A day around town…earlier this fall!

And a good one it was…though I was only out and about for a half-hour or so.

I needed some little things for a couple items on the “honey-do” list, and I noticed a merchant had obligingly provided a very nice coupon for $5.00 off any purchase as a birthday present. So, off I went, in black pleated-neck tunic, white capris and my barely-there sandals, with white toenails leading the way, and my long hair, purse and now-long fingernails – I need a fill, but chose to hold off for a while. (And for some odd reason, my nails just keep growing!)

The greeter addressed me properly, which was appreciated. And several customers passed me in the aisles as I shopped…with appropriate greetings for my feminine self. Once I was in the check-out line (socially-distanced, of course), folks cutting through the line to get to the aisle on the other side also addressed me as female, which was wonderful.

Best part happened at checkout. The clerk (20something male) entered the card number, noticed my given name (now exclusively for girls) and asked “you’re Miss (given name), right?” “Yes, sir.” “We here at (store name here) wish you a wonderful birthday, and many more. ” “Thanks so much, sir.” “You’re welcome, Miss _____________. Please come back soon!” “I will!”

A very short – but affirming – shopping run!

Somehow, I can’t help but believe my “barely-there” sandals and beacon-white toe nails (pic below):

have become an important part of my feminine image this summer and fall. It’s quite unlikely that men would be wearing this style of sandals OR have painted toe nails.

In addition, I’ve found that “buying my own color and letting the nail tech paint my nails with it, then give the bottle back to me afterwards” is helpful. Not only can I later touch up any chips that may happen, without the patch being obvious, but I can stretch my pedi out for an extra 2 weeks, touching up my nails till my comfortable closed shoes get less comfortable! Then it’s time for a pedi.

Stumbled on to a picture of some pretty nails the other day. While I most likely won’t ever be able to enjoy nails like these during my lifetime (except perhaps to have them applied for the duration of one of my two-week solo excursions), it would be fun to wear them this long, and as brightly colored, for an entire summer:

Footwear? Easy one….open toe sandals, similar to the above, so nails don’t scrape the ground and get scuffed. A pedicure like this would make the rest of my presentation much less of an issue. Men don’t have long pink finger nails, and hot pink toe nails like the above, which require wearing sandals all the time! “It’s a girl!”

But this won’t happen any time soon…


Missing some things? (Like wheels & tires!)

You sometimes see the strangest things at the big-box store with a name beginning with “W.” Famously, some are inside the store. And others? Well, this happens to be one of the strangest.

Somebody’s car seems to be missing a few parts – like tires and wheels, front bumper, license plates, and other bits and pieces. Kind of tough to drive it! If I were making bets, they would center around it being a stolen car, stripped in the parking lot overnight and abandoned. But look at that front disc rotor. It wasn’t even round. Whatta mess!

I hope the owner had insurance…


And it happened – again…

On November 7 I posted about a very affirming visit to the bank with my wife, where we both were addressed as women.

Well, recently I had some questions which I preferred to discuss with the representative in person, thus I stopped in once again. And after the greeter held the door from me, saying “Good morning, Ma’am” I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was addressed as Ms. (insert given name here) by the lady staffer, who recognized me from our previous visit.

We reviewed the issues carefully, in normal fashion. And as I handed her some papers, she complimented my “by now VERY long and in need of a salon” nails. Which led to a discussion of long nails (hers are shorter than mine and unpainted), her favorite colors for nails…which is red. I couldn’t disagree, but I added that at some point next summer, I hope to end up with a full set of 20 hot pink nails with art on thumbs and big toes – and she wants me to stop by to show her! I mentioned in passing that I was wearing white on my toes. She wanted to see, so I slipped off one of my flats. “Oh, yes! Those would be perfect with a cute pair of sandals!” “I know. Sadly, it’s just too cold…”

Then she shifted the subject to stirrup pants, like the ones I was wearing. She said that they look very professional with my flats, but she wants some to wear with her boots, as well as flats. The stirrups would keep her pantlegs from riding up – and that’s very true. But she hasn’t been able to find them in any local stores, So she asked where I buy mine…and I told her that it’s been a while, but the last time I bought them, it was from Blair on line. I suspect she’s going to add them to her wardrobe…

Funny thing how girl talk has been flourishing lately! And as I left the bank, their greeter held the door for me, and said “Have a wonderful day, Ma’am.” Nice way to end the visit!


No, it’s not an antique car show…

…it just looks that way!

In reality, it’s the parking lot at Indiana Dunes State Park, back in 1941! My dad visited there often (with his camera) as a young guy when he had business in the area. Of course that was well before he married, and I wasn’t even “a twinkle in his eye” yet.

