Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Old Racing Photos

Originally posted on March 14, 2010

Old Racing Photos

Current mood: complacent

Lately, I've started to re-post (Facebook & especially Racersbored) the many racing photos I took in my youth. Granted this was long before digital cameras, so it took me a long time to scan them all. Not only time but I burnt out a scanner.

But the 1978-1984 photos were easy to post. I had scanned them back in the winter of 2004-2005, so they were already on disk and ready to go. Posting the later day stuff is taking longer because, I need to scan them all, and I'm also remembering the people, places and times that I truly miss. I never appreciated those three things then, as much as I do now.


But here's the story no-one knows until now. In the fall of 2004, I was at the lowest point of my life. I had a reason for scanning those photos back then. I scanned and sent hundreds, if not thousands of photos to those that would appreciate them. Not that they were great photos, but they did represent an era that can't be replaced. I spent every available moment scanning. Sick, tired or both.


But my plan was to share these treasures as the last part of my "legacy". Something to be remembered by. The goal was to scan every photo, send them accordingly and find a caretaker for the negatives and prints. More likely than not, I was leaning on giving everything to noted racing photographer, Jim Feeney.


My suicide was eminent and this was my last true project. Two things saved me. Spring arrived and my scanner burnt out. Had the scanner not burnt out, I wouldn't be here to post this. I was that serious and that close. Fortunately, those events hit and I came to my senses. John had to end, but not me.


But when I post those photos, I'm not only reminded to the people, places and times, but the fact that I'm here five years longer than planned.
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Addendum added March 28, 2012

I had also started scanning the hundreds of photos I had taken in Indianapolis with the group of friends with the good intentions of putting them all on special disk and making copies for everyone in the group. Out of the 8 to 10 of them, only two chose to remain friends, John Ashley & Don Horvath. The others, even the ones who swore to stick by me no matter what, abandoned me like I had the plaque.

Needless to say I'm glad I never finished that project.

A small portion of super modified photos can be found on the website of two friends that did stick by me, Bob Gangwer and Robert Gill. I stopped posting the photos on FaceBook to help drive more hits on Wing Side Up. They can be found here http://wingsideup.com/media/supermodified-photo-gallery/

January 28 - From Now On, MY Day

Originally posted on January 31, 2011

January 28 - From Now On, MY Day

Current mood: drained

Monday January 28, 2008 was a big day in my life. I knew the first anniversary would be tough, so I planned on doing something special, for me. Like a trip to the beach/coast or up to the Woodstock Inn. But any plans were nixed with an ice and snow storm.


I never figured the second anniversary would be tough. Not at all. I've never been more wrong in my life.


Wednesday night I could feel more of an edge coming on. Granted since Sunday, my stomach, mind and emotions were all butterflies, but Wednesday sincere realization was kicking in. I watched the multi-media presentation that Corey Perrine had done for the Nashua Telegraph. Seeing the people and places, plus hearing the voices brought a tidal wave of emotion like never before. Why hadn't I taken Thursday off from work? Why had I not made a trip to Montreal?


Thursday, January 28, 2010, I woke feeling like vomiting. Why, I don't honestly know. I had no physical reason to, but I was certain it was going to happen. It didn't. I fought physical ailment and tears and dragged myself to work. No matter what, I was ready for a complete breakdown.
Upon opening my work e-mail, sent with the best of intentions were birthday wishes from Diane, Gail, Linda & Michelle. Unfortunately this was not the joyous day it should have been. I was a complete wreck. Later, wishes from Karyn arrived. Karyn is probably the only person I know that could relate to my poor state of mind. Though she hasn't experienced what I have, she probably understands me the best. She made it possible for me to get through the day. The physical ailments subsided as the day went on, the emotional ones did not.


I struggled through the work day. Coming home, I knew I was supposed to be at the animal shelter that evening, but there was no way I could face anyone. Not even the cats I love so much.


Mid-afternoon, I found out that one person that I had become friends with was leaving the area for new employment. This person was also very key in my surviving that first weekend in Montreal. Corey. This was not the type of news I needed. Not today. Any other day, fine. But not today.


Upon arriving home, I found the leftover Demerol from surgery and quickly took one. I need to numb myself from this day. I wish I had seen it coming and headed it off, but I didn't and I lost the game.Once the numbing sensation kicked in, I found myself in bed earlier than ever.


Granted I'm the only one I know that experiences this let down. But I've been fortunate enough to escape the post-op depression, except for this one week and especially on January 28. Of course, I'm known to keep my emotions to wrapped up internally, so maybe letting the pressure out one day a year isn't a bad thing.


But I know one thing, January 28, 2011 is on a Friday. It's going to be my day. I'm taking the long weekend and who knows, maybe I'll head to Montreal. I'll beat this some day. But until then, any other day will be take it as it comes but January 28, I need to be my day

Two Years Gone

Originally posted on January 26, 2010

Two Years Gone

Current mood: nostalgic

I'm finding it hard to believe that two years has gone by. As I figured, the flashbacks throughout the fall weren't nearly as strong as they were last year, though they were still there. Even through the month of January, it didn't weigh too heavily on my mind.


But Saturday the 23rd, I had a small payback get together for the girls that went to Montreal for support. I even made it through that without a hitch or concern. My biggest concern was my friend Mary having a health related surgery on Monday.


But Sunday the 24th, would have been exactly two years to the day that I left. And it hit HARD. Granted, being Sunday and with the NFL championship games being played, it felt much more like Sunday January 20, 2008. The day the first Telegraph article was printed.

But the somber feelings and nerves were back harder than I had ever anticipated. The weather was almost exactly as it was on January 24th 2008 and ditto on the 25th. The dark cloudy rainy day, brought me straight back to Montreal 1/25/08, lying on the bed, watching the Mardi Gras Hotel (Las Vegas)fire.

I still wish I had the entire thing on dvd, so maybe I could enjoy it this time. It was two years ago today (26th) that Carrie, Linda, Michelle & Gail came up to join me (Karen & Corey too) It's simply a calendar matched with a state of mind, but it does incredible things to your psyche and it's not pleasant.


I've literally spent the past three days nerve wracked and today just absolutely sick to my stomach. One thing I'm fortunate for, and little did I realize in 2008, but I had a great writer and one of the northeast's leading news photographers documenting my trip. Not too many are that lucky. I can at least reflect with a few pictures and written documentation. Funny, I almost deleted that post by Karen to the Yahoo group, a group I'm proudly no longer a member of. But it caught my eye in the unread deletion process and fortunately it just caught my eye and I rescued it.


I'm also very thankfully I blogged every day in Montreal and one year later, daily follow up. The thoughts, feelings and story can never be replaced. But they do still strike when I least expect it.


