Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Quickie: If only this princess could get to sleep early to wake up early....

Even when I go to bed a little early, it takes me forever to go to sleep.  So it is hard for me to get up early enough to do things such as going to church on a Sunday that GFJ is not here. I could not get away with this if I were working....

- - - - - -

As usual, I had my alarms set yesterday to get me up early enough to go to church.  But I was too tired to do anything but turn off the alarm and go to sleep for another 3 hours.  By the time I got myself moving, it was already late in the afternoon and I couldn't do much until GFJ arrived. Do I feel upset about this?  A little.  There is a little frustration here. But I feel that part of this problem lies in the environment in which I live.

I've noticed that I talk about lethargy a lot more than I used to.  And I think that in part it's ennui.  There is a part of me that craves new experiences, but doesn't have the resources to have them. I'm actually getting closer to putting in a few job applications in some retail stores - just to get out of the house and give me something to do during the day.

- - - - - -

This morning, GFJ and I got moving very late in the morning.  If she didn't have to be in her office by 2 pm, she would not have bothered getting up.  As for me, I had nothing better to do, so I ended up staying in bed and watching TV all day.  Could I have gotten dressed and gone out? Yes. But I didn't have much to do, and I was not in the mood to get dressed.

I live in one of the few apartments I know where one has to open up the windows in winter. Since I am very sensitive to warmth, it's easy for me to become semiconscious when I'm in warm surroundings. And this is how it was today in the apartment - WARM! This doesn't make it easy for me to get moving without running the air conditioner 24x7 until November. I've lived with this for years, but if I had to do it all again, I'd have chosen an apartment with better air circulation, one that gets cool in most seasons.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, I have to get up early to go with Lili into NYC and prepay the doctor for her upcoming plastic surgery.  Given how she was feeling when she saw her doctor for a checkup, I won't be surprised if she postpones this trip a couple of days. But she has to make the payment before her surgeon goes on vacation, so I know this task has to be done this week.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Thoughts about Lili

Now that Lili has a reduced size stomach, she can no longer feast as she used to do. Eating the lobster in the above picture was hard for her to do, as she was feeling sated after eating just one claw. And she paid for it later when she got back on the cruise ship.

Why do I mention this?  Well, Lili is a codependent person, and needs a boyfriend to take the edge off of her loneliness because she can no longer self medicate with food.

- - - - - -

With the death of Lili's mother, Lili inherited enough money to live well without working. When her family home is eventually sold, she will have made "the number" I wanted to reach before retiring. Yet, she still thinks like a poor person in many ways - and I'm not referring to money alone.

Lili's relationship with her boyfriend is like an on-off light switch.  When he is doing the right things, the switch is on. And when he does the wrong things, the switch is off. I'll never understand why he puts up with her, save that they are both codependent and need their emotional fix from each other.

Unfortunately, Lili projects her codependent relationship needs on me and keeps prodding me to look for a new girlfriend. Lately, she is prodding me to try dating services for trans folk. But I have my prejudices too.  (I am a person born in the 1950's, and it is hard enough to accept that I am trans, much less to have a romantic interest in someone like myself.) When I try to explain that I'd rather be alone than to romance the wrong person, she focuses on her need to be physically intimate with someone than my need to have people who care about me in my life.  I don't need that physical contact, but would gladly have it with the "right" person.

- - - - - - 

Over the years, Lili has learned not to see herself as others see her. She's not a knock out, but she looks good for an almost 63 year old woman. And it took a while for her to feel comfortable wearing a dress, in part, because she could not envision herself being attractive to others.  In fact, at a recent show where she put out her jewelry for sale, some man propositioned her for a coffee date while his girlfriend was at another table.  (No, she didn't accept the proposition. But it made her feel good.)

What I'm not going to tell Lili is that she looks like her late sister.  In the past couple of years, Lili has lost both her mother and her sister. And Lili is quickly approaching the age that her sister was when she passed. She is afraid of getting old, and she is afraid of her mortality. This is normal. But yet, it's something we all must face sooner or later.

- - - - - - 

One thing that is true about Lili is her love for her son.  They both put up with a lot from each other. Yet, this was, is, and always will be the most important relationship in her life. And I'm glad of this. She is not that much of a people person, and she lives much of her life to see that he does well.  He is her pride and joy, and Lili is glad that he has a wife that motivates him to do his best.

In certain ways, I am envious of her.  But in the end, I'd never trade my life for hers as I'm starting to enjoy what I have and have left to me.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The end of a week as Marian

Old Stone at Monteverde.  With a view like this, it's easy to see why many couples get married here. As for me, the last time I was here was in 1985, and it looks like I'll be here again with Vicki as part of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.

- - - - - -

Today was another day at Mercy for a session of speech therapy to improve my female voice. There has been some noticeable improvement in my voice over the past few weeks, and I may just continue this expense into the Spring  After a full year of effort, I feel that at that time I will review my need to continue with therapy.

Once I was done with my vocal exercises, I did a little driving around.  Then, I took a nap once I got home.  Several hours later (I only had 2-3 hours of sleep last night), I put my clothes back on and headed to Catherine's to buy a pair of jeans.  Chatting with the ladies there, I found out that I could buy a second pair of jeans for less than $17 more, given their discount structure for the day. (They had a BOGO sale which netted to 25% off when buying 2 garments, and I had a $25 coupon for use when buying more than $50 of merchandise.) I still ended up spending more than I planned. But I don't think I'll need to buy another pair of woman's jeans for a while.

Next, it was off to The Avenue in Newburgh.  DD was not there today, as this was her grandchild's due date.  (The bun in the oven has to come out sometime.)  Well, I chatted with the store manager and ended up buying some costume jewelry which would look perfect with my solid navy blue dress.

Having spent more than enough money for the day, it was back to my house and to find what was in the refrigerator that I could eat. Luckily, I knew I had enough salad to feed an army of one, and a quarter chicken that should fill me up.  GFJ called just after my meal, and we discussed our plans for tomorrow.  It looks like she won't be here until 6 pm. So I may just be able to spend some more time as Marian tomorrow before my coach turns into a pumpkin again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A minor frustration

No, it's not as bad as it looks.  But I did blow Pat off today, as I didn't want to be seen as Ms. Computer Fixit, to be called on only when Pat has a need to get something done with her computer.

