So, lets get to the last 4 months of the year now, when a few things might have happened!
To do it in strictly in chronological order, the first new experience in September, was being wheeled through an airport in a wheelchair! In truth, I possibly could have survived the security experience at Manchester Airport (especially as I would have got Fast Track routing as a premium economy customer), but there was absolutely no way I was ever going to stand in the Immigration queue at Boston, I went with the ‘full in’ option. So fine, at Manchester it didnt quite work as planned (twice, but more on that later), as I got wheeled through security, and to the gate, but no one ever appeared to take me to the gate! So in the end, I managed to get myself down, and aboard the plane, but ironically that meant I was last on, not first! Boston end, it worked perfectly, and I can safely say I have never got through Immigration so quickly in my life, even if you allow for the time I waited on the plane before I got off!
The first few days on Cape Cod was a delight (Saturday night in Boston, went down there on Sunday) with Kate, just relaxing, and giving my back a wonderful break. Then, on the Thursday, we both headed back to Boston, Kate to head off somewhere with her partner, and me to head to Mahopac, NY, via Stamford (c/o Amtrak) to go to a friend’s wedding. Initially I’d assumed I would be going as a guest, then told I was a bridesmaid, only to find out I was Maid of Honor! Thankfully for all the others there, I didnt catch the wedding bouquet lol! It was an amazing experience, thanks go to Stacie, and Eric for the honor of doing that for me. Also thankfully, I was relaxed enough over those last few days that I managed to lay off the painkillers for just long enough to be able to drink at the wedding reception. Fine, I made up for it that night, but anyway…
Flying back afterwards was entertaining. Firstly, for some reason best known to themselves, the airline staff at JFK started boarding people, before boarding me in a wheelchair. It seemed they realized pretty quickly, and sent me through, but it was an interesting journey through all these people who had no interest in giving way to a passenger in a wheelchair!
On arrival at Manchester, chaos ensued. As had shown at JFK, I was the only person who had booked a wheelchair. Therefore, on arrival at Manchester, one wheelchair arrived, for me. Thing is, 5 people suddenly decided they needed a wheelchair, and one woman (who had the physical strength to push me out of the way!) decided she was taking it! Anyway, in the end, after a bit of a delay, a few more wheelchairs arrived, though only 1 extra pusher, and we eventually got through, but after quite a delay, obviously. Not helped by the fact that one person clearly didnt have the right paperwork (not sure if she was from my plane, or a holdback from a previous flight?). In the end, I sort of got up, collected my case, and struggled through on foot (someone pushed my case, thank goodness) to where I was being met! I only hope Manchester Airport does better next May, we will see!
After that, its fair to say that the year settled into LGBT mode at work. A presentation to just over 100 people on working as a Transgender person in my Civil Service Department, and gaining a position on a committee dealing with LGBT issues within said Department are 2 of the delights that followed. Oh, and on top of that performance, was of course, the performance as an Elf very recently!
Lastly, on Christmas Day, on Facebook of all places, someone posted a picture in one of the groups, of a young lady, in Christmas mode, of an event that happened nearly 90 years ago (1929). Yes, an unknown lady, at a pre-Christmas event in Los Angeles, way back when. Except…she looked familiar to me. Comparison to a few pictures taken about 5 years later, and agreement from a couple of other people on the matter, that lady is no longer unknown, to a few of us at least. Yes, 99.9% certain its a certain Clara Johnson! Talk about dream Christmas present, especially as in total, there were 3 pictures! Oh fine, here’s one of them, of her, at 24!
And thats about it! Two more working days in 2017, Friday all day, and a half day on Saturday! Not expecting anything major to happen, but we will see?
The video, big clue in the title. A live version of the song, from 2012, which means no Kirsty MacColl, but the woman gives a decent, if clearly rather starstruck performance
Tomorrow, a look forward to 2018, and what might, or will happen
No, if you think I’m wearing a yellow polka dot bikini, you’re going to be disappointed! Not even post surgery, if/ when it happens, lol! 😛 But the video, well, maybe…?
Fine, after the deservedly serious nature of Monday’s blog, lets get a little more fun, if only to allow me to let off some steam.
