Saturday, April 22, 2023

Sometimes, it's better to stay home - a short post


Since RQS was getting together for dinner with an old friend tonight, I had a choice to make.  Do I go into NYC and attend one of the last 20 at 20 off-Broadway specials ?  Or, do I stay home, go shopping, and have a quiet night by myself?  Well, I'm glad I chose the latter....

I didn't get moving until 5 pm.  And I ended up making the choice to go for dinner at a local diner, then going to Wegmans to go grocery shopping. This was a stroke of fortune, as I had major GI tract issues after I finished loading my car and needed access to a rest room.  I could also say that I was glad to be in Marian mode, as it gave me more options after cleaning myself up.  

More often than not, wearing women's clothing can be much more inconvenient than wearing men's clothing.  Yet, I prefer doing this, as I feel that I can be my authentic self this way.  (Now, if only I had more physical attributes of a cisgender female.  I'd love to have a nice pair of breasts to put into my bras. Yet, that's a future stop on my path towards femininity.)  In the future, I will be making hard decisions, with input from my partner - how far do I really want to go, and will it be worth doing with the sacrifices being made?  Hopefully, the trade-offs will be small in relation to the gains I make.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Game Night - Not much to say tonight


It's the first Thursday of the month, and it was time to play games again.  For me, it's not whether I win or lose the game, or even play the game itself, it's being with people who accept me as Marian.

- - - - - -

Today was a day that I spent doing nothing, save cook some ribs. Knowing that the ribs had to be cooked today, I made sure to start cooking them right after I made breakfast for myself.  It was nice to have some home cooking for a change, even if I cooked my meal itself. Later on, the ribs were done.  And they weren't as good as the ribs I cooked last week. Next time, I'll place them on a rack, so that the fat doesn't keep my glaze from sticking to the ribs.

Around 5:30, I decided to get ready for game night. I decided to get into the dress I got in the Mystery Box, as it was warm enough to wear a short sleeved dress. And then, I went to game night - late.  Unlike most game nights, I didn't have the chance to get into a game.  Instead, I was gabbing with people who just finished their game.  

As I said, not much to say tonight....

Thursday, April 20, 2023

I've been hemming and hawing about getting my ears pierced - until now.


I've had a set of pierced earrings for ages, but have never used them because my ears weren't pierced.  I've hemmed and hawed about getting this done, and I'm about to finally bite the bullet and get this done. 

Some of my worries about this were related to how noticeable the tiny studs would be while the ear healed.  I didn't want either my doctor or my brother to notice the piercings at this time.  Once the piercing has healed, I could cover the hole with a dab of makeup and clean it up when I got home. Now, I'm more secure in myself, and I want to proceed on my next step to femininity.

Although RQS had her ears pierced once, the holes have closed and it is time to do it again.  Given that I've read that piercing shops do a better job than mall operators with piercing guns, I'm  planning on making an appointment with RQS to get our ears pierced at the same time.  Once done, we will be following a regimen of tasks to keep the piercings clean while they heal.

Am I nervous?  Yes.  But it could be much worse....

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

RQS is warming up to a cruise with me dressed to the nines


The other day, RQS was going through her closet to find clothing that might be appropriate to wear on a cruise's formal nights.  She found a glittery red jacket that she could wear with a black dress.  And then she found an outfit similar to that I am wearing in the above photo. I joked that we both should wear these outfits on an upcoming cruise (not one we have already booked), and she didn't run away from me.  Instead, she found the idea quite interesting.

To be serious, I do not wish to plan a cruise with RQS, just so that we can be together with me presenting as Marian.  But I do want to go on cruises with me as Marian, and have RQS come along with me.  There is a difference.  In the first case, the cruise is used as a venue to dress up.  In the second case, we're going on the cruise anyway, so why not dress up?  I have a couple of ideas for cruises where it makes sense for me to be presenting myself as Marian.  And one of them would be much more fun with me in Marian mode, as I look much better in formal women's wear than in formal men's wear. (And no, I do not intend to show a picture of me as Mario right now.)  But if I'm going to do that trip, I will need to lose another 50 lbs. before doing so - I want to look pretty in those pictures.

Right now, RQS and I are finalizing plans to take a trip to the Windy City in the fall.  Knowing where we stand with our finances is the key to taking this trip.  For taking our cruises, it will be an even greater expense to plan for, as each cruise will likely set us back over $2,000pp, with one of them being in the $6,000+pp range if we can afford it.  So traveling as Marian takes a back seat to getting the most value out of each trip - as I want RQS to enjoy the trip as much as I do.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

I may never stay at the Tropicana in Atlantic City again.


When XGFJ and I were dating, we went to Atlantic City several times and stayed at the Tropicana. In the past, I'd think this place gave good value for prices charged - even with the nonsense "resort fee" tacked on to the bill.  Today, I have the exact opposite opinion, in part, because the hotel part of the complex is not user friendly.

- - - - - -

On Sunday, RQS and I decided to spend an overnight in Atlantic City, so that we could visit sites important to her and her late husband.  As usual, I did the driving, and it took us roughly 4 hours to make it from Northern Westchester to Atlantic City. And that's where our problems began....

Arriving in AC, we didn't know where the self-park lot was for the hotel (they have two).  Signage pointed to one, while we should have been directed to the other lot.  (That was forgivable, but is another issue.)  So we parked in the self-park lot that I was familiar with, and proceeded to the check-in area for the hotel. That's where our first frustration occurred.  Instead of having a human at a check-in desk, they only had machines.  It took a while for us to figure things out, but we got our room keys with some printed documentation.

