Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In The Yard

I looked out my window today and this is what I saw.  He's a cutie!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back To Basics

It's been a long time since I did an outfit-post.  I have to tell you that I've missed it.  Work and other factors prevented my playing with clothes and I've been sad about that.  I'm really hooked on this hobby.  :)

I have nothing new or fancy to show you, just a return to basics.  I combined a few items in my closet in a way I hope is attractive.  Let me know whether I've succeeded and please suggest any improvements.  I learn so much from you guys!








Fashion Mishap

Some things you can't make up.  Last Halloween, a young man glued a tiny sequin hat to the side of his head as part of his costume.  The only problem was the glue he was supposed to use (fabric-adhesive) wasn't working well so, instead, he used Super Glue (cyanoacrylate).  After the holiday, he couldn't get the hat off.  So... he went to a hospital Emergency Room.

Here's his story.  It's actually pretty funny.  :)





In a related story, the inventor of Super Glue (Harry Coover) died on Sunday.  (No joke.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jessica Simpson Collection

There's money in fashion.  Lots of money.

Several news reports (here and here) are revealing that Jessica Simpson's clothes made $750 Million dollars last year and her company is expected to gross over one BILLION dollars next year.  Wow, that's a lot of money.

Simpson's company sells a wide range of goods, from junior sportswear and dresses to handbags, fashion jewelry, intimate apparel and fragrances.  Over 20 licensing agreements have been signed to produce Jessica Simpson merchandise, with home furnishings, cosmetics and men’s wear planned for the future.

I personally have a soft spot in my closet for Jessica's clothes because her style appeals to me and my all-time favorite dress is from her collection.  In case you forgot, here's what it looks like:



Do you have anything from her collection?  What do you think of it?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Warning!

I have two favorite holidays: Halloween and April Fool's Day (April 1st).  Both appeal to me for the chances they provide to be creative and escape the strictures of normal life.

I'm warning you now because Friday is April Fool's Day and I might try to fool you.  You may think I'm giving away the surprise by warning you in advance but, trust me, it doesn't.  Every year, I play a crazy joke on my friends and it always fools them -- even when they are expecting something from me.

The key, I've discovered, isn't what you say but how you say it.  I convince people of outlandish things by the plausible way I present information. 

Success is fooling people into believing something ridiculous.  Like that I just learned I'm pregnant.

Don't say I didn't warn you!!

Have you ever pranked anyone on April Fool's Day?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Butterflies

I went into NYC today with my friends Nicole and Jamie.  We saw live butterflies; some even landed on us! 

It was a fun day, full of the wonders of nature.












Which butterfly is your favorite?

Friday, March 25, 2011

The New Yorker


I read voraciously and magazines are my favorite meal.  Of the dozens I look at, my favorite magazine is The New Yorker.  I love the high quality of its prose and the wide range of its subjects.  I have a subscription and read every issue cover-to-cover.

The new issue (3/28) has three articles on fashion.  One on Christian Louboutin, another on the inventor of Spanx (Sara Blakely), and a third on Helena Rubinstein.  It also has interesting articles on the Japan disaster and the Barry Bonds trial.

My favorite line is in the Christian Louboutin article.  The article describes how delightful the shoes Louboutin designs are; it also says how expensive they are ($400-$6,000).  One woman, when her husband reviewed her credit-card bill and asked about a large charge, told him that Louboutin was her gynecologist.  Amazingly, he believed her!

What are your favorite magazines?


Friday

Whew... is it Friday?  I've been working so hard lately I'm discombobulated.

Perhaps I need a break.  My friend poet has a hammock she retires to for relaxation; that's her on the left in the comfy hanging couch.  Great photo, isn't it?

Good news: I'm going into NYC tomorrow to spend the day with my Nicole taking pictures of butterflies at a natural history museum.  The results should be good: nature makes beautiful creatures.

More good news: the vlog is almost complete.  Interestingly, it changed in tone as I worked on it.  Sometimes our ideas ahead of time don't work out the way we thought and we adjust on the fly. 

My preference is for the video to be real, not artificial.  My goal is to connect with you, not impress you.  Unfortunately, the equipment I'm using is borrowed and low-resolution (3-megs) but that's not important: what matters is the content.  I want to make friends and, to do that, I need to show you my reality, not a polished false front.  This isn't theater.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor



Elizabeth Taylor just passed away.  She was 79.

