Saturday, August 24, 2019

Couldn't resist the opportunity...


. make a solo trip to  Hagerstown, MD for something the wife had no interest in attending: a display of airplanes at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.   Many of the planes on display were actually built in Hagerstown – by Fairchild, before they closed the plant there in 1984.

Some of the planes built there are ones you might recognize:  the C-119 “Flying Boxcar,” the F-27 small passenger plane (under license from Fokker/Hiller), and the A-10 “Warthog” (which is still in use by the US Military today, thus they don’t have one to display.)  Below is a picture of the elderly C-119, which was open for inspection. 

Interestingly, even though I was wearing my black skirt, I was able to climb up the ladder into the cockpit of the C0119.  (However, it seemed soldiers of that era were obviously in better shape than many of the visitors…LOL!)  

I had sufficient foresight to be wearing a pair of black “short shorts” underneath my skirt (since I left from home).  To anyone looking up as I climbed the ladder, it would present as the “shorts under a skort.”  So I didn’t have to miss a chance to sit in the pilot’s seat!   (My visit coincided with the departure of Allegiant Airline’s 737 from the airport.  And I got a pic!)  

Not sure who, if anybody (there was nobody in line behind me  at that point) thought they’d sneak a peek! But had they tried, they would have been disappointed.  I was a bit surprised at the relative simplicity of the instrumentation, compared to more modern aircraft.

Almost the whole time I was at the airport, I was either addressed as “Ma’am,” or without a gender specific greeting.   Except when some 20something guy accidentally bumped me and said “excuse me, sir.”   I’m not sure what brought that on, because as the day progressed, it was the only instance of hearing “Sir.”   Maybe he was just trying to be mean?

The most amazing thing on the whole trip happened as I exited.  I asked a question about a plane of a man in the booth at the exit gate.  He answered my question, and said “you certainly look familiar.  Don’t I know you?”  I had checked his name badge before starting the conversation, just in case.   “I don’t think so…I’m not from the area.”  Discussion went on in this vein for a few more exchanges.  Including his question of whether I work in the governor’s office of a nearby state.  (Which I don’t – I retired almost a decade ago, and not from a job in any state’s governor’s office!)

Finally he came to the conclusion that “Your doppelganger still works there, and she is without a doubt your double!”   I thought to myself – but didn’t say it – “poor girl…I hope she looks better than, not just like, me…”   

Fortunately (or maybe not), this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about my doppelganger.  Years ago, when I was still working, the secretary in my office commuted to work by train with her hubby.  One morning, she asked me if that girl on the train, wearing a dress, heels and full makeup was me, since we looked so much alike.  I couldn’t possibly have been there, based on where I lived at the time, how I got to work, and my arrival time, so my denial was truthful.  But I offered to let them check out my car to put the matter to rest.   Fortunately, they let it drop…though if they had checked, there was nothing in the car to give away my “secret”, and the engine would have been cold, an indication I didn’t just arrive at work at the same time they did.  

Based on those past incidents, I’m quite certain that at least a couple of folks out there somewhere (not sure if they’re guys or gals) look almost exactly like the “female” me!   There have now been too many sightings to dispute it.  (But it also gives me substantial “deniability!”)

Once I finished up with the guy in the booth, I set my GPS for Hagerstown’s City Park, to see if I could find their steam locomotive display.  I had been there years ago, and it was sitting out in the open, vandalized.  (Yes, they have had vandals in Hagerstown.)  In the process of looking for the park, my GPS sent me in circles.   As luck would have it, there was a police officer using radar, and I pulled up behind the cruiser, getting out to ask where I can find the park.  That female officer was very friendly, addressed me properly, and told me how to best get there.  Nice!

And I finally found the train display – behind locked gates.  From afar the locomotive appeared to be in better shape than the last time I saw it.  And they added a few “cabeese” along with a playground for kids, and some artifacts.  It would be nice to come by when it is open.

More later…


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Never had this happen before!

Recently, my wife and I were seated at a diner about 150 miles from home, and the thirty-something female server with VERY short (translation: not feminine at all) hair said “Hi girls…what can I get you to drink?”  We both asked for “just water, please.”  And with that, she took off to get it for us.  I made no attempt to soften my voice, and I was wearing androgynous women’s shorts, flats, and polo top.  She may have seen my purse and nails when I walked in…but I’ll never know.

Then came the absolutely amazing part.

When she returned with our drinks, she apologized profusely for mis-gendering me, and said she simply assumed I was a girl because of “your beautiful long hair.  And I get mistaken for a boy all the time, so I know how that feels.  Once again, I’m so sorry!”   My wife remained silent (though I didn’t notice her blushing or anything like that.)   But I thanked the server for her compliment about my hair, and accepted her apology (though I wasn’t at all offended…LOL!)   She treated us very well the rest of our meal, arranged for an extra big helping of dessert, and we left a nice tip.  

