What would have happened if…

…I had been wearing sandals?

I recently had occasion to visit a diagnostic center in a nearby town about a recurring medical issue. My doctor wanted some current tests run. So on the appointed day, wifey and I drove there. I was wearing my gray capris, purple polo tunic (untucked), and at her insistance, my black ballet flats, with smooth arms and legs, purse, long hair, visible pink fingernails, but no makeup or jewelry.

As I entered, the guard, and the “traffic direction clerk” at the entrance both interpreted me as female. By the time I got to the lab, several other folks (staff and visitors) had done likewise. And at the lab, the receptionist said “Have a seat right over there, Miss ____________, and we will be with you shortly.” Other patients came in, and none gave me so much as a second glance.

When the nurse came out to move me into the lab, once again it was “Miss _____________”, again using my now-female given name. She escorted me to the dressing room and instructed me to remove all my clothes including bra, “but leave your panties and shoes on.” Which I promptly did, and she soon came back to the lab. “Follow me, Miss.” Bear in mind that my records all bear that little ‘M’ which most of us still have with them. They obviously didn’t notice, or else were being “politically correct” in addressing me as female.

They took as much time as required to work me through the tests, thus formalities such as Miss or Ma’am were omitted. That is, until they were able to escort me back to the dressing room, where they said I could get dressed again. As I finished, the nurse came back to escort me through the maze to go back to the exit. “Have a good day, Miss ________________.” “Thanks, Ma’am, you too.”

On the way home, we stopped at a pharmacy as I needed to pick up some white nail polish for touching up my toes if needed. And for that, I went in by myself. It was the same pharmacy where the clerk ridiculed my feminine self, insulted me, and got fired for it last year. The clerk today was right on the money with “Welcome, Ma’am.” And she maintained that positive attitude for my whole visit. I guess she didn’t want to meet that same fate!

I love it when a plan comes together!



Fallingwater is a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania, 43 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The house was built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run, in Fayette County, PA, in the Laurel Highlands of Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains, part of the Appalachians. It was designed as a weekend home for the family of Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr.., owner of Kaufmann’s Department Store. The family retreated to Fallingwater on weekends to escape the heat and smoke of industrial Pittsburgh. Liliane enjoyed swimming in the nude and collecting modern art, especially the works of Diego Rivera, a frequent guest at the country house.

After its completion, Time Magazine called Fallingwater Wright’s “most beautiful job” and it is listed among Smithsonian‘s “Life List of 28 Places to See Before You Die.” The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Fallingwater was the family’s weekend home from 1937 until 1963, when Edgar Kaufmann Jr. donated the property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

This organically-designed private residence was intended to be a nature retreat for its owners. The house is well-known for its connection to the site. It is built on top of an active waterfall that flows beneath the house.  Bear Run and the sound of its water permeate the interior, especially during the spring when the snow is melting, and locally quarried stone walls and cantilevered terraces resembling the nearby rock formations are meant to be in harmony. The design incorporates broad expanses of windows and balconies which reach out into their surroundings. In conformance with Wright’s views, the main entry door is away from the falls.

On the hillside above the main house stands a four-bay carport, servants’ quarters, and a guest house. These attached outbuildings were built two years later using the same quality of materials and attention to detail as the main house. The guest quarters feature a spring-fed swimming pool, which overflows and drains to the river below.

We’ve been there at least twice.  Tours are worthwhile, due to the scenic nature of the area.  If you ever have a chance, check it out!


Today was fun…

Today I was at the store, during a drive I was giving the antique car to get it some exercise. (Found a couple of issues which need fixed, but that’s a story for another day.)

I was wearing white shorts with 3″ inseam, a black boatneck tunic with feminine (just-below-the-elbow-length) sleeves, my black sandals with white toe nails visible, smooth legs and pink fingernails, and a mask (the virus is still around.) My purse was still in the car and I was not wearing any rings or other jewelry..

