Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boston Area, Sisters, and Tiffany Club of New England

For the first time in what seems like a long time, I was headed back for Boston! Boston is definitely near the top of my favorite cities list. I know some cool places to hang out, and have friends in the Sisters of Boston and Sisters of Worcester groups.
I usually try and get early morning flights so that I arrive where ever I’m going in the early afternoon, but my last few flights have left in the afternoon and I find I kind of like it. Since I’ve started doing a lot of my flights “dressed”, having the flight leave around noon allows me to wait until my wife and daughter leave for work/school and THEN get ready. Beats the snot outta getting up at 3AM to get ready and make a 6 AM flight.
So I decided to wear my new Needless Mark Ups skirt (Neiman Marcus Last Call) and a salmon top. At the last second I decided to throw a white belt on it but I spent all day trying to decide if I should wear the belt or not. It came off and on probably half a dozens times as I changed my mind through the day. My wife later confirmed looking at the pics that she thought it was a mistake and said if I was gonna wear any belt, it should have been a darker one. Oh well, can’t get it right every time! LOL

As you can see from the pics, we are in the process of painting the living area of our house so it’s sort of a mess.
Got to the Austin airport and have to admit I was a bit nervous as this was the first time I was going to try and fly dressed with an airline other than Delta. I was flying with JetBlue this time and had actually asked them last week if they would be cool with it, but I was still afraid that even though one person had told it would be fine, another might refuse to allow it. The worry was for nothing though as everything went smoothly and they treated me well. Going through security, the female TSA agent decided to pick on me a little. She looked at my ID (my male drivers license), then my ticket, then me, smiled.
“Nope, that is clearly NOT you!”. She was grinning from ear to ear so I was fairly sure she was teasing.
“Yeah, I know. I clean up pretty nice huh?” I replied and batted my eyes in an exaggerated fashion. She busted up laughing and handed my license and ticket back to me.
“You have a nice flight!” she said, and waved me through.
OK, I’ve gotta tell you – JetBlue ROCKS! Yes, they have three seats side by side, but they give you more leg room than the other airlines, AND each seat has it’s own TV! Add to that the facts that they fly direct Austin to Boston and their luggage folks are fast to get it to the luggage belt, and you have makings for my new favorite airline.
Got to Boston a bit after 5PM, found my luggage already circling the belt when I got there, so I was quickly on the way to the rental car and then my hotel in Peabody MA.

The guy that checked me in to the Holiday Inn was not rude or anything, but you could tell he wasn’t exactly amused with me. Took my bags to the room and was headed back out of the hotel through the lobby when I walked past a man standing there. As I walked past he looked right at me and smiled.
“Hello!” he said, as I walked by.
“Hi,” I smiled and replied, still walking because I was already gonna be late for my meeting with the Tiffany Club of New England.
“Fine day isn’t it?” he continues as I’m just walking out the door. I looked back at him but kept walking.
“So far so good!” I said. I get about 10 feet out the door when I hear his voice again. He followed me outside!
“Are you staying here?” he asked. Knowing I’m already going to be late for my meeting, I slowed but didn’t stop. It kind of freaks me out that he followed me outside.
Does he really think I’m a female? If so, is he gonna freak when he figures out I’m not?
“Yes, I am staying here”.
“Are you coming back tonight?”
“Probably, but pretty late.”
“Well, would you like to maybe get a drink or something?”
“Thank you, but I don’t think so” I replied as I approached my car.
“Oh, I’m sorry!” he said, “I didn’t see your wedding ring!”
“That’s all right,” I said, even though he has definitely made me nervous. “No worries!”
He gave a small wave and then returned to the hotel lobby.
You know, it tore me up for the next few days if I had handled that well, or if I was rude to him. When I spoke to my wife about it tonight, she tells me that I did exactly the right thing. The only thing she might have done differently was to return to the very public lobby when she realized that he was following her outside. I don’t know, I’m still worried that I was rude and didn’t handle that with any grace at all.
I got to the Tiffany Club of New England a bit late, but not too bad considering there wasn’t much I could do about my travel time to get there. Rita Bertrand had invited me when she found out I would be there that night. She is a class act, and a real neat lady! I have met her a few times before have truly enjoyed the time I’ve spent chatting with her.
I met a lot of ladies there and they treated me just like one of the club – one of the family! Do you know what that means to me when I spend so much time alone and so far from home? It was great to feel like part of the group. I met around a dozen folks there and have to admit I suck when it comes to remembering names, so there is no way I can provide them all here. (I hope they will forgive me when they see this!)
After the meeting, a few of us went to a local club for a drink or two. When we got there, there were two tables full of GG’s having a great time – lots of laughter and talking. As far as I could tell, not one of them looked twice in our direction. (Not sure if that is good or bad?)

