Thursday, November 22, 2018

I'm starting to get annoyed at something I should like.

In the past, I'd have loved to wake up without an alarm just before the sun rose.  Now that I'm effectively retired, if I wake up early after going to sleep late, I get very annoyed.  All I want to do is go back to sleep, but am no longer tired enough to do so.  AARGH!!!!

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Recently, I started on a new set of medications.  And I think that the meds have affected my sleep patterns, causing me to wake up earlier in the day.  This might be related to blood sugar levels being adjusted, but I'll want to talk to my doctor about that.  However, there are enough minor things that I am concerned about, that I am hypersensitive to any little thing that might have changed. So, I could be a hypochondriac. Or, I could have become sensitive to things I've ignored for way too long.

I had two things on my calendar for today: Volunteering and Museum Night with my niece.  Unfortunately, she had to postpone our get together this time, so I ended up taking my time go get to my volunteer stint at the GLBT Center.  Once I got there, I found that the task I was expected to do was already done for me.  So I was assigned another task. Given how little had to be done, I should have skipped the GLBT Center and made another trek to New Jersey to see what was new at Catherine's.  (Probably not much according to the Cat Lady, but that's something else.)

Instead of going to see a movie after leaving the GLBT Center, I decided to drive home.  Rush hour in White Plains is terrible when it rains, and this was one of the worst I ever experienced.  It took me about an hour and a quarter to do a thirty minute drive.  Talking to GFJ on the way home, I noticed I was tired and in need of a nap. (I'll bet that it was my oversized late lunch catching up with me.) So I pulled into a Quick Mart and got a cup of coffee to go. By the time I finished the coffee, I was awake enough to drive to Staples and pick up both an ID Card holder and a Retractable Lanyard I could use on my upcoming cruise.  (I couldn't find the one I already have, and didn't want to buy an overpriced one on the cruise.) Then, I drove home....

Arriving home, I took care of my GI Tract (I'm starting to feel more normal this week.)  And then I decided to take a nap.  After a couple of hours, I got up and needed something to do. So I decided to find some of my summer clothes and put them in the suitcase to prepare for the cruise I'm taking in a few weeks. This led to me sorting out my clothes, so that I can pack summer clothes away, and get out some of my winter clothes.

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Now if only my apartment would cool off....  I'll bet that the zone valve might be on the fritz again...

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A busy day, and I needed sleep.

This was another one of those days that I woke up without the alarm clock, and wasn't able to fall back to sleep for a couple of hours.  And I've paid for it already.

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I awoke around 8 am, and I knew that I was not going to be able to go back to sleep.  So I turned on the TV and listened to the political pundits discuss how POTUS's distractions are geared to deflect public attention from things he doesn't want people to notice. They focused on what may happen to the Mueller report, now that Jeff Sessions was fired as Attorney General. And I hope that Mueller and the Democrats in the House have plans to protect the investigation until the grand jury is able to deliver its results.

Later in the morning, I reached out to Patty to confirm a light dinner before going to game night. And then it was time to get moving for the day.  Volunteering at the GLBT Center, Dinner, and Gaming would take up most of my day, and I was running late for the GLBT Center.....

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Well, I ended up putting off my volunteering for tomorrow, and made my way to have dinner with Patty.  I'm not sure if she expected to see Mario or Marian, but she didn't bat an eyelash when she saw me in my female presentation. We had a long chat which could have lasted much longer, discussing some things which are best left unsaid.  We caught up on things, and Patty then told me about her niece - she was distracted while driving (no idea whether the 'kid' was texting or not), drove too fast, lost control of the car, and was lucky to get out of the car alive.  Her niece got out of the car under her own power, but is being kept in the hospital due to a serious neck fracture.  I told Patty about what was up with my family, and then I mentioned the medications I was on.  Her husband is on similar medications, and has had similar GI Tract issues for 6 years.  AARGH!!!!

All too soon, Patty had to leave.  Hopefully, we'll get together again shortly after the new year.  Then it was off to game night.  As usual, I lost all the games I played.  But I had a good time.  And now I know what to get the kids for Xmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Quickie: The Dining Meetup and Restaurant Week

The only thing I had on my schedule was tonight's meetup in the town of Wappinger. And it was the one thing that made it worthwhile to get out of the house today.  If this had not been on my schedule, I'd have stayed at home doing nothing except watch old movies on the Western Channel.

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As usual as of late, I got around 6 hours of sleep, but didn't feel that rested.  Given what my GI Tract has been doing to me, I'll bet that this ailment has also been affecting my sleep patterns.  Until I get the chance to speak with my doctor again, I won't be sure of what's going on with my body.

Once I got up and moving, I didn't do much.  Breakfast was my usual egg and sausage patty. And lunch was some leftover pasta and meatballs. I mention this, as I ended up tossing what would have been leftovers once removed, as I didn't want to bother with having starches around the house that are almost ready to eat.  The more that I can cut carbs from my diet, the better off I'll be.  No, I'm not giving up carbs.  But I want to choose the ones that give me the most pleasure for the ones I'll eat in the future.

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Around 5 pm, it was time for me to get moving to go out to the meetup. And GFJ called at the most inopportune time.  So I ended up chatting with her for 15 minutes, then got ready to go out. Leaving the house at 6:20, I was surprised to find that I arrived at the restaurant (Hudson's Ribs and Fish) on time - and that we already had 12 people seated at 3 tables.

It has been years since I've been to this restaurant, as the last time I was there was with my late wife.  So I no longer had any idea of what to expect.  It was nice being seated to people I don't often have the chance to talk with. And I was glad that I could get up from my seat if I wanted - even though I was against the wall. Although the food was good, I'm not sure if I'd go back any time soon.  The service was slow, and the non restaurant week prices seemed a little high. But again, I was focused on the fixed price menu for restaurant week, and I was enjoying the conversations I was having.

All too soon, dinner ended and I was on my way home. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Quickie: Celebrating the Cat Lady's birthday.

I had planned to take the Cat Lady (TCL) out for her birthday for a while.  We are not the types who buy each other presents, so this was the best way I could celebrate the day....

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Today was a day that I planned to spend as Mario.  TCL and I planned for me to come over, set up her new TV Remote, and then go to dinner.  Well, things didn't work out exactly as I had planned - and it was just as well.

When I woke up, I was tired, as I did not get enough sleep the night before.  For some unknown reason, I am going to bed at my "normal" time of 2 am, but waking up around 8-9 am (and sometimes earlier).  My GI tract was acting up on me, and I had to deal with it several times during the day.

Since this was election day, I knew that I had to get out and vote. So I took a pill to keep my GI tract from causing me problems, and drove down the road to my polling place.  After casting my votes against the people I didn't want to take office, I then started my drive to TCL's house.  When I arrived, the first thing I did after opening up some awkwardly shaped cardboard boxes was to start work on her TV remote.

Most replacement TV remotes are generic controllers, and must be programmed for the devices in the house. But many of these controllers are not that good.  In the case of the replacement controller that GFJ bought, it was Best Buy's house brand, and it didn't work with her Roku stick. So I called the support line and got an excuse that their computers were out, and that they couldn't help me at the time.  In this day and age, no company performing tech support should use this as an excuse to not to be able to provide customer support - if a firm can't keep its own systems up and running, how can we depend on it to help us in time of need?

Once we his the tech support roadblock, I figured that it was time to go out to dinner. And we were very lucky - we found a parking spot right in front of the restaurant, and didn't have to park a block away.  Unfortunately, neither of us were impressed by dinner.  The main course was good, but the rest of the meal was so-so.  Next time, we'll go somewhere else.

