Category Archives: San Francisco

If I can remember what a holiday actually is?

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!

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Wherever I lay my dress, thats my home?

A funny thing happened during my job hunting this week. Normally, when you apply for a job, the start is going to be (relatively) soon, exactly how soon depending on the whims, and needs of your potential employers. But the job that I should have registered for on Monday, and been assessed on Tuesday, but for events mentioned earlier in the week, wouldnt actually start until November. Why, because it would be working at the brand spanking new shopping centre in Bradford, which only actually opens to the public on the 5th November. Yes, the Westfield shopping centre, only a “few” years late is finally going to open for business! Guess what, they are looking for concierge agents already, well in advance.

Good news, on Thursday, when I got there, seems there are still vacancies. And there will be an assessment day, for those roles on the 20th. And if you pass, you hear soon after, great stuff. The thing is, thats quite a gap between getting the job, and starting work, and getting paid. I know, I could look for something temporary in the meanwhile, and maybe I would, and should. Though as mentioned before, finding anything at present, for someone of my age, quite challenging! And as an ex workmate has already discovered, our ‘Dear Leader PM’ has decided that for whatever reason you’re not genuinely job hunting, you’re not going to get paid benefits. Lovely chap, so glad I didnt vote for him (yes, sarcasm alert there). So they might get equally feisty with me, probably would, such a ghastly bunch!

In the mean while, I’m carrying on the search for more current jobs, though I’m beginning to get to that ghastly window where employers arent going to be so keen on me, given I’m going away on holiday in 6 weeks time, and those with longer training periods arent going to be interested. Already had one, agency enquired this week, no holidays in first 8 weeks, and I havent even started the process yet!

So, as is my way, I started thinking laterally. Dangerous thing I know, but all the same. No, I dont mean thinking, but if anyone wants to solve that problem, offering me a position, I wouldnt say no! No, I meant the lateral thinking bit lol. Suppose I know I’ve got a job at the end of August, which doesnt start till the beginning of November, what options does it open up? Well, given the fact I’ve been pretty miserly with my redundancy money, one idea came to me. A month away, in the US, in my own rented apartment somewhere, living like a local, with a local address (of sorts). And yes, Hollywood did come to mind, though a couple of other West Coast cities also came to mind (Seattle, San Francisco) because lets face it, for a week, they are a lot of travelling. But for 4 weeks, hmm… And before you say that I’ve only recently spent 10 days in Hollywood, believe me when I say I barely scraped the LA area in that time. Long Beach, Anaheim, Burbank, most of down town…not at all.

Friends have even found me a couple of sites, with plenty of suitable places to rest my head wherever I choose to. But given how badly this job hunt has gone, can you seriously see this playing out as I’m planning it? I wish! Mind, if I could find a call centre that was prepared to interview me now, offer me a job to start in November, that would be handy! Its not like these places dont recruit all the time, but I suspect ‘regulations’ wouldnt permit it.

But yes, I must admit, it didnt take long (a matter of hours, in all honesty) for the idea to grow on me, if I could work it. Yes, even if its not truly my place, the idea of having a Hollywood address of my own, even for just 4 weeks, would be wonderful.

OK, I’ll wake up to the reality now, its not going to happen, I’m sure, but I can wish, and plot…No, I’m sure the dream wont go as far as finding a job in LA lol, but again…! If someone wants me to dress up as Iron Man (girl) or something, and have photos taken, I wouldnt say no. Not sure the Jean Harlow look would be popular enough nowadays.

OK, to the video. Well, the blog title is a play on this, as a dress is more apt for me than a hat

The climax of the baseball season

Yes, tomorrow night, in Kansas City, the culmination of the baseball season begins. Given that the game will actually start at 1.00 am in the UK, on Wednesday morning, I wont be watching. But in spirit, albeit a sleeping spirit, I will be there.

Its a rare treat, in that I have actually been to both stadiums where the games will take place, and actually enjoyed visiting both of them. The last time there was a World Series when that happened, 1993 when Toronto took on Philadelphia. The Toronto stadium at that time, was the once I visited, but the Philadelphia one wasnt, having being demolished in 2004, and replaced by a very modern stadium that well, I didnt fall in love with!
The last Series between 2 teams I have seen play is far more recent, just 2 years ago, when San Francisco played Detroit. I saw Detroit play, in the now demolished Metrodome in Minneapolis.

