her friend.

It was a very pleasant chat, and I hope to see her again. Like my brother and myself, she is a landlord. And she counts on that income for the extra cash she needs to get by. (I'll bet that I am much better off than she is, but I won't go into those details in this blog.) Hopefully, she will be able to get rid of her deadbeat tenant and get someone in who will pay his/her rent on time.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

An unexplained spike in blog views

There are some things that can't be explained in life, and the number of visitors to this site on the day I wrote this post is a spike that can't easily be explained.

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When I got up today, I didn't have much on the docket to do.  So I started my usual routine of watching the talking heads on one of the cable channels, and playing Candy Crush on my iPad. Sometime later in the morning, I got a text from RO that she wouldn't be able to make it this weekend as she had case of pneumonia and was running a 104 degree fever. And if this wasn't enough, GFJ hectored me a little regarding getting out and about:

I am concerned about you spending so much time inside. Maybe Marian could take a ride to Danbury Mall and window shop. Then have dinner outside at Stew Leonard's. Even if you are tired force yourself to go out and you will feel better.

To a degree, she is right.  But I'm tired of doing a lot of things alone.  I like being with people, and don't have the network of friends that I'd like to have to keep busy and ass a little meaning to my life.

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One of the things that does keep me busy each day is writing the daily blog entry. And I do judge my blog's popularity by the number of readers. It's not a large number most days. But today, this number spiked four/five fold. Since today's post (referring to the current post, and not this one to be published later) is relatively short and has few keywords, I can't figure out why the sudden interest in this blog.

If I could figure out if today's spike was because I said something interesting, I'd love to know what it is, so that I could tickle that collective nerve again.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Two Days - Not much to report

Monday and Tuesday.  Not even halfway through the week, and I don't have much to say for either day. At least I was able to muster one night out as Marian.

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Monday came, and I had nothing much to do. As usual, I took it very easy and spent the day watching TV, working on a user guide for the NPW web site to be, and doing nothing that would require me getting showered and dressed.

However, when 6 pm came, I figured that I'd take a ride up to The Avenue in Newburgh and say hello to DD. Although I now have a conflict, she invited me to her daughter's baby shower, and I had considered attending. Unfortunately, I got there about 5 minutes before the store closed, and didn't want to get in the way of the store closing on time.

While on the road, I chatted with my brother. His cell phone was in the repair shop, as he had a cracked screen that needed replacement, and couldn't keep me informed about what was going on with renting the family homestead. He was thinking that I would change my plans willy nilly in regard to coming down on Saturday to sign the contract for the rental. I told him that I had plans which were made long ago (true) and wouldn't be able to make it there that day.  I could make it on Friday or Sunday, but this might foul up timing of being able to get my signature notarized. (Does a contract for a rental need notarization?  Probably not, but....)

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Tuesday came, and I had planned to spend this day as Mario. The Cat Lady and I were supposed to go out for dinner together. So I showered and dressed as Mario, expecting to drive to New Jersey to see her.

Late in the afternoon, I got a text. The Cat Lady had a migraine and wouldn't be able to make dinner tonight. That wasn't a problem for me, but I wish I had known this before taking my shower, as I'd have enjoyed another day out as Marian.  Instead, I stayed inside, doing a little more work on the NPW website user guide and watching TV.

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While I'm on the topic of TV, I have our (poorly) esteemed president on the tube. And I am sickened by what he's been saying as of late. His policies are not that favored by a majority of this nation's population, and his speeches are reminiscent of those given in Central Europe in the 1930's.

The lunatics have come out of the woodwork, and they are trying to control the asylum. With his administration's stated policies regarding transgenders, I've made an occasional post on Facebook regarding the sickness he's unleashed on this country. The "Alt-Right", Neo-Nazi, hyper-nationalist movements which POTUS has unleashed, and one Facebook friend has asked me for more information about how "undocumented" people are applying for asylum in Canada after using an unauthorized border crossing to leave the US. This friend is scared because of her being transgender, and I understand this well. So I sent her the link to a New York Times article which provides enough information to find this crossing point if she ever needs to use it.

Please note that I am not yet worried about things taking a sudden turn for the worse for TG's. The minute they do, I may end up being one of the people to consider an illegal border crossing, and hope for the best on my way out. Luckily, we still have a relatively free press. But if this institution fails, then the alarms may need to be activated....

