Saturday, December 14, 2019

My plans had me going into "The City" this evening, but....

This place used to have an outpost in Beacon, NY.  It served relatively good Dim Sum.  But they couldn't make a go of their suburban location.  Luckily the original establishment survived, and that it takes credit cards.  Otherwise I wouldn't be able to meet there with one of my Facebook friends.

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The other day, I confirmed getting together with one of my Facebook friends for a Dim Sum dinner.  However, she needed a place which would take credit cards.  Since I'm "old school" and use cash for many of my transactions, we couldn't go to the Nom Wah Tea Parlor as planned.  So I had to hunt around online for Chinatown restaurants that I am moderately familiar with AND which take credit cards.  Even though I've never been to Dim Sum Go Go in Chinatown, I was at their former Beacon location.  So I figured that they would serve an acceptable meal at a reasonable price.

Around 3 pm, I moseyed to the LGBT Center and did my weekly volunteer stint.  Today's assignment was to tag contact list entries as having attended the 2019 Transgender Forum. And if it weren't for a long winded conversation I had, I would have completed this task by 6 pm.  Instead, 1/3 of my list was left to be completed.

From the LGBT Center, I drove to Pelham and missed another late train.  I wasn't worried, as the next train was expected around 6:30.  However, the train was not on time, as it was 15 minutes late. (BRRRR!!!!   It was awfully cold on the platform while waiting for the train.)   This was not the only problem.  Once on the train, we were further delayed by a situation which required police activity.  I felt lucky that my friend asked me to change our meeting time from 8:00 to 8:30.

Once I got to Grand Central, I took the express downtown and walked to the restaurant from the Brooklyn Bridge station.  Then I decided to wait inside the restaurant because I was 30 minutes early. And wait I did.  Little did I know my friend was trying to reach me on the phone I didn't carry with me, and wasn't going to leave her house until she reached me.  So I ended up giving up hope for a dinner for two, and enjoyed a Dim Sum dinner for one.  Because I figured that it was a typical signals crossed situation, I wasn't angry.  I wasn't even frustrated.  Instead, I realized that I screwed up a little, and it was a "no harm, no foul" situation.  So when I was done with dinner, I walked back to the subway and headed home.

I entered my apartment around 11:30 pm, and found a series of messages on my Facebook page.  My friend was trying to reach me, but this avenue was the one avenue I don't have available to me on my cell phone.  So I texted her, and we chatted online for about 30 minutes.

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Tomorrow, I'll be going into NYC with GFJ to see the American Gangster Museum.  After that, we'll go to eat.  I'm not in the mood for a serious conversation, as I expect to hear bad news.  And I don't want to deal with that bad news until after the Holiday season.  But if I have to deal with it, I will....


Friday, December 13, 2019

This was going to be a busy afternoon and evening

It's hard to believe that it's been over 8 years since I've seen Marilyn in proper perspective. Her fame was larger than life, but her life was shorter than she deserved.  Sadly, there is only one place this sculpture should be viewed, and I doubt it will ever make it to New York, where there are subways to give Marilyn a proper updraft....

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Today was the last day of this semester's speech therapy sessions, and I will miss them - even though they weren't as useful as prior semesters' sessions.  Coming off of two semesters with a mature student clinician and experienced clinical supervisor and now experiencing sessions with a pair of young ladies and an inexperienced clinical supervisor, I have become disillusioned to the process.  If I do this again, I will likely go back to having Saturday sessions, so that I can have the more experienced clinical supervisor monitoring my sessions.

Around 2:30, I drove to Mercy for the last time this semester, and had my last session with the w student clinicians.  It was pleasant but sad at the same time.  I won't go into too much detail about the session, save that they recommended full 1 hour sessions for next semester.  If this can be done at the same price I'm now paying, I'll consider it.

Next, was a trip to white plains for the Arts Westchester holiday party.  On the way up, I had the chance to speak with my brother before he flew to England.  Hopefully, he'll have a great time, because life in New York these days is becoming a disaster.  The holiday party was a pleasant diversion, as I got to meet several people I don't usually meet on a monthly basis.  However, I made sure to mention the possibility of getting the Census Bureau job to the volunteer coordinator, as I didn't want her not to know why I might not be attending meetings next year.

Once done there, it was down to Yonkers for some game playing.  Today, we played 2 rounds of Code Names.  It's not my favorite game, but it's nice to play once in a while. Again, I had the chance to relate my latest news to my friends there, and they are also keeping their fingers crossed for me.

