Saturday, June 28, 2014

Another day, another excursion...

Another day, another excursion...

Yesterday (Thursday) my new glasses came in, so today I ventured "across the bridge" to pick them up, as well as run several other errands.

After my shower, I did my makeup using MAC, not the drugstore stuff.  It was hot outside and I didn't want my makeup to melt off and let my beard shadow show thru.   And from the picture below, you can see that it works well. 

I put on a pair of capris and polo, threw on a pair of pantyhose to cover my peeling legs (from a sunburn over a week ago) and stepped into my sandals,  I felt a bit self-conscious about wearing pantyhose with them in hot weather - though it ended up being a complete non-issue.  (If you recall - closed shoes are off-limits for me till fall.  See my blog "Sandals!" for details.)   I brought along my jewelry, blouse and skirt, so I could change in the car on the way, and spend my shopping day en femme.

It was the first day in a long time that the wind didn't destroy my hair...YAY!

Without recounting each individual stop in detail, suffice it to say that the only place I went where I was previously known as "Sir" didn't have anyone on duty who knew me.  So for the entire day, either there were no gender-related greetings/pronouns (one place), or I was accepted as female (everywhere else.)  I used a single stall women's room at lunch, and had no other need for a potty till I got home...about 6 hours after I left.

In this relatively "close-up"you can see that after almost 5 hours, my makeup is still doing its job...

But I noticed that the heat caused me to need to powder my face and refresh my lipstick about every hour...  A couple of those refreshes were done while waiting at stoplights, like I've noticed women have done for many years.  "Back in the day," before I started wearing makeup and skirts myself, I noticed that women attending to makeup in the car typically attracts male eyes - I was even guilty back then.  

And today, males still watch females refresh their makeup - things haven't changed much.  So, are they real "men's men," macho type-A personalities, enjoying gawking at a woman when she's totally powerless to stop them?  Or perhaps, "one of us" in drab, wishing it could be them applying their makeup?  

As for the men who watched me today, I'll never know - and I really don't care. They can have their fun "from afar."  But, I'm beginning to run more of my errands "across the bridge" in a skirt, blouse and makeup nowadays.  And that proves "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that I was one of "wish it were me" group, even though I didn't realize it at the time!

Ready to go into a big-box store to buy a new printer...

At the "big box store", I was fully accepted as a female shopper from the moment I stepped through the door, till I left...and they even asked someone to carry the printer box out to my car for me.  Then a gentleman entering the store as we left, held the door for both of us.  That was a real treat!

When I picked up my glasses, there was no question that I was treated as a female - their call to tell me they were ready was made to "Ms. (insert name here) and the greeter addressed me as female.   The tech who tried them on me was "with the program" too!

Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hot pink sundress...

Sorry about the delay in posting this...

Last Saturday, I replayed the dress event from my previous post, so I could finally get a picture...   Unfortunately I just held it up in front of me again, and  didn't actually try it on.   Here's a selfie - Mom thinks it would be perfect for me to wear.   She thinks it would look good with a white tee shirt underneath!  I really like its length.

Unfortunately, by my rough measurements, it's a size 20, and I need a 22 or 24 depending on the cut.   I hope to be able to try it on soon.  That will tell me whether I have an actual goal for some weight loss, or in the worst situation "it's a hopeless case."

If it were to actually fit me, and I were to wear it out and about, the hot pink color simply begs attention...   And, whether from men or women, that may take some getting used to!  It's hard to remember that this dress is most likely 30 years extremely adventurous color for Mom to have worn "back in the day," that's for sure!


OK....finally...yesterday (Monday), I took the plunge and tried the dress on, right there at the nursing home, by barricading myself in her bathroom (never know when a nurse will drop in to her room), simply pulling it on over my clothes.

