Saturday, December 29, 2012

"It sounds like a million mad clocks"

Hi,

It's all over, bar the shouting.  Christmas, that is, rather than any specific political event. It's only the small stuff here at YATGB. The world shaking events, you can find on the Internet and BBC news. :-) So, the big day went well, thanks to the careful guidance of the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. We had the Out-Laws round, but other than holding up a stage coach on the way, they were well behaved. Little Miss and Wee Man loved it. They are at, what I think is the right age to get the most out of Christmas. That giddy feeling of magic and fun, which if you can channel it properly, you're on to a winner IMO. I think it was a little much for Little Miss, but she held her own and we had no tears before bedtime.

Despite my pre Xmas jitters over my collection of pressies for the Ever Lovely Mrs J, all went well. So it was very nice to see their collective faces beam with happiness as they opened the presents. Me? Oh. Mrs J was kind to me (as per) and I did well on the technology don't and she also got me some primer (Your Best Friend, and I've liked that product since it was Model's Prefer.... Crikey, that takes me back to visits to Leicester about seven years ago).

Which in a round about kinda way brings us to the concept of time and the close of the year. In dime ways, 2012 hasn't been great (car crash, depression lows, etc), but I wouldn't say it's been a bad year... not by a long stretch.

From a good news point of view, we're all pretty healthy and home life is relaxed. Indeed, Mrs J and I seem to be coping with the Lynn element in our relationship much better (not that it was bad before. Just it's better now than it was). We're both much more cool about it. If that's because my depression has eased massively in the last few months, or the more relaxed approach has helped the Black Dog go, I can't say and I'm not fused which came first.

What I will say is the advice in A Love Less Ordinary about honesty and caring is very valuable. I guess, when you slip into those dark depths, you can lose track of those close to you. Maybe it's because you're preoccupied with trying to hold yourself together, that time for other people's feelings seems to be another casualty.... Yet, when the clouds part and you feel the warmth of the sun again, your mind clears and you realise you are not alone and sometimes, other people hurt too. Waking up and being there to support Mrs J was a Christmas gift in itself.

As to what 2013 holds, I don't know. I can only say, I hope it brings you good luck and if there are troublesome times ahead, I hope they are over quickly and that they are blessings in disguise.

Good luck for the new year and thanks for reading,
Lynn x

[ Today's lyric: Clocks by Doubting Thomas... the Industrial soundtrack to my 20s :-) ]

Saturday, December 22, 2012

"It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine."

Hi,

Yes, I'm a day later than usual, but I have a good excuse; I was living it up on an Invasion night out. I could have gone with the dog ate my blog blog, but as the hound has her own Blogger account, what's the chances of that? :-)

For those of you who've still got a turkey to wrap and presents to stuff, I've prepared two versions of tonight's post.

Abridged

Changing issues. Got fab. Had a truly great night out. Got home. Slept.

Unabridged

Good News from the War on Moping


Not sure if I alluded to this in the last few posts, but in recent months, life - from a pro-celebrity miserablist point of view - has been very kind to me. Yes, the nights have drawn in, the weather is damp and cold, yet, my mood has been remarkably buoyant. Indeed, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones commented that I seemed different: more relaxed, more caring and less tense. What the root cause of this wonder is, I don't know. Likewise, I don't know what tipped me in the darkness before and to an extent, I'm not really sure knowing would really help. 

I'm just happy to be me once again. It's been great not to be mulling things over, or metaphorically looking over my shoulder for the distant bay of the Black Dog (Ed: Bay of the Black Dog? Sounds like something from Pirates of the Caribbean. 'Bring me that horizon and some ballet pumps, my feet are killing me'.) Being out from under the cosh, so to speak, I can and do find it easier to think of others. I think it's that that Mrs J has noticed. I have tried to listen more - to actively listen - rather than have half an ear on what she was saying. I know that is just plain rude and I feel bad for it. It's not so much that I wasn't listening.... more that I was distracted by my own thoughts. I've heard it said that depression can be a selfish condition and I think it's easy to take that as a negative. It is, at least speaking personally, not untrue, but not altogether a helpful statement. After all, when you feel down, the last thing you need is a bit more negativity coming your way. :-) Still, bygones.

Outing Lynn

With what seemed like a much happier Jones household - and Xmas pretty much sorted - I checked I was okay to head out with the trans massive to Invasion. It didn't clash with anything we had planned, the Ever Lovely Mrs J was cool about it, so it was all systems go! Yay. Happy times. Mrs J and I seemed to have reached a new level on our collective acceptance of my requirement for an extended wardrobe. It comes up in general conversation, rather than hushed, hurried tones. We joke about it and we talk openly.

Indeed, that was put to the test this very week. For some reason, I'd left an envelope from Chameleons on my bedside table. It simply said 'Lynn' on the front and I got a text about it late afternoon. It wasn't so much a confrontation as a "is that your weekend name ?:-P" vibe. I didn't think a text was the right time to explain, so we talked about something else and I addressed it when I got home. Now, I could have said it was for someone else, but it felt wrong to do so, so I didn't deny it. I felt a bit.... funny? guilty? ill-at-ease?... over the whole thing. I started with, I'll be honest with you.... Mrs J (bless her) laughed it off with, I sort of expected you to have a girlier name. We had a chuckle about it and neither of us could really get worked up enough to become upset. I think that can only be a good thing! I know a few people have said that how couldn't she know? Simply, I don't dress at home and I don't refer to myself with that name, so it never comes up.

Christmas Invasion!

Apocalypse avoided, nippers snuggled and Mrs J kissed goodbye, I headed out to Invasion. The day before, I had the good luck to be working from home. While I waited some some systems to finish patching, I wrapped a few presents and tried on an outfit. Now, I was pretty sure that I wanted to wear my black & white skirt. Sure, it's shorter than I'd normally go with, but hey, it's Christmas and it's very much a going out number. The only question was the top. I didn't want to do a plain black top. To cut a long story short, I decided on a little black vest (thank you Next Outlet!) and a lacy top I borrowed from Mrs J. Bless her, she offered to lend me a jumper top, but with the puff sleeves, it made my shoulders look huge.

Now, because I can't change at home, I'll often nip up to the Centre where we run Chameleons. There's usually someone in, so it's not a problem. This time, there was just the local police in (they have an office upstairs), so I was in and getting ready. So far, so good. I'm just putting the last of my industrial strength shapewear on, when there's a knock at the door. Just about to head out and we need to lock up.

Bugger. :-)

Okay. Don't panic, Jones! I get my hoodie and jogging trousers back on (Ed: had you gone as a burglar, Lynn? :-P), wish the coppers merry Xmas and wait in the car until they'd gone. Well. Other than driving down the M1 to find a service station to use (no thanks), I made the best of it and finished getting ready in the car. Sure, the arc light and map-lamp in the car were not as good as I'm used to, but you gotta make the best of what you have sometimes. Besides, the tricky part of getting the clothes on was pretty much done. Face, hair and nails done, it was off into town.

The Main Event

Now, I arrived a bit before nine and I thought I was late. I bumped into Rachel first and the place was quiet. More and more folk turned up. I realised I'd left my false eyelash glue in the car, so there went my plan of fixing them. I headed to the loo to fix my mascara. Not wanting to cause offence, I headed into the gents. Yeah, it was a gay pub, but I don't like to push it. Anyways, as I was stood by the mirror. I notice this chap behind me standing with his trap open looking at me like I'm the first trans person he's seen. Okay, curiosity. Whatever. I carry on. Eye one done. He's still looking. Ignore. Eye two. He's still gawping. Deep breath and face him.

It's okay, honey. It's a gay pub. This happens. 

He shut his mouth and walks off. The bloke spending a penny behind him was trying so hard not to laugh and we had a chuckle at Mr Stare-o-tron's expense once he'd gone.

Make-up fixed, it was time to mingle. Sam turned up, then Maddy. I bumped into Jemma and I got to meet Justine for the first time (who is lovely and I still miss her blog). I had a good long chat with her about stuff and after a quick photo opportunity with Jemma and Maddy, we headed to the next pub and finally a club.

Now, the club is more a straight venue than a gay one, but the group haven't had any trouble and once folk seem to get their heads around the fact that the Invasion massive are just there to dance and have a good time, curiosity fades and we're left to get on with the important things: like having a good time. ;-)

Rather than go with the more up-to-date rave-esq numbers upstairs, on recommendation, we opted for the 80s/90s retro stuff downstairs.... and I'm glad we did. I had a really good time dancing to some old school pop classics. Stuff I wouldn't have danced to during my teenage metal period. Funny, that I knew all the words to the Whitney Houston numbers though eh? Self denial, it's an ugly thing :-)

As we sat down to get our breath, Maddy mentioned something along the lines of this - the situation we were in right now - was beyond her dreams when she was younger. I think I've got that right and I'm with her. The idea that I'd be out with friends in Lynn mode and it wouldn't be a problem, well. Back in the 80s, I would never have believed it would be possible. How things change eh?

Eventually, it was time to head back. So I bid fair well to the rest of the Invaders and made my way down the street to the bottom of the hill. Honestly, a hill in heels after you've been discoing it up all night? I think not. :-)

All in all, a very good night out. I got in about half one and strangely, I've not felt to tir....zzzzz :-) Ahem. Yes. Right. One last thing to do: to wish you and yours a very merry Christmas and good luck for 2013. Make it glam, make it happen.

