Saturday, March 6, 2021

The end of the week is here!


Above is another work of art from the same hotel/casino.  As much as I am not a gambler, I had a good time when I went there with a then special someone.  I know that she'd be surprised to see me getting up at 6 am every day, as that was the time one had to get up to use the spa's pool before it opened for business.

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Why do I mention a work of art?  Well, I'm thinking of going into NYC this weekend and visiting a museum before the tourists come back to town.  Yes, there is always the risk of catching the virus.  But without a special someone who cares what happens to me, the reward of enjoying myself while I can outweighs the risk of catching the virus.  It is depression or fatalism?  I don't know, but I think it's a form of acceptance of the things I can't fully control.  

Vicki once mentioned that at some time, we have to start living life again.  Recently, the two of us went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant which was busier than the restaurant that FH and I ate at the night before.  FH has little to worry about, as she has had her two vaccination shots, while I should be the one to fear contact with people.  Yet, I'm the one who feels confident going out to eat.  Go figure.

This afternoon, I saw the signs of the end of the pandemic.  Some of the meetup groups that I attend have started to post events for the spring.  It'll be nice to see people again.  But I know that because of last year and my dispute with the ex, that I'm no longer sure of being accepted anywhere due to the dispute.  Yet, I'll deal with those issues if they come up.  At least I can say that I made it through the worst of times alive.  That's more than a lot of people could say if they were able to communicate with us from the beyond....

Friday, March 5, 2021

Thursday - the end of the week is in sight!


Some of my readers who have been to Atlantic City may recognize this glass sculpture in the lobby of one of the Casino/Hotels. It's a pretty work of art, and I enjoy looking at it whenever I visit this casino.

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You might be asking: Why did I start off talking about a casino?   It's because life is about taking chances, and I realize that I made the right move by returning to work.  Like most people, I have my problems with work.  But it's nothing a make a big deal about.  Others have it much worse than I do, and many of them feel that winning the lotto is the only way they will find success.

Most of the time, we control good parts of our own destinies. One of my friends from the online meetup group is in a FML (Fuck My Life) kind of mood, as her Texas acquaintances failed her when she needed a warm place to stay during the recent frigid weather. She hasn't received a raise in 3 years, and there is no sign that more money will be coming to anyone soon.  She misses being able to be with people, as the pandemic has reduced the foot traffic near her door.  And, all the men that have contacted her online seem to be scammers.  Why in the hell did she leave New York for Texas?  I advised my friend how to turn this pandemic into a goose that can lay a golden egg. Her boss made promises to her that aren't being kept.  With Trump's tariffs on Chinese manufactured goods, and layoffs related to the pandemic, my friend can claim that her boss has not been able to keep her promises to help my friend develop move valuable skills.  She can tap into a prospective employer that once reached out to her (via a headhunter) and do a cold call, asking to be considered for work when they begin hiring again.  (The prospective employer is out of state in a tourist dependent area, so they won't be hiring until Autumn at best.  But she could be on the top of his list of people to talk to.)  She has options she never thought of, many of which can help her get more control of her destiny if wise choices are made.

As for me, I wanted to get out of the zoom meetup early.  I had dinner to cook, and each minute in the meeting was a minute away from the oven and from dinner.  Yet, I was very glad I could help her, as it was my turn to pay some stuff forward today....



If I can get to sleep and out the door, I have a potential routine for a work day.

To the left is Harpo Marx.  In real life, he had a lot more going on in his life than I do these days.  First, he was an entertaining person on and off the screen.  And he was appreciated for the person he was - someone who never put on airs, and was beloved by almost everyone who knew him.  Who wouldn't want to live a life like he did as an adult!

Why might you ask: Why am I bringing up Harpo Marx?  Well, as an adult, he was able to live a fulfilling life, and was able to do more of what he wanted to do as he grew older. In many ways, I am doing just that, being able to live part of my life as Marian.  But to do so, I must fine tine a daily routine.

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My alarm is set for 6 am during the week, and I usually wake up an hour early.  This means that I get an hour less sleep than I want and need.  Before I do anything, I put on a cup of coffee, then check my email for a few minutes.  Eventually, I make it to the shower, and then to put on my feminine face for the day.  Around 7:15, I have to be out of the house to make it to work by 8:00, with a quick stop at the deli for an egg sandwich.  How boring.  And then, it's 8 1/2 hours at the office doing quality assurance on boxes of scanned documents.  

The place I work at is a factory with a digital assembly line.  Paper goes in one end of the plant, and digitized images come out the other.  It's far from the friendliest place to work,  not because the people there are unfriendly.  Instead, the work flow doesn't give people the opportunity to socialize outside of official break time.  Most tasks in this factory can be done by anyone with a little bit of training. And one can easily leave problems at the door when 4:30 comes.

After I leave the office, I am free to do whatever I want or need to do until 10 pm or so, and then I should be preparing for bed.  However, I'm not a person to go to sleep early.  Therefore, my inability to fall asleep early is causing me problems.

- - - - - -

Hopefully, I will fine tune this routine soon.  I can't keep going to work being sleep deprived.