But these two…

So lets start with where people leave their heart, San Francisco. AT&T Park is probably one of my all time favourites, probably helped by the fact that the first time I went there (have been twice), I went to an evening game, and not only did I get to watch the baseball, in a wonderful setting, I got to see the sunset over San Francisco Bay, and that was worth the money in itself.
But all in all, its a wonderful setting to see baseball played, though sadly, no one hit a home run into the water while I was there. Have seen it on TV a couple of times, but…

So yes, ironically, under any other circumstances, I would happily support them against most teams, but not this time around.

Because they are playing Kansas City!

So far, I’ve only had the one visit to Kaufman Stadium, about a month ago, when they lost to Boston. As was mentioned in the blog at the time, the service that Kate and I got from the staff, was truly amazing. And seeing those famous fountains, at the other end of the stadium…really good!

I must admit, there are 2 ladies who are the reason I follow Kansas City, Brooks and Harlow. One came from the city, one came from the state of Kansas, so all in all…a big soft spot for me. Neither of course saw the Royals play, they only started playing in 1969. Lets face it, pre war, travel made it impossible for teams to play that far west. And when teams started moving west, California became the big target, so…

And before you ask, I have absolutely no evidence that either lady ever saw a baseball match anywhere!

Given that San Francisco have won it all twice in the last 4 years, Kansas hadnt even made the play offs since 1985, when they actually won the World Series themselves, I might have supported KC anyway. But now, probably the first time I’ve really rooted against SF in all honesty.

Hopefully KC will win, as that would be perfect for me. But at the same time, if a National League team has to win it, well, San Francisco might be my call. But even so, I have to say it, go Royals!

The video, well its about KC, and produced in Cherryvale, surely the perfect combination? I have to thank my friend, Tina for posting it on Facebook in the first place.

Oh, and if any manip/photoshop experts out there want to send me a picture of Jean Harlow, in either a Royals top, or cap, I would so love it, and would post it up. I know, wherever she is watching it from, she’ll be rooting for her home town team

The End of Summertime

Yes, I know, summer actually officially ended about a month ago, but as this weekend marks the time when the clocks go back, you could say this truly marks the end of summertime. And yes, James, before you say it, I know, the US is a week later than us changing back, but as I’m currently living over here…

I’m not sure whether summer actually ever arrived over here lol!

The other thing that marks the end of summer for me at least, being¬†a baseball fan, is the start of the World Series, the end of the very long season. And yes, that starts tomorrow, though it will actually be Thursday morning over here when it starts, but all the same. For a while, it looked like we might have some new teams there this year, but all got turned over in what I will term the quarter finals, I think the official name is the divisional series, but anyway…so San Francisco and Detroit get to return again to the final stage. As 5 of the 6 series so far have gone to the last game, we might be going for a while yet. But given the other was a 4-0 for Detroit, maybe not!

I’ve been to San Francisco, twice in fact, and both times ended up in a wonderful baseball park during my stay. Sadly once was a day game, so didnt get to see the sun set over the Bay, while watching the game, because believe me, thats really something! No, never been to Detroit, nor likely to do so, I suspect.

Actually, this was the first year for some time that I didnt get to a live game while over there. I should have done in April, but if you look back through the blog, well, you’ll see I had fun with American Airlines back then, and Sunday was the only Seattle game at home, so… Strangely enough, I wont next year either, unless either Wichita, or Rochester suddenly get a franchise over the winter lol! Thankfully, care of ESPN America over here, I have seen some live baseball this year anyway, including the Mariners once. But yes, its not quite the same thing as seeing it live in the flesh.

November starts a ‘social whirl’ for me, at least by my standards. As already mentioned, I’m off to see a movie on the 1st, something starring Louise Brooks, whoever she may be lol! ūüėõ Seriously, really looking forward to that. Then later in the month, off to see the musical, Oliver as a birthday treat for someone close to me. Then at the¬†beginning of December, the Works Christmas Dinner. Ah, the busy life of a ‘flapper’, darlings lol! Thats probably it though for a while, unless someone knows something I dont!

Next week actually will bring even more travelling ‘entertainment’ for 9 days, though of course I’ll only be travelling 7 of them. More on that on Thursday’s blog though.

For now, the song is nearly 50 years old, the performance clearly isnt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCNingQlFV0&feature=related

Apartment hunting

No, not for me recently, but had fun helping someone else find somewhere, not that I’m ever likely to visit it, seeing its in Alabama! Maybe that made it easier, knowing that all I had to do was make suggestions, and let him do the hard work. Glad to say he did find somewhere, indirectly at least guided by my suggestions, if nothing more. But yes, it was fun, perhaps surprisingly so, and alright, I started looking at a few other places in the US that I’d love to live in, but arent really likely to, unless they have a major change on immigration rules, or I win the lottery lol!

