Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I hope you enjoy this fun holiday.  What are you doing today?

Tonight, I'm going into New York City with friends to attend the annual Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village.  It's a raucous affair with wild costumes.

I came up with a costume idea just yesterday.  I was so sad on Wednesday when the K.C. Royals lost the World Series.  That defeat weighed on me and suddenly -- pop! -- a costume idea occurred to me.  I can be a Zombie Royals Fan!  A Royals fan who's dead but still walking.  There's some truth in that.

The best part is I already had a Royals t-shirt and cap from my visit to their stadium five years ago, so the costume didn't cost a dime.  Only some effort which was fun.

What do you think?  Are you scared?  :-)

Birthday Celebration

My birthday is next Monday (Nov. 3rd).  I'm turning... *gasp* ... old.

To celebrate, I'm inviting three of my best friends -- who all happen to be bloggers -- to dinner at a fancy restaurant.  One of my friends (Meghan) lives in Philly, so she's coming early, spending the day with me and sleeping overnight.  The other friends live in Brooklyn (Michi) and Queens (Megan) which, for those of you unfamiliar with New York, are outer boroughs that are technically part of New York City but outside of Manhattan.  They are about an hour's drive from me.

Last year I had a big birthday party attended by acquaintances and found it oddly unsatisfying.  None of those people know about my transgender nature and I felt isolated.  I felt like I couldn't confide in them and that erected a Berlin Wall between us.  This year, I want to spend time with close friends who understand and accept me for who I am.  That's important.

Do you know MeghanMichi or Megan?  If not, check out their super-cool blogs.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Going Out With A Bang

I can't remember the last time I met anyone as charming as the Two Birds, Megan & Nora.  They are so nice I want to become their fourth sister.  (They already have three.)

We ate dinner together tonight and the conversation never stopped.  They said such interesting things.  Megan & Nora have smart perspectives and express them in entertaining ways.  They're the kind of people you really want as friends.  (My fingers are crossed!)

They informed me that beneath its polite exterior, "Minnesota nice" behavior sometimes masks passive aggression.  Wikipedia said the same thing but I didn't believe it until Megan & Nora explained it to me.

I promised Nora I wouldn't mention how bad she is with chopsticks.  So I won't say it.  If you learn that, you didn't hear it from me.  :-)

Oh, and did I mention they gave me a scarf?  A very pretty one.  You'll see it soon.

I'm trying to lure these exotic birds to New York with offers of motorcycle rides, theater tickets and fancy birdseed.  I hope the invitation works.  The rest of you are equally invited to visit The Capitol Of The World and hang out with me.  One never has too many friends.


I'm going to gush about my friend Ashley so, if hearing about that is not your thing, move along.  Thank you.

I attended Ashley's Halloween Party last night and had a blast.  Ashley dressed up as Veronica Lake and she nailed it.  The resemblance was uncanny, from the slinky lace gown to the peek-a-boo hairstyle.

The party room was festively filled with Halloween decorations, including spooky pictures and hanging objects.  Ashley made lots of delicious food and desserts.  We played games and shoot pool.  I got to meet Ashley's boyfriend and other guests.  Everyone was jovial and in good cheer.

Before the party, there was buzz on the Internet that BeyoncĂ© might show up.  I'm not at liberty to disclose exactly what happened but some of the male guests were told to put a ring on it...

After the party, I was privileged to spend a few hours with Ashley.  Our conversations touched on interesting and often serious subjects.  We learned more about each other and confirmed that what we already believe is absolutely true.

In George Orwell's allegorical novel "Animal Farm," the official line is that everyone is equal but the startling truth is that some animals "are more equal than others."  In my life, Ashley is more equal than others.  Since the bud of our friendship, I sensed something special about her.  Sure, she's super-intelligent and hysterically funny but I'm talking about something deeper.  Ashley has a rare profundity that resonates with me.  She's mysterious in the most alluring way.  Her appeal is as ineffable as it is intense.  Ashley projects wistfulness that borders on dolor so deep you want to hug her and make her happy.  Clearly, Ashley stands apart from the crowd.  Without trying or even being conscious of it, Ashley emits a strong magnetic pull.

