Saturday, May 6, 2023

A Salt & Battery


A Salt & Battery.  If you want a place with almost no atmosphere that serves authentic British style fish and chips, this is the place to go!  It's a hole in the wall place next to its sister restaurant, Tea & Sympathy, which makes some of the best fried seafood in NYC.  Mind you, there may be only 4 seats in this place, so get there early!

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But first....

I had made plans with one of my TG friends (let's call her SRB) to meet for dinner.  SRB and I have gone out to eat before, and she drives in from her job from the hinterlands of Brooklyn.  Today, she had a hard time getting to the restaurant because of rush hour traffic. But she started to relax when we finally got together.

SRB asked me a personal question regarding my relationship with RQS. And I answered her questions, noting what I was able to give up in my path to femininity to have a romantic relationship.  She said I was lucky, as her ex couldn't deal with it. Then, she told me of a fruitless job search, and I noted that our age and TG status could have gotten in the way of things.  (I'm not going to get into details here, as SRB deserves some privacy.)  All too soon, it was time to leave the restaurant, as others wanted the 2 seats we occupied.  So, off we went to find a Starbucks, or another place where we could sit down with a cup of coffee.  Too bad that the local Starbucks closed an hour earlier than the times posted at the store.

After walking a couple of miles, it was time to part.  I made it to Grand Central with just enough time to take a bio-break and get some iced tea from the Starbucks at Grand Central.  Once I made it to my car, I had a quick chat with RQS before going to Wegmans for some grocery shopping.

As I said in another post - one busy day out of several before I get a chance to have a day solely to myself....

Friday, May 5, 2023

This was going to be a busy weekend

 


The old fashioned calendar. If my generation had one or two things scheduled for the day, we'd write them inside one of the boxes that corresponded to the date of the event(s).  If we had a lot of things scheduled for the day, we'd have a daily schedule book with hourly lines in which we'd enter our appointments.  Right now, I have things scheduled for every day that RQS will be away, and I wish I had made more time for myself.

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Thursday was reserved for seeing one of my TG friends for dinner.  She's more of an acquaintance, but someone I enjoy seeing now and then.  If it's possible, RQS and I may attend this woman's party next week. The way things look, this could be the only opportunity I have to present myself as Marian this week, as I'll have to be out as Mario on Friday and Saturday.

Friday was reserved for seeing FH for dinner.  It has been months since I've seen her, and it will be interesting catching up on things.  Part of me is hesitant to do so, even though RQS is aware of this.  No, nothing will come of it, but I think my ambivalence is that FH is not a person with whom I want to have too close a friendship.

Saturday was reserved for seeing TCL.  It's been a long while since we've been together, and I'm not in the mood to skip seeing her again.  With this being said, friends from Yonkers game nights will be going to a comedy club at the same time - and I will miss being with them.

Sunday is a day that I'll have mostly to myself.  Assuming I wake up early enough, I'll be attending church as Marian.  Afterwards, I may go into NYC to see an off-Broadway play.called: "Welcome to Clown Town."  The following citation from the play's website made me interested in going to see this performance:

A solo performance that dives into the bizarre and cantankerous mind of Pixie the Clown. Part birthday party, part therapy session, this live show shares the real-life tales of being a party entertainer in America.

Picture this: the audience rolls into a seemly delightful birthday party filled with bright colors and balloons. The sounds of children laughing with glee are heard as Pixie rolls onto center stage. With her sweet smile beaming, she pops a balloon with a hint of murderous rage: "Awwww, may it rest in pieces". This begins the rock 'n' roll ride through outlandish personal stories of working as a party clown in NYC and Hollywood.

Join Pixie/me in our NSFW immersive experience, as I spit stories (like the time I was run down by gang members) while playing fun party games that consenting audience members can participate in!

This mad-capped adventure blends oral storytelling about a Latina just trying to make ends meet with Pixie the Clown's irascible inner monologues about how to change the world.


The phrase "AWWWW, may it rest in pieces." was what caught my interest. And with my unusual sense of humor, I planned to go to the last performance of this show.  Since I'll have gone to church as Marian, I'll be taking the train into Manhattan as Marian as well.  It'll be nice to start the week off right!

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By the time you read this, everything on the schedule will have already passed.  I'll write more about the weekend as things progress....




Thursday, May 4, 2023

What difference a decade makes!