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Two Generations

Mother and Daughter.  My mom always wanted a daughter, but never lived to see my transformation. But it is just as well. My brother and I have NO pleasant memories of her while growing up, and we are both glad that it is our dad that lived the long life. What I find amazing is how much we look alike (save hair style) at roughly the same age.

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With memories like we have, you might think that we harbor resentments against our mom. Well, I decided not to hold in feelings I once bottled inside me, and effectively forgave her. The way I like to put it is: I let things slide because feeding feelings of resentment would only make me feel worse.

My mom never would have understood me being transgender. Even now, things are not always easy to explain. Unlike many transgenders, I have no pressing urge to reconstruct my genitalia, even though I would have preferred to have been born with the alternate "plumbing" configuration. I socialize better as a female, and feel more at home in a female presentation. If given the chance (read: money), I would likely have the medical procedures needed to fully transition from male to female.

Where I would gladly give up any remaining male privilege I have to live life as a female, my mom would likely have preferred to be born a male. The female lack of privilege she experienced in her life must have galled the hell out of her. Yet, she accepted it because this was expected of females in her generation, and because she was a traditionalist who didn't like questioning the status quo.

Years ago, my dad said that my mom should have been born male. And I agree with him. She would never have been held back by her parents, so that she, the youngest daughter, would be the child to take care of them in their old age. What galls me about my grandparents is that I ended up losing part of my childhood to the role of being a babysitter for a grandmother who couldn't even get up to go to the toilet by herself due to a massive stroke. (My grandfather, thankfully, died 7 years before I was born.)  Luckily, the responsibility of taking care of my grandmother was shared between 3 of her 4 offspring.

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Would my grandmother have understood me?  Coming from a small Caribbean island, I doubt it. People who live in areas that are not cosmopolitan tend to be more conservative, and tend to see things in a more binary perspective. My grandfather would not have understood me at all, as he was a person who would be considered a non sexual child abuser by today's standards. No one who remembers him has any good words to say abut him. And I, one of two grandchildren who never met him, may be the only person who could say a good word in his behalf - even though I might have killed him had he lived to cause me trouble. (I'd have loved to push him down a long staircase for what he did to my mom, and for how her warped sense of punishment caused me issues while growing up.) I won't go into why I'd have that good word to say about him in this forum. But the reason illustrates how I can see things in many shades of gray.

Yet, through the lens of my maternal lineage, I can see many things that shaped my value system. And it is this same group of things that now shapes my niece's value system and causes her (like me, 35 years ago) to be unsure of getting married and of having children. Both of us have suffered through the capriciousness of people who are not introspective, and who see life as a simple binary. 

Strangely enough, my niece has warmer memories of my mother than I have. But then, my niece was the female descendant of my mom's line that that my mom never had. So my mother tended to spoil her grandchild in ways she could never do for me or my brother. When I talk about my mom to my niece, I am sure to mention the differences in how we were raised, and how we have very different impressions of my mom.  My niece respects my different view, and is comfortable with me talking about my past.

- - - - - -

One Russian author said that all happy families are alike, but unhappy families are unique. Time has proven this to be true in at least two generations of my mother's family. Hopefully, my niece will be able to break this pattern and have the happy family she deserves.

Monday, August 21, 2017

They say the neon lights are bright Off Broadway

I have avoided seeing "Sistas" for a while.  Was it prejudice?  Maybe.  Was it a preference for dramas or comedies over musicals?  Maybe.  But for the most part, it was ignorance about this Off-Broadway production.

- - - - - -

My alarms were set to wake me up at 8 this morning, in order to make it to church for the first time in months. However, not being able to sleep until 4 am the prior evening, I knew that I had to reset the alarms to get me moving by 10, so that I could meet HWV by 12:30, then get to the city on time for lunch and the play.

When I finally got moving, it was a little after 11. This still gave me enough time to get shaved, showered, made up, dressed, and out the door on time.  And for a change, I actually did so.  HWV wasn't yet ready, so I went to the bank for some folding money (which I ended up needing) before picking her up at her place. The drive to New York was totally uneventful, and traffic flowed well until we got off the Henry Hudson Parkway. And then, typical Manhattan traffic slowed us down a little. Yet, we made it to the parking lot with time to spare.  We then took a leisurely walk from the parking lot to the restaurant where I had made reservations the night before.

HWV had told me that NYC Restaurant week was on, and we decided to go to Becco. This restaurant is owned by Lidia Bastianich, well known for her PBS cooking shows. If one avoids drinks and dessert, this place would be affordable if one orders the unlimited pasta bowl with the three daily pastas.  However, we ordered the $29.95 lunch with some add-ons. And this pushed our bill to a still reasonable $75 (incl. tax/tip) for what we got.

