Three days in Vegas, part 1

While I usally get out as Robin at least once a week, my girl time seldom exceeds a few hours. Occaionally I get a  6-8 hour adventure, such as I described  in my last posting and even less frequently a  full day out. While these are okay nothing beats spending  multiple days being “full time”. The last time I did it was more than 4 years ago when I accompanied Denae Doyle of Femimage to the Southern Comfort  Conference where I helped her with the classes she was teaching. I wrote about this in a couple of blogs in 2013 (or was it 2012??).

I have really been wanting to have another multiple day adventure but things never worked out for one reason or another. However this last year the opportunity finally presented itself. One of my favorite rock groups was performing in Las Vegas at a time when I could get away. It was far enough in advance that I could get low cost airfare and a big discount on a room. I proposed to my BFF that we fly down for the concert which would probably mean we would have to stay overnight. She countered with a proposal to also see a Cirque Du  Soleil show that she had been wanting to see which meant we would have to stay three days and two nights in Vegas. That sounded okay to me as it meant even more girl time. It would also provide an opportunity to fly in girl mode, something I had also not done since my trip to Southern Comfort.

Since the concert was 4 months away, we were able to book $59 flights to Vegas and $120/night rooms at the Venetian, which for those of you not familiar with Vegas, is a really nice all suites hotel. Rooms there are normally $300/night. We got tickets for the concert and show and were all set. All we had to do was wait 4 months!

During that time, my thoughts were occupied with two topics: a silly one and a more serious one. The silly one was what clothes I should bring. The more serious one was flying as Robin.

Actually I spent more time worry about what to wear as there was little I could do about the flying part.  Vegas is a pretty casual place with very long walks  to get almost anywhere. We did have two concerts/shows to attend and so we could be a little dressy but not too much. We were going in October which means the weather was still pretty warm (85 or so) but not crazy hot (110+). I also wanted to limit myself to one suitcase so that I could carry on and not have to check luggage. Finally I wanted to bring only women’s clothing and leave all the boy stuff behind (just to make things interesting).

After making and revising endless lists, I decided on:

  • Two tunic/legging sets
  • two skirt/top sets
  • one pair of jeans with a tshirt
  • one long skirt
  • 3 pairs of shoes (all  flats that were suitable for walking)
  • PJs and robe

I could wear the jeans and leggings outfits for the days and the skirt outfits for the evening shows.The long skirt was backup but I never wore it.  It would all fit into one carryon suitcase although it was a little tight when other items like toiletries and curling iron were added.

The one extra thing I realized  I needed was a shoulder bag of some kind to hold my purse and computer. My regular computer case is decidedly unfemimine plus there is no place in it for a purse ( per airline rules, only TWO carryons). I ended up buying a black shoulder bag into which my computer and purse  fit quite nicely.

The flying in girl mode part was a more serious topic but I found myself oddly not too worried about it. The  TSA had a whole page dedicated to transgendered passengers which was very reassuring. I was also flying out of San Francisco (and Vegas) whose TSA agents had probably seen everything. Maybe if I was in Texas (or North Carolina) I may have been more concerend. In any case I had done it before without any problems. Besides,  what is the worse that could happen?? Maybe a grin or two from the TSA agent?? Even an “pat down”, while potentially embarrassing, was not likely to be a big deal. The key is all of such situations is to stay calm and respectful.

After much delay, our departure day eventually rolled around. We had a 12:25pm flight and so I picked up my friend around 10:30am. I had changed clothes in my car on the way to her house and so was girl mode when I arrived at her house. I wore a green tunic, black leggings, and some black Sketchers I had found at a Ross store the day before.   We drove  to the airport where we parked in long term parking and then rode a bus the terminal. I had printed out our boarding passes and so there was little to do when we arrived  except to go through security. We both had TSA precheck when means simplified security check (and NO whole body scanner) and so that made everything easier. I got out my passport (with my boy name/picture) and boarding pass and got into the security line. Eventually I reached the agent. handed him the passport and boarding pass, and waited. I was actually very calm, almost excessively so.

After a few moments, he wrote on my boarding pass, and said have a nice flight. My friend was watching him  and said his face did not change expression in any way (beyond normal changes). I was just another passenger to him. I put my bags on the xray machine and walked through the metal detector. The agent nodded as I walked through and that was it. I was through security and on my way to Las Vegas!!

 

 

 

 

 

An evening at the symphony

I have not posted anything for a couple of weeks now but it was not for lack of trying. I have been trying to write something meaningful about mess that Donald Trump is making of the country (after only two weeks) but others have been doing such a good job that my contribution seemed redundant. Hopefuly I will get more inspired  in the future since I fear we may have endure years of him.

So instead of a political post,  I thought I would write about something pleasant. One of the activities I really enjoy is going to the symphony, especially the San Francisco Symphony. I try to go several times a year when they are performing something that I  really enjoy. It also provides the opportunity to get a little dressed up which is a nice change from my usual tunic and leggings outfits that I normally live in these days. Of course I don’t get too dressed up as  the person sitting next to your is more than likely  wearing torn blue jeans but I always try to wear a nice  dress or at least a skirt and top.  I suppose the best look is what is normally termed  “business casual”.

Anyway, this last week they performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (the “choral symphony”) and I just had to go.  I attended another performance of the Ninth years ago and really enjoyed it. When the schedule for the year came out last summer, I knew I had to be there. I asked my BFF if she would like to attend and she did and so I bought two tickets. Since she works in SF, we agreed that I would catch the train into the City and she would meet me at the train station.

I ended up wearing a dark green dress with black boots and a knee length wool coat. The weather was cool and rainy and so it seemed a suitable outfit. The dress is one I bought on Zulily (where I have a shopping addiction) but I had not had a chance to wear it before.  I drove part way to San Francisco and then caught Caltrain (the local commuter train). I have caught the train to the City several times in girl mode and it is always a combination of the ordinary and slightly exciting. It is ordinary in that absolutely nothing unusual ever happens. I buy my ticket, wait for the train, board the train, sit down, show my ticket to the conductor,  enjoy the trip, and arrive at my destination. I am just another woman taking the train. At the same time it is a little exciting since I am fully committed to being in girl mode and am pretty much on my own. Unlike when I am driving someplace, there is not a pile of boy clothes in the trunk that I can always switch into if something unexpected happens. There is also no one who knows me around to help if I need it.  When I am on the train in girl mode  (or an airplane as I written about in the past and will do again in the near future), there is no easy way back to boy mode. For better or worse (and odd thoughts of earthquakes, train crashes, attacks by crazy people do occur to me) I am committed to being a woman on her own.  It does make the ordinary a bit more exciting.

But at least for this trip, everything went fine and  was entirely uneventful. There was some light rain when I arrived which was sort of fun to stand around  in while I waited for my friend to pick me up. She met me near the train station and we drove across town to Davis Symphony Hall. Traffic was a complete mess and it took us almost an hour to get the parking lot. At that point we had about 90 minutes before the symphony was to start and so we found a nice place to have a quick dinner. It was a good time with a very attentive waiter who greeted us as “ladies” and quickly served us our dinner. We were sitting around in a roomful of people also having dinner. Again, it was completely ordinary (and wonderful).  We ate quickly and walked to Davies.

We arrived about 15 minutes before the start of the performance and quickly found our seats. I had purchased tickets in the middle of the second tier since the music there sounds as good as anywhere in the hall and they are not too expensive.  There were a surprising number of empty seats in the hall but those around us were all occupied.  It is always fun to people watch since all types come to the symphony. The average age of the attendees do seem older than either the ballet or opera but their were lots of younger people present.

The performance itself was very pleasing although I was a little disappointed by the soloists. Their voices did not seem to carry well and some were drowned out by the chorus. The orchestra and chorus performed very well and I enjoyed the performance as a whole. After the performance we walked back to the parking garage and drove back to the train station to get my car and then I drove home.

Overall it was a very nice evening and completely “ordinary”.  I ended up spending almost 8 hours in girl mode and was a little sad at having to return to boy mode at the end of the evening  Given the opportunity I would really prefer to be full time but that is unlikely to happen and so I really enjoy the girl time  that I do have.