Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30, 2007- Sally, Rita, and the Sisters of Boston

So now I’m in Boston! I got there Saturday night and went out with the Sisters of Boston .

Sally came and picked me up and we went to dinner at a small Italian place.
It was so funny – we must have been the first TGirls they have ever had, or at the very least it must be a rare event. You could see the hostess do a double take but she recovered well. About five minutes later, while Sally and I were going over the menu I saw the hostess peek around the corner and point us out to another girl. When I glanced up they were suddenly “busy “.
After dinner we moved on to pick up Dina (the lady in the middle in the pic at right)

I was told that Dina had gone shopping "dressed" for the first time the night before. Hard to believe – she looks so perfect. She is small and looked 100% "real" to me. If I looked like that I would never go back to boy mode. We went to the mall because she had to return something she had purchased the night before. As we passed a couple of guys in their early 20’s, one of them let out quite the theatrical laugh that was clearly intended to mock us. I was out and pretty, with two other pretty ladies and having a great time and I wasn’t about to let some punk bother me, so we just kept walking.

After we did a little shopping, we moved on to the Randolph Country Club to join the Halloween party, already in progress. As I walked into the club, Rita walked up and introduced herself to me. She and I are connected on yahoo 360 but I had failed to recognize her. She had her first make over that night and was so excited! At least half a dozen times that night, folks that I had never met walked up to say  “Aren’t you Kim”? I felt like some sort of star or something. Isn’t the internet an odd place – so many people come to know you by reading your blog.

Sally was one of those cute ensigns from Star Trek and was cute as heck. She carried a little Tricorder that we all played with and laughed about through out the night.

There had to be at least 40 TGirls there, short ones, tall ones, skinny ones, large ones, and some were drop dead gorgeous. Sigh . . . wish I had that problem! 

Speaking of cute and gorgeous, here was my favorite outfit from the night:

After the club closed, seven of us went to IHOP for breakfast. We got every kind of reaction you can imagine. Some folks were tickled to death, and some just kind of stared at as. I’d say the majority of the folks were in costumes. While we sat out in the waiting area waiting for a table, a drop dead gorgeous GG walked in wearing an identical Batgirl outfit to Ashley. As you can imagine, this launched an energetic round of comparing, laughing, and amusement.
It was a fun night and I was sorry when it came to an end.
Thanks for driving and letting me join you Sally!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

October 28, 2007 - Hanging With Holly

So like I mentioned before I was in Southern California all of last week. Boy did I pick a bad week to be there as the entire area was burning. For a while the airport I flew in and out of was closed due to the fires. One morning I went out to the rental car and found it covered with ash and particles. I don’t know about you, but this is a clear sign to me that I am far too close to the fires! The hotel was full of folks that had to leave their homes, some already knew their homes were gone, and some had no idea if they still had one or not. I feel so sorry for them all – can you imagine how bad that must feel? Worse yet, the fires were started on purpose but some low life. GRRRRR!

At last I got to meet one of my heroes from Crossdressers.com – Holly !
Holly is thought of as being sort of a mother to all of us there. She has a kind heart, common sense, and always offers encouragement and good advice. The first night I met Holly alone, and the next night I got to meet her wife.
So Holly and I talked for a long time and found out we had a lot in common. An interest in music, we have both been happily married for decades (she has a couple on me!), and we both served in the Army. Not only served in the Army, but had worked in related areas. It seems she had worked on a mission or two with the missile that started my career – the Pershing! Gotta wonder what the odds were.

The first night we went out to dinner at Mimi’s CafĂ© in San Bernardino. Good food, good service, andJ I like to sing but I’m NOT a performer. I stand there like a bump on a log and sing – not Holly. Holly likes to play the crowd! She was all over the stage, looking at every one and including them in the performance. I love that kind of confidence. She sang “It’s my party” and she did it well! I love the song but can’t sing that darn high!
they didn’t bat an eye. If your in the area, I do recommend it.

