Dress Photo Shoot – Tres

Banana Republic outlet, on clearance, everything 50% off. Had to, you know……

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Big Dig Update No. 9: Almost done! On this day I cleaned up and organized a bunch of stuff. Seven purses (with full access to my wife’s extensive purse collection as well); 25 bras (2 sent off to donation), which doesn’t include sports bras; four nighties/pajama sets (one nightie sent away); far too many panties to count (has to be in excess of at least 70 pair, I am afraid to count them), zero pair male underwear (I have not worn male underwear for quite some time, I believe since 2015); plenty of hose and tights; eight pieces of shapewear and three half slips; 51 folded sweaters; two bikini tops; two bikini bottoms; three one-piece swimsuits and four cover-ups. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, including mine, that I am fully invested in being the best woman I can be, I think my wardrobe speaks for itself.

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I’m really not in a good head space right now. One of my many character flaws is that I do not do nothing very well. That was why I used to volunteer extensively. I must remain busy, if not physically, then certainly mentally. While I am able to do so in bits and pieces, there are still giant gaps in almost every day that for me are difficult. There is little I can do myself outside of my already taxing physical activities. There is little I can do as Kandi, although I am usually able to cobble together an outing here or there. But these are mostly like eating cotton candy, just emptiness. Some joy, but the joy is not able to be shared with anyone (except my wonderful readers), so it’s not as satisfying. Television is either reruns, COVID wall-to-wall, depressing, frustrating or just uninteresting. We’ve already talked about the feeling of isolation from the best parts of humanity. The bottle remains my best friend and worst enemy. Frequent AM hangovers.

So tomorrow, I am seeing “someone” and we’ll just leave it at that for now. If it goes well, we’ll discuss. If nothing comes of it, at least I will have tried. But even “seeing” someone is a reminder of the isolation, its a Zoom meeting. F’n COVID again.

Dress Photo Shoot – Dos

Allow me for the record to proclaim my undying love of shirt dresses. Particularly NY&Co. shirt dresses, especially with polka dots!!

What a freakin’ stellar find!!!!!

No, I don’t have a crick on my neck, I just love how it looks with my hair swept to one side! In the good old days, when we had lives, I used to be focused on getting out the door. Now, I have time to consider my presentation. How does my hair look? What can I do differently with it? How do I present the “girls”? How can I highlight them, comfortably? You will continue to see (if they are noticeable to anyone other than me) subtle changes in my presentation. I think as I am aging, Kandi is looking a little bit younger. Anyhoo………

Men’s clothes, woman’s clothes, whatever, I look and felt perfect in this dress!! It is ME!

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Big Dig Update No. 8: Hangar sweaters, all kinds, cardigans, bolero, shrugs, shawls. Sixty-one of them!

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As mentioned, the above dress is from NY&Co. I have expressed my great appreciation of their dresses. Sadly, they recently filed bankruptcy and it is only a matter of time before all the stores are liquidated and closed. More people out of work. Sad times indeed!

Dress Photo Shoot – Uno

This week we’ll be a bit lighter and have some fun!

So I spent a recent Friday morning shooting my last (for some time, I hope) purchases as well as a Piece Unique steal never seen before.

Calvin, need I say more?

I’ve gone white with royal blue in the past, but couldn’t resist the blue and pink combination. Also, I just love large earrings, especially with the long hair and I believe they draw the eyes away from my male facial features a bit.

I own the same dress in red. First of all, let me confess, I adore royal blue! When I saw this at Ross for under ten bucks, she was mine! This is at least a one hundred dollar dress, full retail, at Macy’s (and they wonder why they are struggling to stay in business).

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Big Dig Update No. 7: I’m probably about 65% of the way through The Big Dig. I did some odds and ends on this day. Two full slips, eight scarves (with full access to my wife’s scarves) and 14 camisoles. Then came the belts, all different colors and widths. Thirty-nine in all. I still have yet to tackle all folded clothing, which includes a ton of sweaters, plus all my hanging sweaters, shoes, purses, lingerie and the balance of my jewelry. Whew…….. When all is said and done, I’ll actually be able to find something when I know what I want without having to move hundreds of pieces of clothing to get to it.

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Please see the Supper Club page for details on our first event. One seat remains.

Not Ready For Sports Illustrated, Part Three

By Dee

Part of the fun for me was that Michelle was as enthusiastic as me, picking outfits, suggesting backdrops, adding hats, tying scarves in my hair, posing for selfies, etc. When she was younger she was a model, so I found it funny while she was taking my picture, she would be standing as if SHE was in the picture. 

Usually when I’m taking photos I’m using a mirror, or finding a place to set my phone to use the timer. It was so much easier with Michelle running the show.