- - - - - -

Today was scheduled to be another Marian Mode day.  And it was my 10 am alarm that got me moving.  While surfing the web, I got a message from my cousin in Connecticut.  We haven't seen each other since she got married. And it is nice that she is reaching out to my brother and I .Hopefully, we'll be able to meet up soon.

My cousin and YGM live in the same area of Connecticut, and I could visit them both in a single overnight trip.  YGM and I have wanted to get together again for a while, and have not been able to do so.  This coming weekend, we wanted to try to meet up again, but her plans are likely to get in the way. 

YGM and her husband own a house in Florida that they have been renting out to her brother. As she said in a message:

My brother randomly rented another house. I think he was going to leave his workers in our house and keep the money they gave him for rent. So we said "No thank you."  And I need to dump a bunch of money into the house to get renters in it so I know his workers are not camping out there. Very annoyed

She will soon be going down to Florida to fix up the house and get it rented to someone she can trust.  As for me, in her shoes, I'd sell this house and buy something near where I want to retire.  Since she wants to retire where it's warm, she's keeping this house for now - with all the headaches involved.

- - - - - -

Later on in the day, I had the chance to talk to YGM for a while.  She has a voice that doesn't work well with phones, and I was having a hard time understanding her on the cell phone I use only for use as Marian.  (My other phones are for use as Mario, though I'll make outgoing calls as Marian to people who know me as Transgender.)  Given how difficult it was to understand her, I said that I'd call back on another line. But, she didn't pick up. Instead, I got this message a little later:

My cell phone was dying. So I bent to charge it and got dizzy. Something is wrong with the charger. Hubby took the kids to soccer. I am lying back down. I tried to change into my pj's and almost fell. I am thinking this must be vertigo. I have my laptop next to the bed.

Anyhow my mom is home too. She has to work at midnight but Hubby should be back before then. I will have him bring me my cell phone when he comes back home and try and call you.

She never did get back to me.  I hope she's OK....

- - - - - -

Thinking of phones reserved for Marian/Mario, I received a call from the GLBT Center on Mario's land line.  One problem - I had answered the phone using Mario's voice.  So I had to pretend I was not there, saying that I (as Marian) would be back sometime in the afternoon. With friends who know I'm transgender, hearing Mario's voice isn't a problem. But with people who call at random, I don't really want the headaches anymore.  So I figure that I'll change all known references for Marian's phone number to the "Marian Only" cell phone I reserve for that use.

- - - - - -

Later on, I got a call from GFJ. I was able to tell her my weekend plans, and we agreed that she would be coming here after she visits her mother on Sunday.  This means that I have a full day out as Marian on Saturday and if I wake up early enough, the possibility of going to church again as Marian.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Volunteering and then going shopping.

Sometimes I feel as old as the computer in this photo. Seeing a woman in any technological field seemed like a rarity way back when. And even now, women are under represented in the STEM fields - even though they may have a better chance of success in these fields than those typically pursued by women.

- - - - - -

When I awoke this morning, I knew that I had to get my apartment cleaned up enough so that the cleaning lady's efforts would be worth the month I pay her. So I spent a couple of hours cleaning up the mess in this place before shaving, showering, doing my make up, dressing and going out.  Well, the cleaning lady came a half hour earlier than expected, and I had to tell her to come back later as I was in the process of making up my face and didn't want to remove evidence of Marian and get dressed as Mario for the time she would be here..  She was unhappy about having to return later, but she went to see another client before coming back to take care of my place.

Less than a half hour after the cleaning lady left, I was made up, dressed, out the door,and on the way to my volunteer assignment. Today, I was assigned to update their website's calendar, add a couple of job postings to the opportunities page, and finish editing the Powerpoint presentation they have as a running display on two video screens on site.This was almost mindless work, but was good enough to keep me from getting bored during my time there.

Next, it was down to Yonkers to do some window shopping at The Avenue. It was surprising to see a man working at the store. So I joked with one of the women there (after she complimented him on his work attitude and productivity) and said: "Now, we know something men are good for!"  She smiled.  Then, she clued me in to when the next "big" sale is going to be. And I said I'll be there for that sale.  (There are some foul weather boots I want to buy, and I don't want to pay list price for them.)  At that point, she got busy and I knew it was time to leave.

Lastly, it was off to Stew Leonard's to buy some food stuffs.  It's amazing how quickly some carrots, chocolate milk, salad greens, and a rotisserie chicken can fly into my shopping cart. But this time, I knew what I was going to do when I got home - use the lazy woman's recipe for chicken noodle soup.  (First, you start with a pre-cooked bird, some broth, and some linguini....)  With a hot chicken, I would only have to cook some linguine and some carrots, then warm up some broth to make this meal work.

When I was done with assembling this meal, I had a soup which is more healthy than that I'd get in a can. And I still had some carrots, 3/4 pound of linguine and 1/2 a chicken I could use in other meals.  I think I'll have to start learning short cut recipes from the Lazy Woman's cookbook, so that I can eat better for a lesser cost.

PS: Game night was cancelled today.  Otherwise, I'd have had my usual meal at Panera...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Quickie: Dinner with Pat

Sometimes, a question's answer is self evident.  This is the case with Pat.  Her view of the world is so far away from the center that there is little chance of her seeing things the way an average person sees the world.  And yet, I enjoy being with her - in moderation.

- - - - - -

Waking up at 10 am, I got a string of calls from GFJ, Lili and Pat that made it impossible for me to go back to sleep, or even to nap again. Instead of napping, I ended up watching TV until well into the afternoon.  Then I decided to see Pat for dinner. So it was shave, shower, make up and get dressed - and out the door I went.  (I think I'm going to get a lot out of this blue dress I bought recently.  Too bad that Catherine's didn't have it in more colors.)

