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My closet has never been this bad.  But it has come close at times.  There was way too much in the closet, and it kept me from using many of the useful items I've bought over the years.  In fact, having been forced to look at the contents today, I found a dress which I had forgotten that I owned, and that I intend to use soon instead of buying another little black dress.

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The calendar in my phone was telling me that my cleaning lady was due to come today.  Couple this with a planned lunch with BXM and a volunteer stint at the GLBT Center, and I had no time available to fix any problems around the house.  Of course, this meant that old man Murphy would pay me a visit this morning....

Around 8:30 or so, I heard a strange noise coming from my closet.  In my semi conscious state, I wondered whether something small had fallen.  Not with my luck.  After years of being overloaded, the old metal clothes rack bent a little too far and pulled itself from its mounting.  As a result, everything in the closet was on the floor, and all I could do was to keep the closet door closed until the cleaning lady left.

Instead of getting dressed as Marian and spending the day out as my authentic self, I got dressed as Mario and started making the rounds to Target and to Lowe's for a replacement clothes rod, mountings, and an electric screwdriver.  (I could have gotten everything at Lowe's, but I thought of Target first and was 90% of the way there when I thought of Lowe's.)  Once I was done purchasing things, it was back home to wait for my cleaning lady before starting work on my closet.

The usual time for my cleaning lady's arrival had passed, and I was wondering what was up with her.  I gave her a call, and she told me that she'd be here in 2 weeks.  (I'm not bothered by an extra 2 weeks between visits - it gives me more time to clean up my mess before she works her magic.)  This made it possible for me to start work on my closet about 2 hours earlier than planned.  So, I screwed in the new rod holders, then sawed off enough wood to get the new rod to fit into place.  And then, the fun began.  I still had to hang clothes back on the rod while sorting out stuff that either had to go into storage or out to the charity bin.  That task took me until 5:30 to complete.



- - - - - -

I was very lucky that I realized at the start of the day that BXM wasn't going to be available (she has turned into a little more of a flake since her dad died), and that I could skip out on volunteering for a week.  However, there might have been a small, delayed karmic payback for me, as I always was frustrated by my wife's overflowing closet - didn't she have enough clothes?  If there is an afterlife, I know that she's laughing at me right now - and I wouldn't blame her for doing so.

It's amazing that I was willing to shop for new things instead of raiding my closet.  The stuff I started to find made me realize that the sheer volume of what I already own has gotten in the way of me enjoying the stuff I already have.  It's probably time for me to aggressively prune my wardrobe.  But I think I'll do that after I clean out my basement storage compartment.  This will allow me to store a seasonal wardrobe and then prune the things I find I no longer want when their season returns.

Hopefully, I will soon make the time to do this cleanup.  I don't want to go through another day like today.  It wasn't that bad. But it hammered home the point that I am drowning in the clutter of my life.
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Once each week, the Beacon Dining Group holds its dinner somewhere in Dutchess County.  Dinner could be in a restaurant as far South as Garrision, or as far North as Poughkeepsie.  The general guideline is that a place for us to have dinner should be no more than 20 minutes away from the organizer's home, and that we should go to a different place each week.

- - - - - -

When I finally got moving for the day, I decided to cancel my Freshly delivery for next week.  Since my Freshly subscription provides me with 6 meals each week, it looks like I'll have 2 or 3 dinners I must put in the freezer on Friday, and I don't want to waste money by having too many uncooked meals waiting for me to eat or to store away for future consumption.  

While we're on the topic of Freshly, I received a survey from the firm to find out what options I'd like to see in the future.  For example, they asked whether I wanted the option of extra proteins (for an extra charge), whether I wanted to be able to choose the starch or vegetable to be included with the meal, and whether I wanted to be able to substitute a second vegetable for a starch. This would be kind of option that might make me want to stay with Freshly, as I already have these options with Top Chef Meals.

- - - - - -

Compared with yesterday, today's drive to Poughkeepsie for dinner is a short hop.  Yet, I'm racking up mileage on my car, as I will be driving to GFJ's place for the day on Friday, so I can see her new apartment.  She has qualified for a subsidized rental for seniors in the city of Kingston.  Luckily for her, they do not count her assets when determining affordability. The money she has from the sale of her office building and the money she will have from the sale of her house must last her for the rest of her life.  Given that she can't count much on Social Security, she has to plan carefully for important purchases - such as buying a new car.

