Monday, June 24, 2019

Closing up a weekend with GFJ

This was the first weekend in a while that GFJ was here from Thursday night until Sunday evening.  And as much as I'd have liked her to stay another night, I'm also relieved that I'd have my bed to myself.  But I digress....

- - - - - -

Today started with both of us having interrupted sleeps, and knowing we'd feel tired later in the day. After a quick breakfast (I had dinner leftovers, and GFJ had eggs), we drove down to Long Island to see my family for Father's day.

Arriving at my brother's place, we found an empty driveway.  My brother had gone to pick up my dad and get him a haircut before bringing him home to see the family.  So I figured that I'd walk around to the back door (unusual for me) to see if anyone was around.  No one answered the open door when I entered, so I "shouted" a little and got the attention of my niece, who then kept us occupied in conversation.

One of the things my niece mentioned was her story about buying a wedding dress.  After a few hours of shopping in NYC, she found a store that had exactly the dress she wanted, after she tried it on in front of her mother.  However, the management wouldn't sell it to my niece, claiming that he couldn't alter it enough and make it look good on her..  She is a size 8, and the dress is a size 14 (16?).   No other dresses in this style were to be had anywhere in NYC - they were all sold out at every bridal shop she contacted by phone and that the manufacturer confirmed that the style had recently been discontinued.  After at least an hour of waiting around the store, the saleslady convinced the manager to sell the dress for 75% off, with the requirement that she not expect the store to alter the dress for my niece.  After the sale, the saleslady slipped the store's tailor's card to my niece, and they arranged to have the dress cut down to my niece's size without the store making a profit on the deal.  Even with this, my niece had two more bridal salon visits scheduled.  Both GFJ and I told her that we feel that she should shop for a backup dress - just in case things don't work out with the first dress.

My brother finally arrived with my dad, and he apologized for the absence of my sister in law.  She was suffering with a migraine headache, and stayed in bed the whole time we were there.  I gave my dad his Father's Day present, then the four of us enjoyed hut dogs and burgers from the grill.  We chatted until 6 pm, and then we had to leave.  I had to get home early enough, so that GFJ wouldn't be falling asleep on her drive home.

We got home around 7:30, and GFJ was on the road by 8:00.  Hopefully, she'll get a good night's sleep tonight, as she has a lot ahead of her in the morning.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Quickie: The AC is out for service

GFJ has been a little bit of a friendly nag of late, reminding me to get my dysfunctional Air Conditioner serviced.  She's been a little bit annoying, but it has been in both of our interests to get my AC fixed, as we need it running to be comfortable in the apartment this summer.

- - - - - -

It's relatively rare that GFJ comes down on a Thursday night.  But she had a audiologist appointment this afternoon, and it made sense for her to see Marian in passing on Thursday, waking up next to Mario in the morning.

After eating a hearty breakfast, GFJ got ready to see the doctor while I tried to rest a little.  About an hour later, she nagged me a little (her wording, not mine) to call factory authorized service. I did just that.  Two hours and $160 later, the truck came and a vacancy was made where my air conditioner has been for the past 3 years.  I was told that I should hear back from them sometime on Saturday (or early next week) regarding the final cost of repair. If the problem is with the compressor, I have warranty coverage for 5 years.  Anything else, and I have to pay for it.  But that will still be cheaper than buying a new AC - especially now, with Trump's tariffs raising the price of many appliances by 10%-15%.Shortly after the truck left, I showered and dressed again as Mario. Then GFJ and I went to the diner for a bite to eat.

Knowing that her car burns a little oil (1 quart per 750 miles), we picked up 2 quarts of synthetic oil, then went for a nice drive.  Eventually, we made it home, and she topped off her engine oil.  This way, we probably won't be thinking of oil as we drive to see her mom for lunch in central Connecticut.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wishing I could help a friend shop for a car.

A new car.  It's something I want, but don't want to commit the funds to get one.  And yet, I expect within the next year or two, that I will need one.  So this is a time I wish I could take a weekend off from GFJ and help a friend shop for a new car.

- - - - - -

Father's Day weekend is one day I expect to spend with family, knowing that my dad doesn't have that many more years to live.  At the age of 91, each holiday could be his last holiday, and I make sure to do my best effort to be there for him.  This will especially be true around Christmas, as my brother will be out of the country visiting my niece's future in-laws.  But I am getting way ahead of myself....

One friend (who only knows me as Marian) asked me to help her shop for a car.  The problem is that she is only available on weekends until the end of the month, and I am occupied with GFJ every weekend.  Part of me wants to take off a weekend, so that I (as Marian) can socialize on the weekend.  But my relationship with GFJ is worth more than making myself available as Marian on the weekends.

I'd have liked to spend a day car shopping with JS.  She needs a reliable car more than ever, and had a narrow focus on the cars she'd choose from.  Next September, she'll be driving from Connecticut to Brooklyn every weekday, and she'll need a car on which she can rack up the miles without worry. Reliability is her most important concern, with price coming in a close second place. Japanese brands such as Toyota are on the top of her shopping list, and little thought seems to have been given to American brands such as Ford or Chevrolet. Given that I'd like to piggyback my own car browsing on her car shopping, I missed a golden opportunity to do this.

However, if JS decided to wait until school ends to do this shopping, I'll be glad to spend a weekday making the rounds of all the dealers with her.  Sadly, I doubt that this will happen, as her July already looks to be booked up with activities including the ferrying of a car to Florida.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A visit to another LGBT Center

Nyack, New York.  It is developing a great Main Street where restaurants flourish.  However, the local LGBT center is off the main drag (no pun intended) by a couple of blocks and the entrance to their building is around the corner from the official street address.  From what I've been told, there are a large number of Rednecks in the village who are not comfortable with our community, so they have a low key presence in town.

- - - - - -

But first....

Today was the monthly visit of my cleaning lady.  Since I wanted to say hello to her for a change, I stayed in Mario mode until she arrived.  (I wanted to let her know that the next door neighbor might be in the need for a cleaning lady, and that she might want to leave her calling card by the door.)  This allowed me extra time to clean up some of the clutter in the apartment, so that she could work her magic on the place.

Unlike past visits, I didn't have much of a chat with the cleaning lady.  She was rushing to get out the door, and I was preoccupied with my thoughts. So once she left, I decided to rest for a while, and almost forgot that I had a 5:30 dinner appointment in Nyack.  When I realized I was running late, I rushed to get ready as Marian, then decided to take the Tappan Zee Bridge to Nyack, instead of taking the Bear Mountain Bridge.  This might have been a mistake, but a minor one.  I got to the restaurant about 5 minutes late.

Dinner at the Communal Kitchen was good. But I wouldn't make a regular habit of eating there, as the three of us spent about $65 each for dinner.  Would I say that the place was worth the money?  Probably.  I was just lucky to have enough folding money in my pocket to cover my share of expenses.

