Allison M.

Thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and (oh yeah) dressing up from a full-time male who's a part-time female


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See the U.S.A. in a…

No, this isn’t about an old ad campaign for Chevrolet from when my mom was a kid.  This is a response from another “June Jour” prompt from F.C.  Here, she asks her readers the one destination in their home country they would like to visit.  A couple of years ago, she asked about that one place anywhere in the world where we’d want to travel to, and I posited that it would be the one place I’ve never been to but will dearly love to visit in my lifetime:  Toronto, Canada.

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When I could’ve but didn’t dress up

I want to tell you about what I did — and didn’t — do this past Thursday night.  First off, what I did do was attend a little get-together that raised funds for the LGBT pride parade in Madison this August.  It was a rather simple party, with just under a couple dozen supporters and Board of Directors membership of Madison’s LGBT community center, held in the home and garden of one of the center’s longtime supporters in one of Madison’s more cozier and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods (lots of shade trees, narrow and winding streets, beautifully manicured yards).

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My family’s background

This is a topic I’ve been wracking my brain about since my WordPress peep, The Finicky Cynic, put it out last week in a writing prompt.  She asks about her readers’ families’ background (i.e. native born or emigrants) and whether their families’ pasts shaped us in any way today.  The reason I’ve been wracking my brain about this is I’ve personally never learned much about my family’s background, either on my mother’s, birth father’s, or stepfather’s sides, and I’ve never been one to think about the subject very much.

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At my desk

Time to catch up on another of The Finicky Cynic’s “June Jour Challenge” prompts.  As I hinted during my first response, I’m doing these out of order and when I can think of and write up a response.  And this is a rather simple response to a rather simple prompt, which is this: “Take a photo of an ordinary object on your desk (home and/or office) and explain why it has a purpose for you.”

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In my room

Now that I’ve put my thoughts about an important piece of Wisconsin legislation into the ether of the internet (it can be found here, for the record), it’s time for me to dive in to the annual series of challenges one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic, puts out every year.  She calls it “June Jour Challenge,” and it includes various single topics we can respond to, as well as certain forms of writing styles we must adhere to (or adhere as close as possible).

Since F.C. started the 2017 “June Jour Challenge” a week ago, I have yet to respond to any challenge.  That ends with this post.  And with me playing catch-up, I’ll have to respond to F.C.’s challenges out of order (I hope she doesn’t mind).  I’ll start with a response to this challenge she sent out yesterday:

“Everyone has a ‘safe space’ where they can relax and be themselves.  Where is yours?”

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Thoughts on romance

It’s May 30 as I write this, meaning we’re two days away from June.  And to this blogger, June means a series of writing challenges put forth by one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic.  She calls it “The June Jour Challenge,” which consists of various topics to write about and/or methods in which to write them.

In the previous two Junes, I poured my all into the challenges F.C. put forth.  And I’m looking forward to whatever F.C. is set to serve up this June, depending on how busy her June will be.  But today I realized… oh, gosh!  I missed a couple of prompts she served up last June!

But I will try to rectify that here by picking up where I left off last June, by responding to this prompt F.C. put forth about romantic relationships.  “Is it a social institution that you subscribe to, challenge, or both,” she asks.

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Post-graduation thoughts

A few thoughts that occurred to me on this, the day after my oldest niece graduated from high school:

You can take the adult out of his youth, but you can’t take the youth out of the adult.  Case in point:  My brother-in-law, who, on our drive up to Em’s graduation, annoyed his young daughters by playing the all-80s headbanging hair rockers’ channel on the satellite radio.  Whenever they asked — nay, pleaded — with their dad to change the channel to something — nay, anything — much more contemporary, he’d switch back and forth between classic rock music channels.  I should’ve complained right along with them, instead of biting my tongue for the sake of positive familiar discord.  Or at least told him, “Hey, bro, care to show us how your musical tastes have evolved since your teens?”

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Graduation thoughts

5-16-2017 542-46pmWhile I was waiting for new lenses to be installed on my eyeglasses, I walked around West Towne Mall (yes, I can still make things out without glasses) and browsed through a couple of stores such as Windsor, where I spotted and photographed the display you see to your right.  As you can see, the mannequins are decked out in some awesome looking dresses, and in a respectable neutral color for late spring/early summer (off white).  Look, too, at their feet; those are some pretty gnarly heels they have going there.

As you can also tell, there is also some serious gown action going on.  You know, the kind of gown that goes well with a mortar board on the head.  Yep, it’s the second half of May, which means graduation time.  By now, your nearest high school or college will have had or are about to have their annual graduation ceremonies.  Here in Madison, the University of Wisconsin already had their ceremony a couple of weeks ago.  And this weekend, my oldest niece will walk down the gymnasium aisle, take her diploma, turn her tassel, and enter the post-high school world.

