Friday, February 19, 2016

Another pair of new sandals...

You may recall that a while back, I bought a pair of women's white open-toe sandals, with nearly a 2" wedge heel, like this:

I've been wearing them around the house almost every day, and they're very comfortable, but feminine.   As predicted, my wife has apparently gotten somewhat used to seeing them on me.

Having tried to "sell" her on my need for a pair in brown right after I bought these, that attempt failed miserably.  I heard something like "Those look like women's way my husband will wear those in public."  But that was then, and this is now.   After many hours and days of wearing them around the house.  I once again commented about how comfortable they are, and how I plan to get a pair of brown ones to wear with jeans and capris this spring and fall.

It turns out that now, she's agreeable to my wearing them.  The only "but" is that I won't be wearing them when we're spending the day walking together in public.   "With these sandals, capris and your painted toe nails, you look like a woman.  However..."  she said "buy them...they look nice.  You'll be wearing them whenever I'm not going to be by your side, to make sure we didn't waste our money.  They'll help you create many cute outfits. And there are side benefits:   you'll love the "flip-flop" effects.  Plus, they sound like you're wearing high heels when you go down the basement steps or walk on hard surfaces.  I'll always know where you are, around the house!"

"I know I relented on my previous 'no closed shoes for you over the summer' rule, but we'll try it again.  Once warm weather arrives, I'll pack away all of your closed shoes and most of your sandals -  except this pair and your new brown ones.  They'll become your everyday footwear.  When we go out together,  it'll be my decision, and mine alone, whether you'll wear these, or closed shoes.  If I don't hand you a pair of flats, just wear your sandals."

So now I know I'm OK with the rules.  Thus, I've ordered a pair in brown, with black soles and tan insoles.  When they arrive, I'll post a picture.  I'm really looking forward to adding them to my wardrobe!   They'll be cute with my jeans, capris and skirts.  If the new ones fit as well as the white ones, I may even buy a pair in black, for spring and fall...

An amazing change...


Saturday, February 13, 2016

A pick-up...

That's the lamp, not me!!!

Soon the day arrived that the shop tech told me to pick up my lamp, so after lunch I paid the shop a visit.   He was not in yet, but his associate told me to wait and he'd be in shortly.   And that prediction  proved correct.

We looked over his work, which was good.  I had done the work for the last lamp myself, at a machine in the "company I worked for's" shop.  Having a pro do this one provided a better-looking finish, and he did more than agreed upon - the inside looked nice, too.  I paid the bill...

Then he casually relayed to me that I have a male double, who is into politics north of Baltimore.  And he showed me a picture...there's definitely a resemblance, though the name is not similar, and I have no male relatives in the area, so there is no connection.  He asked if I was married..."Yes." "To a man or a woman?"  Hmmmm.  The first time for that question!   "A woman...I like women, so much that I want to look like one." Then to reassure - or confuse - him a bit more, I added: "In case you wondered, I'll always answer to 'Ma'am.'"

Time flew by as we chatted a bit more about my dressing.  (Brings to mind the old joke "Why does time fly?"  "Because everyone's trying to kill it."  Sorry...bad joke.)  Being retired, I had more time than he did; as that discussion dwindled, he switched back to business - and made some good suggestions for painting my lamp. Then he invited me to bring more business of this type his way...and as I went to pick up the container with my lamp, he stopped me, and asked where I was parked (I told him).  Said he: "Here, I'll get that for you, Ma'am!"  "Why, thank you kind sir..."  He picked it up, walked out with me and put it into the trunk.   As he headed back for his shop, he thanked me again for the business, and "Hope you'll come back to see me soon."

He was very much as to make me wonder if perhaps Mandy might have just acquired a "secret admirer."  On my first visit,  I'd sensed that possibility already.  So, I paid cash for the work...just in case.  I may never need to refinish another lamp (the last one was about 8 years ago), so I may never be back...  He just doesn't need to know that right now.

From our recent travels:  if you're ever in Oklahoma City, be sure to add the Cattlemen's Cafe to your list of "must-do's."  They're out of the way, right by the stockyards, but the food and service were great!  The luncheon steak was tender, tasty and done just right!  I like my steaks medium-rare, so I ask for medium, and voila!   Perfect medium-rare. Every time...well, except at home.  We (I) tend to regularly overcook them on our own grill...

