Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Keystone State

I recently returned from Pennsylvania, my second trip there this year.  Yes, these trips resulted in two more full facial clearings with electrolysis, bringing me to a current total of 5.  Besides the electrolysis, one interesting thing these two trips have in common is that it snowed both times I was in the Keystone State.  That was not so surprising in January but it was a little more surprising the last time, at the end of March, although we barely got a dusting.  This most recent trip was also very interesting and enlightening, as much a vacation as it was a business trip for hair removal, but I always manage to have fun every time I get out of town.
                                                                    
The state of Pennsylvania saw more than its share of snow this year.  On my first trip of the year to York, Pa. I awoke to an inch of snow on my third morning there.  It had actually snowed a little bit on the first day, but everything had melted by the time I got up.  So, on that last day I woke up early and sure enough, my car was covered with the lovey white stuff. 

I try not to talk to people up north about how much I love snow because they see so much of it that they hate it.  In fact, most people down here don't care much for it so I guess my love of snow should be be kept as my little secret, but I just can't hold it in.  I'm no good at keeping secrets anymore, or maybe I just hate having secrets now more than most people hate waking up to a snow covered world.

I must have brought the snow home to eastern North Carolina that first time because we ended up having three decent snow events this year, totaling about 10", plus a few more dustings and near misses.  My blog entry, Snow World, dealt with our first good snow of the year.  Here in the south, of course, everything shuts down and the governor calls a state of emergency when the first flakes start to fall.  Being in the Keystone State I knew that life goes on, so even though I woke up to snow that last morning I knew I knew it would be okay to hit the road. 
                                           
Early morning snow at my hotel in York, Pennsylvania.
The night before, James Walker finished my electrolysis for this trip after working on my face for a total of 8 hours over two days.  I had hoped to finish much earlier that day and drive to the Philadelphia area to visit my friend and fellow Blogger Sophie Lynne, but it was after 8pm when James finished my face and took another hour or so to clear what hair is left on my chest. 

I awoke very early that morning, January 18th, because I had a long drive home to North Carolina and a big day planned.  I made it to the King of Prussia Mall in time to meet Sophie Lynne and Linda Lewis for lunch.  They had big plans that day themselves, with a support group meeting and party later so we didn't have much time to visit, but it was fun seeing Sophie again and meeting Linda for the first time.  It was the last time I would see the other side of Sophie, as she was going full time very soon, and she documented her own busy day in this blog entry.

After a great lunch my friends hit the road and I was left to myself in one of the largest malls in the country.  Oh, I wish had more time to explore but I had a very long drive ahead of me and one more friend to meet along the way.  Yes this is more evidence that I am Not a shopaholic, having the ability to leave such a fabulous mall without doing Any shopping.
Having a cheese steak sandwich with Sophie Lynne and Linda Lewis in King of Prussia Mall.
On the road after having 8 hours of facial electrolysis the day before.  Slightly bruised but not letting it slow me down...
My next stop was Baltimore, Maryland where I met my friend Faith Davis for coffee at a Starbuck's not far off Interstate 95.  We had a snack and a great chat and once again I was in am awesome shopping center, fighting off the urge to do some serious shopping.  This was not a mall but a huge, open air shopping area so walking between stores was a little uncomfortable on this cold, windy, January day.  I did go to a pet store with Faith and picked my dogs up some homemade treats, which they devoured when I got home.

I finally made it home about 9:30 that night after 12 hours on the road, with those two wonderful visits giving me a couple of nice breaks.  Three days later, we got our first nice snow here in Rocky Mount.  Amongst the complaints of most everyone else I know, I was relishing the "real winter" we experienced here in January and February.  Towards the end of March, spring had sprung here and it was time to hit the road to the Keystone State yet again for more electrolysis and more fun.
Night snow in January, Rocky Mount, NC.

A second big snow and a frozen City Lake in Rocky Mount on January 28th.

Keystone 

On Monday March 24th, I hit the road again with electrolysis planned for the next 2 days.  My friends from coastal North Carolina, Lisa and Teri, were arriving on Tuesday and Lisa was going to try a half day of electrolysis before they headed down the road to the Keystone Conference in nearby Harrisburg.  They were trying to coax me into going to the transgender conference with them and I told them I might, but in my typical fashion I wouldn't commit to it.  I was going to wait and see how I looked/felt after my electrolysis but I did leave the door open for them to drag me along, kicking and screaming.

