Fine, I’ll get to the title matter in a minute, but for now…
Sunday evening started with a change of plans, a trip to the cinema, to see It. No, not the 1927 silent movie starring Clara Bow, though I’m sure she would have looked adorable, even in a clowns outfit. No, this was the recent (shock horror) movie based on the Stephen King book instead. Something very different for me, but impressed with it, all the same. Mind, the final outcome (of this section at least) appealed to me no end. The actress playing Beverley caught this actresses eye, as someone to watch for the future, just saying…
After that, a dose of ‘The Orville’ which is a new series on Fox over there, which seems to be a witty take off of Original Star Trek, among other things. Yes, the big attraction for me, the chrome robot, no surprise. Yes, if they ever want an actress to play his female companion… 😉 Suspect its just CGI, in truth, sadly. Not sure when I see any more of it mind, over here, but will keep an eye out for that.
Yesterday was the last full day (for a while) in the US, most of which I just spent relaxing, before heading for home, via JFK, in a shuttle. Yes, wisdom prevailed, given the state of my body at present, only way to go. Before that, I did get to see the Creature from the Black Lagoon thing, though sadly not wearable lol. But if anyone wants to make one, and let me wear it…?
Beyond the traffic levels to JFK (its NYC, for pity’s sake), that all went smoothly, and so did the ride through security. Then the fun began! I was taken to the gate on my boarding pass, for my plane home, fine. Thing was, the departures board was showing a different gate, some distance away, and some ‘know all’ told me my plane was going from there. So I struggled down there, only to find a short while later that my pusher had known what she was doing, and the know all was an idiot! So yes, I struggled back to the original gate I’d been left at.
There was 1 wheelchair waiting there, mine, and yes, someone came this time, and took me to the plane. At this point, someone asked me to swap seats, so he could sit with someone, and I agreed. Unfortunately, the idiot I soon discovered I had the ‘delights’ of sitting next to on the way home, thought rules were for everyone but himself. As in, mobile phones must be switched off before leaving the gate, and only be put back on, in flight mode, when we were in the air. Him, oh no! Trying to hide from everyone (very badly) that he was still using his phone after this point, and indeed continued to use it, until after the plane accelerated for take off. Even then, I’m not sure if he switched it off, or just hid it away. He was certainly still doing something with it post take off (not meant to be switched back on while seat belt light is on), so who knows? Put it this way, he was still using it this morning, up to, and including landing, long again after having been told to turn it off. Oh, and then everyone else decided to be an idiot, as more than half the people in the plane were standing up, long before the seat belt light went off at Manchester.
Then it got, err, better! There was only 1 wheelchair used at JFK to load a passenger, mine! So, at Manchester, only 1 is sent to the plane, to disembark me. Thing is, seemingly, 5 other people then decided they needed a wheelchair to disembark, despite not requesting one. My name was called, I stood up to get in, and another woman took my chair! She clearly wasnt going to move willingly, so in the end, they tried to round up another wheelchair for me, only to discover 4 more people wanting one! No, Manchester Airport doesnt employ psychics, to know that all these additional people suddenly would want a chair.
Finally, and I do mean finally, I was on the move. Snag was, with 4 pushers, and 6 chairs, movement was erratic, and slow. Not improved when I finally got to passport control, and there is a group of 3, from the sub continent, who were clearly being shifty about their reasons for entering the country. Finally, he decided to let them in, I passed through quickly, but then we had to get all these wheelchairs down to baggage claim. Then pick out the right black expanding suitcase, from dozens of them, but we got there in the end. So only about an hour later than expected, freedom, and greetings! Then at last, go home!
Oh, and one last thing before we move on from the holiday, and back to more mundane events, one of the movies shown on the flight across. A movie called Blended, which given my knowledge of modern movies, I had to look up when I got home. Take my advice, give it a miss. It has a shocking review rating, and the actress in the main female lead role was dreadful. One look on her face throughout the movie, basically rabbit caught in headlights! Yes, I swear even now, after a few years off, I could have acted the pants off her! So come on Hollywood, let me prove it, lol!
