Thursday, March 28, 2013

Yesterday was a phenomenal day...

Yesterday was a phenomenal day. - and I even femmed up a notch.  Added one of mother's old necklaces to my grayish-white turtleneck.  Along with my ballerinas, I think they helped with my girly image...

After ratcheting up the courage, first stop of the morning was the MAC counter at Nordstroms. There I talked to the makeup artist, a girl who appeared to be in her mid to late 20's, very friendly and accepting. (Though the other MAC rep's elderly client standing behind her, was getting an eye-and-earful.)

Outfit as I visited the MAC counter....

I showed my rep her what areas on my face need better coverage, so she checked my color against the ones she had in stock (quite a few) and recommended one for me.  She said it's the one she uses to cover up her tattooed-on eyebrows when she wants to adjust their shape.   Then she removed the makeup from a couple square inches of the beard area on one side, and applied it.  It looked good at the store, so I bought some, along with the MAC finishing powder.  Now I have to try applying it myself...hope it works as well when I use it on my whole beard area! 

She obviously recognized my birth gender, but treated me as any other female customer, and inquired if she could do anything else to help.  Since she seemed "genuine," I broke free from my inhibitions and simply asked if she'd be willing and able to do a complete female makeup application for me.  (Amazingly, there was no blushing on my I must be getting better at this!)  She smiled, said she'd really love to, gave me her card, and said to call when I'm ready, so we can set a date - plan to be with her for an hour.  "Let me know if you're interested in a daytime or evening look, and what areas you want me to cover. I know about the concealer issue, and overall appearance.  How about Eyes?  Lips?  Blush?"

 Wearing my new makeup and heels!

The MAC rep and I both preferred the idea of doing my makeover first thing in the morning.   So I may plan to visit Nordstroms (about an hour drive from home) on the Monday before an upcoming planned trip, and have her do a full makeup application.  I'll be wearing a skirt and blouse that day (with no backup pants outfit), which'll insure that I'll run all my errands and do some shopping as a female.  And, since the better half will be out of town,  I'll have a couple days to practice application on myself without rushing, before setting out on my trip!  Practice makes perfect.

Second visit was to the contact lens doctor.  They already know me, so they addressed me as "sir" even though I was dressed very "androgynously."   Third storefront was at a jeweler for a quote on a repair to the black necklace of Mom's that I like so much.  It's really not broken - I just hate the clasp.  That's good, since their quote was outrageous for the repair.

When I stopped for lunch at the Subway I always use (and where they have always addressed me as "sir") I finally  achieved the status of being recognized as female.  YAY!  Not sure if the staff got "new instructions," or whether my appearance (and makeup) has improved, but either way, I'll gladly take it!  And I even used the women's room there.  (Admittedly the place wasn't crowded, but it just seemed like the thing to do.  Glad I'm not in Arizona!)

Lastly was a trip to Payless.  Actually two Payless'es.  The first one was simply a place to to try on shoes.  They were friendly but not overly helpful, and I wasn't ready to "tip my hat." But I thought several pairs fit well enough to consider buying.

As I appeared at Payless...

After thinking about it on the road between stores, I decided to buy a pair of new shoes at the second Payless,  The middle-aged female clerk was very friendly, outgoing, and offered to help.  I asked her to check out the value left on a "store credit" refund card for me, then said I was "just looking."  She smiled, genuinely offered to help, and said "Ma'am, I'll stop back to see you in a few minutes, to see how you're doing."   "Thanks, I'll appreciate that" and I headed for the women's shoes...

About 20 minute later, after I had tried on a bunch of ballet flats and mary janes (again, none fit nearly as well as the ones I already own), wedges, and several different styles of heels.  I walked around in them, in front of other customers, with no issues, and checked them in the mirror.  I had finally narrowed it down to two pairs - one was a black peep toe wedge and the other was a pump with a 3" heel.  I couldn't decide which looked better on me. So, when the clerk magically appeared, I told her I needed her help.  (Once again, where did my inhibitions go?) "That's what I'm here for, honey!"  

At that moment I was wearing the wedges, so I modeled them for her.   She told me to put on the pumps and walk around a bit.  She asked me to try a different size, and then a different width, both of which she searched for, and found for me.  They didn't work - the original ones were better.  So she had me put the original ones back on and walk in them again.  "For a first-time girl, you do fairly well."