One issue I have with standard swimsuits for women, and the cut of them, is the fact that they really arent designed for pre-op Trans women, lets face it. Fine if there is only me, or people who know, and no one else, but otherwise, some might object lol! Me, in an ideal world, I’d go with the burkini, because it hides all issues quite nicely, and besides which, I love the design of them. But yes, for a white Trans woman, I’m just concerned that it might cause more issues than its worth, if I got one. And before anyone says anything, I’d be more concerned about white right wing men, than I would from Muslims! Sad, but true.
So in truth, I’d pretty much given up on the whole idea of swimming, or even wearing a swimsuit ever again, but then along came my back issue, that you already know about. Lets face it, one gentle form of exercise that would do me good, involves swimming, or even just walking across swimming pools full of water, working against my back.
Now in a perfect world (joke), some surgeon would immediately offer to remove, err the obstacle to wearing a swimsuit, with no recovery issues whatsoever. In a practical world, it would take time to arrange, and post surgery, it would be a while before you swam again!
There is however, one intermediate option, to get a swimsuit with a skirt! It enables me to swim as a woman, the skirt will hide the obvious issue, sounds good? So yes, I’ve ordered one today. Just hope it arrives before I fly out on holiday, as that will be a good time to wear it. Not just in water, but if I’m relaxing outside, at the place where I’m staying with my friend, if the weather is decent, then perfect! I have another friend (the one getting married) who would probably get me in water too, but I suspect we wont have the time. I suspect the Friday will be lively, in preparation, and I think she should have other plans for the Sunday than me! Then on the Monday, its back to NYC, and home. So…?
So yes, if you’re on Cape Cod in a fortnights time, and see a middle aged woman relaxing, in a cute swimsuit, complete with skirt, it might just be me! Well, unless someone wants to buy me a burkini, because then…? 😉 Just hope it arrives in time now!
OK, video time. Yes, its the obvious song from the title, but not the obvious version. Sorry, Brian Hyland, but… This version actually topped the charts here in the UK in 1990, and its just one of those songs that gets stuck in your head, so apologies!
Though strictly for some of my readers, its already 2017 by the time I type this! But for me, 2016 has still got a few hours to go, so…
As someone elsewhere wrote, who knows what 2017 holds in store for us? Especially for those of us that arent to the right in politics, there are a couple of issues, either side of the pond to concern ourselves about. Over here, the big hot potato is Brexit, and though I’m far from a fan of the EU, I still think we’re better off in it, than out of it, but…The other big issue is the soon to be President of the US, who in all honesty, scares me. I hope he doesnt just think the nuclear red button is a toy to use, when he gets annoyed on Twitter, but anyway, nothing I can do!
For me, assuming good health, and good fortune, I have a few things planned out for the year, something else I suspect might be inevitable, and beyond that, who knows? At least I can go into 2017 feeling a lot better about life than I did at this time last year! But what little surprises will come along, good or bad, who knows?
The biggest thing I’m looking forward to, is my first flight formally as a woman! Now that is going to be special, and more fun because it will be back to LA. I could actually book it now, if I could decide on my planned options, as to which one to take. If anyone wants to give me £400, so I can take the best of both worlds, trip wise, would be handy. I know, I know…
The other trip officially planned at present is to New England, in September, to meet up with Kate again, and hopefully meet a couple of people for the first time. That trip, I’m also sort of hoping to get back to a brilliant hypnotist again, and let him grill Clara Johnson, my past life self, for far more details about her! Irony, the last time I flew to both these places, I had to change flights en route, next year, I will be able to do both as one direct flight!
Then we come to the thing that I’m not looking forward to, but am beginning to accept its going to have to happen. Both my knees seem to be deteriorating fast, and I feel the right knee especially, and in all truth, the left one as well, are going to have to be replaced with artificial joints at some point in the not too distant future. I’m hoping to put them off until after the 2 holidays, but will have to wait and see if I can keep going that long. Fingers are crossed! Yes, it is the resulting pain, and all the related stuff thats putting me off, but I guess its not going to get better, only worse, so…? But yes, if anyone knows a means of pain free surgery to get them done, let me know!
Beyond all that, who knows? I might get a modelling session in the US (I plan to get to the agency in LA in May), or even a theater role, or movie role, but I wont be holding my breath for any of those to actually happen. In truth, its about the only way I plan not to be in the same job at the end of the year, all things assuming they still want me by then!