I will return to Montreal next month. This time, paying it forward, and going to bring a friend back from her surgery. Strangely enough, two years ago, Anna said she looked up to me as an big sister (despite her being older). I'm honored I can help her out. But I'm also making a trip back for myself as well.


I certainly hope Year Three Anniversary passes better than years one or two. My stomach, mind and nerves can't take much more of this.


Two years gone, and the emotional tidalwave hit me all over again. Where's the dvd set? I need to watch it all over again. Damn it, I can't.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"The" Building

Originally posted on September 27, 2009

"The" Building

Current mood: indescribable

When cleaning out my camera's expansion card today, I found two photos I had forgotten about. The subject of these photos is a place I've never been. but this building haunts me and it has for almost two years.


I first saw this building at dusk on January 26, 2008. I had spent the day in Montreal with Carrie, Michelle, Linda & Gail. I was staying at Dr Brassard's convalescence home but the girls whom had come up to visit me, didn't have hotel reservations. Nothing was close to the home and certainly no hotel rooms in Montreal are inexpensive.

Karen & Corey from the Nashua Telegraph, had found a place within a few miles of the home (Laval) and at a great price. When they had completed their trip from NH, they went straight to their hotel to nap. But they had called to let my group know they had arrived. when it was time for the two groups to hook up, when went to the hotel in hopes that they had available rooms. They did and having both traveling parties at the same location made things so much easier.


But as dusk was setting in, on this already cold day, I was sitting, pressed up against the right rear car window, staring out the window, stomach in pure knots and I could see this huge building being constructed. It seemed like I could see it for miles, but due to the ungawdly awful Montreal traffic, I'm sure it was much less than that.


The building had a shell at the bottom levels but was still steel girders at the top levels. It had a functioning clock tower at the top and a massive crane attached to the side of the building. I didn't know why, but this building struck a nerve. My nerves were getting more and more on edge as the day had gone on. I couldn't share this with any one, but I'm sure they knew.


As we went for dinner that evening, we got closer and closer to 'the' building and I could clearly see it from the Boston Pizza parking lot. The clock tower was functioning and it lit a haunting smile over the cold Laval skyline.


The next day, after heading back downtown, we headed back to Laval for lunch. We had to eat at the A & W we spotted the night before (an inside MCM joke) and do do some last minute shopping at the mall and Wal*Mart across the street. The parking lot of Wal*Mart put me as close as 'the' building as I have been to date.


The girls then brought me back to the home as it was very important that I be there by 4:00 to start prepping for the next mornings surgery. My nerves were all lumped at the back of my throat, tied together by fear and unknowing. I stared at 'the' building as long as possible. It would be the last time I saw it for months.


When I returned home from surgery, 'the' building would often enter my dreams or pop into my mind and bring me crashing right back to those feelings I had at those times.


When I returned, thirteen weeks later, for a follow up and the Canadian Press interview, I elected to stay at the same hotel the other six had stayed at in January. It brought me by 'the' building quite a few times. But now the shell was complete and the only cranes were on the ground, none attached to the girders. But those same stomach knots returned. And I was amazed how much work had been completed in such a short amount of time, especially considering the cold, snowy winter of 2008.


Fast forward to May 2009, and I returned to Montreal for a check up and a minor correction to my surgery. "The' building was now complete and being lived in. While it was under construction, I wasn't sure it it was residential or commercial, but the large amount of balconies and lights at night confirmed it was indeed residential.


In June 2009, I returned to Montreal for one last check up. This time I had my friend Jenn with me. As we were going for lunch at the Boston Pizza, I could see 'the' building getting closer. And reality finally dawned on me.


In January 2008, 'the' building was started, but far complete, cold, alone internally, and mostly a
skeleton. In April 2008, it was nearly complete, much warmer and really taking shape. In May 2009, it was complete, and the lights inside gave off a warm glow. Much, much warmer than It had been fifteen months prior. And the clock tower smiled brightly.


To this day, 'the' building still brings up feelings I can not describe. Nor want to relive. I can not ever return to Montreal and not drive by 'the' building.

For that day with Jenn I realized, this was much more than a just a building. The building was very symbolic of me, just in a different form.

Laval, QUE

Laval, QUE 5/14/09
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Addendum added March 27, 2009

I have since found a great breakfast place very close to 'The" Building. I finally asked what the building was, and it is a retirement home for wealthy folks. Guess I won't be moving in, but I know one thing. I have to at least see that building every time I'm in the Montreal area.

Nothing gives me the goose bumps like I had that cold January 26, 2008, staring while scared to death, as does just seeing "The" Building

Every Day I Lean On A Lamp Post, I'm Wasting My Time

Originally posted on May 31, 2009

Every Day I Lean On A Lamp Post, I'm Wasting My Time

Current mood: calm

Not that it matters but.........


- For the first time, at Thunder Road Speedway last week, I got stuck waiting in an unusually long line for the ladies room, while there was no line at the men's room. Good thing I wasn't in a bar or it could have turned in to a real mess. Note to self, make more preventative visits, just in case.


- I was always into building my music collection. Be it, lps, singles or cds. But the past few years, clothes have been much higher on my preferred list.


- Speaking of clothes, even if something looks good and fits well, gawd forbid I wear it too often. Unlike the old days if I had a particular shirt I liked, it wouldn't bother me to wear it once a week.


- The hormone changes are killing my metabolism. I'm eating better than ever before, getting in tons of walking, but yet the past three years, I've gone up a size per year. It's not only depressing but getting expensive to repurchase the clothes I rebought the year before.


- I'm glad being at Dr Brassard's in Montreal for two weeks last January, got me back into hockey. The NHL playoffs have been great.


- On weekends, I try to walk a few miles on the campus of St Ansem's College. It's safe, clean and has a lot of hills. Not to mention that the college girls make for great viewing. It was also my stomping ground as kid, and it was perfect for bike riding. But the college has grown tremendously since then. Growing up at the bottom of the hill from the college, looking west I could always see the bell tower, the oldest building on campus, better known as Alumni Hall. Especially in the winter when the trees are bare and the building was lit. But back in my youth the building featured in almost every bad dream I had and still continues to this day. In December 2007, I bought a book to keep my mind occupied prior to Christmas to help keep my mind occupied and off the upcoming surgery. It was called "Haunted Manchester". In it was a chapter on "St Anselm's College" and sure enough, Alumni Hall is haunted as I found out from a co-worker and St. A's student..............


- On the St A's campus was also a strange walking path in the woods, near the campus cemetery. In this path, there are quite a few altars with brick bases and carvings of Jesus and scenes with out any explanation. A few weeks back, on a dark, overcast Sunday, I rediscovered this path and visited it for the first time in over 30 years. As I walked the path, I had my iPod on, which has almost 22,000 songs on it. As I stopped to look at one of the altars, my iPod which was on shuffle, was playing Sting's "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You". As I was peering, Sting sings the line "You could say I lost my faith in the holy church" which totally freaked me out while looking and being in this unusual, but religious area. I continued on my walk and as I got to
the absolute furthest point from my car, it started pouring rain for the first time that day. Thanks for jinxing me, Sting!