Following dinner, we walked to watch Major! at the LGBT center.  Arts Westchester had awarded the Pride Center of Rockland a grant to show some Transgender films, and this was the kickoff event. Although I was uncomfortable (my knees were killing me), I'm glad I saw the movie.  I never knew that this woman (Major Griffin-Gracy) was present at so many turning points in Transgender history.  And it is important to keep the accomplishments of this woman alive for the future to learn from, so that others can take on the mantle of advancing the rights of Transgenders in our society.

When the movie was over, the three of us from Arts Westchester went our own ways.  GFJ was waiting for me at home, and I made sure to change the bandage on her would before doing much of anything else. Thankfully, the wound has a scab where an blood/pus flowing opening was before.  And applying the new bandage/dressing was a much more pleasant task than it was this past weekend....

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Lili "likes" visiting doctors on days I have a Meetup scheduled.

I had two meetups to choose from today.  The first was my weekly Beacon Dining Meetup.  The second was a gathering in Westchester, where 20 of us would chat while listening to a local steel drum band.  And you can guess which one I went to by looking at the above picture.  But first....

- - - - - -

Good sleep eluded me last night, as I fell asleep sometime after 2 am, and woke up sometime after 8 am.  Normally, this would be enough sleep for me if it were a good sleep.  But for some reason, it wasn't.  So I figured that I'd nap for a couple of hours before getting moving.  However, that plan was thwarted by Lili asking me to come with her to her doctor on Long Island.

Both of Lili's breasts were draining fluids, and Lili's doctor wanted her to come to his office to be safe.  So I showered quickly, got dressed, and out the door to meet her at 1:15.  Once I got there, we rushed out to Long Island - and ended up waiting a while for her doctor to make room for her in between patients. And then, it took about an hour for him to finish with Lili.  By the time he was done with Lili, I knew that we were going to hit rush hour, and that we would likely not make a 7 pm Meetup.

We stopped for a slice of pizza on the way back from Long Island, and by the time we got to my car, it was too late for Lili to make the Beacon meetup.  As for me, I went to the Tarrytown Meetup, and had an expected issue finding parking near the Yacht club.  Although I didn't recognize any of the people, the Meetup hostess recognized me, as well as one or two other women.  And it was their recognition that made it easy to find people to sit with once I arrived.

Sadly, it was too noisy to have good conversations with any of the women there.  Hopefully, I'll be able to meet them again in a less noisy atmosphere, and get to know them better.  It's nice to be seen as a woman by other women - this makes all my efforts to blend in with women well worthwhile....

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

I almost forgot to take care of things.

Rocketman.  I liked the film, but Lili didn't.  If you're looking for a bio-pic with meat on the bone, this is not the film for you.  But, if you're looking at an artistic way of painting Elton John's life with music, this is the film for you.

- - - - - -

I forgot that I promised Lili that I would go with her when she visited her bariatric surgeon for a followup.  So, when Lili called me around 1 pm, I suggested that we meet after her appointment, then go to dinner and a movie afterwards.

Lili's taste in movies is different from mine, and she wanted to see an action film.  As for me, I wanted to see a bio-pic, or a story with a real plot.  But I could have gone with escapist trash, such as seeing Conan the Barbarian at the Drafthouse.  The compromise that Lili and I agreed on was Rocketman, the story of Elton John's life. We figured that she had a shot at making the 4:30 showing, and she said she'd call me when she was on her way to the theater.

Now that I knew when and where to meet Lili, I got showered, shaved, and dressed.  Lili called as I was applying my makeup to tell me that she was going to be at the theater at 4:15, and asked me to buy candy for her to eat while at the movie.  There was no way I was going to do this, as it only helps Lili stuff herself with empty calories.  This is the last thing Lili should want, as she is upset that she gained 10 lbs. since her bariatric surgery.  So I let her buy her own candy, while I picked up a small energy bar to sate my hunger after 7 hours of not eating.

While Lili was candy shopping, I called the factory authorized service center for my air conditioner.  They said that my AC's compressor was out of warranty, as it was over 5 years since I bought the appliance.  So I had to start thinking of alternate service arrangements or replacement of the unit.  OUCH!  I chatted with GFJ for a bit, and she recommended that I find out exactly when I bought the appliance - I might be able to squeak it in under the last few weeks of my warranty period. (This would prove to be good advice.)

Lili took care of our tickets, using the gift card we gave her and her (then) boyfriend on their first anniversary of being together.  And once we sat down, she opened up her stock of popcorn, Swedish fish, and chocolate for the carbohydrate/sugar rush she craved.  As for me, I could have done without anything, but Lili kept trying to push junk snacks my way - and it was hard to resist after a while.  By the time the movie was done, Lili was no longer in the mood to have dinner, and I was no longer in the mood to go back indoors.

- - - - - -

It was 7:30, and I decided to take a drive to the Avenue in Newburgh. GFJ and I chatted along the way up, and she talked about her visit to the doctor.  He said that she must have had an awfully good friend to squeeze out all that pus and pooled blood from the wound. And she mentioned that some of the stuff got on me while I was taking care of her.  (I should have been wearing glasses.  But, thankfully, the mess hit my shirt and was easily cleaned off with a moist cloth.)  By the time I reached the Beacon-Newburgh bridge, GFJ and I finished our chat, and I reached the Avenue shortly afterward.

There were two "new" salesladies on the floor when I entered the store, and I doubt that either knew I was transgender when we chatted.  Both hated what the store had to offer, as it neither fit the needs of younger women, nor did it fit the needs of older women.  The styles were either frumpy, tacky or both frumpy and tacky.  The buyers for the chain had no idea of what women are wearing these days, and I started to feel a little sad for these ladies.  Given that one of the two anchor stores in the mall (The Bon Ton) had closed in the past year, and that Sears would soon be closing, I don't expect that this store will be around next year at this time. 

- - - - - -

I left the store shortly before it was scheduled to close, then drove home.  Once home, I pulled apart my filing cabinet to find proof of when I bought my bedroom air conditioner.  Lo and behold, I bought it in 2016, not 2014 as I previously thought.  So I can call the authorized service center to see what they can do for me in the morning.  I guess my pooka is looking out for me after all.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A visit to DMV

The Peekskill office of New York DMV.  Usually, lines move quickly here, but today was a rainy day exception to the norm.  GFJ told me to do my renewal on some other day. However, I decided to kill a couple of hours waiting for my number to be called - just in case something went wrong, such as my eye test.

- - - - - -

Not having much sleep last night, I could have stayed in bed all day. The forecast of rain gave me an opportunity to make lemonade out of the lemons I was handed. Specifically, I didn't want to go out in the rain as Marian, so I took advantage of a "Mario Mode Day" to do a task or two that required Mario's presence.

Peekskill is only 5-10 minutes away from me, so I decided to choose closeness as my reason for going to this DMV office.  When I got there, it was busier than usual, and I needed to ask someone for help.  Once I found out which line to get on to start the process, I was able to get my picture taken and was assigned a number.  Little did I know that I'd wait about 90 minutes for this number to be called. 