While I was modeling the pumps, I said "I can't afford both pairs today, but please help me decide which of these two look better on me."  "Honey, even in your stirrup pants, those heels make your legs look so much longer.  You're going to be more attractive wearing them with skirts or dresses, and you'll wonder why you've been hiding your legs in pants for all these years.  Honey, you NEED to start wearing those heels."  I asked her about the wedges "with the lower heel, since this is my first pair."  "Unfortunately, they look a bit frumpy on you, so...stick to those heels and you'll be glad you did!"  I told her that I sorta thought that might be the case.

As she was running my purchase through the cash register, I asked the best way to learn to walk in heels.  "Should I just put them on now, and wear them out of the store?"  Her advice was "No honey, you'd twist an ankle before you even get to your car.  First, wear them inside on carpets for a few hours, to get your leg muscles used to your new way of walking - it's kind of like walking on your toes.  You're going to love it!  Then graduate to a concrete floor, to learn how they feel on a solid surface.  After that, honey,  put on your new heels and your shortest dress, and start showing the world those legs!  When you come back next time, you'll be asking me for another pair in a different color, AND a pair of these..." as she held up a pretty pair of high heel sandals that were sitting behind the counter.  They look like they'd be perfect for an evening out - but the heels were even higher!  "Once you can walk in your 3" heels, you'll have no trouble adapting to 4".

Heels even improve the looks of stirrup pants!

So I finally have a pair of heels that fit fairly well, to practice wearing whenever I can.   I need to learn how I'm going to sound when I walk...a woman's heels make a very distinctive tapping noise, which is unavoidable, and which (from experience) always turns men's heads!  My clerk at Payless was fabulous - wish I had a reason to buy more heels from her right now!  I'm really looking forward to the week when the better half will be visiting relatives in Chicago.  Most of that week will be spent in skirts and heels!

Makeup update this morning: I shaved at 7:30 AM, finished applying my new makeup by 8:15 (took about 15 minutes to get it on right, since it has to be dabbed on with a brush), and it's now 4 PM.  My face still looks like it would survive a casual observation  There's some (but very little) show-through, and I haven't done any touch ups.  If I put some of my old makeup on over top of it, I should be able to go another two or three hours before re-applying, or if I had done that an hour or two ago, it probably would have solved the problem.

This is an ongoing project. so stay tuned...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cars. Skirts and The Waltons

After seeing Kim's post about resurrecting her Mustang and driving it en femme, that got me to thinking about one of the very few times I've driven "pretty" in my antique.

The year was 2008, and I noticed an ad for an auto show in Columbus, OH.  I made some hotel reservations, just in case this trip became a reality.  Well, when the time came to decide yes or no, the weather was basically stuck in "sunny July" mode, so I decided to drive the antique west from Maryland, alone (as was, and still is. customary for such shows.) And I chose to make it the first time I'd driven the antique car any significant distance en femme.  My hesitation had been somewhat similar to Marian's concern of driving her car with a possible impending mechanical failure.   Without a doubt, I'd  been concerned about what happens if...(insert every possible type of calamity here - my imagination worked overtime to figure out all the things which could go wrong.)  But with it's dependable history, off I went!

The first morning, I got a reasonable starting time and wore my less-femme attire.   I had reservations at a Holiday Inn about 3/4 of the way to Columbus, and was looking forward to dinner in their restaurant en femme.  When I finally arrived in town, I drove the entire length of town twice - only to find that there was no Holiday Inn sign.  I called their phone number (and wondered why it answered Ramada).  They gave me directions - which took me to a - that's right, Ramada.  When I inquired, they said that a few weeks ago, they were reflagged from Holiday Inn to Ramada, but honored my reservation.  Yes, I did get to enjoy a dinner en femme, in an almost empty restaurant.  It was somewhat boring, but I got decent service, which was more a factor of no customers than of my attire.

