Tag Archives: Gananoque

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016

SeleenaK_1010sAs 2015 draws to a close, I thought I should comment briefly on a few things happening on my website as I close in my 9th year.

I’ve managed to stay on track through 4 versions of the site software without changing course too much.  But what has changed is the amount of on-site interaction I get from you, as well as the amount of effort I have to put into things to keep the site away from the hackers.

I don’t know why I get the vast majority of feedback and comments via email instead of on the site directly but I’m appreciative for every comment, no matter how it gets to me.  I mention this because I see a  change.  And yes, I know … blogs, in general, have moved from cool to boring.  I get that.

But the hackers … dammit .. visit me way more than you all do! hehe!  I have nothing financial on my site any more, and don’t require members to provide personal info beyond a username and email address.  Yet the reason they want my site, and so many others, is so that they can use it as a spam host.

If successful, they will send out a guzillion spam emails before the web host realizes and shuts them down.  And they’re not even interested in email addresses stored here; yours and mine.  They have their own list and just need a previously-honourable server to send from.

So, your passwords now must be big ugly long things in hopes of making them unguessable. Your computer’s IP address is  compared to a “ban list” before you’re able to log in and I manually compare the country new users claim to be from with the country where they’re logging in from to ensure a match or else I delete them.

Lots of work, really.

But I think my best options are:

  1. charge a small fee for membership.  Spammer won’t pay, but 99% of you wouldn’t either.
  2. remove the entire membership/sign in process entirely.  This would remove a big part of the mechanism spammers use to gain access but it also leaves all my  content (which I work so hard to produce) wide open.
  3. shut the site down and move my content over to one of the social media platforms, where security is ~their~issue and not mine

I won’t ask for your opinion on this because .. well, you know.  But I thought I’d mention this here to ask you for your patience when logging in, and ask that you report any issues you encounter to me in case I made a mistake while trying to repel the hackers.


SeleenaK_0735sOn a personal note,  my circle of friends is holding it’s own.  Not growing, not shrinking.  Some acquaintances, it seems, are not impressed by the way I present myself in a casual setting and it’s been mentioned to me twice in the past month.   Both times it felt very judgmental.  I have a couple genetic women friends who are also judged regularly when in public because they’re just not sloppy or plain enough for the no makeup, sweat pants and flip-flop crowd.  Oh well.  My real friends like me as I am.

Silly as it may sound, I’m okay being judged by the uninformed, or the religious, or up-tight public at large but I just can’t deal with it coming from within the community.   So I wish them well but I disengage.

I’m going to miss the First Event conference in Boston in January because of a  family commitment which I’m really, really looking forward to. But I’ll  be at Keystone again this year in March.  I don’t do casual well enough (lol) for the Spring Fling crowd so I’ll probably skip their May event.  Yet Scarlett’s Maine Event in Ogunquit Maine will be a definite ‘yes!’.

My darling and I just might do another mega roadtrip across the US again.  If I do, I’ll try to visit with a few of you along the way.

And finally, I looking forward to spending more time with my friends Pauline, Dianne and Dea.  Let’s all put on our dancing shoes .. and not dance at all.   hehe

2016 is looking like a fun year!

Happy New Year from my family to yours!

Gal’s Spring Fling

an early morning walkWhat is it?

Gal’s Spring Fling is the premier transgender event  in Canada.  It’s primarily a Gender Mosaic (Ottawa ON) event, with assistance from Xpressions (Toronto ON).  I’m a member of the latter.  It’s more of a social event and less about support and education (which is perfect for this girl) than some of the other events.

When is it?

It’s an annual event held late in May.

Where is it?

Gananoque (pronounced gan-a-NOK-way) Ontario, or “Gan” to the locals, is the host city for this event.  Gan is known as the Canadian Gateway to the Thousand Islands, a scenic area where the Great Lakes, and more specifically Lake Ontario, empties into the St Lawrence River, which connects the lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

sitting outside my room

My Thoughts

Although this is closest trans event to where I live, the timing has always been difficult for me.  But this year, the planets aligned and I was able to attend.  And what a pleasant surprise it was!

What really set this one apart for me were the people .. the attendees.  Around 60 of us were in attendance including a relatively large number of significant others.  Friendly?  Yes!  This was, by far, the most approachable group I’ve encountered at a trans event.

Of those in attendance, a couple were friends, I had met a couple more and had chatted online with another two so it wasn’t like I was among strangers, even on the first day.

The town is just starting it’s tourist season so it was pretty quiet.  I sensed almost everyone we encountered were locals, and they were quite welcoming.  A couple of the girls mentioned hearing comments they didn’t exactly appreciate but none were humiliating or confrontational.

The Ramada Provincial Inn was quaint.  Motor Inn style.  Park outside the room; enter the room directly from outside.  The rooms were on the small side of average size but were comfortable and clean.  Not exactly SCC-luxurious outside restaurant at the hotel but they were fine.  The room rate was very good and a full breakfast was included.  Grouping of fifteen or twenty attached rooms were scattered around the rather large property so depending where your room was, the walk to the restaurant or bar  could be substantial, especially in heels and bad weather, but it certainly was not a problem for this girl.

The weather this year included mostly sunny, mild days with rain showers late in the afternoon or evening.

I arrived the day before the event started, got checked in, unpacked and met a small group of girls in the lobby area.  We all went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in town called Riva.    Although dinners were included in with the conference registration, Tuesday night’s dinner at Riva was not but it was fabulous!  In my opinion, the nicest dinner I had all week.  Classy, a wonderful menu with fabulous food and top notch service (although a gentleman a few tables from us suffered some type of medical emergency during dinner and required EMT’s and transport to the hospital.  Hope he’s okay!)

The other (included) dinners were good too, but the service wasn’t exactly impressive at either the Glen House or Ivy Lea Club.

The 1000 Islands boat tour was awesome.  Dinner on the boat while traveling around a gorgeous part of Canada was great fun andtook up most of a sunny and warm afternoon.  Just perfect!

Although I didn’t attend, the free makeup sessions in the cosmetic department at Shoppers Drug Mart were well received.   And the fashion show girls had a great time selecting clothes and getting fitted at Sear in Kingston ON.

Side note about the fashion show;  the organizers like to get first time attendees to participate in the fashion show.  I was to be one of the eight but while talking with a girl I had just met, I sensed that, although she was on standby (the 9th girl in an 8 girl show), she seemed more keen than me to get involved.  So I spoke to Amanda, the organizer, and opted out so the other girl could jump in.  And it worked fantastically well.  She did a great job and had a lot of fun.

Besides .. the event I really wanted to participate in was the Best Legs Contest.  And guess what?  I won!  Quite an honor considering thegetting the Best Legs trophy from Samantha other leggy entrants but my leather short shorts, Wolford hosiery and Santana stilettos surely helped.  I get to keep the trophy at home until next year’s even when I’ll get my name engraved on it for posterity.

The other conference event that always gets a lot of attention is the evening at the Legion.  Royal Canadian Legion Branch 92 puts on a big dinner and dancing evening for us every year.   It’s our best opportunity to mingle with the locals.  Dinner was good and so was the band but honestly, I can’t really get into an evening of dancing and drinking.  And having to drive back to the hotel afterwards adds another challenge.

Finally, the Gala.  The big dinner dance on the final night.  This one was held at the host hotel and is was wonderful!  Food was great and a wonderful slide show during dinner reminded us of the fun we had all week.  And I was able to have a whole lot of adult beverages but again, didn’t dance much.    And, of course, dance music makes it difficult to chat (Listen to me?  Do I sound like an old lady?  haha!)

But honestly, playing footsy under the table in a dark piano bar is more my speed these days.  Did enough dancing when I was young and even survived the disco years so Iwith my friend Pauline‘m just not interested in that anymore.

To this event, I wore my long black skirt that’s “slit up to here”; a sheer black turtleneck under a purple satin bolero jacket  and black sheer to waist pantyhose from Stockingirl.com.  I know .. stockings and a garter belt are my usual legware but there would have been no way to hide my stocking tops with the rather extreme slit skirt and it just didn’t seem like the slutty look was right for this one.

In Summary

GSF is a fun event!  Relatively inexpensive; extremely friendly people, a nice laid back feel, a good motel and held in a beautiful little town.  I came away from this event with more new friends than I ever have at any event in the past.  Did I mention friendly people?

early arrivals group photo after the boat rideYes, if transportation between events was provided I could have hit the wine a little harder.  Yes, registration was a little confusing.  And yes, me and a small handful of others would have preferred a little less dancing but, all in all, this event is a great time.  Although attendance growth is usually a sign of success, I hope this one continues forever and never grows.  This size was just perfect.

My spouse accompanied me to this event and she had a wonderful time too!  So if you’re thinking of attending, and have a supportive spouse, please bring her or him along.

A Special Thank You

It appears that circumstances this year left a single girl with the responsibility of organizing and planning the entire show.  Amanda Ryan, your selflessness and organizational skills were greatly appreciated.   Not only did you do so much yourself, you were totally sweet during the whole event.  I’ve never come away from an event in the past where I felt like I needed to hug an organizer (and never let go) but I did this time.  You’re a special lady and I hope you have the energy to continue to do this forever.

And to my non-Canadian friends, come to Canada!  You’ll have a great time.

 

Website Update and Conference Plans

I thought it was time to check in with you to tell you how things are progressing with my new-look website.

I continue to add photos to the galleries in the Members area.  Lots there … tons more to add, and I’m adding daily right now.

SeleenaK_3686My video page, also in the Members area, needs a new, more polished look.  I’ll work on that eventually but for now, all the videos are there.

I’m making progress in bringing all my blog entries to the new site.  I’m working backwards chronologically and everything from today to early 2010 has now been restored.

Whew!  Lots of work!

On a more fun note, I’m seriously thinking of attending Gals Spring Fling in eastern Ontario next month.  I’ve wanted to attend this one for years but it always fell around a weekend that was difficult for me.

The town of Gananoque (pronounced gan-a-NOCK-way) is in the heart of the  Thousand Islands on the banks of the mighty St. Lawrence River.  It’s one of the most beautiful areas of Ontario.

The Thousand Islands extends on the Canadian side from Wolfe Island near Kingston, On., to the Brockville narrows at Brockville, On.. On the American side they extend from Tibbets Point on Lake Ontario to Morristown, N.Y. – per http://www.1000islandsontario.com/

The event is presented by Ottawa-based Gender Mosaic with help from Toronto-based Xpressions.  According to everyone who’s attended, Sophia, Amanda and staff create a totally wonderful experience.

And the town truly welcomes us with open arms.  This is very incredible for a town with a year round population just over 5,000.  But they do love us!  Or our money!  Or both!  haha!

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know.  A comment here or email to the address on my Contact  Me page would be fabulous.