Tuesday, November 19, 2019

And sometimes, I even get phone calls.

Last night, I was talking to Maria for the better part of an hour.  She needed someone she could talk with, and I was the designated recipient of the phone call.  So, I listened to her vent about her husband's illness, her daughter's chemical imbalance and irresponsibility, and the breakdown of her computer.  Today, we had plans to talk with each other when she got off of work.

- - - - - -

This morning, I had totally forgotten about Maria's call as I went about my day.  Not having that much to do, I had the TV on in the background when she called. It seems as Maria was helped by last night's chat, as she was telling me about the sequence of events for her day - work, dropping the computer off at a fix-it shop, and then taking her husband for continuing medical care.

Maria is the type of person for whom doing the right thing isn't enough to keep bad things from happening.  When her first marriage ended, she was left with only the roof over her head.  For 6 months or so, she was sleeping on a bed she borrowed fro me.  Her ex-husband had taken almost all the furniture in the house as he left.  Her second (and current) husband had his own issues that I won't go into right now. It is the aftermath of these issues that is adding to Maria's problems.  Couple this with a daughter who is irresponsible, a grandson that Maria is raising, and a granddaughter on the way, and Maria is highly stressed.

Sadly, I don't see a happy end in sight for Maria.  Her husband is not the type of person who could advocate for himself that well, and seems to have given up on life.  I hope I'm wrong, but I'll be there for my friend of several decades when the worst inevitably happens.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Sometimes, I even go to church.

It's hard to believe, but this was the second week in a row that I've attended a church service.  No, I don't expect to become a weekly participant in services.  Instead, I intend to use this opportunity to become part of a larger community as Marian.

Some would say that getting out and about as Marian took a lot courage to overcome my fears of being seen as a "Man in a Dress".  To me, it's more of my need to present as my authentic self overcoming the resistance that prevented me from being authentic.  Yet, I sometimes feel as if I'm an impostor.  But with more and more time spent out in the world as Marian, with more and more time perfecting my feminine presentation, the more natural and comfortable I am when presenting as Marian.

- - - - - -

After church, I might have gone to a local diner for breakfast.  Since I've been running lower than usual on folding money, I decided to go home to have something to eat.  For the first time in a while, I cooked something on my stove top -  a couple of eggs with some corned beef hash.  This time, I made sure that the hash lost enough moisture that it had a little bit of a char - yum!  And then I took it easy for a while.

Later on, as I was preparing an update to this website to add a page where people could download some voice samples I've recorded over the years, I got messaged by one Trans woman I wouldn't mind meeting again.  We chatted for well over an hour, and this took away time that I had planned spending on searches for voice recordings.  However, before I was to leave for my 5:00 Meetup, I was able to get showered, dressed,and out the door as Marian to be early for a Fun Time Friends meetup in Ridgefield, CT.

We had a room to ourselves at the restaurant we were meeting at, and  yet, not enough seats at the table.  Luckily, enough people were no-shoes, and we had enough stools for us to sit on and enjoy a non-pretentious BBQ dinner.  Yum!   The conversations were good, and I'd gladly go back to the restaurant again - but this time, at a normal table.

- - - - - -

Just before dinner ended, I got a call from Maria.  She was totally discombobulated - her daughter is having trouble with her life, her husband is finally home from the hospital, and her computer's hard drive had crashed, leaving her without important photos and documents she had neglected to backup over the past couple of years.  So I walked her through things, telling her what to do, and giving her a game plan of how to deal with the loss of her computer.

When I was done with Maria's call, I was too tired to bother to shop for supplies that my cleaning lady needed. So I called GFJ to chat on the way home.  We agreed to meet at 6:15 at a Hudson Valley Restaurant Week establishment for dinner.  It'll be nice to have a nice meal with her before she goes away to Florida for a vacation. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Recently, I heard something through the grapevine.

