TriEss Holiday En Femme 2005
 Bedford New Hampshire

Since we had such good support from TriEss members in 2004, I felt that Sigma Mu really needed some representation at HEF 2005. Since Shirley and I were able to make the trip, we decided to go.
            In the past, we have been able to drive to the HEFs. Since New Hampshire was so far we decoded to fly. Jamie had never flown before. I had been through Customs in Galveston TX. in December 2000 and found it very easy. Even with this knowledge I was a little bit leery of facing the TSA security wall. I had heard from several Sisters about how easy it was, but I am still a worry wart at times.
            I decided, early on, that I needed a “non-magnetic outfit” just to simplify things. I managed to find a very nice and comfortable Bali wireless bra. This was a priority for me. I decided on a pair of slacks that did not need a belt along with a top that was comfortable. I also selected a comfortable pair of shoes that went off and on easily.

This outfit seemed to fill the bill:

            After doing my regular “Jamie thing” of testing all of my outfits in advance and planning shoes and jewelry, I was able to get everything into a single suitcase and hang-up bag. I carried a small backpack with emergency Make-up supplies and a change of necessary clothes, just incase we got delayed en-route. Believe me when I say that this was a first. I have never had to pack for flying. When I have gone to Vegas, for DLV, I have always taken two or three bags.  Of course I drove then, so we had much more room. Shirley was even amazed!!
            On departure day we headed to Tulsa. I had plenty of time, at home, to get dressed and make-up applied, so I was feeling pretty good. We parked the car in the Long term lot and the shuttle driver was very nice in helping us load our bags. We unloaded at the terminal and got checked in by using the electronic check-in. We still had to show our IDs to the agent. She did not even bat an eye when I showed her Jim’s drivers license. I had my TG ID ready, but it was not needed. The same thing happened at the security check point. My purse had to be scanned twice, but there were no problems. Everyone was very courteous. We went to the gate and found seats. I had bought a good book to read, so I stayed busy and no one bothered us. We boarded the plane and flew to Cincinnati for a change of planes. The changeover was uneventful. After landing in Manchester N.H. we waited for our luggage as I tried to contact Tootsey. Her and Pat, her Wife, were arriving just before we were scheduled to. I got her on the cell phone and they were waiting out front, for the Hotel Shuttle. We collected our bags and met up with them. Jane Ellen and Mary Francis joined us a little later. The Shuttle finally arrived and we headed to the hotel. The driver was also very polite.
            Once at the Hotel, we got checked in and found our room. After getting registered for HEF we gathered with a small group (12-15) and walked down the street to a Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant. They were already quite busy so we found a place to sit and had a glass of wine. We did not seem to attract an undo amount of attention. Actually, one of the Spouses with us commented that while I was at the bar ordering wine, a guy was checking me out, from behind. I commented that he was probably wondering what a Man was doing in such a nice outfit, but she implied that it looked more like a “Check it out” move. Fortunately, for me, he did not say anything.
 We finally got served and the food was not as good as I had experienced in other Carrabba’s Restaurants. The good company made up for any differences though.
 The Conference went very well. We started off on Thursday morning with a seminar dealing with interaction with Spouses. The Therapist was very knowledgeable in the TG field. We all had a good discussion and learned some new things. After lunch there were more seminars, but Shirley and I decided to go shopping. There was a Macy’s Store, similar to Dillard’s, just across the parking lot. We spent a couple of hours, and dollars, there and came away with a few good bargains. Thursday evening we visited a very nice restaurant downtown.
            Friday brought more seminars. Shirley and I attended another one hosted by the therapist. There were several couples there and we all had a good discussion time.
            Saturday was “Tour” day. There were several choices, of local points of interests, for everyone to go see. Shirley and I chose to go see the “Shaker Village”. The Shakers were a religious group that broke off of the Quakers in England. They had a very colorful history and we learned some very interesting things about their lifestyle, besides that they built very good furniture. The village was still well preserved and the tour guide that showed us around was very knowledgeable.

Shaker barn

Shaker buildings

The sun did finally come out and we had a beautiful afternoon.
     Saturday evening was the Formal Dinner, in the Hotel. All of the attendees were dressed in their best, but I am sorry to say that my camera was giving me problems so I did not get any good photos. The high point for me was receiving the “Flagship Chapter” award from Jane Ellen. This is a recognition award for a Chapter’s performance, above and beyond the average. Sigma MU was one of several that received the recognition and a $100 check. All I could say was that the members of Sigma MU made this possible. I have all of them to credit this award to. Thank you, one and all. Without the members of this group doing what they do, we would still be struggling to stay alive. All of you are doing what you can to make this an effective support group.
       The flight home was interesting, in that we did get into Newark late so we missed our connection. We managed to find a flight to NWA Regional, so we did get home. Shirley just had to go to Tulsa to pickup the car and luggage the next day. Kathi Sue was instrumental in picking us up from XNA and then driving Shirley to Tulsa the next day.
      Overall I have to say the trip was GREAT!!!!. My fears of TSA, the security people at the airport, we totally unfounded. They were polite and even helpful. During the time we were on the trip I never experienced one negative reaction. I used the restrooms and other retail services at the airports with nothing but polite people.
      I do feel that I was the center of conversation of the couple in the seats in front of us, on the plane from Manchester to Newark. During our wait on the ground at Newark, where we sat for 20 minutes waiting for the walkway to get fixed. The woman in the next seat got those “big eyes” and then started whispering to her husband. Nothing came of it and we finally exited the plane. It just adds to the feeling that we are still our worst critic. People, in general, just don’t seem to notice, or care. As long as we dress and act in a respectful manner.
  Jamie Renae

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