Thursday, December 31, 2020

Thank God this year is almost over.

Years ago, an American president said that December 7, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy.  I say, that because of our current president, 2020 is a year that will live in infamy.  When a online dating site posts an ad that even Satan could have a successful match with 2020, then it's easy to claim that this will be the worst year in many of our lives.

Earlier this year, I lost my dad. And then, due to events related to an argument with an ex girlfriend, I got blackballed from a meetup group.  Such is life.  Other people had it much worse than I did. Can you imagine a young bride having to postpone her wedding three times due to the pandemic?  Even worse, what happens when both breadwinners in a small family have lost their jobs, and have to go on food lines to have enough for their family to eat? What about a teenager who loses both parents to the virus?  Even worse, what about an extended family of 23 who loses 17 members?  As I write this entry, over 300,000 lives have been lost.  Many of these deaths could have been prevented, had our president taken the pandemic seriously and had modeled proper use of face masks and hand washing. Instead, he turned mask wearing into a political statement, and helped cause super spreader events which made the pandemic even worse.

But enough about the troubles of 2020.  We've all had them, and there's not much we can do except to muddle through and carry on.  Instead, I'd like to focus on the good things that happened this year.  For example, many of us learned who our real friends are.  These are people who would stand with us in time of need, and be there for us whenever we needed help. Many of us started to realize that our votes could make a difference, and used these votes to remove the grifter in chief from office as of 1/20/21. Even "Big Pharma" looked at the pandemic as an opportunity to speed up development of new vaccines at a breakneck speed. We're learning that even in the worst of times, there's a lot of good to be said about an imperfect species such as ours.

In spite of the bad things that happened to me and my family this year, I have benefited from what I've gained during the year.  For example, I have developed new friendships while working at the census AND have had a chance to perfect my feminine presentation. When I was training a couple of new employees, one mentioned that she'd have never thought me anything other than a cisgender female, save for when she saw my name when I logged on to the computer. I've also learned better ways of projecting an authentic feminine image while doing things which would have me wearing trouser like garments - something many newly out transgender people need to learn.  Most of all, I have been able to retain my sense of humor and have found out who really appreciates having me in their lives.

Yes, there is a part of me that wishes I could turn the clock back a year or two and do different things.  I'd still have two people in my life that I cared about.  But we can't live in the past.  We can only move forward.  And forward means entering into 2021 with hope that the coming year will be better than 2020 - a relatively low bar to reach.  








Wednesday, December 30, 2020

I never left the apartment, but my day got better when night came.


I didn't leave my apartment building all day, as I didn't even bother getting out of my Jammies until I had a Zoom meeting to go to.  Yes, I could have done much more during the day, but I was in no mood to bother showering, shaving, and getting dressed.  And this suited me just fine.

As has become a custom lately, I didn't go to sleep until the sun started to rise. And I didn't get up until more than half the sunlight hours had gone by the wayside. Not having much that needed to be done right away, I proceeded to relax in bed and watch TV all day.  Sometime in mid afternoon, there was a knocking on my door.  Not wearing anything but a slip, I was not going to answer the door.  Later on, I found out that our managing agent had left me a small token of appreciation - some Almond Nougat.  Yum!  I could easily ruin my blood sugar levels by finishing this gift in one night.  But I didn't.

At this point, I was up and moving, so I figured that I'd change into the oversized T-Shirt type garment (above) that I usually use for lounging around and to sleep. It's not a pretty garment, but it is comfortable.  And the next time I need to buy hosiery from this site, I will buy another one of these garments in a different color.

Now that I changed into this garment, it was time to do a quick make up job to make my face presentable as Marian.  And then I logged into the Zoom meetup.  After a couple of hours, it was just me and my friend who used to live in New York - and we gabbed for a couple of hours.  During our chat, we noted that both of us would likely be good travel companions.  However, I mentioned that I only wish that we both liked women, or that one of us were of the opposite sex.  (Little does she know the equipment I was born with.)  Even though 14 years separates us in age, I wish I could have met her as Mario.  Heck, I wish I could reveal myself to her for who and what I am, and see if things could work.  But I'd rather have this woman as a friend, than to place a extremely low probability bet on romance.  

Once the Zoom meetup was over, I decided to walk downstairs to my mailbox as I was, and get my mail.  Apart from an electric bill, I found a package addressed to me as Marian.  What could this package be?  It seems like a woman I am friends with from my gaming group saw the oven mitt (at the top of this entry) and thought of me.  She is another woman, that in another time and another place, that I'd consider dating.  But she is married (I also like this fellow quite a bit), and I know that she appreciates my friendship.   Here is another friendship I wouldn't have if I were living my life primarily as Mario.

I don't think that some of my acquaintances will ever understand why I prefer being Marian over being Mario.  As I like to think about it, women have closer friendships - most men are always suspect in their motives.  Assuming this is true, it's a damn shame that biology and social systems isolate the male of our species - we could do much better if the two genders had more in common than we have right now....


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

I was just about to start writing this entry when....


This is the view from my apartment window after a snowfall.  It's not pretty, but the parking lot looks worse after a day or two.  This most recent storm followed the usual path - pretty once the snow stopped falling, and progressively more sloppy as the days drag on.

With the exception of a visit to the doctor to get information on my blood tests (things look much better than expected for me), I didn't do much except for a run to Wegman's to pick up groceries. Since I was already out as Mario, it didn't make sense for me to change into my feminine presentation just to make a supermarket run.

So when I got back home, I settled in for the night.  And then some emergency equipment tried to make it through our poorly plowed parking lot to deal with an issue with one of our residents. Did I go out to check what was going on?  No.  Instead, I got a call from another board member asking me what was going on.  We chatted for a while, and then I started to eat the duck I was cooking.

Was this a wasted day?  Yup.  But without people to get together with (due to the pandemic), it's so much easier to make many days into jammie days. And I did just that today.

Monday, December 28, 2020

You might be wondering...


You might be wondering how I spend many of my days lately.  No, I'm not talking of events I blog, but simply of the every day events that go on.  This post should give you a taste of the more boring parts of my life.

Lately, my sleep patterns have gone out of whack. It has become a common occurrence for me to go to sleep around 4-5 am, and wake up around noon.  This precludes me doing much during the day. But with sloppy snow on the ground, there's not much I really want to do outside.  Throw on the pandemic, and the high points of my week are the few times I go out to the stores to go food shopping and the times I've met with FH on the weekend.

Being with people always recharged me.  Now, with the pandemic around us, I have little interest in doing much of anything anymore.  It's easy for me to go for a day or two, not getting out of my jammies. It's not a good thing for me.

