One thing I’d been suspecting for a while, was that trying to carry on with life, as I was before the back issue, wasnt really a practical option. I’ve been trying to do just that, but yes, what I hoped I could do, and what I can actually do, two different things!
No, I havent had to cut out the sky diving, the deep sea diving, or anything like that, you understand. The first has never ever appealed, and though I might have fancied the latter when I was much younger, its past me now. In fact, most energetic things are past me now, even before the back quite literally fell apart.
No, in this case, its work! Even on strong painkillers, and steroid cream, my recovery time for more than a couple of days at work isnt good at present. So yes, on Friday morning, which would be my 3rd day in a row at work (Tuesday being my day off for week, working on Saturday), even after all the treatments, I still hurt a bit. And by now, I’m getting practical about the issue, its recovery time I need. In truth, I suspect as much of the issue is the bus seats to, and from work, but yes, work would play a part too.
So I decided to ask a question, and see if I could ease the load. So on Friday, I asked my team leader, very nicely, if it was possible, just temporarily, hopefully, to cut back to a 4 day week. Obviously it wasnt just her decision to make, especially in the Civil Service, but I was told to leave the matter with her, which is as much as I hoped for. Anyway, to cut a long story short, yesterday afternoon, it was all sorted out, and for the next 12 weeks, including this one, I’m doing a 4 day week! So much is said about work life, but I have nothing but praise for my workplace, for sure.
Mind, tomorrow might be fun at work. Have now used the last of my strong painkillers, and I rang the surgery today, hoping that I could go along and get a new prescription straightaway, but will be tomorrow afternoon before I can get it, or in my case now, Thursday morning. I have got some, but about half the strength, so tomorrow might be, err, fun!
In other related matters, I am now the proud owner of 2 back braces, or will be when they arrive! Yes, Ebay moment lol! One is just a simple brace, which supposedly has lots of magnets in it, which is supposed to be good for you, or so the people trying to sell it tell me! Snag is, after I pushed the button to buy, I discovered that its a Chinese company, supposedly located in London, so how good it will be, no idea? But fine, its cheap, so…
I also bought a corset type one, which thankfully involves zipping yourself in, not lots of tying yourself in, because lets face it, I’m useless at things like that! It claims it will give me a sexier waist too, but I’ll believe that when I see it. But who knows, a bit more of an hourglass figure lol…?
Right, video time. Fine, its depressing, as this is 40 years old, and I remember the song when it first came out. But what I need to do, at least until I get my back sorted out, is…
Trying to work around other potential events, which now look like they’re not going to happen, I took the chance yesterday to visit Glendale, and most significantly Forest Lawn, where someone I have a bit of a link to is buried. Strictly, yes, I mean Jean Harlow, at rest there for now fast coming up on 80 years, but call it a feeling, or otherwise, whenever I visit, I just have this instinct that Clara Johnson may be at rest somewhere in those large grounds as well. As I say, no evidence, impossible given I dont know her married name, but just something calls me when I’m there, and though that might be Jean, I do just wonder. But anyway…
As for all the best laid plans…The 2 previous visits, I’d found a pleasant little fast food restaurant near to where I get off the bus, and therefore I planned to go there for lunch, before going on to pay my respects. Only snag is, sometime in the last 18 months or so, it closed! Anyway, I knew I’d seen a few shops on the road leading to Forest Lawn, in the opposite direction at the junction, so hoped I’d find something there. Yes, I did. Its not glamorous or anything, but I found one of these roadside buildings with a few tables, and took my chance. To be honest, under $9 around LA, for a burger, fries, and a drink is hard to find. To find it cooked to order at that price, even more so! If anyone around that area wants to know the name of it, shout, and I’ll work it out on Google Maps, if I can.