Usually once I’m accepted as a girl, most folks continue that acceptance, even once the revelation strikes them that I’m not what I seem to be.  So this was very unusual…and my wife was also surprised.  (But after it happened, she didn’t mention it again.  Nothing else was said.)

On to the next topic:

During a recent trip through PA, we managed to become prosperous!  As long as that condition can be achieved by visiting Prosperity…a tiny Pennsylvania “burg” by that name.  Not a big town by any means (and it’s halfway between nowhere and nowhere else), but there is still an open post office, and some of the homes are old but very pretty.  A picture of the post office is below:

Legend has it that the name came from the enthusiasm of the original settlers, who were anxious to do well in the future.  So they named their town “Prosperity.”    Can’t say that their plan worked, but the place was far from decrepit, as so many rural communities are. 

I guess it all depends on your interpretation of “prosperity.”

More later…


Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Next Morning...

After a decent night’s rest at the hotel, it was time to check out the part of the Riverwalk which I had not covered the previous day.  On my way to the car with the first load of my things, the man who checked me in the previous day said “Good Morning, Ms. Sherman.”  (I was wearing a different skirt and blouse…  

Of course I responded appropriately, and after the pleasantries, I inquired as to whether anything had been decided as to an adjustment due to their not having my reservation when I checked in (despite my written email proof.)  “We’ll have that info when you check out.” 

So I made another trip to the room, finished loading the car, and checked out.  And found that they had awarded extra points to my frequent traveler account as the mainstay of their “adjustment.”  But in addition, I was surprised when the man offered to “take you to breakfast this morning, on me.”  since their facility does not offer a free continental breakfast  Initially I interpreted it as a nice gesture in an effort to apologize for the mix-up when I checked in.  But I had to move on, and in fact, I’d brought my own breakfast from home. I politely declined.  So he  gave me his card with an offer to make it happen on my next visit… 

That made me begin to wonder…was his breakfast treat an “official part of the hotel’s apology” or was the guy kinda-sorta “making a pass at me and asking for a date?”   That certainly would be a  “first” – but something  in which I have no interest    I can smile just a bit at the mere thought of “it being a pass”, but in reality, I suppose I’ll never know.   And that’s a good thing!  (In the event I end up in town sometime in the future, I’ll most likely use another hotel…especially if I’m with my wife!)

After checking out, I drove to the Riverwalk and parked the car.  It was time to check out the other half of it.   A very pleasant walk…past an empty outdoor beer garden which I had seen from its other entrance the night before when it was open.  It certainly looked different when quiet and lifeless.  

On the Riverwalk was some sort of event center with pub, which catered to the 20-something set, and on a Saturday morning it was booming…with loud modern music “literally booming.”  Young folks were standing around talking, and I was expecting at the very least, stares – or possibly even comments.  No worries…it didn’t happen.  I strolled right on through the crowds, without noticing any “stares or side glances.”  And definitely no comments.  (Yes – sunglasses, even at that early hour – are wonderful!)

And as I looked out along the river, there was a crew out practicing their rowing.   Well, almost all of them…a couple of them seemed to be barking the orders!

In the shadow of the Amtrak station and elevated Northeast Corridor trackage, is the old Baltimore and Ohio station.  A bank took it over, and repurposed it…which is better than seeing history destroyed!  (The road in front was apparently the former right-of-way!)

At that point,, my objectives had been met.  I reversed direction to walk back to my car.  But I took a moment to get a pic to share with you:

It was a fun day…and now I await my next adventure…whenever and wherever it may be!


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

An adventure at the hotel...

Afterward it was time to check in at my hotel, and then head for the Shipyards area, to do some exploring on foot. 
Checking in at the hotel was an adventure…    I was initially identified as female and addressed as “Ms. Sherman,” but the overall experience was definitely a challenge.  They couldn’t find my reservation.  I had proof, in the form of a text message from the reservation office, and a printed copy of it, but they could not find it.   Needless to say, I was not "s happy camper."   But I tried to react more like a woman than a man, so I was polite in dealing with them. 

I was preparing for them to say they could not give me a room…at which point I would've had to dredge up the standby line that I’ve only had to use once previously (and very successfully)  back in the late 1980’s.  What precipitated that "back in the day" was being told by the hotel manager that the conference hotel (it's name began with R but it’s not Red Roof Inn) was completely sold out and they could do nothing to help, despite my reservation and the fact that I was attending the conference.

