Monthly Archives: March, 2017

Delta dawned, and made me proud

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of a couple of airline loyalty schemes, 2 of my preferred trio from the past life. I have no idea why I never joined Aer Lingus, but besides that…Yes, the conglomerate now known as American, who gobbled up my other loyalty scheme with US Airlines, and Delta.

I’ve checked American’s site, and changing my name, and gender, while keeping my mileage stored there, not seemingly an issue. No, not actually done it yet, as it will be next year before I fly with them at the earliest. Irony, their miles only last 18 months, so I had to give back 1,000, to keep the other 34,000 via a charity scheme, but thats fine by me.

So then I look at Delta, expecting it to be the same situation, but no, you cant even change your name by yourself, let alone your gender. Must be crazy when people get married, but anyway…The big snag? Well, on their website, it says that to change such things, you have to send it in writing to Atlanta. Yes, fine if you’re in the US, but if like me, you’re in the UK, not a serious option, especially if you might be booking with them in a month or so. I know, I could open a new account, but again, I have about 35,000 miles on the scheme with them, and even if I’m never likely to travel enough for an international flight, fitting in a US domestic one, hmm, as they dont expire, ever!

So, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I sent in a question about the matter, and included in the attachment, the deed poll of my name change, and half expected them to say, fine, but you need to send it to our UK office or something. No, the first working day (Monday) after I did so, I came back home to a lovely email saying all was fine, account was changed, name and gender, and wishing me all the best for the future!

To be fair, the September trip, if its into Boston, and out of Boston, I’m flying Delta after that! I prefer them anyway, as you get more leg room options than Aer Lingus. If either way involves flying via Hartford, its probably going to be Aer Lingus, and make my knees suffer, simply because they have the direct flights, that Delta doesnt to that airport. But yes, if its only outward from Hartford, I might look at Delta, now, all the same.

OK, video time. Fine, it took me seconds to come up with this one. A not greatly edited version of the obvious song, but its live, and not only do you get Helen Reddy, you get Glen Campbell too

Oh, and while we’re talking transgender airline moments, 50 days from today, my first flight as a woman, cool! 😀

Advertisements

Do I need an agent?

And yes, before anyone gets any ideas, this blog might be a ‘slightly’ tongue in cheek look at recent events.

Firstly, it amazing to look back on the last few weeks, and realize just how much my confidence has been boosted by transitioning. Apart from the general stuff in life that I feel so much better about, the whole self publicity development has been amazing. A few years ago, if you’d asked me to do various pieces about my transgender life, for pieces to be published, and the like, I probably would have done it, but been concerned about the results. Now, in the last month or so, I’ve done a teleconference, a pair of interview pieces, and just loved every minute of it. Yes, there is a new one for work, coming out for Transgender Day of Visibility, on Friday, but given I havent yet got a snipped copy of that at home, you’ll have to wait for that one, assuming I can get it here. Please remember, I am not technologically minded in the slightest, so I do tend to rely on others to do the clever stuff. However, the first one, well…

You’ll have to blow up the image to see all the details, but I’m sure most can cope with that?

As far as I can see it, Friday marks the end of the LGBT Pride celebration season, so life might return more to normal after that. Though if Jimmy Fallon wants to interview me in May, count me in! Yes, I would, and probably love it, both for the campaign, and the publicity! No, I doubt he will see this! Is it James Corden the other one, a Brit, so maybe even better? Fine, I know… But yes, if I can make anything happen in Hollywood, for me, or for LGBT issues, then great! Just give me advance warning guys, so I can bring a nice dress!

On a more serious note, its sad to see events around the world relating to Transgender people, and of course, events in certain states in the US distress me greatly, but hey, thats politics for you…facepalm! I only hope that in 10 years time, there will be no need for TDOV, because its just an accepted thibng, but somehow, I have my doubts. Hopefully it will happen, though whether that will be in my lifetime?

Currently, I have 1 ‘meet and greet’ I’m planning towards for LA, with a Transgender Talent Agency I signed up with online. Whether it leads to anything, who knows? Whether there is anyone else that wants to interview me while in town, on LGBT, or Trans issues, or to rekindle my acting career, feel free to shout, and arrange. But maybe, after next Friday, until Hollywood, I might get to live a little bit of the normal life. Or maybe not, wouldnt that be fun?

OK, for once, the video bears no relation to the blog. Someone posted this on Facebook during the week, and it is so 70’s, that I just have to use it. Yes, fashion might have been an issue back then lol!

No, I know nothing about any of the artists, or dancers, before you ask!

