Saturday, June 17, 2023

A surprise contact.


I've gained and lost friends over the years.  Sometimes, it's because we no longer serve each other's needs anymore.  Other times, one (or both) people screw up and say/do things which create an unbridgeable chasm between those people. So I was surprised when someone, no longer a friend, emailed me the other day. I will not mention what this person said, or anything more about the contact, save that it was a surprise. Is it an opening to bridge a chasm?  I doubt it.  So I'm going to avoid responding to this person unless I get another contact, just to avoid another awkward exchange of emails.  But it got me thinking about how people screw things up and sever relationships that should be strong.

Tonight, I had a conversation with a friend who has a family problem similar to what I was dealing with before my wife died.  In my case, my wife's death was the event that gave my brother and I the ability to bridge our chasm.  Sadly, with this friend, I don't see the friend's chasm being bridged because of accusations made of a spouse and a family's reactions to those accusations.  Given that I know everyone involved in this family disaster, I feel that it is something that could have been avoided had some of the people involved had acted rationally instead of enabling someone's behaviors.  (I side with my friend on this issue, as I think that the other person has serious issues that are not being addressed.)

With my friend, a family has been torn apart because of a false accusation.  Not even a death in the family has given the parties involved enough of an opportunity to start healing their wounds. And until the accusation is properly addressed by all parties, the key players in this saga will not be able to be in the same room at the same time.  Given the health of one of the family members, I expect that the next death in the family will make it impossible for these people to address the elephants still in their rooms.

So sad.  So very sad....

Friday, June 16, 2023

The story of a shipment being (Mis)handled by USPS


I ordered a dress from Universal Standard a little over a week ago, and it has not yet arrived.  Instead, it has taken the long way from a fulfillment center in the Midwest through Chicago to New Jersey, then being bounced back and forth between mail processing centers in White Plains, Phillipsburg, NJ and Saint Louis.  It now seems to make sense to start taking bets whether this package will ever be delivered to me, or returned to the fulfillment center.

Universal Standard is aware of this problem and stated the following in its email to me:

Thank you for reaching out to US.

We are so sorry to hear that. Usually, we do not reship orders after they are sent back to US but since this was the last one we are willing to work with the warehouse and have it reshipped if it makes it back to US. The only issue with this is if it does make it it might take even a month. If you are willing to wait we are happy to reship then.

Please let US know how to proceed.

Even though it took a little while for Universal Standard to respond to my request for help, they are giving me a satisfactory response.  I informed them that I would like to have the dress reshipped, and that I would have no problem waiting a month for the dress - there would still be two more months of summer to enjoy the dress.

As I write this, the dress is again in White Plains, as noted in the tracking information below.  I will add a postscript to this entry if (or hopefully, When) the dress reaches a final destination....


Preparing for Delivery


Moving Through Network

Arrived at USPS Regional Facility


June 1, 2023, 12:41 am


Departed USPS Facility


May 31, 2023, 10:37 pm

PS: I received the dress a couple of days after starting the USPS tracking investigation.



Thursday, June 15, 2023

The loss of a cat - a quick post


My cat died over 10 years ago.  And yet, I still miss her trying to be close to me.  Strangely enough, I feel sad because RQS just lost her youngest cat, a cat who rarely wanted to be friendly and only on its terms.

- - - - - -

From the time I met RQS, this cat never wanted to show any affection.  When I came near her, she would always hiss at me.  RQS told me that this cat was strongly bonded to her late husband, and tolerated RQS in her life when he passed.  Six years later, I met this cat, and learned that she was going to stay away from me, save for rare situations, and defend her territory with prejudice. Over the past year and a half, this cat got to accept me, and occasionally come to me to get stroked.  But it would only do so on its terms, and would run away after a short amount of affection was given.  So both RQS and I found it strange that the cat hid under the bed when her feeder came over the weekend.

I dropped RQS off at the station today, and she made it home without incident.  Our plans were for me to go to her place in the early afternoon tomorrow, and take this cat to the vet for hair trimming - she would not let RQS brush her hair, and the only way to keep the cat groomed (for its comfort) was to take it to the vet.  Well, RQS found the cat panting, and made an emergency visit to the vet.  The cat was sick, and the doctor gave RQS no assurances that the cat could be saved.  Sadly, this cat had to be put to sleep.