- - - - - -

Years ago, I used to send out boxes of Christmas cards. Now, I receive so few, that I tend to write holiday letters that are unique to each individual who writes me. And I feel that this is much more personal than a common greeting sent out to thousands of people who have bought the same package of cards.

Ever since I started with my meetup group's "Secret Pen Pal" activity, I've found that the mere activity of being "forced" to put my thoughts into words has helped me to have unique things to say to people.  No, I will never be a great wordsmith.  But I can organize my thoughts into things worth saying, and in a way that I hope brings other people a little bit of happiness when they read those words.

- - - - - -

You would think that the pandemic has given me time to clean up my apartment.  Without having someone nearby, it is a task that always seems to get waylaid. To make things worse, the place is not in shape to have my cleaning lady come over.  (But with the pandemic, I doubt she's entering many houses these days.)  I expect that by the time I am vaccinated, that I will need to make a serious effort to get this place cleaned up.

If I were to show you pictures of my place, you'd wonder why it got so cluttered.  With no place to go, and no one to have over, one easily gets into a "why bother?" mood.  I was one of those who did so.

- - - - - -

Well, it's time for me to stop writing and to get to do something else.  So I'll "see" you soon....




Sunday, December 27, 2020

Do the lights really seem to shine brighter at Christmastime?


This is the type of photograph that most people try to take when in NYC around Christmas time.  True New Yorker's tend to avoid the tourist spots, as they hate the crowds there.  I'm one of those people who prefer to avoid the city around Christmas.  But this year may be an exception, as the area will not be as filled with tourists.

Originally, my plans were to meet FH at her place at 5 pm.  Instead, she asked me to get there at 5:30 pm, and I was glad to oblige.  (I needed the extra time to fill up the car, and to get some cash out of the ATM.)  When I got there, FH wanted to pick up some food.  At the same time, I was hearing a weird noise coming from the car, as if something was dragging on the ground.  So I stopped in a lit area to check if something was caught under the car.  And then, it was off to a pizzeria a block away.  Normally, Pizza is not the meal I'd eat inside a car. But we pulled over to a safe zone to have a bite to eat, and then we were off to NYC to see some of the store windows.

Sadly, I made the mistake of trying to get to Queens Boulevard from the East instead of the South.  And this put me into the traffic jams caused by the shopping zones near  the Queens Center mall.  AARGH!  It took us 45 minutes to travel the distance I could normally travel in 5 minutes.  And then, FH was very concerned that we were hitting traffic lings on the way to the Queensboro bridge.  It was not a pleasure having her in the car for a trip (that in normal times) would be better taken on the subway. With all the traffic jams and with FH being a back seat driver, I was unhappy that we chose this trip for our weekly activity.

Just before we reached Saks and the Rockefeller Center tree, FH's daughter called, and FH wanted to go home.  (Her daughter has a health issue that causes FH to worry.)  Again, the trip home was plagued by poor road signage, questionable road signaling, and FH pushing me to drive unsafely.  I was glad to be on the way home, even if it was going to take me 90 minutes to get there.

Would I go into Manhattan again?  Probably, yes.  But I'll avoid areas of bad traffic and park the car in a safe lot.  And even then, I'll be very cautious, as there were more people on the sidewalk than I would like given the pandemic.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Should I talk about the snow that fell?



I didn't know what to start with first.  So I figured that I'd talk about the first major snowfall we've had in the NYC area this winter, then progress onto other things.

The weatherman predicted that we'd receive 12-18 inches of snow between 5 pm Wednesday and 12 pm Thursday.  Although he was slightly off with his numbers, he was "close enough for government work."  We were on the lower end of that range when the snow ended.  So, around 1 pm on Thursday, I got dressed as Mario and shoveled out my car.  From there, I made it to Croton Dam Park to take some winter pictures.  Part of me wishes I were about 55 years younger, and be one of the kids sledding down the hill in one of the pictures below.

There will always be a part of me that loves winter.  And I have gotten some of my best photographs during this season.  Of the shots I took today, I consider these two my favorites.  There is something about the approach to the bridge that always interests me, but this picture doesn't do the bridge justice.  However, I love the children sledding down the hill, and this picture captures some of the last people to enjoy the hill before the sun set for the day.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to get more photos there before the magic of this place leaves, waiting for the next heavy snowfall.

- - - - - -

The day after I took the above pictures, I didn't wake up until noon.  (I couldn't get to sleep the night before, and was awake almost to sunrise.  When I did get up, I didn't do much of anything.  And this is why I plan to start looking for work.  It is way too easy for me to get used to doing nothing and getting depressed due to a lack of activity.



Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!

My usual time delayed postings will be back tomorrow.

Hopefully all my readers will be safe from this virus, in good health, and able to spend time with families (virtually, if not a small in-person gathering of people from the same household) . This is a time to be thankful for what we have, and to hope that we will have better times in the year to come.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The storm took its time in coming


Do I talk about the transgender part of my life?  Or, do I talk about things we all share?  That is a hard question to answer.  In normal years, I might discuss my struggles to present an authentic feminine image while dealing with things much easier for me to deal with in male mode.  Today is another day that I was lazy and went outside in male mode because it was the easiest thing to do.

Last night when I parked my car, I realized that I forgot to do two things.  First, I parked the car in a way that would require me to back out of my parking spot.  This would not be a good thing to do when trying to navigate out of my spot after the last of the snow has fallen.  Second, I didn't leave my windshield wipers in an "up" position, so that they would not get frozen in place if wet, freezing snow were to fall.  So I had an excuse to get out of bed, get a breakfast sandwich, and do some last minute shopping at the supermarket down the hill from me.

Once back at home, I ended up watching TV and doing a bit of reading.  Nothing special.  But I ended up thinking how different this year is, and how alone I feel.  Yes, I am chatting with prospective women for dating.  Yes, I see FH on a weekly basis.  But, I do not really feel that comfortable with anyone yet, and the pandemic does get in the way of meeting people. Even though I'm exchanging emails with my most recent ex, I know things are far from the way they were a year and a half ago.  If I could turn back the clock and fix things before they got broken, I'd gladly do so.  But, I have not developed a time machine to allow me to go backwards and correct things.  So I must move forward in my life.

Tomorrow, I expect to be shoveling 12"-18" of snow from my car.  Hopefully, it will not be a "wet" snow. Once I've done this, I will go for a ride to see what the roads look like.  If possible, I will get a chance to take some pictures that are worth enlarging, printing, and framing.  If not, I'll go back and read a book or two before one of my regularly scheduled Zoom meetups.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The calm before the storm


Winter is known for interesting weather.  One day, the weather could be in the 50's, and later that same week, we could have a blizzard.  This is one of those weeks.