Waiting at DMV is a form of purgatory. None of the benches are particularly comfortable, and the people you wait with are a true cross section of society.  Semi-attended children are running around, but they are not interested in causing trouble. Like their parents, they struggle to fight the boredom that permeates the place.  After a while, one starts to notice the little things, such as being able to make a reservation for service. Then you start to wonder: Why didn't I do that? Instead of waiting 90 minutes to be processed, you could wait 15 minutes or less to be serviced.  That's the kind of information you file away for use the next time you or your friends have to visit this windowless place of torture by boredom.

Eventually, your number gets called, and you get the privilege of being able to apply for your license.  There are two forms you could choose from: (1) A regular license renewal which  only permits you to drive your car, and (2) A Real-ID or Enhanced license renewal which permits you to drive a car and may be used for identification when dealing with the TSA imposed purgatory encountered at airports. In addition, if you choose the Enhanced license and pay another $30, you can use this document for land crossings between the USA, Canada, and Mexico.  But first, you must have your paperwork ready.

Assuming you've chosen the second kind of license, you'll need to establish your identity, your residence, your right to work in the USA, and your citizenship.  In my case, my driver's license proves who I am to the state.  My social security card proves that I have the right to work here.  My passport shows that I am a citizen, and that the Federal government has acknowledged my identity. And two utility bills show that I still live at the place on my license renewal application.  In my case, my license showed my name as Mario L. Johnson, while my passport showed my name as Mario Luigi Johnson.  So that had to be "Corrected", as well as how my mailing address appears on my license.  Of course, there was the little hiccup that I expected.  Traditional utility bills are for gas, electric, and phone service.  For me, I have cable service (with triple play) and electric service. This anomaly wasted another few minutes while the clerk found out whether she could accept this proof.  Luckily, she accepted it, and all there was left to do was take the eye test and pay for my renewal. And with that, I was out the door two hours after I arrived.

- - - - - -

As I left the place, the rain started coming down in buckets.  Instead of going home and unboxing my Freshly, I went to the local Chinese buffet and overate.  I hadn't eaten or consumed any liquids since I woke up, and I didn't care about calories anymore.  As much as I should have gone home and nuked two of the Freshlys, I wanted something more. 

My next stop was home for the night.  Several people wanted to talk with me, but I was too tired to do so.  I didn't regain consciousness until 9 pm.  So I figured that it was best to write this entry before my evening chat with GFJ....

Monday, June 17, 2019

A quick weekend with GFJ.

First, I want to mention that the outer red lines are the borders of the adhesive tapes that kept gauze on this wound.  Second, it looks much better now than it did two days ago. And third, GFJ is going to the doctor again because of this cyst related issue.

- - - - - -

GFJ was supposed to come down Friday night, but was feeling a bit ill. But before I proceed any further, I must provide some background....

Several weeks ago, GFJ developed a rash in an area that is defined roughly by the adhesive tape boundaries.  In the center was an area the diameter of an old silver dollar, and it was painful when touched. This Monday, she went to the Dermatologist, and he said that the worst of the problem was gone, and that the body was healing on its own.  So he gave her a shot and told her to call him back if the problem didn't go away on its own.  By Wednesday, things had again gotten worse. Again, she was very uncomfortable wearing a bra, as the bra strap kept irritating the "healing" cyst.  So the doctor gave her a shot, and prescribed a new antibiotic.

By Friday, GFJ had developed a cough, and was afraid of infecting me.  (Father's day is next week, and she didn't want me catching anything before visiting my dad.)  She told me that we'd "play it by ear" regarding this weekend's visit.  By the next morning, her sheets were stained, as well as the mattress protector underneath.  The infected pores had all opened up, and the area was draining. So she asked her female coworker to give her a hand with changing the dressing covering the cyst before coming down to my place.

When GFJ arrived, her shirt was already messed from the draining wound. (What else should I call it to be more accurate?) So I took a batch of cotton ovals I used to use for makeup removal, soaked them in alcohol, then used them to help "pop her big pimple". (Anyone who has seen "Dr. Pimple Popper", also known as Dr. Sandra Lee, will understand what I was doing. I just won't describe it here.) Then I covered the open wound with an antibiotic and a dry cotton oval, then taped everything over the infected area until the next morning.

- - - - - -

Sunday came, and we took it easy most of the day.  When it came time to get showered and dressed, I made sure to remind GFJ that the doctor told her to contact him today with more information regarding the wound. If things weren't getting better, he'd make the time to see her before anything got worse.

Once both of us had showered, I took off the old dressing to find it was mostly soaked with fluid still coming out of the wound.  So I played pimple popper again.  But this time, I truly emptied out the wound before applying antibiotic and covering it with cotton pads.  (Again, I won't go into details, save that an area that once had a quarter's side bump now had an equivalent area's depression in its place.)  This time, I knew that she should send the picture to her doctor immediately and cancel the Meetup plans she had for tomorrow.  But she ignored me.  Instead, she said she'd send him the picture tomorrow night, so that he'd make a spot for her on Tuesday morning. 

- - - - - -

GFJ left around 6, and I had an evening to myself.  So I texted my friend JS (from Ridgefield, CT) to see if we're still on for tomorrow.  Unfortunately, she scheduled 3 separate appointments for the day.  But once school ends, she'll have weekdays to get together. Then Lili called.  She wanted to know if I wanted to spend a day with her, as she did stuff on her son's house.  I passed on this invitation, as I have to find the time to go to DMV to renew my drivers license before month end. And tomorrow would be the perfect day for this task, as they expected it to rain during the day.

So now, it's back to binge watching "Tales of the City" on Netflix....

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Thinking about a cruise I can only book at the last minute

This was originally written at the beginning of the year.  We have since gone on the above cruise, and had a great time getting away for the week.  So please pardon the tense errors you might find when reading what I thought way back when....

- - - - - -

It's hard to believe that GFJ and I have been going together for a while.  And with the exception of one 6 month period (where I was open to dating others due to a temporary breakup), we've been together for 4 1/2 years now. It's hard to believe it's been that long for us, and yet it makes sense.  She's been unable to open up to her family that she's been actively dating until recently, as her divorce wasn't yet final until this fall. She has no clue about how her life will progress, as she has yet to sell the family homestead or get her new business up and running.  But I know she's upbeat about it, as she still feels the same way as she did about life when I wrote this post.

Going on a cruise together will be a bit strange for us, as we've only done 2 or 3 Atlantic City trips and a single trip to Rochester.  But first, she has to be available when the cruise sails, and both of us need to find the money for the trip.  There would likely be little or no sightseeing on this cruise, as Port Canaveral isn't known for much, and there's not much to see in Nassau.  But we'd get away for a week if all went right, and we'd see if we can deal with each other for 7 days straight.

- - - - - -

What I haven't mentioned so far is that this would be a Mario Mode trip.  It would feel strange for me to wear trousers in a tropical climate and wear a bathing suit that feels more like a pair of shorts.  I don't have that many summer clothes for going out as Mario. But I knew I had enough for a week away from home.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Lili and the surgeon

Without my normal amount of sleep, I had to rush out the door and meet Lili for a trip to her surgeon on Long Island.  If I hadn't promised Lili that I'd accompany her, I'd have ignored my alarms and slept until 10 or so.

