Tuesday, February 20, 2018

At the Diagnostic Center

Sorry about the delay in posting...there have been some issues with Mother to deal with.   But finally the referrals to the Diagnostic Center arrived in the mail.  I called for an appointment, and those arrangements were made.

On the appointed day, it was warm enough outside that I could get a head start on spring, and go casual.  I wore a pair of gray capris, black clogs, a black turtleneck, black panties, and a blue hoodie.   Along with my usual hair, nails and purse.  No tights or pantyhose.   That outfit was easy enough to remove when requested, and comfortable enough for any casual woman.

When I arrived, I signed in using my first initial and last name.   They called me up to the check-in desk using my last name, and we did the paperwork.   They had access to my birth gender if they chose to look, but no gender specific terms were used.  When the paperwork was done, I returned to the waiting room to "wait my turn."

Only about 10 minutes later, a girl (probably thirtysomething) came out and announced "Ms. Amanda" (of course using my own given name.)  And Ma'am was used the next couple of times, but as the tests started, even that dropped off, as did conversations.   I don't know if she clocked me - tests did not include the groin area, but paperwork may have given the clue.  And then she showed me back out. 

Now I await the results of it all...

And, it was a good day...


Monday, February 12, 2018

A visit to the doctor...

Recently I had occasion to visit my Primary Care Physician.

This wasn't an issue for the provider.  He knows my birth gender, and uses appropriate greetings and pronouns when necessary.  The fact that I typically look more like a girl than a boy doesn't seem to be a problem.

The staff, however, no longer knows me. I found that out today.   There has been an almost complete turnover in support employees since last fall.   When I checked in, I noticed female staffers (all new since my last visit) omitted any gender specific greetings, and the same thing happened when I was called to go into the exam room.   For those who may be interested, my outfit was tan stirrup pants over black trouser socks (no tights), a long black turtleneck tunic (un-tucked), nylon panties, and my flats.  In addition, of course, to my purse, long nails and hair.  Like so:

The nurse who initially took my blood pressure omitted any gender specific greetings...but when she came back in at the end of my visit to dispense a pneumonia vaccination, she reminded me to "take your tunic off so I can reach the top of your arm."  I never did figure out if she had checked the records for my gender, but she didn't express surprise that I was bra-less.

Segue to the Nursing Home:  recently I was told that by my mother's nursing home staff that the doctor discovered a small lump on one of my mother's breasts, and they reminded me that I should begin to have a breast exam each year, since it tends to run in families.  (Yes, they know my birth gender.)

Back to my Primary Care visit:  my provider didn't flinch when I asked him to do it, particularly because of the size of my breasts (I've never been measured, but they are more noticeable when I wear certain tops.  Not typical male breasts.)  He thought it was a good idea and will check them again in the future.   Fortunately, nothing needing further investigation was found.

When my visit was over, I went to the check out desk, where the twentysomething clerk got a full view of my appearance as I approached.  I inquired about paperwork for a couple of non-invasive tests the doctor suggested.  The clerk (new staff) had to call across the office to the doctor's nurse and inquire about "Ms. Sherman's referral."  I heard her say to the nurse: "Yes, she inquired about them."  (I was referred to as "she" a number of times.)   Then she asked: "Ma'am, is it OK if we mail them?  The printer is having issues."   I told her that would be fine, and said "Have a wonderful day, Miss."  She responded "You too, Ma'am.

Though my presentation initially seemed as though it may have been marginal, the visit turned out to be wonderful!


Monday, February 5, 2018

The way home...including the bridges of Pittsburgh

The eastbound train was running late, thus arrival in Pittsburgh was after sunrise.  These pix are views I seldom get to see eastbound, and never get Westbound due to the scheduled Pittsburgh arrival, always near midnight.  Being on the train gives a wonderful view of The Bridges of Pittsburgh (which is surrounded by water on two sides, thus the need for many bridges...)