Earlier this week, the weather was in the 50's, and it was a nice day to go out wearing a lightweight coat and a sweater underneath.  Today, the weather was in the high 30's, and people were at the supermarkets stocking up in preparation for the coming blizzard.  

This morning, I got up early, so that I could return a book to the local library, and then decided to take a long ride just to get some free air for one of my tires. (I have a slow leak in one tire, and wanted to make sure that I didn't need to inflate it in bad weather.)  While out, I noticed how busy the supermarkets were, and was glad that I stocked up on things a few days ago. I was also glad that I postponed a zoom meeting with my ex boss until tomorrow - neither of us would be going out, and it made sense to use forced downtime for our virtual get together than a day which I expected might be busy preparing for the coming snow.

By the time I got home, I was very tired.  But I had no time to take a good nap.  Instead, I had to get proof that I had health insurance lined up for 2021, and no extra time to take care of this.  New York's Obamacare exchange was closing up shop earlier than last year, so I had only the 6 week window to have paperwork in hand saying that I had purchased a plan for the coming year.  After a phone call and logging into the exchange site, I had that paperwork in hand, and had what I needed to fight "city hall" if needed.

Next, it was a co-op board meeting.  Things ran better than expected, and the meeting was quicker than usual.  However, I had to bug out early - I had a Tuesday night meeting of my Texas Zoom Meetup group to attend.  (I'll have to talk with the president of the co-op in the morning about me bailing out.)  Around 8:30, I made it to the meetup group, and only one of the group was left online.  We chatted for 30 minutes, and then I was free for the evening.

Hopefully, tomorrow's weather won't be as bad as expected. At least, I have my snow shovel upstairs just to be safe....


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow. NOT!


As I write this, the snow is falling in front of my apartment.  It is not the blizzard that we're expecting later in the week.  Instead, it is that kind of snow fall that will require a relatively effortless task of shoveling out the car and getting it out of the way for when the plow comes. Unfortunately, this is not the kind of snow fall we're expecting at mid week.  I am seriously considering driving 150-200 miles from here, staying overnight, so that I can avoid the headaches of the expected blizzard.

With weather like this, I usually take the easy way out and venture outdoors as Mario.  If I had a more feminine body (especially, my face and my head), I'd be going outdoors as Marian.  I want to present as authentic an image as possible when I venture outdoors.  

- - - - - -

2020 will be known as the year of the Pandemic.  In the USA, it will also be known as the year that the public (for now) was able to save a democratic republic from becoming a corrupt authoritarian kleptocracy.  (Please, no comments from any stray Trump supporters who may read this blog.)  Our soon to be former president's base continues to be a threat to the LGBTIQ community.  So we're still in danger, if not from Trump, then from the people who make up his base.

The other day, I visited a person who was a "knee jerk" Republican.  Just the mention of the word "Socialism" makes him worry. So, he fears people like AOC and Bernie Sanders.  He'd vote for Trump, corrupt as he is, instead of for representatives who could keep the left most part of the Democratic Party coalition in check.  But then, this man lives in a suburban bubble where he never sees minorities, except when they get into trouble.  (Grand jury duty only served to intensify this man's biases against minorities.)  Although the man is a decent person, his attitudes have been shaped by the social bubble and media bubble that he lives in.

Most of my readers live in different social and media bubbles from the above Republican. We are among the people who are often demonized in their bubbles.  They call our news outlets the "lame stream media".  Why?  Because it doesn't reinforce their beliefs.  Years ago, we could count on the main stream media to cover the news and report it objectively.  Today, people get to choose highly biased news outlets, and never get the chance to learn objective truths.  This is not healthy in a democratic republic, as we need to acknowledge a single set of objective facts, and only then form opinions about those facts.  

This leads me back to the pandemic.  America has been a victim of its own politics.  Wearing/not wearing a face mask is usually a good sign of a person's political beliefs.  In the past, we had presidents who cared about public health.  Our current president does not care - and was (supposedly) struck by the coronavirus himself. Yet, he still models behaviors which are in opposition to those recommended by the CDC.  As long as people consider the danger of this pandemic to be a hoax, then we will suffer from it much longer than necessary. 

- - - - - -

A long time ago, I looked forward to snow.  Now, it is one of many things that gets in the way of me living my life.  Until it is cleared away, I intend to stay in my flannel nightgown and stay warm and cozy for the next few days.


Monday, December 21, 2020

Getting out too late to see the sun.


There are parts of me that should have been born in another era. For example, I would have liked to have traveled by train across the US in the age of peak passenger rail - even with all of the headaches of doing this kind of trip. I would have loved to see people such as Benny Goodman, Chuck Berry, and Dave Brubeck in person in their prime.  But I would have felt out of place, as well as being crippled, as my life has been defined by the ever growing importance of computers in our lives.

Today, I decided to stay indoors and watch old movies on the TV.  The selections I had to choose from would not have been available to me in a pre-computer age.  Not only could I select a movie I wanted to see from several libraries available to me. But I could view the movie without having to load film reels onto a projector for viewing.  While the movies were on the TV, I could surf the web from a tablet computer - something I never would have dreamed possible when I first came in contact with computers half a century ago.  So, the movement of the sun in the sky has much less meaning to me today than it would have meant had I been around a century ago.

When I finally took my daily shower, I knew that I'd be going out to the grocery store as the sun was setting, and coming home in the dark. My life is only loosely tied to the sun.  But it is still connected with the weather outside.  For example, as I write this entry, the weatherman predicts a small snow storm for tomorrow, where 1"-2" inches of snow will need to be plowed away.  A couple of days later, the same weatherman is predicting 12"-18" of snow to be dumped in my area of the New York City suburbs.  Since I hate shoveling snow, I've started to consider the idea of driving North of Albany, NY early that day, staying the night, and taking a leisurely drive home the following afternoon.  Is it worth the gas and driving to get out of shoveling snow?  Who knows?  But I'll make that decision in a couple of days, then plan accordingly.

 - - - - - -

Lately, I've been in contact with someone I used to communicate with on a daily basis.   It's nice to be back in contact again.  But I'm being careful, as I don't want to be hurt or to cause hurt.  (It took 3 years for me to repair things with my brother, and it took the death of my wife as a catalyst for this to happen.  I don't want similar trauma to either get in the way of a rapprochement or a disconnection. )  I'll keep my readers informed as things progress.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Amazon Prime and Whole Foods

Many people will soon be looking for ways to avoid going to the grocery store during the next wave of the pandemic.  I can't blame them.  Some people have taken to going to lesser known and lesser frequented stores to get their vegetables and meats.  Others have taken to ordering pre-made meals online from places like Freshly, and letting others do all the prep work.  Today was the first time I was with someone when the weekly "Whole Paycheck" (a.k.a. Whole Foods Market) delivery came.