There were other customers standing in line right behind me, as I asked the manager:   “If President XXX walked in to stay with you tonight, you’d find rooms for him and his entourage, right?”  Their answer back then (and presumably any quality establishment’s response now still would be – or maybe not, given the current political situation ) was “Of course we would, absolutely.”  To which I responded:  “Well, I can assure you he won't be arriving here tonight.  I’ll take one of those rooms.”  
The manager's chin dropped to the floor.  And to my amazement, it actually worked…I was given a room.   There's never been a reason to try it again.   

Back to the present:  after a 20-plus-minute wait, staff “found” my reservation…with apologies, but no reduction in rate.  I asked them to see what they could do and they said they’d let me know at checkout.  It was fun, in that every staffer in the vicinity by then knew me as “Ms. Sherman, the lady with the lost reservation.”   And I finally got the key to my room…to relax a bit before going out for dinner.  

Enroute through the lobby on the way out to visit the Shipyards area (i.e. get dinner and sightseeing), I was still “Ms. Sherman.”  So nice to hear that, even if they happened to be aware of my true gender (which is at least possible, due to my driver's license and affinity card info!)   I stopped at the children’s museum in the area to check it out for our granddaughter, and get a brochure with info.  The receptionist (middle-aged female) interpreted me as female, and answered all my questions.  A nice place…hopefully one day we can return with our granddaughter.

When I got to the restaurant, their greeter (a 20something girl) told staff that they can seat “him” (wearing a skirt and top, of course) in that booth over there (the place was crowded).  That was the only notable instance of being clocked on the entire trip.  Were I truly female, I’d have been upset enough about being identified as male to have a little chat with management and then walk out the door.   The food and service were OK…not great, just OK.  After a quick dinner, I was headed out the door.  

There is also a fun little boat ride available, on their imitation paddlewheel "steamboat", which gives tours of the river area:

 I didn’t have time to sail on it this trip, but it’s on the list for next time.   

So I continued walking partway downtown on the Riverwalk along the Christina River,  a signature  natural feature in the Shipyards renovation.   Lots of folks were enjoying the walk in the warm weather, and folks playing mini golf were having fun.    Finally it was time to head back to the car...and return to the hotel for the night.   The Wilmington skyline is pretty, with the river in the foreground.    I decided to come back tomorrow morning to finish the walk.

Once back to the hotel, it was time to settle in for the night.  But I was still Ms. Sherman as I walked thru the lobby....

More later,


Thursday, August 1, 2019

At's time

...for Mandy to get out and about, even if only for a couple of days...

With my wife visiting her sister, there was a perfect opportunity to go north to the Wilmington (Delaware) area and ride a tourist train, then stay over at a local hotel and the next day, do some downtown sightseeing as a possible venue for a short trip with our son and his family.  (There is a nice children’s museum, which would be the keystone of the trip.)

Having tried on my entire limited wardrobe, I found only a few unpleasant surprises of things which either didn’t fit right or didn’t look right.   Finally I settled on my gray elastic-waist knee-length skirt and black ¾ sleeve top for the first day, and elastic-waist knee length black skirt with medium blue polo for the second day.  I also took my denim jumper dress with white polo along, as a back-up outfit, and wore existing flats, since I wasn’t ready to wear my new ones without first wearing them for some partial-day trials.   

Prior to my trip, I had my fingernails done, and the tech decided that I should sport white tips - which she painted on top of the acrylic, so they would look pretty for my trip, but not be “permanent” - flashy is not my everyday style.  Here is what they looked like, while holding one of my new flats and wearing my choice of footwear:

Both pairs of shoes are cute, and comfortable, and look quite girly with my black skirt.  As do the nails!  I look forward to spending lots of quality time in both!

While driving north on the Delmarva, I stopped to get a picture of what looked like the scene of an airplane crash.  However, it wasn’t… 

Upon closer inspection, it's a roadside attention-getting prop for Frightland, a seasonal “haunted adventure” for kids and adults.  (See the facility in the background.)  Don’t think I’ll be going there, but it definitely is a very eye-catching way to advertise!

After learning the basics of my way around downtown Wilmington, I arrived early at my first stop: the Wilmington & Western Railroad.   That let me park my car in one of the few shady spots – a good thing on a hot day! 

Staff was of course friendly, but they universally omitted any references to gender, which is always OK by me.  (Between the skirt, long hair, and French tip nails, I must have provided enough cues that they didn’t go with “Sir.)  I got my ticket for the first trip of the day, and enjoyed my ride very much.  Interestingly, the younger set on board – under 4 years old – mostly smiled and waved at me – and yes, I always smile and wave back.  The moms and dads smiled, too, with occasional small talk.  Sort of like being around their grandma?   Then I stuck around for the second ride’s departure, and took some pictures.   (All the folks on board waved at me, and I waved back.)