- - - - - -

Only one thing was on my list of things to do, and that was to accompany Lili to Long Island and back.  Since I was traveling in Marian Mode, I had to get up a half hour earlier than if I were presenting as Mario and take care of shaving my body and making up my face.  It's not as bad as it could be without a routine, and the extra time I spend denuding my body of excess hair and applying makeup to my face is well worth it.  I like looking as pretty as possible when I face the outside world.

I met Lili at 9:15, and picked up breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts. Since it was "National Donut Day", both of us got an extra donut with our meals. As much as I like donuts, I wasn't going to eat two of them.  That doesn't mean that I didn't overeat today.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

On the way down to Long Island, Lili decided to make several phone calls to people on her contact list. I was a little bothered by this, as I couldn't check my voice mail.  But it's not a big deal, because the voice mail was intended for someone else - some dentist's assistant got my number instead of the person she wanted to contact.

We made it to her surgeon's with time to spare, and he took out some more stitches.  When we left his office, Lili pulled off on a quiet side street and showed me her breasts.  In fact, she wanted me to cop a feel, which I was glad to do. In a sweet and cynical frame, I commented: "If you ever get your labia reduced, I expect to grab your pussy.  That'll be one pussy that our president won't get to put his grubby hands on."  (Don't tell GFJ about this! 😀)

After a stop at a local Asian supermarket, we went to a local diner and had a big lunch.  Although I really didn't need the bowl of soup I had with my overstuffed sandwich, I enjoyed it very much. But given the choice between the roast beef sandwich I had and the pastrami sandwich she had, I know that I'll choose the pastrami next time we visit.

Lili started to get tired as we drove home. So I decided to call GFJ, and found out that she wasn't feeling that well today, and wouldn't be coming down tonight.  If I had known this in advance, I'd have made arrangements to do something tonight - either with one of Marian's friends, or with a meetup group that knows me as Marian.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Quickie: Another afternoon volunteering, and another evening playing games.

I wonder how big the chess pieces should be to look good on this board.  Moving them would remind me of a scene from one of the Harry Potter films, where the players of the game were the chess pieces being moved around the board.

- - - - - -

GFJ is coming down tomorrow, and this forced me to stop procrastinating and do some laundry for a change.  I had 4 loads to do, and this took up the whole morning and early afternoon.  None of the wash has been properly folded and put away.  But, at least, I have clean clothes (for both Marian and Mario) and clean bed sheets to get me through the next couple of weeks.

Once done with laundry, I drove to the GLBT Center to do a volunteer stint.  This was relatively brainless work, as all I had to do was to insert a series of events into two calendars and set up meetings in Meetup.  This took me about 2 hours, but could have been done in half the time if I needed to rush.

Next, it was off to game night, with a stop for food at Panera.  Once I finished with my lobster roll (which I could have gotten for half the price at Stew Leonard's), I went to Stew's to pick up a crumb cake for game night.  I arrived early, so I killed time by parking nearby and resting for a half hour.

Game night was fun, though I lost the one game I played.....

- - - - - -

What I haven't mentioned was two things:

  1. NPWJ left NPW as of Tuesday, and there is no one onboard to replace her.  Given the size of the organization, I'll bet that they will soon be closing up shop, as the only other employee is another junior part timer.  I'll keep my eyes on things there.
  2. Another non-profit has a full time grunt position open.  After I see one person I know that works there, I'll probably send in my resume to apply for this position.  Even though I could do the job in my sleep, it might be a job worth having because of the health benefits provided to employees.
I figure that if NPW stays in existence, I might be able to go back and do some more volunteer work for my resume.  With the other non-profit, I have to be careful, as I don't want them to think that I will cut and run when/if a better job is offered to me.  My goal is to be hired as Marian, and to establish a new work history as Marian.  Money is not that important.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Another Hump Day, and all is well.

This is a picture of an acquaintance's desk which is even more cluttered than my desk at home.  I'll never understand how she keeps things straight, but she does.  And I've found that a messy desk is a sign of someone who has better things to do than put an artificial order on things.

- - - - - -

Today, I was awake enough to enjoy the latest episode of Perry Mason on the vidiot box.  It's the right type of show to help me wake up: I'm slowly brought to consciousness by dialog, and I have about an hour to wake up fully before I need to change the station.

By the time I got moving to do anything, it was close to lunch time.  So I nuked one of my Freshly meals, then hung out at the apartment.  Around 3, I overcooked a burger, then decided to get ready to go out.  EP and I had arranged to meet for a while, so I got showered and dressed to visit.

I made it over to EP's around 6, and we chatted for an hour and a half.  She took the picture above, but forgot to turn on the flash.  So I had to play around a bit to make it look nice, editing out all the excess light in the background. 

EP was raised by her grandparents, because her parents could not handle the responsibility of raising a child.  Thirty years later, after recovering from a decade long substance abuse bender, she does not yet have the discipline to work at a job requiring a fixed schedule, nor does she have the financial skills to manage what little money flows into her hands.  Today, she told me that she doesn't even have a checking account, and has been living off the largesse of her family.  So I told her the first step that she should take to build up a financial history of her own - open up a small account at a local bank, and use it for most of her low-value transactions.  Do I think she'll take my advice?  No.  She's a lost soul who will always need someone else to take care of her - and I'm glad I'm not in a position to do that.

By the time Jeopardy ended, EP was getting tired, and it was time for me to leave.  I decided to drive to Catherine's and see what they had in Paramus.  There was no way I was going to spend $60 on a Navy Blue or Heather Gray version of the Violet dress that I bought about a month ago.  So after seeing nothing I was interested in, I stopped into Target for a few minutes, and then drove home for the night.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I was blissfully resting in bed when Lili called.

The most important thing on my docket was a dentist visit.  The filling in one of my molars was failing, and I needed to have it crowned before the tooth decayed beyond repair.  So I tried to make sure I was well relaxed before the visit to the dentist down the hill from me.

- - - - - -

I didn't plan to wake up early today.  Lili didn't sleep last night, and she needed to talk about the problems with her son, her daughter in law, her ex-husband, and a friend with whom she has not been in contact in several months.  Most of all, she needed to talk about the friend who lives near her son, and figure out a way to get in contact with this woman.  This gave Lili an excuse to call me while I was still semi-conscious, and not wanting to wake up fully.

After helping Lili a little, I got off the phone.  Getting ready to see the dentist took a little longer than usual due to GI tract issues.  So I rushed to get ready to see the dentist and got there a few minutes late.  Unfortunately for me, the dentist was running late, and my rushing down the hill wasn't needed.  Although I could have run back to my apartment to fetch the credit card I wanted to use, I didn't bother doing so.  I still get cash back from using this card, and I could risk having this charge on this month's bill.

Today's visit lasted about 3 hours, if you include the wasted time mentioned above.  While in the chair, the dentist and I had an interesting chat. We talked about Obamacare, DC politics (as it relates to health care), and how he is "paying it forward" by teaching at a New York City dental school.  He is giving real world lessons in "chair side manner" as well as the finer points in practicing dentistry.  One thing he teaches his students is NOT to ask for help until the student dentist has learned something new about the patient.  This is the part of my dentist's work that he enjoys most.  By the time our chat ended, he mentioned a possible interest in having lunch one day and chatting outside of the office.  If he is interested in doing so, I'll make sure that he has my email address, so that we can coordinate our schedules to have a lunch together.