As much as I don't like having expensive items left in front of my door due to a potential opportunity for loss, I like having things of little to moderate value left in front of my door.  Food is one of these things.  In the past, I would have a box of 6 meals from Freshly dropped off in front of my door (if the delivery service bothered to read the delivery instructions).  But I haven't bothered with Freshly in a while due to their "last mile" delivery services.  So, when I saw my friend get a delivery from Whole Foods, I figured that if things get bad, that I might just use their delivery service.

I was impressed with one of the things they do when packing items that needed to stay cold - they used dry ice.  Unlike Freshly, which uses reusable cold packs, the Whole Foods delivery leaves minimal product to dispose of.  Only the bags the refrigerated/frozen food comes in need the dry ice, and it evaporates quickly after the bag is opened for transferring goods into the refrigerator/freezer.

Given that Amazon controls the last mile delivery, I may just use this service in the future.  Hopefully, it won't get bad enough that I will need to do so to avoid a visit to the store down the hill from me.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I could have stayed in and do nothing, but...


A necklace.  Not one that would be worn by a pretty woman, unless she was King Kong's large size companion.  Given that it is holiday season and FH is still in the picture, I figured that she deserved a holiday gift.  So I bought her handmade necklace and earrings thru Amazon.  Unfortunately, I couldn't give her a gift without getting her daughter a gift as well.  So I had to get dressed and go shopping today.

- - - - - -

It's been a while since I have been outside my apartment as Marian.  So I took the opportunity to go out in female presentation for the last chance I'd have this week.  As I was leaving the apartment, I saw a box on my landing.  After checking who it was addressed to, I dropped it in front of my neighbor's door.  She opened up her door while I was in front of my mailbox, and her cat escaped.  So I ended up chatting with her for a sec before leaving.  

I could have driven to the Westchester Mall in White Plains.  But I'd rather not pay to park in their lot, even though it would cost me more to cross the bridge and shop in West Nyack.  And I think this was the right choice, as I was able to find a parking spot very close to the entrance and I was able to get FH's daughter her gift within 10 minutes of my arrival.  So I took the opportunity to walk around a relatively empty mall before driving home for the night.

Around 9 pm, I finally decided to make my crock pot lasagna.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, some might say), I was not going to be able to have it for dinner.  As a result, I ended up taking the lasagna out of the crock pot around 1:30 am, putting the lasagna into storage containers for future eating, and then into the refrigerator to be eaten over the next few days. (I had a little nibble, and it was something that will get better when reheated.)  Knowing me, I will likely have cooked too much.  But I'll know this for sure in a few days.



Friday, December 18, 2020

A late lunch with a view of the bridge


This is a view of the new Tappan Zee Bridge from a site near the Sleepy Hollow lighthouse. Years ago, instead of a residential development in walking distance of the lighthouse, there stood GM's Tarrytown plant.  Soon, I'll be able to walk from this lighthouse through the residential development and reach the restaurant I ate at today.

Last week, FL and I agreed to meet for lunch/dinner at an Italian restaurant convenient to the two of us.  Unfortunately, she had a scare. Two of the people with whom she was in contact had contracted Covid-19.  So she had to isolate herself until her test results came in.  By the beginning of the week, FL received a negative test result, and we rescheduled lunch at a restaurant we ate at several weeks before.  Her one requirement was that we could eat outdoors, and the place she chose had a heated tent. And this restaurant had that.

When I arrived at the place, the tent was there - but nothing else.  One could sit "outdoors" in back of the restaurant.  But one might as well have been sitting inside.  So when FL arrived, she chose to sit inside - and the very table we ate at the first time we were there.  We chatted a bit about things, and she got some great news while eating lunch.  The buyer of her apartment finally signed the contract, and now only had to be approved by the co-op's board of directors.  Now, the clock has finally started ticking for FL to move to Long Branch, NJ.  All too soon, it was time for us to leave.  Given the pandemic, we will not likely be able to have lunch again until both of us have been vaccinated for the virus.  And then I was off to the bank to find out why my ATM card didn't work the other day. 

About 15 minutes later, I arrived at the bank, and waited for someone to finish at the ATM.  Unfortunately, this lady was doing multiple transactions at the ATM and wasting a lot of time.  After a minute or two, I decided to get out of the vestibule, as this woman was wearing her mask improperly. And I went to the teller to deposit my checks, then find out why my card wasn't working.  Guess what!  I hadn't used the card in ages, and their computers flagged the card as inactive.  So I made my deposit, and was told that the card would be reactivated in 24 hours.

Once I got home, I was in for the night.  Did I bother to do the laundry that's been piling up?  No.  Did I bother to make the crock pot lasagna I wanted to make?  No.  Did I even bother to read any of the books I have out from the library?  No.  All I wanted to do was rest.  And rest I did....


Thursday, December 17, 2020

And now, something different.


The above picture depicts Rufus T. Firefly in his successful tenure as the President of Freedonia. The diplomacy of the neighbor state, Sylvania, proves Ambrose Bierce right.  "Peace is a period of treachery between two wars."

Why do I refer to both a Marx Brothers' comedy and Ambrose Bierce in the same paragraph? The answer is simple.  As I write this, our president is undermining the faith his followers should have in our democratic institutions.  As incompetent as Rufus T. Firefly was, he was able to lead his forces to victory against Sylvania. Compare this to our current president, and Trump will look totally incompetent by the comparison.

When I grew up, it was assumed that once the winner of an election was announced, that the loser would graciously concede defeat, and that a peaceful transfer of power would take place as smoothly as possible.  No major decisions or appointments would take place during the transition.  Today, our current president is violating the norms, and making it much harder for the next administration to have a successful tenure.  This puts us all at risk.  We've seen how an incompetent president's mismanagement of pandemic response has made it possible for more people (instead of less) to die from Covid-19.  Even worse, we've seen him organize "Super spreader" political events which only served to make the medical problems worse.  Is this the sign of someone who believes in the unwritten assumptions that kept our country functioning well during a transfer of power?

Many people are angered by this president's frivolous and needless lawsuits geared to nullify  the results of the popular vote. They only serve to do one thing: energize his followers to give him money (presumably to fund his campaign and its lawyers) to line his pockets one last time. Since a third of the nation will follow this buffoon without question, I have to pose this question:  How strong are America's democratic institutions, when a large part of the population craves an authoritarian government?  History shows that democratic forms of government are at their weakest when the needs of the average person haven't been addressed by the elites.  Our president is an incompetent kleptocrat.  But he  seems to want to be an incompetent autocrat as well.  This is a big risk for all of us - especially when the people in his political party are afraid to acknowledge the truth that Biden won the general election.