Keeping the peace

(Never thought I’d have to do this, and probably dont have to now, but given my role, let me just say any comments made here are purely my personal ones, and I would prefer, however hard, to keep all political comments out of any replies, should there be any)

Its fair to say that my Irish ancestry has an interesting background, though given both sides of my family moved to the UK at the start of the 20th Century, its too distant (by 1 generation on both sides) to apply for an Irish passport now, if I wanted to. Interesting? Well, my father was from Irish Catholic ancestry from Kerry, my mother from Irish Protestant roots from Offaly. Yes, somehow or other, a few generations later, in the UK, they got married, and the rest is history! Well, me, anyway! It means that my first 9 years (until my father left my mother) I was brought up as Catholic, before quickly going to Protestant roots once he was gone.

So to say that to me, the Troubles in Ireland was an even more complex issue than for most, would be putting it mildly. Lets not comment too much on that, as a view from either side, as my ancestry was from the South, anyway. By the time I first visited Northern Ireland (I was about 30 by then), my look at it would be from the Protestant side, its fair to say.

Eventually, in the 90’s, the peace process came to Northern Ireland. One of the figures behind that, was Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Fein, and IRA background. To say he had a shady background would be putting it mildly, but fine, some of the Democrats past wasnt a lot cleaner, but anyway… The rest is history, the 2 sides came together, and peace was born out of the troubles. Yes, its had a few less than perfect moments over the years, but we still have peace! Yes, as you’ve probably heard on the news everywhere, Martin McGuinness has just died, at 66.

Thankfully, I have nothing to forgive, or not forgive him for, as the case may be. Others have a less easy choice, and I can understand their views, whichever way they look at it. But lets just remember one thing, without him, the peace process may not have got started as soon, and even more innocent people may have lost their lives.

Its funny, I remember back in the ‘bad old days’ being whisked around the edge of Belfast, on the ring road, as no one wanted to go into the city. Now, several times, I’ve been to Belfast for cricket, and not seen any trouble. That, at least is something. The irony, the ground is at Stormont, not a long way from the parliament building!

Having said I wont get political, there is one song that relates strongly to the events of the troubles, so it was hard to ignore.

It ain’t what you do…

…Its the way that you do it! Yes, tell me about it.

In truth, when it comes to receiving customer service, I’m probably more forgiving than most, because its an area I’ve worked in for much of my life. However, there are times, and people who even drive me to frustration, and yes, I met one on Friday.

The rule I’ve always applied personally, is, if in doubt, ask someone, and make sure you’re doing the right thing. It has led to moments when I’ve been 99.9% certain that I’m right, but still feel its better just to make sure, especially on critical matters. Anyway, on Friday…

Normally, when I have anything to do with foreign currency prepaid credit cards, I head to Thomas Cook, as I did on Friday. Their card does all I need, and the staff in Huddersfield know exactly what they’re doing, and you get smooth, professional service. To cut a long story short, I was over in Bradford on Friday, so I thought I’d get it done over there. Not a wise move!

I guess I should have taken the hint when the woman behind the counter was fighting a losing battle to put a currency order into the system, and asked me to wait while she sorted it out. As I now know, like a fool, I did! I should have walked out the door, there and then, but fine, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I rather gathered she’d never had to issue, and activate a prepaid card before. So after a few minutes of trying to convince the system let her do it, she gave up, and asked for help. The snag was, the woman who she called for help had never done one either. So, instead of the 5 minutes I have spent in the past doing this, in Huddersfield, we were now up to 15 minutes, and no closer to getting it issued than when I had walked in!

Eventually they said they’d won the battle, and quoted me a dollar figure for the amount I was handing over. I misheard, or I would have said something because the figure they put through was ridiculously low. Yes, instead of giving me the sell rate, of around $1.20, they gave me the buy back rate about $1.11! But I only realized this after they’d handed me everything, including the receipt. After all that time (about 25 minutes), I wasnt inclined to start again, for about the sake of $4.50, as I was only putting a small amount on the card to get it active.

So, got it home, registered the card online. Yes, its showing up, but no, its not showing any balance! My suspicion, they havent confirmed something, or they’ve confused the system with the exchange rate they’ve used, or something? So now, on Tuesday, I’m going to have to go into Thomas Cook, in Huddersfield, on my day off, and get the whole matter sorted out. All because 2 people, who admitted they didnt know what they were doing, couldnt ask someone who did, or ask me to go to another branch where they would!

Yes, I’m glad thats not my regular branch! I’ll stick with Huddersfield in future!

The video, as so often, a clue in the blog title. An, err, interesting live vocals performance by a group of people who I suspect were more used to lip syncing!