- Every year for two decades or so, I always find myself listening to the Beach Boys as the weather turns warmer. Thing most people forget is the majority of the Beach Boys catalog isn't about surfing, beaches and girls on the beach. But it does put me into a good, summer type mood anyways. Yup, the Beach Boys have been on heavy rotation the past week.


- Granted I knew the Beach Boys only provided the vocals on their greatest album "Pet Sounds" but I didn't realize that the majority of their catalog was recorded by studio musicians. When in Montreal a few weeks back, I bought a book about Brian Wilson. In reading it, I'm really disappointed to read just how much the Beach Boys only contributed the vocals to most of their records. Granted the music is still great so it doesn't really matter who's smiling face is on the cover. Has never stopped me from cranking up a good Monkees tune, now has it.


- It's also depressing to think of how many great 'live' records have actually be sweetened or even re-recorded in the studio. And people wonder why I'd rather pay $10 to see a true band like the Jabbers, Gobshites, Meat Depressed or the Guts, than pay $150- $200 to see a 'legend' at a stadium and hear pre-taped background instruments.


- It also reminds me of an old co-worker, in the late 1980's, that loved Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" cd. Which admittedly is one of the best double records ever. But when this person found out (a little slow, eh) that Elton John was a homosexual. He couldn't give the cd away fast enough. If the music is good, WTF is the difference?


- As much as last October I wanted nothing to do with racing, yesterday I woke up with the strangest desire to go to Oswego Speedway and almost got up early and made the six hour drive, unannounced. But with the upcoming return trip to Montreal, common sense prevailed and I hit Brown's in Seabrook instead.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Montreal 2009 Day Three

Montreal 2009 Day Three

Current mood: ecstatic

May 15, 2009

I woke much earlier than anticipated, and yes it was still true, the Bruins lost in game 7 last night and a lot of wind had been taken out of my sails. But I needed not to be awake so early as my appointment with Dr Brassard was not until 1:40. Fortunately, I fell back to sleep after about a half hour of tossing and turning. Surprisingly, despite all the walking on Thursday and wearing jeans the past few days, my pain had been lowered but this morning, things were a bit more sensitive.


When I woke up for good, I played on the computer for about an hour and that's when the thoughts of heading home after my appointment started to enter my head. I was already depressed about the Bruins, this way I could salvage the weekend instead of driving Saturday. It could keep my costs down, despite already paying for the room Friday night, but when I was getting ready to head into the shower,I could hear a cat meowing next door to be let in. Great, now I really miss my cats too. A couple daysof eating alone and going to the sports bar alone, gets real old, real quick. I also felt after Thursday, maybe I should bother the convalescence home for long periods any more.


As I showered, I made sure things were really clean 'down there' as that's what Dr Brassard would be focusing on. And there was blood. Not a little blood, but the most blood down there that I've seen in over a year. The shower scene in 'Carrie' came quickly to mind. It was quite a while before I could get it to stop. And even checking my legs a dozens times before getting dressed, I was finding and washing new blood trails.


Before I left the bed & breakfast I had a long conversation with Chantal, the owner of the b & b. She houses a lot of the family, spouses, friends and supporters of Dr Brassard's patients, so she was extremely familiar with the goings on. It was then that she forewarned me, if I needed any type of surgery, it wouldn't be performed before Monday or Tuesday. The hospital was closed for the long weekend (Victoria Day, I believe). There went my thoughts of possibly going home early. It also explained the mass exodus of patients on Thursday.


I made my way over to the convalescence home, which is next door to the hospital and the doctor's office. I thought I would see Nurse Carole, but to my surprise, the third shift nurse was on, Mauricio. In my two week stay in Montreal, usually my only interaction with him was him coming into my room two times a night to check my vitals, and him getting ready to leave for home as I was heading down to breakfast. We had a brief catching up, but it was the most conversation I had ever had with him.


I then headed over to Dr Brassard's office and patiently waited. I was plenty early. Finally it was my turn, and Dr Brassard seemed happy to see me again. we briefly caught up and we discussed the findings of my primary care physician, the e-mail I had sent and the pain and infections I had been continually having. He was concerned, and we moved over to the examination room. As I changed and he prepared coffee in a small room office the examination room, I told him the story of how my primary care physician broke character and was completely awed by the impressive work done by Dr Brassard. I believe 'shock & awe' would describe his first reactions to Brassard's impressive work.


Once in the stir-ups, for the second time in my life, Dr Brassard immediately saw the cause of the blood, the infections and a lot of the pain. He was very surprised at the area that was friable. It was the entire area around the clitoris. He checked internally with the speculum and everything internal was perfect. He said that things were not as bad as he feared and that he would need to cauterize the friable area with silver nitrate. He hemmed and hawed about anti-biotics, which he wanted to wait a few weeks before starting them. But then, he didn't want me to have to come back. I assured him, returning to Montreal was not a problem. So we left it as he felt was best, cauterize and I would return in three weeks. The cauterizing didn't hurt by any means, but for the first time, I knew the nerves to the clitoris were still alive. In fact jumping ahead, when a nurse friend, Mayzy, found out where my friable area was, she immediately replied "no wonder it hurt when you wore pants or shorts!"


Knowing I was now coming back in three weeks for a follow up, I knew my plan to head home was a good one. I headed back to the b & b, got my belongings and booked my room for June 9. I found a place to eat that had looked interesting as I drove by it the last couple of days, La Casa Grecque. The atmosphere was really nice, the food, fair at best. But I knew I had to make one last stop at the convalescence home.


The second shift nurse on that evening was Francine. She was just starting when I was there for my surgery. Her English was very broken but she tried so hard to learn. And there I was lying in bed, trying to help teach her using a collage of photos of the Mod Chick Mafia, that Gaily have gifted all of the MCM with for Christmas. Francine was a big girl but had a beautifully warm smile. I missed Francine when I visited last April as she was off for her daughter's wedding. I just had to visit Francine before returning to the States.


I returned to the home and walked in. Francine came out of the kitchen and I didn't recognise her at first. Until I saw that awesome smile. She had lost 85 pounds since I saw her fifteen months ago. We hugged like long lost family members. As far as I'm concerned, she and the other nurses are family. We caught up for quite a bit, then I headed to the sitting room where I met the two current patients. Nicole, a Male to Female (MtF) and Liam, a Female to Male (FtM) on his third visit of five. Funny of all of the FtM's I met in Montreal all were on their third stage. We sat and talked at length. Both were from Canada and I gave as much advice to help them both and talked them both through their nerves.