Then we went to VIP’s where we both sang karaoke!
The next night, I went to dinner at Mimi’s again with Holly AND her wife. (Yeah, I know that just doesn’t sound right!) Talk about a hoot, her wife is a such a cheerful and happy person, and they make a wonderful couple. You just can’t sit with them for any amount of time with out smiling and coming to adore both of em. They have been married for around 40 years and are just perfectly comfortable with each other. It is so neat to know there are couples out there like this – it gives us all hope.
This trip was only supposed to be for a couple of days, but things went poorly with the repair I was there working on and I had to keep extending my stay. It wound up that I flew home to Austin Friday night, and then had to head out for Boston Saturday morning for two weeks of training. (I’m in the airport as I type this)
Talk about a “love/hate” thing. I love the chance to get out and meet all of these folks, but I miss my wife and children. Sigh . . .

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24, 2007 - Hanging out with Tiffany in California

So I'm home sick on Thursday when I get a call from my manager. It seems that a very good customer of ours that we have a service contract with, has had one of our instruments fail and they are shut down. That's the bad news. The good news is that it is in Southern California and not more than an hour from where I was born and raised and where much of my family still lives. It's not in my region, but my manager asked if I wanted the job - duh!

The first thing that I did after setting up the flights was to call Tiffany , e-mail Tiffany, and leave
messages on her Myspace telling her "I'm on the way to your neck of the woods - wanna meet?"
She and I have been chatting for about a year so I was really happy that we might get the chance to meet. Of course, with absolutely no advance warning, you can't expect everything to go your way. No answer, no answer, no answer - damn - maybe she's out of town or something. So I get to California and I'm neck deep trying to troubleshoot our failed instrument when I get a call from her. She has just had to jump through hoops, cancel plans, and piss her family off, but she is going to meet me and go out. Tiffany is every bit as nice a person as I had thought and it was wonderful to meet her. We went out to The Oxwood Inn in Van Nuys and there were a LOT of TGirls there.

The last time I came to Southern California I was SO disappointed. I mean here I was back in the area where I was born and raised, in California which is supposed to be something of a holy grail for TG's, and no one showed any interest in meeting with me or hanging out. Tiffany and the other girls met this time more than made up for that poor initial impression. I met lots of great people, had a good time, and then went out to breakfast with the whole group. Great bunch of folks.

Next morning I went to spend it with my family and discovered that the much of the area I was just in is currently on fire. Even as I type this the news is talking of nothing but this. The airport I flew into, and have reservations to fly out of, is currently closed due to the fire. I hope they get it under control soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 10, 2007 - 20 Years of Marriage

So - I'm I bit behind in my blogging. Sorry about that but sometimes living life has got to take
priority over writing about it!

Can't tell we are a little excited to be going to the beach can you?
My wife and I have now celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Neither of us can believe it has been 20 years! We look around us at our two children, or home, our lives and out history and are just kind of in awe that we are where we are today. This was the first time we ever took a vacation just for the sake of the vacation and didn't spend it driving like hell for hour upon hour going to visit family. So we used all the frequent flier miles I've been racking up, and the points I've been earning with the Holiday Inn hotel chain, and we flew to Florida where we spent the week on the ocean! It was Melbourne Florida for those of you that know the area, and it was just gorgeous! A little off season so the beaches were virtually empty, but it was still warm weather and warm water and just awesome.

The view from our hotel room

The first day that we spent there we spent it on the beach. Each time a wave would come in my daughter would just laugh and giggle her little heart out and then run for the beach. Hour after hour of my favorite four year olds giggles - a very nice day.

The next day we went to Disney world. We had not told my daughter before hand as we thought it would be a neat surprise and frankly we also didn't want her to drive us nuts about when we were going, etc - I'm sure the parents reading this know what I mean. My daughter LOVES the Disney movies and we thought she would have a ball there.

She is especially fond of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. She watches them back to back, over and over. As soon as it ends, she starts it again. We were therefore surprised and disappointed to find that she was more or less miserable there. She spent most of the day crying and complaining and just generally was not a happy little camper.

Meeting our hero! The only time I've ever seen my daughter speechless
The high moment was when she got to meet her hero - Cinderella!  
My daughter, the one with not a shy bone in her body, was speechless - she just would not talk to her all time hero. You would have to know my daughter to understand why this was so surprising. She typically does not have a shy bone in her body, is always very loud and out going, and loves to be the center of attention. For her to clam up and be quiet was nothing was nothing short of astounding! You can just see the hero worship in her posture here.

Well, we figured she was not very happy at Disney and she had a blast on the beach, so the next day we chose to skip Disney and stay on the beach. Once again the day was filled with laughter and giggles. She had so much fun that she cried when it was time to go to the airport and fly back home. My wife and I wanted to cry too, it was just a wonderful week.

Friday, October 5, 2007

October 05, 2007 - Vancouver Canada

So this week I spent in Vancouver Canada! It was kind of weird to start your day at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and end your day at 45! Ask me in a month or so and I'll be sick of it, but it felt GREAT to be cold for a change! I got there early and got ready to go shopping and got to the mall at about 640PM. The bad news is that the shopping mall closed at 7PM!
So I sat there tossing the idea around - find someplace for dinner dressed, or go back to the hotel and change? It's really hard to put my finger on exactly what my thought process was, but I ultimately decided to just go back to drab.

I kept remembering a sign that was over the door of our barracks in Ft Sill Oklahoma where I spent my first three years in the Army. While not verbatim, it was something along the lines of "When you pass beyond this door, remember that YOU represent the United States of America". Most of the guys laughed at that but it meant something to me. Suddenly I felt concerned that perhaps I was not representing my country well here, so I went back to the hotel and washed my makeup off and put my boy clothes back on. Two hours of time and effort wasted . . . sigh . . .

The following night, I met Hiro for dinner! For a number of reasons, Hiro and I met drab and had quite a nice dinner. He is a very easy person to talk to, very friendly, and it turns out that we have a number of things in common. All in all, a very pleasant dinner.

Vancouver Canada was hard to describe. So much like home but little things here and there that are different and leave you feeling like things are just a touch off. It seemed like people were not in as big a hurry there. In most US Cities, if you don't drive 20 MPH over the speed limit you're going to get rear ended. Here it seemed most every one was quite willing to drive the speed limit and I had to keep reminding myself to slow down. Soccer on the TV in the pub didn't surprise me - this I had expected.

Well, the trip home was NOT the picture perfect trip where everything goes smoothly. Fortunately for me, I have always been "anal retentive" and insist on getting to airports two hours before my flights, because I needed every minute here. To start off, when I selected the airport rental location as my destination, the GPS unit took me to some industrial area.
"Arriving at Avis on the left," it said - it was wrong!
Nothing remotely like a rental car location was anywhere in sight.
"All right, I can figure this out!" I thought to myself.
This time I used the menu to select the Airport itself and this time succeeded in finding the rental location, but now I'm down to about an hour and a half before my flight leaves. Turn the car in and get to the terminal and discover that this airport is freaking huge and I can't find the International terminal. Eventually I stopped and asked someone and discovered that I had a long walk to get there. At last I get to the international terminal and find every Airline except Alaskan Airlines. There's Continental, Delta, United, Etc, but no Alaskan. With only an hour left before my flight I go up to the Quantis Airlines counter.
"Excuse me, but I am apparently lost and clueless - would you please, please, please tell me how to find Alaskan Airlines?"
She smiled from ear to ear and said "Right here, we take care of their ticketing".
My itinerary had said nothing about Quantis, the Quantis counter had nothing indicating they took care of Alaskan Airlines - it was just pure luck that I had asked at their counter.
So I get my tickets and then the lady explains that US Customs and immigration are done here - before I board the flight. Now I have less than an hour to stand in the customs and immigration lines, get through security, and find my gate. AARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!
Oh, did I mention that in order to save a buck, my company booked me on a flight that went all the way from Vancouver to LA, and then East out to Austin? Talk about taking the scenic route! Needless to say, I did make it, but was pretty well exhausted by the time I got home.