That... and she's fun.  Ashley makes me laugh; she makes me smile; she makes me think.  I enjoy hearing her thoughts on every subject we discuss.

As thoughtful as she is intriguing, Ashley gave each guest a bag of goodies to take home.  Along with tasty cookies packaged in Fall wrapping, mine had a vampiric rubber-ducky and cute skeleton.

Travelling from New York to Minnesota is certainly a big deal but, without hesitation, it was worth it.  Close friends deserve your best efforts.

What are you doing for Halloween?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Minnesota Nice

It is natural to become accustomed to whatever your environment offers.  For example, when people around you are harried and unfriendly, you expect people to be harried and unfriendly.  That is the case in New York.  As much as I love my hometown, people in general are anxious, rushed and usually indifferent to strangers.  When pressed, they'll even snarl at you.

That attitude is expressed in a local joke. How do you ask for the time in New York?  You go up to someone and say, "Excuse me, Sir  Could you please tell me the time or should I just go fuck myself?"

So it is a culture shock for me to visit Minnesota.  The people here are so different.  They smile as if they know you.  They're friendly for no good reason.  The first few times it happened yesterday, I was unnerved and reflexively grabbed my wallet.  I wondered, "What's the scam?"  In New York, if someone focuses on you with friendliness, they're probably planning to steal your money.

But here they were just being nice!  How odd.  How pleasant.

I mentioned this to Beth and she used a phrase I haven't heard before - "Minnesota nice."  I looked it up and discovered the phrase even has its own meaning on Wikipedia.  That section explains: "Minnesota nice is the stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota to be courteous, reserved, and mild-mannered. The cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation. It can also refer to traffic behavior, such as slowing down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person."
Toto, we're not in New York any more...  Each of these behaviors is the opposite of what you expect from people in the Big Apple.
I had a wonderful time visiting Beth.  I met her charming husband Nate and adorable little Ollie.  They're a lovely family.  I visited their home which reminds me strongly of the house I grew up in (e.g., it has a finished basement, used for socializing).  Nate's hobby is brewing beer and he's as passionate about that as I am for motorcycling. 
Nate taught himself the craft of brewing beer and has become very skilled at it.  He brews a variety of different flavors.  He even had a blog about his hobby which, though now dormant, has good information on it.  Nate and Beth are deservedly proud of a full-sized bar Nate built from scratch in their basement; it has seven  taps for beer to flow out of kegs hidden beneath.  The bar is beautifully decorated with real tile and even has polished labels above each tap describing the specific flavor of the beer.  I tried both Raspberrry Porter and Ginger Snap-flavored beers; both were delicious.
Last week, Nate and Beth had an Oktoberfest party in their basement with 30 of their friends.  Beth said they have one every year but skipped last year due to her pregnancy.

Here are pictures of their basement-bar pulled from Nate's blog:

 You quickly get a sense of people when meeting them in person.  Beth showed me her neighborhood, including where her extended family grew up and lives.  She told me about her choir-singing, her job and co-workers, and her friends.  Open and friendly, Beth showed genial hospitality to an out-of-towner and displayed an easy-going nature.  We capped the visit with a terrific meal at a nice restaurant, during which I was introduced to a tasty local beer from Surly Brewing Co.  (I was disappointed to learn that you can't buy Surly beer outside of the region.)
Meeting Beth, Nate and Ollie was a great way to begin my trip to this foreign land.  Now I just need to find a Currency Exchange booth to convert my New York bucks into local Minnesota money.  I hear their bills are designed to be snow-resistant.  :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Down Under In Oz!

The magical pink boxing gloves continue their journey around the world. Today, they are in Australia. Yes, the Southern Hemisphere! How cool is that?!

