Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Earrings - Update!

My cell phone rang yesterday afternoon, and it was the jewelry shop.  They had some chips sitting around that fit my earrings, and they were ready.   And this morning, I went in to pick them up...they were able to keep the cost below the limit I had set, and the earrings were as good as new!  I told them that they had done a great job, and that I appreciate their hard'll be nice to be able to wear some more of Mom's things from time to time.

The girls told me that they'll look great on me...and that I'll love the feeling of them swinging as I walk and move.  I told them that I had tried them on, and yes, I'm really looking forward to wearing them.  And they said to drop by sometime when I'm going out,  to show the girls how nice vintage earrings look...   (I think they enjoyed working on them...even though they're costume jewelry.)

Here's a picture of the finished product:

And one earring was somehow bent...they were able to fix that, too!

I can still picture my mother, dressed in a fancy gown, hair all done up, and in fashionable high heel sandals (with nylons), and wearing these earrings, all set to go to a fancy dress party with Dad.    But now I can also see myself wearing that same outfit...  Maybe it will happen some day!

In any event, these should be fun to wear...starting tomorrow, if all goes well! 


Sunday, July 26, 2015

What did Della Wear, boys?

Thursday was so perfect weather-wise, that it would have been a shame to "not" hit the road.  There were a couple of errands to run, in addition to visiting my friendly jeweler about the earring repair.  But first, what to wear?  Since part of my trip was to Delaware,  with apologies to Perry Como (the singer of "What did Della Wear, boys?" from the '60's)  I was Della for the day! 

One minor pre-departure irritation occurred, however.  Since nobody else was home, I was on duty to deal with an appliance serviceman previously scheduled for today.  Good thing I was in androgynous mode early, as he arrived at about 7:30 - scheduled for 8:30.  His work was completed and he was gone by 8:45, so I was able to move into "Della" mode earlier than I thought initially.

With the temperature forecast to be moderate, I didn't need to wear the tan tiered skirt for comfort.  So, instead I chose the denim skort my seamstress altered for me...her adjustments helped it to fit much better.  And being a skort, it minimizes the chance of lost modesty if I should move or sit "incorrectly."  But what to wear with it?  Well, instead of "she wore a New Jersey" like in the song, I chose my new black blouse, the one which has a bit of a fit problem.  It actually didn't look so bad when paired with my skort.  Thus, until I find a better-fitting blouse, I may just keep it and limit when it gets worn,  to "only with certain outfits."

What girl doesn't wear sandals in the summertime?  Like on all my summertime excursions, probably 80% of us girls were in some style of open summer footwear (many of us sporting pretty pedicures).  Most of the rest were in sneakers.   Only a few girls wore ballerina flats of some sort, and they may have been going to, or coming from, work.  I chose to wear sandals like the other girls, to avoid "standing out in a crowd."   Once again, no need to even bring any closed shoes along.

In regard to my reception at the various stores:  they've seen me before at the jewelry store (which is in a nearby town) and were friendly, but polite enough to "not" use the dreaded "S" word (or Ma'am either.)   I mentioned that they were my mother's earrings, and I wanted to have them repaired so I could start wearing them .  Then I pushed aside my hair for a second to hold one up to my ear, (which already had an earring in place.)  The clerk then took it a step further, reached over the counter, rearranged my hair on that side, removed my existing earring and commented how unusual it is to not have pierced ears, then deftly installed Mom's dangly earring (chandelier style???) on my ear, reaffirming how nice I'll look wearing them.  The other clerk and her customer looked up at me, and both commented to each other some version of "She should enjoy wearing those, they're very pretty! It's wonderful that she honors her mother that way."  Now I just hope the jeweler can do something with them...for under $20, the limit I gave them, because they're just costume jewelry.

At the big box store,  I didn't notice any kids staring at me (and there were plenty of kids), or adults doing double-takes.  Looking at some reflections in glass doors and displays works wonders for seeing "behind my back" responses, and there were none - I was just another woman out doing her shopping.  There was only one real human the checkout aisle.  And there, no problems either - just "neither Sir nor Ma'am were used."   That's OK by me...and much preferable to "Sir."   I'd rather that folks instead "choose to not choose" what label fits me.

Then it was a drive around in nearby Dover, DE.  Having only been to the Air Force Base previously, it's interesting to see that there is more to town than that.  And it might be a good destination for sightseeing in the future.

On the way home, I drove past the little (and I DO mean "little") former PRR train station in Sudlersville, MD.  Yes, short freight trains still run through town on occasion (the tracks were very rusty, so not too often)  but the station is now a museum (closed that day), since there are no passenger trains.  At least the station survived and wasn't demolished...

Lastly, I was able to take a "miracle grab shot" out the car window, of a radial-engined biplane being used as a crop duster (similar to the one whose excessive over-spray almost blinded me while driving a couple of years ago.)  But I doubt it was this particular pilot...he or she was being careful, and I didn't even catch so much as a whiff of whatever chemicals that they were spraying. (Of course, whether it's even appropriate to be spraying chemicals into the air in the vicinity of humans is debatable, but I won't go into that discussion here.)