It's not easy being transgender.  Do we out ourselves to make general conversation?  Do we hide things about our lives? Or, do we talk about our lives, flipping genders as needed to eliminate some cognitive dissonance with people we may meet?

Recently, I heard about one person who attended a recent meetup of one of my groups that had negative words to say about me.  (I won't say anything about this person or how I heard this information for privacy purposes.)  But it got to me a little.  It's not because I was pegged as being transgender that bothered me.  Instead, it was this person's attitude towards me and others.  This person is a social bully who dominates every conversation he gets into (from what I've seen from a meetup I attended), not paying any attention to cues given by the people he is with.

When something bothers you, do you ask why it bothers you?  Well, I've learned that we tend to see in others those things that we dislike about ourselves.  In my case, it was a reminder that I was not born as a cisgender female, that I am not thin, and that I still have far to go regarding my social skills.

In life, we can either use these emotional hits as tools to grow, or we can allow them to diminish us.  I choose to grow, and not be harmed by one person's unthinking actions and words.  And I hope that my readers can do the same as well.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Something to watch out for.

Every so often, JS has asked if I could accompany her to a reading from a psychic in Massachusetts.  I've occasionally have been able to do so.  But each time I've made myself available, she has either called in sick or has asked me to drive her to the appointment.  JS doesn't want to put more mileage on her car, even though she is driving 150 miles each day to go to work and back.  As you can guess, there's a lot to watch out for here, and that I'd be a fool to get caught up in her problems.

- - - - - -

This morning, I woke up shortly after 6:30 am, and started checking my messages.  I noticed that JS was asking me to do the driving for her visit to her psychic.  It wouldn't be a good idea for me to trade the dependency of my former cruise partner for a new, more dysfunctional friend.  I have gotten to the point where I want friends who can stand on their own, even if it means that I have fewer friends to be with.

Being fully awake at 6:30 means that I will likely lose steam later in the day.  Additionally, it allows me to be fully awake when watching the morning's political news.  And I took this opportunity to do so.  Like the political pundits, I found that Mike Bloomberg's probable entry into the 2020 Democratic nomination contest to be an important development.  More importantly, I think that he might just be the one candidate who can pummel Trump in all the ways that are important.  No one can say that Bloomberg is dishonest.  No one can say that Bloomberg mismanaged his political office.  And no one can say that a Bloomberg administration will be filled with scandal.  He might be the one person who can both fix the damage Trump has done to the government and set up a system of numbers based governing that could be useful to future administrations.

- - - - - -

My niece and I were supposed to get together tonight for a museum night.  Sadly, this didn't come off, as she had to work late at work and wouldn't make it to the museum on time.  In many ways, this was OK with me, as I really didn't want to go outside in the cold.  It's already November, and the cold has seeped into my apartment, and I was thinking of wearing trousers for my weekly stint at the LGBT Center.

When I was young, I never noticed the cold (or, so I remember it.)  I could go outside for hours, do things like deliver newspapers, and still enjoy the weather outside.  Now, that I've reached my 60's, I've gotten used to the idea of taking winter vacations where it's warm.  And this means winter cruises to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and to Hawaii.

Last night, I chatted with HWV about my cruises, and she mentioned something that saddened me.  The homeless population in San Francisco has grown to a point where she considers it dangerous.  She noted that in the past few years, that they are accosting people in front of the Four Season's hotel - people no longer feel safe there.  Whether this is true or not, I can find out.  I dated a woman in Nyack who now lives in the San Francisco Bay area.  The next time I have a chance, I will chat with her and find out whether what HWV said is true or not.  This information may be what decides whether I take a Hawaii cruise out of San Francisco or out of Los Angeles.

- - - - - -

I ended up going to the LGBT Center a little later than usual to do my volunteer stint, and only spent an hour there.  Today's tasks were to update their calendars, send out meetup information, and update their blog to reflect the need to get volunteers for their upcoming Trans Forum.  Once I was done there, I figured that I'd check in with Pat - and she said to drop over with some Chinese, as she'd supply the wine.

