Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Whatta mess, and Happy Holidays to all...

This was started on the day I had the broken tooth removed...

To bring you up to date,  the other day I was enjoying a delicious, soft brownie treat (without nuts). I heard a crunch, then immediately noticed a foreign object in the brownie.  It was the remains of a cap, and the top of a back tooth was missing.  Next day, I made an emergency trip to my dentist to see if he could glue it back on.  Diagnosis was: the post was loose.  He pronounced it a total loss, because the underlying tooth cracked to the tip of the root.  And he had no suggestions as to why this would happen while eating a nice, soft, brownie sans nuts.  Then he referred me to the oral surgeon for its removal, the following day.  Oh, great...

Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the extraction, having lost two other back teeth for the same reason.  Because of that, and other ongoing issues, I found myself writing this note in bits over the next week.  When I went to the oral surgeon for the extraction, I wore my denim leggings, black tights, black turtleneck and ballet flats.  Nothing overly feminine...well, maybe the shoes.  Not exactly presenting as female, but definitely as androgynous.

I'm back from the dentist now...with all the pain you might expect from a tooth extraction.  Whatta mess.  You know what I wore, see above.  I was pleased that the oral surgeon (female) and assistant (male) both used "she" and "Miss" often, once I was seated in the was my first time with both of them.  I did hear "he" from the assistant early on, so I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was clocked...but hearing appropriate pronouns the rest of the time sounded nice nonetheless...   I wonder if they had a little "discussion" when they both left the room at the same time?  Guess I'll never know for sure.

The next day, as I was driving in the antique car, I stopped in at the tire store where I bought its new tires.  The guy who waited on me said "I remember your car, Ma'am.  How can I help you?" I asked if they would be able to check the tire pressure for me each spring, after the weather warms up, so I don't drive on underinflated tires.  "Certainly Ma'am, and there will be no charge..."  That's great news...I didn't want to have to buy a compressor!

My follow-up visit to the opthalmologist went well a couple days ago.  (In case you missed the complete story, read my blog titled "The past couple weeks",  dated December 2.)  The Posterior Vitreous Detachment and associated torn blood vessel have healed, and the vitreous fluid has partially cleared. He wants me to be seen again in 6 months by a local eye doctor.  But did you know that you can have freckles (you know, like the freckle-faced kid) INSIDE your eye?  I didn't either, but I have one, which he found in his very thorough exam.  It will bear watching in the future.

And I found that I also have something called occasional "painless ocular migraines?"  Never heard of those, either!  But a symptom I've noticed in that eye since this incident occurred, was given that diagnosis.  No meds are needed for it at this point, but we'll see what the future brings.  (I'm having another of those "migraines" as I write this...ugh.)

My own issues notwithstanding, I'm wishing each of my readers a wonderful Holiday Season, and a very Happy New Year...better days are coming!   And to put you in the mood for some Christmas snow, how about a picture from the March 2009 archives, of an Amtrak Acela blasting through Odenton, MD on the Northeast Corridor, kicking up enough fresh snow that the rest of the Acela trainset disappears.

For those of you with extra sharp vision, you might notice that the locomotive number (2009) is the same as the year the picture was taken...enjoy!



Monday, December 14, 2015

"Beautiful car. ladies"

The recent antique car event is now history, and, yes, I had a great time! 

The only change in my outfit from what I had initially planned to wear (my denim leggings) is that I decided to switch to stirrup pants.  Then, since it's a woman's privilege to change her mind on a moment's notice, just before I left home I gave up on the stirrup pants and changed back to my denim leggings and black tights, due to the cold that morning.   I still wore a turtleneck tunic and sweater, with ballet flats and Mom's necklace.    A typical androgynous presentation.

My wife long ago decided that she wouldn't attend this event again...residents typically shoot firecrackers and noisy things like that nearby.  She's not a fan of fireworks.  We were there a few years ago, and her theory is "once bit, twice shy."    

Before I retired, I spent time training my replacement.  On breaks, she and I talked about my car and the event. She was very interested in going, even back then.  My wife was, and still is, OK with it...since she declined to attend, and there is safety in numbers in a big city...two in a car are safer than one.  My wife sat with the woman at my retirement party, and she has been in the car a few times when I took a call from her (on the speakerphone, you know)...wifey and I both talked to her.  So, they know each other, at least superficially.  But, as luck would have it, something happened that year and we weren't able to attend the event.

Like friends do, I kept in touch with her (she's been a wealth of info about the place I used to work) and we've tried again each year since then.  No luck for various reasons, from car problems, to rain, to snow one year (which cancelled the event.)  Until this year, when everything fell into place...the weather was beautiful.   I started the car up, and it ran acceptably, if not good.   So, "we were going." 

My friend (or female friend, or girl friend, or "friend who happens to be a girl", or "girlfriend" - your choice) and I went out for Brunch before the event, at a restaurant where she was known by staff and customers alike.  There, for some reason, I was not "Miss-identified."  Not at all.   Not sure "why not", though.  They asked her if it would be separate checks, or just one, and she picked up the tab for our entire meal...wouldn't take no for an answer.  (Looks like I've lost at least some of that old male assertiveness!)    It's been ages since a girl - other than my wife - has paid for my meal! 