 

I have been traveling as Marian for about a decade and much has changed in my life.  For example, the woman who took this photo is no longer my friend.  My long term career in computing ended, I survived a couple of breakups, and a few people close to me passed away.  But the one thing I have gained is confidence. In this decade, I feel much more confident in my ability to blend in as a female. Often, people don't notice much, save for my size, when they meet me - until I let my guard down.  Over time, I have become more comfortable in telling people that I am transgender, and will do so if someone asks.

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However, I am not completely happy with my current situation.  Recently, I got my ears pierced so that I could wear a greater selection of earrings  But this may not be enough for me.  I have made a promise to RQS that I will keep - no significant body modifications while we are in a relationship.  I will trade progress on my path towards living as a female for the love of a caring woman.

But what can I do that this woman could accept?

Right now, I'm thinking of either getting hair transplants to deal with my male pattern alopecia. Maybe some partial facial feminization surgery after that. And then, I'd want to get my name changed so that my official id would have a picture of me with an androgynous hair style.  This way, people who need to do a casual inspection of my id wouldn't notice much if I were dressed as a male or female.  The big issue is what to do with my chest.  Do I want to deal with having breasts and risk a relationship?  If I were to go to that next step, I'd get "permission" from a partner, as she'd have to live with me and my new "rack".  This and more would be subjects for thought as I get older.

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This path of feminization has been a long one, and I wonder what the next decade will bring me....

 


Wednesday, May 3, 2023

I live in New York, and will only sail out of one of its three regional cruise terminals.

 

The Manhattan Cruise Terminal.  On my own, it's the only cruise terminal in the New York City region that I will choose to cruise from.  But this is for practical reasons.

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I live in NYC's Northern Suburbs.  If I want to take a cab from my town to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, I'd be charged at least $150 before tips.  Travel to the cruise terminals in Bayonne, NJ (a.k.a. Cape Liberty, NJ) or Brooklyn, NY costs even more due to distance, time and tolls.  If I were to drive to any of these terminals, I might be charged a minimum of $30-$40/day to park there.  Since I like to take 7-11 day cruises, I refuse to pay $210-$330/$280-$440 just to park my car.  For that amount of money (and a little more), I could fly to an out of town cruise port and enjoy a cruise from there.  But I digress.

None of the NYC area cruise terminals are easy to reach via mass transit.  Although I have used a NYC bus to take me from Grand Central Terminal to the Hudson River along 42nd street, I prefer to spend $20 for a crosstown cab for this 1.5 mile trip.  Travel to Bayonne and Brooklyn terminals is much more awkward from Manhattan.  To reach the Bayonne terminal, one would need a cab for part of the trip. One could take mass transit to reach Bayonne, (NYC Subway to PATH Trains, then transfer to Hudson Bergen Light Rail to reach Bayonne) and then, one would still need a cab for the last 2-3 miles of the trip.  Reaching the Brooklyn terminal is an easier task.  One could take the NYC subway to a station near the cruise terminal, and then walk about a mile through an industrial area to reach the terminal. I'd simply take the subway to the Long Island Rail Road's Atlantic Terminal (Barclay Center arena) and catch a cab from there.

 



New York City has a robust ferry system which evolved to service real estate development in New Jersey and in some waterfront areas of Brooklyn and Queens. However, none of these routes serve either Bayonne or Brooklyn cruise terminals. Sadly, none of the cruise lines have been willing to cut deals with the ferry operator (or NY Water Taxi) to provide cruise-day service from Manhattan to the Bayonne and Brooklyn cruise terminals. (Even the weekend service to IKEA in Brooklyn could be adapted to service the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal without much problem.)  I feel that this would be a net benefit for all parties concerned, as the cost of ferry service from Manhattan would be much cheaper than the equivalent cab fares or parking charges.  Considering that NY Waterways already provides service to nearby docks, why not provide cruise day service using existing facilities and equipment to the cruise terminals?

So, what does this all mean for me?

I have cruised on 3 lines: NCL, Princess and Holland America.  Of these lines, only 2 make home ports in the New York area.  NCL has gotten most of my cruise business, as they sail out of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.  Both times I've sailed on Princess from the New York area, someone has had to transport me to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.  Any ship sailing out of Manhattan is easy for me to cruise on.  Ships sailing out of Brooklyn are awkward to get to.  That means I will not likely sail on MSC or Princess that often.  And it means that I will likely never sail Royal Caribbean (RCCL) out of Bayonne. 