At Pat's, we got into our usual discussion - she's an idealist who believes that all we need to fix the world is to have everyone change their attitudes, and if by magic, all would be right with the world.  I'm a realist - I'll always ask "what's in it for me?" even if I plan to make a sacrifice for others.  To me, incremental progress is better than no progress at all.  And Pat's inability to focus on one problem at a time is what's caused her to become a victim of life.  Yes, we have a system which could be much better.  Racism does permeate our society, benefiting some people in power at the expense of others.  Capitalism has its flaws, but it doesn't explain all of mankind's ills.  If anything, basic human nature is the problem, and not much is going to change it.  Instead, all we can do is harness that nature, and develop social and economic systems which account for human failings.

Today, I got smart - I set a time limit to hang out with Pat.  It's hard to have an intelligent discussion with someone who has swallowed the Kool-Aid of either Left or Right.  And I was starting to tire myself out after 90 minutes.  So I was very glad when 9 pm came around, giving me a chance to leave.

- - - - - -

On the way home, I stopped by Stew Leonard's.  It's nice to be there after the crowds are gone.  However, they are returning certain foodstuffs to refrigerators, shutting down the fish monger and butcher sections (prepacked meats and fish still remained available), and cleaning up the place during the last business hour of the day.  So it didn't pay to dawdle. I  just grabbed my stuff and went home.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Another out to dinner, this time with HWV and another board member.

Today started out with three things on my docket, but I could only deal with two of them.  I wasn't up to having lunch with Vicki #2, as my GI Tract was giving me problems.  But I was up to going to my weekly speech therapy session, then to dinner with HWV and another board member (let's call her HWJ for now).  There was only so much I was willing to take on today, and I figured that I could postpone lunch with Vicki until next week.

- - - - - -

I wasn't feeling that great when I got up this morning - I was sneezing a lot, as my nose was running the 4 minute mile.  No, I did not have a cold.  Instead, I have suffered with my usual autumn allergy season problems.  Once things settled down, I texted Vicki to tell her that I wasn't going to make it today, asking to postpone until the following week.  This allowed me another, much needed, hour in bed,  And then it was time to get ready.  I was lucky to be home, as my GI Tract started to rebel on me. Then it was time to get showered, shaved, etc. before driving to Mercy College.

Arriving at Mercy a few minutes early, I paid my bill.  And I wish I had had more time, as my GI Tract was again telling me that it was in a rebellious state.  So I went into my session, and within 5 minutes it was off to the restroom.  AARGH!  Luckily, I wasn't long there, and I was able to complete a compressed session.

On the way home, I chatted with GFJ.  As much as I'm interested in going to a comedy club meetup (and having dinner with her beforehand), there's a part of me that would rather spend the day as Marian.  (Just don't say that to her right now.)  Soon, she'll be going to Florida with her friend, and I hope she has a great time there.

As for me, I figured that I had about an hour to get ready for dinner with HWV and HWJ.  Tonight's restaurant week dinner was scheduled for the Red Hat Bistro in Irvington.  Vicki and I chatted about this place, and she warned me about how high prices are carefully bypassed when wait staff mentions specials on the menu. 

Around 6:15, HWV and HWJ arrived and we drove to dinner in the rain.  Arriving around 7:00, we got out of the car and found that the winds were gusting at 30+ mph, and it wasn't worth bothering to use our umbrellas.   Once inside the restaurant, we sat down and enjoyed a nice dinner from the restaurant week menu.  I was asked about my transgender nature, and I told both ladies that I wish I had been born with the correct plumbing, and that if it weren't for romance and family considerations, that I'd already be living as Marian 24x7.  (We went into this in much more detail than what I'm doing here.)  But I noted that until I am 24x7, I won't be attending co-op board meetings as Marian.  Why confuse people?

