Saturday, June 15, 2024

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 and in better health, I'd consider plastic surgery to make my face look more like this.  Today, I had lunch with a friend who has no idea that I am not a cisgender female.

- - - - - -

MAR is 36 years old, and doesn't have a good career.  I'm not really sure of how she got her bachelor's degree, as I think that this must have been a struggle for her.  But I digress.   

We met at the local pizzeria around 5:00 pm, just as the Trump verdicts were coming in.  The conversation we had was pleasant, focusing on things like getting a new job.  The last time we met, I mentioned that New York State was on a hiring spree, and that she should take the civil service tests to try to get a job with benefits.  Did she do this?  No.  So, I mentioned that the post office is looking for people and that she should apply at their open house to be held next week.  Do I think she'll do this?  Probably not.  But one can hope.

Before we left the restaurant, the waiter took $100 in $20's from us, and we asked for change of the extra $20.  He thought we had given him $80, and got confused.  Luckily, this didn't become a problem for us, as he gave us $20 from his own pocket - from which we gave him $15 back in a tip.

- - - - - -

My next destination was to Yonkers to pick up the lost earring - the hostess of game night found it, and was ready for me when I got there.  Sadly "Murder Mouth" (as she calls her dog - it can't be trusted around visitors) wouldn't relax, and that meant I couldn't stay and chat.  So, it was back home for the evening and to the basket of laundry that needed folding.... 

Friday, June 14, 2024

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 that I should take a drive to her care home to see what was going on....

- - - - - -

Today's weather report predicted a strong chance of rain for the evening - but I decided to brave the weather anyway.  So, around 6:30 pm, I decided to get dressed and drive across the river to Pat's care home.  As I crossed the river, the clouds looked ominous, and I knew that heavy rains were going to come.

I arrived at Pat's place around 7:15, and the receptionist said "long time, no see". Then she told me how to use the new system to record visitors to the building.  My face was scanned, and then I proceeded upstairs to see Pat.  Strangely enough, we got into a serious conversation where we didn't disagree much. Then we talked about me being transgender and how she didn't understand why a man would want to be a woman.  I noted that I didn't have severe gender dysphoria, but that I would rather have been born female - with all the problems that women have to deal with throughout their lives.   The conversation then shifted to sex, but not in a graphic way.  Specifically, I wondered why human males evolved to have 25%-33% more average body mass than human females, and how this is reflected in the first position we think of when a man and woman have sex.  I contrasted this with Bonobo ape sexual behavior, wondering if there is any beneficial evolutionary advantage in how humans have sex.

Of course, I can't do our conversation justice.  It was one of those "you had to be there" moments that will be forever lost in time.  But I did look at Pat's phone to see why she says she is having trouble with the phone.  And I found that she didn't have the phone's ringer set loud enough to be heard.  Once I set the ringer to a loud enough volume, I tested it and it worked properly.  Now, Pat should be able to hear the phone ring - until she screws up the volume again....

Thursday, June 13, 2024

A nothing much to say day....

Today was a day where I did a lot of nothing, except to relax....

There was only one thing on my docket today, and that was to being RQS back to the station.  Yes, I picked up a couple of books from the library, but I could have done that tomorrow.  As it stands, I'll still have to make another run out tomorrow, as I have to order some foreign currency from the bank.

With the above being said, I planned to go out as Marian after getting a couple of things done.  But then, I had some GI Tract issues, and rested for the remainder of the day.  Of course, I got nothing done.  But I will take care of things such as laundry tomorrow before I go out.

Soon, I'll have to start packing for my upcoming cruise.  Since this will be a long distance trip, I will need to be sure that I have enough clothing to put in the laundry onboard the ship.  (I'd hate to spend $9.00/load for a small load.)  Once my large suitcase is packed, I'll bring it to RQS's place, so that I can be ready the night before our trip.  Luckily, I have two weeks to get this task done.

Before then, I intend to spend as much time as possible in Marian mode, as I'll be stuck as Mario for two weeks straight....

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

By the time you read this, the first trial will be over.


By the time you read this, the first of the 4 Trump trials will be over and done with.  Will he be acquitted?  I hope not, as he is a danger to the Trans community.  Will there be a hung jury?  Possibly, but I hope not.  I'd hate to see this same case go to trial again.  Will he be convicted?  I hope so.  But I'm afraid that Trump will be out on bail while the verdict is appealed.  And if he loses on his appeals, will he spend any time in prison?

There are a lot of Trump trolls out there, who defend him with all the zealotry of typical cult members.  They can and will not see objective reality, as they have bought into his myth that "I alone, can fix things."  If this were true, why didn't the job get done done during his one term in office?  Trump is a con artist, a grifter who has bamboozled millions of people.  And the rest of the GOP are afraid of what his supporters will do.

You'll notice that the three great Abrahamic faiths all believe in the same god, even though he is worshiped differently in each of them.  All say to love thy neighbor and to treat strangers as you'd treat family.  And yet, all have been corrupted to have factions who will fight and kill to see that their version of god wins out.  To me, faith is the ability to test one's beliefs and act according to those tenets in spite of our natural instincts.  Cultism demands of individuals an unquestioned acceptance of dogma, and a willingness to fight to have that dogma rule everyone's behavior.  Doesn't MAGA sound like a cult to you?

As I wrote this entry, I watched Robert DeNiro hold a rally near where the Trump trial was being held. He rightfully noted that authoritarians gain their power by the use of fear - free people know not to worry about that fear and see the danger inherent in that fear.  Is it any wonder that the most used tactic of MAGA is to shout people down who don't agree with them?  They are like lambs being led to the slaughterhouse.  But it's hard to feel pity for them, as they willingly joined a cult, and are no longer receptive to arguments based on reality.  They are a danger to people like me, and all we can do is to see that their cult leader does some serious prison time, so that the cult leader comes out "tenderized" by the experience.

