Sunday, July 30, 2017

"Spirit of Racing" Pen (Montblanc)

Uh-oh... it happened again. I'm in love.

There are some objects, like writing pens and motorcycles, that need to be seen in person. Until you hold one in your hand or between your legs, you have no idea if it appeals to you. Pictures don't convey the size, weight and proportions of the actual object. Many times I've ogled motorcycles in magazines but, encountering them at the annual Javits exhibition, discovered they leave me cold. And vice versa.

I went out riding today and dropped into Roosevelt Field Mall. Browsing the Montblanc boutique, I was struck by a new pen they have -- the "Spirit of Racing Doue." Its resin body is shaped like the tread of a racing tire and has the feel of a finely-tuned instrument. Unlike any other pen, this one has the Montblanc emblem suspended in the transparent cap which makes it appear to be floating in air. Very cool!

I can see carrying this pen around with me everywhere as part of my standard equipment. Hey, by the way, did I tell you my birthday's coming up soon?  :-)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Vintage Haul

I had a wonderful time tonight!

I heard my favorite store (Rosie's Vintage) was participating in a "Late Night Arts, Antiques and Vinyl Fest" at our local art-film house so I went down to see what was on tap. There were a dozen vendors of really cool stuff -- authentic vintage clothing, interesting antiques and vinyl records. Craft beer lubricated the event and a DJ pumped up the vibe. It was a party where you could bring stuff home!

I saw my good friend Thea whom I mentioned here two months ago. We hugged and chatted. I root for Thea to succeed and was happy to see a horde of eager beavers in front of her wares. Among her vintage goods were two items I picked up -- an antique camera and an Edison Record. Edison Records were the earliest musical recordings: they captured sound on cylinders made of wax and later celluloid. They were sold from 1888 to 1929. It's fun having a piece of history even if you don't own the antique "phonograph" used to play it.

From another vendor I snagged a cute tie-bar for my neckties. The bar depicts a bowling ball and pins which are classic icons from the Forties and Fifties. I got mermaid note-cards made by a female Japanese artist who uses an ancient print-making process to create them. I fell in love with a frilly pink top which will grace an outfit-post soon. Of course I took home some vinyl: an album by Harry Chapin, popular singer from the Seventies who worked to cure hunger, and another by Lead Belly, blues singer from a century ago.

Lastly, I enjoyed leafing through a box of old photographs. There is something moving about old pictures even if you don't know the people in them. I found two which struck an emotional chord in me and I brought them home. What do you think when you look at them?

Next time an event like this pops up, you should join me!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Fun

It's the peak of Summer so I want to wear something fun. A tulle skirt fills that bill. I'm adding a cute top I picked up for a song. What do you think of the ensemble?

P.S., Here's another secret about my life. When most women come home, they kick off their heels. When I arrive home, I *put on* my heels. I wear them around the house because I enjoy how they make me feel -- putting me in touch with my feminine side. I may be the only woman who relaxes, cooks and cleans in high heels but that's okay, because "there's no wrong way to be a woman."

(I love that phrase; it's the tagline of a video which encourages acceptance of diversity.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Improve Salad With Croutons

I've discovered a magical salad ingredient -- croutons. In some mysterious way, croutons make salads better. It's probably because they add texture and crunch.

I buy bags of croutons and recently wondered why I pay a lot of money for something I could probably make myself. Plus, since croutons are often seasoned, why not add your own favorite spices instead? So I set out to learn how to make croutons. Turns out, it's easy!

Just take some old bread, cut it up into cubes, put the pieces in a large bowl and sprinkle with olive oil and any spices you like. Conventional recipes suggest salt and pepper. I use Old Bay Seasoning. (I did a post on Old Bay Seasoning two years ago; it's delicious!)

Put the seasoned cubes on a tray (I use aluminum foil to ease clean-up) and pop into a pre-heated oven. Fifteen minutes of 400-degree heat. Then let cool.

And they're done! The process couldn't be simpler. The croutons are tasty and cost practically nothing, much better than spending $5 for a bag of bland ones. Warning -- like freshly-baked cookies, homemade croutons right out of the oven smell irresistible; if you start nibbling, you'll lose half a batch before you realize it. They make an amazing snack.

Here are pics of the three-step process for croutons I made tonight...