At this point, we knew we had to go to the Chelsea Tower, but there was no signage from where we were to find our way there.  We asked one person, and he only pointed us in a direction, as he was not fluent in the English language.  So I ended up asking people at the next store how to get there, and they gave me the information needed.  AARGH! Upper management has made the hotel a human unfriendly experience, and it started to leave a disgusting taste in our mouths.  We did find our room, and then RQS went to the beach for the sunset.

Not everything was bad with the Tropicana, it was just second rate at best.  For example, the grill surrounding the HVAC equipment was not secured correctly.  But the AC unit did cool off the room to a desired temperature.  We had an ice bucket for the room, but the ice machine was on the floor below us.  We had a refrigerator in the room, but it was not working.  Although the bed was comfortable, the mattress and bed spring slid around on the bed platform when I was getting dressed.  No good thing was good in its own right, save maybe the restaurant we ate at.  The Chinese restaurant in the Quarter was very good, and we'd both go there again.

The next morning, we had our next set of problems at the hotel.  We had no information on how and where to check out.  We saw no check-in/check-out kiosks.  We saw no hotel lobby.  We saw no information posted anywhere on how to check out.  So RQS called the hotel staff for information, and they said to go to the main lobby.  But where was that?  No humans were in any of the expected places, nor was there adequate signage to direct us to that lobby.  The person at the other end of the line spoke in heavily accented English, and had a hard time understanding RQS's simple request.  By this time we were totally frustrated, and we went to the same check-in/check-out kiosks to check out - and couldn't complete the check-out process.  At this point, we were totally frustrated, and decided to leave and let things sort themselves out.  In the elevator, we met another couple who had the same problem we did. So we knew this was not a problem limited to us.

Later on, when we were in Ocean Grove, RQS checked her email - and they were billing her for 2 days' lodging.  RQS was upset enough that we agreed to try to get this fixed at my place, when we've had a chance to rest. And we took care of RQS's business in Ocean Grove before meandering back home. Yet, this was not the end of the story.  RQS called the hotel, and they referred her to the billing department, knowing it was closed for the day.  AARGH!  If RQS were prone to hair pulling, she'd have less hair than I do as a male. So, she let it all out in an inquiry form on the Tropicana's site, and I hope she'll get this fixed.  Otherwise, she'll deal with her bank regarding the incorrect charge.


PS: The hotel contacted RQS a day later and fixed the problem.  Although the problem was resolved, it still left a bad taste in our mouths due to the aggravation we dealt with that day.

Monday, April 17, 2023

I miss my former boss - a short post


Here is the face of a good man who meant a lot to people outside his family.  His life was cut short by a drunken hit-and-run driver,  But you may wonder, why am I making note of him here?

Well, this good man was a voice of calm in a sea of confusion.  When I first met him, the bank I worked for went through a nasty hostile takeover battle, and he was one of the people who had to earn the trust of the new people he supervised.  Over the years he worked for the bank, he did just that and was respected by all that knew him.

What most people didn't see is that he was quietly able to preserve (for a while) the careers of several people who worked for him when the next corporate merger occurred.  He made sure that the people taking over our area knew the value of a handful of key employees (myself included) that were needed to keep the technology infrastructure running.  He could have survived as well, but he didn't want to relocate himself again, this time to a city he hated.

Since that time, we stayed in contact over the years, and we met for lunch on the day that I was laid off from the bank.  (That was a weird coincidence!) We'd get together at the Cheesecake Factory in West Nyack, a place which was equidistant from our houses. And when Covid hit, we'd meet via Zoom.  Who knew that when I tried to set up the next Zoom meeting, I'd find out of his passing?

I was lucky to meet this man's family sitting Shiva.  I only wish I could have met them while he was alive. I told the family about things I knew about him, and they shard things they knew about me and the office. And all too soon, we had to part ways.

As much as I am not much of a believer in the afterlife, I do believe that if there is one, he will be a good place.  At least, I hope so....

Sunday, April 16, 2023

They're coming to take us away, oh no!


While semi-conscious this morning, I stumbled into a news article that disturbed me.  It concerned a Texas library removing LGBT books from the shelves, and a Federal judge ordering their replacement.  As much as I want to be surprised to see these things happen, I am not.  The radical right has decided to stop going after the whole of the LGBT community and start to pick on a segment of the community that has a hard time being in stealth mode - us transgenders.

One of the first things that authoritarian wannabe groups try to do is to censor historical information. By purging information from the historical record that conflicts with the group's agenda, they can isolate those who do not share the goals of the group.  In America, we do not see many book burnings. Yet, we do see attempts to keep politically incorrect books out of libraries. 

But how does this happen?

The American Library Association (ALA) says that the following criteria are used:

  • Present and potential relevance to community needs.
  • Suitability of physical form for library use.
  • Suitability of subject and style for intended audience.

But who chooses relevance to community needs and suitability of subject?  If one lives in a metropolitan environment, one is likely to find a diverse set of reading materials,  In my library, I might be able to find books chronicling the history of the LGBT community, with Mein Kampf in another aisle. Yet, this diversity may not be found in a small community library in Kansas for many reasons, one of which might be censorship.

I find it hard to excuse censorship for any reason.  Yet, I can see why it may be needed in limited circumstances, such as when a country is at war.  But how does one root out falsehoods and destroy them?  We suffered for 4 years with president Trump, with human garbage such as Kelly Anne Conway spouting out bullshit like "alternative facts".  No, things are either objective facts, or they are falsehoods.  There is no in-between on this matter.  Authoritarians use lies to control people.  They use fear to control people.  And they use hate to control people.

Years ago, Martin Niemöller, a Lutheran pastor who was a political prisoner for 8 years said:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

America is in danger of making the same mistakes that were made in Germany 90 years ago.  I hope we can check these authoritarian wannabes before it's too late.


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 ...