Saturday, May 7, 2022

National Zoo

 


Monday was a trip to the National Zoo.  And the ape above was continually having fun with the people on the other side of the plexiglass shield.  The fellow above would retreat to the back of his "cage" for a while, then run up to the plexiglass, make a loud noise by banging on the plexiglass, then returning to the back of his area.  You should have seen the reactions children were making as he rushed up to scare them.  He was having fun with us, and we were enjoying it.

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This Zoo visit would be the first one for me in DC.  And I was glad that RQS made all the arrangements for us to have times entry passes, as I never would have thought of this.


We took the Metro to the Zoo's neighborhood, then walked the 4 long uphill blocks to the zoo.  Once inside, we followed the path downhill to several exhibits including Cheetahs, Pandas, Lions, Elephants, and the Great Apes.  Most of apes couldn't give a hoot about the people looking at them.  But when one looks at these apes carefully, one can see the thread of common genetic ancestry that binds our species together.  (I'd love the word "humanity" here, but it wouldn't be appropriate to use it for another primate.  Yet, one can see a certain something in their eyes for which I don't have adequate words to describe.) For me, seeing these apes was the highlight of this visit. Yet, when I think of them, I wonder if they feel "caged" being in this artificial environment.

When we got to the end of the Zoo's downward path, we found out there was no shuttle to bring us back to the top of the hill.  Although a shuttle was marked on the zoo's maps, it stopped running because of the pandemic, and no one knew when or if the shuttle would return.  So we hoofed it back ip the hill and to the exit, taking breaks along the way to cool off.

After we left the zoo, we went to a restaurant I noticed on the trek to the zoo.  If you're ever in DC, go to this restaurant (Hot N Juicy Crawfish) and order the "Get your feet wet" combo.  You won't be disappointed. Sadly for us, their Manhattan outpost has closed.  So we'll have to revisit this place the next time we're in DC.)  Unlike our disappointment with the prior night's Ethiopian restaurant, this restaurant was "Fan F'ing Tastic!"  YUM!!!!   The two of us chowed down on a bucketful of tasty seafood, and got out of the place for $60.  How could you beat that?

On the way out, we found that RQS had lost her cell phone.  After she started looking for it inside the restaurant, I decided to ring the phone.  After a couple of tries, someone at the zoo answered it.  So it was back to the zoo to pick up the phone.  Arriving at the gate, we used the intercom to call the park police, and we were driven to the park police station to pick up the phone, then back for us to exit the park.  This incident showed us that we could work well together in a moderately stressful time, as we could keep our cool when things could get totally screwed up.

Friday, May 6, 2022

National African American Museum

 


The above is a picture of RQS standing in front of the Point of Pines Cabin at the National African American History Museum.  Given America's history of treating Blacks as second class people, I feel that this museum is a "must visit" for all Americans. 

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RQS set up the agenda for this trip.  The schedule for our first full day in DC, Sunday, was a visit to the National African American History Museum, followed by a dinner "somewhere".  There was an exhibit at the Arts and Industries Building we wanted to see yesterday, but we were too tired to see it when we arrived.  This morning, we didn't bother waking up early enough to see this exhibit, and proceeded to walk the length of the mall to reach today's museum by 12:30 pm.


Upon entering the museum, we proceeded to the second floor and started viewing exhibits.  Most of the exhibits on this floor focused on artifacts in the 20th century.  This included women in professions such as midwifery, people in sports, and other artifacts related to the "black experience".  It took us over 1 1/2 hours to make it through half of this floor before we decided to have lunch.

After lunch, we went to a larger exhibition (I think permanent) which took up 3 lower levels of the building.  It showed how "Blackness" and "Whiteness" was not a big issue in Western society until European nations started to colonize the Americas and use Africans as slaves.  (I'm not doing the exhibits justice.  You'll  have to see it for yourself.)  From there, the exhibition showed how blacks were brought to the Americas, how they were treated once here, and how slavery affected American society - even after slavery was "abolished" in the United States.  By the time 5:00 came around, we were exhausted, and we went back to the hotel to rest for a while.


Later that evening, it was time to eat, and we made it to U Street.  Unfortunately, we selected an Ethiopian restaurant which once served good food with lousy service.  This time, it was mediocre food with lousy service.  Both of us wanted something sweet to eat afterwards, so we ended up walking a while before finding a Jeni's ice cream shop.  And this was an unexpected blessing, as there was a line out the door.  This meant we'd likely enjoy the ice cream we were about to have - which we did.  It was a nice way to end a great day....


