Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Old Year, The New Year

2011 was a watershed for me.  I explored, I grew, I made new friends.  The year was so fabulous I don't want to let it go. 

But go it must.  A New Year awaits us. 

My plans are to make 2012 as wonderful as possible.  To be creative, to try new things, to share my life with you.

What are your plans for the New Year?

Oh, and on that subject... do you know Sage?  She's one of the smartest bloggers around.  Sage has this natural maturity and always knows the most sensible way to view a situation.  Which makes her a valuable person to listen to and learn from.  Plus, she's fun!  Sage has an easy sense of humor that makes me laugh.

Anyway, the reason I mention Sage is she just posted about New Year's resolutions.  (Go here.)  As always, she says smart things that make sense.  I encourage you to check out her blog -- you'll enjoy it.

Also, before I say goodbye for the last time this year, Tracy of The Closet Shopper just celebrated her birthday.  Go over to her blog and wish her well.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tag, I'm It!

I recently started following a new blog by a lovely woman named Daniela.  She lives in Boston and grew up in exotic Brazil.  Her blog has interesting and varied content.

Daniela just tagged me in a blogger-game where I am to answer eleven questions she devised.  They're good questions so I'm eager to dive in.  Thanks, Daniela!

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love cities for their energy; I love countrysides for their natural beauty and animals.  My ideal choice would be a pied-a-terre in the city and a small house in the country; that way I could enjoy both environments.

Specific cities I love are Boston, New York and San Francisco.  Rural areas I like are Maine, Vermont, Michigan (UP) and Canada.

2. Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

I love vanilla in everything and put vanilla soy milk in my tea every day.

3. What's one word that describes your style?

Eclectic!  I'm all over the place because I only recently started playing with fashion.  I'm like a tween experimenting with different styles to see what suits her.  While I have developed preferences, I really haven't adopted a particular style yet.

4. Is there anything about yourself you would change?

Hmm... can you guess?!  But seriously, my life is grand right now so I'm focusing on that and not what I lack.

5. What's one thing about yourself that you love?

My willpower.  I have infinite drive and endurance.  I never, ever give up, despite whatever obstacles I face (and there have been many).

6. What are you most afraid of?

Wasting my life -- specifically, being trapped in a male life.  If I was unable to explore life as a woman (at least in my mind), I wouldn't feel there was any point in staying alive. 

In the past half-century, I've exhausted all possibilities available to men.  Now I'm pursuing experiences from a female perspective.  Such experiences reward me, teach me and just feel "right."

7. What's your greatest childhood memory?

Being alone in the bathroom when I was very young (maybe four), wrapping a bath-towel around my waist, and pretending it was a skirt.  The act turned my innermost feelings into reality, which confirmed to me that I am who I am.

8. Why do you blog, anyway?

Great question, because it's different for everyone.  For me, it's the twin opportunities to express myself in a female way and to make new friends.

9. If you won the lottery today, what are 3 things you would do?

Dangerous question!  I'd host more parties, take my friends on long trips, and buy prezzies for everyone!

10. What's the last song you heard?

"Jackson," by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

11. If you were picked to be a character in a cartoon, what cartoon would it be?

Betty Boop!

Black and White

Color distracts us from the shape and design of an outfit.  Seeing beyond color removes it from view.

Here are some outfits I wore this year sans color.  (That's a fancy foreign word meaning "without.") 

Stripping pictures down to b/w focuses us on structure.  What do you think of these outfits?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hamburger Choo Choo

I tell people a story about my childhood and nobody believes me -- but it's true.  In fact, I just discovered that if you search the above words on Facebook, you'll find a tribute page with newspaper clippings proving its existence.

When I was little (the 1960's), there was a restaurant in our town called "Hamburger Choo Choo."  It served hamburgers, milkshakes and luncheonette food. 

What made the place special -- and I'm not making this up! -- is that your food was delivered to you on a toy train.  You sat at a long counter and your food-plate was placed on a toy train that came out of the kitchen and ran down the counter.  To a kid, that was the height of whimsy!

