Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Responding to a person filled with irrational ideas.

This year's political season was as if two people were shouting very loud, because both were deaf to the others' legitimate concerns.  We had the two most disliked candidates in recent memory, and (sadly) one of them had to lose.  In an ideal world, both would have lost, and we'd have another election if "none of the above" were to win.

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I'm not going to focus on the merits of either candidate.  Instead, I'm going to focus on what the following "hit and run" comment in a recent post means to transgender people like me.  The comment:

I am truly amazed at just how dangerous and subversive your ideas are. Just because we won't let you into our restrooms in your shabby wigs and ugly dresses. When was the last time you were beat up or even called out for being a man in a dress?

"Create cognitive dissonance"? This is exactly what the Nazis did in their campaign of extermination against the Jews. You are either completely selfish and self centered or just plain ignorant when advocating for the undermining and destruction of the most prosperous, open and tolerant society on earth.

This person has no clue about what he or she is talking about. First, I am not calling for undermining America.  I am calling for undermining the power of a potential tyrant. Everything that comes out of Trump's mouth is a lie, including the words "and" and "the". And he has used countless lies to gain power, manipulating people who do not care about lies, promises, or even personal ethics. All these people wanted was change, and they didn't care about what that change was.

I responded to this person with the following:

You ask when I was attacked. I have seen people attacked who are cisgender, for the crime" of looking butch. In one case in Detroit, a security guard hassled the "Butch" looking cisgender female while she was in her stall - resulting in a lawsuit against the establishment. Others have reported that there are people who peep through the cracks in lavatory stalls to determine whether a person is cisgender or trans. So don't give me your crap. You are part of the problem, defending a corrupt subgroup of the larger society.

If you don't think I'm right, look at one interview which had a right wing person and Jennifer Boylan. The host asked the right winger to say where Jenny could go pee (Jenny is a post-op transgender woman), and the right winger would not answer - as if he were talking about Blacks and Colored washrooms in the 1950's. Are you advocating a return to this era?

All I do when I go to the washroom is go potty, wash my hands and leave. Are you going to deny a person that? Or, are you afraid to defend your position with rational argument? But I'll fight for that right, using ALL of the tools that people who hate us use against us, when fighting for our rights.

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This is the type of problem that us transgenders will be confronting in the months to come. Trump has effectively given bullies permission to harass anyone not conforming to the 1950's  social order. And we are the low hanging fruit for now.

I suggested the following course of action:

We should present a message that takes advantage of Trump's flip flopping and lying.  If someone says that the president supports "this", then quote him as supporting "that". Create cognitive dissonance, so that people will want to question the status quo.  It won't be easy, but what else can we do while mobilizing for the 2018 congressional elections?

This is subversion at its' best. Once faith in a irrational leader has been destroyed, it becomes much easier to remove (by elections) the people who supported him.  But this window only will exist as long as we remain a democratically elected republic. But there is a fly in the ointment: State governments (especially in the South) are removing polling places and making it harder for many people to vote. And when they are not doing this, state and local governments are using gerrymandering and election rule changes (such as in Pasadena, TX) to limit the powers of minorities.

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Even if one is a Transgender who is also a Republican, this does not excuse the party as a whole for not cracking down on regional abuses of power.  The same applies for those of us who vote for Democrats.  The only way for us to conquer hate is to insure that we have honest political discussions and debates coupled with honest, meaningful elections.  The 2016 election has proven our system to be broken. And the longer it is broken, the more likely it is that we will be used as scapegoats by bullies who want to retain power.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A couple more days with GFJ

Dia: Beacon.  It's a place where large scale and repetitive art is on display. Virtually all of it is abstract, and (to me) much isn't that good.  But then, when I hear docents saying that the artists have democratized the meaning of their works, and are enabling the viewer to attach their own, it seems as if she is saying: "This work is shit, but we'll let you make it important, so that the artist can make a buck."

Not all modern art is shit.  I've seen some good stuff at Dia on a prior visit. I was just disappointed by some of the works in their permanent display (because of how they are presented), as well as others (because they are boring). There was one piece that looked interesting, but after a half mile of walking, I decided to skip.  So I could easily go again if they had another "Local Community visits for Free" day.

- - - - - -

On Saturday, as you might have guessed by now, GFJ and I decided to meet at Dia, and tour the museum with her friends. Well, I got there first, and found a convenient parking spot in the crowded lot. GFJ's friends got there after I was on a docent led tour, and we didn't stumble into each other for about an hour - which is when GFJ arrived at the museum.  By the time we were all together, I was ready to sit down in a comfortable chair for a while, since my knees were aching from standing in place in too many places.  (I like to keep moving, if I'm going to be on my two feet.) While the gals moseyed through the museum, I moseyed to the coffee shop, where I could find a seat and wait for the gals.

Eventually, the gals reached the museum's coffee shop, and we decided to go to Max's on Main.  Being in Mario mode, I felt very strange being with a group of gals. I'd have preferred to be Marian - and this is the second time this has happened.  First, it was meeting GFJ's friends at a coffee shop in Cornwall. And now, it was meeting them at Dia, then having dinner with them at Max's.  Could you imagine what things have been like if GFJ were comfortable with Marian and  I were out to this group?  Nah, that's the kind of wishful thinking that could get you in trouble.

I had to leave the group a little early, using the excuse that I had to return a call to my brother.  Although I did so, I had another, more pressing reason - and barely made it to my apartment's bathroom on time. By the time I was done, GFJ was coming through the door. And both of us were feeling very tired at 9:00 pm - something that rarely happens to either of us.  So we called it a night, and packed it in for the day.