Me and my small-block Buick

The above pic was taken in the parking lot at the Ramada.  It was before breakfast, and a couple hours prior to my departure.  The lady who was out for a walk with her little girl, saw my camera perched on a table and offered to take my picture...since I forgot my tripod.  She appeared very comfortable talking with me, "woman to woman" and with no hesitation, and she was fascinated with the car.  Her approximately 8 year old daughter was fine with me dressed this way...nothing was said, nothing was whispered.  I had a wonderful time.

So, I got a late start (like about 10:30), and the distance to Columbus was such that I figured I could wait till I got into my room before having to visit the toilet the next time.

 I thought tomatoes had been around for years....

I actually got side-tracked enroute, in the midst of some late morning fog.   I detoured to some of the local sights, and enjoyed seeing the Birthplace of the Tomato in Reynoldsburg, OH.  In reality, the tomato had been cultivated for many centuries, including in the southern US prior to 1870, but as of then it was not commercially grown. Yield was spotty and the tomatoes themselves reportedly did not look as appetizing as they do today.

In 1870 Alexander Livingston, a self-taught horticulturalist, stabilized the tomato, developed several different varieties, and allowed it to become a successful commercial crop, and an integral part of our diets today.  A link for more of the history...,_oh.htm

What kind of a house is that?  The siding looks like 2 foot square metal blocks?

The above looked like it might have been a steel house - and it was.   A little checking showed that this is an example of one, built in the late 40's or early '50's, possibly made by Lustron.  Based on my route, it was in a suburb east of Columbus, along US Route 40.  Advantages are termite damage, no rot, less fire threat, upkeep, etc.  There reportedly were several manufacturers of them, but for some reason steel dwellings never caught on, and I had never noticed any examples before.

As luck would have it, shortly after leaving the steel house, I came across a local park with - you guessed it - a very visible porta-potty and no other "customers" in the parking lot nearby.  It had been almost 3 hours since leaving the motel, so this girl wasn't about to pass up a lucky bonus.  Using it was very appropriate, even though it wasn't clean.  Changing to a less feminine outfit would have meant clothes touching the floor or walls as I tried to balance myself on one leg at a time to change without sitting down or touching anything.  So I made an executive decision that it was better to just stay in my skirt and flats.

When I arrived at the motel, the lobby was very crowded, and I had to wait in line to check in.  So I could at least wait for my room key in comfort...and as it turned out, anonymity.  There was nobody I knew in the lobby - a nice reward for taking that risk, as I hadn't changed clothes!

Tooooo much sun! 

The show itself was a big event, including Friday afternoon and Saturday itself.   As usual, I enjoyed showing the car both days.  There was a band in the evening, and everything.  Though at that point, and for the show itself, I was a bit more conventionally dressed - shorts, sandals and a sleeveless top - no skirt.  The sun sort of baked me, and the above picture was my approximate actual color - lobster red after a day in the sun!  The saddest part was, my car didn't even place at the show...however, that is to be expected on occasion.  And car shows are still a fun day, "win, lose or draw."

On the way eastbound after the show, again traveling en femme due to my success on the westbound trip. came my only eastbound sightseeing adventure.  While cruising along I-70, I glanced north as I went across an overpass.  What did I spot" A rusting line of old, decrepit city trolleys, probably from Cleveland or Columbus, sitting next to a cornfield on an abandoned rail line which passed under the interstate.

And lastly, some abandoned trolley cars in rural Ohio, near the I-70 overpass...

Yours truly just can't pass up getting a picture of anything railroad-related, thus I exited I-70 a few miles up the road, and went "hunting".  It was a hot day, so the AC was on full blast.    When I found the rail line (out in the middle of nowhere, long abandoned and overgrown, with the trolleys partially buried in foliage) I grabbed my camera and literally jumped out of the car, leaving the key in the ignition and the AC running.  This was a country road, and if I flashed any panty in my haste, there was nobody around to see it...  

My habit is to always lock the car - bet you can see where this is going!  True to my habit,  I dutifully locked the door behind me, not even giving it a second thought.  I was able to walk on the berm to get my pictures.  (Wearing a skirt, flats and pantyhose, and with possible poison ivy visible by the road, it definitely wasn't worth a foray into the brush to get closer).  I returned to the car, longing for the air conditioning, which I had left running.  Alas, the the car door was locked.  Oops....