Getting to Pat's place wasn't hard, but I did have to deal with a couple of minor traffic jams. But these jams are the ones I expect to hit when traveling to lower county, and not ones that affect my timing that much.  By the time I was in her area, I ended up picking up some Chinese food before going into her place.

Pat is one who buys into left wing conspiracy theories. and when I arrived tonight, she was just turning off WBAI so we could talk. She listens to way too many crackpots on WBAI and doesn't fact check their harebrained theories.  (There are some serious thinkers there as well, but she doesn't know how to separate the wheat from the chaff of ideas.)  Yet, it was nice seeing her again.  But she brought up her usual subjects of "conspiracy" and misogyny - and it does get tiring at times.  Yes, we are a male dominated culture.  Yet she doesn't see how women play a part in perpetuating this unhealthy culture.  When we got to the topic of "Climate Change" she was claiming that the powers that be are actually practicing "Climate Manipulation."  There was no way to get her to look outside her bubble, so I accepted her for what she is.

Around 9:30, I was starting to get tired and left for home. I still had a bit of house cleaning to do before the cleaning lady comes tomorrow, and wanted to do it while I was still able to get something done.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Quickie: Autumn and the changing of the leaves

Recently, we had days much warmer than normal for this time of year. It was very nice being able to go out in a long dress without having to wear tights for warmth. It seems as if this kind of weather keeps going later and later into the year as my years pass.  Is this global warming, or is this just my age?  I don't think I'll ever know this for myself.

One of the joys of this season is being able to go outside in something comfortable, and only needing a jacket or sweater for when the sun goes down. I still can wear most of my dresses, and all I need is a denim jacket to keep me warm at night.  This will not last for long. But normally, this season will last well into the changing of the leaves.

The older I get, the blander the change from Summer to Winter becomes. The colors of the leaves do not seem to be as vivid as in the picture above.  Is it me, or is something changing in the trees?  That's one question for which I have no answer.  GFJ feels much the same way as I do. And this gives me reason to believe that the climate is changing quicker than we realize.

I miss seeing vividly colored leaves. If I were to travel to Vermont or New Hampshire, would these colors still be as bright as I remember from childhood?  It's not a sure thing. Memories from youth are usually more vivid than the realities of adulthood. I wouldn't mind visiting them again if I didn't have to stay there for long....

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A day with Lili and a Plastic Surgeon

Although plastic surgery is still a work of art, it is not one that can be displayed at the Met. Instead, it can be performed by a surgeon with offices across from the museum. And that's where Lili and I headed today.

- - - - - -

When I awoke, I found that GFJ was not in bed with me. She was in the living room since 1:00 am, as she couldn't get back to sleep again and didn't want to keep me awake. (If I'm sleeping, it's usually very hard to wake me from a deep sleep. But I digress....) She started to get ready to see her doctor in Poughkeepsie, and left at 9:00 am. This left me free for the rest of the day, free to accompany Lili on her trip to NYC to see her potential plastic surgeon. As much as I wanted to stay in bed all day, Lili coaxed me out earlier than planned by offering to pay for lunch.  Knowing that we wouldn't be near food for at least 6 hours, I took her up on her offer. So I drove to Panera Bread, had lunch, and then it was off to the City.

Normally, I could drive to the City without thought.  Knowing the location of the surgeon's office was very important, as I was able to guide her to the office without needing the GPS on my phone. I was glad that we allocated 2 hours for the drive, as it took 90 minutes to reach 82nd and 5th from our neck of the woods.  We parked across the street at the Met's parking garage, then went to the surgeon's office a little early.

- - - - - -

Lili was called into the doctor's office and I accompanied her in.  She was worried that I'd entertain people, but there was nothing to worry about. When it's time to be serious, I can be deadly serious.  The lady who brought us into the office mentioned that she was Jamaican (she didn't sound it), and I mentioned my St. Kitts background (how could a white person have family from "the islands?") in passing. We had a nice chat until it was time for her to get back to her work.  The surgeon then came in, and Lili started discussing her desires and her concerns. About the only thing I had to say was a question regarding recovery time. And the surgeon told Lili that she'd be healed enough for photography by the time of her son's Vietnam engagement party. Lili wasn't sure about this until she saw another patient who had her surgery 1 week ago.  Lili thought: "WOW!"  This is what started to alleviate her concerns about healing from the surgery.

Once the surgeon left, we met with another person from the office who give Lili an approximation of what she'd expect to pay for the surgery.  She also had similar surgery to what Lili wanted, and made Lili feel more at ease.  By the time we left, Lili and I both had good feelings about this surgeon (he also worked on her late sister), and I told her that if I can finally lose my weight, that I'd choose him for a plastic surgeon if he did FFS.

- - - - - -

Leaving the surgeon's office, we now were in the middle of NYC rush hour. Instead of heading for the East Side Drive, I chose to take her up Madison Avenue to avoid traffic jams on either the East or West side. But once we hit 125th street, I directed her to cross the island to take the Henry Hudson drive northbound.  Why?  I remembered that Game 3 of the ALCS was being played at Yankee Stadium - and who wants to be in that traffic jam?

On the way home, we stopped for dinner, then she dropped me off at my car.  It was the end of a nice day spent en-femme, and this Cinderella got home before her coach turned back into a pumpkin.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Governor's Island

Today GFJ and I were off to Governor's Island.  OHNY had 3 sites on the island worth visiting, and we decided to make a day out of our visit.

- - - - - -

Neither of us got much sleep the night before, and it was with reluctance that we started to get ready to go out at 7 am.  By the time 9:15 am came around, we were out the door and off to the Bronx to catch the subway downtown.

Normally, the subway is a predictable 60 minute trip to Lower Manhattan. But there was a big problem - a rail broke at a critical, 2 track, part of the line and they were running both uptown and downtown trains on a single track through the affected area while repairs were going on. This meant that we were not going to make to the Governor's Island ferry by 11 am, and that we'd have to pay a nominal Senior's price for the short ride to the island.

Arriving on the island, we had no idea of where to go for the OHNY tours.  Eventually we found them, but it interfered with our want to explore the island. Instead, we walked around the fort, the castle, and later on, the gym that OHNY was manning.

