Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up

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Mental health

Well I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
lyrics from “Maggie’s Farm” by Bob Dylan

It’s almost June 2018, but there’s a leftover topic from one of my WordPress friends’ list of “June Jour” writing challenges from June 2017, a topic that I had started response to but never finished until now.  I’ll start with old news from the sporting world from the very end of last June.  Well, it was peripherally from the sports world, but it did involve a figure from Major League Baseball.  Umpire John Tumpane was heading back to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home ball park, ostensibly to prepare for that night’s game, when he saw something strange on the suspension bridge that approaches the stadium.  On the bridge was a 23-year-old woman who told Tumpane, as he would recall later, that she wanted to “get a better look of the city from this side” — that is, from the other side of the railing that separates the pedestrians from the Allegheny River down below.

Naturally, Tumpane, when noticing that the woman appeared to be very emotional and distraught and did not want to climb back over to safety, grabbed her in order to prevent her from jumping, doing so until others came to assist him in securing her better and until authorities came to take control of the situation.  Tumpane has since been lauded for his actions (and deservedly so), from those in local media, to those to assisted him, to at least one mental health expert, to even the Pirates, who recognized Tumpane for his actions before that night’s game.

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Taking notes would have been helpful back then

I want to share a thought or two that occurred to me today, and it peripherally has to do with a couple of tidbits about Alone: A Love Story, a podcast I recommended in my previous postAlone is an audio memoir written and narrated by Michelle Parise, and reading up about the show at this link, Parise mentions her penchant for writing down details about her life as soon as they happen.  She mentions that she’s has hundreds of journals in her possession, all carrying short story- and dialog-style details about her daily life.  It’s the details in those journals that allows Parise to bring out specifics about this and that in Alone.

Earlier today, I listened to an episode of another of my podcast recommendations, The Debaters.  By pure coincidence, one of the subjects put up for debate in that Debaters episode had to do with writing memoirs.  It was a debate (and a pretty funny one, of course) considering the reasons people need to write memoirs (to leave behind insights on life and the stories to back them up) versus refraining from doing so (they can be pointless and uninspiring).

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Being an influence

Last week, I wrote about a podcast I frequently listen to and enjoy.  The show is called Under the Influence, and it explores how the world of marketing and advertising influences the buying decisions and opinions the general public makes.  After I published that post, I couldn’t help but think about a key word in that show’s title:


One of the definitions of “influence” is this:  One who possesses the power to affect or sway one’s actions, behavior, opinions, etc.  Everyone has had at least one influential person in their lives, be they positive or negative.  I know I’ve had several people influence me during my proverbial journey through life.  I won’t bore you with those details here, although I’ll obviously state that my mom and stepfather are two.  (Perhaps I’ll dive into all that into another post.) Continue reading

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Surviving the Ides of May

I imagine many of you are familiar with the term “Ides of March.”  In Ancient Rome oh so many years ago, the Ides was the term used to refer to the midpoint of a month.  Thus the 15th day of March is the Ides on that particular month.  And, yes, as we all know, the Ides of March was the date when Julius Caesar met with the wrong end of a few knives after, the history books tell us, he got a little too big for his britches.

The calendar term Ides doesn’t pertain to what we nowadays call March 15th.  But ever since Caesar bought the farm that fateful Ides, that calendar term seems to have a foreboding connotation.  Well, at least it feels that way for me.  Every time the 15th day of the month rolls around, I start to feel a little uneasy.  This is especially true on the Ides of May — today — which is the day 16 years ago that I was laid off by my previous place of employment.

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One (literally) hot property

9-19-2010 152PM

If you recall this post from a couple of years ago, you will know that the building you see above is the apartment building I currently call home.  Since moving to the Madison area in September 2002, I have called three different apartment buildings my home.  Of the three, this two-bedroom, 735-square-foot (approximately) apartment is my hands-down favorite.  And exactly eleven years ago tonight (May 1, 2007), I got the keys to it.

Has my 11 years in this place been perfect?  Oh, not entirely, and that’s understandable.  I mean, any home/condo/apartment/whatever does have its drawbacks.  And I’ve encountered a couple of unfortunate missteps at this place twice in 2018 alone, one that I was able to manage despite discomfort, while the other made me shake my head and think “Really?”

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Personal thoughts (4/25/2018 edition)

Before it escapes my mind, I want to tell you about last weekend.  My family and I got together for an Easter feast.  Yeah, I know, Easter was last weekend, but my little sister (who’s been hosting our Easter shindigs the past few years) was preoccupied that and the past few weekends, and last weekend was the earliest she could host it.  Luckily, it wasn’t the weekend before that, for that particular weekend was pretty snowy here in Wisconsin.  Matter of fact, Little Sis’ hometown received, according to her, 3 feet of snow from a well-past-winter winter storm that’s actually not unheard of here in Wisconsin but just the same isn’t pleasant to drive in or deal with.

