Saturday, June 3, 2023

I almost forgot my anniversary - thoughts on being widowed.

 


There are several days during the year that I make sure I have a small drink - and they are all related to significant days that I shared with my late wife.  Today would have been our 38th anniversary, and there will always be a part of me that misses her.

How would I describe my late wife?  After 27 years of being widowed, many of the little things she used to have faded into the fog of lost memories.  Yet, I can still remember her saying things such as EN-Double A-ESS-T-EYE, and letting out her inner child much more often than I could. Yes, she didn't know how to cope with things at her office, as it was a small business that didn't bother with obeying important business rules, such as having a non-smoking office.  At the end of her life, she was angry because she was the only non-smoker in the office, and the only one that suffered with cancer in that office.

I'll never be sure how much she loved me, or whether she stayed with me because she feared that she'd have no place to go if she left me. I know that her problems  with money triggered my insecurities, and frustrated me until the day she died. Yet, I find it ironic that I may have more female clothes than she did when she died - and that I gave away 12-16 bags of those clothes to a local charity when she died.  I think she would have a big laugh if she were to see me and that closet today.

The other day, I made a short mention of my late wife to Vicki #1, and she went off into a diatribe on how my wife may not have grown with me, how we might have gone into couples' therapy and failed at it, and so on.  It was not what I wanted to hear, as I wasn't in the mood to be convinced that my life is better because my wife died - I know that, and felt a little sad because it is so.  I was simply subconsciously reminded of her, and reacting to that stimulus.

Yet, I'll always wonder now and then - what would have happened if my wife had lived?  And this is where Vicki and I agree - the odds are that we would have gotten divorced, and that I would have approached new relationships with a certain lack of trust. Could this be why certain divorced women are attracted to me as a friend?  Who knows?  But I don't think I'd be able to have my relationship with RQS if I had been divorced.  I needed the assumption of goodwill that only being widowed can bring to a potential relationship.

If there is something after death, I only hope that my late wife is having a good laugh seeing how my life has progressed so far....

Friday, June 2, 2023

I did plenty of nothing, and nothing's plenty for me.

 

Lethargy - It's something that plagues me early in the day, and keeps me from having the energy to do things until it is too late to do them.  In short, my body wants to live a life out of sync with the rest of the world, and it gets frustrating at times.

Today, I was thinking of doing laundry when I got up in the morning, and then go into the city to see the God of Carnage off-Broadway revival.  Instead, I didn't start doing anything until 2 pm, and didn't do laundry until 6 pm.  There was no way that I'd make it in time for the play, so I resumed work for another website I am developing.

The website I'm working on is travel related, and part of what I plan to do will be blog related.  Yet, I have yet to figure out how I want the site to look when I'm done with things, and I have yet to figure out how I want to handle video links on the site. And I'm glad that I was able to get back to work on the blog, as I'd like to have everything related to the project up and running by the end of the year, with content ready for people to view and enjoy.

Since I left the bank 9 years ago, I have done a decent amount of travel on a budget.  There are stories I have to tell and wisdom I have to share.  And this new site will be my medium to do so.  Hopefully, when it is ready, I'll be able to share things here as well....

Thursday, June 1, 2023

I might be planning another cruise soon.

 .

For better part of a year, RQS and I have been talking about taking a Norwegian Fjord cruise next year. Soon, we will need to plan for this trip, else we won't be able to take it at all.

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As I might have mentioned elsewhere, 2024 will be the last year that conventionally powered cruise ships will be allowed to cruise the Norwegian Fjords.  This is a classic bucket list cruise, ranked up there with Alaskan cruises, Panama Canal cruises, Hawaii cruises, and Atlantic crossings on a classic ocean liner. I know that this is a "budget buster" item, something that RQS will have a hard time affording with all the traveling we are doing this year and will likely be doing next year. So we have to think carefully as we plan this trip out.

