Category Archives: Toronto

Looking back on 2011

Yes, I do hope to get in one more post this year on Saturday, but that will be looking forward to 2012, so call this the annual review lol.

2011 has been an interesting year to say the least. Its the first year I actually travelled on a passport that said Ms, rather than Mr, and believe me, that was a special moment. Even if due to the wonders of our ‘beloved’ passport office, I still have to show gender as male! The good news, it seemed most places I travelled, the vast majority of people disagreed with that, assuming I was, or making it very clear they thought I was female. Its another reason for loving Boston to be honest, no one would have believed my gender on my passport lol! Nowadays I use the unisex toilets at work, solves all problems for everyone, and is fine by me to be honest.

The only down side to the whole thing has been Leeds GIC, who I have now totally given up on doing anything to help my gender change, and just settling for what changes my body wants to make for itself, some of them quite remarkable ones it must be said.

I guess its not hard to work out my cricketing highlight of the year, Ireland beating England in the World Cup just has to be the one. For a while I was just hoping for respectability, but Kevin O’Brien ensured so much more than that. Getting to see them play live in Belfast beating Namibia twice, was a treat all the same. We’ve made a good start to qualifying for the next World Cup too, lets hope that continues in the New Year, as well as hopefully retrieving the Inter Continental 4 day cup as well, though it will actually be 2013 before both of those conclude.

International travel wise, there were 3 trips this year, 1 mentioned above. The other 2 were Toronto (for the first time beyond the airport transit area) and Boston (for the first time in nearly 25 years!). I really enjoyed both cities, and would love to get back to both soon, though 1 is more likely to happen very quickly (like next year maybe?) than the other, though hopefully it wont be too long before I’m in Canada again. People I met have been well covered in previous postings, so just a brief thanks to Kate, James, and the people of those 2 great cities for some wonderful memories. Especially those in Boston that made it clear they wouldnt have thought I needed any surgery to be a woman!

Work, well its been a pretty good year, no real hassles beyond toilet issues (now solved) and the need to find somewhere else for next years Christmas dinner, please! The staff in the shops I have to take calls from, mmf, no comment on some of them!

Life, well I’ve started writing again, though my suspicion is the current story is going to be a one off, well who knows, I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it, though I suspect the inspiration has helped on that front all the same. The one thing I have noticed is that my body is beginning to age, and not gracefully in terms of joints. The knees are beginning to give me more grief, the back definitely is, and thats why next April will be the last west coast of US trip for the foreseeable future, it just hurts the body too much with all that sitting still on the planes for so long. It might be daft doing one more trip, but did want to see Seattle one more time at least.

The blog however will hopefully go sailing on sweetly, at least thats the plan.

The video, well I’m told there is an artist with a very similar name to mine, so lets give her a run out here. Funnily enough I knew the Corrs version of this song better, and had no idea she had written it in the first place. So, for the penultimate video of the year (and yes, the last one will be utterly obvious) lets see what dreams we can come up with for next year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_SYjv6HxRI&feature=related

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An extra hour

Yes, tonight is the night that the clocks go back, signifying the end of summertime, though weather wise I think it might already have been over! Hopefully given my comments of late about lack of sleep, and lousy shift splits, I intend to sleep through my extra hour tonight, I think I need it!

As seems to happen every time of late that we do so, there seems to be all sort of talk about moving our time zone forward one hour, a move I see as the most stupid thing possible. Maybe someone should tell our idiots in government that we are in this time zone for a good reason, it fits in with our longitude, but thats clearly far too sensible for some! They actually tried it back in the 60’s, it didnt work, or last then, and I dont think it would work now. But anyway…

In the ‘old days’ it used to be the case that people rarely left their home area in their whole lives, and I’m feeling a slight deja vu over that. Since the clocks went forward, I’ve left West Yorkshire…4 times! Alright, 2 of those were transatlantic, 1 was Belfast, and the other was all the way to Manchester! A whole 35 minutes by train lol! And given its Trans Pennine Express, that was not a high speed one!

But those 3 longer trips were all good ones, visited 3 wonderful cities, only one new one, but hadnt been to the other 2 (Belfast city centre, that is) for a very long time. Got to meet some really nice people, again some for the first time, but others I’d seen on my previous trip to Belfast (yes, then I went to Stormont ground, but not into town) as well.

Maybe I’m methodical, maybe I’m just too practical, but the 2 big holidays for next year are already settled on, the April one will be booked in the next few days too. The September one will only be a delayed booking because I need to wait for next seasons NFL schedule to sort it out. Is it terrible that I’m already thinking about April 2013 lol?

The video seems apt for tonight, one of this artists lesser songs sales wise, but I do like it. Hopefully, so will you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdQY7BusJNU&ob=av2e

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? 😉

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