Picture-taking included, of course, the obligatory one of me standing beside the doodlebug:

If you’re ever in the area, take some time to ride.  It’s been years since I rode a doodlebug at the East Broad Top (which is now permanently closed), and the W&W has done a great job of keeping the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad relic operating.

More later,


Monday, July 29, 2019

Finally...they arrived!

And they fit!  

For a long time I’ve been wearing my same 4 pairs of flats. Day after day, every day of the week, one pair, then the next, and so on (except, of course, days when I have to wear my sandals.)  They’re showing definite signs of wear, beyond what having them polished can correct.  As in: the heels and soles are wearing down, and with one-piece soles, I can’t find a shoe shop which will replace them.  I keep hearing “No can do.”   Meaning: buy some new shoes.

I found a rather expensive pair of ballerina flats on-line.  They’re similar in appearance to the totally-worn out pair I save only for going into dirty circumstances away from home, such as car shows.   And I found a pair from a different manufacturer,  which also looked like they would work well.  Neither has the string "bow" on the vamp, which I would love, but suspect my wife would raise objections.   She didn’t take exception to my getting another pair or two of flats similar to ones I already have.  So I ordered them.

The expensive pair arrived just before my wife went west to visit her sister.  Cute ballerina flats, and unmistakably girly.  

That short vamp shows a hint of toe cleavage, an added bonus which I've always liked, but never experienced, and wasn’t expecting it.  They’re so comfortable, that even if I didn't care for toe cleavage,  I’d happily wear them because they make my feet feel good (and look so feminine.)   When I modeled them for my wife, she didn’t take exception to either the style or the hint of toe cleavage.

The other pair arrived while she was gone, and either they were mis-marked or sized for foreign feet.  Not at all comfortable.  Back they go!  (Perhaps a case of “you get what you pay for?”)

I haven’t started to wear my “one new pair” yet…but I will soon.  And even though they weren’t cheap, if they work well, I’ll probably buy another pair.  Girly is good!

More later,


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Now you know...

Today I was walking through a shopping center, not in the vicinity of my car (which is a 2018 Japanese brand with keyless ignition.)  My key fob unlocks the car with a beep when you touch the door handle, and it was out of its Faraday cage (yes, I keep it in one of those) as I was planning to get in my car and head home.   As I walked past a modern Kia, that car beeped at me and I heard a click...    So I pushed the "open" button on my key fob, and the Kia's doors unlocked.  Then I pushed the "lock" button and they locked.  Not wanting to stir any attention by setting off the horn, I pushed both buttons again and got the same responses.  Whether it was initially or not, I left it locked.


On the other hand, old-fashioned metal keys are not a fail-safe method of assuring that your car stays locked.  Back in the 1950's, my parents were shopping and returned to their car (or so they thought - same make, model, number of doors, and color.)  Their key opened the door and operated the ignition, so they got in, and drove off.   Dad reached up on the dash to retrieve the pack of cigarettes he had left there - but for some reason it was gone.  Then he looked down, and saw a clean ashtray and no floor mats.  His car had a full ashtray and floor mats.  They drove right back to where they had picked up the car, parked it, and found their car 4 spaces away (with cigarettes and floor mats intact.)  They were lucky the real owner didn't report it as stolen...and fortunately nothing more came of it.

I was later informed that there were only X thousand sets of key sets between each carmaker, so there were likely huge numbers of cars using the same keys.   But you had to work a little harder to find them...trying to stick your key in every brand X car in the lot is "kinda sorta" a give-away as to your intentions.

Moral of this story is: whenever your modern car is unattendcd and locked, it's still not safe.  Luggage or other belongings being stolen are the least of your worries.   (I could have cleaned that car out and re-locked it without a trace.)  And likewise, the owner of that car could do the same for mine.   It's also possible that the entire car  could just be driven off by a party with evil intent.   Wrecking the car and its owner gets blamed?  Conceivably.   Imagine the problems from the thief doing a hit-and-run - with the cops showing up at your door, guns drawn and handcuffs out!

Carmakers obviously need to make their systems more secure....   In the meanwhile, I'm not sure what the answer is for car owners...other than to pray nobody with evil intent walks by your car and hears your car doors unlock.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

"Don't you just love it?" And, "Cabeese."

There are some new staff members – and residents - at Mom’s nursing home…as old ones are passing away.   Naturally, I hear “Ma’am” a bit more often than I usually have.   But that’s not a problem, and with Mom’s hearing (or more appropriately, lack thereof) it isn’t an issue for her, either.

I’ve been going to physical therapy for an issue, and was “Miss-identified.”  But there’s no doubt I had been clocked.  Their only male therapist interpreted me as a guy (still does) and addresses me accordingly.   I don’t challenge it – my records say “M” and he’s following that lead.  But their female therapists give me the same level of care, and refer to me as female.   Don't you just love it!?