After that, I walked down to Forest Lawn, to see a stunning layout of US Flags in the grounds, for Memorial Day on Monday. I gather something is happening there then (think it was 1.00, but check?) to respect the occasion. Fine, not for the first time, I entered the actual grounds, hoping for 2 things to happen. Firstly, some signal from ‘above’ that would lead me to Clara’s resting place. The second, that the gate in the mausoleum where Jean is at rest would be open, as it was the first time I visited, but not the second.
No, neither happened! I didnt really expect the first, somehow, and no, the gate was very firmly shut across the passageway where Harlow rests. In truth, I think the first time was sheer fluke, whether that was divine intervention, or just Jean ‘fixing it’, I have no idea? But yes, shut is the norm, according to everything I’ve read online about the place.
So fine, I said a few words, from as close as I could get, and said my farewell, as I’m pretty sure this is my last visit here for a number of years, if ever again. And whether at that point my body will be capable of climbing the hill up to the mausoleum, I doubt it somehow! Also, at the top of the hill, before dropping down to the exit, I did the same to Clara, not knowing where she was in that huge area, or strictly, if she really is there, but job done.
Then finally, as I passed back those flags, all set up for Memorial Day, I paid my respects to all those brave military folk, who had died in our, and other generation’s service.
Today, really not much to tell, so lets throw it in briefly now. Really just a stroll up the Boulevard, to do some souvenir shopping, for me, and others at home. One gift I couldnt find, so tripped off to Universal Studios to get in the shop out there, which I knew would have it. If she reads this, she’ll know whose gift that was! Tomorrow, I get to walk along Hollywood Boulevard again, this time on a guided walk, run by a friend I know from Twitter, and have met before. Should be fun, especially as she knows the whole Harlow thing with me! I think I have the place planned for my last big meal in town, unless someone wants to treat me to Musso and Frank’s lol?
After that? No idea, in truth. I’ll sort of say goodbye to an old friend on the walk in the morning, so where I go after that, will think on it at the time. I will get out at some point Saturday morning, but wont get far, thats for sure. I have a feeling I might do a little walk along Beachwood, just for old time, and admire the famous sign, one last time, without annoying the locals!
Right, video time. Not that Jean could sing (well proven), and though Clara was a decent dancer, she was no star. Besides which, this group is from LA, and the song fits in from yesterday. So all in all…
Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like one!
In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.
I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?
In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.
There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.
Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!
The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…
I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!
The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.
So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.
The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.
I will start with a word of warning for those shrewdies who read both blogs, that for the next 10 days or so, unless something, err, weird happens, that I dont want ‘vanilla’ folk to know about, both blogs will be the same while away. The chances of that happening, very slim, I would say!
Right, before we get to the LA stuff for the next 10 days or so, lets start off somewhere cooler, Greenland! Because of the route to fly to the West Coast of the US being a more northerly one, than when heading for the East Coast, I had the privilege of flying over the southern section of Greenland yesterday. To see all those glaciers, and the like, perfectly white, even at this time of year, truly something. Fine, the glare off the ice eventually got too much, but you get my drift? And no, no sign of humanity whatsoever.
The sad thing is, 100 years from now, or possibly even less, people just wont get that view, unless climate change gets stopped. No, I’m not getting all political about it, so please dont either, just stating a fact. Besides which, unless I’ve been turned into some sort of robot that lives forever, I wont be around to know, or care by then, anyway. All the same, I’m glad I got to see it once, in my life.
Right, most of the rest of the flight was nothing exciting, until we’re about to pull on to a gate at Los Angeles, about 5 minutes early. Then we stop, and wait. According to the pilot, he was given the wrong gate number, and we had to be towed back out, and then do a lengthy journey to where we should have been. Then they could only get the entry portal thing to connect to the door partway down the plane, so more delay. So fine, now 35 minutes late, finally off the plane.
Now in the past, I’d been told that the first time you use a passport, even with ESTA, you have to go through the full process. Yes, my first time, with new name. No, I get directed to the ESTA kiosks, which rejected me, as I thought it would. So finally, into the standard queues, and wait, and wait…in truth, about an hour from entry, to getting through Immigration, not awful, given everything.
