Allison M.

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


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Allison’s true tales of Shopko

Does this photo ring a bell, faithful readers?

Vinyl trousers and Gitano jacket

If you read this post from last year, or if you’ve ever perused through my Flickr album, you probably remember seeing the above outfit, and in particular the black jacket I’m sporting.  The black-colored Gitano cotton jacket is probably the oldest item still in my female clothing closet.  I found it way back in 1992 in the youth/young adults section of the Shopko department store down the road from where I lived.

If you’ve also read my previous post, you’ve learned that Shopko is in a bit of a financial bind.  Shopko is a department store chain founded and based in Green Bay that has been in existence since 1962.  Last month, facing a lot of debt and withering competition, Shopko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced a series of store closures, including the last three Shopko stores here in Dane County.

While I admit I haven’t gone to Shopko very much in recent years, the news of their bankruptcy and departure from Madison and other large and small towns in its footprint left me a bit sad.  I found myself in agreement with a retail industry observer interviewed by the Green Bay Press-Gazette about Shopko’s bankruptcy.  “This one doesn’t surprise me,” he said of Shopko’s bankruptcy, “but it’s a company I hate to see go.”  Indeed, while the Walmarts and Targets of the world have run laps around Shopko and other department store chains, it has been a nice place with generally good customer service, and where you can get what you want (cute outfit, comfy boots) or need (toiletries, shoes, dining room set).

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Random personal stuff (2019 polar vortex edition)

One of the nice things about living in Wisconsin is that the scenery is pretty awesome.  Whether it’s the urban skyline of Milwaukee or Madison, the majestic natural formations of places like Kettle Moraine, or the peacefulness of Door County, this state produces scenes that can be all at once tranquil, exciting, awe inspiring, and breathtaking, no matter what the season may be, including here in winter.  But the beauty of winter is served on a double-edged sword:  The sight of a snow-covered field or wooded area brings serenity, but it’s best appreciated when you’re indoors looking through a window.

Madison’s State Street on Monday (photo source: Wisconsin State Journal)

The past couple of weeks here in Madison have brought 3 different snowstorms of varying degrees of effect.  The most recent of those storms occurred this past Sunday evening/Monday morning, when a storm dumped around 6 inches of snow.

That Monday snowstorm was actually the good news of the week, and not just because the original Madison forecast called for more snow than that.  It ushered in what meteorologists call a polar vortex.  Basically, it’s Mother Nature leaving her freezer door open and letting a lot of chilly air escape.  This week, that vortex of cold, cold air dropped right smack dab onto the Upper Midwestern United States.

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Doing what they gotta do

A couple of things that struck my mind this week:  First, a fellow blogger of mine (no, I won’t reveal their identity) took to their blog to make a little bit of an announcement… er, well, a declaration, actually:  They wouldn’t be blogging as much.  This person has been a workhorse when it came to blogging, putting out nearly one post per day for their readers, or so it seemed.  They would post regular features.  They would share stories about their career.  They would comment on life in their corner of the world.  They would share their opinions, not being afraid to do so as frank as they may be.

But they also started that blogging was a burden, a near-daily assignment they had to do for the sake of doing so.  They have changed as a person since they started blogging, not having nearly enough time or drive as they used to.  Still, at least they took the time to announce to the world that, well, the world won’t see as many posts from them as usual.  And when they do see something new, the subject matter won’t always be the same old stuff they had blogged about before.

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Random personal thoughts (11/14/2018 edition)

Just a very quick about something I could have been doing tonight as I write this but won’t — perform poetry before an audience.  While getting all dolled up and reading my words before actual living, breathing people is something I’ve enjoyed doing, it’s also something I haven’t done since the end of June.

And tonight would’ve been a perfect night to do it again, because it’s the 2018 edition of Trans Monologues.  Does that name ring familiar to you, dear reader?  Well it should, for one year ago this month, I performed a poem at the 2017 Trans Monologues, which is the annual night of performances by trans and gender non-conforming talent put on by UW—Madison’s Gender & Sexuality Campus Center.

You’re probably asking why I’m not there in person tonight?  Well, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’ve been trying to master this work assignment I’ve been on since the first full week of August, one that’s been naturally preoccupying my weekdays but also been lingering on my mind when I’m away from the office.  Needless to say, it’s pushed the desire to submit my work for consideration for Trans Monologues to the far back burner, so much so that I missed last week’s deadline for submissions.