Sadly, if he is convicted, he will still get protection from the US Secret Service - even in a prison cell.  If it were up to me, he'd get a multi-cultural education from the Red, Blue, Letters and Numbers fraternal organizations,  (For those not familiar with the slang, Reds - Bloods, Blues - Crips, Numbers - MS-13, and Letters - Singaloa.)  The one thing I'd hate to see is him being protected by the Aryan Brotherhood, as I'd like to see him be the forced recipient of some masculine "love" from one of the aforementioned groups.

At least, the case will go to the jury tomorrow, and we'll likely to have had a verdict by the end of May......

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down


I can still remember the beautiful voice of Karen Carpenter singing a song with a line in the chorus going "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."  And on Memorial Day, it was both a rainy day and a Monday.  But I wasn't as depressed as I could be, as I had company - RQS decided not to go home in the bad weather, and stayed over an extra night.

- - - - - -

What could be an old adage?  "We must be married.  We do nothing together."  In our case, we are so relaxed around each other, that we don't feel the need to rush out to find things to do.  Could this be a byproduct of getting old?  Maybe.  But I think it's more that we don't need to entertain each other all the time.

As I look through online store websites, I occasionally find myself saying: "Would this look good on me?"  Just like a woman, don't you think?  Well, when we occasionally shop together, I've found that we have both asked this question of each other when shopping in-person and online.  Recently, I asked her to critique two garments I bought from Universal Standard, and she approved of them.  She's confident enough in herself to be comfortable with me as Marian, and I feel confident enough in her that I can be in between gender presentations in front of her, such as when I take off my wig at home (or some garments) and have that awkward, "Half Dressed" look about me.

- - - - - -

On Memorial Day, RQS and I rested most of the day, and went out just as it started to pour.  The heavy rains didn't last long, but our drive did - much of it while chatting with TCL about nothing worth remembering.  After a quick snack, we decided to drive a little more before going home for a while, then out for dinner.

To be safe, I tend to avoid places in Marian mode that usually see me as Mario, and avoid places in Mario mode that usually see me as Marian.  So, we went to a pizzeria that I usually go to as Marian and enjoyed a large pie (of which I ate too much).  After this, we had nothing to do, so we went home and were in for the night....

Monday, June 10, 2024

The lobster truck came, and we went....


RQS and I are fans of the Cousins Maine Lobster truck when it visits a nearby locale.  We always try to get a lobster roll when it's nearby - and today it was.

- - - - - -

Both of us got moving late today, and both of us put on our summer dresses.  RQS wore one she bought at Target (shown above) while I wore something I bought from Ellos a couple of years ago.  (Too bad they no longer sell this style, as RQS wanted one that's the same as what I wore.)  Given how comfortable the dress was, I decided to order one for myself to wear this summer while they still had it in stock.  But I digress....

The lobster truck was parked at the Broken Bow Brewery, and we got there in less than 45 minutes. When we arrived, RQS went to the truck to place the order while I picked up a couple of light brews for us to wash down the lobster.  There was a minor mishap (which I won't go into here) which caused RQS some concern.  But all was good by the time we sat down to eat our lobster - save for the seating.  By the time I got our beers, all the tables were occupied and we found ourselves eating while sitting in some uncomfortable chairs.

Hopefully, the truck will be again nearby when RQS is here next, as I could get used to eating lobster rolls on a regular basis....

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Stormy Weather and its aftermath


When I was awakened the other morning, it sounded like golf ball sized hail was hitting my roof.  Yet, it also sounder like something was trying to pull the roof off of our building.  It was a sound that I've never heard before, and one I hope not to hear again.

- - - - - -

The other day, the weather report said that there was an area of severe weather heading from Texas and about to hit New York sometime in the overnight hours.  Well, the weather came, but just as the sun would normally come up.  As illustrated in the photo above, the winds were strong enough to blow a tree down and into our fence.  After the storm, we had to contract for emergency work to keep this now dead tree from damaging our building, but we will need to perform repair work on the fence as well.  (Thankfully, we completed work n the retaining wall last year.  I'd hate to see what could have happened if the wall wasn't in good shape.)

I eventually went outside to pick RQS up at the station, there was a big puddle of water near our dumpsters.  There was never this much water there before.  Looking closer, it seemed like Mother Nature had blown all of the leaves off the trees and deposited them in our driveway/parking lot.  When I reached my car, I had to take a few minutes to scoop leaves off my car before it could be driven.  As I drove to the station, I found a traffic light lying in the middle of a busy intersection.  The winds must have been very strong, since I've never seen this happen in my area.

Given that this is a holiday weekend and that there was a home day game at the Stadium, RQS's train was packed.  People were standing in the aisle.  And, befitting the day, the train was late.  Too bad that I couldn't have shown RQS the downed traffic light.  But I was very thankful that my building was structurally intact, and relatively unscathed, although I can't say this for the building next door, as it had water damage due to the storm.  Yes, the dumpster puddle still remained, as the fallen leaves were blocking the drain.  But that can be cleared with minor effort.  I just wonder what surprises will come next....

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Slowly attacking the mess in my apartment


When I got up this morning, I knew I had to do something to start cleaning up the mess in my place.  It's been a long time since I've been able to have the cleaning lady come over, and for every 4 steps forward, I'm taking 3 steps back.  So, I figured that I'd dedicate an hour or two today for this task before RQS arrives.

Instead of attacking messes on the table, I decided to attack the mess in my dresser drawers.  I figured that I might be able to clear out a drawer or two in the process, and make space for some of the new clothes that I bought at Flax.  So, after an hour, I found that I had one large contractor bag to go to the dumpster, as well as a shredder that I thought was working when it wasn't.

One idea that is working well for me is that if I haven't used something in a long while and that I am not likely to use it,  be sure to throw it out.  To facilitate that, I started taking an old post office box used to drop off a large quantity of held mail, and turning it into a garbage pail with the use of a large garbage bag.  If I can't justify keeping the item, I turn to the side and unceremoniously drop it in the bag for disposal.  It's a lot easier to toss items when the process takes up less mental processing space.