Ending another day's excursion on a positive note: as I left my home-town Post Office after picking up some supplies, (still wearing my skort and blouse) I noticed a woman walking down the street.  And lo and behold, she was wearing the exact same blouse as one of mine...and in my very town, to boot!  Wow...what a small world!

More later...


Thursday, July 23, 2015


In a response to an earlier post, I commented that my mother has a lot of long-unworn, clip-on style costume earrings (most of which are gold-plated base metal and have tarnished/discolored badly.  (She was big on gold - I'm a silver girl.)  But a few of them had a funny "screw-type" attachment on the back.  Pat suggested that I revisit her earring box, to see if there were any with screw-on clips that I could wear, because they might be more comfortable.

I found the following pair, which is in good shape except for 3 missing tiny fake diamond chips in one earring, leaving little black spots which are unfortunately quite visible.   And after I figured out the correct hand movements to place and attach them (seems more complicated than clip-ons), I found that Pat was spot-on.  As long as they're tight enough to not slip off when I rearrange my hair, they're more comfortable to wear. 

I absolutely love the sexy feeling of the dangly attachment swinging with my head movements - that's something men never get to experience.  It's delicious - even better than chocolate cake!

Now I just have to see if a jeweler can add some cheap fake diamond chips to cover the black spots, at a reasonable price.  I'd gamble $20 on it.  If not, a drop of shiny aluminum paint from my antique car repair tool box should disguise the problem nicely - since my hair covers my ears most of the time.  (Hmmmm....fix earrings with antique car supplies?  Nice!)

I'm going to make the run Thursday.   Wish me luck...

Also, thanks for the suggestion, Pat!


Another excursion and lotsa fun...

This little excursion really was a lot of fun...

It was to be pretty warm, and I had errands to run on the western shore.  So I left early, wearing my pink floral blouse and a pair of tan street shorts, with sandals (so I wouldn't have to wear pantyhose.)  For safety's sake, I took a spare pair of sandals (straps do break occasionally).  And I was wearing my painted nails and makeup (including lipstick), with just Mom's necklace and bracelet.  No earrings.

First stop was the computer store with some questions.   There, with my now-female given name, pink nails and a purse,  I was interpreted as female, with all appropriate forms of address, even though I was in shorts and not a skirt.   When finished there, my plan was to research Mom's "final arrangements at the cemetery" which she had made " back in "her better days" in preparation for "that day when the big bell tolls for her."  She had brought the topic up, but I couldn't find any record of payment in her records. I wanted to be sure everything is still in order, while I have time to do any necessary financial research or "repair" without undue time pressure on me.   My theory was:  if the cemetery could find a record of all her arrangements marked paid, my life will be just a little easier someday, at a time of extreme stress. 

On the way to the cemetery, I did a "cornfield change" (the corn here is extra-high, and came in extra-early this year) into my tan long tiered skirt, and out of my street shorts.  While it's not the first time I've worn this outfit out and about, I really didn't remember it being so totally comfortable, particularly in hot weather.  Light and airy, simply a delight to wear. 

And that brought to mind a question:  if wearing skirts can be this pleasant, why are men still relegated to wearing hot, restrictive pants?  Societal binary norms.  And those same norms - well, they aren't much of a good thing for us transgender folks, either.

When I arrived at the cemetery office, I went on in, not knowing what to expect.  A gentleman in a suit came out to greet me "Good morning, Ma'am".  I explained what I needed to locate, and asked if he could help.  "I think so.  Your mother's full name?  Her address at the time?  OK, and your name, Ma'am?"  So I gave him my now-female given name.  "And you're her daughter, right?"   OMG - I never really thought of that question being asked...but I managed to squeak out a "yes" without looking or sounding too shocked... so now I'm Mom's daughter in their records.  Interesting.  The man thanked me for the info, and asked me to wait a few minutes while he researched the matter. 

While I was waiting, a lady came out to attend to some details at the reception desk and "Have you been helped, Ma'am?"  My answer was "yes, of course - but thanks anyway."

Only about 10 minutes passed before the man reappeared.  And, SUCCESS!  He had a sheaf of papers with the complete details of Mom's arrangements, proving they were all paid for.  Since Mother is in her 90's now, they put it back in the active file, so it will be easy to find when the time comes.  I asked for a copy, just in case, and walked away with it, for my file.  Now, we're all set!  No huge research project will be needed...14 years after the fact.  That wasn't something I looked forward to....  "Ms. Sherman, just give us a call when you need us."  And he ended with "And thanks for checking in advance, Ma'am.  I wish more folks would do that."