A guy stopped me at the car, asked my first name and gave me his, then started to ask questions, and we had quite a discussion going. Fun. But I noticed after he heard my name, he addressed me as “Ma’am” – that is, until he began to address me as “Miss (insert my now-exclusively-female given name here.) It was very flattering…but in the end, I think there was at least some amount of truth to my initial thought that he was “chatting me up.” I had to be back home soon, thus I was able to excuse myself to run into the store to do my shopping, with no issue. (And the car was not damaged…)

I credit my finger and toe nails, with the addition of my feminine real name, for the outcome. But whatever the reason, it was fun!

White Nail Polish and Beer

Wearing my sandals with black toe nails has been very uneventful.

I believe it has enhanced my being seen as female by passers-by, clerks, and so on. But it was time for a pedicure. Based on wifey’s earlier comments, she would prefer no nail polish, but was ready for the black polish to go away in favor of white.

So off to the salon for my appointment. Though interactions were basically non-existent (the rush to the salon is pretty much over), it was fun to see my new color appear! The end result is shown here:

I’ve worn them out and about a bit today, and there were no issues whatsoever, from the wife or otherwise. I’m liking what I see, but the truth will be told when wife and I go out. If she insists on closed toe shoes, then we’ll know!

Regarding the toilet paper conundrum from a couple of months ago, our local stores are now beginning to have stock on the shelves. What a change from earlier this year! Didn’t look for yeast, which was also in short supply back then. Apparently that shortage was not as a result of a bread shortage, causing many folks to bake their own bread.

Allegedly they were making homemade BEER!

More later,


When was the last time you saw one of these?

Back in July of 2002, we were out and about in the antique car, driving east on the Lincoln Highway (US 30) in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Much to our surprise, on our right appeared a beautiful antique gas station, just waiting for us to pull in and “fill ‘er up!

This is Roadside Americana at its finest. As with many things in our 21st century big-box economy, some things just blend together. Typically a gas station stop looks the same, regardless of where you are.

On that note, seeing this Art Deco gem of a service station, Dunkle’s Gulf on the Lincoln Highway was a real treat. This station dates back to 1933 and is a world famous landmark. One of the few gas stations that remains from that era and one of a few, if not the only, gas station that remains in the art-deco style. Simply stunning.

I understand that it’s still there. So, one day soon, we may get back there!

Travel on…


California 2007! Vol. 3.5 More Monterey and Cannery Row…

Adding a few more pictures of Cannery Row in Monterey, CA from our 2007 trip! I took a quick run down Cannery Row via Google Maps a few hours ago, and didn’t see much that I recognized. Probably names have been changed, redecorations have happened, etc.

So unfortunately, these pictures are all I have. The day was beautiful, and so was the scenery!

I think it’s either a hotel or a high end condo…
Looks like a fun place to stay (or better yet, live.)
Definitely high-end.

I don’t eat many sardines – how about you?

Palm trees give it such a tropical look!

This restaurant is the only thing I could find that I could recognize. It’s now a high end restaurant, with prices as high up as the boat is off the ground. Bet it’s tasty – and for the prices in the on-line menu, it better be!

Now, on with the rest of the tour..,.


California 2007! Vol 3

After picking up our rental car, it was time to begin mobile touring! Order of the day: head south on Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Moving right along, to the Pigeon Point lighthouse.

This lighthouse was built in 1871, to guide ships on the Pacific coast of California. It’s the tallest lighthouse (tied with Point Arena Light) on the West Coast of the USA. And, it’s still an active Coast Guard aid to navigation. Pigeon Point Light Station is located on the coastal highway (State Route 1), 5 miles south of Pescadero, CA, between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. The 115-foot, white masonry tower, resembles the typical New England structure.

Then to Monterey, CA,, site of Cannery Row, and the Cannery Row Information Center.

The following info was retrieved from various online sources, as my knowledge of the western rails is unfortunately sadly lacking.

The Monterey Branch was built in 1879 and opened to traffic on January 1, 1880; it linked San Francisco to the Hotel Del Monte and Pebble Beach. It branched from the Southern Pacific Coast Line main line from a wye at Castroville, just north of Salinas. It extended generally south and west, and served the (now closed) US Army’s Fort Ord, the canneries and packing houses of Monterey and Seaside, and a lumber yard in Pacific Grove.