Most of the swimsuits I modeled (can’t believe I’m typing that) were Michelle’s, but the red top (which Michelle loved) was actually my wife’s (I raided her collection). The multi-color one piece is actually mine, one my wife didn’t want anymore so I inherited it. I had never worn it outside, much less in or at a pool. 

Michelle pulled out the float with the lemon slice, and had me pose on the water. The picture with me lying on the float is probably my favorite. The colors are vivid, the blue of the pool is a great backdrop, and my smile is about as good as it gets (I find it difficult to smile for pictures).

Doing this was a dream of mine for a long time, and although I am definitely not ready for Sports Illustrated, I am extremely grateful to Michelle for making it a reality. Thank you so much!

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If you are interested, there is an update on the Supper Club page.

“This” and “That”

I recently wrote a post called “This”. The post was a simple stream of consciousness thing I wrote on a whim one day. I think I wrote it in about five minutes. I saved it and when I went back, I liked it. I tweaked it a bit, polished it up and schedule it for posting.

My dear friend, Linda, is often an email point-counterpoint partner. So here is a little counter analysis by her (which I wish she would do more often, despite what she may think):

“This”

So many of us have “something”.

“Chronic mental illness”  – did anyone chose to have ‘this’?   Can they do anything about it?  Can be life threatening.  Drugs, behavior therapies help but do they make them really happy?

“Chronic physical illness” – did anyone chose to have ‘this’?  Can they do anything about it?  Can be life curtailing.  Surgery, drugs, coping strategies help but do they make them really happy?

“This” – did anyone chose to have ‘this’?  Dysphoria can be life threatening.  Surgery, drugs, dressing help and all can really make us happy.

“This” can be so many things:  jealousy, envy, ambition, regret, pessimism, poverty, gambling etc.  I have often wondered whether ‘This’ is like a compulsion but then fulfilling compulsions does not bring the sufferers pleasure in the way that dressing does for us.  Our ‘This’ is just so diametrically opposite of all other ‘This’ and almost everyone seems to have at least one ‘This’ in their lives. 

So if I have to have some ‘This’ as nearly everyone does then ‘This’ is very different from all others since it gives us so much pleasure without involving anyone else.  The smiles in your pictures betray you.  ‘This’ might be hateful (editorial comment: I never, ever used that word), might rob you of time but you just love doing ‘this’.

Yesterday my wife had reason to remark how lucky we were to be happy and content with which I instantly agreed without a thought about ‘This’, lol.  We miss it if we cannot but we don’t come to harm confident that another time to indulge in ‘This’ will come.  We didn’t ask for ‘this’, eventually realizing we need to accept ‘this’ and considering the ‘this’ so many others have, I’ll take our ‘this’ any time and twice on Sundays, lol.  As for figuring it out, collect another $200 as you pass through Stockholm, lol – it is just one more of life’s mysteries.

Linda

Always thought provoking, often seeing things from a different perspective. I agree with all of what Linda wrote here but will give one push back. I am often called out because I have said I would take the mythical “cure” to make all of “this” go away if one existed. And I question things a lot (isn’t that what the blog is for?). And my smile is often cited as proof that I love “this”. In life something can be both one thing as well as another. I wish life were more black and white. I have a friend, she knows who she is and she is a reader here, that essentially lost her entire family because of “this”. She is alone now. Breaks my heart.

Yes, I enjoy my precious Kandi time. But I will never, ever 100% accept these feelings. I am very close to that, but the fact that I feel it is necessary to hide it from certain people in my life, any people really, means that I am not 100% of the way there. Anyone who keeps “this” a secret even from one person, isn’t all the way there either. And much like I am sure a smoker enjoys that cigarette (and I am NOT equating the two, simply using it as an example), I enjoy getting dressed. But if I could be “cured” (and again, I know that is not remotely possible), I would then not have the urges and the associated feelings and dressing would then not bring that smile. Thank you Linda for making me think (again)! You can do this more often, you know? I enjoy the point-counterpoint.

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Big Dig Update No. 6: Necklaces, many, many necklaces. All kinds, delicate little pendants, big statement necklaces, every length, shape and color. 137 all told, nine got donated. Want to go jewelry shopping? Not me! The ability to store and easily access all of this is very cumbersome and difficult. But I remember each and every one of them and as an outfit is coming together, my mind almost immediately goes to just the right one. Plus I have access to my wife’s much, much smaller collection.