To be honest, its over a decade since I last looked for somewhere to live for myself, but like riding a bike, it soon came back to me. Even more so when I got guidelines on the area I was searching in, never having been to that area of the US, let alone that locality. But being honest, I suspect if I’d had to do the footwork, it might not have been as much fun. The main thing that surprised me about complexes over there, as opposed to here, are the facilities provided. But then again, I should know the differences, because its more or less the same as comparing hotels between the 2 countries. Free wi-fi internet in hotels over there is the norm, not the exception, and to only¬†a slightly lesser¬†degree its the same with rented apartments, judging by the ones I looked at, at least. I checked, for curiousity sake over here, and beyond the luxury stuff (and even then…) it doesnt happen over here!

Where did I look, for those who are curious? Well, its a pretty obvious list if you know me, either literally, or through reading this. Seattle, Wichita, Rochester and Albany are all on the list, cant think why. San Francisco would have been, but I know there wiuld be out of my budget, or so I’m told! Didnt look at New England, though that was tempting. Again, Alaska was tempting, but didnt take a peek. And no, for those who know me, there was nothing in Cherryvale, Kansas lol! Judging by house prices around there, renting isnt really a likely option in that area, you’d be more likely to buy.

But yes, apartment hunting would I think be fun again, even more so doing it as a woman for the first time. I’m tempted to try and look at a few places in Seattle next month if I have the time, but suspect that might be tricky without any proof of being able to live and work in the US.

The music, a very tenuous link! But given that I found apartment hunting fun, and they were a great group, we have…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ2X9SANsME

The pleasures of baseball

Though I’m sure many of my European readers will be thinking what pleasure is there in a game of ’rounders’ lol! Dont get me wrong, I dont entirely understand the game (to put it mildly), but love the atmosphere of the games, and hey, its fun! Also the fans dont have to be segregated, unlike our wonderful soccer fans in most of the world!

One of the things I really love are the stadia. No, not the modern iniquities like Philadelphia, or the indoor dome of Minneapolis (no longer used) but the delights of Wrigley Field (Cubs), AT&T Park (Giants) and now I can add Fenway Park (Red Sox) to that list.

AT&T is new, even more so compared to the other 2, but it doesnt have the feel of a modern behemoth. It also has the major advantage (for night games at least) of having the sun setting over the bay while watching the game. Fenway and Wrigley are just the opposite. They may have been greatly modernised, but both stadiums still have that unique feel of having been built a long time ago. And they were, both fast approaching their 100th Anniversaries. Also fairly uniquely for sports stadia nowadays, they are both very much part of their city. Part of their problem actually, is the ability to expand to take modern sized crowds.

But I love these places, there is real soul in these places, not just somewhere for fans to sit and watch a game, as is so often the case nowadays, and I love that. I know, time has to move on, but all the same…But as AT&T has proved, you can build a modern stadium¬†with heart, just wish a few more designers realised that!

And I leave you with the ultimate baseball song, recorded even before Fenway, and Wrigley were built!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4-gsdLSSQ0

Cant Help Falling In Love

Oh, did you think you were getting some details on my post romances? Ah well, sorry to disappoint. There was only really one, and though we stayed together for 12 years, it wasnt ‘a fine romance’, but most of that was my fault, and my body problems, not that I knew why at the time. She’s out there somewhere, but wouldnt recognise¬†my name now, even if she saw this.

So alright, its about contriving a blog to fit tonights video find, lol!

Its funny how some cities you visit, you instantly fall in love with. I can only really think of one in the UK that struck me like that, and that would be Inverness. Dont ask me why now, that was over 30 years ago now, and though I havent been there in a long time, and have no idea how its changed, I will always have a soft spot for it.

As has been mentioned before I believe, there is one US city that captured my heart the first time I saw it, and thats Seattle. Maybe its the weather, maybe its the people, or a whole combination of things, but its one of those places I look forward to visiting again, maybe next April if things work out. The only US cities to even get in range are Chicago, and San Francisco, and the latter isnt just because of its whole, very relaxed attitude to LGBT people, though I suspect that might count as a bonus. Chicago, I have no idea why, just had a good feel while there.

Two others deserve a mention, one being my new love of this year, Toronto. I know, its cold in winter, but I almost suspect I could live with that given the chance. Tallinn in Estonia is the other. Like Inverness, the first visit was a long time back, and indeed my only visit so far, and that was 14 years ago now. Again, I suspect a lot has changed there since then. And like Toronto, the winters are a bit chilly lol!