Saturday, July 22, 2017


We're friends, aren't we? Friends confide in each other. I'm gonna tell you a secret and, if you want, you can reveal one of yours.

It's public knowledge that I'm transgender. It's also been publicly disclosed that when I was six years old I wrapped a bath-towel around my body and pretended it was a dress. An essay revealed that when I was ten years old I bought a pair of tan pantyhose which I hid in an empty coffee-can and buried in our backyard. Everyone knows these things about me.

You also know I've been actively buying women's clothes during the past decade.

My secret... and this is something nobody knows until now... is that on the many shopping expeditions in my life, I never tried on women's clothing in a store dressing-room until two weeks ago when I went thrifting with Suzanne and Patti. That was the first (and only) time I've done it.

Honestly, this is something I never thought I'd have the courage to do. It's a PUBLIC violation of gender rules, particularly conspicuous since most stores -- including the one we visited -- have an employee guarding the dressing room to check items you bring in. I've also always worried about disturbing other female shoppers who might be discomforted at the sight of me. Would it upset you to see a "man" taking women's clothing into a dressing room? (Addendum: As noted in my response to Elle's comment below, these were private, single-person dressing rooms, not a communal room; I respect and would never intrude on other women's privacy.)

Credit for my first experience doing this belongs to Suzanne. Suzanne not only suggested I do this, she implied she expected me to. Suzanne made me confront my fear and, at the same time, she reassured me with her presence. If you've ever met Suzanne in person, you know she radiates power. (See above picture.) I knew she'd have my back if trouble arose. With her support, I felt strong enough to break a new personal barrier.

Thank you, Suzanne!

And now tell me one of your secrets!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Beach

I left work early today and went to the beach. It was relaxing and fun. Best of all, there were kites! The most amazing kites. I've never seen such creations flying in the wind. Aren't they cool?

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Growing Through Mistakes

I have immense respect for women. One reason is their effort to look attractive. It takes skill and hard work to fashion an appealing look. Men have no idea how hard that is.

Learning how to select and wear women's clothing has been a journey for me, full of mistakes and poor choices. I was initially embarrassed by my errors but I've come to embrace them. In all areas of growth, mistakes can teach us, bad decisions can be fixed. Your feedback has explained to me what I did wrong, how I can improve and what to do better next time. The education has enabled me to make smarter choices in my appearance.

 So I no longer worry about making a fool of myself. Mistakes are a price I'm willing to pay for growth.

Here's a glamorous gown I thrifted for a small sum, less than the cost of lunch. I gave it my best shot. Thoughts?

Monday, July 17, 2017


I went to Tucson this weekend and it was hot. 107 degrees hot.

The Arizona desert is surrounded by mountains and has a unique beauty. You expect the place to be barren but there's plenty of animal and plant life surviving the harsh environment. Here are some pics.

Have you ever been to a desert?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Another View

Suzanne's write-up of my visit last week is fun and informative -- like her!

Check it out.   Click here

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Final Photos

At the risk of inducing Toronto Fatigue, here are the final photos taken last Saturday.
(Makeup by Suzanne; photography by Suzanne)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sharing Photos

Everyone has a camera on them these days (in their phones) so, when you meet up with friends, you end up with multiple portfolios of the encounter. Which is great until you face how to share pictures with each other. E-mail has limited volume and old-school methods (like snail-mail) are too slow.

The resourceful Suzanne taught me something new and useful -- cloud computing. There are Internet sites where you can store your pictures and then simply give your friends access to them. We're using one called Dropbox and it's free.

The pic above is my favorite one of our visit. We asked a stranger to snap it with Suzanne's phone. Getting access to her photos amplifies my joy in recalling our fun time together.

Isn't it a great picture?!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Toronto Outfits

One of the fun things we did up in Toronto was play dress-up. After dinner Saturday night, we retired to Suzanne's comfortable house where we tried on clothes, laughed and took pictures. Suzanne, being naturally bossy, took the helm as Woman In Charge (WIC). The WIC applied my makeup -- marvelously! -- and did photography for both Patti and me. Suzanne has good photographic equipment, interestiong picture-backgrounds and superb skills.

Against my wishes, the WIC coaxed me into wearing clothes I didn't think would flatter me. I was wrong. She was right. I'm honest enough to concede this.

I wore three outfits. Here's the first. Thoughts?