Saturday, January 20, 2024

It's been a long while since I've been in Queens


It's been years since I've been to Zum Stammtisch in Glendale, Queens.  The QCLC used to go there on occasion, as it was one of the last good German restaurants in the area and we knew that all beers served there would be acceptable under the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law).  I have enjoyed many a good dinner there from the time I was attending college, and wanted to introduce RQS to some "stick to your ribs" German food.  So, a visit to RQS's place was a perfect excuse for me to invite my brother to join us for an after work dinner.  

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On Friday, I started running errands in order to prepare for an upcoming colonoscopy, as well as depositing a 401K distribution in my local bank.  Now, I have enough money available to buy the new car that I put off buying due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated supply chain disruption.  Unlike most times I've driven to RQS's place, I knew that I had to make it to her place before 4:30 pm, as people would not be moving their cars from their parking spots until Monday.  (One can usually find a spot during the day on Saturday and Sunday.  But with a winter storm coming, no one would want to risk not having a parking spot to last the weekend.)  I was lucky - I found a spot in front of RQS's building, and there was no way I was going to leave before Sunday.

My brother arrived at RQS's place at 6:00, and we drove over to Zum Stammtisch for dinner.  My brother had been to this place once (or, so he said), but this was RQS's first time there.  So we sat down to enjoy a deceptively filling meal.  About 2 hours, we finished our meal and it was time to go home for the night.  And this was just as well, as both of us fell asleep before the 11 pm news.

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I have nothing much to say about Saturday, as we didn't bother to go out of the apartment for anything.  But Sunday was something else.  I had to leave, and start getting things ready for my colonoscopy prep to start on Monday.  So, I packed up my stuff and left for home with a quick stop at Stew Leonard's along the way.  Looking at the road, I noticed that NYC had been spared the brunt of the storm.  But as I crossed into Westchester, snow had stuck on the ground.  By the time I got home, I figure that there was 3 inches of the white stuff on the ground near my place.  I can only imagine what it was like further North and West of here....

Friday, January 19, 2024

Sometimes, one has to seek out help



I've never tried to hide my age, as I'm an old TG woman and see my time on this earth getting shorter and shorter.  This doesn't frighten me as much as the thought of not being able to have my affairs in order at any time.  So, the thought of losing control of things as I'm coming to full retirement benefit age worries me a bit.

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About a month ago, my long time tax preparer decided to retire.  Although I knew this would eventually happen, I was still a little bit shocked when I heard the news.  I never had to look around for someone to take care of this need, and now I have to do a search when I need constancy the most.  The 2023 tax year had me receiving an unexpected bonus payment of a survivor's social security benefit from which taxes should have been withheld. And the 2024 tax year will require that taxes get withheld from benefits paid to me.  Dealing with these things should be simple.  But there are so many of them coming in at once to be dealt with that I can get overwhelmed thinking about them.

Luckily, I have one person I can call for help with my taxes and with tax planning.  Yet, I am looking for more than this person to choose from.  Hopefully, I will find the person I need soon, as I am not looking forward to this year's tax season....

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Ambivalence and why is can be useful


I've mentioned in the past that I was ambivalent about taking my last cruise before and after the cruise itself.  There were good things I could say about the cruise line/ship and bad things I could say about the cruise line/ship.  But I ended up having the same mixed feelings after taking the cruise.

Why do I mention this?

Well, I still participate in the ship's Facebook forum and post appropriate things there.  I also watch an occasional Vlogger video about their experiences on the ship and a thought came to mind: We search for meaning in the things we have done, and often need to examine the experiences of others to determine the meanings of many of our experiences.  This tendency of our species isn't as crazy as it sounds.  There are some things that need to be examined by the many, so that a common understanding can evolve.  

The other day, someone asked a GOP candidate for the presidency a simple question: "What was the root cause of the American Civil War?"  Most of us would give the simple answer: "Slavery."  But this woman couldn't do so.  Even when asked this question 10 years before, she couldn't bring herself to give this simple answer.  Why would someone have problems giving this simple answer to what should have been a "softball" question?  The answer to this question is just as simple: The base of her political supporters rejects both the cause and result of the war between the states.  And behind her non-answer is a denial of the common understanding of the war that most people in most of the 50 states have come to accept.