A little after 9:15, we left the restaurant and drove home on local roads.  I was not in a rush, and I didn't trust the conditions on the highways.  Getting home, we agreed that we must do this again soon - and I hope that it is much sooner than later.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

And now, something completely different.

I have to stop and smell the roses from time to time.  Today was one of those times.  Even though I didn't get the sleep I feel I need, I felt rested.  Yet, it was a nice day to stay indoors and enjoy a "jammie day" for most of the morning and afternoon. You might wonder why I opened up my entry this way.  Well, I've been thinking of a lot of things as of late.  And one of those things has been understanding and appreciating the options I have as a "semi-retired" person.

- - - - - -

Recently, I went on a couple of interviews for part-time positions.  One of these positions would likely have resulted in me (if hired) being taken on for full-time employment within a year.  I would have enjoyed this, but would have felt a little sad due to the loss of an ability to take long cruises whenever I wanted to and could afford to do so.  If I had known the importance of experiences when younger (youth is wasted on the young), I would have lived my life very differently than I did.  Yet, I have few regrets, as I know that I would have needed much of the knowledge I have now to have effectively use my experiences to nourish my soul. And that includes the choices I made involving work, the career I chose, and my work/life balance.

When I was young, I never appreciated personal relationships, the value of chit-chat, or the need to stay tuned to what's going on in my community.  I ended up marrying a woman who was very much like me in this respect, and we had a relationship that pulled each of us closer to the other while pushing all others away.  Couple this with a job that would have me on call 24 hours, isolated from the trends in the computing industry, and minimally connected to others, and I would have problems in late middle-age when I lost many of the things that initially brought me success in life.

What would my late wife have thought if she could see me now?  There's no way I can know that.  But I think she might chuckle to know that I am regularly out and about as Marian, and that I'd scheduled a fancy dinner tonight with Vicki #1 as Marian.  Hopefully, my wife would smile because of the confidence I've gained in the past few years due to my ability to present myself to the world as Marian without embarrassment.

- - - - - -

Several years ago, I'd have worried about what others would think if they saw me when presenting as Marian.  Now, I don't give it a second thought - especially when going out to a nice restaurant.  Tonight, I drove to Vicki's place at 6 pm, then she drove the rest of the way to Purdy's Farmer & the Fish for a Restaurant Week dinner. If I had known how bad her night vision was, I'd have volunteered to make the 30 minute drive.  Not knowing where the restaurant was, Vicki overshot the place, and she made some driving mistakes on the way back to where the restaurant should have been.  I noticed the entrance, and Vicki found a comfortable parking spot.  Unfortunately, the ground was uneven, and I could feel the rocky ground beneath the soles of my shoes - this was the first of many rustic touches involving the restaurant.

Before opening the door, I noticed that the building built in 1775.  The front door looked like it was as old as the house, and we both enjoyed the rustic atmosphere upon entering the place..The setting was nice, but the tables felt a little cramped; the food was tasty, but something was off.  Both of knew what the problem was - the lights were way too dim to allow patrons to fully enjoy the food.  Even the best of food presentations will be harmed by poor lighting, and we missed out on much of the visual experience of eating a good meal.

I told Vicki about things with GFJ and with my former cruise partner.  Vicki understood the situation with GFJ, and made a comment that reflected a problem that GFJ and I had from the beginning of our relationship.  Unlike my former cruise partner, Vicki clearly sees our problems and understands what we have to overcome if our relationship is a long term relationship.  We talked about her life and issues with money.  She has to be the frugal person, as her husband is not as good as she is with managing significant sums of money. Then we got talking about the cruise partner.  Vicki agreed with me about my need to sever the connections with this woman instead of seeking out a reconciliation - some people won't grow unless unneeded scaffolding is removed.  Now, Vicki is very glad that she never had the opportunity to meet this person....

It would be easy for me to go on and on.  Even though I don't see Vicki that often, I am glad I have her as a friend.  I appreciate how level headed she is and how we connect with each other.  Too bad that sometime in the next few years, that she will retire and move elsewhere.  Until then, I'll cherish the friendship I have with her....