- - - - - -

Sunday came, and neither of us had much energy to do much of anything throughout much of the day.  (This could easily become a pattern, especially when GFJ has been busy on both Friday and Saturday.)  So we stayed indoors and relaxed until it was time for GFJ to go home. (She had to work on Monday, so there was no chance of staying a second night in a row.)  But we figured that we could see a movie (Hidden Figures) together in Newburgh. And we ended up rushing to the theater just in time to see the start of the film, after ALL of the trailers had finished.

GFJ made a comment upon leaving the theater, that Hidden Figures would soon be gone from theaters like most films.  I had to disagree with that for several reasons, two of them being most salient.  First, it was a movie focusing on blacks overcoming racism in 1960's America - a message that will bring a large number of Blacks to the movies during Black History Month. And second, it is one of those rare films that I've heard people applaud after the credits started to roll.  Couple these two reasons with solid performances and good attention to detail, and I'll bet that this film will pick up a few Oscars next year.

It started to get a little nippy as we approached our cars, and I hated to see GFJ go. But if all goes as expected, she will be here next Saturday, and we can have more time for ourselves.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Breast Forms - An essential set of items for a M2F Transgender person to have

Compare the two pictures above of the same lady.  She is a breast cancer survivor.  As a cisgender female, she has a luxury that none of us transgender folk will have - her whole body sends out cues to tell the world that she is a woman - even without the breasts that (sadly) had to be removed because of cancer.  (I hope she's a long term survivor.  I can easily say that no one deserves to die from cancer, having lost a wife to that dreaded disease.)

For many of us M2F transgender folk, we often do not have a clue about breast size, and what size prosthesis we need to use. I figure that one should use a little common sense.  First, you must find out what your band size would be,  (I'll let you look up how to measure that.)  And then the fun begins.  You should then find a few internet sites that sell women's clothes, and look to find an average cup size available for that band.  Once you determine the average cup size for someone with your band size, go up a cup size - and voila! you now know what size bra you need.  Yet, this is only a first step in the process. You must go to an outlet such as The Breast Form Store to start shopping - and there you will find charts to tell you the size of breast form needed to fill out that bra you'll likely be buying.

Today, I received a set of swim forms which I intend to use in the hot tub on my autumn cruise. They do not project as much as I'd like.  But they will do the job with I am cruising with Lili - filling out a woman's swimsuit in an appropriate way.  And given their size, I probably will be able to use them after I have lost some weight, as they seem a little small - which will be not be as much of a liability as I lose weight.

Soon, I will be buying replacements for the breast forms I use today.  After 3-4 years of use, it's time to replace them, and they do show their age. And yes, I'll likely go to the Breast Form Store again, as I don't want to pay the expenses of going to a nearby "mastectomy boutique" for items I can get by mail.

Hopefully, they will find a better "cure" for breast cancer - something better than removing a part of a woman's body that is a part of her identity.  Until they do this, I'll be glad that these forms are available for women, as every little bit more feminine a woman can see herself, the healthier she will feel about herself and about life. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lunch with one of the ladies

I had only one thing on the docket for today: Lunch with the lady who introduced me to Arts Westchester. And, of course, I'd be going in Marian Mode.

- - - - - -

Waking up this morning, I knew that it would be a day fully spent en-femme. GFJ wouldn't be coming here until tomorrow, and I'd have a full day to socialize as Marian.  So, when the alarms woke me this morning, I made it to the dresser and pulled out a bra and panties, then made my way to the bathroom to get myself ready for a day en-femme.

As usual, I was running a few minutes late, and made it to lunch shortly after 1:00 pm. Parking was horrendous, as this restaurant (Sam's of Gedney Way) was fully booked. But I got my proof that this restaurant was located over the path the former NYB&W railroad once ran. So when I got upstairs, I was pleased to find my friend sitting at a table across from the bar.  We talked of many things (as women will do), and time seemed to pass without us being aware of it. But all too soon, it was time to go - and both of us took our leave.

GFJ was preoccupied with her mom in the hospital.  Although they did some tests at 10:00 am, no one bothered to give her any results until after 3:00 pm.  It's amazing how hospitals and doctors can find ways to waste one's time.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to speak to GFJ until the evening, so all I could do is exchange text messages to get current status.

After lunch, I made it across the river, and drove down to Catherine's to again go bra shopping.  This time, I found an underwire bra in a style I liked.  I figure that I should get used to wearing underwire bras occasionally, as cisgender women do so all the time, and I want to be able to "complain" from my own experiences about as many headaches cisgender women have to put up with as a part of life.  (In short, why should I get a "hall pass" because I am transgender?)

Once done there, I drove home via the overland route and packed it in for the evening. I wasn't in the mood to see BXM (even if she was available), nor did I have the energy to do much of anything else. So, I called it a night a bit earlier than planned.

Friday, January 20, 2017

My monthly lunch with the ladies and more.

From the get-go, I knew that today was going to be a busy day.  Not only did I have a lunch meetup with the ladies, but I also had my Thursday volunteering session at the GLBT center and Game Night in Yonkers to go to.  And yet, there were some things that I couldn't have expected for the day.

- - - - - -

Getting up, I knew that I had only a limited amount of time to shower, shave, do my makeup, get dressed, and get out the door. And I squandered a little more time than I planned, getting out of the house a little after noon for a 12:30 pm lunch in White Plains.  When I finally got to the restaurant, I didn't think to look in the downstairs dining room - and wasted a couple more minutes. So, when I finally met the 5 other ladies, they were already placing their lunch orders - and I had to make mine on the fly.