GFJ has mentioned that the contract that has been keeping her company afloat will likely last another 2 years.  And then, it may continue a little bit longer if a public works project is not completed.  She has never mentioned any worries about this, but I have my concerns for her.  Several years before I met GFJ, she had a life with a "normal" set of worries.  Now, she lives with much more risk, with many fewer rewards.

It'll be good to see GFJ a day earlier than planned.  But I will have to drive back later on that evening, as I have speech therapy the next morning.  It'll be one day less that I spend as Marian this week.  Yet, I think it will be a nice way to close up the week.

- - - - - -

A little after 5 pm, I started getting ready for tonight's meetup.  Unfortunately, I had a minor GI Tract issue before getting showered, so I ended up being ready about 15 minutes later than expected.  Out the door I rushed, and I was at the meetup a few minutes after 7.  However, I had to spend a few minutes looking for parking, as the official restaurant lot was completely filled.  Giving up on nearby street parking, and not wanting to pay for the one public lot that charges a parking fee 24x7, I decided to park in the church lot next door.  And as I got out, another 2 women from our group also decided to park in the same lot.  (I later checked with the restaurant, and they told me that the church won't hassle anyone when not holding services.)  So 15 minutes later than expected, I took a seat next to Lili, instead of with the 2 ladies who came in with me.

Lili originally mentioned that her ex-husband would be showing up.  Unfortunately, his depression got to him today, and he wasn't able to make it there.  WDJ didn't show up either.  But most importantly, only half of the brother/sister pair (M & L) showed up.  Another meetup member, A, went up the mountain to pick her up, and later to drive her home.  It was nice to be able to talk with her without her brother getting in the way. 

We had the entire second floor of the restaurant to ourselves.  And yet, it was a bit louder than expected.  I guess that it was the other table causing the racket - they were a little bit more outgoing than the people at our table.  But this may have been related to the conversations going on.  Lili later told me that M was not happy with the house her brother wanted, and that L felt he was pushing her to buy the house.  Lili sees L as a nice woman who is being used by her brother for his own reasons.  As for me, I hope that A picks up L much more often, as she comes alive a bit when her brother is not around.

All too soon, our group started to break up.  Most of the people at my table left, and I went over to the other table to chat with the women who came in with me. One of these women and I exchanged numbers, and we will likely go to have lunch together soon.  Additionally, A and I arranged a dinner at a French restaurant we visited earlier in the year.  I'll have to watch my diet very carefully after that meal!

On the way home, I talked both with GFJ and with Lili.  With GFJ, it was to catch up with what happened later in the evening.  With Lili, it was to find out what she thought of L without her brother being around.  Lili has an uneducated feeling that L was misdiagnosed by her doctors.  But I reminded me that one of the symptoms of her ailment is the one that Lili thinks points away from the diagnosis.  As for me, I hope to see a lot more of L without her brother. 
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My face looks like crap in the above picture. It's because both my makeup and I were fading after a long, hot day.  Yet the drive to see YGM was well worth it, as we haven't seen each other since this time last year.

- - - - - -

Since the beginning of the weekend, I was trying to get a confirmation from YGM that she'd be available today for a get together.  Her message stated that she and her family were leaving for Florida on Wednesday morning, so I had only one day which would fit into both of our schedules for a meeting.  When YGM finally called me on Monday, GFJ was still with me, and we confirmed today's meeting.

My alarms didn't wake me up this morning.  The internal alarm clock in my head got me moving before 9 am, and I was out the door by 10:30.  But it would be at least 2 1/4 hours before I reached YGM, as her Airbnb was 5 minutes from her old home in Colchester, CT.  So I made sure that I had something cold to drink before driving 120 miles on a hot Summer's day.