I can't say that I'm anywhere near seeing a light at the end of a tunnel.  But I can say that I found space for the clothes I bought from Flax, as well as the two dresses I bought from Universal standard.

- - - - - -


Thinking of dresses and things....

Last night, I decided to wear the above dress out.  As much as I hated the countless number of buttons I had to button up, I liked how I felt in the dress.  RQS said I should keep the dress, and I will do so.

She also said I should keep the above jumpsuit, and I will wear it once I have a lightweight buttoned top I could wear with it, so that my shoulders could be covered most of the time. 

The other day, I saw that this dress was on sale.  Given that I like the cut of this dress more than a similar one sold by Universal Standard, I bought two of them and should receive them tomorrow.  Too bad that I don't have any journeys scheduled where I will be out and about for a week or two as Marian.  But when I do, this dress will be with me if I'm in a warm weather climate.

Now, to prune more items that I don't love from my wardrobe....

Friday, June 7, 2024

Another lunch with RO

Around 30 years ago, my late wife and I found the above book at Barnes and Noble.  Living reasonably close to the city as we did, we'd make regular pilgrimages to Manhattan's Chinatown and the one that was developing in Flushing to get a good Dim Sum meal.  If there was a good Chinese Restaurant, we'd move heaven and earth to get there.
At the time this book was published, we had several definitions for the quality of Chinese restaurants:
  • Local - The food was edible, but we wouldn't go out of town for it.
  • Acceptable - The food was decent, and worth going one or two towns over to dine in the place.
  • Good - The place was an hour or more away, and well worth the effort to eat there. (I miss The Little Bear near Woodstock, NY.)
  • Very Good - The place was outside the region, and a must visit when in the area. (Empress of China - San Francisco, CA)
  • Excellent - The place is on the other side of the globe, and a bucket list must visit.
Needless to say, we never had the chance to get to the last category of restaurants.  My wife had a friend where she worked who could tell us great places to eat when in China.  But she died before I had accumulated enough money to take this kind of bucket list trip.

I'm still willing to go to the ends of the earth for a good meal.  And today, I had the chance to revisit Qin Dynasty in Parsippany, NJ.  Qin Dynasty is an unassuming place sited in front of the Red Roof Inn on Route 46.  There is nothing special to recommend this place, other than it was a convenient midpoint for RO and I to get together.
RO and I have eaten at this place several times before, and we always have several plates of Dim Sum.  Today, we tried one of the dinner dishes along with our usual order of Dim Sum.  And it was up to the quality of the joints I often visit in Manhattan.  I can also say the same for their Dim Sum - it's good, and worth eating when in the area.  But I wouldn't schedule a special drive to get to this place, as RQS and I know better places for Dim Sum closer to home.
Yet, you might ask: Why do I recommend this place?
The answer is simple.  There are few enough decent places which have a wide variety of Dim Sum on their menus, and this is one of them.  One can find the standard offerings such as Shu Mai, Pork Buns, and soup dumplings.  But this place also has things such as duck filled dumplings and peanut filled dumplings. And I usually try to order something new at every meal.
Luckily, I can go to Aberdeen in White Plains, NY and have a good variety of tasty dishes there.  But if I'm near Parsippany, I'll try to visit Qin Dynasty.


Thursday, June 6, 2024

Filling a tooth and emptying a wallet.


$520 later, and I have a good tooth.  (I hear my wallet sobbing loudly, "Why did you do this to me?")

- - - - - -

When I last visited the dentist, he found a cavity in a tooth which had once been filled by a prior dentist. I knew that this was going to be a "big" (not too big) bill, as I was expecting to pay somewhere between $400 & $800 for the privilege of having my tooth repaired.  So, I scheduled today's appointment on the first available day I could get the repair done before my next cruise.

Unfortunately, I didn't sleep well last night, and was tired when I finally got showered and dressed.  Since the dentist sees me more in Marian mode than as Mario, I took the extra time to get ready to present myself as Marian.  So, I found a nice summery dress, and made the short drive to my dentist's office.

Arriving promptly at 1:00 pm, it took a while before I was led to the room where my procedure was to be done.  By the time he got down to business around 1:30 pm, I was on my 3rd dose of local anesthesia when he started to drill.  Even then, I needed another shot to keep me from feeling any pain.  At 2:30 pm, my tooth was filled, and my wallet emptied.

At least, my mouth was finally back to normal by 5:00 pm....

You've heard of "Gaydar." Now, there is "Transdar." - a quick post


Recently, I headed off to the local Walmart to pick up a corded mouse for a computer I had lying around.  After buying the mouse (and a few other things), I was on my way out of the store and one of the check-out ladies said hello....

After a few minutes of chatting with this woman and one of her associates, she said that I always looked good when I came into the store, then asked a question: "How long have you been in transition?"  In one sense, it floored me that someone would ask this question.  And in another, it confirmed something I already knew - my size often gives my "transness" away.  So, we chatted a few minutes, and found out that she was trans, and possibly young enough to be my granddaughter.  She had to leave school because her stepdad wouldn't accept her, and that she's paying her bills on a Walmart salary.  (Compared to her, I have it very easy.)

This was a reminder to me to be thankful for what I have - it could always be much worse.

- - - - - -

I can't imagine outing myself at the age of 17.  It must have been very hard for this trans woman to even find a place to live and a job to pay for it.  We're very lucky that most people don't pay attention to us, and let us live our lives in peace.  However, I was glad that I noted that this is not always the case, as I do not want to take the risk of visiting places like Florida and Texas while they have anti-transgender laws in place.....

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

A relaxing day in Queens


RQS was up by 10:30 am, while I didn't get up until noon.  I must have been very sleepy when we went to bed the night before....