Then finally, get the case, and get met by a huge queue to leave the building. I have no idea what was going on, because all of a sudden the queue went from tortoise pace, to quick, and finally through.Handing over receipts to allow you in, but why this suddenly sped up, no idea?
Ah, the shuttle. I finally got there about 5.00, and she said one would be along shortly. 20 minutes later…and then we did a lap of the airport terminals, slowly, being rush hour, so finally got out of there about 5.45. We then had a nice guy in the shuttle, who knew where he wanted to go, but had no idea where that was. And the shuttle drivers GPS seemingly didnt want to help either! But anyway, finally about 7.15, I got here.
Yes, apartment is nice, and all I need. Bed is very comfortable too. TV is being moody, but landlord says he can solve that today, so…not that I want it much, beyond baseball, but… First thing today, get the phone active, then head out, probably Pasadena, but dont quote me on that. And that, dear readers, is about it at present. Been a lot of helicopters flying overhead this morning, so who told them the actual Jean Harlow is staying here, no idea, lol?
Right, finally, the video. What I would like to say to those amazing glaciers in Greenland, in truth. Though one or two might think its a subtle hint to a woman in Bailiff Bridge, but anyway…No!
Yes, the calendar has crept around again to that annual music fest known as the Eurovision Song Contest. In truth, I’m old enough to remember the days when there waas one show, consisting of just over a dozen countries, from Western Europe, and that was it. Nowadays we have 2 semi finals, and then a final to survive, as the breaking down on the Iron Curtain, and the breaking down of the Soviet Union, and other assorted East European countries means there are over 40 entries nowadays! And yes, a couple of them arent even in Europe!
Politics have ensured that Israel counts as European for so many things, and Eurovision is definitely one of them. Of course, the first Trans winner of Eurovision came from Israel, Dana International! Pretty sure there have been a few more trans entries since, but as I havent watched it in years, I have no idea. Oh, and when Australia became part of Europe, no idea!
The one thing that always amuses me is how people talk about how ‘political’ the voting is nowadays, but in truth, thats always been the case! Though to be fair, there probably wasnt quite the block of voting that there is nowadays with Eastern Europe, but yes, it did happen. Greece and Turkey, UK and Ireland, of course they voted for each other happily, not! The one thing people dont realize nowadays, is that it was only in the 1970’s that songs didnt have to be sung in the national language. Clearly that was the rule in 1974, when some unknown group called Abba won it, but I have a funny feeling that may have been the first?
No, I wont be watching any of it next weekend (9th – 13th), but I’m sure millions will, if only for the sheer kitsch of the event. I wonder, if when the first one was held in the 1950’s, with a handful of entries if they ever imagined it would be like this now?
Right, video. I’ve gone back to my own personal glory days of Eurovision, from the 1970’s, though not Abba. This one won it a year later, and the resemblance, I’m sure, is purely coincidental, lol!
So fine, you might have had a long wait for a blog, but then, assuming I can come up with an idea for tomorrow, 3 come along together at once! Yes, bank holiday weekend bonus for my readers. By the way, if anyone has any requests for tomorrow night, feel free to suggest away. I do have one amusing idea, but I would need to get permission off someone to post it, so possibly not?
One thing I knew I wanted when I started to transition was a decent cleavage. Not anything ridiculous, just enough to make it clear I was woman, but something more than the little natural bumps that I have. For many women, this choice involves lots of money, some invasive surgery, and a bit of a health risk issue. Yes, breast enhancement, or as it is better known, a boob job!
