Thursday, November 30, 2017

Lunch with Lili


Lili, as she looked this Summer when we took our Canada / New England cruise.  Once she saw how her weight loss affected her face's looks, she started to want plastic surgery to make her face look as good as she felt inside.

- - - - - -

Yesterday, I made an appointment to have lunch with her today.  I had totally forgotten about it when she called to ask me a question. And at that point, I came to full consciousness and went - "Holy S**t!!!!" And I then apologized for forgetting about lunch.  Well, she was running late, and we agreed to get together at the Yorktown diner.

Over lunch, Lili discussed her problems with her ex husband and her current beau. The ex has no one to care for him and helps Lili on a transactional basis.  (He wants someone to look out for his interests as he gets older.) The current beau is broke, but treats Lili very well.  There is only one problem - Lili can't let go of her past, and put a family history with money behind her enough to stop griping about this fellow and his lack of money.  She knows she has a problem, and just needed to vent today.

- - - - - -

After lunch, I decided to take a "longish" drive over to Danbury to see what was in stock at Lane Bryant and at The Avenue. There was only one thing I might have been interested in buying, and that was an open front cardigan in royal blue being sold at 50% off of list price. For $25, it is a good deal, and something I might have bought had I been more flush with money.

By the time I was finished in Danbury, the Pre-Thanksgiving traffic jams had moved onward, and I was able to make it home without much traffic. I'm glad I don't have to fight these traffic jams on a regular basis, but dread the jams I'll have to deal with tomorrow when I drive to Long Island to see family.




PS: I got the wake information for Ex-GF-M's mother in law, and will be going there this
      Sunday. It will be one of four straight days where I must present as Mario. I'm not
      looking forward to paying my respects, but it is something I am expected to do....





Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A tisket, a tasket, an oak and maple casket


Normally, I wouldn't open with a line more befitting Morticia Addams.  But someone I once knew died today, and I'm feeling a little sad.  More than that, it is a blessing to this woman's only remaining kin in the USA, as this allows her daughter in law to move forward with her life.

- - - - - -

Today was a day to be spent in Marian Mode. Once Thanksgiving comes, it will be a series of 4 to 5 straight days where I have to present as Mario. And I'll be going nuts by then. So I decided to make a run up to The Avenue in Newburgh to see if this outlet was also affected by the decision to close the Paramus store.

I didn't leave for Newburgh until dark came. And when I arrived, I found that this store was not going to close. So I decided to try on the dress below in a grayish blue.






The dress would be OK with leggings, but I wasn't sure if I really wanted to buy the dress. As it is, I have way too many dresses in my closet, and not enough outfits that function as tunics paired with leggings. So I passed on buying the dress.

Once done shopping, I went to the next door buffet to have a tasty dinner.  While there, I received a series of texts from Ex-GF-M. Her mother in law (MIL) just passed away.  (I'd have tried to stop by on Thanksgiving, as I knew I'd be presenting as Mario. Sadly, this was not meant to be.)  We chatted for a while via texts, and then I got back to my meal. Ex-GF-M has a lot ahead of her. She has to make arrangements with the funeral home tomorrow, and then schedule the wake, the funeral services, and then start on all the needed paperwork to transfer MIL's property into her own name.

Sometime soon, Ex-GF-M will need to deal with Social Security and a small Pension held by MIL, as these are two money streams that have to stop. And then, she has to clean out the better part of two apartments, so that she can generate a replacement income stream for what she lost when MIL died.  This is one task I have no intention of volunteering for. It took a lot out of me to get Ex-GF-M out of my life, and I want to make sure she never gets too close again.

- - - - - -

Just before I left for home, I received the email below, claiming to be from the NY Times. You'll note that the email claims my account was in arrears and that delivery was going to be suspended.




Dear Home Delivery Subscriber,
After several attempts to reach you, we are still unable to process payment for your New York Times subscription. This is the last notice you’ll receive before we will have to cancel your account.
Perhaps you received a new credit card from your bank or your credit card has expired. We urge you to act now to update your payment information so you won’t miss out on:
•  all of our influential, in-depth articles and videos
•  convenient home delivery service
•  free digital access to NYTimes.com
•  free access to NYTimes apps
•  free complimentary access for a family member
For your convenience, here is your account information:
Account number:

Name of account holder: M Johnson

There was more at both top and bottom of the email that makes it look legitimate. This one was unique, as it had my first initial and last name in the email.  Yet, there was one thing that clued me in to the fact that this email was likely a scam - a request for updated credit card information. (I prefer to mail checks for payments - Lockbox systems do not get breached that often, as they are super low tech and not worth many hackers' time.)

Although I had made a two month payment a week ago, I couldn't be absolutely sure that this was not legitimate.  (Chase's bill pay system has a user interface flaw which could cause someone to think payments have been paid when the bank is waiting for final authorization.)  So I manually entered both Chase's site and the NY Times' site into my browser and found out that I owed nothing to the NY Times. And then I called the Times to report a potential problem.  The lady who picked up the phone told me what I already knew - I owed nothing to the Times. But she would refer this to the appropriate place at the paper, as there could be a scam or data breach that might be causing them big problems in the near future.

On the way home, I stopped at Walmart to pick up a few things.  Given that some of Mario's cheap shoes are starting to wear out, I made it a point to pick up a replacement pair, as well as a few sundries such as brow liner I could use. It's amazing how quickly things add up there.  Unfortunately, I missed my friend there.  Hopefully, she'll have a nice holiday.

- - - - - -

Arriving home, I continued a call with GFJ that I had on the drive home.  She may have to deflect her son and his wish to go to see the tree at Rockefeller Center next weekend, as this will interfere with our plans to be together. At least I'm not making the drive from/to Cleveland to spend a weekend near New York....




Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Another visit to the Dentist


Yes, it was that time again. My visit to the dentist where one hand is in my mouth while the other is in my pocketbook.  It isn't as bad as I made it sound. I have an excellent dentist, and I wouldn't be with him after 10-20 years or so if he weren't worth every cent I pay him.

- - - - - -

The only definite thing I had on my calendar for today was my dental visit. The doctor prefers an aggressive schedule for me, as I tend to start having problems if periodic cleaning isn't done often. So I put up with this schedule, and the resulting drain on my finances.

Although I woke up with more than enough time for the dental visit, I was still feeling tired when I got to the office down the hill. I had gotten into a severe sneezing fit before I got dressed, and it continued up to the point where I went to the dentist. Could I be coming down with a cold?  Who knows?  But I must have gone through half a box of tissues.

When I got to the dentist, there was a new receptionist behind the desk. She mentioned that the doctor is digitizing all the old records, including those from the doctor who formerly owned the practice. Eventually, I was greeted by the dental hygienist who got me ready for my teeth to be worked on.  While setting things up, she mentioned that one of her friends was a F2M transgender. I made a mental note to show her some pictures when she was finished with my mouth.