A few words about the park (which I someday hope to visit)): It’s located in Porter County, Indiana, United States, 47 miles east of Chicago. Bounded by Lake Michigan to the northwest, it’s surrounded on all four sides by Indiana Dunes National Park, a unit of the National Park Service; the national park owns the water from the ordinary high water mark to 300 feet (91 m) offshore. The 1,530-acre Dunes Nature Preserve makes up the bulk of eastern part of the park, and includes most of the park’s hiking trails and dune landscape. This was one of the first places Richard Lieber considered when establishing the Indiana State Park system. Like all Indiana state parks, there is a fee for entrance. Indiana Dunes State Park was established in 1925 and designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974.

The beaches were formed by winds coming off Lake Michigan, which drop sand when the wind hits plants, dunes, and hills. As the lake level of Lake Michigan dropped at the end of the Ice Age, the shoreline receded, and new dunes were formed along the lakeshore. Vegetation took over the previous dunes, and eventually forests grew on top of them. There are “blowouts” along the dunes, where dead stumps were revealed after the wind blew away the sand from on top of them; the most notable such blowout is Big Blowout.

Time will tell…how long the park survives!


Another bridge…this one in the US!

As seen from the last car on an Amtrak train, a number of years ago, I bring to you the Hell Gate Bridge in New York City.

The Hell Gate Bridge (1916) is another of New York City’s many feats of engineering. Officially constructed by the New York Connecting Railroad this company was fully controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad and thus the PRR entirely funded the project. And a rather attractive one it is…

Officially constructed by the New York Connecting Railroad this company was fully controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad and thus the PRR entirely funded the project. While the bridge’s iconic steel-arch span, which crosses the East River, is its endearing feature the entire structure is much larger and stretches over three miles in length from end-to-end. During the PRR-era the bridge was an important link for several different railroad not just its owner. Today, the bridge remains an important artery as part of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and continues to carry freight traffic for CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Providence & Worcester. 

The bridge has direct ties to the PRR’s massive Pennsylvania Station project under construction in downtown Manhattan at the time, ongoing since 1902.  It was part of an extension from Long Island (and the PRR-controlled Long Island Rail Road) whereby tracks would head north, pass over the East River via the Hell Gate Bridge and offer a connection with the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad for through service into New England (this segment would not open until the 1916 completion of Hell Gate). 

With the virus still going strong, another trip to the site is unlikely in the near future…


“Houston, we have a problem…”

Every time I see a picture of people on a bridge as the steam-powered train approaches, I chuckle.  And it happens almost every time there is/was a steam excursion.  Did railfans not think ahead, to that moment when the view from their “great vantage point” would disappear into a thick, choking cloud of black coal smoke and cinders?

Obviously, they don’t, and when steam excursions were commonplace back in the 70’s and 80’s, at each overpass, terrified spectators could be seen running from their “exclusive overlooks” to escape the fumes and smoke, thus missing the climax of their experience!  On this 9.28.75 excursion, powered by “then operating, but currently disabled for repairs” ex-Grand Trunk Western #4070, was operating in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, PA.   I was “spectating” from the relative safety of ground level.  Accordingly, I got a wonderful view of everybody making their rapid retreat because of the sudden realization they would soon be blinded by the exhaust.

Too bad I didn’t have a movie camera to record that “light-bulb moment” when everyone realized what was going to happen, and took off running!

For you railfans, Midwest Railway Preservation Society (owner of the locomotive) is an all-volunteer group of enthusiasts dedicated to preserving our railroad past, and an Ohio not-for-profit corporation – holder of a 501(c)(3) designation. Goals are to collect, preserve, restore, display and operate railway equipment for the education and enjoyment of the public. MRPS is centered in Cleveland, located at 2800 West Third Street in the flats. A historic roundhouse and railroad yard at this location has been ideal MRPS is known through past years of service, operating the 4070 in the Cuyahoga Valley.  

The 4070 is a class “S-3-a” 2-8-2 type USRA Light Mikado locomotive originally built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO) in December 1918, for the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, as its #3734, subsequently renumbered to 4070.  

In 1975 it was selected to be used on the then-newly-created Cuyahoga Valley Line – the former B&O branch now known as the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Additionally, in 1983, the locomotive was painted as CB&Q 4070, and run to South Dayton, NY, for filming in the movie The Natural, starring Robert Redford, and released in 1984. After the movie, it continued to pull passenger trains on the Cuyahoga Valley Line until encountering mechanical difficulties in 1990.   Upon inspection, 4070 was found to be in need of repairs. Seeing that the cost of the repairs would be prohibitive, it was once again retired from service.   Hopefully one day in the future, 4070 will once again be gracing the rails.

She sure does put on quite a show!



Sometimes goals remain just that…

This picture was taken by the desk clerk at my hotel in November of 2013 while I was attending one of my antique shows:

I love the skirt/blouse combination!