Liz Taylor was the first big movie-star.  Not only was she a noted actress, she was a celebrity whose wild personal life was irrresistable to millions.  She was loved and hated by many.  Liz was married eight times to seven men -- which means she married Richard Burton twice.  (Who does that?)  Taylor paved the way for our society's current obsession with celebrities.

In fact, Liz's biggest splash was a scandal she caused in 1959 -- she stole the husband of a women then-viewed as "America's Sweetheart," Debbie Reynolds.  Liz started an affair with Eddie Fisher while he was married to Debbie and broke up their marriage.

Professionally, Taylor won two Oscars (for "BUtterfield 8" and "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?"  She set a record for highest-paid actress in 1960 when she filmed "Cleopatra" (released in 1963) for which she was paid a million dollars.

She did charity work for AIDS and was a friend of Michael Jackson.

Do you have any reflections on her life?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Walking The Dog



This is Boogie.  He is a rambunctious Wheaton Terrier mix. 

This afternoon, Boogie and his owner, Molly Pfeiffer, were walking in New York City near Pier 54 in the Chelsea area.  The walkway they were on is at the edge of the Hudson River.  Today, the water in the river was very cold (40 degrees).

I mentioned Boogie was rambunctious, didn't I?  Well, he also can't swim.  So, when Boogie fell off the walkway and into the cold water, his owner Molly freaked out.  She knew Boogie would drown if she didn't do something.  So, what do you think Molly did?

Yup.  Molly leapt into the water, swam to Boogie and pulled him out of the water.  The two of them were shivering and scared.  Molly went back to her purse and called 911 on her cell.  The NYPD Harbor Unit got there quickly and helped both owner and dog.  Molly was taken to the hospital as a precaution against hyperthermia.

Both Boogie and Molly are now fine.  They had a real New York adventure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Walking The Line

When I see a great picture, I want to share it with you.

Angela went into the city with her sweetheart to celebrate an anniversary.  While drinking Champagne and eating chocolate-covered strawberries, they took photos to commemorate the event.  Here's my favorite:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Super Moon

The moon right now is the closest it's been for the past 18 years.  So, when a full moon appeared last night, it was HUGE!  I saw it and NASA was correct -- it looked 30 percent bigger than usual. 

Did you see it?  If not, go outdoors tonight and take a peek.  It'll hit your eye like a big pizza pie...


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Update

Hi guys.  Just want to chat.  Grab a cup of tea and come join me...

It's always nice to have something to look at in a post.  I just saw this adorable picture of one of my best blogger-friends, Sara, and thought I'd share it with you.  Sara is so cute that, if aliens come, she'll be the first to get abducted.  Sorry, Sara, but that's the price of beauty...

I never talk about my job on this blog but I need to say how hard its demands have been this month.  For some reason, my work-calendar was crammed with heavy lifting.  I just finished most of  it and it all went fabulous well (I made a fortune), but the personal cost was real. 

I stress about work-matters every day, all day, wake up horribly early (half out of anxiety and half to get things done) and find it hard to carve out time to blog and read blogs.  There are numerous ideas I want to post; I especially want to do more outfit-posts; I've been struggling lately to find the time for that.  Please bear with me during this busy period which should be ending soon. 

I've laid some foundation for the video I want to create but it's a bigger job than I expected.  I want the vlog to be worthy of your attention and, to achieve that, several elements need to be coordinated.  I'm reviewing my music-library now for an appropriate soundtrack.  (I don't do anything half-assed.)

Recently, I mentioned the delicate issue of my informing real-world friends about my transgendered nature.  Something happened in that direction this week.  At my Oscar-party, the subject of Twitter came up and, feeling comfortable among friends, I revealed I have a Twitter-account.  

Debbie, a friend I've known for 12 years, went home, searched for and found my account, and travelled here to my blog where she learned things about me she never knew.  She e-mailed me and said she needed to talk. 