The stockyards were quiet while we were there - nary a cow (or bull) in sight.   So the clientele at Cattlemen's Cafe was basically tourists, not cattlemen.  (Strangely, more women than men.)  But it's said that cattlemen (and cattlewomen, or cattlepersons?) own the place on the mornings of stock auctions.

And I was addressed as female at lunch...which was surprising as I certainly didn't feel feminine, despite the fact that everything I was wearing came from the women's department.  And despite being in the heavily-evangelical religious south.  But hearing "Ma'am" is never an issue - and always a pleasure!

That's all for now...



Friday, February 5, 2016

There could have been a serious issue...

But thankfully, it didn't happen!

Some of you may recall that my wife and I ride long-distance trains, and travel in sleeping cars.  These have car attendants, some of whom my wife and/or I have come to know over the years.  Fortunately, they're predominantly on one certain route heading west out of, and east into, Washington DC.   As a result, I will not travel in skirts or dresses on that route, even if I'm alone.  And rightly so...

Last year, on the first leg of my visit to the west coast, my car attendant on that train was one with whom we have previously traveled.  And, as usual, he remembered me.  On our way out of town for this year's trip, he reappeared as our attendant, and talked with us for a while.  Had I chosen to dress at any previous time on his car, it's possible that he'd have remembered Mandy.  Any mention of that around my wife - even a casual compliment like "That was a really pretty skirt you wore last time" - would set off an untimely and unwanted chain reaction.    That could turn a good day very bad, very quickly.  Thus, Mandy always climbs back into her suitcase when traveling to, or home from, Chicago via that route.

On the first leg of that most recent excursion (the Northeast Corridor to DC) our Conductor, whom I didn't recognize,  knew who we were as we boarded at our stop (from the manifest, I presume) as we were the only passengers boarding in business class).  Subsequently, he addressed me (in my androgynous mode) as "Miss Sherman."  That's always affirming, and quite fine with me!  Much better to be addressed as "Miss" than "Mr."

With other trains, elsewhere in the country, being inadvertently "outed" by crew at inopportune times is not so much of an issue, since we primarily travel together on only the one eastern route.    I've traveled "pretty" a number of times elsewhere, and had no issues whatsoever.  Likewise, I did so on the Northeast Corridor, including last year's cross-country excursion which included a NYC stop, to meet one of my readers in New York "in person" for the first time.

However, deadheading crews seem to be a bit problematic.  I now know that they can appear anywhere, at any time.  And my recognition factor enters into this.  On the most recent trip with my wife, a deadheading car attendant from the western side of last year's cross-country trip, much of which found me en femme, recognized and acknowledged me.  He introduced me as a repeat customer to his female boss, who was coincidentally deadheading on the same train we were riding.  Fortunately, no public mention was made of my female attire last year.  Could it be an extension of that unwritten rule "What goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas"????    So it seems that dressing simply results in a crap-shoot, the luck of the draw.  Am I likely to stop?  Probably not...

Due to our schedule, and the need to drive several places rather than take the train, chances are looking slimmer by the day for an en-femme train trip this summer.  But I'm certainly hoping for an encore!  Time will tell what happens...

Hope January's major east coast blizzard spared my readers who live in that area..though we were gone at the time, and did not get to "enjoy" it...

I leave you with a sunrise scene, over the Atlantic, from an upper-story window in our beachfront hotel at Ocean City, Maryland in early 2012.


Till next time,


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It was time to try a visit to the auto parts store...

Upon getting home from our recent trip, I decided to pick up some things at the auto parts store.  And I elected to visit the one with the male clerk who wears skirts.  It's someone I need to meet...

Making a long story short, I was able to find all the things I needed, so I went to the check-out counter.  Unfortunately, the clerk wearing a skirt was not at the register, so I was waited on by the girl in pants.   A few seconds later, the "skirted clerk" appeared, and she was indeed wearing a skirt again that day.   Unfortunate that she didn't wait on me.  Darn it anyway - well, it gives me a reason to go back.

At least I was able to hear her voice, clearly, and it was not the least bit feminine, nor could I notice any makeup from about 5 feet away - she apparently offers no pretense of passing.   Hopefully next time, we'll meet (I'll be sure to wear my most feminine outfit) and I'll get to talk, relaying how much I admire, and approve of, wearing skirts in the workplace.   And with my standing in front of her in a feminine outfit doesn't put her at ease, nothing will.

