Saturday, March 25, 2023

An unplanned early visit with RQS


I chose the above image for no particular reason.  It just fit my mood for the start of the day.  Yet, it fits how I felt on waking up - tired, semi-conscious, dry-eyed, and stumbling to the loo.  It was time to go back to sleep, but I didn't....

- - - - - -

Due to reasons I won't post here, RQS came up from the city a day early. This meant that we could have dinner together and go to game night together.  (RQS usually has a compressed day on Thursdays, as she takes care of things that nourish her soul, as well as things to prepare for her visit the day after.)  So, it was nice to be able to have her up here and share an experience that XGFJ wouldn't share with me because I'd be in Marian mode.

Upon arrival, RQS and I went to the local Mexican restaurant down the hill from us.  Unlike the last time we were there, the place was relatively empty and we had a nice meal with decent service.  Because the place was empty, there was little reflected noise from the hard walls, and we were easily able to hear each other speak, unlike the last time we were there.  (This has been my big complaint about the place, not the restaurant, since it was rebuilt years ago.  The walls reflect and amplify sound, making it hard to hear conversations when the place is crowded.)  As much as I enjoyed the fish tacos I ordered, I wouldn't order them again unless I wanted to make a mess of myself - they were overloaded with filling!

Our next stop was game night, where I got into a game which required a little bit of experience before playing well.  Mistakes I made early on caused me to lose the game.  But I'd play it again later on.  At least, we were able to get RQS into a simpler game afterwards - Qwirkle.  It's a simple game where one tries to match colors or patterns (in rows) for points. (Don't ask me to explain the simple rules of the game at this time of day.)  

All too soon, game night was over, and we had to go home. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

All I did today was bake brownies and launder some clothes - a short post


This is the way I felt today.  I was not in the mood to get up and get dressed, much less leave the house. Yet, I ended up doing a couple of loads of laundry and bake a tray of brownies for tomorrow's game night.

- - - - - -

The good and bad thing about doing laundry in my building is that I must go up and down 2 flights of stairs a minimum of 3 times on laundry days.  This means I get a little bit of exercise (very little) each time I take care of this chore.  Yet, it seems to get harder and harder over the years, as I still want to carry two full baskets up and down the stairs, and feel less comfortable (safe?) doing this.  This is one chore I usually do in Mario mode, as I do it on days I don't feel like putting on my make up and going out in the world as Marian.

Once I was done with laundry, I started on the task of baking brownies.  A while back, I found a recipe for 2-ingredient Nutella brownies.  Tonight, I took out my mixing bowl, my hand blender, a baking pan I could put in my toaster oven, Nutella and 8 eggs.  75 minutes later, I had some tasty goodies I'll be bringing to game night/

- - - - - -

One possible bit of good news for me - due to a change of plans, RQS may be joining me for game night tomorrow.  I'd have rather had her enjoy herself throwing some clay and honing her pottery skills. But this change of plans was not one either of us would have chosen.  We've been given some lemons, and we're trying to make some lemonade.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Even though winter is almost over, it still seems very cold.


This is a view of Provincetown, MA that I've never seen in person - snow along Commercial Street.  Part of me would love to be there in the winter, when Summer's denizens have long been gone.  Yet, I'm glad I'm not there, as none of the things I love about the town are available without its Summer visitors.

- - - - - -

I've been in P'town during the other 3 seasons of the year, and love the vibe there.  This is when the artist community is in residence, and when one can enjoy the town to its fullest.  Years ago, I went there with my late wife, and stayed at a hotel at the far end of the main drag.  After she died, I stayed in the heart of town with Patty, my ex-girlfriend. And I've been there with other people close to my heart.

The only time I've been there towards the end of the season is when I once attended Fantasia Fair.  Even though I was there for only 3 days, I made some acquaintances I'm still in contact with to this day.

- - - - - -

Over the past few days, it was cold enough for some patches of snow to survive on the ground.  But it felt colder than that because of the wind chill.  If it were warmer, I'd have tried on some new tights from Sheertex to see how they feel.  Unfortunately, I will have to wait for a while - just like the people of P'town will need to wait for the tourists to come back.

Once the weather gets a little warmer, I will be back in dresses and enjoying the world outside.  I look forward to taking a day or two outside of peak season and take RQS there for a short stay.  Maybe she'll understand why I love this area - especially outside of peak season.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Now that I'm part of a couple....