On top of that, the outcome of this particular work day would have impinged on my enjoyment of performing had I actually signed up and performed.  How bad was this work day for me?  Well, let’s just say that I’ve fallen behind on a major task I’m responsible for.  But it wasn’t like I’ve fallen so far behind on it that I’m drowning.  Actually, I’ve squeezed in working on this task in between the other tasks I’m committed to.  But it hasn’t pleased the “dragon lady” of a boss I must report to please.  She can be curt and direct, is often demanding, and can come across as displeased if we create an error or come up short of her expectations.

So tomorrow, I will have a lot of catching up to do, in addition to the other regular tasks I must cover in this assignment.  No, it doesn’t leave me in the greatest of situations.  But at least no one in this office can say I’m not making an effort to perform admirably in this assignment.  And at least despite not always getting a positive read or encouraging word from the “dragon lady,” there are at least two other people who can give me words of comfort.  A peer of this “dragon lady,” who I partially report to, reassured me that I’m doing a good job.  Well, I sure hope so.

So while I may be too tired, physically and mentally, to attend Trans Monologues tonight, I know that I will be there in spirit.  This is a night where my trans sisters and brothers can shine, and do so during an era that finds the collective embrace and support we’ve been receiving larger than before, yet the resistance we’re facing is just as big.  Let’s show in our own special ways that we’re just as human as the cis-gender world, whether we’re singing, writing, performing poetry… or, yes, fretting over work.  Let’s knock their socks off!


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Some very happy returns

It’s been a few days since the 2018 general elections here in the United States.  As with every election season, the 2018 conclusion had some good, bad, and very best news:

  • The good news about that is that we no longer have to put up with awful campaign attack ads dirtying up the airwaves (at least until 2020 or *sigh* late 2019).
  • The bad news is that not every candidate with a forward-thinking viewpoint won their election (as the saying goes, you can’t win ’em all *sigh*).
  • But the very best news?  Well, let me get off this bullet point and tell you…

Okay, the very best news is the advancements of bright, shining, forward-minded political stars on Tuesday night, the biggest highlight being the biggest takeaway of the night, at least among many political pundits:  The Democratic Party gained the majority of seats the House of Representatives!  That means that America now has a little bit of a check and balance against You Know Who and his myopic, misogynistic, anti-everything administration.

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A poem: “Drawing a Line”

Tuesday, the 6th day of November, will be the 2018 “mid-term” general election here in the United States.  Just as it was two years ago, it’s preceded by a lot of anger and vitriol.  Well, let me correct myself there:  There’s a lot more anger and vitriol now than there was two years ago.

There’s a lot more worry, too:  Worry that this will be the only way to once and for all put checks and balances on the administration of You Know Who.  Worry that if progressive-minded people don’t come out to vote this election season, virtually all the progress we’ve gained during the previous administration’s tenure will be lost forever.  Worry that the proclivity of You Know Who to demean whole groups of citizens, and the uncivil mainstreaming of those vile words by his supporters springing from the darkest corners of the internet, will turn into legal discrimination.

But there is a very important way to start countering all of that fear.  It’s what canvassers and volunteers have been reminding you to do.  It’s what the celebrities you follow on social media are reminding you to do.  It’s what the millions of women and men who’ve marched in the streets 22 months ago know what needs to be done when all is said and done.  It’s called voting in the general election on Tuesday.

Here in Madison, or at least in the polling station where I vote, the ballots we fill out are the type where you take a black Sharpie marker and complete the arrow next to the candidate you’re voting for.  It seems like a perfect metaphor for taking a stand against the demagogue who has made our lives a living nightmare the past 24 months.  May this poem, even as it sounds more playful than it should be, serve as a provocation for you to exercise your right to vote… that is, unless you’ve voted already in this election.  If you have voted, then good for you… but encourage everyone else you know to vote.  If they don’t think their vote will make any difference, tell them it’s something that needs to be done, come rain or shine.  It’s the way to make a formal delineation between the good and evil in our country.