Marian at Wedding Marian at Diner

Marian at Pat's Marian with Meg


I showed her the picture of me in the blue dress above, and she had a hard time figuring out why I showed her the picture. And then I said it was me, and she was dumbfounded. She was impressed by my presentation. She didn't get the joke regarding the picture taken with Meg, as she didn't recognize James T. Kirk's opening of Star Trek (The Original Series).

Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its 5-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Just as I was going to show her some better pictures, the doctor came in and I had to put my cell phone away.  Hopefully, I'll get the chance to talk with her again the next time I go in for teeth cleaning.

- - - - - -

Once I was done with the dentist, I went home to relax.  Once I finished with lunch, I fell asleep for a couple of hours.  What I didn't know was that GFJ was having a similar nap, as she had her dentist visit and also fell asleep as soon as she got home. Later in the evening we had the chance to chat, and our Thanksgiving schedules got firmed up. However, next week's schedule is still up in the air until I hear back from Mercy College.  GFJ didn't invite me to be with her in Lake George until after this past week's speech therapy session.  Not knowing whether I can change the next meeting to its make up date, I can't give her a commitment for the weekend. So I'll likely have to wait until next Monday before I can give her a final answer.  AARGH!








Monday, November 27, 2017

Snuggled up in bed


In winter, the heat goes on in my apartment complex, and I have to open the windows to be comfortable in my top floor unit. The heating core for my building is between my kitchen stove and my linen closet, extending into the living room, and radiates enough heat that I rarely have to turn up the heat with the thermostat in the apartment.


The heating core contains the chimney which goes to the boiler room in the basement of my building. It is the same size of my linen closet. You'll note the piece of Styrofoam separating the thermostat from the wall. Even though the linen closet is on the other side of this wall, there is enough heat leaking from the heating core that this Jerry-rigged solution was a practical one for this apartment.  (If I had realized this solution was improper when I bought the apartment, I may have bought a different unit in my complex.)  After 35 years here, I have never figured out how to come up with a better solution for this problem, and am comfortable leaving it for the next person to occupy this place.

When in bed, warmth tends to make me a bit lethargic, and unwilling to get out from under the covers. Like many people, heavy blankets often help me get to sleep. And their warmth helps keep me asleep when it's time to get up. That's the way it was for me this morning. As a result, I ended up staying in bed (save for bathroom and kitchen visits) all day watching movies.

Sometime late in the afternoon, I got a series of calls from Lili and GFJ.  Lili has come down with a cold, and her ex-husband is taking her down to the surgeon's office to get some more stitches removed.  She complained that no one at the surgeon's office told her that she could have gone home the day of the surgery, and it would have cost her less to do this. (I'll keep this in mind when it's my turn to get my face done.)  GFJ mentioned that she lost power in the morning, and was unable to spend her day in bad as she wanted to do. If she had been here, we'd have considered staying in bed. But I think we might have gone out, as she would have felt a little guilty doing nothing all day.

- - - - - -

Tomorrow, I have to go to the dentist.  Hopefully, I'll need nothing other than the periodic teeth cleaning (and maybe the scheduled x-rays).  It'll be a day spent totally as Mario, and I'll be wishing I could spend more time as Marian over the next few days....

  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The last Saturday before Thanksgiving


The last Saturday before Thanksgiving, and it's the last semi-normal weekend before the holiday.  This means that I'd have time in Marian Mode due to my attendance at a Speech Therapy session and time to go out shopping as Marian if I wanted to do so.

- - - - - -

I was tired when I got up this morning. And I think it's due to getting less quality sleep than what I needed along with getting up early enough to get to Mercy College by 9 am. Luckily, I had staged my contribution to our holiday celebration by leaving the sparking apple cider in the car the night before.

Reaching Mercy, I was ready with my check and the supervising therapist was ready with my receipt - a first for both of us, as one of us is usually delayed by 5 minutes upon arrival. I neglected to think about two things, a bottle opener and glasses from which we could drink from. But this wasn't much of a problem, as we used a staple remover to get the cap off the bottle and used some plastic cups to enjoy our drinks. We also had pastries and miniature cupcakes to go along with things, and it was a nice way to see how I'd stay in Marian Mode during a simulated social interaction.

One thing I noted was that if I'm laughing, or finding something very funny, that I had a hard time keeping my voice in the female register. I told the young ladies about the porno movie I saw the other night ("Bat Pussy"), struggling to describe a funny idea for a story (the making of the worst porno film ever made) without referencing anything that would be distasteful in mixed company. All three of us were laughing, in part, because of the absurdity of trying to tastefully describe my experience in seeing this film while knowing that this film had no taste, no style, no inherent social value whatsoever.

Today's session went way too quickly, and it was sad to be reminded that I have only two more sessions with these ladies.  I will miss working with them.

- - - - - -

When I was done, it was off to New Jersey, so that I could look around the stores in Paramus.  While driving, I chatted with GFJ, and we agreed not to meet this weekend as she still had her sore throat from earlier in the week.  (I don't want to infect my dad with a bug when we meet on Thanksgiving.)  There was a lot of good stuff on clearance today, and I bought a shirt with two broaches for less than $20.  The shirt alone listed for $30 less than 2 weeks before, and I picked it up for $10.  Not bad for careful shopping.

Then it was off to The Avenue. I was saddened, as the saleslady told me that they are closing down this store's location after the holiday season.  All goods were marked down by 30%, which is not much of a deal, as their sales tend to average a 30% markdown from list price. We chatted for a while, and she told me that she couldn't use her employee discount at this store (or any other store).  This frustrated her, as she was about to buy some clothes as gifts, and would no longer be able to do so until she is transferred to another store.

At this point, I went back home to nap, and I rested for a few hours, never bothering to go out again....

Saturday, November 25, 2017

An idle Friday


I had way too much food in the refrigerator, and had to make use of some of it before it went to waste. So, late last night, I browned come chopped meat that was about to expire and started the process of making some chili. This morning, my goal was to complete the process of making the chili by putting the ingredients into my crock pot and cooking them for several hours.

- - - - - -

As you can guess, today was a day where I had nothing planned.  I decided to write to the Cat Lady and catch up on things, and found out that I had forgotten to wish her a Happy Birthday.  Since it was also the anniversary of my wife's death, I know what was on my mind that day. But I should have contacted her anyway.  Well, if I've blown this friendship, I don't think I've lost that much. But it is something I wish I hadn't done.

One of the things I've noticed lately is that I don't want to go out much, as I know that going out will only cause me to be in a position to spend money. This is not my prime reason for not going out. Without people to see and places where I'm needed to be, I just find it hard to justify doing anything these days.