Hopefully, we will soon see the last of our current president, except when he is in court defending himself against all the charges which will likely be brought against him.  That will be fun television for many.  As for me, the man (and his defenders) disgust me.  So I will change the station and stream all 270 episodes of the classic Perry Mason show.  At least, I know that the innocent will go free at the end of each episode....


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

I never thought we'd have a civil word again.


Over the past couple of weeks, my ex girlfriend I have been having a civil exchange of emails. I can't say where this will lead. But it would be nice to have a friendship again.  Yes, the topic that caused us to argue still makes me feel sad.  But that's the price I pay for my side of the dispute. And I won't go into this much further.

- - - - - -

Life keeps throwing me curve balls, and I keep trying to hit them.  Sometimes, I get a hit.  Sometimes, I hit a foul.  And at other times, I strike out.  It's amazing that I find the energy to do this after all these years, even though my heart isn't always into it.  That often applies to romance, as I don't like being alone for long.

Years ago, when I lost my wife, I didn't take the time to heal.  No one was there to guide me, or to advise me.  Such is life.  Yet, I survived my past.  A few months after her passing, I wrote a letter to a woman who I was once engaged to (CSN), and hadn't seen in 12 years. Strangely enough, we had a few dates, and then things petered out.  She was still the same person that I remembered, save that she was clueless about how most people really are.  Like me, she was a person who could not "code shift" her message to fit the needs of her audience.

Over the years, I've had some fun looking up CSN's information on the internet with no intention of getting together again.  Since this woman has an almost invisible internet presence, I find it interesting how little information is available about her.  Yet, I found out some interesting tidbits, such as an inkling of how her father was passing on assets to her without negative tax consequences or probate consequences.  Hopefully, the financial advice she got was optimal, as I'd like to see this woman do well.

- - - - - -

I'd love to have a good reason to bump into some exes again, especially the woman who was my first girlfriend about 45 years ago.  In her case, I'd like to thank her for causing me to think about my life and becoming a unique individual, not an imitation of someone else.  Like CSN, she has a small internet fingerprint, and is even harder to find.  She shares her name with a formerly popular Hollywood actress.  Hopefully she's doing well, and that she has a pleasant memory of that summer we were together.

- - - - - -

So, my train of thought comes back to the most recent ex.  Trust can only be rebuilt over time.  The slightest screw up can cause much good will to be squandered in an instant.  We both hurt each other a lot, either by design or by ignorance.  Either way, I don't want to cause her any more pain....


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Some good news.


This is a quick note on the virus.

The other day, I was supposed to have a late lunch / early dinner with FL.  However, she had to cancel our get together, as she was in contact with two people who later caught "the bug".  So, she rushed out to get tested and anxiously waited for the results.

Well...  The results were negative!  No Covid-19!  This is great news.  So, sometime later in the week, we will be having an outdoor meal together.

- - - - - -

Later in the day, I contacted my hiking friend from game night.  She got her job!  Yay!  She'll be working an unusual schedule, doing a Tuesday-Saturday daytime shift.  This is good for me, as this leaves both Sunday and Monday open for us to get together for our outdoor walks. 

Last week, I mentioned this woman to Vicki, and said that I wish I could have met this woman as Mario.  She gave me something I could say to find out whether she is interested in someone like me.  Knowing me, I'll never say it.  I like knowing this woman too much, and I don't want to ruin a friendship by bringing up Mario and spoiling things.



Monday, December 14, 2020

When I woke up, it was colder than I originally expected.

It was not this cold outside today, but it was colder than I expected. 

- - - - - -

The last time I went out walking, it was in the 40's. And I felt comfortable outside wearing a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt under a coat when I walked with my friend from my Thursday night group.  Today, being 10 degrees cooler than my last outdoor walk, I figured that it might be a little too cold for me to walk outdoors. So I texted a friend, and asked if we could change our get together from a walk and maybe a bite to eat to just a bite to eat. And our plans changed, so that we could meet at a local brewpub.  

Around 1 pm, we met at the empty brewpub and talked about many things.  I talked about many of the things I mention in this blog: some with more detail than I write here, and some with less detail. One of the things I mentioned was that I had no place yet to go for Xmas. So now, I have a place to go if I have no other invitations for the day.  Because it was warmer than either of us expected when we finished with lunch, we took the chance to move our cars out of the brewpub's parking lot to a place where it was safe to park the cars for an hour or so. And then we walked a short distance before turning back.  (BTW: I found out that I need to put a pair of gloves into the pockets of my new coat.)

As I've mentioned here and elsewhere, I'm a bit concerned about how this winter is going to look like.  Will people hunker down at home and take realistic precautions against being infected by the virus?  Or, will they throw caution to the wind (albeit slowly) and allow the pandemic to continue its second wave? I plan to obey all of the restrictions put upon us by  our state's government, as I don't want another lock down as is now about to start in California.

- - - - - -

Thinking of California for a minute, several of my acquaintances live in the San Francisco Bay area.  My Aunt and Uncle live in Los Angeles. They will all be affected by the upcoming lock downs.  The state is an example of a government which has delegated too much power to the people. At least one county (San Mateo) is not planning on following the governor's directive to do a 3 week lock down.  Instead, they plan to perform a "Swiss Cheese" approach to closing things down, and as a result, have very little effect in stopping the spread of the virus.

Recently, I found a new search engine (people locator), and I may have found where an ex girlfriend of 44 years ago lives.  If I'm right, I'll consider dropping off some snail mail just to say hello.  I don't have much to say, I live on the other side of the country, and I pose no threat to this woman's comfort.  So, I might have a pleasant response if I do this.  The odds are that I won't send this letter.  But it would be nice to reconnect with someone who affected my life in a positive manner and tell her this after all these years.

Another acquaintance in the Bay Area knows about my bi-gendered nature, and is comfortable with it.  Hopefully, she will survive the winter, and that I'll get to see her on my next visit to the Bay area.  It's been around 8 years since I was there last, and it's time to get out there again. This time, it'll be much more expensive for me to visit. But I'm coupling this trip with: (1) a visit to LA to see my Aunt and Uncle, (2) a broken leg train trip from LA to Seattle, (3) meeting up with my nephew in Seattle, and (4) a cross country train trip back home.  It'll be an expensive trip.  So it won't be something I'll do on the spur of the moment.