The drive out to YGM's place went smoothly, and I got there exactly when I expected.  It was if no time had passed since our last meeting, save that her family life had gotten a little more complicated.  It seems like her husband is not bothering to seriously look for work, as he has "lost his mojo" after mustering out of the service on a medical discharge. (You'll have to pardon me.  I'm trying not to give out too many details if either she or her husband ever reads this blog.)  Issues that YGM and I have discussed before are coming into focus, and they are the type that could seriously threaten their marriage and YGM's financial security.

 (A winter shot of the covered bridge we visited.)

(A summer shot of the covered bridge we visited.)

YGM and I discussed these issues over a long lunch, then went for a drive to see a covered bridge near where she was staying.  Eventually, we made it back to her place, and we started to discuss being cisgender, transgender, straight and gay.  Additionally, I discussed (in detail) issues regarded to medical transition for both Male to Female Transgenders and Female to Male Transgenders.  YGM was glad that I did so, as I was the only person she knew who could discuss this topic in detail with a touch of authority.

Sadly, my visit had to end, and YGM had to prepare for a long drive back to Florida.  I told her and her husband that they must avoid the Cross Bronx "Expressway" (Route 95) to the George Washington Bridge, and cross the Hudson no further South than the Tappan Zee Bridge.  If possible, they should also try to have dinner in Delaware, so that they can wait out the rush hour traffic jams in Baltimore and Washington DC on their way South.  Hopefully, they will take this advice.

- - - - - -

On the way back home, I talked with GFJ for an hour and a half (with a brief loss of connection due to a dead spot), then with Lili for another half hour.  It was a good way of staying awake on the way home.
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The last time I was to this place was over 20 years ago.  I had just lost my wife, and I was getting familiar with some Widows and Widowers I had known only from being in an online chat room.  This time, I decided to go to Lyndhurst with GFJ and have a relaxing day together before she went home for the night.

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GFJ and I spent the 4th watching fireworks at Charles Point (Peekskill).  But the ones she really wanted to see were at Trophy Point (West Point) on the 6th.  However, the forecast was for scattered showers that night, so the plans changed to have us see a movie on Saturday, then see Fireworks on Sunday. 

Saturday came, and I got prepared to go out as Marian while GFJ studied for her Biology class.  When I arrived at Mercy, I noticed that our usual therapy room was being repainted and recarpeted.  This meant that we'd be holding our session in a room next to where children were being treated.  In addition, the seating would not be as comfortable as that in the room we used in previous semesters.

A minute or two after I arrived, my senior student clinician (LK) came in, then the junior clinician (RV).  I then I knew that I was in safe hands.  The senior clinician took the lead, and was showing the junior clinician the ropes.  After our session, I ended up speaking with the senior clinician about what's been going on in her life.  And she's frustrated!  Now that she's doing her internship at a local school, she's finding that real life can bite her in the butt.  It seems as if the school supervisor has gaslighted LK, as she was never told that she'd need to be both fluent in ASL (American Sign Language) and in Conversational Spanish.  Although LK knows both, she's not 100% fluent, and the school supervisor is using this to give LK a very hard time.  The school supervisor has shifted from telling LK to "wing it, you know what you're doing" to submitting several lesson plans, all of which are rejected.  LK has never received a grade less than an A, and she's likely to get a "Gentleman's B" in the internship.  So I told her that her objective must be to pass the class, and to satisfy the requirements for the degree.  It's not right what's happening to her, but there are some wrongs that you must endure - and this is one of them.

- - - - - -

Once done at Mercy, I stopped over at the Avenue in Yonkers to browse the racks and to chat a little.  While there, the heavens started to open up.  But I was able to get to my car just before the drenching rain started.  So I drove home, and changed back into Mario mode as soon as I arrived.

After a needed nap, the two of us went out for a light dinner, and then to see the movie "Yesterday."  I could go on with a lot of cliches made of Beatle song titles, but this was simply a well made, enjoyable bit of fluff.  For me, the most enjoyable part of the film is where the main character meets up with a living, non-famous John Lennon and gets an important bit of advice.

When the movie ended, we picked up some food for the next morning and quickly went to sleep when we got home.  It was a nice day, even though some rain got in the way.