- - - - - -

Yesterday, I dropped off a lot of stuff for the donation bins at the GLBT center I volunteer for on Thursdays.  Since I won't be there next week, I may make a special trip there during the week to donate stuff that's been sitting in my storage compartment for ages. It's about time that I start to work on the project of cleaning out this space so that I can make more productive use out of it.  However, I think I'll have to schedule my donations carefully, as I will likely need to shift donations into 2018 for tax purposes.

Tomorrow is the last voice therapy session before Thanksgiving.  I'll miss seeing these two women at the end of the semester.  But I'm glad I could be part of their lives for a while - even if it is only in a professional (their) capacity.  Afterwards, I get to spend some time as Marian before GFJ comes over. (This may change, based on how she feels - she's had a nasty bug for a week.) It'll be nice to get some shopping in as Marian before the holiday rush.



Friday, November 24, 2017

Cleaning Lady, Volunteering and Games



This is the outfit I wore yesterday with Lili, and decided to wear again today before going to game night.  This picture doesn't do me or the outfit justice, as it got a "Thumbs Up" from several people.

- - - - - -

Knowing that the cleaning lady was coming today, I made sure that most of the presence of Marian was out of view of the cleaning lady.  However, I still left too much on display, and I wonder if she wonders what is going on in Mario's apartment. This was not intentional.  I had a lot of stuff that I had to carry downstairs and load in my car to be donated to the GLBT center. And I didn't bother going back upstairs to double check things before I left the house.

I finally left for the GLBT Center at 12:30, and stopped by Mickey D's on the way in for something to eat.  Maybe I should look at the experience of Morgan Spurlock (of "Super Size Me" fame), and give up on "fast food" altogether. But if I were to do so, I'd have to plan my meals much more carefully than I do now. And I'm not sure if I can do that.

On the way down to the GLBT center, I stopped into a supermarket to pick up something for the group to eat at game night (some nice chocolate cake), as well as some brow makeup I could use, more befitting the color of my wig. Once I got in my car, I applied this makeup and was pleased with the results.  (I'll be sure to get more of this product the next time I'm in that store.)

- - - - - -

Arriving at the GLBT center, I drove my car to the front door and unloaded all of my donations from my car.  After parking my car, I asked a couple of people to help me move the pile of stuff from the hallway into the donation area. And then, I got a receipt for my goods.  (Too bad that it won't help me much in a low income year.)  It's nice to finally get this stuff out of my car and into a place where it can do some good.  While in the thrift store, I saw two pairs of clip on earrings which I snapped up for a pittance. Nothing could replace the earring I lost yesterday, but this made me feel less naked while out as Marian today.

Next, it was on to my assignments for the day.   Once I updated the calendar and web page for one group's meetings, I was tasked to find something of note for each Transgender US Citizen killed during 2017 for the Transgender Day of Remembrance at the GLBT Center. This was a very depressing task, as it was hard to process that each of these people were Transgenders and virtually all were killed as part of a hate crime.  Some people might focus on the fact that a large number of these people were people of color.  To me, I focused on the fact that all were transgender, and most were isolated from mainstream society.  I could only get through 65% of the research before I had to stop. And then, it was time to go home for dinner.

- - - - - - 





The leftover Chicken Tetrazzini I had in the ice box was tasty - even though there wasn't much chicken in it.  At least, with the leftover broth and leftover chicken I have left, I have the option of making this dish again, or making a different dish with some chicken soup on the side. But I knew that I had to cook some ground beef when I got home, as its last sale date was today - and I try to never cook any food after its final sale date.

I then drove to game night, and got involved in two long games. Although I can't remember the names of either game, I'd consider playing the first game again, but think twice about the second game.  By the time we were done, it was approaching midnight, and I still had a 30 minute drive to get home.

On the ride home, I chatted with GFJ for a while. She has a cold, and is not sure whether she wants to risk infecting me before Thanksgiving.  If she is remotely infectious, I'll pass on this weekend. If not, I want to see her after she visits her cousin on Saturday. Again, I have no idea of what I'm doing until the weekend comes. 

- - - - - -

Strangely enough, I haven't heard from the Cat Lady since last week.  I wonder whether she was expecting me to write, or whether things were dying out because there wasn't much to chat about.  If I had thought about it, I might have considered seeing her this Friday. If I knew what GFJ would end up doing, I could possibly schedule a Saturday dinner with the Cat Lady and schedule a day with YGM on Sunday.








Thursday, November 23, 2017

Quickie: A day I wish I had gone out as Mario


To my readers - Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

- - - - - -

This was a day I wish I had chosen to go out as Mario.  Not only would I have NOT lost an earring, but I would have been saved some embarrassment when I had to call AAA for help.

- - - - - -

This morning, I had ti pick Lili up at 9:30, so that she could be at her surgeon's in NYC at 11:30 for stitch removal. We got there with time to spare. Lili was complaining about how bad her head hurt with all the bandages on. And when they were removed, she was not happy with the results. But this is only 2 days after surgery, and once the swelling goes down, she will see a more realistic image of what she will look like when she goes to Vietnam with her son and daughter in law.

On the way back to the car, the nurse told her a few things about what not to do, and walked us to the street corner. I bailed my car out of the Met's parking garage, and tried to make my way to the East River Drive. Well, the traffic was so bad, that my NYC style of driving (mildly aggressive in getting positioned to make turns at busy intersections) was bothering Lili a little.  We eventually made it to the Willis Avenue bridge and decided to stop at a White Castle to get some burgers.  

Lili ordered way too much to eat, and we stopped in the parking lot to enjoy what we ordered.  This was a big mistake.  I should say, that if I had known I was going to leave the lights on from the parking garage, I made a big mistake by not turning off the lights before stopping for a few minutes to eat.  By the time I was ready to get moving, I didn't have enough juice in the battery to get the car moving again. Lili kept looking for someone with jumper cables, but no one had them.  She didn't realize how many people (like me) don't carry them anymore.

This was a time where I was glad to have AAA membership. But I was very unhappy that I would have to show Mario's identification to someone while presenting as Marian.  This could get me in big trouble if I had done this in the wrong area of the country. And after 90 minutes of waiting, the tow truck did arrive, my car's battery was jumped, and I was on the road in less than 5 minutes.

- - - - - -

Eventually, I was able to drop Lili off at her house (albeit 2 hours later than expected) and drove home.  Arriving home, I cleaned some crap out of my car and went inside.  Sadly, when I started to strip off Marian's identity so that I could go to a wake as Mario, I found that one of my favorite earrings had gone missing.  Could it have gone missing at the surgeon's?  (I'll ask Lili to make a call tomorrow.)  Could it have gone missing at the Met's parking lot?  (I'll have to writ it off if so.)  Could it have gone missing at White Castle?  (I may be able to drive there tomorrow to look in the parking lot.)  And could it have gone missing in my car? (I will do a last check to find the earring there.)  I think it's lost for good.  And if so, I got my money's worth from it.



