Saturday, November 6, 2021

Zooming with a friend in Texas


There is an indirect link between this character from the movie "Short Circuit" and the friend I was Zooming with today.  But I won't say what that link is....

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As I've said in earlier posts, I used to connect with friends in Texas during the worst of the pandemic. Our Zoom meetings were fun, but they didn't take the place of in-person meetings.  Now that people are getting out and about, there is little need for Zoom, save for people who live across the country from each other.

It's been a while since I've chatted with my friend.  Too bad that we no longer live near each other.  We would have had a lot of fun together.  But Zoom keeps us in contact, and we schedule a meeting every so often to catch up on things.  

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One of these days, I'll have to meet my friend in person again - in a city that the two of us want to visit. We've talked about Chicago, as well as some cities in the West.  Since she's young enough to be my daughter, I can guarantee that nothing would come of this other than a nice friendly get together.  Who knows?  I might just tell her about my transgender nature....

Friday, November 5, 2021

Another short entry


There was a presentation on my company's 2022 health care plan today. And I'm not sure if I should sign up for the company plan in next week's open enrollment, or whether I should continue paying my own way for health care.  Going with the company plan may save me $450/month in insurance payments, but might cost me in two ways: (1) Locking me into a job I don't like until Medicare kicks in, and (2) Costing me more in drug prices and medical co-payments. I won't go into details here, but I am leaning towards going with the company plan.  Unfortunately, I don't have much time to make a decision.

My firm was gobbled up by a larger firm at the beginning of the year. The smaller firm did not offer a health care plan I considered worth the money - I decided to continue purchasing my health insurance on the Obamacare exchange in New York.  The larger firm had more negotiating power, and got a better deal for its employees.  So this got me thinking about a simple question:

Why should the quality and amount of healthcare provided to a person be dependent on the employer that s/he works for?

This is something that bothers me, as the system we have here in the USA seems to be designed to have sub-optimal outcomes.  So several more questions come to mind:

Why should an employer be involved in negotiating health insurance coverage?

Why can't an employer subsidize an employee's health care in a way similar to non-taxed reimbursements for employee education at a local college?

Why shouldn't the final consumer of the health insurance product (the employee) be the one exposed to deciding which company's insurance product to buy, when "Apples to Apples"  comparisons can be made on the Obamacare exchanges?

Why can't ALL Obamacare exchange products provide nationwide coverage?

The answer to most of these questions are either political or historical.  We would be better served if corporations would get out of the business of buying healthcare for their employees, and if government would ensure that healthcare firms only sold policies that met minimum requirements.  We were on the way to doing this until Trump screwed things up by allowing "short term" plans to be sold instead of Obamacare exchange policies.  This allowed insurers to provide insurance that wasn't worth much, but gave buyers the illusion of getting value.  Yet, Obamacare has provided a path to a long term solution.

Since it's late at night and I can't do this topic justice, I will elaborate on it in more detail at a later date.


Thursday, November 4, 2021

It's Raining!

Yesterday, the weather forecast said that we would get a heavy rain starting tonight and running into overmorrow (an unfortunately obsolete English word meaning: the day after tomorrow).  Given that the forecast calls for 6 inches of rain falling between now and then, I do not plan to "dress pretty" when I go to work for the next 2 days.

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I had some errands I wanted to do after work today, and I was unable to do them, as I wanted to be home before the rains started.  Instead of doing these tasks, I decided to catch up with some people with whom I've been out of contact with for months.

Luckily, I saw that the closet rod in the closet holding my female wardrobe still is in place.  But leaving it in place is only a short term way of dealing with a problem - I need a new rod with a center support, so that I can't overload the rod anymore.  Right now, this is my excuse to fill another "Donation Bag."  and I'm preparing to donate clothes which no longer fit my style and taste.

When I extracted clothes for my first 2 donation bags, I found that I had clothes that I had bought almost a decade ago that I haven't worn in years.  Some of these garments are hard to let go of.  For example, I had 2 Lands End skirts that don't fit my needs anymore.  If I knew I'd be wearing them, I'd keep them in my closet.  But out they go!  The same goes for old shoes and other accessories I don't wear.  Now, I wear clothes which minimize my male pattern body, and emphasize the feminine parts that I should show off.  (Ex-GF-M always said that I have a great pair of legs, so I try to wear clothes which show them off.)