We finally arrived at the car event, and it was time for some pictures by the group.  Not sure if, when or where they will turn up.  Time will tell.  My friend has a great figure (yes, I'm jealous), is about 25 years younger than yours truly, and about 4 inches taller, barefooted.  When we worked together, she almost always wore short skirts and tall heels, and looked fabulous in them.  Instead of being just a few inches taller, she really towered over me.  But, not so much for this event.   :-(     Some of the club members at the event knew me, but most didn't.  None know my wife.  So, most likely either they believed my friend was my wife...or that we were two girlfriends on a day out in member hubby's car!   I introduced my friend to the few folks I knew. to try to allay the gossip.  But I suspect it fell mostly upon tin ears.  There were a lot of civilians present...who, if they addressed us, mostly did so as "ladies."   Wonder how much of that she actually heard???

The most fun was when they announced to the public who owned what cars...and I was introduced as Miss (insert real first and last name.)  For all the world to hear!   The official compliment was to both of us: "Beautiful car, ladies."  She couldn't miss that compliment...and we both thanked the guy.  More importantly, my friend said nothing about the "Miss" part!  (Yes, I had advised her early on, that I occasionally am "miss-taken" for a woman because of my long hair and nails. Which I've had since long before we've worked together.)   Now I'm anxious to see if/where our pictures turn up...

After the event concluded, I had to hurry to get both of us home before dark.  No, the car wasn't going to turn into a pumpkin.   Headlights on older cars are awful.  As I drove into our development, the sunset below presented itself to me - quite spectacular - even if darkness was falling and I barely made it before total darkness arrived.

What a memorable day!  We're already talking about planning an encore next year...maybe even decorating the car like some of the others.  A string of battery-powered Christmas lights would be fun...  Time will tell if it actually happens...but we hope so.



Saturday, December 5, 2015


Thought I'd pass this along...

Just recently, I received an invitation by email, on my most commonly used email account, in my everyday name (which is now-used-by-females) to join the National Association of Professional Women.   That was good for a chuckle...if I were well and truly fully out, with a traceable female employment history, it might even be fun!  (But my wife certainly wouldn't agree...)

Maybe in my next life. 

Funny coincidence - our son has long hair like me, but these days,  also sports a beard with mustache.  When he arrived on campus for his freshman year in college, he didn't have the beard/mustache, and received a written invitation to pledge a sorority on campus.  He has a common nickname which ends in "y" for boys and "i" for girls...and they sent it to him as with an "i".

And I found out during our last visit, that occasionally he's still addressed as a female from the back...which gets him an "oops-sorry Sir" when he turns around.  He doesn't wear dresses...that I know of.   But because of his beard, he doesn't mind the "miss-identifications."  It's a self-correcting problem.
So I guess we both deal with "miss-identifications" periodically, each in our own way.   I'm fine with that...and choose to "not have" facial hair!  (When my ship comes in, and I'm waiting at the right dock, I'll get electrolysis...)


PS:  Our son knows I still wear dresses around the house, because I've told him. (Whether he's told his wife, I don't know.)  Years ago, when he lived at home, it was not an issue.  But my wife objects when we are at their place.  What he doesn't know is the extent to which I dress.   That remains unsaid for now...perhaps later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My past couple weeks...

Over two weeks ago, I got my annual flu shot on a Monday afternoon, to protect myself and Mom at the nursing home.  Have done so for years, with no issues.  By Monday night I felt funny, my arm ached and I went to bed early,  Come Tuesday I had muscle aches everywhere and a 102 degree fever.  Stayed in bed all day.  Late Tuesday night I started coughing.  And it got really bad.  With cough drops I managed to stifle the worst of it during nursing home visits, and kept up business as usual, coughing and feeling badly for the rest of the week, hoping it would improve.  

That next Saturday morning I had an appointment to fly in an old propeller-driven warplane.  I'd  been looking forward to doing this for some time, and didn't plan to miss it for any reason.  Interestingly, when we first got to the plane, the girl in charge  "miss-identified" me...probably because my first name's that of a girl nowadays, and my outfit was at best androgynous, or more appropriately, outright feminine  (dark gray stirrup pants over pantyhose, ballet flats, and a long black turtleneck tunic under a women's black knit sweater. with my mom's necklace on the outside of my tunic, plainly visible in the sweater's V-neckline) and my purse.  But a carefully-dropped "my husband" from my wife nipped that in the bud - and it was a bit of an unusual response from her.  Oh, well.  I was having so much fun that I didn't give the issue a second thought.  (Even so, I subsequently got compliments from the girl about my reaction from my wife, and she DID hear, but no comment.)  