Sadly, the place burned down and was never re-built.  A picture of it is shown below.

What was your favorite place growing up?

Winter Coat

My whole life, I've wanted a big fluffy coat.  The kind beautiful women wear in Winter.

A few weeks ago, some of you encouraged me to get one.  Thank you for that support.  So I started looking, in retail-stores for ideas and in thrift-stores for bargains.  Last week I snagged this gorgeous white fluff-ball for $9 at Savers.  It's spotless and like-new.

Putting it on, I want to dance.  To twirl and move with the waves of the Universe.  It makes me feel so... girly.  What do you think?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post-Holiday Roundup

I hope you had a nice holiday. 

Because I was nice and not naughty, I got several presents.  One is a book just published by a leading psychologist who won the Nobel Prize; it is called "Thinking, Fast and Slow."  The book explores how we think and was named one of the Top 10 Best Books of 2011.

Another gift I received is a tin of caviar.  Have you ever had caviar?  This is the real stuff, not low-priced imitation.  Because it costs $3,900 per pound, I asked for only a small amount (1 oz.).  I plan to savor it with great concentration.  You're welcome to come over and try some -- but you better hurry!

I also asked for and received artisanal sausage.  It tastes so good it transcends the category of food.  Rich flavors, like fennel, explode in your mouth and provide sensual delight.  Yumm!

I also got front-row seats for a new Broadway play called Relatively Speaking.  The show is in two weeks; I'll let you know if it deserves the rave reviews it received.

What did you do for Christmas?  Did you get any nice gifts?  Please share!

P.S., Thank you to Wendy for the lovely b/w top and jewelry.  And thanks to my BFF Jen for three bottles of sparkly nail-polish.  You'll see both gifts here on the blog soon!

P.P.S., Oh, and thank you to Alya for the Victoria's Secret giftcard.  Believe it or not, I've never been in VS before, even though there's one in the mall down the block from my house.  Propelled by Alya's generosity, I went in there today -- and spent a fun hour looking at all the lingerie and clothes.  What a pleasant surprise.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Thanks, Kat, for the pretty green dress!
Thanks, Loren, for the pretty red shoes!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Ethical Question

Is re-gifting okay?  Is it okay in some situations but not others? 

What do you think about re-gifting?  Do you ever do it?

A while back, someone gave me a bottle of Champagne.  Very nice.  Then I noticed that they had received the bottle as a gift from someone else -- because that original gift-giver had printed his name on the label!  I don't know who that person is. 

This is like getting a watch, turning it over, and seeing an inscription, "To Joey with love from Mom" when your name isn't Joey...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Activities

Well, they're here.  We're in the midst of the holiday season.  For some, the frenzy of shopping, socializing and battling crowds frays nerves; for others, it's a time of joy. 

How are your holidays going?  How's your mood?


Born a weed
in arid soil,
I reach for the sun.

Impeded by concrete
and harsh weather,
I reach for the sun.

We are what we are
whether recognized or not.
A weed is truly a flower
whose beauty is unseen
by most.

I am a flower
reaching for the sun.
Blossoming when I can,
while seen as a weed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


I've fallen and I can't get up.  Stylistically, that is.

One of my favorite bloggers, Megan, was kind enough to give me two beautiful skirts for Christmas.  Really pretty skirts.  One is a vibrant solid blue that will be easy to style.  The second, a long white polka-dot, appeals to me greatly -- but is resisting my efforts to build an outfit around it.  I'm at the stage where I want to throw in the towel, but I love the skirt and need to learn how to style it.  This is where YOU come in.  :)

Here is the skirt...

At first, I tried pairing it with other black-white items like a striped cardigan.  That was too much graphic black and white, plus the patterns clashed.

I don't want to draw too much focus away from the skirt by wearing bright colors, so I tried a soft yellow with a little black accent.  That's what I ended up with here, but I'm still not happy.  It just doesn't work as well as it should.