- - - - - -

Once finished with the dentist, I drove to the library and picked up a book I want to read for my book club meetup at month end.  It's a thick tome, so I will pace out my reading to complete the book in 3 weeks' time.  And then I had a late lunch at the local pizzeria.

I spent a couple of hours at home, then drove to Beacon for this week's dining meetup.  Parking spaces near the restaurant were at a premium, and I found a spot about a block from the restaurant.  Thankfully, the weather was cloudy, but not wet.  So walking that block was a pleasure. Along the way, I met the brother/sister pair who I often chat with, and we walked into the place together.  The brother saw our group on the left, and we made a bee line to the table.

One thing I don't like about many restaurants is that they try to cram too many people at one table.  This restaurant was one of those places.  The table was too short to hold 3 people on each side, but too long to hold 2 people without wasting space. Given that I am a big gal, I tried to find an open spot wide enough for my big posterior - and I found one.  Luckily, we didn't have enough people to fill every empty seat.  This allowed me to have the room I needed at the table to feel comfortable.

Although the food was good, I probably wouldn't go back to this place on my own.  The food menu was one short page, while the drink menu was 3 long pages.  I like alcohol, but I like being legally able to drive even more. With a driver's license that has my male identity, I find it prudent to be more careful than usual when presenting as a female.

- - - - - -

When dinner was done, I called Lili.  She had fallen asleep, and hung up on my call.  During a returned call to GFJ, Lili called me - she couldn't get back to sleep.  Then, she told me the further story of trying to find her "friend" who lives near her son and daughter in law.

Without going into details, Lili found out that her friend had gotten divorced about 5-6 months ago, and didn't bother to call Lili. After finding out the story of why the woman cut off contact, Lili felt betrayed. I can't fault her for those feelings. This woman leeches off of everyone in her life, and Lili saw the truth about her "friend" for the first time.

Lili's son called while we were in the middle of the call, and there wasn't anything more we needed to say to each other tonight.  And there isn't anything more I can say about tonight....

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Driving home as Mario, and spending the day as Marian.

Today, I drove home from GFJ's place as Mario, went home to change into Marian Mode for the rest of the day.  Over the past few years, I became skilled at making the quick change from Mario to Marian. But I still have to think a little bit about the intra-day transition, as the process is slightly different from that used on days I can be out as Marian all day.

- - - - - -

Normally, I am not aware of whether air is being forced out of my mouth when I use my CPAP machine at night.  My chin strap keeps my mouth "mostly shut" and there is enough air pressure to prevent the sleep apnea events that once put my health at risk. However, I sometimes release small amounts of air through my lips, making noises which can keep a nearby person awake.

This morning, I awoke at 6 am to find GFJ sleeping in her son's bedroom.  When she finally got out of bed, she told me that I was making noises while asleep and that she didn't want to wake me.  I told her that I have no problems using medical tape to keep my lips from flapping, and that I did this on my last cruise with Lili.  Hopefully, I'll remember to bring a roll of medical tape with me on my next visit to GFJ's place.

- - - - - -

After another big breakfast, GFJ and I went our separate ways.  GFJ went to her doctor who drained the pus from her cyst.  (He didn't clear the hardened gook under the pus, because the surrounding area is fighting off the infection that created the pus.)  I drove home at a leisurely pace, and found my Freshly box on its side in front of my door.  (I'll have to complain about this soon.  But I want to get the delivery person used to climbing my stairs before I inform the folks at Freshly about how their product is being delivered.) I put the Freshly meals in the refrigerator, and changed into Marian Mode.

Once ready, I drove to Arts Westchester for the monthly Ambassadors meeting. While there, I volunteered for another event being held in mid-June, and discussed how I'll meet up with the other two people attending Rockland County's Pride Center's showing of "Major!"  When done there, I decided to drive home and go out later on.  By the time 7:00 came around, I realized that I wasn't going out again and called it a night....

Monday, June 10, 2019

The weather held out just long enough....

This was to be a weekend up at GFJ's place.  It's been a little over 2 weeks since the two of us were together, and her son was coming up (with his girlfriend) for a friend's wedding nearby.

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

It too me forever to get out of the house on Saturday morning. Did I say "Morning?"  I really should have written "Afternoon."  Instead of getting up to GFJ's place at 3:00, I didn't even leave my place until after 3:15.  Since this was going to be one of the few days I'd be around my place as Mario, I made sure to make a stop at the local drug store to pick up a prescription.  Once done there, I originally planned to stop by the library and pick up a book to be read for a book club meeting at month end. However, knowing that I wouldn't get the time to read the book over the weekend, I decided to hold off until returning from GFJ's place on Monday.

I arrived at GFJ's place around 5:00, and her son (with girlfriend) had already gone to the wedding. Both of us hoped that the expected rain would hold off until the wedding festivities were over. Since that was not our concern, we decided to have a quick dinner, then make evening plans afterward.

Unfortunately, GFJ's back was still sore from an infected cyst.  You'll note that it's in a very inconvenient location, and the swelling caused any nearby touch to make GFJ wince in pain.  Sneaking in a few hours of intimacy was out of the question. So we decided to go to see "Ask Dr. Ruth" at the Rosendale theater.

Volunteers staff the Rosendale theater. It runs both popular films and art house films, bringing a little bit of "civilization" to the Hudson Valley.  Being a non-profit organization allows the theater to charge lower prices than the multiplex in Poughkeepsie, and allows it to attract locals who would never go into New York City to see the films this theater shows. 
After the movie, GFJ and I drove back to her place to waitr her son and his girlfriend to come home before we retired for the night.

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

Sunday morning came, and GFJ's son (with girlfriend) ate a quick breakfast before heading home to Baltimore.  They had a 5 hour drive in front of them, and we hoped they'd make it back without hitting any of the expected rain.  Once they left, GFJ worked on her class assignment for a few hours while I surfed the web and read news articles.

GFJ finished her class work around 4 pm, which was both perfect for me to break away from the TV and for us to drive to the rail trail and get in a half hour of walking. Instead of a quick ride to the Walkill Valley Rail Trail, GFJ took us on a scenic tour of the nearby Williams Lake property before driving to the trail. 

My late wife and I were married a little over 34 years ago.  Our wedding night was spent at the (now former) Williams Lake resort. (I won't go into details of that night or the morning after, save one - my wife said that this would be the one night I would not wear a nightgown to bed.)  Seeing this property vacant saddens me a little, as it's another part of my past that I can never again connect with. And I feel a little sadder when I see unpaved, bulldozed roads on the property for yet unbuilt houses.  By the time GFJ finished her exploration of the property, the clouds were coming in, and I wasn't sure if we'd have enough time for our walk.