I suggested that we pick up a new remote, one similar to the first controller we picked up, but with one extra control button.  So it was back to Best Buy, where we picked up an RCA branded controller. And then it was back to TCL's house.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get the controller working properly there. Instead of completely giving up, I decided to take the remote home. TCL and I chatted a little bit more before I left, and I got out there around 9:30.

Once I got home, I took the remote out and started working on it.  I knew that it would work with my cable box, but not my TV.  So my testing was limited to making sure that cable controls and Roku controls worked.  I logged onto the manufacturers web site and found that the codes supplied with the controller for the Roku stick were wrong.  Trying one of these codes, I found that I could control the Roku stick - finally!  Now to get the remote back to TCL and to show her how to use it.....

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The day after....

Divided Government.  It's something that's nice to have again.  No longer can one party ignore the concerns of the other when passing legislation which affects all Americans.  But we still have a long way to go, as voter suppression could explain why the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia lost last night.  As long as voter suppression and gerrymandering are factors in any election (and I don't care which party benefits from it), America will still have a long way to go towards perfecting a democratic republic.

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When I woke up this morning, control of the House was in the hands of the Democrats, while the Senate was in control of the GOP.  It's not everything I wanted, but it is everything I think we need for now.  The Democrats have a vested interest in taking care of the interests of urban America, and they tend to listen to the voices of the transgender population.  They can block most of everything the president wants, save for court nominations. And for the next two years, we have to build on our successes, refine our messages, and reach out to those who wouldn't agree with us to find a civil middle ground.

I know that in the NYC area that we live in an urban bubble.  We wonder how anyone could support the policies of our opponents. And it is simply a matter of values.  If one grew up in a rural area, one often is taught to respect authority and follow one's leaders without question. When leadership is corrupted, the followers have little choice in their minds but to accept the corrupt leader - even when it means marching off of a cliff. 

Yes, I am disappointed in the tribalism in our society. And we need to remind ourselves that we should not first be Democrats or Republicans. Instead, we should first be Americans, Americans who hold our common values more important than our tribal identity.  Hopefully, this election will be the high water point of social polarization, and the beginning of a time that we work to reunify our society....

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Election Day

An old voting booth and machine.  I miss them, as they were hard to hack.  Once the machine was set, there was no possibility of electronic hacking.  One could prove that each vote cast was cast exactly as the voter selected by lever settings - unless the inside workings of the machine were tampered with.  Today, I go to cast my vote on modern machines for which I have less certainty will register my vote correctly.

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When I got up this morning, I made breakfast and started to write this entry.  There are not a lot of things I want to write about these days, and I still need to rebuild my supply of pre-written entries before my next trip.  (I also need them for weekends when GFJ comes over, making the writing of an entry inconvenient.)  I can only write so much on traveling while presenting as Marian.  I can only write so much about socializing as Marian.  Going out as Marian has become second nature to me, and the real challenges are related to transition: How far is it practical to go?  When do I start the next phase? How do I manage issues related to transition?  And I can't answer these questions right now.  Medical transition requires that I lose a lot of weight, and risk losing family and friends.  And I am far from the point where I can start this next step.

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By the time you read this, we will know whether the Democrats have retaken the House, and whether they squeaked into control of the Senate.  I am assuming the former and not the latter for now.  Hopefully, this will throw another monkey wrench into the political system, and force the investigation of both our President and his allies.  His policies have been Anti-Transgender, and I hope he will be stopped by the electorate.

Mid term elections usually bore me.  But with the heightened stakes this year, we have a group of more interesting candidates.  The GOP got out its vote in 2016, and the Democrats got out their votes this year. And they had some interesting candidates such as Beto O'Rourke and Andrew Gilliam.  In so-called conservative strongholds where running as a moderate Democrat hasn't been successful, these candidates have chosen to be openly "progressive" - and have been more successful than expected.

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If the progressive candidates win, the Democrats will have hard choices to make.  But they will all involve how far to the left the party can and will steer.  The rightward pull of the GOP has forced the Democrats to be more of a centrist party. Without a true leftist party, we will keep moving further and further to the right - and this is too much of a danger as moving this far to the left.  Ideally, we'd have right, left and center parties.  Until then, we need to see that the GOP jettison its radicals and move closer to the center, so that a binary political choice is more useful than it is today....

Friday, November 16, 2018

Arts Westchester was the only reason I left the house today

As you might have guessed, I'm a person who enjoys patronizing the arts.  Most of the time, it is inanimate art, such as paintings, sculptures, or other non-performing arts.  However, I also enjoy the performing arts, and that's part of why I volunteer at Arts Westchester.

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Today, my alarm clock woke me up at the scheduled time. Although I was a little tired, I took care of breakfast, and then prepared to catch up with the day.  And the one thing on my schedule was the monthly volunteer meeting at Arts Westchester (AW).  So I took my time in getting ready fr the meeting and was a few minutes late.  (I forgot something at home, and had to run back to pick it up.)

The room was packed with volunteers when I got there, but there was nothing on their schedule that I was interested in doing a review for.  So when the meeting ended, I told the volunteer coordinator that I wouldn't be there in December, but that she should call me if there's any office work that needs to be done.  (I don't want her thinking that I don't want to contribute to the cause.  I just don't want to interfere with my weekends with GFJ.)

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When I was ready to leave White Plains, the heavens opened up a little. Did I want to go back out in the rain?  Not really.  So I drove home, chatting first with Lili, and then with GFJ.  Although Lili would have liked to meet for a bite to eat, she had her dog with her.  So this was not possible. And then GFJ called.  We now have our weekend plans set, including lunch and a movie for the following Monday.

Reaching home, I decided to rest a little before chatting with the Cat Lady.  We'll get together tomorrow to set up her TV remote for use with the TV, Cable Box, and Roku stick. And then, it'll be off to dinner.  Even though both of us need to eat light, we might be able to do this if we're careful.  The thing I find amazing is that she wants to find out about how I live my life as Marian, and how I'm accepted while presenting as a female.  To me, once I'm outside and accepted by one person, it helps me be accepted by others.  Developing the confidence to go out as Marian builds on itself, and the act of going out makes it easier to do so by doing so itself....

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A quick visit by GFJ.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week.  The days each participating restaurant has special meals is up to the restaurant.  And GFJ and I made a wonderful mistake in choosing to go to Peter Pratt's Inn on the wrong day of the week....

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My time with GFJ (with a couple of minor exceptions) is always spent as Mario.  This means that when I get home on Saturday afternoon, I must strip off traces of Marian and become Mario again.  And I was able to do this with more than enough time to spare, as GFJ was expected to arrive around 6 pm for a 7:30 pm dinner.  (I told her 7 pm to give us a margin of error, and she didn't squawk when I told her the reservation was for 7:30 pm.)   GFJ arrived at my place around 6, and she was prepared for a dinner out at a fancy restaurant.  I ended up changing into a blue dress shirt and blazer to be coordinate my mode of dress with the sparkle she was wearing. Then we drove to Yorktown to make sure I could get to this restaurant on time.

Peter Pratt's is not the kind of place you easily see from the side of a main road. Like Crabtree's Kittle House, Monteverde, and the (now defunct) Maisson Lafitte, one has to go off the beaten track to find them. (Note: The Maisson Lafitte site is now a Banquet Hall named The Briarcliff Manor.) And Peter Pratt's has well earned its reputation.  So when we saw the place was participating in restaurant week, we had to go.