Once I woke up, we proceeded to take care of little things, such as proof-reading an email RQS was sending to Princess Cruises.  We have our complaints about the cruise line's app, and needed to find out why we couldn't make sense of certain things.  For example, RQS had purchased an extra pair of specialty dinners for our Norwegian cruise, but it didn't show up in billing or our list of things purchased.  Neither the website or Princess' app gave us the info we needed.  So, it was time to ask for help in resolving this issue. Next, we paid off the cruise we're taking this Autumn.  I figure that we have each spent close to $9k in travel this year, and we are sure to get our money's worth from our Norway and Bermuda cruises.  

And then....

RQS asked me for help with her computer.  Every time she opened up a MS Word document, a window would freeze, and she couldn't get rid of it.  I was lucky to figure out what to do to allow her to edit Word documents.  But I couldn't eliminate the problem....

Two years ago, RQS bought her laptop, and we installed MS Office before porting programs from her old computer.  One problem - we didn't clear out all of the links between her computer and her former office.  Settings that would have her computer try to log into her former employer's system were still in place.  Since she was no longer affiliated with the employer, she could not log in, and Office-365 (the cloud version of MS Office) wouldn't let her access any Word format document.  I experimented a little and found a workaround - she'd have to tell the system to try a different account, then cancel the log in attempt before trying to select a Word format document to edit.  Since I can't find the link to log into her former office, I couldn't deactivate or eliminate that process from starting.  So she'll have to take it to a software specialist after our next cruise.

All too soon, I had to leave.  And by 7 pm, I was home.  But I still had to go out and pick up a book from the library before I could rest.  So it was off to the library, and then back to the house for the evening.

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

A quick hop into Queens to see RQS


Friday was Flax day.  Saturday was my Uncle's day.  And Sunday was RQS's day.  Often, RQS would come up on Friday, and go home on Monday,  This weekend, I went to her place to spend Sunday night before going home the next day.

You might be asking: Why didn't RQS come up to my place?  Well, RQS had previously bought theater tickets for us to see a close friend's one act play inspired by his coming out.  So, I had an effective obligation to travel to her place.  If I hadn't a dentist appointment on Tuesday, I'd have stayed a second night and relaxed a little bit more.

- - - - - -

Sunday morning came, and I could have gotten up early and gone to church for a change.  Given how tired I felt, I figured that I'd go back to bed after a bio break   By the time I finally got moving, it was noon - and I had to be out the door by 2 pm, so I could reliably assume I'd be at RQS's place by 5 pm.  This meant that I only had enough time to shave, shower and get dressed before calling a cab to bring me to the train station.  I'd have to leave picking up a book from the library until I got home the next day.  But I digress....

Arriving at Croton-Harmon, I found the coffee shop open.  This was a big surprise, as I didn't think there would be enough weekend business to warrant it to be open.  Since I had 20 minutes to kill, I started a chat with the lady working there.  I found that she wanted to run a coffee shop of her own one day, and wanted some experience in doing so.  In itself, this is a reasonable statement from a middle aged woman.  But the next statement made me wonder - why was she driving to Croton from Rego Park, Queens for a minimum wage job.  Assuming she burns $15 in gas and pays $15 in tolls, she has to work 2 1/2 hours to cover her commute, leaving her 5 1/2 hours where she actually is earning money for her pocketbook.  Why didn't she find a job closer to home, let's say working at Starbucks?

My train soon came to the platform, and I made haste to catch it.  An hour later I was at Grand Central, and an hour later, I was at RQS's place.  But I wasn't going to have much time to rest.  She wanted me to figure out why her Chromebook wasn't seeing her mouse (it was turned off) before going to dinner locally, then trekking back into NYC to see her friend's play.

Around 7 pm, we headed into NYC, and dealt with the usual headaches of NYC Subway weekend routes.  Luckily, the 14th street line was running to 8th Avenue.  However, the 8th Avenue line was not running uptown locals.  So we had to take the express up to 34th street, then take the local down to 23rd street.  From there, we made it to a small theater near 10th avenue - with about 10 minutes to spare.

When the lights went down, the first of the one act plays started.  The story line had a Butch Lesbian fairy godmother trying to get her Cinderella to call off her wedding and be true to her lesbian self.  The woman fights her impulses until her groom comes out as gay.  It was a cute play that needed tightening up to be a little more interesting.  The next two one-act plays were forgettable. And then RQS's friend's play started - it was the best of the bunch, as her friend brought his authentic self into the script and delivered it with the gravitas of someone in his 50's can deliver.  Following this was another forgettable one-act play.

After the final play, we chatted with her friend and the director of the play before returning to RQS's place for the evening.  It was a long day, but worth it....

Monday, June 3, 2024

A long drive for a funeral service


My original plans for the day were to take the train to Grand Central, transfer to a Long Island bound train heading for my brother's station, and meet him before trekking out to Sayville, NY for my uncle's memorial service.  Well, things got changed at the last moment, and I ended up driving to Long Island to get to his house on time to go to the funeral service. Now, if it were someone else in my life, I might have skipped out on the drive.  Traffic going in the other direction was fouled up for miles, while I had easy sailing to my brother's place.  And this is where I left the driving to my brother....

We reached Sayville about 45 minutes early, and we killed time at a local coffee shop.before going to the church.  The above picture does not do the interior of the church justice.  It was built over 130 years ago, when the town was a rural hamlet.  And it still has a bit of land which it maintains for use as a cemetery.  
But I digress....

Arriving at the church, we were greeted by the priest who discussed his plans for the service.  Shortly afterward, my uncle's nice (from his wife's side of the family) came in with some of her brood in tow.  And at 2:00 sharp, the service began, with a zoom transmission being made available to his friends in Los Angeles.  Twenty minutes later, the service was over, and we went to the repast being held at a nearby restaurant.