We reached the rail trail's parking lot and applied bug spray over ourselves before going out on the trail.  As I feared, the rain started just after we reached the Rosendale Trestle.  At that point, I ran to the car to stay tolerably dry, while GFJ walked and got wet.  So, we drove back to GFJ's place, had dinner and made it a night....

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Quickie: The postman did not cometh....

I remember when the post office made honest attempts to deliver packages. In the past, one could count on them to be reliable. But recently, something else happened....

The above dress was supposed to be dropped off at my apartment.  I was indoors since 11 am, and there was nothing getting in the way of dropping off a small package in front of my door.  However, earlier that day, either the USPS or UPS delivered 2 large boxes to the apartment next door.

When I decided to track my package, I saw the following for the delivery status:

May 27, 2019, 6:51 pm Delivery Attempted - No Access to Delivery Location CROTON ON HUDSON, NY 10520 
We attempted to deliver your package at 6:51 pm on May 28, 2019 in CROTON ON HUDSON, NY 10520 but could not access the delivery location. We will redeliver on the next business day.

May 27, 2019, 9:26 am Out for Delivery CROTON ON HUDSON, NY 10520  

There was no reason not to deliver my package save one - the postman didn't want to go back to his truck and bring my package upstairs.  In many ways, I can't blame him - he already had to bring two large packages upstairs.  But there is no excuse for lying.

Mind you, there could be another explanation - a second delivery person, not familiar with the complex saw a temporarily blocked entrance and made an excuse not to get out of his truck in the rain.  But I was hoping on wearing this dress as soon as I receive it, and that will be put off for another couple of days.

PS: I got compliments when I wore this dress for the first time.  So I ordered another in a different color to be delivered sometime next week.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Today's focus was on healthcare.

Why such a depressing picture, when the news of the day isn't bad?  Well, it's the best photo I have that illustrates the business of health care and how the patient seems to be a secondary focus.

- - - - - -

Today was a half and half day.  The morning was to be spent in Mario Mode, as I had a doctor's appointment at 10 am, while the afternoon and evening was to be spent as Marian because of a visit to the nursing home to take care of minor matters there.  So it didn't help that I had awakened at 7 am and wished I could eat before seeing the doctor.

Arriving at the doctor's office, I was glad that I had a list of all the medications I've been taking.  It was time to get information about everything I'm taking into the mail order pharmacy offered by my insurance plan, so that I can order refills (as a 3 month supply) and avoid multiple visits to the drug store in any given month. After the usual monitoring of blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar levels, the doctor and I got into a conversation regarding world affairs. And we're closer in mind to what's going on in the world than one might expect given our different positions in life. Before I left, the assistant took some blood and sent it off for A1C testing and for Cholesterol testing.  (That's when the doctor noticed that neither had been tested in 2 years. This doesn't make me feel good about him today.) 

- - - - - -

After a quick lunch at home, I drove over to the nursing home to hand in some paperwork and get a pneumonia shot.  Chatting a little with the Assistant head of Nursing, I found out that her absence for the past 2 weeks was caused by her getting pneumonia. Once done with her, I chatted with the daytime receptionist for a few minutes and got a compliment on the dress I was wearing. (See entry: Lili, 2 doctors, and a missed dinner)  Then it was time for me to go out for a drive.

Two businesses sent me coupons, that if used properly, could give me "free" merchandise. The Avenue sent me an email giving me $20 off on a $20+ purchase. And Lane Bryant did the same, but as 2 separate $10 freebies I could use on a visit now, and a visit the week after next.  So I drove to lower county and considered crossing the bridge to make a run to Catherine's.  With bridge traffic at a 2:30 pm standstill, I decided against visiting Catherine's today, and focused on The Avenue in Yonkers - where I found nothing interesting to buy. At this point, I was getting hungry, and I decided to make a run to Nathan's for a couple of hot dogs.

Years ago, the Nathan's in Yonkers was a large restaurant whose property spanned the better part of a city block.  Given the lack of use of both its dining area and arcade area, it didn't make sense to preserve this inefficient use of the land.  The store closed for a year, and reopened as part of a strip mall built on the same property.  I remember hot dogs being a cheap meal, but not anymore - eating "tube steaks" costs as much as eating burgers. At least, Nathan's makes hot dogs that can justify the price they charge for this proletarian meal.

- - - - - -

I finished with Nathan's and drove home.  Lili wanted me to come over tonight, but I was too tired to do so.  She called me around 8 pm not knowing that I had put my head on a pillow around 4 pm, and woke up just before she called.  When I finished with the call, I decided to call it a day and put Marian back in the closet until I come home on Monday.

Friday, June 7, 2019

I need a new routine

I've found that I love going to meetups as Marian.  It's nice to get out and about as my authentic self, and have nice conversations with people I'd have never have had the chance to otherwise meet. Yet, there is something missing in my life - a predictable routine.

- - - - - -

Today, I got up only to find that the first thing I really looked forward to was watching the boob tube.  That's not much to say for a person who once ran several projects at a major bank.  I have become a couch potato that doesn't have much reason to leave the couch.

Although my life isn't as bad as the above paragraph makes it sound, I realized early that something else was needed, and decided to go out to meetups to get to know people better.  And so far, I've made a few friends, such as WDJ, EP, and others.  But getting together for an occasional dinner or two isn't the same as having a routine that forces one to get out of bed and do something that helps people and demonstrates one's value to others.

- - - - - -

Lili called me after I fully awoke, and told me of something her (ex) boyfriend did.  He scrubbed text conversations Lili had had with other men from her cell phone.  And Lili asked me what she should do.  I advised against confronting him, as this would trigger a fight at the wrong time - she still needs him to help with the chores around the house while she heals from her recent operation.  Then she noted that she now understands why it took me 8 years to break up with Ex-GF-M.  That says a lot....

Later, I decided to text several people I know, with the objective to catch up with what's going on in their lives and to schedule a get-together.  RO's been up to her eyeballs at work and with her daughter's recent operation - so she won't be able to schedule something for the next week or so.  EP is now busy during the week with a part time job - I'm glad for her, as it is a first step back into the workforce.  However, JS would be available on the weekend - the one time I am usually not available.  In an exchange of texts, she noted that she would be interested in going on one of my trips.  That would likely not be the best of things to do as long as I'm in a relationship with GFJ.

- - - - - -

Travel would be a fun routine to get into, as long as I could stay active while traveling.  Unfortunately, I don't have the money to travel as I'd like to do.  Additionally, I don't have a reliable travel partner who enjoys enough of the things I like doing.  GFJ neither has the time, money, nor inclination to see me as Marian to travel often with her.  Lili has the time and money, but is not interested in enough of the same things to travel together - except when on cruise ships. And I am not willing to find new travel partners, as I don't want to put a strain on my relationship with GFJ.  (I could have gone on a cruise with one woman I've talked about here, but neither the time nor surrounding conditions in our lives were appropriate to do so.)  So I end up staying at home to save a few dollars I can use for travel when I have the best opportunity to do it on the cheap.