It's a sad thing.  I'll miss this cat, even though it wouldn't miss me.  Maybe, it was growing on me.  Who knows?  But I will be there tomorrow anyway, as I need to drop off some luggage for our upcoming California trip.  And I think that RQS will need me around to comfort her.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

RQS and I go for a pedicure - a short post


Unlike the first half of the weekend, the second half would have me in Marian mode.  This would allow for me to get a much needed pedicure with RQS.  And, it would allow me to enjoy the weather without having the discomfort I feel when wearing trouser like garments.

RQS and I have a habit of getting out late, and we didn't get moving until 2:00 pm.  By the time we made it to the local nail salon, it was a little bit after 4:00 pm.  Due to the holiday, they had fewer people people on staff than usual.  But we were out of there by 5:30, and took a nice drive before going for dinner at a local Greek restaurant.

I'm grateful that I am able to go out and about as Marian when with RQS.  Yes, she does need her time with Mario. And she is still getting used to me being both Marian and Mario. But for now, she is my partner, and I will try to make her as happy as possible.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

I brought TCL and RQS together for the first time - a short post


No, that is not RQS next to me.  Instead, this strong, silent critter  just made me want to show some affection for someone who is a little different.

But to be serious....

I've been trying to get TCL and RQS in the same place for a while.  But circumstances never permitted it.  Recently, I was able to schedule a shopping trip to New Jersey to take care of some errands for RQS, and then meet up with TCL afterwards to chat.  However, I had to make sure that I was presenting as a male 😞 for this meeting to happen.

First, RQS and I went to the pet store to buy some "pill pockets" for use this coming week when we planned to take one cat to the vet for its periodic fur removal. After that, it was off to Home Depot to get some blinds for her apartment. And then it was off to Dunkin Donuts to meet with TCL for coffee. Who knew that we'd be chatting for over 2 hours, until the shop had to close.  Now, RQS has seen TCL and understands how she can ramble on and on at times.  (I do it too, and have to watch out for when I do so.)

Later on, I received a text from TCL - she loves RQS and sees how and why we get along.  I'm sure that the two of us will be seeing her again soon.

Monday, June 12, 2023

Slow cooking some ribs - a short post


Ribs!  Yum!

The other day, I saw a rack of vacuum packed ribs selling for a reasonable price.  So, I figured that I might have some fun with the slow cooker and have some "fall off the bone" good stuff for dinner tonight.  Since RQS was coming up, I didn't want to waste much time preparing the ribs and dealing with my oven.  (The less I use my oven when the weather is warm, the more comfortable my apartment will be.)  So, I took my crock pot off the shelf, cleaned it up, and started to prepare the ribs.

Slow cooker ribs are reasonably easy to prepare.  I do them in a simple way:

  1. Take a full rack of ribs and cut them up into portions of 3-4 ribs each.
  2. Pour a full bottle of BBQ sauce (whatever type I like and have in hand) and pour it in the pot.
  3. Place the ribs in the pot, making sure all are covered by the sauce.
  4. Turn the crock pot on high, and let it cook the ribs for 5 hours.
    Note: One may want to adjust the ribs occasionally to keep them all submerged.

If I want to further caramelize the ribs, I may place the ribs on a ridged stove-top grill and cook them a little more on the stove.  But I usually don't bother doing this, as I like the results fresh out of the pot.

Is there a better way to celebrate the unofficial start of summer with Ribs?   If there is, I'll enjoy it later on.... 

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Meeting up with a friend from the Census


When the above restaurant was split between two strip malls, as single slice pizza joint in one site, and a sit-down restaurant in the other site, I would always avoid going to the sit-down place when presenting as a female as I was a regular there in male mode.  However, when they consolidated operations in this place, they stopped serving slices and became a more classy, but casual, sit-down restaurant. The old staff went on to establish and manage other places, leaving this place open for me to be a regular while presenting as a female.

I met my friend while working the 2020 census, and we both had stories to tell each other.  No, I can't say that our stories were that exciting.  But we saw each other as peers, people with whom conversation flowed freely. And we kept in contact after our terms at the census ended. Although I can't say we're close (we don't reveal the types of intimate secrets that most women share), we have shared things that we don't want certain people to know. Both of us will soon be doing some distance travel, me to take a cruise and my friend to go to a wedding.  We'll have things to share when we get together next month. 

But why is this important?

Although it is harder for many trans people of my age to make friends because of learned prejudice, it is not impossible.  Many foreign born and younger people have fewer prejudices against us because, as I see it, they are also people trying to make their way in our American culture.  Hopefully, other trans people will successfully find their ways, not giving up on things....

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 ...