Arriving a little bit early, we were seated at an awkward, but comfortable spot next to the fireplace. (Awkward, only because we could only be seated at a 90 degree angle to each other, instead of across from each other.)  GFJ asked about restaurant week, and we found that Saturday was excluded.  Luckily, we had the money to enjoy a wonderful dinner including a lamb ragout and roast duck. Yum!!!

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Sunday morning, I woke up late. And both of us went for a walk along the rail trail before picking up food stuffs at Stew Leonard's.  Unfortunately, the GI Tract problems I had on Friday revisited me on Sunday.  If this doesn't get better by the end of the week, I'll have to call my doctor's office.  (But first, I may go to the drugstore for some Pepto....)

Unfortunately, GFJ had to leave early, as she had a doctor's appointment in Albany on Monday.  So I got the chance to rest and relax before the week truly begins....

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

I love the sounds of Speech Therapy in the morning. They sound like a croaking toad!

I look better with rounded eyeglass frames.  So this picture isn't the best one that could be taken of me. But these are the "cheaters" I use to read.  And today, I did a little bit of reading while I exercised my voice.

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Although I don't have a cold, I have the next worst thing - a allergy related back drip that is causing a tickle in the back of my throat. And this affected this morning's speech therapy session.

Getting up this morning, I woke up before my alarms and wished I could have stayed in bed a bit longer. I felt that there was a slight tickle in my throat, speaking in a register slightly deeper than my normal voice.  So when I got to my speech therapy session, the student clinician noticed that I was having problems hitting my natural female (read: androgynous range) pitch.  She wasn't notified that the revised schedule we'd be using to the end of the semester, as her supervisor's email bounced back - just like my email the other day.  And I didn't realize that the supervisor was the only one I had to speak with to adjust my schedule.  Lots of confusion, cleared up by three people being in one place at one time....

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On the way home from Speech Therapy, I called my brother.  We're getting a small tax increase, and that'll mean that we will have to increase the rent on the family home at the end of next Summer.  However, I can withdraw my share of the proceeds from the bank, and this money will be helpful for expenses I'll incur this month....

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to reach the Cat Lady.  I wanted to figure out when I can drop over next week and get her remote working with her TV, Cable Box, and Roku Stick.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I hate NYC when it's raining

Scheduling conflicts.  Sometimes, they cause big problems.  And at other times, they present great opportunities.  In the past, I have lost a girlfriend due to mishandling a scheduling conflict. But today, I have gained an opportunity to go out to dinner as Marian with a new group of people and made it possible for me to see my niece for another NYC museum night with the weather is better....

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Today, I started on the new medications prescribed by my doctor.  Hopefully, with gradual diet changes, I'll get the desired results and keep losing a few pounds in the process.  But with another trip coming soon, I'll have to synchronize my pills with my cruise, making sure that I pick up a renewal just before I leave....

Sometimes, I wake up before the alarm clock wakes me up. Today was one of those days. And yet, I don't remember watching the 8 am segment of Morning Joe, though I remember switching my TV from the Roku box to the Cable box. Yet, I did almost nothing until I received a call from my healthcare company.  Seems like they wanted to remind me of a Gym benefit I have - I'll bet it's related to my doctor's prescription of new medications being picked up by a computer, triggering a human to "say hello".

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Reading my email, I found out that the organizer of tonight's meetup had an open spot, and asked me if I wanted to be taken off the wait list. I checked in with my niece and then rescheduled our museum night for next week. (Tonight's rain and thunderstorms wouldn't make this a pleasant trip to NYC.)  And then, I said yes, and had my evening dinner plans for the night.

As I was about to get showered, my GI tract told me that it wasn't going to be friendly today.  By the time I was about to go to the meetup, I felt as if I had done most of the prep work for a colonoscopy.  AARGH.  Hopefully, I wouldn't need the rest room until I got home....

I spent a couple of hours volunteering at the GLBT Center, then went home to rest.  But I didn't get that rest due to a bathroom visit and a chat with GFJ.  She now wants to get away for a weekend, and she likes the idea of going to DC.  Hmmm....  Should I call Meg?

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My GI tract made it impossible for me to get a good rest.  Couple this with a chat with GFJ, and I was concerned about being able to enjoy dinner tonight - would my GI tract permit this?  Now feeling that the remainder of the colonoscopy prep was done, I figured that I'd risk going to the restaurant.  And it was worth the gamble.

I've heard good things about this restaurant (Crabtree's Kittle House), and the main course and dessert didn't disappoint me.  (The lobster bisque I had was nothing to write home about.)  However, the restaurant's service left a little to be desired. Not only were two people served the wrong soup (one of them was me), but they couldn't even make sure that one woman's dessert was complete (it was missing the accompanying ice cream) before it was delivered to the table.  Would I go there again?  Maybe, but not during HVRW, as they were overtaxed for a Friday night.

There were 10 of us at the restaurant, and I found out the bar for being moved from the wait list to those listed as going - one had to be seen and remembered going to a recent meetup with this group.  And I had been to 2 meetups with this group since September.  We all enjoyed a few good chats, and I hope to find an occasional free weekend day to go to other events with this group.  However, I did meet someone very "interesting".  I use that word because of the coincidence - this woman is part of GFJ's meetup circles, and has met me first as Marian.  Hopefully, if we meet again and I'm in Mario mode, that she won't recognize me.

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Tomorrow, GFJ comes down, and we'll be going to Peter Pratt's.  I hope they do things better than tonight's place.....

Monday, November 12, 2018

Quickie: A visit to the doctor

Today, I went to the doctor and got a hell of a lot of bad news.  Some of it was health related, and some of it was paperwork related.  And the paperwork related stuff bothered me more, as I have less control over it, and I can get much more frustrated because of it.

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When I got to the doctor's office today, I was confronted by an issue related to coordination of benefits.  My current insurance company (HC-new) got erroneous information that (HC-old) was listed as one of my insurance providers. The process of starting the correction process started at the doctor's office, and then continued after my visit.  (I'll cover this in another post.)  And this time suck affected the time allotted for my yearly physical, forcing it to be split into today's session and into a session scheduled for early next month.  To make it worse, one condition I expected that might cause me trouble did - and I'll need new medications for that as well.  AARGH!

Hopefully, the new medications will get this condition in check, and dietary changes will take care of the rest.  At least, I now likely know why I've lost 15 bounds in 6 weeks.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A day out as Mario

Originally, I thought I was going to pull out my nurse's uniform and do a Halloween visit to my dentist as Marian.  Reality got the better part of me, and I decided to go as Mario.  And that set the stage for me spending the day in a persona I don't like that much....

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For some reason, I woke up way too early, and expected to deal with sleep deprivation issues later in the day.  So I decided to start looking for things my pooka may have misplaced to have fun with me.  And I finally found the makeup kit that I was looking for before my last cruise, as well as the travel gear I need when I travel as Marian.  Accomplishing this alone was enough to make my day.  But I still had to take care of some laundry in between my dentist visit and driving out to see the Cat Lady for dinner.

Around 1 pm, it was dentist time.   There was no reason to rush down the hill, as the hygienist was still busy with another patient.  I ended up chatting with the receptionist, and then with the hygienist showing them both a Halloween photo taken a few years ago.  (I wasn't going to tell them that I regularly go out as Marian.)  Both loved the costume.  And then the hygienist went to work. She noted that the dentist is now making dental sleep appliances to deal with Sleep Apnea, for those who can't or don't want to use a CPAP machine.  I'm not ready for buying this appliance right now, but I will consider it when it's time to deal with potential hair transplants. (Wearing the mask would interfere with graft and recipient areas on my head.)  And then, about $275 later, I was out the door and out to lunch. 