Once the pilot and I were both strapped in and taxiing for takeoff, the pilot wanted to know what I expected from our time aloft.  I made it clear - no aerobatics.  He was fine with that.  And I wondered if I might fly it a bit, since I have an ancient pilot's license.  We flew around the Chesapeake Bay area, and he gave me the controls for a while...I got to try my hand at flying a plane with a joystick instead of a yoke.  It was fun...

Sitting under a canopy surrounds you with 360 degrees of beauty!

From a plane, you can see how flat the Delmarva is...and how much water there is, too.   The pilot had offered to let me land it, but with the crosswinds...I know my limits.    Rather than risking a crash and ending up front page news in the Washington Post, I declined...    But I had a fabulous wife got some good pix from the tarmac, and so did I, from the air.  I will go again...

Eating cough drops like candy, kept my cough minimal in the air.  But my ride was over before I knew it, and unfortunately, by the time we got home, I was coughing again.  Hard.  And I noticed strange things going on inside my left eye, strange enough to alarm me.  Soon, we were off to the ER.  Where the triage nurse promptly "miss-identified" me, asking me questions from the female list (fortunately not in front of my wife.)  The notables: "When was your last period?" "Are you pregnant?"

Oops - looks like name issues again. Guess they didn't check my records from the last time I was there...  (Or maybe they did, but could the records have showed female? Perhaps...)  At least my driver's license was correct, but they didn't seem to care about that, even though I presented it at registration.  So,  I answered honestly - "Don't know" to the first and "No" to the second.  Subsequently, the doctor saw me, didn't use a gender-specific greeting, and didn't think it was a detached or torn retina, but wanted me to see an opthalmologist to confirm, on Sunday.  They made the arrangements. 

At noon Sunday, instead of enjoying the planned early Thanksgiving dinner with Mom at the nursing home, we were at the eye doctor, who opened up specially for me (and she knew me.)  My vision in that eye was getting foggy.  She also didn't think it was a torn or detached retina.  But after hearing about the cough, she sent me to a retina specialist an hour and a half away.  They opened the office for me that Sunday, didn't "miss-identify" me, and prepared to do whatever they had to.   But it turned out to be an easy task..not a torn or detached retina.  The problem was diagnosed as PVD - Posterior Vitreous Detachment, typically seen in "old folks with nearsightedness."  My situation was a bit unusual as a blood vessel tore in there, thus the "eye fog." 

I could still see fine out of one eye, and the bad one still had 20/25 vision, though cloudy.  I was able to drive us home ...and we started waiting for the doctor's prediction (50 percent clear in a week, 80 percent in a month, 90 percent in 2 months, some loss may take longer to clear - or be permanent to take effect.)   So far, results seem to be following roughly that scenario...  And I trotted off to my physician to get something for the cough.  The nurse there called my coughing and symptoms a "mild reaction to the flu shot."  If this was mild, I'd hate to see severe.  Their prescriptions seem to be working. albeit slowly.

With the specialist also chalking my eye problem up to the cough from the flu shot...hard coughing shaking the vitreous membrane loose...for me the bottom line probably will be:  that was my last flu shot.  And I don't think any doctor will argue too hard with me.  I don't need more eye problems.  Plus, I'll see the doctor more quickly for future coughs...typically I've tried to ride them out to keep from taking pills (which often have side effects on me, and I hate to participate in antibiotic over-use.) 

At the nail salon recently, where I got a pedicure, a guy (typical-looking middle age male) walked in between 2 younger gals (Wife and girlfriend?  Two girlfriends?), and the gals said loudly "we all want manicures today...even the man."  So generically, the tech told everyone to pick a color...and though I couldn't hear much due to where I was sitting, it seems he wanted "just clear."    Since his gals were getting fills, techs put his hands on to soak while they worked on them.  And by that point the guy, with his hands stuck in the soaking bowls, had the look of terror on his face, as if he was about to be devoured by a pack of hungry female wolves...

At that point, my tech had finished with me, and I was ready to go.  I walked out of the spa chair area, past the guy at a manicure table.  He didn't so much as glance at me as I approached.  I paid my bill, and said, "So long, girls!" in my still-hoarse voice (the antibiotics hadn't started their work after only a couple days.)  The guy looked around, probably expecting to see another guy in the shop.  Instead, he did a double take, first at me, then my androgynous outfit,  down to my ballet flats, and for some reason he turned more than a little red.  My tech said "Bye Miss Mandy" as I walked out.  I glanced back in and waved, but by now the guy (who had turned to gawk as I left) seemed even more confused. Was I was feminine enough that he hadn't noticed anything unusual about me when they walked in, but he was regretting that failure now?  Or was he simply embarrassed at being "caught" by another man while getting his nails done?

So, I have no clue what went on after I left...   Unanswered questions: Was I his first encounter with a transgender girl?  Did he or the gals "clock" me initially?  Didn't he realize girls can get hoarse from a cold or flu, too?  Or maybe he caught heck from his gal pals for blatantly staring at me?  (We can hope that happened!)   Perhaps I'll find out from the techs one day...

Till Next Time...