Saturday, September 17, 2022

A letter from a friend.


In 2019, I went on a solo cruise, leaving both FCP and XGFJ at home.  This was one of my most enjoyable cruises, as I did not have to care about what someone else was doing.  I didn't have to deal with FCP wanting to be the center of attention, and I didn't have to care about XGFJ dragging me out to do things I wasn't interested in at the time.  This cruise was all about me and my relaxation, and I enjoyed all the days I was on the cruise.

On the cruise, I met two people I wanted to keep in touch with.  One fell by the wayside.  The other, I'm still in contact with today.  This person (who I'll call CLK) lives in Canada, and we haven't seen each other since that cruise.  After Covid travel restrictions were relaxed, she passed through the NYC area on her way to/from a cruise.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to connect with each other then.  And today, I received a response to an email I wrote a couple of days ago.

CLK has been busy with her career, and is busy taking care of her aging parents.  Before Covid hit, she was scheduled to take a Panama Canal cruise on my favorite NCL ship.  Sadly, her mom had some ailments which caused CLK to cancel her cruise, and then Covid struck.  Things became hectic for CLK, as being a caregiver took up the past 2 years of her life outside of her full time job, and she had some issues of her own.

It's always a pleasure to receive a letter from CLK, as it allows us to keep in contact - and hopefully, meet up with each other again.  She now has a cruise scheduled with her family scheduled for later this year, and has a moonlighting gig as well.  I'm rooting for her and her family, as her mom is dealing with health issues typical of someone born 80-90 years ago.  I hope that next time I receive an email, that some of her mom's issues have been successfully dealt with.  But until then, I'll just wait for her next email....

Friday, September 16, 2022

I won't go into details, but....


In the past, I found out that one of my acquaintances' children is a member of the LGBT community.  Thinking little of this, I put it into the back of my mind.  Today, I found out that this girl (for now) is identifying as a male, prefers to use he, him, and his pronouns, and goes to a LGBT group affiliated with the LGBT center I used to volunteer at.

It's going to be hard for me (at first) getting used to using the new pronouns, as this youth is already going through a female puberty.  S/he has already developed breasts, and is at an age where puberty blockers should be used if  s/he doesn't want to develop other female characteristics, such as widened hips.  But, should I tell the parents what to look out for?  I'm of mixed mind, as I don't want to get involved unless I am asked to get involved.

Right now, the parents may think that she is going through a phase that she'll grow out of.  I hope they are right.  If not, I know this youth will be loved whatever gender s/he identifies as being....

Thursday, September 15, 2022

I finally decided to take a small risk.


As I mentioned before, I will be taking a Hawaii cruise later this year. I have already booked my excursions, and have an idea of what my travel arrangements will be like.  (At best, they will suck big time. But the price is right.) The one thing I've been hemming and hawing about is whether I'd submit a bid to upgrade my inside cabin to a balcony cabin.

Some of you might say that taking the risk of spending $220 to upgrade my cabin is worth the money.  However, a bit of thought went into choosing the cabin location, and an upgrade is like buying a pig in a poke. One doesn't know the quality of what one is getting until the deal is complete.  I don't want to be in a position where I traded a good room for something less acceptable if I had known what I was buying. However, spending $220 to get a good cabin which I'd have spent another $1600+ more is worth the risk I would be taking.  

After more hemming and hawing, I made a decision to bid on the upgrade.  Given that the ship is still sailing at 40%-50% of capacity, there should be a decent number of balcony cabins that would otherwise go unoccupied.  So, if I snag a good cabin, it's a win-win for both the cruise line and me.  I get a better deal on a better cabin than I would have gotten when I made my reservation, and the cruise line gets extra money from me for the same level of service.  If they don't accept my bid, I will be in a good cabin.  And, if they do accept the bid, I will be in a balcony cabin enjoying a cool ocean breeze when sailing between the islands.

One thing I can say - I'll be sure to take lots of pictures....