Thanks for reading,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: It's the End of the World by R.E.M ]

Friday, December 14, 2012

"No matter gay, straight or bi
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born to survive"


Hi,

I've finally succumbed to partially decorating the office. Not that I'm a Scrooge like character, far from it. I draw the line at enforcing festivities on other folk..... as a rule. ;-) The office was looking very grim with the dark windows and sometimes, a bit of tinsel lifts the spirits. All I need to do now is smuggle in some baubles and a tree or two. Sorted. :-P

Changing Faces

Earlier this week, I was daydreaming (Ed: as per) while waiting for a batch process to complete. Yes, in IT, part of your worth seems to revolve around the ability for the percentage bar to creep across the screen until.... you run another installation to patch the first one... and the second one. Then the software starts.... without you having to switch the machine off and back on again. :-) But this is what was in my head. Oh and those of you who don't dig wordy stuff, just skip down to the Thursday bit ;-)
It starts with the view in the mirror. The male face staring back. A cleanly shaven jaw. A make-up bag rests by the side. Sometimes, there is a sigh as the would be transformer doubts themselves for a moment. Wondering, even after all this primping, will what is shown on the outside, will it match the inside? Then, out come the brushes, the compacts and pots & packets of glamorous goodness. It's a level of effort rarely applied to traditional male grooming: ex foliation, moisturising, brow trimming.
Concealer is dabbed around the eyes. The pale greyness under the new colour, while a wide brush softens the lines, blends. Foundation is tipped out to the lid of a waiting pot. The male face changes, the tone softening as the brush is worked across the features. Nose, cheeks, brow, jaw and down the neck. Powder is whisked across the new skin. The cast lightens.
Items are taken from the open bag and the half done face looks back. Too much of the old look remains. Elbow and lid are steadied as eye-liner is worked on. Upper line and lower corners are smudged with a practised finger. The eyes begin to take shape: colour under the brow, a mid colour along the lid and the darkest at the edges. One eye done. It seems okay. The second eye done and now mascara. No party look this evening: the false lashes remain boxed. Now blusher and lip gloss complete the shift. The face is the same, yet different.
Lastly, the wig - that old enabling glory - is raised. The fibres are combed and teased into shape. The head dips forward and with a backwards flick, returns its gaze to the mirror. All is not as it was. The structure has not altered, only now the eyes are brighter and a small smile plays at the lips as the wig is combed. The image blinks. It is also time to go.
Thursday

This week, it was actually time for Chams. I was later than usual as I had to pick Wee Man up from his school play. He didn't have a big part to do, but what he did - and yeah, being his dad, I'm biased :-) - he did very well. Funny thing was, a number of other people - and I didn't know all of them - said that same thing too. Well done Jones Junior. Clearly those DVD lessons on comic timing are paying off. ;-)

Chams itself was by turns fairly quiet and oddly, rather lively. Quiet on numbers, loud on presence. We had a visit from a gent from Nottinghamshire Constabulary. I had been under the impression that it was a fact finding mission to see how we - we being trans folk - fitted in with Police policies etc. It seemed to be more a fact finding mission to see what we thought of the police, political policies around them and what we thought contributed to criminal activity.

Obligatory photo
I won't go into the points that were raised. What I will say is that the opinions were varied and I found it very interesting to hear the various different views that people held. Some I agreed with, some I didn't. But I dare say that the same could be said for the comments I made too. We did, sadly, get stuck on the political bandwagon and government bashing. I didn't see the point of the latter as that ship has sailed. Weather you agree with this government's policies or not, this wasn't the place for lobbying IMO.

Later on, we headed off to the pub and carried on talking - as we seem to spend a lot of time doing. Then again, sitting down, looking at each other and not talking would be far weirder IMO. ;-) Anyway, the owner, Debbie (lovely lady BTW) was chatting with Sam as Soph and I took our seats. The conversation came around to visit at Chams. There was a discussion about the concept of LGB or LGBT (Ed: Lesbian  gay, bisexual and transgender; if you're none-the-wiser). One of the points raised was that each group has its own needs. Sometimes I wonder if we trans-folk stand out more, but then being straight, I don't really know what issues gay people have to deal with. I can hazard a guess, but it'll always be that. Maybe I should ask, or maybe I should just follow the sage advice of my gran: "Just be nice." The latter seems to cover a lot of bases.

Anyhoo, the conversation with Debbie and Sam rolled on and we seemed to draw to the conclusion that from a policing point of view, it didn't really matter about a person's race, sexuality or gender: no-one wants to be discriminated against. That and for those folk who are not out, meeting in a neutral place and keeping that person's secret would really help. I know that if I  (heaven forfend) had a crime to report and it was related to my trans life, I know I'd want to keep it quiet.

In the main, society is pretty good to us. I think I've only had one iffy comment in the time I've been out and about. It was from three youths as I walked to my car. "Oi. It's a transvestite. F*** dat sh**." Well done, Sherlock. You spotted me. :-P Now, I'm not down with the kids, but I'm guessing the latter part of the lad's sentence isn't not a term of respect. :-) Still, bonus points for not saying 'tranny'. Part of me wanted to stop and ask the lad why he said that. Not in an accusatory way; more just curiosity  Maybe it is as the rather talented Andrew O'Neill quipped: "I'm an alpha male shout generator." The young chap was black and I wondered how he would have felt if a couple of white blokes had said something insensitive / politically incorrect to him. For the record, neither is acceptable. Would he have seen the link? Should I have attempted to talk to them or would I have been setting myself up for some oh-so witty comeback from his mates? I guess, we'll never know. Still, in the long swing of things, that's very minor stuff.

In other news, it's Invasion next week and the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is cool with me heading off. I know, two nights out on the trot. Dirty stop out. Now.... what to wear? Hmm. I think a week should just about give me enough time. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Born this Way by Lady GaGa ]

Friday, December 07, 2012

"I am the god of hellfire and bring you.... fire!"

Hiya,

After an unusually productive week, I've a bit of a spring in my step. Top that off with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones has surprising me - via the middle class telegraphic system, Facebook :-) - that our new fire has arrived, I'm feeling particularly chuffed. Now, I don't mean, a small lump of fire arrived in the post. That would be a bit odd. Obviously. :-) No, the new fire grate, log basket et all turned up. Bless her, she and the nippers put it all together, so all muggings here had to do, was light it. Thanks to various happy holidays, fire-making is one skill have just about got the hang of. Now, I do love a good fire. Okay, not a house fire, that's a bad type. But a good old fashioned, roaring log fire where you can toast your tootsies (toes, not Dustin Hoffman) on a cold autumn night. Things to be thankful for eh?

Talking of thankful, after much note taking and therapy, I've got the root cause of my depression. It's to do with my interest in a tight top and a cute skirt. Apparently it's not to do with being trans, it's to do with being partly Scots. ;-) (Ed; Ya gret hairy numptae! Mincing aboot like thaat. Shoulbae ashamed o' yerself!!)

Okay, iffy stand up material aside, what else has been doing on? Well, other than attempting to play the fool, I was rather foolish the other day. It had been a week since the last Chameleons meeting and I was all ready for a night out. I'd packed just the one outfit (unusually), got the kids to bed after a story and off I went through the driving Nottinghamshire rain. Traffic was good and as I rolled up, I thought: the Centre looks a bit dark. Then it hit me. It's the second Thursday of the month..... so.... umm.... not tonight then.

Bugger. :-)

A little bit of me thought I could nip upstairs, get changed and go & meet up with Sam. But.... I didn't. Not that Sam's company is lacking (Ed: stop digging, Lynn! :-P ), it was more that if I went out this week, and then to Chams next week.... and then hoping to make Invasion the week after. Yeah, it would be pushing it a bit. Instead, I called the Ever Lovely Mrs J (who saw the funny side) and then stopped off at the supermarket to snag a few gifts (including a few for the lady of the house). So, back home, feet up and nice cup of tea and a chat. Oh, and home made biccies. What's not to like?

Talking of lady stuff (Ed: don't be filthy!), Mrs J didn't bat an eyelid as I packed my bag for Thursday. She's become very cool about the whole trans thing and find that...... Okay, words fail me at this point. Happy doesn't quite cut it. Loved? Accepted? I guess that's all most of us want. To be loved for who we are. Trite, but true.

Anyhoo, she asked if I wanted any make-up, or such like, for Christmas. In all honesty? Not this time around. It's crazy in a way. I'm being offered presents (clothes, make-up, skin care, etc) that I'd longed for, but could never talk about until the last few years. Now, I'm good. She kindly gifted me a set of unused Urban Decay she didn't need and I've still got a few items from the Clinique Bonus Time (love Clinique!) set. The only item I'm short on is powder, but that's not big on my list.

What will I get for Xmas? I really don't know. Nice things, I hope. Things I wouldn't usually get myself, but really, what I'm truly after is that the present buying I've done for everyone else to be a success  Yeah, that may be a bit cheesy, but that's what I'd really like.

Oh, that and for the Xmas tree not to be pulled down by our two wee monsters. :-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown ]

Friday, November 30, 2012

"But love will never compromise,
Now this is the politics of life..."