When done with lunch it was back home.  On the way, I tried to reach Lili.  She mentioned that she had a problem with her plumbing, as the fellow who worked on her pipes did something wrong.  (I'll bet he wasn't licensed.)  So this was the second day in a row that she was busy as hell when I called. But it was just as well, as she knows I an keeping in touch, and I didn't have to chat too long.

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Opening up my mailbox, I found a surprise.  I received the first Direct Deposit Summary in about a year from the bank paying me a pension.  My guess is that my deliveries got screwed up at the same time they changed their post office box. So it may have taken the letter to the chairman's office to get this matter straightened out.  When in doubt, escalate all complaints, present reasonable resolutions, and be polite.  As my dad always said (using a joke about birds), a little shit goes a long way....

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Around 5 pm, I started my drive to the Cat Lady's (TCL's) house via the Bear Mountain Bridge.  This is the best way for me to get to parts of New Jersey during rush hour, as one doesn't hit much traffic after the traffic circle on the other side of the bridge.  When I reached TCL's house, we chatted a bit while I helped her with the drapes in the living room.  (She couldn't reach high enough to reconnect her curtain rod after the drapes were on the rod.) Then it was off to dinner in town.

We went to a new Italian place for us, and ordered only the entrees. And both of us had more than enough food to eat.  When I say that I could fill a meatloaf pan with a single serving of lasagna, I wouldn't be exaggerating.  TCL asked me to  figure out how to set up the ROKU stick on her TV, and we ended up going to Best Buy to buy a new universal remote.(She neither had the manual to her TV, nor did she have the old remote - this often spells disaster, and it would do so today.)  In our hurry, we didn't notice that we bought the wrong remote....

Getting back to TCL's house, I started work on the installation.  I was able to get the Roku stick installed.  But each time I tried to switch from HDMI1 to HDMI2, I ended up switching to "cable channels 1-132", with no way to switch back to HDMI inputs.  (If I had more time, I'd have tried to find the PDF manual for her Samsung TV.)  Once I figured everything out, I was able to get both the Roku stick set up and her TV set up, but no way to switch back and forth between regular cable settings and Roku settings.  And that's when I realized that we should have bought the 4 device universal remote.  So I restored everything to a previous working state, and told TCL to get a replacement remote the next day - for me to install next week.

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Then it was time to go.  First, I called Lili and she needed to figure out what was the best way to handle the air/hotel connections for her cruise.  She wants to stay in New Orleans for a day or two before the cruise, and she may be getting a poor deal via the cruise line.  Next, it was GFJ, and she wanted to tell me the ongoing struggles of dealing with the Wasband.  By the time I got home, I was exhausted.  But there was still more to come.  In the middle of writing this entry, my internet dropped for a few hours.

Sometimes I wish I were born in another age.  But the people of the past didn't have it as well as us baby boomers have it, and we are leaving the world worse off for the future.  Maybe I should be satisfied with life as it now is....

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Quickie: Finally, a day I can go out as Marian!

Even though I last went out as Marian on Saturday, it feels like forever.  I guess that being Mario for a couple of days has put a damper on things, and that I need some Marian Time to recharge....

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When I got up, I didn't have much planned nor had any emotional energy to do it.  So, I lollygagged until late in the afternoon. Just before I was about to go into the shower, the Cat Lady called - and we were on the phone for over an hour.  Next, it was GFJ, and I was delayed even more.  By the time I got out on the road, it was 7 pm - and I still wanted to reach the Avenue for some shopping, Stew Leonard''s to pick up stuff to eat, and then to the diner for dinner.

There was nothing at the Avenue that said buy me, and I avoided buying any items needing refrigeration at Stew's.  This allowed me to go to a diner in Elmsford for a gyro.  Yum.  It was nice to be addressed as a lady, and nice to be able to be seen as a woman for part of the day.

- - - - - -

Unfortunately, I'll have to be back as Mario for the next couple of days. But I will change back to Marian in time for game night.

Friday, November 9, 2018

An overnight with GFJ, with booking of cruise tickets.

I finally booked the cruise!  It was not the one I originally wanted, but it is  one where I'd feel more comfortable getting off the boat at 3 of the 7 ports of call.

- - - - - -

When I woke up Sunday morning, both cruises I wanted were still available to me. So I figured that I'd take the chance that I'd still be able to get the cheaper cruise at a reasonable price.  So I got showered and dressed as Mario, and out the door I went to a 1:30 pm birthday party for one of GFJ's friend's boyfriend.

Driving up to New Windsor wasn't the easiest or hardest thing to do. But I don't like driving the "Route 6/Bear Mountain Goat Path" if I can avoid it. And with the weather we've been having, I expected a series of potential slick spots where water runoff hits a curve or two. So I took it easy on the way to the restaurant.

Reaching the restaurant, I was lucky to meet one of GFJ's friends - who recognized me before I recognized her.  GFJ arrived a few minutes afterward, and those at the party waited about a half hour before the guest of honor arrived. And once he did, there was a lot of great conversation and celebration that lasted for 3-4 hours.  This was one of those times where I didn't really know the cast of characters that well, but was able to have fun in spite of having been in the mood to stay home when I left the house....

Afterwards, GFJ and I went home to relax and go to bed early.  Both of us were feeling quite full from dinner, and needed to sleep off a large meal.  Before we went to bed, I found out that one of my two cruises jumped $300+ in price and left the range of prices I was willing to pay.  This meant that sometime after GFJ left, I'd have to contact Mercy College to see about adjusting the remainder of this semester's speech therapy schedule to accommodate the cruise AND to book the other cruise before it left my affordable range....

- - - - - -

The next morning, both GFJ and I got up late.  She had to run off to work, while I had to start taking care of postponed tasks.  I fell asleep for a while, and then contacted people at Mercy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they could accommodate my request as quickly as they did.  Next, it was a call to the travel agency.  As I expected, a cruise that would be $864 with single supplement ended up costing me $1165 before mandatory gratuity charges. My total base cost for this cruise will be in the $1325 range.  (Experienced single cruisers know that base rates should be multiplied by a factor of 1.5 to get a real price for a cruise.)  And I'll be on a cruise where I feel safe getting off at 3 of the ports.

Once done, I decided to take a ride and pick up my prescriptions.  Of course, this meant another day out as Mario.  With my prescriptions filled, it was time for a drive.  I chatted with the Cat Lady for a while, and Lili made it easy to end the conversation.  Then after a few minutes, I didn't have much more to say with Lili. So I made a break for Starbucks.

On the way back home, I chatted with GFJ.  She opened up the possibility of Thanksgiving with her family.  I'll take her up on this, as this might be the best chance I get to meet her mother while she is healthy....

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Saturday came, and the weather wasn't as bad as it could have been.

I worried what the weather would be like this morning.  The weather report said we'd get heavy rain, and have strong gusts of wind.  It didn't sound pleasant.  But when I went out to the car, I was confident that everything planned for the day would take place as planned.

- - - - - -

Unlike most days when the weather is good, it seemed like no one was on the road today.   The travel time between Croton and Dobbs Ferry was a comfortable 30 minutes, which gave me time to pick up a forgettable bacon and egg sandwich at a local quick mart.  Arriving a few minutes early at Mercy, I signed myself in and dropped off my speech therapy payment on the receptionist's desk. And then my weekly session began....