It would have been nice to have taken the guided tour of both the fort and castle - especially, the castle.  Most of the time, as I understand things, the top of the castle is not open to the public. For OHNY weekend, it was.  And we missed it, as we didn't want to wait another hour for the tour.  As for the gym, it is in the top floor of a building which is as long as the Chrysler building is tall. I can only imagine what the building would look like if it were rehabbed and renewed.  Hopefully, some corporate benefactor will make this possible in the near future.

We then ate a quick lunch, then walked to the tip of the island.  You may recognize this location from some advertisements that have been on the air lately....

It was a day where the sun rarely peeked out of the clouds. If it weren't for the clouds, I'd bet that the temperature would have reached 80 degrees. As it was, it was comfortable outside, and we only needed our jackets when by the water or when in the wind.

Around 4:30 pm, it was time to leave.  So we ambled over to the ferry and back to Manhattan, and onward to home - again, on a single seat subway ride....

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Bartow-Pell Mansion

The Bartow-Pell Mansion in the Bronx. It's something I've driven by for years, and never had the reason to stop there.  I finally had the opportunity to go inside, and this museum was worth the visit and well worth the price- it was free.

- - - - - -

Today was going to be one of those "Half and Half" days, where I spent the first part of it as Marian, and closed out the day as Mario. Given that I knew I was not going to get enough sleep the night before, all the stuff I needed for the morning was in a bag by the door. And this was a good idea, as I would have forgotten something (such as water or a bite to eat) had I been running late or even less conscious than I was.

Even though I was prepared to run late, I was actually showered, shaved, dressed, and out the door with enough time to grab some iced tea to drink and a roll to quell my hunger. Then it was off to speech therapy as Marian, where I got another good comment on the dress I was wearing. Once done with speech therapy, I had a question to answer: Do I go home, or do I go out to an OHNY site as Marian. I answered this question by driving to the Bartow-Pell mansion in the Bronx and going on the tour, my consciousness being enough to get me through another 2-3 hours of needing to stay awake.

The tour started at 12:15, and the guide started leading us through the property. Each of the rooms was furnished according to the period that the Bartow family occupied the house. However, none of the furnishings was original, as the furniture and paintings left the house many, many years before. With that in mind, the curators of this place have done a very good job at giving people an idea of how this house was used by the family living there, and have done a good job of making this house shine.





- - - - - -

When the tour was over, it was time for me to go home.  GFJ was expected to arrive around 6:00, and I needed to nap and change into Mario.  This was a good thing, as I don't recall falling to sleep when my head met the bed.

More on this weekend later....

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A last day with not much to do, yet with a question to answer.

When I got up today, I realized that I had one thing on my schedule - a postponed afternoon at the GLBT center.  This didn't register strongly in my mind until I became fully conscious.  Yet, a schedule conflict for Monday jumped at me and I had no good way of being in two places at once.  Where did I really want to be?

- - - - - -

Each day as I wake up, I turn off the alarm on my cell phone and look at the stack of messages waiting for me on my cell phone. One of those messages was from GFJ, and it was an invitation to celebrate her friend's birthday at a local (to her) barbecue joint on Monday.  One problem - I'm supposed to be with Lili on Monday afternoon as she goes to see another plastic surgeon about a face lift.  I would not get back in time for dinner with GFJ and her friends. How do I tell GFJ I won't be there, when I would really want to be there?

- - - - - -

As usual, I lazed around most of the morning, and didn't start getting ready to go out until 1 pm. This week's assignment at the GLBT center was to find/generate a canonical list of observance and event days of importance to the GLBT community.  And it took me more time to make the lists able to be sorted on observance and event days than it did to find the information in the first place.

When I was done there, I figured that I might as well run out to New Jersey again as I had nothing better to do, and see if the dress I wanted was at Catherine's in my size (it wasn't) and whether the dress I passed on at target was still on clearance (it was). So I ended up buying a dress I didn't need that I'll be wearing for a short time this year and sometime next year. The thing of note here was not the dress, but the lady at the checkout counter. She was in official store garb, but she was obviously one of our community from the buttons she wore and she took the time to make me smile for the short time we were in each other's presence.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I stopped by Shoprite for some lobsters.  They were on sale, and I try to do at least one lobster boil each year. Just before I started writing this entry, I put the water on to boil. And as I'm finishing the entry, the lobsters are taking their last dip in the water. So on that note, I'm about to clarify some butter and get ready for a feast....

Friday, October 20, 2017

Getting Reconnected

Modern Technology.  It can get undone by something is simple as material failure. In my case, for reasons I cannot fathom, the pipe holding the junction box to the wall failed, and the cable coming into the house was damaged in the process.

- - - - - -

Getting up this morning wasn't easy for me.  As usual, I got to sleep late. But I must have had a good sleep as I felt alert when I got up. And then I started to pull most of my books out of the bookcase, so that the cable repairman could do his thing with the wire and the wall.  By the time 10:00 came, I got dressed as Mario, moved the bookcase a little (I didn't know how much room the guy would need), and figured that this was enough for now.

The cable guy came around 2:45 (he was probably delayed at another customer's site) and I showed him what I thought was the point of failure. He checked the line's signal from inside the apartment and was able to show that my problem came from outside the house. There are 3 coaxial cables that go through the above "pipe" - one for each apartment. The three cables each have their own connection to the trunk cable. It seems as if my cable was disconnected, and the cable for the downstairs apartment was plugged into my connection.   Since one of my neighbors reported a cable company truck being on site around lunch time on Wednesday, it would seem that the person associated with the truck may be responsible for disconnecting my line. Today, the line was quickly reconnected and I had a talk with the gentleman who fixed my problem.

The cable repairman noted that the apartment immediately below me is not a cable service subscriber. Whoever hooked up her line made it possible for her to get a small number of unscrambled channels.  But let's assume she does not have access to an extra cable box or card. There is the possibility that she may have asked a friend to disconnect my line because of issues I cannot discuss here. Again, without evidence, it would be inappropriate for me to make an accusation. So the cable repairman said that he's going to report this problem as an act of vandalism and let this matter go away.