Thursday, May 5, 2022

Traveling to DC

 

This weekend, RQS and I went down to Washington, DC for a little R&R.  We've been looking to get away for a while, and I took the week off without pay in order to do so.  Today's entry is not going to be a full recap of the trip.  Instead, it is more of an overview of what we did during this trip.

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One of the things RQS and I felt that we needed to know was whether we could go away for a mini vacation (with opportunities to escape each other if needed) and find out whether we could get along after several days together.  On that issue, I can say that we have dealt with a couple of mini crises, and we have passed a couple of tests in dealing with unexpected adversity.

We left for DC on a Saturday, and used a Lyft to get to Penn Station (NYP) from RQS's house.  The driver asked if it was OK not to use the most direct route through Manhattan to reach NYP, as there was a parade going on that day (which he was going to attend).  We said OK, and did the loop from the Brooklyn bridge to South Ferry, then back uptown on the West side, where he dropped us off across from the new Moynihan train hall.  This wasn't a problem, as we had time to spare.  But we almost blew it, as RQS misread the departure time.  Luckily, I noticed the error, and we made it across the street with over 30 minutes to spare/

One of the problems that was going to bother me throughout the trip would be my lack of low denomination folding money.  I had several $100 bills on me, but was running out of $20's.  So our lost time in NYC was due to my looking for a Chase branch before getting on the train.  This forced me to do something which became an advantage for me - use a specific credit card for all my purchases on the trip.  This made it much easier to figure out how much I was spending on the trip, and balance things out with RQS at the end of the trip.  But I digress.

RQS and I waited in the train hall for an announcement to tell us that it was time to board our train.  While waiting to get on the elevator, we met another couple traveling to DC and I overheard a comment about New York City rudeness.  I said that in NYC, if a person uses deleted expletives for 5 minutes then says "have a nice day", you know that the person likes you.  Then, I mentioned that the F-Word is not an expletive in NYC, but only a word used for dramatic emphasis.  They laughed at this while we got on the escalator taking us down to the platform.

Boarding the train was not an issue, and we saw a homeless woman riding between the train cars.  The steward chatted with this lady, and then she proceeded to lock herself in the lavatory for most of the ride.  About 2 hours lady, the attendant (and a female assistant) did their best to politely tell the woman that she had to leave the lavatory before the train reached DC.  When she finally vacated the room, she used words to define herself that showed how down and out she was.  As much as I felt sorry for her, I was impressed at how well the two Amtrak employees dealt with an issue which could have escalated into something worse.

As we arrived in DC, we noticed that the temperature was much warmer than it was in New York.  Instead of a long sleeve shirt and a windbreaker, it was time to break out a short sleeve shirt.  Yet, after checking in to our hotel, we stayed in what we were wearing for a nice dinner with RQS's cousin before calling it a night.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

I feel like I've been running on empty for a while.

 

If I can say anything about my life lately, it's that I always to feel sleep deprived during the week.  For the past two days, I've taken a nap shortly after I got home and have awakened too late to get much of anything done.  Luckily, I had enough broken sleep to have enough energy to get through the day without feeling that I need a nap while at work.

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Strangely enough, I will miss having a place to go to when I eventually leave my job.  The people are a nice bunch, even though they don't have much time to be social. The place is LGBT friendly, and I have never noticed anyone saying negative about me or others in the LGBT community that is related to our gender issues.   Yet, I will enjoy having time back in my life to do things.  And, even more importantly, I will be able to enjoy reading books again.

I've noticed changes affecting my health that I want to discuss with my doctor next week.  These changes are likely related to two things: my age, and the toll that an 8 hour/day grunt job does to my body.  Last year at this time, I'd have no problem going on a hike with DS.  Today, I think I'd feel winded early on.  This bothers me a bit.  I'd like to break the habit of drinking 4+ cups of coffee (or its equivalent) on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, I can't do this while I need caffeine's stimulant effect to make it through the work day.

Sooner or later, something's got to give.  And I'm hoping that I will feel comfortable bailing out of my job before that time comes....

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Cancer Sucks!

 

As I was parking in my usual parking spot, I saw a neighbor walking with a cane.  Normally, he's in the best of health and able to take on an army without showing any stress.  So what gives?  Since he was having trouble getting out of his friend's car, I couldn't help but ask him "What happened?"  And the answer surprised me - he has lymphoma.  Since I don't want to give out any information which can identify him further, I will say nothing about the type of work he does, save that it requires him to be in the best of health.

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This development explains why his car hasn't moved in days.  Luckily, this form of cancer has a 92% cure rate.  But he is worried.  He wants to make it to retirement age, sell his apartment, and move to where his money can go a lot further than it does here.  While we chatted, he mentioned the board member who had been treated for cancer, then died of Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic.  I mentioned that my late wife died of cancer.  But I stopped short of volunteering any help.  There is not much I could do for him, save to drive him back and forth between his apartment and medical appointments.  Given that I have little energy these days, I'd be a lousy person to give him much help.