Fortunately, I'd clipped my cell phone to the elastic waist of my skirt when I got out without my purse (a habit I've always had - I always like to have my phone with me.)   I used 911 to call the local police - they said they could do nothing unless I had my ID on my person.  Well, duh - it's inside my locked car, Sherlock.  (Of course, I found a more polite manner to express it on the phone!)  But that didn't matter to them.  So, I called least Sherlock gave me the number.  The AAA needed the name of the road, and the nearest intersection to where I was - they'd get someone to help, but it might take a couple hours since it was just about time for Sunday lunch.  (Remember, heartland Ohio farms...not a city.)  Not a pleasant thought, in the hot sun again today, with very few places to avoid it - except the shade from the I-70 overpass a few hundred yards away.

While the AAA and I were discussing my location, I was actively suveying the area, looking for a piece of useful detritus along the road, which might help get me back in the car.  I'd already convinced myself that it would be much more palatable to meet my AAA "knight in shining armor" en femme, than to walk up the road a mile or more to the nearest house, and introduce my "by-then-perspiration-soaked" girly self to John Boy, Jim Bob, Ben, Erin and the entire rest of the Walton family...who would all be at the dining room table for Sunday lunch,  staring at the stranger wearing a skirt.  (For those of you too young to remember the Waltons series on the Telly ('71 - '81), look it up on the internet!  Good series.)

As if by destiny,  I found the perfect piece of wire.  So I put the dispatcher at the AAA on hold for a minute, bent the wire appropriately, and after a couple tries, was able to pop open the old-fashioned-window-sill lock pull.  I was back in the drivers' seat in no time at all, with apologies to AAA.  (Yes, it was cooler inside than outside - the AC had done its thing.)  Soon on my way eastbound after a 20 minute delay, I was none the worse for wear, and with good pictures in the camera.   I didn't do any more sightseeing.  (Gee, I wonder why?!)

Nowadays, I still routinely lock any car I get out of, including the antique.  But either I use its key fob if so equipped, OR for the antique, I make sure the spare key is on a safety lanyard around my neck, and bend over a bit to lock the door with the key.  It's impossible to get in trouble by following those rules!  And I changed the pulls on the antique's door locks to foil the old wire trick.  Next time, it won't work.   So I'd better not have a "next time."  Lesson learned!

With apologies to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans...Happy Trails To You!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bank deposit and makeup...

Today (Saturday) my errands included a stop at the bank, and then a visit with Mom at the nursing home.

In front of me in the long line at the bank, was a young mother with a cute little girl in her arms...    I'm certainly not a good judge of kids' age, but she looked to be two or maybe three years old.  When I got behind her mom in line, the little girl looked up at me....once, twice, three, four times.  I couldn't help but notice.  By the fourth time, I finally smiled at her.  That seemed to do the trick.  She smiled back broadly, and only casually glanced my way a few times over the next couple of minutes, not intently like earlier.  I wasn't sure what to make of it, but once her mom was finally at the teller, the little girl looked back at me and smiled one last time, so I returned the smile.

When their transaction was complete, they headed out to their car.  Because my transaction was a quick one,  her mom was still buckling her into the safety seat as I arrived at my car, which was parked right next to theirs, but with an empty space between us.  As I unlocked my door, I thought heard a childlike "Hi," which I ignored.  Then I heard it again...and looked over.  The little girl had a big smile on her face and was sort of waving.  I said "Hi there" and returned a big smile and a wave.  She seemed satisfied and settled right down while her mom finished with the child seat, closed the door, smiled at me, and got in.

Not sure if the little girl clocked me.  She probably was too young to know what she saw.  But she seemed like she'd have been genuinely disappointed if "her new friend" hadn't said "hi" back.  It's likely that if she paid attention, the mother undoubtedly clocked me, but at least the little girl was happy and contented with my response.   Kids are so cute at that age!

I stopped by the billing office at the nursing home, to pick up an invoice for some things for Mom.  The female billing officer and I were waiting for the invoice to print, so she inquired if she could ask a personal question.  I said, sure, go ahead (expecting something drastic.)   Her question had to do with whether I've been doing something to improve my complexion.  "I guess what I'm trying to say is - your skin has been looking much better lately.  Are you wearing foundation and powder?"   OK, my makeup secret is out...I won't duck the issue.

