Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Mermaid Sister

I'll bet you think all mermaids are sweet and innocent. You're wrong!

Some mermaids -- like my sister-in-spirit Megan Mae -- are badasses.  Megan says, "I'm not some mermaid princess. I'm the badass sea-witch."

Megan Mae is the first of my friends to take me up on my offer of the mermaid tail. She looks FABULOUS. Her eye-makeup is extraordinary and her use of fishnetting as an accessory is inspired. Megan's attractive tattoos aren't fake decoration; they're real.

Go visit her blog and tell her what you think.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Gender Bending


As you know, I dress in male clothes when presenting as a man and female clothes when presenting as a woman. Occasionally, I see a woman's shirt that's so pretty I wonder if I can get away with wearing it as a man. Is that against the rules?

The only way you'd know it's a girl's shirt are the buttons and that takes a sharp eye. (Men's shirts button one way; women's shirts button the opposite way.)

Anne, a blogger and artist in LA, had a colorful shirt she didn't want. I raised my hand and offered to take it. Anne generously gifted it to me during our meeting in Vancouver. I adore this shirt and plan to wear it in normal life when otherwise looking like a guy. Do you think that's okay?

Have you ever worn men's clothing?


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vancouver

Here are some pics from my visit. I'm drawn to odd things, like buildings with trees growing on top of them. Photos of the meetup participants will come in a future post.


 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blogger Meetup (Canada)


Our blogger-meetup this weekend was a rousing success. Everyone had fun. Despite my apprehension beforehand, I enjoyed myself immensely; my anxiety was unfounded.

There are three reasons it went so well. First, the selection of Vancouver was inspired. Vancouver is rightly considered one of the top five cities in the world for living-quality. The city is a thriving, vibrant place with lots to do. Shopping, dining and other entertainment are everywhere. The city is clean, attractive and pleasant. You get a good vibe when you're there.

The biggest surprise Vancouver had for me is its nature. Unlike most urban locations, Vancouver has wilderness. Stanley Park is bigger than New York's Central Park and in much more of a natural state. The park is surrounded by water and there's a fabulous walkway ringing its edge. Strolling that is a 2-3 hour walk and I did it today with a big smile on my face.

Vancouver also houses the second most popular attraction in Canada -- a shopping mecca named Granville Island. It's huge and has diverse food, clothes and craft offerings. We spent most of Saturday wandering it.

As they say in "Pulp Fiction," it's the little things that stand out. Canadian money is printed on plastic, not paper, which feels funny at first. You get used to it. Also, they don't have pennies -- they did away with them two years ago and it's nice to not have to carry them around. Prices are rounded up or down so the smallest change you'll get is a nickel. There are no dollar bills; instead, they use $1 and $2 coins. The smallest paper-money you'll see is a $5 bill.

The second reason for the meetup's success was the individuals who came. About 20 stylish women travelled from around the world to attend. There were gals from Finland and Florida, East Coast Canada and West Coast, The Netherlands and the U.S.

All the women who came were friendly and nice. We mingled easily and endlessly. By the end of the event, everyone knew everyone and there was lots of interaction.

The final reason it went so well was the thing I worried about ahead of time. The women accepted me. Before the event, I knew only one-third of the attendees, which meant two-thirds of them didn't know me. I worried that, without knowing I'm transgender, some might object to my presence. This is a group of women; I feared some might view me as unwelcome. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.

Every person treated me warmly. Everyone called me Ally and considered me one of the girls. I was deeply touched by that generous attitude.

The dynamic of the group was distinctly female. People were acknowledged and invited to participate in discussions, even shy folk like me. There was no vying for dominance which is what I see when men gather. Everyone cared that everyone else was happy and we reached out to draw everyone into the group. There was not a single person who felt left out.

Suzanne told us there'd be a clothing swap so we should bring an item to give away. At the swap (held in a hotel room), the clothes were dumped on a bed and people started trying them on with mounting loud excitement. I didn't expect that; I just assumed we'd pick an item. Some gals even removed their outer clothing to see if a dress fit and I was relieved at their comfort with my presence. I was viewed as a woman among women -- and that affected me emotionally. I've never been accepted that way in my life, despite craving it for half a century. Combined with the warm friendship in the room, I was deeply moved. This was a momentous experience I'll remember for the rest of my life.