When I finally got to Mom's, she was quite grumpy.  Not sure why...but even giving her one of her favorite snacks didn't do much to help.  So we listened to music from my computer and talked for a while, though she really wasn't in the mood for company, and I left after a shorter-than-usual visit.  Hopefully tomorrow she'll be more talkative.

Next, I dropped off the antique railroad lamp at the shop to be prepped for painting.  See picture of a slightly different type of lamp I previously restored, below:

The guy who met me last time I stopped (for a quote) wasn't there.  But his associate was, and surprisingly, he already knew about me and my lamp, which needs glass beaded.

I can almost imagine their conversation after I left last time...."Some guy who dresses like a girl stopped by today, with a railroad lamp to be cleaned up.  I quoted him a price, and he'll disassemble it and bring it back later.  I'll do the work - you don't have to."  "How will I identify him? Will he be wearing a skirt or dress?"  "I don't think so.  He identified himself as male.  But he wears girl's outfits, and he sure looked like a girl to me.  If he shows up tomorrow at noon, have him wait for me."

Let's hope they do a good job on it...I'll spray paint it outdoors on a warm day. like I have the other ones I've restored.   Then I'll have the fun of reassembling it.  When I'm done with it, I'll put it on display in the house...

More later...



Monday, February 1, 2016

It happened again on our most recent trip...

"What's that?" you may ask.

For our most recent January conference journey, my attire was the usual 100% androgynous: denim leggings or stirrup pants, pantyhose or black tights, ballet flats, turtlenecks, with my mother's old necklace, and a women's cardigan.   Of course, I had a male jacket, as I haven't been able to procure a girly one.  Yet.  And the above was combined with my purse, long hair and nails.   No comments from my wife, except to insist that I wear my tights with a pair of stirrup pants for banquet night.  "That will look a lot more dressy."  I was happy with her comment...

When we picked up a rental car upon arrival in the Lone Star State (Texas, for those of you not from the USA), the lady from the agency who picked us up at the train, addressed my wife as "Ma'am." But she tactfully omitted any reference to my gender in conversation.  She did her job efficiently and was otherwise very friendly.

Being in the south, and with my gender quite ambiguous, I was prepared for lots of looks, and maybe confusion, or possibly comments from the local folks.   With two exceptions, it just plain didn't happen.  I didn't hear casual "Ma'am's" very often (mostly heard at restaurants), nor did I hear "Sir" very often - except at hotels, where my ID had to be produced.  There, even my "now female" given name didn't matter...they apparently focused on the little "M" on my ID.

The first "confusion exception" was when we stopped at a Subway, on a Sunday in a tiny cow town in central Texas.  A lot of locals were there after church, with their kids.  And, I definitely attracted attention from the young kids, whom I noticed were obviously "checking me out."  I'd love to hear the questions those parents were asked, once they got out of the restaurant.

Nice rail Texas...couldn't resist a selfie.

Denison, TX Union Depot - majestic, and somewhat reminiscent of Chattanooga's "Choo Choo" depot, which was turned into a hotel.  Unfortunately, passenger trains don't stop at this station anymore (since about 1968) and the waiting room is rented out for events.

Gold Dome Building on old Route 66 in downtown Oklahoma City.  Reportedly the fifth largest geodesic dome in the world when built in the late 1960's, and the largest to be built as a bank.  It has been sold, and the new owner is in financial trouble.  The grim reaper is lurking "just around the corner," and it may be demolished in the near future.

The other exception was similar to some I've posted about recently.  We were returning the rental car and the elderly male driver who dropped us off at the train station was very talkative with info about the area.  Didn't think there was an issue, and I got into the front seat as it had more legroom.

But I guess I really derailed his "train of thought."   When we arrived at the station, he was removing our luggage from the trunk in front of the station.  At that point,  I thanked him for taking care of both of us.  And he replied "Oh, you're welcome Sir - ummmm, so sorry Ma'am - ummm, I guess I don't know if you're a man or woman."  I told him "If it's important to you, a man."  "Oh, ok, thanks, Sir.  Sorry for the confusion."  And he blushed.  I didn't.

My wife had been standing by the door with our luggage, so she didn't hear the exchange.  And as I approached with our last bags, she was starting inside...a male passenger was helping her carry our bags to a nearby bench in the waiting room.  The male passenger's friend took my bags from my hands, to help me get them inside.  We thanked each of them personally, and they all replied "you're welcome, ladies."  Apparently there was no confusion on their part...we were both female.

Go figure.