"Yep, I am.  Not only foundation and powder, but concealer too.  I guess I'd better tone it down a bit, if it's that noticeable."  "Oh no, it's not overly noticeable; I've watched your complexion improve so much these past several weeks.  Please don't feel you have to stop.  In fact, you really should keep applying it - makeup helps you look so much better, and younger too.  At this point, you should even be wearing lipstick. That'll give your lips some definition and color, as well as add contrast to your pretty makeup."

Wow,  what a shock - from a girl who sees me every day and thinks I really should be wearing makeup. What I didn't share with her, was that today, for the first time, I was actually wearing real lipstick at the nursing home - as opposed to tinted lip balm. Since it's several shades darker than my natural lips and I was concerned about it being noticed,  I applied only a very light coat.  Next visit, I won't be quite so shy...and it'll be fun to finally be able to use the makeup mirror in my car for its intended purpose!

Happy St Patrick's day to you all...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Another successful visit to the Charity Shop

Recently I paid another visit to the Charity Shop - I'm always looking for some new pretty things.  And as you can tell from my hair, I got seriously wind-blown in the process.  We have lots of wind around here lately.

While there, I found this colorful top and decent longer denim skirt, as always with reasonable prices.  Since a couple of opportunities to be fully femme will be coming along in the next few months, I want to look as nice as possible, and thought these might be able to be part of it.

The hem on this skirt has an issue of being folded over on the front - it won't stay "down."  (For under $2, you generally can't expect, and often don't get, total perfection.) I've tried ironing, but it didn't help.  It's a long time since I've been to my favorite seamstress's shop...she knows about me, and 's a big supporter.  So, I'll have to stop in for a visit.  I should be able to have her shorten my skirt by no more than an inch and re-hem it, at a reasonable price.  That would eliminate the flip-up hem problem, and preserve the walking slit in back...

And here's a close-up of my new patent leather ballerinas, the ones I mentioned in my previous blog.  That patent shine gives them a definitely feminine touch, and the best part is, that they're as comfortable as my others. They'll look nice, regardless of what I'm wearing...

One thing I'd still love to locate is a pair of ballerinas with the little string bows on the vamps.  I've tried several pairs, both mail order and in person.   So far, none have fit - but in size 12, it's not surprising.  The ones I have now are the exception, and they fit nicely.  Maybe that's why she got me 3 pairs...and I can live without the string bows.

Once again, I find that this skirt, like my others,  provides something unavailable in my capris and stirrup pants...two pockets.   Yes, they're small, but perfect for a credit card, a $20 bill, and a car and hotel room key when traveling. It's a nice touch, indeed - and a subtle, but satisfying, reward for wearing a skirt.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

OMG - someone must have lost their credit card

In addition to the medical issues the better half suffered recently, I've ended up with a few of my own.

One of the issues I was dealing with, was that I was told I needed a follow up for osteoporosis due to some recent height loss.  Back in '06 after a broken toe, I was told I'd better be checked in the future -  they told me I was borderline for osteoporosis.  So I was sent in for Dexa testing at a nearby center a week ago Monday.  (That's the Bone Density Test for Osteoporosis.) 

I was dressed androgynously as usual  for the visit - stirrup pants, nylons, ballerinas and a women's sweater, with my purse).  No issues in the waiting room.  No pronouns of either gender, either!

The radiologist (or whatever title she officially had) didn't miss a was "Ms" this and "Ms" that, and we even got into some girl talk while the machine was running.  "I don't know how you felt when you went through it, but I've gained so much weight and have so many hot flashes, it's just discouraging."  I commented that we all have to put up with it, but "I sure don't enjoy the spare tires I picked up and can't lose...I feel sort of like the Michelin man on TV looks."  That got a laugh out of her and she grabbed her own "spare tire," agreeing that "all of us hate looking like this!"

I don't know if she ultimately determined my gender from the info or scans that were showing up on the screen, but if she discovered my little secret, she never switched to "Sir."  And that was really appreciated - I'd rather be addressed as "Ma'am" instead of "Sir" any day...