My friend Luan has an attractive blog (Green Tea And Cupcakes) and she wanted a crack at wearing the gloves. She did a terrific job. Her outfit, background and even makeup beautifully complement the gloves. And the big smile on her face is proof of the joy this project can spread.

Go visit Luan's blog and say hello!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Bevy Of Bloggers

I'm going away Friday!  To visit four wonderful blogger-friends whom I've never meet in person before.  I'm so excited I could scream!


As you know, I've had over a dozen blogger meet-ups but almost all have been here in New York.  They happened because people from out-of-town came to the Big Apple for other reasons and included me in their plans.  Friday, I'm acting on my own initiative -- I'm flying to Minnesota for no reason other than to visit my blogger-friends. 

I'm looking forward to meeting Beth, Ashley and the Two Birds, Megan & Nora.  All have charming online personalities which I'm sure are mirrored in real life.

BethMegan and Nora live in Minneapolis; Ashley lives a three hour car-ride north in Duluth.  Arriving at the airport, I'll pick up a rental car to have mobility during my four-day stay.

While visiting Beth, I'll get to meet her husband Nate and son Oliver.  I know every mother says their child is the cutest in the world, but Ollie is indeed the most handsome little fella you ever saw.  If you don't believe me, feast on his adorable little face here.

Ashley is throwing a Halloween party which promises to be a blast.  She's having games, food and friends.  The best way to spend a Saturday night, in my opinion.  Hopefully I'll join her for brunch on Sunday, too.

Megan & Nora invited me to sushi with them which sounds like fun.  They are sisters and seem to get along better than most siblings.  They share a single blog which is quite remarkable.

Do you know these charming women?  If not, you should visit their blogs.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Earrings -- Good or Evil?

One of the blogs I read regularly is Une Femme d'un Certain Age.  The blogger is my age and she often displays interesting ideas and clothes.  In her last post, she raised the subject of earrings.  Commenting on it, I reflected on two experiences I had years ago.  I thought you might enjoy hearing the stories so I'm going to share them with you.

Earrings have existed for centuries, with changing cultural significance.   The blogger told a story from her youth.  Despite the blogger's pleas, her mother forbid her from wearing earrings because "only loose women" do that.  Of course, her mother was associating earrings with sexual promiscuity. 

I can top that story.  I had a grandmother who issued a similar ban to my mother.  She told my mother that “the only people who wear earrings are cannibals and Italians.”  (Sorry, Italians!)

Earrings have even more cultural meaning when it comes to men. When I was a teenager back in the 1970's, very few straight men wore earrings.  If they did, it mattered greatly which ear they pierced.  One ear was perceived to be gay [the right one]; the other not [the left one].  I was hip and bohemian back then so I asked my artist-girlfriend to pierce my (non-gay) ear.  She did it painfully with an ice-cube and needle.  I had long hair so the earring wasn’t immediately obvious.  I was living at home with my parents.  One day at dinner, my mother looked at me, did a double-take, and then moaned loudly, “Oh, my God! What did you do this to me?!!”

Do you wear earrings?  Are you a loose woman or cannibal?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

World Series

Okay!  Now we know who's playing the World Series -- Kansas City Royals (who haven't been there in 29 years [1985]) and San Francisco Giants (who won two years ago).

I'm rooting for the Royals because they play with heart.  Who do you want to win?  (Go ahead and pick a team even if you don't care for sports -- life is more fun when you root for somebody.)

Five years ago, I travelled to Kansas City in search of world-class BBQ.  I tried nine restaurants in one week.  On the spur of the moment, I decided to take in a ballgame.  I saw the Royals play in beautifully-renovated Kauffman Stadium.  I got great seats, picked up right at the stadium, for a fraction of what seats cost in New York ($32).

Playing that day was the hottest new pitcher in baseball, Zack Greinke.  After demonstrating his talent, Greinke moved on to a bigger market; he now plays for the L.A. Dodgers.