They both loved having me there to talk with and as they called me, "an Angel From God" for stopping in to talk, chat and help them both through a scary time. Hmmmmm, just this morning I had been saying I should stay away from the convalescence home, and here I was, back into loving it. Helping people has really become my true calling and I love it more than doing anything else in the world. Now I was truly regretting that I was going home early. I wished I could have stayed through the weekend. To meet such nice folks, that truly appreciated my putting their minds and nerves at ease.


But as we sat and talked, Liam (FtM) was full of nice compliments and praise for the 90 minutes I was there. From my hair, earrings, kindness, figure etc. Overwhelmingly nice.......then it dawned on me........OMG, this guy is flirting with me! A first. And it took me quite awhile to actually catch on. Certainly shocked me, no doubt. But typical me, I called him on it. Several times.


But their dinner time approached and it was time for me to head back home. Being such wonderful people, I wished I could have stayed and taken them into Montreal and be able to talk more. Here I was leaving Montreal, now I couldn't wait to get back. Yup, helping folks at the convalescence home, is where I want to be. If I could be there every weekend I would. The hell with chasing race cars all over south Canada and the north east United States. This was much, much more rewarding.


Good news is, last April I left the home by leaving my heart ( I won't mention the items I left the first time there!) and I cried the majority of the way from Montreal to Monadnock Speedway, where I had to be for a race. This time I just smiled the whole way home. I knew that I helped to wonderfully nice people and in three weeks, I'd be back....able to help the next group of patients.


And so far, the cauterizing has done wonders. No more signs of blood, or infection and the majority of pain is showing signs of leaving. Yes my primary care physician was correct, go up to your surgeon and get checked out. Physically and mentally, I'm so glad I did.

Montreal 2009 Day Two

Montreal 2009 Day Two

Current mood: disappointed

May 14, 2009

This was a total me day. I had no place to be and no time to be there. I wasn't going to visit the convalescence home seeing all the patients there were leaving and a few new patients would be due in. It was going to be very hectic there. This would be my chance to finally visit the places I had wanted to see my first two trips to Montreal, but never got to.


I woke up to the sounds of very, very heavy winds and gray skies. Showers were forecast through the morning and afternoon, but the wind advisory was what weather.com made most note of. I mapped out my best route and headed into Montreal. I love the city of Montreal, granted it is old, but there is a vibe there. The one thing I hate about Montreal is, the roads suck and traffic is horrendous.


I parked at the Bell Centre, the home of the Montreal Canadiens. For a major city, the parking was cheap, $8 for the day. The attendant pointed me in the proper direction and when I told him I wanted to visit the Monreal Forum (now the Pepsi Forum) he responded that I was going to need my car for that. I love walking in big cities and assured him I'll be fine. My first stop was out side the Bell Centre and a special pavilion with statues and trophies of former players and of the glorious history of the Montreal Canadiens.

Bell Centre, Montreal QUE 5/14/09


I then started to head towards St Catherine St and the business district to find the Montreal Forum. But I hit the street that the Queen Elizabeth Hotel was on. This is where John Lennon held his second Bed-In and where "Give Peace A Chance" was recorded. The wind was nasty by the Bell Centre but when I turned up this street it was like being in a wind tunnel. The wind was non-stop. I hate wearing a coats, so I had elected to leave my coat in the car and was getting strange looks from the other people in Montreal. Trust me, after being in downtown Montreal in January 2008, 60 degrees with heavy winds, felt like a heatwave.


I found the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Unfortunately I don't have the $600 a night it takes to stay in the actual room where John & Yoko stayed and held the Bed-In. But I did manage to a least see the hotel.Sad thing is, when I was there with Carrie, Gaily, Michelle & Linda (The Ohhh Canada Five), when we were shopping in the underground mall, we were only two blocks away from the hotel and never knew it. For that matter we were very close to the Bell Centre too, maybe three blocks. We were literally inthe middle of the three places I had wanted to see and never saw any of them.


Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal QUE 5/14/09



Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal QUE 5/14/09


I then headed towards St Catherine St. It was here that I found some familiar sights and realised this was the touch base of the area the Ohhh Canada Five spent freezing and ducking into stores to get warm. This is when I truly realized how much I missed having them there. I was also reminded how much I love those chicks and no matter what how I'll never, ever be able to repay the kindness that they gave to me when coming to Montreal for moral support. I wished they were there this time, when theweather was tolerable (ok, windy as all hell) there was no snow or ice on the sidewalks, and I was stress free and able to relax and be myself.

I passed the places we visited and where Gaily bought her dog hat and "the Window" bought her frog hat, and couldn't help but smile. I passed the restaurant (Scores)where we had lunch and clowns were outside the door as we exited, much to Michelle's dismay.


Maybe seven or eight blocks south of there, was the old Montreal Forum. We were that close and hadn't a clue. The Montreal Forum was the home of the Montreal Canadiens for most of their storied history and the home of 22 Stanley Cups. It is also noted for that's where the Beatles played in 1964, Rush recorded most of "Exit....Stage Left" and Queen recorded "Queen Rocks Montreal" It is now a mini mall and massive movie theater. I went inside and throughout the building are reminders of the buildings history, sections of restored grandstand seating and the main floor is painted with the markings where they hockey rink was. The rafters were still visible in the main area and with music being pumped in, you could feel and hear the echo and boom that was present in this buildings glory days.


I was amazed at just how small the actual building was. And I sat for a while in the center just looking while a young mom and her child were nearby and her daughter being completely taken with me, for some reason. But they were very friendly. This trip I found the people of Montreal to be friendlier than ever before.


I head back uptown and tried to find Bishop St, where Comedy Works is and Peel St to grab lunch. Sprinkles lightly began to fall, but nothing to stop me from walking. I found the Peel Pub, where even one seems insistent I have to go. The place had everything from businessmen to college kids going in, so I figured it must be ok. It wasn't much different than a pub that could be found in Boston. But as I ate my lunch, I saw one group to my right with a pitcher of beer that looked like a small fish tank. It was 140 oz. of beer. Now, I understood why everyone makes this a must see Montreal stop.


As I left the Peel Pub, I could see it was now raining, I debated having another beer, but didn't figure it was rain too hard and I wasn't too far away from the Bell Centre. I would leave as I don't need a DUI in Canada. As I walked back to the car, I got wet but not too bad.....until I turned onto Rene Levesque Blvd (the same street as the Queen Elizabeth Hotel) the wind blew non-stop and the rain felt like pins against any exposed skin. Other folks were using their umbrellas, not over their heads, but as a shield in front of them. I remembered in January being cold until we'd hit a cross street and the temperature would drop due to wind, well this time it was exactly the same.


