Monday, December 31, 2018

A note about the season

To all my readers and followers:  Best Wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays...

To all of my readers (and commenters):  Best wishes for a Happy Holiday and a prosperous 2019!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Vera Bradley?

An interesting week...all having to do with purses and sales...

Early in the week, wifey was going to visit a Kohls on the mainland, and since I need another purse, she suggested I go along...  We looked through the large selection and I picked out a couple for closer scrutiny.  Then while I checked then out, she went shopping for herself, finding a few things of interest.   One of them should work well for me, and she decided it would be fine for me to carry,  so she bought that as well.

When I got it home and began to transfer everything I need for travel into it, I found that some extra internal pockets for things like loose change, camera parts, and so on would be necessary.  So, what to do?  Return the large purse because it needed some extra internal storage pockets?  And keep hunting for something better, which may not exist?  Since carrying this purse will only be necessary on trips, there had to be a better way.   Little did I know that a rescue was imminent.

Wifey has had her eye on sales at the Vera Bradley outlet in Rehoboth Beach, DE for quite some time, and finally a good enough offer came through.  It was for 60% off, with an additional 20% off of the remaining cost.  For name brand purses (and accessories, she told me), that's a great discount.  I drove her there, and she invited me to come in with her.  She pointed out the little zippered pouches.  She picked out a couple for me, in the least feminine patterns available (still fairly feminine, though) and as it turned out when we got home, they do the job perfectly, meaning I'll be able keep the purse from Kohls!

Couldn't have done it without her...and her approval of the purse and accessories....that's a good thing!   But a question comes to mind:  "does that make me a Kohls girl?  Or a Vera Bradley girl?"  LOL!

Of course, we never go anywhere without a bit of sightseeing.  We noticed what appeared to be a "stuffed and mounted" old aircraft at a closed "Midway Park" along the road to the Vera Bradley store.   Of course I couldn't resist grabbing a few pictures!

And in positioning myself for those pictures, I noticed another display, at the nearby mini-golf course:  A volcano.  Time for a selfie!

The volcano wasn't erupting, of course.  Both the golf course and other attractions were closed.  But they are definitely classic examples of tacky roadside attractions one may find on the main roads leading to tourist haunts - such as Rehoboth Beach.

It was a very good road trip!


Thursday, December 13, 2018

A bit of ferroequinology...

Since things have been so quiet around here, it's time to dig out some ferroequinology from the archives:

Above is Western Maryland Scenic Railroad's #734 Steam Engine simmnering in the bright moonlight at Cumberland, MD, after a night run to and from Frostburg.  Circa Summer 2015.

And following is a picture from the National Railway Historical Society's rail excursion out of Portland, OR on BNSF trackage.  The eastbound trip found former Spokane Portland and Seattle's #700 in the lead, with former Southern Pacific 4449 (the colorful engine) following.  Westbound back to Portland, the engines switched places, with 4449 in the lead.

It was a fun trip for everyone, and it ran more-or-less on time.   Too bad the current turmoil in Washington is taking it's toll on Amtrak, which is resulting in less service and fewer excursions like the above (notice the Amtrak diesel behind the steam engines.)


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Everything's everything...

Since returning from our visit down south and to the kids’ place in Tennessee, I’ve had my share of issues, which have kept my attention focused on things "other than wearing skirts."

Most importantly, I ended up with some kind of virus, which has finally cleared itself…well, almost - except for the remaining cough.  That may eventually require a visit to the doctor, where I will undoubtedly be prescribed antibiotics.   However, I’m avoiding doing so until absolutely necessary, because taking antibiotics will cause their customary trauma to my digestive system.   Hate that...and it happens every time.  I sometimes wonder if the “cure” is perhaps worse than the disease.  I’ve also had issues with my contact lenses, and some antique car problems have popped up.  Not to mention some discussions with the nursing home, over health concerns about Mom. 

But other than those non-routine issues, things are more-or-less normal.  Mandy remains "in storage," and it’s business as usual for my androgynous self.

I’ve been to various stores in several towns on the Delmarva, dressed in my usual stirrup pants, tops and flats (with my other feminine cues), and the magic has continued.   It’s wonderful to be treated as a woman so much of the time.  At a pharmacy in another town, I use my wife’s bonus card for purchases, and they address me by her name.   (In fairness, clerks do not know either of us, and are simply responding to the female name on the card.  Well...maybe...)

