Saturday, October 8, 2022

Looking forward to my cruise


RQS is a well educated lady.  But she hasn't been to as many places that I have been because of conditions which she has lived with for many years.  (And, no, I won't go into details here.)  So, it will be a pleasure to be able to go back to previously visited ports with her and explore places I've wanted to see, but couldn't on those cruises.

There are two ports on this cruise which I haven't yet visited: Sydney, NS and Charlottetown, PEI.  One of them looks interesting, while the other looks like a bore.  Yet, RQS and I will get off the ship to walk around and see things for ourselves. Next comes Halifax, NS and St. John, NB.  From Halifax, we will go to Peggy's cove and have a good time there.  But at St. John, we will likely walk to the central market (St. John's version of the old Essex Street market in NYC). look around, and get back on the ship.  My Canadian pen pal agrees with me, this port doesn't have much to say for it.  

Once we leave Canada, it's off to Portland, ME and Boston.  Portland has a nice shore front area, and we may yet take a lighthouse tour.  But if we don't, we'll walk around and look for a seafood restaurant to find a place where we can get a lobster roll or two.  Lastly, we dock in Boston, where RQS's friend will drive us to the USS Constitution before driving us back to the ship.  

I expect that we will have a great time on this trip.  I only wish I could be doing it in Marian mode....

Friday, October 7, 2022

Beware of accidental misinformation from a "trusted" source

The other day, I realized that I was getting confused when trying to figure out the exact window in which I needed to take my proctored pre-cruise Covid test.  So, I called up NCL and I was told that I could take my test on Tuesday for a cruise that sailed on Friday.  Technically, he gave accurate advice, but not complete advice.  The Canadian government's site requires that the Covid test be taken within 72 hours of embarkation, not 3 days before embarkation as could be implied by reading all the materials at hand.  Given that I had scheduled my Covid test for 2:00 pm Tuesday and my embarkation was scheduled for 1:00 pm on Friday, I should have been OK.  But what about RQS?  Luckily, RQS read things a little differently than the person from NCL, and we both were able to schedule our Covid (PCR) tests for Wednesday, fulfilling Canadian requirements to the letter. This incident taught us NOT to rely on call center personnel who have been poorly trained to answer questions requiring subtlety of thought.  We will now be much more careful in dealing with issues such as this, and ask more questions ahead of time when we have to deal with seemingly ambiguous issues.

I'm hoping that this is the last headache for us before cruising together.  I'm sure of one thing: Both RQS and I will be writing complaint letters to the CEO of NCL.  Even if nothing gets done for us, these complaints do get passed on to appropriate parties to act on (or not act on).

Thursday, October 6, 2022



One of the topics that came up in my recent chat with my niece was the topic of underground transportation.  In London, they have an underground line which was comfortably cool in the summer when it was built over 100 years ago, and now is uncomfortably hot in the winter.  In New York, most of the lines are very warm in the summer, but have some ventilation that keeps them from being dangerously warm.

When I was young, I never had problems with riding the subway.  It was still a new experience to me, and something I took for granted as I got older.  Forty years ago, if I heard a loud bang! while on the train, I'd assume (like other riders) that someone had fired a gun.  Today, New York is a safer city, and the same loud bang is thought to be something not threatening.  Things have changed a lot in the short span of my life.

Recently, New York's governor has proposed plans for an Interborough Express line which would run from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Woodside, Queens on freight trackage owned by the Long Island Railroad.  It is a smart idea, as it will be a relatively inexpensive addition to the New York mass transit network, and will allow for better commutes for people living and working in the outer boroughs.  However, it would be nice to see New York build out the full route of the proposed Triborough Express, which would benefit Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx as well.  Hopefully, the shorter route will end up being a "phase 1" to this project.

Recently, NYC's mayor has made a move to turn the abandoned LIRR Rockaway Beach Branch (See: Legacy and Planned Restoration) into a linear park, similar to the High Line in Manhattan.  Most transit geeks consider this to be a big mistake as provisions were made in the existing IND line build out for connections to this line.  It would be another needed connection that would lessen Southern Queens as being a transit desert.  Hopefully, the NIMBYs will not get their way on this....

As you can see, I think of other things than life as a Transgender Person.  Hopefully, my readers will enjoy my writing on other subjects that interest me....

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Something that bothers me....


Although TCL is a friend, she has one habit that bothers me.  Whenever I state a preference for doing something that is not 100% logical or something done in a way she wouldn't do in my position,  Tonight, she hectored me about being a little cheap with my preferred mode of airport transportation for my Hawaii cruise.

Since I don't expect to get flight information for my Hawaii trip from the cruise line until early November, I know that I shouldn't be taking any long trips between Mid-October and Mid-November.  This will allow me to take care of any flight plan snafus that may arise due to cruise line booking issues. Additionally, this will allow me to quickly jump on the phone and complete my flight reservations, making sure that I upgrade to "economy plus" with checked luggage.  Normally, I'd have preferred to book my air separately from the cruise.  But in the age of Covid-19 and its aftermath, I'm glad that I have one-stop shopping, a single contact point if there are problems with my cruise booking.