I finally arrived at the Bell Centre totally drenched and frozen. With my glasses blurred by fog and rain, I accidentally walked past the elevators to the parking garage and went to the elevators that lead to the executive offices of the Montreal Canadiens. I pushed a button and waited...and waited....until security came and asked if they could help me. I said I was trying to get to the parking garage. Security politely pointed me to the proper bank of elevators. Oppppps.......


I went back to the bed & breakfast to change clothes and dry off. In turn I took a brief nap too. I then headed out for the Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes game 7. Granted, I wanted to try some place different than Boston Pizza, but the food was good and I knew the game would be on the tv. So I returned after a quick stop at the Wal-Mart the Ohh Canada Five visited the previous year. I sat at the bar wearing my Bruins jersey (a ballsy thing to do in Montreal) and noticed I wasn't alone in wearing a Bruins jersey. Phew...I had an allie. But no one hastled me and in fact, the folks were quite friendly.


The bartender, whom was my waiter the previous night, and I hit it off well and it turned into a good night, despite the Bruins lack luster play and completely choking in over time.


I headed back to the bed & breakfast quite disappointed at my all time favorite sports team, eliminated yet once again. Thanks to going into over time, I was later than the night before, and yes the lights wereout and everyone was asleep, yet again.

The next day was my doctor's appointment but would be turned into an interesting day to say the least.

Montreal 2009 Day One



Montreal 2009 Day One

Current mood: lonely

May 13, 2009

My trip got started on a few nice notes, granted my whole purpose of returning to Montreal was that I was still having pain and my primary care physician wanted me to see Dr Brassard in Montreal.


The night before I left, I had a nail appointment. Cindy who does my hair will often make comments but not too far just the usual about my hair, nails or clothes. But this day she asked me completely out of the blue "Are you seeing anybody, yet?" I had to tell the truth, I wasn't. She was surprised because between everything, I really had the complete package going on, looks wise. That's the first time I've heard that and it made me feel great. Not sure I believe her, but it was nice to hear.


The morning of my departure, I had my third annual mammogram. The first two years I had the same radiologist, this year it was a new one. But during my mammogram, in comparing this year to previous years x-rays, she asked if I had put on any weight. I admitted I had and asked why she would ask that. She replied "Because your breast have really grown from last year" Why...thank you.


I finally headed up Route 89 and decided that I would stop in Lebanon to visit a friend, Nathan, at work for a few seconds. Nathan is the same person that I stopped to visit on my way home from Montreal after surgery, making him the first of my friends to see me post-op. This time would be an unannounced visit to his work place and I had a plan.


I was hoping he would be busy with a customer and I was going to park my car, leave my car door unlocked, enter the business and loudly exclaim "Nathan Kelly you bastard. You sleep with me, knock me up and now you don't even return my phone calls??? Well my next phone call is to your wife!" I'd then turn, leave, get in my car ASAP and continue on to Montreal without saying another word. Unfortunately when I arrived, there were no customers and Nathan and his dad were gawking at a video on You Tube and completely ignoring the 'customer' (me) that came in the door. I stood there for two to three minutes before either one noticed. Next time he tells me he's busy at work, I'll know the real truth.


Including a fifteen minute stop at Nathan's, pee stop and refueling I made it to Montreal in four hours and forty minutes. Sure beats the eight hours it took to get home after surgery!


My first stop was at the convalescence home. Nurse Anne had forewarned me she'd be busy that day. When I arrived she was correct, though I did get some quality time with her in. But I also got to meet a few mothers of patients that were going home the next day. The home was completely clearing out the next day, hence why Anne was so busy.


I stayed an hour and went to find the bed & breakfast I was staying at. It was my first time ever staying at a B & B and I felt like I was invading someone's home. It was owned and run by a slight older than me, Canadian woman. She showed my around and I choose a room different than the woman I had picked via the internet. But the place was spotless and beautiful.


I retired to my room to get get organized and take a brief nap. As I wanted to see game seven of the Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins series. I head to the Boston Pizza in Laval. This is the same location when I had my last meal pre-op, with the MCM chicks.

Boston Pizza Laval, QUE 5/14/09

I had one of my my favorites, Thai Chili Wings, lots of Molson Dry and dinner while watching the
Penguins blow out the Capitals. Stuck on my choice of dinner, I knew I had to return to Boston Pizza on Day 2. But I enjoyed the atmosphere and the food, but it just wasn't the same. I really missed Linda, Michelle, Carrie, Gaily and the "Door & Window" from the Nashua Telegraph.


Growing up in West Manchester, NH, there were tons of French Canadians living in my area. I always found French to be a hideous language. But when I was at Boston Pizza and this beautiful early twenties waitress brought me a frosty Molson Dry and said in French "Gibberish, blah, blah, blah, jibberish,blah blah blah, Molson Dry, Madame" French kinda sounded really sexy and HOTT!


I returned after the game to the bed & breakfast (approx. 10:00 p.m.) I was surprised to see all lights out except for the night lights. And this was very early for me to normally return to a hotel on a vacation. Now I really felt as though I was invading someone's home. I quietly snuck upstairs and got ready for bed.


Surprisingly, after wearing jeans all day I was uncomfortable, but not like I had been the past few months. Was this trip for no reason? Or was it a case of the toothache going away the day of the dentist appointment?


Tomorrow I would take on Montreal, the city. And see the things I missed my first two trips.

HB 415 Public Hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Originally posted on Apr 23, 2009


HB 415 Public Hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Current mood: pessimistic

Well I did something today, I wouldn't have had to courage to do three years ago. I spoke to the Senate Judiciary Committee about HB-415 (transgender discrimination)

Yes, I know being post op a lot of HB-415 doesn't effect me as much as others. But it could.


I've never been so nervous in my life and was internally shaking like I had consumed too much coffee along with too many expressos. I was home for hours before my blood pressure returned to normal.


I think what shocked me most was the huge amount of speakers, pro and con. It was also interesting to see how many people in the year 2009 still don't understand the quite simple concept of the separation of church & state.


There were many anti the bill speakers obviously bible thumping as they spoke and many that were clearly plants from the supposed American Family Association. The AFA are the same people that fax and mail form letters to the FCC and politicians based upon things they are even familiar with. This is the same group that attacks Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Don Imus etc., based upon things they 'heard' and were 'shocked by' and their 'kids' were listening. Really? Your far from the demo base and you sent the same form letter as thousands of others, not in the target audience. How come?


There were also a few snotty, rich, bored house wives from Bedford, that appeared to be Tipper Gore Wannabes (think PMRC hearings). It was the "I don't like it, my kids may be offended, and no one elseshould be happy unless they are rich like me" attitudes.