I need your help!  Please give me ideas.  You are my fashion-instructors. :)


Are you listening?  This is what I want for Christmas.  I've been good!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Friends With Benefits

I am frequently amazed at how kind my friends are.  Seriously amazed.  And touched.

My blogger-friend Emma, for example.  Emma knows my love of petticoats and flouncy skirts so, when she saw something she knew I'd like, she got it for me for Christmas.  This skirt is so spectacular I couldn't even wait a day before showing it to you.  Here it is.

Emma is distinctive not only for her generosity but for the fact that she has the best shoe collection I've ever known.  She has well over 300 pairs -- and they're good ones!  Designer shoes in beautiful styles and colors.  If you like shoes, you should follow Emma's blog.

Also, let me thank Jazmin again -- she gave me this lovely top and funky jewelry.  The colorful necklace and bracelets were fun to play with.

With friends like mine, I may never have to shop again!

Do you ever give or receive clothing from friends?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Looking Back At This Year

Amid the holiday hubbub, I want to pause for a second and reflect on the year that's coming to an end.  There are less than three weeks left of 2011.

This was the best year of my life.  And that's saying a lot when the reflection comes from someone with 54 years under his belt.

This year, I realized lifelong dreams.  I grew as a person and found fabulous new friends.  I explored femininity deeper than ever before.  I expressed myself in fun, interesting ways.  My skills at photography, writing and blogging improved dramatically.

The vehicle for all this, of course, is my blog.  In its second year, the blog grew stronger and became a greater focus of my life.  I devote many hours to creating interesting content, all of which are pure joy.

I'm especially proud of three posts that took sizeable effort and courage.  The Prom Project accomplished a major goal for me.  Leggings With A Twist was an artistic achievement.  And my Motorcycle Ride In A Dress was fearless comedy.

Heck, I even took my clothes off for you people!

I hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride.  :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011


There!  I said it.  The word gives me shivers, even now.

Pantyhose were the first item of female apparel I played with as a boy -- if you don't count wrapping a bath-towel around my waist in the bathroom and pretending it was a skirt.  Pantyhose seemed to be the epitome of feminine beauty.  Their exotic feel, the way they smooth out bumps and skin-tone, the simple fact that only women wear them and there's no contemporary male clothing-equivalent.


Back in the days when I was growing up, women wore pantyhose routinely.  They were required for most jobs.  Women weren't allowed to wear pants and pantyhose eclipsed stockings when technology made them easier to wear and cheaper to produce.  There were two decades of amazing TV commercials persuading women to leave stockings (popular in the 1940s and '50s) and shift to pantyhose (in the '60s and '70s).  Like this one...

Since then, pantyhose have been disappearing.  Women, not forced to wear them, choose more comfortable alternatives, like bare skin.  In the past, bare legs were considered scandalous; you were supposed to cover yourself with something, even an item as thin and transparent as pantyhose.

One of the raps pantyhose always had was physical discomfort: they cling and squeeze and confine.  They are also delicate and prone to snags, which can instantly ruin an outfit when rounding a corner too sharply.  Pantyhose even raised health concerns (by trapping body-heat) until manufacturers started inserting breathable cotton crotches in them.

Most people don't realize and think of pantyhose as a petroleum product, but they are.  They're made from oil and are a synthetic plastic.  Which is why, when you store pantyhose in a closed coffee-jar underground for months, they start to smell like gasoline and eventually deteriorate.  Don't ask me how I know this.  :)

What's your history with pantyhose?  Did you wear them as a kid?  Do you wear them now?  Do you like or dislike them?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Play Time

Do you remember when you were a kid and you loved to play just for the sake of fun?  No goal, no agenda... just fun.

I did that today.  I woke up early, put on a pretty red dress I bought yesterday at Savers for $6, went to a secluded park and braved the cold for a fun photoshoot.  I really enjoyed myself.


The shoes, you may remember, were a gift last month from Loren.

