Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas to all my readers!  I'll have a bit of new stuff to come soon. 
But for today, enjoy the holiday with your friends and relatives.

Friday, December 24, 2021

More and More Covid....

I received the above message from NCL about my upcoming cruise.  It seems like the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has caused the cruise line to rethink its safety protocols, and determine that we must take a few steps backward to stay safe on board the ship.  As much as I was looking forward to being on a ship without having to wear a mask, I agree with NCL that their first priority must be to keep passengers as safe as possible from the virus.  NCL recommends that passengers take a PCR test before the date of their cruises, and that has been on my list of things to do.  Luckily, CVS offers this service at some of their stores, and it is covered by insurance - for now.  So I know what is needed for me to insure that I am no threat to others who may be cruising with me.

Part of me wishes that I weren't going on this cruise. However, it was a bargain too good to pass up.  At the time I booked my trip, Omicron had yet to rear its ugly head. Now, it's poised to cause more trouble than the Delta variant, as it is more infectious and it can bypass many of the defenses that the vaccines put up to keep us from getting sick if infected.  Yet, if one has been vaccinated and boosted, one will likely be able to avoid a hospital visit - unless one is there for other reasons.  It's the unvaccinated that should give us reasons to be concerned, as hospitals are again being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients - almost all of them coming from our unvaccinated population.

Shortly after lunch today, our former personnel manager called everyone into a quick meeting.  She told us that two of our workers had been diagnosed with Covid-19, and are quarantining themselves at home.  People working closely with these two people have been told to get tested.  I was not one of those told to get tested, though I got tested anyway.  I figure that it's better to be safe than sorry - especially if one of those two people is my boss....





Thursday, December 23, 2021

It's getting harder and harder to make charitable donations


I used to have no problem getting rid of clothing I no longer needed.  When my wife died, I brought at least 15 large bags of clothing to a local charity - and they were grateful to get it.  Today, with Covid-19 causing many thrift shops to close, it's much harder to get rid of extra clothing without putting it into the roadside bins without receiving a receipt for a charitable donation.

When the LGBT center's thrift shop was open, I used to bring bags of clothing there for resale - and I know that it did the center good.  However, Covid-19 forced the center to make a hard decision, and they closed down the thrift shop.  Luckily, I knew of a few places that still accepted clothing donations.  But they had limited store hours, most closing at 5 pm.  AARGH!  Since I didn't want to wait until I got back from vacation to make my donations, I drove to a nearby donation center - and arrived a minute before closing.  (Their lights had just been turned off as I pulled into the place.)  So they reopened just to take my bags (and of the woman ahead of me), and get us out of there as quickly as possible.

I have nothing against this place, and I will likely use them again.  But I intend to use Goodwill for my next donation, and see what receipt I get from them.  If I'm lucky, I'll get the type of receipt that my accountant can use to maximal advantage at tax time....

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

It's hard to believe that the year is almost over.


This is not what I think of when I think of a hot dog. But it best illustrates the absurdity that we've been through for the past two years.  We think we know what to ask for.  But when our order comes, something has to have been lost in communication.

- - - - - -

Last year at this time, many of were worried about what could happen to us if we were to risk being in the same room with others not part of our residential units.  Now that most of us have been vaccinated, we're not worried about catching the virus - even though the vaccines do not guarantee that we won't get sick.  Last year, it was if we were being told: "Go directly to Jail.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200."  This year, it seems as we're going directly from "Go" to "Free Parking" and back without any risk.  But there is a big risk that us vaccinated people are ignoring.  We could catch a Covid-19 virus variant against which the vaccines do not protect us.

In 2020, our world seemed to slam on the brakes.  This year, it seems as the world has started up again, but with dirty fuel.  So we're seeing inflation, supply shortages, regionally high unemployment - all in a booming economy.  None of us alive can remember a world that surprises us as much as it does today.  And it's just as well that we don't....

- - - - - -

When I started at my current job, I never thought I'd be here at year end.  And now, I will finally go on the company's health care plan.  This is only a short term thing, as I will be on Medicare by mid year.  Will my costs go down?  Probably not.  But for this gal, I expect that my world will continue to spin faster and faster as things continue to change quicker than any of us are used to....

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Lately, I've been watching cruise videos for entertainment.


Lately, I've been watching cruise videos for entertainment.  Yes, there are several cruises I'm planning to take in the next few years, a Hawaii cruise being one of them.  It'll be strange to get out and about to see parts of the world I've never been to before.  Yet, this is part of the process of breaking out of my shell.

- - - - - -

There are several Vloggers whose videos I watch.  Two of the Vlogs I watch most are "Tips for Travelers" (TFT) and "Emma Cruises" (EC).  Both Vloggers are British, but focus on different experiences.  TFT focuses both on the basics and on high end cruising.  EC focuses on some of the basics, but more on value oriented cruising. There are others, such as Life Well Cruised that give travel hacks, and La Lido Loca that focuses on cruise industry news.  All of these Vloggers proviide valuable information, and their videos should be watched before planning a cruise.

Why do I mention these Vloggers and their Vlogs?  Well, to give one example, I have learned which cabins I should book if I want a "smoother" trip in stormy weather.  Several years ago, I was on a cruise where the ship hit stormy seas.  Normally, I don't get seasick, but I could have gotten so in a storm which made walking through the corridors feel as if I was riding a roller coaster.  If I had his advice, I might never have been in the cabin I was in, had I been traveling alone. As I write this entry, one of these Vloggers is discussing the best cruises to take during each month of the year.  And from my experiences so far, this Vlogger is on target with his advice.