 



  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Holiday season is coming up - and I wish it were already over.


Thanksgiving.  It is only a short time away at the time I write this entry. And yet, I could easily go into hibernation from Mid November to Mid January and not have missed anything important. I guess it's because I have few pleasant childhood memories of the season.

- - - - - -

Fifty-Fifty Five years ago or so, I can remember going to my Aunt's house on Long Island for every Thanksgiving holiday. The adults in my mom's side of the family felt that children were meant to be seen and not heard.  With no cousins near my age, spending holidays with this side of the family was very unpleasant because I was bored as hell and had no way to occupy my time. 

Christmas and New Year's wasn't much better, as it was a visit to a different relative's house (either in Manhattan, the Bronx, or New Jersey) and the same issues with boredom and no one to play with.  The two cousins that were my own age were girls, and  my brother was way too young for me to do things with.  If it had been up to me, I'd have stayed home and enjoyed myself. But who was going to let a child my age stay home when there was family to see?

Without the ability to develop any close relationships with my extended family, I found that I could very easily do without any of them.  When I got married, the only reason that my mom's siblings were invited to the reception was that my mom wanted me to get some of the money back that she had been shelling out for my cousins' weddings. 

- - - - - -

In a normal, more healthy relationship, GFJ and I would be spending holidays with each other's family by now. This is not the case. I accept this because of several things:
  1. I don't think the relationship will last (me being transgender being one factor in this).
  2. She is obviously hedging her bets, in part, because her divorce is not final.
  3. I like not being tied together at the hip for most activities.
  4. She may not be able to make any plans until she has reached a position of stability in her life. (She's almost 63, and has to figure out what she will do for money, where she will live, and what she really needs in a partner - if she really wants one at this stage in her life.)
This leaves me dealing with loneliness at times.  When I left the co-op board meeting tonight, I detected feelings of loneliness related to not being able to talk with GFJ. (She has laryngitis and hasn't been able to talk for a couple of days.)  I like knowing that there is someone who cares for me, someone that I can care for. Yet, there's a part of me that enjoys the feeling of being alone. And it's this part that could skip talking with her for several days.

- - - - - -

But back to the Holidays....

Even when my wife was alive, we enjoyed being with each other, but found it a chore to get together with my family. It didn't help that having to cross the East River on the holidays was a major pain in the ass. I can still remember a Thanksgiving where it took us four hours to get across the Throggs Neck Bridge and get to my parents' place.  My wife and I made a decision to never visit on any holiday again - and as long as she lived, we kept to that decision.

Recently, I commemorated the 21st anniversary of my wife's passing. When she passed, the holidays lost whatever little meaning they had for me. They became a big chore.  Christmas became a Potlach ceremony geared to spend money on things for others that they didn't want or need, and to receive things that would require me going back to a store to exchange the item for something I'd remotely want but didn't want bad enough to spend my money on.

When I started dating after my wife's death, I enjoyed being with my girl friends' families more than being with my own. I guess it's because I felt valued and that I didn't have the childhood baggage of being bored with these people. Occasionally, Vicki would invite her family over for a gathering of odd fellows and ladies, and I was included.  These were fun dinners, and I miss them now. So it's back to seeing my brother and his clan, and I'll enjoy this as long as my dad is still alive.

- - - - - -

If things had worked out, I'd have been on a 11 day cruise by the time you've read this post. Without enough money coming in, I could not do this. And in many ways, this is just as well. Sometimes, one has to confront one's feelings instead of escaping from them.







Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Some more thoughts about transgenders and society


It was good to see National Geographic have a transgender girl on the cover of the magazine. But I am very annoyed about one important thing - this cover only went to subscribers, and not to people who'd pick up this magazine at the newsstands.  Given the animosity that some people have against us, I can understand why this editorial decision may have been made. And I am disgusted by the people who are now giving this person (and her family) hell for being who and what she is.  Thankfully, she is a tough cookie, and can tell the haters that they can go fuck themselves and the horses they done come in on.

- - - - - -

It may be because I live in a prosperous area, but I have never had any serious problems because I am transgender. My presentation, from what I've been told, is excellent, and women seem to be relaxed in my presence.  Men, on the other hand, seem to have more of a problem with transgenders, and I think this is why I haven't heard from DCD in a while. (It also helps that he has a new girlfriend, and that she fulfills his need for intimacy - at the expense of him building up a social network.)  So it is likely that when a M2F transgender decides to transition, that she will lose many of the friends she gained while presenting as male, as well as having serious problems from within the community in which she lives.

Fear may be a big factor here.  Male sexuality is focused on an "external" organ.  It is easy for that organ to be harmed. And the fear of harm is strong and real.  I do not know of a single man who has not experienced pain from his genitals being hit the wrong way in a game or a fight. Reproduction depends on that organ, and in theory, the ability for a male to pass on his genes will last until he dies. In a way, much of his value as a person comes from having working genitalia.

Contrast this with being female.  A woman's sexual organs are mostly internal, save for the opening that lets a male penetrate her. She knows that she has a limited time in which she can bear children, maybe 20-25 years of her adult life.  So her sexuality has to be more focused on attracting the right males, and in seeing that her offspring make it safely to adulthood.  If it means that her body stops being fertile, her image as a female isn't harmed. But it is changed, as she expects to become infertile as she gets older. She still depends on others, and her attractiveness is important to preserve needed partnerships with the man (or men) in her life.

- - - - - -

Transgenders do not fit into this mold.  Youthful transition means that a M2F transwoman can be beautiful by traditional standards, can be sexy by traditional standards, but she can not bear children.  Knowing that she is trans, she has a duty to inform her mates that she can not bear children.  But what does this do to her potential male partners?  Given how men focus on a sexuality that depends on having sperm that can get a fertile woman pregnant, they can feel betrayed when the woman they have sex with can not bear those men any children - even if having kids was not the purpose of the sexual contact in the first place.

Late middle age transition has another problem - most of us have been brought up that gender was binary, and not a fluid spectrum.  So if we want romance, it's much harder to find, as people of this generation often see transgenders as something that's neither fish nor fowl.  We're not completely women, and we're certainly not men.  Since we can't be defined well in their eyes due to how others in our generation view gender, we have a much harder time finding romantic partners, much less compatible romantic partners for us.