As the line began to fall into disuse, starting in the 1980s as the sardine industry contracted, and into the 1990s, operations along the track were cut back over time. By the latter part of 1980s, the condition of the track had deteriorated considerably; today the track remains, but is buried underneath the bike trail.

The last train that ran on the line was in 1999 when TAMC (Transportation Agency of Monterey County) ran a Talgo trainset on the line for demonstration purposes. However, the demonstrations were cut short due to the poor condition of the track. While the tracks are still in place into the town of Monterey, the line was officially severed in November of 1999, when Union Pacific removed the switch at the junction with the Coast Line at Castroville.

This green 50-ton Railway Post Office car, built in 1924 and eventually retired, served as a post office until 1990, then a restaurant, and finally the Welcome Center for Monterey. And it was in decent shape when we visited. But in 2012, it left the Cannery Road siding and was transported by flatbed truck from Monterey to Salinas, where it will be fully restored as a permanent exhibit at a museum next to the Amtrak station.

Remember “back in the day”, that boring old book you had to read in school, by John Steinbeck – called Cannery Row?

Cannery Row is the waterfront street in the New Monterey section of Monterey, California. It’s the site of a number of now-defunct sardine canning factories. The street name, formerly a nickname for Ocean View Avenue, became official in January 1958 to honor John Steinbeck and his 1945 novel Cannery Row.

Courtesy of Goodreads, there is a short review of the book, for those who may have forgotten about it: Cannery Row is an attempt to capture the feeling and people of a place, the cannery district of Monterey, California, which is populated by a mix of those down on their luck and those who choose for other reasons not to live “up the hill” in the more respectable area of town. The flow of the main plot is frequently interrupted by short vignettes that introduce us to various denizens of the Row, most of whom are not directly connected with the central story.

The “story” of Cannery Row follows the adventures of Mack and the boys, a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who inhabit a converted fish-meal shack on the edge of a vacant lot down on the Row.

Enough…it’s time to move on. But, still in the general area of Monterey, is this beautiful area called Cypress Point Lookout, and this view shows the “Lone Cypress.”

The Lone Cypress is a Monterey cypress tree in Pebble Beach, CA. Standing on a granite hillside just off the 17 mile drive, it’s a Western icon, and has been called one of the most photographed trees in North America. It’s located between Cypress Point Club and the Pebble Beach Golf Links, which are two of world’s best-known golf courses. Possibly as old as 250 years, this cypress has been scarred by fire and has been held in place with cables for 65 years. Monterey cypress grows naturally only in Pebble Beach and Point Lobos.

A drawing of the tree was registered as Pebble Beach Company’s trademark in 1919. The company said the trademark protected not only the logo but also the tree itself.

Onward to Carmel-By-The-Sea on the Pacific Coast Highway. A fun stop was the Doud Craft Studio, with a lot of nice gifts to see – and buy! Fortunately we didn’t have a lot of space in our suitcases, so not much new was purchased.

And then there’s quaint fire station #15, also in Carmel-By-The-Sea:

This beautiful fire station dates back to the mid 1930s and sits in the heart of downtown Carmel. Three members staff Engine 15, while Carmel Fire Ambulance has an additional two employees on the same shift schedule. The two ambulance employees per shift, while not officially part of our department, are trained in the Monterey Fire Academy and respond along with Engine 15 to all calls, as well as mutual aid to the greater Carmel area.olores.

From Carmel, it was time to move further south along the PCH. Not far from Carmel is this historic mission:

Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo was the second mission founded of the Alta California Missions. It became a critical building for the success of the missions and, ultimately, the headquarters for the expansion of the ministry under Father Serra. The mission was founded in 1770 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1966

But wait, there’s more! Volume 4 to follow soon!


To the salon at last…

There were no further interruptions on the way to the beauty salon. Even the traffic was running in my favor! (That’s very rare!)

When I arrived, my hairdresser was running a bit late, thus I had to wait. The staff knows my true gender; nobody has an issue with my feminine appearance. And, I was soon was sitting in the chair.