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(The view from our first site)

(The march of the Cadets of the Class of 2023)

(The view from our second site)
 
Sunday came, and GFJ's GI Tract wasn't doing so well.  (Mine wasn't doing well either, but a quick last minute run to the loo took care of my issues.)  We got out of the house a little bit late, and went to a late lunch before going to West Point.  We arrived at the concert grounds a little after 5:15, and settled down in a place near where we could get the best view of the fireworks to come.  However, we couldn't hear what was coming from the audio system.  So GFJ suggested that we move our seats to a new location, and I hemmed and hawed until the concert was about to start.

While in our first location, I struck up a conversation with the wife of an Army officer.  She has 3 children, and her husband does not want for his children to go into the military.  I'll bet that he's unhappy with the way this country is going, and doesn't want to see any of his kids used as cannon fodder.  GFJ had returned from the porta-pottys, and she said that she scouted out a good place where we could hear the music AND see the fireworks later on.  I figured that this was the best time for me to relieve myself, then pick up a quick hamburger before the festivities started. When I was about to scout out the area that GFJ suggested, the Cadets of the class of 2023 started marching by.  The spot GFJ wanted to move to wasn't that good.  But I found one that was a little better.  So when I returned, GFJ and I picked up our gear, said goodbye to the woman and her kids, and moved to our new location.

The concert wasn't as nice as usual.  More time than usual was spent saluting our military, and the music was a little too "urban" and "modern" for my taste.  Halfway through the concert, the fireworks started in nearby Cold Spring, and we were enjoying their fireworks more than the nearby music.  Eventually, our concert ended and our fireworks began. Towards the end of the display, they started playing Sing, Sing, Sing - and this was perfect accompaniment for the fireworks.  It was a shame that they switched to a Sousa march for the fireworks finale.

Once the show ended, we had an easy time getting back to our car.  Unfortunately, it took a bit longer than usual to get home, as the toll collection at the Bear Mountain Bridge couldn't handle the volume of cars passing through the toll gates.  At least, it was an easy drive for us once we passed the gates.

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On Monday, neither GFJ nor I had any plans.  She wanted to celebrate my birthday in advance, as I would likely be going to see YGM the next day, and that GFJ had to start doing the lab work for this unit of her Biology course.  So we decided to go to a museum today, and found out that Kykuit (the Rockefeller Estate) was only open on weekends. We ended up going to see Lyndhurst as a fallback, and got there in time for the last tour of the day.

Unlike some houses, this old home was very warm in the Summer heat.  Luckily, there were more than enough fans around the mansion to keep air moving and provide some sort of relief to the visitors.  The tour guide gave us a history of the mansion, as well as a talk about each of the 3 families that owned the place.  I appreciated the tour much more than I did the last time I was here, about 22 years ago.  This time, I was not distracted by the antics of our Widow/Widower gathering group.  Instead, we were a small group of 7 who went through the house at a leisurely pace and appreciated what was before us.

When the tour ended, GFJ and I went to look at the Bowling Alley on the lower part of the estate.  It must have been very nice to live in the style that the Goulds were accustomed to. But I'd have hated to see much of my wealth squandered by my male heirs.

- - - - - -

We left the grounds around 6:30, and went out to dinner at a local diner.  GFJ was still worried about her GI Tract, and had a plate of eggs.  She knew that eggs shouldn't bother her, and this was a safe choice for her.  After a stop home, GFJ packed up and left for home.  As for me, I started a load of laundry, and when done, packed it in for the night....


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Considering how much I spend on dresses, you'd wonder why I was looking at menswear today.  The answer is simple. I need to replace a few items, and the online catalog is the best place to find clothes in my size.

I have found that when wearing men's clothes, I miss the partial convenience of a handbag. If I don't have a pocket for everything I need to carry, I don't carry it.  This can be a big inconvenience when I need to carry a cell phone, reading glasses, a wallet and car keys.  But the funniest thing was having lunch the other day as Mario and looking to side for the handbag I use when presenting as Marian.

If I didn't need my reading glasses, I wouldn't bother looking for shirts that have pockets. It is more than acceptable for a man to carry reading glasses in his shirt pocket, even though it is not recommended in the book "Dress for Success".  (I wonder what updates would be made to that book today - it was easier to dress for success when one wore business suits to work.  Now, things are much more complex, and a revision to this book is probably needed.)  And as I age, I find that I need the reading glasses more and more every day.