- - - - - -

Next, it was a short walk to the theater. I wasn't too sure of what to expect. But the musical was pleasant and the music was familiar.  Would I have gone to see this play on my own? Probably not. Yet, it was a nice way to spend the day with a friend.

After the play, we went home with a stop by Stew Leonard's for some shopping. Neither of us expected to get away cheap, and both of spent as much on food as we did at lunch. While there HWV picked up a bouquet of flowers, and I commented: "Now I know that if Mario wanted to seduce you, all he would have to have done was keep buying you flowers."  She smiled, as I picked up on her love for having flowers in her house.

- - - - - - 

I dropped HWV off at her house, then unloaded my car, and put my foodstuffs in the refrigerator. And then GFJ called.  She spent the entire day on a beach in Maine, and then started driving home around 7:30.  By the time she called me, it was 10:30, and I was on the phone with her until she reached the Southbound NYS Thruway.

After this, I was free to finally strip and get ready for bed....

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Saturday with nothing to do and things to be concerned with

If I had enough money coming in, I'd be taking the train to somewhere nice - like Canada. Unfortunately, I can not afford to take vacations whenever I want, and the news on the TV this morning made me worry about the future.

The first thing I do when getting up is to turn on the TV. And today's "headline" was a White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. and a protest about the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.  A loyal Republican said that he'd rather have Congress voted out to get the "Alt Right" out of his party, then talked about Nazi Germany, comparing Trump and the forces he unleashed to the forces unleashed in Hitler's era.  This means that loyalists in the GOP is now concerned about what they have become.

I am stuck here, and have to see how things work out.  I am not ready to cross the border and apply for asylum as a TG, as I would have no access to the monies I need to get by.  But although I'm worried, it is not the time to raise an alarm. We are starting to see signs in our opposition that sane people realize things have gone way too far and that this must be stopped now.

- - - - - -

Last night, I was unable to fall asleep until after 4 am. Again, I woke up around noon - 8 hours later.  Unfortunately, the reset I thought I was able to do on my circadian clock has to be redone, as I will need to start getting up earlier, now that they days are getting shorter.

Since I had nothing to do and no one to see, I ended up staying home and watching old movies on TCM.  Why put mileage on my car when I don't need to do so?   And I was pleasantly surprised by a series of John Wayne films which included She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, and The Quiet Man. How does one argue with that collection of films? Eventually, I realized that it was too late to go out and do anything. This is not much of a great loss for me today. But it hammers home the point that I must find new ways to socialize with people (preferably as Marian) so that I have reasons to get up and out for the day.

Around 10 pm, I got a call from GFJ that she was on the road, leaving Ellsworth Maine. For those of you who don't know the area, it's the last town on the mainland before Mt. Desert Island (Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park). Although she could have stayed in the house that she and her sister were renting for the week (Sunday AM arrival to Sunday PM departure), she didn't think of it early enough to do so.  Instead, she spent the day in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.  While on the phone, she mentioned that she couldn't find Mt. Desert Island - and was very surprised to find out that she was there all along.

For a good part of her drive, I was on the phone and looking for places at which she could spend the night.  The best places I could find for her were near Augusta's airport - and I was on the phone with her until she stopped at the first of the hotels. Although the first of the places only had expensive suites left, I'm pretty sure that the second place I mentioned had rooms at a reasonable price - as it was only 5 minutes away, and I had not heard from her afterwards.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, it's off to New York to see an Off-Broadway play with HWV.  Hopefully, it'll be a good play. But I know we'll have a good time no matter what.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Volunteering and a visit with Pat.

Yes, I know you've seen this before.  It's a little short on me, but I like the color.  Now if only I had the waist and hips to do this dress right.

- - - - - -

When I got up, I had only one thing on my list of things to do - going to the GLBT center to do my weekly stint.  Before I went out to the GLBT center, I did some work for NPW and a user guide for its member organizations.  Although I didn't get that much done, I'm about a third of the way towards finishing a draft of this document.

Around 2:15, I left the house for the GLBT center. When I got there, I was assigned the task of doing a set of Powerpoint slides which can be used in tomorrow's meeting of the Over 65 group. The coordinator for the meeting found out that the NYS representative would not be able to attend, and needed to cobble up the basics for a presentation to be made when everyone comes in the morning.  It's far from perfect, but it's good enough for "almost government work". And then, I generated a poster to be used to promote a fund raising gala to be held next month.