Hiya,

So, the cusp of December already. Well, I say already, it's been a while since the last one, (Ed: a year, Lynn. Twelve months, you numpty), but it doesn't seem long since it was Christmas. Still, we're just about done on the Xmas shopping front. Just a fair bit of wrapping to do and ensuring the stash remains safely away until the big day.

Part of me has a slight worry that one day, Wee Man or Little Miss will rummage through the cupboards and find my other wardrobe. Okay, so to speak. Actually, my other clothes are at the other end of my shirts and whatnot. I guess it's more the collection of shoes, the wig and make-up that are in the spare cupboard near my computer. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Curling up with a good book

That sort of brings me on to a book I've been reading: A Love Less Ordinary. It's by Laura Newman, the author in question and also of Angel & Princess blog and Marie Claire article fame. The book is about her relationship with Nicci (her partner who happens to be trans), but it goes deeper than that. It covers why a previous relationship didn't work out and why she decided to do something about it. It is to do with living a trans person, but very much not in a negative, nor a blinkered way. It's moving, it's funny and it's informative. I found myself nodding in agreement and as you can grab it now via the Kindle store, you've really no excuse, but to treat yourself :-)

I'll try not to spoil it, by adding a few items that I enjoyed. Other than Laura and Nicci's love for each other, there's talk about a no censorship pact between each of them and how that's working out. There is also a part about how Nicci was outed (I can relate, albeit on a much smaller scale) and how Nicci then chosen to take charge of her own life and roll with the punch. It's inspiring stuff and the book is also peppered with comments by folk from inside their social circle. It is neither doom-and-gloom nor happy clappy; but balanced. There are comments from people who don't understand and yet, they go on their own journey and learn to accept Nicci for who she is, rather than what she is. Like I said, a good read.

Our Different Journey

In other news, Petra seems chuffed with her two minutes thirty five of fame on Our Different Journey. I'm waiting on a few folk to supply their answers and snaps, then a few more should pop up over the weeks. If you're interested, there's a contact form on the side of this blog. Failing that, there's the site itself.

Interviews Schminterviews

I also had a telephone interview for a job today. It all kicked off following an email from an agency, after they saw my LinkedIn profile. Truthfully, that's the only reason I joined up to that site. :-) Anyhoo, it seems that the job in question is rather different than how it had been spun to me by the agency. That and there's some.... discrepancy... over interviews too. It's all making me back off and chuck into the mix that the job is very much hands-off / non-technical to boot.

Yeah, the money is a little better than what I'm now. But as I was saying to a friend, I'm not badly paid (although I'd like a few bob more LOL), so it's not so much about the cash any more. It's more about the feeling of being valued, the working conditions and the fit with my family. Currently, yeah, there's little in the way of progression, but I work with a good bunch of people, I've got some input in to how I do things, I get to manage my own workload and the hours are pretty good too. I guess it's the combination of all those factors that makes leaving hard. Then again, it's not like I'm deeply unhappy, so as Mrs Jones said, don't rush in.

I am fairly cautious by nature - which is good when you're responsible for a computing environment like ours  - but it also slows me down socially and career-wise too. Chuck into the mix that I once jumped from one job to a rather bad one about a decade ago. I guess I should have listened to the warning signs, but hey, lessons learned! Still, as we talked about with the trans stuff, if I hadn't have had that sh** job, I wouldn't have got the ones that have lead me to where I am now. Plus, I doubt I'd be quite the same person. So, bad times doesn't always mean bad news. I guess it comes back to how you deal with the hand you are dealt.

Righto. Feet up, it's the weekend and pretty much gin o'clock! :-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric : Heart & Soul by T'Pau ]

Friday, November 23, 2012

"Let's have a toast a celebration get a glass out,
And we can do this until we pass out."


Hello again dear reader,

Compared to yesterday's weather, which seems like a warm up for The End Times. today in dear old England, we're blessed with a view of a beautiful blue sky. Well, Nottingham at least. Things to be cheerful about! Dare I say, all seems to be going fairly well at the moment; other than the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones being flat out with a rather nasty cold. With luck and a spot of rest, she should be okay for her graduation ceremony next week. Yes, Mrs J will soon be Doctor Jones.... and, yes, I'm very proud of her and no, I haven't bought her a slightly crumpled hat and a whip either. ;-)

Party? Already? Mais oui!

What else is going on? It being just about the end of November, we had the Chameleons Christmas Party. Yes, it is a little early and we do this to avoid clashing with work and home dos, school plays, etc. I had been a little worried about the catering; seeing as only a few people had posted in the forum. As per, I shouldn't have been concerned; we did very well, with everyone bringing this & that to build up a quality spread. Sandi & H. did a top job in putting out the tablecloths, food and candles. It made the place look really homely. Chuck in some sparkly disco lights and an old MP3 player from home, we were good to go! Given it was a party, we had a pretty full house. It's great to see so many people come along and it keeps the coffers topped up well too. Sandi did the honours by capturing the event by taking a few snaps.

I'd over-packed as usual, but this time, decision was with me. It was on with my favourite Christmas dress (red velvet) and last Christmas's star patterned tights. Sadly, they won't be in use as they've died a death. Still, nothing is forever right. Maddy was in a shoe quandary  so I loaned her a pair of my studded heels, while I went with the new ones from Dotty P's (see last month). Not the most comfortable, but I think you have to suffer for your art sometimes ;-) As it was a party, it was on with the fancier than usual Urban Decay set Mrs J had gifted me with. She'd got a more recent set with new colours, so Muggins here ended up with the old, but very glam set. On with a set of false eyelashes and I was good to go!

Thanks to a lucky find while out shopping, I managed to get a few early Xmas presents in. Something for Sandi & Tracey because of all the hard work they do. Plus two little some things which caught my eye for two other friends. I'll spare their blushes at the mo.

We had another visit from our student researcher and from brief conversations with M, all seems to be going well. I saw her having a long chat with Tracey, so hopefully that'll help her project along.

In Da Club Pub

I hung back a bit to help tidy up and after that, headed off to the pub to catch up with the rest. We had a quick karaoke session. Perhaps a good thing given our collective vocal talents. I tried my hand at Green Day's Time of Your Life. Funny, how come singing seems to be better in the car. Maybe the windscreen on reflects back the vocals that are in tune. :-)

In order to cool off, Rhiannon and I had a good long natter in the smoking garden. Well, there were a few plants, but neither of us smoke. Not sure if that violates Trade Descriptions, but meh. :-) After a bit more socialising and a dance to LMFAO, it was time to head home...... only, I had a bit of a scare.

I'd pulled up in an out of the way lane to take my make-up off and slip some trousers on. Y'see, I don't like to return home - even if it is the wee hours - fully Lynned up (Ed: is that even a word?). So, slap removed, wig stashed and man clothes on top, I started the car.... or rather, I didn't. The lights all came on, but the engine wouldn't turn over. Sigh. Don't panic, Jones. Take the key out. Check the gear, press the brake and try again (standard ops for an automatic car). Nothing. Sh**.

Okay. It's something passed one AM and I'm in the middle of nowhere. Okay. Try again. Nope. Right. Don't panic. Ring the breakdown people. Ahh. No wallet. I left that at home. Bum!

Ring Mrs J? No. She needs her sleep and she's got a busy day. Okay. Let's apply the IT principle  turn everything off and leave it for five minutes. :-P I'll mess about with my phone and see if I can get a signal to call Breakdown. No joy with that.... Panicking a bit now.

Force myself to wait a bit longer. Turn the ignition. Nothing. Okay. Check the lights. They're okay, so battery's not screwed. Turn everything off. Get out of the car. Fire central locking. Enjoy the view of the night out towards the woods and the power station  Wonder how long it would take to walk back if the car is shot. Shrug. Get back in. Turn the key. Cross fingers. "C'mon, you beauty".

Vroom!

RESULT! Panic over. Now back home to bed after a quick check that my eyelids aren't still sparkly.

Take care,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Pass Out by Tinie Tempah ]

Friday, November 16, 2012

"I'm on a mission,
In the destination unknown..."

Hi folks,

Earlier today I was pondering what to write about. I had thought about doing a version of Desert Island Discs, a favourite radio show of mine. Yes, you know my keenness with music, but truth by told, it is as much the story of the person behind the tracks that interests me. Well, some interviewees, I should add. Sportsfolk don't interest me so much, so those episodes I tend to overlook. Perhaps it's because I don't look into their world so much. Maybe if I did, I'd take more of an interest. Anyhoo, that will have to wait for a little while as I consider a few tracks.

T-Town

Some weeks (Ed: months?) ago, I talked about the Our Different Journey project. Due to various issues over hosting, resourcing and Real Life getting in the way, the work has not gone as easily as I'd hoped. I did have a go at setting up a test site and after Tanya posted her answers to the questions, I wondered about resurrecting the idea.


Perhaps this time, I'll spin it a little differently. I think what I'll try is running the questions here and then going for a meme-tag idea. So, if your name pops up below, please consider cutting & pasting the questions (and later your answers) to your own blog. Likewise, if anyone without a blog would like a go (via Facebook or here in the comments section), that would be very cool too. If we get enough replies, maybe you'd let me upload a few to the Our Different Journey site.

Anyway, on with the show!

AWARENESS: When did you first feel trans? How did it make you feel? Did you embrace or run from it?

I remember feeling curious about my mum's and sister's clothes when I was in the third year of primary school. I guess I'd be about six or seven. I can't put my finger on an exact memory, although I do remember taking a pair of tights from the laundry pile and trying them on in my room. They felt, kinda right, in some odd way. I remember wearing a pair under my trousers at school, although I didn't repeat that for many years.... not that I got caught doing it. That didn't come to much later.

I didn't know the word trans or any other ones. As far as I knew, this was just something I did. Ego? Perhaps, but I had no other frame of reference as a young kid. The one thing I did know, I wasn't rough and tumble like the other boys. I preferred books to football and I normally had one close friend, rather than a gang of mates. One thing I did learn, as a boy, it wasn't cool to cry and you didn't talk about dressing up.

I didn't exactly embrace being trans, but I dabbled enough to realise that I'd keep coming back to it. Sometimes the guilt would get to me, sometimes it wouldn't. I do remember reading a teenage problem page about it - my sister bought a lot of teen magazines (plus, fab make-up tips!) - and I remember thinking, "OMG, that's me. There are other kids who do this." That was a real acceptance moment.

ADOLESCENT COPING: How did you cope with growing up? What about puberty? How was school, or teenage life?

I had a pretty easy childhood all things considered. My parents were good to me and I got off lightly in the long swing of things. I wasn't picked on per se, although I didn't enjoy going to an all boys grammar school. Funny, maybe it really is better to reign in Hell than server in Heaven? Still, no point in regretting that; if I could change time, I wouldn't be where I am now and I wouldn't want to change it either.

So to answer your question, I didn't like puberty. The spots, the greasy hair and of course, body hair. Ugh. Perhaps ironically, or perhaps more accurately, I hoped that I'd man up. It was a sort of spinning coin. On one side, I wanted to stay small and unhairy, on the other, I wanted to be tall and mainly like my mates. Go figure.

Looking back, I think I had my first dose of depression as I turned 17. I didn't know what that word was back then and I do remember going to see the doctor about it. It was also about that time that I came out to my Mum. That could have gone better. Honestly, I felt so ashamed of who I was. Pile on gender identity issues with the heady teenage brew of beer, exams and typical puberty related guff, something was bound to go off pop. I had a few sessions of counselling and while it was helpful to talk to someone, I still had a lot of work to do to get myself back into shape mentally.

EARLY LIFE/ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE: Having grown up - at least physically, how was life? Did you fit in or fall out? Did you stay home, work away or go to University, college or work?

The village where I lived was okay, but getting a job meant working in a town that I really didn't like. It felt - at least to the teenage misanthrope that I was - that all there was to do was drink, watch TV, fight and try to cop off with one of the local girls. Looking back, I was probably being unfair as as a mate said, a Saturday night is what you make it.

I drifted into the idea of going to polytechnic. Back in the 80s / early 90s, we still had polys. I failed most of my exams through not trying very hard (except in computing), but I scraped enough to get me into a course at Nottingham. I had thought about London - because that's where all the trans stuff seemed to be - but Mum was fearful of me going down to the capital for some reason. I guess I was still a naive country boy at heart. :-) I'd been to Nottingham many times, so it sort of felt like a home away from home. Plus, there was Rock City and as I was well into my late teen Indie / Industrial phase, I was quids in. Ahh, discovering the joy of dancing. Rave on. :-)

I guess going helped me break the ties from home and after a mate outed me for being trans, that pretty much made me hideaway.... either at my parent's, or by staying at Nottingham. In a way, he did me a favour. I think it was the kick I needed to make a new start.

CAREER: What you do and how you think it has shaped you (for better or worse). Is there something you long to do?

I work in IT as from my teenage years, I'm not a computer guru, but I know my way around an operating system. Most of the stuff I do relates to Microsoft products and much as I admire Unix, I've never really made the time to learn that much about it. Odd, considering how much command line stuff I do as part of my job. I guess in the last 10 years, I've honed my skills and my talent seem to lie in a very technical aspects. I'm not so good at the management thing - or so I'm told - which is frustrating, because if I want to move on, that's where the next step is. So, lose a good techie and gain a crap manager? :-)

I don't think my trans nature has had that much impact on my working life. Well, other than being a bit more open / relaxed around folk with different sexualities.

Now, I help out with HR by offering career / personal issue support to staff. I've always liked to help people and I guess that fits in with the need. I don't see a lot of people, but enough to make it feel like I am making a difference for someone.

As to longing to do? Hmm.... I don't think about the future too much. I used to think that getting better pay would make me happy, but since working my way to to what I think's a pretty good salary, it's no longer about the dosh; it's about value, making a difference and feeling like I've achieved something. I have written a few short stories over the years and despite sending them off, they're not quite hitting the mark. I guess I'd like to be published one day, or even just have people read my stories. I know Rhiannon continues to politely cajole me over doing stand-up. I do think about the latter, I really do. But it is little more than whimsy  at the mo. Perhaps I should spend less time on Facebook and more time writing.

RELATIONSHIPS: Single, married, long term relationship, divorced, happy to be single? How is family life?

Married... and very happily married at that. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I were married in the late 90s and we're very happy together. Sure, the trans gig puts a strain on things once in a while, but we work through it. I think we've reached a compromise for us both. We can joke and laugh in a pleasant way, so it is by far and away better than I'd hoped for. In my teenage years, I wondered if I'd ever meet such a lovely girl, and if she found out about who I really was, would she stand by me?

We also have two young children: Wee Man (nearly 10) and Little Miss (half his age). I wasn't sure what I expected in being a parent, but honestly, I think it's been great. Sure, it can be hard work and yes, some old hobbies or activities (namely expensive holidays, posh meals out, etc) have to take a back seat; but having two new people come into the world and being able to help them grow, I find that amazing and very rewarding.

COMING OUT: Have you? Would you? If so, how was it? If not, why not?

I came out to my Mum when I was 17. We were both in floods of tears about it. I guess.... I felt so very confused over who I was. Ah, if only there'd been the Internet, life would have been different. Or more accurately, perhaps if I'd been calmer, life would have been different :-)

As to Mrs J, when we met, I told her it was something I used to do and at that time, that was true. What little clothes I had, I'd given away to charity. I stopped shaving my legs and I was going my best to 'go straight' - to coin a phrase. Funny thing was, while I'd thrown things away, the interest in wanting to feel pretty didn't go away. I hesitate to use the word 'desire' because it has a sexual connotation and it's more complicated than that.

Skip on a few years - near 2000 - and after a bad choice of job, I was buying clothes and dressing up. Mrs J was working shifts, so that fitted in easily enough. It all came to a head after I lied to her - yes, that's very bad - and went to a Chameleons meeting. I must have looked a sight: no make-up, no bra, just a top, long skirt and heels from BHS. Still, you've got to start somewhere! :-) I came clean to her a week later and she was understandably upset by it all. I felt so bad for what I'd done - not the dressing up, but the lying. That was the worst part. But, we worked through it and I remember her borrowing some shoes for an interview. "At least I know you've got good taste in shoes," she joked. I felt like it was a little step towards her being okay with it. I still get that feeling when I lend her something, or she asks for my advice when she's shopping.

THE WAY FORWARD: What’s next for you? What are your hopes - trans, or otherwise?

Wow, that's a tough one. I'd like to have a little more freedom over the leg hair issue. I don't like having fully carpeted legs, but equally, I'd rather not freak Mrs J out either. It's not the end of the world, but it would give me a little more flexibility over clothing choices and in the past, when I did it, having smooth legs just felt right somehow. Trans folk eh? We're a funny bunch :-)

Outside of the trans stuff, I'd like to stop taking anti-depressants. I've been taking them for a couple of years now and they've really helped. I suppose I don't want to stay on them forever, but if they keep me ticking over, I'm not going to ditch them without some serious thought.

I'd like to progress a little further in my career, but at the same time, my current employer is very good in terms of working around my family commitments. Funny, as the kids have gotten older, I think less about my job, and more about them and Mrs J.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Anything you’d like to share to a younger you or to other trans people?

That's a tougher question that the last one..... Okay.

For other trans folk :
Don't panic. You're not alone and there are lots of people out there like you. Talk to them. Make friends, even if it's social media or something. Get out if you can and push yourself. Somehow I managed it, so you can too. Don't worry about passing; just dress well and have fun. There are worse things in life than being trans. It can be cool too. :-)
For the younger me:
It will get better. You will meet someone who'll understand and she will love you, just as you love her. You will make new friends: people who care about you. There is nothing wrong with being a geek. Drink isn't the answer. Exercise when you can - walking is great for body, mind and soul. Learn to love dancing; it will be the most fun you'll have with your kit on - be they male or female clothes.
End of Line

Okay. That's my prattling on done for another night. For the meme tag, I'd like to pick seven bloggers to keep the home fires burning and if they could nominate another magnificent seven, that would be top stuff.

So - and in alphabetical order - over to you : Alex, AlexisPetraRhiannonSamStace and Sue.

I would have suggested Jonathan and Tanya, but they've already done it. Maddy, Sophie and Jenny don't run blogs, so I can't tag you either. :-\ But maybe you'll post with a bit of luck!

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Castaway by Greenday.... I really must get my finger out and buy the last album ]

Friday, November 09, 2012

"All of a sudden, I found myself in love with the world,
So there was only one thing that I could do..."

Hi,

Today I have - in the words of Jessie's Diets - been in a buoyant mood. I think that may be due to a few lucky happen stances, a good night and just life in general being good to me. Even the Friday morning meeting slog didn't dampen my spirits. I must have been really annoying to work with today. :-)

Lies, damn lies and statistics

I'd like to say a big thank you for those of you who keep coming back, reading and commenting on this little blog of mine. Just this week the stats crept over the 100,000 mark, so thanks everyone. It's very much appreciated.



Chocolottery

In terms of little fortunes coming my way, while Chez Jones has yet to scoop a lottery win, I did win two bags of my favourite choccy snack (Maltesers) back to back. Mars, the vendor, are offering a 1 in 6 chance to win another chocolate. Despite grumbling earlier in the week that I rarely won anything - and I buy Maltesers daily - it was a very pleasant surprise to win a free bag..... and then to find that the winning bag then let me win again. Result!

Out

Despite managing to be late home pretty much every day this week, somehow I got myself sorted and the kids read to before 8pm. With dad duties sorted and a quick peck on the cheek with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones, it was off to Nuthall for a t-girl's night out.

I'd got my outfit choice down to one. I know, shocking isn't it. Actually, that's not 100% true, I had taken a long skirt - floor length - along to try on. More on that later on. But the evening's outfit was slightly shiny black leggings (not PVC), a new purple-white skater style dress/long top and my new boots.


Now, the boots, they arrived about two weeks ago. I bought them with what was left of my birthday money and I think they are the most expensive footwear I've ever bought. Perhaps to some folk, ninety quid doesn't seem like a lot, but it's a lot more than my regular clothes budget! My, they were fine and I've been very happy with my purchase. Sadly, I forgot to unpack my camera, so you'll just have to take my word that I felt great in said items. ;-)

Time Line?

We had a visit from a student who was doing research into the trans community and if there is any domestic violence. As far as I know, there's no direct correlation, but I can think of two people who may have been affected at certain points of their lives. The question was also raised over what constitutes abuse? Someone suggested that domestic abuse isn't necessarily physical, it can be bullying or emotional trouble too. The old cliché of "you wouldn't do this if you loved me" springs to mind.... not that I've heard that personally.

That lead us on to the generic life path for t-folk.... well, I can only draw from my own and friend's experiences, so please, don't consider this to be gospel. If your story is different, that's what the comments box is for. ;-) So back to the matter in hand, in some cases, the trans life path runs a bit like this:
  • Early years: curious about how girl clothes feel. Wonder why some clothes are for boys, some for girls.
  • Young (eight to eleven?): realise that there are some things boys don't do. Learn to lie about your feelings and hide them.
  • Teenage years: Not pleasant for many folk. For trans teenagers, you've got spots, peer pressure, coming to terms (or not) with who you are and the fact that you're turning into an adult. From a male trans point of view, that's facial & body hair (yuk!) and you're going to 'man up'. Good bye childish/girlish frame.
  • Twenties/Thirties: learn to hide your feelings. Maybe buy clothes, have a chuck out / purge. Start dating, get a job, etc. Maybe explore cross-dressing more. The drive to 'be you' gets more and more.
  • Forties: The drive to 'be yourself' is no longer a quiet call, but a bloomin' great foghorn. :-)
Most of the t-folk at Chameleons seem to be in the 30s, 40s and 50s age bracket, so my view on the above is coloured by that. Certainly, I seem to be seeing a shift to people coming along earlier, so more people in their 30s, than 40s. I wonder if the old line about your nature affirming itself in your 30/40s, rings true? The idea that in your teens and twenties, you are discovering who you are and your environment shapes you. However, that's that twin track race of nature vs nurture and the older you get, the more you revert to the former. Or so I've read. :-)

So we had a good chat about complete nonsense, as well as a few deeper moments about how Chameleons offers trans people friendship, a chance to socialise with people like themselves and support too. I mean, just today, I gave a friend a call as she'd not managed to make it to the evening. That touches on something someone said during the chat, that being trans, it's not just about clothes. It is, and I've said this before on this blog, that it goes right through your core being; I won't say that I'm female, but I will say I have traits that are more typically associated with women. That's not to say I don't have male element too; I do. It's just that I seem to have a mix of both genders, whereas my non-trans friends seem to have a majority share in their own respective genders.

After a quick announcement about next week's Christmas Do and asking for volunteers for the catering, it was off to the pub. We had quite a turn out, what with our guest, Sophie, Alison, Rhiannon and Tanya. Luckily the car park was fairly empty. We had a good long chat and Tanya & I tried our hand at The Fairy Tale of New York. The latter was good fun and I really enjoyed hearing the other pub goers start to sing along... thankfully, more tunefully than I. Time marched on and it was time to head home. Purse and heart a little lighter. All good stuff!

Take care
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Jesus Built My Hot Rod by Ministry ]

Friday, November 02, 2012

"Me no fear the reaper."


Hey all,

I seem to do most of my blogging in one of two places. At home, where I'm sat comfortably in a large leather chair, tucked away upstairs, but not quite far enough away from the Skype based yells of glee from Wee Man and his on-line gaming buddies. Failing that, at work with a personal laptop late on a Friday. Friday afternoons are funny things. Well, they are to me :-) There's that element of excitement that it'll be the weekend soon and speaking personally, I find something rather magical about Friday nights. I guess it's the idea that it's a gateway to the weekend. So currently, I'm sat at work looking out of the dark glass into the early evening. The clocks have gone back, so Autumn is well and truly upon us.

A Few Short Years

It was our anniversary the other day. Fifteen lovely years between the Ever Foxy Mrs Jones and myself. I am, perhaps obviously, very glad of that ever lengthening number. I don't state that as a smug-married-person, moreover someone who is thankful that we keep working at our relationship. I mean, somehow we muddle through what life throws at us. I feel a twinge of guilt at some of the sh** I've brought to the door, so to speak. The bad times of a rubbish job in the 90s, my coming out over being trans and the bouts of depression last year or so.

But, to use a well love phrase: it's not all bad news. I've never cheated on Mrs J (and never wish to). Yes, I am far from perfect in terms of housework, but I try to do bits here and there. I'm not a sports fan, so no disappearing to the terraces on a Saturday, nor insisting on watching the match / Sky Sports, etc. I'm not a big drinker, but I do like to go out with the (t)girls once in a while. I don't forget our anniversaries and there is always something along with the card: be that flowers, jewellery, books, etc. Things that I know she'll like. I don't get cross when she doesn't do the same, because unlike me, Mrs J's work is way out of town and with the late afternoon school run, she's not got that much time on her hands. I try to keep the trans stuff away from family life as I can. It's not always easy, but I do what I can to keep it under wraps where possible. Mind you, looking at the positive, having a trans-partner means you will get more thought put into material gifts. ;-) What about you, dear reader, do you find it tough to keep all the plates spinning, or have you worked out some magic formula to keep everyone happy? If you know the secrete of the latter, I'd love to know :-)

Don't fear the Reaper?

In other news, I was listening to the radio today and there was talk about a book / art thingy about death. No, not the tall, bony dude with the big cloak and the scythe  Alternatively, and for Sandman fans, not the cute gothic girl either. :-) Okay, I think I've tortured that gag enough - let's move on.

I tuned in midway through the piece, so I missed the start of it. The bit that made me think was that we - we being western society - don't give much thought to our own passing. Now, being an ego-centric blogger / comment tart, off went my imagination into what the folk meant by that. Do I think about my own passing? My legacy? Those I leave behind? What if I died tomorrow?

To be honest, no, I don't think about any of those things. I have, when the Black Dog was with me, thought about death. I wondered what would happen if I was no longer here. From a practical point of view, I'm well insured, although having had that bump in the car last year was a reminder on how precarious life can be. Plus, Wee Man was upset as I was off ill the other day. He's a sensitive soul, bless him, and seeing me laid out - not literally - freaked him out a bit. Likewise  my own dad, I worry about him too. He's not getting any younger and there will be a time when he's not longer with us. That, I do find upsetting.

As a family, the Jones Massive are fairly tight knit (Ed: and highly strung? :-P ), so I'm confused by those who have family relationships that are not as close. I'm not saying the latter are wrong, or lesser in any way; just different to what I am used to. Perhaps it seems odd, in that I'm not overly worried about me going. I more worried about other people passing on instead. I don't know if that makes me sound more selfish or not! :-) Maybe I've still got to get my head around the idea that one day, I won't be here.

I'll be honest with you and say that I was more worried about getting old - or maybe more accurately, getting older :-) - than I used to be. I think that's probably vanity talking. But being what I am, make-up can cover a few sins, so it's not exactly the end of the world is it? Part of me would rather grow old gracefully than do the 1661 thing. You know, 16 from the back, 61 from the front. :-) Mind you, I'd make a rough looking 16 year old :-D

So legacy? The obvious answer is my family. I hope that I've done enough to give them enough love and understanding, so they can make their own way in the world when I'm no longer with them. I suppose from the point of this blog, it may well be that if Google keeps running this service (and I don't delete the account), that these words could well be here when I'm no longer here to update them.

Between you and I, that's part of the reason I started this here blog. Well, the other two being to connect with people and also in the hope that someone would find the message that if I can handle this trans stuff, so can they. So going back to the original reason, the idea of leaving something behind. I guess it's more than a little egocentric, but hey, I think you need a certain amount of self-importance to think that what you write (Ed: drone?) somehow would want to be read by others, But that aside, I sometimes get blog followers who aren't trans and I wonder what they (or even social historians?) make of all this. Perhaps I'll never know, they don't tend to comment. Perhaps they come here to look for plus size shoes and boots. :-)

Take care
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: MeNoFearTheReaper (Concrete No Fee No Fear Mix) by Pop Will Eat Itself ]

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"You know my hips don't lie,
And I'm starting to feel it's right"

Hey,

A bit of a late post from me, but it's been one of those strangely busy evenings. I clearly remember coming home before six and then after that, it was all a bit of a blur. I guess a part of the evening has gone due to the fact that I've been setting up a new computer - well, new to me. This one, despite being four years old, is a  quieter and a lot faster than the other cobbled together unit I had. Sometimes, it's the little things. Plus, that's a few hundred quit that I don't need to spend. I'm not a fan of buying gadgets when I can repair / hack something together to meet my requirements. Money saved means good news considering we've started the Xmas shopping already. What about you? Oh and I don't mean looking for that perfect Little Black Dress either ;-)

Gifts Galore

Talking of spending, this week I finally got around to spending some of my birthday money from last month. I bought a top from New Look (no photo yet), a floral pattern bodycon dress (see right) and a jumper dress. The latter two both from Very and after picking them up, I headed home (as it was half-term) to have some lunch at Chez Jones. Unfortunately, my cooking skills are clearly not quite up to par and a few hours later, I was feeling less that 100%.... more like curl-up-and-hide-and-want-it-all-to-stop-kinda percent. Yup, I'd given myself food poisoning. Duh.

Luckily for me, the Ever Lovely Mrs J is a most wonderful nurse and was very kind in ensuring I could rest up. She also kept away during some of the "incidents" and that's as much as I'm going to say about those. Well, other than the comment "I don't think I've seen you that colour of green before". :-) So, bad times and time of work, but upside? I lost a bit of weight and as I'd got time booked off for the following two days, I was eased back into the world of the living nice and gradually. I guess I was proper poorly; considering my two dresses remained packaged up until Thursday.

Mrs J and I had a lovely chat about clothes and the whole trans situation. We'd been looking at winter boots together and we chatted about what I'd bought from Very. It means an awful lot to me that we can share such activities. It really does make my day.... and yes, I did tell her that too. ;-)

Out & About

With two days off to look after Little Miss and Wee Man, I was ready for a night out. Hmm, reading that back sounds awful! That's not quite what I meant! :-) What I meant, was after two days of Dad Duties - y'know, fixing Lego, de-tangling Barbie's hair, putting Teddy's shoes on for the sixth time, etc - the idea of a night out where I could let my hair down (so to speak), was very attractive. Plus. I'd got some outfits to try on. What more could a t-girl ask for? ;-)

With an early pass out of the door, I headed upstairs to get changed. I bumped into Sam - not Sam H - and we had a chat about various things. She was kind enough to give her opinion on the new clothes I'd got and we both decided the floral dress, while fab, wasn't quite right. Maybe if I shifted a few more pounds, but hey, I'm not falling into the trap of keeping clothes I'll slim into.

So, sweater dress it was (see right - and thanks to Soph for taking the snap) and it's the first one I've had like that. It was certainly cosy, although later in the evening, I switched to leggings as I felt a little self conscious when I crossed my legs. Okay, it wasn't short-short, but you know how hemlines ride up when you fidget. :-)

After catching up with folk at Chams, Sophie and I headed off to catch up with Sam and Rachel at the pub. It would mean a late night, but with Tanya on her way too, it seemed rude not too. I did delay matters - well, Sophie, actually - as I stopped on the way. There was a young lady waiting on her own not far from the centre. Now, I'm not 100% sure why I stopped, but I did. I guess it was to make sure she was okay. Luckily someone was coming to collect her and she'd just hung up her mobile as I pulled alongside. Hopefully I didn't frighten her at all.... as much as a 40 something guy dressed like a woman might. I do recall making a joke of "I thought I'd offer you a lift if you were stuck.... not that I'm a murderer or a weirdo." She laughed and my mouth ran off with "Well, I am a weirdo, but not that type. I better be going." (Ed: stop talking Lynn and drive on. There's a love :-P )

The pub is slightly different to Chameleons, in that there's often Karaoke on and it's a different crowd there too (in a nice way). Tanya and I played up to our Scots' roots with a rendition of 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. We had a lot of fun with it, but. I think the audience merely endured and then joined in. ;-)

DIY Curves

Sam was curious about how I managed to get my figure to work. Well, that and kind to enough to say I had a nice figure too. Yes, I did manage to say thanks. I don't own a corset, but I'd like to. What I do have a control top, home made hip pads and padded briefs to help. Cue then a discussion about how tricky it is and the honest truth is that it isn't.

(1) Raw materials.
I've used two pieces of medium foam - about the same depth as your thumb is thick - to make two shapes. I got mind from a padded parcel box, but I guess you could buy some if you prefer. :-) Then I put a pair of regular shoulder pads on top to round them off. If you're good with a needle and thread, you could sew them together. Personally, I just slip mine under my tights, although for summer / with trousers, I've used a trimmed down pair of flesh coloured fishnets to hold them in place.

(1) On the left, are your raw materials. Four regular shoulder pads and some parcel foam I've trimmed into shape. I went with some about the thickness of my finger, although I guess you'll want to vary that depending on your own figure.

(2) Trim to size
(2) The next step is to trim the foam. I've put a CD on top of the shape I've cut to give you an idea of sizing. I'm just over six foot and a UK size 16. I guess you'd need to lengthen / shorten / widen the shape for yourself. One thing I will add, start over-size and cut down. I did mine through trial and error, basically by trimming a bit off and then testing under tights and leggings. If you know of a better way, please do let me know.
(3) Final shape

(3) This is the finished article - well, so to speak. All this image shows is how I've positioned the two shoulder pads on top of the underlying long shape. You may find you prefer to use extra thick shoulder pads, or if you're lithe, just the long shape. It's really up to you. I can only write about what's worked for me and we're all different.

At only a few quid, it's a fairly easy way to give yourself some shape and based on what other t-folk have said about the professional hip pads, easier to move in too. I have seen a couple of YouTube videos on the subject. There's a great one from a drag queen, although she's way more creative than I am. I guess it's my IT it-works-it'll-do mentality coming to the fore. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn "No more eggs for me" Jones
x

[ Today's lyric: Hips Don't Lie by Shakira ]

Friday, October 19, 2012

Madness takes its toll.
But listen closely...
Not for very much longer.
I've got to keep control.


Hi,

When the river runs wild, there are a few choices: Stand tall and brave the rage of the waves. Brace against the worst and hope your feet are not pulled from under you. You can let go, follow the flow and try keep your head up. Or you can let it wash over you and pray for the end.... although I wouldn't recommend the latter.

I don't know why I'm writing the above, but I thought it sounded nice. Maybe there's something rattling around my subconscious at the mo. Whatever it is, it's not coming to the fore. Anyhoo, the above was kicked off when I looked at my desktop's wallpaper. Funny how inspiration strikes you. I mean earlier on, on the drive home, I was feeling tired and in terms of creativity, pretty much feeling flat broke at the ideas bank.... to torture a metaphor or two.

Talking of creativity, this week, the BBC ran a news story about the link between mental illness and creativity. That old addage about genius and madness I guess.

Will Turner: This is either madness... or brilliance.
Jack Sparrow: It's remarkable how often those two traits coincide.

So perhaps the occasional dance with the nut fairy (no, not nuts as in your know what. Honestly :-) ) or rare visit from the Black Dog are not - dare I say this - always bad news. Perhaps the over-thinking - which I've heard can trip depression - can be useful from a writing point of view. I know my imagination has always been a bit over-active, but if / when I can channel it appropriately, it has lead me along some interesting (at least to me) avenues. well, at least from a writing pointing of view (short stories, not blogging I should add). Despite being generally academically lacking during my school years, I find I now enjoy writing for myself. Even blogging to a large extent. I mean, it's not like I get paid to prattle away each week.... and given the general quality of the posts, perhaps it's a good thing that I don't make my living this way ;-)

What about you, dear reader? I'll pass on the blogging bug seeing as you're here, but what about from a creative point of view? Do you harbour any talents, hidden or otherwise?

Righto. I'm off for a nice long soak in the bath... but please, don't imagine that. It'll just give you nightmares. :-)

Oh, as I re-read this just before hitting the Publish button, I wonder if there's another choice when stuck in the torrent: pull together and help each other. There's a thought.

Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric : The TimeWarp from Harry Potter and the Unexpected But Utterly Fabulous Crossover with The Rock Horror Picture Show ]

Friday, October 12, 2012

"When the good comes to bad the bad comes to good,
But I'm a live my life like I should..."


Hi,

I was tempted to say 'yo', but I just can't bring myself for fear that the irony would be missed :-)

Wednesday and Thursday were very much a chore for some reason. I think it may be because I'd reached the end of catching up on a favourite television series (On-line viewing rules - doubly so with ad-blockers :-D ) and that work was really dragging. So, I plodded home - as much as one can when driving - through the traffic and after dealing with the nippers, headed off to Chams.