Though the label has long since faded to illegibility, the dress really feels like a size 20 on me...snug.  Even with its elasticated waistline (luckily in its proper place - too low for an empire waist), simply removing my clothes from underneath, would not be enough.   So while losing weight is a noble goal, I fear that this dress may require enough of a weight loss so as to become a long-term project. 

But Mom wanted to share in the fun...she insisted that I open the bathroom door to show her...and was excited to see that it fit even as well as it did.  "Once you lose a few pounds, it will look really pretty on you.  Even your boobies look good - I never realized you've been hiding those under your shirts. One thing you should do, though, is to get fitted for a bra.  It will give you a prettier bustline, and a better shape."  (Yes, she's right about my boobies!  The dress made them really noticeable.)  I walked over to my purse to get my camera, but apparently I didn't turn it off the other day, so the battery had gone dead.  

I would have liked to stay "dressed" a while longer, but there was too much risk of a nurse coming into her room (it happens frequently).  So, I went back into the bathroom to return to my normal outfit, sans picture. :-(

The dress is staying right where it is - I can get it from her if/when I'm ready to start wearing it.  Meanwhile, she can still wear it occasionally...and unfortunately, it's the only one she has that "might" fit me...

Tuesday on the way home from Mom's, I noticed a secondhand shop was open, but going out of business.  So I stopped in...   Everything was 1/2 off, so I picked up some inexpensive necklaces and bracelets ($1.25 and $2.00) each.   Pierced earrings were really inexpensive, between twenty-five cents and a dollar...times like that make me wish I could wear them.  My purchases (I definitely wasn't a big spender) can all live with Mom's costume jewelry, in my file cabinet, for safekeeping.

The clerk was attentive to my presentation - and asked my name.  When I told her my given name, (you may recall that it's used by females now), I became her instant girlfriend.  And she suggested that maybe I could use some new dresses to go with my new jewelry.  I told her I may come back to look at them...and I will, on the weekend.  But  I don't think they have a changing room, so even at a price of $3 or $4, I'm not sure I'll take the chance of buying without trying on...



Sunday, June 22, 2014

"That don't impress me much."

Interesting observations - in hindsight, from this past week's fun excursion...   

At the gas station where I filled up the car between two of my errands, a younger (40something) man kept making small talk with me, across the gas pump island. And I may have inadvertently kept it going, by chatting with him (or more appropriately, listening attentively to him talk) about his Chevy Van and two Toyota Priuses.  

The more I think about it, he probably was flirting...and I blush at the very though of it!  My generic responses may have been interpreted as an interest.   Either that, or he clocked me and was being a (and I dislike the term, but can't think of a better one off-hand) - "tranny-chaser."  I guess I'll never know for sure, but if I had to put money on one of the two, I'd go with "flirting." It's something Mandy probably will have to become accustomed to.

Then there was the 20something guy in the tall, beat-up and noisy pickup truck in the left turn lane at a light, as I arrived in the right-turn-on-red lane.  He was sitting behind the line on the pavement.  I pulled up to the line, and being in a small car, could see the oncoming traffic just fine.  He pulled up enough to cut my view off.  I pulled up a bit more, and when he saw that, (I looked up to see him glance at me first) he pulled up some more, to cut off my view again.  The second time I moved forward, I saw him look down at me as he did the same thing again.  A-ha!  Definitely intentional, not a coincidence. 

But this time, before he completed his drift forward, I could see that nothing was coming, and was able to successfully "make like a shepherd and get the flock out of there."  That left him stuck with his nose now "way out in a lane of traffic."  Whether this all was because he was "playing macho with the little girlie in the red car", or had clocked me in the drivers seat (15 feet away) and was trying to antagonize a T-girl, it serves him right...  

To quote Shania Twain's song from late 1998, "That don't impress me much."

Then, something amazing was added to the week's mix...