The student speech therapist has good ideas, but is not being coached well by her supervisor. There are tools that she could be using to guide me in pitch exercises, but she hasn't been made aware of them.  It's a bad thing when the patient has to instruct the student therapist.  But that's the price one occasionally has to pay when getting discounted TG voice training sessions at a local college.

When the session was over, I chatted with the supervisor about general topics, one of which was her decision to put her daughter into a Catholic high school.  Given what she'll be paying in tuition, it makes sense for her to move to a new school district - and I mentioned my district's court case involving special education which made it to the Supreme Court. As much as she would make a good neighbor, I also had to warn her about the Indian Point nuclear reactor shutdown and how it will affect taxes in my area.  After this, we discussed my relationships, and I mentioned that GFJ's divorce is finally final and complete.  I then mentioned the long term difficulties that GFJ has with me being transgender, and that we may not be able to find a long term place of comfort.  The supervisor (who I can't remember her name right now) then mentioned her divorce. And then she asked about whether GFJ travels with me AND how I travel on cruises.  I mentioned that I prefer to travel as Marian, and joked that she should come with me on a cruise.  (That'll never happen.  But it would be fun to have a new travel partner.)

- - - - - -

I eventually made it home, and decided to rest.  And again, phone calls kept getting in the way of me doing laundry - first with GFJ, and then with Lili.  But I did get 3 loads into the washers, and all were done before Vicki came to meet me for dinner....

Vicki came at 6 pm, and we went to Amarcord in Beacon. The residual rain, the occasional wet patches of road, and her age related difficulties in seeing the road made her very uncomfortable driving to the restaurant.  If I had known this, I'd have driven to the restaurant.  For once, I was glad someone else was driving, as I had the freedom to have a drink if I wanted.  When we got to the restaurant, we ordered a bottle of wine - and it was perfect. This was the start of a great restaurant evening for the two of us. She was impressed by both the quality of the food and the service. But we didn't realize by how much we were going to blow our budget.  So she told me that this was not the meal she wanted me to consider to treat her for a belated birthday meal.

All too soon, our evening came to an end, and it was back to our respective homes.  She is receptive to seeing "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Broadway, but is only open to do so on a weekend.  So I'll have to work on finding a date good for both of us, then tell GFJ that I'd see her the following day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

And now, I'm waiting for Saturday

I decided to go to the Long Island Museum on Thursday, then see my dad and my brother.  That's a lot of driving in one day, but I try to get as much done as possible when I visit Long Island, as I hate the headaches of getting there and back.

- - - - - -

When I awoke, I found that the stock market had erased all its prior gains for the year. More importantly, my 401k is down - and what is going on at a macro level is affecting me at a micro level.  Still, I am not worried much - there is no reason for panic.  But what bothers me is that even more bombs targeting left leaning were found this morning, and that it will take some time to catch this disgruntled maniac.

Thankfully, while the above news was being discussed on TV, I had an online chat with WDJ about more mundane matters.  No, I won't go into most of we talked about.  But I will mention that she is going on a cruise (completed by the time you read this entry) and that I hope she has a great time on the cruise with her beau.

- - - - - -

I finally started my trip to Long Island around 11 am, and made it to the museum around 1:45.  And I was lucky to start my exploration with the Robert Moses Exhibition which closed at month-end.  It was good, considering the artifacts they could display.  But there was something lacking - and I can't figure out what it is.  It may just be related to the scope of his projects, as it's hard to capture a parkway, a bridge, or another structure using models as artifacts.  Blue prints and publicity pamphlets are not enough.  But I think they did their best trying to capture what Moses was trying to do.

After a half hour at the Moses exhibit, I went across the street to see the collection of horse drawn carriages.  This museum has one of the largest collections of carriages and sleighs, and is well worth seeing.  This is the main reason one should visit the museum, as it is a specialty that few museums have in this country. This may be the only museum that has a variety of horse drawn Studebaker carriages from the early/mid 1800's, as well as an early electric car from 1910 or so.  (Too bad the firm went out of the transportation business over 50 years ago....)

- - - - - -

Once my day at the museum ended, I took the long road back to the nursing home, and chatted with my dad for an hour or so.  Then it was off to meet my brother for dinner.  At dinner, he surprised me - he called my niece, and it was now dinner for 3.  We caught up on many things, and put off what we planned to speak of for another day.  Towards the end of dinner, I mentioned next week being a museum night - and my brother wanted to make it a foursome.  (That's the last thing I wanted, as I now see her alone in Marian mode.)  When my brother realized we were meeting on a Friday night for free museum nights, he realized that he couldn't make it.  (Whew!)  But I did send my niece a note to tell me if they decided to come - just in case....

- - - - - -            - - - - - -            - - - - - -

Friday came with my alarm annoying me as I was getting up and moving.  Not getting enough sleep has become a habit with me, and I feel it. Once I got moving, I took care of some online tasks, then showered and dressed quickly. Arts Westchester scheduled me to come in around 10:30-11:00, and I wanted to spend 2-3 hours there before going home to change into Mario for dinner with the Cat Lady.

I arrived in White plains around 11, and got to work stuffing folders with completed grant information.  They will be having all of these grant applications read, and will divvy up grant money based on criteria I'm not privy to. But I do know that many factors will be used, and that they will have several people reading these requests.  However, one batch of requests couldn't be handled properly - the folders were printed with 2017 applicants, when we needed folders printed with 2018 applicants. So someone else will be sorting out that batch and preparing it to be read by those people reviewing the requests.

Once done with folder stuffing, they had me stuffing envelopes.  It was the kind of mindless work that I could do for a while and not notice that time had passed. While doing this the Cat Lady called.  She wanted to postpone dinner, so that her stomach could recover from some bad food she had eaten earlier.  Now, I have a Halloween dinner scheduled, with me being in Mario mode for the full day.

- - - - - -

Next, it was off to Catherine's to do some browsing.  Nothing was that interesting, and there was nothing I needed to buy at the moment.  From there, I went to New City, NY to see "The Old Man and the Gun."  For a coda to an acting career, Robert Redford chose a good role to play.  It's not a great film, but one worth seeing.

After the film let out, it was time to drive home.  I made the mistake of trying to drive through Tarrytown, and it took me 30 minutes to travel the distance I normally cover in 5 minutes.  My one and only reason for choosing this route was to access a free ATM to withdraw money I'd need for Saturday night's dinner with Vicki.

Shortly after I made it home, the Cat Lady called, and we were on the phone for 90 minutes.  There went any idea of doing laundry.  And then GFJ called.  By the time I was done with the phone, it was 10:30, and all I wanted to do was lay down and rest.

- - - - - -

Unfortunately, Saturday will come with a lot of rain. And I will need to drive through some of the worst of it to get to Mercy College.

Now, I can't wait for Saturday to be over....

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

What will I do when Thursday comes around?

It's the beginning of the week, and I have no idea of what I'll be doing on Thursday.  Once a month, from now on, it looks like the host and hostess of game night will be taking one night off each month to catch up on life.  And I can't blame them for doing so. The hostess' career requires that she spend some nights on fund raising activities, and the host's career leaves little time for him to take care of the tasks that require his presence. So they have decided to cut back on their game nights so that they can take care of their needs....

- - - - - -           - - - - - -            - - - - - -

Last night's visit was a little too short because of traffic returning to New York City.  She got stuck in that traffic, and we ended up at the diner when a mob of pumpkin fans were just about to leave for the Blaze down the road. It's hard to believe that I couldn't finish my meal. But for some unknown reason, I don't feel as comfortable being a part of the "Clean Plate Club" these days.