In the end, I probably should redouble my efforts to find part time work.  That would both give me extra money and the routine I need in my life.  I'll keep the readers of this blog informed of progress in this area.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Lili, 2 doctors, and a missed dinner

There were two things on the docket for today.  The first was accompanying Lili to her doctors to remove stitches and to discuss the non-cancerous growth which was removed from her breast during the same surgery.  The second was meeting the folks from the Beacon Dining Group for dinner.  Only one of these things was accomplished today because of the weather fouling up the drive home.

Lili and I departed from BJ's parking lot at 10:30, and made it to her first doctor at 11:30.  On the trip down, she rearranged the appointments, so that she could arrive earlier than she originally planned.  (This was a fortunate move, as the return trip would be hellish due to the weather.)  Neither of us expected for Lili to be at her first surgeon's place for almost 2 hours. He had quite a few stitches to remove on this visit, both on the edges of her face and in her breast area.

By the time we were done with the first doctor (the cosmetic surgeon), the rain had not yet started.  (Morning forecasts had the rain starting between 4 and 6.)  I tried to get Lili to get a parking spot under the building, but she got very upset at me. (She likes being in control, and doesn't like having a navigator give her directions.)  If we got out of this doctor's office late, we'd be caught in the downpour predicted this morning, and I didn't want to run to the car in that downpour. (In the end, we ended up parking in the open, and barely got to the car in time to be out of the rain.)  So Lili was in a "fine mood" when we went to the breast surgeon's office.  After an hour there, Lili told me that she will need to get either an MRI or Mammogram every 6 months, as she has a 30% chance of developing cancer.

We didn't know what to eat.  Lili decided to go to the cafe in the second doctor's building to have a quick bite to eat.  (I keep trying to get her to the Kosher Deli in the shopping center across the way, but she ignores me each time we're in that area.)  Lili asked me to drive home, as she wasn't feeling up to it.  Given the downpours, I was much more comfortable on the road than Lili would have been.  But I kept using side roads as much as possible to avoid the worst traffic jams - and it still took 2 hours to get home.

Once we reached my car, we said goodbye to each other for the night.  At this point, I decided not to rush up to Beacon for dinner, as I already had too much to eat for the day. Instead, I drove home to find the dress I was expecting to be delivered yesterday.  Once I signed on to my computer, I found a message from the hostess of the Beacon Dining Meetup asking if I was OK.  I told her of my drive, and said that I got back too late to go to dinner.....

Thankfully, I have dessert available at home.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Picking up Breakfast, some Dinners, and a Book

The only things on the docket for today were trying to get a book from the library and picking up some dinners from Top Chef Meals.  Given that I had awakened before 7 am, I could have completed all my tasks by 10 am and have time to spare.

- - - - - -

It's not often these days that I wake up at 6:30 without an alarm bringing me to consciousness.  Today, I woke up without the alarm and couldn't get back to sleep.  So I ended up watching the important parts of the Morning Joe program, then proceeded to shower and dress (as Mario) before going out.

My first stop of the day was at McDonald's for some breakfast.  As much as I could easily eat a couple of egg/sausage sandwiches, it was better that I order only one with a tall cup of coffee.  Then I was off to the library to find a copy of "Killing Commendatore" for June's book club reading.  (The book was on the shelves as of Friday. I figured it'd still be on the shelves today.)  Unfortunately, it was checked out, and wouldn't be back for a couple of weeks.  So I picked up a book on Woodrow Wilson, and then drove down to Top Chef Meals.

- - - - - -

I'm glad that I had checked out the location (and building) beforehand, as Top Chef is the online presence of another corporate catering firm.  Meals are mass produced for restaurants on site, and they run a side business shipping meals across the USA.  Once I arrived, I entered a door leading to a receptionist desk.  Offices were to the right, and the food prep area was to the rear.  Within a minute, I had eight meals in an insulated bag and ready to take home.  (They ship their meals inside these bags using dry ice as a refrigerant. I didn't need it for the short ride back home.)  The food looked much nicer than the meals from Freshly, and I made a note to examine each one before eating the meals inside the containers. By 11 am, I was back home and in for most of the day.  

Around 6 pm, I decided to eat one of the meals. (The Chicken Cordon Bleu dish is pictured above.)  Although the instructions say to microwave the dish on high for 90 seconds, I feel that these instructions are for an industrial microwave found in restaurants and catering halls.  When I touched the food after 90 seconds, the potatoes and spinach were cool to the touch.  But after a second 90 seconds of microwaves, the food was finally ready to eat. Comparing the appearance of the Freshly meals to that of Top Chef, there is a world of difference.  I can't imagine plating a Freshly meal and having it look like the picture on their site.  However, I can easily imagine the meal from Top Chef looking as good as it appears in the above picture - and tasting even better.  Today's Chicken Cordon Bleu is something I'd eat again, and will likely order the next time I go to Top Chef. 

With Freshly, you do not get any options to customize your meal.  You only get to select the meals from what they have on their menu without substitutions.  Whereas, with Top Chef, every meal can be customized with options provided when you select the protein.  Given the first meal, I'd change providers in a heartbeat.  But I don't want to fix a date that I must be in Mario Mode just to pick up my meals for the week.

- - - - - -

Shortly after 6, I got calls from both Pat and from Lili.  Lili wanted to confirm when we'd meet tomorrow, so that she'd have company when she visits her doctors on Long Island.  Hopefully, we'll be back in time for me to drive to the Beacon Dining Meetup for dinner. Once done with Lili, I returned Pat's call.  It seems like she found someone who'll show her how to use her computer.  Her new friend agreed with me that steering Pat to use Google Docs was the right thing to do, as she wouldn't need a product key and that there are enough users of Google's free service that can help her out of a jam.  (And I don't want to be the techie who is always on call to give that help.)

Of course, tomorrow will be another day.  And I'll begrudgingly get up earlier than I'd want to be "moral support" for Lili as she visits her doctors....

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Quickie: A day at home, with nothing much to do.

All too often, I have nothing worth while to get me out of the house.  Today was one of those days, and I spent most of it watching movies on TV.

- - - - - -

Sometime over the next month, I have to get my driver's license renewed. Since I want one that complies with "Real-ID" requirements, and allows me to use it when flying domestically, I have to gather up  the following documents:
  1. Original document for proof of identity - Current driver's license, US Passport or Birth Certificate 
  2. Proof of lawful presence in the US - Current passport (or passport card), US Birth Certificate, or other proof of lawful residency.
  3. Social Security Number - Social Security Card or W2 form with full SS Number.
  4. NYS Home/Residence Address - Two proofs (which may be utility bills, mortgage statements, etc. from the past 12 months).
I'll bet that the last one may be the hardest to find for many people, as they have gone with paperless billing.  As for me, the decision to stay with paper billing will help.  But for people like GFJ, where almost ALL her paperwork goes to a P.O. Box, this will be a hardship.   As for me, the day I visit DMV will be an annoyance, as I will need to be in Mario Mode when I get everything taken care of.