On the way home, I chatted with GFJ.  We will probably fo into NYC on Saturday.  But the way she wants to go there precludes us resuming any closeness.  I feel she has made her decision regarding the two of us, and is waiting until after Christmas to drop the final bombshell.  It's sad.  If we had argued and got angry at each other now and then, I'd have been aware of her feelings and showed her how special she is.  But it looks like that ship may have sailed, and that I'd better soon get on with the process of experiencing my grief for something lost that shouldn't have been so.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ambivalence is the order of the day

Lately, I've been caught in a web of ambivalent feelings.  Now that options are being made available to me, I have mixed feelings about my choices.  This may be a good thing, as 5.5 years of semi-retirement have taught me the value of having time to myself.

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Today started with a couple of calls, one of them being spam.  The other was a reminder that my iPad was ready to be picked up from the fixit shop, and that I should get there today. But I was tired from the night before, as I first went to sleep without my CPAP mask on, and then stayed awake until 5-6 am or so.  There was no way I'd be up and out the door around 10, so I let myself wake up when my body wanted to do so.

Around 1 pm, I moseyed over to the fix-it shop and picked up my iPad.  Then, it was over to the library to pick up some books that were being held for me. Unfortunately, only 2 of the 3 books were available.  But that should give me a head start in catching up on things, as 1 of the books looks like it'll be a heavy read.

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The other day, when I got the first call from the census bureau, I wasn't sure if I wanted the position.  My reason was simple - unless the money was too good to refuse, I didn't want to work as Mario again.  Instead, I wanted (and still want) to work as Marian.  But with the current anti-TG political regime in Washington, I wasn't sure about taking on the Office Operations Supervisor position. Did I want to go to work as Mario to earn a few extra dollars, or did I want to spend as much time as possible as Marian?

During the past week, I surveyed several people I knew from the TG community about whether I should: (1) Go to work as Mario for the duration of the job, (2) First go to work as Mario, and transition to Marian on the job, or (3) Start off going into work as Marian, even if it meant not getting the position in the first place.  Given that I knew of at least one cisgender male who goes to work in female garb, I figured that I needed to find out whether I could do so before starting the pre-employment process.
When I got home from today's errands, I returned yesterday's call asking whether I received paperwork. While on the phone, I took the opportunity to ask whether there would be any problems with me being gender non-conforming.  And I was told that this would not be a problem.  YAY!  Now, I am much more comfortable with the idea of taking on this position, as I can go in to work in female mode every day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I really didn't want to get up and out early, but....

After I got home from Church on Sunday, I decided to hunker down and wait for the end of the expected snow storm.  At the end of the first wave of snow, GFJ had 4 inches on the ground, while we had gotten much less down here.  Since the weathermen were predicting another 6 inches or so around here, Monday's activities were postponed or cancelled. So I was prepared for the worst when I got up this morning - and the worst didn't happen....

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My alarms were set to wake me up before 8 am.  This would give me enough time to clean off my car, then go inside to shower, shave, and get dressed as Mario.  Around 10:30, I'd drive to the outskirts of Peekskill, so that I could have an interview for a technology administrator position that was scheduled yesterday.  By the time I got outside to clean off my car, there wasn't much snow on the ground, nor was there much on my car.  Instead, there was about .75cm of ice covering the glass surfaces, which I proceeded to melt with a bottle of alcohol spray I keep in the car for this purpose.

The clock hit 10:30, and off to Peekskill I drove, reaching a site down the road from the resource recovery center on John Walsh Boulevard. (This is a part of Peekskill not connected to the downtown business district, and to be safe, I used my GPS to get there.) Once upstairs, I ended up waiting for about 10 minutes before my interview.  Although the interview went well, I don't think I'm the person they want for the job.  My skill sets are rusty, and I don't feel I was at my best.  What I found most interesting about the interview was the use of a script explaining what the census was and why it is done.  (I'll bet that they've had too many people over the years asking dumb questions that they should have learned in a Civics class - if this class was still offered in schools.)  The 2 questions I had, they couldn't answer - When would I hear back from them? and When would they expect me to start if offered the position? The fact that they couldn't supply that information says their ramp up process is flawed.

Once I was done with the Census Bureau, I decided to bring my iPad back to the place that installed a new battery.  I said that it wasn't working, and let the tech take the device in for analysis. Although he said that he'd look at the iPad right away, I'd be just as happy if he didn't have it ready until tomorrow morning....

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I left later than I should for tonight's dining meetup, and I was the last person there.  Everyone else was already seated, so I stood near a table or two, and chatted for a while with the groups at each table.  Unfortunately, there was one group that I didn't speak with much - and I'll be sure to catch up with them next week.  Because I was the only person sitting at a table with no one with me (about 7 or 8 people cancelled for the evening), the group at one table and I moved to a larger table, where we all had room to spread out.  I'm glad that the group's hostess thought of this - she is a nice lady.