After dinner, we took a drive over to BJ's and Walmart where I took care of most of the important items on my short shopping list.  One notable item was a 3 way bulb.  I had accidentally broken a 3 way CFL bulb (no mercury was released), and wanted to replace the incandescent bulb I was using as a temporary replacement. I find it amazing how quickly incandescent bulbs have left the marketplace, and how CFL blubs are now leaving the marketplace now that LED bulbs are available.  No longer need I have a "large" supply of spare bulbs around for the (now) rare time that an old bulb fails. And no longer need I have bulbs that use as much electricity as my computer.  (I'll want to have CFL bulbs available in case of a brownout, as the LEDs seem to have trouble lighting up properly without enough amperage to do so.)

- - - - - -            - - - - - -

Monday morning, GFJ had to run home to be at work at 2 pm.  This allowed us to wake up together before she had to prepare for the rest of her day.  As for me, I ended up staying inside the house and doing nothing but making phone calls.

My first call was to my dad, returning his call, but he had nothing to say.  He had to check in with my brother to make sure that his doctor was on top of things.  Next, it was Lili - and we discussed her plans with her boyfriend.  And it looks like they will go on a different cruise than the one I want to take.  So I might end up taking this December cruise after all.

Later on, Lili called again, and she told me of an eye problem that forced her to see the eye doctor on a same day basis.  Her retina has a mild tear, and will likely clear up on its own.  However, the doctor is sending her to a specialist to be safe.  Then, the Cat Lady called, and we chattered for almost 90 minutes.  At least we now have an idea of when we'll see each other again. While on the phone, GFJ called. And when I called her back, it was another 60 minutes on the phone talking about how she will try to keep her side of the family business in operation.

Seems like everybody had important things to take care of today....

- - - - - -            - - - - - -

Tuesday came, and I had very little energy when I woke up.  There were at least 8 things on my to-do list, including bill payments and laundry.  And I tackled bill payments first.  Each time I pay bills, I am constantly reminded of my need to generate more revenue from my investments.  I'm at the point that doing part time work could push me over the Obamacare subsidy income limit, and I don't want to risk that happening....

By the time the evening came, I checked 4 things off of my to-do list.  One of them, laundry, could be postponed until Wednesday.  Healthcare enrollment couldn't start until November 1st, and I'll have to get all my paperwork taken care of more quickly than usual.  But this still left me with calling my former employer to get a copy of paperwork needed for the Obamacare healthcare subsidy,.  And I put off buying my ticket for a early Winter's cruise to the Caribbean.

The co-op board meeting scheduled for Tuesday took longer than desired.  However, barring any unforeseen circumstances, it looks like we have 2 new vendors coming on board soon.  Hopefully, things will work out well with them....

- - - - - -            - - - - - -

I didn't get much sleep the night before, and Wednesday didn't start for me until 11 am.  Not much going on, but I had to make it down to the GLBT Center, and then up to Wappinger's Falls for dinner.

On my way to the GLBT Center, I received an email.  Seems as if I forgot about Arts Westchester volunteering for the day.  So I sent an email, asking if coming in on Friday would be OK.  (I never heard back from them.  Hopefully, I'll hear from them tomorrow.)  Arriving at the GLBT Center, I was given a simple assignment, one which was mostly done already. And then, I did a little bit of research before leaving for a quick stop home and then North to our dining meetup.

When I opened up my mail, I found that I was pre-registered for Obamacare, having the same subsidy for next year AND the same insurance company.  It's nice to know that I won't have to worry about health care next year.  Hopefully, I won't have to supply new paper documentation, as the letter I received that the government used income information from state and federal tax records as of October 3.  Not bad.  This is one time I'm glad that the government has access to my financial data....

My next stop was Catherine's in Poughkeepsie, where I chatted with the saleslady for a few minutes before dinner.  She complimented me on my jacket and my hair style, asking me if I took care of my hair itself, or if I had a salon do it.  The last thing I wanted her to know that it was a prosthetic.  But if asked directly, I will say that I have alopecia, and leave it at that.

Once done browsing, it was down to the meetup.  And I had a hard time finding parking, so I had to park in the back.  There were 2-3 newcomers, and I had some nice chats with the new ladies.  But I chewed the ear off of one of the regulars, even though she was courteous enough to say I didn't do so.

On the way home, I received a text from the Cat Lady.  She loved an art lesson given by her local library, and wanted to talk about it.  Sadly, I was on the phone again with GFJ and wouldn't interrupt this call for the Cat Lady.  I'll try to call her tomorrow when both of us are more awake....

- - - - - -

BTW: I think I'm going to the Long Island Museum tomorrow, visiting my dad, and then seeing my brother.  I might as well compress a lot of Long Island things into one trip if possible.....


Monday, November 5, 2018

Quickie: Just a little bit worried, this feeling inside....

Lest we forget, our very existence as Transgender individuals is under attack from so-called Conservatives.  First, it was the deliberate removal of questions on the 2020 Census that would record our existence as human beings. Then, it was re codifying some minor US government regulations. And now....

Today, I read two articles which give me pause for concern:
  1. LGBTQ Nation
  2. NY Times

It seems as if the current administration had accepted the presence of Lesbians and Gays for now. But it wished to pick us off, because most of us are easy to find.  For those who have legally transitioned, all they have to do is do computer searches for gender related name changes or for altered birth certificates.  Most of us are sitting ducks if we continue to follow 1930's Germany's path.  The water in the pot is being warmed up, and the frog inside is ignoring the change in temperature.

- - - - - -

Living in the NYC suburbs, I know that I live in a bubble. Because I travel a little, I have had to learn to be careful of where and when I can present myself as a transgender individual. And I'm seeing the signs, that by a change of law, our government is setting things up to ignore the conclusions of Medical Professionals and use a definition of Gender used by the religious right to deny us our civil rights.

There are several of us bloggers who write about our occasional travels as transgender people, and others who have written about their lives, with travel being part of those lives. Most of the people who have crossed international borders have legally (and medically) transitioned.  But what will happen if our government chooses to reverse their legal transitions?  In theory, I could still go stealth for a while, but would need to prepare to get out of this country before the next shoe drops.

- - - - - -

Do I worry much about the loss of civil rights?  Not yet.  But it is a possibility given the path being taken by the politicians in control of Washington, DC these days.  As such, it is best to remember that we still have the power of the vote and that we can still vote out the crooks.

Willie Nelson put it best in a recent song - Vote them out!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

My whole day revolved around an evening memorial.

Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.  Eventually, we will all take a "dirt nap".  And it is a rest that we will never recover from.  Even if the promise of some religions is correct, any afterlife we have will not be anything we can understand from this mortal realm.

- - - - - -

When I got up, I was feeling a little bit tired. But I knew I had to get up and out for my speech therapy session, and this meant that I'd be out most of the day.  Once speech therapy was over, I'd likely go to a movie, and then mosey down to the city to the memorial for L's mother.  L is a regular at game night, and her mom passed away from cancer about a month ago.  And it is only right that I go out of my way to be there for her in her time of grief.

Leaving the house, I knew I needed to buy gas.  But there was a crowd at the gas station nearest me, and I had to make it to Dobbs Ferry at 9:45.  I'd have made it on time, except that I had to fill up my car just before I reached the college.  No one was on time, so I didn't miss much.  However, the student in training isn't that good at staying on topic (performing therapy), and we missed doing one of the exercises we planned for the day.