I visited Mother in the nursing home on Friday.   On her nightstand, in a heap, was a cute hot pink nightgown (or so I thought.)  Since I occasionally put her things away, I picked it up and said "nice nightgown."  She said "It's not a nightgown, it's a dress, and I don't know how it got there, it should be in the closet."  "Your label is on the inside, so it's yours.  If I thought it was a nightgown, bet the aide did too, got it out, and when she found out it was a dress, just left it there."  She said "I doubt that, someone probably was trying to steal it.  But in any event, it's one of my old sundresses."

So I picked it up, put it on a hanger, and held it up to my front, like girls do when they are checking out new clothes.  We both chuckled, as I said "I don't remember seeing you wear this...but it's a really cute dress, and still looks nice" as I turned around to hang it in her closet.  She surprised me with "No, don't do that...hold it up to you again."

So I did, and stood there like that.  Her comment (after a minute or so of looking at me):  "If it fits, my sundress would be perfect for you during this summer's warm weather, and you'd look really pretty in it!"   My response was "Thanks, Mom. I'd like that!  I'll see what I can do about it.  After all, Halloween is coming."  I put her dress back in the closet - and promptly changed the subject.

She's seen pictures of me in my feminine finery before, and seems to be ok with the idea of my wearing dresses, though once in a while (mostly when she lived in her house, but not lately) I shave heard "only around the house."  But with her memory issues, she forgets thoughts, ideas, and even whole discussions, before I reach the end of her hall on my way out.   So, I can't be sure.

Now my curiosity is piqued... since she doesn't wear her dress, I'm going to have to try it on, one day soon.  Before I ended up in capris and sandals all summer, I wore her hand-me-down stirrup pants, and probably will once again this fall.  So it wouldn't be too big a stretch of the imagination to find myself wearing her dresses...

I'm hoping Mom's dress turns out to be my size, thus one of the very few "escapees" from our "big charity purge" when we moved her to the nursing home.  I've wanted to buy a sundress for a long time.  And, I think the experience would be a lot more more meaningful for both of us, if I could spend some of my visits with her this summer, wearing her cool and comfortable sundress!  Alas, I fear it's too small.   But if it fits, leaving it in her closet at the nursing home when I'm not actually wearing it, may be the safest way to keep it out of harm's way at home!

And I'll have to see what other gems may be hidden there!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Opportunity knocks!

Due to my wife's earlier "failed" spring cleaning attempt (see "A Close Shave" dated 4/2/14), most of Mom's spare clothes and all of my women's wardrobe, which she (my wife) had commingled in clothing bags for charity, ended up being moved out of those bags and into a cedar chest in the basement.  In a quick stealth review of the piles of clothes, I'd located all but one of my blouses and one skirt.

Since that time, there was a problem with Mom's nursing home's laundry, and three pairs of her pants came up missing.  They're going to pay for replacing her missing clothes.  However, I really had no clue as to what she still has here in the cedar chest.  So Tuesday, while my wife was attending a hen party, I told her that I'd be looking through the things in the chest to familiarize myself with what's there.

I had a wonderful afternoon downstairs in the nice, cool basement!  My missing items re-appeared, and there was sufficient time to try on all my outfits, in preparation for upcoming outings.  I picked out 3 summer skirts and tops, which can be "mix-and-matched" fairly well, and locked them away where I can get to them when I need them. The rest are safely tucked away again, with Mom's things.

Now all I need is the "opportunity" to get out...

And, what's the old saying: ask and you shall receive?

Wednesday I had a dentist appointment on the other side of the bridge, and also an eye doctor appointment (new optical place, for a pair of cheap spare glasses.)  My wife declined to go along, so I unearthed my new pink floral blouse and put it in the car.  Off I went, to the dentist, who once again, took pains to avoid messing up my makeup.  He's a great guy, and has no problems with my capri pants and white sandals!    After that, I drove to my "hideout in the woods" to change my blouse, making my outfit completely femme.   See first picture below.

From there it was off to the gift shop, where I purchased some small trinkets for our son and his girlfriend.  Here is a picture in the gift shop parking lot...not very busy (an understatement.)  But it was nice to be properly addressed by the staff (there were no other customers in the store and they were having a little social time amongst themselves.)

