Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Wrong Side of History

Hi,

Well, how was your Christmas? I hope you had a pleasant one and that all went well. This year, we had somehow managed to duck much of the travelling and instead, the extended Jones Clan came to our little house. I could have said ...on the prairie, but moor would be closer. :-) We are far enough out of civilisation to be in werewolf country, but at least it keeps the door-to-door sales people on their toes.

So we swapped travel for the frenzied activity of cooking and preparing enough food. Honestly, I need to think about cutting down. Not only did I get a new postcode for Xmas, but I no longer feel safe swimming in case there are any Nordic 'pet food' manufacturers boating nearby. Sorry, I said pet food, I did of course meant to say scientific research stations. :-\ Moving on! All of the family visits went well, with plenty of good cheer, laughter and nom-ing our way through the tasty treats the Ever Lovely Mrs J had put together.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed opening their gifts and the Ever Lovely Mrs J enjoyed hers. I think most of the gifts were just about spot on for everyone - certainly no unhappy faces. As to Muggins here, I did very well, with some choice DVDs, a graphic novel (Batman), some wash products (and make-up remover LOL), choccies and some nice (bloke) clothes too. A very good haul, all in all. :-)

Daily Heil

The only minor dark spot in all of this Christmas cheer was the unwelcome shadow of bigotry.... from my own sister. We were have a chuckle about something-or-nothing at my Mum's over a cup of tea - so middle class and British, I know :-) - and then for some reason J. said "Bummers aren't natural. They shouldn't be able to have kids."

Whatcho talking about, Willis? :-\

What? Are we going for double points on moron-speak today? Well, technology and modern living isn't natural either, so what's your point? You know what you've just said is completely unacceptable, Sis.

Cue a rant in A Flat about how I lived in a pink fluffy cloud (It's cute and warm, what's not to like?) and that the rest of the thought like her. Yeah, well, even if they do, which I doubt - it ain't right to say such a thing and it's not true either. 'Natural'? FFS. 

Honestly, I wondered if this was a some somewhat twisted version of a hidden camera show for a moment. Where did this vitriolic hate come from? :-\ I asked her if it was acceptable for people to 'hate' on her - as they (allegedly) did in the 50s/60s - over being a single parent, being unmarried and having multiple kids by an unmarried man. Was that right? Would it be okay to judge/disrespect her like that? Of course not... Not that she got the point. Maybe I didn't help by saying she was on the wrong side of history and a bigot - whoops! :-) - but Mrs J stepped in to draw the conversation back away from finger pointing and keep it civil. Even J's boyfriend - a closet liberal? - stepped in to argue the case for acceptance.

Funny, or not funny - depending on your point of view, I now get why J's daughter is the way she is. Stephen Fry once made a joke about the dangers of passive bigotry and that wry comment has never seemed (sadly) more appropriate. Wow, am I glad I didn't think about coming out to her last summer, after we chatted about eye make-up in Debenhams. A lucky escape? There's a thought.

Pah. Wigged freak terrorises Nottingham. Wait until they get a loada me.... :-)


On to more pleasant things...


New Year is not quite here, so this is the lull period - not that we do much for New Years. It's never been a big thing and now we've got kids, it's a good excuse to stay home, have a tasty hot choccy and generally kick back. Mrs J asked me about New Years Resolutions and... well, other than trying to be less grumpy, I'm not really into them. Actually, that's not true. Pandora suggested a memory jar - Lord only knows I've lost mine! :-) - which you write PostIts of the good times and store them up. I think I'm going to have a go at that. Even if it's virtual, I think it sounds like fun.

Talking of looking at the bright side of things, I've had nearly two weeks off. Sure, my job doesn't (currently) thrill me, but maybe it's time to look at the perks, rather than the negatives. I think I've managed - through help and love - to send the Black Dog away. That's surely something to be thankful for! :-) Wee Man and Little Miss and Mrs J continue to fill me with awe, joy and laughter. I've switched from mid redhead back to long black and just this month, I had a piccy taken that made me feel like I'd finally got my head around everything. What a great way to end the year!

Oh and I've got a Blogger Challenge to do next year too. Something to look forward to - or not, depending on how you look at this prattle ;-) Talking of blogging, somehow I've managed fifty two posts this year, so that's one a week. Not that that's anything to crow about, it's more a personal goal to keep going.

Happy New Year and I hope 2014 brings you luck to you and yours. Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the future. :-)

Lynn
x

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Gut-con One

Hi,

It's odd this blogging lark. I've pondering writing this entry for a little while and, I'll be honest here, not one of the opening starting with a sweeping musical score, birds singing gaily in the trees (birds don't have an issue with silly marriage exclusivity rules apparently) and bring sunshine dappled across the the rolls hills and forests. No, most of them where the pounding crunch of flat boots across the gravel of bones, the swish of a dark cape and a fanfare of sonorous brass....

Bugger. Even my darker moments are camp. :-)

So, what's the big deal? The Drama Du Jour? It all seems a bit silly, but then - as I've said elsewhere - emotions don't make sense. They are feelings and much as my Spock-like Virgonian nature may say 'head rules the heart', that's not true. I do worry, and - if I'll ever get to the point - I'll let you know why....

This Friday was Invasion. A number of friends were off out, it's a sort of trans Xmas do and it was the last hurrah of the year for being fabulous. So, I made arrangements to go and off I went. So far, so good. The Ever Lovely Mrs J wasn't 100% pleased as I'd gone out the week before and the night before - when we were out with friends - I had stupidly forgotten to arrange someone to cover my Out of Hours phone. Yes, that was my own stupid fault and I felt awful for not having done this. Of course, being a wise chap, I did what most men do in this situation: I had a mardy about it for ten minutes (translation: a bad mood). Very mature... not. :-\ I embarrass myself sometimes, but all was sorted out and much fun was had by all.

Cue forward to Friday night and I'd promised to give Isabelle a lift into town - as it was to be her first Invasion. I found her house okay and we had a pleasant chat before getting changed. I'd made a mess of my chest, so it was time for a high neck number: the pink skater dress, my star pattern tights and favourite studded black heels. Rock on! ;-) We bid goodbye to Mrs Isabelle (so to speak), loaded my little car up and headed off into the night. By luck, we managed to park near to the venue without any trouble at all. All was going well.

Now, my stomach wasn't really itself for the last day or so - too much rich food? - so as we wandered up the hill to the pub, there was a feeling of Something Rotten in the State of Denmark. I don't mean the smell, honestly! More... a disturbance in the Force. ;-) I decided to ignore this and plod on. (Ed: when will you learn!?) The pub itself was pleasantly busy. I had a lovely long chat with Gaynor (who I'd not seen for ages - nearly a year?); Maddy (looking fab), Sam (rocking a Robocop's Ugg boot, but she's up and about); Rachel (life's on the move), Jenny (hello and state of the union etc) and introduced Isabelle to a few folk she may not have bumped into. There was no sign of Tanya, Sasha or Amanda but I heard they were due in later on.

After that, I think I was reaching gut-con one. Now, here comes the tricky part. :-\ I know I'm not going to make the night - I'm feeling rougher than the proverbial badger at this point. I'm conscious I said I'd give Isabelle a lift home and be there as a friendly face. I also had something to had over to Amanda (an eye pencil I won). I really didn't want to go and yet, I also knew that being 100%, the best thing would be to get home and rest.

So.... with a heavy heart - who says I can't do drama eh? :-) - I made my goodbyes and headed for home feeling cross, embarrassed and angry. My problem is, I felt like I let someone down and I hate doing that. I'm angry at myself for letting this happen and I feel guilty for leaving a friend to make their own way back. Yes, Isabelle did say she'd be fine getting a taxi back - and it wasn't a long haul home. But still..... Anyway, I've apologised and no doubt I'll do that again in the new year. Like I saw, I hate letting people down.

I found myself chewing over this - as I sometimes do - and I realised this wasn't doing my any favours. It's not that I shouldn't care, far from it. I think it's realising that I can't fix everything. Sometimes, you have to let yourself make mistakes and forgive yourself. At least, that's what I'm working on right now. By strange co-incidence I saw this on Facebook:


Regular readers will know I'm not particularly religious - of any faith. That's not to say I don't mind a bit of advice from time to time. So, after reading the above, I've been working on that. Letting go of the anger - because there's a toxic emotion for starters. It really can eat you up. Hope? Look to a time when things will be better. Maybe I'm making a big thing out of nothing, maybe I'm not. I don't know. Start a beginning by letting go of the past. Don't forget, but do release from going over the same old sh**. Look to the light - not so much literally; I mean, you wouldn't want to burn your eyeballs right? :-) But flippant gags aside, look for the good stuff.

