Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Life Upgrades

Hi guys! There's no justification for this post other than I have thoughts whirling around my head and you are my friends. So you get to hear them.

I squeeze the juice outta life and, lately, I've been squeezing a lot harder. I pondered why and realize it's because I'm happy. I want that happiness to continue so I'm vigorously doing legwork to keep it going. Aging causes you to sense the finite quality of life, the unavoidable reality that your life will end some day. I want to cram as much joy into my life before that inevitable event happens.

I'm loving my new motorcycle. Its high-tech features are so fun. Instead of fumbling for a key, you start the bike by pushing a button. And turn it off the same way. Today I'm riding into Manhattan to have a GPS installed. When touring in unknown territory, GPS beats pulling over to the side of the road and fumbling with paper maps. Oh, did I say fumbling again? Doing tasks outdoors with bulky gloves on your hands while speeding cars whiz by is harder than attempting the same tasks in the sheltered calm of a car. It's why having an EZ-Pass on a motorcycle is a godsend. In the old days before EZ-Pass, I used to fumble with coins while trying not to slip when putting a foot down on greasy roads in tollbooths. Some tech just makes life easier. Touring on a motorcycle is hard enough; small improvements in comfort are deeply appreciated.

When I was young, I had metal braces on my teeth. They hurt like hell. So when my dentist recently recommended I get braces again, I was not receptive to that advice. But my teeth are slowing moving in wrong directions so I acknowledged something needed to be done. I just had Invisalign put in my mouth. They're clear, barely-visible aligners that move your teeth like braces but can be taken out for eating, etc. They cause slight discomfort but the benefit is worth it. Have you heard of them?

What improvements are you making to your life? Do you think about improving things?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Outfits In 2015

My outfits are trial-and-error -- with many mistakes. Due to inexperience, I'm never sure what will work and what won't. On the plus side, experimentation yields valuable knowledge and teaches me many lessons. It emboldens me to try styles outside my norm. For example, this year I started wearing skirt-suits and pants and they both pleasantly surprised me.

What also surprises me is how frequently I play with clothes. In my head, it's something I do only occasionally when I have time and energy -- but, checking my blog, I realize I dress up a lot. More than any activity in my current life besides work and motorcycle-riding. And I'm not even including outfits I wear but don't post here because they were disappointing. Yes, I have those...

I just checked and saw that I posted 41 outfits this year. Of that total, I'm pleased with 32 of them. That's a success-rate of 75%. Not bad for a novice. With modest pride, I'm showing you some highlights below. (I'm not including the mermaid tail because technically that's not an outfit.)

As some of you have helpfully noted, I'm beginning to develop a style. Certain designs and colors work for me and everyone agrees when that magic happens. Your feedback helps me identify when efforts succeed. Thank you for that assistance.

I hope we all continue to improve in 2016!


Saturday, December 26, 2015

2016 Interviews

Holy cow! You guys must wanna talk! Eighteen of you volunteered for interviews.

Thank you for the great response. Everyone seems enthused about the idea and I believe it will enrich our blogging community. The more we know about each other, the closer we feel. Plus, many of you have fascinating lives that are entertaining and educational to hear about. I'll try to elicit interesting information from each of you that shows how unique and wonderful you are.

My plan is to do two interviews a month. I'll start contacting a small group of you since people vary in their time responding; when those interviews are nearly all posted, I'll start with another group. The door will remain open so anyone who later realizes how much fun this is can jump in and be included.

The best part of blogging for me has been befriending you and learning about your lives. I want to spread that special joy with this new feature. Happy 2016!

(P.S., This is one of my favorite outfits of 2015.)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope Santa is as good to you as he was to me this year.  :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Keep Movin'

A blog is like a shark -- it has to keep moving forward or else it dies.

(Which famous movie is that line from? Click on the link to find out.)

Thinking about the new year, I've been pondering ways to improve my blog. The smartest approach is to identify the most valuable aspects of blogging. And then find ways to strengthen them.

For me and some of you, the prime value of blogging is how it fosters community. Blogging connects us. We get to share things we care about with people who understand our enthusiasm.

I want to promote that -- develop new ways to introduce us to each other, increase our interaction and offer content on subjects of mutual passion.

I just came up with an idea. This blog can be a conduit for insights from you and others. I'm going to ask my friends (and any of you interested in this) to let me interview you -- and not on superficial topics but on real, important stuff. I want to hear what you have to say and others will, too. Questions will be both serious and fun but always meaningful. We'll learn from each other and enjoy the company. We'll confront points of view we had never considered before and grow in the process. And we'll tell jokes!

I hope you approve. Anyone interested in participating can say so in a comment and I'll try to bribe my friends to play by offering them cupcakes....

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Entering A Dream

Have you ever had an outfit transport you into a dream?

This $7.99 gown from a thrift-store carried me into a lovely dream. Its unusual color shimmers with sheen. Its feminine flourishes dance happily in the wind.

The gown is wonderful, isn't it?




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Geoff, A New Motorcycle And Old Friend

My new motorcycle is a BMW K1600GTL, the largest bike they make and the best touring machine on the road. I love it.