At the mall, where I went to get something to eat, I revisited the store where I bought my makeup (my favorite clerk wasn't there) and used their women's room.  In the process I got the obligatory picture...which really isn't all that impressive due to the fact it's a one stall room!

In the women's room...

And after leaving the mall, I headed for the optical place.  There I filled out their new patient application (surprise - no place for gender/sex - hooray), and upon turning it in, I (addressed as Ms.) was shown only women's frames, and the female clerk helped to pick out my favorites.  There was no indecision on their part as to which frames I would have to choose from.   It really helps that my given name is female!

I found two frames I like, one of which looks mildly unisex, the other is clearly feminine. The feminine one is the frame I chose, but they had a special which let me get both pairs.  Everybody there treated me like any other female shopper...a very good reception.  Correct pronouns, correct forms of address...  Perfect in every way!  And the best part is that I'm now on their records as a woman.  (There was a downside to my visit - not gender related - but that's for another post, much later on.  Fortunately, my vision with lenses is still 20/20 so no action is needed now.  )

Since it will take about 2 weeks to get the new glasses (they don't have a lab on site),  and my wife probably won't go along, so I'll have a chance to dress again.  Since my hideaway in the woods worked for changing this time, maybe I'll take along a skirt and top!   Nothing beats running my errands en femme!

A picture of me in the parking lot of the shopping center with the new optician.

Friday, June 13, 2014

A fun weekend...

Things have been kind of busy around here.  A bunch of car folks we know got together in western Maryland last Saturday.  My wife and I spent Friday and the rest of the weekend, doing some sightseeing in the area...

If you haven't been to Berkeley Springs, WV, you might just enjoy it.  There is a fabulous older hotel downtown, right next door to the small WV state park, which contains mineral hot springs, complete with bath houses from days gone by.  We're going back there for a longer visit one day.  Some pictures are below.

In Cumberland, MD, everyone bought tickets to ride the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.  After our round trip to Frostburg behind steam, we enjoyed some ice cream at the local creamery.  Delicious!   I was in androgynous mode, but we knew a number of the people, so there was no confusion.  Well, except for one guy...he said he didn't recognize me because of my long hair - and though words were unspoken, probably also my feminine attire.  In fairness, it also might have something to do with the fact we haven't seen each other in almost 15 years and both of us have aged a bit.

Friday's train, in ideal weather.

Saturday's train...not quite such ideal weather.  But still fun!

For the weekend, my outfit was - as usual - capris and a women's polo top, necklace, copper bracelet, and sandals.  But the best part was - as I was getting ready Saturday morning, a pair of ballerinas and pantyhose magically appeared.  Since walking on ballast at some point might be required, and because the weather forecast was for "100 percent chance of rain,"  sandals would have been inappropriate, though I love wearing them.  Yes,  it was a very different feeling to end up in flats for the first time in several weeks.  (And yes, it did rain - the weatherman was right.)

But the next day, no rain.  The ballerinas disappeared, as I expected.   If I truly do end up like many girls, spending the summer in sandals,  my change back to flats in the fall will be a big one...

In my previous post dated 6/2 - "How can you tell..." I referred to a new blouse that "found its way into my arms" on my last visit to the thrift shop.  Finally I was able to get some pictures for you!  It has cute, puffy little short sleeves, and a perfect open neckline to display my jewelry.  Both sleeves and neck are slightly elasticized, and the shirring is so cute.  I just love the pink's definitely feminine, and gives that "pop" of color girls seem to prefer.   This very outfit should be perfect for when I'm traveling alone...and I'm looking forward to wearing it!

The flash didn't go off in this picture, so my blouse shows up as more red than pink.

This is much closer to the actual color.   And it's such a comfortable, feminine little blouse!  I wonder why its female former owner abandoned it?  Too cute to give up! Now all I need are hot pink nails...and a white purse!

