Saturday, March 4, 2023

Trying to keep on top of things - a short post



As my long time readers are aware, I am on my co-op's board of directors.  And the thing I hate doing most is paperwork - especially the type that I need to take notes for, or to record financial information.  So what happened to me?  I am now the official note taker for our monthly meetings, and have to deal with monthly minutes.  What bothers me more is that my brother is asking me to take care of all the paperwork for the family homestead, something I know I'll screw up no matter how easy he tries to make it for me.

It's hard for me to deal with paperwork, as I will gloss over things that should have been recorded and that I will misfile things in logical places.  And now, I'm trying to keep on top of things for which my actions could affect others.  AARGH!

Soon it will be time to take care of my taxes.  Hopefully, I will have overpaid enough during the period that I worked last year, so that what I underpaid from my pension will not cause me any negative tax consequences.  Next year, I can fix this issue by over withholding taxes from my social security payments.  Until then, I have to stay on top of things, so that I have enough money in the right places to pay my taxes.... 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Friends and acquaintances are slowly coming out of the woodwork - a short post.


Every so often, I try to reach out to people I haven't heard from in a while.  Today, 3 people reached out to me to say what's up in their lives.

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Several years ago, I met a woman from Ontario who has become a pen pal.  There was no way we could have a romantic relationship, but we enjoyed each other's company on the cruise.  I was pleasantly surprised when she wrote me at the end of her most recent cruise.  Sadly, like me, she has noticed the quality of NCL amenities going down while the cruise price is going up.  In response, I mentioned that we're taking our next cruise on Princess, and may switch to cruising with them for a while if they sail the routes we want to take.

Next, I received a call from FL.  She has moved out of her place on the Jersey shore, and has moved inland.  Her faith is very important to her, and she has found a church that is growing.  More importantly, she is now seeing someone - and I'm very glad for her.

Finally, Patty (my ex-girlfriend from years ago) stepped out of the woodwork for a little bit.  Sadly, things have been going wrong for her, and she's dealing with quite a few inconveniences.  Hopefully, things will get better for her soon.

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I mentioned a select group of people, as I'm not a person with whom most people think of to keep in contact.  So it was nice to hear from these people - just to break the routine....

Thursday, March 2, 2023

I didn't know what to say today.


After a week away from home, I am all tuckered out.  I need a vacation from my vacation!

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No, it's not as bad as my words may make it seem.  Instead, after this vacation, I wouldn't mind some time as Marian that I won't have.  There was little enough opportunity to go out as Marian before my trip, and little enough opportunity to go out as Marian until the next weekend ends.

I'm very glad that RQS is in my life.  Yet, sometimes I wish I had an extra day in the week for myself.  I'll bet that this is a common feeling among many happily married people.  They enjoy being with their spouses.  Yet, they also enjoy being with non-romantic others.  

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On the way home last night, I saw a young couple on the subway.  One was dressed sharply in a men's suit, but not in a way in which he could go to work.  The other was dressed in a blue velvet maxi dress with spaghetti straps - a model of femininity.  Both were seated in a position that would indicate that they shared intimacies with each other.   However, something was a little bit off.  So I got a little closer, as I prepared to leave the train.  The person in the blue dress didn't have much of a chest.  I saw a pronounced brow ridge, more commonly found on a male.  And then I heard this person speak in a lower pitched voice.  Was this person a female or a male?  I'll never know for sure.  But I wish I could have gone out like this when I was that age.....

When we left the train to make our connections, I commented on how nice that person looked in the dress and quickly left.  No need to say much more, as it could be taken the wrong way coming from a person my age and presenting gender....

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

DC Trip 2023 - Day 06


King Street - Alexandria, VA

This would be our last day in the DC area.  So we took advantage of the opportunity to leave our bags at the hotel and explore the waterfront area of Alexandria.  This time, we didn't head to the Metro station after breakfast.  Instead, we took the Free "trolley" to the waterfront and walked around a bit.

Our first and only waterfront stop would be at the former Torpedo Factory, now a working arts center.  We explored all 3 floors and found some interesting art there.  Too bad that we couldn't be there when more of the artists had their workshops open.  Then, we explored the waterfront area a little before taking the trolley back to the hotel and picking up our bags.

We left the hotel for the last time around 2 pm, and walked to the Metro for the last time.  We made it to Union station by 3:15, and just had enough time to pick up a late lunch to eat on the train home.  Almost as soon as we sat down to await the call to board our train, the boarding call was made - and we proceeded to the train to take our seats.

After an uneventful 3 1/2 hour ride, we were back in New York.  This time, we knew where to go to summon our Uber - the 33rd street entrance, between 8th & 9th avenues.  (We made a note to use 330 W. 33rd Street as a destination address the next time we want to go to Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall by Uber/Lyft.)  From there, we summoned our ride, and had the most pleasant ride back to Queens we could have had given the roads.  And all too soon, our vacation was over....

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

DC Trip 2023 - Day 05


A Chief's headdress from the National Museum of the Native American

Our last museum for this visit to DC was the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall.  This time, we knew for sure which Metro station to use, and how to reach the museum.  And for once, we were right!  It was a relatively short walk to the museum.  

But first....

I was finally contacted by a former blogger who wanted to get together.  He's a member of our TG community, and was in my computer classes at Queens College.  So we arranged to get together at a diner which was walking distance of our hotel.  We walked over to the diner, and propped up a book so that s/he could recognize us.  (This would be the first time s/he would see me in male mode.)