- - - - - -

After the cable repairman left, I reloaded my bookcase and prepared to go out as Marian. By the time I made it out the door, I knew I was going to get to Yonkers by 8:15. I skipped the first game, as it was one that wouldn't hold my interest if I played it. Then, I got involved in the second game, in part because the hostess had just come home from work and I wanted a chance to chat with her.

All too soon, the evening ended and I had to go home.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Someone cut the cable ...but not me.

I go from having a phone line problem to having a cable problem in less than a month.  Do you think karma is trying to catch up with me?  I think it's plain dumb luck....

- - - - - -

When I got up today, I had two things on my schedule. The first was lunch with Lili. And the second was dinner with Peggy.  Given that I was starting to run low on funds for the week, I decided to bail on Lili and just see Peggy.  This was just as well.  Around noon, my internet and TV were suddenly disconnected. And I was doing nothing with any of the equipment (or cables) in the house which should have triggered this condition.

With my inactivity in mind, I knew the problem was likely associated with an outside cable.  Since the problem could have been caused by faulty maintenance for someone else, I decided to wait a little before scheduling a service call.  Since this could run me money, I figured that I'd burn a few dollars each month and subscribe to an over priced wire service plan. The earliest they could get me an appointment was tomorrow between 11 and 2. This meant that I had to give the GLBT center a call to tell them I might be late, or delay my weekly visit until Friday. It also meant that I might have to empty my bookcase so that the service agent could access the incoming cable feed.

As I was going out to see Peggy, I decided to walk around the back of the building to see if there was anything amiss about the cable feeds to the apartments. Three apartments are served from a single cable feed, with one tap ("wiring/connection box") per apartment. Looking at the feed to my chain of three apartments, it appeared that the top feed (to my apartment) had shifted out of alignment and away from the outside wall.  There was likely too much stress on the coaxial cable coming into my apartment and it likely snapped in two. This means that I'll need to make it easy for the cable service agent to connect a new coaxial cable into the apartment and to make that area easily accessible to him/her.

- - - - - -

Once done at home, it was off to Micro Center and to An Beal Bocht where I'd be seeing Peggy and her boyfriend. We had a good dinner and suffered through some bad poetry. (I'm not into modern poetry.) On the way home, I called GFJ while she was on her way home from a wake in New Jersey.  We both got to our respective houses within a few minutes of each other. So the timing was just right to start and end the call.

After I got inside, I installed the wireless adapter I bought at Micro Center, and configured it to connect to a nearby hot spot so that I can take care of my nightly tasks. Hopefully, the cable problem will be fixed quickly, and I'll be able to remove this adapter from my computer....


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

One of these days, I'll have to start getting up earlier.

As I've documented in this blog, I am a late sleeper.  Work no longer interferes with my sleep/wake cycle, and I often do not get up until late in the morning.  Even when I have a full night's worth of sleep, I don't have that much energy any more.  So when I make plans, I have to make sure that I have my alarms set and have a real desire to do things. Otherwise, I am likely to blow things off.

- - - - - -

Today, I was thinking of going to the 9/11 Memorial in the late afternoon.  If I arrived after 5 pm, I'd pay no entry fee.  Unfortunately, the last admission time is 6 pm. And this means I must be on the road before 4 pm.  And I didn't realize that, as they are open until 9 pm, and figured that I could arrive by 7 and have enough time there.  So, I'll make that a possibility for next week's diversions.

Missing the museum left me with a question: What do I do instead?  I figured that I'd run a few errands in Marian mode, such as getting new watch batteries installed.  This would keep me out of trouble for a while.  But this outing involves spending a little money, something I try not to do as much as I once did.

- - - - - -

Two of my watches I use while in Marian Mode needed battery replacement. So it was off to the Palisades Center Mall in West Nyack for this task. I figured that I could find the watch repair kiosk, get this task done in 15 minutes, and still have time to visit Catherine's in Paramus.  I was very wrong about that.  The fellow manning the kiosk was away, and didn't return when I called him the first time. Since I had a bit of time, I went over to Johnny Rockets for a bite to eat.  When I returned to the kiosk, the fellow still wasn't there. So I called him again.  This time, he was back at the kiosk in a couple of minutes. At this point, there was no way I was going to make it to Catherine's on time. But I did get my watch batteries replaced.

While killing time for the battery replacements, I walked by a kiosk stocked with women's hair products (hair extensions, etc.) that I'll never need wearing a wig.  However, the lady manning the kiosk called me over for a minute trying to sell me some of her wares. She asked me whether my bag was a Vera Bradley (it was) and asked about the makeup I used (Dermablend - she never heard of it). I could tell that this woman was transgender from her voice alone. But her appearance left even more to be desired, as she was dressed to go out clubbing and was covered in bad tattoos. Once I told her that I was unemployed, had no money to spend, and was only in the mall for watch repair, was she comfortable about letting me escape her sales pitch. In many ways, I feel sorry for her, as it appeared that she wasn't getting by that well, and her vocal and visual appearance was holding her back from any potential success she might able to get otherwise.

Next, with a long drive in between stops, was a stop at Target.  I figured that I had a few little things to shop for, and I could also look to see if they had the dress below on clearance.

Since the remaining supply was in the stores, I figured that I'd pass by one or two of these stores to snap up this dress for a closeout price of $8.00.  If I didn't get it, I'd have more space in my closet. And if I did get it, I'd have a dress that looked nice on me, but didn't meet my criteria for a seasonal dress purchase.

- - - - - -

The drive home was uneventful, but it was a little work to speak with GFJ for the second time in one day. Both of us were tired, and I know she wanted to try and get some sleep. And once I got home, we ended our call, and I went inside to relax for the evening.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Columbus Day

Columbus Day.  Slowly this commemoration of Italian American heritage is being shown for what it is: a drummed up occasion to help a minority group establish its place in American Society by celebrating the exploits of an incompetent explorer who helped exterminate indigenous people in a land far from where he intended to go. (That's one heck of a mouthful!)  As for me, I always looked at it as either a day off from school or from work, and not much more than that.