There was a new lady there today, and it seems as if she'll become a regular.  When we gave our introductions, I found out that she lives 10 minutes away.  I wouldn't mind having her as another female friend of Marian's, being seen as just another woman interested in friendship.  As usual, we had a lively conversation, and it ended too soon - all because the parking meters were running out.

- - - - - - 

Sometime during the day, I got a call from GFJ, who told me that her 93 y/o mom had to be taken to the hospital.  The chambers of her heart were starting to beat out of sync.  So she'll be prescribed another type of pill, be told to watch her diet even more closely, and be observed to make sure that the palpitation doesn't happen again.  Of course, this means that our weekend plans may be totally screwed up because of her mom.  But this would give me the ability to catch up on other social engagements that require GFJ not be present.

- - - - - -

Around 3:00 pm, I arrived at the GLBT center, and there wasn't that much work to do. I was given the task of setting up a few calendar entries for their new web site, and was finished well before 4:00 pm. When I asked the director about the other GLBT organization in White Plains, he said that they broke away, in part, because of issues related to transgender people. Given that I never heard of this organization before, I'll bet that they are operating on a worn shoestring, and do not have many members.

When I left the GLBT center, I called Pat.  Unfortunately, she was still suffering with a cols and didn't want to pass it on.  So I decided to mosey to Yonkers via the "scenic route", stopping into the new Barnes and Noble in Eastchester.  Bit having in this building since Borders closed, I was curious to see how the store was remodeled. And I can surely say that this is a relatively unique store.  Not only did it appear to have a small restaurant in the area once used by Borders for a coffee shop, but it had a separate counter where various beers were available. I figure that Barnes and Noble is shifting from a bookstore that coincidentally had a coffee shop to a bar/restaurant that just happens to sell books.

- - - - - -

Once done at the book store, I drove to Panera Bread for dinner, and then to game night.  As usual, I didn't win any games, but I had a good time.  On the way home, I called GFJ to catch up on the day. Her mom was being kept by the hospital for observation, but was not being admitted. (This is another way of sucking even more money from the patient.)  So GFJ will be staying there on Friday, go back to the office on Saturday to catch up on some work, and possibly go back to Connecticut to see her mom again.  If this ends up being the case, I'm not sure of what I'll do to fill up the weekend - but I might end up calling either the "Cat Lady" or RO to see if they have last minute availability.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Now that GFJ's away, Marian comes out to play.

It's Wednesday, and GFJ has finally left to live her life. She has swimming to go to, followed by a massage, and then to work - where she'll be until late in the evening.  This gave me a free day to get out and about as Marian, and it's not something I usually intend to waste.

- - - - - -

Although the weather was nice for much of the day, there was a part of me that just wanted to stay inside snug and cozy under the covers of my blanket. And that is what I did until almost 4:30 pm, when the UPS driver came to deliver my new wig. When I heard his truck come, I quickly hopped into my trousers and a shirt so that I could sign for the package at the door.

Given that the weather was going to be bad later on, I decided not to take my new wig out of the box for tonight's outing.  Instead, I used my "current" good wig to complete my transformation into Marian, and out the door I went.  As I often do, I drove to Newburgh and decided to go shopping at The Avenue.  And this time, I found some Ponte knit jeans and a sweater that looked nice on me.  So I splurged and bought them, giving me something I could wear when the weather becomes too cold for me to wear either a skirt or a dress.

While at The Avenue, I mentioned that I just got a Jury Duty questionnaire. Considering that I hate the idea of trekking to Lower Manhattan because of the inconveniences of my commute and not getting paid enough to cover my commuting expenses, I am hoping that I am able to get out of service. But if I have to go, I don't want my service to interfere with my upcoming PMP prep course, my upcoming cruise, or my job search.  Yet, if I am called to serve when the weather is cool, DD says that I should go in Marian Mode and have some fun with it.  (It's nice to be able to be open with the gals about being transgender.  Mind you, they see enough "vanilla" cross dressers that they might get confused about my transgender nature.)

- - - - - -

I was the last customer of the day at the store, and the metal gates closed behind me as I left.  On my way home, I returned a call from Patty - and we caught up on what was going on in our lives.  Hopefully, we will find a way for the 4 of us to meet soon.  Next on the way home was a call with GFJ - she won't have to go to her family funeral, as her sister is saying that the in-laws aren't expecting GFJ to drive most of the way to Boston from the Catskills.

When I reached home, I found a message on my machine.  My cousin received a message from another relative that another cousin's wife (the one I wrote about in a prior entry) had finally passed away.  There will be no wake, no funeral, nor any other gathering to commemorate her life.  I can't imagine doing this myself, and I hope it's for reasons that I could understand.  So I picked up a sympathy card from the local store, addressed it, and sent it out post haste.

- - - - - -

On the whole, it was a good day.  But not one I'd want to repeat.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Several days with GFJ

This weekend, GFJ was scheduled to come over on Saturday. This allowed me to have a Chinese dinner with the gals, and a restful sleep.

You might be asking why did I mention "Restful Sleep?"  Well, after 20 years of (mostly) sleeping alone, I am still not used to the feeling of again having my body intertwined with someone else's body. It takes time to get used to again.

- - - - - -

Instead of coming over on Saturday, GFJ arrived on Sunday afternoon - after the worst of the snow storm had ended, and when the roads had been cleared. We caught up on lost time being together, and made plans to go to the Bronx Botanical Garden. The train show was about to end and we thought that after reading their website that Monday would be the best day to visit.  Wrong!  The mobile website did not mention that on Monday, the place would be closed....