- - - - - -

Once done at the GLBT center, I called Pat to see what she was up to.  She wasn't sure if she'd be busy with a computer tutor. So I killed some time in Starbucks (I needed a bio-break) before calling her back and starting on my way down to see her.  I brought some Chinese take-out with me, and we both proceeded to chat over dinner.  Pat can get very frustrating talking about conspiracies, and letting people off for being victims. (Even if I knew I was a victim, I could never allow that mindset to control me, as I'd never be able to make intelligent responses to unpleasant situations.  Victimhood is both being victimized and acting as a victim.  I choose not to act or respond as a victim, but as someone who has some control over her destiny.)  Boy, did Pat frustrate me tonight!

Next, it was a trip home.  Rain, Rain, Go Away! 

Just after I got in my car, the heavens slowly opened up. And I had to drive home through the wet stuff.  I was glad to be able to talk with Lili on the way home.  As with Pat, Lili expressed an interest in seeing a "performance" by Mel Brooks in NYC sometime in October.  Only one problem - the darned event sold out too quickly.  Such is life!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A day as Mario and a night as Marian

After last night's fiasco and wallet emptying, I know that I have to be more careful. I can't afford to pay locksmiths to come over to work on my door when I could have stashed keys with a couple of friends for safe keeping.  So I decided to live part of my day in Mario mode, to make it easier to take care of certain things, then change into Marian mode, to go to game night in Yonkers.

- - - - - -

I set all my alarms to go off today, as I had to be shaved, showered and dressed before the cleaning lady came this afternoon. Since I am usually able to wake up on time if something is very important to me, I was conscious before the 8:30 am alarm rang, and up removing the polish from my nails by 9:00 am.  

Around noon, I went out to get new keys cut.  12 keys for $24 - not a bad deal/not a bargain either, when you think of what some places would charge. This made me glad that I went to local hardware store. And afterwards, it was off to a local pizzeria for a sandwich.  When I finally got home at 1:30, I met my cleaning lady on her once per month visit. She wants me to go back to a bi-weekly routine, and I told her that once I find another job, she will go back to this schedule.

Once the cleaning lady left, I put the new keys in the pocketbook I used the night before, and made sure that I had my two sets of emergency keys ready.  (I should have gotten 3 sets: one for Lili, another for Vicki, and the third for HWA. But I can get that third set cut at any time. )

- - - - - - 

Later on, I changed into Marian and drove down to Yonkers for game night.  On the way, I stopped at Starbucks for some iced tea. Unfortunately, the person ahead of me was having problems with an order and delayed the rest of us for over 10 minutes. What should have been a 5 minute visit became 20 minutes - and I wasn't going to make it to game night for the first game.  Luckily, the first game at the second table didn't start until I got there.

Believe it or not, I won the first game. And then we switched to a game of Qwirkle, followed by two of the games I carry in the trunk of my car, Anomia and Man Bites Dog. In Marian Mode, I can't blurt out words as quickly as I can as Mario. So I was playing at a big disadvantage in a game where speed is of the essence. And then, with Man Bites Dog, I got a run of bad hands. But it is always fun, whether I win or lose. 

- - - - - -

On the way home, I worried a little about the new keys working in my door.  Although I tested them when I got home, I knew I will worry for a while until the sting of last night goes away. When the keys opened the door, I breathed a sigh of relief, entered the apartment, and got comfortable for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lili, Vicki and the Locksmith - All in the same day

Embarrassment....  That's what one gets when one is en-femme when it is more appropriate to be en-homme.  Now I have a dinged door frame, and my wallet is $250 lighter.

- - - - - -

Around 1 pm, Lili called and suggested that we meet for dinner.  I mentioned that I was going out with Vicki, but would meet her for a late lunch.  By the time I was showered and dressed, I dawdled a little (watching a Western to its end) and lost track of time. Although Lili was a little upset that I was a half hour late, she was glad to see me. 

Lili and I talked of many things, including that she was back with her boyfriend.  Her conversation with her therapist got her thinking - he's not a forever man. But he's good enough for right now.  I talked about GFJ, the Cat Lady, and the lady from POF from New Jersey that I've been chatting with.  And then it was to my house, where I could rest until meeting Vicki in town.

- - - - - -

Vicki was a little late (she warned me ahead of time), and I let her choose today's menu. This was my birthday treat to her - and I was glad I could do so. I wish I could have talked more about how things are going with cleaning out her dad's place. But I focused on other things.  At least she was able to tell me about her cat dying and how busy she has been at the office.