We met in person.  Debbie said she loved me and is grateful for our warm friendship.  I told her I love her and am equally grateful.  Debbie said she was overwhelmed by a recent e-mail I sent her in which I wrote that I have a "high opinion" of her.  I told her it is true and that she deserves to feel praised by others.  Then she cried.  Debbie had a hard childhood and has always had troubles with self-esteem: I know this and support her every chance I get.  I look for opportunities to bolster her self-confidence.

Later, Debbie said that the issue of my transgenderism is unimportant to her and that whatever I need to do to live authentically is okay with her.  She said we could go shopping for clothes some day.  I thanked her for that acceptance.

With many people, it's hard to predict how they will react to news that shakes what they believe about you.  People make assumptions and, until you correct inaccuracies in those assumptions, they go on believing them.  My giving this information to people who have beliefs about who I am creates unpredictable situations.  Fortunately, with Debbie, it went the right way.  (Whew!) 

What's new with you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Feminism and Dress

I just read a fabulous post by one of my favorite fashion-bloggers and I want to bring it to your attention.  The blogger is poet and the post is here.



Feminism, today, is a misunderstood and largely ignored political philosophy.  When I was growing up, however, feminism was big.  In the early 1970's, feminist activism was very popular.  Society was changing, women were demanding (and obtaining) new opportunities and freedom, and the term "feminism" meant something different than it does today. 

I was introduced to feminism by my partner at the time (Maura) who gave me dozens of books to read.  We discussed the many aspects of social history and conditions.  Then we became active in several political struggles to gain greater equality for women.  Through those efforts, I became personal friends with some of the biggest names in the movement (e.g., Andrea Dworkin).

In her post, poet seeks to reconcile her beliefs about politics and society with her choices on fashion and personal appearance.  Of real significance to this, poet has superior sewing skills and makes many of her own clothes.  A while back, I showed you a laptop-bag she made out of a male-friend's jacket.

The post has both powerful insights and many, many pictures.  The pictures illustrate her points very well.  To anyone interested in fashion (like you), the post will be appealing on several levels.  I urge you to take a look.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Female Life

Today's Topic:


Do You Believe In Marriage?

Do You Want To Get (Or Remain) Married?

Do We Need To Be Married To Be Happy?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Charity

I love my readers!  You guys are so wonderful -- and you keep reminding me of that every day.

Tiff is one of the three winners of my Oscar contest.  She just reported what she did with her prize-money.  She used it at a fundraiser for a noble organization that rescues abused pit bulls.  As a serious dog-lover myself, I'm really proud of Tiff.  Her post is here.

You guys are terrific!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Room Decorations

I just got these cute decorations for my house.  They're about 18-inches big.




What do you think?

Seven Secrets

I recently made a new friend, Dimi, an enthusiastic new blogger in Greece.  She's a lovely woman and quickly leaped into my affection.

Dimi's hometown looks like the kind of Greek resort where movies are made -- a place with ancient white-stone homes built on seaside cliffs where Julia Roberts visits to escape a bad marriage and unexpectedly falls in love with a handsome Greek waiter...

Dimi has a cool job -- she rides in a helicopter over forest-fires and helps translate among the rescue-workers.  It's exciting, dangerous work but Dimi is up for the task.  She's strong and courageous and even a little irreverent.

Dimi just tagged me with a game called Seven Secrets in which she (and now I) must reveal seven private facts.  You guys know that, for me, that isn't hard!  Anyway, I'm grateful to Dimi for the excuse to confide and hope you'll visit her blog.  Although she only started blogging in January, she's very active and I've seen her comment on dozens of blogs by mutual-friends.  Her input is always valuable and interesting.



Here we go!


1. I'm open about my transgendered nature to anyone who can handle it.  Some people can't, so I don't impose the burden of wrestling with it on those people.  I'm cautious about disclosing this information until I've felt someone out and believe they can accept it; deciding whether I can tell someone is often a delicate matter. 

2. I want to tell people who I am.  I hunger for real relationships based on true candor.  I haven't always had that; to the contrary, during most of my life, I felt I needed to hide who I am.  That's what my parents taught me.  I never adopted their belief that it's shameful, but I did learn deviance isn't widely-tolerated.

3. Often, the hardest situations are with people I've known for years.  With someone new, if they don't like me after I tell them, it's no loss.  But with someone I've known as a friend for ten years, I can't bear the prospect of losing their friendship, so I'm extra-careful.