Recently, for a visit to a new-to-me diagnostic center for a test I needed, the nurses referred to me as female, and even asked me if I would need a moment to remove my bra.  Of course I had to say that wasn’t necessary.   Very true statement…   As I checked out afterwards, the desk clerk finally figured out my real gender…but it took a while.

Wife and I were out and about on the Delmarva and came across this old bay window caboose, sitting off to the side of someone’s front yard, near the Delaware/Maryland state line.  My wife initially spotted it and we stopped along the road…

While I didn’t get close enough to it that I could look inside - where it’s likely the car number would appear (I was wearing my white slide sandals, which I chose to “not” ruin by railfanning in them), from the very faded green exterior color it appears to be a Penn Central cast-off.  The trucks which were sitting beside it, appeared to be roller bearing equipped, making it less obsolete.  (In modern railroading, “cabeese” (the plural of "caboose?") have become basically obsolete, regardless of their age.)  

If any railfans read this and recognize the railroad from whence it came, or the caboose itself, please feel free to comment.

From the amount of iron oxide (rust) visible on the carbody and roof, (translation: rust) and the fact that the caboose appears to be sitting on dirt, this would appear to be a major restoration job.  But why do I have the feeling that one day in the not-too-distant future, instead of a restoration crew, the local scrapper will be getting a call?



Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The drive home was a "dam" lot of fun... Part 3.

Not to mention interesting…and add another first to the list.   Being on the downstream side of a dam during the opening of spillways due to flooding.

After driving over the Conowingo Hydroelectric Dam on the Susquehanna “westbound”, I followed some back roads to the visitor’s park just downstream from the dam itself.  I’ve driven US-1 over the dam (very narrow 2-lane public road on the breast of the dam) a number of times, but just found out about the park a couple weeks before the trip.  It has a fabulous view of the facility and the spillways (and for anyone driving a Tesla, charging stations for them!)  

When I arrived on the property, first thing I noticed was a sign warning that vultures may damage cars…I saw a bunch of those critters, but they didn’t damage anyone’s car that I know of.  There sure were a lot of them, though…likely preying on dead fish, resulting from their trip over the spillways.   No need for vultures to strip the vinyl off convertible tops with the smorgasbord in the river…

Once I found a suitable parking spot and got out of the car, I heard sirens going off…you don't hear much with the windows up and the AC running.  Signs everywhere revealed the meaning of this: more spillways were being opened to lower the level of the river behind the dam, due to recent heavy rains.  We were not required to evacuate, as it was only going to raise the water level below the dam a little bit. But this was definitely another first: being on the downstream side of a dam as spillways were being opened.

As you can see, a bunch of walkways were closed (below), with water already over them.

I walked as close as I could get to the dam, then headed back for my car - a fairly good hike.  Two ladies (not together, and at different times on my way back to the car), stopped me to talk about it.  (They must have seen me get out of it.)  "You have a beautiful car, Ma'am."  And each one talked with me for a few minutes.  Mandy was certainly lovin' it! 

After getting back in the car and re-crossing the dam going east, my task was to hunt for a suitable cornfield to do a quick change back into white shorts, and out of my skirt.  No problem.  A lot of high corn in southern PA, so it didn't take long.   Done sadly, of course...

And a couple hours later, I was back home again...putting the car away after another wonderful trip.
And now I'm awaiting the chance to do it again!

Till next time,


Friday, June 28, 2019

First time out this year, Part 2.

Time to go home…I got up early, dressed in the outfit below, and was on the road by 8:30.    On the agenda today were visits to some Pennsylvania sights I have been wanting to see for a long time.

First stop on the way home was in a town by the name of Middletown, PA.  Its main claim to fame seems to be the Three Mile Island nuclear generating facility in the Susquehanna River.  Yes, the same facility which in March of 1979, experienced the largest nuclear power accident in the USA.  It was a near-meltdown calamity in which radiation was released, due to equipment malfunction and human error.  From this serene picture, it’s hard to believe that such a serious issue could have occurred  there.

Enroute south, the road roughly followed the former Pennsylvania Railroad’s Port Road Branch, which is still in use, now by the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  Remnants of the dis-used former Pennsylvania Railroad catenary could be seen in places along the way.

Next stop was River Trail Park and Pavilion, a stop on the trail along the Susquehanna River at Marietta, PA.  This picturesque setting (below) provided a great view of the “very high” water level of the fast-moving river, with flooding at the boat launching ramp (see picture).  For some odd reason, nobody was trying to launch their boat!   Had a nice discussion about my car with a male visitor riding his bicycle…because bikers were the only visitors at that time of day…several arrived by car as we were talking.