There's not much I can say about the conversations that went on.  What is more interesting is what my brother hinted to me about what might happen when my aunt dies.  Neither of us expects to inherit any significant sums of money. He feels that when my aunt dies, my aunt and uncle's joint estate will be liquidated, and we will inherit a small sum of money.  If I inherit enough for the two of us to take a vacation, I will spend it on a Hawaii trip for two.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

A Clothes Horse on a Long Trip

I used to complain to my late wife about her being a clothes horse. Now, I find myself as much of a clothes horse as she was.  Unlike my late wife, I have the assets to refresh my wardrobe much more often than she did, and can afford to do so.

- - - - - -

Yesterday, Vicki and I drove upstate to Flax's annual barn sale. This means that I would need to be awake 4 hours earlier than normal for a weekend day and ready by 9:00 am, so that we'd be at the barn sale by 1:00 pm.  Both Vicki and I were on time for this long drive.

Given that I do not have a typical female body, I knew that I had to wear a garment to the sale which would allow me to try on clothing, but not strip down far enough to advertise this face.  So, I chose to wear a unitard under an airy duster.  But this made it awkward for me to take bio breaks.  To deal with this, I decided to carry a change of clothes I could wear after leaving the sale.

Neither of us had breakfast before the drive, so we stopped at a deli on the outskirts of Cold Spring for a bite to eat.  This is not something unusual for me when out for a long drive.  And we needed this stop, as we were feeling hungry again several hours later when we were nearing Flax's sale.  At least, there was an open rest area along the way where we could both take a bio break and pick up some nuts to sate our hunger until we were done with Flax.

Arriving at Flax, we saw a small factory with a large parking area.  On part of the parking lot was a tent 300' x 100' where pallets of clothing were available to be picked through in boxes 3' x 3' x 3' organized only by size.  If one wanted anything, one would have to sort through the contents of each box in one's size and hope that there was something interesting in the box.  At the entrance, we were greeted by several friendly people, and as usual, Vicki chatted them up a little before going into the tent where Flax's garments were for sale.  Once inside the tent, it was calm, but organized chaos - women were dressed in clothing which allowed them to try on other clothes without having to strip.  I was not out of place.

Flax's staff was both friendly and helpful.  One of the ladies I met mentioned that her mother worked there, and that she didn't know how good a value these sales were.  Another lady offered to help me find some dresses in these boxes, and found 4 which I ended up buying.  Vicki also got help and found several garments she could wear in her new size. (She has lost 1/3 of her weight on her diet, and I am still not used to seeing her this thin.)  By the time we paid for our merchandise and left the tent, it was close to 2:00 pm, and both of us were ready for something to eat.

Now, this is where a tickle of frustration came to me....

Vicki knows that I have traveled upstate often enough in my life to have a mental roadmap of how to get home from the NYS Thruway.  Yet, she punches in her home as a destination before driving home.  This is not a bad thing when we are driving from the middle of nowhere.  But it is a bad thing when she is driving me home.  I said that I know a nice Japanese restaurant in the Albany area that we could try.  Arriving at the restaurant around 5:00 pm, we settle down and have our first real meal for the day.  Both of us chose "bento box" dinners - and they were yummy!  I'd certainly go back to this place if I were in the Albany area again.

Leaving the restaurant, Vicki again chose to use the GPS for directions home instead of listening to me.  I drove the same route home often when I hung out with a Polyanorous group in the Albany area.  So I should know the best way home.  Instead, she chose to follow the machine's directions and take the long way home - but not on the thruway.  (Remember, she punched the code for directions to her home, not mine.)  An example of the GPS giving bad directions was in the Albany area, where it told her to take one exit, then make a U-Turn to get back on the same road.  It didn't know how to tell her how to deal with several successive forks in the road.  Yet, we still made decent time, switching away from heading downstate on the Taconic Parkway to using US 9 to reach my house.  Even though we hit some traffic in the Poughkeepsie area, we made good time. Yet, I could tell that she was getting tired because of her decision to trust the GPS (and spend more time in her drive) than directions I could have give.

It was a 4 hour drive up to the sale, and a 5+ hour return from the sale (exclusive of dinner).  Would I do it again?  Maybe.  But I know to insist that Vicki ignore the GPS when I have a better idea of how to get to a destination than it has....


Saturday, June 1, 2024

You should see the mess on my desk - a short post


My computer desk is a dumping ground for everything that I haven't found the time or made the effort to put in a good and proper place.  So, when I look for things, they are often buried under lots of other stuff.

Tonight, I started looking for a favorite necklace.  Of course, I haven't been able to find it.  Since Vicki and I are going up to the Flax Barn Sale in the morning, I wanted to be wearing one nice piece of costume jewelry to help me feel a little more feminine.

Vicki will be arriving when I usually have become semi-conscious, shouting at Alexa to shut up!  Instead, I will need to get up 3 hours earlier than usual, get dressed in a unitard and duster (I want to be able to try on clothes in a place with no changing rooms) and be ready for a long day where much of the time will be on the road. I figure that we'll be taking Vicki's car to the Flax Barn sale, and will likely need to stop along the way.  Unfortunately, many of the NYS Thruway's rest areas care closed for renovations.  This means we may need to take an alternate route, so that we have adequate opportunity to take bio-breaks.

Once we're done with the barn sale, Vicki wants to try out a restaurant she knows up there.  I'm game for that.  But it will be a long day, and I will be exhausted when I get home.  At least, I won't have to drive to get to my brother's place for my uncle's memorial service the next day....

Friday, May 31, 2024

No Water Today!


When I came home last night, I didn't see a post on the apartment doorway's bulletin board.  And this screwed up my day today.

- - - - - -

While I was on the way home last night,  a friend invited me for dinner at a local Mexican joint.  Since I had already scheduled lunch with SJM and didn't want to have two big meals in one day, I scheduled dinner for the end of the month. When I arrived home, I saw a paper left in front of my door that said that the water was being shut off for emergency work on the water main.  Assuming the work was already done, I crumpled it up and figured that I'd be able to take a shower the following morning.and see SJM for lunch.  That was a big mistake....