- - - - - -

For the most part, when people get to meet a transwoman who presents well and is soft spoken, they tend to accept her as a woman in the social sense.  They may "know" that the woman they are speaking with was not born with female plumbing. But they relate to the transwoman as a woman for non sexual issues. (Read: She is seen as a woman for everything but romance.) This feminine image is reinforced if the transwoman pursues feminine interests, and not typical masculine interests. There is nothing wrong with women having some interests usually associated with men.  My late wife enjoyed Trap shooting with her father.  Yet, if I talked about enjoying the same things that she enjoyed, it would negatively affect others perceptions of me as a female.

One transwoman I met breaks the image of being female. She still pursues her masculine interests, and still sounds like a man.  The only things that have changed are the gender marker on her driver's license, her libido, and how people think of her.  When I last chatted with this lady, she told me of her experiences in going to church and being told that she wasn't that welcome as a transwoman.  If she weren't so masculine in her mannerisms, I'd wager that she'd have had a chance of being accepted in that church.  Yet, I can not know this for sure.  Some denominations are hell bent on preserving a gender binary.  I just wonder what might have happened if the pastor's son were born intersex.  Would something shocking as this change a prejudiced mind?  I don't know.  But a transwoman presenting in an almost masculine manner doesn't help wear down prejudice against us.

- - - - - -

As a result of the 2016 election, I think that us transgenders are going to have a lot on our plates. I'm very concerned that the people with whom Trump cut his deals will take advantage of their positions in government and cause problems for us. These are men who have promoted the lie that transwomen going into the ladies' room are there to stalk women and not to relieve themselves. People who already have been taught to shun us are now being taught to hate us. Society will be taking several steps backwards before it can move forward again. And we must figure out ways to get out of the way, and fight this movement as best we can - avoiding head on confrontations whenever possible.

Hopefully, we can slow backwards movement down for a few years, and keep our cool until the progressives can regain power.  It'll mean a lot of work is ahead, and I encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the political process. This also means that a more youthful regime must lead the progressives - even if the figurehead ends up being Bernie Sanders (who, ironically, would be the oldest man to run for president in modern times.)  The baby boomers (including myself) are aging out of society, and we need to insure that they don't screw it up for their children and grandchildren.

PS: The 2017 elections have given us a pleasant surprise - Danica Roem....
       I hope that 2018 is an even better year for us!












Monday, November 20, 2017

I had only one good reason for going out.


Sometimes, I feel like the way this movie prop looks - Awful.  But most of the time lately, I seem to feel lethargic, with little reason to get out of my bed to do anything. And if it weren't for the social engagements I try to make, I probably wouldn't go out of the house most days.

- - - - - -

Today, I was supposed to drive to Connecticut and see YGM for the day.  However, when I tried to call her to confirm things, she didn't answer the phone. So I decided to stay in my jammies and do things around the apartment that didn't take up too much energy.

Later on in the afternoon, I received a text from YGM, as she noted that:

Hi, I am sorry I missed your call. my daughter had my phone last night. Then I couldn't find it until just now.

When one has two very young kids, it's easy for things like cell phones to go missing. Especially when YGM's place is as cluttered as my place is.  So we'll try to get together some time in December when she is staying at her husband's NY grad school pied-à-terre.

- - - - - -

Given that I had little energy to do anything, I was amazed that I even bothered to go out food shopping around 9 pm.  Since I wanted to find some storage containers compatible with those I'm already using in this apartment, my shopping ended up taking place at the Fishkill Walmart. 

My goal was to pick up 2 storage containers for my Summer dresses, and some foodstuffs to make some Chicken Tetrazzini and to make some Chili. By the time I was done, another $72.00 left my wallet. The check out clerk noted how rare it is for a bill to run up to an even dollar amount. But I've seen this happen often enough not to think about it when this happens.

When I made it home, I had several bags of foodstuffs and two storage containers to bring upstairs.  So I loaded the storage containers with the food I bought and then brought the containers upstairs. While carrying the containers, I noticed how my (fake) breasts were getting in the way of holding the containers, and could only imagine how a woman's breasts can get in the way of her every day activities.  

- - - - - -

Hopefully, I will have more energy tomorrow.  It'd be nice to see sunlight for a change.



 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A weekend free to be me. If only I had known in advance...


Motion Pictures - one of my loves.  If I had my druthers, I'd probably program the offerings at a successful Art House.  Alas, my work in technology ill prepared me for the work I'd like to do next in my life.

But first. a little how not knowing what would unfold would affect the whole weekend.

- - - - - -

The sequence of events that unfolded....

  1. I arrange to spend Sunday with YGM in Connecticut.
  2. The Cat Lady says that she's free this weekend.
  3. GFJ says she's coming down on Saturday night, leaving Sunday free for YGM.
  4. The Cat Lady arranges to get together with a friend on Saturday.
  5. GFJ catches a cold, leaving Saturday night open.
  6. And now, I had Saturday night open, and being able to go church on Sunday.
My schedule always seems to be in flux. But I'd have liked to know I'd have been free in advance, as I'd have liked to have done my nails yesterday before seeing my niece at the museum.

- - - - - -

I left for Speech Therapy this morning and had a lot of options for the rest of the day. Arriving at Mercy, I chatted with my two therapists in training and told them about the cruise which was not destined to be. And then we got on with the vocal exercises that were planned for me.

Once done at Mercy, it was over to New Rochelle hospital where I visited a friend from the Yonkers gaming group.  She was glad to see me, and we talked for about an hour or so. Although she is still in pain, she is healing and expects to be discharged for home care sometime tomorrow.  My friend is suffering from a similar ailment to that Vicki has, and had two of her vertebrae fused.  (Vicki will need six vertebrae fused in a different area of her spine.) So I expect that this friend will have a long recovery period.

After I was done there, I called Pat.  Although we agreed to get together, she really was not up for visitors.  So I made it easy for her to beg off, and I went home to take a needed nap which lasted much more time than I expected....

You can now guess that I didn't do much for the rest of the day....




Saturday, November 18, 2017

Museum day with my niece



It's been a while since I've had the chance to go to a museum with my niece, so I decided to brave the cold and go see her at the Museum of the Moving Image today.

- - - - - -

When I got up this morning, I knew it was going to be a full day in Marian mode.  Of course, the many summer dresses I had laying on the other side of the bed was a reminder of how much I prefer living life as Marian. These dresses have little hope of being worn again soon, as I am trying to find a place for them in storage containers which will be filed away until Spring.

You may be asking, where do I stand on the cruise I'm considering?  Well, as of this morning, it has gone up another $75 in price, and I'm not sure whether I will drop the hammer anymore.  I waited too long to get information from Mercy regarding make up sessions, so I'm not sure about spending at least $1,100 when I'm out of work.