Take today for example. The Jones Massive had a trip to to the park. The Hound got a walk, the kids got to play on the swings and the Lovely Mrs J & I had a cuddle on the bench. As I didn't spend anything last night, I had some money on me. Just enough to buy us all a hot chocolate each and some sweets for the kids. A lovely little spell of Xmas magic.

Good times..... and if I don't see you until the New Year; merry Christmas. Look after yourself and I hope 2014 is kind to you and yours. ♥


Take care,
Lynn
x

Friday, December 13, 2013

I, Spy

Hi folks,

Well, it's been an interesting few days this last week. Interesting as in a rollercoast of emotions, which at least tells you are alive. Nothing serious, but I could have done without it, if I'm honest. To be honest, there's a lot of be said about quiet. There are days when I think quiet is vastly underrated. :-) I think the stress comes in when you feel you've got a lot on. Things organised at work, which impact on what you've got organised at home and then things you've organised socially... well, you get the idea!

Event

I had the good fortune to attend a training event on Trans Policy at a local university. There were lots of people at the event, nearly a hundred or so and from various walks of life. Some old school activists/trail blazers - I met a gay chap who'd led an occupation of The Guardian in the 80s; some HR folk, various LGBTQI officers, staff 'advisory' folk (that was my cover), union people, visitors, academics and a few trans folk too (waves to Alison & Sam). I bumped into an old workmate (small world huh?), chatted with some visitors and then I spotted Alison talking to one of the organisers. Bless her, Alison, had volunteered to represent Chameleons: field questions, hand over leaflets and whatnot (which I thought she did brilliantly - and yes I did thank her).

After a free lunch - it does exist, kids :-) - it was off into another room to listen to the event's main speaker: Paris Lees. I found her talk both fascinating, heartfelt and, ultimately, inspiring. By dumb luck, I'd sat at the back of the room, and so I got to see people's heads nodding when Paris made certain comments. Things such as her struggle with being brave, fighting depression, the sheer stress of making herself go out and... well... just being herself really. Listening to what she went through, and hell, I'm just a part timer, is it any wonder that so many trans people don't survive, or decide to stay closeted, rather than risk what she went through.

Interestingly, Paris did say that she felt she wished she had more positive stories, that than the... what did she say? Yeah, 'misery narratives' that seem so common. That said, she did go on to say how she decided to turn her life around, take ownership of who she was and be a force for good ('Happier than I've ever been, because I owned my identity'). If that's not a positive trans story, I don't know what is. She got a massive round of applause and one of the directors from the university gave her some serious - and well deserved - praise.

We had a quick Q&A session, which I'll gloss over and then it was time to separate the public from the training folk, for our workshop. I was a little late for the latter as I sloped off to have a quick word with Miss Lees. I dunno, why did I do it? All I did was say thank you for all the work you've done. "You make help make it better for trans people.... even us part timers." There was a quick handshake and a smile, then off to the meeting. If I came across as a nutter, well, so be it. ;-) It's not like I've not worked for the title eh? :-P

[ Update: Paris' article in The Guardian on her early life ]

Training

The other element of the meeting was training lead by Tara Hewitt. Someone I'd not heard of until the event, and Tara's discussion points around gender and Trans people at work were fascinating. The training was lighthearted where it needed to be, thoughtful when required and never dull. The exercises in discussions were good too and ignoring my own feelings on this, the room felt that making this training available to others would be really handy.

It was a little odd being sat in on all this. On the one hand, it was wonderful to hear such positive views on the subject. But then, as Tara pointed out, it's a (mostly) academic audience, so we're pretty fluffy. We're not the old school stereotyped hard man business types.

On the other... I felt a bit like a spy. I wasn't going to out myself - although I wonder if my eyebrows and body language sets off alarms? I don't know - so it was a case of sit back, listen and occasionally chip in. The sessions were very much about people who want to transition, however, a number of people in the room talked about trans people who don't. It was a question I wanted to ask, and luckily I was beaten to it.

This popped up twice: once when a member of staff shared a story - with the trans person's permission - about how gossip had gone around the team, about speculation of Person B's bisexuality. Person B was upset about the rumours - gossip's not always nice - and their boss contacted them to find out why they were away from work. If this was being signed off, or ill, they didn't say and it doesn't matter. The manager asked if there was anything they could do to help, and Person B confided in them. Person B said that if people were gossiping about them being bi, which they were, how would people react if they found out they were a cross-dresser? There were many nods in the audience and it seems while the law is behind those who do transition, there is still protection for people who don't.

The other time was from a lady on the same table asking, what were the policies around trans folk when they first start. She went on to ask, was it an 'all or nothing jump', why should people have to commit so early on? etc. It was a very interesting, if short, debate. Does this mean you can be Mary on a Tuesday and Bill on Thursday? It seems not, from the feel of the various staff representing, but maybe that will come. Maybe it will be as one chap said: "In fifty years, we won't be having this conversation - other than to say, how different it was in 2013."

After all of the above, driving home was a bit tricky, as my brain was in a bit of a spin. I do find this and really, I guess I should learn to spot the danger signs. With all the positive vibes going on, I felt a little like it would have been fine to be out, or even fine to be as Lynn.... But, Sensible Brain says different. One afternoon does not a life make :-) It's not just me in our family and frankly, I don't have the time to do this all day, every day. No, I'm going to do my best to enjoy what I have. If I can help others along the way - which we try to do at Chams and I try to do at work with the HR assistance - that's good.

Obligatory Chams Photos and Other Stuff

Chams itself was quiet, possibly because we're into Xmas party season and school plays (oh, Wee Man and Little Miss did brilliantly in there's... proud Dad moment ahoy!).

I got to chat with Alison about how she found the event, even if she only got to hear the first part - which I think is a shame. Not sure why visitors were not allowed to attend. It wasn't like it was top secret. Who knows?

I'd gone for a more casual look after the previous party weeks. I was pleased with the fit of my denim mini - I'd wanted one for ages - and I'd taken a risk on using a copper-like colour on my eyes as way of a change. It all helped balance me out upstairs.

I had a slight issue at work, which was a combination of lack of communication and people chucking their weight about (I include myself in that statement). I know I'm far from perfect. Maybe I need to realise that I need to let myself be wrong and just because someone else acts up, I don't need to behave like that either. Funny, we had a different meeting today where everyone was very relaxed and We Got Stuff Done. Maybe I should try to encourage more of the latter. Even if my 'blood is up', it's better to be a grown up right? ;-)

Oh, I've also signed up to a Blogger challenge, which is to write about a given topic in the new year. You can read a little more about the idea behind this here and given the amount I waffle on, hopefully you'll see some notes on this soon.

Take care,
Lynn
x


Friday, December 06, 2013

"You may fire when ready."

Hey folks,

Yes, it's another of those in-betweenie posts. One not quite about a night out - which no doubt reads What-Lynn-Did-Next diary kinda thing - but the random, wanderings of my addled brain. Curious to see what I prattle on about, I thought I'd pop this blog's URL into one of those meme cloud gadgets. Well, it passes the time doesn't it? Oh, there's a shoe design. Step on! :-)

I suppose for maximum cliche, I should have selected some vibrant pink colours..... but really, shades of suede would have been more my choice. Oh, black shoes. How can I count the ways....? :-)

So there you have it. A list of the key words yours truly regularly punts out in this little blog of mine. Clearly trans pops up a few times. Not sure why bit or ago, feature so promptly. I guess they must be key words that I use. Hmm. Nice to see Good and People pop in there though.

Tech

On a completely different note, someone at work asked me for some advice about a tablet. No, not the Follow the White Rabbit, nor Ooo-Boobies! ones either. Wow, that would have been a different film wouldn't it. Unfortunately, no one can be told what being Trans is. You have to see it for yourself. That and experience foot pain from shoes too fabulous to mention.

Where was I? Oh yes. Tablets. Those flat plastic and glass squares that seem to be rocking the PC industry. I was asked the simple question, which one should I get? Well, my typical answer is to ask the questions

- what do you want to do with it?
- how much do you want to spend?
- what type of computers do you like now?

Some folk like Apple kit, some like Android stuff and some like Microsoft stuff. It's all a bit... personal really. They all do similar things and they're aimed at different types of people. Take for example the difference between your common-or-garden Android tablet vs the more managed interface of the Kindle.

What I will say is this, I don't like companies - particularly tech companies - who attempt to compete by rubbishing another parties products. Yeah, all's fair in love, war and the damned lies of the marketing department, but it isn't :-) Just.... tell the truth. Some people like different things, not because of the *ahem* facts, or that it's better/faster/cheaper/hackable/expensive/luxury brand; they just have a personal preference to how a particular system works.

I had the displeasure to share a meeting with a tech evangelist. For those of you not familiar with this particular type of luser - sorry- user; they are usually vaguely technical and they - as per the alleged religious stereotype they get their name from - sing the praises to the Cult of the Object.