I’ll give you the names I’ve got! Starting on the left is John (The owner of the Glamour Boutique) , a great guy and a huge advocate for transgender folks, Rita Bertrand , Myself, and
Paula Howard . The last girl on the right was very nice, and drop dead gorgeous, but like I said, I suck and can’t recall her name! (I'm SO sorry!)
Day 2
Day two got off to a rough start. The instrument I was here to work on is obsolete, and hasn’t been made in more than half a decade. It was made by company mine bought years ago, and most of the people that knew anything about it did not come along when their company was bought. Including myself, there are only three people in my entire company that even know what this machine is, and the other two are the software guy, and a PHD who is now the manager for an entire product line. If I can’t fix it, there is no place to fall back to, no back up and punt plan, no guru to call to come bail me out.
There are no drawings, no schematics, no theory of operation . . . I’ve got nothing but the info stuck in my head and what I’d been able to figure out about the beast over the years.
Suffice it to say that working on this antique scares the hell outta me!
I had to replace a number of gold plated optical mirrors and when I was done, I couldn’t get the system aligned. I spent hours trying to figure out why I couldn’t find the image I needed in the optics. I tweaked the darn alignment so many times that I got blisters on my finger tips! Finally, I sat back on my tool box looking at the thing in disgust when the answer struck me.
“Nah,” I said to myself, while I looked at the only two mirrors that can be put in backwards. “Even I couldn’t be stupid enough to do that could I?”
I pulled up some pictures I had taken of one of these tools and found that I HAD been that stupid, and HAD mixed up the only two mirrors that could be put in wrong – literally backwards. Corrected my goof and had the system up and running in about 10 minutes!
On the way back to the hotel, I stumbled across a thrift store and stopped to shop it. I found a long dark blue skirt with white stripes and bought it. I liked it so much I almost wore it that night, but decided to stick with the red skirt I had brought with me.

I got back to the hotel and started to get ready. This night I planned to meet with the Sisters if Worcester for their weekly get together at Club Blu.
I had traded emails with Sally, Rita , Kristen , and Caroline , friends of mine in the area and also members of Sisters. They were all going to be there tonight as well, so it looked like it was going to be a fun one! I got a call from Sally and invited her to get ready in my hotel room. She arrived, we fought for mirror space, and eventually got ready!

Got to Club Blu and found a lot of folks already there. There had been some question if Rita and Kristen might make it so I was relieved to see them both there. All in all, I think we counted something like 18 TG’s there. This includes Mike, who is FTM, and a damn nice guy too!
Kristen brought her beautiful 12 string guitar!

We knew that Dee, the lady that runs the Karaoke there, usually also brings her guitars, and so we had hoped to maybe play a song or two together. Unfortunately, Dee did not bring her guitars so that plan fell through. Kristen and I tried to sneak off to the back room to play with her guitar but quickly discovered that was a mistake! Someone had ordered a bunch of Pizzas, had them set up I in that room, and so EVERYONE wound up there. We handed the guitar back and forth and tried to wake up dead brain cells and get a song or two out! Kristen kept claiming that she couldn’t remember anything – she fibbed! She played very well and I enjoyed listening to her. When she was playing, you could hear at least half a dozen folks singing along. Eventually someone got the bright idea to get a few pictures of everyone together:

Everyone returned to the main room where the karaoke was going on. There was a young African American girl singing and she was AWESOME! She was so good, it took a few moments for everyone entering the room to realize that this was NOT a recording we were listening to, and was actually the Karaoke!
Kristen and I did a song together. She played “Tequila Sunrise” and I sang. I’ve played and sang that song for over 20 years, so you would think we would be safe . . . and you would have been wrong! I forgot the darn words part way through! I guess that maybe not having a guitar in my hands sort of threw me (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it!) I felt so bad for Kristen, she had to do her part playing the guitar AND try and whisper the words to me to get me back on track! Sorry Kristen!
She was kind enough to loan me her guitar for a couple of songs. I didn’t butcher them too bad, but I don’t think I exactly wowed anyone either! LoL
Sally spent a good half an hour sitting on the pool table, reading through the karaoke book, trying to find a song and get the guts up to sing it. I took her pic just so I could pick on her later about being a fraidy cat!

Some misc pictures of the night:
Caroline (on the right) and her girl friend Courtney:



I was having a ball, but had an hour drive to get back to my hotel, and then had to be at the airport early in the morning, so I headed out at midnight. By the time I got to the hotel, cleaned up, and in my bed, it was after 2AM. Since I had to be up at 4AM, I was not exactly thrilled! Lol
So here is a pic entering Boston at around 530AM in the morning on the way to the airport. Tired. Bushed. Getting way too old for this stuff . . .

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