Then it was off to try to locate Shenk’s Ferry Wild Flower Preserve, about 30 miles south of Middletown.   When I eventually found my way to the entrance of the preserve (much slow driving on poorly paved country roads, which seem to have been the proper width to handle only small Fiats and Minis), I was greeted with a sign stating “Unpaved Road - No Winter Maintenance.”  

Looking at the ruts and humps in the dirt road ahead of me, I could not only believe that statement, but amend it to say “No Summer Maintenance Either.”   It truly looked as if nothing had been done to it since the year my antique car was built…   Not having 4wd with lots of ground clearance, and with nonexistent cellphone coverage in case of getting stuck, I did a 180-degree turn and “got out of Dodge.”  Making the “Queen Mary” turn around on those narrow roads without dropping a tire in the ditch was fun…NOT.  Good thing for power steering – even 52-year-old power steering!

Next stop was the highlight of the day’s sightseeing…in part 3!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

First time out this year...

Mandy has been relegated to the suitcase for far too long now, and it was finally time for her to stretch her legs.   Thus, she recently took the antique car to a show in Pennsylvania – requiring two overnight stays, and knowing in advance that the chance of scoring an award was nil.   You gotta do what you gotta do!

I left the house that Friday, wearing ladies’ white shorts and half-sleeve black tunic (wife had not seen it before, but was OK with my wearing it), my white slides, necklace, bracelet and the usual purse, pink nails, and of course, long hair.  I had put on very light makeup at home, but no lipstick.   Not far from the house (deep in a cornfield, of course) I pulled on my dark paisley maxi skirt and took off the shorts, putting 'em into the suitcase residing in the trunk, applied lipstick, earrings and bracelet.   Then it was off to the hotel, about 3-1/2 driving hours away.

There were a couple of stops…one for gas, and one for a snack.  There was no problem being identified as female.  I elected to not do any sightseeing; instead, going straight to the hotel.
That got me into town at about 4PM.

Checking into the hotel was fun…friendly clerk, had to see my driver’s license.  Nonetheless, despite the “M” showing, I was presumed to be – and addressed as - “Ma’am.”  I stopped at a gas station which offered subs and sandwiches, and picked up a quick dinner, to be eaten in the room.  “Is that all, Ma’am?” 

Up early on car show morning.  The weather was perfect for a show.   Sunny, warm and breezy. I dressed in white capri pants with a gray logo tee, and my white slides, but I had white sneakers in the car in case of wet grass…and needed them.   Ran into some people I know, had a good time talking with them, and as expected, didn’t win anything.  Typically, sporty 2 door hardtop models with 4-speeds, bucket seats, consoles and other fancy accoutrements do better than 2 door pillar coupes without them (like mine), so this was inevitable.  But win or not, it was a perfect test run for the car, which worked fine.

After the show, I retreated to the hotel for a quick shower and to do some searching for dinner. 
I dressed in this outfit for dinner…actual picture is from my archive - the one I took on the trip didn't work out.

My first choice of venue was apparently the best show in town, as locals were lined up at the door.  And I was too hungry to be willing to standing out front for any length of time to be seated.  Unfortunately other sit-down restaurants (my second and third choices) were either closed, serving Mexican food, or were pizza places.  Thus I ended up at a fast food shop…where the hamburger was good, as were my onion rings.  And the compliments about my car: "Gorgeous car, Ma'am!" 

After dinner, I stretched out on the bed to watch the telly for a while, and fell asleep, getting up only long enough to change into my nightie.  

More to follow in part 2!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

What a month!

As you may have noticed, lately I’ve not been on-line much…things have been much too busy.  And other than my normal mode of androgynous dressing, very little has involved Mandy.   She has remained “in the suitcase” for the entire time.   No skirts or dresses in public.  (Only around the house…where it is tolerated.)

For the entire month, I was dressed in my everyday outfits: women’s tops, shorts or capris, and flats or sandals.  I carried my usual purse, my fingernails were the usual light pink, and my toes in a darker color to hide repairs to the two broken nails.   And of course, there was my long hair…

 I was involved with getting ready for the trip to our son’s place in TN for a while prior to departure.  Our visit was from the last week in May until nearly mid-June.   These trips tend to be lengthy, due to the long driving distance.  Once we were enroute (two days of driving), there were a number of occasions when I was Miss-identified by clerks, and so on.  It was not a problem for me, and fortunately my wife was not nearby when it happened.

A couple of times, in the men’s restroom, a guy would enter, take a look at my long hair and turn around to leave.  I usually tell them “don’t worry, you got the right place.”   They turn around and come on in, looking relieved that they hadn’t gone into the girls’ room by mistake!