I did get praise for my three minute testimony, which I surprisingly (to me) ended my testimony with the "I'm a former chairmen of the Merrimack Valley Young Republicans" and I'm not happy with the state of today's NH Republicans. That wasn't planned...I swear! I got caught up in the moment.


Then one real estate 'magnate' mentioned how if NH passes this bill, it'll keep businesses from moving into NH. What????? How???? Like NH's business taxes aren't the reasons businesses aren't moving intoNH the outrageous business tax?????


WMUR left before I got to speak, thankfully, but here is their story.

http://www.wmur.com/video/19264903/index.html

I arrived at 12:30, the session started at 1:00 and I finally spoke around 2:45.

Below is my testimony

Good Afternoon,

My name is Cynthia Tebbetts. I’m a resident of _________ and a life long resident of Hillsborough county. I’ve been employed in Hooksett and the same employer for twenty-two years. Two years ago, when I came out about my transgender status, I knew I was in fear of potentially losing my job. I was the first employee in the 92 year history of family owned, conservative company, to undergo such a transformation. As a single mortgage holder and sole provider for my 81 year old mother, this was a huge financial gamble. As a longtime, loyal employee with stellar reviews, I should not have had this fear. But unfortunately in the State if New Hampshire, I do.


I presented a five page letter to the company president. It detailed the changes that would be happening and allowed us to discuss the many issues and a time line that would be mutually agreeable. It also outlined what I needed from the company and what they in turn could expect from me.


I was assured as a long time valued employee, my standing in the company is secure. Unfortunately, not every transgender person has had that same commitment. As the president read through the letter, in my presence, he would often stop to ask questions or comment. At one point, he commented that he could make a few special rules. I stopped him and stated “Please, I do not want any special rules or treatment. I just wanted to be treated the same as any other employee” He agreed and thanked me because that would make things easier for him and for my one hundred plus co-workers.


Based upon my history of a sharp sense of humor, he reminded me that some teasing could potentially come my way but if anything should cross the line, he wanted to be made aware, immediately. This was re-enforced the next day, when the president spoke to the vice president and told him that should anything cross the line and the president not be made immediately aware, he was holding the vice president personally responsible. With this action, I was truly blessed. In New Hampshire, I was an exception. Numerous others aren’t as fortunate.


My part time employer, a much more liberal employer based in Massachusetts, also were extremely co-operative in my transformation. Granted I start there over nine years ago as seasonal help, as a valued employee, I’ve been kept on the payroll much longer than I had ever anticipated. As time approached for my legal name change, my manager was leaving
the company and a new crop of seasonal employees was due within weeks. Where legal, Newbury Comics immediately had me change all paper work to my new name, prior to the probate court order. They wanted to help make the transition much smoother for the new manager, employees and myself. Once again, I was very fortunate that I had employer, that was
looking out for my interest as well as their own.


As the current discrimination law stands in New Hampshire, I could have easily been terminated because of my transformation, immediately or during my leave of absence for surgery. But I wasn’t. I wish I could say the same for many others in the transgender community in New Hampshire.


I spent many years volunteering for conservative state politicians, whom have in turn have taken to the media with lies, hate, and fear mongering. Via these same people, I’ve been referred to lately as “an extreme liberal”, “sexual predator” “gender misassigned” “my kind” and a “pervert.” False accusations, all together. In some instances I was being viewed in the very manner of discrimination that this very bill is designed to prevent.


The transgender community has the same responsibilities as the general public. We also tend to give that extra ten percent because we have to work harder to become the people that we are. No matter how negative a light the general unwashed masses may look at us, our bills, mortgages and taxes and family values are that of the common man.


This supposed ‘bathroom bill’ has been sensationalized beyond recognition. The way it was been misrepresented is a travesty and a disgrace. We are simply looking for the addition of transgender people to our anti-discrimination and hate crimes statute. We need discrimination claims by transgender people the opportunity be heard by the Human Rights Commission.


We are not looking for special rights. Just equal rights that will allow us to be contributing positive members of society. No person should have to deal with discrimination and unfortunately, laws like this are needed because in 2009, discrimination still exists.

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The View From MySpace

No matter what happened, you can rest your head easy at night knowing you did the right thing. Far too many people are too afraid, timid, embarassed, lazy or just plain uninspired to stand up and speak out for what they believe in - what they KNOW is right.
All in good time, my dear! I'm proud of you!

Lola
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I'm proud of you, too... can't believe YOU are doing all of these public speaking things; when I met you 4 years ago I never had you pegged for this!!!

Seriously, I'm so proud; and I'm willing to help in anyway I can; as for now I'll just keep loving you...

Melinda
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I wish I could have been there, too, to testify.
Thank you so much, Cyn! I'm so proud and grateful for you for speaking up for yourself and all of us! ~hugs~

Jamie
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I'm proud of you and yes, I saw both you and Anne on the WMUR news. Unfortunately as you probably know the committee voted unanimously to recommend killing this bill

Karyn
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Oh yeah, parking around the state house is a two hour limit. My paid parking ended at 2:29 p.m. The session ended after 4:00 p.m.


Yes I got a $5.00 parking ticket. Time of the ticket? 2:31 p.m.


Welcome the the home of the 'tourist tax'

Cynthia (Me)
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killing the bill? WTF? omg people are sooo ignorant! Well, as i stated before Cyn, had i known it was public, i would of joined you for support. I am sure, despite the outcome, you were poised, and well versed in this information and presented an amazing argument.

The ticket deal....Well, just think..if you were in mass it prob would be 25$$

Mary

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Telegraph Letter Printed

Originally posted on April 14, 2009

Telegraph Letter Printed

Current mood: accomplished

This morning my edited letter to the Nashua Telegraph printed. Fortunately, I did the editing and in doing so took a different approach than some of the others letters printed in the Telegraph and Concord Monitor. It must have worked, if only temporary, because the usual bashers in the comments section, stayed away.


As Doomgrrl (aka Lola) posted in her comment on my last blog, NH Republicans are doing exactly as she said. Using the old 'badges' that they tried placing on homosexuals in the 70's and 80's. Unfortunately for them, those badges are totally false.


As a Republican friend posted on my Facebook page, "dont give up on all of us just because of a few ignorant ppl....we all arent bad!", I know he's correct.

Tomorrow evening, I'm making a return to Southern New Hampshire University to speak to a sexuality class, which I'm very much looking forward to. Not to mention that the last time I spoke to that class, I was just three weeks post-op. This time should be much more physically comfortable and I can leave the heavy sitting pillow at home.

Fed Up With NH Republican BS

Originally posted on April 13, 2009

Fed Up With NH Republican B.S.

Current mood: frustrated

Lately people have been asking me why I've had an about face on the NH Republican party. A party I fully supported and worked hard for all of my life. Yes even back in grammar school days, I was working for Gov Mel Thompson's and for Ronald Reagan's campaigns.