Getting older is not the easiest thing to do.  And the choice of clothing gets more complex every day - especially for a transgender person who has to live on both sides of the gender line for now....
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Spending time with GFJ usually gets in the way of my going out as Marian.  And this long weekend feels a little longer than usual, as I have not been able to enjoy time as I would have if I were out as Marian.  This is not a big deal, but sometimes I wonder....

- - - - - -

GFJ had to do work for her Biology class.  This week's unit covered genetics, and had an experiment that required her to examine the growth in a Petri dish 4 days after the start of the experiment.  This meant that she couldn't leave for my place until Thursday, and that she would be leaving for home on Monday to start the next phase of the class unit.  This also meant that she wouldn't be leaving her house until the afternoon, and that she would get here shortly before dinner.

Since I had all day to prepare for GFJ's visit, I continued on my path to clearing out much of the clutter in my apartment.  To look at my apartment now, you could tell that I tossed out a lot of stuff.  But you would also see a mess taking up more space, as I hadn't had the chance to reorganize everything.

Arriving at 5:00, GFJ and I rushed out to dinner.  Unfortunately, due to a GI Tract issue, GFJ only had a bowl of chicken soup while I had a light dinner. After dinner, we decided to find a good place to watch some fireworks, and settled on Charles Point to watch the fireworks sponsored by the city of Peekskill. Rushing back home to pick up our lawn chairs, we were back at Charles Point by 7:30.  Parking was starting to get bad by then, so I dropped GFJ off at the entrance to the park, then rushed back to a convenient area where I could park my car. And then we waited for 2 hours for the fireworks to begin.

We sat near the water's edge and had to deal with a few gnats flying near the waterfront plants.  However, we had a very good position to watch the show.  While GFJ took a walk to ease a cramp, a lady and her son sat next to me, and we started to talk about the baseball game and the current score.  As GFJ was coming back, I mentioned that I shared the same desire that the late George Steinbrenner had - to see the Yankees win the last game of the baseball season.  The woman thought I means the 162nd game of the season, and I corrected her - I meant the last game of the World Series.  This was a pleasant set up for a smile.  She was monitoring the score as it went from 8-3 to 8-4, while the 10th inning seemed to take forever.  Eventually, the game ended late, just before the fireworks started late - perfect timing to say the least.

GFJ and I enjoyed the fireworks, but were surprised that they seemed to end 20 minutes into the show.  There was no big ending.  After a few minutes, people started to leave.  We started packing up when the fireworks started up again, with the big finale that should have started 5 minutes beforehand.  We stayed until the end, then walked to the place where my car was parked.  If we were going straight home, we could have been there 10 minutes after the fireworks ended.  However, we needed to go to the Shoprite just outside of Peekskill, and that cost us about 30 minutes getting out of Peekskill.

Luckily, we got everything we needed quickly, and were back home before midnight.  Both of us were very tired at this point, and got some well needed sleep....

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Friday came, and it was back to business.  I had to resolve an issue with the timing of a doctor's appointment, and ended up leaving an after hours message. But for the most part, we did nothing much of the day until we got the idea of visiting my dad.

My brother had taken my dad out of the nursing hone yesterday, and got him a haircut at one of the few places open on the holiday.  Today, it was going to be a boring day at the home until I arrived with GFJ.  And for a change, driving to Long Island was a pleasure, with virtually no traffic jams between my place and the nursing home.

Arriving at the nursing home, we hit at the time of the nightly shift change.  In a strange way, I saw myself as in the same position that the receptionist was in - and didn't mention anything to GFJ.  Going to the nursing home is not always the most pleasurable thing to do, and the one thing people need to see is someone who has a pleasant face when they come in the door.  When I do my next shift at my nursing home, I'll have to remember this before I take over the deak.

But back to our visit....

GFJ and I looked for my dad, and couldn't find him on the 3 floors of the place.  Looking at the dining area which my dad normally sits in, I saw another outside sitting area - and my dad sunning himself on the patio.  So we brought him inside until they set up things for dinner, then brought him to the lobby area where is was more conducive to conversation. Eventually, Dad's dinner time came, and we had to leave.