Getting into the car with my long skirt proved to require some extra care...I didn't want to dirty it from hanging out of the bottom of the door!  But that was quite easy, and I was soon back on the road again.  After some lunch at a nearby mall, I paused to snap a quick selfie in the gorgeous (but hot) weather,  (The car thermometer read 97....and it was very humid.)

At the same mall was a Dress Barn Woman store.  If you recall, I had previously encountered "no luck" with the staff at a different location of this brand (the day I had to stop driving because of a heavy rainstorm.)   So I decided to check this one out.  Surprisingly, the twentysomething clerk (while busy with other women),  actually took time to greet me and offer assistance if needed.  I got the impression (though didn't actively pursue it) that I could have used a changing room if I needed one.  What a refreshing change from the other store, where once again, the elderly clerk was more  interested in talking with her friends about her upcoming vacation than greeting me...who perhaps (with all the end-of-season sales) could have been a paying customer.

Then it was off to my favorite seamstress, to pick up some items she had adjusted for me...   She complimented today's outfit more than any other,  particularly the long skirt and pink theme of all my nails and my blouse.  (I don''t recall having ever worn this complete outfit to her place.)   I asked her if she'd get a picture of me, using my camera, and she was happy to help.  It turned out to be a bit patriotic, but that's OK.  

Nothing wrong with a little flag-waving!

From there, it was an uneventful trip back across the bridge (those really do happen, but during the summer, only occasionally mid-week), ending my excursion.  This had clearly been one of my top five girly local excursions!  And it's wonderful that I'm able to leave and return to the house fully dressed during my wife's really does make a huge difference!

More later...


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

And she got to choose the color...

So there I was, on the way eastbound across the bridge in my skirt, blouse and heels, and I looked at my nails as I drove.  They weren't really that had been a little over 2 weeks since my last appointment.  But with my wife attending to her sister in another state, here was a chance to wear nail polish for a while.   So I changed course and headed in that direction, and called to make sure she could do them.  She said she was busy, but "come on out."  I told her that if I do, I'll be in a skirt and heels.  Her answer:  "Why not?  Just be yourself..." 

When I arrived and sat down to wait, my tech's husband was there.  Seeing him is not an everyday thing by any means...maybe twice or three times a year...he does nails at peak times. (Translation: not often when I'm there.) And it was very busy that day.  He knows my voice, has known me as a guy for about 5 years...and always greets me as "Sir."  But we've never met when I was fully dressed.  My take on it was that he didn't "look up (to see how I was dressed) before he leaped." And my voice isn't particularly feminine.  It was obvious that his head didn't move upward.

It was better to not try to debate the issue in public, with so many customers present.  At this point, he gets the benefit of the doubt - I'll believe it was not intended as derogatory.  In any event, a "gender-related discussion" in public would most likely never win any points in a conservative small town, despite recent positive vibes from Caitlyn Jenner's transition.   And, when he was done with the customer he was working on, he simply left (as usual.)

The next time I'm there when it's quiet (there ARE a few days like that), or at least when not within earshot of another customer, I'll ask my tech to request that he use my first name (which is female) and simply omit the "anything else like Sir"  Then if it continues to happen when I'm dressed, I'll know that he falls into the category of "more than a little bit prejudiced." At least he doesn't do my nails.  And, I also know to avoid showing up at 3 PM, when they tend to be very's extremely rare to see him first thing in the morning!

Soon my tech motioned me to her table, and we discussed what she was going to do.  Since I wanted to wear (and she has wanted for some time to give me) real nail color, she'll said she'll pick out something seasonal and appropriate.  The fill took a while, and afterward she brought out a couple of really pretty gels "which are popular with the girls right now.  Wearing gel will give you a much better, longer lasting finish."  "I hope you can use regular polish, since I may not have time to come in to have it removed."  She walked back to the polishes, and and when she returned, she smiled.  In her hand were a bottle of metallic silver, and also pinkish-purple with very fine sparkles in it.  She applied a coat of the silver, then two coats of the pinky-purple, and a top coat, drying each coat under the blue light after she applied them. "You have very pretty nails, and you'll truly enjoy showing the girls your long-wearing color."  At this point I have no idea how long I'll be wearing it, or how hard the polish will be to remove.  So, I'd better begin to take it off a day early.   That'll leave me time to get back to the salon to have it removed, if necessary.

When I asked her why she chose that particular combination of colors, she said that "It sparkles a little, it's popular, and pretty.  And it's almost the same color as you're wearing on your toes...I like to see girls with matching digits." 

Here's what they look like - I like them.

And she's right...the colors are quite similar, though from different bottles.  My pedicure was done almost 3 weeks ago, not recently. So it is showing some wear!

There haven't been many occasions to show my nails off, but I like them so much that when the occasion arises, I certainly will.  I'm just very curious as to whether I'll be able to remove the color at home.

Time will tell, I guess...

More later...


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ladies, need opinions about this blouse...