- - - - - -

Now that I've started to think of warm places, Florida comes to mind.  I have some acquaintances I'd like to visit there, and have no intentions of doing so until the pandemic lifts. As is well known, the governor is a GOP buffoon, and doesn't take the pandemic seriously. He hews to the Trump party line. And this has put an ex girlfriend of mine (and her partner) at risk. No, I do not plan to visit this ex.  But I would like to visit two people who have been mentioned in my previous blog before life made other plans for me.

Assuming I decide to visit Florida, my trips between cities will need to be taken as Mario.  I don't trust this state's attitudes towards people like me in this political climate.  One could easily get killed if the wrong people were to find out my biological gender doesn't match up with my gender presentation.  As much as some people have no trouble "traveling pretty" (as Kim would put it), I still feel that I have to be very careful.  But I'm not in any hurry.  I don't plan on making this trip until next winter at the earliest.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, I will get back to traveling and meeting people sometime next year.  I'm more than willing to pay the price in loneliness to get out the other side of this pandemic without catching the virus. But it is a heavier price than I'd like to pay to be on the other side....








Sunday, December 13, 2020

Walmart is not the shopping mecca that someone once thought.



OK, I will admit that I occasionally shop at Walmart.  Do I like the idea that this store has become a monolith among retailers? No.  The arrival of this chain depresses wages for other retailers in the community, unless large retail chains already dominate the local landscape.  Today, I knew that I was going to a Walmart, and had no plans to buy anything there.

When FH and I last talked, we agreed that today's trip would be to a restaurant that I often enjoyed in the past, and that she would get to go to a Walmart. So, off to Lindenhurst we went, and we found Southside Fish and Clam for a seafood dinner.  This place brings back many good memories for me, as I've been going there on occasion since my late wife was alive.  There isn't much atmosphere, but the food is good. Today, the place was virtually empty, and we were able to have a quiet meal in peace without having to worry about other patrons being too near to us.

Our next stop was the Walmart in Farmingdale. It is one of the bigger ones, and yet, FH was unable to find a circular fluorescent bulb in the correct size.  After a little bit of shopping, we ended up going to the Home Depot to get the bulb. Then, it was back to Forest Hills, where I installed the bulb. It was a little bit of a pain in the butt, as the clips held the old bulb in very securely in place.  But once I was able to remove the old bulb, everything went smoothly.

Even though I don't think this will be a long term relationship, she's good company for now. And for that, I'm glad that I met her.  Tomorrow will be a day out as Marian, and it will be nice to enjoy that part of me again.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Another time that dinner was the best part of my day.


When I got up this morning, I found that a text message never made it to JM, and she was no longer interested in me.  This is not as bad as it sounds, as we were not in each other's social class. As Vicki said to me later in the day, her former career might have taught her skills that prevented her from developing good relationships with men.  (I won't go into this any further in this blog.) If someone wanted to drop me because of a minor screw up, then I know she would run away if she ever were to find out about Marian.

Since I didn't get enough sleep the night before, I went back to sleep and finally arose for the day around noon. For the most part, I took it easy all day until I met with Vicki around 6.  Now that Covid-19 infection rates are going up, I'm starting to get concerned about doing things such as eating indoors at a restaurant. But Vicki and I will continue to eat out, at least until Gov. Cuomo says that the infection rates in the Mid Hudson region are too high to allow indoor dining.

Vicki and I met in a restaurant near Mohegan Lake. She had bought a $100 gift coupon for $50, and wanted to go out to this steak house.  Yum!  I haven't had Prime Rib in ages.  So I went to the cash machine, picked up my weekly supply of cash, and made it to the restaurant on time.  It took a few minutes to be seated.  But I always feel good when someone addresses me as a lady.  This was an evening to feast, and we split a raw bar sampler for 1 (more than enough for 2 to share), and then had soup with our prime ribs to follow. Both of us had leftovers that we took home with us.  However, Vicki noted one thing in our conversation that I never noticed before - I now have enough volume and pitch fluidity in my voice to sound much more like a cisgender female than I did 2 years ago.  Now, my voice isn't much of a giveaway anymore.  That's a great compliment!  Those lessons at Mercy helped, as well as my 10 months at the Census bureau.

As my readers might guess, the day started off on a down note, and ended on an up note. For this, I am grateful..... 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Secret Pen Pals



One of my meetup groups (Ambles and Adventures) has sponsored a "Secret Pen Pal" letter exchange twice this fall. And I have enjoyed participating in it.  It's a nice thing to do, as it allowed me to write to someone I don't know, and say something from my heart without feeling that I will be looked at strangely.  No, I'm not saying anything I wouldn't want known to the world. Instead, I'm opening up a part of myself that doesn't always get the chance to come out.

The first time around, I had two pen pals.  One was the woman I was assigned as my secret pal. The other was the hostess of the group, someone who couldn't have the secret pal because she knew everyone's partnerships.  The second time around, I had one woman, and I had fun writing to her as well.

I'm looking forward to the next round of letters/cards. I get to express myself as Marian, and enjoy doing so.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Hiking around Teatown Lake.


The other day, I went out with a friend from my Thursday night gaming group.  If I had met this woman as Mario, I'd have asked her out for a date a long time ago.  Even now, I sometimes wonder whether she'd be interested in Mario, knowing that I like to spend as much time as possible as Marian.

This week's hike (a very easy one) was the lake side trail around Teatown Lake. It's hard to believe that the last time I walked around this late was a little over 40 years ago, when I was a "youngster" in college.  The group I was in had no problems walking from a nearby retreat house late at night, and doing a 7 mile walk (my guesstimate) without thinking about it.  Today, I get a little nervous thinking of doing a 4+ mile walk.  And I've shied away from groups that I might have been welcome in, had I taken the chance to make the first move.

Now that the weather is about to get cold, I will miss these chances to be with my friend.  We don't talk that much when we are walking, but it's nice to have someone with me to be a catalyst for me to do healthy things with my life. Even if the weather weren't about to get cold, it looks like my friend has finally landed a job.  And I am very glad for her. 

When things warm up again, I expect that we will be getting together for our walks now and then - unless I am busy with a woman I'm dating.  Neither of us like hiking in excessive heat or cold.  So I think I'll have a hiking companion for those times I want to go out for a walk as Marian. 

- - - - - -

A while back, I read a book called "Moneyball."   It explained how the Oakland A's were able to use statistical analysis to figure out how to produce a division championship team by acquiring talent on the cheap, not assuming that certain needed talents had to be possessed by a single ball player.  The A's changed how baseball looked at producing winning teams, and it influenced me in how I looked for friendships after breaking up with my ex.