- - - - - -

When GFJ called today, she was also taking a day off from her normal responsibilities.  Her Biology course is a pain in the ass, but it would have been worse had she needed to travel to Albany once or twice each week for class.  For a long time, she claimed that she couldn't find a 4 credit course which would fulfill her certification needs.  But with a 5 minute search, I found an online course given by Empire State College.  Of course, she could have done a little more searching and found 2 "local" schools providing the 4 credit course, as Westchester Community College and Dutchess Community College also offers a similar course to the one she's taking online.  So I think that she was avoiding this course, as she was a little afraid of being a laggard in a class filled with kids who could be her children.

This weekend, GFJ had to complete an assignment which involved a lab.  She had to grow a bunch of miniature shrimp and grow some mold to put under the microscope.  For some unknown reason, she failed with both processes.  Yet, she had something she could study in the microscope.  The assignment required that she photograph what she could see in the microscope. But the camera on her phone wouldn't let her do this properly.  Thankfully, her professor let this problem slide, as the equipment in the lab kit was inexpensive and not geared for photography via cell phone cameras.

- - - - - -

By the time this entry is published for all to see, one of my friends will be cruising through the Panama Canal.  I am a little jealous of her.  But I agree with her, it was better that she travel alone than with a room mate she is not totally comfortable with in a tiny cruise ship stateroom.

Why did I mention this?

Today, I got some email from a woman I met on a prior cruise.  She's going on a cruise out of Amsterdam in June, and has been very busy as of late:

It’s nice to hear from you! I do apologize for the delay in my reply, things have been very busy and I'm a little scattered these days.

I do have to say I'm a little jealous that you have been on another cruise already, although I do have a England one booked for June out of Amsterdam. Looking forward to that. Which ship did you go on?

I went to a seminar on river cruises a couple nights ago. They look amazing. Have you ever done one of those?

I remember you saying that you liked the theatre,  how was the Book of Mormon?  That's one I have been wanting to see.  I've heard its hilarious! I haven't been able to get to any since the last cruise.

-  -  -  -  -  -

I am so not ready physically but I am mentally lol I am very much looking forward to it.

Things have been crazy around here, I just sold my home and bought another with a moving date of July 13 so I will only have 3 weeks to pack and get ready after the cruise. Work is nuts with floodings and fires, I really need a vacation!

Panama is amazing and should def be on your bucket list.  Is it hard to get your TSA Pre Check?  We have Nexus that we use. Its kind of a pain to get it but then its good for 5 years.  Sounds much better then a 24 hour train ride, unless of course, you like trains.

I want to do another island one in the fall as well as I will be missing the beaches and warm weather.  I'm just hoping we don't get too much rain.

Outside of work, moving, cruising, nothing else is going on with me. Just never enough hours in a day.  I'm very much looking forward to retiring!  I was speaking to a client today who is retiring tomorrow, she is 83.  I just couldn't imagine....

Seen any more good productions lately?

-  -  -  -  -  -

I'm rarely physically ready, but am always mentally ready. If only my bank account were as ready as I am.

You'll have to send me pictures of the new house. At least you'll have the vacation to recharge before the 3 week rush to pack and move.

It is on my bucket list. Ideally, I'd take a round trip cruise out of NYC as my friend is doing today. She's on a Carnival cruise out of NYC on a 14 day run to the Panama Canal and back. I could have gone with her, but I didn't want to spend money I knew I was going to need for some dental work.

If you sail out of NYC, maybe we can coordinate our schedules and be on the same ship. It'd be nice to see you again. 

Retirement is not what it's cracked up to be. I'm doing some part time work as a receptionist, and am aiming to get a more predictable schedule and side income. 

About a month ago, I saw the touring company of "Book of Mormon" in Connecticut. Broadway prices have gone way too high for locals to afford them these days. I'm waiting for the "20 at 20" deal for Off-Broadway plays to return, as I've seen a lot of good plays with this discount. Hopefully, I'll be able to score a couple of tickets to see "Hamilton" in Schenectady, NY this Autumn - it's almost impossible to get these tickets at a reasonable price on Broadway.

I could easily consider cruising with this lady as a companion, albeit in separate rooms.  I'm not looking for a new romance. (I have something nice with GFJ, and I don't want to screw that up.)  Instead, I am looking to connect with a new friend whose company I could enjoy when traveling.  (BTW - I should have mentioned that I've enjoyed riding trains since I was very young.)

- - - - - -

As I get older, I've realized that I need to participate in as many social activities as I can.  This should help me avoid my dad's fate, where virtually all of his friends and relatives of his age had died, leaving him with no convenient outlets to fulfill his need to be social.  My dad neglected this, and is now limited to living in a nursing home.  As for me, I want something better for my old age, and am willing to do something about it....


Monday, June 3, 2019

If they only knew....

It wouldn't be much of an understatement to say that my step-nephew is a little bit of an idiot.  When brains and common sense were being handed out, he was nowhere to be found.  At the age of 36, he is not able to provide for himself, nor has he learned the lessons that most of us have needed to learn in this often unforgiving world.  But he is good at playing electronic games, and he is good at occupying his time by entertaining himself with mindless pursuits - such as experimenting with Snapchat filters.  The above picture is a good example of one of his pictures.

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I awoke around 12:30, and realized that I had to quickly get ready to drive to Long Island to see family today.  Instead of arriving at 2:00-2:30 as I originally planned, I arrived at 3:30, just as my brother was putting meat on the grill.  My step-nephew was sitting on the front stoop, immersed in his handheld game, barely giving me a notice as I entered my brother's house.  Although everyone was sitting in the backyard, I entered through the front door so that the cake I brought for dessert could be stored in the fridge.  (It wasn't.)  And then, I went outside to see my brother, my dad, my niece and her fiancee.

Conversation flowed freely - especially when the food was ready to eat.  As usual, I overate - but not because I was stuffing myself silly at the table.  Instead, I had had lunch while driving down to see my family, and I ate more when I was with my family.  I could go into the story my niece's fiancee told about a family pulling strings to leave Dubai to avoid having their son suffer according to their interpretation of Islamic law.  I could go into a story I told about a child seeing his mother having intimate relations.  I could go into a story about my dad running the crap game on the ship he served on just after World War 2.  But instead, I will mention that we all have interesting stories in our lives, and that the best ones should be written down for posterity.

As I mentioned earlier, my step-nephew took the above picture.  I made one comment to my niece upon seeing the above picture - "If they only knew."  She laughed quietly.   She and her fiancee knows!   My step-nephew may be an idiot, but sometimes he can be useful.  Not often.  But today, he gave me a picture worth using in my blog.

Towards the end of the evening, my brother and I retired to the living room where we watched "My Cousin Vinny."  The climactic scene still makes me laugh over a quarter century after it was filmed. While watching the movie, we discussed problems he was having on his old job, and why he needed to move to a new position in a new firm.  The old firm was still run like a "mom and pop" business, even though it has $200,000,000 in revenue.  The new firm is run like a large corporation, and has $400,000,000 in revenue.  My brother will learn much from being in a firm being run professionally.

The most important thing we discussed was that I should be taking my dad out for the holiday while my brother is meeting his daughter's future in-laws.  GFJ may have a problem with this.  But if she can't allow for one holiday away from her family, then we have problems....