Mom has a severe case of osteoporosis.  Fortunately, it turned out that I don't - my numbers have actually improved since ' my loss of height is from normal aging.  But it keeps life busy dealing with these types of issues...Mother's, and now my own.  Guess that happens when you get old.  Wouldn't it be nice if all it took to stop the aging process was to wear a cute little mini-skirt?

Sunday I arrived for my regular visit with my mother at the nursing home.  Something - I'll never know what - made me back the car into a parking place.  When I opened the door and stepped out, what was it that was on the ground by my ballerina-shod foot? A woman's current and valid red and white BankAmericard.  If I had pulled into the parking place, I'd have missed it. 

I thought to myself: "OMG - someone must have lost their credit card."   So I immediately picked it up and took it to the front desk. That's my the right thing.  They said they'd get it to the owner.   The regular staff all knows me, so even if the clerk at the desk that Sunday didn't, a description of "the long-haired guy who looks like a girl" would be enough to identify me.  I don't know for sure if it was returned to the lady, and was quite surprised that the owner didn't relay a "thanks" message back through the chain of command.  I certainly would, if someone found my lost credit card...

Regardless of whatever may have happened, at least my own conscience is clear...and the lady's card was rescued from the parking lot by someone intent on doing the right thing.  From there, the process was up to someone else.

The following has absolutely nothing to do with gender or my attire...

Found a couple of old pictures in some papers from Mom's house and couldn't resist inserting them here - two good shots (vintage 1959) of a fabulous airplane, truly the only way to fly...a Lockheed L1049 Super G Constellation.  Four Wright piston engines, 49 to 106 seats depending on the usage, a speed of from 340 to 377 mph, range of nearly 5400 miles, and service ceiling of 25,700 ft.

Just like nowadays, they built stretched airplanes (the Super G model was one of them) back in the day...and those wobbly steps were half the fun of the trip (trip - on the steps?  Get it?  Bad pun...sorry)!  No wimpy jetways for yesterday's intrepid travelers!  There are some great You-Tube videos (not mine) of these planes...if you have any interest in aviation, it's worth checking them out.

 This was the only way to and comfortable, with no middle seats to worry about, and stewardesses (NOT flight attendants) to address you by name and make your trip pleasant (gone are the days.)  No security lines with backscatter x-ray machines ("assume the position, please,") metal detectors, or legalized groping.  Simply luxury, and just plain fun.  I had a number of journeys in them as a kid.  And now the airplanes, as well as the airline, are gone. Anyone else remember those "good old days"?

Yesterday a package arrived in the mail for me, and I opened it, very curious as to the content.

I was surprised to find another pair of ballerinas in my size.  They're the same style as the ones I already wear, but these are a pretty croco-pattern, and they're made of shiny black patent leather.  Wow!  It's this girl's first-ever pair of patent shoes, and I love them!  They, like my other ballerinas, feel good and I know I'll spend lots of time wearing them.

The better half mentioned a while back, that she wanted to see me with some shoes more suited for dressy occasions.  So she made it happen.  "You'll look wonderful wearing your new black patent ballerinas with black stirrups over nude pantyhose, a white or red turtleneck blouse, black tunic cardigan and your French-manicured hands carrying your matching black patent purse.  They'll be  fabulous cool-weather outfits for you.  And I know you're going to spend lots of time in your new ballerinas - they'll work with so many other outfits.  Like for summer, your white stirrups with a sleeveless black polo tunic, or to dress up a pair of black capri's with a pastel tank top."

Can't argue...fabulous, and feminine.  And yes, she asked me to spend the rest of the day in them.  How could I refuse?

So far in this winter weather event today, we've escaped the snow here in the Mid-Atlantic. It's much too warm - east winds are bringing in warmer ocean air.  (We're a bit over an hour from the coast.)  And that's a good thing.  Nobody here wants a big snow storm - well, almost nobody!  A few die-hard skiers would enjoy it.  But they can drive out to the ski resorts like Seven Springs, Wisp, and the others...there was more snow out in the mountains.

Bet the grocers loved the hype of this storm...people were flooding the stores to load up on essentials...around these parts, it's "milk, bread and toilet paper."   Well, I guess toilet paper IS an essential...but why would someone wait for a snowstorm to buy it, if they need it?

Oh, well...another of life's imponderables.  Till next time...