The only downside to our group was the speed at which we moved. Trying to get twenty chatting women to move is like watching a glacier travel. From the time we agreed to go somewhere until the time when we actually left was at least an hour. It was an amusing phenomenon to observe.

I'm grateful to all the bloggers who attended and believe I forged new friendships.

We took gobs of photos which will follow in later posts. I don't want to overwhelm you now.


 
 
 

 
 
 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Vancouver


I'm in Canada!  I came North yesterday to attend a blogger convention hosted by my friend Suzanne. I met Suzanne in New York a few months ago; she has an exceptional blog and is a sweet person.

From what I've seen so far, Vancouver is a hip place with lots of fun boutiques and cool restaurants. The city is surrounded by water so everything feels like waterfront property. And there are mountains! You can see mountains from any spot in the city. Toto, we're not in New York any more.

I arrived a day early to spent solo-time with my friend Jodi. Jodi also has a blog and I've always wanted to meet her. Aren't there bloggers whom you wish you knew in real life? Jodi's one of those. She's a marathon athlete who competes in incredible events like running 50 miles, then swimming 100 miles, then bicycling 500 miles. She and her boyfriend are always training or competing and they look as fit as Olympians.

Jodi grew up in rural Canada with two brothers and she enjoys outdoor life. As a little girl, she split logs and hauled heavy loads. In fact, it's been only recently that Jodi started exploring her feminine side. That may be why we hit it off -- we connect with that experience. As strong and confident as Jodi was in normal life, she felt uneasy and insecure when first wearing feminine clothes. That's why she started her blog: to learn and improve. Her ability to dress well got better quickly and she now impresses you in either mode. There's certainly a parallel between Jodi's experience with femininity and mine -- we both explored it in adulthood.

Today, before the convention starts, Jodi promised to take me on a hike through the beautiful parts of Vancouver. I'm looking forward to it -- but apprehensive that a "hike" might mean something different to Jodi (a marathon athlete) than me (a aging New Yorker). At some point when my sneakers start to melt, my legs get wobbly and we pass Mile 42 of our journey, I might cry uncle. I'll try not to whine because I can be unexpectedly macho when it comes to stuff like this, but I'll surely collapse in a puddle before Jodi breaks a sweat. Oh, well... at least we'll have a good chat.  :-)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amy Winehouse


I didn't really grasp who Amy Winehouse was until last week when I saw a new documentary about her, called "Amy." The film describes her life from childhood until death four years ago at age 27.

Using actual footage, the movie reveals bad parenting, bad boyfriends and bad choices. Amy suffered from bulimia most of her life and it weakened her heart.

At the same time, she possessed exceptional musical talent. Her songwriting, coupled with jazz-based vocals, were top-notch artistry.

There is much about Amy I never knew, starting with the fact that she was Jewish. Before Amy adopted the Ronnie Spector style of hair and makeup, she looked like an ordinary chubby girl. Amy was unprepared for the assault that fame waged on her personal life and it pushed her over the cliff. She lacked support from family and friends; her professional entourage exploited her more than it helped.

If you want to learn more about her, see "Amy." It is both entertaining and heartbreaking.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blogger Meetup (Nora)


Last Fall, I visited Minnesota and met Nora and her sister Megan. They jointly create a fabulous fashion blog (Two Birds). As soon as I met them, I fell instantly in love with these two sweet women. They're so nice!

Nora recently moved to California and I doubted I'd get to hang out with her again. So when Nora mentioned she's coming to New York with her husband Jim to attend a friend's wedding and asked if I wanted to see them, I jumped at the chance. We had dinner tonight at a chic spot and walked for blocks and blocks afterward. The conversation was so entertaining I didn't want it to end.

Nora brought her hubby along and that was a treat. Jim's a smart guy with an interesting past. He had a "bad boy" period before figuring out what he wanted in life. Then he got it. Now he seems as happy as a man can be.

Nora and Jim have very different personalities. He's outgoing and she's shy. They mesh nicely and complement each other. You can see in their interaction a deep foundation of love. Nora and Jim are about to celebrate their tenth anniversary. They're a couple who click.

What a treat it was to hang out with them! Have you ever read her blog?