There has been a bill put to the NH House of Representatives (HB-415), which would grant equal housing, employment, credit, and services to the transgender community to be EQUAL to that of the 'normal' population. Not greater, better or special, just equal. As of now, by law it is legal to discriminate against transgender people in New Hampshire.

The Manchester Union Leader and it's editor Joe McQuaid, pulled out all the stops to spread fear into the unwashed masses, and talk about how allowing tg's equal rights was going to invite sexual predators in to public bathrooms. This was Republican fear mongering all the way. The Union Leader certainly loves using sensationalized journalism when it works to the conservative way. Also note that this is the conservative newspaper that is outraged by the thought of same sex marriage.


The first time it was voted down by the house by fifteen votes, but a lot of Representatives had left before the vote after a very long stalemating by my beloved Republicans. Another representative pushed to have it reviewed and it came up for another vote after every stalemate trick in the book thrown at it by.....the NH Republicans, including one Rep. Carl Seidel, R-Nashua, who wanted instead to ban discrimination against "gender misassignment."


The former Governor John Sununu and many Republican representatives took their turn bashing and calling people like myself "sexual predators" "perverts" etc. I, an many other Republicans I know are furious at the party we once loved. Not only have the Republican leaders proven to be uneducated, but also very pompous, demeaning, and downright morbid.


I'll stick by my fiscal conservatism. That'll never change. And on a national level I'm still basically a Republican, more so a Libertarian, but in NH, NO WAY. I'm now trying to decide, do I join the
Democrats? Do I become Independent? Do I stay inside the Republican party and go back to work on campaigns and create the rot to take down our current representatives.


The following is a full draft of a letter that I sent to the Nashua Telegraph. I still have a strong loyalty to the Telegraph, and no use for the Manchester Soviet Union Leader.


............
As a life long New Hampshire resident, I’d like to thank the NH-GOP for reawakening my political spirits. Thanks to a local, conservative newspaper and it’s editor, the meaning of HB-415, had the usual Republican scare tactic and utilization of sensationalism. The transgender bill is asking for equal rights in housing and employment. Not special rights, just equal. It’s not a so called ‘bathroom bill’.



They are quick to throw the ‘man in a dress’ description, completely forgetting the many female to male (FtM) residents of NH. There are a lot more FtM’s than people realize, only they are not as visible. In fact, I’m sure many men reading this have encountered an FtM in a the men’s room and never had a clue.



The male to females (MtF) are not standing to urinate in a woman’s room. If they are, then it’s a clear sign that they are not transgender and do not belong in that rest room. MtF’s are also on estrogen and testosterone blockers. The testosterone blocker is also used in cases of court ordered chemical castration. How can a person on these medications, voluntarily, be a sexual predator? The math does not equate.



Transgender people must be on these medications, under the care of a doctor, before living in the role of the proper sex. Hence the scare tactic wording of this bill being used is a predator can use the excuse “Today, I felt like a woman” would not hold up under any circumstances. Their medical records would substantiate this falsehood.....



As a property owner, suffering the same property taxes as everyone else, it's nice to see I'm finally getting a fair chance at equal representation. Granted, I've had my same job for twenty two years, it will be nice to know I'm equally protected in maintaining that job, so that I can in
turn, pay yet more property taxes. If my company chose to discriminate based upon gender identity, I may have been one more individual at the state job fair, searching for employment to pay my property taxes and not be an additional burden to NH’s unemployment security.



I’ve been a staunch loyal Republican for the twenty six years of my twenty six years of voting eligibility. Based upon some of the nasty comments and hate mongering by NH’s Republican representatives, I may have no choice but to leave the Republican party.




I could stay a Republican and be inside help to insure folks like Carl Seidel, Dudley Dumaine, Nancy Elliot and Fran Weldelboe are not re-elected



Over the years, I’ve donated time and money to such staunch ‘liberals’ as Mel Thompson, Ovide Lamontagne, Steve Merrill and Ray Wiezorek. I never knew the Republican party to be a party of hate. Times have obviously changed.



Oh yeah, I’m also the former chairman of the Merrimack Valley Young Republicans and a post-op transgender person.



And I do vote. Every time.


Cynthia Tebbetts.
NH

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The View From MySpace

GREAT letter! I was wondering when you were going to post a blog on this issue! Ridiculous, huh? Seems to me that the Repubicans decided to take back the "child molester" and "pervert" badges they gave to homosexuals in the 70's and 80's and give them to the TG's. The good news is that it's only a matter of time before people like you and me and our friends beat them with our compassion, vigor and votes - and they will be left standing with their badges trying to figure out which group to give them to next. Perhaps they should take look at the GOP - plenty of candidates right there.

Lola
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<3 Thanks Cyn! :) I say go Independent. It's worked well for me. There are still some good Republicans in this state, just not very many in the legislature

Jamie

Transition, Sports & Me

Originally posted on March 22, 2009

Transition, Sports & Me


This subject is being brought up (ok stolen, LOL) based upon a status post by Lori on Facebook this weekend.


All of my life I've been avid sports fan, especially hockey and auto racing, As per my usual, I like fast things, for example punk rock, and fast sports really appeal to me. Golf, baseball, Bad Company & James Taylor do not.


As a youth, I played organized hockey and basketball. I went to the super modified races as a real youngin',always cheering for Ollie Silvaor whomever was driving the Snapp Special. Little did I know then, how much auto racing would shape my teens, twenties and thirties.


I've been a lifelong Boston Bruins and St Louis Blues die hard. I also loved the Boston Celtics and it was the Steve Grogan era New England Patriots that got me into football.


When Manchester was granted an AHL hockey team, I immediately signed up for season tickets. In fact, I was #23 on the priority list at having my choice of seats for the very first Monarchs season. Needless to say, I had stellar seats. I made a few friends in the area of my seats, so
much in fact, that a co-worker whom had purchased my extra playoff ticket one year, referred to my attending Monarchs games more to see my 'sewing circle' than hockey. Not true, I swear.



If you know me, you know my history of auto racing, joining the Dave Snapp crew, helping Dick Crotty and ECAR, being asked to work for Lee USA Speedway, ISMA, Oswego Speedway and for NEMA, so I'll skip those details. One thing I'm proud of, I NEVER asked for a racing job, I was always asked to take over a position. From day one to my retirement, I never requested job or promotion, I was always asked to take it.


For many years, auto racing was THE priority in my life. I missed many a wedding, party, BBQ, work related event etc, because I HAD to be at the scheduled race. I lost virtually every weekend to travel and long, hot days. Traveled to Daytona for the Daytona 500 for many years,
later upgrading to the Indianapolis 500 for a few great years.