On our way home, I got a call with Caller ID telling me it was the nursing home that had called.  GFJ thought that I should immediately call the home back.  But I figured that I should call my brother first, as if there was a problem, he'd be the primary contact.  What made things worse was that I was getting crappy signal from T-Mobile. So I couldn't make a call from an area in which I expected good coverage.  But eventually I reached my brother who told me that there was no problem.  My dad may have been trying to call me, but didn't leave a message.  We chatted a while, and he said that my dad might like to eat a simple plate of Bacon and Eggs for Christmas.  (My brother wanted to make sure that we see Dad on Xmas, and told me this months in advance, because my brother will be in England in December.)  You may be asking, why a simple plate of Bacon and Eggs?  The answer is simple - the place serves Kosher meals, so that observant Jews feel comfortable as possible eating the home's food.

Once we got home, we fell out quickly.  Both of us were tired and needed sleep.  It's amazing how quickly we seem to need to go to sleep these days.  But then, it is warm outside, and I lose energy quickly.  So sleep is often the best medicine for me....
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Although this is not the best picture of me, it was taken on a day much like today.  The weather was hot, and I had a smile on my face.  But what is it that makes me smile?

- - - - - -

These days, I realize more and more that I'm a lucky person.  Although I don't have to work, I can do so if I were to find a job.  I have the freedom to present myself to the world as I see myself.  And this female presentation is getting better every day. There are people who know that I'm transgender, and that's fine with me.  Although I do not try to hide it, I try to blend in in a way that no one notices it unless I bring up the subject.  And I seem to be tolerably successful at this, given how JS reacts to me.

Lately, I've restarted my project to eliminate things that I don't need from my living space.  Recently, I have tossed out a good portion of what I had stored in my living room (behind my chair and a half) and am giving some more to charity.  This will eventually allow me to start pruning the stuff I have in storage containers in the bedroom. And the elimination of all this clutter will make me feel better, as the space will feel more roomy and more comfortable.

Unfortunately, traffic on Long Island seems to have gotten worse over the past few years.  In the past, I'd have driven down to see my family on Independence Day.  But with GFJ coming down late AND the day being a perfect opportunity to go to the beach, I decided NOT to see my family.  If I go to see my dad, it will likely be in the middle of a weekday when traffic is "light."  However, I know that I must soon make arrangements to see my dad on Christmas.  This means that I'll have to find a restaurant that is open AND make room in my car to get him in and out of it that day.  (Ideally, I'll have GFJ with me and the use of her car - it will be a much easier task and a nicer day if this is the case.)

It's not always easy to keep in contact with my friends.  Most people "have lives to live" and they do so.  For example, my friend Maria is way too busy taking care of an ailing husband, a grandson, and dealing with a grown daughter who has both behavioral issues and is unable to take care of herself.  I almost never get the chance to see Maria these days, and I likely won't in the near future.  Vicki has been just as hard to reach.  However, I know she'll pop up soon if something isn't wrong with her husband.  I've tried to reach YGM, but she has never been good at returning her calls.  Her Florida life isn't going that badly, but I expect things aren't going well for her husband, as his business venture failed due to poor planning, and that he didn't have a fall back plan for what to do with his life.  I could go on and on here, but the issue will always be - most of the friends that I have aren't the greatest of friends.  They will see me if I call them, but most won't make the effort to keep in touch. I only wish I had been better skilled in the art of making and nurturing friendships.

Sooner or later, I'll resign my position on the co-op's board of directors.  I don't want to become the president of the board, nor do I want a position which requires that I focus on details - such as being the treasurer or secretary (recording meeting minutes).  Everyone living in a co-op should spend some time dealing with the problems the boards face, as this gives one an appreciation for what a board member has to deal with.  For example, I have a neighbor who is continually having problems with her upstairs neighbor.  He barely speaks English, and "is not all there" from what I can tell. (I have no hard evidence of my own, just impressions from what the neighbor has shown me.)  Both neighbors have confronted me, and one is continually venting to me instead of collecting objective evidence (i.e. recordings of screaming, decibel level checks on that screaming, etc.) that the board can use to take action. How many people want to deal with this on a regular basis?