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If you have Netflix, you must watch “Disclosure”. It is a documentary about our trans sisters and is so well done. It’s principally about media portrails of trans or crossdressed characters on TV and I can attest, I had seen almost every single one of them (dating back to my childhood) and felt exactly the same way as the ladies commenting in the documentary. Very moving. Anytime a man was on TV in a dress as I grew up, I stealthily watched. Bosom Buddies, Billy Crystal on Soap, you name it, I probably saw it. My envy for the actor to be able to wear a dress……..what was wrong with me? Ends up, not a damn thing, but too f’n bad it took me a lifetime to figure that out.

Struggling

Every single human being is struggling, in one way, shape or form, with the plague that has fallen over us. 48 million out of work, many will not return to the jobs they lost. Entire industries wiped out. The elderly, prisoners of their homes. My Dad and I have a very good relationship, much of which has been unspoken. My guess, our next hug will be followed by his being then lowered into the ground. Dear friends of mine, like Tina and Sherry, unable to get the time to be themselves. I could go on and on, no need, we all have a different reality than we did a few months ago.

I guess what is weighing on me is the fact that this isn’t going anywhere soon. Yes, certainly some time in my life, God willing, things will be like they were. But they won’t. Permanent ways in how we are humans will become ingrained. Habits will be changed. I am by no means being negative, I am being real, honest. Even if the vaccine was created right now, the necessary testing, FDA approval and us all getting the vaccine still puts it many, many months into the future. Best case 2022 will be a “normal” year. But it won’t be.

Technology had already allowed us to know more people and know those people less. The roots we grew in relationships do not have the time to germinate anymore. It has also, even more recently, eliminated the need to actually be somewhere. Now we Zoom everything.

So since this is my blog, I’ll personalize this. Our experiences are all so very different. For some, just getting dressed, even to sit at home and watch a movie, is great. For me, it is all about you. Yes, you. People. People have been almost completely removed from my life. Here is a simple example. In the good old days, maybe way back in 2019, on a day with nothing on my agenda, I would have stopped at a bar or Happy Hour, plopped my butt down and usually within fifteen minutes, I would be in conversation with someone I did not know fifteen minutes prior. And in many, many circumstances, that person’s number might end up in my cell phone, we may have hugged, they may have bought me a drink or I may have shared a meal with them. A photo may have been taken (I usually look pretty cute, you know?). All of these have happened to me. Now, maybe never again. I recently stopped at a winery, but because of social distancing, I sat alone at a table, bored. No opportunity or ability for human interaction.

Yeah, I get to dress. Yeah, I have a great wardrobe. We are certainly blessed not to (yet) have missed a paycheck. But I feel like I am living on an island, an island that is actual drifting away from humanity. I don’t expect to be able to hug either of our daughters for quite some time and if and when that happens, we will certainly think twice about doing so. One is a health care worker and her boyfriend an ER resident, the other lives in a Chicago high rise, an epicenter for the virus.

Because our congregation is skewed older, Kandi’s church is still live streaming. Yippee, TV religion. My wife and I went to Mass the afternoon I wrote this, no singing allowed (thankfully I don’t sing, but I like to listen), half of every pew shut down and a sea of masks. Inspiring. Yeah, right….. Now technology, COVID-19, the media, protests and politics, all pushing us apart. Really, really sad.

Plus being on the bottom of the social totem pole doesn’t help me either. For example, I reached out via e-mail to two people, both senior level executives, both I have interacted with in the past, both representing organizations promoting diversity, as well as another person with a “diversity” organization. I reached out to offer any help, just to do something. No response. Nothing. Nada. Not even a message saying there is nothing really I could do to help right now. And these are “diversity” organizations.

Even within my “community”, I remain marginalized. And they did receive my messages, but being a nonperson (sorry Linda, that is my experience, maybe not yours, but generally has been mine), they never extended me the courtesy of at least a response. And this has happened to me way more times than I can count. The discourtesy blows my mind! It must be me is all I can believe.

I have tried to steer clear of all of this shit, but every once in a while, I need to look you all in the eye and speak true. My smile remains, always, but there is an emptiness in my soul. I miss life and don’t expect to see it anytime soon.

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Okay, an uplifting little story. The other day I was beginning my work day and pulled up my favorite radio station out of Chicago. ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” comes on. It’s a beautiful day and I was planning an outing the next day, so my mood was a good one. This song is all about feeling good, optimistic. Plus I love ELO. While the song played as I had cranked it up, a tanker truck pulls next to me. I look over and see the truck was from Blue Sky Transportation. Music again screwing with me!

If you could not find the “Supper Club” page early yesterday, the issue has been corrected. My apologies!

What Else?

What else can you do in your life where you are smiling, joyful, happy, the entire time? 100% of it? Without even thinking about it?