Vlogging earns these people good money.  But to achieve this, these Vloggers must provide real value in their videos.  So far, I'm finding that there is a small number of Cruise oriented Vloggers that know each other and support each other.  It's a friendly competition, as they know that viewers like me will want to see what each of these Vloggers have to say and form our own opinions based on information they provide.

So, if you are planning a cruise, you could do worse than to watch these Vloggers' posts....

Monday, December 20, 2021

Brunch with the Fun Time Friends



There were two things on the docket for today: 

  • Brunch with the FTF's in Connecticut
  • Dinner and a Concert in Tarrytown with Vicki

Both of them would have me attending as Marian.  Yet, if I had my druthers on this dreary day, I'd have stayed at home and in bed.

- - - - - 

Although I was awake before the alarms rang, I still needed them to get moving.  In a rush, I ended up putting on my makeup outside my normal sequence. And this delayed my departure, as I had do triple check that my presentation was on target.  When one has a masculine body, one has to make sure that as many signs of masculinity have been disguised, and that as many signs of femininity are displayed. For the most part, I think I do tolerably well as presenting as a large size woman.

After an hour and a quarter of driving in the rain, I made it to the meetup and had a nice brunch.  The seafood pot pie was large, and well worth the price that the restaurant charged.  However, I had two meals out scheduled for the day, and should have chosen the salad for the first meal.  But I didn't know this at the time.

When the meal was over, I drove home, talking to a new woman from OK Cupid.  She's a widow, and located on Long Island.  Given our mutual schedules, we probably won't be seeing each other until the second week of January.

- - - - - -

Around 5:30, Vicki came over, and we drove to Tarrytown for dinner, then went to the Music Hall (a theater) around the corner to see K.T.Turnstall and Martin Sexton perform.  When we got to the theater, we were directed to a pair of orchestra level seats that Vicki found unacceptable - she ordered a pair of seats on the aisle, not in the middle of the row. When people were directed to our seats, we knew we had a problem.  So we ended up (after a discussion) being told that our seats were on the balcony level.  And again, the seats were not what Vicki thought we were getting. So, again, it was a trek to find someone who could help us.  This time, our seats were exchanged for two seats in the orchestra section, closer to the stage than before. But we had the aisle seats that Vicki wanted.

We both enjoyed the concert.  Yet, we were both glad when it ended - it was a long day for both of us. So, I dropped her off at her car, and I did the most feminine thing I could think of - take off my bra, and get into something comfortable....




Sunday, December 19, 2021


I don't own this dress anymore.  When I bought it, I thought it would look nice on me.  However, my style has changed a lot since then, and I no longer shop just for things that fit me.  Instead, I try to choose garments that both fit well and make me look pretty.

Why do I mention this?

My place was never as bad as it is now while I was seeing my last serious girlfriend.  I've more than documented the disastrous end to that relationship and the loss of two friendships when I could have used them most.  So I won't go into talk about the past, save that I miss having company now and then.  Right now, I have 5 large bags of clothes in my living room which have to go to charity.  And I want to do this (and more) before I have a woman come to this apartment.  It's been over 2 years since I've had a guest here, and I'd like to make it presentable for someone new - preferably before New Year..

Today, I talked to TCL on my way home and I was reminded about why a relationship never clicked between the two of us.  One might say that she is too smart for her own good.  But that alone wouldn't be an issue.  Instead, she is both too judgemental and wanting too much to tell others about what she thinks is the correct way to do things. For example, I mentioned  the issue with Amazon's last mile delivery, and she said that I should have dropped the mis-delivered packages off at the correct apartments. Since I was in a rush, I alerted one of the neighbors that her package was mis-delivered, and asked her to pick up the packages bound for her doorway.  She did not do that.  She was focusing on what she would have done, and not my telling of the story.  And that can be off-putting when one has to deal with it every day.

Given everything, I'm leery of buying anything from Amazon during this holiday season.  Yet, I just had two packages come that I ordered two days ago - each from different companies.  The first was a bigger box that contacted 3 packages of disposable makeup wedges.  The other contained two rolls of clear medical adhesive tape.  Both these things are in short supply at Walmart, Target, and local drug stores. But I could get them through Amazon.  And I will have a big enough supply before I'm on my cruise without worrying whether the brick and mortar stores will restock them in time for the cruise.  (I can still remember when Walmart had no house brand exfoliating makeup remover wipes in their stores, and going to buy out the last of the remaining stock in a nearby store.)  

There's a part of me that wishes there was a way to reconcile with the former cruise partner (FCP).  Yet there's another part that doesn't want to deal with her anymore.  We once had a "sail away" inside cabin (or ocean view cabin) which was directly below a lounge area.  She couldn't deal with the bands making music above our cabin until 11:00-11:30 pm, preventing her from relaxing.  So she hectored "hotel staff" on the ship until she got a satisfactory substitute - a balcony cabin.  I'd have accepted the original room, as we let the cruise line pick the room before sailing and they delivered on their side of the contract.  Although we got a nicer room, I didn't like how we got it.  And this would bother me if I had to deal with her again in any close relationship.  Sometimes, a person has to accept a "no" on minor things, so that s/he can demand a 'yes" on the important ones.

In short, I'm finding that I hate pushy people.  I don't like being pushed around, and will push back hard when pushed.  Sometimes, being pushy is appropriate for the matter at hand.  But when someone is too pushy for too long, I lose my tolerance for that person.  So far, TCL knows that limit with me.


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...