- - - - - -

I left the house around 1:30 pm and drove down to the Bronx.  On the way down, I stopped at Mickey D's (a big mistake), where I had to wait a long time for 2 basic cheeseburgers. However, things were so screwed up, that I got two sodas instead of one.  Parking was much easier than usual at the subway station, as I had a choice of spots. And I figured that the best spot would be the one right in front of Ex-GF-M's house. (I wonder if she figured out whose car was there.) So I parked my car and took the train into NYC.

Getting from the Bronx to Queens wasn't as easy as I'd have liked. Normally, I'd take the express to 59th street , and then transfer to the Astoria line.  However, the Museum of the Moving Image recommended that a different line be used to reach their site. This forced me to make a transfer to the Lexington Avenue local for one stop, and then switch to the local terminating in Forest Hills for several stops. This was not a route I'd want to take in the evening, so I figured that I'd use my memory of the subway system later on to have an easier ride home.

When I got off the subway, I received a text from my niece that she would be a few minutes late. Given the cold outside, I was very glad that I dressed in the above outfit for my walk over to the museum. (I'd regret this a little inside the museum, but better safe than sorry.) On the way over, I figured that I'd kill 15 minutes by having a bowl of soup at Panera Bread. And just as I was finishing that bowl, my niece texted me to tell me she had just arrived at the museum. So it was on with my coat, and off on a 2 (short) block walk to the museum.

- - - - - -

Inside the museum, we walked around the permanent displays. This is not a place I'd visit often, as I only find the special exhibits worth the visit, given the nature of the permanent exhibits. And for this visit, they had a nice exhibition of Jim Henson (Muppets) artifacts.








I never knew how prolific this man was with his puppetry. He was inspired by Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and he took the art of puppetry much further than anyone else did before or since. It's amazing how his work with puppets resonates with adults. I think that he realized that one could entertain people of all ages with a well crafted gag. He also realized that the puppets were characters, and one had to flesh them out for people to accept them as more than just puppets.  (Compare Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.  Does Mickey have much of a character?  No.  But Bugs does, and most people of my generation can give you several characteristics that make him more than just an animated creature on a celluloid cel.)

- - - - - -

All too early, it was time to go home.  My brother picked up my niece at the subway station, as she didn't feel safe being in Jamaica, Queens after dark. I can't blame her.  The end of the line is not in the best neighborhoods anymore.  As for me, it took about 2 hours to get home, as I got stuck on a local train to the Bronx when I was expecting to be on an express.

- - - - - -

After a long day, I realized that it didn't make sense for me to go on that cruise when I can enjoy another Spring vacation when I'll need it most.











Friday, November 17, 2017

Codenames and Lotus - a nice way to spend an evening.


Today was a day of volunteering followed by some games.  I won't go deep into volunteering today, as it was more of the same old thing - updating the GLBT Center's online presence. But I will go into everything else that happened during the day....

- - - - - -

Over the past week, I have been monitoring the price for an eleven day Eastern Caribbean Cruise that I could buy for under $50 per day. As of today, enough people have jumped on this deal, so that the price per day (before tax and tip) is close to $65 per day.  Since there is no single person supplement, this is still a very affordable cruise.  I've discussed this with several people, and I still may book the cruise tomorrow if the current price is still available to me.

After my late afternoon visit to the GLBT center, I made my way down to game night with a stop at Panera for dinner. It was a very small gathering today, as two of our regulars didn't show up. This allowed for more intimate gaming.  The first game of the night was San Juan, and I lost (as usual). But then my luck changed when we played Lotus, as all the cards kept falling my way. Eventually, we got to playing Codenames, and I did fairly well with clue giving and clue receiving. It's not my favorite game, but it is something which I can play for a little while and stay interested.

One thing I noticed during tonight's game play was that my subconscious was ready to make my play as soon as another player finished his/her turn.  It must be anxious for things to happen - as if hearing the right kinds of sounds triggers me to do things without thought.  This can be quite helpful when I've been thinking ahead and I can make my move based off of someone's action, but it's not useful when I have to pay attention to who is making that action. 

I was starting to get tired early, and left before 11 pm.  Even though I stopped into the White Plains Walmart to buy some things, they had changed their hours and closed at 11 sharp.  For the heck of it, I decided to fly up to Mohegan Lake to see if they had the storage containers I wanted. They did not.  But M, my favorite Walmart stocking clerk was there, and we chatted for a while.  Hopefully, she'll be able to make it to a late lunch next week, as it would be nice to see her outside of work.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

BBQ with RO


It's been a while since RO and I got together.  So unless she were to cancel, there was no way that I was going to miss a chance to socialize with a friend in Marian Mode....

- - - - - -

Although I got up earlier than usual this morning, it took me a while to get moving for the day. But once I was moving, I was up and running and out the door by 1 pm. Although I had clear sailing to Long Island, it took me forever to go the last miles to RO's house.

I had time to kill once I crossed the bridge, so I thought I'd be able to do some window shopping at Lane Bryant and have a cup of coffee nearby.  Unfortunately, traffic was still jammed to the bridges, and any route I'd take from the shopping center I rested at would be overcrowded. So I planned to take side roads out to Nassau County. Sadly, even the side roads were no relief, since I oozed Eastward on Northern Boulevard and encountered traffic jams on every route that would take me across both the Long Island Expressway and the Northern State Parkway.

Eventually, I made it to RO's place and we then made it out to Target and then to Walmart to do some shopping for things other than clothes. After this, we both were famished, so it was off to Famous Dave's for BBQ.  "YUM!" is all I can say when I think of BBQ. And RO was very glad that I chose this place.  While there, we talked about her relationship with her boyfriend and issues I have to deal with for the co-op.  Even though I enjoyed the food, I know I can't have it too often, as it is very salty and would do a number on my blood pressure readings.

Sadly, our evening had to come to an end. Hopefully, we'll be able to get together again before the holidays.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Election Day



It's Election Day, and things are going not as well as I'd like. Nothing really bad happened to me, but there are some sad things that I must note for the beginning of the day.  First, a long delayed meeting with M, an acquaintance from my night time visits to Walmart, got called in for an extra shift - and there went coffee or tea in Peekskill. Then, Vicki had to end the possibility of getting together for a second week in a row, as her brother in law is dying and her husband is helping to make end-of-life plans for his brother.  It's a sad start to the day, but not something earth shattering to me. If anything, it would prod me into seeing my dad, as I will already be in Mario mode for part of the day.