Ladies, here is the $5 blouse I's nubby fabric, and feels good on.  But I'd like to get some opinions as to whether it really looks OK.  Something is bothering me about it, and I can't "put my finger on" precisely what it is. 

The  blouse fits almost right in the chest, but seems too big at the abdomen and waist.   And from a side view, it fits just right (or more appropriately, "wrong") to accentuate every extra ounce of my weight, and makes me look lots heavier - if not outright pregnant.  For someone my age, being pregnant would be a challenge, even if they had the correct organs!

Below is the red-and-black animal print skirt I bought the blouse to accompany...and color-wise, it works fine.  But the blouse's fit is definitely an issue.   The problem just doesn't show up as much with previous pictures (while wearing my white skort.)  And before you ask, no, the blouse is not marked "maternity."  Nor was it on a "maternity" rack...nor are there any missing or cut-off tags!

See what I mean about the fit?

For some reason, these issues didn't show up in the mirror in the fitting room.  Nor was it a front-and-back mirror.  Fortunately, the camera tells no lies...LOL!  

Anyone willing to chip in an opinion?  I'd be grateful...  If the blouse isn't going to work, no harm no foul.   I'll  donate it back to charity, and maybe it will fit another lady better! 

Thanks in advance for any opinions...


PS:  I guess I'd better continue my blouse search (in the other half of the mall), and keep looking on-line!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Shop till you drop...and the truckers

?Recently I took some time to re-visit my mother's pile of costume jewelry.  She never had her ears pierced, so her earrings were/are all clip-on's.  But most were gold plated over base metal, and many years old, thus the finish is discolored and tarnished.   She hasn't worn them in ages.  And in their condition, I can't either.

I found one bright silver-colored hoop earring about 1-1/2" in diameter - which, unfortunately, was missing its mate.  That one was very comfortable, and I would have worn it in a heartbeat. Maybe the missing one will eventually appear?  I also found a pair of pinkish-red plastic button earrings - a rather unusual style.  I pulled them aside and will try wearing them with red blouses.  Downside is that I don't have any red necklace or bracelet!  Silver will have to do, I guess - until I find one.

There was also an unusual pair of pink earrings.  They're huge, and I do like them.   But they felt a bit uncomfortable.   I might be able to wear them with my pink floral blouse for short excursions, and maybe they will get more comfortable over time.  A picture follows:

Old clip-ons - interesting appearance

With my wife still out of town, I have a number of errands to run (including a couple just for Mandy) on the other side of the bay, including visiting the phone store with questions about my new phone.  Thursday was the day for the next one, and I debated the eternal question of "what to wear."

I was contemplating my denim midi-skirt with blue floral top, pantyhose and Mary Jane heels.   But I considered Pat's earlier suggestion about the pink floral top and shorts, with a knee length black skirt over the shorts.   Most likely it will be my summer weight denim skirt (without shorts) and the pink floral blouse.  I'll wear my flats for the first couple of stops (till about 10:30), then change to Mary Janes for the rest of the day.

Needless to say, I was leaving the house in a skirt and blouse, with all the accoutrements, and had concerns much the same as other day's, about being seen.  But since I can get in the car in the garage, then open the door, I decided to take the gamble.  And it paid off.  Nobody was outside.  It was an uneventful trip traffic problems on the bridge.

At the mall, I was able to get a couple of pictures of my outfit for the day (As you can see, I settled on option 3 above!)

In front of the Macy's store...

Don't you just love well-placed mirrors?

And so, my little excursion worked out "almost" according to plan.  But not quite.

One of my chores was to find a solid black summer weight short sleeve blouse to wear with my red and black animal print skirt.  Surprisingly, nothing in solid black in my size was available at the half of the mall I walked in heels.  (Not bad for the first "real" day in heels, but my calves and arches can certainly feel it tonight!)  Though I sense that my gait is improving, and wearing them feels more natural, I still need practice.   Nor could I find anything suitable at thrift shops I tried around lunchtime.   As I was wrapping up at the last stop, ready to head back across the bridge, I heard on the radio that there had been an accident closing the eastbound side of the bridge, and eastbound traffic was backed way up.  This was NOT part of my plan.  And thank heaven it wasn't Friday night - it would have gotten worse all evening with eastbound beach traffic.

Being averse to sitting in traffic at zero miles per gallon, risking overheating (due to running the air conditioner), and with no reason to "have" to be home at any particular time, I made the executive decision to keep shopping for a while, as opposed to driving north to Wilmington and south on the Delmarva - a three-plus hour journey and well in excess of a hundred miles, also with two significant bridge tolls.   I located several previously unknown (to me) thrift and consignment shops in the area, and kept on shopping.

