Saturday, January 4, 2020

I didn't plan on buying a new pair of boots. But they were so comfortable!

The other day, I decided to go to a meetup in Connecticut.  I could have spent the day with JS, but I said I was going to a Saturday meetup.  Yet, by the time I got moving, it was too late to go to the meetup.  So I ended up going to Catherine's instead.

Driving on New Jersey's back roads can take an extra half hour to get to where you want to go.  But when roads like Route 4 and Route 17 are jammed with holiday traffic, it actually makes sense to take back roads to get to the shopping malls.  And that's what I did on the Saturday before Christmas.

As I expected, they were having a "last minute" sale, with their clothing priced the same as it was on "Black Friday". So I looked over most of what was in the store, and I didn't see much that said "Buy Me!"  However, I saw a couple of sweaters I had previously bought selling for less than I paid for them previously.  Instead of buying a third in a color I didn't have, I went to the back of the store where I fount a pair of boots in a size 12-W.  Normally, I don't look at women's 12-W shoes, as they are usually a little bit snug on me.  But this time, the 12-W boot at Catherine's fit perfectly.  And at half price, the boot was perfect for my needs. So they jumped into the trunk of my car with a couple of pairs of socks that I can wear with other informal women's shoes.

Sometimes, its nice to be able to spend a little more than expected on something one didn't plan on buying.  I will likely get more use out of these boots than the ones I bought from the Avenue....

Friday, January 3, 2020

I woke up this morning to another strange thing...

It's amazing what some people can use as excuses in their lives to justify actions against others they don't like. This morning, I woke up to find that I have been removed from a meetup group that I never even attended.  The person running the group removed me for "Excessive Gossip". I won't name the person or the meetup group involved.  But I will say that the paths of this person and I will cross at other meetups.  And that I will be civil, but keep my distance.

I find it interesting that several negative events in my social life have occurred after I had my falling out with my former cruise partner.  Within two weeks of our falling out, she sent an email to GFJ ("my eyes only") to be forwarded to me.  Of course, one can't expect GFJ not to read the email. And shortly afterward, GFJ decided to break up with me.  A couple of weeks ago, an acquaintance of mine (in one of my meetup groups) sent an email to this former cruise partner, withing her a Merry Christmas.  And just before Christmas, this acquaintance decided to disconnect from me in social media and in other places.  Could there be something going on here? 

I'm not too worried about what either person could or would do.  The former cruise partner is out of my life by choice.  I didn't want to be obligated to her or to be controlled by her.  That's not what friendship is about.  With this other person, I figure that she will come to her senses one day.  Until then, I will keep my distance, as I don't want to upset her any more than she is now.

- - - - - -

Given what has been going on lately, it's easy to wonder whether something is wrong with me, or whether it is the world around me.  Another acquaintance once asked me why people avoided her when sitting at a table.  And out of kindness, I replied that I didn't have an answer.  The reality was very different.  This person's communication style was off putting in a hard to define way.  Knowing this, I have to ask myself a simple question: Have I changed much since I decided to fearlessly go into the world as Marian?  And secondary questions come to mind: Have these changes been a net negative?  What are these negative changes?

Thinking about my issues, I feel I have become more confident in myself.  This may bother those who are insecure, because they chose me as a friend when I was less secure than they were, making them feel more secure by comparison.  As I've grown, my inner security may have made them feel less secure by comparison.  Who knows?  But if this leads to me having less friends, I may have to accept this as a price for my growth.  Yet, the nagging question still keeps repeating itself: It is me, or is it the world around me?

- - - - - -

Later in the morning, I remembered that GFJ and I had come communicating to take care of.  I had previously registered for one meetup.  When I came back to register for two more from the same group, I found that GFJ had registered for all three meetups.  Either we will need to establish some guidelines for signing up for meetups in groups which we both are members, or GFJ will have to get used to seeing me as Marian.  If she doesn't want to try to have a relationship again, I feel no reason not to sign up for meetup groups in which I am interested in.  But if she wants to work on patching things up, I'd avoid having Marian in the same place as she is, and only have her see Mario in public.

When we finally got together this afternoon, GFJ and I went to see Bombshell.  If you were interested in how Roger Ailes was finally removed from power at Fox News, this would be the movie for you.  Afterwards, we sat down for a while and chatted - it looks like our romance is over, complete except for the final credits.  But we will still remain friends.  This just leaves me with an empty and sad feeling after 5+ years of being together.

Such is life....

PS: GFJ texted me late at night to say it's over.  😞  

PPS: Just before this entry was due to go public, I received the following from my former cruise partner.  What do you think of it?

It takes a very, very sick puppy to call someone every day for YEARS to chat-go on cruises with the person, happily wear the jewelry, handbags and clothes the person gave you and THEN write terrible things about the same person in your blog.

(I never asked for or wanted most of the stuff she gave me.  Yes, I appreciated some of the stuff, but I always felt uncomfortable with her always giving me stuff.).

Your description of ME was " someone with few friends, social anxiety, a food addict who is estranged from her son" - A mentally healthy person would have written "**** is a great friend and I am blessed to have her, she has always accepted me as I am, goes on cruises with me in Marian mode regardless of the stares and knowing it's hard finding jewelry in my size has found many things that fit me".

(She is a sick woman.  Yet, she was a great friend while it lasted.)

I was thinking of sitting with you to try to repair our friendship when I found that blog- I thought for years you were my BEST friend-turns out not only weren't you my friend but I really didn't know you.

(I made the mistake of being too truthful in descriptions. Your mileage will vary.)

As for *** - she read about how you wanted to be "Marian 24-7 and how happy you were when she left after the weekends so you could put on a DRESS". Leave that poor woman alone. You know how to manipulate her and have made her stay a lot longer then she would have. SHE DESERVES SOMEONE BETTER AND NICER THAN YOU. SHE IS NOT INTO WOMAN, SHE FINDS MARIAN DISTASTEFUL AND DESERVES TO FIND A MAN. The fact that you asked her if you could go to her meetups in a dress and could she give you dating tips for your NEXT relationship fills me with DISGUST. YOU'RE SICK! SICK! SICK!

(GFJ still cared.  She just couldn't deal with the Marian side of me.)

I understand you were very nasty to one of the members of the Beacon meet up group. Many people there do NOT WANT YOU THERE and I think they will be petitioning ***** to ask you to leave the group. You should be a "lady" and just leave.

(I wonder where she comes up with this crap.  I wasn't deliberately nasty to anyone.)

As far as I'm concerned- You have caused me great harm when I was nothing but good to you-You are spiritually and morally bankrupt. You are two faced, dishonest and dishonorable. You have nothing to write about yourself as you barely have a life so FEEL FREE TO PUT THIS IN YOUR BLOG YOU MALICIOUS NASTY BITCH.

(As you can see, she has a big bug up her ass after 2 1/2 months.)

It's been over 10 weeks since I was even in contact with my former cruise partner. As my readers are well aware, I've closed out the old blog because of two things - I erred too much in how much information I reveal about people, and because I was no longer free to talk about this person.  I'm much more careful in my current blog, only talking about things that are publicly available.

Dollars to donuts, she's trying to poison the well of my social life.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A belated Merry Christmas!

As usual, the Christmas Holiday started for me the night before.  GFJ was away with her family, and I had an evening out as Marian.  And where does a T-Gal like me go when she wants to be with people on Christmas Eve?  Church, of course.

Christmas Eve would be the only chance I'd have to spend some time with people in Marian Mode, and I made sure to dress up nice for the evening.  So I made my face up, put on a little black dress, and out the door I went.  Arriving at the church about 30 minutes early, I decided to call my brother to figure out what we were going to do the next day. He told me that he'd call me back in the morning, as my sister in law just checked into rehab. (I can only imagine how much of a hit this is going to be to their savings.  She has a nasty habit of self destructing every time something good starts going on in my brother's life.)  So we disconnected for the evening, and I walked into the Church.

As I've mentioned before, this parish shares a priest and a deaconess with a sister parish a few miles away.  This parish gets the priest for Christmas Eve, and the other for Christmas Day.  It is an arrangement that is working for now.  But as parishioners die out (or move away), one church will likely be de-consecrated.  Given the location of this parish, the land is more valuable than the building as it is in a very convenient part of town.  Of course, I can also see the building being sold off to a growing congregation, most likely made up of Korean or Chinese immigrants.  (I've seen this happen with other churches in the lower Hudson Valley, so this wouldn't be a surprise.)  Luckily, the sister parish has more than enough room for the people from this church, and it is only a short drive away.

In my childhood, churches would be packed both on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.  Christmas Eve's attendance was between a third to a quarter of what the church could hold when fully packed.  Unlike my past visits, I decided to sit halfway to the front of the pews.  This time, I felt I had made a mistake, but not for anything to do with my acceptance as Marian.  When the service started, and the hymn singing began, the fellow behind me was singing in the most god awful off key voice I've ever heard.  It took away from my enjoyment of hearing the choir sing.  But I won't complain much.  The older gentleman behind me was continuing a tradition of communal participating in the singing of hymns.

While I'm on the topic of hymn singing, I have to mention something that made me feel good.  The service started with the choir singing "Silent Night" in German.  Although I grew up with the English language version of the song, this is one composition that sounds better in German.  (Sadly, there are way too many people who think that German can't sound just as silky smooth as a romance language.  This version of the song puts that misconception to rest.)  This choir is one of the reasons I enjoy going to this church.  They have a good music director, and bring back feelings of what church should have been like when I grew up.

Around 9:30, the service ended and I had a question to answer.  Do I go to a movie? Or, do I go to a diner and have a pre-Christmas dinner?  I chose the dinner.  By the time I was done, I had missed the last showing of the movie for the evening.  So I ended up going home for the night.

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

Christmas came with no phone call from my brother.  So I had to call him to find out what we were doing for the day.  He said to come down, and we'll pick dad up from the nursing home, then we'll order some Chinese.  I had to joke with him about becoming an honorary Jew for the day, as many Jews have made it a tradition to go to Chinese restaurants on Christmas.  This allows them to eat out on Christmas Day, enjoying a cuisine which doesn't mix dairy and meat products.  (Of course, the idea of eating "Safe Treyf" also appeals to many.)  So I proceeded to get ready to go out while my brother made his trip to the nursing home to pick up my dad.

Leaving my place a little after 2:00, I arrived at my brother's place around 3:15.  The usual traffic jams didn't cause me any problems, as I was able to take side streets from the Clearview Expressway out to my brother's place.  As expected, my brother had Chinese takeout menus in hand for us to place our orders. A little later, we had a nice feast on food that was both too salty and too fatty while being too tasty to resist.  My brother wanted to show a video that he had saved on his phone. But we couldn't figure out how to cast screen images from the phone to the TV.  The closest we came was getting YouTube videos to display on his TV, and that bothered my brother.  He spent the next hour trying to get things to work with his phone and his TV to no avail.  By the time 7:00 came around, I was getting tired, and I needed the second cup of coffee to give me the energy to drive home safely.

On the way home, I chatted with GFJ, who had just dropped her mom off at her place. We agreed on when we'd meet tomorrow, but not the where.  Neither of us knew which movies were playing at the local theaters, and I said that I'd check things out and give her some choices that she could look at when she got home.

Keep your fingers crossed for me....

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Christmas Eve started with an unwanted conversation.

I knew today was going to be a little strange from the moment I checked my first emails.  There was a message from a friend telling me that our links on social media were being severed.  Without any explanation, it felt like a slap in the face.  Did I do something wrong?

- - - - - -

We've all had to learn our way around social media.  Although I won't go into any of the "Who, What, Which, Where, When, of How" of it, I can say that the email conversation that followed from the earlier message made me feel a little better - the issues were on the friend's side and not mine. But what if a person just dropped a bombshell like this on you and gave you no clue in follow up conversation.  How would you feel?

Our children are confronted with this and other social media issues every day.  Social media is used and abused.  It is both a news source about our friends and about the world as a whole.  And there is a lot of misinformation being spread which is meant to hurt people.  Due to the nature of tools like Facebook, slander can be spread instantaneously without the person being slandered having a clue to what is happening. There is even less time than before for a person to mount a defense.  Not having children, I can only imagine what they are dealing with these days.

- - - - - -

By 9:00 am, I had fully awakened due to the above mentioned conversation, and I had the pleasure of watching an episode of Perry Mason that I've been waiting a while to see.

Years ago, Raymond Burr was out from work on Perry Mason, and had several guest stars (as guest lawyers) taking on cases with the typical Perry Mason style.  Today's rerun, "The Case of Constant Doyle" guest starred Bette Davis, and she filled in the role perfectly.  If this wasn't Burr's series, I'd have thought it was Davis's series.  She was that good in her role. And it made me wish that the network could have done a spinoff series starring Bette Davis.  Sadly, few movie stars at the time considered TV acting as a craft as respectable as acting on stage or in the movies.  So we only have that one instance of Bette Davis in her prime doing what she does best on TV - being a strong, confident woman who could not be pushed around by anyone.

- - - - - -

Now back to the Christmas season....

One of the blogs I read discussed the masculine difference in Christmas Shopping:
  1. Men get less satisfaction out of gift buying
  2. Men don’t want to buy the gifts that women want to receive 
  3. The thought of buying and receiving presents makes us anxious 
  4. Gift buying isn’t men’s way of expressing love 
  5. Men love the challenge of a one-day hunt (my favorite)
In regard to gift buying, I am much more like the typical male than the typical female.  I get little satisfaction about gift buying. Yet, I want to buy the type of gift that a person wants to receive. The thought of buying gifts makes me anxious, as I don't to get it wrong.  And it certainly isn't my way of expressing love.  Unlike the typical man, I don't relish the challenge of a one day hunt - I prefer to have my shopping done days or weeks in advance.

Shopping for GFJ this season posed me some interesting issues.  How do I send the right signals with my gifts?  I have to get her size right if I'm buying clothing, yet I can't buy anything that would not be her style.  Luckily, I knew GFJ's size range, so I was able to buy her a sweater that would fit (and if not, was from a store "semi convenient" to her).  The other gifts were easier for me, as I had ideas of what she could use and something that others had advised me to give her.

But if you think GFJ was an issue, what about my brother and his wife?   I was constrained by the requirement not to spend too much on him (we only exchange inexpensive gifts) and something that could be used by both my brother and his wife (I didn't want to give anything that would be too personal, as they are currently having problems with their marriage.) So I ended up giving them a popcorn maker.

- - - - - -

Lately, when I get a text from JS, one of the first things she wants to know is have I been able to fix things with GFJ.  (She doesn't know that GFJ is a female.  But that's another story that I've mentioned in my prior blog.)  And I've had to deflect these questions.  My big question is: Why is my romantic relationship so important?  But then, JS would like for me to help her write a personal ad for her.  There are several reasons that she could be looking for a man.  First is romance.  Second is a financial security blanket.  If she's open about herself and her issues, I have no problem helping her.  But if she's looking for a sugar daddy to take care of her (due to her own weak financial resources), then I have some reservations.

This got me thinking of my former travel partner.  She had cravings for companionship which bordered on addiction.  She'd put up with a man who'd mistreat her, instead of waiting (possibly in vain) for someone who'd treat her with love in the way she deserves.

- - - - - -

Since I'm writing this on Christmas Eve, I don't want to end this post on a down note.  Instead, I'd rather wish my readers a happy and prosperous time in the new year.

Happy New Year!!!!!


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A pre-holiday night out with the Fun Time Friends

As I write this, tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I couldn't help but think that I should rework the opening to Clement Clark Moore's famous poem as follows:

'Twas the second night before Christmas,
And through the Ale House,
Many creatures were stirring,
Including a spouse (or two).

I'll bet that the poet would be aghast if he could see what I've done to the poem.  But it fits the main theme of the day - a pre-holiday visit to the Orange Ale House to share a few drinks with the FTF meetup group, and enjoy some free bar food.

- - - - - -

The day opened with me noticing something about a meetup I signed up for.  I had planned to get together with a new group (for me) and found out that GFJ had just signed up for the same wait list. Since GFJ and I had an agreement that I would not show up as Marian at a meetup she would be attending, I promptly took my name off the wait list.  Later on, I sent a message to GFJ about this, and didn't have the chance to talk about this because her kids were in for the holiday.  (The last thing she needs is for them to find about me being both Mario and Marian.)  So we will probably need to develop new guidelines for meetups that we are both interested in. 

Around 2:00, I started to get ready to go to the Fun Time Friends meetup in Orange, CT.  I had figured that I'd get there a little early, and then boogie over to Catherine's for some last minute pre-holiday browsing.  That was not to happen as planned.  I left Croton at 3:00, and it took the better part of 2 hours to make it to the meetup on time.  While driving, I chatted with GFJ.  But one of her sons was nearby, so I couldn't chat about the topic I wanted to talk about.  So we chatted about some meaningless pleasantries and I wished her the best for her next couple of days in Connecticut with her family.

When I arrived at the meetup, I was the first person there.  Luckily, I met another meetup member and we shared the far end of the table in the picture above.  It was too noisy to have a meaningful conversation. But we tried to do so as the regular meetup gang ambled in. Eventually, I got the chance to chat with the Meetup organizer for a minute or two.  Yet, the noise level in the place got to me.  So I decided to leave around 6:30 and go home.

The drive home was uneventful.  However, the two beers and the bar food started to induce a little drowsiness in me.  The last thing I wanted to do was have an accident.  So I stopped for a while to spike my energy level in order to make it home safely.  And once I made it home, I crashed on my bed for a few hours before starting this entry.

Monday, December 30, 2019

I went shopping the other day.

No matter what happens between GFJ and I, I figured that I'd play it safe and buy her a Christmas present.  Shopping to buy her a gift is the one type of lie I will tell her.  But if things go totally sour, I can always exchange the sweater for one in my size.  (That is one advantage of being transgender - I am familiar with the offerings in stores that cater to women, and know when something good is on sale at a reasonable price.)

A common complaint among many plus size cisgender women is they have nowhere to shop for clothes in person.  Dress Barn is closing (at the time I'm writing this) by the end of the year. The Avenue stores have all closed down, though there is still an on-line presence for that store.  That leaves a diminished version of Catherines selling clothing staples, and Lane Bryant selling more trendy clothing targeted to the younger plus sized woman.  While at the store, one of the salesladies mentioned some of the complaints (not at Catherine's) that former Avenue shoppers have, now that that chain has closed up shop.  These women feel that they have nowhere to shop anymore.

In that conversation with the saleslady, she mentioned that she liked the coat I was wearing, and that she wished that her store carried such merchandise. Although the store was filled with coats, none of them had the look of the classic wool coat.  She complained that district management had no idea of what customers wanted in the stores, and that no one listens to what is going on where it counts - in the stores.  I'm afraid that if this company keeps ignoring its front line, that it will end up just like the Avenue.  And that'll be a damned shame.

As it stands, I have a large enough supply of women's clothes to last me for a while (in my present size).  Hopefully, the owners of Catherine's and Lane Bryant will figure out how to make more money from their stores and keep more of them open....

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Posted on a nearby Door

Sometime within the past couple of years, one of my neighbors vacated her apartment (supposedly) to live with her boyfriend.  Neighbor A had a contract to sell the apartment to Neighbor B, but things fell through, most likely due to Neighbor A's upcoming bankruptcy filing. Since bankruptcy is a matter of public record, I feel safe mentioning this issue, as long as I don't identify the former neighbors involved.

Around the time of the aborted sale, Neighbor B moved into Neighbor A's old apartment, and no one gave it any thought.  Several months later, we found out that the sale fell through, and told Neighbor B to move out - which they did.  (It's amazing that a family who could afford to buy an apartment here could fit all their belongings into a single pick up truck and move out in one day!)  The apartment sat empty for a while, and we recently found out that it was being put up for auction. (Again, another public record allows me to mention this event.)

The other day, I saw the above notice posted on Neighbor A's former door.  It appears that the mortgage company may have purchased the apartment at auction, and is preparing to sell it.  (Or, it may have already have been sold, and this notice is used to tell possible residents that they may have to leave soon.)  One way or another, it looks like we'll have new neighbors soon.  Let's hope that the new neighbors are better than the old ones....

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...