- - - - - -

After getting dressed as Mario, it was out the door and on to vote.  Luckily, the place is very close, and I also didn't have to wait long to vote.  If I were planning on going back to Marian mode for the day, I could have done so, and would have done so if I were going out later as Marian.  When I arrived, I found one of my neighbors was manning the polling place. Once I cast my ballot, I noted that she should have been at our public meeting with our lawyer, so that she could have her concerns about her upstairs neighbor addressed. Since she give the "it's the co-op's problem, why should I take any active interest in protecting my interests?" attitude, I've resolved to tell both her and her upstairs neighbor not to bother with me with their crap again. Neither of them were willing to talk to our lawyer at the public meeting for free. Why should I bother to help people who won't bother to help themselves?

Next, it was off to see my dad.  It's been a while since I've seen him, and I wanted to make sure that I see him before Thanksgiving in case I make other plans for the day. It was a pleasure crossing the bridge today, as I didn't need to slow down for toll booths anymore. Although there was a traffic slowdown on the bridge due to construction, it was much easier to tolerate than the traffic that once backed up at the toll booths.

When I reached my dad, I knew that I wouldn't have much time there. But it was about 45 minutes of really good time before I had to leave. Even then, I knew that I was going to hit the rush hour traffic jams on the way home. Again, I was very glad that the toll booths were not going to cause any problems for me on the way home.  By the time I made it to the Bronx, the rains began to come down hard, and I was glad that I didn't have to be "outside" on a day like this. It took me a little over an hour and a half to get home (excluding a stop for food), and once home, in for the night.

- - - - - -
If I were out to my family, I'd have gone shopping today.  Several of the stores I enjoy browsing through are a short drive from my dad's nursing home. Instead, since I voted and stayed as Mario, at least I can say that I was one of the voters who, by voting Democrat, helped nudge this country a little bit towards the left.  If I were in one Virginia district, I'd certainly have voted for Danica Roem, a Trans Woman whose victory I celebrate today.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Quickie: Politics (The run up to Election Day.)


I started writing this entry on the day before Election day.  Normally, I often have events that cause me to miss non-presidential elections. But this year, I've made it a point to vote.  One problem - I have gotten very annoyed by the sheer number of "get out the vote" calls that have been making it to my phone.

Years ago, congress exempted itself and other political entities from having to refer to "Do not call" lists to determine whether to call a potential contributor or a potential voter. This means that every year around election day, many of us are subject to a countless number of calls imploring us to vote for their candidates.  Promises are made, and relatively few are kept.  Sadly, campaign promises are just as worthless as a statement coming from Sarah Sanders (Trump's current press secretary). And I've learned not to believe any of them. Instead, I look at the results a leader has achieved over the years, and vote for that person if I feel s/he has gotten the job done (or has tried to do an impossible job).

So far, I've received 3-4 campaign calls today. And I'll be glad when the election season ends tomorrow. Maybe then, my phone can return to its usual set of scam messages from overseas scammers.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Quickie: Before and After

Before After

Let's ignore some of the imperfections in the process which adjusted the image on the left to that on the right. I have stumbled into a site which can help give you an idea of how one's face might look with a little plastic surgery.  No, this site (pinkmirror.com) is not meant for transgenders as much as it is geared for cisgender folk to have their faces photoshopped a little and to look good in a retouched photo.



I'll admit that I wouldn't use this photo when going to a plastic surgeon. But it does give me an idea of what I'd ask him to do and to be better able to visualize my future look.  Alice Novic (of Alice in Genderland) notes that the shape of one's face and one's hairstyle is very important to having a good female presentation.  If one has to live both as a male and a female, the way I read Dr. Novic's writing is that the lower part of the face is key to being seen as a woman, and that a good hairstyle can do wonders.

Given what Lili's plastic surgery is going to cost, I know I'll have to go back to work before committing to surgery of my own. But if I can finally lose some weight, I hope to be able to treat myself to a much more androgynous face to go with the feminine voice I'm working on with the help of the folks at Mercy College.





Sunday, November 12, 2017

A voice for Marian and a dinner with Vicki


This morning, I woke up early to go to speech therapy.  Even though I didn't have enough sleep the night before (a constant problem for me), I got to Mercy College awake and alert for the session.  I'm going to be a little sad when this semester ends, as I've grown to like these two women - both of whom are less than half my age.

When I arrived, they were ready for me. (it's usually a flip of the coin whether one of us will be 5 minutes late.)  So, I went to the session room and the ladies showed me 3 books which we could use for phrases to help improve my vocal inflections. One of them I've had the pleasure of reading before: "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves."  This gave me the opening to tell the following old and slightly ribald joke:

An American woman meets a Koala in an Australian pub. He wines and dines her, then they go back to her hotel room.  They make mad, passionate love. And all too early, he climaxes. At that point, he starts getting dressed and makes his way to the door. She asks:


"Why are you going so soon?"

He responds,

"I'm a Koala."

She says,

"What does that mean?"

And he replies,

"Look at the definition of a Koala in your dictionary."

She opens the dictionary and reads:

"Koala, n.: An Australian mammal that eats shoots and leaves."

Yes, it's an old joke.  But it illustrates the importance of using correct punctuation in modern writing.

After the session, I drove out to New Jersey and picked up a nice casual shirt that I can wear with the feminine jeans I picked up the other day. And then, I made it back to New York to rest before getting together with Vicki.

- - - - - -

At home, I rested a little while. Then, I changed from the feminine shirt and trouser combination I wore in the morning into a little black dress that I'd be wearing this evening.







We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and then it was time to share our desserts. As you can see, I look terrible in pictures these days, and may consider facial plastic surgery once I can lose some weight.

Sadly, Vicki will soon go in for surgery herself. But in her case, it will be to prevent a problem she has from getting worse and crippling her.  One of her 3 medical problems is related to her ligaments compressing her spinal column.  With the damage already done to her vertebrae, she will always be in pain. But with the operation, she will likely not become a cripple.

All too soon, our dinner had to end.  We may end up going to another restaurant for the end of Restaurant Week.  If so, I'll have to change museum plans with my niece.  I'll deal with that problem if it comes up.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A postponed visit to the doctor


The yearly physical.  A day in which the doctor tells me I'm too fat (something I already know), too inactive (that's obvious), and have too many unhealthy habits (chocolate, liquor and sex - are there any better pastimes in this world? 😁)  But to be serious, I'm going to miss this doctor when he retires, as he has been around since my wife and I had our mandated blood test many years ago....

- - - - - -

Whenever I go to my doctor, I try to schedule as many activities as Mario as possible. Today, this meant trying to schedule an evening with the Cat Lady, as well as dropping off a coin deposit at the local bank. If I had known that there would be difficulties at the doctor's office, this would likely have been a day spent as Marian, with no tentative plans for the Cat Lady.