4. I've learned from experience that women are more accepting about this than men.  I'm not sure why -- do you have a theory?

5. I believe that you can tell a lot about someone from which section of the Sunday newspaper they grab first.  I always head for the Style section.  How about you?

6. I have a domestic streak that is deep and undeniable.  At parties, I have to restrain myself from helping to clean up with the other women because, whenever I do, it makes people uncomfortable and causes them to crack dumb jokes about traditional gender-roles.  I still help but I've learned to do it in subtle ways that don't draw attention to what I'm doing.

7. My favorite joy is surprising the people I care about with unexpected presents.  One of you -- and I'm not saying who! -- has a tripod on its way.  It's dangerous to tell me you need something...


Have A Great Weekend!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Car-lashes!



How cool is this?!  Eyelashes for your car!

They sell them here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Video, Anyone?

I get my best ideas from other bloggers.  And I confess to that openly.

Blogs are fun -- we get to look at pictures of our friends and read their words.  I've noticed, however, that you get more information by seeing someone talk.  Watching their face when they speak, and listening to the words they use, tells us lots of information that doesn't come through in still-photographs and the written word.  Our minds analyze people's faces and draw instant conclusions.  We ascertain someone's intelligence, their personality and whether we like them.  In short, we learn lots more about people from watching them talk than we do from viewing their blog.

Obviously the best way to do this is in person but, with blogger-friends around the world, it isn't feasible to fly to Europe, Australia and South Africa.  The next best thing, I've just learned is video!  We can vlog ("video-log") on our blogs.

I got this idea from Sara, one of my best blogger-buddies.  She recently posted a vlog of herself talking.  She didn't say much but the impact was enormous. 

I knew I liked Sara before but listening to her speak made me fall deeply and hopelessly in blogger-love.  Her charming personality is so palpable in the video.  Within seconds, I wanted to hug her.

Another blogger-friend, Wendy, mentioned that she is curious about my accent (as I am about hers) since I live in New York and she lives in South Africa.  As often as we view each other's blogs, I'm sure there will be a momentary shock when we first hear each other speak.  We probably both assume we talk with the same accent we hear everyday but the reality is certain to be very different.  It will be fun when we can finally listen to each other.

So... where does this lead?  In a clear direction: I'm going to make a vlog.  I'm gonna let you hear me talk.  It will be fun to see your reactions.

Would you ever consider posting a video of yourself on your blog?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet...


... that is the question.

When Twitter came out, I thought it was dumb.  I couldn't see any use for it.  Thus, I stayed away.

Recently I noticed many of my blogger-friends are on Twitter so, like a lemming, I headed to the cliff.  I joined last month just to see what it is like.  @Shybiker1234

One of my prime guidelines in life is to actually try things before judging them.  Many times things are different from what you expect.  You don't want to miss out on something grand (like motorcycling) just because society leads you to form inaccurate assumptions about it.

In my brief time on Twitter, I've learned it has some valuable uses.  For example, I like being alerted to new posts by my favorite bloggers and hearing their recommendations of online things to check out.  I enjoy the "mini-conversations" you can have with people when they post a tidbit of their life and you have the opportunity to "reply" to it.  I like connecting with new people I haven't met before.

Are you on Twitter?  Do you like it?  What uses does it have for you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Female Life



I read a study recently on the time women spend getting ready to go to work. 

It reported that the majority of women spend the most time on Mondays, a little less on Tuesdays, etc.  On Fridays, they spend an average of only half the time they used getting ready for Monday.

Is this true?  And, if so, why? 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bad News

I've been quiet lately, uncharacteristically so.  I've been thinking about something serious.

Most of us live in a bubble of delusion.  We assume we'll live forever, we believe nothing bad will happen to us.  Then, life steps in and shatters those illusions.

One of my closest friends was told on Friday he has a brain tumor.  They're starting immediate treatment with radiation and chemo, every day for a month.  It doesn't look good.

My friend's name is Geoff.  He is a vibrant, smart, healthy-looking guy in his mid-forties.  I met Geoff fifteen years ago when we belonged to the same motorcycle club.  For some reason, Geoff gravitated toward me and is very fond of me.  We've stayed close despite his two-year work-stint in England (where he met his lovely wife, Fleur) and his recent move to Maryland.  We regularly make efforts to see each other and enjoy each other's company immensely.

