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!)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Missing a monthly meeting at Arts Westchester

Sometimes, I screw up things on my schedule and forget appointments.  Today was one of those days.  This was the day that the monthly Arts Westchester arts ambassadors (read: volunteers) meeting was held.  And due to the confusion that's been messing around with my life lately, I totally forgot about the meeting until mid afternoon.  AARGH!

- - - - - -

Last night, I put on my CPAP mask around 2 am, but didn't get to sleep until (at least) 3 am.  When I awoke at 7:45, I didn't feel as if I had enough sleep. And nothing was going to help - even if I laid in bed for another couple of hours.  So, I got out of bed without checking my schedule for the day and took it easy.

Eventually, I decided to look for my Freshly delivery - and it was not on my landing where I expected it.  So I got dressed and found it in front of the mailboxes.  I was too tired to complain, so I brought the box upstairs, loaded the meals into the refrigerator, and then went out to my car to clean it up for Thursday.  (HWV and another board member are going with me in my car to a Restaurant Week dinner.)  It amazed me that I found so much garbage in the back of my car, as I dumped three overflowing supermarket bags into the dumpster, and filled the Freshly box with stuff I planned to keep.  By the time I had the chance to look at my email, I realized that I had screwed up - I had missed the monthly meeting.  I contacted the volunteer coordinator to let her know what happened.  And then, I went inside to get ready for dinner.

GFJ and I are still talking.  Over dinner, she mentioned that something I said triggered thoughts of what the real problems are.  But I won't go into them here.  All I will say is that they are valid issues, and if I had been in her shoes, I might be feeling the same way that she is right now.  At least, we will be able to maintain communications between us, and see what happens in the future.

When I got home, I got an email from the art gallery I interviewed at last week.  They chose another candidate for the position.  And strangely, that makes me glad.  I wasn't the right person for the position, and they knew it.  But I did make a suggestion that I hope helps them in the future - they need a floater employee who can fill in when one of the other two people need to take off.  Who knows, maybe they'd consider me for the floater position if it is created.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Waking up early on a Sunday morning.

Since GFJ dropped her bombshell last weekend, I haven't been sleeping that well.  And I was very surprised that I could wake up early, chat with GFJ by text, and then go to church for the first time in a couple of years. 

But I am getting ahead of myself....

Last night, it was the "Fall Back" part of the year - just as the clock struck 3 am, my phone shifted back to standard time and now read 2 am.  And that's when I put my CPAP mask on and tried to go to sleep.  Several hours later, I realized that it was a little before 8 am, and I had the option of going to church.

Looking again at my phone, I saw that GFJ sent a message.  I figured that I would reply, and that got us into a chat.  She'd like to see me again for dinner tomorrow - and that doesn't bode well for a relationship already on life support.  So, I have to gird myself for further potential feelings of grief and lose a night out with a meetup group.  (Why couldn't her timing be better?) By the time our chat was done, I realized that I could make it to church.  So I got showered and prepared to attack the world as Marian.

Leaving the house at the same time as my neighbor, I knew that I was going to get to the church before her.  It's a nice feeling to know that people remember and accept me there, as I was greeted by one of the church's more active members when I arrived.  After the service, I had some nice chats with several people there before retreating to have lunch at an Ossining diner.

I sat down at my seat, and placed an order for breakfast - something (strangely) that was not on one of the menu pages.  (Was the menu put together properly?  Or, is there a separate breakfast menu?)  While waiting for food, I looked at my phone and noticed that my former travel partner had started her own meetup group, and scheduled meetings for Thursdays.  I took two things away from this.  First, without the ability to use me for a crutch, she was forced to do this on her own - something I'm glad she did.  Second, I feel that she chose Thursdays so that I wouldn't join her group or go to its meetups - more her problem than mine.  I sent a quick message to GFJ on this and mentioned the first point.  What I didn't say is that I was glad that I cut off contact with my former travel partner, as I didn't want to be in a codependent relationship with her - something that could easily happen given our mutual weaknesses.

On other matters....

Throughout the day, I exchanged messages with JS.  Her daughter has lined up a job, but with no way to get there and back from where they live.  It's a shame that Mother and Daughter don't make a move to a more mass transit friendly community, so that the daughter can get a job and establish herself as an independent entity.  JS is killing herself with her long commute and is not doing what needs to be done to see that her daughter can make it on her own.

If I don't get together with my niece next weekend, I'll end up accompanying JS to see a psychic in Massachusetts.  Do I really think this person will be of help to JS?  NO!  But I want to see the scam for myself.  JS is an emotionally weak person, and I fear that she will get preyed on by an unscrupulous person - and many psychics are unscrupulous by the nature of their "profession".

Wish me good luck.  I think I'll need it.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

They've paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.

I think it was Joni Mitchell who penned the line "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone." And she is so right!  I lost my wife over 20 years ago, and I didn't appreciate her presence in my life until she was gone.  No, I don't beat myself up over ignorance and mistakes in my past.  Instead, I do my damnedest to avoid making the kinds of mistakes that I'll regret in the future.

So why am I referencing the line from a classic song?

Lately, I have been thinking about the impermanence of life and the people I miss.  There are times that I want to visit my friend Barbara in Cape Cod, and then I remember that she isn't with us any longer. Not all of the friends that I miss have passed away. But some are just too far away to be in regular contact.  For example, YGM now lives in Florida, and it is very inconvenient for us to keep in contact.  She has a job, two kids to care for, as well as a mother and a husband.  I can only imagine what she has to deal with, and keeping in touch with her friends is not high on her list of priorities.

It's been ages since I've heard from my friend, WDS.  He gave me the present of a fully loaded iPad when I got the job with the payments firm in NYC.  Sadly, I lost that job due to my own inadequacies for that job.  But in many ways, it was the best thing that could happen to me.  I didn't know the freedom I'd have when I decided not to work on a full time basis anymore.  And I didn't realize what I lost when I had to start watching my pennies again.

Change is an ever present constant in our lives. The older we get, the more we lose from the lives we once led.  Yet, this gives us new opportunities - if we're lucky to see them.

RQS went home, and I got keys made - a quick post

  One of the problems with going about as a female is that almost everything one carries around during a typical day is carried in a handbag...