It’s one of my favorite outfits. Unfortunately the virus issue has massively curtailed Mandy’s chances to get out and about. Everything I had planned to do has been cancelled. So wearing it again in the real world simply remains a goal to be achieved later!

But I’m looking forward to it!


Who’s I. K. Brunel?

On our way back to London during our ’85 visit, we again used our BritRail passes to ride another InterCity 125 train, which took us over another fascinating (a bit ungainly but beautiful in its own way) architectural marvel, the Royal Albert bridge, completed in 1859 – and still in use (because of some updating) today!

This railway bridge spans the River Tamar in England between Plymouth, Devon and Saltash, Cornwall.  Its unique design consists of two 455-foot lenticular iron trusses 100 feet (30.5 m) above the water, with conventional plate-girder approach spans. This gives it a total length of 2,187.5 feet. It carries the Cornish Main Line  railway in and out of Cornwall, and is adjacent to the Tamar automobile bridge  (visible behind it in the below pic) which opened in 1962.

The Royal Albert Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Surveying started in 1848 and construction commenced in 1854. The first main span was positioned in 1857 and the completed bridge was opened by Prince Albert  on 2 May 1859. Brunel died later that year and his name was then placed above the portals at either end of the bridge as a memorial. Work was carried out during the twentieth century to replace the approach spans and strengthen the main spans. It has attracted sightseers since its construction and has appeared in many paintings, photographs, and guidebooks,

For anyone with even a passing interest in architecture, it’s definitely a must-see if you’re traveling to the UK!


Follow up to “Another Interesting Experience.”

In my final-for-now physical therapy appointment “a week-after-the-first-one” which you read about previously, there were no issues or problems. 

My regular tech was still away on vacation, and the same female tech as last time was still “filling in.”   She – and the other tech – surprisingly addressed me by my given name (which is now predominantly given to females).  That has always been, and continues to be, fine with me – especially in an office this close to home.  To disinterested passersby, anyone hearing my given name routinely thinks “it’s a girl.” With my feminine appearance to match the name, it doesn’t require much further analysis on their part.

My outfit that day was very similar to what I wore for my previous appointment:  different color stirrup pants, a crew neck tunic top, and ballet flats.  Very feminine, very comfortable.  She complimented my pants, initiating a discussion of her preference for their appearance vs  leggings (which she doesn’t like because they look – and generally are – so skin tight that every little bulge shows.) Her comment was “for those of us carrying a few extra pounds, form-fitting leggings just aren’t very flattering”.   Surprisingly, she said that “your stirrup pants are perfect for you.” And she confided that my wearing them has convinced her to search for some for her herself.  Wow, that outcome was surprising…and totally “out of the blue.”

But wait, there’s more!  

After renewed discussion of my long hair (with no reference to my birth gender), she told me she really liked my flats.  “Where did you get them, and how comfortable are they?”  So I told her I’ve had them a while and love them – more than any other shoes in my closet.  She asked about where I bought them,  and we discussed that for a bit.  Not local, that’s for sure.  “On-line is best” was my response.

She really liked the cut of the vamp, showing some toe cleavage.  “Up to now I’ve had to wear sneakers all day to be comfortable, but they’re not at all stylish. A pair of sexy ballet flats like those would be fun to wear, not to mention more than a little bit flirty.”  My comment: “Flirty’s not a bad thing for us as we get older, is it?”  “Not at all, sweetie.” And we both laughed. 

We’re clearly different shoe sizes, so she didn’t bring up any discussion of “trying them on.”  Though it would have been interesting – and fun – to get her comments on my white toe nails. She would have had to take my shoes off me – revealing I was not wearing socks!  Maybe one day I’ll wear my sandals…that would cause a bit of a stir!

Don’t get the idea that we talked only about clothes and shoes. Peripherally, we also hit other “topics du jour” – nails, holiday cooking, Christmas plans, and so on. Just like two gabby women!

When I left after my appointment, everyone again used my given (female) name, without any issue, or any reference to gender.  It was a very stress-free experience…too bad she’s not likely to be around if I need a future appointment!  That half-hour-plus of pure girl talk was a lot of fun. 

Lately I’ve spent hours rooting through boxes of paperwork, which Mom (and Dad) had accumulated over 50 years of marriage.  I couldn’t deal with the task any sooner, but finally had to get it under way, “moist eyes” and all. As a result of my page-by-page examination, much of the older stuff is superfluous, and “feeds the shredder.” 

What a shock I got as I opened one file, the contents of which were from about 25 years ago.  Buried deep therein was a clean, unfolded, apparently brand-new, and still-crisp-from-the-bank $50 Federal Reserve Note.  A thoughtful little “reward” for my effort in taking the time to check everything. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

That’s all for now…