Friday, August 26, 2011

A Grand Day Out

Today I had a nice time out by myself.  After the upheavals of the last few months, I've needed some alone time, and a shopping trip was the perfect excursion.

My shift at work ended at 1300, and I had previously asked my sister if she would take me to a bookstore.  There's a Borders just down the road from the hotel.  In case you haven't heard, Borders are going out of business, and everything in their stores must go.  Books and other merchandise are 50-70% off, and I decided to take advantage.  I wandered around there for about an hour, and ended up with six paperbacks (various titles from the Warhammer 40K series The Horus Heresy, two trade paperbacks (William Gibson and Charles de Lint), a three-pack of pink and black fuzzy socks and a woven black and white checked tote bag (which I bought so I wouldn't have to lug around plastic shopping bags.  My total there came to $62 and change, for merchandise which would've originally retailed for over $100.  I didn't think I was doing too bad, but I wasn't finished.

I knew my sister wasn't going to be coming back for another hour or so, so I texted her to let her know I was going to walk down the road to Governor's Square Mall.  I've only been to that mall once before, so I spent a few minutes perusing the directory posted just inside the entrance.  I walked around the upper level until I found a salon called Brow Art.  I used to get my brows waxed when I got my manicures or pedicures, but I haven't had regular salon service since just after I left my last position.

At Brow Art, they remove hair by threading.  That was somewhat like being waxed, but different.  For one thing, it hurt a little more.  The effect was nice, but I think they left my brows a little heavier than I prefer.  I can always go back and ask them to thin me out some more.

After the salon, I walked around and window-shopped a bit.  I saw lots of pretty clothes, but I was trying to save my money for other things.  I did try on a couple of pairs of heels at Payless, including a pair of those shoes that are so popular lately, with the 5.5-inch heels and a platform under the toe.  My GM runs around all day in those, and I often wonder how she does it.  I don't really want a pair of those right now (Yes I do!), but I wanted to reassure myself that I could walk in shoes like that if I wanted to.

My next port of call was GameStop.  I discovered last week that my Xbox 360 isn't dead (it only overheated), so I bought a previously-owned copy of Halo: Reach, a game which my brother hooked me on while I've been hanging out in Havana.  Using the gift card I won at the company Christmas party last year, I only had to spend $12.  Very cool.

Cruising through the center court of the mall brought me to the MAC Cosmetics kiosk.  I could have blown the rest of my paycheck there, but I held myself to just a couple of items.  When I still had a femme profile pic on Facebook, one of my new friends commented that I needed better beard cover.  I fielded several recommendations, and one I got the most often was a newer MAC product called Studio Tech Foundation.  My beard had come in a bit since I shaved this morning, but Whitney (my artist) found a patch where it was still smooth, and worked the foundation in, combined with Prep+Prime/Skin, a primer.  I've found that eye shadow stays on better if I apply primer first, so it stands to reason that the same might apply with foundation.   Under the combination of products, my beard shadow disappeared.   I've found another favorite product, I think.  It's more expensive than the drug store brands, but not as pricey as the Lancome stuff I bought a couple of years ago.  I can't wait to try it out.

I window-shopped a bit more, but my sister texted to say she was on her way, and she met me outside the entrance a few minutes later.  It was a good trip, "A Grand Day Out" (if I may steal from Wallace and Gromit).  I felt the most like myself that I have in a very long time.  I went out dressed in men's clothing, but I went wherever I wanted, enjoyed my experiences, and spent a nice couple of hours wandering around in the air conditioning.  I've got to do this more often.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Facebook: Actually Good for Something After All

I have gone on, at length in this blog about my love/hate relationship with Facebook.  Some of the changes they've made in the last year are mind-boggling (at least to me).  Don't get me started on they way they integrated chat with messaging.

In all the hubbub of the past week, I forgot an event I should make note of.  Last Monday I was scheduled to work the audit shift.  Due to the proverbial series of unfortunate events, all of my sister's vehicles were deadlined.  The last public bus running that way left around the time I discovered the cars were all out.  I didn't have the money for a taxi, and one of my managers said she could come to get me, but I'd have had to spring for gas.  As a last-ditch maneuver, I posted my situation on Facebook, and asked if anyone in my Tallahassee circle of friends could convey me to work.

The first comments to my Status update were people from parts elsewhere, wishing me luck, or telling me that if only they still lived in Tally, they'd be happy to take me.  After an hour of that, I began to despair of finding a ride.  Then I got a comment from one of my local friends, someone I befriended through the Tallahassee A's, but had yet to actually meet.  She asked me where I lived, where I had to go, and when I had to be there.  Over the next hour, we sorted all of that out, and she drove over a little after 10pm to pick me up.

I was pretty sure that I had posted at some point that I was skosh cash, but it ended up being somewhat of a surprise.  I have promised to buy her drinks at the next Skeptics' outing, or any other time she chooses, so we're sort of squared away.

So I got to meet someone who's pretty cool, and got a ride to work in the bargain.  I'd like to think that that might be the future of social networking: not merely for connecting people, but for helping them get the things they need.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting Back Into It All

I've gone almost a month without updating this blog.  I didn't mean to, but I have been busy.  I started that hotel job I wrote about, and that has consumed a lot of my time.  I spent most of the first two weeks training, learning about the new company and updating my computer training, but now I'm back to work full-time.  I like this company, and they seem to like me.  They certainly don't seem to mind asking me to work.  I've been asked to come in early, stay late, and fill in on otherwise off days, so long as I don't go into overtime.  They even asked me to come in and cover a couple of audit shifts, though they're not asking me to work those on a regular basis, because I don't want to work then.  No one I've worked for the last few years has been that accommodating of my wishes.  I'd definitely like to stay on here.

With work came my first paycheck in six months.  It didn't last very long, but it got me a few necessities, and also financed my first night out in a long time.  The Tallahassee A's crossover sometimes with a local skeptics group, and they have a monthly outing called Skeptics in the Pub, which is currently held at a local watering hole called The Fermentation Lounge.  Actually, calling the Ferm a hole of any kind is demeaning.  I've never had a bar that I thought of as mine, but the Fermentation Lounge is in the running to become mine in Tallahassee.  Keeping in mind that I recently began taking antidepressants, I resolved to keep my drinking to a mininum, and I was successful.  This isn't a bar where one can order Budweiser or similar more common beers.  They run more to local brews and home creations, and their selection varies almost from night to night.  They carry beer, wine and other beverages like cider and meads.  I started out drinking a brew I forgot the name of, but that tasted strongly of tangerines.  Afterwards I switched to cider, and I finished my night drinking non-alcoholic ginger beer.

Saturday night was supposed to be my first outing en femme, but I ran out of time getting ready, so I went out in my usual male guise.  It was a good time, though.  I got to see several people from the A's that I haven't seen for a couple of months, and I met some new people as well.  We had a good time talking about all sorts of things, and I went home happy.  I definitely need to do stuff like that more often.  I need to come out en femme the next time, if only to visually offset the overwhelming male majority on outings like these.