While in K.C., I picked up a baseball with the team's emblem on it.  I have one from every baseball stadium I've visited.  They are nice mementos of trips.

In case you're curious, the best BBQ in K.C. is Arthur Bryant's BBQ (  Also excellent are B.B.'s Lawnside BBQ ( and Jack Stack BBQ (

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Our Legal System

You can't make this stuff up.

A young woman named Megan works for the City of St. Paul, Minnesota. She was driving a city van recently when she accidentally hit a parked car. The car happened to be her own.

 She is now going to sue the city, arguing that a negligent city-worker (herself) caused damage to her personal vehicle. "Because I was working for the city and driving the city vehicle, I feel they are responsible for paying for the damage done to my car," says Megan.

The story was widely reported and can be seen here.

What do you think of Megan's claim?  In New York, we say she has chutzpah.

Friday, October 17, 2014

In My Underwear

You're probably not aware how limited men's underwear is.  There are shirts (v-neck or round-collar) and shorts (briefs or boxers).  That's it.  Nothing else.

Women have a delightful array of undergarments.  There are slips, camisoles, girdles, lingerie, bras and panties of every variety.  Visiting a new thrift-store last month, I found a wonderful petticoat for $6.  I'm not sure what I'll wear over it but I want to show it to you.  So, risking modesty, here it is...

I find the garment attractive by itself.  It creates a nice silhouette and feels sensual on my legs.

Have you ever worn anything like this?


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Trip Back In Time

When I was in Woodstock, I thought it appropriate to browse for old vinyl records and vintage clothes.  I found a pretty dress that I'm guessing is about fifty years old.  It has that era's style and the material feels very old.

I'm showing the dress to you here with two questions.  First, do you have a more accurate estimate of the period this dress is from?  And second, do you like it better with or without a petticoat?  (I tried it both ways.)




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vote For Ally!

Hello, my name is Ally Kat.  I am running for Mayor of Blogtown.  I'd like your vote.
If elected, I promise to install free parking for visitors at blogs in our town.  I will create new online spaces for fascinating women.  Best of all, I will personally drive new readers to your blog in my fancy car (Fiat Abarth).
What qualifications, you may ask, do I have for this esteemed position?  Honestly, none -- but that hasn't stopped politicians from getting elected year-after-year.  At least with me, you'll have some pretty outfits to look at while I'm in office.
Remember, your vote counts.  Elect me so we don't have to suffer under the tyranny of my competitor, the evil giant Gracey...

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Weekend

I had a lovely weekend.  In addition to attending a wedding, I visited Woodstock where the famous 1969 rock concert took place.  Back then, I was 12 years old.  I asked my mother if I could go and received the expected reply.  My parents were traditional (my dad was a cop, for crying out loud) so they weren't supportive of the growing youth movement.  No hippies and free love for me!

When I travel now, I do an array of fun things -- which is broader and more joyous than how I used to travel.  For example, I always look for new thrift-stores; I always look for good food; and I seek out interesting oddities.  Woodstock was fertile with all three.

I found a delightful vintage dress in a small shop.  Solid black with elegant white trim and a long skirt.  I'm eager to show it to you.  While on the surface it's not my normal style (I rarely wear long skirts), it has notable panache and you know I'm a fan of boldness.  The dress is perhaps fifty years old and has an attractive vintagey look to it.

You can't go to Woodstock and not buy music so I stopped in a record-store and picked up some vinyl.  I found an obscure Carole King album that was never released on CD.  It's in perfect shape and sounds heavenly.  Only $3 dollars.  And, being completely honest, for a dollar I picked up a record of The Chipmunks singing Christmas carols.  That will come in handy soon.  I'm a sucker for eccentricity.  Lately I've been listening to a song from the Seventies sung by chickens.  Yes, chickens.

Did you enjoy your weekend?  What'd you do?

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Biker Buddy

Later today, I'm riding my motorcycle up north to attend a wedding in the Catskills.  The wedding (and related parties) will be at a rustic resort rented for the whole weekend.