- - - - - -

Monday came, and we trekked to the Bronx, and made our attempt to visit the garden, only to be brushed away by a parking lot attendant.  So, what did we end up doing instead?  Since Arthur Avenue was nearby, we decided to see what was going on there.  Neither of us know the area that well, nor did we know the good places to eat.  We ended up getting some pastries (yummy) to go, and stopped into a local pizza joint - which was a big mistake.  The pizza was mediocre, and I wonder if the place had another business going on that only locals would know about.

Before I go too far, I must mention that neither of us bothered to wear our carpal tunnel wrist supports.  Both of us injured ourselves in similar ways (at different times), and are in different stages of the healing process.  I avoided wearing mine, as I had used it all night and wanted a daytime break.  She avoided wearing hers during the day, as it was a major headache to go to the bathroom and clean herself properly.  Until you see a female take care of this mundane task, you'd never think that an injured paw could cause such inconvenience to a person. Before you get any thoughts about GFJ, this knowledge comes via a weekend spent in the Poconos 15+ years ago with an ex girlfriend and a bathroom that had a full sized hot tub, a toilet, and a bidet all in view of each other.

Later on in the day, it was off to see some of GFJ's friends at a coffee shop in Cornwall, NY.  The objective was to play a few games of Scrabble, but I bowed out after the first game. The ladies are more social players than I am at this game, and my style of play could have been disruptive had I not started to kibitz.  On the way home, I chatted with Lili, and she mentioned that her new boyfriend lost his job. We both told her NOT to let him move in with her before we lost the phone signal in the hills near West Point.

- - - - - -

It took forever for GFJ and I to get moving on Tuesday.  Neither of us wanted to get out of bed, since it was so warm and comfortable. But we eventually got moving, and left for the Bronx Botanical Garden and its yearly train show.

This time, there were people in the parking lot, and we paid our admission to get in.  The first thing I noticed was the three decorated trees we saw walking over to the conservatory building.

It was a nice way to begin our walk through the complex.  Once inside the conservatory building, we encountered the first exhibit.  Albeit, this was a plug for one of the sponsors of the show.

Then, it was off to the main exhibition.  And this is what most people come to see at this time of year.

Of course, the pictures I shot could and would never do this show justice. But it is not meant for those who are fans of model railroading as much as it is a show meant to entertain people with what can be done with plant materials being the settings for model train layouts.

Once we were done with the train show, it was on to the rest of the conservatory building, where we looked at some interesting plants.  This is not a place where I'd visit more than once every few years, but I found the images very interesting.

There were a lot of beautiful plants there, but I could not photograph them well enough to do them justice, so I figured that I'd take the best of what I captured and post them for my readers to see.

After we were done at the conservatory, it was off to the library for an exhibition they had at that building.  Unlike our first stop, there wasn't much to see there.  At least, we got a mile or so worth of walking done at the Botanical Garden, and this was good for both of us....

- - - - - -

PS: I finally reached the Doctor's office, and I got good news.  No bones were broken, but it will take time for my strained muscles to heal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Getting ready to go out

One of the things I take for granted in my daily routine is makeup. As much as I have been told that I do a very good job at it, I am far from an expert. Instead, this T-Gal has had it lucky, as she got a simple formula from an expert, and has been able to use it religiously without change since then.

Shortly after I started going out as Marian, I had the opportunity to go to Fantasia Fair. This was a great learning opportunity for me, as I had the chance to meet with other transgender folk, both M2F and F2M. For the first time, I could see that I was far from alone in feeling that I should have been born as a cisgender female, and that I could learn the skills to socialize as a female.

At the Fair, I had the opportunity to have my face made up by Jim Bridges.  He was an expert at makeup, and gave me a simple guide to the makeup process I use today.

For the most part, I use this guide today, save that instead of using the liquid makeup that he sold me, I use creme makeup from Dermablend and from Ben Nye (Beard Cover). Since I'm lazy (or just afraid to make mistakes), I avoid doing anything "heavy duty" for evening looks. What I mean is that I don't do "date night" or other specialty applications. In short, I've perfected a routine, and don't change it much from day to day.

When one does something well, eventually someone will ask you for help with that something. And I still find it hard to believe that a couple of years ago (yes, it's been that long), GFJ asked me for help with her makeup.  Of course, there could have been something else going on that she never will talk about. But I have my secrets too. And a smart woman never tells too much....

Monday, January 16, 2017

Counting the days - and being worried for many reasons

We're counting down the days left until Trump's inauguration.  And a lot of people fear what will happen because of who he has nominated to his cabinet.  There is much to be worried about, and no amount of "calm down" messages can ease the worries of many transgender people.

Going "Stealth" is not an option for many of us, as certain physical characteristics give us away.  For example, I am a very heavy person, and my size triggers thoughts of me being a "man in a dress". Other TG's have other obvious male characteristics such as big noses, thick ankles/wrists, brow ridges, Adam's apples, etc. that give them away as M2F transgenders.  In many urban areas, we are relatively safe. But this doesn't apply to the rest of the country.

I am very concerned that after Trump's win, that many of the bathroom bills are coming back with a vengeance.  Trump's deal with the devil is creating an unacceptable new normal, a normal where it is OK to assault minority groups of all kinds.  We're seeing that his election was (in part) aided by election fraud and by foreign meddling with our process.  And yet, this man wants (needs?) to appear that he can do no wrong.

Like Keith Olbermann, I believe the GOP will need to remove Trump from power eventually. This will leave us with an equally offensive person in power, Mike Pence.  So, what can we do?  I'm lucky, as I live near New York City, and can count on it being hard for the right wing wingnuts to hurt us here. But what about the rest of us?  Right now, we much start building friendship networks, showing people that we are not sick - we are just different. We much teach people not to live in fear. It's easy where I live.  But what about areas where people have suffered because we have a rotten social safety net?  We can't take a direct tack - people who live in fear are often unable to challenge that fear head on.

