Saturday, November 18, 2023

Sometimes, you find stuff you weren't looking for.


It's been a little under 27 years since my late wife passed, and things related to her life still pop up now and then.  Today, I stumbled across some items related to her life and our life that I didn't expect to see. First came baby pictures of my wife in a small book related to her early life.  Then, I found our wedding certificate near the book.  It doesn't mean much, save that it is a reminder that she was an important part of my life.

Soon, it will be the 27th anniversary of my wife's death.  I was very lucky to have had her in my life when I did, and I cherish the memories of that time.  Yes, she did know that I liked wearing women's clothes (I didn't know what being transgender was) and accepted this on all but our wedding night.  But I'll always wonder, that had she survived, would she have accepted me for who and what I am?

While cleaning up the apartment, I also found something I wasn't looking for - some costume jewelry that I liked to wear, that usually hung on the knobs of a dresser near my computer desk. When the electricians were here in August, I had to move the dressers, so that they would be able to get at the electrical outlets behind them.  So, I put everything into a bag, and stuffed it into the mess sitting on a chest near the foot of my bed.

At this point, cleanup was a big "might as well" task, and I started to empty out one of my dresser drawers, so that I had a place to stash some of the mess on top of my desk. And I realized that I could start another donation bag for charity.  There were 6 sweaters in that drawer, and 3 of them went into the donation bag.  Now, I had a place where I could put my leggings, so that I knew where they were.

In the end, I still had a mess, but I was making progress towards getting this place in shape....

Friday, November 17, 2023

Catching up with friends (Or, at least one of them)

The above is an old picture of me with a meetup group that no longer exists.  Although I made some friends due to being in this group, by the time Covid-19 hit, we had all gone our separate ways.  Yet, the pandemic resulted in me developing new friendships, with whom I was in contact today....

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My first task of the day was to get shaved, showered, made up, and dressed to see my friend SJM formerly of the imaging firm.  Setting a meeting time for 12:30 pm worked out well for both of us, as we both got to the restaurant on time. The two of us had a lot to talk about, and SJM noted that I had just as much chaos going on in my life as she had in hers.  I covered the headaches in regard to my GI Tract, the loss of my backpack and wallet, along with the struggles I had to deal with along the way.  Other than to say that she was very happy to talk about her husband's improving health, I won't say much about what she said to me.

After lunch, I returned hope, and opened up two boxes I received from Amazon.  One contained a replacement backpack and a selfie stick, while the other contained a Bluetooth mouse and some USB-C cables.  Setting up the mouse with the Chromebook was a breeze, and it was worth $10 to both free up the USB-A port on the Chromebook and to never need to worry about having a battery handy to use the mouse.

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Evening was coming and I had a Zoom meeting scheduled with RQS, STX, and JTX.  (This was the only reason that I didn't take off my makeup or breast forms when I got home earlier.) So, I set an Alexa alarm to alert me to be ready for the Zoom, and proceeded to take a short nap.  Two hours later, I checked my computer and my Texas friends had both bailed out for the night, as they were too tired.  So, I rescheduled things and had a face to face with RQS over Zoom.

Hopefully, we'll get to have a good Zoom in two weeks....

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Often, being Transgender is very mundane.


There are many trans people who get lost in the pink fog, and rush into things needlessly.  Yes, they have new found freedom in being able to express their authentic selves.  But they often forget that the real world usually doesn't care whether a person is trans or not.  As a result, many things slip while a trans person explores her/his new place in the world.  Eventually, the trans person and reality have to get back in sync with each other, and the mundane things in life take over.  This is not a bad thing.  A successful transition will enable one to experience the mundane as one's authentic self.

As my loyal readers will note, many of the entries I've posted in this blog are not those where going out in the world is a novel experience, as they were in my previous blog.  Instead, my current entries are those which deal with the issues I face in life - either as a male or female.  Many of them have unusual twists, such as my travels while presenting as a female and carrying male ID.  Yet, I try to say things that might be of interest to the trans person just coming out.  It takes a lot of courage for many trans people to out themselves.  And for many, they are unable to be completely out because of their real life commitments.  For example, one trans woman I know is a doctor whose wife accepts her presenting as a female, as long as she doesn't go 24x7. (There are issues with both her career and her family that get in the way of being out to the world.)  Another trans woman I know outed herself, and lost contact with many in her family. Trans people often lose family, friends and careers in order to be their authentic selves, so I encourage trans people considering outing themselves to think things through and be careful when they do so.

At my stage of being trans, I exist in a happy medium.  Since I am not very gender dysphoric, I can live in either gender as needed.  But I must revert to being Marian for my sanity.  I am comfortable staying at this point in the transition process for romance, unlike many trans folk. And in this way, I am lucky, as I have someone who accepts me for who and what I am now.  Others are not so lucky.  Recently, I found out that one trans woman I know reverted to her male identity for romance,  and has recently returned to a female identity.  (Did romance influence either or both changes?)   