- - - - - -

As always, our get togethers are way too short. So, around 9 pm, I took a drive to see where the sister church is to the one I normally want to attend. After this, it was up to Walmart. And then....

My house keys are missing!!!!!

I've had a problem with my key chain as of late. Several times, my house keys have separated from my car keys because of an insecure link between the two halves of the device. And tonight, I didn't notice the separation until it was way too late - after Samurai (restaurant in Croton) was closed.  I couldn't find the keys in Walmart. I couldn't find them in Samurai's parking lot. And I couldn't find them in my parking lot.  My nosy neighbor (who may have a copy of my keys) was not home. So I was screwed and knew I'd be very embarrassed when the locksmith came.

Calling several phone numbers, I got only two answers.  The first was from a service (which I later found out to be a scam - more info later), and the second from a local locksmith.  The second fellow gave me a quote which I knew to be reasonable (based on a neighbor's recent 11 pm experience) so I told him to come.  Both of us were embarrassed about our appearances. But he was very professional, and got the door open with 20 minutes of effort. (If I had a newer lock, he could have picked it easily and saved minor damage to my door frame. But I have an older lock that would either have to be drilled, or jimmied in a creative way. And that's exactly what he did.)  We talked for a bit, and he told me a lot about local affairs - including why the local hardware store in Croton closed down.

Now, I know there must be many more factors in the closing of the local hardware store. Scammers are using the addresses of many businesses (especially hardware stores) to pose as local locksmiths. The Croton hardware store's address was used for many of these scammers, and I'll bet that they were affected by victims badmouthing the store.

But I digress....

The locksmith told me about a bunch of scammers who are based overseas. A group comes over on a 6 month visa, and learns the art of forced entry.  Instead of charging $300 for late night service, they will charge $1000+ for drilling the lock just to get in the door.  AARGH!  I actually called one of these scammers first, and realized that the price mentioned was way too low.  So I called other local people and reached this fellow (Lee - from Reliable Locksmiths in Montrose) who said that he'd be over when he finishes with his current client. Around 11:45, Lee arrived, and he spent the next 20 minutes getting the door open. And then we chatted for another 30 minutes or so, with him telling me to pass the word on about locksmith scams.  If one wants to find a "local" locksmith and be sure that you're not calling one of these "scam services", google the name and address then get a street view.  You'd be surprised to find that 90% of the listings out there for locksmiths are fake.  He told me that one listing (now purged from Google) had the Cortlandt town hall as the business address.  So be careful if you need help!  Do yourself a favor and put copies of your keys with neighbors you can trust!

- - - - - -

On the whole, it was a good day.  Would I have done things differently?  Of course.  I'd have $300 in my pocket and not the locksmith's pocket.  But I can't complain.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

It was a nice day outside, but I stayed inside and cleaned.

I've noticed that I have had a lot of days as of late where I don't feel like bothering to take a shower, shave, do my face (if in Marian mode), get dressed, and then go out the door as either Mario or Marian.  If I go out, I will simply put mileage on the car and spend money that I don't need to spend. So I stay in.

Today was no exception to this routine, save that I decided to do two things:
  1. Laundry
  2. House Cleaning
My laundry consisted of 4 days of Marian Mode dressing, plus a few towels to justify doing a second load in the other washing machine. And given that my cleaning lady comes on Thursday, I want to make sure that this place is as "neat" as possible. So, while doing laundry, I also started to take care of books that will get donated to charity, as well as bringing both garbage and recyclables to the appropriate dumpsters.

While relaxing, I got a call from Vicki - and we will be going out for dinner tomorrow.  This time it's my turn to take Vicki out for her birthday. And we will be going to the same place we went to a couple of weeks ago. YUM!  However, I still have the pinched nerve in my left shoulder, so it is difficult for me to do much that puts a strain on the affected muscles in the area. And it is painful to even sit up to type this entry. Hopefully, it'll be gone before dinner tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lunch with Patty

It was a rainy day today, and I almost regretted suggesting that Patty and I get together for lunch. But since it's been "forever" since I've seen her, I wasn't going to let an opportunity to keep in touch go by.

The last time I saw Patty was after our PMP prep course. And neither of us have bothered to study for the exam. Mind you, both of us are ambivalent about project management, but for different reasons. For me, I am not sure if I want to take the risk of failure in a job whose prime skill sets are the "soft skills" of managing people. I'm good ad managing schedules, but I am not as sensitive as many to unspoken social cues. With Patty, she doesn't want to work full time again.  Both of us have the same negative cash flow, but she has more options to fix that issue.