So I suggest that we present a message that takes advantage of Trump's flip flopping and lying.  If someone says that the president supports "this", then quote him as supporting "that". Create cognitive dissonance, so that people will want to question the status quo.  It won't be easy, but what else can we do while mobilizing for the 2018 congressional elections? 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Grimmy wants you!

When I started the day, I was not thinking about death.  Instead, I was thinking of a snowstorm, and how it would affect me on my drive to see my Dad in the nursing home.

- - - - - -

There were two things on the docket for me today: (1) Seeing my Dad in the nursing home, and (2) Seeing RO for a cup of coffee.  So when I got up, I knew that I'd have to get moving as quickly as possible, in order to avoid the worst of the snow storm that was about to hit the NYC area. Instead of getting out of the house at 10:00 am as I expected, I got out an hour later and paid the price in travel time.  Instead of hitting 60 mph on most of the highways, I was stuck (for good reason) traveling at 30 mph or less. This meant that I reached the nursing home at 1:00 pm, instead of before noon.

My dad was very glad to see me, especially since my brother has avoided the nursing home due to a bad cold, avoiding the chance of infecting my Dad.  Dad and I chatted for the better part of an hour before he asked me to wheel him up to the activities room where Bingo was being played. Since I had no interest in hanging around to play bingo AND wanting to get moving while it was daytime, I bid my Dad farewell, and slowly made it to RO's house.

- - - - - -

RO had slipped and fell earlier in the day. So she invited me up for coffee, where we chatted for the better part of two hours. We talked about many things, including toilet procedures. (Unlike what many women think, there are some disadvantages about needing to aim when going to the bathroom.) She mentioned that when we last met, she was relating to me as another female, in part, because of the cues I was sending. And she picked up on some cognitive dissonance, as she knew what was under my skirt. Her comment on my voice was very positive, as she found it amazing that I could stay in female pitch for the entire afternoon we were last together.  Hopefully, our next get together won't be 4 months from now....

By the time I made it out of RO's house, there was 3"-4" of snow on my car which had to be cleaned off before I could visit the family homestead. My brother had reported that the plumber had done a lot of work, and our contractor had also done a lot of work.  But we had a few choices to make, one of was confirming the decision we made regarding bathroom tiling.I told him what I thought (over the phone - I didn't expect him to go out again), and I was on my way home.

- - - - - -

Arriving home, I found a message on my machine.  It appears that my cousin's wife has pancreatic cancer, and will not last the weekend.  (Damn, not another funeral!)  My cousin was called by another cousin (who I haven't seen in almost 20 years) who got the news from my aunt once removed.  (It's amazing how news gets passed in families, when most family emails are unknown.)  My aunt's husband, himself, is suffering with a lung problem caused by years of smoking.  Like my wife's friend Tony (now deceased), her husband has to have his lungs drained on a daily basis, and is on his last legs.  Since bad things often come in threes, I home that "Grimmy" stays as far away from my dad as possible.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A night with the ladies.

Strangely enough, I don't have a lot to say about today. And yet, it is likely that this will be the last day for me en-femme until next Wednesday.  It seems as if GFJ has a way of screwing up my schedule - but it doesn't bother me that much.

- - - - - -

This morning, I planned to allow myself to sleep until 11:00 am, as I didn't get to sleep until 4:00 am. However, I was awake before 9:00 am, and got out of bed with little of the problems I noted the day before.  If things keep going this way, I won't bother thinking about it when I next speak with my doctor.

Getting up early doesn't mean that I got moving early.  Although I called the school to see what the next step in the process is, that didn't get me ready to put the WIA Grant certification in the mail in time for the mailman to send it on its way before Saturday. This is not a problem, as I was told that I am admitted - and that the school will figure out how to get the money from the government.  (I'll bet we still have problems - I'll touch base on this towards the end of next week.)

Around 4:00 pm, I started getting ready for dinner with the ladies.  Originally, 11 people signed up for the meetup.  But there were only 5 of us who met at the buffet.  The buffet has been there for a while, but it is not my favorite place to chow down in Westchester. I'd rather go for Dim Sum at Aberdeen, and know that I'm getting authentic Chinese food. Although I was a few minutes late, it didn't matter much. Dinner was way too short, and I wanted to stay out as long as possible.

Driving home, I chatted with GFJ, and she told me about some business problems with the "Wasband". And then she said that some of the gals were getting together for a movie tomorrow, and suggested that we be together Sunday thru Tuesday.  This isn't a problem for me, as I would enjoy going to the Bronx Botanical Garden as we wanted to do during Christmas week. But there is one minor glitch - I am scheduled to go to the Arts Westchester meeting on Monday, and this will require my presence as Marian.  I was surprised to find out that GFJ was OK with that, and would take care of some of her errands for the time I'd be out and about in Marian mode.

- - - - - -

PS: Tomorrow, I'm supposed to drive to Long Island and visit my dad in the nursing home.  Hopefully, the snow won't cause me to postpone my visit.  Only the weatherman knows for sure....

Friday, January 13, 2017

Back to game night after 3 weeks.

Thursday again.  And I had to make a decision: Do I get dressed and go to Game Night? Or, do I stay home and nurse my right hand?  As you can guess, game night won. But I had to be concerned about possible aftereffects of Sunday's injury.

- - - - - -

I have been eating irregularly over the past few days, eating and drinking (non alcoholic beverages only) when I was in the mood. This meant that my body chemistry would be out of whack sooner or later - and this morning had me getting a little dizzy when I got up quickly to go to the bathroom.  Since this is a symptom I've never had before, I had some concern.  But I figured that I'd play it safe and see how I felt later on, when I've had a full meal and a decent amount of fluids in me.  I figure that if I feel the same way tomorrow morning, or again over the weekend, I'll talk to the doc about this on Monday - when I plan to ask him about the results of Tuesday's X-Rays (if he doesn't call me first).