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

A quick note on a dinner I had with a friend


Thinking doesn't always come easy to me.  But when I think, I think hard.  (Or, am I hardly thinking?)  But to be serious, I met with a friend who wanted to find out what I thought of the situation she was in.

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Over dinner, my friend told me about the issues she was having with a man in her life.  Like her other friends, I told her that she should tell this fellow goodbye, then block his number on her phone.  He seemed to be calling her when he had no one available to see or talk with, and that he was only interested in her for the purposes of having sex.  AARGH.

After hearing her story, (Transgender) Mama Marian got into action (as if she was Cisgender) and told her what to do in no uncertain terms.  And then, like a good Mama, I then gave her ideas of what to do with her life.  As I see it, she needs to learn the skills needed to have a well paying career, find a good man, and then (if she wants) to be ready to have a baby before this option is no longer available to her.  

When I got home, I chatted with RQS.  she got a big laugh when I told her that I performing in the role of a cisgender woman, using language that identified me as a cis-woman, such as "us women", "I was unable to conceive and carry a baby to term", etc.  Although the advice would be just as valuable coming from a male, it would not be received in the same way.  I noted that all hetero men seem to be interested in getting laid.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Women, having more to risk when having sex, tend to need men who will care for them even when sex can not be offered.  

I figured that RQS would chew me out if I did anything wrong.  However, she seemed to approve of what I did, as it was meant to help this woman friend.  Hopefully, what I said will make a positive difference in my friend's life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Thoughts on travel as Marian and as Mario

A while back, I bought the above dress at Target. As much as my shoulders appear too broad when my entire figure is considered, I thing that this will be one of the dresses I'll be taking with me when I go to Hawaii.  However, I'm not so sure of the dress below.    

Although both dresses are of similar styles, there is a great difference between the two.  The top dress has just enough "going on" with the fabric to make it look tolerably nice on me.  Unfortunately, the bottom dress is too plain, and I will need to find the right piece of costume jewelry to wear with it because it shows too much of my neck.

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Being transgender with male hormones flowing through my veins for over 50 years, I have the build of a heavy set male.  This forces me to use any and all tricks at my disposal to minimize the broadness of my shoulders and maximize an illusion of having larger hips.

RQS accepts me in both presentations, and may eventually cruise with me in a female gender presentation.  This won't happen for a while.  Until then, I plan to make the most of my trip to Hawaii, as this may be the last chance to take a vacation as Marian for a long while.

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The other day, we found out that NCL would not downgrade our "free drinks" package to a "soda" package.  Although the soda package would cost them less, this was not an option given for the "Free at Sea" package.  There is no way I want to spend $200/pp to get a drink package for the price of its gratuities (20% of $1000 = $200) when the two of us are cruising on a budget.  A soda package would cost us (and NCL) much less (20% of $120 = $24/pp), but we couldn't convince NCL to offer that upgrade. So, we are sending snail mail complaint letters to the CEO of NCL, with a hope that this could be changed before we go on our cruise. (I don't think this will happen, but...)

Contrast this with my future Hawaii trip.  I am not bothering to scrimp on anything, save the transit to and from my home airport.  The Hawaii cruise excursions will cost me roughly $1,000, where the New England / Eastern Canada excursions we have already booked will cost us $75/pp.  Even if we booked an excursion in every port, we'd still spend less as a couple on excursions than I am spending as a single traveler.

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Last night, while trying to reach a state of exhaustion, I started to try to reduce the cost in getting to a Panama Canal cruise and home from that cruise.  Instead of booking airfare on one of the legacy airlines or traveling on Amtrak, I'm now looking at flying Southwest.  Do you have any ideas of what I should watch out for if we choose this option?


Monday, September 12, 2022

Getting our nails done


Today was reserved for a RQS and I to get a Mani-Pedi together, and then to drive her to her home to Queens.  We didn't get moving until mid day, and this didn't cause us any problems.