Obviously, this man has at least one friend nearby that can help him.  TCL and I have the same problem - we don't have the friends who could help us if something like this happened to us.  There is no way that I could call on FCP or an ex-girlfriend for assistance, and I don't think I'd want to even consider them even if we were still friends.  (The ex-girlfriend showed her true colors when we had our kerfuffle, and FCP would use it as a cudgel to get what she wants in one way or another.  It's better that I remember all the help I gave her with getting to hospitals, etc. than to let her say it was a one way deal in my favor.)

I'm rooting for this neighbor.  Hopefully, he'll be one of the 92% who live more than 5 years after diagnosis.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Dresses, dresses, and more dresses.

 

The one generalization a person can make about transgender people is that we like to wear clothing strongly identified with the gender of which we identify.  As a trans-woman, I love wearing dresses.  And that's OK.  But it means that to blend in I have to tone things down by wearing a dress as an oversized tunic.  So that's what I do more often than not these days.

When I bought the above dress, I didn't have the idea that it would be out of stock as quickly as it was.  I bought it just before the color above was gone.  Today, wearing this dress to work with a pair of black leggings, I felt that I looked pretty and appropriately informal for a place like my office.  (I'd hate to be wearing a T-Shirt and Jeans to the office every day as some women do at my office.)

 

This dress is slightly more problematic.  Once I put it on for a test drive, it screamed to be worn as a dress.  So, on the next warm day that I have free, I plan to do so.  It is very comfortable, and well worth the bargain price I paid for it.  (Remember, both dresses came from Target, and the net including shipping and tax was under $42.00.)  Even if this dress and the dress above it last for only one season, I'll get good value from them.

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Recently, the above dress arrived in the Mystery Box shipment from Universal Standard.  This is the type of dress I'd never buy on my own as it's best worn by a woman with a defined figure, and not by a trans-woman. It took me a while to figure out how to put this dress on, as the outer belts which tie together by the woman's left elbow didn't have a hidden hole for one tie to go through - like the one below.


This dress was also in the shipment, and I posted a mediocre picture of me wearing it in an earlier post.  At least, this dress was easy to figure out once I saw the hole for the belt that came in from the left side of the dress.

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Even though I feel that the dresses from Universal Standard are of better quality than the dresses from Target, I will get more use from the two simple garments at the top of the entry.  Will I be tempted to buy more dresses in the future?  Yes.  But most of my purchases will be for practical purposes, and not to gamble on getting something nice as I did buying "Mystery Boxes".





Sunday, May 1, 2022

Garbageman

 

An alligator in the sewer system.  It's a classic New York City myth, and one New Yorkers enjoy telling people from time to time.  This weekend, RQS and I decided to go into the city to see an off-Broadway play (Garbageman) for which we had tickets.

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As has become our routine, we try to find an entertainment venue to go to on weekends.  This week's venue was one of a handful of plays which were selling tickets at a price lower than a first run feature film.  We have both gotten tired of the typical Hollywood blockbuster fare, where special effects, not plot or performances, are the focus of the movie.  And off-Broadway plays seem to give us better value for money spent - even when we see a dud of a play like Garbageman.

Normally, I get to RQS's place spending about 15 minutes or so hunting for a parking spot.  Today, I parked within sight of her apartment, on my first pass through her neighborhood.  We killed a little time hooking up her DVD player before leaving for dinner.  Instead of going for Indian food in the West Village, we went to a place serving Turkish food, the New Istanbul Grill.  It has now become another one of our go-to joints while in Manhattan, as we both enjoyed a good mean at very reasonable prices.


Next, it was off to see Garbageman.  This play is about two men, dissatisfied with their lot in American life going to attend the January 6, 2021 "Rally" in Washington, DC.  By the time the first act ended, we were totally bored by the play and decided to back to her place for a pint of Tipsy Scoop ice cream.  Considering the play's review in the New York Times, we probably did the right thing by leaving. If the first act was any guide to how the second act would be, we should have gone with RQS's suggestion and gone to a different play.  Maybe next time.  

On the way back to RQS's place, we saw a lot of young people who had obviously gone out clubbing.  One woman of note had on a red dress that barely covered her pubic delta.  While in the subway, I noted that this was a dress for either standing up, or for keeping her legs very close together.  What I didn't mention until we got back to her place was that this woman's undies matched the dress she was wearing. We had a laugh, and decided to take out one of the pints of Tipsy Scoop in her freezer and watch "He Said, She Said" before calling it a night.





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...