Patty was not surprised to see me in Marian Mode today. I warned her about this in advance, and noted that I'd likely be getting a mani-pedi later in the afternoon. As usual, she was a few minutes late. But when we finally sat down to eat, we chatted as if we were the closest of friends - and took 2 1/2 hours to finish our meals.  She asked about GFJ, and I told her about the situation between us.  Patty said that I should tell GFJ that I am considering dating again. But I said that I will say something when or if anything develops between me and another woman. However, I also noted that I am not really looking for a new love, as being TG seems to be getting in the way of romance. Given the choice of living as my authentic self and having romance, I will choose the friendships I'm making by being Marian.

All too soon, it was time to go. Patty had to pick up some pet food for her dogs, and I had to go home. Although I could have gone out again, I decided to stay indoors. There was nothing more for me to do out of the house, and all I could do to entertain myself on the outside would involve spending money - something I didn't want to do.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Once upon a time in America

Once Upon a Time in America.  It's a great film, but only the "Director's Cut" is worthy of that praise.  Other versions are bastardized either for time or for the censor. Sadly, it was a film way ahead of its time, and had to be bastardized to get this film to the American market.

- - - - - -

This morning, I had all the alarms ringing so that I had the option of going to church. However, I felt much more comfortable laying in bed after having a "long" sleep, and will try to go there next week if my schedule permits.

For the better part of the day, I watched the talking heads discuss politics on TV, as well as playing Candy Crush on my iPad. Yet, I realized that I had to get moving around 3 pm, so that I could be ready to go to the Drafthouse for a 6 pm showing.  I shaved, showered, made up my face, and got dressed - and got out of the house in time for me to do some window shopping at The Avenue.  No, I didn't buy anything there, but it was nice to browse through the dresses on clearance.

Next, it was over to the Drafthouse where I decided to have the Fish and Chips again.  Heck, I was early enough to actually see my food for much of the time I'd be eating in the theater. Only one minor issue - I misread my ticket, as I was in a different seat than usual. Watching the movie, I noticed 3 qualities of film stock. The first two types were high quality, and one could hardly tell them apart. The "lesser" quality stock was probably part of an earlier restoration of scenes to the movie. And then there was the reference print which was added back to the movie.  This film was not in the best of shape, and could probably be "restored" by computer technicians doing the equivalent of colorization on a black and white print. But it was left "as-is" for the most part, and helped add needed information to make sense of this movie. (Unlike the original American edit which told the story in chronological sequence, this edit meanders from the 1910's through the 1960's, going back and forth between eras to flesh out the story.)  Do I recommend this version - YES!  I hated the movie the first time I saw it, as I saw the original American edit.  I love this movie now, as it flows very well and it better explains why the characters do what they do in the movie.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I tried to call J from POF. She didn't pick up.  And then I tried to call Lili.  This is the second day in a row that she hasn't answered my calls.  So I know she's pissed at me for not being with her yesterday.  Sooner or later, she'll cool off.  Until she does, I'll keep doing other things and seeing other friends.

BTW: I'll be seeing Patty for lunch tomorrow.  And yes, I'll be in Marian Mode.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I didn't expect to wake up THIS late today!

I'm glad I warned Lili that I couldn't make it today.  If I had known how long I'd be sleeping, it have shocked even me. My head hit the pillow around 2:30 or so, and I don't remember the clock striking 3. So when I woke up to find my cell phone saying 12:20 pm, I was shocked!

- - - - - -

When I finally got up today, I proceeded to make myself lunch (some meat loaf I cooked the night before), and then wrote a couple of entries for this blog that I'll post at some future date. (Both involve hotels I booked online and the experiences I had at these places.)  But this still left me with an important question.  What should I do with the rest of my day?

Several times I thought about going outdoors, but I ended up saying "No" each time. I was enjoying being in bed in my jammies too much. So I ended up writing a couple of blog entries for future posting about two hotels that I stayed in. And then I decided to relax, as I didn't have much worth doing outside.

I did nothing of note until the evening, when I called up one of the ladies from POF. And we had a conversation that lasted almost 3 hours! It reminds me of the conversations I had with my wife when we first answered each others' personal ads. And we will speak a lot more as we get to know each other. There are reasons that I passed on this woman the first time I saw her respond to me, and I will talk about them later if things warrant. They may be minor issues or major ones - only time can tell.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, I have to get up and get moving - if only to see a movie at 6 pm. And again, this will be a day out in Marian mode - the 6th day in a row.  It's nice to be able to have kept polish on my nails for this long....