Thursday, March 4, 2021

Looking back at two friendships.


The above picture is of me and my former cruise partner (FCP) who shall not be named here.  The other day, she came up in an exchange of text messages between me and my ex girlfriend. Although I can sense some of my ex's ambivalence about how we handled our differences, I know that she may be learning something by chatting with me this way.  Whether or not we end up being good friends again is up to fate.  But with everything that went on in my life last year, she may have been in a worse place without losing anyone important in her life. And that could be the explanation why she fought so hard then and why she is ambivalent about a friendship now.  But I digress....

The ex and FCP have met once during the pandemic and have chatted on the phone several times.  It seems like the ex inherits friendships whenever she breaks up with a man - and now she has FCP for a friend.  I know that FCP and I will likely never find a way to patch things up - and I can't blame her for feeling as she does.

Several days ago, I had a dream that referenced FCP, and it wasn't pleasant.  I feel that I needed to send an indirect message to find out whether she is OK or not. And thus, the mention of this dream to my ex. I'm hoping that all is still OK with FCP, as last the ex heard, things were OK, as FCP has hunkered down with her pets for the duration.

- - - - - -

You might wonder why I once sent FCP a terse apology that may have sounded "matter of fact" and nothing more.  The answer is simple: If I were to say a "Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa" to her, she'd find a way to use the written word against me.  Thus, I don't want anything communicated in a form that could be used against me.

Regarding the ex, I want her as a friend, the type of friendship we could have had at the first time we broke up.  I don't push her.  Both of us still have some feelings that might complicate things if a friendship is rushed.   So I find it better to go slowly and work at rebuilding trust.  In our last conversation, I mentioned that there was a subtle wall between us during the relationship - and she gave as part of her explanation: "I didn't think about it."  People who build walls between themselves and others (and I'm including myself here as well), don't think of things that the other person feels should be obvious.  Over time, they may become obvious to the person, and by then it is often too late to fix things between the two people.  This is why I believe that an occasional argument between two people is a healthy thing - the walls we build are not started by our conscious minds, but can only be breached by our conscious minds.

- - - - - -

Some of my readers might remember that the big problems with the ex started with our breakup and how we handled things.  I am careful NOT to mention what's going on with my dating life with her, as it is none of her business.  If she were to ask, I'd give her the information she asked for, but I'd warn her that she might not like what she were to hear. (Whether she'd be pleased or not is not my concern if she were to ask the question.  But I think she'd be pleasantly surprised to find out certain things that I have not mentioned in this blog.)  Hopefully, this will not be an issue for us in the future.

As I've said earlier, I'm just trying to develop the friendship that my ex and I should have developed years ago.  Yet, at times, I feel that we're doing a delicate dance around an elephant in the room (not to be confused with the hose connecting us to our CPAP machines). Would either of us be able to overcome a fear of being hurt to risk opening up to a relationship again?  And if so, could either of us deal with potential rejection, or with a potential relationship failure in the future?  Right now, I'm only looking for a friendship, as that is the only realistic option open to us at the moment....


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Will I be able to keep up this pace?


I seem to be burning the midnight oil lately, not going to sleep early enough and waking up too early.  Work is not easy for me these days, as it's hard to stay awake and do a mind numbing job.  

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Last night, I figured that I was going to go home, relax a little, and enjoy my Zoom meetup with my Texas friends.  Yet, it seemed like Grand Central station to me, as I did not manage my time well.  This is a skill that I think I've lost in the years since I had to work a 9 to 5 job.  (The census had a schedule, but it was not one of these jobs.)

The big question is: Will I get used to a schedule where I have to be up by 6 am?  I need to do all the things required of me to present as a female when at work.  In many ways, I am living the life of a woman with a body that was born with the wrong equipment.  And this keeps getting in my way in subtle things such as having to shave every morning. 

Yet, there are only a few things I'd change, one of them is living half and half, so that I could have a woman in my life who accepts me warts and all.  Being Marian gives me energy.  But being Mario can give me companionship.  It's hard to find a middle ground, but it's a place I need to find to have optimal happiness....

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Sometimes, a vendor screws up fixing a screw up.


The other day, an online wig store I've used in the past had a sale that I missed on the above wig.  When I tried to use the every day discount code mentioned on the site, the code wasn't accepted.  This was not a big problem to me, but I wanted to buy my wig from a store with which I've done business before.  So I wrote the following email to ask what could be done for me.

Hi -

I am looking to buy the Upstage wig.  However, the discount code listed with the item today does not work when trying to check out and buy the wig.

Can I get the wig at the discounted price?



I received the following reply to this email, a good faith attempt to resolve this issue:

That's a great question. We love that brand too and we're so proud to offer it in our store. However, the owners of this brand has requested that they be excluded from the ongoing 30% off coupon we offer on our site.  We want to keep selling their products, so we have to go along with it. :-( 

We are allowed to run occasional flash sales on these coupon-excluded items, so keep an eye on our newsletter! This is the place where Heather sends out her best coupons every month, which are often much better deals than the ones offered to the public. It's easy to sign up, too! (If you're not signed up already!) 