I was with our son (who as you may remember has long hair, but with a beard) while shopping for some home supplies at a home supply store.  After locating a clerk, we found that he Miss-identified me as our son’s mother.  Son took it in stride, corrected the guy, and life went on.  And nothing was said…we’ve had the discussion about us both being identified as female – from the back.   All he has to do is turn around, and – oops, male - no question, case closed.  With me, not so much – I refuse to grow facial hair and look older.  (Not to mention the other issue - femininity.)

Another incident happened at his under-construction home.  I was there, helping out with some incidental issues. He had called for a pick-up of the construction-debris dumpster.  And when the driver arrived, the driver automatically addressed me as “his mother.”  I was truly flattered, but son politely straightened him out, too…and once again, nothing further was said.

There were several other similar “incidents”, with nobody from family present, and I simply responded as a female, with softer and more feminine voice.   And even though I wasn’t wearing a dress, my attire was sufficiently feminine to be accepted as female.  Would I have preferred to be wearing dresses?   Sure!   Was I clocked?  Most likely.  But nobody reacted badly, and overall, it was a good experience.

I took fewer pictures on this trip, than on any other recent one.  And none that I can include here.  But we were busy with things at the house, so that was to be expected.  Perhaps next time will be better…

Thanks for coming back to read my freshly-updated blog…


Monday, June 17, 2019

A quickie from a run into Baltimore City... spend a lunch hour with our son, who was in town for business.

While waiting for him to finish up the morning's work, we took a few minutes to visit the Baltimore Basilica, or more accurately, thew Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   According to the internet, it was the first Roman Catholic cathedral built in the US (between 1806 and 1863, designed by Benjamin Harry Latrobe under the guidance of the first American bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, John Carroll).  And it was among the first major religious buildings constructed in the nation after adoption of the US Constitution.  It is one of the seats of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore, and is a parish church and national shrine.

The main facade is classical Greek architecture, with ionic columns, immediately behind which are two cylindrical towers.  Exterior walls are constructed of silver-gray gneiss quarried in Ellicott City, MD.  Unfortunately it was impossible to get a full front picture, but this gives you the idea....

The interior contains a massive dome at the crossing of the Latin cross plan, and the very light-filled space designed by Latrobe is strikingly opposed to the dark and cavernous recesses of traditional Gothic cathedrals.

When we got the call that our son was ready, we weren't far away, and proceeded to take him to a nearby eatery for a good lunch.  Too bad our visit couldn't have been longer!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Quickie: It was a party!

There was a get-together recently at the nursing home, for residents and their guests.   Mom was not in a great mood, and given her lack of memory, she really didn't know what was going on.   Not only that...she really didn't want to go to the party.  However, staff had made sure she was dressed, and I made sure she went.  

They threw a nice party for us (25 residents and about 35 - 40 guests), with decent finger foods, though the pop machine was broken so folks had to drink coffee, tea, etc.  A new volunteer passed out carnations to all the ladies...and since I got one, she thought I was a lady!  Guess I looked enough like a girl for her...even though I was wearing stirrup pants, not capris.   
We sat at a table with two ladies from FL (one a temporary resident, the other a guest - not sure what caused her to be there)  and they and I talked.  They complained about the cold here - I complained about the heat in FL.  We were Even Steven!   And while we chatted, Mom caught up on her shut--eye, as usual.  I managed to keep her awake long enough to get her to eat a cookie and drink 3/4 of a cup of coffee, in a more animated moment.

I took Mom back to her room afterwards, put the carnations they gave us in a vase with some water, stayed with her a while, then went home, and the wife and I went out for dinner.  Tried a new restaurant along Route 50.   Decent food, decent price, and once you find the way out of it to get back on 50, it's not too bad.

I heard "Ma'am" a few times from guests who didn't know me,  and basically, had a good time with the group.  Nice folks...

Sunday, May 12, 2019

OMG - That was fast Karma!

Remember the trans-phobic clerk I encountered a few posts back?

As I mentioned before, I've been in that store several times and he was not on duty.   Today I found out why...and as you read this, recall that most of the staff know me as a guy, despite my appearance.   Which today was tan capris, a ladies' black polo shirt and my new sandals.  As follows:

While I was checking out, the female manager came by, ostensibly to observe the female clerk doing a check-out.  That clerk went to check a price (perhaps her exit was pre-planned, I'll never know), and the manager took that occasion to apologize to me for their employee's completely unacceptable behavior the other day.  Her words were "I was standing nearby, and when I realized he had "come  unglued," was so totally embarrassed by his actions that I couldn't think.  I didn't know whether to run back to the office, or crawl under a table.  I'm so glad you stood firm, handled it well, and didn't let his ignorance overwhelm you.  And I made the decision to both fix the problem, and try to make it right for you."