 
Right now, I'm looking at options from 4 cruise lines: Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, and Princess.  The big problem is choosing a cruise with the right price point and length with an acceptable itinerary. This is something we have to discuss.  There are some 7-day cruises out there that look good to me.  But there is one 14-day cruise that I'd really like to take, a Princess cruise that sails out of Southampton and goes to both Norway and Iceland. But I'm not sure that we'll be able to take this cruise, given RQS's finance and scheduling concerns.

Assuming that we take the Norwegian Fjord cruise, this will be the first time I have left North America and the first time that I will need to present my passport for travel.  There is a big part of me that is afraid to take this trip, as it takes me well out of my comfort zone.  But everyone has to have a first time, and this might be mine.

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Unlike the Bahamas cruise that I'll be booking soon, this cruise will be taken as Mario.  There would be way too many complications for me to take this cruise presenting as Marian to risk making a mistake. However, when I eventually take my British Isles cruise or do the Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2, I hope to take it presenting as a female.   Unlike many British Isles cruises, the above cruise does not stop in France.  To me, this is a bonus - I do not need to worry whether someone I come into contact with will be able to (or bother with) speaking my language when on a shore excursion.  

As you can guess, I'm working on checking off bucket list trips while I'm still healthy enough to do so.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get through most of this list while I'm still in decent shape for my age and weight.

 


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

What I fear most as a transgender person

 

When I started this entry, I thought I could make it as long or as short as I wanted.  But life has a habit of throwing me curve balls, and I have a nasty habit of trying to hit them.  Luckily, I have hit enough of them to still be around to play again and again.

Lately, we've seen the governor of Florida attempting to censor both business and educational entities because they believe that all people have a right to be treated with dignity, and that we should not be watering down our history to avoid showing a past which is still uncomfortable for many to confront. This man, someone I consider as evil as our 45th president, has attacked his state's largest economic driver simply because the Disney corporation believes in treating the LGBT community with respect. Although I am not a fan of Disney or most of its products, I have to stand with the corporation as it fights this evil man.

Sadly, the governors of Florida and Texas reflect the feelings of a large part of the American population, and show how dangerous it can be for members of the LGBT community.  We've again seen a growth in "Bathroom Bills", laws which are specifically aimed at the transgender community.  We are often easy to pick on, as we usually stand out from the crowd by our appearance. M2F transgenders often have a masculine body build (facial features, hair/beard patterns, hands, feet, waist and hip development), speak in a deeper voice than cisgender females, and often wear wigs to deal with male pattern alopecia.  F2M transgenders tend to be smaller than typical cisgender males and have similar issues with body development as well.  Gender dimorphism is a problem for transgenders because it makes us easier to identify by intolerant people.

I've been careful NOT to travel in states where intolerant people are in charge.  But what happens if someone like Florida's governor becomes president?  I expect that America will become a much more intolerant nation, and that people like me will need to go into stealth mode.  People like Fran (who I've talked about in other blog entries) will be the first people to suffer.  But this will not be the end of things..  I will have it easy compared with people like Fran unless they take intolerance to its next step - using computers to sort through business records to find people ordering goods not conforming with one's assigned gender.  At that point, I will be leaving the USA, as to avoid the possible herding up of us "undesirables" into camps.  And if you think this won't be done, ask any Japanese-American (or his/her descendants) about the camps set up by our own government during WW2.

Yes, I have my fears.  And I don't think they are unreasonable.  We have a chance to stop this from happening. And I'm going to do what I can to help stop these people from gaining any more power than they already have.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Going out to eat

 

Last week, RQS came up for a mid-week visit, as she had a weekend memorial that she had to attend. Because of this, she came up on Tuesday to spend the middle of the week with me.

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Like most couples, RQS and I have several go-to restaurants near each others' residences.  The reasons a restaurant becomes a "go-to" place vary.  For example, the diner in Croton is my go-to place when I'm presenting as Mario.  The food is good, servings are plentiful, the staff is friendly, and the experience is predictable.  It's not a great place to eat, but it is not a bad place to eat. It's simply a pleasant experience each time we go there.  And I've eaten there often enough as Mario, that I avoid eating there as Marian.