From prior discussions with my tech, I know she has issues similar to mine, with both big toe nails being badly cracked, and she wears them patched with acrylic, just as I do, to avoid having them removed and “possibly not grow back.” But her nails looked a fabulous blue today, and she was wearing some skimpy, very cute – and obviously feminine – sandals. I complimented her about both of them. She returned the favor about my black nails. And somewhat surprisingly, she told me where she got her sandals “in case you want to get yourself a pair. Too bad we’re not the same shoe size – I’d have you try them on! They’d look so pretty on you.” Wow…

Then she asked if I’ve considered white polish yet. (I haven’t.) She suggested talking with my nail tech to see if they have a white polish which will fully disguise the damaged areas because ”White will go very well with any sandals, as well as with any outfit, light or dark…it’s a great neutral. You’ll love it, maybe even for your fingers. You still have your weddings and funerals pants suit, right?” “Yes, it’s women’s, dark gray elastic waist pocketless pants and a matching jacket with faux pockets.” “OK then, a white blouse, perhaps with lace or satin at the neck, a pair of dark flat sandals, with white finger and toe nails for contrast, and you would look gorgeous.” I told her that I would ask her, and it’s possible that the next time she sees me, I might be sporting white toe nails. “But don’t count on fingers – at least not for now…”

When I got home, I specifically asked wifey if she likes the black color on my toes. She said that it was much better than the original turquoise. For local wear, it’s not a problem, but “I’m not a fan of black for our travels.” Since wifey knows the reason why I must keep them polished, I mentioned my hairdresser’s suggestion about white, and asked if she would prefer that to the black. She didn’t have to think about it for long, and then much to my total shock and absolute amazement, said she really would prefer to see them all painted white. “Since we’re in sandal season now, and you’re going to be wearing sandals all summer, white is perfectly summery. You’ll look cool and comfortable in everything you wear.”

Hallelujah! Not wanting to push my luck, I didn’t pursue white gel for my fingers…not yet, anyway. Thus, white is the direction I’ll go with my next pedicure! And hopefully the finished product will meet with her approval…for wherever I or we go. LOL!


Slight detour enroute to the hair salon.

It was the day of my hair appointment. I got into town early, and was wearing my white shorts, women’s black tunic, and the old pair of white sandals, with black toe and pink finger nails plainly visible, my long hair and purse. I stopped into the pharmacy to pick up some necessities.

As I was checking out, there was a commotion at the store’s front door… two male customers with phone-cameras, and two clerks, one with a long handle window squeegee. Apparently a 4-foot-long snake was tangled up in the folding automatic door, after attempting to enter the store. I stopped on my way out and asked the two clerks trying to keep it out, if I could help. “Oh my gosh, thank you Ma’am. We got it out of the door, but now it’s just hanging around right there, waiting for the right time to sneak back in. And it won’t go away. What do you suggest?”

After my experience with my “greeters” at home, I said to the one with the tool “please get me some ammonia.” “Yes, Ma’am.” And off she went, coming back in a minute with a fresh bottle. The other clerk and the two men just stood and watched while the following proceeded: I told the ladies that from experience at home, snakes hate the smell of ammonia and will move out. So I had her splash the ammonia around the front door area (but not on the snake itself.) She was a bit timid about it, thus I took over, and liberally applied it at the entire door sill, so the snake wouldn’t be tempted to go in. (Anyone would find it easy to see why snakes don’t like that smell – it’s awful!)

As soon as I finished pouring, our loitering reptilian friend got a snout full of the ammonia stench, and as I had predicted, didn’t particularly care for it. (S)he quickly decided to move on to somewhere else that didn’t stink, and started slithering across the sidewalk, zipping under a nearby trash can. So I applied more ammonia to the bottom of two sides of the can, leaving plenty of space for the snake to escape, and suggested that someone move the can. (I tried, but it was fastened down because of wind) to encourage the snake to vacate. And at that point I checked the time. It was nearly appointment time. I told them I had to leave and said “so long.”

They asked me “One more question, Ma’am: how on earth did you find out about ammonia?” I told them a trapper had given me that hint when we were trying to evict black snakes under a porch at home. “Thank you so much, Ma’am, couldn’t have done it without you.” “You’re quite welcome ladies, have a nice day.”

And I headed for my appointment.