Finally – my new sandals arrived.

And…I simply love them!!!

They’re blissfully comfortable – I can wear them for 14 hours with no issues (it’s like walking on clouds.)  Also, that long-ago broken toe with the bad knuckle completely clears all the straps.  But the best part: Wifey is perfectly fine with them.  They’re definitely feminine, but don’t scream “girl.” “Those pretty white nails do that…very effectively!” 

Though the bruised smaller nails have come a long way, my 2 cracked big toe nails are growing out very slowly. I’m apparently going to be needing pedicures for a long time to come.  There’s nothing wrong with that! So, Wifey told me that with my next appointment, the tech needs to change my color a bit. She’s in favor of either purple or black for winter, whichever will cover the problems best. Either will be very appropriate with those sandals.

“And since you’re going to be wearing them as often as weather permits, you need to locate another pair, before they sell out.” So I immediately went on line, found some in stock, and ordered a second pair of sandals…

Stay tuned for more!

Mandy

A quick trip…

Though things have been supremely busy lately (hence the scarcity of posts), enough errands had accumulated for venues on “the other side of the pond” to make a trip across the bay worthwhile.  Since there were no convenient place to change into a dress, and because the weather was agreeable, I wore my 3” inseam thin black shorts with pantyhose and a turtleneck, and simply pulled on a long denim skirt right over the shorts before I had strayed too far from home.

Interesting that my breasts seem to be projecting more noticeably than they used to…and I’m not taking any supplements. You won’t hear any arguments from me! Perhaps Wifey will tell me to get a bra? Hope springs eternal!

First stop was the shoe shop.  “May I help you, Ma’am?”  I presented a pair of my ailing flats, and we discussed the necessary repair/cost.  “They’ll be ready next Monday at 8AM, Ma’am.”  “OK, Sir, see you then!”

Then I was off to a nearby optical dispensary to donate a few pairs of old prescription glasses for possible re-use by the needy…we used to make that donation every few years, but less often with me wearing contact lenses!  No gender-specific greetings there, but no person-to-person interactions, either.

Next was a stop at a name-brand home supply store, which netted some positive feminine reinforcement from a supervisor at the information desk, and the check-out clerk (she really liked my skirt).  Plus, I got a good price on batteries for our smoke detector. Then a quick stop at a UPS store (no gender specific forms of address were used there).   And a quick stop at our favorite oriental food shop for an order of their Lo Mein.  The clerk there has seen me several times, and to him, I’m just another old woman customer.  A quick foray into a nearby grocery for a couple of items, before heading home across the bay bridge.                                                         

So this outfit stood me in good stead till just before I got home, when I removed the skirt,  leaving my everyday shorts for the world to see.   I’ll likely be using this outfit on any short trips, even though I really prefer dresses.  (But changeovers are harder with my dresses.)   Eventually I’ll check to see if the skirt is long enough to cover my capris!  If so, it will be the perfect cooler weather outfit for Mandy!

Hugs!

An interesting situation or two…

During our recent return trip home after visiting the grandkids and family in TN, there were a couple of rather interesting situations, both of which took place at truck stops just off an interstate highway in a rural area.  “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”

I was certainly not attempting to “pass” that day…like in the above archive picture, just a turtleneck tunic over stirrup pants (everyday attire when not in capris or shorts), a small shoulder-strap cell phone case, ballet flats with bare ankles, and my usual accompanying long hair and nails, obligatory mask, with women’s sunglasses.  I noticed a line of about 8 to 10 women waiting their turn for access to the ladies’ room.  And no line at the men’s room, as usual.  I headed straight into the men’s room.  Two guys already in there said nothing when I entered, and in fact didn’t even stop talking.  However, they left hastily, which I thought was unusual, and I headed straight for the single stall, which was vacant.

For as crowded as the truck stop was that day, I could hear lots of quiet – i.e. no more guys entered the restroom.  But I didn’t think much about it at the time.  My objective was to get done and be gone, as we were running behind schedule.  Over 3 minutes later, I had broken my own “land speed record” at quick stops, and grabbed a paper towel after washing my hands, using it to open the door.  

Lo and behold, there were three men in line for the men’s room and another was arriving as I cleared the door on the way out! And as I mentioned, the men’s room behind me was now empty. Later, after a bit of clear thought, I suspect that word had spread amongst the men – and women – that a lady was in the men’s room!  And guys stayed clear for the duration…my departure was the “business as usual” green light! 