"You don't need to worry - he won't be doing that to you - or anyone else - in the future, as he no longer works here.  Our employees know that his actions regarding anyone, customer or otherwise, are unacceptable, regardless of the individual's gender presentation, or anything else, for that matter.  And anyone making the same mistake here, knows the fate they will promptly meet."

My response: "Needless to say, I wasn't pleased when it happened, but I dealt with it as I saw fit at the time.  I  figured management either heard, or would soon be told, of the incident, and was confident that proper action would be taken.  I wondered if you had already handled the situation, because the clerk has been conspicuous by his absence.   Thank you for doing what needed to be done.  I really appreciate that."
"We hope you'll continue to shop here.  And to thank you for being a customer, here's a gift card as a small token of our appreciation."

"Wow, thank you.  I'm here talking to you today, so it can serve to tell you that I realize one bad apple did not spoil the barrel.  As MacArthur said back in the war years - I shall return."  Her response: "Thank you so much, on behalf of all of us."  "You're quite welcome!"

At no time did she - or the other clerks - use any gender-specific terms for me...but that's OK.  Most of them ( all of them) know I'm a guy.  When the clerk returned with the price, and rang it up, she said "Thanks for being our customer."

I've always been OK with "no gender-specific forms of address."   There''s no need to fake a "Ma'am" when I'm known....just don't blow my cover with innocent bystanders by using "Sir" while I'm clearly wearing a feminine outfit.   Let bystanders figure that out on their own.  But let the record show that if any clerks choose to call me "Miss" or "Ma'am" I'm fine with it!

This particular saga has now concluded, since the biggest part of the problem was resolved.  To quote that now-infamous line from The Apprentice: "You're fired!"  You never EVER dream you'll end up on the front line of the LGBTQ issue...and it happens when you least expect it.   Fortunately, this was one small victory, though an integral part of a much bigger conflict.

One small step at a time...

Till later,


PS: if the fired clerk was married, can you imagine the conversation over dinner that night?

"How was your day, dear?"

"Oh, it was OK, but I just got fired."

"Really?  What happened?  Did you get laid off?" "Well, some guy with long hair came in wearing women's clothes and looking like a girl.   After I asked him which he was, and he told me, I tried to convince him that he should start to look and act like a man, not a woman.   And I almost got to the point of reciting Deuteronomy, to show him that God doesn't like it.  But he cut me off."

"So I guess he didn't care for your suggestion."  "No, and staff and management heard my too-loud sermon,  so they fired me."  "Well, you need to get out there and find another job immediately, so you can support us...the rent is due in 3 weeks. And with your next job, for God's sake - and ours - stop trying to change people!  Living in the car (at least till it gets repossessed), won't be much fun, particularly with 2 small kids."

So true...

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Quickie on my new sandals...

MMy new sandals arrived, without fanfare.   I opened the box, and tried them on.  And they seemed reasonably comfortable.    I wore them shopping, to the nursing home, and the hair salon.  But they may take a bit of "breaking in."

The band stretched out a bit, so I may have to tighten the buckles soon.   Their wedge heels are fine, but they make a more feminine click than my other sandals do, especially on steps.  Nice!   Then,
back to the office supply store for a pic, as the sun was good in their parking lot....    I'm looking forward to wearing them again.  

My wife asked how they fit, and I gave them "about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being perfect.  The other white sandals, which I wore yesterday, are about 8 or 9."  "But you've only worn these for a day."  "True.  If the comfort level remains at 5, or goes up even a little, I probably will order the black ones, and see if they're any better.  If not,  they'll go back. 

Since I've worn these tan ones, I'll keep them.   Even if they don't fit perfectly, this pair will be fine, and can be worn for half-day periods.  But I'll keep looking for different styles of sandals...


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Sandals...old favorites!

This was taken the first day this season that I was out running my errands in sandals.  (And I know it won't be my last...)   No, these aren't my new ones.

At the nursing home, Mom thought they were new, despite the fact that I've had these for several years.  I guess they still look good.  And they're very comfortable.  I had them on all day, and didn't want to take them off!  Though I've found that it's impossible to walk quietly in them...    The new receptionist at the nursing home came out of the back room...commented that she "heard your footsteps and wanted to see who was coming or going.   Love your sandals, Ma'am."   I guess I look - and sound - like a girl in those sandals. 

In another town, I stopped at an office supply store to pick up some things.  I said "good morning" to a lady in the parking lot and her reply was "Good morning to you as well, Ma'am."

One of the staffers addressed me as "Ma'am" but the check out clerk (a twentysomething male) took the safe route and omitted any gender-specific references.

I had tried out my new sandals, and they fit.  My wife was surprised to see that I hadn't worn them.  "You will tomorrow, and the rest of the week, right?  That way you'll know if they really fit, before we invest in the other colors."

Yes, I will...gotta answer that question.