When I eventually receive my flight information, I will make decisions on how I will get to/from the airport.  I don't want to spend $300+ on cab fare, unless absolutely necessary.  I'd rather find a cheap parking lot near the airport or take mass transit instead.  Too bad that LIRR East Side Access will not be open on time for my trip, as I'd have flown out of JFK instead of LGA.  TCL wonders why I am being frugal in this area.  But I'd rather save money in NYC, so that I can spend it in Hawaii.

As soon as I get home from my New England / Eastern Canada cruise, I will do several loads of laundry, then start packing for Hawaii.  This will save me the headache of putting summer clothes away, and then having to unearth them shortly before my cruise.  It'll be nice to feel the warmth of the sun in the middle of December.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Taking it easy....


Soon, RQS and I will be seeing this sight as we depart from New York on our Autumn cruise.  The big question I will be asking myself is: How much "Alone Time" will I need in this relationship?  I've found that I get tired of having the same people around me after a few days, and this was likely a factor for me in my breakup with XGFJ - I needed time apart from her more often than I told her.

I opened up with this thought, as I started to wonder how well RQS and I will get along on a 10 day cruise.  We will likely be OK, but I have minor worries about it.

- - - - - -

Today was a good day for me, though most of my plans went sour.  My niece and I were able to connect with each other via Zoom, and we were online for an hour chatting about things in general.  Now that I know that she prefers the use of one communications tool, we can schedule Zoom meetings at will and keep in touch.

My niece is glad that she's in England right now, and loves the early Autumn weather they are having.  Soon, winter will come, and she'll be flying back to the States with her husband.  (This assumes that her passport gets renewed before their trip. She has an expired US passport, and will need it renewed for her return.) I told her of my plans to visit sometime in the next couple of years (in Marian's female gender presentation) and she noted that I shouldn't have any problems with it when I visit.  This is a good thing, as I find it more comfortable for me to dress as Marian instead of Mario.

Although I ran my mouth at a mile a minute, we had a good chat.  Hopefully, we'll be doing it again soon.

- - - - - -

I was supposed to speak with my former student clinician for my speech therapy.  She has delivered her baby, and is up to her eyeballs taking care of her infant. So we haven't had much time to chat in a long while.  The same goes to a lesser extent for KM, a woman I used to work with at the document imaging firm.  Although I was supposed to speak with both women, it was just as well that I didn't - I was in the mood to be alone.  In many ways, I was like Greta Garbo in saying: "I want to be alone." 

As you can guess, being with people was the furthest thing from my mind today....

Monday, October 3, 2022

How empty the malls are.... (A quick post)


I was looking for a picture of the interior of the Hudson Valley Mall when I decided to post this entry.  Sadly, I couldn't find it in all the mess in my picture folder.  However, I was saddened by what I saw today in a local mall.

- - - - - -

After lunch with a former coworker, I decided to drive to Ulta Cosmetics in the Jefferson Valley Mall and pick up some Dermablend foundation.  When I got inside the mall, I became sad - almost no one was walking the mall, and more than half the storefronts were vacant.  I was in and out of Ulta in 5 minutes, and decided to kill some time before RQS's train arrived.  This might not have been the best thing to do, as I could see the signs of an obsolete mall - most storefronts were empty, and the on-site health club, Orange Fitness, was closed as well.  Only a handful of stores were open, and I was the sole focus of attention at Bath & Body Works, as I was the only customer in the store.  

30 years ago, this mall would have been crowded in the middle of the day.  Now that most retail shopping seems to be done online, there is no need for most of the malls that used to populate suburbia.  It's sad to see things change.  At least, I can get what I want and more on Amazon....

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Counting down the days....


It's less than a week until we go on our cruise, and I'm getting a little nervous about this trip.  In the past, I'd be concerned about whether I'd get to the cruise terminal on time.  I'd be concerned about whether I'd be able to feel comfortable traveling with someone else in my cabin.  And I'd be concerned whether my travel companion would need too much of me to have a good time on the cruise.  (FCP wanted to see me in the casino occasionally while she gambled, and she gave me a Double Sawbuck ($20) that I ran up to $360 on one trip.  XGFJ wanted me to go swimming with her on the cruise line's private island, while I wanted to sit and read my books.)  This trip, I'll get to see how RQS and I get along, and how much she'll need of me while I try to relax.

This trip makes me a little more nervous than usual.  When I took my last cruise at Christmastime, I was worried that I might contract Covid-19 before the cruise.  The Omicron variant started to spread quickly, and what was supposed to be a maskless cruise changed into one where we were supposed to be wearing masks in all public places, save when one was eating or having a casual drink.  Even though I am vaccinated and double boosted, I still have concerns about having a positive test result.  Given the strange nature of Covid-19, one can be asymptomatic, test positive, and not go on the cruise.  Even worse, I could be symptomatic and have to quarantine at home.

For the most part, I am looking forward to this trip.  There's a part of me that wants to go to DC again, this time as Marian.  (I'd have to bring Mario's clothes with me, as I would likely have to treat her cousin and his wife to dinner - returning the favor they showed us on our last trip.)  Two people I know live in the DC area, and it would be nice to see them again as Marian.  Hopefully, we can do this next year, time and money permitting....

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...