Southern Comfort Thursday, Sep 17 2009 

I’ll be at the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta next week, Tuesday evening through Sunday morning. If anyone wants to say hi, please feel free. I’m usually pretty easy to find-look for the nametag that says Zelda Rose, attached to a harried looking person :P

Time Machine: Smoke Saturday, May 30 2009 

Yahoo has decided to shut down their 360 pages. Not that this is a surprise-they have not done a thing with it in ages. So I am going to repost some of my entries here, to preserve them.

This was a post from October 25, 2005.

Someone else posted an entry to their blog about smoking…

I’m not a smoker. I don’t feel any cravings for it, and it never bothers me. Just the smell, which I hate.

So, why is it that when I’m doing the girl thang that I like to smoke? I know it’s an affectation, but why that one?

I’m particular about what I’ll smoke. It’s got to be a long, thin cigarette, like More 120’s or Sampoerna Xtra cloves. They’re both dark, and they look very dramatic. I like the smell of cloves, too. I don’t inhale deeply, just enough to keep them going. I try to look aloof when I smoke, like I am not really thinking about it…

When I’m going out in the French Quarter, I always have to park a few blocks from where I am going. I’ll light a cigarette and smoke while I’m walking; it seems to get me into the mood. If I’m in a nightclub I’ll smoke. It’s a natural thing to do for me.

I don’t feel a compulsion to smoke after a meal, or other things. I’ll do it driving sometimes, even though I forbid people from smoking in my car. But Zelda can, of course…

I wanted a cigarette holder for a long time, but never got one. That’s too much of an affectation even for me.

At SCC, I brought one pack of Sampoerna’s with me. I didn’t even finish it by the end of the week. Of course, you can’t smoke in the bars in Atlanta anymore, either…

And I can dress and not smoke, too. So the only reason I do it is for effect. Now if I could only develop an eastern European accent…

I have not seen a pack of More 120’s in years. Sampoernas are not imported into the US anymore; I switched to Djarm Blacks. After my spouse’s health issues in ’07 I stopped smoking for the most. My last time was at SCC ’08, and I have not since. But I think I’ll grab a pack of Blacks for SCC ’09, just in case…

Southern Comfort Tuesday, Oct 14 2008 

So, I went to my eighth Southern Comfort Conference, held annually in Atlanta. This was our second year at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia, and things went far better than last year with the hotel. A lot of positive things, some weird ones, and a few missteps…

+ As I said, the hotel was far better than last year. They were not prepared for us, and it showed with slow service, problems with housekeeping, and backups. This year, they were well-staffed, things went a lot faster, and housekeeping was great. The staff loved us; we tip well and don’t tear up rooms or cause problems.

+ The hotel is also across the street from Perimeter Mall, one of the best malls in the city. The stores are great, and their staffs were wonderful to us. I never had anything but the best service! MAC of course had a wonderfully professional staff. I got some great tips on fixing a problem I’ve been having with under eye circles; learned a lot about avoiding putting certain things there and the make up artist found the right concealer to use.

And then there’s Bloomingdale’s Yves St. Laurent counter. I was just walking past, on my way out, and ended up in a fun conversation with the make up artist and her boss-whos son owns a restaurant in Dallas. I had to promise to come back again to get my eye makeup done (hey, a girl’s got her priorities)…

+ Seeing people who have not been to an SCC in some time. And seeing more new people than before, including younger transpeople. Also, more transmen than last year. Even though overall attendance was slightly down, the mix made up for it.

+ SCC once again had excellent presentations. We always manage to get some great people, and this year was no exception

+ Atlanta is a great city. The people are friendly and there are lots of things to do. I never had a cross word or odd look.

+ Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse is still the best LGBT bookstore anywhere, with a great selection of books and music, good coffee and pastries, and a wonderful location (Piedmont and 10th in Midtown). It used to be in walking distance from the old hotel, and is one of the few things I really miss with the new location.

+ Meeting Ronnie Rho finally. She’s even more fun in person than she is online. We just clicked right off, going into total rifts on things and confusing one and all. That’s a sign. She also helped me when I thought I had a major disaster on my hands (which turned out okay). She didn’t need to, but she helped a lot.

+ Seeing Renee again. I forgot how great she was to hang around with. She’s also great to conspire with-which is a plus in my book. She is trying to make me go to Frolicon, and tempting me with her wicked ways…

+ The usual suspects: Emma and her spouse, Divinyl and Jennifer. We always seem to see each other and have far more fun than we ought to. Great people to spend time with :)

+ My long-suffering roommate, Christianne. A year has made a lot of difference and none. And you’re still one of the easiest people I know to get along with.