Geoff is very smart, a quality I admire in people.  He's almost-entirely self-taught because his insouciant attitude didn't mesh well with regimented schooling.  Geoff is a cryptographer, which means he designs complicated security to protect huge computer systems (e.g., banks) from being hacked.

Coupled with high intelligence, Geoff has an irreverence to which I am drawn.  Geoff whips off witty jokes faster than I can comprehend or stop laughing.  He's a real showman and very entertaining to hang around with.

The very idea that such a great guy, in the prime of his life, can be struck down by an illness coming out of left field had me reeling all weekend.  I'm struggling with how to handle it.

I came to twin conclusions.  The first is obvious -- I will support Geoff in the ways he needs me, with great compassion and care.  I will be there for him.

The second is less obvious: it's more a renewal of a prior commitment than something novel.  I am re-commiting myself, and urging others like you, to live fully, to savor every moment.  To appreciate the precious gift of life we have in front of us.  I've been doing that lately with activities like this blog because I've had my own brushes with death.  Eight years ago I almost died in a bad motorcycle accident and, as most of you know, I've also lost family members when they were too young.  Such experiences force you to face mortality and draw important lessons about the meaning of life.  I choose to give my life meaning by helping others and by living as authentically as I can.  Being open on this blog and relating to you guys the way I do here is a tremendously significant act in my life.  And a deeply satisfying one.  We shouldn't lie on our deathbeds ruing what we could have done but didn't.

So, if you've read this far, thank you.  Please pay attention to what I'm saying.  I learned this lesson at a high cost and hope you can benefit from it.  I hate that I may have to confront death again.  Geoff is too young to die.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fashion Crime

This outfit is definitely gonna get me arrested by the Fashion Police. 

The charge?  "Age-Inappropriate Dress."  When taken before the Judge, my plea will be, "Guilty, as charged, your Honor."  What else can I say?

My defenses are that I love this look and, when I was young, I wasn't allowed to enjoy it.  At 17 years old, I couldn't dress like this no matter how hard I wanted to.  And I desperately wanted to.  Still do.

So, now in the midst of my second childhood, you'll have to cut me some slack.  Please!







I learned that you can wear socks with heels from my fashion-mentor, Ashley.  I love when other bloggers teach you new tricks.  Have you ever worn socks with heels?  Would you?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My Kitchen Decorations

I shoot many of my outfits in the kitchen and one reader commented on the decorative teapot on a cabinet shelf.  That made me think it'd be fun to introduce you to my collection.  Here goes!

I am definitely not a tchotchke person.  (That's New York slang for knickknacks.)  Each of the four items below has symbolic meaning beyond mere decoration.

The first item is the only family heirloom I own.  Sixty years ago, my father left a war-torn country and came to America.  He arrived without any family or friends.  The little family he left behind have never visited here and I don't know them.  When my father's father was dying in the 1970's, my dad returned to his homeland (alone) to say goodbye.  His family gave him this ashtray with our family name on it.  He brought it back to us and now it's in my hands.

At first glance, you might think the ashtray is kitschy, but it is more than that.  It has real sentimental value -- it is the only connection I have to my family's past.  Plus, its design is, upon closer inspection, quite appealing despite the dated motif.  Here are two pictures of it...






Next up is a teapot displaying a view of the world like a globe.  I acquired it while visiting the scenic Acadia National Park in Maine two years ago.  Next to the Park is a lovely resort town named Bar Harbour -- which, in a Maine accent, is pronounced, "Baa HaaBaa."  :)




Did you know that, in England, the bird they call a robin is a completely different bird than the one we here in America call the robin?  A close-friend of mine, who lives in Wales, learned this and sent me a matching set of objects depicting the English type of robin.




Finally, for comic relief, here's my white-trash coin-bowl.  When I started riding motorcycles, people began having fun with me about the associations motorcycling has with disreputable low-life.  Since I'm as far from a hairy, tattooed biker as one can be, when my friends joke about this, it's funny.  I join them in the humor.




Any impressions?