Late in the afternoon, I checked my email and found out that I've been approved by the county for a "WIA Grant" that helps displaced workers get the training they need to find new work. So I completed the paperwork for the grant, and made contact with the school to determine what the next step in the process would be.  There was additional good news, as I found out that the grant and paperwork included the costs of taking the PMP exam. YAY! This is another $500+ that will come out of someone else's pockets and not mine.

- - - - - -

Next up was getting showered and dressed for my drive to Yonkers. Like a typical woman, I didn't know what I wanted to wear, and selected the same outfit I wore the day before - but with the new pair of shoes I bought the night before. Although I was late to the meetup, I didn't miss anything, as the hostess hadn't yet started a game.  She was very pleasantly surprised to find out that I brought the big box of Lindt chocolates (which was 3 medium boxes inside one big box) for the gang, as well as a box of Chocolate Truffles for her family (and another box for a couple who has given me gifts in the past). And I was surprised when she game me the game of Quirkle shown above.

Our hostess had something great to report. She had accepted a new job in White Plains, and will have a much better commute.  One of the places she interviewed at was the school where I earned my Masters Degree.  I'm glad she didn't go there. Not only would she have a bad commute, but she might bump into my ex girlfriend (Ex-GF-M) and have my name come up in conversation. Once everyone was settled in, we played a couple of games and chatted a bit.

- - - - - -

All too soon it was time to go home. GFJ was sleeping over a friend's place tonight, as she was picking up her son at the airport in the morning. I decided to text her to tell me she could call back while I was on the road. But by the time we finally connected, she was going to sleep - and I didn't want to disturb her any further. So we'll chat tomorrow when both of us are free.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Finally! A chance to go out en-femme again!!!!

It was over a week since I was out en-femme, and I was getting antsy. If my wrist and hand didn't bother me too much when trying to get dressed, I'd try to go out en-femme and get back to a more normal routine.

- - - - - - 

When I got up in the morning, I knew that dressing would be a challenge.  I still had trouble making a fist, but I knew I could button a shirt. There was then no excuse for not getting dressed as Mario, so I got dressed and went down to the Department of Labor for my scheduled appointment. 

Arriving a little bit early, I knew that I'd be cooling my heels a little bit. But I figured that paying for 90 minutes of parking would be enough for my visit.  It wasn't, but I'll get to that later.  The councilor called my name, and we proceeded with settings up so that I could apply for a training grant. If I had known what was going to be asked of me, I'd have brought a detailed budget of my yearly expenses, as they wanted to demonstrate my need for this grant. Once all the blanks were filled in, I moved over to their shared computers to start the actual grant application process.  There was one problem. The account setup sequence didn't work as expected, and we couldn't complete the application in time for me to return to my car on time. So the fellow gave me the sheet, and told me that he'd contact someone, and that I could continue the process from home.

At this point, Lili called, and we agreed to meet at Starbucks.  She has no idea of how to get from here to there without a GPS, nor can she operate simple electronic devices that well.  But we figured out how to get her to where I was going, and we got there at the same time. It was nice seeing her again, and good knowing that she has already lost 23 lbs. since her stomach surgery.

Once done with Lili, I went home and rested for a while.  However, I was itching to go out en-femme.  So I changed into Marian mode and drove up to The Avenue.  It was nice seeing DD again, but they were busy preparing for their inventory validation. So I browsed around a little, and bought a pair of shoes that I could be comfortable in while going out and about.

- - - - - -

While out, GFJ called, but I couldn't return the call.  Didn't have that much to talk about, but it would have been nice to hear her voice again....

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

An unscheduled doctor's visit

As you can guess, I didn't want to get out of bed today.  My hand still couldn't comfortably make a fist, and I couldn't use my right hand for anything that involved strength.  But I had to see about getting into the doctor's office to have him take a look at my hand. And the only way to do this was to get showered and dressed (a task in itself), then drive to the doctor's office.

It's had to do many things with only one good hand.  If I were already on hormones, or were born a cisgender female, I'd not have bothered putting on a bra. Since I can present as a male, I do just that (and will do that until transition) when I see my doctor.

Even presenting as a male has its difficulties.  For example, when one's dominant hand is injured, it can be very hard to go to the bathroom in a "normal" manner.  (This assumes one comes from a culture where the dominant hand is not used for toilet functions.)  In my case, it was much easier to go to the loo as a female would, not needing to use my hands to complete the bodily function.  Buttoning a shirt or tying a shoe can be an arduous task. Neither gender has it easy, and today's presentation was solely determined by how my doctor is accustomed to seeing me.

I tried calling my doctor before lunch, and I got his out of office message.  After lunch, I did the same thing, but reached the answering service. And they connected me to the doctor's office.  At this point, the office told me to come in immediately, and I was able to have the doctor look at my hand 56 hours after my accident.  Once done there, it was off to the local hospital's radiation clinic, where I got my hand and wrist X-Rayed.  Hopefully, the results will come back quickly, and they show no bones were broken.

Since my doctor does not have Wednesday office hours, I expect to get a call on Thursday with the X-Ray results. My plans for the week may now be shot, my bankbook may be a little lighter, but at least I know I did the right thing today....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Believe it or not, my injured hand looks not much better than this. But with a day and a half since I tripped and fell on my right hand, I still am having problems closing my hand into a fist.