- - - - - -

Last night, GFJ and I agreed to meet somewhere in Newburgh or Fishkill for a movie and then dinner. She had to be at work early tomorrow morning, and couldn't stay here for the night. That's just as well, because my place was a mess and I wouldn't have the time to take care of it before she arrived. Fortunately, I was about to get up to take my shower when the phone rang again.  My cleaning lady wanted to come over because she was in Westchester today.  I had to tell her that my place was in a total mess, and that I'd see her in a couple of weeks as scheduled.  So off to the shower I went after a few minutes writing the opening to today's entry.

As usual, both GFJ and I got to the diner a little bit late.  We both ate a little too much.  (She, less so, as she took a doggy bag of steak home with her.) Then it was off to the movies, where we saw The Mountain Between Us.  One could look at this movie as a love story or a disaster flick. Either way, it is a pleasant diversion for a rainy afternoon.  Afterwards, we had a cup of coffee at Starbucks to complete the better part of the day together.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, it's back to being Marian. And it's none too soon....

Monday, October 16, 2017

The rest of an interrupted weekend

Once I was done with the civil service exam, I had the rest of the weekend free to spend in Marian mode. Although I changed my schedule to have GFJ come over on Monday, this still left Saturday evening and Sunday free to go out as Marian.

- - - - - -

As expected, when I got home on Saturday afternoon, I fell asleep for a couple of hours. The only way I knew I had fallen asleep was that I remembered the beginning of one movie on TV, and waking up to the end of another on the same channel. Taking it easy for a couple of hours, it wasn't until dark that I got outside. And that left me with few options of where to go. I ended up going to Barnes and Noble to sip some coffee and read some magazines for a while.

On the way home, I chatted with GFJ again. On Sunday, she'd be taking the bus to Schenectady to see a regional production of The Color Purple with one of her groups. This would leave me with a full day to be out and about as Marian - if I could only get up and moving early enough.

- - - - - -

Sunday came, and I didn't even wake up until just before noon.  Although I didn't do anything all day, I ended going out   ...as Mario!   By the time I got finished with a couple of phone calls (Maria and my brother), it was 4:30, and I knew I had to hustle if I wanted to see my dad before he would get ready for bed.  So it was into the shower, on with the clothes, and out the door.

On the way to Long Island, I encountered a traffic jam on the Sprain Brook Parkway. A tree fell onto the roadway blocking traffic, and the resulting backup was over 2 miles long. When I finally made it off the parkway, the bypass I'd normally use had its own 1 mile traffic jam, so I turned around and took the Saw Mill Parkway towards the Bronx.  Eventually, I made it to the Whitestone Bridge, and found that cashless toll collection works as expected - there was no traffic jam in either direction leading to the former toll booths.  From there, it was smooth sailing to the nursing home where my father is.

I only had 15 minutes with my dad before he wanted to go back to his room. But it was good to see him again. However, it was even better to see my brother and to have dinner with him after seeing dad. We talked about many things, and talked about nothing. But most of all, we agreed that we must do some long term planning so that our assets cannot be attached by potential creditors.

All too soon, it was time to go.  My brother had an early morning appointment with a sleep doctor, and I had to go home and rest. GFJ called me on the way back, and we chatted for most of the trip home.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Quickie: Waking up early on a Saturday morning.

I wish I could have felt as refreshed as this woman does this morning.  My schedule called for me to get up around 6:30 (with minimal sleep) and be at the testing site by 8:30 for the civil service exam.  With maybe 3 hours of sleep, being fully awake wasnt going to happen without liberal doses of caffeine.

- - - - - -

Even though I awoke around 6:30, it was hard for me to get moving.  Double and triple checking everything was the order of the day, including having duplicate copies of my exam admission notice (something I needed), and packing extra pencils with erasers in case of need.  Arriving at Poughkeepsie H.S. at 8:15, I found that the parking lot was almost empty. This made me glad that I didn't dilly-dally at home, and cutting my arrival time too close for comfort.  Now, I had a convenient parking spot and was better able to get an idea of the type of person taking this exam before the test started.

Going inside the building, we were directed to the auditorium.  Most of the people taking the exam were long term civil servants, people who fit the mold of being a typical civil servant. It takes a special type of person to work for any government, and the personality type reflects this. Instead of finding people who aggressively pursue self interest (money, power, status, etc.), one finds mostly gregarious people who prefer stability over high risk/high reward careers. Yes, there are always exceptions to any rule. But I didn't see this in any of the people who I tested with.

The exam itself was more an endurance test than anything else. One could say that it measured the aptitude for someone to be a good paper pusher. To me, I think that it simply exists to weed out people who weren't good at details, those who could not process things logically, and those who weren't good at following instructions. I got hung up on one area of the test, generating tables from raw data, as I couldn't balance one total with that generated for another table. Did I miss something?  The answer is probably yes, but who knows?

- - - - - - 

After 2 & 1/2 hours, I was done for the day.  It was with some relief that I drove home via the Dutchess county back roads.  It was time to go home and sleep for a while, and this was the most important thing I could do....

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quickie: A Friday to myself

The last day before the Civil Service Exam.  And I farted away a good part of it because I couldn't focus on studying anymore.  But I was close enough to being done that I have no worries about taking the exam, save for waking up early enough in the morning tomorrow.

- - - - - -

I had set my alarms to start bringing me into consciousness at 7:30 am.  Of course, I didn't get moving out of the bed until 9. But that was OK, as my plans were to stay home until I finished the last video of the exam prep class.

Although I didn't finish the last video, I was far enough along to go out to Poughkeepsie in daylight and get a rough memory of where the testing site would be.  I'm glad I did this, as I know that using my phone's GPS is a must in the morning.  And I'm also absolutely sure that I will need to pick up a breakfast sandwich at the local deli, so that I have something to eat on the way up to the testing site.  On my door, I've hung a bag with three water bottles to drink during the exam, as there is no eating allowed on site. I bet I'll be ravenously hungry when I leave the site tomorrow afternoon.