At my last stop, a Goodwill store, there was a simple blouse, for $5.00.  I tried it on (a huge advantage with thrift shops - no problem using the dressing rooms) and it fit loose enough that it should work.    I'd probably spend $35 or more (plus shipping) for something like it "on line," but with no guarantee I could even get into it, when it arrives.  Of course I may not like the fit when I get it home, but if that's the case, my expenditure is limited to $5 - less than the cost of returning the stuff I buy on line.   I'll try to get a picture of my outfit for the next chapter.

For my entire shopping trip, I was either addressed correctly or gender-specific terms were avoided.  My presentation was far from perfect, and it took me a while to get the hang of walking in my heels.  But the only way to learn is to "do it."  And that doesn't work nearly as well around the house.  At a mall, the floor is uniform, and there was nobody around who knew me.  Thus it was a wonderful learning experience, very worthwhile, and not hearing the dreaded "S" word at all was a real treat.  I'm ready to go again...and my prediction is that the chance will come next week. 

My trip home was uneventful - traffic had completely cleared.  Well, uneventful except for 18-wheeler drivers frequently looking down at my legs at every stoplight, or as they passed me.  In the car, that particular skirt rides up and shows over 6 inches of thigh.  And there's not much I can do about it...except blush. ( I did a lot of that while driving yesterday.)  If I pull my skirt down a bit,  it simply works its way back up again.  So I just gave up trying to keep my thighs completely covered.

Was I flirting?  Perhaps, but not intentionally...and the truckers didn't try to flirt either. They simply were "checking out the seat covers."  That's something cisgender girls get used to early in life...and I admit it was fun to know that I looked good enough for guys to actually check out!   (Or does that make me a "10-footer," like the '91 model car we traded in?) 
I decided to go get my nails done on the way home...but that's something for the next chapter.

More later...


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

One step at a time....

Last night, with my wife out of town, "how to dress tomorrow" for my visit to Mom at the nursing home was the topic du jour in my discussions with myself.  Wear one of my everyday outfits?   Shorts with a blouse?  Flats?   Heels?  Jewelry - yes or no?

Decisions, decisions...

This morning when I woke up, it was very clear to me:  go in shorts and a feminine blouse, with pantyhose and flats.  (I feel as though I still walk like a "guy in heels"... so I need much more practice.)  And also, I wanted to add one of Mom's necklaces, but no earrings or bracelets.   So, after my shower, I dressed as planned, with my pink floral blouse (it's tough to recognize that as anything but girly.)  Then I had second thoughts - when wearing it, my small boobs were noticeable from certain angles, and my eyes kept glancing at them in the mirror.  So I changed to an everyday top.  I kept picturing all sorts of calamities befalling me in that very feminine blouse!

But a few minutes after breakfast, I changed my mind again and got girly, including some light makeup.  Time was getting short to leave for Mom's place, so I switched back to my regular top, concerned that someone in the neighborhood might see me.  But I looked in the mirror, disappointed in my lack of "girliness."  At the very last minute, I changed my mind once again (changing her mind is a woman's prerogative, right?), put the pink blouse back on, gathered my things and left.  (Once I'm on the road, changing is out of the question, since I don't have anything to change into.)

None of the neighbors saw me - that I know of.  It was a non-event.  And I stopped in at the Post Office in Mom's town - nobody flinched at a woman mailing letters, several ladies smiled as they said "good morning," and the postal clerk at the window happily sold Mandy stamps, addressing me as a female.  No issues at the Bank or Nursing fact, I didn't notice anyone staring, nor did anyone say anything.  Including Mom...  It was wonderful, even though the lady at the nursing home who had commented on my legs wasn't there (or was behind closed doors, as usual!)

When I got home, I considered driving on by - that nosy neighbor's garage door had just opened and he walked out, heading for the cluster box near our place.   Instead of driving away, I pulled my car into the garage, and casually said "hi" from inside, as usual.  Then he stopped and said that he needed to ask me something.  I quickly contemplated how I could hide my legs,  resigned myself to the fact that there was absolutely nothing I could do about them, and said to myself "well, here IT comes...  whatever IT is!"  So,  I "came out" from the safety of the garage's darkness into the sunlight to floral blouse, shaved legs and big black necklace plainly visible in the sun.

Instead of a dark cloud dropping on my head, he asked me if I wanted to go out and have some beers with the boys tonight. (The first time I've ever been asked since we've lived in the neighborhood.)   My relief was instant, and I apologized, but told him honestly that neither my wife nor I drink, so I probably wouldn't be good company if I tried it.   He laughed and said "more power to you for resisting the lure of the bottle." Then:  "If you change your mind, you're welcome to come along..."  Eye contact proved he didn't glance down at anything below my head, though he would have had a good chance to notice my outfit as I walked out of the garage.

All this happened as I'm talking to him while wearing nothing but women's clothes... from my toes to the top.   My girly pink floral blouse seemed a non-issue with him.   Is my male identity that well-established among the men in the neighborhood?  I didn't think so...  (Perhaps it's not as much with the women, but that's OK with me.)