Put on a little make up, make sure they get your good side

Oh fine, if you’re old enough, you should know the video lol!

In a sense, the last few weeks have given me a glimpse of the movie star lifestyle, if not the movie star money! Seriously, if you’d told me all that I would have done in the last few weeks in the way of discussing my lifestyle, and diversity issues a few months ago, I’d have laughed at you. But yes, its happening, and in an amazing way. No, I havent yet had to discuss my latest movie, or acting role, though maybe at some point? I know, in my dreams! But yes, you go to Hollywood to make your dreams, and where am I heading in May, but…? 😉

Today marked the latest interview on my transgender lifestyle for now, though it might not, if I’ve heard anything positive about the Diversity committee application I did a few weeks back, which closed just as I was coming on holiday. I’m sort of assuming no news, means no position, given my line management would surely have been told, if it had been positive, but I will see on Monday, I guess? I do know I made someone else’s blog last Friday, but as the news only reached me after I’d gone off on holiday, I havent seen it yet. All I can say is that the DWP is an amazing employer for anyone LGBT, and leave it at that.

Unlike movie stars, I dont get chauffeured to my interviews, I have to rely on the buses. Which is fine most of the time, but unfortunately, today wasnt most of the time! Fortunately the lady who was interviewing me was also running slightly late, so we arrived at more or less the same time, quite handy. I then had further fun getting home, but not dramatic, and it didnt matter so much anyway. Maybe I do need one of those mobile phone things, darlings! 😉 I know a number of people who would say I do, and I have to admit, if I am going to become a major Transgender/Diversity advocate I will, though only for those reasons, honestly! No, it wont be a flash smart phone, believe me, unless someone else is paying!

Oh fine, if I get as many interviews in my 10 days in Hollywood, I’ll be thrilled. No, it wont happen, I’m sure, but I can dream, for now at least!

The make up side of thing relates to events on Tuesday, when I had the previously mentioned semi-perm make up top up session, in Thatcham. Yes, the eyebrows are even more 30’s styled, though of a sensible width, unlike then, and the lips now have that cute Harlow rosebud enhanced too. Sadly Paula couldnt make me look like a 25 year old version of Harlow, but no one is that good, especially with 59 year old material to create from! And no, I’ve not been shrunk to 5 ft 2 ins tall, either!

OK, the video. I do drink (a little), but dont smoke, but with my asexual lifestyle, subtle innuendos are probably out of the question too!

Sliding Doors

Well, this will be my last post in my 59th year of this life. Yes, I know, I will be 59 tomorrow, but if you think of it, given that you’ve lived one year, before you become one…oh fine, you did! I also say this life, because as I know, I definitely have had one life before, almost certainly more, if the theory is right, but fine, now, the one before this one is a bit special to me.

Mind, you can start from there in this term I guess? If Clara Johnson hadnt smoked herself to an early death in the early 50’s, would I have been born? I assume I would have done, that someone else who had died by then, would have been my past life, but anyway? But would I then have that special connection to the Golden Age of Hollywood, who knows? Maybe not, or it might have been a more famous one, of course?

Tonight though, its that other sliding door that intrigues me, given the likelihood I was one of those born intersex at birth at around the time I was born. No, I cant be certain, ever, because the hospital I was born at, closed in 1967, and somehow I cyncically have my doubts whether the intersex babies were ‘officially’ recorded then anyway.

So, lets look at the possibility that the doctors decided (in their wisdom) that I was allowed to be a baby girl, where my life would have gone from there. Clearly its impossible for me to know what it would have been like, being a teenage girl, going on dates, and everything else. I’m also assuming that back then, those dates would have been boys, just because it was the norm, and expected thing back in the early 70’s. It might have led to marriage, it might have led to having children, and in time, grandchildren, or would I have been one of those ‘wicked women’ who lived with another woman back then?

Who would I have known, that I’ve never met in my life, because of that misplaced gender? Equally, how many people have I known (I can certainly name a few) who I would have missed out on knowing, if I had been a woman? Where in the world would I be today? I know its possible it would still be Huddersfield, and working in Bradford, but lets face it, the chances of that happening under those circumstances, miniscule. Equally, I might have, like Lillian Gish, gave up any interest in romance, to develop my talents, and lifestyle as an actress? In which case, like Clara, I could be in Hollywood, making movies? Well, you never can tell!

Sat here, writing blogs, if I’d been a woman since birth, again, who can tell? I doubt it, but just maybe…? One thing is for sure though, unless we can turn back time, to that day, 1 day short of 59 years ago, and take the other option, none of us will ever know for sure!