Once done at Mercy College, I picked up a Mickey D's breakfast sandwich and then went to see a movie - Bad Times at the El Royale.  Set in 1970, it is a fun film, and has some nice twists and turns for people familiar with one hotel on the California/Nevada state line:

In 1970, Catholic priest Daniel Flynn, singer Darlene Sweet, salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan, and sarcastic Emily Summerspring arrive at the El Royale, where they meet the hotel's only employee, Miles Miller. 

Upon checking into the honeymoon suite, Sullivan (in reality an FBI agent named Dwight Broadbeck, sent to investigate the hotel), finds and removes several FBI listening devices from the room, only to discover a second set of hidden bugs. He discovers a corridor looking onto one-way mirrors in each of the hotel's rooms, as well as a 16mm camera setup. 

Broadbeck witnesses an apparent kidnapping in progress in Emily's room; J. Edgar Hoover instructs him over the telephone to retrieve any film that may contain footage of the FBI operation, but not to interfere with the kidnapping, and to sabotage the guests' vehicles to prevent any of them from escaping. 

Meanwhile, Flynn invites Sweet to join him for dinner. She sees him drugging her drink and knocks him unconscious with a bottle, running out of the hotel to escape. Miles finds Flynn and reveals to him the secret passageway, afterwards explaining that "management" has instructed him to film the guests and send the footage to them. However, he chose to hold back one particularly incriminating film reel of a recently deceased public figure. 

Against orders, Broadbeck attempts to rescue Emily's hostage, who is revealed to be her younger sister, Rose. Emily opens fire on Broadbeck, killing him and accidentally injuring Miles who was watching from behind the mirror. Sweet attempts to escape in her car after witnessing the murder, but Flynn arrives. He reveals that he is really a criminal named Donald "Doc" O'Kelly, who was imprisoned after a botched robbery ten years earlier. 

Recently freed on parole, O'Kelly has returned to the El Royale in priest garb to retrieve the money which Felix had hidden there before being killed in a double cross - but owing to his failing memory he can't recall which room it was in. He had attempted to drug Sweet to gain access to her room, believing the cash to be buried there. The two agree to split the cash amongst themselves. 

In the lobby, Emily and Rose, having discovered the corridor, interrogate Miles about the surveillance operation. It is revealed that Emily has forcibly removed her sister from a cult led by Billy Lee, a charismatic and sadistic figure responsible for a string of murders in Malibu. However, Rose reveals that she has already called Billy about their location. As O'Kelly and Sweet attempt to leave with the money, Billy Lee and his cultists arrive and hold them hostage along with Emily and Miles. 

While interrogating and terrorizing the group, Lee learns of the money and the film, which he realizes is worth much more than the money. In a sadistic game of roulette, Lee kills Emily. Using a brief power outage to his advantage, O'Kelly attacks Lee as the hotel lounge catches fire. During the chaos, Miles reveals that he served as a sniper in Vietnam who killed 123 people. At Sweet's insistence, he picks up a gun and kills Lee and the other cultists. A distraught Rose stabs Miles, but is shot by O'Kelly afterwards. Before Miles passes, Sweet tells O'Kelly to absolve him of his guilt over his actions in Vietnam, which he does. O'Kelly and Sweet retrieve the money and Sweet tosses the film into the fire before the pair flee the hotel. 

Not long after, Sweet performs at a show in Reno for the crowd, as O'Kelly proudly looks on.

Of course, this is a fictional film.  But after one knows of what went on at the Cal-Neva hotel, the fictional issue of the film becomes more interesting. Who knows what happened at the Cal-Neva?  Only the walls know, and they ain't talking....

- - - - - -

Next, I ran home to take care of a few minor things, then started my arduous trip into the city.  First, it took me forever to get to Pelham, as the Hutchinson River Parkway was closed at the intersection with the Cross County Parkway for bridge construction.  This wasted 45 minutes of my time.  The commuter train was late, and the subways had their weekend maintenance going on.  So I ended up getting to the memorial venue around 7.  And this was just as well, because the small venue was crowded.

I had a couple of great chats there before I left, and then I had an easier time going home than I did getting to the city.  Too bad that my feet were hurting, as I'd have gotten dinner in Chinatown.  Instead, I headed straight to Westchester county, then went to the Pleasantville diner for dinner.

After that, it was straight to my place, and I was able to avoid the rain when I got out of my car for the evening....

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Volunteering at an empty "theater"

Every other Friday or so, the GLBT center I volunteer at shows a GLBT themed film in one of their conference rooms.  It's not much, but it is something that gathers a hand full of people in the day time now and then, and often it is something that plays to an empty room. Today was one of those empty room days.

- - - - - -

Last night, I switched back to a nasal mask on my CPAP, and it was much easier for me to fall asleep. I'll continue to keep the face mask on reserve for those days that I have a cold that makes the use of the other mask necessary.  Why do I mention this?  It's because my mouth feels much more comfortable when I wake up.  If any of my readers use a CPAP machine, I'll bet that comfort is one of the important reasons that a particular mask type is chosen.

It felt good to take my mask off this morning and get ready for the day.  I had a chance to talk with the Cat Lady for a while, and we'll have to get together soon for dinner.  Maybe next week. GFJ was a little busy, so I could speak with her. Then Lili dropped the bombshell that she was considering taking her boyfriend with her on the same cruise I was considering taking. So this makes it less likely for me to take the cruise, as I don't want to be there if trouble happens.

When I got to the GLBT center, no one was there for the film.  So I proceeded to update their website to include 2 trans related items.  While there, I chatted with the volunteer coordinator, talking about the void that the current executive director will leave as she moves on to a new opportunity on Long Island.  She will be missed.

- - - - - -

Once done at the GLBT center, it was back home to rest for a while. Apart from a call from GFJ as I was falling asleep, this was my day - and a quiet one at that.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The cleaning lady cometh again....

Why do I open up today's entry with a picture of a vacuum cleaner?  Well, my cleaning lady has been pestering me for months that my old vacuum doesn't work well, and I wanted to shut her up.  (My words are a little coarse, but I think the old machine had seen its better days, and that she had a point....)  So I hope she's happy now....

- - - - - -            - - - - - -            - - - - - -

When I woke up, I started to clean things up, so that the cleaning lady could work her magic. All traces of Marian had to be put away, and I had to make sure that a fresh set of linens was available for the cleaning lady to put on my bed.  For the most part, I was able to take care of this before noon.  But there is always something I could have missed.

While I was in the shower, the Cat Lady called.  It's been a while since we've chatted, simply because of my waning cold and that I have been busy.  It'll be nice to set up a dinner with her soon, but I don't know what my schedule's going to look like until the end of the month.

- - - - - -

Around noon, the cleaning lady came, and she was very happy because she saw the new vacuum cleaner above.  It was exactly what she wanted me to buy for the place, and it was much quieter in use than the old machine. And being smaller, it took up less room in my closet, easily fitting on the floor of a crowded closet.  Now I can toss out the old vacuum!

Eventually, I started my drive to Yonkers and to the meetup.  GFJ related more of the story about one of her friends - the crazy one who thinks everyone is out to poison her.  One of her other friends has taken on the task of finding the crazy friend, and this lets GFJ off the hook in the search for the crazy lady!  Then, I called my brother, and he told me that my nephew was off to Seattle for a career on the West Coast.  My brother will miss his son, but at least he knows his son will be able to take care of himself.

I arrived a bit late, but was able to get involved in a single game.  Of course, I lost, but had fun.  The host mentioned that (save November and Thanksgiving) they will be dropping game night on the last Thursday of each month.  This presents me with new options for what I'll be doing on a given Thursday night in the future....