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Allison’s Jukebox: “Smile”

Even with a busy weekend ahead of me, I thought I’d keep my writing juices going by adding another tune I’ve been meaning to add to “Allison’s Jukebox.”  And it’s a relatively recent addition, I must admit.  The inspiration for this entry came from the podcast Crybabies, where guests talk about the things that make them cry.  The guests’ admissions about what activates their waterworks makes Crybabies a pretty candid show (and, yes, tissues are available in the studio during recording).

One episode of Crybabies from September of last year featured the actress Shannon Woodward, whose list of “crying cues” included a scene near the end of the film My Girl 2.  If you’ve seen that film, or at least read the plot synopsis at the link I just posted there, you’re probably familiar with the scene and the song that’s included.  “Smile” had its roots in another movie long before My Girl 2 or even the original My Girl was conceived:  Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 silent classic Modern Times.  That movie’s own final scene features Chaplin, in his tramp persona, sitting on the side of a highway alongside the film’s gamine, Ellen (played by Paulette Goddard).  The two are… well, rather than let me describe it to you, look and listen for yourself.  Listen especially.

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Wrong season, Mother Nature

Let’s start this quick post with a quick question:  What do you feel when springtime rolls around?  If you’re like me, when I see the vernal equinox on the calendar, I start to get a sense of anticipation — at the thought of days getting longer, of flowers blooming, of trees blossoming, of birds singing, of no snow in sight…

Oh, wait.


Image source here

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#TBT: Hitting the “stage” for the first time

I hope you can forgive my bringing up Christmas in the springtime, but there was a news item this week centered around a kid in 1st grade (a subject for another post, I promise) that allowed a memory from my own days as a 1st grader to resurface in my mind.  It was December of that year, and our teacher, Miss H., had our class take part in a Christmas play.  The premise of the play was this:  Our classroom was a toy store store where the dolls and toys all came to life after the shopkeeper leaves for the night.  Yeah, it’s the whole “magic of Christmas” thing.

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A poem: “High Flyer”

I’ve confessed this on here once or twice before, but I am not the greatest of public speakers.  I am also not one who’s capable of thinking on the fly.  Case in point, last Saturday night, when I took part in a “freeform” open mic performance show at Mother Fools coffee house.  Rather than read a typed-out poem as I have done in prior performances, instead I took the “freeform” part to heart and do a part-monologue, part stand-up performance.  Yes, I typed out some notes in my phone, and I rehearsed some of what I wanted to say in my head beforehand.

But when I stepped up to the microphone, however… uh, yeah, it wasn’t pretty.  I stammered and hemmed and hawed quite a bit, forgetting what I had written down and rehearsed.  For some reason, I also didn’t look at the notes on my phone very much.  Needless to say, I didn’t rehearse as much as I should have before last Saturday’s performance, nor did I do a lot of memorizing.  I received a polite, appreciative applause from the audience when I left the stage, but to me that polite applause felt more like a participation medal than a rousing reaction.

That less-than-rousing performance inspired me to write the poem you’re about to read.  You’ll notice it has quite of flying allusions, as well as some self-criticism.  I am my own worst critic at times, and I feel that need to bring myself back down to Earth and avoid being too confident in my less-than-stellar performance abilities.  Well, at least when it comes to performing without a script.  And a script is what I’ll be sticking to in the foreseeable future.  Yes, I do look forward to performing again in the future, perhaps as soon as the end of this month, when another open mic event at Mother Fools is scheduled.  But I’m definitely going to stay grounded with a prepared script… and quite a bit of practice beforehand.

“High Flyer”

So, you want to be a high flyer
Reach heights you’ve never attained
Be in spots where you’ve never been
And do things you’ve rarely done

And you want to do all that right away?
Like, right now?
At this moment?
With the whole world watching?

But… are you sure you know where you’re going?
And how to get there?
I ask because, judging from how everyone’s squirming
You sure don’t know where you’re going

Yeah, you sure didn’t plan out this flight you’re piloting
You’re tilting from one wing to another
And you’re about to crash land
Oh, don’t worry; everyone will survive
But there will be two casualties:
Your confidence
And your pride

Yes, you really want to fly
But you don’t know how to fly
Not yet, anyway
Before you grab that joystick again
(No, not that one)
How about reading the flight manual first?
Log some hours in the flight simulator
Maybe take a training run or two
Draw out that flight plan a little better

I know, all that pre-planning won’t be fun
But if you do all that first
You’ll gain lots of confidence
Your propellers will be ready to turn
Then, you can put aside that training manual
Because you’ll know by heart
What you’ve been wanting… nay, desiring
To tell the world what’s in your heart

And then, the world see how strong you are
Not to mention your big, beautiful heart
And they’ll happily get on board with you
To heights you never imagined

Oh, they didn’t mind flying with you before
But they’ll really love flying with you
If you practice, practice, practice
At being a high flyer