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

And the week started to get busy....

Last night, I saw GFJ for dinner to talk about the problems in our relationship.  Some of you can guess what they are.  But for now, I won't discuss them here.  I want to give her enough room to process her feelings - and discussing them here may not help things.

- - - - - -

Waking up this morning, I felt rested, but lethargic.  Checking my blood sugar levels, I knew why - they were a little bit lower than usual for this time of morning, and I knew that it was time to have something that would pass for breakfast.

Once I took care of this, I figured that I'd check my email.  I received a notice from a TV show filming in NYC that I had a confirmed ticket for tomorrow.  This was no good anymore, as I had dinner scheduled with Vicki #1. So I sent a response cancelling my ticket, and continued checking my emails.  It's amazing how much low-priority email is getting tossed into the spam folder.  Since I see them on my cell phone before they are folder-filed, I know that they have little value.  So I decided not to change my filters for now.

And then, I looked at my schedule....

The rest of my week looked like this:

1. Volunteering at Arts Westchester
2. Dinner with the Beacon Meetup Group

1. Volunteering at the LGBT Center
2. Dinner with Vicki #1 (Hudson Valley Restaurant Week)

1. Speech Therapy
2. Dinner with HWV (Hudson Valley Restaurant Week)

1. (Possible) Volunteering at Arts Westchester
2. (Possible) Visiting MoMA with my niece.


1. (Possible) Visiting JS and seeing her Psychic.

Of course, many things end up filling in the gaps.  Chores such as laundry, shopping, etc. take up a lot of time when one has the time to burn.  And I burn it well....

- - - - - -

Around 1 pm, I drove to Arts Westchester to do a volunteer stint.  Today's task was to slice and dice information collected on a spreadsheet, and separate each organization's visitors into separate row entries, so that further analysis of that information could take place.  Unfortunately, the instructions given to me was a little flawed, as well as my understanding of those instructions. So I ended up wasting a little time (as well as having to do some rework) because of mutual misunderstandings.  But I got enough done correctly, so that I'll be coming back next week.

After this, I drove to the dining meetup in Fishkill, with a stop at BJ's Wholesale Club.  I figured that I'd pick up some plastic cups and paper plates I often use, killing time before the meetup. Once done at BJ's, I drove to dinner and found a parking spot near the restaurant without any problem.  (Sometimes, it pays to be a little bit early.)  Then I sat down across from a new member, next to one of our regulars, and across from WDJ.  Although it was noisy, I had several good conversations. And all too soon, dinner was over. 

Driving home, I tried to reach GFJ - but her line was busy.  She was chatting with her son about Thanksgiving issues, and called me back as soon as she was off the phone.  It seems like the big family Thanksgiving dinner may be called off due to family complications I can't go into detail here.  Instead, she may end up spending the holiday with both her sons at her youngest son's place.  Although she was originally planning on renting a car and driving 600 miles each way, I suggested that she look into Amtrak.  She could leave her car at my place, hop on the Lake Shore Limited, and reach her son's place about 16 hours later. (That should be enough information to guess where he lives.)  We ran the numbers for the trip, and doing this will cost less than the car rental.  Hopefully, that fare will still be available if she needs to use it.

- - - - - -

Once I got home, I turned on the political news.  And I found that the Democrats won big in the State of Virginia.  Of course, my curiosity was piqued.  Did my favorite Virginia politician win?  YES!!!!!

Danica Roem
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from the 13th district

On November 5, 2019, Roem defeated Republican challenger Kelly McGinn, becoming the first openly transgender state legislator to be re-elected.

On the whole, this was a very good day - even though I found out that a job application I sent in was rejected.  (I didn't really want to work in a call center.  But it was a full time position in a firm which makes sure that transgender individuals are protected. So, why not email a resume?  It couldn't hurt!)