Friday, June 6, 2014

More good days...

Tuesday), I wore my white sandals, white capris and a black sleeveless top when I went to visit Mom.  And on the way in, one of the staffers (female) commented:  "Look at you, sweetie, rocking those cute capris - I have a couple pairs just like I'll start wearing them here, and we can look like twins!  Oh, by the way, I like your sandals too.   They're great with your capris!"  I told her I'd wear some "white capris again Thursday - maybe with a dark blue blouse, so if we happen to meet up here in the hall dressed alike, let's just have some fun - and parade down the hall for everyone, arm in arm, as twins!"  Her response - "I love that idea...if we can make it happen."

On the way home, I stopped at the hardware store and as usual, got great a woman.  It's as wonderful to get attentive, quality service as it is to be dressed in feminine attire in order to get it.

Things like this are happening more often, and I'm lovin' it.  However, there is a note of caution in the air...  As my own femininity increases, I'm noticing a subtle increase in my wife's femininity as well.  Her blouses have more feminine patterns, and jeans have fallen out of favor.  Now she wears the leggings with an attached skirt, or skorts themselves - particularly the ones which look like a skirt all the way around.  It's not a problem for me...I prefer to see skirts on women, even if they're really skorts.  But I wonder if this is a sign of trouble to come.  Will this become an issue down the road? Don't know.

But I'm still planning my out of town visits for later this summer, and I definitely will get some skirt time.  Plus, I'm looking forward to the solo trip to LA early next year.   That will be good for even more skirt time - if I can carry enough skirts and tops!

Sorry - no pictures this time!

Monday, June 2, 2014

How can you tell I'm still excited?

Gee, how can you tell I'm still excited?  Maybe because I'm still posting...    Continuing the prior post:

As Miss Judy was working on my nails, the elderly lady who had come in just after the end of our "preferred gender" discussion, began chatting with me  (idle talk, nothing special.)  One of the other techs had her 2nd grade daughter with her at the shop in for the day...a cute, well-mannered little girl who recognizes me, and previously has seemed very shy and reserved.  But not with the women. She talks with them all the time.

Right after the boss's "Miss Mandy" discussion with the techs (the little girl understands whatever language they were using),  she came right over, sat down next to me and began chattering like a magpie.  We talked at some length about the her school, the 'paper boxes' she was making, and the many things she might use them for, even while Miss Judy worked on my nails.  Seems she must be more comfortable around women, and hearing from the adults that I'm really Miss Mandy has helped a lot.  I just wonder what questions (if any) the adults got from her, after I left?

Guess I'll never know...

It was time to pay.  I stood up and reached around my chair to the bench behind me for my purse. A thirtysomething lady was sitting on the bench waiting her turn for a pedicure (they had become very busy and customers were filing in.)  She said "please let me see those nails, Miss" and grabbed my hands. She held them gently, in that way women do with each other (but never with men), told me how gorgeous they are, and asked Miss Judy about them...  Between Miss Judy's explanation and being able to see my nails, it was a successful "show and tell."

Then she asked about shellac nails...and since I was wearing sandals Miss Judy asked me to hold up my feet for her to see.  She liked what she saw, and instantly became a first-time-shellac customer for Miss Judy.  The day was a first for me, too.   I walked out of the shop very pleased, having been affirmed as a woman, by many women.  YAY!!!

Now, I know they'll be happy to see me in a skirt or dress and heels.  That can happen...once my wife leaves for her relative's place in August.    It's no wonder I had a fabulous time...but wait, there's more!  The fun wasn't over quite yet...

Last stop for the day was Willy's.  (Goodwill Industries Thrift Store, for the uninitiated...)  It was the day of their big sale, and I wanted to check for anything that might fit, for half off.  Unfortunately I couldn't get there till well after lunch, so the place looked almost disheveled, compared to normal. People were everywhere, and things were flying off the racks.  All but two of the blouses I've been watching were already gone.  So I put those two "lone rangers" over my arm and off I went, to the dressing room.