- - - - - -

On the way home, I chatted with Lili.  Her neighbor erected the fence.  And now Lili will be going to court.  Too bad that she didn't have the lawyer on speed dial - they might have been able to stop the fence from going up. Such is life....

Thursday, November 1, 2018

A busy day, most of it spent around the house.

Above is the license that WDJ has been using for 3 years.  Her womb has produced two male children, and she was fertile for the better part of her adult life - like most cisgender females. But a big error was made when she surrendered her New York license for a Tennessee license.  Can you spot it?

- - - - - -

When I woke up this morning, I was still feeling slightly under the weather. If I had been feeling this way yesterday, I'd have gone to the board meeting.  Instead, it was today, and I took the time to fold and organize some laundry, take out more garbage, and clean up some of the mess that has to be cleaned up before the cleaning lady comes on Thursday.

Tonight's dining meetup was scheduled for 7:00 at the Towne Crier Cafe.  This would be my first time at the place since it moved from Pawling.  (Darryl's Place is in the Crier's old location. And I haven't been there yet...)  But first, would be coffee with WDJ.  So I got showered, shaved, made up and dressed, and I was out the door around 3 pm.

My first stop would be at The Avenue, so that I could find some "Boot liner" socks.  This store wasn't carrying them, and I was not interested in their "B1G1 75% off" sale. To get 37.5% off, I'd have to buy two items - when I was not interested in that.  So I went back to Beacon and met WDJ at 5 pm at the Yankee Clipper diner.

- - - - - -

The Yankee Clipper is one of the places WDJ and I have often gone to have a bite to eat and something to drink (usually coffee or iced tea). And today was no exception, save both of us were into having something light, as we were going "next door" 2 hours later for dinner. As soon as we sat down, WDJ showed me her license and asked me to find the error - which I did relatively quickly.  She mentioned that bringing home a "Northern Gal" was a status symbol for many of the well educated men in the area. (I won't go into any more details here. In my humble opinion, the error on the license says a lot about the locals.)

Next, it was down the block to the Towne Crier, where we found two of the regulars having an early dinner with another family member up from Florida. (She has the same opinion that I have regarding people in the South, but that's another story for another post.) Within a half hour, our group expanded from five to twenty two people. But we all were seeming to have good conversations going on around us. And when dinner came, open mic music also started to play.  But it didn't interfere much with the conversations going on.

All too soon dinner ended and WDJ and I had to walk back to our cars.  I won't be seeing her again until she comes back North for the warmer months. She'll be missed.

- - - - - -

One of the things I had to do was pick up a new vacuum cleaner.  My cleaning lady has been pestering me for months to buy a new one. After dinner, I went to Walmart and I finally did so, using a small fraction of the proceeds from a cashed out IRA.  Hopefully, she'll be happy when she comes tomorrow afternoon.....

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Sometimes, it's better to miss a co-op board meeting.

Given how long I've been taking to recover from my cold, I figured that it would be best for me NOT to go to the co-op board meeting tonight.  Yes, I had the energy to go to the meeting. But, no, I didn't want to infect anyone there, especially when one board member is apparently in her 80's.

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Last night, as I was about to go to sleep, I decided to again try the full face CPAP mask. I wanted to find out whether I could get a good sleep with it on when I have a cold. This time, I would wear the chin strap so that I could minimize the feeling of over puffed cheeks that caused me to abandon the mask during my original sleep test.  Guess what?  Once I got into a good mouth position, the cheeks didn't over inflate, and I was able to get a good night's sleep.  And this morning, I was able to say that my experiment worked - I could take the mask with me on a cruise with Lili to minimize the noise that kept her awake during my recent cruise.

I was already semi conscious when the alarm rang at 9 am. And I was at full consciousness by the time I turned off the alarm. The first thing I did was to prepare some laundry for the washing machine. And then I noticed how cool it became by the time I woke up.  (Last night, I turned down the heat and opened up the windows to get comfortable.)  So I closed the windows a little, pushed up the heat slightly, and started to get comfortable again.

At this point, I had two things I had to do.  One was rescheduling a doctor's appointment.  And the other was a third attempt to resolve an issue with my pension provider.  Of course, there were other things to do, such as laundry, but these are what floated to the top of my mind this morning.  (Of these things, I didn't take care of the issue with my pension provider. But that can wait until tomorrow.)

- - - - - -

Sometime in the afternoon, I got a call from WDJ.  We caught up on things, talking on subjects I won't mention here. But I can say that I mentioned a gaming meetup I wanted to go to that had one of GFJ's friends and the Queen Bee (from the Whine and Dine group) registered to attend. I can only imagine what would have happened if I did so.  Sadly, she will not get a chance to talk with Lili tomorrow, as Lili is trying to lose the weight she gained on the cruise.

Later on, I checked my email.  The volunteer coordinator at the GLBT center asked me to come in on Friday to run their afternoon "Film Friday" session.  This changed my plans for Thursday and Friday.  And it was just as well, as I need to talk with my cleaning lady when she comes this week.

When I got around to chatting with Lili, I got caught up on the latest in regard to her rental house's property line.  Seems like Lili's problem may a full fledged legal issue, as her neighbor doesn't want to negotiate a quick change to the property line that separates the two properties.  If the neighbor attempts to put up a fence on the property line, the police will be called.  The land is in dispute; a case will likely be filed by someone.  Soon to court the litigants will go.   (And around, and around, and around we go....)

- - - - - -

Of course, I checked in with one of my fellow co-op board members and got briefed on what went on.  For reasons I can't say here, I believe that we must take some specific actions quickly. And I hope that after next week's emergency meeting, we'll be able to do just that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My first full day at home, and I wish I could have stayed in bed.

Last night, I went to sleep early and woke up late today.  If it weren't for the need to take care of a few things, such as restocking the refrigerator, I'd have given up on the day and stayed in bed resting.  But the headaches of life awaited me, and I couldn't let my cold stop me from taking care of needed errands.

- - - - - -

Waking up around noon, I had to review last month's meeting minutes for the co-op board, and spotted an error.  After that, I had to see about changing the credit card used to replenish my EZ-Pass account.  The online system hasn't been working for me, and it wasn't working as of late afternoon.  So I knew I had one stop to make, in order to get a problem fixed by a human.  Next, my mail wasn't delivered as expected.  Therefore, I had to make a stop at the post office before it closed to pick up a week's worth of mail. And then, I knew I was going to Stew Leonard's to pick up food for both the refrigerator and the freezer.

Around 3, I got showered and dressed and made my way out the door before the post office closed.  It's hard to believe how much mail still comes in via the post office, including "last mile" deliveries once made by UPS and Fed-Ex. So I wasn't surprised to find that my new dress was waiting for me at the post office.  Next, it was off to EZ-Pass.  Although I got my replenishment data updated, the online system wasn't letting me log in.  (Later on, it was still broken.  I'll have to call for service sometime soon.)  After that, it was off to Stew Leonard's.  About $70 later, I was on my way home to restock the fridge and then to eat.

One of the things that has bothered me as of late is that I can't get a printed statement of deposit from the people who issue my pension "checks." I need this document to file for subsidies under the affordable care act. And after two letters to my former organization, I can't get any help.  I'm frustrated and don't know what to do next.  (Pat, do you have any ideas?)

I figure that I'll try the voice assist system again and hope that I get someone who knows what is going on. If not, I hate the idea of spending $10k for health insurance when I should be entitled to a subsidy by law.