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After a filling brunch, we decided to go to the nail salon.  This week, I decided to take RQS to a new salon, where RQS was more than happy with the work they did on her fingers and toes.  When something was slightly off, the nail technician (what do you call these ladies?) noticed it, and fixed it without us having to bring it to her attention.  (She wants to go to this salon again soon.)  As we exited, RQS suggested that we go to Carvel - and I opened up the door to Carvel after walking less than 10 feet from the nail salon.  (She didn't know that there was a Carvel next door to the nail salon, and was pleasantly surprised by this coincidence.)

Once we were done with our ice cream, it was time to pick up her stuff and drive her home.  I told her that this would be my last trip to Long Island for a couple of weeks, as traffic will be screwed up on the roads I use to get to her apartment due to the US Open and a NY Mets home stand.. I warned her that if I couldn't find a spot near to her apartment, I would have to drop her off and see her next weekend.  But we were lucky - I found a spot less than a block away.  So we carried her stuff upstairs then went out for a quick bite to eat.

When we were done with dinner, we went back to RQS's place, where we got to cuddle.  At this point I found out a few good things about how things have been going from her perspective, and that she was  more than comfortable with me in both Mario and Marian presentations.  (She has come to enjoy being with me in Marian mode, as she can share even more things with me than she'd expect from a typical boyfriend.)

All too soon, I had to leave.  But I am feeling very good right now....

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Doing almost nothing until....


Lately, RQS and I have gotten into a routine.  In the mornings, we tend to stay up late, and then start to get moving in the afternoon.  This week was no different.

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We only had two things to do this Saturday - pick up a couple of books from the local library, and then drop off some donation bags at the local charity receiving center.  So, by 3 pm, we got ourselves moving and took care of these errands.

Once we were done with the mandated tasks, it was time to pick up some storage containers I could use to reorganize the refrigerator. And that meant a trip to Target, and then to Walmart.  If we weren't planning on a trip to Shoprite to pick up some lobsters, we would have driven North on Route 22 and explored Eastern Dutchess county.  But I digress.  

After getting home from Shoprite, I started to put water in the stock pot I use for boiling lobster, and let it get to a nice rolling boil before starting to put lobsters in the pot.  Then, I took care of the pot I used for cooking the corn to go with our lobster dinner.  Once the lobsters were ready, I set the food on the table, and we proceeded to have a tasty dinner for less than we would have spent going to a  restaurant.  Yum!

Next, it was time to reorganize and clean the refrigerator.  And this is where a couple of minor mishaps occurred. First, RQS knocked a glass off the counter, and we had to clean broken glass off the floor.  And then, she broke the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator.  (I'll replace this with an OEM part when I get around to is.)  I eased her mind a little, then fixed the crisper for use until I can replace it. At this point, it was time to throw out stuff which has already gotten too old for consumption - including 6 bottles of white wine which have sat in the icebox for 10-20 years. In addition, there was 1 bottle that had to be over 25 years old, as I know it was a gift from my late wife's employer.  (As you can guess, I don't drink much wine at home.)

Buying storage containers for use in a refrigerator is a hit or miss thing. (At least, it is for me.)  I can eyeball a space and have a good idea of what fill fit in that space.  Yet, sometimes, I make a mistake and buy things that won't fit.  Today's trip was a little bit of both, as I was left with 2 containers which wouldn't fit into the spaces in which I wanted to use them.  When RQS made her first pass at refrigerator reorganization, she didn't pick up on the nuances I planned to use in reorganization.  So I sat on the floor and started to organize what was on the shelves into storage containers that made things easy to get at.

The two of us are a couple who have been working well together.  Unlike my relationship with XGFJ, I'm finding that we talk to each other more about the important things in the relationship.  Yes, there are elephants in the room, but we seem to be able to talk about the beast and how it has to be handled.  It's a nice feeling.... 

Was she dead or alive? Inquiring minds wanted to know.

  I hadn't seen Pat in months, and I haven't been able to reach her by voice or text.  Given that she's 84 years old, I figured ...