Thats it, then. Lets close by thanking Kate, Stacie, and Eric (mainly, but there were others) for such a marvelous holiday experience. Yes, being Maid of Honor, at a wedding, very special.
So what happens now? Another suitcase, in another hall (Evita)? Probably not! To a big degree, a lot depends what the doctors say about my back in the next couple of weeks, and how many days of work, per week, I can get through, post medication. I’m currently suspecting the answer will be 4, but we will see. Maybe a magic cure, or a nice new cybernetic body lol? Oh, I wish for the latter! I suspect I will be getting the airport wheelchair experience again too, but we will see?
In theory, if I could get there next month, I could go to NYC again for a reading for a production by 2 friends, surrounding the life of Clara Bow, but money (definitely), and holiday time (possibly) mean thats unlikely to happen. Ah well, might have knocked them over on Broadway, especially if they were looking for a middle aged woman confined to a wheelchair for a role lol. Still, keep on dreaming…
Right, video time. One thing a plane is called, is a silver machine, though I doubt thats what they’re talking about here! Dont think its a robotizing pod either, but its almost more likely! Yes, thats Lemmy, of Motorhead fame!
Yes, I know, its been a while, so, what would you like me to tell you about? Being wired up so I rode in a Davros type wheelchair, rather than being pushed in a standard one? That nice mad scientist I met who transformed me into my past life self, Clara Johnson, at the age of 25, with all her dancing skills (and seemingly she had plenty), so I’ve been dancing the nights away at delightful flapper style parties, darlings? Or the journey on that flying saucer that whisked me across the Atlantic, in about an hour, maybe? Flight diverted to Hollywood, so I could sign up for a big acting role? Or would you prefer the dull, actual, truthful version of events lol?
Oh, by the way, if anyone wants to set me up for any of those first 4 events mentioned, I’d love it! I know, I know, in my dreams, nothing more…but… 😉
OK, lets catch up on reality, before I get the full makeover, as mentioned above! Ooh, that would be fun, mind!
Saturday saw my first ride in a wheelchair for 50 years. I suspect it wont be the last holiday I need one at an airport, but we will see… It started off smoothly enough, as I got wheeled through security, and me, and my luggage checked over, without me actually ever leaving the chair. Then, after a slight delay on the flight (plane had to stop inbound, due to a medical issue, so was nearly an hour late leaving), I was wheeled down to the gate, and told someone would be back to take me down to the plane to board. Yes, fine, never happened, so eventually the Rep asked if the 2 of us were able to get to the plane under our own steam, so I went for it. Unfortunately, having taken the brace off, thinking I wouldnt need it again (its neoprene, and warm to wear for very long periods), I struggled the way with my hand luggage, and pulled it off. But yes, instead of having plenty of time to stow my bag, I was pretty much the last one on, but as I had a double seat to myself, I was able to get my bag stowed away anyway.
Arrival at Boston was good, and efficiently done. The two of us might have been the last ones off, but we were probably 2 of the Brits through first, all the same. Given I have a black, expanding suitcase, just like dozens of others, I need to get some pink, or rainbow tagging around the handle, so I can recognize it easier, even more so when you arent close to the conveyor belt, being in a wheelchair, and all that!
The rest of the day, just fine. After arrival at hotel (Kate had already booked us both in), we ended up calling out for food, chatting a lot, just having a good time.
Sunday afternoon, we came down to this glorious place we’ve rented on Cape Cod. Well, Kate did all the hard work booking it, I just paid a share of the costs really. Yes, its gorgeous! I’m sat in the living area, with a stunning view of the sea, typing this now. We ended up having pizza, watching NFL, just having fun.
Monday, being 2 ladies of reasonable leisure for the week, and given that neither of us are in the perkiest of health, we had a quiet day. Finished off for me at least, by getting my annual chance to swoon over Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football!