Of particular interest are the three bridges shown in the following picture.    Per Wikipedia,
The Three Sisters are three very similar self-anchored suspension bridges spanning the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh, at 6th, 7th, and 9th streets, generally running north/south. The bridges have been given formal names to honor important Pittsburgh residents:

6th St:  for Roberto Clemente
7th St:  for Andy Warhol
9th St:  for Rachel Carson

Designed by the Allegheny County Department of Public Works, they were all built in a four-year period, from 1924 to 1928, by the American Bridge Company, replacing earlier bridges of various designs at the same sites. Their construction was mandated by the War Department, citing navigable river clearance concerns. They are constructed of steel, and use steel eyebars in lieu of cables.
The Three Sisters are historically significant because they are the only trio of nearly identical bridges, as well as the first self-anchored suspension spans, built in the United States. They are among the only surviving examples of large eyebar chain suspension bridges in America, and furthermore, unusual for having been erected using cantilever methods.

Their color is aztek gold/yellow, chosen by city residents.  Painted alike, they make a beautiful sight from the train....if it passes eastbound very late, and in sunlight!

Harpers Ferry, WV:  a very historic place in our nation's history.  From the train, this abandoned house just looks like any other dilapidated old house.  However,  this place is special...it's the former lock-keeper's house for lock 33 on the remains of the C & O canal, which is the ditch in front of it and on the other side of the road.   I will now add "driving on the road in front of it" to my list of things to do...

Finally - AT LAST - I could remove my coat AND my sweater.  Since I was on the way home, no skirt that day...  :-(  The temperature on the mainland side of the bay was near 60 degrees F.   Warm again, the way it should be!  Too bad my trip had to occur during the massive cold snap...oh, well - it is what it is!

I leave you with this beautiful sunset from my trip....yes, there was some sunny weather - cold but sunny.  And I actually got to see a little of it!

Happy Trails!


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Last day and night in Memphis.

And the sightseeing continued...in my stirrup pants, with tights beneath and my black skirt on top...

Has anyone heard of the Peabody Ducks?  I took some time to visit the Peabody Hotel downtown, and enjoy a few moments watching the ducks which live there as their guests.  They perform a duck walk to the indoor fountain each morning and a return to their quarters each evening, under the direction of the hotel's "Duckmaster." 

Unfortunately, the ducks don't slow down for anyone, and it's tough to get a sharp picture without flash and with an amateur camera...but here is my attempt.  (The Duckmaster - in the red jacket - is following behind his little charges, guiding them toward the elevator.)  It was a fun diversion, and several kids were there too...enjoying the action.

That afternoon I dropped in on the National Civil Rights Museum.   A most interesting destination.  Its many displays helped fill in the gaps in what I remember about the topic from the last half of the 20th Century.   And the museum took over the site of the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was shot.  A very melancholy visit for sure, but worthwhile.

It was also the first time I have publicly admitted to anyone (specifically the ticket agent) that I was transgender and faced some of the same types of problems, and wanted to learn more about the past.  I'm not sure he had any idea what I was talking about, but he was very pleasant, handed me the ticket, and said "Well, Ma'am if you have any questions, ask one of the attendants."

The infamous Lorraine Motel, as it appears today:

I'm so glad the community saved it from demolition, and made it a part of the museum.  Two antique cars barely visible at the far end of the motel have vintage tags, and are permanent parts of the display.  Too bad the carbodies are beginning to rust...they do need some attention before they rust away!

Come nighttime, I took one last stroll to Beale Street, before catching the train north.  It was beginning to hum - there was more activity than I had previously noted.  And less ice...enough had melted that I didn't feel I had to walk like an Emperor Penguin...very carefully and deliberately. (But it was still COLD!)

Then, it was back toward the hotel,  stopping for a fast-food dinner on the way.  After a quick shower and packing for my departure, it was time to head for the train station.  As cold as it was, I couldn't shed the stirrup pants.   I kept my skirt on for boarding the City of New Orleans, figuring I could always change in the morning if weather improved.   But it didn't....

A quick hotel check out, and a cab ride from the hotel to the train station meant I was on my way....