This whole trip was kind of amazing and the first eye opening experience was the electrolysis itself.  As I lay on the table Tuesday afternoon getting the hairs removed from my neck (one of the most sensitive areas) I was awaken by Suzanne, who owns the house where the electrolysis is performed.  She was coming to get James to help her with something.  Yes, she woke me up from a nap!  Apparently I'd drifted off to sleep while listening to a presentation on the benefits of a raw food diet and getting my face zapped. 

The fact that I went to sleep seemed to be a source of fascination to Suzanne and pride to James, although he's had people go to sleep on him before.  Many complain about the unbearable pain of electrolysis but my experience with James, after the always tough initial clearing, is that the pain isn't so bad and is less with each clearing as the hairs get thinner and thinner.  It wasn't that I was bored with the raw food video, I love that stuff and it's inspiring to me.  I was just a little tired, as usual, and comfortable.  Obviously I was not in any real pain. 

Another thing Suzanne remarked about was the fact that before we started the electrolysis she was not able to see any any hair on my face, even though we stood next to each other and talked a few minutes.  This was after not shaving for three days, 4 days on my upper lip, so this is more evidence of the success of my treatments so far.

A little later, Lisa and Teri arrived at the house so that we could all go to dinner.  The amazing this here is that James was finishing me up, after only 3.5 hours of electrolysis.  I'd gone from 8 hours on my last clearing to only 3.5 hours this time!  I know it gets better the more you get cleared, but I was pleasantly surprised at the progress that's been made recently.  Getting the full facial clearings is really paying off for me.
Shortly after getting my entire face cleared with electrolysis (in only 3.5 hours).  I had some irritated areas on my neck that looked like mosquito bites but they were easily covered with concealer, no bruising this time.  This picture also shows off my Samsung S4 phone with the pink Morphie Pack...:)
We all went out and had a nice dinner and, since it was still fairly early, Lisa decided to get on the table and get started early with her facial clearing.  James was able to finish her face above the jaw, Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, in about 6 hours.  Lisa's had several laser hair removal sessions before but this was her first round of electrolysis.  It was a wake up call for sure (no naps for Lisa this time), but she made it and Wednesday afternoon I found myself following them down the highway to Harrisburg, Pa.
Lisa having her first electrolysis session.
Harrisburg

We arrived mid afternoon and checked into our hotel rooms.  Yes I had made reservations to stay two nights in York and two in Harrisburg, so I had tentatively planned on going to the Keystone Conference for at least one day.  It's hard to describe to people why I have avoided gatherings like this.  I think much of it is rooted in my historical phobia for being around large groups of people.  I've obviously gotten over much of that in the last few years, with transition, but in the past the only way I could get along in a crowd was to somehow make myself invisible.  To actually have to go to an event, talk and relate to a lot of people, has always been quite intimidating to me.

I'm finding now that I can be myself, communicating and being around a lot of people is not intimidating at all.  I want to thank Lisa and Teri for dragging me along to the conference so that I could learn that about myself.  This is different than say, the State Fair, where you just walk around and do your own thing.  I saw a lot of people I knew from the online world, met some new people and seemingly got along great.  I had a really awesome time and am now looking forward to going back next year for the entire conference and possibly even going to different events of this type.

The only unfortunate thing about this conference was that I had to leave after only one day.  That had been my initial plan, although I had given myself the out of possibly going home and skipping Keystone altogether.  Once I got there, I relaxed and had such a good time I really wanted to stay one more day, but my father's sitter, Nedrick, got sick and I was needed back home. 

I am so thankful that my parents' hired Nedrick to help with Daddy Monday through Friday so that I can get out and travel again, but with him being out sick I had to leave after just one day in Harrisburg. Daddy seems to be doing a lot better recently and having someone there with him 40 hours a week who is experienced working with elderly patients is a real plus.  It's making a big difference. 

It's also making a big difference in my life.  Not only was I able to make this trip to Pennsylvania and another recent trip to Lynchburg to visit Mitchell, but I plan to make a few more trip this spring, including the Big one to Montreal in June to make my dreams come true.  So, what happened at that conference up in Harrisburg you ask?  Stay tuned to Tammy World to find out.......