Knowing that I'll never get the bulk of what I want in a relationship from one woman, I decided to fulfill my needs in completely different ways.  For example, I used to enjoy regular, if not daily, calls with the ex.  Now, I have them with TCL, even though she is only friendship material.  I now enjoy going out to dinner with the women I have dated, but do not yet expect that I can share my soul with any one of them so far. (I certainly can't say much about the physical part of a healthy relationship.) None of the pieces in the aggregate yet make up for what I lost. But I think I'm building up something more durable, and more likely to last.

Strangely enough, I think that being Marian is an important part of this rebuild.  Even though I expect that I will need to live much of my life as Mario, Marian is an essential part of me. There is a warmth that I could never show people when Mario crowded Marian out.  And whoever I end up with will need to accept all of me, for better and worse.




Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The only reason I left the house was to get some food.


General Tso's Chicken.  It's one of the tastiest foods you can order at a Chinese take out place, but it is neither healthy, nor is it Chinese in origin.   Several years ago, Jennifer 8 Lee gave a Ted Talk regarding the origins of this dish. And her talk gave me new insights into the origins of "Chinese Food" in America.

When I want comfort food from a Chinese take out place, General Tso's Chicken is one of the dishes I usually will order.  Lately, most places have been turning down the heat on this dish, as most Americans like bland food.  As for me, I usually want strong flavors in my food, save when I'm eating slowly and for taste.  Then, I want the subtleties in a dish's flavors to come out without assaulting me.  

Today was one of those days I wanted some Chinese comfort food. And you can easily guess what I ordered.  It was a good excuse to get showered and dressed for the first time in a couple of days.  Given that the pandemic will shut down California in the next few days (as I write this), I expect that New York will soon follow their lead. That means that I'll have to enjoy getting out now, while I can still do so.

- - - - - -

Before things started getting shut down, Andrew Sullivan mentioned  Camus' "The Plague"  in his blog.  Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to read this book before everything shut down in March.  So I put the book on hold, and waited until I could get it from my local library.  Towards the beginning of May, the library reopened.  But it was not business as usual.  One had to put all book requests on hold, and once available, pick up these books on a table inside the library's vestibule.  No one was being allowed to enter the library, save for the people who worked there.   After reading the book, I started to understand why my reactions to my ex (and she towards me) were so magnified.  More importantly, I started to understand why some people were likely to suffer pandemic fatigue - after a point, people stop feeling that they have any control over their lives.

After a summer and fall which allowed us to socialize with some degree of normalcy, it looks like the second wave of the pandemic is going to be worse than the first wave.  Before, the effects of the pandemic were limited to a handful of states.  Now, the pandemic is nationwide, with the worst effects in states who acted as if the pandemic was God's curse on the "Liberal" states.  Although there is a part of me that is enjoying a form of Schadenfreude, seeing many of the "Deep Red" states suffer as we did in the Tri-state area, I'd rather that no one go through what we went through in the spring. There are people I know who couldn't get essential health care because hospitals were flooded with Covid-19 patients.  No one should endure that.

I figure that most of us will be staying isolated until sometime in April, when things have started to warm up and vaccinations are being given to the general population.  By that time, the general populace of this country will start receiving their vaccinations.  Will the rest of the nation behave in ways described in Camus' novel?  One thing I know, take out restaurants will still be allowed to function, and I will still be able to get my General Tso's Chicken.








Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The best part of the day was doing the laundry



Years ago, this storefront was where the Whine and Dine meetup group used to meet.  Since then, the restaurant has closed, the meetup group shut down, and the owner moved to Texas to live a new life.  Why do I bring this up?  To answer this, I go back to the old phrase: "This too shall pass."

- - - - - -

Virtually everything now is being affected by the pandemic - even though we have a vaccine which will be available to most of us in the spring.  Most of us have 4 to 6 months before we are able to get vaccinated, and we will have one last season of being shut in our homes before we start the process of living lives that resemble the "normal" we remember from 2019. But those 4 to 6 months are a long way away, and the positive infection rates in New York are about 5% of all those people being tested for Covid-19 infection. 

Recently, several get-togethers I scheduled with some people have had to be postponed because of Covid-19.  First, I was supposed to meet with JM for a walk.  One of her friends that she met up with could have gotten infected, so JM waited until the results of her friend's Covid-19 test came in before risking new contacts with her friends.  Over the weekend, FL was in contact with two people, both of whom tested positive.  So FL cancelled dinner with me, and went to be tested for infection.  If she tests negative twice, then we will get together for dinner one week later than planned.

TCL and I try to talk with each other every day.  It's our way of making sure that there is someone there looking out for each other on a regular basis.  She's looking to adopt a new cat (or two) and I hope she finds one (or two) she likes.  As for me, I don't have that much to say in our conversations.  But the pandemic has affected both of us, as she is very concerned about letting anyone into her house.  Minor house repairs are being delayed, as she doesn't even want a handyman inside her house.  And I can't blame her.

Everyone I know is affected by the pandemic, and it looks like I'll soon have to become a hermit as well.  Now that people are retreating indoors, the high point of today became doing the laundry - as this got me out of my apartment for a while.  After a dinner with Vicki and shopping with FH over the weekend, I doubt that many people will be comfortable meeting with others inside their houses or indoors at a restaurant.  

As I try to remind myself, "This too shall pass."



Monday, December 7, 2020

More reports from the dating front - printer problems & someone overly inquisitive.


I figure that once someone wants to break up with me, that I should take her at her word.  Last year, my then girlfriend broke things off - and it hurt me much more than expected.  Our after-breakup dispute caused us to say and do things that hurt each other, ruining what should have developed into a solid friendship.  I'll always feel sorry about that.

Why do I mention this?

Well, FH is a nice woman.  But I think she's uncomfortable trusting me.  No, I'm not talking about dealing with my dual-gender life, though that is an issue. But it is something much more mundane - trusting me to know what I'm doing, when I don't know all of the details about what I'm doing.  Without a certain amount of trust in the person, neither a friendship or a romantic relationship can work for long.  But for now, it seems that we are filling each other's needs.

The other day, I was over FH's place, and she asked me to figure out what was wrong with her printer.  Details that should be coming in as solid black were being printed in a bluish gray.  Since she had replaced all 4 of the print cartridges a couple of weeks before, I had my doubts of whether a new print cartridge was needed. And if it was, I had to make sure which cartridge needed to be replaced, as color printing is an "additive process" and I didn't want to buy a new cartridge unless it was really needed.