When 160 years have passed and a political candidate can not give the simple answer to what should be a simple question regarding our civil war, that candidate is not qualified to be president.  Hopefully, this person will never be closer to the White House than on a guided tour....

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Going to the first meetup in the new year


This past Tuesday, I went to my first meetup of the new year.  I've been to this restaurant during Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, but never at another time.  This place, Char Steakhouse, has a prix-fixe menu on Tuesday nights that is quite good.  So I figured that I'd try it out.

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One of the problems with Char is that it is hard to see where their driveway begins and ends in the dark.  As a result, I had to go very slow turning into the place, lest I drive my car into a ditch.  Once there, it's not always easy to find a parking spot.  But what makes things easy for those in the know is that there is a rear entrance to the building that usually serves as the main entrance to the restaurant.

I saw my group, and sat down next to the leader of the group.  Soon, someone else came in with a friend, and we all started gabbing.  The lady to my side hit it off quite well, and we exchanged numbers, so that we could meet for lunch one day.  Hopefully we can do that - but I'll be sure to stay in Marian mode, as not to let gender get in the way of developing a good friendship.  


Finally, the waiter came to take our orders, and I chose the Zuppa de Pesce.  Yum!  I'd come to this restaurant just for that, even though steak is their specialty.  Later on, one of the people at our table had to leave early and took care of her bill.  One problem - our waiter didn't see this, and thought that she skipped out without paying.  So the meetup leader texted this person, and we hoped she'd come back to the restaurant to settle things. A few minutes later, I left the place and took care of an errand before returning home for the evening.

Why do I still go to an occasional meetup?

The answer is relatively simple - I still want to make new friends, and make them as Marian.   Some people wonder why I feel more comfortable as Marian, and outside the issue of gender dysphoria, I feel that I enjoy the company of women more than men, and that I prefer not to have the issue of sexual behaviors get in the way of having the friendships I want most.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

I'm going to get really fat if I don't watch out


Today, I ended up having two meals out with friends.  How I did that, I don't know.  But I did enjoy both meals along with the company I had.

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If it weren't for the fact that today would be the only time this month that I could see my friend from the census without problems, I would have preferred to stay in and relax for the day.  I hadn't gotten enough sleep last night, and the alarms only got me going around 11:00 am for a 12:30 pm lunch.  This ended up being perfect for me, as I arrived at the Italian joint in town and found my friend just sitting down to wait for me to arrive.

This was a day where I dominated the conversation, describing what happened on my most recent cruise. Hopefully, I did it in a way that kept her interest, as I'm pretty sure that she will never sail with MSC. While Carnival is described as the Walmart of cruise lines, catering to the "value oriented" customer, I described MSC as the bastard offspring between Target and K-Mart. From Target, MSC gets the glitz that attracts people to cruise with them.  And from K-Mart, MSC gets the low quality that causes people to say "Never Again!"  People attracted to MSC do not want the Carnival cruise experience, but want a subset of the experiences one can get on other, higher priced, cruise lines. Eventually, lunch had to end, and I proceeded home.  Originally, I was going to go to Jersey and do some shopping.   But I felt that I should put my leftovers in the refrigerator before going out.  As a result, I never bothered to go out until I met Vicki for dinner at Lefteris Gyro.

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I met Vicki just after she was done with her exercise class, and she was famished.  This time, Vicki would be the one carrying leftovers home.  Vicki listened to me describing the cruise, knowing that neither of us would likely cruise MSC in the future based on my most recent experience.  Yet, I felt this was a shame, as with a little more attention to the quality of the experience and less on nickel-dimeing the cruiser, they'd have product good enough to seriously make a run at grabbing market share from the big-3 American based cruise line corporations (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian).  Vicki told me about her retirement plans (which I won't go into here) and chatted about things going on with her and her husband.  All I will say about that is that he will go more than the extra mile for her.

All too soon, dinner had to end and we had to go our own ways.  Not to worry.  I'll see her again when I have my colonoscopy next week....


Monday, January 15, 2024

A telling of tales for the New Year


As usual, publication of journal entries in this blog is a little behind the times.   By the time you read this, 2 weeks will have passed, and I will have gone through an appointment with my GP, gotten a colonoscopy, and have had my teeth X-Rayed.  And those are only things that I know will happen over the next couple of weeks.

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When this weekend began, RQS came up on a crowded train from NYC.  Instead of eating what I had at home, we proceeded to the local diner as I was in Mario mode for the day  And this was a wise choice, as both of us had leftovers we could bring home to eat later on.  The manager and a long time waitress both noted that it was a long while since I've eaten there, and I mentioned that I had been traveling, spending half my time in Queens these days.  The last thing I was going to mention was that I spend more than half my time as Marian, and didn't want to "out" myself to them.

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Saturday came, and neither of us wanted to get out of the house.  And we didn't do much, save to make a shopping run as it was getting dark.  RQS needed a few things she could get at Walmart or Target, and I needed an excuse to take a drive.  So, off to Poughkeepsie we went, and then back home for the night.

But Sunday, New Year's Eve, was a different story.  I decided to let RQS stay in bad while I went to Church for the first and only time this year.  It was nice to reconnect with the rituals of my past, even though my late mother might have had another heart attack had she seen me in church wearing a nice dress and being addressed as Marian.  After church, it was off to Homestyle Desserts to pick up a cheesecake for the folks from Game Night and to pick up some cookies for RQS's friends, who we'd plan to meet the following day. About $85 later, I returned home to relax with RQS before going to Yonkers.

Not knowing what type of food we'd be eating, I decided to nuke some pre-made offerings from Trader Joe's for us to eat.  This wasn't needed, as there was much more than enough food to eat at our friends' place.  Strangely enough, most of us didn't end up playing any games.  The night was mostly spent by us talking with a few friends until shortly after midnight when we drove home slowly and carefully, making sure to avoid the amateur drunk drivers expected on the road this evening.

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New Year's Day came, and neither of us had any energy.  When RQS was looking for excuses not to go and visit her friend, I suggested that she had a GI Tract issue similar to that I often have (for real).  And this made it possible for her to sleep the day away until it was again dark outside.  The only reason I even bothered to get dressed was so that I could bring home a hot pizza for us to eat.  And then, it was back in my jammies for the evening....

Sunday, January 14, 2024


I wish I could look in the mirror and see this face, knowing that the body connected to is would be fully in sync with the image.  Alas, this was not meant to be.  My face, like the rest of my body, shows the wear and tear of living a different life.  But I am not complaining about that, nor am I pining for something that can not be.  Life is a path, that for most of us has its obstacles and challenges, but can have its rewards for making it through without losing your mind or your humanity.

Lately, I get up in the morning and find that I have nothing urgent to take care of.  Life wasn't this way when I had a job to go to.  Just the fact that I had a job that had to get done gave meaning to life - even when I worked at that mind numbing job with the imaging company.  Now, having people to see and trips to take gives me a reason to get up in the morning. 

The other day, I saw BXM for lunch before she had to go to work.  (She has a flexible schedule.)  And she was the happiest that I ever saw her.  When I first met her, she was taking care of a father whose mind and body were gradually leaving him.  Now, she's being energized by helping children get their lives together, as well as having a good home life with her partner.

Not everyone is doing well.  I just had a letter from an old friend, and he told me that his wife had to go through a double mastectomy.  Although she's "triple negative" and going through the 5 years needed to be labeled as "Cured", it must have been hell for her.  This is where I wish my late wife had survived, so that she could console this friend's wife in her time of need.

Another person I know doesn't know enough about how to escape her dead-end "career".  Although she has been told about paths she could take to exit the dead-end, she hasn't done so.  Over time, many of these doors will be closed to her, and she may end up regretting taking the chances she needs to take to escape from a life that is doomed to both keep her poor and without a decent person to accompany her along the path of life.

For all of my friends, I wish that their lives will improve each day, and that they will be able to grasp success from the claws of failure.  As for me, I don't ask for much, as I already have most of what I want and all of what I need....

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...