More later,


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Time for Nails...and shoes

A segue to "back home"...will continue with my narrative as soon as possible! (Still writing it...)

While catching up on the "honey-do" list from my recent excursion, and in between working on the final posts from it, I realized that my nails were in serious need of attention.   My foot had been jammed into a chair leg on the trip, and I bruised a couple of toe nails, which were becoming discolored.  And further damaged the cracked nail I have been dealing with for a long time.  Plus, my fingers were in desperate need of a fill...

First job was to get my toes done...  The tech confirmed that I had bruised the discolored toes, and suggested that she put a color on them.  I had showed my wife the issue before the appointment, suspecting that might be the proper approach.  And I told her to not be surprised if I come home with a color of some sort on my toes.  She didn't say anything...neither approval or disapproval.

My nail tech suggested a wine color or deep red, but I went "thumbs down."  Not that I wouldn't love to enjoy red nails for the foreseeable future, it's just that I could predict likely problems at home over it, particularly as spring approaches.  So the tech handed me a basket of their color samples...all sorts of colors.

Wow...now I was in heaven, just like a girl, trying to separate what I "should wear" - nondescript colors - from what "I'd love to wear"- reds, oranges, and wine colors.   So little time,, so many choices...while she worked on my feet.   But all too soon, she was done and it was time to "fish or cut bait."   They didn't have any opaque pinks which precisely matched my skin color.   So, my choice was easy...a light pink, which could be mistaken for white.   There were 3 different samples and she thought this covered the ailing nails the best.

So now, I will be sporting these noticeable toe nails for a while, and there were fortunately no issues at home.  Yet.  But it isn't sandal season.  Yet.  (I do have one pair of sandals which mostly coves my toes. In case of issues, those will be my safety valve.)   And the new color on my toes doesn't look all that much different from the translucent pink on my fingers.

I've tried on my high heels recently, and realized how tight they are, while my heels still slip out of the shoes with every step.  I can't wear them for more than an hour or so.  And that precludes taking them on any excursion where space is at a premium (i.e. most of them.)   The other day I ordered a pair of low heel pumps, hoping that finally I could end up with a pair of heels which could be worn for longer periods...and they finally arrived.

Following is what they look like:

Sorry about the black tights under the stirrup pants...but with the above two other pix, you can get the idea of what they look like.  (No, they're not loafers - despite the fact they look like it here.  I'll post more pix when I get the chance.)

I'm still wearing them around the house whenever my wife isn't here...the toe box is a bit tight, but the bright side is:  they stay on.  Though the jury is still out, I suspect they'll be a keeper...and my old high heels will go bye bye.  I don't have a lot of storage space!

Now back to work on the final trip episodes...


Monday, January 29, 2018

Memphis...after the meeting.

When I checked into the a different hotel after leaving our friends, the new place's staff had a split decision on my femininity.  (I was not wearing a skirt at that point.)  Doormen addressed me as "Ma'am" but the desk clerk (who really noticed only my top half and my ID), used the dreaded S-word.  That was expected.   After reaching the room, and changing, I went back through the front desk area later, and apparently the shift had changed or folks were on break, as nobody gave me a second glance...so far, so good.

I had brought along one black,  and one red-and-black patterned skirt.  With the cold weather outside, the red one never left the suitcase.  And I made a short run outside wearing two pair of opaque black tights with the skirt. - with the wind chill down in the single digits, that was too cold - I'm just not used to my legs being so exposed.   Thus I settled on wearing heavier black stirrup pants over a pair of tights, with my black skirt and my booties.  That worked...and I have two of each color of tunic tops, so that was not an issue.

My booties were a lifesaver...yes, I had flats in my suitcase.  But the soles were smooth, and there was ice/snow everywhere.  They were very slippery - falling was a real risk.   So they got worn only once...on the way home.  I spent most of the trip wearing my booties...which hid the stirrups and made it look almost like I had on a pair of leggings.  And with the lugged soles, I had much more traction...no falls.