By the time I'm done, I may have 4, 5 or 6 donation bags to go to a good cause.  However, I try not to think of how much money I've spent on women's clothes which do not fit me well enough to keep.  At least, spending this money allowed me to learn what works and what doesn't work on my body.  Cisgender women learn this while they are young Transgender women usually learn this when they are older.  Thankfully, these lessons didn't break the bank....


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Today, I saw a wonderful old film in a theater older than the film.

This is the kind of theater in which classic films are meant to be seen.  And that's what I did today.

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Yesterday, MWL called me to let me know that she was feeling under the weather and wouldn't be able to get together.  Later on, she noted that a local theater was starting to show films again, and had a showing of Frankenstein scheduled for 1 pm.  So, I marked this in my calendar, and made sure that I'd be able to get there on time.

Unfortunately, I didn't get much sleep the night before, and I awakened with a desperate need for coffee to stay awake.  Even though I left the house a little later than expected, stopping at a Mickey D's for lunch, I was able to get to MWL's on time.  So we moseyed over to the theater and I took a few photos of the place.

The Lafayette theater in Suffern is a classic, and I hope its phased in reopening works as planned.  So far, they are showing only old films on weekends, probably making merely enough money to rent the film (there were 40-50 people in the audience) and show it to a paying audience.  ($6/pp doesn't go very far, save when showing OLD films.)  Sooner or later, they will have to bite the bullet and show modern films, or find a sponsor to keep this theater alive. I hope they can do so without ruining the atmosphere of the place.

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There's not much to say about the rest of the day.  More tomorrow....

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

It was just as well I didn't go out today.


This will be a short post today....

Have you ever had a day where you barely had enough energy to get up just to go to the bathroom?  Today was one of those days for me.  

Being sleep deprived much of the time, I have gotten used to feeling tired - but not this tired.  I wasn't sure whether the headache I had for part of the day was related to a lack of hydration.  But I'm pretty sure that my lack of energy was related to my hydration level.

Luckily for me, MWL was not feeling well today, and that freed me to do much of anything I wanted.  However, this was a blessing, as I was too tired most of the day to do anything other than lay in bed.

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And now to explain why I posted "Enjoy Every Last Moment" phrase....

I am now 64 years old, and the thought of old age and death comes to me more often.  For the most part, it has been a good life, but filled with emptiness and sadness.  No, I am not in a depressed mood today.  Instead, I got into the "coulda, shoulda, woulda's" lately, and it got me thinking about life.  And if there's one thing I realized, it is that it would be a shame if I wasted any of the time I have left to me.  So, "Enjoy Every Last Moment" has a certain positivity to it, as it is an instruction to avoid putting off the things you really want to do, as you may not get the chance to do them later on.

Monday, November 1, 2021

I started looking at a bucket list of trips to take


To keep my mind active, I make up lists at work for the things I need to do.  Today, my focus changed a little, and I decided to make a list of places on this planet that I want to visit while I'm healthy enough to do so.

I placed trips into two columns.  The first contained cruises I'd like to take and countries I'd like to visit.  The other contained North American trips I'd like to take and cities I'd like to visit. And each one of these trips may have to be carefully planned for two reasons: (1) Cost and (2) My ability to travel as Marian.

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Key trips on the first list include the following:

  1. Hawaiian Cruise (targeted for 2022)
  2. Panama Canal Cruise (targeted for 2023 or 2024)
  3. Alaska Cruise / Denali Land Tour (targeted for 2024 or 2025)
  4. Great Britain & Ireland (targeted for 2023 or 2024)
    (This may be coupled with a Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2.)
  5. Trips to Germany & Scandinavia
  6. Cruise including a ring around Iceland
  7. South America cruise including the Galapagos islands
  8. Antarctica Cruise

Virtually all of these trips will involve some serious coin.  And only 2 of them can I be certain to be able to do safely as Marian.  So this got me thinking of a list of trips I can take in North America which included the following:

  1. Yellowstone National Park
  2. Grand Canyon National Park
  3. Long Distance Train: West/Eastbound to/from Seattle 
  4. Long Distance Train: West/Eastbound to/from Vancouver
  5. Long Distance Train: West/Eastbound to/from LA
    (Southern Route via New Orleans)
  6. Long Distance Train: North/Southbound New Orleans to/from Chicago
  7. Long Distance Train: West/Eastbound New York to/from Chicago
    via Philadelphia
  8. Long Distance Train: West/Eastbound New York to/from Chicago
    via DC
  9. Cities:
    - Chicago
    - Los Angeles
    - San Francisco
    - Seattle
    - Philadelphia
    - Boston
    - San Diego

Again, some of these trips involve some serious coin.  But more of them would allow for me to get around as Marian either in transit, at destination, or both.

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Recently, I mentioned that I have a friend who'd accompany me on one of these trips.  She knows about Marian, but the logistics of this trip would have me travel as Mario.  Will this trip happen?  Who knows?  But I don't think it will happen next year.

If I still had my former cruise partner, we'd likely do another trip to the Caribbean. Cruising from a New York based ship is all too convenient to resist.  For me, I will take my next cruise on Norwegian simply because I can get to pier 88 via mass transit and a quick cab ride. That's more than I can say about the Brooklyn and Bayonne cruise terminals.  Traveling alone, I refuse to spend $40/day to park my car at the terminal when I can spend most of my savings on drinks while on the cruise.



Sunday, October 31, 2021

Someone is definitely interested in me, and....

Today, I took off from work to spend the day with FH.  Although I like her as a person, she would rub me the wrong way if she were anything more than a friend.  But first....

As usual, I didn't get much sleep the night before, and didn't become fully conscious until 10 am.  At that point, I knew that I would have to get ready to pick up FH in Yonkers, and then take a drive to see the changing leaves in the Hudson Valley.  I knew I was going to be a few minutes late, and texted FH.  However, she was much more delayed than I was, as she was 45 minutes late.  AARGH!  Luckily, we were able to start out on our day by 1:30 pm.

According to the New York State Fall Foliage guide, the Hudson Valley should not be at peak color, nor should most of the leaves have fallen.  The only place that FH noticed good color was along the Taconic Parkway going towards Red Hook.  From there, we doubled back to Rhinebeck, passing by the site of the Dutchess County Fairgrounds - where she was disappointed that the fair was over.  And then, it was over to Saugerties and Woodstock.  On this drive, the leaves had already fallen off most of the trees in the towns we passed through, when we expected them to be before their peak.

When we finally reached Woodstock, FH wanted to get pictures of herself.  Of course, I obliged her - we were in a scenic area, and she always tries to get her picture taken with pretty scenery as her background.   Once the obligatory pictures were taken, it was back to Woodstock where we spend 90 minutes walking around the town.

Once it started getting dark, we headed to New Paltz for dinner.  Along the way, she asked me about my dating life and why I'm seeing MWL.  How are the conversations on a par with what we have?  I had to finesse the question. She then asked about whether MWL knows about Marian.  I told her so, and mentioned that MWL has already met me in female mode.  In reality, FH was wondering why she wasn't my girlfriend and was fishing for a way to make that happen.  There was no way I was going to tell her about CWS at this point - CWS, so far, is on the same wavelength as I am in many ways.  After dinner, FH said that she'd take care of dinner as a way of thanking me for driving her home.

Dinner at Pho Tibet was uneventful. The food was tasty, the Pho was good, but I was unimpressed with their Momo Dumplings.  I'll be sure NOT to order them again.  Next time, I'll look for a better Vietnamese restaurant to go to.  (Too bad that I'm no longer in contact with one person - she'd know a good place to go to.)


PS: CWS was away this weekend.  Hopefully, our schedules will work out for us to get together again next weekend....

PPS: I spoke with Vicki about FH, and she felt that FH was merely looking for a "friend" who'd drive her places.  For the most part, I agree with her.  Yet, if I have nothing to do, it's nice to hang out with someone - even someone who is a user.



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...