Drawing a Line

A flag says “Vote Here!”
Signs say “register here”
And the registrar says, “write your name on the line”
With ballot in hand
I wait and stand
For a spot where I can draw my lines

Hey!  Look up!
A spot has opened up
I can step apart from this very long line
With marker in hand
I take my stand
And draw some very important lines

Looking down
I must stare and frown
At names that are frightening and unkind
But I do know
That there are those I can show
My support by drawing some lines

To the one who says
That only one race, religion, or gender is best
You don’t deserve anyone’s time
Especially from me
Whose mind can clearly see
Hatred and his name, connected by a line

But there’s one who says
“Have faith, don’t fret…
“No matter who you are, I don’t mind.
“If you’re man or woman,
“gay, straight, or bi,
“You should have pride.”
Thanks.  You deserve, next to your name, my line

To those who are bitchin’
That a woman’s place is in the kitchen
Begone!  You are out of your pitiful minds
Put up or shut up!
Great women are standing up
For the chance to have next to their names a line

I panic at the sight
Of one name who makes frights
Out of those disadvantaged or without a dime
But there are those who say
“You deserve a step up today”
By their names, I will happily draw a line

My trans siblings
Have heard dark things
Making them think their wonderful lights shouldn’t shine
But hatred is opposed
By many others at the polls
And by those whose names we will be drawing lines

We stand as one nation
Against hatred’s provocations
We say to those currently in charge, it’s time…
Time to end the hate
That you clearly seek to stimulate…
Between your wickedness and civility,
We stand as one to draw a big, thick line!

To the forward-thinking people
Who will stand up to hatred and evil
We support you and back you.  Now it’s time…
To give you the chance
To lead our nation with class
Yes, for you, we’re happily drawing our lines

I’m just one person
That is for certain
But it’s well spent, these few minutes of my time
To have my say
On this very important day
For the best candidates, I’m drawing a line

There!  My civic duty is done!
Through the machine, my ballot runs
But many others like me are taking their own time
To make their selections
In this important election
Together, we will contently say,
“For the best candidates, we’re drawing a line”


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Was I recognized?

I want to share with you a little personal tidbit I left out during my recap of the OutReach Awards Banquet I attended last week Friday.  And I want to preface this by saying that I have never told anyone I’ve worked with or encountered in my professional career that I dress up as Allison, nor do I have any plans to do so.  And there have been only two people who have seen me present as both female and male, and both of them have seen me in male mode only once.

All that being said, there was someone I’ve encountered in my professional male-mode past who was literally inches from me at the OutReach banquet.

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The 26th Annual OutReach Awards Banquet

If I haven’t said so in specific terms before, you’ve likely gained the impression on here that it’s always a thrill for me to get dressed up and venture outside my house as Allison.  And while I’m one who normally likes the intimacy of small groups, an awesome feeling always surfaces in me when en femme in a large congregation of people.  Such was the case again last Friday evening:

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Image source here

OutReach, the LGBT+ support center here in Madison, staged its annual awards banquet last week. at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center.  As the name implies, the event is a combination of a fine meal, friendly conversation, and awards to those who promote equality and quality of life for the LGBT+ community.

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Random personal stuff (10/17/2018 edition)

Thought I’d share with you a few things that are going on in and around my life.  First off, I’m still on that temp-to-hire assignment.  Am I happy about it?  Well, I’m happy that I’m getting paid, if that’s what you’re wondering.  I won’t bore you in this post with the details, but I will say it’s probably the most demanding work I’ve ever done in my career.  There are lots of things to learn, and the boss is a very hard person to please.  But at least they can’t say I’m not trustworthy:  I do show up when my shift begins; I stay late if need be; and I do my best to at least try to learn and retain what I’m learning, and ask questions when necessary.

Despite that, I’m quite nervous about my long-term prospects at this company.  The person who’s been training me is planning to depart by the end of this month, and most of the responsibilities of this position will fall to me.  So, yeah, a lot will be demanded of me, and I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for all of it.  [*sound of my throat swallowing a big lump of nervousness*]  But if it doesn’t work out… well, who know’s what will happen for me if it doesn’t?  But I know I will at least take with me a better sense of what I can do, what I will need to improve on, and a bit of personal pride (as dinged as it might be) that I did my best in a difficult role. Continue reading


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Random stuff: Two deserving LGBT Chamber honorees

While I spend the weekend recuperating from a grueling work week, I want to highlight a Wisconsin-related, Madison-related, LGBT-related story I came across this morning.  The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is, yes, an organization of businesses that promote economic growth, business opportunities, and blah blah blah.  But note the inclusion of the acronym “LGBT” in their name.  Yes, in addition to all that stuff about promoting economic growth, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for and promoter of LGBT-owned or -allied businesses and professionals in Wisconsin.

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