I'm afraid. I cannot help myself, but ask politely awkward questions to push their buttons. "It does look nice, but does it run the Apple store?" A good one for Surface tablet fetishists. "It's nice, but I think the Android interface is easier to use." That riles Apple junkies. "It's not got the upgrade path of the MS stuff has it?" which bugs 'Droid folk. :-P I really don't mind what tablet you want to use. What I do mind, is when you want to convert everyone to your way of thinking.... or perhaps more cynically, buy more stuff.

Do I have a preference? Am I really unbiased? No, I'm as biased as the next guy. :-) I like tablets I can tweak, hack and generally mess around with. I don't like being told what I can and can't do with something I've bought. To me, a tablet isn't very different from a computer. Okay, no mouse or screen, but it's essentially a tool to do something. Should someone tell you want tools you can use? Maybe you like cooking a meal a certain way, or maybe you like to vary your route to work. Should I be able to tell you want you can or can't do because I'd like to control your experience? Maybe you don't care and you're happy to run with the device as it arrives, that's cool too.

I think it's personal choice and you should have the freedom to do as you want, with the gadgets you own..... with all the risks and learning curves associated with it.

You may fire when ready. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn
x

Friday, November 29, 2013

A little bit of serendipity

Hi,

It was all a bit of a rush to get ready the other day. Not because I had a lot on, but... well, if you're anything like me - and let's hope not for you sake! :-) - there are days when I just can't seem to get organised. Oddly, I had sorted everything out the night previous. Mainly because I have this feeling that if I added the what to wear factor into the getting out of the door equation, my tiny mind would collapse under the strain. Oh, first world problems eh? :-)

But, eventually, I got into gear. Maybe I should have had a shave earlier in the week, as no doubt the tramp beard I was sporting meant a much more careful defuzzing than usual. Lessons learned eh? :-) I managed to read a chapter of The Witches to Little Miss and all was good before I head out. I'm a bit worried it's a little old for her, but she seems to be enjoying it and no nightmares just yet.

I got to the Centre without too much trouble and after dropping off some nibbles for the Xmas party, I was off upstairs to get changed. Yes, the Xmas party is early - it being Novemeber and all - but there's a reason for this. Firstly, we wanted as many of the regulars to be able to make it as possible. Secondly, a trans Xmas do in December can often clash with work shindigs, or school plays, etc. So, early start for us!

Maddy turned up - yay! long time no see, etc. I was going to give her a hug, but not when I was stood in my smalls. There are somethings that are just not right. :-) Kath - a new visitor - popped in, so we had a brief chat. Midway through getting changed, Sophie came up to say hi and then Alison brought some new visitors along. Although thankfully, she did not invite them over the threshold while The Ugly Sisters were getting ready. :-) For the record, Sophie was already ready, so the Ugly Sister joke does not apply! (Ed: backpedal harder, Lynn! :-P )

I'd brought along a bodycon dress, but it didn't quite fit right. I think I may have pulled it a little lower than I should. So one for another test run and if that fails, off to charity it goes. I thought about my wrap dress, but wanting some variety from earlier, I settled on the old favourite: a dress from the 90s. Yes, I have stuff so old, it's practically vintage. Okay, vintage Asda, but shh! :-) Chuck in some fancy tights, a lace cardigan and some false eye lashes and I was good to go! BTW, the lashes were a bargain! I had a money off voucher and Boots have a buy-one-get-the-second-at-half-price deal going on. Well, it would be rude not to. Sadly, my lash applicator gadget has yet to turn up, but fingers crossed that'll arrive before Christmas.

Downstairs, the event was underway and luckily, I'd remembered to pack an old MP3 player for some background music. I wandered about and caught up with a few people here and there. I had a lovely chat with a brother & sister (no names - well, no, they did have names, I'm just not going to give them out :-) ) about him wanting to start transitioning. It was the usual case of being nervous and I totally get that. I was saying to D & A that coming to a new place is scary and doubly so when you're not sure how people will react to you. We had a bit of a chuckle about silly stories and D's sister said "I wish I had a bum like yours". I'm assuming she means big :-) You may wish to intone that's no moon, if you like. Part DNA, part padding and that was the ice broken.

After that, I managed to grab some nibbles and get a seat next to Carole (who I've found works not too far from me) and Isabelle, who was wearing her new wig from Glitz & Glam. We had a good laugh and a chat about coming out to partners, life, etc. I managed a chat with Rebecca too. All good fun!

As usual, time had run away from us, so there was just a chance for some snaps and then it was time to put all the fabulousness back into the box for another fortnight.

All in all, it was a very good night and dare I say, just about perfect. So good when that happens.

Take care
Lynn
x

Friday, November 22, 2013

Aaachoo!

Hi,

Gah. I'm so tired today. Little Miss has been kind enough to share her cold with me. It's a strange thing about being a parent. Are kids' immune systems better, or do they shrug off minor ailments as they've got too much stuff they want to do? Does the virus hone its attack due to the 50% DNA tip off it received from the last victim? That, or I've just got a man cold ;-)

Talking of kids, Little Miss will be six years old this month. How quickly time passes...not that I remember all of her growing up, just fragments. Which, so I read, is how memory really works. A few key terms and your brain fills in the rest via imagination. Her cousin, who was a baby when the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I got married, will be sixteen in a few weeks. Sixteen! Ah, it doesn't help if I put an exclamation mark after the word, it's still a surprise :-) I wonder if it will as much a surprise when our two bundles of joy reach that age? Hmm.

So, not much to report on the trans front this time around. Chams is next week - and it's the Xmas Do - and a friend has PM'd me saying she'd like to catch up. It has been a while, what with holidays and general stuff. I'm rather looking forward to a chat, 'cos while Facebook is okay, it's not the same as meeting up with a good friend.

At the last meeting, Sally from Glitz & Glam, was telling me about a gadget to help put false eye lashes on. Now, I'm a bloke and I do like a a gadget. :-) I had a quick look on Amazon and I've ordered one. It was a little over a quid and you can't get a coffee at work for that. Not, that I buy drinks at work, I'm too in touch with my Scots DNA for that to take place ;-) Anyhoo, I'll let you know how I get on. With a little luck, it - and another of Mrs J's Xmas presents, will arrive shortly.

I'm off for a hot bath and a read of my book. If I have any more Hot Lemon Cold Relief drinks, I'm in danger of seeing the Matrix. :-)

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tea + biscuit = brain power?

Hi,

After last time's memory fail, I thought I'd sit down and get some ideas out of my head early on. I don't know about you, but if I'm a bit tired, it's the wrong time of day, or I'm hungry, my brain just seems to pack in - at least, from a creative angle. Okay, you could look back at those as a triumvirate of excuses, or I like to think that they're things to be avoided if I want to Get On With Stuff.

Making a Stand

Given that, I made sure I had a good strong brew and a biccie - surely the fuel of the British! - before I got the Chameleons leaflet business sorted out. That's all been printed off, checked and now handed over. The few people I showed this to at the group last night seemed pleased with it. By luck, rather than judgement, the redesign of the web site means that the photo showing the group is smaller. This means that there's a little more anonymity for people involved. Sure, we're cool with who we are, but that doesn't mean all of us are ready to sing it from the rooftops just yet. :-)

While getting ready, I had a chat about this with Alison and we were saying how varied the trans spectrum is. I guess a lot of us are wise of this, but there are lots of people who aren't. What I mean is, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about trans people. Yeah, there are folk who do it for kicks - but, there are folk who'll do anything for kicks, that's not just a trans thing. I was saying last night, that if that is your bag, sure, enjoy yourself, just a) don't expect me to join in, b) don't speak on my behalf, and c) don't send me a friend request if you're into 'schexy time'.

Does that make me a snob or a bigot? I hope not and I'd like to think it doesn't. Note that I'm not saying the above behaviour is wrong or that I look down on it. It's more I just don't want anything to do with it and it's more the stereotype - rather than the person - that bugs me. But then, maybe looking at it from other angles; maybe I'm a boring middle-of-the-road part timer. :-) Too straight-laced for (ahem) fun, but not brave enough to be full-time.... Neither of which I believe, the latter two are cliches and I've never heard either view point.

Alison has expressed an interest in being the Chams Ambassador - (Ed: With these dull leaflets, the Ambassador is really spoiling us! Ah, that reference will miss a few folk outside the UK ;-D ) - and I guess we'll see what happens in terms of duties on the big day itself. In other news, I think I am actually going to be able to make this time around. The other meeting has been moved (result!), so I'll be sitting in the wings as an interested party, not trying to give myself away when it comes to question time.