RQS and I.  It seems like we're always together these days.  Not bad for a transgender woman who knows her limits.  And I hope that it keeps going as well as it has been so far.  But this post is not directly about RQS.

- - - - - -

Before I met RQS, I was thinking about getting more involved with the church I have sporadically attended. It would have been nice socializing with the other ladies of the church, and gradually perfecting my feminine persona.  But I would have felt a void, as an area for socialization was taken away from me due to the craziness between myself, XGFJ, and FCP.  This is not the place to rehash the past, so I'll skip all of the details.  Now that RQS is in my life, I no longer have the time or inclination to hang out with the FTF meetup group in Connecticut.

Life for me is very different than I envisioned a year ago.  For example, I haven't shared a dinner table on a cruise since meeting RQS.  And sometimes I miss the random element that chooses my dinner companions.  It was nice to meet people and find out new things from people not in my circle of acquaintances.  Even when I met a GOP couple from Louisiana (dining at a shared table) on a trip with FCP, I enjoyed the conversation as a single - until FCP got there and turned a learning experience into a debate.  People change their positions slowly, and a smart person avoids controversy when there is no gain to be had. 

Yes, there are times that I couch my words so that phrases I'd use in the past do not upset RQS.  This is a reasonable thing to do, as we come from very different social groups.  Yet, we are very much alike, and have developed a sense of trust that doesn't usually come as quickly as it has.

- - - - - -

Today, I drove RQS back home, so that she could go to the gym and do her exercises.  Why did I do that when there was a train that could be taken?  Well, RQS bought a large volume (space, not count) of paper goods and needed to get them to her house. So, we put them in the trunk of my car, and proceeded to her house.  In all the confusion when in her neighborhood when we arrived, we were rushing to get her luggage out of my car before the bus came by.  Of course, we forgot the paper goods in my trunk!

Luckily, we can smile at things like this.  To have a person in my life who makes me feel good, that accepts me for who and what I am, and communicates in sync enough with me that we have yet to have a major disagreement is some sort of miracle for which I am thankful.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

I just booked another cruise!


I saw this itinerary the other day, and said that I have to book it.  The best man at my wedding lives near one of these ports, and I would like to see him one last time.

But first....

Yesterday, RQS and I paid for our next cruise and decided to take this cruise early next year.  Both of us get to see people important to us, and both of us will be spending money that could have gone to a cruise in Marian mode.  This is not as much of an issue as it seems, as RQS is warming up to the idea of spending life with me, more and more in Marian mode.

I wish I could take the above trip in Marian mode.  Without knowing how any of the foreign ports deal with transgender people, I do not want to risk getting off the ship with government issued id that differs from my current gender presentation.  Hopefully, I will be able to rectify this at some future date. Sometime soon, I plan to research how many foreign ports look at transgender people, especially those who are either in the middle of physical transition, or those whose gender presentation disagrees with that on their government issued id.  In my case, I tend to play it safe with my travels, only getting off of a ship when I know my rights are protected by the locality.  When I have any doubts, I stay onboard and stay safe in my bubble until the next port.

Is it right that we should fear to live full lives?  No!  Sadly, we are not able to force others to treat us fairly.  But our money can do so.  Greed is an important motivator for many people.  If they can see profit in treating people with respect, they will do so.  For us to be free, it will be our money that has to do the talking.  In the future, I hope that it will be our money, and the size of our community that will make the difference for us when we travel to places on the route above.

Monday, March 20, 2023

We are under attack!


Now that the GOP has lost its war against Homosexuals and "Gay Marriage", they have turned their sights directly onto us, the Transgender Community.  If one looks carefully at the bills that have been passed which ban gender related treatment, we see an underlying hatred for things "Conservatives" don't understand, are fearful of, and want to rid the world of because of that fear.

I see homosexuality and being transgender as part of a greater intersex spectrum, something that happens when one part of a fetus's development (brain and body) does not happen according to typical gender lines. This is different from many people see intersex, as I include the wiring of the brain as part of the definition of intersex.

When people are not able to classify something into something they can understand and manage, their fears go out of control.  Rationality is lost, as primeval instincts kick in.  When people live under constant threat due to their inability to escape poverty, they turn to bombastic populist leaders. When people remember "the good old days" without seeing how bad they were for others, they want simple answers to complicated problems.  We now see all of these issues and more in the people who support the radicals in today's GOP.