+ Starbucks. Because I wouldn’t make it without coffee.

+ Andrea and Brooke are wonderful people to spend a day with, have a meal, share drinks. They make such a cute couple. And they’re getting hitched soon!

+ The Fabulous Sabrina Pandora, a force of nature who is one of the best friends I could have. She’s told me things I needed to hear, even when I may not have wanted to. And she’s got the most distracting personality I know…

+ There are a lot of other people I have forgotten. Know that I am glad to have seen you :)

+ There is something so empowering about being in a place where you are in the majority. Hundreds of people who are like you, who you feel connected with, and who you can share an experience with.

– Atlanta traffic is killer. And it’s so easy to get lost, espcially with the constant road construction.

– The gas crisis, which caused people to do silly things but thank goodness, was less of a crisis by the end of the week.

– Why do I find ways to cause me to mental? It’s always little stuff, like wardrobe failures that make me take forever to get ready and put things behind. And then I feel pressure on myself to try to catch up again…

– Can someone explain to me why TSA agents in Atlanta have to act like pricks, while the ones at DFW are professionals?

+/- AirTran is nearly as good as Southwest, but their stupid fees suck. At least they are not as bad as American or Delta.

– There is never enough time to do all you want to at SCC. So it motivates you to come back, I suppose.

– You leave SCC on Sunday and things seem so different. And it takes time to get back to the world…

Addenda Sunday, Jan 13 2008 

Okay, I forgot a few things to say in my SCC report:

* Christianne should get a medal for being my roommate. The ideal person to share a space with-we don’t get into each other’s way, or have to keep each other entertained. But we get along really well, and have the same snarky sense of seeing things so it works perfectly…

* This year was a major turning point for SCC, in more ways than one. Moving the convention away from the Downtown/Buckhead area, which was also closer to the “gay” areas of the city. There was a risk moving to the suburbs, and the edge of the Perimeter (the ring road that surrounds Atlanta and defines the city from the suburban sprawl). I admit that it worked out far better than I expected, but I also ended up having to drive further to see things.

SCC hosted the first Transgender Career Expo this year. There were major companies participating, like American Airlines, Turner and Sprint. And from what I’ve heard, it went incredibly well. SCC also made changes to the programming and events, some of which worked better than others. SCC, which was already the largest TG convention, is probably going to be the most influential in a few years.

* I flew AirTran from Dallas to Atlanta. The irony is not lost on me.

* One of the more remarkable moments of the trip was a small one. One of the DC Posse wanted to go to the mall across the street, but didn’t’ want to go alone, so of course I generously volunteered to join her. Yes, I’m so selfless…Did some shopping, we tried on hats (she wanted a ball cap, which she kept putting on sideways), got coffee. On the way back out, she asked me how I could stand people staring at me.

I said, “What people?” I had not noticed anyone staring. I really don’t worry about what other people think when I’m out, unless they are openly hostile. It’s not like I think I won’t be noticed-I’m tall, big, and not exactly a shrinking violet in public. To learn how to be comfortable with yourself and not panic when you are “clocked” are two important social skills any transperson has to develop, quickly. Unless you want to remain in your closet forever…

Need tea, that’s enough for now.

What Happened To Zelda At SCC, Finally. Friday, Jan 11 2008 

Okay, so much for actually thinking I can keep up with a blog on a regular basis. And my detailed recap of Southern Comfort 2007? Right…

So let’s do what I normally do-recap wildly.

*I like the new hotel; I hate the new hotel. The location, while away from our traditional Downtown/Buckhead area, does have the advantage of a large mall across the road, lots of restaurants in the area, and easy access to the major highways. The lobby is simply gorgeous, with lots of places to sit and talk. The ballrooms are large, and there were fewer problems with the temperature than in the past. The catering was decent, and there was a franchised Starbucks kiosk in the lobby for that morning emergency caffeine charge. The staff was friendly, and professional. And it was nice to not have to pay for parking.

The bad part? The hotel was totally unprepared for us. I had issues with getting my room cleaned. I checked in on Monday, and it was Wednesday before anyone cleaned the room. I had to call for clean towels Tuesday and Wednesday, at which time I went to the desk and politely complained. Which got me a comped night, and a promise to have the room cleaned the next day. Saturday, the toilet nearly overflowed, I called for someone to look after it. Nobody ever came; fortunately, it cleared itself up enough to work, partially, the rest of the stay.

Getting served in the lounge? Don’t be in any rush for drinks or food. They were understaffed most of the time; it only got better towards the end of the week when they realized that, gee, we DID spend a lot of money in the hotel…While the food service for the banquets were decent, the wait staff seemed indifferent at times. Oh, and why do upscale hotels STILL charge for broadband?

I guess we’d been spoiled with the Sheraton Colony Square, which is now W Atlanta Midtown. The staff was incredible, the service was great, and the rooms were nice. Moving to a Crowne Plaza, I thought we would have a similar level of service. What I wonder is, did someone with SCC not make it clear what kind of clients we are, or did the Crowne Plaza not believe it? Regardless, we’re back there for 2008, and I refuse to cut them any slack.

*Being across from Perimiter Mall was very convenient. Besides having the only MAC store in the city, they also have Sephora and a great selection of shops and places to eat.

*Little Five Points is still a must visit stop for me. Even if it seems like it’s losing some of the charm it had when I first went down there. But as long as my favorite jewelery place is still there, and it keeps feeling like Magazine Street, I’ll return.

Silver King
The Bazaar
1130 Euclid Ave.
Atlanta, GA

*I found, thanks to my friend Adrya, a great shoe store. Run by a very nice lady, who was very helpful, they had shoes that fit and looked good-and weren’t hooker shoes! I will definitely return.

A Step Above
470 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

*I can’t say how much I appreciated Sabrina Pandora spending a day with me, and seeing her is always a good thing. She’s a friend, and a critic, and I hope she realizes how much I appreciate her.

*Going out to dinner with friends is something that means a lot to me. And it’s part of why I like SCC. Getting to spend time with the DC Posse, making new friends, enjoying good food. It’s so simple, yet it makes me feel so much more…complete?

*Atlanta is a wonderful city. Even though the traffic is hell-but living in Dallas has taught me a lot about dealing with it. I feel very comfortable going out, the city’s Southern charm hasn’t been lost, and I look forward to returning.

*I get to see old friends, make new ones. And that’s worth the trip.

*There is still nothing like being in a room where you are part of the majority, you don’t feel so alien. Even if you are.

*Flying still sucks. I’d rather drive, but 14+ hours straight? Um, no.

*I made a conscious decision to “dress down” a bit this year. Not totally, because I can’t do it. But to look more, um, passable? God, I hate that word…


This is me, with Vickie Collins and Vicky Renee-two people I’ve known since my first SCC. Yes, I need to lose weight. But I think I look pretty good. I avoided doing the gothgirl thing most of the trip, did not wear a corset once, but in case you think I lost it:


Me and the fabulous Mistress Divinyl at Twinkledome. I’d hate her if she wasn’t such a great person; she’s gorgeous.

I did get compliments on how I looked, including a few from people I did not expect. So, expect more fabulousness!

*Did I mention how much I like seeing people? Good. I also came to realize that some people I need to let go. One particular person, I have tried to be friends with for years, even when he’s caused me headaches on the SCCLounge. What finally happened was I realized he was never going to let go of things that happened in the past, and I wasn’t willing to sit by and be his audience. I don’t feel good about this, but I feel it was necessary.

*I don’t feel such a need for “support” as much as I do friendship. I’ve been trying to get a dinner group going here in Dallas, and our first one went well. But people have shown little interest in a second one, and I feel like I’m back in New Orleans, where nobody wanted to do anything but go to meetings and one place to eat…

*No post-SCC letdown. I managed to keep the feeling going for quite some time. I guess it was worth the sacrifice I made to attend…

And I can’t wait for SCC2008.

Yes, I’m finally catching up with SCC, shut up already… Sunday, Oct 7 2007 

I’m going to try to do this chronologically, though we’ll see how long that lasts…


I learned my lesson years ago-don’t try to take the earliest flight, take the one you can wake up for. It was pouring rain, and I found out that parts of Loop 12 (the main road from my house to the airport) was flooding. Why major highways flood here, I don’t understand…A quick Google Maps session found me an alternate route, and I got to the parking lot with no problems, in time to get to DFW and wait for the plane to get in. While some people hate DFW, it’s not a bad airport. Though putting Starbucks on the other end of the terminal is a killer. AirTran is a pretty good airline, but the seats on their planes leave a lot to be desired… Forty-five minutes late taking off, we got to Atlanta with little drama.

By the time I got to the baggage claim, my bags were waiting. Off to Alamo to get car; their kiosk was actually easy to use, and the bus got us to the lot quickly. Where everyone waited while they sorted us all out; normally you just pick out a car in your class and go. Not today. Took far too long, but I got a Jeep Liberty out of it. A while back, my spouse had looked at one but didn’t seem impressed. This was not an ’08, which has supposedly been improved, but it was pretty new and in great shape. But it needed a bigger engine; too many downshifts from the automatic transmission for me.

Called Sabrina Pandora to warn her I was on the way. One of the people I had to see on this trip was Sabrina, and she graciously offered to chaperoned me around for the afternoon and take me to her favorite nail salon. See, for me, SCC really starts when I get my nails done, and ends when I take the polish off Saturday night/Sunday morning…

Found Sabrina’s house, after making a big mistake. Met Max the Wonder Dog, saw the Sabrina Cave, and we were soon off to running the roads. Sabrina’s a very comfortable person to be around; I haven’t known her as long as some other people, but it’s like we’ve known each other forever. We can be totally honest with each other, and though she thinks I don’t listen sometimes, I really to take her advice.

By the end of the day, we were at Sabrina’s nail place (which she needs to send me the name of, for future reference). I don’t get acrylics or anything else, just get my natural nails polished. I’d been letting them grow out some, and with a beautiful OPI red polish (which I’ll have to look at later for the color), I felt a lot better. Even if the rest of me was totally drab…

Dropped Sabrina off at her house, promising to drop in on her at work later in the week. After six years, SCC was moving from a downtown location (the Sheraton Colony Square is being converted into a W Hotel) to the Crowne Plaza Ravinia, out on the Perimeter (the I-285 loop) near GA400. This meant we were further from downtown and the airport, but we were across from Perimeter Mall. I had no idea what was in the vicinity, so I was going to have to relearn where things were…

The hotel is very pretty, with a huge indoor garden. I got checked in relatively quickly, but the hotel made a big misstep from the start. Normally, I use a debit card to pay for things. After having had problems with credit cards in the past, I don’t use one except in very extreme circumstances (under pain of death by the spouse). I was informed at the desk that, because I was using a debit card, I had to prepay for the room. No problem; I’d planned on that, and having a small amount held in reserve to cover possible incidentals. However, I was then told that they were going to hold $50 a night to cover incidentals. Okay. And that it’d remain on hold for 14 days after I’d checked out. Um, no, no way. Every other hotel I’d stayed at released the hold at check out, or a day after. So I told them I would not have any incidentals, and would just pay for things as I needed.

I’d shipped a package to the hotel, and when I asked the bellman he had a time finding it. But I got my stuff up to the room (which didn’t have a number on the door), and the room was actually pretty nice. Large enough for two beds and some space to move, but the dresser was tiny. And the bathroom lighting was terrible. Unlike the Sheraton, the bathroom lights were fluorescents and I couldn’t just replace the bulbs to get more light. Oh, and the AC takes forever to cool the room (though it did manage to keep it relatively cool the rest of the week).

Got to bed at a decent time, which won’t happen again the rest of the week…

Zelda wore: boring boy stuff (trust me, it gets better….)

Proof that I don’t burn in the sunlight Tuesday, Jul 31 2007 


This was the first time I was in Atlanta, in 2000. Yes, I was going to Southern Comfort, but first I was going to stay with friends who were taking me out shopping in Little Five Points. I’d flown in the day before and had spent the night at their house, which is when I found out that as nice as they were, I was really putting them out, so I was going to leave their place a day early and move into the hotel where SCC was being held at that year.

But before that, we were going out. And for me, it was a huge moment. Because up to that point, I had never been out during the daytime, or been out shopping as a girl. I threw on my best gothgrrl/alternachick look, and off we went.

And I had a fun day! A great lunch at the Vortex, shopping in the stores in the area. I found my favorite ring on this trip, too. Towards the end of the afternoon, I posed for one last picture, in front of Throb, which was a fetish/alternative clothing store. I spent five minutes posing, waiting for her to take the shot. Finally I just put my foot down, and that’s the pose you see.

It’s one of my favorites, because it reminds me how happy I was that day, and how I could be out in public and actually be accepted. For me, it was an important day-and one early step.

Now, what happened afterward…

I got directions to the hotel, in Buckhead, and left Stone Mountain for what should have been a short drive. Of course, I get lost. Badly. Eventually, I find the right exit, start driving down what I hope is the right road, see the hotel, and when I walk in the door I realize I’m in the right place.