Morning came, and I turned on the faucet to take my shower.  But there was no water!  So, I called the super, and he said that the work had to be postponed until today.  AARGH!!!  I wasn't going to go out without a shower, so I texted SJM and rescheduled things.  Unfortunately, I had no way of rescheduling things with my other friend, so I had nothing to do this evening.

Around 6 pm, I decided to get up and do a little retail therapy at Walmart.  Arriving at the checkout counter, the cashier gave me a hearty compliment regarding how I looked. That brought a smile to my face.  Although I didn't need that much from the store, I ended up spending more than I expected.  And I could say the same for the following visit to Trader Joe's.  

- - - - - - 

One thing of note: I think the piercing in my right earlobe has closed up.  Given when I'll be taking my next cruise, I'll wait until after my return to have the piercer look at it.....

Thursday, May 30, 2024

A run to Queens - accompanying RQS to the doctor


As I might have mentioned before, RQS has vision issues which require her to go to the best possible eye doctors when she needs treatment.  My plans for Tuesday and Wednesday were to go to her house to overnight there, then accompany her to the eye doctor and then get her home safely.  With minor glitches, things went off as planned.

But first....

Tuesday morning, RQS and I got up early, so that we could make an early afternoon train into the city.  By the time we reached her place, it was 3:00 pm, and we still had to think about dinner.  Luckily, there is a great pizzeria near her place (take-out or delivery only), so we ordered a pie to eat before my monthly co-op board meeting.  And I was very glad that we did so, as the board meeting lasted much longer than usual.

I won't go into the details of the board meeting, but we had 3 applicants to interview and one urgent matter to address.  The interviews went very well, and were followed by an intense discussion about the urgent issue that had to be resolved before the weekend.  By the time the meeting ended at 10:00 pm, I was wired and not able to chill out until 2:00 am or so.

Wednesday came, and the two of us were getting ready for the day.  (I was plagued by GI Tract issues that I won't go into here, save that they almost caused me grief at inopportune times.)  By the time we were ready, it was 1:30 pm, and we had to make it to the other end of Queens by 3:15 pm.  Given the traffic on the LIE, it was a miracle that we made it on time, as bumper to bumper traffic added an extra 30+ minutes to a 30 minute trip.(including normal LIE traffic).  Things went well for RQS at the doctor's office, and we were able to make it to a nearby diner by 5:00 pm.  

Around 6:00 pm, it was time to return to RQS's place.  Traffic in RQS's neighborhood was backed up, and we made it back to her place before 6:45 pm.  By the time I finally left RQS's place, it was a little bit after 7:00 pm, and I made it home by 9:45 pm.  

It was a long couple of days, but I'm glad that RQS is OK and that things are looking up for the co-op..

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

A long weekend with RQS


My "timing" has been off, and my usual rhythms aren't fully in gear yet.

- - - - - -

This weekend, RQS came up on Friday, and we enjoyed each other's company as usual.  On Friday, I met RQS at the train station as Mario, and we proceeded to have an early dinner at a nearby Mexican joint before going to BJ's to buy a new TV for the bedroom.

In the past, TV's were very dumb - one would change the channel, and no one would know what stations you were watching.  No one could narrow cast advertisements to the home.  This has changed with the internet, where "Smart TVs" have become the rage.  Why is this?  We have become the product.  Once we set out TVs up, our viewing habits are monitored by the likes of Google, and we receive narrow-casted advertisements in exchange for "subsidized" lower cost TV sets.  (I'd rather spend the money NOT to be spied on, but "Dumb TVs" are no longer available in most stores anymore.

Once we got home, I started to set up the TV, and found that it was no longer the simple "plug and play" process I had with my old TVs.  I had to set a log-on code with my TV's maker, then go through adding a limited number of apps to the TV (all likely providing revenue to the TV manufacturer for viewer data) before I could even start watching anything on the TV.  AARGH!  I'd rather pay much more for a dumb TV that respects my privacy.  Too bad that they don't exist anymore.

- - - - - -


Saturday came, and I was finally out as Marian again.  This time, we ended up taking a walk on a rail trail near New Paltz before taking a leisurely drive home. Although I was tempted to stop by Aldi, so that RQS could compare this store against my nearby Trader Joe's, we went straight home and relaxed. The next morning, we both woke up late. By the time we finally went out for our pedicures, it was almost 3:30 pm.  It was nice to have our feet pampered again, as my toenails desperately needed trimming.  Now, they will likely look nice until month-end.

Monday came, and RQS suggested that she stay over until Tuesday.  Of course, I liked this suggestion, as we wouldn't be apart until her eye doctor got the chance to work on her eye mid-week.  This was another Marian mode day where we decided to walk along the Hudson river, enjoying one of the last spring days before it gets too warm to go out walking without working up a sweat.

On the whole, it was a good weekend where we both had the chance to relax.  This coming week, we will be up to our eyeballs in things we have to do....

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

I saw a mediocre movie which could have been a great satire.


The other day, I read an article in the New York Times about Stormy Daniels and her testimony in the Trump fraud case.  The article mentioned that Stormy did a bit part playing herself in the film, Bad President, a satirical film which tries to explain how Trump became our 45th president by selling his soul to the devil.  Although the film was mildly amusing, there was only one cast member that RQS and I recognized in the film - Stormy herself.  And this got us thinking - who could be involved in a more expensive remake of this film that would be top notch?

Since this film's plot has the devil looking to make chaos, and Trump being a stupid fool who could be easily manipulated due to his greed, his narcissism and his lack of humility, we figured that we'd need someone with gravitas to make the role memorable - and came up with Whoopi Goldberg.  Given that Satan is played by a black fellow in this film, switching Satan's gender opens the remake up to even funnier gags.  The role of Donald Trump would go to Alec Baldwin, as he knew how to go over the top in his SNL performances. The role of Stormy Daniels could be given to her - if she wanted to play herself in an exaggerated manner.  It would be nice to see another adult entertainer get a chance to go "legitimate". Most of the other roles could come from central casting.  But I would like to see Richard Gere play Michael Cohen, based on his performance in Chicago.  