Until I see a cheaper and easier way to reach the Brooklyn or Bayonne cruise terminals, I will not bother to cruise from them without a good excuse.  Although I can see RQS and I cruising out of Brooklyn due to its accessibility from her house, I believe we will continue to take our NYC cruises from Manhattan for now.

 

 

 

PS: I recently found that there is a ferry from the Wall Street area that will take me close enough to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.  However, I hate the idea of humping bags through the IRT (New York's "Numbered" Lines) subway stations, then walking a few blocks to the ferry. I will try a dry run long before I take a cruise from Brooklyn.


Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Another Board Meeting - a short post

 

Sometimes, I feel that the Marx Brothers made more sense than what I have to deal with in my co-op's board meetings.  But then, I often feel this way after a co-op board meeting.  I wish I would write about what transpired at the meeting in this forum - but I can't.  What I can say is that we worked well together, and we are all on harmonic wavelengths with business and the challenges in front of us.

Why am I talking about a meeting when I can't talk about what happened inside of it?  Well, the answer is simple.  Not all condo or co-op boards have overcome the challenges our board has tackled.  Some have it much easier than we do, as they have shareholders who take an active interest in running the co-op.  Others have major challenges in front of them, such as the HOA's for the Florida shore front condos that need major structural repairs due to years of moist ocean air putting properties at risk of structural failure.  My co-op is somewhere in-between, and we have accomplished a lot in the time since I joined the board.

As I see it, the biggest risk to co-op boards and HOA's is apathy.  The second biggest risk is bad (or corrupt) management, either by the board or a management company.  One thing I know is that I intend to be on the board of whatever future residence I live in.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Seeing RQS's Cousin & Wife

 

This was an interesting day for us, as it was one where I screwed up a little and things worked out better because of it....

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RQS and I were supposed to meet her cousin and his wife at a local eatery.  Normally, one doesn't need a reservation to eat there.  But for Sunday brunch, they advise getting one ahead of time.  Not knowing this, I didn't make the reservation and found out that we'd have to wait an hour before having a chance to eat there.  So, we checked with her cousin and agreed to eat at a local diner.

Going to DD's diner in Ossining in the past revealed a limited menu.  But in a pinch, the diner was always a reliable place for me to eat.  This time, I was impressed, as they returned to their pre-pandemic full menu.  This gave us a chance to have a filling meal, and time to have a leisurely chat.  And chat we did!  We got along as if we have been the closest of friends for years.  I was surprised to find that her cousin noticed my tiny earrings.  But then, he is a doctor, and trained to notice these things.

All too soon, they had to leave for their home (they live 5 hours away), and we had to get back to my place to take care of things.  In a conversation we had afterwards, RQS and I had a feeling that they would be accepting of my Marian side.  Maybe one day, I'll reveal it to them and find out.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Seeing Pat with RQS

 

The weekend came and so did RQS.  We decided to have a quiet weekend together on Friday and Saturday, both days in Marian mode before seeing her cousin and his wife as Mario.  And it was more interesting to me than I would have expected...

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On Friday, I thought I'd reach out to Pat and see if she'd like a couple of visitors this weekend. So we went to Pat's place to visit.  On the way there, we picked up an inexpensive folding chair as a gift, as Pat didn't have enough seating in her place. Once there, Pat and I got into an animated conversation, both of us looking at the world in very different ways.  Let's say that I come to her position from a position of historical advantage, and she came to her position from historical disadvantage - and were still able to be friends after a heated discussion.  If I had her experiences, I might have felt as she does.  But I had my experiences, and see the world from a more optimistic, but pragmatic viewpoint.  (No, I don't want to say much about the conversation, save that I have never been a nurturing person and she has been all of her adult life.)

When we left RQS's place, I found out that my cell phone had dropped out of my handbag and had to return to Pat's place.  Arriving at her place, I met her at the elevator and saw all the people being herded in for dinner.  This cemented what we feel about the "assisted living residence".  It is sucking excess people out of nursing homes, and placing them into a sterile environment where their souls are sucked dry.  Other than the receptionist at the front desk, we could see no one else working at the building.  Meal time is not something that people look forward to there, as the food is bland, institutional, and not nourishing - it meets the barest requirements for food to be fed to the home's residents.  There are no social activities in the place for people to attend, and the residence is totally isolated from the world at large.  Pat feels like a prisoner in the place, and doesn't see any hope for freedom.

Sadly, we're seeing the tip of the iceberg when it comes to warehousing the impoverished aged.  I hope that I won't be spending my final days in a place as sterile and depressing as her place is.

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...