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Email From Gals Spring Fling 2011

| May 23, 2011
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Natalie Bouchard of Canada writes to her friend Linda Jensen with a daily report of her activities at the small but very friendly Gal’s Spring Fling which took place recently in Gananoque, Ontario. Be prepared to be amazed at the welcoming attitude of this Canadian community and its neighbors.

Date: Wed, 11 May 2011 08:02:27 -0700
From: [email protected]
Subject: Gals Spring Fling
To: [email protected]

Hey girlfriend. You asked me to send you news on the Gal’s Spring Fling so here it comes. I’m going to send you daily reports just to make you jealous and to tell you that there is still time for you to get that lovely ass over here.

I know this is going to be a great week. I had great omens on the drive down to Gananoque from Ottawa.  On two occasions in the past going to the Gals Spring Fling, just turning on the radio, the song from Nickelback If Today Was Your Last Day played —  “each day is a gift and not a given right . . . leave your fears behind . . . Every seconds counts ’cause there’s no second try . . . never too late . . . you can’t rewind a moment in this life . . .  live as if each moment was your last . . . reminisce on memories . . .”  This song brought shivers down my spine.  I was just laughing thinking of this and how weird it would be if Born This Way by Lady Gaga, my latest favorite would come up on the radio.  What are the chances for this to happen?  Not a second later — the song comes up on the air.  Wow!  Shivers down my spine again. It hit the cord when she mentioned “Transgendered Life . . . I was born to survive . . .”  No kidding . . . I was born this way . . . Transgender, for life.  Premonition was that strong!

Along the way after hearing that song I felt so relaxed, knowing I will be Natalie for five straight days. I have no choice. I brought no male clothes. You ask why I don’t transition, well let’s see, for work, family and friends, I am not prepared to take the next step.  I’m happy the way I live with this duality of life — for now!  I’ve been doing this for over twenty years.  Gees time flies!

Natalie outside Trinity House.

Last time we talked about how GSF is pretty small compared to Southern Comfort and that’s true but it has to be one of the friendliest events around. Seeing my friends is always the high moment of these get togethers, especially if you haven’t seen them for so long.  It’s always a morale booster to meet and laugh with friends.  This is what I miss the most in my regular daily life.  First, we all met in the Ramada Inn lounge before going out for supper at the Trinity House, which brings found memories of previous GSFs.  I laughed so much, joking with my dear friends, especially Arden, who we always seem to be on her case.   For sure, with all the laughter it did boost the interferon levels of my immune system.  I never felt any better than the present.  The supper was excellent as usual, part of the package deal.  I chose the Table d’hôte – salad, escargot, followed by a lobster ravioli, wine to wash it down.  The service was impeccable.  But I’m calling it an early evening. There’s a lot going on tomorrow.


From: Linda Jensen <[email protected]>
To: Natalie Bouchard <[email protected]>
Sent: Thu, May 12, 2011 5:43:17 AM
Subject: RE: Gals Spring Fling

Natalie, That’s a great report. I wish I was there. And I can just imagine you driving down the highway and some 18-wheeler driver looking down to see a gorgeous blonde in a mini-skirt belting out Lady Gaga lyrics. That could have caused an accident.

Step right up for the magical mystery tour.

Sorry I can’t be there. Keep the reports coming.

Date: Thu, 12  May 2011
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Gals Spring Fling
To: [email protected]

Linda, What a day! I barely have the energy to write. Thursday morning already!  I had breakfast with friends at the Ramada Inn, and loaded all 14 of us on the bus  at 10 a.m. for today’s excursion.  Beautiful sunny day again, we couldn’t ask for anything better.  Sophia was taking us on a magical mystery tour!  First stop: Westport is a very picturesque town.  We got off the bus and split into small shopping groups, me and Sophia going down Main St.  We found this adorable little shop called “Kandy” with a wide variety of dresses, tops, bottoms, and an excellent selection of jewellery.  OK, I did splurge a bit, buying a ring, watch and pair of earrings, but did negotiate on the final price with the owner for the multiple items I bought.  I think I got a good deal.  He even gave me a ring for my good looks.  That was fun!  We then walked back to the Cove Country Inn for lunch with the gang.  Then it was time to get on the Bus and drive back to Kingston to visit the Naval Museum.

At the Naval Museum.

The visit at the Museum was uneventful, except when a group a young  girls were touring too and realized who the other group was . . . us!   When they exited one room to cross our path, Sophia stopped them and explained to them who we were and began to lecture them, in a very professional manner, on the possibility that there may be a Transgender individual amongst them, etc.  This gained the attention of the two teachers following the group.  Even the tour guide, exclaimed “well you learned one more thing today.”  Sophia had a very informative session with one of the teacher and even gave her business card if they wanted to discuss even more.  This it turned out to be a very positive encounter after all.

Now I’m just back from the dinner at the Legion Hall. Yep, you heard it.  Supper was at the legion.  Last year we had a very positive outing at the Legion, dancing and fraternizing with members.  This year Sophia and Amanda added a sit down supper for almost 30 of us with a few spouses, followed by entertainment with a two man band, so lots to dance.  The supper meal and service was excellent.  While we were chatting before supper, Sophia went to the organ to play a few tunes, well basically to tune it!  The legion volunteers in hearing the music, started to dance in the kitchen, and were having a ball.  I had lots of fun dancing with the group and Legion members.  There was one older gentlemen, 94 years young, with a cane, who ventured several times to the dance floor accompanied by one of us and danced with one of the group’s beautiful spouse.  I’m sure we made his day.  When curtain call came, several of the Legion members told us to let them know in advance of our next visit, because they would like to party with us.  They enjoyed our company and the entertainment.  This was a very successful evening.  Bedtime for me! I’ll try to keep the next reports briefer!

From: Linda Jensen <[email protected]>
To: Natalie Bouchard <[email protected]>
Sent: Fri, May 13, 2011 7:00:17 AM
Subject: RE: Re: Gals Spring Fling

That’s sounds as if it was a fun day! Where did you get the energy? Keep the reports coming. I’m enjoying waking up to a cup of coffee and your report from Gananoque. Sure beats our political news these days!

Date: Fri, 13 May 2011
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: RE: Re:  Gals Spring Fling
To: [email protected]

Speed meeting in action.

At 10 a.m. we had the speed meeting session, where people would alternate every 5 minutes to meet new friends.  That was really interesting!  Helping out Amanda, I could listen in on the conversations, people didn’t want to break off after the bell rang.
11 a.m. Sophia made an excellent presentation, “Out and About” in public.  This was followed by a quick lunch at noon.

Today I was responsible to bring the Fashion Show models to Kingston for a fitting at Sears. Having done this a couple times in the past, I felt it was my responsibility to bring the newbies with me.  So after lunch off we went.  It was the first time for Amy, Cindy and Sheryl to do this, and going out to a store to do a fitting.  Helen and Mary Ann later joined us.  The three salesladies at Sears had so much fun helping the models in the clothes selection, we were there for over two hours.  I wanted a selection of outfits from Casual to Dressy which would appeal to all.  We had quite a variety of shapes and sizes to fit.  All the models enjoyed their experience and the excellent service we received from Sears.  It was 4:30, time to get back to Kingston to get ready for the boat cruise.

All trans on deck.

Time to change into something a bit dressier for the evening and considering we would be over water, something to stay warm, too.  So cocktails at 6 p.m. at the Ramada Inn followed by the Thousand Island boat cruise.  We had to be at the boat launch before 7 p.m. if we didn’t want to miss the ride.  The weather was still holding for us, nice but cooler tonight.  We had a buffet type of supper followed by live entertainment on the second deck.  I even tried for the first time signing Pretty Woman with the live Karaoke during the Talent Show.  Funny!  The music was great, lots of dancing, and surprisingly the waters were so calm, nobody got sick.  We were rocking on the boat!  Another excellent boat cruise around the Thousand Islands.  This was definitively a highlight of the Gals Spring Fling.  Everyone enjoyed it.  We got back to port around 10 p.m..  Time for more entertainment at the Ramada Inn Lounge with Sophia at the keyboard and several of us signing in unison.  Well, OK, we were having lots of fun signing different tunes and joking around.  This lasted past midnight, by that time everyone was getting tired of their busy day.  Time for bed!

From: Linda Jensen <[email protected]>
To: Natalie Bouchard <[email protected]>
Sent: Sat, May 14, 2011 6:45:24 AM
Subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: Gals Spring Fling

What a day you had! I was hoping to sneak over to Sears to watch you gals in action but it wasn’t to be. By the way I love shopping there, too. But I’m getting to learn a bit about your priorities. Do you realize you spent just four lines on the seminars and two long paragraphs on the fashion show preparation and the boat party?  Party girl to the end!

Date: Fri, 13 May 2011
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re:  Gals Spring Fling
To: [email protected]

You want more about the seminars? Here are today’s!  First it was Fashions That Move with Shelley Ratcliffe covering fashions that compliment our body shapes and sizes; followed by Miqqi Gilbert — “Fantasy Girl vs. Reality Woman,” exploring some of the differences between the fantasy of being a woman, and the reality of a woman’s life, excellent presentation.  Lunch time!  This followed by a workshop with the Cover FX makeup representative, and we were done with the seminars.

At the cosmetics counter.

Then I was off to Sears in Kingston to pick up all the outfits for the Fashion Show this evening.  My dear friend Joanne came along to help me out.  Rainy day!  Where did the sun go, I need my vitamin D!  On the way back we stopped at Shoppers Drug Mart where some of the Girls were having their Makeup done by the Cover FX representative.  The cosmetics section was abuzz with activity.  Sophia, Tanya, Cindy, Samantha, plus the other girls were getting help from the salespeople, who were running around trying to keep up with the number of clients.  It must have been a very good sales day.  The cosmetics rep gave me compliments on my looks stating she was jealous of me.  Blush and smile!  I purchased a couple of items and received a big gift in return… an umbrella with several cosmetic samples,  just what I needed for a rainy day.  Then it was time to get back to the Ramada Inn to drop off the modelling outfits and socialize for a while before the Dinner Gala.

Before dinner, I had to go back to my room to change into something sexier ;-}  Cocktail time!  We had the best legs contests, where the ladies would wear their bathing suit and show off their beautiful legs.  The winner was selected by acclamation from the audience.  Michelle McCartin from Gender Mosaic won the coveted trophy.  The Gala dinner was a buffet with a large selection of tasty foods.  Several of us French girls and spouse sat together to enjoy the meal together.  Sophia and Debbie, Marie-Claude, Rebecca, Lisa, Suzanne, Michelle, Danielle, and our friend from San Francisco Amy joined us.
The supper was followed by the fashion show to the music of DJ Sophia.  I gathered the five models; Amy, Cindy, Sheryl, Helen and Kim, picked up our outfits, and went to the bathroom/change room in the basement to get ready.  I like the fashion show, it’s time to show off our nice outfit selections.  Surprisingly what you can get at Sears — nice clothes!  I first wore my casual outfit, white cargo pants, summer high heel sandals, with a red and white top, this was very comfy.  Then a dressier two piece outfit, skirt and top.  Finally: the piece de résistance, a sexy dress with a mix of colours, teal, fuchsia, and a mix of blues, very flowing and pleasant to wear.

I received lots of compliments from the crowd, some wanting to buy it off me.   The music accompanying the stroll amongst the gathered crowd gave you that extra pep and bounce, you wanted time to slow down.  Multiple Camera flashes, cheering, and applauses made it all worthwhile.  Ah! this was a lot of fun.  All the models thanked me for bringing them to Sears the previous day, the encouragement and for helping them out.  They truly enjoyed the fashion show.  It went by too fast!  The added bonus for being a model, is that you have first dibs on the clothes you selected, plus getting a discount of 25% or more depending if it was on sale or not.  When I return the clothes tomorrow I will buy the cargo pants and top, and certainly the dress.

The evening was not over, I enjoyed every seconds of it.  Excellent company, chatting and dancing were the highlights.  I love stepping on the dancing floor and move the body to the music, I just need some water to keep me going.  Dance, Dance, Dance!  It also helps when you have a good pair of dancing shoes, ballroom that is, I can dance all night!  Yep! the energiser bunny ;-}  The music from DJ Sophia was great. What a night!  Oh well! all good things have to come to an end.  Till next time, bedtime!

From: Linda Jensen <[email protected]>
To: Natalie Bouchard <[email protected]>
Sent: Sun, May 15, 2011 8:25:47 AM
Subject: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re:  Gals Spring Fling

Thanks again for the report. You must be exhausted. How do you do so much and then write about it every evening? I would be asleep long before you – or in bed at least.
Have a safe trip home!

Date: Sun, 15 May 2011
From: [email protected]
Subject: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: RE: Re:  Gals Spring Fling
To: [email protected]

You know I’m not that type of girl. LOL
It was still a rainy day, which for me was like tears of departure.  It was odd meeting with some of the girls who were in male mode this morning; it certainly confused the heck out of waitresses that served us the previous days. We had quite a chuckle!  I was ready to leave, having packed everything last night, but after bidding farewell to all, it was time to drive back to Kingston and return to Sears the Fashion Show outfits. Before leaving I helped Sophia and Amanda pack things away.  I always find this moment very difficult parting with friends, knowing I won’t see them for a while.

I drove to Kingston to drop off the outfits at Sears, and buy my favourites.  I met with the sales manager to ensure everything was accounted for and returned properly.  The salesgirl Leslie that had assisted me for my fitting came over to find out how the fashion show went.  She asked if we would be coming back next year, having so much fun with us, it was an enjoyable day for them.  She exclaimed “we normally don’t have this much fun.”  The service we received was excellent and non-judgemental.  Definitively a memorable moment.

Afterwards, Sophia, Amanda and I, did a bit of shopping at the Cataraqui Shopping Centre and then went out for a late lunch at Aunt Lucie’s Restaurant. What a vacation away from home! I’m glad I came down for the GSF. I wouldn’t have missed it in the world. We parted company and I drove back to Ottawa . . . Too bad I can’t rewind and start all over again.

All the Spring Fling Photos

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Category: Transgender Community News

Linda Jensen

About the Author ()

Canadian writer Linda Jensen is a long time contributor to TGForum. Before the days of the Internet Linda started her writing with the Transvestian newspaper. Her writing ranges from factual accounts of her adventures to fiction although frankly sometimes her real life adventures are stranger than the fiction. Linda is married to a loving partner who upon learning about Linda said, "she was part of you before I met you. Although I didn't know it she was part of the package I fell in love with. I don't want to mess up that package." "Does it get any better than that?" asks Linda.

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