I was not in the best of moods when I arrived because I felt short on time. On the upside, when I got back, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones said she was grateful for me staying later to help with the nippers. So, not all bad news then. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not very good at getting ready quickly. It takes me a while and chuck in the chance for a natter (with Maddy and Alison), and that adds a few more minutes to the clock. I think I got in around 8.30 and I was downstairs just after 9.20 or so..... quick for yours truly. ;-) I think I'd been chatting to Maddy and Sophie for about 15 mins and then we headed off to the pub to catch up with Sam (who, bless her, was waiting on her tod and it's bad form to leave a friend hanging too long).

Turns out, the visit out was just what I needed. A good long chat with friends and a little bit of Karaoke with Maddy (Beastie Boys FTW!) for comedy value. The New Foresters is such a lovely venue; really relaxed and it has such a lovely, welcoming vibe to it. After much chatting, I left a little after half twelve - although we all had to run (in heels, mais oui) under a collection of umbrellas due to the monsoon-like downpour outside. Still, the British weather is nothing if not varied. ;-)

Although I was late to bed, I slept well and I feel much more with it today. In the past, 've heard in the phrase Tranny Heroin being banded about. Not to be Master of the Obvious, it's clearly about addiction and your next 'high' (Ed; don't talk down to the punters, dear). I was pondering this as I drove home. Is it about taking the next ratchet up.... (Ed: it goes all the way to twelve, by the way. Two more than ten :-P ) .... or is it more a case of your boundaries dropping and you making the outside match with the inside? There's a thought.

I can and do socialise in Richard mode. I don't need to be all - for want of a better phrase - femmed up to have a good time. However, if through whatever reason, I am unable to indulge in what I guess you could call semi-regular dressing up; so my mood takes a turn for the worse and I'm not a happy bunny. That said, there are a few bad times, mostly average times and a number of good times. When the latter comes along, everything is easier.

I guess the last bit about averages and good stuff was echoed in a comment by Tanya as we talked about clothes. If I buy regular clothes - jeans, t-shirts, bloke stuff, etc - then the most I get is "yeah, that's nice. I'll buy that." However, if I buy a nice dress or such-like, there is more of a positive affirmation. I feel emotionally better - if that makes sense. Also, I feel pretty - regardless of the very obvious truth :-D Perhaps I'm heading full circle on the T-drug line? ;-) Then again, I'm not trying everything on in Dotty P's. I'd like to think I've just about got the balance right.

We also talked about fashion and the split between what you like and what suits you. I know Tanya has changed her look in recent months - not that she looked bad before, she's just a different kind of good. :-) I know I'm a little lost with the current trend of high necked, cap sleeved dresses. They're not really me, even though I've seen many ladies rocking that trend. I guess, as Maddy pointed out, that I need a lower neck line to help balance me out. Funny, in a way, the idea of going against a trend because it doesn't suit you. Fashion eh? :-) Equally, Maddy was saying that while she likes certain looks, she feels she can't do them because they don't suit her. Men and lady's clothes eh? What a mix ;-)

In other news, I've switched razors - yeah, that's just how rock & roll my lifestyle is. I'd been reading a document on-line (Ed: you mean a web page?) that had been singing the praises of your traditional safety razor versus the multi-blade mortgage-o-rama blades you can buy. In the main, it's worked. You do have to give your face a good going over with a hot flannel (yay for Clinique face scrub for men!) and use a good well lubricated shaving gel... *and* you have to take your time, but I felt less razor burn and I've had less skin irritation since switching last month. Heh, male grooming advice from a t-girl? Whatever next? ;-)

On that cheery note, TTFN
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Take a Look Around by Limp Bizkit ]

Friday, October 05, 2012

"I've got no enthusiasm,
for burgers or computers"

Hello one and all,

I shall be glad when this week is little but a memory. Not that it has been awful or scary, just one very long slog. It all started last week when my work computer - that's at home - went pop. Yes, it's an odd arrangement, in that the old kit that's not recycled / broken up, ends up being used by employees for working remotely. Of course, the trouble with old equipment - regardless of brand - is that it can be a bit temperamental.... with emphasis on the temper and mental.

I'll try and keep the tale of IT Woe short. Let's just say that I spent most evenings this week trying to get various bits of old PC, Mac and goodness-knows-what equipment to work together. The only bit of the lash up I'm happy with is my fairly modern monitor and a well used Dell keyboard which Noah handed me as he upgraded to a tablet (or Fondle-slab as a certain IT press site refers to them :-P ). I may work in IT, but it's not a hobby nor a passion of mine, it's a job..... and it's only a job 'cos I was sh** at everything else at school. (Ed: if only there'd been fashion design at the all boys school, eh? You big Mary. :-P )

So, with work not being very forthcoming on the hardware front, I've looked at buying a new computer. Aren't they expensive! :-) Yes, I do work in IT, but rarely do I have to worry about the Real World of money. I have a system to build and a budget to deliver it with. Not exactly telephone number figures, but certainly enough to make the Tax Man go all weak at the knees. Sadly, I can't spend it on fabulous shoes, but you can't have it all.

"Jones. Where's the new HA cluster for the customer?"

"I've cut it to two nodes, boss.... and I spent the rest of these faaaabulous heels."

"Excellent work! Do they come in a ten, BTW? My...uhhh... cousin... has large feet... for a lady."

Maybe not. :-)

In other news, the seemingly endless slog of Making Stuff Work was tiring me out and as I took the dog out for a walk, it all began to get a bit much..... and then, oddly it wasn't. In the past, I guess I was looking at the  problem and then worrying about failing to get stuff done, then extrapolating what could happen. I believe the technical term is Catastrophising.

Yet, as my mind tipped towards that old pattern, a little bit of me put the brakes on with: "it'll be fixed one day. You're not skint and none of those worries have really happened. They're just worries. Don't sweat it." With that, it was almost as if I'd tied the concerns to a little dark balloon of worry and just let go of the string. Off the worries went, high into the sky to be warmed by the lovely autumn sunshine.

As Mr Dury once sang: reasons to be cheerful. That and I did spend an enjoyable evening looking at some of the A/W fashions. This time around, no guilt or pink fog, just a warm fuzzy feeling of 'ooo, that's sooo nice!'. Top that off with the Ever Lovely Mrs J wanting fashion advice for a work look (no, I'm not sure why she asks me either, as she dresses well), but you help out where you can. Not that I didn't love every moment. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Glam Rock Cops by Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine ]

Friday, September 28, 2012

"Donald, where's your troosers?"

Hi folks,

I'm posting a bit later than usual as I've been messing around with the Facebook code within the blog. I guess I just got my geek on and got lost in the idea of finding out who was hitting the like option. Ho hum. Something for another day perhaps! Maybe it would just have been easier to ask, but never mind eh? ;-)

Shop

Earlier in the week I had the good fortune to finish a little earlier than usual. I'd gone to a customer site and having made a bit of progress on what the problem was (Ed: some IT thing. Just don't ask, 'k?), I wasn't going to make it back to the office to do any real work - at least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it - so I headed home..... via the shops.

I'd had my eye on some new heels, because shoes cure all ills and there'd be much more love in the world if people realised this.... :-) Where was I? Oh yes, shoes. So, with the new season in and I noted from on-line, a sale too, I headed to Dotty P's to see what they had in. I hadn't quite made my mind up what I was going to wear Thursday night (it being Chameleons), so I was on the look out for a short(ish) denim skirt. No joy on that, but I did find some lovely heels.

Now, as I'd come straight from work, I was - perhaps somewhat obviously - in bloke mode. Still, I think you get to a point with the whole trans shopping gig where you just don't give a hoot any more. I asked for my size, waited a mo until the helpful lady brought some out and tried them on. Odd thing was, I wasn't expecting her to stand around while I tried them on, but in for a penny. They fit okay and I liked the style, so I was sold. We had a little chat about if I was going anywhere nice (as I was buying fancy shoes). I said that it would be a sort of girls night out (true) and when asked where, I mentioned the Foresters. Said young lady said she'd been and enjoyed it. Small world I guess, but it felt good to be treated just as a regular customer.

More cake, Mrs?

With the new shoes in the boot of the car, I skipped on the idea of biker boots and skirt, and opted for something a bit more glam (well, one can dream ;-) ) seeing as it was party night. With at least three birthdays for the Chams folk - Jayne, Val and yours truly - the group had decided that that was a good enough reason for a party. Mrs H. did a top job in sorted out the orders for the Chinese food, while Tracey & Sandi had done their best with laying out a table, decorations and fetching the food.

A good time was had by all and the night was very busy. I guess the attraction of good food, good company and darker nights was too much for us all to resist. ;-) The sneaky tykes had also got a cake for the three of us and a present too. I felt both touched and a little guilty at the same time. I guess I'm funny like that. But guilt aside, the present was a very nice watch (silver, my fave!) and the card was lovely. With everyone having tucked in for seconds and then cake, time flew by and it after a quick batch of photos, it was time to pack up. With the evening being late, Sophie and I popped out for a quiet drink and a chat. I got in a little later than I'd hoped, but it was worth it..... except in my dash to switch from glam to more comfy, I somehow lost my trousers. Oh the shame! ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Traditional Scots folk song ]

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"I'm back and ready to go,
From the rooftops shout it out, shout it out!"

Hello Dear Reader,

So much to blog and yet so little planning. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?