Thanks for writing into the Client Care Help Desk! Have a great afternoon!

As a one time policy exception we have granted you a discount code Marian Johnson30% for 30% off on your upstage.

We hope this is helpful. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate and let us know.

When I got around to using this code a day or two later, it was not accepted on the web site.  (I can understand why the gentleman could think that I was going to place the order as soon as I received the special discount code, so I'm leaving him and his firm unnamed.) Instead of asking this firm to fix its second problem, I decided to buy the wig from a different vendor, albeit in a slightly different shade than I would have otherwise selected.  Hopefully, I'll have a second reliable firm from which I can buy my wigs at a reasonable price....




Monday, March 1, 2021

Dinner with Vicki


Today's entry is a short one, as I don't have much time to write....

Now that I work 5 days per week, I don't have much time to get things done.  So, I have to take care of my errands at night and on weekends the way the majority of people do in this world.  It is a shock to me, as I haven't had to live according to a "normal" schedule for years. Yet, I plan to adjust to my new normal for a while to earn a few dollars and bulk up my bank account.

When the day began, I took it easy for a while.  I sent a message to Vicki and suggested getting together. And she had the time to do so - today.  Since I didn't expect that she'd be available until later in the week, I adjusted my plans for the day and scheduled dinner at a Mexican joint that I've gone to several times before.

I took care of little things such as laundry during the day, and finally got around to changing the sheets on my bed.  (Don't ask how long they've been on the bed.  Often, there is a pile of stuff on the side of the bed where a partner used to lay, and it gets in the way of me changing the sheets.)  And then, I changed into Marian mode for dinner.

Dinner with Vicki was nice.  But it was more expensive than expected.  It seems as if we're seeing inflation hit the restaurants that are surviving the pandemic.  In suburbia, limiting restaurants to 50% capacity has forced these establishments to raise prices subtly to help them cover their costs.  In today's case, a dinner which we expected could cost us $40-$50 each cost us $70 each.  Assuming that this is part of a trend, I expect that we will see fewer people being able to afford to dine out at the end of the pandemic, as the fewer surviving restaurants will be able to charge higher prices to the fewer people who are able to pay those prices to eat out.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Another trip to the supermarket with FH and her daughter


The store in the Brooklyn Navy Yard was the first Wegmans to open in New York City.  It's been around for a while, and it is easier to reach than I first envisioned.  So, when FH asked me to take her and her daughter on a shopping run today, I didn't mind doing so.

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FH's daughter is a pretty young woman, and has a long happy life ahead of her if she can conquer the demons in her life.  No, I won't go into the details here, but she has many of the problems often exhibited by a woman her age. My impression of her mom asking me to include the daughter on our shopping trip was that of a mother trying to keep her daughter occupied in a time of stress.

When I arrived in Forest Hills, FH asked me if we could stop by a doughnut shop so that her daughter could eat and drink something, so that her stomach wouldn't fight a uncivil war.  Throughout the trip to Brooklyn, the daughter was complaining of how ill she felt. And it seemed as if she would rather have been left at home to deal with her problems by herself, instead of accompanying her mother on this shopping trip.

Arriving at Wegmans, I let them off at the front door while I hunted down a hard to get parking space. Entering the store, I looked around and found the daughter on a motorized shopping cart for handicapped people.  She was tooling around on the shopping cart, while her mom was trying to select food for the week.  Surprisingly, FH's daughter seemed to calm down after a few minutes in the store, as the cart distracted her enough from her sick stomach to make this shopping trip almost a pleasure.  $230 later, we exited the store and headed home.  While on local streets, the daughter got sick, and we had to wait for her to be ready for the rest of the trip home.

Eventually, we made it back to Forest Hills.  We were lucky to find a parking spot across the street from her apartment building.  This made it possible for me to join mom and daughter in carrying the afternoon's purchases to the apartment and loading them into the refrigerator. Both FH and her daughter had unsettled stomachs for different reasons, and we hung out at the apartment until FH was ready to go out to eat.

- - - - - -

Dining out in the age of Covid-19 raises many questions.  One of which is: How many people in a restaurant are "too many" people?  There is a legal definition of "too many."  In NYC, a restaurant is limited to 25% of pre-Covid capacity until 2/28/21.  In the suburbs, it is 50% of pre-Covid capacity.  The restaurant I chose was less than 100 feet from the Nassau county line, and was subject to NYC capacity limits.  This, I thought, would keep occupancy low enough for FH to feel comfortable dining at the restaurant.  At first, she was comfortable.  But, people started coming in, and she was ready to leave the place.  As for me, I have not yet had my first vaccination shot, and I'm the person at greater risk.  Yet, she was the person who was uncomfortable as the place approached 25% capacity.

Once I was done with my dinner, we took a drive to Hicksville, and then I dropped her off at her apartment.  This was a night that I didn't go back upstairs - she was getting tired after a long day.  And I was just as happy to drop her off at her front door, since I was getting a little tired myself after a long week of work.

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...