Night Out

I did triple check the calendar this week, just to make sure it actually was Chameleons this week. It seemed like a long time since my last visit and despite the faffing about - packing, shaving, travel - I really enjoyed it. It did take me a while to get ready, mainly because I couldn't really decide on what to take. I'd taken a dress, various colours of opaques, two tops and three skirts. Of the latter, one I really wasn't sure about (I think it's just not me - too short), one is fine with dark opaques and the third (picture - thanks Izzy!) was - as Goldilocks said, just right. :-)

Sometimes I'll take things along to retry them and add them to my that's-going-to-charity collection. Oh, the new loose powder from Boots? Worked a treat. A lot easier to use that my old one [ Note to self: must get my finger out about writing the reviews on the useful stuff ]

I had a good long chat with the Unusual Suspects. All good stuff. Oh, I was relived to find out that I hadn't sent Isabelle's photos to the wrong email address. Phew! Pippa had been kind enough to get in touch with Glitz & Glam (v. trans friendly). They're a... what? beauty accessory company? Yeah, let's go with that, based up in Chesterfield. Anyway, Sally, the owner of, G&G were kind enough to pop along with plenty of stock (make-up, nail varnishes and some quality wigs). I think business went well, which is good for G&G and good for the group. I do feel a bit guilty if a vendor comes along and no one buys anything. Luckily, that didn't happen this time. I spotted something that the Ever Lovely Mrs J would like, so that's going into her Christmas present stash. I did try a new wig - just for fun - and while it was rather nice, I wasn't going to buy one with the current one being so new.

That reminds me I need to get in touch with Hot Hair and I've not managed that. Then there's a question about Boots coming along - something for the New Year. Talking of the latter, the Xmas party will be at the end of this month, so there's a bit of that to do. We run the event early, so that it avoids any clashes with work dos or school plays. We'll be having a fuddle - like last time - which works pretty well and I think that's in the bag now. Geez, there seems so much to do when you start writing it up. :-) I think I'm going to wrap this one up before I have a turn ;-)

Take care
Lynn
x



Friday, November 08, 2013

The Enemy Within

Hi,

It's a peculiar thing this blogging lark. I had meant to put some time aside this afternoon and get some thoughts down, before we went out for the evening. Of course, I didn't and now, my mind seems as blank as the text box in front of me. I'll plod on and see if the old noggin wakes up.

Policies

Last week I mentioned that a local University got in touch about their soon to be released trans policy. Ever the helpful mailbox fairy (Ed: nebby mare, more like), I gave them a ring and had an interesting chat about it. Well, at least I thought so and for once, I wasn't the one doing all the talking. Chams have been invited along, however, I can't see anyone attending. I know our usual GoTo folk are off sick and I'm of the Old School train of thought of never ask anyone something you wouldn't be prepared to do yourself. :-)

So, no, much as my imagination may soar at the idea of going along in Lynn mode, the practical aspects of me say that this isn't going to happen. I know some of the people who'll go going along, and as I've said before, there's more than me in this family, so outing oneself is not on the cards.

However.... Oh, [insert knowing look to camera here] I'm part of an Advisory Network, which is set up to help people with issues at work. The idea is people can contact you for advice on policies and choices, if they're having trouble at work. Stroppy co-workers, work pressures, feelings of discrimination, etc; that type of thing. We're not there to fight a person's battles, more advise them of what the options are and help them find a suitable route to fixing the problem themselves. Dare I say, it's all rather enjoyable and beats banging the keys together until the computer systems do what they're supposed to. :-)

Where was I? Oh yes, Advisory Network: yeah, I had an invitation drop into my inbox - along with the reset of the Advisory Massive. Looks like my cover is set and the item's in my diary. Woo! All I've got to do now is sort out some business cards and fix the Chameleons leaflet. No pressure then. :-P

Update: Oh, and learn how to read a calendar. /Sigh. It's not this month, but December and on a date that clashes with another work thing I can't get out of. I'm a bit miffed about that. :-(

Not this week, you numpty

Due to my inability to read a calendar, I was all revved up for a night out with the girls (!!).... only to be reminded that is still the start of the month and Chams is the second and fourth Thursday. Duh. Brain fail. On the upside, at least I found out before I trailed up to Nuthall. As a friend said, at least I've another week to decide what to wear. :-) Sophie kindly explained how the dates work using a programmer's reference, so now I understand. You have to stick to basics with us IT folk you know. We're not like the rest of your normal people. ;-)

I had the good fortune to be sent some Boots vouchers the other day, so I've started on a bit of Xmas shopping. I know the Ever Lovely Mrs J was after something fancy from there, so that's in the bag. There was also the need for some new toothbrushes (so rock & roll eh?) and some birthday items for members of the extended Jones Massive.

I also noted that No 7 had a new matte finish for nail varnishes, so that was one of the buy two get the third (cheapest) free. I'll road test that and get back to you on it. I'm rather looking forward to seeing the difference it makes on my older polishes. Little things eh?

Take care,
Lynn

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Rush

Hi,

I was going to make a gag about being a day late, but the punchline seemed a little rude. I'll leave it to you to assemble the rest. Hmm, no wonder the stand-up didn't take off. :-) If you want a reason - rather than an excuse - the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I were enjoying a rare evening out together. Well, it was our anniversary.

I'd also like to say thanks to you all for reading and commenting on this little corner of the web. Oh, and also to those of you kind enough for what you had to say on this blog's eighth birthday.

Put your feet up, mrs

Larks, it's been busy these last few weeks. To start off, the Ever Lovely Mrs J managed to sort out a break for half-term. The first half was some much needed downtime at our favourite holiday destination. There's no mobile signal and we love walking in the nearby woods, while the kids race around finding wands (clearly the Harry Potter books have had an influence) or building dens. All good family fun. The cottage has WiFi, so while we're away, we're as 'away' as we want to be. Not that I didn't take great delight in setting my Out of Office.



The days at the cottage went quickly and then we had a few days down in London. We had a hotel on the outskirts and then took the tube to see the sights of the capital. Neither the Ever Lovely Mrs J or Little Miss had been, and while Wee Man and I had, I was the only one to have been on the tube. So, a little adventure for us country folk. Luckily, we managed not to point or run screaming when the giant metal worm pulled into the station. :-) We even managed a spot - I managed not to say spell - in The Making of Harry Potter, which both kids loved. I took a few snaps and while they whipped about, we managed to slow them down enough to take some of it in. I enjoyed looking at the props, scenery and costumes. The talent in the creative staff is for me, somewhat mind-blowing. It's funny, in that some items are on the screen for mere seconds, yet the time to create them must have been much longer.

I'm unlikely to ever cosplay, however, if I did, I do like the character's outfit to the right, that'd be my choice. I'll leave it as a quiz to see who gets who it is. :-) As a side note, it's the kids' Xmas plays soon, so no doubt there'll be a call for some mug willing volunteer to assist in assembling suitable outfits. I think I missed my vocation. :-)

Closer to home

The trans stuff - as you can possibly imaging - has been rather quiet. Being away meant I missed the regular Chameleons meeting, but of course, the good news is that with it being regular, there's normally another one in a few days. What to wear? Well, best start planning. I believe we'll be getting a visit from Glitz & Glam and the vendor will be bringing stock for us to buy. Yay! Shopping. :-)

In other news, the local University has got in touch because they're planning on getting their policies sorted out for trans people. That's staff and students. They've asked if someone would like to represent Chameleons, or provide some material - flyers, handouts, etc - on the day. That would explain why the last hour has gone by while I knocked the old flyer PDF back into shape. Words, well, yeah maybe, but graphical design is so not my thing. If it's not right, I can always give it another go. I'm conscious that getting one of our number to pop along may be tricky, but I'll ask to see if anyone fancies it.

Paris Lees is also due to give a speech, so it sounds like an interesting event. I would like to go, although I do worry about being spotted. I am, after all, but a simple tranny cross-dresser, and this is supposed to be all about transitioning (or at least, that's how Personnel are selling it).  Yet, a little bit of me wonders if the trans policy forgets people who are trans, but have no interest in going full time? I'm happy being a simple cross-dresser - emphasis on the simple - and while I've no plans on going to work suitably attired, I wonder where CD people fit in the protection? Something to ask perhaps.

On another note, I met a new member of staff in the comms team and she wears more make-up than I do on a Thursday night. Not that I'm judging her. I wouldn't like someone judging me in Bob or Lynn mode, so I won't do that to her. Mind you, that's not stopped some male colleagues from making the odd bitchy comment. Hmm, men eh? :-\

No, it is more than I'm intrigued as to why she'd take that stance. From what I can tell, it is more fashion than cover up. A Facebook friend suggested it might be a confidence thing, and I can see that. I had to stop myself from asking about her false lashes the other day, how do you keep them on all day? I almost asked and managed not to. :-)

Oh, Chams this week, so best start up the petrol strimmer. :-)

Take care,
Lynn

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eight

Okay, not me, but this little blog, here. Eight years? How my family, friends and life has changed since then.

I'm now a father of two, there was only Wee Man when I started writing.
Now there's Little Miss and they're doing well. They make me so proud.
The Ever Lovely Mrs J continues to get more lovely and life is good.
Sure, there have been some ups and downs along the way, but so it goes.

Not much more to say really, other than, thanks for reading and here's hoping for a few more years yet. :-)

Lynn
x

Friday, October 18, 2013

Under pressure

Hi,

Yeah, we're back to pop culture references as a title. Well, at least for another week. :-)

In the last week, I've been recording my blood pressure. It all kicked off after I had an appointment at the local doctors' and he pointed out I'd not had it [my blood pressure] taken for some time. I wandered off to see the Nurse and it seems it was a little too high for someone of my age. Early 40s eh? Is there when bits start dropping off as you fall apart? If so, could some of my flab evaporate elsewhere please? Oh, except in the boob and bum department, I need all the help I can in those departments ;-) Warned that said pressure was a little high, I borrowed one of those electronic gadgets and duly recorded it mid morning and late at night.

It did not go well. :-)

I guess there's a knack to relaxing - which I've not got - and knowing when to take it. I guess I need to get my head around this, although at the same time, I wonder if that's just massaging the stats? Hmm. Anyhoo, the only time said pressure dropped to more typical values was at the weekend and - perhaps mais oui - after a night out at Chams. Who said cross-dressing isn't a relaxing pass time? :-) Perhaps it is the stress caused when we want to, but cannot. But then, much of life is like that :-P

I think.... that I get wound up too easily. By that, I mean tense and I do find it difficult to unwind at work. I guess I feel that I should deliver and as we're currently changing our working practises by introducing lots of wonderful (!!) red tape. Maybe we didn't do enough before - bureaucracy, that is - but now, I think we're going too far the other way. I thought IT was supposed to help people, not slay a rain forest. ;-)

In other more positive - and hopefully interesting news - I've signed up on a mentoring programme for some t-folk on another forum. I won't say I have all the answers, or that I'm an expert, I'm still learning new things. I am, however, happy to try and help people who are just starting and maybe they can avoid a few of the blind alleys we all go down. On a related note, I've signed up to a gig at work to help out in a local primary school. Just a one day thing, were I'll be leading them in a design group. Fingers crossed it'll go well.

The Jones Massive are about to depart on a much awaiting half-term break. That will be fun. Nothing to do but go on a few walks, prep the fire, have lovely teas together and enjoy the single bar signal on our mobile phones. Goodbye, cruel world; hello relaxation and good times!

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, October 11, 2013

Under the bridge

Hi,

Not a reference to the rather good Red Hot Chili Peppers, nor the shambolic pop mauling from All Stains - sorry, Saints. :-P As I made my way to Chameleons last night, so I drove under the new bridge by Queen's Medical Centre. It's been a while coming and as I've sat in traffic on the way home, I've watched it be slowly assembled and now, it straddles the dual carriage way, ready to take the next phase of the tram from the city out to Clifton. It's nice to see the money I've been charged for being able to park at work on land the firm owns, put to use ;-) I would have liked to have taken a picture because I like changes in architecture and I like before & after shots of how the city changes. Whoever designed it, I think they did a very nice job.

I also managed a day out of the office, as I was out in rural Nottinghamshire, helping a project group with some IT work. I really enjoyed the change of place, and being able to sit around with the people who'd be using the system, and getting to listen to what they wanted, was really useful. There was no 'hard line' or toys-out-of-the-pram, just a group of adults getting things done. I can't help but feel we should do more of this. :-)

On to other things! :-) It was party night at Chameleons and for once, I had got the right evening. I had over-packed, not being sure what fitted and what mood I was in. I'm glad I did as while I had managed to shift a bit of weight last month, I've not been keeping up with the dog walking, so the 90s red body con dress went back into the bag for another night. I settled on the pink number (I do like a bit of repeat wear after a gap!), some new star pattern tights and last week's killer heels. I toyed with the idea of my shoe-boots, which still seem popular, but I preferred the heels.

I found a use for the clear nail varnish with glitter flecks in it. It seemed to go rather nicely with a black undercoat. I might try that again! I kept my eye make-up low key as I was going for a bright lipstick. I bought a lip pencil from Boots Number 7 range and that did help stop any feathering/bleeding during the evening. I think a bit of Lipcote also helped, but I find that a bit strong on my lips. Funny thing with make-up, after an evening of all glam, once I get all cleaned up, my skin feels wonderfully moisturised in the morning. Do you get this at all?

The evening itself went very well and everyone had been kind enough to bring along something to eat for the party. Rebecca had brought along some subtle lighting, so the place was suitably subdued. As one wit put it, it almost doesn't look like a Community Centre now :-) All that was to unveil the food and for someone to get the speakers out of the cupboard, then hook up the MP3 player. Talk about portable disco, it's a doddle now. :-)

[Oh, embarrassing moment: Apparently, I leaned a bit too far when plugging the speakers in and my skirt rode up. Luckily no-one passed out, but I will need to keep this in mind from now on. /blush ]

Much fun - and nibbles - was had by all and by keeping the music in the background, there was plenty of time to catch up and chat. Sadly I didn't get to resell my old wig, but as I said to Pat, better that the buyer be 100% happy with it, than waste the money.

I had a really good night out and with half-term coming up shortly, I'll be missing that meeting. One thing that did strike me about the meeting, was the next day. There are times when I get a nudge from the Pink Eyed Monster, hmmm.... that didn't sound a dirty in my head, but lets stick with it. :-) I guess it's a cross between Jealousy and Pink Fog, rather than any dodgy. I don't know about the rest of you, but there are times when you see people and.... I'm ashamed to admit it, I have been known to get a little envious of their clothing choices. Still, I know that leads to a darker path and I think it's best for me if I think on what I do have. Great family, good friends, good times and a good life.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, October 04, 2013

Shh!

Hi,

I find blog writing somewhat odd some days. What I mean is, I have an idea - or even ideas - of what to write about, yet when I come to actually doing it; I struggle to find an opening line. Instead, like now, I tend to find that I just have to go for it. Typing away as I'm talking to someone, and perhaps, in some odd little way I am. Even if that's myself :-)

Keep Quiet

A week or so ago, Nottingham played host to the Rocky Horror theater production and a work mate was telling me a bit about it. I've never been and I've only seen the film the once. I know the Ever Lovely Mrs J has been a few times, but despite the seemingly effortless excuse to drag up (yes, I know there's a difference between drag and being trans :-) ), it's never happened.

Anyhoo, said mate went more as the narrator, rather than one of the more irregular characters. During a lunchtime stroll, we then bumped into a colleague from another team, who had also gone..... and had (apparently) gone dressed to the nines.

So, picture the scene if you will: four blokes (one of which is yours truly), listening to the trials and tribulations of said colleague's investment in time, garb and difficult with - *ahem* - keep everything that should be away, away. I'm doing my best poker face at this point (not my strong point), while my brain is yelling  Speedos underneath? No, darhlink, control knickers! Tuck! learn to tuck! Luckily we moved on to safer topics before he started about high heels. Amateurs. Tsk. :-)

On another note, Andrew O'Neill - an excellent stand-up comic IMO (plus heavy metal, trans and self proclaimed show-off - I mean, what's not to like? :-) ) - is doing a tour around these fair isles. I passed another work-mate the work magazine showing casing AN's tour dates. Which prompted a Google search, which may me think, how long before someone follow AN's web site, sees the personal blog and then tracks the comments page back to here? Ah well. If you're reading this, M, hello ;-)

Good Vibes

All in all, this week has been kind to me. People are well and while I've been busy, I've been in a buoyant mood, which I feel is something to be grateful for. I noted that a blog friend had posted a comment on Facebook about how the advertising industry would probably go under, if we realised that it's not all about shiny new things.

Now, I'll be honest and say that I'm guilty of occasionally thinking about new stuff. A new dress, new shoes, a gadget to do something clever with the telly, etc, but..... I'd say in the last year or so, I've got into the habit of talking myself out of most purchases.

I say most, because last week I bought a new wig and the week before, I managed two dresses via mail order. Well, it was my birthday :-)

But trying - desperately! - to reel this one in, when I look back; yes, looking good, can help me feel good. But it's not the only route to Downtown Happyville. For me, it is as much what goes on and who I'm with, rather than what I have at the time. I've had some excellent holidays with my family, where we've done very little except go for long walks in the forest, messed about picking blackberries, made shelters out of sticks and stayed as far away from the High Street as possible. Likewise, I don't need to have a new dress when I visit Chameleons, I do like making new looks with different pieces.

Waffle done!

Take care,
Lynn
x


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Case of the Irish Jig

Hi folks,

Working weeks, sometimes they can be busy-busy-busy can't then? So it seems also true of home, and also trans-life too. On Wednesday I'd managed to swing working from home, so I could get my head down and actually get Stuff Done. You know how it is in the modern open plan office; more noise than a room full of reporters and a soon-to-be-sacked politician.

I also had booked the afternoon off so I could collect Wee Man and Little Miss. Sometimes, the Ever Lovely Mrs J - who, truth be told - does the longer part of the child duties (the afternoon), but if there's something on she can't miss, yours truly takes a turn. Wee Man also had a friend over, so once I'd finished being IT Assistant, they were happily engrossed in playing Minecraft. In the time between pick-up and finishing work, thought, that was time for a little time investment in more glamorous pursuits..... :-)

A change in style


With a little time to kill, I popped into town, parked up and headed on over to Hot Hair. I've walked by a few times and we - Chameleons [thirty one years and still going strong] - have had a visit from them a few years ago, but I've not been in. I had seen something in the sale I liked and armed with the pocket money (!) I'd saved up over the last year, I was in the mood for a change to change hair colour and the style of it too.

Anyway, said item was in stock but a) was well out of my price range and b) the lack of a fringe didn't really work for me. I think on someone with the right shaped face, it would have been spot on.

I asked what else they had and the sales assistant, was kind enough to go and find a few more that were along the same lines - colour, length and at a price I could afford. I tried on a few, but I went back to one I did like and yes, that's it in the photo. Sorry about the iffy colours, I'm not usually that orange :-)

Before I could warm up to the idea of asking Hot Hair visiting Chameleons, bless her, she offered! I know a few folk at the group have been asking if they'd come around and like many things in life, it was on my list of things to do. All done.

Oh and I saved 10% for being part of the Chameleons Group. Happy days!

Forgetful

My memory has never been one of my strong points, well, my short term memory. I really need to start writing more down, and I don't mean blogging. :-) Thanks to a bit of careful planning with the kids' bath night, The Ever Lovely Mrs J was kind enough to do the bedtime story routine, which left me to nip off early to Chameleons. Now, it's been ages since I've visited, I think the last one might have been July, and I had a spring in my step as it was a party night.

I arrived early, set the tables up and headed upstairs to put on my new dress. I'd found some heel pads in my cupboard, which have meant I can walk in those killer heels. Previously, they had a habit of slipping off when I walked. That's just not done, darhlink. ;-) As it was a party night, I thought I'd go for bold eye make-up, some false lashes and killer heels. I have been reading some 'how tos' on Pinterest, and I think I've got a better idea of what I'm doing. Well, I was pleased with the results and no-one laughed, so two points to Gryffindor . :-) It's nice to be able to be all fine and fancy once in a while. Alison popped up to say hello and we had a good chat while I got ready.

We headed downstairs and.... all the tables had been moved into the middle.

Ah. So it wasn't party night. That would be next time.....

Bugger. :-)

That slight slip-up of mine did not detract from the evening and I had an excellent night talking to old friends as it seemed like ages since we last spoke. Social media is all well and good, but it's just not the same in terms of being able to enjoy another person's company. It's tricky at social dos, there are people to catch up with and yet, I'm conscious that I don't want to snub anyone by not saying hi. Oh, I did remember to bring the Hot Hair book of wigs with me, so I've got a few items on the list for them to try and bring at a later visit. (Note to self - don't forget to ring them!).

I also had a quick chat with a new-ish member, Isabelle. She was asking about how to wash a wig, and somehow I got called over to have my brains (Ed: brrainz?) picked. Still, I think I gave the right answers. Cold water, gas mark six, right? ;-)

The evening rolled along and I was late getting changed. I had to leave with my false eyelashes still on. That was so I didn't keep the caretaker behind while she was locking up. Sophie was kind enough to work some photo magic - thanks Mrs!

I've now got a list of dates for the meetings, so there's a bit of web-site work to do. All in all, it's been a very good week.

Take care,
Lynn
x

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rurban therapy

Hi,

If I had to pick a month that was my favourite, I think I'd have to say it was September. For me, it's the slow turn to Autumn, but without the sharp cold, nor rain of the later months. The evening sky is beautiful and the heat of the summer has faded. There's less to do in the garden, more the time to enjoy long, leisurely walks and, if you know where to look, to enjoy a spot of blackberrying, picking apples or collecting sloes (hello, Mr Gin!).

I find picking blackberries a very relaxing pastime. Sure, there's that slight frisson of worry that you'll snag your trousers / top / hand, but I find that stops me drifting off. Instead, it's that gentle pull of the berry from the thorny briar and knowing that when you get home, you can divvy them up - who doesn't like blackberries? - or make something nice with them. Blackberry & apply crumble, blackberry rum, muffins, or just good with a little ice cream.

There's also a fashion element to September, you're not into your Winter Woollies, and it's time to start putting away shorts and t-shirts, getting out old favourites, or hoping you'll see some new ones as the new collections come out. Of course, there's the hope that you'll find the perfect set of boots, even though there's nothing wrong with last years. :-)

Not Hounded

The old devil, the Black Dog, has been away for some time and you know what, I don't miss him at all. I feel a lot more balanced and relaxed than I did six, and certainly twelve months ago. With luck and the right frame of mind, I hope things will continue this way.

Why am I raising this? Well, other than enjoying life, I did something either a little brave, or a little foolish: depending on your view. :-) At the start of the week, I was invited to give a talk to a large number of people at work, some of whom I work with regularly, some, not so much. Some of them.... I had... Now, I almost put Let The Dog Snarl, but I think that would suggest that it was talking for me. Perhaps a better way would be to say, I let my inner anger spill out and I was rude and insensitive to some.

I started the talk with two items: one that I was very grateful for the collective work they'd done in getting the big project done in a very short space of time. I'm not a manager, I'm just a technical bloke, but I know hard work when I see it. I was also rather cheeky, in that I took the opportunity to say something like this:
...around a year or so ago, I was suffering with depression and to those of you I had been rude to, I would like to apologise to you for that behaviour. I am grateful for your patience and that person that I was - probably a bit of an ogre, if I'm honest (laughter)- is long gone. If you need help with this [project], please do get in touch. I'm here to answer your questions and move this further forward. 
I took a quick look around the room, caught a few eyes and then I moved on to the technical topics people wanted to cover. At the end of the talk, as I packed my things up, one chap came over to me and said how brave I was. I thanked him, but really, my aims were to apologise and try and dispel the ogre reputation that I'd built up. Coming back to the office, I had a few emails saying similar things, including one from a chap who was still fighting the fight himself. I wished him luck and that if he wanted a talk, I'd be happy to listen.

There's also a little bit of me that wanted to put out the message that a) you can beat depression and b) that anyone can get it. I've had it said, What you? depressed? But you're outgoing / confident / etc, but then, like any other illness - and that's how I look at it - sometimes it's just your turn and you have to plod on.

Seventies

In other news, today I caught a radio programme about a feminist magazine that started in the 70s. I was only a young kid then, so I guess a lot of this passed me by. I heard such gems about women being sacked for being pregnant, women not being able to have a mortgage without a partner, etc. I was.... unpleasantly surprised by some of these reports and, if you dig further, there are probably some others.  Stunned may be overstating it, but I'm glad I live in the time that I do. If it was like that for women, what was it like for gay or trans people? I hope we never turn back that particular clock and that other less liberal countries, soon their societies will move on and being more accepting.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sometimes, good things happen

Hi,

It's an early post for me as I've just finished one of those distance training courses. Not the old school learn by post kinda thing, but a learn-by-Skype style classroom. You get a little video of the class, remote access to the system you have to work on and you get to see the presentation slides. Luckily, there's no return video feed - and we'll come back to that in a mo :-) - but you can ask questions using the chat or microphone. It saves me having to travel to London and it saves the company money on a hotel. It all seems a little futuristic and everyday at the same time. How things change eh?

Some of the course I'd done before - so it goes with update stuff coming after you've done the actual work - so I had half an ear tuned to the topics I'd already done. Sooo..... I did what any self-respecting trans person stuck at home would do, practice some new make-up techniques and - thanks to last week's delivery - try my new dresses on.

Eye Eye

I, like a lot of blokes and some women too, have a hooded eyelid. Or, as a friend said on Facebook, I have fat eyes too. :-) I guess this explains why some make-up ideas, I'm looking at you smokey eye method - don't really work for me.

I caught a view video tutorials last week, so having made a few notes - yes, I'm that organised! - I gave it a spin. I'm not 100% sure at the mo and I'd say it is very much an evening look, certainly far too heavy for daytime.



It's fun to try these things and good to learn why things do or don't work. I think I may stick to my usual colours, but I shall try and put the ideas of different positions for the shadow and highlighting into practice.

Lard

With the regular dog walking and watching what I eat, I think some of the - shall we say, excess holiday baggage? - has now departed and I'm feeling much fitter than I did before. I guess I'd like to shift a little more and get down to the 170 mark, but much below that and I start to look too thin. I know, you can never be too rich or too thin. I may agree with the former - 'cos you could give some away and do things for people! - but the second, as far as I'm concerned, I don't want to go back to looking like Desperate Dan featuring in The Walking Dead. It's ain't pretty. ;-) [ Overseas readers may wish to Google DD :-) ]

Anyhoo - and apologies for the headless horsewoman pose, I wasn't fully made up - I did try on my two new purchases and I was very pleased with both of them. I had planned on sending one back, in case of a bad fit, but that plan has gone right out of the window!

Oddly, I've waited to post these pictures here, rather than on Facebook. I guess part of me prefers to keep something back for this old blog and I wonder if the rise of Social Media has eaten into the blogging world. Updates and replies are now almost instant. Then again, blogs, perhaps like those little back page fillers you get in magazines, they are longer and take a little more to put together.


Web

Talking of blogs, if anyone is interested in the Our Different Journey project, I'm still on the lookout for *ahem* volunteers to interview. I know a number of you have been kind enough to get involved and I'm really grateful for that.

Moonfruit, the company who provide free web hosting for Nottingham Chameleons, recently updated their platform. Those of you with a technical head may already know they are moving from Flash to HTML5. Those of you who don't have a technical head, you may read that - as I did - and go 'eh?'. :-) Whatever the server magic they employ, there was an option to upgrade and sometimes, it's best to upgrade when you have the time, rather than have the update forced upon you.

Perhaps typically for anything computer related, not everything went across and that meant I needed to do a spot of redesign. I'll be honest and say while I can push a mouse around the screen and waffle for England, I'm not a designer. However, I'm fairly happy with the site and sometimes, a little housekeeping, love & attention is just what a site needs.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, September 06, 2013

A series of conflicting events

Hi,

How's things? It's been the first week back at school for Wee Man and Little Miss. They took it pretty well and despite a little bit of grumbling from one of them, I think they both enjoyed catching up with their friends. As is the case with a new year, they both get a new teacher. Wee Man is now in the last class before he goes to secondary. Little Miss, is in her second year and I remember her teacher being a big hit with her brother. Said teacher, he's.... what's the best way to say this? He's got that knack in getting kids really involved and keen to learn. Dare I say, it's a joy to watch and I hope he continues to do well.

What else has been going on? Well, I'm officially over 70 days since I was last fabulous. But, hey! Who's counting!! :-) Ah, it's been a bit strange really, but what's new. I'm trans; strange seems par for the course. :-) Where was I? Oh yes. Strange. Yeah, there's been family birthdays, holidays, the weather was just too hot in July and this month, the Ever Lovely Mrs J will be away on a course. That leaves El Muggins here at Chez Jones. Not that I mind, I don't do too badly considering and bless her, Mrs J said she hadn't realised I'd miss another one and I said it was fine. Despite feeling that I've missed my friends at Chams, I'm doing okay. She suggested that I go out to one of the Invasions instead. Maybe I'll take her up on that offer. It has been a while. :-) Odd really. Back in the dark past of the Shadow of the Black Dog - hmm, which sounds like a dodgy pub or even dodgier pirate movie - the idea of going that long without dressing up, would probably have sent me into a tailspin of fear and panic.

Perhaps I've somehow got the hang on the CBT / Hitch-hiker's mantra of Don't Panic. Actually, if any one is thinking of paying for CBT, save yourself a large bag of cash and instead, take to heart the above Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference and Monty Python's Always Look on the Bright-side of Life. Give or take some expert advice and psycho-babble, neither comedy piece is too far off the mark. :-) But cheap shots aside, maybe long term, the advice / training has worked. If I find myself chewing over an event that I can't affect, I try to take a step back and ask myself: "Do you feel lucky, punk?" :-) No, sorry, the other questions:

  • Does it matter in the long swing of things?
  • Can you make it happen?
  • Will it make you happy?

Subject to the outcome of those, I tend to find; not so much giving up on things, but more, not getting so wound up about things. Take for example work: there have been times when I've fought - from a political point of view - to Get Stuff Done because I've really believed that it would make a difference. Yet now, if the Powers That Be aren't interested or just don't want to follow my concerns, I try to let it go. A friend once said to me, save your breath for the "Well, I did say.." moment - just don't be an arse about it. :-)

Then from that, there's shopping. Which really, sounds incredibly shallow, but a) I don't give a hoot, and b) finding the right item, can help you. Sometimes, looking good on the outside, can help the inside feel okay too. I did have the good fortune to find a couple of dresses I liked the look of at Dorothy Perkins. Not only where they reduced, but there was also an extra 25% off that week. Armed with my meagre savings, a voucher and copies of the items I was interested, off I popped.

Both dresses are shown to the left and on the web site, they looked very nice. In the flesh, so to speak, they felt okay quality-wise. But once I got to the changing room and got them on, they didn't quite work.

I've said it before, but I'm so tired of this current trend of a high neck and short cap sleeves. It seems to have run for a full year and personally, I feel that cut does nothing for me. I don't know if it was the lack of boobs, but the neckline would wrinkle up and much as I loved the pattern, it just wasn't me. So, back on the hanger for that one.

The floaty red number felt good, but it was either the lack of my artificial curves, or that it made me feel a bit.... well, square. Chuck in the fact that it's close in appearance to a friend's dress (who rocks it, BTW), that too, went back on the hanger.

Still, the good news from this little shopping fail, was that on the way out, I spotted a dress - not my size! - which looked a bit like the Desiguel ones. Now, I love their clothes and once I'd got home and done a bit of web research, I had a quick chat with the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I've ordered two from the site. Throw in an eight quid voucher from Google, and that's two dresses for forty quid. No faffing about parking, no need to pack *ahem* 'curves' etc. I'm hoping they arrive next week, as I'm working from home and it would be remiss of me not to do a little office work suitably attired. Fingers crossed eh?

Take care,
Lynn
x

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mojo

Hey,

How time passes eh? Well, unless you're waiting for a download, the kettle to boil or a politician to get to the point. :-)

The Jones Massive have been away and returned. All went very well. Both The Ever Lovely Mrs J and the nippers enjoyed the holiday. Just a little cottage in the north; we're easily pleased. In fact, the lack of wireless probably helped. I certainly caught up on my reading.... and eating. Maybe another week of watching what I eat and walking more, will be a good thing. Still, lip up, eh, fatty? :-)

I'll be honest with you and say not much is going on at the mo - at least, from a trans perspective. I am beginning to miss the lack of fabulosity (the new metric unit to measure fabulousness ;-) ), but it'll be just a another week or so, before I'm back in the saddle.... or heels, more accurately. Quite looking forward to that, if I'm honest. It feels like a long month! :-) I have sort have kept my hand in, by watching a number of make-up videos (thank you YouTube vid makers!) and trying to learn from some of the transformation ones on the site too. A number of them are drag, which is cool, but not my thing. That's not to say I can't enjoy the talent many folk have and are willing to share.

Just before the holiday, Wee Man and Little Miss had a week away at my parents' house. You know how it is with kids, they get all nervous about going and then when they arrive, they leave you for dust. Still, I'd rather have that, then have them upset. That left The Ever Lovely Mrs J and I with time on our hands. We did what most middle class couples do... no, the other thing! (mutters: mind like a sewer, some folk :-P)... which was book a posh restaurant, read and then try to do all the jobs we'd put off during the summer holidays.

That reminds me, talking of holidays, I was very grateful for Mrs J sorting out the holiday, so while I was in town on my tod, I dropped into one the local art gallery, just to see if there was anything that caught my eye. I did find something I thought she'd like, but I couldn't decide on which colour to get. While I was deliberating, the shop assistant - a very pleasant young lady - and I got chatting. Mostly about accents, which is a pet love of mine, but we digress. I was asked if the item was for a birthday and I said no, just a thank you really. She made that 'aww' noise and then said I wish my boyfriend was like you. I said thank you and before I could shut my mouth, I heard myself saying, everyone says that until they see my shoe collection. Luckily, she laughed and the conversation moved on. Big mouth strikes again, as someone once sang. :-)

I've had a look on-line for some local wig retailers, but I've not come up with much so far. I was sad to see that Natural Image in Debenhams has closed. The staff in there were really nice and I had all bar one of my wigs from them. Still, maybe it's time to invite HotHair back to Chameleons. I think Pat was interested. I'm thinking of going a slightly darker colour. Fingers crossed I find something.

Take care,
Lynn

Friday, August 16, 2013

Not so much the Great Escape, as a short respite.

Hi,

Yes, it's holiday time again and the Jones Massive will shortly be on their way to somewhere in the exotic lands of the North East. It's not somewhere we've been on holiday before, so I'm full of hope that it'll be very nice. Lots of chances for long walks, some nice snacks and plenty of reading.

I just hope my in-laws haven't hidden the remote controls when we get back! :-D

See you later!
Lynn

Friday, August 09, 2013

Don't forget your game face.

The Ever Lovely Mrs J and Wee Man are currently away. One's at Granny's, the other's away visiting friends. I hope I've got it the right way around. Otherwise, Wee Man's in charge of the car and is holed up in a Travel Lodge spamming the free wireless. This leaves yours truly at home with Little Miss, so it's been a very pleasant evening of Daddy / Daughter time. Making milkshakes, some colouring in, bath time and then a few stories as it's bedtime.

Mrs J is very keen on bedtime stories and it is very rare that either of the kids will go to bed, without a chapter (or small book) before they turn in. I know I enjoying making different voices for characters, but more, I enjoy the looks of excitement on their faces as we get to a good bit. It's been known for Wee Man to request another chapter because of a cliff hanger ending. Sometimes it can feel like a slog, but I think it's picking the right book to read to them. Happy memories for them, I hope.

I guess in days of old, I would now be all femmed up - and I use that phrase ironically - although, I can't quite muster the energy to do so. Not so much because I'm tired, or anything else, more, that I feel I don't have to leap at these rare chances to indulge. No, with regular visits to Chameleons, it's less of a panic to grab time. That said, I missed last night's meeting due to a family party (Mr Jones Senior was eighty, bless 'im) and it's been a while, since I've managed a fancy outfit.

Perhaps that explained the strange turn of the mind, that occurred earlier in the week. I got out of the car and grabbed my bag from the back seat, before walking through the car park. So far, so normal. However, I found myself walking differently. Back straighter, head up, rather than the usual half mooch / shamble I manage. Despite wearing jeans and a shirt, my mind was telling me they didn't feel like a man's summer shirt and jeans..... go figure. Seems even my imagination is gender enhanced ;-)

Was I acting up, channelling some feelings from within? I don't know. All I can say, is that as I walked to the door, if I held my eyes shut - something I don't recommend near stairs or in a car park :-) - is that I felt..... I felt as I did when I dress up. Something had clicked in my head and my walk, for want of a better word, felt like I'd switched on Lynn Mode. I know I carry myself differently when dressed, after all, it's not the done thing to stomp along in heels or mooch about in a wrap dress. :-)

Luckily, whatever brief sprinkling of transtastic magic dust evaporated as I put my hand on the door pull. A sign of game face on? Possibly, possibly not. I guess we'll see. Perhaps a month plus of single genderism isn't really me. ;-)

Take care,
Lynn

Saturday, August 03, 2013

All Quiet on the Western Front....

.... which doesn't really make sense, when you live in the East Midlands. Unless there's a face off between the Potters Massive and the Dales Collective. Not to make light of rural gang violence. Cow tipping, cider running, it's a hotbed of inactivity. :-)

Hmm. Perhaps I shouldn't have watched Hot Fuzz before starting this post..... which is late. Friday was a little busy. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones had car trouble and bless her, didn't get back home until late. I would have thought the breakdown people might have been a bit more speedy, considering she was on her own. Not that Mrs J is a poor, feeble woman; far from it, yet if your road side assistance prioritise people, I'd have hoped for better service. Thankfully, nothing bad - other than car problems - occurred.

Gabrielle, of the MyCDLife blog, was kind enough to complete her turn under the Our Different Journey spotlight. I posted a quick note on Facebook about it and the comments ranged from that's so familiar, and that's just how I felt; to the polar opposite of I don't have those experiences. I've paraphrased, but you get the gist.

One of the ideas behind ODJ, is that although there is commonality in trans behaviour, feelings and history. We, perhaps like the rest of any slice of humanity, are different. My hope is that.... no, my hopes are multi-fold: firstly, that if at least one person reads one of the stories and finds help through it, it was worth it. Secondly, ODJ acts as a store for the history of how people got to where they are now. I guess, last - but not least - I think there needs to be some good news (trans news) stories out there. You read so much negativity, that I think it's easy to think we'll never be fully accepted, or things will always be bad.

Cynic that I am, I am also a secret romantic. I think things for trans people will keep getting better. Each time someone comes out, or walks down the street, or shops for a dress in bloke mode, slowly we become less unusual and more everyday. Hell, I can dream. :-)

Take care,
Lynn
x

Friday, July 26, 2013

Our cards are dealt, how we play them, therein is the game.

Hi,

How's things? Y'know, there are times when I struggle to get this blog off the ground. So to speak. I'll skip on work and weather reports for now and move straight.

The summer holidays - for the kids at least - have arrived. Nottinghamshire broke up this week, so Wee Man and Little Miss have been around the in- and out-laws, until the kid camp opens later on. Oh, the joys of working parents eh? :-) Is it the modern disease? The yearly trek to sports centres, science fairs and visits to grandparents, while mum and dad try to balance the holiday entitlement? Maybe it is, but we don't do bad, all things considered.

Talking of good news, the old bank balance seems to be doing better (touch wood!) than usual. I have stopped buying lunch at work, and I think that's making a difference. I've yet to stop my 3pm chocolate break, but a guy's gotta live you know! :-)

Out, but not Out

It was Chameleons yesterday, and as invents conspired with me, off I went. Oddly, there was no bag in tow, nor multiple outfits stashed in the boot. No, with the weather still being a little too warm for me, I decided to pass (Ed: first time ever! :-P ) on getting made up and I went to see friends instead.

In all honesty, I am glad I did. I didn't manage it last week and I found I really missed talking to my friends. Funny, a few years ago and the idea of a long spell of En Homme gave me chills - and not in a good way - yet, here we are and despite looking a bit like a Wookie on surf patrol, I enjoyed chatting and catching up with people. Rebecca also popped in - our self proclaimed Regular Irregular - so it was good to catch up with her too. There was a new girl along for the second time, but in all the confusion, I missed her name. Maybe we'll say hi next time.

Marriage

Talking of out - see what I did there? :-) - the Government has finally seen sense and now marriage is legal for gay people. Funny, a few years ago and I'd never considered the matter - mainly as the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I didn't do a church wedding - but then, why shouldn't every adult in our society have the choice? At least this is a good start and well done to those who got involved and helped make it happen.

Rainbow

A little while ago, an email arrived in the Chameleons inbox asking for personal stories for a theatre project called All Colours of the Rainbow. Any excuse to rattle off some writing and I'm away. Anyway, you can see the fruits of the collective labours here:


Is that story my story or another's? Yes and no. It's some of me, some from friends and some dramatic license, but to the best of my knowledge it's true. Well, true for an occasional like myself and others, I can only speak for myself and not for everyone.

I am the lie in plain sight. I am the man you kiss goodbye when you go to work. I am the man who teaches your children, who fixes your car, who works in your office, who is part of your family. I am all these people... and I am more.
I am male from the outside. But, inside? I am a mixture.
A mask of masculinity, a twist of femininity learned from afar with curious eyes. A heady brew of confusion. I am trans; someone on the sliding scale of gender. Neither one nor the other, but betwixt and between. Too soft to join the boys, too rough to join the girls. The outsider who hides. 
Away from your gaze, I am different and I am the same. A different name and a different garb dress me up. The same heart beats within, the same mind thinks throughout. Sarah, or Simon: I need to be both. I need to have time to be myself. To be all of myself: sometimes femme, sometimes homme. This may be at home, in a hotel, or out with friends. Trans friends.
Without this balance, my world tips and I am lost. Sipping towards the black waters that numb. Waters that drown. If I cannot breathe.....I cannot be. I have tried, tried to stop, but I cannot. I can no longer stop being trans, as you cannot stop being male, or female. Our cards are dealt, how we play them, therein is the game.
I have battled with guilt, lost and won. Promises made, promises broken. I have cried and I have wept, but I will always walk this path. My only choice was to accept. How I have laughed and how I have smiled when the path I walk echoes to clatter of heels, the brush of a skirt and the whisper of synthetic hair.
Would you know this to look at me? Could you see through the bravado, peek behind the mask? Have I given myself away? Those little tells: skin looked after and eyebrows shaped. The occasional spec of colour on too shapely kept nails. Perhaps you saw me gazing in the shop window, or picking out make-up on my own one day. Maybe...maybe you saw me as her.
Just smile. Say hello. Say you’re okay and that our secret is safe.
You might even like the real me.

Take care,
Lynn