Yup, I've hit that midway milestone that is 40 years. I was.... back in my late 30s, strangely concerned by this number. Which is, now I'm older, wiser (!) and in a different age bracket, unsure of what all the fuss was about. I still feel like I did in my 20s, although I'm a bit more sure of myself and there are a fair few more miles on the clock. Other than that, all is well. The odd thing is, when do I start planning for my mid-life crisis? I've done the motorbike, tattoo, long hair, earring and dodgy outfits... what does that leave? :-)

A week to remember

As part of my dual score years upon this rock, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones said that she's planned a trip for just the two of us. With the kids being back at school, the Ever Helpful Mother-in-Law offered to both house sit and look after Wee Man & Little Miss. So, sans nippers, Mrs J, hound and I headed off to the wilds for a quiet few days.

The cottage was right out on the moors - luckily I'd left my American Werewolf DVD at home - and we had a fab time. There was plenty of walking, chatting, consuming cake, playing with the hound on the sand and, of course, reading books with no interruptions. Talking of the latter, there was no mobile signal or WiFi, so it was a proper old school holiday.

During the holiday, Mrs J said somewhat sheepishly that she hadn't bought me anything. A little part of me - the shallow materialist - let a little moue of regret, but - as the lyric goes, not what you call real sorrow. ;-) What she had bought me - other than the holiday itself - was memories. A few days of quiet enjoyment of each others company, fine food, wonder scenery, good conversation and well, just time well spent together.

We also had a couple of positive chats about the trans stuff; like how I was feeling and why was it that a number of Chams folk seemed to be heading towards transition. As we talked, we headed towards the idea that maybe the trans folk who come out to groups are more.... here I'm struggling for the right phrase.... 'out there' than more in the closet types and as such, we're more go getting in terms of what we want. Mrs J said that one of her worries is that secretly I wanted to go a similar way and that I was holding back for some reason.

In all honesty, I said that I wasn't. For the majority of the time, I'm happy being a bloke. Yes, there are times when things don't go well (that's life folks!), and there are times when life truly sucks (yeah, Black Dog and Pink Fog, I'm looking at you ne'er-do-wells). But, in the main, life is good. I guess the only difference between me and the next guy, is that every once in a while, I like to dress up trans-stylee and head out to enjoy myself. I suppose one of the issues with negative feelings is that sometimes, the urge to dress up is very strong and when I don't have the time for it, so the Pink Fog starts to bite.

Talking of going out....

Invasion

With it being a birthday week, I was in two minds about asking to head out so soon after Chams. Do you find yourself wanting something, yet not wanting to talk about it, in case it spoils a good time? Yeah, I was there too, but my fears were unfounded. After a day back at work, I packed a bag and headed off to meet up with Maddy and the rest of the Invaders. Sadly, Sophie was engaged elsewhere, but it was short notice. Sorry, Mrs!

It's been a while since I've been out and about, and with the bless of a late pass out, I wasn't too worried about getting changed really early. Pink party dress and heels on, I parked up and headed into the Foresters to meet with the others. I bumped into Jenny and caught up. We'd worked together for many years before I stitched jobs and we never knew each others secret. It still makes me smile thinking back. Wasted years eh, Jen? :-)

I was getting a little tired towards the middle of the evening, but a spot of dancing at the club helped shift the cobwebs. I would have liked a few more pop tunes than the heavy dance they were playing, but you can't have it all can you! There was, of course, chance for a brief photo op (thanks Maddy). I did try a few comedy poses at the dancing pole, but I think the light conditions weren't right. We tried our luck in the bar area instead and then I was off back home to get some shut eye.

Party On!

Despite a late night - or was it an early morning? - on Saturday, the Jones Massive were up and out to visit my folks. As we'd been away, Mum had wanted us to have a birthday lunch. Just a small buffet, she promised. Originally, she'd asked if I'd like a big do down in the village hall, but that's not really me, so we settled on a family affair.

We arrived an a friend of my mum's was visiting, so it was nice to catch up with her. Then my sister and her hubby-to-be turned up, then another family friend and then a good mate of mine turned up. I've not see R for some time as he lives down south, so that was a really nice surprise. Mrs J said my face was a picture, but luckily, there was no camera. After that, a few more folk turned up, including an old mate + wifey-to-be from Uni came too, so we had a good long chat and a laugh. In many ways, it was as if we'd never been apart and for me, that made the day really special. Somehow Mrs J and my mum had planned all this and kept it under wraps, the cheeky secret squirrels.

After visiting mum's we were off to another party near home to celebrate their engagement. There was drinking and dancing. This time around, we had some indie tunes and Little Miss joined in too. I think she's getting into the swing of keeping with the beat. Really, with Mrs J and I as genetic source material, she'll be dancing it up with the best of them in a few years.

Perchance to dream....

That's my whirlwind week over. Another year in the can and some very good memories to boot. All I have to do now is cash a few birthday cheques and ponder what fashions to buy ;-)

Take care and thanks for reading,
Lynn
x

[ Today's lyric: Ready To Go by Republica ]

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Too much is not enough.
Nobody said this stuff makes any sense,
We're hooked again."


Hi,

How's it going with you? Me? Oh, a bit of a strange week - or perhaps more accurately, one of highs and lows. On the positive side, I've managed to pretty much clear my work do list and I've really managed to crack on with a few personal projects too. All good stuff really and unlike some work activities, they've been quite fun to do.... which makes a nice change! ;-)

As it's my birthday this coming week (yay me, but also a scary number. Eeek!), the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones has been kind enough to book us a cottage somewhere quiet. Plus my in-laws (outlaws?) have kindly offered to look the nippers.... as said offspring will be at school, while we live it up with fine tea, good books and some pleasant strolls around the countryside. I do like family holidays and yet a holiday with just the two of you - well, three as we're taking our hound along too - will be a very welcome break from the usual routine.

In other nice things, Mrs J and I were out buying shoes for Big Man (both wanted to stay at Granny's), so we were on our own for a spot of shopping. It didn't take long to pick up some trainers for our big lad and while we were there, I had a quick look at the heels & boots. Mrs J - further earning her Ever Loveliness points - joined in and she offered to buy me some! Much as I'd like some new shoes - and for no other reason than new shoes are fabuuuuulous! - I couldn't find any that I liked in my size. Oh well. Still, it was very much the thought that counted.

So with all that good news, it feels a bit odd to talk about the not so good stuff. But, warts and all, as folk say. Thursday was Chameleons and now that Little Miss has started school (bless her), I won't be visiting Granny's on a Thursday night to drop her off. This means a later start to Chams. Although really, it's not that late - not when I look at it sensibly. Leaving home at half seven to get there for eight is pretty good and there are lots of trans folk who don't have a regular night / venue to go to. Perhaps if I'd not faffed about and got Little Miss in the bath earlier, I could have wrangled an earlier ticket; but hey ho, lessons learned.

So, I got there around eightish and already I was started to have a bit of a tizz about the whole thing. The idea of fussing around with a decent shave, hauling the bag of fancy gear and swaning off for three hours..... or at least, that's what I felt. I guess I come back to something from CBT at this point: the idea of the logical mind, the emotional mind and the wise mind that sits between them. I think the concept is that Wise Mind is supposed to look at what you are feeling / thinking and apply some frame of history / detached view to it. Short version: don't panic, Jones :-P

Trying to put that into practise,  I went with the option of "You'll enjoy it once you're there" and "Keep calm, carry on." The latter phrase didn't really sink in and rather foolishly, I couldn't help but get into a little bit of a state about it. I guess...... [sigh] I guess that a part of me is worried that something may happen that means I won't be able to go out. I believe this is called catastrophizing and it's - perhaps understandably - not a good idea and all very pointless when you look at it in the cold light of day.... or the warm glow of an evening, but I digress ;-).

I know that worrying and imagining what could change is crazy, but then emotions and panic don't make sense at the best of times. Best thing I could do? Just try and ride through it. I'd say "man up", but it would seem ironic. ;-) Yet once I started getting ready, I started to feel better. Yet, I couldn't dispel that annoying nagging doubt that this was all so very temporary and I'd be getting changed in under an hour. Again, not true, considering it didn't take me that long. (Ed: Calm thoughts, Lynn, calm thoughts and do be careful with the eyeliner :-P)

Anyhoo, I had a very plesant evening chatting with Maddy (seems an age since we last spoke) and I caught up with a few other friends too. There was also the discussion with Penny about the best way to dunk a biscuit (we have all the best conversations at Chams, y'know ;-) ). Then there's the planning of the Xmas Party and the Chinese Meal for next week. All good stuff. Bumped into Kate (J), but she had to make her way back early to get the train home. Oh the joys of public transport! :-(

Come the end of the night - before Maddy headed off to town - she, Alison and I managed a few snaps on the stairs - despite considerable larking about. I was invited along to the pub, but I didn't want to be too late getting home. That and I wouldn't be able to get out of my dress without a bit of help (high neck equal tricky zip at the back). In the end, I stayed put and chatted with Sarah and Alison a bit more. Sadly, no sign of Sophie (I hope you feel better, mrs!).

I got changed and headed home. Mrs J said I looked very unhappy and we had a chat about me having a 'bit of a tizz' about the whole thing. It was a nice and relaxed chat and I found it beneficial. Sometimes just talking through things helps - I guess a bit like a much more person orientated blogging exercise. I guess I'll see how next time plays out. Fingers crossed, eh?

Take care,
Lynn

[ Today's lyric: Adrenaline by Gavin Rossdale ]