This morning, I had a couple of cups of coffee, sat outside, complete with a couple of muffins for breakfast, and just enjoyed the sun. Havent seen a lot of it in the UK this summer, so a real delight. Since then, just relaxed, and given my body the break it really needs. We’re here, somewhere near Mashpee, on Cape Cod, until Thursday morning, and I’m loving every minute of it. Might get another ride in a wheelchair at the 2 stations on Thursday, will have to wait and see. Or the next one, may be at JFK on Monday evening!
Yes, Thursday, I need to start getting into bridesmaid mode, but more on that later in the week. Thats when I could really do with that 25 year old, Clara Johnson makeover lol, especially if I’m expected to dance at the reception afterwards, as I currently have 2 left feet, in that sense. Where’s a good mad scientist when you need one, lol?
Right, video time. Yes, the blog title is a slightly tweaked version of that
One thing I’ve often heard said by disabled people, especially those in wheelchairs, is that a large number of people either tend to look away, or look over them, trying to pretend they’re not really there. In honesty, I’ve got to the point where I nearly always try to acknowledge them, even if only briefly in passing, simply to prove that I do know they’re there, and are happy to be seen with them.
The other group of people that I always try to acknowledge in a friendly way, are Muslim women wearing either the Niqab, or occasionally the Burqa, simply to show that I want to be friendly, and supportive of them, unlike sadly too many people nowadays. One thing I enjoy about Bradford is that nearly everybody I see, if not approving of such wear, at least doesnt react in a bad way. Mind, that might be because I only really see it being worn in the city center, though hopefully not the case.
But until now at least, the one thing I’ve never discovered is what life is like on the other side of the issue. Yes, I’d be fascinated to know what life is like inside of the Niqab, or Burka, and show my support for Muslim women who wear it that way, but I suspect its too complex a religious matter for it to ever happen. But yes, it would be both fascinating, and probably informative to spend a day wearing the Niqab, and seeing how people react to those wearing it. Probably only brave enough to do it somewhere like Bradford, or similar community, if going out, but as a whole, just seeing what life dressed like that would be a fascinating experience, and probably one that if more people tried it, we might have a lot less religious issues in the world too.
Yes, I am saying that if someone offers me the chance to wear Niqab, or Burka, either privately, or outside, then I would love to do it. And if it can be done in a way that brings up positive publicity for Muslim women, then so much the better!
Equally, fortunately, up to now, I’ve never known what its like to spend time in a wheelchair. I must have done as a child, when my knees were wrecked at the age of 9 or 10, but you dont expect me to remember that, do you? But at least on that point, in 5-6 weeks time, I’m going to get to see how people react to me in a wheelchair. Will they look me in the face, and be supportive, or will they try to pretend I’m not really there, hmm?
Yes, I have to be practical about my flights in a few weeks time. Currently I can walk to a pretty reasonable degree, and I can sit down without too many pain issues, though how much of that is currently clouded by painkillers, I have no idea! However, the one thing I cant do at present for more than a few minutes, is stand still. And yes, while the check in queue, and the security check queue will require some standing in line, you usually move along at regular intervals, which may, or may not be sufficient for my back not to lock up completely. However, when it comes to the queue at Boston, to go through Immigration principally, and Customs to a lesser degree, is that you tend to stand in 1 place, in a queue, for far longer than that. Now it is possible that in 5 weeks time, my back may be less of an issue, but until I’m on proper medication, I wouldnt like to bank on that. Even if on proper medication, I dont want to be confident on that, and not sure we will reach that point in 5 weeks, anyway.
So yes, today I’ve bitten the bullet (you have to give a minimum of 2 weeks warning, but being realistic, I’m not going to improve dramatically in 3 weeks), and requested assistance from the airline for my travels through the airports. Yes, I know I need it, but that doesnt stop the guilt factor, when I can walk reasonably well, but thats just my nature, I guess?
But yes, it will be fascinating to see how ‘fit people’ react to this ‘poor old lady’ in a wheelchair, I must say. So yes, if on 9th September, at Manchester Airport (or Boston later that day), you see a middle aged lady in a wheelchair, be nice to her, it might just be me! Yes, same plan booked for JFK flying back on evening of 18th, just saying…I wonder?