But who would script and direct this film?  Mel Brooks is way too old for a full time gig like this.  Yet, he could be a consultant.  I could see a younger version of Steven Spielberg producing the film, based on his work in "1941".  Maybe Michael Hoffman (director of "Soap Dish") could handle direction duties. And Andrew Bergman (also from "Soap Dish") could handle the over the top script?

Yes, reality is stranger than any film that could have been dreamed of in 2016. But now, we need to find a way to laugh at recent history AND to leave the Trump family fuming.  Years ago, Charlie Chaplin said that he might not have made "The Great Dictator" had he known how evil Hitler was.  If I could go back in time, I'd have told him that it was essential that the film be made - evil men need their bubbles burst, and to be shown as poor excuses for humans....

PS: Bad President can be streamed on Freevee....

Monday, May 27, 2024

The seeds for today's cultural wars were sown almost 75 years ago.


Last night, I was having a conversation with Vicki and the topic of Jane Fonda came up.  Vicki will never forgive Jane for visiting Vietnam during the war, and I understand why she feels this way.  This is one area in which we disagree.  But we are usually closer in our views than one might think.  And this got me thinking: 

When did the first seeds for today's social polarization get sown?

One could say that some of the seeds were down when the 13 colonies separated from Great Britain, "Free State" vs. "Slave State".  But the United States was starting to address this issue shortly after WW2 ended, when the McCarthyism and the "Red Scare" started the dysfunction which has resulted in today's extreme political polarization.

The 1950's was an era where the cracks in the "American Ideal" started to show. The "Red Scare" triggered people to coerce pledges of loyalty from the populace.  This was an era where "Under God" was inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, as a way to differentiate American values from the "Commies" in the USSR.  The Space Race started in the 1950's, and we were primed for the unrest of the 1960's.

Why is this so important?

The first of the "Baby Boomers" were starting to go to college around 1964.  There, they learned to question authority - something that simply wasn't done in the 1950's.  At this time, the Civil Rights Movement started to gain popular awareness, as well as the war in Vietnam.  Thousands of Americans were losing their lives in an unpopular war, and American youth questioned why we needed to fight this war.  This is the time when conservatives started saying "America, love it or leave it."  And many draft-age men did just that, moving to Canada as political exiles.  Liberals demanded equal rights for women and for minorities, threatening the forced political stability achieved in the 1950's.  So, when Jane Fonda visited Vietnam (which I consider a mistake of youth, and nothing more), it was an event which solidified the divide between Liberals and Conservatives in America.

Opportunist politicians such as Richard Nixon took advantage of the growing divide, making sure that tools being used to address segregation were de fanged, making it much harder to provide Blacks and Latinos equal opportunities in education.  Although Nixon is often given credit for ending the war in Vietnam, he was responsible for making it impossible for LBJ to get a peace treaty signed on his watch.  This was the time where the GOP started to "flip the south" from Blue to Red, while the Democrats were flipping northern GOP enclaves to Democratic strongholds.

America's great divide.

If one looks at a political map of the USA, one will see that most of the "Union" states from the Civil War are run by Democrats, and that the "Confederate" states are run by Republicans.  Most of the other states are controlled by Republicans, as they are rural and have fewer opportunities for people than the coastal (blue) states.  Opportunist politicians have demonized the opposition, and have made the Rural/Urban divide much worse than it used to be.  Since "conservatives" tend to desire order imposed by higher authorities, they get incensed when "liberals" focus on the rights of individuals.  

Social identity in the USA is often defined by the political party one is affiliated with.  In my case, a woman I dated called me a fascist when she found out that I am still a registered republican.  (I haven't voted for anyone in the GOP for years, as the party has become radicalized and I have moved towards the center.  In an earlier decade, I'd have been identified as a "Goldwater Republican."  Today, I would be labeled left of center.

So what can we do?

There will always be people who are seduced by the propaganda coming from one side or the other.  A thinking person has to keep one's sanity by challenging the messages being sent by a biased media.  Liberals should question MSNBC, while Conservatives should challenge Fox, Newsmax, OAN and other bastions of conservative misinformation.  When most people are polled about their beliefs, they are more centrist than one might think.  But, when political identity comes into play, people act against their own best interests.

When America works right, people are able to look out for their own selfish interests.  If tribal affiliation comes into play, people start marching to the drummers from their tribes - and everything starts breaking down.  So, I advise people to fact check both sides without paying any attention to their tribe's "opinion outlets" and then coming to a position of their own.  If they do this, they might find that their tribe's leaders are betraying them, and that they would be best served by voting the bastards out....

Sunday, May 26, 2024

It's sometimes very hard to get in contact with people - a short post.


Recently, I've been trying to get in contact with several people, and have been mostly unsuccessful.  Why, you might ask?  In the case of my friend Pat (the ex-hypnotist), it could be one of several reasons.  First, she could have passed away.  (Given that she's around 80 years old, and that she's being treated for a chronic disease, this is a very likely option.)  Second, she is in a nursing home, and has been placed there for cognitive issues.  (Is she now unable to use her cell phone?)  Third, and most unlikely, she is no longer able to clear out her messages for some unknown reasons.  One day, I'll call up her nursing home and ask to have my call placed to her room.  That should get me some information - especially if something has happened to her.

Next, comes my friend LK.  She has two good excuses: One is a child with a genetic defect, and the other is a newborn child needing lots of care.  Unlike Pat, LK is young enough to be my daughter, and uses technology in a completely different way than I do.  If I catch her at the right time, things go along as if we were in the same room.  If not, it's crickets.  In short, I know my friendship is not a high priority for her, and accept it. 