“Women in the men’s room” was something commonly seen when I was touring Europe back in the 80’s.  They went in, looked straight ahead, not staring at guys using the urinals, and went into the stalls for their own privacy!  Not such a bad thing, and nobody said a word.  (In the event any authorities had taken exception to my presence that day, they would have been the ones in the wrong…)  So I guess I was a bit of a celebrity…and apparently “passed” well enough to be identified as a woman by guys and girls alike – without really trying! (It comes naturally?)

Later that day, farther up the road but not yet back in Maryland, we pulled into a rest stop for Wifey to use the potty (yes, she had to stand in line!)  As I stood in the grass, passing the time and watching Interstate traffic go by, I noticed a slow moving tractor-trailer in the slow lane being passed by a slightly-faster moving tractor-trailer in the fast lane.  With a two-lane traffic jam behind them… 

Then I heard the roar of a car with a big V-8 and glass-pack mufflers accelerating – close by.  ZOOOMMM.  It roared through the rest stop on the access road right in front of me (which had a 20 mph speed limit) at what appeared to be 60 or 70 mph, bypassing the rolling roadblock and pulling ahead of both trucks with clear road ahead.  This was definitely a first!  Could have caused a major accident…hitting someone, or a car backing out of a parking place, at that speed could have caused multiple fatalities.   Long Live Good Luck! 

Except for those two incidents, it would have been a routine trip…

Mandy

Yet Another Sunrise…

The following is a reminder of our memorable trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons way back in September of 2012.

Taken from a bedroom on Amtrak’s Empire Builder across the northern tier of the US, and with no cell phone at that time, the topography suggests we were nearing our destination…it certainly wasn’t in any populated area. Unfortunately, I wasn’t following our route on GPS 😦 But it certainly was one of those memorable scenes.

We doubt that a return trip is in the cards, particularly with the virus still out there…so photographic memories of the vacation will have to do!

Enjoy,

Mandy

The Hairdresser dilemma…

During a recent visit to our son’s place in Tennessee, I elected to seek out a qualified beauty salon which will use the same hair color product that my existing hairdresser does.  There have been visits when I wish I could have gotten my gray roots touched up while visiting.  And having a trusted hair stylist and will be necessary when we one day move south, to be closer to the grandkids.  Likewise, the same with nail care. 

As usual, finding suitable salons was a task easier said than done.

My first stop was at a clean-looking “hole in the wall” type salon with two chairs, only a few miles from kiddo’s house.  There was only one customer, one hairdresser.  Both seniors.  And they both looked up as I, wearing a mask, denim capris, car club polo, with bare legs, wearing my flats, and carrying a small purse, entered. 

Both of them stared, and the beautician addressed me as a female. She said to go outside and around back to meet the owner, who was relaxing in the warm sun with a friend.   The owner had seen me drive in, and walked around the corner to meet me as I came out front.   To make the long story short, they don’t use the same brand of color, and her color processing time was 30-minutes-plus.  But, she suspected that she could get closer to my short processing time by changing the developer.  I decided to get their card for future reference, but keep looking.

Second stop was at a nearby nail salon. But this was not a shop I’ll be likely to use, even though they were nice enough, accepted me as a woman, and were busy – about 8 pairs of female eyes were checking me out   (Plenty of chances for girl talk!)  Unfortunately the manager seemed to be unfamiliar with the process my nail tech uses.  (Or more likely, simply didn’t want to bother!)  On the bright side, he told me how pretty I’d look with long fingernail extensions and all 20 nails finished in red.  She’s right. But even though I’d love it, and the flattery was wonderful, unfortunately that’s not likely!

Onward – to the third stop, another hair salon – this one much newer, and owned by a 30-something lady.   She didn’t have a customer at that moment, and was interested to learn about the brand of color my current tech uses.   We talked for a few minutes and she requested that I text her the product info once I get home and talk to my beautician.  I found this quite encouraging, along with the fact that she accepted me as female, even though I wasn’t really “trying.”  I will be following thru with this very promising lead.

After leaving there, I stumbled into a multi-chair nail salon a bit further down the road.  Once again, I was welcomed as a female, and encouraged to give them a chance to help.  They said they were familiar with my toe nail issue and know how to deal with it.   As this salon was near a prominent name-brand mega-retailer, I decided to stop in for a few things on the shopping list.  No unusual glances from other customers, and the check-out clerk ended with “Have a nice day, Ma’am.”

A very successful day, in all respects!  But now, we need to try them out!  That’s a subject for another post…after it happens!

Mandy

New Kicks – perhaps?