Well, given that I’m not a fan of health risks, and more surgery than I really need, and the fact I didnt have the money, I looked for alternative ideas, for ways to have a nice cleavage, without the pain, or the money. What I found, and have used are a similar breast form to the ones they offer to women who have had to have mastectomies, though given the price I pay, I’m sure mine arent as good as those ones. But given they’re made of silicon, they mould to the body nicely, they have a suitable weight to them, and in truth, in a bra, under an item of clothing where you cant see them, they give you a nice shape. Fine, they wouldnt work in a cleavage revealing dress, but as I hardly ever would need to wear something like that, not an issue. Alright, it might be fun if I could, but I get by without that, all the same.
As you might guess, especially given that I wear mine full time, other than when in bed (I have a foam pair for that time), they have a limited life span, of about 2 years, or so. For about 6-8 weeks or so, its fair to say that the left breast has needed replacing, because the skin surrounding the silicon has started to split, and though leakage is pretty much non existent, and therefore its usable, its not at its best. And then, in the last week or so, the right one has started to do the same, so I’ve ordered a new pair. Probably not bad timing before LA, in truth. So yes, I jokingly posted on Facebook that I’d put myself in for a boob job, but this is as good as it gets.
Mind, if someone wants to pay for me to go under the knife, and get a ‘natural’ pair of boobs, feel free to make an offer lol! I have to say, that in public life, my current system works nicely, there has been a few occasions when mens eyes have failed to raise higher than my cleavage, it has to be said. But fine, in the unlikely event I had to ‘lose a few layers’, it might come as a disappointment to some! So, as I say, if someone else wants to pay, I might brave it lol, would be more fun for September, and the wedding I’m a bridesmaid at, for sure. So…? 😉
Right, video time. As so often, a clue in the blog title, though I did tweak it a bit!
Its fair to say that most of my flying in recent years would come down to 3 current Airlines, American, Delta, and Aer Lingus. There was also US Airways, but they are now part of American, so…lets talk about someone else!
As far as I can remember, I’ve only ever flown twice on United Airlines in my life. The first, around the turn of the century, was an uneventful trip to Richmond, Virginia, via Chicago from Heathrow. It was in fact my first solo trip to the US, and all I vaguely remember is the long queues at Immigration in Chicago. So long that they actually took my case and loaded it onto my next flight before I got through to get it.
The second, and final time was a flight to Seattle, and though the service was OK, the fun started when I got back to Chicago. At Seattle they had been surprised when they couldnt issue my boarding pass for my second flight, but then I found out why, when I got to Chicago, they’d cancelled the flight, not that they really seemed to care! I actually got out that night, after complaining, via Heathrow, but obviously was late into Manchester, and they didnt do as requested and inform the people picking me up over here as to what was happening. So that was it, never again, I pledged. In fact, shortly after that, the Chicago route changed, first to British Midland (equally as bad), and then American (decent service), and I found it easy to ignore them after that.
So yes, I’d forgotten all about United until recently, and their ‘magic moments’. I dont know enough about their rules for people flying on free/reduced company tickets to comment too loudly on the recent leggings issue, but it was children, not likely to be assumed to be airline staff, so heavy handed was a fair comment. Not as heavy handed as at the weekend, clearly! Just when Delta thought they might get bad publicity for their cancellation issues because of weather in Atlanta, along come United to rescue them, and make them look like saints! Hopefully you’ve heard the tale of how not to deal with paying passengers, to get staff travelling for free on a plane, surely?
Heard tonight that their share price has fallen dramatically, presumably on top of all the bad publicity everywhere, especially on social media, so…I dont think United will be having so many insufficient seat issues in the near future! Hope not, anyway! Seriously, one social media disaster is bad, but 2 in about a month, oh dear me! The CEO blamed the passenger, no one else, absolutely unbelievable. Ah well…
Right, video time. Frightening to realise this is nearly 50 years old, and I remember it, but…For those who remember the 80’s reincarnation of Brotherhood Of Man, this isnt them! This, as Tony Burrows probably gives away, was a session version from 1970. Not one member of this group was in the second band, but anyway…
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! 😀
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!
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…