I have so many things in my life that bring me happiness. I love my family, would give my life for them. I have no idea why, but I was given a gift, my wife, that I simply do not deserve and am unbelievably grateful for. I have multiple life long friends. My passion for music is eternal. It permeates my life. It fills my days, provides a link with our children, gives my wife and I a reason to get out for an evening (or at least it used to). I am reminded frequently how great it is that my acceptance of all of this has transformed my body and allowed me to become a part of a community of great people that compete often, pushing themselves and then supporting each other in the unique community of runners. I am proud to have become a part of that community.

But “this”, whatever you want to call “this”, whatever it is for you, is remarkable. It is internally satisfying. As we all know, it fulfills the need. Beyond that, it draws the attention of so many, in such a positive fashion (for me). My gender is obviously identifiable to anyone with eyes. And that brings the love, smiles, hugs, kind comments, things that simply would not exist otherwise.

I still and will always have my WTF moments, but the pure joy of it all always brings me back to the simple conclusion I am thankful for who and what I am and that I can see the reality of it all and get out there and spread the love (or at least used to)! Be you. Be happy. Be smart, appropriate, confident and visible.

I wrote this quite some time ago, it is a rerun. It still applies, but given the current circumstances, the joy isn’t as frequent. It is harder to find and when I do, I do so differently than I used to. We’ll talk tomorrow about the struggles of today.

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Check out the new “Supper Club” page and we’ll see what happens! This is my attempt to re-find some joy.

“I Love Your Hat!”

Okay, back to the story…….

Clouds were beginning to roll in, so I figured I’d head home and grab some dinner along the way. It did start raining as I drove home, so I probably made a good decision. I was hungry for some Chinese, so I hit Panda Express on the way.

There was a pretty long line at the drive thru, so I went inside. A mask was required, so I obliged and headed inside for my food. I walked out, removed my mask and placed my food and my purse in my car. I wasn’t paying much attention to anything around me when a car pulls up behind me and I hear “I love your hat!”. A woman, alone in her car, wearing a mask, said this to me. I turned around, grinning from ear to ear and told her she made my day. She then told me “You look like a model!”.

She certainly did not have to say this to me. It wasn’t like it was easy for her to do so. She was in her car, she had to pull over and roll down her window. Yet this angel, in a mask, made the effort to say a few things and take a moment out of her day and make me feel, if even for a moment, like to most beautiful woman in the world!

And THAT is exactly why I go out, why I proudly hold my head up high and spend all the time on my presentation. Because I did look, on this day, maybe only in that moment, like a model!

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So the end result of my struggles are two things, both seemingly counterproductive. I run, a lot! And I drink, a lot. I am not eating that well, not necessarily eating things that are unhealthy, just not eating until dinner (when, believe me, I eat plenty). Most mornings I wake up feeling like crap (not sleeping well either), which has factored into my low early appetite. I know this has been difficult for everyone, everywhere and I have no reason to complain. But I do like sharing and I do like getting things off of my chest, like this. It helps. We’ll talk more about feelings the balance of the week.

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We will be introducing a new idea tomorrow. Please stay tuned!

“You Look Like A Model!”

And that is how my day ended, but we’ll get back to that in a bit.

June 26, 2020 – I am always dying for opportunities to simply walk around and be seen (I believe I have said that recently). Places I used to do that, museums, malls, etc. are either closed, restricted or as is the case with malls, somewhere I have to avoid. The Hartville Flea Market (different than the flea discussed yesterday), about an hour from our home, in Amish country, was having a “Night Flea”. Perfect! Now let’s make a day of it!

My first stop was Blossom Music Center, a fantastic outdoor music venue where I was planning on seeing Dave Matthews Band (dressed for sure), The Black Keys (possibly dressed), Garbage, Hall & Oates and as few other acts. But of course, well you know. I went there because I knew I would be alone and I knew I would have some beautiful background opportunities. There I did quite a photoshoot!

Afterward I went to a winery across the street and enjoyed a glass of wine. I had to sit alone at a table, which was nice but boring, so I enjoyed my one glass and hit the road. I need a bar and a bartender when I am out.

So let’s briefly talk about the outfit. A simple, adorable maxi dress. I felt very much the summer girl. The necklace was the perfect complement to the dress. A favorite pair of light, dangly earrings, burgundy polish and my bucket purse and I spent quite a few hours completely comfortable, very much at ease. I figured the hat was a nice sunny day accessory. Fortunately the sun did cooperate during the photo shoot.

Hartville has a very large indoor “flea” (actually permanent stores) and the outdoor flea. I started by walking the indoor market. I was looking not to spend any money, so I just browsed. A few things caught my eye, but I resisted! A Korean vendor was selling some lovely hats (obviously I was in a hat mood) and some adorable little necklaces. It was hard to pull myself away, but I did so.