Right, video time. No, I have no plans to be wearing this while sat in my wheelchair, though it might be fun if I was! But yes, feel free to look at me, all the same!
Yes, given where I’ve just flown back from, you might have worked out what the song is tonight, for the last ‘double’ blog for a while. You might not guess who’s singing it, unless you look though. Thats right, not Albert Hammond!
Yesterday morning, I had a text (well actually they sent me 2, for some reason?) they moved my shuttle time forward by 15 minutes, because we folk who share shuttles tend to have to fit in with others in the area, to save them cost, which is fair enough. Anyway, irony, just as I’m about to shut down the laptop, pack it away, and get ready to go, the phone rang. Yes, you guessed it, the shuttle driver, saying it was actually back to the original time. Yes, stop laughing, there was a good reason, incident on the freeway, or so he told me.
Anyway, at the newly agreed time of 12.30, I’m stood outside, when the shuttle pulls up. That was when the fun started. He’d managed to get hold of me, and warn me, but had no joy with the other 2 he was meant to be picking up, phones not connecting or something, probably given the wrong number? Anyway, as we were heading off in the right direction, his phone rang. Yes, one of them was contacting him, to see where he was. Thing is, we went to the address he’d been given for her, not there. So now, he rang back, and she gave him a totally different address, thankfully not too far away. Even then, she couldnt tell him where she was, as she didnt know the name of the road she was on! We found her, eventually, so one to go…? No joy, no one at the address he had, so off we headed to the airport.
As we were getting close to the airport, his phone rang. Seemingly the woman we’d never found had rung them to find out where he was. Anyway, he got ‘ticked off’ for not telling them, but for whatever reason, he didnt seem to care too much, part of the job I guess? Finally, as he was dropping us off at the airport, he checked for his next job. Now whether this was just the luck of the draw, or someone at head office was feeling vindictive, but apparently it was 66 miles away from the Airport!
I booked in, and was directed to an escalator to get to the security gates. Fine, except when I get there, I get told no, and get directed to the other end of the building! After that, everything went fine, until this morning.
One of the beauties of premium economy flight, is that your case gets a priority tag, so should be one of the first on the baggage carousel at Manchester. Well…It doesnt appear, and when the dreaded sign, delivery completed, comes up, off I head to the rep’s desk, along with a few others, in similar position. However, just when I fear I’m not getting my case today, lo and behold, she finds a few cases that somehow missed the carousel, and were sat out the back. Yes, my case was one of them!
After that, and with the assistance of a lovely lady, with a mobile phone, I firstly warned the taxi driver about the delay, and then sorted out where to meet him. From there, journey home was straightforward, thank goodness.
Oh, one last thing. For September, I had noted that Expedia had a nice price for a Virgin Premium Economy flight into Boston, and back out of JFK was being offered a couple of weeks back. Of course, by the time I’ve got things sorted, back in the country, price has shot up £200! Thankfully, much to my surprise, and delight, Thomas Cook Airlines wasnt as basic as I expected, albeit I was in Premium Economy, but anyway…
To cut a long story short, they have flights to fit, and its about £150 cheaper than the economy Virgin price is now! I know, I’m hoping the leg room in economy is reasonable, but I’ll take my chance, especially as it will be a much shorter flight. In truth, the outbound flight is a better time too, but yes, only some of their flights have premium seats, and this wont be one of them! Ah well… It never rains, but it pours.
Which leads me to the video. Found this Barry Manilow version of said song, and actually, I think I prefer it!
Oh fine, I’m lying, I only wish I had known I was a woman all along, but anyway…Yes, the clues were there from an early age, but how was I to know?
But yes, one thing I’ve known for 18 months at least, is that at some point, I’d complete the full circle, and fly somewhere on a passport that said I was a woman, and tomorrow is that day. I know, no one at the airport is even going to realize how special that moment is to me, because to them, I’ll just be another woman checking in, going through passport control, and other stuff.
So after that, I’ll have had the full set, a male passport while ‘living’ as a man, a male passport when I’d transitioned in every way except the passport, and now, finally, the full female self. And a different name for each too!
I know, its silly, because everything in life is equally important, but for a traveller like me, this passport, and the chance to use it, is just so special, all the same. But yes, that moment when I will do the last thing I did as a man, but never as a woman according to the legal niceties, has only a few hours to go now, cant wait.
So, if you’re flying through Terminal 1 at Manchester Airport tomorrow, and see a very happy old lady, there’s a fair chance it will be me!
I will be amazed if anyone has heard tonights video before, unless like me, you’re a big Rocky Sharpe fan. But yes, the clue is in the blog title
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…
In fact it was a couple of things that reminded me today, that the last time I flew anywhere, was a year ago tonight, when I took the flight from Atlanta, to Manchester, having first crossed the US, from Los Angeles. And yes, the best bit, that when I fly again (probably next May, unless things happen beyond my belief), not only will I have a new name, but a new gender too. Ironically, the only thing that will be the same will be the city at the other end of the flight, Los Angeles.
Yes, one of the things that reminded me was Facebook, and their ‘on this day’ thing, which I hate, but still find very useful, I must admit. Though in fact, they’d been beaten to it, by a couple of Americans, on ‘Pardon The Interruption’ this morning, though that was actually yesterdays edition, but fine, they mentioned the anniversary of the first game of last years World Series, between the Mets, and my Royals, because it lasted over 5 hours, went 14 innings, and yes, I watched all of it while preparing to fly back home to England. Yes, the advantage I had then, it started at 5 in the afternoon, my time, instead of 1 in the morning, as it does now!
At present, its still the only World Series game I’ve seen live (only on TV), though hopefully at some point in the future, there might be more? Yes, the Royals won, went on to be champions, and as they say, the rest is history! The next morning, I got up early, had breakfast, and waited for the shuttle to take me back to the airport, and home!
Funnily enough, one year on, today, I finished my training course for my new job, and start my regular hours on Monday. Yes, a later start, so a later rising time, but a later finish too. How it will work out time wise, for other things, I will have to wait and see. But I still plan to do this on my 2 days off, before any blog readers show concern. Should be Tuesday, and Sunday in future, for those who care!
But I just wanted to say a quick thanks to 2 men I love watching, Tony Kornheiser, and Mike Wilbon, for reminding me this morning of that amazing match, and wonderful place I watched it.
Yes, this time last year, I was in the air tonight, so there is one obvious video. A recent live version, ooh!
Its funny, how when you expect to have problems, everything goes smoothly. Pretty much sums up yesterday’s journey here.
OK, fine, the roadworks on the motorway getting to the airport was a pain, but in all honesty, I got there with time to spare, and walked to the booking in counter, in about 15 seconds flat, from the queue. The challenge of security…absolute stroll!
Plane took off pretty much to time, landed much the same. Funny point, I started the journey with a double seat to myself, then a few hours in, a man excused himself, and moved in next to me. Said his viewing screen wasnt working, but anyway…Fine, it must have been that, as he went back to his original seat about 30 minutes before landing. Ah well…
Then, the only low point of the whole trip, Philadelphia Immigration. Seriously, they are the main reason I dont travel more with US Airways, they are awful. Transatlantic jet arrives, hundreds get off, and 2 Immigration officers are on! Eventually, and I do mean eventually a couple more turn up, I get through, and… you have to go back through security after clearing customs, and generally at Philadelphia, thats as much joy as going through Immigration. Yesterday, sailed through! I was actually at the other terminal waiting for the Albany plane 20 minutes before boarding, instead of dashing on at the last moment. Hey, I even went to the rest room, got a coffee, and…amazing stuff.
Met at the airport as planned, and a smooth journey to the hotel. Hey, I suspect I even spotted the Albany hotel I stayed at in 1988, but dont quote me on that. But it was in the right area, had the right colour sign, so…
Hotel is very good, not that I expected anything else from Best Western, to be honest.
This morning I went across town, to meet up with James for a short while, then back into town, a bite of lunch, and currently, a little NFL. Oh, the lady in Dunkin Donuts loved my accent!
Tonight, I wont go too far to eat, just tossing up between the restaurant here, or a pub/restaurant about 2 doors up.
Tomorrow, off to New Hampshire overnight, to be hypnotised by an expert, and see what develops. I’m pretty sure, at some point, I will believe I’m Jean Harlow! Still, more of that on Tuesday, I suspect.
For now, a video that sums up how things have gone so far
Yes, I admit it, I’m one of those who fall into the group of surviving the flight across the Atlantic, not enjoy it. Doesnt matter what I do, an 8 hour flight, I get bored. I know, I’m not the only one, but anyway, this time around, the flight out flew by, and the one back wasnt so bad either, though I’ve given my knee a bit of a bashing, trying to get into a decent sleeping position, but…
The difference? I had a really good book to read, the Louise Brooks biography, by Barry Paris, and its really good.
Fine, I already knew Louise could be a ‘bit’ awkward to deal with, but reading this, I’ve discovered just how much of a nightmare she must have been to deal with, throughout her life! It really is fair to say that the only thing angelic about her, was her looks! You could forgive her some of her awkwardness in later life, due to all the health problems she had, but Louise was the same throughout her life!
Still glad I discovered her though! 😉
No idea what I’m reading for the Albany trip though at present. I do have a Jean Harlow biography, but have been advised that I ‘might’ get annoyed by some of the tales in it. Hmm…?
Oh, and lastly, I might be a 30’s girl at heart, but there are some modern tricks that are a boon. This morning, at Manchester Airport, no more showing your passport to someone, my chipped passport gets slid into a machine, a photo check done, and…through you go!
Ah well, tomorrow, back to work we go!
The video, perhaps what we have to offer up for (Mary) Louise Brooks,
Yes, I made it home safely, not without a little entertainment from a stubborn air passage thing at Manchester this morning, that refused to budge for about 10 minutes, but after that…its back to work tomorrow! Just hope I’m not too jet lagged, in all honesty. Normally work decides to give me the Monday off, to get over it, but this year, in their wisdom, I’m working tomorrow, then off Tuesday. Then working Wednesday, off Thursday, yes, great logic there, isnt there?…rolls eyes…
But besides that, what is there to say, beyond hi, and letting you know I got back here. Oh, the fact that I spent a silly amount on a dress, maybe? I went in Macy’s at the local shopping mall, and there was this most wonderful, blue, 20’s style flapper dress. What I would term cleavage cup style, so I wouldnt even have given away any trade secrets when wearing it. Fine, its only a 12, but thats a US 12, so should fit. Snag, its a zip up type at the back, and they can always be a challenge. So it proved, I couldnt quite get the zip to do up, aargh. I should have taken that as a sign, I really didnt want to spend $100 on a dress anyway, and leave it at that.
No, I cant do anything that easy, can I? There was a pink dress, equally flapper style in look, but with shoulder straps, instead of strapless, but…they had it in a size 14! Yes, it fitted, and yes, I bought it! It is gorgeous, but both were above the knee dresses, so I ended up having to buy hose as well, due to the state of my knees, not a pretty sight.
Well, I’ll wear it for the work Christmas do, I might wear it again if we all go out for Christmas dinner, but after that…? We will see!
Oh, and last week taught me one other thing, my knees prefer me wearing a skirt, far less restrictive on the joints than trousers. To be honest, I changed into a skirt Sunday, didnt wear trousers again until coming home Saturday. I know, modern women wear trousers to work, but I’m tempted. The high heels, no, I dont think I’ll be wearing those to work though lol!
Right, the video. No, nothing to do with the blog whatsoever. Just that its a brilliant band, a great song, and I love the gold wig. Well, you could say its about the 2020’s I guess, and my look is 1920’s lol!