There are others, and one of them is too busy to have a friendship with someone like me.  It's just as well, as we travel in different types of circles, and she's a workaholic.  Yet, I realize that people come into my life and leave it all the time, and accept it for what it is.  Do I miss some of these people?    Yes.  But others are better lost than found.  Yet, I wouldn't mind getting in touch with them again - if it were still possible....

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Game Night and a lost earring - a short post


The other day, I ended up going to game night.  Since I wanted to wear jewelry, I decided to wear the earrings given to me by the couple who host game nights twice each month.  Well, I had a hard time getting the post into my ear, but thought I succeeded in doing it right.

Obviously, I did it wrong, as the post wasn't locked into the notch that keeps the earring in place.  So, when I was playing games, the earring fell out without me noticing it.  When I got home, I noticed it was missing, and thought about calling game night's hosts to see if they found the earring there.  I wasn't going to tell them that it was the second time I lost this earring.  Instead, I decided to order a replacement pair of earrings.

This morning, I got a text asking me about an earring they found.  And yes, it was mine!  So I didn't need to place an order.  However, Karma played its' game with me, as I lost (or didn't receive) the replacements I ordered from Amazon.  

At least, I'll have a set of earrings I care about....

Friday, May 24, 2024

The doctor wants to run another test on me - a short post


I went to the doctor today, and he saw signs that made him want to have a liver scan done on me.  I've put this off for a long while, and don't relish going in for a simple scan.  Why, you might ask?  Maybe, I'm hiding from reality.  And maybe, I simply don't care.  This is why I wish I had a good therapist I could trust with both my eating issues and my gender issues.

Years ago, I broke up with Patty, then Ex-GF-M because of eating issues.  Both were good people, but they were triggering my food addiction.  Since then, I've never been able to restore the drive I once had to lose weight and live a more healthy lifestyle.  I've simply become complacent.  And I'm paying the price for being complacent.

Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call in the nick of time, as I want to stay healthy enough to live a longer life than I expect to live, now that I have someone I really care about in my life.  But it will take major changes in my life to do so.  At least, there will be one major non-health related benefit - I will be able to buy a new wardrobe that fits me well and looks better on me.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Lunch with a friend & Zooming with Friends

Today, I had lunch with my friend, C, from the US Census, and had a monthly Zoom meeting with RQS and my Texas friends.  And I realized that monthly get togethers are the perfect time interval for each, as this gives us enough time to build up enough things we can talk about that happened in our lives.

But first....

Sooner or later, I will need to schedule an appointment with the sleep doctor.  I am falling asleep, but still feeling tired when I wake up - which is happening after a sleep of short duration.  I know that my CPAP is working, but there could be something else disturbing my sleep.  Also, I want to get a new CPAP machine prescription before the old one wears out.

Once I woke up, I got showered and dressed in one of the summery dresses I had in my closet.  (I decided not to take the tags off of either of my Universal Standard outfits, as I might end up returning one of them after RQS has a chance to see them on me.  But I digress.  I was very surprised to find that it was over 80 degrees outside, and that I didn't need to wear the denim jacket I had planned to wear.  So when I saw C,  she complimented me on what I was wearing.  Then, we caught up on all of the things that have gone on in or lives over the past month.

All too soon, we had to leave, and I stopped off at the apartment to put my leftovers in the refrigerator. The, it was up to Lane Bryant in Poughkeepsie to do some browsing through the racks.  Luckily, I didn't spend any more money on clothes I didn't need.  (I'll wait to find things other than dresses that both I can wear comfortably and that look good on me.)  On the way home, I stopped off at Aldi to see what the "cousin" of Trader Joe's was like and picked up a few things.  (See: Aldi History.)  Then, I went home for the night.

Once home, I rested a little before a Zoom meeting with RQS and my Texas friends.  Although I hope we can all get together again soon, I doubt this will happen as a foursome.  Instead, I think we have better odds if one or the other friend were to meet RQS and I in one of our travels.  We had a good chat, as usual, and around 10 pm, we bid each other farewell until next month.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Giving DCD his keys - A short post


I knew that if I were to go out today, it would be as Marian.  And the only thing on my docket was to meet DCD after work and give him the keys to his car.

- - - - - -

This morning, I woke up early.  So I made myself some breakfast, and went back to sleep for a while.  By the time I got up again, it was noon, and all I had the energy to do was to put folded laundry back into the drawers, and to hang some garments up in their appropriate closets.  When I finally was in the mood to get ready to meet DCD, it was 5:30 pm - and I put on one of the more comfortable dresses I have.

A problem I've been having lately is that one of my ear piercings wants to close up.  I may have to go back to the piercing studio and have the piercing redone.  But I'll wait until after I return from my Norway cruise to do this.  At least, I was able to push the pin through my earlobe without any pain, and wear some nice hoops.

I reached the diner where I was to meet DCD around 7:45 pm.  I figured that I'd get a seat and let him find me.  Well, he was a little bit late, so I made sure to hand him his keys before doing anything else.  Over dinner, we chatted about many things, but mostly his problems in dealing with confrontation.  He'll retreat from almost anything that makes him feel uncomfortable unless he has no escape.  So, tonight was not a night to prod him - I did more than that this past weekend.

DCD told me how he got the car off the car carrier, and into a parking space.  I wouldn't have known how to do this.  So, he must have part of a brain to work with.  This made me glad, as I feel that he didn't screw things up to get the car off the carrier.  What did bother me is that he didn't have enough cash to pay for his meal, and that I had to front him $10 for his share of the bill.

On the way to his mom's place, DCD started talking about his family (and his ex-family - he is divorced), and how everyone expected him to screw up.  He accused his ex-wife of sabotaging him towards the end of their marriage, and even to poison the relationship between him and his children. Later on, I discussed this with RQS, and we both agreed - DCD doesn't want to take responsibility for his mistakes in life, and that others' expectations were likely based on objective reality.

At least, there is one thing DCD and I agree on: Our former therapist would never have been able to deal with my gender issues, and that I was wise not to bring them up with him....

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...