I name my motorcycles. It gives them personality. The GTL is no exception. Pondering names, I decided I want one with personal significance since I'll be closely attached to it for the next decade. I thought and thought about possibilities and then... suddenly, the perfect name hit me.

Fifteen years ago, I met a fellow motorcycle-rider named Geoff. Geoff was eager to join a motorcycle club of which I was then President. I considered it my official duty to welcome him. Geoff, candidly, was a little odd. Super-smart but odd. He had no close friends and was desperate to make some. People caught a whiff of his desperation and backed away. Also, Geoff was naturally irreverent which is a quality many ordinary people don't appreciate.

I have sympathy for odd ducks. Lord knows, I'm one. So I befriended Geoff. Spent time with him. Listened to his stories and dreams. We rode together, hung out and got closer. I came to appreciate Geoff for who he was, not what society thought of him. Geoff was truly brilliant and had an impressive job at an international company working on cryptography (which uses math to encrypt digital information, like communication of financial data between banks).

Being Geoff's friend was fun. After he moved to Maryland, I rode down and visited him. He bought an incredible mansion with the most luxurious guest-accommodations I'd ever seen. His living room had 30-foot high ceilings and Geoff, skilled at electronics, designed his own audio/entertainment system. Long before the idea became popular, Geoff tried to invent an electric-powered motorcycle. It stalled because battery-technology at that time was too rudimentary.

Then, four years ago, tragedy struck. Geoff -- who was young and vibrant, in his forties -- got cancer. The quick kind. A brain-tumor grew and killed him in less than a year. Nobody saw it coming. On the nightstand next to his deathbed, Geoff had a framed picture I sent him showing Geoff relaxing on his favorite motorcycle. I know he looked at that image with fond memories amid his failing health.

I posted here about Geoff on the day of his untimely death. The event occurred this time of year (December 30, 2012). Death is sad but especially so when it happens to a young person. Someone you expect to spend the future with, but won't.

In honor of Geoff and to keep his memory alive, I'm naming my new bike after him. Now, when I talk about my motorcycle with bright joy, I'll remember Geoff the person, Geoff my friend. He'll be with me as I ride into the future.

Here's Geoff during the good old days...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Journey Takes A Thousand Steps

In a short period of time, I've travelled far. I started exploring my femininity in a serious way five years ago. Assessing where I am today, I'm surprised. This blog reflects that progress and it's manifest.

In the beginning, I was scared buying female clothes. I was nervous just shopping in women's stores. Now I'm utterly unfazed as I pick through skirts, purchase panties, and pop into precious boutiques.

Signs of development are everywhere. For the longest time, when I posted an outfit I surrounded it with lengthy explanation. Unknown to me, I was revealing anxiety about exposing my true self. I felt an urgent need to justify my behavior, as if I needed permission to present as female. Reading those posts now, they sound like desperate pleas for approval. Because they were.

I've moved past that point. I no longer worry about wearing anything and don't need anyone's permission to have fun. I welcome constructive criticism and learn from feedback. My self-esteem is no longer fragile. I've acquired confidence in my innate right to be myself.

My feminine development affects many areas of my life, like my friendships with other women. It heightens my understanding of common social experiences women have. Years of careful study have given me valuable insights in this area. And that reservoir of knowledge keeps growing.

To avoid disappointment, I don't look into the future. But I'm pleased with where I am. I'm on the right path and moving forward every day. Thank you for your encouragement and support which have made this journey possible.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Favorite Blog Post

As we near the end of the year, it's time to look back on 2015. Our high points, especially.

What was the best blog-post you put up this year? Was it an outfit post? A personal essay? Something else? And what made it so special?

For me, the best post was the mermaid photoshoot. From the moment the idea popped into my head, it appealed to me. Executing the idea with skilled help from my friend Michi was smart -- our joint artistic collaboration exceeded what I could have done alone.

Good ideas travel far. My joy at creating the mermaid post was extended when Megan Mae and Jen used the mermaid tail in their own unique ways. The rest of you are also welcome to try your hand at the tail.

When I look back on 2015, I'll have fond memories of being a mermaid.  :-)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Decorations

Our Christmas tree is looking a little lame this year. Hey, that's what happens when you only spend $1.99.

Are you putting up a tree this year?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Vroom Vroom!

Big news! I bought a new motorcycle today!

My two existing bikes are old. Twelve and fifteen years old. I decided to replace them with new machines next year. In preparation for that, I visited an old riding-buddy today who runs the BMW motorcycle-dealership in Manhattan. He told me about a leftover 2015 model he has which is identical to next year's model but cost thousands of dollars less. He offered to make me a great deal on it and I happily accepted. Thus, I'm getting one of the bikes I planned to buy and saving a boatload of money on it.

The motorcycle I got is a BMW K1600GTL, the company's biggest touring machine. It has been rated the best touring motorcycle on the road several years in a row. It has an immensely-powerful engine (generating 160 hp) and amazing technical features, like headlights that actually move in the direction you're heading when you turn. It also racing-developed technology like traction control and ABS brakes. The bike is designed for long-distance touring -- which is why I want it -- and has a gas tank twice the size of my current bike (7 gallons). At 52 mpg, you can ride to another state before having to stop for gas. Commensurate with these advanced features is a price-tag similar a car; the bike normally runs around $30,000. It will be my workhorse so I don't mind spending a lot.

