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!