- - - - - -

My original plans were to spend New Year's Day and the two days afterward en-femme. However, not being able to use my dominant hand, I figure that the process of turning myself from frog Mario into princess Marian was not worth the effort (and resulting pain). Since I "tuck", I wouldn't feel comfortable en-femme without being able to do so, due to the discomfort I feel when doing anything with my right hand.

Unlike many pre-op transgenders, I pride myself in creating as genuine a feminine presentation as possible whenever I go outside.  I think that this is very important, as a little work up front makes it much easier to be accepted in the world as a female. And, since I have the luxury of free time on my hands, I take advantage of it - such as postponing this week's scheduled meeting at NPW.

If I were living as Marian 24x7, I'd put on my big girl panties and go out the door, as this would be expected from a female.  But then, I'd have perfected my presentation to such a point, where even an injured Marian would generally be perceived as female. This is not the case right now.

- - - - - -

I fully expect to be able to go to game night this Thursday.  But I will be much more careful walking from now on - I can't afford any more injuries.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The importance of friendship.

Over the past few years, I've talked about many people and of many degrees of friendship. For the most part, few of the people I've developed connections to are anything but acquaintances I can call on to have dinner. Some of my friends, like Maria, have eased away, as they have developed active lives and now have no time to stay in touch.  Others, like WDJ, have moved away, and are living lives that keep them too busy to write often. And still others, like Patty, have scheduling conflicts which keep us from getting together.

As my friend WDS has noted, most so-called friends are merely acquaintances. And I have to agree with him.  If one doesn't have a life of his/her own, how can you have something to offer in a friendship.  Even though I enjoy Lili in small doses, I realize that she has little to offer people.  She says that she'd do anything for a boyfriend.  But the one thing she doesn't do is have a life of her own.  By not having common interests with others, she doesn't get to the friendly acquaintanceship level that many of my new friends are at.

A healthy person understands the difference in the intensity and quality of friendship. WDS is one of those healthy people. And yet, he doesn't know enough about me. For example, he noted in an email to Mario:

I’m surprised that the precocious delinquent that I knew turned into a person who believes that he didn’t have enough time to be allowed to pursue something with his mind. We’ve covered all that more than once because I know that you can do anything with computer software, but you may no longer believe that you can.

You believe the crap that some like to feed the rest of us. That we’re ready when they say that we’re ready. Fuck that, and fuck them! You’re ready when you choose to explore, play, do, think, reflect, restart the cycle and repeat it again until you can build something that works

In a way, I'm doing just that.  But not in the area he'd expect me to be doing what he suggests I do it.  I'm changing who I am (at least, what people perceive me to be) and I'm being authentic for the first time in my life.  I'm just not doing it with computers, as I did almost 40 years ago.

WDS is a true friend. He dumpster dove for me after I had thrown my late wife's handbags into the garbage, forgetting that there was $800 in one of those bags. And I put my freedom at risk when I did a favor for him that could have put me in jail.  (No, I will not say more on that, save that his lawyer told WDS that I didn't have to worry about anything - I was miles away from an event when it happened.)   But until I choose to life as Marian 24x7, I do not intend to tell him about being transgender. Like my family, I don't want to risk losing him until it's time to do so. And that time has not come yet.



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! (albeit a week late)

I'm glad that 2016 is over.  I was visited by the "Chinese Curse" and would have preferred to have been bored to death.  It's now back to my usual publishing schedule, one week behind the events of the day.  And I'm glad.  It's easier for me to keep on track, and I don't have to worry about betting something out the door by midnight.

- - - - - -

Saturday started by us oversleeping the alarms (if they had been set), and catching up on the sleep we obviously needed. Although we had some flexibility in our schedule, we both knew that we should be up at the in by 3:00 pm - 4:00 - pm, so that we could be with GFJ's friends for a pre New Year's Eve party.

Later in the afternoon GFJ checked with her friends, and there was no pre party party.  So we ended up leaving a little later than expected.  One problem - GFJ's car had one of its headlights out, so we knew we'd have to be on the road as little as possible and hope that she could get the headlight replaced on New Year's Day.

We made it to the inn, checked into our room, and got ready for the New Year's Eve extravaganza. Her friends were already at the table, and we proceeded to spend the night gabbing, eating and dancing.  I hate to say this, but my knees were bothering me on the dance floor - it's time for me to get moving again, so that I can comfortably hold GFJ in my arms for a slow dance.  By the time the evening ended, I was more than full - and we retired to our room to relax.

- - - - - -

The next morning, we woke up, and got out for an early breakfast.  Unfortunately, I tripped getting out the door, and fell on the concrete, getting a bruise on my head and some damage to my right hand. This is very troublesome, as the hand I hurt was my right (dominant) hand. It now hurts me to turn a key, and carrying heavy loads is something I'll have to put off for a few days.

After breakfast, GFJ and I went our own ways.  Me to my home to rest, while she went to try and find a place that would replace her headlight.  Hopefully, she found a place that was open.  I'll know when we speak to each other later on.

- - - - - -

This is not a way to start the new year.  But I certainly hope it'll be better than 2016.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sometimes, I wonder....

It's almost 20 years ago that I lost my wife.  Since she was the shutterbug in the family, there are very few pictures of her that I have to remember her by. She knew that I cross dressed in private, and accepted it way back when - which is something more than GFJ does today.  Would she have accepted me as a M2F Transgender woman?  I have no way of knowing, and there is obviously no way I'll ever be able to find out.

One of the first things society asks about a newborn is the gender of the baby. Much of what is expected of that child is preordained from the the time the child comes out of its mother's womb.  We expect that the child will go through the "terrible twos", go through potty training, learn how to read and write, and eventually prepare him or herself  for adult life through skills gained in the first twenty one years of his or her life.  If the baby is born a boy, we expect that he will eventually date women. If the baby is born a girl, we expect that she will eventually date men.  And we expect the child to fit in as a cisgender male or female.