Its actually very windy here tonight, though not as bad as some parts of the UK all the same, thanks to the last remnants of Hurricane Katia, thankfully all will be gone before Saturday when I fly out to Boston. Cant see me falling in love with the place, didnt really do so first time around, 23 years ago, so cant see why it would now?

Oh alright, enough waffling, you want to know about the video I guess? Its hard to believe how long this band has been together, and the line up has barely changed in all that time. Irony is the name of the band refers to the unemployment benefit form of the time, though they certainly havent been out of work since then! It is a cover, but thats something they were good at, excellent cover versions.

So no more, hope you enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajp0Uaw4rqo&feature=related

The end of summer

Sadly we’re now approaching the end of summer, and though September is quite often¬† a decent month weather wise, with the solstice on the 21st, with the sun crossing the equator, its the first sign that winter is coming.

Sadly for me, it also means the end of the cricket season, and nowadays the rugby league season as well. Therefore a quick mention for Keighley Cougars, 2nd in their division, and hopefully going on to have success in the play offs, and ultimately promotiion. Ironically the Irish cricket team still has 4 matches ahead of them, the first starting against Namibia tomorrow, then games against Canada over the following 2 weeks. And then?

Worse for me, as if it hasnt already done so, it means football will be dominating our TV screens, a sport I’m really not a fan of, to put it mildly. I could look forward to the start of the NFL season, but as a Bills fan, thats a moot point as to how much enjoyment that will bring.

Some would say the changing of the season isnt the only thing that needs changing, and I agree, being able to make a new start, somewhere new, with no baggage of who I used to be would be nice. But no, I dont really have the get up and go at my age to do so, well not unless I get help, and currently, thats not a likely event, especially given my lack of major talents, and current North American labour regulations.

So where, ideally would this middle aged TS like to start life anew? I think it might be guessed from previous hints that Seattle would be my number one, I just love the city, and the climate wouldnt be a major change for me. San Francisco is an obvious place for a TS to live, I wouldnt even be out of place there lol! Toronto, Chicago and Buffalo would also be high on my list in an ideal world, though Boston might join them after my break in 2 weeks time.

Yes, I think the holiday will really mark the end of summer for me, so about 3 weeks left then, I guess? ūüėČ

Go west!

Well seeing the pop videos seem to have attracted a crowd, lets not change the system!

Its funny how a song can be so changed, simply by the addition of a video, and some clever keyboard work, and mixing. When this song was first released by the Village People, it was simply about crossing America, and given their gay image (ironically the majority of the group, including the lead singer were not), it was clearly aimed at a better life on the west coast, primarily San Francisco, a city that I will say more of later.

Then the Pet Shop Boys came along, and gave it a whole new feel, mainly it must be said through the amazing video, much of it computer generated of course. All about the Soviets going west, though ironically it was made after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Iron Curtain, but anyway. Its funny, the first few years after the iron curtain came down I spent a few holidays in Eastern Europe, notably Hungary, and the Baltic States, of which Estonia is my favourite, and I must get back there some day.

But in more recent times, my holidays (generally dull, quiet affairs which suit me fine) have seen me going west as well. Some US cities havent grabbed me (New York and Philly principally), while others (Seattle and San Francisco particularly) have really made me fall in love with them, and both I’ve visited more than once. This May I was fortunate enough to visit Toronto, and fell in love with that place too, though not sure what I’d think of it in wintertime lol! Maybe the fact it was my first break as a Ms might have had something to do with it, but I doubt it, just think the city was great. San Francisco was just amazing, I’ve never experienced anywhere like it before, or indeed since, where a t-girl can so openly go shopping for womens clothing, indeed the shop staff are only too delighted to help there! Seattle, I just find a wonderful, laid back city, amazing considering the amount of coffee supposedly drunk there.

This autumn I get to revisit Boston, admittedly nearly 25 years after I was there before, so dont expect to recognise all that much. But I always wanted to go back there, so maybe doing so might push me nearer to visiting Tallinn again. There will be a ‘fun’ element to visiting Boston, I’m involved in a couple of Forums, and people from there who live in the area want to meet me while I’m over there. Fine you might say, but there’s one little snag! When I joined these forums, I ignored the gender thing, wasnt going to claim I was female, but equally my stories and style screamed female, so didnt want to shatter illusions. Snag was, after one posting, the reply was, Stephanie has joined the forum, so what do I do? Yes, alright, I tagged along, thinking I would never meet anyone from there¬†in real life, but…After so many years of playing along, I hate to now shatter peoples image of me, but at the same time…!

So if anyone can do a full change in just over 8 weeks lol…

Ah, alright, you just want the video! So here it is,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNBjMRvOB5M