As to the obvious step I could still take, the answer is probably no, I’m not a fan of unnecessary pain, and I’ve already got a pair of knees that will need to be fixed sometime soon. So yes, I’ll probably end up as that crazy old spinster, assuming I live long enough for all that lol!

But yes, on that day in 1958, if the Doctors had told my parents that they had a baby girl…history would be very different, I suspect?

The video is from the film of the blog title, and is probably a song that Aqua should be better remembered for, than Barbie Girl!

The first time ever?

I know, strictly I’ve been booking in to flights, and hotel rooms for about 6 years as a woman, but all the same, tomorrow will still be a little different. Yes, it will be the first time ever I’ve booked in, handing over a female passport! Well, assuming the hotel even bothers to check my ID, which seems to be a bit hit and miss over here, unlike the US, where it is always done.

Regardless of whether they do, or dont, it still wont be as special as May, when I board a flight, and pass through Immigration, and Security for the first time with a passport showing me as a woman. Funnily enough, that wont make Los Angeles Immigration the first place I’ve entered the US with a passport of both genders, as I’ve never flown directly to Los Angeles before. Both times, its been through Atlanta, and a change of plane.

That honor will actually go to Boston, exactly 30 years after my previous time doing that there, as a man, in September. I’ve actually been through Boston since then, under my interim name, but didnt clear Immigration there, as I had already done it in Ireland. Indeed, its quite possible that the same will happen again in September, funnily enough. In fact, due to the nature of transiting airports, with your first entry point to the US being the only place you do Immigration (unless you go through Dublin, or Shannon), the only places that I could do the ‘hat trick’ are Philadelphia, and Chicago!

But yes, tomorrow evening, when I book in at that hotel, and if requested, hand over my ID, it will be the first time that said ID has actually said female! Not that I think they look, but…its going to feel good! Oh, if someone wants to offer to wine and dine me there, its somewhere near Thatcham!

Of course, job interview wise, I’ve done 3 with a female passport, so its not unique, but its still going to be special. Not as special as Manchester Airport, in May, but its the first step. And then, entering the US on a female passport, for the first time, oh wow!

Right, video. I gather there have been a few versions of this since this one, but hey, this is the one that this teenage ‘girl’ grew up knowing, so…

Love and hurts

I could jokingly say that today I underwent pain, and torture, but I might be exaggerating a lot, even though my body was waxed all over. It had been far too long since last done, but in truth, beyond brows, under arms, and err, bikini line, nothing really hurts all that much with me, as even after about 18 months, most of me really isnt that hairy, but hey, its fun to lay it on a bit. Thankfully, that was the pain part with Linda, and I can now look forward to the pleasure part of the experience on Thursday (my birthday, hint, hint) of a massage and facial. Believe me when I say that my body more than needs both!

Yes, there was a purpose to the ‘torture’ today, as I needed to get my brows removed, given its time for the semi perm make up top up on Tuesday lunchtime, and clearly the brows need to be gone for that. So yes, get the whole lot done while I’m at it! Will also be getting the lips touched up, and presumably the beauty spot as well if it needs it (Pure Harlow touch) at the same time. I have to admit that did hurt the first time I had it done, but the top up before wasnt too bad, and I’m sure that will be the same this time too. Certainly a blessing that gets around my inability to do my own make up, due to (very slight) hand tremor.

Paula does say she’s going to rise to the Jean Harlow challenge, but if she can take 35 years, and 7 inches off me, I’d be amazed lol! Mind, I’d enjoy it if she did, has to be said!

No, the love isnt real, just one of those silly girl crush things. Last night, I flexed off an hour early to get off on holiday, complete with a pair of birthday cards, and a bouquet of flowers from Madi, a lovely touch. No, she isnt the girl crush! In truth, all I know about her is that she lives in Bailiff Bridge, but presumably works in Bradford, as its generally in an evening that I see her on the bus. Sadly, or maybe for the best, I’m pretty sure she has a wedding ring on. In truth, I have no idea why she appeals to me, she is very slim, which really isnt my type. She’s also not sensationally blessed on looks, though she’s not hard on the eye, all the same. But fine, she’s cute, and she’s caught my eye, for sure. Yes, she was on the bus that I got because I flexed off an hour early, win, win! Only thing was, me carrying a bouquet of flowers, good thing or bad? She probably thinks I’ve got a partner/admirer who gave them to me, so even if she was planning a bi moment, she’d think I was taken too. Fine, there is about as much chance of that as me winning the London Marathon, but anyway…

Amusing touch is that she reads on one of those Kindle things, but sadly I very much doubt its any of my stories lol! Equally pretty sure she wouldnt fancy me anyway!