But in that time, spending so much time in the Syracuse, NY area, I became a Syracuse Orangeman fan. For Central New York, Syracuse University sports equate to being a Celtics fan in the New England era of Larry Bird and Robert Parrish. I caught the madness and have been an SU fan since the early 1980's.


In the mid 90's co-workers and I, whom usually played the bracket pools and other pools associated with the NCAA March Madness tournament talked about how we wanted to go to the actual tournament. In the late 90's we made it a reality. We traveled to Winston-Salem NC, Hartford CT, New Orleans, LA, Syracuse NY, and back to New Orleans for the sole purpose of having fun, consuming adult beverages and watching great basketball.


Over the years, friends and I would take the opening round, Thursday & Friday afternoons off to watch the NCAA hoop tournament. But my last trip to New Orleans, I got split up from my group. In searching for them, I got dosed with Ruphenol. Granted I only lost a night, $600, a driver's license, a credit card and a coat. Knowing New Orleans crime history, the fact that I'm still here to type this, I got off easy. But the remainder of my trip was living hell. I was scared to even leave my hotel room. Leaving only to attend the games and never, EVER far from my group.



But I swore, I would take back New Orleans some day. I don't lose. My chance arrived one day via mail. Because I had purchased eight or more tickets to the NCAA preliminary rounds in New Orleans, I was eligible to be entered to the lottery to purchase tickets to the 2003 Final Four. Being a single income mortgage holder, I had a choice of one, the Final Four in New Orleans or the 2003 Indy 500. At an "Indy meeting" with my supposed 'friends" the peer pressure was put on the table, am I going to Indy or New Orleans? In hindsight, I foolishly chose Indy. That very night I arrived home to find in my mailbox.....confirmation...... I could buy up to four Final Four tickets. This wound up being the year Syracuse not only made the Final Four, but won the National Championship. F$(K!


But it was around this time that I started creeping in to the severe depression that almost claimed my life. It had nothing to do with my missing SU winning the championship in person, but a lot of internal baggage. Just prior to going to Indy, I had told one of my closer friends in the
group, that I was suicidal but could fight it. But if I wanted to be left alone, please let me be. He understood.....for the time being.........It was just week's later that I had my first appointment
with a therapist.


In late 2005, I had start my hormone regimen. I was officially in transition. March 2006, a group of us to St Patrick's Day off from working. We were doing a Manchester pub crawl and catching with one eye, the NCAA opening rounds. My friend, Mike, was staying at my house, because he had returned to college, in Montpelier, VT. The next day we went out for lunch and to watch the NCAA before going to a matinee Monarchs hockey game. Then out to watch more NCAA games and to see a friends band, The Rezidudes.

Quite a busy weekend. Sunday, when Mike left that morning, I cleaned up my playroom where he had stayed. I then retired to watch the second round of the NCAA tournament, but quickly remembered it was a free HBO weekend. Instead of watching the tournament I loved and spent thousands of dollars attending, I found myself watching a kid's movie about a dog on HBO. Here I was, tears falling over a kid's movie about a dog, and missing the tournament I loved. WTF???



I had been prepped about the physical changes, but the mental/emotional changes were something I wasn't prepared for. It was then some thing happened that had never happened to me before....I realized sports weren't that important. All of my life I had been attending Bruins,
Celtics, Red Sox, Monarchs, Patriots games and even going all the way to Syracuse to watch the Orangemen play basketball. Now sports just weren't as important anymore. No one,
no person, no book, nothing prepped me for this. It was a shock to my system. I wound up giving up my Monarchs season tickets, mostly financial and a person bailing out on paying me for my second ticket, he promised he was buying.


I also couldn't afford the Indianapolis 500 trip anymore. Hormones out of pocket were too expensive. In hindsight, this was a good thing, as out of the group, only two still talk to me like I'm human, the rest avoid me like I have disease. Like a lot of people (not all, by any means) in auto racing, if you can contribute or help them, you're a friend. If you can't, you are quickly discarded. I've claimed for decades, I have a lot of friends, but my best friends are racers. This
holds true to this day, but I was shocked to see just how many "hanger-ons" there are and just how selfish a lot of racers are. The ol' "what can you do for me next" syndrome.


But racing (as discussed in previous blogs), hockey, football and NCAA hoop had lot their appeal with the hormones. Granted I still did watch football and occasionally hockey, it didn't
hold my interest like the earlier years. NEMA screwed me and kept me working for them two years longer than I wanted, only to stuff my loyalty to them up my own butt.


In 2007 for the first time in nearly 20 years, I didn't put in a single NCAA bracket pool sheet, never mind the multiples I used to play. I didn't even watch a single game of the tournament. Not one. I just didn't care. I hardly watched any sports, other than the races I worked.
Thanks to Patriots fever, I did stay connected to football.


In fact when Dr Brassard's office called to book my surgery date, I chose the first available. January 28, 2008. It was only after I hung up the phone....oh gawd, I'll be in Montreal recovering during the Super Bowl. It in hindsight also featured my two favorite NFL teams. The New York Giants and the New England Patriots. I was the only one at the convalescence home to even care about the Super Bowl, post surgery. Here I am, in a foreign country, in a hospital, by myself, SOBER, watching my two favorite teams play each other in the biggest game of the year.


But being in Montreal, also gave me my taste for hockey again. In Canada, you can usually find three NHL games on per night. Even on the rare occasion I had to watch a broadcast in French, at least with hockey, I knew the names and hand signals, so I always knew what was happening. It gave me a taste for hockey again.


I'm back to watching the Bruins and the NCAA, but the estrogen in my system has taught me, it's not a priority anymore. If I have a chance to spend quality time with friends or doing something better, I will. Life doesn't revolve around making the next ISMA race. (Sorry Bobby G, it's a fact)


Yes, I'm watching the Boston Bruins and the NCAA tournament again. I'm even playing the bracket pools again. But just doing it with less regular season home work than ever before.
Who knows I may even repurchase my Monarch's season tickets or go to Syracuse to see the
Orangemen play basketball. But rest assured, I'll be going to Syracuse to visit my friends as much as seeing the game. Games only last minutes, true friends last forever. It took a complete hormone change to understand, what's truly important.

But no, I still won't watch The View, reality tv, or Sex In The City.
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The View From MySpace

GOD can I relate! Since absorbing myself back into music (my first love), racing has taken a back seat. I miss terribly a lot of the people in racing... my "friends". I have good reunions with those that i don't get to see nearly as often as i used to. But the ones that keep in touch are few and far. Bobby G, Sink and you are about it... maybe a few others, but not many. I too have been victim to the "what will you do for me next" syndrome... especially as a photographer. I get to be known as "the picture guy". I brought some (ok... maybe a LOT) on myself. But I mostly crave the camaraderie of those racing folk. Anymore, I'm more into football... U of M and our bumbling Lions.


Robert G.