On the way home, I called GFJ, and she called back just as I was hitting a Route 9 cell phone dead spot.  Once out of the dead spot, I called her back, and we chatted about things until I reached the Walmart in Mohegan Lake.  $20 later, I left the store and headed home for the night.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Stepping Stones

When I first tried to enter the workforce years ago, I encountered a problem common to many young people.  In order to get a job, I first needed to have a job.  Now that I'm an older person, I have that same problem again.  It would be much easier for me to find work if I were already employed.  Well, it looks like this problem may soon have a resolution. 

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My alarms woke me up at 8:30, and brought me to full consciousness by 9:00. My TV was turned to my usual channel, and my favorite courtroom drama was playing when I got another call from the Census Bureau.  This time, they were calling me about the IT position that I really was looking for when I filed paperwork with them.  So when my TV show ended, I returned the call and now I have an interview scheduled for tomorrow morning.  Hopefully, I'll get an offer before I'd have to start the other position mentioned in an earlier entry

Even though the Census positions are temporary, they would be stepping stones I could use to find work outside of government.  Of course, I'd want to socially transition while on the job, so that I could interview as Marian and leave Mario behind when looking for work. So, I won't get too far ahead of myself.  Instead, I'll hold off from scheduling my planned cruise and assume that 2020 will be a year without a vacation for me.

Once I was done with the Census Bureau, I looked at today's weather forecast.  There was no way that I was going to go to today's Arts Westchester meeting, and even much less of a chance that I'd go to today's Fun Time Friends meetup.  (Note: By mid morning, I received an email from Arts Westchester's volunteer coordinator that the meeting was rescheduled for next week.) This freed up my day, and allowed it to be a Jammie Day.  And then, I received a text from SWD saying that she couldn't make lunch today.  Well, the expected snow became a fortunate coincidence, as I had our lunch scheduled for Wednesday.  I'd have hated to have crossed signals with her.  So we rescheduled our lunch for 2 1/2 weeks from now.

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Around 1:00 pm, the weather forecast predicted that 6" to 12" of snow would fall in my area. There was no way that I'd go out in this weather.  Instead, I decided to stay in and take care of things that I could take care of indoors - and prepare to get up early tomorrow to clean off my car AND to go to the interview that I scheduled before paying attention to the weather report.

Monday, December 9, 2019

A weekend whose plan changed before it really started

Considering how busy GFJ and I would be this Thanksgiving, we decided that we'd get together for a date sometime after her two sons left for home.  With the expected snow to come on Sunday, we changed our plans, so that we could see a movie on Saturday night, then go out to eat.

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Saturday came, and I didn't bother getting up until noon.  Not only didn't I have much to do.  But a couple of books that I placed on hold with the library had yet to come in.  So my original plan of spending the day as Marian was completely scotched because of the change of plans mentioned in the prior paragraph.  That was OK with me, as I hate getting dressed, only to switch into my alternate presentation for the second half of the day.

Around 3 pm, I left for Newburgh where Midway was playing.  It was the only film that the two of us could agree on - either she had seen the film before, or it didn't hold interest to her.  So we agreed to meet at 4 pm, and I started my drive at 3:10.  Why do I mention exact times?  Well, I got stuck behind a couple of tourists on Route 9, and couldn't push the speed limit as much as I'd like.  (This is just as well, as I know I drive a little over the limit at times.) But what bothered me is that when I crossed the bridge, there was a big traffic jam just beyond old exit 10.  So I bailed out before the jam, and took back roads to the theater.  Luckily, I had taken most of these roads at least once before, and knew enough to follow the convoy from old exit 10 to a spot near old exit 7a, ending up less than a block away from the theater.

I arrived at the theater 5 minutes late, and we sat down to watch the film just as the movie started.  Perfect timing - we didn't have to sit through the trailers.  Midway is an enjoyable war flick, but I have one unavoidable criticism: They had to use CGI animation for all of the external aircraft carrier, US/Japanese aircraft, and air battle scenes, as there are no longer enough aircraft from either side to simulate the air battles.  With this being said, I had to give the film makers credit for making things look as real as possible.  If I weren't so familiar with CGI renditions of real life objects, I wouldn't have thought about CGI being used in the film.

When the film ended, GFJ noted that the air battles had too much gun fire.  Part of me wanted to say "Duh!" but I didn't want to upset her - she probably compromised to find a film that I might like.  Instead, I said that we should go for dinner - and it was off to the Chinese Buffet nearby. All too soon, dinner ended and we had to go our separate ways. 