Recently I visited my dentist (who has all new staff in his front office), for my routine check-up.  The girls don't know me, and I was pleased to be addressed as female.   (Until the dentist came into the exam room - he knows me, and he addressed me as a guy, which is fine.)   Several times over the last 2 weeks, most recently two days ago, new staff members at Mom's nursing home addressed me as “Ma’am.”   And I’m fine with all that!  The androgynous “me” still seems to elicit a proper response. 

However, there was a noticeable "close call," which occurred when I was picking my wife up after her dental appointment later the same day as my own.   I had gone into the office just as she was being ushered to the front desk to set her next appointment.  As I opened my laptop and clicked on my calendar to check for conflicts, my wife showed the receptionist some pictures of our granddaughter at Disney World in FL, and pointed out that she was given a makeover and dressed as a princess for a day there.  After wifey finished her description of the lovely event, with the receptionist listening anxiously, she announced she had to use the restroom.   As wifey walked away, the receptionist asked me (with a smile):  "So did they dress you up as a princess, too?" (I should have been so lucky!)  Of course we both laughed and I said no - which was true...but we'll ignore my being called "princess" several times as I went thru security lines with the other women, because of my purse.  But I have to wonder whether my wife heard that conversation as she walked away.   All I can say for sure is that "nothing was said" in the car on the way home!

Having very few new things to discuss, and no “Mandy gets out of storage for a while” plans in the imminent future, there are no new photos to post.  So I’ll dig into the archives…

First, from August of 2014:

Before you ask, yes, I still have this outfit.  Last time I tried it on (over the summer) it still fit, though I haven't worn it in public at all during 2018.

Next is a shot of the androgynous "me" from November of 2016, taken on the west side of the bay.  Autumn colors had just popped out, and I couldn't resist:

And lastly, an unidentified shot of an airplane which most likely no longer exists.  This was taken back in the mid-1950's at Pittsburgh's airport, as my father was leaving town on a business trip.   Lockheed Constellations (allegedly the first pressurized airliners) were built from 1943 to 1958 at Burbank, CA.  They had a cruise speed of 340 mph at 22,600 ft, and a service ceiling of 24,000 ft.  The last domestic passenger flight in the lower 48 states was May 11, 1967 from  Philadelphia to Kansas City.  (Though freight use continued beyond that date.)

Long gone are the days of the stairs like shown below.  (But some of us remember them...LOL!)

There are a few Lockheed Constellations left.  One with which I'm familiar is the following:

This particular aircraft is reportedly C/N (construction number) 4557,  on display at the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover AFB in Delaware.  It's painted to represent a USAF C-121-C, but was never actually delivered to - or served in - the Air Force.  The blue car you see at the end of the row in the left center is mine, on display as part of s car show at the museum, years ago.

Before you ask, not only do I like trains, but also airplanes!

Have a great weekend...


Saturday, December 1, 2018

All too soon, it was time to head north!

All too soon it was time to head for the next section of the trip, to the kids’ house in TN.   After loading the car, I checked out at the front desk…”Thanks for staying with us, Ma’am.  Have a nice day.”  My reply: “You too, hon!”   I’ll never know if she wondered about 2 women sleeping in the same bed…

This trip was rather uneventful…except for noticing a lot of tree damage along I-75 (presumably from Hurricane Michael.)

I was still dressed in stirrup pants, but now black tights instead of pantyhose, as the weather was cooler.   (And the ever-present danger of their many pets snagging delicate nylons with their claws!)  On several occasions when we were all out together, I was interpreted as female, but it was very casual and I don’t think the kids noticed.  Or if they did, nothing was said.

When we arrived at the kids’ house, we knew everyone.  So, the rest of the time, I was identified as male.

During our visit we went sightseeing in the Chattanooga area.   And had lunch at:

That’s right, the Mellow Mushroom.   It’s allegedly a chain, with an interesting title and a fascinating sign.  The food was tasty and reasonably priced, but service was a bit slow.   And afterward we took in some of the civil war battlefields in that historic area.   My presentation was such that I was seen as a male.  Amazing how that works one way in one area, and the opposite elsewhere.

On the way home, the evening motel clerk had no trouble identifying my male persona. But the morning clerk - and breakfast room staff - with me wearing the same outfit - all female.   Amazing how that can happen! 

Just off I-81 in Winchester, VA came this reminder that we're back in winter country:

Snowbanks from the several inch snow fall of 3 days previously.  Fortunately, the roads were clear - potholed but clear!  

And several hours later, our long but enjoyable visit was fully concluded, with us able to spend the first night in several weeks in our own home.   Traveling is fun...but now, home for a while.