The rest of that weekend? Fabulous! But that is another story…

I got an excuse from my mom… Saturday, Jul 28 2007 

I have not posted anything here recently. My job has been incredibly hectic and time-consuming, and having a nice bout of depression has not helped. When I am depressed, I do not feel like writing, which is counter to what others do. I know, I have to be different…

But now that I am getting closer to returning to a normal schedule at work, I will start working on my blogging again. And I have to start getting things sorted out for Southern Comfort as well. I took care of booking a room a long time ago, and by waiting got a much cheaper flight this week (on AirTran, and yes I see the irony there). Atlanta is one of my favorite cities, and some of my favorite people live there.

Thanks to everyone who has commented to my posts; I think a viewer mail post is in the future :)

Every picture tells a story Monday, Jul 9 2007 

First, look at the picture:


Now, the story…

Saturday morning, in a room at the Sheraton Colony Square in Atlanta. I’m attending the Southern Comfort Conference, the 2004 edition. I had thought I knew what I was going to wear that morning. But then I looked at the leather corset in my suitcase. The one I had gotten a year, custom made by Paul C Leather. Paul had taken my measurements, crafted leather into beauty, charged me a fortune, and gave me something gorgeous. And even comfortable.

Who could resist? Even though I was at a tranny convention, more mainstream than fetish. Why not? My Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt, which is aways perfect with a corset. A long black broomstick skirt that I’d ordered from Australia years before; something long enough to reach my ankles but always looked nice and was comfy.

Out the door, into the world. And I looked good, felt good. Went to classes, lunch, ran into friends, got lots of compliments on how I looked.

By the late afternoon, it was time for the Southern Belles social. The Belles are a social group, with no dues or requirements other than to go out and meet others. I can get behind that…

Trannys and cameras are made for each other. More digital cameras are sold to transgirls for their own Flickr albums and MySpace profiles than any other reason. Combine cameras and social occasions, it’s a perfect mix. After getting some snapshots, I wanted to get a few pictures of my outfit. Which is when I ran into Emma.

Emma is a friend, who I met online years ago on AOL and kept in touch with. She is one of the most creative people I know; artist, decorator, designer. She makes her own outfits. Oh, did I mention she’s one of the nicest people I know?

I handed her my camera, she looked at it for a moment, then photographed me. Not snapshots, real photos. There’s a difference. She knew how to bring out the best in me, and she took the photo you see here. One of the best ever taken of me.

Highlight of the day? Close to it. When I got to see the shot later, I smiled. Because that’s Zelda you see there.

Is that a thousand words?

SELF and self Wednesday, Jun 13 2007 

Yes, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. Health issues and some very bad head space combined to put the muse in a state of slumber.

I spent last weekend in Atlanta at the SouthEast Leatherfest. It’s a leather/fetish/BDSM convention.

Did I forget to mention I am interested in these things? Oh, sorry…

Pervy folk are like any other social group, except we tell stranger jokes and dress better. And speaking of dressing, SELF was an excuse for me to enjoy some extended girl time. I had not been about to do that for a while.

Spending a weekend as a woman means:

  • Lots of shaving. And it takes a lot of time to shave this bod. Plus, shaving my face twice a day, since I have not started any serious hair removal techniques.
  • Going from worrying about getting my makeup perfect to trying to get it done quickly. Practice may not make perfect, but it makes it quicker.
  • Shopping is an art form, and having a friend like Sabrina Pandora who has a black belt in it and knows Little Five Points like a native. And I found the best pair of riding boots, ever. For $25. You may be jealous now…
  • Falling into all the little feminine ways, like walking and remembering to take your ear ring off when you answer the phone.
  • Getting your nails polished, hating the job the salon did, realizing that nobody else noticed the bad polish job.
  • You get far more wardrobe options. And changing close twice a day is not a sign of vanity.

Atlanta is a very cosmopolitan city. I’ve been there many times for Southern Comfort, and had very few problems as a woman on the town. Nobody really notices, or says anything. I do not feel like I am “passable,” but I do feel I am acceptable. I am comfortable with myself, and feel very positive about going out anywhere. And this seems to help people accept me.

The people at SELF treated me like a woman. I got to spend lots of time with friends, make new ones, buy stuff, learn things, and even let the wicked side of me out for a few. By Sunday afternoon, eating hot dogs on a patio and feeling comfortable enough to wear a tank top and short cammo skirt in the summer, I just found myself wishing it would last longer. Because I was really, truly feeling like the person I think Zelda is.

Flying home the next day, I felt the sense of loss that post-convention time seems to bring. And wanting to capture the feeling again.

le sigh

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