When I started my diagnostic process on the printer, I was getting a little flak from both mother and daughter.  The error message they saw said that toner was needed.   Yet, the printer status reported that the black toner was at the 95% level.  FH overly depends on her daughter for anything related to technology.  In several ways, she's training her daughter to be the "man around the house", letting the daughter take the lead in things such setting up computers, assembling "kit" furniture, etc., when I feel that FH should have been using these opportunities to show some grit around her daughter instead of indulging her. (At times, the daughter seems to be 21 going on 15.)   So mother and daughter argued about whether they should buy more toner, while I wanted a little bit of peace to figure out what was really going on.  As a result, I was using my call phone the way people might use a fidget spinner - a distraction to keep from focusing on something frustrating me.

Once I finally started to make some progress, seeing what was really going on, I decided to find the printer's manual, and read an online copy.  In that copy, I found a section related to printer calibration.  So I decided to run that process, as they had installed new toner cartridges 2 weeks before.  About 5 minutes later, we were able to print a document - and the black areas printed as black areas, without a touch of the blue/gray print we saw before.  

Now that I was done, FH was very thankful.  Unfortunately, it was time to leave, and it was back to Croton for the night. 

- - - - - -

Before Thanksgiving, I "Swiped Right" on a woman in New Jersey.  I made the mistake of responding to her direct message.  She peppered me with questions, some I answered and others I didn't.  Overall, I got a very bad feeling about this woman.  She mentioned that black men seem to be very loving.  (So, what?  I identify as White, though I have Black ancestors from over 100 years ago.) Then, she peppered me with questions that she had no right to be asking at such an early stage of knowing each other. Add to this, she wanted my FB information (which I wasn't going to give), and it felt that she was trying to set her hook into someone who had a few extra bucks. She wanted to rush into a video chat, and yet, when I mentioned Zoom, she didn't bite.  Something was very far off. Once I found out that she had 4 rental properties in the Philippines, warning lights came on for me.  She may have lost her family's prior American "Sugar Daddy", and saw me as a potential mark.  Once I saw her using the English language in a very flawed manner, I knew that something was very wrong.  So, I unmatched her, and let her move onto another mark.

- - - - - -

As you can guess, there are other women with whom I communicate.  Until the pandemic lifts, I will have a hard time meeting any of them.  But if I do meet them and things work out, I'll be sure to let them know about my female side earlier, not later, in the developing relationship process. 


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sometimes, I like to find diamonds in the rough.


The above picture is one of many from a stock photo collection once issued by Corel on CD-Rom.  They didn't know the value of these photos when they sold the CDs, and now sell use of these photos on an image by image basis.  If I had known how pretty many of these images are, I'd have dropped a wad of cash and bought a complete set of 200 CDs.


These pictures seem to have been shot on the best of old Kodak film stock.  They have the warmth that today's photos often do not have.  (The images were saved in an obsolete format, and had to be converted to JPG.  As a result, they may need color correction that I won't bother with for my blog.)

Given that it has been the better part of 20+ years since I bought these disks, it will be hard to find individual disks I am interested in owning, such as for New York City, Washington, DC, and America's national parks.  So, if you know someone who still owns these disks and wants to sell them, please let me know.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

All I want for Christmas


I have to be realistic about romance and me.  I'm a failure at love.  You could blame it on my bi-gendered nature.  You could explain it away from attachment issues from childhood.  You could just say that I'm selfish.  No matter what is the root cause, I've loved and lost way too often.

Fortune granted me 11 years with my late wife.  She was no saint, but I would like to think that she could have accepted me for who and what I am now.  However, could I have accepted what she was while becoming a more mature adult?  I'm not sure.  Over the years since then, I've dated a string of women - with no long term success.  Most recently, I was in a relationship for 5 years, and failed at that as well - in part, because of who and what I am.

My Christmas wish is simple - to find a lasting love, and to be able to show her I really care.  What is your Christmas wish?

Friday, December 4, 2020

The high point of my day was dinner


I won't go into too much about today.  My ex and I had an interesting exchange of emails.  And thought it brought up feelings in me (and probably in her), it was a productive exchange that will likely continue over time.  What's more important is that I had dinner with Vicki tonight.  Although I can call on her for help, I always have to remember that she is a married women, and has only limited time for me.  

Vicki has a positive accomplishment of note - she has been able to lose enough weight to switch herself into the category of "overweight" from "obese".  I must relearn how, how much, and what to eat, so that I can also lose my excess weight.  It will be hard for me, given that I eat out all too often.  But with the pandemic and winter coming, I'll bet that we will soon have the same shutdowns that plagued us this spring.  However, I think that this time, most businesses will be allowed to stay open, as we can't afford the social safety net needed to keep people home and keep people and businesses solvent. So, without the excuses to eat out, I may just be successful in my attempt to lose weight.





Thursday, December 3, 2020

Something to be thankful for, but....


What can I say about this Thanksgiving? It certainly wasn't what I would have wanted or planned. Yet, I am thankful for it....

Without going into all the other options that didn't pan out, there was one option that opened up to me too late for me to say "yes".  But I'd have rather this option had not opened up.  My friend, TCL, had invited one of her friends over to have a Thanksgiving meal with her at a local restaurant.  This gentleman is a little bit of a flake at times, but TCL made sure that I understood that her friend had a very good reason to skip the meal - he had to be admitted into the local hospital.  Although I can't go into any more details, TCL was able to show me that his situation was serious, and that he needed immediate treatment and care.  I wish I could have then said yes to TCL, but I already had plans with FH and didn't want to break them.

Many people might not have known that Boston Market was open (in a limited way) for Thanksgiving.  People had a very limited choice of meals, as the stores were doing Thanksgiving Feasts to go. Lines stretched out the doors, and out to the back of the stores. Yet, they moved quickly, as evidenced by the one I was on.  After picking up 3 meals (1 each for FH, her daughter, and me), I was off to Forest Hills for dinner.

Once I reached Queens, I decided to look for plastic utensils, so that we didn't need to clean up anything. I ended up driving through Flushing, and the area is even more built up and more like a part of Asia than I remember it being.  (The heart of Flushing is one of New York's newer Chinatowns, and I wanted to see what has changed since I was there last.)  Eventually, I made it to FH's place, and I was extremely lucky to find a place in front of her door.  Even more so, I was lucky that the door was open to her building, since both the doorman was on duty AND that the temperature was in the 60s when I arrived.

Even though I bought 3 meals, the only thing FH's daughter wanted to eat was the Mac & Cheese bowl I picked up.  The girl (she's 21) is a very picky person, and didn't even want to eat anything else on the table.  Once dinner was complete, FH and I went to her cousin's house for an outdoors holiday chat, and I eventually dropped her off at her place a little before 9 pm.

Would I have chosen this day, knowing how things would be?  Probably not.  But I am grateful that FH is comfortable introducing me to her cousin and his daughter. And I am grateful that I had this place to be on Thanksgiving, a holiday I could have easily spent alone and depressed.



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...