The go-to places I have when presenting as Mario are different than those I have when presenting as Marian.  For example, I will go to one Italian restaurant in Croton over most of the others in town, as they have only seen me in Marian mode.  This makes it much easier for me, as I don't have to worry as much as being misgendered. 

And then, there are the places I can go to in either presentation.  I do not visit these places often enough to be a fixture there, and I am likely to be seen as a very occasional visitor.  One of those places is the Eveready Diner in Brewster.  Given the distance from Croton, NY to Brewster, NY, we are not likely to visit there often enough to become a fixture there.  So, I feel safe visiting in either gender presentation.

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As you can guess, I am a low key foodie who can enjoy both haute cuisine and junk food.  For the most part, I find good places to eat almost anywhere.  But I have also found some bad places as well.  Those bad places are few and far between, and are often found in acts of desperation.  For example, RQS and I visited Bar Harbor, ME on a cruise after tourist season ended and couldn't find a good place to eat because my go-to places were already closed for the winter.  Unfortunately, we ended up stumbling into a place with bad service, mediocre food, and forgettable atmosphere.  That's one place we will never again visit.

Yet, we stumble into more good places than bad ones.  On the same cruise where we visited Bar Harbor, we also visited Portland, ME and found a great seafood joint off the beaten path.  The restaurant was associated with another business which processes seafood destined for other other restaurants.  Yum!  Needless to say, we will visit this place again the next time we are in Portland.

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In the past, I'd try to go to as many meetups as possible, so that I could eat out with other people.  Now that RQS is in my life, it is just as well that I do not go to many meetups anymore. Dining out has gotten way too expensive these days. I still recoil a little when I see post-pandemic restaurant prices. So, I've become extra careful to patronize my go-to places as often as I can, as I want them to stay in business.



Monday, May 29, 2023

It ain't over until it's over!


Yogi Berra, the Rodney Dangerfield of Baseball.  A kind man who worked hard to excel at a game he loved - baseball.  Behind all the light hearted banter, he quietly earned 13 World Series rings, more than any other baseball player, living or dead.

Why do I mention this man?

To answer this question, I have to say that RQS and I went into Manhattan to see a documentary about this man's life, called: " It Ain't Over."  This documentary gives this great ballplayer his due, and gives the viewer an idea of what this man was all about.  It all started because his granddaughter saw 4 baseball players honored as the best living players at one all-star game.  Jokingly, she asked her grandfather: "Are You Dead?" And he responded, "I don't think so."  It then became her mission to see that her grandfather was given his due.

I won't say much about this movie, save one thing: SEE IT!  RQS, who is not a baseball fan, loved it.  

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After the movie, we stopped at a Halal food cart to get a couple of Chicken and Lamb combos, with some Falafel on the side.  Yum!  I won't say that it was good as the food cart near where I used to work, nor will I say it is as good as a place in her neighborhood. But I will say that the food was tasty, and worth what we paid for it before returning home for the night....

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Crusing without RQS? (a short post)

 

I won't go into all the details of why I want to take this cruise - especially when RQS wouldn't be with me when I sail off for a week. But RQS approves of my reasons, and I want to see about whether it makes sense to try out a new cruise line.

With the above being noted, I have my concerns about sailing on an MSC ship.  Almost all the Vlogggers I watch have made comments on the food found on MSC ships - and they say that the food is middling. Although I can accept middling food, RQS will not do so. So, it's in my interest to try out this cruise line, as we might want to consider it as an option for a Norwegian Fjord cruise.

Assuming I book this cruise, I will take it presenting as Marian.  Of course, this means that I will NOT get off the ship in Nassau. And there is nothing I want to do at Port Canaveral, so I will stay on the ship there as well.  But what about MSC's private Island, Ocean Cay?  Will I have a problem being gender non-conforming?  I do not have my former cruise partner backing me up anymore.  Nor would I want her to do so, even if we were still friends.  

Whatever I choose to do, I will make that decision soon.

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...