However,  I'm here to tell you that I certainly was happy that I hadn't chosen to wear a skirt and heels instead!!!!  That might have been a bit "over the top" and caused a reaction.   Before you ask:  I'm still contemplating wearing one at least one day during my wife's absence, but will drive on by (like I forgot to pick up something at the store) if any neighbors are outside when I come home.

Here's a picture of the outfit I wore today (well, except flats instead of mary janes - but mary janes look better, and I got another 5 hours of practice in them today!)

Dressed this way, Mandy has LEGS!  (And as she realized when talking to the neighbor outside today, there's no possible way to hide them.)  I simply love these shorts...whether with flats or MJ's, they're almost as much fun to wear as I imagine a mini-skirt would be, without risking lost modesty!

More later,


Monday, July 13, 2015

Is this my new car? Ummm...Not so much.

Could this highly-customized T-Bucket be my newest car? 

Naaahhhh...far too expensive to build or buy, for a car that's not overly practical.   With all the rain we've been having, I'd need to add a sump pump (or put holes in the floorboards) to get the water out!   And rain - or insects - would get into the open carburetors. (For you young'uns, I know your question..."what's a carburetor?"  That big silver thing on top of the engine,  OK?)   Plus, there are no windshield wipers!  Would also be tough to keep any semblance of a hairdo while riding in it and the sun would bleach the color out, letting the gray show.  While this type of car is pretty, it's not a very practical vehicle for my type of driving.

But it sure would attract attention!   From guys and gals alike...and the Boys In Blue!

And then there are these pretty (but violent) thunderstorms - over Baltimore.  I snapped the pictures  the other day, late in the afternoon.  Seen from a distance, they're quite innocent and peaceful-looking.  (It's flat out here on the Delmarva.)  But not if you're out and about in them...

(Especially not if you're driving an open T-Bucket, without windshield wipers!)

My wife was recently called to a family emergency out of town...and this means I have some time to myself.   Just not sure how long, and I have a nice "laundry list" of things to work on.  (And no, laundry isn't one of them.)  But as I drove her into Baltimore, we dropped in at a Big Box store to get me a few supplies for her absence.  And I had to return something before we paid for out new items.

The line at customer service was long, and it was "trainee day."  Plus they had computer issues.  So, during  my 15 minutes of waiting, I was talking with the guy in front of me about the poor service, and the fact that I needed to get "her," pointing to my wife (but not mentioning the term "wife") standing way over there with a few grocery items, waiting impatiently) to the airport.   He said "You probably should have gone to the airport first, Ma'am."  And I couldn't argue with that detail.  "But if all you're doing is returning one item, you can go ahead of me."  I thanked him profusely, and when the time came he motioned me ahead.  Fortunately they were quick with me, and it only delayed him a minute or two.  We paid for our three new items at the check out counter, and were on our way in about 5 minutes.

Did the fact that I was in androgynous mode (with long hair, acrylic pink nails, wearing my red henley, tan shorts, pantyhose, flats and carrying my purse) provide him sufficient clues as to my femininity, or was he just being nice?  I'll never know.  Nor will I know what my wife was thinking, as she watched from 20 feet away, how the man gave me his place in line...she said nothing about it, and it may never be brought up.  She's there now...and by the time she returns, that issue will be ancient history.

Before noon, and within five minutes of getting home, I was wearing a long skirt, sleeveless tee and my mary jane heels.   I'm going to wear this outfit till at least 6PM, as I need lots of practice just being in heels...   I have lots of errands to run on the "other side of the pond" this week, so there may be two trips or more in my future.   (Unfortunately, at least one will be in androgynous mode...)

Today, one of my chores is to do a few of the things my wife's hurried exit prevented her from doing...vacuuming the carpets, dusting the hardwood floors and shelving, and cleaning two big windows along with a couple of shelves in the refrigerator.   These little things are the least I can do for her - she'll be busy at her sister's.  Since I can't cook real meals for her when she gets back, I'll do what I can to make it easier for her later.

No French maid outfit for this girl!!!   And yes, I kept the heels on till about 6:30.  Though I didn't walk in them continuously, it was great practice.  My legs aren't as sore as I thought they'd be...I'm going to keep wearing them as much as possible while I'm alone, so that probably will come later.


Friday, July 10, 2015

It's getting to be a habit...and "Legs."

I've been getting post cards from several organizations to which I belong, asking me to call in and confirm my information in their files, prior to printing their periodic book of members, which they then sell to the members.  (Or at least, to SOME of the members - but not me.)  They've done it a couple of times over the past 20 years, too, so it's not the first time.

Yes, before you ask, it's legit...I called the number I have in my file for the organization, just to be sure.  And they ARE preparing to publish such a book at this time.

But today's experience in making one of the calls was rather unique.  The male clerk pulled up my info, and for 3/4 of the call, he addressed me as Ms.  I made no attempt to disguise my voice in the slightest, and from prior posts, you know "it is what it is...male."   Apparently he finally reached the part of the file which shows my gender...and Ms. became Mr.   Amazing how quickly I changed genders!  But it was fun while it lasted...