One thing I wish I could change more effectively is my voice - it is still picked up as being male on the phone.  And this is something that many M2F trans people have to deal with.  A trans acquaintance of mine had surgery to raise the pitch of her voice. But she is still perceived as a male over the phone, as her speech patterns still have a masculine imprint.  It takes a lot of work to develop female vocal mannerisms, but it doesn't get in the way for most of us in our lives.

So now, we end up dealing with the mundane.  I still have to pay my bills throughout the month.  I still have doctors' appointments for our ailments (as I will have a week from today for a GI Tract issue).  And I still need to take care of the everyday tasks of life, such as laundry.  Most of the time, a trans person's life will be mundane, as other than our gender dysphoria, we are living everyday lives.  Even when something "exciting" happens (such as having a wallet stolen in Chicago), I do what I would be doing as if I were simply a cisgender person, and am treated the same as if I were just a cisgender person.  The only difference is that I have to be on the watch out for people who hate trans people because we don't fit into their view of the world.  And that's a small price I pay for being my authentic self.....     

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

A "Short" Weekend


It's been hard keeping my composure as of late.  Although I am slowly recovering from the theft of my wallet and the loss of my backpack (with old Chromebook and assorted supplies), I do not yet feel back to normal, due to GI-Tract issues I'll soon be seeing a doctor about.  (My internist told me to contact a specialist, and I'll be dealing with triage procedures next week.) So, with the exception of my health, most of the other issues are being managed to my satisfaction.

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On Friday, RQS came to Croton.  Our plans were to do some leaf peeping before the last of the leaves fell to the ground.  Unfortunately, most of the leaves were already on the ground when we started our Saturday excursion.  However, this wasn't so bad, as it was a day I could get out in the world as Marian and show RQS some of the vistas that can only be experienced in the Hudson Valley.

We started our trip by crossing the Hudson and taking side roads through Harriman State Park.  There were a lot of great views to be captured, but there were too many people following us for me to stop for her to take snapshots.  Once out of the park, we headed North towards Walden, where we made the mistake of pulling into a Dunkin Donuts, where the help totally ignored us for several minutes.  After a reasonable amount of time, I took RQS by the hand and exited the shop to get a snack at the hotdog/ice cream stand next door.  Going there for food was almost as bad as stopping at DD's, as we had reactions to food that tasted excessively greasy.  We will never stop there again.  At that point, I felt it was time to go home, and we crossed the Hudson to take in the views from Fahnstock State Park.  At least, this time, RQS could get some photos.  

Finally, we returned to Croton with a quick stop at the dam, where she got some nice pictures.  Although the park was supposed to close at 5:30 pm, there was no way they would be able to clear out all of the people there before the sun set.  It was too nice a day in October for anyone to rush home, as this would likely be the last nice day we'll get until Spring.

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Sunday came, and we did nothing all day.  So I won't talk much about that.  But I was supposed to receive 2 shipments from Amazon that never came.  They were delayed until Monday, and weren't delivered until RQS got home.  As I said, I'm still replacing things I lost when I misplaced my backpack at Croton-Harmon station.  Hopefully, though I doubt it, MNRR lost and found will have the backpack the next time I go into NYC by train.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Looking forward to traveling again.


Next year, RQS and I are planning on taking another "Bucket List" cruise, this time to the Norwegian fjords.  It'll be the last year that traditional cruise ships will be allowed into several of the fjords, so we decided to do it now and hold off on other cruises we may have taken first.

Right now, I have only 3 cruises planned, 2 of them fully paid for.  One of these cruises will have RQS and I spending 3 days in Bermuda, and the other will be an effective repeat of a cruise I took with XGFJ several years ago.  On the latter cruise, I'll be alone and presenting as a female.  Unfortunately, the one time I want to spend the money to have a portrait photo taken of me presenting as Marian, the cruise ship doesn't seem to have to have the portrait studio experience I want - something similar to what I experienced on Princess as Mario.

One of the things that excites me is the opportunity to travel and see new places.  Sometimes, I want to go back to places such as Alaska and Hawaii. And that brings me to the topic of last minute trip booking.  A while back, I started looking at last minute prices for the Hawaii cruise I took last year. And I could take the cruise portion of that trip for a very cheap price this year.  If you look at the pricing for the cruise above, you'll note that there is an important anomaly - the studio cabin is priced more than both an inside cabin and an ocean view cabin. For only $300 more than the studio cabin, the solo cruiser could cruise in a balcony cabin.  Add $1,000 for the airfare, and $500 for hotel stays,  and one could do this bucket list trip for about $3,000-$3,500, excluding shore excursions.

Although cruising is getting more expensive these days, it still can be a relative bargain.  One has to be willing to get into the nitty gritty and search for pricing anomalies like the one above.  But bucket list trips such as a Norway cruise are rarely discounted.  Hawaii prices will soon go back to normal, and I expect Alaska prices for good itineraries to be at a premium next year.  

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Not all of my travels will be by sea.  RQS and I are planning on doing another "Girls' Trip" with our friends from Texas.  Hopefully, they will be able to fit this trip into their schedules and budgets.  Shortly after our Chicago trip, I floated the idea of visiting San Francisco in the fall, given the low prices I've seen at a few hotels there this year. Some of the places I stayed in a decade ago are very reasonably priced, and I have found a few bargains that are accessible via mass transit.  We could fly into SFO, then take BART to Embarcadero, then take the Trolley (or bus) to a hotel at Fisherman's Wharf. This is a trip which deserves more time than we spent in Chicago, and may require the rental of a car for a day.