When I dress as Marian, I dress as a cisgender woman my age would dress, as I want to blend in.  The same goes for when I'm dressed as Mario - I want to be seen as a cisgender straight male.  So RQS and I were a little surprised to see how my friend blends both modes into her/his presentation.  As much as I would never do this, I was glad that my friend can feel safe in doing this.  

All too soon, lunch had to end, and we were off to the National Museum of the American Indian.  Our first stop when inside was a gallery which covered the experience of the Native Americans from both Native and Settler viewpoints.  Like some exhibits in the African American museum, this can be a sobering experience.  Be prepared to be made to think when visiting here.  

After a couple of hours here, we decided to stay in town and go to dinner.  I suggested that we go to the Dupont Circle area and find a restaurant there.  We ended up going to Agora for some Mediterranean food (mostly Turkish food) and had a nice dinner.  Although the flavors were not exactly to our taste (we prefer food prepared with spicing styles used in Greek food), we both considered this place well worth visiting, but will order different dishes when we visit again.

Then, it was time to go back to the hotel.  And again, it was a chance to get dessert at Bob & Edith's.  Yum!  We'll miss this place when we get back home.

Monday, February 27, 2023

DC Trip 2023 - Day 04


The Lunar Space Rover - All Electric Transportation, before it was "in" to drive such a vehicle.

Our 3rd full day in town had us going to the Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.  However, the weather made me wish we could have stayed in our comfortable, warm, and convenient hotel room.  But this wish was not to be granted....

As usual, we got up and had breakfast in the hotel.  Unlike any of the other days, this would be the busiest we'd see it in our 5 days there - we had a tiny difficulty finding a vacant table for our use.  When done, RQS and I put on our coats, grabbed our umbrellas, and we were off to DC.  This time, we knew which Metro station we had to go to, as well as which exit to use to bring us to the museum.  Or, did we know?  Although we got off at the "Smithsonian" Metro station, we had to walk a distance in the rain to reach the Air and Space Museum.

When we reached the museum, we were very tired.  Yet, we still had to spend more time on a slow moving line, waiting to be admitted.  (Luckily, we had already printed our tickets while in New York, so we knew we'd eventually get in.)  After 20 minutes, we were inside the place and started our exploration.

The first stop was the Wright Brothers' gallery.  This area is a fitting tribute to the two brothers who made travel in heavier than air machines possible.  It covers the prior knowledge that the brothers used in their experiments, as well as the methods they used to learn what was needed to develop their first functional airplane.  (They would have made great project managers and programmers, as they understood the process of breaking down problems into small pieces and eliminating flaws in what they developed along the way.)

Our next stop was the Destination Moon gallery.  This area gives the visitor an idea of what the process of landing a man on the moon entailed, as well as some of the choices that had to be made to do this.  Exhibits covering the Gemini and Apollo programs were easy to find, and are well worth seeing.  I still find it amazing that we did this about 50 years ago, and (as a nation) lost interest in manned lunar exploration after we achieved the goal set by JFK during his (too short) presidency.

Although we went to one more gallery, the next important part of our visit was the gift shop.  RQS had forgotten her sweatshirt at the hotel and was freezing.  So I looked at books while she found the garment she needed to stay warm outside.  I wished I could buy several books there, but I knew that once these books were read, that they would gather dust.  Taking down a couple of titles, I filed them away for later use when I look them up in the local library system's collection.

Now that we were finished with the museum, we had a choice.  Do we go back to Alexandria to eat?  Or, do we stay in DC?  I figured that we should go by the Wharf development to see an area which had been redeveloped since my first visit to DC.  And that we did.  By now, the rain had gotten worse, but we had our umbrellas with us.  Luckily, it was a "short" walk to our destination - Hank's Oyster Bar. Yum!  Both of us had oyster based dishes for dinner, and we both felt that we got more than our money's worth in the quality of what we ate.

After dinner, we decided to go back to Alexandria for dessert.  There was a 24 hour diner (Bob & Edith's) on King Street that I wanted to try out, and I felt that this would be the perfect place to have something sweet before going back to our room. And we were both glad that I wanted to do this, as the thick shake RQS had was beyond comparison - it may have been the best she's had in years.  As for me, the Apple Pie with Ice Cream was just as good.  What a way to end an evening.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

DC Trip 2023 - Day 03


The "Thing".   

The original "Thing" is a spying device now located in Fort Meade, MD.  Both this "Thing" and that in the former KGB Museum in New York are replicas of a real life device used by the USSR during the Cold War.  Today's visit to the International Spy Museum would refresh my memory of things I've seen before and give RQS an idea about an area of knowledge that I find interesting.

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As usual, RQS and I decided to have our breakfast at the hotel, then take the Metro into DC.  Unfortunately, Google Maps did not give us good information on how to get to the museum and we ended up walking at least an extra half mile or so in the cold before getting there.  (I don't think that Google's maps can handle 3 dimensional routes, as we would have needed to exit the Metro at a different exit, then walk through another building before reaching the museum.)  So we were a little bit tired before starting our tour of the place.

After paying the admission fee, we started our visit on the top floor and explored some of the history of spying - both in America and in the rest of the world.  The museum focused on the risky side of spying, as well as the reasons that many people turn to spying.  We could have spent a whole day exploring this place, but we were too tired to do much more by the time 4:30 came around. 

Since we didn't have the chance to eat lunch, we decided to have an early dinner.  So we had to make a decision - where to eat?  Well, the answer was relatively simple.  RQS wanted to visit the original Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street, and off we went.  Although I am not impressed by Ben's offerings, it is a good place to get a bowl of chili (not my favorite style), a burger, or a hot dog.  RQS wasn't impressed either, and she felt that it was one more experience to be checked off her list.

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...