The bride is the daughter of my good friend Rich.  Richard and I have a long, close friendship.  When I started motorcycling, we hung out all the time and he mentored me in valuable ways.  Unfortunately Rich and his wife Roberta moved to Las Vegas a few years ago which diminishes our opportunities to socialize, so I leapt at this chance to be with them again for a weekend of partying.

Anticipating that prospect reminds me of some anecdotes.  If you're curious about how middle-aged folk can strive for joy, read on.  If not, just move along...  Please don't block the aisle.

After seven years in higher education (college and law school), I became a lawyer in my early-twenties.  I then worked two decades straight trying to advance my career.  It was grueling, unrewarding work.  My first boss was a tyrant who exploited me.  My second job was with a law partner who coasted on my coattails.  My twenties and thirties were consumed with stressful work that left little time in my life for happiness.

When I hit forty, I reassessed.  I looked around and realized I wanted more out of life.  I wanted to have fun; I wanted to get outdoors; I wanted adventure and excitement.

I have no recollection on how I discovered motorcycling; probably one day a motorcycle rode by and I wondered if that could be a ticket to new passion.  In fact, it was.  I dipped my toe in the motorcycle pond and felt the water was warm.  The more I got into riding, the more I liked it.  Motorcycling became more than just an activity, it opened up multiple doors -- including introducing me to people whom I'd never have met in my normal life as a lawyer.

Rich is one of those people. 

Rich has a colorful past which includes not only a wide variety of employments but also stuff that society frowns upon; stuff I won't tell you publicly.  You can tell just by looking at Rich that he's a rough character.  When I met Rich sixteen years ago, I was 40 and he was a decade older.  We met through a motorcycle club during my first year of riding.  At the time, Rich was co-owner of a neighborhood bar which served as the informal headquarters for the club.  It was fun to hang out there shooting pool, listening to music, and bullshitting about motorcycles and life.  On holidays, the bar would hire a cheesy Elvis-impersonator to come and sing.  It was a blast.

Rich and I are good pool-players.  Not tournament-level, but kick-your-ass-in-any-bar level.  We enjoy the competition we provide each other.  (Today, at his home in Vegas, Rich has a top-notch billiard table in his living room.  How many wives would allow that?!)

At the time (1998), I was a sponge for motorcycling experience.  I rode all the time and wanted to learn everything there was to know.  How fast can you go?  How far can you ride in a day?  What kinds of bikes are there?  What kinds of people ride different machines?

With his long history in the sport, Rich was able to clue me in.  He provided immense knowledge to me at a time I was hungry for it.  Despite looking and sometimes acting like a thug, Rich is highly intelligent.  I'm fairly smart myself and can tell when someone has above-average brainpower.  Rich does.  One of the reasons he found it hard to integrate into conventional society is his near-genius level of intelligence.  It's also why we bonded so quickly and deeply.  We converse on the same plane.

As I got more into riding, Rich encouraged me to take trips.  Long trips.  What we call "touring."  Rich advised me on how to tour and his lessons deviate from what many do.  He taught me that joy is found in serendipitous experiences created by design.  That's not a linguistic error.  Like a brilliant pool-game, you set up conditions for something wonderful to happen and then... it does.  You can't predict exactly how it will happen, but you've fostered the circumstances for it to occur.

The most important lesson Rich taught me about motorcycle-touring is how to approach it.  You ride.  You focus on the ride and what it offers your soul.  Everything else is secondary.  Don't spoil the experience by spending too much effort plotting paths and obsessing over travel-progress.  Rich would pick a direction and take off. 

I took my first motorcycle trip with Rich.  We headed west.  Rich was going to an annual motorcycle convention in Montana.  I had only eight days off work so I figured I'd tag along with him on the way out, turn around after four days and return home by myself.  From New York, I reached North Dakota in four days.  We averaged 500 miles a day and I travelled 4,000 that week.