Normally, I schedule my doctor's appointments for 10 am on a Friday.  This is when his office is least busy.  Today, it was quieter than usual.  There was a sign posted on the front door of the office warning people that there was no parking on his side of the street on the first Friday of the month. So I had to rush outside and move my car across the street before coming back to the office. And then I had to wait and wait.  Talking with the receptionist, she noted that they have had 2 nurses in a 2 month span. One of them was fired, and the other quit. So they were without a nurse, and had to send patients out for blood work. Then, the EKG machine they use was broken. So that part of the appointment would have to be covered in another visit. AARGH!  Since they likely wouldn't have a new nurse around for 2 weeks, we rescheduled this appointment for 3 weeks from now, in hope that all of these little issues would be resolved by then.

Sadly, I found out that the doctor is not participating in any Obamacare plan coverage. As a result, this next visit may end up being my last visit to this doctor.  At least, I'll have had a yearly physical before coverage changes....



Friday, November 10, 2017

Volunteering and Game Night


Another Thursday. And that means another day volunteering and playing board games.

- - - - - -

Even though I didn't get enough sleep last night, I woke up relatively early without the alarms prodding me to get out of bed. Since I hadn't heard from NPW in a while, I sent off a quick note to NPWJ to see if there is anything more that I could do for them.  Their new website is up and running and needs relatively little work other than to maintain the few things that change on the site. So I think my time of helping them out will end soon.

I didn't get to the GLBT center until after 3 pm. For the next 2 hours, I updated a powerpoint presentation and then updated both the calendar on their website, as well as job postings maintained there. Once I was done with the GLBT center, it was over to Panera Bread in Yonkers.  One woman I often bump into wasn't there today, and this allowed me to relax a little more than had she been there.

Next, it was off to game night (with quick stops at The Avenue and Barnes and Noble) where the hostess made positive comments on the $8 dress I bought at Target several weeks ago. This made me feel good. And then, we played several games, where I didn't do so well - but had a good time.  While playing the last game, my stomach started to cramp, and that warned me of trouble ahead.  Gas was building up in my GI Tract, and I wanted to be home as soon as possible.  (I won't say more than that.)  So I bid my farewells, got in the car, and made it home just in time. 

It felt good to get my stockings off and to get comfortable!!!!




Thursday, November 9, 2017

Quickie: New York has a "Muggle" counterpart for platform 9 & 3/4 in the Harry Potter world.


I was a little shocked to find out that New York City has a 6 & 1/2 Avenue that stretches from 52 Street to 57 Street.  But leave it to New York to do something clever like this.

- - - - - -

Over the past couple of decades or so, New York has given developers tax abatements for making public spaces available in congested business districts such as Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. But a recent posting by WNYC (New York City's municipal Radio and TV station) mentioned a new avenue - 6 & 1/2. It's amazing that the developers of these public spaces were able to coordinate things to create a new 5 block public pathway.

Although these spaces are private property and can be closed off after business hours, they serve an important need - they facilitate the movement of people away from the crowded numbered avenues into areas much less congested. Additionally, many of these places serve as defacto public parks, and are pleasant to be in.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, future redevelopment of our business districts will provide more spaces like these. Ideally, we'd get more green space. But I'll take what we can get for now.




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Halloween


The Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.  This is an event that has been held every year for some time now, and ....

For some reason, I'll always link this event to some insane fellow killing at least 8 people on the bike path along the Hudson River.

- - - - - -

This morning, I was running a little late in getting myself moving for the day.  But I had two laundry loads in the washers by 12:30 or so. The outfit I wanted to wear had to be cleaned, so I had to get this laundry done before I left for the city with HWV.  By 3:00, I was ready to go, and I picked up HWV in front of her apartment.

Whenever I do something with HWV, I do it in Marian Mode.  I don't want to send any signals of male interest. Instead, I want to send signals of female friendship, and be the type of girlfriend she can call on to be a companion to events such as the theater. And so far, this I've done.

We had a choice of ways to reach the city:
  1. Driving to Midtown, parking in an inexpensive parking lot, and taking the subway to Greenwich Village.
  2. Driving to a Metro North station, taking the commuter rail into NYC, and then take the subway to Greenwich Village.
  3. Driving to the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx (near Ex-GF-M's house) and taking the subway to Greenwich Village.
Given the time of day, I felt it best to drive in to NYC, and park at what is normally an inexpensive parking lot.  Well, we made good time until we hit the 70th street area of the Henry Hudson Parkway. And then, traffic came to a crawl.  Even in rush hour, traffic doesn't move this slowly, so we knew something had happened.  While we made our way to the 46th street exit, at least 5 police cars (some of them unmarked) made their way through the traffic jam with alarms sounding, trying to rush downtown.  We had no idea of what was going on, so we were glad to get off at 46th street and have an easy time going to the Hippodrome parking lot.

- - - - - -

Once we parked the car, we took the subway to West 4th street and then looked for a place where I could get a bite to eat.  While eating, our cell phone news feeds told us that someone from Uzbekistan committed an act of terrorism by driving a truck on to the bike path along the Hudson River and killing at least 8 people, and injuring more than that. People were sending us messages telling us to be careful in the city, as there could be copycats out there.

When done with dinner (I had sukiyaki while she had some miso soup), we walked back to 6th avenue to watch the parade.  If we had known how out line of sight would be blocked, we'd have taken a position across the side street from where we were.  As it was, I was starting to ache after an hour of standing up, and would have gladly skipped the parade to have a comfortable seat.  HWV was upset that the police were blocking the field of view. It wouldn't have been bad if they were actually doing something. But they were simply watching the parade from a spot that was effectively reserved for them.  So when my lower back really started to cause me pain after 90 minutes, both of us were ready to leave the scene.

Walking up 5th avenue from below Washington Square to 14th street, I was beginning to feel more comfortable. But I needed to sit down for a while to ease my back ache. Luckily, we found a little deli and did some talking and people watching as my back started to recover.  I mentioned that I now find myself looking at what a woman is wearing and thinking - How would that look on me? And HWV said that is what most women do.  I guess I'm passing the "female test."

Before we picked up the car, we went to the diner across the street from the parking lot. Patty and I went there several times when taking our PMP class in the city. Our reason was a little more practical - both of us needed to relieve ourselves, and neither of us could say: "First tree on the right."  So we had some coffee and some more chatting.  It wasn't until 11:30 or so that we left the diner.

Eventually, we made it back to the car. I remembered that we got to the lot about 30 minutes too early for night time rates, and we spent twice as much as we would have had we arrived 30 minutes later.  Even with the doubled price for parking, it was still cheaper than if we took Metro North into NYC.

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As I write this, I'm hearing the reruns of MSNBC's commentators discussing the day's events. And NYC actually considered cancelling the parade at the last minute because of the West Side murders.  I'm glad they made the right decision and let the parade run its course.  Yes, there was a much larger police presence than expected. But in this case, it's better to be safe than sorry....