My most comfortable flats (purchased on-line a while ago) survived a bit longer due to being taken out of service over the summer because I was wearing sandals almost exclusively. After putting them back in service, Wifey finally noticed that they’re showing heavy signs of wear and suggested that I purchase another identical pair.   And I need another pair of sandals with dark straps instead of white, to replace the brown ones I’ve worn for years, which are also wearing out.   So I went on line, and shockingly found that my specific flats have been discontinued!   And worse yet, every vendor’s supply of my size in that style has been depleted.

So, I started looking on-line for a different brand of flat to replace them.  After a lot of research, I came up with two pairs which might work with my foot problems, as well as a pair of cute sandals.   I showed pix of both flats to Wifey – my all-time favorite (appearance-wise) is below:

When I showed her the pictures and pointed to this one as my favorite, her comment was that “both pairs are ballerina flats and have ornamentation on the vamps.  You realize that those admittedly cute little bows on your favorite pair are very feminine.”  My response: “Yes.  But it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been acknowledged as a girl.  If they fit as comfortably as my worn-out flats do, it’s not a problem.  And they appear to have a replaceable heel, which would be a huge advantage.  Plus, both pairs have round toes – not pointed, like so many flats.”  Her response: “Well, let’s see how comfortable they are!”

I hit “send,” and that was the end of the discussion.   So now, we wait… and eventually see which pair works best.

More later…

Mandy

Vera Bradley…again!

Interesting…

Wifey wanted to go to pick something up at a Vera Bradley shop, which is unfortunately out-of-state.  As usual, I was the “designated driver.” I dressed in one of Mom’s black tunics and a pair of white capris, with my white slide sandals and a necklace that she hasn’t cared for in the past, figuring that it would be gigged, and be easy to remove in order to solve any “girly issues.”  WRONG!!

“Change out of those white sandals. They make you look – and sound – like a girl.”  “OK dear, just a minute.  There, I’ve put on my dressy strappy sandals – the ones you’ve always liked before.”  “Yes, that’s much better…” And we got in the car, heading for the state line.

Here’s my appearance at the Vera Bradley store:

Don’t you think that my capris, tunic and purse scream “girl” more loudly than any sandals would?? Perhaps there’s actually a chance that she’s beginning to accept my feminine side a bit more, if simply changing to my strappy sandals solved the issue. I truly would have expected to have to change to shorts and a less feminine top, put on my flats, remove my necklace, etc.  Of course some things can’t be easily changed…my purse and camera pouch, long hair, pretty finger and toe nails,  hairless arms and legs, and so on.  She went into the store ahead of me, and started shopping…after closing and locking up the car, I caught up to her inside a few minutes later. 

There were 2 men and 1 young boy standing around waiting for wives/mother, and about 20 women (including me) shopping.  We walked around selecting some things for D-I-L for the holidays while they were on sale, talking like 2 women would.  And hearing “excuse me, ladies” each time a staffer went by with things to put on the shelves or a customer squeezed by. 

A couple times I heard “Can I help you find something, Ma’am?” It didn’t seem to concern Wifey. Wonder if we could have been in “girlfriends” mode?

Whatever…….but it was fun!

Mandy

A Pretty Sunrise!

You can tell from the appearance of the single-level Amtrak railroad passenger cars that the following is not a recent picture:

This was taken after arrival in Johnstown, Pennsylvania by train back in 1988. It’s at sunrise, and a cold morning awaited that first step off the warm train!

Enjoy!

Mandy

Painting…

I spent about a day and a half recently in the process of rearranging framed pictures in a couple of rooms, and taking many of them down permanently, as well as spackling nail holes, sanding, and refinishing the patched areas in preparation for eventually moving further south to be closer to our granddaughters.  No wonder I’m tired! 

Wall work in a dress!

The project will continue later this week with even more walls!   I’m getting semi-professional at this refinishing stuff…hopefully it will be good enough that any real estate agent won’t eventually tell us to have the whole house repainted… That’s a waste of money, because ours is a neutral color, looks good, and most new owners want to repaint their new homes into their own color choices anyway!

Wifey made sure I wore an old sleeveless dress and short sleeve blouse for this project, with old white sandals, so “ I don’t have to spend time removing paint from your dresses and shoes.”   Working on ladders and step stools in a dress is a new experience – since I wasn’t in public, no “wolf whistles.”  But I will undoubtedly be doing it some more – or so I’ve been told!

One of my “at-home” outfits

As for my everyday outfits:  they’re fine – no paint on them!  A typical cold-weather outfit (you can tell by the long-sleeve blouse and flats!) Perhaps some day I’ll hear: “From now on, just stay in your dress whenever you – or we – leave the house. You look very nice, dear. No more changing.”) 

Ummm – hope springs eternal!!!

Stay safe!

Mandy