I'm thrilled to get this bike. I plan to ride straight through Winter. Look for me on the road!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Meet The 2015 Bloggy Award Winners!

The judges and I are pleased to announce that this year there are two winners of the annual Bloggy Award. Coincidentally, both live outside my country which means the award is now international. Yay!

The Bloggy Award aims to reward superior achievement in blogging. This year's winners are prime examples of that. The two winners are ubiquitous in the blogging world -- they're everywhere. Whenever I visit someone's blog, these gals have already commented on it. They devote serious, sustained effort to supporting and encouraging the rest of us. Plus, they post on their own blogs with great frequency and provide polished content that's a joy to consume. These women could charge for their work and I'd still happily visit their blogs.

The two winners are... (drumroll, please)... Suzanne from Canada and Kezzie from England. Each winner will receive a big-ass trophy and gift. Each will receive adulation from you and the rest of the blogging community. And each will receive my heartfelt gratitude for a job well-done.

Our first winner is Suzanne from Canada. Suzanne blogs at Suzanne Carillo where she offers beautiful outfits creatively made from thrift-store purchases. I admire the exceptional skill Suzanne displays in her clothing choices and combinations. She often puts fashion ideas in my head and I'm sure she inspires many of her other readers.

Equally attractive is Suzanne's bubbly personality. Her charisma is palpable. She's funny, playful and smart. I've met Suzanne twice in person and her wit and intelligence make conversation a joy.


One indisputable accomplishment that propelled Suzanne into our award-winning circle is her herculean effort to support blogging. Suzanne conceived, organized and managed a blogger meet-up in Vancouver this Summer which I was honored to attend. The event was large with an unprecedented number of attendees. Suzanne, with assistance from friends, made gifts, planned activities and ran the show. That work took incredible strength and fortitude. Suzanne's enthusiasm for blogging and bloggers is immense. She certainly deserves recognition and a Bloggy Award. Congratulations, Suzanne!

Our second winner is Kezzie. Chances are you know Kezzie because she visits more blogs than Santa and leaves more comments than anyone else. Her words are always supportive. Kezzie is one of those rare people on the planet who view helping others as a mission. In her job, Kezzie teaches children about the joy and magic of music. She plays numerous instruments and knows how to cultivate music-appreciation in little ones. That's a wonderful contribution to the world.

Kezzie lives in London, England. It's interesting to watch her visit nearby British locations and show us pictures on her blog. Seeing them makes us feel like she took us along on a foreign adventure.

Kezzie shows us outfits on her blog that are adorably cute. Her style is bright, colorful and fun. For me, watching her dress up is like seeing a musical -- equal parts fantasy with reality. Her clothes seem to have a sense of heightened reality that's entertaining to observe.

Finally, Kezzie's personality is joyful and eccentric. Her passion for "Doctor Who" exceeds anyone's. Kezzie is the interesting person you want to invite to your party 'cause she'll entertain everyone with the wildest stories and tales.


Let's join together and give these gals a round of applause!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Party

To kick off the holiday season, my girls decided to throw a party. It's happening right now. In my house.You're invited -- pull up a chair!

Normally, Romy and Michele sip tea but, for this grand occasion, they're pulling out all stops. The beverage on tap is Angel's Envy, a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, aged in port wine barrels. It's pricey but has a smooth, delicious flavor. Can we get you a glass?

Things could get crazy around here. Are you going to any other holiday parties?

(P.S., I think Romy looks like Suzanne)
(P.P.S., No sponsorship here; I just like the stuff)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mermaid At The Beach

The high point of the year for me was my mermaid post a few months ago. When the idea for it popped into my head, I instantly recognized the notion as clever. With the assistance of my photographer-friend Michi, execution of the idea was skilled and artistic. The whole experience was transcendent and fun.

Later, I thought it'd be nice to extend the fun by offering my tail to others. Oops... that doesn't sound right. :-)  I decided to let you guys borrow the mermaid tail for your own photoshoots. Megan Mae took first crack at it, creating a badass sea witch. Her idea is smart and reflects her unique personality.

Now, my BFF Jen is taking the tail in a different direction. Jennifer lives down South in Georgia. She took the tail to the beach. What a perfect, natural setting for a mermaid! Shooting at the beach was my first impulse but the difficult logistics of an outdoor photoshoot in public were too daunting for me. Jen, however, has the able assistance of her husband Jason (and little girl Juniper) so they were able to jump this hurdle. Plus, I secretly think Jen is braver than me. When I visited Jen and her family last March, she impressed me like few people have.

The results of Jen's photoshoot are fabulous! Doesn't she look terrific? Jen has an obviously-full basket of natural feminine beauty which boosts the pretty mermaid concept into something extraordinary. And you can tell from Jen's top-notch hair and makeup here that she put lots of effort into the photoshoot. I respect that. Modeling and photography are hard work.

Seeing people take my initial idea and craft it into their own creations makes me smile big-time. Who's next?