Earlier this week, it was Senior Day at the pharmacy...and once again, I was using my wife's discount card to make a purchase.  As usually happens, the clerk addressed me by my wife's first name...despite the fact that I was wearing shorts, a tank top, and flats.  No skirt, makeup or jewelry.  Definitely it's becoming a habit for them, one which I enjoy!

On Wednesday was my dentist appointment on the other side of the bay.  It was a solo trip, so after my appointment with the dentist (to which I wore shorts, a tank top, pantyhose, flats and light makeup), I applied lipstick and stopped in to see my old seamstress.  It wasn't just a social visit  to say hi; I had a skort and blouse to be altered.  And her dressing room turned out to be a wonderful spot to change into a skirt - particularly the one I'd like to find a black blouse to wear with.   She was happy to see that I was getting out and about in skirts - "you should do that more often."  I agree with her - and I wish I could!

Afterward, it was off to the thrift shop to see if the black blouse and wedge peep toe pumps were still there.  Unfortunately, it was discount day, and the place had been seriously picked over already.  Both were gone.  And nothing else looked right with the red-and-black skirt seen below.  I guess I wasn't the only girl who liked the blouse and shoes!

Then it was off to the cell phone store I formerly used, when we lived on the other side of the bay.  Enroute to the store, the sky was ominous and leaking a bit.  However within a couple of miles, the rain came in earnest.  Serious 2" an hour.  Took me about 15 minutes to drive that last mile, and get parked.  Rain let up just a bit, so I ran inside.  A lady waited on me...  She didn't use any gender-specific terms, and I did nothing to alter my voice.  As it was still raining and I didn't want to get soaked, I went ahead with plans to buy a new phone, and have her set it up for me.  Again, nothing was said about my attire - or my gender.  That is, until one of the other clerks said "goodbye, sir" as I left with my purchase.   Darn - their score was perfect up to that point!

For those who, it's not a smart phone.  I don't need that technology....and am getting too old for it.  BTW, we have been butt-dialed by our son too many times to count - and have watched him charge his smart phone all night overnight every night, then again mid-day every day - to want to even deal with it.  (They can put a man on the moon, but can't design a battery that lasts longer than half a day.  Go figure.)  A dumb phone - which can generally go a couple weeks on standby between charges - is fine and dandy.  (The specs of the new one say it can last up to 30 days on standby, which if true, is excellent - since I only keep it on for the nursing home to contact me.)

The next day I attended a meeting at the nursing home, about my mother's care.  It was a typical meeting, with one new attendee, a middle-age woman.  I was wearing my shorts, pantyhose, flats and a pink button-down shirt, and was already seated when she entered the room.  As we stood to leave, she came around the corner and said with a big smile "Wow, I see some really nice legs on you - and you're wearing shorts."  I said "yes" with a smile, thanked her, and said "I've been wearing either shorts or capris for a while now. Guess our paths haven't crossed since cold weather left.  (And that's the case.  She's usually barricaded in her office.)

"So you'll be wearing your shorts the rest of the summer?"  "You can look forward to it."   Her reply was "I hope have very pretty legs.  See you later!"  The whole exchange may have been completely inappropriate in a business setting...but I don't really care...I loved the attention!  (And it's only a problem if someone complains.  Neither of us are going to complain! )   Wonder what her comment would be if I show up in a skirt?  I plan to try it one day...just for kicks.

And that gave me an idea - something I haven't done previously:  pictures of my legs in skirts...   Yes, I really should wear them more often!

I wouldn't have to "learn to like this look"...I've already passed that point!   And the heels really do enhance my legs' appearance.

More later...


Saturday, July 4, 2015

All's quiet ...& Happy July 4 to my USA readers!

Things have been so quiet lately, and there have been so few chances for Mandy to get out and about, that this July 4 I've dug into my archives again...ferroequinologists may enjoy this one.

From a trip to Nicholson PA (Wyoming County) back in 1989, here is a picture of Tunkhannock (Creek) Viaduct, sometimes referred to as the 9th Wonder of the World. 

This reinforced concrete structure was the largest of its kind ever built when it was created in 1915 on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The bridge, 2,375 feet long and rising 240 feet above Tunkhannock Creek, was the focal point of a 39.6-mile relocation between Clarks Summit and Hallstead, and remains in use today.

Does it still look like this?  The videos on You-Tube say yes...and this picture proves the lower bar on the K in Lackawanna fell off some time prior to 1989.  Maybe someday I'll get there to check it out again myself...and hopefully this time, in a dress!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Miscellaneous musings...and Happy Summer!

Happy Summer to each of my readers in the northern hemisphere!