It was an easy decision.  One clearly didn't fit - its empire waist hit my small bustline in the wrong spot.  The other was perfect - a pink floral "blousy blouse."   (Unfortunately, it's not something I'll wear around my wife "yet.")  I'll try to get a pic as soon as possible. So I continued to hold the good one, lest it disappear, while combing through the racks of dresses.

As I was looking, two women were rifling the rack a few feet away, and moving toward me.  The younger of the two was pulling black dresses off the rack and holding them up to herself.  She asked her older friend what she thought.  Since I wasn't involved at that point,  I wasn't listening to their conversation.  But when I heard "Excuse me - Ma'am - Ma'am?"  I turned toward them and smiled - they both smiled back.  The younger one asked, "Do you think this looks OK for me?"    My response: "Yes, Ma'am - it's lovely. (And it truly was.)  Just the perfect length for you, and it doesn't show too much up top.  Do you have a necklace to go with it?"  That opened the flood gates.  The three of us talked dresses for probably three or four minutes, or most likely more.   I wasn't watching the clock.  They also held a couple of their black dresses up to me and checked me out.  "Here, this would look cute on you...and show off your legs." etc, to encourage me to get one, too.  Meanwhile, I noticed two dresses in my size, from the mail order house that I was a great chance to return the "favor."  I pulled the blue floral maxi dress off the rack, held it up to me and asked if she thought it was too long.  "No, sweetie, it's perfect for you.  That's a pretty floral pattern, you should be able to wear it anywhere.  Don't forget your heels with it, though..."  Then I pulled out the traditional blue denim dress and asked which they thought was better.  Unanimously, "Oh, the floral one for sure...every woman has a long denim'll wear the floral one everywhere you go."  I thanked them profusely and started looking for more dresses as they took their selection to the dressing room.  I was soon interrupted by another woman at the end of the plus-size racks.  She wanted my advice on a skirt and two blouses she was holding.  In addition to being accepted as a woman, I must look like a fashion expert...I didn't realize wearing silver nails, capris, a sleeveless blouse, sandals, and carrying a purse, could have that effect!  But I'm not arguing...

Finally, the interruptions ceased.  I took both long dresses, the black dress, and the floral blouse,  and headed back for the fitting room.  My lady friends with the black dresses apparently had finished and were gone.  I was next in line...and thus had to continually answer "Yes Ma'am" to every woman with an armful of clothes who asked "Excuse me, Ma'am - are you in line?"  Surprise - no men needed to try anything on!  Guess that's part of the so-called "male privilege" that I've willingly given up!  And the line grew behind me...

Once I finally got a fitting room, both blue dresses in my size fit, but were too snug, and the black one, while pretty and fit well, left room for too much "that I don't have yet" up top.  Bet the blue ones in my size fit just fine when new, but both were all-cotton, which shrinks in the dryer.  I'm apparently right on the edge of a step up in size so, I'll have to be careful.  If I buy something new in cotton from that online source, in the bigger size, I'll have to shrink it in the dryer, then have my seamstress girlfriend alter it.  I've done that before - unfortunately it's the expensive route.  So I'll continue to watch the dresses in Willy's...finding a pre-owned dress that's too big, will be cheap enough that I can afford to have it altered.

Finally I was on my way home. But there were still two surprises awaiting.  If you recall, my wife told me that I should get a bracelet.  I had been wearing my grandfather's crude handmade copper bracelet - yes, daily, in front of her.  It's supposed to help joint aches and pains (and it seems to - grandpa and my father both swore by it.)   I decided to buy a real copper bracelet by mail order, and it arrived today.  What a fits! And my wife's OK with my wearing it.  Even paired with the silver necklace...  And she said if it continues to help, I should buy one for my other wrist.  Wow...   (Wonder if I said my ear lobes hurt, whether she'd have my ears pierced so I could get copper earrings?  No, I don't think I'll ask...)