I might actually get to some cricket in Ireland too, but not sure I can balance the finances, and holiday allowance for that, but we will see. I might even write a new book, but finding the time, and the inspiration for that, might be complex.
Yes, in addition to all this, I know something totally unexpected is likely to come along, but what that will be, who knows? Maybe that flying saucer will arrive, maybe that full working robot suit will, though I would say the chances of either are miniscule, to put it mildly, lol! In truth, just have to wait and see. The one thing I’m sure of, if I survive that long, I’ll reach my 59th birthday, wow! Yes, I feel that old!
Right, video time. Something not relating to the blog tonight, just for once. You know how you have those songs you shouldnt have a soft spot for, but do? Yes, I have one that seems apt at present.
Yes, I am joking on that front, because the last holiday I had, nearly a year ago now, is pretty near unforgettable. I’m not sure when I’m going to actually forget those 4 glorious weeks, if ever, but as things stand, its still my last holiday, and its going to be at least spring (unless something amazing happens) before I have another one. But yes, I’ve had to start thinking about that, for a very good reason. Besides which, I’m hopeful something as cheery, and non political as this might do better than last nights blog, which seems to have generally sunk like a lead balloon!
The reason I’ve started thinking about this, is not because I’ve come into copious amounts of money just yet, though hopefully things will start to look up on that front soon, but because where I’m now working offers you a priority choice of 2 holiday weeks for next year. Thing is, those dates have to be in this week, so…
I know, I dont have to think of locations at this point, just more work out a suitable date, but hey, this is me, and they tend to get related. So, priority one was contacting Kate, seeing when (and if) she fancied putting up with me again for a week, and it seems she does. Given it will be 2 years by next September, she’s had plenty of time to recover, anyway! I’ve got a week to work on for then, so thats one sorted. New England, if you were curious to know. With chance, I might even get to my hypnotist again, in New Hampshire, and he can ‘force’ Clara Johnson to give up a few more secrets about herself!
The other, me alone, takes a bit more planning. Firstly, the date, given Easter is late next year, which means a late April getaway, between UK Bank Holidays, becomes a bit of a challenge. So yes, I’m thinking May, either the week after the first Bank Holiday of the month, or the week after look good dates to me.
Next question was to myself, or more correctly, my body, as to whether it can stand another trip to the West Coast? Given it will be 18 months, my inclination is yes! In that case, it comes down pretty much to 3 choices, one of which is LA, though I’m sure it would be a hotel, if only for a week. Apartment (as I mentioned recently) is no longer available, so all in all…
The other 2 (less recently visited) options are a shade north of there, either San Francisco, or Seattle, both cities I love, and havent been to in a while. In truth, I’m pretty sure that I wont make any plans on that front until I know what week I’ve got, and how the baseball schedules look! Yes, I have to have my dates in by the 10th, next years schedule is announced on the 13th! In truth, that probably favours either of Seattle, or Los Angeles, as my preferred teams, and who has a home fixture to suit, or a home fixture at all! I love the park in San Francisco, but the Giants, and the A’s (over in Oakland) really arent teams I should be rooting for lol!
But yes, at last, I can start dreaming of US holidays again, a lovely thought. Especially as it will be my first trip on a female passport, something I’m really, really looking forward to!
The video is something I found by chance. Very early Village People, nearly 40 years old!
When I was in LA last October, and still looking at more interesting job options, I made initial contact with an agency called Transgender Talent, to see if there was any possible openings for a more mature woman like me, or if they were principally only interested in younger Trans people, of talent. As irony would have it, despite applying a few days after I arrived there, I didnt get a reply until after I got back, about 4 weeks later, asking if I was still there, as she’d love to meet me. Of course, I couldnt, but she took my details, said she’d keep my photos on their records, and see what happened. Primarily I was thinking mainly of photo shoot type things, though I did mention that in the past, I’d dabbled with a little acting, but thought no more about that.
About a month ago, I got a notice from her, that there was an industry workshop today, in LA, where people interested in working with diversity actors, and actresses would be networking, and holding workshops. Given the chances of me making LA today, at present, were pretty much zero, about a week ago, I sent off some more recent pictures of me to her, in case she wanted some fresh stuff, in the hope of getting someone interested in me, for modelling purposes, at least.
What I wasnt seriously expecting to get back, a few days later, was an email asking me if I had a Green Card, or current visa, to work as an actress in the US! It seems that an acting gig was available in the North East corner of the US, seeking someone who was a UK transgender actress, and if I had the paperwork, did I want to do it? I gather they had selected someone for the role, but she was struggling to get her paperwork in time, so…? Sadly, no, I havent. Currently, I dont even have an ESTA in my new name, let alone anything more! Strictly, I’m in the time limit on my old one, but because of the name change, and the new passport, that doesnt count! And fine, practically, if she couldnt get the paperwork in time, I’m not going to, either! I couldnt strictly afford it at present, anyway, but thats a mere sideline to the time involved to get it!
No, I dont know all the details of the role, I did ask for them to be sent to me, but I guess she thought there was no point, seeing I lacked the work credentials. I suspect it wasnt a major part, in major theaters, or she wouldnt be asking me, with my limited recent experience, but who knows? But yes, I only wish I could, would have been the experience of a lifetime!
Lastly, no, I never heard a thing back about the advert shoot. I’m suspecting the fact that strictly I was too old, and I’m not in North America would have counted against me, for sure. Might have been nice to have heard it was that, but such is life with job applications nowadays lol!
OK, the video. Now I’m not saying this acting turn would have made me a star anywhere, but who knows? And besides, to my surprise, I havent used this song before on here! But me, a star in New York, or LA, now wouldnt that be something?
Yes, I know, this normally requires 2 blogs, to keep them at sensible lengths, but I think 1 will probably do this year. 2015 has been a funny year, highs, and lows, and not much in between!
I must admit, if you’d told me back in January, when I learnt of the redundancy offer from Hills, that I’d still be job hunting at the end of the year, I’d have laughed at you. Fine, I’m not laughing now, but I’m still standing, for now at least. I was offered an option to stay on, but given it was the third time in 6 years that they’d made me redundant, and the offer was very good, I decided to go for it. One of the main issues for staying on, apart from being worn down by shop staff, was that I’d have to get myself home after 10.00 finishes, and buses dont run late enough for that around here. So I went for it, and took the chance to up my April holiday from 7 days, to 10, in Hollywood, as I wouldnt have to worry about holiday allowances by then! I actually left at the very end of March, having also managed to do the last escalated agent shift, a little while earlier.
Ignoring most details of job hunting efforts (you’ve suffered enough of those over 9 months), the big event in April was that first visit to Hollywood, the 10 day hotel based adventure. As you know, I fell in love with the place, but more of that later. Yes, its a crazy place, and thats not usually my scene, but for once…Fine, I soon discovered that even 10 days wasnt enough, and pledged I would have to return some day, not realising how soon that would be!
Pretty much nothing exciting then happened, until the end of August, when I decided that unless I did something to break the sequence of frustrating job interviews, I was going to do something crazy, or just go crazy. So, I did something crazy! I looked into, and ended up booking a 4 week stay, starting at the very end of September, in a rented apartment in the Hollywood Hills. It was going to make the money issue ‘more interesting’, but I could do it, needed to do it, so it was happening!
Earlier in September, I’d had booked, for quite a while, a week on Cape Cod, with my wonderful friend, Kate. It was a lovely break, and teaming up with her again was wonderful. Then it was back to the UK, for a whole 10 days, before setting off for my Hollywood apartment! Again, the details of the trip can be found in the blog, so lets focus on the other issues. All my travel to the US before, has been staying in a hotel. But I discovered that having your own little apartment is pure heaven! No, I wouldnt do that for a 7 day stay probably, but anything longer than that, absolutely! Oh, and to a slight degree, even a combined total of 38 days in LA isnt enough to see everything! Fine, one thing I would love to have seen (Harlow’s home in Easton Drive) was out of range of a non driver, but otherwise…
Oh, and one thing got delayed, because of the 2 close together trips to the US, the change of name, and in passport terms, the change of gender. But immediately after I got back, the name change request went through, and in the last 10 days (because I’ve been using my old passport for ID), the passport change has finally been arranged, and as the fee has now been taken, I’m now definitely known as Harlean (other than those who are so used to using Steph/Stevie/Stephanie at least), and I’m definitely female, with an extra bit, for now at least. I cant see me removing it, unless need really arises, but never say never…Really looking forward to moving forward as Harlean, and no gender issues related to passport.
Fine, lets not mention that awful job choice I made in December, when I could have been on a research trial, OK? Live, and learn, I guess?
The video, what I seem to have been this year, judging by the amount of time I’ve spent there (about 45 days in all!). A clever video, for a song too old to have had one.
Yes, lets get in the holiday mood tonight. Fair thing to do, as looking at matters, this is likely to be the last blog from the UK for a little while. Tomorrow is getting my body ready for the trip day, which at my age, is going to take a while. Friday, I will need to pack, get to the overnight hotel, and not be too late to bed, given I will have to be up reasonably early the next morning, for my 10.15 flight. So yes, next blog should be from Cape Cod.
I have been there once before with Kate, I think it was 3 nights, spent at 2 different hotels, in the same group. Why, because the first hotel had internet in reception, but not in the rooms, not much use for either of us. So they moved us along the coast the next day, to a hotel that fitted our needs, and that was that. A trip to Martha’s Vineyard, a trip out whale watching, and some nice places, and thats about all I can remember. Ironically, this time will also be 2 hotels on the Cape, one for the first night only, as we couldnt get in the planned hotel all week. Then back to a hotel near Boston Airport for Friday night, after a relaxing week.
Yes, a relaxing week. Its fair to say that both Kate and I need a break, though for differing reasons. Her, because work has been crazy, and me, because job hunting has got stressful in the extreme! I must say I’m looking forward to the company, and the break.
And then, after that, get ready for part 2, more of which after I get back.
The video, an absolute oldie, found via a You Tube search
Are supposed to always get you down, and yes, that is a huge clue as to what the video is lol!
But given summertime is now over, on both sides of the pond, its pretty clear that very soon, winter will be on its way. Indeed, just about an hour ago, they showed the view from Foxboro, where the New England Patriots play, and it was snowing! Hopefully there wont be too much of that in Albany, in 3 weeks time, but at the same time, I wouldnt be shocked if there was.
The biggest change at work, is the horse racing. It now starts much earlier, and in terms of the non floodlit meetings at least, it has to end earlier too. Lets face it, most sports nowadays pretty much take place under lights at all times anyway. Flat racing does, though for obvious safety reasons, jump racing doesnt.
So, the baseball season is finally over, after about 7 months of non stop play, I’m sure the players will be grateful for the break. Kansas City fell at the last step, a shame, but after 29 years of nothing post season, pretty awesome all the same. I must admit, Ice Hockey and Basketball dont have much interest for me, though I do plan to take in an Ice Hockey game in Albany, while away.
Yes, 3 weeks from now, you’ll be getting blogs from there, the next big event in my seemingly growing social schedule. 2 weeks later, the works Christmas dinner, for which I booked my hotel room earlier today. I will probably wear the new dress, though the mischievous Harlow element in me wants to wear the much shorter, sexier, blue sparkly dress instead, and show off some leg! I’m sure sanity will prevail, the longer dress, but we will see… 😉
The other thing I did today, was to book the rail tickets for Newbury, for January, after which I will definitely have the Harlow look, in style! Not that I’m as shy as I used to be, but I suspect that once I have the full look (including beauty spot) I might be even more confident in my new self. As far as I know, Paula has no way to make me think I’m actually Jean, but…
Oh, and the boring winter thing, I need to get sorted in the New Year, an eye test, and new glasses, I suspect. If I can find an optician, offering 30’s style frames…they might get some business! if anyone knows one, in the UK, let me know!
Yes, you should have worked out what the video is, at least I hope you have
Yes, I know technically its a couple of days early, but I dont know how much time I’ll have on Monday, so lets play it safe and do it now.
Actually because of events, a couple of things which have became the norm for me didnt happen. Nothing critical, and both sports related. For the first time in quite a number of years, I didnt get to a Baseball game this year. It was always going to be a ‘one off’ in Seattle in April, but then thanks to a marathon delay from American Airlines, combined with there only being the one game in town on the Sunday the week I was there, it never happened. Funnily enough, unless I have a major change in plans next year, I’ll make it 2 in a row, as neither Wichita, or Rochester have a MLB team. I might get a game of baseball though, of the college kind in Wichita next April, lets see how things play out though, so much depends on other influences for that.
The other, due to Euro 2012, the Olympics, and a few other things was not getting to see Ireland play cricket live, and in the flesh. I did see some of the virtual washout against the Aussies on Sky, but only at work. This is something I definitely intend to correct next year, if only so I can see Trent Johnston play once more before his expected retirement at the end of next season.
So what did happen beyond 2 wonderful US holidays? Well, I got to see my first Louise Brooks film in full, a real delight. And yes, as is well known, I wore a dress to the Works Christmas Dinner, and then again for the house Christmas Dinner too! That may have been a first, but somehow I suspect now, it wont be the last. First wearing of a skirt to work too, but that was slightly less sensational lol!
Seattle, my solo trip in April was lovely, after the initial flight delay, so lovely to see it again before easing off dramatically on West Coast trips, its just getting a bit much for the old body to do it regularly now. September was wonderful, back to New England (and New York State) to meet up again with Kate for a wonderful week, and James for a wonderful day in Albany.
Next year, I go ‘state bagging’ in the US, adding Kansas to my list, and taking the total up to 22. There is a possibility of making it 23, with Oklahoma, but a few things have to fall into place for that. I have a sort of target of 25, but not sure how I get there to be honest. No, I dont expect to get very close to 50 lol! The ‘Louise Brooks memorial tour’ will be fun, even if there is so no great anniversary in her life, it will be special for me all the same. Yes, Wichita, Kansas, where she lived for a few years in 2 splits, and then Rochester, New York, where she died, and is buried.
Beyond that, I dont expect to pick the winner of the Grand National (my only bet of the year nowadays), its been a few years, and I cant see my luck changing lol! Other than that, no idea, will just have to wait and see what 2013 brings, other than my 55th birthday, which God permitting will happen in March. Oh my, I’m getting older lol!
Right, enough words, lets get to the video, and yes, back to form, its the obvious one!
I know, technically this section doesnt finish until tomorrow, but not much is going to happen then, and I’m certainly not trying to type this up at Boston Airport!
Yesterday was a leisurely start, mainly due to fog in the Albany/Berkshires area, and besides, we didnt have as long a trip as going up anyway. In fact, getting here to Foxboro was so straightforward, I’m not going to say more about it. But having got here, thats when “the fun” started. Sat-nav’s are a wonderful thing when they work properly, but when they decide not to…! We had some fun and games heading to the bank and Fedex office, certainly saw more of the area than we needed to. But still the real fun was to come.
We headed to Patriot Place in the evening to eat, had a nice meal at Toby Keith’s, even if it took them 2 tries to get Kate’s order right. Going back, type destination into Sat-nav, even though we had a pretty good idea, it was dark, so safe option…snag was, the Sat-nav for whatever reason didnt take note of the address typed in, and made its own call. Yes, we ended up at a high school, late at night. Yes, from there we were able to convince “her” to take us to the right place!
Today, back to Patriot Place, this time for shopping and things. Had a burger for lunch, but this is cooked fresh in front of you, and the fries were of the proper kind, not what McD offer in the UK! Really good. Then on to the Pro Shop for some American Football team in the same division as Buffalo. If you havent worked out who, well…There is also somewhere there that covers the history of the Patriots, and other New England football teams of all levels and eras. And yes, it is very impressive.
Tonight, out for our final meal together. First place we try, very busy. Second, pretty much the same. As it happens, all worked out quite well. We ended up at a Japanese restaurant, a first for me. No, I didnt have sushi, doesnt appeal to me in the slightest. Had a delicious noodle dish, just dont ask me what it was called now!
Then back here, and all the farewells for now. Kate is off early in the morning, I’m going back to the Airport by shuttle, as she has to get back to work on Sunday, and has plenty to do before then. I would just like to add here all my appreciation to her, and James for everything they have done for me this holiday. Oh, and to her AO, and Fenway, her cute dog, for letting Kate free to spend this week with me.
The video, I was going to use the obvious Kirsty McColl one, but after tonight, I thought of this, as I have used that Kirsty one before.