When I got home from my "vacation" a while back, there were three blouses and two skirts in my suitcase which had been worn several times, and they needed refreshed.  My wife doesn't know they're mine (instead of my mother's),  and she does the laundry, so I can't very well ask her to wash them.  Nor can I run the washer and dryer myself, without her becoming suspicious.  The local cleaner I used previously quoted me $6 each for women's garments, up from $5 a while back.  Other than suing the cleaner for discrimination (not practical for me at this time - and my wife wouldn't stir that pot herself) or heading to the laundromat to wash them myself (time-consuming), it was a case of "Oh my, what to do?" 

Off to a laundry chain called ZIPS...$1.99 for any garment, any gender.  Very convenient, and huge savings.  No premium up-charge for women's clothes!  YAY!!!  Plus, they do repairs.  The only possible downside is - you have to pay in cash up front.  But savings are substantial...and my clothes were ready in a day, not a week like the other cleaner.   It's a huge deal - $10 for the lot (5 pieces), versus $30+ at the old cleaner's!  I'm all for it...they have a new customer, even though I burn a half gallon of extra gas for drop-off and pick up.  Let's see...spend $3.00, save $20.  Net savings - $17.  Such a no-brainer!

My "new" outfit (shown below) isn't really new.  The blouse has been in the bottom of my "sleeveless top" drawer for about three years, seldom worn, but known by my wife.   When new, I put it on for a day out with her.  She rebelled, saying it was too feminine, particularly with shorts or capris and pantyhose, and I had to change to keep the peace.

Since coming home from vacation, I tried it again, this time to counter the very hot weather.  And surprise!  It's no longer a problem to wear out and about, alone or with my wife, even with shorts, pantyhose, flats and my mother's necklace.   Lack of a comment was a major surprise.  Seems that the "envelope" may just have expanded a bit.

I actually have two of these henley sleeveless tops, the one shown and also one in red.  They're super comfortable in hot weather, and have a lovely open neckline, perfect for both getting a better tan and wearing necklaces. 

They really seems to help further my feminine image - at least it worked that way, like magic, at Kohl's Friday.  I was in the checkout line with my wife, who was being helped by the clerk.  Another clerk walked up and asked me: "May I help you, Ma'am?" My response:  "No thanks, I'm fine."  So she took the next person in line, just as she should.   But I got absolutely no strange looks (you know, that "a-HA, the light just went on" syndrome) from the outfit must be fine, particularly with the above-the-knee hemline of my shorts.

These blouses are going to get a lot more wear this summer than in years past.  Of that you can be sure!

So, the next day I attended a neighborhood event 'solo', wearing the red top with tan shorts, purse, pantyhose and flats, and my name tag with my (now used by females) given name.  People we know addressed me by my first name, thus inadvertently helping to disguise my gender.  One of the female residents (whom I didn't know) asked if I had a small knife in my purse that she could borrow.  Yes, I replied, and lent it to her.  She wanted to open a family heirloom locket.  I unilaterally declined to attempt doing it, for fear I might scratch the finish.  "Oh, that's OK, Ma'am.  I'll have one of the men do it for me."  So she did, and a man opened it for her.  She returned the knife to me, with many thanks...   I guess I've achieved female status with her, and as a result,  have lost a smidgen of that "male privilege" I formerly had...   Maybe so, but it was fun!  

Here's another picture from the Avila Adobe in Los Angeles.  While very few passers-by were seen in my photos, everyone was most accommodating, to not "get in the way."  So the place was not  deserted, as you might imagine it was from looking at the pictures.

Another excursion-related musing;  following is a view (i.e. framed in the "teardrop" corner dome window) that is only possible to see from a Heritage dome car.   (This one was taken departing Chicago.)  There are no such windows on Superliner "sightseer lounge" cars, and views to the rear of the train (typically through end door coach windows) are often cloudy from accumulated dirt.  (Car washing machines don't clean those!)  So this is a real treat!

After several days wandering around the house in the pink dress shown in my previous blog "Couldn't believe it,"  my wife apparently decided I shouldn't be wearing it.  and told me to put something else on.  So I of my usual house dresses, resulting in a "that's better" comment.   Not sure why it's better - they're both dresses, and they both cover "that which must be covered."  I'm truly not sure about why the long-delayed reaction.  Since nothing was said about "not wearing it while sunbathing", next time I'll try wearing it again...  It probably will fly.   But no promises...

Moral of that story:  If something seems too good to be true, it probably isn't (true)...

Lastly...I was out thrift-shopping yesterday, but couldn't find any skirts with elastic waists. All of them were fixed waists, without belt loops. That normally doesn't work well for me.  I found, but didn't buy, a blouse that looked nice, but was a bit too short. And I also found, but didn't buy, a pair of peep toe sling-back wedges. They fit...and looked nice.

If they are still there next time I go in, I may buy the shoes...they feel more wearable than my regular heels. And if I could be wearing the skirt I want to wear the blouse with, I may even be able to reconsider buying the blouse!