Growing old, some say, is not for sissies.  But what am I?  😉   Being serious, I wonder what will happen to me in the 20-30 or so years I have left to me.  I don't want to become like my father, as I don't like the prospect of living out my final years in a nursing home. Nor do I want to die of a wasting disease such as cancer, as my late wife did.  For the most part, I want to be relatively healthy and independent until the day I die.  And then, I want to go away peacefully in my sleep.
But until then, life goes on....
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There's not much to say today.

GFJ is coming over, and I won't have much time to write much of anything.  If she wasn't coming over later in the afternoon, I'd likely go to JS's and see the fireworks over the lake where she lives.  But then, with this weather being hot, I'm not sure if I'd like being outdoors with bugs nipping at me waiting for the fireworks to begin.

Since GFJ is likely to stay until Monday night or Tuesday morning so we can celebrate my upcoming birthday, I've had to postpone dinner with Patty.  This is not a problem, as I've checked in with Patty and she has the following week free in the evenings.  However, it means that with a 3 hour exception for speech therapy, I will not be spending any time as Marian until next Wednesday when I go to the Beacon Dining Meetup.

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I've looked up the fireworks schedule for the next few days, and it is likely that we'll be going to see Peekskill's display tonight (if we can find a convenient parking space), and then West Point's display on Saturday.  Hopefully, we'll be able to find a nice shaded spot at Trophy Point (West Point's outdoor concert area) before the concert, as it is expected to be hot that day.

Whether you are enjoying fireworks this weekend or not, I hope you have had an enjoyable 4th of July!  (Yes, I know you'll be reading this a week later....)
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Those of you who have seen the movie "Forbidden Planet" will recognize this monster, "the monster from the id."  In many ways, this president's term makes me feel that the monster from America's id has been set loose on the country.  It is not rational.  It is purely a construct of our more primitive mind, much like the monster who occupies the White House today.

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Why do I perform a mashup between today's politics and a movie made 63 years ago?  The answer is simple.  The rabid Trump loyalist reflects America's id.  If you are a white person from a rural community, many of the jobs in the region are no more. Mines have been closed, mills have been shut down, and farmers are going bankrupt. The best opportunities for these people and their children have moved elsewhere, and those choosing to remain are often locked into the dying regions by financial and social conditions.  It is no wonder that they are resentful of people living on the coasts.  Opportunities abound in regions where knowledge work is the norm, and ever more wealth is being generated in these regions every day.  It doesn't matter that taxes on people residing in coastal regions are subsidizing people in the hinterlands, the rural people expect that opportunities should come their way, and not them having to move to access those opportunities.

In the 1930's, the lack of a social welfare program caused people to move from Oklahoma to California to find opportunity.  But today, many of these rural residents take advantage of the social welfare system and stay in their dying towns.  They act like victims, and blame their failures on "the other".  Sadly, our president takes advantage of this, and feeds this monster from America's id.  In the 1956 movie, the monster was a construct of a single person.  Today, the monster is constructed by 1/3 of our nation.  This is frightening.

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I had lunch with my ex-boss today.  In addition to shoes, and ships, and sealing wax, we talked of many things. We eventually got around to talking about the pig in the White House, but we didn't talk about his wings.  Instead, we focused on how eerily America's path under Trump is mirroring Germany's path under Hitler. I mentioned Erik Larson's book, "In the Garden of Beasts" and said that it should be a must read for people today.  For those not familiar with the book, the following overview should give a flavor of the true story Larson relates:

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America's first ambassador to Hitler's Nazi Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history. A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the "New Germany," she has one affair after another, including with the surprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance--and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler's true character and ruthless ambition. Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre G ring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels, In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror

Compare 2019 America to 1933 Germany, and you'll see eerie parallels.  When my ex-boss had a "good" thing to say about Hitler, I mentioned that I knew he hates Hitler.  (My ex-boss is Jewish.)  But in comparison with Trump, at least Hitler loved his country and had a brain.  We are both frightened of a similar Götterdämmerung happening here.  But there's not much we can do about it, save vote our consciences next year.

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The prosperous regions can no longer afford to keep sending money to regions who no longer act in the best interests of our country.  The prosperous regions can no longer accept dictates from a forever culturally backward region that interfere with the lives of those prosperous regions.  And the prosperous regions are sick and tired of having to deal with people who are not willing to put the long term future of this country ahead of parochial, short term needs.  Both sides are near their breaking points, and we could have riots in our streets before too long. 

What would it take to heal this cultural and economic wound?  First, we need to figure out a way to agree on objective facts.  This means that the spin masters of both left and right must ratchet down their rhetoric.  We must ignore those spin masters who fail to get the message, and block the Alex Jones's of this world from getting a public forum.  Yes, I'm bordering on 1st amendment issues here.  But if we don't get Facebook, Twitter, etc. to block people like him for promoting "hate speech" (as defined by their terms of service), they won't have a useful forum in which to spew their worst lies.  Without extreme spin on agreed on facts, we have a good chance of relearning how to disagree with each other and still stay civil with each other.

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Why is this important to me?  The answer is simple.  The GLBT Community in Germany was victimized during Hitler's reign, and is under attack from many of Trump's ideological minions.  As a transgender person, I am sensitive to the world around me, and fear what could happen here if today's political trends are not stopped....
  
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I've fallen in love with crinkle dresses, and since I couldn't find one more dress in my size with the longer hem that I like, I decided to buy the above knee length dress.  Once I saw it in front of my door, I knew I had to wear it later on in the day.

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Today was another day which I had nothing on my schedule.  The weekly dining meetup was cancelled for this week, as the place we intended to dine at was closed on Tuesday nights. This left me with a choice - either attend another women's meetup with none of my friends there for "moral support", or to do something else.  So it was "something else" that I chose to do.

Given that I wasn't in the mood to get dressed for most of the day, I decided to go through much of the stuff I had stored behind a living room "chair and a half". Most of this stuff hadn't been touched for years, and I knew that I'd never bother using any of the linens stored in an old wooden chest, as well as never bothering to wear some of the clothes I had stashed away in storage containers.





I had emptied the contents of the chest into the bags in the second picture.  There is no way I'll give worn out (and possibly stained) linens to charity, so they will go out in the dumpster. However, the storage chest below contains miscellaneous men's and women's clothes (in good condition) which could be used by someone in need.  Eventually, I will need to find a home for this chest.  I don't know how to describe the chest. I don't know its origins.  And I don't want to throw it out, as I inherited the chest from my late wife.   

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Once I had made an even bigger mess of my apartment, I decided to get showered and dressed as Marian.  I will be in male mode for most of the next few days, and will be itching to put on a dress by the time GFJ leaves for home.  So, I ended up driving to Paramus and visiting the Catherine's there.  As usual, I browsed through the dress offerings. On one rack, I saw the heather gray version of a dress I own in fuscia for $40   Since I liked this dress, I bought another one in gray.  Unfortunately, I won't have the chance to wear it until next week.  While there, I also tried on another dress.



Both the jacket and dress looked good on me.  Sadly, I have nowhere and no occasion to wear it.  So I put it back on the rack, and left it for another woman to buy.

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At this time, I made my way back home.  Stopping at Fairway, I found out that they don't like to give out cash from an ATM card purchase.  Instead, they want to make a buck from the mini ATM near the checkout lanes.  Since I was not in the mood to spend a buck to get $40, I paid for my goods in cash and made my way to a Stop and Shop near to home. After about $15 in shopping, I got my $40 and some chicken wings for tonight's dinner.

Eventually, I made it home and started to relax.  However, one could easily tell that my mind was elsewhere when I made my shopping stop - the two "diet pizzas" I bought were different from each other.  I thought I was buying thin bread pizza with sausage topping for both packages.  One was plain cheese.  Then, I forgot to nuke the wings - and realized it when I bit into BBQ sauce coated chicken wings.  These wings needed to be reheated, and I was too lazy to do so.  Too bad I didn't skip the wings and try the "diet pizzas" instead.

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So far, my Independence Day plans are relatively open.  Although GFJ is supposed to come down, we do not know what we'll be doing, or where we'll be doing it.  We may go see some fireworks.  But then, we may just go see a movie, as West Point will have their fireworks on Saturday.


 

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