It was just before sunset when I found the testing site. Since my car needed gas, I proceeded to the local Mobil station - where my Speedpass didn't work. AARGH!  So I tried a second station, and got the same result.  I figure that I'll try to fill up my car tomorrow using Mario's Speedpass to see if it is working or not. Hopefully, the credit card linked to the Speedpass (a Mobil card) hasn't been hacked....

- - - - - -

Next, if was off to Catherine's where I couldn't find the striped dress referenced in a previous entry.  The Poughkeepsie store didn't have it in my size.  I may mail order it in my size next month if I have some extra cash. After trying on the dress above, I bought it and a top I will be wearing with a pair of women's knit jeans.  This T-Gal must have a wardrobe for all 4 seasons, and she insists on looking her best while blending in with other females.

Once done at Catherine's, if was off to The Avenue in Newburgh. Although there was nothing I wanted there, it was nice to speak with DD before she goes on vacation for a week. And then it was homeward bound with a stop at the supermarket. While driving home, I called Joanie - and she addressed me as Marian.  I'm pretty sure that she is no longer upset for me having visited her as Marian instead of Mario.

- - - - - -

All in all, it was a good day.  I still have 10 minutes of the last video to view before doing the exams in the study guide. Hopefully, I'll be done in time to get enough sleep to be alert early tomorrow morning.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quickie: Just another Thursday

Another Thursday, another day at the GLBT Center, and another evening playing games.  Not much to say about it, save that it was warmer than usual for this time of year.

- - - - - -

It's nice to be able to wake up knowing that I would be in Marian Mode for the whole day. So when I got up and moving, the first thing I did was to check the computer for messages and to confirm that I was going to do my weekly volunteer stint today.  Once I was done checking my email, I finished the 3rd video in the Court Assistant Exam prep course and then got ready to go out.  Considering how warm it might get, I double checked the weather forecast and went out in one of my Summer dresses for what might be the last day of the year. (Soon, Fall will arrive and it will be too cool to wear the dress - even with tights.)

When I arrived at the GLBT Center, I was given a very mundane task. All of the contact records for people who attended the 2017 Gala had to be updated to reflect attendance. This way, the GLBT Center has a ready built mailing list that can be used to advertise next year's fundraising gala. This task took the better part of 2 & 1/2 hours.  While doing this task, I struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers. She recommended that I talk with their job search pro to get a little help with my search and to improve my chances of finding work. I thanked her for the advice and asked the director to get this person in at a convenient time for both of us next week.

- - - - - -

Once I was done at the GLBT center, it was off to Yonkers. After soup and a sandwich, it was off to The Avenue. Unfortunately, I didn't find the pumpkin colored dress above in a size 30.  (It was a little snug on me in a size 28.)  So, if I find myself driving to Long Island anytime soon, I'll stop by one of their stores to see if I can try on this dress for fit.

Then it was off to game night. The hostess noted that I arrived early, and I felt good at not arriving just as a game was about to start.  Unfortunately, several of the usual cast of characters were out tonight. So it was a small crew barely needing two tables for the night's games.  After my second game, I was starting to feel tired and wanted to go home.  My back was killing me, and I knew that I had to leave a little earlier than usual.

On the way home, I had my second chat with GFJ for the evening. And it was nice to have someone to speak with while I was driving home.  I was tired and needed a little help to stay awake while driving in the rain. It was good to see my apartment again, and it was good to get comfortable for the rest of the evening....

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A busy day for me

I can remember the days in which I used to code computer software.  It was fun, and all the traits noted in the above piece of humor still rings true today.  Alas, my skills have grown obsolete, and as a person in her 60's, there is an insurmountable amount of discrimination against my kind.

- - - - - -

There were only two things on my docket for the day.  The first was lunch with my ex-boss. And the second was a co-op board meeting. Both appointments took up what would be a full day of time.

Unlike yesterday, I was up early enough to shave, shower, and get dressed (as Mario) before driving to Rockland County. It was nice seeing my boss again, as we are able to share old memories and preserve some of what bound us together when we were part of an office team.  Like me, his final days at the office were filled with "make work" tasks. But he had an unusual insight into things today - the powerful folk in our immediate chain of command (before being laid off) were female, and there might have been a subtle form of discrimination to make a quota.  Was this true?  I'll never know. But both of us are glad we're gone from the place, and we're better off for leaving when we did.

- - - - - -

On the drive home, I returned a phone call from my brother.  It seems like they didn't take taxes out when we cashed in some of my father's financial assets to pay for his nursing home care. My brother was worried that we'd have to pony up some money to pay our father's tax bill.  I responded: First, we should be able to slow pay the IRS if needed. There's no way they will throw a helpless old man out of a nursing home. Next, given that we likely are able to deduct the nursing home payments from his taxes (given a 10% floor), we may still not owe anything to the IRS.  This made my brother happy, and he said that he'd do dad's taxes tonight.  (We got a 6 month extension for 2016 taxes.  Since my brother is a CPA, I'm sure that he'll figure out a legal way for us not tp pay much more than we've already sent to the IRS.)  Hopefully, my brother will have good news for me when we talk tomorrow.

- - - - - -

After a quick stop at the bank to deposit a check in the joint account my brother and I use for family home expenses, I decided to take a nap before going to the co-op board meeting. Once we reviewed two potential vendors, we got into the meat of the evening's "festivities" and discussed some issues with another vendor.  (I can't say more than that.) By the time we were done, it was almost 10 pm, and I didn't yet have dinner.  So, it was off to the Chinese Take-Out joint, and back home where I could finally relax for the evening....


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Finally! My car gets its periodic maintenance and safety inspection.

I have held off from doing all but the most needed driving for the past week.  Once my oil life reached 15% and the info warning kept popping up when starting my car, I knew that I wanted to stretch things out until the first business day of the new month. This meant avoiding as much driving as I could, and still keeping up with my social engagements.

- - - - - -

When I awoke this morning, I was groggy. One shouldn't send emails until fully awake, as I accidentally got today mixed up with tomorrow. I thought I was supposed to have lunch with my ex-boss, and asked to confirm this. By the time I hit the "send" key, I realized that lunch was for tomorrow and I had to clarify this with my ex-boss in another email.  (He was good natured about this mistake.) 