The most harrowing experience of my riding-career was on that trip.  We crossed the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan on a dark rainy night.  The cross-winds were severe and whipped you from lane to lane without control.  I noticed there was hardly any guardrail on the edge of the road and if I'd been blown against it, I certainly would have plunged to a horrible death.  There would have been some poetry in that; the bridge opened the week I was born (November 1957).

The Mackinac is the longest suspension bridge in the world.  It's five miles long.  Which means my white-knuckled death-grip on the handlebars -- with accompanying fear of dying -- seemed to last forever.  I still have nightmares about that endless anxiety.

The relief I felt after arriving on solid ground again was palpable.  Rich said he was sure I was going to be blown off the bridge because of my light cruiser and inexperience.  (He was riding a much heavier touring-bike.)  When I asked Rich what he was thinking during our voyage over the bridge, he said he was coming up with excuses to tell my family how it wasn't his fault that I died.  He smiled and I laughed.

It will be good to see Rich again.

Do you have any close old friends?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quite A Skirt

I don't shop at Bergdorf Goodman but I subscribe to their advertising; I like to look at their clothes.  Rich women get to wear some wonderful stuff.

I just saw an ostrich-feather skirt that amazes me.  I find it beautiful although your opinion may differ.  I'm attracted to how different it is from ordinary clothing.

What do you think?  Do you like it?

I admit I gasped when I saw the price ($1,595).  But if you can afford to shop at Bergdorf, money is probably not an issue for you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


When I dress in women's clothing, I feel good.  Calm and peaceful.  I enjoy that.

I was feeling the need for such solace this weekend.  So I popped on a new dress and found my peace.  Simply wearing the dress was enjoyable.  A wave of contentment rolled over me and I floated on the wave.

Here's what that looked like...




What brings you peace?  What activity relaxes you?

Monday, October 6, 2014

My Core Mission

I just received a new spy mission.

An international criminal syndicate recently stole secret plans for technology that turns apple juice into gasoline. Uncontrolled use of this new technology could upset the entire apple cart of global commerce.  And strike at the core of the way we live, taking a bite out of our economic superiority.

My job -- sneak into a formal gala tonight at the headquarters of the syndicate, quietly invade a locked room where the technology is being stored, retrieve the flash-drive and get out without being detected or killed. Fortunately, I have a white dinner-jacket and lock-picking tools to assist me.

If you don't see any posts from me after tonight, start buying apples. Lots of them.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Here's Lookin At You, Kid

And here's my Halloween costume.  I'm Rick from "Casablanca," the best film of all time.  If you haven't seen this classic, go watch it.

This Halloween, I'm travelling from New York to Minnesota.  Not sure how to pronounce that, let alone find it on a map.  I'm flying into Minneapolis where I'll meet Beth for dinner.  The next day, I driving three hours north to Duluth where I'm attending Ashley's costume party.  On the way back, I'll eat sushi with the Two Birds, Nora and Megan.  Four bloggers in one weekend!

What are you doing this Halloween?


Saturday, October 4, 2014


Trends come and go.  Often it's hard to keep up.  Most older people stop trying and lose touch with the changing culture of young people.

I haven't.  I enjoy trends, mostly because I like the stimulation of youth culture.  I choose to hang out with both young and old friends so I'm exposed to all kinds of stuff.  I've always been curious and I enjoy learning.

Lately I've been seeing "SMH" on Twitter.  For a while, I had no clue what it means.  I assumed it is an acronym but I couldn't guess for what.  Do you know what SMH means?  (The answer is below.)

A critic just made fun of the title of a new TV show called "Selfie."  He jokingly wrote that thankfully two years ago network executives spared us from a show in development called "Amazeballs."  Ha!

Do you embrace trends?  Or shy away from them? 

SMH is an acronym for "Scratching My Head" and is a response meaning you don't understand why someone would do something.  Like when your girlfriend texts she just bought tickets to the new Justin Bieber concert.