So, it was out to sightsee a bit, on Beale Street.  It was early morning, and the ice was still present.  But I had on my skirt, with lipstick and the rest...and was addressed as Ma'am by everyone - including a panhandler.  That never ends.  Do they get better results from harassing women?  Maybe he thinks with big purses, women have lots of money to give them?  I tried completely ignoring this one, and he gave up rather quickly.

I had been told by both a cab driver and the rental agency staff that Beale St. was safe to enjoy, but unlike Broadway in Nashville and Bourbon Street in New Orleans, the safe part only goes about 3 blocks.  So I stopped at about 2 blocks.  It was fun, and there weren't many folks out at that hour of the morning - well, except for the panhandlers.  The second one addressed me properly, too.  But I wasn't in a sympathetic mood.  The low sun angle made for some interesting pictures.

Several shopkeepers addressed me correctly, and as a result I bought a few souvenirs...

And it's probably a bit unusual to be walking on Beale St. - in frigid temperatures, with low-single-digit wind blowing up under my winter coat and snow and ice on the ground.

Though this picture doesn't really show it, sidewalks - particularly on the shady side - had many slippery spots - with only sand for traction.  (The places that were shoveled well, fared the best.  Others, not so much.)  Yes, the sun was beginning to make inroads on the ice, but I had to presume things were still slippery, and wearing my booties on this trip was definitely the correct decision, even though flats would have been more feminine!

More later...


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bentonville, Arkansas...

You may recognize the town name - it's on every Wal-Mart tractor-trailer you see.  And in Bentonville, there is the original 5-and-10 that Sam Walton opened.

However, rather than selling products, it has been turned into a museum about the man and his chain of retail outlets.   And a good museum it is...well worth the time it took to visit...many interesting facts are presented.  Did you know Sam Walton was a pilot?  And that his first plane was an Ercoupe single engine aircraft that he used to personally scout out locations for new stores?  A scale model of his plane is in there.  And that he drove a 4wd red and white Ford pickup truck with 4-speed manual? It's in there, too. They moved his office lock stock and barrel from the warehouse to the museum, as a memento.  And there's a re-creation of an old fashioned soda fountain as you exit (great prices...it's hard to find Moon Pies for only 50 cents...but they have them!)

Whether you're a Wal-Mart fan or not, this gives you a wonderful insight into how the chain came about.

If you look closely above, you can see a red and white Ford pickup of the same vintage as the one in the museum.  It's not Sam's but is marked for the museum.  Now look below...they had a 10 cent kiddie ride made to resemble Sam's truck!

I knew there was an old St Louis & San Francisco (Frisco) station in town, and I had the address.   The GPS got me there....but yours truly drive right past it.  Doesn't look anything like the stations you're used to seeing...and more importantly - there are no tracks, either.  They were ripped up a long time ago.  The second time I went past...in the other direction, there was a caboose to help in locating it.

This station was built in 1925 to replace one which was not holding up well.   After WW II, passenger business declined as airlines and cars sucked up all their patrons, and the railroad quit serving Bentonville.    The station fell into disrepair, until a commercial firm decided to restore it, resulting in the pretty building below.

And lastly, I dropped in for a self-guided tour of the gorgeous Peel Mansion Museum & Heritage Gardens.  These were built in 1875 by Colonel Samuel West Peel. Much care was taken in erecting this magnificent house, a wonderful example of the Italianate Villa Style.

The interior of the house was furnished with authentic antiquities and artifacts of the era, generously loaned by the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Old State House.

In its day, it was a working farmstead, surrounded by 180 acres of apple orchards.

Colonel Peel, pioneer businessman, legal representative (appointed by the President) to the five civilized tribes in Indian Territory and Confederate soldier, was the first native-born Arkansan elected to the United States Congress. He and his wife, Mary Emaline Berry Peel, raised nine children here.

It was a good day in Bentonville, for a girl in stirrup pants (over tights), turtleneck, jewelry and booties...too bitter cold for anything less than a winter coat on top, which sort of disguised the femininity.  At least I did not hear the dreaded "S" word...though the lack of any feminine forms of address was definitely noticeable.

More later,