The photos, of course, were taken by me, all by myself, with a tripod.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dreams Come True

I've ached, my whole life, to be able to live naturally.  As the woman I am.  That has, however, always been an unfulfilled dream.

The reality of being seen and forced to act in the wrong gender causes existential angst, deep enough to persuade some to kill themselves.  That is not my inclination, however; I've always been tenacious and optimistic.  I've been called "dogged," which I accept as a compliment.  I have a titanium will and I never give up at anything.  That quality has enabled me to survive.

What I've done, at every stage of life, is whatever was available to me.  For most of the time, that was merely furtive feminine activities conducted by myself alone.  Wearing pantyhose as a boy in the privacy of my bedroom; later pushing the gender-boundary with transgressive clothing briefly permissible in the wild days of the 1970s.  I have fond memories of a tight, flowery, midriff-revealing top made of soft cotton with an elastic waist which actually was made for a man to wear but only for that short period in time; platform shoes, too, were briefly allowed for men then.

The hardest part of living like this was always the isolation.  Being alone in my twarted celebration of female life.

That changed when I started fashion-blogging and you guys embraced me.  My emotional reaction to your support has been so profound; you touch me so deeply.  Comments that might seem casual about, say, the attractiveness of an outfit, are something much more to me -- critical acknowledgement about the viability of my life.  This is why blogging and you have transformed my existence.  And made me dream about new possibilities for which I'd given up hope long ago.

As I mentioned, isolation has been the toughest thing to bear.  From as early as I can remember, my imagination craved having social experiences as a girl.  Like sitting in a BFF's kitchen and drinking tea with her while we gossip about our friends.  Like going to a cocktail party in a cute LBD, standing in a circle of women, and complimenting each other on how we look.  Like shopping with a girlfriend at the mall.

I've never had that.  The closest I've come have been fleeting public outings that weren't really social, like my recent motorcycle ride.  That was fun but it was, literally, a drive-by experience.

My dream for a social experience may soon come true.

My girlfriends Nicole and Jamie, who helped me take the motorcycle pictures and The Prom Project, just informed me that they'd like to hold a party for me at one of their homes at which I'm invited to dress any way I want.  With a tinkle in their eyes, they suggested I dress as a girl.

It was hard not to cry.  Boy-training kicked in to stop that but the depth of emotion I felt at their offer was intense.  I appreciate their generous support which, from them, is not a surprise.  When I was in a life-threatening motorcycle accident eight years ago and spent over a week in a hospital, Nicole was there for me in a big way.  I know she loves me and I love her back.  Jamie, too, has become a dear friend.

The prospect of this party -- which, on the surface, will simply be a room full of women standing around, eating hor d'oeuvres and chatting -- has me swooning with joy.  Nicole and Jamie said I can invite anyone I want and we have a month or two to plan it.

I wish all of you, whom I love so much, didn't live so far away.  I can't expect anyone to travel from Canada or California to attend but I wish I could see you there.  I'll share the experience with you in a bloggy way to show you how much I care about you.

I guess, if you live long enough, dreams can come true.  :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Items

You may recall that my new friend Jazmin gave me some clothes recently.  I decided to take a few for a twirl.  The top and skirt are both from her.

The patterned tights were a find at Kohl's.  I received a $10 giftcard in the mail and the tights were only $8, so I consider them free!  I love the gold thread weaved into them.

By the way, today is Jazmin's birthday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Dare You!

You might remember my tutu story (here).  After reading it, my good friend Fuzzy (who has a terrific motorcycle blog) dared me to wear a tutu while riding a motorcycle.

Never one to back down from a challenge, I started thinking about her dare.  I realized it'd be fun to wear a frilly dress on a motorcycle.  The unexpected incongruity of that image might be humorous. 

I decided to do a photoshoot where I am half-man, half-woman.  Boy from the waist up, girl from the waist down.  Riding my motorcycle in public.  On busy streets.

I did it today and here are the results.  Big thanks for Nicole and Jamie for helping create these photos.

My goal for this was to make you laugh.  Did I succeed?