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Why Allison doesn’t like to binge-watch

I need to preface this post by stating that I’ve never been a sci-fi geek.  What I mean is that I’ve never seen or appreciated a television show, film, book, etc. solely based on the fact that it’s in the realm of science fiction or fantasy.  That’s not to say I disdain anything sci-fi.  Far from it, in fact.  If a show or film that’s well produced happens to be sci-fi is okay with me.

I only bring up that clarification on science fiction as what I want to write about in this post has to do indirectly with a sci-fi show that Male Mode Me has taken an interest to in the past year or so.  The name of the show is not germane either, although I’ll link to its web page here.  What is germane, though, is the fact that the cable network airing the show is running its current season event-style, 10 episodes over 3 nights instead of the traditional one episode per week.  In the modern day vernacular, this is what’s known as “binge-watching,” that is sitting down on your posterior and watching several hours of television (especially episodes from the same series) in succession.

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Good, bad, and uneasy about my eyes

I underwent my annual eye examination on Saturday, and the outcome gave me some good, bad, and uneasy feelings.  Let’s summarize:

Good:  The eye doctor said that my eyes were in good health, which is good (Yay!) considering the family history I will mention below.

Bad:  A scan of my eyes revealed a possible question mark regarding the health of my right eye.  It’s something “outside of normal,” according to the doctor, though not too much outside of normal.

Good:  The eye doctor thinks said question mark could be a minor abnormality and that I shouldn’t worry about it just yet.  I guess we’ll check it out again in a year.

Uneasy:  Reading (and re-reading) said scan results has made me anxious about this precious of the 5 senses.  Sure, it may indeed be nothing to worry about, but it’s the pits to know that my eyes are not perfect, and that just as the rest of one’s body ages over time, so do one’s eyes. My grandmother had glaucoma and cataracts in her later years; my mom will need to undergo cataract surgery within the next year, and she’s no spring chicken either.   And on top of that, the eye doctor intimated to me that everyone will have cataracts in their lifetime.  It’s a bummer to think about.

Good:  I’ll be getting new eyeglass lenses in the coming days, the better to help alleviate eye strain caused by being on the computer all the time.

Bad:  I still need glasses, and likely always will.  Well, that’s a given since I’ve worn glasses since I was 8 years old and my eyes see everything as a blur when I don’t have them on.  You probably couldn’t tell that from my various photos that I need glasses, do you?  Well, 9 times out of 10, I temporarily put my glasses to the side when I’m taking a picture as Allison, and shedding them helps assure, in my mind at least, that my male and female sides have a distinct look (“Clark Kent vs. Supergirl” is how I like to term the comparison).

Good:  I get to keep my eyeglass frames, which I’ve had for over a decade, are still in very good shape (one replaceable ear rest notwithstanding), and look flattering on me whether I’m presenting as male or female.  Seriously, I love how they don’t take up very much of my face (i.e. they’re not dark frames that hide my facial features).

Uneasy:  The total cost of the new lenses and the exam that preceded them set me back about $850.  You’re asking why so much and why must I pay out of pocket?  Well, to answer the first question, I have separate eyeglass pairs for working on the computer and for regular “distance” vision, and I switch back and forth between them whenever I step to or away from my computer.  The latter reason is that my eye doctor and the place where I get my glasses (okay, it’s LensCrafters) are not currently on my vision plan.  However, there’s still a chance I can recoup some of that cost when I submit my claim to the insurance provider.  That’s not a guarantee I’ll get 100% of that cost back, but I gotta hope.

Good:  Putting the special anti-glare and anti-strain coating on the lenses won’t take forever.  Well, okay, it’ll take about a week, but that’s not forever.  And it’s not like I’ll be blind as a bat waiting for them (I’ve still got my old lenses on my glasses, and putting the new lenses in when they arrive will take just an hour).

Uneasy:  All this talk about glasses makes me wish I would have considered contact lenses earlier in my lifetime.  I never had since I have the fear of discomfort if I were to wear them, not to mention losing them inside my eyelids or out of my eyes if they were to pop out.  My sister wears contacts, and many years ago when we shared a duplex and I got a coupon for a trial offer of contacts in the mail, I immediately gave the coupon to Sis, lest said “great deal” go to waste.

Good:  I have peace of mind for another year knowing that my eyes are healthy.  Now, if there were a way to waive a magic wand on my eyes and give them 20/20 vision, that would be even better.