However, life has a nasty habit of throwing us curve balls. Most of us transgender folk identify as members of the opposite sex.  For some of us, it is a very strong identification that is voiced in childhood and often repressed until adulthood. For others, it is a soft identification, and comes up as a gradual realization. He or she is able to function as a member of the birth gender, but identifies more with the gender whose 'plumbing' he or she doesn't have.

Would my wife have accepted me if I started socializing as a female?  She didn't have much of a family, and by the year before she passed, she was in contact with only one of her aunts. She was never told that this aunt had passed away, and when I tried to contact her at the time of my wife's death, it was her cousin who came to the wake. Her half brother couldn't be bothered to make the drive from Massachusetts to pay his respects.

Before I go too far with my thoughts about my late wife, I should supply some information regarding her family.  She was no longer in contact with her cousins, her aunts and uncles, as they drifted away a long time before we met. My wife's mother was her father's second wife. The problem was that wife number three was also wife number one.  Yes, he remarried his first wife after my wife's mother died. (I'll never know the full circumstances of the divorce.) It wasn't until my wife was twelve that she found out that she even had a half brother.  But they never were able to grow close. And I doubt the first wife would have let that happen.  So one can easily see how my wife would always feel she was on her own.

My wife knew that I enjoyed silky clothes from early on in our relationship.  She may have found our life together a disappointment, as I was always afraid to have children and repeat the dysfunction from my mom's side of the family. In many ways, I feel that this was the correct decision, as our relationship had major problems related to communication and intimacy.  Even if I knew what 'Transgender' was at that time, I never would have been able to talk to her about the subject.

Years ago, I dated a woman from Rochester, NY.  Every other week, one of us would be traveling on the Amtrak for a 300 mile round trip.  Twice, while semi conscious, I had the strange feeling that someone was sitting in the empty seat next to me.  When I turned, I saw my late wife - as real as our every day existence. And each time, I got into a conversation with her until I asked one question - "How can I be having a conversation with someone who has passed away?"  Once this question was asked, everything ended.  Although the sharp pain of loss is still gone, I still find myself having an occasional one way conversation with someone who can only be there in spirit. And I occasionally wonder whether she would have accepted me as transgender.  Then, if she did, would it have been because she loved me for who I was inside?  Or, would it have been because she had nowhere else to go?

I wonder....

Friday, January 6, 2017

Quickie: The trouble an open wall can cause.

Although I've posted this picture before, it illustrates a minor problem that my brother and I had to deal with. 

In our renovation of the house, the contractor tore out the sheet rock, so that we'd have better access to the plumbing inside the walls.  One problem - It seems that town regulations require us to have a building permit whenever this kind of renovation occurs and that a licensed contractor do the work. But there is an exception to the rule. The town will accept the replacement of the wall, if the work is done by the resident of the house. I could think of several reasons for this kind of exception, but I figure that they don't want to get in the way of a home owner making minor changes to his house.

So, to avoid making this house into a deeper money pit than it is, my brother changed his legal residence to the family homestead, and will be picking up any mail addressed to him there.

- - - - - -

This renovation is costing us more money than expected. And I am very grateful that my brother is handling most of the details. Who'd be thinking that the child in the picture below would be one of two siblings gutting the house they grew up in 50+ years after this picture was taken?

As you can see, a lot of things have changed, and a lot of things have stayed the same. But I wonder... What would it have been like had I had been born a cisgender female, and my brother were the only genetic male born to my parents?


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Widowhood and being Transgender

The above photo was taken approximately 16 years ago.  At that time, people were still getting used to surfing the internet, and AOL chat rooms were still a big thing.  This picture is a rarity - it has most of the active hosts from the AOL Widows and Widowers Chat Room, and hosts from the former GROWW Chat Room started by former AOL hosts.  I can't remember all of these people's names, and many of the older folk in this picture have passed away. But if you were to bring us together again, you'd likely find a camaraderie that few groups ever are lucky enough to have.

- - - - - -

I know for a fact that there is one transgender person in this picture.  But this person won't be identified, as it is important to preserve her privacy.  The way each spouse died is unique, yet there many commonalities: Car Accidents, Diseases, Suicides, and even an auto-erotic  asphyxiation. One can only imagine how that woman (not in this picture) felt when she came home and found her husband dead. The police did a thorough investigation, and ruled the man's death was tragic and accidental.  

When one is transgender, how does s/he discuss a past life when s/he was not yet "out"?  I tend to discuss life with my late wife with me as the female and she as the male. Instead of my wife dying of uterine cancer, I describe the death as coming from untreated prostate cancer.  There are many incidents that I can't directly discuss, that I could easily and tastefully do if I were in male mode.  

One of the women (out of view from the camera) who was there for the gathering lives about an hour and a half from me.  I have gone past her town in both male and female modes. But I have never called her to say hello, in part because I don't always have much to say. Would she be shocked to find out that I am transgender?  Who knows?  But I'm not likely to tell her about this side to me, unless I have good reason to do so - such as if she talks about a family member and wants advice.

- - - - - -

If I ever get married again, I wonder how I will dress for the wedding.  Meg, in her inactive blog, had pictures of her wearing an ivory dress in her second wedding. I envy her. Like me, Meg is a TG who attended Queens College.  We might have been in the same classes together without realizing it.  Even though we are not close, if I am fortunate enough to find a mate who would be comfortable with me wearing the white dress at the wedding, I plan to invite Meg and her wife, so that we'd have good company for the dinner afterwards.