Later in the evening, my brother responded to a message I sent him.  And he surprised me by telling me that he finally bought a new phone - a Motorola Z4.  I think he'll be very happy with it.  If I didn't already have the Z3, I'd be buying the Z4 for less than I paid for the Z3.

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Sunday came, and I woke up early enough to go to church.  As much as I don't plan to be a regular church goer, there is something I like in the old rituals that gives me comfort.   Due to the nature of religion, change comes slowly to the traditional service structure, and it's easy to pick up where one left off.  If one is Catholic, you might remember when the church gave its approval for services to be given in the vulgar (read: common) tongue.  In my church, the idea of "sharing the peace" was cribbed from changes occurring in the Catholic church at that time. 

Sometimes, during a church service, my mind veers away from the service itself and onto simple ideas I wouldn't put together outside of a serene setting.  Today, my mind started focusing on the word "communion" and how it relates to "community."  From there, I connected the dots to the word "Communism" and I could see the disconnect between many "Conservative Christians" and the belief structure contained in the scriptures.

John Calvin posited that if you were going to be blessed by God in the afterlife, that God would be rewarding you in this life.  Prosperity would become an indicator of being blessed. In short, we have the beginnings of the false gospel of prosperity that many people believe in.  Today, many Evangelicals have given up the underlying message of Christianity (Feed the hungry, heal the sick, help the poor, etc.) and are doing the exact opposite. They are judging people without knowing the circumstances which affect those in need.

Communion, Community and Communism - What is the link connecting these words?  It is a community coming together to take care of its needy.  Sadly, the word "Communism" has been contaminated by the flawed political system and flawed economic theory that is associated with that word.  The Red Scare of the 1950's still haunts us today.  Use the words "Communism" or "Socialism" and one triggers up cultural memories of an era where America's propaganda machine labeled the Eastern Bloc as Atheists without morals or ethics. If one lived in this bloc before the Soviet Union fell, one would see his/her government as a problem, and see America's propaganda as just that.  They would feel that America has no soul - we were caught in crass commercialism and materialism.

When the service ended, I was again reminded of the healthy version of these words.  Communion - coming together to share ideas which make us better as individuals and as a group.  Community - being part of a larger group, and not needing to be alone in this world. Communism - the idea that we voluntarily share with others so that their needs can be taken care of.   No matter what that faith is, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc., a healthy faith teaches us that we are all part of something larger than we are, and that we should take an active part in improving that larger whole.

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After church, I took a quick trip to the grocery store in advance of the incoming storm.  Unlike many people, all I needed was enough stuff to get me through a day or two. When the storm passes, the roads will be quickly cleared, and I can go out again.  Until then, I might as well do another load of laundry.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The last month of the year tends to be the businest month for me.

December.  It's the best month to visit New York City, as all the store Christmas decorations are on display, and it's not too cold to enjoy walking around the neighborhoods.  But it's also the busiest time for people like me, as we use this period as an excuse to excessively schedule our time to meet as many people as possible.

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As most of my readers know, GFJ and I have broken our routines for the last 5 years.  Whether we will go back to where we once were is up to her.  All I can do is be available. Therein lies an interesting conundrum for me.  Given what happened about a month or so ago, I have started to book my weekends independent of her.

Since the beginning of September, our schedules have grown a little out of sync with each other.  I've had my cruise, she's had her vacation in Florida, she will be spending an upcoming weekend going to a baby shower and to see her son, and we will likely be apart for the holidays.  Do I want to invest time in her without assurance of a positive return?  It's a hard question for me to answer, as I'm afraid of opening up my heart again only to have it broken. 

Recently, she hinted that she wanted to get together on a specific weekday, and I said that I wasn't too sure of what I had going on.  This was true - I didn't bother to check my calendar. I knew that I had a couple of things to take care of, but I wasn't sure about having dinner. And I knew that both of us would be busy for the next two weeks, save for a weekend day when we were free from family duties.  So we had dinner together and another long talk.

Throughout the rest of the month, I expect that there will be even more conflicts in our schedules.  My brother is going to England soon, and will be there for two weeks.  Since I have to be in the NYC area for my Dad while my brother is away, there is no way I could accompany GFJ to see her son even if I were asked to go. The rest of December will be very busy, as my meetup groups and other gatherings are filling up most open days and evenings up to the end of the year.

Given where I am in life, the problem of being Marian vs. having Romance has reared its ugly head, and I have no clean solution that allows me complete happiness.  All I can do is muddle through, and look for a solution which provides a reasonable amount of happiness. I've been honest about the trade offs I am willing to make, and I hope that they are enough to maximize my potential return on romantic investment.

An early dinner with a friend

  Last night, I mentioned to Pat that I wish I could have been born a cisgender female who looked like this when younger.  If I were younger...