Once my adrenaline was kicking my alertness into high gear, I started playing the second video taken of the Court Assistant exam prep class.  It made me realize how lessons I should have remembered from 50 years ago would be needed by me to pass this weekend's exam. It also made me realize how specialized the skills were that I used to earn a living for 30 years.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get a high enough score on this exam to be called up for a position in the courts.

- - - - - -

Getting moving earlier than I needed to gave me another opportunity. I was able to pick up a bite to eat along the way to the car dealership for service.  This was a smart move, as my car wasn't ready until 3 pm. And with only a cup of yogurt in my system, my stomach would have been growling loudly by the time I was finished. While my papers were being written up, I struck up a long conversation with the service representative about travel. He's a very nice fellow, and I hope that he takes his fiancee to some of the places we covered in our chat. While at the dealership, closing out the paperwork, I received a call from Maria.   It took me a while to get back to her. But she was busy with her grandson and couldn't call back. Too bad she didn't call 15 minutes later when I was free to talk..  At least, she'll call back tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OHNY - Touring WNYC

This morning, I woke up with GFJ and both of us went our separate ways.  She went to walk across the Hudson and go swimming before work, while I changed into Marian Mode for a trip into the city.

As usual, I was out the door a little late, and this hurt me all the way to NYC. By the time I reached the subway station, I had no time to spare. When I swiped my Metrocard, the train was entering the station and I didn't have enough time to get down the stairs to catch it. This cost me about 10 minutes I could ill afford to lose. Then there was signal problems on the track which slowed things down somewhat. By the time I made it to the offices of WNYC, I was 10 minutes late.  Luckily, they were still making their presentation at a conference table, and I took a seat in the rear.

About 30 minutes later, it was time for the tour, and this lady took us all around the place. (Damn!  I wish I had her body.  The above picture does not do her or her dress justice.) We went through the offices, and past some of the studios where both WNYC and WQXR were broadcasting from.

They even had some relics from the time they were owned by New York City itself, when the station was located in a city owned office building.

I even got to record (with 15 other people) a 10 second Station ID message which may actually get played on air in the future.  This was fun!  (This link points to a reproduction of what I recorded at the station.)

- - - - - -

Alas, all good things have to come to an end, and so my visit did to the radio station. After a quick slice of pizza, it took me an hour to get to my car, and another hour to get to have a bite to eat with Lili at Panera Bread.  While there, she met two women who were talking about Bariatric surgery, and Lili told these ladies about her success.  I noted that she had lost over 70 lbs, and that she no longer needed her own zip code.  (Lili liked that joke. It reinforces in her mind how much weight she lost and will keep off her body.)

Once we were done with Panera Bread, it was over to Walmart to pick up a few things.  While there, I noticed a woman who I know from the days I commuted into NYC. Although I couldn't place her at first, I knew that she didn't know me as Marian, and I didn't want to introduce myself as Marian.  There was nothing this lady could have done to me. But I just didn't want to explain a lot of things - especially when Lili had to get back in contact with the string of people who were calling her while in the store.

- - - - - -

Eventually, I made it home. And this was the last of Marian until Thursday.  Tomorrow, I'll be going to the car dealership to get my car serviced and inspected. And the next day, I'll be seeing my ex boss and going to a co-op board meeting.  AARGH!!!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Another weekend with GFJ

If you had told me 3 months ago that GFJ would again be coming here, I would have
wondered whether you were smoking anything or not....

- - - - - -

Saturday started off with me only having 3 hours of sleep and having to be shaved, showered, made up and dressed as Marian early enough to be at speech therapy by 9 am. And it was hard doing so.  As usual, I barely made it there in time.  Thankfully, there was no construction or other problem to cause me any problems.

This week, the voice therapy session took a new tack.  Now, we're focusing on my breath control, as this seems to be the critical component in developing a proper feminine voice.  By taking more breaths while I speak, I can maintain the air flow I need to keep my voice box vibrating enough to keep the pitch in a feminine range. There are other issues which will be addressed in later sessions, the next one being two weeks from now. But I'm hoping that this group of 13 sessions will take the rough, masculine edges off my voice.

I took the long way back from Mercy, and stopped by The Avenue.  One of the dresses I looked at was there (see above photo), but they didn't have it in the size I thought would fit on me. So I left the store and drove home via the overland route.

GFJ called me around 3:00 to tell me that she was on her way over. I'd have liked it to take her more than a couple of hours, as I still needed a nap.  Alas, this nap was not to be. By the time I got certain things out of the way, I may have had only 30 minutes left, and I still had to finish dressing as Mario. So I got up, got dressed, and decided to reconnect my wireless printer to the network.

Around 4:30, GFJ arrived and we had a nice time together.  However, we were both tired (unusual for this time of day) and took a little nap while watching TV.  By the time we were fully conscious again, it was time to watch the news and to cook something.  We were famished.

- - - - - -

Sunday came, and we decided to go for a walk on the Putnam rail trail.  The weather was perfect for it, and we found the path much more busy than usual.  I guess that everyone was getting a last shot at warm weather - even though it was supposed to be even warmer by the end of the week.  It was strange, as it was the beginning of October and yet there was no sign of the yearly color change of the leaves.

Afterwards, we went to the local diner for a bite to eat, and then I had the chance to show her where the future Sing Sing Prison Museum will be. Yes, it will be nice to see "Old Sparky" near its original home. Hopefully, they will have the funds to renovate the former electrical generation building soon, as it will be good to have a new museum in the area.

We then headed out to see Victoria and Abdul, a wonderful movie starring Judi Dench. If you get the chance to see it, do so. It is "mostly" a true story which has been hidden by the British royal family for over 100 years, and was finally uncovered because someone noticed two paintings of an Indian gentleman at Queen Victoria's home, Osborne House. This led an author to find out who this man was and uncover his diary as part of the research for her book. I'll bet that the current royal family won't comment much on this story!

And then it was back to the apartment to get some sleep....