RQS and I may do another trip to Washington, DC, as well as a trip to Philadelphia and a trip to Boston. All of these cities are easily reached by Amtrak, and that helps keep our costs down.  Unfortunately, being in the Northeast poses another set of problems - it's harder for a frugal traveler to find bargains here. But if one avoids using a car and uses mass transit efficiently, one can make many a trip in this region affordable.  So don't be surprised to find me reporting on a spur of the moment trip soon....

Monday, November 13, 2023

Two items of note regarding Electric Vehicles


I saw the above vehicle today, as I went to the bank to clarify an issue I had with newly issued credit cards.  And it got me thinking about the future of these vehicles.

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For a long time, I've held that it is unlikely that we will meet the political deadline set by the governors of New York and California to end the sales of internal combustion vehicles.  But I'm not as sure as I once was due to the use of electric vehicles by two people in my circle of acquaintances. (Only one of these people drives a Tesla.  The other drives a Nissan Leaf.)  Although I could make a case for a Tesla being a person's only car, I can't say that yet for any other brand of electric vehicle.

Today, I saw an article noting that Toyota has developed a battery that could get 750 miles on a single charge AND be fully charged in 10 minutes.  Assuming that the cost of manufacturing these batteries could be brought down to a reasonable price point (even Toyota says this technology is not ready for prime time) and that the charging station infrastructure can be fully built out in 12 years, I feel that it might be possible to migrate to a fully electric transportation economy.  These, still, are two gigantic ifs!

The above vehicle is classified as a motorcycle by New York state law.  If you look at the steering control in the top picture, you'll see something resembling handlebars.  I wonder if the driver of this vehicle still has to wear a helmet.  I'm also concerned that entry doors (if any) on this vehicle are removable, and that climate control (both air conditioning and heat) does not exist for this vehicle.  

Years ago, I saw a internal combustion (ICE) commuter vehicle designed for a single driver, whose price point was set at $7,500.  In 2016, I was able to sit inside one of Elio Motors' ICE prototype vehicles. Unfortunately, Elio Motors' ICE product never made it to market - gas prices stayed cheap, and people were able to buy new and used ICE vehicles at a price point which took away the market for Elio's product  Today, Elio is looking to sell an electric vehicle for $15,000.  Elio realizes that any vehicle being sold in this market needs standard safety features found on current model cars, needs appropriate climate control for passenger comfort, as well as other features now found on current model cars.

Would I buy an electric vehicle designed to carry only two people?  I'm not sure any more.  I'd still want a ICE car for long distance travel.  But, if Toyota's technology proves to be practical and affordable in the near future, I'd consider an electric version of a 4-dor sedan.  Yet, if I had the ICE vehicle, I'd consider a 2-person electric commuter vehicle for short trips.  As you can see, electric powered vehicles are a growing share of the transportation market, and is creating confusion while the transition from ICE vehicles to Electric vehicles takes place.....

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Poly = Many, Tics = Flesh Eating Insects


As I write this, the House of Representatives has just elected a new Speaker - an ultra conservative lunatic. Why do I call him a lunatic?  Anyone who opposes late term abortions to preserve the life of the mother has to be crazy.  His policies, such as a total late term abortion ban, if enacted, will put the lives of many cisgender women at risk.  Even though I am transgender, and never will directly have anything at risk with this policy, I have to fight for those that do - else, I will have no excuse to ask cisgender women for help when these lunatics attack us transgender people.

The previous speaker was elected after 15 votes.  Before the election was over, no actions could be taken by the house.  Due to an action from a radical from the far right, the first speaker was removed from his position, and it took 3 weeks for a new speaker to be elected.  Since they didn't change the rule which allowed the former speaker to be removed, I fully expect that we will see someone invoke it to remove this speaker when the current spending bill expires.  (Will we have a government shutdown or not?  A House without a speaker when the spending bill expires will be a disaster. But I don't put it past the far right....)

So, where am I going with this?

Right now, the "right" is busy fighting amongst its allies.  Moderate "conservatives" are being coerced to give their votes to the radicals. (Look at how Jim Jordan's allies allegedly gave death threats to people who didn't support him for examples of this coercion.)  My congressional representative voted for the current speaker of the house.  This cemented my resolution to be part of the bloc that (hopefully) votes him out next year.

Given that transgender people will continue to be a target of the far right, I expect that attacks against us will resume soon.  This means that we must continue our efforts to get more trans people into positions of power, so that we (and our allies) to check and balance the power of the lunatic right until sanity (hopefully) can be restored to the GOP.

Most of us are not ready to "out" ourselves and be targets for the lunatics on the right.  But we can vote for our allies.  So, it's time to register to vote, and participate in local politics when possible.  As they say, all politics are local.  That's where we can make our first stand against lunacy.   And I intend to do just that....

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...