Right, video time. It also hurts me when I realize this song is more than 40 years old, as I remember when it was released. A group that didnt have many hits, but are still going, seemingly.

Stand by me?

For those of us who followed Irish Cricket before 17/03/07, the events of that day were less of a shock than they were to most. Indeed, you could say that a few days earlier, when they only tied with Zimbabwe, that we were a shade disappointed by the result, half expecting a win, against a very ordinary team in truth, who havent got better over the years. But yes, that St Patrick’s Day win against Pakistan was the day the world as a whole woke up to Irish cricket.

Some of us, as I say, though in my case from a distance, had followed Irish cricket for more than a few years by then. Ancestry thing for me, as it was for a few of those players back in 2007. Yes, more than a few of them spoke with Southern hemisphere accents! Gradually over the years things have changed, and it was only this week that Ireland played a team where all 11 players were actually born in Ireland!

The rise of cricket in Afghanistan has been even more recent, though very dramatic all the same. Hopefully, at some point in the future, they may be able to play an international cricket match in their own country, though the security situation means it wont be just yet.

Over the next few weeks, in India, a virtual ‘international tour’ starts for these 2 teams. 3 twenty over games, 5 one day internationals, followed by a 4 day ‘test match’ makes up the tour. Yes, its only an Intercontinental Cup match officially, but given the changing situation within the ICC, next time they meet, it probably will be a test match, as both countries are likely to be upgraded over the next couple of years. Which, if they keep their word, will mean Ireland playing a Test Match at the home of cricket, Lords. Wow!

Its funny to think that just 10 years ago, if someone had said this would happen, even the Irish fans would have laughed at you, but now… I had, in truth, hoped to get across to a game this summer, but though I’m back in work, and the money is coming in again, its still going to be one trip too far, I suspect. But next year, fingers are crossed.

In truth, Ireland and Afghanistan will never rival the Ashes, or India v Pakistan in cricket rivalries, but for two teams that have built themselves up together, I’m sure the games will always remain special.

The video, what these 2 teams have done over the years. Until now, in associate cricket, but in the future, test series? Maybe in a number of years, those games may even be in Kabul? Lets face it, 30 years ago, the idea of international cricket in Belfast would have been looked on nervously, so…?

Love’s great adventure?

Oh fine, I have to say that these weeks when I have to do 2 blogs in 2 days, I dont always have enough material to fill the space. I did sort of have something work related (again), but I’m sure you’re all tired of that by now, so lets try something different, and a bit more personal.

For those who didnt already know me, and the date, you might have missed the fact that 106 years ago on Friday, a baby girl was born in Kansas City. Her name, Harlean Harlow Carpenter, but far better known as Jean Harlow. Coincidentally, 33 years ago today, the last beau of her life, William Powell died, at the grand old age of 91! What would have happened had she lived beyond 26, who knows? Mind, 3 years later, Powell married Diana Lewis, and they stayed married until his death! Whether Harlow, and Powell would have done the same, we will never know?

The fascinating fact is that, at the time of Harlow’s birth, Powell was actually living in Kansas City, though being 18 years her senior, they never actually met until Hollywood! Yes, Jean seemingly had a thing for older men, as all bar her first husband were far older than her, but I cant talk, as my only long term relationship was with someone a lot older than me!

While we are talking about birthdays, and ages, in 11 days time, I’ll be 59. Still, now, I’ve got more than a few years of work to go, I believe it will be 8 more by the time I get to retire. But not that long ago, as a woman, I would have been 1 year from retirement! Now, by the time I get there, it will be 66, assuming I get that far, of course! Then, finally, I might get to Alaska, and the start of the Iditarod race…maybe? Mind, I might need a new body by then, but… I would need to split the flight there, both ways, due to length, and my physical health, and there is no way I can do that on a 7 day holiday from work!

Sadly, again this year, it cant race from Willow (Anchorage) to Nome, due to lack of snow in the early stretches, so it will start out tomorrow morning (Alaska time) from Fairbanks, and run the adapted northern route. Sadly, this means that the ghost town that the race is named after, wont be visited for at least 6 years, as the same thing happened in 2015. Amusing to think that a trapper, the last ever resident of Iditarod left, because the race came through every 2 years, and the place got too lively! To think, just over 100 years ago, at the height of the gold rush, over 10 thousand people lived there, all too briefly!

Oh, if anyone wants the details of my fiction piece, loosely based around the 2009 race (which did get to Iditarod), let me know! It also mentions the event that started it all, the 1925 serum run to Nome.

So fine, we have a tale of love, we have a tale of adventure, so the obvious video is…