We are under attack.  There are a large number of places in this country where I am afraid to travel as Marian because of being transgender.  My rights to be treated with dignity and respect are being taken away by the likes of the governors of Florida and Texas, all for political gain.  The people of their states (and other "Red States" as well) need scapegoats to punish for their misfortune.  Even though I blend in well with cisgender women, I would not feel safe in entering a public washroom in these states.  If I were to enter a place of public accommodation, I could be discriminated against without reason.  And, if I were to deal with law enforcement authorities, I could be treated in a way that puts my life at risk.  Is this right?

There is a culture war going on right now, and large swaths of the population who have retreated into political tribalism. There are large areas of this nation which are one party states.  In the past, even the dominant party in these states could reasonably be expected to be voted out if it didn't do a good enough job for their states.  This is not the case anymore.  People such as Florida's governor are trying to ban the opposition political party for actions many of its leaders took over 160 years ago. This is not democracy in action.  This is an authoritarian government in waiting that is trying to do this.

I'm not sure of what we can do next.  Strangely enough, I would take (the lunatic) Marjorie Taylor Greene's suggestion that we have a Red and Blue State divorce, and run with it a little. I'd suggest something a little bit more dangerous to the Red States: a requirement that the US Federal Government spend no more than 5% more or less in every state than it collects in tax revenue.  Since the Blue States contribute more to the government in tax revenues than they receive, this would be a net benefit to these states.  We could also set a federal minimum level for social spending in every state as a requirement for new federal projects to be placed in the Red States.  This would slow down the "Brain Drain" from Blue to Red states, caused by the poor education standards (as a whole) in those states. 

In my opinion, what we're seeing are the things that happen when there is a great difference in living standards between the rich and poor in a society.  Like the people of Brazil, America's people fell out of love with democracy and elected a bombastic and ineffective leader as it moved to the right, and then moved to the left as a backlash against the right.  Until we can force government to do its job, people at the margins of society are at great risk, as we are the pawns in a larger game of power.  

So what can we do to change things?  As a species, we do not like rapid or radical change. Progress can only come slowly.  In the case of politics, our leaders are in a continual battle to be reelected, so that they can gain power.  Not solving  problems is their best way to have things to rally against, and get votes.  As the parties become more extreme, the more likely one will pick a minority group (Jews, Muslims, Homosexuals, Transgenders, Political Opponents, etc.) as demons to obliterate.  But the question remains: How do we enact simple, long term changes to fix this?  To me, the answer is amazingly simple - term limits for all politicians.  Years ago, a friend told me that death gives meaning to life.  Without death, we'd have no reason to finish anything.  The same goes for elected leadership.  If a leader knows that s/he has only a limited amount of time to achieve anything, they will focus on getting important things done.  By that subtle change alone, there will be no need for scapegoats, as politicians would only be judged by what they supported, and not what they opposed.

Yes, I am proposing a subtle change to nudge the system in a way that benefits us.  This prevents the opposition from labeling this in a derogatory fashion.  And, if we were to "grandfather" all currently serving officeholders from these same term limits, we might get the support needed to make an important change in the system whose effect could be seen in a single generation.

What do you think? 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Co-Op Issues - a short post.


I am known to my co-op board of directors as both Mario and Marian.  This is not and will not be an issue for me with the co-op.  But there is something that annoys me quite a bit, and it's related to a personnel issue that we've been dealing with for a while.  Although I can't talk about this issue, I can say that it has caused me to write "nastygrams" which would have made my late wife proud.

My late wife was good at writing complaint letters to businesses.  I can still remember a letter she wrote to our (then) favorite Chinese Restaurant complaining of horrible service given by a waiter who ignored us for the entire meal.  Needless to say, the owner gave us a free meal and made sure that we didn't see that waiter again.

Lately, I have been developing a similar skill when doing my duties for the co-op.  We have a vendor whose performance is sub par, and I have been in contact with the owner to get things resolved to our satisfaction. (This is about all I can say about the issue, as it doesn't mention the vendor or the nature of the issue.)  This has been a good experience for me, as I have learned something about myself at the same time as I've learned things about others.

Hopefully, these issues will be resolved soon.  If not, I will continue with my letter writing and documenting the lack of progress on these issues as needed.

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...