And the last surprise is that so far, there has been no comment about my new nails.  That's an encouraging sign that I might be on the right track with them.   Here are pictures of my nails "today."  You can see the beginnings of a lovely silver sheen.  When she eventually applies two coats, it will be much more pronounced!  And you can also see my new copper bracelet...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

It's a new day...

After living with my capris and sandals in warm weather since a few days after we got home, I've now experienced my first taste of wearing them out-and-about in chilly and rainy (translation - spring/fall) weather.  It was cold enough to require some heat in the house to offset the damp chill in the air!  (In the last few days of May yet...who'd'a figured?)

Prior to our vacation, wearing stirrups, black tights and ballerinas on a day like this would have been my first choice, not even meriting a second thought.  The cold wouldn't have been noticeable, and I might, but probably wouldn't have, felt raindrops falling on my tights-covered insteps, ankles, and ballerina-covered feet.   However, our "big discussion" about 2 weeks ago, was quite a game-changer.  The bright side of it is that now, I can choose any of my four pairs of sandals, whichever coordinates best with my outfit, instead of just my new ones.  And, all my other shoes, including ballerinas, have been gathering dust in the closet ever since.

I commented about that dust issue to my wife, in jest.  She thought about it for a minute:  "Gee. you're absolutely right - no point in letting them all get dusty.  When I get time, I may seal them in a storage box and bury them somewhere down in the basement, since you won't need them again till the end of October - or, if November's weather isn't too cold, till Thanksgiving.  But in case I want you to wear stirrups on one of our trips, I'll keep a pair of ballerinas somewhere I can easily retrieve them. That'll make TONS more room in your closet.  Thanks for such a great idea!"  That outcome wasn't quite what I had in mind...but if it happens, I'm fine with it.  It WILL give me more floor space!  And also will eliminate any temptation to even try on a pair of ballerinas...

Hearing a possible ending date of Thanksgiving brought up a concern about what I might be wearing at my annual early November three-day sale. Last year it was stirrups and ballerinas.  This year I was planning on stirrups and ballerinas again, but now that's seriously in doubt - and for obvious reasons I'm not going to bring the topic up!  As far as the folks at the show "in general" are concerned: some of the female vendors, as well as female customers, wear - and look cute in - sandals and capris if the weather isn't too cold. I'd fit right in, and don't think there would be any issues (except maybe the restroom).

The only person I'd be worried about is the guy I share a space with.  He's a former supplier to the organization I worked for, is very conservative (a "conservative conservative" as it were), and I'd hate to no longer be welcome to share his table.  It would be most inconvenient, and cost me more $$$.  We'll see...

A new day has dawned...  The first rainy day since we got back, my wife was watching (and saying nothing, other than "See you later, sweetie") as I pulled my black-and-tan jacket over my red sleeveless two-button henley tunic blouse, white capris and tan sandals.   I grabbed my purse and car keys, and left in the rain, to do my errands.   It was an unusual sensation to feel cold, hard rain falling on, and streaming down. my bare lower legs, ankles and feet. As I sloshed through several unavoidable one-inch-deep-plus puddles in the nursing home parking lot (which my ballerinas used to laugh at, while keeping my feet bone dry), the feeling was much like washing my feet in the bathtub.  They wouldn't have been more soaked if I had been barefoot.  (And maybe that's why occasionally I see barefoot girls in skirts, walking in the rain while holding their sandals up under their umbrellas...)   But the good news sandals came through intact, and an hour and a half in the nursing home completely dried my lower extremities.

Then, on my way back to the car after my visit, everything repeated itself. giving me the new experience of driving with wet legs and feet and in wet sandals.  There's nothing wrong with getting closer to nature like that...  It'll just take a few more repetitions, to get myself accustomed to those new sensations...