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Catching up on volunteer work

OK - I have to admit it.  I am very lazy at heart.  But I know that it is best to get work out of the way as early as possible, as that allows for the greatest amount of time to do things without pressure. 

- - - - - -

I got up earlier than usual today, as I had to visit NPW at 11:00 am.  As things happened, I didn't need to rush - NPWJ was running late, and I could have relaxed on the drive to Mt. Kisco.  Once I got there, I ended up waiting longer than I'd have liked. NPWJ's assistant took a little time coming out to greet me - she was busy in back. It was about 11:30 - 11:45 before all 3 of us got into gear and got our discussion going.

It's hard to believe that we last met in May. And it's even harder to believe that I didn't get a damned thing done in 3 months. But they are close to going live with the new site, and I'm glad. A change to the logon screen was needed, and I made it today. And then, I agreed to write up a user guide, and get it to them in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, I'll make enough time available to do this in between the other things that are taking up my time.

- - - - - -

When I was done at NPW, I ended up driving home to rest for a while.  And then, I decided to go out for a drive and do some window shopping in Paramus. There was nothing at Catherine's I wanted to buy right now, save for two necklaces whose brooches could be removed and used separately. (Buy a necklace, and get a brooch.) Although I found a pair of trousers and a tunic that looked good on me, I decided to leave before I spent any money.  So I went over to The Avenue and saw nothing. But in Sears, they had a Lands End dress at half price.

The dress's fabric was similar to this dress, and it was on sale for $30.  I almost tried it on. if I really want to buy it, I will return sometime in the next few days. But I think I have enough summer dresses in my closet right now.

Then it was onward to home.  Speaking with Lili, she told me of tomorrow's mission to choose a wedding banquet venue. One problem - I'd have to be moving by 7:30 am.  And the way I feel, there is no way I'd be able to be ready on time. So I had to pass on Lili's invitation.



Friday, August 11, 2017

I lost on a gamble, but it didn't cost much.

A few days ago, I decided to gamble on a "pig in a poke" by buying a $20 "Mystery" dress from sight unseen. That dress came in today while I was at the GLBT center, and it was a pleasant surprise to see it when I got back home.

- - - - - -

But first...

I took my time in getting up and ready for the day. And I still didn't make it out the door until 2:15, with the idea that I'd arrive at the GLBT center by 3 pm. Well, I was close to making that scheduled arrival, as I arrived a couple of minutes after 3.

They didn't have too much for me to do. The first thing I was assigned to do was to edit a form, so that the salient information would fit on both sides of a large "check sized" piece of paper.  This way, the addressees could respond by sending a check with this slip in another envelope, allowing the GLBT center to save on its printing costs. After a couple of edits, I got this task done, then proceeded to edit their web site to include a new support group. And then I was done for the day.

While there, I heard that a grand jury is being convened in regard to Trump's involvement with Russia. Couple this with congress preparing to create another bill to tie the president's hands in regard to dismissing the special investigator, as they did sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, and we're seeing the democratic process working to protect America from this tyrant-want-to-be. I'm just not sure if a hamstrung corrupt president is better than a "trustworthy religious zealot" as president.  Either way, the GLBT community loses.

I then drove home and saw the package from Mod Cloth sitting by my door.  Although I couldn't wait to try on this dress, I needn't have rushed to do so - it didn't fit around my waist.  So this was a $20 (plus shipping and tax) gamble that I lost. But I can always donate it to charity and have someone benefit from my losing gamble.

- - - - - -

Next, it was back to lower county, this time to Yonkers for game night. One of our regulars had her sister and her sister's boyfriend in attendance, and we all had a great time. Of course, it was good form to have fun knocking Trump tonight - and I had a series of well oiled, good jokes in hand that made people smile.

Not much more to say, but it was the 3rd day in a row that I've been in Marian Mode, and I expect to be in Marian Mode until Monday.  If the Cat Lady is unavailable then, I will likely stay in Marian Mode for the rest of the week. But if she is available, having a string of 6 days in Marian Mode is a good run!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My last day of Speech Therapy for the semester

I feel a little sad.  Today was the end of my sessions with this speech therapist in training. And she is someone I'd like to keep in contact with over time - I'm just interested (as an older person) in seeing a young person succeed in life.  Sadly, this will not be the case. But hopefully, we will bump into each other now and then.

- - - - -

As usual, I had a hard time getting moving today. But it was not a hard a time as usual, as I made sure to get into bed earlier than before and to make sure that I avoided foods which could elevate my blood sugar before my bedtime. This, I think, may be a direct cause of me staying awake later than I would normally want.

Although I was "up and running" before 11 am, I still took my time before rushing out the door. This was just as well, as we had a severe thunderstorm alert. And the last thing I wanted to do was to drive in a torrential rain storm (which could also bring some hail into the mix). So I waited as long as possible, then drove to Mercy College for the last time this summer.

Since I've always wanted to see where one road came out, I decided to take an exit off of the Saw Mill Parkway that is regularly unavailable to me because of heavy traffic.  I figured that the road would drop me onto Route 9 a little North of Irvington (it did), and that I wouldn't lose too much time taking this detour (no way to tell).  Using this route, I made it to Mercy a couple of minutes late.  Luckily, I had my check in hand. So I didn't lose any time before my session.

I won't go into too much about today's session, save that I got a review of my progress that I can use next semester when the next therapist in training takes over. I did a lot of vocal exercises today. And they were very pleased with my progress on all fronts.  Hopefully, with vocal therapy taking place over a longer period, next semester's work will have greater, and more noticeable results.

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Next, it was off to The Avenue in Yonkers. I had no plans to buy anything. But I always enjoy examining the goods in the store. When I entered the store, I was "accosted" by a saleslady. And we ended up chatting for over a half hour on many things. Why a half hour? Well, it was pouring outside, and I didn't want to get wet.

When I was done there, I drove up to Mohegan Lake to meet with Lili for dinner. We had a nice dinner.  But she is having trouble dealing with her "ex" boyfriend, as she's afraid to go without a boyfriend in her life.  As for me, I recognize that GFJ is still taking off the edge that I'd feel if we had totally severed the ties that bound us together.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A day with YGM

YGM and the Soup Dumpling.  Yum!!!  One of these days, the two of us will get to this restaurant again.  But first, I'll get back to her place before summer ends....

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I had about 3-4 hours of sleep the night before, and having the alarms wake me up was difficult. Even though I was first awakened at 8:30 am, I couldn't get moving until 9:30, and couldn't get out of the house until 10:45. This meant that I wouldn't arrive at YGM's place until roughly 1 pm.

The GPS took me on a slightly circuitous route around Hartford, dumping me into a construction related traffic jam on I-91. Since I was mellow, relaxed, and not in any hurry (no, I was not drinking or smoking anything), I chilled to the music from my cell phone and oozed through traffic.  Once through the mess, it was clear sailing to Colchester.

When I arrived at YGM's house, she wasn't home.  She had forgotten I was arriving around 1 pm, and had taken her kids to an indoor rock climbing place.  (They loved it, but that's a story for another time.) She told me that her door was open, and that I could go inside, change into my bathing suit, and relax in the pool until she returned. Immediately after this, she called again, telling me that she was on her way home, and that a neighbor, KP, (whose  own kids were climbing the wall) would be bringing YGM's kids home. So, I stripped, put my breast forms into the bathing suit, hopped into the suit, and started to soak in the pool.

YGM soon came home, changed, and joined me in the pool.  After a half hour, both of us got out of the pool, and I was relaxing in my bathing suit and cover up when KP arrived. The three of us adults relaxed while the three children played in the pool. Then YGM's mom came home, and started feeding us.  (YGM's mom is both kind and religious.  And she is generous to a fault.  I'm very glad that YGM told her not to try to convert me to her faith.) We kept going well after dinner time, when KP had to leave for home, so that she could get enough sleep to wake up at 4 am.  Hopefully, I'll see KP (and her husband) again, as she seems like a very nice person. 

Soon afterward, it was my time to go home - and I hit a nasty construction related traffic jam in Hartford. If it weren't for this jam, I might have been able to make it home in 2 hours. Instead, I lost 30 minutes to the jam, and barely made it home awake.

Did I mention that YGM outed me to her mom?  Yes - but her mom accepts me for who I am as Marian, and not as being assigned Mario at birth.  I would have appreciated it if YGM had not done so, but I feel that she had her reasons. One thing I know was that YGM referred to my late wife as my late spouse in conversation with KP. I had just mentioned my speech therapy at Mercy College, and being widowed came up. Does KP have a clue that I'm trans?  Who knows. But I have no problems if YGM outs me again...