Then I checked out the outdoor vendors. These are mostly folks that throw up a table and peddle, well, junk. The one thing I was looking for was some bracelets to stack. I love the look of a bunch of different colored beaded bracelets to stack. Paydirt! I bought 12 cute bracelets, silver, pink, purple and red. Love them!!

You know what? Let’s pick this up tomorrow!

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I am really struggling for anything to do. As we all know, even the things available to do are very limited, removing the best parts of those experiences. I’ll open up a bit here, I do nothing very poorly. Very poorly. I have to keep busy. Without boring you all to tears and opening up TOO much, I know why this is, but cannot do much about it. Pre-COVID, I could do many of my Kandi activities and even do what normal people do, watch TV, read, etc. But I now have a very hard time even watching TV because it’s COVID 24/7, just a parade of bad news or nothing at all to watch. And of course, Kandi activities and most other human activities are gone. We’ll pick this up tomorrow as well.

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Personal notes (respecting privacy): I have a friend battling health issues and another friend struggling with a relationship. Love you both! Life, ups and downs and these are downs, certainly for my friends. So what am I whining about? Perspective, Kandi.

Flea Market!

This week in Kandi’s Land is a microcosm of life. Highs and lows, ups and downs.

June 14, 2020 – A large local flea market recently opened and I took advantage of it! What I am seeking now are opportunities to walk around and be seen. I have stopped all shopping (it’s been two weeks as of this date, so far, so good). As you can tell from the Big Dig updates, I don’t need anything. I want to enjoy the wardrobe that I have assembled and can’t do that if I keep adding to it, no matter how inexpensively I do so. So things like this flea are just up my alley.

Our weather has been weird this year (along with everything else, I guess). A mind winter. No real spring, raining well above the norm. Scorching hot days and unbelievably pleasant ones. This particular weekend was fabulous, no humidity, hovering around 70.

The Angel Known as My Wife was working this Sunday. A 6:30 AM start had me and my friend putting in 20 miles. It was cool and quiet to start the day and I really enjoyed it. I also had a commitment to make dinner for my parents later, so I had a full plate. I did a lot of girl prep the day before to be able to get out for the afternoon. I deliberated which wig to go with, but decided to give the short one some run. It is nothing like I thought it would be based on the picture from the web site, but it’s growing on me in terms of ease. I kinda like it. I have a brief side story regarding the wig below.

This outfit was thrown together in about five minutes, I knew I wanted a short, white skirt, grabbed the cute polo and everything else just fell into place rather quickly.

The flea was supposed to be open until 3:00. I got there at 12:20 and probably only 20% of the vendors were still there, many packing up. Those that remained were selling crap. I was there and gone in 10 minutes. Now what?

So headed to a near by small college campus, which I had completely to myself. I took a bunch of pictures. Please remember, I am doing 100% selfies. On very sunny days, I struggle with taking good photos.

These are not my best pictures, but I can tell you, the dangling earrings, the adorable skirt, I felt right!

I then headed to a two-floor Kohl’s just to kill time, stretch my outing a bit and be a woman shopper. I poked around looking at bras and then started going through various clearance racks. I saw a winter coat (they are clearing out items frozen on the shelves due to the pandemic) at 85% off. Yes, I know I said I stopped all shopping, but coats are a different animal. I saved $115 on it and can always use a good winter coat. I have struggled purchasing coats given my tight budget. I, obviously, won’t do anything with it for a few months.

Then I got home flipped back to myself, put everything away and made dinner. Once done, I split it in half and delivered the meal to my parents. Mom and Dad are prisoners to the virus, Dad day to day in terms of health, with a weak appetite and on a specific diet. Dinner was outstanding!

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I purchased my two new recent wigs from Paula Young. I generally avoid online purchases, but this was during the height of the lockdown, I was bored. I bought the wigs using my real name. It’s the name on my credit cards and I never want Kandi to receive anything physically at our home. Not an issue with my wife, but you never know when something gets delivered to the wrong address etc.

The idiots at Paula Young (I don’t use that term lightly) knew a man bought a woman’s wig. They clearly have many men as customers. But they know nothing about discretion! They freakin’ put me on their mailing list and I got a catalog in the mail. Idiots! It caused zero issue for me but to me, it was careless and inconsiderate. And now you see why I avoid online purchases. I sent a seething e-mail to these inconsiderate morons and got a form apology. I always prefer shopping locally, if for no other reason than to support a local business. Paula Young, you blew this one and lost a customer. Ladies, be careful out there!