I wonder what difference wearing pantyhose would have made? One thing for certain - they'd have been very wet nylons! Would I have been warmer, or colder?  I don't know - yet.  But, for some odd reason, I suspect I'm destined to find out...

At noon I went for my appointment to get my nails done.  My tech was unavoidably stuck at the doctor's office, so the girls rescheduled me for Saturday at the same time.

When I got home, I clarified my guidelines for wearing different styles of tops.  And it turns out that on cold, rainy days, it's OK to wear turtlenecks with my capris at home and around town.   On trips, though, sleeveless blouses are the rule.   I currently have only 5 nice ones, so I have to keep searching for more that fit well, and eventually end up with enough to allow a full two-week vacation.  For now, short sleeve shirts will be OK, to fill out one week, plus a couple extras in case I spill things. "Sleeveless blouses are feminine, but they can make you chilly - particularly in air conditioned places. So, they guarantee you'll be toting a sweater.  You've always laughed when I've moved us to a different seat because of cold air.  Now, the shoe (oops, sorry - the sandal) is going to be on the other foot (oops, sorry - feet.  Yours.)  Keep in mind the benefits though: they take less room in your suitcase, and they're comfortable in summer heat."

Segue to Saturday - nail appointment day.  It was my best visit EVER!

The tech started my fill, and as part of girl talk, I asked her how she liked my makeup (light application of old - not MAC - makeup, without blusher or eye shadow.)  "Is it your first time doing makeup?" "No, actually I do it a lot, just not too often when I come here.  But from now on, I probably will wear it." "Do you use a brush, or a sponge?"  "A sponge...that's how my makeup artist taught me."  Miss Judy told me that I had done an excellent job, and that she hadn't noticed till I mentioned it.  "The only thing missing is blusher.  You need some color on your cheeks.  But it covers your beard very nicely, and your lipstick is a perfect color for you."    

Then she confided (since nobody was within earshot)  that she's glad I'm wearing makeup now, since  many of her customers think I'm female.  I told her "I've noticed that, and they often chat with me as though we're both women.  It's perfectly fine with me.  If I didn't prefer it, I'd stop dressing as a woman."  I requested that she and her staff not disillusion them in any way.  "And if y'all would be more comfortable addressing me as "Miss (insert my real first name here, though for this blog I'll use Mandy) or Ma'am in the future, I'd be very pleased, and the other ladies would probably feel more comfortable, too.  I'll always answer to that, since I don't really look or feel much like a Mr. or Sir."  Miss Judy said, "we've wanted to make that change that for a long time, but thought we might offend you!"  My response: "No offense is, or would have been, taken.  I just wish we could have had this discussion previously...we all would have been very happy much sooner!" Then she spoke in a foreign tongue to the other two techs on duty and I heard "Miss Mandy" mentioned several times as they talked back and forth. When she was done, she told me that "I'll talk to the others tonight. Everyone is going to be so pleased!  Miss Mandy, we're glad to welcome another woman into our shop!"  "Thanks!  It's great to be here!"

She finished shortening my nails again (her choice), and did my acrylic fill with all pink again (no French - my choice). When she finished that, she added a single coat of glossy silver with almost microscopic metal flakes in it, and a shiny top coat (her choice.)  It's very subdued - you really can't see the metal flakes except in the sun, but my nails reflect light sources with a silver glow.  It probably won't show up well in pictures, but I'll try one anyway, for my next post.  She said that for the first few times she applies it,  she'll only put on one coat, so that my nails will be less conspicuous.  After everyone has become accustomed to it, then she'll apply two coats.  As they grow out, and the silver begins looking shopworn, she can renew it without affecting the fill.  Which also means if the new color stirs up a hornets nest at home, they can also remove it.  She will call the customers who wanted to see my nails - the first time she gives my nails two coats...

There is lots more regarding this nail appointment...but I'll put it in the next installment.  Meanwhile, from the archives, a very "autumn" scene: